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England Duo Try American Football Challenge

England stars Danny Cipriani and Dylan Hartley have both represented their nation in rugby but now they have gone head to head in American Football trick shot challenge

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England Rugby stars Danny Cipriani and Dylan Hartley have tried their luck at the American football Jeep Wrangler Trick Shot Challenge ahead of England’s Rugby World Cup semi-final against the All Blacks tomorrow and American football taking place in London this weekend.

The duo were joined by American footballers and brothers Patrick and Jack Daley. Patrick is the starting quarter-back for the Great Britain Lions team, while Jack is the kicker for the London Blitz and were tasked with teaching the rugby players how to take on their three challenges. 

First up the England internationals were brought to the top of a derelict building in the London Docklands, where they were asked to attempt to throw a ‘spiral shot’ into the back of a Jeep Wrangler which was being driven by Jack Daley. 

Both tried their luck on multiple occasions, with Cipriani hitting the bonnet and side of the jeep, before Hartley managed a 50 yard shot into the off-road vehicle. 

However, next up it was the same challenge except Jack Daley asked them to kick it instead. As imagined, Cipriani claimed this task with a lovely kick from 60 yards. 

In the winner takes all final challenge they had to hit a ‘Hail Mary’ pass into the back of the moving Wrangler once more, with Patrick Daley hitting the shot first time. The Englishmen tried to replicate it several times until Hartley eventually slotted the ball into the back, and claiming the title of the trick shot challenge. 

Speaking after the event Cipriani admitted it he was delighted to take part as he is a massive fan of the sport. 

“I’m a big American football fan having spent some time with a team over in the US taking part in a training session. So, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to spend the day mucking around with an American football while trying to get one over Dylan and attempting some epic trick shots into the back of a moving Wrangler,” he said. 

While Hartley was just happy to be out and about as he continues his rehabilitation from injury which forced him out of selection for the England squad for the World Cup as he could not find enough game time. 

“Most of my time at the moment is spent doing injury rehab so it’s been nice to do something a bit different. There’s definitely some transferable skills between rugby and American football – although attempting to get an American football into the back of a moving Jeep Wrangler made the learning process more complicated,” he said. 

With their country playing in the semi-finals tomorrow, both gave their views on the game and are positive that England will show no fear ahead of taking on the back to back Webb Ellis Cup holders. 

“There’s no fear factor, it’s probably what the media create around it, there’s never a fear factor in playing them. Previously in the last two decades they have been the most dominant team because they consistently produce great players and good coaches. The way that England prepare will be very meticulous and down to a tee for the weekend,” Cipriani said. 

Hartley agreed with Cipriani’s views and believes that although his side are underdogs heading into the game they are well capable of turning over their opponents. 

“I have no doubt that England can beat them. The team that we played last November we came within a point, which is obviously frustrating, we had a try disallowed with Courtney’s offside, so the team will believe. The throwback to when we beat them at Twickenham a few years back and Manu had his day and he did whatever he wanted so the players will run with that belief again in the team,” he added. 

Both players will be watching on as England take on the All Blacks tomorrow hoping they can cause a big upset. However, they will quickly focus their attention to their club sides as Hartley’s Northampton take on Worcester in the Gallagher Premiership round two before Cipriani’s Gloucester face Wasps later in the day. 

Check Out the Video of How the Rugby Stars got on Below.

6 Nations

British & Irish Lions issue Tour Update

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Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

The British & Irish Lions and SA Rugby have confirmed they are aligned on delivering the Castle Lager Lions Series in South Africa in the scheduled playing window.

The Lions Board confirmed its preference to SA Rugby on Monday evening, prior to follow-up meetings earlier today (Tuesday).

“After reviewing information relating to the various contingency scenarios being considered, I can confirm that the Board’s intended position is for the Tour to go ahead as scheduled in South Africa in 2021,” said Jason Leonard, chairman of The British & Irish Lions.

“We acknowledge that there is a significant amount of work still to be undertaken to deliver a robust COVID-19 countermeasure plan to ensure a successful, safe and uninterrupted Tour. SA Rugby will have our full support to help implement this plan.”

Mark Alexander, president of the SA Rugby, said he would inform the Executive Council of the South African Rugby Union of the alignment.

“We appreciate the Lions’ faith and share their desire to see a safe and successful tour,” said Alexander.

“We have been in regular contact with our government to make that a reality against the backdrop of the pandemic and its predicted progression over the coming months.

“There are serious financial implications for SA Rugby, should the event take place without any supporters in attendance, and we cannot ignore that in our considerations. But we are determined that the eventual outcome will deliver the best occasion and experience for players, supporters and our commercial partners.”

Alexander said the original tour schedule was subject to review because of those considerations. Should any changes be required they will be communicated as soon as possible.

Leonard added: “Every British and Irish player dreams of wearing the famous red jersey, and players from the southern hemisphere aspire to be part of a Lions series. We owe it to the current players vying for a place in both squads to ensure they can become part of Lions history.

“We are very much looking forward to taking on South Africa for what promises to be a highly-competitive Series against the reigning World Champions.”

Alexander thanked the Castle Lager Lions Series’ commercial partners as well as the British & Irish Lions and ticket holders for their patience during the extended period of uncertainty.

“As hosts and ‘owners’ of the Castle Lager Lions Series no one has been more affected or more challenged by the current circumstances than SA Rugby,” said Alexander. “However, with the support of our government and good planning we can navigate the pandemic to nonetheless create a most memorable event for players, fans and partners.”

It is not yet known whether international or cross-border travel for supporters will be possible into the country in July. Supporters who have purchased ticket-inclusive packages through Lions Rugby Travel will be notified directly via email with information on the options available.

The Lions remind supporters that all packages purchased through Lions Rugby Travel are protected by the Covid-19 guarantee*. Supporters who have booked packages with official sub agents should contact them directly. For the latest guidance on travelling to South Africa please visit the UK Foreign Office website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-africa or the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs website: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/a-z-list-of-countries/south-africa/

At this time, it also remains unclear whether spectators will be permitted into stadia in July and August. SA Rugby and the Lions continue to work with relevant South African Government departments to ascertain the latest guidance on COVID-19 countermeasure planning for major sporting events and will communicate any updates as soon as it is possible to do so.

In the event that spectators are not permitted to gain access to the Test matches, Lions supporters who had successfully purchased Test match tickets via the Lions ticket ballot will be refunded.

The British & Irish Lions Test match against Japan at BT Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday 26 June 2021 for the Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup will continue as scheduled. However, a decision on crowd size will be made nearer the time of the event and in line with the latest UK Government guidance. For more information, including ticketing enquiries, please visit:
https://www.lionsrugby.com/1888-cup-faqs/

The British & Irish Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, with the first Tour taking place in 1891. In that time, the Lions have won four Test series, lost eight with one drawn. Their overall record against the Springboks is played 46, won 17, lost 23 and drawn six.

*For more information please visit www.lionstour.com

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Rugby

Former Ulster star, Peter Nelson signs for French Club

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Getty Images - AFPCHRISTOPHE SIMON

Canada international and former Ulster player, Peter Nelson has signed with French PRO D2 side, Stade Aurillacois Cantal Auvergne on a 3-year deal.

Nelson spent 8 seasons with Ulster making 64 PRO14 appearances. In June 2019 Nelson joined up with the Canadian national team qualifying through his Grandmother who was born in Vancouver.

Nelson was part of the Canadian World Cup Squad making 3 appearance in RWC 2019 in Japan against Italy, New Zealand and South Africa.

In 2020, he signed with MRL side, Seawolwes in the USA to compete in the Major League of Rugby championship but unfortunately COVID-19 prevented any involvement.

Comfortable playing across the back 3 or at 10 or 12 he’s an astute signing for the PRO D2 Club. Nelson makes the move from French 3rd Division team Bourg en Bresse where he was brought in as a medical joker in September 2020.

Aurrilac has a long association with Ulster with with former Ulster Legend, Jeremy Davidson coaching the side for several years. Andre Bester former, Ballymena & Belfast Harlequins coach also had a stint with the Cantal Based Club.

Aurillac have had several Ulster-born players on their roster over the years including former Ulster Prop, Paddy McAllister, former Ulster winger, Conor Gaston and Ulster Underage Representatives, Charlie Simpson & Tim Small.

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Rugby

Wales name side for Scotland

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Photo by John Berry/Getty Images

Wales travel to Murrayfield on a six-day turnaround following their opening round success against Ireland.
Wales have named the same front-five that featured last weekend with Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis forming the front-row.

Adam Beard continues to partner captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row.

Aaron Wainwright comes into the back row to line up alongside Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau. Both Josh Navidi and Josh Macleod are unavailable due to injury, with the latter originally selected to earn his first cap at blindside flanker before being ruled out.

Gareth Davies comes into the starting XV to partner Dan Biggar.

Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin form a new-look midfield with Liam Williams returning to the side to line-up alongside Louis Rees-Zammit and Leigh Halfpenny.

“We were pleased to kick the tournament off with a victory last weekend and to be heading to Scotland with a win behind us.

“We continue to build and to move forward and it is great to do that from a position of winning.
“It is a quick six-day turnaround this week but we are looking forward to getting back out there.

“We have picked up a couple of injuries but we see it as more of an opportunity for those coming into the side.

“We have to feel extremely disappointed for Josh (Macleod) who we selected to start and to win his first cap only to be ruled out later that day through injury.”

Elliot Dee, Rhodri Jones and Leon Brown provide the front-row cover for Wales with Will Rowlands and James Botham completing the forward contingent. Kieran Hardy, Callum Sheedy and Halaholo provide the back-line cover.

WALES TEAM TO PLAY SCOTLAND (SATURDAY FEBRUARY 13, KO 16.45)

1. Wyn Jones (31 Caps)

2. Ken Owens (78 Caps)

3. Tomas Francis (53 Caps)

4. Adam Beard (22 Caps)

5. Alun Wyn Jones (CAPT) (144 Caps)

6. Aaron Wainwright (27 Caps)

7. Justin Tipuric (81 Caps)

8. Taulupe Faletau (82 Caps)

9. Gareth Davies (58 Caps)

10. Dan Biggar (88 Caps)

11. Liam Williams (67 Caps)

12. Nick Tompkins (9 Caps)

13. Owen Watkin (26 Caps)

14. Louis Rees-Zammit (5 Caps)

15. Leigh Halfpenny (94 Caps)

Replacements:

16. Elliot Dee (33 Caps)

17. Rhodri Jones (18 Caps)

18. Leon Brown (13 Caps)

19. Will Rowlands (6 Caps)

20. James Botham (3 Caps)

21. Kieran Hardy (2 Caps)

22. Callum Sheedy (5 Caps)

23. Uilisi Halaholo (*Uncapped)

Players unavailable for selection:

Dan Lydiate (released), Josh Navidi, Josh Macleod, Tomos Williams, Johnny Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hallam Amos, Josh Adams.

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