Lions 2013 Squad

Full Squad:
Fullbacks: Leigh Halfpenny (Wales, Cardiff Blues), Stuart Hogg (Scotland, Glasgow Warriors), Rob Kearney (Ireland, Leinster)

Wings: Tommy Bowe (Ireland, Ulster), Alex Cuthbert (Wales, Cardiff Blues), Sean Maitland (Scotland, Glasgow Warriors), George North (Wales, Scarlets)

Centres: Jonathan Davies (Wales, Scarlets), Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland, Leinster), Jamie Roberts (Wales, Cardiff Blues), Manusamoa Tuilagi (England, Leicester Tigers)

Outside halves: Owen Farrell (England, Saracens), Jonathan Sexton (Ireland, Leinster)

Scrum halves: Conor Murray (Ireland, Munster), Mike Phillips (Wales, Bayonne), Ben Youngs (England, Leicester Tigers)

Props: Dan Cole (England, Leicester Tigers), Cian Healy (Ireland, Leinster), Gethin Jenkins (Wales, Toulon), Adam Jones (Wales, Ospreys), Matt Stevens (England, Saracens), Mako Vunipola (England, Saracens)

Hookers: Dylan Hartley (England, Northampton Saints), Richard Hibbard (Wales, Ospreys), Tom Youngs (England, Leicester Tigers)

Second rows: Ian Evans (Wales, Ospreys), Richie Gray (Scotland, Sale Sharks), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales, Ospreys), Paul O’Connell (Ireland, Munster), Geoff Parling (England, Leicester Tigers)

Back rows: Tom Croft (England, Leicester Tigers), Toby Faletau (Wales, Newport Gwent Dragons), Jamie Heaslip (Ireland, Leinster), Dan Lydiate (Wales, Newport Gwent Dragons), Sean O’Brien (Ireland, Leinster), Justin Tipuric (Wales, Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Wales, Cardiff Blues)

Duncan Bell, The past, present and future

As manyof you will already know Duncan Bell announced his decision to retire this week. However the real shock came when he openly talked about his depression and how it has affected him over the years. After a manic week Duncan Bell kindly took the time out to chat with The Rugby Diary about times gone by and everything that is yet to come!

The Interview

As the rugby world has recently learned, you are to retire at the end of this season. What has been your favourite memory of your playing career?

Well unfortunately for you, I must say it is without doubt when we played Leicester in a Heineken Cup quarter final game at the Walker Stadium. We were under the cosh for ages, and even down to 13 for last part of the game. We were there as underdogs and everything was going against us, but somehow we turned the game around and won and ended up in a European Cup semi-final game.

Continue reading

Looking Back…. Rob Vickerman

This interview with Rob Vickerman was carried out briefly before he announced leaving Newcastle Falcons to join the England Sevens team full-time. Now we are approaching the halfway point of the IRB Sevens season The Rugby Diary thought it was a great time to revisit it.

A winner in every way......

Joining the core squad of Ben Ryan’s tenacious pack means that Vickerman will no longer be eligible to play at club level for this season at least.

However, it does mean that Rob’s Olympic ambitions may become a reality.

Seeing this opportunity as a perfect time for an interview, and a chance for Rob to get some last ditch revenge before taking off for his new sevens career, we caught up with Rob to get the real story of the switch.

Quick fire questions

Tori Chipp [TC]: Books or films?

 Rob Vickerman [RV]: Films about books, so I can pretend I’ve read it!

[TC]: Surf or ski?

 [RV]: Surf, bro. (Thanks Rob more people will think im a man now!)

 [TC]: Night in or night out?

[RV]: Known as the Olympic Flame – never go out.

[TC]: North or South?

[RV]: T’North.

[TC]: Blonde or brunette?

[RV]: Blonde.

[TC]: Cook or be cooked for?

[RV]: Cooked for every night by a working mother of three – oh no wait, that’s Tom Catterick!

[TC]: Boxers or briefs?

[RV]: Calvin Klein all the way.

 

The interview

[TC]: Now, the time to spill the beans on your previous teammates….Who has the best and worst banter at the Falcons? And you can’t give yourself the best award before you even try it!

 [RV]: I always enjoy a Matt Thompson ‘topper’ story. If you’ve got a black cat, he’s got a panther. Failing that, Daz Fearn has got good chat, and a shit tat. Tim Swinson is improving with some good lines – just about 20 minutes late.

[TC]: Putting on your Trinny and Susannah style cap, who were the best and worst dressed?

[RV]: It’s fair to say Tom Catterick encapsulates the best of both. I bet Marty McFly, in 1985, didn’t think he’d be so on trend in 2011. Unfortunately, Tom Catterick styles himself on Cher Lloyd!

[TC]: Some may say style comes with ease, others really, really have to try. Who was the biggest tart in the Falcons team? We have all seen Geordie Shore, but someone has to stand out?

[RV]: Chris Pilgrim without a doubt. Some boys had to be restrained when he dressed up as a bird at the end of season do.

[TC]: Not sure this is an award that many would admit to wanting, but who was the biggest LAD at Falcons?

 [RV]: Daz ‘Ultimate Lad’ Fearn.

[TC]: Who is the best roommate we know, forwards are usually the worst?

[RV]: It’s going to have to be Tim Swinson – he even brings his Butler.

[TC]: Who goes craziest on the town, usually ending up in trouble? We all know at least one friend who can do the impossible on a night out?

[RV]: Luke Eves is pretty loose. Especially if his dad isn’t out.

[TC]: Can you tell us the funniest story from a team social that you know about happening at Falcons?

[RV]: On our end of season do last year we were all in teams of 5. One of the rules was there must be a ‘team steal.’ This usually means that someone in the team ‘borrows’ an ashtray or perhaps a glass from a bar. (Obviously it will be replaced).

Over the years some teams have done well, capturing a pub sign, brought along a local perhaps, but this year the records were re-written. As we sat in our last pub we had forgotten to acquire any item, so when we all looked around the room we all saw the same thing as our heads then turned back. The Piano! We sat for 15 minutes coming up with a plan, how to distract the staff, the exit route and then how to get it to the next pub. Needless to say, the plan was executed perfectly, until the landlord at the next pub had a phone in his hand saying it was the owner of the last pub, who had called the police. The piano found its way back pretty quickly.

 

[TC]: Love it, shame you couldn’t get a local in the piano; that would have been genius! Now this is a really important question and all the lads probably think they are going to win it, but who is the biggest ladies man at Falcons?

[RV]: Well, judging by our Gypsy Wedding outfits at the fancy dress, I’d have to say Chris Pilgrim was the biggest lady man.

[TC]: There have been a few interviews recently with your old Falcon’s boys. Would you like to hand out any extra awards to your teammates?

[RV]: Of course:

Media whore: Chris Pilgrim

Biggest rater: Luke Fielden

 [TC]: Now for some questions about yourself… I hear you are known in some circles as the “nause of the North.” Can you explain this and do you have any other nicknames?

[RV]: Owing to my nausiing nature, and name, I tend to be affectionately known as Vickernause. It’s a fair shout.

[TC]: You’ve had some great times with the England Sevens team. If the opportunity arose would you ever swap Premiership rugby for sevens full time?

 [RV]: If only that could happen…

 [TC]: Just call me mystic Meg. So Mr Vickerman, all the ladies need to know, well want to know, are you single or taken? My cousin actually was the one who prompted this question! (Sarah)

 [RV]: First time I have been asked since, but happily married!

 [TC]: It’ll never last…only kidding, sorry Sarah. So coming from Leeds originally, how did you find life further north, we hear you have a lot of travelling support?

[RV]: Newcastle was fun, I loved the city and the people and the clichés accepted there. My family do love to watch a bit of rugby – so on Christmas Eve there were around 20 of them at the game, and out that night.

 [TC]: That must have been nice! Falcons came very close to relegation last season, too close. Do you think they will be able to combat that this season?

 [RV]: I hope so. I’ll avoid further clichés and watch with interest in the coming months.

[TC]: Who are the players you look up to in rugby today?

[RV]: Most of them, I’m only 5’11″!!

 [TC]: ONLY?! Try being 5’2”!!

 [TC]: Where is your favourite ground to play in the world?

[RV]: I did enjoy most of the sevens stadiums we played in last time I featured in 2009, but the top one has to be the Cake Tin, Westpac Stadium in Wellington. The atmosphere was immense!

[TC]: Well thanks Rob for taking the time out to do the interview and giving your old teammates a good hammering. Good luck with the Sevens!

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Calcutta Cup England 22

Looking to bring this team ethic back

The Calcutta Cup this year is billed to be closer than ever before. It is never easy for England to go away to Scotland and im pretty sure the team don’t particularly relish the prospect!

The Scots really have some fire in their bellies and the English look set to send out a new look squad so the competition is very much a case of who is more up for it.

England have also been through the mill via the press post World Cup and need a win to give some credibility to the nature they wish to portray and not the painting the media paints so perfectly.

The squad for Scotland is as follows:

15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Owen Farrell, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Alex Corbisiero, 2 Dylan Hartley, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Mouritz Botha, 5 Tom Palmer, 6 Tom Croft, 7 Chris Robshaw, 8 Phil Dowson Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Geoff Parling, 19 Ben Morgan, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Jordan Turner-Hall, 22 Mike Brown

England Captain Announcement

Today is the day the new England captain is announced. Following in the steps of Lewis Moody the pressure is on to get it right. Following such a woeful World Cup England and new interim head coach Lancaster are looking to right a few wrongs.

The captain will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders, even though realistically the choice could have been made through injuries. Not only that but because Lancaster is interim at present any new manager come May could decide a new captain at their own will.

So here is the big announcement the new captain will be Chris Robshaw.

The New England Captain

 

 

FACTFILE: CHRIS ROBSHAW

Name: Christopher Dennis Robshaw

Date of birth: June 4th, 1986

Place of birth: Redhill, Surrey

Height: 6 ft 2 in

Weight: 17st 9lb (112 kg)

Position: Flanker

Club: Harlequins

England senior caps: 1

The Harlequins man is the new man to lead the England pack to what is hoped to be a successful campaign. Robshaw has been forthcoming in stating a fortnight ago that he wanted the job and the honour of representing his country.

Robshaw, 25, will only officially be given the job for England’s next game, Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash against Scotland at Murrayfield.

Only four times in history has England appointed a captain with less Test experience than the man chosen by new boss Stuart Lancaster.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We have a strong leadership group and I have been very impressed with the way they have all stepped up so far. Chris is a key member of that group and has shown with Harlequins and when I have worked with him in the Saxons that he can lead a team tactically and passionately. I am delighted that he has got this chance at the highest level and I know it will be a very proud moment for him, his club, family and friends when he leads England out at Murrayfield on Saturday.”

Delon Armitage incident

Armitage in Action

Delon Armitage has been suspended from the England Saxons Elite Player Squad following his detention by Devon & Cornwall Police early on January 29 under suspicion of assault.

it is believe there was an incident within a nightclub where an altercation broke out  and subsequently Armitage was arrested, interviewed and later released on bail while investigations continue.

Stuart Lancaster England’s Head coach commented on the matter  “We take issues surrounding the behaviour of England players very seriously and as such have decided to suspend Delon from the Saxons EPS pending the result of the police inquiry.

“High standards of behaviour are required from England players on and off the field, and they also need to understand that they should not put themselves in a potentially vulnerable position or environment.”

London Irish said in a statement: “London Irish is extremely disappointed to hear about the incident involving Delon whilst on England Saxons release period and take these matters extremely seriously.

“We fully understand the RFU stance on this matter and will convene our own internal investigation to procure a full understanding of the matter in question, the outcome of which will determine any further action. Player conduct is a direct representation of the club and, therefore, inappropriate conduct will be strongly acted upon.”

 

Further news will await pending the police enquiry

England Saxons Squad to face the Irish Wolfhounds

Gaskell to lead the side

James Gaskell is set to captain the England Saxons for the first time against the Irish Wolfhounds at 5pm on Saturday.

At the age of 21 Gaskell is not without captaincy experience after a successful campaign with his team the Sale Sharks last season. He runs out with a team that’s average age is only 24.

The squad starts with newbie Freddie Burns in the starting 15 together with the experienced heads of Matt Banahan, Delon Armitage, Ugo Monye and Paul Doran-Jones.

Burns will be teaming up with Saracens Ben Spencer after news that  Leicester Tigers Micky Young has been called in front of a disciplinary committee for a suspected contact with the eye incident in Tigers last home game against Aironi in the Heineken Cup.

The bench also looks strong and feature Ryan Lamb and Paul Hodgson. Many are disappointed however not to see Ed Slater somewhere among the 23.

England Saxons:

15 Delon Armitage (London Irish)
14 Ugo Monye (Harlequins)
13 Matt Hopper (Harlequins)
12 Billy Twelvetrees (Leicester Tigers)
11 Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby)
10 Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
9 Ben Spencer (Saracens)
1 Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors)
2 Joe Gray (Harlequins)
3 Paul Doran-Jones (Northampton Saints)
4 Matt Garvey (London Irish)
5 George Robson (Harlequins)
6 James Gaskell (Sale Sharks, captain)
7 Andy Saull (Saracens)
8 Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)

Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker (Harlequins), 17 Rupert Harden (Gloucester), 18 Kearnan Myall (Sale Sharks), 19 Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), 20 Paul Hodgson (London Irish), 21 Ryan Lamb (Northampton Saints), 22 Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby).