September 25, 2023

State of Australian rugby union brutally exposed by Wallabies’ World Cup debacle | John Davidson

With the grassroots game struggling, participation in decline and Super Rugby on the wane, the writing has been on the wall for years There’s something rotten about the state of Australian rugby union. A 40-6 Rugby World Cup defeat to Wales confirmed what most down under already knew – the 15-man code and the men’s national team is in one hell of a hole.Fresh from a historic loss to Fiji last week, the men in green and gold backed up with an even more embarrassing capitulation in Lyon. The Wallabies have one last run out against Portugal, next weekend, but that should be a mere formality. Continue reading...
September 23, 2023

Portugal denied first Rugby World Cup win as missed kick hands Georgia draw

Pool C: Georgia 18-18 PortugalNuno Sousa Guedes misses penalty after Georgia’s late levellerNuno Sousa Guedes missed a last-minute penalty as Portugal agonisingly failed to secure a first-ever World Cup victory after Georgia scored a 78th-minute try – then missed the conversion – to force a thrilling Pool C draw.Georgia raced into a 13-0 lead but after a nervous opening 30 minutes, Portugal took control of the game in the second half and scored 18 unanswered points heading into the final two minutes of the contest. Continue reading...
September 19, 2023

The Breakdown | Portugal prove that gallant defeat is preferable to England’s robotic rugby

Minnows have played with passion and skill to light up a World Cup in which Steve Borthwick’s side have shown little flairWhat, ultimately, is the raison d’être of sport? The result, pure and simple, or how a particular game or moment makes you feel? Different people tend to have different answers to this fundamental question, which is perfectly fine. World Cups, in particular, are about scoring more points than the other lot. The touchy-feely stuff can then be ladled on top, dependent on personal taste.The complication arrives on weekends such as the one just gone in France. On Saturday night a few of us spoke to the Portugal flanker Nicolas Martins after his side’s gallant defeat by Wales in Nice. Portugal had just been beaten 28-8 but gained tens of thousands of admirers in the process with their immensely watchable brand of fast-paced rugby. Continue reading...
September 16, 2023

Wales v Portugal: Rugby World Cup 2023 – live

Pool C contest at the Stade de Nice; 4.45pm BST kick-offGet in touch! Mail Daniel with your thoughts on the gameKick-off. Wales in black and yellow, looking like La Rochell. Maybe that’ll help them. Portugal in white shirts and green shorts.That’s not an ideal start for Gatland. Continue reading...
September 15, 2023

All change: Portugal await but new-look Wales have fresh expectations | Michael Aylwin

Win over Fiji has put spring in Warren Gatland’s step and an exciting young XV seems likely to entertain against PortugalWhat a difference a win makes. Wales spent last week under siege conditions, fending off questions about their year so far, about their lowly ranking relative to their first opponents Fiji, even about the pre-match nerves of Warren Gatland, in Welsh rugby the most successful maestro of all. One bonus-point win later, they roll out an exciting young team and start talking about World Cup finals.There is no doubting their World Cup pedigree of late: a semi-final, quarter-final and semi-final in the past three editions under Gatland, lost by margins of one, four and three points respectively. “I stated beforehand, don’t write us off,” said Gatland. “This team is capable of doing something special and I still believe that. For us it’s about one game at a time. We have done well in previous World Cups and would like to get to a final of a World Cup.” Continue reading...
September 14, 2023

Molars to mauls: Portugal’s captain sinks teeth into World Cup chance | Nick Ames

Tomás Appleton has swapped his dental surgery for the rugby pitch and says his team’s sights are set on upsetting Wales“We want to be more than a presence here,” reflects Tomás Appleton as he surveys the precipitous challenge that lies ahead for Portugal. Os Lobos return to the World Cup on Saturday after a 16-year absence and there are few outside who would give them a prayer in arguably the tournament’s toughest pool. Wales may not quake at the prospect of facing a nation that haemorrhaged points back in 2007 but, along with the side he captains, Appleton senses an opportunity to show things have changed.“They were our idols when I was a kid,” he says of the players who, on their debut among the elite, managed to score tries in thumping defeats against Scotland, New Zealand and Italy before coming relatively close to a famous win over Romania. “We want to follow in their footsteps but we also want to compete, win games, be sure of ourselves. Our preparations are so different from everything we’ve had in the past. I’m not saying we’re going to win the tournament or anything like that, but we’re there to be competitive and if we do that we’ll make some surprises.” Continue reading...
September 9, 2023

‘Be very afraid’: what I learned from a 26-hour Ryanair delay

The Guardian’s former money editor endured two days of misery after he and others were bumped off an overbooked flight‘We paid £1,600’: UK passengers reveal flight cancellation woesHow to claim compensation for cancelled or delayed flightsOur summer holiday, in Spanish Galicia and northern Portugal, was glorious. But our return, on Ryanair, turned into disaster after the airline booked too many people on to the flight.What followed was two days of airport misery. Along the way we were surrounded by armed police and marched away; rerouted on two flights via another country; denied the food and drink we knew we were entitled to; got no sleep in a smoky and noisy hotel room; and repeatedly given contradictory information about our flights and our rights. Continue reading...
September 2, 2023

As quality gap closes, underdogs will have their day at 2023 Rugby World Cup | Will Hooley

Fiji and Georgia have already shown they can beat top countries but look out for Chile and Portugal to make wavesThe 2023 Rugby World Cup is set to be the most competitive tournament in the sport’s history. The gap between the top 10 and some of the old “Tier 2” nations is closing significantly, as England have already been reminded by Fiji at Twickenham. From personal experience, I sense there are several potentially awkward underdogs out there, weighed down with few expectations and eager to upset the odds in France.I was fortunate enough to play for the USA Eagles at the 2019 World Cup in Japan. When we played France in Fukuoka, we had Les Bleus on the precipice and were only 12-9 down approaching the final 10 minutes. If it hadn’t been for a late flurry, France would have been humiliated. Continue reading...
September 1, 2023

Transfer deadline day: Liverpool reject £150m Salah bid, Spurs agree £45m Johnson deal – live

The Rumour Mill | Transfer interactive | Deadline 11pm BSTAnd you can email John or tweet him with your thoughtsFulham are not confirming reports from Germany that they’ve accepted a €65m offer from Bayern Munich for João Palhinha. The day’s early, though, and the deal is expected to go through - assuming that Fulham, who have contacted Tottenham about Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg - can find a replacement for their influential midfielder.Losing Palhinha would be a huge blow for Marco Silva, who is desperate to keep the Portugal international. It’s been a weird window for Fulham. They’ve already lost Mitrovic to the Saudi Pro League and it will be interesting to see what Palhinha’s likely departure has on Silva’s future. Continue reading...
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