Rugby Union Weekly
Rugby Union Weekly
About Rugby Union Weekly
Ugo Monye, Chris Jones and Danny Care bring you special guests and cover the biggest stories in rugby union.
Sara Orchard sits down with England’s most capped player, Sarah Hunter as she retires from the game of rugby union. The Six Nations match in her home town of Newcastle on Saturday against Scotland will be her last in a Red Roses jersey. They discuss everything - from why, as England captain, she has decided to hang up her playing boots, her best memories of playing for her country - including that World Cup win in 2014 and of the lows as well. But not only that, there are cameo appearances from former England captain, Katy Daley-McLean, England and Loughborough Lightning team-mate, Emily Scarratt and England head coach Simon Middleton. Hunter also reflects on the very start of her career, her hopes for the women’s game going forward and her future plans.
Our two favourite captains, Sam Warburton and John Barclay, are back with Ugo and Chris on the sofa in Media City to round up the final weekend of an enthralling Six Nations. They discuss what sets Grand Slam winners Ireland apart from their rivals, there's more on Freddie Steward's controversial red card in Dublin, and the home nations are graded on their performance in the tournament. Does a Slam mean Ireland should automatically receive top marks? The guys also pick their best players and moments of the tournament.
Ireland are Grand Slam champions, and we bring the St Patrick’s Day Party to you from Dublin! England had to improve on last week and they did, but it wasn't enough to keep the men in green at bay, especially when Freddie Steward was served a controversial red card. Chris Jones, Matt Dawson and Jamie Heaslip discuss that decision and the impact it had, as well as what ultimately separated Ireland in terms of class, and the moment everyone knew the Grand Slam was in the bag. They also take a moment to appreciate the fitting Six Nations send off for Jonny Sexton as he became the all-time points scorer for Ireland, and reflect on why he is one of the greats of the game – and why he won’t be going quietly!
We look ahead to Super Saturday and the final round of the 2023 Six Nations. Sonja McLaughlan and Sam Warburton are in Edinburgh with Chris and Denis Hickie in Dublin on St Patrick's Day. They look ahead to Ireland's Grand Slam decider against England and the two Farrells. Reflect on a difficult tournament for Wales and the team chosen by Warren Gatland to face France in Paris. And with no Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg, can Scotland end their championship on a high after two successive defeats?
The pod is in Dublin as Ireland chase a fourth Grand Slam with only England now standing in their way. Chris and Matt Dawson head to the Ireland team announcement and are joined by friend of the pod Murray Kinsella, who gives us an insight into the mood in Ireland this weekend. We also hear from a very relaxed Andy Farrell on the way he and his team have embraced the favourites tag since topping the world rankings. Matt gives us his take on the England team tasked with spoiling the party in Dublin, including the surprise selection of Henry Arundell on the wing. Chris then heads to the England team hotel to catch up with head coach Steve Borthwick to talk selection and bouncing back after the heavy defeat to France.
After being dismantled by France at Twickenham, England now head to Dublin to face Grand Slam-chasing Ireland. Chris and Danny discuss whether Steve Borthwick’s side can bounce back after a record home defeat and spoil the party in Dublin. They look ahead to team selection and Danny explains what he wants to see from England on Saturday. You will also hear from Kevin Sinfield about the mood in camp and Ellis Genge promises fans they will see a big reaction this weekend.
Chris, Tom and Gareth convene for the last time this Six Nations to mull over the final weekend of matches. With Ireland chasing a fourth Grand Slam, is it is going to be a St Patrick’s Day formality for Andy Farrell’s side? And after their record defeat at Twickenham, we ask why it went so wrong for England and what Steve Borthwick needs to do to turn things around. Gareth updates us on the Wales camp after they registered their first win of the tournament, but does anyone gives them a chance against a French side that delivered one of the all-time great Six Nations performances last weekend? And with a few key players ruled out, how careful do Scotland have to be against a smarting Italy?
Sara Orchard is joined by two greats of the Irish game, Shane Horgan and Tommy Bowe as they delve deep into this Ireland side and debate whether they could win the Grand Slam and beat England in Dublin on Saturday, on the final day of the Six Nations tournament. They look at what has gone right for this team and where it has gone wrong in the past – and Tommy lets us in on what it is like to win a Slam (as he did it back in 2009.) They discuss if this 2023 team is better than the 2018 side that won the Grand Slam for the third time, and we also get the lowdown on head coach, Andy Farrell and where it’s gone right for him.
Chris, Ugo, Ashy and Johnnie Beattie round up another compelling Six Nations weekend. Ireland are just one win away from a Grand Slam after showing their class at Murrayfield, despite losing key players in key positions. But why did Scotland fail to capitalise? Did they fall short on the big stage once again? And after England’s thrashing at Twickenham, we discuss whether the issues for Steve Borthwick are bigger than just selection and whether a continuous influx of overseas players has had an impact on developing young talent.
Chris is joined by Matt Dawson and Paul Grayson to pick the bones out of England’s record home defeat in the Six Nations. You’ll hear the thoughts of Steve Borthwick after a chastening day for the England boss. They discuss where this England team go from here, and whether there’ll be wholesale changes for their trip to Dublin. You’ll also hear the thoughts of France team manager, Raphael Ibanez, on what he calls one of the biggest wins in French rugby history after their first Six Nations win at Twickenham since 2005. And of course there is plenty of love for their talisman, Antoine Dupont.
In this bumper episode of the pod Sonja McLaughlan is joined by three stellar guests in the form of John Barclay, Shane Horgan and Paul Grayson as they look ahead to an equally stellar three games in round four of the Six Nations! They have to start with the action at Murrayfield as Scotland host Ireland in what is a HUGE game for both sides, as the hosts aim to get their first Triple Crown since 1990 and Ireland are chasing another Grand Slam! They analyse both teams and try very hard to pick a winner. Then attention turns to Twickenham as third takes on fourth – England play hosts to defending champions France, in what is a must win game for both sides. And Paul gives his views on Steve Borthwick’s team selection which sees Owen Farrell dropped to the bench, with Marcus Smith starting at 10. And is the pressure on Italy as they take on Wales in Rome? That’s the question Sonja asks the guys – but not everyone has the same answer…
Ugo and Chris are joined by French rugby expert Paul Eddison at the England team hotel as Steve Borthwick names his team for their showdown with France this weekend. The big news is at fly-half, with captain Owen Farrell dropped to the bench and Marcus Smith getting the nod. Borthwick explains the decision and how Farrell reacted to the news. Paul gives us the lowdown on the changes to Fabien Galthie's team and explains why this French team are desperate to win at Twickenham. Flanker Lewis Ludlam also joins the pod to chat about his impressive form in this year's Six Nations and why he is relishing the challenge this Saturday.
Chris chats to the man spearheading the Italian rugby revolution, their inspirational captain, Michele Lamaro. He tells us what it means to play for the Azzurri and to sing the national anthem. He reflects on their momentous win in Cardiff last year, dealing with the favourites tag against Wales this weekend and restoring pride in the Italian jersey.
Chris, Tom English and Gareth Rhys Owen are back for another Nations Pod. They discuss the ongoing issues engulfing the game in Wales and whether it's all taking its toll on head coach Warren Gatland. Marcus Smith has been brought back into the England camp after being released last week, so what exactly is his role in the team? And with the Triple Crown on the line for Scotland this weekend, Gareth questions whether it’s still a trophy people care about.
Danny, Ugo and Chris are back together and there is plenty to discuss including some big pod news. Marcus Smith was recalled by England after impressing for Harlequins at the weekend, but will it be enough to persuade Steve Borthwick to give him more game time? There is more fallout from Welsh rugby's financial crisis as Willis Halaholo voices his concerns over contract uncertainty and Jarrod Evans looks set to leave his boyhood club Cardiff. And with more English players looking to ply their trade abroad, do the rules around foreign-based players need to change? England head coach Steve Borthwick thinks so, but what are the potential ramifications and should there be a cap rule implemented?
As Ireland continue their quest for a first Grand Slam since 2018, Chris charts Andy Farrell's remarkable rise from rugby league prodigy to one of the most respected head coaches in rugby union. Ashy talks about idolising him during his Wigan days and reveals how Farrell revolutionised England training while he was assistant coach. Alex Corbisiero gives a fascinating insight into the 2013 Lions tour and how Farrell inspired his players for the series decider against Australia. And Stuart Lancaster is back on the pod to discuss Farrell's coaching journey, his development over the last decade, and his strengths as a coach and a person. We also ask what the future holds, with Farrell the clear favourite to take charge of the Lions in 2025.
John Barclay and Sam Warburton join Ugo and Chris to wrap up round three of the Six Nations. Scotland’s Grand Slam hopes are ended in Paris as France kept their slim hopes of another Six Nations title alive. Warburton discusses the issues facing Wales on the field after a dramatic week off the field. They discuss criticism of England’s performance in Cardiff and ask whether it was justified. And can Scotland bounce back to end Ireland’s Grand Slam dream at Murrayfield?
We're at the half way point! And as ever, there is loads to discuss... Chris Jones, 2003 World Cup winner Matt Dawson and former Wales winger Philippa Tuttiett react to an edgy match in Cardiff, which ultimately pleased English fans the most. Whilst it was by no means a classic game or the usual arm wrestle between these two fierce rivals, the pod squad discuss what signs there were of England's progress, whether Wales have the depth to usher in a full changing of the guard before their trip to Italy, and the way Italy backed up their progress by pushing Ireland in Dublin earlier today. All eyes look ahead to the game on Sunday where Grand Slam hopefuls Scotland travel to play a wounded French side!
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