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Job done: Owen Franks’ assessment of New Zealand’s RWC win

first_img Franks is now one of New Zealand’s double World Cup winners, having started all seven matches when they won the Webb Ellis Cup in 2011, and featured in six out of seven this time (coming off the bench just once).The tighthead prop agreed with skipper Richie McCaw when he said their 2015 win had a different flavour from the ultra-fizzy 2011 vintage. “It’s a huge relief. All the work we have put in over the last four years and the goals we have set, we have achieved them,” Franks said after the final victory at Twickenham.“A lot of hard work goes into winning a World Cup – it’s a long time away from your family and it’s tough to win. Winning all those games throughout the four years would have counted for nothing if we had lost today, but we won and put the icing on the cake.”Hard work: Franks (right) tackles Drew Mitchell during the World Cup final. (Photo: Getty Images)Franks said the All Blacks are particularly satisfied to have lifted the Webb Elis Cup away from home soil, after winning it in New Zealand in 1987 and 2011. “People expected us to win in New Zealand but to win it in Europe for us hasn’t been done. And no one has ever done it back to back before. It makes you feel pretty proud. It’s no secret it was our goal to win two World Cups back to back and be one of the greatest teams.”The level of expectation was so high in the New Zealand camp that while some leading nations were battling for their lives during the pool stages, Franks said the tournament didn’t “come alive” for him until the knockout phase.“During the pool play you were just waiting for the real stuff to get going. The last three weeks has been massive. I am pretty glad it’s over.”It might seem surprising to hear Franks admit that, but he is just being brutally honest about his England 2015 experience. “They put on a great tournament. As far as enjoying it, I don’t know if I enjoyed it, as a lot of pressure and hard work goes into winning it. I am just glad we got the job done. Relief and satisfaction were the overwhelming emotions coursing through Owen Franks’ substantial frame after Saturday’s World Cup final win over Australia. Band of brothers: Owen Franks (back, right) with the victorious All Blacks. (Photo: Getty Images) Changing times: Franks (back, middle) with some of the stars who are stepping down. (Getty Images)“There were moments during this week when we had a chance to let our hair down and forget about the game a bit. We got a day off during each week and you could do what you wanted on those days, but we got together as a team twice a week and went out for dinner.”His older brother Ben was with him in the All Blacks squad and his wife and seven-month-old son, his parents-in-law, his dad and his wife’s granddad were all at Twickenham to make the final a real family affair. The Franks clan must have been on the edge of their seats when Australia fought back from 21-3 down after 42 minutes to 21-17 down just 20 minutes later, but, from his position on the bench (having been replaced late in the third quarter) Owen was confident his team-mates weren’t about to buckle under pressure, like in the past.“I was a bit nervous but I knew those were the situations we train for. We train ourselves to stay calm and not panic and I knew we would get the job done,” Franks says.With the World Cup final over and the celebrations just beginning, the tighthead was confident an enjoyable party awaited, as well as a big welcome home from the rugby public in New Zealand. Franks is hoping to add to his 78 caps during 2016, in what will be a new-look All Blacks side following the Test retirements of McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu and the like. He doesn’t feel ready just yet to put into words how it feels to have played alongside such all-time greats for the last six years.“When you are retiring and you look back on the players you played with, you will be pretty glad you got to rub shoulders with them and play a lot of Test matches with them. It’s pretty cool,” he says. “We are a team that doesn’t get ahead of ourselves. We train really hard and put a lot of pressure on each other to perform and to have fun while we’re doing it.center_img LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS “There’s always a young star coming through and, as great as these guys are, someone will come through and fill their shoes.”For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here.last_img read more

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Analysis: Clifford, Kvesic, Robshaw and Wallace state England cases

first_img Tearaway: Jack Clifford breaks at Twickenham as Matt Kvesic tries to hunt him down Chris Robshaw, Matt Kvesic, Jack Clifford and Luke Wallace featured in a frenetic 39-39 draw between Harlequins and Gloucester on Sunday, each offering a glimpse into their Test credentials. Diving off his feet, Kvesic threatens the ball. Though illegal, this sucks Brown and Care into the breakdown:Kvesic then rolls over the ruck. While holding his hands out, protesting innocence and pretending to be doing his best to get out of the way, he knows this is adding to the chaos and making it more difficult for Harlequins to maintain continuity:Sure enough, Dave Ward steps in at scrum-half and rushes a pass. As the ball breaks loose, Henry Trinder bounds away to score:All in all, Kvesic was excellent. Equally though, Robshaw appeared intent on retaining a spot in England’s side.Chris RobshawStuart Lancaster often championed Robshaw’s insatiable work ethic and this match, his last of an eventful 2015, provided more evidence of such hunger. There are better scavengers, but few can match him for industry. Wearing six, Robshaw filled his afternoon with subtle but clever contributions.Early on, with Gloucester looking to bully Harlequins via their driving lineout, there was this example. First, the Cherry and Whites establish their maul shape:Gloucester truck over the 22 ominously and look to have a big chance as the maul splinters. A section of their forwards wheels off to the right and there is a gap to attack.However, Robshaw is alert. He arcs back around……and tackles Kvesic just as he burrows ahead:Follow Robshaw through the clip as a whole:Jones will doubtlessly want his pack to be adept handlers. Robshaw is a very good passer and offers a great deal in that regard.Here though, as Care snipes from the base of a ruck, some different attacking instincts are on display. Watch how Robshaw steps in at scrum-half:Shrugging off a fringe defender, he makes five metres on a punchy carry and narrows the Harlequins’ tack. A handful of phases later, Care barged over the line.Next, we look at Robshaw’s breakdown skills – beginning from this scrum:The Harlequins back row outworks that of Gloucester. Robshaw, bound to the blindside flank of the set piece, does not figure for two phases. First, Charlie Sharples takes it up:Clifford challenges, but drops to the floor under pressure from Kvesic:Gloucester come around the corner and are once more stopped in their tracks. This time, Easter competes:Wales international Ross Moriarty deals with the threat, which is when we see Robshaw come into view:He has crossed almost the full width of the field and gets his reward when Gloucester run out of support. Sione Kalamafoni is met by Evans and Lowe before Robshaw clasps on:His strength and technique over the ball has been improving for a few seasons now, and he was never going to be shifted by Cook:Lastly, we come to piece of play that epitomises Robshaw. With the score at 39-39 in the dying seconds of a high-tempo, hugely energy-sapping tie, this happened:Fittingly, Robshaw’s role is not immediately obvious. But it is pivotal to creating one final chance for Harlequins to win the game.As Evans strikes the ball over Sharples and towards the corner flag, Robshaw is a long way away from the play – and in an offside position:Even so, he charges off in pursuit of the ball:While Sharples ambles back, Robshaw arrives in time to cut off a quick lineout. This is significant because Gloucester hooker Richard Hibbard had been yellow-carded minutes previously:Gloucester needed to send on Darren Dawidiuk to feed one lineout after 78 minutes on the touchline as an unused replacement:Harlequins pressurised the throw and stole it:They then set up an attack from which Evans saw a drop-goal sail agonisingly wide. Harlequins had to settle for a draw, but without Robshaw’s awareness and graft to stop the quick throw and force Gloucester to introduce a specialist hooker, they may never have seen another opportunity.Luke WallaceIn just 20 minutes from the bench, Wallace had time to enhance his reputation by demonstrating canny breakdown skills to force this penalty – treading the line between ruck and tackle as Kvesic had done:The ball in now in the court of Jones and new forwards coach Steve Borthwick. Tom Wood, Dave Ewers, James Haskell, Maro Itoje, Will Fraser and Teimana Harrison – not to mention O’Connor – will also push hard for Six Nations involvement in the back row.In this match, despite conceding two rather soft penalties, Kvesic stood out. And England need a breakdown assassin capable of disrupting and derailing attacks consistently.Robshaw shipped one needless infringement but underlined his lineout prowess and non-stop graft. Some may knock his pace, but the contributions keep coming right until the final whistle. Ten 10 tries and 78 points punctuated a harum-scarum encounter at Twickenham on Sunday, but Eddie Jones will have remained rather detached from the excitement.Rather than revelling in a truly intoxicating game between Harlequins and Gloucester, one of his main priorities was surely monitoring a quartet aiming to wear six or seven for England during the upcoming Six Nations.Here is a run-down of how those four flankers fared.Jack CliffordBack in 2013, Clifford captained England Under 20 to their maiden Junior World Championship triumph. Bristling with fast-twitch athleticism, he was phenomenal from No 8. During the 33-21 semi-final defeat of New Zealand, Clifford overshadowed the awesome Ardie Savea.A short spell under Simon Amor in the England Sevens set-up two seasons ago showcased his raw pace and, selected at openside last weekend, Clifford brought muscle to the tight exchanges. However, his carrying will have really pleased Jones. The 22 year-old shrugged off five would-be tacklers in four runs. An eye-catching break was the highlight:This comes a couple of phases after Harlequins secure a Gloucester restart. Having dragged Gloucester close to the right touchline, they organise their phase-play structure and head back to the left.Nick Easter receives a pass from Nick Evans and in turn finds George Lowe in a secondary wave. Before that happens though, look at Clifford. His head is up, identifying two tight-five forwards in the defensive line:Cutting back against the Gloucester drift, he speeds through Thrush’s challenge and into the open:It is an explosive effort, but the cool decision-making and contact skills that come next are even better. Picking up as he steps past a covering opponent, we can appreciate how Clifford does his utmost to ensure that possession is recycled:First, he pumps his legs through the tackle of Billy Twelvetrees. This allows Clifford to stay on his feet for as long as possible, thus giving his support crucial milliseconds to catch up as the dangerous Matt Kvesic circles:Next, when he is finally brought down, Clifford rolls along the floor. The ball becomes a moving target for Kvesic, who scrambles to latch on. He misses at the first attempt……and only grabs hold as Chris Robshaw (demonstrating the tirelessness that we will expand on later) and Lowe arrive……to execute the clear-out:A cute Danny Care grubber-kick bought Harlequins to within five metres of the Gloucester line and Marland Yarde scored soon afterwards.The try was forged directly from Clifford’s searing run, but Gloucester’s number seven weighed in with a couple of pivotal interventions as well.Matt KvesicAnother age-group skipper, Kvesic made his Test debut for England in June 2013. Two all-action displays in Argentina seem like ancient history now. That said, the ex-Worcester man chose a perfect stage to reinforce his stature as one of the very best breakdown operators in the Aviva Premiership.This exhibition comes from a slick Harlequins lineout. Robshaw takes at the tail and Evans can get his backline going:Kvesic bides his time as the ball is shipped wide. He does not bite onto decoy runners, instead tracking across from this initial position:Tim Visser eventually receives the ball following a nice flick-pass from Mike Brown:From here, it is all about Kvesic. He makes a robust tackle on Visser, who is supported by Clifford:Clifford is over the ball quickly:But because Clifford is not bound to a Gloucester player, no ruck has been formed. As the laws of rugby union state, a ruck requires one protagonist from either team:Around 15 minutes earlier, James Horwill had been penalised for this:The key difference is that Horwill stoops to pick up the ball after a ruck has been formed by the contest between Joe Marler and two Gloucester players. In the case of Kvesic’s steal, Kvesic is the only Gloucester player near to the tackle area.As such, despite the protestations of Care, Kvesic is not restricted by an offside line. Rather than circling around the back foot, he can simply stand up and compete for the ball (circled in white):Referee Wayne Barnes, who has an excellent view, signals that Kvesic is the first Gloucester player at the breakdown and therefore entirely legal. Amid the attentions of Brown, he shovels the ball back towards his teammates:Twelvetrees could collect and put away James Hook for a try:By way of an explanation to Harlequins, Barnes said that Kvesic’s turnover “looked ugly, but was completely correct.” Certainly, this sort of pilfer is rather rare in northern hemisphere rugby:Brendon O’Connor, Leicester Tigers’ new signing from the Blues who qualifies to represent England, regularly challenges referees’ interpretation of the ruck laws. Jones will be delighted to see another Premiership openside doing the same – even if this sort of turnover is to be illegal under new laws to trialled in New Zealand‘s National Provincial Championship next year.Kvesic thwarted Harlequins on numerous occasions. Here, he effectively deadlifts Evans to win a penalty for holding on:As well as opportunism and knowledge of the laws, old-fashioned hard work was another pillar of Kvesic’s performance. Through bloody-minded willingness to scramble back, he helped manufacture Gloucester’s third try. Initially, he shackles Care:As this screenshot shows, Kvesic drags the scrum-half back at full stretch:Seconds later, Lowe continued a fractured, frenetic passage by bursting through. Track Kvesic:He curves around as full-back Rob Cook fells Lowe:center_img LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Clifford boasts raw talent and could thrive at international level. Wallace should not be discounted either. Fascinating selection decisions await.Many thanks to BT Sport and Premiership Rugby for the match footage.last_img read more

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Wales: Five things we learnt v France

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: Highlight All smiles: Wales celebrate George North’s try against France. Photo: Getty Images The wonder of winning ugly, Mr Consistent Taulupe Faletau and areas for Wales to address A simple tweak to the scrums could revolutionise rugbyScrum resets are the dry rot of rugby, particularly at a time when the northern hemisphere has an image problem with regards creativity in open play. These resets are eating into the foundations of what makes the game great.A mess? The Wales-France game featured a lot of time used up at scrums. Photo: Getty ImagesPeople are paying £80 to watch 1,800kg of meat lining up to exacting standards that you would usually associate with structural engineering, but simply stopping the clock during resets could have a radical impact on rugby. Not only would it increase the amount of time that the ball is in play, but it could also increase the amount of tries that are scored in Tests. The more the ball is in play, the more tired players become.It is no coincidence that the last quarter of modern Test matches are more entertaining than the first quarter. Tired players miss tackles, hit less rucks and are slower to chase kicks – all of which leads to space, and space leads to tries. Stop the clock for scrum resets and watch the tries start to stack up.Lydiate needs to change his techniqueDan Lydiate has a problem on his hands. To be more specific he has a problem on his arms – he isn’t using them in the tackle and it is becoming a genuine issue. For most players the new refereeing focus on players using their arms on low tackles wouldn’t be such a problem. But it is exacerbated in the case of Lydiate in that the low tackle is the foundation on which he has built his career. Winning ugly is a good thingWinning when you’re playing well is easy. Running in two or three tries when you’ve made 20 line breaks, beaten 20 defenders and executed 20 effective offloads is a cinch. Winning when you don’t play very well is far more difficult – and that is exactly what Wales accomplished against France when they secured a victory by 19-10. Welsh rugby finds itself in a luxurious position in this Six Nations, the national team comfortably able beat a Tier One nation whilst playing ugly.Wales had just 23% of the possession and 24% of the territory in the second half. They also had a tackle completion of just 86% – some way below the level that Shaun Edwards usually expects. Dan Lydiate’s pass behind Taulupe Faletau’s shoulder blew a rare four-man overlap and George North scored a try with the sort of ball control that you would usually associate with hungover 40-year-olds playing Sunday league football.Pass master: Gareth Davies was named Man of the Match against France. Photo: Getty ImagesThis isn’t to say that Wales didn’t excel at any aspects of the game; they did. They turned their own ball over just eight times in 80 minutes, had another hugely positive completion rate at the lineout (100%) and kicked 83% of their shots at goal. Liam Williams excelled in the air and Gareth Davies delivered another fine display from scrum-half, with the second highest total metres carried (59) and defenders beaten (six) for both teams. But despite a largely aesthetically displeasing performance, Wales didn’t look like losing to France for even a second. Never underestimate the beauty of winning ugly.Faletau is almost too good for his own goodTaulupe Faletau is one of those players who performs at such a consistently high level that he rarely makes the headlines. He seldom wins Man of Match awards and, like Alun Wyn Jones, his performances are seen as a given. The rugby media as a whole tends to focus on substantial swings and changes in output and effectiveness. Playing freakishly well or freakishly badly fuels the tweets and headlines – not consistent effectiveness.Star man: Taulupe Faletau offloads against France on Friday night. Photo: Getty ImagesHowever, Faletau doesn’t fall into either of those categories. He is very good in every game. He has only missed two tackles in 240 minutes of rugby in this year’s championship. Against France he’d made 15 tackles after just 55 minutes. Perhaps Faletau needs to deliberately have a stinker, so that the week after Welsh rugby appreciates how lucky they are to have him.Liam Williams was near perfectHigh jump: Liam Williams claims a high ball. Photo: Getty ImagesConsidering how little rugby Liam Williams has played this season, his performance against France was remarkable. Whilst his defence was, as ever, watertight (four tackles made, none missed) it was his work in the air that was so impressive. Williams’s ability to sprint, jump with a leading leg and defuse a ‘bomb’, without taking his eye off the ball, is incredible – there are species of owls that are less effective in the air than Williams. The one aspect of his game that we haven’t really witnessed since his return is his ability to hit the line in the 13 channel, but that is hardly his fault when Jonathan Davies is currently kicking as much ball away as he runs. Against France, Davies used his left peg seven times, ran the ball seven times and passed just once – that’s a big kicking number when you consider that the starting outside-centres for the other Six Nations teams booted the ball twice between them. There’s plenty more to come from Williams. In the spotlight: Dan Lydiate’s tackle technique has been debated. Photo: Getty ImagesLydiate, much like Dennis Rodman’s ‘rebounding’ in the NBA, has focused on one aspect of a multi-skilled sporting discipline and excelled at it. If possible Lydiate has made the situation even worse after his tackle in the 33rd minute against France where even the Venus de Milo would have made more of an effort to use a bit of arm. It’s a serious issue for Lydiate and needs addressing. A change in focus from referees can have a huge impact on a player’s career. When rugby changed its scrummaging protocols, it had a negative effect on the careers of hugely successful props – Adam Jones being one. Lydiate needs to be careful.For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here.last_img read more

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Why South Africa needs Allister Coetzee

first_imgIn the third-place match, Meyer gave Ruan Pienaar 77 minutes and brought on Rudy Paige, the mixed-race scrum-half, for the last three minutes. This for a match that doesn’t matter too much and in which South Africa led 16-0 at half-time. Three minutes! It was seen as a real insult by the black fraternity, a humiliation, as if to say, ‘I have such little confidence in you’. That was insensitive and really accelerated Meyer’s demise.Had he picked Paige and South Africa had lost the game, he would still have got more credit with the public than he did by winning the game.So South Africa needs Allister Coetzee. He understands the need to give non-white players an opportunity but will make players feel they’re selected on merit.The key is positive messages. Take de Jongh, the Stormers centre: he may not have the power of a 115kg Afrikaans player but his tackle count is outstanding and you can’t beat his stats for beating defenders. So you tell him, ‘I’m picking you for your strong points.’Logging in: Bulls scrum-half Rudy Paige should get more opportunity under Coetzee (Gallo Images)The same with Paige. Ruan Pienaar may be a magnificent kicker and tactician used to northern hemisphere conditions, but Paige is quicker to the breakdown and has a quicker pass, and that makes a big difference to back-line attack.If you live in this country you must abide by the laws, with BE (Black Economic) compliancy that requires 50% of management and workers to be non-white. There’s a huge effort being made to get blacks into the economy after 80 years of exclusion.Allister has been asked to have 50% black players in his squad by 2019, a rule that already applies to national junior teams. It’s a target and you won’t get rapped over the fingers if you don’t meet it; there are going to be exceptions, but the government and SARU want to see a genuine willingness to give non-white players the opportunity to play.Some people say the 50% quota will drive white South Africans away to Europe but there are already at least 350 South African players there and it’s not the quota system but money that makes them go. With the rand devalued against the euro, pound and yen, players can earn four times as much in Europe.Allister isn’t going to go 50:50 from the start, that is a 2019 objective. If he gets half-a-dozen non-white players in his starting XV against Ireland he’ll have done incredibly well.But if he doesn’t consistently pick black players he’ll get a call from his employers. It’s a change of mindset that the government and SARU are hoping for.”Leading from the front: Hooker Adriaan Strauss has the honour of leading the new-look team (Getty)South Africa squad for Tests v Ireland on 11 June (Cape Town), 18 June (Johannesburg) and 25 June (Port Elizabeth)Backs: Garth April (Sharks), Ruan Combrinck (Lions), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Lions), Nic Groom (Stormers), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Pat Lambie, Willie le Roux (both Sharks), Lionel Mapoe (Lions), Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), Rudy Paige (Bulls), JP Pietersen (Sharks), Jan Serfontein (Bulls). Forwards: Lood de Jager (Cheetahs), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth (both Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (Bordeaux Begles), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Jaco Kriel (Lions), Francois Louw (Bath), Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi (both Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Scara Ntubeni (both Stormers), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Julian Redelinghuys (Lions), Adriaan Strauss (Bulls, capt), Duane Vermeulen (Toulon), Warren Whiteley (Lions).For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here. New Boks: South Africa players gather at a training session in Stellenbosch this week (AFP/Getty) South Africa are at a crossroads. Not only has Allister Coetzee succeeded Heyneke Meyer as head coach but the remnants of the 2007 World Cup winning team has all but gone, with Leicester signing JP Pietersen the only strand linking that celebrated squad with the 31-strong group preparing to take on Ireland in a three-Test series.The pressure to select non-white players has never been higher as SARU and the government ramp up the transformation agenda that arguably dragged its feet under Meyer. Former Stormers coach Coetzee’s first squad contains 12 non-whites (38%) and that must rise to 50% by the 2019 World Cup or else there will be no official backing for South Africa’s 2023 World Cup bid.The quota system has disconcerted many but here former Springbok coach Nick Mallett explains why he thinks South Africa are going down the right road…“The South Africa coaching job is very different to the rest of the world and that’s why Allister Coetzee faces a unique challenge.In New Zealand a head coach would be charged with making them the best team in the world and winning a World Cup but in South Africa the key performance indicators are not just success on the field but furthering the transformation principles that run throughout business, society, education and sport. The Springbok team needs to be acceptable to the majority of South Africans and that’s something that has slowly developed since 1995.There’s been a lot of frustration with having, say, a couple of black wings and a black prop while the rest of the team is white, and the sports minister (Fikile Mbalula) and the SARU executive have placed a high premium on bringing through non-white players able to perform.Face of change: Allister Coetzee must alter South Africa’s racial mix significantly by 2019 (AFP/Getty)That requirement has intensified now that schools have become properly integrated and talented black players are coming through the system. When I took South Africa at the 1999 World Cup, there were only four black players in Super Rugby, all of them wingers. Now the U19s, U21s and Super Rugby sides are properly integrated and the difficulty of increasing non-white numbers (in the Springboks team) isn’t so stark.Historically, 25 schools in South Africa provide 90% of the Springboks, but the Afrikaans and private schools are now recruiting black players at 13, 14, 15 and the first XVs are integrated. For example, I watched Paul Roos play Grey High, two government schools, and about half the players were black or of mixed race. If you go to a rural school where the facilities aren’t good and there’s no coach, it’s hard to shine but now you might get a scholarship to a private school.Over the last five years there’s been a real move towards finding talent, and Allister has been at the forefront of that in the Western Cape. He recruited players like Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Siya Kolisi, Scarra Ntubeni and Juan de Jongh and the Western Cape has a very integrated support base. When the Stormers (now under Robbie Fleck) played the Lions recently, eight of the XV were non-white.The Stormers, Coetzee’s former team, have been at the forefront of sporting integration (AFP/Getty)Allister has tremendous understanding of South Africa’s sensitivities and I’m very, very positive about his appointment. He hasn’t got the job been because of his colour but because he’s got more experience than the other Super Rugby head coaches. Under him, the Stormers finished as top South African franchise in three of his five years and reached a Super Rugby final and two semi-finals.He’ll encourage a different style of rugby to what we saw under Heyneke Meyer. At the World Cup, we had no attacking strategy beyond a kick chase or big forwards running off the nine. People are tired of that crash-bash rugby and even if they had beaten New Zealand (in the semi-final) something had to change.At the World Cup, we had no attacking strategy beyond a kick chase or big forwards running off the nine. People are tired of that crash-bash rugbyThere was frustration, especially in the black fraternity, that Meyer wouldn’t pick small players, that his style of rugby mitigated against small, fleet-footed, stepping players. Every time there was an injury, the player was replaced by another big Afrikaans player. Meyer wasn’t picking them from a racial point of view but from a size point of view, but we needed more varied attack. Allister understands that you can’t go with an 80kg wing against Julian Savea but you’ve got to expose Savea’s comparative lack of agility.Different era: Nick Mallett at RWC 1999, when there were four black players in Super Rugby (AFP/Getty)A different brand of rugby wouldn’t have won us the game against New Zealand in the wet at Twickenham, but South Africa lack variety and New Zealand’s kicking game was so much better than ours anyway. On a wet and windy day you have to kick but on a nice dry day fans get frustrated seeing South Africa charge the ball up with one-out runners.center_img The new Springbok coach will be under intense scrutiny during this month’s series against Ireland as transformation takes centre stage once more. NICK MALLETT, one of his predecessors in the job, puts his cards on the table… LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

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Opinion: There is too much Test rugby

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS USA trip: Ireland take on Italy in Chicago this weekend (Inpho) Rugby World editor Sarah Mockford explains why she thinks there should be fewer Internationals Opinion: There is too much Test rugbyBrett Gosper stirred the proverbial pot recently, suggesting that rugby’s big unions were playing too many Test matches. This autumn all four home nations are playing Tests outside the official international window – with England v South Africa, Ireland v Italy and Wales v Scotland being staged on Saturday 3 November.Yes, the ‘fourth autumn Test’ can be an important money-maker for unions, a big crowd at the various national stadiums boosting coffers, but it also flies in the face of the continual talk of putting player welfare top of the agenda.Take Ireland v Italy. It’s being played at Soldier Field in Chicago, site of Ireland’s famous win over New Zealand in 2016, and should spark interest in the sport in the USA. But crossing the Atlantic twice in the space of seven days, arriving back in Ireland less than a week before their subsequent Test against Argentina, doesn’t chime with prioritising what’s best for players.Absent stars: South Africa will be without several regulars against England (Getty Images)On top of the physical exertions of these packed Test schedules, there are also the mental pressures. For the Europe-based players, they are going from two weeks of high-intensity Champions Cup rugby to a month of high-intensity Internationals and then back to more high-intensity Champions Cup rugby.Related: Autumn Internationals 2018 FixturesThen there are the Tests themselves. The reason there has been so much hype around the England v New Zealand fixture this November is it’s the first time they have played each other in four years. There’s a rarity value.center_img Ireland v Italy? Wales v Scotland? These teams play each other every year in the Six Nations so another fixture between them doesn’t generate excitement in quite the same way.Plus, the fact they are outside the official Test window means big names are missing from these fixtures as their clubs are under no obligation to release them. No Finn Russell or Greig Laidlaw for Scotland. No Dan Biggar or Liam Williams for Wales. No Faf de Klerk or Willie le Roux for South Africa. No Sergio Parisse for Italy.Rare opponents: Scotland play Georgia home and away next year (Getty Images)Next year’s World Cup warm-ups are similarly familiar, with the same teams playing each other yet again. The Georgia v Scotland fixtures are arguably the most intriguing because they’re different.Test rugby is the pinnacle of the game but the market is at risk of becoming saturated and as such is losing its mystique. We think it’s time for unions to start thinking quality over quantity. As Gosper says: “There’s a growing belief less may be more.”Do you agree? Let us know what you think by emailing [email protected] This article originally appeared in the November 2018 edition of Rugby World.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.last_img read more

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Christian Wade Starts NFL Journey In Florida

first_img Rugby and the NFL: The exchange of ideas… ESPN Writer Claims “USA Would Dominate Rugby If NFL Stars Played” Looking to be a running back or a punt returner on special teams, Wade will be part of the NFL Player Pathway Program in January. The scheme is designed to help competitors from outside the USA try and make it onto an NFL roster.Wade continued with Sky: “I am just trying to figure out where I stand and how I am going to learn all this stuff. But then I just have to remember everything I have done in my career post this time and everything I have left behind as well. And that gives me the motivation to want to get things right, to learn and to figure out what I need to figure out to be successful. ESPN writer Kevin Van Valkenburg has recently claimed… The former Wasps flyer will try and make it into the NFL in the near future. “You can give up because it gets too hard or you can say right let me take a step back and figure this out – keep pushing through.”Don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news in rugby. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Rugby and the NFL: The exchange of ideas between union and American Football Christian Wade Is Swinging For The Fences With… ESPN Writer Claims “USA Would Dominate Rugby If NFL Stars Played”center_img Rugby and the NFL: The exchange of ideas between union and American Football Christian Wade Starts NFL Journey In FloridaA few months after shockingly announcing his departure from Wasps and rugby union, Christian Wade has started his NFL journey recently training in Florida with former Washington Redskins running back, Mike Sellers.As the videos below suggest, he is quickly picking up the ins and outs of the game, but he also admits that he has a long way to go.Wade recently told Sky Sports of his move: “The odds are kind of against me making it into the NFL. It is definitely the biggest challenge and the kind of things I have on my side is my ability to learn.“My physical abilities in terms of my attributes and that I have played ten years professionally in rugby. It has given me some sort of experience of what it means to be a professional. I think they are the things I am riding on.“Everything else I am going to have to learn and put my all into it in order to have some sort of chance to be successful.”As you would expect from a career change, there have been bumps along the way too, to the extent the Englishman has questioned his choice to switch career paths.Wade also said: “To be fair I have had a few of those days. There was a day when out in Florida when we were doing classroom stuff and I was just getting everything wrong. “They were telling me to do all this stuff and I was thinking ‘no, I am pretty sure I learnt this last week and it’s supposed to be like this’.“There have been times when I thought ‘oh what am I doing? This is going to be so hard, I am getting wrong and I thought I had this right’”.Wade will be looking to become the latest in a short list of rugby players who have decided to switch allegiances. For example former Worcester Warrior Christian Scotland-Williamson now trains with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Alex Gray joined the Atlanta Falcons.Rugby league stars Jordan Mailatu and Jarryd Hayne have also attempted to crack the American football scene – the former is currently with the Philadelphia Eagles while the latter spent a season with San Francisco 49ers. Christian Wade Is Swinging For The Fences With NFL Move Christian Wade Is Swinging For The Fences With NFL Move Collapse Expand Expandlast_img read more

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Get to know scrum-half Dan Robson

first_imgDan Robson hopes to win his first England cap this weekend in the Six Nations match against France at Twickenham. We shed some light on the jet-heeled Wasps scrum-half RW: And your speed is improving too?DR: “Yeah, I like to think so. We do a lot of work at Wasps not just with Darren Campbell but with Trystan Bevan, our strength & conditioning coach; every week he’s getting us to do extra speed work. It’s definitely helping.”RW: You scored four tries in a match against Sale (last season). Was that a record for you?DR: “I scored about 12 tries when I was eight in a touch game! But definitely nothing comparable to that game against Sale.”What a haul: Robson scores his fourth try in a Premiership win against Sale Sharks in Sept 2017 (Getty)RW: Have you always been a scrum-half?DR: “No, I was a fly-half until I was about 17, 18. I played all my college stuff at fly-half, all my school stuff, and then when I went to England they told me to have a run-out at nine. Pretty much from then on, U18s England, I moved from ten to nine. I’d like to think they didn’t have anyone else in mind (at ten) but George Ford was there! I’ll play wherever.”RW: Did you play other sports?DR: “I played as many sports as I could really (growing up). Golf, tennis, cricket, rugby, football. Anything and everything.”RW: Which rugby players did you most admire when you were younger? First Dan: Wasps scrum-half Dan Robson has been on the fringe of England selection for five years (Getty) DR: “Matt Dawson, George Gregan, Jonny Wilkinson, Stephen Larkham. That 2003 World Cup final was pretty big for me. Watching those guys battle it out until extra time was big.“Golf wise, I always enjoyed watching Tiger Woods and it’s good to see him back now. Again, like cricket, your Andrew Flintoffs, Kevin Pietersens, the 2005 Ashes series. Those few years really were pretty awesome for sport in England.” Get to know scrum-half Dan RobsonBorn in Stoke-on-Trent, Dan Robson first played rugby for his local club as a five-year-old and later had a season of men’s rugby at Longton. Professionally, he has played for Gloucester, Moseley (on loan) and now Wasps, where he has proved consistently excellent since joining four years ago. He has scored 29 tries in his 135 Premiership appearances.The son of former Moseley and England B scrum-half Simon Robson, Dan has had to be patient when it comes to international honours. He played for England in a non-cap match against the Barbarians back in 2014 and was called into one of Eddie Jones’s early training squads in August 2016.Yet his first England cap eludes him still. An unused replacement in Dublin, Robson, 26, will raise a huge cheer should he run on for his Test debut this weekend against France.Rugby World interviewed Robson for an article published in our June 2018 edition. Here’s an insight into the fleet-footed Wasp…Match prep: Robson, right, with Joe Cokanasiga and Chris Ashton at England training this week (Getty)RW: Is it right that you train with different-sized balls?DR: “Yeah, I still do that. Not just for scrum-halves but any rugby player who wants to improve their skills, it’s just a good drill for hand-eye coordination.“As rugby players sometimes you get a bit fed up of the oval ball, so it’s quite nice to get a tennis ball or a golf ball or whatever it may be in your hands and really test your skills. When you do throw a rugby ball back in, it seems much easier.“We do a lot of it in the warm-ups and stuff before sessions (at Wasps), just getting our focus going and getting our passing sorted.”center_img LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS RW: Do you have any issues with the current game?DR: “The game is flowing quite well. Any new laws take a bit of time to bed in and for people to get used to. So it’s nice to crack on with it and not have so many new laws come in every year and you’ve got to change certain things. So no, it’s pretty good at the minute.”RW: Who lifts the mood at Wasps when it’s needed?DR: “Tom Cruse. He’s pretty energetic and very talkative. He’ll always be that positive figure and get the boys going.”Morale lifter: Tom Cruse is a positive presence at Wasps (CameraSport/Getty)RW: You and your partner Elizabeth have a fashion business, don’t you?DR: “Yeah, we’re just redoing our stock and stuff. We started it a few years ago, bit of a side project and a hobby. We’re both into fashion. We did a bit and it went well.“It’s kind of on the back-burner at the minute but it’s something good that we can go back to. We sell T-shirts, hoodies, caps – pretty much anything. I design stuff. It’s a business we do together and we’ve got a big rebrand coming up.”RW: Is that something you see yourself doing when you stop playing?DR: “Potentially. I haven’t really thought. It was good for us at the time. An opportunity came round and it was good for me to learn a new skill in design and help out with that kind of stuff. It was more about that and not looking too much into the future and when I retire. But in a few years’ time, who knows?RW: What are your favourite sports to watch?DR: “Cricket and golf are my two main ones. If I could have a ticket to any sports event I’d probably choose the Masters.”Golf legend: Tiger Woods plays a tee shot during the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego (Getty)RW: Are you quite a good golfer yourself?DR: “I’m okay, I can get around. There’s quite a few of us here at Wasps that play. It’s good fun. Jimmy (Gopperth) plays quite a lot.”RW: What’s been your favourite holiday? DR: “I went to Croatia in the summer (2017) with Elizabeth, Elliot Daly and his partner. That was definitely up there. It was just a good week with good people, one of those weeks where we had a laugh all the time. It was great fun.”Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.last_img read more

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Fans return to Harlequins as mascots watch from home

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS A splash of colour: Quins will make do without mascots this week (Getty Images) Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They will mingle, they will cajole, trying to drag fans to stalls and attractions, every so often tagging out to get a breather. They are on the pitch before the game and nip in and out, imploring roars when they can. They hope they have a keen sense of the mood of a crowd, and when something needs to be done – anything – they can pull out a drum or play up their character.It is an unusual responsibility, that of the mascot. It’s live action role play meets hype man for a stadium gig. So how do you get into it?“My background’s in theatre and acting but I’m also a massive sports fan, and of rugby,” Brown begins of his way in. “I was sort of between jobs and saw an advert on Quins’ website saying they were looking for mascots. I applied and was called in for an interview.“I was taken up to one of the boxes at the Stoop and I’d taken in these various characters. I was asked to prepare sort of a little gesture for both Harley and Charlie (two of the bears) and do a bit of a biography about what I thought they were like. And then I had to do a couple of minutes of a piece that I prepared, whether it was a talent or something like that.“With that I did this sort of take on the haka, but I’d set it to the song the Mighty Quinn. Now, I had expected the suit to come out and they said, ‘Oh, actually, we’re a bit cramped for space. Can you just do it here without the suit?’ So there I was, in an executive box at Quins, just doing this dance for two people. And it obviously worked!”Related: What would England’s North v South teams be?It was more direct for Sawbridge, who was in college and looking for a peripheral way into part-time work in sport in 2018. With supporting the women’s game a key point for the side, it all clicked into place.Brown details the incredible buzz you can get after a vital win, out there with the players; juxtaposing that with the instants after the game when you peel off the costume and confidently head out towards the crowd who simply have no idea who you are. But for him, the special moments are when it’s deep into the game and there’s a scrum on the 5m line and you get a chant going. Whipping up a once-silent crowd feels special.Fan favourite: Chris Robshaw with Quins supporters, 2019 (Getty Images)Sawbridge adds of theie role: “For the kids it’s the closest they might get to being in contact with a member of the team. Lots of kids desire to get a high-five off Chris Robshaw or meet Danny Care, but it’s not always possible. However, when they meet Harley, Charlie and Emily it’s almost like that step closer to actually get in a picture with a member of the team.“It’s really so nice when you make a kid’s day, or when you get pictures of people and they’re all smiles. That is my sign of a good day, when you made so many people smile, even if it’s not the best circumstances with the game. Yeah, just keeping that positive energy.”Having exclusively Quins-minded fans back may tip the scales against Bath. The bears are certainly hopeful. You have to take your furry head off to them, keeping the energy up from afar.center_img BIG MATCH nerves are not unusual. When Saracens or Exeter come to town, this bunch from Harlequins are used to taking the pitch as flames lick the sky and music blares. They normally have their game faces on… And their paws and their furry legs.This Saturday will be a happy day, but an admittedly odd one for the Harlequins mascots.The Stoop becomes the first ground in the Gallagher Premiership to welcome fans back from Covid exile, as part of a government pilot scheme. Up to 3,500 Quins season ticket members will be allowed in for the match against Bath. It’s a step back towards normality – a very welcome one – and while they are buzzing to see the faithful return in some part, Quins’ sleuth of bears cannot help but daydream about their own return.“The bears will be watching on the sofa with a pint!” says Alistair Brown with a sly smile. The actor, who also does research for quiz shows, first wore the costume of Harley Bear in 2016.“I’ve followed the rugby on TV since it’s been back on. Obviously they’re elite athletes, players and professionals but apart from a couple of games, there hasn’t been that sort of ebb and flow – when a team has got ahead, the others may find it difficult to come back. To bring crowds back in you get the joy of being (part of a) crowd, to be closer to people that are supporting the same team or there’s a lovely friendly rivalry and not support their team.Related: Plans for up to 20,000 fans at England v Barbarians“All we do is hopefully add to that experience of the day. I think everyone’s so ready for sports and being in stadiums and I think that (what we have this weekend) probably will be enough, certainly initially.”Recent sight: Marcus Smith in an empty stadium (Getty Images)Here jumps in Emily Sawbridge – possibly better known to supporters as Emily Bear. A Quins fan since she was nine, she is as excited as anyone to see fans coming back and understands the reasons why the mascots cannot be there, interacting with supporters, yet. But understandably, she is keen to return to the Stoop too.“We’re gonna miss it, not being there,” personal trainer Sawbridge begins. “I definitely have missed it. And as life goes on you still want to keep your schedule open, to carry on doing this role because it is just so much fun – it’s going to be difficult watching it and not seeing us there. People might not know, if people are expecting to see us. Unfortunately, it’s just not time for that.“But I really hope soon that we can go back, even if we can’t be in direct contact, like not high-fiving (fans). It’d still be great just to have the bears there because it shows the support and just represents the club really.”Talking to the pair, you realise how full-on a day in furs can be.Beginning hours before the gates open, they are briefed on what the plan is for the day, which special events are on, what key timings will be. The talent put their heads together to discuss a rough plan. Then 20 minutes before the entrances are flung open, they can be seen hopping around with one leg in, asking for help with a zip, fumbling paws.Life in the costume can be cumbersome. It’s hot. No one can hear you. So your actions have to be deliberate.Bear essentials: Young fans with Emily and Harley (Getty Images)At the very start of her life as a bear, Sawbridge was pulled aside by her manager to be told that placing a coquettish hand on the hip while standing side-on, tilting and flicking the head, was not really in keeping with the character Quins wanted to put out. Their Emily is powerful, she was told, a no-nonsense member of the team. It’s a landmark return for spectators as optimistic mascots look on from afar… For nowlast_img read more

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Rugby’s all-time greatest women’s XV

first_imgWaterman’s sidestepping skills are unparalleled and saw her flummox opponents during a 15-year Test career. She’s equally robust in defence, England coach Simon Middleton calling her “the bravest player I’ve seen on a rugby field”.14 Vanessa Cootes (New Zealand)No men’s team has scored four tries in a Rugby World Cup final; Cootes has achieved that feat single-handedly. She contributed half of New Zealand’s eight tries as they beat the USA 44-12 to be crowned world champions for the first time in 1998.Try machine: Vanessa Cootes evades a tackle during the 1998 final (Getty Images)In all she finished with an incredible tally of 43 tries in 16 Tests, including a record nine against France in 1996.That finishing ability sees her selected ahead of four other eminent wings: Magali Harvey, Patty Jervey, Lydia Thompson and Portia Woodman.13 Emily Scarratt (England)The only current international in our list, Scarratt’s class would shine in any era. She has been a regular in the England set-up – sevens and 15s – since 2008 and only recently turned 30, so will be fundamental to her country’s 2021 World Cup campaign.She scored 16 of England’s 21 points in their RWC 2014 final win over Canada, including the decisive try. Of the reigning World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year, Simon Middleton says: “I look at her skill-set and it’s probably more rounded than any player in the game – male or female.”12 Nathalie Amiel (France) Kiwi Kelly Brazier presented a strong case for the No 12 shirt. But we opted for Amiel, who first took the field for France in 1986 – aged only 15! Her Test career spanned a further 16 years, which included three World Cups and leading France to a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2002.Cap fits: Nathalie Amiel was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2014 (Getty Images)Amiel credits her early years playing against boys for developing her agility, saying: “I learnt how to avoid physical contact with my opponent as I quickly understood that if I came into contact with him, I’d have suffered. I developed my skills, my speed, my stepping.”11 Heather Moyse (Canada)Multi-talented is a good way to describe Moyse. She has represented Canada in rugby, track cycling and bobsleigh, winning two Olympic gold medals in the latter. She’s in this list for her rugby achievements, having been the top try-scorer at both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups (joint with Carla Hohepa in her second event).Her peak performance arguably came in the 2006 semi-final against England. Her willingness to counter from deep created Canada’s first try and her stepping ability enabled her to sit down several defenders as she scored her country’s second in a 20-14 defeat.10 Anna Richards (New Zealand)Karen Almond was ahead of her time when she wore England’s No 10 shirt in the Nineties, but Richards gets the nod at fly-half for the success achieved in her career – and the sheer length of it.She played at international level for two decades, making her New Zealand debut in 1990, and was integral to the Black Ferns’ four successive World Cup wins in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010. She played every minute of all four of those finals – the latter aged 45!As well as the passing skills and vision all great fly-halves have, she was able to keep a calm head in pressure situations.9 Emma Mitchell (England)A founding figure in women’s rugby, Mitchell represented England on more than 50 occasions between 1988 and 2002, and was a 1994 World Cup winner. She also helped to set up the women’s arm at Saracens.Pass master: Emma Mitchell in action at the 1998 World Cup (Getty Images)Accurate service and strong running from the base were her hallmarks, while Stephen Jones wrote in The Sunday Times in 1998: “England women’s rugby is in her debt, beholden to an almost unique ability to be world-class as a player and quietly but devastatingly effective as an ambassador.”Black Ferns No 9 Kendra Cocksedge provided the strongest competition.1 Fiona Coghlan (Ireland)Under Coghlan’s captaincy, Ireland achieved unprecedented success, following up their first-ever Six Nations Grand Slam in 2013 with an historic victory over New Zealand at the 2014 World Cup and a best-ever finish at the global tournament of fourth. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Rugby’s all-time greatest women’s XVComposite teams always provoke debate because selection is subjective. Comparing different eras makes things even more difficult because the game has changed so much over the years.Still Rugby World, in its 60th year, has picked an all-time greatest women’s XV, the best of the best since the first women’s International – Netherlands v France – in 1982.We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the following team…15 Danielle Waterman (England) Many names deserve mention: France’s Jessy Trémoulière, Niamh Briggs of Ireland, Black Fern Victoria Grant, England’s Paula George and Sue Day. Yet it’s another Red Rose who gets the nod. This article originally appeared in the July 2020 edition of Rugby World magazine.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The long-serving loosehead won 85 caps, played in three World Cups and was central to the team’s progress from the mid-2000s to the highs of 2013-14.It’s her leadership that sees her pip the most-capped women’s player in history, Rochelle ‘Rocky’ Clark, who played 137 Tests for England, to the No 1 shirt.2 Farah Palmer (New Zealand)Having led the Black Ferns to three successive World Cup wins, in 1998, 2002 and 2006, Palmer was one of the first names selected in this all-star XV. The fact the national side lost just once while she was captain underlines her influence and impact.Icon: NZ’s national cup competition is now named after Farah Palmer (Getty Images)She played at a time when New Zealand’s Test schedule between World Cups was extremely limited – she won 35 caps in a ten-year career – but she ensured they peaked for the four-yearly showpiece and was one of the first women in World Rugby’s Hall of Fame.Kiwi Fiao’o Fa’amausili and France’s Gaëlle Mignot were also in the mix.3 Jamie Burke (USA)Such is her ball-carrying power and deft handling, Sarah Bern presents an extremely strong case for the tighthead berth. But we felt a bit more experience than her 23 years – and only four of them in the front row – was required.Burke is the most-capped US women’s player, packed down on both sides of the scrum and played in three World Cups. In 2003 she won the Woodley Award, which is given to the top college rugby player in America, and seven years later she was selected in the ‘Dream Team’ at the World Cup thanks to her “impressive work-rate”.4 Tara Flanagan (USA)A former basketballer, Flanagan formed the USA’s “locks from hell” partnership with Tam Breckenridge and helped the USA to lift the first-ever World Cup in 1991 (beating England 19-6) before finishing as runners-up three years later.These days Flanagan is a Superior Court Judge in California and back then she argued for second-rows to be valued members of a team, not simply seen as workhorses.“There is a myth that anyone who plays at lock can’t be an outstanding athlete,” Flanagan told Rugby News in 1992. “That is nonsense.”5 Liza Burgess (Wales)A legend of the game known to most as ‘Bird’. Having got her first taste of rugby at Loughborough University and been coached by Jim Greenwood in the 1980s, she went on to win 87 caps for Wales and captained her country in 62 of them.She played in four World Cups, coached in another two and achieved huge success at club level at Saracens, during which time she also introduced Maggie Alphonsi to the sport. On top of that, last year she became the first woman elected to the WRU board.England’s Jenny ‘TJ’ Sutton was also a strong contender for a berth in the second row.6 Casey Robertson (New Zealand)Robertson’s Test career started in the front row in 2002, but a neck injury saw the New Zealander switch to the loose forwards. She played in four World Cups, winning three, before a back problem forced her to retire.Power game: Casey Robertson breaks against England in 2013 (Getty Images)When picking her ‘Dream Team’ last year, former England centre Claire Allan named Robertson in her back row, saying: “(She) has been running over international No 10s her whole career.”More at home at No 8, we’ve switched her to blindside but she’ll still be able to produce those famed powerful carries.7 Maggie Alphonsi (England)“She reinvented the game in 2010. She changed a lot of perceptions on what female rugby players can do.” Those are the words of ex-England coach Gary Street – and, of course, he’s talking about Alphonsi.Her hard-hitting tackles, breakdown scavenging and relentless work ethic earned her the nickname ‘Maggie the Machine’ at RWC 2010. England lost that final, but Alphonsi became The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year and the first female recipient of the Rugby Union Writers’ Club Pat Marshall Award.Before retiring in 2014, she was able to add a World Cup gold medal to the seven Six Nations titles she had won.8 Gill Burns (England)Stephen Jones recently put Burns in top spot in his list of the most influential women in rugby, describing the former England captain as a “beacon for the sport when the women’s game struggled for credibility”.Gains in Spain: Gill Burns powers forward at the 2002 World Cup in Barcelona (Getty Images)She played in four World Cups, lifting the trophy in 1994, and is an iconic figure in women’s rugby, doing huge amounts off the pitch as well as on it to promote the game. She not only played in the match against Sweden in 1988 – her England debut – but organised it as well!She’s also been president of the RFUW, Waterloo RFC and the Lancashire RFU. A true pioneer.Let us know what you think of our selection and who would make your greatest women’s XV. Email [email protected] or get in touch via our social media channels. Who would make the ultimate female rugby side? We span continents and decades to pick a dream team Kicking on: England centre Emily Scarratt is the only current player in our XV (Getty Images) last_img read more

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Faithful Budget prayer rally welcomes ‘Nuns on the Bus’

first_img Rector Washington, DC Submit an Event Listing Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Curate Diocese of Nebraska Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Submit a Press Release 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 Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Associate Rector Columbus, GA Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Featured Jobs & Calls Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Rector Knoxville, TN Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Ecumenical & Interreligious Faithful Budget prayer rally welcomes ‘Nuns on the Bus’ 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 Director of Music Morristown, NJ Rector Belleville, IL Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Tags Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Rector Tampa, FL Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA center_img Rector Shreveport, LA Youth Minister Lorton, VA Featured Events Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Rector Albany, NY Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Posted Jul 5, 2012 Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ 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 Rector Collierville, TN Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Rector Martinsville, VA Rector Pittsburgh, PA Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET [National Council of Churches] NCC Poverty Initiative Director and former NCC President Rev. Michael Livingston joined religious leaders on Capitol Hill this week for a Faithful Budget Prayer Rally to welcome the “Nuns on the Bus” tour.The prayer rally gathered hundreds of people faith to express moral outrage against the U.S. House of Representatives’ decision to prioritize tax breaks for America’s wealthiest citizens while practically ignoring the needs of people struggling to survive.The “Nuns on the Bus” are Catholic sisters traveling on a nine-state bus tour to highlight the immorality of the U.S. House of Representatives budget. The Sisters boarded the bus in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 17 and made stops in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.This week’s rally, held on July 2, marked the conclusion of their trip in Washington.The touring sisters met with multiple congressional offices to advocate for a faithful budget. They also visited Catholic-sponsored social service agencies that serve people struggling in a harsh economy.Sr. Diane Donahue of the Sisters of Social Service, founder of Esperanza in Los Angeles, was one of many sisters who shared moving testimonies about the bus tour:“On our way to visit Rep. Eric Cantor’s office, we met this remarkable family: Keara Campbell and her parents Tom and Judy,” Donahue said. “Keara has cerebral palsy. She’s 32 years old. She has benefitted and grown up, is supported by, and is supporting all the kinds of programs we’re talking about that are up for cuts. She lives independently. She has incredible courage. She has gone ahead and now she works with parents who have children with autism and helps them understand the complications and challenges of autism. Here she is in her powermobile wheel chair and is just doing a remarkable job. But all of the help, the support, the kinds of things that really make her life possible are on the chopping block. I am not going to stand here and say ‘the Ryan budget is moral.’ It’s not moral! It is immoral.”Led by Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, the “Nuns on the Bus” were joined by fellow Catholic sisters, faith leaders, civil rights leaders, and hundreds of concerned citizens at the D.C. prayer rally.Along with Livingston and Donahue, other religious leaders who helped lead the prayer rally included Sandy Sorenson, Washington Director of Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ, Dr. Sayyid Sayeed, National Director, Islamic Society of North America, and Jim Winkler, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church.Rev. Livingston said of the event, “I deeply appreciate the profound witness the nuns have made to their faith through the ‘Nuns on the Bus’ tour. I only hope many more people of faith can find the courage and emulate the creativity of these faithful sisters in the struggle to stand with the most vulnerable among us.” Press Release Service Rector Bath, NC Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Rector Hopkinsville, KY Submit a Job Listing Rector Smithfield, NC Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 last_img read more