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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.

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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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2 Irish Internationals re-sign & new singing announced by Ulster

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Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Irish internationals, Rob Herring and Ian Madigan, will continue to call Ulster home for at least the next two years, with former European Player of the Year, Leone Nakarawa, set to make his presence felt in the province.

Hooker, Rob Herring, who continues to be a familiar presence in the Ireland set-up, has signed an extension that will keep him at Kingspan Stadium until at least June 2023. Known as a leader within the squad, Herring, who is within touching distance of his 200th cap for the province, said:

“I’m delighted to sign a new contract with Ulster – there’s a great atmosphere at the club at the moment. We are all pretty close mates here, working hard to make memories and win silverware for the province. That’s definitely something I want to be a part of for as long as I can.”

Ulster Rugby Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said: 

“Rob is an established international in the Ireland team, as well as one of our most-capped Ulster players. An integral part of this team, he is a natural leader both on and off the pitch, and I’m really pleased that Rob has committed his future with us for another two seasons.” 

Having already made his presence keenly felt since signing with Ulster last season, Ian Madigan, has put pen-to-paper on a new two-year deal. The fly half, who has delivered some heart-stopping performances – most notably when his 80th minute long range penalty secured Ulster’s place in last season’s Guinness PRO14 Final – will continue to bring a wealth of experience to the squad in the years ahead. On his contract extension, Madigan, said:  

“I’m delighted to extend my contract with Ulster – it was an easy decision for me, and my partner Anna, as we have loved our time in Belfast so far. I’ve really enjoyed playing under the current coaching team, as well as working alongside some of the younger players in the squad as they break through into the senior team, which is very exciting for the club. I believe the team are good enough to win trophies in the near future, and that is my number one goal. I also can’t wait to experience a packed-out Kingspan Stadium and get the opportunity to meet the supporters in-person sometime soon.” 

McFarland added: “Ian has bags of big-game experience and he has delivered for us on a number of occasions already, with the Guinness PRO14 Semi-Final against Edinburgh and the recent win over Connacht springing to mind. He also massively contributes to our squad off the pitch, passing on his experience to our young half-backs. I’m delighted he has extended his time with us for another two years.” 

Completing today’s announcement is a new face set to join the ranks of Ulster in the shape of 6ft 6in Flying Fijian forward, Leone Nakarawa. The 32-year old Olympic gold medal winner was crowned European Player of the Year in 2018 and will make the move to Kingspan Stadium from Glasgow Warriors on a one-year deal. With an ability to play in both the second row and back row, Nakarawa is known for his devastating offloads, as well as being no stranger to the try-line. 

Of the new signing, Dan McFarland, said:

“It’s an exciting time for Leone to be making the move to Ulster for the upcoming season as we look to continue to build on our ambitions as a squad. Given his broad skillset and experience, as well as some impressive accolades to his name, I’m confident that he’ll be a valuable addition to the team, and we look forward to welcoming Leone to the province.”

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England v Barbarians: CANCELLED

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The RFU has today cancelled the Quilter Cup England v Barbarians fixture scheduled for Sunday 25 October.
 
As part of its ongoing investigation into a breach of the Covid code of conduct that took place on 21 October, the RFU has today discovered there was an earlier undisclosed breach that took place on 20 October when a number of Barbarians players left the hotel bubble without permission and without informing organisers about their whereabouts.
 
The RFU has concluded that the players leaving their Covid-secure environment on 20 October without then isolating from the rest of the group on their return has resulted in the bubble environment being compromised, with the potential risk of Covid transmission from individuals outside the bubble to everyone in the Barbarians team and management.
 

The RFU is therefore left with no alternative but to cancel the game.

Bill Sweeney, RFU CEO said: “We are incredibly disappointed to be calling a halt to this fixture, we know how much fans were looking forward to seeing the teams play.  However, our priority is to protect the health and safety of the England squad and the other international teams they will go up against this Autumn.  There has been a great deal of effort put into Covid codes of conduct and planning for games, including cooperation with Premiership Clubs to release additional players to fulfil the fixture safely, and we are all incredibly frustrated and disappointed that the actions of a number of Barbarians players mean we no longer feel it is safe for the game to go ahead.”

The RFU investigation is ongoing and no details on individuals or numbers of players involved will be confirmed until the investigation is concluded.

STATEMENT FROM RFU ENDS

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