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International

Rhys Webb speaks about his future after his family return home to Wales.

Big call from the Webb’s

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Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Wales scrumhalf Rhys Webb is having to say goodbye to his family as they return home after struggling to settle in France.

Webb signed a 3 year contract for French side Toulon in the summer which ultimately ends his international career as he has yet to reach the required caps to play outside of Wales and still represent his country.

The news was confirmed by Webb’s fiancée, Delyth Hewitt  in an emotional blog in which she confirms she will head back to Wales with their three children, Regan, 8, Jesse 3, and baby Remi. Webb will remain in Toulon further highlighting the pressures that players and and their families face when moving abroad.

In her blog she stated:

“Of course, there are moments where I have doubts: is this really a realistic idea? Leaving Rhys here and taking the boys back? But the truth is, I don’t really know what it’s going to be like.

“I know it’s going to be amazing being around family and friends again and it’ll be lovely to not have to stare blankly at someone who speaks rapid French to me in the supermarket or remember ‘passenger to pavement’ whenever I find myself driving on unfamiliar roads and my instinct is to come off the roundabout the wrong way (again). But it’s going to be horrible being away from Rhys.

“Now I’m ok with my own company, I’m a bit of a hermit anyway, and we’re only 7 hours door to door away, but still.. it’s that extra pair of hands around; the company you enjoy sitting in silence with after a long day of finding responses to satisfy Jesse’s constant intrigue; a different (and apparently more authoritative) voice for the boys to hear telling them to “LEAVE EACH OTHER ALONE” or him being there take the boys outside to practice rugby drills in the garden. Either way, what we both know is that their happiness and their fulfillment is paramount, and we’re so so proud of the effort they and their friends have put in trying to adapt to their new lifestyle.

“So (in a few weeks) we go again, on another little adventure. Only this time to more familiar territory…..”

But Webb will stay where he is. He is in the first term of a three-year contract on the Cote D’Azur and says his commitment to Toulon will remain full-on.

“We made the decision for Delyth and the kids to go back to Wales because we thought it would be in the boys’ best interest,” said Webb.

“It hasn’t been working out for one of my sons, Regan, in particular, and when that happens you take action to improve the situation.

“I’m under contract with Toulon and I am going to do my best to make the new situation work.

Webb is unavailable to Wales and Warren Gatland under the rule that bars exiled players from featuring for their country unless they have 60 or more caps. But he isn’t thinking about that right now.

“Playing for Wales always meant a huge amount and I still feel sad that particular privilege has been put out of my reach,” he said.

“But it’s not something I can afford to think about at this point.

“Family issues are to the fore now and have to take all my attention.”

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

International

New Zealand Rugby Chairman Blasts World Rugby

New Zealand Rugby chairman Brent Impey has not held back his disappointment in World Rugby’s decision to scrap the Nations Championship

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New Zealand Rugby chairman Brent Impey is far from happy with World Rugby’s decision to call-off their Nations Championship plans.

World Rugby announced yesterday that it would no longer try and implement the concept of the Nations Championship, but Impey, who is also Sanzaar’s chairman is disappointed to say the least.

“The Nations Championship was a golden opportunity to grow the game internationally but is seemingly lost. Sanzaar remains convinced that such a revamped international calendar is the right course of action supported by professional cross-border competitions such as Super Rugby and the various European premierships,” he said in a statement reported by the New Zealand Herald.

Impey went on to confirm that South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina had committed to continuing to discuss the concept.

“All Sanzaar unions signed the letter of offer with World Rugby to continue negotiations. Sanzaar has been consistent in its support of the concept as we believed that this was an important decision for the future of the world game. Furthermore, the ability to have promotion/relegation in both hemispheres as proposed by World Rugby is a principle position with which Sanzaar agreed. That would have created a meaningful pathway and aspirations for emerging nations,” he added.

The main stumbling block appears to have been the possibility of promotion and relegation which worried Scotland and Italy in particular, but without it Tier Two nations such as Fiji and Samoa would be excluded.

However, even though Impey was disappointed he took time to announce that Sanzaar have been holding talks over the future of Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship.

“While World Rugby has led discussions around the Nations Championship concept, Sanzaar and its member unions, have been in constant and positive dialogue with our broadcast partners to secure the future of Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship,” he finished.

New Zealand Rugby was not as hard on World Rugby’s decision with CEO Steve Tew stating that the challenge was always going to be hard when it involved so many parties.

“We want to acknowledge the tireless efforts and leadership from World Rugby to get the proposal to this point. Creating a new international competition was always going to be a challenging conversation for world rugby nations. The challenges have been complex and multi-faceted as we sought to find a model that balanced demands of fans, with the welfare of all players, growing the commercial strength of our competition and ensuring we were providing a pathway for other nations. While there were some serious issues to be resolved such as the varying positions on promotion/relegation, New Zealand Rugby remained committed to continuing dialogue to see if these could be overcome for the greater good of the game,” he said.

It remains to be seen whether or not World Rugby will try and develop a new competition for international sides, but what is clear is that even though the Nations Championship had it’s flaws many still backed it to be successful in the long run.

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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

Wallabies Set Sights on Keeping Young Talent

Australia look set to offer one youngster a huge deal to remain in the country

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(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Rugby Australia are set to offer young prop Taniela Tupou a million-dollar contract to remain in Australia until the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The deal would see Tupou earn between 800,000 to a million dollars per year, making him one of the best paid players in the country as well as the highest earning Aussie prop in history.

It is believed that the move is to ensure that the Wallabies don’t lose another young talent overseas in the near future following the announcement that Samu Kerevi will depart for Japan later this year.

Only last week Rugby Australia claimed they did all they could and offered Kerevi a very good deal. However, it is thought that the 24-year-old was offered a similar deal to Tupou, who doesn’t yet have the same impact on the game as Kerevi.

The Wallabies look set to face some sort of crisis in the coming years if they do not sort out their contract structure with the likes of Nick Phipps, Will Genia, Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley and Christian Leali’ifano all likely to be playing abroad next season.

Rugby Australia have already secured the services of Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa for a couple more years, and it appears as though the focus has now switched to keeping young talent in the country.

However, if the deal for Topou goes through it will raise questions as more players will surely seek to earn more money than him which could cause future contract complications.

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