Analysis: Have goal kickers improved?

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS This said, another assumption made by Jenkins – that kickers influence the outcome of games; “More often than not it’s the difference between winning and losing games” – is arguably correct. Greig Laidlaw and Leigh Halfpenny have both landed 13 kicks that have helped seal the outcome of games for their respective countries, with Laidlaw having an accuracy rate of 92.86% and Halfpenny enjoying 86.67%.In the leaguesIt isn’t all about the grand spectacles, though. Once you acknowledge that the sheer number of points can win games, rather than percentages, it then becomes obvious why some club teams are winning the arms race.In France, Jonny Wilkinson is pumping Toulon to the top of the table with his boot. He has landed a staggering 94 penalties and conversions this season, which, when added to drop goals, means he has already amassed an unbelievable 267 points himself. Putting those points into context, that is more than Sale Sharks have managed this term.Hot on Wilko’s heels is Castres’ want-away scrum-half Rory Kockott, who has 86 place kicks to his name. James Hook also features highly in the club game, despite not being anywhere near starting or kicking for Wales, clipping over 70 place kicks for Perpignan.Looking at the Top 14 the game is either played like a back-alley brawl, with penalties being handed out every other second, or the range and expertise of the kickers playing means that they are trusted to take points rather than going for the corner. Percentages be damned: it’s a numbers game.The Premiership’s best: Nick Evans currently tops the tableThe trend continues. In England, Nick Evans is the top marksman with 68 conversions and penalties. Compared to ye olde times (amateur days) his percentage of 77.27% is top-notch. Nevertheless, it could be said that his volume of work is more stunning. Freddie Burns comes just in behind with 64 (81.01%) and Andy Goode has 62 (74.7%). Tom Prydie is the RaboDirect Pro12’s top kicker, with 40 successful kicks. This edges him ahead of Ian Madigan and Ian Keatley, with 38 and 37 kicks respectively, both with percentages in the 80 per cents. Good numbers, but not comparable with astronomical French figures. OXFORD, ENGLAND – JANUARY 06: Nick Evans of Harlequins lines up a conversion during the Aviva Premiership match between London Welsh and Harlequins at Kassam Stadium on January 6, 2013 in Oxford, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) So Jenkins may be right. Kickers are possibly better. Yet it could just be that in the big games players get more shots at the sticks. Even then, though, it is possibly that we are just making a bigger deal out of those doing the kicking. After all, no one has ever topped Tim Stimpson in a single season in England –he kicked 115 times for Leeds Tykes in 2000 – but the likes of Wilkinson have hoovered up points over an entire career.With kicking, good things come to those who wait. Boosted boot: Greig Laidlaw has missed one kick in the RBS 6 Nations. Is this indicative of improving standards?By Alan DymockACCORDING TO one of the games most legendary kickers, the standard of place kicking “is higher now than ever.”Points machine: Jonny WilkinsonNeil Jenkins, former Pontypridd, Wales and Lions kicker has today spoken out about the standard of goal kickers in World rugby at the moment, citing the reliability that is expected of international nudgers.“Most people are quite surprised now if a kicker misses maybe more than two or three at goal,” he said. “They are either 100% or just have the odd miss in games. It is pretty spectacular at the minute in terms of the kickers we’ve got in the game.”Looking at the breakdown, though, is he right: have kickers improved over the years?RBS 6 NationsThe basis of Jenkins’ argument comes from looking at the current 6 Nations Championship.Jonathan Sexton has 100% from the tee in this year’s competition, landing all six of his shots at goal. However he has only landed six, while Owen Farrell is the most prolific punter, having landed 15 of his conversions and penalties.The ice-cold Englishman is not the most accurate, though, despite all of his scores. He has missed five of his 20 kicks and so has a kick percentage of 75%, the same as Freddie Michalak (six from eight). Telling, isn’t it? Farrell has the same percentage as Michalak, but he has 15 kicks to Freddie’s six. One is leading the tournament despite misses because they take a lot of chances and earn the points. The other has not had a say in the games.last_img read more

Lions 2013: Israel Folau v George North. Tale of the tape

first_img So, so close: The titanic battle between wings George North and Israel Folau has been mesmerising to watchBy Owain JonesIT’S BEEN the Frazier v Ali of the 2013 Lions Test Series. George North and Israel Folau have provided rugby fans with some stellar moments of drama in the first two Tests. So, with a round to go, we spoke to two legends of the game, Australia’s 102-cap fly-half Stephen Larkham, now backs coach with the ACT Brumbies and 91-cap Wales and Lions wing Shane Williams to run the rule over two of the most exciting players in world rugby.Game awareness         Williams on North: “They say reading of the game and positional play comes with experience and George is ahead of where I was at the same age. He’s still learning the game and there’s no better place to learn the game than out on the flank. Rugby is very technical nowadays and his positioning is continually improving, along with his workrate. You can see how he’s already trying to manipulate defences. He is running off No 10s shoulders, popping up in midfield and he’ll even turn up on the other wing looking for work.”Larkham on Folau: “Izzy is naturally talented athlete with in-built skills from his NRL and Aussie Rules background meaning he is comfortable with balls in the air and passes well off both hands. He has a great standing leap, a strong fend and he’s able to offload well. One thing he doesn’t do is back himself to kick. In the few games in Union, he’s played at the Waratahs he’s played at full-back where his lack of positional awareness has been shown up, particularly defensively. In the Tests, he is less vulnerable on the wing. There are also some instances when he’s not working hard enough with his kick-chase. I was a bit skeptical when Robbie Deans said he needed to get his hands on the ball more in the Second Test but I was really impressed. With little room to move he created opportunities for the team to go forward, especially for Adam Ashley Cooper’s winning try.”Power play: Folau outleaps NorthPower         Williams on North: “George is a very powerful guy, you only have to look at him to know that. He has his own individual programme and trains hard doing power weights – he doesn’t just work on his bench press day after day. Look at how easily he picked up Israel Folau! He’s very meticulous and works hard with conditioner Adam Beard. At just 21, he is one of the most powerful wings in the world.”Larkham on Folau: “Israel is in the top, top bracket for power, but what sets him apart as a player is his athleticism. I’m told he has a good attitude at training and works hard. He’s a big guy, 6ft 4in and 102kgs, and for his size electric on his feet. His step, as we saw in scoring in the first Test is unbelievable.”SpeedWilliams on North: “Every one talks about his power but George is deceptively quick. One day he could move in one to No 13 but he’s easily quick enough for a wing and reaches 40 metres in under five seconds. The speed coach Frans Bosch has worked with him closely over the years, as I did over the World Cup, and I know he’s a player constantly wanting to push the boundaries of what he can achieve. Larkham on Folau: “Once Izzy gets his hands on the ball, he has unbelievable feet and he’s very, very quick. As I’ve said, he’s still learning when it comes to wing-play in rugby union. He played a bit of league on the wing, but the roles are subtly different. You need to help your full-back defensively. It’s not just linking with everyone else, but rabbiting down the field trying to put the pressure on. He’s gaining invaluable experience with the Waratahs at full-back and that’s helping him out with his understanding of wing play.”Well-matched: Folau and North have been sensationalX-FactorWilliams on North: “What you don’t expect from George is such good footwork. Okay, sometimes he doesn’t need it because he can run over the top of players but for his try against the Wallabies, Berrick Barnes didn’t lay a finger on him to step in and out on his left. It takes a special finisher to do that and it’s rare in an athlete over 100kgs. He’s a different shape to Folau, who is a typical rangy AFL shape, with narrower hips is very springy, he strides out a bit like Usain Bolt. George is sharper on the turn, he can find the outside yet keep his power. Folau tried a couple of offloads which didn’t come off but George is clever, he knows when to hold onto the ball and when to get rid of it. He rarely wastes ball.”Larkham on Folau: “Israel is very laid back and gets on well with all the players. I haven’t heard anyone saying a bad word about him. There’s talk that he’s seen the light in rugby union and he knows there are regular big-occasion Test. In many ways, there are similarities with Sonny Bill Williams. They have a similar skill-sets and Sonny Bill was a revelation. I think he’s seriously considering Union and I hope he stays.”Verdict         It’s coming up to the final round we’ll find out on Saturday who’s going to land the final knockout blow.Stephen Larkham and Shane Williams were speaking on behalf of Land Rover, for more visit LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALScenter_img BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 22: George North of the Lions and Israel Folau of the Wallabies in action during the First Test match between the Australian Wallabies and the British & Irish Lions at Suncorp Stadium on June 22, 2013 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images for HSBC) last_img read more

Lions 2013: The final Thank Yous

first_imgHe may be a legendary figure in Wales now, but surely he is worthy of praise in all four unions now that he has guided the Lions to victory?Whatever tag or title he gets from here on in, it must be noted that he is part of an elite group of coaches, forever deserving of some form of praise. SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 06: Leigh Halfpenny of the Lions breaks with the ball during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images) The full-back was bankable in defence and continued to run lines that saw him evade capture and set up two sensational tries in the last Test. When you consider that, and his near-flawless kicking for posts, he was the stand out candidate for Man of the Series.Noting that there was no off-field incidents? Well the entire backroom staff must be congratulated for their efforts in safely ferrying the squad to and from massive clashes and training, while at the same time ensuring they never acted out of step on any social excursions. Andy Irvine will be modest about it all, but the efforts of his team behind the scenes was remarkable.Gliding by: Halfpenny sets up a decisive score in Test threeThen, after all the fawning and praise we get to the man making the big decisions: Warren Gatland.He may feel vindicated, after his bold calls were panned from coast to coast, but having strength in his convictions paid off. Without his final display of will the Lions may not have made it.We will never know, but he was true to his own instincts rather than pandering to the different nations. He picked the team he felt was fit for purpose and it worked. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS A gallery of Lions greats: Now that it is all over, there are certain men who will go down in history following the tourBy Alan DymockNOW THAT it is all over and you’ve had your say on what was the team of the tour and who was the man of the series and who will be the most entertaining on the behind-the-scenes DVD, all that remains is to thank the British and Irish Lions for winning against Australia.There are so many thanks to give, though, and already there must be calls to commemorate the few great men who won the Tom Richards Cup after 16 years of pining for success.Victorious medics: Triumphant Doctors Roberts and RobsonFirstly, Brian O’Driscoll must be thanked for soldiering through a fourth Lions tour. Although he was controversially left out of the third and deciding Test in Sydney, he played a vital role throughout the trip and will go down in history regardless, due to his almost-unwavering involvement (OK, there was foul play in ’05 which ended his tour) and for finally winning one.To tour with the Lions once lifts a player into a whole new echelon, so to win a tour on the fourth time of asking certainly merits a player being called legendary.Of course, if you are going to mention the brilliant player who has been on four trips you have to bow in reverence of Dr. James Robson who has worked his magic on five separate tours and who must have gotten several hundred pats on the back for his and the rest of the medical team’s efforts in getting George North, Jamie Roberts and Tommy Bowe ready for the Tests as well as aiding many, many more. If you ask some, he is a shoe-in for a knighthood, come honours time.Then there is Leigh Halfpenny and his right boot, so cultured that Damien Hirst must be dying to put it in a tank.last_img read more

England Saxons: Burns Night shouldn’t scotch Freddie

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Getting his fingers burnt: Freddie Burns failed to make an impact with his boot or his passing for the SaxonsBy Charlie MorganSaturday was Burns Night. But only the Irish celebrated it at Kingsholm. In fact, given what went on during England Saxons’ narrow defeat to Joe Schmidt’s second string, an excruciating irony filled the West Country air.The very last second encapsulated everything. With his side 14-8 down to Irish Wolfhounds, Freddie Burns saw a gap down the undefended blind-side of a ruck barely two metres out from the try-line. It was fine opportunism, but over-eagerness saw the ball slip out of play and into the touch-judge’s midriff. As Burns buried his head in the turf and referee Ian Davies blew the final whistle, the scene looked cruelly comic.Two weeks previously, Stuart Lancaster had rung Burns to let the mercurial fly-half know he would not be included in England’s initial Six Nations squad. Instead, after a jittery start to the domestic and European season, the 23 year-old would have an evening to prove his form against the Wolfhounds.As Burns acknowledged last week in Loughborough with typical honesty, it was a difficult call to take – but one that refocused him on the goal of adding to his three Test caps. “Sometimes you have to take it on the chin and hope bad experiences make you a better player and a better person,” were the exact words.Sadly, Burns’s brief – taming the Irish with clinical game management and guiding his team to victory over a squad decorated with 17 full internationals – didn’t go to plan. That’s a fairly generous understatement.After four minutes, Isaac Boss took advantage of spatial uncertainty around a driving maul to scamper over past Burns’s left shoulder. Attempting to make amends, the Saxons’ pivot flung out several wide passes. Rather than release Charlie Sharples and Elliot Daly though, they slowed on the wind and stunted momentum. Resorting to his boot, Burns saw a grubber blocked before an over-hit chip relinquished possession. A pair of misses from the tee in either half compounded matters – a familiar trend this term.Quick feet: Simon Zebo returned to action for the WolfhoundsIn short, Burns was consumed by anxiety for the first hour. Wolfhounds ten Ian Madigan offered a striking contrast. Having also fallen out of favour at club level – seeing Jimmy Gopperth usurp him as first choice with Leinster – he appeared assured, nailing two conversions and dotting down himself following a sharp tap-penalty. A few things conspired against Burns – immense industry and muscularity from the Irish pack and Joe Simpson’s slightly scrappy service – but the overriding problem was clearly psychological. On his old stomping ground, there was an individual onus on him that was just too tough to deal with. It meant too much. Trying to fight out of the claustrophobia, Burns forced things and overplayed his hand. If their half-backs take the right options regularly, a team should not lose after enjoying 63 per cent possession and 66 per cent territory. Those statistics are pretty stark.Lancaster, a spectator on Saturday, knows that. But crucially, Burns will be well aware of his shortcomings too. He is a quick learner and his own harshest critic – that was apparent from the final 20 minutes when he landed a penalty to bring the Saxons within striking distance before nearly rescuing a result. Replacements Elliot Stooke and superb Sam Dickinson presented a sturdier platform and Burns responded well, tightening things up and conducting punchy phase-play. Despite the dancing feet of Simon Zebo, Wolfhounds were on the ropes.Problem solving is a key quality in international fly-halves and Burns showed admirable character, communication and leadership to aid Saxons’ resurgence. As for that blunder at the death, Twitter was awash with ridicule as keyboard warriors delighted in his failure. Irish site was kind enough to post a video of the incident and compel watchers to “gather round and laugh at Freddie Burns” – classy. Armchair critics have it easy when it comes to ambitious players. The same people who moan about England’s lack of imagination are usually quick to pile into anyone who tries something new – it’s a mundane hypocrisy.The truth is, it took a decent blend of vision and bottle for Burns to back himself, not only to cross the whitewash but also to kick a touchline conversion for an unlikely win. It was execution, not decision-making, which let him down. Ask any coach – you’d rather somebody on your team with faith in their skills who is ballsy enough to seize the moment.Such confidence is usually infectious and could have been important on Saturday in Paris when it is likely that at least two debutants – Luther Burrell and one of Jack Nowell and Anthony Watson – will be in England’s match-day 23. As it is, Lancaster has chosen to retain the pragmatic pair of George Ford and Stephen Myler, and Burns has another week in the Saxons against Scotland A at Scotstoun. BAGSHOT, ENGLAND – JANUARY 27: Luther Burrell runs with the ball watched by Jack Nowell; during the England training session held at Pennyhill Park on January 27, 2014 in Bagshot, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images) Youngsters getting a shot: Anthony Watson and Jack NowellBut he will not stay out in the cold for long. For England to seriously challenge in 2015, they need to score tries. When calm and comfortable, Burns has the spark to trouble any defence. Remember his first touch in a Test match 13 months ago? He took it to the line, committed a couple of All Black defenders and ignited a move that would have brought a five-pointer if Mike Brown had pinned his ears back.Time is a healer, and one week out of intense Six Nations limelight should work wonders. Lancaster’s door is never locked, certainly not to a man of talent and upbeat attitude. An improved performance up in Glasgow on Friday can still open it before the Six Nations has ended. A difficult Burns Night might yet be the making of young Freddie.last_img read more

New Zealand v England 3: Five things we’ve learnt

first_img Give it some Aaron: All Blacks fly-half Aaron Cruden puts his team on the attack LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS One New Zealand newspaper called on their team to “send a message to the world” this week, to seal a series whitewash with authority and remind everyone that – though England have competed gamely this month – Kiwi defeat is unthinkable.As it was, Steve Hansen’s men needed little over half an hour. When Aaron Smith crossed for the hosts’ fourth try in Hamilton on 33 minutes, the All Blacks had dismantled England with a mauling that sent tremors around the planet.All Blacks intensity scrambles England’s instinctsThough they set off on the wrong foot thanks to an undercooked Freddie Burns kick-off, England immediately recovered when Ben Youngs harassed Kieran Read from the first scrum. Chris Robshaw was all over Richie McCaw (more of that later) and Jerome Garces gave a penalty. Though Burns sent his attempt wide, it seemed the tourists were primed for battle.Then it slid away. England’s defensive system is a fearsome beast at its best.However, the sheer pace New Zealand played at – taking lineouts rapidly, smashing rucks to give Aaron Smith a pristine platform – did not allow it to get set. The destructive “destroy and enjoy” linespeed that Andy Farrell has engendered is founded on a proactive mind-set. The All Blacks’ urgency forced England to be reactive, tentative. It was rabbit-in-the-headlights confusion. Aaron Cruden glided, Julian Savea scythed and Ben Smith was Ben Smith – bloomin’ brilliant. Half-time came and England had missed 13 tackles. When you leak seven line-breaks and four tries before the break, you are sunk in any game.Painful experience: Kyle Eastmond had a day to forget for EnglandPatience and perseverance – virtues that reap rewardsCaught in the eye of a midfield storm, Kyle Eastmond got hauled off to define a key difference between these two teams over three games – consistency in selection. Just 26 men represented New Zealand this series. England called on 33. Rewind to 16 days ago in Auckland. Eastmond outplayed Ma’a Nonu, making nine tackles without missing one. Perhaps he could have built on that had he kept the number 12 shirt for Dunedin. We’ll never know.Lancaster is hardly at fault. The scheduling of this trip was totally shambolic and he had to trust those who excelled during the Six Nations when they became available. Courageous displays over the first two games and during the Crusaders victory demonstrate England’s enviable strength in depth. But that is only useful if a best 23 is identified and stuck by for most of the remaining 12 Tests before September 2015. New Zealand’s immense success is built on such loyalty – decisions such as retaining hooker Dane Coles after an uncertain night in Auckland. Hansen knew the talent was there and he’d get better. So it proved. TAGS: Highlight Stuart Lancaster’s charges will be in the hunt for World Cup glory in 2015 but they have some wounds to lick. Here are 5 facets to take from their tough tour Robshaw: UnbowedThe All Blacks are now level with the world record of 17 consecutive victories among tier one nations (in the lower echelons of international rugby, Cyprus are currently on a golden run of 23 wins). They can genuinely profess to being the planet’s outstanding sports team, transcending rugby alone. Before this series, a composite side may have included a few Poms – Dylan Hartley maybe, Courtney Lawes and Mike Brown too. That trio looked tired, and could not influence as they would have liked. Geoff Parling was very close to Sam Whitelock, but just one other tourist looked fully worthy of wearing black.Driven by insatiable desire for individual improvement, Chris Robshaw bettered Richie McCaw in all aspects over three games – getting over the ball at the breakdown, carrying, defensive work-rate. From his galloping burst in the opening minute of the series and throughout, he was a Harlequin possessed. At Forsyth Barr Stadium a week ago, Robshaw tallied 19 tackles and two turnovers – hitting 25 rucks along the way. Those are statistics of a world-class openside, as if he needs to justify himself to anyone any more.Heart of the matter: Chris Robshaw was in the thick of things for EnglandThree contrasting gemsIt was harder to pick positives from the rubble of Saturday’s reverse – Auckland and Dunedin offered longer periods of encouragement. Still, three men showed themselves to be important parts of the 2015 jigsaw. Youngs shook off indifferent form to spark everything good about England’s evening with a series of fine snipes and harrying defence. Scrum-halves often need a second wind to inject their career with impetus. He and Danny Care are an excellent 80-minute combination to go forward with.Marland Yarde’s defensive uncertainty will ease and is not damaging enough to ignore some serious potency as a runner. His predatory try this weekend was a fourth in five Tests. Finally, Kieran Brookes looks hugely exciting. In 28 minutes on the field this series, he won three scrum penalties. That’s an eye-catching strike-rate, and one that means England have their third tighthead prop to develop behind Dan Cole and David Wilson. All roads lead to TwickenhamNew Zealand’s trip to Twickenham in November not only makes it five meetings between them and England in a calendar year; it marks the start of a momentous month for Lancaster’s team. In subsequent weeks, they face South Africa, Samoa and Australia at a venue from which they will mount an offensive on a World Cup. Three wins is a bare minimum. Refreshingly, those standards are very attainable too. read more

Reaction: Rugby world mourns Jonah Lomu

first_imgOf course, if you want to relive some of the best Jonah moments, here is a video of the great man scoring all of his World Cup tries, and below is a Podcast Rugby World recently did, looking back on the majesty of the 1995 World Cup and Jonah’s role in it. TAGS: Highlight Of course, Lomu inspired a generation of players, not only in New Zealand but worldwide. Here is a selection of recognisable names remembering the ‘big man’. Really awful news to wake up to this morning. Jonah was rugby’s first real superstar. Thoughts are with his family.— Brian O’Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) November 18, 2015 To subscribe to Rugby World magazine, check out our latest offers here. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSSkip AdAds by center_img The rugby world was saddened to hear of the sudden death of All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu, in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The imposing winger first crashed onto the global scene at the dawn of professional rugby, at the 1995 World Cup and is hailed as the man who changed the face of rugby forever.Lomu had been diagnosed with a serious kidney condition, nephrotic syndrome by 1996 and had a kidney transplant in 2004. However the organ stopped functioning in 2011 and he had been relying on dialysis ever since.No cause of death has been put forward, but family spokesman and ex-All Black doctor John Mayhew told television stations in New Zealand that Lomu’s death was “totally unexpected” after he and his family arrived back from the UK and the Rugby World Cup on Tuesday.He is survived by wife Nadene who said in a statmeent today: “It is with great sadness that I must announce my dear husband Jonah Lomu died (overnight).“This is a devastating loss for our family and may I ask that our privacy, especially the privacy of our two very young boys, be respected as we take them through this traumatic time.”Since then tributes have been pouring in. NZRFU chief executive Steve Tew said: “Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world.”Former team-mates like Sean Fitzpatrick and Tana Umaga expressed condolences and shock. As did former opponents like Will Carling, Jonny Wilkinson, Joel Stransky, and Christophe Dominici. Remembering a legend: Jonah Lomu in heyday of 1995 Deeply saddened to hear of @JONAHTALILOMU passing. Rugby’s first true global icon/legend. A true gentleman & nice guy! #RIPJonah— Joel Stransky (@stranners) November 18, 2015last_img read more

How to get strong for rugby – fast!

first_img This article outlines a fool-proof way for any rugby player to attain that base-level strength quicker than ever before…Strength is not the Holy Grail for optimising performance but it is really important to understand where strength sits as a key performance indicator as basic physics tells us we need to be able to produce force to use force. Being strong allows front row forwards to scrummage as hard as they can every time they pack down. Being strong allows a centre to power their way through contact in close quarters situations. Being strong allows a winger to accelerate onto the ball at blistering pace. It is a fundamental trait which enables higher physiological qualities to be developed.So how do we get there?Let me introduce you to a concept of training called eccentric training. Eccentric training is the most time efficient way to build strength. As a rugby player or strength and conditioning coach trying to build your athletes’ ability to express power on the field, this is the place to start.So why is eccentric training so important?Every dynamic movement begins with an eccentric muscle action. An example of this could be anytime someone tries to jump in the air. As the athlete dips to generate force to propel themselves in the air this causes eccentric stress. This preloading mechanism puts the muscles in motion to create explosive dynamic movements. This is a product of the stretch shortening cycle. In short, the stretch shortening cycle consists of three phases; eccentric (stretching, pre-loading), isometric (force conversion), concentric (shortening, force expression).Building strength: Lots of Test teams now use resistance bands to improve accelerationAn easy way to visualise this is by imagining you have an elastic band in your hand. When you pull that elastic band you create the eccentric stress, the harder you pull it the more force it creates when you let it go. In short, that is the stretch shortening cycle. Therefore, the eccentric portion to any movement is the starting point and where a majority of our force production capabilities come from. This highlights the importance of emphasising this portion of a movement in training.How do I train the eccentric portion of the movement? Strength isn’t the only physiological quality you need to possess to be a successful rugby player but it is a crucial base from which all performance is built Strength is key: Dan Carter works on his power during the World Cup Bret Peterson and Cal Dietz (authors of Triphasic Training) advise that you train the movement as a whole emphasising the eccentric phase. Training the eccentric portion of the movement can be done in multiple ways but the safest way I have found is using submaximal loads (60-85% of 1RM) to do this. The method requires the athlete to lower the weight for five seconds and then accelerate the bar as hard as possible. This can be done for multiple reps…See an example below:This video was at a peak week of an accommodating resistance training cycle. As you can see you can get some serious load on the bar.If you could spend more time developing speed, power, conditioning and your skills, will you choose eccentric training to boost your strength?center_img LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Sam Portland is a Professional Strength and Conditioning Coach who consults via Sportland Training and Fitness. Sam has worked with Wasps Rugby, Rosslyn Park & Brunel University and currently works track and field and semi-pro rugbyFollow Sam on Twitter @SPORTLAND_TNFlast_img read more

France: Top 14 Rugby Schedule on TV5MONDE

first_imgFri 17th June 201619.45 (GMT)TOP 14 – semi-final in Rennes Sat 18th June 201619.45 (GMT)TOP 14 – semi-final in Rennes Friday 24 June 201619:45 (GMT)TOP 14 – Final atCamp Nou Barcelona Clash of the titans: Clermont will take on Racing 92 in the first Top 14 semi-final After the games, you can settle in for an in-depth discussion on all aspects of the French league tune into the weekly rugby news programme Jour de rugby on TV5MONDE Sundays at 10am (in French no subtitles sorry so brush off that GCSE grade Franglais!)Heavyweight battle: Toulon will face the South African-influence Montpellier tomorrow nightIf a bit of rugby à la Française has whetted your appetite for all things French then have a look at TV5MONDE’s prime time daily films, drama or entertainment every evening at 8pm – all with English subtitles for everyone to enjoy. In May enjoy a Cannes film festival special with award-winning films from past festivals plus live footage and interviews with stars at the festival shown all month long. Go to for listings and more.center_img Watch the French Top 14 LIVE with TV5MONDE free to standard Sky and Virgin viewers Hosting the world’s biggest stars like Dan Carter, Bryan Habana and Quade Cooper, the Top 14 is, arguably, Europe’s Premier rugby competition and with weeks to go, it’s edging towards a thrilling denouement, with sides like Clermont Auvergne, Montpellier, Toulon and Racing 92 duking it out in the semi-finals this weekend to get the chance to lift the prestigious Bouclier de Brennus at the Nou Camp.If you don’t want to miss any of the action, fear not, as TV5MONDE – the international French-language TV Channel has it covered. It’s showing the semi-finals live, available on Sky 796 and Virgin 825 and Télé (part of standard packages – with no add-ons required!) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

Champions Cup: Stars of Round One

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Champions Cup rugby was back with a bang this past weekend and though it was tinged with huge sorrow at the tragic loss of a person so dear to the rugby community, it delivered a fitting farewell to Anthony Foley, a who gave so much of himself to the European competition.There were tries galore in the Champions Cup, moments of great skill throughout and a fair number of dramatic finishes, as the competition came alive to fill northern hemisphere fans with optimism ahead of the arrival of the southern hemisphere sides next month.We take a look at some of the most impressive performers from the opening round of the tournament.Jonny Gray, Glasgow WarriorsThe 22-year-old lock was at the heart and centre of Glasgow’s remarkable 42-13 victory over Leicester Tigers at Scotstoun on Friday night. The Warriors dominated Leicester physically from start to finish, breaking the gain-line at will, proving a wall of steel in defence and showing brutal efficiency at the breakdown, with Gray pivotal in particular to those last two areas.Wise beyond his year: Jonny Gray put in another talismanic performance against Leicester TigersTaking charge of all forward-related matters with the referee, Gray looked every inch a future captain of Scotland in a composed and domineering outing. If he wasn’t already on Warren Gatland’s mind – he probably was – then he certainly is now and the Kiwi’s selection dilemmas at lock continue to intensify.Louis Picamoles, Northampton SaintsA lot gets made of the lack of French players at Montpellier and Louis Picamoles gave Jake White a memorable reminder as to what French players can bring to the mix. The No 8 was the perfect combination of physical grit, relentless determination and Gallic flair, as he rampaged through the Montpellier defence on more than one occasion.Powering on: Louis PIcamoles has been a big hit at Franklin’s GardensHis tackle-breaking and offloads, not to mention his 102 metres with ball in hand, led Saints to a priceless win at Franklin’s Gardens and it was a showing made all the more special for the Frenchman by the fact it was against his first professional club.Joey Carbery, LeinsterThe New Zealand-born fly-half looked at home at the highest level of European rugby, as he shone in his Champions Cup debut against Castres. The former Ireland U20 player showed no signs of nervousness as he guided Leinster to a comfortable 33-15 victory at RDS.Too hot to handle: Joey Carbery is emerging as an exciting talent at LeinsterHis effectiveness at attacking the gain-line as a carrier brought plenty of success and allowed Leinster to hurt the retreating Castres defence. Probably the biggest compliment you can pay Carbery is that Leinster didn’t miss Jonathan Sexton at all on Saturday. The first round of the Champions Cup brought showcased talent from all over Europe. Here are seven players who caught the eye There were plenty of candidates from Clermont’s impressive back line but the sheer work rate of Bardy was exceptional on Sunday afternoon and played just as pivotal a role in his side’s victory over Exeter Chiefs as any of the more eye-catching attacking players did.Showing his class: Julian Bardy had a classy game against Exeter ChiefsBardy led the game with 25 tackles and his eight carries were more than any Clermont forward not named Fritz Lee, whilst his desire to get from breakdown to breakdown was tiring just to watch. The Portuguese flanker is one of the globally unsung heroes of the Auvergne but if they have their intentions set on lifting the Champions Cup this season, Bardy will be instrumental in that goal. Owen Farrell, SaracensAnother fly-half who excelled, Owen Farrell was imperious in his first game back from injury, directing Saracens to a very impressive 31-23 victory over Toulon at Stade Mayol, a stadium which has been an impregnable European fortress for the French side in recent years.Passing time: Owen Farrell looks to set off the Sarries backlineFarrell lasted the full 80 minutes, consistently put runners through holes in the Toulon defence, kicked 16 points and compacted the width of Toulon’s attack with his blitz pressure on opposite number, François Trinh-Duc. The fly-half showed no signs of rust after his extended, injury-enforced offseason and his performance will have delighted Eddie Jones, even if the Australian is reluctant to give out too much public praise.James Davies, ScarletsThe Olympic silver medallist was a destructive breakdown force against Sale Sharks on Saturday night and did as much as he could to warrant consideration from Rob Howley for Wales’ squad for the November internationals.Cut above: James Davies played superbly against SaleWhether he was pilfering Sale’s ball, securing quick Scarlets ball for his brother and Scott Williams to work with or acting as a link man in the loose, Davies was on top form at Parc Y Scarlets. The Welsh region have a mountain to climb with Saracens and Toulon in their pool, but performances like this from Davies give them a puncher’s chance, at the least.Bundee Aki, ConnachtNot only was Aki the standout man in Galway on Saturday, he was one of the top two or three performers across the entire competition in the opening round. He was the archetypal dual-threat centre, keeping the Toulouse defence on their toes with his running and his distribution.Touchdown: Bundee Aki put in another strong performance against Toulouse for ConnachtThe Toulouse defenders struggled to keep Aki wrapped up and his offloads helped spark the Connacht attack and allowed the province to record a memorable comeback after a significant first half deficit. He wrought havoc for his province on the weekend and they will need him to maintain that form if they are to have a shot at the quarter-finals.Julien Bardy, Clermont Auvergnelast_img read more

The health benefits of wild seafood in a rugby player’s diet

first_imgThis piece is in association with Alaska Seafood. You can follow them on Twitter at @AlaskaSeafoodUK. Tasty: Alaskan Pollock and beetroot fishcakes (Markus Dell) Handful coriander chopped1 cm piece of ginger1 tsp. mild curry powder1 pinch chilli powder1 tsp. turmeric1 tsp. honeyPinch of saltFor the curry1 lemongrass stalks bashed with back of knife1 tbsp. coconut oil½ aubergine chopped into cubes400ml coconut milk1 yellow pepper chopped100g sugar snap peas150g plum tomatoes roughly choppedHandful Thai basil choppedMethod:Pre-heat your oven to 180oc.Place all the ingredients for the curry paste into a blender and blend until smooth.Heat a large deep saucepan over a medium heat and add 1tbsp of coconut oil. Spoon in the curry paste and cook for 1-2 minutes continually stirring. If the paste starts to brown remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Now add the coconut milk to the curry paste along with the chopped tomatoes, yellow pepper, aubergine and lemongrass, turn the heat down to low and continue to cook gently for 8-10 minutes.Place the pollock fillets onto a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Place into the oven and cook for 8 minutes. Once the pollock fillets are cooked remove from the oven and place each piece into a serving bowl.Gently ladle over the curry sauce and serve immediately. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.center_img Chef’s tip: For a high carb option, add rice. “Fish is great for reducing inflammation of joints and more,” Omar Meziane, chef with Harlequins and England, tells Rugby World. There are also reports that eating certain fish can lower blood pressure and potentially decrease the risk for heart disease.Including fish in the diet is simple. Canned Alaska salmon is perfect for quick and healthy pasta, sandwiches and wraps. Both fresh and frozen fillets of wild salmon, Alaska pollock and Pacific cod are great sources of protein to add to curries, soups and bakes for a more substantial meal. Smoked wild Alaska salmon, while slightly more decadent, is the ideal ingredient for impressive starters and brunches.Talking about the elite sports approach to consuming fish, Meziane adds: “We want the boys to be able to recover as quickly as possible, especially when the season is starting. Fish is a great choice. It’s a great way of trying to help them and aid their bodies as much as possible for peak performances.Meet the chef: Omar Meziane (pic via Alaska Seafood UK)“We have to consider carefully what they are eating, one of the recipes I put together is actually a kind of recovery meal which uses Alaska pollock and curry sauce. It’s also high in turmeric and ginger.”The health benefits of eating wild seafood are easy to discover, but the problem for a lot of keen athletes is building versatility into their diet during intense training weeks. Below, Meziane gives us a recipe for roasted Alaska pollock with yellow curry sauce.Want a bit more inspiration? You can visit Alaska Seafood’s recipe site here why not check out @AlaskaSeafoodUK on Twitter.Delicious dish: The Alaskan Pollock Yellow Curry (Markus Dell)Roasted Alaska Pollock with Yellow Curry SauceServes 2Another curry, but this time with Alaska pollock. The medley of spices I have infused together act as an anti-inflammatory, which helps for post-training or match recovery.Curries go down really well with the team – and this one is a particular favourite of Danny Care.Ingredients:2 fillets of Alaska pollock 160g-180gSea saltWhite ground pepperFor the curry paste1 shallot finely chopped1 lemongrass stalk peeled and chopped2 red chillies chopped2 garlic cloves chopped Bootcamp: Elite sports chef Omar Meziane talks us through the boost you can get with wild seafood. This is a sponsored feature. last_img read more