LATEST UPDATE: Rugby new as radical new world tournament proposed and ‘world’s most feared player’ dies

‘World’s most feared player’ dies

Legendary French forward Alain Esteve, who passed away at the age of 77 following a protracted fight with cancer, has received tributes.

Esteve, also known as the Beast of Béziers, was the 1973 Five Nations champion and earned 20 caps for his nation. On Tuesday, his former club made the tragic announcement.

“Le Grand,” a legendary second row player with an incredible build, is a true legend in French rugby.left his imprint on French and international rugby, according to a press statement from the Beziers club.

The French Rugby Federation released a statement stating, “A legend of French rugby has passed away.” “The history of French rugby will be greatly void following the passing of international number 618.”

In their homage, The Telegraph called him the ‘world’s most feared rugby player’ and related a tale about Esteve that Wales frontrow hero Bobby Windsor had shared.

“He would say, ‘Bob-bee, Bob-bee,’ and then he would come through with this big fist and smack you in the chops,” Windsor recalled. I kicked him as hard as I could in the [testicles] to get my own back. He stood up and winked at me. I’m not easily frightened, but I thought, “Oh my god!”

After rugby, Esteve had a colorful life and even served time in jail. “Prison was excellent, exactly like at home,” Estève remarked to Midi Olympique. “There, you are at peace as long as you have money.”

New club World Cup proposed

Powerbrokers in European rugby gathered this week to talk about the possible 2028 start of a Club World Cup.

Eight Champions Cup clubs and eight teams from Super Rugby and Japan combined are anticipated to compete in the championship. This week’s inaugural EPCR Club Conference saw discussions.

Regarding the format, one possible solution would be to divide the eight Champions Cup match weekends into two blocks. The first block would be utilized for pool stages, where the top eight teams would advance to the Club World Cup. Next, most likely in June 2028, the second block of four match weekends would be utilised for the Club World Cup.

Dominic McKay, chairman of EPCR, stated, “That was discussed as one of the strategies that EPCR is taking forward on behalf of the stakeholder group.”

“There is a genuine desire to create a World Club Cup, and several French and British clubs were strongly advocating for this.” We are aware of the project’s complexity. Although we’re eager to put in a lot of effort to deliver it, it must be additive.

First and foremost, it must function in terms of calendar, format, and player logistics in order for it to be beneficial to the players.

“Secondly, we need to make sure that it’s done in a way that’s respectful sustainably, so we’re not interested in just doing a one-off World Club Cup. We want to do something that’s meaningful and has a pattern of regularity.

“So we’re looking at doing something, if we can, potentially in 2028 and potentially 2032.”

Jones confirms Japan job interest

Eddie Jones declares that he is “definitely interested” in taking over as coach of Japan.

Jones just resigned from his role with Australia following a miserable World Cup in which they lost in their group for the first time ever.

During the competition, the former England coach refuted any connections to the Japanese head coach position and rejected the idea that he conducted an online interview for the role.

While on vacation in Japan, Jones told local journalists that rugby was “always like my passion” in that nation.

Let me be clear: I haven’t received any offers, Jones said to Kyodo News. “I would definitely be interested in coaching them if they [Japan] came to me and asked.”

Japan cannot continue in their current state because, should they do so, they will genuinely begin to deteriorate. Therefore, they must act quickly now,” he continued. You will need to exercise guts and adopt new methods of doing things. You can’t just keep doing what you’re doing, which is why I would be intrigued.

WRU record £4.3m loss

According to its annual report, the Welsh Rugby Union reported a deficit of £4.3 million for the financial year after paying £1.9 million in lost office compensation, which included £480,000 for former CEO Steve Phillips.

After a BBC program accused the WRU of having a “toxic” culture of misogyny and sexism, Phillips resigned as CEO in January 2023. Abi Tierney was subsequently named as Phillips’ long-term replacement. Before leaving, Phillips fired Wales’ head coach at the time, Wayne Pivac, along with assistants Stephen Jones and Gethin Jenkins, for a reported £900,000.

For the year ending in June 2023, the WRU reported a turnover of £101.3 million, of which £16.1 million was allocated to its senior men’s, women’s, and pathway teams. The professional women’s game has seen an increase in investment to £2.8 million in 2023. The Group has allocated £37.6 million to Wales’ four professional teams, with £11.6 million going toward the community game.

Organizing international matches with senior Welsh teams and the related commercial operations generated a total of 65% of the group’s income, with commercial income rising to £16.4m. In its first full year of operation, the contentious Parkgate Hotel project raised revenues to £11.1 million.

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