RWC19 draw: England handed toughest group with France and Argentina

England will need to arise from debatably the toughest 2019 RWC pool when they bid for global glory in Japan. Wednesday’s pool draw at the Kyoto State Guest House saw Eddie Jones’ men grouped alongside France and Argentina. Fans who want to watch the live action of Rugby World Cup 2019 can book Rugby World Cup Tickets online.

RWC19 draw: England handed toughest group with France and Argentina
RWC19 draw: England handed toughest group with France and Argentina

The group is completed by two qualifiers from the Americas and Oceania, USA and Tonga.

At the 2015 competition, England was gathered with Australia and Wales and failed to reach the knockout phase, making unwelcome history as the first RWC host nation not to secure a last-eight spot.

Below the impressive leadership of Australian Jones, though, England boarded on a long undefeated run that ended in March with defeat to Ireland, and have won two successive Six Nations titles, so they are likely to start the competition as group favorites.

But France is presentation signs of substantial improvement under new head coach Guy Noves, and Argentina is consistent top-drawer WC performers.

Ireland and Scotland were pooled together at the draw, with Japan also in their pool.

Ireland will be favorites to win Pool A as they set about trying to improve a World Cup record that has never seen them progress beyond the quarter-finals.

Host nation Japan is likely to eye strongly, though, while Scotland, who beat Japan in the 2015 pool phase, will not lack confidence. The group also includes Russia and Samoa.

Wales have drawn Australia for the second successive CWC – Georgia is also in their pool – while there is a shuddering showdown ahead among holders New Zealand and twice world champions South Africa in Pool B.

RWC19 draw: England handed toughest group with France and Argentina
RWC19 draw: England handed toughest group with France and Argentina

Wales once again find themselves in straight competition with the Wallabies, a team they have reliably struggled to beat throughout head coach Warren Gatland’s nine-year training reign.

The present record shows that Wales has suffered 12 consecutive defeats against Australia, having not beaten them since 2008.

Wales lost to Australia through the 2015 RWC, and they also face tough hostility from rapidly-improving Georgia, whom Wales encounter for the first time during their autumn Test calendar later this year.

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Eddie Jones lands himself a one-off, post-RWC coaching show

England boss Eddie Jones has landed himself a post-World Cup gig as the Australian has agreed to coach the Barbarians in the November 16 match at Twickenham versus Fiji. Fans who want to watch the live action of Rugby World Cup 2019 can book Rugby World Cup Tickets online.

The sport will be the first major illustrative game to be staged in the UK subsequent the finals in Japan where Jones will be eager to lead England to their first worldwide triumph since 2003.

Eddie Jones lands himself a one-off, post-RWC coaching show
Eddie Jones lands himself a one-off, post-RWC coaching show

Jones said: “It’s huge integrity to be invited to coach the Boors. The club flawlessly embodies the values and traditions of the game and fans can expect to see an exciting game between two sides who like to play endwise running rugby.”

“This is a huge year for international rugby and I’m observing forward to recurring to Twickenham after a successful RWC movement to coach a Barbarians team containing some of the stars of the tournament.”

It will be Jones’ first time coaching the well-known invite side after a 25-year vacation that has seen him work with some of the world’s best players.

He took Australia to the 2003 RWC final, played a crucial role in safeguarding the 2007 RWC for South Africa as part of Jake White’s training staff, and then coached England to their first Six Nations Grand Slam title for 13 years in 2016 less than a year after serving Japan tremor South Africa at the RWC.

Eddie Jones lands himself a one-off, post-RWC coaching show
Eddie Jones lands himself a one-off, post-RWC coaching show

The Australian also worked together with White as associate coach for the Barbarians when they played Australia in 2008 in the first rugby game to be held at the new Wembley Stadium.

Jones will lead a Baa-Baas team covering a number of this year’s RWC stars, who will pull on the well-known black and white shirt to play a Fiji side with some of the most expert players in the match.

The previous time two sides met at Twickenham in November 2013, more than 68,000 fans were treated to a spectacle of running rugby where the Barbarians stole the show in an electric 43-19 win.

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Black Ferns ready for Rugby World Cup rematch

Four new caps and two returning players from the 2017 Rugby World Cup winning side have been named in the Black Ferns to play Canada on Friday afternoon Saturday morning New Zealand Rugby as part of the Women’s Rugby Super Series 2019. Fans can buy Rugby World Cup Final Tickets online.

Tapsell 20 has been a standout for her province where she has established herself as the most prolific try-scorer in North Harbor women’s Rugby history.

The Bay of Plenty pair of hooker Luka Connor, loose forward Karli Faneva and Counties Manukau halfback Arihiana Marino Tauhinu have also all been named to make their Test debuts from the reserves. Olivia Ward Duin is bracketed with Leilani Perese at this stage.

Black Ferns ready for Rugby World Cup rematch
Black Ferns ready for Rugby World Cup rematch

Black Ferns Head Coach Glenn Moore said the coaching team had been watching Tapsell closely for the past two years.

“She’s a very physical player and a good ball carrier and she came through strongly in the match against the Barbarians. Pia thoroughly deserves her start.”

Moore special declaration of Marino Tauhinu who spent time with the Black Ferns without taking the field in the past saying she had earned her recall through hard work for her province.

Prop Toka Natua and Centre Carla Hohepa will wear the black jersey for the first time since the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup final in Belfast.

 

 “Carla is a very experienced player and we’ve always believed she is world class. She’s worked hard to get back in great physical shape and shown some good signs in all the lead-up games. She’s also part of our leadership group and is influential on and off the field.”

Moore said Natua also from Waikato had got her selection in a very competitive position.

“We’ve decided to go with Toka in this instance. She was the player of the World Cup Final she’s had a year off she’s back and we want to see what she brings.”

Black Ferns ready for Rugby World Cup rematch
Black Ferns ready for Rugby World Cup rematch

The Black Ferns play Canada in their first match of the Women’s Rugby Super Series 2019 a series which also includes the USA, France and England. Moore said his team last played Canada in 2017 at the World Cup and he expected them to be big, strong and fast.

“We know Canada has one of the best scrums if not the best scrum in the world and we know they like to be physical. They’ve certainly got pace, so we expect them to bring a lot to the game. We’ve recovered well from our travel and have been preparing for this for months now. Everyone can’t wait to get out there and play.”

When the two sides last clashed in 2017, the Black Ferns ran out 48-5 winners. The match will kick off at 11AM Saturday morning NZT.

Black Ferns: 15 Selica Winiata, 14 Renee Wickliffe, 13 Carla Hohepa, 12 Chelsea Alley, 11 Ayesha Leti-I’iga, 10 Ruahei Demant, 9 Kendra Cocksedge, 8 Pia Tapsell, 7 Les Elder (C), 6 Charmaine McMenamin, 5 Charmaine Smith, 4 Eloise Blackwell, 3 Aleisha-Pearl Nelson, 2 Te Kura Ngata Aerengamate, 1 Toka Natua. Reserves 16 Luka Connor, 17 Phillipa Love, 18 Leilani Perese Olivia Ward Duin, 19 Karli Faneva, 20 Marcelle Parkes, 21 Arihiana Marion Tauhinu, 22 Krysten Cottrell, 23 Alena Saili.

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Past Rugby World Cup Hosts:

Rugby World Cup heads to Japan and Asia for the first time in 2019, but where has the tournament hosted in the past we take a look at the past eight Rugby World Cup host nations in this piece, of course starting in 1987 Australia and New Zealand. Fans who want to watch the live action of Rugby World Cup 2019 can book Rugby World Cup Tickets online.

1987 in Australia and New Zealand

The opening tournament was co-hosted by two countries with New Zealand hosting 17 pool stage matches two quarter-finals, third-place playoff and final Australia hosting seven pool match two quarter-finals and both semi-finals. 16 teams competed in the tournament with New Zealand emerging victorious.

Past Rugby World Cup Hosts
Past Rugby World Cup Hosts

1991 in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France

Four years on the tournament was held in the northern hemisphere for the first time by the five nations competing in the Five Nations Championship. In Pool 1 England’s group all the matches were hosted in stadiums in England Twickenham, Cross Green Welford Road or Kingsholm.

In Pool 2 Scotland and Ireland’s group the matches were held in Murrayfield Lansdowne Road or Ravenhill in Belfast. Pool 3 Wales’ group saw all the matches take place in Wales and the same can be said for Pool 4 and France. The knockout rounds took place across the five nations with Twickenham hosting the final which saw Australia win over home favorites England.

2003 in Australia

This tournament was supposed to resemble the 1987 event with Australia and New Zealand hosting matches. However, the entire tournament was shifted to Australia by itself when there was a contractual despite between the New Zealand Rugby Union and Rugby World Cup Limited.

Australia would again have a good tournament beating their rivals New Zealand and getting to the final. However, they would lose to England in extra-time.

2007 in France

France won the right to host the 2007 tournament beating out England and hosted pretty much all the games in 12 stadiums across France four were played in Cardiff and two in Edinburgh.

Despite beating New Zealand, France lost to England in the semi-finals who then went on to lose narrowly to South Africa.

Past Rugby World Cup Hosts
Past Rugby World Cup Hosts

2011 in New Zealand

The pressure intensified as the tournament went back to New Zealand in 2011, as the island nation beat out bids from Japan and South Africa to host. The All Blacks had not won a tournament since the first one in 1987 so the entire country expected Richie McCaw and co to lead them to victory. That’s exactly what happened as they beat their nemesis France 8-7 in the final.

2015 in England

Again Japan and South Africa lost out on hosting the tournament in 2015 as did Italy. This time England secured the event and the team responded by becoming the first one to fail to make it out of the group stages. New Zealand would become the first team to retain the Rugby World Cup and the first team to win it three times

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Former RWC winner tells Leicester where modern rugby is going wrong

Former England flanker and World Cup winner Neil Back sent an important message to his former club Leicester Tigers on Twitter shortly after they welcomed Jan McGinity to their backroom staff on Wednesday.  Fans can buy Rugby World Cup Final Tickets online.

Former RWC winner tells Leicester where modern rugby is going wrong
Former RWC winner tells Leicester where modern rugby is going wrong

McGinity will move into the new role of head of elite performance recruitment, as part of a reshuffle at the Tigers who are coming off the back of their most disappointing season in the professional era.

Upon announcing their recruitment news on social media, which included Ged Glynn moving into the role of head of performance pathway and talent identification and the return of Pat Howard to mentor head coach Geordan Murphy, Back highlighted what Leicester’s priorities – and indeed what the priorities of every rugby team – should be.

He said: “Let’s hope that a young potential player’s Height, Weight, Speed & Max Bench Press come further down Leicester Tigers priority list when it comes to identifying young talent.”

Back also highlighted that this approach, where players are selected based on their physical attributes, may have led to stars like Johnny Wilkinson being overlooked.

The former British and Irish Lion underlined one of modern rugby’s biggest flaws and criticisms in his post. It has long been argued, particularly by players from the amateur era, that the skill level in rugby has diminished.

They claim that rugby is now a game in favor of players being more physically gifted, an opinion backed up by the drastic increase in the average weight of players over the past 25 years.

Measuring a player’s height, weight, speed and bench press is moving closer towards the NFL’s approach with the combine where potential signings are compared to one another with a series of physical tests. However, back clearly feels there is more to rugby than just these four factors.

Former RWC winner tells Leicester where modern rugby is going wrong
Former RWC winner tells Leicester where modern rugby is going wrong

Being a diminutive flanker by modern standards, back he would perhaps be overlooked by this modern approach of recruitment. At less than 6ft and less than 15 stone, he may have not met the criteria of a modern rugby team.

The 66-cap international was one of England’s finest forwards, famed for his incredible work rate, but he was perhaps England’s last world-class openside flanker.

Of course, this is not to say that smaller players do not make it in modern rugby. The All Blacks’ Damian McKenzie is just an example of how someone that looks comparatively minute alongside his team-mates can still be devastating.

However, with rugby seemingly drifting further away from prioritizing skill and rugby intelligence, back felt the need to stress that these attributes should not be forgotten.

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RWC captain hasn’t played a game of Rugby in six months

The Pacific Nations Cup will kick off in a little over a month with Fiji, Japan, Tonga, Samoa United States, and Canada all taking part in 2019. Fans who want to watch the live action of Rugby can book Rugby World Cup Final Tickets online.

Of course, like most events around this time of year, the PNC is really a warm-up for 2019’s showcase event the RWC 2019.

Japan World Cup host nation the PNC will be particularly important as the side has only one other test match scheduled in 2019 against the Springboks.

RWC captain hasn't played a game of rugby in six months
RWC captain hasn’t played a game of rugby in six months

Super Rugby commitments and Rugby World Cup training camps it’s been a somewhat disorganized season for many of Japan’s councils. One player, who hasn’t had to deal with as tough a schedule is Brave Blossoms captain Michael Leitch.

If that Leitch is fully fit Japan’s first match of the Pacific Nations Cup against Fiji on 27, July will mark over 7 months meanwhile the New Zealand born loose-forward last played a game of first-class rugby.

A chronic groin injury has run Leitch out of all rugby matches since Top League side Toshiba Brave Lupus last match of 2018. The Japanese Rugby captain only started training well last week and has had discussions with specialists from throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Leitch said to the Japanese news outlet. “I’ve got four games to get ready and my 10 years of experience.”

RWC captain hasn't played a game of rugby in six months
RWC captain hasn’t played a game of rugby in six months

“I’m starting to come right at a good time and I’m looking at returning for that Fiji game and the PNC. Otherwise, I’ll be a bit nervous coming into the World Cup with no games under my belt.”

Jamie Joseph coach was adamant that Leitch would be a part of the Rugby World Cup squad even if he hadn’t played any matches prior to tournament kick-off and Joseph had to wait until the night before or even an hour before the Russia game to confirm Leitch’s fitness.

Japan will be watching to build into their season with PNC matches against Fiji, Tonga, and the United States before taking on Russia in the opening match of the World Cup.

Japan would be expected have to notch up 3 wins from their 4 matches That’s a definitely doable challenge given that Japan has beaten Samoa and Russia in the past and have come close to toppling Ireland and Scotland on a number of occasions.

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Samoa name first squad of the year three months out from RWC

Manu Samoa head coach Steve Jackson has named a 33-man squad for the upcoming Pacific Nations Cup, three months ahead of the World Cup in Japan. Fans can buy Rugby World Cup Final Tickets online.

The team features eight new caps, with plenty of players coming from the domestic Super 9 competition, which had impressed Jackson in terms of playing quality.

 “I’ve watched it over the last couple of weeks, the semis and the final and previously a couple of round robin fixtures as well and the quality of rugby over here in that Super 9 competition is quite outstanding,” Jackson said.

Samoa name first squad of the year three months out from RWC
Samoa name first squad of the year three months out from RWC

 “We can always look at New Zealand and Australia and other clubs around the world but I think we’ve got the same sort of quality players here and it’s just about us now as a coach and a management group giving them the tools so they can be as good as they possibly can be, not only in the PNC but the Rugby World Cup and beyond.”

Jackson conceded that this was not the strongest squad he could have selected for the pre-World Cup tournament, but said all players in the squad will have the opportunity to push their case for the global showpiece event, which kicks off in September.

“There are obviously some visible people that aren’t named in this Pacific Nations Cup squad which will be available for the World Cup,” he said.

But it was a decision made by the coaches for us to make sure that when we go to Rugby World Cup we know that we’ve got 40-plus players that can play at the international level and will be ready for Rugby World Cup.

Some players were unavailable for the Pacific Nations Cup due to club commitments, while one unnamed player, who has previously represented Samoa at a World Cup, has already ruled himself out of contention.

“To be honest we’ve had one player, to look after his financial security, turn the opportunity down to go to a Rugby World Cup purely because the financial benefit to him is just what he needs to do for him and his family,” Jackson said.

“I can understand that. He’s already been to a World Cup with Manu Samoa and you can only support these players with the decision that they make and it’s an opportunity for someone else to step in and take his opportunity.”

The former Blues assistant coach and North Harbour head coach said other players with dual nationality, such as Worcester-bound Blues fullback Melani Nanai and Leicester-bound Crusaders flanker Jordan Taufua, both of whom represented Samoa at U20 level and have spent time training with the All Blacks, remain on the radar for World Cup selection.

Samoa name first squad of the year three months out from RWC
Samoa name first squad of the year three months out from RWC

“There are certain players that have to make decisions because they are dual eligibility and we’ve made contact with a few players in regards to that,” Jackson said.

No permanent captain has yet been named for the 2019 campaign, although Chris Vui and Jack Lam, who both skippered the side last year, have been included in the squad.

The squad will assemble in Auckland in three weeks’ time before facing Tonga in Apia on July 27, and then the United States and Fiji in Suva in the following weeks.

They will then go on to face the Wallabies at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney on September 7, two-and-a-half weeks prior to their World Cup opener against Russia in Kumagaya on September 24.

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I may have to look at my technique Vunipola on injury rehab and the RWC

Vunipola joins England’s RWC 2019 training camp tomorrow having rejected his crutches and will tell head coach Eddie Jones he is confident of appearing in at least two warm-up matches internationals before the squad heads to Japan. Fans can buy Rugby World Cup Final Tickets online.

Mako Vunipola exposed to Rugby Pass the harshness of the injury. Tomorrow the England Rugby medical staffs who work carefully with the Saracens medical team will get their first chance to check over.

I may have to look at my technique Vunipola on injury rehab and the RWC
I may have to look at my technique Vunipola on injury rehab and the RWC

Mako Vunipola’s improvement and the Saracens prop who could only watch as Brother Billy helped the club register a Gallagher Premiership triumph to make it another double winning season will walk into the examination without the need of crutches.

“I injured my hamstring while jackal ling against Leinster and I may have to look at my method I overstretched my leg and then pushed off and made it worse and the scan showed that I tore one of the tendons and the hamstring muscle detached from the bone at the top.”

It wasn’t a good feeling but the euphoria of winning the tournament again carried me through. The surgeon attached it back to the bone and it has healed well with everything progressing on track.

I may have to look at my technique Vunipola on injury rehab and the RWC
I may have to look at my technique Vunipola on injury rehab and the RWC

“I came out of the hospital in the week of the playoff semi-finals and then the weekend after the playoff final it was my brother’s wedding in Tonga. It has been a hectic few weeks with my son Jacob also celebrating his first birthday and it has been really enjoyable to have time away relaxing with the family.”

Rehab wise and training I had videos from the England guys letting me know what simple things I could do and I was able to crack on with it. I am now off crutches and tomorrow I go into camp with England and everything will start then.

I had a few injuries in recent seasons that it is a good chance to come back better than before and I was given the three-month plan but things actually happen quite rapidly.

 “Rugby is so big in the Islands but they are also so respectful. Now I want to be in the best possible shape for the World Cup and there is no holding off.”

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Barrett moving after RWC 2019

Beauden Barrett hasn’t yet committed to the Blues, but the world’s best play-maker has said yes to living in Auckland and will be relocating after the World Cup. Fans who want to watch the live action of Rugby can book Rugby World Cup Tickets online.

The Herald understands that Barrett and his wife, Hannah, are upping sticks from the capital later this year to base themselves in Auckland which is why the Blues are hopeful they are successful to lure the All Blacks No 10 from the Hurricanes.

Barrett moving after RWC 2019
Barrett moving after RWC 2019

Barrett, whose father frolicked for the Hurricanes, has been violently loyal to the club he first played for in 2011.

Confusing the picture is that Barrett is unspoken to be planning to take both a non-playing and playing retreat as part of a four-year contract extension to stay in New Zealand.

It is credible that he will be decided permission to take a lengthy break from all rugby after the RWC and miss much of next year’s Super Rugby season.

He’s predictable to play in the latter weeks of the rivalry and be available for the July tests and Rugby Championship before then assembly a Japanese club at the end of the year, where he will be based until May 2021.

It is, in spirit, a similar deal to the one Brodie Retallick has been decided in that like the big Chiefs lock, Barrett is being had enough money an 18-month window in which to enjoy a mixture of time off and a profitable spell in Japan before fully obligating to New Zealand in May 2021.

And like Retallick, Barrett is successfully going to miss the next two Super Rugby rivalries, which further confuses the question of which club he’ll play for.

If he does decide to join the Blues, it may be he delays his arrival until the 2022 season.

To join them for a handful if that of sport next year and then disappear to Japan in 2021 before recurring again in 2022 carries a component of disjunction that may not suit either club or player.

There is then the option of him spreading his contract with the Hurricanes for one more season, so whatsoever Super Rugby he does play next year, he does so for them and then possibly makes a fresh start with the Blues when he next plays in the competition in 2022.

And though the Blues would preferably like to have him in their line-up next year and for the period of his contract, they would certainly see it as a major coup to have Barrett at the club in 2022 and 2023.

There is still, though, notwithstanding Barrett’s choice to relocate to Auckland, no cert that he’ll commit to the Blues given the lack of victory the club has liked and the clear lack of excellence they have in key positions other than first-five.

Barrett moving after RWC 2019
Barrett moving after RWC 2019

And while it would be the main snub if Barrett opted to live in Auckland but not play for the Blues, he would not be the first to do just that.

Daniel Carter existed in Auckland through the last two years of his time in New Zealand but chose to travel back and forth to Christchurch to remain with the Crusaders.

What the Blues will be eager is that Barrett chooses that the influence on his family life and following physical and cerebral state will be too heavily cooperated by constantly traveling between Auckland and Wellington and that he settles the sacrifice of staying loyal to the Hurricanes is too great to make. He’s not predictable to reveal his plans until after the Hurricanes’ Super Rugby period has finished.

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Greatest Rugby World Cup Matches:

We are sure to see some great rugby matches at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. It could be one of the most competitive tournaments ever given the rise of northern hemisphere teams and the ever-present class of those in the south hemisphere. Fans who want to watch the live action of Rugby can book Rugby World Cup Tickets online.

But what are the greatest matches in the history of the Rugby World Cup tournament?

Australia 24 vs France 30, Semi-Final 1987

As per usual with the French, they upset what was supposed to happen here. Australia was supposed to win to set up a World Cup Final against New Zealand. It looked to be going that way too as time was winding down and the men in gold were ahead 24-21. Didier Camberabero slotted a penalty to level the scores and extra time looked inevitable.

But the French again had other ideas. Starting in their own half they played their usual game of flair and a pinch of luck to get the ball to Serge Blanco who showed a turn of speed to just about dot down in the corner. They had won it against all odds and would go on to lose against New Zealand in the final.

Greatest Rugby World Cup Matches:
Greatest Rugby World Cup Matches:

South Africa 15 vs New Zealand 12, World Cup Final 1995

A match that united a nation South Africa somehow managed to bottle up Lomu and somehow emerged victorious thanks to the boot of Joel Stransky. This was the Springboks first tournament since being readmitted to the rugby fold because of their apartheid policies and it cannot be understated in its importance not just for South Africa but also the history of rugby union.

Greatest Rugby World Cup Matches:
Greatest Rugby World Cup Matches:

Italy 25 vs Tonga 28, Group Stages 1999

Sure this match didn’t include two powerhouses of rugby but for the sheer drama it delivered on all fronts. The score was tied 25 all and a draw looked on the cards at least that were until full back Sateki Tuipulotu decided to pull off a last minute drop goal to gain an unlikely victory.

Greatest Rugby World Cup Matches:
Greatest Rugby World Cup Matches:

France 43 vs New Zealand 31, Semi-Final 1999
really does require little explanation All Blacks had dominated the game and had put themselves up by 24 points to 10 at one stage. It appeared as if they were heading for yet another World Cup final but the French had other ideas.

Inspired by Christophe Lamaison, the French scored 33 unanswered points in 20 minutes and would emerge 43, 31 winners. Much like 1987, they would get into the final but lose once again this time to Australia.

Greatest Rugby World Cup Matches:
Greatest Rugby World Cup Matches:

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