Rugby Union - Autumn Internationals 2021

Discussion in 'General Football & Other Sport' started by Sting, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. wfcmoog

    wfcmoog Tinpot

    His only on lone
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  2. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    So at last the Six Nations and SANZAAR are looking to create a global rugby season. To make sure international yours occur in the same part of the year and that club tournaments do not overlap with international ones.

    The statement also outlined seven key principles for discussions around the calendar.

    Those principles, listed below, include reducing the overlap between club and international fixtures and creating more of a “narrative’ through domestic and international seasons.

    1. Significantly mitigate overlaps between club and country fixtures

    2. Better aligned player release windows for players, stakeholders and competitions

    3. Improve player welfare

    4. Improve narrative and competitiveness of International and Domestic Competitions around clear windows

    5. Define clear high-performance pathways for Emerging Nations through the delivery of an internationally more inclusive game

    6. Evolve competition structures that are underpinned with enhanced commercial offerings

    7. Restore public faith in the core values of rugby and showing strong collective leadership in the best interests of the game.

    Point five is the most important for me in order to get union developing faster. And that tier two teams do get more Tests with tier one between World Cups and perhaps get Fiji for example into the Rugby Championship as well and in due course Georgia into the Six Nations. CVC have bought a share in the Top 14. The money they bring in exchange for it will be welcome to the Celtic unions and Italy who are now part of that group given the sudden reduction in finances the pandemic has caused. One still has to be concerned about the implications for coverage, demands made on the tournament that could be detrimental to player welfare and the sport itself. After all these private equity firms don't give money away for free.

    Moving the Six Nations will be a wrench. Some say the quality of running and passing rugby will improve but for me weather has always been a key component to any sport. The ability to handle a bomb in a swirling wind as a fullback, the ability to compensate for a wet ball by using the pack more and shorter passes namely your on the pitch IQ and using the conditions. As simple as being able to slide in over the try line in the wet to avoid a cover tackle from a distance to chipping the ball into space knowing either the prevailing wind will hold the ball up or the wet conditions mean it will not roll out of play.
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  3. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Things are far from a picture of serenity in the world of Australian rugby union. The organization was in turmoil prior to the viral outbreak with the previous CEO being replaced for not having reached the goals the ARU set out. France and now Japan provide an extremely tempting destination for any unhappy Wallaby given the ludicrous wages clubs are able to offer. Either through rich chairmen or the backing of multinational companies as in Japan. Three players from the Super Rugby Queensland franchise have already decided to break their contracts after having been asked to defer their wages with the ARU in fiscal crisis.

    Isaac Rodda is one of those and would not be short of suitors in the Northern Hemisphere. Meanwhile Saracens have managed to keep several of their internationals with the club despite relegation to the Championship. However George Kruis will be leaving to join the Panasonic Wild Knights in the Top League in Japan. This probably puts an end to his England career. He started out with the Saxons and at the time I did contact the Canadian RU about his eligibility through his father for the Canadian national XV. They promised to look into it given that the only decent player they had in the pack at the time was Jamie Cudmore but never followed up.
  4. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Japan and Fiji are being invited to take part in and end of year tournament with the Six Nations. This is to make up some of the Test schedule from the summer and also get some finance for the unions. The current state of provincial and club rugby is not the best with many players being asked to take wage deferrals and cuts. Some are not too happy about it either as at Leicester.

    Brad Barrit the SA born centre has also retired from the game after a very successful spell with Saracens. Tompkins is off to the Dragons for a loan expected to be a season.
  5. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Mike Slemen has passed away aged 69. Outstanding winger and general sportsman.

    Played for Orrell. A sad tale for a club that before professionalism was one of the top clubs in the land. Now it plies it's trade as an amateur club in the depths of the Cheshire/Lancashire league. It's the football equivalent of a WBA playing in the Isthmian League. Failed takeovers, bankruptcy, an attempt to move the club to London and getting beaten 150-0 in matches having had to play kids against seniors. They were the opposition as it were to St.Helens in terms of the union/league divide in Liverpool much as Sale now are the pre-eminent club.
  6. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Bit of a thug Owen. Gets away with it too many times and being and England player. A bit like in the football where Alan I'm so nice Shearer got away with kicking someone in the head. Will get a thoroughly merited long term ban. You can play on the edge like the chiropractor and be tough but not go over the line. A wild swing at the neck area like that can have serious implications for the player on the end of the foul play.

  7. Davy Crockett

    Davy Crockett Reservist

    Not a huge rugger fan , ie I will watch 6 nation's but that is about it .
    However . Lions '97 tour of South Africa gives me goose bumps just
    thinking about it !.
  8. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Exeter to beat Northampton today. Tolosa to beat Ulster. Great to see David Ainu'u at Tolosa. Hope he gets plenty of playing time which will be greatly beneficial for USA Rugby.
  9. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Quantas are ending their sponsorship of the ARU which is already as I have mentioned in a parlous financial state. Stark warnings from the IRB despite their reserves that several unions could end up bankrupt sooner rather than later.

    Rob Howley is venturing off to Canada after the betting scandal that forced him to exit the Welsh camp prior to the last World Cup. He will team up with former Russia head coach Kingsley Jones. They have a massive job on their hands to turn around Canadian rugby which is plummeting down the rankings. Langford, the decision to focus on sevens, withdraw the best club players from local competitions are just a handful of the appalling decisions made by Rugby Canada in recent years which has led to declining numbers of children playing and high schoolers leaving the sport including some very promising players. The whole structure of club rugby there needs looking at and Langford needs to change it's role simply into a HPC prior to international tournaments.

    The sole beacon of hope are the Canadian teams like the Toronto Arrows in Major League Rugby in the US where foreign players, full time coaches and a basic salary will allow the players to develop and remain more professional and act as a springboard for some to come to Europe as in the past. Players like Andrew Coe at fullback for instance are a real talent.
  10. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Saracens hopes of retaining the EC are over. 19-15 defeat to Racing 92. Three of their stars combining late on to seal the win. Russell, Vakatawa and Imhoff.
  11. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Exeter champions of Europe. A third time unlucky for Racing 92. Finn Russell can be a blessing or a curse. Two suicidal passes cost Racing dearly. Especially the one after Chat had just scored and Racing were in the ascendant. Throws a pass that was never on to be intercepted by Slade.
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  12. Sahorn

    Sahorn Reservist

    Great game and performance.
    Awful kit.
    Well done Chiefs, pride of Devon.
  13. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member


    Welsh and world rugby legend JJ Williams has passed at the all too young age of seventy two. Part of that magnificent Welsh back line that created magic with the ball in hand and had there been World Cups in the seventies then it is without a doubt Wales would have at least a couple of titles. Also played for Llanelli when they beat the All Blacks and tied with the Wallabies. Imagine that now. It just showed the strength of Welsh rugby at the time. A lovely gentleman off the pitch as well. And part of the best Lions touring team that went to South Africa and came away despite the beatings and bruises (no little thuggery from the Boks as you can see below) without a single loss.

    He could have been a field athlete such was his prowess but his choice to stay with the game he loved enriched it greatly.

    Great documentary on the Scarlet's beating the AB's. Rugby union is as much in the DNA of Wales as the Mabinogion.

  14. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    England finding it tough in Italy.

    Hopefully will step it up in 2nd half.
  15. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Juan Figallo fantastic tight head prop of Saracens and Argentina has called time on his career. Head injury again as with many other recent retirements. Better safe than sorry. Argentina do have some decent props coming through again after a rather fallow period.

    The All Blacks like many unions are feeling the pinch financially and are considering allowing a private equity firm invest in the NZRU. Whatever that entails. They the investors will want something in return. CVC are already considering investing in the Six Nations whatever that may bring. In the Rugby Championship down to Argentina, Australia and NZ with South Africa withdrawing. The AB's thumped Australia last week recording a record win.

  16. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Last week saw the Pumas beat the All Blacks 25-15 for their first ever win over the team in black. It was mightily deserved. Ferocious defence, clever use of the ball and flowing rugby with the ball in hand. Nicolas Sanchez scored all the points leading to a great outpouring of emotion from the coaching staff, players and fans. The Argentina scrum which has been down the pan in recent years was back to something like it used to perform. What will be encouraging for Ledesma aided by former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is the performances of several players who just two seasons ago were in the u20 squad. The depth of Argentinian rugby has never been greater.

    Sanchez scored all fifteen points today as the Pumas rallied from a 15-6 deficit to tie the match and nearly snatch it at the death with Santiago Cordero just failing to kick the ball on for a certain score past the hooter. That back row of Matera (one of the best players in the game today), Kremer and Isa is one of the best in the world and quite scary for any opponent to see. It also begs the question why Ledesma at the last World Cup did not pick Cordero, Isa and Imhoff.

    The Pumas had not played for a year. The squad is scattered with the Jaguares temporarily disbanded and those in the team last Saturday have had to resort to some unusual training in isolation. A great result for rugby in general and one that also makes Ian Foster's role as AB head coach put into doubt. He and Wayne Pivac are under enormous pressure.

  17. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Sad news of the passing of Christophe Dominic the pint sized French winger of the late nineties and the epitome of Gallic flair on the rugby field. Depression is a silent killer. Here is a reminder of what was up to that point the greatest upset in RWC history until the Brave Blossoms beat the Boks back in 2015.

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  18. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    NZ thumped Argentina and Argentina then tied with the Wallabies despite the Australians being a man down after an awful tackle to the head. Lots of progress from the Pumas. Australia finding some emerging young players like Matt Philip.

    England just scraped past a second string France in a far from convincing performance requiring a last minute try and extra time penalty to win. Argentina suspended a trio of players Pablo Matera, Guido Petti and Santiago Socino for tweets made back in 2012 about Bolivian and Paraguayan immigrants in Argentina. These were apparently brought up by fans of Diego Maradona who thought the Pumas did not show enough respect last week while the AB's did this:

  19. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Not often an official in any sport gets so much respect and love when they decide to retire or generally in their career.

    Is he that good in how he controls the game or explains any decisions he makes so it’s hard to argue against Owens?

    Or is it simply that he is a rugby official where the rule is generally to give more respect and if he was a football referee would still get the same abuse and snarling from footballers, managers etc even if he displayed the same type of officiating ?
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  20. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    It's a big loss for union. A fantastic official who reached the pinnacle by taking the 2015 World Cup final. Impeccable understanding of the rules, respected by all players, a great sense of humour to defuse tense situations and such a calm and affable manner. Hugely liked also by crowds around the world. I sincerely hope he carries on within World Rugby in teaching the finer points of officiating to the new generation of line judges and referees. They could learn a lot from his wisdom.

    Elsewhere Gregor Townsend will remain Scotland head coach until the next World Cup. He has done a great job thus far in revitalizing their fortunes. Former World Cup winners from 2003 including hooker Steve Thompson will pursue legal action against the WRU and RFU after having been diagnosed with early signs of dementia which they claim is due to repeated head trauma.

    It is quite possible this will result in a class action. It will not be the first. American football set the precedent. Dr.Bennett Omalu diagnosed chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the post mortem brains of numerous NFL players due to repeated concussions. These resulted in tissue damage and memory loss, depression and dementia.

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  21. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    So the draw for the 2023 tournament in France has been made. Pools B,C and D look competitive insofar as the three seeded sides in each are quite capable of beating each other although with Japan it is more than likely England and the Pumas should come out on top.

    This is the qualification process for the other spots. Europe 1 for instance is more than likely to be Georgia. However World Rugby have created other continental tournaments to develop the standard of the game and provide a route towards the World Cup. Even while most group games in the WC are pretty much a foregone conclusion the games themselves are becoming more competitive with the tier two and three sides becoming more skilled, physically capable and better coached thanks to the emergence of structures within those countries, organized junior programmes and clinics from experts sent by World Rugby. It will be a long process but in time union will be like association football in having tough qualification and competitive group games throughout.

    Some nations are making rapid progress like Spain and Germany along with Uruguay, others are unfortunately slipping back like Canada while others are taking to the sport with aplomb like Uganda.
  22. WillisWasTheWorst

    WillisWasTheWorst Its making less grammar mistake's thats important

    I don’t follow rugby much, so can you explain why they need to make this draw so far ahead of the tournament given that the major nations don’t have to qualify for it?
  23. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    The simple answer is nobody knows or understands why they do it Willis. It has just been that way and they have kept on doing it. They are using the rankings from almost a year ago in the seeding process as well rather than the current ones so Scotland for instance have had a rough deal. Why then even bother with the rankings ? For certain it makes the job easier for tournament directors and also whenever the venues are announced the qualified teams also have that edge in their choice of hotels and training facilities.

    These are the current rankings (7/12/2020) and as you can see Georgia may feel aggrieved as well.

    WillisWasTheWorst likes this.
  24. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    The ongoing pandemic is still playing havoc with the fixture list. The French government are seeking assurances about the Six Nations biosecurity. Their concerns have also resulted in a suspension of the European Cup. The RFU Championship with Saracens in it is scheduled to start on the sixth of March. The division will be split into two conferences to minimize travel. Winners of each conference then play off in a two legged final for promotion.

    Conference A:
    Saracens, Cornish Pirates, Ampthill, Jersey Reds, London Scottish, Hartpury University

    Conference B:
    Ealing Trailfinders, Coventry, Nottingham, Bedford Blues, Doncaster Knights, Richmond

    Note that the idea for minimizing travel does not seem to apply to placing Ealing in Conference B. No doubt as they are the only team that will be even be remotely able to put up a fight against Saracens.

    Elsewhere Argentina and Japan have been given a nasty surprise. The old boys club seems determined to hamper the development of the global game. Australia and NZ will send five teams which means a revived Western Force in addition to a Fijian and Maori XV in a new 12 team competition to replace Super Rugby citing the pandemic and travel issues as causatory factors.

    Which means Japan are stuck without a team to develop their best young players. Nice. The UAR have decided to send the Jaguares to compete in the new six team competition of South America. One team each from Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay in addition to a Jaguares XV.

    The sides in Brazil and Uruguay, Corinthians and Penarol are attached to the football club to engender more attention. Most of these sides outside of Uruguay will also have a large Argentine contingent in playing staff and coaches as they are so far ahead of the other nations. It's still a decline in the quality of rugby played but I suspect as in the past Argentina will be forced to send it's best youngsters and senior professionals as they did before to play in Europe. It's a real shame but the entire Jaguares side that reached the SR final last season has now found employment abroad. Julian Montoya being the latest to find a spot in an European side namely Leicester Tigers who also feature three other Pumas. Los Ceibos was due to have been the second Argentina franchise in addition to the Jaguares but this has been scrapped. The businessman who funded Los Ceibos is far from pleased as it has cost him a million dollars. There is a legal battle brewing between him and the UAR.

    Are the other southern hemisphere nations frightened of Argentina becoming a super power in the game ? Perhaps. It's very disappointing to see. The sole positive being that more Fijians will get to experience top class professional rugby and hopefully hold onto their juniors before they get pinched by NZ, Australia, France or England. The four current South African super sides will be joining the Top 14 for the inaugural Rainbow Cup.
  25. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Cameron Redpath whose father Bryan was a nippy Scottish scrum half has declared for Scotland. He did play for England u20 with success but it's only natural he would want to play for the Scots. Still much umming and aahing in the corridors of European Rugby about how the Six Nations will held. The FFR want all matches held in a Parisian biobubble. It does make sense. The TV revenues for instance have already been allotted.
  26. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Josh Adams kicked out of the Welsh squad for breaking biobubble regulations set down by management. Rees-Zammit should replace him and it won't be a big loss. The Irish losing Caelan Doris star of the u20 side is a bigger blow.
  27. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Scotland looking like ending a 38 year wait at Twickers .
  28. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    The wait is over. Thoroughly deserved. Imposed their gameplan from the off. Great kicking from hand with Hogg putting up his hand for the Lion's fullback berth already. The art of the spiral kick needs to be learnt by a few more fullbacks. Young Cameron Redpath was outstanding and Scotland have a nucleus of a very promising young side. Back to the drawing board for Eddie Jones. Second best in most aspects of the game.

    Still it is the 150th anniversary of the RFU.

    Sad news about the passing of John Pullin 1941-2021. One of the prototypical modern hookers. Immensely likeable, modest , humble and captain of the England team that beat SA for the first time in 1969 and then victories later over the AB's , Boks and Wallabies in 1973. A stalwart of the Lions and of his hometown club Bristol he will be much missed.

    And has his part in one of the finest tries ever scored commentated on by the late great Cliff Morgan.

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  29. The Voice of Reason

    The Voice of Reason First Team Captain

    This result really capped my day off nicely NOT :(
  30. onion8837

    onion8837 Reservist

    That was highly amusing. Farrell shown up to be the massively over-hyped hugely over-rated player he is
  31. Davy Crockett

    Davy Crockett Reservist

    Not true . IMO.
  32. onion8837

    onion8837 Reservist

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  33. WillisWasTheWorst

    WillisWasTheWorst Its making less grammar mistake's thats important

    Even though I’m not a fan of rugby, watching that try always gives me shivers. It’s clearly the way the game was meant to be played, but so rarely seen in the modern day.
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  34. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    The size, speed, fitness and defensive preparation all make space on the field far less apparent. Some have called for making pitches larger, reducing playing numbers to 14, making sure players remain committed to the ruck. But if you can use your nowse and make sure the team is well drilled in moving the ball you can score flashy tries even between equally matched opponents. Creativity has suffered as with many sports at the expense of sheer power but it's very difficult to reverse.

    This is a great analysis of how the game has evolved in the era of professionalism:
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  35. WillisWasTheWorst

    WillisWasTheWorst Its making less grammar mistake's thats important

    I think professionalism has inevitably resulted in players at the top level becoming bigger and stronger (and perhaps faster). In such a physical sport this in turns means the hits in the tackle are more ferocious. With the advent of multiple substitutions, many players do not play the full 80 minutes which in turn means they can play even more ferociously for a shorter time and I suspect further increases the chance of serious injury. The recent reporting of long-term brain damage is very worrying.
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