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Previewpilez: ITV’s Rugby World Cup July 31, 2011

After some of the whining coming from Wendyball fans since the last Football World Cup, I’m sure we weren’t the only people a little worried about what ITV were going to throw at us for the Rugby World cup come September. Despite the fact ITV have a Rugby World Cup history almost as long as the tournament, we couldn’t help worrying we were going to be saddled with a certain Mr Chiles, or worse… Henson.

We needn’t have worried. This Thursday, ITV revealed the team who are going to be bringing us all the action from New Zealand and as well of a team full of Rugby World Cup Experience, what came across was that they are all as excited as we are, which bodes well for the enthusiasm and heart they will bring to the coverage. Not only that, as well as all the live games being broadcast on ITV1, ITV4 and ITV1 HD, there will be the series ‘Dallaglio’s World Cups in which Lol takes some time out from making all the lovely pasta sauce to look at World Cups past, a dedicated website over at itv.com and even an iPhone App so that if you want to you can completely immerse yourself in the Rugby World cup and not miss a single second.

While ITV Rugby Regular and part-time Hagrid Martin Bayfield reports from the touchlines down under, Steve Ryder and self- confessed ‘Rugby Anorak’ Craig Doyle will be in the studio in London with a merry bunch of former internationals with rugby still as close to their hearts as it was in their playing days. The Southern Hemisphere is represented by former All-Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick, unlikely winner of the award for ‘most likely to be played by Matt Damon’, Francois Pienaar and Wallabies skipper Michael Lynagh. Closer to home, Lawrence Dallaglio, Andy Gomersall and Phil Vickery will be representing England, the lovely Scott Hastings and former Dieux De Stade Star Thom Evans will be holding up the flower of Scotland, while Gareth Thomas will be bringing his dually-coded perspective for Wales and Alan Quinlan will be providing Ireland’s call.

We caught up with some of the team involved and it was obvious that as well as that enthusiasm, there’s a camaraderie forming from the off, which bodes well for some great discussions and insight once the tournament gets into full swing. Craig Doyle himself put his finger on it “I really like this group, the difference is [compared to ITV’s coverage of past tournaments] we’re doing rugby every week now and we see these boys all the time, we see the likes of Lawrence and Scott and it’s very relaxed.”

What’s also extremely clear, is that they are as excited as we are. Scott Hastings was most animated of all  “We’re going into a culture that loves, eats, sleeps rugby, it’s going to be an amazing tournament and we’ll be blown away by the intensity, the fun, the passion. They’ve been taking the Rugby World Cup around all places like Napier and New Plymouth and the interest and passions from the supporters and fans, getting dressed up just for the cup to come into town!

I’ve played in a few rugby world cups and this is my fourth with ITV so I’m really looking forward to it.”

His Fellow Scot on the team, Thom Evans, was the most humble about his newfound career in punditry “Because I‘m not going to be out there involved in it I’m just happy to still be a part of it. I haven’t really done much presenting yet, but it’ll be interesting to see how I feel once I get into the swing of it!”

If Rugby World Cup fever hasn’t quite hit you yet, five minutes listening to this lot will get you there, I’m sure of it!

You can check out the Schedule, as well as clips from past tournaments already at http://www.itv.com/rugbyworldcup/.

Stay tuned over the next six weeks as we start bringing you the Rugby World Cup 2011 the Manpilez way.

Words by Lauren, pictures courtesy of ITV

 

Rawr Data Player Profile: Max & Thom Evans August 30, 2010

We’re feeling Scotland is a little underrepresented, and frankly that had to change. We thought long and hard about who to turn our attention to first, predictibly we went with the prettiest…

Max & Thom Evans


Max Evans is 26 years old, 5’9”, 13st 12lb and plays at centre for Glasgow Warriors and Scotland Elite and Sevens. Thom Henry ‘Hansel’ Evans is 25 years old, 6’ exactly, 14st 9lb and until Injury forced him to retire this year, he played at fullback and wing for Glasgow Warriors, Scotland Elite, Scotland Sevens and briefly England Sevens.

If you’re looking to find a more sporting family than the Evanses, you’re going to have to look very, VERY hard. With a professional golfer for a father and a sprinter mother the brothers Evans made their mark on sports before they were ever known for donning a rugby kit. Thom is a keen sprinter while Max prefers the more leisurely pursuit of golf, in and he in fact spent his ‘downtime’ from a back injury during his Harlequins Academy days entering Pro tournaments.

Max and Thom paid their Rugby dues at Wellington College, where they laced their boots alongside previous Rawr Data subject James Haskell and Gloucester’s Paul Doran-Jones (which is probably where Thom got his aversion to shirts… and clothes in general) and though they could play for England, after a brief spell for Thom in the age grade squad, both boys chose their grandfather’s native Scotland to come into their own after they both signed to Glasgow Warriors in 2006.

Despite being apparently ‘at each other’s throats’ growing up with their apparently strict parents, the two now share a flat in Glasgow and are incredibly close. This came to the fore more than ever in March 2010 when, after a collision with Lee Byrne in the Six Nations match, Thom sustained what turned out to be a career ending injury. During the period of Thom’s recovery, Max kept the press at bay, heading off all questions and enduring he had the time and space to recover and his concern showed through at every turn, with the full scale of what Thom was going through coming out between every line.

Picture from the BBC

Max dedicates his first try after the accident to Thom.. aaw

Sadly, Thom’s recovery was never completed and after he accepted both Max (who had said in an article ‘I’d be happier if he didn’t come back after seeing what he’s gone through’)and his doctor’s advice, announced his retirement this summer. Thankfully with a sporting gene that strong Thom already has plans to remain in sport, and he’s now in training to represent Scotland sprinting while Max keeps the Evans Flag flying triumphantly for another season at the Warriors.

And who knows, if all else fails, Thom may resurrect his music career…

Words by Lauren, pictures by various