Disappointed though they were to have lost to England at Twickenham, the Welsh management were still pleased with some aspects of the day’s work. The biggest plus from their point of view was the fitness of their players, who had the legs and lungs to come roaring back at England in the final quarter, after having trailed 20-7 three minutes into the second half.“I have come away thinking our conditioning is good,” said Wales boss Warren Gatland. “We finished three tries to two up, and created a few other opportunities. We have really prioritised our conditioning this summer, whereas England looked like a team that had done a lot more rugby work.”Outside-half Stephen Jones was withdrawn from the starting line-up at the last minute with an injury, but Gatland said it was nothing serious. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS during the Investec international friendly match between England and Wales on August 6, 2011 in Twickenham, England. “It was more precautionary than anything,” he said. “His calf was a bit tight before the game and if there was a slight tear there was no point in risking him because if he tears the calf badly it’s a six-week injury and he’s out of the World Cup.”One player who is out of next month’s showpiece tournament is Wales full-back Morgan Stoddart, who broke his left leg during the first half at Twickenham. Gatland had every sympathy for him, but added that he still has plenty of selection dilemmas as he looks to narrow his squad down to the final World Cup 30. “We have got selection problems at the moment in terms of people putting their hands up and asking questions,” he said. “It’s a good place to be in – a good problem to have.”
He may have had football trials for Chelsea but rugby is the sport he’s chosen to pursue and he aims to follow older brother Marcus into the senior England Sevens team and compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Full caps for England and the Lions are also on the agenda for Watson, who cites contrasting fly-halves Jonny Wilkinson and Quade Cooper as his idols.Before all that, however, is the chance to impress at Twickenham with some of the game’s greats. Flying in: Anthony Watson scores the winning try as England U18 beat Wales in the FIFA/AER Championship semi-finalBy Sarah Mockford, Rugby World Features EditorTHIS WEEKEND’S Heroes Rugby Challenge will see many legends of the sport take to the Twickenham turf, but it’s also worth looking out for a rising star in the English game.Anthony Watson is just 17 but he’s been picked to line up alongside Will Greenwood, Serge Betsen and Malcolm O’Kelly in the Northern Hemisphere side – and big things are expected of the teenager.A wing/full-back in the London Irish Academy, he made his debut for the Exiles against Newcastle in September to become the youngest player to represent the club in the Premiership.He’s played for England at U16 and U18 level – impressing for the latter aged 16 as they finished second at this year’s FIRA/AER Championship. He also won gold with the England Sevens team at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man this summer, his blistering pace perfect for the abbreviated game. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS It’s these achievements that saw him receive a Special Recognition Award from the Jaguar Academy of Sport and he has also been shortlisted for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award.
Hooker George Chuter instructs Kettering’s Imran Edwards during the SYS session with Leicester team-mates Marcos Ayerza and Matt Cornwell. Pick up throwing tips by watching Chuter’s video on saveyourseason.co.ukBy Deputy Editor Alan PeareyONE OF the many strands to Save Your Season (SYS) is performance analysis. This year’s SYS winners, Kettering, have long watched DVDs of matches, and they once used their acquired knowledge to put the shackles on Cleckheaton powerhouse John Dudley in a play-off match. But the depth of analysis provided by Opta Sports has caused the East Midlands club to re-evaluate their work in this area.“In the past couple of months we’ve put more emphasis on analysis, bringing it more into training sessions,” says director of rugby Doug Bridgeman. “The players now have a DVD to take away and in our Tuesday session we spend half an hour on analysis, looking at parts of the game. Either at our last game or, more usually, at the last time we played the upcoming opposition.”The advantages of such homework can pay handsome dividends on match day. When the Blues played Market Bosworth recently, they had already identified their opponents’ tendency not to compete at the breakdown, the players instead fanning out and leaving a hole at the back of the ruck. Kettering duly went pick-and-go down the middle and scored a try after 90 seconds. When Market Bosworth twigged what Kettering were doing and committed more players to the ruck, the Blues exploited the new-found space out wide. Analysis of Kettering’s own performance in that 45-0 win suggests that lessons learnt from SYS – a performance makeover using the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and Aviva Premiership clubs – are taking effect. In particular, the areas of discipline, lineout efficiency and shared workload showed that massive strides have been made since the club began SYS midway through the season. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The return of key players at eight, nine and 12 after injury has played a significant part, so too the increased availability of outside back Alex Smit, part of the Bedford Blues academy. But much of the progress made can be attributable to a SYS programme that has included visits to Leicester and Northampton for advice on skills and strength & conditioning.The advice of the professionals isn’t just for Kettering’s benefit – you can see a range of skills and exercise videos on the website saveyourseason.co.uk. From scrum technique with Test props Marcos Ayerza and Soane Tonga’uiha to executing overlaps with the Saracens and England backs, you’ll find a heap of tips to help you improve your game.
Dan Lydiate – People may have questioned his inclusion in the Lions squad but he proved in Brisbane why Warren Gatland plumped for him. A real grafter – his work ethic probably the result of his farming background – he was putting in tackles left, right and centre, some times so eager to make the hit that he crept offside. He put in more tackles than anyone else – 13 – and missed only one. The question for the Lions coaches is do they want the graft of a Lydiate or the glamour of a Tom Croft?Test watch – NotAlex Cuthbert – The Welshman was caught out defensively, particularly for Luke Morahan’s try when he rushed up and was easily rounded by the Reds winger. His contribution fell short of his more recent standards and he was outshone by fellow wingers George North and Tommy Bowe, although the latter’s injury does open up a space in the first Test.Stuart Hogg – At times he was superb, at others distinctly nervy. A great open-field runner there were moments when he should have put boot to ball instead of keeping it in hand – he’s still lacking the experience and consistency to challenge Leigh Halfpenny for No 15 shirt.StatsThe Reds made 161 passes to the Lions’ 94 and nine clean breaks to the visitors’ five, but the Lions beat more defenders – 16 to 12.George North made the most metres of a player from either team – 118. Not bad seeing as though he missed the first 20 minutes!Scorers NOT FOR FEATURED Queensland Reds – Tries: Morahan, Frisby. Con: Cooper.British & Irish Lions – Try: B Youngs. Con: Farrell. Pens: Farrell 5. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Not quite! Sam Warburton is held up just short of the line after a great break from George NorthBy Sarah Mockford at Suncorp Stadium in BrisbaneIn a nutshellTHE TOUR proper has begun! This was the sort of match that Lions tours are famous for – tight, tense and terrifically entertaining. Quade Cooper’s Reds made their intentions clear from the off, running the ball at every opportunity, and they outscored the Lions two tries to one. Their inventive attacking play highlighted flaws in a defensive system the Lions players are still becoming accustomed to, and Andy Farrell will surely have welcomed this sort of test ahead of the series against Australia. Better to know the issues now than in the Tests themselves because there is still time to correct them.The heavy rain in the second half saw both sides tighten up after a breathless first 40, but the Reds’ second try kept the Lions on their toes until the final whistle. In the end the unerring boot of Owen Farrell and some gutsy defence saw them home. Now it’s on to Newcastle to face the Combined Country.Key momentBen Youngs made a great run in the 33rd minute and released the giant that is George North down the left wing. He in turn produced a pinpoint offload to Owen Farrell, who was unable to ground the ball. While this move didn’t result in a try, it did lead to a five-metre scrum and Ben Youngs’s quick reactions saw him pounce on the loose ball like a fat kid attacking cake (a tribute to 50 Cent there!) to score the Lions’ only try.Big break: George North sprints clearStar man – George NorthHe came off the bench after 20 minutes for Manu Tuilagi and what a spark he brought! In the first half he helped create two great try-scoring chances. There was the sublime offload to Owen Farrell and a scything break from his own 22 to set Sam Warburton on his way to the line – such a shame the moves couldn’t be finished off. He had a quieter second 40 – like most of the 30 players on the pitch – but with his speed, power, footwork and composure he’s the complete package, and a big one at that. He’ll be a real threat in the Test series.Test watch – HotMako Vunipola – With Cian Healy and Gethin Jenkins flying home, he was already the front-runner for the loosehead spot but he backed up the hype with this display. As well as putting in his tackles and doing the set-piece work, he proved a good link man on the ball and had the odd trundle.
Joe Launchbury expects Wales to provide stiff opposition to England on Saturday even though their squad has been depleted by injury England‘s Joe Launchbury expects Wales to put in a strong performance when the two sides meet at Twickenham on Saturday, despite their well documented injury problems.Wales lost influential players Rhys Webb and Leigh Halfpenny before the tournament, while Liam Williams and hat-trick scorer Corey Allen limped off against Uruguay on Sunday.While Williams is expected to be fit to face England this weekend, Allen’s hamstring strain is enough to end his tournament, with Wales almost down to the bare bones in the backs.But Launchbury recalls the RBS 6 Nations clash between the sides in February when an England side weakened by injuries upset Wales at the Millennium Stadium.“It’s bit of role reversal because we went to Cardiff in the Six Nations with some injuries and the guys put in a great performance. The shoe is now on the other foot,” Launchbury told the Press Association. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS “They have some nasty injuries which is huge shame and they will miss those players, but others are coming in who are exceptionally talented with a lot of caps behind them.”For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here. “Wales are coming to an away ground and have a huge opportunity to upset us in the World Cup.”Launchbury, the England second-row who came off the bench in the hosts’ first game against Fiji on Friday, is no stranger to the kind of tactics Wales will employ, having played under coach Shaun Edwards at Wasps.“From when Warren (Gatland) and Shaun were at Wasps, I know the sort of messages they will be giving to their players in the week. I am sure they are hugely excited.“Warren will be telling them to make a fast start and really try and use their forward pack to get a foothold in the game. Joe Launchbury
So will Jordie Barrett get the call or is Steve Hansen more inclined to let him run some more games for the Hurricanes and maybe start for New Zealand Maori? Only time will tell but expect something special to happen.For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Racking them up: Hurricanes full-back Jordie Barrett scores against the Stormers (Getty Images) TAGS: Highlight Look out, there’s a new Barrett in town.New Zealand, land of beautiful mountains, high clouds and the amazing All Blacks, has seen in the past couple of years a brilliant new player in Beauden Barrett. Well, it seems the Barrett family isn’t tired of producing new stars as Crusaders lock Scott, 23, has also played for the ABs (in the autumn Tests) and Jordie, 20, is mounting a challenge for the New Zealand full-back position.A star of last year’s Junior World Cup in Manchester, Jordie Barrett was excluded from this year’s U20 New Zealand squad because he is already moving in more elevated company. In the past year he has left the Canterbury team (after winning the Mitre 10 Cup), signed for Taranaki (alongside Beauden) and quickly become a mainstay of the Hurricanes franchise.Tall for a back, at 6ft 5in, Jordie has already run more than 500 metres in his Super Rugby season debut, while scoring four tries and assisting several more. Rugby World wrote previously about his quick-witted try against the Stormers, when he stripped the ball from a startled Nizaam Carr before the South African No 8 could touch it down for a drop-out.Kicking class: the 20-year-old Jordie often steps in as first or second receiver for the Canes (Getty)More impressive still is Barrett’s clean breaks and beaten defenders’ numbers (ten and 20) which highlight what a threat he is on the advantage line. He can kick goals too, achieving a 75% success rate when taking over the responsibility from Beauden.But when we talk about his time on the field, what does Jordie offer? For a start, the youngest of the five Barrett brothers has a unique understanding with Beauden. Quick, agile and with an adept kicking game borne of experience in the ten and 12 shirts, Jordie can shift the speed of the game with his footwork and attacking vision. He often steps in at first or second receiver.In a way he is the same type of player as fellow Hurricane Nehe Milner-Skudder – injured since Super Rugby’s third round – or Israel Dagg, in that he has the ability to create magic in a small space.The Hurricanes play a style of rugby that helps Jordie show his best side, as they like to utilize clever cross-kicks and up-and-unders for the back trio to catch and turn into a dangerous attacking situation. Jordie’s kicking skill delivers deepness to the Wellington side, making life very hard for their foes in the competition.Sibling rivalry: Jordie, Beauden and Scott, the Crusaders lock, after the Canes’ defeat at AMI StadiumThe connection between the fly-half and full-back helps make the Hurricanes the deadliest attacking outfit in Super Rugby, with 63 tries scored. The only side close to that at the completion of round 11 was Crusaders, who last week beat the Canes in a match that saw a more unusual string to Jordie’s bow – they threw to him at a fully set attacking lineout!The youngster likes to appear between the centres or behind one of the wingers, giving an advantage when his team is working in a confined space.He’s an elusive player who’s almost unreadable, much like Beauden. Will he attack the line? Will he do a small spin or a decoy entry? Or will he opt for a kick and chase? The options are almost limitless and that’s something that should earn him a part in the upcoming series with the Lions. Even at such a tender age, Jordie has a strategic mind inside the field, communicating well with his wings (Julian Savea and Cory Jane, both All Blacks), helping Vince Aso find a gap or changing places with Beauden to run a different kind of play.Against the Blues, he displayed marvellous dexterity to prevent an opposition touch-finder from going out deep inside the Canes’ 22. In such details you can see the greatness that lies inside Jordie Barrett – watch the video here.Man who makes the plan: Steve Hansen is blessed with strong options in almost every position (Getty)Where he still lacks some discipline or quality is in the tackle department. He has missed a lot of tackles, showing he is still a little green when faced by a rampaging wing or defending from a scrum in his own 22.For his age he handles the pressure well in most games, but sometimes he can crack. For example, against the Chiefs, Jordie was easily contained by the aggressive defensive qualities of Sam Cane and Anton Lienert-Brown.Lienert-Brown, set to take the No 13 All Black shirt against the Lions, not only closed any gaps between him and Tim Nanai-Williams or Toni Pulu but pressured sufficiently to smother any creativity from Barrett’s hands or feet.Canes coach Chris Boyd has identified the need to manage Jordie’s game time. After seven successive starts, the player is on the bench for this weekend’s clash with the Cheetahs, with Beauden switching from No 10 to the full-back berth.Jordie won’t feature in the starting All Black XV, as Ben Smith will be back in time for the first training camp and Dagg is almost ready to fire up again for the Crusaders following a knee injury.And don’t forget Damian McKenzie, who can almost single-handedly win games for the Chiefs. The full-back famed for his cat-flap offloads is at the top of his form and one of the best players in the southern hemisphere. He has run almost a kilometre, creating countless try-scoring opportunities for his team.Contender: Damian McKenzie has been sensational this season for the high-flying Chiefs (Getty)He and Barrett are both young but both could bring even more X-factor to Steve Hansen’s team.The World Cup is little more than two years away so it’s time to start giving opportunities to players like Barrett, McKenzie, Ngani Laumape and the Ioane brothers, Akira and Rieko. Beauden’s kid brother has been outstanding for Hurricanes in his debut Super Rugby season and must come into Steve Hansen’s All Black reckoning, says Francisco Isaac
Five young stars of Super RugbySOLOMON ALAIMALO (Chiefs, 22)Games in 2018 13Points in 2018 30 (6 tries)Year of debut 2017International NoPosition Full-back/WingSolomon Alaimalo is Super Rugby’s Metre Eater as he tops the list with somewhere between 1,109 and 1,333 metres, depending on which source you believe. Whatever the figure, he’s ahead of the competition, with Amanaki Mafi and George Bridge in his rear-view mirror.A huge problem for rival teams, Alaimalo is always on the lookout to launch an offensive play, making use of his handling skills, awesome acceleration and powerful physique.His qualities have brought this powerful back-three player 36 clean breaks and 49 tackle busts, and it’s surely only a matter of time before he becomes an All Black. Alaimalo’s ascension made things easier for Colin Cooper and the Chiefs when Damian McKenzie moved from full-back to fulfil the fly-half role previously occupied by Aaron Cruden.Everybody is talking about Ben Lam (14 tries), but Alaimalo is the New Thing in the New Zealand rugby landscape.Top ten: Stormers’ Damian Willemse has the vision to put himself in the Springbok mix (AFP/Getty)DAMIAN WILLEMSE (Stormers, 20)Games in 2018 11Points in 2018 98 (3 tries, 19 cons, 15 pens)Year of debut 2017International South Africa U20Position Fly-halfIt’s not been a good season for the DHL Stormers, as they’re trailing the Lions, Jaguares and Sharks, with grim hopes of getting into the play-offs. The scenario could be much worse if the likes of Damian de Allende, Siya Kolisi and Steven Kitshoff weren’t in top form.Damian Willemse, the 20-year-old Junior Springbok fly-half, has also had an outstanding season that was rudely interrupted by a knee injury sustained during the U20 World Championship in France at the start of the month. The prognosis was four to six weeks.Willemse’s mobility is exceptional, enabling him to deliver another type of game for the Stormers. His excellent ball play and vision enable him to open up the tightest of defences, and he likes nothing better than to carry the ball. In fact, there are shades of Beauden Barrett in the flair, energy and attacking skills that he brings.Willemse is also a talented kicker. He has a success rate of 80% off the tee for the Cape Town franchise, while his in-game kicking is good as well, exerting a lot of pressure, especially against teams who like to blitz the midfield.Can Willemse outflank Handre Pollard, Elton Jantjies and Pat Lambie as an option for the Springboks No 10 jersey? It will be interesting to see.Man of magic: Blues pivot Stephen Perofeta makes a break against the Rebels in Auckland (Getty)STEPHEN PEROFETA (Blues, 21)Games in 2018 11Points in 2018 72 (1 try, 17 cons, 11 pens)Year of debut 2017International New Zealand U20Position Fly-halfAnother season, another horrible year for the Blues and even Tana Umaga can’t seem to turn the tables around. Still, some players are producing the goods: Rieko and Akira Ioane, Ofa Tu’ungafasi and the new kid on the block, Stephen Perofeta. A U20 world champion for the Baby Blacks, the fly-half impressed last summer when the Blues toppled the British & Irish Lions at Eden Park. And he rose this year after Bryn Gatland failed to cut the mustard at ten for the Auckland franchise.Perofeta is almost unreadable when he starts running and making use of his incredible footwork, wriggling through tackles. His try against the Sharks – one of the best games this season – illustrates what he can do when given space and time.The young back has to work on his timing in defence as well as his goalkicking (73%) to become a real option for the All Blacks. But his magical skills can make anyone clap for Perofeta, even his rivals!Tricky customer: Warrick Gelant keeps Jaguares guessing during a Bulls match (Getty)WARRICK GELANT (Bulls, 23)Games in 2018 12Points in 2018 35 (7 tries)Year of debut 2016International South AfricaPosition Full-back/WingIt says something that, despite the brilliance of Willie le Roux in the South Africa-England series, the Springboks still brought Warrick Gelant in for the final Test in Cape Town. But the full-back is one of those menaces that no teams want to face.His physicality in contact is one detail that makes him a powerhouse, different to le Roux or Andries Coetzee. He’s averaging ten carries and 52 metres a match in 2018 Super Rugby.Gelant has other assets: the ability to not only chase kicks but to recapture them and make the try-line, astute reading of the opposition defence, and a kicking subtlety that was shown by the grubber that he put through for Jesse Kriel to score in the Newlands defeat by England.Bulls coach John Mitchell has been working on Gelant’s consistency and it’s working as he’s been one of the best South African players in Super Rugby this season. That strong build, powerful acceleration, velvety handling skills and gifted rugby mindset will make Gelant a man to emulate in future years.Wallaby material: Reds hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa has caught the eye of Michael Cheika (Getty)BRANDON PAENGA-AMOSA (Reds, 22)Games in 2018 13Points in 2018 20 (4 tries)Year of debut 2018International AustraliaPosition HookerWhat a year it’s been for the Kiwi-born hooker, as he debuted in Super Rugby and made such a strong impact that Michael Cheika called him into the Wallabies training camp. He started all three Tests of the series against Ireland.Brandon Paenga-Amosa is an accomplished scrummager, working with detail and power to help Queensland Reds win 89% of their own scrums – the best of all of the Australian sides.Brad Thorn’s side has had their problems but the way their forwards march on in the maul, and the intensity they bring to the breakdown, are good signs for the future. With the dust settling on the June Tests, attention turns back to Super Rugby this weekend. Francisco Isaac picks five young players lighting up this year’s competition LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS But does the hooker have any traits that can distinguish him from the competition? Well, his stats can help us understand his quality as an attacking option with just three handling errors in 74 carries, five line breaks and 18 defenders beaten. In 13 games he has run more than 300 metres, emerging as one of the Reds’ best launchpads for an attack.As for tackling, Paenga-Amosa is a secure player in contact, as his 85% success rate shows. After the retirement of the great Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau’s Test-match ‘rest’, an exciting new era beckons at hooker for the Wallabies. King Solomon: awesome acceleration is one quality that makes Chiefs’ Solomon Alaimalo such a threat
Newcastle FalconsIn – Logovi’i Mulipola (Leicester Tigers), George McGuigan (Leicester Tigers)Out – D.T.H van der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors), Juan Pablo Socino (Edinburgh), Maxime Mermoz (Toulouse)Northampton SaintsIn – Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Ben Franks (London Irish), James Haskell (Wasps), Taqele Naiyaravoro (NSW Waratahs)Out – Nic Groom (Lions), Rob Horne (retired), George North (Ospreys), Stephen Myler (London Irish), Ben Foden (Rugby United New York)Saint: Dan Bigger has moved from Ospreys to Northampton (Getty Images)Sale SharksIn – Chris Ashton (Toulon), Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Lions)Out – Mike Haley (Munster), Will Addison (Ulster), TJ Ioane (London Irish)SaracensIn – Alex Lexington (London Irish), David Strettle (Clermont), Tom Woolstencroft (London Irish)Out – Schalk Brits (retired), Nathan Earle (Harlequins), Chris Wyles (retired)WaspsIn – Brad Shields (Hurricanes), Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders), Nizaam Carr (Stormers)Out – Danny Cipriani (Gloucester), James Haskell (Northampton Saints), Matt Symons (Harlequins), Kyle Eastmond (Leicester Tigers)Worcester WarriorsIn – Cornell Du Preez (Edinburgh), Duncan Weir (Edinburgh), Jono Lance (Queensland Reds), Francois Venter (Cheetahs), Michael Fatialofa (Hurricanes) 2018/19 Gallagher Premiership Transfers And SigningsThe Gallagher Premiership has seen some huge moves from big players. Check out each clubs ins and outs in this piece.BathIn – Jackson Willison (Worcester Warriors), Lucas Noguera Paz (Jaguares), Jamie Roberts (Harlequins)Out – Matt Banahan (Gloucester), Josh Lewis (Dragons), Ben Tapuai (Harlequins), Nathan Charles (Melbourne Rebels)Bristol BearsIn – Charles Piutau (Ulster), John Afoa (Gloucester), Nik Stirzaker (Melbourne Rebels), Harry Thacker (Leicester Tigers), Jordan Lay (Edinburgh), George Smith (Queensland Reds)Out – Jordan Williams (Dragons), Rhodri Williams (Dragons), Olly Robinson (Cardiff Blues), Max Crumpton (Harlequins)Exeter ChiefsIn – Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Santiago Cordero (Jaguares)Out – Shaun Malton (Bristol Bears), Thomas Waldrom (Wellington Lions), Will Chudley (Bath)GloucesterIn – Matt Banahan (Bath), Franco Marais (Sharks), Jaco Kriel (Lions), Danny Cipriani (Wasps), Franco Mostert (Lions), Ruan Dreyer (Lions), Todd Gleave (London Irish)Out – Ross Moriarty (Dragons), Richard Hibbard (Dragons), John Afoa (Bristol Bears), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Jeremy Thrush (Western Force), Billy Burns (Ulster)On The Move: Danny Cipriani has moved from Wasps to Gloucester (Getty Images)HarlequinsIn – Ben Tapuai (Bath), Matt Symons (Wasps)Out – Jamie Roberts (Bath), Adam Jones (retired)Leicester TigersIn – Guy Thompson (Wasps), Will Spencer (Worcester), David Denton (Worcester)Out – Pat Cilliers (London Irish), Luke Hamilton (Edinburgh), Harry Thacker (Bristol Bears), Logovi’i Mulipola (Newcastle Falcons), George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The new Gallagher Premiership season has seen lots of big transfers and moves take place. Check them all out here Out – Donncha O’Callaghan (retired), Huw Taylor (Dragons), Jackson Willison (Bath), David Denton (Leicester Tigers), Peter Stringer (retired)Don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook and Twitter.
Muscling up: Glenn Webbe gives his biographer, Geraint Thomas, a lesson in arm wrestling – his speciality Book review: three decades on, Glenn Webbe is still packing a punchWelsh publishing house Y Lolfa have a knack for producing fast-paced and lively reads, and they’ve come up trumps again with Glenn Webbe’s autobiography.Called The Gloves Are Off, it charts the life and times of the 1980s Bridgend and Wales wing regarded – as the book cover reminds us – as “Welsh rugby’s first black icon”.BUY NOW with Amazon Webbe, 59, played more than 400 games for Bridgend and scored nearly 300 tries – a club record – before retiring in 1996. A ten-cap Test career seems an affront for such a powerful runner, particularly when you think he was only 26 when he won his last cap. However, by 1988 Ieuan Evans had Wales’ right-wing spot sewn up and Webbe was reluctant to play on the left because he had a strong left fend and was right-footed.Nowadays you might shrug and get on with it, but these were the amateur days and Webbe had a stubborn streak.He writes: “Ron (Waldron) did have a chat with me about playing on the left wing but I replied: ‘Why doesn’t Ieuan switch wings?’ I admit that the younger me was a bit cheeky at times. I had already played for Wales on the left but I really didn’t like playing there and decided to make a stand.” He went on to play eight more seasons of first-class rugby.Big time: making a break against England in his first home Test, in 1987. Wales won a violent game 19-12Webbe’s parents, Islyn and Hugh, were part of the Windrush Generation, emigrating to Britain from St Kitts after World War Two. He grew up with his seven sisters in a rough part of Cardiff but could handle himself, on or off the field. His team’s main move at high school involved him catching opposition goal kicks that fell short of the posts and running the length of the pitch to score!Inevitably, Webbe encountered racism, most notably during a Welsh Youth tour to South Africa in 1980. He was part of a group not served in a restaurant because he was black, prompting a complaint by the tour management and a reversal of policy. When in 1989 Webbe was offered £32,000 to join a rebel tour to the country he turned it down.His attitude to racist comments is to not react and so seize control of the situation. “It’s harder to say offensive things now than it was before, which is obviously a good thing,” he says. “These days, fuelled by the media in my opinion, to be offended by something has almost become quite trendy… if you say the wrong thing about people it can appear more of a crime than if you’d actually hit someone physically.”Boys on tour: with Bridgend in Atlanta in 1990. One club tour to Canada saw Webbe end up in jailHe was put off joining his home-town club Cardiff after some players from the club, who he met in a pub, told him it was cliquey. So he joined Bridgend instead and what a legend he became, scoring seven tries in his first two games there and never letting up.Best match: Glenn and Sally’s wedding in BermudaThe nearest he came to leaving was when, aged 28, Hull FC tried to sign him to rugby league for £80,000. He played in a trial for them, scoring two tries, but stayed in union because he had met a girl, Sally, who became his wife. They’ve been together nearly 30 years.His book is full of great tales and one of the funniest occurred 18 months after his final Test against Romania in 1988. Former internationals were entitled to free tickets to home Wales games, so he went to the WRU offices to ask for one. A woman there said he couldn’t have one because he wasn’t a former international.“I said, ‘Well, I haven’t played for 18 months, so I am a former international.’‘No,’ she said, ‘You have to formally retire.’ Glenn Webbe, the Bridgend and Wales icon, talks racism, ruses and arm wrestles in a recently published autobiography that will enthral rugby fans of all ages LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS ‘Okay,’ I replied, ‘give me a piece of paper and a pen.’ And I wrote, I want to announce that from this moment, Glenn Webbe has officially retired from international rugby.Then I signed it and handed it over, saying: ‘There you are, there’s my official retirement from international rugby.’She hesitated and then said, ‘Okay’. And she handed me a pair of tickets. You had one free but were allowed to purchase the seat next to you. I put the tickets in my pocket and headed to the door, before stopping to say: ‘I have some news for you, hot off the press.’‘What’s that?’ she asked.‘I’ve just come out of retirement!’ And I took off.”In the thick of it: offloading for Bridgend against Newbridge (Huw Evans Agency)His escapades on tour with Wales, often in the company of fellow prankster and room-mate Mark Ring, are too numerous to go into here. Suffice to say that readers will relish the antics of the amateur era, warts and all.There are also sections on serious matters such as concussion and mental health, and a fascinating insight into visualization, and how you can achieve such a heightened sense of awareness that match incidents feel like they’re happening in slow motion. Ghostwriter Geraint Thomas was shortlisted for the 2017 Sports Book of the Year awards and has done a super job again here.Playing ball: a child of the Sixties, Webbe grew up in Cardiff and captained his school baseball teamOne of the best-known facts about Webbe is his prodigious strength and even today he can do 1,000 press-ups in 25 minutes. At the 1988 England-Wales post-match dinner, Webbe played a laughter box during Mike Harrison’s speech, infuriating England blindside Micky Skinner.The two men argued and finally agreed to settle their differences with an arm wrestle, which Webbe won 3-0. Quite simply, no one could beat him. Once, he took on each member of the Neath team, one after the after, and even with the disadvantage of fatigue proved invincible.His last competitive game for Bridgend was at Pontypool at the end of the 1995-96 season. By then, he was already suffering symptoms from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer. He tackled it his own way, going off the medication and training furiously. Within a year, he felt back to normal and even returned to rugby as a player-coach. He did his Level Two WRU badge and coached Tondu to promotion.Today Webbe is sales director and head designer of The Kitchen Bureau, the largest independent kitchen retailer in Wales. TAGS: Book Review “He remains the ‘life and soul’,” says his old buddie Ring, “and I must confess to still getting a little excited when I’m dressing up for some function in the knowledge that Glennfield Webbe is going to be there!”BUY NOW with Amazon Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Matt Toomua: How to find space at centre Matt Toomua: How to find space at centre Beauden Barrett: How to mix your kicks Jack Nowell: How to up your wing work-rate Jump to it: Wales’ Dan Biggar claims the ball when facing South Africa (Getty Images) Every month Rugby World features advice from professional players and coaches on specific skills. Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS MORE SKILLS ADVICE… Dan Biggar: How to kick to regainWales fly-half Dan Biggar has become known for his ability to regain his own kicks and put defences under pressure. Want to replicate the skill? Here are his top tips…The position“With so little space on offer in Test rugby, there is more kicking. If you kick and regain the ball, you get territory and it can be as good as a line break. Look to employ this type of kick between your 10m line and the opposition 10m.”The height “If you kick the ball too high, it won’t go far enough forward. So you’re looking at a 30m kick with around a three-second hang time to give you enough time to get up on it and compete. You want to connect with the ball with the top of your foot, not the inside.”The timing“Timing your run and jump is crucial, and you want to be jumping into the ball. If you get momentum coming onto the ball, it’s incredibly difficult for the person standing still to jump as high. You also want to get your knee up to protect yourself.” The jump“Try to stay square onto the ball when you jump. As soon as you turn your body in the air you can’t quite compete for a high ball. You need to be in a strong position to reclaim the ball. And knocking on isn’t the worst outcome if you’ve got a good scrum.”The mindset“These are all the technical parts, but the biggest thing is having the right mindset of wanting to get up and compete for the ball. If you’re not going to give it everything, you probably won’t win the ball. You have to be brave and back yourself to compete.”This article originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of Rugby World magazine. The Australia back offers tips on exploiting space… The Wales fly-half explains how to test defences by catching your own kick All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett, the World Rugby… Expand Expand Beauden Barrett: How to mix your kicks The Exeter Chiefs and England wing explains how… Jack Nowell: How to up your wing work-rate Collapse