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Rugby News

Monday 8th July 2019

Rugby World Cup: England's Joe Marler comes out of international retirement

Joe Marler has come out of international retirement and been named in England's World Cup training squad.

The 29-year-old Harlequins prop retired from England duty in September 2018 having won 59 caps.

But he has reversed that decision and is included in a 35-man training squad for this year's tournament in Japan.

Four uncapped players are included in the training squad: Gloucester scrum-half Willi Heinz, Northampton flanker Lewis Ludlam, Bath wing Ruaridh McConnochie and Saracens hooker Jack Singleton.

Premiership player of the year Danny Cipriani has also made the cut, while Harlequins prop Kyle Sinckler is recalled after spending a week with his club.

While not named in the 35-man squad, injured trio George Kruis, Jack Nowell and Mako Vunipola will all continue their rehabilitation in camp.

Jones will name his final 31-man World Cup party next month.


Eddie Jones: England boss to coach Barbarians against Fiji

England boss Eddie Jones will coach the Barbarians against Fiji at Twickenham in November, just two weeks after the World Cup final.

The game will be the first international match staged in the UK following the World Cup, and is expected to feature some of the stars of the tournament.

Jones is contracted by the RFU until 2021, but will be briefly seconded to the Barbarians before the match with the Fijians on 16 November.

It had been thought Jones would only stay in his role after the World Cup if England reached the semi-finals or beyond.

However, new RFU boss Bill Sweeney recently stated his intention to keep Jones even if England under-perform in Japan.


Wales win Six Nations Grand Slam

Wales 25-7 Ireland

Wales are celebrating a third Grand Slam in 11 years after they put Ireland to the sword in ruthless fashion to storm to the Six Nations title.

After Hadleigh Parkes' early try, Gareth Anscombe added a conversion and three penalties for a 16-0 half-lead as Ireland's indiscipline cost them dear.

And the fly-half added three more in an equally one-sided second period, Ireland looking nothing like the second-ranked team in world rugby, Jordan Larmour's late try no sort of consolation.

Seldom in this championship have Wales been spectacular in attack but their defence has been remorseless and their fortitude under pressure remarkable, and the celebrations will go long into a sodden Cardiff night.

It means Warren Gatland, in his 50th and final Six Nations match in charge, becomes the first coach in Five or Six Nations history to win three Slams, his team's record-breaking winning run now stretching to 14 games.

For Ireland the tournament ended as it began, with a chastening defeat that leaves significant questions hanging over their World Cup ambitions.


Six Nations: Investors want to buy stake in rugby's oldest championship

The Six Nations is considering an offer from private equity firm CVC to sell a stake in rugby's oldest championship.

It is believed it could provide a windfall of more than £100m to each union but would mean partly surrendering control of the competition.

It comes as the power-brokers of the world game meet in Dublin this week over the proposed Nations Championship.

World Rugby will present its vision for the future of the sport on Thursday.

However, if the Six Nations decide to sell to private equity, it would almost certainly kill the chances of the revolutionary Nations Championship getting off the ground.

The Six Nations unions - England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and France - have been in talks for the past 18 months over pooling their commercial interests, a strategy dubbed 'Project Light'.

The interest from CVC - one of a handful of possible options - means the Six Nations face a dilemma between selling to private money, or embracing the World Rugby-sanctioned Nations Championship.

It is understood CVC's offer is for an approximate 30% share in the Six Nations. Sources at the unions have not denied an offer is on the table but insist a deal is not imminent.

Aside from the interest from private equity, a number of Six Nations unions have already voiced their concerns over the introduction of promotion and relegation, which would be part of the Nations Championship.

CVC bought a minority shareholding of 27% in England's Premiership Rugby in December.


2023 Rugby World Cup: South Africa recommended to host tournament

South Africa has been recommended to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup ahead of Ireland and France, the tournament's organising board has announced.

The World Rugby Council will meet on 15 November in London for a final vote.

South Africa, who won the 1995 cup as hosts after returning to international sport, were endorsed after reviews of each host candidate evaluation.


Six Nations unchanged in international rugby calendar shake-up

Rugby administrators worldwide are nearing an agreement on a new rugby union calendar, which will come into effect after the World Cup in 2019.

The Six Nations will not move from its traditional February to March slot.

The British and Irish Lions series and the World Cup will retain their places in the calendar.

The Lions are set to tour in July and August in 2021.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont and vice-chairman Agustin Pichot have been leading negotiations, with the changes expected to be ratified at the next council meeting at the end of November.

While a full-on global season is not feasible, there is confidence the new calendar will see a greater alignment between the two hemispheres.

Under the proposals, the Premiership and Pro12 leagues would start later and then would finish at the end of June, with the Super Rugby competition in the southern hemisphere ending at a similar time.

There is also a determination to have less overlap between international rugby and domestic tournaments, which is currently a point of consternation among clubs in Europe.