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Rugby World Cup

Fiji Lose Key Coach as Budget Overspent

Fiji are a coach down with only months until the World Cup after the country’s rugby union has overspent their budget

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(Photo credit BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

Fiji will be without their defence coach Peter Ryan as they prepare for the World Cup in Japan as the nations Rugby Union has overspent its World Cup Budget. 

The financial situation surrounding the country’s rugby union appears to have forced head coach John McKee to call time on Ryan’s contract.

Ryan took to social media to confirm his departure and his disappointment in being let go.

“Just wanting to let everyone know that I have been informed by John McKee (Head coach) that Fiji Rugby Union have overspent their World Cup budget. Due to this I will no longer be working with Fiji. Very disappointed. I was expecting to achieve something special but alas this will not happen. I just want to wish the Fiji rugby players all the very best in the endeavours,” he said.

Ryan has a role as the Queensland Reds defence coach also but his loss to the Fijian team will be felt among all as they look to tighten their defence to match their incredible attacking rugby.

Fiji will face Australia, Wales, Georgia and Uruguay in Pool D at the World Cup and are hoping to cause an upset by progressing at the expense of one of Wales or Australia, but this has put a dent in their dreams.

They have been steadily progressing as a rugby nation and that was highlighted by their 21-14 win over France last November, and rugby fans will be hoping this doesn’t ruin all their recent good work.

International

England Name 29-Man World Cup Training Squad

Eddie Jones has announced a 29-man squad a week-long training camp and has left some star names out

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(Photo by David Rogers - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

England head coach Eddie Jones has confirmed his 29-man squad to part-take in a training camp at Pennyhill Park next week.

The majority of players that featured in either the Premiership semi-finals or final, and some that were involved in the Quilter Cup game against the Barbarians have not been included.

However, former England captains Chris Robshaw and Dylan Hartley have both been excluded from the five-day camp.

Joining them on the absentee list is 32-year-old scrum-half Danny Care along with No 8 Nathan Hughes.

On the other hand, Alex Dombrandt, Lewis Ludlam, Ruaridh McConnochie and Val Rapava Ruskin have all received their first call ups.

Eddie Jones is using the camps, with the second one on the following week (June 30th to July 4th), to give players a chance to gain a ticket to Japan.

“The first two England training camps are designed to improve individual players’ fundamentals to allow them to compete for a place in the Rugby World Cup squad,” he said.

Jones will announce England’s official Rugby World Cup training squad at Japan House on July 4th following the conclusion of the second week of this camp, with official World Cup training starting on July 7th.

England begin their World Cup warm-up games on August 11th against Wales and will be hoping to push on from there before heading to Japan.

Check Out the Full Squad Below:

Forwards – Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), Val Rapava Ruskin (Gloucester Rugby), Nick Schonert (Worcester Warriors), Brad Shields (Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons).

Backs – Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (Wasps), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby), Dan Robson (Wasps), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

*In for medical treatment – George Kruis (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens).

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International

All Blacks Coach to Step Down After 15 Years

One of the most respected coaches in rugby is to leave his duties with the All Blacks following the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup

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(Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

All Blacks forwards coach Mike Cron has confirmed he will be stepping away from the national side at the end of the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.

The 64-year-old is well-known among the rugby community and has been involved with the All Blacks since 2004.

Cron is looking forward to the rest of the year with the team, where he will be involved in his fifth Rugby World Cup.

“I’ve been incredibly lucky and had a wonderful career coaching at international level and I’m really looking forward to this last year with the team. It will be my fifth Rugby World Cup this year (four with the All Blacks and one with Wales) so is the right time to step down from the international game,” he said.

Cron has been coaching for 37 years and although he plans to move aside from the international game, he still hopes to continue helping younger talent develop.

“That’s my other passion. As well as coaching younger players and helping them hopefully reach their potential, I’m also keen to help out the young coaches of the future, so looking forward to doing that,” he added.

His time with the All Blacks has included back-to-back World Cup successes in 2011 and 2015, while he could make it a hat-trick if they are to win again this year.

New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew paid tribute to Cron and is looking forward to continuing to work alongside him in a different capacity.

“Crono is a national treasure and thousands of players, from school, club, provincial, Super Rugby, the Black Ferns and of course the All Blacks, have been coached and mentored by one of the best rugby coaches in the world. He has a real desire to mentor young players and coaches and really cares about their development, so we’re delighted he will continue to contribute to the future of the game in New Zealand,” he said.

Meanwhile, All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen, who is also set to depart the All Blacks set-up at the end of the tournament, spoke of how fortunate he has been to work with Cron.

“Sometimes in life you’re lucky to come across a real influencer in your career. For me, Mike Cron is one of those people. He’s one of those guys I’ve leaned on from day one of my coaching career. Initially, that was around scrummaging, with Canterbury and the Crusaders, and then with Wales. Then I suggested to (former All Blacks Head Coach) Graham Henry that we bring him into the All Blacks,” he said.

Hansen noted how Cron can help anyone and is delighted that he will continue to work with New Zealand Rugby.

“His ability to teach anyone – younger, older, male or female – is world renowned and the greatest gift that Crono has is his ability to always keep learning and to keep giving. I’ve seen him coach club, provincial, Super and international rugby, plus even a stint overseas, all in the one year. As ‘Tewy’ said, he is a national treasure. He and his family must be immensely proud of everything he has achieved throughout his career, not only with the All Blacks, but with all the teams and individuals he has coached. It’s great that New Zealand Rugby hasn’t lost him completely,” he added.

Hansen concluded by thanking Cron for all his work with the national side.

“On behalf of the All Blacks family, we’d like to thank him for his many years of service. I’d also like to congratulate him and April on making their decision and wish them all the very best for the future,” he finished.

As mentioned above Cron will be hoping to add a third successive Rugby World Cup to the All Blacks cabinet come the end of the year and the All Blacks will want to ensure he goes out on a high too.

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International

Bastareaud Hangs Up French Boots

Mathieu Bastareaud has called time on his international career

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

France and Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud has retired from international duty.

His announcement comes a day after being omitted from France’s World Cup squad in Japan later this year.

The 30-year-old 19 stone back took to social media to confirm his departure from the international stage.

“The road has not always been easy but wearing this jersey has been my greatest pride, and representing my country, my family, an honour. I am happy, grateful and proud to have achieved this kid’s dream. It is time for me to turn the page… I wish good luck to my team-mates for this beautiful event that awaits them,” he said.

Bastareaud was expected to be involved in Jacques Brunel’s side following his heavy involvement during the Six Nations earlier in the year and even organised his loan move to Rugby New York around the World Cup.

However, the 54-cap international may change his plans now having been left out of both the 31-man squad for the tournament and the six-man back-up list.

Bastareaud was one of a few star names to miss out that also included the likes of Teddy Thomas, Uini Atonio and Morgan Parra.

Although Bastareaud has been involved in a rough time of France’s history he does have a Six Nations Grand Slam title to his name from 2010 and has gone on to captain his national side on several occasions since his debut.

The French fan favourite will become the biggest name yet to move to the US’s Major League Rugby competition come the new season and will spend a season there before returning to Toulon.

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