Tuesday, November 24, 2009

RUGBY UNION HIGH HOPE


Mark Cueto last night proved that whatever else England lack there is no issue with individual self-confidence.

Forty eight hours after the world's biggest and richest rugby union completed another dismal autumn campaign, Cueto tipped them to win the Six Nations rugby .

"I certainly believe we can win the title," he said. "I'm definitely looking for us to improve on last year when we won all our home games and finished runners-up.

"This autumn hasn't gone the way we wanted. There are areas we need to improve massively on. We've got to be more clinical.

"But a year ago our autumn campaign was terrible and come the Six Nations rugby we only lost by a point to Ireland, who won the Grand Slam, having played a quarter of the game with 14 men."

Right now it is easier to make a case for England finishing last than first. On form they will struggle to beat either Ireland or Wales even with home advantage.

They will also be underdogs in Edinburgh and Paris against Andy Robinson's resurgent Scotland and a French side coming off victory over world champions South Africa.

The questions are piling up over Martin Johnson's England. Where is the progress? Where is the adventure? Are England paying for appointing a head man with no coaching experience?

"If it gets more kids playing rugby then that's great, but certainly it means we can go into the Six Nations rubgy with confidence now."
They have not been helped by rugby's lawmakers killing rugby as a spectacle by giving every advantage to defence over attack at the breakdown.

"It's become ridiculous," said Cueto. "It isn't fun for anyone - not for those watching and not for us playing. It's killing the game.

"I have scored one try this season for England and Sale. It's the worst strike rate I've ever had. I find it so frustrating."

But it is the same for all teams and England must become more inventive.

Of the so-called golden generation, Shane Geraghty is in and out of the side, Danny Cipriani's in the wilderness and Ben Foden is back at his club.

"I'm pretty livid," said Foden. "I saw these (matches) as a massive opportunity for me, with Delon Armitage injured.

"There's been very little feedback from England. I like to take people on and run from my own line. If England don't agree with that style of rugby, then I'm not their man."

I like to take people on and run from my own line and, if England do not agree with that style of rugby, I am not their man." England may not be playing well, but their two home matches in next year's Six Nations hospitalityare already sell-outs and all the hospitality for the first game, against Wales in February, have been taken. Australia and New Zealand are not so fortunate commercially and they will express their concerns about the stagnancy of the game on the field at this weekend's gathering of the International Rugby Board's general assembly in Dublin, followed by a meeting of the council.




England's record in Six Nations rubgy winning the 2003 World Cup..

2004: 3rd behind France and Ireland

2005: 4th behind Wales, France and Ireland

2006: 4th behind France, Ireland and Scotland

2007: 3rd behind France and Ireland

2008: 2nd behind Wales

2009: 2nd behind Ireland


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Peel gets Wales nod after “raising tempo against Argentina”


DWAYNE PEEL has won the battle of the scrum-halves and will wear the No 9 jersey for Wales v Australia.


The Sale Sharks half-back has got the nod ahead of Blues rival Gareth Cooper for Saturday’s big Millennium Stadium showdown.

Peel came off the bench to replace Cooper midway through the second half of the comfortable 33-16 victory over Argentina last weekend.

“Dwayne has had limited time on the park but did particularly well in raising the tempo of the game when he came on last weekend,” said Howley.

“It’s an historic occasion as this is the first time the Blues have played as a region against an international side.

“We are more than happy with Gareth’s performances so far and it’s an opportunity to give Dwayne and Martin a run at number nine.

“Dwayne and Gareth are level at the moment (for the scrum-half spot) but the autumn Test series is an opportunity to give players a game.

“And Dwayne and Martin will have that opportunity on Saturday.”

I like to take people on and run from my own line and, if England do not agree with that style of rugby, I am not their man." England may not be playing well, but their two home matches in next year's Six Nations hospitalityare already sell-outs and all the hospitality for the first game, against Wales in February, have been taken. Australia and New Zealand are not so fortunate commercially and they will express their concerns about the stagnancy of the game on the field at this weekend's gathering of the International Rugby Board's general assembly in Dublin, followed by a meeting of the council.




Peel is one of only two possible changes to the Wales starting line-up to face the wounded Wallabies.

“We want to go into the Six Nations rugby with momentum and confidence.

“We beat them 21-18 last year and we go into the game knowing we need to find another level if we are to repeat that.”

Meanwhile, Howley underlined the importance of Shaun Edwards to the Wales set-up yesterday.

The future of England defence coach Mike Ford has been the subject of much speculation with reports linking him to the vacant position of England rugby league coach.

But Edwards, who signed a deal with Wales until the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, would be the favourite to replace Ford.

The former Wasps head coach met Martin Johnson, the England manager, only days after he had agreed his deal with Wales following Grand Slam success in 2008.

Edwards, who was the Lions defence coach and is widely regarded as the best in the world, has made no secret of his desire to coach England at some point during his career.

“I have been a player under Shaun and his emotion and technical and tactical knowledge of the game is immense,” said Howley.

“The one thing, in terms of this coaching set-up, is pure honesty. That is what you get from Shaun.

“He made a statement when we first came into the Wales set-up two years ago, he told the players: ‘You miss a tackle, I miss a tackle’.

“Everybody is aware of their roles and responsibilities in defence and there is no doubt that when Shaun came on board we were leaking too many tries.

“It has certainly been a benefit to have Shaun on board with Wales and long may that continue.”


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Welsh try 'concern' for Williams


The Welsh have touched down just once in their two November Tests and have scored only two tries at home this year with Leigh Halfpenny scoring both.

Williams, Wales' record try-scorer, said: "It is a little bit of a concern, we are creating things but we're just not finishing off tries at the moment.

"We haven't hit the panic button yet as we have players behind the scrum who score tries week in, week out for fun."

Halfpenny scored in Wales' 23-15 victory over England at the Millennium Stadium in the Six Nations rugby and the Cardiff Blues wing also scored in last Friday's 17-13 win over Samoa.

But the once prolific Welsh failed to cross the line in defeats to Ireland and New Zealand.

Wales, though, scored seven tries on the road in the Six Nations rugby while an under-strength tour party scored eight tries in summer tour Tests against Canada and United States.

The Welsh are renowned for their attacking rugby, but the lack of a cutting edge is worrying Williams and his coach Warren Gatland.

His men created almost a dozen try-scoring opportunities against Samoa on Friday but Wales hope to convert chances into scores in their Saturday's showdown with Argentina in Cardiff.

"In Test match rugby you don't often get many chances," Gatland said. "And if you do, you have to take them.

"We created a huge amount of chances against Samoa and could have scored four or five tries.

"And of the two autumn games, we played more rugby than the opposition as they kicked the ball more.

"We are a little bit frustrated ourselves that we haven't scored more tries in the two matches but the defence has been good.

"We are creating opportunities and we need to finish them off."

Wales conceded just two tries in their 2008 Grand Slam triumph when the free-scoring Welsh touched down 13 times in their second clean-sweep in four years.

Williams' six tries in five Six Nations rugby matches - equalling Will Greenwood's Championship try-scoring record - earned him the player of the tournament award.

The Ospreys star scored nine tries in 2008 and was honoured with the IRB International Player of the Year accolade.

Wales, however, have lacked a killer instinct recently but Williams says creating chances is not the problem.

"We certainly showed against Samoa that we can create things," said the 32-year-old who boasts a prolific strike-rate 46 tries in 66 caps.

"We made 11 line breaks and just one try - from a kick as well. Maybe the Welsh public expect a bit more.

"There is a little bit more pressure on the outside as we all know Welsh supporters expect tries and expect great games - but it isn't always the case.

"We've got to take ownership of individual errors which didn't allow us to capitalise on the hard effort and work we put it in," said Wales captain Ryan Jones.

"We made 11 line-breaks and scored just one try which is unusual for us. We've always thrived on that small opportunity or on an opposition mistake - and that, for whatever reason, is something that has gone out of our game."

But Stephen Jones, the Lions fly-half, insists the scores will come.


I like to take people on and run from my own line and, if England do not agree with that style of rugby, I am not their man." England may not be playing well, but their two home matches in next year's Six Nations hospitality are already sell-outs and all the hospitality for the first game, against Wales in February, have been taken. Australia and New Zealand are not so fortunate commercially and they will express their concerns about the stagnancy of the game on the field at this weekend's gathering of the International Rugby Board's general assembly in Dublin, followed by a meeting of the council.


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Welsh try 'concern' for Williams


The Welsh have touched down just once in their two November Tests and have scored only two tries at home this year with Leigh Halfpenny scoring both.

Williams, Wales' record try-scorer, said: "It is a little bit of a concern, we are creating things but we're just not finishing off tries at the moment.

"We haven't hit the panic button yet as we have players behind the scrum who score tries week in, week out for fun."

Halfpenny scored in Wales' 23-15 victory over England at the Millennium Stadium in the Six Nations rugby and the Cardiff Blues wing also scored in last Friday's 17-13 win over Samoa.

But the once prolific Welsh failed to cross the line in defeats to Ireland and New Zealand.

Wales, though, scored seven tries on the road in the Six Nations rugby while an under-strength tour party scored eight tries in summer tour Tests against Canada and United States.

The Welsh are renowned for their attacking rugby, but the lack of a cutting edge is worrying Williams and his coach Warren Gatland.

His men created almost a dozen try-scoring opportunities against Samoa on Friday but Wales hope to convert chances into scores in their Saturday's showdown with Argentina in Cardiff.

"In Test match rugby you don't often get many chances," Gatland said. "And if you do, you have to take them.

"We created a huge amount of chances against Samoa and could have scored four or five tries.

"And of the two autumn games, we played more rugby than the opposition as they kicked the ball more.

"We are a little bit frustrated ourselves that we haven't scored more tries in the two matches but the defence has been good.

"We are creating opportunities and we need to finish them off."

Wales conceded just two tries in their 2008 Grand Slam triumph when the free-scoring Welsh touched down 13 times in their second clean-sweep in four years.

Williams' six tries in five Six Nations rugby matches - equalling Will Greenwood's Championship try-scoring record - earned him the player of the tournament award.

The Ospreys star scored nine tries in 2008 and was honoured with the IRB International Player of the Year accolade.

Wales, however, have lacked a killer instinct recently but Williams says creating chances is not the problem.

"We certainly showed against Samoa that we can create things," said the 32-year-old who boasts a prolific strike-rate 46 tries in 66 caps.

"We made 11 line breaks and just one try - from a kick as well. Maybe the Welsh public expect a bit more.

"There is a little bit more pressure on the outside as we all know Welsh supporters expect tries and expect great games - but it isn't always the case.

"We've got to take ownership of individual errors which didn't allow us to capitalise on the hard effort and work we put it in," said Wales captain Ryan Jones.

"We made 11 line-breaks and scored just one try which is unusual for us. We've always thrived on that small opportunity or on an opposition mistake - and that, for whatever reason, is something that has gone out of our game."

But Stephen Jones, the Lions fly-half, insists the scores will come.


I like to take people on and run from my own line and, if England do not agree with that style of rugby, I am not their man." England may not be playing well, but their two home matches in next year's Six Nations hospitality are already sell-outs and all the hospitality for the first game, against Wales in February, have been taken. Australia and New Zealand are not so fortunate commercially and they will express their concerns about the stagnancy of the game on the field at this weekend's gathering of the International Rugby Board's general assembly in Dublin, followed by a meeting of the council.


Rugby Hospitality: For this match sports hospitality is available form corporate hospitality group. Corporate hospitality introduce a variety of Corporate hospitality Packages. They provide 100% security and privacy to customer Information. You can reserve your rugby hospitality with confidance and with fear.


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Sports 'should be free-to-air'


Welsh Six Nations rugby and Wales football championship qualifiers are among sport to be protected for free TV channels if recommendations are backed.

They are among the recommendations of a review of free-to-air listed events announced by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan said the move would allow fans to enjoy the excitement of international matches.

But it would "devastate the finances" of Welsh rugby, said the Six Nations.

If the recommendations are adopted, England's home Ashes Tests would return to free-to-air television from 2017.

Home and away football qualifiers for the home nations would be listed, along with Wales' home and away Six Nations rubgy matches, Wimbledon tennis and the golf Open.

"I came to Wales, to the land of my fathers, and I was confronted by the outgoing First Minister of Wales, Rhodri Morgan, who said to me: 'Dai bach, your responsibility is to save Welsh rugby for the next generation by making sure live Six Nations rugbyis protected,'" he said.

"Moments later the chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union told me I would be personally responsible for decimating Welsh rugby if it was protected, so that is the dilemma that the government ultimately is going to have to decide on."

"This secures sporting events such as the Six Nations rugby, qualification matches in the FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Football Championships and the Ashes home matches for the maximum size of audience and allows all fans to enjoy the excitement of our international games.

"The affect of this will be to allow today's outstanding sports stars to inspire the up and coming generation to develop their potential for representing Wales to the full in future."

A spokesperson for the Six Nations said it was reading the review and all its comments but that its initial response was: "If the


Welsh international rugby hospitality in the Six Nations hospitality are included in any final list from this draft recommendation, it will not only devastate the finances of the Welsh Rugby Union but also significantly affect all rugby unions within the Six Nations and rugby in the Northern Hemisphere in general."

Executive chairman Michael Grade said: "The support of David Davies' panel for the continued protection of free-to-air coverage of major sports events is good news for UK viewers."

Under the recommendations, the Winter Olympics would no longer be protected for free-to-air TV.

The Epsom Derby, and rugby league's Challenge Cup final have also been removed.

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Jones turns in vintage performance


Wales boss Warren Gatland likened fly-half Stephen Jones to "a good red wine" after he guided his team to victory over Argentina.

While wing Shane Williams lit up the contest with two tries in a record 33-16 win, Jones' tactical assurance built a solid platform for victory. The 31-year-old Scarlets number 10 contributed 17 points, including his first Wales try since the 2006 Six Nations rugby, as Wales ran out comfortable winners.

"Stephen is like a good red wine, he gets better with age," said Gatland. "We are pleased with that performance, it was a step up from the first couple of games (in the autumn). We played some good rugby, there were a lot of positives."

Williams has now scored 48 tries for Wales, while Jones claimed an opportunist effort, running 30 metres unopposed to Argentina's line after opting not to kick for goal from a penalty and catching out the Pumas' defence.

Wing Leigh Halfpenny chipped in with two penalties while centre Martin Rodriguez scored all of Argentina's points, including a try.

Gatland added: "We still feel there is another level in us and it is about improving game by game, week on week.

"The next step is try to get our percentage of wins up to 75%, but we are pleased with the progress we are making. It's about putting pressure on ourselves.

"We went out there today and played some really good rugby hospitality."

Gatland also had words of praise for current world player of the year Williams, who scored his first tries at the Millennium Stadium since November last year.

"Shane is such a talented rugby player," said Gatland. "It's great if you have got two, three or four players in your team with the x-factor, and we are lucky to have some of those."

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Hospitality information for ENGLAND V NEW ZEALAND


The Rugby hospitality World Champions are coming!


New Zealand World Cup winners in 2008, roll into Huddersfield on Saturday November 21 to face England at the Galpharm Stadium in an eagerly-anticipated Gillette Four Nations clash.

The match will get underway at 6pm and sees the tournament’s two most ferocious packs go up against each other and throws together some potentially explosive head-to-heads between the likes of Sam Burgess and Fuifui MoiMoi, and Gareth Ellis and Frank Pritchard.

“hospitality for England v New Zealand are price £299 and £399 fans can take advantage of some fantastic offers to see the world’s bestplayers in action.

“Anyone who purchases a hospitality for the match at the Galpharm Stadium can book their seat at the historic final at Elland Road,

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England V New Zealand rugby match in autumn Internationals


England V New Zealand rugby match on Saturday in
Autumn Internationals 2009. Crowd will be inspired by the legions of amateur players and school children turning out for clubs along the M62 corridor.

The Leeds Rhinos forward started playing rugby matches at the Stanningley club in West Yorkshire and his memories of those days will ensure he is full of motivation when he captains England at Huddersfield's Galpharm Stadium in the crunch Gillette Four Nations game.

"It's also a patriotic thing. But you're not just representing the professional lads but also the blokes who run around working five days a week and play amateur rugby league. You're representing every one of them as well.

"They watch the game and they wish they could be out there playing but they're not so you represent that part of their life. Some people's lives are immersed in rugby league. That's; what their lives revolve around so when we win it's fantastic for them and when we lose it's horrible.

"When you get to this level you don't really need rallying calls from the skipper. It's just about making the most of your opportunities because you've got to realise you don't get many opportunities at this level and games like this only come along so you've got to make the most of them.

"You only play three or four games a year for your country but in the Super League you might end up wracking up 300 games and there might be 50 big matches in there. Whereas at international level if you play 25 times you've had a great career and only five or six game really stick out in that รข€“ career-defining ones so you've got to grab them with both hands."

"Success is the easy route. You can talk all you want about marketing and discounted tickets but if you are successful the people will watch to come and watch us in action."

"I have loved captaining England - it has been all I wanted and more but I just wish we'd got better results," Peacock continued.

"There have been some really tough times because of that but I always feel you learn more from adversity and failures rather than when you're victorious. If you learn from defeats you can move on but if you dwell then you'll get nowhere quickly."

"Everyone is getting to know each other more on and off the field. The more you train with each other the more you get to know each other's little habits. That will help us gel as a team which bodes well for the future."




Replace Millennium Stadium pitch after 'infestation'



Wales V argentina rugby matches, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff had problems with the playing surface in Wales' game against Samoa.

The Welsh Rugby hospitality has announced that the Millennium Stadium pitch will be replaced before the final two autumn internationals 2009 against Argentina and Australia.

The pitch at the Cardiff venue cut up badly during Wales's 19-12 defeat by New Zealand last weekend and independent consultants were brought in to examine the turf.

They found it had been contaminated by a Bibionidae fly infestation, which causes damage to root growth and surface grass coverage.

The stadium manager, Gerry Toms, said: "We have decided to avoid any risk of the infestation causing further erosion by replacing the surface now. Obviously our concern was how much damage might take place between now and the Australia match at the end of November.

"The pitch for the game against Samoa was not to the standard we require which, combined with the unknown factor of the potential erosion over the next two weeks, has prompted us to act now."



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Warren Gatland ready to shake up Wales’ selection for Samoa Test

Warren Gatland ready to shake up Wales’ selection for Samoa Test

Rugby Correspondent SIMON ROBERTS expects Warren Gatland to gamble again for Wales’ Samoa test

WARREN GATLAND has a reputation for making bold selections as Wales coach.

The New Zealander, who masterminded Wales’ Grand Slam in 2008, is not afraid to take a calculated gamble when it comes to team selection.

But can we expect him to do the same for Wales’ clash with Samoa at the Millennium Stadium on Friday night?

Gatland’s decision to select 13 Ospreys for his first game in charge for the 2008 Six Nations opener against England resulted in Wales’ first victory at Twickenham for 20 years.He was widely criticised for the move but it proved to be a masterstroke and set Wales up for a second Six Nations clean sweep in four years.

Gatland’s gambling instincts were on view again 12 months ago when Wales emerged with a low-key 34-13 victory over Canada in Cardiff.

Ditto last March when Gatland made nine changes for the Six Nations trip to Italy, Wales edging home 20-15 in Rome.

Gatland was widely accused of throwing away the Six Nations title with that selection but the Kiwi has always had his sights on the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

All three selection gambles ended in victory, but does Gatland do the same against Samoa?

Or does he pick the same side which lost to New Zealand en bloc just to get a morale-boosting win?

Gatland is a born winner but, with the World Cup only a couple of years away, he knows he must add to the depth of his current squad.

That is why it is a pretty safe bet that a host of the young guns named in his 28-man squad for the Autumn Test series will get the nod today.

Yet this Samoa side are not to be taken lightly. The perception that they are a side Wales should
be beating at the drop of a hat is arrogance beyond belief.Most of their best players are scattered across the top sides in Europe and should not be underestimated.

They have travelled to Wales with a squad full of northern hemisphere-based players and will include Seilala Mapusua and George Stowers in their line-up, even if a third London Irish star, the powerful wing Sailosi Tagicakibau, will be missing.

In their original 27-man squad there were 10 players from England’s Guinness Premiership, five based in France and Glasgow’s Justin Va’a. The rest play in New Zealand or Samoa.

What they lack in organisation and time to really bring a side together, they make up with sheer passion for the Samoan jersey.

There is the added emotional dimension of this being the first game played by Samoa since the tsunami there at the end of September, which wiped out whole villages and left the death toll at 100 and rising.

Samoans are a proud and emotional people and they won’t be playing against Wales, but for those who lost their lives back home.

Gatland, as a coach, knows how important emotion is at Test level and he will be wary of Samoa’s extra incentive on Friday.

But his primary focus will be on Wales and seeing what he has coming through the system behind his frontline players.

He will also be under no illusions that selecting an inexperienced side against the tough-tackling Samoans could be yet another gamble.

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Scotland's rugby team given a make-over by Andy Robinson


Scotland's rugby team given a make-over by Andy Robinson

Head coach Robinson – who succeeded Frank Hadden this summer – has selected just five of those who started March's RBS Six Nations Championship defeat to England for his first match in charge against Fiji on Saturday. "The guys that haven't been selected that are on the bench, they've got an impact to make as well. It's about the whole squad and how that works."

Asked if the team represented the Robinson blueprint going forward, he replied: "It's a team to play Fiji and win the game and the key for us is that we understand that rugby is a physical game; you have to win the collisions, you have to establish a go-forward.

"But it's also to be able to have the skill levels to open up the spaces.

"I'd like to think that we've got the balance there in the 22 to be able to deliver that."

The Scarlets and Wales back row forward Dafydd Jones will undergo surgery on Tuesday on the shoulder injury he suffered against New Zealand on Saturday.

Jones, who came on as a second-half replacement for Andy Powell, sprung his A/C joint and will ultimately miss the rest of the four-match series in Cardiff. He is also likely to be out of action until the new year, at the earliest.

The injury means 21 year-old Dragons flanker Dan Lydiate is certain to make his debut against Samoa on Friday with coach Warren Gatland likely to make wholesale changes after the 19-12 defeat at the hands of the All Blacks.


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Jeremy Guscott | Six Nations

Jeremy Guscott Q&A
Former England and Lions star Guscott is a BBC rugby union pundit

The autumn internationals are in full swing, and it's been a depressing start for the northern hemisphere with both England and Wales falling to defeat in their opening matches.
With seven defeats from 12 Tests, England boss Martin Johnson and his coaching set-up comes in for particular scrutiny, while Wales' latest near miss is also up for discussion. Other topics include former Australia star Lote Tuqiri's arrival in the Premiership, the absence of Saracens players from the England squad and the perils of signing autographs. If you have a

question for Jerry, you can submit it by using the form in the top right-hand corner of the page. He will answer as many as possible next week.

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Injured Jones in Six Nations race

Injured Jones in Six Nations race

MARK Jones is facing a Six Nations fitness race after he was ruled out of rugby for at least three months.

The Scarlets captain has undergone keyhole surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee following an injury sustained in training with Wales last week.

Jones has been told he will not be back in action until at least the start of February, putting a major doubt over his participation in the Six Nations.

It is the latest in a long line of injury setbacks for Wales coach Warren Gatland, who is already without the services of Mike Phillips, Lee Byrne, Adam Jones and Ian Evans.

And it is a major blow for the Scarlets ahead of their Heineken Cup encounters with reigning European champions Leinster next month.

The region's head coach Nigel Davies said: "It is very disappointing for Mark at this particular time. It's one of the curses of modern-day rugby unfortunately. It is a hugely physical sport and these boys train intensively on a daily basis.

"However, Mark is one of the most positive players I know in terms of coming back from injury. He deals with these setbacks more positively than most people. He's been a huge asset for us already this season in his role as captain, is totally respected by all the players and leads by example.

"Mark will be back with us in a week or so for his physio treatment. Despite the injury, I know he will continue to play a key leadership and motivational role off the field with the players."

Australia bask in victory over England at Twickenham


Australia bask in victory over England at Twickenham


It's been grim down Australia's way on the rugby front, having been battered black and blue by New Zealand and South Africa this season. Little wonder then that few gave the Wallabies - minus a few injured stars themselves, lest we forget - a chance against England at Twickenham. Even less wonder that Monday's papers back home were reams of joy and praise.

Australia's win over England in six nation would boost confidence ahead of Sunday's crunch clash with Ireland - seen as potentially the most difficult leg of their four-match grand slam bid - newspapers agreed down under.

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Australia's rugby press were more optimistic of the Wallabies' grand slam hopes after dominating England. "The importance of this win cannot be over-estimated," The Sydney Morning Herald said.

"It will revitalise their spirits, intensify their belief, and give the young players an important boost of self-confidence when they come up against the marauding Irish at Croke Park."

The press also praised heavily-under-fire coach Robbie Deans for bringing off his bold selection punt of Quade Cooper and Digby Ioane as his centre pairing.

"The coach took an enormous gamble with Cooper and Ioane," the Herald said. "If the move had backfired, the repercussions would have been enormous. But both players stepped up to produce inspirational performances, with Cooper a crucial member of the team's impenetrable defence."

The Australian described the midfield pair as "accidental heroes". "Had it not been for the tour-ending injuries suffered by Stirling Mortlock and Berrick Barnes over the past week, the Wallabies would have employed a fairly conventional back division for their tour.

"Deans was forced to roll the dice with Cooper and Ioane as his centre pairing and they came up as winners, both individually and as a threatening midfield combination."

The Daily Telegraph said the grand slam quest was up and running but warned that Six Nations champions Ireland would be a sterner test than the 'old enemy' England.

"There is no other way but to storm Croke Park against Brian O'Driscoll's Irishmen.
"

Jonny will give Autumn internationals a good Twicking

RUGBY UNION
Jonny will give Aussies a good Twicking
ENGLAND'S coaches are backing a reborn Jonny Wilkinson to terrify Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

Wilkinson, back to his best since his move to Toulon, is making his first appearance at HQ since coming on as a sub against Ireland in March 2008 in Six Nations.

He is the man the Wallabies fear most - just the memories of his rugby World Cup final performance against them in 2003 and quarter-final impact in 2007, sends shudders through Aussie bones.

England attack coach Brian Smith said: "Jonny is a real factor in this game. He is lethal as a points-scorer, he is a general and his distribution is phenomenal.

"He is one good reason why Pommie bashing in Australia is a thing of the past.

"What England achieved there six years ago earned enormous respect throughout the Aussie nation."

And defence coach Mike Ford added: "Jonny is the best tackler in the squad - and that includes our back-row. In his desire to cover every position on the field, the lad has very few betters.

"Jonny's technique is first-class, as is his dedication and professionalism."

Meanwhile, manager Martin Johnson insists there will be no repeat of the 'yellow peril' that undermined England's ambitions last season.

His side had no fewer than 11 players sin-binned during their three autumn Tests and five in the Six Nations.

But Johnson is convinced having RFU referee Wayne Barnes working with his squad daily will help eradicate their problems at the contact area, where most offences occurred.

Johnson said: "I really hope our yellow card problems are behind us because it is harder to win games with only 14 players.

"It's all about adapting to the referee and sticking to our game-plan.

"I have already spoken with Saturday's ref Bryce Lawrence and we discussed various areas where I sought some clarification. But what we discussed remains confidential."

Fly-half Wilkinson, 30, and the world-record Test points scorer with 1,032, will partner Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care in a new-look England.

One that has been forged by a combination of injuries and Johnson's desire to develop the next generation.

Johnson signalled his blueprint last night when he sent 10 members of his 32-man Elite Player Squad back to their clubs for domestic weekend duties.

Out go George Chuter, Mathew Tait, Nick Kennedy, David Barnes, Ben Foden, David Strettle, Ben Kay, Richard Wigglesworth, Steffon Armitage and Joe Worsley.

The remaining 22, however, face a serious challenge at Twickenham.

Johnson warned: "Australia have beaten world champions South Africa this year and they come to us battle-hardened after the Tri-Nations now in Six Nations.

"I have no doubts about the severity of our task because Australia have some new young bloods on board and huge self-belief.

"We took it easy in training last week because of the growing injury situation.

"But you cannot afford that luxury in the week building up to an international. You have to get the balance right which is why we have trained with intensity and speed.

"I delayed naming the team by 24 hours to allow some players extra time to recover.

"Dylan Hartley, for example, tweaked a hamstring and while I'm sure he'll be fine, it's important to be 100 per cent sure."

Johnson lost 13 of his original EPS 32 to injury, including Harry Ellis, Phil Vickery, Delon Armitage, Andrew Sheridan and Riki Flutey.

Which is why a new-look England will carry a nation's hopes as they run out in front of 82,000 at Twickenham on Saturday.


AUSTRALIA tuned up for the clash with a 36-5 win at Guinness Premiership outfit Gloucester last night.

But they were given a thorough examination by an unheralded Cherry and Whites side.


First-half tries by centres Ryan Cross and Tyrone Smith put the Wallabies on their way.

Then wing Drew Mitchell's late double and a Quade Cooper solo score finished the home side off.

Aussie head coach Robbie Deans, who has seen his side lose five of their last six Tests, promised the Wallabies will take the battle to England up front this weekend.

He said: "Gloucester showed a lot of spirit but we won the game at the breakdown, where it was a ferocious contest. The game against England will be just the same, so that was a very satisfactory exercise for us."

Freddie Burns scored Gloucester's only points with a 25th-minute try.

Wales hoping for autumn Internationals hospitality


href="http://www.corporatehospitalitygroup.com/Rugby-Hospitality/Autumn-Internationals-Hospitality/326/Wales-V-Samoa-Hospitality/Wales-V-Samoa-Cardiff-Millennium-Stadium-Cardiff-Friday-November-13-2009-Tickets.htm">autumn international.

The Welsh Rugby Union claim that the two big November clashes Wales V New Zealand and Wales V Australia are sell-outs, despite selected hospitality packages for both games still being available.

But the WRU still has hospitality for the clashes with Wales V Samoa and Wales V Argentina on sale.

Wales V Samoa hospitality is available on Friday 13 Nov at 19:00 and its price is £ 95.00 and Wales V Argentina hospitality is available on Saturday 21 Nov at 14:30 and its price is £ 145.00

Around 30,000 hospitality for the November 13 clash against Samoa – who are in Wales’ pool at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand – have been sold.

Wales have lost three of their six autumn international tests against the tough-tackling Pacific Islanders, but did win their last clash between the two countries in 2000.

Hospitality packages sales for the visit of Wales V Argentina, the 2007 World Cup semi-finalists, are at the 50,000 mark.

The WRU claim they are satisfied with hospitality packages sales, claiming they are currently selling at a rate of 2,000 a week.

They also claim hopitality packages sales for the Wales V Samoa clash has surpassed those of a an equivalent match against Canada at the Millennium Stadium in 2008.

Wales played in front of a 58,000 crowd for that Friday night fixture against the New Zealand.

Warren Gatland’s Wales face what the national coach has described as the “toughest” autumn campaign of his tenure.

Remaining tickets for the Wales V Samoa and Wales V Argentina matches are available from www.wru.co.uk and corporate hospitality.


Rugby Hospitality: For this match sports hospitality is available form corporate hospitality group. Corporate hospitality introduce a variety of Corporate hospitality Packages. They provide 100% security and privacy to customer Information. You can reserve your rugby hospitality with confidance and with fear.


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Book your autumn hospitality Autumn Internationals Hospitality

Price hike for Wales rugby hospitality



The Welsh Rugby Union would neither confirm nor deny the price hike, but the Argus understands that an across-the-board increase of £3 a hospitality is on the cards in time for the Six Nations rugby hospitality and it could even be more.

The increases could hardly come at a worse time with Wales rugby hospitality in the grip of a recession and unemployment figures rising every month.

The prices have not been informed yet, but it is believed an official announcement is due within the next few weeks.



Autumn Internationals Rugby 230,000 hospitality sold




Welsh fans have snapped up more than 230,000 hospitality for the four games in this autumn International , with the sold-out signs already having gone up on public sales for the matches against wales V argentia and wales V Australia.



While there are limited hospitality packages left for those two matches, there are still hospitality available for the matches against 2011 World Cup opponents wales V Samoa on Friday, 13 November and wales V Argentina, who finished third in the 2007 World Cup, eight days later.


With the Welsh regions having done so well in the opening two rounds of the Heineken Cup, sales are now beginning to pick up for the Invesco Perpetual Series games, with more than 30,000 having been sold for the Samoan match and more than 50,000 for the game against the Australia



"The rate of sale of this hospitality has certainly quickened in recent weeks and the success.



"Warren Gatland always said that Heineken Cup form would be crucial to his team selection and it looks as though the players have responded to his call judging by the wins over London Irish by the Scarlets, ASM Clermont Auvergne by the Ospreys, Harlequins by Cardiff Blues and Glasgow by the Dragons.



"It means the fans will see Welsh players running into peak form when they are on parade for the national side next month in this vital series of matches. What a challenge it promises to be against three teams sitting above Wales in the IRB World Rankings and one of our 2011 World Cup Pool opponents.



"Th sales hospitality have surpassed the corresponding figure for our 2008 Invesco Perpetual Series clash England VAustralia - that game was eventually played in front of a crowd of 58,000 - and we are way ahead of the sales for the last two visits to Cardiff by the Argentineans.



"They have played Wales three times at the Millennium Stadium. We had a full house when we met them in the historic opening game of the 1999 Rugby World, had 39,000 at the 2001 match that the Pumas won and 36,736 for the Welsh win in August, 2007."



Selected hospitality packages remain the only way to watch Gatland's Welsh side take on the All Blacks or the Wallabies although the top priced 'platinum package' for England V New Zealand are sold out.



Remaining tickets for theWales V Samoa and Wales V Argentina matches in the Series are available from www.corporatehospitalitygroup.com, Tel: +44 (0) 208 4943 243 , fax: +44 (0) 208 614 0811, Email: sales@corporatehospitalitygroup.com hospitality for Wales v Samoa on Friday 13 November are priced at £95 hospitality for Wales v Argentina on Saturday 21 November are available at £145



Fans interested in purchasing hospitality for all games, which ranges from £95 to £145 per person and is now sold on an individual basis, should call the hospitality team on: +44 (0) 208 4943 243 or visit www.corporatehospitalitygroup.com




The RFU hospitality from The Times to The Telegraph



The Rugby Football Union has ended its six year relationship with The Times newspaper and signed a four-year deal with Telegraph Media Group.

The partnership with the RFU, set to run until July 2013, will see include content across the digital, print and mobile TMG platforms incorporating marketing, promotions, advertising as well as editorial.

As ‘Official Newspaper of England Rugby' the Telegraph will work with the RFU to promote all RFU matches as well as England rugby hospitality packages.  The Daily Telegraph will also be distributed exclusively throughout the corporate hospitality suites at Twickenham on all match days. 

Commercially, TMG will work with the RFU to offer their commercial partners innovative sponsorship leverage opportunities. 

The partnership will extend online to telegraph.co.ukas well as across the Telegraph's new mobile platform. 

The new partnership launches with the upcoming Investec Challenge Series kicking off this month with England facing Argentina , England facing New Zealand in consecutive weeks.  

Nintendo has recently signed a one-year deal with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to bring entertainment to the home of English rugby, Twickenham Stadium.Its tie up will run until next September, big screen advertising, competitions and sampling.


 


Rugby hospitality for Autumn internationals



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www.corporatehospitalitygroup.com is an online fan to fan hospitality .Fans can buy hospitality for, sports .We make it easy, fast and SECURE for buyers to have a smooth hospitality. We hope you enjoy the experience at www. corporatehospitalitygroup.com

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Autumn Internationals rugby star


ALL eyes will be on David Wilson at Westoe Rugby Club today as he runs out for England against the Aussies.


The club is televising the Twickenham clash, which will see the 24-year-old, from South Shields, make only his second Test start.



Wilson came through the junior section at Westoe and returned to realise his dream of playing for the first team as he recovered from injury while at Newcastle Falcons.



Now playing for Bath in the Guinness Premiership, the 6ft 1in prop is tipped for a promising international career.



Westoe chairman and first-team manager Duncan Murray said: "I think it is a fantastic day for everyone at the club.



"Everyone will be watching him. He's a big, strong prop and he's there to represent his country."
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Wilson, who now lives in Gloucestershire, regularly comes back to South Shields to visit his family in Marsden and catch a game at Westoe.



He also takes a keen interest in what is going on at his former school, Harton Technology College, where he honed his rugby skills.



Head of boys' PE and rugby coach Paul Byrne said: "He always had outstanding potential. Realising that potential is the difficult bit.



"Everything he's achieved, he's had to work incredibly hard for.



"The position he plays is unforgiving and demanding – it is probably one of the most physical positions on the pitch.



"To play at the level he's at, you have got to be incredibly committed, fit and have a mental toughness."



Mr Byrne said both he and the school are delighted and proud to see Wilson picked by England manager Martin Johnson – including 100 rugby-playing pupils who look up to him.



"There are an awful lot of people in South Shields who will be rooting for him," he said. "He has such a bright future ahead of him.



Headteacher Ken Gibson added: "David is yet another high-profile success story for Harton Technology College and an inspiration to our current crop of rugby players.



"He is a lovely lad and an incredible talent who fully deserves his continued national recognition."



Wilson played for his school, in Lisle Road, South Shields, and at county level as a youngster, joining the England under-16s at the age of 14.



He was called into the England Saxons side in 2008 and made his full England debut against Argentina at Old Trafford in June, donating his shirt to Mr Byrne afterwards.


Rugby Hospitality: For Autumn Internationals 2009 sports hospitality is available form corporate hospitality group. Corporate hospitality introduce a variety of Corporate hospitality Packages. They provide 100% security and privacy to customer Information. You can reserve your rugby hospitality with confidance and with fear.


For upcoming sports information please visit Corporate Hospitality Events

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Andrew Sheridan to miss Six Nations Matches


England prop Andrew Sheridan will miss the start of the Six Nations after being hit by a four-month lay-off.


Tomorrow Sheridan will undergo a full reconstruction of his dislocated left shoulder picked up during a collapsed scrum in Sale's Heineken Cup victory over Cardiff on Friday.


The Lions loosehead, 29, will also play no part in the autumn internationals against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand.


Instead, he must concentrate on returning for England's third Six Nations fixture against Ireland on February 27.


Sale director of rugby Kingsley Jones said: "Andrew is a great presence around our team and he will be missed.


"It's bad news for Andrew, England and Sale and we just have to come to terms with it."


If his recovery takes as long as predicted, Sheridan will miss the opener against Wales on February 6 and the trip to Italy eight days later.


His absence means England will be missing two first-choice front rows after Lee Mears injured his knee on Bath duty.


Rugby Hospitality: For this match sports hospitality is available form corporate hospitality group. Corporate hospitality introduce a variety of Corporate hospitality Packages. They provide 100% security and privacy to customer Information. You can reserve your rugby hospitality with confidance and with fear.


For upcoming sports information please visit Corporate Hospitality Events

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Touchline duel: Wales V New Zealand


Wales coach Warren Gatland is absolutely right, New Zealand have lost their aura but whether this was the right week to express that view is another question. Gatland should simply concentrate on producing a team which truly believes they can beat New Zealand. The All Blacks coaches are swapping roles for the autumn which will be all fine and dandy as long as they keep winning. Lose and the knives will be out.


Head to head: Great match ups all over the park, not least Martyn Williams taking on Richie McCaw again, but the clash worth the admission price alone will be the thunderous tete at tere between Jamie Roberts and Ma'a Nonu. Both blockbusting centres are much more skilful than often given credit but it will be the bone on bone crunch of combat that draws the eye.


 Talking tactics: South Africa have mastered New Zealand by dominating the All Blacks in the setpiece but Wales don't have the heavy artillery to achieve that although they have been working like Trojans at their scrummaging. Wales have a very useful back division and need to play to that strength, even if it opens up the game for the equally dangerous Kiwi runners.


And another thing: Wales have conceded an average of 37 points per game in their five matches - and five defeats - against New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium.
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Wales: J Hook (Ospreys); L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Scarlets), G Cooper (Cardiff Blues); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), M Rees (Scarlets), P James (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), A Powell (Cardiff Blues), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys, capt).


Replacements: H Bennett (Ospreys), Duncan Jones (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), Dafydd Jones (Scarlets), M Roberts (Scarlets), J Davies (Scarlets), T James (Cardiff Blues).


New Zealand: M Muliaina (Waikato Chiefs); C Jane, C Smith, M Nonu, Z Guildford (all Wellington Hurricanes); D Carter (Canterbury Crusaders), B Leonard (Waikato Chiefs); W Crockett (Canterbury Crusaders), A Hore, N Tialata (both Wellington Hurricanes), B Thorn (Canterbury Crusaders), J Eaton (Wellington Hurricanes), J Kaino (Auckland Blues), R McCaw (capt), K Read (both Canterbury Crusaders).


Replacements: C Flynn, O Franks (both Canterbury Crusaders), T Donnelly, A Thomson, J Cowan (all Otago Highlanders), S Donald (Waikato Chiefs), B Smith (Otago Highlanders).


Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa).


Rugby Hospitality: For this match sports hospitality is available form corporate hospitality group. Corporate hospitality introduce a variety of Corporate hospitality Packages. They provide 100% security and privacy to customer Information. You can reserve your rugby hospitality with confidance and with fear.


For upcoming sports information please visit Corporate Hospitality Events

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A real battle starts between Wales V New Zealand


SO after a week of claim and counter claim, we’re down to the real business at the Millennium Stadium.

What was already going to be an intense battle, played out in a pressure-cooker atmosphere, has been cranked up several notches further as a result of Warren Gatland’s mischievous pre-match comments.


Let’s just say the Wales coach has stoked up the heat with his claim that New Zealand had lost their “aura of invincibility”.


It’s been the talking point of the last few days, but the time has come for actions to speak louder than words as Wales seek a first triumph over their old foe since 1953.


Gatland’s comments might have been made to instil real belief into the minds of his own Wales players they really can overcome the psychological barrier and end 56 years of hurt.


But what they have undoubtedly done is serve to whip up a storm with New Zealand accusing Wales of trash talk.


It was a typical ploy of Gatland. His modus operandi in the build-up to a big match is to create controversy ... and then blame the media for it!


He’s got form, doing likewise the last time he was in charge of preparations for a Wales game when we met Ireland in the Six Nations decider.


Gatland’s claim that the Welsh players “disliked” their Irish counterparts more than any other team caused a pre-match frenzy and backfired spectacularly once the two sides lined up for battle.


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Gatland’s remarks were probably designed to fire up his own players and rile the opposition, but they were widely condemned in Wales and Ireland and he was forced to backtrack.


However, the damage had been done. Gatland had fired the Irish up to produce a performance which enabled them to summon up the courage to seize victory with a last gasp drop-goal from Ronan O’Gara.


If Ireland didn’t ram Gatland’s words down his throat, Paul O’Connell made scathing reference to them after the game.


This time, in my view, Gatland has gone and handed Graham Henry his team talk by questioning the ability of the New Zealand class of 2009.


If nothing else, it will certainly have focused Kiwi minds on beating Wales after comfortably defeating Australia in Tokyo and having to endure a gruelling journey to Cardiff.


Had their eye been off the ball, so to speak, it might have helped the Welsh cause. But there is no chance of complacency on the part of New Zealand now. Gatland has ensured that.


Of course, he was perfectly entitled to make his remarks and he has a point, for this is a New Zealand team in transition.


They certainly aren’t the supreme side of 1989 or 2005, with supermen thin on the ground these days, the sublime Dan Carter and Richie McCaw apart.


The loss of scrum-half Mike Phillips and full-back Lee Byrne could be significant with incoming No 9 Gareth Cooper searching for his best form and James Hook a novice as a last line of defence.


It’s got the potential to be a rip-roaring contest, but I fear New Zealand, having had a warm-up against Australia, will settle it in their favour.


Rugby Hospitality: For this match sports hospitality is available form corporate hospitality group. Corporate hospitality introduce a variety of Corporate hospitality Packages. They provide 100% security and privacy to customer Information. You can reserve your rugby hospitality with confidance and with fear.


For upcoming sports information please visit Corporate Hospitality Events

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