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6 Nations

Four Changes to Wales’ Starting XV

Wales have made four changes to their team for their Six Nations game against England this weekend

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(ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has made a total of four changes to his starting XV for his team’s Six Nations clash with England in Twickenham this Saturday at 16 45.

There are two changes each in the backs and forwards, with Josh Navidi and Rob Evans coming into the pack, while Liam Williams and Tomos Williams come into the back-line. 

It is a huge boost for both Liam Williams and Navidi with both set to make their first appearances of 2020 following lengthy spells on the sidelines due to injury. 

Elsewhere, it’s as you were from the defeat to France two weeks’ ago meaning Evans links up with Ken Owens and Dillon Lewis in the front-three, while Jake Ball and captain Alun Wyn-Jones once again start in the engine-room. 

Ross Moriarty opens at blindside-flanker, with Justin Tipuric again on the openside and Navidi comes straight in to take the No 8 jersey. 

Tomos Williams begins the game at scrum-half, with Dan Biggar retained at fly-half, while Hadleigh Parkes and Nick Tompkins continue their partnership in the midfield. 

Liam Williams comes in on the left-wing, with George North recovering from injury to take a spot on the right and Leigh Halfpenny finishes up an experienced back-three from full-back. 

There is a mix of youth and experience on the bench with the likes of Rhys Carre and Johnny McNicholl joining Taulupe Faletau and Rhys Webb among the replacements. 

Speaking ahead of the game Pivac is hoping to bounce back from the loss to France and is delighted to have some key men returning to full-fitness. 

“We’ve had a good two weeks and we are really excited about heading up to Twickenham for what will be a huge Six Nations clash. We have had the chance to put the disappointments of the loss to France behind us and we know heading to London we need to be more clinical in attack and convert the opportunities that we are creating. Liam’s return to full fitness is positive after the loss of Josh (Adams), as is the return of Josh Navidi.  We have been targeting this game for both of their returns and they have trained really well so it’s a great opportunity for them on Saturday,” he said. 

Wales will be hoping to ensure they don’t fall to a third successive defeat in this year’s tournament when they head to their old rivals, but they will be coming up against a tough England team that are looking to keep their championship title hopes alive. 

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below. 

Starting XV: 

15. Leigh Halfpenny (88 Caps)

14. George North (94 Caps)

13. Nick Tompkins (3 Caps)

12. Hadleigh Parkes (28 Caps)

11. Liam Williams (62 Caps)

10. Dan Biggar (82 Caps)

9. Tomos Williams (19 Caps)

1. Rob Evans (38 Caps)

2. Ken Owens (65 Caps)

3. Dillon Lewis (25 Caps)

4. Jake Ball (45 Caps)

5. Alun Wyn Jones (C) (137 Caps)

6. Ross Moriarty (44 Caps)

7. Justin Tipuric (75 Caps)

8. Josh Navidi (23 Caps)

Replacements: 

16. Ryan Elias (12 Caps)

17. Rhys Carre (7 Caps)

18. Leon Brown (9 Caps)

19. Aaron Shingler (26 Caps)

20. Taulupe Faletau (75 Caps)

21. Rhys Webb (32 Caps)

22. Jarrod Evans (6 Caps)

23. Johnny McNicholl (3 Caps)

6 Nations

World Rugby applies 50/22 law trial globally, bolster concussion protocol

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World Rugby announced on Wednesday five law trials which will start next month, including a so-called “50/22” kicking adaptation.

The 50/22 change allows a team to gain a throw-in inside the opposition’s 22-metre area by kicking the ball to touch with at least one bounce from their own half.

The rule was used in recent Super Rugby tournaments and its primary intention is to “encourage the defensive team to put more players in the backfield, thereby creating more attacking space and reducing defensive line speed”, according to the sport’s governing body.

The other laws to come into force on a temporary basis from August 1 include a goal-line drop-out if the ball is held up in the in-goal area, if there is a knock-on from an attacking player in the same area or an attacking kick is grounded by the defenders in their own in-goal.

There are also restrictions on attacking players latching onto team-mates from a ruck and clean-outs which target or drop weight onto the lower limbs at the breakdown.

Michael Hooper with a textbook tackle close out a certain try

The final trial allows for a one-player latch before contact, but the individual must “observe all of the requirements for a first arriving player, particularly the need to stay on their feet”.

World Rugby has also moved to strengthen concussion protocols, with independent specialists set to review cases when Test players return to action after a head injury.

They will launch a panel of Independent Concussion Consultants (ICCs) to provide expert opinion on whether players are ready to return to action after head knocks.

The global governing body will fully fund the process for Test-level competitions, with ICCs asked to rule when players look to return to action 10 days or fewer after a concussion or on players deemed higher risk due to previous head-injury history.

Source – Australia Rugby

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6 Nations

England name 8 new caps for USA clash

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(Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Eddie Jones has named his England team for this weekend’s Test match against USA.

Eight uncapped players are set to make their debuts at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday 4 July (2pm KO).

Lewis Ludlow will captain the side at blind-side flanker, with Sam Underhill at open-side flanker and Callum Chick at No.8.

Ellis Genge (loose-head prop) will be vice-captain and is joined by Curtis Langdon (hooker) and Joe Heyes (tight-head prop) in the front row.

Locks Josh McNally and Charlie Ewels complete the tight five.

Henry Slade, the most-capped player in the squad, will be at outside centre with Ollie Lawrence at inside centre.  Marcus Smith will start at fly half and Harry Randall is at scrum half. 

Freddie Steward is at full back, while Max Malins (left) and Joe Cokanasiga (right) are on the wings in attack.

Among the finishers there are four further uncapped players who could make their first appearance for England – Jamie Blamire, Trevor Davison, Ben Curry and Jacob Umaga.  Beno Obano, Ted Hill, Lewis Ludlam and Dan Robson are also named as finishers.

Jones said: “Over the past three weeks our biggest message to the players is what an opportunity this is to show what they can do and make their mark with England.

“They’ve applied themselves as a group and worked very hard individually during this camp to reach their personal bests.

“Now it’s all about coming together as a team, gelling and putting in a good performance at the weekend.”

England v USA is live on Channel 4, with coverage starting from 1.30pm.

England XV Starters
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
14. Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 38 caps)
12. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, 6 caps)
11. Max Malins (Saracens, 7 caps)
10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, uncapped)
9. Harry Randall (Bristol Bears, uncapped)
1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 28 caps)
2. Curtis Langdon (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
3. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
4. Josh McNally (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
5. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 21 caps)
6. Lewis Ludlow (C) (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 22 caps)
8. Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)

Finishers
16. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)
17. Beno Obano (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)
18. Trevor Davison (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)
19. Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, 1 cap)
20. Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
21. Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 8 caps)
22. Dan Robson (Wasps, 12 caps)
23. Jacob Umaga (Wasps, uncapped)

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6 Nations

James Ryan starts for Ireland v Japan

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Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ireland coaching team have named the Ireland match day squad to face Japan at the Aviva Stadium in the opening fixture of the Vodafone Summer Series.

James Ryan will wear the captain’s armband on Saturday and will be partnered in the second row by Ultan Dillane.

Peter O’Mahony starts on the blindside flank and is joined in the backrow by Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris, who makes his international return after missing the 2021 Six Nations Championships.

The front row is made up of Dave Kilcoyne, Ronan Kelleher and Finlay Bealham.

At half-back Jamison Gibson Park will partner Joey Carbery who returns to the international scene for the first time since the Rugby World Cup in 2019.  Stuart McCloskey and Chris Farrell are paired in midfield while Jacob Stockdale and Jordan Larmour on the wings and Hugo Keenan is at fullback.

The replacements include Rob Herring, Ed Byrne, John Ryan, Ryan Baird, the uncapped  Gavin Coombes, Craig Casey, Billy Burns and Shane Daly.

Last weekend Jamie Joseph’s Brave Blossoms made the British and Irish Lions work hard for their 28-10 victory in Murrayfield.

Five Ireland players – Chris Farrell, Jacob Stockdale, Josh van der Flier, Peter O’Mahony and James Ryan started against Japan in the last encounter between the two sides at the 2019 Rugby World Cup with Dave Kilcoyne, Joey Carbery and Jordan Larmour featuring off the bench that day in Shizuoka.

The match will be televised by RTE (ROI) Channel 4 (NI) and kicks off at 1.00pm.

Vodafone Summer Series 2021

Ireland team to play Japan – 3rd July 2021, Aviva Stadium


15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 11 caps
14. Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 29 caps
13. Chris Farrell (Munster/Young Munster) 14 caps
12. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 4 caps
11. Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) 34 caps
10. Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 22 caps
9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 9 caps
1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 43 caps
2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 11 caps
3. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 14 caps
4. Ultan Dillane (Connacht/Corinthians) 18 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 35 caps captain
6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 75 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 31 caps
8. Caelan Doris (Leinster/UCD) 7 caps

Replacements
16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 21 caps
17. Ed Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 4 caps
18. John Ryan (Munster/Cork Constitution) 23 caps
19. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 3 caps
20. Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) uncapped
21. Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 1 cap
22. Billy Burns (Ulster) 6 caps
23. Shane Daly (Munster/Cork Constitution) 1 cap

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