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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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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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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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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Uruguay’s RWC preparations take a hit after suffering loss to Spain

Afterwards taking out the Rugby Nations Cup just last weekend, Uruguay has now ached an inclusive 41-21 overthrow at the hands of Spain. Rugby fan can book Rugby World Cup Tickets online to enjoy its stunning performances.

Uruguay's RWC preparations take a hit after suffering loss to Spain
Uruguay’s RWC preparations take a hit after suffering loss to Spain

Uruguay who is tiered 17th in the world is the Americas 1 qualifiers for the RWC while 19th ranked Spain did not succeed for this year’s vitrine tournament.

Uruguay have just one more scheduled game to right the ship between now and the World Cup kick-off but will have to wait until September for their fixture with Brazil.

Whilst Los Teros topped the log in the Nations Cup, their performances were hardly comprehensive. Victories against Russia and the Argentina XV sandwiched a loss to fellow RWCattendees Namibia.

The 2019 RWC draw was held on 10th May 2017 in Kyoto, Japan.

Pool D of the 2019 Rugby World Cup will begin on 21 September 2019. The pool is composed of runners-up and quarter-finalists from 2015 Australia and Wales, who are joined by Georgia who automatically qualified for the first ever time. They are combined by regional qualifiers from the Americas, Uruguay (Americas 2), and Oceania, Fiji.

They came second on 19 occasions and third the remaining 9. As of 2012, Uruguay has been classified as a Tier 2 nation, which allows them to receive more funding from RWC.

The South Americans, who are drawn in Pool D with Australia, Wales, Georgia and Fiji have recorded two wins over the three tournaments they’ve taken part in. In the 1999 competition, the Uruguayians beat Spain whilst they overwhelmed Georgia in 2003. Georgia has progressed considerably since 2003, however, and a win this year will be hard to come by.

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England’s Jack Nowell in fitness race for RWC after ankle surgery

England faces a Rugby World Cup waiting game over the fitness of Jack Nowell, who has undergone surgery on the ankle he damaged in the Premiership final this month. Fans can buy Rugby World Cup Tickets online.

The moral news is that Rob Baxter believes the Cornishman has a clothed chance of being available for England’s opening pool match in September.

England’s Jack Nowell in fitness race for RWC after ankle surgery
England’s Jack Nowell in fitness race for RWC after ankle surgery

The annex left the field in palpable pain at Twickenham and following scans on the ankle and knee resulted in ankle surgery is suggested.

“At this stage, we see no reason why it should jeopardize him being involved neither with England at the Rugby World Cup nor with us heading into the new season,” the coach said.

England will be broadcasting its first training team on Thursday but only players from outside the top four Presidency sides will be complex. A preliminary list of 29 names is expected, with Jones firstly able to work only with persons who were not involved in the playoffs.

Anybody from a club outside Saracens, Exeter, Gloucester, and Northampton will be struggling to make it to Japan if he misses the initial cut this week for the opening camp in Bag shot beginning on Sunday evening.

Amongst those under threat are ENG’s erstwhile captain Dylan Hartley, who has not played since December, and the Harlequins pair of Danny Care and Chris Robshaw unless injury intervenes and eliminates those players currently ranked above them. There are likely to be one or two wonder presences, with the forceful Quins flanker Alex Rembrandt among those making a powerful late surge.

Saracens, temporarily, have been handed a distinctly uncooperative draw for their defense of the Champions Cup next season. They have been drawn along Munster, Racing 92 and Ospreys in Pool 4, with the opening games due to kick off less than a fortnight after the RWC, is over.

England’s Jack Nowell in fitness race for RWC after ankle surgery
England’s Jack Nowell in fitness race for RWC after ankle surgery

Northampton and Gloucester face trips to Leinster and Toulouse respectively while Harlequins and Bath find themselves in the same pool as Clermont Auvergne.

Scotland’s Stuart Hogg can also suppose plenty of attention after his new club, Exeter, was drawn to face his former team Glasgow Warriors in Pool 2.

“It was almost destined that, with us having signed Stuart from Glasgow, he would end up facing them in Europe,” Baxter said.

Baxter is keen to ensure the Chiefs give a good account of themselves in a pool also containing La Rochelle and Sale Sharks.

 “It’s a good draw for us,” he said. “At the same time, I want us to start setting ourselves these challenges of being a top European side. We’ve been guilty in the past of not quite reaching our potential within this competition but hopefully, that will change this season.”

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All Blacks forward coach to step down after RWC

One of world rugby’s most innovative and valued coaches, All Blacks Forwards Coach Mike Cron has announced that this year will be his last with the national side. Sports fanatics can book Rugby World Cup Tickets online to enjoy its stunning performances.

Known to all in rugby circles as “Crono” 64-year-old Cron has been involved with the All Blacks since 2004 and involved in multiple campaigns during that time, including the victorious back to back Rugby World Cups of 2011 and 2015 and successful Bledisloe Cup, Investec Rugby Championship and Grand Slam campaigns.

“I’ve been incredibly lucky and had a wonderful career coaching at the international level and I’m really looking forward to this last year with the team,” Cron said.

“It will be my fifth Rugby World Cup this year so is the right time to step down from the international game.”

Cron said after coaching for 37 years, he wouldn’t be quitting for good, but would now focus on mentoring younger coaches and up and coming players.

All Blacks forward coach to step down after RWC
All Blacks forward coach to step down after RWC

“That’s my other passion. As well as coaching younger players and helping them hopefully reach their potential, I’m also keen to help out the young coaches of the future, so looking forward to doing that.”

New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew has led the tributes to Cron. Crono is a national treasure and thousands of players, from school, club, provincial, Super Rugby, the Black Ferns and of course the All Blacks, have been coached and mentored by one of the best rugby coaches in the world.

“He has a real desire to mentor young players and coaches and really cares about their development, so we’re delighted he will continue to contribute to the future of the game in New Zealand.”

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Sometimes in life, you’re lucky to come across a real influencer in your career. For me, Mike Cron is one of those people.”

He’s one of those guys I’ve learned on from day one of my coaching careers. Initially, that was around scrimmaging, with Canterbury and the Crusaders, and then with Wales. Then I suggested to Graham Henry that we bring him into the All Blacks.

 

“His ability to teach anyone – younger, older, male or female – is world renowned and the greatest gift that Crono has is his ability to always keep learning and to keep giving. I’ve seen him coach club, provincial, Super and international rugby, plus even a stint overseas, all in the one year.”

As ‘Tewy’ said, he is a national treasure. He and his family must be immensely proud of everything he has achieved throughout his career, not only with the All Blacks but with all the teams and individuals he has coached. It’s great that New Zealand Rugby hasn’t lost him completely.

“On behalf of the All Blacks family, we’d like to thank him for his many years of service. I’d also like to congratulate him and April on making their decision and wish them all the very best for the future.”

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Sevens stars and the MLR-effect – why USA could be RWC banana skin

A year ago Gary Gold guided the USA to a historic win over Scotland and now the Eagles head coach is planning to use the international success of the country’s sevens team to boost their confidence at this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan. Fans from all over the World can book Rugby World Cup Final Tickets online.

Mike Friday’s USA Eagles sevens held the No.1 ranking until piped for the title in the final tournament by Fiji and three of the players who helped secure automatic qualification for next the 2020 Olympic Games Sevens have been drafted into the 15’s training squad that assembles in Colorado this weekend for an intensive nine-week period of preparation for the Pacific Nations Cup and the World Cup pool matches with England, France, Argentina, and Tonga.

Sevens stars and the MLR-effect - why USA could be RWC banana skin
Sevens stars and the MLR-effect – why USA could be RWC banana skin

Gold believes the experience of sevens captain Madison Hughes, Ben Pinkelman and Martin Iosef, who beat all of the major rugby nations on a regular basis, allied to that 30-29 win over Scotland in Houston last year can help convince his players they are capable of causing real problems in one of the toughest pool in the World Cup.

He told Rug bypass: It is feasible that Madison, Martin and Ben could be in the final squad for the World Cup and these guys grew up playing 15’s before moving over to the sevens. The other factor is that there is very different confidence around the seven guys because of what they have achieved on the World stage and I am hoping there will be a genuine cross over and understanding of what we can achieve.

Mike turned that sevens squad around in a short space of time and while I am not saying we are going to win the World Cup, I am hoping we can put up really big performances and we could be a banana skin for one of those teams. Our win over Scotland this time last year followed by the win over a full Samoa team in Spain plus the Sevens success allied to a settled squad gives us real confidence.

 “We start our camp this weekend in Colorado and this squad of players really does know each other well having been together for 18 months and our aim is to put up some great performances at the World Cup. As much as we can, we will try and replicate the conditions in Japan during our preparations.”

Sevens stars and the MLR-effect - why USA could be RWC banana skin
Sevens stars and the MLR-effect – why USA could be RWC banana skin

Gold added: “The MLR is single-handedly the biggest game-changer for us. When I started at the end of 2017 in this job, I met up with the players in Germany and there were guys in the middle of their European seasons and those from America who had not picked up a ball for three or four months.”

The MLR final was played at a packed stadium and was televised by CBS and people love it. Now, we have to make sure that financially the game is in a good place and there has been a really important decision to move the American Rugby Championship to August and September and with that one decision they have ensured they won’t be in a club v country problem. It’s a smart decision and will make a really big difference.

“The one area of concern is the number of foreigners in the MLR and that is something that will have to be addressed.”

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EAN-MARC DOUSSAIN: TO LIVE A RWC IS EXTRAORDINARY

It must come as little amazement that it has taken Jean-Marc Doussain the best part of eight years to fully figure out the magnitude of what occurred in four-and-a-half rapid months in 2011. Fans from all over the World can book Rugby World Cup Final Tickets online.

Doussain ended the 2010-11 Top 14 season as a Bouclier de Brennus winner, helping Toulouse beat Montpellier on 4 June. But full international honors seemed some way off as he captained France to a World Rugby U20 Championship 2011 opening win over Fiji just six days later.

“When I think about it now-now that I have taken a step back eight years later – I realize that it was amazing to live it so soon,” Doussain told World Rugby.

EAN-MARC DOUSSAIN: TO LIVE A RWC IS EXTRAORDINARY
EAN-MARC DOUSSAIN: TO LIVE A RWC IS EXTRAORDINARY

But in the end, I did not take in enough because it was all so fast in four months.

“Now that I’m at Lyon, it’s one of the things I’ve been told. When we talk about me, it was that, my first test in the final against New Zealand. In retrospect, I realize that I was privileged to live this adventure.”

Impossible to refuse

Maso had called Doussain on a Tuesday, his call-up was inveterate by France coach Marc Lièvremont the following day, but before staying his flight to New Zealand the young playmaker first had to run out for Toulouse against Biarritz on Friday.

Everything happened very quickly: six months with the first team, we are champions of France, I go with the U20s, I come back for the championship and they call me for the France XV.

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“It was amazing to train with the best French players of the moment. I was a kid and the average age was under 30 years old.”

“Of course I was well prepared for the U20 Championship, but the craze for the World Cup, especially in New Zealand, was multiplied by 10!” he said.

There was a lot of pressure around the team, especially since there were no good results.

Never too early

The debutant was unable to prevent Les Bleus from losing 8-7 in his short time on the field but, all these years later that has not dented his pride.

 “I hope for them that they will be selected because it is never too early,” Doussain said.

We have struggled, as French players, to build over time and it’s good to take young players for this World Cup.

“My advice is to enjoy it, even if it will be hard. I lived it, but I did not appreciate the moment enough because it went so fast. They have been selected throughout the year and I would find it normal for them to be selected, given their potential.”

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