Written on November 7th, 2013 by Richard Smith Rugby Comments
By Richard Smith: November is always an important month in Rugby Union with the best nations in the world going head-to-head in the Autumn Internationals in the northern hemisphere.
That is certainly the case for England who are in the middle of playing three big matches in consecutive weeks at Twickenham against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand. It is a key series of fixtures for Stuart Lancaster with the Six National just around the corner and the prospect of a home World Cup now under two years away.
England played their first full match in seven months at the weekend as they came from behind to beat Australia at Twickenham. It was a good result, but it was a far from convincing display from the team with a number of players struggling to impact the game for long periods. England will expect to improve on that display against Argentina on Saturday before they face the ultimate test against the All Blacks the following weekend.
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Written on October 22nd, 2013 by Chris Cummings Rugby Comments
Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens
By Chris Cummings: There is now under a week to go until the start of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, which will be held in Great Britain, Ireland and France. Tim Sheens’ Australia are the hot favourites, having won the competition at every opportunity since 1975, excepting of course their defeat to New Zealand in Brisbane in 2008, but there is much hope that the English squad will be able to do the improbable and overturn the world class Aussies.
Even the most optimistic of English fans would be reluctant to bet against the boys from Down Under, but there are definitely reasons, at least three, to believe in the unbelievable.
1) This is the perhaps the best England squad assembled in recent years. Superstar Sam Tomkins said he thought it was the best team he had been involved in, and when you look down the squad list, it’s not hard to see why.
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Written on July 8th, 2013 by Richard Smith Rugby Comments
By Richard Smith: Any other weekend the British & Irish Lions’ demolition job of Australia to win their first test series since 1997 would’ve filled the sporting headlines for days to come, but Warren Gatland’s men were well and truly usurped by Andy Murray’s achievements on Wimbledon’s Centre Court on Sunday afternoon and the guys Down Under were left with the dregs of the sporting column inches.
However, their sparkling display at Sydney will live long in the minds of rugby aficionados and we take a look back at what has been a rollercoaster ride for players and fans alike over the last few weeks and praise an awesome group of professionals from the players on the pitch to the analysts and coaches off it.
Many pundits were wary heading into the first clash and had been dismissive of the Lions preparations and felt they would be under-cooked after some deplorable opposition was put up against them in the early stages of the tour and it was not giving the Lions the first class match practice they required.
Nevertheless, Gatland was ebullient heading to the Suncorp Stadium for the first rubber and nails were bitten from the outset as Leigh Halfpenny’s trusted right boot kept the Lions’ heads in front of the Wallabies, whilst George North and Alex Cuthbert’s tries made the Welsh trio stand out, but Israel Folau’s wonder try kept Australia in the game.
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Written on July 3rd, 2013 by Staff Rugby Comments
Jamie Roberts ready to deliver in final test
By Euan Jones: Jamie Roberts is keen to get stuck in to the Wallabies this Saturday, the British and Irish Lions head to Sydney for the third and final test decider on Saturday.
The Welsh centre was recalled by head coach Warren Gatland along with Alex Corbisiero and Mike Phillips, a move that saw Brian O’Driscoll omitted from the squad, Roberts returns to centre stage and wants to make up for lost time.
The 26-year-old returns to fold partnering Jonathan Davies as inside centre, Roberts missed out the first two test matches through an injury he sustained during the warm-up match against the Waratahs.
“Bar maybe a World Cup final, I doubt there is a bigger game in rugby for us boys,” said the 26-year-old.
“You just have to get completely excited about it, not shy away from it, not get nervous. It’s just pure excitement, go out and express yourself, keep your concentration and deliver under pressure.
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