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Rugby News

Monday 23rd September 2019

Eddie Jones' side battle to opening World Cup win

England 35-3 Tonga

England's World Cup campaign got off to a spluttering but winning start as they fought their way past unfancied Tonga.

Two first-half tries from the buccaneering Manu Tuilagi and a second-half rumble from Jamie George off a driving maul opened a gap, Owen Farrell landing three penalties and two conversions.

Replacement hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie grabbed the bonus-point fourth try late on but the expected avalanche of points never materialised.

Tonga had shipped 14 tries to New Zealand earlier this month and had won only one of their last seven coming into this tournament.

But they kept England frustrated for long periods, and despite a solid defensive display coach Eddie Jones will want much more from his side as they look to win the Webb-Ellis trophy for only the second time in their history.


 

Wales top world with England revenge win

Wales will rise to the top of the world rankings for the first time after they ground out a 13-6 victory over England in the World Cup warm-up in Cardiff.

George North's try after inspired play from Dan Biggar helped Wales build a 10-0 lead at the end of a keenly contested but disjointed first-half.

England edged into it with two George Ford penalties as defences dominated.

But Leigh Halfpenny struck the decisive penalty on his return to the Wales side after an injury-ravaged year.

That means Warren Gatland's men are now sitting at the summit for the first time since World Rugby introduced the ranking system in 2003.

It also ends New Zealand's uninterrupted 10 years at the top, despite the All Blacks' 36-0 victory over Australia earlier on Saturday.


 

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.