Posts Tagged ‘Rugby World Cup’


Written by Rod Crowley: A 32 man squad described as the most inexperienced squad for 50 years have been selected by England’s Head Coach, Stuart Lancaster for the forthcoming Six Nations.
There are an incredible 15 changes from the squad chosen by former Head Coach, Martin Johnson that went to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Among those left out were usual first teamers, Mike Tindall, Mark Cueto and Nick Easter and in comes nine first time call ups including as expected Owen Farrell, Ben Morgan and scrum half Lee Dickson.
Lancaster spoke with great enthusiasm about his immediate plans using the buzz term of a ‘leadership group’ within the squad that he intends to nurture when training begins in earnest. He did stop short of naming his captain but hinted that the likes of Chris Robshaw, Dylan Hartley, Tom Wood and even Toby Flood were names that he was considering.
Lancaster was also at pains to point out that he wants the “England team to become the very best and to beat those who are currently rated as the very best”. Ambitious yes but strong words from a seemingly highly committed Head Coach.
He expressed no real concerns about the huge change his selection has already bought about, making it clear that any player selected was in on merit and most were already in the thoughts of the outgoing coaching team.
M Botha – Saracens 
C Clark – Northampton
A Corbisiero – London Irish
D Cole – Leicester
T Croft – Leicester
T Wood – Northampton
L Deacon – Leicester
P Dowson – Northampton
D Hartley – Northampton
C Lawes – Northampton
J Marler – Harlequins
L Mears – Bath
B Morgan – Scarlets
T Palmer – Stade Francais
C Robshaw – Harlequins
M Stevens – Saracens
R Webber – Wasps
D Wilson – Bath
C Ashton – Northampton
B Barritt – Saracens
M Brown – Harlequins
L Dickson – Northampton
O Farrell – Saracens
T Flood – Leicester
B Foden – Northampton 
C Hodgson – Saracens
C Sharples – Gloucester
J Simpson – Wasps
D Strettle – Saracens
M Tuilagi – Leicester
J Turner-Hall – Harlequins
B Youngs – Leicester
Of the newcomers, it is Farrell who has captured the most imagination. Likened in his kicking ability to the great Johnny Wilkinson, Farrell is the son of former England player, Andy Farrell who will be assistant Head Coach to Lancaster in the training set up. Farrell the son has been playing inside centre for Aviva Premiership champions Saracens, but is equally adept at playing fly half. He is quick, has a great pass, a silky side step and is not scared to get stuck into the opposition. The 20 year old is set to be an England player for a very long time.
England kicks off their Six Nations campaign in a Calcutta Cup match against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 4th. How the new look side performs will be something fans and press will be anticipating with bated breath but it is good to see that changes have been made after the World Cup display and time must be given to both the management and players as the team looks to move forward. Their full programme of games is as follows:
4th February – Scotland v England
11th February – Italy v England
25th February – England v Wales
11th March – France v England
17th March – England v Ireland

Martin Johnson has decided to resign as manager of the England Rugby team, speculation had been mounting whether Johnson would remain at helm. After being let down by the players on and off the field, Johnson has called time on his career as national team coach.

England failed to live up to expectations at this year World Cup in New Zealand and were knocked out by France in the quarter-finals but it was their off-field behaviour that will be remembered.

Vice-captain Mike Tindall admitted misleading the team management over a night out in Queenstown in which the player was fined £25,000 and told his England career was over after a drinking session that spiralled out of control in New Zealand.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg, with James Haskell and Chris Ashton also reprimanded for bad behaviour, while Manu Tuilagi was fined for jumping off a ferry in Auckland harbour.

Johnson has been roundly criticised for a lack of discipline in his squad and it was the high-profile misbehaviour of Tindall – now a member of the royal family after his marriage to Zara Philips – that attracted the most negative publicity.

Johnson, who captained England to their World Cup triumph in 2003, called a meeting with his coaching team on Wednesday morning to explain his decision to walk away from the job he has held since July 2008. 

Johnson decision to retire will come as no surprise after the level of criticism he had received after England’s poor performance in New Zealand.

Delon Armitage has insisted that his bad boy days are behind him as he looks to cement his place in England’s World Cup squad, Armitage has been selected to play for England against Wales this weekend and the player would like to resurrect his career with England.

Armitage was banned twice last season, including an eight week suspension for shoving and abusing an anti-doping official which ruled him out of the RBS Six Nations, the player enjoyed a successful start to his England career in 2008-09 season and the England management kept faith in him.

Although the player was banned, the 27-year-old was allowed to train with the England squad and on Saturday will get his chance to start a Test for the first time in 17 months and press his claims for World Cup selection.

“It is no secret I have found it hard to manage by emotions,” admitted Armitage.

“I play the game with passion and sometimes with a little bit too much. That is what I have been working on. I like playing on the edge; it just needs to be a little bit controlled sometimes.

“The last year didn’t go as well as I wanted it to. I am just glad I am here with an opportunity to get back in the squad.

“I want to play for England and nothing is going to stop me getting where I want to get. It has been a long wait for me.

“What happened happened. I felt really bad about it but now I am back focused on playing well for England and trying to get into the World Cup squad.”

Gavin Henson has admitted that his move to Saracens was a mistake and has confirmed that he would like to return to Osprey’s after the Rugby World Cup,  the Welshman took a 18-month break from Rugby before joining Saracens.

Henson has since struggled to settle with the English side and had moved onto French side Toulon, the Welshman stay in France was short-lived after some disciplinary problems and has now admitted he would like to return to Wales.

Gavin Henson has been included in the Welsh World Cup squad but will miss out on the friendly match against England this weekend, once the World Cup in New Zealand is over he says he would like to return to his former side Ospreys.

“Well I want to come back to Wales because of my kids,” Henson told Blokely magazine.
“I’m just waiting to see what happens with the Welsh rugby, how I get on and whether I go to the World Cup or not and as soon as that comes to an end, whether that’s soon or after the World Cup, I will get employment.

“Hopefully that will be the Ospreys if they will have me back but I will have to wait and see.”
He added: “I think it probably wasn’t a great decision going to Saracens. I don’t want to be a part-time player.

So I didn’t like the feel of it there and then suddenly I had an opportunity then to go to Toulon.”
Speaking about his problems with Toulon, it was reported he was involved in a brawl and criticising Jonny Wilkinson.

“Jonny wasn’t even out,” he added. “So no, nothing to do with Jonny Wilkinson. No it was plain that this individual thought I’d said something about Joe Van Niekerk.

“Me and Joe Van Niekerk, from day one, since I had been there he was my closest friend at the club. We didn’t do it in public, we went down the beach, we went down there together and we sorted it out man to man and that was the end of that really.

“We both went our separate ways but carried on and still had a good night but then it obviously got back to the club and the press managed to get hold of it and you know what the press are like. They blew it out of all proportion and then suddenly it was an issue for the club to deal with.”


England Confirm Warm-up Games

Posted: November 22, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Rugby World Cup 2011

England will play warm-up games against Wales and Ireland in the run up to the Rugby World Cup 2011, which is being held in New Zealand. 

England will face Wales at home and away on successive weekends before facing Ireland in Dublin.

England boss Martin Johnson  said: “These three games are an important element in our build-up to Rugby World Cup  2011.

“We’re looking forward to playing both Wales home and away and Ireland as part of our preparation, and they should be excellent contests.”

England will face Warren Gatland’s Wales at Twickenham on August 6th and then seven days later at the Millennium Stadium.  England will then play Ireland on August 27th at the Aviva Stadium before departing for New Zealand the following week.