Tahs and Wallaby hooker re-signs with Australia beyond World Cup

first_imgTah’s and Wallaby hooker happy to stay with the ARUHard working hooker, Tatafu Polota-Nau has re-signed with the Australian Rugby Union for a further two years. The popular 25-year-old is the latest in an ever-growing list of top players , including Berrick barnes and fellow Tah’ Drew Mitchell, who have recommitted to Australian Rugby and the Qantas Wallabies for the period beyond this year’s Rugby World Cup.The retention of Polota Nau is another boost for the future, with the robust hooker considered a player of huge potential who has the ability to dominate the international stage as a leader amongst the new generation of players who have been developed in the Wallabies environment over the past three seasons. hoping for more tests in the gold jersey, he said, “I love playing for the Wallabies and hopefully my form will continue to allow me to do that for at least another two years,” Polota-Nau said. “Once I knew I was staying in Australia, my preference was always to remain at NSW and thankfully I’ve been able to do that.”Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans acknowledged that Polota-Nau was a key signing. “Tatafu is an x-factor player. He’s one of those players who has a massive influence, both on a game, but also on the people he is around,” Deans said. “His promise was always evident. The exciting thing, from a Wallabies – and I’m sure a Waratahs – perspective, is that he is really grabbing the reins now. You only have to look at the impact he has had on the Waratahs start to the new Super Rugby campaign, after winning their Player’s Player award last year. Not only is he playing well, he’s offering leadership to the rest of the group. That is a sign of the complete package he is becoming.”’Taf’ during a Waratahs junior coaching dayDeans felt that ‘Taf’ was a player that always had more to offer off the field too, “He’s offered the same with the Wallabies. Even when he couldn’t play last year due to the issue around his ankle, he was happy to pitch in and help out as a coach, offering guidance to the younger hookers in the squad, both during the June Tests but then again when he joined us at the end of the Spring Tour.” Despite damaging his left posterior cruciate ligament in Friday night’s match for the Waratahs, Polota-Nau said he won’t change his ‘wrecking-ball’ approach on field  – even with the World Cup looming in September. “There’s no point holding back when you’re on the field, you have to give it everything you can, even with a World Cup this year,” Polota-Nau said. “My main focus at the moment is Super Rugby and helping the Waratahs have a big season, I’ll continue to prepare week in and week out as normal. As far as the injury goes, it’s much better that it’s the PCL rather than the ACL [anterior cruciate ligament]. It’s going to be a day-to-day proposition and so the bye couldn’t have come at a better time.”Polota-Nau is a cult figure in Sydney’s western suburbs where his work both within the team but also at an administrative level with the Parramatta Rugby Club has received wide acclaim. SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 23: Tatafu Polota-Nau of the Waratahs takes part in a junior coaching clinci at Beauchamp Park on February 23, 2009 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Born in Sydney but of Tongan family roots, which has enabled him to connect with the city’s sizeable Pacific Island community, Polota-Nau joined a rare club when he made his debut for Australia prior to playing Super Rugby, against England at Twickenham in 2005.A consistent presence in the Qantas Wallabies since that time, Polota-Nau begins 2011 with 25 Tests to his name, while having represented the Waratahs on 69 occasions in Super Rugby.last_img read more

RBS 6 Nations: Ireland analysis

first_imgSign of dejection: O’Driscoll reflects on Ireland’s first loss to Italy in the Six NationsBy Claire Glancy“IS IT time to go back to the drawing board Declan?” The question posed after so many basic errors saw Ireland defeated by England.“No” was the simple answer given. He was right too. For Ireland the drawing board is no longer the issue, it’s the architect.End of the road: Kidney will now ponder his futureA few months ago people would have said that was harsh for a coach who led Ireland to their first Grand Slam in 61 years but the truth is since the highs of 2009, when Declan Kidney was crowned IRB International Coach of the Year, Ireland have consistently failed to reach their potential.We always talk about the talented footballers the nation produces. Every year there’s at least one that catapults into the spotlight. In 2012 Simon Zebo and Craig Gilroy’s arrival on the international stage caught so much attention they only had to play 80 minutes for people to start talking about them being Lions.We’re also witnessing the end of the “Golden Generation” who promised so much as they headed to the last Rugby World Cup. Ronan O’Gara suffered the embarrassment of being dropped by his former school teacher, Paul O’Connell is fighting against his rugby body clock, while Brian O’Driscoll is the only one of those veterans guaranteed his place in the green jersey. Even he is not immune though, unceremoniously stripped of his captaincy after a decade. The perception we’re given is he wasn’t happy about it either. Add to that the number of injuries throughout the squad and it’s of little wonder that Ireland are in disarray.This was glaringly obvious in Rome. When Keith Earls had to go off with an injury, swiftly followed by Luke Marshall and then O’Driscoll who was sidelined for a stamp, panic swept through the side. In fairness all those changes could be unsettling but in the fifth round of a championship players should be able to compose themselves as they will have practiced similar scenarios. One player who managed to keep his cool and subsequently keep Ireland in the game was Paddy Jackson. He was given a hard time after the Scotland match for missing kicks but in Rome the young Ulsterman slotted over five penalties from six attempts. Follow Claire Glancy on Twitter @claireglancy Promising start: Zebo during Ireland’s win over WalesIt summed up Ireland’s tournament when an injury to replacement Luke Fitzgerald forced Peter O’Mahony to switch from the flank to the wing. And to finish they played the latter stages with just thirteen men. It was a terrible end to the tournament and could prove a final act for Kidney whose contract is up in the summer.For the players hoping to be Lions this summer at least many still have at least one more chance. Warren Gatland is due to announce his squad on 30th April, the week after the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals. Strong performances then are the only way they will be able to oust players who have edged ahead of them in the Six Nations.Declan Kidney will always be the man who orchestrated one of Irish Rugby’s greatest successes and for that we’ll always be grateful. But now I think it’s time for a new architect, a different design and hopefully an eye-catching finish.Ireland’s Injured XV: 15 Luke Fitzgerald, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Gordon D’Arcy, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 2 Richardt Strauss, 4 Dan Tuohy, 5 Paul O’Connell, 6 Stephen Ferris, 7 Chris Henrycenter_img LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

New Euro comps proposed by Premiership Rugby

first_imgDo the other clubs have a proposal in their back-pocket? At this stage it seams unlikely.This will run and run over the coming months. Bullish: Mark McCafferty of Premiership Rugby Ltd. has been forceful in his calls for a different system in EuropeBy Alan DymockPOLITICAL WAR is upon us now, and it is all thanks to the decision of Premiership Rugby to finally decide how they will propose an alternative to the Heineken Cup.In a press release issued yesterday their statement read: “The English and French clubs have proposed the formation of two new, stronger competitions of 20 teams each, based on the principles of qualification on merit from each league, the inclusion of teams from all six existing countries and the expansion into new markets. These proposals could form the basis of future competitions.”All at once there were questions. How would the Celtic nations react? What did ‘emerging markets’ mean? Had they ensured sponsorship already?PRL’s assurance is that the French clubs want this, tooIt is a bullish move and one months in the making. They know that the current Heineken Cup contract expires at the end of this season and so now was the time to act. Now ‘other nations’ have six weeks to join the bus. This is clarified in the second half of the statement: “However, given the importance and urgency of the current position, and the reconfirmation that the French clubs will not participate in any competition unless it includes the English clubs, the clubs have now asked Premiership Rugby to take immediate action to put in place a competition for 2014/15 to include the French and English clubs but which will also be open to teams from other countries.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Castres team President Michel Dhomps (Front Center L) and team president Pierre-Yves Revol (Front Center R) carry the Top 14 championship “Bouclier de Brennus” trophy on June 2, 2013, at the Soult square in Castres, during a celebration of Castres’ victory over Toulon in the Top 14 rugby final at the Stade de France in Paris the previous day. AFP PHOTO / REMY GABALDA (Photo credit should read REMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images) The timing is interesting. With news swirling of a Super Rugby, SANZAR shake-up it will have been both a relief and a nuisance to learn of plans for another South African franchise and a dedication to continue competing in the south. This is also why ‘new markets’ is so intriguing.There are plans afoot to secure finances, certainly, and any new competitions must offer English sides versus French sides, for the obvious financial and commercial pull.With battle lines drawn we must wait for Celtic Rugby to react. “Despite numerous meetings between the stakeholders over the last year, the last of which was in May, discussions have been unsuccessful and the clubs can only conclude that negotiations on any new European agreement have now ended,” it is said by Premiership Rugby.last_img read more

JWC 2014: England retain title

first_imgThe JWC final in Auckland between England and South Africa’s U20s went right down to the wire, writes Alan Dymock in Auckland Perhaps there are only a handful of future Test stars in this side, with Maro Itoje, Earle, Henry Taylor and Billy Burns (who scored two penalties and a conversion) standing out – but that makes this win all the more encouraging for English fans.This youth team are now consistently nightmarish to face and are producing mentally tough players used to winning. Talk of an dynasty at this level may be ill-founded, but this is good news for the game in England. TAGS: Highlight LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Of course there was plenty to get excited about – Kriel’s second try was a swaying, long-range number while a penalty form well over the halfway taken by Aaron Morris was a monster – but England’s coaches will be more impressed with the control and synergy of this win. They’re at it again: England have won the Junior World Championship for the second year in a row They did it, just. England U20 won the Junior World Championships for the second year in a row after defeating South Africa 21-20.England and South Africa scored two tries apiece, but this was a game more about grit and intelligence than scoring bucket loads of tries. So while Nathan Earle dotting down at the right place at the right time and Joel Conlon dumping himself over the line were great moments for England, as was an impressively dynamic brace for South African centre Jesse Kriel, it was the little moments that secured this title.The JWC has had pundits in New Zealand wagging tongues all month as teams showed almost psychotic desire to attack. Refreshing. Fun. But it was a missed drop-goal attempt by eventual player of the tournament Handre Pollard and a crucial English scrum penalty deep in their own territory in the last five minutes that helped secure this result.last_img read more

The greatest No 8s of all time: Wayne Shelford

first_img Wayne Shelford of New Zealand It was Shelford’s second full cap, against the same foes, that has become part of rugby folklore. Playing in the ‘Battle of Nantes’, a forceful boot aimed at Buck’s groin tore his scrotum, with the No 8 also losing several teeth at the bottom of the same ruck. With frightening calm, Shelford asked to be stitched up and sent back out. Eventually Shelford was hauled off, concussed, and the All Blacks lost 16-3, but it would be the only Test he ever lost. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Wayne Shelford was one of the hardest men to ever play rugby union, and as a result, the New Zealand No 8 was also one of the greatest to play his position Major teams: North Harbour, Northampton    Country: New ZealandTest span: 1986-90New Zealand caps: 22 (22 starts)
Test points: 20 (5T)When debates rage over the hardest men to ever play rugby union, Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford will forever get a mention.A force at the back of the scrum for the All Blacks, Shelford clawed and thumped his way towards a reputation as an unyielding competitor. His time in Test rugby was short-lived – he amassed just 22 caps – but while he was there he barged his way into the global game’s consciousness, not only winning a World Cup but overseeing a period of Kiwi dominance.After fine displays for North Harbour in 1985, young Buck toured Argentina, wearing black for the first time against Club Atletico San Isidro in Buenos Aires. A year later he made his full Test debut against France. In 1987 he was part of the all-conquering New Zealand side that won the inaugural World Cup. The next year he would become captain and lead the All Blacks on a 14-game unbeaten run. When he was eventually dropped for Zinzan Brooke in 1990, a national campaign began to ‘Bring back Buck’.He never played another Test but Shelford had left an indelible mark on New Zealand rugby. In the late ‘80s he wanted to make a change. Not to his side’s play but to the haka. Before Shelford’s intervention, the war dance had none of its current brutal majesty. So he taught his peers how to perform ‘Ka Mate’ right. Perhaps that is his greatest contribution of all. TAGS: The Greatest Players last_img read more

Lions 2017: Highlanders 23-22 British & Irish Lions

first_img Marty Banks slotted a 74th-minute penalty to give the Highlanders a narrow win over the British & Irish Lions at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.Elliot Daly did have the opportunity to put the Lions back in front in the closing minutes but fell short with his long-range penalty attempt from seven metres inside his own half. Then Jonathan Joseph spilled the ball as the Lions launched one last attack from a lineout just outside the Highlanders’ 22.The Lions outscored the Highlanders three tries to two, but errors at critical times again proved the difference – dropped balls, scrum penalties, mistimed tackles and the like. The tourists’ intensity didn’t match that of the performance against the Crusaders just a few days ago and the lack of impact from the back three will no doubt be a concern for the coaches, as will the fact the continual improvement we saw in the first three games appears to have stalled.The Lions have now lost both their midweek matches, which means their game against the Maori All Blacks on Saturday takes on even more significance. We take a look and who and what stood out…Which Lions caught the eye?Dan Biggar – The Wales fly-half impressed on both sides of the ball, kicking well, setting up Jonathan Joseph’s first try with a well-timed pass and holding out Waisake Naholo as he pushed for the line in the second half. He admitted he was the third-choice No 10 before this game but is doing his upmost to challenge Owen Farrell and Johnny Sexton for a spot in the Test 23. The only concern is that he looked in discomfort as he went off.Pass master: Dan Biggar looks for a wide pass against the Highlanders. Photo: Getty ImagesRhys Webb – Like his half-back partner, he limped off – but before then he was a real thorn in the Highlanders’ side. No doubt spurred on by Conor Murray’s performance at the weekend, he was keen to prove his worth. There was a brilliant dummy and surge in the first half that released Jack Nowell before the move broke down, and he again confused the Highlanders defence a few minutes later in their 22. He added pace and was looking for space around the breakdown, but it has to be said his box-kicks didn’t match those of Murray against the Crusaders.Iain Henderson – Courtney Lawes started the game at a similar standard to that which he played last week but when he departed early after appearing to be knocked out trying to stop Waisake Naholo score, Henderson came to the fore. A willing carrier who made two runs in the build-up to Sam Warburton’s try, he was also at the forefront of the Lions’ effective counter-ruck and made some important tackles. Special mention also for Kyle Sinckler for a burst reminiscent of that which he made against Italy in the Six Nations.What’s hotTries – The Lions were criticised before this game for scoring only two tries in three games. In Dunedin they managed three in one, Jonathan Joseph, Tommy Seymour and Sam Warburton all crossing. The last was the best, coming at the end of a long series of phases in the Highlanders’ 22 after the Lions had pressurised the hosts from a restart. They worked the ball left and right from the scrum and Warburton went over under the posts after picking up the ball from an Iain Henderson burst. The tourists also scrambled well to prevent the Highlanders scoring more tries, although the space the hosts found at times will be a concern for Andy Farrell & Co.Captain’s try: Sam Warburton scores under the posts. Photo: Getty ImagesWide boys – The Highlanders looked to get the ball into the wide channels quickly with long passes and also used grubber kicks towards the touchlines to find space to the edges or behind the Lions defensive line. With both tactics they were able to find that desired space and create holes through which to break, wingers Tevita Li and Waisake Naholo using their power and pace to put the Lions on edge. Naholo was a threat from the off, when he skinned Tommy Seymour on the touchline, so it was little surprise he went over for the first try, spinning through Lions’ tacklers to touch down near the posts.Tour awareness – Wherever the Lions have gone on this trip to New Zealand so far people have been aware of their presence – but in Dunedin that awareness went up another level. Highlanders shirts, hats and scarves adorn people across the city, cafes proclaim ‘Come on ‘Landers’ and pubs encourage Lions fans to enter. The number of travelling supporters has steadily increased too; it’s not a ‘sea of red’ yet but they are easy to spot around town in their branded jackets – or grabbing selfies with their favourite players. It’s brilliant to see this tour engage people both in the stadiums and the cities as a whole.FOR THE LATEST SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS, CLICK HEREWhat’s not Lions: Jared Payne (Elliot Daly 63); Jack Nowell, Jonathan Joseph, Robbie Henshaw, Tommy Seymour; Dan Biggar (Owen Farrell 68), Rhys Webb (Greig Laidlaw 48); Joe Marler (Jack McGrath 55), Rory Best (Ken Owens 25-29, 49), Kyle Sinckler (Dan Cole 49), Courtney Lawes (Alun Wyn Jones 27), Iain Henderson, James Haskell, Sam Warburton (capt, Justin Tipuric 67), CJ Stander.Tries: Joseph, Seymour, Warburton. Cons: Biggar 2. Pen: Biggar. What’s hot and what’s not from the Highlanders v British & Irish Lions game High point: Highlanders celebrate their win over the Lions. Photo: Getty Images Discipline – Another midweek game, another penalty count Warren Gatland will be unhappy with. CJ Stander conceded two in just a few minutes for holding on and that made up half the penalty count in the first half (the Ireland No 8 didn’t make his usual impact with ball in hand, playing three games in a week not helping his cause). There were a few more avoidable penalties in the second half and they will most irk the coaching team.Big blow: Stuart Hogg’s facial fracture means his tour is over. Photo: Getty ImagesFirst casualty – We all know there are going to be injuries on Lions tours and the wait for the first of the 2017 edition has been longer than usual. Stuart Hogg is the first player to be heading home, a facial fracture suffered when his cheek met Conor Murray’s elbow in the first half against the Crusaders ending his second tour. It’s a huge shame for the Scotland full-back who had been in such fine form this season but there are a myriad of players who have experience of playing at 15 in this Lions squad, hence why no one has been called up as a replacement. Best wishes to Hogg in his recovery.The weather – Okay, it didn’t affect the game given that the stadium is covered – and what a great stadium it is – but match day in Dunedin lived up to that saying ‘four seasons in one day’. Heavy rainfall in the morning, blue skies at lunchtime, more heavy rain in the afternoon and even a spot of snow on the other side of the peninsula, and then blue skies again. So a tip should you ever travel to Dunedin: be prepared for any weather.Get in! Waisake Naholo celebrates his try. Photo: Getty ImagesStatistics20 – Carries made by CJ Stander, eight more than any other player.12 – Penalties conceded by the Lions compared to seven by the Highlanders.18 – Tackles made by Luke Whitelock, more than any other player.106 – Metres made by Tevita Li, the most of any player. Waisake Naholo made 60 and Tommy Seymour 57.Highlanders: Richard Buckman; Waisake Naholo, Malakai Fekitoa (Marty Banks 12-17), Teihorangi Walden, Tevita Li (Patrick Osborne 68); Lima Sopoaga (Banks 55), Kayne Hammington (Josh Renton 75); Daniel Lienert-Brown (Aki Seiuli 60), Liam Coltman (Greg Pleasants-Tate 68), Siate Tokolahi (Siosiua Halanukonuka 68), Alex Ainley (Josh Dickson 55), Jackson Hemopo, Gareth Evans, Dillon Hunt (James Lentjes 60), Luke Whitelock (capt).Tries: Naholo, Coltman. Cons: Sopoaga, Banks. Pens: Sopoaga 2, Banks. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: Highlight last_img read more

Canterbury release their latest training kit

first_imgWhen you think of rugby kit, you think of Canterbury. The brand is synonymous with rugby. So when they release new kit we take notice The LARGE size came up a bit smaller than I expected (something to bear in mind if you’re a front-five forward) but the low-profile dipped collar is a good fit around the neck.Ideal for your midweek gym sessions.Available at Canterbury.comRRP £28VAPODRI WOVEN SHORTThe shorts also use the VapoDri technology, which wicks away moisture and boosts the evaporation of sweat. They are a very comfortable pair of shorts; the LARGE size fits around the waist as I would expect and with the vented seem there is plenty of room for a larger thigh.However, the lightweight material and vented seam do not lend themselves to contact rugby training, and I would imagine if you were to break through a gap only to be scragged by the short, the material wouldn’t offer much resistance.The zipped pocket on the bum is convenient for a gym membership card or your bank card and like the other items in this collection they dry very quickly, extending your wear to wash ratio. They also have an inner brief so could be used lounging around the pool on tour or for training at the beach.Ideal for the gym and your summer touch sessions. Not appropriate for contact sessions. All of the products in this latest range from Canterbury feature their VapoDri technology, which they claim is a blend of materials with advanced wicking properties. This means that during a hard training session evaporation of sweat is boosted, allowing the garments to dry extremely quickly, which makes them perfect for reusing, and allowing the user to train harder for longer.>> A Guide to Rugby Strength and ConditioningWith each product is a ‘buy now’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.VAPODRI FIRST LAYERThe First Layer Training Top has been carefully crafted to give optimum shaping for flexibility and comfort. This is where I think the VapoDri technology comes into its own, because the quick drying characteristics mean it keeps you warm during and post-session but you don’t overheat quickly when you start your workout. You also get that reduced wash-to-wear time – ideal for busy training schedules and daily workouts.Try to avoid a cotton layer on top because this will just collect the moisture the VapoDri wicks away from your body.The LARGE size came up slightly bigger than I expected, especially when compared with the T-Shirt, especially if you like a snug fit.The quarter zip comes down quite low which gives you added temperature control and is finished with a zip guard so when it is zipped under the chin there is no aggravation.Ideal of winter training and evening gym sessionsAvailable at Canterbury.comRRP: £32VAPODRI+ DRILL T-SHIRTThis new T-shirt from Canterbury is also made with the VapoDri adaptive technology, as mentioned, which reacts to your changing body temperature, keeping you cool and dry. It is a very comfortable, lightweight fit, it comes with a dropped hem on the back to stop the tee rising up, and has side seams skewed to the front to assist ease of movement during your workout. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Available at Canterbury.comRRP £23Remember to follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.last_img read more

Sevens World Cup: From Reality TV To Jamaican Rugby Star

first_imgFollow the journey of Dyneal Fessal. By Ali Stokes The masters student now has his heart set on working with young players within rugby, providing them with the support required to deal with the emotional stresses of high-level sports.“I saw what the pressures of sports did to me along the way,” Fessal tells us. “There are others out there that went through the same thing. They don’t have that same support. It would be great to help them.”In addition to coaches Hurst and Foncette, Fessal credits his late grandmother, Adeline Campbell, for his path into the Jamaican set-up, having fully immersed him in his Jamaican heritage during his first ten years in England. Tackle hard: Jamaica must be physical against France on FridayAfter impressing during his time under Hurst, Fessal was put forward for a spot in the England Academy set-up, but was overlooked.“It all happened really fast.” Fessal explains. “Last year was probably my best season playing sevens and my coach (Hurst) wanted to put me forward for the England Academy. From there, I think they might have been looking for someone else, someone younger. I’m 26 now but I was 25 at the time,” he continued, “From there, I got in touch with Wayne Foncette, who’s in charge of Racing Sevens. He had connections with the Jamaican Head Coach. From there it was just a bit mad.”Related: Rugby posts go up at home of San Francisco GiantsFessal was thrust into the national set-up, linking up with the UK- and Jamaica-based playing staff during training camps and tournaments. However, this was not the first time he had appeared in front of thousands of keenly observant viewers. During his time at college, Fessal was a contestant on ITV’s Take Me Out.“A friend at college brought it up” Fessal says. “You know when you’re young and you think: ‘whatever, just do it’? I put that down to life experience. One big experience.”Winning over the hearts of contestants and fans alike with a showbiz smile, American accent and salsa dancing skills, he went on to feature on various ‘After The Show’ programmes before parting ways with the hit TV programme and focusing on his education and rugby career. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Fessal heads to San Francisco keen to play his rugby for the sheer joy of the game after experiencing first hand the kind of stresses that pressure to perform can exert, ready to embrace the next set of opportunities along the way.Rugby World’s Sevens World Cup coverage in association with Tudor Watch Sevens World Cup: From Reality TV To Jamaican Rugby StarWe all cherish tales of athletes rising from grass-roots to international stardom. But few stories stray as far from the trodden path as that of current Jamaica Sevens international, Dyneal Fessal.Fessal has the type of infectious, bubbly attitude that could whip up a frenzy from even the most solemn of crowds. He has trained under Olympic gold medal winners, starred in the hit ITV series Take Me Out and will take his bow at the Sevens Rugby World Cup  later this week.The 26-year-old is due to fly out to San Francisco later today with the aim of starting the biggest tournament of his rugby career with a bang. Qualifying for Jamaica through his grandmother, Fessal spent the majority of his sporting upbringing in America, after heading across the Atlantic Ocean at the age of ten.Related: Olympic sprinter to represent Jamaica“I was born in England but my parents decided to start their own business in America,” Fessal tells Rugby World. “I wasn’t going to say no to basically living right next to Disney World! It’s weird how things have worked out, I wouldn’t have even thought I’d be in this sort of position now. Never.”Now 26 and studying for his masters in sports psychology at Brunel University, the Jamaican prop/centre did not take to rugby until he was 19, having spent the previous few years being trained as a 400-metre runner by former 1992 Olympic gold medal winner, Dennis Mitchell. Fessal decided not to pursue athletics once he returned to England, concerned that without the presence of a coach of Mitchell’s quality, he would struggle to make it to the top of the sport.After signing up for a sports science course at Warwickshire College, Fessal decided to make his transition to an immersive team game. At 6ft 5in, 116kg and with the pace of a trained sprinter, the teenage Fessal made for an imposing presence on the wing and was shortly picked up on as an emerging talent, fast-tracked to the county set-up with less than a season under his belt.However, after a few seasons at Henley Hawks, he fell out of love for the 15-man game and was introduced to the seven-man code.“I joined when they (Henley) were relegated to National Two.” He says. “I think that’s around the time I stopped enjoying playing 15s. Then the coach asked if I had tried sevens, and ever since then, I can’t not play it. I just love playing sevens.“I started playing properly with Apache Sevens, in Maidenhead,” he continues. “The coach there, Adam Hurst, is a phenomenal coach. He knows what he’s talking about and for where I was at the time with my rugby, he knew what to say and how to push me to get the best out of me. I think that’s where it really started to pick up.“I still play for them whenever I’m not playing for Jamaica. I love that club, it’s amazing. I just have the best fun.” Croc star: Dyneal Fessel will wear Jamaica’s colours in San Francicso last_img read more

Israel Folau sacked by Rugby Australia

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS “It has been a privilege and an honour to represent Australia and my home state of New South Wales, playing the game I love,” he said. “I am deeply saddened by today’s decision to terminate my employment and I am considering my options.“As Australians, we are born with certain rights, including the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of expression.“The Christian faith has always been a part of my life and I believe it is my duty as a Christian to share God’s word.”Wallabies coach Michael Cheika had already said he would not pick Folau in his World Cup squad following his “disrespectful” comments. He added: “When you play in the gold jersey, we represent everyone in Australia – everyone. Everyone that’s out there supporting us. We don’t pick and choose.”Case heard: Israel Folau leaves after his Code of Conduct hearing in Sydney (Getty Images)Castle emphasised a similar message in her statement following the Folau announcement. She said: “This has been an extremely challenging period for rugby and this issue has created an unwanted distraction in an important year for the sport and for the Wallabies team.“But our clear message to all rugby fans today is that we need to stand by our values and the qualities of inclusion, passion, integrity, discipline, respect and teamwork.“I’ve communicated directly with the players to make it clear that Rugby Australia fully supports their right to their own beliefs and nothing that has happened changes that. But when we are talking about inclusiveness in our game, we’re talking about respecting differences as well.“When we say rugby is a game for all, we mean it. People need to feel safe and welcomed in our game regardless of their gender, race, background, religion, or sexuality.” Wallabies full-back Israel Folau has his contract terminated after anti-gay social media comments This case may not be over, however, as it is thought Folau is likely to appeal the sanction in the Supreme Court.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.center_img Israel Folau sacked by Rugby AustraliaWaratahs and Wallabies full-back Israel Folau has been sacked by Rugby Australia following his social media posts last month that said homosexuals were destined for hell unless they repented.Related: Folau faces sack for latest anti-gay commentsFolau faced a code of conduct hearing at the start of May and was found to have committed a high-level breach of the Professional Players’ Code of Conduct with his social media posts.The three-person panel have now issued a sanction that his playing contract should be terminated.The 30-year-old, who has played in 73 Tests for Australia and scored 37 tries, has 72 hours to appeal the decision.Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said: “While Rugby Australia accepts the panel’s decision directing termination of Israel Folau’s playing contract for his high-level breach of the Code of Conduct, we want to stress that this outcome is a painful situation for the game.Statement: Raelene Castle speaks to the media following the Israel Folau decision (Getty Images)“Rugby Australia did not choose to be in this situation, but Rugby Australia’s position remains that Israel, through his actions, left us with no choice but to pursue this course of action.“Representing Australia and all Australians on the rugby field is a privilege. Selection is dependent upon a player’s ability to contribute to the Wallabies, and the game of rugby itself, in a positive and consistent manner both on and off the field. When players sign a contract with the Wallabies, they sign up to the values of the team and the sport.“Israel is a great rugby player and we are disappointed and saddened by the fact that he will not see out his four-year commitment to the Wallabies and Waratahs.”Folau said in a statement he is “deeply saddened” by the decision. Sacked: Israel Folau’s Waratahs and Wallabies contract has been terminated (Getty Images) last_img read more

Six Nations Analysis: Finishing

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Six Nations Analysis: FinishingIn the 2019 Six Nations, there was no match won by a team who scored fewer tries than the opposition. In 2017 and 2018, the tournament had just one of these games each and there have been none so far in 2020.That is just two matches out of 51 where the winning team have scored fewer tries than the opposition – or 4%. It is vital to score tries but, because it is so important, it is also incredibly hard.Gaining a metre anywhere on the pitch is relatively straightforward. Going from one metre from the line to over it is significantly more complicated. As Scotland are showing in this tournament, just because you get into the opposition 22 it does not mean that you can score a try.Outside of the 22, the opposition will have at least two players dropped out of their defensive line and maybe as many as four if they are very far from their line. That provides space to attack.On their own line teams do not need to drop anybody back. There is very little space to attack, so the defence comes out of the blocks and pressures the attack. How does the attack overcome this to finish off tries? They use one of these three methods…The IndividualAs an attacker, when facing 15 defenders, you need to beat an opposition defender to get over the line. The simplest way to do this is through individual skill. If you want something doing…Replacement scrum-half Baptiste Serin goes from halfway with a magnificent solo try for @FranceRugby#FRAvITA #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/X2cI9Y837c— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 9, 2020During the second round of matches we have seen the ingenious ways that teams gain the most important metre on the pitch. In the third round look to see how teams change their attack when they get into the opposition 22. Ireland did this by removing the lift from the lineout. They threw directly to James Ryan. This put Wales on the back foot because they could not get there quick enough to drive Ireland back.If you watch you can see that Wales have kept Dillon Lewis, Ken Owens, and Justin Tipuric out of the maul to defend against Ireland peeling off and attacking the back of the line. Wales never get a chance to use any of them as the ball is already over the line before any of that trio can join the maul. Tadhg Furlong’s try, Ireland’s second, is a perfect example of this. He receives the pass from Conor Murray and his only job is to get lower than Dillon Lewis.A key element is the Murray pass. It looks simple but if this pass is too high, or behind Furlong, it makes it much harder for the prop to get his body position low.When Furlong hits Lewis he is shunted through by Peter O’Mahony and Rob Herring. Lewis is joined by Hadleigh Parkes and Jake Ball, who end up tackling O’Mahony and Herring. By that point, Furlong is over the top of Lewis and in for the try.Rather than sidestep a defender, as we saw in the first example, in this case you beat a defender by going straight through them. In the second feature in this new series, Sam Larner breaks down the skill of finishing off opportunities So much to savour in @IrishRugby v @WelshRugbyUnionTake in all the key moments in our extended highlights#GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/ho3jfaEL4N— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 9, 2020You can see how Wales achieve something similar at 5.57 in this clip. Adam Beard receives the ball but immediately flips it to Ross Moriarty at the back of the lineout.Ireland have defended the front but by moving the point of attack Wales are able to push through a much weaker defensive effort and score a consolation try.ConclusionScoring tries in rugby is hard but it is especially difficult to finish off an opportunity when you get into the opposition 22.Of course, you could just avoid the issue and score from your own half, as Baptiste Serin did for France. Jordan Larmour showed the importance of individual skills against Wales. Ireland have tied the Welsh defenders into one area and then shift the ball wide to exploit that.Wales are now operating in a scramble defence. This means that they do not have a set defence and instead need to sprint across the pitch to stop the try. When Larmour receives the ball he looks to pass to the winger, Andrew Conway.As you can see, Conway is well marshalled by both Leigh Halfpenny and Josh Adams. By keeping the ball in two hands Larmour keeps the threat of the pass alive. That pulls Nick Tompkins across and leaves Aaron Wainwright suddenly in a key defensive position.When Larmour steps back, Wainwright is too far away to influence the full-back. Larmour finishes strongly to score the first try of the match.By tying the defence into the middle of the pitch, Ireland force the defenders to sprint to the sidelines. With their minds focused on getting to the side they are susceptible to a simple step back, as Larmour showed.The PodWhen the attack is close to the opposition line you will see a lot of pick-and-goes or one-out carries. The idea is that the carrier receives the ball, or picks it up from the ruck, and drives low into the defender. If you stay lower than the defender it is almost impossible to prevent you getting over the gain-line. Add a couple more bodies behind you and it gets harder again to stop. Related: Six Nations Analysis – The Last PassThe TeamWhenever a team passes up a kick at goal in favour of kicking to the corner, they need to come away with a try to make the decision worthwhile.Most teams will choose to maul from their lineout in the opposition 22. The problem is that defences will typically not contest the lineout and instead drive the maul backwards as soon as the catcher reaches the ground. Attackers therefore need to try something different. Low drive: Tadhg Furlong powers over to score for Ireland (Getty Images) The March 2020 issue of Rugby World magazine – a Six Nations special – is on sale now.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.last_img read more