The Rugby World Rugby awards took place yesterday in Tokyo following the conclusion of the Rugby on Saturday and here’s all you need to know about who won what.
Firstly Springbok flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit picked up the men’s player of the year award to add to his World Cup medal that he collected 24 hours earlier after the Boks crushing 32-12 victory over England in the final. In winning the award he became the third South African to do so following in the steps of Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana.
While in the women’s category there was some joy for England as Emily Scarratt was handed the player of the year award for 2019 following an impressive year which saw her lift the Six Nations Grand Slam title with the Red Roses.
In the coach of the year category there was further Springbok joy as head coach Rassie Erasmus received the award after doing an amazing job during his 18-month stint with the country turning their fortunes completely around, guiding them to victory in a shortened Rugby Championship and the World Cup this year.
With that in mind it was no surprise that the Boks dominance on the awards night continued with another win in the team of the year category as they saw off competition from Japan, England, New Zealand and Wales with captain Siya Kolisi collecting the award on behalf of his teammates.
English hearts were broken once again when France’s Romain Ntamack pipped winger Joe Cokansiga and South Africa’s Herschel Jantjies to the breakthrough player of the year award.
However, England did have the consolation of coming out on top in the referee category as Wayne Barnes received acknowledgement for his efforts as the man in the middle.
New Zealand picked up one award on the night as scrum-half TJ Perenara claimed the try of the year for that stunning score against Namibia in the World Cup group stages.
Lastly, Ireland’s Jamie Heaslip, a former 95-cap international was handed the International Rugby Players’ special merit award on what was a memorable night in Japan to close out the impressive World Cup that the country has hosted.
Gatland Explains England RWC Final Comments
Warren Gatland has come out to explain his comments around England’s Rugby World Cup final as well as looking back on one vital mistake he made in his career
The coaching great, who stepped aside from his 12-year stint with Wales following the conclusion of their World Cup campaign was promoting his new book ‘Pride and Passion’ and explained how the emotional toll of England’s semi-final win over New Zealand was hard to follow up.
“At the very elite level of sport, it is the emotion that counts. And sometimes when you have a great performance and you are emotionally charged right on the edge, it is difficult to repeat that,” he said.
It proved to be the case for England as they failed to find another gear in the final, being dominated by South Africa who ran out 32-12 winners. He drew on past experiences in his career to back up his point, including a discussion about the 2013 British and Irish Lions Tour.
“When I look back at my time coaching, there are two examples that really strike out for me. One was in London coaching Wasps, and we played Leicester in the last round. Martin Johnson’s last game and Neil Back’s last game at Welford Road. I completely underestimated the emotion of that. They beat us 45-24 or something like that. Then in the final, I didn’t think they could bring the same level of emotion so we put 40-points on them in the final. It was the same scenario with Australia in the second test in 2013. James Horwill, tears running down his eyes, the effort and energy they put into that, I didn’t think they could bring the same the following week,” he added.
That Lions tour threw up some major complications for Gatland including a decision to drop Irish legend Brian O’Driscoll for the third test, which caused huge backlash and the Kiwi regrets how he went about the decision that week.
“The biggest mistake we made was on the Sunday after the second test we put Brian up for media. That was a huge mistake because everyone just assumed with Sam Warburton getting injured that Brian was going to play and going to be captain the following week. So we made the decision and I said to the other coaches ‘there could be a big falling out over this’. I didn’t realise quite the extent,” he finished.
Gatland’s experience is easy to see and he will take charge of yet another Lions tour in 2021 as he leads his charges to South Africa as he completes the full cycle of tours having also managed them to a series draw with New Zealand in 2017. In the meantime Gatland has taken up a role with Super Rugby franchise the Chiefs as he returns to his homeland looking to add further success to his CV.
Jones Looking into Coaching Code Switch
England head coach Eddie Jones has been a part of some of the biggest teams in Rugby Union history, but it seems as though he might want to make a name for himself in Rugby League now according to reports
Jones, who guided England to the Rugby World Cup final in Japan earlier this month, only to fall at the final hurdle 32-12 to South Africa, is apparently hoping to change codes, moving from union to league, and wants to take over the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Australian rugby league side are currently under the management of Wayne Bennent, former star in the sport. However, Jones would like to replace him in his position once his time in the role comes to an end the report claims.
“The noise around Eddie Jones had him in line for the Wallabies coaching job — but the truth is there is another gig that he really covets. NRL clubs take note, Jones would like a crack at rugby league at some point in his career. Even though he has one of the highest-profile and highest-paying positions in world rugby, there is a part of Jones that wants to test himself. As far as tests go, taking on an NRL job is a big one. From what I can gather, he has told mates that taking over from Wayne Bennett when he finishes at Souths appeals. He has a soft spot for the club. It’s doubtful the Rabbitohs would be aware of his ambitions because he has only shared his league thoughts with a select few,” the piece in the Herald reads.
Having been a part of international set-ups such as Australia, South Africa, Japan and now England it would be a huge call if he decided to move as it would see him leave one of the biggest jobs in union to shift to a less luxurious club-based job in league.
However, it is thought that Jones wants a new challenge and this could be it. His current contract with the English national side is set to expire come 2021, with many expecting him to be offered an extension following their World Cup campaign and lead them to the 2023 edition of the tournament, but this urge for a new challenge could make that a little more complicated.
Former All Black Rules Out Top Coaching Role
One former All Black captain has taken himself out of the running as head coach of the national side for the foreseeable future
Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has ruled out becoming the New Zealand head coach any time soon during a Q and A session on social media.
The 38-year-old answered some questions from his many fans in the video that was shared by the official Rugby World Cup social media accounts.
When asked about taking over as the head coach of his country he admitted the job would probably frustrate him and that instead he would like to pass on his knowledge to the stars of the future one day.
“When I was a player I could get out and do something about it. When you’re a coach I think you got to have a different way of looking at it. I’d like to coach young kids one day,” he said.
McCaw also ruled out a return to playing as he enjoys the lifestyle he currently has.
“I don’t think I would be right person for that. I’d last about 20 seconds I reckon before I got broken these days, so I’ll just enjoy watching,” he added.
The All Blacks are currently looking for a new head coach with Steve Hansen stepping away following a successful stint at the top which came to a close today after his side’s 40-17 victory against Wales in the Rugby World Cup third-place play-off.
Some rumours claimed that McCaw could be an outside shout for the job but it is clear now that it is not for him this time around, with it looking more likely that current Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson or Glasgow’s Dave Rennie could take up the reins.
McCaw did however make a suggestion to improve the game as a whole in an area that he finds frustrating.
“One of the things I get a bit frustrated by [is the scrum]. A scrum can eat up a lot of time in the game, so … if I was gonna change something it would be [to] stop the clock for when you’re [in a] scrum and then it starts again once the ball comes in so you get quite a bit more rugby,” he finished up.
So for now McCaw will stick to retirement away from rugby and will be in attendance at tomorrow’s World Cup final between England and South Africa but who knows if we might see him back in the sport in some capacity in the future.
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