LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS RW: So you’re a big film buff?TR: Yeah, I go through phases of what I like – westerns, war films and so on. The one film I keep coming back to is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The only film I’ve never been able to watch all the way through is Napoleon Dynamite; I gave up after half an hour.RW: What are the best and worst headlines you’ve seen about yourself?TR: ‘Dumped By Hotel Cleaner’ was the worst. It was a story that wasn’t true in The Sun about how I’d been told I was being released from the England squad by the hotel cleaner. I’ve seen a few of ‘Rees Lightning’ but I still haven’t seen one I want to cut out and put on my wall.RW: Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?TR: My girlfriend won’t be happy, but Jessica Rabbit. I had a huge crush on her.RW: If you could have one superpower what would it be?TR: I recently saw Fantastic Four 2 and a guy in that, Galactus, eats planets. Being able to eat a planet would be pretty cool.RW: Win the World Cup or £1m?TR: I’m trying to buy a house at the moment so £1m would come in useful. I’d be able to get rid of £1m pretty quickly, but the World Cup would stay with me forever so I’ll be boring and say that.Check out Wasps’ Twitter pageTake a look at what Tom’s been up to since we caught up with him…Learn more about Tom’s teammates at Wasps… TAGS: Wasps Tom Rees never understood the concept of pass the ballWhen the Wasps flanker was still finding his feet at the beginning of his career he chatted to Rugby World about training with the Marines, eating planets, messing around and sharing his thoughts on post-rugby life. RUGBY WORLD: So how did you find training with the marines?TOM REES: Once I got over the initial feeling of dread it was really good fun, but I’m glad I’m not in the marines full-time.RW: What kind of things did you do?TR: It was a mixture. There was a series of challenges, some of them skill-based, some mental, some physical. It was all about working together in teams under pressure; they would make us feel uncomfortable and then see how we reacted to that. I was just glad Simon Shaw was in my team. Everything we did, it was ‘How can we best use Shawsy?’ He was great, carrying people over things – our JCB.RW: Casting your mind back a few months, how did you celebrate winning the Heineken Cup?TR: I think I spent most of that week either out or hungover!RW: Have you got any good stories about practical jokes?TR: I have to mention James Haskell. He’s a great character, on and off the pitch, and has a very sharp wit, but he tends to be on the receiving end of things at Wasps. He went with a few England players to Rome to meet the Pope and the next day, plastered all over the club, were pictures of him standing behind the Pope with nobody else in the shot. It looked like he’d pushed his way into the picture. He gets a fair bit of stick.RW: Is it true that he likes to be called the Haskellator?TR [laughing]: He’ll kill me. He has been trying to get known by that name. If you called him that, you’d get a response.RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?TR: I haven’t a clue. The prospect of post-rugby is very daunting. I’m hoping I’ll find something I like doing and if I hear a good idea I’ll jump on the bandwagon. Haskell always has plenty of ideas to make a quick buck and if anything sounds above board I’ll get involved.Film buff, Gaming geek, Jessica Rabbit, and becoming Galactus…RW: What three things would you save if your house was on fire?TR: Luckily I’ve got nothing of value in my house – I keep all that at my parents’ in case I break it. I’ve got a fairly big DVD collection – over 200 – so I’d save as much of that as I could. Rather than do anything constructive with my free time I watch films and play computer games. Joe Worsley Andy Powell
Sekope Kepu (front row 3rdR) of the Wallabies poses with teammates and students from Wesley CollegeThe Rugby World Cup 2011 official YouTube channel will be releasing daily videos to give you the chance to be part of the experience no matter where you are in the world. It allows you to follow the progress of the tournament, plus look at other things to do while in New Zealand.In this Rugby World Cup Daily we have reaction from today’s matches; Samoa v Namibia, Scotland v Georgia and Tonga v Canada. We head down to Southland to sample the local delicacy – oysters, and go back to school with Wallaby Sekope Kepu.Plus give you the latest injury update… 13 September | 12 September | 11 September | 10 September | 9 September | 8 September | 7 September LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – SEPTEMBER 14: Sekope Kepu (front row 3rdR) of the Wallabies poses with team mates and students during an Australia IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 team visit to Wesley College on September 14, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. Kepu is a former student at the college and was a member of their championship winning first XV rugby team in 2004. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Wales wonderingIf Roberts is out, who replaces him and partners Jonathan Davies?The problem is that Wales have fallen into a system of relying on stars like Roberts and shifting the spotlight to Davies whenever someone else has come in. There is less shared responsibility in the centre when Roberts isn’t there, with it expected that Davies can do it himself, regardless of who joins him.Scott Williams of the Scarlets may be the standout candidate to join old cohort Davies in the middle, but Owen Williams and Jonathan Spratt must also be considered after occupying the centre berths during Wales’ summer tour to Japan, even if they lost that last match at Chichibunomiya.The other home nationsWith Ireland and Scotland there are different problems in the centres. Man apart: Who will partner BOD in the autumn Tests?Joe Schmidt had his first camp with the Ireland squad and while everyone was choking on compliments, so steady was the flow, no one wanted to make issue of the conundrum in front of the Kiwi. It is an undeniable boon for the country that Brian O’Driscoll is playing one more season, but while Schmidt will want to use him against Australia and New Zealand but he may not risk him getting blasted into rubble against Samoa. Then there is the question of who partners him as and when he is used. Gordon D’Arcy was part of Schmidt’s first training weekend and the two know each other well from their Leinster days together, but there are questions of whether Luke Marshall will be used again.In Scotland there is also a low murmur about the chances of young Mark Bennett, who Scott Johnson has singled out for praise this week. With Matt Scott bolted on as Scotland’s 12 and Alex Dunbar one of the most consistent Scots over the last five months, there is a real battle ready to go down for the outside centre jersey. Of course, most will be hoping that Sean Lamont’s impressive work on the wing for Glasgow Warriors means he is considered as a wing only. Ireland’s outside centre Brian O’Driscoll reacts during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and France at Aviva Stadium in Dublin on March 9, 2013. France drew with Ireland 13-13. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images) Missing from the middle: Manu Tuilagi and Brad Barritt will play no part in the autumn internationalsBy Alan DymockPOTENTIALLY AS hard to bear as a quintuplets, more than one international side has lost centre options for the upcoming autumn Tests.England have lost both Manu Tuilagi and Brad Barritt for their games against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand while Jamie Roberts is unlikely to feature for Wales this autumn, despite his protests from Paris.The problem that arises from this is that England will have a less predictable centre pairing during the Tests and Stuart Lancaster has a hell of a task narrowing his gaze.Lancaster’s optionsBanker: Billy Twelvetrees is a favouriteThere is a rolling snowball of support for the hot-stepping Kyle Eastmond at the moment, with the Bath centre considered one of the most skilled players in the country at the moment, with feet trickier than a conman at a watch collector’s convention and his ability to throw passes few would expect. He is out injured at the moment, though.Also heading the pack at the moment is the reliable Billy Twelvetrees. Considered the heir apparent for some time now and having been slowly introduced to international action by Lancaster, it could be time for him to take complete control of running things from inside centre.What must be considered, though, is how others fit into the equation. Jonathan Joseph may not be as touted as the others, but he has played for England and he has played more rugby at Bath this season so far, with Eastmond not featuring since he limped out of the competition opener in Newcastle.Then there is Joel Tomkins. He had to pull out of England’s EPS before the summer tour because of injury and Luther Burrell took his place in the squad, but the strong running, offload slinging former league star is an integral part of Saracens’ backline and he could be the key to offering stability and grit to England’s midfield.
TAGS: Highlight WALES v ENGLAND. The Millennium Stadium. A Friday night. What a way to kick off this year’s RBS 6 Nations!It’s the type of occasion players relish. As England flanker Tom Wood says: “There’s that old rivalry. On the bus trip on the way in (to the stadium) people are hurling abuse at you, but you thrive on that. It’s what makes England v Wales games so special.“And playing in the Millennium Stadium is one of the best atmospheres. With the roof on and the steep banking on the stands, it makes everything feel like it’s on top of you.”England’s last two visits to Cardiff in the championship have resulted in very different outcomes – as Wood knows only too well. Back in 2011, with Martin Johnson as coach, England began their campaign with a 26-19 victory, Chris Ashton running in two tries under the Millennium lights on a Friday night. The fact it was Wood’s first Test for England made the win all the more memorable for the Northampton Saints stalwart.Opening act: Tom Wood tries to get past Wales’ tacklers on his Test debut in 2011. Photo: Inpho“I was called up for the Six Nations as injury cover for Tom Croft and Lewis Moody,” recalls Wood, who is an injury doubt for this year’s Six Nations opener. “I thought I was probably on the fringes but I was just pleased to be part of the set-up. Then early in the first week – we had two weeks of training leading up to the game – I was called across the gym by Martin Johnson and he told me I was down to start.“I was blown away – I lifted more in that gym session than I had for a while! I was buzzing and had two weeks to get my head around it. You could end up overthinking it, but I was calm and felt ready. I’d prepared well, the team made me feel comfortable and I had one of my better games. I was on the ball more often than I had been for Saints at that time and was heavily involved. It was a really good performance, personally and as a team.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Eye of the storm: England’s Tom Wood recalls what it’s like to play Wales in Cardiff. Photo: Action Images The England flanker looks back on a memorable Six Nations win and an infamous defeat at the Millennium Stadium It was a different story in 2013. With Stuart Lancaster at the helm, they travelled across the Severn Bridge in the hope of securing a first Grand Slam in ten years but returned home chastened by a 30-3 defeat that handed Wales the Six Nations title.Corner stop: Alex Cuthbert scores during Wales 30-3 victory in 2013. Photo: Huw Evans AgencyThis time it was a Wales winger, Alex Cuthbert, crossing for a brace of tries, and England could manage only a solitary penalty from Owen Farrell. For obvious reasons it’s not a match that generates the same fond memories as 2011 for Wood, although he does think it was more of a contest than the scoreline suggests.“It was a tough day, but it was a lot closer than the scoreboard makes it looks,” he says. “For 40 to 50 minutes it was a real battle and for long periods of time we defended well. I remember Justin Tipuric running through and putting Alex Cuthbert in and only then did the game open up a bit more.” England beat Wales 29-18 at Twickenham last year to secure their first Triple Crown since 2003 but it’s clear the squad would like to repeat the feat on Welsh soil, Wood saying: “It would be nice to do it on their patch and put that memory to bed.”Read more from our exclusive interview with Tom Wood in the March 2015 edition of Rugby World – on sale now. Click here to download the digital edition.
A half-break saw Japan over the 22 and the attack continued. Inevitably, South Africa would win the odd collision.Rather than panic and surrender possession though, Japan manoeuvred themselves into a more narrow shape. Hooker Takeshi Kizu is the carrier here, with Leitch and Thompson in support. Tamura is shouting instructions from behind:Everyone is aware of their distinctive role – Kizu taking it up, Thompson latching on and Leitch clearing. As a result, Mafi stands back to offer himself for the next carry as Hiwasa circles around:After Mafi’s carry, Tamura steps up to the front line – although making sure there are forwards inside him to hold the defence:He has spotted a chance and calls for the ball, jinking past Louw:As Burger scrambles back to make a last-ditch tackle, Japan flood through in support:They are able to manufacture quick ball and run more angles off their scrum-half. This time, the pass goes in front of Matsushima to Broadhurst, who drops an inside ball to the effervescent Goromaru:Only a challenge from du Preez saves a try……but Oosthuizen flops to the wrong side of the ruck to concede a penalty and earn a yellow card:Measured pursuit of immortalityGiven Goromaru’s form, aiming for three points from out wide was a sensible option that could have brought a famous draw. But Japan sensed momentum and wanted glory. Even so, they did not become reckless.After the ball was put into the corner, a quick conference preceded the lineout……and Kizu kept his cool when a false start saw movement before referee Garces and touch-judge JP Doyle were ready:Eventually, Kizu found Broadhurst – propelled skywards by a great lift from Thompson:Leitch circled around……clasping onto the ball and securing it at the back while the maul nudges forward:As backs fly in to add their ballast, Kizu is the key man. He recognises that South Africa has stalled the momentum and collapsed the near side, so forms a new pivot of the same maul:Hiwasa calls the forwards on the near side back around……and Japan surge over the line. The television match official is called upon, and although no try is awarded, de Jager (number 19) is penalised for dragging down the maul:Conviction, adaptability and executionWith no time for the lineout, another conference is called……and Leitch again goes for the win, taking a scrum:Burger jumps the gun with the ball at the base, breaking his bind to concede a penalty:Leitch sticks to his guns and asks for another scrum. Mafi takes a glance to suss out any potential openings……but keeps his head down as the shove comes on from Japan, controlling the ball beautifully as Hiwasa blocks off du Preez:Garces orders a re-set as the front rows stand up, and South Africa power through on the next scrum.Hiwasa again shields du Preez……which proves to be crucial as the ball shoots out of the set piece because Mafi can drop onto it……before Broadhurst and Thompson backpedal to resource the ruck and allow Japan to keep the ball:Now Japan can return to their phase-play. Leitch – who else? – comes around the corner for a first foray, attacking the space between de Jager and du Preez:Wing Hesketh flies into the ruck, personifying Japan’s commitment and nous across the board – he singles out the threat of Louw (number six) and disposes of him:Two phases later, Leitch is on his feet again, taking a flat pass with support on either shoulder:This time fly-half Tamura is on hand to muck in at the breakdown and secure possession:Japan keep edging right, intent on using the full width of the playing surface.Tracking across to the ball away, Hiwasa looks over his left shoulder. Clearly, a runner is loitering on the left side of the ruck:Inevitably, it is Leitch. The Chief arcs all the way around, stretching the South Africa defence when he is found by Hiwasa’s swivel-pass:With the stakes so high, he opts to take the ball into contact rather than risk a pass:Japan did not register a single offload all match, instead putting faith in their ability to recycle.When it came down to the wire, such an approach was vindicated. Leitch rides a high, hard challenge from Strauss……and Male Sa’u gets over the ball to haul it back. Now there is space on the left, so Japan bounce over.Goromaru comes on a decoy line to hold the fringe tacklers – Japan never shirked the unglamorous roles – as Hiwasa plays in Tatekawa:A miss-pass to Mafi wrong-foots Pollard……and a piston hand-off deals with an upright Jesse Kriel:Mafi’s scoring pass is timed very nicely……allowing Hesketh to skate over for glory: TAGS: HighlightJapan Japan needed organisation, composure and courage to get over the line against South Africa. We detail an enthralling final ten minutes that saw all those attributes come to the fore. Japan, now firmly entrenched as the darlings of Rugby World Cup 2015, face Scotland on Wednesday at Kingsholm. They must feel weary, but can be buoyed by a sensational triumph over the two-time world champions. And it was far from a fluke.Jones has developed a regimented side that plays with calm assurance and conviction in their structure and skills – all of those things shone through in this wonderful ten minutes. Their progress in Pool B will be fascinating. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Stunning score: Jubilant Japan celebrate Karne Hesketh’s winning try against South Africa If the endgame of these global tournaments is to catapult the sport into the wider consciousness and inspire fresh fans, Rugby World Cup 2015 may have already reached a zenith.A 34-32 victory for Japan over South Africa was an occasion that enraptured and intoxicated every neutral onlooker – from former Webb Ellis trophy-winner Jonny Wilkinson to those still uncertain of how many points a try is worth.Brighton‘s superb 30,000-seater stadium hosted a truly historic happening. But as much as this exuded the charm of a classic underdog triumph, the result also bore hallmarks of meticulous coaching and gritty graft.In the ten minutes between Handre Pollard‘s penalty to put the Springboks 32-29 up and the final whistle, Japan were wonderfully precise. It was a period that epitomised the qualities they had demonstrated throughout the tie.What is more, they hauled themselves back into the lead to snatch success after three hugely influential figures – hooker Shota Horie, lock Hitoshi Ono and scrum-half Fumiaki Tanaka – had been replaced. Here is a recap of how Japan shocked the planet.Pinpoint restart and pesteringRestarts now sit pretty close to the scrum and lineout in terms of importance. With an accurate kick and a coordinated, systematic chase, they become a big opportunity to win back possession.Across the afternoon, Japan tested South Africa in this area. The Brave Blossoms mixed up their options too, attempting to catch out their opponents with short grubbers that barely crossed the 10-metre line.Following Pollard’s penalty, replacement fly-half Yu Tamura stays conventional. He hoists the restart to give his forwards time to get underneath it:Sure enough, Schalk Burger needs to be lifted by Francois Louw in order to claim the ball as Michael Leitch pressurises……and even then, the Japan skipper latches on in a ball-and-all tackle:There is no forward momentum whatsoever. As South Africa recycle and Fourie du Preez moves in to move the ball away, Japan have time to set themselves. Prop Keita Inagaki adopts the guard position……and sprints up out of the line to harry first-receiver Pollard:Even encroaching into the eye-line of a kicker can be enough to encourage an error. Inagaki’s off-the ball industry summed up that of his team over an amazing 80 minutes.Ambition, organisation and ball retention Just as full-back Ayumu Goromaru was deadly from the tee in accumulating five penalties and two conversions to go with a try, his positioning in back-field was superb.As he takes Pollard’s long punt with ease, note Tamura working back to join the back three – more selfless, unseen teamwork:Goromaru never ponders a return kick, recognising Japan would be better served to keep the ball in hand.He snakes across-field before identifying two South Africa front-rowers in Adriaan Strauss and Coenie Oosthuizen and trying to slice through:As Oosthuizen makes the tackle, Strauss – among the best pilferers in the world – threatens the ball. Lock Luke Thompson follows up, though……and clears the hooker robustly:Japan retain possession and can instigate some sparky phase-play. Though Tanaka has left the field, they remained extremely cohesive and effective when hitting lines off their scrum-half around the ruck.Indeed, Atsushi Hiwasa enjoyed an exceptional shift. Here, he crabs across to the left. This negates South Africa’s line-speed and leaves them flat-footed:When wing Kotaro Matsushima comes back against the grain from wide angle, he is met by some passive defenders……and forces his way through both Victor Matfield and Jean de Villiers and over the gain-line:Japan have gathered impetus, but do not lose discipline. They persevere with a punchy approach.Again Hiwasa takes a couple of steps to seem like a running threat himself before finding Thompson behind the rampaging decoy of Amanaki Mafi:A spill from Leitch saw the move break down at this point, but Japan’s verve was obvious. And it would not die, either.Strong set-piece and proactive defenceJapan’s scrum coach Marc dal Maso is a canny operator who has overseen drastic change. At the weekend, on either put-in, his charges did him proud.Watch the copied body positions of the Japan pack as they prepare to engage……and how every forward is on the balls of his feet, straining forward but poised to make small adjustments:Sure enough, a surge comes through the tight head side. And while Burger does well to pick up at the base and carry in a confined space……he is felled by Michael Broadhurst and Mafi:Japan were relentless in defence and clever at the breakdown. Mafi personifies that in this instance, bouncing to his feet to compete on the floor:du Preez is incensed and gesticulates towards referee Jerome Garces. If you are frustrating opposition scrum-halves, you are doing a decent job as a back-rower:Garces does not appease du Preez and refuses to award a penalty, so South Africa opt to kick downfield.Tanaka spent his match shooting up out of the defensive structure to cut off wider passes, and Hiwasa employs a similar tactic. He curves around, staying onside amid the glare of Garces but generating speed……and flies towards Pollard, again obstructing the kicker’s eye-line:JP Pietersen manages to haul the ball in amid the attentions of Matsushima……and du Preez goes long from the base of the ensuing ruck despite another charge-down attempt from Inagaki:South Africa were merely handing back possession, though.Another outstanding counterAgain, Goromaru is the man to field the kick:Once more, he does not think of using the boot. Instead, he fires a long pass right to Karne Hesketh.Note that three Japan backs on the far side are busting a gut to get behind the ball:This encourages Hesketh to launch an attack from deep. He draws Lood de Jager and sets away Harumichi Tatekawa……who steps off his right foot to attack the gap between de Villiers and a stretched Oosthuizen:Tamura mirrors the line of Tatekawa. From a technical standpoint, this is important.Latching onAs Tatekawa fights through a tackle, Tamura propels him forward. This is something often seen by forwards in tight exchanges, but Japan used the technique all around the field:Indeed, as the ball is spread left to Mafi……and the burly No 8 beats Pietersen……both Thompson and Goromaru flank their teammate to eat up more metres:The premise is simple here – the weight and power of three men in contact is usually more effective that that of one, as Strauss finds out.Blending phase-playFrom here, Japan came into midfield before Tatekawa spotted a potential mismatch and a gap between prop Trevor Nyakane and du Preez.Arcing around from the right, he attempts to pierce it:
The Six Nations is nearly with us and thousands of rugby fans will be looking forward to hooking up with old pals and watching the best teams in Europe go head-to-head for seven weeks. It is a familiar ritual but, unfortunately, one all-too-familiar part of the modern game is still around and has not been run out of town.Unnecessary music at matches is one easy selection for Room 101 – a complete no-brainer – just bin it. It the bane of some supporters’ lives who can’t understand why you need to blare out rock tunes at games. You have got some of the best players on the planet in front of the crowd and that should be enough to keep them interested.The RFU claimed, to our colleague Gavin Mairs in The Daily Telegraph, that Twickenham fans like music at ‘key, big moments’ and that it adds to the atmosphere. Well no-one asked me.Passion: Spontaneous singing feels less contrived than noise being forcedThey did ask 1,000 people at each of the autumn internationals so that is 322,003 people who didn’t get collared for their opinion. Maybe the 4,000 fans who were polled is a statistically significant group but you hear enough moaning about distractions at games to know there are going to be some unhappy bunnies out there in the next few weeks.And we all know how reliable polls have been over the last year or so when the men and women with clipboards have been left with egg on their faces over Brexit, Donald Trump and the last general election.The only good news is that assault on the ear drums of punters will be toned down slightly with the DJ only getting into action when England score a try. If last year is anything to go by when England scored 26 five-pointers in seven Tests at their HQ the bloke on the turntable is going to need a lengthy play-list.Apparently music will be played during penalties if the match ‘producer’ reckons the atmosphere is too flat but mercifully will not be inflicted on the crowd in injury breaks as it was on England’s tour of Australia last summer. Well how about if the atmosphere is flat it is because the game is not up to much – it happens – and if it is rocking the game is probably half-decent. Why interrupt it the flow with canned tunes? You are allowed to cheer you know.Lifting the spirits: Welsh rugby fans need no excuse for a sing-songWe don’t need the tunes at all.In cricket the music is constantly on at Twenty20 games and the Hollies Stand at Edgbaston on Finals Day can resemble a bad Sunday night at Glastonbury. It is good fun but that is hit-and-giggle cricket and you can imagine the uproar if they started banging out tunes at a Lord’s Test match.Recently it was reported that Neil Diamond had bought a property in Malibu for more than $7million – he probably got the dosh from the royalties for Sweet Caroline which it is compulsory to play at any sporting event anywhere. Great tune and all that but there is a time and a place and a Saturday afternoon at Twickenham is not it when there are 30 people on the pitch trying to smash each other into the middle of next week.But this is Test rugby and it doesn’t need hyping up. Madness, Blur and the Rolling Stones, who are all on the shortlist to get an airing at Twickers, are great bands but this curmudgeon reckons they have no place at a rugby match unless Suggs and Mick Jagger fancy watching the game.No satisfaction: Do we really need the Rolling Stones to create atmosphere?Apparently the RFU has something called a new sport presentation music policy – give me strength – and fans are going to enjoy themselves whether they like it or not. Sing when you’re winning: England players belt out the anthem Music is back on the agenda in the forthcoming Six Nations – what’s that all about? Aren’t we there to watch a game of rugby? Music when the players come out of the tunnel is fair enough, but after that they should put a sock in it and let the fans concentrate on the rugby. They have paid top dollar to watch a rugby match and should be allowed to do so without Jagger warbling ‘Start Me Up’.The Six Nations is a brilliant tournament and this year’s is shaping up to be a top-notch one. As usual Eddie Jones hit the nail on the head at the tournament launch in Putney on Wednesday.“I think it’s an excellent Six Nations coming up,” he told us. “Look at the form of the contestants, it’s very positive, bubbling isn’t it? Ireland turned world rugby upside down; they come in in good fettle, a well-coached confident group of players.Natural entertainment: The Six Nations should provide enough drama of its own“Scotland have been promising to beat a big side for a long time, they should have beaten Australia in November; Italy under Conor O’Shea – beat South Africa, a fantastic achievement, Brendan Venter is on board as the defence coach, the defence will improve measurably.“Wales – Rob Howley has got a chance of being head coach so he’s going to take them forward. France should have beaten Australia; take the intercept out and they’d have beaten New Zealand. They’ve got a big physical pack, big back line, two Fijian wingers, big South African full-back – a big physical team that know how they want to play.”If you can’t excited about that little lot you really are in the wrong place and maybe should buy a ticket for a gig and not for a rugby international. You don’t need Damon Albarn to tell you that you are having a good time, just press the pause button please.And don’t get me on to stadium announcers… LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Pre-match, the attention focused on Jonathan Sexton and Tadgh Furlong starting on the bench, but it was the absence of Garry Ringrose that was most evident. Without a genuine 13, Ireland’s back-line wit was reduced to that of a Mrs Browns’ Boys script. With Bundee Aki and Rob Henshaw in midfield, Ireland struggled to get outside the Wallabies’ blitz defence.Relate – Meet Bundee AkiNeither would list passing as their primary skill, especially the ability to flick passes from the 13 channel out to the wing or full-back – a skill that separates proper outside-centres from the rest. With the Wallabies certain that Ireland couldn’t pass over the blitz, or step around it, they flooded the midfield and reduced Ireland’s ability to use either wings – despite this, Jacob Stockdale still had a fine game. Ringrose would solve all the problems above, hopefully he will start next week.Tricky customer: Kurtley Beale had a field day against IrelandKurtley Beale – the shapeshifterEven amongst ‘ultra-utility’ players, such as Isa Nacewa, Matt Giteau, James Hook etc, Kurtley Beale is the pinnacle. He has long been test-level at 10, 12, 13 and 15, but against Ireland he played all four at the same time. It was a remarkable performance.It was quantum rugby, where he was seemingly everywhere at once. On occasions he seemed to be the first, second and third receiver in the same phase. Whilst Ireland struggled to get outside the Wallaby blitz, Beale unlocked Ireland with ease. He didn’t merely accomplish this with passing or kick-passes either, on occasions he ran around the blitz.Being arguably the fastest 12 in Test rugby, Beale is comfortable going sideways, even backwards, before going forwards. During the second half he essentially ran a one-man ‘Leinster loop’, without the pass – he turned a two-man ‘underlap’ into a one man overlap on his own. Ireland need a plan for Beale next time out.No matter the line-up: New-look Wales have started stronglyWales have genuine depthWales have always struggled with squad depth. As a small nation and with only four professional teams, the nation’s player pool has been more hot-tub, than Olympic. But the result against Argentina suggests that this is changing.Whilst England and Ireland have taken very strong squads on tour, barring some senior players in key positions, Wales have taken what must be considered a development squad. And develop they have. Faf de Klerk is Springboks danger manIn the ‘PowerPoint’ age of rugby, where systems and charts take precedence over individual ability, it is wonderful to watch a player like Faf de Klerk. Once deemed perhaps too unorthodox for the Boks, his performance against England proved that box-kicking isn’t all that modern scrum-halves do.The ability to cause chaos at the base of a ruck is still vital. His approach is unique in Test rugby. Whereas most modern nines have an almost military approach at the base of scrums and rucks, de Klerk looks like he’s casually walking his dogs in the park – occasionally delivering a command to his hounds when required. There’s no arm-waving, no pointing, and with that comes less structure – which is hard to defend.Whilst most test scrumhalf’s approach the ruck early, set their feet and direct the pods, de Klerk arrives later and passes immediately. He rarely passes from a standing start, and the forward momentum means that his narrow channel snipes are harder to predict and therefore defend. Critics may argue that de Klerk’s approach leads to the odd messy pass and inaccurate clearance, but he keeps back-row forwards guessing like few others. Well played Faf.Carded: England also struggled with their disciplineEngland concede a 21-point leadMany of the issues keeping Eddie Jones awake at night are largely cosmetic. The selection of a genuine openside, and the inclusion of Brad Shields are easily rectified/ absorbed over the next 12 months. However, one aspect of England’s play isn’t so easy to ignore.England’s 67% tackle completion against the Barbarians has now been followed by the concession of a 24-3 lead against South Africa. That mant points in Test rugby is massive. With the majority of Tier One Test matches decided by 7-10 points, to lose a 21-point advantage is a major problem and points to a system failure, not merely individual tackle counts.Related – Six players who can ignite EnglandEngland have allowed in 14 tries in two games of Test standard rugby, with six of those tries being scored by the opposition’s wings. At first glance one would assume that Jonny May would be responsible for the defensive lapse on the wing, but that was not the case. May was fantastic with and without the ball against the Boks. He completed all seven of his tackles, scored an immaculate individual try and threw some wonderful inside passes.Mike Brown missed three from nine, the most missed tackles in the back-line. Much was made pre-game about Brown’s move to the wing. Many were concerned about his pace and ability to finish. But pace isn’t just required for wings to finish tries, it’s also vital in stopping them.Missing link: Garry Ringrose has had an incredible seasonIreland missed RingroseIt has been a long time since Ireland attracted criticism of any note. With the perfect blend of heavy, direct carries in the forwards, the best kicking game in world rugby and creativity in the midfield, their performances over the past 18 months have only been bested by the All Blacks. But that was not the case against the Wallabies. Blond ambition: Faf de Klerk makes another seering break Against a strong Puma’s pack, Dillon Lewis looked every inch a modern tighthead in the making – where his carrying was the equal of his scrummaging. Hallam Amos played like a first choice 15, regularly cutting into the 13 channel and offering Wales an attacking option at full-back, not merely a defensive safety net. Adam Beard impressed at lock and Cory Hill continued his rags to Euro Millions progress with yet another exemplary performance.Whilst the focus obviously remains on the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Wales now have a squad profile that looks primed for 2023 – a luxury of forward planning and player development that Wales has never had in the professional era.
The coach says that they were watched from “apartment block” near the training ground Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Big words: Eddie Jones addresses the media in Tokyo (Getty Images) Related: Handré Pollard wore the wrong jersey in Rugby World Cup quarter-finalToday Jones repeatedly said that filming training is a waste of time in the modern game.However, he did take a swipe at the Kiwi media saying: “Someone has to ask them (the All Blacks) a question because the NZ media doesn’t. You guys are just fans with a keyboard, someone has to ask them some questions.“The English media – a week ago I was going to get sacked, we couldn’t play. We deal with a completely different situation.”England and New Zealand face off in Yokohama on Saturday (5pm JST/8am BST).Keep track of events in Japan via our Rugby World Cup homepage. Eddie Jones claims England training was spied on at Rugby World CupSemi-final week of the Rugby World Cup kicked off properly today when England head coach Eddie Jones said someone was spying on their training ahead of Saturday’s clash with the All Blacks.“There was definitely someone in the apartment block (opposite the training ground) filming. It might have been a Japanese fan,” he said in a conference in Tokyo, today.It was a mischievous performance from Australian coach Jones, who also called the New Zealand press pack “fans with keyboards.”Related: The referees for the Rugby World Cup semi-finalsWhen pressed about whether the English security detail – who Jones called two “lovely blokes”, saying they were formerly security for Prince Harry and an ex-Prime Minister – he concluded “Don’t care, mate.”He went on: “We used to do it (filming opposition training). I haven’t done it since 2001. There’s no need. Everyone knows what everyone else does. There’s no surprises in world rugby anymore.”Accusation: In 2001 the Boks accused the Australians of spying in Perth (Getty Images)In 2001, during what used to be the Tri-Nations, the Springboks suggested that a former club colleague of Jones and Glen Ella took a video their training. In response, then-All Blacks assistant Wayne Smith said: “We tend to rely on what we see on TV and what we can find out from other people rather than sending people to watch the opposition,” before concluding: “If there was an agreement that there was to be none of that (spying) then that would be a good result.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS BattleHawk: King punts in the XFL (Getty Images) Bro https://t.co/fhiu2reGfP pic.twitter.com/YSJDIr0haO— James Wilson (@_JamesWilson_) June 20, 2020 Twitter reacts to American Football star Marquette King’s rugby claimFormer NFL punter Marquette King sent rugby Twitter into a flurry of action in the early hours of Saturday morning with a tweet saying, “If I played rugby I would dominate it easily.” https://t.co/Eke8V1ZY2X pic.twitter.com/uxQigoRTY6— Carl Fearns (@Carl_Fearns) June 20, 2020 King kicked for the Oakland Raiders between 2012 and 2017 and had one season with the Denver Broncos in 2018. He has recently turned out for the St Louis BattleHawks in the XFL.Unsurprisingly, after he made his bold call about the other oval-ball game, it brought out some interesting reactions from rugby fans and figures on social media.Here are some examples of the best replies. Related: Who has the most beautiful kick in rugby? As you can imagine, some of those who know the modern game fairly intimately had some views on the American’s call too. I got tested for swag n just found out I’m positive. — Marquette King (@MarquetteKing) June 16, 2020With so many top-end rugby teams teams willing to give the kicker a trial go or a run out at their training, let’s see if he does back his words up.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. First was the All Blacks. Then there was a response from Fiji’s general manager of high performance, Simon Raiwalui. Related: The links between rugby and the NFLAnd there were lots of other interesting suggestions for the American Football veteran. If I was a bicycle, I’d win the Tour de France.— Squidge Rugby (@SquidgeRugby) June 20, 2020Related: Watch Christian Wade’s incredible touchdown The former NFL punter claims he could “dominate it easily” Play tighthead, it’s fun they said! pic.twitter.com/mtbhpaAQsc— Petrus du Plessis (@PetrusduPlessis) June 20, 2020Of course King did respond to a few folk getting back to him on Twitter, though only a few. Would still rick the 1 sleeve https://t.co/ZUeLlfyUqg— Marquette King (@MarquetteKing) June 20, 2020It is the word “dominate” that may have caught a few off guard, but then again, there have been some humble calls from the athlete on social media in the past… Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Top 14 2020-21 Season PreviewThere is a reckoning coming in the Top 14, due to kick off with Stade Francais versus Bordeaux on 4 September. And it’s not just because the clubs are tightening their belts and cutting salary budgets.The reckoning is on the pitch in a highly competitive league. Eight or nine clubs have their eyes on the six-team play-offs and Champions Cup rugby for the 2021-22 season.Related: The wild life of the Bouclier de Brennus Top 14 trophyMeanwhile, the extended end-of-year internationals, with up to six games pencilled-in, followed by five more in the 2021 Six Nations, leave the likes of Toulouse, Toulon, Montpellier and Racing facing a large portion of their campaigns without key players for the second year in a row.Here, we do our best to predict the prospects of each of the sides. Just don’t bet the mortgage on any of it…AgenIn: Tapu Falatea; Kevin Yameogo; Victor Moreaux; Corentin Vernet; Camille Gerondeau; Yoan Cottin (loan); Jean-Marcellin Buttin; Noel Reid; Gabriel IbitoyeOut: Jeronimo Negrotto; Kamaliele Tufele; Mickael De Marco; Tom Murday; Adrian Motoc; Xavier Chauveau; Leo Berdeu; Thomas Vincent (loan); Alban Conduche; Benito MasilevuIbitoye, Reid and Buttin are the eye-catching signings in a decent summer of recruitment at Agen. Second row Moreaux, too, was a clever snap-up after his sudden departure from Castres, while scrum-half Cottin, on loan from Toulon, will be out to impress as he seeks much-needed game time. They might just be enough to ensure Agen improve on their 13th-place finish in the curtailed 2019/20 Top 14 season.In it together: The Bayonne squad (Getty Images)BayonneIn: Sam Nixon; John Ulugia; Hugh Pyle; Asier Usarraga; Izaia Perese; Joe Ravouvou; Gaetan Germain, Alexandre Manukula (loan)Out: Census Johnston; Aretz Iguiniz; Maxime Lamothe; Pieter Jan Van Lill; Adam Jaulhac; Edwin Maka; Antoine Battut; Benjamin Collet; Armandt Koster; Emmanuel Saubusse; Julien Tisseron; Setariki TuicuvuBayonne surprised more than one ‘bigger’ side in the early skirmishes of last season. That good start saved them, because they then lost eight in a row to finish ninth. Yannick Bru’s done some clever recruitment work – Germain, Perese and Pyle, in particular, are good signings, while All Blacks Sevens star Ravouvou should add excitement from the wing. But you should probably look on the Basque side as a relegation favourite.Related: Meet rugby cult hero Ben TameifunaBordeauxIn: Ben Tameifuna; Joseph Dweba; Guido Petti; Ben LamOut: Peni Ravai; Leonardo Ghiraldini; Adrien Pelissie; Florian Dufour; Masalosalo Tutaia; Lucas Meret; Semi Radradra; Blair ConnorIt was Bordeaux’s season. It was not Bordeaux’s season. A first campaign under Christophe Urios ended prematurely with the Begles eight points clear at the top of the table with 13 wins and a draw out of 17 Top 14 games and five wins and a draw in the Challenge Cup pool phase. Losing Semi Radradra to Bristol was a blow – but Bordeaux have recruited and retained well to challenge for at least one title in the hybrid 2019/20/21 campaign.Flying Dragon: Brandon Nansen claims a lineout during his stint in Wales (Getty Images)BriveIn: Pietro Ceccarelli; Florian Dufour; Wesley Douglas; Brandon Nansen, Valentin Tirefort; Setariki TuicuvuOut: James Johnston; Karlen Asieshvili; Francois da Ros; Joe Snyman; Dan Malafosse; Richard Fourcade; Jan Uys; Alex Dunbar; Franck Romanet; Guillaume Namy; Rory ScholesJeremy Davidson’s Brive – thanks in no small part to the fine form of playmaker Thomas Laranjeira – beat Clermont, Toulon, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lyon, Pau, and Stade Francais at home in a solid return to the Top 14 after a season in the ProD2. Brive don’t have the riches of other clubs and aren’t likely to trouble the upper echelons next season, but sticking around in the top flight will be the least they deserve.Castres OlympiqueIn: Julius Nostadt; Gaetan Barlot; Tyler Ardron; Ryno Pieterse; Semi Kunatani; Stephane Onambele; Kevin Kornath; Santiago Arata; Adrea Cocagi; Vilimoni Botitu; Bastien GuilleminOut: Marc Clerc; Paea Fa’anunu; Tapu Falatea; Morgan Phelipponneau; Jody Jenneker; Paul Sauzeret; Rodrigo Capo Ortega; Christophe Samson; Victor Moreaux; Alex Tulou; Camille Gerondeau; Kevin Gimeno; Ludovic Radosavljevic; Robert Ebersohn; Julien Caminati; Taylor ParisPlenty of experience has walked out of Castres’ door this year as coach Mauricio Reggiardo made good on his promise to build a younger squad. Despite the clearout, Castres’ senior team looks more balanced on paper – certainly, in Arata and Fortunel there’s talented and youthful additional cover for long-in-the-tooth halfbacks Kockott and Urdapilleta. If Reggiardo can make this squad work, there’s excitement to be had at Stade Pierre Fabre. Just expect it to take a year or so to gel.Down Under: Tyler Ardron in action for Waikato Chiefs (Getty Images)ClermontIn: Peni Ravai; Christian Ojovan; Adrien Pelissie; Etienne Fourcade; Sebastien Bezy; Kotaro Matsushima; Bastien Pourailly; Tavite VeredamuOut: Davit Zirakashvili; Loni Uhila; Beqa Kakabadze; Mike Tadjer; Julien Ruaud; Greig Laidlaw; Charlie Cassang; Isaia Toeava; Remy Grosso; Nick Abendanon; Donovan TaofifenuaInteresting times at Clermont, and an interesting campaign in store. Change is afoot after a season that, despite reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup, fell below expectations. Head coach Franck Azema is taking a strategic step back, as Clermont look to regain lost ground. Bezy was always too good to play second-fiddle to Dupont at Toulouse and will push Parra for the nine shirt, while Matsushima should fit well into a backline with quicksilver pace.La RochelleIn: Will Skelton; Jules Le Bail; Raymond Rhule; Pierre Boudehent; Brice Dulin; Dillyn Leyds James Harrington takes a look at all of the runners and riders ahead of France’s domestic rugby season kicking off again. Who are you backing? Out: Sila Puafisi; Mike Corbel; Jean-Charles Orioli; Jone Qovu; Thomas Jolmes; Alexi Bales; Brock James; Brieuc Plessis-Couillaud; Marc Andreu; Eliott Roudil; Valentin Tirefort; Kini Murimurivalu; Vincent RattezNeither a fifth-place finish nor Jules Plisson’s return to form after his November move from Stade Francais can paper over the cracks of a chaotic 2019/20 season at La Rochelle, marked by the bizarre case of international-standard lock Thomas Jolmes – he was clearly unhappy at the club. Jono Gibbes and Ronan O’Gara would probably readily admit they were fortunate to finish in the Champions Cup places. Should do better.Searching for stability: Lyon must be consistent (Getty Images)LyonIn: Joe Taufete’e; Izack Rodda; Mathieu Bastareaud; Colby Fainga’a; Gillian Galan; Leo Berdeu; Remy Grosso; Alex TulouOut: Hendrik Roodt; Julien Puricelli; Carl Fearns; Liam Gill; Tanginoa Halaifonua; Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Jean-Marcellin ButtinLyon’s rise from perennial yo-yo side to Top 14 remainers and, lately, play-off contenders, matches head coach Pierre Mignoni’s stewardship. No wonder Lyon were keen to sign him to a five-year deal in 2017. One thing Mignoni hasn’t managed to get a handle on is the Champions Cup, as just one win in two tournaments proves. Lyon are better than that and the boss will be out to improve on that record when European rugby returns in December.Related: My life in pictures with Mathieu BastareaudMontpellierIn: Enzo Forletta; Titi Lamositele; Yannick Arroyo; Florian Verhaeghe; Mickael Capelli; Alexandre Becognee; Cobus Reinach; Vincent Rattez; Alex Lozowski; Julien TisseronOut: Johannes Jonker; Konstantine Mikautadze; Julien Bardy; Lucas de Coninck; Kevin Kornath; Kahn Fotuali’i; Enzo Sanga; Francois Steyn; Nemani Nadolo; Timoci Nagusa; Benjamin FallMontpellier’s 39-player senior squad for 2020/21 boasts 27 JIFF-qualified players and 15 academy graduates. More importantly, perhaps, coach Xavier Garbajosa, after an underwhelming first season with an inherited squad, has a roster increasingly of his own making, into which he is retro-fitting the sexy rugby Montpellier used to play. They should be firmly back in the top-six mix this season and they’ll look much better getting there.Livewire: Bok nine Cobus Reinach joins Montpellier from Saints (Getty Images)PauIn: Matt Philip; Tamua Manu; Aminiasi Tuimaba; Eliott Roudil; Hugo Bonneval; Mike HarrisOut: Dominiko Waqaniburotu; Colin Slade; Tom Taylor; Pierre Nueno; Ben Smith; Bastien PouraillySince climbing up to the Top 14 in 2015, Pau have not finished higher than eighth. It needed a gritty 19-15 win over Montpellier on what turned out to be the final day of the 2019/20 season on February 29 – ending a run of seven straight defeats – to move them off the foot of the table into 12th. Despite the arrivals of the experienced Harris and Bonneval, it’s hard to see them anywhere other than the lower reaches this time around.Racing 92In: Luke Jones; Kurtley BealeOut: Vasil Kakovin; Ben Tameifuna; Issam Hamel; Johnny Dyer; Ben Volavola; Brice DulinBeale is the Top 14’s headline signing for 2020/21 – but the story of Racing’s campaign will be its French core, with only eight non-JIFF senior players currently on the books. This is how future French club sides will look. What’s terrifying is that Racing, under rugby eggheads Laurent Travers and Mike Prendergast, have improved quality in their quest for greater Gallic-ness. Expect a serious challenge on all fronts.Homecoming: Gonzalo Quesada is back in Paris (Getty Images)Stade FrancaisIn: Vasil Kakovin; Gerbrandt Grobler; Marcos Kremer; Telusa VeainuOut: Thierry Futeu; Sione Anga’aelangi; Hugh Pyle; Joketani Koroi; Clement Daguin; Lionel Mapoe; Alexis Palisson; Ruan CombrinckAnother season, another new beginning for Stade, who were 14th of 14 when coronavirus halted the 2019/20 season. This restart may be different, with Gonzalo Quesada – who took them to the French title in 2015 – back at the helm. Under him are Julian Arias and Laurent Sempere, who rediscovered Parisian joie de vivre after that dour Heyneke Meyer spell. Some decent, targeted, late transfer moves hint that, maybe, good times aren’t far away.ToulonIn: Jeremy Boyadjis; Thomas Jolmes; Isaia ToeavaOut: Marcel van der Merwe; Mamuka Gorgodze; Corentin Vernet; Liam Messam; Stephane Onambele; Yoan Cottin (loan); Mathieu Smaili (loan); Hugo BonnevalThe difficult third season for Toulon boss Patrice Collazo kicks off with plenty of promise and a much-changed philosophy from the conspicuous consumption of the early Mourad Boudjellal years. New president Bernard LeMaitre is pushing homegrown youth development over buy-ins, though there are still plenty of overseas gems in the squad. Galacticos disassembling, but contenders again, Larry.Back at it: A recent training session for Toulouse (Getty Images)ToulouseIn: Richie Arnold; Alexi BalesOut: Maks Van Dyk; Richie Gray; Florian Verhaeghe; Gillian Galan; Pierre Pages; Sebastien Bezy; Tristan Tedder (loan); Maxime Mermoz; Theo BelanExpect more of the same joyous, unrestrained power-and-pace combo rugby that has become a hallmark of head coach Ugo Mola’s second Toulousain empire. The club’s once-forgotten academy is open again for business and much rests on young shoulders, as Mola sets his sights firmly on a return to European glory while building a new dynasty from within. Contenders?: Bordeaux winger Santiago Cordero celebrates (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.