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Wales Online
Wales Online
Katie Sands

Tonight's rugby news as Wales target entirety of England for new players in three-day 'rallying call'

Here are the latest rugby headlines on Tuesday, June 20.

Wales target entirety of England for new players in three-day 'rallying call'

The Welsh Rugby Union has issued a "rallying call" for the next generation of Wales-qualified players based outside the country to come forward.

Three exiles training camps will take place in England in July for boys and girls from U13-U18s, for players who were either born in Wales or have a parent or grandparent who was born in Wales.

Established in 1980, the remit of the WRU exiles programme is to identify Wales-qualified players aged 12 and upwards who are based outside Wales and may have the potential to play regional or national age-grade and elite senior rugby in Wales.

The camps will take place for the Midlands and North on Tuesday, July 25, for London and the South East on Wednesday, July 26, and for the South and South West on Thursday, July 27. Players can find out more and register their interest at, with the closing date July 17.

Wales have seen a number of international players represent the country in recent years after being identified in England later in the careers. The likes of Will Rowlands, Nick Tompkins and, more recently, Henry Thomas have all been called up.

The aim of the current drive is to identify those with the potential and put them on Wales' radar at an early age.

Rassie finds Nigel Owens replacement

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has drafted in referee Jaco Peyper to a Pretoria training camp this week to get his players up to speed on World Rugby's new directives, after his move to get Nigel Owens involved was unsuccessful.

World Cup-winning coach Erasmus and current Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber want their players up to speed with what referees will particularly be looking out for during the Rugby Championship in July and the Rugby World Cup in France, which kicks off in September.

'Boks boss Nienaber told a media briefing on Tuesday that Peyper will spend the week with the team before heading to Toulouse for the Rugby World Cup referees camp.

“This week we focused on the work we did last week and just building on that layer upon layer," Nienaber said. "We are definitely not a polished product yet.

"There is still a lot of work to do and one of the aspects that we brought in this week was for Jaco to join us before he heads to Toulouse for his camp. It is great to have him with us. He is helping us work through all the new directives from World Rugby and makes us attentive and touching up to ensure we are all aligned with the referees."

In March, Erasmus contacted Welsh referee Owens, now retired, to take on six-month role to help the defending world champions, but the 2015 World Cup final referee declined.

“Between overseeing the refereeing academy, coaching officials and doing Whistle Watch, I have got more than enough going on to keep me busy,” Owens said at the time.

Peyper and Marius Jonker are the two South African referees selected to officiate at the World Cup.

Poll: How far will Wales go at the World Cup? Have your say here or below

Booth pays tribute to Baldwin

Ospreys head coach Toby Booth believes Scott Baldwin's decision to hang up his boots was best for him and his family.

Baldwin, 34, announced his retirement from playing on Tuesday and will soon take up a defence coaching role at Gallagher Premiership club Newcastle. He made more than 180 appearances for the Ospreys, in addition to spells in the Premiership with Harlequins and Worcester. He also won 37 Test caps, and featured three times as a replacement during Wales' Guinness Six Nations campaign last season.

Booth said: "Scott approached us with a proposal which we discussed and we agreed that the opportunity was best for him and his family. He has been an important figure in Welsh rugby for many years of his career and his decision to retire marks the end of an era. As he moves on to the next stage of his career, we would like to take this time to thank Scott for his time at the Ospreys and wish him well in his new role.”

Baldwin said: "The opportunity to represent my country at rugby was a dream come true. However, every great adventure must come to an end, and it is time for me to retire and pursue the next phase of my life. It was tough to make the choice, but the time is right. It is not an easy decision because playing rugby is my passion, but I feel it is time to step back and focus on my coaching career."

Japan veteran believes they can win Rugby World Cup

Japan veteran Michael Leitch believes the Brave Blossoms can win the Rugby World Cup in France.

He argues that Japan, who reached the quarter-finals on home soil four years ago by beating Ireland and Scotland before losing to champions South Africa, have the best side the country has ever produced.

Former captain Leitch told reporters on Tuesday: "If not now, when? That's the goal. I know it sounds silly but it is a possibility and we believe in possibilities. We're the best team that Japan has ever produced, so we're going to go for it."

Japan have been drawn in Pool D with England, Argentina, Samoa and Chile at the World Cup. Leitch, 34, is aiming to appear at his fourth World Cup, having made his tournament debut in 2011.

"I think the players we have now compared to 2019 are much more professional," he said. "We've got much better talent, the whole squad. I think this squad can go all the way."

Japan ran France and New Zealand close in home Tests last year but also suffered a heavy loss against England at Twickenham.

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