Michail Tyumenev and Sean Armstrong of Germany control the ball during the Germany v Samoa Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying match on July 14, 2018 in Heidelberg, Germany(World Rugby via Getty Images)
Michail Tyumenev and Sean Armstrong of Germany control the ball during the Germany v Samoa Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying match on July 14, 2018 in Heidelberg, Germany(World Rugby via Getty Images)

‘Hungry’ Germany eye historic Rugby World Cup chance

This is the closest Germany have ever come to Rugby World Cup qualification and Ford, the Lions’ defence coach in New Zealand in 2005, is putting together their game plan for the one-off tournament.
By AFP | Heidelberg
PUBLISHED ON NOV 03, 2018 09:41 PM IST

Mike Ford, a former British and Irish Lions defence coach, admits it’s humbling to help Germany’s part-timers prepare for their once-in-a-lifetime chance to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Ford, who has also worked with the England and Ireland national teams, has been brought in as Germany’s head coach for the repechage tournament in Marseille against Canada, Kenya and Hong Kong which starts on Sunday.

The tournament will decide the last remaining berth for the 2019 World Cup and the repechage winner will join powerhouses New Zealand and South Africa, plus Italy and Namibia, in Group B in Japan.

This is the closest Germany have ever come to Rugby World Cup qualification and Ford, the Lions’ defence coach in New Zealand in 2005, is putting together their game plan for the one-off tournament.

Much is at stake for the German Rugby Union.

Having already pumped in millions of euros, their wealthy backer Hans-Peter Wild, the owner of Stade Francais in Paris, has only promised to financially support the national XV team until the Marseille tournament.

Geography is also an issue as Ford, England’s defence coach when they lost the 2007 World Cup final to South Africa, is working with a squad of semi-pro players scattered across clubs in Germany, France and Britain.

However, the ex-Bath and Toulon head coach promises Germany’s part-timers will be the “hungriest” of the four teams fighting for a ticket to Japan.

- Samoan insult -

“The commitment the players show is humbling, they aren’t paid much, but they do it because they love the game and want this opportunity,” Ford told AFP after a training session in Heidelberg.

“You coach the top teams around the world, then you come to Germany where you are back down to coaching players who are part-time.

“They get up early in the morning, do a shift here with the coaches, go to work, then have team training at night.

“Hopefully we can surprise the other teams in Marseille with our heart, commitment and our game plan.

“It’s an exciting and unique challenge -- we’ll be the best prepared team there and the hungriest.”

Luck, a bizarre set of circumstances and a multi-layered qualification process combined to give Germany one last chance to go to Japan.

A strike by the senior national squad, over a dispute about funding, meant an inexperienced team, largely made up of young fringe players and Sevens specialists, lost all five games in this year’s Rugby Europe Championships -- the level below the Six Nations.

Germany finished last, but were catapulted up to third in the table after Spain, Belgium and Romania were all deducted points for fielding ineligible players.

Third place meant a two-legged qualifier for a direct Rugby World Cup place against Samoa, whose Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi demanded victory claiming Germany “has no knowledge whatsoever on how to play rugby”.

Even though their senior players ended their strike and returned, Germany were still thumped 66-15 in the first-leg in Apia.

A battling display in the return in Heidelberg saw Germany lead 28-21 with 14 minutes to go before Samoa pulled away with three late tries in a 42-28 victory -- a sobering 108-43 aggregate defeat for the Germans.

- Chance to be heroes -

Now Germany, the lowest ranked of the four teams in Marseille, play Hong Kong on Sunday November 11, Canada on November 17 and Kenya on November 23 to decide which of the quartet goes to Japan.

“It’s a fantastic chance, but a bit of a weird one, given the disqualification of teams, but now we have the opportunity, we want to take it with both hands,” said Germany captain and scrum-half Sean Armstrong, 31, who moved over from Brisbane a decade ago.

“It’d be huge if we qualify for the World Cup - the biggest thing that has ever happened in the history of rugby here.”

No stone has been left unturned in the hunt for a World Cup berth.

Ex-England lock Mouritz Botha, who was born in South Africa, came in last year as forwards and defence coach, while Australian Paul Healy, technical advisor to Uruguay at the 2003 World Cup, coaches the attack.

“Something I tell the guys is that we need something like this to kick-start rugby here,” said Botha, the ex-Saracens and Newcastle lock, who made the last of 10 appearances for England in 2012.

“When I was growing up in 1995, when South Africa won the World Cup, those guys were my idols and my dream started to become a professional rugby player.

“The same thing can happen here. Those dreams will start now for young kids here.

“If we do qualify, in 10 or 15 years from now, the real benefit will show.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
FILE - In this Dec. 7, 1983, file photo, Washington Capitals' Doug Jarvis (25), right, scores a goal against New York Rangers goalie Glen Hanlon during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden in New York. The puck slides into the goal off the skates of Rangers' Mark Pavelich, left. Pavelich has died at a treatment center for mental illness. Officials in Anoka County, Minnesota, (AP)
FILE - In this Dec. 7, 1983, file photo, Washington Capitals' Doug Jarvis (25), right, scores a goal against New York Rangers goalie Glen Hanlon during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden in New York. The puck slides into the goal off the skates of Rangers' Mark Pavelich, left. Pavelich has died at a treatment center for mental illness. Officials in Anoka County, Minnesota, (AP)

'Miracle on Ice' star Mark Pavelich dies at treatment home

AP, Minneapolis
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 09:14 AM IST
  • Officials in Anoka County, Minnesota, confirmed Friday that Pavelich died at the Eagle's Healing Nest in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, on Thursday morning. The cause and manner of death are still pending.
Close
Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov.(Instagram.)
Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov.(Instagram.)

EXCLUSIVE | Islam Makhachev recalls 'hard sparring' with Khabib Nurmagomedov

By YASH BHATI, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2021 10:56 AM IST
  • Makhachev has an impressive record of 18 wins and only one loss and is a former teammate of retired lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Close
(L-R) Boxers Pawan Goyat, Suman, Chandn ... ence at Press club, Delhi on Friday
(L-R) Boxers Pawan Goyat, Suman, Chandn ... ence at Press club, Delhi on Friday

Professional boxing to get a pro touch for the first time

PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 10:36 PM IST
  • ‘India Unleashed’, an event sanctioned by the Indian Boxing Commission (IBC), Goraya wants to rope in changes with USA styled boxing format and help ring in the changes for professional boxing in India.
Close
Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom (51kg)(PTI)
Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom (51kg)(PTI)

Simranjit, Jasmine in final; Mary Kom settles for bronze in Boxam International

PTI
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 10:00 PM IST
The 37-year-old olympic-bound star lost in a split decision after an exhausting contest that was also messy in equal measure.
Close
Nikolai Snesarev(ANI)
Nikolai Snesarev(ANI)

Athletics coach Nikolai Snesarev found dead at NIS Patiala hostel room

By HT Correspondent | PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 09:19 PM IST
The body of the 72-year-old Snesarev, who returned to India after a gap of two years to be at the helm till the end of September, has been sent to a government hospital for post mortem.
Close
File photo of Rajeshwari Kumari
File photo of Rajeshwari Kumari

Indian women's trap team settles for silver in ISSF World Cup

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 10:40 PM IST
The Indian team engineered a fantastic comeback in the gold medal match on Thursday, coming back from 0-4 down to tie the final at 4-4. However, it could not hold on in the last series of 15-shot per team and had to be content with second best.
Close
India's Amit Panghal(AP)
India's Amit Panghal(AP)

Vikas, Manish in semis; Panghal bows out of Boxam International

PTI
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2021 10:49 PM IST
The Olympic-bound Panghal, who is also an Asian Games and Asian Championships gold-medallist, went down in a split verdict to make a surprisingly early exit from the tournament.
Close
Sharath Kamal Achanta of India(Getty Images)
Sharath Kamal Achanta of India(Getty Images)

Sharath Kamal loses in pre-quarters, India's campaign over at WTT Contender Doha

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 08:49 PM IST
The World No. 32 Sharath, who was playing his first international tournament after a year's break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, couldn't gain momentum despite showing good resistance in the latter part of the match against the higher-ranked Yun-Ju.
Close
Rahul Chaudhari. (Rahul Chaudhari/Instagram)
Rahul Chaudhari. (Rahul Chaudhari/Instagram)

My sister-in-law was my biggest inspiration: Rahul Chaudhari

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 07:27 PM IST
  • With the advent of the Pro Kabaddi League in 2014, the indigenous sport has witnessed a major transition – from one that was closely followed in rural areas to a topic that was discussed over dinner in metro cities.
Close
FILE - A crane is used to lift a vehicle following a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods(AP)
FILE - A crane is used to lift a vehicle following a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods(AP)

Detectives look at SUV's 'black box' from Tiger Woods crash

PTI, Los Angeles
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 11:07 PM IST
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said traffic investigators executed a search warrant Monday to retrieve the data from the device from the Genesis SUV that Woods was driving.
Close
MC Mary Kom: File photo(PTI)
MC Mary Kom: File photo(PTI)

Mary Kom enters semis of Spanish tourney; assured of medal

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 09:39 PM IST
The 37-year-old, who had not competed since her Tokyo qualification last year in Jordan, defeated Italian Giordana Sorrentino with a split verdict in the quarterfinal stage of the event.
Close
Achanta Sharath Kamal: File Photo(Agencies)
Achanta Sharath Kamal: File Photo(Agencies)

WTT Contender Doha: Sharath off to a flying start; Sathiyan bows out

PTI, Doha
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 09:32 PM IST
Sharath toiled hard before defeating Sirucek 17-15 9-11 11-6 8-11 11-9 in the first round.
Close
Manish Kaushik(Twitter)
Manish Kaushik(Twitter)

Manish Kaushik enters quarters of Spanish boxing tourney

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 05:28 PM IST
The world championship bronze-medallist defeated Spaniard Ammari Raddouane 5-0 on Tuesday night to make the last eight, where he will be up against Kazakhstan's Sufiullin Zakir -- a two-time Asian silver-winner.
Close
May Kom: File photo(HT Archive)
May Kom: File photo(HT Archive)

Mary Kom appointed as chairperson of AIBA champions and veterans committee

ANI, Lausanne
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 03:47 PM IST
Mary Kom thanked AIBA president and said she will give her best at the position.
Close
Sonam Malik(Twitter)
Sonam Malik(Twitter)

Freak injury forces Sonam to pull out of Rome event

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 01:43 PM IST
Sonam, who had booked her seat in the Indian team in the 62kg after defeating Sakshi in the trials, got injured while training with the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist at the national camp in Lucknow, last week.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP