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England Announce World Cup Training Squad

Eddie Jones has confirmed his 35-man World Cup training squad and there are some big calls

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(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

England head coach Eddie Jones has confirmed his 35-man training squad for the Rugby World Cup.

The squad which will assemble at the Lensbury Hotel on Sunday, contains Premiership finalists Owen Farrell, Jamie George, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Maro Itoje, Ben Moon, Billy Vunipola, Henry Slade, Harry Williams and Ben Spencer.

While Harlequins prop Joe Marler has been included after making himself available following his retirement from international rugby last year.

Speaking on the selections Jones believes that he has a squad with the ability to win the tournament and has been tracking players over the four-year cycle since the last World Cup.

“We can’t wait to have the full squad in place and to have players competing for those 31 places. It is a process of building the team up, building the cohesion, the tactical understanding of the team and our adaptability. We will need to get those things right to win the World Cup, and that is our aim. World Cup selection is a four-year process. We have looked at the squad carefully, tried to build up a squad that has enough experience, attitude and energy to be winners and I think we have that. In the process, we have left out some players who can feel unlucky. For those guys who have missed out, the door is never closed but they have just got to be ready, as you never know when the opportunity comes,” he said.

The squad has been training for the past two weeks with several players being brought in and cut out, and Jones thinks that the two camps have been hugely positive for the players involved.

“The last two camps have been a head start for us. It has allowed the guys who didn’t play in the semi-finals or final to get some good conditioning work in and also some fundamental skill work so we expect them to set a high standard when the rest of the squad join us on July 7. The players have come in the best physical condition I have ever seen an England squad. The attitude of the players is that they are excited and hungry, they want to do well for themselves, their family and for their country,” he added.

He closed up by discussing his decision to include Marler and admits that although he has been included, he still has a lot to prove if he wants to make the final cut and is also looking forward to the road ahead.

“I saw Joe during the Barbarians’ week and he indicated that he had a desire to come back. We have since had a couple of chats and we have given him the opportunity to do that. Now it is up to him to show us what he has got. For the fans it is the start of the journey so we want you to be with us; we are all in this together. We are looking forward to seeing your support,” he finished.

The initial squad also does not include injured trio George Kruis, Jack Nowell and Mako Vunipola, but they are all continuing their recoveries and will be considered for selection in the final squad.

Meanwhile there are four uncapped players named in Willi Heinz, Lewis Ludlam, Ruaridh McConnochie and Jack Singleton.

England kick-off their World Cup warm-up games against Wales on August 11th before tests against Ireland, Italy and Wales once more.

They will then select their final 31-man World Cup squad and head to Japan.

Check Out the Full 35-man Training Squad Below.

Forwards

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 85 caps)

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 11 caps)

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 10 caps)

Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)

Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 9 caps)

Jamie George (Saracens, 37 caps)

Maro Itoje (Saracens, 27 caps)

Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 58 caps)

Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 71 caps)

Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, uncapped)

Joe Marler (Harlequins, 59 caps)

Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 8 caps)

Brad Shields (Wasps, 8 caps)

Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 22 caps)

Jack Singleton (Saracens, uncapped)

Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby 9 caps)

Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 41 caps)

Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 17 caps)

Mark Wilson (Sale Sharks, 13 caps)

Backs

Danny Cipriani (Gloucester Rugby, 16 caps)

Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 4 caps)

Elliot Daly (Saracens, 30 caps)

Owen Farrell (Saracens, 70 caps)

George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 55 caps)

Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 4 caps)

Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)

Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 40 caps)

Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps)

Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped)

Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps)

Ben Spencer (Saracens, 3 caps)

Ben Te’o (unattached, 18 caps)

Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 32 caps)

Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 33 caps)

Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 85 caps)

In camp for rehabilitation
George Kruis (Saracens, 32 caps)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 53 caps)

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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All Blacks announce new Captain

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(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

All Blacks Press Release:

All Blacks loose forward and Chiefs Captain Sam Cane has been named as the new Captain of the All Blacks.

The news was announced on SKY Sport’s The Breakdown show tonight, with Cane succeeding Kieran Read who retired from the All Blacks after Rugby World Cup 2019.

A natural leader, 28-year-old Cane has played 68 Tests, including 48 starts, since making his debut against Ireland in 2012, aged just 20.

All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster said he was delighted to name Cane as the new captain.

“Sam is an experienced All Black with eight years in the team now and is a ‘follow me’ type of leader and a very good thinker in the game. He has a natural ability to connect with everyone in the team and is straightforward and direct when he needs to be.

“There’s massive respect for Sam amongst the players and management, and he’s perfectly placed to lead the All Blacks into the future.”

Foster said while the All Blacks’ plans for this year were still being worked through due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was an important role for the captain.

“We wanted to confirm Sam now because he’ll play a key role helping us plan for whatever the future looks like and will be working behind the scenes with the other leaders,” Foster said.

Cane said it was a “massive honour” to be given the captaincy.

“It’s a pretty exciting challenge really and as I’ve spent more time in the All Blacks and grown as a player, I’ve become a lot more comfortable being a leader in the team.

“The great thing about the All Blacks is that the leadership group is full of captains and experienced players already, so I’m just really looking forward to working closely with that group and doing my best to lead them and the rest of the squad.”

Cane has already captained the All Blacks on three occasions. He became the 67th Test captain and fifth youngest ever when he captained the team against Namibia at RWC2015 at the age of 23. He also captained the team against Italy in 2016 and against Argentina in Buenos Aires last year.

“My style as captain will be to not really change the way I do things. I’m just myself and will continue to be. I already work on building relationships, especially with the younger guys in the squad, and everyone else connected with the team, so that will continue,” Cane added.

“While we don’t know yet what the rest of the year looks like for the All Blacks, I’m looking forward to catching up with the coaches and other senior players as we firm up our plans.”

Mini biography – Sam Cane

Raised in the small rural Bay of Plenty community of Reporoa, Sam Cane has had an exceptional career since breaking into professional rugby as a teenager. He made his provincial debut for Bay of Plenty in 2010 at just 18 years old and his Super Rugby debut for the Chiefs the following year. In 2011, Cane was also part of the Junior World Championship-winning New Zealand Under 20 side, was the New Zealand Rugby Age Grade Player of the Year and was also nominated for International Age Grade Player award. He helped the Chiefs to the first of their back-to-back Investec Super Rugby titles in 2012 before making his All Blacks debut in June that year aged 20. A devastating tackler and scavenger, he has continued to take his game to new levels in recent seasons. He was co-Captain of the Chiefs for four years taking sole charge this year and has played 116 games for the club. In 2018 Cane fractured his neck during a Test against South Africa and faced months of recovery post-surgery before making a much-anticipated return to the Chiefs in 2019, helping the team through to the Quarter Finals. A Rugby World Cup 2015 champion with the All Blacks, Cane was also part of the RWC2019 squad.

Samuel Jordan Cane

Born: 13 January 1992 in Rotorua
Physical: 1.89m, 106kg
Position: Loose forward
Province: Bay of Plenty
Investec Super Rugby team: Chiefs
Investec Super Rugby appearances: 116
All Blacks Debut: 16 June 2012, vs Ireland in Christchurch, aged 20.
All Blacks Tests: 68 (Three as Captain)
All Blacks Test Points: 65pts (13 tries)
All Black Number: 1113

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Rugby Australia Make Significant Cuts

Following the coronavirus pandemic rugby has been hit hard with no way of playing games and now Rugby Australia have been forced into making cuts in order to retain staff in the long-run

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(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Rugby Australia have confirmed that they will be standing down 75% of their staff in a bid to combat the growing struggles that the coronavirus pandemic is causing.

The workers will be released from tomorrow until the 30th of June due to the lack of finances available to Rugby Australia with the Super Rugby season currently on hold and a strong possibility of the Wallabies summer tests being called off. 

In the worst case possible the organisation are predicting a loss of $120 million due to the virus and speaking on the latest developments the organisation’s chief executive Raelane Castle admitted this was the toughest decision she and her colleagues had ever had to make. 

“Today we have had to deliver the hardest news imaginable to our incredible, hard-working and passionate staff, that many of them will be stood down for a three-month period so that the game can survive this unprecedented crisis. Since the suspension of our proposed domestic Super Rugby competition, we have been working to understand both the immediate and long-term financial implications for the game as a result of the suspension of the competition, and potential further loss of revenue-generating content as we look ahead to the international season. Our extensive modelling shows that as a code, we could lose up to $120 million in revenue should it not be possible for any rugby to be played in 2020. Of course, that is the worst case scenario, and we are very hopeful that we can recommence the Super Rugby season and domestic Wallabies test matches at some point this year. The measures we will implement from April 1, although extremely painful, are necessary to ensure the sport remains financially viable and to ensure that we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully-operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild. It is our priority to keep all of our valued team connected and engaged through this period,” she said. 

Castle’s has already taken a 50% pay cut since the crisis began and the rest of Rugby Australia’s executives will have a 30% reduction in pay. 

It is a tough call to make in order to preserve rugby in Australia and the fear is that things may get worse with a fear that not all four of the country’s Super Rugby franchises will make it through to next season due to the financial losses.

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