Andy Powell – Wasps and Wales

first_imgMark JonesChris Horsman Andy Powell on tour with the Lions to South AfricaPrior to making the headlines about his party hard ways, Andy chatted to Rugby World about The Lions Tour to South Africa, life after rugby, and [worryingly] fake tan.RUGBY WORLD: So how did you enjoy the Lions tour?ANDY POWELL: There were some really good characters in the squad so there was plenty of banter. Smiler – Matthew Rees – got everyone to come up with random German words. We didn’t even know what most of them meant, but my favourite was schnitzel (cutlet).RW: Who was your worst room-mate?AP: Phil Vickery – he snores really loudly. I tried to snore back to wake him up but it didn’t work. Being with Melon – Gethin Jenkins – isn’t good either. He just saps your energy.RW: You were known as the joker on tour…AP: Yeah, I had to get up at the front of the bus and cheer the boys up, come up with a few jokes. Euan Murray was brilliant too, and he was missed when he went home. He came up with great jokes – one got him the nickname Woodeye.RW: Did you get many fines on tour?AP: One, for being late for physio. We fined Ryan Jones 500 rand (£40) for arriving late on tour and then 12 hours later he was flying home. That was quite harsh – but we didn’t give it him back.RW: What are your bugbears?AP: What really bugs me? On tour I had to weigh in every morning and rate how I’d slept from one to five. When you’re tired, you just want to have breakfast.RW: And phobias?AP: Spiders. We stayed in little cottages in Rustenburg and I was sharing with Stephen Jones. There were loads of spiders above us on the ceiling. We kept saying to each other, ‘Look, there’s a spider’ and couldn’t get any sleep.RW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?AP: I’d want to call all the shots on a tour so whatever I say goes.Stupid purchases, Party tricks and Rugby League…RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?AP: If someone is having a bad game, Gethin Jenkins always tells them, ‘You’re having a shocker’. He said to Nicky Robinson in one game, ‘You’re breaking us, you’re crap.’ He once told me to hit more rucks and stop being so lazy.RW: What’s the silliest thing you’ve bought?AP: The pair of jeans I paid £380 for in Jo’burg. I thought they were expensive, say £200, but not that much. They fill your head with stuff about how good they look on and I bought them. I got loads of stick off the boys about it.RW: What would you do if you were Prime Minister for a day? AP: I’d shut down the country for a day and get everyone out for a massive party.RW: Do you have a party trick?AP: Taking my top off. I did it once on tour, just to get a few women over for the boys. Guys like Gordon D’Arcy were struggling big time so I had to help them out.RW: Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?AP: There are a lot of nice women out there. I’ll say Lindsay Lohan – and a bottle of champagne. She’s a party girl and I like a party girl.RW: If your house was on fire, what three things would you save?AP: My dog, Barney. He’d definitely be first out. Then my bed because it’s so soft. That would be it – I don’t have much in my house.RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?AP: I’d like to play rugby league. The way I play, I think league would suit me. I’ve just signed a three-year deal at the Blues so I’ll see what happens after that. Outside of rugby, I’d like to open a bar in Spain, maybe with a salon on the side. Then I could get Mike Phillips and James Hook to work in it.RW: They do like the fake tan…AP: Yeah, those two and Lee Byrne brought a box of stuff out with them so you went to their room if you wanted any. They even got Paul O’Connell putting some on – he’s pretty white.RW: How would you like to be remembered?AP: As a down-to-earth, easy-going guy who’d do anything for a laugh.Check out his profile for WalesCheck out some rugby stars taking part in the Weakest Link …Learn more about Andy’s teammates at Wales…Ryan Jones LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: Wasps last_img read more

Tom Isaacs signs new two year contract with Ospreys

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Tom Isaacs pushes past Wasp Dave WalderThe Ospreys are delighted to confirm that Tom Isaacs has become the latest player to commit his future to the region, signing a new two-year contract.24-year old Isaacs moved to the Ospreys in the summer of 2009 from Newport RFC, as a scrum-half who had been identified as having the potential to develop into a quality midfield player. Although his first season at the Liberty Stadium was hindered by injury problems, he still managed to make an impression in the Premiership with Swansea.This season has season him begin to establish himself at the Ospreys, and he has eight appearances for the region to his credit. A member of the Welsh Sevens Rugby World Cup winning squad two years ago, he made his debut for the region against the Dragons at the Liberty Stadium in October, with his first start coming in last month’s 18-13 LV= Cup win over London Wasps at the Brewery Field, where he turned in a man-of-the-match performance from outside centre. Ospreys Head Coach, Sean Holley, said: “This is another bit of great news for the Ospreys. It’s a reward for Tom’s hard work, determination and professional attitude, and for what we see in him as a rugby player. He hasn’t had the number of appearances for the Ospreys that he may have hoped for up until now, and that is largely down to significant injuries suffered in his first season here. However, he has put that well behind him now, thanks in no small part to the excellent support and care he had from the Ospreys medical team, and is working hard in training, making great strides. His performances in the Premiership with Swansea, and in the Magners League and LV= Cup for the Ospreys this year, have really made people sit up and notice his potential. He still has a lot of rugby ahead of him, and we see him as someone who can really push through in the next two years with us with his obvious talents.”“He is somebody who can break the line and he has a quality that not a lot of players possess in that he can beat players. He has pace off the mark, and he is a very versatile player who offers a real threat to the opposition. We’ve really seen him progress since he came here and we look forward to working with him over the next two years, helping him to reach his full potential.” BRIDGEND, WALES – FEBRUARY 06: Ospreys centre Tom Isaacs brushes past Dave Walder of Wasps during the LV Anglo Welsh Cup match between Ospreys and London Wasps at Brewery Field on February 6, 2011 in Bridgend, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) center_img TAGS: Ospreys Speaking after signing his new deal, Isaacs commented: “I’m delighted to have won a new contract, it’s great news for me personally and I’m pleased to have secured a future with the Ospreys. It’s been a difficult two years, the first one in particular, it was almost a complete write off for me. Because of that I look at it as I’ve only really been here a year, and I think that this season has gone pretty well for me. I genuinely believe that I’ve learnt a lot here and I feel that I’m constantly improving. I’m really happy to be staying here, and hopefully, continuing to learn and improve my game to become a better all-round player. “I’ve enjoyed the game time I’ve had this season and I hope that people have been impressed by what I can do, but I feel that I’ve got a lot more that I can give. I’m desperate to play more games and do that, I’m desperate to pull on the shirt regularly and I’m really excited about the next two years.”last_img read more

O’Connor ends Super Rugby season with suspension

first_imgPERTH, AUSTRALIA – MAY 21: James O’Connor of the Force sets the ball up for a penalty kick during the round 14 Super Rugby match between the Force and the Brumbies at nib Stadium on May 21, 2011 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images) The Emirates Western Force will not appeal the sanction. The incident took place in the opening half of the club’s Super Rugby match at nib Stadium on Saturday evening and O’Connor was cited by video following the game. After a hearing, SANZAR Judicial Officer, Michael Cashman found the offence proved and categorised it at the low end of seriousness. Taking account of mitigating factors and noting the absence of any aggravating features, he reduced the sanction of three weeks to a one week suspension. This is the first time O’Connor has appeared before a SANZAR tribunal in his 38 match Super Rugby career. O’Connor suspended for a dangerous tackle on James HorwillEmirates Western Force back James O’Connor will miss the club’s final match of the season against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday night after being suspended at a SANZAR hearing. O’Connor was found guilty of dangerous play after being cited under Foul Play Law 10.4 (j) for the dangerous lifting and dropping of Reds captain James Horwill. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

Wheelchair Rugby takes over Cardiff Castle

“It’s a really exciting time for GBWR,” continues David Pond, “Not only is Team GB progressing well towards the Paralympic Games, but thanks to the funding support of UK Sport; the Lottery and Sport England; as well as corporate sponsorship from Coloplast and player sponsorship from the Get Kids Going charity, the sport is growing at all levels and we’re in a position to challenge for Paralympic gold.”To find out more about the sport, or for information on getting involved, visit the GBWR website: www.gbwr.org.uk Steve Brown (Captain); David Anthony and Aaron Phipps, playing Wheelchair Rugby in the grounds of Cardiff Castle in preparation for the 2011 GB Cup LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS A terrifying fusion of ice hockey, handball and rugby, the game was founded in Canada in 1977 and is a combination of brute force and tactical strategy. Eight rolling substitutes make up squads of 12, with four players on court per team at any time. The aim is to thunder across your opponents’ goal line with two wheels in contact with the hardwood floor and the ball in your hands. Players in possession have to bounce the ball or pass with within 10 seconds of receiving it. Steve Brown (Captain); David Anthony and Aaron Phipps, playing Wheelchair Rugby in the grounds of Cardiff Castle in preparation for the 2011 GB CupCardiff Sees The Most Exciting Game of The London 2012 Games Host International Championship In The CityThe most exciting game of the 2012 London Paralympics, comes to Cardiff today with the start of the GB Cup 2011, which takes place in Sophia Gardens, Cardiff from the 6-8 September 2011, when the Great Britain 2012 Squad will take on Australia; Japan; Belgium and Sweden in the highest-level challenge the squad will face between now and London 2012.GBWR Chief Executive, David Pond, comments “Wheelchair rugby is the most exciting of the paralympic sports as physical contact between wheelchairs is permitted and forms a major part of the game. With so many of the world’s top players present, the 2011 GB Cup is going to be hugely exciting and a fantastic challenge for our team.” read more

Coleg Sir Gâr – School Team of the Year

first_imgThis article appeared in the July 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine.Find a newsagent that sells Rugby World in the UK Back row (l-r): L Morris, C Woodall, T Kaijaks, R Parker, J Meadows, J Baker, J Evans, C Evans. Middle: Mr E Evans, J Maynard, G Howells, M Griffiths, B Leung, W Lewis, B Davies,T Myhill, G Rees, Mr L Tregoning. Front: W Boyde, D Treharne, J Adams, S Bennett (c), T Ball, S Evans, J Barnes, J Randall.THE LLANELLI college take our award after a season that brought just two defeats – at Millfield when understrength and by a last-gasp drop-goal to Coleg Gwent when missing inspirational skipper Sion Bennett, who was away with the senior Wales Sevens squad.Coleg Sir Gâr finished way top of the Welsh Elite League table and won the Rosslyn Park Open Sevens for the first time.Coached by Euros Evans and Lee Tregoning, they played a free-flowing game where backs and forwards were able to identify and attack space. They had real gas in Jake Randall and top try-scorer Josh Adams, and a back row of Will Boyde, No 8 Bennett and Torin Myhill that dented the firmest of defences.Wales U18 fly-half and top point-scorer Jack Maynard was astute and reliable, and hooker Tom Ball a livewire in the loose. Bennett, Randall and Ball all played a number of games in the Principality Premiership for Carmarthen Quins, Llandovery and Llanelli respectively.The highlights were wins over Coleg Gwent and Llandovery College, and the triumph at Rosslyn Park, where they became only the fifth Welsh side to win the Open in 73 years, knocking out holders Filton College, Millfield and Whitgift along the way. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALScenter_img Or perhaps you’d like a digital version of the magazine delivered direct to your PC, MAC or Ipad? If so click here.For Back Issues Contact John Denton Services at 01733-385-170last_img read more

Rugby Championship: Who will lead the Haka?

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Hacked off: Piri Weepu normally leads the Haka, but now he has been dropped there is a position vacantBy Alan DymockTHERE IS not quite a revolving door with the All Blacks, but there are certainly a few international stars spinning right round, baby, right round in the build up to the Rugby Championship.There is no waiting around for the big clashes in the competition as Australia and New Zealand contest the Bledisloe Cup in Sydney on August 17, with new Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie set for a baptism of fire. However, while New Zealand are favourites to win the whole thing, they may do so without a few familiar names. Rugby aside, this could also affect their Haka.Piri Weepu, the rugby-players rugby player, normally leads the All Black battle cry before kick-off, but the 71-cap scrum-half has been omitted in favour of promoting young bucks TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith and Tawera Kerr-Barlow.Haka favourite: Liam Messam to lead?The move is one which should not be argued with. The Kiwi isles are blessed with a great depth of talent and inter-squad competition is part of what keeps New Zealand ahead of the rest of world rugby. Weepu has fallen in stature of late, with many assuming that the half-back’s value as a back-up kicker was all that saw his name jotted down on squad lists. There is enough zip and guile in the trio of nines brought in to the squad to justify leaving out Weepu. However, for those fond of the aesthetic and familiar, there is now a gap at the front of the Haka.As a leading light in the Super Rugby winning Waikato Chiefs side, Liam Messam is a stand out choice. Would he be as bombastic and animated as Weepu was? Perhaps, but at the very least we can all accept that he is a fearsome player and unquestionably one of the best back rowers on the planet.Andrew Hore is another name that has been mentioned in passing, but there may be no ring of truth to this one… In other news, Steve Hansen has thrown cold water over those saying that soon-to-be converted league star Benji Marshall will walk into the All Blacks squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. “He’s a world-class rugby league player and a world-class athlete,” Hansen said, “so to have someone like that who wants to be an All Black is great.”However he could not be drawn on the playmakers chances having not seen him play union, stating: “I can’t [talk of his All Black chances], because I don’t have any information to back it up, other than what I’ve seen.”center_img Pre-game challenge, aside, there will also be no Rene Ranger for the All Blacks after the pin-ball centre pulled himself out of the squad for “family reasons.” He is off to Montpellier shortly and did not want to commit to the Rugby Championship. Coach Steve Hansen has begrudgingly accepted Ranger’s decision.The All Blacks, it seems, are happy to secede on minor points like the Haka and fringe selections because they truly believe that they will get their consistency on the pitch and that anyone coming in as back-up is still better than in those teams they will play in the Championship. And who is to argue with their logic?The past and present: Weepu and SmithOf course, when you have Dan Carter at stand-off and Richie McCaw returning from a sabbatical – having played a measly 25 minutes of Super Rugby for the Canterbury Crusaders during their playoff bouts – it is easy to see why the likes of Weepu and Ranger will not be missed. Carter, McCaw, Messam and Kieran Read should be more than enough to lead the Haka and then the team to the lip of victory.After this, the question is whether or not this group will be so dominant that the All Blacks will see their way past South Africa as well as Argentina and a rejuvenated Wallaby side.last_img read more

Six Nations: How are the teams faring so far?

first_img Eddie Jones names his squad for the Six Nations on 20 January and he must be wondering which black cat he ran over as the injuries pile up. Jones won the Pat Marshall Memorial Award at the Rugby Union Writers’ Club annual dinner last Monday, for his contributions in 2016, but now he has to really earn his money.First up for his England team are France on 4 February at Twickenham, but who should the coach pick out of those men left standing? The Australian has always talked about England’s strength in depth and with an injury list as long as your arm he will find out all about it in the next couple of months.This time last year Jones said he was “make do and mending” – he is in the same spot now and had better hope his Midas touch hasn’t deserted him. This team could look a lot different when the next World Cup rolls around in 2019 but, as every coach tells us, the next game is the most important…Full-back – Mike BrownBrown is still Jones’s go-to man at full-back and that impression was reinforced when Alex Goode was left out of the Elite Player Squad.Anthony Watson is probably one for the future at No 15 and Jones fancies Elliot Daly back there as well, but for the time being he should stick with the snarling incumbent. Brown has also been one of the team’s vice-captains – alongside Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola – and is the man for France. But, at 31, he will be looking over his shoulder.Wings – Jack Nowell and Jonny MayWith Anthony Watson on the comeback trial after missing the autumn with a broken jaw, Nowell and May are the likeliest candidates for the wing spots.Flying: Jack Nowell is in brilliant form, scoring this superb try at Saracens last weekend (Pic: Getty)Nowell, who also missed the autumn, has been in top form for Exeter and showcased that with a stunning try against Saracens last weekend and a Man of the Match display against Bath on New Year’s Eve.May played three of the four autumn Tests and has been putting it about for Gloucester, although Watson may have something to say about this selection by the end of the tournament.Jones played Marland Yarde against South Africa and Australia before Christmas but also had a look at Daly on the wing before his red card against Argentina. Semesa Rokoduguni has been blistering in attack for Bath but Jones might not fancy him without the ball.Centres – Jonathan Joseph and Owen FarrellIf it ain’t broke don’t fix it and with so many parts of Jones’s first-choice XV broken, he should not be tampering with this combination.Hunting down: Jonathan Joseph’s defensive talents give him an edge over Elliot Daly at 12 (Pic: Getty)Joseph has been on fire since the autumn and there is a new respect for his defence since the Aussie tour. Farrell has just been Farrell – great defender and organiser, dead-eye kicker and running the Saracens back-line with aplomb, even though it has been from No 10.With the body count running so high, Farrell is one player Jones does not want to see in the casualty ward – he is too important and a world star in the making, if he is not there already.Fly-half – George FordFord’s goal-kicking radar was off beam when Bath played Newcastle in the latest round of the Premiership, but when you’ve got Farrell in the team that is not a problem. Jones has already stated he thinks Ford can be the best player in the world and is not likely to ditch him any time soon.When Daly got sent off against Argentina, it was Ben Youngs, Ford and Farrell who did the organising for playing with 14 men for most of the match and the fly-half is a big voice in the team.Scrum-half – Ben Youngs Decision time: Eddie Jones has changes to make after a succession of injuries (Pic: Getty Images) The England coach has injuries to contend with ahead of the championship but no worry – Adam Hathaway has selected the men he needs for the Twickenham opener The rest of the bench virtually picks itself, although Tommy Taylor is having a decent crack at breaking into the hooker ranks. It is easy to see Haskell starting later in the tournament but after such a long time off he will most likely be a bench bunny against the French. Jones could still pull a rabbit out of the hat, though – he has done that before.For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Youngs is Jones’s preferred scrum-half – he has started 11 of the 13 games on Fast Eddie’s watch with Danny Care starting twice, both in the Six Nations.Dan Robson, tearing it up at Wasps, was in the 45-man EPS but tellingly not in the 33-man party which had a couple of days’ training in Brighton this month, whilst both Care and Youngs got a trip to the beach and a stick of rock. They will be doing the honours against France.Front row – Ellis Genge, Dylan Hartley (capt) and Dan ColeGenge was omitted from the EPS that Jones announced in December, but with Mako Vunipola and Joe Marler both crocked he should get a look-in. He put in a monstrous display for Leicester against Saracens, in Richard Cockerill’s last game in charge, and an even better one against Wasps a week later. Even though this is throwing him in at the deep end, he looks ready to rumble.With the two first-choice looseheads injured, Ellis Genge is ready to seize his chance (Pic: Getty)Jones has already said that if Hartley is fit and in the 23 he will be captain. That’s bad news for Jamie George but at least the skipper has been wrapped up in cotton wool whilst serving his latest ban. He has previous of coming back to Test rugby after a long lay-off, so his lack of action is not a problem.Cole, who had a wobble at World Cup time, is operating near his best now but is under pressure from Kyle Sinckler, who came off the bench four times in the autumn series.Second row – George Kruis and Joe LaunchburyThis pair have both had injuries recently – Kruis a fractured cheek and Launchbury a calf problem – but they are classy enough to deal with that.Kruis proved it when he played the last part of the autumn after seven weeks out of action and he runs the England lineout. Launchbury has grown into the captaincy at Wasps and with 37 caps under his belt is a no-brainer as we shift Maro Itoje out of the engine room.Courtney Lawes has been in hot form recently as well and was a cigarette paper behind Launchbury.Back row – Maro Itoje, Tom Wood and Nathan HughesWith Chris Robshaw out for the Six Nations, now is the time to try Itoje in the back row, where he has performed superbly for Saracens in the past.Wood can do the job that he did three times in the autumn as a defensive, ball-carrying option at No 7 and he has been in great nick for Northampton a year after seemingly being left on the shelf.No-brainer: With Chris Robshaw absent, Maro Itoje’s physicality must be deployed in the back rowHughes gets lucky here; Billy Vunipola is a huge loss for England and Jack Clifford has been earmarked as a potential No 8 by the boss.James Haskell, the star of the last Six Nations and the first two Tests in Australia, has only just come back from a toe injury and when he did arrive, for Wasps against Leicester on Sunday, he lasted 35 seconds before getting a bang on the head. He is aiming to be fit for Wasps’ final European game against Zebre.Bench – Jamie George, Matt Mullan, Kyle Sinckler, Courtney Lawes, James Haskell, Jack Clifford, Danny Care, Elliot DalyBath’s Nathan Catt is probably unlucky here, Mullan just getting the nod as loosehead replacement, and on current form Genge has leapfrogged the pair of them. TAGS: Highlight last_img read more

Top 14: Jonathan Wisniewski in the mix

first_img Jonathan Wisniewski is the form fly-half in the Top 14, scoring 55 points in his four appearances after moving to Grenoble from Racing Metro in the summer. Rested for last weekend’s trip to Oyonnax, Wisniewski’s importance to his team was apparent as Grenoble failed to pick up any points for the first time this season in their 40-27 defeat. With Philippe Saint-Andre announcing his 30-man squad for the autumn internationals next week there are many in France who feel the 29-year-old should be in Les Bleus squad. Rugby World spoke to the player who’s finally fulfilling his potential.Are you surprised by Grenoble’s good start to the season? No, not really. We have a great group of players and coaching staff. We enjoy training and playing together and there’s already a strong spirit.Enjoy having South African Charl McLeod as your scrum-half? Yes. He’s only been in France a few weeks but already he’s talking French. He’s an intelligent player, very adaptable, and he makes my life much easier.How’s your English? I learned a little at Racing. But most of the overseas player at Grenoble speak excellent French, and that’s another reason the squad has gelled so quickly. If everyone is speaking the same language on the pitch it helps.Like the fact you and McLeod started the first four games? It’s good for my confidence and my rhythm to have a scrum-half I feel comfortable with. Each week that we play together we understand each other’s game a little bit more and how we like to play. That’s one of the advantages of having a smaller squad: we don’t have so many players to rotate.Pleased to have made Midi Olympique’s Team the Week twice already this season? It’s flattering but I don’t jump out of bed each Monday looking to see if I’ve made the XV of the Week! I hear about it on social media. The greatest satisfaction is being part of a team that’s playing well and winning.Unlike a lot of French tens you have an excellent kicking game! I suppose I do have a more Anglo-Saxon approach to kicking than a lot of French tens traditionally do. I’ve always loved working on that part of my game, it’s a passion and pleasure for me. When I was young my friends would be off to the cinema or in a café and I would be practicing my kicking.Life in Paris: Jonathan Wisniewski used to sport Racing’s coloursYour family is in Paris, is that hard?It was a little difficult at first but now I’m in a good rhythm, and it actually allows me to find a positive balance. When I’m in Grenoble I’m focused 100 percent on rugby with no distractions. When I get the train back to Paris to see my wife and son I am focused only on them and I can escape the pressures of rugby.Why did you leave Racing? I’m 29 and I wanted one final challenge. I had a good time at Racing but last season was difficult because I was injured a lot and they have a big squad so opportunities were limited. When the chance came to join Grenoble I took the decision quickly and I’m enjoying my rugby again and it’s great to have the confidence of the coaches. I feel good in my head that I made the right decision.Bernard Jackman is coach at Grenoble, how does he differ from French coaches?There’s a lot of structure and planning at Grenoble, things are well organized. But at the same time Bernard wants us to play with ‘French flair’. It’s a good mix. We’ll play expansive rugby but will be pragmatic when necessary.Have you given up on playing for France?No, it’s what I dream of, what I’m ultimately working for, so I hope I’m being watched (by the coaches). Every Frenchman dreams of wearing the French shirt and it would be great to be given that chance. I believe I have something to offer still and I haven’t given up on being capped. The man to catch: Jonathan Wisniewski has been the stand-out stand-off in Top 14 LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Not worried that playing for a so-called smaller club might harm your prospects?I hope the coaches watch all the clubs, and I think they do because a club like Castres have had a lot of players capped recently. But the reason I came to Grenoble was to play regularly and if I’m not selected it’s not the end of the world. I’ll keep working hard but the most important thing is I’m playing regularly and enjoying my rugby.last_img read more

Aviva Premiership: Seven stars heading for England in 2016/17

first_img Star quality: Schalk Burger will replace the Namibian namesake Jacques at Sarries TAGS: Highlight LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS There has been plenty of talk about England’s up-and-coming players after the success of the Saxons and the Under-20s but some of them may have a struggle on their hands to get a start in the Premiership as domestic rugby’s financial clout and new regulations come into play.With the salary cap up to £6.5million for this season and two marquee players allowed at each club, outside of that figure, the Premiership is welcoming some massive global names to its ranks. Here are a magnificent seven big arrivals who could make the English league even bigger box office and who are coming to a ground near you soon.Kurtley Beale, fly-half, centre, full-back (Waratahs to Wasps) Age: 27 Caps: 60 (Australia)Beale won’t be seen at the start of the season as he is rehabbing a knee injury but the fact Wasps can sign a player like him shows how far the club have come since flirting with bankruptcy a couple of years ago. The Australian has attracted his fair share of controversy but is a stellar talent who can fit in almost anywhere in the backline.Box-office: Kurtley Beale is sure to excite fans at WaspsIt will be interesting to see where Dai Young plays Beale when he has recovered as they are a pretty well stacked squad.  Conveniently, for his international career, Beale is bang on the 60-cap mark needed to pass Cheika’s Law and will be familiar with Wasps’ new defence coach, Phil Blake, from his Wallaby days.Josh Charnley  Full-Back Wing (Wigan RL to Sale) Age: 25 Caps: 7 (England RL)Charnley has been running in tries for Wigan in Super League, at around one a game, for the last six years and Sale are hoping he can do for them what Jason Robinson did when he switched codes back in 2000. Charnley scored four tries on his Test debut in rugby league, can play full-back or wing and won’t have any troubling settling in at Sale as he only a short hop from where he is currently playing.Speedster: Josh Charnley looks to have the credentials to succeed at SaleThe majority of league to union swaps don’t work, especially when players are shoe-horned into the midfield, but Charnley’ switch looks like one that will succeed. Eddie Jones will be keeping an eye on him as well.Taulupe Faletau No.8 (Dragons to Bath) Age: 25 Caps: 62 (61 Wales, 1 Lions)Faletau has been the outstanding No.8 in Europe for the past couple of seasons but Billy Vunipola has made up ground and the first collision between the pair when Bath play Saracens will make the ground shake.Mr Consistent: Taulupe Faletau is one of the world’s best No 8sThe Welsh and English international pair are the two players fighting to fill the No 8 spot in the British & Irish Lions Test team next summer and their domestic clashes could help sort out the pecking order. Bath need Faletau to fire as well after a dismal season last year which led to the dismissal of director of rugby Mike Ford.Greg Holmes Prop (Reds to Exeter) Age: 33 Caps: 27 (Australia) Next season a dizzying array of talent will head for the Aviva Premiership. Here are our Super Seven set to light up the league… Part of the Australian team that was whitewashed by England in June, Holmes will be champing at the bit to have another crack at Mako Vunipola and Matt Mullan and co when he lands in Exeter at the end of the Super Rugby season after 11 years with the Reds.Power play: Greg Holmes looks to be another fine Wallaby importSigned for his all-round game, not just his scrummaging, according to Exeter boss Rob Baxter, Holmes was persuaded to move to Devon by another Wallaby, and Exeter legend, Dean Mumm so he knows what he is letting himself in for. And so do Exeter.Schalk Burger, flanker, (Stormers to Saracens) Age: 33 Caps: 86 (South Africa)Saracens clearly think a Champions Cup and Premiership double is not enough and have swapped one back row Burger for another, with Jacques retiring to his farm in Namibia and Springbok legend Schalk coming in. The South African has done the lot but is still only 33, despite seemingly having been around forever, and looks like one of those signings who will boost the champions on and off the field.Bok legend: Schalk Burger is one of the finest backrows in a generationHe will be handy to have around when Sarries lose about half their first choice team to international duty, having played his last Test match in the World Cup third-place play-off.Louis Picamoles, No.8, (Toulouse to Northampton) Age: 30 Caps: 54 (France)Northampton missed the ball-carrying presence of Samu Manoa last year and France missed the same quality of Louis Picamoles when he was side-lined with a hamstring injury during the Six Nations. Picamoles was the stand-out performer for France in a disappointing World Cup and will add punch to Saints up front as they bid to re-claim a top four spot.King Louis: Louis Picamoles is expected to add some ballast to the Saints backrowAs well as being a destructive carrier Picamoles has the hands to make the most of his bursts and is not shy of putting it about in defence so it will be eye-watering to watch him and Courtney Lawes knocking seven bells out of opponents.Matt Toomua, centre (Brumbies to Leicester) Age: 26 Caps: 32 (Australia)Probably the most exciting newcomer for next season, Toomua had Leicester fans licking their lips in anticipation with his display for the Wallabies in their third Test defeat to England in Sydney in June. Toomua would probably have played the whole series but for a knee injury and it will be interesting to see how he gets on as a second playmaker, under the tutelage of Aaron Mauger, at Welford Road. Link man: Matt Toomua’s skills as a second playmaker will aid LeicesterWhere this leaves Manu Tuilagi is open to debate but you can see him playing 13 to Toomua’s 12 when the Brumbies Super Rugby campaign is over and the Australian arrives in the Midlands. Could be very tasty.last_img read more

Black Ferns icon Portia Woodman

first_img Black Ferns icon Portia WoodmanFew players in the world score eight tries in one Test match… in a World Cup. That’s Woodman, the scorching New Zealand winger who has shone in both the 15s game and sevens.She is one of the most recognisable faces in the women’s game. She has won a 15s World Cup, a Sevens World Cup, a Commonwealth Games gold medal and an Olympic sevens silver medal.She is the top try-scorer in Women’s World Sevens Series history with 195, and both her father, Kawhena, and uncle, Fred, represented the All Blacks.Woodman was also ninth in Rugby World magazine’s list of the 50 Most Influential People in Rugby in 2018 – the highest ranked woman – because she speaks out about issues in the game too.At the last World Cup she questioned whether any man could handle the playing schedule the women had to endure, she is happy to talk about coaching failings from previous Black Ferns regimes and she is vocal about the need for the women’s game to stand apart from the men’s game, to be its own show.Here is a Q&A we did with Woodman ahead of the 2017 World Cup…Has sport always been a big part of your life?Yes, I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t doing it. Athletics was my main sport but at 16 or 17 I realised I wasn’t good enough, so I switched to netball. I was aiming for the Silver Ferns and was in the Accelerant squad (that fast-tracks emerging talent) in 2012.Then you switched to rugby…When sevens got into the Olympics, New Zealand Rugby went around the country giving girls the chance to have a crack at Rio 2016. I thought I’d give it a go and got clearance from Northern Mystics, my netball franchise. I’ve been playing sevens ever since.Does your dad give you advice? This Q&A originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Rugby World magazine.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He was ecstatic when I chose to play rugby. As soon as I get back from a tournament, he says: “Have you got the footage? Want to go through it?” He’s rugby crazy – our whole family is. He’s a great support.Champions: Portia Woodman and Sarah Goss with the Women’s World Cup (Getty Images)Are you a full-time rugby player?I’m lucky with sevens that I’m fully professional, so rugby is our life and I love it. This year they gave us the option of playing 15s and I put my hand up.What are the differences between sevens and 15s?More people, less space! Having played it a bit more now, I’ve realised how hard 15s is, game plan-wise. I never thought I’d say that. I love 15s, though, and I’ve learnt so much that I can transfer into sevens. Like I said, there’s not as much space, so if you get the ball it’s learning to create space and find gaps.Your first-ever game of 15s was in a Test against England. Were you nervous? Surprisingly not. The girls around me on my debut (in 2013) were so experienced, so I felt confident in what I needed to do.How important is your Maori heritage?It’s a big part of my life. I’m not a fluent speaker but it’s understanding where you come from and who you are. Mum and Dad instilled that in us from when we were young. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALScenter_img In the clear: Portia Woodman breaks away against Japan (Getty Images) Get to know more about the star of both the New Zealand’s sevens and 15s teams – flying winger Portia Woodmanlast_img read more