Can Wales win the Six Nations in 2017?

Wales are one of the strongest rugby union sides in the world and it could be argued that Warren Gatland’s men play the best attacking rugby in the northern hemisphere.

With the likes of George North, Jamie Roberts and Dan Biggar in the side, Wales have plenty of quality in attacking areas and they will only improve further as Leigh Halfpenny and Justin Tipuric continue their respective recoveries from long term injury issues.

As of April 15th, Wales are priced at 2/1 in Coral’s betting markets and plenty of pundits will be providing their rugby union tips on Gatland’s side to win the title for the first time since 2013.

On paper, Wales have an incredibly talented side and their three home matches against England, Ireland and France in 2017 will stand them in good stead to get their hands back on the Six Nations crown.

Before the Six Nations, Gatland’s side will take on the 2015 Rugby World Cup winners New Zealand in a three–match series.

The All Blacks will provide a stern test for the Welsh side but if Wales aspire to be the best, they must face the best and figure out how to BEAT the best. If they can beat New Zealand in their own backyard, they can breeze past England in next year’s Six Nations – which could face a significant restructure in the coming years.

That’s if Bernard Lapasset gets his way. The World Rugby chairman is set to leave his post in the not-so-distant future but firstly, he is trying to incorporate a promotion/relegation system in the Six Nations.

And while this would encourage competitive play for the likes of Italy throughout the entire tournament, I’m not quite sure how the logistics would work. In the meantime, you can keep up with Six Nations news and Rugby Union tips for all matches via Coral’s website.

Next year, it could be Wales’ time to shine. Whether the Six Nations format is changed or not, Warren Gatland’s men will be eager to press on after finishing second to England in this year’s event.

And with a bit of luck on the injury front, there’s no reason why Wales cannot lift the Six Nations crown next year – especially with three fixtures in front of a passionate Millennium Stadium.

Welsh Rugby Union not happy with Marler Decision

The Welsh Rugby Union stated that they are very surprised at the decision not to penalize England player Joe Marler for uttering “racist language” towards Wales player Samson Lee previous week.

Marler was cleared to play in the RBS 6 Nations match against France on Saturday by tournament’s disciplinary committee in spite of striking one Wales player Rob Evans and calling Lee a “gypsy boy”.

He has been not included of the starting team to confront Les Bleus in a match England require to win to ensure the Grand Slam, but Jones suggested that his omission from the team had not anything to do with the Lee incident. Meanwhile, Wales face Scotland in what promises to be an epic battle – tickets are available through this link but are going fast!

In a statement, Welsh Rugby Union stated that they are surprised by the decision of the Six Nations disciplinary hearing. They still believe that there is no spot for the use of racist language in sport.

The statement released by Welsh Rugby Union was utterly different from the primary remarks that came from national coach Warren Gatland. He called the event as a banter. However, he later apologized for describing the whole incident in that way.

Eddie Jones, the England coach, picked up on this seeming contradiction, saying that at his press conference on Thursday that probably Welsh Rugby Union does not know whether they are Arthur or Martha. He added that there was a decision made, that is what we have these judiciary committees for. He would let the process run its path. It has run its path.

Can Wales win the Rugby World Cup this year?

Warren Gatland’s side are one of the strongest units in the sport and are more than capable of competing with the best teams on the planet.

In the Six Nations tournament earlier this year, Wales played some scintillating rugby and will feel aggrieved to miss out on the title after an impressive 61-20 thrashing of Italy on the final day of the competition.

Gatland’s men lost their opening fixture against Stuart Lancaster’s England at the Millennium Stadium and it could be argued that their dreadful second half performance in that encounter handed Ireland the Six Nations trophy.

However, Wales will be looking to dust themselves down and will be quietly confident of reaching the latter stages of the 2015 Rugby World Cup – which gets underway on 18th September. We take a look at Wales’ chances of success in the tournament and give our thoughts on other possible contenders for the crown. You can visit Coral’s website for more news and odds on the Rugby World Cup, as well as other general rugby news.

Wales were knocked out of the 2011 Rugby World Cup at the semi-finals stage by France after referee Alain Rolland controversially dismissed Sam Warburton early on in the first half of the match.

This year, they will be looking to go one better and – although they have been paired with both England and Australia – they have an extremely talented squad with players that can hurt opposing teams on both sides of the ball. George North and Alex Cuthbert are strong, agile wingers who can power past opponents and make clean breaks.

They will have to cope with a hostile crowd at Twickenham; however that shouldn’t be a huge problem. Wales earned a 19-12 victory at the home of English rugby back in 2012 but have lost the last two fixtures against their old rivals.

England will be a huge threat throughout the tournament and, along with New Zealand and South Africa, will be one of the leading candidates to lift the trophy on 31st October. The All Blacks are the defending champions and arguably possess the best squad on the planet but they may struggle to cope with England if Lancaster’s side perform at their very best.

Meanwhile, South Africa are always a danger and beat England in the 2007 tournament to claim victory. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see one of these Southern Hemisphere sides emerge as the World Cup champion.

Wales Rugby Team skipper Jones to join Bristol

Rugby Football Union Championship side Bristol Rugby has completed the signing of record breaking Wales Rugby Team skipper Ryan Jones on a two year contract.

What is interesting is that the player could also feature in the playoffs for the RFU Championship as well.

The Welsh skipper led the country on a record breaking 33 occasions and has a total of 75 caps for the country as well as another three for the British and Irish Lions which he picked up back in 2005. He has signed for the English club from the Welsh region Ospreys.

According to a local media in England, although Bristol Rugby only recently announced his signing, they had already lodged a formal application to have him registered before the transfer deadline of February 28 meaning he could be eligible to play in the Championship playoff matches.
Andy Robinson, the Director of Rugby of the club stated that the arrival of the Wales Rugby Team player is an indication of the growing ambitions of the club and that it can attract the biggest names in rugby as well.

He went on to add that the achievements made by Jones over his career is tremendous, stating that to captain one’s country for a record number of times as well as play for the British and Irish Lions is a remarkable feat and it doesn’t look like anyone can match it in the near future.
The Wales Rugby Team skipper stated that he will join the club when the season finishes for the Ospreys and he mentioned that he is delighted to be joining a club steeped in history. He added that the growing ambitions of the club as well as its traditions made his decision to move on from the Ospreys an easy one in the end.

English players seeking win

England are extremely confident they are in a good position this season and are primed to regain their status as the champions of the Northern Hemisphere by claiming the Grand Slam title at the Six Nations and one way to do it would be to avenge their humiliating loss at the hands of the Wales Rugby Team in last season’s tournament in Cardiff.

Brad Barritt, the England centre admitted that they are looking forward to that match against Wales and mentioned that the only way the team can exorcise the ghost of the past is if they can win the title by going through against their bitter rivals from the south of the border.

Stuart Lancaster takes his England team for a tough trip to France to kick off their Six Nations campaign this season in three weeks’ time and they will also have to follow that up with two trips to Rome and Murrayfied to take on Italy and Scotland respectively. But it is that match against the Wales Rugby Team on the 9th of March at Twickenham Stoop that the English players are looking forward to the most.

Barritt, who has been recovering well after an injury admitted that after that 30-3 defeat against the Dragons last season, in which they loss 30-3, there was a lot of soul searching among the players. He mentioned that they had played very well in that tournament and looked like the champions elect before being brought to a crashing halt by the Wales Rugby Team at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff ten months ago.

And he admitted regaining the title isn’t easy this season with three tough away games awaiting them but added that they are in a good position as a team and they

Gatland poached Cuthbert and North for Wales

Warren Gatland, the Wales Rugby Team boss has admitted that he called up George North and Alex Cuthbert to the national team in order to prevent them from being called up to the England national team by Stuart Lancaster.

Both the aforementioned players were born in England, with North hailing from the King’s Lynn region of England while Cuthbert comes from Gloucester. But both the players were brought through the Welsh regional system and could still have played at the top level with England had boss Stuart Lancaster acted quickly enough to blood them into the team as he did with Ben Morgan.

And Gatland has now admitted that he fast tracked the progress of the two wingers to the Wales Rugby Team as quickly as possible to prevent the two British and Irish Lions from ending up representing England.

According to Gatland, he picked the two players because firstly they are big and powerful athletes and secondly, because they are qualified to play for England. He went on to add that he had to take a risk on these players and he could have afforded to sit back in his chair and wait for a year and then see Stuart Lancaster swoop for the players and take them for England from under his nose.

North currently plays for the Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership and with the future of English clubs in the Heineken Cup still up in smoke; it is possible that the player would be without European action in the new season.
England will play the Wales Rugby Team in the pool stages of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and Gatland thinks if the English sides do not play in Europe, then it is going to be a huge advantage for the other teams against them.

HUGE LOSS FOR WALES

It is a huge loss for the Wales Rugby Team, as Cliff Morgan passed away recently, at the age of 83. Cliff Morgan is considered to be one of the greatest rugby players of all times, and he has been a huge asset for the Wales Rugby Team during his heydays. And apart from playing for the Wales Rugby Team, he had also played alongside the British Lions and the Barbarians.

And apart from playing rugby, he was also known as one of the best rugby commentators of all times. He had huge skills both on and off the pitch. On the pitch, he was unbeatable, and the opposing team always had to be extra wary of him, while as a commentator, he was one of the most sought after.

He had helped Wales win a staggering twenty nine caps, and needless to say, he was a huge asset for the Wales Rugby team, both when he was a player himself, and also when he was a broadcaster. Back in 1952, Cliff Morgan had helped the Wales Rugby Team clinch the Grand Slam, and then later on in 1956, he was given the post of captaincy for the rugby team. He had been suffering from a grievous illness for a very long time, and he finally took his last breath at his home on the Isle of Wight.

John Dawes, who was a skipper for the Wales Rugby team, said that Cliff Morgan had that little bit of magic that comes with every Welsh outside-halves, and that he was one of the all time rugby greats to have ever played the game. Needless to say, this loss will come as a heavy blow for the Wales Rugby Team, and that Cliff Morgan will be sorely missed by all and sundry.

Davies given honorary degree

Gerald Davies, a key player in the star studded Wales Rugby Team and a legend of the British and Irish Lions from the 1970s, has been conferred with an honorary LLD Degree by the Swansea University. As chairman of the British and Irish Lions rugby team, the wing wizard from Wales has also presided over the team’s successful tour of Australia over the summer as well.

The honorary degree was conferred during the awarding of the degrees by the Swansea University at the city hall a few days back. Born in 1945, Davies was a brilliant athlete during his days in school and was an extremely talented sprinter, an ability which helped him dazzle past many an opposing player on the wings. He made his international debut for the Wales Rugby Team at just 21 years of age against Australia almost 50 years back now in 1966.

During his long career, Davies represented the likes of the Barbarians, the London Welsh, Cambridge University as well as Cardiff and captained the capital club for three seasons during the 1970s. Perhaps his most memorable match in the Cardiff jersey came in the Anglo-Welsh Cup game of 1977-78 when he singlehandedly ripped apart the opposing Pontypool to score four tries and earn a 16-11 win for his side.

He also played for twelve consecutive years for the Wales Rugby Team, amassing a total of 46 caps and finishing his career with 20 tries. He went on two tours with the British and Irish Lions, going on to earn five caps and scoring three tries for the Lions, all of which were against the All Blacks of New Zealand, helping the team to win the series.

Davies stated that as a former teacher, it was particularly pleasurable to receive a degree from a place of learning.

Blues won’t follow London Welsh policy

Geoff Irvine, the chairman of the Rugby Football Union Championship club the Bedford Blues, has ruled out following the same financial strategy that the London Welsh took to win a place in the Aviva Premiership last season.

The Exiles moved to the Kassam Stadium in Oxford from their former home at Deer Park after they won the RFU Championship play-off finals last season and this move cost them over £ 4 million in two seasons.

But according to Irvine, he could think of a lot of ways of spending £ 4 million if he had all that money to spend at all. Speaking to BBC Sport, Irvine stated that there is no chance that they will make the move away from Goldington Road, adding that it is their spiritual home and it is where they will stay and play for the foreseeable future. Bedford plays the Newcastle Falcons in two legged finals of the RFU Championship play-off, hoping to secure their place in the Aviva Premiership next season.

The London Welsh won the play-off final last season but were only allowed to be a part of the Aviva Premiership after having a successful appeal against the initial ruling of the RFU which stated that they did not meet the criteria to play in the Aviva Premiership. After agreeing a ground sharing deal with the football club Oxford United, The Exiles were relegated from the Premiership and might return to their old Deer Park home, although Lyn Jones, the club’s coach want them to retain their Oxford base.

The home of the Bedford Blues does not meet the criteria of the Premiership for several reasons and although there has been talk of sharing the MK Dons’ stadium, Irvine has ruled that move out, effectively putting their future in doubt even if they win the final.

Roberts wants Wales Rugby Team to raise the bar

Defending Six Nations title holders the Wales Rugby Team stunned one of the favorites for this year’s championship France and revived their faltering campaign when they ended their eight game winless streak in Paris and now, Jamie Roberts, the centre for the national team is asking for more from the side. The big No. 12 of the Welsh side wants the side to raise the bar of their performance at the Stadio Olimpico Stadium in Rome as they go head to head against Italy in a venue that has been really kind to them in recent games.

Having lost to Ireland in arguably the biggest upset of this season’s competition, the Wales Rugby Team faced the prospect of finishing in mid-table if the result against France hadn’t gone in their favor but they managed to come out on top in what can be best described as a scrappy game to keep alive their hopes of securing back to back titles. The 16-6 win against France has given them a fighting chance of retaining the title and if they manage to beat Italy, they will head into the final weekend of the championship against England with both the neighbors fighting for the title.

And big Roberts has underlined how important it is to build on that win against France when they face Italy over the weekend. Roberts stated that the English are in a more favorable position because they have the prospect of playing two of their next three games at home.

However, he stated that the Wales Rugby Team will be very much in with a fair shot at the title and if they can win their next games, they will head into the match against England feeling confident that they can grab the title from the grip of their rivals.