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England and Wales Make Changes for Second Test

Both England and Wales have made changes for their second World Cup warm-up game

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(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

England and Wales have announced their teams for the second of their two tests against one another ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

The Welsh are looking to bounce-back following last weekend’s 33-19 loss to the English and have only made three changes to starting line-up.

Following Gareth Anscombe’s injury last Sunday, which has left him out of the World Cup, Dan Biggar has been selected at fly-half.

Elsewhere, James Davies comes into the back-row and will play with older brother Jonathan for the first time in a Welsh jersey.

Jake Ball is the only other change to the side as he joins captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second-row, with the rest of the side remaining the same.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is hoping that his team will be able to come back after last weeks’ loss and admitted his squad’s disappointment in the ending of their 14-game winning streak.

“This weekend is another opportunity for us to take the field, test ourselves and continue our preparation for Japan. It is a little over five weeks until we kick off our campaign in Toyota against Georgia and it is important we are fully prepared and rugby-ready by then. We were disappointed to get the loss last weekend so it is important we step it up on Saturday and put in a big display in front of a packed Principality Stadium. The squad are looking forward to getting back out there, taking another step towards the RWC and putting in a big performance,” he said.

The visitors have also made three changes to their starting XV with Ruaridh McConnochie set for his first start a week late after being named in the team last weekend before withdrawing through injury.

There are returns to the line-up for the experienced duo of Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes, meaning that Lewis Ludlam moves to openside flanker.

There is also plenty of experience on the bench too with Owen Farrell, Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler all in line for their first piece of action in the World Cup warm-ups.

England head coach Eddie Jones is looking forward to the match and insists that there is a strategy in place for the rotation of players.

“Our selection strategy for our second game is similar to the first, so a bit of a mix-and-match approach. We are looking at different combinations and have a particular strategy for this game. The game is very much about ourselves preparing for the World Cup and we are respectful that we have got such strong opposition at their home ground. We are looking forward to it. The squad has been progressing well this week and I think there is a realisation among the squad now that the hard work really starts, nothing has been achieved,” he said.

The game will be the second test between the two sides in the past week, with both building momentum ahead of the Rugby World Cup. There is plenty at stake for both teams with England hoping to defeat the Six Nations Grand Slam champions in back-to-back games while Wales will be seeking revenge following last week’s loss to their old rivals.

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squads Below.

Wales:

15. Liam Williams (Saracens) (56 Caps)

14. George North (Ospreys) (84 Caps)

13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (74 Caps)

12. Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (16 Caps)

11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues) (11 Caps)

10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints) (71 Caps)

9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (42 Caps)

1. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (29 Caps)

2. Ken Owens (Scarlets) (65 Caps)

3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (41 Caps)

4. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (33 Caps)

5. Alun Wyn Jones (C) (Ospreys) (126 Caps)

6. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (9 Caps)

7. James Davies (Scarlets) (3 Caps)

8. Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (32 Caps)

Replacements:

16. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (19 Caps)

17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (13 Caps)

18. Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues) (13 Caps)

19. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (18 Caps)

20. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (16 Caps)

21. Aled Davies (Ospreys) (17 Caps)

22. Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues) (1 Cap)

23. Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (14 Caps)

England:

15 Elliot Daly (Saracens, 31 caps)

14 Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped)

13 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 41 caps)

12 Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)

11 Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 5 caps)

10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 56 caps) C

9 Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)

1 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 10 caps)

2 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 12 caps)

3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 86 caps)

4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 59 caps)

5 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 27 caps)

6 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 72 caps)

7 Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 1 cap)

8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 42 caps)

Replacements:

16 Jamie George (Saracens, 37 caps)

17 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 59 caps)

18 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 22 caps)

19 George Kruis (Saracens, 33 caps)

20 Jack Singleton (Saracens, 1 cap)

21 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 86 caps)

22 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 70 caps)

23 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 33 caps)

International

New Springboks Head Coach Announced

The Springboks have confirmed their new coach and his coaching staff

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(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The Springboks have confirmed that Jacques Nienaber has been promoted from assistant coach to head coach.

Nienaber takes over from World Cup winning coach Rassie Erasmus, who has moved to the director of rugby role and the new head coach will report directly to Erasmus in his new position. 

Speaking on the unveiling Erasmus believed that Nienaber is the perfect man to take over from him due to his experience with the side already. 

“Jacques is highly experienced and has worked with the Springboks on three separate occasions now so knows exactly what the job is about. Jacques will be responsible for the Test match preparation and day-to-day team operations but, as the director of rugby, I will be with the team for the majority of the time and in the coaches’ box with Jacques at matches. I’ll still be responsible for the strategy and results with Jacques taking operational control. The structure allows the director of rugby to spend more time on other aspects of the role,” he said. 

Nienaber himself is delighted to have the chance to manage the reigning World Cup holders and is looking forward to the challenge ahead. 

“This is a massive honour and responsibility, but I have a good understanding of what it entails, especially in this new structure. I’ve worked with Rassie in a coaching capacity for nearly two decades now and we have a very good idea of how each of us thinks and as I’ll still be reporting to him our working relationship won’t be changing. It’s a big step-up for me in terms of carrying the day-to-day leadership role and there will be other adjustments but in many ways, it will also be business as usual. We’ve built up a good culture over the past two years and we’ll simply be looking to extend that,” he said. 

Elsewhere, there is a tactical shuffle of coaches with Nienaber’s promotion as Mzwandile Stick coming into the assistant coach role, while former Ireland international Felix Jones remains in the set-up, but is now a European-based coaching consultant. 

There are two new appointments as well in the coaching set-up with Deon Davids and Daan Human, the Bulls scrum coach, sharing the role of the forwards coach, taking over from Matt Proudfoot. 

The changes are at a minimal to try and keep the harmony with the current squad following their incredible season last year and they will be hoping to continue where they left off later this year.

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Borthwick Confirms New Job Already

Steve Borthwick confirmed his departure from the England set-up yesterday and less than 24 hours his new role has been announced

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Leicester Tigers have confirmed that England assistant coach Steve Borthwick will take over as head coach once his current commitments to the national side conclude.

It is a move that has been rumoured for some time and with Borthwick announcing his departure from the England set-up yesterday after over four years with them, many expected that he would be heading in the Tigers direction. 

However, the speed at which the confirmation has come about is the only surprise, but the former England international is delighted to be given the chance to manage the Tigers after learning so much from working with Eddie Jones since 2012. 

“The last four-and-a-half years working with the England team has been an incredible journey. I have worked with some brilliant players and staff. In particular, I would like to thank Eddie Jones. To have worked with one of the greatest head coaches in the world for so long has been an unbelievable experience. I’m delighted to be joining Leicester Tigers as head coach. The Tigers have such a long and successful history and are one of the greatest rugby clubs in the game. Welford Road, with the special atmosphere created by the club’s incredible supporters roaring their team forward, is a very special place to be. We must now work to build upon that great history and create our future to get this club to the top of European rugby. It is a brilliant challenge and I am excited to start working with the players and everybody associated with the team. Geordan provides a link with the club’s greatest teams and we will be working together to ensure that there are many successful days ahead for this club, and for our supporters to enjoy,” he said. 

He will be welcomed into the club with open arms after being part of the Japanese national set-up that stunned the world at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, before switching to England where he has won two Six Nations titles and reached a World Cup final. 

His arrival sees current head coach Geordan Murphy changes his role at the club, taking up the position of director of rugby and club chairman Peter Tom believes that the two former stars can build back a Tigers team that has struggled lately. 

“The appointment of Steve Borthwick as head coach and Geordan Murphy in the role of director of rugby provides an exciting combination of leadership, expertise and experience to drive the club forward in its desire to challenge for major honours again. The club has enjoyed many of its greatest successes with a blend of the Tigers DNA alongside fresh, innovative ideas from outside, both among the players and the coaching staff, and we look forward to Geordan and Steve leading that in their respective new roles,” he said. 

Both Borthwick and Murphy will be hoping to bring the Premiership side back to the top level of the game come next season, but before then they have their separate tasks, with Borthwick guiding England through the upcoming Six Nations, while Murphy attempts to take the Tigers further up the Premiership table.

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England Coach Set for Departure

England have confirmed that one of their coaches will leave at the end of the season and they already have his replacement sorted

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England have confirmed that assistant coach Steve Borthwick will leave his role come the end of the season.

The 57-cap former England international has been involved with head coach Eddie Jones since 2012, having previously held the role of Japan’s forwards coach. 

However, in 2016 the two left for England, during which time they have picked up two Six Nations crowns and made it to the Rugby World Cup final last year, but Borthwick admits following the tournament in Japan he made the decision to call time on his current role. 

“I am very proud of what we have achieved as a team since 2016, culminating in a Rugby World Cup Final last year. Having come back from Japan, spent time with my family and reflected on my time with England, I have decided to step away from the role towards the end of the season,” he said. 

As well as his time with England, Borthwick was also part of the coaching set-up during the British and Irish Lions drew with New Zealand in 2017. 

Speaking on his departure head coach Eddie Jones praised his assistant’s impact and confirmed he will be missed around the camp. 

“I have had a great seven years with Steve. He is a loyal, hard-working and analytical coach but I understand he needs now to get out on his own following this campaign. He’s made that decision and we are really pleased for him. He created a great lineout for England and really developed the young guys. If you look at someone like Maro Itoje, he’s become a world-class lock under Steve. He has also turned our maul into a weapon for us and he’s done brilliant work co-ordinating the England programme. We will miss him greatly,” he said. 

The Rugby Football Union have already announced that Jason Ryle will take on the position in November and he is delighted to have the opportunity. 

 “I am really excited about the opportunity to work in a world-class programme with the England national team and someone like Eddie with his experience is very appealing for me. It will be a real honour to work with some of the best coaches and so many quality England player,” he said. 

Ryle is currently the assistant coach at Australian rugby league side Melbourne Storm, where he has been since 2016, but this will be a huge step up for him. 

Meanwhile, it is expected that Borthwick will head to Leicester when he does leave the England team, in what would be a massive boost for the Premiership outfit. 

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