Gemma Hallett – Pontyclun and Wales

first_imgGemma Hallet The Welsh back row took some time out of her busy training schedule to discuss how she got into the game, pratical jokes, and hopefully ending up relaxing on a beach somewhere.RUGBY WORLD: How did you get into rugby?GEMMA HALLETT: I started playing properly at the University of Central Lancashire. I also played for local side Preston Grasshoppers and Wales Students. From uni I travelled to Sydney and led Eastern Suburbs, and when I came home I decided to concentrate on making the Wales side. It took a complete shift in attitude and commitment.RW: What are your aims for this year’s Six Nations and World Cup?GH: I have the ambition to win every game – pulling on the shirt everyone should be of that mindset. If we collectively thought like that, I’ve no doubt we could win the Six Nations and the World Cup – after all, it’s just winning a series of individual games.RW: Any jokers in the Wales squad?GH: Everyone’s a joker. From players to management, we don’t miss an opportunity for a giggle. Treacle (Jenny Davies) is always up to something – we can be quite naughty together.RW: Any practical jokes you can share?GH: I was annihilated in the last Six Nations. Going to Italy, coach Jason Lewis had me a corker at the check-in… clipping a strappy queue divider to my rucksack. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t seen him start to do it and made a big scene about how I’d “caught him out and he’d have to get up early to catch me”. Unbeknown to me he did actually attach it and I dragged the rails along, much to everyone’s amusement. Another time, flankers Kifty (Jamie Kift) and Cat (Catrina Nicholas) conspired to steal one of my trainers on a flight from France. I staged a sit-in on the runway and when I eventually got off, limping, my lonesome trainer was making its way round the carousel.RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?GH: In a uni game, we had a lineout five metres out and the ball ended up in prop TQ’s (Elaine Edwards) hands. Someone cried “kick it!” and with sheer panic on her face she hoofed it 30 metres… vertically! I can’t recall if they scored or we regathered as we were p***ing ourselves.Weddings and funerals, dessert trays and Kings of Leon…RW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?GH: It’d have to be the ability to fly. I could go anywhere in the world… oh the possibilities – South Pacific here I come.RW: What couldn’t you live without?GH: Air, I think it would be suffocating.RW: What’s your favourite joke? GH: It’s not really a joke but when my old aunt and I go to a wedding, she always annoys me by saying, ‘You’re next’. So to stop her doing this I started saying the same thing to her at funerals.RW: If your house was on fire, what three things would you save?GH: Myself and my two housemates, but I’d do it very dramatically… commando roll from the upstairs window, devise a lowering device, save them and be forever known as the ‘hero’.RW: What are your bugbears?GH: Negative people bug me. I just switch off.RW: Any phobias?GH: I can’t risk Treacle finding out – what I say would end up in my room when we’re away.RW: Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?GH: A lift engineer and room-service dessert tray.RW: Who would you invite to a dinner party?GH: A comedian – Rod Gilbert is my fave at the moment. I’d invite Caleb Followill (Kings of Leon) because I do a pretty impressive ‘Woohoo, your Sex is on Fire!’ and I’d have to invite Gareth Thomas for my nan – she’s supported him for years. I’ll have family and friends too.RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?GH: To see the world – but as I can’t actually fly this might take some time – live on a beach and write a book whilst swaying in my hammock.RW: How do you want to be remembered?GH: It’s not really up to me… as long as it’s not Gemma Who? LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALScenter_img Check out Gemma’s team mate Non Evans…Check out her profile for Wales…last_img read more

Martin Castrogiovanni commits his future to Leicester

first_imgTAGS: Leicester Tigers Leicester Tigers chairman Peter Tom CBE said: “It is great news for the club that Castro has agreed to stay. He has attracted offers from elsewhere but, in considering all of his options, including his relationship with this club and its supporters, and his lifestyle and business interests here, he has decided that this is where his future lies. A large number of our supporters and season ticket holders own shares in the club and thousands of them contribute in terms of ticket sales so they all have a part to play. We have tremendously loyal supporters and one of the reasons behind our success is that the revenue we receive from season ticket sales allows us to maximise expenditure on the squad within the salary cap where some other clubs may be unable to do so. “We also invest significantly in support of the playing side, in preparation, conditioning and training facilities, and in the quality of our back-room staff, all with the aim of maintaining our success in the long term”“All of these factors are important when players are considering a future with us. There is a unique culture at this club which has been established over many years and players know they can develop with us inside a winning, successful environment.” Martin Castrogiovanni to stay at Welford RoadMartin Castrogiovanni has committed his future to Leicester Tigers after agreeing a new contract with the defending English champions. The Italy international tighthead prop is approaching 100 appearances for the club and has been a big hit with team-mates and supporters since his arrival at Welford Road in 2006.Named Premiership Player of the Year in his debut season in 2006/07, Castrogiovanni has won three league titles with Tigers in his first four years with the club as well as playing in the 2009 Heineken Cup Final and 2007 EDF Energy Cup Final.Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “Castro is a world-class player and we are delighted that he has decided to stay here. “He has moved to the top levels of the game during his time with us and our environment certainly suits him. He is happy in Leicester, he is very popular with the supporters and with his team-mates. Everyone knows that Castro has had opportunities to go elsewhere, but he has shown his commitment to the Tigers and we’re looking forward to his continued contribution in the future. Together with Dan Cole and Julian White, we have a group of top-class tighthead props and we want to keep them together to work as a group. With the increasing intensity of the professional game it is certainly an advantage to have top-class options available and to be able to keep players fresh in order to perform consistently at their best.” Castrogiovanni said: “A player has to think about of lot of things when he is trying to decide on the future, and money is not everything. I have always said that I enjoy my rugby at Leicester Tigers, I like it here and I always had in my mind that I wanted to stay. The club and the players have been great for me and I am very happy here. The supporters have been brilliant. The support they have shown me, especially recently, has been unbelievable. I am extremely happy that we have now come to an agreement with the club. I am really proud to be part of this club. I want to give 100 per cent for the shirt because it is a Leicester Tigers shirt.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

Tom May’s Postcard from Toulon – Part One

first_img“All Frenchmen seem to love the scrum and the confrontation that occurs in the set-piece. When you’re playing other proud French towns, the forwards believe that when you win in the scrum, the town wins. You’ll always get supporters shouting about how it’s a war and it’s a very confrontational, hard type of rugby in terms of the physical approach. This translates into the pride of winning at home. We lost two home games at the start of the season and all hell broke loose, even though we were winning away. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS “The passion from the fans is huge and we’ve seen a leap in attendances in the Top 14 this season, while I gather they’re down in England. In many areas of France, like Perpignan, Toulon and Toulouse, the number one sport is rugby and that engulfs a whole city. In England, we’ll never beat football.”Speak to you next week…Tom Maycenter_img With so many Brits now plying their trade in the Top 14, the life of rugby players in the South of France has never been so fascinating. To give you an insight, over the next four months we’re bringing you a series of ‘Postcards from Toulon’ – starring former England centre Tom May“I’m now in my second season at Toulon and the question I get asked the most is: ‘What is the difference between rugby in France and England?’ In France it’s more about the one-on-one personal battle than in England. Up front they have to win. All teams pride themselves on smashing the other scrum. They have to put one over the other team and it almost becomes personal.last_img read more

Our favourite rugby April Fool’s Day joke

first_imgRead the full story by clicking here LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The Daily Telegraph and their resident joker, Gavin Mairs lapped it up.center_img Well done to Wasps and for Steve Hayes for playing along and delivering the award for Rugby World April Fool’ Day joke Award for 2011.last_img

Todd aiming to box clever against Saxons

first_imgChurchill Cup 2011Saturday June 4, Franklin’s GardensItaly A vs. Canada, 1430England Saxons vs. USA, 1700Wednesday June 8, Esher RugbyTonga vs. USA, 1730Russia vs. Canada, 2000 US Eagles Flanker Todd CleverUS EAGLES flanker Todd Clever says his team can’t wait to test themselves in their opening game of the Churchill Cup against England Saxons at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday (5pm).Speaking after training at the Butts Park Arena, Coventry, Clever said: “I ran through the Saxons squad after they announced it and it’s a good team. It’s really good for us to play against a quality team.“I’m sure they are going to want to put in a good performance after the Barbarians and guys will want their say towards to the World Cup squad. It is not going to be an easy task at all but for us we are looking forward to playing against the Saxons and it should be a fun one.”The Eagles will have their eye on the World Cup too and Clever added: “We said in our opening meeting, just because you are here it doesn’t mean you are going to make the World Cup squad.“Just because the maths says there are 28 players here and 30 going to the World Cup, there are some guys that are either injured at the moment or getting rested because they have had long seasons in England or France. So basically it is a trial for everybody and you have to put your best foot forward in every training session, every meeting and obviously every game.”The USA arrived yesterday and today’s run was a chance to blow away the cobwebs, with Clever saying: “It was pretty wet, there was some slipping and some sliding but it was good to get out and a good welcome back to England with the rain and grey.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Sunday June 12, KingsholmEngland Saxons vs. Tonga, 1430Italy A vs. Russia, 1700Saturday June 18, SixwaysBowl Final, 1200Plate Final, 1415Cup Final, 1630 COMMERCE CITY, CO – JUNE 21: Todd Clever #7 of the USA Eagles runs the ball against Georgia during the Churchill Cup 5th/6th Play Off at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on June 21, 2009 in Commerce City, Colorado. The USA Eagles defeated Georgia 31-13 to capture fifth place in the Churchill Cup. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)last_img read more

Samoan Treviranus extends Exiles stay until 2014

first_imgOfisa said: “I have really been enjoying my rugby and my time at the club so far.  I like the style of play and feel that I am making fantastic strides in my development as a player. It’s great to be back.” Samoan back rower Ofisa Treviranus has confirmed he will be at the reading club for a further two seasonsLondon Irish can confirm Samoan back rower Ofisa Treviranus will be at the club until 2014.The 27 year old Samoan, who has played 22 tests for the Pacific Island nation joined the Exiles in November 2011 and then returned home to Samoa for the birth of his son. He has now returned full-time to the London Irish squad and came on against Leicester Tigers last Sunday.Ofisa made three impressive London Irish appearances in his first five weeks with the Club, two in the Heineken Cup and one in the Aviva Premiership. London Irish head coach, Toby Booth said: “I have been impressed with the way Ofisa has fitted into the squad and with his performances. He brings a hugely physical approach every time he takes the field and is a natural ball winner on the floor.”Ofisa is one of a number of senior international players to sign on at London Irish with Ireland’s Tomás O’Leary, Scotland’s Scott Lawson and England Saxon George Skivington all joining the Exiles in the summer. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 03: Ofisa Treviranus of Samoa makes a break during the match between Australia and Samoa on day two of the 2011 Adelaide IRB Rugby Sevens at Adelaide Oval on April 3, 2011 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)last_img read more

An exclusive look at the new 2013 Lions kit

first_imgThe Lions 2013 ranges goes on sale on 1 December and you can pre-order it from: The Lions   Lovell Rugby   Kitbag  ProDirect LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALScenter_img Exclusive! Rugby World gives you the story behind the new Lions shirt in the December issue – on sale nowWHAT WILL Warren Gatland’s British & Irish Lions squad be wearing in Australia next year? Rugby World exclusively revealed the new Lions shirt today and you can read all about the thinking behind the new design in the December issue, which is on sale 30 October. That edition also includes a feature on ten Lions bolters – left-field selections who have made an impact on tour – so there is plenty to get excited about as the build-up to next summer’s Test series Down Under begins.As for the kit that will be on show, adidas have launched an impressive replica range for supporters and here is just a selection:last_img read more

The scrum-halves looking to impress during November Tests

first_img Learn all about him: Japan scrum-half Fumiaka Tanaka is well-known in New Zealand, but could surprise ScotlandBy Alan DymockTHIS WEEKEND there may be some big names everyone expects to see, but perhaps some of the most telling contributions will come from scrum-halves with points to prove in the November Tests.This doesn’t mean that established names like Morgan Parra, Will Genia or Greig Laidlaw need touted – or even stars like Aaron Smith. It is more worthwhile looking at the men yet to be heralded as Test winners or figures that can turn a game or at least put in surprisingly brave displays.Edoardo GoriAble to back it up: Edoardo Gori is experiencedIt may seem odd to point out the player lining up opposite Will Genia for Italy, particularly as this is someone who has to share scrum-half responsibilities with Fabio Semenzato and Tobias Botes at Benetton Treviso. It may also seem odd pointing out someone whose last game for Italy was a thumping by Samoa in Nelspruit, South Africa. Yet Gori is a player who has beaten France, played against Wales and England in the last year as well as snapping impressively as Treviso thumped Connacht in the RaboDirect Pro12 a few weeks back. He is wiser than many would know and Australia are hurting. He could put in a strong defensive shift and push his pack around well. That is how you beat this current Wallaby team.Fumiaka Tanaka LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Never heard of him? The Japanese nine is well known in New Zealand, where he plies his trade with the Otago Highlanders and the Otago NPC side. He swaps regularly with Aaron Smith there and he has experienced a different intensity to others in his national set-up. He also offers something different to Scotland’s Laidlaw this Saturday and he will be all over the renowned kicker whenever the pace of the game drops.Looking for pass marks: Lee Dickson has healthy competitionLee DicksonHe is certainly better known than the others, of course, but the Northampton Saint is yet to lay down a marker for England. He brings boundless energy to the role and as he runs against an Argentine pack that has been described as divided in the last few weeks. Expect him to challenge a few of the bigger boys this week – particularly with a full-throttle Danny Care breathing down his neck, trying to get back in to international contention. during the England training session at Pennyhill Park on November 7, 2013 in Bagshot, England. Tomas CubelliThe Belgrano and CONSUR XV scrum-half may be suffering from shell shock after being a substitute for the Pumas when they were obliterated by the Wallabies, at the end of the Rugby Championship. He is a rare starter. So this may be seen as a rare chance but he may show up well with clever pressure-relieving kicks. And he’ll need to.last_img read more

The greatest blindsides of all time: Jerry Collins

first_imgCollins played in two World Cups and won five Tri-Nations tournaments, where his uncompromising style as a hard-running blindside won him many admirers. Despite his happy-go-lucky persona, he had the honour of leading the All Blacks on three occasions before retiring from Test duty in 2007 to seek adventure in Europe.In 2008 he famously turned out for Barnstaple after a chance conversation in a pub, even going on to wear their socks in a Barbarians game.After a year with Toulon, he headed to West Wales with the Ospreys, driving them to the Pro12 title. A loveable rogue, he quipped to coaches that it had been the first year he hadn’t been arrested. Major teams: Wellington, Hurricanes, Ospreys, Toulon Country: New ZealandTest span: 2001-07Test caps: 48 (42 starts)Test points: 25 (5T)There are back-rows who have been capped more, players with World Cups to their names and players who perhaps have toed the line more, but few had the impact or indeed cult following that Collins had.Born in Samoa, Collins moved to Auckland as a young child. Rugby ran in his blood, with All Black legend Tana Umaga a cousin, along with Newcastle wing Sinoti Sinoti, so it was no surprise that he breezed through the New Zealand age grades.On the field he was ferocious and utterly relentless, with his distinctive bleached blond ‘Guinness’ top acting as a warning beacon for attackers. In 2003 he knocked out Colin Charvis with a bone-rattling tackle. But off the pitch, Collins was a warm, unconventional figure who was happier sharing a pint with a few locals than playing up to the celebrity lifestyle.He played his Super Rugby with the Hurricanes but was best known to northern hemisphere fans as part of a formidable All Black back-row unit with Richie McCaw and Rodney So’oialo.“He’s one of the most special players who will ever wear a black jersey,” said All Black great Michael Jones. “He took the No 6 jersey to new dimensions. The game became a lot more physical and confrontational. Jerry brought that level of physicality and brutal influence.” New Zealand blindside flanker Jerry Collins had a ferocious reputation The late Jerry Collins LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: The Greatest Players There followed a stint in Japan with the Yamaha Engines where he was arrested for carrying a knife, until at 32, he packed up his kitbag and left the game to work in security in Canada.He was drawn back to rugby for one final hurrah after an offer from French D2 side Narbonne to be their medical joker. Tragically, this year he was killed in a car crash in the South of France with his wife Alana, sparking widespread grief in the game. JC was a much-loved maverick who was taken from us far too soon.last_img read more

Flashback: The 2007 Rugby World Cup Final

first_imgKeep track of events in Japan via our Rugby World Cup homepage.Follow Rugby World magazine on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Each side would miss attempts at goal and as the half progressed South Africa looked likely to add to their advantage. First Smit was held up short, before a desperate England killed the ball after the subsequent scrum. The points were duly taken by South Africa, who led 9-3 at the break.Soon after the restart came the game’s most iconic and controversial moment. Outside-centre Tait picked up a pass from scrum-half Andy Gomarsall on the halfway line, facing a well-set South African wall.Leading the way: England’s Mathew Tait breaks during the 2007 final against the Springboks (Getty Images)The confidence of youth has no bounds and Tait jinked through a crack between the South African centres to leave four Springboks trailing in his wake. Montgomery was put away with a hip swerve, and with only Matfield and JP Pietersen pursuing, the latter with an unfavourable angle, Tait looked destined to write himself into the annals of World Cup final history.But then, searing over from the other wing, came Habana. Tait was forced to check his run and was cut down by a backtracking Matfield only two metres out. No matter, as Gomarsall fired the ball out to the wing via a beautiful Wilkinson flick, where Mark Cueto dived over in the corner, despite the best efforts of South African No 8 Danie Rossouw.Try for England! After all the tournament’s tribulations, they were only a Wilkinson conversion away from taking the lead in the final – or so we thought…Referee Alain Rolland consulted Australian TMO Stuart Dickinson, asking if Cueto was in touch. His toe had just grazed the line, with the ball inches away from being grounded. On such margins are finals won and lost. After a delay that felt like an eternity, Dickinson disallowed the try – to the visible shock of Cueto.England received the scant consolation of a penalty from South African interference at the previous ruck to close the gap to 9-6. It would be as close as they would come.Five minutes later Martin Corry would be penalised and Montgomery converted to restore his side’s six-point lead. With 20 minutes left, 20-year-old centre Frans Steyn cannoned over a penalty from halfway to ensure England would need two tries to win.Vickery’s men would attempt both a Wilkinson drop-goal and a lineout maul from close to the try-line, but both would fail in the face of dogged South African defence. The Springboks would close out the game with a scrum, and kick the ball out into touch to spark jubilant scenes. They had beaten to the defending champions to win their second Webb Ellis Cup.The core of that Boks team would go on to defeat the Lions 2-1 in a classic series in 2009, whilst the England side disintegrated, to be almost entirely replaced under the leadership of Martin Johnson before the 2011 World Cup.Neither side have been back to the final since the 20 October 2007. Now, 12 years later, they’ll face each other once again. Remember the last time England and South Africa met in a World Cup final? Jacob Whitehead recaps events from 12 years ago LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALScenter_img Flashback: The 2007 Rugby World Cup Final England and South Africa will face-off in Yokohama on Saturday in this year’s World Cup final, but it is not the first time these two sides have met with the Webb Ellis trophy at stake. Let’s rewind 12 years to 2007 to see what happened in their first meeting…In a way, 2007’s final is very similar to this year’s edition, except with the positions reversed. Whilst England had lost heavily in the group stage back then (36-0 to South Africa), this year the Springboks lost to New Zealand.Just as South Africa found their way to the final after a succession of comfortable victories 12 years ago, Eddie Jones’s England have emulated them now. Of course, Jones was involved with the Boks at that World Cup and is credited for improving their back-line play as technical advisor.Related: 2019 World Cup Final PreviewSouth Africa’s 2007 team were a golden generation. While a few veterans remained in the team – notably prop Os Du Randt, who played in their 1995 triumph, and full-back Percy Montgomery, the majority of their squad were in the prime of their careers.Captain John Smit led a pack that included one of the all-time great lock combinations in Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha, whilst flankers Juan Smith and Schalk Burger would be in serious contention for a Team of the Decade. In the back-line, scrum-half Fourie du Preez had taken on the mantle of the great Joost van der Westhuizen with aplomb and flyer Bryan Habana scored eight tries in the tournament.England, under the stewardship of Brian Ashton, were a stark contrast. They were an assorted combination of odds and ends; a mash-up of the 2003 vintage, players previously overlooked and brief but brightly-burning stars (Mathew Tait and Paul Sackey anyone?) .Captain Phil Vickery was the centrepiece of a particularly grizzled pack, sporting the belligerence of hooker Mark Regan, the indefatigability of Simon Shaw and the experience of 2003 winner Ben Kay.Jonny Wilkinson, the crown prince of English rugby, had returned from four injury-ridden years to guide the side to the final, scoring all but five of his team’s points in the knockout stages. Maybe, just maybe, a little Wilkinson magic could win England their second consecutive World Cup trophy.Green line: South Africa players line up for the anthems at the 2007 final (Getty Images)The sides met in a slightly deflated Stade de France, with Paris still reeling from France’s semi-final defeat the week before. It was not a classic, but England would push the Springboks all the way.They did not start well, losing their first lineout before Tait was penalised for holding on and Montgomery kicked the three points. But England grew into the game and after good work from Sackey, South Africa would concede a penalty themselves, with which Wilkinson bisected the posts.Five minutes later and Ashton would have his head in his hands, as Lewis Moody conceded a real coach-killer of an infraction by tripping Butch James, a misdemeanour that was quickly punished on the scoreboard. World champions: The Springboks lift the Webb Ellis Cup in 2007 (Getty Images) last_img read more