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Rugby World Magazine Confirm Top 100 Players

Rugby World magazine have confirmed their top 100 players for the past year

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(Photo credit PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Image)

Rugby World magazine have named Alun Wyn Jones as the best player in the world.

The Wales international captained his nation to another Grand Slam earlier this year and is looking to lead them to further glory come the World Cup in Japan later this year.

The 33-year-old has held off competition from New Zealand fly-half Beauden Barrett and England prop Mako Vunipola who have been named second and third respectively.

The list is made up by a panel of Rugby World experts including the likes of Olympic sevens winning coach Ben Ryan, who gave the reasoning behind their choice of Jones being number one.

“He’s like superglue for any team he plays for – unbreakable in the toughest of moments – and that simultaneously elevates those around him too. He leads from the front with the highest level of guile, intellect and bravery that is a rarity even among the greats,” he said.

Jones is yet to commit himself to the WRU and Ospreys ahead of the 2019/20 season and is thought to be considering moving on.

Elsewhere, Brodie Retallick is fourth on the list, with Liam Williams fifth and last year’s table topper Owen Farrell sixth on the list this time around.

The top ten is rounded up by Ben Smith, Finn Russell, Viliame Mata and Ireland’s Tadhg Furlong.

Just outside the top 10 is women’s rugby player Pauline Bourdon in 11th and is the highest ranked from the women’s game.

New Zealand have 21 players within the top 100, while England have 17, South Africa 12, Wales 10, Ireland nine and Scotland five.

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Pocock Eying Career Change Following Test Retirement

Wallabies back-row David Pocock is looking into a possible career change once he fully retires from rugby following his international retirement

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Australian flanker David Pocock has hinted at starting a career in politics come the end of his professional rugby career.

Pocock played his final game for the Wallabies on Saturday in their 40-16 loss to England in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup. With 83 test caps to his name Pocock has become a legend of the game in his homeland and admits that he felt it was time to hang up his boots due to the toll it has taken on his body. 

“It certainly takes its toll. You pick up injuries along the way and some of them linger longer than others. I feel like I’ve put a huge amount into rugby in Australia and I’ve got a lot back in return and really feel like it’s time to move on to other things and contribute in other ways,” he said. 

Pocock will play his rugby with the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan come next year after leaving the Brumbies at the end of the Super Rugby season, but the move he talks of after looks more likely to be in a political capacity rather than that in rugby. 

“I’m interested in a bunch of things outside rugby. The political landscape at the moment is fairly uninspiring when it comes to climate change and those sorts of things, so we’ll wait and see. I’ll have a bit of time to think about it now, then I’ve got the six months in Japan. After that we’ll see. For me, issues around climate change, ecological crisis … there’s plenty to do. I’ll find something and get stuck in. There’s something really special about being part of a group that’s so focused on something bigger than themselves, but I’ll be looking to find that elsewhere,” he added. 

Pocock is a conservationist and human rights campaigner and also holds a Bachelor of Ecological Agricultural Systems degree too meaning the move would make sense should he choose to go down that path. 

However, with Michael Cheika stepping down as Wallabies head coach following Saturday’s loss as well as Pocock departing, the flanker has confirmed that he would be more than happy to help whoever takes up the role with the national side. 

“Mate as a player, you’re happy to. You’re always happy to give your thoughts and opinions. That’s just a little part of the bigger picture of the strategy going forward and how things are going to look in terms of the structure of coaching in Australia,” he finished. 

Whatever Pocock does it is sure to be impressive much like his career to date, although his time in green and gold may be over in a playing capacity it appears as though we are set to see much more of him in the future.

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Cheika Already Lining-Up New Job

Departing Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika is already in talks for a new job according to reports

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Departing Australian head coach Michael Cheika is set to take up a role at French Top 14 outfit Montpellier according to reports.

According to French newspaper Midi Olympique Montpellier have held talks with Cheika as they look to secure him as the club’s director of rugby. 

If the move was to go ahead Cheika would take over from Vern Cotter when his current contract runs out next June. 

The report claims that the club’s president Mohed Altrad would love to bring in Cheika as he believes that he will be a factor in the transfer market as they look to attract players. 

“The Herault business leader would then make a big move in the transfer market, as the aura of the Australo-Lebanese is important on the international scene,” the report stated. 

A move to France would be a perfect fit for Cheika in the eyes of most with the Aussie having spent time in the country during his playing career as well as coaching French outfit Stade Francais previously. 

As well as that he is fluent in French, making communication easy and having raised his family to speak both English and French it seems a natural fit for all involved. 

Cheika announced he would step down from his role with the Wallabies following their 40-16 loss to England in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup on Saturday. Having brought the team all the way to the final of the competition in 2015, Cheika stuck to his word that if they failed to go a step further this time around he would leave after five years at the helm. 

Although many criticized him during his time with the Wallabies his CV speaks for itself as he still remains the only coach to have won the Champions Cup and Super Rugby titles, the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere’s top competitions respectively. Meaning Montpellier would be bringing in an experienced coach with a winning mentally to help head coach Xavier Garbajosa reach the club’s goals. 

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Former Springbok Hangs Up Boots

A former South African international has called time on his career earlier than he would have hoped

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Former Springboks back-row Heinrich Brussow has announced his retirement from rugby with immediate effect following a series of injuries.

The Northampton Saints player, who has played for the English side 21 times during his two year stint has picked up a number of injuries in recent times and has decided to call time on his career at only 33, but believes it is the right choice. 

“I feel very proud to have represented a Club like Saints which has such a rich history and the passionate support of Northampton behind them. I came to Northampton after spending a long time in Japan, looking for a new challenge and to push myself here in England. But I have been battling injuries for some time now and I have made the very difficult decision to call time on my career,” he said. 

Although his stay at the club was not as long as he would have hoped for he thanked everyone that has supported him over his time in England. 

“I want to say thank you to all of Saints’ loyal supporters who have done nothing but offer encouragement during my time here. I wish I could have pulled on this famous jersey more often for them, but unfortunately injuries have prevented me from doing that. I also have to thank my teammates and all the medical staff at the Club for everything they have done for me, as well as my wife, my family and friends who have been by my side throughout my career – I am truly grateful,” he added. 

Meanwhile the Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd has thanked Brussow for his contribution not only on the pitch but for his help in developing younger players within the squad, most noticeably England’s Lewis Ludlam, who has gone on to star for his country at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. 

“Heinrich is a great rugby player, a great man, and was a complete professional on and off the field. He played in an era of great openside flankers, and at his best he was at the very top of the class. The young loose forwards at Saints, especially Lewis Ludlam, have benefited greatly from him passing on his considerable knowledge to them,” he said. 

Boyd noted how Brussow’s inability to compete at the highest level due to injuries is unfortunate and thanked him for all his work with the Saints. 

“Heinrich has been to the top of the high-performance mountain and seen the view – unfortunately a succession of injuries have prevented him physically from climbing that mountain any longer. The frustration of not being able to consistently perform for himself and for Saints has prompted him to retire, but the decision not to let others down is a true mark of the man. He wants to be able to play at 100 per cent, or not at all. We all thank Heinz for his contribution to Northampton Saints, and wish him and his family all the best for their future,” he added. 

The Boks star had a career that took him around the globe playing for the Cheetahs in Super Rugby, spending five years in Japan, two years with Northampton as well as not only playing for the Springboks but featuring in their three test series against the British and Irish Lions in 2009. 

Known for his work at the breakdown and his ability to score tries from the back-row his loss to the Saints will be felt and it is sad to see such a talent forced to give up so early.

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