Tagged in: Rugby

Jordan Mailata, Philadelphia Eagles reach 4-year, $64 million extension

The Philadelphia Eagles are signing left tackle Jordan Mailata to a four-year, $64 million extension, Mailata’s agents confirmed to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday.

The deal, which runs through the 2025 season, could be worth up to $80 million and involves $40.85 million guaranteed, agents Jeff Nalley and Graylan Crain told ESPN.

It was completed Saturday, just before the team left its facility to fly to Atlanta for its season-opener versus the Falcons. “Excited to be here for another four years, representing this team and city,” Mailata said in a video posted to Twitter by the Eagles.

“I can’t wait to keep representing my family and everything that I have in me. Give it to you guys to get this championship here. Remember, Go Birds, baby!”

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Mailata’s ascension has been nothing short of remarkable.

A former Australian rugby player, he had no prior football experience and could barely name an NFL team when he arrived at IMG Academy to train in January 2018 as part of NFL’s International Player Pathway program.

Standing at 6-foot-8 and 346 pounds, his athletic gifts were obvious, but he didn’t even know how to put on or take off a helmet at first, let alone grasp the complexities of a pro offense.

He was selected by the Eagles in the seventh round (233rd overall) of the 2018 draft.

Mailata, 24, did not play his first two seasons in the NFL, but he showed marked improvement under the tutelage of offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.

He started 10 matches last season as the Eagles’ offensive front was hit hard by injuries and proved himself well.

He entered this summer in a competition for the starting left tackle spot with former first-round pick Andre Dillard, who was held back by multiple injuries. Mailata became the clear favorite to win the job as the weeks went on.

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Rugby: Wales fullback Williams to rejoin Scarlets from Saracens

Saracens fullback Liam Williams will return to Wales and rejoin his former side Scarlets at the end of the season, the two clubs announced on Thursday (Dec 26).

Williams helped Saracens to acquire the Champions Cup and Premiership double last season and was part of the Wales team who won this year’s Six Nations Grand Slam.

The 28-year-old is the first major player to announce his departure from Saracens after they were handed a 35-point deduction for breaching salary cap regulations and fined £5.36 million (US$6.95 million), a decision the club chose not to appeal.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Saracens over the past three seasons,” Williams, who spent six years at Scarlets between 2011-2017, said in a statement. 

“The environment has undoubtedly developed me as a player and a person. “The opportunity to return home to the Scarlets was too good to turn down and I am incredibly excited about the future.”

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Williams played four times in this year’s Rugby World Cup and scored two tries before an ankle injury ruled him out of the semi-final versus eventual champions South Africa.

Signing a player of Williams’ calibre is a significant coup for Scarlets, whose potent backline already boasts several Wales internationals such as Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Rhys Patchell and Gareth Davies.

The 28-year-old is currently recovering from surgery to an ankle injury he sustained during the World Cup, which could make him a doubt for Wales’ Six Nations campaign, which starts on 1 February at home to Italy.

However, his Scarlets return will be welcomed by new Wales head coach Wayne Pivac. Once he is back with the region, where Williams formerly worked with the New Zealander, the full-back will be available for every Wales match and training session, which would not have been the case had he stayed in England.

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015The Rugby World Cup 2015 final takes place at Twickenham on Saturday, 31 October, 2015. Kick-off scheduled for 4.00pm (GMT).

It’s the final of the Rugby World Cup this weekend with Australia taking on New Zealand.

When Australia and New Zealand run out at Twickenham, both seeking to win their third world crown, the gameplan each will try to impose on the other won’t be polar opposites, but it will be close. On one hand the All Blacks, the reigning champions and the best side on the planet for a decade and more, will rely on doing the simple things well, or better than the Wallabies. Australia are altogether adventurous.

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Both teams have managed to make it to Twickenham with minimal injuries or absences, maximising the fans’ chances of seeing the best possible XVs head-to-head at the climax of the competition.

The pair are deserved finalists after showing their exceptional quality throughout the tournament.

Both displayed their ability to dominate and dismantle teams with ease to run up a huge score and likewise grind out narrow results in hard-fought contests.

The Wallabies were fairly comfortable victors against a resilient Argentina side, though they were only one score ahead for much of the match.

According to Fox Sports’ Christy Doran and Dan Walsh, the final will be the last international match in All Black for Carter and fellow veterans Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Keven Mealumu, while captain Richie McCaw is also likely to follow suit.

The match could well be a close encounter, but New Zealand’s experience and superior kicking give them the edge that should produce a fairytale ending to several glittering careers.

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England face probe for breaking protocol during Rugby World Cup 2015

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England are under investigation for an alleged breach of the World Cup match-day communication protocol during their defeat by Australia at Twickenham on Saturday, World Rugby have confirmed.

A report in Australia states that two members of the coaching team approached match officials in the tunnel at Twickenham at half-time. The loss to the Wallabies meant the home side were dumped out of the tournament with one pool match still to play.

“World Rugby is investigating an alleged breach by the England coaching team of the match-day communications protocol between match officials and team members or union officials during the match between England and Australia,” a World Rugby statement read.

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The protocol prohibits certain conduct on match days including coaches approaching match officials during a match or at half-time during a match.

The probe comes as the Rugby Football Union have been plunged into turmoil following the 33-13 defeat by the Wallabies that ensured Stuart Lancaster’s side face a humiliating exit at the pool stages, the worst performance by a host nation in the history of the World Cup.

 

Sam Burgess, the England centre, has also received a warning from independent citing commissioner Steve Hinds (New Zealand) for a dangerous high tackle on Michael Hooper in the 71st minute of the 33-13 defeat.

England’s early exit from the Rugby World Cup has dropped the tournament hosts down to eighth in the world rankings, equalling their lowest-ever position.

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Rugby World Cup 2015: England vs Fiji

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Match details

Date: Friday, September 18
Time: 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. EST
Venue: Twickenham

The 2015 Rugby World Cup will be the eighth edition of what has been called the world’s “third biggest” sports event, and fans will be able to watch host nation England take on world ninth-ranked Fiji in the opening match on Friday, kicking off a competition that is projected to sell 2.3 million tickets to its 48 games, with TV coverage in 207 nations.

England go in to the match knowing it’s a must-win before they take on Wales and Australia in the matches that will likely shape this pool, but the Fijians have danger men throughout the side capable of upsetting their hosts.

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The last time they met, during the 2012 northern autumn internationals, England had another easy 54-12 win and based on past statistics, the RWC opener should not be too much of a hurdle for the hosts to clear.

But Friday could be different, despite the odds appearing to favour England, and many are optimistic that the flying Fijians will bring their A game to Twickenham and give England some problems.

England coach Stuart Lancaster expects a tough afternoon while the Fijians have also warned their opponents from what is the toughest group at this year’s tournament that they are not in England to make up the numbers.
England are favourites to launch Pool A with a victory but the Fiji head coach, John McKee, insists his recently-crowned Pacific Nations Cup champions are ready for the biggest match in the nation’s history.

“We know we’ll have to be at our best to get the result we want on Friday night. If we’re at our best we know we can challenge them,” he said.

“We know that to be successful on Friday we will have to play for the full 80. International rugby is an 80-minute game. The core of our team has been together since June last year. We’ve been building towards this tournament all the time. Our preparation and form have been good but we know this is quite a step-up from the Pacific Nations Cup, so we need to play our game at a higher intensity.”

Lineups

England: Mike Brown, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Brad Barritt,Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw, Tom Wood, Geoff Parling, Courtney Lawes, Dan Cole, Tom Youngs, Joe Marler

Fiji: Metuisela Talebula, Waisea Nayacalevu, Vereniki Goneva, GabrieliLovobalavu, Nemani Nadolo, Ben Volavola, Nikola Matawalu, CampeseMa’afu, Sunia Koto Vuli, Manasa Saulo, Api Ratuniyarawa,LeoneNakarawa, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Akapusi Qera, Sakiusa MasiMatadigo

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