TAGS: Northampton Saints Paul Diggin celebrates scoring a match winning tryRugby World caught up with Paul ‘Digger’ Diggin, the UGG boot wearing winger at high flying Northampton Saints to chat about sheepskin coats, funny phobias and practial jokes.RUGBY WORLD: The Saints seem to have a great team spirit – does that help on the pitch?PAUL DIGGIN: Definitely. The squad go out together and hang out with each other after training, so you’re happy to put your body on the line for your mates; you work hard for them.RW: Who are the club’s jokers?PD: The main one is Chris Ashton. He gets very bored, very easily, so you have to be careful. If you don’t lock your locker, he’ll empty it or put all your kit on the floor. He never has any kit either so he’s always nicking other people’s. He moves guys’ cars about, too, and even sprayed Paul Shields’s and Sean Lamont’s hubcaps pink. He’s not the sort of guy you want to have a vendetta with.RW: Can you share any other practical jokes?PD: The usual one is with academy lads, who are pretty nervous and want to impress. You go into the team room and tell them Jim (Mallinder) is looking for them, that he’s going off his head and they must have done something pretty bad. They haven’t done a thing wrong but they really start to panic.RW: That sounds mean!PD: Yeah, but it’s funny. People did the same thing to me when I was in the academy.RW: If your house was on fire, what three things would you save?PD: My dog, Jake, a black Labrador. My iPhone – I couldn’t live without that. And my Uggs.RW: The girls’ shoes?!PD: No, these are men’s ones – they have thicker soles. I live in them – about eight of us at the club have them.RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?PD: There was a maul and one of our players was being held by his shorts. Slowly but surely they came down until his bum was hanging out. Then his shorts ripped and he was doing a full-on moon.Matt Lord leaving nothing to the imagination RW: Care to name him?PD: I couldn’t possibly comment – Matt Lord!Las Vegas, Seaweed and Stupid purchases…RW: Do you have any nicknames?PD: Digger and Whisky Face. I get sunburnt easily and the boys say I look like an alcoholic.RW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS PD: It sounds boring but to fly would be amazing. You could do whatever you wanted.RW: What’s your idea of a dream holiday?PD: Two weeks in Las Vegas with £20,000 in my pocket.RW: What are your bugbears?PD: People who eat with their mouth open. We’ve just managed to get Chris Ashton to stop troughing his food and after two years Stephen Myler is finally starting to eat vegetables!RW: Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?PD: The actor Chris Rock – he’s funny so could entertain everyone. David Walliams as he’d have some good stories to tell I’m sure and Marilyn Monroe – good stories as well and not bad to look at! Maybe Floyd Mayweather too – I like boxing.RW: Any phobias?PD: I’m not that great with spiders. Neil Best is scared of seaweed!RW: Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?PD: Angelina Jolie, before she got super-skinny. She was much better with all the curves.RW: What’s the silliest thing you’ve bought?PD: When I was 16 I bought a sheepskin coat – I was shopping with my mates and they all said it looked good. Then when I went to school the next day they all ripped me and couldn’t believe I’d got it.RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?PD: A job! I can’t play rugby forever and I went to the university of life, so I’ll be struggling when this rugby game is over. So if anyone has any rich daughters they want to hook me up with that would be cool!RW: How do you want to be remembered?PD: As a hard-working, fun-loving, jokey little scamp at Northampton.Check out his Twitter page Find out more about Paul’s teammates at Northampton…Dylan Hartley
Tell us about your rugby background.I was born in Torquay and my dad, Dave, took me to Dartmouth minis when I was four. He played prop for them. I moved on to Kingsbridge, then Exeter Chiefs from the age of about ten until I was 17, then joined Gloucester.What do you like about being a hooker?I like to be in the mix of things. The head-to-head battle with your opposite number appeals to me.Who influenced you as you came through?My dad has been key. Through all the trials and tribulations of being picked and dropped by clubs and England age groups, he’s encouraged me to stick at it.You turned 20 this year. Did you miss out on normal teenage life? LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS I don’t think I’ve missed out on a lot. Rugby has kept me on the straight and narrow, when some people I know have ended up in prison. I have a good life.What has been your favourite Gloucester game so far?The recent one against Leicester (Gloucester won 27-21 despite going down to 13 men late on). We all worked as a unit towards the end to getthe result we wanted. It was by far the best atmosphere I’ve experienced and the noise echoing around the ground made me smile.What do you do in your spare time?When I can I like to get back to Devon and go sea-fishing with my dad.RW Verdict: A Grand Slam winner with England U20, Britton has strength and nerves of steel, as Leicester discovered. This was published in the January 2013 issue of Rugby World. Click here to see what’s in the current edition.
Roaring Lion: Alex Cuthbert sprints past the attempted tackle of Michael Hooper to score in the first TestGEORGE NORTH’S try grabbed the headlines after the Lions’ first Test win over Australia in Brisbane, but Alex Cuthbert’s touchdown deserves praise too. It was a well-worked backs move that created the try, the Lions analysis team having emphasised to the players that they could take advantage of flanker Michael Hooper playing out of position in the midfield. Here’s how they did it… LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
Former Wales and Lions scrum-half Mike Phillips talks pranks, Paris and party guests To start a family.What would be your Mastermind specialist subject? Eighties and Nineties films. I’m still a big film fan.Do you have any hidden talents? I play pool left-handed.Who would be your three dream dinner party guests? Who would I pick? JFK, so I could find out about all the secrets and conspiracy theories – the aliens etc. Anthony Hopkins – he’s a legend. And George Best.Sporting hero: Football legend George Best has a big fan in Phillips. Photo: Getty ImagesWho’d play you in a film of your life? Colin Farrell looks a bit like me.What’s next for you? We’ll see what comes through the door and take it from there. I’ve definitely got another two years of playing in me. I feel very competitive, I’m pleased with the way I’ve been playing and I still think that I can make a difference.Will you pursue a modelling career? I don’t think so. I’ll try my hand at a few things to see what I like and don’t like. I think presenting would be pretty cool or maybe a bit of coaching – but nothing serious. Maybe at youth level.What superpower would you like to have? To fly, like Superman. That would be pretty cool for a first date.Where’s the best place you’ve been? I like New York – it’s very cool. I like the vibe.How would you like to be remembered? What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on the pitch? I wasn’t there but this is one that I’ve heard. During a Boxing Day game, there was a scrum and Lou Reed said, “Hands up who had turkey yesterday!”Who are the jokers at Racing 92? Juan Imhoff is number one. He does impersonations of the coaches and players, and he’s very funny.Can you tell us about any practical jokes? Last year someone wrecked Dimitri’s (Szarzewski) bedroom. He spent ages trying to get to the bottom of that one and eventually got someone to own up – I think it was Antonie Claassen. So Dimitri went round to his house and let some live chickens in!Do you have any phobias?Any sort of reptile. I’d s*** myself.What about bugbears? People who are rude.Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with? Angelina Jolie. Or Demi Moore – but Demi Moore from Indecent Proposal, not Demi Moore now.What’s your most embarrassing moment? Someone bounced me for the first time in my 13-year career when we beat Northampton in the Champions Cup. I’ve been doing it to other people for 13 years! The boys have probably been laughing about it.In the thick of it: Phillips in action for Racing 92 against Northampton this season. Photo: Getty ImagesWhat are the best and worst things about living in Paris? I’m sitting now having dinner next to the Eiffel Tower, so that’s the best thing. Paris at night is awesome. The worst is the traffic.It’s great to experience different cultures, not just in France but being surrounded by players of different cultures – New Zealanders, Fijians…If you could be any team-mate, who would it be? Maybe Joe Rokocoko, because he’s really fast.What would you like to achieve outside of rugby? Putting his feet up: Mike Phillips recently retired from Test rugby. Photo: Huw Evans Agency LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS As a very, very good rugby player.This article appeared in the February 2016 edition of Rugby World. For the latest subscription offers click here, or find out how to download the digital edition here.
Kushnarev agrees, saying that although “it is not the best situation in Russia, with some people living very hard lives, working a lot and not for big money,” there is a strong culture – a rugby culture – worth supporting. He also makes a point of promoting hunting, fishing and the beauty of the local wilds and women.When pushed on whether the European competitions are a good avenue for talented young players to get out of Russia, he is contemplative. “It’s a good idea but it would be better to develop our domestic competition. We have really physically gifted young players in the region. Georgia are good example – that’s what we see with them at number 11 in the world rankings. I know it’s a long and hard process…”LAST TIME he played a bit of footie in Russia, Tasi Luafutu was caught unawares.“We were surprised by the intensity and physicality of Enisei’s first 20 minutes,”the Brive back-row says, looking back on his side’s tight 10-7 loss to the Russian outfit last December. “They took us by surprise and we struggled to contain them.“We were looking forward to playing in Sochi, then we saw what had happened to Connacht. It was definitely a rugby experience, a story to tell, it was different from being apprehensive – it was not so much thinking about having to travel as being curious. After last year we have them again and we have learnt from that game. It wasn’t so much their set-piece as their general play. They caught us in the rucks a lot. It will be interesting to see how important that was. They have earned their spot in the cup and will have also learnt from last year.“One place I can say we could have an advantage over the other teams in the pool is that we’ve played Enisei before, we actually know what they are going to come with. We are targeting the quarter-finals and are looking forward to attacking this European competition, but we need to get out of the pool first.”Chills and skills Enisei’s Jurijs Baranovs makes a clearing pass last seasonWhen asked whether Brive should be scared again, Kushnarev mischievously jokes: “Everyone should be scared, we are Russian soldiers with big rockets!”He continues in a more serious vein: “Winning last season was very special, historical, and we all understand that when we win it is against very big teams and we were really surprised. I remember everything about those games. I will remember that Connacht game for the rest of my life – the last time I played in winter I was 15 years old, it was a new competition for me and it was very funny to see Bundee Aki playing in a scarf and sleeves.“Obviously before the Brive game not many players believed in success, but after ten minutes, when our boys made a few big tackles and breaks, everyone only thought of winning. And now this season we have a very special match against the Dragons because of their coach Kingsley Jones, the former Russia coach!”The Russians have accepted their draw. There is little that can dampen their resolve and they are keen to test themselves against bigger clubs on the continent. No matter where Enisei play, they are motivated and eager to build on last season’s wins. What a frosty prospect they will be in the Challenge Cup pool stages. WITH HISTORY made after the first-ever European tie in Siberia, everyone was pretty pleased with themselves. Connacht left it late to earn a bonus point in temperatures that reached below -20 degrees, with Rory Parata getting the fourth try in minute 76. It had not been easy – take the example of Niyi Adeolokun knocking on under the posts, only for Connacht to turn over the resulting scrum and the same player to go over in the corner – but it was job done. The Russian outfit had not frozen in their tracks either, scoring two tries at the end of the game to show they had the stamina and power to last at this level.However, the aftermath of the tie would have lasting resonance. With this game played on a Friday morning, UK and Ireland time, leaving frigid Krasnoyarsk for home should have been a hassle as the squad swung from plane to plane, but not nightmarish. Everyone expected the cold – the opening European fixtures were shunted into Russia’s icy November because the Rugby World Cup delayed the start of the season. But Connacht should have got back to Galway by the Saturday. Instead, they did not all make it back until the Tuesday.Under a blanket: The Connacht bench during their game in Siberia (Inpho)Talking at the time about the debacle, when technical issues with a chartered jet meant recalculating routes, lengthy delays and ultimately splitting the squad into three separate groups, Connacht head coach Pat Lam told the Irish Independent: “I haven’t ever really encountered anything like this. We have had flights delayed and things like that, but here we have had to deal with visas, delays, changing hotels, all in one go. Sometimes one or two of those things can happen but not all together, and not so far from home.“It is just something that has happened. It was important that they staged a game in their home city, nobody planned for that plane to break down. But I definitely wouldn’t have the game there (Krasnoyarsk) again in November; we would need to do this in early September or October but that wasn’t possible with the World Cup. It’s tough to come in these conditions.”By the Monday night one of Connacht’s three parties would stay in London, another in Amsterdam and a few more still in Moscow. As captain John Muldoon tweeted: “No sleep, card games and prudo keeping us sane…Energy levels at all time low… BO levels at an all time high… #StrandedInMoscow.” It was a tough gig for sure, but what would the legacy be?FOR SEASON 2016-17, Enisei are back in the Challenge Cup. This time around they will play three ‘home’ games in a row, then three away fixtures, in order to avoid the very worst of the Russian weather over December and January. However, all three of their home fixtures are outside of Krasnoyarsk, with their opener against Worcester in Moscow, their tie with Dragons in Krasnodar and the third match, against Brive, in Sochi. (Since this article was published, Enisei have defeated Worcester and Dragons in the Challenge Cup).A spokesperson from European Professional Club Rugby said of the decision: “Earlier in 2016, and after careful consideration, the Board of EPCR decided not to sanction European club rugby fixtures in Krasnoyarsk. The decision took into account the unpredictability of the weather in the region, the travel distances involved for Enisei-STM’s opponents, as well as the logistical difficulties experienced by Connacht Rugby in round one of last season’s Challenge Cup.“The decision was accepted by Rugby Europe, the Rugby Union of Russia and Enisei, and was officially confirmed to all parties in August. EPCR has provided €100,000 (approximately £86,000) in funding to Enisei to assist with the costs of staging their Challenge Cup fixtures in Moscow, Krasnodar and Sochi, and will continue to monitor the situation with a view to reassessing the suitability of Krasnoyarsk forEuropean fixtures in future seasons. “Enisei’s Challenge Cup schedule of home matches in rounds one, two and three is mindful of weather conditions which may affect the staging of fixtures particularly in the month of January.”Blowing hot and cold: Ramil Gaisin during a break in playAlthough Enisei won two fixtures in Sochi last season – beating both Brive and Newcastle at the south-western tip of Russia – they have some daunting trips ahead themselves. Moscow is roughly 2,567 miles from their home. Krasnodar is 2,970 miles, Sochi is eight hours and 20 minutes via plane (with one connecting flight).“It is not fair for sure,” Enisei full-back/fly-half Yury Kushnarev tells Rugby World. “If EPCR want to bring in Eastern European teams, we have to play at home no matter how far it is for other teams. In October it would be no problem to play in Siberia. The local government and sponsors give a lot of money to the team, too.“Just imagine before every game, home or away, we have to travel to Moscow or Sochi, spend a week there for practice and then play. We will have at least afour-and-a-half-hour flight to Moscow, then another two to Sochi! It is very hard mate, but it is better to play like this in a European competition than nothing. I hope that one day something will change.”While doing a bit of research on rugby in Siberia, we spoke with Scotland Sevens player Nick McLennan, who played for local rivals Krasny Yar in 2010. He explained that while some aspects of the lifestyle were tough as he struggled with the language and the locals are naturally conservative, the rugby was physical and exciting – remember European rugby is played during the Russian off-season, for obvious, chilly reasons – if you are with one of the country’s top four or five sides. Last season Enisei played in under -20°. This time they hope things will hot up for them in the Challenge Cup. This feature first appeared in the November issue of Rugby World magazine. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Chilled training: Connacht train in Krasnoyarsk last season (INPHO/James Crombie) This feature first appeared in the November issue of Rugby World magazine. For the latest subscription offers click here. Find your local stockist here and you can download the digital edition here.
So can you crown the lot? If you think your side – whether men, women or youth – merits the Rugby World Team of the Year award, simply email [email protected] to explain why. Don’t delay, we’ll be selecting our new winner in the next few days.On the charge: Quade Boal carries for Eccleshall, our February 2018 Team of the Month (Rob Spurr) Off the canvas: Manchester RFC celebrate winning our Team of the Year trophy last season (Liz Baines) Reflected glory: Kyle Sinckler’s first club, Battersea Ironsides, are a previous winner (Getty)Ironsides won an historic treble that year, a feat matched by our 2016 Team of the Year Heriot’s. The Edinburgh club won the Premiership, Scottish Cup and Charity Shield, playing with a panache that lit up the game north of the border.“We can score from all areas of the pitch, which can make opponents feel uncomfortable,” their head coach Phil Smith told us.Now we need a team worthy of following in their footsteps and those of current holders Manchester. So, have you swept all opponents aside? Have you worked tirelessly to boost playing numbers, or even just survive? Have you a story to tell that could inspire others?If your team has impressed in one way or another over the 2017-18 campaign, seize the moment by nominating your team.Already this season we’ve seen monthly awards for Vale of Lune, a home-grown Lancaster club, and Edinburgh school George Watson’s College. We’ve rewarded Deri, from the Rhymney Valley, and Suffolk outfit Halstead Templars after they landed a first-ever trophy. We’ve acknowledged the thriving rugby hub that is Royal Wootton Bassett and the newly energised Staffordshire club Eccleshall. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS It’s time to decide the 2017-18 Rugby World Team of the Year. So if your team has stood out from the crowd this season, send in your nomination now Could you be our 2017-18 Team of the Year?Roll up, roll up! The Rugby World Team of the Year award will be decided in the coming days and we’re inviting amateur or semi-pro sides from across Europe to send in their entries.Manchester RFC took the honours last season after arresting a spectacular slide in swashbuckling style. The South Lancashire & Cheshire One trophy was tangible evidence that you can come back from the depths of despair and this season they’ve advanced their goal of being “the best amateur club we can be”, alongside consolidation in North One West.Our successful team will in all likelihood have claimed silverware this season, but success comes in many forms.For example, our 2012 winners Old Bristolians not only swept to a league and vase double but used the tragic death of second-team captain Robbie Stuart as a catalyst for rapid growth and selfless charity work. The club had raised nearly £140,000 for CLIC Sargent at the time of their Rugby World award.Powering on: Royal Wootton Bassett picked up one of our monthly awards (Nick Phipps Photography)Sale’s Josh Beaumont got his hands on the trophy in 2013 as captain of Durham University before it stayed in Surrey in successive years. Farnham, the club where Jonny Wilkinson started his amazing rugby journey, enjoyed success at both ends of the scale in 2014, with their thriving mini section – they took 300 youngsters to a beach rugby festival in Devon – evidence of their rounded approach.And then Battersea Ironsides, where England prop Kyle Sinckler rocked up as an eight-year-old to try rugby for the first time, were able to add our coveted cup to their cabinet.
It seems unlikely that Cheika will lose his job a year out from the World Cup but what cannot be ignored is Cheika’s record as Wallabies coach, which is pretty poor.In 49 tests he has won 25 of them, and drawn two which works out as a winning ratio of 51%. Against the All Blacks they have won only twice in ten matches, they have one in seven against England, one in five against Ireland and Scotland have won twice in four Tests against them.To make matters worse, Cheika has only won once in his last six Tests.Those numbers do not make for good reading if you are an Aussie fan. After a poor run of form, Wallabies coach Cheika is under pressure to keep his job. Collapse What do you make of Michael Cheika? Do you think he should lose his job a year out from the World Cup?Don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook and Twitter. Expand “At the end of the day we’re the guys out there on the field and only we can control what the plays are at hand.“If anything he is also a great motivator and gets us upbeat about every single session that we take.”Article Continues Below Take a look at the squad Steve Hansen… New Zealand Rugby Championship Squad Australia Rugby Championship Squad Australia Rugby Championship Squad Rugby Championship Fixtures Expand LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS New Zealand Rugby Championship Squad Michael Cheika has named his Australia squad for… With only a few days to go before… Michael Cheika Under Pressure To Keep Wallabies Job“If Rugby Australia is serious about a productive 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign as well as regaining the faith of thousands of disenchanted Wallabies supporters, they must get rid of Cheika, and all of his backup coaching and managerial staff now. Not at the end of the year, or after the World Cup. Right now.”These striking words are from ESPN Rugby writer Greg Growden who clearly has had enough of the poor run of form shown by the Wallabies under Michael Cheika.It appears as if many green and gold fans also feel the same way. After Australia’s loss against the All Blacks last week, many fans stayed after the game to let their criticisms be known to Cheika.The calls for his sacking have been growing louder and more confident, which has lead to responses from both players and Cheika himself.“I think it’s fair for people to have a negative response. We got beat, they wanted us to win. There’s nothing wrong with that,” Cheika said to The Canberra Times. “When my team loses, I want them to win, I’m negative as well.“I’ve always had a plan about what I want to do. Sometimes you get bumps that take you a different course, you lose players, different things happen along the way and you’ve got to be able to adjust to that.“For me, I feel no matter who is throwing rocks, I’m in a good place because I’m always the hardest critic on myself.”Defence: Tatau Polota-Nau has backed Michael Cheika (Getty Images)Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau was quick to defend the head coach on rugby.com.au.He said: “He’s definitely the best man for the job,” Rugby Championship Fixtures
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: Leinster Guinness Pro14 final: Glasgow and Leinster ready for battle royaleThe city of Glasgow hasn’t had a day like it. The Scottish Cup final between Celtic and Hearts at Hampden Park (3pm), followed by the Guinness Pro14 final between Glasgow Warriors and Leinster at Celtic Park (6.30pm). That’s the sporting fare on Saturday and, even though we’re unashamedly biased, it’s the rugby contest that provides the greater intrigue.The final, being screened by Premier Sports, brings together the league’s two outstanding teams, each winning their conference during the regular season with room to spare.Glasgow’s attacking brio was seen in all its glory in the seven-try 50-20 semi-final rout of Ulster, who had no answer to the home side’s speed of thought and clinical execution. With 86% territory and 62% possession in the first 20 minutes, Glasgow blew Ulster away from the off and their cabal of ball-players includes one of the world’s very best in Stuart Hogg, who will be making his last appearance for the Warriors before joining Exeter Chiefs.Up for grabs: Stuart Hogg and Jacob Stockdale scrap for possession during last week’s semi-final (Inpho)“I get really nervous before every game and this one isn’t going to be any different,” says Hogg in an interview published by the BBC. “It’s actually worse than nerves. Sometimes I get a little bit scared. I do, genuinely. But I love it at the same time.”The fast ruck ball and split-side attack favoured by Glasgow will present a stiffer challenge to Leinster than Munster offered in last weekend’s second semi-final. Leinster emerged 24-7 victors in Dublin and their ten line breaks in a helter-skelter game showed they carry plenty of attacking threats themselves.The way Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong straightened the line to put Sean Cronin in for his 12th try of the season showed that ball-handling forwards will not be the preserve of Glasgow this weekend, and if Glasgow have Hogg then Leinster have James Lowe, one of three in the side to be nominated for the Pro14 Dream Team.Coming through: James Lowe proved too strong for Munster and will be a danger man for Leinster (Inpho)Lowe’s classy finish against Munster illustrated his power and Luke Fitzgerald, speaking on the Premier Sports rugby show this week, said: “He doesn’t need a huge amount of space. He’s got the ability to go round players or through them, to sidestep, he’s got that big fend. He’s just a nightmare to deal with. He has that X-factor.”Remarkably, Leinster have had 40 different try-scorers across all competitions this season and their 97 Pro14 tries leaves even Glasgow (90) in the shade. Yet equally the final will be determined by defensive considerations, notably whether the Irish province – who are not renowned for jackal turnovers – can slow Glasgow’s ball and halt that irresistible momentum they love to generate.As Rory Lawson pointed out, Leinster tackled high in the Heineken Cup defeat by Saracens and lost the gain-line to more powerful men. Glasgow won’t present the same problem because they aren’t a team that seeks unnecessary contact. They like the wind in their hair.Licence to thrill: Glasgow head coach Dave Rennie wants his players to express themselves (Getty)“We’re going to make sure we have a lot of fun because that’s what we’ve been doing all year,” said Warriors coach Dave Rennie. “We’re going to express ourselves because that’s the type of footie we’ve played.”More than 43,000 tickets for the final have already been sold and it’s hoped that the attendance will not only exceed last year’s record of 46,092 – when Leinster beat the Scarlets at Aviva Stadium – but could creep past the expected 49,000 football supporters due at Hampden Park. You can buy tickets for the final here.The final is a repeat of the 2014 clash at the RDS that Leinster won 34-12, one of their eight major trophies of the past decade.Yet Glasgow have had the upper hand in more recent meetings, including a 39-24 away win only last month when they put in a mammoth defensive effort, Jonny Gray alone making more than 40 tackles. This final will also be the first to be televised by Premier Sports and Chris Paterson, Martyn Williams, Shane Williams, Stephen Ferris and Jim Hamilton will be among the former internationals offering their wisdom. Ross Harries and Dougie Vipond will co-present.Hamilton, the ex-Scotland lock, believes Glasgow will have a slight edge on Saturday. “The Warriors were fantastic last weekend. They have real momentum right now and it seems since losing that quarter-final in Europe to Saracens they’ve gone to a different level.“I love Leinster as a team – they have such pedigree and big-game players and are incredibly resilient. It shows the quality they’ve got when they were able to raise their game last weekend to win a semi-final just a week after the European Cup final disappointment.“But watch out for the likes of Hogg, Hastings, Price, Johnson, Seymour. For me Fraser Brown is one of the best hookers in the world right now, there’s the carrying of Matt Fagerson – the names are just rolling off the tongue. They are littered with quality.”Front-row seat: Glasgow hooker Fraser Brown faces a tasty battle with the in-form Sean Cronin (Inpho)Unsurprisingly, Rennie sticks with the XV that beat Ulster and the match-day 23 features eight survivors from Glasgow’s successful 2015 final in Belfast.In contrast, Leinster recall their big guns with Johnny Sexton pulling rank over Ross Byrne at fly-half and Jordan Larmour switching to the wing to accommodate Rob Kearney at full-back. There will be no fairy-tale ending for Lions back-row Sean O’Brien before he joins London Irish next season as he fails to make the 23.The unfamiliarity of the venue for the teams could work both ways. Adam Hastings, whose running threat from outside-half is shown by the 51 defenders he scooted past in the regular season, last played on a football pitch as a schoolboy, whereas Leinster were at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park just a fortnight ago.Over! Sean Cronin scores. Three more tries will bring up Leinster’s century in the Pro14 this season (Inpho)Performing at Celtic’s famous citadel could inspire Glasgow or it could paralyse them. Sean Holley, Rugby World’s analyst and another of the Premier Sports team, believes experience will hold sway. “You back against Leinster at your peril. The pressure is on Glasgow and they’re not used to being in big finals.”While he plumps for a Leinster victory, Paddy Wallace had little hesitation in going the other way after watching the destruction of Ulster at Scotstoun last week.“Based on that performance, I think Glasgow will be too strong,” said the former Ireland centre. “They look sensational in all areas of their game. Their defence, their kicking game and their attacking game are second to none, so I see Glasgow winning at home.”It’s that sort of game – one to divide opinion. Let’s hope it’s a cracker.Glasgow Warriors: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Kyle Steyn, Sam Johnson, DTH van der Merwe; Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray, Rob Harley, Callum Gibbins (capt), Matt Fagerson.Replacements: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Siua Halanukonuka, 19 Ryan Wilson, 20 Tom Gordon, 21 George Horne, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Huw Jones.Leinster: Rob Kearney; Jordan Larmour; Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton (capt), Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, Seán Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Scott Fardy, James Ryan, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Rory O’Loughlin. Glasgow and Leinster have dominated this season’s Guinness Pro14, but only one of them can lift the trophy at Celtic Park this weekend. Rugby World previews the final Grand finale: the Pro14 trophy outside Celtic Park. Organisers are hoping for a record attendance (Inpho) Referee: Nigel Owens. TMO: Ian Davies (both Welsh Rugby Union).And then there were two: Leinster flanker Josh van der Flier and Warriors fly-half Adam Hastings (Inpho)
Fiji’s Nemani Nadolo scores hat-trick against GeorgiaFiji had to wait for three weeks to play their first Autumn Nations Cup match, but it took them only 72 seconds to score a try.Nemani Nadolo has been absent from the international stage for two years, but it took the Fiji winger just 63 minutes to score a hat-trick.Vern Cotter’s first Test in charge of Fiji ended with a 38-24 victory in this seventh-place play-off against Georgia at BT Murrayfield – and it was an entertaining match to watch. Fiji’s delayed arrival in the tournament after a Covid-19 outbreak lived up to expectations as the islanders scored six tries in all.The first try came within two minutes as Fiji launched an attack from a scrum in their opponents’ 22. Josua Tuisova and Albert Tuisue made strong carries in the centre of the field, then the ball bobbled wide for Nemani Nadolo to collect and power through Soso Matiashvil and Akaki Tabutsadze to score in the corner. His other two tries came in four second-half minutes. The first was created by a Ben Volavola grubber kick, which Nadolo bent low to collect and then he slid over in the corner.The second came from a Fiji lineout in the Georgia 22, Sam Matavesi looped round and fed Nadolo, who was able to burst through two defenders to complete his hat-trick.All smiles: Nemani Nadolo enjoys scoring his third try against Georgia (Getty Images)Fiji’s other tries came from debutant Johnny Dyer, who powered over from close range following a five-metre lineout, Tuisova, who was put into space on the wing by a long Levani Botia pass, and Mesulame Kunavula, who also marked his first cap by crossing the line after a superb offload from Tuisova.However, it wasn’t one-way traffic in Edinburgh as Georgia scored three tries of their own. The first came in the 23rd minute as Giorgi Melikidze drove over from a couple of metres while Beka Saginadze scored twice in the final 12 minutes.There was little doubt over the Man of the Match, though, as Nadolo picked up the gong. His three tries mean he has now drawn level with Vereniki Goneva as Fiji’s top try-scorer, with both having 22 Test tries to their names.This match proved to be worth the wait for both Nadolo and Fiji. The Leicester winger stars as Fiji beat the Georgians 38-24 at BT Murrayfield LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Early start: Nemani Nadolo opened the scoring after just 72 seconds (Getty Images) Leicester winger Nadolo hadn’t played for Fiji since 2018 after previously retiring from international rugby, but after opting to return to the Test arena he was quick to show he hasn’t lost his scoring touch. 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.
Gulf Coast Episcopalians prepare for Tropical Storm Isaac The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Featured Events Submit an Event Listing Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Submit a Job Listing An Aug. 27 satellite image of Tropical Storm Isaac shows the storm’s activity in the Gulf Coast. Photo/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal dioceses along the U.S. Gulf Coast were initiating disaster preparedness plans Aug. 27 as Tropical Storm Isaac emerged into the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters after drenching Haiti and the Dominican Republic and skimming Southeast Florida and the Florida Keys over the weekend.The U.S. National Weather Service has issued hurricane warnings for the Gulf Coast from Morgan City, Louisiana, to Destin in the Florida Panhandle, including the city of New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas.The National Hurricane Center said it expected the tropical storm to gain strength, possibly becoming a category two hurricane, before it makes landfall sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning, Aug. 29, the seventh anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina. The four coastal Episcopal dioceses that could be affected are Louisiana, Mississippi, Central Gulf Coast and Florida.In Haiti, Episcopalians were mobilizing efforts to respond to those most in need after Isaac bore down on the island of Hispaniola Aug. 24, claiming at least 12 lives and temporarily displacing at least 40,000 people.Despite the losses, Diocese of Haiti Bishop Suffragan Oge Beauvoir, who is based in Cap Haitien in the northern region of the diocese, wrote in an e-mail Aug. 27 that Haiti appeared to have been “spared” from the worst of Isaac. “God has heard your prayers … There is not too much damage, so far … We thank God for that.”“We got some heavy rains and bad winds. But by the grace of God, we are safe,” Beauvoir told ENS. “I have been in permanent contact with the clergy, and lay pastors of the Northern Region where I am working, and all the reports look good, all things considered.”Ahead of the storm, diocesan clergy had been asked to make provisions for themselves and, where possible, their parishioners. Clergy were reminded to urge parishioners who live near the coast or near rivers to move inland and stay with friends, and to try their best to stockpile basic necessities such as water.The Miami-based offices of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida were closed Aug. 27 as a precautionary measure because the outer bands of the storm were still producing heavy rain and squalls in the area.Mary Cox, director of communications for the Southeast Florida diocese, which also includes the Florida Keys, said she was not aware of any significant problems in the region. “Our major concern, of course, is for our companion dioceses of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. As soon as we hear from them about specific needs, I’m sure we’ll be organizing assistance. And like everybody else, we’re praying for our neighbors on the Gulf Coast,” she wrote in an e-mail to ENS.Cox said the diocese had heard from partners in the Dominican Republic to say that they are all OK but that they were cleaning up after “lots and lots of rain.”The National Hurricane Center, in an advisory at 1 p.m. EDT, warned of dangerous surf and rip currents that would continue to affect the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys during the next day or so, and would begin to affect portions of the Gulf Coast later today. Isolated tornadoes also are possible from Central Florida through the northeastern Gulf Coast today and tonight, the advisory noted. Maximum sustained winds are currently recorded at 65 mph with tropical-storm-force winds extending up to 240 miles from the center. Storm surges are expected to reach 12 feet along some coastal areas.The ninth named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, Isaac developed on Aug. 21 in the Lesser Antilles.As Isaac continues on its path towards the Gulf Coast, Bishop of Louisiana Morris K. Thompson Jr. wrote to diocesan leaders Aug. 27, saying that while the forecast likely “brings with it more than just the normal anxiety associated with hurricanes, as it comes on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, in times like this it is important that we keep strong in our faith and know that God is still God. So, as people are fond of saying, we prepare for the worst and pray for the best.”Thompson underscored the importance of taking precautions now “to protect ourselves and those in our care. We should know where our family members, our close friends and (for those in church leadership positions) our parishioners are going to be over the coming days, and they should know our plans.”Conference calls have been scheduled for diocesan clergy to assess the needs immediately after the storm has passed. Meanwhile, a special webpage on the diocesan website has been created where useful and important information may be posted in the coming days.In Mississippi, the Rev. Carol Borne Spencer, diocesan coordinator for disaster preparedness and response, is not taking any chances.Spencer told clergy in an Aug. 27 e-mail that the diocesan disaster and preparedness task force is available to offer assistance as needed and reminded them to refer to a booklet on personal and congregational preparedness for disasters provided to each Mississippi congregation.“I know this is ‘old news’ to some of you who have been through this drill before,” said Spencer, but “I would rather err on the side of caution. I pray that each of you on the coast err on this side of over-preparedness as well.”Spencer, coordinator for outreach and mission at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson, also asked the clergy to keep Mississippi Bishop Duncan Gray III “informed of your status, personal and congregational, after the storm passes … Please don’t forget to check on your most vulnerable members who may not have others to help them prepare … I am praying for everyone’s safety.”The Rev. Scott Lenoir, editor of The Mississippi Episcopalian and assisting priest at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ocean Springs, told ENS that he will be in “full prep mode like everyone else” in the diocese. He said that his church would stay open Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, when the storm is expected to make landfall, as several parishioners live in flood-prone areas and his church sits at a higher elevation.Lenoir, who serves as co-chair of the diocesan disaster and preparedness task force, said that during the last 12 months the team has compiled a detailed database that can be used as a resource for relief efforts in the event of a crisis. The team also has met with every convocation (groups of parishes) in the diocese in an effort to educate, prepare and gather resource information.Although the Diocese of Alabama, which is located further inland and runs from Montgomery north to the Tennessee border, will likely avoid the brunt of the storm, it is standing ready to provide assistance to the coastal dioceses should that become necessary, Communications Coordinator Dave Drachlis told ENS.Episcopal Relief & Development continues to be in regular contact with partners in the affected dioceses and is standing by to offer support and assistance.— Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service. TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME By Matthew DaviesPosted Aug 27, 2012 Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Rector Collierville, TN Submit a Press Release This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Rector Shreveport, LA Rector Tampa, FL Director of Music Morristown, NJ An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector Bath, NC Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Rector Smithfield, NC New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Associate Rector Columbus, GA Curate Diocese of Nebraska Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Rector Albany, NY Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Rector Belleville, IL In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Press Release Service Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Rector Hopkinsville, KY Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Youth Minister Lorton, VA AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Rector Knoxville, TN Rector Pittsburgh, PA The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Rector Washington, DC Featured Jobs & Calls Rector Martinsville, VA Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13