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Royal Wootton Bassett RFC given leg up by local Henchman ladder company to practice lineouts like Gallagher Premiership stars



ROYAL Wootton Bassett have taken a page from the Premiership playbook as the first team from outside the top flight to use a unique ladder for lineout practice.

Eddie Jones’ England team, as well as a host of Premiership outfits, use a Henchman tripod ladder for working on lineout throwing – and now Bassett are among them.

Wiltshire-based safety ladder specialist Henchman donated the ladder to the club during the recent Rugby World Cup, the formal presentation made by the company’s general manager, Michael Byers, before Bassett’s recent victory over Buckingham.

The club, which was recently named the groundroots rugby level six club of the month by the RFU, is going from strength to strength. They have over 900 members and a full range of teams, including thriving youth boys and girls sides.

Director of rugby Alan Low said: “We have definitely seen an improvement in lineout performance since Henchman kindly donated the tripod ladder to our club.

“Hookers across all teams in the club are getting a lot of use out of it and in this recent spell of bad weather players have been able to use it indoors to practice on their own.”

Henchman sent the England Rugby squad a ladder to its Pennyhill Park training ground after managing director Tom Kitching saw footage of forwards coach Steve Borthwick wobbling on a traditional stepladder during lineout practice before the 2019 Six Nations.

A tripod ladder was used by England in Japan during the Rugby World Cup and a Henchman is now a key part of training in top-level rugby.

The ladder was used for a BBC Radio Wilshire photocall at Bassett earlier this year as part of its Rugby World Cup coverage.

Byers said: “I had no idea what to expect, so when we turned up to this amazing facility, full of enthusiastic club members and players we were very impressed.

“As a local company we are keen to support the community we serve and when a club official asked me how much it might cost to buy the ladder we were more than happy to say, ‘keep it – with our compliments’.”

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World Cup

Miracle-seeking Vermeulen trains with Springboks before crunch Test



Issued on:

Johannesburg (AFP)

Duane Vermeulen, attempting a miraculous Test comeback from an ankle injury, trained with the Springboks on Monday assistant coach Deon Davids said.

The back-row forward underwent surgery two months ago after being hurt in a domestic match and was written off as a possible starter in the three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions.

But the number eight joined the camp on Sunday amid speculation as to what role he may play in the series-deciding third Test against the tourists in Cape Town on Saturday.

With flanker and 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit nursing a shoulder injury, there have been suggestions that Vermeulen could start, or be on the bench.

If the third Test has come too soon for Vermeulen and he could be deployed to offer guidance and assistance with training and analysis.

Head coach Jacques Nienaber has ruled out selecting the 2019 Rugby World Cup winner if there is the slightest doubt about his fitness.

“We will never risk a player who is not 100 percent fit, but he brings experience to the squad and it will be great to have him with us,” he said.

Before flying from his Pretoria home to Cape Town at the weekend, Vermeulen underwent weeks of intense rehabilitation at his franchise, the Bulls.

Davids said the presence of Vermeulen, who turned 35 last month, had an immediate positive impact on the camp.

“It is really fantastic to have Duane back with the group and he joined our training session today,” he told an online news conference.

“He has already been part of our review sessions. We will hopefully have more details about his injury tomorrow.”

Another concern for the world champions is scrum-half Faf de Klerk, who went off with a hamstring injury during the second half of a 27-9 triumph last Saturday.

Were De Klerk ruled out, Herschel Jantjies would be the obvious replacement with third-choice Cobus Reinach promoted to the bench.

Meanwhile, Nienaber has added winger Rosko Specman, scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse, hooker Johan Grobbelaar and loose forward Dan du Preez to the squad.

Specman and Du Preez were released recently when the squad was trimmed while Hendrikse and Grobbelaar have been called up for the first time.

“We have a tough Rugby Championship series after the Lions and, given the strict Covid-19 protocols we adhere to, decided to bring the players in sooner rather than later,” said Nienaber.

South Africa start their campaign in the Southern hemisphere Rugby Championship against Argentina on August 14.

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World Cup

The damning statistics of the Lions’ second Test attack… and how they can fix it to win the series



Coincidentally, according to Opta, New Zealand spent 77 rucks in possession – the exact same number registered by the Lions on Saturday. Whereas the Lions only completed 85 passes, though, Steve Hansen’s team completed a whopping 143. Their average number of passes per ruck was 1.86, compared to the Lions’ 1.1 on Saturday. That represents a huge difference in approach. 

The Lions did find some success with their kicking game. Watson won back Murray’s first box-kick of the second Test, and Biggar’s high ball earned a five-metre scrum in the first half following a spill from Willie le Roux. However, errors in the aerial exchanges crippled them. 

Hogg’s spill just after half-time led to Makazole Mapimpi’s try. Later on, Watson’s early tackle on Mapimpi foreshadowed Am’s finish. South Africa only need a sniff to squeeze rivals and rack up an ugly scoreline. Remember, they were beaten when the Lions came out on the right end of the kicking battle in the first Test.

Be bold

The highest number of passes that the Lions managed to string together in any one phase on Saturday was five, coming here while Cheslin Kolbe was in the sin bin:

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All Blacks’ Bledisloe performance could “cement” Foster’s place for World Cup



Former All Black Jeff Wilson believes Ian Foster’s quest to coach New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup starts with this weekend’s Bledisloe clash.

Having coached the side since December 2019, Wilson believes a strong result against Australia should see Foster “cement” his spot as head coach before the World Cup kicks off in 2023.

“This is as we know, the season for Ian Foster to cement his place as All Blacks coach going through to the next Rugby World Cup,” Wilson said on Baz and Izzy for Breakfast on SENZ.

“This for me is where it starts for him but he won’t be thinking about that.

“I have spoken to him about that but they’re going to need to start really strongly.

“They’ve got the talent, there’s no doubt about that.

“The first challenge is who they’re going to start at 10, that’s the big question mark.”

With no one yet to settle in to the fly-half position on a permanent basis, Wilson believes Richie Mo’unga deserves the first shot at it.

“I think Richie Mo’unga deserves that opportunity in the 10 jersey,” Wilson added.

“He was very, very good once this season of course once again.

“Everyone’s got this question mark whether he has done at the highest level in the biggest games.

“Well, there’s only been a couple, and obviously, there’s the semi-final against England in the Rugby World Cup. Everyone is judging him off that one performance.

“Has he proven at All Black level against the toughest competition that he’s world class level? Not just yet, but I think he deserves the first opportunity to do that.”

The All Blacks host Australia in the first Bledisloe clash this Saturday night at Eden Park.

The game kicks off at 7:05pm (NZST).

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