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Autumn Nations Cup

Townsend names Scottish XV to face Italy

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(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

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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

Paul O’Connell Joins Ireland Coaching Group

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Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Former Ireland captain Paul O’Connell has joined the Ireland national coaching group as forwards coach with Simon Easterby to focus on defence.

Paul was capped 108 times by Ireland and captained the team to Six Nations success in 2014.  O’Connell’s distinguished playing career also included seven Test match appearances for the British & Ireland Lions across three tours and two Heineken Cup titles with Munster.

Since retiring from playing in 2015, Paul has held coaching positions with the Munster Academy, Ireland Under-20s and Top 14 side Stade Francais.

O’Connell commented:

“I am really looking forward to working with Andy and the rest of the coaching group. I worked with Simon as a player and am looking forward to working with him again. It’s an exciting young group of players to be involved with and there are talented forwards coming through across the four provinces that will no doubt be pushing for international selection in the coming months and years.”

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell commented:

“Paul brings a wealth of rugby knowledge with him and as forwards coach he will have responsibility for the forwards including the line-out working alongside John (Fogarty). He will also be another strong voice and leader within the group.

“Simon (Easterby) has a real passion for defence and having developed Ireland’s forward play over the past six years with the additional responsibility for the defence over the past 12 months, he will now be able to focus his energy and rugby intellect on this area of our game.

“The weekend’s Interpro games and the European fixtures in the weeks ahead will give players the opportunity to push for selection for the Six Nations squad. The squad will not be selected until after the Champions Cup Round 4 fixtures have been completed.”

IRFU Performance Director, David Nucifora, commented: “Paul is a young Irish coach with a huge amount of international rugby experience. We have been keen to find the right opportunity for him within Irish Rugby and we think the fit with the national squad will work well. He joins the national coaching group with immediate effect as they prepare for the upcoming Six Nations Championship.”

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Autumn Nations Cup

One new cap named in Ireland squad for Scotland play-off.

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The Ireland Coaching Team have named their Match Day squad as Scotland come to the Aviva Stadium for Saturday’s final Guinness Series game in the Autumn Nations Cup. (Kick-off 2.15pm).

The uncapped Ulster Rugby prop, Eric O’Sullivan, who was called up to Andy Farrell’s squad in recent weeks, is set to make his Ireland debut as he is named amongst the replacements for the Play-Off game.

Johnny Sexton returns to captain the side and is re-united with Conor Murray at half-back. Robbie Henshaw also returns to line out at inside centre with his old provincial partner Bundee Aki at outside centre.


The back three is unchanged from last weekend’s win over Georgia, with Jacob Stockdale at fullback and Keith Earls and Hugo Keenan on the wings.


Up front, Cian Healy packs down alongside Rob Herring and Andrew Porter. James Ryan and Iain Henderson continue in the second row and the back row is made up of Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander and Caelan Doris.

O’Sullivan is joined in the replacements by Ronan Kelleher, John Ryan, Quinn Roux and Josh van Der Flier, while Jamison Gibson Park, Ross Byrne and Chris Farrell provide the back line cover.


Kick-off at the Aviva Stadium is at 2.15pm and the game is being televised by RTÉ and Amazon Prime (UK only).

Scotland have also named their team to face Ireland this weekend:

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