September 19, 2021

Video of the Day – Training with Sale

first_imgTAGS: Sale Sharks As the title suggests, today’s video allows you to join Sale Sharks, who play today in the Amlin Challenge Cup against El Salvador (2pm) at one of their training days. However this this video has a drastically different ending than you would assume. Don’t be put off by the title of the video, its worth the watch! LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img

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Duncan Bell: Things are looking up

first_imgBATH, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 28: Duncan Bell on November 28, 2012 in Bath, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) On the couch: the ex-Bath props settle down to discuss the strains and stresses of professional rugbyIN OUR February issue Duncan Bell opened up to Rugby World with his long time friend, ex-teammate and member of the front row union, David Flatman, about the pressures of professional rugby and why the onus is on friends and family as much as those suffering mental health problems to start talking. If you missed it, you can download the feature here, as it appeared in our magazine. Or read below.Duncan Bell and David Flatman are two of rugby’s larger-than-life characters. With over 400 first-class games between them and a bundle of England caps, they are the personification of the game’s ‘good eggs’.A perfect example of this came en route to the majestic setting of Farleigh House, the stately home-cum-training centre for their beloved Bath. Boarding the train, I saw an email from Bell: Sorry, can’t make it. With my mind scrambling for a Plan B, a minute later, Bell followed up with: Only joking mate, see you in a few hours. That set the tone for an interview where laughs were as plentiful as soul-searching. On hearing the tale, Flatman smirked and said his only regret was it hadn’t been him with the wind-up.Sympathetic ear: John Kirwan is an inspiration to Bell In rugby culture this behaviour is standard, with the onus on looking for a gag or some banter. Indeed, rugby’s reputation is of alpha males who’ve eaten their three Shredded Wheat before taking to the field to physically impose themselves on similarly oversized men. Yet, Bell, the 19st, 6ft 1in ex-England prop, doesn’t conform to the stereotype.Last April, the 38-year-old announced his retirement. In doing so, he disclosed that he’d been suffering from depression, on and off, for a decade. In a searingly honest interview, he admitted reaching a nadir, but wanted to speak out to help other sportsmen in his chosen sport who were suffering in silence.For Bell, doing the ‘coming out’ interview hadn’t been in the original plan. “I was going to do a bog-standard retirement piece but I’d just confided to Flats about my depression and anxiety, and his response was that I could help so many people. My reaction was, ‘No way, not in a million years’. However, Flats is a wise man, with a way with words, so he changed my mind.“Coincidentally, at the same time, an old-mate, Richard Bryan, an RPA (Rugby Players’ Association) rep, mentioned the LPP programme, a consultation service for players with problems, like gambling or substance abuse. It’s a confidential service, so I opened up to him and said I’d like to get involved. We agreed to put some video footage together to show to players every season as part of their programme.”For Bell, such an admission was more nerve-racking than running out in front of 80,000 people at Twickenham. “I’m not one for being the centre of attention, I don’t like standing out in the crowd, but I was concerned about my team-mates. I knew I had to tell them before they read it in the paper. The only way was to tell them all together.”Bell still finds the resulting video of him unburdening his problems to his team-mates uncomfortable viewing, but Flats is glad he went ahead. “The lads didn’t know a thing. What was funny is that Belly didn’t mention it was depression and at the time he was going through a divorce, so a few of them thought he was coming out as gay, like Gareth Thomas, so in the middle of his speech, he blurted out, ‘I’m not gay’, and it broke the ice. It was very brave of him to do it.”Tight squeeze: Bell and Flatman get to grips with WaspsIn the aftermath of the interview, Bell was inundated with supportive messages.“The response was overwhelming. Lots of rugby people confided in me that they had been struggling and I’d have never known. I still get a couple of messages a week, which shows that a small sacrifice from me still resonates with people.” One of the challenges all players face is forging a life once the umbilical cord of rugby has been cut, and Bell is no different. “It was my job for 19 years but life is different now, I’m not a rugby player anymore. It’s very strange to not be part of it.”Flatman feels relieved that Bell opened up while still in playing colours, but wishes he’d done it sooner. “If Belly had spoken out six months earlier, he’d have had longer to deal with it in the best environment on earth: the changing room. Rugby players are ruthless. They’ll rip you to pieces but they love you for it. The end of a rugby career is an unsettling time for an ex-pro. For many, it’s that fear of going into the unknown.”Flatman says another reason why the change is so challenging is that after you’re cocooned in a close-knit team environment, you come to rely on your team-mates. “I realised only recently that I turned to my team-mates when anything was happening in my life,” he says. “Nowadays my wife is the friend she always thinks she should have been to me.”Many high-profile sportsmen, such as Stan Collymore, Marcus Trescothick and Ricky Hatton, have revealed their mental health battles and Bell says they deserve credit as trailblazers. “If I’d been the first person in sport to speak out, I may have had second thoughts. Yet in the game I hoped people would understand who I was, what I’ve done and where I was coming from.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS While Bell was the first high-profile rugby player in Britain to openly admit to a struggle with depression, he wasn’t the first worldwide. All Black great John Kirwan had done it years before. “JK is an inspiration,” says Bell. “A few weeks before I did the article, I was involved in the Help for Heroes game at Twickenham where he was coach to the Northern Hemisphere XV. I was struggling and wanted to make a beeline for him but bottled it. Luckily I was involved with him in a Baa-Baas game after the interview and he said, ‘Brother, why didn’t you say anything?’ before we had a long chat.”Eight months on, Bell is coaching at Lydney RFC and in a far more positive frame of mind. “I’d been suffering on and off for a decade or more and was going through a tough time. On the advice of my doctor, I took antidepressants and it was the best thing I could have done. Speaking out was a turning point and lifted a huge weight off my shoulders.”Country calling: The early years training with EnglandBell says credit must go to the RPA for their continued support. “Damian Hopley (RPA chief executive) has been proactive in player support along with my former front-row buddy David Barnes. The LPP programme has been round for a while and I’d like to think in my little way that I’ve helped. It’s just sad that it took the death of former Sale player Selorm Kuadey (who took his own life) to highlight mental illness, but sometimes out of a tragedy comes a positive.”The last eight months haven’t been entirely without their drawbacks, however. “I’ve not spoken to my brother sinceand my relationship with my mother is very strained.” Bell, who has four children aged 11, eight, six and four, looks to the future with genuine hope. “I’m busy at work doing mortgage advice and I’m upbeat. I’m not saying there aren’t bad days but things have improved. I’m off antidepressants and have been ‘clean’ for a year. I’m busy enough to not be too introspective. Before when I wasn’t busy, I may have faltered but now I understand who I am as a person. I’m older and wiser.”Flatman, for his part, is happy to see his friend on an upward curve. “Belly has been hugely courageous but once you’ve said you have a problem it doesn’t mean that’s the end of it. Part of your journey is being strong enough to repeatedly say ‘I’m not okay’ and having someone to talk to. There are a number of people who would be there for Duncan in a second if he sent a text or made a call, but when you put the light off you’re on your own and that can be brutal.”Flatman, for one, hadn’t picked up that Bell was struggling. “I’m not going to claim I did, though I had a feeling rugby was coming to an end for him and wondered how he’d cope. He never liked getting shouted at or told what to do. We used to joke that he needed his tyres pumped up, but some of the best players in the world are like that.”Moving on: Bell is forging a career outside rugbyFlatman, whose father and sister are psychologists, says it’s vitally important that all of us are on hand to offer support. “It’s not up to you to define if you have mental health issues but if you’re struggling, think who to speak to and have that conversation. Rugby players spend a lot of time beating away unconscious thoughts of anxiety. It’s a very pressured environment where you get critiqued in front of your peers on a day-to-day basis. On the outside you say you’re fine, but on the inside you’re hurting.”Bell agrees and hopes that society increasingly looks out for friends and family. “For many, the hardest thing is finding the right person to talk to. It’s still taboo in some places and perceived as a weakness. Some think there can’t be anything worse than telling their family there’s something wrong ‘upstairs’. The first session I had with a professional, I took the mickey out of myself for half- an-hour. Before she asked, ‘Why are you here?’ I found it easier than sitting down with close family.”The final words go to Flatman. “There are different types of help: confiding in someone you trust or seeing a professional who knows how to help.“When I was injured, having my wife to make me a cup of tea was invaluable but it wasn’t going to mend my shoulder. I suppose it’s qualified support and unqualified support and hopefully Duncan knows he now has both.”Don’t forget, you can download the feature here, as it appeared in our magazine.center_img Time to Change is England’s biggest mental health anti-stigma programme, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. Start your conversation at or hashtag #timetotalk TAGS: Bath Rugby last_img read more

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The Championship Blog: Round Three

first_imgOXFORD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 04: London Welsh Head Coach Justin Burnell looks on during a London Welsh Media Day at the Kassam Stadium on September 4, 2013 in Oxford, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) Trophy chasing: Free-scoring Rotherham topped the Championship table after beating Moseley in round threeBy Richard Grainger After Week Three, eight clubs are sandwiched between the two unbeaten sides and the two still looking for their first win in the Greene King IPA Championship.Few would have predicted that last year’s finalists — who pushed the Falcons all the way in the first leg at Goldington Road in May — would be propping up the division with the new boys from Ealing after three outings.Bedford Blues 28, Leeds Carnegie 29Despite out-scoring Leeds four tries to two, a brace of bonus points was all the Blues had to show from Leeds’ visit to Goldington Road on Saturday. Carnegie, who have now won at Bedford on three consecutive visits, had a dominant scrum and referee Mr Steve Lee’s whistle to thank,which allowed Alex Lozowski to kick 19 points for the visitors.Welsh pride: Justin Burnell took charge of Welsh this termLondon Welsh 40, Plymouth Albion 9The Exiles’ comfortable win over Albion was also based on forward dominance. Although the visitors only trailed 16-9 after a drab first period, a meagre crowd of under one thousand at the Kassam Stadium were treated to a second half demolition job which led to tries from Daniel Browns, Ollie Stedman and a penalty try, to add to Mike Denbee’s superb first half score.Plymouth had no answer to the Exiles’ forward might, but could have done without having Sean-Michael Stephan and Ien Ascroft-Leigh spending ten minutes together in the bin. Albion left Oxfordshire with only three Dan Mugford penalties to show for their efforts.Moseley 21, Rotherham 47Rotherham, who have notched a maximum 15 points from three games, despatched Moseley with ease in a five-try romp at Billesley Common on Saturday. Head Coach Kevin Maggs’ men had no answer to the power and pace of the Yorkshiremen who lead the division, a point ahead of London Welsh.Juan Pablo Socino, the 24 year-old Buenos Aires-born centre, slotted 22 points, and is the league’s leading points scorer with 78.Gordon Ross trails Socino on 54 points, and it will be a fascinating shoot-out when Rotherham host London Welsh next Saturday afternoon.Ealing 17, Cornish Pirates 31Vallis Way was treated to a first taste of Championship Rugby on Saturday when Ealing turned in a much improved performance from their previous two outings on the road. But the Pirates got their season back on track with a five-try win which leaves them in fourth place in the division.Despite a committed performance which led to tries from Ed Siggery and Tom Parker, Trailfinders have yet to record a point in the league, but will take heart from being on level terms with the Cornishmen until shortly before the interval.London Scottish 27, Nottingham 621 year-old former Harlequins winger Miles Mantella scored a second half hat-trick to put some distance between the Exiles and Nottingham, who were locked 3-3 at the turn around.Martin Haag’s men fell apart in the second period at the Athletic Ground on Saturday, but Mantella’s spectacular finishing act in the final quarter came too late to net him the sponsor’s man-of-the-match award, which went to Exiles’ inspirational fly-half Lee Millar.Jersey boy: head coach Ben HarveyJersey 17, Bristol 26Three tries in 16 minutes was enough to breach the fortress mentality at St. Peter, and emphasise the gulf between promotion hopefuls and division strugglers.“To get points on the board early and to score three tries was really pleasing,” Bristol Director of Rugby Andy Robinson told“The movement of the ball and shape we had was very good. We took our chances on Saturday and that shows how quickly the guys are learning.”Robinson’s men secured the bonus-point two minutes into the second period when Ryan Edwards touched down.Jersey fought back in the final quarter and considered themselves unlucky not to finish with a losing bonus point.center_img LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

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Montpellier’s Pelissie gears up for Heineken Cup

first_imgTAGS: Benetton Main man: Montpellier’s Jonathan Pélissié makes a break during his star turn against Clermont AuvergneBy Gavin MortimerMONTPELLIER COACH Fabien Galthié has been talking up Treviso this week, warning his players the Italians will pose a real threat when the two sides meet on Saturday in the Heineken Cup. So they will. But if I was an Italian I’d be quaking in my boots at the prospect of trying to contain Jonathan Pélissié because so far this season the scrum-half has been nigh on unstoppable. He’s scored three tries so far this season and practically beat Clermont single-handed with a 31-point haul in Montpellier’s recent 43-3 rout of last season’s European finalists.Two of those tries, by the way, will be there or thereabouts when they come to vote for the Top 14 Try of the Season in May. If you haven’t seen Pélissié’s effort against Toulouse (slaughtered 25-0 by Montpellier last month), watch it here and wonder at its brilliance. Treviso have probably watched it a hundred times or more. Good luck, lads.Pélissié is quick to attribute his scintillating start to the season to his team-mates, a Montpellier side that lie second in the table, behind Toulon only on points difference. “I arrived at the club in the summer from Grenoble and straight away I appreciated the atmosphere,” explains the 25-year-old. “There were a lot of changes in the squad over the summer but we’ve quickly built a good spirit. You can see that at our home matches. What we must do now is improve our away form. If we do that we’ll be challenging for the title.”Pélissié scored four tries for Grenoble last season in his 24 league outings, a modest return for a player of his ability. With a brain as quick as his feet, the 5ft 8in footballer is that rarity in the modern game – a player who looks for the space, not the opponent. Trouble was last season he alternated between nine and ten, whereas at Montpellier’s he plays scrum-half and Francois Trinh-Duc wears the No 10 shirt. The fact he’s also in a squad coached by one of the great France scrum-halves also helps. “Fabien has got such a lot of experience that he can pick up on little details and pass them on to me,” explains Pélissié. “Often they’re just little technical points but they all make a difference.” Tee time: Pélissié is Montpellier’s goal-kickerPélissié laughs when asked why it is France scrum-halves love to kick their goals. He does it, so too Morgan Parra, Dimitri Yachvili, Frederic Michalak and even Toulouse’s Jean-Marc Doussain has the odd pot. “It’s a little bizarre,” he admits. “I haven’t got a definitive answer but I think it’s because so many scrum-halves in France start their career at ten. I did, before switching to scrum-half, but I still like to kick goals.”That’s not the only thing that sets Pélissié apart among his peers in the Top 14. He was born in Yvelines, to the south-west of Paris, making him one of the few top-class talents in French rugby to hail from the northern half of the country. Mind you, Pélissié is quick to point out he grew up in the south, in the beautiful countryside of the Dordogne. “I consider myself southern,” he says. “I  have family in Paris and I like to go there for its atmosphere and culture. But they are colder in the north. In the south we smile more. It must be the sun!”Surprisingly, Pélissié was overlooked by Philippe Saint-André for last month’s France training camp, he’s cool about the omission. “I’ve had no contact (from Saint-André),” he says. “And I’m not thinking about it. I’m focusing only on Montpellier and I think I’ve still got a lot of work to do if I’m to be selected.”That was the message from Galthie after Pélissié’s jaw-dropping performance against Clermont. “He’s clever, runs fast, tackles well – he is capable of doing great things,” said the Montpellier coach. “The hardest part is to come, but he has his head on his shoulders.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS A series of standout performances in this season’s Heineken Cup will do Pélissié’s international chances no harm, especially as Montpellier have to tackle Ulster and Leicester, “I’ve never played against either Ruan Pienaar or Ben Youngs,” says the Frenchman. “But it will be a good challenge if I do. I’ll go into the games without fear, just excitement at the prospect of playing against two of the best scrum-halves around.”Pélissié also says Montpellier have the strength in depth this season to sustain their challenge for the Top 14 while also going at it hammer and tongs in the Heineken Cup, something that not all French sides have done over the years. “I believe it’s possible that we can challenge for both titles,” he says. “It will be hard, the Top 14 season is very long and the Heineken Cup is a very tough competition with a high standard. But if we stay focused, don’t get a bad run of injuries, we can give it a good shot.”last_img read more

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Aviva Premiership Final preview: Bath v Saracens

first_imgThere promises to be some tantalising individual duals all over the pitch. Peer past the obvious battle at No 10 for Ford and Farrell and you have the unlikely face-off at No 6 – 20-year old Maro Itoje and Sam Burgess going toe-to-toe at blindside. Both are massive men, at 6ft 5in and around 18st, and it promises to be a titanic battle in the close exchanges for two men still learning their trade on the grandest of stages. That’s not forgetting the African ballast provided by Francois Louw and Jacques Burger on the other side of the scrum.Man on a mission: Jacques Burger is a human exocet with, or without, the ballAt scrum-half Saracens will pit the box-kicking excellence of Richard Wigglesworth against the whippet-like old stager Peter Stringer, who will both chide each other’s packs on, like jockeys in the saddle.Many more individual battles will be contested, but whatever the outcome it promises to be a rip-roaring occasion for neutrals with 18 England hopefuls on trial in front of a watching Stuart Lancaster. He would not be blamed for crossing fingers and toes, after the trials and tribulations of the past few weeks, but for the 82,000 assembled at Twickenham an intriguing game will be the thrilling denouement to a wonderful season.Prediction: Saracens to win by three pointsKick-off: 2.30pm, Twickenham TAGS: HighlightSaracens Catch me if you can: Jonathan Joseph will need close attention from the Sarries defence Bath will look for their Premiership title, while Saracens will look to atone after the pain of last year’s loss. It promises to be quite a final LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Beauty versus the beast. The great entertainers versus the great nullifiers. It’s easy for commentators to paint the narrative of the Aviva Premiership final clash as a battle of styles. Yet like most things in sport, nothing is that simple.Bath, for their part, have played some scintillating rugby this term. Inspired my Messrs Ford and Ford, they have brought smiles back to the assembled masses in Bath not seen since the ghosts of Callard, Guscott, Hall and Halliday bestrode The Rec. They are the form team, on a seven-game winning run that, coupled with a second demolition of Leicester Tigers where they ran in seven sumptuous tries last weekend, will have been duly noted by the cerebral Mark McCall. They also have the pedigree of six-time English champions, and the motivation of a 19-year absence from the Premiership winners’ podium that will have given them a hunger to give their travelling masses reason to celebrate.Memory bank: Bath did beat Saracens 21-11 earlier in the season at The RecLooking at the stats, Bath have excelled in many areas. They have beaten the most defenders per game in the Premiership (21.2), with Saracens way behind in 10th on 14.2. Perhaps more surprisingly Bath’s tackling rate is second only to Wasps with 87 per cent and of course they have proven individual match-winners: Semesa Rokodoguni has made the most clean breaks this season with 36, and George Ford has assisted more tries than any other this season with 13. Jonathan Joseph and Kyle Eastmond are also more than support acts.And yet Saracens hold sway in many areas. They have beaten Bath in nine of their past ten meetings, and have more recent big-game experience of knockout rugby. In Europe, they have reached the latter stages in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Perhaps more pertinently, they can harness the pain of last year’s final heartbreak, where Alex Waller burrowed over late on for Northampton to win 24-20, leaving Saracens players strewn, exhausted and despondent on the deck, no doubt vowing history would not repeat itself.Saracens also boast a pack that should cause the Bath eight problems, with the Vunipola brothers Billy and Mako, Jamie George and Jacques Burger all prominent in getting over the ball at the breakdown to slow ball down and starve Bath of quick possession.Home turf: Saracens have a superb record against Bath in the last five seasons, losing only onceAt half-back, in Wigglesworth and Farrell, they have two teak-tough competitors who will look to send chasers after high balls deep into Bath territory, while out wide Chris Wyles, Chris Ashton and David Strettle have plundered 33 tries between them. Put simply, they will look to use their ‘wolf pack’ mentality to suffocate Bath’s runners, force penalties and let Farrell keep the scoreboard ticking over.Under Mike Ford, Bath will be looking shunt the heavier Saracens pack around the Twickenham turf, hold parity up front, and look to their creative trio, Ford, Eastmond and Joseph to spot mismatches in midfield, as they did to devastating effect last weekend. Star turn: Sam Burgess have proved far more effective at blindside than centreSaracens: Alex Goode, David Strettle, Duncan Taylor, Brad Barritt, Chris Wyles, Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth, Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Petrus Du Plessis, George Kruis, Alistair Hargreaves (c), Maro Itoje, Jacques Burger, Billy VunipolaReplacements: Schalk Brits, Richard Barrington, Juan Figallo, Jim Hamilton, Jackson Wray, Neil de Kock, Charlie Hodgson, Chris AshtonBath: Anthony Watson, Semesa Rokoduguni, Jonathan Joseph, Kyle Eastmond, Matt Banahan, George Ford, Peter Stringer, Paul James, Ross Batty, David Wilson, Stuart Hooper (c), Dave Attwood, Sam Burgess, Francois Louw, Leroy HoustonReplacements Rob Webber, Nick Auterac, Henry Thomas, Dominic Day, Matt Garvey, Carl Fearns, Chris Cook, Ollie Devotolast_img read more

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Don’t miss out on free stash Fridays!

first_imgAll you need to do is follow this link and fill in your email address and name. We will email you the newsletter telling you which prize is on offer that week, and we will then let you know how you can get your hands on some of that rugby gear with minimal hassle. Keep your eyes on that inbox guys…Good luck! LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS A question for all you rugby fans out there: would you be at all interested in some free stash?Yeah, okay, that’s a pointless question. We all love free stuff. And for that very reason we’re giving you the chance to win some rugby stash courtesy of the team at Rugby World magazine. Just follow our links and sign up for our weekly newsletter. It couldn’t be simpler.Every week we will email you with the biggest stories from, the latest offers we have for you and any other content we think you should be aware of. So not only do you get kept updated with some of the best analysis, features and videos from the game, but you also find out Rugby World’s exclusive deals… and give yourself a chance of winning some kit, balls or apparel.last_img read more

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One year to go until the 2019 Rugby World Cup

first_img Anticipation: Excitement is building with only year to go until the World Cup begins (Getty Images) One year to go until the 2019 Rugby World CupJapan kick off the first Rugby World Cup to be staged in Asia against Russia on Friday 20 September 2019, so with just a year to go until the tournament we bring you a rundown of the latest goings-on…Tickets in demandRWC 2019 organisers have talked about an unprecedented demand for tickets for next year’s tournament, with a large sign-up for travel packages as well as huge interest from local fans. There have already been 2.5m ticket applications for 1.8m seats, although demand for certain matches is higher than others.Naturally matches involving Japan have been hugely popular while England – with former Japan coach Eddie Jones at the helm – and New Zealand – the All Blacks brand is strong in Asia – are also proving to be a big draw.The global public ballot is now open, too, and runs until 12 November – head to for all the information you need to register for tickets.Leaving a legacyThe word ‘legacy’ is often bandied around when it comes to big sporting events, but World Rugby believes Japan 2019 will be “the most impactful Rugby World Cup to date”.World Rugby set a target of introducing one million youngsters in Asia to rugby before the tournament and have already reached 900,000 so are likely to exceed their goal.Tag rugby has also been added to the curriculum at 1,982 schools in host cities, with 200,000 schoolchildren getting a taste for the sport so far.“Japan 2019 is shaping up to be World Rugby’s most successful legacy programme to date and with one year still to go, is already setting a gold standard for engagement across the sporting spectrum,” said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.“Creating a sustainable legacy is a central pillar in our major event planning and delivering a tangible, long-term impact beyond the six-week event is critical to the event’s success. Inspiring interest in rugby across Asia was one of the core reasons for bringing the Rugby World Cup to Japan.”Legacy: Organisers are hoping to grow rugby in Japan after the World Cup (Getty Images)Live on TVWhile World Cup rights-holding broadcasters do not have to show every match live, World Rugby is aiming to ensure that people will be able to watch all the games with live streams.For example, if ITV – the UK rights holders – choose not to show Fiji v Uruguay on Wednesday 25 September, World Rugby is likely to put out a live stream online of that match in the UK. The November issue of Rugby World magazine, which goes on sale on Tuesday 2 October, comes with a FREE 52-page guide to the 2019 World Cup. It’s packed with details of the teams, the fixtures and the stadiums as well as a wealth of information on travelling in Japan – where to go, what to see, which foods to eat and so on – for those fans going to the tournament. Be sure to pick up a copy next month.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Rugby World Cup Venues In the lead-up to the last World Cup, Tim Nanai-Williams played for Samoa on the World Sevens Series so he could represent Samoa at England 2015 having previously been tied to New Zealand (he had played the abbreviated game for them).Related: What are rugby’s eligibility rules? Sevens inclusion in the Olympics has opened this loophole in rugby and allows players to switch allegiance if they play in an Olympic qualifying event.While anyone who wants to be able to represent a country who are a core team on the Sevens Series can play in those legs to become ‘uncaptured’ so to speak, other nations will play in regional qualifying tournaments between June and December 2019.The dates of these, which should be confirmed by 31 October, could prove significant because if they are before the World Cup it gives an opportunity for players to become eligible for a different country in time for kick off in Japan.Switch: Charles Piutau has said he wishes to play for Tonga, despite playing for the All Blacks (Getty Images)Take Charles Piutau. The former All Black has spoken about wanting to play for Tonga at the 2019 World Cup and if the Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament is next summer he will have an opportunity to become eligible for selection. If it is later in the year it will be too late for him to switch for RWC 2019.Related: Exclusive interview with Charles PiutauTattoos cover-upWith tattoos having negative connotations in Japan – they are associated with the Yakuza (organise crime syndicates) – players are being advised to cover up any ink they may have when in public swimming pools, by wearing a T-shirt for example.There is no official regulation on this and player will not be required to cover any tattoos for matches, but they are being made aware of the local culture and Alan Gilpin, the head of Rugby World Cup, says teams have responded well.“It’s about education both ways,” says Gilpin. “We will make (Japanese) people aware around the facilities that players will use that people with tattoos in a Rugby World Cup context are not part of the Yakuza.“When we raised it with the teams a year or so ago, we were probably expecting a frustrated reaction but there hasn’t been at all. We won’t force anyone to cover up but teams do want to be respectful of Japanese culture. It will all be self-policing.”Respect: Teams will show respect to Japanese culture by covering many tattoos in public places (Getty Images) Free RWC 2019 guide Expand What you need to know about the 12… Take a look at all the matches that… TAGS: Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Warm-Ups Collapsecenter_img Rugby World Cup Groups Rugby World Cup Venues A rundown of the Rugby World Cup groups… Changes of allegiance Here’s the latest on next year’s World Cup in Japan – from tickets to tattoos Expand LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS 2019 Rugby World Cup Warm-Ups Rugby World Cup Groupslast_img read more

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Japan 2019 Travel Guide: Tottori

first_imgThe Adventurer For an adrenaline rush, try sand-boarding at the Tottori Sand Dunes, where you can slide down the 30-degree slopes. Or you can fly over the dunes with a paragliding experience.Flying high: You can paraglide over the Tottori Sand DunesYou can also take in spectacular views when kayaking on the Uradome Coast – it’s the leading attraction of the San’in Kaigan UNESCO Global Geopark.The Party Animal Misasa Onsen is famous for its curative powers, then at night guests put on yukata (casual kimonos) and stroll around the village, playing retro games and sampling pubs.Fun and games: Retro games at Misasa OnsenBASE8823 is a unique lodge in the forest in Yazu with a night view of the stars that is rated the best in Japan. You can also interact with other travellers around the camp fire and BBQ.The restaurant Daisen G Beer Bier Hof Gambarius is not only a great spot from which to watch the sunset, you can also sample the local 100%-malt Daisen G Beer.For more travel information… View finder: Mitokusan Sanbutsuji Temple is in an incredible setting TAGS: Japan Try outdoor activities while visiting shrines and temples LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Advertising FeatureJapan 2019 Travel Guide: TottoriTottori Prefecture on Honshu is a gateway to historical sites and thrilling activities – all surrounded by nature…The Culture Vulture The Kurayoshi Shirakabe Storehouses along the Tamagawa River retain the feel of their origins in the Edo and Meiji periods. The area has been designated one of the most important traditional architecture preservation districts in the country, with a stone bridge spanning the Tamagawa and the red tiles contrasting beautifully with the white mortar of the buildings.Formerly breweries and soy sauce distilleries, the buildings now house shops and galleries, and it’s a great place to while away an afternoon walking around.Mitokusan Sanbutsuji Temple is located on the 900m-high Mount Mitoku. Built into the mouth of a cave on a sheer precipice, it is a one-of-a-kind national treasure. You have to climb a tricky mountain path to see it up close, but it’s worth it.In the middle of Mount Daisen you’ll find the Buddhist Daisenji Temple, which was destroyed by fire in 1928 and reconstructed in 1951. Visit Ogamiyama Shrine – located above the temple – too.The Foodie In Japan, mention Tottori and people think of nashi (Asian pears); mention nashi and Tottori comes to mind, so they are a must-try. The most representative of the many varieties is the 20th Century Pear, which is known for its pale yellow, almost translucent, skin, and a delicate sweetness and juiciness.The swordtip squid caught in the Sea of Japan are called shiroika, or white squid, by the locals and their rich flavour is popular in a variety of dishes.Mountain feast: Offerings at the Mitakien restaurantDine on mountain cuisine in the heart of the forest at Mitakien (, near Chizu. This restaurant has six different buildings and the location is lovely to stroll around, with a nearby stream adding to the acoustics while you dine. Try a kaiseki (multi-course) meal, featuring mountain vegetables, konjac and river fish. How to get thereTottori station is around two-and-a-half hours by train from Kyoto, Osaka or Kobe. There are also direct flights available from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Tottori Airport, which take one hour 15 minutes.last_img read more

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Moody Bleu! Can enigmatic Fabien Galthie restore glory to France?

first_img Here Jacob Whitehead takes a look at some… This article originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of Rugby World magazine.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Six Nations Players To Watch LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Gavin Mortimer assess the strengths and weaknesses of the new France coach’s approach Can enigmatic Fabien Galthie restore glory to France?France don’t have Marmite but if they did they could call it Galthie. The new coach of France has that effect on people: you either love him or hate him.Those in the former camp tend to be equals, erstwhile team-mates of talent, who describe a driven but likeable man. Fabien Galthie made his International debut in 1991 and Denis Charvet, a France centre from 1986-91, says: “He lives, eats and sleeps thinking about rugby. He has an attention to detail, and an unusual demand of himself and of others.”Another ex-international colleague, Jean-Luc Sadourny, who was a team-mate of Galthie’s at Colomiers, recalls a young man “open and cheerful” who when he returns to his roots to see old friends “still has the rugby spirit and knows how to party”. Sadourny adds that Galthie has a sensitivity that he sometimes conceals beneath a brusque persona.Max Guazzini, the president of Stade Francais when Galthie was both a player and coach at the Parisian club, agrees. “His carapace protects him because in fact he’s sensitive, with true values, and asks himself a lot of questions.” His enemies are often his underlings, players who have been coached by Galthie during a management career that began at Stade Francais in 2004 and has encompassed Montpellier, Toulon and a two-year stint with Argentina.Many will only speak off the record. One former France international told me that Galthie is one of the best technicians he has worked with, and one of the rudest human beings. “Cold”, “brutal” and “calculating” are some of the words used to describe his character.Pass master: Fabien Galthie in action in France’s win over New Zealand at RWC 1999 (Getty Images)“Fabien is a good coach but not a good manager,” one player told rugbyrama in 2015. “He’s an individualist and manipulative. He functions in a way that doesn’t correspond with what professional rugby has become.”One of the few to go public with their criticism was the former Stade Francais winger Raphael Poulain, who, in his 2011 autobiography When I Was Superman, related the day Galthie told him he wasn’t good enough at this level. “Humanely, you are worthless,” retorted Poulain. “You shouldn’t be allowed to coach. You rip up your players like a dog feeding on scraps of meat.”“He’s a chess player,” says Mourad Boudjellal, who hired Galthie to coach his Toulon side in 2017, a meeting of two gargantuan egos that inevitably didn’t end well. “He’s not a man-manager. One shouldn’t forget that one is managing men and not robots.”The cynic might say that’s rich coming from Boudjellal, a man with a reputation for putting publicity before privacy when talking about his club and its players.It might be that Galthie’s sensitivity, of which Sadourny and Guazzini spoke, makes him uncomfortable with confrontation, so he gets the bad news over with as quickly as possible, making him appear callous. Or perhaps he is just uncaring and arrogant.And “self-centred”. That was the word used by Bernard Laporte to describe Galthie when, in October 2014, he excused himself from taking his Montpellier team to play Oyonnax in the Top 14 so he could jet off to Brazil for the lavish birthday party of Serge Kampf, the French sports tycoon.He returned to France and a torrent of criticism, all of which he brushed aside. “I know what sort of society we live in and this fuss conforms precisely to our society today,” he said. “I’m not at all surprised by its scale.”Pulling together: Fabien Galthie joins a huddle with his France players (Getty Images)Laporte, then in charge of Toulon and now president of the French rugby federation (FFR), was among Galthie’s critics. He had also been invited to the party but declined because of his club commitments. “His place is certainly with his team and not over there,” said Laporte. “Each does what he wants, sees things as he sees fit, but it doesn’t seem very healthy.”Galthie was subsequently sacked by Montpellier, and in a lengthy legal battle was awarded €500,000 in compensation by an industrial tribunal for wrongful dismissal. Laporte alleged at the time that Galthie’s actions were calculated, that the reason he went to Brazil was because the power-brokers of French rugby were attending Kampf’s birthday bash. Philippe Saint-Andre’s reign as France coach was in its death spiral and Galthie wanted to jump to the front of the successor queue.Machiavellian but ultimately misguided, as the FFR appointed Guy Noves to replace Saint-Andre once the curtain came down on France’s calamitous 2015 World Cup. That tenure also ended in tears, with Noves getting the boot in late 2017 from Laporte, who had succeeded Pierre Camou as president of the FFR 12 months earlier. After the ragged reign of Jacques Brunel ended with France’s exit from Japan 2019, Galthie has finally achieved his ambition and is the head coach of France. France Six Nations Squad 2021 France ended this year’s championship in second place France ended this year’s championship in second place France Six Nations Fixtures 2021 Expand Collapse France Six Nations Squad 2021 That is the Dr Jekyll in Galthie, but the Mr Hyde in him will make or break his reign. Can he iron out the flaws in his character or will he alienate and antagonise players with his brash people skills? French players have a well-deserved reputation for being a little thin-skinned, too flaky for their own good. How will they react to a tongue-lashing from Galthie? A national team isn’t like a club side. The player pool is much smaller so more susceptible to being poisoned by low morale.“If he wants to succeed, he will have to be more approachable,” said Christophe Dominici, a former team-mate at club and country. “He’s arrived like a saviour but now he has to stick at it, and he has more trouble doing that.”In other words, might not Galthie soon get bored? A club coach works with his players every day, sees them develop, offers advice and has them under his control. A national coach has far less influence. But Marc Duzan, a journalist for Midi Olympique, believes this works to Galthie’s advantage.“Galthie is sensitive and emotional and this can often lead to complex and what I’d call ‘painful’ relationships with others, and in the long term this wears down players. With France, Galthie will have the players for four months out of 12 and that corresponds better to his strengths and weaknesses.”But it would be naive to believe that Galthie and his staff, including Shaun Edwards as defence coach, can bring about a swift renaissance. “The problem with French rugby is structural,” says Duzan. “The clubs are richer and more powerful than the federation, which has no independence and no say in the control and management of the internationals.”The FFR’s power is further diminished by the fact they have no national stadium of their own. Instead they rent the soulless Stade de France from a private consortium, and that prevents them raising funds by renting it out for other events. There were plans to build a national rugby stadium south of Paris but these were controversially abandoned by Laporte in 2017.Nonetheless, Galthie is fortunate compared to his recent predecessors in having at his disposal the most exciting crop of young players for a generation. Antoine Dupont, Romain Ntamack, Damian Penaud, Charles Ollivon, Camille Chat, Demba Bamba, Arthur Iturria and Matthieu Jalibert are gifted players, and there are more coming through.The players are there so it’s over to Galthie. Some may find his manner hard to stomach but if he brings back the glory to French rugby, the distaste of his detractors will vanish. France Six Nations Fixtures 2021 Expand Six Nations Players To Watch Top job: Fabien Galthie took over as France head coach post-RWC 2019 (Getty Images) The fulfilment of Galthie’s dream revealed two things: first, the determination of the man, and second, the ruthless politics of French rugby. There are more plots hatched in dark corners and more knives in backs than the days of the Roman Empire, but Laporte and Galthie are two of the most wily and ruthless plotters. Together they will either make France great again or sound the death knell for a national team that has been in steady decline for more than a decade.In November, Galthie chose to hold his first official press conference as head coach in Montgesty, a village of 335 people of which his father is mayor. Galthie grew up in the village in the south-west of France and it was there “I discovered the sport that changed my life”.It was a smart move from Galthie, as one would expect from someone with his media savoir-faire. Having worked as a rugby consultant for the main television network for many years, Galthie has many contacts within the industry and he knows what makes for good press. But there was more to his choice of Montgesty than throwing the media a heart-warming story.The morale of French rugby is at rock-bottom; les Bleus now regularly finish in the lower half of the Six Nations table. In recent years there have been a number of deaths and serious injuries in both the professional and amateur game, leading to a sharp drop in grass-roots playing numbers.Laporte has hired Galthie to bring back the je ne sais quoi to French rugby, particularly les Bleus. They are, after all, the shop window of the sport, and the sight of thousands of empty seats at the Stade de France in recent seasons has sent a chill down the spine of the FFR. Laporte may have said strong things about his new head coach in the past but he knows the man he’s hired has charisma, guile and a winning mentality.MORE ON THE SIX NATIONSlast_img read more

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Rugby’s Greatest: Richie McCaw

first_img Rugby’s Greatest: Dan Carter Collapse Expand Major teams: Crusaders, CanterburyCountry: New Zealand
Test span: 2001-15Test caps: 148 (141 starts)Test points: 135 (27T) Expand “He can hardly walk and how he played today I just don’t know,” said Graham Henry after New Zealand beat France 8-7 in the 2011 World Cup final. “That he got through it was down to his heart and determination. He’s the best leader this country has ever had.” Rugby’s Greatest: Sean Fitzpatrick New Zealand Rugby World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide All Black Sean Fitzpatrick epitomised the rugged hardness… Rugby’s Greatest: Dan Carter Legend: McCaw was nominated for World Player of the Year eight times, winning on three occasions center_img Rugby’s Greatest: Sean Fitzpatrick A three-time World Rugby Player of the Year, McCaw followed that by lifting the Webb Ellis Cup again in his final match, the defeat of Australia at RWC 2015.McCaw‘s win percentage across his Test career was 89%. In the same time span for NZ matches he missed, that figure dropped to 68%. He lost just twice in 61 Tests on home soil and his 37 appearances against Australia remains a record for a player against a single opponent.His accomplishments haven’t been the sole preserve of the sports field for he has made a habit of excelling at everything he tries. He once scored 99.4% in a maths exam at Otago Boys High School and other activities include playing the bagpipes and piloting gliders – flying a wave at 20,000 feet is one of his greatest pleasures.For a player who soared above the rest, it’s only fitting that he now flies helicopters for a living in his capacity as an owner/director of Christchurch Helicopters. Pound for pound, New Zealand’s Dan Carter is… New Zealand Rugby World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide Rugby’s Greatest: Richie McCawEven before he’d made a national age-grade team, Richie McCaw believed he was going to the top. Encouraged by an uncle whilst waiting for food to arrive in a McDonald’s, the teenage McCaw wrote down a list of rugby goals on a napkin. He was to achieve them all, including becoming an All Black three years ahead of schedule in 2001.It’s strange now to think that his debut in Dublin, aged 20, on an autumn tour caused a furore because McCaw had only played 17 first-class games at the time. The young openside was named Man of the Match that day and went on to break a host of Test records: the most capped player (148), most caps as captain (110) and most Test tries for a flanker (27).Of the All Blacks‘ 416 Test victories from 1903 until the time of his retirement in 2015, McCaw was on the field for 131 (32%) of them.Lockdown training: McCaw and his wife Gemma in their backyard in Christchurch this month (Getty)It’s impossible to overstate McCaw’s influence on the past decade and more. An arch turnover merchant with the knack of staying on the right side of referees, he also raised the bar in terms of tackle rate, clearing rucks and carrying ball.His endurance levels were remarkable and his refusal to yield to a foot fracture at RWC 2011 – sustained before the knockout stage even began – was heroic. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: The Greatest Players Winners of the past two World Cups, the… It will be a long time before we see his like again.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.last_img read more

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