19 Mar From the section Rugby Union Share this with Digg Facebook Google LinkedIn Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Copy this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/47617146 Read more about sharing. The battle for Six Nations has only just reached its conclusion, but attention has already shifted to 2019's showpiece event - the World Cup.The final day had just about everything as Wales cruised past 2018 champions Ireland to win the Grand Slam, and Scotland produced a memorable fightback to almost beat England at Twickenham for the first time in 36 years.So where do the four home nations stand before the World Cup? BBC pundits review last weekend and look ahead to autumn's tournament in Japan.Listen to more on the latest episode of Rugby Union Weekly. Wales - 'genuine contenders for the World Cup'Past, future and present2015 World Cup: Knocked out in quarter-final by South Africa2019 World … [Read more...] about Rugby World Cup 2019: Where do home nations stand after Six Nations?
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South Africa Rugby announced a radical contract overhaul on Saturday in a move designed to reverse the trend of talented players leaving the country. Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus said the existing model had to be "disrupted". "We have been agonising over how to keep players in the country since the game went professional more than 20 years ago," Erasmus said. "And the bottom line is that the rand is too weak and the economy of South African rugby too small to compete. "A South African player can earn more from a two-month contract in Japan than he can if he were to win the World Cup with the Springboks this year. That's the reality we have to face up to. "Once we have done our work, the new strategy could see as many as 75 players in Springbok succession planning and being financially rewarded for it. We had to disrupt the model." An SA Rugby statement explained the changes "will see the current Springbok contracting model turned on its head, the 30-cap rule for overseas-based … [Read more...] about South Africa rugby in contract overhaul to stem talent drain
Former New Zealand captain Sean Fitzpatrick believes England and Ireland pose the greatest threats to ending the All Blacks' domination at this year's Rugby World Cup. New Zealand are overwhelming favourites to clinch a third successive crown in Japan later this year, but the natural order was disturbed by Ireland clinching a famous win over the Kiwis in Dublin last November. Defeat for New Zealand came just a week after they were pushed all the way by England, who have beaten Ireland and France in the Six Nations recently. Scott 'Razor' Robertson keen to 'have a crack' at coaching All Blacks Liam Square signs two-year deal with Japanese club The 1987 World Cup winner Fitzpatrick expects both northern hemisphere sides - as well as Wales, currently on an 11-match winning sequence - to shine on the global stage. But he thinks no top-tier nation can be ruled out of contention at a tournament where none of them can boast home advantage. "No … [Read more...] about Rugby World Cup 2019: Ireland, England pose biggest threats to All Blacks, says Sean Fitzpatrick
Story highlights Japan stunned Springboks at RWC 2015 Leitch and Kolisi remember Brighton match Japan hosts RWC in 2019 for first time (CNN)With time almost up on the clock, Japan rolled the dice on England's south coast. A successful kick at goal could have secured a draw against two-time world champions South Africa -- a remarkable result for a team of Japan's stature. Coach Eddie Jones bayed from the sidelines for his team to take the kick, but captain Michael Leitch thought otherwise. Leitch wanted a try -- five points that would thrust Japan into the history books with the greatest upset in Rugby World Cup history. "I'd rather go down challenging South Africa than kicking the goal, missing, and regretting it for the rest of my life," Leitch tells CNN. They say fortune favors the brave, and the aptly-named Brave Blossoms -- who showed courage and nerve by the bucket-load on that day in 2015 -- were richly rewarded. Read More When Karne Hesketh slid over after … [Read more...] about Rugby World Cup: Remembering the shock of the century
Players in next month's Six Nations will seek to copper-fasten a place in Joe Schmidt's squad. But fans too are putting plans in place to be in Yokohama on September 22 for Ireland's curtain-raiser against Scotland. The managing director of Dublin-based Unique Japan Tours, Darina Slattery, predicted as many as 5,000 fans will travel. "Based on the numbers we have at the moment, we expect to cater for at least 2,000 people, with half coming from Ireland and the other half coming from our international markets," she said. "We've been at this for 20 years and know the marketplace inside and out. This, coupled with the Olympics next year, will undoubtedly provide us with our best years yet." Slattery has added an extra 10 staff over the past 12 months to help cater for increased demand. For the Rugby World Cup, packages start from €2,500 per person. The business offers ground-handling services, meaning that "everything is taken care of from when you get off the plane in Japan to … [Read more...] about Travel agent plans to be big in Japan for Rugby World Cup