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.
The 51 years old Warren Gatland from New Zealand who is the coach of the Wales Rugby Team may not be able to coach the team for long after Roger Lewis Resigned from his post of Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union.
Roger Lewis stepped down from his post last year in the month of October. Gatland is bound by contract to coach the Wales Rugby Team till the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Gatland’s homeland is New Zealand and in order to perform his duties as the head coach of the Welsh Rugby team, in the year 2007, he had to move to Wales. He agreed to a contract extension in the year 2013 which makes him bound to perform his duties for the team as the head coach until the 2019 Rugby World Cup ends.
The head coach has made it clear that he doesn’t want to resign from his post due to the change that took place in the position of Chief Executive of the National Rugby Union of Wales.
But he does think that the current chief executive may want to remove him. According to Gatland, there is indeed a possibility that the change that took place in the position of Chief Executive will affect his position. He didn’t want to say anything more in this regard but he did say that such decisions are generally not within the capacities of a person of his position to make.
He said that he is committed to see his team through the 2019 Rugby World Cup. One can only hope of continuing further but in the end an individual’s performance is judged by the result according to Mr. Gatland. He said that often certain decisions concerning an individual are taken by some other individuals. He said that when Roger Lewis was Chief Executive, he made huge contributions for the team
Scarlets and the Wales Rugby Team prop Samson Lee has become the latest of a long list of players to sign the new national dual contract (NDC) with his region as well as the welsh Rugby Union (WRU).
The 22 year old tight head prop, who won the first of his nine caps for Wales as a substitute against Argentina in 2013 was thought to have been holding out for a better contract, but in the end, put pen to paper to what was offered to him. He played in all of his country’s autumn internationals in 2014, including their historic reverse against South Africa.
Speaking at his unveiling at the Scarlets, Lee said that the decision came easily to him. He added that this new national dual contract is the best of both worlds, adding that it allowed him to commit his future to his region where he is enjoying his rugby immensely and where he also feels at home but it also allows him exciting times ahead with the Wales Rugby Team.
He went on to add that he is hopeful of repaying the faith put in him y both the Scarlets and the WRU and he is delighted that he will get a lot of opportunities to play at the club’s home stadium for the foreseeable future.
Lee is currently out of action with neck injury as well as a suspected disc problem.
He established himself as the first choice tight head prop for the Wales Rugby Team since he replaced Adam Jones against South Africa in Durban and has become a key cog in Warren Gatland’s side since then.
Gatland said that he is delighted that Lee has signed the contract, adding that he has proven himself for club and country and still has a lot to offer.
The Welsh rugby team fans must be in an elated state of late- much to the pleasure and surprise of their supporters, the Wales boys have successfully managed to secure their place in the upcoming Rugby World by their great victory of 12-6 against South Africa.
The win came after 6 years since the time the Welsh team managed a win against the Aussie rugby squad and this time again they claimed the triumph at the cost of one among the mightiest big three teams of southern hemisphere. It definitely calls for celebration in Wales rugby as the victory is no less than a much awaited water shed for the much starved Warren Gatland.
The turning point of the game was when Jean Villiers, the Springbook skipper had to be taken out from the field given his dislocated knee.
And the best part is that the latest win against South Africa couldn’t have come up in a better time. Wales’s rugby guys would now be moving ahead into the 2015 World Cup next year as they proved their merit to take on some of the best teams from the rugby world.
Of course, there is a long route to follow till the World Cup. The Wales team would have to play in the soon-to-start Six Nations where they would have to face England at Millennium Stadium. It’s going to be a tough fight as England is in a stellar form of late, beating down the Wallabies recently.
But again, it would be very foolish of the Wales team to be complacent with this one win against the very strong South Africa. In fact, it would be better if the improvising Welsh deem the recent triumph as the dawn of their journey and not the ultimate.
The round 4 match of the 2014-2015 Aviva Premiership between London Irish and Leicester Tigers was won by London Irish on the 27th of September, 2014. The match took place at the Welford Road Stadium (Leicester Tigers’ home ground).
Many are of the opinion that London Irish was able to defeat Leicester Tigers because of the lengthy injury list of Leicester. Richard Cockerill (Leicester Tigers’ coach) is really wondering as to how the team is going to head to Kingsholm to face Gloucester on the 4th of October, 2014.
Five locks and four props of the Leicester Tigers are not fit or are unavailable for the match against Gloucester. Cockerill will only get to know on 29th of September, 2014 (Monday) as to which players can really be available for the match on 4th of October, 2014 (Saturday).
During the match against London Irish on 27th of September, 2014 England Internationals such as Mani Tuilagi, Geoff Parling and Tom Youngs were missing from Leicester Tigers. However, it seems Mani Tuilagi and probably also Seramaia Bai might join the Tigers for the match against Gloucester.
It was also due to the long injury list of Leicester Tigers that they were terribly defeated by Bath at the Recreation Ground on the 20th of September, 2014. Leicester Tigers really have to pull up their socks in the next rugby match of the Aviva Premiership.
London Irish also won the match against Leicester Tigers because of the amazing performance of Shane Geraghty who kicked around seventeen points. Whereas Leicester’s Freddie Burns tried hard but could not play well.
Richard Cockerill on the other hand, thinks Grey Garner’s (referee of the match) decisions had affected Leicester Tigers tremendously especially his decision to only give a penalty to Blair Cowan (London Irish’s flanker) even after it appeared that he hit Jamie Gibson (Leicester Tigers’ flanker).
The Rugby national team of South Africa is one of the dominating forces in the world. They carry the expectations of not only their own nation but also several fans all over the world on their shoulders. Their greatest rivalry over the past few years have been with the team from New Zealand. South Africans have failed to defeat their arch rivals since the defunct tri nation series in 2011. Their coach Heyneke Meyer has not been able to produce the desired result with his team since taking over the assignment of the national team. The captain of the team Jean de Villers believes that the present group of players from South Africa has got the potential to halt the progress of the world champions. The Rugby Championship where teams Australia and New Zealand compete with the Springboks, the African team has won only three times and the last scalp being in 2009. The team kick starts its campaign in the Rugby Championship with their match against Argentina.
Two of the greatest success stories associated with the team ahead of their first fixture involve a youngster along with a veteran. Twenty year old Handre Pollard who captained the South Africa under-20 side has received a call up from his national team and is excited to represent his country as the fly half. Heavy built star Damien de Allende is tipped to win his first cap as the central position player. However the most awaited comeback will be of Juan Smith who might be winning hi s70th cap after a long eighteen month break due to the Achilles tendon injury. The 33 year old is hoping to have another shot at representing South Africa in the 2015 World Cup. Smith had represented the Toulon and believes that whatever he is achieving after his comeback is a bonus for him.
Richard Hue McCaw, who is known across the world as Richie McCaw, has been one of the greatest players of all time in Rugby. The New Zealand team called All Blacks has achieved a lot of success under his captaincy over the years. He made his debut for the All Blacks on 2001 at the age of twenty and has never looked back since. He has won a large number of New Zealand and Crusaders player of the year. His performances in the rugby World Cup has been outstanding and each time there has been any doubt over his fitness or ability Richie McCaw has proved every one wrong and come up with stellar performances. In 2008 there was much speculation about his role as the captain and the fact that he might lose it but the successive seasons were massive for him both in the national and club colors.
Richie McCaw has made the position of open side flanker his own and there has not yet been any other player who might give him a tough competition in the perfect game that he enjoys playing. He has been involved in a number of offside positions and it almost became a joke but he has been able to get away from the referees. McCaw has scored the most tries in Blendisloe Cup history and being a forward he has also been strangely involved in scoring five pointers against arch rivals Australia. He will be up for it this year as well and more so because of the redemption that his seeking from the Super Rugby final loss of his team Crusaders to the Waratahs. Last minute luck-infringement by McCaw allowed Bernard Foley to boot the Waratahs ahead of the Crusaders in what was one of the most agonizing final for the legend of the game.
Former England Rugby star Jonny Wilkinson is set to hang up his boots at the end of the season, bringing the curtains down on one of the most glorious careers for the national team.
The Toulon player has announced that he will retire from all forms of rugby after Toulon finish their season with their remaining two matches in the Heineken Cup final against Saracens FC and in the Top 14 against Castres.
The legendary England fly half made 91 appearances for the national team and is perhaps best remembered for the drop goal that won the country the Rugby World Cup in 2003.
Wilkinson stated that he would like to focus all his energy on the final two games of the season now and wants to give them team his all in his last two matches for them and lead them to triumph.
The fly half added that it goes without saying that there are a lot of people he needs to thank, both in France and England Rugby and he knows without the support of these people, he would not have half the career he has had.
He admitted that no words can describe how he feels at the moment and he wanted to thank everyone for the support he has received for the last 17 years.
Wilkinson will join up with the support staff at Toulon once his playing days are over and he retires after scoring a massive 1,246 points in international level, a feat second only to New Zealand legend Dan Carter.
The Englishman, who spent twelve years at the Newcastle Falcons before moving to France, also won three Six Nations Championships with the England Rugby Team apart from that famous extra time drop goal that cemented his legacy in the folklore of English rugby.
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.
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