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Prince Harry’s charities given advanced notice of his split from the palace to ensure their support



Buckingham Palace contacted Prince Harry’s charities and organisations to allay fears that he would abandon them ahead of the shock announcement that he would be stepping back from Royal duties and relocating to Canada.

The Duke is patron of 16 organisations, including the Rugby Football Union, Rhino Conservation Botswana and the Invictus Games Foundation, but questions have been raised as to how he can continue to support them if he is no longer a working member of the Royal Family, or even in the country.

Yesterday, the RFU confirmed to the Telegraph that the Duke will continue to be their patron, as well as patron of the RFU Injured Players Foundation and the RFU All Schools Programme.

They could not confirm whether he would be in attendance at any of England’s Six Nations games next month. There is particular interest around the clash against Wales on March 7 because his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, is patron of the Welsh Rugby Union.

In previous years the pair have sat next to each other, often in opposing team colours, but with relations strained and the family split, it is unlikely they will both be at Twickenham, according to a source close to the WRU.

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Why people are right to say Cheslin Kolbe is the best winger of the 21st century



An incredible video has dropped showing just how unique Springboks and Toulouse winger Cheslin Kolbe is for club and country. This video perfectly displays just how good the player has been.

A channel known as ‘Die Hard Rugby’ has consistently been making brilliant highlight reels on the Springbok players and this one is quite possibly the best of the whole bunch. The video shows just how uniquely brilliant that Kolbe has been throughout the last couple of years in his career.

Kolbe wowed the rugby world at the start of this year with some brilliant performances at 10 for French club Toulouse.

The World Cup-winning winger is known for wreaking havoc on the wing, but World Cup-winning Springbok has a playing style quite unlike other players.

We would go as far as classing Kolbe as one of the greatest wingers of this century so far. The 20th century saw the power of Jonah Lomu rampaging through defences in the sport.

This new century has seen the rise of smaller wingers dominating, with Shane Williams, Vincent Clerc and Bryan Habana all showing how speed and acceleration can rise above everything else.

Kolbe can very well be seen as being above all of the players noted above, barring Lomu, because he has even more incredible skills that they don’t have like defence and kicking.

This highlight reel hyped us to see Cheslin back in action so much!

The dancing feet of Kolbe have lit up Rugby World Cup 2019 with the winger showing that size isn’t everything, his footwork and pace allowing him to turn a defence inside out and leave players clutching at thin air in his wake.

The Springbok started six tests in 2019 and scored five tries, including two in the pool stage against Italy when he was named Player of the Match. An ankle injury ruled him out of the semi-final with Wales but the Springboks was able to return to form for the final game where he scored that famous winning try, skinning Owen Farrell in the process.


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Jo Yapp planning for the long-term at Worcester Warriors Women



Jo Yapp has experience of grasping tightly to opportunities that unexpectedly come her way.

As an 18-year-old scrum-half Yapp caught the eye of selectors playing for England Students, and was subsequently catapulted into her country’s Rugby World Cup 1998 squad.

In Amsterdam, she appeared in four matches, including the semi-final defeat to New Zealand, and enlisted the help of several teachers in the England camp to aid her A-Level revision.

More than two decades later, and having captained England at RWC 2006 and forged a successful career in coaching, Yapp was again presented with an unanticipated opening.

She had returned to Worcester Warriors Women, the latest iteration of the club she represented throughout her playing career, last August as skills coach. But by October, following a run of four defeats to start the Tyrells Premier 15s season, she had become director of rugby.

Yapp knew a number of the squad from her time as England Women U20 head coach and had selected five Warriors players for the Tri-Nations Cup just three months earlier.

“It was obviously challenging because I came into post in mid-October time, so the season was well under way and the first book of games had happened,” she told World Rugby.

“Coming in halfway through is difficult and at that point the application was in for the [Premier 15s] re-tendering process. So, that was quite difficult.

‘You want them to stay there’

“But then we had the November break, which came at a really good time for us because it gave us a few weeks to not worry about games, just to sort of train with the girls and get our own coaching across really, and principles of what we wanted. 

“Because at the same time as I started, Mike Hill, our forwards coach, started as well. So it was a great opportunity for us to really get to know the players a lot better. And then after that we were in a better place going into that second block of games.”

Worcester won their first match of the season on 1 December, 15-12 against Bristol Bears, and went on to beat Waterloo and Richmond to move up the table before the COVID-19 pandemic brought an end to the season.

In April, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) published the results of its audit of the Premier 15s with Worcester’s place in England’s top division confirmed until 2023.

“Obviously pre-season comes with its own challenges right now, but just knowing that we can plan long-term is fantastic for us as staff,” Yapp said. 

“Because there’s six of us who are full-time with the women, so that’s our jobs as well, which is important. 

“I was fortunate to be one of the players back in the day that got promoted into the Premiership at the time, for Worcester. And obviously personally and historically, you want them to stay there and that was really important for us.”

Yapp’s workload had increased in November due to her involvement with the Barbarians, whose women’s team she coached to a 29-15 defeat of Wales at the Principality Stadium. 

The 40-year-old, who agreed to coach the invitational side prior to taking on the director of rugby role in Worcester, worked alongside former Wales captain Rachel Taylor and Barbarians Women’s Coordinator Fiona Stockley to put together a team of international talent.

“It was fantastic, because I’d never met Rachel before we got involved with the Barbarians,” Yapp explained. 

“I’d seen her play, but I didn’t know her. So, to go into that experience and to coach with somebody else from another nation like that is amazing. 

Taking a holistic approach

“I learnt a lot from watching Rachel coach that week and we shared ideas and it was just great. People like Fiona Stockley, who is amazing, to be able to pull all of that together when she does it for the love of it. 

“And to be around those people is great, you just learn so much. You’ve got one week to put an international team together to play another international team. What are the priorities? What are the things you need to focus on? 

“That’s very much around pulling the girls together as a group as opposed to worrying about some of the on-field stuff in some respects. 

“It’s about bonding them as a group, so it’s just very different challenges and as a staff group as well, bonding and working together on that. So, it’s very special.”

In many respects, working with the Barbarians was the perfect fit for Yapp. Throughout her coaching career, from the University of Exeter to England Women U20s and Worcester, Yapp has been concerned with her players’ off the pitch wellbeing as much as their achievement on it.

“Very much my philosophy would be around supporting the person as well as the player,” she said. “I think that very much comes from me starting with young and developing players. 

“But I think if you can support the person and create good people then that will help you create better rugby players, and that comes from showing that you care about players and you care about what they’re doing and how their education’s going and how their work-life balance is going, and all of that kind of stuff. 

“Because if you can get that bit right then the playing bit is easier to look after.”

READ MORE: Alana Thomas: “I feel a real obligation to give back”

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The rugby morning headlines as Jonathan Davies ‘nears fitness’ and All Blacks legend Dan Carter gets clobbered in grassroots match



Your rugby morning headlines for Saturday, July 4.

Jonathan Davies nearing return

The Rugby Paper report that Wales and Lions star Jonathan Davies is nearing a return to fitness.

Davies has been out injured since returning from last year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, when he suffered a knee injury against Fiji.

He played on in the tournament with a heavily-strapped leg to feature against South Africa and New Zealand, but required surgery upon his return home.

The report states Davies is unlikely to make it back for the Scarlets’ Welsh derbies, which are scheduled to kick off on August 22, though it has not yet been ruled out.

Carter gets clobbered but puts on show for hometown club

Two-time World Cup winner Dan Carter turned out for his hometown amateur club Southbridge this morning.

It was an effort to get some much needed game time as he continues to prepare to make his debut for Auckland Blues in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

He played the full game, scoring 12 points and setting up two tries in the 54-14 win over West Melton.

Carter got absolutely clobbered in a thunderous first half tackle but shook it off to put on a solid display.

“It’s been about four months since I’ve played, and I’ve only been training for four weeks really,” he told the media afterwards.

“It’s one thing running around, training and feeling good, another one is actually playing.

“To get through 80 [minutes] is pleasing, probably a bit more than I expected, but it was good – a bit rusty but good.”

Dan Carter (red boots) gets hit a little late on his return to Southbridge

Booth excited by Ospreys opportunity

New Ospreys head coach Toby Booth has explained why he was lured to the Swansea-based region.

The Englishman has arrived in South Wales ahead of the squad’s scheduled return to training next week.

“It’s a good, exciting opportunity above anything else,” he said.

“I’ve been institutionalised in the Premiership for a long time so I think there is some difference there.

“The big one was the opportunity along with the Welsh attitude towards the game. They’re very passionate about their rugby and what that represents. I thought that was an exciting opportunity to get in front of a different audience and work with a different culture, where there’s a different outlook on the game.

“Without doubt, you can see the passion. Being English, I’ve been on the receiving end of some of that!

“Some of my best friends live in Ogmore and Bridgend. So I’ve got a connection, which is fantastic.

“I know how passionate they are and some of the banter we’ve had in the pub around England and Wales is fantastic.

“Even though results haven’t gone well last year, I’ve had a good opportunity through Covid to spend time looking at previous performances. There has certainly been a lot of hard work, effort and intent.

“The exciting thing from that point of view is that it shows you how much they care about the game and the Ospreys.”

Eddie Jones warned exceptions won’t be made for Tuilagi

England boss Eddie Jones has been told he won’t be able to bend the rules if Manu Tuilagi heads overseas.

There is a strict selection policy in place at Twickenham, which states players operating outside English domestic rugby cannot be selected, with no exceptions.

Tuilagi appeared to be heading out of Leicester after failing to agree revised contract terms, leading to the player being stood down.

Reports claim that he has received offers from France and Japan, moves that would end his England career.

An RFU spokesperson said: “Players who are not based in England will not be selected to play for England EPS (Elite Player Squad) Teams. There are no plans to change this regulation.”

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