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Ireland Climb in Latest World Rankings

Ireland have had the biggest boost in the latest World Rugby Rankings ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw later this year

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Ireland have leapfrogged Wales in the latest World Rugby Rankings of the the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw in November of this year.

The boys in green have taken over the No 4 spot in the rankings following their 24-14 win over Wales in the Six Nations over the weekend, with their opponents dropping down to fifth. 

It is a major boost for the Irish and gives them something to hold on to heading into the rest of this year’s fixtures as they are now currently in the top seeds ahead of the draw for the pool stages of France 2023. 

World Rugby announced recently that they will hold the draw later this year meaning that teams will have less time to climb the rankings than last time around when they had 18 months between the previous World Cup and the draw for the next one. 

A total of twelve teams will head into the draw as seeds in three brackets with the top four in the rankings being first seeds, meaning as of now Wales would be second seeds along with France, Australia and Japan. 

While Scotland, Argentina, Italy and Fiji are in the third bracket, with the remainder of the teams to be decided through different qualifiers over the next three years. 

Elsewhere in the rankings Georgia have moved up ahead of Italy, following the former’s latest two defeats in the Six Nations, while the biggest risers have been Portugal, who have moved from 22nd to 20th, but Russia have dived from 20th to 25th. 

Ireland will be hoping to continue their perfect start to the Six Nations campaign when they take on the third-ranked team England away from home, whom they may look to overtake in the rankings before the draw. 

It is certainly heating up between the Six Nations teams as they try to be the best-placed behind South Africa and New Zealand, who take the first and second spots, but won’t play until the summer.

International

Jones Set for Pay Cut

England head coach Eddie Jones is set to be asked to take a pay cut during the current coronavirus outbreak according to reports

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England head coach Eddie Jones will be asked to take a 25% pay cut due to the coronavirus outbreak according to the PA news agency.

The Rugby Football Union have already cut the wages of their executive team by the same amount and the organisation are expecting revenue losses of up to £50 million over the next 18 months due to the virus. 

Jones has the highest salary of all international coaches with a yearly wage of around £750,000 and it is believed that talks are to be held with him and his coaching staff in the coming days to reduce that. 

The former Japan head coach is currently heading into the final year of his contract which runs out come July 2021 and it remains to be seen whether he will be asked to lead England into the 2023 French Rugby World Cup

Meanwhile, a number of Jones’ English stars have already taken pay cuts at their respective clubs following the outbreak. However, some reports claim that players will be taking legal action against their clubs over these cuts. 

With the timeline of recovery from the overall virus unknown rugby is heading into the future with no return date and as such it is unclear how long or far these reductions will have to go to keep organisations afloat.

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World Rugby Cancels Several Tournaments

World Rugby have announced the cancelation of a number of tournaments due to the coronavirus outbreak

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World Rugby have confirmed that several tournaments have been pushed back or cancelled due to the outbreak of coronavirus across the world.

Among the changes are Sevens tournaments, U20 World Cup campaigns and qualifying events for certain competitions. 

The worldwide rugby body released a statement earlier today outlining their plans for the foreseeable future. 

“After detailed and constructive dialogue with the respective host and participating unions, and with the wellbeing of the global rugby family at heart, the following events have been postponed:

  • The men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments in London and Paris will be postponed, provisionally until September;
  • The women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in Langford has been postponed until later in the year;
  • The final men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series event has been postponed until later in the year;
  • Some Rugby World Cup 2021 and 2023 regional qualifying events have been postponed;

In addition, the following event has been cancelled: The World Rugby U20 Championship 2020, scheduled to be hosted in northern Italy in late June and July, has been cancelled following detailed consultation with the Federazione Italiana Rugby. The Olympic Games Repechage qualification tournament scheduled for June is under review and World Rugby continues to be in close consultation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the implications for the qualification process in the event that the repechage is unable to be hosted due to the covid-19 outbreak. The World Rugby Hall of Fame, located in Rugby, will be closed until the end of May in line with public health authority directives,” the statement read. 

The pandemic is causing havoc among the rugby community with both the Irish and English Rugby Football Unions calling a close on their domestic competitions for this season bar the PRO14 and English Premiership, which remain under review. 

Elsewhere, the Six Nations was unable to be concluded in its normal time frame due to the postponement of fixtures, with further disruption expected among the international game. 

In other league news the French Top 14 has been suspended and Super Rugby has done the same, however, the Australian sides are set to play against one another over the coming weeks.  

The dates resumption of the current campaigns remain unknown with the pandemic stopping everything in and out of sport.

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All Blacks’ Foster in Self-Isolation

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has confirmed that he is in self-isolation following the coronavirus outbreak

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All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has confirmed that he is in self-isolation following the coronavirus outbreak as a precaution.

The former Kiwi assistant coach who was promoted to the top job last year, was discussing his own situation with Stuff and admitted both he and his wife, Leigh are putting themselves through self-isolation after returning home from a trip to Europe. 

“I was supposed to be going down to speak at the Scarlets club and watch the Wales-Scotland game when we woke up and realised we had to either get on a train to Wales or a train to Heathrow. So we got on the train to Heathrow. Then we were going to come home via San Diego for two days to see my daughter at university, and by the time we got to LA the university had shut anyway, and she was jumping on a plane herself. So we got home Saturday morning, on Sunday morning we went back up to Auckland airport to pick her up, we did a grocery shop and that’s the last that time I’ve been out of the house,” he said. 

The head coach had been in Europe attending a World Rugby working group, and as mentioned above had further plans in line while in the northern hemisphere, but had a manic rush to get back to his homeland before New Zealand implemented travel restrictions. 

Foster continued on to admit that he had gone into self-isolation following advice from his side’s team doctor. 

“I wasn’t really comfortable going straight to moving around because when you go out you’re shaking hands and doing that sort of stuff. It’s not a good look. [Dr Page] said the best thing to do is stay at home for a week anyway. Halfway through that we’ve extended the time period which I think is smart. It was too simple walking through our borders in many ways and I kept thinking ‘oh, this doesn’t actually feel that comfortable’. I’m glad we made that decision, and now it’s just as easy to add another week on it. I’ve never spoken as much on the phone in my life,” he added. 

The main thing is that he and his family appear to be upbeat after so far avoiding the virus and he is hopeful that his team can play out their summer fixtures this year. 

However, that seems unlikely with this year’s Super Rugby campaign currently suspended along with several other leagues around the world and the belief is that those club seasons will take priority over international fixtures in the coming weeks and months.

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