Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Wales Online
Wales Online
Jon Doel

Tonight's rugby news as Warburton backs 'X-factor' Wales outsider and former Ireland coach dies

Here are the latest rugby headlines on Thursday, July 6.

Warburton a 'massive fan' of Wales star

Wales legend Sam Warburton has labelled Taine Basham "one of the most talented players in the Wales squad" and backed him to make a huge impact at the Rugby World Cup.

Warburton, who coached Basham during his brief stint as part of Wayne Pivac's coaching team, says the Dragons man has "the X-factor" and can challenge Tommy Reffell and Jac Morgan for the number seven jersey he used to wear himself.

Basham is in a fight to make the final squad, such is the level of competition in the back row, but Warburton is confident his self-belief gives him a real chance.

SIGN UP: Get the latest exclusive stories and breaking rugby headlines sent straight to your inbox for free with our daily newsletter.

He told the South Wales Argus: "I am a massive fan of Taine. When I first saw him I thought he had that X-factor.

“At the top every back row forward is quick and has passing, tackling lineout and carrying ability but you need that X-factor to set you apart from the others.

“Taine has always displayed that and I’d love to see what he can do after a full World Cup build-up.

“Jac Morgan and Tommy Reffell have done really well and it’s almost a shame that there are three such good players as openside that warrant a starting place. You can play together but not all three, sadly.”

“Taine has a good work ethic and what he also has – and you need it – is a very good level of confidence in his own ability,” added Warburton.

“It’s not arrogance at all and it’s the self-belief that you need to go along with professionalism and the want.

“He is a tough guy who is very good at the breakdown and when you also put his athletic ability and skill set into the mix then there is not a lot holding this guy back from doing whatever he wants.

“Taine is probably one of the most talented players that we have in the squad, so I would love to see him stay injury-free and have a real crack at the World Cup.”

Former Ireland coach dies

Former Ireland and Leinster rugby coach Roly Meates has died at the age of 85 after a long illness.

Meates played as a prop for Dublin University, Wanderers and Leinster before making a huge impact as a coach in Ireland, not least during two spells with Leinster.

Meates coached the Ireland team for two seasons in the mid-1970s.

The IRFU said in a statement: “The committee and staff of the IRFU were saddened to hear of the death of former Ireland coach Roly Meates and send condolences to his family and friends at this sad time."

Welsh region to face Georgians

Georgian club Black Lion will take part in next season's European Challenge Cup competition.

They have joined South African side Toyota Cheetahs in accepting an invitation to take part, tournament organiser European Professional Club Rugby said.

Black Lion will become the first club from Georgia to be part of EPCR's main professional competitions.

They have been allocated into Pool Three alongside the Scarlets, Gloucester, Edinburgh, Clermont Auvergne and Castres, with home matches being played in Tbilisi.

The Cheetahs, meanwhile, go into Pool One with Cell C Sharks, Dragons, Zebre Parma, Oyonnax and Pau, playing 'home' games in Amsterdam.

"This is a hugely important moment for Georgian rugby and for the country," Georgian Rugby Union president Ioseb Tkemaladze said, in an EPCR statement.

"We have all been working hard for this - on the pitch and behind the scenes - for many years, and we are grateful to EPCR for taking a lead and showing the vision that is needed to further the global development and growth of the game."

Webb's new club revealed

Biarritz have confirmed the signing of former Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb.

Webb, who announced his retirement from international rugby in May, has agreed terms until 2025.

He is the latest recruit for a club that finished 11th in the French second division last season, joining players such as England centre Jonathan Joseph and France prop Mohamed Haouas.

It will be 34-year-old Webb's second playing stint in France, having featured for Toulon between 2018 and 2020.

He won 40 Wales caps and was recalled to the national set-up by head coach Warren Gatland during last season's Guinness Six Nations.

But Webb then decided to step away from the Test arena after being named in Wales' preliminary World Cup training squad, following his fellow former Ospreys colleagues Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.