Pat on back: Shane Williams consoles Jamie Heaslip2. POOR HANDS Ireland’s back-line dropped too much ball and were unable to string a good sequence of passes together, stifling Ireland’s attack and often enabling Wales to gain possession. Their nine handling errors to Wales’ three really cost Ireland.3. KICKING SMARTBoth teams opted for the high ball on several occasions – Wales’ first one being caught by Jamie Robets and setting up the opening try for Shane Williams. As well as the up-and-under, however, Rhys Priestland kicked the corners well and kept Ireland pinned back, allowing Wales to close out the win.4. DIRECT APPROACHJamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies ran straight at the Irish midfield and consistently got Wales over the gain-line, putting them on the front foot and allowing them to get their dangerous wide men involved.Top finish: Mike Phillips flies over the line for a key Wales try5. DEFENCE, DEFENCE, DEFENCE LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Red chums: Wales celebrate their quarter-final victory over IrelandBy Sarah Mockford, Rugby World Features Editor in WellingtonALL WEEK people in Wellington have been talking about how tight this quarter-final would be, how it was a 50-50 match, and that’s exactly how it turned out.The scoreline might show Wales as the dominant side but it was far from a one-sided encounter. Ireland put pressure on the men in red, particularly in the first half, but Wales were undoubtedly the better side with the better game plan and that saw them home.THE KEY REASONS BEHIND WALES WIN1. BACK-ROW DOMINANCESean O’Brien’s ability as a ball-carrier has been a standout factor of this World Cup, but Wales closed him down incredibly well, often putting two defenders on him. He was unable to get up his usual head of steam and that took the momentum from Ireland’s game and they had no Plan B to get over the gain-line. Ireland had their chances to score and had long periods camped on the Welsh line, but the men in red held firm and didn’t allow them to cross the line. Shane Williams even held Sean O’Brien up over the line such was the team’s commitment, and they focused on taking players out around the legs so that they couldn’t offload as easily while Ireland’s choke tackle, such a success in previous games, didn’t reap its usual rewards.So Wales are through to their first semi-final in 24 years – have they got the game to go all the way to the final?
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Backs: Anthony Allen (Leicester), Chris Ashton (Northampton), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown, Danny Care (both Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Toby Flood (Leicester), Ben Foden (Northampton), Alex Goode (Saracens), Charlie Hodgson (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (London Irish), George Lowe, Ugo Monye (both Harlequins), David Strettle (Saracens), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester), Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins) , Christian Wade (Wasps), Ben Youngs (Leicester).South Africa tour fixtures:Sat 9 June South Africa v England (Durban)Weds 13 June SA Barbarains South v England (Kimberley)Sat 16 June South Africa v England (Johannesburg) Move: Centre-turned-hooker Tom YoungsEngland squad for South Africa tour:Forwards: Mouritz Botha (Saracens), Dan Cole (Leicester), Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Paul Doran-Jones, Phil Dowson (both Northampton), Carl Fearns (Bath), Joe Gray (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), James Haskell (Highlanders), Tom Johnson (Exeter), Graham Kitchener (Leicester), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Lee Mears (Bath), Ben Morgan (Scarlets), Matt Mullan (Worcester), Tom Palmer (Stade Francais), Geoff Parling (Leicester), Chris Robshaw (capt), George Robson (both Harlequins), Matt Stevens (Saracens), Thomas Waldrom, Tom Youngs (both Leicester). NOT FOR FEATURED Redemption: Danny Care has been picked in the England squad for the first time this yearSTUART LANCASTER has included 13 uncapped players in his 42-man England squad to tour South Africa in June.Harlequins back-rower Chris Robshaw will again captain England on the five-match tour, which includes three Tests against the Springboks.The 13 uncapped players in the squad include Wasps lock Joe Launchbury and wing Christian Wade, London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph and Leicester hooker Tom Youngs, the brother of scrum-half Ben and a former centre.Lancaster has lost the likes of Courtney Lawes, Tom Croft, Charlie Sharples and Tom Wood to injury, but he has recalled James Haskell, who is currently playing Super Rugby for the Highlanders, and Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care, who was suspended from the Six Nations squad for disciplinary reasons.“There is a real excitement about this squad,” said Lancaster, who will call up additional players for the Barbarians game on Sunday 27 May. “We have a massive challenge ahead of us but it is one that everybody involved is looking forward to.” Tues 19 June SA Barbarians North (Potchefstroom)Sat 23 June South Africa v England (Port Elizabeth)
BAGSHOT, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 15: Prop Dan Cole looks on during the England training session at Pennyhill Park on November 15, 2012 in Bagshot, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images) Visser is strong and tall, with a frightening drive of the legs through a tackle. Ashton has a hunter-gatherer instinct stronger than Neanderthal Man. Both will ask questions of each others defences, but both are confident and – and dare we say it – selfish enough to attack the other at every given opportunity.The forwards’ tussling will decide the shape of the game but perhaps for a fleeting moment, when either man gets the ball, the crowd will rise to their feet. Perhaps Gatland included. These two are both dripping with elegance and class. Halfpenny has been one of the European game’s constants so far this season, with his ability to kick from the tee complementing his smooth running, line-breaks, and bravery in defence, which saw him helped from the field twice in the last 12 months, after making last-ditch tackles.Airborne, Kearney is almost baletic when taking the high-ball, but he has a rougher edge and is famed for his rapier-like line-breaks. Will the elegance of Kearney trump the guile of Halfpenny? We shall soon find out.Dan Cole v Ryan GrantReady for a battle: Dan Cole will have to best in-form GrantAlthough more fancied than the Queen-in-waiting’s sister, Dan Cole has to prove his credential this Six Nations if he is to bat back away competition for the Lions’ No 3 jersey, from 2009’s incumbent Adam Jones. This means he has to scrummage with eye-watering force this Saturday.He comes up against Ryan Grant on the Twickenham turf. Grant has quickly risen to prominence for Scotland and although few in Europe know who he is at present, the loose head is now considered a sure starter and team leader by the Scottish management.This is not a straightforward ask for either man at the set piece. Both are workaholics in the loose and both post impressive tackling and scavenging statistics, but it is after that, at the set-piece, that they come under most scrutiny. This will be an intense examination.Chris Ashton v Tim VisserThe Ash Splash versus the Flying Dutchman, it sounds like the kind of movie you catch on the Sci-Fi Channel at 3:00am, but the England right-wing meeting the Scots’ left-wing at pace will be a fascinating battle of wills. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Getting to grips: Lion O’Driscoll grabs an ankle while Jamie Heaslip wraps up his opposite man, Toby FaletauBy Alan DymockWHEN SATURDAY comes the Six Nations will throw up an interesting anomaly. In one day we will get to see several fit and firing candidates for the British and Irish Lions tour, facing off, with the gloves off.It could be argued that a strong performance this weekend could propel a player to the forefront of Warren Gatland’s mind, like an Iranian astro-monkey fired into the stratosphere.Win a Six Nations individual match up, and one of these players could be that lucky cosmonaut.Worth a punt: Leigh HalfpennyToby Faletau v Jamie HeaslipThe Welshman at the back of the scrum will collide with many people’s Lions captain elect, Jamie Heaslip, this Saturday.Faletau has been digging and grinding with the Newport Gwent Dragons, turning in brave performances against Welsh rivals and nobly hustling for the sake of his struggling province. Now he gets a run on a lush paddock, with thoroughbred support and a baying crowd at his back.This clash is one fraught with uncertainties. Faletau can skittle men over with ease and gallop like a thoroughbred, but it could be Heaslip’s all-round, classy game could catch Gatland’s discerning eye.Often these match-ups come down to who stands out more, rather than who is doing the dirty business. Opening day at the Millennium Stadium is a place you want to stand out.Leigh Halfpenny v Rob Kearney
Fresh face: Laurent Magnaval has joined Biarritz from Racing. Photo: Getty ImagesAnd let’s not forget Biarritz. Unlike their Basque neighbours, Biarritz have kept the bulk of their squad, and made a couple of useful signings in Bertrand Guiry, the former Bordeaux flanker, and Laurent Magnaval, the young scrum-half who arrives from Racing 92.One of Blanco’s last acts before resigning from the club he’d presided over since 2008 was to assure players and staff that Biarritz were financially secure for the upcoming season. The players certainly seemed satisfied when they reported for the start of pre-season training on Monday, even being able to boast of a new jersey to mark what they hope is a new and more prosperous era. Bayonne’s supporters have been bullish in declaring that their boys will bounce back up to the Top 14 in 12 months’ time but their optimism may be misplaced. Despite the departures (16 in total) only one player of note has so far arrived – Julien Jané, a France Sevens winger – and they’re now in a league that grows ever more competitive.Lyon, also relegated last season, have recruited heavily in recent weeks, counting among the new faces the vastly experienced French internationals Julien Bonnaire and David Attoub, as well as former Bath flanker Carl Fearns and ex-Clermont winger Napolioni Nalaga. With Pierre Mignoni brought in from Toulon to replace Olivier Azam as coach, Lyon will start the season as league favourites.Then there’s Mont-de-Marsan, beaten by Agen in the thrilling ProD2 play-off, and also Perpignan, who are regaining their confidence after a harrowing few seasons. Among their new recruits are prop Kisi Pulu from Toulouse and ex-Montpellier backs Enzo Selponi and Yohann Artru. In the end pride triumphed over pragmatism and the Basque Super Club was binned. Thrown out with the concept were Serge Blanco and Manu Mérin, presidents respectively of Biarritz and Bayonne, the two clubs that for the past few weeks have been wrestling with the idea of a merger.Blanco resigned at the start of last week when he failed to win a two-thirds majority of supporters in favour of a Super Club at a Biarritz’ general meeting. But in an indication of just how shambolic this whole episode has been, it emerged that there had been what the local paper Sud Ouest described as “irregularities” in the voting procedure. So on 30 June, one week after the initial vote, there was a re-run and this time of the 382 ballot papers, a remarkable 309 (81%) voted for a fusion.But it counted for nothing because in Bayonne 78% of the amateur section voted against the idea – and there were no irregularities in their ballot. Aware that there were ‘manoeuvrings’ against him, Mérin resigned after just 18 months in the job and he was replaced by Francis Salagoïty, who had filled the same post from 1999 to 2001.Salagoïty had little time in which to reacquaint himself with the job. On Tuesday he had an audience with the DNACG, the financial gendarme of professional rugby, to explain how he intends to finance the club bearing in mind that Bayonne’s losses are €700,000 and their envisaged budget deficit is €1.9m. He passed that test and so now Salagoïty must turn his attention to on-field matters ahead of the new season that starts on 22 August.Over and out: Scott Spedding has left Bayonne for Clermont. Photo: Getty ImagesBayonne were relegated on the last day of the Top 14’s regular season and they’ve been shipping players ever since. Ten of the squad who played in the final match of the season have moved on, including France full-back Scott Spedding (Clermont), promising No 8 Charles Ollivon (Toulon) and wing Marvin O’Connor (Montpellier). The controversial proposal to create a Basque Super Club by merging Biarritz and Bayonne is now off the table LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Non, non, non: Bayonne fans protest against the proposed merger with Biarritz. Photo: Getty Images
The Top 14 isn’t quite the global draw it was a couple of seasons ago but despite the emergence of the Aviva Premiership as a serious rival in the galactico stakes, the French championship boasts not just some of the world’s top talent but an increasing number of gifted home-grown youngsters. With the new season kicking off on Saturday week, we’ve picked out ten players to keep tabs on between now and the final on 4 June 2017…Tee time: Toulon will want Leigh Halfpenny to be on target with his boot. Photo: Getty Images 1. Leigh Halfpenny, ToulonLast season was a nightmare for the Welshman. The knee injury sustained in the World Cup warm-up against Italy wrote off most of the season for Halfpenny. He returned in June, kicking 28 points in the semi-final and final of the Top 14, but Halfpenny will want to put 2015-16 behind him. So too, Toulon, who sorely missed the accuracy of the full-back’s boot and finished the regular season with a kicking success rate of barely 70%.Halfpenny started last Friday’s friendly against Stade Francais, slotting a couple of conversions, before hobbling off on the hour mark. A knock to the shin was the official explanation with Toulon quick to reassure their fans that it was nothing serious.He’s back! Toulouse wing Yoann Huget is returning from a season-long injury lay-off. Photo: Getty Images 2. Yoann Huget, ToulouseThe Toulouse winger tore the cruciate ligament in his right knee in France’s World Cup opener against Italy, a cruel blow for a player in prime form last year. The 29-year-old Huget finally made his return in Friday’s warm-up win against Racing 92 and he even had the thrill of marking his comeback with a try in a 35-21 defeat of the Top 14 champions. With Vincent Clerc and Clement Poitrenaud no longer with Toulouse, Huget’s experience – as well as his eye for the line – will be more valuable than ever in their back-line.Well played: Grenoble’s Loick Jammes (centre) is congratulated after scoring a try. Photo: Getty Images 3. Loick Jammes, GrenobleGrenoble coach Bernard Jackman knows a thing or two about hooking, having worn the No 2 jersey for Leinster and Ireland, and the fact he gave Jammes his debut last season shows the potential of the 21-year-old. He rewarded his coach’s faith with a string of eye-catching performances in the loose and scored two tries last week in Grenoble’s friendly against Agen. Still learning his trade in the set-piece, Jammes was one of three Grenoble players named in France’s 30-man development squad in July.Making strides: Judicael Cancoriet on the break for France U20. Photo: Getty Images 4. Judicaël Cancoriet, Clermont AuvergneSigned by Clermont on a three-year deal in the summer of 2015, the Parisian flanker first played the game with the Sarcelles club in one of the tough districts of the French capital. His development has continued apace in the Auvergne and the 20-year-old, who stands 6ft 4in and weighs 16st, is cherished by Clermont coach Franck Azema.Describing Cancoriet as “probably the most promising flanker in French rugby”, Azema gave Cancoriet five games in last season’s Top 14 and his performance in the victory at Bordeaux earned him a place in Midi Olympique’s XV of the Week.Settling in: François Trinh-Duc trains with his new team-mates at Toulon. Photo: Getty Images5. Francois Trinh-Duc, ToulonFor so long the darling of Montpellier, the 29-year-old fly-half left the club in the summer and moved up the Mediterranean coast to Toulon as a replacement for Frédéric Michalak. The pair have much in common other than their position and strong media profiles; both have talent but throughout their careers have failed to find the consistency at the top level.Too often in the high-pressure games, Trinh-Duc’s temperament has let him down and his move to Toulon will make him or break him. If he learns from the likes of Giteau, Nonu, Habana and Mitchell, then he could finally mature into the fly-half France so desperately need.Moving around: Alipate Ratini played a few games for La Rochelle last season. Photo: Getty Images 6. Alipate Ratini, Stade FrancaisIt took the Fijian winger just nine minutes to score his first try for his new club, touching down for the Parisians in last Friday’s friendly defeat by Toulon. Club and player will hope it marks the start of a new chapter in the turbulent life of the 25-year-old. His talent isn’t in question: during the 2014-15 season he scored ten tries in 15 Top 14 appearances for Grenoble. The new Top 14 season kicks off in a little over a week and we’ve picked out the ten players to look out for over the coming campaign Off the pitch, however, Ratini’s behaviour eventually led Grenoble to terminate his contract in June 2015. Simon Raiwalui, the former Fiji lock and now Stade forwards coach, came to Ratini’s rescue and for six weeks took him under his wing. In offering Ratini a contract, club president Thomas Savare admitted it was “a gamble” but one Stade believe will pay off.Highly rated: Fabien Sanconnie on the attack for Brive against Racing. Photo: Getty Images 7. Fabien Sanconnie, BriveHad it not been for a fierce tackle by Grenoble’s Nigel Hunt last March, Sanconnie may well have been selected for France’s summer tour to Argentina. As it was the 21-year-old Brive loose forward spent the summer recovering from a fractured elbow, but few in France doubt that it will be long before he’s wearing the blue of the senior national side.Since making his senior debut for Brive two years ago against Gloucester in the Challenge Cup, the 6ft 4in Sanconnie has fine tuned his game for France U20 under the expert eye of coach Olivier Magne. He was a great presence in the French back row of the late 1990s and Sanconnie is tipped to follow in Magne’s footsteps.Good pedigree: Arthur Iturria is a former France U20 player. Photo: Getty Images 8. Arthur Iturria, Clermont AuvergneNamed this summer in the FFR’s development squad, the 22-year-old Iturria was overshadowed last season by the emergence of team-mate Paul Jedrasiak. A year younger than his fellow second-row, the 6ft 4in and 17st 7lb Iturria shares the same dynamic athleticism as Jedrasiak.Last season he made one start and ten appearances from the bench for Clermont, but with Jamie Cudmore gone and Jedrasiak and Sébastien Vahaamahina likely to be away for long stretches on international duty, this could be Iturria’s breakthrough season.Kicking on: Ireland international Ian Madigan has swapped Leinster for Bordeaux. Photo: Getty Images 9. Ian Madigan, BordeauxIrish eyes will be on the former Leinster fly-half this season as he looks to relaunch his career at Bordeaux. Madigan, who won his 30th cap against South Africa in June, was warned by the IRFU that moving to France would leave him at a “disadvantage” when it came to national selection but he’s gone all the same.In an interview with L’Equipe last month he explained why he’s signed a two-year deal: “I’m 27 now and I believe that this opportunity arrives at the ideal time for me, and that my best years are to come and will be with Bordeaux. The club’s is going to see the best of me.”Madigan has prepared well for his new challenge, undergoing an intensive language course, and working with a backs coach like Emile Ntamack will surely give the Irishman a valuable insight into French threequarter play.Multi-talented: Leone Nakawara is currently at the Rio Olympics with Fiji Sevens. Photo: Getty Images 10. Leone Nakarawa, Racing 92The loss of two locks as high class as Luke Charteris (Bath) and Juandré Kruger (Toulon) would, in normal circumstances, have been a heavy blow for Racing 92. But the Top 14 champions can console themselves with the imminent arrival of Fiji second-row Leone Nakarawa, who’ll be in Paris just as soon as he’s finished rampaging around Rio in the Olympic Sevens. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS A supremely gifted footballer, as adept at offloading as he is at pilfering ball at the breakdown, Nakarawa nonetheless doesn’t neglect the bread-and-butter of second-row play and for that reason Gregor Townsend was spot on when he said of Nakarawa that “there is no other lock in the world like him”. Glasgow’s loss is Racing’s gain and Midi Olympique recently bracketed him in the same class as Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Folau.For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here.
So far, it’s all been entirely predicable. The Lions have been written off from Invercargill in the South, to Auckland in the North. They’ve been castigated by local media as being a ‘disgrace to the jersey’ and showing ‘unimaginable levels of mediocrity’ after the Provincial Barbarians game and rubbished as a ‘clunky touring team’ after Ihaia West’s scything line late-on against the Blues. True, they were always going to get savaged by a parochial New Zealand media, but hold on, are we judging the Lions squad too harshly, barely a week into the tour?The outing in Whangerei was always a lose-lose situation. Win convincingly and they hump a team of second-rate journeymen, win unconvincingly and the fur flies at their gross ineptitude.Tour find: Ben Te’o will want to back up his strong showing against the Provincial BarbariansLack of preparation timeThe major caveat to that loss was they were barely 72hrs off the plane after an arduous long-haul flight – and jet-lag respects no man, not even Lions – and while they were admittedly poor; lacking the basics with far too many stars off-colour, Warren Gatland still saw performances to offer him succour under fire, with Ben Te’o offering glimpses of reprising Jamie Roberts’ 2009 and 2013 role, Kyle Sinckler auditioning for the John Bentley tour bolter role and Taulupe Faletau showing the mongrel that everyone except Zinzan Brooke can see.Set-piece strengthDon’t forget, with every passing day, bonds are formed, unities strengthened and the first half-hour against the Blues, they showed sustained periods of cohesion as they bedded in combinations and started to build an understanding. Up front, Jack McGrath and Dan Cole tag-teamed with Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler to put the squeeze on Charlie Faumuina and co. The point is, it wasn’t all bad. Maro Itoje, while not perfect – he gave away a few penalties – played with a verve and energy that brought plaudits from both sides, while Courtney Lawes showed our strength-in-depth at lock and Rhys Webb offered enough to suggest Conor Murray’s Test place was no foregone conclusion.Set-piece dominance: The Lions pack has been a positiveI for one, thought that Itoje’s exuberance in celebrating a scrum penalty was a positive sign. It pointed to a togetherness and common bond starting to bind the tourists. At the final whistle, the look of disappointment on the player’s faces pointed to a resolve that the tourists would not simply roll over at any point during this tour.FOR THE LATEST SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS, CLICK HEREAs the Lions cavalcade rolled into Canterbury, there have been yet more warnings of humiliation from New Zealand’s premier Super Rugby franchise under the charismatic Scott Robertson and Gatland has, wisely, picked a 23 that to commentators looks like its five or six players shy of a Test 23 for June 25.Big stage: George North showed up well in broken play against the All BlacksCall the cavalryIn further mitigation, the Lions haven’t yet given game-time to a quartet of players the All Blacks respect; George North, who carried (Israel Folau aside), for nearly 500m in Australia in 2013, and made six line-breaks in the first Test against the All Blacks last summer; Sean O’Brien, who word has it, is one player for whom Steve Hansen’s squad revere for his raw power; Conor Murray, who orchestrated a never-to-be-forgotten win over the All Blacks in Chicago and Owen Farrell, who is widely-respected as having the mental fortitude and composure to shepherd the Lions in times of duress is getting his first start at 10. Throw in the in-form Jonathan Davies, All Black swatter-in-chief Tadhg Furlong and Itoje off the bench, and you have the heaviest of Lions artillery.All Black injury concernsWhatever the outcome of tomorrow morning’s fixture against a side that has won 14 games on the spin, the Lions cannot lose focus, or heart. For all the luxury enjoyed in each position, the All Blacks can only field 23 players, and with injury concerns over Dane Coles, Kieran Read and Jerome Kaino, who will be ring-rusty at best, it would be folly to dismiss the Lions so easily. TAGS: Highlight The Lions have been pilloried for two under-par performances and they’re unfancied against the Crusaders, but don’t write them off…yet LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Stand together: The Lions must keep on building ahead of the Tests Big miss: Dane Coles’ loss to concussion would come as a major blow to the All BlacksThe Lions knew they’d be in for the toughest of ride of their lives, but in sport, nothing is a sure thing. Forget the naysayers who have written them off. They still have a puncher’s chance of wiping the smiles off the expectant Kiwi fans faces. Manage that, and everything that has gone before, will be an inconsequential footnote.Crusaders v British & Irish Lions, Saturday 10 June, 7.35pm (8.35am UK & Ireland), AMI Stadium, live on Sky Sports and TalkSportCrusaders: Israel Dagg; Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, David Havili, George Bridge; Richie Mo’unga, Bryn Hall; Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Sam Whitelock (capt), Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua.Replacements: Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett, Michael Alaalatoa, Quinten Strange, Jed Brown, Mitchell Drummond, Mitchell Hunt, Tim Bateman.Lions: Stuart Hogg; George North, Jonathan Davies, Ben Te’o, Liam Williams; Owen Farrell, Conor Murray; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Tadhg Furlong, George Kruis, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, Taulupe Faletau.Replacements: Ken Owens, Jack McGrath, Dan Cole, Maro Itoje, CJ Stander, Rhys Webb, Johnny Sexton, Anthony Watson.
Western Force Returns After Super Rugby AxingBillionaire mining businessman Andrew Forrest, has announced the Western Force will return in a series of seven invitational matches known as World Series Rugby.After being axed from Super Rugby there was concern the club would not get any significant competition before the National Rugby Championship (NRC) starts later on this year.The NRC is the third-tier competition in Australia, where the Western Force will replace Perth Spirit.So to get prepared, the Force will play in seven matches including contests against international sides like Fiji and Samoa, along with bouts against Super Rugby sides, the Crusaders and Melbourne Rebels.“We have rebuilt the Western Force as we develop our tournament and we now have a wholly integrated community and high-performance club as the foundation of the future competition,” Forrest said.“We have serious ambitions for this great team and for rugby in our region and intend to see these ambitions through, starting today with the launch of World Series Rugby.”Announcement: Andrew Forrest announces the new Series (Getty Images)Western Force legend Matt Hodgson had this to say on the new World Series: “This series offers a strong future for rugby in Western Australia. The Western Force are a quality outfit that have attracted interest from some of the best teams in our region.“These matches are going to be fast and exciting and will offer a new experience for rugby fans in WA and across the Asia Pacific region.”Jacque Fourie ReturnsOf course, due to the axing, the Force lost some notable players to Super Rugby sides. For example Wallaby Adam Coleman has switched to become the captain of the Melbourne Rebels. Force: The Force returns in 2018, with Jacque Fourie named in the squad (Getty Images) The Western Force, removed from Super Rugby before this season, will return in a series of invitational matches, known as World Series Rugby. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Aj Alatimu, Chris Alcock, Marcel Brache, Masivesi Dakuwaqa, Rod Davies, Andrew Deegan, Tevin Ferris, Jaque Fourie, Josh Furno, Peter Grant, Chris Heiberg, Rodney Iona, Feleti Kaitu’u, Brad Lacey, Kieran Longbottom, Ryan Louwrens, Cameron Orr, Harrison Orr, Leon Power, Ian Prior, Harry Scoble, Tom Sheminant, Brynard Stander, Elliot Turner, Clay Uyen, Fergus Lee WarnerDon’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook, and Twitter. The Western Force announced their squad alongside the fixture list, and there are some interesting additions. Chief among which is the return of 72-cap Springbok Jacque Fourie.Coming back from retirement, Fourie will give unquestionable experience and know-how to a team that desperately needs it.Return: Fourie will come back from retirement to play for the Force (Getty Images)Some other notable inclusions are Italy international Josh Furno, ex-Saracens player Kieran Longbottom, and Olympic Golf medalist Masivesi ‘Ro’ Dakuwaqa – who after winning Sevens gold with Fiji in the 2016 Rio Olympics, tried his hands at league with Canberra Raiders.Additionally, Peter Grant returns to the squad after a distinguished career with the Stormers.“The squad has an important spread of youth and experience and we are delighted that the players have committed to the club,” new Force coach Tim Sampson said.“The players have joined from many different clubs throughout Australia and internationally, so it is fantastic that we have players like Ian Prior, Peter Grant and Marcel Brache and others who have been with the Western Force previously.”The Force kick-off World Series Rugby against Fiji on May 4 with their final game coming on August 17 against a team yet to be announced. The games against the Rebels and Crusaders will be played in June while Super Rugby pauses for the Test window.Full Squad
Which just leaves the rugby.“I think there’s a massive variation between all the teams,” Savage says of Top Rugby, pointing out that a South African head coach, a Kiwi head coach and a Japanese head coach may set up teams differently, while the foreign stars involved can shape things too. Kobelco Steelers, for example, are worth looking at with their Wayne Smith and Dan Carter-led group. But there’s more.“If you look historically you might be able to say that’s the team with the big scrum while another team might like to sling it wide. But because a lot of the style of play is based on Super Rugby, it’s that little bit quicker. And the guys here are fit. We did fitness testing on Monday and the yo-yo scores for some of the forwards were outstanding, considering it was day one of pre-season. Whether it was the bronco test or the yo-yo, the level of fitness and professionalism is through the roof.Related: Jacques Nienaber’s journey from physio to Springboks defence coach“The work ethic is awesome and the game’s a little quicker, and each team may have a unique style, but rugby is rugby at the end of the day, everybody kind of copies each other these days with forward pods and how you play out the back of that. So it’s how you execute it.“Rugby has been big here for a long time – it’s bigger than people probably realise. But Japan doing really well at the World Cup probably helps that. You hear talk that Sunwolves have one year left in Super Rugby, but they might come back in. Are they bringing in a new professional league over the next couple of years or will Top Rugby stay as it is? Well there’s massive companies involved and the talent pool is pretty big; the quality of players is really good.“You’ve got a lot of guys here now who have experienced rugby at international level, Sunwolves level or have played week in, week out against some of the guys coming over from other countries. So I can only see it going up and up and up.”Which is glowing praise. When the season finally kicks off, Sungoliath will be coached by former Georgia boss Milton Haig, while Samu Kerevi comes in to join fellow Wallaby caps Matt Giteau and Sean McMahon. They have some big talents from the southern hemisphere.Big name: Dan Carter kicking for Kobelco Steelers (Getty Images)So does Savage think more names from Europe should try and experience the elite game in Japan?“Actually yeah,” he says. “I think it’s just an opportunity that doesn’t necessarily present itself to people, maybe because of timings.“It was quite a unique situation for me, almost one of these sliding door moments, that had the season structure with the World Cup not changed it might not have ever fitted. That and the timing of being out (injured) within a Premiership season, and my contract and things like that.“But everyone’s main fear is probably of the unknown. I’ve been very, very fortunate with the team I’ve ended up at, with a rich history of being successful.”His is the rare move. But it is always reassuring to know that there are players – families even – willing to shoot for that life experience. Maybe others will start following their trail. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Now with Suntory Sungoliath, the former Gloucester stalwart is following an exciting new path Carrying hard: Savage in action for Suntory Sungoliath (Aki Nagao) Meet Tom Savage, the Englishman taking on Japan’s Top LeagueFor talented young players in Europe, the path to making it in this game is pretty well signposted. From school and junior clubs to academies and usually pro sides in just three major leagues, so many athletes thunder along it. On very few occasions do you see that route meander into Japan’s Top League.Yet here sits former Gloucester skipper Tom Savage, in a cafe in Tokyo’s Harajuku area with his wife Lauren, trying to explain how he came to join Suntory Sungoliath.“I had a lot of sleepless nights to be honest,” Savage says of the decision to continue his career in Japan. The 30-year-old lock made 142 Premiership appearances in cherry and white from the 2011-12 season, before signing a two-year deal and heading East in the summer. Now deep into pre-season and excited about the prospect of getting torn in for one of the most storied clubs in the league, it is an interesting time.He goes on: “It wasn’t something I ever really anticipated being an option, because of how few English players have done it. The foreign contingent who are over here are mainly Super Rugby players and I think the Japanese mainly watch Super Rugby, with the time zones and things like that. I think they base their game around that a lot more.“It was one of those things where negotiations were going on as normal with Gloucester (ahead of his contract running out), as they have in any previous year. Probably the only reason I wasn’t signed up early, as normally happens, was because I did my MCL in the first pre-season game. And then that meant I just wanted to wait until new players came in and I was fit and could see where I fit in, in the pecking order. And in the meantime, I got this call from my agent saying we’ve had some interest from over in Japan. We weren’t even sure which club it was.”Giving it all for the cause: Tom Savage during his time with Gloucester (Getty Images)It turned out that his agents had an office in Australia that worked closely with Japanese clubs, one being Suntory. His highlights package and his CV – with its incredible number of front-line Premiership and European appearances – came across their desk. They wanted to know what would lure him over.Lauren admits that even visiting Japan “was never on my bucket list” while Savage fully believed he would see out his career at Gloucester. Yet in the ultra-physical world of elite rugby, which is now set in a global marketplace, pictures can change.After the Savages decided to bide time, an offer piqued their interests and they began the task of researching, finding out more about a land that can be as perplexing as it is wondrous. The lock would have long chats with Billy Twelvetrees during morning dog walks, bouncing ideas off him. After Willi Heinz sussed what was happening after spying open browsers on Savage’s phone, on a bus trip, he offered help.It transpired that Heinz’s brother-in-law is centre Tim Bateman, who has extensive knowledge of playing in Japan and could offer advice over email. As things began clicking into place and the move was on, Bateman put Savage in touch with Joe Wheeler and Kosei Ono, who could both talk in detail about the Tokyo club.Related: The Great Migration – a special investigationAt the end of the Premiership season, Savage headed over on his own. The Rugby World Cup has meant that that the Top League had to contort itself, with the main season not kicking off until January. But they had a ‘cup’ competition running for a few summer months. The second-row got stuck in.Of this Savage exclaims: “Some people were moaning about the heat of the Rugby World Cup, but at times when I was playing over here in June and July, it was 40°C and my phone was saying it felt like 48!”The lock then went back to Gloucestershire to spend a few months with Lauren, before they headed back to Tokyo together. Which is a bigger move than you think, considering that Lauren is expecting. The couple will spend Christmas in Japan and are well set-up for the baby to come while there.Heavy traffic: In a ‘cup’ game for Suntory (Aki Nagao)“There’s no pain relief at the hospital I’m at, at all, not even gas and air,” laughs Lauren, before the pair explain that they have English-speaking medics and that they will be going for a water birth option, too. They are delighted with their choices and with the baby due just days before the Top League season kicks off in earnest, they look forward to having the family together for this adventure.Slowly, they are making a home. Many of the players live in the same complex and they regularly ride share – Savage believes young back-rower Tevita Tatafu, who he has given lifts to, has a bright future in the game. The club, they say, have been incredibly accommodating too, with families regularly interacting and team assistant Ayumi Shiratori going above and beyond, helping them with translation, with understand bills and with finding their bearings. Keep track of events in Japan via our Rugby World Cup homepage.Follow Rugby World magazine on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Roaring comeback: Scotland celebrate a try at Twickenham, 2019 (Getty Images) Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The latest issue of Rugby World magazine – a Six Nations special – is in shops now. But it is the up-front battle that will come into keen focus for Scotland. In the absence of Stuart McInally and Fraser Brown, George Turner gets the spot in the hooker position and Matt Fagerson is in at No 8. Off the bench, can Gary Graham and returning Richie Gray offer some oomph?Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson will always be nightmares at the breakdown. But will streetsmarts beat England’s undeniable might?What have the coaches said?England coach Eddie Jones said: “You listen to the Scottish and how much it means to them: it’s their biggest game of the year, their most important game, they are playing for trophies.“That’s a huge expectation for them and maybe, with 15 minutes to go in the game, the expectation is going to get pretty heavy for them.”Scotland boss Gregor Townsend said: “It’s always a pleasure to welcome a new player into our squad and we are looking forward to Cam Redpath winning his first cap on Saturday. We have been really impressed with Cam’s contributions in the time he has been with us in camp.” For Scotland, Cameron Redpath is thrown straight in. Son of former Scotland captain Bryan, he forms a centre partnership with Chris Harris. There are weapons all around too, with Russell hoping to orchestrate, and Duhan van der Merwe and skipper Stuart Hogg in the back three.Sean Maitland also starts on the wing, possibly to offer an defensive and kick-fielding safety net. All the teams news, battle areas and TV details you need for the Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Any interesting statistics?This rivalry goes back 150 years.It has been 38 years since Scotland have won at Twickenham.Eddie Jones was 23 when Scotland last won at Twickenham.After the birth of Cameron, Bryan Redpath played England three times… And lost them all.The odds of a draw here in 39/1.Egland have beaten Scotland 76 times in their history. Scotland have won 43.What time does it kick off and is it on TV?England v Scotland, Saturday 6 February, TwickenhamThis Test kicks off at 4.45pm on Saturday afternoon. It is live on ITV in the UK and Virgin Media One in Ireland. Commentary will also be live on BBC Radio 5 live and RTE.Andrew Brace of Ireland will oversee the Calcutta Cup clash. He will be assisted by Mathieu Raynal and Pascale Gauzere (France) and Federico Anselmi (Argentina), with James Leckie (Australia) as TMO.What are the line-ups?England: Elliot Daly; Anthony Watson, Henry Slade, Ollie Lawrence, Jonny May; Owen Farrell (captain), Ben Youngs; Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Will Stuart, Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill, Mark Wilson, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola.Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Beno Obano, Harry Williams, Courtney Lawes, Ben Earl, Dan Robson, George Ford, Max Malins.Scotland: Stuart Hogg (captain); Sean Maitland, Chris Harris, Cameron Redpath, Duhan van der Merwe; Finn Russell, Ali Price; Rory Sutherland, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Matt Fagerson.Replacements: David Cherry, Oli Kebble, WP Nel, Richie Gray, Gary Graham, Scott Steele, Jaco van der Walt, Huw Jones. Six Nations England v Scotland PreviewOn 5 March 1983, Billie Jean by Michael Jackson crested at the top of the UK single charts. On the same day, Scotland rugby were ‘the one’ – beating England at Twickenham, 22-12.That was the last time the Scots triumphed in London. An era when hits were played on a Walkman, a try was worth four points, double denim was cool, and England finished rock bottom of the Five Nations table. Today some things are very different; some things same-same.With rugby in 2021, headbands are back in, but crowds are not. So let’s cling to what we are safe in knowing.Related: Tales of the Calcutta CupEngland are reigning Six Nations champions. They are the holders of the Calcutta Cup, having won a soggy and stodgy affair in Edinburgh last time out, and are a menacing force when they get going. They have a slew of injuries to recognised stars, particularly in the pack, but still have plenty of firepower.Finn Russell returns to Twickenham – the man credited with masterminding that crazy comeback in the 38-38 draw in 2019. Centres Cameron Redpath and Ollie Lawrence are friends from when they were England U20 team-mates, but now face off in Six Nations debuts. This is also the 150th anniversary of this fixture, so to mark the occasion, Scotland will have the corresponding name from the 1871 team embroidered on the players’ shirts. England will wear their own retro shirts. That first-ever match between these rivals ended in a draw. The last match between these two at Twickenham was a draw, too. Neither team will want that result, but let’s hope it has all the same excitement – and not a downbeat repeat of England’s sodden win at Murrayfield last year.What’s the big team news?Powerpack Lawrence made his England debut in the autumn, but gets his first Six Nations start. The move to pair him in the centres with Henry Slade is seen as a lovely balancing act, with Owen Farrell in the ten shirt and George Ford on the bench. That midfield grouping is an exciting one.England have injuries and absences to contend with in the pack, with Mako Vunipola hurt, Kyle Sinckler suspended, Joe Marler opting out, and Sam Underhill and Joe Launchbury also injured. So Ellis Genge and Will Stuart start, with Beno Obano in line for a debut off the bench. Jonny Hill partners Maro Itoje in the boilerhouse and Mark Wilson starts in the back-row – Courtney Lawes is a good back-five option off the bench. And there is plenty of excitement about Max Malins entering the fray.
Rector Smithfield, NC Submit an Event Listing Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Director of Music Morristown, NJ Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Submit a Press Release Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Comments are closed. Youth Minister Lorton, VA Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Rector Knoxville, TN Program Budget & Finance New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET General Convention, Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Rector Pittsburgh, PA Curate Diocese of Nebraska Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Rector Belleville, IL Charles Smith says: Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs General Convention 2012, Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Rector Washington, DC Tags By Mary Frances SchjonbergPosted Jul 8, 2012 Featured Jobs & Calls Comments (1) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector Albany, NY Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Rector Hopkinsville, KY This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Press Release Service Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Rector Collierville, TN Rector Tampa, FL Program, Budget and Finance holds last hearing Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Associate Rector Columbus, GA Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Rector Bath, NC Submit a Job Listing Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Rector Martinsville, VA Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Rector Shreveport, LA Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Deputy Bessie Titus of Alaska signs up to testify July 7 at the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance’s spending hearing. Committee legislative aide the Rev. Patty Downing is at left. ENS photo/Mary Frances Schjonberg[Episcopal News Service – Indianapolis] The Episcopal Church’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance held its last hearing – one on spending – on the evening of July 7.The committee, which is now two days away from the deadline for it to propose a budget for the church’s 2013-2015 triennium, heard from many of a long line of witnesses that snaked down the hallway of the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. PB&F extended the hearing for a half hour in order to hear from more people.What the members heard were requests that they include money for the program or ministry that each witness advocated. Those requests ranged from pleas for funding of what one witness called “life-saving work” to what another said was a “measly” amount of money to update the e-mail system at the church center in New York.Deputy Dave Bailly, of North Dakota, told the committee that the money the church has given his diocese in the past “saves lives every day” by enabling the church to form partnerships and reach out to impoverished Indians.The line of people wanting to testify snaked down the hallway of the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. PBB&F extended the hearing for a half hour in order to hear from more people. Here, Rebecca Wilson, center, and Rebecca Duggan, an Episcopal Service Corps member, go over her testimony as they wait. ENS photo/Mary Frances SchjonbergBailly called North Dakota a “state of contrasts” with unemployment close to two percent in the portions of the state in the midst of a boom in oil production and between 70 to 80 percent on the state’s Indian reservations.“The poverty there is abject; it is unbelievable,” he said. “The problems with our youth are amazing — teen suicides are at record high levels”“We reaching out to hundreds and hundreds of youth, and we’re helping them to look forward to a future,” Bailly added. “These are programs that are high impact.The church’s triennial budget aids four Indian Country dioceses including Alaska, Navajoland Area Mission and North and South Dakota.The three counties with the nation’s highest poverty rate, and four of the top 10, are in western South Dakota, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics reported here. Ziebach County in the Cheyenne Reservation is first at 50.1 percent. Todd County in the Rosebud Reservation and Shannon County in the Pine Ridge Reservation are ranked second and third.The Rev. Steven Pankey, Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast deputy, asked PB&F to allot the “measly $50,000” needed to update the church center’s e-mail system, which currently runs on a Windows 2003 platform.Before the testimony began, Diocese of Maine Bishop Steve Lane, who is PB&F’s vice chair, told the crowd that “PB&F has been listening hard not only at this convention, but long before this convention and we think we are well aware of the resolutions making their way through the two houses.”“In building the budget, we are very mindful of the needs and concerns of the church and we are considering things in the budget even before the resolutions are passed,” he said, adding that the committee believes that “a number of resolutions will still be in the pipeline” when the committee has to present a budget to convention.“This is the nature of our system – this kind of parallel development between resolutions and the budget-building process,” he said. “This is the way it always is, but we’re two days shorter this time around so we are endeavoring to do our best to hear you to include as much as we can. We just want to say that we recognize that the legislative process in the houses will not be complete before we must submit a budget.”The committee is scheduled to present its proposed budget at 2:15 p.m. July 10 to a joint session of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies in the deputies’ hall. Lane has said that because the budget document must be to the printer by 3:00 p.m. local time July 9 at the latest, the committee will have its 2013-2015 proposed budget finished by noon that day.A vote in each house is set for July 12, the last day of convention. The budget takes effect Jan. 1, 2013.— The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service. July 8, 2012 at 9:46 pm Interesting in an age where many if not most small to midsized orgs have outsourced their email and server systems, ECUSA is still maintaining an outdated system and at least some want to pour more money into it. Featured Events