Keven Mealamu cited for his tackle on Lewis MoodyFollowing the England v New Zealand match (Saturday 6 November), the IRB appointed Citing Commissioner for the match, John West (Ireland), has cited the New Zealand player Keven Mealamu for an act contrary to Law 10.4a, striking with the head.The IRB appointed Judicial Officer, Professor Lorne Crerar will hear the case at a date and venue to be confirmed.1, This November will see a total of 29 matches being played involving International touring sides in the Six Nations territories. All disciplinary and anti-doping arrangements are managed from the Six Nations office in Dublin, with the six Unions having, once again, delegated their duties under IRB Regulations 17 (Illegal and/or Foul Play and Misconduct) and 21 (Anti-Doping) to the Six Nations organisation.2. Those matches categorised as “Tier 1” internationals by the IRB will have IRB-appointed independent Citing Commissioners and independent single Judicial Officers whereas in all other matches, either involving a “Tier 2” nation or a non-international team, the Six Nations appoints an independent Citing Commissioner and the Chairman of the Six Nations Disciplinary Panel (Professor Lorne Crerar) will appoint an independent three-man disciplinary committee if a hearing is required. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS 3. In all matches the Citing Commissioner has 48 hours from the end of the match in which to decide whether to cite a player. Hearings for red cards and any citingswill normally be held on the Tuesday or Wednesday following a weekend match.Mealamu will face the minimum of a one-month ban if he is found guilty. New Zealand head coach Graham Henry said: “He’s been cited for striking the head. It surprises me. He’s probably the cleanest player in the world isn’t he? It was purely accidental as far as I know.”It is understood that Mealamu is to be the only player cited from the Twickenham clash.
Toeava faces a frustrating spell out with a hip injuryHaving returned from South Africa and facing a short turnaround before their Friday night match against the Hurricanes, the Blues are forced to field a team without their captain, Keven Mealamu.A calf strain which saw Mealamu leave the field during the Stormers match last week, along with a three week suspension given to Luke Braid has meant once again, Wider Training Group players have been called into the 22.Coach Pat Lam is in the middle of an injury crisis after indefinitely losing utility back Iasaia Toeava. Originally diagnosed in May 2011 with a stress fracture to his hip, the unhealed injury has sidelined the player since the second week of play, leaving the player frustrated, “I’ve had a rough run with this hip” said Toeava.“It was painful last year but it seemed it might have come right during the break after the World Cup. But that wasn’t the case and I have been struggling with it this season. It’s really frustrating because I just want to be out there with my team.”Non-surgical rehab could see the Auckland back return in three months. However if specialists feel surgery is required, the All Blacks back could be out for the rest of the season.Much deserved good news for Lam sees All Black prop Tony Woodcock making a very timely return to the front row. Auckland lock Liaki Moli will get his first start for the Blues. HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND – MARCH 02: Isaia Toeava of the Blues makes a break during the round two Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Blues at Waikato Stadium on March 2, 2012 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Replacements: 16 James Parsons *17 Tevita Mailau18 Filo Paulo19 Sean Polwart *20 Gareth Anscombe21 Michael Hobbs22 Hadleigh Parkes *(* – Wider Training Group)Unavailable – Jerome Kaino (Shoulder), Keven Mealamu (calf), Isaia Toeava (stress fracture – hip), George Moala (Shoulder), Anthony Boric (neck), Luke Braid (3 week ban) and Rene Ranger (2 week ban) Injured wingers Rudi Wulf and David Raikuna are back on deck and will both start the match.Gareth Anscombe suffered a nose fracture during last week’s game but will still be on the bench for the Hurricanes match.Starting XV:1. Tony Woodcock2. Tom McCartney3. Charlie Faumuina4. Liaki Moli5. Ali Williams6. Chris Lowrey7. Daniel Braid (C)8. Brad Mika9. Alby Mathewson10. Piri Weepu11. Rudi Wulf12. Ma’a Nonu13. Benson Stanley14. David Raikuna15. Lachie Munro
TAGS: Munster To see the moment Barnes gets hit, watch this video… LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Face off: Munster fly-half Ian Keatley checks Wayne Barnes is okay after the ball hit the refereeIT’S A tough life being a referee – hundreds of decisions to make, crowds jeering you, coaches blaming you. There was an even more painful moment for Wayne Barnes recently. During Munster’s Heineken Cup game against Racing Metro in January, Ian Keatley launched a kick and the ball hit Barnes smack in the face.“The ball travels about 35 metres after hitting my face, showing how hard it hit me,” says Barnes. “My touchjudge, JP Doyle, ran on laughing at me! If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to bring every fan together, it’s the referee getting hit. They’ll all cheer, whether you’re in the middle of the Millennium Stadium or at Old Deer Park.”
Joker in the pack: Wallaby hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau may, be for once, be inconspicuous because of his absenceBy Alan DymockTHE PRESSURE on Will Genia and James Horwill may be great as we slide towards the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia, but not for the reasons many would expect.On Saturday, as the Waratahs crashed against the wild Brumbies of Canberra in the Super 15, Test hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau took a knee with a broken forearm. It was a worrying sight for Australian fans who had already seen world-class poacher David Pocock write himself off for the upcoming Test series.Wallaby wounds: Polota-Nau and SmithMore so than just missing personnel, though, Australia may suffer because of their lack of big characters.Talking to Rugby World yesterday, Wallaby and Waratahs prop Benn Robinson said: “Tafu [Polota-Nau] is the biggest character of them all and he is different to a lot of people. Losing him is not good news.”Squads need big personalities to lead and to tie them together. The Lions have already spoken about this and the importance of bonding. So while Genia and Horwill are stronger than a moonshine milkshake in terms of leadership, the Wallaby squad could well be that little bit more vulnerable to splintering without their chuckle brothers and drop-goal divas to laugh at and lean on.Polota-Nau will most likely be replaced in the Australian 25-man squad that was announced on Sunday, though no concrete date has been set for pulling players out of the Super 15. So there will be no Tafu, no Quade Cooper and no Kurtley Beale. It is likely that George Smith, also injured in that Aussie derby and likely to miss the next three games out of the remaining four regular season games, has missed his window to impress Robbie Deans and squeeze into the squad to face the Lions as one of the extra six players, to be announced on June 10. WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – SEPTEMBER 22: Kurtley Beale (L) and Quade Cooper of the Wallabies stretch during an Australian Wallabies IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 captain’s run at Wellington Regional Stadium on September 22, 2011 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) Beale may feel he has pushed his demons back into the bottle and make the six. Cooper may show the elusive and unlabled ‘stuff’ that Deans needs to see and earn a recall. Polota-Nau and Smith may cause scientists and doctors to faint with amazement due to their stitch-popping, rapid recovery.If none of this comes off, though,it could be a dry, serious, driven camp that faces the Lions, and it remains to be seen whether that will be more dangerous to the tourists or whether it means the hosts are that little bit weaker at the seams. However, much like the theory that as soon as a space opens up in the Lions contingent Jonny Wilkinson will be flown out, there is a suggestion that enigmatic playmaker Cooper will be slotted in as one of the six additional Wallabies once he has proved his defensive worth to Deans during the Queensland Reds game against the Lions on June 8.For Robinson, though, it is Beale’s personality and sublime talent that may be missed most.Absent friends: Kurtley Beale and Quade Cooper stick close“To not have Kurtley in the 25 is massive,” the prop said. “To pull out to address personal issues is honourable, but to look at it from a rugby perspective; of course you want him.“If you look at the great try he scored against Wales last year to win the game he has the talent. He is still in line to make the extra six.”As it stands there are plenty of questions about Deans’ additions. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
Game changer: Mike Brown was in superlative form against Ireland at the weekend in attack and defenceBy Charlie MorganIT WAS a rip-roaring Round 3, where France and Ireland lost their chance of a Grand Slam and England and Wales moved back into contention for the Six Nations title. Then there was Scotland who bounced back from their England nadir to snatch a thrilling last-minute win.So without further ado, here are the players who make our team of Round 3.15. Mike Brown (England)Rob Kearney took his try very well, but Brown has drained most superlatives dry this season and Joe Schmidt reckoned he was the difference between England and Ireland on Saturday. Elusive on attack, his cannon left boot and bravery were to the fore in defence, too – a goalkeeper-style interception from Brian O’Driscoll was a staggering piece of anticipation. The Harlequin laid on Danny Care’s score and his prickly persona (ask Jonny May about that) demands quality from teammates.14. Yoann Huget (France)France were simply dreadful at the Millennium Stadium and rolled over up front with an almost embarrassing lack of fight. Still, Huget retained his standards and would have caused serious headaches without a fine defensive shift from Liam Williams. The Toulouse man is enjoying a very impressive tournament and has been France’s outstanding performer.Poacher: Huget was dangerous throughout the Wales game13. Alex Dunbar (Scotland)It was very fitting that Dunbar grabbed a brace in such a vital win for Scotland – he has been thoroughly exceptional for Scotland over the past month. A bristling, brawny presence in the centre, his tenacity in defence and attack would be a credit to any international midfield. Two fine finishes, backing himself in Rome only confirmed that.12. Billy Twelvetrees (England)Twelvetrees has suffered some excessive online criticism, which simply proves some England fans do not know how lucky they are. There were some handling mistakes as Ireland were let off the hook a couple of times, but the Gloucester man’s work-rate was a significant factor in the hosts’ victory at Twickenham. Twelvetrees made 18 tackles to help nullify the threat of Gordon D’Arcy and Brian O’Driscoll, took a fantastic restart, kicked well from hand when required and trucked up the middle hard. Still to fully convince with his distribution, but this was positive.11. Sean Lamont (Scotland)It might seem strange to see two Scots among this backline, but Lamont’s dogged persistence and power demanded inclusion. Instrumental in Dunbar’s second with a drop of the shoulder, he skittled an Italian defender and made a neat offload to Cusiter. Lamont could have had try himself had Duncan Weir used him in the first half. A tally of 14 carries and seven tackles from the wing underlined his commitment and thirst for work.10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)Weir earns a mention for having to cojones to slot a match-winning drop-goal. One errant restart aside though, Sexton oozed class throughout Saturday afternoon and reinforced his standing as the best fly-half in the northern hemisphere. Stood firm in his channel despite regular testing from England’s runners and directed some slick interplay. He also found Andrew Trimble with a gorgeous cross-kick while generally looking dangerous on the gainline and kicking his goals.Lynchpin: Jonny Sexton oozed class running the backline9. Rhys Webb (Wales)Webb benefited from a dominant front five on his first Test start, but the young Osprey also had a big hand in a Welsh performance that was utterly transformed from the Dublin debacle. Whippy, decisive service added to contestable kicks, a couple of stinging snipes and committed tackling comprised a noteworthy full debut. Warren Gatland’s number nine shirt should now be his to lose for England. 8.Jamie Heaslip (Ireland)Taulupe Faletau and influential England replacement Ben Morgan had claims here after an effervescent shifts. However, the strength and sleight of hand of Heaslip won out. The burly Leinsterman was Ireland’s go-to carrier, charging at the England defence 13 times. He also hauled down Luther Burrell with a try-saving challenge and set Rob Kearney clear skilfully for his side’s only five-pointer. 1. Gethin Jenkins (Wales)A frankly baffling decision from Alain Rolland gave Jenkins a yellow card and a ten-minute breather alongside opposite man Nicolas Mas, but Wales’ loosehead ensured his 108th Test was one to cherish. Though a tricky surface and some unsympathetic refereeing made the scrum a penalty factory, the Cardiff Blue wrestled set-piece ascendancy and rumbled around in the loose like it was 2005.2. Dylan Hartley (England)If he has really been the victim of social media trolling for being part of England’s under-fire scrum, there are some pathetic, misguided people out there. Hartley continued his excellent Six Nations with a perfect return from eight lineouts and some typical robust industry around the pitch. Five carries and seven tackles was the tangible return, but his temperament now – still as fierce, but far more measured – is so important to Stuart Lancaster’s side.3. Geoff Cross (Scotland)Spare a thought for Moray Low, because being pulled on 38 minutes after giving away four penalties must have been horrible. Still, Scott Johnson’s call was inspired. Cross defied Martin Castrogiovanni and Alberto de Marchi to shore up the scrum superbly and, despite a glaring knock-on in a good position, helped pave the way for the biggest comeback in his country’s history.Leader: Hartley is performing superbly4. Joe Launchbury (England)Luke Charteris was brilliant in Cardiff but this, without question, was the individual performance of the Championship to date. To say Launchbury eclipsed Paul O’Connell is a mammoth statement, but delving into the detail justifies such praise. The young London Wasp caused havoc at the breakdown, married power and skill in the loose and tackled tirelessly – a late ankle-tap on Dave Kearney was utterly astounding as he moved to blindside flanker for the final ten minutes. At the end, Launchbury slumped into Henry Thomas’ arms, emotionally and physically drained. He couldn’t have given anything more.5. Joshua Furno (Italy)Normally the plaudits are reserved for another rangy, ball-playing Italian forward . Melbourne-born Furno was even more important to the Italian effort on Saturday than his skipper Sergio Parisse though. The lock loped over for the try that looked to have slain Scotland and put Tommaso Allen in for another score in the first half with a cute pass – how many tight-five men can overcome white-line fever that coolly? Twelve carries and 15 tackles completed a superb contribution.6. Dan Lydiate (Wales)For a 50-second spell in the second half at the Millennium Stadium, it felt like 2012. Tearing across the Cardiff turf, Lydiate chopped down three Frenchmen in less than a minute to confirm a very timely return to form and finally repay his coach’s well-worn faith. Redemption must have felt far away a fortnight ago, but the Racing Metro man has almost reached it.Leg chop: Dan Lydiate is back to his best making 16 tackles7. Sam Warburton (Wales)If a hiding over the Irish Sea had put Warburton’s leadership under pressure, Alun-Wyn Jones’ withdrawal two hours before kick-off against France would have sent the stomach butterflies into overdrive. The openside responded by turning in an openside masterclass. Strength, opportunism and technique in the tackle area brought turnovers and a go-go gadget finish killed off France, but the subtleties – such as taking six lineouts to ease the burden on debutant Jake Ball – are what make him such a special skipper. Sheer class from the moment he took the mascot’s hand. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 22: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland passes the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium on February 22, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
“Francois is the biggest No 7 in this list, probably 6ft 3in and over 17st but despite his size he’s very good on the floor, a decent lineout option and he can take contact all day long. He’s very much the modern day South African openside. I played against him in 2010 in one of my first starts for Wales and again for the Blues against Bath, and he’s always been very tricky to play against. Over the last three months, he’d be in my Top 3 in the world.”Best for footballing skills – Justin Tipuric (Wales)“Tips has so many skills in his locker. He has a decent You Tube reel that’s for sure. He regularly scores chip and chase tries for the Ospreys! It helps that he played on the Sevens circuit with Wales, where his ball-playing abilities came to the fore. He has a superb engine on him and along with Martyn, those two are unrivalled in world rugby for their skills. At training every day, it’s funny, he stays back with Toby to practice his kicking; to the corners, dinks over the top. It shows his dedication.Best for raw power – Sean O’Brien (Ireland)“I can’t leave Sean out of the list. He’s the most powerful on the list by a mile. Obviously he won European Player of the Tear in 2011 as a blindside but on the Lions tour, working closely with him you see how versatile he is. He has really soft hands, can throw accurate miss-passes, create tries and has sweet offloading skills – he’s far from a one dimensional battering ram. He’s worked really hard on his game and taken it on a level.”Has Sam put forward a decent list. Tell us what you think? LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Best for game intelligence – Martyn Williams (Wales)“Martyn was my hero growing up. He was the first person I met at the Blues on my first day in the gym. He was so important to Wales that moves were based around him. For example, we’d call a five-man lineout and move him into the backline. Most backrows smash it up the middle, but we called it the ‘five-man bird option’ and Nugget would end up dinking it over the the defence to create problems. He had real game intelligence. Later in his career most of his turnovers weren’t from him getting smashed on the deck but clever ones, like a contact rip. I’m always getting compared to him. All I say is ‘wait until I get 100 caps and drop a goal’.”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_7laoQ8B1kBest for leadership – Richie McCaw (New Zealand) “Richie McCaw’s leadership record speaks for itself, over 100 wins as captain in the All Black shirt is just phenomenal! In the nicest possible sense, McCaw is a real nuisance whenever I’ve played against him. He’s very versatile. You can use him at the back of the lineout, as a ball carrier, or of course on the deck. What I’ve noticed about him is when the ball is at the base of a ruck, for a second you’re not sure if it’s out or not, and he’ll gamble and usually get it right – that’s his experience showing. He’s smart, if he’s not making the first up tackle and hitting the carrier second, he’ll make sure he up off the deck quickly to exert some influence on the game. A quality player.”Best over the ball – David Pocock (Australia)“If I had to name one player who’s the most difficult to play against, I’d say David Pocock. He’s so strong over the ball, you literally cannot move him. He’s a superb jackaler and as well as being extremely strong, he’s also very flexible. Personally, I do a lot of stretching, with the glutes, hamstrings and groin because you have to get into unusual positions. He’s not the tallest but even so he can ridiculously low. He’s been unlucky with injuries but I have no doubt he’ll come back even stronger.”Best all-rounder – Francois Louw (South Africa) Sam Warburton spoke to us as an HSBC Ambassador at the London Sevens. For more information follow @HSBCrugby. To read our exclusive review of the IRB Sevens Series, pick up the July edition of Rugby World – on sale June 2! Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton got his thinking cap on and gave RW six of the best opensides he’s played with or against. It’s not too shabby… On the way back: Sam Warburton picks the best opensides he played against
Try time: Sofiane Guitoune scores a try for France, but should it be worth six points? We want to know what you think about this. Do you think this will stop teams milking penalties or drop-goals and trying to claim more tries, or do you think this is a waste of time? Take the poll below and leave a comment too… Are you in favour of rugby adopting the six-point try? (Poll Closed) No 52.02% Yes 47.98% Create Your Own Poll Are you in favour of rugby adopting the six-point try? At the moment the Welsh Premiership are trialling a new points system where a try is worth six points and all kicks – from drop-goals to penalties and conversions – are worth just two points.The experiment, which has been sanctioned by World Rugby, is being conducted throughout the 2015-16 Principality Premiership and the WRU U18 Wednesday League seasons in Wales. And at the start of September, Pontypridd’s Alex Webber scored the game’s first six-point try. The hope is that the trial will reveal whether an increase in the points-value for a try and a decrease in the points-value of penalties and drop-goals will encourage more running rugby. The current points system has only been in place since 1992, when a try moved from a value of four points to five and now the powers that be are considering the merits of upping the value of a try again. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
The SaintsBoot-iful workElliot Daly reminded everyone what a fine player he is with a display of terrific goal-kicking and some decent contributions in open play too, as Wasps beat Gloucester 23-3 in the Aviva Premiership clash at the Ricoh Arena.Ten minutes into the game, Daly landed a 56-metre penalty for a 3-0 lead, then another of the same distance to make it 13-0 and a kicked third from just inside the Gloucester half to take the lead out to 16-0 after 33 minutes. Rainy conditions made his achievement all the more remarkable, because it meant the ground under his feet was slippery, but he hit those three kicks strong and true. Gloucester fans will want it noted that the first two penalties against them were extremely harsh, but no one can argue with Daly’s skill in kicking them. He also played a part in a superb running move which set up what was probably the try of the weekend, scored by Christian Wade. At the double: Alex Grove scored two tries for Worcester Warriors (Photo: Getty Images) Back to his roots: Nigel Owens in action at Gowerton v Crymych. (Photo: Huw Evans Agency)There’s only one OwensA week after referee Nigel Owens was laying down the law to Richie McCaw and Stephen Moore during the World Cup final at Twickenham, he was wielding his whistle in very different circumstances at the Swalec League One West match between Gowerton and Crymych. Presumably his bosses at the Welsh Rugby Union wanted to make sure his feet were still on the ground, and rather than taking umbrage at the appointment and withdrawing with a tweaked calf muscle, Owens showed his customary good humour on Twitter.“Is the roof shut for Gowerton v Crymych today? I need to know what hair wax to put on you see ha #grassrootsrugby” he tweeted on Saturday morning. Chances go beggingAs the season progresses, plenty of players will feature in this column for missing potentially match-winning place kicks and the first to fit that bill is Sale’s Danny Cipriani. He showed plenty of good touches during their battle with Harlequins but missed a kickable penalty in the 71st minute and scuffed a last-ditch drop-goal attempt. If either kick had found the target, like Cipriani’s two conversions had earlier in the game, Sale might have won. Instead it was Quins who took the four points. Grove in the grooveTwo tries from former Scotland centre Alex Grove helped Worcester Warriors to a 28-20 win over Newcastle Falcons. Grove crossed twice in the first half as the Premiership newcomers amassed a 28-17 lead before half-time, and secured a four-try bonus point.Plaudits also go to Sale Sharks’ Sam James who capitalised on some great work from Danny Cipriani and used his strength to touch down under great pressure from Harlequins in Friday evenings’ match. His score took the Sharks to within striking distance of their visitors, but Harlequins ended up 16-14 winners. Points machine: Rhys Patchell had his kicking boots on for Cardiff Blues. (Photo: Huw Evans Agency)Tens on targetOn a weekend dominated by kicks more than tries, Cardiff Blues fly-half Rhys Patchell certainly did his bit to try to engineer a Guinness Pro12 win over Glasgow Warriors, but his team fell short, losing 35-30.Patchell kicked six penalties and, as if that wasn’t enough, made a try-saving tackle on Finn Russell, showing a great turn of pace to chase him back and hauling him down a few metres short.Exeter Chiefs’ No 10 Gareth Steenson scored all of his team’s points in a 19-6 Premiership win over Leicester. He ran in a try in the sixth minute, converted it and added four penalties.Meanwhile, in Dublin, outside-half Ian Madigan amassed 14 points, kicking four penalties and a conversion as Leinster ended Scarlets’ 100% start to the season, beating them 19-15 at the RDS Arena. TAGS: Highlight It’s back! Saints and Sinners took a break during the World Cup, but we are back in business now, so welcome to the first weekly round-up of the champs and chumps from the weekend’s Aviva Premiership and Guinness Pro12 matches, and beyond. The SinnersThree in the redA trio of Aviva Premiership players were shown red cards at the weekend. First to go was London Irish scrum-half Brendan McKibbin who needlessly stamped on Bath prop Henry Thomas in the 20th minute of their match. Irish were driving towards the Bath try-line and McKibbin jumped over Thomas in one direction, but then stepped back across him again and clearly planted his boot on the prop’s shoulder area. The Exiles were 10-0 down at the time and ended up losing 45-14.Early bath: David Halaifonua (pink boots) of Gloucester heads for the dressing room. (Getty Images)Two more red cards were shown in Sunday’s Wasps v Gloucester match. First to go was Gloucester wing David Halaifonua, dismissed for a high tackle on Bradley Davies in the 45th minute. The hit was also a little late and as Gloucester were 16-0 down at the time, to go a man down was the last thing they needed.They went on to lose 23-3, with Wasps’ tighthead Lorenzo Cittadini being dismissed by referee Ian Tempest with seven minutes to go after stupidly throwing two punches at Billy Twelvetrees when he and the centre were contesting the ball on the floor after a tackle. Twelvetrees actually tried to say he felt a red card was too harsh a punishment, while Cittadini compounded his mistake by arguing as he left the pitch. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Gowerton welcomed treble their usual crowd, as the locals turned out to see Owens in action, and the home side won 28-18. Owens took to Twitter again on Sunday to say: “Gowerton v Crymych were a credit to grass roots rugby yesterday. Great game. Well done both teams a pleasure to ref”. What a legend. Hits and missesNew Harlequins wing Tim Visser experienced the highs and lows of Premiership rugby on his home debut. During the first half of Quins’ clash with Sale Sharks the Scotland wing dropped a high ball from Danny Cipriani and thereby let Dan Braid in for a try.However, he made amends, helping Quins to win the match 16-14 by crossing the whitewash to score his first try for the west London club. He Tweeted afterwards: “Relieved to get my first try on home debut after missing that high ball in the first half #COYQ”Making amends: Tim Visser dives over for his first try for Harlequins. 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Winning start: England lift the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield. Photo: InphoSTATISTICS19 – The number of ball carries made by Billy Vunipola, more than any other player. Stuart Hogg was Scotland’s top carrier with 17 and the top metre maker with 90.9 – The number of lineouts won by George Kruis, more than twice as many as Richie Gray (four).12 – The number of penalties conceded by England compared to nine by Scotland.5 – The number of rucks/mauls lost by England compared to three by Scotland.Scotland: S Hogg; S Maitland, M Bennett, M Scott, T Seymour (D Taylor 66); F Russell, G Laidlaw (capt); A Dickinson (G Reid 58), R Ford (S McInally 65), WP Nel (Z Fagerson 69), R Gray, J Gray (T Swinson 70), J Barclay (B Cowan 59), J Hardie, D Denton.Pens: Laidlaw 3.England: M Brown; A Watson, J Joseph, O Farrell, J Nowell; G Ford, D Care (B Youngs 55); J Marler (M Vunipola 49), D Hartley (capt, J George77), D Cole, J Launchbury (C Lawes 47), G Kruis, C Robshaw (J Clifford 69), J Haskell, B Vunipola.Tries: Kruis, Nowell. Con: Farrell. Pen: Farrell.Referee: John Lacey (Ireland) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: Highlight Man of the Match: Billy Vunipola (England)For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here. A round-up of what’s hot and what’s not from the Calcutta Cup match at Murrayfield Full stretch: George Kruis scores the opening try of the 2016 Calcutta Cup. Photo: Inpho The 2016 Calcutta Cup clash was a tight, edgy affair in Edinburgh, with England coming out on top thanks to tries from George Kruis and Jack Nowell. Both sides showed plenty of endeavour, but their execution was lacking. Eddie Jones will be pleased to have started his reign as England coach with a win but his team did not assert themselves as convincingly as he would have liked in the physical exchanges, earning parity in the scrum but often being caught out at the breakdown by quicker Scottish reactions. Scotland, too, will be disappointed they did not threaten England’s line more regularly.WHAT’S HOT…Contrasting back rows – As expected, England’s trio favoured big, powerful surges, Man of the Match Billy Vunipola in particular making ground, while Scotland’s back row were more dynamic and far quicker to reach the breakdown. Openside John Hardie was a notable presence with ball in hand and the men in blue certainly reaped more rewards at the contact area.On the ball: Scotland openside John Hardie was a threat with ball in hand. Photo: InphoIt could make for an interesting scavenging tussle in Cardiff next week if Hardie and John Barclay get the nod again and Wales field Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric. England might need to rethink their back-row balance, though. Chris Robshaw and James Haskell certainly got through a lot of work, but the team still lack a turnover specialist; Matt Kvesic is the one man in the squad who can deliver this.Energetic wingers – Anthony Watson was the first wide man to make a significant run, jinking in and out of defenders and using his rapid speed to good effect. Jack Nowell got himself involved early on, too, putting in a smart chip over Tommy Seymour and chasing down Stuart Hogg over the try-line, earning England the scrum from which George Kruis scored. In the second half, he got on the scoresheet himself with a pop pass from Mako Vunipola allowing Owen Farrell to send him over. All in all, Nowell was England’s standout back.Corner stop: Jack Nowell dives over out wide for England’s second try. Photo: InphoFor the Scots, Tommy Seymour was lively and while he dropped a few balls in attack, he was a determined chaser whenever the high balls went up and put pressure on England’s catchers. Sean Maitland also got involved regularly, coming off his wing to offer himself as an attacking option like the game’s other wide men.Leaders – Dylan Hartley had a good first outing as England skipper, helping provide a solid platform at the set-piece, while Chris Robshaw was a workhorse in the tight phases, leading by example even though he no longer leads the team. George Kruis and James Haskell deserve a mention for their work-rate too. Greig Laidlaw was as solid as ever at nine and Jonny Gray yet again tackled himself to a standstill, showing the qualities that mark him out as a future Scotland captain. The leadership shown by players on both sides will be welcomed by the management teams.WHAT’S NOT…Ball control – Both teams showed a desire to run the ball and such a frenetic pace was bound to lead to a few errors, but the number of knock-ons will be a worry for the two coaching teams. Looking after the ball is the most important part of the game and players for England and Scotland coughed up possession too easily too often. It’s a minor thing given his performance around the park, but Billy Vunipola also needs to work on his control at the base of the scrum.Leading figures: Greig Laidlaw and Jonny Gray celebate winning a penalty. Photo: InphoDecisions at No 10 – Finn Russell is sure to rue the choice he made after intercepting an England pass in Scotland’s 22 midway through the second half. He opted to kick the ball rather than draw the defender and offload to Stuart Hogg outside him. Had he gone for the pass it could well have led to a try.In the white No 10 jersey, George Ford lacked the authority and decisiveness seen in last year’s Six Nations. He seemed to ponder his next move that second too long and often took a poor option, running into a wall of defenders or putting up an aimless high ball. His club travails have no doubt knocked his confidence but he needs to rediscover his natural instincts fast in this championship.Whistling! – It’s long been a bugbear of Rugby World but despite the signs popping up around the stadium calling on fans to respect the kicker, whistles and jeers were continually heard during penalty and conversion attempts. And it wasn’t just Owen Farrell who got the brunt of it; even Greig Laidlaw felt the force of negative crowd noise. Then during his post-match, on-field interview, Dylan Hartley was booed. These sort of crowd reactions must stop. All players and officials should be respected.
Who do you think will come away with the victory?Also don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook and Twitter. After a comprehensive victory against Canada, Scotland will look to do the same against the United States. Summer Tours: Scotland vs USA PreviewScotland kicked off their 2018 Summer Tour with a comprehensive victory over Canada in Edmonton last week.Coach Gregor Townsend named a young, inexperienced side but this mattered little as the men in blue romped away in the second half to secure a final score of 48 points to 10. In total they scored seven tries with George Turner scoring a hat-trick as Canada were outclassed in pretty much every respect.But the United States will be more of a challenge for the Scots this weekend.The USA are currently undefeated this year after defeating Argentina XV, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Russia, however they have not played anyone with the skill and class of Scotland up to this point.Related: All The 2018 Summer Tour Fixtures & TV DetailsWhats the big team news?Gregor Townsend has made 12 changes for the Scotland team to face the USA later this week with Stuart Hogg coming in to captain the side after Grant Gilchrist dropped to the bench. There are three players who retain their spots in the starting lineup with Ben Toolis, Byron McGuigan and Blair Kinghorn starting again.Additionally there are a number of debutants with George Horne and Matt Fagerson starting alongside their brothers Peter and Zander. They are the 48th and 49th brothers to play for Scotland and it is the eighth time that two sets of brothers will be on the field at the same time.Luke Hamilton, Jamie Bhatti, George Turner, Adam Hastings, and Lewis Carmichael all will make their first international starts in Houston.Coach Gary Gold has stuck with the same XV that recently smashed Russia 62-13. There are also only two changes made to the bench with James Kilterbrand and Olive Kilifi, being replaced by Dylan Fawsitt and Titi Lamositele.Adam Hastings is set to make his first international start against USA (Getty Images)What have the coaches said?Scotland coach Gregor Townsend: “We always planned to play as much of the squad as possible on this tour and we also deliberately picked more Edinburgh players in the first game because their season finished earlier.“Now we welcome most of the Glasgow Warriors contingent into the team. On top of that, there are seven players making their first starts for the country, which is really exciting, and we are looking forward to them going out and grabbing this opportunity. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS “The USA have won their last six games and scored a lot of points in the process. They’ve beaten two teams that have already qualified for the Rugby World Cup – Uruguay and Russia – and put 60 points on both of them.“They are definitely improving as a team and are playing with a lot of confidence.“You can see in the way they attack and defend that they are well coached, added to which there are some exceptional individuals that offer running threats throughout their side, so this will be a real test for us on Saturday.”USA coach Gary Gold: “Despite a few early challenges, the chemistry of this group worked well last week—even though we’d only spent a relatively short amount of time together as a unit. We’ve had another week to build on our rhythm as a collective and grow in our individual roles which will undoubtedly help us against a quality side in Scotland.”Any interesting statistics?Scotland have won their last five matches against the USA, the most recent of which came in 2015. Scotland won by 39 points to 16.Scotland’s team this weekend will feature 10 Glasgow Warriors players.Four of the past five games with Wayne Barnes refereeing, Scotland have had a forward sent to the sin-bin.George Horne and Adam Hastings played together five times this year for Glasgow and will play at 9 and 10 this weekend.USA have qualified for every World Cup apart from 1995, and did so this year with an 80-44 aggregate win over Canada.Scotland last played the USA at the 2015 World Cup (Getty Images)When does it kickoff and is it on TV?Like the Canada match last week, be prepared for an early start with the game kicking off at 02.00 in the morning on Sunday. The game will be televised on BBC.What are the lineups? SCOTLAND: Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Grigg (Glasgow Warriors), P Horne (Glasgow Warriors), McGuigan (Sale Sharks), Hastings (Glasgow Warriors), G Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors), Turner (Glasgow Warriors), Z Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Carmichael (Edinburgh), Toolis (Edinburgh), Swinson (Glasgow Warriors), Hamilton (unattached), M Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors).Replacements: Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Dell (Edinburgh), McCallum (Edinburgh), Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Denton (Leicester Tigers), Hidalgo-Clyne (Scarlets), Bennett (Edinburgh), Fife (Edinburgh).USA: Hooley, Scully (C), Campbell, Lasike, Brache, MacGinty, Davies, Fry, Taufete’e, Mullen, Manoa, Civetta, Quill, Germishuys, Dolan,Replacements: Fawsitt, Lamositele, Baumann, Peterson, Landry, Augspurger, Magie, Audsley Captain: Stuart Hogg has been named as captain to face the USA (Getty Images)