We look back at what’s been going on in the Player’s world this week!
So long Sam
Is it possible to be a legend of the game at the age of just 29? Well yes, and Welsh back-rower Sam Warburton is living proof.
The Wales and Lions captain announced on Wednesday that he’s hanging up the boots, citing an inability to regain full fitness after a series of injuries.
“Unfortunately after a long period of rest and rehabilitation the decision to retire from rugby has been made with my health and wellbeing as a priority,” Warburton said in a statement. “My body is unable to give me back what I had hoped for on my return to training.”
Warburton, who captained the British and Irish Lions in 2013 and 2017 and played for Wales 74 times, took last season off in a bid to extend his career through to the next World Cup.
However, the announcement highlighted the toll the game can take on players and International Rugby Players Chief Executive Omar Hassanein told The Times that the announcement increases the need for player load to be addressed.
We wish Sam (pictured above) our very best for the next chapter and hope he stays involved in the game in some capacity.
Northampton schedule Twickenham showdown for Rob
In further injury news, Australian back Rob Horne spoke for the first time this week since sustaining a career-ending injury in April.
The Northampton clubman damaged the nerves that control his shoulder, resulting in full paralysis of his right arm and chronic pain.
His club announced that the Saints v Leicester match on October 6 will be held in Twickenham and will act as a fundraiser for Rob and his family in these difficult times.
“I’m still very much me, working through what I have to but I’m certainly going to embrace what’s ahead, new challenges and new opportunities. Things that would never come into my thinking prior to this,” Horne told his club website.
“The term ‘testimonial’ is not something I’ve had much exposure to in Australian rugby or the southern hemisphere. It’s not really something that’s done. I know up here (in the Northern Hemisphere) it’s a privilege and something that you have to earn to be able to experience,” he added.
We send our best to Rob and would love to see a full house in Twickenham for this worthy cause.
TIME LAPSE: Incredible transformation of @ATTPark from baseball to rugby.
— Rugby World Cup Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) July 19, 2018
On a brighter note, all roads lead to San Francisco this weekend as Rugby World Cup Sevens kicks off at the home of the San Francisco Giants.
The three-day tournament, which sees 24 men’s teams and 16 women’s team take part, will use a new knockout system this year.
Both New Zealand’s men and women claimed the trophies at the last RWC Sevens in Moscow in 2013 – and organisers will be hoping for a much better attendance at AT&T Park in America’s Golden City this weekend.
The action gets underway on Friday at 10am (local time) and you can check out the fixtures here. Best of luck to all involved.
A sad day for the game as Wales and @lionsofficial captain Sam Warburton hangs up the boots at the age of just 29.
— InternationalRugbyPlayers (@IntRugbyPlayers) July 18, 2018
Japan tickets hot property as Samoa secure RWC 2019 spot
Samoa will complete in Pool A at RWC 2019 after they beat Germany in Heidelberg last weekend.
The 14-point victory in the second leg of the Oceania/Europe playoff confirmed a 108-43 aggregate win and a place in the pools alongside Ireland, Scotland, Japan and Russia next year.
Germany now go to the repechage in Marseille in November with Canada, Hong Kong and the Rugby Africa Gold Cup runner-up.
Meanwhile, demand for tickets for the event in Japan is heating up with organisers reporting over 2.5 million ticket applications since the priority process began in January 2018. They closed late last month. Another round of ticketing begins in September.
Jonah story set for screen
And finally, New Zealand’s Stuff website reports that the “untold story” of Jonah Lomu will be aired on TV next year.
Producers say the mini-series, which will be broadcast in two parts, will tell the “real story” and claim to be the first biographers to “talk to everyone” about Jonah.
The world-famous winger died in November 2015.
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