first_img Catch up in the Rugby week that was: July 4-10A very disappointed Crusaders team looking on while the Reds celebrate their much deserved victoryWe find ourselves in Brisbane looking to the Super Rugby final between the Reds and the Crusaders. Reds proved too much for the Crusaders, with the title winning try scored by Will Genia, who has had a blinding season. Was this an insight to a World Cup match perhaps? Missed the game? Check out the highlights below…With the Reds claiming the Super Rugby title, the domestic season is finally over. Missed any of it? The guys at Fox Sports have provided you with their highlights of the season…World Cup fever is slowly building with many nations are releasing their shiny new strips. France, Ireland and Wales kicked things off this week all revealing their September uniform. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JULY 09: Crusaders players look dejected after losing the 2011 Super Rugby Grand Final match between the Reds and the Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium on July 9, 2011 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) While on the subject of Wales, they believe their kit is so innovative, they chose to test it out in a number of ‘scientific’ ways shown below. Fellow Welsh wonders Goldie Lookin’ Chain popped into the Wales training base just outside Cardiff, to try their hand at the sport. Probably not the best idea, but it does make for entertaining viewing.Heading back to British shores, with Luke Watson leaving Bath, Stuart Hooper will be the new skipper at the Somerset based club. After leaving Leeds in May, Neil Back has decided to take the helm at Rugby Lions, after completing a recent tour of Camp Bastian with Steve Back.Week in Review: June 27- July 3 |   June 6-12 |  May 30 – June 5 |    May 23-29 |   May 16-22 |    May 9-15 |     May 2 – 8last_img read more

first_imgOr click here if you prefer a digital version of the magazineAnd if you’d like 50% off a subscription to Rugby World Magazine click here Fresh Blood – (L-R) James O’Connor, David Pocock, Will Genia, Matt Giteau and Drew MitchellAustralia were distraught after their ignominious World Cup exit in 2007. Can this skilful bunch make amends?Australia’s 2007 World Cup experience was akin to inflating a beautiful balloon. Initial hard work produced great results and the outcome looked more and more promising until – BANG! Suddenly it was all over and Australia had nothing to show for all their efforts.Hot property Quade CooperThe Wallabies cruised through their pool, beating Japan, Wales, Fiji and Canada with a combined points total of 215 for and just 41 against. Next up were an England side hopelessly out of sorts. The Aussies were confident of avenging their RWC 2003 final defeat, with their players, officials and media all lashing out at England’s “Dad’s Army” of a team. But England destroyed their pack to win 12-10 and send the Wallabies home at the quarter-final stage for only the second time.Former Australia captain John Eales was fulsome in his praise of England, writing in The Daily Telegraph: “England did exactly what makes Australians so proud about our sporting teams. They had a go. At everything. All the time. The onslaught was relentless. Australia weren’t just scrummed out of this Test, they were rucked, mauled, backed, forwarded, and kicked out of the tournament.”Full-back Chris Latham was one of several players in tears at the end. “Gutted, shattered, hurt… make up any number of words, they’re all the same,’’ he said. “It hurts, it really does. We’ve put in a lot of effort as a team, as individuals, and to fall that little bit short… it’s so close yet so far.”So can Australia avoid a repeat of the nightmare of 2007? Well, they have a new coach and new players, and the first major obstacles in their way are their main rivals in Pool C. As Australia play Italy and Ireland in their first two matches, they will need to hit the ground running. The schedule means their fate will be determined before they meet the USA on 23 September and World Cup Finals debutants Russia on 1 October.Australia have never met Italy at a World Cup but have clashed with Ireland in three tournaments and a glance at those results, and at Ireland’s performance in beating England during this year’s Six Nations, show they will not be in for an easy ride.In the 1991 quarter-finals Australia squeaked past Ireland 19-18 in Dublin. Eight years later they met at the same venue, this time in a pool match, and Australia won 23-3. It was far more nail-biting in their 2003 pool clash as Ireland were edged out 17-16 in Melbourne. Ireland haven’t beaten Australia since November 2006, but the sides drew 20-20 in Dublin in November 2009 and when Ireland toured Australia in June last year they lost narrowly, 22-15 in Brisbane.Australia have won all 13 of their previous clashes with Italy, so the prospect of meeting them first up shouldn’t worry them and, with their Tri-Nations fixtures only finishing on 27 August, they will be match fit. However, they need to bear in mind Italy’s outstanding win over France during the Six Nations. They don’t want a repeat of the complacency that afflicted them in that 2007 quarter-final.Australia’s chance of success at this World Cup boils down to a few key factors.First, can the brilliant young players unearthed by Robbie Deans in the past three years stand up to the pressures of performing on the biggest stage? After struggling in the 2009 and 2010 Tri-Nations, the potential of this team began to truly emerge with excellent wins over New Zealand and France last autumn. The likes of James O’Connor, Kurtley Beale and David Pocock are rare talents – Beale and Pocock both nominated for IRB Player of the Year in 2010.As Deans said after their 59-16 thumping of France: “We have a young group of men who are becoming experienced and their composure in the physical exchanges in the game was evident tonight. Where we’d been a bit flighty in the past, some of these guys are now a lot more assured at Test level, so we believe the future is promising.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Australia lost 35-18 to England on that same tour, which Deans said “earthed” his side. And the coach knows the form you show in the year leading up to a World Cup only counts for so much. “World Cups are different,” he says. “Tournament play is different. Historically, Australia has done well. Perhaps they enjoy that finite nature.”The scrum – again! – will be key as opponents still see that as a weak link. It’s rare that a team who are backpedalling in a scrum can win a Test, although Australia have the backs to fare better than most would under such pressure.Finally, Australia must learn the lessons of four years ago and ensure they don’t take opponents lightly. Before that quarter-final in 2007, Lote Tuqiri said Jason Robinson was the only world-class back in England’s team, ARU chief John O’Neill insisted that all Aussies hated the English, and Wallaby legend David Campese claimed it would be the worst thing for rugby if England went through.England were duly wound up and enjoyed the last laugh. It’s now 12 years since Australia won the World Cup, so they need to keep their heads down and their mouths shut until the deed is done.Australia’s World Cup record                         Australia in numbers1987 Fourth                                                        IRB world ranking 2nd1991 Winner                                                       Clubs 7871995 Quarter-final                                              Registered players 86,9521999 Winner                                                       Senior male players 39,3802003 Runner-up                                                 Referees 4,9002007 Quarter-finalCan they beat the All Blacks at the World Cup?This article appeared in Part 1 of our Rugby World Cup Supplement.To get a copy of the supplement contact [email protected] FLORENCE, ITALY – NOVEMBER 20: Quade Cooper of the Wallabies runs with the ball during the Test match between Italy and the Australian Wallabies at Stadio Artemio Franchi on November 20, 2010 in Florence, Italy. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Quade Cooper last_img read more

first_imgBy Rugby World Editor, Owain JonesIT’S A debate that rages in clubhouses all over England. Just who has the most passionate rugby fans? Well, now we know after title sponsors Aviva commissioned scientists at the University of Bath to conduct a series of highly scientific tests and the results are certain to raise eyebrows…In the season-long experiment, fans were tested for loyalty, fan match evaluation (before and after the match), fan psychology (mood and anxiety levels) and fan physiology (hormone and heart rate changes). Basically enough collated data to unearth the Aviva Premiership’s Most Passionate Fans. The results are listed in our table below.So are Gloucester’s famous Shed Heads top of the tree? Do the masses at Welford Road only rank in bronze medal position, and what are the thoughts of Bath’s vocal supporters on languishing in 10th place? Finally, what of Saracens, you have to pity last year’s Premiership champions who are placed squarely in the relegation spot.A load of old cobblers or definitive, scientific proof of your club’s passion ranking? LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Shed heaven: Gloucester fans make some noise at Kingsholm You told us what you thought below… [View the story “Premiership’s most passionate fans” on Storify]last_img read more

first_img Exiled official: Bryce Lawrence has retired after political pressure from the ARU and SARUby Ben ColesNEW ZEALAND referee Bryce Lawrence has retired, citing heavy criticism following the Rugby World Cup quarter-final between South Africa and Australia last year behind his decision.The 41 year-old is set to take up a position as a high performance referee reviewer in his homeland but has frequently been denounced for his officiating by both the South African and Australian Rugby Unions. The criticism led to Lawrence questioning his own abilities as an elite referee ahead of the quarter-final last year in Wellington, causing the 25-test veteran to “freeze.”“I went into the quarter-final knowing it was a massive match and I didn’t want to overly influence the outcome. The way that transpired was I didn’t make decisions and, if I had my time again, I would just go out there and do what I normally do, which is just referee and back myself.”“I had four really good [group] games at the World Cup and then I had that. I had outside pressure from pretty senior people from rugby countries behind the scenes that really created my mindset of lacking confidence to deliver what I normally do. There was some pretty nasty political stuff going on about that appointment with some people kicking up a massive stink. It probably made me freeze on the biggest stage.” Complaints from former ARU chief executive John O’Neill regarding Lawrence’s handling of the Wallabies group stage loss to Ireland added to the pressure on the New Zealander from two of the game’s major governing bodies. With both the SARU and ARU blocking his appointment for the June Tests, Lawrence stated that he had no choice but to call it a day.Follow Ben Coles on Twitter @bencoles_ Australian Wallabies captain James Horwill (C-L, blue helmet) reacts as referee Bryce Lawrence of New Zealand (upper C) blows the whistle during the 2011 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match South Africa vs Australia at the Wellington Regional stadium in Wellington on October 9, 2011. AFP PHOTO / Marty Melville (Photo credit should read Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Much of the criticism from South African supporters directed towards Lawrence was based on his officiating of the breakdown, with Australian flanker David Pocock repeatedly infringing without being penalised. Following the match, retiring South Africa captain John Smit was scathing in his comments about Lawrence’s performance:”Bryce is not difficult to communicate with, he just doesn’t seem to listen very well. The one positive (of retirement) is that I won’t ever have to be reffed by him again.”last_img read more

first_img Star in stripes: Try-scorer Jamie George is congratulated by his team-mates at Twickenham last weekendBy Katie FieldWho is the man of the moment?Jamie George, the 22-year-old Saracens hooker who will be going head-to-head with Gloucester in an Aviva Premiership clash at Allianz Park on Sunday, 15 September (kick-off 2pm).Why is he in the spotlight?After serving his apprenticeship at Saracens behind John Smit and Schalk Britz in the pecking order, George was given the chance to start only his seventh Premiership match in five years and grabbed it with both hands, scoring two tries and impressing in all facets of the game. With Smit retired, the former England U20s player has convinced the Saracens coaches he is more than ready for a season-long battle for the No 2 shirt with Britz. Young George made a superb start last weekend and has stolen a march in the try-scoring competition he is having with his rival.What’s George got to say about it?“We put our attacking plan into practice well last weekend (they beat London Irish 42-20) and the team effort was the most pleasing thing. We played some really good stuff and hopefully that will provide us with a platform going into the Gloucester game. It’s going to be a massive test but as a team we should be excited by the challenge.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Click here to see highlights of the Saracens v London Irish match, including George’s brace of tries.Will he be whooping or weeping this weekend?Gloucester started the season with a shock defeat at home to Sale Sharks, while Saracens won well against Irish at Twickenham. With home advantage in their favour, Saracens are expected to win, and win comfortably.Take a look at George as he tries to make mincemeat of his team-mates in the Saracens Pie and Mighty contest.Watch George and Saracens take on Gloucester at Allianz Park on Sunday 15 September, kick-off 2pm. LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 07: Jamie George of Saracens is mobbed by team mates after scoring his second try during the Aviva Premiership match between London Irish and Saracens at Twickenham Stadium on September 7, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images) Sarcens are handing Gloucester fans (who live in Gloucestershire) a unique special offer to win back the price of their match ticket if they correctly predict who wins the match. Call the Saracens box office on 0203 675 7200 for details.last_img read more

first_imgLooseheads have rarely been as hard to find as tightheads. It’s just one of those things in rugby. And there are certainly mighty fine tightheads around. And maybe English powers won’t regularly set up one of their marquee spots for a big No 3 from abroad, like Gloucester did as soon as it was clear their scrum was being treated like wet toilet paper, last season.Yet you have to prepare for the worst eventuality. In this instance it’s protecting an already endangered species: the England-standard tighthead.So what about the RFU? Well there is fine work behind the scenes, with former prop Ian Peel rightly being lauded for work he has done to nurture young props in the age grades. Graham Rowntree has an eye for talent and academy characters have undoubtedly been ear-marked from an early stage.However, rugby – and we are always beaten around the head with – is an industry built on results. As noble as it would be to see hardy young pillars like Balmain working away in every team, you will not be getting every director of rugby agreeing it’s brilliant. You can ring-fence positions in academies if you’d like, but it is not a Premiership requirement to have an academy anyway and it doesn’t work dictating selections by nationality in certain positions for first teams.Under the new salary cap set-up you gain credits to spend up to £400,000 more based on what you have in your young ranks, so having England-qualified guys is incentivised. You also get dosh if you have up to 16 England-qualified players in your match-day squad. But how that is broken down is up to you.Who will rise? England U20s were brilliant again this year, but who will we see at the top?So two potential evils are there: forcing teams to pick English tightheads every week is a laughably bad idea; and a raft of South African and Kiwi No 3s doesn’t suit England, long-term, either. Legislation seems illogical, and you cannot make a commodity of common sense. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Needing looked after: David Wilson of Bath is the kind of player England need in the Premiership Consider this, then, a light warning. Good tightheads are hard to come by and as brilliant as some clubs are at bringing on players and as fine a turnout as there is in the Championship when players are sent down or grow there anyway, the powers that be and those at HQ must be vigilant.Five tightheads who can play for England should be a bare minimum for every Premiership weekend. A nice, safe number now and one to be preserved. FIVE. That’s a number to remember and come back to.With Premiership Rugby announcing that they will be extending the salary cap to £5.1m plus an additional £400,000 ‘Home Grown Player Credits’ for future seasons, it is being heralded as a move that will keep English stars from seeking pay-days in France and Japan. With another ‘marquee’ spot set to be opened up for players outside of the cap to be signed (but under the proviso that they have not played in England for 12 months to avoid clubs pinching players off each other as well as returning from France), it means that Aviva Premiership clubs could arguably attract some of the biggest players in the game from the southern hemisphere, who may previously have been weighing up a jaunt to Japan or a life in France, post-World Cup. Already there is a nibbling rumour that Australian scrum-half Will Genia is being lined up by Bath, for example.Of course that is just lingering chatter. All sorts of sexy names can be pulled out at this stage, like car keys from a bowl, but as exhilarating as any 2015-2016 guessing can be there is a long-term effect to consider.With agreements between unions and professional leagues a dirty subject, particularly after the patience-hammering siege in Wales and the big bods at the Premiership currently nattering with the RFU about when the breakdown of compensation for lost earnings during the Rugby World Cup will start, maybe a directive needs to be tacitly agreed upon. A directive for playing props.Actually, tightheads. Because for two Premiership weekends in a row, with certain individuals out injured, only five Premiership teams started England-born tightheads. Now if we ignore that England internationals Dan Cole and Kieran Brookes were out and that Cole will be decommissioned until Christmas, then only David Wilson of Bath, Fraser Balmain at Leicester, Oliver Tomaszczyk at Falcons, Kyle Sinckler at Harlequins and Tomas Francis at Exeter started the first two games while flying the flag for England.Aggressive: Balmain didn’t hold back when he was given some chances last seasonArguably five is a really good number. But you have to look at the performances more deeply. Balmain is probably the uncapped player to continue monitoring, from what we have seen. He has built on last season admirably. However, the recognised names have not had it easy. International Sinckler has not enjoyed a great start to the season on the right-hand of the scrum, with a blurry second half against London Irish and a torrid time against Sarries. He is talented and still learning, so this should be good for him, but he is not menacing so far.Wilson, as the other international, was taken off by Bath after 35 minutes last week while Francis is in his first season at the top of the pile and Tomaszczyk, previously a one-half warrior, is finally being given the chance to play more rugby.Now these guys won’t be the English lot for a whole season. Others can and will come in and out. However, if you are thinking two seasons or more down the line, you would hope there are people talking seriously about preserving prop prospects so that five remains a nice steady number at least.last_img read more

first_imgThe Lions loss to the Blues was dissected by fans and experts alike on social media. Here are a selection of tweets that caught the eye LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS — Jamie Roberts (@Jamiehuwroberts) June 7, 2017The result against the Blues was certainly a sucker punch after leading after 75 minutes and despite a marked improvement from their first outing, the Lions seemed to lack the cutting-edge to beat this Auckland side. The Lions will have to put this defeat behind them and take the scalp of Super Rugby’s premier side this Saturday.  2. Despite being on the comeback trail from injury, Sonny Bill Williams’ performance did no harm in claiming his place in the New Zealand squad, announced tomorrow. Yep, that’s right, SBW delivered, big time! How great was that haka?! #BLUvBIL— The Blues (@BluesRugbyTeam) June 7, 2017 Sonny Bill Williams has been fasting for Ramadan all day, and has still put in a try-scoring performance against the Lions!#LionsNZ2017— BigSport (@BigSportGB) June 7, 20174. As for the view from behind enemy lines, Harlequins legend and former All Black Nick Evans was struggling to comprehend the Lions’ kicking tactics, as kick after kick was happily swept up by the Blues’ dangerous back-three 5. Needless to say, questions are sure to be asked about Rory Best’s errant dart at the end of the game. The British & Irish Lions’ loss to the Auckland Blues this morning will have left those stirring with a coffee reaching for the drinks cabinet. The performance of the men in red was improved on their first outing but will leave Gatland’s squad with plenty to consider before Saturday’s game against New Zealand’s top ranked side, the Crusaders.As usual twitter had plenty to say about this rainy evening in Eden Park. Below are the best reactions to the game: 1. Whilst some enjoyed the Blues’ Haka, the likes of the outspoken Matt Dawson was left wondering if this gave the home side an unfair advantage. 3. And it was not just a comeback from injury that the Blues’ offloader-in-chief was battling with today…center_img Pointing the way: social media has plenty to say about the Lions v Blues game Result aside, the @lionsofficial lads are building nicely…Judge them on the Test Series #Lions2017 And that was NZ’s lowest ranked Super Rugby side #bluvbil You’d be ‘lion’ if you said that was anything but pitiful— Glenn (@_GlennCollier) June 7, 20177. After today’s stellar performance, Will Greenwood is tipping 20-year-old Rieko Ioane to make the All Black test side, after tormenting Jack Nowell out wide. Pretty sure this ain’t the last time we see @rieko_ioane this @lionsofficial tour!!— Will Greenwood (@WillGreenwood) June 7, 20178. It didn’t take long for the Kiwi banter to begin chiding Lions fans… 6. Despite the pun, if things don’t look up, there will not be many Lions fans laughing about the next few weeks of rugby. The room for error is perilously thin. I will say it again!!!! DON’T kick the ball away all the time to NZ teams!!! What a try by the @BluesRugbyTeam— Nick Evans (@nick10evans) June 7, 2017 The banter has already started!! How about his for a change of tour schedule for the #LionsNZ2017! #RugbyBanter— EatSleepRugby (@eatsleeprugby) June 7, 20179. Whilst some believe this Series is over before it has even started, Jamie Roberts, who played in 2009 and 2013, is quietly optimistic his boys will come goodlast_img read more

first_img Rugby’s Greatest: Victor Matfield Expand Rugby’s Greatest: Joost van der WesthuizenWhen Gareth Edwards was knighted in June of 2015, rugby pundits tried to come up with the name of a scrum-half who could have lived with the mighty Welshman and Joost van der Westhuizen’s was the only name in the frame.The South African had the lot. He was fast and fearless, could break the line, had a strong pass and tackled himself into the ground, never more than when he brought down Jonah Lomu in the 1995 World Cup final.Like Edwards, van der Westhuizen also had an eye for the line as 38 tries in his 89 Tests prove. By the time he retired after the 2003 World Cup he was South Africa’s most-capped player and record try-scorer and, although those marks have both been eclipsed, his contribution to his country has never been forgotten. Introducing the South African loosehead prop, who has made… Four years on from their shock loss to… Joost van der Westhuizen of South Africa A few lurid tales hit the South African press but van der Westhuizen – who had been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2007 – rode the storm before he was confronted by his biggest opponent in 2011 when, at the age of 40, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – a form of motor neurone disease. He was given between two and five years to live but has fought the battle against the disease with the same appetite he showed for taking the fight to the opposition on the rugby field.Although wheelchair-bound, van der Westhuizen threw his weight behind raising awareness of the disease before eventually passing away on the 7th of February 2017. Collapse TAGS: The Greatest Players Rugby’s Greatest: Victor Matfield South Africa Rugby World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guidecenter_img Major team: Blue BullsCountry: South Africa Test span: 1993-2003Test caps: 89 (78 starts)Test points: 190 (38T) South African second-row Victor Matfield has done much… Van der Westhuizen should have had a long and happy retirement ahead of him. He was a World Cup winner, a legend at the Bulls, had a degree in commerce and was one of the most recognisable rugby players on the planet. Expand Rugby’s Greatest: Os du Randt South Africa Rugby World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide Rugby’s Greatest: Os du Randt Follow our Rugby World Cup homepage which we update regularly with news and features.Also make sure you know about the Groups, Warm-ups, Dates, Fixtures, Venues, TV Coverage, Qualified Teams by clicking on the highlighted links.Finally, don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

first_imgWe recommend VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service)Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroadWe do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.  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. Harlequins v Exeter live stream: How to watch from the UKHarlequins v Exeter, which kicks off at 7.45pm tonight, will be shown live on BT Sport 1 in the UK. If you don’t have a BT contract but want to watch the match, don’t worry because you can still easily watch it online. High rise: Marcus Smith and Joe Simmonds compete for the ball (Getty Images) That’s because BT Sport has a contract-free monthly pass that allows you to get instant access to all four of their sport channels for just £25.Get a BT Sport Monthly PassIf you’re from the UK but are overseas when Harlequins v Exeter takes place, you can get your normal live stream but you’ll need a VPN – see the information above.Harlequins v Exeter live stream: How to watch from EuropeIf you’re in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you can watch Harlequins v Exeter (kick-off 8.45pm) through the live and on-demand streaming service DAZN.Harlequins v Exeter live stream: How to watch from the USAIf you live in the States, the official broadcaster of Premiership matches is NBC, with matches streamed on NBC Sports Gold so you can watch them anytime and anywhere.Harlequins v Exeter will kick off at 2.45pm EST and 11.45am on the West Coast.The NBC Sports Gold Pass for rugby is $79.99 and includes coverage of the Gallagher Premiership, European Champions and Challenge Cups, and Guinness Six Nations.Harlequins v Exeter live stream: How to watch from AustraliaFor those in Australia, Fox Sports have the rights to show Premiership matches and you can watch Harlequins v Exeter at 6.45am on Saturday morning (AEST).If you don’t want a long-term contract, you can also stream games live and on-demand through Kayo Sports. A basic package is $25 a month and premium is $35 a month – and they are offering a FREE 14-day trial to new customers.Kayo Sports offer Harlequins v Exeter live stream: How to watch the Premiership match online from anywhereThe 2020-21 Gallagher Premiership season kicks off tonight with reigning champions Exeter Chiefs playing Harlequins at the Stoop (kick-off 7.45pm).Less than a month has passed since the last campaign concluded and Exeter have been hit by international call-ups for the Autumn Nations Cup – they actually have twice as many players in the Scotland team this weekend as they do in England’s.“We’ve still got a strong group of senior, experienced players and we want to get as many of them onto the field on Friday night,” said Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter. “A lot of them had good game time towards the end of the season, they’re pretty much match-ready, and they know what it takes to turn up and produce an Exeter Chiefs performance, full of vigour, full of fight, and ready to work hard.”Quins DoR Paul Gustard said: “Exeter offer us a hugely exciting challenge first up. It is not often you start the season against the reigning Premiership and European Champions!Exeter won 22-19 when these two sides met at Sandy Park in the opening round of last season, but the last time they played at the Stoop in the league Quins won 34-30.Harlequins: Mike Brown; Nathan Earle, Luke Northmore, Andre Esterhuizen, Cadan Murley; Marcus Smith, Danny Care; Santiago Garcia Botta, Scott Baldwin, Wilco Louw, Matt Symons, Stephan Lewies (captain), Tom Lawday, Will Evans, Alex Dombrandt.Replacements: Jack Musk, Jordan Els, Simon Kerrod, Glen Young, Archie White, Jack Stafford, Ben Tapuai, Tyrone Green.Exeter: Facundo Cordero; Tom O’Flaherty, Ian Whitten, Ollie Devoto, Olly Woodburn; Joe Simmonds, Jack Maunder; Alec Hepburn, Jack Yeandle (captain), Harry Williams, Will Witty, Don Armand, Dave Ewers, Jannes Kirsten, Sam Simmonds.Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ben Moon, Marcus Street, Tom Price, Richard Capstick, Stu Townsend, Harvey Skinner, Tom Hendrickson​.Here we explain how to find a reliable live stream of Harlequins v Exeter wherever you are.How to watch Harlequins v Exeter from outside your countryIf you’re abroad, but still want to watch your local Premiership coverage, like Harlequins v Exeter, you can do so by using a VPN – Virtual Private Network.VPNs allow you to get around any geo-blocking by changing your IP address so you appear in a different location and can watch the same legal Premiership live stream you would at home.Our friends at TechRadar have tested hundreds of VPN and recommend ExpressVPN, which is easy to use, has strong security features and allows you to watch on several devices at once, including smart TVs and phones, iPads, tablets, PCs and Macs.Plus, ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can try it out for a month for free or sign up for an annual plan and get three months free.Check out ExpressVPNcenter_img Harlequins v Exeter live stream: How to watch from New ZealandIf you want to tune in to Harlequins v Exeter from the Land of the Long White Cloud, the match kicks off at 8.45am on Saturday morning on Sky Sport NZ 3.It costs $31.99 a month to add Sky Sport to your Sky Starter pack ($25.99) but if you sign up for 12 months before 31 January 2021 you’ll get your first month free. Plus, you’ll get Sky Go, which allows you to watch live rugby wherever you are.Sky Sport NZ offer Harlequins v Exeter live stream: How to watch from JapanDAZN, which allows you to live stream sport or watch it on demand, is the place to go to watch Harlequins v Exeter in Japan (kick-off 3.45am on Saturday). The service is compatible with smart TVs and phones, tablets, PCs, streaming sticks, set-top boxes, gaming consoles and more.Find out more about DAZN here Don’t miss any of the action from the opening match of the new season LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

first_img Bears attack: Semi Radradra breaks through to score for Bristol against Bath (Getty Images) Bristol defy rugby conventionDuring the tailend of 2020, and the opening few weeks of 2021, box-kicking has had fewer positive headlines than a Covid denier. Admittedly, the Autumn Nations Cup matches were a little box-kick heavy and some teams have understandingly become very wary of conceding possession between the ten-metre lines.It may be that Covid, and the associated increase in financial pressure, has placed yet another animal trap under coaches, but it is a trap that Pat Lam’s Bears have refused to step in.Bristol are on top of the Gallagher Premiership after seven games and have defied the prevailing logic that teams are safer playing without the ball. Lam’s team have achieved this by not only topping the metres gained charts but also the passes given – two performance indicators which are indicative of attacking rugby.Their performance against Bath was special. They carried for 793m – that’s almost three times the number of metres you’d expect from a typical ‘attacking’ team and four times the amount carried by a typical ‘kicking’ team.When watching Bristol, it is easy to think that their style is best summed up by the exceptional Semi Radradra – his treatment of Bath’s defenders not only beat them in a rugby sense but also seemed to damage their souls.However, it’s players like John Afoa who really show Bristol’s ethos of 15-man rugby – his ‘pull back’ passes in the pod are key to creating the space for the likes of Radradra. Both Joe Marler and Matteo Minozzi have ruled themselves out of the tournament. The reaction to their decision has marked a major shift in response.Test rugby has always been the pinnacle of the game and something that tended to be placed above all else in a player’s life; a situation where it was commonplace for players to miss the birth of their children in order to play, which has always felt like an unusual thing to do.Thankfully, times seem to have changed. It is now rightly acceptable for players to put their life and the life of their family first.Rugby has been forced to adapt over the past 12 months, some things good, some things bad. But hopefully allowing players to put their lives before that of the national team will continue to be seen as a logical and acceptable decision. It may well be that Exeter’s more robust approach wins out when the season is completed, and Newcastle Falcons’ incredible start further proves that a simple set-piece strategy is effective. But for the wide boys and wide girls out there, Bristol – and Wasps – are proving that playing to the very edge of the field can be successful too.Advantage EnglandEngland don’t really need any more advantages in the upcoming Six Nations. Their squad is so deep that you contravene fracking laws just by looking at their back-three options. And their pack is industrial to the point that it would negate the use of machinery should you decide to continue with that fracking business.However, the two-week gap presented by the absence of European fixtures could arguably be the difference between them and the rest. Two weeks of calm, no travel and limited contact during one of the most unusual seasons that professional rugby has ever seen, will be a massive boost. The decision to take a two-week break, and not fill that gap with league fixtures, was met with a mixed response, which was weird given the need to maintain player welfare this season above all. But either way, England will now be entering one of the most unplannable Six Nations ever played, in a thoroughly well-planned manner. Eddie Jones will be pleased.Paul Gustard uses a different channelAs one of the premium defensive coaches in the elite game, Paul Gustard knows his way around the defensive channels. But this week he chose a channel for attack. That channel was LinkedIn and his attack was so effective that it looked like it had been devised by Lee Blackett and his chums.It all revolved around his appointment in Benetton’s coaching team following his departure as Harlequins’ head of rugby just a few days earlier.center_img 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. Paul Williams delivers his monthly round-up of goings-on in the oval-ball game Gustard set up the play beautifully, by saying that he was looking forward to being part of a group at Benetton. Then came the subtle line of Benetton having a “a clear vision”. Then, bang, came the change of angle stating that Benetton’s group has “a deep level of trust” and a “dynamic environment” driven towards high goals.It may be one of the most perfectly executed attacks of the season, especially from a defence coach.Rugby isn’t just a young man’s gameIt’s very easy to think that a rugby player’s career is over when they hit 30. Back in the Eighties, when strength and conditioning meant switching to filtered cigarettes, many a career was over by the time the dial tipped past 29.Even in recent years, unless you were playing in the tight five where speed is viewed as optional, a player in their early 30s was more likely to be offered a blanket for their legs, than a new deal. But that is no longer the case, as we have seen this season in the Guinness Pro14.Kicking on: Stephen Myler has impressed for the Ospreys (Sportsfile/Getty Images)When Stephen Myler, Sione Kalamafoni and Jamie Roberts signed for their respective regions, the reaction was muted. Yet Myler, at 36, has given the Ospreys a solidity of tactical kicking that they haven’t had since Dan Biggar left and is putting the team into positions where their lineout maul can work effectively and the impressive young Keiran Williams can perfect his Scott Gibbs impression.Kalamafoni, 32, has given the Scarlets the type of ball-carrying that they haven’t had since Ben Morgan departed and 34-year-old Roberts is currently performing at a level where he is undoubtedly on the national team’s radar – whether they choose to use that radar or not.Covid creates different pressuresCovid has presented professional rugby with the most difficult 12 months in its existence. Even when things are at their best, rugby is short of money and the infighting between governing bodies and clubs, in all leagues, makes it look like cockfighting has never been outlawed.However, alongside the financial pressures and logistical nightmares, January has seen a far more human problem develop in that some players are choosing not to play in the Six Nations due to family and personal reasons.last_img read more