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All Blacks Confirm World Cup Squad

The All Blacks have announced their 31-man squad as they seek a third World Cup in a row and some star names have been left out

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(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has confirmed his team for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in Japan and there are some notable absentees.

The most obvious omission is that of 108-cap prop Owen Franks who was preparing for a third successive World Cup. However, he has been overlooked for young prop Atu Moli as the All Blacks seek a more mobile front-three for the tournament.

Despite reports claiming that back-rower Liam Squire was back in contention to feature at the competition, Hansen has left him behind and has chosen instead to bring Luke Jacobson, who only has a single cap to his name.

Elsewhere, Ngani Laumape has been the centre to miss out as expected with Sonny Bill Williams, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue and Anton Lienert-Brown being preferred to him.

While in the forwards there is no place for either Jackson Hemopo or Vaea Fifita.

Hansen congratulated all those selected and sympathised with the players he was forced to exclude.

“The All Blacks selectors would like to congratulate all those selected for Rugby World Cup 2019.  It’s a special moment being named in any All Blacks squad but especially when it’s the Rugby World Cup and they and their families can be incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved. As always, we’d also like to take a moment to respect the effort and disappointment of those who’ve missed out. It’s a tough time in anyone’s career,” he said.

He went on to discuss how his team’s goal is to lift the Webb Ellis Cup once again but thinks this could be the most challenging World Cup there has ever been.

“Now we are finally in a position to put all our time, effort and thinking into what is going to be an awesome challenge to try and do something that’s never been done before – win three Rugby World Cups in a row. Yes, it will come with massive expectation and therefore pressure.  We’re looking forward to tackling that pressure head on and enjoying everything that comes with it. We know it’ll be tough and that we’ll need to earn the right, every time we play, to continue throughout the Tournament.  However, that’s exciting and knowing we’ve faced that pressure before gives us confidence. There are no guarantees in sport. However, with talent, hard work and mental fortitude, we’ll give ourselves a chance. This Rugby World Cup looks like being the most fiercely-contested yet with a large number of teams all believing they can win.  This will bring possibly more pressure and expectation on them than ever before and it will be interesting to see who can and who can’t cope with it,” he added.

Kieran Read will lead the squad in Japan as he participates in his third global tournament alongside Sonny Bill Williams and Sam Whitelock. While Ben Smith will act as Read’s deputy.

Despite being out of action due to a dislocated shoulder Brodie Retallick has also been included in the squad and will more than likely only be available following the pool stages of the competition.

The reigning back-to-back champions open up their title defence with a huge clash against this year’s Rugby Championship winners South Africa on September 21st, with the most recent game between the two rivals ending in a 16-16 draw.

Following that match they will go on to play Canada, Namibia and Italy in what should be a comfortable route to the quarter-finals for the team.

Check Out the Full 31-Man Squad Below.

Forwards:

Dane Coles (32, Hurricanes / Wellington, 64)

Liam Coltman (29, Highlanders / Otago, 5)

Codie Taylor (28, Crusaders / Canterbury, 44

Nepo Laulala (27, Chiefs / Counties Manukau, 19)

Joe Moody (30, Crusaders /Canterbury, 40)

Atu Moli (24, Chiefs / Tasman, 2)

Angus Ta’avao (29, Chiefs / Taranaki, 7)

Ofa Tuungafasi (27, Blues / Auckland, 29)

Scott Barrett (25, Crusaders / Taranaki, 30)

Brodie Retallick (28, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 77)

Patrick Tuipulotu (26, Blues / Auckland, 24)

Samuel Whitelock (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 111)

Sam Cane (27, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 63)

Luke Jacobson (22, Chiefs / Waikato, 1)

Kieran Read (33, Crusaders / Counties Manukau, 121) – Captain

Ardie Savea (25, Hurricanes / Wellington, 38)

Matt Todd (31, Crusaders / Canterbury, 20)

Backs:

TJ Perenara (27, Hurricanes / Wellington, 58)

Aaron Smith (30, Highlanders / Manawatu, 86)

Brad Weber (28, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 2)

Beauden Barrett (28, Blues / Taranaki, 77)

Richie Mo’unga (25, Crusaders / Canterbury, 12)

Ryan Crotty (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 44)

Jack Goodhue (24, Crusaders / Northland, 9)

Anton Lienert-Brown (24, Chiefs / Waikato, 37)

Sonny Bill Williams (33, Blues / Counties Manukau, 53)

Jordie Barrett (22, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 11)

George Bridge (24, Crusaders / Canterbury, 4)

Rieko Ioane (22, Blues / Auckland, 26)

Sevu Reece (22, Crusaders / Waikato, 2)

Ben Smith (33, Highlanders /Otago, 79)

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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International

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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