Ben Ryan: Wales v England will only have one score between them - it’s that close

February 18, 2019

The third round of the Six Nations is upon us and what a big game it is going to be in Cardiff, let alone in Paris and Rome. Alongside Brian Moore this week is Olympic Gold Medal and World Cup 7s winning coach, Ben Ryan.

Listen as they predict how Wales v England will play out, including who will replace Chris Ashton out on the wing, who will dominate the breakdown, and how you disrupt England's kicking game.

To help further this they speak with former England wing Tom May who says Jack Nowell contributes to every facet of play whilst Cokanasiga brings his size to the party.

As for the opposition we talk to former Wales number 8 Mike Owen about who he expects to be starting fly half: Biggar or Anscombe, how Wales just have the edge in the breakdown, and find out who he thinks is the underdog in this potential Grand Slam and/or title decider.

Next it's over to pre-tournament favourites Ireland where former prop Mike Ross thinks his side have had a tough opening two fixtures but can now build a platform in Rome to get going again.

With Ben's role in French rugby it would be remiss not to try and understand what is going on within Les Bleus. Ben says that part of the problem is due to a lack of quality conditioning in the domestic sides, a lack of French players to create depth playing in the Top 14, and that he doesn't think it would be the worst thing if come the finale they lost to Italy.

As for France's opponents on Saturday, Scotland, it's been a story of injury after injury with Finn Russell the latest worry. Former full back Hugo Southwell though has done some digging and he expects the playmaker to start - but he will be kept in cotton wool!

We also speak with Red Roses fly half Katy Daley-Mclean about their campaign so far and whether she has Rocky Clarke's cap record in sight!

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Brian Moore: If England carry on as they are then they will cause problems for any opposition

February 11, 2019

The second round of the Six Nations has come and gone with England backing up a stellar performance in Ireland with a resounding victory over hapless France, the Welsh second string ground out a win away in Italy, whilst Scotland are yet again left to rue their missed opportunities against Ireland. Alongside Brian Moore to discuss it all is the former England and Lions fly half Rob Andrew.

Brian and Rob discuss the way England were able to capitalise on French confusion to secure victory in half an hour at Twickenham saying that England showed how athletic they are across the pitch.

Up to Scotland who blamed the referee on the day but really only had themselves to look to for not providing more of a competitive match for Ireland. Their flanker John Barclay joins to say it was a frustrating game but if they can get everyone fit again then they are a match for any side.

As for the winning side, Ireland, former centre Paddy Wallace says the weight of expectation is causing problems for his old team and the loss to England may well have been a blessing in disguise. 

Wales are England's next opponents but the question mark over them is who to start at half back following an unconvincing performance by Dan Bigger over Italy. We ask former fly half James Hook for his thoughts on Wales' squad selections and how they can defeat England.

We also speak with referee Nigel Owens on the laws pertaining to "advantage" and "penalty tries", plus a word with Maggie Alphonsi on the Women's Six Nations.

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Scott Quinnell: Wales vs England in Cardiff will be like Battle Royale!

February 4, 2019

Week one of the 2019 Six Nations is in the history books and what a weekend it was!

Alongside Brian this week to dissect the opening weekend is former England fly half and Director of Elite Rugby at the RFU, Rob Andrew

England put on one of their finest performances under Eddie Jones to dismantle defending champions Ireland in the Aviva, what now for Joe Schmidt's side? We get the thoughts of former Ireland and Munster centre James Downey

Dark horses Wales benefitted from two French mistakes to come from behind in the Stade de France. Former Welsh number 8 Scott Quinnell doesn't care how they got their win, just so long as they got it and can now set up a mouthwatering clash in Cardiff against England on February 23rd.

Scotland picked up an expected bonus point against Italy, we get the take of former Scottish and Lions centre Scott Hastings on their chances this weekend against Ireland.

And ahead of their showdown with defending Grand Slam champions France, England women's captain Sarah Hunter joins the show.

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Stephen Ferris: There seems to be an arrogance from England and no one understands why

January 28, 2019

The Six Nations are upon us and there are all manner of questions just waiting to be answered such as: Can Ireland do the Double Grand Slam? Who will start for England? And the French - always a question mark there. Alongside Brian Moore to try and answer some of those questions is the former England and Gloucester wing James Simpson-Daniel.

With Brian's assertion that this is the trickiest Six Nations to call so far, James and Brian begin by discussing how the Celtic nations could end up defining the story of the tournament - with James even arguing a case for Scotland to be Grand Slam winners! They then get onto England, debating who should start at full back, how strong the squad is, and whether we will see Joe Cokanasiga play against Ireland.

Joining them to argue the case for Ireland to complete the Double is former Ireland and Lions flanker, Stephen Ferris, who says there seems to be an arrogance coming from the English out of nowhere. Stephen also believes that Joe Schmidt has his Ireland squad mapped out for the rest of the year so doesn't expect too much experimenting.

As for the rest of the Celtic nations we speak with Lions and Wales wing Shane Williams on the quiet confidence within Warren Gatland's ranks. Shane notes they are "blessed with quality" across the back row to make up for Taulupe Faletau's absence, but not enough to predict they can win the tournament. On the Scottish side of the border Sean Lamont is brimming with optimism for his former side's ambitions with the full back saying you have to be on top of your game to win, but he thinks Scotland can finish top of the table. (It may be that he has to say that!)

Italy Head Coach Conor O'Shea joins to tell us about how he approaches the Six Nations saying he loves the challenge of coaching Italy and it's all about maintaining energy and confidence despite not always getting the desired results.

Finally, we speak with Red Roses Head Coach Simon Middleton ahead of the Women's Six Nations and to ask how they are going to turn around last year's narrow defeat to France and lift the trophy come 16 March.

 

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Brian Moore: This is the trickiest 6 Nations to call

January 21, 2019

This week saw the culmination of the group stages in Europe leaving three Irish, two French, two Scottish, and one English team left to fight it out for the Champions Cup. Here to discuss that and the upcoming 6 Nations tournament with Brian Moore is the former England, Saracens, and Leicester hooker, George Chuter.

Brian and George debate the big question following the weekend's results, are the English clubs as interested in Europe in the same way as the French and Celtic clubs? Before delving into why Exeter should have taken kicks at goal instead of going for tries against Munster, and what George thinks of Leicester's current state of affairs.

For an Irish perspective on the Champions Cup we speak with former Ireland, Leinster, and Munster centre James Downey on how you beat Leinster, whether Munster can defeat Edinburgh at Murrayfield, and why he thinks Ireland will win the Grand Slam again this year.

With Eddie Jones announcing his initial 6 Nations squad last week, we discuss whether it is the best possible squad and who could replace Owen Farrell at fly-half and as leader if needed. 

Plus Nathan Middleton brings us up to date with the Premier 15s and previews the Red Roses' 6 Nations.

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Rob Baxter: Munster have a huge advantage over us due to the scheduling

January 14, 2019

It was the penultimate weekend of the European group stages and it saw Saracens through, Exeter give themselves a fighting chance, the Scottish teams continue to roar, and despite Leinster missing half their first team they still dominated on the big stage. Here to discuss it all with Brian Moore, is the Telegraph’s Rugby Union Correspondent, Mick Cleary.

Joining them to dissect his side's important victory over Castres is Exeter Chiefs' Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter. They speak about Jack Nowell's return, the way the schedule falls leaving Munster with a two day rest advantage, and the departure of Santi Cordero from Sandy Park. 

Good results from Edinburgh and Glasgow sees the opportunity for two Scottish teams to reach Champions Cup quarter finals for the first time. Former Scotland and Edinburgh scrum half Rory Lawson speaks to us about how Edinburgh have stepped up, what it means for the national side, and of course that Bill Mata offload.

Plus Brian and Mick get into the England squad ahead of Eddie Jones' selection on Thursday for the 6 Nations, and we speak with the Saracens' Women's Head Coach Alex Austerberry following another brilliant win for his side, this week over Harlequins.

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Brian Moore: There is not enough money and English talent to populate even one professional league

January 7, 2019

This week we saw one team go down to 11 men, the RFU give out 28 contracts, and the prospect of the Premiership scrapping relegation return to the headlines. Discussing all this with Brian Moore is the former Springbok, Thinus Delport.

Listen in as Brian and Thinus debate the merits of the idea to create a single league in England by looking at how the structure used in the Pro14 and Super Rugby have affected the level of rugby played, what the business implications would be, and whether smaller teams genuinely want to be promoted.

We discuss the latest round of fixtures in the Premiership including that crazy finish at Sixways as Bath were reduced to eleven men against Worcester. To understand what is going on at the Rec we speak with former Lion, England, and Bath full back Matt Perry who says the way that Bath capitulated from 19-3 up is a mark of where they're at.

With Thinus in studio we take the opportunity to get a South African perspective on the Pro14. Are the teams struggling? Is the experiment a success? And what is the future of the competition? These are just some of the questions we asked.

Plus with the RFU announcing 28 contracts for its women's team, we speak with the Telegraph's rugby reporter Kate Rowan to explain the story, and we speak with one of the women receiving a contract, Emily Scarratt, to tell us what it means to her.

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2018 Reviewed with Ben Ryan

December 31, 2018

Joining Brian Moore in studio this week is the World and Olympic winning coach Ben Ryan. Listen in as they look back on the year that was and as they make a couple of wishes for 2019. 

Before all that though we look back on the Premiership's talking points from the latest round of fixtures including events at The Rec, Kingsholm, and Twickenham. Former Sale and England winger Mark Cueto speaks with us about Sale's current form and how the club are faring in a football dominated area. 

Plus we speak with Nigel Owens one last time in 2018 about what he would like to see changed in the sport, and about the time Sir Bill Beaumont wrote a letter to him.

 

Show Notes

For Nigel's video go to https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/spirit-of-rugby/

 

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Brian Moore: It’s near crisis time at Leicester Tigers

December 17, 2018

Round Four in Europe has been and gone and to discuss it all with Brian Moore is former Scotland and Lions fly half, Craig Chalmers. 

Topics on this week's episode include: praise for the good work of Richard Cockerill at Edinburgh; the astonishingly poor form of Scarlets; and an attempt at predicting who will and won't make it through to the knockout stages. 

To discuss the eighth loss in a row for Leicester Tigers is former Tiger and All Black, Scott Hamilton who says that the wage structure is to blame for a lack of depth in the squad as well as a lack of experience within the coaching setup. We also consider the impending departure of New Zealand Head Coach, Steve Hansen following the World Cup next year, who could take over, and whether Hansen should join be Eddie Jones' successor.

With the announcement on Monday morning that Scotland's Director of Rugby Scott Johnson will be joining Australia in the same role, Brian and Craig debate whether Michael Cheika will appreciate the appointment. 

Plus we have a look ahead to next week's domestic matches and a review of the Premier 15s with World Cup winning coach, Gary Street.

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Nick Easter: Gloucester have the X Factor to reach the European quarter finals

December 10, 2018

Round three of the Champions Cup has been and now we're beginning to get a good look at who will be making the knockout stages. Joining Brian Moore to discuss this week's news and action is former England and Quins number 8, Nick Easter.

This week they discuss whose responsibility it is to get teams going: the players or the coaches; they discuss the rumours surrounding Wasps; and the biggest topic of the weekend: flag-gate.

For an Irish perspective former Leinster, Munster, and Connacht centre, James Downey gives us his thoughts on Leinster saying they aren't the complete package yet, on Ulster's Will Addison, and his opinion on Andy Farrell taking over from Joe Schmidt.

Nick and Brian debate the upcoming 6 Nations and who is expected to do well with Nick saying it won't be a "Grand Slam" year.

Top rugby referee Nigel Owens returns to the podcast to explain the law surrounding the grounding of the ball, and what it is like to referee at Racing 92's state of the art stadium.

Plus Wasps Ladies coach Giselle Mather returns to tell us about the Premier 15s which included a few surprises.

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