Starting XV:15. Israel Dagg, 14. Ben Smith, 13. Conrad Smith, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11. Hosea Gear, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Aaron Smith, 1. Tony Woodcock, 2. Andrew Hore, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Luke Romano *, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. Liam Messam, 7. Sam Cane, 8. Richie McCawReplacements:16. Keven Mealamu, 17. Ben Franks, 18. Brodie Retallick, 19. Adam Thomson, 20. Piri Weepu, 21. Beauden Barrett *, Tamati Ellison* denotes new cap HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND – JUNE 19: Aaron Cruden of the All Blacks (L) is tackled by Tony Woodcock during a New Zealand All Blacks training session at Beetham Park on June 19, 2012 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images) “It was a tough, high-pressure Test. It said a lot about the character of both teams and I believe this third Test will see the same character and composure needed. The All Blacks, by their own admission, weren’t happy with the way they performed on Saturday, and in part this is a credit to the way the Irish played. They have laid down a challenge and the key will be now how we respond.“We will have to ensure our preparation is spot on this week so we can get the performance we need on Saturday. That will mean each and every one of us doing our roles to the best of our abilities.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Aaron Cruden starts in place of injured Dan CarterTHE STARTING XV features six changes to the team that started last week’s Test against Ireland – two forced by injury and four selection strategy changes – with the selection of uncapped lock Luke Romano the key feature. First five-eighth Aaron Cruden comes in for All Blacks Vice-Captain Daniel Carter who has suffered a hamstring injury which has made him unavailable for selection.All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Dan pulled up with a sore hamstring after training on Tuesday. On assessment, he has suffered a mild hamstring strain to his right leg which has unfortunately ruled him out of this weekend’s Test. He will undergo further assessment over the next few days to determine when he will be fit to return to rugby.”There are two other changes in the backs: last week’s wings Zac Guildford and Julian Savea are replaced by Hosea Gear and Ben Smith. New cap Beauden Barrett comes into the run-on reserves with Tamati Ellison on the bench as outside back cover.In the forwards, 26-year-old Romano will make his Test debut in the second row, replacing Brodie Retallick who is on the bench. All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw moves to number eight, with Kieran Read out with concussion. Sam Cane gets his first Test start at openside flanker and loose forward Liam Messam, who was called into the All Blacks squad this week, is at blindside flanker, with Adam Thomson on the bench. Meanwhile, Keven Mealamu returns from injury and is on the bench.Hansen said last week’s second Test against the Irish had been a true Test match.
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Read suffered a knock to the ribs in last week’s clash against the ChiefsTHREE CHANGES have been made to the starting line-up that met the Chiefs in Hamilton last weekend, including two positional changes, for the final match of the regular season against Western Force this Saturday.Kieran Read’s rib injury in the Chiefs match has ruled him out for this week, so captain Richie McCaw will move into the number 8 position and Matt Todd will come in at openside flanker.Tom Donnelly and Luke Romano will make up the locking duo this weekend, with Samuel Whitelock moving to the reserves. Adam Whitelock shifts from the wing to centre, making room for Sean Maitland to start in his favoured position of right wing. That sees Robbie Fruean move to the bench. Starting XV:Israel Dagg, Sean Maitland, Adam Whitelock, Ryan Crotty, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Ben Franks, Corey Flynn, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Tom Donnelly, George Whitelock, Matt Todd, Richie McCaw (c)Replacements:Quentin MacDonald, Wyatt Crockett, Samuel Whitelock, Luke Whitelock, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Robbie Fruean, Andy Ellis HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND – JULY 06: Kieran Read of the Crusaders falls down injured during the round 17 Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Crusaders at Waikato Stadium on July 6, 2012 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images) Crusaders v Western ForceSaturday 14 July 2012 at AMI Stadium, AddingtonKick-off: 08:35
He might be hoping to square up against Roberts again when England meet Wales in Cardiff in a couple of weeks, and if he does he will need to play a whole lot better.Salon of shameTake a seat in the salon Gordon Reid! Was is my imagination, or did the Glasgow prop look slightly shame-faced as he trotted out of the tunnel at Bath with a Mohican hair cut? Either way, his new “style” caught the eye of former England prop Dave Flatman, who was on the BT Sport commentary team. “If you are going to arrive in the front row with a Mohawk you have got to deliver,” quipped Flatman. “White boots or a Mohawk, you have to be looking at Man of the Match.” Sadly for the Warrior, Reid didn’t make the grade. Six of the bestThey had already secured a home quarter-final in the Challenge Cup before the final round of matches but Gloucester still went for the jugular in Brive on Thursday evening and won 31-20 to finish their Pool Five campaign with 29 points out of a possible 30. They are the only team in the two European competitions to have won all six pool matches and they scored an average of 35 points per game. Yes, the French clubs did not give their best in Europe’s second tier competition, but Gloucester’s achievement is still one to be proud of.Direct hit: Ashley Johnson is about to be sin-binned as Dave Kearney (left) feels the painThe SinnersFlying startAshley Johnson came out of the blocks at a great rate of knots when Wasps kicked off against Leinster, but his sprint from halfway ended with him clattering into the legs of Dave Kearney, who had leapt high to catch the kick. The wing came crashing to the floor and had to go off with a shoulder injury, while Johnson was sent to the sin-bin.To be fair, the Wasps No 6 looked mortified as soon as Kearney hit the deck and sent him an apologetic Tweet after the game, saying: “Really sorry for that tackle mate. Didn’t mean to injure you. Hope it’s not too bad.”Kearney came back with a friendly reply: “No serious damage done.”Say highLeinster lock Kane Douglas spent the first ten minutes of the second half in the sin-bin after hitting Ashley Johnson hard and high as he cleared out a ruck just before the break. Was it retribution for Johnson’s tackled on Kearney? Only Douglas knows – but his absence may have contributed to a change of momentum in the game, as Wasps came back from 20-6 down at half-time to draw 20-20. Stop him! Luther Burrell (right) attempts to halt the rampaging Jamie RobertsBad day for BurrellTwo former European Cup winners slumped to disappointing defeats in their last pool matches and while Northampton Saints still made it through to the quarter-finals despite being trounced 32-8 at home by Racing Metro, Toulouse are out of the competition following their 27-26 loss at Montpellier.Northampton missed a total of 33 tackles as Man of the Match Jamie Roberts and his Racing team-mates cut them to shreds and Luther Burrell had a real day to forget, missing six tackles and conceding three turnovers. TAGS: Wasps In the thick of it: Jonathan Joseph is a match-winner in attack or defence So we have our quarter-finalists in the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, but there was plenty of high drama to enjoy before the dust settled. Who were the match-winners in round six of the pool matches, and who had a weekend to forget? Kicking themselvesIan Madigan and Andy Goode should have shared a swift half together after Saturday’s Wasps v Leinster clash as both missed a kick which could have won the game for their team.Madigan was off-target with five minutes to go after Elliott Daly foolishly came in at the side of a ruck on the 10-metre line. Leinster were leading 20-13 so another three points would have taken the game away from Wasps.Goode had the chance to go for glory with a drop-goal at the death, after his team-mates had set him up in the centre of the pitch outside the 22. He put it wide, which meant Leinster topped Pool Two, but thankfully for Goode, Wasps still qualified for the quarter-finals. The SaintsPoacher turned gamekeeperJonathan Joseph earned plenty of praise for his attacking play against Toulouse in last weekend’s European Champions Cup, but he made a decisive impact in defence this week, as he helped Bath hang onto a 20-15 lead over Glasgow Warriors with a superb try-saving tackle on Sean Maitland in the 69th minute.Joseph’s team-mate Francois Louw also saved the day for Bath when he won a vital turnover close to the line just a few phases later, as Fraser Brown tried to drive over for what could have been a winning try.There was heroic defending from Finn Russell and Maitland earlier in the match to prevent Anthony Watson scoring, but ultimately their efforts were in vain as Bath secured the win and the quarter-final spot.Warrior spirit: Maitland and Russell hold up Watson over the lineTime to changeReferee David Rose took a deep breath and did something brave this weekend, as he admitted to suffering from depression. Rose used Facebook and Twitter to go public about his illness and the difficulties it has caused him over the past 40 years. Mental health issues affect so many people yet they remain a largely taboo subject. Well done to David for speaking out. You can read his statement here.Mr Cool: Sam Hidalgo-Clyne waits to take a conversion for EdinburghSuper SamSam Hidalgo-Clyne rounded off a great week in which he was named in Scotland’s Six Nations squad, by putting in a Man of the Match performance in Edinburgh’s 38-20 win over Bordeaux-Begles in the European Challenge Cup.He scored two tries, kicked four penalties and three conversions and helped set up a try for WP Nel with a sublime reverse flick out of contact to enable Tim Visser to continue the move.Hidalgo-Clyne powered through three tacklers on the line to score his second try and was so confident he had touched it down, he stood coolly waiting to take the conversion while the officials deliberated over the TV replays.Three for twoNo fewer than nine players scored two tries during the weekend’s Champions Cup and Challenge Cup clashes, but only two went on to get a hat-trick. Centre Darren Cave claimed his treble for Ulster in the first 42 minutes of the match against Leicester Tigers, while flanker Ofisa Treviranus took 72 minutes to grab his trio of tries for London Irish in Rovigo.Extraordinarily, seven different Harlequins players scored one try each in their 47-19 win at Castres and that was almost matched by Exeter Chiefs, who had six different try-scorers as they beat Bayonne 45-3.What the doctor ordered: Kyle Eastmond in a sling after being forced offDoctor knows bestBath’s medical team are among the Saints this week for forcing Kyle Eastmond to come off just six minutes into the do-or-die clash with Glasgow Warriors, after he suffered an injury to his left arm. The centre was determined to play on but the experts knew it was in his interests to come off and insisted that he did. Eastmond ended the afternoon with his arm in a sling and will need a scan to see what damage has been done, but at least he was not allowed to make it worse by playing for another hour.Direct routeWasps qualified for the Champions Cup quarter-finals despite winning just three of their six pool games, and it was No 8 Nathan Hughes who scored the try which earned them a 20-20 draw against Leinster and just enough points to move into the knockout stages.Wasps were trying to break through the Leinster defence to come back from 20-13 down as the final ten minutes approached. Hughes picked up at a ruck on the line and, deciding the direct route was best, simply dived over the prone players to touch down unopposed. Andy Goode converted and Wasps had their draw.Easy does it: Nathan Hughes touches down for a crucial try for WaspsWelsh PrydieThere are no Welsh sides in the Champions Cup quarter-finals but both regions who are in the Challenge Cup have reached the knockout stages. Newport-Gwent Dragons secured their home quarter-final with a 30-19 win over Stade Francais and they will entertain Cardiff Blues in the next round.The Dragons owe a lot to Tom Prydie as he converted their pack’s dominance and Stade’s mistakes into 17 precious points by kicking five penalties and a conversion. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
The Glasgow and Scotland prop proves reveals his deadpan humour Strike a pose: Jon Welsh plays it straight when he receives a Man of the Mach award LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS What’s the funniest thing that you’ve seen or heard on the pitch?I remember playing against Munster away and the TMO’s communication link to the referee had broken. I don’t know where he got it from but the next thing you knew, the referee had a mobile phone out and was calling the TMO to get the decision.Who are the jokers in the Glasgow squad?Ryan Wilson and Henry Pyrgos are a couple of jokers who stand out but there are probably too many to mention. The craic in the changing room is always good!Can you tell us about any practical jokes?There will always be something going on but I remember once boxer shorts were going missing from players’ bags after training and some guys went home commando. After two months we walked out of our changing room and saw all of the boxers hanging from a clothes line just above the walkway.It was definitely guys from another changing room. We couldn’t pin those responsible – I have my suspicions!If you could be any team-mate, who would it be?Mike Cusack’s a hit with the ladies…Who was your childhood hero?The rugby players I looked up to were Os du Randt, Tony Woodcock and Gavin Hastings. But my heroes were in boxing, such as Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano. Joe Calzaghe came into training last season to talk to the team, which was pretty amazing.Do you have any phobias?I’m scared of flying and light mayonnaise.If a film was made of your life, who would play you?I’d love to say Leo DiCaprio or Brad Pitt but if I’m honest I think I’ll have to say Ricky Gervais (below) as he’s got a good sense of humour. What’s been your most embarrassing moment?For a team run one day I wore a pair of boots I’m convinced were cursed. I was kicked where it hurt, tripped up and got punched in the face. It was all caught on camera as well! Suffice to say the boots went straight in the bin.What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever bought?I once went shopping with Al Kellock and bought a few questionable things as his dress sense isn’t the best. He didn’t provide very good guidance.Who are your dream dinner party guests?Leone Nakarawa as he’s a great singer, Fraser Brown because he never stops smiling and Tommy Seymour as he’d bring happiness.What’s your guilty pleasure?Definitely a chicken salad.What is the best gig you have been to?Bruce Springsteen at Hampden Park.What would you like to achieve outside of rugby? That is an avenue yet to be explored. I used to be an electrician but I wouldn’t want to go back to that.This interview was published in the February 2015 edition of Rugby World. Click here for the latest subscription offers.
This feature first appeared in the October 2014 issue of Rugby World magazine. “It was all short and sharp, and no one ever wanted to be last or even second last in the drills and tests, so you were always raising the bar on the field or in the gym. It was a good environment to work in.“It all prepares you for when times are tough and it’s worth it when you’re on your settee with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit!” TAGS: Highlight Tyres are flipped, weights are hoisted, pools are emptied and mountains are conquered. Before a ball is kicked in competition, pro players endure some of the most punishing fitness drills imaginable. Here, top athletes from the Aviva Premiership and Guinness Pro12 recall the horrors of their 2014-15 pre-season….Henry Slade Exeter Chiefs“We were sometimes in for pool sessions in the morning at 6.30am, but the big ones were when we had a couple of tough sessions on the beach. Circuits, sprints and contact on the dunes is always the hardest stuff.“In the biggest session we immediately split into backs and forwards, with the pack mauling up the dunes while we did ‘suicide’ shuttles, dragging each other and running around poles (inset left), everything for ten to 15 minutes. There were also hill sprints for ten to 15 minutes.“Then we split into four units: the front-rowers, the back five, the half-backs and the rest of the backs. We all went round to different stations, with rucking drills on the sand, contact drills for working on jackling and hitting bags, doing tyre flips and dragging people up dunes. We also worked together on ripping balls from a partner and finished wrestling in the water.“It was all pretty tough stuff and there are always going to be a few guys who chuck up.“At that point in the season it’s always going to be a slog!”John Muldoon during last season’s pre-seasonJohn MuldoonConnacht“The toughest sessions we did were a combination of running and strongman stuff, for ten seconds at a time. We had one session where you would run for 62-63m, which is quite rough when it’s intermingled with sled pushes as well. You push the sled, run back and someone else pushes it back to the goal-line. And while you’re doing that someone else is doing tyre flips.“We mixed it up so there was a front-five forward working with a back-row during these drills. It’s not easier because if they take a minute and a half to push the sled all the way, you’re flipping a tyre for the same amount of time! That works well, working on your strength and their endurance, and I suppose we had good weather for it. The new fellas were also getting to know the structures and game plan well – they all got stuck in.“Of course, you’ll always have a few boys chundering and, with nervousness on the first session back there will always be a quicker heart-rate before you get going. Mind you, there are a couple of players here with a sensitive gag reflex as well, and once a few boys got going…”Edinburgh busting a gut before the 2014-15 seasonFraser McKenzie Edinburgh“They were killing us! There was a lot of hitting bags, down-and-ups, which sounds horrible, but it’s great. Alan Solomons says we were poorly conditioned last season so we want to be the fittest in the league. It is all about switching off your mind and breaking through that barrier so that, when you’re driving home at 6.30pm after first arriving at training at 7am, you don’t really think too much about it.“Throughout we were strapped into a heart-rate monitor as soon as we arrived and you had to wear it in your rehab and prehab sessions, through speed, weights and conditioning sessions. I did get to take it off at lunchtime – but you would wear it for 80% of the day so they can profile everything about you. You come in and think you’ve worked really hard and they can say, “You’ve not worked hard enough!” It’s about pushing it to that next level.“Running up Arthur’s Seat, the big hill in the centre of Edinburgh, was tough. You started off with ten hill sprints on about 150m of grass, then you did 90-second splits between three drills – burpees, wrestling and the ‘prawn’ (an exercise where you swing your hips up the hill to work on ball presentation) – and then ten more sprints.“After a third bout of the smaller exercise our ‘rest’ was running further up the Seat to another section where we did shorter but steeper sprints of around 40m on rockier terrain. Boys were walking back down the hill backwards because their legs hurt so much!“I lost count of how many reps we did, but then we ran past the cliffside to finish on the top of the hill and did two minutes of an ‘abs burner’, not letting your legs touch the deck as you cycled in the air. Your recovery after that was making it all the way back down to the car park!”Mark Cueto charging down the wing for Sale last seasonMark CuetoSale Sharks“Due to my age and some niggles I had throughout the summer, I was on a different programme from the rest of the lads, but this pre-season we did a mixture of standard straight-line running on the pitch, conditioned games and hill runs, which are always the hardest thing.“One of the most gruelling things we did – and it wasn’t meant to be – was trekking up Mount Snowdon. That was an unexpected slog.“We went to Wales to do some team-building stuff, going over for a few days and staying at the local rugby club at Bangor. We rocked up to Snowdon expecting a bit of craic, but it was typical Steve Diamond tactics! “We all left the car park where we were staying with a sat nav address to arrive at. Half of us got there and the other half were somewhere else, and when we phoned Dimes he said he would come to meet us. Half an hour later he hadn’t turned up and we realised he had already left for the top, so straight away we were half an hour behind the rest!“Going up Snowdon was supposed to help integrate the new guys. And for the first 20 minutes we were all getting on and having a bit of a laugh with each other.“After that there were a few boys who couldn’t even hold a conversation. Your legs were burning and it was roasting hot. It was like that all the way up and there were about 45 minutes from the first group reaching the top and the last few getting there. A few didn’t even make it, but I’ll not name any names…“It was actually harder coming down and two days after that I was still getting the weirdest pain in my shins and ankles.”Treviso working hard in the scrum during last season’s Champions CupRupert HardenTreviso“Treviso didn’t do much running in the first half of pre-season. We would do two hours of weights – an hour of which was based on squatting – and then the forwards would go out to do an hour and a half of scrummaging. Then, after about four hours of rest, we’d have another two-hour conditioning session, just two hours of weights, half that time at the squat rack again…“The Italians love a scrum, which is refreshing. It has not been a beasting in the scrums, but about eight boys working together. Scrums are now basically about picking huge boys with a big emphasis on everyone pushing. In England it’s about developing specific positions, while here it’s about the group with a little less detail – it’s an interesting mindset. It’s a lot to do after your weights, only to do more weights and skills later in the day, mind you!”Ashley Johnson running hard against London WelshAshley JohnsonWasps“Pre-season was a bit brutal for me because Wasps did a lot of swimming this year.“If you can’t really swim it is a horrible part of your training, but there are lots of ways the conditioning guys can make it even harder for you, like making you swim underwater a lot. There were points where you just felt like you were drowning! It was really quite tough and some of the boys were wiped out after that, but it’s actually good for recovery. Guys like myself, Christian Wade and Nathan Hughes tended to be at the back while Andy Goode’s at the front. It was deliberately competitive as well, so guys at the back had to pull their weight to keep up with the quicker swimmers.“A typical session involved reps of front crawl flat-out up the 25m pool and back. We did that six times on a running clock, so you had 45 seconds to swim there and back, rest and go again. Then you swim the full length of the pool underwater and front crawl back, tiring you.“The toughest bit was going halfway underwater, jumping out and doing either dynamic push-ups or medicine ball throws, before jumping back in to front crawl the full length. All in a minute and ten seconds!“After six of those your shoulders are burning. Then you butterfly the full length and crawl back, on the clock, six times. To finish it was 20m shuttles underwater, six times.“It was certainly some of the toughest training I’ve done, as I’m not built to swim, but it’s really hypoxic and fills your lungs. It’s just a different sport.”The Dragons doing fitness testing last pre-seasonAndy PowellDragons“Oh my god! It was hard going, as you would expect, but we had one really tough day and to be fair there are some pretty fit boys here at the Dragons…“Just like the national team, we did the Wales Anaerobic Test in 40-second bursts (the WAT test has players doing a short shuttle and then a much longer shuttle before resting for the remainder of the 40 seconds allowed per run). We did it in a 1:1 work:rest ratio and did three sets of six when we ran it.“We were doing that as well as standing on the try-line with a prowler, running with it flat-out five times each, swapping with a partner at a ratio of ten seconds off, ten seconds on. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS No buckets and spades: Exeter trained on Exmouth Beach last pre-season
How about your most embarrassing moment in rugby? While I was at Bath, I remember giving the Leinster crowd some stick during a Champions Cup quarter-final. Later, I took a high ball but one second later followed that up by throwing a pass straight over George Ford’s head.Who would be your three dream dinner party guests and why?It would be Frank Sinatra first. I’ve always listened to him since I was 12 years old and he’s one cool rooster. He can bring the cigars too…Then Bobby Fischer. As a keen chess player, it would be great for him to take my game to the next level post dinner.Dinner guest: Chess master Bobby Fischer (Getty Images)Alan Shearer is the last dinner guest. I supported Blackburn Rovers before I supported Liverpool, as my dad played for them back in the day and is from there. When Shearer left the club for Newcastle, I switched to Liverpool.Any pre-match superstitions?I always have a shave before games. But it’s just the face… not the legs.Which team-mate would you like to be for a day and why? I would definitely like to be our scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud for a day because he’s rapid, he’s young and he’s good-looking.Fine nine: Baptiste Couilloud on the attack for Lyon (Getty Images)Who is the tightest team-mate you’ve ever had? It would have to be any of the South African lads at Lyon! They send all their cash back home at the start of the month after we’ve been paid.Is there anyone you would like to be stuck in a lift with? It would be someone like Jimmy Carr so I could get some better banter.What’s your guilty pleasure? I like all of the Pitch Perfect films. And yes, I do sing along with them.Do you have any hidden talents? Not really, but I do like getting on the karaoke machine after a few too many drinks. I’ve been referred to many times as the songbird of my generation. Lyon’s Liverpudlian back-row Carl Fearns on karaoke, pranks and misadventures in France On the ball: Carl Fearns in action for Lyon this season (Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Downtime with Lyon back-row Carl FearnsDo you have any phobias? I don’t like deep-sea water. I hate swimming in the sea if I can’t see the bottom and I don’t like heights. I’ve got to keep this 120kg on solid ground.What really winds you up? There are a lot of things that annoy me. But now I’m living the relaxed life in France, I try to let most of it go.Who are the big jokers you’ve played with? When I was at Bath, Ross Batty and Nathan Catt were very funny. And probably some of the Sandbach RUFC lads when I was at Sale Sharks, although they were more crazy.Any practical jokes you can share?Some of Batty and Catt’s best work was when they called up our kitman at Bath and offered him the British & Irish Lions job. He replied: “It would be an honour and a privilege, thank you so much!” He was nearly in tears.Funny man: Nathan Catt is something of a joker (Getty Images)Then there was the time they put his underpants on all the dummies on the training pitch just before our session in Portugal. They really did terrorise that poor man.How is your French? Pas mal. I understand French well now and I’m getting there on the speaking front. Most of the time when I try to speak French, people look at me in bemusement, then realise what I mean and say the exact same thing I said but with a better French accent.I am absolutely loving it here in France. This Lyon team is the closest team I have ever been involved with. They are very emotional people here and I like that about them. You can’t get things done quickly in France, though.If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?None. I’m already superhuman!Do you have a nickname?The Inferno. There is a rather embarrassing story behind it, too. During my first week at Lyon, we had a social after a pre-season camp in the middle of the woods. The lads made a big fire in the middle of the camp and I decided to drink a bottle of gin. I got up and tripped over a branch and went straight into the fire.I remember Pierre, our coach, saying “You will play next week” as they put me into the ambulance. I woke up in the middle of a French hospital hallway with a lot of crude drawings on my chest. And then I wasn’t fit to play again for another three months.What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen on the pitch? I’m usually on my hands and knees catching my breath so don’t see much! This article originally appeared in the November 2018 edition of Rugby World.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Autumn Internationals Wales v Tonga PreviewBoth Wales and Tonga are coming off wins last weekend although admittedly both of them came in vastly different ways. Wales managed to sneak a narrow 9-6 victory over Australia in a tight and nervous affair whereas Tonga secured a 49-38 win over the French Barbarians in a 13-try thriller.Additionally, both sides are on winning streaks of sorts with Wales on a seven-match winning run and Tonga have won seven of their last 11. On paper then, this looks to be a tight and physical contest.However Wales have gone up against Tonga on eight occasions and never lost, the most recent of which was in Auckland last year; a 24-6 victory. Tonga have also only scored 26 points in their three Tests on Welsh soil so the odds are stacked against the island nation.Half Century: Liam Williams will earn his 50th cap (Getty Images)What’s the big team news?Warren Gatland has made 14 changes to the Welsh side that beat Australia.Lions Dan Biggar and Liam Williams, who is set to gain his 50th cap, come in, as does Steff Evans on the other wing.Jonah Holmes makes his debut at full-back and Seb Davies will earn his second cap playing at number eight. Adam Beard is the only Welshman to keep his spot from last weekend.Tonga on the other hand have only made one starting line-up change from their victory last weekend. Castres lock Sitiveni Mafi replaces Sam ‘Ulufonua in the second row. What have the coaches said?Wales head-coach Warren Gatland said; “We are looking forward to the challenge of Tonga. They had a great win last weekend against the French Barbarians and we know it is going to be a tough, physical challenge.“We have spoken about creating depth, and for us that is all about creating a squad that is full of first-teamers, everyone in the squad capable of starting.“The boys this weekend have to put their hand up for the final match and put pressure on the players who started last weekend.”Tonga head-coach Toutai Kefu said; “We were happy with the result (in Bordeaux), but there are a few areas to improve on, and we’re heading in the right direction. Autumn Internationals: England v Japan preview England play Japan on Saturday in an official… Replacements: Sefo Sakalia, Latu Talakai, Paea Fa’anunu, Onehunga Havili, Mike Faleafa, Leon Fukofuka, Kali Hala, Atieli Pakalani.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS “It’s not the strongest Welsh team (against us), but they’re still the Welsh team whoever wears the jersey, they’re still Wales to me.“They’ve a strong set-piece, they’ve a good kicking game, and they play territory really well. They don’t give you much, so we’re going to play territory ourselves. We need a strong set-piece, and we need to limit our turnovers.”Sole Change: Castres lock Sitiveni Mafi is the only change in the Tongan starting team (Getty Images)Any interesting statistics?Wales have won all eight meetings with Tonga, including 24-6 in Auckland last year.Wales could win seven home games in a row for the first time since a run of nine between 1997-99.They are currently on a seven-match winning streak, their best since June 2004-05 when they won eight in a row.Tonga have won seven of their last 11 Tests.However, they have not faced a tier one side since losing to Wales in Auckland in 2017.What time does it kick off and is it on TV?Wales vs Tonga, Saturday 17 November, Principality Stadium, Cardiff.The match will kickoff at 2.30pm and will be televised on the BBC, S4C and the BBC Sport website.Nic Berry will be the referee in control with Angus Gardner and Shuhei Kubo providing assistance as touch judges.The TMO is Irishman Olly Hodges.What are the line-ups?WALES: Jonah Holmes; Liam Williams, Tyler Morgan, Owen Watkin, Steff Evans; Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Elliot Dee, Leon Brown, Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Aaron Wainwright, Ellis Jenkins (capt), Seb Davies.Replacements: Ryan Elias, Rob Evans, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill, Ross Moriarty, Aled Davies, Rhys Patchell, Josh Adams.TONGA: Vunga Lilo; Viliami Lolohea, Alaska Taufa, Siale Piutau (capt), Daniel Kilioni; Kurt Morath, Sonatane Takulua: Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Paula Ngauamo, Ma’afu Fia, Leva Fifita, Sitiveni Mafi, Dan Faleafa, Fotu Lokotui, Sione Vailanu. Autumn Internationals Ireland v New Zealand preview Collapse Expand Autumn Internationals: England v Japan preview All you need to know about the clash… All you need to know about Wales’ upcoming matchup with Tonga this weekend. One sided: Wales beat Tonga 24-6 last year in Auckland (Getty Images) Autumn Internationals Ireland v New Zealand preview
As a new decade hoves into view, assembling a composite XV from the past ten years was always going to be an irresistible challenge. Over to you, Jacob Whitehead… LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS 1 – Tendai Mtawarira It could be argued that this decade has been bookended by dominant scrum performances from the Beast – against Phil Vickery during the 2009 Lions series and against Dan Cole in the 2019 World Cup final. Between these moments South African rugby fell to its lowest ebb and rose once again, with the 117-Test veteran an ever-present anchor.A lot to smile about: Tendai Mtawarira won 95 caps and a World Cup during the decade (Getty)2 – Keven Mealamu Yet another top-class New Zealander. Tough as teak, Mealamu straddled across both this decade and the Noughties, but his two World Cup triumphs in 2011 and 2015 make him more than qualified to be the pugnacious arrowhead of this forward pack. Difficult to know if he was a harder tackler or harder carrier.3 – Owen FranksLike Mealamu, a veteran of two World Cup wins but his presence has stretched even further into this decade. Impressive for the consistency of his performances – New Zealand were never decisively beaten in the scrum in any Test he played – he was unfortunate to miss out on Japan 2019. He was also a stalwart for the Crusaders until 2019, possibly the greatest-ever club rugby dynasty. Northampton fans will enjoy his presence at Franklin’s Gardens.In at No 3: Owen Franks anchored the NZ scrum during some of their greatest performances (Getty Images)4 – Brodie Retallick Simply the class for all locks to aspire to throughout the decade. Making his debut in 2012, Retallick has become infamous for both his moustache and naked aggression on the field. A brilliant lineout jumper and maul defender, his offloading and rangy ball-carrying are often overlooked. Eben Etzebeth and Sam Whitelock can consider themselves unlucky in what has been a bumper decade for second-rows.5 – Alun Wyn JonesThis spot in the team came down to a straight shootout between Paul O’Connell and Alun Wyn Jones. Despite O’Connell’s inspirational leadership, Alun Wyn gets the nod for playing throughout the second half of the decade. A veteran of four World Cups and three Lions tours, could he make a fourth as captain in 2021?The Wallaby pulse: Michael Hooper scores against Wales at the 2019 World Cup (MB Media/Getty Images)6 – Michael HooperPlaying out of position at blindside but it was impossible to leave this man out. Making his debut for an injury-hit Wallabies during the Lions series, he has been the glue of the Aussie pack ever since. A dynamo who never stops, his link play is of the highest order and his durability is off the scale. Jerome Kaino and Juan Smith were his main competition.7 – Richie McCaw (capt)Need an explanation? New Zealand’s captain for their two World Cup triumphs was a force of nature on the field. How did he manage to reach every ruck? How did he stay onside? How do referees still speak fondly of him? The most capped player of all time with 148 appearances, he is the easiest selection in the team, although Sam Warburton would have been a contender in almost any other decade.Shoo-in: Richie McCaw walks into our team, and we’ve given him the captain’s armband too (Getty)8 – David Pocock This decade has been a brilliant one for No 8s, with Vunipola, Read, Parisse, Faletau and Vermeulen each having a claim of being their nation’s most important player. But I’m picking a non-specialist eight – David Pocock. Why? Having starred for Australia in a different back-row position at every RWC, Pocock has been the game’s greatest breakdown exponent, taking the skill of jackaling to new heights. He has shifted global back-row balance trends.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Skills and sinew: Brodie Retallick offloads against Wales, all in a day’s work for the All Black lock (Getty) Rugby World Team of the DecadeWe’re coming to the end of the rugby decade, ten years which have seen Kiwi dominance, a northern hemisphere resurgence and frightening levels of physicality. But what if we had to make an ultimate team of the teens?It was an interesting exercise. Obviously New Zealand dominate but strangely enough no Englishmen or Irishmen crack the team – whilst two Welshmen creep in. Disagree wildly with the selections? Of course, that’s to be expected. So without any further ado, here’s Rugby World’s Team of the Decade…15 – Ben Smith An extremely tough choice. Ben Smith, Willie le Roux, Stuart Hogg, Israel Folau, Leigh Halfpenny… the list goes on. Smith’s consistency wins the day here, his 39 tries in 84 All Black appearances demonstrating the longevity of the man from Dunedin. One of the great readers of the game and able to play anywhere in the outside backs, his nous was demonstrated by his swerving run and kick ahead to set up Beauden Barrett in the 2015 World Cup final.Iconic: 29 Fiji caps is a scant return for Montpellier bruiser Nemani Nadolo (Getty)14 – Nemani Nadolo What Jonah Lomu could do in the Nineties and Rupeni Caucaunibuca managed in the Noughties, so Nemani Nadolo did in the teens. How a man so big could hang in the air so gracefully is the great unanswered question of modern physics. And how good was it when he took up goalkicking! An icon of the game.13 – Jonathan Davies Jonathan Davies or Conrad Smith? Davies gets chosen because of his sheer importance to whatever team he’s been in, regardless of the level. A key man on two successful Lions tours, the leader of the Welsh back-line, and at the heart of the Scarlets revival. If there’s a player who can cut better lines than Davies then I’m yet to see him.Shove off! Jonathan Davies is a model of consistency and nearing 100 Test appearances (MB Media/Getty)12 – Ma’a Nonu People often overlook the entire skill-set Ma’a Nonu possessed. Often remembered as a crash-ball inside-centre in an era moving towards secondary distributors, I’d argue that this characterisation fundamentally misrepresents the New Zealander. A man with hands softer than a moisturiser factory, he can also kick off both feet. Robbed of MOTM in the 2015 World Cup final after a virtuoso performance.11 – Bryan Habana A man capable of spectacular finishes and creative flair, he could sniff out opportunities like a bloodhound. Defensively sound and good in the air, this decade he equalled Lomu’s record of 15 RWC tries. What a shame his body couldn’t hold out for one more World Cup after the Springbok announced his retirement in 2018, two years after his last cap.Kicking on: Dan Carter won two of his three World Rugby Player of the Year awards this decade (Getty)10 – Dan Carter The most complete player to pick up a rugby ball. Gave many of his most iconic performances in the Noughties, but still showed his class to lead NZ to victory in 2015 after injury derailed his tilt at a win on home soil in 2011. Picking Carter means I don’t have to pick between Owen Farrell and Johnny Sexton, the former’s chances harmed by his proficiency at inside-centre.Related content: How Dan Carter became A Perfect 109 – Aaron Smith A tough one this. Fourie du Preez at his best could have got the nod but his retirement in 2016 opens the door for Aaron Smith, who holds off Will Genia and Conor Murray to take the scrum-half jersey. Faf de Klerk’s effort comes a few years too late. However, can anyone begrudge Smith his spot? Probably the cleanest passer of a rugby ball of his generation, the man from Palmerston North can also run, offload and box-kick with the best of them.
DCMS committee chair Julian Knight said: “It’s very disappointing and a real missed opportunity. It would have given fans hope for the future to see a national event that brings people together was being protected for all. That’s a message that becomes even more important in a time like this.”Rugby World recently ran a poll on Twitter asking if the Six Nations should remain on free-to-air television and an overwhelming majority said yes. Close-up: A TV camera catches the action during England v Ireland (Getty Images) Six Nations not added to protected free-to-air listThe chances of the Six Nations moving behind a paywall have increased after the Government rejected a request to ensure the championship remains on free-to-air television.The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee had called for the Six Nations to be added to the list of sports events on the protected broadcast free-to-air list.MP Gavin Newlands tabled the motion, which stated that the possibility of the tournament moving to a pay-to-view subscription service “risks losing an audience that has been build up and will stymie the ability of the sport to attract young players to the game”.However, this motion has been rejected by the Government. Yet with Six Nations organisers not allowing joint bids from broadcasters, as is the case with the current deal involving the BBC and ITV that runs until 2021, it is now more likely to move behind a paywall.Sky Sports are reported to be the favourites to secure the live broadcasting rights for the championship from 2022, with a deal worth £300m being mooted. Government rejects motion to keep championship on terrestrial television LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The protected list includes the Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup Finals, Wimbledon, the FA Cup final, the Grand National and the Rugby World Cup final. These are classed as Group A in the listed sporting events and must be given full live coverage on free-to-air terrestrial broadcasters.There are other events, classed as Group B, that can be covered live on subscription channels provided there is secondary coverage – highlights for example – shown on free-to-air broadcasters.The Government has ruled that the Six Nations will remain in this category, along with the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup, Cricket World Cup and World Athletics Championship. The April issue of Rugby World magazine – focusing on a new generation of Six Nations stars – is out now.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Ireland and England have found their feet after a poor start to the championship. A runners-up spot is the potential consolation prize for Saturday’s victors in Dublin Six Nations Ireland v England previewThere’s an Amharic phrase, “When many threads come together, they can tie up a lion”, that has been used about the strategy of Ethiopian runners.The England rugby team might identify with it because after some pretty stodgy rugby over the past six months, we saw forwards and backs unite in delightful liberation during last weekend’s 23-20 Six Nations win against France. Run and support, pass and offload. It’s why children take up the sport and what they still want to do once grown up.Ireland’s 27-24 to-and-fro win in Scotland the next day was no less entertaining. The Irish bossed the breakdown and the collisions, and played havoc with what had been an efficient Scottish lineout, stealing six throws. Johnny Sexton is in a purple patch off the tee, not missing in training or matches, and he delivered the winning kick with time almost up.Enjoying a gallop: Bath lock Charlie Ewels shone against France and will start again in Dublin (Visionhaus)So Saturday’s encounter promises much, even though recent meetings have often been low-scoring affairs. Both teams can still finish second in the championship, or as low as fifth. Ireland have only finished in the bottom half twice in the Six Nations era, in 2008 and 2013.Adding fuel to Ireland’s fire at the Aviva Stadium will be a desire to send CJ Stander off in style. The Munster No 8 is set to play his 51st and final Ireland match having announced his decision to retire in the summer. He was the top ball-carrier in the 2017, 2018 and 2020 championships and leads again this year by some margin, with 64 leg-pumping runs.Incidentally, in 2016 the South African-born Stander was sent off against the Springboks for a dangerous challenge on Pat Lambie. The referee in Cape Town that day? Mathieu Raynal, the man with the whistle this weekend.In Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson and Stander, Ireland have the leading turnover practitioners in the tournament. Beirne has been sensational and cannot fail to make the Lions squad if current form means anything at all. There is no James Ryan, however, following his HIA in Edinburgh and that could prove a significant loss.Last year England had a clear physical edge in the fixture, winning 24-12 in the Six Nations and 18-7 in the Autumn Nations Cup. Ireland have Beirne but England have Tom Curry, bigged up this week by forwards coach Matt Proudfoot as “another McCaw” in the making.Bowing out: CJ Stander carries hard against Scotland at Murrayfield last Sunday (Getty)The Irish are dominating the Guinness Pro14, with Leinster and Munster through to this month’s final. They are used to throwing their weight around domestically. A Test against England is an entirely different scenario. As BBC pundit Jamie Heaslip said: “Ireland have been on the receiving end of a couple of dust-ups against England. They have to front up.”It’s a tough one to call. Certainly the remarkable Sexton is likely to punish English indiscipline with three-pointers should it persist. And you wonder what coach Paul O’Connell might have up his sleeve to disrupt the English lineout. But England seem to have rediscovered some attacking brio. They’re not like the team that rolled Australia and New Zealand over at the 2019 World Cup. But they’re closer to that than the side that went down without a whimper to Scotland at the start of the championship.An away victory would give England three Six Nations wins in a row against Ireland for the first time since 2012-2014. It will be tight but we think they will achieve it.What’s the big team news?Back in favour: Ireland wing Jacob Stockdale (Sportsfile/Getty)Ireland have rung the changes with no fewer than six players coming into the XV that started in round four at Murrayfield.Bundee Aki replaces the injured Garry Ringrose (ankle) in midfield, Robbie Henshaw moving one position out. And wing Jacob Stockdale ousts James Lowe, whose frustrating championship included a costly missed tackle on Huw Jones last Sunday.Scrum-half Conor Murray replaces Jamison Gibson Park, who played the full 80 last week because Murray, although named as a replacement, wasn’t quite ready following a hamstring injury.Up front, loosehead Dave Kilcoyne, openside Josh van der Flier and No 8 Jack Conan all get a start. Will Connors (knee) is unavailable while the absence of Ryan (head) has led Andy Farrell to shift Beirne to second-row and use Stander at six as a second ball-carrier.Peter O’Mahony, a masterful lineout operator now back from suspension, must content himself with a place on the bench.There’s only one change to the England side that beat France. Saracens’ Elliot Daly starts at outside-centre after Henry Slade was ruled out with a calf injury.It will be only the second time in 55 Tests that full-back Daly has worn 13, his previous start in the position coming against South Africa in 2016. However, he has recent experience defending there at club level in the Champions Cup.Lucky 13? Elliot Daly, picked at outside-centre, during training at The Lensbury this week (Getty Images)Eddie Jones put his surprise decision down to the aerial challenge he anticipates from Ireland, preferring Daly’s high-ball skills to those of Ollie Lawrence and Joe Marchant, who are both named on the bench.Bristol’s Max Malins, very much part of the Lions conversation, retains the full-back jersey that he wore for the first time internationally last weekend.What have the two camps said?Ireland head coach Andy Farrell: “We’ve got to have courage to go out there and win the game and the statement that we want to make, to ourselves first and foremost.“The mental state of the squad is strong. They’re very buoyant, in a determined mood. They know this is the last game of the competition, where we get a chance to put our best performance out there for 80 minutes. That’s something we haven’t quite achieved yet.”On the tournament: “It’s been a great campaign for a neutral because nobody quite knows who’s going to win what game. I suppose that’s what people would want.“As far as we’re concerned, there’s a couple of games that got away from us in the end but we’re in a determined mood to finish off this campaign well.”On England picking Elliot Daly at 13: “I don’t think it will change that much. Elliot will just be himself. He always flows into that channel anyway.“He started out as nothing but a 13, so he’s very experienced in that regard. They’re comfortable in putting Elliot there because he’s able to use his left foot, and that’s what Henry Slade used to do as well.”Determined mood: Ireland head coach Andy Farrell with winger Keith Earls (Sportsfile/Getty Images)England head coach Eddie Jones: “This is our most important game of the tournament and we want to finish well. We’re anticipating a hard, tough game against Ireland and we’ve picked this team to cope with that.“We want to take it to Ireland physically and play the rugby we want to play. They’ve been progressing nicely and we’ve been watching their progress closely. Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Ollie Lawrence, 23 Joe Marchant.Follow our Six Nations homepage, which we update regularly with news and features. And check out the Fixtures, Injuries, Table, Venues, TV Coverage by clicking on the highlighted links. Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS “Their lineout, their scrums, both those areas have been impressive. They have good carriers and are good defensively around the ruck. Their forward play has been exceptional and it’s coinciding with a higher kicking game that has seen them play some good rugby.”England wing Jonny May: “Our set-piece and defence was brilliant (in 2020), we won games, but our attack wasn’t quite right. That got swept under the rug because we were winning.“My line in the sand (after the Scotland defeat) was that our attack was nowhere near where it needs to be. So we got hold of it as players and we’ve been taking step forward after step forward ever since. We need to be on it this week, and we are.”Any interesting statistics?* Ireland lead England 11-10 in their 21 Six Nations meetings (since 2000). Should they win on Saturday, it will be their 50th Test victory against the men in white* The team leading at half-time has never failed to win in championship games between the two. Ireland won on the only occasion when the scores were level at the break (14-13 in 2009)* Owen Farrell is the top point-scorer in this year’s Six Nations (44). Six points would take him to 500 in the championship overall* Anthony Watson is the joint top try-scorer with four (alongside Louis Rees-Zammit). He’s now eighth in England’s top ten all-time try-scorers, level with Josh Lewsey (22 tries)Sharp form: Anthony Watson scores against France during England’s defeat of France (Getty Images)* England have the best lineout (93%) and scrum (95%) success rate in the 2021 Six Nations* Ireland have stolen twice as many opposition lineouts (eight) as any other side. But they are without James Ryan, who leads that individual category* Tadhg Beirne (137) and Maro Itoje (134) have hit the most rucks in this Six Nations* Tom Curry has been the biggest nuisance at defensive rucks, disrupting 12 opposition rucks so far. He has made six dominant tackles – more than any other player* Ireland boast the best ruck success rate in this year’s Six Nations (97%). They and Italy are the only teams with an average ruck speed under three seconds* Johnny Sexton has slotted 17 of his 18 kicks at goal – the best success rate (94%) of any player to attempt at least three place kicksPerfect darts: England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie (Getty)* Luke Cowan-Dickie has landed all 22 of his lineout throws in the tournament – the only 100% success rate for any hooker attempting ten or more throws* Three players have gained at least 250 metres with ball in hand in this year’s tournament – and two play in this game: Elliot Daly (265) and Jonny May (253). The other, James Lowe (335), has been dropped* An England win would inflict back-to-home championship home defeats on Ireland for only the second time. The only time that has happened was when Ireland lost to Scotland at Croke Park (2010) and France at the Aviva Stadium (2011)* Jonny May is England’s highest try-scorer since Eddie Jones took charge at the start of 2016. The Gloucester wing has scored 26 Test tries in that time* Ireland have been awarded the most penalties on average this year (12.3) and conceded the second fewest (8.8). England have conceded the most (13.3) and been awarded the fewest (8.5)What are the odds?Ireland are 6-4 for this one, England are 8-13 and the draw is 22-1. Those odds courtesy of Bet365. If you fancy a flutter, Bet365 have a welcome bonus of up to £100 in Bet Credits.Minimum deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Minimum odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.Over-18s only. BeGambleAware.What time does it kick off and is it on TV?Ireland v England, Saturday 20 March, Aviva Stadium (4.45pm).The match will be broadcast live on ITV, with radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 and BBC Radio Ulster. Highlights of all three matches from the championship’s final day will be shown on ITV4 at 8pm on Sunday.The referee is Frenchman Mathieu Raynal, supported by Scotland’s Mike Adamson and Welshman Craig Evans with the flags. The TMO is Romain Poite of France.Related content: Meet referee Mathieu RaynalOff you go: Mathieu Raynal dismisses CJ Stander, left, at Newlands in 2016 (Gallo Images/Getty)What are the line-ups?Ireland: Hugo Keenan; Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Jonathan Sexton (capt), Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Rob Herring, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Beirne, CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Ryan Baird, 20 Peter O’Mahony, 21 Jamison Gibson Park, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Jordan Larmour.England: Max Malins; Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell (capt), Jonny May; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Mako Vunipola, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Charlie Ewels, Mark Wilson, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola. Leading men: Owen Farrell and Johnny Sexton will take their teams into battle at Aviva Stadium (Inpho)