LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Fine nine: Danny Care in action during training – but what have his England team-mates been ribbing him about?ENGLAND KICKED off their RBS 6 Nations campaign with a win over Scotland at Twickenham – but what have they been up to behind the scenes? In this week’s video Brad Barritt and Alex Goode look back at Saturday’s victory while Joe Marler and Danny Care compare beards…
The Welsh back row didn’t really look Welsh against England – it looked Kiwi. Toby Faletau, Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric raised the standard of Welsh back-row play to another level. It was a lesson in selecting modern lightweight forwards with an emphasis on speed as well as technical ability. Last week’s big question was Warburton ‘or’ Tipuric – as it happens the answer may be Warburton ‘and’ Tipuric. They complemented each other perfectly. Having two sevens on the field meant that even when one was on the floor, the other was often on his feet. The benefits of always having one of your fastest, most skilful, forwards on their feet at all times was demonstrated in Alex Cuthbert’s second try. Warburton’s explosive pace and power started it and Tipuric’s majestic skill-set did the rest – a Test centre would have been proud to run his line. The Warburton v Tipuric issue isn’t one that Wales have to worry about – the rest of the world’s Test-playing nations maybe should.Running man: Mike Phillips breaksBig bang theoryIn truth the Welsh back-line had been quiet in the opening four games. Kicking-based game plans had dictated they perform a more defensive role and use their size to make tackles. Against England, their size was used to break tackles. Between them the Welsh back-line beat 12 defenders – the entire English squad of 23 beat only nine. Cuthbert, George North, Jamie Roberts and Mike Phillips, in particular, wreaked havoc – double tackling a necessity not an option with them. The size of the Welsh backs was particularly evident when Wales executed energy-sapping ten-phase sets in England’s 22m area. Unlike other teams in the Six Nations the Welsh backs offer little relief when the ball is passed out wide. But for all of the physicality of North, Roberts and Phillips, it was Cuthbert’s surgical finishing that stole the show – and rightly so. Tackle bounces for show. Tries for dough.Coaching congratulations Many have been quick to blame the Welsh coaching set-up in recent months. Rob Howley’s right to coach the Welsh team and his selections have been questioned, whilst Shaun Edwards’s reliance on the blitz was criticised when Wales’ defensive performance slipped during the first half against Ireland. However, if the criticism must be heavy, then so must be the praise. Howley and Edwards et al have done a tremendous job during the last few weeks. Having shipped three tries in 42 minutes against Ireland, Wales haven’t conceded another during 358 minutes of rugby. Wales’ scrummage has dismantled both the Italian and English packs – both of whom take pride in their set-piece. They have beaten Scotland, Italy and France away from home and destroyed a much fancied England team. But most importantly the Welsh coaching staff have reinstalled a sense of pride and optimism in Welsh rugby – something that had been noticeable absent prior to the Six Nations. The regional game may be in tatters, the player drain continues and the financial situation in Wales remains a concern – yet Wales are champions of the northern hemisphere once again. Rob Howley, Shaun Edwards and Robin McBryde – take a bow.Follow Paul Williams on Twitter @thepaulwilliams LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS NOT FOR FEATURED At the double: Wales wing Alex Cuthbert breaks for the line after being set up for his second try by Justin TipuricBy Paul WilliamsSimply the bestWales have played some good rugby during the modern era, the performances of the Grand Slam years being the most obvious, but Saturday’s display arguably ranks as the best. There were no ‘Hollywood’ offloads, lucky bounces or fortuitous interceptions. Wales dominated England for 80 minutes, in every aspect of the game, and every single Welsh player outshone their opposite number. Wales secured 63% possession and 65% territory. Wales were unstoppable at the scrum and had a tackle completion of 92%. They denied the opposition a try for the fourth game in succession and conceded just seven penalties in the process. Feed me ‘til I want no more rang out around the stadium on Saturday and this time it had a special significance – the Welsh fans had their appetite for quality rugby sated and it tasted superb.Prop stars: Gethin Jenkins and Adam JonesFerocious front rowFront-row forwards rarely get the credit they deserve. Particularly in Wales, where more delicate skill-sets are often lauded. That isn’t the case after Saturday’s game. The Welsh front row were tremendous. Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard, Gethin Jenkins, Paul James and Ken Owens tortured the English front three – at times it contravened the Geneva Convention. Stuart Lancaster was even forced to hook Joe Marler off after just 44 minutes. But whilst the Welsh front row’s scrummaging was thoroughly old school, their performances around the field were very new school. Hibbard’s carrying and tackling was destructive and both Jenkins and Owens had very sticky fingers at the breakdown. Wales v England had been billed as the final audition for the Lions tour. If true, some of Wales’ front row are guaranteed a callback.Sevens’ heaven
DUBLIN, IRELAND – MAY 17: during the Amlin Challenge Cup Final match between Leinster and Stade Francais Paris at Royal Dublin Society on May 17, 2013 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images) “They embarrassed themselves”: Simon Easterby didn’t hold back on his assessment of the Scarlets loss to LeinsterBy Alan DymockTHE OLD adage about rugby being a game where anyone can beat anyone else always stands in hideous contrast with the desire to catalogue, label and rate every team. Sure, everyone can have a good day, but that doesn’t fit with our Saturday supplement pull-out guide, does it?Yet the first week of the RaboDirect Pro12 was a relatively tight affair, with the exception of Leinster hammering Scarlets 42-19. Only Munster and Leinster scored 10 points or more than their opponents and only they scored four tries or more.Thump: Patchell unleashed his boot in GlasgowDawning of a new era? Perhaps not, but it was a first weekend full of spills and hiccup-banishing scares.The Dragons trumping Ulster 15-8 at home was a bit of a jolt from the jungle, as they began their tenure under Lyn Jones in both an abrasive and ruthless manner. Ulster will not be used to being anything other than the flat track bullies at the breakdown and so may be focused on all out carnage against the Glasgow Warriors next week.Glasgow did manage to seal off a tight win at home against Cardiff Blues, despite a few injuries throughout the contest. They never quite looked like pulling away, but a burst from Tommy Seymour – on as a substitute for the injured Byron McGuigan – was enough to ensure they defeated Cardiff, Rhys Patchell and his thumping boot. The Welsh region came through, though it never looked certain, and Treviso are a side that have beaten the Ospreys a few times in Italy. A few tries straightened out the record, but the Ospreys will need a lot more when they visit Dublin in Round 2.After the first thrashing, Scarlets coach Simon Easterby spoke of how cheek-reddening a heavy loss can be, and Ospreys will be more than aware that five tries from five different players away from home is an aspect of the Leinster play that must be worried about. Connacht started their campaign in the right way with a 25-16 win over win-starved Zebre. Exciting young full-back Robbie Henshaw continued to impress, while returning winger Fionn Carr scored after Nathan White and Matt Healy dotted down. New coach Pat Lam has a debut win to power his team to Cardiff, while Zebre are staring down a harsh lesson against Munster on Friday.In front of a Cork crowd, Munster were too strong for a threadbare Edinburgh side, leading 22-6 at half time. Nick De Luca and Lee Jones scored for the visitors, but an Ian Keatley-orchestrated gang were queuing up to score. Alan Solomons needs to introduce his new defence style sharpish; something he has intimated himself.Will the Leinster faithful have more to cheer this season?Then there was the last game of the round, with Treviso laying traps for the Ospreys. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
“Watching the game against Glasgow, they [Toulon] had won it in the first 30 minutes and it is about us matching them physically for that half hour on Saturday and giving ourselves a chance. For me I want to be playing the likes of [Bryan] Habana, who may be the best player in the world in my position, and I want people to see me against that and say ‘fair play.’”Best in the world?: Habana during the Rugby ChampionshipCuthbert feels conflicted with his own form being impressive, which is something he puts down to his belief in himself and his drive to consistently perform in every game regardless of the opposition, but he wants to play well in a winning side. What he hasn’t done, he insists, is have a quiet word with “the best full-back and best seven in the world” to try and convince them to stay in the Welsh capital, despite the Blues’ current malaise…He does also hint at a strong belief within the Welsh national team, where players can come together and perform, regardless of the form of the regions.He explains: “I think a lot comes down to understanding. In particular the likes of Warren [Gatland] and Robin [McBryde] make sure everyone is always on the same page. We have the confidence from Grand Slams and World Cup semi finals. Going forward, you always want to keep your form for the autumn and we are so close to the squad being picked. If I keep scoring and I am picked I will take confidence into that.” Bryan Habana of South Africa intercepts the ball as Adam Ashley-Cooper of Australia looks on during the 2013 Rugby Championship match between South Africa and Australia at the Newlands Stadium on September 28, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. AFP PHOTO / LUIGI BENNETT (Photo credit should read Luigi Bennett/AFP/Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Red-y to rumble: Alex Cuthbert and co model the brand new UnderArmour Wales’ kit before the autumn TestsBy Alan DymockHAVING ONLY just recovered from the harsh lessons of the last weekend, after being overwhelmed by a rampant Exeter Chiefs side in round one of the Heineken Cup, Alex Cuthbert took some time out to talk up Cardiff Blues’ chances this weekend.Talking at the official launch of Wales’ new kit, the winger explained that he was actually looking forward to testing himself against and attacking “the best in the world” at the Arms Park on Saturday.Pink flash: Alex Cuthbert on Sunday“I’m almost back to normal after two days of recovering,” Cuthbert told Rugby World, “but it’s frustrating, the way we played in that first half last week.“Obviously pitches are dry at the moment and I think a lot of clubs in the Heineken in particular are looking to attack more. Teams used to pride themselves on defence and with Wales we feel our defence has helped us to be Six Nations champions, but lots of teams are now looking to be attacking threats and some are pushing for maybe two tries in quick succession after a score, rather than one. Look at Cardiff Blues on Sunday – we were trying to score from everywhere.”Some would argue that it was a case of too little, too late in Exeter but such is Cuthbert’s confidence he feels that he can rise to the next challenge. Namely that of a superstar Toulon team who tore through Glasgow Warriors minutes after Blues and Chiefs stopped running.“I’m relishing playing the best team in the world,” Cuthbert says of Toulon with a smile. “We want to show something positive. I know we have the quality so it is strange to see us lose like that; we have 14 or 15 internationals and five British and Irish Lions but we are not getting results. With the Wales squad for the autumn selected on Tuesday, it is hard to see the free-scoring and, most importantly, happy Cuthbert miss out.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY7WEGf3yrg
Hilly’s pick: The man in possession, Chris RobshawNo 6Tom Johnson: I’ve been really impressed by Tom Johnson in the past few weeks, particularly in that performance against the Cardiff Blues. He’s brings high-energy, hard-graft and is comfortable with the ball in the wide channels to offload. Johnson had perhaps dropped away a bit, but that performance and Exeter’s good form has put him deservedly back in England contention.Blindside: Wood led England expertly in ArgentinaTom Wood: Tom is one of those characters who gets on with his job quietly. He loves his rugby and positively thrives on it. He brings decent physicality and a handy lineout option. He also fits in with England’s back row having the right workrate. That’s critical to the type of game they want to play. Their dynamism around defence has been key to putting the on the front foot.Hilly’s pick: Tom Wood gets the nodWaiting in the wings Richard Hill was speaking on behalf of QBE, the business insurance specialist, ahead of the QBE InternationalsBy Owain JonesWITH STUART Lancaster is poised to announce the England squad to face Australia in a matter of hours and the most hotly contested area of selection is the backrow. We chewed the fat with England’s very own silent assassin, Richard Hill, to analyse England’s likely combinations…No 8Ben Morgan: “Ben is a key player for England. He was missed towards the end of the Six Nations but travelled to Argentina in the summer and impressed. By his standards, he’s had a quiet start to the season but when England have performed well in the last 12 months, it’s invariably been with him in the side. He has this real ability to run back at defences, like try he set up for Ben Foden in the Stade de France. He’s a big man and can challenge the gainline physically, but he’s intelligent and looks for the offload, allowing others to run support lines off him.”Billy Vunipola: “Billy has continued where he left off with Wasps last season. With his power, he’s been instrumental in getting Saracens on the front foot and giving them quick ball. Simply, he allows other players in the team an easier ride. Billy is a flair player and plays on the edge, but the risk is there will be mistakes, the positives have to outweigh the negatives. The key is in the team. There has to be a tacit understanding that if the player is looking to create something, there is a risk something could go wrong. Billy needs to make sure that he gets it right more often than not and that comes with understanding, feel and gametime. He’s had it at Premiership level, but international rugby is another step up again.”Hilly’s pick: I’d pick Ben Morgan, but with the X-Factor of Billy Vunipola to come off the bench as an impact subBig Ben: Morgan is key to EnglandNo 7Matt Kvesic: “Matt is arguably one of many Gloucester players to have suffered from Gloucester’s indifferent start to the season. Many aliken him to Backy (Neil Back) but he’s a lot bigger than him, at 6ft 2in and over 16st. I saw him play against Saracens, but didn’t see the best of him. In Argentina, however, he had a performance that was akin to the type of style Stuart Lancaster wants from his seven. Quick over the deck, he’s a player who goes out not only to get a volume of tackles, but a quality of tackles.”Chris Robshaw: “Now we know he’s been selected as captain, we know Chris will start the Series. When you look back at the Wales match in the Six Nations, Chris had to deal with the disappointment of not making the Lions tour. He will also have had mixed feelings around Stuart suggesting he rests over the summer but he’s come back and got on with the job. The management were loyal to Chris, and I’m sure he will repay the faith they’ve shown in him. After some consistently excellent performances under Lancaster, they’ll hope he can provide his usual energy, workrate, competition at the breakdown and of course leadership qualities.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Tom Croft would come into the reckoning if he was fit but England’s overall strength in depth in the back row is encouraging. There are other fringe players showing up well who may get a chance in the future like Dave Ewers, Will Fraser and Sam Dickinson. Dickinson, in particular, has put in some very strong performances at Northampton so far.Richard Hill was speaking on behalf of QBE, the business insurance specialist, ahead of the QBE Internationals www.QBErugby.com
Raft of replacements warrantedBeing bold: Stuart Lancaster made big decisions earlySubstitutions once more earned disapproval as Luther Burrell and Dylan Hartley were replaced on 53 minutes just as the visitors hit a canter. Undoubtedly, the Northampton Saints pair were crucial cogs in some of England’s best play and their absence initially drained momentum. However, the method was clear. At 31-6 ahead, around 30 points were still required. Manu Tuilagi and Tom Youngs are two of the most destructive runners in the country and a relatively early introduction was designed to give them time to settle before causing havoc.The next batch of changes – Tom Johnson for Tom Wood and Lee Dickson for Danny Care – came at 66 minutes and 38-6. Sixty seconds later, England had another try with the two new arrivals thriving in the loose. Seeing Leonardo Sarto go over for Italy and effectively end the mission to cancel out Ireland’s advantage, Lancaster took the cue to throw on everybody else. Again, there was nothing disruptive about that decision. His starters were tiring. Dave Attwood charged around like a madman again to book his spot on the June tour and George Ford gave us a glimpse of what could be in store…Farrell and Ford – an axis from the past for the future?England Under 20’s Junior World Championship campaign in 2011 ended in heartbreak. A Baby Blacks outfit including Brodie Retallick, Steven Luatua, Charles Piutau and Beauden Barrett sneaked past them in the final. However, a midfield partnership between George Ford and Owen Farrell shone throughout the competition. The latter is now a central figure in the senior squad. In the past two months, his displays against France, Wales and now Italy have been fantastic. This weekend, eight successful goal-kicks accompanied a try, two assists and trademark tenacity in defence.Twelvetrees may have enjoyed a good Six Nations, but Farrell’s attributes and spikiness suit inside centre nicely – his Test debut was there two years ago, remember? On Ford’s introduction at the Stadio Olimpico, the Bath tyro looked comfortable and a dart to set up Chris Robshaw showed class. The former next-door neighbours’ understanding could well offer England another dimension.Bounding back into contention: Manu TuilagiBurrell’s excellence means Tuilagi might have to shift out wide ROME, ITALY – MARCH 15: Manu Tuilagi of England looks on during the RBS Six Nations match between Italy and England at the Stadio Olimpico on March 15, 2014 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by David Rogers – RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images) Celebrating, but not for too long: Chris Robshaw and co salute England’s travelling fans after demolishing ItalyBy Charlie MorganSo that’s that. England’s Six Nations ended in a balmy, frantic Rome afternoon. There is no further silverware to complement their Triple Crown, but over the course of a 52-11 win we learned plenty more about Stuart Lancaster’s young side. This tournament has had something of a coming-of-age feel to it.PerspectiveIf you believe certain critics, failure to win by 50 was a disaster for England. Realistically – although ‘runners-up are the first losers’ talk may look tough – adopting such a macho mind-set would be to disregard a shed-load of positives. Lancaster’s team is no worse for missing out on the title. Ireland conquering Paris so brilliantly does not change a thing. It certainly shouldn’t detract from a comprehensive result at the Stadio Olimpico. A hostile crowd was nullified and the three previous trips to Italy – yielding a combined winning margin of just 13 points – now seem like ancient history.Unloading: Owen Farrell played well against ItalyAccusing English press of sensationalism is easy (and often justified). But here are some hard facts. The Azzuri have not shipped that many at home for nine years – since being beaten 56-8 by France back in 2005. Italy were missing two influential figures in Alessandro Zanni and Martin Castrogiovanni and got battered. It could have been a bigger landslide. Nit-picking is a luxury England fans have not been afforded for years. It should be embraced, but not at the expense of allowing praise when it’s due.A few jitters, but problem-solving and authorityLancaster is breaking stereotypes and it was definitely unfamiliar for England to fling the ball wide without first earning go-forward up front. One needless miss-pass from Billy Twelvetrees to Jonny May summed up the early inaccuracy. Italy’s defence was allowed to drift and snuffed out a straightforward scoring chance.Thankfully, key decision-makers – Danny Care and Owen Farrell particularly – identified that punchy phase-play was the way to go against Italy’s lively but ragged line-speed. Even as it became fractured later, it was simple. Jack Nowell’s try was a fine demonstration of draw-and-pass for juniors to digest.Once they had calmed down, England’s confidence took hold. Handling errors cropped up, but a competition tally of 64 off-loads – just under 13 per game – and 41 clean breaks is clear evidence more reliance on skill and incision overall. They’ll need similar in New Zealand. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The call to pull Burrell from the field was not without thought – see above. That said, he had every right to look disgruntled. In fact, that attitude was great to see. Clearly, every second in a white shirt is precious to these players with such stiff competition around. Burrell has comfortably done enough to remain in Lancaster’s thoughts for a long time. This was his best outing – the burst and pass for Mike Brown’s opening try was sublime and more involvements made for more problems in the opposition ranks.Even so, Tuilagi reinforced his standing as a true game-breaker. A typically barnstorming score brought his record to 11 in 23 Tests – a record that cannot be ignored and means he must be accommodated somehow. Having played all of his junior rugby at Leicester Tigers Academy on the flank, wing is a viable option. It could blend well with the all-court linking of Jack Nowell and Mike Brown’s scything from deep, too. Anyway, there’s another healthy headache for Lancaster. How nice.
Fiji triumphed over Team GB in the Olympics sevens final to win their country’s first-ever Olympics medal Silver – New ZealandBronze – CanadaMen’s SevensGold – FijiSilver – Great Britain Team spirit: Fiji celebrate after winning Olympic gold in Rio. Photo: Getty Images TAGS: FijiHighlight Bronze – South AfricaFor the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here. Fiji won their first-ever Olympic medal in Brazil, comfortably beating Team GB 43-7 in the final to take gold in the rugby sevens. Fiji prime minister Frank Bainimarama was in Rio to watch the team make history and has announced a public holiday to celebrate their achievement.It was a phenomenal display of skill, pace and power, much like Australia’s win over New Zealand in the final of the women’s competition.Overall, it’s fair to say rugby sevens has been a huge success on its Olympic debut, bringing a new audience to the sport and hopefully inspiring people around the world to pick up an oval ball. And that’s exactly what World Rugby aimed to achieve when campaigning for the sport’s entry into the Games.Rugby sevens is guaranteed to be part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Japan will be looking to go one step further at home than they did in Rio and win a medal – but the vote on the sport’s involvement beyond then will be taken by the IOC next May. Judging by the overwhelmingly positive reaction on social media, though, rugby sevens looks to have secured its place in the Games for a long time to come.In Rugby World‘s latest Clubhouse Podcast, we analyse the impact of the Olympics on rugby – listen here.And here’s a reminder of the medal winners from Rio:Women’s SevensGold – Australia LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Shark attack: Sale’s Josh Charnley tests the Saracens defence. Photo: Getty Images Yeah, I like the pain, I find it soothing. I’ve got a swallow on my hand for my granddad, rosary beads for my nan. The biggest one is a ram’s head on my belly that took six hours.This article first appeared in the February 2017 edition of Rugby World. For the latest subscription offers, click here. What’s been the hardest thing to learn going from league to union?The ruck – both the rules and how to do it. I’ve been watching clips but I try to stay out of rucks!Who’s the biggest joker at Sale?Sam Tuitupou. And Ross Harrison.Any practical jokes you can share?Micky Mac (Mcilorum) at Wigan was always up to stuff. He’d wrap cars in cling film or put fish in air vents.Do you have any phobias?I’m scared of heights. If I go up a tall building you won’t catch me looking over the edge.Warriors spirit: Wigan’s Dan Sarginson and Josh Charnley celebrate winning the Super League final. Photo: Getty ImagesGot any superstitions?When I scored a try for Wigan, I’d tap my foot outside the line and tap the corner flag, then step on the pitch. It helped me focus for the restart.What about bugbears?Messy people. I’m quite OCD about that.What’s your most embarrassing moment?Against Wakefield, I tried to trap a pass under my foot. It rolled straight underneath.Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?Richard Branson. He seems a good bloke and I’d like to know how he goes about things.What’s the silliest thing you’ve bought?A fake pair of breasts. It was for a fancy-dress party and I was going to go as a woman, but in the end I went as something else. TAGS: Sale Sharks Sale Sharks wing Josh Charnley talks rucks, Robinson and his ram’s head tattoo Stage show: Jennifer Lopez performs in Singapore. Photo: Getty ImagesWho would be your three dream dinner party guests?Jennifer Lopez, because I fancy her. Steve Jobs, to find out about his role. And Arnie Schwarzenegger for his films.What’s your guilty pleasure?Watching Keeping up with the Kardashians. My missus watches it.What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind?I’m not that clever! Probably fishing. I once caught a huge pike. Me and an ex-Wigan team-mate had it on the scales on the bank but it kicked and slipped back in the river. So I don’t know its weight but it was over 20lb.What would represent success for you in union?To prove people wrong. When I signed for Sale I had a lot of, not hate mail but people being negative against me. Mainly rugby league fans. We can all be brave behind a keyboard.That was some tackle you did to stop Sarries’ Richard Wigglesworth scoring against you…You have to put your body on the line. Wiggy has been to a few Wigan games and I stay in touch with him and Owen Farrell.Running man: Jason Robinson in action during the 2003 World Cup final. Photo: Getty ImagesWho was your hero growing up?Jason Robinson. He was in the same position as me at Wigan. I spoke to him recently at a do for Mark Cueto.What would you do if you weren’t a pro rugby player?I’m a qualified bricklayer. I did a three-year apprenticeship and worked for a company in Chorley called GW Groundwork. But I had to pack it in when I got in Wigan’s first team.We’ve noticed you’re not averse to the odd tattoo…
Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?David Attenborough. He’s an out-and-out legend and he’d have some good stories. Hugh Jackman as I’d love him to sing me the Greatest Showman soundtrack live. That would be cool. I’m going to go see him in Glasgow; he’s doing a medley of his musicals. And Freddie Mercury. I saw Bohemian Rhapsody recently and he’d be quite a character at the dinner table. Warrior spirit: Ruaridh Jackson in action for Glasgow against Munster (Getty Images) TAGS: Glasgow Warriors Downtime with… Glasgow and Scotland full-back Ruaridh JacksonWhat’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch? Gordy Reid getting flattened by Pete Horne, who was taking a clearance kick and absolutely scudded it.Do you have any phobias?I don’t love heights but I’ve got no weird phobias. I know someone who does – Tommy Seymour is afraid of chickens.What’s the best gift you’ve received?One of my most memorable was waking up at Christmas to find a bike under the tree. I was about six and I remember cycling it around the house, which was not what my mum had imagined!Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?Ryan Reynolds. He seems a great guy, entertaining, funny, I love his movies. And he owns a gin company; I’m in the drinks business myself so it would be interesting to talk to him about that.Entertaining: Actor Ryan Reynolds at the Deadpool 2 premiere (Getty Images)If your house was on fire, what one object would you save?My best whisky. If I’ve got it all in one box, does that count as one object?What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind?Sport. Or if I had to be more specific, Glasgow Warriors squads 2008 to 2019.What really annoys you?People leaving mess behind. A lot of youngsters these days – this is me getting old and grumpy – leave bottles or dirty plates about. I hate litter dropping as well, like people throwing stuff out of a car window. I shouted at a kid the other day.What’s your most embarrassing moment?When I signed for Harlequins and I still hadn’t had a kick, in my second game we scored under the posts and I thought, ‘Yes! I’m going to get my first points for the club’. Then my conversion got charged down! It was at home to Stade Français. Thankfully we pumped them but I got a bit of stick about it in the changing rooms.If you could be one of your team-mates, who would you be?Stuart Hogg. I’d quite like his monthly pay packet.Related: Downtime with Stuart HoggDo you have any superstitions?Not now. When I was younger I sat on the left side of the bus, put my kit on in a certain order. But I’ve ditched all my superstitions and it makes me more relaxed for games. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Ruaridh Jackson talks musical medleys, moustaches and making gin in this offbeat Q&A If you watch one thing this #EarthDay, make it this. A message of hope from Sir David Attenborough. #ShareOurPlanet pic.twitter.com/4BpYd2Mgj0— WWF UK (@wwf_uk) April 22, 2019What’s the best advice you’ve received?When I was finishing school (Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen), one of my coaches there wrote in my yearbook, “Remember, it’s always on”, a reference to back your instincts. Even if you’re behind your posts, if you think there’s an opportunity to have a go, back yourself.What was your first paid job?Mowing the lawn when I got 50p.Seen a moustache to beat your own ‘Three Musketeers’ one for Movember? No! A few of the rugby boys have given it a good crack, and I’ve seen some great ones in public that I’m envious of. In November I did a charity cash raise and I dyed my moustache pink after a guy generously donated £500.Growth spurt: Ruaridh Jackson with his impressive moustache last November (Getty Images )What’s your guilty pleasure?Not sure if it’s a guilty pleasure but after a match, whisky is my tipple of choice.So why did you start a gin business, Garden Shed, instead of whisky?Speed and easiness. Gin is one of the quickest processes. When we started, we were making it in the garden, myself and Ryan Grant. But when we wanted to start selling it, HMRC weren’t thrilled with us doing it in a shed. So we contacted Eden Mill, who sponsor the rugby, and the contract is with them.Have you got hidden talents?I’m a great dancer! And I played cricket for Scotland U17. I had to choose between cricket and rugby at 18 and thankfully I chose rugby. When I throw a cricket ball or a tennis ball, my shoulder feels like it’s going to rip out so I don’t think I’d be much use in the field.Any future goals you want to achieve?I’d love my gin company to have long-term success and be what I do post-rugby. In terms of rugby, win the Pro14 with Glasgow. Before I left for a few years, my last game was in the final we lost to Leinster. The year after, the boys won it so I’d love to get a winner’s medal instead of just a runners-up. This article originally appeared in the May 2019 edition of Rugby World magazine.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The wing’s cheeky face encapsulated a major moment in the Wales-England match #WALvENG as the Louis Rees-Zammit gif sweeps social mediaLouis Rees-Zammit attempts to catch the ball (Getty Images)It was just a look, but there’s a whole generation out there who might describe it as a ‘mood’. After Wales’ second try against England in the third round of the 2021 Six Nations, quicksilver wing Louis Rees-Zammit pulled a face that beautifully and succinctly summed up the feelings of a nation. Rees-Zammit’s reaction to that knock on decision…Listen via the @BBCSounds app https://t.co/5Du5Yilmm1#bbcrugby #WALvENG #SixNations ( @mttcrss) pic.twitter.com/toFchuAOmO— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) February 27, 2021 Also make sure you know about the Fixtures, Injuries, Table, Venues, TV Coverage by clicking on the highlighted links. Wales going three from three with Italy next and a team that *loves* momentum: pic.twitter.com/Xsa73JR2wA— Charlie Morgan (@CharlieFelix) February 27, 2021 Rees-Zammit’s face #WALvENG pic.twitter.com/gL4LtLmUuY— EK Rugby Analysis (@ek_rugby) February 27, 2021The opening exchanges of Wales v England was dominated by controversial try decisions and the second score certainly generated a lot of debate – did Rees-Zammit knock on or not? However, as the try stood, you can understand why a feeling of relief (or disbelief) would be written across players’ faces.This was a very meme-friendly moment from the young Gloucester star. All hail the Rees-Zammit gif. Wales 40-24 England pic.twitter.com/dfJgRevNHT— Owen Williams (@OwsWills) February 27, 2021Wales would go on to lift the Triple Crown, winning the match at the Principality Stadium 40-24 – putting 40 points on England for the first time, and also claiming a try-scoring bonus point in the process, too. Referee: “I’m not seeing a knock-on”Louis Rees-Zammit: pic.twitter.com/EL0oOHTpCB— David O’Toole (@David_OToole) February 27, 2021 LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS When you watch Louis Rees-Zammit TikTok #WALvENG pic.twitter.com/PbLEXjdpNY— Issie (@IssieAtch) February 27, 2021 When you think England surely can’t give away as many brain -dead penalties as they did in the first 2 games again…And then realise, actually, yes they can #WALENG pic.twitter.com/7EHuFZ7xHE— Tim Cocker (@cocker) February 27, 2021After the match, England coach Eddie Jones reacted to England’s defeat to Wales, saying of big refereeing calls: “They’re huge decisions, we can’t debate it, we are not allowed to debate it. All I will end up with is a fine and that won’t help anyone. The dog won’t be able to eat its food, the wife won’t be able to eat, so I can’t say anything.“They get points maybe they don’t deserve and we have to fight to get back in the game. It makes it difficult and you have to be good enough to overcome it. They were worthy winners, but we have to be good enough to overcome those, as unusual as they might be.”But there were so many positives for Wales to take from this win, and they now harbour hopes of a Grand Slam.And anyway… just look at that face!Follow our Six Nations homepage which we update regularly with news and features. Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.