Chris Ashton – Northampton and England

first_imgMe centre of attention? – Never! TAGS: Northampton Saints RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?CA: One of Shane Geraghty’s kicks nearly took a player’s head off in a game against Castres!RW: If your house was alight, what three things would you save?CA: My dog Henry, an English bulldog. My photos. And my first England shirt.RW: What do the England boys do to wind down?CA: The cinema, or we go for food. There’s a Chinese near Pennyhill Park. Charlie Hodgson always loses his credit card there.RW: Do you have any bad habits?CA: Driving too fast when late. I’ve not been caught speeding for a while though, so let’s not jinx it!RW: What’s the best game you’ve played in?CA: Against Australia in Sydney. We won and I scored my first Test try. That one was important.Too many trainers, his alternative career choice and important lessons…RW: What are your bugbears?CA: Foden makes this weird noise with his throat. It’s horrible! He doesn’t know he’s doing it and it really winds me up!RW: What superpower would you want and why?CA: To be invisible, but I can’t tell you what I’d like to do! I’d sneak around people’s houses. And rob banks and spend all the money on whatever I wanted.RW: Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?CA: Michael Jackson for entertainment. My favourite song is Man in the Mirror. Rocky for protection. And the Godfather, because I want to be in his gang.RW: What’s your dream holiday?CA: A hot beach with my missus. Paul Diggin Dylan Hartley Chris Ashton training with EnglandNot only has Chris, a Rugby League convert, made a seamless transition to Union, he has done so with vigour and made sure everyone took notice of his first International try. Now a familiar face around the England squad, Rugby World caught up with him to chat England antics, bad habits and driving a Ferrari. Rugby World: Who do you share a room with on England duty?Chris Ashton: Ben Foden. He’s very messy. He throws his stuff everywhere, whereas mine’s all neat and tidy. He doesn’t brush his teeth sometimes either! One person I wouldn’t like to share with is Delon Armitage, he stinks! I don’t think he uses deodorant.RW: Who are England’s jokers?CA: Haskell likes to be the centre of attention. He’s got a loud voice so people have to pay attention to him. I’m like that at Northampton, but I can’t be like that when I’m with England yet. RW: What can’t you live without?CA: A car. And white trainers, I’ve got about 100 pairs!RW: Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?CA: Lee Evans, he’s hilarious!RW: What’s the silliest thing you’ve bought?CA: A car when I first arrived in Northampton that I got for £400. It was an old banger, and at training one day the lads spray-painted it so I had to get rid of it. Now I drive a Ferrari… no, it’s a Ford Mondeo.RW: If you weren’t playing rugby, what else would you like to do?CA: I’d be a milkman. You just have to work in the morning and then get the rest of the day off, and you get a milk float to drive.RW: Who would play you if a film was made of your life?CA: Dylan Hartley. People get us mixed up. They’d have to play it in fast-forward though.RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?CA: To play an instrument. I’ve tried the guitar but I’ve not got the patience for it so I’ll go for piano.RW: What’s the most important lesson you’ve ever learnt?CA: You can’t shoulder-charge in rugby union, and you have to tackle with your arms!RW: How would you like to be remembered?CA: As that unbelievably good-looking winger!Check out his England profile…A few quick fire questions with Chris…Relive Chris’s try against Australia during last years Autumn Internationals…Learn more about Chris’s teammates at Northampton Saints….Joe Ansbro LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

Journey through rugby – Ryan Jones

first_img Jones has won 66 caps for Wales – but has only scored one try, v Scotland in 2005A THREE-TIME Grand Slam winner, Ryan Jones made his Wales debut against South Africa in 2004. He played in all three Tests on the 2005 Lions tour and led his country to their 2008 Six Nations triumph. Here are a few thoughts from the Osprey…It’s better to have a memory than a dream. If you’ve got a chance to do something, then crack on and do it. It’s good to have a go.Good leadership is about facilitating others. There can be people with far more important or prevalent things to say than you and it’s about giving them the opportunity to express that. You have to use the tools in your armoury.A bloody looking Jones during this year’s Six Nations match against ScotlandMy dad was a policeman. I used to get a bit of stick – that’s what kids do – but he’s just my dad, it was normal for me. There isn’t a lot he hasn’t seen so he’s not easily fooled. He’s always been there for me.I used to throw up before matches. It was a result of getting too caught up in my own emotions, but I’m a bit more relaxed now. It changed with captaincy – it gave me something else to focus on.It’s important to stay level-headed. In sport you can have huge highs but then you run the risk of huge lows. If you ride those emotions to the extremes of both it can dictate your life and have a detrimental effect. I’ve learned to stay as level as I can and take it in my stride.My guilty pleasure is chocolate. And my greatest fear is the unknown – and rugby coming to an end.The thought of retiring terrifies me. What will I do after rugby? Rugby is what defines me, or what has done for that period of time. How do I replace the daily routine and the buzz? I’m not sure what I want to do. That scares me more than anything else at the moment.I’ve got a lot of time left in me. It’s all relative – there are guys in their mid-20s who’ve been in the game longer than me. I only started properly at 23 and you wouldn’t say someone was past it at 26 if they’d started at 18. If I stay fit, I’ll keep playing.I used to grow my hair to cover my ears. Now I don’t care. I thought it was time to grow up. I like my haircut now – short with grey sidies.It’s important for kids to do sport. I did everything as a kid – tennis was my first sport and then football and rugby. My mum and dad invested a lot of time ensuring my sister and I had a very active upbringing. It was very social and I was happy.Transport a player from today to ten years ago and he’d stand out. Rugby is different from five years ago, let alone ten or 15. It’s the natural evolution of the game and it’ll continue to change. Players are rugby athletes now and are unrecognisable from ten years ago. Tactically things are quite similar, but the physical aspects have changed hugely. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS CARDIFF, WALES – FEBRUARY 12: Wales captain Ryan Jones looks on during the RBS Six Nations game between Wales and Scotland at the Millennium Stadium on February 12, 2012 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) TAGS: Ospreys center_img I’ve now got my own little piece of history. This year was my third Grand Slam and not many people have done that. It’s pretty special and it’s nice to feel I’ve contributed to all three. The best thing is that no one can take it away, although I haven’t had a chance to really reflect on it yet.Each Grand Slam has been incredibly special. The first two were more of a surprise whereas this one had more of a planned execution; we genuinely thought we had a chance of doing it. I’ll never forget the emotions and experiences of each one.I’m fortunate that I can’t choose my best rugby moment. There are moments like winning my first and 50th caps. Playing for the Lions was huge, as was captaining Wales. Possibly the one moment that stands out is getting onto the podium to lift the Six Nations trophy in 2008, but then lifting the Triple Crown in Ireland prior to that was pretty special. It was the first silverware we won that year and was the first I’d lifted as captain.The sacrifices pale into insignificance when things go well. From a personal point of view, the time away and the unsociable nature of rugby – we work weekends and have Wednesdays off – are tough. The media coverage, exposure and the weight of expectation is also much higher than it used to be.I don’t have regrets. There are decisions I’ve made along the way that I look back on and think, ‘Would I make the same decision again?’ Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but they were made with the best intentions at the time, career-wise and lifestyle-wise.Family is the most important thing in my life. Having children puts things in perspective. My son, Jacob, doesn’t know whether I’ve won or lost – I’m just ‘Dad’ to him. I desperately want him to be proud of me. It was great to share this year’s Grand Slam with my little boy. He loves the crowd and everyone clapping.DID YOU KNOW?Ryan Jones, Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones equalled the feats of 1970s greats JPR Williams, Gareth Edwards and Gerald Davies with a third Grand Slam.This article appeared in the June 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine.Find a newsagent that sells Rugby World in the UK. Or you may prefer the digital edition on your MAC, PC, or iPad. Would you like to sign up to Rugby World’s excellent weekly email newsletter? Click here.For Back Issues Contact John Denton Services at 01733-385-170last_img read more

Wales v Australia: Five things we learned

first_imgWelsh general: fly-half Rhys PriestlandBacks in actionThe biggest positive from the game was the Welsh back-line. It was the first time it has functioned this autumn. Key to this was Rhys Priestland. His line kicking was accurate and his passing was of a high standard – it was Priestland’s spotting of the overly eager Wallaby defence in the Welsh 22 that released an audacious, yet simple break, which allowed Cuthbert to make a 50-yard gain. Priestland’s chips over the top of the Wallaby’s blitz defence also caused significant problems.Sadly, it is becoming unpleasantly fashionable to criticise Priestland and you are more likely to hear about his missed tackle, or his decision to kick in the 78th minute instead of going ‘through the phases’. I’m not sure how Priestland was supposed to go through the phases, there wasn’t a single player standing behind him ready to accept a pass and running with the ball, from your own 22, with a three-point lead, in the last minute isn’t exactly a percentage play – the kick was good, the defensive realignment wasn’t.The Welsh threequarters were also effective; they ran straight lines and created more overlaps than they have in any of the previous three games. Jon Davies’s continually improving passing meant that the ball arrived in front of the wings and allowed them ample opportunities to make yardage – Cuthbert was the game’s second highest ball-carrier and Liam Williams continued his impressive progression in Test rugby. It was good to see the Welsh backs finally resemble a back-line, and not simply a defensive line.Fabulous 15Leigh Halfpenny was tremendous. He has been increasingly shackled by his defensive responsibilities over the past season, which he performs impeccably, but against Australia his running lines were of equal quality – he beat more defenders than anyone in the Welsh team. His goalkicking was once again at 80% and his kicking out of hand worked well too. NOT FOR FEATURED Passion player: Leigh Halfpenny, flanked by Liam Williams and Mike Phillips, finds his voice during the anthemsBy Paul WilliamsThe late, late showWales once again lost to the Wallabies when it seemed that they couldn’t. They have now lost their last three games to Australia in the dying minutes – once in the 72nd minute and twice in the 79th. This last defeat was the most unbearable of them all as it came at the end of a much improved and much needed performance.The Welsh scrum was rock-solid, with Scott Andrews once again coping admirably at Test level and providing genuinely reliable cover for Adam Jones. Wales once again maintained parity with both possession and territory and their tackle completion percentage was in the bracket expected at Test level (88.2%). But of course, none of this will be remembered, and the hunt for a scapegoat is in full flow. Wales now have enough scapegoats from the autumn series to start a small farm.Up and down: the Welsh lineout falteredIn the line of fireThe Welsh lineout struggled against Australia and they lost six. More precisely it struggled in the second half after Luke Charteris left the field – Wales lost one lineout in the first half, yet five in the second. It wasn’t that Charteris was dominating the lineout; Wales didn’t use him once in the first half. Instead, they used him as a decoy and freed up significant space for Lou Reed and Aaron Shingler.Once Charteris left the field, the decoy was removed and made it much easier for the Wallabies to track the Welsh jumpers. It forced Wales to vary their lineout more and take riskier options at the tail – sloppy ball and mistakes ensued. Much will be made of Wales losing the game with the last play of the game – losing Luke Charteris was arguably as important.Hard hitterJamie Roberts’s tackling was immaculate against Australia. He was the top tackler on both teams and by some distance – making 17 tackles and missing none. Roberts completely shut down the central channels and forced Australia into a wasteful kicking game plan. Roberts’s upper-body wrap tackles were particularly impressive and limited the Wallabies centres’ ability to offload the ball – Adam Ashley-Cooper and Ben Tapuai didn’t manage an offload between them. Roberts’s hands are sometimes called into question; his shoulders are second to none. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Halfpenny’s conviction under the high ball was unquestionable, as always, but it was his defence that was so admirable. Halfpenny may look like a big guy when you see him flexing his ‘lats’ in a fitness magazine, but in reality he isn’t. Halfpenny is 5ft 10in and 13st 5lb, yet he tackles like a player who’s half a foot taller and 2st heavier. Apparently, the Lions full-back position is a toss-up between Halfpenny and Rob Kearney. It isn’t. Here’s a mast, a hammer, some nails and my colours – Halfpenny will be the Lions full-back.Follow Paul Williams on Twitter @thepaulwilliamslast_img read more

Hotshots: Scarlets wing Joshua Adams

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS When did you start playing rugby?I started at Hendy when I was about six. I played rugby and football until I moved into youth rugby, then the games were on Saturday so I had to choose.Who was your boyhood hero?My grandfather is Irish and Tommy Bowe has always been my idol.Have you played other positions?I was an openside until I was about 12 then the coaches saw I had a bit of  pace and switched me to full-back or wing. I am mostly wing now but play a  bit of centre for my club, Llanelli.Who has had a big influence on you?Byron Hayward, with Wales U20 last year and now with the Scarlets, and Dai Flanagan at the Scarlets too. When did you first link up with the Scarlets? I played for their U16s and U18s and then got an academy contract when I was 18, when I came out of playing for Wales U18s. I made my first-team debut in the last LV= Cup game in November. It was a really good experience and it was a Wales derby, against Cardiff Blues, with a crowd of over 6,000.Are you learning a lot from Wales U20?It was really good last year. It helped me as a player. On a Tuesday we train against the senior Wales squad so defending against the likes of George North and Alex Cuthbert is a great experience and means I don’t worry about defending boys my age.What are your aims now?I hope to have a really good Six Nations with Wales U20 and, fingers crossed, I want to get selected for the U20s World Championship in Italy and do well there. Hopefully that will propel me into first-team contention for the Scarlets next season. On the charge: Joshua Adams in Wales U20s action against England. (Photo Huw Evans Agency) RW Verdict: This sports performance and management student runs 40 metres in 4.88 seconds ­ just a couple of tenths slower than Alex Cuthbert and George North ­ so he has the critical raw materials to be a top player.last_img read more

Five things we’ve learnt: Ireland v Argentina

first_img Over and out: Ireland ponder an exit at the quarter-final stages for the sixth time By Whiff of CorditeAnd so it comes to pass – Ireland go out at a World Cup quarter final. Nothing to see here? Move on. Well maybe, but this time, more analysis is required, after all expectations were high – for the consecutive Six Nations champions, a semi-final was considered the par score, and a(nother) last eight exit feels crushing. So what did we learn?Ireland just don’t have the skills The most shocking facet of all, in the game between the best team in the Northern Hemisphere in 2014 and 2015 and the fourth best in the Southern Hemisphere from 2012 to 2014, was the sheer disparity in skill levels. Argentina seemed to be able to pass accurately and with distance off both sides, identifying space and running into it, executing mismatches with ease and looking threatening in a way none of the Northern Hemisphere teams do. It was a rude awakening for the men in green.Talent: Argetninian players like Martin Landajo showed wideranging skillsetIreland don’t have the depthJoe Schmidt has spent much of his reign building depth across the field by trusting backups in key games, Jordi Murphy against England in 2015 and Ian Madigan against France in 2014 spring to mind. However, the loss of Paul O’Connell, Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, Johnny Sexton and Jared Payne was too much – in on-pitch leadership terms as much as pure ability. Having the finishers starting meant we ran out of steam on the hour. Bruised prideFour more years: Ireland fans can’t hide their disappointment (Pic Inpho)Ireland went into this tournament as the best prepared Irish team ever sent to a tournament, the best supported outside of the hosts, with a settled and experienced side festooned with Lions and with a fantastic coach. “If not now, when?” we asked as we predicted a best RWC ever. And now the question we’ll need to address to ourselves with a bit more sobriety in the months and years ahead is “Where did it go wrong?” Missing in action: Paul O’Connell and Johnny Sexton were hugely missed against ArgentinaUse of the benchIn the first half, it felt like the player missed most by Ireland was Peter O’Mahony – Argentina owned the breakdown and Ireland were passive nearly everywhere. Of the players on the bench, Donnacha Ryan was the most like for like – a dose of Munster dog for the fight, and we were hoping to see him come in for Murphy, either into the row to unleash the Llama, or straight into blindside. But by the time he came in, the game was lost. Only Nathan White and Jack McGrath had the opportunity to make an impact from the bench – it was curiously timid from Schmidt.Grunt: Ireland could have done with Donnacha Ryan’s ‘dog’ earlier than the 71st minuteDevaluation of the French performanceAt the time, the performance in beating France by 15 points was hailed as one of Ireland’s best ever. The way France lost on Saturday night should really have set off alarm bells – they weren’t noticeably worse than against Ireland, but got exposed far more often and far more clinically. In retrospect, this was because France and Ireland are far below the level of New Zealand and Argentina – beating France in 2015, is nothing like beating the perpetual semi-finalists of previous World Cups. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Ireland crashed out of the World Cup in Cardiff where a injuries, inferior skill-set and a mixed use of the bench saw them weakened TAGS: Highlight last_img read more

The greatest blindsides of all time: Ian Kirkpatrick

first_imgIan Kirkpatrick left an indelible imprint on the game. The Kiwi blindside belongs in the company of the very best who ever played He captained New Zealand in nine Tests in 1972-73 prior to bowing out in the series victory over the Lions in 1977.Kirkpatrick retired in 1979 but has stayed involved with rugby via media work, as a mentor for young players and as a patron of Ngatapa rugby club. He was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2003. Ian Kirkpatrick with a ball in one hand His most spectacular score was the 55m burst out of a maul against the 1971 Lions in the Christchurch second Test, Kirkpatrick reflecting: “Pinetree (Colin Meads) always said he had a part to play in that because he gave me the ball. It’s funny, you break out and set off. They came at me and I was able to push them off until I hit the corner. That doesn’t happen very often.”Kirkpatrick needed an injection to play in the next Test having injured a rib whilst handling a farm horse. Major teams: Poverty Bay, CanterburyCountry: New Zealand
Test span: 1967-77New Zealand caps: 39 (38 starts)Test points: 57 (16T)When he emerged in the mid-1960s, flankers usually played left and right, rather than openside and blindside, but Kirkpatrick helped shape the role of the blindside flanker as we know it today.A farmer, he learned his rugby at Auckland’s Kings College, joined the Poverty Bay club at 20 in 1966, then moved to Canterbury a year later. New Zealand coach Fred Allen capped him on tour in France that year and Kirkpatrick responded with a try on debut.A year later he became the first All Black to be used as a substitute, coming on when Brian Lochore broke his thumb against Australia in Sydney. Having warmed up by running down the stairs from the reserve seats, Kirkpatrick shredded the Wallaby defence to score a hat-trick in a 27-11 win and for the next nine years he was one of the first names on the All Blacks team-sheet.Tall and athletic, his uninhibited, dynamic style brought him 115 tries in 289 first-class games, including 16 in Tests – an All Blacks record until Stuart Wilson bettered it in 1983. TAGS: The Greatest Players LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

Wasps the team to beat at the new-look Singha Premiership 7s

first_imgFlying Falcon: Adam Radwan gives Ospreys the slip during last year’s tournament in Coventry (Getty)“The major change will be the overnight recovery to play again the next day, rather than recovering to train. Our lads aren’t used to that, but people like Cameron have been really useful because his England 7s experience has helped to educate a lot of the lads about what is required.”Saracens, too, are brimming with optimism. They’re led by Tom Whiteley, a nominee for last season’s Anglo-Welsh Cup Breakthrough Player of the Year and about to play in his fifth Premiership 7s.“I’m confident for sure. This is the most confident I’ve been so we will see,” said the 22-year-old. “I just want to see the lads go out there and enjoy it, there’s no pressure on our shoulders.”The Sarries squad includes two players, Jermaine Olason and Josh Christie, from the Seventy7s side that won last year’s 24/Sevens competition – evidence that there are many different pathways available towards the top of the game.Sale’s standout name is arguably Paolo Odogwu, who last year broke the record for most tries in a round (eight), while London Irish are led by teenage scrum-half Rory Brand, one of four ex-Wellington College pupils in their line-up.Try merchant: Paolo Odogwu with a Player Of The Round award. Now the regional events have goneJake Polledri, son of Bristol legend Peter, makes his Gloucester bow having signed from Hartpury, while Worcester include senior players Matt Cox, Ben Howard and Huw Taylor in a squad that is captained by England 7s international Max Stelling.Last but not least, hosts Northampton welcome Tom Stephenson back after he broke his leg in a pre-season friendly against Rotherham nearly a year ago.He and Tom Collins have been playing for Randwick in NSW this summer and will be joined by Ollie Sleightholme, son of ex-England wing Jon.Past winners2010 Saracens 17-5 Newcastle at Bath2011 Newcastle 31-21 Saracens at Quins2012 London Irish 31-28 Gloucester at Bath2013 Gloucester 24-17 Leicester at Bath2014 Gloucester 12-5 Dragons at Quins2015 Dragons 17-14 Wasps at Quins2016 Wasps 31-28 Exeter at WaspsSaints haven’t won the Premiership 7s since the series’ inception in 2010 and will be desperate to set a positive marker for the club after a disappointing 2016-17 campaign.The gates open at 4pm on Friday to allow plenty of time for bag searches and there will be a Meet the Saints signing session at 4.30pm. Wasps v Newcastle kicks off the rugby at 6pm and the action will last until about 10.20pm.On Saturday, the gates open at noon with the rugby stretching from 3pm to about 7.30pm.That day will see filming for the new Channel 5 Premiership highlights show, with Mark Durden-Smith and David Flatman in attendance. In addition to live coverage by BT Sport, highlights of the sevens will be shown on Channel 5 at 11.35pm on Sunday. Home rule: Wasps won the 2016 trophy at Ricoh Arena and are favourites again this year (Getty Images) TAGS: HighlightWasps LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Tickets options include a £50 family ticket for the whole two days – click here for the price ranges and to purchase.Remember this? Jonathan Joseph helped London Irish win the 2012 title – now the Exiles are back Five weeks ahead of the new Aviva Premiership season, the first trophy is up for grabs in the remodelled Premiership 7s. There’s lots of talent on show at Franklin’s Gardens Schools have only just broken up for the summer and it’s more than three weeks until the start of the England-West Indies cricket series – but Premiership rugby is back.The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s takes place this weekend with a new Olympic-style, trimmed-down format now devoid of the four Welsh regions. The 12 Premiership clubs will compete in round-robin pools on Friday evening before splitting into Cup, Plate and Bowl competitions on Saturday afternoon.And there’s no doubting who carries the favourites’ tag at the new venue of Northampton’s Franklin’s Gardens. Holders Wasps have selected ten members of their senior squad, including debutant Marcus Watson – a GB silver medallist from Rio – Christian Wade and skipper Dan Robson.More than half of the 12-man squad were involved in last year’s thrilling final win against Exeter at Ricoh Arena, Tom Cruse’s try settling a match in which the lead changed hands six times.Danger man: Christian Wade takes on Exeter’s Pete Laverick during last year’s thrilling final (Getty)Coach Lee Blackett said: “With the limited availability of some of our academy players due to international commitments, we felt this was a good opportunity to use the tournament as preparation for some of our senior squad players for the coming season.“It’s a good opportunity for our players to play in such a fast-paced, high-intensity format of the game which is always electrifying to watch.”Wasps are alone in heavy loading with well-known faces. Generally, clubs are relying on their academies, sometimes with guest players thrown in. Some of this weekend’s cast-list played at the U20 World Cup or the recent Commonwealth Youth Games and for many it will be their first hit-out as a professional player.Harlequins have Dino Lamb and Gabriel Ibitoye from England’s U20 set-up, Ibitoye having achieved YouTube fame for his amazing finish against Australia.Quins Academy coach Jim Evans said: “The players’ learning curve will go up massively in a short period of time – being exposed to this kind of environment will be outstanding for those guys.“Some of the boys that have played in the Premiership and the Singha 7s over the years – the likes of James Chisholm, Joe Marchant, Jack Clifford – have all accelerated into the first-team squad.”Lethal finisher: Quins wing Gabriel Ibitoye stretches Cardiff Blues in last year’s Plate final (Getty)Bath, Exeter and Leicester all have a chunky representation of local university students in their ranks, with the Tigers using the tournament to launch a partnership with Loughborough.Jeff Williams, ex-England 7s, is coach of a Bath team captained by Will Homer. “The thing for me is players expressing themselves and having fun because that’s what rugby’s about,” Williams said.Max Bodilly, a hat-trick scorer in last year’s final, is part of an Exeter squad looking to go one step further.“We’ve talked this week about keeping things simple, working hard for one another and just getting the basics of our game right,” said Chiefs coach Ricky Pellow. “If we can do that, then you stand every chance of winning.”This year’s poolsPool A: Wasps, Newcastle LeicesterPool B: London Irish, Gloucester, HarlequinsPool C: Bath, Sale, WorcesterPool D: Exeter, Northampton, SaracensNewcastle are captained by England 7s player Cameron Cowell and include flyer Adam Radwan, who scored a sensational solo try from more than 100 metres with his first touch in last year’s tournament. The Falcons are happy to talk up their chances.“We have some pace, some playmakers and some guys who just graft, so we’re shaping up pretty well,” said coach Mark Laycock, who’s being assisted by Michael Young. “We’ve had a couple of sessions to get ourselves ready and we feel like we’re in a good place.last_img read more

Do Australia need a change in mindset?

first_img Do Australia need a change in mindset?Australia have a long tradition of playing a running game – probably why David Campese held the international try record for so long – but do they need to show a little more pragmatism going forward?The Wallabies have always had a reputation as a ‘tournament side’ and of peaking for World Cups – they have reached four finals and won two – but their 2019 campaign ended at the quarter-final stage.England saw them off comfortably in the last eight, winning 40-16 in Oita, but Australia’s tactics did not help their cause. They seemed reluctant to put boot to ball to clear pressure, even when in their 22, and more often than not chose to run it instead.Related: England 40-16 Australia Match ReportIn the face of England’s line speed in defence, this was not always the best option. Twice passes got picked off and resulted in tries – Henry Slade breaking from halfway to set up Jonny May’s second and Anthony Watson plucking a floated pass out of mid-air to run in from the 22m line.Even when they did choose to kick, the Wallabies often opted for shorter chips rather than long clearances, and again this came back to bite them. Kurtley Beale’s chip from his 22 fell into the arms of Jonny May, who then launched a counter-attack that saw England get to within six metres of the Australia line.When you have 64% possession, 62% territory and make twice as many metres as your opponents (568 to 273), you should be in with a decent chance of winning. But Australia were pretty much out of the quarter-final contest at the hour mark.The glaring figure from the post-match statistics is that Australia conceded 18 turnovers – the attacking mentality too regularly resulting in forced passes or players becoming isolated. Down and out: Australia players show their dejection after losing to England (Getty Images) Focusing on all-out attack can be at the detriment of results – as their World Cup quarter-final showed Yet Wallabies coach Michael Cheika bristled at the suggestion they had got their tactics wrong. “No, I don’t think so at all…,” he said post-match. “We gave away two intercepts. They hurt. That is the way we play footy. I am not going to a kick-and-defend game.“Call me naive but that’s not what I am doing. I would rather win playing our way, that’s the way Aussies want us to play.”Surely, you would rather win full stop? Had Australia shown a little more pragmatism – gone for three points rather than a scrum from a penalty in front of the posts with 25 minutes to go for example – they could have made the quarter-final more of a contest.Evasion tactics: Kurtley Beale takes on England’s defence (Getty Images)The attacking mindset is certainly good to watch and they have players who can excite and exhilarate crowds. Marika Koroibete and Beale are just two dangerous runners in the Wallabies’ back-line while teenager Jordan Petaia looks likely to be a threat in international rugby for the next decade.However, rugby is about balance, about being able to use the rapier and the bludgeon in different circumstances. A refusal to consider widening the remit of a team, to mix long kicks with neat flicks as one example, can be detrimental.Australian rugby does face a lot of competition from other sports – league, Aussie Rules, cricket – and that is one of the reasons the Wallabies have long adopted that all-out attack mentality. The theory goes that you need to play entertaining rugby to attract fans and it does help. But winning rugby is surely the biggest draw?Whether Australia change their philosophy as they start the rebuilding process for France 2023 we will have to wait and see. What we do know is Cheika will not be overseeing that process because he has quit as Wallabies coach.center_img LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Keep track of events in Japan via our Rugby World Cup homepage.Follow Rugby World magazine on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.last_img read more

Rob Kearney, speaking from experience

first_imgSpecial day: celebrating Ireland’s 2009 Grand Slam with messrs Bowe, D’Arcy, Ferris and Heaslip (Inpho)He suffered a back spasm on the morning of the deciding match in Cardiff and had to just kick the ball every time he got it because of his loss of flexibility. Fortunately, that was the game plan anyway! Kearney, in fact, played a number of huge matches in a compromised state, among them the 2016 Pro12 final against Connacht and the 2018 win over New Zealand.In what is a valuable lesson for any young players over-eager to please, Kearney says that 80% of the soft-tissue injuries he incurred over his career stem from a back injury caused by a moment of folly in the gym when he was 19. He was trying to match Dempsey’s 90kg lift and simply wasn’t ready for that challenge in terms of weight or technique.It took until 2016 before the penny dropped and Kearney realised that years of back injections were just masking other issues. He went to see performance rehabilitation specialist Enda King, who identified a raft of anatomy flaws and inter-linked weaknesses in Kearney’s body. Weeks of hard work – “I almost drowned in my own sweat” – was the catalyst to a late career renaissance still going on to this day. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: Book Review Open book: Rob Kearney, Ireland’s most capped full-back, has plenty to say in No Hiding (Sportsfile/Getty) Rob Kearney, speaking from experienceIt’s around this time of year that the rugby judges for the Telegraph Sports Book Awards meet to dissect the various publications from the sport over the preceding calendar year. Rob Kearney’s autobiography, No Hiding, will be part of that discussion.Kearney will be 35 later this month and he recently became the oldest back to debut in Super Rugby. He’s seeing out his career with Western Force and there’s no doubt how they view him Down Under – his Force profile dubs him “Mr Reliable”. BUY NOW from AmazonIt’s an apt sobriquet and one in keeping with Kearney’s self-appraisal from his decorated career. He won four Six Nations titles with Ireland, two of them with Grand Slams, and started all 20 matches in those winning campaigns.With Leinster, he won four European Cups and six Pro14 titles. In 2012, when Kearney believes he arrived as a serious top-level player, he was named European Player of the Year.You don’t win 98 Test caps, three of them with the Lions, without having something special in your locker. In Kearney’s case, it was his ability to marshal the backfield, to catch anything sent his way, to not give even a crumb of hope to fly-halves probing for weakness.In the second Test of the 2009 Lions series, Fourie du Preez told his Springbok team-mates to stop kicking the ball to the Lions full-back (Kearney). If that wasn’t the Irishman’s greatest performance, we’d like to know what was. He was young, bold and confident, so much so that he even kicked a spiral bomb, something usually avoided because of the risk of a mishit.Peerless: Kearney scores for the Lions in the 2009 second Test, when he was extraordinarily good (Getty)“I was so much at ease with myself as a player back then,” Kearney says. “The older I’ve got, the more my game has become a constant worry about limiting my mistakes. Percentages.”That is less negative than it sounds because, in Joe Schmidt, Kearney found a coach who valued error-free consistency highly. Kearney couldn’t lacerate a defence like a Jordan Larmour, and he couldn’t adopt a second playmaker role like an Alex Goode, but he was dependable. Someone you could rely on.Some people criticised him for running the ball straight back at the defensive line. “That was the point. By running straight I’d never get caught in a side-on tackle and get knocked backwards, which would mean your forwards have no access into the ruck.” He was – and still is – the guy who served bread and butter when everybody wanted cake.New chapter: Rob Kearney addresses the Australian media after a Western Force training session (Getty)Kearney was brought up on a farm in Cooley, County Louth. He admits he was spoilt, allowed to play sport to his heart’s content instead of having to muck in with the chores.There is an early shock in the book when we learn that his older brother Ross was killed by a truck whilst crossing a road to post a letter. Ross was six at the time and Rob two-and-a-half, so he doesn’t recall the incident. The tragedy left a huge mark on the family, Rob growing up as an “awful attention seeker” between two demanding younger siblings and a terrible grief. On one occasion he cut a telephone cord with scissors to get his mum off the phone.Bullied at primary school, where he was perceived as ‘privileged’, Kearney began to find his feet at Clongowes Wood College. His sporting prowess made him popular and he played in three Leinster Schools Senior Cup campaigns, reaching the final in the last of those years when they lost to Blackrock College.Fresh-faced: in Leinster’s academy, aged 19 (Inpho)He attracted media attention from a young age and it’s clear that Kearney had an arrogance to him that didn’t go down well. Few other Irish youngsters were making any waves and Kearney was put on a fast track to fame and fortune – Eddie O’Sullivan called him into an Ireland squad at just 19.Kearney says he was naive at this point of his career. He thought Leinster wanted to see a bit of cocksure swagger, someone demanding to play. Only looking back does he see that his public comments were disrespectful to senior players. In particular to Girvan Dempsey, the “ultimate team player” who did so much to help Kearney develop.At one point Kearney wore a pair of personalised boots, with his name embroidered on. The only other boots like that at Leinster belonged to proven stars Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy, and it caused mutterings in the changing room.Michael Cheika, his first coach at the province, didn’t like this lad from a ‘posh boarding school’ getting lots of press, and their relationship was fractious from the start. Cheika would slaughter him in reviews, regardless of how well he played.Despite a general lack of love at Leinster, and O’Sullivan asking him “What’s your name again?” at a training session when he was by then a capped international, Kearney strode onwards and upwards. Initially picked as a wing by Ireland, by 2009 he was part of Declan Kidney’s Grand Slam winners. Another assured performance at the back from Rob Kearney Start your 30 day free trial of the Stan Sport add-on now, for a limited time. #WARvFOR #SuperRugbyAU pic.twitter.com/1GD9owuAx4— StanSportAU (@StanSportAU) March 5, 2021What else will you learn from Kearney’s book? Plenty. There’s a detailed account of the famous SWOT meeting ahead of the 2009 Six Nations, when Kearney stood up to say he was envious of the Munster passion but never saw that in an Ireland environment.There’s his bizarre link to American president Joe Biden, his sixth or seven cousin, which led to a visit to the White House and a front-page story in the New York Times.He compares the two Grand Slam teams, 2009 v 2018, and elaborates on kid brother Dave, himself the holder of 19 Ireland caps. The wing is so unlucky, Rob says, that if it was raining soup he would have a fork in his hand.Farewell game: Kearney clears against New Zealand at RWC 2019 – the last of his 95 Ireland caps (Getty)And there’s some brilliant analysis of both how to master full-back play and of Schmidt, the man who kept picking Kearney no matter how loud the noise outside the Ireland camp for a more flashy player, such as Simon Zebo.“We might be running plays in training and after maybe a minute of play Joe would stop everything,” starts Kearney, discussing the merits of Schmidt.“Hey, we were missing somebody on the far side in the first ruck on the second phase. Joe Bloggs needs to be six inches more this way and on the third phase, Jimmy Bloggs needs to change his angle ten degrees when Paddy Bloggs is coming around the back. Where other people saw chaos, Joe saw everything unfolding in slow motion and with perfect clarity.”He says reviewing a defeat with Schmidt was like having an operation without anaesthetic.“We won so many games and trophies on the back of his power plays. I listened to his voice for nine years of my career. I was as afraid of tuning out at the end as I was at the beginning. He’s the greatest coach Irish rugby has seen.”BUY NOW from AmazonRob Kearney: No Hiding has been written in collaboration with David Walsh, chief sports writer of The Sunday Times. This beautiful read is published by Reach Sport, RRP £20. Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. From cocksure kid to sure-footed veteran, Rob Kearney has travelled far in the game. The Irish full-back sheds light on his career in his recently published autobiography last_img read more

Iona: Una peregrinación celta

first_img Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Por Matthew DaviesPosted May 8, 2013 Submit an Event Listing Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Submit a Press Release Rector Hopkinsville, KY AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Submit a Job Listing Featured Events Rector Collierville, TN Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Rector Martinsville, VA Rector Pittsburgh, PA Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Rector Shreveport, LA Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Course Director Jerusalem, Israel New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Rector Knoxville, TN Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET center_img [Episcopal News Service] Los antiguos celtas describieron a Iona como un “lugar sutil”, donde se alzaba el velo entre el cielo y la tierra, y donde uno podría tener un atisbo de lo divino.Durante siglos, los peregrinos han viajado hasta esta pequeña isla de la costa occidental de Escocia, dejando atrás el caos de sus vidas, para descansar, reflexionar y andar en las huellas de San Columba, el misionero irlandés que fundó un monasterio en Iona en el año 563 D.C.Dícese que Columba se vio obligado al exilio luego de una disputa sobre la propiedad de un salterio que él había copiado en su condado nativo de Donegal. A su subsecuente obra misionera se le acredita la propagación del cristianismo a través de las Islas Británicas.En mayo de 2013 se cumplen 1450 años de la llegada de San Columba a Iona. Su fiesta se celebra el 9 de junio en la Iglesia Episcopal y en la Comunión Anglicana.La Rda. Nancy Brantingham, sacerdote de la Diócesis Episcopal de Minnesota, y que ha estudiado durante mucho tiempo el cristianismo celta, visitó Iona por primera vez en octubre de 2012.“Columba desempeñó un papel aquí, en el monasterio con sus monjes, enseñándolos y luego enviándolos de dos en dos, y fíjense lo que sucedió”, dijo Brantingham, que encabezaba un grupo de peregrinos, la mayoría de ellos de su diócesis. “¿Estaba el mundo dispuesto a escucharlo, y está dispuesto a escucharnos aún? No lo sé. Pero las cifras no son en verdad lo único que importa cuando se trata de propagar la palabra…y de tocar los corazones de la gente”.Los miembros del grupo iniciaron la semana discutiendo el porqué habían emprendido este viaje de dos días a la isla, por tierra, mar y aire, y si eran portadores de algunas interrogantes.Para Brantingham, Columba “es un gran patrón, porque le gustaba escribir, tenía dones para la enseñanza, amaba el estudio [y] era un buen pastor. Espero que yo también. Esa es, creo, la razón por la que vine”.La Rda. JoAnn Ford dijo que ella había venido con muchas dudas respecto a quién era ella como sacerdote parroquial jubilada “y adónde iría de ahora en adelante, qué iba a hacer”.Pero llegó “con una actitud receptiva”, agregó. “No con la necesidad de encontrar una respuesta”.“¿Cómo sé cuál es la voluntad de Dios?”, preguntó Maren Mahowald. “¿Cómo la reconozco? ¿Cómo sé que respondo a ella? Es por eso que estoy aquí”.Aunque los peregrinos habían traído muchas preguntas personales, también reconocieron la importancia de la comunidad a lo largo de su viaje.Athene Westergaard apuntaba que “cuando se viaja en una comunidad en la que uno confía, es la comunidad la que te apoya, y en eso precisamente consiste la fe. La fe no es una experiencia solitaria”.Kevin Pearson, obispo de la Diócesis de Argyll y las Islas, de la Iglesia Episcopal Escocesa, en cuya jurisdicción se encuentra Iona, también visitó la isla en octubre y se unió al grupo de Minnesota en parte de su peregrinación.Una peregrinación “contribuye a tu trayectoria interior”, dijo Pearson a ENS mientras caminaba con otros peregrinos  alrededor de la isla. “Reúne un mundo espiritual interior con un mundo de normas estrictas. De manera que el ejercicio físico es también parte del ejercicio espiritual, y uno se siente atraído a la vida de Dios ya sea voluntaria o involuntariamente”.La capilla de San Columba de la  Iglesia Episcopal Escocesa, y la contigua casa del obispo han servido como lugar de oración y estudio para los peregrinos a Iona desde 1894.“La gente se siente cada vez más atraída a viajar y a hacer peregrinaciones —aunque no siempre las llamen así— a los lugares sagrados, a lugares que durante siglos han tenido una gran significación para la gente”, dijo Pearson. “Y, básicamente, hacen un viaje interior, andan en busca de Dios”.Una de las partes más memorables de la visita a Iona es conectarse con la Comunidad de Iona, un grupo ecuménico fundado en 1938. Bajo el liderazgo de su fundador, George MacLeod, la comunidad se dio a reconstruir partes de la abadía medieval de Iona.En la actualidad, la comunidad tiene un sólido compromiso con los temas de paz y justicia y ofrece peregrinaciones semanales alrededor de la isla, [cuyos participantes] se detienen en lugares de importancia histórica y espiritual y reflexionan a lo largo de la trayectoria.La reconstrucción de la abadía “ha de ser un símbolo de la necesidad de la Iglesia de volver a conectarse con la gente común y una preocupación por la necesidad de reconstruir la comunidad”, dijo el Rdo. Peter MacDonald, sacerdote de la Iglesia de Escocia (Presbiteriana) a ENS durante una entrevista dentro de la abadía.Julie Hooper, una de los peregrinos de Minnesota, ha visitado Iona cuatro veces. Ella sigue volviendo, dijo, porque “hay algo que satisface el alma en este lugar.“Es muy apacible y reconfortante, no creo que importe cuál sea tu inclinación religiosa o espiritual. Creo que hay muchas personas que vienen aquí y que no son necesariamente cristianas, pero vienen porque sienten aquí paz y sostén”.Al hacer su primera visita a Iona, Dorothy Ramsdell, de la Diócesis Episcopal de Nevada, dijo que ella sentía una energía que le hacía “posible ser sencillamente amorosa. Es en verdad un modelo de vivir junto con la tierra en comunidad”.Los peregrinos encontraron paz y tranquilidad dondequiera en Iona: en los huertos orgánicos que alimentan a los viajeros, en la naturaleza y en los animales salvajes, en piedras y monumentos antiguos y en los recuerdos de los que les han antecedido. Pero, sobre todo, captaron cómo esa paz se encuentra en la comunidad que se crea durante cualquier visita o peregrinación a la isla. Es un recordatorio de cómo Columba vivió en comunidad con sus hermanos monjes que ayudaron a evangelizar las Islas Británicas y a dejar allí el legado del cristianismo celta.Al reflexionar sobre la influencia de Columba, MacDonald dijo: “podría argüirse que la misión de Columba en Escocia y en territorios más lejanos ayudó realmente a formar a Escocia como estado nacional. Columba con frecuencia se relacionó con los jefes de varias tribus y pueblos de los alrededores, y sus razones para invitar a los monjes columbanos a ir allí fue tanto política como espiritual. De manera que yo creo que vemos la integración de Columba y los celtas como algo que intentamos vivir en la actualidad”.“Los antiguos conocían el valor de la peregrinación como una metáfora del viaje de la vida, y creo que la gente hoy día lo reconoce como una disciplina espiritual”, agregó MacDonald.Para muchos peregrinos se abren nuevos comienzos y posibilidades luego de visitar Iona.“Después de una peregrinación nunca regresas a casa con las manos vacías”, dijo Brantingham a ENS. “Una de las cosas hermosas de la peregrinación es que vas como un viajero solitario, pero luego comienza a formarse la comunidad en torno a la experiencia de ser vulnerable, de estar temeroso, de cuestionarse dónde Dios está ahora mismo en nuestras vidas, de cómo Dios obra y qué viene después.“En algún sentido, la peregrinación nunca en verdad termina”, añadió. “Ciertamente, seguiremos nuestros distintos caminos, pero también vinculados ahora los unos con los otros por siempre por las historias, por las experiencias y los recuerdos que compartimos, por la conciencia de que no importa cuan lejos  estemos unos de otros en el mundo físico, seguimos juntos, sin embargo, en el viaje que conduce a conocer y amar a Dios más profundamente. Y todo lo relacionado con la experiencia, desde la primera noción de ser llamados a hacer el viaje hasta el regreso a casa cuando el viaje termina, participan de una percepción y sabiduría potenciales que pueden sernos útiles para el resto de nuestras vidas”.– Matthew Davies es redactor y reportero de Episcopal News Service. Traducido por Vicente Echerri. Rector Albany, NY Curate Diocese of Nebraska Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Press Release Service Rector Washington, DC Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Rector Smithfield, NC Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Rector Belleville, IL Featured Jobs & Calls Director of Music Morristown, NJ Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Iona: Una peregrinación celta El cristianismo celta celebra el 1450ª. aniversario de la Iona de San Columba Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Youth Minister Lorton, VA Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Associate Rector Columbus, GA Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Rector Bath, NC Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Rector Tampa, FL last_img read more