Show cover of Rugby Union Weekly

Rugby Union Weekly

Ugo Monye, Chris Jones and Danny Care bring you special guests and cover the biggest stories in rugby union.


Wales & England both victorious as Sarah Hunter retires
Sara Orchard with former Scotland international Heather Lockhart and England World Cup winner Kat Merchant.
22:49 25/03/2023
The Women’s Six Nations Launch Party
Sara Orchard and Philippa Tuttiett take the pod to the Women’s Six Nations launch in London. They are joined by players from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy and get stuck into some serious and not so serious chat.
40:59 23/03/2023
A Sarah Hunter special
Sara Orchard sits down with England’s most capped player, Sarah Hunter as she retires from the game of rugby union. The Six Nations match in her home town of Newcastle on Saturday against Scotland will be her last in a Red Roses jersey. They discuss everything - from why, as England captain, she has decided to hang up her playing boots, her best memories of playing for her country - including that World Cup win in 2014 and of the lows as well. But not only that, there are cameo appearances from former England captain, Katy Daley-McLean, England and Loughborough Lightning team-mate, Emily Scarratt and England head coach Simon Middleton. Hunter also reflects on the very start of her career, her hopes for the women’s game going forward and her future plans.
38:50 21/03/2023
The final weekend review with Barclay and Warburton
Our two favourite captains, Sam Warburton and John Barclay, are back with Ugo and Chris on the sofa in Media City to round up the final weekend of an enthralling Six Nations. They discuss what sets Grand Slam winners Ireland apart from their rivals, there's more on Freddie Steward's controversial red card in Dublin, and the home nations are graded on their performance in the tournament. Does a Slam mean Ireland should automatically receive top marks? The guys also pick their best players and moments of the tournament.
57:59 20/03/2023
Fairytale finish in Dublin
Ireland are Grand Slam champions, and we bring the St Patrick’s Day Party to you from Dublin! England had to improve on last week and they did, but it wasn't enough to keep the men in green at bay, especially when Freddie Steward was served a controversial red card. Chris Jones, Matt Dawson and Jamie Heaslip discuss that decision and the impact it had, as well as what ultimately separated Ireland in terms of class, and the moment everyone knew the Grand Slam was in the bag. They also take a moment to appreciate the fitting Six Nations send off for Jonny Sexton as he became the all-time points scorer for Ireland, and reflect on why he is one of the greats of the game – and why he won’t be going quietly!
36:09 18/03/2023
A Super Saturday for Ireland?
We look ahead to Super Saturday and the final round of the 2023 Six Nations. Sonja McLaughlan and Sam Warburton are in Edinburgh with Chris and Denis Hickie in Dublin on St Patrick's Day. They look ahead to Ireland's Grand Slam decider against England and the two Farrells. Reflect on a difficult tournament for Wales and the team chosen by Warren Gatland to face France in Paris. And with no Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg, can Scotland end their championship on a high after two successive defeats?
48:13 18/03/2023
We're in Dublin!
The pod is in Dublin as Ireland chase a fourth Grand Slam with only England now standing in their way. Chris and Matt Dawson head to the Ireland team announcement and are joined by friend of the pod Murray Kinsella, who gives us an insight into the mood in Ireland this weekend. We also hear from a very relaxed Andy Farrell on the way he and his team have embraced the favourites tag since topping the world rankings. Matt gives us his take on the England team tasked with spoiling the party in Dublin, including the surprise selection of Henry Arundell on the wing. Chris then heads to the England team hotel to catch up with head coach Steve Borthwick to talk selection and bouncing back after the heavy defeat to France.
41:55 17/03/2023
What do England do now?
After being dismantled by France at Twickenham, England now head to Dublin to face Grand Slam-chasing Ireland. Chris and Danny discuss whether Steve Borthwick’s side can bounce back after a record home defeat and spoil the party in Dublin. They look ahead to team selection and Danny explains what he wants to see from England on Saturday. You will also hear from Kevin Sinfield about the mood in camp and Ellis Genge promises fans they will see a big reaction this weekend.
59:22 16/03/2023
Over and out from the Nations Pod
Chris, Tom and Gareth convene for the last time this Six Nations to mull over the final weekend of matches. With Ireland chasing a fourth Grand Slam, is it is going to be a St Patrick’s Day formality for Andy Farrell’s side? And after their record defeat at Twickenham, we ask why it went so wrong for England and what Steve Borthwick needs to do to turn things around. Gareth updates us on the Wales camp after they registered their first win of the tournament, but does anyone gives them a chance against a French side that delivered one of the all-time great Six Nations performances last weekend? And with a few key players ruled out, how careful do Scotland have to be against a smarting Italy?
54:06 15/03/2023
The one about Ireland
Sara Orchard is joined by two greats of the Irish game, Shane Horgan and Tommy Bowe as they delve deep into this Ireland side and debate whether they could win the Grand Slam and beat England in Dublin on Saturday, on the final day of the Six Nations tournament. They look at what has gone right for this team and where it has gone wrong in the past – and Tommy lets us in on what it is like to win a Slam (as he did it back in 2009.) They discuss if this 2023 team is better than the 2018 side that won the Grand Slam for the third time, and we also get the lowdown on head coach, Andy Farrell and where it’s gone right for him.
24:16 14/03/2023
The weekend review with Beattie and Ashy
Chris, Ugo, Ashy and Johnnie Beattie round up another compelling Six Nations weekend. Ireland are just one win away from a Grand Slam after showing their class at Murrayfield, despite losing key players in key positions. But why did Scotland fail to capitalise? Did they fall short on the big stage once again? And after England’s thrashing at Twickenham, we discuss whether the issues for Steve Borthwick are bigger than just selection and whether a continuous influx of overseas players has had an impact on developing young talent.
54:30 13/03/2023
France run riot at Twickenham
Chris is joined by Matt Dawson and Paul Grayson to pick the bones out of England’s record home defeat in the Six Nations. You’ll hear the thoughts of Steve Borthwick after a chastening day for the England boss. They discuss where this England team go from here, and whether there’ll be wholesale changes for their trip to Dublin. You’ll also hear the thoughts of France team manager, Raphael Ibanez, on what he calls one of the biggest wins in French rugby history after their first Six Nations win at Twickenham since 2005. And of course there is plenty of love for their talisman, Antoine Dupont.
39:21 11/03/2023
The big round four preview pod!
In this bumper episode of the pod Sonja McLaughlan is joined by three stellar guests in the form of John Barclay, Shane Horgan and Paul Grayson as they look ahead to an equally stellar three games in round four of the Six Nations! They have to start with the action at Murrayfield as Scotland host Ireland in what is a HUGE game for both sides, as the hosts aim to get their first Triple Crown since 1990 and Ireland are chasing another Grand Slam! They analyse both teams and try very hard to pick a winner. Then attention turns to Twickenham as third takes on fourth – England play hosts to defending champions France, in what is a must win game for both sides. And Paul gives his views on Steve Borthwick’s team selection which sees Owen Farrell dropped to the bench, with Marcus Smith starting at 10. And is the pressure on Italy as they take on Wales in Rome? That’s the question Sonja asks the guys – but not everyone has the same answer…
56:10 10/03/2023
Smith gets the keys to No.10
Ugo and Chris are joined by French rugby expert Paul Eddison at the England team hotel as Steve Borthwick names his team for their showdown with France this weekend. The big news is at fly-half, with captain Owen Farrell dropped to the bench and Marcus Smith getting the nod. Borthwick explains the decision and how Farrell reacted to the news. Paul gives us the lowdown on the changes to Fabien Galthie's team and explains why this French team are desperate to win at Twickenham. Flanker Lewis Ludlam also joins the pod to chat about his impressive form in this year's Six Nations and why he is relishing the challenge this Saturday.
59:32 09/03/2023
Michele Lamaro Special
Chris chats to the man spearheading the Italian rugby revolution, their inspirational captain, Michele Lamaro. He tells us what it means to play for the Azzurri and to sing the national anthem. He reflects on their momentous win in Cardiff last year, dealing with the favourites tag against Wales this weekend and restoring pride in the Italian jersey.
20:46 09/03/2023
The Nations Pod
Chris, Tom English and Gareth Rhys Owen are back for another Nations Pod. They discuss the ongoing issues engulfing the game in Wales and whether it's all taking its toll on head coach Warren Gatland. Marcus Smith has been brought back into the England camp after being released last week, so what exactly is his role in the team? And with the Triple Crown on the line for Scotland this weekend, Gareth questions whether it’s still a trophy people care about.
54:26 08/03/2023
The Smith Conundrum
Danny, Ugo and Chris are back together and there is plenty to discuss including some big pod news. Marcus Smith was recalled by England after impressing for Harlequins at the weekend, but will it be enough to persuade Steve Borthwick to give him more game time? There is more fallout from Welsh rugby's financial crisis as Willis Halaholo voices his concerns over contract uncertainty and Jarrod Evans looks set to leave his boyhood club Cardiff. And with more English players looking to ply their trade abroad, do the rules around foreign-based players need to change? England head coach Steve Borthwick thinks so, but what are the potential ramifications and should there be a cap rule implemented?
59:05 07/03/2023
Andy Farrell Special
As Ireland continue their quest for a first Grand Slam since 2018, Chris charts Andy Farrell's remarkable rise from rugby league prodigy to one of the most respected head coaches in rugby union. Ashy talks about idolising him during his Wigan days and reveals how Farrell revolutionised England training while he was assistant coach. Alex Corbisiero gives a fascinating insight into the 2013 Lions tour and how Farrell inspired his players for the series decider against Australia. And Stuart Lancaster is back on the pod to discuss Farrell's coaching journey, his development over the last decade, and his strengths as a coach and a person. We also ask what the future holds, with Farrell the clear favourite to take charge of the Lions in 2025.
59:20 06/03/2023
The weekend review with Barclay and Warburton
John Barclay and Sam Warburton join Ugo and Chris to wrap up round three of the Six Nations. Scotland’s Grand Slam hopes are ended in Paris as France kept their slim hopes of another Six Nations title alive. Warburton discusses the issues facing Wales on the field after a dramatic week off the field. They discuss criticism of England’s performance in Cardiff and ask whether it was justified. And can Scotland bounce back to end Ireland’s Grand Slam dream at Murrayfield?
48:04 27/02/2023
England have final say in Cardiff
We're at the half way point! And as ever, there is loads to discuss... Chris Jones, 2003 World Cup winner Matt Dawson and former Wales winger Philippa Tuttiett react to an edgy match in Cardiff, which ultimately pleased English fans the most. Whilst it was by no means a classic game or the usual arm wrestle between these two fierce rivals, the pod squad discuss what signs there were of England's progress, whether Wales have the depth to usher in a full changing of the guard before their trip to Italy, and the way Italy backed up their progress by pushing Ireland in Dublin earlier today. All eyes look ahead to the game on Sunday where Grand Slam hopefuls Scotland travel to play a wounded French side!
26:50 25/02/2023
Wales v England - the big preview
It's arrived...round three of the Six Nations and it's a big one! Sonja McLaughlan is in Cardiff for the pod, under the shadow of the Principality Stadium ahead of the huge match between Wales and England. She is joined by Chris Jones and former Wales centre, Tom Shanklin as they discuss how "galvanized" this Welsh side really are after a turbulent week in Warren Gatland's camp - and they hear from Wales Captain Ken Owens who lets us in on his "horrendous" week in Welsh rugby. Former England international, Jeremy Guscott pops on the pod to give his thoughts on the Wales v England rivalry and the guys look ahead to an exciting weekend of fixtures which includes a big match for Scotland as they travel to France and Ireland take on Italy.
33:32 25/02/2023
The game is on!
Chris, Gareth Rhys Owen and Tom English react to the news that Wales v England will go ahead this weekend. After another long day of negotiations, the interim WRU chief executive Nigel Walker and Wales captain Ken Owens spoke to the media outside the Vale to deliver the news. The 60 cap rule is no more, the players have representation at PRB meetings, and a compromise met on the fixed and variable contracts. So crisis averted, but for how long? And what has this whole saga done to Welsh rugby's reputation?
39:31 23/02/2023
Finn Russell Special
Ugo and Chris take the pod to Edinburgh and go inside the Scotland camp to chat to Finn Russell. He talks about his favourite pre-match meals, reveals he has never tried a deep-fried Mars Bar and gives a fascinating insight into how he prepares for a match. We hear how Russell rebuilt his relationship with head coach Gregor Townsend and why there is still more to come from Scotland ahead of their trip to Paris this weekend. He also talks about becoming a dad for the first time and what sets him apart from the other fly-halves in the Six Nations.
45:35 22/02/2023
Emergency Nations Pod
The Nations pod has been brought forward this week with the WRU in the midst of another crisis. Chris, Tom English and Lauren Jenkins discuss why Welsh rugby players are considering going on strike against England in the Six Nations this weekend. As many as 70 players out of contract this season still don't know if they will have a job beyond June. The WRU is working to agree a funding deal with its four regions, but why is it taking so long? And what are the sticking points when it comes to the deal the players are being offered?
47:51 20/02/2023
The weekend review with Barclay and Jiffy
John Barclay and Jonathan Davies join Chris and Ugo on the sofa to wrap up another captivating Six Nations weekend. England went back to basics under Steve Borthwick to brush aside Italy, but can they compete against the world’s best sides with that game plan? And where might this leave Marcus Smith? There’s plenty of love for Ireland, Hugo Keenan and Caelan Doris. Antoine Dupont gets compared to Lionel Messi, Scotland's second-half performance earns rave reviews, but it's a different story for Wales as Jiffy gives his take on where it's gone wrong for the regions and the national side.
55:29 12/02/2023
The Power of Scotland & Irresistible Ireland
We can all remember games that have not lived up to their billing, but that was certainly not the case for the opening matches of Round 2! Sara Orchard and former Irish winger Denis Hickie were in Dublin to witness a masterclass from Ireland, which brought France's impressive unbeaten run to an end in some style (32-19). Sara and Dennis reflect on how Ireland stretched France's famous defence, and what we learned about the depth of Andy Farrell's squad ahead of the World Cup. Chris Jones, former Scotland No.8 Johnnie Beattie, and three-time Six Nations champion Jaime Roberts, catch their breath after a match for the ages at Murrayfield, which saw Scotland bag another bonus point win (35-7) and secure their first back-to-back win in the championship since 1996 - when POTM, Finn Russell, was 3 years old! They discuss what is most exciting about Scotland at the moment, the gulf in class on display today, and what hope there is for hurting Wales fans?
36:14 11/02/2023
A Classic Six Nations Saturday
Rory Lawson joins Chris as the pre-match atmosphere builds in Edinburgh. Dan Biggar is in bullish mood, so will the pressure get to Scotland? As Ireland and France prepare for a mammoth showdown in Dublin, we ask whether either team is due a loss, and we’re in the England camp with Sara and Henry Slade as Steve Borthwick makes some big calls to his side to face Italy.
42:43 11/02/2023
Shaun Edwards Special
He's won Grand Slams with Wales and France, two Champions Cups and four Premiership titles. He's gone from Wigan, via Wales, to Perpignan in the south of France. His team are on a 14-match winning streak and he's considered the best defensive coach in the game. In this special episode, World Cup winner Matt Dawson catches up with his old Wasps coach Shaun Edwards. We find out how much prize money Edwards has earned for his unions and his favourite French phrase when coaching. They also discuss life in France, why rugby league coaches are thriving in union, Six Nations prize money and being a self-proclaimed rugby nerd.
38:08 09/02/2023
The Nations Pod
The Nations Pod returns as Gareth Rhys Owen of Scrum V and BBC Scotland’s Tom English join Chris to mull over the questions emerging from the first round of matches of the Six Nations. They discuss the news that Steve Borthwick is to shake up his England coaching staff at the end of the season, and why it didn’t happen earlier. With England and Wales losing at the weekend, they debate what changes the respective coaches could make going into this weekend. And after the new World Rugby rankings came out this week, does this make winning the Grand Slam more difficult than the World Cup?
51:06 08/02/2023
The Greatest Try
In this special episode of the Daily, Chris takes a trip to memory lane (and Newport) to relive THAT try, 50 years on. 27th January 1973 was the day, the Barbarians and New Zealand the teams, and Cardiff Arms Park the venue, as Sir Gareth Edwards scored one of the most famous tries in rugby history, in one of the sport’s most famous matches. With the help of Edwards and three other GOATS – Willie John McBride, JPR Williams and Mike Gibson – we discuss everything from Phil Bennett’s sidestep to John Dawes’ dummy to Edwards’ brilliant finish, and hear more about the context of the match as the feted British and Irish Lions of 1971 reunited to face the All Blacks in what was billed as the unofficial “Fifth Test”.
31:38 07/02/2023