We are in Sydney, it is a November day and an unusually large number of overseas visitors are behaving like Christmas has come early. The year is 2003 and it is the morning after a rugby match played at the Olympic Stadium. Rather a big one. Which went to extra-time. And came down to a last-gasp drop goal. Around the Manly Pacific Hotel, a ferry ride away from the opera house, the harbour bridge and downtown Sydney, one question is being asked. How did England stay so impossibly cool as the World Cup final drew its dying breath? Inside their beachfront hotel the answer comes from Will Greenwood, a player still coming to terms with the magnitude of victory over the host nation. It encapsulates why World Cup warm-up matches are staged and why England need to use wisely the four they have coming up. “People asked whether those warm-up games were the best thing for us,” said the midfield ace, referring to fixtures against Wales in Cardiff and France, twice, in Marseille and at … [Read more...] about Why England’s Rugby World Cup warm-up matches could hold key to victory this summer
Played in 3 world cup finals
If England can win a second Rugby World Cup on Saturday, the current crop of players will become household names overnight Companies will no doubt be queuing up to offer the winners a string of endorsements, while there are sure to be a host of requests from TV shows to boot. It’s something the Red Roses’ victorious 2003 side had to get used to after that famous night in Sydney 16 years ago . And what has happened to them in the intervening years may offer an insight into what the current England team can expect should they lift the Webb Ellis Cup this weekend. Starting XV Trevor Woodman: Part of a fearsome front row, but moved into coaching after his playing days were curtailed. Currently involved in the set-up at Gallagher Premiership side Gloucester. Steve Thompson: Initially retired in 2007 because of a neck injury, but capped a remarkable comeback by appearing at the 2011 World Cup. Now a rugby analyst and business development executive in the UAE. Phil … [Read more...] about England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning squad – where are they now?
Owen Farrell is sitting with his dad debating which of them is the most competitive. “He says he never lets me win, but I always win anyway,” says the fly-half, breaking into a laugh. “He never wins anything. I’d never let him win,” counters Farrell snr, rugby league legend turned top union coach. “Even playing tiddlywinks tomorrow I would never let him win. But he’s getting to that stage now where I have to be on my toes.” Owen shakes his head. “It was that stage about five years ago!” Given their respective achievements the back-and-forth ribbing is to be expected. Yet this was nine years ago. Farrell jnr was 17, just starting out. As an insight into the player he would become it was revealing. You could not watch the World Rugby interview and conclude anything other than this young man was going places. Fast forward to today and the same player is in Japan preparing to captain England in a World Cup. He has 73 caps and 817 … [Read more...] about England captain Owen Farrell has unfinished business at Rugby World Cup 2019
England are still on course and favourites to win the World Cup. Losing an odd game, like they did to Pakistan, is not a bad thing. A defeat or two stops complacency and keeps players on their toes with everyone playing on the edge. Players will have already worked out that no team can afford to lose more than two matches and be certain of making the semi-finals. Receive World Cup audio updates from Boycott via WhatsApp Three losses could be okay if your run rate is very high. Everyone needs a bit of luck too especially with bad weather around for the next week or so. If you are unlucky to have a couple of games rained off then you will be sweating over making the last four. England are... … [Read more...] about A pleasure to watch, England are still World Cup favourites – but others are well equipped to pounce
HARRY MAGUIRE has revealed Manchester United sent him a shirt after he was knocked out during Sheffield United's 2011 FA Youth Cup final defeat to his new club. Maguire, now 26, was sparked out by Ravel Morrison in United's 6-3 aggregate win, with the Red Devils clinching a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford in the second leg. Maguire's accidental clash of heads with Morrison resulted in him being hauled off unconscious. The 23,000-strong crowd rose to its feet to applaud Maguire as he was taken off on a stretcher. When he was recovering, a United shirt arrived with a message from the club — when the youth team were managed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Warren Joyce. He also got a phonecall from Sir Alex Ferguson to wish him well and tell him he could reach the top.In a strange twist of fate Morrison now plays for Sheffield United and Maguire for the Red Devils. On-loan United keeper Dean Henderson also plays between the sticks — but he is ineligible for the trip to Bramall Lane. … [Read more...] about Maguire reveals classy Man Utd sent him a kit in hospital when he was knocked out playing AGAINST them as a kid in 2011