The SA Rugby magazine team rounds up some of the interesting news snippets making headlines around the world.
All Blacks star to switch back to league
According to reports, double World Cup-winner Sonny Bill Williams is being courted to make a return to the 13-man code, but this time in a coaching capacity.
The 34-year-old code-hopping star is yet to confirm his playing future, with his contract with New Zealand Rugby set to expire at the end of the All Blacks’ World Cup campaign.
Nine reporter and Sydney Morning Herald columnist Danny Weidler claims that Williams could be pursuing a coaching gig at the NRL’s Sydney Roosters.
Weidler says that Williams’ adviser, Khoder Nasser, was seen at a Sydney cafe with Roosters chairman Nick Politis. As the Roosters roster already boasts some of the biggest names in the NRL who currently play in Williams’ potential positions, the role is said to involve working with the Roosters’ youngsters to develop club culture.
Best chance for Wales to win World Cup
Coach Warren Gatland believes that this year’s tournament is the best chance for his Wales team to lift their first World Cup trophy.
Speaking on Monday ahead of Wales’ semi-final with the Springboks, Gatland highlighted the importance of preparing well during the week and his players giving their all in the knockout encounter.
‘We’ve got a pretty clean bill of health in terms of the squad and players to choose from,’ said Gatland. ‘You get these opportunities once in a lifetime potentially and you’ve got to grab them with both hands and make the most of it.’
Commenting on their opponents for Sunday’s match, Gatland said that Springboks will pose different threats to other teams that Wales have faced at the World Cup.
‘We’re pretty familiar with the way they play,’ continued Gatland. ‘They’ve gone back to their strengths and their strengths are definitely that physicality up front, with driving lineouts and a strong scrum and ball-carrying and beating teams far side.
‘So you’ve got to be able to handle those threats. And they’ve got a couple of pretty exciting wingers, too, who are able to cause problems.’
Dallaglio backs Tipuric to carry Wales to World Cup glory
Former England World Cup-winning eighthman Lawrence Dallaglio believes that flanker Justin Tipuric’s influence will be key against the Springboks if Wales are to reach a first-ever World Cup final.
In his a column for The Times, Dallaglio described the Welshman as ‘world class’ and added that Tipuric would receive more recognition if he played for the All Blacks.
‘I’d like to think I know a thing or two about the qualities a flanker needs at international level and he has them all: high work rate, including tackling, great ability over the ball, a target man in the lineout and speed around the park.
‘Then there are the extras which make Tipuric world class – great handling ability and rugby intelligence. As a flanker, you are constantly pushing the law to its limit. It’s Tipuric’s intelligence that means invariably he stays on the right side of legality.
‘If he wore a black jersey rather than a red one, more people would be eulogising him.’
Cane keen on battle with ‘Kamikaze Kids’
All Blacks flanker Same Cane says that he is excited about facing England’s two young loose forwards during their World Cup semi-final.
Tom Curry and Sam Underhill have been standout performers at the World Cup in an already impressive England forward pack.
In what is sure to be an exhausting battle at the breakdown, the All Blacks loose forwards will have their hands full when dealing with Curry and Underhill, with Cane admitting that he has been impressed by the form of Eddie Jones’ Kamikaze Kids.
‘Underhill and Curry have been pretty impressive,’ said Cane at a media conference on Monday.
‘They’ve both got a huge appetite for hard work and have very good skill sets. They have been really impressive.’
Cane has surprisingly never played against England in 66 Tests, having missed out through injury, and will be hoping that the All Blacks loose trio can limit the impact that Curry and Underhill have on Saturday’s semi-final.
Photo: Kevin Barnes – CameraSport via Getty Images