France v Scotland

first_imgIn last year’s championship, Scotland played some fantastic rugby, only to lose possession at vital moments. With so much hinging on Scotland’s forwards performance, it is vital that Rory Lawson at scrum-half and Dan Parks at fly-half use any possession they obtain wisely. If Parks can continue his inspirational performances from last year’s tournament and ensure territorial advantage for Scotland, they stand a far better chance of upsetting the odds.Should the forwards manage to match the French, and Parks keep Scotland in the right half, the onus will fall to the wider backs to find a way to take their opportunities, something they have not excelled at in recent years.Charged with that task is Nick De Luca, standing in for the injured Graeme Morrison in a forced change. Partnering De Luca in the centre is Joe Ansbro, earning his first appearance in the Six Nations. The duo faces a daunting task in stopping the advances of Perpignan centre Maxime Mermoz, and converted winger Aurelien Rougerie.Further wide, Max Evans replaces Sean Lamont on the wing, with Nikki Walker and Hugo Southwell completing the back three. If given the opportunity, the trio must grasp it for Scotland to steal a victory against a French side that are favourites despite coming under heavy criticism for recent performances. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS A blog from Rugby World reader, David Bateman. What’s your view?Scotland commence their Six Nations campaign against France this weekend, hoping to overcome much favoured opposition and thereby win in Paris for the first time since 1999.For their quest, Scotland coach Andy Robinson has named a mostly familiar side, with some modest changes.Captain Alastair Kellock returns to lock, forcing a reorganisation of the pack, with Nathan Hines to blind-side flanker, Kelly Brown to number eight and Richie Vernon relegated to the bench. Richie Gray will feature alongside Kellock at lock.The Killer B’s back-row of Kelly Brown, John Barclay and Johnny Beattie, who emerged as a prominent force in last year’s Six Nations, will have to wait to be re-united, as Beattie lacks the match practice to feature in the squad at this stage, having missed the Autumn internationals with injury. The Scotland pack is at full strength, with the exception of Beattie’s omission.Although, they face a daunting task against the same pack that sealed last year’s Six Nations. The inclusion of the tenacious Hines points to the need to match the French pack’s physicality, also shown by the choice of Kellock and Gray at lock, standing 6ft 9 and 6ft 10 respectively.  Although they hold a distinct height advantage over the French locks Julien Pierre and Lionel Nallet, the line-out will still be a hotly contested affair. The scrum will be more one-sided in the French favour, unless Euan Murray is in first-rate form to aid Ross Ford and Allan Jacobsen cope against the more powerful French front row.Winning the battle of the forwards will be vital should Scotland hope to kick-start this Six Nations in better fashion than previous years. The Scots have not won their opening fixture since 2006, when they defeated the French 20-16 at Murrayfield. Andy Robinson has identified this problem, and organised a game against players from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Scottish club teams in an attempt to counteract Scotlands often slow start.center_img It will be curious to see how France regroup after their 59-16 destruction by Australia in November. If they come into this match low on confidence, still licking their wounds from that defeat, this Scotland side has more than enough quality to inflict a similarly discouraging loss on them. Particularly the French forwards must be wary of a Scottish pack that goes to Paris ready for war.But, as is always the case with the French national rugby team, should they be in the right frame of mind, Scotland could suffer severe retaliation at the hands of a superior squad. It’s the beauty of the Six Nations opening game: no-one can really predict what is going to happen.last_img read more

Josh Tatupu is the new Chief in town

first_imgHAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND – OCTOBER 08: Josh Tatupu of Otago off loads the ball in a tackle during the round 11 ITM Cup match between Waikato and Otago at Waikato Stadium on October 8, 2010 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Tatupu trying his hand at English rugbyExeter Chiefs newcomer Josh Tatupu said the chance to sample rugby life in England was one of the reasons behind his decision to join the Aviva Premiership club this summer.The 25-year-old, who is equally adept on both the wing and in the centre, is one of nine new faces Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter has brought to Sandy Park as the Devon club look to tackle their second season in English rugby’s top flight. Arriving from New Zealand last weekend, the Samoan international has quickly been thrown in at the deep end as he joined his new team-mates for a testing first few days of pre-season.“It’s good to be finally here with the Chiefs,” said Tatupu. “The club seems very professional and everybody is putting in a lot of hard work. I’ve been in a hotel for the first few days, but I’m moving into my house this week, so I should really start to settle in soon. All the boys, though, have been very welcoming and I’m looking forward to it all.”Having previously plied his trade with Super Rugby side Western Force and Melbourne Storm (Rugby League) in Australia, as well as Otago in New Zealand and, more recently, with French outfit Castres, Tatupu arrives in England with a wealth of experience already at his disposal.It is, however, the opportunity to try his hand at English rugby which appeals to him right now. He added: “It was something new and different for me to try out. I remember when I played for the Force against a few English sides a few years back, I really enjoyed the trip. I thought England was a nice place.“Also I was keen to become a Premiership player and try my hand at another style of the game. Over in France I did OK, but my partner didn’t speak French, so she found it hard over there and she was keen to come to England as well.” “As I said, I am looking forward to it. I’ve spoken to a few of the boys, like Jason Shoemark and Junior Poluleuligaga, and they’ve told me it is a lot more physical compared to back home.”For now though, Tatupu’s priority is making sure he gets himself fully integrated into Chiefs life and in fine fettle for the new season. That means working hard during the pre-season build up which, he says, has similarities to life back home.“It’s a tough time for any player, but you know you have to work hard and just get stuck into it,” said the Christchurch-born player. “You have to make the most of this time to ensure you get all your fitness in – already though the trainers are making sure of that! “I’ve only been here a few days so far, but it’s not a whole lot different to what I have done in the past, the weights side of things are pretty similar and. The biggest difference, I suppose, is when I was in Australia you had a 14-week pre-season and the first half of that was all running and you didn’t see a ball at all. Here it’s good that we are incorporating the anaerobic games into our programmes and that we are getting to do some rugby early on rather than just running up hills all day.”Certainly Tatupu can expect some hill running in the coming weeks, but with pre-season tests against Connacht, Cornish Pirates and Scarlets on the horizon, the chance to play some ball is never too far away.last_img read more

Rugby Heaven with American Express®

Head out to see Imanol Harinordoquy and his men face the English Champions – SaracensThere’s one thing no rugby fan should miss this season – a trip to southern France to watch a game in BiarritzAccording to research from American Express Platinum Charge Card, half of us start planning our overseas trips months in advance*. Rugby World recommends you start planning your season now and what better way to kick off than with a trip to one of the most stunning cities in Europe to enjoy a game of rugby – the French town of Biarritz.Nestled near the Spanish border, Biarritz gives travellers a taste of both countries in a rugby-mad town where the welcome is second to none.Almost every bar and restaurant pays homage to Imanol Harinordoquy and his side of warriors, who have fought a succession of brutal Heineken Cup campaigns.Perfect combo: sun, sea and magnificent rugbyAmerican Express research has found that 75% of travellers* feel it is important to get under the skin of a destination and live like the locals while abroad – the one thing for a rugby fan to do? Go to a local rugby match and mix with the fans.This season Saracens, Ospreys and Benetton Treviso have the pleasure of travelling to Biarritz, with Saracens being the first to hit town on 19 November 2011. Biarritz’s Parc des Sports Aguiléra produces a stunning atmosphere with their fans wearing their trademark native American headdresses.The town is one of the most stylish in Europe – and is fast becoming one of France’s hottest destinations. Why not make a weekend of it by flying to San Sebastián and driving up the coast to Biarritz? The one MatchEnglish champions Saracens arrive at the Parc des Sports Aguiléra on 19 November for what promises to be a pivotal Heineken Cup showdown.The one thing for the Discerning TravellerA personal travel planning service is just one of the benefits that make the Platinum Card from American Express your ultimate travelling companion. With the Card in your pocket, you’ll enjoy peace of mind thanks to extensive travel protection as well as access to preferential rates on hotels and car hire.You’ll earn Membership Reward Points as you spend to be redeemed against a wide range of luxury and everyday items. An introductory offer runs until midnight on 31 October 2011 offering 40,000 points, enough for return flights to San Sebastián**, if you spend and charge £1,500 on your Card in your first three months of Card membership. Terms and taxes fineprint… * American Express Platinum Charge Card research conducted week commencing 1 August 2011. **Based on airline transfer redemption with British Airways Executive Club as of 1 June 2011. Excludes taxes, fees, charges and surcharges. Terms and Conditions apply. Membership Rewards Points can also be used to pay for tickets and packages, including taxes and surcharges and on any airline that is offered through American Express Travel. Certain airlines are not available through American Express Travel. They can also be used in part payment for a ticket. If you’d prefer a Card without any rewards, other features or a Card membership fee, an alternative option is available – the Basic Card. Terms and conditions apply. The Platinum Charge Card is offered by American Express Services Europe Limited. Registered Office: Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9AX. American Express Services Europe Limited is authorised in the United Kingdom by the Financial Services Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 (reference number 415532) for the provision of payment services. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS read more

Rugby World – December 2011 edition contents

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS [imagebrowser id=19]Wow, what a Rugby World Cup that was. Seven weeks and 48 matches at a high octane pace. So where better to relive the highs and lows of the seventh Rugby World Cup than with the new edition of the world’s best-sellling rugby magazine, Rugby World. Our souvenir edition gives you every point, every try, every yellow card, every turning point and every key opinion from all 48 matches – an edition unrivalled anywhere in the world. And that isn’t all as this month we set about trying to pick through the malaise of England, Scotland and Ireland’s campaigns. We also hear from Mark Evans, Warren Gatland, Graham Henry, Dimitir Yachvili and a host of other big names. We hope you enjoy it!———————————————————————————————————————————————–The Front Row…World Cup 2011 The ultimate rundown.Our Team of the Tournament30 Minutes with Will GeniaGraham Henry – The brains behind New Zealand’s title has found peaceDimitri Yachvili – The tournament wasn’t all turmoil and tears for the fiesty French scrum-half…Hotshots – Joe Launchbury (Wasps) and Kirby Myhill (Scarlets)Mark Evans – What effect has the World Cup had on the Aviva Premiership?Warren Gatland – The Wales coach is taking positives from the tournamentDanny Cipriani – The Melbourne Rebel can’t wait to return to TwickenhamThe Centres…RWC Stars IRhys Priestland, Israel Dagg, Sean Lamont, Mario LedesmaThe RFU and England – Paul Morgan on where England went wrong Down Under – and how to put it rightSam Warburton – Wales’ inspirational captain opens up about his first World Cup and that fateful red cardWorld Cup 2015 – Stuart Barnes on the lessons England should learn from New Zealand to be the perfect hostsSean O’Brien – The flanker has made such an impact that he’s being tipped as the next Ireland captainScotland – Why did Andy Robinson’s team fail to exit their pool, and what should they do to recover? RWC Stars IIMike Ross, Kahn Fotuali’i, Manu Tuilagi, John KirwanTechnical Zone – Broaden your tackling options with Dan Cottrell’s top tipsMinis Zone – Teach your minis Overload Touch and switch passingFitness Zone – How to prepare for sevens, plus stay mobile and flexibleHeroes Rugby – We preview the Heroes Rugby Challenge when the northern hemisphere takes on the southHeineken Cup – Stephen Jones analyses the runners and riders in EuropeThe Tourist – A large welcoming committee greets us at Madejski StadiumSevens Rugby – Meet the contenders for the HSBC World Sevens SeriesKeith Barwell – The ex-Saints chairman still has lots to say, finds Matt HampsonThe Backs…Club Guide – All your grass-roots news. Plus our Team of the Month and School Team of the MonthNaked Truth – England’s Delon Armitage on his unlikely career choiceArmchair Zone – The latest books and productsTour Tale – Take a trip to Ramsey Street———————————————————————————————————————————————–Click here to subscribe to Rugby WorldClick here to find out where to buy Rugby Worldcenter_img Would you like to sign up to Rugby World’s excellent weekly email newsletter? Click here.Or perhaps you’d like a digital version of the magazine delivered direct to your PC, MAC or Ipad? If so click here.last_img read more

Saints and Sinners: The weekend’s talking points

first_img The SaintsCaptain FantasticEngland skipper Chris Robshaw had a stunning game against New Zealand on Saturday and oh-so-nearly led his team to a famous victory against all the odds. England – without several first and even second choice players – were pipped 20-15 by a late try but Robshaw’s contribution could not have been greater.For starters, he obviously helped his players to get their mind-set exactly right, despite the fact everyone had written off their chances before the game. Then, with just two minutes gone, he burst through the All Blacks defence on a terrific run which would have resulted in a try for James Haskell if Ma’a Nonu hadn’t intervened with a professional foul.Robshaw made a total of ten runs (bettered only by Mike Brown and Manu Tuilagi) eating up 61 metres of Eden Park turf (Tuilagi was the only England player ahead of him, with 84). The skipper also found time to make seven tackles.Robshaw rounded off a great day at the office with the perfect reaction to the loss, insisting that honourable defeat was not good enough for this England team. “The only result that matters is that one at the end, and that went their way,” he said. “We’re extremely proud of all the effort that’s gone in to come here and do what we did. Extremely proud, but we can’t be happy with it. We’ve come down here to win a Test series, simple as that.”Carry me homeWith the Test poised at 9-9 as the last quarter approached, England had their backs to the wall with a scrum five metres from their own line. New Zealand had enjoyed 80% of second-half territory up to this point and it looked like England might crack under the pressure.Then up stepped No 8 Ben Morgan. Instead of giving his half-backs an opportunity to kick away from behind the scrum and give the All Blacks another attacking platform, he decided it was time to try to carry England home. He picked up and raced up the blindside, galloping beyond the 22. His courage, power and pace put England on the front foot and they duly scored next, when Freddie Burns kicked a penalty a few minutes later.Hot BurnsFreddie Burns has had a season to forget at Gloucester. After forcing his way into the England squad last year, he lost his way through the winter, distracted by his decision to leave Kingsholm for Leicester, and slipped down the pecking order.Injuries and unavailabilities meant Stuart Lancaster handed Burns the No 10 jersey for this first Test and he responded to the faith shown in him by rediscovering his old form. The young fly-half looked confident and totally at home on a very intimidating stage. He kicked all his penalties, from all angles, and used England’s possession well.Yes, Burns ultimately ended up on the losing side but he confounded his critics with by far his best performance for many a month.Central figure: Paul O’Connell is at the heart of everything that’s good about IrelandLock of agesIreland skipper Paul O’Connell won his 100th Test cap on Saturday (93 for Ireland and seven for the Lions) and underlined once again what a great asset he is to his nation as he led them to a 29-17 victory in Argentina.The Munster lock is still setting the standards for Ireland at Test level. He made eight tackles, eight runs and won four lineouts and he was at the heart of a scrum which demolished Argentina’s pack.O’Connell’s attitude and leadership are as important as his physical strength and skills and he is setting the highest standards for his team, criticising their performance despite their victory.“They (Argentina) put us under a lot of pressure, I think the result is great but the performance is disappointing,” he said. “We put a lot of balls down and missed some tackles. You look at what England did going down to New Zealand putting in a big performance against them. That’s what we needed to do and we didn’t do that.”New facesScotland had a new head coach and three new caps when they took on the USA on Saturday and new boss Vern Cotter was delighted with the contributions of the young trio after Scotland’s 24-6 win in Houston.Glasgow Warriors prop Gordon Reid was singled out for his eager start. “Gordon Reid at the first ruck took the ball and ran through the middle of it,” Cotter said. “Obviously he wants to be part of the game and that’s really important.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Cotter described Blair Cowan’s contribution at openside as “outstanding” and said of stand-off Finn Russell: “You’d think he’s played 20 or 30 games already. He was composed, he kicked well out of his hand. He directed play well and defended.”Cotter was pleased to see Scotland score two tries, plus a penalty try, and not concede any and he hopes for an improved performance against Canada next Saturday. “I’m happy because we got the win,” he said. “With certain things, as all coaches will say, we have to do better next week and we’re working on those.” Argentina lost three out of six of their own scrums as the tourists proved far superior in that area of the game. The home pack also struggled in lineout, where they lost four throws out of 11.Yes, it was an inexperienced Argentina side, but their national pride will demand that they do better next weekend. As the summer tours got under way, there was plenty to delight the watching fans, but just as much to disappoint them. Follow my lead: Chris Robshaw was outstanding for England, both on and off the field The SinnersNo, no NonuMa’a Nonu took just two minutes to exhibit the cynical side of his game, when he pulled back James Haskell as he tried to support an incisive break from Chris Robshaw at the very beginning of the Eden Park Test. If Haskell had got the ball, he would have been under the posts, but Nonu’s foul play stopped it. Yes, the All Black was penalised and Freddie Burns kicked the three points for England but Nonu needs to put Nigel Owens at the top of his Christmas card list as the referee chose not to sin-bin him. It was a yellow card all day long, and Nonu probably knew that even as his hand was reaching out to grab Haskell’s arm. It was a classic case of a player trading a probable seven points for a possible three, knowing he might pay the price – but Nonu got away with it.Hands full: Ma’a Nonu grabbed James Haskell to stop him taking a possible scoring passRough reffingThere is no doubt Nigel Owens is a great referee – among the top handful in the world – and his management of the players and his speed of thought and deed mark him out as a great talent. However, he put in an unusually inconsistent performance when England played New Zealand on Saturday and left England fans gnashing their teeth in frustration.First he failed to sin-bin Ma’a Nonu for a clear, cynical, professional foul after two minutes. Then he penalised Jonny May and, later, Freddie Burns, for supposed knock-ons when the ball did not go forward in either case. From the scrum awarded against May, the All Blacks pressured England into giving away a penalty and Aaron Cruden kicked the three points.In the second half Owens could have wielded another yellow card in New Zealand’s direction when the ball was killed after May had kicked and chased, alongside Marland Yarde, right up to the opposition line. It was 9-9 with the final quarter about to start and England kicked the penalty, but a binning at that stage could have proved decisive.Ironically, Owens did sin-bin Marland Yarde for not releasing close to the line after a break from Brodie Retallick. England did not lose the game because of it the winning try came after Yarde returned – but it was still disappointing to see the referee treat the two teams differently.Quelle HorreurIt is going to be hard for Les Blues of France to indulge in any blue-sky thinking this week, after they were thrashed 50-23 by Australia in Brisbane. And the scoreline was kind to the visitors, as they had trailed 50-9 before scoring two tries in the last nine minutes.Yes, they were missing some key faces, including skipper Thierry Dusautoir, but that cannot excuse this error-strewn performance. Coach Philippe Saint-Andre said his team panicked against the speedy Wallabies, but captain Nicolas Mas disagreed, saying: “It’s not a question of panicking. When the team was in a position to convert pressure into points we were making errors. We have to continue to work at that and eliminate errors when we’ve got an opportunity to score.”Whatever the reason, it is not acceptable for France to concede seven tries to Australia and they need to make a massive improvement before meeting the same opposition in Melbourne next Saturday.Pussy cats, not PumasThe reputation and much of the success of Argentine rugby has been built on the scrummage down the years, but the Pumas’ set-piece was crushed by Ireland’s on Saturday.last_img read more

Tommaso Allan to fight through ProD2

first_imgBraced for impact: Tommaso Allan will see a lot of action for Perpignan next season in ProD2 TAGS: Highlight Allan only linked up with the squad a fortnight ago, arriving late because of international duty with Italy. He made his Test debut against Australia in November, subsequently appearing in all five of Italy’s Six Nations matches. Back in the autumn there was much discussion in the British media as to whether Allan would choose Italy – his birthplace and where his mother is from – or Scotland, where his paternal allegiances lie. “I  made the decision to play for Italy pretty quickly,” says Allan. “I suppose there was a bit of pressure but I had all my family behind me and that helped.” One of Allan’s relatives, uncle John, knows all about split loyalties, having won nine caps as Scotland hooker before collecting a further 13 for the Springboks following South Africa’s return to international rugby in the early 1990s. “John helped in saying that I would have more opportunities playing for Italy than I would Scotland,” says Allan.Those opportunities came his way last season but at times Allan admits it was a challenge for one so young to adapt to the rigours of Test rugby while also shouldering the responsibility of kicking goals for his country. “Honestly, it was quite tough,” he admits. “I had to really work on the mental side of my kicking and just being able to handle the pressure. I wasn’t kicking at Perpignan because of James Hook so it was hard to then do it for Italy.”James Hook and Camille Lopez have both left Perpignan in the wake of their relegation, a blow to the club in their quest for promotion, but at the same time an opportunity for Allan. Contrary to reports in the French press, he never entertained thoughts of joining Treviso and is determined to help lead USAP back to the Top 14. “I didn’t know anything about a move to Italy until I read about it in the newspaper. It was like ‘Oh yeah! Really?’ I can understand why James and Lopez moved but for me I see it as a chance to really develop as a fly-half because I’ll have more game time.Departed mentor: James Hook left Perpignan to sign for Gloucester“Last season my game management was the single biggest improvement for me. I started to read and understand the game better and I want to keep developing this season.” Allan admits he knows little about the ProD2 but he’s expecting some ding-dong encounters. “Obviously our target is to go straight back up but the ProD2 is competitive. We’ll be playing clubs we haven’t played for years and all of them will be wanting to beat us because of who we are and the fact we’ve just been relegated.”It’s not just the Perpignan players who are determined to return to the Top 14 at the first opportunity. The fanatical rugby public in Catalan country have recovered from the shock of relegation to rally behind their boys and more than 5,000 season tickets have already been sold more than a month before the first game, the same number as were sold in the whole of last season . When club president François Rivière, who takes as his role model Toulon chief Mourad Boudjellal, presented this season’s squad to the public more than 2,000 Catalans turned up to cheer each one of the 38-man group. “The atmosphere wasn’t too good in the days after [relegation],” concedes Allan. “It was best to stay at home out of sight! But everybody’s got behind the club again now. Rugby means a great deal in this part of the world and we all want to be back in the Top 14.”center_img LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Hands up those who this time last year had heard of ‘Tommy’ Tommaso Allan? The odd aficionado of age-group rugby, perhaps, who had seen the young fly-half play for Western Province U19 or Scotland U20 but for most of us the name was as unknown as a cold snap on the Cote d’Azur.Twelve months on and the 21-year-old Allan has won ten caps for Italy and is one of the players Perpignan are looking to as they seek to drag themselves out of ProD2 and back into the Top 14.It was some season last year for Perpignan. The men in the blood and gold shirts were relegated to the second rung of French rugby for the first time in 103 years, a humiliation that shocked the sport on the other side of the Channel.Just five years earlier Perpignan had won the Top 14 title and they began last season with victories over Castres, Montpellier and Toulouse in the opening few weeks. Life looked good, not just for USAP but also for Allan, who made his senior club debut – and his first professional appearance – in the 19-16 defeat away at Racing Metro. It was a polished performance by Allan, who scored 11 points in the narrow defeat and more than held his own against Racing’s Johnny Sexton, recently returned from starring for the British and Irish Lions Down Under.Assured in azure: Allan fit in well playing for the Azzurri last seasonThen it all fell apart. Five consecutive defeats in the run up to Christmas, allied to a season-ending injury to fly-half Camille Lopez, shattered the squad’s morale. Defeat followed defeat in 2014 as Perpignan began the inexorable slide towards the wilderness of ProD2. The question now is will they bounce straight back into the Top 14 or will they  go the way of Pau, Beziers and Dax, once distinguished clubs who have languished in the ProD2 for years following relegation?Allan is confident Perpignan’s stay in the second division will be a short one. “Morale is really good in the squad,” he says, a couple of days after the players returned from a five day beasting at the French army’s commando training centre. “The purpose of it was to work on squad cohesion and bonding. We’ve a lot of new players [12 in total] but most of the squad has been together since the start of June so we’ve got to know each other well.”last_img read more

Mini rugby video: How to offload

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Sonny Bill Williams is pretty good at it. So, too, Glasgow’s Fiji lock Leone Nakarawa. What are we talking about? Offloading.These two players are known for looking to keep their hands free in the tackle so they can offload to a support runner. It keeps the ball alive and often catches defences out because they might expect the ball-carrier to go to ground and recycle.So how do you do it? The video above shows mini rugby players demonstrating the skill – and the key is to do it at the right time. Making a risky offload is not always the best option. You might be able to get around the defender with nifty footwork or a hand-off. Or going to ground to set up a ruck might be a better choice if the defence has your support player covered. But if you are held in the tackle and can get your hands free to offload to a team-mate in space, do it.Make sure you keep the ball in both hands to keep the defender guessing as to whether you’ll pass and the support runner should time his run to catch the opposition off-guard, ideally cutting into the space left by the defender. This is just one of a series of videos Rugby World has put together to show mini rugby players how to perform various skills, from the switch to the two-on-one. The aim is to help improve players’ all-round game.Every month Rugby World magazine features a ‘How To’ guide on a specific technique and a fun game to use in training that will keep the players entertained and help develop skills like the teamwork, communication, support play and evasive running.Click here for the latest subscription offers and information on how you can download the digital edition of Rugby World can be found here.center_img Learn how to keep the ball alivelast_img read more

Has Warren Gatland picked the right Wales team to face Uruguay?

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Wales coach Warren Gatland (Getty Images) Tipuric fully deserves his chance to start after his performances home and away against Ireland in the warm up matches. The Ospreys flanker showed what a technically gifted player he is and more than justifies his place in the starting XV.Tipuric adds another dimension to Wales’ back row. With his creative mind and all-court ball skills meaning he would not look out of place playing in the centre.James King comes in at No 8, a position that is not so familiar to him. However, with respect to Los Teros, he should have a pretty comfortable platform to attack the fringes.Gatland has wisely opted to rest Gethin Jenkins, Alun Wyn Jones and Taulupe Faletau from the pack – three British Lions test starters who will be needed for far tougher upcoming fixtures.However the tight five of Paul James, Scott Baldwin, Lee, Jake Ball and Luke Charteris are still of a very high standard; none of which would look out of place in Wales’ first choice XV.On the whole, Gatland’s selection for Sunday is pragmatic but the Kiwi is fully aware that despite Uruguay’s lowly world ranking, the South American’s still need to be dispatched wth the minimum of ease, with no injuries.“Uruguay will be looking to show what they are capable of and we know we need to be clinical on Sunday,” he said.“Playing in a World Cup, in your home country, at your home ground is a great honour and I’m sure the players will take that into the game.Line up v Uruguay: Liam Williams, Alex Cuthbert, Cory Allen, Scott Williams, Hallam Amos, Rhys Priestland, Gareth Davies, Paul James, Scott Baldwin, Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Luke Charteris, Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, James KingReplacements:Ken Owens, Aaron Jarvis, Tomas Francis, Dominic Day, Dan Lydiate, Ross Moriarty, Lloyd Williams, Matthew Morgancenter_img Warren Gatland has wisely opted to rest a number of his stars for Wales’ opening World Cup game against Uruguay on Sunday By David MarshFit again Welsh stars Liam Williams and Samson Lee have been named in Wales’ starting XV to face Uruguay on Sunday.After Wales lost both Rhys Webb and Leigh Halfenny to injuries ruling them out of the tournament, Welsh fans have sweated over the availability of Williams and Lee after both faced a race against time to be fit for the tournament.Coach Warren Gatland admitted his relief at having both players available for selection again.“It is great to have Liam and Samson back in the starting line-up.  They have trained incredibly hard and Sunday is a great opportunity for them,” he saidWelsh fans will be happy to see elusive attacker Williams back in the team, who is joined in the back three by Alex Cuthbert and Hallam Amos, in what will be seen as a straight shoot-out for the left-wing spot for the England game.The resting of first choice winger George North is vital to keep the Lions series winner fit for next week’s clash with hosts England and the final fixture against the Wallabies.North suffered four concussions in only five months, so keeping him protected is one of Gatland’s main priorities.Considering Wales’ terrible luck with injuries, resting first choice fly-half Dan Biggar was vital for Wales. The thought of losing the 25-year-old to injury could be terminal to Wales’ chances.Biggar has matured into a more rounded player in recent years and is vital for Wales. He commands the backline with confidence and is a vital cog for Wales’ World Cup hopes.Rhys Priestland, who has come under heavy criticism from Welsh fans over the last few years, gets his chance to re-discover the form he showed during the 2011 World Cup, and is partnered by the promising, yet largely untested, Gareth Davies at scrum-half.The combination of Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric in the back row for Wales will bring back memories of the 30-3 thrashing of England in 2013 and gives Wales a more attacking options in the back row than usual.last_img read more

Kings competition terms and conditions

first_imgHere are all the terms and conditions for the Kings competition LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS To enter you must fully retweet by the closing date. Only one entry per person. In the event of duplicate entries, only the first valid retweet will be considered in the draw. To mark our Rugby World Cup partnership with Kings Elite Snacks, we’ve got our hands on five of their banquet boxes, which each contain 16 packs, to give away. Simply retweet the relevant tweet on @rugbyworldmag’s Twitter feed for a chance to win. All the terms and conditions for the competition are below.The prize: 5 banquet boxes of Kings Elite Snacks – 2 x biltong, 2 x beef jerky, 1 x pork jerkyOpening date: 5pm, 14 September 2015Closing date: 11.59pm, 16 September 2015 The prize winner will be randomly selected on 17 September 2015 by Kings Elite Snacks from all fully retweeted entries and will be notified within seven days of the draw. If the promoter is unable to contact the prize winner within 30 days, the prize will be forfeited. A new prize winner will then be randomly selected from remaining entries. No purchase necessary.Normal Time Inc. (UK) competition rules apply. Competition details form part of these terms and conditions. Entry is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands and Republic of Ireland except employees (and their families) of Time Inc. (UK), its printers and agents, the suppliers of the prizes and any other companies associated with the competitions. The winners must be aged 18 or over. Proof of identity and age may be required. Use of a false name or address will result in disqualification. All entries must be made directly by the person entering the competition. Entries made online using methods generated by a script, macro or the use of automated devices will be void. The prizes are as stated, are not transferable to another individual and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. Prizes are subject to availability and the prize suppliers’ terms and conditions. The promoters reserve the right to amend or alter the terms of competitions and reject entries from entrants not entering into the spirit of the competition. The winner agrees to the use of his or her name, photograph and disclosure of county of residence and will co-operate with any other reasonable requests by Time Inc. (UK) relating to any post-winning publicity. The winners will be chosen from all correct entries received by the closing date stated within the promotional material. Winners will be confirmed in writing. Reasonable efforts will be made to contact a winner. Failure to respond and/or provide an address for delivery, or failure to meet the eligibility requirements may result in forfeiture of the prize. If they cannot be contacted, or are unable comply with these terms and conditions, the Promoter reserves the right to offer the prize to the next eligible entrant drawn at random. Where applicable, the decision of the judges is final based on the criteria set out in the promotion and no correspondence will be entered into over this decision. Competitions may be modified or withdrawn at any time. The Service Provider and contact details are specified within the promotional material.last_img read more

Six things we learnt in rugby in December

first_img Fine line: Jonny May scores for Leicester against Harlequins (Getty Images) Jonny May has become the complete wingerThere was a time when Jonny May was rugby’s version of the 1980s toy Micro Machines. Wind him up, point him in the right direction and he was off. But as with a Micro Machine, the fun didn’t last for long. After about five seconds and a thrilling burst of speed, both he and the toy would collide into something and the joy was over.That is no longer the case with Jonny May and as this entire season has proven, he has become a complete wing. The headless-chicken passes have become hawk-like in their precision and the timing of his runs are now immaculate.Pass mark: Jonny May in action against Bath (Getty Images)Even as a part of two teams that have struggled this season, England and Leicester Tigers, May has been one of the consistent players. You need only look at how many quality wingers have slid beneath him in Eddie Jones’s back-three selections to see how highly regarded he is by the England sectors.The Premiership throws up myriad surprisesThe English Premiership has received more sneers than envious glances in recent years. Rather like the ‘18 handicapper’ who turns up for a round of golf on Boxing Day with a brand new set of Mizuno blades and TaylorMade woods, the Premiership has been accused of having all of the gear and less idea – an argument pointed at the lack of success in Europe and at Test level.However, this festive period that hasn’t been the case – and nor has it all season. The Gallagher Premiership is wonderfully competitive and highly chaotic. Whilst rugby supporters have been working their way through the festive booze out of choice, those in charge of setting the markets at the bookies have been ploughing through the sherry out of necessity. Who thought Sale would have rolled Gloucester at home? Who thought Quins would be in the top four?Jump to it: Sale Sharks celebrate a try in their win at Gloucester (Getty Images)The benefits and problems with the English Premiership come from relegation, and a simple decision will need to be made soon. If England’s Test team – and European rugby – is the pinnacle of the rugby hierarchy, then ringfencing is the way to go. If club rugby is viewed as the top, then relegation is a no-brainer. Either way, it’s been fantastic to watch.Cockerill gets everything he wants for ChristmasRichard Cockerill has never been what you’d call a ‘good boy’, so him getting everything he wanted for Christmas flies in the face of Santa’s doctrine. But there is nothing more that the former Leicester player and coach could have asked for this festive season.Man in charge: Edinburgh’s director of rugby Richard Cockerill (Getty Images)Edinburgh were immaculate in December. Two wins over Glasgow in the Guinness Pro14 and two over Newcastle in the Champions Cup showed how far Cockerill’s squad have come. And let’s not forget that little of this success has been bought. There are no £1m signings in Edinburgh’s squad. Cockerill has fused young Scottish talent in Blair Kinghorn with prudent signings in Viliame Mata and Duhan van der Merwe.I’m not for one minute suggesting that Cockerill’s final Christmas present is the fact that Tigers, the team who sacked him, are struggling, but…Northern hemisphere coach goes south, in silence LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The end of the year saw Steve Tandy named as the Waratahs forwards coach. A prestigious role, at a glamorous club, with a stable full of marquee Test players. Yet for some reason his move barely made a ripple up north.Even when Ronan O’Gara moved to the Crusaders, little was said. It’s almost as if in the northern hemisphere we’re ashamed of our coaches and render their skills inferior to those from down south.The above statement isn’t without foundation of course; modern Test rugby has been built on the southern hemisphere blueprint. And it is perhaps this that makes the moves of Tandy and O’Gara so important.New role: Former Ospreys boss Steve Tandy is now forwards coach at Waratahs (Getty Images)If the coaching standards up north are inferior, then going south early in a coaching career is the solution. We shouldn’t be making less noise about the migration, but more. In two or three seasons both Tandy and O’Gara will hopefully be ahead of the curve and able to contribute on their return. Food for thought.Top 14 goes bonkersThe period between Christmas and New Year is odd. A six-day period where blood is replaced by Baileys and cheese has become one of your internal organs. But it didn’t affect the players in the Top 14. The fixtures following Christmas were remarkable.Whilst the highest score in the Premiership and Pro14, by any one team, was 35 points, there were six teams who scored more than 35 in France. Bordeaux scored 40, Lyon 52, Montpellier 41, Clermont 37, La Rochelle 53 and Toulouse 39. These are Super Rugby-type numbers.Slide show: Toulouse’s Yoann Huget scores in the hammering of Toulon (Getty Images)The pick of the bunch was undoubtedly Toulouse’s 39-0 victory over Toulon. There were 16 clean breaks and 33 defenders beaten, which led to a five-try pounding of Toulon and has reinforced the fact that Toulouse’s squad rebuild is over and they are once again European monsters.Gouging is the perfect crimeGouging is no longer called gouging, it’s called ‘making contact with the eye’. But as Alan Partridge would say: “They’ve rebadged it, you fool.” The difficulty is that by rebranding the offence and splitting the act into making contact with the eye and/or eye area the offence has become unpunishable.Unless someone’s eye is hanging out how can you prove anything? No television angle is going to prove that contact was made with an eye and no player is ever going to confess to it. Even if you brought the CSI Miami gang onto the field, they couldn’t conclusively prove that a fragment of nail had been left on an eyelid at a particular time or even if it was deliberate.center_img From Jonny May to Richard Cockerill and leagues full of surprises, Paul Williams wraps up the goings-on of the past month This approach to the offence formerly known as ‘G’ is even more perplexing given the current focus on contact with the head. Making contact with the eye and making contact with the eye area are the same thing and should be treated as such.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.last_img read more