The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has today announced a major organisational restructure following the arrival of John Steele as Chief Executive in September 2010.The changes, unanimously approved by the RFU Board of Directors, will, they hope, create a new streamlined executive leadership with more emphasis on delivering rugby at all levels and will simplify the organisational structure and way of working.Rob Andrew’s current job as Elite Rugby Director is scrapped, a position which he has held since August 2006, and the whole elite department revamped. A new, single, rugby department will be created which will be divided into three areas – Performance, Operations and Development – with new director roles created in each area reporting directly to the CEO. All rugby elements of the business will be integrated within the new rugby department to deliver clearer purpose and accountability, which will in turn improve the quality of experience from the top to the bottom of the game in England.Rob Andrew will stay in his job inititally, but will be invited to apply for the job as Operations Director.It is the Performance Director’s role, which will look after the England team (and mean Martin Johnson will have a new boss) that will cause the most speculation. But as BBC reports Sir Clive Woodward will not apply for this post.Eddie Jones and Jake White have already expressed an interest in the new job.In addition, two other new roles will be created with enhanced responsibilities. A Chief Commercial Officer role responsible for all of the revenue generating elements of the business and an enhanced Chief Financial Officer role encompassing all the corporate support services. All the new roles will be advertised from next week and will be subject to an open recruitment process. It is expected that internal and external candidates will apply.Also as part of the reorganisation a number of RFU executives have left the business with immediate effect as their roles no longer exist within the new structure. Andrew Scoular, Nick Bunting, Terry Burwell, Richard Prescott and Ian King depart from their roles as Community Rugby Director, Head of Planning, Funding and Resources, Tournaments and Competitions Director, Elite Team Media Director and Head of HR.Martyn Thomas, Chairman of the RFU Board of Directors, commented: “When we hired John we said we were confident he had the vision and the drive to ensure we could take the RFU to the next phase of its growth and today he has proved that was true. His initial recommendations, which we were unanimous in approving, were based on deep insight and clear evidence and John has our total support. The changes we are making signal a changing of the guard and the new refreshed leadership team will give the RFU new impetus and a clearer strategic direction not just at the Elite end of the game but across the whole game. We will emerge from the next few months a stronger, more effective union and John is to be applauded for taking the tough decisions needed to get there and for delivering the changes in a way that is cost neutral to the business.” The recruitment process will start next week. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS John Steele added. “I have spent the last few months gathering insight and views on how the RFU could better serve the game. I have toured England talking to staff, clubs, players, sponsors and any other rugby stakeholders I could spend time with to find out what we were good at and where we could improve. What became clear is that while we had a sound commercial platform, we did not have enough focus on the quality of the rugby experience across the game. So the new structure puts rugby right at the centre of the business and seeks to create more rugby expertise to benefit all levels of the game.“The next five years will be some of the most exciting in the RFU’s history and I wanted to make sure we are in the right shape as an organisation to seize the opportunities in front of us. These new executive roles are a huge opportunity to ensure that we have the brightest and the best people leading the business moving forward.”RFU Statement on Rob Andrew’s role: Over and above its statement on the overall impact of the organisational changes announced today, the Rugby Football Union wanted, given the widespread media speculation over the past week, to clarify the situation regarding the new Rugby Department and Rob Andrew’s role.When John Steele arrived at the RFU as CEO he made it clear that he would put rugby at the heart of the business and the creation of a new, single, rugby department delivers on that commitment. This is a significant shift and each of the three new directors will play a major role in ensuring the future growth and development of the game in England from the grassroots to the top of the professional game.John Steele, CEO of the RFU, commented, “Today’s announcement is all about looking forward not back and ensuring that we have the best people in place to serve and lead rugby in England as we prepare for a home world cup in 2015. In view of this we are placing huge emphasis on developing the leadership and vision for the new rugby department. The three senior appointments in the rugby area are hugely important to the future of the game. We have invited Rob to apply for the Rugby Operations Director role which is a game wide role responsible for creating the rugby infrastructure required to make rugby work across England.”However it is important to note that the development of this new structure will take six to nine months to put in place and in the interim those applying for roles will stay in their current position while the recruitment process happens and the transitions take place. This means that Rob Andrew will continue with his current responsibilities until the process is complete.Rob Andrew added, ‘I am very excited about the future of the game in England, and the re-structuring that will place rugby at the heart of everything the RFU does. Change is never easy but there are some exciting opportunities and challenges ahead. I will be considering the role of Rugby Operations Director in the coming weeks and in the meantime will continue with my responsibilities as Elite Rugby Director.’
Tuesday 14 June, Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso, Italy (kick-off 5.10pm BST) PADOVA, ITALY – JUNE 10: South Africa and Scotland players in scram during the IRB Junior World Championship match between South Africa and Scotland at Plebiscito stadium on June 10, 2011 in Padova, Italy. (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images) Starting XV15. Glenn Bryce (Stirling County) 14. Sam Atkin (Edinburgh Accies)13. Mark Bennett (Clermont Auvergne)12. Danny Gilmour (Stirling County)11. Kerr Gossman (Glasgow Hawks) 10. Duncan Weir CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors)9. Sean Kennedy (Stirling County) 1. Alex Allan (Loughborough University)2. David Cherry (Team Northumbria)3. Colin Phillips (Edinburgh Rugby/Stewart’s Melville)4. Mitchell Todd (Nottingham)5. Robert McAlpine (West of Scotland/Glasgow Warriors)6. Mitch Eadie (Boroughmuir)7. Hamish Watson (Leicester Tigers)8. James Tyas (Bath) Replacements16. Richard Ferguson (Melrose)17. George Hunter (Glasgow Warriors/Glasgow Hawks)18. Robin Hislop (Edinburgh Rugby/Boroughmuir)19. Jamie Swanson (Boroughmuir)20. Jamie Stevenson (Westcombe Park)21. Craig Jackson (Melrose)22. Grant Runciman (Melrose) Scotland scrum down against South Africa, later losing 33-0Scotland under-20 have made three personnel changes to the starting side ahead of their IRB Junior World Championship match against England at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso tomorrow night (kick-off 5.10pm BST).The Scots went down 33-0 to a formidable South Africa side in their opening championship fixture but take confidence from the showing of their Irish counterparts who ran England close in the corresponding Pool fixture on the same night (33-25). Scotland head coach Peter Wright said: “Ireland forced them to make a lot of errors so we have to make sure we put them under just as much pressure; we can do that in defence but the challenge for us is getting our attack working.“We’ll adopt a similar tactic in this match; we need to keep the game alive. We won’t be looking to take them on physically but we need to keep the ball for longer periods, into the sixth phase, to allow us to manipulate their defence and allow our quick runners to take advantage of any mismatches that are created.”Wright has been forced to shuffle his backs following the two-match suspension of full-back Stuart Hogg, having being cited for a dangerous tackle on South Africa stand-off Johan Goosen. The change sees Stirling County’s Glenn Bryce switch from the wing to the vacated full-back position (in which he operated during this season’s 6 Nations) and Kerr Gossman come on to the wing from the bench, having impressed as a replacement against the Boks. In the forwards, Mitch Eadie and Hamish Watson come in as a straight swap for Jamie Swanson and Alex Spence in the back-row. Spence drops out of the 22 and Melrose flanker, Grant Runciman, takes the remaining forward slot on the bench while fellow Melrosian Craig Jackson takes the spare back spot following the promotion of Gossman to the 1st XV. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Or click here if you prefer a digital version of the magazineAnd if you’d like 50% off a subscription to Rugby World Magazine click here Eagles centre/wing Paul Emerick adds: “Eddie was in the US set-up years before he became head coach. I think that most definitely helps him out, being familiar with American sporting culture. He’s approachable and I’m able to have straightforward conversations with him about my playing expectations.”On the field O’Sullivan has had some tough decisions to make. He dropped all-time leading scorer Mike Hercus, as well as established professional prop Mike MacDonald. He took several gambles, giving starting spots to wing Kevin Swiryn, No 8 Nic Johnson and lock Samu Manoa when those players seemed out of the loop.The Eagles ended 2009 with two wins over Uruguay to punch their ticket for the World Cup in New Zealand, clinching qualification on O’Sullivan’s 51st birthday. That left almost two years to prepare for the big tournament. O’Sullivan has spent that time tinkering with his line-up – for instance using seven different centres, including two sets of brothers. He has similarly played musical loose forwards.“I’ve just got to see all the combinations,” O’Sullivan explains. “There are guys who can’t be available because of school or work. I’d like that not to be the case but it is what it is and we work with it. So I have to see who else we’ve got.“There are always players coming out of the All-American system and the U20s, and also players you just find, you know? We have to see them all.”O’Sullivan has spent some time in Hawaii looking at that much-overlooked talent pool in the middle of the Pacific. He has looked at gridiron players too.All the changes inevitably produced inconsistency in the results. In the 2010 Churchill Cup the Eagles defeated Russia, lost to England Saxons and almost beat France A, providing reason for optimism. But on their November tour they lost to Saracens and Scotland A (without scoring a try in either game), edged Portugal 22-17, and lost in the final seconds against Georgia, 19-17.Now comes O’Sullivan’s final exam – they don’t call them Test matches for nothing. He has tinkered with his team, his game plan and coaching staff to prepare for a very tough World Cup. All that must end, now – or does it? With O’Sullivan, the Irishman who loves America, you just never know.This article appeared in Part 1 of our Rugby World Cup Supplement.To get a copy of the supplement contact [email protected] Eddie O’SullivanAge 52 (21 November 1958)Birthplace Youghal, Co CorkCoaching history Monivea, Blackrock, Connacht, Ireland U21, Ireland, USA EaglesRecord as USA coach (January 2009-present)P10 W6 L4Eddie O’Sullivan has tried to stabilise the American team while trialling new ideas. Has he found a winning formula?Going into 2009, the USA players were justifiably skittish. Nothing, it seemed, could be depended upon, especially their coaching situation.In 2006 head coach Tom Billups had stepped down over a conflict with the USA Rugby leadership. His replacement, Peter Thorburn, was always going to leave after the 2007 World Cup, but Thorburn’s replacement, Scott Johnson, barely lasted a year before leaving to join the Ospreys.With two shock resignations from their coaches in the space of three years, the Eagles players were reluctant to put their faith in a new coach, and yet, like a lonely child, they desperately wanted the stability they didn’t trust.Into that confused situation stepped Eddie O’Sullivan. Having left Ireland after a disappointing 2007 World Cup and 2008 Six Nations, O’Sullivan was returning to the country that gave him his start in international coaching.Immediately he made clear his position: he might be Irish, but he had spent a great deal of time in America and knew the game there; no, he wasn’t going to change everything, but he would change a few things; and no, he wasn’t going to leave. That last point mattered as much as anything. O’Sullivan’s main message was: “I’m here at least through to the 2011 World Cup. Depend on that.”O’Sullivan put his stamp on the USA team early. He made changes to the line-up and the pattern of play – opting for a more direct, hard-nosed attack. And the result was a 27-10 defeat in his debut match against Ireland in California. A loss, against his old team, but O’Sullivan had effected something of a turnaround for a team beaten badly (twice) by Japan a few months earlier. Perhaps the games that really cemented O’Sullivan’s place were that summer’s World Cup qualifiers against Canada.Going into the first match in Charleston, South Carolina, the USA were on a four-game losing streak against their rivals to the north. They hadn’t really been in those games at all. Now O’Sullivan got his team believing again in a game that made up for what it lost in fluid rugby with passion.The Americans won 12-6 on 4 July. The return match in Edmonton didn’t go as well – Canada were 24-0 up by half-time and won 41-18 to take the series. But one episode was telling. Rugby Canada’s playing of the United States national anthem was a failure, and while the players stewed quietly about the slight, O’Sullivan was openly furious. He clearly feels a strong bond with the Americans.“I’ve been involved with American rugby for years,” O’Sullivan explains. “I coached with the Eagles in 1999 and really enjoyed my time there. I helped start the Coaching Development Programme as national technical director and that’s something I’m very proud of. I have a lot of respect for the coaches and players in America and I always hoped people would understand that I may be Irish, but I respect American rugby.”
Cut loose: Would we see more adventure in the pursuit of tries if there were bonus points available in the Six Nations?By Charlie MorganSell-out crowds drummed up into a patriotic frenzy, fascinating sub-plots featuring players and coaches, Eddie Butler’s dulcet tones set against a back-drop of Kasabian – the Six Nations has many attributes.On these shores, Boxing Day is normally the cue for anticipation to start building. By the time a BBC montage is sent out across the airwaves a month later, excitement and expectation have reached dizzying levels. But – and we don’t often dare admit this about something so precious – blood and thunder always eclipse skill level. Physicality and endeavour are never lacking. Cutting edge is tougher to find.Ruthless: Ireland scoring against WalesAfter two rounds this year, there is a familiar story. In Ireland, the side most efficiently combining accuracy and aggression is occupying top spot. Characteristically sporadic French brilliance has fashioned a pair of wins. Many have found encouragement from England’s new-found ambition. In a tournament that is meant to offer a significant signpost to the 2015 World Cup though, not much else has been worth writing home about.Granted, difficult conditions and downright appalling surfaces don’t help the prospect of free-flowing, inventive attack. Still, aimless and predictable spells are lingering like a Murrayfield nematode. Having reinforced their collective superiority in autumn, the southern hemisphere giants will not be overly intimidated.Perhaps the most valuable trait of this competition is tradition. When history adds a dash of feeling, rivalries become more special. However, it shouldn’t obstruct evolution. Debate over introducing a bonus-point system to the Six Nations has raged for years. Next season is a perfect time to take the plunge.Let’s start with a striking statistic. In 2013, we saw just 37 tries – the lowest since the game went professional in 1995. A meagre tally of 2.5 scores a game maintained a steady 14-year decline from the inaugural Six Nations when 75 five-pointers were recorded. It would be naïve to attribute this solely to Italy’s development and a consequent rise in competitiveness. Teams are simply not penetrative enough.Despite some marked mismatches, nobody this year has yet managed to cross four times in one game. Without any incentive to limit a defeat to seven points or less either, a couple of encounters have petered out as well.Take the current Championship’s opening encounter in Cardiff – Wales’ 23-15 win over Italy. Would the hosts have been less lax with the carrot of a five-point return? Should the Azurri have been rewarded if they had managed to get within a score? Both of those questions are perhaps presumptuous and certainly theoretical, but because Six Nations culture rewards drab victories and ignores close losses, everyone left the Millennium Stadium feeling slightly deflated. France’s national rugby union team head coach Philippe Saint-Andre speaks during a press conference on February 7, 2014 in Marcoussis, south of Paris, two days ahead of the 6 Nations France-Italy match. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAY (Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images) Nobody will make an impression in 2015 without well-oiled structures and spark with ball in hand. Coaches as bright as Joe Schmidt, Warren Gatland and Stuart Lancaster do not need a revamped structure to know that. This isn’t just about reducing the risk of fans getting disillusioned by dull finishes, either.If they have to score, they will score: the All BlacksThe crux is this: northern hemisphere nations are not working on the same scoring basis as the World Cup. Each player is used to bonus-point demands from Heineken Cup, Aviva Premiership, Top 14 and Pro12 action, but strangely surrender such a mentality during the Six Nations, a pivotal time to work towards their all-consuming endgame.Intriguingly, England would be reigning champions if last season’s results had played out under bonus-point conditions. Their 38-18 thrashing of Scotland – punctuated by scores from Chris Ashton, Billy Twelvetrees, Geoff Parling and Danny Care – would have sent them into the finale in Cardiff with a five-point cushion.Given Wales’ overwhelming supremacy that night, the thought of Chris Robshaw collecting the Six Nations trophy following a 30-3 hiding is grimly laughable. As it was, points difference produced worthy Six Nations winners – it’s impossible to argue that Sam Warburton’s men didn’t deserve it.Why not ponder, though? With hindsight, a four-try haul for Wales that evening is entirely plausible had tournament rules required it. Each of the seven three-pointers they converted – five penalties from Leigh Halfpenny, one plus a drop-goal from Dan Biggar – were in positions from which they could have threatened England’s line. The immense atmosphere would have sucked at least one driving maul over for the men in red.Besides anything else, the scenario would have been invaluable practice for Wales’ task in 2015. In Pool A alongside England and Australia, their fate will be decided by bonus points if the big three win and lose one each over a deliciously tense round-robin at Twickenham. Victory will always be the priority of course, but staying within seven or capitalising on periods of ascendancy with tries might prove to be the difference.Vocally opposed to bonus point: Philippe Saint-AndreVoiced most audibly by France coach Philippe Saint-Andre, the main argument in opposition of the modern system is that it would mess with the mystique of a Grand Slam. Although unlikely, a side may register five wins but be usurped by another whose particularly potent attack has carved out four heavy triumphs and a narrow reverse. Saint-Andre makes a valid point. There’s a way around it. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS As woven into the rich tapestry of home nations rugby, a Slam is the Holy Grail and it is ridiculous to think it would not be enough to take the Championship. How about an additional ten points being awarded for a clean sweep just to force the issue, then? Other idiosyncrasies can be saved as well. Triple Crowns can survive amid bonus-points and the scrap to avoid the wooden spoon would be more absorbing and meritocratic.Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are still ahead and proactivity is needed to close the gap. When World Cup performances hold so much sway in terms of national pride, player selection and coaching structures, it is utter madness not to hold the key competition for European teams under the same rules. The Six Nations isn’t broken, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. Trading a redundant slither of romanticism for a ticket out of mediocrity seems a decent deal.
RUGBY WORLD: Have you got any hidden talents?CARLIN ISLES: I can juggle. But only with three things three at a time.RW: What are your three most prized possessions?CI: My Nike Flyknit Racers. I have about 50 pairs of shoes. Also my bible, which I read every night, and my stud earrings. I’ve got to have a bit of bling!RW: Who are the jokers in the USA Sevens squad?CI: Andrew Durutalo, though all the guys have a good sense of humour. I got concussed once playing against New Zealand. They came over when I was trying to get up and told me I was at Disneyland!Star joker: Andrew Durutalo makes a break for USA Sevens v CanadaRW: What can’t you live without?CI: Wi-Fi! I sit outside hotel rooms on tour trying to get the best connection. I’m always texting, or on Facebook or Twitter. I like to keep up with my family – I have three brothers and sevens sisters.RW: Which three people would you invite to dinner?CI: Bobby Valentino – he’s one of my favourite singers. Mike Epps, a comedian I like. And Usain Bolt. I’d ask him all about his training regimen and running skills, and what separates him from everyone else.RW: What do you do outside of rugby?CI: I love coaching biomechanics. I studied it when I was younger. I correct people’s gait to help them run faster. When I want to switch off completely, I just chill. I enjoy watching movies, and dancing and singing too. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The USA Sevens star and the fastest man in rugby gives us an insight into his personality off the pitch RW: Do you have any phobias?CI: I don’t like snakes. Once in Texas I was walking along and one slithered across my foot!RW: What about superstitions?CI: I have to feel fast so I always listen to music before a game, or have a prayer. R&B gets me in my groove.RW: Who would you like to play alongside?CI: Bryan Habana or Shane Williams. I’ve never met them, but I have spoken to them. They give good advice and encouragement.RW: Embarrassing rugby moment?CI: Apart from not scoring a try for Ayr, the time I gave the ball to the referee! I’d just started playing and I came from American Football so I was used to doing that.RW: How’d you like to be remembered? Fans’ favourite: Carlin Isles wears a cheese hat at the request of a spectator CI: As one of the fastest players in the world, but also as inspirational and one of the nicest guys with it.This interview was published in the June 2014 edition of Rugby World. Click here for the latest subscription offers.
What was hot and what was not from the opening game of the 2015 World Cup between England and Fiji TAGS: Highlight Flying Fijian: Nemani Nadolo beats Anthony Watson to a cross-kick to score Fiji’s try. Photo: Getty ImagesSlick attack – There was little of the flicks and tricks we expected from Fiji while England’s attack more often resulted in a knock-on before it went along the line and in the end they resorted to more of a power game, using big ball-carriers like Billy Vunipola and Sam Burgess to try to break the gain-line.STATISTICS3 – The number of scrums England lost. Fiji won all seven of theirs.24 – The number of handling errors: England (11) and Fiji (13).11 – The number of turnovers won by Fiji compared to four by England.England: M Brown; A Watson, J Joseph, B Barritt (S Burgess 62), J May; G Ford (O Farrell 62), B Youngs (R Wigglesworth 52); J Marler (M Vunipola 52), T Youngs (R Webber 74), D Cole (K Brookes 68), G Parling (J Launchbury 52), C Lawes, T Wood, C Robshaw (capt), B Morgan (B Vunipola 52).Tries (4): Penalty, Brown 2, Vunipola. Cons: Ford, Farrell 2. Pens: Ford 2, Farrell.Fiji: M Talebula; W Nayacalevu, V Goneva, G Lovobalavu, N Nadolo; B Volavola, N Matawalu; C Ma’afu (P Ravai 74), S Koto (T Talemaitoga 74), M Saulo (I Colati 76), A Ratuniyarawa (T Cavubati ht), L Nakarawa, D Waqaniburotu (P Yato 60), A Qera (capt), S Masi Matadigo.Yellow card: Matawalu (13-23).Try: Nadolo. Pens: Nadolo, Volavola.Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa) England left it late in the opening game of the 2015 World Cup but they did eventually wrap up a bonus-point win over Fiji when Billy Vunipola got the tip of the ball on the line in the last minute. They dominated the first 22 minutes, scoring two tries to lead 15-0, but then fell flat. The Fijians caused them problems at the breakdown and it took two tries in the last ten minutes for Chris Robshaw’s side to secure that bonus point, which will be crucial in Pool A.WHAT’S HOT…The Twickenham atmosphere – So often berated for being too quiet and too corporate, the Twickenham crowd made themselves heard at the opening game of RWC 2015. Well, at least early on. The noise dipped when the match itself didn’t quite go as expected for the vast swathes bedecked in white England shirts. It picked up in the last ten, though, when England needed some vocal support – and was raucous when they got the fourth try. Long may a spine-tingling atmosphere at Twickers continue.Make some noise! The Twickenham crowd get into the spirit. Photo: Getty ImagesMike Brown – There were a couple of mistakes early on but he backed himself to score in the face of two defenders in the first half and when England needed someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck in the second he stood up, continually running the ball back at Fiji. He supported play well and was perfectly placed to take an offload from Owen Farrell to score his second try and from the restart weaved through the Fiji defence to lift the crowd and his team.Fiji’s forwards – A couple of times they were overwhelmed at the scrum and in the maul, but on the whole they held their own with Manasa Saulo particularly impressive. They also constantly disrupted England at the breakdown, winning numerous turnovers and penalties that meant the hosts could get no flow to their game.Impact subs – Joe Launchbury stopped Nemani Nadolo in full stride within minutes of arriving on the pitch while Billy Vunipola was like a man possessed when he came on. He was constantly offering himself as a carrier (as did Sam Burgess) and made a few big hits.Power play: Billy Vunipola scored the crucial bonus-point try. Photo: Getty ImagesWHAT’S NOT…The TMO process – In the first half-hour the TMO was used four times, making the length of the game at that point 40 minutes in real time. Not only was the length of time a worry, but the fact that Ben Volavola was about to take the conversion before the officials realised Nikola Matawalu had dropped the ball before grounding it showed there are still flaws in the whole process. Surely with all this Hawkeye technology, the eagle eyes in the truck should have spotted that sort of error sooner?Fijian discipline – First Dominiko Waqaniburotu was penalised for a dangerous tackle on Jonny May, next Nikola Matawalu was sin-binned for joining England’s driving maul at the side (an act which resulted in a penalty try) and then Api Ratuniyarawa was pinged for not using his arms in a clearout. Fiji will need to be more disciplined if they’re to make an impact in this tournament. Man of the Match: Mike BrownAttendance: 80,015 LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Driving force: Mike Brown dives over to score in the first half. Photo: Getty Images
HighlightsSunday: 22.20-23.20Monday: 19.00-20.00 LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS HighlightsSaturday: ITV 23.35-00.35Sunday: ITV4 08.55-10.00SundayLive coverageAustralia v Uruguay (kick-off 12.00): ITV 11.30-13.55; BBC Radio 5 live 11.55-14.00Scotland v USA (kick-off 14.30): ITV 13.55-16.30; BBC Radio 5 live 14.30-16.30Ireland v Romania (kick-off 16.45): ITV 16.30-18.45; BBC Radio 5 live 16.45-18.30 Six more games of World Cup rugby grace our television screens this weekend, including the big game between England and Wales at Twickenham on Saturday.As ever, ITV has full live coverage of every game, with a late evening highlights show in case you can’t justify catching all of the action as it happens.BBC Radio 5 live and 5 live Sports Extra have live commentary on five of the six games for those who cannot be near a television set with a rugby phone in show hosted by Matt Dawson on both Saturday and Sunday evenings.Of course, Rugby World will also be at every one of the games, bringing you the best of the action after the final whistle, so you won’t miss out on any of the action.SaturdayLive coverageItaly v Canada (kick-off 14.30): ITV 14.00-16.30South Africa v Samoa (kick-off 17.00): ITV 16.30-18.55; BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra 16.30-18.45England v Wales (kick-off 20.00): ITV 19.15-22.20; BBC Radio 5 live 20.00-22.00 Chris Robshaw is tackled by Samson Lee and Gethin Jenkins in the 2015 Six Nations Where to watch England v Wales and where you can watch all the big games of the weekend at the Rugby World Cup
By Rory BaldwinIt was vintage Argentina, but not the post-Henry Argentina we loveIt wasn’t quite the stodge seen in their match against Wales, but Argentina – or the Jaguares as they were, save for a couple of replacements – looked a fatigued side after a long dual season. They missed the attacking verve of recent World Cup campaigns, and players like the princely Juan Imhoff.That meant it was one of those old-style tests between Scotland and Argentina, scrappy and dramatic but not particularly entertaining for a big November crowd at BT Murrayfield as both sets of players stuttered.Ran out of steam: Argentina lacked their usual spark after a long seasonArgentina were a constant nuisance and a threat in and around the breakdown, which when you consider Greig Laidlaw’s leisurely approach to getting the ball away meant that Scotland’s possession was often on Argentina’s terms. Consequently Scotland looked a pale shadow of the ball-carrying force they were against Australia.It was a shrewd approach by the visitors: they may have been tired in terms of execution in attack but their defence was capable enough when given time to reset, and there were a lot of turnovers to pounce on as balls popped out of rucks on all sides.It was tough in the scrumsGreig Laidlaw described it afterwards as “a slippery old ball” so there were a lot of knock-ons, and a lot of scrums.Winning only his third cap, tighthead Zander Fagerson was under huge pressure from an experienced Argentine front row. He seems to be susceptible to downward pressure, perhaps because he is a tall lad, but the referee probably saw it his way about a third of the time, and once again when the scrum really needed to be strong – inside Sanchez’s kicking range – it held.Scrappy affair: Hamish Watson battles in a dour Scotland v Argentina affairThe experience he’s gathering these past weekends is invaluable, and he’s got perhaps the toughest test yet in the shape of the Georgian scrum next weekend.It might be prudent for Vern Cotter to keep Newcastle’s Jon Welsh on speed-dial though, just in case.A strong start by the debutantsFor the other inexperienced players in this team – John Barclay provided half the pack’s caps and Jonny Gray another quarter – this tussle will have done them some good. RThumbs up: Winners are grinners and Greig Laidlaw is thrilled with big result From a stodgy Argentina display to an encouraging debut from Scotland debutant Magnus Bradbury, the last-minute win for Scotland was a vital step forward For laying the groundwork on this, and blooding young talent now who will mature in plenty of time for 2019, Gregor Townsend may yet have further cause to be grateful to Vern Cotter. Allan Dell was a lot more involved in the loose and now looks comfortable, while young Magnus Bradbury took everything that was thrown at him in his stride and might have deserved a little longer on the pitch. He’s a strong ball carrier and a hard tackler in the Jason White mode, but he has a good turn of pace for a back row. There were snippets of what he can do, and we’ll see more in the years to come. Hamish Watson too continues to thrive.Smiles all round: The Scotland players celebrate an important winHuw Jones and his magic feet maintained a dream autumn with one of the few moments of magic for Scotland to create Sean Maitland’s try, but there was still no cap for Ali Price. Cotter still clearly trusts Laidlaw, and Laidlaw alone, to close out the tight contests.Are Scotland bringing drop goals back?After a period where they’ve been a little unfashionable, and after the game last week when a sneaky 3 points would have been enough, the drop goal has apparently become a part of Scotland’s plan.It’s not bad idea, given the margins by which Scotland often lose tight games.Slippery character: Stuar Hogg was once again difficult to containUnfortunately the two that Finn Russell attempted failed. One was badly wide of the mark and another taken too close and charged down. Were it not for Ryan Wilson’s awareness to regather the ball, he would have looked very silly indeed; It might be time for a little more practice.As a means to earn points without relying on the sympathy of the referee, the drop goal is a tool that Russell, Horne and Hogg should all have in their box.The Win is hugeThis time of course, Scotland did get the whistle in their favour, with the penalty for Juan Manuel Leguizamon’s chop tackle in stoppage time allowing Laidlaw to kick for victory.What was very encouraging was that when the game was all-square in the final minutes and both teams were trying to win, Scotland made sure the ball stayed in the Argentine half. A draw was a fair result given the spectacle as a whole, but they were in a position to win this one where they have lost in the past and you can bet Cotter and his team will take it as an early Christmas present.Scotland’s captain and scrum half Greig Laidlaw scores a penalty during the TestAs well as a huge confidence boost for a team desperately in search of a corner to turn, this result could be vital for the 2019 Rugby World Cup draw – this result moves Scotland above Argentina and into the top 8. It wasn’t perhaps as momentous as Italy’s win over South Africa or Ireland’s recent win in Chicago, but it could be very important for the growth of this team – as long as they beat Georgia next weekend, no easy task these days. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS On the ball: Sonny Bill Williams should line up for the Blues against the Lions. Photo: Getty ImagesGatland is well aware of the challenge ahead and the need to improve on Saturday’s showing against the NZ Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei. He said: “We are expecting a big crowd at Eden Park. It will be the first of three matches there for us and we know the atmosphere will be outstanding. We are hoping for some good weather and are expecting a tough, fast and open game of rugby.“We have a few work-ons from last weekend and we know we need to be more clinical. We created some good opportunities against the Barbarians but didn’t see them through and that is something we want to improve on.”Squad effort: The Lions warm up during training today. Photo: Getty ImagesThis squad also gives a good indication of who will line up against the Crusaders on Saturday as Gatland has always said that every player will start at least one of the first three matches. The 11 players who haven’t yet been named in a starting line-up are Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Tadhg Furlong, George Kruis, Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, Jonathan Davies, George North and Liam Williams.Blues v British & Irish Lions, 7.35pm (8.35am UK & Ireland), Eden Park, live on Sky Sports and TalkSportLions starting XV: Leigh Halfpenny; Jack Nowell, Jared Payne, Robbie Henshaw, Elliot Daly; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Jack McGrath, Ken Owens (capt), Dan Cole, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, James Haskell, Justin Tipuric, CJ Stander.Replacements: Rory Best; Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Iain Henderson, Peter O’Mahony, Greig Laidlaw, Johnny Sexton, Liam Williams. Blues starting XV: Michael Collins; Matt Duffie, George Moala, Sonny Bill Williams/TJ Faiane, Rieko Ioane; Stephen Perofeta, Augustine Pulu; Ofa Tu’ungafasi, James Parsons, Charlie Faumuina, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Scott Scrafton, Akira Ioane, Blake Gibson, Steven Luatua.Replacements: Hame Faiva, Alex Hodgman, Sione Mafileo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Kara Pryor, Sam Nock, Ihaia West, TJ Faiane/Melani Nanai. TAGS: Highlight Key figure: Ken Owens will captain the Lions against the Blues. Photo: Getty Images We run the rule over the squad picked for the second game of the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour, against the Blues in Auckland Ken Owens will captain the British & Irish Lions against the Blues at Eden Park on Wednesday night. The hooker is one of five Wales players in the starting XV, which features the Ospreys half-back pairing of Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar, Leigh Halfpenny at full-back and Justin Tipuric at openside.“Ken has worked really hard on his recovery and it’s great to have him available,” said Lions coach Warren Gatland. “He has captained the Scarlets and has assumed a leadership role within the camp and it is a great opportunity for him.”Owens added: “It’s unbelievable. Gats asked me last night and it was a bit of a shock but it’s a huge honour and I didn’t take long to answer. It’s a challenge I’m relishing and I’m looking forward to leading the boys out and putting in a massive performance that the Lions shirt deserves.”Double act: Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne are a familiar pairing. Photo: Getty ImagesThe centre pairing of Jared Payne and Robbie Henshaw were in midfield when Ireland beat New Zealand in Chicago last year – expect Payne to be leading the defensive line – while there are two Englishman on the wings in Jack Nowell and Elliot Daly who constantly go looking for work.Owens has Jack McGrath and Dan Cole either side of him in the front row. It’s an English second-row pairing as well in Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes while Tipuric is joined in the back row by James Haskell and CJ Stander.It’s a strong looking tight five – Owens was the form hooker in the Six Nations, McGrath has impressed for Ireland in the past couple of seasons and Cole is the only man to start all 18 Tests in England’s record winning run. Then there’s the athleticism Lawes and Itoje in the engine room, both players who can also pack down at blindside.Ball-carrying responsibilities are likely to fall to Stander while Tipuric has the opportunity to prove he can be as much of a nuisance at the breakdown as he is a threat as a link player.FOR THE LATEST SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS, CLICK HEREThere are eight All Blacks in the Blues’ starting XV, including Sonny Bill Williams – providing he doesn’t experience any negative effects from training between now and Wednesday as he recovers from a knee injury.
Kitted out: All the Guinness PRO14 teams ahead of the new season (pic courtesy of Inpho) Edinburgh – “It’s orange, navy and pixellated graphics – too ugly even for a 1980s video game.” Worcester – “While inoffensive, the zingy citrus go-faster stripes and the clingy sky blue version would be better suited to Bondi Beach than the rugby pitch.”RW’s dishonourable mentions: The Scarlets’ F1 drivers jacket-style away shirt has caused some consternation on social media and it’s safe to say Bath’s new home shirt – which only has hoops in the top third – has split opinion online and in our office.You can follow Marie Claire UK on Instagram at @marieclaireUK. Related: The tech adopted by rugby Remember to follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Connacht – “Emerald green should always be seen. Especially when it’s combined with chic white lettering.”RW’s honourable mentions: The lion motif on the front of Benetton’s new home shirt shouldn’t work, but it has a universal approval rating in our office!The Worst Three LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The new @connachtrugby home kit 2018/19In stores now exclusively at @Elverys #StrongerInGreen#BeyondLimitsKnown pic.twitter.com/oyg2CliEAB— BLK Sport Ireland (@BLKIreland) August 8, 2018 A new rugby season mean new rugby kit and every team in the Gallagher Premiership and Guinness Pro14 have unveiled their new looks for the term. So we thought we would ask out friends at Marie Claire UK to take a look at the assorted offering and give us their critical view.Below, Jess Wood, the fashion features editor at Marie Claire UK, casts an expert eye over the latest jerseys. Fans north of the border may want to look away now…The Top Three Glasgow – “Baby blue, plaid panels… Nick Faldo called and he wants his golfing wardrobe back.” Harlequins – “The world’s hottest fashion label, Vetements, caused a furore with their DHL courier top (you guessed it, an actual DHL courier top, but with a few extra zeros on the price tag) and this fits right in!” Zebre – “It’s pleasingly neon and covered in ‘animalia’ – two of the hottest trends for AW18. Why, it could be Versace (in a very dim light).”