A wonderful opportunity for the U15 boys to play on the main pitch of the Dubai Sevens against the Dubai Exiles, thank you for a great game and wonderful hospitality. LWTL School Tours.
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) co-captain, Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors) *, Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby), Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Michael Rhodes (Saracens), Nick Schonert (Worcester Warriors), Brad Shields (Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Elliott Stooke (Bath Rugby), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)
Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Nathan Earle (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens) co-captain, George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
Tough Challenge Ahead
As King Eddie has pointed out in his press conference, ‘we can only control what we can control and injuries have happened,’ so there is a chance for some new faces to make an impression for what is a pretty massive series of Test matches at HQ next month. New Zealand don’t visit very often, South Africa will be very keen to continue their fine development under Rassie Erasmus and Australia just hate the English on any sporting pitch. Plus, Japan will be the meat in the Tri-Nations sandwich. The Cherry Blossoms will be wanting to put on a good show and perhaps give their former coach a little reminder of what he is missing.
As predicted Dylan Hartley comes back in to the squad. He will share leadership duties with Owen Farrell. Ironically, the former offers a bit of stability in the squad which will hopefully allow the latter to get on with just playing exceptionally; as opposed to arguing tirelessly with everyone.
In the backs, Chris Ashton is back from exile, there still seems to be a spot for Richard Wigglesworth – which is strange. Perhaps if Dan Robson hadn’t have been injured he would have not have been picked. Joe Cokanasiga is rewarded for his early season form at Bath. Hopefully he’ll get a chance to show what he can do. We’d enjoy watching him run into a little Australian! It is good to have Manu back. He’ll hopefully stay fit for long enough to play his part. Remember November 2012? Those were the days. Otherwise there are few surprises in the inclusions department.
An England pack with both Vuniploas is a becoming a rare old thing. Billy is out for another 12 weeks with another broken arm. That’s his third if anyone is counting. Mako has damaged one of his calf muscles and is out for 6 weeks. With Nathan Hughes banned and the indomitable Chris Robshaw out so there is room for a new (old) face. Ben Morgan is back. He never really let anyone down in an England shirt so I hope he gets a start.
It’s time for Brad Shields to show what he can really do, Zach Mecer is as ready as he’ll ever be and Sam Undershill needs a run at 7 so expect a little interchanging with Tom Curry. As for the props? I simply have no idea. Kyle Sickler on one side. Then it is anyone’s guess. Joe Marler has left a big hole and have we seen the last of Dan Cole?
No room for the Cherry (and White) on the cake
A rugby column on the England Rugby team would not be the same if it didn’t mention Mr Cipriani. It seems like Eddie has joined the long list of coaches who have jettisoned the man from a squad. After his unfortunate pre-season fracas in Jersey it was always going to be tough to make a positive impression. In spite of his contribution on tour during the Summer. Clearly, a couple of beautiful passes, being named September player of the month and some match winning performances for his new club, Gloucester, were not enough.
The large pro-Danny squad seemed to have over looked the faults in his game. There was a touch of the selfish and poor decision making at Kingsholm last weekend against Castres, which probably made the decision easy. Next time throw the ball to the unmarked man, Danny. Your national coach is in the stand. Glaws coach and Bokke, Johann Ackermann will be pleased. Probably for two reasons.
There is only one place to go for that and that is to our Irish correspondent, David. He always has one eye on somewhere else other than the Aviva stadium and Leinster’s march towards European domination. Before that I think 2-2. A loss to SA and NZ and a win against Japan and the Aussies. Frankly, the improvement of the South Africans is pretty terrifying. If there was a spare rand flying about they would be my bet for the World Cup.
Anyway, to David from Belfast. It is bound to a good read.
“‘English rugby is certainly at a crossroads, the autumn internationals bring three massive tests with a resurgent South Africa, an Aussie squad needing some momentum and of course the soon to be number 2 nation in the world (once Ireland beat them) the All Blacks. At the moment I would say england are looking at 1 win out of 4 and it might be a scrape past Japan. With current injuries, England are left with back row options including our postman and LWTL’s own James Hallett. Tough times for English fans!”
See, I told you. The only thing he got wrong is that I can’t play. Broken metatarsal.
It can be easy to be England centric on these posts so in order to limit the accusation that we never talk about any of the other home nations we have news from Scotland. They have released their squad too. They have cast the net far and wide. It is not as bad as when Wales picked Shane Howarth because he had a goldfish that was born in Carmarthen but not far off ;). The Scots take on Wales, Fiji, South Africa and Argentina. They could win all 4. Whatever happens the match against Wales for Doddle Weir will be a special occasion.
All in all we hope for a good showing from all the home nations against Southern Hemisphere opposition. Afterall, there’s a World Cup next year.
LWTL’s newest recruit!
After an incredibly busy and successful summer at Living With The Lions, we delved into the transfer market on deadline day and we are delighted that Rob Dickson has joined us from Gullivers Sports Travel/Edwin Doran Sports Tours. Rob brings a wealth of experience having worked in the market place for 9 years and has travelled extensively worldwide. We caught up with Rob on his first day to find out why he chose to join our team.
“Having moved from a large corporate company, it’s great to be a part of a smaller business that puts customers first rather than worry about the bottom line and hitting targets. Living With The Lions has a fantastic name in the market place for all sports and I look forward to meeting our current customers and adding new groups to the LWTL family. It is clear that the relationship between the customers and our staff is incredibly tight knit and the experience our staff have in the team should not go unnoticed.”
LWTL provide a price guarantee policy, this means once you book your sports tour with us, we lock in all of the currency needed for your tour ensuring schools, staff and parents can confidently plan their tour budget.
Please contact us to get a quote for your next sports tour, and visit our testimonials to hear what UK schools are saying about their touring experience with LWTL.
TO CONTACT ROB: email email@example.com or call his mobile 07793 039545
RICK SELLERS, Bristol Grammar School, Rugby & Hockey Tour to Sri Lanka & Malaysia, July 2018
Carrie this was an excellent trip and I would like to thank you on behalf of the school and the 82 people that travelled for creating a busy, challenging, adventurous and life changing experience. I could not fault the level of care and attention that had been exercised to make the trip successful and I have no doubt that it will have enriched the lives of the students who were fortunate enough to be tour. Thank you- a perfect way for me to sign off.”.
JOHN CARPENTER – Lady Manners School Football Tour, Canada May 2018
A fantastic first tour with LWTL. All communication, right from the start of the process to the end, was timely and clear. Any question we asked was answered immediately and issues sorted out quickly. David was with us on tour and we cannot praise him enough – he was friendly, approachable and professional. He organised everything and made sure our tour went like clockwork. Nothing was too much trouble for him. I would thoroughly recommend LWTL and its staff to anyone interested in running a sports tour.”.
DAVE HARDY – Colchester Royal Grammar School. Cricket to St Lucia, March/April 2018
I just wanted to thank you and LWTL’s team and to let you know that we had a brilliant time in St Lucia, the boys gained such a lot in terms of cultural and sporting experiences and thoroughly enjoyed themselves on and off the field.”.
LEE GARCKA – Woodhey High School Football and Hockey tour to Spain, April 2018
We had a great trip. Pupils have come back absolutely buzzing. Thanks very much for all your help – I’ve been very impressed with LWTL in every aspect.” .
BRUCE RUSSELL – Fettes College, Cricket tour to Sri Lanka, March 2018
Absolutely excellent – again a memorable experience! Thanks!” .
MARK BARRINGTON – Cathedral School, Football, Rugby, Netball & Hockey tour to Belfast, March 2018
A very professional and supportive experience, all requests listened to and acted upon with plenty of local knowledge to give the pupils the most memorable experience. We will run this tour on annual basis. The itinerary was excellent” .
JAMES CLARK – Director of Sport, The Leys School Rugby Tour to Belfast – March 2018
David and Living With The Lions put together an outstanding UK based short tour package to Belfast which suited our every need. The matches were evenly matched, the activities were fun and educational and the renowned Irish hosting was at its brilliant best. I would strongly recommend this type of tour for both clubs and schools.” .
The England Team V South Africa
15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 20 caps)
14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 36 caps)
13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 12 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 60 caps) captain
11 Mike Brown (Harlequins, 71 caps)
10 Danny Cipriani (Wasps, 15 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 76 caps)
1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 58 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 27 caps)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 12 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 53 caps)
5 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 21 caps)
6 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, 65 caps)
7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 3 cap)
8 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 16 caps)
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)
17 Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs, 2 caps)
18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 10 caps)
19 Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 0 caps)
20 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 3 caps)
21 Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)
22 Ben Spencer (Saracens, 2 cap)
23 Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks, 4 caps)
Well, we’ve got it wrong all along so why not carry on in that vain. Cipriani finally gets a chance to impress so let’s say that England will regain a bit of credibility and win 19-11. The weather is destined to be a bit wet and windy plus the pitch is not as fast as the previous two. Thus, fewer points. If England don’t then the only thing this blog will have got right over the last couple of weeks is that there’ll be cries of ‘Sack Him’ and crisis for the days following the game. Please, for the sake of us all, England… WIN and win well.
A Quick Recap
What a First Test match that was. Even in times of hyperbole and meetings of the century this was a good one. England were as good as South Africa were bad in the first 21 minutes. South Africa reversed the roles soon after and the game got wilder and wilder by the minute before the Springboks ran out the deserved winner 42 – 39.
As an England rugby fan we all need to take the rough with the increasingly absent smooth. That is where a rugby tour comes in. To tour is not just a case of sitting around during the week and waiting for games to come around. There are places to explore, friendships to be made and almost certainly stories to be created – and told if you’re Mike Pyrgos, our stupendously well versed tour manager and all round fine bloke.
On The Bright Side
So, the result did not go our way and, nor could it be argued, did the performance merit anything else. It is also down to the press to point out all that is rubbish with our game. What about if we tried to find some plus points in the game? The last International team to score 39 or more points at Ellis Park? New Zealand in August 2000. They scored 40 points. The Springboks scored 46.
Johnny May! What a performance. He popped up everywhere, scored an individual try from the running rugby gods. Had a NZ wing scored that there would be rhapsodies from around the world and we’d all get terribly self-conscious. May’s try was at the end of the game proving that perhaps England had not wilted as much as has been reported. His pass to set up Mike Brown was also signs of a back line finally starting to get their head around creativity. And whisper it quietly responding to a new backs coach.
Those first 21 minutes. Their opponents may have been all over the place but we could argue that was because of the rugby being played by England. It was fast, dynamic and damn fine to watch. Nobody would have stood a chance. Maybe. Never mind that it fell to pieces and discipline became an issue – again. It’s something to be addressed and we all need to improve.
Rugby Tours & Excursions
As we all know rugby tours aren’t just about the rugby. A rugby tour to South Africa is certainly no different. After all, the game only last 80 minutes, the party may then continue into the night but what about the following 6 days. It’s no good to sit around and just wait for the rugby or to see Eddie Jones. There’s a country to explore.
Our clients had the chance to enjoy a safari in Hluhluwe, a couple of days in Durban. They travel up to the Drakensburg mountains and a tour of Rorkes Drift before heading to Bloemfontein for the second test and a certain victory. Surely, you can move on from a narrow defeat (and a wonderful game of rugby) with a spring in your step with so much to do on the horizon.
What’s next on tour?
The good thing about three test rugby tours is that there is the chance for the team to make amends quickly. England will make the changes required though expect them to be minimal. No real need, especially if we are going to focus on what went right.
Our clients for the second and third tests arrive on Thursday and they’ll be ready to support the England rugby team to a famous victory. The last test in Bloemfontein yielded 54 points as Australia and South Africa drew. In 2010 the same teams shared 80 points.
Aside from the rugby there’ll be the Garden route to travel and game drives to enjoy between the test matches plus a couple of nights in Knysna. And if you really must… a chance to visit the winelands of Stellenbosch.
See, so much to look forward to. Off and on the pitch. Happy Touring!
Both England and South African have named their teams to play one another in the first test in Johannesburg on June 9th. Our clients are all starting to arrive now and these are the line ups they’ll find on Saturday when they arrive at Ellis Park.
15. Elliot Daly
1. Mako Vunipola
|South Africa XV
15. Willie le Roux
1. Tendai Mtawarira
Joe Launchbury is out with a tight calf so Nick Isiekewe joins his club colleague in the 2nd row. Billy Vunipola returns to his position at No. 8 and Tom Curry stakes his claim to be the No 7. that England so desperately need. In other news Brad Shields is on the bench.
There’s no space for Danny Cipriani. David, our Irish domesday merchant has already exclaimed England will lose as a result. Having said that he’s distracted. He’s heading to Argentina to lead our tour over there where Wales will hope to beat the Pumas in a 2 test series. Plus, Ireland take on Australia this weekend too. Meanwhile Mike Brown and Elliot Daly swap positions.
On the South African side their new head coach names a mix of youth and experience. History is made in the front row and at Captain, while Mr Erasmus recalls some top performers from their overseas clubs; Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux are back hoping to get one over their Premiership contemporaries.
In order to offset David’s view I am going with an entirely unlikely England win. 25-18. But in reality South Africa to edge it on account of the altitude. So, some fence sitting!
Stats and bits
• The first England rugby team to tour South Africa was John Pullin’s team on their short tour in 1972. They played in six tour games with a solitary Test match against Piet Greyling’s Springboks at Ellis Park (as the stadium was called at that stage) in Johannesburg. The English team shocked the more than 66 000 spectators with an emphatic win of 18-9.
• Since that first Test, South Africa hosted England on two more occasions at Emirates Airline Park, winning on both occasions – in 1984 (35-9) and 2012 (36-27).
• Since the 1972 tour to date, England have toured South Africa on six occasions. In 1984 (2 Tests), 1994 (2 Tests), 1998 (1 Test), 2000 (2 Tests), 2007 (2 Tests) and in 2012 (3 Tests). South Africa’s record in these five series is: won three, drawn two.
• South Africa’s record against England in South Africa is: Played 13; Won 9; Lost 3; Drawn 1; Points for 362; Points against 213; Tries for 36; Tries against 1; Average score 28-16.
• The overall record of the Springboks against England is: Played 38; Won 23; Lost 13; Drawn 2; Points for 801; Points against 629; Tries for 74; Tries against 46; Average score 21-17.
• South Africa’s biggest win against England was in 2007 in Bloemfontein (58-10) and the biggest loss in South Africa was 15-32 in 1994 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
• England’s best performance against South Africa was in 2002 at Twickenham when the English defeated the Springboks 53-3 – the second biggest Springbok defeat in history.
Never too late
If you are still wondering whether you ought to head out to South Africa there is still time. You’ll miss the 1st Test but we can still get you there in time for the 2nd & 3rd tests.