Stunning setting in a national reserve, an easy 25-minute ferry ride from the centre of Auckland.Back to natureThe Department of Conservation Auckland Visitor Centre is your gateway to the many conservation sites in the region:Rangitoto Island, heart of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Ferry cruise to Tiritiri Matangi Island to see rare NZ birds.Real bird lovers can head to Miranda (one-hour drive) for the massive party which sees thousands of wading birds congregate after returning from overseas. AUCKLANDPre-match jaunt – Great Barrier IslandIf you’ve got time to kill and energy to expend, head to GBI – an untouched, tranquil paradise which boasts stunning forests, amazing views, hotpools, kayaking, bird and marine life. Walks range from an hour to three days. It’s a day away from Auckland on a ferry or 30 minutes on a plane.Dropkick the hangover – North Head historic walkGreat views plus a military defence settlement – guns, tunnels etc. It takes one hour each way and the start is a 20-minute ferry ride from the centre of Auckland.Cool Campsite – Home Bay, Motutapu Island LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – SEPTEMBER 24: Richie McCaw of the All Blacks is applauded by team mates after his 100th test match during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between New Zealand and France at Eden Park on September 24, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images) Richie McCaw of the All Blacks is applauded by team mates after his 100th test match against FranceThe Rugby World Cup 2011 official YouTube channel will be releasing daily videos to give you the chance to be part of the experience no matter where you are in the world. It allows you to follow the progress of the tournament, plus look at other things to do while in New Zealand.In today’s RWC Daily we are with the USA after their bruising encounter with Australia, have reaction from England and New Zealand’s victories against Romania and France, and preview Ireland’s match against Russia.Plusyou asked Buck – Where is the home of Rugby today? LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS 23 September | 22 September | 21 September | 20 September | 19 September
The only other change comes in the back line, with Dan Hipkiss returning to the starting line-up and partnering Matt Carraro in the centres. Tom Biggs and Olly Woodburn feature on the wings with Nick Abendanon completing the line-up at full-back. QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND – SEPTEMBER 13: David Wilson runs with the ball during an England IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 training session at Queenstown Events Centre on September 13, 2011 in Queenstown, New Zealand. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Bath Starting XV:15. Nick Abendanon14. Olly Woodburn13. Dan Hipkiss12. Matt Carraro11. Tom Biggs10. Sam Vesty9. Michael Claassens1. Nathan Catt2. Lee Mears3. David Wilson4. Stuart Hooper (c)5. Dave Attwood6. Ben Skirving7. Francois Louw8. Simon TaylorReplacements:16. Ross Batty17. Charlie Beech18. Anthony Perenise19. Ryan Caldwell20. Guy Mercer21. Chris Cook22. Tom Heathcote23. Jack Cuthbert Dave Wilson returns from England duty to start for BathBath Rugby make just three changes to the starting line-up to run out against Harlequins tomorrow at the Recreation Ground (kick-off 2.15pm) to that which secured victory over London Irish last weekend.David Wilson comes into the front row to make his first start of the season, with Anthony Perenise taking his place on the bench. Nathan Catt and Lee Mears make up the remainder of the front row. Stuart Hooper and Dave Attwood both continue in the engine room.Further back in the pack, Francois Louw returns on the openside, joining Ben Skirving and Simon Taylor in the back row. Sam Vesty and Michael Claassens continue their half-back partnership at fly-half and scrum-half respectively.
NOT FOR FEATURED. PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 04: Paul O’Connell, (R) captain of Ireland and Thierry Dusatoir captain of France lead their teams out onto the pitch during the RBS Six Nations match between France and Ireland at Stade de France on March 4, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS France and Ireland flummoxed our punditsNine rugby experts had a go at predicting the winners of all 15 RBS Six Nations matches in Rugby World’s annual Six Nations Predictions Competition, published in the March edition. With nine games down, and six to go, who is in the running to be this season’s best forecaster?The joint leaders at this stage are former champ and ex Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies, and a first-time player, the new Rugby World editor Owain Jones. Both have called seven results right so far. Unsurprisingly, neither thought France v Ireland would be a draw, while Davies thought Scotland might beat England and Jones expected Ireland to defeat Wales. Close behind with six correct results out of nine are former France hooker Olivier Azam, and RFU referee manager Tony Spreadbury. Still in with a shout, on five out of nine, is Rugby World’s Italian writer and another former winner Gianluca Barca.Extraordinarily, all nine pundits have made the same calls for the fourth round of games, saying Wales will beat Italy, Ireland will beat Scotland and France will beat England, so the Predictions Competition winner will be decided on the last day of the Six Nations. There’s no prize at stake – only pride!
‘Game management’ is one of modern rugby’s buzz-phrases. It can often feel fluffy – as though the user has heard it in television commentary and fancies rolling out an intangible gem to make them sound intelligent. Well, the second half of New Zealand’s 24-21 win over England at Twickenham on Saturday provided a watertight definition.In rank conditions that resembled a chilly monsoon, the All Blacks carved out 69 per cent of territory over the final 40 minutes – even accounting for them spending the final stages defending a series of scrums. They shut out out the hosts with magnificent precision.When Richie McCaw was sin-binned during the 51-20 thrashing of Australia back in August – unthinkably for just the second occasion in his career – New Zealand drew the spell without their skipper 3-3. This time, they went one better and beat the hosts 3-0 while Dane Coles was cooling his heels for this brainless kick on Chris Robshaw at a ruck:If we tick down the clock and divide the 10 minutes into pivotal plays, the collective cohesion and accuracy of the All Blacks is palpable. It started immediately too, straight after Owen Farrell found touch from the ensuing penalty.9:45 left on the sin-bin – Get back over halfwayFirst off, even with a one-man disadvantage in the pack, New Zealand defend the set-piece well. England’s maul does not gain any cheap metres, so Care must kick to the opposition back three:While this was not the most spectacular outing for Israel Dagg, Julian Savea and Ben Smith in terms of try-scoring, they were so well organised on kick-return.Here, they remain connected and can move the ball into midfield via two simple passes. Though the England chase is decent, Smith keeps ball in hand and takes it on. A slick step past Kyle Eastmond is excellent, but what happens in the contact area is more important.It is Robshaw that shackles Smith, but the openside is prevented from making a dominant tackle by New Zealand’s excellent ‘leach’. McCaw and Ryan Crotty latch onto Smith, the carrier, and fire him over halfway. It is excellent support play, and the All Blacks can manufacture quick ball for some punchy, sapping phase-play.8:58 to go – Rapid reactionsIt would be mad to suggest New Zealand were perfect. There were plenty of mistakes within their performance, more of which we will see later. However, the responses to these errors eventually ensured the overall victory. In this clip, Aaron Cruden is charged down by the effervescent Dave Attwood.While Patrick Tuipolotu knocks on in an attempt to sweep up the loose ball and Ben Morgan recovers, McCaw flies in from the right to tackle Dave Wilson. This stops England’s window to counter and the defence can set itself, forcing Care to kick again8:40 to go – ReorganisationMore subtle brilliance from Dagg is at work here. His positioning is sound – Care’s kick is good, the kind bounce unlucky – then the right-foot step and offload to Kieran Read is gorgeous. Even more vital though, are the metres the No 8 buys by marching through the tackles of Mike Brown and Brad Barritt.Two seconds of Read fighting on his feet before going to ground are two more seconds in which New Zealand can deploy their runners. Aaron Smith is consequently able to look up and pass to a pod of forwards with either side and in behind. It takes massive fitness levels and acute awareness to achieve such structure, and that did not let up.8:20 to go – Ryan Crotty goes downtownHaving worked back and retained their width, the All Blacks force England to push up on the flanks. Territory is paramount, though. Crotty knows that, and nails a ‘wipers’ clearance one phase later into the space behind Jonny May. With the ball off the field, the seconds can tick away.7:25 to go – Ben Smith knows his surroundings 6:25 to go – Aaron Smith’s adaptabilityNo hooker to throw the ball in? No problem. Aaron Smith steps up and then gets the ball back from jumper Read quickly before passing to hard-carrying Jerome Kaino.6:15 to go – Backing their skillsIn any circumstances, this is almost Harlem Globetrotters stuff. When the rain is teeming down and you have just come onto the pitch – this was Beauden Barrett‘s first touch – the ambition and execution seems extraordinary. Watch how the mercurial Hurricane spots that Semesa Rokoduguni, preoccupied by Dagg, has crept infield: Care’s box-kick this time is close to flawless. It is high enough for May to press and lands – or would have landed – a metre inside the touchline. The scrum-half’s undoing is Smith’s nous. Watch from the reverse angle:Smith hugs the touchline while watching the ball and makes sure his right foot is out of play when the catch is taken. New Zealand get the lineout from where Care’s kick came from. More time elapses, the All Blacks get the ball with field position – the perfect outcome. Barrett kicks this penalty and the All Blacks are back to their full complement having won the 10-minute period 3-0 with one fewer player. It was a brilliant collective effort that epitomised their composure under pressure and highlighted the difference between these two sides. Ahead of the World Cup, these are the lessons England have to learn.To read in-depth analysis of New Zealand’s haka and RW’s verdict on England’s midfield problem, check out the December issue of Rugby World – in shops now! Visit po.st/RWSub for all the latest Rugby World subscription deals, or find out how to download the digital edition of the magazine at po.st/RWDig. Savea hardly has to break stride, and does not panic despite not having a great deal of space. On the contrary, he stays composed and chips himself. Holding up just before the try-line, it is weighted wonderfully. Rokoduguni does well to get back, but a five-metre scrum to New Zealand results.5:15 to go – Busting lungsThis is piece is all about how the All Blacks responded to situations. Here, England’s line-speed and physicality are good and Savea spills uncharacteristically as the ball comes wide from the scrum. Care toe-ends forward, with May and Brown haring in pursuit.However, Dagg reaches the ball first – he dived into the dirty work all afternoon. But not only that. In scrapping to his feet again, he gives supporting players a window to join him. They oblige industriously:Ben Smith, Savea and – surprise, surprise – McCaw make it back around the back foot of the ruck. May sinks to his knees and Owens awards the All Blacks a penalty. Another tricky problem fixed.3:30 to go – Eking out an offenceThe 90-second jump here occurs due to some more fine disrupting play from Attwood. He stole the ensuing New Zealand lineout and Ben Youngs, on for Care, hacked into touch. All that meant the All Blacks had another throw just outside the 22.As you can see, they set up a solid maul and edge forward. Aaron Smith releases as Attwood and Tom Wood fight through and Farrell, clearly frustrated having been starved of possession, is caught offside.1:45 to go – Relentless chase and recoverAs it happened, Barrett sliced from the tee. Even so, in terms of territory, that was not the end of the world. England had to take the 22 drop-out and absorb more black waves. Again, the New Zealand back three become the catalyst for their team.Dagg collects and hoists a consummate kick for Ben Smith and Savea to chase:Isolating the point that Farrell goes up, the quality of Dagg’s up-and-under is clear. Ben Smith can tap back to Savea, meaning England still cannot get into the game. In fact, they are soon under their own posts two phases later.1:20 to go – Sonny Bill slices throughEventually, weight of possession and momentum tells. From the same shape as the one that caused USA so much trouble, Williams tears through. Watch how he comes from depth:Though he is felled two metres away from the line, New Zealand still capitalise. Ben Franks, the replacement loosehead prop on the right side of this shape, follows up to play scrum-half and is tackled from what referee Nigel Owens deemed to be an offside position. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS When Dane Coles was yellow carded with the All Blacks leading England 16-14 at Twickenham, it seemed as though there had been a momentum shift. However, Richie McCaw’s men were immense in adversity. We analyse how they went about it.
Greig Laidlaw of Scotland kicks a penalty during the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)7. Jamie Roberts try started the comeback for Wales.Jamie Roberts is congratulated by teammate Taulupe Faletau after scoring his team’s second try during the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)8. And George North’s mazy run virtually wrapped up the win for the Welsh.George North celebrates after scoring his team’s third try during the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Italy v England9. George Ford dotted down in the corner to give England an early lead against Italy in Rome on Valentine’s Day.George Ford touches down to score the opening try during the RBS Six Nations match between Italy and England (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)10. Hat-trick hero Jonathan Joseph is congratulated by his Bath teammate Ford after scoring his second try of the afternoon.Jonathan Joseph is congratulated after scoring his team’s third try during the RBS Six Nations match between Italy and England (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)11. Ben Youngs was awarded the man-of-the-match award by ITV television. England, France and Wales were the victors in round two of the 2016 Six Nations LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS France v Ireland1. Alexandre Flanquart is brought down by Mike McCarthey and a swarm of Irish defenders.Mike McCarthy tackles France lock Alexandre Flanquart (Photo: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)2. Devin Toner gets in a precarious position as he takes a restart for Ireland.Devin Toner of Ireland claims a restart during the RBS Six Nations match between France and Ireland (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)3. On the rare occasions France winger Virimi Vakatawa got his hands on the ball he put some energy into Les Bleus’ offence.France wing Virimi Vakatawa is tackled by Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray (Photo: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)4. Maxime Medard celebrates scoring the try that sealed the win for France.France’s fullback Maxime Medard celebrates after scoring the winning try during the Six Nations international rugby union match between France and Ireland (Photo: THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)Wales v Scotland5. Samson Lee and teammates warm up among the pyrotechnics at the Principality Stadium.Samson Lee and his Wales teammates enter the field before the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)6. Scotland’s Greig Laidlaw was spotless from the tee in his team’s loss to Wales. Ben Youngs was awarded the Man of the Match award for his performance against Italy (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)12. Owen Farrell sealed England’s win with a clinical try under the posts.Owen Farrell celebrates after scoring a try against Italy (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
There have been a glut of big name signings for the 2017-18 season across all three domestic leagues and RW pulls out the moves that will make a huge difference next season Cory Allen to OspreysIn addition to bringing in former fan favourite James Hook, the Ospreys have also confirmed the arrival of Allen from Cardiff Blues, who will join Owen Watkin, Kieron Fonotia and Ashley Beck in a midfield battle. Allen has slipped out of the reckoning at the Blues, with Rey Lee-Lo and Willis Halaholo preferred and Leicester centre Jack Roberts signed for next season, but he is a powerful ball-carrier who can help the Ospreys, especially outside of the creative Sam Davies at fly-half.Christopher Tolofua, Calum Clark and Liam Williams to SaracensLiam Williams draws the attention here, with the Welsh back three wizard acting both as a direct replacement for Chris Ashton on the wing, as well as competition for Alex Goode at full-back. On Saracens’ artificial surface, Williams’ footwork and speed should be able to shine.Top-quality signing: Liam Williams is heading for SaracensFrench international Tolofua comes into the club’s hooker pecking order, providing cover for Jamie George when he is with England and easing the burden on Schalk Brits, who will be 36 years of age next season if he doesn’t opt to hang up his boots in the summer. As for Clark, he is an abrasive back-rower built in the mould of player that Saracens prize in their defensive structures and in terms of skill set, he would seem to be the perfect addition to the club’s back-row pool.With a number of veteran players set to move on from the club this summer, the North Londoners are doing a good job of retooling ahead of the 2017-18 season.Facundo Isa and Chris Ashton to ToulonSpeaking of veterans moving on from Saracens, Chris Ashton is chief amongst those who will be missed at Allianz Park next season.He will bring a work rate and natural finishing ability that will be needed at Toulon, especially with concerns over the ability of the players currently at the club to play with width and tempo. Ashton’s proclivity for looking for work in the midfield and tracking the ball should help negate the lack of genuine ball-players in Toulon’s back line.Arch finisher: Chris Ashton will join a phalanx of stars at ToulonThe sky is the limit for Isa and it will be interesting to see how his move to Toulon affects his development, not to mention where he packs down, with Duane Vermeulen the current incumbent at No 8.There is no doubt the addition of Isa improves Toulon as a team, but will it improve Isa as a player? Let’s hope he loses none of the pace or dynamism in the loose that makes him such a powerful threat with ball in hand.Chris Farrell to MunsterThis move has snuck in a little under the radar, with JJ Hanrahan’s return to Munster drawing more column inches, but the bruising centre has been at the heart of some of Grenoble’s best play over the past three years.At just 23 years of age, Farrell has his best years ahead of him and could be quite the complement to Rory Scannell or Sam Arnold in the Munster midfield next season.Munster are finding plenty of varied ways to win games and Farrell is a different type of weapon to add to their arsenal.Sam Underhill to Bath, Carl Fearns to Gloucester, Matt Kvesic to Exeter ChiefsThe back-row merry-go-round is going at full speed in the western reaches of the Premiership and it started a couple of years ago, when Sam Burgess displaced Fearns at Bath and sent the flanker on a two-year sojourn to Lyon. He proceeded to be the driving force behind Lyon’s promotion to the Top 14, continued to excel following that promotion and now has the opportunity to put his name in the England mix, having secured a move to Gloucester.Breakdown specialist: Matt Kvesic will look to kickstart his England career at ExeterHe will bring a no compromising attitude to the Cherry and Whites’ back-row and help make up for the departure of Kvesic to West Country rivals, Exeter. Kvesic’s England ambitions have been unfulfilled at both Worcester and Gloucester and he will hope that a move to high-flying Exeter helps propel him into Eddie Jones’ plans.Lastly we come to Underhill, a player certainly in Jones’ immediate plans and the former Gloucester academy player, who has been at the Ospreys more recently, becomes eligible for England this summer when he returns to the Premiership with Bath. Exeter have missed the fetching ability of the injured Julian Salvi this season and the arrival of Kvesic gives them an extra option in that department, whilst the same can be said of Bath and Underhill, with Francois Louw, David Denton and Taulupe Faletau all also missing time with injuries over the last six months. By Alex ShawThe announcement of new signings for the 2017-18 season is an almost daily occurrence in the northern hemisphere at the moment, as clubs, regions and provinces all look to build squads which will help them reach their ambitions next season.Before the Six Nations takes a hold of all of us again this weekend, we run through some of the most impactful signings confirmed so far and project how the players will benefit their new employers.It’s not too difficult to guess where will be starting and that’s the blockbuster fly-half switch that will see George Ford head back to Welford Road for a second spell with Leicester Tigers and Freddie Burns move home to don the blue, black and white of Bath.George Ford to Leicester Tigers, Freddie Burns to BathOn paper, this seems to be a win-win deal for both teams involved.George Ford gives Leicester that extra bit of quality to help move them back to the Aviva Premiership’s top table, while Burns gives Bath’s back line a stability that they struggle for when the Test windows and international call-ups roll around.Tigers will hope to combine Ford with Manu Tuilagi – a player Ford knows well from their time together in Leicester’s academy – and the versatile Matt Toomua in a midfield that could, if they click, be as dangerous as any in world rugby, let alone the Premiership.One direction: Former Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns is heading to BathAs for Burns, he will, in theory, give Todd Blackadder the consistency the Kiwi wants at fly-half, something which he has struggled to get in his debut season at Bath, due to Ford’s duties with England and constant injuries to the back line.Both teams will feel their goals are more achievable as a result of these signings.Aaron Cruden to MontpellierThis doesn’t need too much explaining. With Vern Cotter on his way to Montpellier and presumably keen for the club to play with a higher tempo and more of an attacking frisson than it has under Jake White, All Black Cruden gives Cotter a playmaker capable of delivering just that. Threats abound in the Montpellier back line, most notably Nemani Nadolo and Joe Tomane, so bringing a fly-half on board that can unleash them makes a lot of sense.French leave: The highly-talented Aaron Cruden is off to MontpellierHuw Jones to Glasgow Warriors, Mark Bennett to EdinburghThe impact Jones has made for Scotland since tying himself to thistle last year made him an obvious target for either of the two Scottish clubs. Similarly, when Glasgow made their move for Jones, Bennett became an obvious casualty in their back line and a move to Edinburgh makes all the sense in the world.Both players are capable of lighting up a game from the outside centre berth and should make their respective teams more potent as a result.Scotland are now in the fortuitous position of having two such skilful outside centres fully-available to them in the build-up to and during Test windows.Steven Luatua and Alapati Leiua to BristolThese two signings could be seriously mitigated by the fact they may be playing in the Greene King IPA Championship next season.Luatua, on his day, is a handful for any defence to deal with and his versatility to pack down in the engine room, at blindside or at No 8 just adds to the value that he will bring to Bristol.Reinforcements: Steven Luatua will bolster the Bristol pack whichever division they play inAs for Leiua, he is a Test-calibre talent who has had the worst luck with injuries since he moved to Wasps. If he can stay fit at Bristol, he can be the X factor back that they need, either in the centres or on the wing.Charlie Faumuina, Antoine Dupont and Cheslin Kolbe to ToulouseToulouse have themselves quite the haul so far. All Black Faumuina replaces the departing Census Johnston, Dupont is one of the brightest prospects emerging in French rugby and Kolbe is an electric player with ball in hand and all three signings speak of a desire to play a more expansive game at the Stade Ernest-Wallon. Dupont may not have the global profile that Faumuina or Kolbe have, but if he can win the starting scrum-half jersey, he could be the driving force behind a new era of Toulouse rugby. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: Highlight On the move: George Ford is heading back to Welford Road Rich potential: Sam Underhill has show real promise at the OspreysFearns won’t provide Gloucester with the same fetching threat that Kvesic or Underhill do at their clubs but the physical presence he will bring alongside Ross Moriarty and Ben Morgan will undoubtedly create fireworks next season.Lolagi Visinia to GrenobleVisinia and Gio Aplon in the same back three? That’s another recipe for fireworks. The New Zealander has fallen out of favour in Auckland, where the Blues have assembled a pretty stellar array of back three options, but that should not detract from Visinia’s talents. Bernard Jackman’s side are not afraid to try and run the opposition off their feet and with a player as dangerous as Visinia added to the group, they may become even more adept at doing so next season.
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS It is Hooper’s partner-in-crime, David Pocock, that Warburton rates highest as an openside flanker. “He was consistently my most difficult opponent and the only one I think who got the better of me over the course of all the matches we played,” says Warburton, who picks him in his Best International XV.Each chapter centres on a rugby ground of special significance to him and there are sections on the different aspects of leadership – and excellent stuff it is too. A powerful new book by Sam Warburton, the former Wales and Lions captain, lifts the lid on the physical and mental strains that led him to quit playing rugby at just 29 TAGS: Book Review Super six: Sam Warburton during the 2017 Lions series that brought the curtain down on his career (Getty) His refusal to sit in on selection meetings, because he wanted to be treated like anyone else, helped drive him to higher standards and he effectively ‘deselected’ himself ahead of the 2017 Lions first Test by speaking frankly to Gatland about his form at that stage.He says of that tour to New Zealand: “For six weeks you’d have thought it possible to dedicate yourself totally to the cause, wouldn’t you? For six weeks you could leave no stone unturned when it came to making sure you performed at your absolute peak: eat right, sleep right, stay off the booze as it’s bad for recovery from inflammation, stay away from the blue light of mobile phones, and so on.“But I reckon only 20% of the boys could honestly say they did that for the duration of those six weeks, which, given that we took 41 players, means around eight players. When you think how close we came (to winning the series instead of drawing it), would it have made a difference if everybody had done that? Very possibly.”Jackal master: Warburton steals the ball but could the Lions have done more to win the NZ series? (Inpho)Warburton proposes a series of actions in aid of player welfare before signing off, including enforcing Law 15.7 – concerning binding at the ruck – to protect jacklers.With copious media work and a WRU ambassador role, he’s enjoying his retirement immensely and cites one-to-one mentoring and the Lions manager role as future objectives.He will go down as one of the great players but an even better captain for his ability to exhort his team-mates to new heights – as with the Rorke’s Drift-style rhetoric in that lineout against England at RWC 2015 – or exert influence on referees. “If he wasn’t the best player then he was going to die trying to be the best player,” says O’Driscoll in that BBC documentary. “In training, in matches, he just tried to get every ounce he possibly could out of his performance. And if that doesn’t lead and inspire, I don’t know what does.”BUY NOW with Amazon For all the latest news, follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The heavy toll that stopped Sam WarburtonOn the eve of Japan 2019 comes a reminder of a man who was meant to grace it. Sam Warburton retired from rugby 14 months ago at the age of 29 and will watch from the studio as Wales pursue a world crown to go with their three Warren Gatland-inspired Grand Slams.Warburton’s book, Open Side, is published today and puts the final seal on a playing career that he admits himself is slightly short of legendary status.BUY NOW with Amazon “I don’t see myself in the very top drawer of those who’ve played the game,” he writes. “I was at the top of my career for only six or seven years, whereas men like Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell were at the top of theirs for much, much longer. I won 74 caps for Wales; Richie McCaw won exactly twice that number, 148, for New Zealand.”Doing the robot? Warburton at an event for Land Rover, a Rugby World Cup 2019 sponsor (Getty Images)If the book has a theme it is the mental and physical toll of playing elite-level rugby, with Warburton stuck in a recurring cycle of injury and rehab in-between his feats on the field. All told there were more than 20 significant setbacks, from the torn hamstring playing for Glamorgan Wanderers to the stinger in Cardiff Blues training that precipitated neck and knee surgery and ultimately led to him quitting the game.The final straw came when the pain in his knees prevented him playing on the trampoline with his daughter Anna.“My body just couldn’t take it anymore. You could leave me out for scrap and the tinkers would take me away,” he says. “I’ve got a pin in my left shoulder, another pin in my right shoulder, a plate in my jaw and another in my eye socket.”He thus closed the door on a career that brought highs and lows in near equal measure.Trucking it up: carrying hard against France at the Millennium Stadium during the 2016 Six NationsThe book, written in conjunction with Boris Starling, follows other works by Warburton on his 2012 Grand Slam year and 2013 Lions triumph in Australia. If you read those then some of the content will be familiar, and naturally there is also overlap with the recent BBC documentary Full Contact, in which Warburton says: “Being a player is full of stress and nerves and anxiety and pressure. I found it hard playing pro rugby.”That much is clear from Open Side. Among several startling statements in the book, he says he wanted to flee the 2017 Lions tour, ringing his mum from his Wellington hotel room to tell her he’d had enough and could hop on a plane home before anyone would realise he’d gone!Road to glory: Warburton and Gareth Bale in 2007. They attended Whitchurch HS (Huw Evans Agency)He doesn’t mind telling us when he cries or sings to his dog over the phone or gets so sick with nerves whilst dating his now wife, Rachel, that he throws up.Such human frailty is endearing and completely at odds with the physicality and courage he brought to Wales and the Lions on the pitch. In the second Lions Test of 2013 in Melbourne, with his leg trapped in a ruck as James Slipper made a clearout, he suffered an 8cm tear in his hamstring yet still got to his feet to stand in the defensive line until the next stoppage in play 55 seconds later. Clive Woodward called Warburton’s 65 minutes “the most outstanding performance I’ve ever seen from a Lion”.The flanker had been equally monumental in the RWC 2011 pool match against South Africa, winning six turnovers and making 23 tackles in a losing cause, and there is no doubt that when the stakes were highest he produced his very best.Painful exit: being helped off the field after the hamstring injury that ended his 2013 Lions tour (Getty)There was a raging intensity about him that fuelled his explosive power, and when in one match he loses patience with the off-the-ball shenanigans of Wallaby Michael Hooper, he hisses at him: “Touch me again and I’ll cut your throat.”
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Champions: The Crusaders celebrate lifting the Super Rugby Aotearoa trophy (Getty Images) 20 June – Chiefs 12-24 Blues21 June – Hurricanes 25-39 CrusadersRound Three:27 June – Blues 27-24 Highlanders28 June – Crusaders 18-13 ChiefsRound Four:4 July – Highlanders 20-40 Crusaders5 July – Chiefs 18-25 HurricanesRound Five:11 July – Crusaders 26-15 Blues12 July – Hurricanes 17-11 HighlandersRound Six:18 July – Hurricanes 29-27 Blues19 July – Chiefs 31-33 HighlandersRound Seven:25 July – Crusaders 32-34 Hurricanes26 July – Blues 21-17 ChiefsRound Eight:1 August – Chiefs 19-32 Crusaders2 August – Highlanders 21-32 BluesRound Nine:8 August – Hurricanes 31-18 Chiefs9 August – Crusaders 32-22 HighlandersRound Ten:15 August – Highlanders 38-21 Hurricanes16 August – Blues v Crusaders – Match cancelled due to Covid-19 and result recorded as a 0-0 draw, with both teams awarded two points. Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The domestic Super Rugby competition in New Zealand kicked off in June and was won by the Crusaders Schedule For Super Rugby AotearoaWhile the coronavirus took a sledgehammer to most sport, a domestic Super Rugby competition kicked off in New Zealand in June.Super Rugby Aotearoa involves the five New Zealand franchises – Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes – playing each other in home-and-away fixtures over ten weeks, with the Crusaders crowned champions with a game to spare.Crowds were permitted for the first nine rounds, but with a lockdown coming back into force in New Zealand in mid-August this was not possible for the final match weekend.The Blues v Crusaders match, which was due to take place in Auckland on Sunday 16 August, has been cancelled and the resulted recorded a s draw, with both teams awarded two points.The Highlanders v Hurricanes match in Dunedin on Saturday 15 August will now be played behind closed doors and the kick-off has been moved to the earlier time of 3.05pm (4.05am in the UK & Ireland).Blues CEO Andrew Hore said: “Ten weeks ago we never thought we’d even have a competition, let alone one with fans. But instead we got nine weeks of incredible rugby, with three amazing home games and massive crowds. While this news is disappointing, we need to take a step back and be grateful for what we got, what it meant to our players, our sponsors and, most importantly, to our fans.”Super Rugby Aotearoa also featured several innovations.If a match is level after 80 minutes, the result will be decided by golden point extra-time. The first team to score – be it with a drop-goal, penalty or try – during a ten-minute period of extra-time will take the win. If neither team scores during extra-time, both teams will be awarded two points for the draw.There is a change relating to red cards too. If a player is sent off, he can be replaced by another player after 20 minutes.New Zealand Rugby head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said: “While players should, and still will be, punished for foul play, red cards can sometimes have too much of an effect on a match.“There are no winners when a player is red-carded, but paying rugby fans, players and coaches want to see a fair contest. Replacing a player after 20 minutes strikes the right balance.”Another area being focused on is the breakdown, with referees being told to apply existing laws more strictly. The key focus points are:Ball-carriers will be allowed only one dynamic movement after being tackled.Crawling, or any secondary movement other than placing or passing, will be penalised.Tacklers will be expected to roll away immediately in the direction of the sideline. This will be a referee’s “number one priority” at the tackle.There will be “extra focus” on the offside line with defenders expected to be “clearly” onside to provide attacking teams more space.Referee manager Bryce Lawrence said: “We’re confident we’ll see a contest that is faster, fairer, safer and easier to understand.”Super Rugby Aotearoa Schedule*Kick-offs are UK & Ireland time. All matches will be shown live on Sky Sports. If you don’t have a subscription to Sky but want to watch the matches, you can get a NowTV pass for daily, monthly or mobile access – find out more here.Round One:13 June – Highlanders 28-27 Chiefs14 June – Blues 30-20 HurricanesRound Two:
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)Yes, Nemani Nadolo did score a hat-trick in his only appearance, but van der Merwe picked up two tries and a Man of a Match award in his debut campaign. Can pick a finer line than Leonardo da Vinci and looks a cornerstone of the Scottish back-line for the foreseeable future. 10. Matthieu Jalibert (France)Paolo Garbisi enjoyed a memorable debut campaign for Italy, but one of the biggest winners of the Autumn Nations Cup was Jalibert. He made amends for a poor display at Murrayfield in March by leading France to a 22-15 victory this time around, before outshining George Ford and Owen Farrell in the showpiece final. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS France and Wales also shuffled their team massively between games, with most of their players appearing no more than twice in the competition, so it was hard to include too many from either nation.Yet this is still a team filled with top-quality players, with breakout moments and tried and tested class.Autumn Nations Cup Team of the Tournament 2020 15. Hugo Keenan (Ireland)Asked to play all across the back three by Andy Farrell, Keenan seemed instantly at home in the Irish back-line and looks as if he could be the long-term replacement for Keith Earls, who still had an impressive tournament himself. Keenan gets bonus marks for his willingness to run the ball from deep in a tournament dominated by kicking. 14. Jonny May (England)It’s impossible to leave May out of the side after his special try against Ireland. Pace, panache… the only thing it lacked was a stadium full of fans. It’s also worth remembering his impressive aerial score earlier in the match. 13. Marco Zanon (Italy)Italy seem to have found their 10-12-13 combination of the future, with outside-centre Zanon the key for locksmiths Paolo Garbisi and Carlo Canna. His best moment was creating Italy’s first score against Scotland, one of the tries of the tournament. Jacob Whitehead turns selector to pick his best XV from the new competition Autumn Nations Cup Team of the Tournament 2020The first (and most likely last) Autumn Nations Cup is over. Although the rugby hasn’t always been vintage, the matches will still play a part in British & Irish Lions selection next year.But who were the stars of the tournament? It’s a shame that we didn’t see more of Fiji – the fact they played only a single match means that none of their players were selected in this team. 12. Jonathan Danty (France)Only appeared in two matches for France but was key in both. Improbably powered over when France were struggling to break down Italy and returned from the physio’s table to anchor an inexperienced back-line against England. Proved himself an excellent replacement when needed for Virimi Vakatawa. Jump to it: Jonny May beats Hugo Keenan to the ball to score against Ireland (Getty Images) 9. Ali Price (Scotland)It was hard to pick a scrum-half who really stood out, but Price brought a nice tempo to Scotland’s play. Asked to lead the attack more than usual due to the absence of Finn Russell and Adam Hastings, it’s nice to see a nine who is still a fan of the quick tap penalty. 1. Danilo Fischetti (Italy)Wyn Jones could easily have been selected, but Fischetti was one of the finds of the tournament. Incredibly solid in the scrum at only 22, he particularly shone in the loose against Scotland and could be Andrea Lo Cicero’s heir apparent. 2. Jamie George (England)In an autumn filled with poor throwing, George never let his standards drop as part of the best lineout in the competition. The first-ever Test hat-trick from an England men’s hooker was a nice cherry on the cake. 3. Zander Fagerson (Scotland)Carried more conspicuously than usual, heading off the challenge of Giosuè Zilocchi by virtue of his superior scrummaging. Tadhg Furlong’s current injury issues make Fagerson a real contender for the Lions Test-match 23. Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 4. Maro Itoje (England)Could conceivably have been Man of the Match in any match he played. Only negative about his game right now is that he gets a little too over-excited about opposition knock-ons. 5. James Ryan (Ireland)I was very impressed by both Kilian Geraci and Baptiste Pesenti against England, but James Ryan led Ireland well despite challenging circumstances. After a quiet game against England, he was back to his best against Scotland in a game the engine room won.Tall order: James Ryan wins a lineout against Scotland (Getty Images) 6. Tom Curry (England)Nominated for Player of the Tournament alongside Itoje, Curry’s carrying has improved more rapidly than Eddie Jones could have hoped for. It’s affected how England play, with Billy Vunipola now far freer to drop back for kick receipt, and giving the side a nasty one-two punch. 7. Sam Underhill (England)I was very tempted to pick Italy’s Braam Steyn, but Underhill’s display against Ireland was one of the performances of the championship. Curry and Underhill feels like the combination other back-row Lions contenders will have to overcome. 8. Caelan Doris (Ireland)Taulupe Faletau’s performance against Italy was the best single game played by a No 8 all autumn, but Doris’s campaign was a model of consistency. Probably now the first name in the Irish back row, it was nice to see him prosper after a difficult debut Six Nations.