Rugby World Cup 2011: Ireland’s key man – Brian O’Driscoll

first_imgAs O’Driscoll says: “My most difficult period was in 2007‑08. I was named Player of the Six Nations in 2007 – but I had a long lay-off and didn’t play again that season. I came back very heavy and while I got into reasonable shape, that hurt me. I didn’t have it in the 2007 World Cup and never got going throughout 2008.”He certainly had it in 2009, though, and the pundits who had been writing his career obituaries at the turn of the year couldn’t have been more wrong. He scored six tries in eight Tests, led Ireland to a Grand Slam, won the Heineken Cup and starred for the Lions. He may be the wrong side of 30, but he is still going strong with plenty in the tank – hence his decision to sign for a further two years with Leinster and Ireland.“I’d planned maybe finishing after the World Cup this year, but the closer I got to it I was still enjoying my rugby so I didn’t see any reason to quit,” he says. “As long as I enjoy it and feel I still have the capabilities to perform to the level I want to, I’ll continue playing. I still have as much hunger and desire as I ever had, if not more. And I’m thoroughly enjoying my rugby.”Ireland also showed they still have plenty to offer when they beat England on the last day of this year’s Six Nations, so can O’Driscoll weave his magic at the World Cup and put the cherry on the top of the rich and wonderful cake of his career? You can never count him out.This article appeared in Part 1 of our Rugby World Cup Supplement.To get a copy of the supplement contact [email protected] Ireland centre Brian O’Driscoll (L) avoids the tackle from Jonathan Thomas of Wales during the Six Nations International rugby union match between Wales and Ireland at The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on March 12, 2011. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTONNOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE/RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images) Brian Gerald O’DriscollAge 32 (21 January 1979)Birthplace DublinPosition CentreWeight 5ft 10inHeight 15stProvince LeinsterIreland caps 112Ireland points 235 (44T, 5DG)O’Driscoll is the Six Nations top try-scorer with 25 to his nameIreland captain Brian O’Driscoll has a plethora of honours but has yet to taste World Cup success. Will things change in 2011?One look at his record confirms why Brian O’Driscoll was voted Player of the Decade for the 2000s by Rugby World readers last year. He is Ireland’s most-capped player, the nation’s most prolific try-scorer, has captained his country more than twice as many times as his nearest rival and in this year’s Six Nations broke the record for the number of championship touchdowns. He has won the Heineken Cup with Leinster, captained the Lions and led Ireland to a first Grand Slam in 61 years. He’s a legend, so what’s his secret?“I always try to improve,” says O’Driscoll. “You should work on your strengths as much as your weaknesses. You’re renowned for some good things – why not make them truly outstanding? Keep chipping away at the things you need to improve but if a player has great feet, brilliant defence or incredible composure, he should look to enhance those skills.”O’Driscoll is guaranteed a place in Irish rugby folklore as arguably their greatest player and captain of all time, but there is an element missing from his glittering career – he has never been a World Cup hero in the same way as Jonny Wilkinson, John Eales and the like.The 2011 World Cup will be O’Driscoll’s fourth and almost certainly his last, so it will be fitting if he and Ireland can shine in New Zealand. O’Driscoll bounced onto the World Cup stage in 1999 with a try against the USA. He was dubbed a “boy wonder” by the media, but Ireland’s campaign ended in a quarter-final play-off defeat by Argentina.By 2003 the emerging talent had blossomed and O’Driscoll was regarded as a brilliant attacking force with a deadly sidestep and vision to match, as well as an outstanding, bone-juddering defender who contributed as much as any back-rower at the breakdown.Ireland headed for the World Cup in Australia hoping to reach the semi-finals. O’Driscoll got on the scoreboard in the last group match, which Ireland lost 17-16 to the hosts. Early in the second half he outfoxed two defenders to touch down by the corner flag. He also dropped a goal and the Irish Independent said: “O’Driscoll strutted his stuff on this Melbourne stage as only he can, his try testimony to the rare talent he is.”That defeat left Ireland facing France in the quarter-finals and O’Driscoll’s two late tries were scant consolation as they lost 43-21. He said: “As I walked off the pitch there was nothing but a numbing sensation of acute disappointment.” Worse was to come at the next World Cup – much worse. Ireland went into France 2007 in red-hot form, tipped as potential champions. But from the outset it all went wrong for the O’Driscoll-led team. Ireland failed to recover their form after struggling to despatch Namibia (32-17) and Georgia (14-10) early on. They had come within a squeak of a Grand Slam earlier that year, but they were never at the races in France and crashed out before the knockout phase. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Or click here if you prefer a digital version of the magazineAnd if you’d like 50% off a subscription to Rugby World Magazine click herelast_img read more

England v Wales: The Preview

first_imgFinishersChris Ashton has cut a solitary figure out wide in England’s first two foreign forays, but he is undoubtedly a world-class finishing talent, so expect any glimmers of a half-chance to be snaffled up with relish by the wing. Ashton and David Strettle will have to use all of their defensive nous to keep the Welsh wide men at bay. Fergus McFadden and Greig Laidlaw have both found to their detriment in the first two games that getting in front of North and Cuthbert, is the easy part, but stopping them with a sniff of the tryline, is an altogether different proposition.VerdictOn paper, even though England have a home-advantage, it looks like Wales’ game to lose. They have more experience, power and shown more finishing prowess than the hosts to date, but sport has a funny way of upsetting the perceived natural order, and England, under Stuart Lancaster, will go into the game with nothing to lose. Expect the hosts to come out with credit after a valiant performance, but for the Welsh to take the game by four points. I’ll say, Wales 23-19 England. Enjoy the game!England v Wales, Twickenham, Saturday 25th February, ko: 4pm, LIVE BBC1England: Foden; Ashton, Tuilagi, Barritt, Strettle; Farrell, Dickson; Corbisiero, Hartley, Cole, Botha, Parling, Croft, Robshaw (capt), Morgan.Replacements: Webber, Stevens, Lawes, Dowson, Youngs, Flood, Brown.Wales: Halfpenny, Cuthbert, J Davies, Roberts, North, Priestland, Phillips, Jenkins, Owens, A Jones, AW Jones, Evans, Lydiate, Warburton, Faletau LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Coaching mind gamesUnusually, there have been no ‘famed’ Gatland barbs thrown in the direction of Twickenham. Not yet anyway. Whether that’s out of respect for rookie international coach, Stuart Lancaster, or whether he has encountered one public backlash too many – his comments about a prop faking an injury in the wake of the Rugby World Cup semi-final didn’t go down too well – no one will know, but for the moment, the mutual respect between opposing camps is almost unheard of.BackrowsDavid Strettle will be desperate for some attacking ballWales have their inspirational captain Sam Warburton back and we will soon see if his dead leg against Ireland has dulled any of his scavenging instincts around the breakdown. England’s own No 7, captain Chris Robshaw has acquitted himself well, but this will surely be the toughest test yet for a player who doesn’t regularly play at openside for his club, Harlequins. Elsewhere Tom Croft will be looking to get around the park and do his bit at the back of the lineout, while the destructive Ben Morgan will be hoping to smash a few holes in the Wales defensive line to free his support runners. Wales will assign Dan Lydiate to be  Morgan’s silent assassin, a brief he fulfilled so effectively against Sean O’Brien at the Rugby World Cup. Toby Faletau, who has been relatively quiet so far in the competition, will also be looking to make plenty of ball carries deep into England territory.HalfbacksMuch has been made of the fledgling England half-back combination, and rightly so. To say England’s No 9 and No 10 are wet behind the ears is an understatement, they have just three caps between them, so expect the always abrasive Mike Phillips to try and give Lee Dickson a verbal and physical assault for 80 mintues. If England can get on the front foot however, Dickson can provide the quick service to a flat-lying Owen Farrell to test the Wales backline. The duel between the seemingly nerveless Farrell and Rhys Priestland, who was similarily mistrusted for his inexperience before coping with such aplomb again England in August, will be fascinating. Free of the shackles of kicking responsibility, expect Priestland to be at his creative best, trying to unleash the Welsh juggernauts in midfield Manu Tuilagi will bring added ballast to the England midfield against WalesOwain Jones, Rugby World EditorThe big one. At least for those fans either side of Offa’s Dyke. 2012 is a very rare vintage in the recent history of these great rivals because Wales will amble out at Twickenham as nailed-on favourites, for only the second time in quarter-of-a-century. Even in 2008 where they gained a first win in 20 years, in the 26-19 win, Wales still went in as long-shots. This week, England have been trumpeted as underdogs, but history tells us the margins will be wafer-thin. England currently edge the all-time table with 56 victories to Wales’ 54, so expect a ‘seat of the pants’ thriller.New boys v big boysFollowers of the Red Rose may well shift uneasily in their seats when they realize this is England’s most inexperienced First XV since 1989. A bold selection by Stuart Lancaster sees an England side which has amassed just 182 caps between them, with seven starters boasting less than three caps. Compare this to Wales’ bench which has 230 caps and you can see why the visitors hold the advantage when it comes to experience. Another area Wales have the edge is size. Only Leigh Halfpenny stands under 6ft in their backline, and five of their backs, Mike Phillips, Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies, George North and Alex Cuthbert weigh in at over 16 stones. It is a truly gargantuan backline and England give away more than two stones a man to their adversaries, but the England defence is nothing if not resolute and they will not be giving yards away cheaplyPunchy: Mike Phillips will look to put pressure on DicksonSet-pieceOne of Wales’ few weak points is in the lineout. After misfiring all-too frequently during the Ireland and Scotland games, they will be hoping the inexperienced Ken Owens can find his jumpers on a regular basis. Warren Gatland will have certainly parachuted in the experienced Alun Wyn Jones to shore up any weaknesses. Correspondingly, Stuart Lancaster will want England debutant Geoff Parling to be delivering his team-mates with clean ball off the top and Dylan Hartley to be at his miscreant best, trying to upset the Welsh rhthym. Up front, Alex Corbisiero had his best game for England against Italy and Dan Cole is maturing into a fine tighthead, but they’ll be up against Lions props Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins, for who the term ‘world-class’ is regularly bandied about.center_img England’s Left Wing David Strettle (L) catches the ball as Scotland’s Dave Denton (R) comes in to make a tackle during the 6 Nations International rugby union match between Scotland and England at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland on February 4, 2012. England won the game 13-6. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images) Replacements: Hibbard, James, R Jones, Tipuric, L Williams, Hook, S WilliamsReferee: Steve Walshlast_img read more

Pershore – Team of the Month (October 2012)

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Run for your life! Pershore skipper Andy Jenkinson shows his pace against WoodrushTOMMY HAYES has been around the block but he never forgets the words of one of his first coaches, Waikato’s Kevin Greene. “He encouraged us to have the confidence to try things and lose that fear of failure,” says the much-travelled Cook Islander. “You think about Saturday’s game all week and then you only get 80 minutes to express yourself, so you must leave it all out on the pitch.”It’s a philosophy Hayes is imparting to great effect at Pershore, the Midlands Three West (South) club that he coaches with Toby Grace. The focus is on basic skills and sometimes Hayes will just throw a ball in the air and let people play. “We play with a smile on our face,” says Hayes, a greenkeeper who will be 39 this month. “It’s about having the confidence to play what’s in front of you and using the drills and exercises that you practise in the week.”Pershore made a shocking start to the season, leaking 60 and 74 points on successive league weekends, but an honesty session prompted a remarkable upsurge in fortunes. A superb win at second-placed Old Leamingtonians was the prelude to a perfect October, defeats of Old Wheatleyans (31-24), Shrewsbury (27-20, cup), Redditch (50-3) and Woodrush (34-0) propelling Pershore up the table.Canterbury KitbagsMartin Hope is a beast of a No 8 who scored two hat-tricks during the month, lightning wing Stefan Ellis is another potent scorer while loosehead Alex Peel typifies the rugged industry of a team in which Hayes himself has appeared at centre. He had last laced his boots in anger at Malvern a couple of years ago. Pershore are our October Team of the Month and receive a set of 22 Canterbury kitbags.center_img This article appeared in the January 2013 issue of Rugby World Magazine.Find a newsagent that sells Rugby World in the UK. Or you may prefer the digital edition on your MAC, PC, or iPad.last_img read more

Vern Cotter to Scotland could make for some serious drama

first_imgNow it seems that expectation is set at the feet of Clermont Auvergne’s Vern Cotter.The New Zealander is a man who refuses to play by new age rules, saying the bare minimum to the press before, during and sometimes even after matches. He is focused on his rugby and lets his players do the talking for him. He needs to see them performing and they have done, impressing with a style of rugby that has pundits wantonly spouting superlatives.He has been seen to smile, though only ever when his team are playing gorgeous tiki-taka rugby, and you can only imaging the grueling work done to get that team to the point where they can swish passes to each other in the most crushing of environments.If it were Cotter for the Scots it would be a marriage of the odd couple, with the eagerly beaming Johnson overlooking the work of the focused, dead-set Kiwi.Serious Scotland: Skipper Kelly BrownEvery team needs balance. What would make this arrangement interesting would be if Johnson gave his coach complete autonomy once the Australian has stated the style he wants, only stepping in to interact and make sure the arrangement is one that works well for all parties involved.There is much to be discussed yet, with Cotter still hoping to avenge the Heineken Cup final loss to Toulon by winning a Top 14 semi-final against Castres and then triumphing in the final on June 29. By this point Johnson will be South Africa-bound with his last posting as Scotland’s head coach in the quadrangular tournament against the hosts, Italy and Samoa, before climbing a wee stepladder to get to his post of Director of Rugby. PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 16: Scottish Captain, Kelly Brown encourages his team during the RBS Six Nations match between France and Scotland at Stade de France on March 16, 2013 in Paris, France. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images) A serious guy: Vern Cotter could be the straight man to Scott Johnson’s entertaining talker within the Scotland campBy Alan DymockGREEK THEATRE is fabled for its two set genres of play, the tragedy and comedy.In sport, as in life, though, there can be both elements coming together in a beautifully sweet moment during an incredibly sad time. In Scotland the hope could well be that the super serious and the chortle inducing come together in their rugby structure.Black humour dictates that when times were tough, Scottish fans were prone to laughing at themselves for the sake of not crying.  Now times look slightly better and smiles are painted across the north there needs to be an injection of seriousness, drive and rigid adherence to the rules of winning.A man walks into a press room…: JohnsonScott Johnson, the grinning Australian who helped Scotland off their knees after some dull losing performances of the past, all the while feeding the press pack some delicious lines as they yapped at his heals, needs a head coach.After bringing in Ospreys forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys – a man described as a serious sort and harder than a concrete boxing glove – a list of potential head coaches was drawn up.At first it was assumed that outgoing Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie was favourite for the post, but he quickly established that there were no communications between him and the Scots.Then it was mooted that Canterbury Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder, a man who had rattled more than a few cages while in Edinburgh with the Gunners, would be the silver disciplinarian for Scotland. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS It remains to be seen if Cotter will end up being the man who wants the international posting. If he does he will be the firm, frowning mask to Johnson’s grinning veneer; a good cop, bad cop pairing that can shout and smile Scotland towards playing the way that wins Test matches regularly.If Clermont’s coach does want the role, Johnson could be crying with happiness.last_img read more

Ireland v Wales preview: Where the match will be won and lost

first_imgWith Ireland depleted through injury, can Joe Schmidt’s men make a successful start to the tournament, or can Wales spoil the atmosphere at the Aviva? For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here. Ireland and Wales’ simmering Celtic rivalry will resurface on Sunday when Warren Gatland and his experienced squad across the Irish Sea to Dublin to take on Joe Schmidt’s depleted Ireland, as the men in green look for the perfect start to their campaign in their quest to become the first side to win three successive Six Nations titles.As ever between these two teams, there are a number of intriguing match-ups that will go a long way towards deciding the final result.Jonathan Sexton vs Dan BiggarThe former undisputed champion of northern hemisphere fly-halves lining up opposite one of the standout performers of the World Cup. The battle between Sexton and Biggar, based on their last six months of rugby, is weighted heavily in favour of the Welshman.Biggar’s kicking at goal and from hand has been exemplary this season, as has been his play on the gain-line, whilst his now trademark kick and receive are a weapon that few, if any, other fly-halves have at their disposal. With Biggar playing like this, it’s no surprise that Ireland have turned to GAA coaches to help them master the aerial game in their preparation for this fixture.No quarter given: Johnny Sexton drives Dan Biggar back into the turf in 2013Unlike Biggar, Sexton has been grasping for form since the RWC. Injuries, including further concussion concerns, and a faulty radar with his tactical kicking have seen Sexton struggle in a misfiring Leinster side. If he can reproduce the form of their Christmas Pro12 encounter, where he outshone Biggar, Ireland can prosper.Same scrum contest, new combatantsThe Welsh front row was bullied at the World Cup but with Samson Lee beginning to return to top form and the in-form Rob Evans drafted in at loosehead, their prospects look much better in the Six Nations. Gethin Jenkins has been an incredible servant to Welsh rugby over the last 14 years but he has fallen foul of Jerome Garces, the French referee, on several occasions. Evans may not yet have the international experience, but he is worthy of a Six Nations start as Wales build towards 2019.Getting the nudge: Both scrums will be confident of outmuscling the other at scrum timeTaking on Lee will be Ireland’s Jack McGrath. The Leinster loosehead has impressed in the province’s topsy-turvy season and has now arguably surpassed Cian Healy as Ireland’s best scrummaging loosehead. Lee and McGrath’s battle will be compelling, but it’s in the match-up between Evans and Nathan White where Wales may be able to exploit a weakness in the Irish front row.With Mike Ross and Marty Moore both injured, Schmidt has been forced to resort to his third-choice tighthead and White’s experience has earned him the nod over Tadhg Furlong. If Evans can keep his feet underneath him and match Lee’s low body height on the other end of the front row, Wales could work a significant advantage at the scrum. Too close to call: There’s not been much to separate Ireland and Wales in recent years center_img LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Battle of the breakdownWith Peter O’Mahony and Sean O’Brien both missing through injury, not to mention the retirement of Paul O’Connell, Ireland’s pack, particularly their makeshift back row, will have a heavy workload keeping up with their Welsh counterparts. CJ Stander is set to make his debut on the blindside and has the work-rate and ball-carrying to excel in the role but arguably lacks the breakdown nous of an O’Mahony or O’Brien, leaving Tommy O’Donnell to shoulder a lot of work on Sunday.Nuisance: Justin Tipuric caused Ireland problems in their last game at the AvivaWales, on the other hand, have a full array of back-row options at their disposal. Gatland has opted for two opensides, picking Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric, with the clear intent of dominating on the deck at the Aviva Stadium. The addition of Tipuric should negate Jenkins’s omission as a breakdown specialist and the resulting loss of turnover potential in the Welsh pack.Tipuric’s inclusion does come at the cost of Dan Lydiate and though Lydiate isn’t the archetypal fetcher, he brings a lot to the contact area. Whilst Warburton and Tipuric feast on turning over opposition ball, Lydiate’s chop tackling is very damaging. Warburton, who is short of game-time, has said he’ll ‘blow a gasket’ and if he’s tiring, what better than a British and Irish Lion to enter the fray.Wales to get off the perfect start?On paper, Wales look to have a great chance of picking up all-important momentum in Dublin. Gatland’s XV boasts plenty of experience, whilst also bolstering problem positions with in-form players such as Evans and Tom James. With three wins from their last six games in Ireland, Wales are also a side that doesn’t get overrawed by the partisan Irish crowd.Picking on form: Tom James has made it back into the Wales squad after a five-year absenceAs for Ireland, expectations have been raised following their last two campaigns, but given the plethora of injuries the squad is currently enduring, expectations of a third successive title may need to be tempered.last_img read more

England 58-15 Fiji: Talking points from the game

first_imgWidening player pool: Players like Elliot Daly are now comfortable in the England set-upEngland’s win streak has been extended to 12 games, more players have been blooded in the Test arena and are showing signs of thriving in the environment and the experience levels of the group continue to rise as they aim to peak in three years’ time in Japan.A win over Fiji shouldn’t prompt the champagne corks being popped, but just as the victory over South Africa was a week ago, another step forward has been taken by England. Making an impression: Semesa Rokoduguni scored two tries against Fiji By Alex ShawAnother game down, another win added to the streak.Yes, England collected their 12th consecutive victory on Saturday – their 11th under Eddie Jones – when they wrapped up a 58-15 defeat of a disjointed Fijian side at Twickenham, but just how much can the Australian take from it?It’s a hard performance from England to accurately quantify.Aerial contest: England and Fiji compete at the lineoutFor all that England did well offensively, Fiji’s lack of organisation defensively – given their lack of preparation time – mitigated it.That said, they can only beat the team in front of them and this game marked the end of a tendency that England have had for some time now of playing down to their opponent.For the most part, Jones’ men kept their concentration up and played at a good level throughout the game, but the notable exceptions were the 10 minutes prior to half time and the five minutes following it.Defensive lapsesThat 15-minute spell saw England concede 15 points via three tries, offering up only three points in opposition. Both Nemani Nadolo and Leone Nakarawa are due credit for their effective attacking play during that period but it was a lack of concentration and communication on defence that soured an otherwise very encouraging performance.This is the area where England will have significant work to do ahead of the visit of Argentina to Twickenham on Saturday.Defence coach Paul Gustard was brought in to instil the high intensity press that Saracens display week in, week out and whilst there have been flashes of it, it is yet to be fully embedded within the squad. The line speed is getting there and the outside blitzes that force play back inside are beginning to emerge, but the communication and trust is still short of where it needs to be.Defensive lapses: Metuisela Talebula was one of three try scorers as England switched offIt’s here, above all other areas, where Maro Itoje, George Kruis and James Haskell have been most missed this autumn, despite Chris Robshaw continuing to rise to even higher standards of play with his defensive work rate and leadership.Missed tackles are a misleading metric without the context of when and how they occurred within the game, but England’s return of 80% completed tackles – 25 missed – was not good enough, even against an opponent as adept at breaking and evading tackles as Fiji.English pressure toldThe contrast to that – and the start of the positives for England from Saturday’s encounter – is that they forced Fiji to an even lower number, with the Pacific Islanders completing just 65% of their tackles.England ran with purpose and power for the 65 minutes of the game that sandwiched their defensive lapses and amassed 126 metres more than Fiji with ball-in-hand. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: Highlight England ran up their 12th win in a row at a packed out Twickenham with a big win over Fiji, and while there were many good points, there is still improvement to be made Running the show: England had far more possession than FijiJones had said England would bore Fiji to death if necessary and two tries did come directly from driving lineouts but it was the efficiency and ability to quickly generate width when running the ball, a hallmark of Fijian rugby, that caught the eye about the England performance.Ball retention was also impressive, just as it had been against South Africa a week previous. For all the tries, self-belief and set-piece stability that has come with Jones and his new coaching team, England’s ability to protect their own ball has been the most important development under the Australian’s stewardship.Second-choice starters performed wellThe new starters – Teimana Harrison, Semesa Rokoduguni and Alex Goode – all took their chances well and have put their hands up for consideration for selection against Argentina this week.Harrison put himself about in the first half, matching the Fijians’ physicality with his own and dispelled the memories of his showing in Australia earlier in the year. He was pulled for Nathan Hughes early in the second half and the Fijian-born loose forward carried on right from where Harrison left off in the first half. Both players should be in contention with Tom Wood for the seven jersey this week.Meat pie time: Alex Goode conducted himself well in place of Mike BrownGoode’s performance was noteworthy, with his tendency to take the ball to the line in two hands constantly causing the Fijian defence problems. He cruised in for a try, directly set up another and contributed to two more by joining the back line and bringing his playmaking skills to bear.Mike Brown has yet to let Jones down in an England jersey but Goode could not have done much more on Saturday to push the Harlequin for his starting spot. A misjudge on the opening kick-off aside, Goode was the epitome of security and counter-attacking threat at the back for England.Roko grasped his opportunityThe one new addition to the XV who may have done enough to push his way into Jones’ favoured starters was Rokoduguni. The Lance Corporal gouged the Fijian defence for big gains and two tries, thoroughly deserved his man of the match award and offered a more physical presence than England’s regular wings, not least so because of his piston-like handoff.Too hot to handle: Semesa Rokoduguni carried for 139 metres against FijiWith Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell still injured, there’s every chance Rokoduguni retains his spot for the visit of the Pumas, with Elliot Daly and Marland Yarde also in the mix.England will likely revert to type to take on Argentina, fielding a XV similar to the one that took on South Africa, but a fit-again Jonathan Joseph and in-form Rokoduguni are strong bets to feature, whilst the training ground battles between Goode and Brown and the trio of Hughes, Harrison and Wood will be fun to watch this week.England broaden their skill-setsThe overall takeaway for Jones and his coaches will be a positive one, despite the defensive frailties in the middle of the game.Key areas of the English game that have been perennial problems ever since their triumph at the 2003 Rugby World Cup, such as efficient handling, ball retention and decision-making, are all improving.last_img read more

Rugby In A War Zone

first_img“Everybody saw them play – they were young but tackling like men. So rugby is perfect to gather people from different societies, different ways of living in the camp. Rugby can reduce the differences between them.”His proudest moment? Seeing youths leave camps for rugby “scholarships”, earning discounted university places.Rough road: A burned Ukrainian tank, 2015 (Getty Images)UKRAINE“The situation in the region has stabilised and military operations are almost over,” says Igor Yurkin of the Russian military intervention in Ukraine that began in 2014.Yurkin is a big figure in both union and league around Donetsk. “The conflict is now just smouldering. It does not increase but it does not end either. The Donetsk region was divided into two parts – a part controlled by Ukraine and the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic. Donetsk resembles the grey zone, like the unrecognised republic of Transnistria.”Related: Rugby photos to make you smileIn such areas, it is unsurprising that information on manoeuvres and political machinations would be tightly controlled. But take a walk down memory lane and the spirited Yurkin will happily tell you that before the occupation of Donetsk in 2014, the booming Tigers of Donbass youth club totalled 250 kids and 50 adult athletes and veterans. There were branches in Donetsk (three), in Avdeevka, Pesky, Makeevka, Yasinovataya and Krasnoarmeysk. They played the last Rugby Championship of the Donetsk region in Avdeevka in April 2014, after which hostilities began.He also says that while circumstance and financial hardships have meant a rocky upbringing for the sport that first arrived there in 1985, “today rugby in Donetsk is experiencing a fifth revival.Collective: Rugby teams in Donbass (Igor Yurkin)“In 2014, when hostilities began, it hit rugby’s development hard. In Donetsk there remains one branch, which is trained on a voluntary basis. In territory controlled by Ukraine, rugby is left only in Pokrovsk. In 2015, a branch opened in Belozersk thanks to immigrants from Donetsk. In 2017, myself and Vladimir Lysenko created the Hard Sign club and in 2019 the Mariupol club started.“There were also attempts to create branches in Aleksandrovka, Kramatorsk, Slavyansk, but they were unsuccessful. Here is such a difficult fate for rugby in the Donetsk region.”Admirably, they keep rebuilding.BURUNDITHOUGH THE civil war erupted with a president’s assassination in 1993, the people of Burundi were no strangers to festering tensions, with a history of conflict between forces wishing to direct evil at ethnic groups: the Hutu or Tutsi.As Céléstin Mvutsebanka, general secretary of the Burundi rugby federation, says: “The period has been characterised by a socio-political crisis which began with the assassination of Melchior Ndadaye in 1993 – the first elected president and first Hutu to reach this position in independent Burundi. But the crisis has its deep roots in the mismanagement of post-independence Burundi (a Belgian colony until 1962).”Landlocked Burundi, neighbouring Rwanda, has known true horrors. Mvutsebanka says there was “an unprecedented tearing of the ethno-social fabric, exacerbating the tensions between Hutu and Tutsi” and that things did not de-escalate until the start of the 2000s, with the signing of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement in Arusha, Tanzania, and then the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement of 2003.“During this year of civil war, rugby like any other sport posted a negative record,” Mvutsebanka adds. “The Ceasefire Agreement allowed the entry of the CNDD-FDD into the transitional government and, with its leader Pierre Nkurunziza, to take the reins of the country, after the victory in the August 2005 elections. A new area is opening up for rugby and other sports in Burundi.”Today Burundians are pushing the message of social cohesion and reconciliation. “Rugby has become the gateway to connecting different social trends,” says Mvutsebanka. “The creation of clubs almost everywhere in the country justifies a desire to mobilise a population who were at war for so long to be reconciled around the oval ball.”White crowns: Kids in Rumonge (Burundian Rugby Federation)He praises the involvement of political elites in Burundian sport. However, the nation saw fresh unrest in April 2015 when Nkurunziza declared his intention to run for a third term – an election he duly won. Critics called the move “unconstitutional”. Last year a UN commission called the government out for human rights abuses, while it’s been reported that more than a thousand people were killed during two years of unrest and that over 400,000 citizens fled the country.It has since been stated that Nkurunziza will not run for re-election in May’s polls.Politics aside, the union are sanguine. Rugby was introduced by European aid workers in the Seventies and the union was founded in 2001; there are now 12 top men’s clubs and seven for women. Mvutsebanka says up to 50 teams have competed to date in the inter-school championship.Fostering ties across ethnic and class boundaries are a core tenet, the union say. Go to any youth event and you can see kids holding up white cards “as a symbol of peace”. In Rumonge the innovative children will also wear white paper crowns.This feature first appeared in Rugby World magazine in April. (Getty Images) Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALScenter_img Rugby In A War ZoneMARTYR DAY, in May 2014. Samer Al-Akhras will never forget it.“I was a newly married man, so I was out with my new wife when the opposition started shelling the city,” the proud Syrian says. “Mortars landed near the restaurant we were in and a woman and her two teenager daughters were wounded. I went outside to provide first aid – I volunteered with Red Crescent for 12 years – and after providing the first aid, an ambulance arrived to take them.“Another mortar fell and gifted me 1,200 (pieces of) shrapnel in my whole body. Five of them caused me bleeding inside the chest. Yeah, I was wounded.”The woman, her daughters and all at the restaurant survived. But Al-Akhras’s abiding memory is not of falling horror in Damascus that day but of the bonds of rugby. Now administration manager for the Syrian men’s national 15s, Al-Akhras had only been playing for five months when team-mates from the Zenobians club rushed to his bedside. Overseeing his recovery, they allowed his wife to continue working and tend to family.Flick on the news and the nightmares of conflict are unavoidable. But in all the darkness, rugby has offered some light. These are stories of how some around our mad world have turned to the sport…Aftermath: A mortar attack in Damascus, 2014 (Getty Images)SYRIAAL-AKHRAS TALKS to us over Skype, however it takes time to make the connection. Damascus is experiencing one of their regular blackouts and he has to find one of the few internet cafés with power. Yet despite the ongoing civil war that began in 2011, he is upbeat.No longer with his wife, they have a daughter named Souriana – “I named her after the country. I consider her the youngest rugby fan in Syria!”His positivity pours from the pixels, even as he explains that power cuts are part of life here.Shelling was no real surprise either. He explains that between 2012 and 2018, if it was a sunny day, you’d expect mortars from the likes of the Jaysh al-Islam militia.Al-Akhras tells another story of a day when the Al-Fayha’a sports city, where the rugby team train, was shelled. No one from their side was hurt, but there were horrific casualties for the judo team in the complex then, with their head coach and three athletes killed.In this environment, Al-Akhras calls it a “miracle” rugby has taken root. Now also an English instructor and humanitarian logistics adviser, he has seen the game flower in Damascus and Swida’a, and loves the efforts to take the game to more people in Syria. Team-mates may not know it, but he also credits them with helping him to recover from the psychological trauma of being wounded.Positive: Syrian women’s players (Syria Rugby)“I can’t explain the mix of feelings when you find all the rugby players in Syria behind you, whatever happened to you,” he tells Rugby World. “It’s not only helping me but it’s restoring the faith in humanity through rugby.“There’s also a guy who plays with us. He was called for military service so that meant leaving his family behind, a mother, wife and two little kids. So the whole team is looking after them.“This loyalty reflects onto him and today he’s fighting to find himself a place in the national team. He’s giving everything in the sessions to prove that he deserves it and he’s not missing any training. That is because of the unity and the family spirit we have within the rugby community in Syria.”Related: Rugby project around the world celebrated in new issueInternational sanctions mean it is difficult to find sponsors for their game. The improvements since 2014 are real. The Syrians are waiting for more help.PALESTINETHERE ARE unique challenges in bringing a diaspora of talent together under a flag, particularly in a region known for enmity. And according to Rabie El Masri, the president of the Palestinian Rugby Federation, it is far easier to organise get-togethers in the area known by some as Occupied Palestinian Territory, where there is better field access and greater numbers spread amongst two established teams. But bringing outsiders into Palestine or taking insiders out, is far, far trickier.“‘Palestinian Refugees of Lebanon’ do not have the right to enter Palestine,” he says with a wry laugh. El Masri himself is a third-generation refugee, the second generation to be born in Lebanon, but because of his national status as being of Palestinian heritage, he says he can never represent Lebanon in any sports.He goes on: “But Palestinians who live in Palestine don’t have the right to enter Lebanon too, unless we (arrange it) with an ambassador orget special authorisation.“So to gather for a (sevens event) in November in Jordan, we had the Palestinian refugees – which was difficult for visas and tickets – four players, and we had some from Palestine and more from Jordan. They were very motivated because it was all new for them.”Groundbreaking: The Beit Jala Lions, 2008 (Getty Images)An odyssey for recognition and a scramble to widen the player base began as an idea for El Masri while studying in France and has since led to him canvassing across Asia.He can sense the need to push rugby, particularly in the refugee camps in Lebanon where, in the late 2000s Time wrote of “forgotten people” and Amnesty International saw “appalling social and economic conditions”.El Masri tells us: “Rugby is a game with values that I need to give to youth in the camps. It helps build spirit and respect. It’s not always if you have a problem with someone that we have to use arms. In rugby you play physically and are still friends. These are courageous youths. In the darkest corners of a conflicted world, we discover how rugby has created a bit of light. This feature first appeared in Rugby World in April.last_img read more

England will not ban ‘Swing Low’ from Twickenham

first_imgThe union will move to educate supporters about the song LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS In full voice: England fans at Twickenham (Getty Images) England will not ban ‘Swing Low’ from TwickenhamEngland fans will not be banned from singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot when they eventually return to Twickenham.It was announced by the Rugby Football Union that they will use social media to educate supporters in addition to “providing platforms for diverse voices across the game”. It is also understood that the lyrics will no longer be shown on screens around the stadium on a matchday and the union has stopped selling merchandise that references the song.In June, the RFU said they would review the song’s use because of its historic links to slavery.Related: Six Nations Fixtures 2020Andy Cosslett, the union’s chair, said: “The RFU needs to step up its efforts to improve diversity and inclusion across our game. We are living through testing times, but this will not deter us from grasping the opportunity to better reflect the society we live in.center_img “We have worked hard to understand our starting point and are now under way with a plan that we are confident will produce big improvements in our diversity and inclusion over the next few years. Related: The British & Irish Lions And Music“Rugby union has always prided itself as being a ‘game for all’… we must now demonstrate beyond any doubt that we mean it.”It is understood that the RFU has also given the men’s and women’s national teams blessing to kneel before their upcoming fixtures, in support of Black Lives Matter movement. Furthermore, they say they are committed to having two black, Asian and minority ethnic members on its board – currently of 14 people – by 2022 and ensuring it has at least 30% female representation. Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.last_img read more

A tribute to rugby fans

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS A tribute to rugby fansFans. Rugby fans. What would we do without them? Sadly, we are now finding out. Rugby is being played in ghost grounds, with just a mere splattering of coaches and coaching back-up, a few television technicians and a row or two of journalists. It is uncannily quiet and profoundly unsatisfying, even though some of the rugby being played has been excellent.But without the colourful cavalcade in their hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands, in the stadiums and towns and cities where the matches take place (or in their tens or hundreds in the amateur game), it seems that half the spectacle and almost all the sense of occasion has stayed at home along with them.Where have we missed them most? Everywhere. Rewind a few months to the end of last season. Imagine the noise that would have greeted Leinster sealing the Guinness Pro14 against Ulster. Exeter’s win over Toulouse in the Heineken Champions Cup semi-final deserved a crowd as big as the Maracana, let alone the 14,000 they can pack in at Sandy Park.The Scarlets have their own memories. Two seasons ago when they played La Rochelle at home, the stadium was absolutely bouncing, with the stirring Yma O Hyd ringing all around West Wales. A stark contrast to the bleak silence of their first home game of this Pro14 season against Munster.Fans. At Twickenham on match day, journalists tend to arrive very early. I try to be in the media box four hours before kick-off, and not just because Andrew, the media box steward, serves lunch before the game. It is just that there is a fair amount to do and to contemplate.As kick-off approaches, we will have heard the anthems being rehearsed – God Defend New Zealand, or to be accurate God Defend New Zee-hee-land, does get you just a little upon fifth repetition. We will also hear God Save the Queen at least five times as well, and loud roaring as the men or women on the microphones warm up their tonsils.Empty feeling: Giant flags have replaced fans in the Twickenham stands (Getty Images)However, nothing of any note happens whatsoever, there is no sense of occasion and no adrenalin, until the fans arrive. Admittedly, way too many of you leave it way too near the kick-off to come in. You also crash and totter back and forth refilling your glasses during the game.But nothing you could say in pre-match analysis, either written or on broadcast media, nothing you could lay on before a game, could possibly create the tension and the expectancy like all you lot arriving in your hordes.“Major stadiums are called the cathedrals of the game. But what are cathedrals without congregations? Just hollow and soulless old buildings”It is the same for every ground, at any level, anywhere in rugby. The great journalist Ian Wooldridge called the major stadiums “cathedrals of the game” and he was dead right. But what are cathedrals without congregations? Just hollow and soulless old buildings.And that is the savage drawback of rugby right now. We must admire those rugby bodies and organisers and medical staff and security men and planners and everyone involved in getting rugby on in the Gallagher Premiership and the Pro14 and the Autumn Nations Cup and now the 2021 Six Nations.If we did not have television money at present then we would not have much money at all, and how the treasurers must wince in agony to see 80,000 empty seats at Twickenham or 15,000 at the Rec or 25,000 at Thomond Park or to see Parc y Scarlets completed denuded. There is no one to blame bar the beastly virus. But no fans, no show.Travelling support: A France fan in Scotland for last year’s Six Nations match (SNS Group/Getty Images)Fans are lovable for their sheer good nature and patience. The game long ago stopped prioritising them. Ticket prices have gone through the roof, and after Covid-19 they will be in the stratosphere, no doubt. They shunt kick-off times for the benefit of television, probably to hours when you might be having some family time or be otherwise engaged. This article originally appeared in the December 2021 edition of Rugby World magazine.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They have stuck with the horror of Sunday Internationals where the numbers of travelling fans have been brutally cropped and the atmosphere diminished, and they have even staged those horrible Friday evening kick-offs, in cities that are already at a standstill with Friday evening traffic.Fans? Buy your tickets and be quiet. But still, those supporters are undaunted.Frankly, I love you all. I love what you bring, the comments, the occasional barbs. The lack of friction with opponents. If I have one objection it lies in the rather pompous shushing when someone is having a kick at goal, a practice that is most prevalent amongst crowds who then resort to lack of sportsmanship and utter mercilessness. But thankfully, they are incredibly few and far between.Fans. I love you when we are having a few quiet evenings in our hotel Down Under on a British & Irish Lions tour, then the next night you come down and 10,000 people dressed in red are queueing for the bar, delaying the lifts, but spending hard-earned cash and deserving to lap up every millisecond.You even have to love the fans in Hong Kong. You realise after a couple of visits to the sevens that none of the hysterical roars that come from the huge bank of fancy-dressed loonies down the end, are related to the action on the field – but they have paid their money, they add to the colour, they can do whatever they like.Full house: Fans at the Hong Kong Sevens (Getty Images)Probably, I fell in love with fans when I was one myself. At school, Mr Harries – our sports master – would be standing in the corridor with a handful of blue tickets given to him by Newport RFC. These were the complimentary tickets through which we became devoted followers of the Black-and-Ambers, and in turn that is one of the reasons why I knew in my heart that regional rugby in Wales would never work, and it has not.Some seasons, we hardly missed a home game, went on the supporters’ bus to a good few away games. We stood in the Shed at Gloucester as teenagers, wearing our Newport scarves, taking all the stick going but never feeling in the least anxious. And now even the Shed has been empty, and what use is an empty Shed?My first job in journalism was on this magazine as a tyro. I always used to go to Cardiff Arms Park and stand on the North terrace and when I became a journalist, I declared to my friends that I would never leave them, I would always stand with them on the terrace.I did it once, then tried – as an experiment – my media box ticket. Blimey. It was a great view, none of the jostling, and a free lunch. I have to admit that I turned my back on the terraces, never to return. Two-faced, maybe. But metaphorically at least, I was still down there with them. And I still am. Rugby without fans is a film without dialogue, or without scenery.Fans. You have all been grievously missed, and the day you all come charging back in (safely), will be the day when rugby becomes itself again.Armchairs are all very well. Being there is everything. Packed: Ireland supporters celebrate as Jordan Larmour scores against Wales in 2020 (Sportsfile/Getty Images) As the absence of crowds is felt throughout sport, Rugby World columnist Stephen Jones hails the game’s lifeblood – supporters TAGS: Featured last_img read more

Presiding Bishop’s Christmas Message 2012

first_img TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Posted Dec 13, 2012 Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Joseph F Foster says: The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Thad Day says: Fr. Mark Kowalewski says: Jim Stockton says: Comments navigation Newer comments Doug Desper says: December 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm I have often noticed that many official and recommended communications from our leaders are very plain and clear in language regarding goals of social activism, reimagining the faith, and in the promotion of progressive (otherwise liberal) causes. Bad guys and good guys are clearly noted in language that can’t be mistaken. But, when the opportunity presents to clearly claim Jesus as the singular hope of the world and the promised Saviour I often find that the language is nuanced – and negligent to clearly celebrate Jesus Christ’s unique and superior place in comparison to all other claims. Today, we hear about some “child”. Yes – we get it (most of us). Jesus is hidden in that word “child” (not even with a capital “c” to distinguish this one as unqiue and greater from another child). I do not appreciate such equivocation in a message that goes on at length to describe human experience without once naming the Name of Jesus Christ. Of course, that some are not bothered is also revealing. Call me “old fashioned”, but on Jesus’ birthday we should at least use His Name – after all the PB attached her name clearly at the end. Does Jesus not deserve equal recognition? If we all know who ‘the child” is, why not just sign the letter “Your Presiding Bishop” since we all know who she is too? God forbid – it indeed looks like we are nearly liturgical Unitarians for relying on such cautious, unoffensive tones with such predictable regularity from year to year, and message to message. Coleen Tully says: Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA December 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm You all are a real mess! Shame on you!Why do you want to argue, smear, denigrate the season of Christmas with your petty bickering? Charles Sacquety says: Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector Tampa, FL Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Featured Events Advent, Rector Albany, NY Linda Gosling says: December 13, 2012 at 5:03 pm Re the two preceeding comments, you fellows are behind the times. The statement is pretty good for a denimination whose leadership has more confidence in the Wholely Trendy than the Holy Trinity. Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Joyce Ann Edmondson says: December 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm Now-now-now-now-now-now-now, gentlemen; temper, temper, temper, temper! Obviously, all this was originally meant to be just a tiny part of a much larger ceremony, a Midnight Mass, say, where Lord Christ was going to get mentioned plenty of other times already, and smart speakers don’t want to come across as one note. I very briefly met Mother Schori when she was here for the Ordination of Bishop Young the June before last here in Knoxville, and I found her piety, powers, and legitimacy to be well beyond even the most sarcastic questioning. And I’ll cheerfully take her Charismas of Healing over the far more Grim Ministrations of, say, Benedict Second-to-Last-Supergrinch-Ever (who I suspect is the real motor behind most of the comments here), and his Forbidden Mystical Spray Can of Mercedes-Benz Color Code #048 (actually originally intended for Steve Jobs and wealthy Arabs, it turns out mostly), and his Dark Disciplinary Notes telling every Catholic in the world to basically just go jump off a cliff somewhere tomorrow – as a big fan of the Pre-trib Rapture, hardly the eventual Sleigh Ride that I’m looking forward to someday!Anyway, Merry, uh, Happy Holidays! (=_=) Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR December 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm iT’S RIGHT THERE . . . .“And rejoice, for a child of the light is born in our midst!” December 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm Yes, I know that it is for the initiated, but there does appear to be some desire to not offend those who feel uncomfortable with mentioning the name of Jesus as the focus of that divine enfleshment. Not once in the letter does the PB mention the name of Jesus. Secularists and atheists have no problem associating the name of Jeus and the witness/testimony to the unique historical act that is the witness of the Gospels, why should a leader in the church? “A child of the light” is way too nebulous. From the preceding statements in the letter that could be anyone who has hope that there is some light at the end of/in the darkness. December 14, 2012 at 12:27 am God’s gift to the whole world, His only begotten Son, was to free us from bondage of devil. To free spiritual bondage was not easy task and Christ had to pay the price by His blood. That is why He is called Christ the savior and every head must bow for gratitude to take His name. Darkness is caused by blindness of our inner eyes due to evil power and light of Jesus Christ empowered thru His victory over death was able to open our inner eyes and be saved by seeing and following Christ’s footsteps. Thru baptism with water and Holy Spirit we become member of “Christ Club”, a part of His body, the Church. The world definitely be peaceful as long everybody believe Him and follow His command. There would be no hunger; wealth would be evenly distributed thru generosity by remembering God’s gift to free our conscience from devil’s power. Merry Christmas to all. December 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm The reference to Jesus IS there…. and at th time this was written, theoriginal hearer did not yet know WHO this Child { Jesus} wa to be named. This was a prophecy made generations before te time of Christ’s birth.And , anyone ho ha ever been to an Episcopal church kows that our approach to Divine Liturgy is far from ” Wholely Trendy”. Anne Ferguson says: Donna Maree says: December 13, 2012 at 10:54 am Let’s try not to be too critical of our sister in Christ. Different approaches work differently with different groups. It was obvious to me she meant the birth of Jesus, especially in her Christmas message. If this same critique was used for John 1: 1-14 we might say it was “lacking.” Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Jesus! “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1: 1-2) Tags Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Presiding Bishop’s Christmas Message 2012 ‘Discover the love of God poured into our world in human form’ Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Joyce Ann Edmondson says: Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 December 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm Why are some people who can’t stand the Episcopal Church so preoccupied with everything the Episcopal Church does? I really wonder about that. John Morgan says: December 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm I find it fascinating that so many of the comments focus on the lack of the name Jesus. I am an Episcopalian. I changed from Catholicism to the Episcopal faith several years ago. There is a freedom here to have a view that differs from that of your leaders. I believe Jesus should have been mentioned also. However, I have the deepest love and respect for some of the most inclusive and justice oriented leaders and pastors in my church. My Aunt, who was a Catholic nun and a very devote follower of God, supported my decision to make this change of churches. Why is it so frightening that Jesus came for us all? Why isn’t it okay for people to get there when they do, and why is it that we think we have all the answers. None of us have all the answers. Katharine Jefferts Schori is a wonderful presiding bishop who will be retiring soon. A little respect for her would be appreciated.God Bless. Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL December 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm Jesus, I really appreciate our PB’s understanding, Jesus, that the child born in Bethlehem, i.e. Jesus, was the prophesied branch, boulder, lamb, stream of living water, and, Jesus, follow that pre-Christian and post-nativity tradition that appreciates that Jesus was and is, Jesus, so much more than…well…just Jesus. How rich our scriptures and traditions for their wide range of expressions that, as broad and deep, Jesus, can barely provide a hint of all that is the Chrld of Light (i.e. Jesus). Jeffrey Sharp says: December 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm One may want until the Feast of the Epiphany to celebrate it but this birth is for the whole world. We have a message to deliver to the whole world. “Peace to people of good will” may well exclude some people – because they exclude themselves. One does not need to be a member of the club to celebrate deliverance from darkness. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori Rector Washington, DC John Morgan says: December 29, 2012 at 7:47 am Perhaps some feel that the Episcopal church is also theirs..it’s everyones duty to hold church leaders to the true word. As a baptized and confirmed Episcopalian I feel cheated and diminished everyday. The Episcopal church is abandoning the truth. Easy belieivism has crept into the church as well as political correctness. Why should people who think that a church they love and respect sit back and see it changed and rolled in the smear of popular world myth. It is not being preoccupied..unless you consider professing the word of Holy Scripture preoccupation. December 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm I’m also a former Catholic who is grateful to have become a member of The Episcopal Church. Just one of the things I am grateful for is this Church’s stand of inclusivity. It is a Church of the Good News, not of the bad news –which it seems that some of the negativistic detractors here wish to embrace and advance. I’m grateful for a living relationship with the “the light that is born in our midst” and for a Presiding Bishop who gives witness to that light. A Blessed Christmas to all! Comments are closed. December 29, 2012 at 7:49 am Thank you Ray! December 14, 2012 at 10:55 am I know it’s for the Episcopal Church, but somewhere the name “Jesus” or “Christ” could be mentioned. Press Release Service December 14, 2012 at 9:57 am Every morning I send out messages about hope and light. Every one of the recipients knows to whom I refer – God of gods, Light of light. And I receive messages daily that they try to treat every person they meet as if God is shining back at them. I am sad that most of these commentators do not know this light. Thank you Bishop for your light among us. Youth Minister Lorton, VA Director of Music Morristown, NJ Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Andy Hook says: Canon Don Muller says: Cathedral Dean Boise, ID December 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm I was inspired. Anne Ferguson says: Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Jim Stockton says: Rector Belleville, IL New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Rector Martinsville, VA May Winters says: Submit an Event Listing This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 December 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm “Child of light is born in our midst”? You mean Jesus? Come on PB, just try it out for once. You might like it! Sarah Beth says: John R Huff Jr says: Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Submit a Press Release Curate Diocese of Nebraska Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Bob Van Keuren says: December 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm “Discover the love of God poured into our world in human form,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says in her Christmas Message 2012.By Ron Kruger (from his book: A Higher Good)“The concept of a Higher Good I experienced is alluded to in all the religions of the world. If you investigate them without prejudice, you find a basic ideal of brotherhood, or “love your neighbor as yourself” within their scriptures.Here are a few examples:“Hurt not others in that which you would find hurtful.”-Buddhism“As you wish that men would do unto you, do so to them.”-Christianity“Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself.”-Baha’i faith“No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.”-Islam“That which is hateful unto you, do not impose on others.”-Judaism“As thou demist thyself, so deem others.”-Sikhism“Regard your neighbor’s gains as your own gain and your neighbor’s loss as yours. Taoism“An ye harm none, do what ye will.”-Wicca“That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself.”-Zoroastrianism“Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you.”-Confucianism“Seems quite odd to me, however, that the gods many religions describe within their scriptures are incapable of this basic principle..” Yes, it does, Ron. Faith is a gift from God, but how we live accordingly is up to us with His grace to help us.During the Advent season, I give thanks to those who live according to what they believe and give the example to others. Comments navigation Newer comments Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Anthony Christiansen says: Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Submit a Job Listing Comments (40) Featured Jobs & Calls December 13, 2012 at 6:57 pm I am glad some of you didn’t know the person who wrote my favorite Sunday School song …. This Little Light of Mine …. who knows what we might have ended up singing? In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Rector Shreveport, LA Course Director Jerusalem, Israel December 14, 2012 at 3:39 am It seems to be a woman’s role to be belittled, put in her place, misunderstood and discounted. Why at Christmas? But then again, wasn’t Mary thought to have been put down by Christ by so many, when actually he was just praising her for doing the will of God (all of her life) and saying that if we do his will, we are ALSO his mothers and brothers (and sisters)?Oh, ye of little faith! Rector Knoxville, TN Julian Malakar says: The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Bruce Green says: Rector Bath, NC David M. Frost says: Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Jeffrey Sharp says: December 13, 2012 at 5:02 pm She thinks she has to make it sound religiously correct. All inclusive . Ray Williams says: Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH December 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm Kathleen –The reference to John 1:5 is more correctly: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it”. (NRSV). Jesus is not referred to as the ‘child of the light’, but as the true light itself, and His Life is the light of all people. (vs 4). Some of us who are disturbed at the lack of the use of Jesus’ Name are not rude or disrespectful; we just expect the handling of Scripture and the praise of Jesus Christ to be more mature and specific and a lot less obscure and palatable to any New Age interpretation of Jesus. Rector Hopkinsville, KY December 13, 2012 at 6:19 pm The message from the PB is clear…It is an awareness as to the need for an understanding of basic human rights for all. Nothing wrong with the message but one does expect a mention of CHRIST especially from a PB. As followers of Christ, let us remember that He is our focus. We seem to be distancing ourselves from Him. We are Anglicans, not Unitarians. There really is a difference. Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY December 13, 2012 at 9:05 pm To some it may seem to be bickering. But there a silent ignored number of Episcopalians who are Anglican at Heart and not Deists who preach a Humanistic Gospel not Christian message of hope. We are tired of being told to get along with every one and respect others point of view while our views and feelings are ignored. There nothing illiberal as a liberal. December 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm It sounds like to me someone needs to read the beginning of the Gospel of John. It is within context for the season and especially John 1:5 to refer to Jesus as the “child of the light”. I think you should also stop hating on the PB. It seems like every time there is a story posted about her you are rude and disrespectful. Negativity is never helpful. Rector Smithfield, NC Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Kathleen Bauer says: Rector Pittsburgh, PA AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Doug Desper says: Rector Collierville, TN Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA December 13, 2012 at 5:08 pm I love the connections made here between the birth we celebrate and the needs of a world still in need of light. Yet, I think the world needs to hear the message of that child and to meet him; his name is Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us — not only A child of the light but THE child — “God from God, light from light eternal,” the one through whom we become children of light. Working in anticipation of God’s new creation makes sense in light of the one who opened the way for us to join him in God’s mission of repairing the world. Our P.B. gives a wonderful invitation to look for him, but let’s be more direct in our invitation “O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.”Mark+ Associate Rector Columbus, GA An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET December 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm Neither would I. December 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm Calm down, gents! It’s a message for the Church, not for the unintiated. If you can’t fill in the blanks, don’t blame the PB. [Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] “Discover the love of God poured into our world in human form,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says in her Christmas Message 2012.The following is the text of the presiding bishop’s Christmas Message 2012:Christmas Message 2012The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined. Isaiah 9:2These words were spoken long ago to people living in anxiety, fear, and despair, people feeling bereft of security, safety, and any sense of God’s presence. We hear them early on Christmas, forgetting that they were first spoken hundreds of years before the birth we celebrate. Human beings across this planet still yearn to know that a more gracious and divine reality is active and evident in our lives.The birth we celebrate is meant for this world mired in darkness and fear, yet it also becomes easier to discover in a tiny voice crying in protest over being cold and wet and hungry. We hear that cry in the midst of war’s ravages in Congo and Afghanistan, in the rubble of hurricane and earthquake, in the demeaning of chronic poverty, behind prison bars. That flickering of hope surges as the world turns to investigate this surprising new life, one heart at a time. The light grows as hearts catch fire with the same light that illumines the stars, pulsing hope and new life, even out of black holes.Those who search in dark and despair, in dank dungeon and deep devastation, will find divine light given for the world. Light that will not be put out, so long as any creature remains to receive it, until and beyond the end of time. The darkness will never put it out.The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5Go and look – and discover the love of God poured into our world in human form. Hope reigns abroad, in the cosmos and in human hearts. And rejoice, for a child of the light is born in our midst!The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts SchoriPresiding Bishop and PrimateThe Episcopal Churchlast_img read more