Tour Assistant Places Available – British & Irish Lions Tour

Tour Assistants in New Zealand – The British & Irish Lions Tour 2017
LWTL Sports are looking for a handful of conscientious, hardworking school leavers or undergraduates to assist our experienced team in New Zealand for the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour. For the right person this is a fantastic opportunity to see New Zealand and understand how the Sports Travel world works. The right candidate must have an anything is possible attitude and whilst a passion for rugby is not a pre-requisite it would be beneficial!

 
FAQs: How do I get the job?
– Be available to work between 20 June and 11 July 2017
– If so, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lwtlsports
– Follow us on Twitter @lwtlsports
– Keep an eye out for updates and be ready to apply soon
– We will then meet the best candidates and soon afterwards, make appointments.
 
Living With The Lions Sports Travel are an official sub agent for the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand 2017.

 

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10 Christmas Wishes

Christmas Wishes.

It’s that time of year when everyone starts to wish for something a little better for the new Year and beyond. This is probably especially the case after a year of popularity contests that have left many confused. So without any fanfare please see below the ten things Sports Fans want for Christmas and throughout next year.
 
1. When pictured together that all top sporting administrators stop looking like that they have just enjoyed an expensive lunch together congratulating one another on another successful decision.
 
2. Sam Allardyce doesn’t get another job until at least season 2017-18. However sorry he is and however many times he tells the tabloids he’s ready for the right job.
 
3. Brian Moore, Piers Morgan and The Real Donald Trump form a celebrity front-row in a push off with a scrum machine in a muddy field near Runcorn.
 
4. Cricket commentators and the public stop trying to second guess Alistair Cook and his next move. And basing it on the impossible job of leading a team in India with limited spinners and an attacking batting line up without mentioning the selectors. Fraser, Whittaker, anyone….?
 
5. The honours system for sports people is seriously looked at and they don’t award things to people who are still competing and likely to fall foul of some investigation or other. See Sirs Brailsford, Wiggins for a start…
 
6. Governing bodies look at a weather forecast and historical data before awarding major events to places that are patently unsuitable. The ongoing debate is boring and easily avoided. Winter where it snows.
 
7. The British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand is a resounding success for all and the players emerge unscathed and, following a length of the field try by Stuart Hogg, victorious in the series 2 -1.
 
8. The Australian cricket team ‘beat’ their lowest total ever when they are bowled out for 24 by England on Boxing Day at the ‘G’.
 
9. Charlotte Dujardin decides to bring Valegro out of retirement for one final ride and at the end of the gymkhana Charlotte removes her hat and peels back a mask to reveal that she is in fact Vladimir Putin.
 
10. Maddie Hinch turns up in the office and proposes to me. We travel to the nearest hockey pitch where she lets me whack hockey balls at her for a whole day. I gratefully decline the proposal but we have a drink together to celebrate everything that is great about sport.
 
Happy Christmas from all at Living With the Lions. May all your wishes come true next year.

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Official Ashes Travel Packages ON SALE!

 
Living With The Lions Sports Travel are pleased to release our tours for the forthcoming Ashes Series 2017/18. We have a selection of tours taking in 1, 2 & 3 Tests. Please click the below links to our website to see full details of each tour.
 
LEADING EDGE TOUR
YORKER TOUR
FLIPPER TOUR
JAFFA TOUR
TAILENDER TOURS
 
Do not forget that we can tailor our packages to meet your requirements. Please do not hesitate to contact us today to discuss your Ashes Series 2017/18 package options.
 
We look forward to hearing from you.
Living With The Lions Sports Travel Team

01386 808600

 
Official Ashes Travel Packages ON SALE! aussiemapDATES

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Ashes History (1990-Present Day)

1990-91
Despite an apparently strong side, England’s first series of the nineties was their most shambolic – and there was some stiff competition for that miserable accolade. Like a fool and his money, England soon departed from some encouraging positions, giving as good as they got until their batting unexpectedly folded time and again. At Brisbane, a first-innings lead mutated into a ten-wicket defeat, but worse came at the MCG, where Bruce Reid wrecked them with 13 wickets. England lost six wickets for three runs, an astonishing collapse even by their standards. Reid took 27 in all in four Tests, while David Boon topscored with 530 series runs, as Australia , well led by Allan Border, took the Ashes on merit. Still, England weren’t helped by the injuries to Angus Fraser, Allan Lamb and Graham Gooch; nor by David Gower and John Morris’s escapade in a Tiger Moth. Gooch’s humourless reaction helped England’s laughing stock status soar and while they drew at Sydney and Adelaide , they nosedived again at Perth in the final Test, when Craig McDermott crushed them with 11 wickets.
Australia 3 England 0 Drawn 2
 

1993
Just two days in, Shane Warne’s first Ashes delivery claimed Mike Gatting and a whole new fan-base. Warne, then 23, later called his wonder ball at Old Trafford a fluke, but the damage to England’s already fragile psyche was done. He went on to take 34 wickets in all and with Tim May, Paul Reiffel and Merv Hughes the bowling unit was formidable; they didn’t even call in a replacement when their main strike bowler Craig McDermott flew home after twisting his bowel. Hughes shouldered the extra burden with a will that Wisden said “at times came close to heroism”. Then there were the batsmen – there was a century apiece for all of Australia’s top seven, with David Boon making three tons, while Ian Healy chipped in behind the stumps with 26 dismissals. With the series already lost, Mike Atherton replaced Graham Gooch as captain for the fifth Test and he led a relieved England to victory in his second match, the final Test at The Oval. It was their first win against Australia in 19 Tests, but – in what was to become an all-too-familiar theme – it was too little, too late.
Australia 4 England 1
 

1994-95
For Australia, a new captain in Mark Taylor but the same old winning brutality and they strolled to a 3-1 victory. It was no surprise: Craig McDermott and Shane Warne led a potent bowling attack, with Warne’s 8 for 71 wrapping up the Brisbane Test after Taylor, as was his wont, had declined to enforce the follow-on. Warne added a hat-trick in the second Test at Melbourne . England did win at Adelaide , much to everyone’s astonishment, but Perth was a much more familiar script, a 329-run defeat. This was also Gooch and Gatting’s swansong, an ignominous end to some impressive careers. They weren’t helped by a catalogue of injuries, including Alec Stewart’s broken finger, which deprived them of his and Mike Atherton’s opening partnership for much of the series, and the psychological blow of losing the strike bowler Devon Malcolm on the eve of the first Test. Yet once again Australia were simply too strong, as were even their Academy XIs, who beat England twice in some demoralizing warm-ups.
Australia 3 England 1 Drawn 1
 

1997
With the series just twenty overs old, there were eight wickets in the bag – and they were England’s. Were their fortunes turning at last? The pulsating four-day victory in that Test at Edgbaston, including a Nasser Hussain double-century, allowed a nation to believe. But Australia, with a superior bowling artillery and batting depth, soon turned those dreams to nightmares, bossing a rain-affected draw at Lord’s and digging deep to quickly rediscover their dominance. They levelled with a big win at Old Trafford, Steve Waugh striking an heroic ton in both innings, the second of which was a one-handed century; followed up with an innings win at Headingley, and then sealed the Ashes again with another thumping triumph at Trent Bridge. Their attacking flair in those victories showed just what made Australia world beaters and although England pulled off victory in the dead rubber at The Oval, with Phil Tufnell taking 11 for 93, the series scoreline flattered to deceive.
Australia 3 England 2
 

1998-99
Australia continued imperious, outclassing England in every department on their way to their sixth successive series win. Losing the toss five times didn’t help England , but class will out and it did. Only a last-day thunderstorm could save England from defeat at Brisbane , but they were blown away by an Australian hurricane at Perth inside three days. The Ashes were Australia ‘s in time for Christmas, but not without gifting England a hatful of wickets and needing Steve Waugh to rescue his side several times. Michael Slater was imperious with three second-innings centuries which set up unbeatable leads. Even the absence of Shane Warne, unavailable till the last Test, couldn’t halt Australia ‘s charge, and Stuart MacGill proved an able deputy, backed up by the 34-year-old Colin Miller. England ‘s only seasonal cheer came from Dean Headley, who spearheaded an amazing 12-run win at Melbourne – and Darren Gough, with a reverse-swinging hat-trick in Sydney – but otherwise they were turkeys. Australia were handed for the first time a crystal replica of the Ashes urn, but if they had gazed into the future they mightn’t have liked what was (eventually) to come.
Australia 3 England 1 Drawn 1
 

2001
“We can open up some old scars,” threatened Steve Waugh before the series. His Australians were favourites once more, but England believed they had a chance, following four wins and a draw in their last five series. Alas, the crest of England’s wave was like one lapping at the beach – Australia’s force was more tidal and they swept to their seventh successive Ashes victory in 11 days. Australia very nearly secured a whitewash, the only blip on that horizon a generous declaration at Headingley and the best performance of Mark Butcher’s career. Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, who shared 63 wickets in the series, and the revolutionary arrival of Adam Gilchrist as a rampaging counterattacking No. 7 – note his whirlwind 152 at Edgbaston and 90 at Lord’s – did for England . The scars weren’t just inflicted by Australia : injuries to the batsmen Thorpe, Hussain and Vaughan and to the left-arm spinner Giles didn’t help. But one man wasn’t going to let injury affect him. Well, he was Australian. Despite tearing his calf muscle at Trent Bridge, Steve Waugh came back for the fifth Test at The Oval, his final appearance on English soil, and this Waugh hero hobbled on one leg to a bloody-mindedly brilliant 157 not out.
Australia 4 England 1
 

2002-03
The series was lost before a ball had been bowled. A defensive Nasser Hussain chose to field at Brisbane: backfired was an understatement: Australia were 364 for 2 by the close and an ill-balanced England, already shorn of Gough and Flintoff, never recovered. By the second Test the result of the series – eight Aussie wins on the spin – was already taken for granted and attentions turned to debating if this really was the best Australian side of all time. “In full flight, Australia’s cricketers were wondrous to behold,” Wisden noted, although these weren’t the sentiments shared by a despairing Stewart who announced this was the largest gap between the two sides he had known. An ill-tempered series was over in just 11 days, including being terrorized by Brett Lee on a Perth flyer. Two crumbs provided scant comfort – Vaughan proved cool and collected (his 633 runs earning him the Man of the Series award) a cruising victory in the fifth Test at Sydney, albeit a dead rubber. Caddick, in his final Test, took 10 wickets, and England were given a glimpse of a brighter future, however distant it may have seemed.
Australia 4 England 1
 

2005
After 16 years of effortless Australian dominance, England finally regained the Ashes in one of the most thrilling series of all time. At Lord’s in late-July, 17 wickets tumbled on a frenzied first day, but Australia emerged triumphant with a 239-run win. Ten days later at Edgbaston, however, McGrath trod on a stray cricket ball and the course of the summer had irrevocably changed. A thrilling match ensued, in which Flintoff and Warne emerged as the two kingpin performers. England won at the last gasp, by 2 runs, and carried their momentum onto Old Trafford , where 10,000 fans were turned away on the final morning as secured a draw with their last pair at the crease. A Flintoff century at Trent Bridge put England firmly on top, but Lee and Warne refused to give up the ghost, combining superbly as England lost seven wickets in their pursuit of 129. The win, however, meant that England needed only avoid defeat at The Oval. That didn’t seem entirely likely as they slumped to 126 for 5 before lunch on the final day, but Kevin Pietersen cracked a blistering maiden Test century to put the result beyond doubt. Cue scenes of jubilation across a captivated nation.
England 2 Australia 1 Drawn 2
 

2006-07
Eighteen months on from the glory of 2005, England’s cricketers were put emphatically back in their place, as Australia’s ageing greats rallied for a curtain-call that doubled as a burial shroud for their battered opponents. England were routed 5-0, the first whitewash in Ashes cricket since 1920-21, as Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath put personal seals on more than a decade of Aussie hegemony. Justin Langer and Damien Martyn called time on their careers as well, after destroying an England team shorn of the leadership of Michael Vaughan. The decisive Test was the second at Adelaide, a match that is sure to rank as one of England’s most painful of all time. A double-century for Paul Collingwood and 158 from Kevin Pietersen allowed England to declare on 551 for 6, whereupon seven back-breaking wickets from Matthew Hoggard secured a slender first-innings lead of 38. A draw, at the very least, was ensured. But then England crumbled to 129 on the final morning, and as Australia danced to an incredible eight-wicket win, the fire was extinguished in the bellies of Andrew Flintoff’s men.
Australia 5 England 0
 

2009
After a slew of retirements, it was a new-look Australian side that travelled to England hoping to defend the Ashes. Inspired by the nailbiting draw in the first Test at Cardiff, England took the edge in a see-sawing series despite scoring fewer hundreds and taking fewer wickets than their Australian counterparts. Andrew Strauss seized the momentum with a rousing 161 on the first day at Lord’s before a triumphant Andrew Flintoff bowled England to their first Ashes win at HQ for 75 years to enhance his burgeoning mythical status in his final Test series. After a rain-ruined draw at Edgbaston Australia fought back in devastating fashion, as Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson tore through the England line-up to level the series with a crushing innings win. Stuart Broad swung England into a strong position in the thrilling series finale at the Oval, and after Jonathan Trott’s chanceless hundred on debut Australia were set a mountainous 546. A draw would have been sufficient for the Australians to retain the urn, but in the midst of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey’s partnership it seemed a record run chase was not impossible. Enter Flintoff. His perfectly-scripted run out of the Australian captain set up a series victory for England and sealed his own place in English cricket lore.
England 2 Australia 1 Drawn 2
 

2010-11
England set off on a mission to win in Australia for the first time since 1986-87 and ruthlessly put their plans into action in Andy Flower-approved style. Alastair Cook led the way with 766 runs – the most by an England player in an Ashes series since Wally Hammond in 1928-29 – while James Anderson’s 24 wickets proved a point in a country that had previously been less than hospitable. The series was Ricky Ponting’s last as Test captain and defeat made him the first Australian leader to lose three Ashes series since 1890. England recorded three innings victories, although this was not a complete steamrollering: in Brisbane, Peter Siddle’s hat-trick and tons for Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin gave Australia a 221-run first-innings advantage, requiring Cook to lay his first marker with an unbeaten 235 in England’s 517 for 1; in Perth, England were thoroughly Mitchell Johnson-ed, the left-armer claiming nine wickets to go with a half-century in a heavy defeat. That left the teams level with two to play, after England had exorcised the ghost of Adelaide – Cook made another ton and Kevin Pietersen 227 as Australia’s bowlers managed only five wickets in the match. On Boxing Day, England landed punishing blows, Australia dismissed for 98 before tea. The Ashes retained, England celebrated at the MCG with a demonstration of the sprinkler dance but the dousing was not quite complete. In Sydney, England finally ended their barren run down under, Cook’s 189 capping a Man of the Series performance and leaving a demoralised Australia to contemplate how greatly their cricket had slumped.
England 3 Australia 1 Drawn 1
 

2013
England secured a third straight home Ashes victory, retaining the urn with a rain-assisted draw at Old Trafford then claiming the series with a Stuart Broad-inspired dismantling of Australia’s second innings at Chester-le-Street. However, as Alastair Cook held the prize aloft at The Oval the success was not being acclaimed with quite the joy of previous years. There was a feeling that England had ground their way to the Ashes – with a lose-at-no-cost mindset removing enjoyment from their cricket – although there had been few complaints earlier in the series when they were 2-0 up after Lord’s. The series began with a thriller at Trent Bridge, full of so many wonderful tales that it was almost overflowing: Ashton Agar made 98 on debut at No. 11 in a last-wicket stand of 163 with Phillip Hughes, James Anderson bowled his guts out, Ian Bell made the first of three masterful hundreds, Stuart Broad nicked one and refused to walk, then Anderson bowled his guts out again – ultimately claiming the final wicket with Australia 14 runs short. Lord’s was hugely one-sided as Australia imploded in their first innings, but at Old Trafford came the first signs of a shift as Darren Lehmann’s reinvention started to take hold. Michael Clarke made 187 before Pietersen, with what would become his final Test hundred, helped England edge past the follow-on. Australia threw everything at trying to beat the weather but in the end England celebrated amid damp, dank scenes in Manchester. Durham was an ebb-and-flow Test until Broad summoned a destructive burst on the fourth afternoon after Bell’s third hundred of the series. At The Oval, Australia dominated although, having dangled the carrot on the final day, would probably have lost the series 4-0 if it had not been for bad light.
England 3, Australia 0, Drawn 2
 

2013-14
Less than three months later, the teams were at it again. And the feeling the momentum had started to shift by the end of the series in England soon had supporting evidence. England competed during – and even shaded – the opening day at the Gabba as Broad, seemingly the most hated man in Australia, responded with five wickets on the first day of the series. From there, however, it was one-way traffic. Mitchell Johnson, who did not play the preceding series, began one of the most emphatic resurrections in the history of the game and ended with an eye-watering 37 wickets. Blistering spells in both innings in Brisbane earned him nine in the match and England would never recover. Following the first Test, Jonathan Trott left the tour with a stress-related illness and the England side would continue to fragment. In Adelaide, hundreds from Clarke and Brad Haddin set up Australia before Johnson bowled the speed of light to claimed 7 for 40 – the contrast with four years previous was absolute. At the WACA, it was another surgical performance to regain the Ashes although England did have a glimmer for the future as Ben Stokes defied Australia with a magnificent maiden hundred in the most demanding of conditions. Still, the hold Australia had was so strong that even when they were under pressure they would find a way out. A trend of the series was how often England managed to remove Australia’s top five in reasonably swift fashion only to be thwarted by the lower order. Melbourne was a prime example, with England having built a lead of 116 with all ten second-innings remaining only in the blink-of-an-eye to be on the end of an eight-wicket mauling. Sydney was a three-day party for Australia and a final white-flag surrender from England who did not have a single batsman pass fifty. A second whitewash in seven years.
Australia 5, England 0

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The History of the Six Nations

The Six Nations Championship is the oldest rugby championship in the world, dating back to 1882. Originally held between the four United Kingdom countries England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, France joined in 1910 and Italy joined in 2000.

 
The RBS 6 Nations Championship is contested each season over seven weekends during February, March and sometimes April by the international sides of France, England, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
 
Each team plays the other five once per season with home advantage in alternate seasons (eg England hosted France in 2003, and so France host England in 2004), giving a total of 15 matches per Championship.
 
The RBS 6 Nations Championship Trophy is presented to the team who earn the most points during the season, with 2 points being awarded for a win, and 1 point for a drawn match.
 
If two or more teams finish the Championship with the same number points, the winner is decided on match-points difference (subtracting match-points ‘against’ from match-points ‘for’ in all Championship matches). If there is still no winner, then it is awarded to the team who scored the most tries during the Championship.
 
If after all this a winner still cannot be decided then the Championship is shared between the teams.
 
If in winning the Championship a team also wins all of their five matches, they are given the title of ‘Grand Slam’ winner.
 
There is also the title of ‘Triple Crown’ competed for each season, which is awarded if a team from the 4 Home Unions (England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) beats each of the other 3 Home Unions.
 
When the English rugby team travelled to Swansea on a dreary day in 1882, few could have realised the importance of the occasion. The game, in which England beat Wales by two goals and four tries to none, sparked a festival of rugby that has since become the pride of the northern hemisphere. Known in the early days as the International Championship – with only England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland competing – it was far less organised than the modern tournament.
 
There was no points system, for example. Instead, teams were judged simply on whether they won or lost.
 
Before the turn of the century the Championship was marred by disputes and three times (in 1885, 1887 and 1889) it could not be completed. Indeed, even after 1900, it continued to be a source of controversy.
 
England and Scotland were the most successful teams in the early days, but by the mid-1890s the Welsh had developed an impressive side and a new system that would alter the face of the game.
This “four three-quarter” system came into its own in 1893 when Wales became champions for the first time, winning rugby’s “invisible trophy”, the Triple Crown – beating all three other home nations.
 
Their success showed the other Home Union sides that the six backs/nine forwards game would no longer be effective against the Welsh system and four threequarters became the norm at national and club level.
 
By 1900 all of the four Home teams had found success at a game that was rapidly growing in popularity.
 
In the first decade of the 20th century, Wales were the team to beat. Unbeaten at home between 1900 and 1913, they won six outright titles before England staged a revival that coincided with the 1910 opening of the RFU’s new home at Twickenham. The very first international at Twickenham brought England success over Wales, and heralded a golden era for English rugby.
 
Four becomes five
 
France did not join the fray until 1910 and, despite their later dominance, they struggled at first to achieve any notable success. They did however, coin the phrase ‘five nations’. In their first four years of entry, the French won just one game – a one point victory over Scotland in 1911.
 
The outbreak of war in 1914 saw the tournament put on hold until 1920 and the inter-war years were dominated by England as they swept to nine championship victories, including five Grand Slams.
 
Scotland collected their first Grand Slam in 1925 , with an emphatic win against England at Murrayfield. In 1926 , Scotland became the first Home Union side to defeat England at Twickenham after England had won the Grand Slam (winning the Triple Crown AND beating the French) five times in eight seasons.
 
France continued to struggle and in 1931 the inadequacies of the French game’s administration and the discovery that a number of their players had been paid at club level, forced them to pull out of the tournament. Due to this, the championship became an entirely domestic affair for eight years and France rejoined in 1939-40, with the outbreak of World War Two delaying their re-entry for a further eight years.
 
Rise of the French
War again meant the curtailment of the championship in 1940. But when it resumed in 1947 it marked the beginning of a new rugby order.
 
In the early post-war seasons, Ireland hit the front, taking three outright titles including consecutive Triple Crowns in 1948 and 1949.
 
France shared the title in 1954 and 1955 and the “Tricolores” won it outright in 1959, driven by stars such as the inspirational lock forward Lucien Mias, fullback Pierre Lacaze and flanker Francois Moncla. They were champions for four years in a row from 1959 to 1962 and in 1968 won their first Grand Slam.
 
The 1970’s brought mixed fortunes for both the Championship and the teams. In 1972 the tournament could not be completed after Scotland and Wales refused to play in Dublin because of the escalating political problems. And the following year the tournament finished with a unique five way tie – every country having won and lost two games.
 
Welsh domination
For Wales, however, the 1970s will be remembered as the golden era of Welsh rugby. They finished the decade with three Grand Slams and one Triple Crown and were led by legendary players such as fullback JPR Williams and scrum-half Gareth Edwards. The Welsh side were absolutely unstoppable. Only an outstanding French side prevented them from adding to the three Grand Slams achieved in this decade. England struggled throughout the 1970s and most of the following decade – their only relief being Bill Beaumont’s Grand Slam winning side of 1980. Instead, it was France who dominated, winning the title outright three times, including two Grand Slams in 1981 and 1987.
 
In 1984, Scotland won their first Grand Slam for 59 years and Ireland scooped the title 12 months later. They have not won it since.
 
England and France share the 90s
The dominance of England and France during the 1990’s brought criticism that the championship was not offering a high enough standard of competition. The response was to bring an end to the historic format by asking Italy to join in 2000.
 
In a Celtic revival 1999 saw Scotland take the championship and Wales finished third, having defeated both England and France and in 2000 and 2001, England claimed the tournament – but only after losing their final games against Scotland and Ireland respectively.
 
..and then there were six
Italy, meanwhile, started the newly christened Six Nations championship superbly in 2000, winning their opening game against Scotland in Rome, and in 2007 had their best tournament yet finishing forth with back to back wins against Scotland and Wales.
 
France then entered a purple patch winning in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2007 with only England in 2003 (their world cup winning year) and Wales in 2005 suceeding to break up what would have been a significant period of French domination. In fact in 2007 they only lost once, against England.
 
Wales put a poor world cup well and truly behind them by winning the grand slam in 2008 and not to be outdone Ireland won the grand slam in 2009 the first time since 1948. Wales hosted Ireland in Cardiff on the last round of play in 2009 with a Triple Crown on the line as well as knowing a 13-point win would be enough to retain their title. Drama ensued as with Ireland leading 17-15 at the death Welsh stand-off Stephen Jones missed a 50-metre penalty from halfway.
 
The 2010 Six Nations belonged to France as they won the Grand Slam for the first time since 2004. Les Blues were rarely untroubled opening up with an 18-9 win over Scotland before defeating Ireland 33-10, Wales 26-20 and Italy 46-20. France had already won the Championship going into their final game with England after Ireland lost their second game of the tournament to Scotland hours earlier. But despite being pushed by England, who scored the only try of the game, France came out on top 12-10 at the Stade de France to win the Grand Slam. Ireland’s 23-20 loss to Scotland in the final game of the campaign not only denied Ireland the Triple Crown but saw Italy receive the dreaded Wooden Spoon for the third year running.
 
The 2011 Six Nations could have brought England their first grand slam since 2003 but Ireland beat them convincingly in the penultimate game of the tournament leaving Wales a slim chance of taking the title if they had beat France by a wide margin in the final game later the same day. France, who had lost to Italy earlier in the competition, beat Wales, and England took the title, but the edge was taken off the win by the manner of the loss againt Ireland. Other notable events were Italy’s first win against France and Brian O’Driscoll moving ahead of Scotland’s Ian Smith (78 year old record) as the championship’s all-time leading try scorer with his 25th tournament touchdown early in the second half.
 
The 2012 tournament was a tail of two teams, firstly how the favorites Wales completed the grand slam in style, their second in 5 years and the second for their Southern hemisphere manager Warren Gatland (a new record) then secondly how the England team was completely rebuilt into a competitive outfit by temporary manager Stuart Lancaster in a matter of months to come second and only losing to Wales by one score.
 
The 2013 tournament came down to the last game with England chasing a grand slam and Wales looking to win by an 8 point margin to take the championship. Wales did it in style in front of their home fans 30 – 3.
 
Brian O’Driscoll signed off his glittering international career with a second RBS 6 Nations crown in 2014 after Ireland held on to edge out France 22-20 in a thriller in the Stade de France in the last game of the tournament. For only the second time in 42 years, and in the same ground that saw the Ireland centre burst onto the scene with a hat-trick 14 previously, the men in green emerged from France with victory but they had to earn it the hard way with a final French try attempt being disallowed due to a forward pass judged by the TMO.
The 2015 tournament went to the last day with Ireland, England and Wales on six points with France on four. Wales were first up and they struck an ominous blow, not just moving to eight points but also boosting their points difference with a 61-20 triumph in Italy, George North grabbing a hat-trick. With a 20-point gap to bridge, Ireland did enough in Scotland – Paul O’Connell among the tries in his final RBS 6 Nations game as Joe Schmidt’s side won 40-10. Attentions then turned to Twickenham, where England needed to beat France by 26 points or more to deny Ireland back-to-back Championships. A high-octane encounter kept everyone entertained, with 12 tries in total, but a 55-35 win was not enough for the Red Rose and Ireland celebrated.
 
In 2016, England had secured the championship in their penultimate game against Wales and in the final game of the tournament England were pushed all the way but eventually came through for a first Grand Slam since 2003 with a 31-21 win over France in Paris.

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Lions set for biggest pay-day in their history

The Lions stand to make as much as £80,000-a-man in New Zealand next year if they beat the All Blacks for the first time since 1971.
 
They will be the highest paid Lions squad of the professional era irrespective of the three Test matches and the collective bonus for winning the series, a feat achieved only once in more than 100 years. The All Blacks issued another reminder yesterday that the challenge next year will be as daunting an ever, sweeping Argentina away on a torrent of eight tries for a 13th straight win.
 
As proof that there’s no business like Lions’ business, fees have more than doubled since the last expedition to New Zealand under Sir Clive Woodward in 2005 when the tourists suffered a catastrophic beating in all three Tests.
 
The Lions paid their players £22,000-a-man for that trip. Since then the tour fee has soared and kept on soaring – to £38,000 in South Africa in 2009, then £50,000 in Australia three years ago, an increase of 30 per cent.
 
A similar hike would take the flat fee next year to £65,000. It may not climb that high given the need to strike a balance between the basic amount and the bonus for emulating the achievement of the ’71 team captained by John Dawes and coached by the late Carwyn James.
 
In Australia in 2013, the Lions would have hit a jackpot of more than £2m had they won all ten matches. For the toughest tour of all next year, against the World Cup holders and all five Super Rugby franchises, bonus payments will almost certainly be restricted to the three Tests.
 
They will be worth another £20,000-per-player at least, raising the potential reward towards £80,000 if not more for what has always been the ultimate challenge. Negotiations will open soon between Lions’ chief executive John Feehan and the players’ union headed by former England centre Damian Hopley.
 
Fran Cotton, the only Englishman to feature on winning Lions tours as player and manager, spoke out in The Rugby Paper last week against the ‘crazy’ schedule of a tour starting seven days after the end of the domestic season.
 
“I think the Lions share Fran’s frustrations as far as the schedule is concerned,’’ said tour manager John Spencer. “We have what we have. We have to make do with it.
 
“The Lions is such a huge brand, so important to those who represent the Lions and so important to the opposition that players delay retirement so they can play against the Lions.
 
“It needs to be given a schedule which allows for a good period of preparation.
 
“I hope the Lions tour will be taken into consideration in discussions over the global season.”

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Andrew Trimble prank calls Paddy Jackson’s dad – VIDEO

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LWTL Schools Department Summer Tours – Testimonials

RODDY DEANS, Merchiston Castle Rugby Tour to New Zealand, July/August 2016

LWTL Schools Department Summer Tours - Testimonials quote4Our tour to New Zealand was one in which the squad enjoyed immensely and this is in no small part down to the excellent organisational skills of the people at Living With The Lions.
 

SIMON VINCENT, Tour Leader, Bryanston School Rugby Tour to Canada – July 2016

LWTL Schools Department Summer Tours - Testimonials quote4We all had a great tour and thoroughly enjoyed all the activities laid on. As it turned out there was a nice pace to the tour and the break at the Eco lodge came at a great time. Particularly good from the boys’ point of view were the training sessions at the Molson Stadium and the Tim Horton Stadium, which made a real impact.
 

JAMES WINDEATT, Hull Collegiate School, Sri Lanka Tour July 2016.

LWTL Schools Department Summer Tours - Testimonials quote4This has to go down as the best Sports Tour that the school has ran; not only were fixtures competitive across the board in the five sports that were played, but the life experiences and memories that will remain with the 47 tourists and five members of staff were worth every penny spent. The highlights for the pupils were the Elephant Orphanage, Turtle Sanctuary – especially releasing some babies back into the ocean and the Rainbow Centre.” – James Windeatt – Hull Collegiate School, Sri Lanka Tour July 2016.
 

JACKIE ATKINSON – Hockey & Netball tour to Sri Lanka, July 2016

LWTL Schools Department Summer Tours - Testimonials quote4LWTL provided a first class professional service for our 2016 hockey and netball tour to Sri Lanka. Communication was clear and punctual ensuring that we remained on top of all the pre tour administration. The ground agents in Sri Lanka were excellent and support when a player was injured was first class. A varied and interesting itinerary was tailored to our requirements with first class accommodation at a very competitive price. A great tour reflecting the attention to detail that LWTL are prepared to offer.
 

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European Ryder Cup Team

The 12 players who will aim to retain the Ryder Cup for Europe

Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland)
Age 27 World ranking 5 Ryder Cups 3 (2010, 12, 14) This season’s earnings $2,700,835 Majors 4
Having once dismissed the Ryder Cup as “an exhibition” McIlroy has now been on the winning team in all three of his appearances. Won three points from five at Gleneagles in 2014, crucially beating Rickie Fowler in the singles. Has won six, lost four and halved four of his Ryder Cup matches
 
Danny Willett (England)
Age 28 World ranking 11 Ryder Cups rookie This season’s earnings $1,928,132 Majors 1
Willett became only the second Englishman to win the Masters this year and his third-place finish in the 2015 WGC Match Play stands him in good stead for Hazeltine. One of five rookies to automatically qualify, he started the year as the world No19 but climbed to No9 after Augusta
 
Henrik Stenson (Sweden)
Age 40 World ranking 4 Ryder Cups 3 (2006, 08, 14) This season’s earnings $3,365,923 Majors 1
Won all three of his matches alongside Justin Rose at Gleneagles and brings plenty of experience. Claimed his first major with the Open at Troon this year and a silver medal at the Olympic Games suggests he has maintained his form. Persistent back problem could be a worry
 
Chris Wood (England)
Age 28 World ranking 28 Ryder Cups rookie This season’s earnings $1,782,324 Majors 0
Wood won the BMW PGA Championship in May, which helped secure his place in the team. Having been forced to withdraw from this year’s Open with a neck injury, where he announced himself by finishing fifth as an amateur in 2008, the rookie will be eager to prove his worth at Hazeltine
 
Sergio García (Spain)
Age 36 World ranking 12 Ryder Cups 7 (1999, 2002, 04, 06, 08, 12, 14) This season’s earnings $3,155,365 Majors 0
A highly experienced competitor, the Spaniard was a vice-captain in the only recent match he missed, at Celtic Manor in 2010, and has won important matches throughout the course of his seven appearances. Won 2.5 points from four at Gleneagles, beating Jim Furyk in the singles
 
Rafael Cabrera–Bello (Spain)
Age 32 World ranking 27 Ryder Cups rookie This season’s earnings $1,111,553 Majors 0
Secured his spot with a highly consistent season which included runners-up spots in Dubai and Qatar and a series of top-five finishes.. Also managed 17th at the Masters, having finished third at the WGC-Dell Match Play. His only victory on the European Tour came in 2012
 
Justin Rose (England)
Age 36 World ranking 10 Ryder Cups 3 (2008, 12, 14) This season’s earnings $2,000,811 Majors 1
Won gold at the Olympics in Rio when beating his Gleneagles partner Stenson down the stretch and played all five matches in his last two events, making him a key member of the team. Only his fourth Ryder Cup appearance, he has a record of nine wins, three losses and two halves
 
Andy Sullivan (England)
Age 30 World ranking 42 Ryder Cups rookie This season’s earnings $925,625 Majors 0
A Walker Cup winner in 2011, Sullivan’s last tour win came in 2015, when he won the Portugal Masters by nine strokes from Chris Wood. Pushed McIlroy hard in the season-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai in 2015. Also finished second in Dubai but missed cut in final two qualifying events
 
Matt Fitzpatrick (England)
Age 21 World ranking 48 Ryder Cups rookie This season’s earnings $290,559 Majors 0
The 2013 Open silver medal winner and US Amateur champion won the Nordea Masters in June and has spent the longest time in the automatic positions after his first Tour title in October’s British Masters. Also fourth in DP World Tour Championship, secured his place with fifth in penultimate event
 
Martin Kaymer (Germany)
Age 31 World ranking 50 Ryder Cups 3 (2010, 12, 14) This season’s earnings $889,932 Majors 2
The wildcard pick secured the point that enabled Europe to retain the Ryder Cup at Medinah in 2012 with victory over Steve Stricker and has the 2014 Players Championship and US Open to his name, his last victories to date. Won four, halved three and lost three in his three appearances
 
Lee Westwood (England)
Age 43 World ranking 46 Ryder Cups 9 (1997, 99, 2002, 04, 06, 08, 10, 12, 14) This season’s earnings $380,333 Majors 0
The most experienced European player with nine consecutive Ryder Cup appearances, having made his debut at Valderrama in 1997. A second-place finish at the Masters and 14th on the world points list gave the captain Darren Clarke licence to pick his good friend as a wildcard
 
Thomas Pieters (Belgium)
Age 24 World ranking 41 Ryder Cups Rookie This season’s earnings $1,185,851 Majors 0
Finished just out of the medals in fourth at the Olympics, second in his defence of the Czech Masters and won the Made in Denmark title last Sunday. Big-hitting should be an advantage and Clarke played two rounds with him at the Danish event, with the Belgian shooting 62 and 71

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Employment Opportunity – Schools Department

The LWTL Schools team are enjoying a very successful year and are looking for experienced staff members to join the operations team in Conderton.

Candidates should:
– Demonstrate a high degree of accuracy in your work, have a commercial focus, and possess good creative skills in terms of building itineraries and making amendments once a tour is in place to keep it within budget or maintain the flow of the itinerary.

– Be able to manage their workload effectively, be well organised, flexible, determine priorities, act on their own initiative as well as being a strong team player and able to work longer hours if necessary.

– Have experience within travel and preferably within schools and/or sports travel.

You will receive:
– Competitive salary
– Plus participation in target driven annual bonus scheme

Click here to see more: http://www.livingwiththelions.co.uk/school-tours/careers/

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