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.

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.

December 31, 2018

2018 Reviewed with Ben Ryan

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/

 

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.

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.

It's back to domestic rugby action this week and the Premiership table is looking very compact - apart from the top two of course - which means we're set for an interesting relegation battle. Joining Brian Moore to discuss all this and more is the Telegraph's Gavin Mairs.

As Leicester "embarrass" themselves according to Geordan Murphy, we get the thoughts of club legend George Chuter on what needs fixing at Tigers with George saying the club needs a shake up from top to bottom.

We discuss the woeful match at The Rec with James Simpson-Daniel who enlightens us on Bath's equally woeful missed tackle stats and on his old side's Gloucester's chances of making the top four.

As for the PRO14 we speak with Leinster's Scott Fardy after their thrashing of Dragons and how they're getting ready for the European games against Bath.

Plus we have a full review of the Premier 15s with Gloucester-Hartpury coach Susie Appleby.

 

Show Notes

If you want to see Scott's video then follow this link

The Autumn Internationals have ended with stellar campaigns for Ireland and Wales, England unearthed some raw talent, and Scotland will have their heads high too. With Brian Moore to discuss the final weekend of action is Telegraph writer Mick Cleary.

Brian and Mick discuss the potential of a Joe Cockanasiga, Ben Te'o and Manu Tuilagi backline for England, the emergence of Kyle Sinckler, and Mark Wilson's sensational campaign.

Joining them to discuss England is Ben Ryan, twice World Champion and Olympic Gold medal winning coach, who says Elliot Daly needs to be playing at outside centre and is the best in the world there. Ben also tells us more about Cockanasiga, they discuss who England should be playing at wing, and we also tip our caps to Fiji's stunning victory over France.

With the announcement that Joe Schmidt is leaving Ireland after the World Cup, Joe and Brian discuss whether we are going to see an Andy Farrell and Stuart Lancaster coaching set up in the future, and they discuss whether Ireland can cope without Johnny Sexton in their ranks.

Hear from Scott Hastings, former Scotland and Lions centre, whose nephew Adam Hastings faced Argentina at the weekend as part of a trialled axis with Finn Russell at 12 as Scotland ground out a victory over Los Pumas.

Another former Lion joins the show in the shape of Wales' number 8 Michael Owen to discuss his former side's fantastic form and which new players we should be looking out for in the future.

Plus, Maggie Alphonsi updates on the Red Roses' final match against Ireland and Gavin Mairs dials in from Monaco to tells us about the World Rugby Awards.

 

Show Notes

To hear more about the work Jamie Armstrong and The Clan are doing head here: http://www.trustrugby.org/ 

Brian Moore is joined by the former England wing Tom May in this week's episode of Full Contact to discuss that sensational Ireland victory over the All Blacks, England's testing match against Japan, and Scotland's narrow loss to South Africa, and everything in between.

We speak with former Ireland and Leinster prop Mike Ross about how Ireland were able to overcome New Zealand without Conor Murray, and we hear from Mike about what training is like under Joe Schmidt.

Tom and Brian discuss the impact of England debutant Joe Cockanasiga against Japan, and conclude that Owen Farrell is an absolute necessity for England to have success at the World Cup.

The former Scotland and Lions second row Damian Cronin speaks with the podcast about Scotland's defeat to the Springboks in which they failed to capitalise on a man advantage with Willie Le Roux in the bin.

Nigel Owens is back to explain the laws around deliberate knock ons, and link tightrope walkers with the TMO - you need to hear it to believe it!

Plus Nick Heath brings us up to date with the Red Roses' action from the weekend against Canada.

 

Show notes

To vote on the Spirit of Rugby Award 2018 in association with Dove Men+Care then click here

Heartbreak for England as they came so close to a memorable victory over the All Blacks by the finest of margins missing out in the end by a single point. 

Alongside Brian Moore to discuss the weekend's trials and jubilations is the 2003 World Cup winner, Neil Back. He says that for the first time that England have two tiers of back row players with no one assured of a starting position. Brian meanwhile believes that these two matches have shown that Owen Farrell needs to be starting at fly half with George Ford coming off the bench, and that three wins must be the aim for England.

Zinzan Brooke gives an All Blacks perspective on Saturday's events saying that the better team lost but goes on to predict a 9-11 point victory for his national side against Ireland next weekend. 

The former Ireland flanker David Wallace gives his view on a nervy Irish victory over Los Pumas, who should be starting in the back row against New Zealand, and tells us why the home side will not be favourites coming into the weekend.

Plus we have Hugo Southwell on Scotland's resounding win over Fiji and Red Roses coach Simon Middleton on his side's thumping 57-5 win over the USA.

 

Notes

To read Lance Corporal Semesa Rokoduguni's story go here 

And to vote on your Gallagher Premiership Play of the Month this is the place to go 

England have got their Autumn International campaign off to a winning start, and quite a surprising one too over South Africa. In studio with Brian Moore to discuss that and the other international fixtures is former Scotland scrum half, Rory Lawson.

Was England’s win down to luck? Brian says no, former England scrum half Kyran Bracken says yes. Kyran also says that Farrell needs to be playing at fly half due to his greater physicality than that of George Ford.

We discuss the Doddie Weir Cup with Rory and former Wales winger Dafydd James who says it was a lacklustre performance in which the home side never got going, with Luke Morgan "a bit starstruck by the occasion". 

Paddy Wallace makes his Full Contact debut to discuss the incredible depth of the Irish squad as displayed at Soldier Field on Saturday night and he tells us about Rhys Ruddock the captain for the match against Italy.

We also look at the World Rugby Player of the Year nominations including an appraisal of Faf de Klerk. Plus World Cup winning coach Gary Street brings us up to date with everything in the women's game and looks ahead to the Red Roses' internationals.

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