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NU Generation Rugby

NU Generation Rugby

Our Rugby World Cup Favourite XV’s – England.

The current crop of England stars put in an improved performance today against the USA. They have bigger tests ahead and a some tougher opponents to beat in order to reach the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final, can they do it?

So far in our Favourite XV’s series we have covered current World Champions New Zealand, double World Cup winners South Africa, the Six Nations Grand Slam holders Wales. Next up is England! A mixture of past and present greats have made our favourite fifteen this month. 

So here they are, our England “Favourite XV”.

1. Jason Leonard.

“The fun bus”. Not only one of the best props in the world and one-time holder of the most caps he is also a huge character. Had a career that crossed between amateur and professional and remained at the top throughout. Holds the record for the most Rugby World Cup appearances jointly with Richie McCaw. After a stint as RFU President Leonard has recently been appointed as Chairman of the British and Irish Lions.

2. Jamie George.

Maybe a bit of a controversial pick considering past England hookers, but we feel Jamie has it all and will be (if not already) one of the best ever. Jamie is a strong scrummager and deadly accurate throwing into the line out, but it is in open play where he excels over other hookers. He has the hands of a back and an outrageous turn of speed for someone who is 113 kg meaning he can link perfectly between the forwards and the backs.

3. Fran Cotton.

Fran Cotton is an absolute giant of a man who would impose opposition scrums with his sheer size and strength. However, it was his technical skill and ability to play on both sides of the scrum that makes him a legend. He was part of the famous 1974 Lions teams who ran riot in South Africa winning 21 out of 22 games.

4. Martin Johnson

One of the most impressive captains that rugby has ever seen. Martin Johnson was a huge, powerful second row who had a rugby brain like no other. A one club man playing all his professional career at Leicester he was a true leader and pivotal in England’s Grand Slam and World Cup winning team. Not many players were as feared as England’s talismanic leader.

5. Ben Kay.

A surprisingly hard position to decide on with Shaw, Borthwick and others all in contention. Kay’s World Cup performances decided it for us. He played in every minute of every game (except vs Uruguay) of the 2003 and 2007 World Cups. Despite famously knocking the ball on over the line in the final in 2003 he dusted himself off and performed heroically helping England win in extra time.

6. Richard Hill.

Hard as nails and a workhorse in the backrow, Hill was crucial to England and Sir Clive Woodward didn’t drop him once. Despite numerous serious injuries, Hill always made a comeback and was picked at the highest level most notably for his third Lions tour in 2005 after an anterior cruciate ligament injury. By getting his head down and doing the hard stuff you often wouldn’t notice that Hill was there, but you definitely noticed it when he wasn’t.

7. Neil Back.

Not regularly picked for many years due to his “small size” Back was finally given his opportunity for England and the Lions after a tough self-imposed training regime. He never looked back. Three Lions tours and part of one of England’s greatest back rows all culminated in that famous final win in 2003. A perfect example of how size doesn’t matter in rugby.

8. Lawrence Dallaglio.

Such competition here for the number 8 position. We went with Lawrence as he was a dynamic, skilful number 8 who not only had a powerful running game but also great hands. He is one of a very small group who have won the Rugby World Cup at 7’s and 15’s! Now a pundit and analyst on TV he will be on your screens through the World Cup.

9. Matt Dawson.

The model of a perfect scrum half. Dawson was a great general ordering the pack around and could also gain territory with a clever kicking game. He was a live wire around the scrum, sniping and attacking if he spotted any gaps. His dummy in the 1998 Lions tour sent the whole Springbok pack the wrong way and led to a classic try.

10. Jonny Wilkinson.

“Sir” Jonny Wilkinson. Takes the 10 jersey for us. He was probably the first household name in English rugby recognised by those outside the sport. Mostly known for his kicking he was also a destructive tackler who hit way beyond his weight. This probably contributed to his long absences with injuries in the second half of his career. Oh, and he also slotted the winning kick in the 2003 final, as if we have to say!

11.  Jason Robinson.

“Billy Whizz” was unstoppable when he was in full flight. His footwork dazzled defenders and even his teammates were never sure which way he was going to run! Robinson played Internationally in both League and Union, but it was for England Rugby Union where he excelled. 30 tries in 56 caps for England including a try in the RWC Final 2003 is why he is our super winger!

12. Will Greenwood.

Our favourite inside centre who chose to wear 13 for superstitious reasons. Greenwood was an excellent playmaker but also a prolific try scoring centre with a strike rate of 31 tries in 55 England tests. Greenwood was unusually picked for a Lions tour before he had played for England. However, it wasn’t long before he pulled on the white jersey. England have struggled to fill the 12 position since his retirement.

13. Manu Tuilagi.

It is often said of Manu by any rugby coach “If he’s available you pick him”. Manu is one of a kind who can change a game in a moment like the great Jonah Lomu. His power and running ability can break open defences even if there are five or more players in front of him. Unfortunately, his recent career has been blighted by serious injuries but… he is now available, so we picked him!

14. Rory Underwood.

England’s greatest ever try scorer with 49 tries just can’t be left out. One of the deadliest finishers in the game, Underwood was a weapon for England and opposition teams struggled to stop him when he had the try line in sight. Excelled for the Lions as well and had one of England’s biggest fans at every game, his mum!

15. Josh Lewsey.

Another Rugby World Cup Final winner and Lion’s test player, Lewsey was England’s “rock” at the back. He was a very physical and strong fullback and he had a great talent for reading the game in front of him. His hard-tackling worried many opposition teams but he also contributed 22 tries during his international career.

Finishers: Will Carling, Mike Catt, Rob Andrew, Simon Shaw, Lewis Moody, Billy Vunipola, Jeremy Guscott.

NU Generation Rugby

Our Rugby World Cup favourite XV’s – Wales.

The Rugby World Cup 2019 is a mere 3 days away!

As we are so excited we have been picking our “favourite fifteens” of players past and present for a different country going to Japan.

So far, we have covered current World Champions New Zealand and double World Cup winners South Africa.

This time we bring you Wales! A mixture of past and present greats have made our favourite fifteen this month, remember its only our opinion but please let us know who you would pick?

1. Gethin Jenkins.

129 caps for Wales and 5 Lions caps, 3 Grand Slams, former most capped Welsh player ever and current most capped prop forward. This was an easy choice for us. Jenkins epitomised the modern-day prop by being a strong scrummager and quick around the pitch with good hands.

2. Ken Owens.

 We have gone for modern over historical for the hooker berth. Owens is rock solid for Wales at number 2 and has won Grand Slams and been on Lions tours. Wales are looking for a successful World Cup in Japan and Owens will be crucial for them.

3. Graham Price.

Price was part of a Welsh front row in the 1970’s who were feared across the world. He also holds the record of 12 Lions tests for a prop, we doubt this amazing stat will ever be beaten! A tough, hard front row who will hold up the scrum forever.

4. Alun Wyn Jones.

The current Wales captain and modern-day legend. Jones would probably walk into most people’s “World fifteen”. 9 Lions caps, 125 Wales caps and counting, three Grand Slams and he has been captain for the majority of these. A born leader and an immense lock, we can’t wait to see him at the World Cup.

5. Bob Norster

Hard to pick who would join Wyn Jones in the second row. We went for Norster as he was an athletic player who was known for his outstanding lineout skill, a perfect match. With this second row the team are guaranteed to win all the ball at this set piece.

6. Martin Williams

Williams was a mercurial openside flanker who managed an incredible 100 caps for Wales. We have moved him to 6 as we had to have Warburton in at 7 and we figured that Williams would be just as good at blindside. He was great at everything. Also went on 3 Lions tours!

7. Sam Warburton

His career was cut short due to injury but is still considered one of the best number 7’s ever to have played for Wales. Warburton made “the Jackal” his own and this probably contributed to his injuries. A true leader with skill, strength and a ton of rugby knowledge. We had to push Martin Williams to 6 because of him!

8. Taulupe Faletau.

A number 8 with it all. Faletau is a hard, strong ball carrier who also possesses amazing passing and offloading skills, he walks into most back rows in the world. He has struggled with injury this season but will hopefully be back to his best soon. His cousins Billy and Mako Vunipola aren’t bad either!

9. Gareth Edwards.

Sir Gareth Edwards we should say. Often referred to as one of the greatest players ever he is also credited with scoring one of the greatest try’s ever, simply called “that try”. He played 53 times for Wales scoring 88 points. He also pulled the Lions jersey on an amazing 10 times!

10. Steven Jones.

A tough choice at 10 but we went for Jones over the kicking skills or Neil Jenkins and the silky skill of Barry John. Over 104 tests for Wales and two Lions tours, Jones was sometimes written off by pundits for supposedly more skilled players. His record speaks for itself though and he is without doubt a worthy fly half in our team.

Sam Warburton speaks to the team before the game

Sam Warburton speaks to the Lions team before the game 13/6/2017. Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

11.  Shane Williams.

Wale’s top try scorer has to be in the team. Williams scored a huge 58 try’s in his 87 games for Wales. An electric winger he could also play at scrum half and started his career there. He was once told he was too small to play rugby, but rightly ignored this and finished as a Welsh legend!

12. Jamie Roberts.

At 1.93 metres and 110 kg Roberts is a huge centre who runs straight hard lines and ties up defenders. His direct style of rugby has earned him 94 Welsh caps and a place on 2 Lions tours. A qualified doctor he has brains and brawn.

13. Scott Gibbs.

Gibbs makes our team due to his involvement in numerous great Welsh rugby moments. One of the toughest centres to play for Wales, his big tackles and unstoppable runs were a thing of legend. His tough rugby style earned him the nickname “car crash”. Also played league for St Helens.

14. George North.

Despite there being many classy Welsh wingers to choose from we went with North. Already a star it feels like he has been around forever. Still only 27 he has already notched up 180 points in 83 tests and been on two Lions tours. Watch out for him at RWC 2019!

15. JPR Williams

Another Welsh great from the golden era of the 1970’s JPR was distinctive with his big sideburns and rolled down socks. Also a Lions legend having won a impressive 8 caps. He retired from international rugby after 55 caps but carried on playing rugby into his fifties! He even switched to playing flanker in his last few years of rugby.

Finishers: Jonathan Davies, Ryan Jones, Barry John, Bobby Windsor.

NU Generation Rugby

Alex Lozowski on preseason

We were lucky enough to grab five minutes with Saracens star, Alex Lozowski, and talk preseason. 

How has Pre-season been going?

It’s been hard. We’ve only been back training a couple of days but a few of us have been away on holiday and enjoying our five weeks off on the beach and now we are back. Its good to see your friends and catch up but the hard work starts and the first couple of days have been really hard.

So, run us through a few things you have done in pre-season?

Started off with some weights and stuff and I have been in the gym building some mobility and stretching, those kinds of things. Getting back into a bit of rugby, some games and chucking a ball around. A lot of running as well which is necessary even though it’s hard, it’s been a good start and hopefully we can make improvements and get fitter and stronger as the weeks go by.

Has much changed for this preseason due to the World Cup and the later start to the season?

Yeah, I think so. Subtle changes to what we do, our strength and conditioning team are experienced and have done these World Cup years before. I think there will be some slight changes like a bit of time off in the middle to catch up, so we don’t burn out by the time the season starts.

On the back of an awesome season last season, have you been able to enjoy that or is it a case of put it to the back of your mind and let’s start again?

I think all the sitting back and enjoying it has been done in the five weeks you get off. I guess that’s the time to celebrate and appreciate what we have achieved in the last season. We come back in now and have not mentioned once what happened last season. It’s all about getting better again this season, we can’t afford to look back on last year it’s all about looking forward.

Sarries are renowned for being like a family so how are the new guys settling in?

I’ve met the new guys this week, there’s a few new Academy guys getting used to things. Saracens don’t lose or bring in too many new people each year, so I guess it’s nice for the new lads to be able to get to know people quite well. I was made to feel really welcome when I first joined so I will try to do the same for them.

Do you have any games this season that you personally are looking forward to?

Yeah, I think the Saracens v Harlequins game at the new Tottenham Stadium will be great. We have had a bit of rivalry against Quins recently so that will be one to look forward to.

Any rugby advice for our readers?

Of course. Make sure you enjoy your rugby and don’t put yourself under too much pressure. Play other sports when you are young and when you get older you can decide to focus on a sport such as rugby.

NU Generation Rugby

Our Rugby World Cup Favourite XV’s – South Africa.

The Rugby World Cup 2019 will soon be with us! Only a couple of weeks and from now to then we are going to pick our “favourite fifteens” of players past and present for a different country going to Japan.

Last month we did current World Champions New Zealand. This month we are going to look at double World Cup Winners South Africa. They took the Trophy in 1995 at home and in 2007 in France.

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NU Generation Rugby

Our Rugby World Cup Favourite XV’s – New Zealand.

The Rugby World Cup 2019 will soon be with us!

So we have decided to put together a series of “favourite fifteens” of players past and present for a different country going to Japan.

These are purely opinion and we hope they will strike up a bit of a debate. There is nothing better in the lead up to a RWC than discussing past greats, so here is our NZ favourite fifteen, we look forward to hearing if you agree or not? NB – We will still be correct

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BeRugby Blog, NU Generation Rugby

The Premiership fixtures are out!

The Premiership Fixtures are out!

As always there are some cracking opening games. We have to wait a little longer for the league to start this season. But as it’s due to the Rugby World Cup we will let them off!

Rugby can confirm that the new Gallagher Premiership Rugby season will kick off on Friday 18 October at Ashton Gate with Bristol Bears taking on Bath Rugby, live on BT Sport.

The West Country derby is part of a compelling first round of Gallagher Premiership Rugby on the same weekend as the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals in Japan.

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