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The Honey Badger is back!

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Nick Cummins AKA ‘The Honey Badger’ is set to make his return to the pitch later this month.

The Badge will be joined by a trio of World Cup-winning All Blacks who have been named as part of a World XV outfit to take on the Western Force in Perth on March 22.

Former Force stars Cummins and Digby Ioane will feature for the World XV, as well as former All Blacks Andy Ellis, Wyatt Crockett, and Corey Flynn and Springbok Gio Aplon.

Coaching the side will be former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans. The squad features players from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, South Africa and Tonga.

The World XV side will have only 4 days to prep for the game. Most of the players will not hav experienced the rule variations of Global Rapid Rugby.

Deans is confident his team will be ready to put on a show.

“We have achieved wins off similar time frames in terms of preparation against the Japanese Test side and the players we have selected for this game won’t lack for motivation,”

“In a few short years, this team has built up an outstanding history to the extent that many who have played have said afterwards the experience ranked up there with the most enjoyable of their careers.”

Billionaire mining tycoon Andrew Forrest has had to put back his plans for his Global Rapid Rugby competition launch after running out of time to have the competition put in place.

The Force will now play a mini exhibition series against sides from the Asia and Pacific region with the Rapid Rugby Comp now due to launch in 2020.

WORLD XV SQUAD

Gio Aplon (South Africa), Yoshikazu Fujita (Japan), Nick Cummins (Australia), Digby Ioane (Australia), Dylan Riley (Australia), Inga Finau (New Zealand), Kosei Ono (Japan), Leon Fukofuka (Tonga), Andy Ellis (New Zealand, captain), Leonardo Senatore (Argentina), Hugh Renton (New Zealand), Michael Curry (New Zealand), Shota Fukui (Japan), Michael Oakman-Hunt (Australia), Jack Cornelsen (Australia), Hamish Dalzell (New Zealand), Tom Moloney (Australia), Chris King (New Zealand), Shohei Hirano (Japan), Wyatt Crockett (New Zealand), Greg Pleasants-Tate (New Zealand), Corey Flynn (New Zealand)

It’s great to see the Badge Back again after famously leaving Australian Rugby in 2014 to put his families needs over his own.

Check out ‘The Honey Badger’s’ Best Bits:

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Injuries Are Not on the Rise in Rugby and Concussion is Decreasing

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This week many in the rugby world met to discuss a dedicated player welfare and laws symposium in Marcoussis.

The aim is to ensure that players health and fitness is prioritised over everything. It’s first step is to shape the game post Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and the underpinning consideration is to reduce the risk of injury.

Members from unions, professional leagues, leading medics, researchers, scientists, players, coaches and lawmakers came together for the three-day event and evaluated data they have collected over the last cycle in order to make the next cycle as successful as possible.

They found that since 2014 the overall ball in play time has increased by 14% to 39 minutes, which subsequently means that the number of tackles, rucks and passes per game have increased.

The data which is taken from 22 elite competitions across the globe also found that the overall number of injuries has not increased, and concussion has actually dropped by 14% over the 2017/18 season.

This is the first time that concussion has dropped in the sport.

The tackle was found to account for 50% of all injuries, although that figure is decreasing. However, the tackle accounts for 76% of all concussions, with 72% of all concussions sustained are by the tackler.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont talked through the plan they hope to implement over the four-years following Japan.

“The objective of the symposium was to bring together playing, coaching, medical and law experts to identify and explore potential law changes to further injury-prevention while promoting game simplicity, accessibility and spectacle. We have made great progress in recent years. While it is evident from the latest detailed data that ball in play time and the number of tackles is increasing in elite rugby, the overall injury rate is not increasing globally and the concussion rate appears to be decreasing for the first time,” he said.

He also added that this is the first step in progressing player welfare within the game.

“However, we always strive to do more to protect our players and reduce the risk of injury. This forum was an important first collaborative step and the delegates identified a number of recommendations for our rugby committee to consider,” he said.

The outcomes of the symposium include a law trail; With injury-prevention at the heart of the new four-year quadrennial law review cycle, the delegates proposed a number of evidence-based areas for potential law for trial, which World Rugby will now evaluate in detail via the expert law review group.

A law application; World Rugby to implement a high tackle sanctioning framework to promote sanction consistency and public understanding.

The training loads of a player will now be noted starting in this year’s World Cup as players must have a “load passport” in which everything is logged to ensure the best-practice training load.

Injury surveillance that was implemented on January 1st which states a HIA must include; a) undertake detailed injury surveillance in line with World Rugby standards to create one comprehensive annual set of comparable and definitive global data, b) operate a match day doctor at every match, c) implement minimum video review standards and d) enable World Rugby representation on any HIA review panel.

Unions are now encouraged to adopt the Activate injury-prevention warm-up programme that was developed by the RFU and the University of Bath. This found a 50% decrease in concussions and a 40% reduction in injuries when used at least three times a week.

There will be more education at all levels on the tackle to continue the reduction of injuries in the area.

It is great to see the game become safer and hopefully with meetings and plans like this it continues in the right direction.

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French Rugby to trial new tackle laws. Banning 2 players hits.

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French Federation Rugby

French Rugby Federation’s (FFR) technical director Didier Retiere has announced that amateur rugby clubs in France will trial law changes next season which will see the enforcement of a lower tackle height and the banning of a 2 player tackle.

“We’re going to work on lowering the height of the tackle down to the waist and we are aiming to prohibit two-man tackles,” Retiere said at a Player Welfare and Law Symposium organised by the FFR and World Rugby in Paris.

“We have been given the green light for amateur competitions with youngsters and adults and we’re waiting for the green light to eventually bring the changes into the academy competitions,”

It has been a traumatic period in French rugby of late with four young players losing their lives since last May in France including Stade Francais teenager Nicolas Chauvin who died following a neck break and Aurillac’s 21-year-old Louis Fajrowski who died following a heavy tackle.

In December of last year the FFR offered to trial the idea in their amateur competitions.

Retiere, who formely was an assistant coach with France between 2007-2011, explained the development was with a view to improving the quality of play.

“Tackling around the shorts allows the ball carrier to off-load and allows them to break the line,”

“Defensive lines will have to put two or three players in the back-field so we could have less players in front line of defence.”

World Rugby has previously trialled lowering the tackle height from the shoulder to nipple line during U20 World Rugby Trophy in Romania.

The proposals are part of eight different law variations which World Rugby plans to trial in competitions across the globe in a 4-year cycle after the World Cup which ends early November.

World Rugby chief executive officer Brett Gosper revealed outcomes of the trials could be delivered in 12 months’ time.

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“Relatively quickly in the first half of next year we can already get some results, hopefully positive on some of these changes,” he told AFP.

“Those law trials will go through the Laws Review group and the Rugby Committee before being discussed and maybe even improved in some aspects of it.”

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Latest Argentina announcement is bad news for England.

Group of death.

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Photo by JUAN JOSE GASPARINI/AFP/Getty Images

Argentinian head coach Mario Ledesma has confirmed that the country will be using their European-based players during this year’s World Cup in Japan.

The Pumas have mostly used the players of the Jaguares team in recent years, however that has changed under Ledesma and he has made it known that he wants all his players ready for the tournament.

“It’s time to make things clear: we will not give away any more. We do not have to negotiate with European clubs on the release of internationals. When we want players, we will take them for four or five months if the need arises. If the French clubs want to continue to pay fortunes for these players, it’s their choice! And it does not matter if it falls on a championship final or a super important European Cup match,” he said.

His announcement means that they can now call upon the likes of Juan Imhoff (Racing) Santiago Cordero (Exeter), Juan Figallo (Saracens), Ramiro Herrera (Stade Francais), Mariano Galarza (Bordeaux), Facundo Isa (Toulon), Nicolás Sánchez (Stade Francais) and Benjamín Urdapilleta (Castres) to bolster their team.

The news will send a message to the other members of their pool which includes England, France, Tonga and the USA. The Pumas are heading in all guns blazing and that is a worry for everyone else.

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