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England’s 7 Problem

England's Problem Position England haven't really used a traditional 7 since Neil Back retired. For brief moments, players like Andy Hazell or Tom Rees looked like they might go on to become permanent fixtures. Unfortunately, through injury or selection, it...

Why the Rugby World Cup needs to expand

The Rugby World Cup features twenty teams in a quadrennial battle for global supremacy, the ninth instalment scheduled for Japan next year, but don't expect too many surprises from an event which almost invariably goes according to the script. Firstly,...
Bundee Aki creating a try against Italy from "second five-eighth".

Inside the Inside-Centre Issue

As Brad Shields gathered Jordi Barret’s under-the-legs pass and shifted it on to Ngani Laumape for another Hurricanes try, the commentator, in a moment of excitement, bellowed "England’s next number six". This got me thinking how a fine player, long...

Discussing the possible All Blacks squad for France

As the French series draws closer there are several talking points surrounding the make-up of the first All Blacks squad of the year. Kieran Read, Dane Coles, Owen Franks, Israel Dagg, Nehe Milner Skudder and Joe Moody have not...

Four upsets for 2019 Rugby World Cup (potentially)

Introduction With 17 out of 20 teams for the Rugby World Cup 2019 confirmed, I thought I would write an article of matches at the World Cup where Tier 2 countries could put one over a Tier 1. First of all,...

National Team’s Poor Results Hide Shoots of Growth in Italian Rugby

Another Six Nations campaign, another set of defeats for the Azzuri. Delve a little deeper however and there are signs of life in Italian rugby. With Parisse’s star fading and 17 straight Six Nations defeats, there appear to be few...

The rules and gameplay of rugby in four paragraphs or less

Just enough information so you’ll know when to cheer while you’re watching games at the bar and not look like an idiot. I hope you use this knowledge to sound worldly, have a drink and make a new friend or...

Harsh Lessons for England in this Year’s Six Nations

“So, For Us, It's Been Enormously Beneficial” Eddie Jones remarks in his post-match interview, after their third consecutive defeat, have drawn criticism from some quarters. However, I feel like there is virtue in what he says. Eddie Jones established a strong...

The Dragon has returned

The perfect start Before the Championship began I thought Scotland were going to get their first win in Cardiff since 2002. That's 16 years ago! Every Scottish supporter believed that the Scots could be victorious. Unfortunately for me and my...
Champion coach. Champion team.

Joe Schmidt’s Ireland: What makes a Champion Coach and Team?

Congratulations to Ireland. Ireland were in full control of that game. And in his selection, Eddie Jones showed a panic in changing his side that I would not have expected of such a seasoned coach. He made selection changes that...
Irish psyche

A Grand Anti-Climax? (A brief look in to the Irish psyche)

An Inconvenient Truth Between March of 1948 and March of 2009, a lot of Irish Rugby supporters would have lived and died without ever seeing a Grand Slam. I am not being morbid, it is just an inconvenient truth, what...

A Change of Scenery: Taking the Plunge and Reaping the Reward

In the last few weeks, Robin Copeland has announced he will be joining Connacht from Munster. In recent months Jordi Murphy has bravely and cleverly left the comfort of the Leinster pack for a struggling Ulster side. By doing...

Bring on November

Ireland has just come off a Grand Slam performance in the Six Nations, prompting the media to ask the reader to choose: England or Ireland in November. For the first time in four years, come November 10th, the All Blacks...

Is there more success left in this Irish side?

Now that Ireland have proven their worth by winning a Grand Slam, the question must be asked, can they go further? Is there more success left in this Irish team? I for one believe there is still a lot left...
The Webb Ellis Cup. What it's all about.

Spain can still make it to Japan?

Spain lost to Belgium 18-10 on Sunday. An opportunity blown! Spain were robbed! Rematch! This is what I have read all across social media. I watched the 2nd half and I didn't believe the Romanian referee had the greatest of...

Fly half problems in Wales?

It may come to a surprise to some but Wales have a number of international material fly-half’s to choose. Whether that be from the Welsh regions or even a few players from the Aviva Premiership. Players such as Dan Biggar,...

Ireland’s efficiency underplayed?

In these times of upsurge from Scotland's sexy rugby and the Six Nations becoming more competitive, I would have to wonder if there is not enough being made of Ireland's efficiency by the Irish supporters themselves. I'm born and raised...

Is Ross Byrne the most underrated player in Ireland?

Despite some uncharacteristic poor form off the tee, Johnny Sexton has had another excellent Six Nations. Without his clutch drop-goal against the French in Round One there would be no Grand Slam decider this weekend. Heading into a World Cup...
Scotland v England. What will Eddie Jones be coaching?

Does success in sport excuse offensive behaviour?

In a week where Sky TV has suspended Jamie Carragher for spitting on a fan out of his car window. A video of Eddie Jones using obscene language at a sponsors’ talk to describe both Wales and Ireland has...

Spain on the verge of making history

This weekend we will all spend hours watching The Natwest 6 Nations Championship come to a conclusion. Yet in "The 6 Nations B" tournament, Spain will have a chance of qualifying for the World Cup for the first time...

England’s problems at the centre position

There is no doubt in my mind that there is plenty of skill, pace and power present in the English backline. England are a team that possess players that have the potential to be world class, and truly impact the...

A balanced team

After watching England sink to two defeats to end the defence of their double Six Nations crown, all I could think of was that they lack balance as a team, especially in the centres and back row. So what makes...
Scotland v England. Calcutta Cup 2018.

“Off 9 and Into Contact”: Where England must Improve for Ireland?

Well done Ireland on your Championship. You have been by far the most consistent and relentless team in the competition and I fully congratulate you on a splendid tournament. But now, it's to Twickenham, where you bring your structure, your...
England's Backrow Woes

England’s Breakdown Woes

An audible gasp echoed around the British Isles as Finn Russell’s long floated pass flew past Joseph’s outstretched fingers; teasing the onrushing May before dipping delightfully short. Huw Jones accelerated from deep; onto the ball, through the line, loose...
Pro14 Shakeup

A Guinness Pro14 Shakeup is Badly Needed

At a Pro14 match, I did something I’ve never done before and left the match at halftime. As a one off I could have endured it, but this is the umpteenth non-contest on a cold Friday night. Of course, the...
Eddie Jones coaching

The Scotland v England Fallout: What will Eddie Jones be coaching?

Very well done Scotland. You completely and utterly outplayed us, and regardless of our own performance the potency of yours cannot be denied. You were smart, accurate, and entirely ruthless. Qualities I usually attribute to this England team. On Saturday,...

Rugby World Cup Expansion Could be the Vehicle for Global Development

The fallow weeks of the Six Nations can often be an exercise in killing time until the next instalment of the northern hemisphere’s premier rugby tournament comes around. However, take a look around the wider international spectrum and there...

Welsh Back Row Depth

Recently the Welsh back row has been known for its immense talent. For instance, despite injuries to Talupe Faletau, Sam Warburton and Dan Lydiate Wales are still dominant in the back row. Aaron Shingler and Josh Navidi came to prominence...

Changing centre play

The play of the weekend was the diagonal kick from Owen Farrell to Jonny May to touch down in the corner. Once the ball came loose from Watson's aerial challenge, May was reactive. He was immediately aware of which...

Save Our Sport! Why Rugby Needs A Substitution Revolution

In this article, I will outline a debate that could significantly change our game. I will set out arguments for and against the introduction of rugby league style interchanges. I will also touch on other rule changes that are...
Allister Coetzee seen here at the World Cup draw. He will not be at the World Cup as the Springboks coach.

A Defense of Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee's career as Springbok head coach was marked by an 11-25 test record. This includes four wins against France, three against Argentina, and one against Italy. This record also includes two wins against Ireland, and one against Australia. The...

Wales’ patterns and tactics part 2: The Tenets

This article takes a look at the new Welsh tenets. I say new, as they appear to be just that after years in the "Warrenball" wilderness. New Wales attacking tenets: Players must offload more. Players must quickly use the width...
France v Ireland action areas. Ireland should have been out of sight by the time the hooter went.

No change with Ireland

41 phases of play and one big punt from the middle of the field, is what saved Irish blushes in Paris on Saturday. It should never have come to this. Ireland, clearly in control of the game from the...

Player height/weight + caps based Six Nations Week 1 predictions

Finally, the Six Nations has arrived, it's time to make some Six Nations Week 1 predictions. And for this Kiwi who has generally been disinterested and bored with the Six Nations (and northern hemisphere rugby in general), I’m truly excited...

DNA Series: What is the Welsh DNA?

What is Welsh DNA? Are the current Welsh team playing to their DNA? We ask these questions and more. Before we look at the Welsh DNA, a huge shout out must go out to Gareth Jones for taking the time...

DNA Series: What is the English DNA?

What is English DNA? Are the current English team playing to their DNA? We ask these questions and more. Before we look at the English DNA, a huge shout out must go out to Conor Wilson for taking the time...

DNA Series: What is the Scottish DNA?

What is Scottish DNA? Are the current Scottish team playing to their DNA? We ask these questions and more. Before we look at the Scottish DNA, a huge shout out must go out to Paul Futers for taking the time...

The tall backs and heavy forwards theory

An article from ESPN in 2012 discussed research performed by an exercise scientist regarding a tall backs heavy forwards theory which suggested that teams with these attributes have the most success. There have been other articles on the topic too. But...

DNA Series: What is the French DNA?

What is French DNA? Are the current French team playing to their DNA? We ask these questions and more. Before we look at the French DNA, a huge shout out must go out to Ambroise Blanluet for taking the time...
What will 2018 bring for Australian Rugby?

Saving Australian Rugby

While the Six Nations may be all anybody can think about at the moment, it’s worth noting that the Super Rugby season is only a month away. As a result, my post-traumatic stress has started to kick in, and I...

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