Journey through rugby – Matt Banahan

first_imgFind a newsagent that sells Rugby World in the UK. Or you may prefer the digital edition on your MAC, PC, or iPad. I signed for Bath when Brian was there, but he then left (to take the England job). So I soon had two new coaches, Steve Meehan and Mark Bakewell, and spent a whole pre-season trying to prove myself to them.I made mistakes early on and acted like I’d made it. I went back to Jersey that season and my brother, Paul, challenged me, asking me if I’d given it my best shot. I had to admit I hadn’t, so we started training together.The next pre-season made me the player I am now as I was paired up with Danny Grewcock. I trained really hard in that pre-season and it led to my first start against Worcester in 2007.A turning point for me was meeting my partner, Becky.  She played for Bath and was once a Rugby World hotshot – she still has the page! – so she understands what it takes and that makes a huge difference to me. The birth of our son, Joseph, was also a massive turning point.Lucky is how I feel to have made it as far as I have. I played my first senior game at 17 and three-and-a-half years later I was playing for England against Argentina at Old Trafford.DID YOU KNOW?Matt has played in 16 Tests for England and scored four tries. He also represented Jersey and the West of England at hockey.This article appeared in the February 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine. BATH, ENGLAND – MAY 07: Matt Banahan of Bath holds his son Joseph after the Aviva Premiership match between Bath and Newcastle Falcons at the Recreation Ground on May 7, 2011 in Bath, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images) For Back Issues Contact John Denton Services at 01733-385-170 Creative giant – Matt BanahanCountry: EnglandAge: 25 (30 Dec 1986)Position: WingBorn: St Helier, JerseyMoved from the back row to the wing by Brian Ashton, Matt Banahan has taken an unusual journey to Test rugby. Here he tells his story… My first sport was hockey, which I did alongside athletics and cricket. At cricket, I was a batsman who could turn his arm over. At athletics, it was long jump and a bit of running.My dad was my hockey coach and he was one of the harshest I’ve ever had. He said he couldn’t show me any favours, but I still remember them as great times.Sport was on my doorstep growing up in Jersey. A hundred metres from school there was a running track, tennis courts, croquet, rugby and football pitches, so how could I fail? I had a huge bag packed with different kit and I’d wander over, see who was playing what and just join in.I was reminded of Jersey in Queenstown, New Zealand. They’re both such sporty places, though the sports are a bit more extreme in Queenstown!I grew too quickly, which put strain on my muscles and I had to let my body catch up with that growth development.I only started playing rugby because I had to. I was 14 and my school, Les Quennevais, did rugby for one term. I played a year later at 15, too, but I didn’t pick up a ball again until a few weeks before my 17th birthday. After missing out on the England hockey team, I told my dad I wanted to try something else.I remember watching Bath play in my teens and saying I wanted to play in the same position as Matt Perry. My dad said, ‘That’s full-back’. It shows you how little I knew!At college is where rugby kicked off for me as all my mates were playing the game. I told the coaches there I played full-back, but they said in that weekend’s game I’d be playing six.I ran the length of the field to score in that first game at college in the December and, after turning 17, I moved straight into senior rugby with Jersey.A huge help for me was Jersey’s RFU Development Officer, Mark White, and I then signed a contract with London Irish just after I turned 18, in January 2005.Matt’s son JosephThe key for me was basic skills. My dad always said that those people who perform the basics the best would succeed. I’ve seen the best players in the world do their basics really well and when they needed to do something else they could. That is what Matt Perry was like.My move from the back row to the backs came at the RFU Junior National Academy, where I was spotted by Brian Ashton. He said, ‘You have the attributes of a winger’ and I loved the idea of moving into the backs again. Would you like to sign up to Rugby World’s excellent weekly email newsletter? Click here. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

RBS 6 Nations: What next for Stuart Lancaster?

first_imgRugby works in cycles. This is not to say that you must kill off the remnants of systems gone by like some sort of withered husk. Experience is valuable and whether or not faces fit as well as they used to, keeping them around will not turn Twickenham into a vespiary. However, you must appreciate that at certain periods you must look to the end of the cycle rather than the interim periods.So Stuart Lancaster will have time to think. He will be glad of it. He will not be haunted by a crippling failure because although it stings, he is ahead of schedule. Lancaster is the type of man who works to schedules. He worked hard to get where he is and so appreciates the minutiae of every step; the slavish attention to detail may be dull, but it is necessary and Lancaster at least fosters the image that he is in love with all elements of role, so lovingly detailed in his A4 black diary.Future: England’s young stars will look to the Argentina tourIt may sound like this man is being painted as some genius, capable of anything given time. Such notions have never truly been voiced. Yet when he was first under pressure as England coach some waited and he pulled off the victory against New Zealand. Because of that he has been afforded more time and almost won a Grand Slam. In truth, the end of his cycle is the World Cup in England, so even then he will not seriously be wanting to peak until closer to that time.So he will rest. The Six Nations brouhaha will subside and he will slip back close to home to plan ahead. The best thing for England would be if Lancaster is afforded the luxury to do this, rather than making him stroke to get there. He must also convince himself to see this break through. Put Team England on standby for now and jolt it back to life in time for the summer tour.England and Lancaster have worked hard and the disappointment, though not as crushing as some would think, will be just another spur as England jet off to Argentina, the next lap of their swim towards World Cup 2015. England at sea: The team look lost after a thrashing from the Welsh, but Lancaster will be pleased with progressBy Alan DymockSUCCESS IS a powerful force. Like a riptide it can carry you away, making it impossible to consider any other elements while you swim against the puissant pull of the moment. When it stops, though, and you finally urge your head above water, you realise that you are miles from the point you thought you would be at.Stuart Lancaster is not stranded.Consoling: Lancaster with Mako VunipolaHowever, after months of trying to play down the chances of his England side after shellacking the All Blacks and stringing three very good Six Nations victories together, he was ultimately swimming against the tide. Losing a title on the last day would rankle more than most but such was the manner of the defeat to Wales at the Millennium Stadium there is near palpable hurt rippling through England rugby fraternity.However grounded Lancaster tried to make his team appear and however impressive he made the opposition sound, it would always stand in stark contrast to the reality that is still so fresh in the mind.He would never stand up and scream it – every public engagement is expertly choreographed by the English management, one of the hallmarks of this progressive regime – but privately, surely he must want to state the obvious: England have two years coming up that are more important than this solitary, albeit, chastening loss.In some senses the feeling of being lost and exposed at the Millennium Stadium, with the elements whipping up around them almost as harshly as the Welsh players scratching towards the line and with the crowd stifling them with song, will be filed under ‘Experiences To Learn From’ in the Lancaster files. LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 02: Billy Twelvetrees of England in action during the RBS Six Nations match between England and Scotland at Twickenham Stadium on February 2, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers – RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

Beware the return of Juan Smith

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS during the Heineken Cup quarter final match between Perpignan and Toulon at the Olympic Stadium on April 9, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. It may be simple fables, but the persistent stories of French rugby are of brutal contest at training before the ‘survivors’ make up the team at the weekend. This will obviously have moved on and superstars must be protected, but Smith was never one to compromise. Last season Nathan Hines explained to me during an interview for Rugby World that at Clermont, a hyper-competitive team, any players missing hard sessions to lie and rest or receive treatment were mocked relentlessly. Players felt they had to be in the trenches together.Toulon, with its myriad stars, may not be like this, but they too are hyper-competitive. They also have previous with throwing money at an injured player who ended up playing little part. Rocky Elsom anyone? Of course, he was not likely to despair at his dream ending.No stranger to pain: Rory LamontAlso, earlier this summer, former Toulon player Rory Lamont spoke out against coaches making injured players play or good doctors advice being neglected. He did not name Toulon specifically and it would be remiss to suggest that his interview on player welfare suggests Toulon are the neglectful ones, but he did speak of the massive damage one can receive playing in the Top 14 – a league that looks set to be unflinchingly competitive this season – and it is implied that he has been asked to play through pain in “different countries.” Braced for a bit of pain: Juan Smith was an uncompromising player, but if he does make a comeback can he take it?By Alan DymockAS RUGBY becomes more competitive, more sponsor-driven, more about the trophies than the humans involved, there is a chance that some folk could get chewed up and spat out. Folk so in love with the game and so desperate to grace the paddock that they will do anything.At the very bottom rung this can refer to apprentice or academy professionals who have to concede so much just to get a foothold in the game, postponing alternative lives because you don’t get anywhere without sacrifice. This is the way of things and is never likely to change. However, there is also a layer at the top, of players willing to damage themselves to continue.One of very few Toulon appearances: Flanker Rocky ElsomJuan Smith retired from rugby after succumbing to an Achilles injury that had blighted him since 2011. A fierce flanker known not to take prisoners, it was odd to see him concede defeat. Now, though, he is looking set for a return to rugby with vault-emptying specialists Toulon.Rugby is blessed with stories about players coming back against the odds, but the fear is that a team like Toulon will happily snap up a name – a name so in love with the game that he will believe beyond all doubt that he is destined to return – and if it does not pan out, so what?One hopes that Smith does return, without any serious consequences or even the breaking of his spirit, but the odds are against him. What we can say of Toulon is that they lust after familiar names who are in no danger of playing international rugby. Smith wants a return and is willing to travel for it, and for the money it is worth a shot. He is a big, big boy and is capable of making his own decisions. For teams like Toulon, though, they will continue forward apace, regardless of how many acquisitions fall thrugh or how many dreams are hurt.Either way, should he pass a medical and join or not, Juan Smith will be in some form of pain this season.last_img read more

EXCLUSIVE COLUMN: Schalk Burger

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Interestingly, we’ve seen reports about the South African franchises hooking up with English and French clubs. It could be an exciting competition, but it’s up to SARFU to make the big decisions when the TV deal comes up in a few years.Compared to other sports, we’re really missing a global season. Once we can get the North and South together, it will clear up grey areas and you can dedicate slots to certain competitions. A new global season could mean players play less and add longevity to their careers.Next month I’ll be in London playing for the Barbarians against Fjii. I last faced them in the RWC 2007 quarter-final – a very tight affair. They have phenomenal physical attributes and like to throw it around. I remember Nick Mallett saying the perfect breed of rugby player is a mix of Afrikaan and South Sea Islander. during quarter final three of the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup between South Africa and Australia at Wellington Regional Stadium on October 9, 2011 in Wellington, New Zealand. The Baa-Baas are a throwback to the amateur days. You just chuck a team together, have a few lagers and give it your best on game day. After the time I’ve had, I can’t wait.Barbarians v Fiji at Twickenham, Sat 30 Nov (2.30pm). See ticketmaster.co.uk. Bok bouncing back: After a nightmare year Schalk Burger has returned to rugby and soon heads on tour to EuropeBy Schalk BurgerThe last 18 months have been the toughest of my life. Back in 2012, I had a serious knee injury in my first game of Super Rugby, which ruled me out for the entire season. I thought that was bad, but it got much worse.When I started training again for 2013, they found a cyst on my spinal cord and after my first operation I picked up a form of bacterial meningitis. There was a critical stage for four or five days where it could have gone either way, but luckily I pulled through. It took four operations to get rid of the cyst and after eight weeks in hospital and three months at home, I started the slow road to recovery.Sporting green: Burger back in 2011The question I’m asked most is, ‘Do I want to play for the Springboks again?’ Well, if I play to my capability, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t. If I fall below those standards, I probably won’t make it because of the talent coming through.What I’ve seen from Heyneke Meyer’s side has been hugely encouraging. Last year we played a conservative game, but this year they have evolved with a good mix of youngsters and elder statesmen.In South Africa, there are concerns over the increasing player drain to Europe. At Test level it’s not having much of an effect, but player turnover at our Super Rugby franchises is higher than ever. Players head to Europe at a younger age for financial benefits and if we continue to lose our big players to France or England, the true effect could be felt a few years down the line. It will be a sad day for the South African fan when you don’t have the top 15 Springboks slogging it out.last_img read more

30 Minutes with… Tom Youngs

first_imgNOT FOR FEATURED This was published in the February 2014 edition of Rugby World. Click here to see what’s in the current issue. RW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?TY: To fly – that would be awesome. I wouldn’t be scared of heights then and it’d be cool to fly up Mount Everest and sit at the top.RW: Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?TY: An electrician, because he’d know how to get out of there! In terms of famous people, Jennifer Aniston is pretty hot so it would be nice to have a chat with her. And Jeremy Clarkson is amusing, so it would be fun to see what he comes out with.Tractor mania: Tom Youngs enjoys farm lifeRW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?TY: I’d like to take over the family farm and have a happy family. I’m enjoying fatherhood (daughter, Maisie, was born in November).RW: Which team-mate would you most want to be for a day?TY: Probably someone tall. I could say Tom Croft but he’s going bald! Graham Kitchener is quite good-looking and it’d be nice to be tall for a couple of days. I might not like it but it would be good to feel tall for a little bit.RW: What’s your guilty pleasure?TY: Farming! I like being outside on my own, going up and down a field and being in my own thoughts. After the intensity of rugby, it’s nice to get away. I enjoy it.RW: What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?TY: If you commit to something you’re more likely to achieve it; you’ll achieve what you want to achieve.RW: How’d you like to be remembered?TY: Just as an honest, hard-working guy. Bath time: England hooker Tom Youngs enjoys Leicester’s Aviva Premiership final win at Twickenham last yearThe Leicester and England hooker talks farming, fears and flyingRUGBY WORLD: Do you have any phobias?TOM YOUNGS: I don’t like heights very much. I get nervous going up the grain bins at home on the farm.RW: What are your bugbears?TY: A lack of effort. Whatever business it is, people dossing about is quite frustrating.RW: What’s your favourite joke?TY: I don’t have any, but Mefin Davies used to say he had a point to make and would gather everyone in a circle, then he’d point to the middle of the floor!RW: What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever bought?TY: A PlayStation – a handheld one, a PSP – because I don’t enjoy computer games. It’s long gone.Height is right: Tom CruiseRW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on then pitch?TY: I’ll put myself up for this. When I was first starting out at hooker and playing for Nottingham, I once threw the ball to the opposition scrum-half! I knew then I had a long way to go. Everyone just started laughing it was so ridiculous. I don’t think it would have been so funny if I’d been playing for Leicester!RW: Who’d play you in a film of your life?TY: Probably Tom Cruise – we’re about the same height!RW: Who are the jokers at Leicester?TY: George Chuter definitely – he’s a funny guy. My brother Ben and Ryan Lamb are quite big characters too. There’s lots of banter and they take the mickey out of the boys.RW: Who gets the most stick?TY: Julian Salvi gets the most out of everyone. I won’t say he’s an idiot because that’s a bit harsh, but he does stupid stuff. He says he’s book smart, but he doesn’t have much common sense. And when he has his front teeth out, it’s quite amusing. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

Rugby statistics: Tracking England player burn-out

first_imgSilence of the Lambie: Yet another carry for England captain Chris Robshaw LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Injuries are the main factor for some of the lower numbers on that forwards list and help explain why Joe Marler has played an amount of minutes comparable to 57 full matches more than Alex Corbisiero in this period or Tom Wood, 44 more than Tom Croft.Grinding it out: Joe Marler keeps chugging along for HarlequinsWhether a club operates a rotation policy, the strength of their bench and opposition, position in the league may all influence how much a player is used. As an example, over the previous two seasons when Dan Cole has started a match for Leicester Tigers – he has stayed on the field for an average of 75 minutes whereas at Bath, David Wilson’s average is 55 minutes. James Johnston averages 55 minutes a start since joining Saracens, but it was 70 minutes at his previous club, Harlequins.England will face Wales in Pool A of the World Cup next year. Below is a workload comparison of two possible teams, again going back to the 2011-12 season.On average, those English players have played the equivalent of 15 club matches more than their Welsh peers, but 7 fewer Tests. The difference in Test selection consistency and ‘extra’ matches in the 2011 World Cup and 2013 British and Irish Lions Tour are reasons for that difference in International minutes played. It is also true that for a number of Welsh players on that list, the balance between club and Test minutes is almost equal in this period. Robshaw has played more domestic minutes than Dan Lydiate and Sam Warburton combined and Mike Brown over twice as many as Leigh Halfpenny.In an interview with BBC Radio 5 live in October, new Rugby Players’ Association Chairman Christian Day said: “I would certainly say we are testing the limits on what is attainable.” Day played in 32 matches last season, the maximum number that was recommended for elite players in the 2007 Agreement between Rugby Football Union and Premier Rugby Ltd. TAGS: HarlequinsNorthampton Saints center_img In New Zealand, senior All Blacks will miss the opening round of the next Super Rugby season and will then have their workload carefully managed throughout the campaign. It was already known that New Zealand would name a more experienced squad than the hosts in 2015 but it could well be a fresher one, too.Initiatives like that are harder to implement in England without central contracts, but when discussions concerning the International schedule begin in 2019, perhaps a policy of ‘less is more’ would be advisable. With a World Cup approaching, expect much talk of growing the game and new commercial opportunities. Potential showpiece events such as the winners of Super Rugby and the European Champions Cup meeting or World XV against a major Test side are highly marketable. However of greater concern for players may be the number of games they already play, as well as the increase in injuries and forced retirements.The creation of a global season and enforcing compulsory rest periods are two ideas that have been put forward in recent years, in the interests of player welfare. There is an element of outcome bias when it comes to giving players a break that will need to be overcome, if those ideas are to be fully accepted though. After this year’s Six Nations tournament, Harlequins‘ director of rugby Conor O’Shea opted to rest England players Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and Mike Brown for a Aviva Premiership match against Saracens.That decision was criticised in the wake of their 39-17 loss. In contrast, when Northampton Saints lost consecutive league games in March, there were suggestions afterwards that they shouldn’t have brought back their internationals so soon. In both cases, the match result was used afterwards to judge whether the decision to rest players was correct or not.Getting up and doing it again: Tom Wood plays a lot of club and Test rugbyAlong similar lines, the call by Quins to replace Robshaw as captain with Joe Marler this season was questioned. However, any steps to avoid physical or mental burn-out should surely be praised, especially when the former’s workload is considered. Below is a list of the England starting forwards picked by Stuart Lancaster, ranked in order of how many total club and international minutes they have played from the 2011-12 season up until the 7 December 2014.(These rugby statistics on minutes sourced from itsrugby.co.uk)Robshaw tops the list and has played roughly the equivalent of 35 matches more than an average England starting forward in this period. The England skipper featured in all 320 minutes of the autumn Tests and in fact has played the full 80 minutes in each of his 31 Tests since February 2012.In terms of his Test contribution – he averages a pass every 11 minutes, a run every nine minutes and a tackle every six minutes. In those 31 Tests he is responsible for 9% of England’s total carries and 11% of their tackles. Given he is involved so heavily, the error count is remarkably low with a penalty conceded every 131 minutes and a turnover conceded every 165 minutes.Having suffered a run of injuries at the start of his career – broken leg, broken foot (twice), ruptured anterior cruciate ligament – Robshaw has since played through seven consecutive full seasons. A shoulder injury sustained against Leinster will rule him out for around a month, but it might be that rest was required anyway.last_img read more

World Cup 2015: England 13-33 Australia

first_img TAGS: Highlight England exited their own World Cup in humiliating fashion at Twickenham as they were thrashed 33-13 by a well-drilled, innovative Australia side. Bernard Foley was the star of the show, with 28 points on the board, including two first-half tries. For England, who had a brief resurgence in the second-half with an Anthony Watson try, a monstering at the scrum and coming second-best at the breakdown will have only compounded their deep disappointment.WHAT’S HOTWallaby backlineIsrael Folau, Will Genia, Kurtley Beale. We could go on, but they are all players who are so comfortable with the ball in hand. They toyed with the England backline for the two first-half tries, weaving intricate moves on England’s 22 that stretched the defence ended with two slick Bernard Foley tries. After the break they showed their clinical side, when England were a man down, they worked the ball wide and Adam Ashley-Cooper sent Giteau away. It was mesmerising, clinical and a nightmare for England.Great entertainers: The Wallaby backline were clinical when given the chanceDavid Pocock is on another levelAfter two years out with two knee constructions, David Pocock has returned to put in consistent world-class performances, even playing at No 8 to accommodate Michael Hooper. Against England, he was a constant menace, stealing ball on the deck, swatting defenders with his oversized biceps and cutting down English defenders at will. A staggering display and he will be a certain contender for World Player of the YearSuperhuman: David Pocock was outstanding in the Wallaby backrowEngland fansTwickenham has often been looked down on for a sterile atmosphere but on Saturday night, HQ’s faithful backed England to the hilt. Swing Low bellowed around the old stadium time and time again as they tried to inspire England to victory. The support was heartening to hear and their backing will be required in the months to come.Bernard FoleyHe may not have the You Tube skills of his more celebrated contemporary Quade Cooper but Bernard Foley had the perfect game this evening – certainly his best in a Wallaby shirt. Twenty-eight points of Australia’s 33, means he is rightly lauded in the Southern Hemisphere and beyond. Take a bow, Bernard!What’s notNowhere to turn: England were outplayed by Australia as they exited the World CupEngland losing the breakdown battle. Several times, when England were on the front foot, David Pocock or Michael Hooper stole the ball to regain possession and nullify any England momentum. England had been warned of their dual threat but were powerless to stop the world’s best 7s from disrupting any clean ball. The questions over Steffon Armitage‘s continued exclusion will only grow in the coming days.England scrumA perceived strength of England was the scrum, so often their saviour against the Wallabies, but it shows the work of Mario Ledesma that when given penalties, they chose to pack down to gain the advantage. Joe Marler had a particularly tough evening and replaced after 49 minutes. They gave away five scrum penalties. Memories of Marseille in 2007 were well and truly banished for the Wallabies.Night to forget: England had a shocker at the scrum and were bettered by the WallabiesIsrael Folau is humanThree times in the first ten minutes Israel Folau’s handling let him down. First he was unable to shift the ball onto Rob Horne for a certain try, second he dropped a perfectly weighted cross-kick from Bernard Foley and thirdly he spilt a kick from Mike Brown which resulted in a breakway. Even the greats have off days, though it will surely be just an aberration.Hooper’s a lucky boyJust as the first-half came to a close, after Adam Ashley-Cooper had made yardage on the flank. Michael Hooper ran through the ruck and hit Mike Brown with the shoulder without his arms, sending Brown backwards. It was uncalled for and the citing officer maybe called in for a closer look with Wales on the horizon.Stats LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS 5 – Penaties England conceded at the scrum, compared to Australia’s two394 – metres carried by England, compared to Australia’s 2517 – Linebreaks by England, compared to 5 by Australia, they also beat more defenders, 18 to Australia’s 1513 – Brad Barritt was the game’s top tackler. Stephen Moore and Joe Launchbury were second with 1167 – Metres carried by Mike Brown. Next best was Anthony Watson with 66. Australia’s best carrier was Adam Ashley-Cooper wtih 47Over and out: England clap a superior Wallaby side off the pitchEngland: M Brown; A Watson, J Joseph, B Barritt (S Burgess 64), J May (G Ford 40); O Farrell, B Youngs (R Wigglesworth 49); J Marler (M Vunipola 49), T Youngs (R Webber 60), D Cole (K Brookes 53), J Launchbury (G Kruis 68), G Parling, T Wood, C Robshaw (capt), B Morgan (N Easter 57)Try: Anthony WatsonPens: O Farrell (2)Cons: Owen FarrellYellow card: Owen Farrell (70)Australia: I Folau (M Tomuaa 64); A Ashley-Cooper, T Kuridrani, M Giteau, R Horne (K Beale 10): B Foley, W Genia; S Sio (J Slipper 57), S Moore (c) (T Polota-Nau 64), S Kepu (G Holmes 57), K Douglas, R Simmons (D Mumm 64), S Fardy (B McCalman 75), M Hooper, D Pocock.Tries: Bernard Foley (2), Matt Giteau.Pens: Bernard Foley (4)Cons: Bernard Foley (3)Referee: Romain Poite (Fr)Man of the Match: Joe LaunchburyAttendance: 81.080 England have crashed out of the World Cup in the group stages, in doing so, becoming the first host to do so after losing 33-13 to Australia at Twickenham Try time: Bernard Foley flies over for his first of two tries against England For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here.last_img read more

Social Media Round-up 2018-19: Week Eight

first_imgWHAT A GAME!!! Maxime Medard’s runaway try is the difference between the two sides as @StadeToulousain beat @leinsterrugby 28-27 #TOUvLEI https://t.co/fCFqCgZpiG pic.twitter.com/ptb9fSn430— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) October 21, 2018However there was some controversy with Sofiane Guitoune’s try after he appeared to drop the ball as he was grounding it. This moment has divided opinion, you can judge for yourself below; Credit where credit is due to @SimonZebo. When in the heat of battle things happen but u realise it was not in the spirit of the game & apologise for it. It takes a good man to do that. Credit to both Racing & Ulster for playing a great game of @ChampionsCup rugby.Well done all https://t.co/pPOTAahW9j— Nigel Owens MBE (@Nigelrefowens) October 20, 2018 Simon Zebo taunts his opponent as he scores Nigel Owens isn’t impressed Simon Zebo apologises Great refereeing @Nigelrefowens! pic.twitter.com/OoPjDJ2jLA— Watch the Heineken Champions Cup on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) October 20, 2018 Glasgow eventually emerged as 29-12 winners and their final try was a thing to behold. Watch it below; Elsewhere, Newcastle once again secured a dramatic win against French opposition. A week after narrowly defeating Toulon, the Falcons managed to score a last-minute try against Montpellier to win 23-20. They used roughly 40 phases and played until the 89th minute when Callum Chick finished off the match to score just to the right of the posts. After another week of European action, we take a look at how social media reacted to the rugby on display. Danny Cipriani sent-off after missing out on England squadThe second week of European action is in the books and there was some enthralling rugby to enjoy as the best teams of Europe battled it out in the group stages.In Pool 2, Gloucester faced Munster and just days after failing to make it into Eddie Jones’ England Autumn Internationals squad, Danny Cipriani got sent-off for a high tackle.What do you make of the hit? Did it deserve a red-card? Gareth Anscombe in particular was critical of the decision after the game; Since when is this a try? He definitely didn’t ground that. JOKE #TOUvLEI #rugby @RugbyLAD7 pic.twitter.com/NqhzVB30RI— Callum Cleary (@SantanCleary) October 21, 2018Racing 92 also picked up a handsome win over Ulster by 44-12 but the game will best be remembered for Simon Zebo’s try in the last five minutes when he taunted his opponent before scoring. The game was already over but Zebo was quick to apologise to referee Nigel Owens. Whilst Newcastle were keeping their heads, nobody really knew what was going on between Cardiff Blues and Glasgow Warriors thanks to both teams wearing remarkably similar kits. Commentating on the game, Martyn Williams tweeted out;center_img Most difficult game I’ve ever had to commentate on! What was with those kits? No idea who was who LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSSkip AdAds by Full-time. What a game. Congratulations to Toulouse. #TOUvLEI pic.twitter.com/PcNjDsgsmY— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) October 21, 2018A week after knocking the ball out of Freddie Burns hands to deny a certain try, Maxime Medard was once again brilliant against the Irish side, picking up two tries, the second of which proving to be the difference. So Cipriani gets a red and Twelvetrees concedes just a penalty. Irrespective of thoughts on the red card (harsh), where is the consistency? #MUNvGLO— Marc Brown (@QuestionMarc85) October 20, 2018Regardless, the decision significantly hindered Gloucester’s chances of winning but the match still provided end to end action throughout.Irish number 10 Joey Carberry looked confident and in total control of the Munster back-line. At the heart of everything, Carberry pulled off this sublime pass which eventually lead to a try that blew the match wide-open. Munster were the eventual winners 36-22 and Carberry was the man of the match. Seeing Red: Danny Cipriani got sent-off for a high tackle against Munster (Getty Images) — Martyn Williams (@martynewilliams) October 21, 2018 Arguably the best match of the weekend though was between Toulouse and Leinster. A game for the neutrals, both European heavyweights slugged it out with the French side narrowly securing the victory. Stay tuned for next weeks Social Media round up. Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.last_img read more

Jason Leonard: “After the autumn, I’m far more confident about England’s chances”

first_imgProp legend Jason Leonard discusses why he’s upbeat about England’s prospects in the Six Nations and World Cup, and explains his new initiative to help underprivileged kids RW: We see the Atlas Foundation has got a trek in India and Nepal coming up (29 March to 3 April). Will you be going on that?JL: “Yes, we’ve got projects in India and are evaluating a couple more. The trekking hike is through the foothills of the Himalayas, so that’s not going to be easy. A number of people have signed up already.“We’ve done an annual trek for the last few years and whilst they’ve been challenging they’ve not been impossible, which again is about having a bit of fun with them as well.“The most important thing is that the money from these treks goes towards helping the kids on the projects we’ve got around the world, that we’ve currently got running or are in the process of looking to fund.Reach out: kids from a township in South Africa, a country benefiting from the Atlas Foundation (Gallo)“At the moment we’ve got about 20 projects in about 15 countries; we’re helping more than 20,000 children worldwide. We’ve got projects all over Africa, in Argentina, the States, the Atlas Israel project is about to start.“We’re also looking at projects for the islanders that are based in Australia. We’ve got other projects that we’re in the process of evaluating and seeing whether we can help them.“It’s great because it’s only a small charity that I founded three and a bit years ago. It’s grown so quickly and the beauty of it is that we’re helping north of 20,000 kids a year now and we want to grow that, hopefully with the Front Row Club at the forefront of that as a fund-raiser. Hopefully pretty soon we’ll be looking at getting close to a million kids.”‘Funbus’ at 50: Leonard’s foundation has helped nearly one million childrenRW: Fantastic work. Finally, will you be in Japan for the whole of the World Cup?JL: “That’s a 64,000-dollar question at this moment! I’d do it one of two ways: go to the first part of the World Cup and then come back for the knockout stages. Or go out for the last pool match and stay out for the rest of the tournament.“I do think England will be there or thereabouts, and that it will be a great World Cup as well. It will be unique and an eye-opener for people who have never been to Japan before.“It’s a fantastic place, so different. Japan will want it to be a huge success because they’ve got the Olympics just around the corner after it. So the world is coming to Japan, whether it be in rugby or the Olympics. They will make it a fantastic showpiece.” For more information on the Front Row Club, click here.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Jason Leonard: “After the autumn, I’m far more confident about England’s chances”His current knee injury permitting, Dylan Hartley could become only the second Englishman to win 100 Test caps during the course of this year’s Six Nations. For now, Jason Leonard remains England’s sole centurion and there could be no finer man to bear that distinction.The legendary prop, named by Sir Ian McGeechan as his “ultimate Lion” because of his selfless devotion to the cause, is a tireless ambassador for charity and recently launched a new initiative as part of his existing philanthropic venture, the Atlas Foundation.He also sits on the boards of the Six Nations and British & Irish Lions, and chairs the Six Nations age-grade rugby.Leonard, 50, played in four World Cups during his 114-cap career, so as Japan 2019 heaves into view, we got his thoughts on England and his latest project ahead of the Six Nations…Plenty of admirers: Leonard meets fans on Manly Beach during the 2003 Rugby World Cup (Getty Images)RW: When you were a player, did the Five/Six Nations Championship that preceded each World Cup have a different feel to it?JL: “The difference is you’re aware that momentum is key going into a Rugby World Cup. And when I say momentum, that’s not just winning games, it’s about developing your game.“That England squad in 2003 won a Grand Slam just prior to the summer tour and the World Cup, which gave us that momentum going forward. I think you’re aware of that.“But I remember talking to John Eales, the Australia captain, about World Cups, about how many games you have to win and the preparation. At the time, New Zealand couldn’t win a World Cup when they were winning every game in-between.“And John Eales said something that has always stuck with me: ‘You don’t have to be the best team in the world for four years to win a World Cup, you just have to be the best team in the world for four weeks.’ And he’s got a point. You just need to hit a rich vein of form.“So sometimes your games prior to a World Cup are not as important as you think. When someone like John Eales says something like that, you can see the common sense in it.”History makers: the England team line up at Pennyhill Park ahead of departure to RWC 2003 (Getty)RW: How are England placed right now?JL: “Having watched the autumn games, I’m far happier now. With all the injuries that happened, we thought it wasn’t the best preparation but we’ve uncovered a couple of players that were on the periphery of England selection. And now you look at them and think, ‘I’ll tell you what, he’s really put his hand up there’.“Look at the Newcastle back-rower, Mark Wilson. He was flagged up a couple of years ago, on the Argentina tour, then you never saw much of him really. But he was pivotal to everything England did in the autumn. He got Man of the Match against South Africa, he’s been on fire.“You’ve also got key players coming back. Billy, Mako (the Vunipola brothers), those guys are in the set-up. And again, you’ve always got to factor in injuries; someone is always going to be injured at some point and it’s about how you deal with that.“After seeing England’s showings in the autumn, I’m far more confident going forward about their chances in this tournament and hopefully progressing in the World Cup later this year.”“Pivotal”: Newcastle back-row Mark Wilson was voted England’s Man of the Series last autumn (Getty)RW: You’ve mentioned Mark Wilson. Anyone else you think has grasped an opportunity they might not have expected to get?JL: “The Exeter props (Ben Moon, Alex Hepburn, Harry Williams), they all had a great nod. The front row looks a competitive place, selection wise.“Kyle Sinckler, even though we’ve known about him for a couple of years, had an outstanding autumn and we want to see him progress and improve in this Six Nations. He could be the cornerstone of the England pack for years to come.“Pretty much across the board, we looked there or thereabouts and it’s just about carrying on in that vein.Big future: Leonard believes Kyle Sinckler can become the cornerstone of England’s pack (Getty Images)“It’s not going to be easy; the betting money will be on Ireland, and I’m pretty sure they will be trying to get rid of the favourites’ tag. But when you’ve just beaten New Zealand, you can’t run away from it. And gone are the days where if Ireland lose one player, their game falls to pieces. They’ve got strength in depth now.“The same could be said of Wales and England. So you’ve got those three sides that will fancy their chances to be in the mix at the end of the Six Nations.“Scotland, under Gregor Townsend, have also developed; they’re playing a type of rugby that is more true, more akin to the Scottish style, and they’re going to be a threat to any side.“If teams don’t take them seriously then Scotland can beat any of those top three sides on their day. I think it’s going to be a great Six Nations.” RW: You recently launched the Front Row Club. What is that?JL: “A few years ago I started a charity called the Atlas Foundation, which helps some of the poorest kids in some of the poorest areas of the world. We have a number of events and treks and fund-raisers; golf, cycle rides, all sorts of things.“You’re trying to think of something that some of the other charities don’t do, and it was kicked around to create a (virtual) club that will involve rugby and be a forum for people to have a voice, and can be taken as seriously as they want, or not seriously. It could be a bit of mickey-taking, a bit of banter. But to have access to that.Global perspective: children at a school rugby tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (World Rugby/Getty)“I said that in an ideal world I’d rather spend more time drinking at the bar with front-rowers. Obviously I was joking but it was borne out of that. If we create this members club, you start with front-rowers but open it up to other people.“And again, to be part of that club, you can post your thoughts, your messages, or have a bit of banter with other people on there, maybe a serious discussion about the game and where it’s going. You can put yourself forward for prizes, go into draws and stuff like that. It’s just a light-hearted touch in that aspect for not much money (£10) but the money that gets raised goes to the Atlas Foundation to help these kids.”RW: We see you had a challenge to down iced tea…JL: “Yes, and it’s not as easy as you think. Iced tea is terrible! The more ice you’ve got in it, the more of a challenge it is.“I’ve got to say I’ve been looking at a couple of the videos and I can’t see many ice cubes! I think I might have to start inspecting a few of the iced teas myself. Mine was at least half full of ice and at one point I nearly choked on a bit of ice as well!“You nominate five people and hopefully they’ll sign up as well and do their challenge and then nominate five more people. It’s just a bit of fun and interaction to get people involved and hopefully create some traction for the Front Row Club.”[Watch Simon Shaw taking on the Iced Tea Challenge below.] Bright outlook: Jason Leonard is optimistic about a year that will feature new fund-raising challenges LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

Rugby Legends Receive Honours From The Queen

first_img Twitter reacts to England cleaning the changing room at the Principality Stadium England to train with Georgia during Six Nations Bill Beaumont and Willie John McBride received their honours from the Queen yesterday. Expand “In 1971 we were the first team to beat New Zealand in a series and in 1974 we were the first team to beat South Africa in a series. I had a great bunch of men with me.” Irish rugby legend Willie John McBride was also named in the honours list, receiving a CBE which comes 47 years after he collected his MBE (Member of the British Empire).A legend of the British and Irish Lions, McBride went on five tours as a player including series wins over Australia (1966), New Zealand (1971), and South Africa (1974). He captained the side on numerous occasions and would later be a manager to the Lions for their 1983 tour of New Zealand.Additionally McBride also captained the Ireland national side many times.Afterwards McBride said: “The Queen gave me an MBE 47 years ago and it is just brilliant to be back again.“I thought they had forgotten me. This was out of the blue so I am absolutely thrilled. Expand Rugby World Cup Player Watch In this piece we take a look at… Rugby Legends Receive Honours From The QueenRugby legends Bill Beaumont and Willie John McBride received honours from the Queen yesterday, with the former collecting a knighthood and the latter a CBE (Commander of the British Empire). Both of which were awarded for services to rugby union.Beaumont, who played 34 times for England, captained the national side 21 times and then went on to captain the British and Irish Lions. He has also served as the Rugby Football Union (RFU) Chairman and got elected as World Rugby Chairman back in 2016.“This is a special day for me, my family and rugby,” said Beaumont.“I am humbled and honoured to have received this accolade, but for me, I have always viewed my work in the sport as a passion and a vocation, doing the very best that I can for everyone involved in the sport from grassroots clubs to the elite game. The knighthood is as much recognition for everyone who gives their all to this great sport as it is me.”The 66-year-old joins several other rugby knights – Sir Clive Woodward, Sir Ian McGeechan and Sir Gareth Edwards to name but a few.center_img Twitter reacts to England cleaning the changing room at the Principality Stadium Collapse LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS A hard fought and competitive match but, as… The Georgians will take part in a training… England to train with Georgia during Six Nations Rugby World Cup Player Watch Don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest rugby news.last_img read more