France team to take on Ireland – Poitrenaud back

first_imgDamien Traille seems to be the player France coach Marc Lièvremont cannot do without as he has picked him in a different position for the third Test running. Outside-half when they had a shocker against Australia, Traille was played at full-back in the 34-21 win over Scotland and now he will play at inside centre in Dublin on Sunday.To be fair to Lièvremont this latest change has been forced on him as Clément Poitrenaud comes into the starting XV at full-back, replacing the injured Maxime Mermoz. The veterans Yannick Jauzion and Sébastien Chabal stay on the bench for the trip to the Aviva Stadium.View highlights of France 34 Scotland 21 here LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS France team to play IrelandClément Poitrenaud; Yoann Huget, Aurélien Rougerie, Damien Traille, Maxime Medard; François Trinh-Duc, Morgan Parra; Thomas Domingo, William Servat, Nicolas Mas, Julien Pierre, Lionel Nallet, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Julien Bonnaire and Imanol Harinordoquy.center_img Replacements: 16-Guilhem Guirado, 17-Sylvain Marconnet, 18-Jérôme Thion, 19-Sébastien Chabal, 20-Dimitri Yachvili, 21-Yannick Jauzion, 22-Vincent Clerclast_img read more

Magners League Semi-finals Verdict

first_imgMunster dominated the set-piece, too, getting the rub of the green at scrum time and disrupting the Ospreys lineout, particularly in the first half, so that the Welsh side couldn’t get decent first-phase ball.Spent force? Munster’s scrum is not as feared as it once wasDanny Barnes scored both Munster’s tries but as Paul O’Connell said they “left a few tries out there” and they will need to raise their game to get past Leinster in two weeks, especially with the men in blue likely to have the edge over a Munster pack that is something of a fading unit.Tony McGahan did a great job of painting Munster as underdogs, the tag that they’re most comfortable with, when saying: “We’ll probably be facing the Heineken Cup champions in two weeks’ time. It’ll be a different situation for us to be underdogs at home in a final.”Munster will want a return to the typical fiery atmosphere at Thomond Park, something that was missing on Saturday night with both end terraces and plenty of seats empty. Selling these semi-finals to fans is something the Magners League needs to look at in coming seasons. TAGS: LeinsterMunsterOspreysUlster Flying the flag: Munster and Leinster fans will be showing their support on Saturday 28 MayBy Sarah Mockford, Rugby World Features EditorSO THE Magners League Grand Final is decided; it will be an all-Ireland affair between Munster and Leinster, the top two in the end-of-season table going head-to-head at Thomond Park on Saturday 28 May.Worrying times: Brian O’Driscoll has a knee injuryLeinster sealed their place with an 18-3 win over Ulster on Friday night. It was a comfortable win for the Dubliners as they managed to cut open Ulster’s defence with relative ease. What was not so comfortable for Leinster fans was the steady succession of players leaving the field injured, Brian O’Driscoll, Mike Ross and Richardt Strauss the three of most concern, especially with the Heineken Cup final less than a week away.Ulster made life difficult for themselves with poor execution, too many spilled balls and turnovers giving a Leinster team the opportunity to counter-attack.As for Munster, they should have beaten the Ospreys by far more than 18-11. They dominated possession and territory to such an extent that the only time the Ospreys got into the Munster 22 was when they scored a late try through Richard Fussell. In fact, the Ospreys didn’t show the attacking intent that brought them more tries than any other team in the regular league season until the final ten minutes. By then the game was already lost.The Ospreys commitment in defence must be applauded and to limit Munster to just 18 points in such a one-sided game was quite an achievement, but big questions need to be addressed about their game plan when they had the ball. Why continually kick to a back three containing Doug Howlett, Keith Earls and Felix Jones? They are all players who welcome the chance to run it back – and they run it back well more to the point. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Simple geography makes it difficult and a week is extremely short notice to book flights and accommodation, and tends to make it more expensive. The Ospreys sold only 14 tickets to the game! Perhaps the clubs could step in to offer chartered flights or subsidised hotel rooms – it’s clear no one benefits from subdued atmospheres like the one at Thomond Park. They need to make the play-offs a big occasion, as the Aviva Premiership has managed to do, even if that means naming a final venue at the start of the season and trying to draw fans from all 12 competing teams.That’s for the future, though. At least with an all-Ireland final this time the Grand Final should get the packed stadium it deserves.last_img read more

Australia v Wales: 1st Test preview

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Wheels and steelThe speed on display in both back-lines is impressive, but the power adds another dimension. Jonathan Davies and Scott Williams will have to be at their defensive best to stop Rob Horne and Pat McCabe – both strong runners – while Wales’ giant wings, George North and Alex Cuthbert, are sure to spell danger for the Wallabies too.Then you have high-ball experts Adam Ashley-Cooper and Leigh Halfpenny, neither of whom will shy away from launching counter-attacks, and two fly-halves in Priestland and Berrick Barnes who can mix up play with a varied kicking game.VerdictThe Wallabies will be desperate to get back to winning ways after that defeat by Scotland, but I’m plumping for Wales to inflict more pain by winning in Brisbane. The winning margin? It’ll be close, so four points.Australia v Wales, Saturday 9 June, 11am BST, Brisbane, Live on Sky Sports 2 NOT FOR FEATURED AUSTRALIA: Adam Ashley-Cooper; Cooper Vuna, Rob Horne, Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane; Berrick Barnes, Will Genia; Benn Robinson, Tatafu Polota Nau, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Nathan Sharpe, Scott Higginbotham, David Pocock (captain), Wycliff Palu.Replacements: Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Nic White, Anthony Fainga’a, Mike Harris.WALES: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, George North; Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Ken Owens, Adam Jones, Bradley Davies, Luke Charteris, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton (captain), Toby Faletau.Replacements: Matthew Rees, Paul James, Alun Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones, Lloyd Williams, James Hook, Ashley Beck. Wing man: Alex Cuthbert scored the crucial try for Wales against France – can he do similar damage in Australia?By Sarah Mockford, Rugby World Features EditorIT WILL be Tri-Nations champions versus Six Nations champions when Australia and Wales kick off their three-Test series in Brisbane on Saturday – and it should be an enthralling encounter.The likes of Jamie Roberts and Quade Cooper may be missing from the line-ups, but there are still plenty of world-class players on display. The Wallabies came out on top against Wales at the World Cup and in last year’s December Test in Cardiff, but Scotland proved on Tuesday that they are beatable and Sam Warburton’s side will be keen to notch a first Wales win over the Wallabies on Australian soil since 1969. Here are some key areas…Seven from heaven: David PocockSuper sevensThe battle between captains David Pocock and Sam Warburton – two of the best opensides in world rugby – is sure to be ferocious. They are both master jacklers and will be pouncing on the ball at the breakdown faster than a fat kid on cake (to use the words of 50 Cent!).Warburton has said that Pocock is the toughest opponent he’s played against, that he has to watch the Wallaby like a hawk, but Warburton is sure to keep Pocock occupied too and both flankers will be looking to win turnover ball for their team. Whoever comes out on top in that area is likely to lead their team to victory – turnover ball is the most dangerous with which to attack.Scrum dancingMuch has been made of Australia’s advancements up front in recent years, but they struggled at scrum time against the Scots on Tuesday and Wales could cause them similar problems. Adam Jones is probably the best tighthead in the world and he will be piling the pressure on Benn Robinson while Gethin Jenkins will want to get stuck in to his opposite number, Sekope Kepu, too.Starter for two: Ken OwensKen Owens, rewarded for his strong form in the Six Nations with a starting berth at hooker, completes Wales’ front row and they certainly seem to have the edge over their Wallaby counterparts. If they get decent ball at the set-piece, Rhys Priestland is sure to get the backs firing.last_img read more

Heineken Cup round three: Team of the weekend

first_img True Blue: Rhys Patchell impressed during his side’s enthralling win over Glasgow Warriors at the Arms ParkBy Charlie Morgan15. Robbie Henshaw (Connacht)Some believe him to be Ireland’s successor to Brian O’Driscoll at outside-centre. Some reckon full-back is his calling. Wherever Henshaw’s future lies, it’s very big and very bright. Thanks to an outrageous bit of skill in the lead-up to Connacht’s Heineken Cup upset-clinching score to underline a fine outing, Toulouse know that now.14. Timoci Nagusa (Montpellier)It seemed fitting that Nagusa’s opposite man Miles Benjamin grabbed a brace – the Fijian was as comatose in defence as he was electric in attack. That said, there were two tries (one disallowed), an assist and some breathtaking play from him. Luke Fitzgerald and Keith Earls brought a decent case for more Irish personnel, but Nagusa lit up Welford Road.13. Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster)O’Driscoll has long since drained the well of superlatives dry, but this felt among his most special displays. A through-the-legs wonder-pass set the ball rolling and an interception try capped it off. In between that, there was plenty to purr about.Classy operator: Bowden tied everything together for Tigers12. Dan Bowden (Leicester Tigers)His midfield partner Niki Goneva was a fiendish wrecking ball as Leicester exploded out of the blocks on Sunday, but Bowden brought the cultured touches that cut Montpellier apart. Having served his three-year residency period, this former New Zealand Under 21 now qualifies for England, too – food for thought, indeed.11. Jonny May (Gloucester)The crazy, mazy runner at last enjoyed some semblance of a platform as Gloucester’s forwards fronted up at Murrayfield. He capitalised fully, laying on an assist for Martyn Thomas following a sublime 50-metre break and provided a constant headache for Edinburgh’s defence.10. Rhys Patchell (Cardiff Blues)This excellent 20 year-old has it all – silky distribution, a thunderous boot and bags of tenacity. Scored a try and smashed over a penalty from close to 60 metres, while many other lovely interventions (not least a no-look offload in the shadow of his own posts) confounded the Glasgow defence. Warren Gatland has to have taken note.9. Kieran Marmion (Connacht)Another young Irishman enhancing his rocketing reputation, Marmion was tidy around the park and shunted over for the short-range effort that clinched Connacht’s astounding victory.1. Thomas Domingo (Clermont) A weekend of French woe did not extend to the unthinkable – Clermont losing at fortress Stade Marcel-Michelin. Domingo was typically rambunctious in helping extend Les Jaunards’ unbeaten home stretch to 69 games, racking up 11 carries to soften up the Scarlets.2. Sean Cronin (Leinster)One early hook against the head proved a false dawn for Dylan Hartley and Northampton. Leinster’s top metre-maker, Cronin produced running lines that were fully committed yet icily intelligent – personifying the approach that obliterated Saints.3. Taufa’ao Filise (Cardiff Blues)It appears nobody has told Mr Filise that most 36 year-old tightheads are content with leaning into scrums long enough to earn a beer. This supremely fit Tongan made 14 tackles during a harum-scarum clash at the Arms Park, shackling the dangerous Nikola Matawalu around the fringes on a few occasions.Runaway train: Sean Cronin on the charge4. George Robson (Harlequins)Graham Kitchener gave Stuart Lancaster a hefty nudge as the outstanding figure in a scintillating East Midlands encounter. Robson was colossal though, and it would be criminal to ignore Harlequins’ fantastic bonus-point sojourn in Nantes, which was forged from their pack’s iron reolve.5. Craig Clarke (Connacht)Some laughed when Connacht leader Clarke said his team could arrest a miserable losing streak at the Stade Ernest-Wallon. They bargained against a back-to-back Super 15 winner with enough juice in the tank to make 18 tackles.6. Macauley Cook (Cardiff Blues)Scampering away to send Alex Cuthbert down the touchline in the opening exchanges on Friday night, Cook set the tone for an all-action shift. For sheer, bloody-minded work-rate, the 21 year-old epitomised his injury-ravaged side’s desire.7. Sean Dougall (Munster)Having started the season in the British and Irish Cup with Munster A, Dougall is becoming more influential for his province with early opportunity. A try within two minutes foreshadowed plenty of hard-work, not least when the red-head harried after a galloping Luke Charteris to force a forward pass <> at Welford Road on December 8, 2013 in Leicester, England. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS 8. Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier)A 74-point seesaw thriller was open enough for Beattie to showcase his marauding best, and the Scotsman delivered handsomely by mixing robust charges with impressive dexterity – thoroughly entertaining.last_img read more

Premiership player watch: Semesa Rokoduguni, Bath

first_imgAnother scintillating performance against Saracens on Friday evening enhanced Semesa Rokoduguni’s credentials for a full England debut this autumn. We take a look at his showings so far this season. In May, we may well look back on this Aviva Premiership weekend as a watershed for Bath – three days that encapsulated a newfound edge and dogged durability. No longer will they be bullied or pushed around. Mike Ford’s West Country side has found a bit of bite.A 21-11 victory over Saracens on Friday evening spoke for itself. It was a triumph founded on old-fashioned tenacity. Bath outhunted Paul Gustard’s self-styled wolf pack, suffocated them and stormed the Premiership summit.Then Sunday saw a portrait of incoming Sam Burgess’s considerable qualities. Having crunched his cheekbone with his opening carry of the NRL final, the high-profile code-hopper allayed sickening pain and guided South Sydney Rabbitohs to glory on a tsunami of emotion.Burgess racked up an incredible individual tally of 225 running metres and 35 tackles. More than anything though, this game demonstrated intangible attributes – immense charisma, dogged desire, an innate aura of leadership – that he will bring to Bath.Remember, Ford senior still has Carl Fearns and Francois Louw to return. It is tough to imagine them taking a backward step from here; such is the spikiness about the squad.Incoming: Bath are soon to be bolstered by BurgessThe knock-on effect from this abrasive muscle is more eye-catching. A blockbuster backline, led by gain-line slicer George Ford, is positively purring.Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph are impressing in a sparky midfield partnership  – each snared a try and an assist each against Saracens. Even so, neither managed to snatch the official man-of-the-match award away from a Fijian-born firecracker.In Semesa Rokoduguni, Bath have a diamond. More than that, they have a Test-quality wing who could easily be the wildcard to energise England’s Rugby World Cup bid. While relentless work-rate without the ball paved the way for Friday’s victory, Rokoduguni’s ambitious bursts on the counter catalysed momentum.All told, his fleet feet and deceptive power beat the challenge of nine Saracens defenders. Staggeringly, he only carried the ball eight times. Those figures boosted his overall total for the campaign so far to 22 tackle-busts from 37 runs. That ratio puts him firmly in the category of what Stuart Lancaster calls a “something from nothing player.” You can factor in nine clean breaks in four matches too. That said, while Rokoduguni may need some iffy defensive habits ironed out, he is spectacularly good with ball in hand. From the June series in New Zealand, Lancaster knows one of the final pieces in his jigsaw is a ruthless, clinical attacker. Bath’s bright-eyed wide-man is an outstanding candidate.Read what the experts have to say about Sam Burgess’s switch to union in the November issue of Rugby World – in shops from Tuesday 5 October! Click here for all the latest deals, or find out how to download the digital edition here. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS A reconnaissance tank soldier who toured Afghanistan seven years ago, Rokoduguni is a hugely humble, God-fearing figure. More than half of his post-match interview the other night constituted of him pointing skyward and thanking the big man upstairs. Still, modesty won’t stop what seems an inexorable surge towards a full international debut.Blooded by the Saxons in Scotland this January, the 27 year-old feature for an England XV in June’s Barbarians fixture. Hulking opposite number Hosea Gear caused some problems, but Rokoduguni certainly held his own. And this term, he has hit the ground sprinting.His haul of four tries underlines valuable predatory instincts, no better illustrated by this opportunistic interception for the second score of a brace in Bath’s 53-26 thrashing of London Welsh last month.Hunting the shoulder of fly-half Ford is also proving fruitful, and this short-range effort – just escaping the clutches of Danny Cipriani to skate over in the corner – set up an opening-day triumph over Sale Sharks.However, just as attractive as formidable finishing to Lancaster will be Rokoduguni’s footballing skill, unsurprisingly honed in sevens. As England strive towards an all-court approach played at pace, decision-making such as this, in the lead-up to Peter Stringer’s try against Leicester Tigers, stands out.Not content with searing 60 metres upfield, Rokoduguni remains calm enough to link up with Alafoti Faosiliva, who in turn delivers the scoring pass.Now into the groove for new club Harlequins, Marland Yarde is very likely to be trusted in England’s first autumn clash with the All Blacks on November 8. The second wing slot is up for grabs. Jack Nowell, Christian Wade and Jonny May have youth and time in the set-up on their side. They must be considered front runners.last_img read more

Farewell to Conrad Smith, the All Blacks facilitator

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Farewell: Conrad Smith will be hoping to bow out in style on Saturday. Photo: Getty images. By Will MacphersonThis weekend we bid farewell to a raft of once-in-a-generation All Blacks, the backbone of the world’s most successful team. Indeed, the first – the only one to have scored in a World Cup Final – Tony Woodcok, has gone, hamstring strained, to little fanfare. Keven Mealamu, Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith exit stage left after the Final too. That’s six men – half gone for good, half off to France – with legitimate claims to make the All Blacks greatest XV ever. Even for a nation with a talent pool as rich, deep and envy-inducing as New Zealand, will take some replacing.It’s, Smith, the last of this illustrious list – and the only one who will retire without a century of caps – who will arguably be the most missed. Sure, the explosive Malakai Fekitoa, 23 and 13 caps deep already, will come in for some regular action as a Test rugby 13. He’ll bring more attacking edge – at least he’ll hit the line at greater speed – than 2015-vintage Smith, but the All Blacks will lose plenty besides: defensive organiser, line-straightener, support runner, offloader, nerve for a disaster, wily noggin.Need for speed: Malakai Fekitoa will bring plenty of attacking thrust. Photo: Getty imagesTalking to Smith, whether one-on-one or in a press conference, gives an ounce of insight into what New Zealand will miss. He is one of those rare sportsmen who a journalist speaks to and has that sneaking suspicion that the interviewee could make a better fist of the interviewer’s job than the interviewer himself. If only – by the way – I could play outside-centre like him. Each answer is considered, no word wasted, and Smith is platitude-averse – not so much telling it as it is, but possessing a clarity of thought and understanding of his subject that means cliché is redundant and honesty easy. That law degree came in handy, alright.There are two sportsmen Smith reminds me of. The first is as a result of the title of an autobiography – footballer Dennis Bergkamp’s “Stillness and Speed”. At 34, pace – proper, searing pace – has not been a part of Smith’s make-up for some years, but the gallop is still there: like Bergkamp, things seem to happen in slow motion, his speed of thought allowing him to be ahead of the game, hitting those superb lines, foreseeing where opposition attackers are headed and what they’ll do, then making the tackle. Hell, he even makes tackling and jackling – at times he’s felt like an additional back-row, so strong were both those skills – look silky, effortless and graceful. Size isn’t everything, brains are.“Stillness and speed”: Smith makes makes tackling and jackling look effortless and gracefulThe other is his compatriot, the cricketer Daniel Vettori, another long-serving, oft-unheralded, utterly adaptable sportsman who got through leg work that helped more glamorous sorts thrive. Both, unquestionably, were the brains of the operation in their respective black-clad national teams, and carry an appropriately bookish demeanour – softly-spoken and ever-so-slightly nerdy. The comparison is helped, too, by the fact that both have spent much of their career impeccably facially hirsute, graduating from five o’clock shadows to the sort of bushy brown beards donned by vegan Wellington baristas. There’s lots to love here. Dynamic duo: Conrad Smith and Ma’a Nonu will leave a big hole in the All Blacks teamSmith’s legacy will be indelibly intertwined with Ma’a Nonu’s, and what a pairing they have been. Saturday will be their 62nd Test together (they’ve also played more than 50 games of Super Rugby together). It’s no coincidence that just five of those have been lost. Unquestionably, Nonu’s development from bolshy, battering ram but reluctant passer in the 13 channel or on the wing to the globe’s most rounded inside centre, complete with accomplished – at times sumptuous – kicking and passing games has been helped by partnering Smith so many times. They leave a gaping hole, one that – cliché klaxon – rugby fans probably won’t be able to fully appreciate until it has to be filled.It is the sheer paucity of bad games (that day at Twickenham in 2012 is the only one that immediately springs to mind and, surprise, surprise, the All Blacks lost) that is likely to truly stand the test of time with Smith. It is his constant excellence – with Nonu, of course – that has allowed Steve Hansen to experiment with his fly-halves, wings and his full-backs between World Cups – and indeed in the middle of big games – and to try different things: there’s a constant: the defensive organiser and decision-maker.Food for thought: Should Ian Ritchie court Conrad Smith as an adviser?Smith is off to Pau in France, for the experiene and no doubt to top up the bank balance. Rightly so. Hurricanes and New Zealand will miss him dearly. But here’s a thought: as the RFU begin their fittingly shambolic review into a chastening World Cup, why not get out that bulging cheque book and get Smith on board? Not yet as a coach, but as an adviser. The man has banked more about backs play – in defence and offence – than any current Englishman at this World Cup. At least that way Test rugby would not have to say cheerio for good. With the heavyweight clash between Australia and New Zealand approaching, we pay homage to one of the All blacks’ all time greatslast_img read more

Hannah Botterman swaps painting and decorating for professional rugby

first_img Hannah Botterman swaps painting and decorating for professional rugby As Hannah Botterman leads the way into the Saracens changing room at Allianz Park, finding a quieter spot to do this interview, we pass the word ‘energy’ emblazoned on the wall. It is there to motivate the home team before going out onto the pitch but it is also a fitting word to describe Botterman.The Saracens and England prop calls herself “sociable” and she’s a popular team member. She’s also an all-action front-rower, her recent switch from tighthead to loosehead allowing her to get her hands on the ball more often.“Loosehead is taxing but it’s not as taxing as tighthead, where there is a lot more weight going through you (at scrums),” explains the teenager. “For me, playing loosehead means I can get around the park a bit more, carry more and get into the game more.”The move across the front row came about because of injuries at Saracens at the end of last season and she played at loosehead in their Tyrrells Premier 15s final triumph. She’s adapted well to No 1, just as she did when moving from centre to prop a couple of years ago.“They’re technical positions and I’m enjoying learning about it. I watch videos to see different scrums and how people deal with different situations.As I’ve been a tighthead, I know how looseheads have manipulated me and can understand both parts of the scrum, so it’s about implementing that.”Big cheer: Hannah Botterman scores a try in last year’s Premier 15s final (Getty Images)Two players’ games she admires are Ellis Genge, for his aggressive carries, and Mako Vunipola, for his ball skills, while she describes Vickii Cornborough – her main rival for the England No 1 shirt – as “very technical, an amazing scrummager and unbelievably fit”.It’s Cornborough who she names as her toughest opponent in her early days at tighthead. Yet for all the talk of other players, she wants to develop her own style going forward rather than simply try to replicate others – and at just 19 she has plenty of time to do that.She has already made huge strides since she was first called into the national set-up for the 2017 autumn Internationals against Canada – and it is that experience that made her take the sport more seriously.“As much as playing for England and winning my first cap was incredible, I did feel like I was going to die throughout the whole of it! It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience but I wasn’t in the right shape for what I wanted to achieve. “I feel more comfortable with where I’m at now compared to last season. I’m more physically mature, I’ve lost a lot of weight and aerobically I’ve got a lot fitter. I played 35 minutes in my first Test, then last autumn I played 40 minutes and two 60 minutes, so within a year I’ve made quite big physical strides.Top trio: Marlie Packer, Jess Breach and Hannah Botterman after beating Wales (Getty Images)“I had a chat to myself after I’d got called into camp, ‘You’ve got to stick your head down and start training properly, not just treat it as fun’. I’ve taken it more seriously and I’ve bettered myself, but I feel there is still so much more to come.”A professional England contract will help too. Up until December, Botterman was working as a painter and decorator, a job that actually caused a shoulder injury due to a lot of overhead painting – far from ideal for a prop.Now she is able to work on her rugby full-time, whether in England camps with the whole squad or at Saracens in a smaller group, and crucially has a chance to rest rather than being fatigued from matches, training and work.She recognises there will be more expected of England now they are full-time athletes, but she is pleased there is a route to professional rugby for young female players going forward.“We can’t allow the pressure to get to us. We’re so early in the process of working together and we’ve got lots of new faces, and our aim is to be in the best position possible when it comes to the World Cup (2021). Obviously we want to win now and there will be a lot of pressure on us, but people will also hopefully understand that we’ve only been contracted for two months.“The contracts are amazing. It allows girls to aspire to be a professional sportswoman and it will make the pool of players so much stronger, keeping everyone on their toes and at their best.”Botterman is bringing plenty of energy to England’s Six Nations campaign. Full power: Hannah Botterman on the charge against Ireland (Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALScenter_img Saracens and England prop Hannah Botterman has left her painter and decorator days behind to become a professional rugby player This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Rugby World magazine.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.last_img read more

Matteo Minozzi: How to attack from full-back

first_img“Never be scared to attack. My will is always to attack when the chance arises, but lots of factors affect that decision. Where are you on the field? Do you have support? What kind of match are you involved in? Sometimes you must be more pragmatic, because you should never put your own team under pressure.”Time it right“Running onto a pass at speed, particularly in the wide channels where the pass may be longer, requires a lot of practice. It’s all about the timing. I like entering the line between 13 and the wing; the spaces are wider and you can run in or out, or put in a grubber.”Kicking options“As with running, things like the field zone and opponents’ coverage affect how attack-minded you are when kicking. I normally focus on kicking to touch, but I sometimes use a more attacking grubber 
kick to launch myself or a winger. Good communication between the back three is essential when deciding whether to kick 
or run the ball.”This article originally appeared in the May 2018 edition of Rugby World magazine. The livewire Italy back gives his top tips on attacking from 15 The Exeter Chiefs and England wing explains how… Collapse Be smart Matteo Minozzi: How to attack from full-backIn 2018 Matteo Minozzi became the first Italian to score in four consecutive Six Nations matches and was duly nominated for the Player of the Championship award.Injury curtailed his progress somewhat but when fit he adds a real spark to the Italy back division, with the footwork, pace and vision to cause defenders numerous problems. Here the back-three player explains how – and when – to launch attacks from No 15…Decision-making“What factors determine whether to run the ball back or to kick it? Decision-making is quite instinctive, and you don’t get as much time as you do in training.“My principle is to scan the defensive line: the better aligned it is, the more I’ll kick to put pressure on opponents; then maybe I’ll attack if I get the ball back. Looking for mismatches or dog-legs in their line is also crucial.”MORE SKILLS ADVICE… Expand Expand Mike Haley: How to perfect your positioning at 15 Ready to go: Matteo Minozzi assesses his options during the Six Nations (Getty Images) Danielle Waterman: How to sidestep Mike Haley: How to perfect your positioning at 15 Sale Sharks full-back Mike Haley gives his top… Danielle Waterman: How to sidestep Every month Rugby World features advice from professional players and coaches on specific skills. Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Jack Nowell: How to up your wing work-rate Jack Nowell: How to up your wing work-rate LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS England Women’s full-back Danielle Waterman gives her top…last_img read more

Toulon v Scarlets live stream: How to watch from anywhere

first_imgFast and furious is the plan for Scarlets, who twice came unstuck to this evening’s opponents in the Challenge Cup pool stage. Here’s the lowdown on this quarter-final LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Toulon v Scarlets live stream: How to watch from anywhereThese sides met in the Challenge Cup pool stage, Toulon prevailing 17-16 at State Félix Mayol last November and 27-15 back in Llanelli in January.Those defeats weren’t enough to stop the Welsh franchise progressing from a pool also containing Bayonne and London Irish. Pau looked set to displace them from the top eight seedings but failed to get the try bonus point they needed against Leicester Tigers – having scored three first-half tries.Scarlets, therefore, might regard this evening’s match at Stade Félix Mayol (8.15pm) almost as a free shot. They will want an open game and a quick tempo as they hope to tire the hulking French forwards. Toulon scored three penalty tries from (collapsed) driving mauls in last week’s 36-14 defeat of Lyon in the Top 14, so the danger of conceding penalties in their own half is all too obvious.Threat: Scarlets wing Steff Evans has made 11 offloads in this season’s Challenge Cup (Inpho)“They are athletic, big men,” said Scarlets head coach Glenn Delaney. “We also have some pretty big men in our forward pack too, but the game we want to play is a free-flowing one which has 15 players operating at high skills looking to exploit space.”Wales internationals Jonathan Davies, Liam Williams and Rhys Patchell all ran out of time to make the side after injury, but Scarlets have an impressive-looking line-up.There are five changes to the side that finished the Pro14 campaign by beating Dragons 41-20.Features are European debuts for the club for summer signings Johnny Williams and Sione Kalamafoni, places after injury for Gareth Davies and Blade Thomson, and a return to a former stomping ground for Leigh Halfpenny. Tyler Morgan, signed from the Dragons, is set to make his Scarlets bow.Toulon have won 11 of their last 12 Challenge Cup games, including their last six in a row. The only defeat in that sequence was the 2012 final when they lost to Biarritz. Giant lock Romain Taofifenua returns to their pack while ex-Worcester wing Bryce Heem shifts to centre to accommodate Gabin Villière.Toulon lack the superstar names they had during the days of Jonny Wilkinson and Co, but they have France captain Charles Ollivon in the back row alongside one of the all-time greats in Sergio Parisse, still going strong at the age of 37.Scarlets score a lot of tries from turnovers, in part because Josh Macleod is so adept at turning over the ball. The openside will have a key role to play this afternoon.Goalkicking could also prove a factor, with Toulon having achieved only a 59% success rate in this season’s competition compared to 89% by the Scarlets.The clubs have a history of close matches, such as the 2017 meeting in Toulon when Halfpenny and Johnny McNicholl both crossed for tries. Watch highlights of that clash here.Toulon: Daniel Ikpefan; Masivesi Dakuwaqa, Bryce Heem, Duncan Paia’aua, Gabin Villière; Baptiste Serin, Tane Takulua; Jean Baptiste Gros, Anthony Etrillard (capt), Beka Gigashvili, Swan Rebbadj, Romain Taofifenua, Charles Ollivon, Raphael Lakafia, Sergio Parisse.Replacements: 16 Bastien Soury, 17 Florian Fresia, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Erwan Dridi, 20 Brian Alainu’uese, 21 Julien Ory, 22 Louis Carbonel, 23 Facundo Isa.————————————————————————————————————————————— Scarlets: Leigh Halfpenny; Johnny McNicholl, Steff Hughes, Johnny Williams, Steff Evans; Dan Jones, Gareth Davies; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens (capt), Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Sam Lousi, Blade Thomson, Josh Macleod, Sione Kalamafoni.Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Phil Price, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 James Davies, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Tyler Morgan.Legend: Toulon No 8 Sergio Parisse is the third most-capped player in Test rugby (AFP/Getty Images)Here we explain how to find a reliable live stream for Toulon v Scarlets wherever you are.How to watch Toulon v Scarlets from outside your countryIf you’re abroad, but still want to watch your local Challenge Cup coverage, like Toulon v Scarlets, you can do so by using a VPN – Virtual Private Network. VPNs allow you to get around any geo-blocking by changing your IP address so you appear in a different location and can watch the same legal Challenge Cup live stream you would at home.Our friends at TechRadar have tested hundreds of VPN and recommend ExpressVPN, which is easy to use, has strong security features and allows you to watch on several devices at once, including smart TVs and phones, iPads, tablets, PCs and Macs. Upper hand: Toulon won at Llanelli in January to complete a pool double over today’s opponents (Getty) center_img Plus, ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can try it out for a month for free or sign up for an annual plan and get three months free.Check out ExpressVPNToulon v Scarlets live stream: How to watch from the UK and IrelandToulon v Scarlets, which kicks off at 8.15pm, will be shown live on BT Sport 3 in the UK and Ireland. If you don’t have a BT contract but want to watch the match, don’t worry because you can still easily watch it online.That’s because BT Sport has a contract-free monthly pass that allows you to get instant access to all four of their sport channels for just £25.Get a BT Sport Monthly PassIf you’re from the UK but are overseas when Toulon v Scarlets takes place, you can get your normal live stream but you’ll need a VPN – see the information above.This match is also available on free-to-air Welsh language channel S4C.Toulon v Scarlets live stream: How to watch from FranceTo watch Toulon v Scarlets (kick-off 9.15pm) in France, beIN Sports is the place to go as they are the main rights holders. It costs €15 a month to access the coverage or if you commit to six months you get a discount of €12 a month.beIN Sports offersToulon v Scarlets live stream: How to watch from the USAIf you live in the States, the official broadcaster of Challenge Cup matches is NBC, with matches streamed on NBC Sports Gold so you can watch them anytime and anywhere.Toulon v Scarlets will kick off at 3.15pm EST and 12.15pm on the West Coast.The NBC Sports Gold Pass for rugby is $79.99 and includes coverage of the Gallagher Premiership, European Challenge and Challenge Cups, and Guinness Six Nations.Toulon v Scarlets live stream: How to watch from South AfricaSuperSport has the rights to broadcast the Challenge Cup in South Africa and you can watch Toulon v Scarlets on SuperSport Rugby at 9.15pm.There are various DStv packages available that give access to SuperSport, ranging from EasyView, with access to Blitz, to Premium, with all ten sports channels.Toulon v Scarlets live stream: How to watch from elsewhereEPCR have launched an OTT service,, so you can stream live Challenge Cup matches outside of its core broadcast territories (UK & Ireland, France, USA, Malta, Spain, Andorra and Sub-Saharan Africa).It’s €1.99 to watch a single Challenge Cup match or you can buy a season pass to watch all of the remaining games of the 2019-20 campaign for €9.99. Or if you want to watch both the Champions and Challenge Cups, it’s €17.99 for a season pass for the rest of 2019-20.Find out hereWe recommend VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service)Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroadWe do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.  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.last_img read more

Tri-Nations Team of the Tournament 2020

first_imgTOMA LA PATENTE …En el último partido de #LosPumas en el año que finalizó 16-16 Australia , el equipo argentino nos regaló una tremenda jugada que finalizó en try de Bautista #Delguy— Fuego Sagrado (@fuegosagrado_ok) December 6, 202010. Nicolás Sánchez (Argentina)The old-timer still has it. He scored Argentina’s first 43 points of the tournament and showed an impressive turn of pace to score the crucial try against the All Blacks.9. Nic White (Australia) Aaron Smith shone in New Zealand’s early demolition of Australia, but the most consistent scrum-half in the competition was White. His crowning glory came on the final weekend, when he should have been Man of the Match against Argentina.1. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro (Argentina) Jacob Whitehead picks a composite team from the southern hemisphere tournament Tri-Nations Team of the Tournament 2020The 2020 Tri-Nations really was an exciting tournament. Despite missing South Africa, the consecutive losses suffered by New Zealand to Australia and Argentina really opened things up, albeit that the All Blacks still lifted the title as the other two sides battled to two draws.So, with Australia experimenting, New Zealand in transition and Argentina rising, which 15 players should make a ‘team of the tournament’? Here’s my selection…Tri-Nations Team of the Tournament 202015. Jordie Barrett (New Zealand)Under a lot of pressure in the back three from Caleb Clarke, Will Jordan, Damian McKenzie and brother Beauden, Jordie Barrett responded impressively, starting all four Tri-Nations games this autumn. He was more often picked on the wing but as possibly the best aerial player in the world right now he will fit well at full-back.14. Caleb Clarke (New Zealand)His real explosion onto the international scene strictly came before the Tri-Nations began. Although there have been less highlight-reel moments since, his form has still been impressive. Tested extensively under the high ball, which he has dealt with admirably.Danger man: Caleb Clarke proved what a threatening runner he is (Getty Images)13. Anton Lienert-Brown (New Zealand)Quietly does so much well. Started every game of the tournament for New Zealand, always making the right decision in the wide channels and deceptively strong. Oh, and he’s been interviewed this month by Rugby World.12. Santiago Chocobares (Argentina)The 21-year-old only played two matches, but what a Test debut he had. The man with the best name in world rugby led the defensive effort as the Pumas got a result against New Zealand, plus he was durable enough to be a regular crash-ball option. Rumoured to be a new signing for the Blues in Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021.11. Bautista Delguy (Argentina)Better at getting out of spaces than Harry Houdini, he finished off one of the tries of the tournament against Australia, and did so with the flourish of a finger-point to the sky. His style reminds me a lot of Jonny May. Thumbs up: Marcos Kremer was outstanding for the Pumas (Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALScenter_img The veteran Argentina prop particularly shined in the scrum against Australia, faced with the sizable presence of Taniela Tupou. Karl Tu’inukuafe also performed well early in the tournament.2. Julián Montoya (Argentina)During lockdown Montoya trained for 100 days alone in his apartment to be ready for the Tri-Nations. It paid off against New Zealand, where the hooker demonstrated why he is one of the best front-row jacklers in world rugby. Excellent throughout.3. Taniela Tupou (Australia) The ‘Tongan Thor’ was the difference in Australia’s 24-22 win over New Zealand, achieving scrum dominance before bashing over for the winning try. Surely his side’s starting tighthead going forward and, at 24, still young in prop years.4. Guido Petti (Argentina)It feels difficult to include him in this team after a series of racist and classist tweets, from Petti and two of his team-mates, came to light before Argentina’s last game. Focusing purely on the rugby, he was outstanding in Argentina’s first games against New Zealand and Australia.5. Matt Philip (Australia) Has played every Test for the Wallabies in 2020, which is impressive considering how many changes Dave Rennie has made for each game. Does so much of the dirty work and seems to break the gain-line whenever he’s called upon to carry.Lock stock: Matt Philip impressed in the second row for Australia (Getty Images)6. Ardie Savea (New Zealand)New Zealand’s outstanding player over the past 18 months. Capable of playing across the back row, his graft at the ruck is beginning to become just as impressive as his work going forwards.7. Marcos Kremer (Argentina)An absolute unit of a man at 6ft 5in, 18st and with forearms the size of tree trunks, never mind legs. Tackles anything that moves with a manic intensity, and I’d be surprised if there are many players in the tournament who don’t have a bruise on them courtesy of Kremer. 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. 8. Harry Wilson (Australia)Just 21, and a player who only made his domestic debut for the Reds in January. It’s incredibly impressive that a player so young looks so physically ready for Test rugby, and the Australian back row could get even better when Wilson is joined by fellow Reds team-mate and U20 graduate Fraser McReight.last_img read more