AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – APRIL 16: Luke Braid and Pauliasi Manu of the Blues walk over to pack down in a scrum during the round nine Super Rugby match between the Blues and the Waratahs at Eden Park on April 16, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images) Replacements:16. Tom McCartney17. Tevita Mailau18. Ali Williams19. Peter Saili20. Piri Weepu21. Michael Hobbs22. George MoalaUnavailable: Jerome Kaino, Anthony Boric, Isaia Toeava, David Raikuna, Brad Mika LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Another rookie gets his place in the starting XV – Hadleigh Parkes has been named on the right wing.“Hadleigh has been in the 22 for a number of weeks. He is a real workhorse with a good boot on him and will give everything for the team out there. He’s thrilled to be starting and will bring plenty of energy to what’s going to be a very tough encounter.”Starting XV:1. Tony Woodcock2. Keven Mealamu ©3. Charlie Faumuina4. Liaki Moli5. Filo Paulo6. Luke Braid7. Dan Braid8. Chris Lowrey9. Alby Mathewson10. Gareth Anscombe11. Rene Ranger12. Ma’a Nonu13. Benson Stanley14. Hadleigh Parkes15. Rudi Wulf Luke Braid returns after a three week suspensionThe Braid brothers make a very welcome return to the Blues starting line up this week, with the loose forward duo pairing up for the first time in a month.Daniel was forced to withdraw from the team during pre-match warm-up last week due to illness and Luke has been sitting out a three week suspension incurred during the Stormers match in South Africa.“It’s good to have both Braid brothers returning. Luke’s work ethic and experience at the breakdown working alongside Dan is crucial to our game,” said Blues coach Pat Lam.Young Auckland lock Liaki Moli has earned his first start of the season, having recovered from illness last week that saw him sit most of the match out on the bench.“Liaki and Filo Paulo have taken their opportunities when on the field. They provide fresh legs and energy and deserve their starting spots. Ali has started every game so far – this week he’ll come off the bench.”
Text YUKN99£ with the amount you want to donate (e.g. YUKN99£5) to 70070.Visit www.bmycharity.com/InterserveLondonIrishYUKON Team effort: Toby Booth and Neal Hatley are part of a group competing in the Yukon River QuestTOBY BOOTH and Neal Hatley are in unchartered waters as they take on one of the biggest challenges of their lives in Canada: the gruelling 715km Yukon River Quest, in aid of Help for Heroes.The duo, who are part of Bath’s new coaching team, have been taking part in warm-up exercises over the past week before setting off today in Whitehorse (to the east of Alaska) on the Quest. They will be joining athletes from all over the world who will race day and night for four days along 715km of rugged and treacherous waterways in the most spectacular paddling race in the world, also known as the “Race to the Midnight Sun”.They face a 27-hour straight paddle on their first day alone and will be competing in a six-man voyageur war canoe to the finish, which is just below the Arctic Circle, at Dawson City, Yukon in Canada.Double act: Booth and HatleyBooth and Hatley have joined forces with a team from Interserve, the international support services and construction group, but most of the crew had never canoed before taking on this challenge, so have spent the past few months preparing with paddling instruction and sessions and white water practice out on the River Thames, in Loughborough and North Wales. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS “This is an opportunity to compete in a once-in-a-lifetime event for charity and we are proud to be supporting Help for Heroes,” Booth said. “The challenge we face on the Yukon River pales into insignificance when you consider the challenges faced each day by injured servicemen and so if we can even help make a small difference then it will all be worth it.”If you’d like to sponsor the team, you can donate in two ways:
HIGH WYCOMBE, UNITED KINGDOM – OCTOBER 12: Josh Lewsey of London Wasps is congratulated by team mate Danny Cipriani after scoring a try during the Heineken Cup match between London Wasps and Castres Olympique at Adams Park on October 12, 2008 in High Wycombe, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images) Horror show: The infamous Duncan McRaeDuncan Disorderly Although this was on the pitch, this unprovoked attack was so vicious that it had to make the list, if only to show rugby’s darkest side.Forever a stain on Lions history, the Waratahs full-back Duncan McRae unloaded 11 punches on the stricken O’Gara. It was an incident that saw the player banned for seven weeks while pressure mounted for the thug to get the sack from his franchise. Meanwhile O’Gara was left with a burst pouch beneath his left eye. It was as disgusting an incident as you are likely to see on the field.Team, um, mates?In 2008 Wasps colleagues Danny Cipriani and Josh Lewsey clashed during a defensive drill. The young fly-half was said to have hurled threats at Lewsey on the training paddock, but as the row intensified Lewsey, not known for taking a backward step, let fly with a swift combination.Cipriani was knocked-out.Round two: Lewsey and Cipriani make light of their fightThere are always bust-ups on training grounds and more often than not they are brushed under the carpet or they mean very little. With these two characters, though, there was something that appealed to the carnivorous tabloid fans. Luckily, Kelly Brook appeared to be on hand to nurse suffering Cips back to health.Bar-room BlitzAt the end of an arduous 2009 campaign the players of Bath and Harlequins decided to let off some steam. The problem was that the two teams held piping-hot team days out in the same area of London and eventually they ran into each other in Fulham.The two sides had lost out in the semi-finals of the Premiership the day before, with Quins falling to Leicester Tigers at Twickenham and Bath losing out to eventual winners Wasps. Happier times: Kurtley Beale and Cooper Vuna during a simpler time when they weren’t whacking each otherBy Alan DymockRANKING SOMEWHERE between Jeremy Clarkson slugging Piers Morgan in the dish and the break up of Atomic Kitten, most rugby fans recoiled in utter disgust when the news of Kurtley Beale windmilling teammates broke.It was the latest instalment in the misadventures of the Three Amigos, Australia’s oft-lambasted pantomime villains Beale, Quade Cooper and James O’Connor. This time, though, things took a serious turn with reports coming out that Beale had been involved in a fracas with his own captain Gareth Delve before coming to blows with winger Cooper Vuna. Since, both Beale and Vuna have been sent home from the Melbourne Rebels tour. On separate planes. Disciplinary action is sure to follow and that raises doubts about Beale’s participation in the upcoming Lions series.This got us thinking: has rugby had many more perplexing fights in recent times?Who’s the Daddy?: The Cracknell/Collins incidentPapa Punch-UpThings can get heated when there is a relegation battle going on. That’s rugby. But in 2010, after Worcester Warriors had been relegated thanks to a 12-10 loss to Leeds at Headingley, something rather odd flared up.A scrap between the fathers of teammates Chris Cracknell and James Collins erupted after Collins’ father allegedly insulted Cracknell, who had been replaced by Collins, in front of the man’s dad. A fight began and Cracknell pulled Collins’ father over the advertising hoardings before the two players squared off.Mamma Mia…Don’t hit my son!In the midst of a 2011 Basque derby between Biarritz and Bayonne in the French Top 14 international number 8 Imanol Harinordoquy was beset by flailing Bayonne boys.Cue Super Dad.His father Lucien hopped the ad boards and tore onto the pitch in an attempt to duff up some assailants. He was sat on the dirt by scrum-half Benjamin Boyet, but it was too late. Lucien had already struck a blow for frustrated fathers pacing touchlines around the globe. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Everyone lost out again after this fight, though. Lots of embarrassment; a stone-cold Aussie second-row (the rumour being that Justin Harrison felt compelled to move back Down Under after being flattened by a Quins punch), and enquiries all round.It was a case of two teams trying to let off steam, but landing in hot water.
Standing together: Wales now have a shot at the Six Nations championship (Pic Huw Evans images) The current French national team is one of the great travesties of modern rugby. For a squad with that level of talent to perform so consistently poorly is embarrassing for a country with such a proud rugby history. It is even more inexcusable when you consider how much money is sloshing around French rugby. The Top 14 is dripping with TV money and private cash and is arguably as well placed as any nation in the world to produce a world class test team – currently the French national team probably wouldn’t finish in the top 6 of their domestic league.Looking for answers: France are a shadow of their former selves (Pic Inpho)Many will argue that it is the very presence of so much money, the resulting influx of overseas players, and power of the Top 14 clubs that is hindering the national team – but that is overly simplistic. Lack of preparation time, as alluded to by Philippe Saint Andre, cannot alone explain France’s demise. It can’t explain why the French game plan revolves around an inside centre with more fat rolls on his neck than most backs have on their abdomen. France need to have a serious performance increase by the start of the Rugby World Cup otherwise, like in 1793, heads will roll. They should have rolled already. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Wales nail the basicsIt’s easy to get carried away with statistics. Sometimes they can be misleading and distort the true outcome of a game. But when a team wins 54% of the possession, 55% of the territory, 100% percent of their line out ball, completes 92% of their tackles and kicks five from six at goal – there’s a pretty good chance that team won the game. That’s exactly what Wales did against France in the 2015 Six Nations. In short they got the basics right and it allowed them to rack up a winning margin of 20-13.Added dimension: Wales executed the basics well and Webb added a cutting edge (Pic Huw Evans)Barring Dan Biggar’s exquisitely set up try in the 58th minute, it was a very simple, effective game plan built around a solid set piece, Biggar’s remarkable bomb and chase game, Leigh Halfpenny’s metronomic goal kicking and Jamie Robert’s thunderclap carrying. This was a performance in which every single player executed the role that they were selected for. Samson Lee scrummaged superbly, Scott Baldwin threw accurately, Luke Charteris stopped the French maul, Jamie Roberts carried relentlessly, Dan Biggar improved Wales’ field position and once in position – Halfpenny kicked the three. Wales are back in this competition and suddenly Wales v Ireland in Cardiff looks like a big game.Jamie Roberts – just colossalIt was particularly pleasing to see Jamie Roberts execute so well in Paris. Not only because it allowed Wales to beat France for the fourth time on the bounce but because he did so in front of a Parisian crowd – in a city where he has, in the recent past, received criticism for his club form at Racing Metro. This was far from the case on Saturday. This was vintage Roberts, where at times he looked like a giant steak hammer pounding French meat. He carried the ball 11 times, more than any forward on either team, and effectively turned the gainline into the ‘Jame-line’.Midfield colossus: Jamie Roberts gave Wales a gainline advantage (Pic Huw Evans)He carried for 24 metres in total, which may not seem much, but most of the carries were from first phase where the defensive line is perfectly aligned and a series of backrow forwards are ready to reinforce the ten channel. His defence and marshalling of the kick chase was exemplary. Towards the end of the game he nearly cut Rémi Talès in half – almost turning him into Semi Talès. The host broadcaster chose Morgan Parra as Man of the Match – but Roberts deserved the honour.Luke Charteris – one man maul wreckerA quick glance at Luke Charteris’ DNA would reveal that he is 95% human and 5% ‘Genus Architeuthis’ – or Giant Squid. His levers are absolutely enormous and their benefit extends way beyond his lineout work which incidentally helped Wales win 100% of their lineout ball for the first time in the last six games. Interestingly Charteris only took two balls himself but his decoy and lifting work gave Wales consistent lineout ball for the first time in this year’s championship. But it was his ability to almost single handedly wrap the French maul, with his arms, that made the biggest impact. Wales have the measure of France, and it is now five years since Les Bleus defeated them. Here are the reasons for Wales’ continuing success Handful: Luke Charteris was all arms and legs on Saturday (Pic Huw Evans)Charteris’ first action on any French lineout ball was to tie up the ball carrier at the back of the maul and make it difficult to alter the direction of the drive. Even if the French maul did manage to alter the angle of the drive they frequently found Charteris in the middle of their maul tangling up possession. It was a masterclass in how to stop a maul without dropping it illegally and one which Wales will require against Italy and Ireland.Dan Lydiate’s hands.It’s usually Dan Lydiate’s shoulders and arms that receive the headlines. His tackling technique was once again impressive against France where he completed 12, missing just 1. But it was his hands which will be remembered after his performance in Paris. Having spotted Rhys Webb once again terrorizing lazy defending at the ruck, Lydiate stayed on Webb’s right shoulder, took the ball, spotted Dan Biggar running the angle and executed a pass that took two French defenders out of the game.Sleight of hand: Dan Lydiate’s sweet offload won him plenty of praise (Pic Huw Evans)It was a rare moment of subtlety in an otherwise destructive display from the Welsh pack. Lydiate is often regarded as a one trick pony. But after Saturday’s display he deserves to be upgraded to one of those Lipizzaner stallions that dance around the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. Well done Dan Lydiate.France need an uprising
A full review of Australia’s opening World Cup win over Fiji in Cardiff Australia kicked off their World Cup campaign with a victory over Fiji in Cardiff, but they will be disappointed not to have picked up a bonus point. David Pocock crossed twice in the first half and Sekope Kepu scored early in the second, but then Fiji came back into the game and piled on the pressure in Australia’s half to deny the Wallabies that fourth try.WHAT’S HOTScrum – How nice it was to see an upright contest at the scrums rather than constant collapses and resets. The first scrum set the standard, both sides holding steady and a traditional battle of strength coming to the fore. In fact, referee Glen Jackson called it “outstanding” and the majority of scrums were of a similar quality.Star man: Leone Nakarawa showed his full range of skills against the Wallabies. Photo: Getty ImagesLeone Nakarawa – What a year this guy is having. First he wins the Guinness Pro12 with Glasgow and now he is proving the star of this Fijian team. He’s renowned for his offloads, which maintain attacking momentum, while he is also impressing in terms of turnovers at this World Cup (he made another three in this game after getting four against England on Friday) – and he even stole an Australia lineout on the 5m line.The rolling maul – Given the back-lines these two sides have many will have expected this to be a game of all-out attack, players running from deep and showing off nifty footwork and sharp hands. Instead, it was the driving lineout that proved the attacking weapon of choice in the first half. Fiji went close from a couple of lineouts in the Aussie 22 then the Wallabies launched their own driving mauls, David Pocock touching down twice in the space of five minutes.Weekday crowds – For nigh-on 70,000 people to pile into the Millennium Stadium on a midweek afternoon is testament to the pull of the World Cup.Slide show: Prop Sekope Kepu scores Australia’s third try. Photo: Getty ImagesWHAT’S NOTDiscipline – The penalty counts of both sides will not have pleased either coach. Fiji were penalised 13 times and Australia 12. Okay, a lot of the penalties conceded weren’t in a kickable range, but that sort of ill-discipline will cost them in games going forward.Bad hair – Admittedly we could only see this from high up in the press tribune but it was pointed out by a colleague that assistant referee Leighton Hodges had a rather unusual haircut for an official. Shaved all round the sides with a fair clump on top it looked like the ‘high and tight’ cut favoured by Danny Care. One best left to players.Boo boys – It’s long been a bugbear, and the booing and whistling as Bernard Foley lined up a late penalty tarnished what had been a great atmosphere. It simply has no place in the game.Break man: Ben Volavola bursts through to score Fiji’s only try. Photo: Getty ImagesSTATISTICS13 – The number of offloads made by Fiji compared to two by Australia. Power play: David Pocock drives over for the opening try against Fiji. Photo: Getty Images TAGS: FijiHighlight LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS 90 – The number of metres made by Israel Folau, more than any other player.122 – The number of tackles made by Australia compared to 83 by Fiji.Australia: I Folau; A Ashley-Cooper, T Kuridrani, M Giteau (K Beale 72), R Horne; B Foley (M Toomua 78), W Genia (N Phipps 67); S Sio (J Slipper 56-67), S Moore (capt, T Polota-Nau 67), S Kepu (G Holmes 56), K Douglas (W Skelton 71), R Simmons, S Fardy, M Hooper, D Pocock.Tries (3): Pocock 2, Kepu. Cons: Foley 2. Pens: Foley 3.Yellow card: Kuridrani (73)Fiji: M Talebula; W Nayacalevu (A Tikoirotuma 5), V Goneva, G Lovobalavu, N Nadolo; B Volavola, N Matawalu (N Kenatale 50); C Ma’afu, T Tupati, M Saulo, T Cavubati, L Nakarawa, P Yato (P Ravai 35-40), A Qera (capt), N Talei (M Ravulo 67).Try: Volavola. Con: Nadolo. Pens: Nadolo 2.Yellow card: Ma’afu (30)Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)Man of the Match: David Pocock Attendance: 67,253For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here.
England’s outside-centre options for South Africa tourEddie Jones will be looking to finish his third season at the helm of England with a flourish after suffering a torrid Six Nations campaign, plummeting from first place to fifth in a mere 12 months. For the sake of the players’ confidence, their buy-in to Jones’s methods and the fans continuous support, England need a convincing win in South Africa this June.Jonathan Joseph has been ruled out of the three-Test series because he requires foot surgery, so here we highlight the myriad of outside-centre options available to Jones, what they bring to the table and their chances of featuring against Rassie Erasmus’s Springboks.Ben Te’o Club Worcester Warriors Age 31 England caps 13 Lions caps TwoThe former rugby league man has often been shown favour by Jones for his hard-hitting running lines and physicality in defence. Te’o offers cast-iron punching power and an offloading game developed during his seven-year career in league, but has been shown up for his decision-making and speed in defence at times, and is not getting any younger.Power play: Ben Te’o tests Johnny Sexton’s defence (Getty Images)Elliot DalyClub Wasps Age 25 England caps 18 Lions caps ThreeThe England and Lions wing has all the intelligence, distribution skills and electric pace to succeed in England’s midfield. In addition to his extensive experience at centre during his breakthrough with Wasps, Daly possesses a nuclear warhead in his left boot that can just as easily slot a 60m penalty as pounce on the opportunity to punish his opponents for territorial space left vacant in the backfield.The only issue with starting Daly at 13 is the loss of his proven quality as one of the best wingers on the international scene.Over time: Elliot Daly scores a try against Ireland (Getty Images)Henry SladeClub Exeter Chiefs Age 25 England caps TenSlade brings something very different to Joseph, Te’o and Daly. While the three previous midfield options have searing pace, fancy footwork or brute force, the Chiefs centre is an out-and-out playmaker and uses silky smooth skills to weave through defences or set up team-mates.However, the Chiefs star’s inconsistency at Test level may be held against him.In the pink: Henry Slade leads the attack for Exeter (Getty Images)Alex LozowskiClub Saracens Age 24 England caps FourUtilised primarily at inside-centre by England, Lozowski has proven for Saracens that he has all the attributes of an international-class 13. Speed, playmaking ability, monstrous defence and excellent touches from the boot – skills the 24-year-old has in common with all-time greats like Brian O’Driscoll and Conrad Smith.On the move: Alex Lozowski makes a break for Saracens (Getty Images)Joe Marchant Contenders: Jack Nowell and Elliot Daly could play at 13 for England (Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Following the news of Jonathan Joseph’s season-ending foot injury, Ali Stokes assesses the men available to Eddie Jones for the tour of South Africa this summer Club Harlequins Age 21 England caps UncappedMarchant has suffered extensively in recent years with injury, but is back terrorising defences for Harlequins. Electric pace, footwork to rival any other competitors and the vision developed as a fly-half throughout the age grades makes the 21-year-old a genuine attacking weapon.Similar to Joseph, both in build and playing style, Marchant seems the most fitting replacement if Jones is after a like-for-like substitute.Running man: Joe Marchant on the attack for Harlequins (Getty Images)Manu TuilagiClub Leicester Tigers Age 26 England caps 26 Lions caps One“If Tuilagi was fit…”, a phrase uttered more than any other in history when it comes to England’s midfield. The Samoa-born wrecking ball of a centre is most well known for tormenting the All Blacks in 2012 and 2014. When fit and firing, no player in the world can stand toe-to-toe with Tuilagi’s destructive capability, but he is yet to prove his durability with Leicester.Ups and downs: Manu Tuilagi has struggled with injuries (Getty Images)Jack NowellClub Exeter Chiefs Age 25 England caps 26 caps Lions caps TwoThe England and Lions wing is currently under consideration as a centre by Eddie Jones. With a lack of top-end speed compared to the likes of Daly, Jonny May and Anthony Watson but impressive displays of power and footwork against some of the best in the world, the Cornishman possesses tremendous prospects at outside-centre.Nowell may not be as abrasive as Te’o or Tuilagi, but what he lacks in stopping power he makes up for with tenacity.Work ethic: Jack Nowell tries to evade Scotland tackles (Getty Images)Henry TrinderClub Gloucester Age 29 England caps UncappedThe 29-year-old is the most balanced runner in England and has often featured on the wing under Johan Ackermann this season. If not for a career plagued with injuries, the Gloucester man may have established himself in the England set-up years ago.Fly over: Henry Trinder scores a try for Gloucester (Getty Images)THE VERDICTI believe Joe Marchant is the obvious choice at outside-centre for England. With his playmaking experience as a fly-half and threat ball-in-hand, he offers the best option in both the short and long term. Alex Lozowski should pair up with Marchant in midfield, filling in for Owen Farrell, who deserves an extended rest not enforced by injury. George Ford will continue to work as the architect of England’s attack in the dual playmaking system alongside two centres with devastating strike-running capability and solid track records in defence.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The ‘Honey Badger’ will be the Bachelor for season six of the TV series in Australia. Cummins’s nickname is the ‘Honey Badger’, a title he gave himself after seeing a documentary on the animal.“I saw the honey badger, and became fascinated,” he said. “It is just so aggressive and will never say die. One of the stories which inspired me is that it is documented that a honey badger killed a male lion in a one-on-one battle.“What happened was that he clawed the canastas off the big fella, going the old one-two. The big fella walked around the corner and fell over. The honey badger got up, shook himself, and just trotted off. For me, that was outstanding.”Because of quotes like the one above, Cummins has become a fan favourite across the globe. In fact the winger has become famous for his funny quotes, and you can watch a selection of the best below. Network Ten executive producer of The Bachelor Australia, Hilary Innes, said: “We are delighted that Nick has agreed to be Australia’s next Bachelor.“He will bring a refreshing, honest and cheeky energy to season six. On top of all his incredible achievements, he is both loveable and surprising. I know he will be a phenomenal Bachelor.”In a statement, Cummins said: “I’m really looking forward to throwing everything at this opportunity to finding the one.“The past ten or so years has been on the road playing rugby or working on my projects, so I’m very excited to be part of a show that is centred around love and good times.” No question, he is going to bring some comedy to the love-related role.Don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook and Twitter. Nick Cummins ‘The Bachelor’ Series Up And Running In AustraliaThe 15-Test former Wallaby Nick Cummins has ben announced as The Bachelor in the latest TV-series in Australia.The series is currently in full swing as it started on the 15th of August and there have already been some funny moments including Cummins’ reaction to the first kiss of the series. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
Chatting away: Marlie Packer and Jackson Wray (pics by Sam Riley) Huddle up: Saracens women in pre-season training (Sam Riley)RW: What about aligning the men’s and women’s teams? There is now more access to staff etc, but what’s it like being under one flag now?MP: It suits the women to have the Saracens identity and to play here at Allianz Park is phenomenal, like using the home changing room. That is different from most teams in the Tyrrells Premiership because week in, week out they won’t get the same facilities. We train here too, which is awesome.It has all come in time. We can say we want more of this and more of that, but we need to let our rugby do the talking. It’s been phenomenal that the men and women have won the Premiership. That’s helped us gain a partnership, helped us get up there for a merger with the men so if we keep doing what we’re doing, playing at the standard we’re playing at, then who knows, in a couple of seasons we might get an off-season (trip) with the boys and show them a thing or two!The gap is closing and they’re supporting us massively.Fans’ favourite: Lock George Kruis poses for photos (Sam Riley)RW: How has Saracens changed over the years?JW: It’s come miles. When I first came here, two generations of coaches ago when Alan Gaffney was here, it was massively different. To be honest, the young guys were nowhere near. Honestly probably as far away as the women have been in the past. That’s how different it was. It didn’t change for a while. Then changes came, bringing everything closer together so it’s a squad of 60 with the academy involved.It’s very, very difficult to not get better if you’ve got people here who are working hard, doing what they do, alongside good coaches. Then we had to evolve and get better again…There’s probably a handful of us still here. That was the start. My age group and Alex Goode just before that; we’re all still here and that is a really important thing in a load of ways as you can make sure the thing carries on. It’s light years away from what it used to be.Answers: Jackson Wray (pics by Sam Riley)MP: I think that’s across the board in the women’s section. There’s a lot of old-timers. Sonia Green has been here for years and years, and I can remember playing her as a wee snapper for Bristol. I think Saracens have definitely got that (thing that makes people stay).I can remember playing for Bristol, looking in at Sarries and thinking, ‘They’ve got something special. They get it all given to them, nice kit etc.’ But when I came here, it’s actually hard work and it’s the players that drive that. People want to play for the club, there’s that desire and it’s not just done on people pushing money.RW: How do you stop things from getting stale?JW: We’ve been working on a lot of new things…RW: Can you share any details?JW: Probably not, no! We’re always thinking of ways to be better. Loads of little things. We’re talking about tactics, techniques, all sorts. There’s not one part of the game that will be the same as last year. We’re trying to take the things that didn’t go as well and make them better in every area. If we weren’t doing that we’d be standing still, which you don’t want to do. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Saracens Women won the Tyrrells Premier 15s last season, while the men’s team clinched the Premiership title. While they had the same name, the women and men had previously operated as separate entities, but this season the two sides have been brought together.We got to see that up close when we visited Allianz Park for a fans’ day recently and you can find out more about that in the new issue of Rugby World magazine, which is out now.We also sat down with back-rowers Marlie Packer and Jackson Wray to get their thoughts on the new season, with the men kicking off against Newcastle this Sunday and the women beginning their season away to Firwood Waterloo on 8 September…Rugby World: What was the key to the women’s Premier 15s success last season?Marlie Packer: I think the strength within the whole squad, not just from one to 23 but all the other players within the set-up. Obviously we lost international players around Six Nations time and some of those games were critical, like we got a draw with Gloucester-Hartpury – that one point we really needed.Together: The back-rowers (Sam Riley)I think our turning point, when we thought we could go the whole way and win it, came pretty late in the season. It was when we played Gloucester-Hartpury away in the semi-final. We won that by a lot of points, but for a lot of the season most of our tries came from the forwards, but the backs were on fire that day. Everything seemed to click and the whole squad were en pointe.RW: How about for the men? Was it the way you rebounded from seven losses in a row in all competitions?Jackson Wray: I think all the bits we learnt along the way helped us win it. By the end of the season, not in terms of playing but how we were day-to-day, we changed massively from where we started. So how we prepared throughout the year. That tough period taught us a lot about ourselves.When you lose or don’t play well, that’s when you find the most out. We stripped a lot back and we focused on other things which ultimately led to us playing some unbelievable stuff towards the end of the year – blowing teams away, physically out-doing teams. That was down mainly to that tough period.It was more a case of us having done things the same for so long; it worked really well and then we realised the pressures and challenges were different. That’s when we realised that we had so much experience, so many top players who had played at the highest level so as a group we were in a different place than we were. We used the group experience to learn from each other and to guide what we do and really find out the direction we wanted to go in.Related: Premiership Players to WatchWe turned a corner and started playing some really good stuff, as well as getting some injured players back – we had some savage injuries last season, which really tested our 60-man squad. At some points we were missing 18 or 20 players for periods. But we picked up points in tough periods. It was a mixture of things.We won the league last year but it feels like we haven’t in lots of ways.RW: What can change this time around?MP: This season we’ve got a new head coach in Alex Austerberry. This season is about lifting, going again and looking at the things that went right last season, but there are a lot of things that we maybe didn’t quite do as a team. So we have a bit more structure. We actually need to become more of a team again, but keep that winning philosophy.Our personal discipline can improve. If you look back to our final in Ealing, Quins could have beaten us if they’d kicked a few of the penalties we gave away. We got let off there. Our defence was phenomenal and we went three or four games without conceding a point, so we need to keep making sure we work hard on that and in attack we need to get our big ball-carriers on the ball, but have that structure between us and buy in.We should play very differently, but still excitingly this season. As Saracens men and women prepare to defend their English titles, we speak to two back-row stars… Read more about changes at Saracens in the latest issue of Rugby World – in shops now.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Six Nations Table 2021 LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The Millennium trophy is contested between England and Ireland and will be up for grabs in the opening week of the tournament as England face the Irish in Dublin.Centenary Quaich TrophyPerhaps a little unheard of, this trophy is competed for by Ireland and Scotland. Expand Six Nations Fixtures 2022 The 2022 Six Nations… Six Nations Venues Also make sure you know about the Fixtures, Injuries, Table, Venues, TV Coverage by clicking on the highlighted links.Finally, don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Six Nations Fixtures 2022 Expand Six Nations Fixtures 2022 Giuseppe Garibaldi TrophyFrance and Italy compete for this – let’s call it an ‘unconventional looking’ – trophy. Named after Italian national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi, it commemorates the life of one of the fathers of a unified Italy. He also served in the French Army during the Franco-Prussian War.Auld Alliance TrophyThe newest of all the trophies, Scotland and France competed for it for the first time in 2018.2018: The Auld Alliance trophy was new for the 2018 tournament (Getty Images)Doddie Weir CupWales and Scotland compete for the cup first introduced in Autumn of 2018.Follow our Six Nations homepage which we update regularly with news and features. What trophies are won during the Six Nations? There are plenty up for grabs so lets take a look at all of them. Six Nations Venues Who is leading the way in the Six… Up for grabs: The two trophies main trophies during the Six Nations (Getty Images) Six Nations Table 2021 We give the lowdown on the six venues… Collapse Six Nations TrophiesThere are several trophies to be won in the Six Nations. Below we have listed them all including the many rivalry trophies.Six Nations TrophiesSix Nations Championship TrophyThe Six Nations Championship Trophy is what all the teams are competing for. The trophy was originally conceived by the Earl of Westmorland, and was first presented to the winners of the 1993 championship, France. This lasted until 2014 when a new trophy was designed which is used today and pictured below.Ultimate Prize: The Six Nations trophy (Getty Images)Triple Crown Trophy The Triple Crown trophy is awarded to the country that beats all the other home nations. England are the current holders of this after beating Scotland, Ireland and Wales during the 2020 tournament. Much like the Grand Slam, this had been an informal honour, however from 2006 onwards, an official trophy was awarded for the achievement.Rivalry TrophiesThere are also several trophies which are awarded for victories in specific matches during the Six Nations. The most famous is the Calcutta Cup.Calcutta CupContested between England and Scotland each year. Named after the Calcutta Rugby Football Club, it was formed after the club was disbanded and the members melted down rupees to make the cup. Scotland won the trophy in 2018 after beating England at Murrayfield and retained it last year after a famous 38-all draw.Rivalry: England and Scotland compete for the Calcutta Cup (Getty Images)Millennium Trophy
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Rugby Rant: Make wheelchair rugby more inclusiveBWR, THE governing body of wheelchair rugby in the UK, do a fantastic job. The quad game continues to ascend both domestically and on the international front. But with the relatively new WR5s variant, for me an opportunity is being overlooked.WR5s was introduced to create a competitive outlet for players who have too much physical function to qualify to play the Paralympic quad game. It’s an attempt by a so-called inclusive sport to become more inclusive. And yet for me a strong element of exclusivity remains.At junior level, wheelchair rugby is principally promoted in SEND education environments and is being played by both the able-bodied and individuals with physical impairments. This works well until a child reaches adulthood. At which point a fully able-bodied person would likely no longer qualify to compete.Sitting target: former Wallaby Phil Waugh during an exhibition game at the 2018 Invictus Games (Getty)I feel very uneasy about this. When you also consider that every able-bodied person, from the casual sports person to the pro athlete, that has given the sport a try at our taster sessions has got out of their wheelchair at the end exhausted and with a beaming smile on their face, I’m left questioning how inclusive our sport truly is.“Allowing the able-bodied to play will make our sport truly inclusive and increase the player base”I’m puzzled by the resistance that exists when it comes to allowing the able-bodied to compete in our fantastic WR5s game. Particularly when you consider that in almost every instance, an able-bodied person would naturally be at a disadvantage when strapped into a rugby wheelchair.For example, an everyday wheelchair user’s upper body will be more suited to propelling a wheelchair than someone getting in a chair only to play the game. The power-to-weight ratio of a person with all four limbs would be inferior to an amputee’s in almost every instance, as they have greater mass to propel. Caught unawares: Tigers’ Joe Smith steals the ball off Northampton (Claire Jones/Redhatphoto.com) I truly believe that taking a leaf out of wheelchair basketball’s book by allowing able-bodied people to play WR5s is the way forward.It will make our sport truly inclusive and so increase the player base, which in turn will increase wheelchair rugby‘s popularity and its coverage in the media.It’s true that red tape and funding hurdles would need to be overcome. But if the desire is there, then no objects are insurmountable.Local rivals: Needham (right) closes in on a Northampton opponent (Claire Jones/Redhatphoto.com)This article originally appeared in Rugby World magazine in May. Is wheelchair rugby missing a trick? David Needham, secretary of Leicester Tigers WRC, says a relaxing of the rules would allow the sport to embrace everyone 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.