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Rugby World Cup

World Cup 2019 Preview.

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Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

It’s almost here, all 20 teams are now in Japan and itching to show off their prowess on the field and be crowned the Rugby World Cup Champions 2019. The competition kicks off on Sept 20th with 5 teams divided into 4 Pools, A, B, C, D.

What are the bookmakers saying?

Cup holders, New Zealand, are in Pool B and are pitted against South Africa, Italy, Canada and Namibia. Will the All Blacks make it three in a row? Is it a good thing that they are pitted against the Springboks? And many would love to know if they are worth betting on. Hell yeah, and that’s why you may want to check out this list of betting sites before you place that potentially lucky wager. Right now, the odds favour the All Blacks at 11/1, England at 5/1, South Africa at 9/2 and Wales at 12/1.

Did you know that England could potentially land a big payout if they manage to lift the Web Ellis Cup? That’s a cool £225,000 extra per player if they manage to take home the title which they last won in 2003.  

So we know the favourites, but who’s in pole position to cause an upset in Japan. Read on to find out more info per Pool.

All eyes on Pool B

For starters, All Blacks and Springboks are in the same pool and play each other in their opening game. Is that a good thing? Both are peaking in terms of form and will not meet each other again unless they both the reach final. However, it is important to remember that New Zealand have now suffered an injury setback with loose forward Luke Jacobson out of the reckoning after having suffered an injury due to a delayed onset of concussion, rumours are also circulating that SBW may also be carrying a knock. So, are the All Blacks a bit of a worry and worth a wager? Even though the odds say it all with New Zealand still the bookmaker’s favourite, they’ve drawn against the Springboks recently and had close calls against England and Argentina. Then there was that pretty huge loss 26-47 against Australia which they followed up with a sweet victory in the Bledisloe Cup with a 36-0 win. Do they still have it in them to top the pool? Most certainly!

Pool A – The toughest group to call

Ireland and Scotland have their work cut out as they face host nation Japan, Samoa and Russia. Scotland have had their ups and downs losing to and beating France all within a week. Rewind back to the Six Nations and we saw the Scots come back from 0-31 against England to draw the game at 38 all.

The Irish are previous Grand Slam winners and have also overcome New Zealand twice in recent years but have struggled for consistent form in 2019. Wales gave them a sound thrashing in the Six Nations and England added more salt to their wounds in a warm-up match. Their opening match v Scotland will most likely determine who finishes in top spot in Pool A.

Hosts Japan are likely to have all the possible backing from the crowd. They’ll be targeting their game v Scotland in Tokyo as a must-win game to try and make the knock-out stages!

Pool C – The pool of death

England, find themselves pitted against France and Argentina. Wrapping up the pool are Tonga and the USA. The question is whether the ‘Red Rose’ will bloom or wilt away. The 2018 Six Nations was a disastrous period for England, finishing 5th in the Six Nations. Since then they have had ups and downs but seem to be peaking just at the right time following a huge win over Ireland in Twickenham just a few weeks ago and big-name players hitting peak form. They are certainly favourites to top Pool C.

France, on the other hand have a dismal record away from home. They’ve only managed to record 2 away victories against Italy in the last 2 years out of 15 away games.  Selecting from the Top 14, they have a wide pool of players to choose from and that widened pool often leads to a lack of cohesion and understanding at International Level. French fans will settle for nothing less than reaching the knock-out stages but the French are notorious for raising their performances when it comes to the World Cup.

Argentina, another team who often raises their game at World Cup time will have their work cut out to make the knockout stages. Domestically, they had a fantastic season with the Jaguares reaching the Super Rugby Final for the first team but that form was not translated in the recent Rugby Championship fixtures. This group will certainly be competitive.

Pool D – A more predictable group

Australia and Wales are set to fight it out for first and second in this pool. The Welsh are without fly-half Gareth Anscombe and back up Fly-Half, Rhys Patchell is also a doubt. The Wallabies, on the other hand, haven’t had much to write home about in the last 18 months. Of the 18 games played they’ve dunked 12, so Wales will be gunning for them hoping for another victory after taken their scalp last Autumn. Uruguay, Fiji and Georgia make up the rest of this pool and will have to bring out their best to force an upset. Fiji have an explosive and exciting backline that will no doubt cause any defence problems and the famous Georgian scrum could also cause any pack a few problems!

Let the games begin!

6 Nations

World Rugby to introduce contact training restrictions

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World Rugby

World Rugby and International Rugby Players (IRP) have published new contact training load guidance aimed at reducing injury risk and supporting short and long-term player welfare. The guidance is being supported by national players’ associations, national unions, international and domestic competitions, top coaches and clubs.

Earlier this year, World Rugby unveiled a transformational six-point plan aiming to cement rugby as the most progressive sport on player welfare. These new best-practice guidelines focus on the intensity and frequency of contact training to which professional rugby players should be exposed and have been shaped by consultation with players and coaches as well as leading medical, conditioning and scientific experts.

While the incidence of training injuries is low relative to that of matches, the volume of training performed means that a relatively high proportion (35-40 per cent) of all injuries during a season occur during training, with the majority of these being soft tissue injuries. Since the training environment is highly controllable, the guidelines have been developed to reduce injury risk and cumulative contact load to the lowest possible levels that still allow for adequate player conditioning and technical preparation.

Global study

The guidelines are based on a global study undertaken by IRP of almost 600 players participating across 18 elite men’s and women’s competitions, and a comprehensive review of the latest injury data. This reveals that training patterns vary across competitions, with an average of 21 minutes per week of full contact training and an average total contact load of 118 minutes per week. A more measured and consistent approach to training will help manage the contact load for players, especially those moving between club and national training environments. The research supports minimising contact load in training, in order that players can be prepared to perform but avoid an elevated injury risk at the same time. The guidelines aim to help strike that balance.

New ‘best practice’ training contact guidelines

World Rugby and International Rugby Players’ new framework [https://www.world.rugby/the-game/player-welfare/medical/contact-load] sets out clear and acceptable contact guidelines for training sessions, aiming to further inform coaches – and players – of best practice for reducing injury risk and optimising match preparation in season. The guidance covers the whole spectrum of contact training types, considering volume, intensity, frequency and predictability of contact, as well as the optimal structure of sessions across the typical training week, including crucial recovery and rest periods.

Recommended contact training limits for the professional game are:

  1. Full contact training: maximum of 15 minutes per week across a maximum of two days per week with Mondays and Fridays comprising zero full contact training to allow for recovery and preparation
  2. Controlled contact training: maximum of 40 minutes per week 
  3. Live set piece training: maximum of 30 minutes set piece training per week is advised

The guidelines, which also consider reducing the overall load for players of particular age, maturity and injury profile (in line with the risk factors and load guidance published in 2019), will feature in the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup player welfare standards.

Instrumented mouthguard research programme to inform effectiveness

World Rugby is partnering with elite teams to measure the ‘real life’ effect of these guidelines (in training and matches) and assess the mechanism, incidence and intensity of head impact events using the Prevent Biometics market-leading instrumented mouthguard technology and video analysis to monitor implementation and measure outcomes.

The technology, the same employed in the ground-breaking Otago Rugby Head Impact Detection Study, will deliver the biggest ever comparable bank of head impact data in the sport with more than 1,000 participants across the men’s and women’s elite, community and age-grade levels. The teams that have signed up so far are multiple Champions Cup winners Leinster, French powerhouse Clermont Auvergne and Benetton Treviso while discussions are ongoing with several other men’s and women’s teams across a range of competitions.

World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said: “This important body of work reflects our ambition to advance welfare for players at all levels of the game. Designed by experts, these guidelines are based on the largest study of contact training in the sport, developed by some of the best rugby, performance and medical minds in the game. We believe that by moderating overall training load on an individualised basis, including contact in season, it is possible to enhance both injury-prevention and performance outcomes, which is good for players, coaches and fans.”

World Rugby Director of Rugby and High Performance and former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt added: “Training has increasingly played an important role in injury-prevention as well as performance. While there is a lot less full contact training than many people might imagine, it is our hope that having a central set of guidelines will further inform players and coaches of key considerations for any contact that is done during training.

“These new guidelines, developed by leading experts and supported by the game, are by necessity a work in progress and will be monitored and further researched to understand the positive impact on player welfare. We are encouraged by the response that we have received so far.

“We recognise that community level rugby can be an almost entirely different sport in terms of fitness levels, resources and how players can be expected to train, but the guidelines can be applied at many levels, especially the planning, purpose and monitoring of any contact in training.”

International Rugby Players Chief Executive Omar Hassanein said the guidelines are being welcomed by players: “From an International Rugby Players’ perspective, this project represents a significant and very relevant piece of work relating to contact load. We’ve worked closely with our member bodies in gathering approximately 600 responses from across the globe, allowing us to have sufficient data to then be assessed by industry experts. The processing of this data has led to some quite specific recommendations which are designed to protect our players from injuries relating to excessive contact load. We will continue to work with World Rugby as we monitor the progress of these recommendations and undertake further research in this area.”

Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster, who was involved in reviewing the study and advising the development of the guidelines, said: “We have a responsibility to make the game as safe as possible for all our players. For coaches, optimising training plays a significant role in achieving that objective. It is important that we do not overdo contact load across the week in order that players are fresh, injury-free and ready for match days. These guidelines provide a practical and impactful approach to this central area of player preparation and management.”

Ireland international and IRP Head of Strategic Projects and Research Sene Naoupu said: “While this is the first step of the implementation and monitoring process, it is an incredible outcome that shows just how much players care about this area. It also provides a foundation to review and determine future direction of implementation across the game, within an evidence-based injury-prevention programme for performance and welfare.” 

World Rugby is also progressing a wide-ranging study of the impact of replacements on injury risk in the sport with the University of Bath in England, a ground-breaking study into the frequency and nature of head impacts in community rugby in partnership with the Otago Rugby Union, University of Otago and New Zealand Rugby, and further research specific to the professional women’s game. All of these priority activities will inform the decisions the sport makes to advance welfare for players at all levels and stages.

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Facebook becomes official social media services supplier of Rugby World Cup France 2023

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Source – World Rugby

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6 Nations

Match schedule and match officials confirmed for Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe Qualifier

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World Rugby has confirmed the match schedule and match officials for the Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe qualifier, which will be hosted in Parma’s Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi on 13, 19 and 25 September, 2021.

Scotland kick-off their qualification campaign against Italy on Monday 13 September (kick-off 2pm BST / 3pm local time), before facing Spain on Sunday 19 September (kick-off 5pm BST / 6pm local time). Scotland’s final match of the tournament will see them take on Ireland on Saturday 25 September (kick-off 5pm BST / 6pm local time).

The top team will secure a spot in Pool B at Rugby World Cup 2021, playing in 2022, and the runner-up will enter the Final Qualification Tournament.

An experienced team of match officials have been appointed for the tournament, including Aurelie Groizeleau (FFR), Nikki O´Donnell (RFU), Hollie Davidson (SRU), Clara Munarini (FIR), Maria Beatrice Benvenuti (FIR) and Maria Pacifico (FIR), alongside Television Match Officials Andrea Piardi, Gianluca Gnecchi and Stefano Penne (all FIR).

The opening match day will see Aurelie Groizeleau take charge of Scotland’s meeting with hosts Italy at 15:00 local time, before Nikki O´Donnell oversees Spain against Ireland at 18:00, the first test match between the sides since May 2008.

Hollie Davidson and Aurelie Groizeleau will take charge of day two matches when Italy face Ireland at 15:00, followed by Spain against Scotland at 18:00, respectively. Italy’s only victory in their last 18 meetings with Ireland came at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in February 2019, winning their last meeting on Italian soil 29-27.

While, Hollie Davidson and Clara Munarini will oversee the final match day when hosts Italy face Spain at 15:00, followed by Ireland v Scotland at 18:00 in their first meeting since February 2020. Italy and Spain have not met since Rugby World Cup 2017, Las Leonas winning their pool encounter 22-8 before the Azzurre avenged that defeat by winning their ninth place play-off 20-15.

Nine teams have already confirmed their place at Rugby World Cup 2021, including New Zealand, England, France, Canada, USA, Australia and Wales via their final ranking at Ireland 2017, and South Africa and Fiji who came through the Africa and Oceania regional qualification tournaments respectively.

Rugby World Cup 2021 Tournament Director Alison Hughes said: “We are delighted to confirm the match schedule and a highly qualified team of match officials for what promises to be three exciting and hotly contested matchdays in the Europe Qualifier as all four participating teams will be aiming to claim the prize of a place at Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand alongside the best women’s 15s teams in the world. We continue to work in close partnership with the hosts and all participating unions to ensure we deliver a safe and secure event and give the players the opportunity to showcase their talents on the pitch.”

Source – Scotland Rugby

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