LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS “Hopefully in June, as there’s no other rugby going on, we can focus on that next level of players from all the countries and add the finishing touches before the World Cup.”This article appeared in the June 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine.Find a newsagent that sells Rugby World in the UK George Skivington celebrates defeating Canada to win the Churchill Cup in 2010In most years the Churchill Cup is little more than a development event, with little at stake, writes Paul Morgan. But in 2011 everything has changed with the competition becoming a trial for England’s squad to go to the World Cup.Usually played in North America, the Churchill Cup arrives in England this year with matches at Sixways, Kingsholm, Esher and Franklin’s Gardens – and Martin Johnson will be naming his initial 50-man squad for the World Cup during the tournament.So if players like Matt Stevens, Joe Simpson, Manu Tuilagi, George Skivington and Billy Twelvetrees are going to stake a claim for a place in the squad – which will go into camp in July and play Wales (twice) and Ireland in August – then here’s their chance.England have a great record in the competition. Since its inception in 2003, they’ve won five of the eight events with New Zealand Maori (2004 and 2006) and Ireland A (2009) taking the others.Neither the Maori nor Ireland have entered this time, leaving Stuart Lancaster’s team as clear favourites. The Saxons will have to beat USA and Tonga in their pool and most likely Canada in the final, as they look stronger than Russia or Italy A.Rob Andrew, the RFU’s operations director, says: “It’s great to get them (USA and Canada) over in England for what will be the second time we’ve hosted the Churchill Cup. Or perhaps you’d like a digital version of the magazine delivered direct to your PC, MAC or Ipad? If so click here. For Back Issues Contact John Denton Services at 01733-385-170 visit
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JULY 09: Reds players sing their team song after winning the 2011 Super Rugby Grand Final match between the Reds and the Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium on July 9, 2011 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) BeliefWith Queensland having not made the play-offs for a decade, for many young Reds the Super Rugby final was only their second-ever knockout game. Beating top sides during the season imbued the team with an unshakeable attitude; the title was theirs if they wanted it. They had none of the fear of failure that can cripple others.This article appeared in the September 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine.Find a newsagent that sells Rugby World in the UK LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Or perhaps you’d like a digital version of the magazine delivered direct to your PC, MAC or Ipad? If so click here. For Back Issues Contact John Denton Services at 01733-385-170 visit Dream Duo: Cooper and GeniaCooper-GeniaAn attacking pair at the base of the scrum who never let their foot off the throat of a rival side. Will Genia’s mature option-taking around the ruck required constant vigilence, but a pair of crossed fingers and rosary beads was often the only way of stopping Quade Cooper’s audacious run-pass attack at ten. Importantly, both improved their tactical kicking games markedly in 2011 to round out the skill-sets.DefenceThe Reds had long been an attacking side capable of scoring four tries a game – but they would leak five or more. An emphasis on defence was Ewen McKenzie’s first priority when he took over in 2010. After conceding nearly 28 points a game in 2008, this year they were down to only 18. They held rivals to only one try in each of their last five matches, including the Crusaders.Missing LinkAfter parting company with Stade Français in 2009, Ewen McKenzie (above) quickly landed on his feet at the Reds during tumultous upheaval. The former Wallaby prop known as ‘Link’ rebuilt the franchise by injecting his brand of defensive starch, tactical smarts and the pragmatism to win with whatever style is called for – even ugly.FlairYou can’t coach speed and you can’t fake flair – and the Reds had plenty of both. Defending at full-back to receive kicks, Cooper’s daring counter-attack gave jet-shoed wings like Rod Davies and Digby Ioane plenty of open space. For an “are you serious?” example check out the ‘Cooper in-goal kick’ below… [imagebrowser id=16]Saturday 9 July 2011Suncorp Stadium, BrisbaneReds 18-13 Crusaders
READING, ENGLAND – APRIL 03: Clarke Dermody of London Irish runs with the ball during the Aviva Premiership match between London Irish and London Wasps at the Madejski Stadium on April 3, 2011 in Reading, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images) Starting XV: 15. Delon Armitage14. Topsy Ojo13. Jonathan Spratt12. Shontayne Hape11. Tom Homer10. Adrian Jarvis9. Darren Allinson1. Clarke Dermody (Captain)2. David Paice3. Paulica Ion4. Nick Kennedy5. Matt Garvey6. Bryn Evans7. Jamie Gibson8. Alex GrayReplacements: 16. James Buckland17. Alex Corbisiero18. Faan Rautenbach19. Bob Casey20. David Sisi21. Adam Thompstone22. Steven Shingler23. Paul Hodgson Clark Dermody will captain the side against SaleClarke Dermody will start at loose head prop against Sale Sharks in the Aviva Premiership at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday as he celebrates 100 appearances for London Irish (kick-off 3pm).Dermody will be joined in the front row by David Paice and Paulica Ion. Matt Garvey will start alongside Nick Kennedy in the second row with Bryn Evans moving to the back row with Jamie Gibson and Alex Gray. Adrian Jarvis will partner Darren Allinson at half back and Jonathan Spratt will play at outside centre.London Irish head coach Toby Booth said: “Consistency comes from continuity in selection. It would be nice to be able to select the same team two weeks in a row. Having said that the boys coming in have done well in the earlier part of the season and get the chance to put on the shirt in a very important time of the season for us.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS WE’VE HAD a breather from the RBS 6 Nations to catch our breath, but the heat is back on this weekend as Wales head to Rome, France hop across the channel to Twickenham and Scotland host Ireland. We put our neck on the line and pick our winners, but do you think we’ve got it right? Join the discussion on Facebook Rugby World magazine and Twitter @rugbyworldmag.Thanks to Tom Macleod and We Are Iris.
Ironically, given neither will face Ireland on Sunday, Mike Brown and May did brilliantly here, shooting back to avert the immediate danger. Still, this sequence is a concrete illustration of how Sexton manoeuvres defenders.England know this tactical threat is at hand. The question is whether or not they can quell it. “Certainly our back three are going to be tested, but whatever combination we go with will be ready. We know it is going to come our way again.” Stuart LancasterKicking – grubbers, Garryowens, hacks, spirals, take your pick – is a central feature of modern day Test rugby. For all their clinical attacking and ferocious physicality, one of New Zealand’s most influential attributes is how their playmakers use their feet. It is an integral aspect of All Black success.A consistent kicking game can relieve pressure, control territory and unpick even the most watertight of defensive walls. On Sunday, expect England’s back three to be thoroughly examined by two of the best in the business.Alex Goode has faced the barrage before, exuding classy calm in 2013 as the visitors prevailed 12-6. Jack Nowell stood firm at Twickenham a year ago too. This will be a fresh experience for Anthony Watson, but the Bath youngster possesses star quality.In any case, as Lancaster knows, the storm is coming. Here is a look at how Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton – two of the very best in the business – will look to strike through the heart of England in Dublin.Hitting corners, keeping it contestable and boxing clever The best place to start is with this duo’s bread and butter, the tools they use in game management. First up, Sexton is a master at pinning corners, sending the ball over a wing’s head and landing it close to the touchline.This one during the 18-11 win over France was marginally overcooked, rolling into the dead-ball area rather than into touch. Even so, the fly-half gets excellent weight on the connection allied to intelligent direction:Of course the resultant 22 drop-out handed possession back to Ireland in any case. Camille Lopez‘s restart found its way back to Sexton rapidly, and he showed another string to his bow on the return with an archetypal up and under:Rob Kearney, an extremely effective aerial presence, enhances the work of Sexton hugely here, haring in pursuit of this bomb and beating Scott Spedding to it.The Leinster full-back was also a willing ally for Murray, whose was typically precise against Les Bleus:The box-kick is normally executed methodically. Popular in recent seasons has been the practice of deploying guards in front of the kicking foot. Usually large forwards, they are loosely attached to the ruck and responsible for easing pressure from a potential charge-down.As this screenshot depicts, Jamie Heaslip assumes the role in this case, stopping France loosehead Eddy Ben Arous getting anywhere near Murray:Helped by that, this connection is excellent. However, as the old saying goes, the kick is only as good as its chase. Luckily then, Kearney flies upfield to make the tackle on Spedding with flawless timing.As Peter O’Mahony and Devin Toner hit the breakdown, Damien Chouly (circled in blue) sinks, failing to support his bodyweight in a bid to seal the ruck:A penalty is awarded by referee Wayne Barnes and Ireland have a very satisfactory return. Later though, another Murray-Kearney combination won the ball back outright:Toner is the designated blocker and again the weight is outstanding, so much so that Kearney comes through to leap against scrum-half Rory Kockott:While not collecting cleanly, Kearney has turned to face his own teammates. As such, the ricochet can be swooped on by Heaslip.Chipping awayThe luxury of having Robbie Henshaw, Jared Payne and Tommy Bowe in wide channels is that opposition defences must always be mindful of Ireland’s running game. That means pushing up flat to deny them space.The consequence of that is that space is left in behind. Needless to say, Sexton is a master at exploiting any such gaps. Here a deft dink sees covering Spedding nudged into touch after Teddy Thomas presses:A reverse angle offers a decent idea of the dilemma facing a rival team. It is suicide to ignore the possibility that Ireland will put the ball through the hands, but mightily tough to look after every blade of grass: Brains trust: Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray during Ireland’s victory over South Africa in November Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan TAGS: Highlight LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Sexton caught France napping once more in the second period following a restart. Though the visitors scrambled back to escape, a simple stab caused havoc:Acute spatial and personal awareness are in play here. A bird’s eye view is easiest for us mere mortals, and allows us to see why Sexton takes this option – because replacement scrum-half Morgan Parra has strayed shallower and wider than a customary sweeping position to protect France from Ireland’s wide runners.There is an expanse free down the middle, so Sexton calls chasers onto his inside in the form of Kearney and Sean Cronin before dropping onto his boot:Loann Goujon saves the situation, but it provides a lesson. You can never switch off with Sexton around.Carving out chancesAs mentioned above, kicking is also a significant source of try-scoring opportunities. Indeed, Bowe’s match-clinching effort to beat South Africa was a prime example – and one in which a multi-step strategy fell into place flawlessly:With the Springboks down to 14 men thanks to a sin-binning for hooker Adriaan Strauss, Bismarck du Plessis has replaced flanker Marcel Coetzee. South Africa are one man short in the back row, to Sexton takes them on and ties them in.Duane Vermeulen makes the tackle and, expecting a wave of forward runners heading the same way, Schalk Burger understandably trundles around the corner:Arriving on the scene quickly, Murray can look up to see that Bryan Habana, wary that his team might be short on numbers on the openside, has wandered infield from his post on the blindside wing. Bowe is unmarked and in the clear:It is worth a closer look to gauge the quality of Murray’s contribution:Finally, we rewind a year to Ireland’s trip to Twickenham and a characteristic piece of Sexton trickery:Lancaster talks about his back three needing to read the body language of fly-halves in order to decide how to defend. This play shows how difficult that skill can be.Sexton only goes cross-field after a double slice, first Chris Henry feeding Murray behind Gordon D’Arcy……and then Murray hitting Sexton behind Brian O’Driscoll:In two passes with two decent decoy lines, Sexton is in midfield faced with a defence that is anticipating a midfield threat. With Jonny May edging off his wing, he finds Trimble with an inch perfect clip: England will have to deal with arguably the smartest half-back pairing on the planet in Dublin. We analyse what Ireland’s nine-ten axis will offer.
I was with Scotland U16 and had two years with the U18s. I captained them in the England game last year but I snapped the ligaments in my finger and missed the other games.When did you first link up with the Warriors? I moved to Glasgow two weeks after my last school exam, last July. I was training with the seniors and thought I was just there to help in training, but then Gregor Townsend told me I was going to be on the bench against Ulster.Who else are you playing for? Glasgow Hawks. They’re going well.Who have been your mentors? Andrew Henderson, the Strathallan first XV coach, was monumental with my gym stuff and help. My parents have been fantastic too.What are your aims now? To make an impact where I can. RW Verdict: He’s only 18 but Fagerson already has four Pro12 appearances under his belt. This 6ft 2in Scotland U20 back-row has a great role model in brother Zander, who was capped for the senior XV at the age of just 20.This article first appeared in the April 2017 issue of Rugby World. For the latest subscription offers, click here. Hold steady: Matt Fagerson in action for Glasgow Warriors. Photo: Inpho Date of birth 16 July 1998 Country ScotlandWhen did you start playing rugby? At the High School of Dundee when I was 11. My big brother (Scotland prop Zander) and dad were part of it, so it was something I was destined to do.How was your relationship with Zander growing up? We squabbled – there was a lot of competition between us. We played in the garden all the time but he was a lot larger than me, so he realised he should save contact stuff for his own year.Did you play other sports? Swimming, golf and cricket. I moved to Strathallan at 15 and decided rugby was what I wanted to do.Have you played in different positions? I started at prop, then moved to the back row when I went to Strathallan. I played centre too.Is openside your main position? I’ve played there most of the year but can play across the back row.When did you first play rep rugby? TAGS: Glasgow Warriors Meet Zander’s talented younger brother, Matt Fagerson LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
TAGS: Exeter ChiefsHighlightMunsterScarletsWasps Wasps: Willie Le Roux; Christian Wade, Elliot Daly, Jimmy Gopperth, Josh Bassett; Danny Cipriani, Dan Robson; Matt Mullan, Tommy Taylor, Phil Swainston, Joe Launchbury (capt), Matt Symons, James Haskell, Thomas Young, Nathan HughesReplacements: Ashley Johnson, Simon McIntyre, Marty Moore, Kearnan Myall, Guy Thompson, Joe Simpson, Alapati Leiua, Frank HalaiExeter Chiefs: Phil Dollman; Jack Nowell, Ian Whitten, Ollie Devoto, Olly Woodburn; Gareth Steenson (capt), Stuart Townsend; Moon, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Williams, Dave Dennis, Geoff Parling, Kai Horstmann, Don Armand, Thomas Waldrom.Replacements: Jack Yeandle, Carl Rimmer, Tomas Francis, Mitch Lees, Sam Simmonds, Will Chudley, Henry Slade, Michele CampagnaroPremiership Verdict: Exeter’s momentum and the power in the pack means a narrow victory for Rob Baxter’s men. Expect a high-scoring affair, 29-25 to the Chiefs LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS By tomorrow evening, just a shade after 8pm, the 2016-17 domestic season will be a footnote, and we’ll know which clubs have been engraved into the history books. At Twickenham, 80,000 will pack out England’s home of rugby to see whether the Exeter Chiefs can lift their first Premiership trophy, after growing increasingly influential since their promotion in 2010, or whether Dai Young’s thrill-seekers, Wasps, can dance and dart their way to a first Premiership trophy in nearly a decade.Over the Irish Sea, Munster, fuelled by an emotional tidal wave since the passing of Anthony Foley, will look to deprive the dangerous Scarlets backs of possession and lift the Pro12 at the Aviva Stadium as a fitting tribute. Anthony Pivac’s men may have other ideas, and the in-form West Walians feel a first title since the 2003-04 season is within their grasp.Premiership final Referee: JP DoyleKick-off: Twickenham, 2.30pmWasps scrum needs to hold firm to let backs flyThe Wasps set-piece has been on the wobbly side in recent weeks; the scrum struggled against Leicester and if Tommy Taylor’s darts waiver, it could be a long afternoon in the sun for Wasps. Their defence has also been on the porous side in recent months, conceding 30-plus points to Worcester Warriors, Harlequins and Northampton Saints, and despite an electric backline, they’ll know you cannot always be relied to outscore the opposition.The loss of the electrifying Kurtley Beale is a damaging one for Wasps but to be able to call on a full-back of Willie Le Roux’s class is no hardship. If Joe Lauchbury‘s workrate can continue to make a mockery of his Lions omission and Thomas Young can find space in the wide channels to release Elliot Daly and Christian Daly on the vast Twickenham pitch, Dai Young’s men could yet lift their first Premiership final for nine years.Strike runner: Elliot Daly has pace to burn in his preferred No 13 shirtChiefs momentum cannot be overstated…The Chiefs broke a Premiership record at the end of the regular season, plundering eight consecutive try bonus points. Their thrilling last-minute win over Saracens meant it was 15 games without loss and it gave Sarries’ six starting Lions their first taste of defeat. The fact that Henry Slade, who executed one of the finest pressure touchfinders seen in recent years, cannot demand a starting spot gives you some indication of their strength-in-depth.The Exeter pack gave Sarries a proper examination last weekend and if Geoff Parling can rule the skies and Don Armand and Thomas Waldrom, the collisions in the tight, it will give the platform for outstanding strike runners, Jack Nowell and Phil Dollman, the chance to prosper in broken-field play. The final will give Rob Baxter, and the watching public, the chance to see how much they’ve learnt from their first-half jitters against Saracens 12 months ago at Twickenham.Off the top: Geoff Parling is still a lineout operator of the highest order FOR THE LATEST RUGBY WORLD SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS, CLICK HEREPro12 FinalReferee: Nigel OwensKick-off 6.15pm, Aviva StadiumMunster need to play spoilsportsMunster are renowned for their dogged, attritional style of rugby and they may have to play a pragmatic, set-piece orientated game to nullify the multiple attacking threats of the West Walians. Munster were outmuscled by Saracens in the Champions Cup semi-finals, and seemed to lack a Plan B, but the Scarlets can’t boast the grunt of Mark McCall’s men, so Rassie Erasmus would be sensible to use leaders Donnacha Ryan – playing his last game for Munster – Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander to grind the Scarlets pack down with tenacity, raw power and hard-earned nous.They showed against the Ospreys in the semi-finals that they could score aesthetically pleasing tries with a Simon Zebo special, but that should be the exception rather than the rule. If the pack can gain control, and start rumbling, Conor Murray will be able to start turning the screw and the Scarlets could wilt.X-Factor: Simon Zebo can stretch defences in the wide channelsScarlets need to play without fearDespite being lauded at the start of the season, it took the much vaunted Scarlets backline a while to hit their straps but Wayne Pivac’s men, like Exeter, are on a roll, winning 17 out of their last 19 games, and in the last month, the gifted backs have clicked under the watchful eye of former Wales fly-half, Stephen Jones. Jonathan Davies and Scott Williams have started to punch their reputations in midfield, with Davies in particular showing his class with an outstanding display against Leinster in the semi-finals.The Scarlets back three are playing with smiles on their faces, and in Steff Evans, they have a player who is popping up all over the park, hitting gaps and looking to offload. The guy on the other flank is British & Irish Lion, Liam Williams and as well as his natural attacking gifts, he showed his prowess with the boot last weekend. Up front, if Rob Evans, the bustling Ryan Elias and Tadgh Beirne can give them parity up front and James Davies can get to work on the deck, the boys from West Wales could well be singing Sospan Fach with their delirious fans on Saturday evening.Thrill seeker: Steff Evans is this season’s top scorer in the Pro12Pro12 verdict: Munster are clear favourites to lift the trophy but the in-form Scarlets could make it an Irish double, as their creative backs puncture the Munster defence. 24-22 to the ScarletsMunster: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Francis Saili, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Tyler Bleyendaal, Conor Murray; CJ Stander, Tommy O’Donnell, Peter O’Mahony (captain), Billy Holland, Donnacha Ryan, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, Dave KilcoyneReplacements: Rhys Marshall, Brian Scott, Stephen Archer, Jean Deysel, Jack O’Donoghue, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Jaco TauteScarlets: Johnny McNicholl; Liam Williams, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, Steffan Evans; Rhys Patchell, Gareth Davies; John Barclay (captain), James Davies, Aaron Shingler, Tadhg Beirne, Lewis Rawlins, Samson Lee, Ryan Elias, Rob EvansReplacements: Emyr Phillips, Wyn Jones, Werner Kruger, David Bulbring, Will Boyde, Jonathan Evans, Hadleigh Parkes, DTH Van der Merwe Go West: Jack Nowell will be looking to inspire Exeter to a first Premiership trophy The domestic season comes to a close tomorrow with more than 130,000 fans expected to pack out Twickenham and the Aviva Stadium
Same again, lads: Warren Gatland has gone for an unchanged 23 Warren Gatland has been able to name the first unchanged Lions side since 1993 as Steve Hansen has been forced into more changes LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Warren Gatland has had the luxury of being able to name the same 23 players who took part in the nail-biting 24-21 win over New Zealand in Wellington.It is the first time since 1993, that the Lions have been able to field an unchanged squad and shows the faith the Lions management has in their players. There were a few areas up for debate. Primarily at loosehead, where Mako Vunipola’s rush of blood to the head, which saw him pick up a yellow card, was thought to have put him in danger of dropping out of the side. However, Gatland has stuck with him, for his dynamism and the fact that his loss of control was out of character for the 47-Test Saracen.Intensity: Alun Wyn Jones will play his ninth consecutive Lions TestElsewhere, there were suggestions outside the camp, that Courtney Lawes, so impressive in his 20-minute cameo, may have snuck ahead of Alun Wyn Jones in the reckoning, but Gatland has again shown faith in the abrasive Welshman, who put in a huge physical shift in the Second Test, atoning for an indifferent display in the First Test. It will be the ninth successive Lions Test the Osprey will have featured in, having become only the seventh Lion to have registered wins against New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.In the backrow, with the hugely impressive Sean O’Brien gaining a reprieve from the citing committee, he’s able to form a muscular and balanced backrow unit with Sam Warburton, and try-scorer from the Second Test, Taulupe Faletau.In the backline, Liam Williams appears to have shaken off some stiffness in his leg, which forced him to curtail training yesterday and Warren Gatland has again opted for the creativity offered by Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell, as opposed to the ballast Ben Te’o gives hurtling down the 10-12 channel.Passed fit: Liam Williams has shaken off some stiffness in his legSteve Hansen, is unable to have such luxury. With Sonny Bill Williams banned, in midfield, he’s put the human exocet, Ngani Laumape outside Anton Lienert-Brown, in an untested midfield partnership, and while Laumape is a handful going forward, he was exposed defensively in Wellington. The powerful Highlander Malakai Fekitoa has been parachuted straight onto the bench.FOR THE LATEST SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS, CLICK HEREWith Ben Smith suffering from concussion, Hansen has decided to give 20-year-old Hurricane, Jordie Barrett his first All Blacks start, and it will be interesting to see whether he is given kicking duties at Eden Park, with his big brother, Beauden, missing three kicks at the Westpac. With Barrett at 15, Israel Dagg reverts back to the right flank. On the opposite side, the All Blacks have the luxury of being able to call on Julian Savea who has crossed the whitewash on 46 occasions in his 53 appearances. Safe pair of hands: Steve Hansen has picked Jordie Barrett for his first All Blacks startWith the locals in New Zealand describing it as the biggest Test on home soil since the 2011 Rugby World Cup final and thousands of Lions fans drifting into Auckland, the stakes couldn’t be much higher for both sides in what promises to be a classic.New Zealand v British & Irish Lions, 7.35pm (8.35am UK & Ireland), Eden Park, Auckland, Live on Sky Sports and TalkSportNew Zealand: Jordie Barrett; Israel Dagg, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Sam Cane, Kieran ReadReps: Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Aaron Cruden, Malakai Fekitoa. Lions: Liam Williams; Anthony Watson, Jonathan Davies, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly; Johnny Sexton , Conor Murray; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones, Sam Warburton (c), Sean O’Brien, Taulupe FaletauReps: Ken Owens, Jack McGrath, Kyle Sinckler, Courtney Lawes, CJ Stander, Rhys Webb, Ben Te’o, Jack Nowell
Stade Francais are out-spending Top 14 rivals in the transfer marketFirst came multi-millionaire Mourad Boudjellal, then billionaires Mohed Altrad and Jacky Lorenzetti. Now, another mega-rich owner has turned Top 14 spending on its head: Stade Français’ Capri-Sun king Hans-Peter Wild.Dr Wild bought the Parisian club in May 2017, after the failed merger with Racing 92. Almost exactly a year later, what the club’s marketeers brand a r(e)volution has begun. Recruitment has long been top of Stade’s to-do list. “We need top players,” Wild told Le Figaro‘s Sport24. “And we’ll get some. We bear the name of the French capital and the responsibility to be worthy of that name. The objective is to be French champions in three years… returning Stade Français to its past glories.”That is not just talk. Over three years, Wild has pledged to put €30 million of his money where his mouth is. His willingness to spend for success is beyond anything even the Top 14 has seen. And, it turns out, pegging existing Stade stars – including Jules Plisson, Djibril Camara, Sekou Macalou, Jonathan Danty, Paul Gabrillagues, Arthur Coville and Alexandre Flanquart – to long-term contracts early on in the season just gone was merely a quiet-yet-firm statement of intent.Plenty to applaud: Player like Jules Plisson have signed on long-termOnly recently, with a mostly French backbone secure, has the scale of Stade’s ambition been revealed. They spent €700,000 to steer Yoann Maestri away from his pre-contract with La Rochelle, and have dug deeper still – possibly up to €800,000 worth of deep, in fact – to get Gaël Fickou out of the final year of his Toulouse deal. That figure had even Racing boss Lorenzetti balking. But not Wild, who appears not to negotiate beyond asking “how much?” and slapping down a big pile of cash.Related: Stade Francais hire Heyneke MeyerThat’s not a statement. It’s yelling from the rooftops. And it’s not the end. Argentinian fly-half Nicolas Sanchez and London Irish scrum half Piet Van Zyl have recently signed, while Stade are linked to Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira. Word is the club are also prepared to pay Bordeaux more than €1 million for scrum-half Baptiste Serin, who has a year left on his contract. Bègles’ boss Laurent Marti may be reluctant to part with his star player, but risks losing him for nothing if he hesitates for long. Once a player is in the the final year of his contract, he’s fair game for predatory clubs. Owner Hans-Peter Wild is splashing the cash in a bid for future French glory, writes James Harrington Wild is not the first Top 14 boss to play the transfer market. In 2010, Racing paid Bayonne more than €500,000 for the signature of a young Benjamin Fall. But although he’s not the first, Wild is accelerating the Top 14’s charge down the football transfer rabbit hole. Last year, Altrad forked out €1 million to take Louis Picamoles to Montpellier after a year in the Premiership with Northampton. Earlier this year, Altrad also paid a reported €1.5 million to release the ‘retired’ Johan Goosen from his Racing deal.The man with the money: German owner Hans-Peter WildOnly Montpellier and Racing 92 can keep up with the breakneck financial pace Wild is setting – and those two sides are in the Top 14 semi-finals, having finished first and second in the regular season. Even Toulon, once the modern spiritual home of rugby Galacticos, have fallen by the wayside.After failing to reach the last four for the first time since 2011, Toulon president and the league’s comic-book baddie Boudjellal repeated a mantra he had first hinted at last season: “The model I built and which was copied a lot, died tonight. “We have to move on. We’ll see if the people of Toulon adhere to a new model. We’re going to have to give Toulon back to the people of Toulon.”End of an era: Toulon bigwig Mourad Boudjellal has hinted at big changesRoughly translated, it’s a repeat of a promise he first made in March 2017, to go back to basics – via the academy – and build a home-grown side capable of challenging for the title. But then, as now, under the positive-sounding ‘Made in France’ promise it was close to an admission of defeat. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS On his way: Gael Fickou will head for Stade after they bought out his Toulouse contract The inconvenient truth is Toulon cannot keep up with the spending power of the Altrads, Lorenzettis and Wilds of the Top 14. Nor will they be the only club trailing in the wake of these mega-money sides. What Boudjellal did in the ProD2 more than a decade ago – what Steve Lansdown did with Bristol last season – is being inflated in France to levels beyond the reach of all but the richest rugby playboys.Before anyone gets over-dramatic, this won’t kill rugby. It won’t kill the Top 14. But we’d all better be prepared for a new French rugby order.
North v South live stream: How to watch the match online from anywhereExcitement has been building for months for this North v South match, which was once a regular fixture on the New Zealand rugby calendar but has been revived this year for the first time since 2012.The game had to be moved from Auckland to Wellington and there will be no fans in the stadium due to Covid-19 restrictions, but there is still much riding on it. With New Zealand coach Ian Foster set to announce his first squad after the match, it is effectively an All Blacks trial.Related: What would England’s North v South squads be?The match features head-to-heads like Beauden Barrett v Richie Mo’unga, Damian McKenzie v Jordie Barrett and Asafo Aumua v Codie Taylor, not to mention the second-row battle between the two skippers Patrick Tuipulotu v Sam Whitelock, so it is little wonder fans around the world cannot wait to see the action unfold.North: Damian McKenzie; Sevu Reece, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Caleb Clarke; Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara; Karl Tu’inukuafe, Asafo Aumua, Ofa Tuungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), Tupou Vaa’i, Akira Ioane, Ardie Savea, Hoskins Sotutu.Replacements: Ash Dixon, Ayden Johnstone, Angus Ta’avao, Scott Scrafton, Dalton Papalii, Aaron Smith, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Mitchell Hunt.South: Jordie Barrett; Will Jordan, Brayden Ennor, Jack Goodhue, George Bridge; Richie Mo’unga, Brad Weber; Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Nepo Laulala, Sam Whitelock (captain), Mitchell Dunshea, Shannon Frizell, Tom Christie, Tom Sanders.Replacements: Liam Coltman, George Bower, Tyrel Lomax, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Dillon Hunt, Finlay Christie, Josh Ioane, Leicester Faingaanuku.This will be the 81st North v South match, with the Northerners winning 50 of the previous encounters and the South 27 (there have also been three draws). To find out who comes out on top in this North v South encounter, we explain how to find a reliable live stream wherever you are in the world.How to watch North v South from outside your countryIf you’re abroad, but still want to watch your local rugby coverage, like North v South, you can do so by using a VPN – Virtual Private Network.VPNs allow you to get around any geo-blocking by changing your IP address so you appear in a different location and can watch the same legal rugby live stream you would at home.Our friends at TechRadar have tested hundreds of VPN and recommend ExpressVPN, which is easy to use, has strong security features and allows you to watch on several devices at once, including smart TVs and phones, iPads, tablets, PCs and Macs.Plus, ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can try it out for a month for free or sign up for an annual plan and get three months free.Check out ExpressVPN Get a Now TV Day PassIf you’re from the UK but are overseas when North v South takes place, you can get your normal live stream but you’ll need a VPN – see the information above.North v South live stream: How to watch from New ZealandThe North v South match has prime billing on Sky Sport NZ this weekend. In New Zealand, coverage of the North v South match starts at 6.30pm on Sky Sport NZ 1, with kick-off at 7.10pm. There is also a ‘player cam’ option on Sky Sport Select.It costs $31.99 a month to add Sky Sport to your Sky Starter pack ($25.99) but if you sign up for 12 months before 30 September 2020 you’ll get your first month free. Plus, you’ll get Sky Go, which allows you to watch live rugby wherever you are.Sky Sport NZ offer North v South live stream: How to watch from South AfricaSouth Africa is one hour ahead of the UK, so North v South kicks off at 9.10am on SuperSport’s Rugby, Grandstand and CSN channels.There are various DStv packages available that give access to SuperSport, ranging from Access, which has the Blitz and Variety 4 channels, to Premium, which includes all 18 sports channels.North v South live stream: How to watch from the USAIf you live in the States, ESPN+ is live streaming the North v South match (kick off at 3.10am EST) – and if that’s a little early you can catch a replay later in the day.You can access ESPN+ from just $5.99 a month.North v South live stream: How to watch from EuropeRugbyPass is live streaming the North v South match (kick-off 9.10am) in most European countries. To find out if the streaming service is available where you are and the cost, head to RugbyPass.North v South live stream: How to watch from AsiaRugbyPass has the rights to live stream the North v South match in many Asian countries. To find out if the streaming service is available where you are and the cost, head to RugbyPass.We recommend VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service)Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroadWe do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing. Men at No 10: Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga start at fly-half in the North v South match (Getty Images) North v South live stream: How to watch from AustraliaFor those in Australia, Fox Sports is showing the North v South match (kick-off 5.10pm AEST) live between Saturday’s two Super Rugby AU games.The Foxtel Sports HD bundle is $74 a month – and you get 50+ other channels as well as Foxtel GO so you can watch when on the move.Even better Foxtel is currently offering a ten-day free trial to new customers so you can see what they have to offer – ideal for getting access to the North v South match.Foxtel Offers This highly-anticipated match in Wellington is effectively an All Blacks trial LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS North v South live stream: How to watch from the UKNorth v South, which kicks off at 8.10am on Saturday morning UK time, will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event from 7.30am and Sky Sports Arena from 8.05am.If you don’t have a Sky contract but want to watch the match, don’t worry because you can get a NowTV pass for daily, monthly or mobile access.It’s £9.99 for a NowTV day pass that would allow you to watch the North v South match. 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