The Darktrace IPO: should I buy at the current share price?

first_img Get the full details on this £5 stock now – while your report is free. The Darktrace (LSE:DARK) IPO saw shares of the cybersecurity firm priced at 250p. Then strong demand during conditional dealing drove the price to 350p. This morning, Darktrace shares hit the London Stock Exchange and currently trade at 344p, valuing the company at around £2.2bn.Cybersecurity is a growing market, and Darktrace has an apparently unique offering. Revenue is growing strongly, and there’s a path to profit. However, clouds are hanging over the IPO. Darktrace could well have been priced at closer to £4bn. But, the high-profile weakness of the Deliveroo IPO and links to Mike Lynch, the founder of Autonomy, and others embroiled in US fraud charges, may have contributed to a discounted IPO price.5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…Growing companySo what shape is the business in? Although Darktrace’s reported annual revenue growth is slowing, it was still high at 43% from 2019 to 2020. Customer numbers more than doubled, from 1,659 to 3,858, from 2018 to 2020, the average revenue per customer increased from $48k to $52k. It reported operating losses of nearly $25m in 2020, but losses have been shrinking as all recurring costs are falling as a percentage of revenue. If the trends continue, there’s a path to making an operating profit. Given that Darktrace has relatively modest financing costs, a net profit could follow soon after.Darktrace sees its total addressable market (TAM) at $40bn. Assuming that’s an accurate calculation, then the company has a small 0.5% market share. That would suggest ample room for continued revenue growth, particularly if the TAM grows as fast as the broader information security and risk management market. Gartner, a research and advisory firm, thinks the broader market will grow 8.2% per annum through 2024.Artificial intelligenceDarktrace’s product leverages machine learning to discover the normal digital behaviour of an organisation and thus detect, respond and investigate deviations from that behaviour that may represent a cyberthreat. By contrast, other defence solutions, like antivirus and firewalls, typically block and detect known threats. Darktrace appears to have a compelling offering.Source: company presentationDarktrace risksHowever, as I mentioned, the company faces potentially significant legal and reputational risks arising from its association with Mike Lynch. Mr Lynch founded Autonomy, which Hewlett-Packard bought in 2011. Mr Lynch founded Invoke Capital Partners with the Autonomy sale money, and Invoke was an early investor in Darktrace. Furthermore, Invoke and Mr Lynch provided managerial and technical support to Darktrace until fairly recently. Mr Lynch and others have been charged with fraud in the US relating to accounting irregularities at Autonomy, and extradition hearings are underway.There are no suggestions of accounting irregularities at Darktrace, nor any evidence of wrongdoing by its management. But Darktrace has been accused of using aggressive sales tactics like Autonomy was. Sales and marketing expenses account for 82% of operating costs, well above Avast and Norton’s (22% and 16%). The review website Glassdoor reports a 2.6 out of five satisfaction score for Darktrace sales staff.Of course, spending a lot on sales isn’t unusual for a young company trying to build a presence. And disgruntled workers aren’t unique to the firm. But investors might one day perceive the personnel links (Darktrace’s CEO worked at Autonomy and Invoke) and the apparent inheritance of Autonomy culture as problematic. That’s beyond Mr Lynch’s 20% stake in the Darktrace IPO. So until the fraud case is resolved, I won’t be buying the shares. Image source: Getty Images. FREE REPORT: Why this £5 stock could be set to surge The Darktrace IPO: should I buy at the current share price? Enter Your Email Address Are you on the lookout for UK growth stocks?If so, get this FREE no-strings report now.While it’s available: you’ll discover what we think is a top growth stock for the decade ahead.And the performance of this company really is stunning.In 2019, it returned £150million to shareholders through buybacks and dividends.We believe its financial position is about as solid as anything we’ve seen.Since 2016, annual revenues increased 31%In March 2020, one of its senior directors LOADED UP on 25,000 shares – a position worth £90,259Operating cash flow is up 47%. (Even its operating margins are rising every year!)Quite simply, we believe it’s a fantastic Foolish growth pick.What’s more, it deserves your attention today.So please don’t wait another moment. James J. McCombie has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Avast Plc. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.center_img I would like to receive emails from you about product information and offers from The Fool and its business partners. Each of these emails will provide a link to unsubscribe from future emails. More information about how The Fool collects, stores, and handles personal data is available in its Privacy Statement. Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we’re offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our ‘no quibbles’ 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee. Our 6 ‘Best Buys Now’ Shares James J. McCombie | Thursday, 6th May, 2021 | More on: DARK See all posts by James J. McCombielast_img read more

Nolli Waterman – Worcester and England

first_img Danielle ‘Nolli’ WatermanA quick catch up with Worcester and England Full Back Nolli Waterman about smelly kits, travel chums, inspiration and how she earned the nickname ‘Nollie’.RUGBY WORLD: Danielle, why are you called Nolli?NOLLI WATERMAN: My brother Joe called me Danni Ollie and my dad shortened it to Nolli. I also didn’t think I was girlie enough to be called Danielle. No one ever uses it.RW: Who are the practical jokers in the England team?NW: Saracens fly-half Karen Andrew is the biggest. She makes us laugh on the pitch, too, and won’t fail to ask the referee: “How long left?” just before she is about to kick off. Most refs look at her as if she is mad but it makes us smile and relieves a bit of tension.RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?NW: A lineout last season. TJ Sutton went up for a ball, with Nessie Grey lifting. When TJ came down, her boot got caught in Nessie’s shorts – pulling them down. We all cracked up.RW: If you could change one thing about rugby what would it be?NW: Play in the summer or ban rugby on very cold days. A minimum temperature for a match could be introduced!RW: What is the most annoying thing about rugby?NW: Kit – the stinking smell and having to wash it all the time. Even when you wash it, it still smells.Travel Chums, Team initiation and Politeness…RW: Who cheers you up when you’re feeling down?NW: Georgia Stevens – my England and Clifton team-mate. She is always there to pick me up. I live in Cardiff so we’re driving partners, travel chums. We drive thousands of miles a year to England training. Just the two of us!RW: What happened when you made your Test debut – as England’s youngest ever player – in 2003. Any initiation ceremonies?NW: Well, I was only 18 and my mum was there so they had to go easy. I had to sing the obligatory song on the bus and then had the delights of The Sin Bin [a bar] in Limerick as we had just beaten Ireland to win the Grand Slam.RW: What annoys you off the field? TAGS: Worcester Warriors Finally heres why you shouldn’t mess with her… NW: People who don’t say please and thank you, and when people – like my boyfriend Leigh – don’t put their cutlery together at the end of the meal. I sit there staring at a plate if that happens.RW: If the world was going to end in five minutes, what would you do as your last act on earth?NW: Eat a box of tomatoes as they’re my favourite food. Strangely, I don’t like sun-dried tomatoes or tomato juice.RW: What is your favourite gadget?NW: It has to be my apple corer. Shove it into an apple and the core pops out. You can also bang it really hard.Bird, Inspiration and winning a World Cup…RW: Tell us about your club training partner, the legendary Liza Burgess.NW: She’s double my age, brilliant, called Bird. She couldn’t be more opposite to me as she is a lock. And she has threatened to lock me in a cupboard before Wales play England in this year’s Six Nations.RW: Who inspired you to play?NW: My dad, Jim, who played for Bath and is still playing for Minehead Barbarians, aged 62. He started me off – well, he couldn’t stop me – at Minehead when I was four and he’s still there for me, not only to work on my skills but to be my biggest critic.RW: And your rugby wish?NW: To play in the same team as my dad and two brothers. Maybe we could sort out a tournament like they do with vets and I could wear the golden shorts.RW: Win the World Cup or win £10,000 on the lottery?NW: Win the World Cup. What’s money against a winners’ medal?Check out her profile for England LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

Tom Shanklin out for three months

first_img“He should be back by the end of March, beginning of April, and has to get fit, so he may feature in some of our games at the end of the season.” Cardiff Blues and Wales have been dealt a blow with the news that Tom Shanklin will require knee surgery that will keep him out of action for three months. Speaking at the Pavilion Training Centre, Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby, David Young, said: “Unfortunately Tom has had a scan and needs another operation on that troublesome knee which will keep him out for three months.”“Most people saw against Aironi that he wasn’t right out there and that’s why he had to come off .The knee started to swell up straight after the game.”“We sent him for the scan and the medics thought he needed an operation to sort the problem out. The recuperation period is 12 weeks minimum.” TAGS: Cardiff Blues LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS “Obviously, I’m sure he wants to come back as soon as possible to stake a claim for the World Cup with Wales.”last_img read more

Bath sign Argentine ace Agulla

first_img Argentine Agulla will make his way down south to BathARGENTINE INTERNATIONAL winger, Horacio Agulla will be joining Bath Rugby next season.The 27 year old, equally adept playing on the wing or at fullback, has been capped 34 times by his country and will prove an excellent addition to the back line with a great attitude and physicality as well as a nose for the try line. He will join up with the squad as soon as he has received his visa to play in the UK.Agulla, who played 48 times for the Leicester Tigers scoring 40 points, has endeared himself to the Aviva Premiership crowds over the last few seasons. His commitment and determination as well as his bulldozing runs led to him winning the 2011/12 Tigers fans’ player of the season and try of the season awards. READING, ENGLAND – MARCH 25: Horacio Agulla of Leicester runs with the ball during the Aviva Premiership match between London Irish and Leicester Tigers at Madejski Stadium on March 25, 2012 in Reading, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images) TAGS: Bath RugbyLeicester Tigers LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALScenter_img An intelligent and powerful player with great footwork and pace, Agulla made his international debut in 2005 against Samoa and has since represented his country at the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups, with the Puma’s finishing third in 2007. Speaking about the move, Horacio said ”I’m really excited to be joining Bath Rugby and hopefully helping them to challenge for silverware next season. Bath play a good brand of rugby that I believe will suit my game and I’m excited to work with the new coaching team. They have some excellent players in their squad and my first challenge is to get into the side and make that starting shirt my own.”Bath Rugby Head Coach, Gary Gold, added “We’re really excited to have Horacio join Bath Rugby for the new season and are looking forward to him getting stuck into training with the rest of the squad. He’s a very good player who is able to play two positions at a high level which brings great diversity and strength in depth to the team. We believe his exposure playing for Argentina in the new Rugby Championship format against the All Blacks, South Africa and Australia will further develop him as a player and Bath Rugby can only benefit from that.”last_img read more

RBS 6 Nations: Ireland analysis

first_img Man on the run: Brian O’Driscoll was as influential as ever despite being stripped of the Ireland captaincyBy Claire GlancyBOD’S HANDS…  Zebo’s feet… First half demolition… Second half defensive scrambling…It’s hard to know where to start with the latest Celtic clash in Cardiff because, as the late Belfast comedian Frank Carson would have said, “It’s a cracker!”Zebo time: the Munster wing scorches to the try lineIt’s said every year: momentum is key. Get off to a good start and it sets the tone for your championship. Given recent performances by both nations no one really knew how this game would pan out. Did Ireland have momentum following their impressive victory over the Pumas or was that merely a fluke? As defending Champions would Wales relish the chance to start afresh and end their losing streak? Beware the wounded Dragon, especially in the RBS 6 Nations.From an Irish perspective most of the focus in the build-up was on the captaincy.  Why would Declan Kidney dare to take the reigns from Brian O’Driscoll, Ireland’s Grand Slam-winning skipper and arguably the greatest rugby player the country’s ever produced? It didn’t seem to make sense.But having watched Ireland spring into action at the Millennium Stadium maybe Kidney has got it right. Is this the dawning of a new era for Irish rugby?In the last few years Irish fans have looked on as Wales brought through exciting young players, not least Sam Warburton who became the youngest ever Rugby World Cup captain in 2011. Then it was England’s turn as Stuart Lancaster’s cull saw them bounce back from a disappointing World Cup to be runners-up in last year’s Six Nations.Kidney has been criticised for his conservative selections and unwavering loyalty to some of the old guard but when injuries forced his hand in the autumn, new faces appeared on the team sheet and with them came a new captain. NOT FOR FEATURED LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Jamie Heaslip’s appointment may not have been dealt with in the same diplomatic manner Keith Wood described his handover to O’Driscoll, but as Ireland prepare for life after BOD perhaps it gives other players the chance to come out from the shadow of the so-called ‘golden generation’.O’Driscoll proved on Saturday that he doesn’t need the captain’s armband to highlight his leadership. The man leads by example. He may have won the Man of the Match award, but what we’re starting to see in the Ireland team is a collection of leaders emerging.Hold up: Johnny Sexton stifles Toby FaletauAt Friday’s captain’s run it was Johnny Sexton rather than Heaslip who commanded the squad’s attention as they took a look around the stadium. And why shouldn’t he? It was in this very ground that his half-time team talk inspired Leinster to snatch the Heineken Cup right out of Northampton’s lap.On Saturday Chris Henry made his first Six Nations appearance after 50 minutes, but that didn’t stop him barking orders to the pack when the Welsh comeback was in full flow.This new-found confidence has brought energy to Ireland.  Yes, they let their lead slip in the second half but they’d forced Wales to change their game plan. For the first 45 minutes Ireland dominated almost every aspect of play. By winning the contact at the breakdown, dominating the set-piece, standing deeper and spreading the ball wider, they were able to get outside the Welsh blitz defence.An initial look at stats suggests there is no way Ireland should have won that game: 37% possession, 35% territory, 13 penalties conceded to Wales’ eight. But the big difference comes in defence. Ireland made 176 tackles to Wales 101. Sean O’Brien’s 23 tackles were more than Sam Warburton and Toby Falateu managed together. The fact that Ireland let Wales back into the game shows there is plenty to work on ahead of the England clash but what they proved on Saturday is that the performance against the Pumas wasn’t a one-off. Changes are afoot in Irish rugby in terms of captaincy, players and style – and with that hopefully results.  He who dares….Follow Claire Glancy on Twitter @claireglancylast_img read more

Top 14: French rugby crying out for O’Gara’s expertise

first_img Perfect 10: O’Gara arrives in Paris this weekend, to start his new role as kicking coach at Racing MétroBy Gavin MortimerRONAN O’GARA arrives in Paris this coming weekend to begin his post-playing career as kicking coach for Racing Métro. The Ireland and Munster legend, who scored 1083 points in 130 international appearances, has been hired by the Parisian club to work alongside coaches Laurent Labit and Laurent Travers. It’s an all-new coaching team at Racing and owner Jackie Lorenzetti will be hoping the triumvirate can finally turn his team into Top 14 title contenders.Lion man: Jenkins watches Leigh Halfpenny line up a kick If all goes well for O’Gara, and he shows the same diligence and determination as a coach that he did as a player, it will likely be the first step on a path that will end with him coaching Ireland. Before then, however, O’Gara might have a thing or two to teach the French about goalkicking. At Racing he’ll be working predominantly with Johnny Sexton, his old rival for the Ireland fly-half shirt. But it’s France’s fly-halves who could do with some coaching tips from one of the game’s greatest ever kickers.One of the more curious statistics in international rugby concerns the individual record points scorer. Top of the tree is New Zealand’s Dan Carter. Last Saturday against France, the Kiwi fly-half scored his 1,399th point in Test rugby on his 95th appearance. Carter is now comfortably clear of Jonny Wilkinson, the former England and Lions star having racked up 1246 points in his 97 Tests. Third is Welshman Neil Jenkins (currently in Australia as the Lions kicking coach) on 1090, just seven more than O’Gara managed.A Kiwi, an Englishman, a Welshman and an Irishman. Fifth on the list is an Italian, Diego Dominguez, while Wallaby great Michael Lynagh and South Africa’s Percy Montgomery also make the top ten of target men.But where is the highest placed Frenchman? Not in the top ten, nor in the top twenty, not even in the top thirty. To find France’s record points scorer one has to trawl all the way down to Christophe Lamaison in 33rd spot. The former Brive fly-half scored 380 points in his 37 Test matches, seven more than Dimitri Yachvili managed, and thirteen more than Thierry Lacroix. not for featured Curtains: Michalak did not enjoy France’s summer tourIt’s an astonishing statistic. That one of the major powers in the world game has never possessed a world-class goalkicker, a player they could rely on to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Every other of the so-called ‘Big Ten’ have managed it, so too have Fiji (Nicky Little, 670 points), Canada (James Pritchard, 500 points) and even Georgia can brag about the 435 points scored by Merab Kvirikashvili. But France…Their deficiency in the goalkicking department was never more evident than during Saturday’s third Test defeat to New Zealand. The French lost 24-9 but the scoreline flattered the Kiwis who were under the cosh for much of the first half. Twice France were awarded kickable penalties but scrum-half Jean-Marc Doussain missed them both.The previous week in the second Test, Frederic Michalak had skewed an early sitter, a kick that had it gone over might have settled French nerves. Instead it added to the visitors’ apprehension and they ended up on the wrong end of a 30-0 thrashing. Michalak, by the way, unlikely ever to play international rugby again after his disastrous display in the second Test, has totted up 362 points over the course of his 66 Tests. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The player many French supporters see as the long-term successor to Michalak is Bordeaux-Begles’ Camille Lopez. The 24-year-old made a decent fist of his debut in the first Test against New Zealand, only to be unceremoniously dumped from the side for the second Test in favour of Michalak. Lopez is that rare thing in France, a goal-kicking fly-half. In last season’s Top 14 he finished fifth in the points-scoring list with 232 from 18 starts, a tidy return for a player whose club only narrowly avoided relegation.If France have serious aspirations about winning the World Cup in two years time, it might be an idea for the FFR to bring Lopez and O’Gara together, and give France a goal-kicker to be proud of.last_img read more


first_imgAustralian Wallabies flanker George Smith (C) is helped off the pitch after a head clash during the third rugby Test match against the British and Irish Lions in Sydney on July 6, 2013. AFP PHOTO/William West=RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE= (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images) We have made massive strides and there are still lots of ways we can improve; players always need better care and we will always endeavour to improve on this issue. There are always illness patterns that grab headlines and there will always be an injury that generates public interest in the future, but serious issues like concussion and spinal injury will never go away.My view is that whether there is a link between repeated minor head trauma and CTE and other neurological issues or not, we cannot wait for the current generation of children to show the evidence. More academic people than myself have said, ‘Yes, there is’. I’m like a piggy in the middle saying that we should be cautious with player safety. There is always further to go. Promoting player welfare: James Robson believes that any debate around concussion brings issue into public domainBy Dr James RobsonThere are lots of good things happening at the moment on the issue of concussion and I do believe that rugby is taking the issue seriously.There is still disagreement on the subject, but publicity can only be a good thing and the IRB must be applaudedfor their promotion of the watchwords ‘Recognise and Remove’, used in order to promote awareness of the symptoms of concussion and the need for players showing symptoms to be removed from the pitch. The IRB are pushing the gold standard in this respect.Out of it: Smith stumbles off against the LionsIncidents in world rugby have brought concussion into the public domain, with George Smith being brought back on after being concussed during the Lions game against Australia an example that caused consternation. While there is heated debate over whether there is a direct link between long-term neurological problems and repeated concussion, the fact that there is a debate shows we are getting there.I see the likes of Chris Nowinski (who recently spoke to the RPA about his view on the link between concussion and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), Dr Simon Kemp (who says he has seen no evidence of a link between head trauma and CTE) and Dr Martin Rafferty in their roles with the RFU and IRB, and even Dr Barry O’Driscoll (who resigned from the IRB in 2012 in protest of the introduction of Pitch-Side Concussion Assessment) are all giving their views. I think all people who are talking about this issue need to be applauded. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS All of them will have different stances on concussion management, but their various disagreements bring the debate forward and in the end they all have a common goal. We are all beholden to look after player welfare.I will hold my hand up. We have all missed concussion somewhere along the line and it can be subtle. It is one of the most difficult sports medical conditions to spot and armchair experts will say, ‘Look at him, he’s concussed,’ but it is not so apparent. The biggest thing is publicising ‘Recognise and Remove’.last_img read more

England rugby: Long-term contract for Lancaster represents a gamble

first_imgDefining moment: Manu Tuilagi helps England to a famous victorySince taking over, his results have been of the steady, slow-burn nature rather than spectacular. A 6o per cent win rate in 30 games in charge is consistent, while three creditable second-place Six Nations finishes, with only a Gael Fickou step to deny him England’s first Grand Slam in 11 years, a reasonable return. The nadir came in March 2013, with the 30-3 mauling at the Millennium Stadium against a fired-up Welsh side but Lancaster, importantly, didn’t buckle. The stand-out result is easy, a dismantling of the All Black machine 38-21 at Twickenham, in the only game Steve Hansen’s men have lost since 2011.Away from scoreboard and looking at the wider picture, Lancaster can take credit for reshaping the squad to reflect his values. Low-key, humble and driven are all adjectives you’d use to describe the new England and that has made them a marketable commodity with the sponsors who have been wooed by their exemplary behaviour to furnish the Union’s coffers.Nadir: Stuart Lancaster was dejected after England’s loss against Wales in 2013The long-term contracts are also commendably aimed at taking some of the pressure off the coaches to allow them to further plan beyond 2015 and towards the World Cup in Japan in 2019 where they reap the benefit of two consecutive Junior World Cup winners squads, replete with tantalising talent in the form of Henry Slade, Sam Hill, Anthony Watson, Jack Nowell and Luke Cowan Dickie. You cannot blame any coach for wanting to work with that potential. TAGS: Highlight When the news hit the wires, or in more modern parlance, timelines of England fans, stating that Stuart Lancaster and his coaching team, Andy Farrell, Mike Catt and Graham Rowntree had signed six-year contract extensions to take them to 2020, the first thing that sprang to mind was the eight-year contract offered to the embattled Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. Whether RFU Chief Executive Ian Ritchie will be as reluctant to pay out as Mike Ashley seems, should results take a turn for the worse, is a moot point but whatever your take, it is some gamble by the convivial former All England Club chief executive.One the one hand, it’s a move designed to bring reassurance and remove any elements of instability to a coaching group that would be forgiven for raising a few beers in the direction of Twickenham this evening. On the other, it could be argued that Stuart Lancaster should have been made to wait until after the perilous Pool stages at the Rugby World Cup had been negotiated before any lucrative deal was rubber stamped.Working relationship: Lancaster and Ritchie have brought stability to the RFUIt seems Ian Ritchie has gone with the carrot, not the stick his playing his hand early. He has been at pains to stress that he cannot hypothesise as to future results but he can only look at history for two Test cases that brought very different end results. In 1999, the right boot of Jannie de Beer sent Clive Woodward scurrying back to his bunker to await his fate before, after some deliberation, he was given a reprieve and he duly repaid the faith the RFU had invested in him by spiriting the World Cup from under the noses of the Australian’s four years later in Sydney.Only the flip side, four years later, Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan was rewarded with a fresh four-year contract, before the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and saw his regime unravel before the ink dried as they crashed out of the tournament and lost their lustre months later in the Six Nations. O’Sullivan was a footnote in the IRFU’s history merely six months later.The RFU’s announcement was always bound to raise eyebrows. A six-year coaching term is rare in a market as volatile as international sport but it speaks volumes for the job Stuart Lancaster has done to change the culture within England. This, less than three years since the RFU was mired in leaks, poor discipline and most importantly, limp on-field performances. Job well done: Stuart Lancaster and his England coaches have been offered six-year contracts LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Eyebrows were raised when it was announced Stuart Lancaster had been handed a long-term contract but only serves to show the faith Ian Ritchie has in the modest Cumbrian That’s enough of the theory, and you wish Lancaster good luck. He’ll be all too aware that should Australia and Wales humiliate England on home-soil in next year’s World Cup, leaving England to host a competition they’re no longer part of, then he may find a darkening in Ian Ritchie’s tone as England’s supremo is left with the same choice as Francis Barron had in 1999. To stick or twist. For England’s supporters, they will hope he’s is not faced with that unpalatable scenario.last_img read more

Five things we learnt in rugby – October

first_imgThe continued excellence of Saracens, lenient biting bans, Keelan Giles’ massive potential and the emergence of China as a global player in rugby are all covered ‘Pick and Mix’ rugby is a dangerous game.The days of a six month rugby season are long gone. Rugby is a nine month slog for all international players. However, there is an additional problem in the modern rugby calendar – the option to play ‘Pick and Mix’ rugby. Where players switch from club to club, mid-season, across multiple leagues and hemispheres. As we saw with both Matt Toomua and Jaco Kriel, in October, playing ‘Pick and Mix’ rugby is an accident waiting to happen. Both were injured having played Super Rugby, The Rugby Championship and then switching hemispheres for a pension top-up.Cruellest blow: In his second game for Leicester Matt Toomua was ruled out for six monthsToomua is now out for six months and has left Leicester Tigers with very few remaining options at centre, whilst Kriel’s injury has ruled him out of the Springbok’s northern hemisphere tour. The rise of players choosing to extend their seasons in the English Premiership or Japanese leagues is a major problem for rugby player’s safety. The result of chopping and changing between various head coaches, fitness coaches and on-field roles means that injuries are inevitable. This is also a problem that can only solved by the players themselves. The unions and governing bodies are not to blame for ‘Pick and Mix’ rugby – this is purely a player problem.Saracens – the true kings of EuropeWinning the Champions’ Cup last season obviously proved that Saracens are the best team in Europe. However, beating Toulon away in this year’s comp put it beyond doubt. Plenty of teams have won European Cups – Toulouse, Munster and Leinster to name a few. However, NO-ONE has ever beaten Toulon, in Toulon, in the top competition. It was a statement win.Highest-calibre: Schalk Burger spearheaded Saracens’ win in ToulonA win that even impressed the rugby neutral – for which both Saracens and Toulon hold very little appeal. For many, Toulon v Saracens is like watching Nigel Farage in a boxing bout with Piers Morgan – the ideal result being that they both knock each other clean out instantaneously. There are many teams that have a test-level backline or a test-level pack of forwards, but Saracens truly have both. They’re well on their way to becoming Europe’s new rugby dynasty.Keelan Giles has arrivedFor many with a keen eye on Wales’ age grade rugby Keelan Giles’ rise has long been anticipated. However, October saw Giles hit the mainstream with a series of scorching performances for the Ospreys. Eight tries in four games is a remarkable strike rate, but something which shouldn’t be dwelled on – it is his skillset which requires full attention. Giles covers 40m in 4.71 seconds, can step off both feet and has the handling skills of an inside back. Despite his devastating attacking mindset it is his defence that sets him apart.Rapid ascent: Keelan Giles has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent weeksGiles’ tackling is solid, a trait which is rare in small framed wingers. Lightening quick wingers are ten a penny, the ones that can tackle are priceless. Of course we must exercise caution, if there is one thing faster than Giles’ 40m split, it is the Welsh public’s desire to crown the new ‘Shane Williams’. With that said, Giles could easily feature on the bench against Japan during this month’s Autumn Internationals. Japan are bringing a weak squad on tour, which could be an ideal opener for young Giles.Nine week ban for biting is a jokeOctober saw Oliviero Fabiani receive a nine week ban for biting. The ban was originally set at 18 weeks, but as we have all become accustomed, rugby bans are now comparable to a bank’s interest rates – the rate you receive is often not what was advertised. It’s a ludicrously low ban for what, alongside gouging, is the worst possible offence in rugby. Stamping, high tackles and tip tackles are all excusable to a point, as each of them involve parts of the body which are fundamental to playing rugby, i.e feet and hands. Making an impact: 18-year-old Keelan Giles has scored eight tries in four games TAGS: Saracens center_img LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Let off: Oliviero Fabiani was incredibly lucky to get his biting ban halvedTeeth have nothing to do with rugby, at all, and never have done. If you are using your teeth in rugby you either have fundamentally failed to understand how to catch the ball or you are planning on taking a chunk out of the opposition. Most nursery schools issue more severe punishments for biting than the one issued to Fabiani. It needs sorting.China pumping the cashPerhaps the most important aspect of October’s rugby occurred off the field. China have just pumped £80 million into developing a professional league with the aim of creating 1 million players and 30,000 coaches by 2021. The money has been provided by the commercial giant Alibaba and represents a significant move forward for the game as a whole.Global reach: Billionnaire owner of Alibaba Jack Ma is investing heavily in rugbyIn a country of over a billion people you simply need a fraction of the sporting public to take a meagre interest in rugby and it can become a commercial success. It opens up a truly enormous market for both television/ sponsorship and money which rugby desperately needs. Rugby may have taken quantum leaps commercially over the past decade but it still remains a sporting minnow. China could help change that.last_img read more

Hotshot: Edinburgh wing Darcy Graham

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Fast lane: Darcy Graham in action for Scotland at the Hong Kong Sevens. Photo: Getty Images FOR THE LATEST SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS, CLICK HEREWhat about Scotland honours? I’ve played U18s, U20s and sevens. I missed out on the U16s – they told me I was too small. That really spurred me on and since then I’ve never let size bother me. Instead I’ve worked on my ball skills.Former Scotland lock Scott MacLeod is your uncle… He was a big part in my decision to go to Edinburgh because he played there and loved it. He’s always been someone I’d go to for advice.What are your goals for this season? I want to try to impress the (Edinburgh) coaching staff and learn as much as I can.Who were your childhood heroes? The player I watched was Shane Williams. He’s pretty much the same build as me and had amazing skills. Watching Stuart Hogg come from Hawick and play for the Lions has been cool too. Find out more about highly-promising Scottish winger Darcy Graham Age 20 (21 July 1997) Born Melrose Club Edinburgh Country Scotland Position Back threeWhen did you first play? I was always a sporty child and started at Stirches Primary School in Hawick when I was eight. I loved it.What other sports did you do? Horse riding. I played football once but the first time the ball came to me, I picked it up and everyone called “handball”!Sounds like rugby is the sport for you. What positions have you played? I’ve pretty much always played wing and in the last couple of years I’ve played a bit at 15. I prefer full-back – you get a bit more space and see more of the ball.Talk us through your progression…I played for Hawick High School and Hawick Wands, the U18 team, then played my first game for Hawick at 17.It was a Scottish Cup final against Boroughmuir. They had an injury and I got a call on the day of the game saying, “The bus is at 12, can you make it?” SoI was chucked in at the deep end but it was an amazing experience running out at Murrayfield, even though we lost. TAGS: Edinburgh Rugby RW Verdict: This is his first season at Edinburgh but he is enjoying the environment under new coach Richard Cockerill. With his drive to improve, expect to see this speedster make his professional debut early this season.This article first appeared in the October 2017 issue of Rugby World.last_img read more

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