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6 Nations

4 Changes for Scotland. Laidlaw benched.

Big names back.

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Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Glasgow Warriors pair Jonny Gray and Tommy Seymour will make their 50th appearance in a Scotland side – that features four changes – against Wales in the Guinness Six Nations this Saturday at BT Murrayfield (kick-off 2.15pm) – live on BBC.

It will also be a 50th start for Seymour – who made his debut against South Africa in the summer of 2013 – while the opportunity comes just five days before Gray – who debuted against the Springboks that autumn – turns 25, making him the second-youngest Scot to reach the milestone.

Scotland Head Coach, Gregor Townsend, paid tribute to the pair he’s coached for both club and country.

“Getting to 50 caps for your country is a milestone in a player’s career and it underlines the consistency and quality both Tommy and Jonny have delivered for Scotland over the years.”
“Tommy has started all his games and has an impressive try-scoring record, which is fundamental element of the game for a winger.

“As well as his finishing ability, his excellent work-rate off-the-ball and outstanding aerial skills have been the key reasons why he’s reached a half century of appearances for Scotland.

“Jonny is an exceptional player who came through as a young man and, by becoming the second-youngest player to win 50 caps, shows just how well he’s played in that relatively short time.

“He has a phenomenal work rate, is a very accurate tackler and takes real pride in helping the team prepare, as well as continually looking for ways to improve his own game.”

Among Scotland’s four starting changes are a new set of half-backs who will look to orchestrate the host’s efforts to secure the Doddie Weir Cup, as Racing 92 stand-off Finn Russell returns from a head injury to start alongside Glasgow Warriors scrum-half Ali Price.

Russell’s return sees Pete Horne move one place outfield to inside-centre – in place of Sam Johnson – to partner fellow Glasgow Warriors centre Nick Grigg, while the inclusion of Price means Greig Laidlaw moves to the bench, with Edinburgh hooker and club captain Stuart McInally taking on the national team responsibility for the third time.

The final change to the backs sees 21-year-old Edinburgh wing Darcy Graham earn his first start in place of injured Saracen Sean Maitland (foot) to join Seymour and clubmate Blair Kinghorn in the back-three.

The only change to the pack is at tighthead where Edinburgh prop Willem Nel returns from a calf injury to form an all-Edinburgh front-row with McInally and loosehead Allan Dell.

They pack down in front of an unchanged back-five where lock Grant Gilchrist partners Gray in the second-row and Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie and Josh Strauss return to the back-row.

There are three further changes to the bench which could see recent squad additions Hamish Watson (back-row), Gordon Reid (loosehead prop) and Byron McGuigan (back three) feature for the first time this campaign.

Townsend added: “While there have been some strong moments in our games this campaign, we have yet to deliver that quality and focus for 80 minutes and play to our potential.

“We have had a couple of weeks since our defeat in Paris to look at ways we can improve our performances, through what we do in training, our tactical approach and through selection.

“First and foremost, we select a team we believe gives us the best chance of winning at the weekend, while we also have an opportunity to reward players who have been in very good form and have been knocking at the door of the team in recent weeks – Darcy Graham and Ali Price especially.

“Greig [Laidlaw], having started in our last six games is a key member of our squad, although this week we have decided to utilise his leadership and experience off the bench. He is driven by a desire to win for his country and he should have an important role to play in the latter stages of the match at the weekend.”

Wales – the world’s third-ranked side – arrive in Edinburgh as the only unbeaten team remaining in the championship and have won 10 in their last 11 Tests against their hosts, with Scotland’s success coming in their last meeting at BT Murrayfield two years ago.

Townsend added: “They [Wales] have a very good record against us and are in excellent form. It’s a similar challenge to the one we faced last year against England, who had also been on a very good run of results in their preceding games.

“We rose that the challenge that day and found a way to win and I firmly believe we can reach that level of performance once again on Saturday.”

Press release from Scotland Rugby

6 Nations

Aviva Stadium To Host Connacht-Ulster Clash Next Month

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Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Connacht Rugby and the URC can confirm the round 5 fixture between Connacht and Ulster will take place at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, October 23 (kick-off 5.15pm).

In what will be a day of celebration at the home of Irish Rugby, the derby game is due to be one of the first professional sporting events in Ireland following the planned relaxing of most remaining restrictions the previous day.

Andy Friend’s men previously played two matches at the ground in August 2020, including a win over Ulster in their first game back since the suspension of the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14.

Connacht can also confirm the following ticket info:

  • All Season Tickets will be valid, with holders provided a complimentary upgrade to Premium Level seats. Emails will be sent to all ST holders tomorrow where they can choose their location in the ground and purchase additional tickets
  • Remaining 1885 Club members will have exclusive access to purchase tickets from Friday for the weekend. As a thank you, these members can also purchase tickets in the Premium Level for the same price as a Category 1 ticket
  • Remaining tickets for the Lower Level and Premium Level will go on General Sale this Monday from 9am

Willie Ruane, CEO of Connacht Rugby, says the day promises to be a memorable occasion.

“Connacht Rugby are really pleased to confirm our fixture against Ulster is to be held at the Aviva Stadium next month,” he announced.

“This will be the first time that our supporters will have the opportunity to watch our professional squad at the Aviva Stadium, and I’m confident that as usual they will turn out in force and make it a memorable occasion.

“With all of the uncertainty surrounding capacities over recent months the opportunity provided to us by the IRFU to play at the Aviva Stadium is one that we felt we could not pass up.

“As we all know there are tens of thousands of people living in Dublin who are originally from the west of Ireland, and we hope to use this game to not only provide our supporters living in the west with the opportunity to make this a memorable day but also for our supporters living outside the province to come along and cheer on their home team.

“We’d like to thank our official supporters club, the Connacht Clan, for their support of this fixture since we first engaged with them last month, as well as the IRFU for their support in helping us to bring this game to the home of Irish Rugby.”

Connacht head coach Friend says the whole squad cannot wait to return to the Aviva, acknowledging: “Our fixture against Ulster at the Aviva last year was a really special occasion.

“At the time it was our first game in six months and for most of the players it was their first experience playing at the stadium.

“You could see straight away that the venue was ideal for the type of rugby we want to play, and that helped give us the win we deserved.

“The prospect of returning there – but this time with thousands of Connacht supporters behind us – is something the staff and players have been fully behind since the start, and we can’t wait until that day arrives.”

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography

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6 Nations

Eddie Jones names 45 man England Squad

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(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

England men’s head coach Eddie Jones has named a 45-player squad for a short training camp.

The group will meet at The Lensbury, Teddington on Sunday 26 September – Tuesday 28 September.

It will be the first time England’s new coaching staff will work with the players, after the appointments of Richard Cockerill, Martin Gleeson and Anthony Seibold over the summer.

There are eight uncapped players named in the squad (Mark Atkinson, Jack Kenningham, Louis Lynagh, Gabriel Oghre, Raffi Quirke, Sam Riley, Bevan Rodd and Ollie Sleightholme). 

Nine players who made their debuts in England’s summer series of fixtures have also been selected (Jamie Blamire, Trevor Davison, Alex Dombrandt, Joe Heyes, Lewis Ludlow, Adam Radwan, Harry Randall, Marcus Smith and Freddie Steward).

There are returns to the squad for senior and experienced players, including England’s second most-capped player Ben Youngs (109 caps), alongside Owen Farrell, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Jonny May and Anthony Watson – all of who have more than 50 caps.

The camp will form part of England’s preparations for the Autumn Nations Series in November.  England will host Tonga [Saturday 6 November, 3.15pm KO], Australia [Saturday 13 November, 5.30pm KO] and world champions South Africa [Saturday 20 November, 3.15pm KO].  All matches will be live on Amazon Prime.

Jones said: “This is an exciting squad made up of experienced players and young guys who did well in the summer and have earned their place again.

“We have left out some experienced players but we’re really clear that the door isn’t closed to them, and we’re looking forward to seeing them work hard to get back into contention.

“We have five campaigns now until the 2023 World Cup so each one counts, and this is a chance for this 45 to impress the new coaching staff.”

Tickets for England v Tonga are on general sale priced from £37 for adults and £22 for children. Tickets can be bought via EnglandRugby.com/Tickets.

Tickets for England v Australia and England v South Africa are on sale now to the rugby family.

FULL SQUAD

FORWARDS

Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 2 caps)
Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons, 2 caps)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 31 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 33 caps)
Trevor Davison (Newcastle Falcons, 1 cap)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 1 cap)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 23 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 30 caps)
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, 2 caps)
Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 9 caps)
Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, 2 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 48 caps)
Jack Kenningham (Harlequins, uncapped)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 87 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 10 caps)
Lewis Ludlow (Gloucester Rugby, 2 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 72 caps)
George Martin (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap)
Beno Obano (Bath Rugby, 3 caps)
Gabriel Oghre (Wasps, uncapped)
Sam Riley (Harlequins, uncapped)
Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 44 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 24 caps)

BACKS

Mark Atkinson (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 93 caps)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 4 caps)
Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, 7 caps)
Louis Lynagh (Harlequins, uncapped)
Max Malins (Saracens, 8 caps)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 6 caps)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 66 caps)
Raffi Quirke (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons, 1 cap)
Harry Randall (Bristol Bears, 2 caps)
Dan Robson (Wasps, 14 caps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 40 caps)
Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 2 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 2 caps)
Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 43 caps)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 51 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 109 caps)

ENDS

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6 Nations

Ireland Host One Day Camp at IRFU HPC

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Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Andy Farrell and his coaching team have assembled a group of 50 players for a one day camp at the IRFU’s High Performance Centre at the Sport Ireland Campus in Dublin.

The Ireland men’s squad have an action packed 12 months ahead with games against  Japan, New Zealand and Argentina at the Aviva Stadium in the Autumn Nations Series in November.

In February and March there are tricky away games against England and France in the 2022 Six Nations Championships while Ireland host Wales, Italy and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium.

In July 2022 the team are also due to play a three Test tour against the All Blacks in New Zealand.

Robert Baloucoune scores a try against the USA in the Vodafone Summer Series at the Aviva Stadium

During the summer Ireland recorded victories over Japan (39-31) and the USA (71-10) while capping nine new players – Robert Baloucoune, Caolin Blade, Paul Boyle, Harry Byrne, Gavin Coombes, James Hume, Tom O’Toole, Nick Timoney and Fineen Wycherley

Also during this period Jack Conan, Tadgh Furlong and Robbie Henshaw started all three Tests for the British and Irish Lions against South Africa while Conor Murray featured in all three games starting the second Test.  Tadhg Beirne was a replacement in the first two Tests and Bundee Aki started the series decider.

Ireland’s Autumn Nations Series games at the Aviva Stadium will be televised on RTE (ROI) and Channel 4 (NI).  The IRFU will finalise stadium capacity for these games following direction from government in October.

Backs (23)
Will Addison (Ulster/Enniskillen) 5 caps
Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 31 caps
Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen) 1 cap
Caolin Blade (Connacht/Galwegians) 1 cap
Billy Burns (Ulster) 7 caps
Harry Byrne (Leinster/Lansdowne) 1 cap
Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 24 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 3 caps
Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 25 caps
Shane Daly (Munster/Cork Constitution) 2 caps
Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 93 caps
Chris Farrell (Munster/Young Munster) 15 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 10 caps
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 52 caps
James Hume (Ulster/Banbridge) 1 cap
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 13 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 30 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 6 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 5 caps
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 89 caps
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 34 caps
Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 99 caps
Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) 35 caps

Forwards (27)
Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 5 caps
Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 16 caps
Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 22 caps
Paul Boyle (Connacht/Buccaneers) 1 cap
Ed Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 6 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 20 caps
Will Connors (Leinster/UCD) 9 caps
Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps
Ultan Dillane (Connacht/Corinthians) 19 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 9 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 49 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 109 caps
Dave Heffernan (Connacht/Buccaneers) 6 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 63 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 22 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 13 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 45 caps
Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 76 caps
Eric O’Sullivan (Ulster/ Banbridge) 1 cap
Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 1 cap
Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 37 caps
Rhys Ruddock (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 27 caps
James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 37 caps
John Ryan (Munster/Cork Constitution) 24 caps
Nick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge) 1 cap
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 32 caps
Fineen Wycherley (Munster/Young Munster) 1 cap

Autumn Nations Series

IRELAND v Japan
Aviva Stadium, Saturday 6th November, 2021

IRELAND v New Zealand
Aviva Stadium, Saturday 13th November, 2021

IRELAND v Argentina
Aviva Stadium, Sunday 21st November, 2021

2022 Guinness Six Nations Championship

IRELAND v Wales
Aviva Stadium, Saturday 5th February, 2022

France v IRELAND
Stade de France, Saturday 12th February, 2022

IRELAND v Italy
Aviva Stadium, Sunday 27th February, 2022

England v IRELAND
Twickenham Stadium, Saturday 12th March, 2022

IRELAND v Scotland
Aviva Stadium, Saturday 19th March, 2022

2022 Summer Tour

New Zealand v IRELAND
TBC

New Zealand v IRELAND
TBC

New Zealand v IRELAND
TBC

Source –  Irish Rugby

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