An unfortunate training accident will see Emirates Western Force utility back Mark Bartholomeusz sidelined for approximately ten weeks after sustaining ruptured ligaments in his left ankle. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Bartholomeusz suffered the injury late last week when he inadvertently stepped on another players’ foot during a routine drill and will be required to wear a moon boot for at least the next fortnight before being able to place weight on his leg.The experienced back was in great shape as the team stepped-up its pre-season preparations and will now undertake intensive rehabilitation to be ready for round one of the Super Rugby season on Sunday, 20 February against the Reds in Brisbane.
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JULY 09: Crusaders captain Richie McCaw waits for kickoff during the 2011 Super Rugby Grand Final match between the Reds and the Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium on July 9, 2011 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) Ben Franks moves from tighthead to loosehead prop this week and Owen Franks will start at tighthead. Wyatt Crockett will be ready to provide support from the bench. Hooker Ben Funnell may get his first run for the Crusaders this season if he comes off the bench for starting hooker Corey Flynn.The other new face on the reserve bench this week is actually one of rugby’s best known faces – Rugby World Cup winning captain Richie McCaw joins the team for the first time this season, having recovered from the surgery he received on his right foot last year. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS A welcome return for fans: Richie McCawThe Crusaders head to Sydney this weekend to take on the Waratahs on Sunday (KO: 06:10 GMT) in round ten of the Super Rugby competition.Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named his team and has made three changes to the starting fifteen that beat the Hurricanes last weekend. He has also put two new faces on the bench.Luke Romano will partner up with Tom Donnelly at lock, and Sam Whitelock moves to the reserves. Starting XV:1. Ben Franks2. Corey Flynn3. Owen Franks4. Tom Donnelly5. Luke Romano6. George Whitelock7. Matt Todd8. Kieran Read9. Andy Ellis10. Tom Taylor11. Zac Guildford12. Dan Carter13. Robbie Fruean14. Adam Whitelock15. Israel DaggReplacements:16. Ben Funnell17. Wyatt Crockett18. Samuel Whitelock19. Richie McCaw20. Willi Heinz21. Ryan Crotty22. Tom Marshall
Latin passion: The Italian anthem is a rousing, fizzing numberSages have always said the Millennium Stadium aura is worth a few points, but the rendition of “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” in March 2013 hit a new level in terms of volume and feeling. Chris Robshaw’s intrepid charges shrunk into themselves, instilled with crippling doubt. A 30-3 defeat had a horrible air of inevitability about it from the first note.Similarly, “Flower of Scotland” is a spiky leveler. “La Marseillaise” has stung even the most soporific French outfit into action. “Fratelli d’Italia” is bouncy enough to bring a swell of noise to opening exchanges in Rome.Interestingly, the reason for England’s Commonwealth change before Delhi was a simple online poll. “Jerusalem” topped it with 52 per cent. “Land of Hope and Glory” registered 32 per cent, “God Save the Queen” just 12. Those first two are certainly exuberant, emotive pieces and could become a weapon if close on 80,000 voices belt them out. With a home World Cup around the corner, every advantage should be seized.Having said all that, it’s unlikely the status quo will be altered. Prince Harry is a tireless, affable ambassador for the sport’s governing body in this country and the RFU is making strides anyway.The “God Save the Queen” prior to England’s clashes against Ireland and Wales in the recent Six Nations were both extremely loud and foreshadowed fabulous atmospheres. From last season, official singer Laura Wright has swelled anticipation by singing “Jerusalem” about five minutes before the players have entered the fray. We do multi-sport events quite well in this part of the world, as it turns out. Yes, Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games is doing a grand job of producing the same giddy euphoria that consumed London two summers ago. From Scottish judoka Euan Burton to retiring gymnast Frankie Jones via Australia’s para-swimmer Maddison Elliott, a plethora of varied personalities has absorbed spectators.With Rod Stewart setting a gravelly tone at the opening ceremony, music is also proving a prominent part of proceedings. And not just because Anthony Bayne-Charles – son of 1980s R and B star Billy Ocean, no less – was in the Barbados sevens side.Among the crowds, Neil Diamond ditty Sweet Caroline is the overwhelming track of choice. However, I’m more interested in what the athletes – specifically the successful English ones – have been greeted with.Those lucky enough to top the podium have watched St. George’s Cross ascend to an instrumental of “Jerusalem”, William Blake’s poem originally orchestrated by Edward Elgar. That’s been the way since the Delhi Games four years ago. Prior to that, “Land of Hope and Glory” was played – another stirring Elgar tune. Both would be rousing enough to whip up a patriotic fervor as the official anthem prior to England’s rugby union Test matches.So, should the RFU leave behind “God Save the Queen”? I don’t think it counts as treason to ask the question. Besides anything else, Twickenham’s current curtain-raiser is associated with Britain as a whole rather than England individually. But there are more pertinent arguments that bypass political agenda.At any international venue, the anthem is a spectator’s opportunity to assert their influence upon the occasion – a unique, isolated chance to empty the lungs and fill silence with audible support. Every coach in the world preaches the importance of the first tackle, carry or kick in any given game. It’s a similar concept – the anthem is the crowd’s equivalent of that potentially momentum-grasping moment.Skeptics might call it a trivial sideshow. That’s misguided. To borrow a term from cycling, professional sport is a business of marginal gains, psychological and physical. The presence in the England Rugby set-up of sports scientist Matt Parker – a former advisor to Sir Bradley Wiggins – is evidence that Stuart Lancaster agrees.In any case, there are examples of anthems making an impact on England. Remember Croke Park in 2007? The home fans shook the GAA stadium to its foundations with a bloodthirsty pre-match battle cry, creating a tidal wave of Irish passion that swept away Brian Ashton’s charges and drove their side to a 23-3 half-time lead. This is not about accusing players of lacking pride – that would be ridiculous and immensely insulting. Lancaster has done a great deal of work with his current crop on identifying what Englishness means, which has been reflected in a series of honest, industrious performances from the start of 2012. Warriors such as Tom Youngs, Tom Wood and Owen Farrell would brim with whatever anthem was on the agenda. The same is true for just about every England representative before or since, from Brian Moore to Marland Yarde.This is more about the environment. Twickenham may never be as intimidating as Cardiff. But heading towards 2015 and tournament-defining dates with Wales and Australia, there is huge incentive to Anglicise the setting as much as possible. If that requires a change of tune, why not consider it? LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Wright stuff: Should anthem singer Laura Wright belt out ‘Jerusalem’ as the anthem?
FIRST THINGS first. Despite the surname Teddy Thomas hasn’t got a Welsh bone in his body. He’s born-and-bred French with some Malian blood thrown into the mix. It’s his father who hails from Mali, but that’s about as much as Thomas knows of his dad.“My father abandoned me shortly before my birth,” explained Thomas in a painfully honest interview with Midi Olympique earlier in the season. All the Racing Métro winger knows about his dad is that he was born in Bamako, the west African country’s capital, in the 1950s, came to France and played professional football for a time with Saint-Etienne and then Marseille. His career seemed to have finished by the time Thomas was born in Biarritz in 1993, and since then he’s disappeared off the face of the earth.His absence has marked Thomas, literally as well as figuratively. On his left bicep are two tattoos: one of which shows Mali within a map of Africa, and a word in Latin meaning ‘Dad’.Corner stop: Teddy Thomas scores one of his three tries against Fiji in MarseilleThomas bears no bitterness towards his father. There’s just sadness that he has never known the man from whom he inherited his exceptional athletic ability. “I don’t want to judge him,” said Thomas of his father. “I know neither the circumstances of his departure nor the ups and downs of his life, and honestly I don’t want to know them.”Thomas, who was born within the shadow of the Biarritz rugby stadium, was raised by his mother, a woman to whom he owes everything. “I wasn’t an easy kid,” he admits. “I didn’t like school, I had trouble concentrating in class, I was hyperactive. In fact, I never really realised that my mum was doing a succession of little jobs to provide for us.”The paternal love he received as a child came from his grandfather and an uncle. They took Teddy to rugby training, nurtured and encouraged him as he grew from a boy into a young man. When he joined the Biarritz Academy, Thomas soon came to the attention of Patrice Lagisquet, the club’s coach before joining the France set-up after RWC 2011.Lagisquet remains one of the best wingers to wear the French shirt. Twenty tries in 46 Tests, Lagisquet was known as the ‘Bayonne Express’ but there was more to his game than just pace. He had a deft step, a strong hand-off and, above all, he knew how to finish. These are all qualities that Thomas has in abundance, plus at 6ft 1in and 14½ stone there’s a bit more flesh on the bones than the whippet-like Lagisquet.On the eve of Thomas’s debut against Fiji last weekend, Lagisquet described him as a “hunter of tries”, adding with admirable prescience: “I’m not worried about his debut. I saw him at Biarritz (and) he reacts well to pressure. He’s ambitious and he likes rising to challenges.” Fresh face: France winger Teddy Thomas scored a hat-trick on his Test debut against Fiji Before moving to Racing, he and his girlfriend tried to trace his father. Their efforts yielded little in the way of hard information. “I think he lives today in a suburb of Paris,” explained Thomas to Midi Olympique, adding that he doesn’t think it likely his father will get in touch. “If, by chance, he comes across this article, I would just like him to know that I don’t hold anything against him.”Teddy Thomas has got class, on and off the rugby field. Find out more about the France winger who scored a hat-trick on his Test debut LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: Fiji Thomas is far from the finished article. Since arriving at Racing Métro in the summer, he’s spent a lot of time working on his defence. But he was still opened up too easily by Fiji when Watisoni Votu scored the first of the Islanders’ two tries in Saturday’s 40-15 defeat. That won’t have escaped the Wallabies and Thomas can expect his defence to be given a thorough examination on Saturday at the Stade de France.Calming influence: Scott Spedding was composed at full-back on debut for FranceBut Thomas will be helped in that regard by the presence of Scott Spedding at full-back. The South Africa-born Spedding created two of Thomas’s three tries against Fiji in what was also his France debut. Spedding is a steadying influence in the French back-line, a man born to Test rugby whose calm focus in the hurly-burly of his first International was eye-catching.But it was Thomas with his three tries on his debut (only the second Frenchman to achieve such a feat, the first being Rodolphe Modin against Zimbabwe in the 1987 World Cup) who took the accolades in the wake of the Fijian thrashing. Named Man of the Match, the 21-year-old was lauded by Toulon coach Bernard Laporte the following day. “He’s a very good player, a player of the future,” exclaimed Laporte on French radio. “The French team needs an image, an icon… he has a look, he radiates something.”He does indeed. Thomas doesn’t fit the mould of the traditional French rugby player, a man of the deep countryside imbued with a sense of Gallic tradition. Thomas loves American culture, everything from the NBA to rap music, which is why at Biarritz he was nicknamed ‘The American’. One of his favourite rugby moments, he told Midi Olympique, was “the time when Digby [Ioane] and Danny Cipriani did a ‘dougie’ (a hip-hop dance) in the in-goal during the Super 15. I found that magnificent”.France needs Thomas, not just the rugby team but the country. At a time when the National Front is on the rise, this gifted young winger is a reminder of all that is great about the rich diversity of France. And somewhere in France is the man who helped bring this rugby prodigy into the world.
Putting the boot in: Owen Farrell kicks for goal TAGS: Saracens Form is temporary. Intangible attributes such as tenacity and charisma are permanent. The very best sportsmen tend to possess those two qualities.Owen Farrell had endured a fairly ghastly season up until last weekend. Either side of two long injury lay-offs, he lost his England fly-half berth following two underwhelming outings against New Zealand and South Africa.Rehabilitating strained knee ligaments during the Six Nations, the 23 year-old watched age-group ally George Ford string together some exceptional displays. Though he would have been happy for a close mate, Farrell’s pride must have taken a stinging slap.For that reason, Saturday was hugely significant on a personal level. Saracens‘ collective goal took precedent of course, and the club was on a similar mission of redemption given their stuttering campaign and last-gasp loss in last year’s final.But in the shadow of the encroaching Rugby World Cup, Farrell was under huge scrutiny. With the stakes high, an uncompromising competitive edge took hold and he thrived.Physical presenceThe game started with a set-back for Farrell. Anthony Watson countered and Saracens’ number 10 hit him high:Referee Wayne Barnes gave a penalty immediately gave a penalty. At the final whistle, Mike Ford suggested a red card was warranted.Isolating the moment Farrell makes contact, we see that the tackle is undeniably mistimed. Watson’s knees are bent from Mako Vunipola‘s scrag so the Bath youngster is on his way down as his opponent comes in:Barnes did not ask the TMO to review the incident and a post-match citing commissioner’s warning – essentially a retrospective yellow card – hinted that sin-binning might have been the correct course of action.The unfortunate thing was that the collision effectively ended Watson’s involvement. Without condoning the challenge though, it did underline Farrell’s proactive physicality in defence, something that caused problems for all afternoon.From the resultant penalty, Bath gained good field position and put together their first attack. Watch how Farrell drives his side’s line-speed:As Austin Healey pointed out on BT Sport’s commentary, Farrell forces Ford to head back inside by shooting up so quickly:Ford is shooed up a blind alley and Bath were consistently pushed backwards. A few phases later, they were on the Saracens 10-metre line and Farrell intervened again, ransacking Francois Louw:He hunts down the carrier alongside Duncan Taylor……then stops the Springbok well behind the gain-line, tying up the ball to smother any potential offload:Try-scoring, destructive defence is a Saracens hallmark, and Jamie George‘s popular five-pointer was built on the same principles of harrying the opposition:George himself is the man to storm ahead of the line this time, but Farrell has an important role. He treads water as Eastmond releases the pass and picks the right recipient, Ross Batty in this case:The Bath hooker spills and his opposite man trundles in, the beneficiary of sheer pressure.One more example of Farrell’s appetite comes in the second half. Once more, his pace off the line means Ford steps back into traffic. Maro Itoje is lying in wait:A screenshot maps out the situation:And Farrell keeps Bath under the pump, firing through onto Dave Attwood when the ball comes loose from the ensuing breakdown:Another high tackle on Jonathan Joseph in the second period brought shipped three points, yet these positives far outweighed the negatives.We have come to expect such abrasive play from Farrell. That said, he matched fire with ice, making cool decisions when Saracens were in possessionDirecting attackFarrell will never be the most aesthetically pleasing distributor. However, his willingness to take the ball to the line complements Saracens’ punchy phase-play nicely.At first receiver, he can play in runners such as Billy Vunipola on punchy patterns……or exploit wide channels by firing passes behind screen runners. This one bypasses Brad Barritt to find Alex Goode, an excellent lieutenant in the backline:This sequence best exemplifies Farrell’s timing of pass at the weekend. Though Bath get rare ascendancy in the scrum, Jackson Wray does brilliantly to pick up from the base.Saracens recycle to face a disjointed defence:When Farrell receives the pass from Richard Wigglesworth, a glance tells him that Joseph is back-pedalling. Throwing an early pass would allow the Bath centre to drift onto the next man easily:Instead, he holds onto the ball for around 15 metres. Joseph has to commit. When he does, Farrell finds Barritt with a long, sharp pass:From second receiver, Farrell linked well too. This loop around Barritt created room on the right:Following a prolonged series of narrow attacks, the fly-half then slotted in behind a pod of three forwards – the ‘diamond formation’ used so effectively by Bath.With David Strettle lurking out wide, a pinpoint cross-kick nearly came off:Given Saracens’ powerful forwards, Farrell is afforded room in behind because the defence must be wary. George Ford may have instigated creativity and spark over the Six Nations, but when it comes to cold, hard winning rugby, the Saracen is pretty special. He has the trophy and man of the match medal to prove it.Thanks to BT Sport and to Premiership Rugby for the match footage LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Owen Farrell cast aside the frustration of a difficult season to put in a stand-out performance as Saracens beat Bath 28-16 at Twickenham. Here, Billy Vunipola is the first receiver. Itoje is storming onto his right shoulder, so would-be tacklers need to brace themselves:Though Billy Vunipola’s pass is high, Farrell is free to collect and aim his kick:Strettle got up so well, beating Matt Banahan, and should really have scored on his final Saracens appearance before heading to Clermont:Earlier, the same structure had paved the way for Farrell’s try, the first of the game.Scoring decisionsFarrell begins this play as the filling in a Vunipola sandwich, receiving a pass from Mako before sending up Billy:Tracking him, we can see how he shapes to support his runner as the ball is fumbled……before clocking that locks Alistair Hargreaves and George Kruis can resource the ruck and curving around to attack the same way.The next step is complete spontaneity. Flicking onto Taylor as Semesa Rokoduguni tears into his face, Farrell then comes around to receive an offload from the Scotsman.Sensing Watson has overrun, he shows, goes and scores:At his best, Farrell combines clear-thinking and execution with spiky industry.Relentless work rateSaracens’ third try put them 22-3 up and in complete control. It came via Chris Wyles, but started on the other wing:Strettle’s flick-and-gather is remarkable. That said, Farrell’s support play is more central to the score. He is a long way away when Taylor chucks an overhead towards Strettle:Busting a gut though, Farrell gets to the tackle area and clears out the burly frame of Banahan:Following a crashing Itoje carry, Wigglesworth and Goode spread the ball left and George plays in Wyles:Just as Farrell made the hard yards in attack, he was not shy of defensive graft.This clip details perhaps Bath’s brightest forward movement:Monitoring Farrell’s movement is fascinating. He begins in the guard position as Ford moves the ball away from the ruck:Rather than pressing, he reads that the play has become stretched and comes in behind his defensive line just as Sam Burgess gets an arm free:Joseph is the recipient and he spins away from Jacques Burger. At that point, Farrell can step in to halt the Bath charge:It is a selfless piece of scrambling, the sort of subtlety Stuart Lancaster loves to see.Mr MotivatorFarrell takes it upon himself to drive standards and barely stops barking throughout a match. This 80 minutes was no different.Watch how he goes across to gee up Billy Vunipola after the No 8 forces Bath into touch:Later, Wyles got a pat on the back for a fine cover tackle on Rokoduguni:Saracens’ intensity did not let up. Farrell simply would not allow it.Pinning Bath backBurgess was among Bath’s most influential performers. The league convert rose to the occasion too.This dominant tackle on Billy Vunipola swelled noise from the West Country supporters in attendance. However, Farrell swept around to sap any momentum with a deft kick that skidded into touch:Deep in the game, Bath mounted one final surge. An overthrown lineout surrendered possession though. Then Farrell punished the mistake with another clinical territorial masterstroke:Game management is a term that is often used in a fluffy, vague manner. These two punts define the practice rather neatly. And Farrell’s boot was in action from the tee too.Unflappable right footA nerveless, accurate goal-kicker changes the psychological scenery of any game. Conceding penalties anywhere in one’s own half becomes a costly error.Farrell missed just one of six attempts, this touchline conversion proving the pick of the bunch:If England’s World Cup comes down to a single shot, you would probably want Farrell taking it.
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: Highlight Here are ten reasons to buy the January 2017 edition of Rugby World Locked on: David Pocock is an expert at the breakdown. Photo: Getty Images6. The Georgian with a travel bugTbilisi-born Val Rapava Ruskin has played in Georgia, South Africa, France and England. And he’s still only 24! Get to know the Worcester prop in the new issue.Well travelled: Val Rapava Ruskin in action for Worcester. Photo: Getty Images7. The ultimate end-of-year quizThink you’re a rugby expert? Then test your knowledge in our end-of-year quiz – it’s tough but Lovell Rugby prizes are up for grabs!Mystery man: Know who this is? You’d have one correct answer in our quiz!8. How rugby helps refugees in ItalyDiscover how Le Tre Rose rugby project is helping immigrants to settle into their new Italian community – it’s the games values at their best.9. A grass-roots pleaRugby is proving a hit with new recruits, but Stephen Jones argues that more young men need to return to the game to swell grass-roots numbers.Gaining numbers: Stephen Jones wants to see more people playing club rugby. Photo: Offside10. The rise of Germany – and others! Another year of rugby is coming to an end but the latest issue of Rugby World is still packed with news and views from around the world. We have exclusive interviews, expert analysis, fantastic photos and much more – here are ten reasons to pick up a copy of RW’s January issue…1. FREE 2017 CALENDAR!The new issue comes with a free – yes, FREE! – 2017 calendar that celebrates British & Irish Lions tours to New Zealand with fantastic photographs.2. Big names – and more big namesThe January issue is packed with rugby stars, including Charles Piutau, Mako Vunipola, Leigh Halfpenny, CJ Stander, Greig Laidlaw, John Kingston, Ken Owens, Jonny May and more!Pass master: Ulster’s Charles Piutau has won a lot of fans with offloads like this. Photo: Inpho3. Christmas gift guideStruggling for present ideas? Rugby World to the rescue! We’ve pulled together a host of a suggestions across six pages for the rugby fans in your life – or you can treat yourself!4. On tour with the BarbariansWe go inside the Baa-Baas recent tour to the Czech Republic to see what it is like to be part of the famous invitational side.Clean sweep: Michael Fatialofa tidies the dressing room in Prague. Photo: Alan Dymock5. Richie Gray’s top tipsScotland’s defensive contact consultant explains how to coach the breakdown so you can get your rucks right. Germany had an impressive November so we report on how and why the country is doing so well. Plus, there’s news from Jamaica.On the move: Jamaica’s women’s and men’s sevens sides have had success recentlyFor the latest Rugby World subscription offers click here. Find your local stockist here and you can download the digital edition here.
Johnny Sexton drop-goal sees him join rugby royaltyThe drop-goal has become a bit of an afterthought in professional rugby, reduced to a ‘roll of the dice’ when the comfort blanket of a penalty advantage has been draped over the posts. But as Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton showed in the opening round of the Six Nations in Paris, nothing quite seals a win like a last-minute drop-goal.The kick itself was immaculate, 43 metres of end-on-end beauty that allows Sexton to pull up a chair alongside Jonny Wilkinson, Ronan O’Gara, Stephen Larkham etc.Watch the Johnny Sexton drop-goal belowAs beautiful as the actual kick was, the build-up was equally exquisite: 41 phases of perfect short carries and neat cleanouts – modern humans evolved from Australopithecus in fewer stages than that.It must be said that Sexton’s drop-goal did disguise a below average Irish performance and zero clean breaks in 80 minutes will be as concerning to Joe Schmidt as the drop-goal was impressive.Injuries improve WalesThe scoreline of 34-7 contains the numbers that really matter. But if you dig a little deeper, there are three sets of numbers that are arguably as important to Wales as they head towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup: 18 clean breaks, 16 defenders beaten and 13 offloads.It may have been injury-induced, but the selection of form players, being allowed to play contemporary rugby, showed that the Welsh coaches really have changed their ethos. The impact of the triple kick-pass-run threat of Rhys Patchell, added to the upright, offload-ready body angles of Aaron Shingler, Rob Evans and Josh Navidi, allowed Wales to attack at will. But to look for CSI-quality evidence of Wales’ attitude change you need look no further than Samson Lee flicking a one-handed pass away from contact in midfield.Line backer: Wales fly-half Rhys Patchell tests the Scotland defence. Photo: Getty ImagesIt would be naïve to think that the Welsh performance was driven simply by Hollywood offloads and line breaks; it wasn’t. The Welsh set-piece was near-perfect and Ross Moriarty, Cory Hill and Alun Wyn Jones delivered swathes of heavy carries. But when the platform was created, the thump into the 12 channel was ignored and the wider spaces exploited – resulting in Leigh Halfpenny running in two well-deserved tries.Wales won’t be able to play as freely against England and Ireland, but it shows that they can and, more importantly, are now allowed to.Counter-attacking isn’t enough for ScotlandFor those who have loved watching Scottish rugby in recent seasons, their performance against Wales was a real kick in the windpipe. Pre-game, Scotland’s perceived weakness was deemed to be in the front row, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, Gordon Reid and Jon Welsh were very effective and helped deliver a scrummage completion of 85% – six from seven. From that Johnny Sexton drop-goal to speedster Sam Simmonds – Paul Williams wraps up the talking points from the first round of the Six Nations Kicking king: Johnny Sexton drops the winning goal for Ireland in Paris. Photo: Getty Images LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The major problems occurred with the ball in hand – both wide and narrow. The Scottish back row carried just 21 metres between them, which is a remarkably low number. Even in Test rugby you’d expect a No 8 to carry that distance alone. With the pack struggling to get over the gain-line, Scotland became overly dependent on their back-line swinging the ball from extreme left to extreme right – it was like watching Jeremy Corbyn having a tussle with Jacob Rees-Mogg.No way through: Scotland centre Huw Jones is tackled by Hadleigh Parkes. Photo: Getty ImagesBut even this failed as Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams shut the midfield down and stopped Scotland from executing their offloading game. It was a difficult day for Scottish rugby, and a reminder that having only one style of rugby often isn’t enough at Test level.France and their ‘mid-table rugby’It is obviously too early to judge France’s long-term prospects under Jacques Brunel – other than selection he’s had little time to affect anything meaningful. However, their performance against Ireland reeked of the mid-table rugby that we see in the Top 14. Rugby that will win nothing, but will also stop the drop into Pro D2.LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSThe problem is that there is no relegation in the Six Nations, meaning that the prosaic, predictable ‘one-out’ carries from the French forwards are largely pointless.The French plan seemed at odds with the selection in the forwards. Brunel picked a pack weighing just 865kg, which is very light for Test rugby, where packs tip the 900kg mark. Yet having selected a lightweight pack, France proceeded to use lighter forwards in the same way that you would use their heavier counterparts. Surely you pick lighter forwards to play wider and faster, not just in the narrow channels – otherwise you might as well pick 19st monsters. We obviously can’t ignore the fact that France nearly won, but they have stacks of work to get through.HIA cases raise questionsThe Head Injury Assessment (HIA) procedure is there to protect players and any cynicism derived from misuse of the protocol can only have a negative impact on player safety. The grey matter in player’s heads shouldn’t be endangered by the grey areas in rugby’s laws.Controversy: France’s Matthieu Jalibert goes off for an HIA against Ireland. Photo: Getty ImagesIt is impossible to prove but neither of the France half-backs who went for HIAs against Ireland – Matthieu Jalibert and Antoine Dupont – appeared to have any contact made with their heads, although it was the independent match doctor who made those calls. Both players have since been ruled out of the rest of the championship with knee injuries. The Six Nations have stated they are investigating the HIA incidents and the findings of that investigation will be awaited with interest.Diminutive No 8s can be greatEngland No 8 Sam Simmonds was awesome against Italy. Two tries, 80 metres carried, three clean breaks and 23 tackles are remarkable numbers. But the weirdest stat by far, particularly for those who haven’t seen much of the Exeter player, is that he is a ‘Rizla’ under 6ft tall – a rarity in Test rugby. Sam’s the man: Sam Simmonds scored two tries against Italy. Photo: Getty ImagesThe benchmark height for international No 8s is 6ft 3in tall. It just is. But why? Unless the eight is utilised as a jumper there is no logical reason to be that tall, quite the opposite. Simmonds’s pace, with his shorter levers, regularly caught the Italian defence off-guard.With Simmonds, there is no long build-up to top speed; he isn’t reliant on long strides and hits full tilt within a few steps. When Billy Vunipola is fit, he will obviously come straight back in at eight, but Simmonds gives Eddie Jones some exciting new options, options that a traditionally-shaped No 8 cannot.
Pizza the action: Italy supporters look a treat ahead of the round-two match at Stade de France (Inpho)With two rounds gone, only France and Ireland can still win a Grand Slam – check out the table here. Next up for Fabien Galthié’s men is a trip to Cardiff – familiar turf for their defence coach Shaun Edwards.“In some ways I think Shaun Edwards would rather be going into the Welsh game with this game behind him,” said BBC pundit Paul O’Connell, acknowledging the flat French performance of the second period. “He’ll probably get stuck into them now with a lot of what they were doing and he’ll have them on edge.”For all their efforts, Italy finished empty-handed again and their record losing run in the championship now stands at 24 matches. Their defeat, coupled with Georgia’s win against Spain, means they have dropped below the East Europeans in the world rankings.“We brought a performance and showed how strong our attack can be. We scored a try with a driving maul and one in the last minute and we never give up,” said hooker and captain Bigi.“That is a positive we can bring to the next game and I’m so proud to be part of this team. We conceded too many turnovers last week but we were better today. The effort we showed on the pitch was amazing.” Eight tries57 pointsAnd much, much more Check out the highlights of #FRAvITA#GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/BxDPvWdZUs— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 9, 2020FRANCEAnthony Bouthier; Teddy Thomas, Arthur Vincent, Gael Fickou, Vincent Rattez (Romain Ntamack 77); Romain Ntamack (Matthieu Jalibert 70), Antoine Dupont (Baptiste Serin 72); Cyril Baille (Jefferson Poirot 58), Julien Marchand (Peato Mauvaka 61), Mohammed Haouas (Demba Bamba 58), Bernard le Roux (Boris Palu 70), Paul Willemse (Romain Taofifénua 44), Francois Cros (Cameron Woki 61), Charles Ollivon (capt), Gregory Alldritt. Tries (5): Thomas 6, Ollivon 17, Alldritt 38, Ntamack 58, Serin 73. Cons: Ntamack, Jalibert. Pens: Ntamack 2.ITALYJayden Hayward; Mattia Bellini, Luca Morisi, Carlo Canna, Matteo Minozzi; Tommaso Allan (Giulio Bisegni 75), Callum Braley (Guglielmo Palazzani 61); Andrea Lovotti (Danilo Fischetti 52), Luca Bigi (capt, Federico Zani 61), Giosué Zilocchi (Marco Riccioni 52), Dean Budd (Federico Ruzza 77), Niccolo Cannone, Jake Polledri (Jimmy Tuivaiti 61), Sebastian Negri (Giovanni Licata 52), Abraham Steyn. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The March issue of Rugby World magazine – a Six Nations special – is on sale now. Jouez, jouez…@FranceRugby doing what they do best, with a brilliant try for Romain Ntamack#FRAvITA #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/6wehBi2jAd— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 9, 2020Yet still the job wasn’t done because replacement hooker Federico Zani, on for tireless skipper Luca Bigi, scored against the foot of the posts to keep Italy in the hunt for at least a losing bonus point.It wasn’t until Baptiste Serin’s solo try, taking a quick tap and winning the race to his grubber, that victory was sealed with seven minutes remaining. Mattia Bellini scored at the death to produce the final margin and ensured Italy deservedly didn’t lose the second 40. The finisher… Teddy Thomas shows why he’s one of the most dangerous wingers in world rugby #FRAvITA #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/sM3lOSyKui— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 9, 2020When Charles Ollivon dotted down from close range to make it 13-0 – his third try of the championship – France were in cruise control and the crowd broke out in a Mexican wave as they contemplated more to come. Two turnover penalties by Julien Marchand, perhaps a world-class hooker in the making, helped maintain France’s tight grip.However, Ntamack’s errant kicking off the tee meant they failed to pull decisively clear. One of his conversions bounced off the bar and another, from bang in front, only went over after smacking against the inside of both posts.Matteo Minozzi’s smart finish, converted from the left touchline by Tommaso Allan, who added a penalty soon after, reduced the gap to 13-10 by the half-hour as Italy grew in confidence. For a second week running, their set-piece work looked rock-solid.The all-round improvements from their first-round drubbing by Wales were stark and it’s all the more commendable because they lost second-row Alessandro Zanni to injury in the warm-up – the sort of disruption that every coach dreads.Wing man: Matteo Minozzi gets Italy on the board from a bouncing pass by Tommaso Allan (Inpho)Although Antoine Dupont – excellent again at scrum-half – fizzed out a scoring pass for Gregory Alldritt to put France in charge at 23-10 by the break, the second half saw the home side outplayed for long periods.Where earlier Alldritt and Paul Willemse had been prominent carriers, now the Azzurri replied in kind with some impressive inter-play between backs and forwards. Jake Polledri made a number of dents to go with his 26 tackles.The aggressive line speed that marked France’s first-half performance all but disappeared and the hosts were grateful to Ntamack for the try just before the hour that secured their try bonus point and stretched the lead to three scores. Watch the try here… France’s 35-22 bonus-point victory against Italy puts them top of the Six Nations table France go top after blowing hot and coldFrance made heavy weather of beating Italy but top the Guinness Six Nations table after two rounds following a 35-22 victory in Paris.Les Bleus scored five tries to three amid the swirling winds of Storm Ciara and never looked in danger of losing the match from the moment wing Teddy Thomas got their first try from a Romain Ntamack grubber kick in the sixth minute. Watch it below… Tries (3): Minozzi 24, Zani 65, Bellini 79. Cons: Allan 2. Pen: Allan.Early strike: Teddy Thomas touches down the first of eight tries in the match at Stade de France (Getty) Cockerel crow: France fly-half Romain Ntamack (left) celebrates his try with Anthony Bouthier (AFP/Getty) Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles live stream: How to watch from South AfricaSuperSport has the rights to broadcast the Champions Cup in South Africa and you can watch Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles at 4pm on the CSN, Grandstand and Rugby channels.There are various DStv packages available that give access to SuperSport.Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles live stream: How to watch from South-East AsiaAgain, beIN Sports has the broadcast rights for European rugby in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and other South-East Asia countries.Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles live stream: How to watch from the CaribbeanIn the Caribbean, SportsMax is where to head to watch Champions Cup matches.Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles live stream: How to watch from elsewhereEPCR have launched an OTT service, epcrugby.tv, so you can stream live Champions Cup matches outside of its core broadcast territories (UK & Ireland, France, USA, Malta, Spain, Andorra and Sub-Saharan Africa).It’s €19.99 for a weekend pass for all the Champions and Challenge Cup semi-finals.Find out epcrugby.tv here LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Toulouse scrum-half Antoine Dupont breaks against Bordeaux-Begles (AFP/Getty Images) Get a BT Sport Monthly PassIf you’re from the UK but are overseas when Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles takes place, you can get your normal live stream but you’ll need a VPN – see the information above.Channel 4 are also showing Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles on free-to-air television in the UK, while Virgin One are doing the same in Ireland.Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles live stream: How to watch from FranceTo watch Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles (kick-off 4pm) in France, beIN Sports is the place to go as they are the main rights holders.beIN Sports offersToulouse v Bordeaux-Begles is also available on free-to-air France Télévisions.Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles live stream: How to watch from the USAIf you live in the States, the official broadcaster of Champions Cup matches is NBC, with matches streamed on Peacock Premium, which is available for $4.99 a month.Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles will kick off at 10am EST and 7am on the West Coast.Get Peacock Premium Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles live stream: How to watch from AustraliaFor those in Australia, beIN Sports now has the rights to show European Champions Cup matches in 2020-21, with Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles kicking off at midnight.You can also stream beIN Sports’ coverage live and on-demand through Kayo Sports. A basic package is $25 a month and premium is $35 a month – and they offer a FREE 14-day trial to new customers.Kayo Sports offer Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles live stream: How to watch the Champions Cup semi-final from anywhereToulouse and Bordeaux-Begles are familiar foes in the Top 14, but today’s Champions Cup semi-final (kick-off 3pm UK & Ireland time) will be the first time they’ve met in a European competition.Four-time European champions Toulouse have never lost a Top 14 game at home against Bordeaux-Begles and have won six of the last seven meetings between the sides.This may be Bordeaux’s first Champions Cup semi-final but skipper Matthieu Jalibert is the top point-scorer in this season’s competition. His duel with Romain Ntamack pitches France’s two best No 10s in direct opposition. Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles live stream: How to watch from the UK & IrelandToulouse v Bordeaux-Begles, which kicks off at 3pm, will be shown live on BT Sport 3 in the UK and Ireland. Coverage starts from 2.30pm.If you don’t have a BT contract but want to watch the match, don’t worry because you can still easily watch it online.That’s because BT Sport has a contract-free monthly pass that allows you to get instant access to all four of their sport channels for just £25. The first European Cup semi-final is an all-French affair Toulouse: Maxime Médard; Cheslin Kolbe, Zack Holmes, Pita Ahki, Matthis Lebel; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand (capt), Charlie Faumuina, Rory Arnold, Richie Arnold, Alban Placines, Francois Cros, Jerome Kaino.Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Clément Castets, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Joe Tekori, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Antoine Miquel, 22 Baptiste Germain, 23 Juan Cruz Mallía.Bordeaux-Begles: Nans Ducuing; Romain Buros, Pablo Uberti, Yoram Falatea-Moefana, Ben Lam; Matthieu Jalibert (capt), Maxime Lucu; Thierry Paiva, Maxime Lamothe, Vadim Cobilas, Kane Douglas, Jandré Marais, Cameron Woki, Guido Petti, Alexandre Roumat.Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Jefferson Poirot, 18 Ben Tameifuna, 19 Cyril Cazeaux, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Yann Lesgourgues, 22 Ulupano Seuteni, 23 Thomas Jolmes.Here’s how to find a reliable live stream for Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles wherever you are…How to watch Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles from outside your countryIf you’re abroad but still want to watch your local Champions Cup coverage, like Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles, you can do so by using a VPN – Virtual Private Network.VPNs let you get around any geo-blocking by changing your IP address, so you appear in a different location and can watch the same legal Champions Cup live stream you would at home.Our friends at TechRadar have tested hundreds of VPN and recommend ExpressVPN. It’s easy to use, has strong security features and allows you to watch on several devices at once, including smart TVs and phones, iPads, tablets, PCs and Macs.Plus, ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can try it out for a month for free or sign up for an annual plan and get three months free.Check out ExpressVPN Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles live stream: How to watch from New ZealandSky Sport NZ has the rights to show the Champions Cup in the Land of the Long White Cloud, with Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles kicking off at 2am on Sunday on Sky Sport 1.It costs $31.99 a month to add Sky Sport to your Sky Starter pack ($25.99) but if you sign up for 12 months before 30 June you’ll get your first month free. Plus, you’ll get Sky Go, which allows you to watch live rugby wherever you are.Sky Sport NZ offer Can’t get to the shops? 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Terry Francis says: Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Closing the loop on racial reconciliation Two Virginia parishes reckon with their Confederate histories Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Terry Francis says: March 18, 2017 at 5:37 pm From a man of color, I have never felt “shame” from those derogatory remarks or descriptions, only pity for the people giving them. Bigoted remarks are never going to make me feel shame. March 30, 2017 at 9:06 am The story ain’t true—-No one has produced the name of the man Comments (23) March 17, 2017 at 10:50 am For the record, I am a woman of color who is challenging Kim’s assertion of shame. Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Israel Paul says: March 17, 2017 at 10:49 am Thank you for your comment. March 23, 2017 at 5:54 pm I have honestly never heard a white person say that to a black person. (But I have had my black friends tell me about “ashy” skin. I’d never heard that expression before gym class in 1972.) I love you Gayle. Think the world of you Gayle. But these are expressions I’ve heard black people say to each other. Tina Lajoy says: Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY 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 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 Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Racial Justice & Reconciliation Rosemary Gooden says: Youth Minister Lorton, VA 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 March 18, 2017 at 3:36 pm From a woman of color.. your hair is nappy, your skin looks like dirt, your lips are thick. Your men are criminals and thugs. These are just a few of the ways in which shame has been visited upon black people. Ronald Davin says: Tags Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector Shreveport, LA Rector Knoxville, TN Rector Pittsburgh, PA By Heather Beasley DoylePosted Mar 16, 2017 Kim Glenn says: Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL March 16, 2017 at 6:44 pm Heidi Kim’s statement, “People of color are shamed for who they are” is unclear and problematic. What kind of shaming is going on? How is the shaming expressed? What do you mean by shame?What evidence exists that affirms your assertion? March 30, 2017 at 9:09 am The story ain’t true—-No one has produced the name of the manWho produced the documentary for the History Channel. Who were the actors who portrayed the Black man and Lee kneeling together March 19, 2017 at 6:00 pm Gayle – is this still happening? I from a South Asian country. In the past, both white and black people have commented on my features & accent sometimes derogatorily – learnt not to let these offend me. Rector Collierville, TN March 19, 2017 at 8:28 pm I recall hearing a story that Lee took communion with an African -American man who approachedthe altar one Sunday morning following the end of the Civil War. The congregation sat in adtonishment until Lee, too, followed the man and received the sacraments. I hope this story is true. If it is, it demonstrates integrity, character, and a belief in reconciliation. We can all learn from this story. robert hunter says: F William Thewalt says: Ted Foley says: Submit an Event Listing Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ March 20, 2017 at 6:25 pm I’m curious enough to wonder why people who would take offense at Robert E. Lee would want to attend the R.E. Lee Memorial Church to start with, and then work to change the name. A young black man set fire to a cross on the lawn of a local Methodist Church in Staunton, Virginia last week. That has nothing to do with African Americans as a group. So, likewise, if a racist bigot appropriates Southern imagery (a flag), that does not call for the wide brush to eradicate all things and all people Southern . Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Rector Belleville, IL Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest robert hunter says: Jawaharlal Prasad says: March 17, 2017 at 2:37 am Instead of saying “spend a day in my shoes” why don’t you at least attempt to answer her questions, brother? Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Sarah McDermott says: March 30, 2017 at 9:10 am The story ain’t true—-No one has produced the name of the manWho produced the documentary for the History Channel. Who were the actors who portrayed the Black man and Lee kneeling togetherHope this comment is not blocked Comments are closed. Featured Events Rector Martinsville, VA March 22, 2017 at 12:36 pm I leave the name of a church solely up to its parishioners. However, it seems rather silly to remove the name of a man who was an important part of U.S. history. In my memory, it was the Soviet Union that re-wrote history to achieve its ends. An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Rector Tampa, FL In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Doug Desper says: William R. Peterson says: Featured Jobs & Calls Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Press Release Service Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group robert hunter says: Gayle Fisher-Stewart says: Tod Roulette says: March 16, 2017 at 10:59 pm Spend a day in my shoes, sister! Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ March 23, 2017 at 11:19 pm Afro-Americans are shamed because most Afro-Americans women wear wigs because back in the 50s when they were hired by whites, the whites would time them to cover up their hair because to whites black hair is ugly and today in the minds of black females from 4 yrs old to 90 yrs old they believe in their hearts that the hair that comes from India and other countries is their real hair and you can’t even tell them that is not their hair, black men also cut their hair shot or balled because it acceptable to whites and blacks. Don’t believe me? Look at black people on the news and see how many black women don’t wear wigs that are straight hair and black men with very short hair. we are the only race on earth that are forced to style our hair to please white people. Oh and ah’dum, Ms. Gooden. Do you wear one of the wigs? Rosemary Gooden says: Submit a Job Listing Rector Smithfield, NC Submit a Press Release Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Rector Washington, DC Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET October 28, 2017 at 2:02 pm My ancestors fought at Vicksburg, and Northern Virginia, at Gettysburg, and they were at Appomattox at the surrender. I feel pain in my heart that this Union of North and South, borne of the Godly soul of Abraham Lincoln, is dismissed so easily by divisive secularists who have taken over the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA). My ancestors were Union cavalry and infantry fighting for preservation of the Union. Slavery was never an issue with them, one way or the other. But American unity and freedom for every person was. I have lived in many places in the South for over 60 years. ECUSA, now TEC, has done itself and us a great disservice. When you see the words “consultant” and “discernment” you know there is trouble ahead. “Guided by the consulting firm, the parish is “discerning how we more fully move to unity as a congregation, as a church family, and focus on our call to serve,” Crittenden explains.”Why does a congregation of Virginians need religious guidance from a consultant living in Massachusetts?Be careful, this is your (our) heritage you are destroying in the name of current political secularism. You can’t deny history, only understand it. At some point, if this continues, you will be asked to stand by and watch the removal of crosses from the old Custis-Lee property we reverently call Arlington Cemetery. The promotion of peace and love does not require that we destroy the memory of those who went before us.William R. PetersonWye Parish, Maryland Course Director Jerusalem, Israel AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Rosemary Gooden says: Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI [Episcopal News Service] He felt attacked, and says so, specifically choosing the word to convey his strength of emotion. Yes, he felt personally attacked. But A.W. “Buster” Lewis also felt that R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church in Lexington, Virginia–his parish–“as I knew it, was being attacked and that we needed to do something about it.”Lewis’s feelings first welled up in the summer of 2015, when the vestry of R.E. Lee Memorial decided to explore the idea of changing its name of 114 years. The decision came in the wake of the June 2015 shooting at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, that left three wounded and nine dead. Quick on the heels of the shooting, the Episcopal Church passed a resolution at its 78th General Convention urging “…all persons, along with public, governmental, and religious institutions, to discontinue the display of the Confederate Battle Flag.”A drawing of R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church in Lexington, Virginia.Confederate flags were not the issue in question at R. E. Lee, a reasonably large parish of 465 members in a small town of some 7,200 residents. Lexington is home to Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University. Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson are buried there, and the Appalachian Trail wends its way north just a few miles away. This university town’s rural surroundings and deep historical roots blend into its own ecosystem—one that feeds R.E. Lee.“[Our parish is] a rather diverse community on the conservative-liberal spectrum,” says the Rev. Tom Crittenden, rector of R.E. Lee Memorial.In that diverse setting, with the Charleston massacre looming large in the country’s conscience, a parishioner had written a letter to the vestry about the church’s name. The parishioner “just wanted to go on record that the name was not helpful to the mission of the church, and asked the vestry to consider changing the name,” says Crittenden. Given “the context of those killings and the Confederate memorabilia,” Crittenden says, “when [the vestry] received the letter, there was a general awareness that the name was on some level problematic.’’ With that awareness and with the letter as a catalyst, a discussion of its name opened up among R.E. Lee Memorial’s 465 members.That same summer, just 138 miles to the east at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia, the Rev. Wallace Adams-Riley spoke from the pulpit about the Confederate symbols in his church, long known as “the Cathedral of the Confederacy.” During the Civil War, Richmond was the capitol of the Confederate States of America. Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general, worshipped at St. Paul’s and Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America, was a member.When Adams-Riley preached 11 days after the Charleston shooting, he spoke about the church’s visible, tactile links to the Confederacy. St. Paul’s vestry member Linda Armstrong remembers hearing that “it’s time for us to look at what message that sends to others.” The rector also spoke on “hate, white supremacy and white privilege,” she says. “It did make people think—people go to church and don’t really look around.”With that, Adams-Riley had set St. Paul’s on its own path to discerning how the parish’s past and its adornments square up with its current identity and values.A Sunday morning worship service at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia. Photo: Gail GoldsmithFrom Washington National Cathedral to the Diocese of Maryland, discussions linking history with the national conversation about race have sprung up across the Episcopal Church. Still, those conversations often feel stilted, defensive, too shallow or well-meaning—and consequently, miss the point.For racial reconciliation efforts to hit their stride, the conversations must transcend the dynamics of a typical daily exchange. Meaningful racial reconciliation means digging deep on an emotional level, says Heidi Kim, the Episcopal Church’s staff officer for racial reconciliation.“Part of why we cannot have open and vulnerable conversations about racism is because there has been so much shame and blame around racism,” Kim says. People of color are shamed for who they are, while white people are blamed for racism. “We have to do better [than that],” she says.Lewis didn’t feel good about the conversation at R.E. Lee Memorial from the get-go. “The vestry, in my point of view, mishandled the whole issue,” he says. The governing body decided to consider the name change when many parishioners were out of town for summer vacation, and Lewis felt a lack of transparency starting with those first meetings.Moreover, “I felt that the members for generations really, literally, had lived with this name almost as a source of pride,” he says. Since joining the church in 1972, Lewis says he had only heard one person question the name until the issue surfaced in 2015.Crittenden describes a different experience. “I came here nine years ago and the name of the church was a topic of random conversation,” he says. The rector points out that his church was founded in 1840, more than a generation before the Civil War. Originally founded as Latimer Parish, it became Grace Episcopal Church in 1842. Robert E. Lee worshipped there after the war, while president of Washington College (today’s Washington and Lee University). The church became R.E. Lee Memorial in 1903, 33 years after the Confederate general’s death. “The church was not founded in honor of Lee,” Crittenden says.The parish considered its name for four months with various activities, including town hall-style forums, small group discussions and a congregational survey. A deep divide quickly emerged between members who saw the name as “anachronistic” and out of sync with the parish’s mission, and those for whom the name expresses a “deeper history of the church within the community and Lee’s role at the church,” Crittenden explains.When the issue came to a vote in November 2015, the vestry decided that the name change needed a supermajority to pass. It failed by one vote. The congregation has yet to recover.This kind of outcome wouldn’t surprise Kim. “There’s no magic bullet” for success with racial reconciliation, she says—the process hinges on how people approach the work, and each other. Talking about race, even in a veiled way, requires a willingness to value everyone as the expert on their own life experience, rather than elevating a select few as experts, she says. From start to finish, “being in right relationship has to be more important than being right,” Kim adds.A similar sentiment guides Don Edwards, founder of Justice and Sustainability Associates, a for-profit management consulting firm that facilitates “just and sustainable agreements around land use.” With years of land-use experience under its belt, JSA accepted its first racial reconciliation project about 10 years ago. As well as navigating the intersection of land and race, they have also worked with a handful of churches, including St. Paul’s. “Contextually, this is an area that is expanding,” Edwards says. “The Episcopal Church in the South is a particular portal” for such discussions about race.Relics of the past, whether a name, plaques or needlepoint kneelers, ignited the conversations at both parishes. And through them, long-dead congregants live on, as they do through their descendants, some of whom attend the same churches that their families did generations ago.“There is an element that we want to introduce that makes it as safe as possible for people to talk about their [ancestors] without having to take ownership of the choices their relations made,” Edwards says. In practice, this means understanding the range of views in a congregation, organizing small group discussions, fostering mutual respect, training facilitators and keeping a watchful eye on participants during emotional discussionsAdams-Riley credits Edwards with cultivating “a sense of welcoming one another and a sense of people being invited to share from the heart; a sense of honoring one another” at St. Paul’s. About 100 people attended the parish’s two prayerful conversations in August 2015.Armstrong remembers well the conversations she attended as a member of St. Paul’s. When congregants had settled into groups of eight to 10 people, someone said that African-Americans find the Confederate battle flag offensive. “I don’t know that that had ever been spoken in a group, and I think people heard it,” she says.With Edwards’s task completed, St. Paul’s moved forward. Confederate flag images inside the church were removed. Other items connected to the Confederacy remained—and their meaning is currently being reframed. And the History and Reconciliation Initiative formed. Armstrong chairs the group, which includes a history working group, another on liturgy and music and a third known as the memorial working group.Working with a four-year plan, the history working group has dug into church archives and found other ways to understand St. Paul’s history. Once that process has wrapped up, the music and liturgy working group will figure out how those elements lend themselves to racial reconciliation.Ultimately, the group aims to memorialize its past, keeping in mind “that part of our history is oppressive and it’s brutal,” Armstrong says. In the meantime, the congregation’s “prayerful conversations” continue, in the form of potluck discussions. At the next potluck, in April, congregants will watch and discuss the documentary “Traces of the Trade.” The film’s director and producer, Katrina Brown, will be on hand for the event.“We want to tell a whole and honest history [of St. Paul’s],” says the Rev. Melanie Mullen, Episcopal Church director of reconciliation, justice and creation care. Until March 1, Mullen worked as downtown missioner at St. Paul’s.That desire holds the congregation together, Armstrong says. The process hasn’t been seamless, or easy. “It’s complicated…just the chatter was emotional for people,” she adds. While not everyone has gotten involved, most of the parish’s 450 active members have. “People have a sense, really, of being energized by this,” says Adams-Riley.Armstrong expounds upon this sentiment. Although the word reconciliation implies an external reckoning or an apology, she expects an internal shift. The parish’s truth-seeking process “should transform not just who we’re seen as, but who we really are,” she says. As parishioners transform, they hope that St. Paul’s reputation as the “Cathedral of the Confederacy,” too, will metamorphose into the “Cathedral of Reconciliation.”And, although, racial reconciliation is a ministry of the Episcopal Church, “Not everyone will feel called to this ministry,” Kim says, “and that’s okay.” She discourages congregations considering racial reconciliation just because “it’s the right thing to do,” or the ministry du jour.About 10 people who favored the name change at R.E. Lee Memorial, including two families with children, left in the wake of the vote according to parishioner Lacey Lynch. Lynch also rooted for the name change but wasn’t surprised when it didn’t pass. For now, Lynch and her family have stayed. With the vote behind them, though, fewer parishioners participate in church life. While the post-vote exodus was small, the tone of parish life feels dramatically different. Lynch points to an “underlying tension; it’s hard to describe it.”Like Lynch, Lewis has stuck with his parish, despite feeling attacked. He thinks—and hopes—that the name change question has been put firmly behind them. For her part, Lynch articulates a different wish. “I hope that there can be further discussion on [the name change],” she says, “because I don’t see it as politically correct, I see it as addressing what the history of the Confederacy means.”R.E. Lee Memorial did not hire a consultant when considering its name, but the parish has done so to help in healing its resulting rifts.“I think the discussion and then the vote was a wake-up call,” Crittenden says. “It revealed differences in the congregation that “mirror[ed] the divisions that were in our country in the last election.”Guided by the consulting firm, the parish is “discerning how we more fully move to unity as a congregation, as a church family, and focus on our call to serve,” Crittenden explains. The process, Lewis says, is going well. Nothing is more important to the R.E. Lee community right now than seeing it through, Crittenden says.Advocates articulate solid reasons for choosing the path of racial reconciliation, from repentance to creating a more just world. Edwards, the consultant, an Episcopalian who grew up attending a black Episcopal church, adds another: With dwindling attendance at Episcopal churches, “you should think about the fact that where demand decreases, supply contracts.” A racially reconciled church opens its doors to a broader spectrum of humanity and is less likely to die out.When you see any white Episcopal church, you have to ask, “What black church spun off from this church?” Edwards says. Reuniting predominantly white churches with black churches founded by white Episcopalians just makes sense, he says—and can only happen when congregants actually talk about race and their past. That reunion, “the closing of the loop,” as Edwards calls it; “there’s a kind of elegance to that and that motivates me because these people all share a religion, they all share a belief in God—one God.”— Heather Beasley Doyle is a freelance journalist based in Massachusetts. March 18, 2017 at 11:13 am My family has attended St. Paul’s in Richmond, and I talked to my children about the issue when St. Paul’s was having discussions about reconciliation and the worship space. My child pointed out that the primary function of the worship space is about worship, welcome, and equality in the eyes of God. That’s where my child saw some of the plaques, symbols, etc. in the worship space as at odds with the goal of providing a space of radical welcome. At the same time, my child thought there should be space to recognize the history of the space and thought an exhibit outside of the worship space with information about the history of the church and artifacts from its past should be displayed. Historic churches are places rich in history, but they are much more than that. They are places for the worship of God. Therein lies some of the tension. (By the way, I am someone who appreciates the history of place and the sense we are connected to those people who sat in the pews before we did. My ideal vacation involves visits to as many historic churches and cathedrals as possible.) I know these types of questions about history and tradition can be contentious. I do appreciate that the discussions are happening, while also recognizing they can be painful to people on different sides of the issue. Peace. Rector Albany, NY Director of Music Morristown, NJ Rector Bath, NC Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA March 19, 2017 at 5:28 pm Exactly, those bigoted remarks never made me feel ashamed. My parents instilled pride in me for who we are as loving christians. They instilled love in us through biblical teachings I never felt ashamed when I went to school with my hair platted or because of my dark skin. I remember a teacher of color being surprised that I was not uncomfortable with my hair being neatly platted even after she made the comment that her daughter would die if she sent her to school with her hair that way I was not bothered by her comments and thought it funny but I do remember it and it was 50 years ago. I was already strongly grounded in who I was at 8 years old and have never felt inferior to anyone nor ashamed of my look I love myself and all people as Jesus taught us to even when I am disappointed in them and possibly ashamed of their less than loving ways. Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET March 16, 2017 at 6:36 pm Would that al lof us had the faith of Robert E, Lee, and he was an Episcopalian at that.“We must forgive our enemies. I can truly say that not a day has passed since the war began that I have not prayed for them.As quoted in A Life of General Robert E. Lee (1871), by John Esten Cooke” Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Rector Hopkinsville, KY This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Curate Diocese of Nebraska Ben Stein says: Advocacy Peace & Justice, March 20, 2017 at 9:33 am While I appreciate the reporting on the efforts of these congregations, I find the focus on ‘history’ to be problematic. While it’s important to know the history of how we got here, if we focus on it too much we might fail to recognize the racism that exists in our church today.For example, the article points out that the vestry decided that a “super majority” was required to consider a name change. Changing the rules of the game in mid-stream is one way that racism is perpetuated. (Think about voter ID laws. In some states US citizens cannot exercise their constitutional right to vote because the rules of the game were changed.) Would the vestry have decided that a super majority would be required if the motion before them was whether to keep the name “R. E. Lee Memorial”?I’m sure that the vestry did not intend to make a racist decision but that was the result. Beware of changing the rules. March 17, 2017 at 5:41 am Robert E. Lee kept the nation from a long guerrilla war after Appomatox. He was a genius war fighter but when the fight ended he stugged for peace blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God. Sonya Boyd3 says: March 22, 2017 at 4:57 am Sonya, that story is true. The History Channel had an excellent documentary about Lee and the Civil War awhile back. He did indeed kneel next to a black man and they both received the sacraments together. It was the final scene shown in that documentary. Terry Francis says: Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Associate Rector Columbus, GA Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR