Owen Farrell in, George Ford out for England

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS SALE, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 13: Matt Kvesic of England in action during the International match between England U18 and Australia Schools at Heywood Road on December 13, 2009 in Sale, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images) “Matt Kvesic has been named captain and he’s a player who leads from the front. He’s a natural leader in terms of his actions on the pitch and he’s very well supported by the players around him. We’re lucky again in the sense that we have players with good amounts of captaincy experience at their club sides and it all bodes well. It’s a great opportunity and a great honour for Matt, he deserves it, and I’m sure he’ll grab it with both hands.”Hunter added: “Scotland will really come at us. We may have beaten them in the 6 Nations but out here it really is a different ball game. They will have improved since then, just as I hope we have, but they have a very strong set-piece and they’ll be a real challenge.” England U20 starting XV 1) Ryan Bower (Leicester Tigers)2) Rob Buchanan (Harlequins)3) Will Collier (Harlequins)4) Sam Twomey (Harlequins)5) Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)6) Matt Kvesic © (Worcester Warriors)7) Matt Everard (Leicester Tigers)8) Sam Jones (London Wasps)15) Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)14) Marland Yarde (London Irish)13) Elliot Daly (London Wasps)12) Ryan Mills (Gloucester Rugby)11) Christian Wade (London Wasps)10) Owen Farrell (Saracens)9) Dan Robson (Gloucester Rugby)Replacements:16) Koree Britton (Gloucester Rugby)17) Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)18) Charlie Matthews (Harlequins)19) Alex Gray (Newcastle Falcons)20) Chris Cook (Bath Rugby)21) George Ford (Leicester Tigers)22) Ben Ransom (Saracens) Kvesic will captain England U20 against ScotlandEngland U20 have made nine changes to the side that started the 33-25 win against Ireland in their Junior World Championship opener for the game against Scotland in Treviso on Tuesday, June 14. The game will be shown live on Sky Sports 4, kick off 5.10pm.Worcester Warriors flanker Matt Kvesic will captain the side in place of Newcastle Falcons No. 8 Alex Gray, who is on the bench, while Saracens fly half Owen Farrell starts at No. 10 for the first time in his England career, in place of Leicester Tigers’ George Ford.Ryan Bower (Leicester Tigers), Rob Buchanan (Harlequins), Will Collier (Harlequins), Sam Twomey (Harlequins), Sam Jones (London Wasps), Marland Yarde (London Irish), Christian Wade (London Wasps) and Dan Robson (Gloucester Rugby) also come into the starting XV.Head Coach Rob Hunter is keen to stress that the rotation policy is all part of having a squad, particularly at the Junior World Championship, where the games come thick and fast. “We’re very lucky to have such strength in depth across all positions within the squad,” he said. “It’s important that we rotate effectively so that we get the most out of these guys over the five games.last_img read more

Contract extensions for Pro12, Premiership and Super Rugby stars

first_imgIn demand: Waratah wing Izzy FolauOf course, an international side can benefit from a player staying in the country and settling into a team trying to improve – particularly in England where players outside of the country don’t get a look in with the EPS – without saving money for musty old union coffers. So to hear that teams like Gloucester are knuckling down already to settle contracts for the future, with some 24 of their players set to be free agents next summer, it can only be encouraging for English rugby. If Freddie Burns and Billy Twelvetrees are secure for the next few seasons, for example, there is not reason they cannot grow in the build up to the World Cup.Then there are the superstars abroad like Izzy Folau and Michael Hooper who have signed extensions with Australia and the Waratahs, meaning there is a foundation upon which the Wallabies can start building support. They need a strong fan-base and holding on to guys like Folau in particular makes it more likely to set cash registers ringing. Staying is something that the moneymen will be delighted about, not just the fans. Run for the money: Fly-half Ian Madigan has signed a new contract with Leinster, but crucially not with the IRFUBy Alan DymockHERE’S TO the stayers.While we have all gotten hot and bothered about the prospect of George North playing for Northampton Saints or Matt Kvesic signing for Gloucester or even John Barclay moving to Scarlets, it is worth pointing out that some players have decided to stick it out with their clubs.Potential for a new deal: TwelvetreesThis salute is obviously aimed at the one-club stalwarts, the players like Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw and his pal Mike Brown who have ensured that they will have a lasting legacy at a club by signing up to stay, but more importantly than that it is for the young players who could have moved to pastures new or at least sought their fortunes abroad but who stayed put to improve their club and work on their international careers.Toby Faletau is possibly the most significant re-capture for the WRU in the last year. In early August Faletau was tied down to a deal until 2016, a significant demonstration of power from a union who had been worrying about a player drain with the likes of George North, Toby Faletau and Jamie Roberts all emigrating out of Wales and the Pro12. It remains to be seen if the likes of Leigh Halfpenny and Sam Warburton will follow suit and sign on for longer when their contracts are up this summer, but this one can be put down as a win for the regions. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 29: Israel Folau arrives at the HSBC Waratahs Awards Dinner at The Ivy on August 29, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images) In Ireland the potential successor to Jonny Sexton’s crown, Ian Madigan has also signed on with his club Leinster until 2016, but significantly this looks like a smart move because the IRFU are reportedly making a saving of some €750,000 with the fly-half signing with Leinster rather than the union.It is being widely reported in Ireland that last season both Sexton and Ronan O’Gara (now both at Racing Metro in Paris as a player and coach, respectively) were centrally contracted rather than with their regions, and now the IRFU have no such bill for a stand-off. They may have an issue when Madigan’s contract is up, but in the short-term it looks like a coup to save some cash and open up the possibility to promote some younger players.last_img read more

Championship blog: Round 9 wrap

first_imgIt looked like another case of the away-day blues for Bedford when Tom Bowen pounced on a loose pass to score for Plymouth Albion; Declan Cusack converted to add to his brace of penalties for the hosts to take a 13-3 lead into the interval.But Mike Le Bourgeois was on song with the boot to slot three penalties and convert all of the Blues’ second-half tries scored by James Short, Mark Atkinson and Pat Tapley.13-man Rotherham re-enact the Great EscapeRotherham 17, Nottingham 11Two contributing factors enabled Rotherham to notch their sixth GKIPA win of the season: heroic defence when reduced to 13 after prop Marshall Gadd trudged to the bin in the shadow of Australian fly-half Dallan Murphy, and six kicks at goal that went west.Matthew Jarvis missed four penalties and a conversion for the visitors while Rori Lynn missed a penalty.Rotherham had a try from Sean Scanlon and four penalties from the division’s points scorer, Juan Pablo Socini to thank for a win they didn’t really merit, and will have to concede fewer than 17 penalties if they want to remain in the hunt for the title.Leeds leave it late to sink IslandersLeeds Carnegie 29, Jersey 13Two injury-time scores denied Jersey any hope of a bonus point at Headingley on Sunday. The Islanders went into the break only two points adrift at 10-12 following Drew Locke’s late first-half try and a Niall O’Connor penalty.Cross-kick recipient: Josh Griffin scoredDavid Doherty and Jacob Rowan had touched down for the hosts before Glyn Hughes slotted three further penalties to stretch Carnegie’s lead.Replacement Alex Lozowski made a late impact for Leeds, slotting a penalty and then launching a cross-kick from which Josh Griffin scored.Scottish leapfrog Leeds into top fourEaling Trailfinders 10, London Scottish 36 There was the same sense of inevitability at Vallis Way in Ealing on Sunday as there was at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, as the Trailfinders crashed to their ninth GK IPA Championship defeat.The Exiles, who look likely candidates for a play-off berth, scored five tries to Ealing’s one and replace Leeds in the top four by virtue of their try bonus point. <> during the RFU Championship match between Leeds Carnegie and Plymouth Albion at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on January 6, 2013 in Leeds, England. The Greene King IPA Championship: Here’s you’re next instalment from England’s competitive second tierBy Richard GraingerOn the day that will be long remembered in the Emerald Isle as the day Ireland so nearly beat the All Blacks, Bristol were left to reflect upon how so nearly beating the Cornish Pirates may yet condemn them to another season of Championship rugby.Pirates’ pressure pays offCornish Pirates 21, Bristol 15The Pirates recovered from last gasp defeat in St Peter to inflict what Bristol director of rugby Andy Robinson referred to as a “kick in the teeth” by completing the double on their Westcountry neighbours.The Cornishmen, who defeated Bristol at Exeter on the opening day of the season, were victorious courtesy of a brace of opportunist tries from Kieran Goss and a try from Tom Kessell.Bristol, who have not won in Cornwall since 2004, held a narrow lead thanks to a Nicky Robinson penalty and tries from Ross Johnston and Luke Eves either side of half time, until Goss scarpered over for his second in the final quarter.And despite being camped on the Pirates’ line for the last ten minutes the visitors had to settle for a losing bonus point.“We gifted Pirates three tries on Sunday and – credit to them – they took them well,” said Bristol’s director of rugby. “It’s a kick in the teeth because we had so many opportunities but we didn’t finish them.”Mose deny Exiles bonus pointMoseley 8, London Welsh 24The Exiles’ trip to Birmingham on Saturday was a potential banana-skin for the side looking most likely to head back to the Aviva Premiership, as we approach the halfway mark.However, despite being in touch at 8-14 at the interval, thanks to a penalty from Caolan Ryan and a Rhys Buckley try, the Midlanders faded in the second period as Seb Stegmann scored his second try to add to Carl Kirwan’s first half effort.On loan with Bedford Blues: James ShortBut the resolute defence of the Billesley Common part-timers denied Welsh a bonus point.Bedford get the better of substandard PlymouthPlymouth Albion 16, Bedford 27 LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

Uncovered: England wing Semesa Rokoduguni

first_imgYou play rugby every day at home. There are just so many guys who could play for Fiji. They’ve got the chance to show the world what they can do on the pitch. Not long ago, Bath winger ‘Roko’ was serving in Afghanistan. Now he’s set to make his England debut. Here he puts music, Manu and the military into his own words… LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Everything you learn in training is put to the test in Afghanistan. I was there for six months, and you’ve got grenades coming over your wall, suicide bombers, petrol bombs…Try time: Roko scores for the Army at TwickenhamIt’s very stressful. But you’ve got to take your mind of that, otherwise you’ll put others at risk. I’m still a serving soldier so if my regiment needed me I’d go back. That’s unlikely, as troops are being withdrawn from Afghanistan now.My brother and dad are also in the Army. My dad is in Egypt at the moment with the UN on a peace-keeping mission and my brother is in Scotland with the Black Watch.I’m used to being away from my family now. In 1992-93 my father went away for over a year. I missed him but, as the oldest, I had to step up and look after my family. A lot of my family are still living in Fiji.My Army background isn’t too different to my rugby one. In the Army you have eight to ten blokes, one commander and a plan. On the pitch you have 15 blokes, a captain and a game plan.In Fiji rugby players are superstars. In Bath I get recognised sometimes. People want to say hello and ask about the Army or how I’m settling in. Man on the run: Roko, who has played for England Saxons, is set to make his International debut v NZ TAGS: Bath Rugby I have a son who’s one. His name is Elijah, and I live with him and my wife Annie in Bath. We’re all very happy here. Fiji is a beautiful place, but so is Bath!Stuart Hooper is one of a kind. He’s a great leader, although all the senior guys at Bath are good. They might grab you at the end of training to go through something. Nick Abendanon and Matt Banahan have both been helpful to me.Debut duo: Bath team-mate Anthony Watson is also preparing to face the All BlacksI’ve gone from 84kg to 103kg. The coaches wanted me to put on weight because when you’re carrying more you can do more damage in attack and defence. Although it’s a lot harder to run around now!Wasps away was my favourite game this season. I carried the ball a couple of times and managed to score two tries.We know we’re better than Quins. We lost by just three points and missed out on the Premiership play-offs. It was disappointing and frustrating, individually and for the team, because we had so many opportunities and line breaks but didn’t convert them. We’ll use that feeling of losing and take it into future games.I play the guitar. Last season I played to the boys but it didn’t go down too well! Music settles my nerves.Manu Tuilagi is the toughest opponent I’ve faced. He’s a big unit. I tackled him a couple of times, but it neesd a few of our smaller lads to bring him down.Handful: Roko says it takes a few men to bring Manu downThe rugby I’ve played in England is a different level and pace to Fiji. The accuracy levels expected from the coaches are higher, and the supporters are different too. At home, we rely on flair from sidesteps and goosesteps, whereas Bath have a game plan that all 15 players stick to.You’ve got to be explosive. When you’ve got space, you need to accelerate and beat your opponent over those first few metres.I was a tank driver in the Army. It takes six to eight months to learn to drive one. You learn everything about the machine from the engine to the tyres. I loved it, and enjoy learning something new. I trained in Dorset, then moved to Germany where my unit is. I get nervous running out at Twickenham. I played there for the Army against the Navy last month. When you’re playing in front of a big crowd for the servicemen, there are high expectations.We have a good record against the Navy. The opposition changes every time; not tactically but the Navy’s game has gone up a level each time I’ve faced them. We’ve had a few Fijian internationals in recent years, which helps.I’m enjoying myself at Bath. I’m happy with the way the club is going and how I’m doing personally. I appreciate all the efforts the coaches and management have put into me, and their feedback. My goal is to play for England. I played for the Saxons against Scotland A in January and it was a step up. I can’t believe I’m here compared to where I was a few years ago. Last season my goal was simply to improve my game and get my skill level up. Now everything’s going so well.Check out some of Roko’s highlights in the video below! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgIUKsoSaBglast_img read more

Autumn International player analysis: Rhys Webb, Wales

first_imgSeeing Webb translate domestic prowess onto the Test stage this autumn has been so refreshing. It would be such a shame if injury prevented him a chance to take on the Springboks.Even so, he has surely done enough to cement his standing as the number one scrum-half in Wales up to 2015 and beyond. Now, watch the score in full from this angle: “They are a world-class team, but I think they are to be taken as well. They’ve been getting a bit flustered when people have been going at them” – Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb.It was hardly trash talk in the same league as boxing’s biggest bad-mouths, but Webb’s comments last week drew grins and groans in equal measure.Some were encouraged by the spiky confidence of a player in the form of his life. Others labelled the sentiments as pure naivety on the part of a seven-cap 25 year-old who had never before faced New Zealand, yet still saw it fit to poke the All Black bear.Whatever your stance on his provocative preview, it is hard to disagree that Webb fully vindicated it. When he left the field on 56 minutes with a groin twinge – something Rob Howley is hopeful he will recover from in time to face South Africa this weekend – Wales were leading 13-10.It was a winning situation, and Webb’s inspiring performance had been instrumental. Here is a run-down of how he excelled across the board.Kicking varietyThe keys to kicking from hand, especially against the phenomenal All Blacks back three, are accuracy and decisiveness. Either the ball must be sent back over their heads or close enough for chasers to contest. Anywhere in between and the likes of Julian Savea and Ben Smith will run riot.As the sides sparred early on, Webb demonstrated a full repertoire. First, watch him clear from a lineout just outside the Welsh 22:Unable to send it straight into touch as the lineout is outside the 22, Webb must keep the ball within the field of play. He does so, and the sheer length of the kick means Smith must adjust.This allows the Wales kick-chase to make up ground. Isolating the moment Smith decides to go to the air, we see his scope for a counter has reduced drastically as five defenders have set themselves in a primary wave:Webb’s conventional box-kicking also proved effective. Though George North conceded a penalty here for colliding with Charles Piutau, the strike was perfectly placed:Very telling in this clip is how calmly and coherently Webb organises prior to kicking:The loosehead is brought around to shield Webb’s right boot from the advances of Brodie Retallick, who at six foot seven is a decent exponent of the charge-down:James’ presence also makes the ruck longer, which simply increases the difference between the ball and the offside night line means Retallick needs to stay further away Webb. Therefore, he has longer to make the desired connection.Watch this all happen again in a very similar play minutes later. On this occasion, Samson Lee and Richard Hibbard assume the ‘blocking’ roles and Dan Biggar actually recovers possession:Brave defenceWebb’s tussle with Aaron Smith was box-office, and the Osprey gave just as good as he got. Midway through the first half, New Zealand’s world-class half-back – so often their attacking instigator – attempted to ignite them with this tap-and-go, but his opposite number was alert:If this was off the cuff, Webb was also an important part of Shaun Edwards’ structure. In the Welsh defensive system, which for so many years has benefitted from the 104-kilogram frame of Mike Phillips, the scrum-half usually stands in the line rather than sweeps in behind.Though Webb is a more traditionally-sized nine at 93 kilograms, he took on the same responsibilities. Watch how he helps Jamie Roberts force this turnover from Sonny Bill Williams:Webb is initially lined up opposite the monstrous Retallick here, but changes course to step in as the ball is shifted to Williams. Later, a David-Golliath encounter did materialise, though. Watch as Webb smothers Reallick’s shunt from the guard position: Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb backed up his mid-week words with his display against the All Blacks on Saturday. We analyse an excellent all-round performance. Webb has no right to make this tackle, but he shows strength to hold Retallick up for long enough that the Dan Lydiate-shaped calvary can arrive. His next intervention, just after half-time, was very much a one-on-one situation, though:Again, Williams is the spiller, but we should no ignore the brilliant anticipation of Webb. Watch how he gambles on where Owen Franks’ pass is going and accelerates into contact from 15 metres away:They say defence is a mind-set. That is difficult to argue with – bloody-minded determination does go a long way. Seconds after this screenshot, Beauden Barrett pounced on the loose ball, turned and tore through.While Webb misses the Kiwi fly-half with his first tackle attempt, watch how he hares back to make a nuisance of himself at the breakdown and slow down New Zealand’s ruck ball, almost snatching a turnover too. It is a vital intervention that typified his fantastic tenacity:DistributionThis is a short clip, but sufficient to show the range and sharpness of Webb’s distribution throughout the game. Over his 56 minutes on the field, he passed the ball 31 times and rarely stalled the momentum of Wales’ runners.Here, one crisp, short pass of his left hand to Taulupe Faletau and another longer one to Biggar off his right allow the hosts to threaten the gain-line: Breaking awayAnother facet of Webb’s service is how it lulls fringe defences into a false sense of security. Six tries in eight matches for the Ospreys, as well as his effort against Australia a fortnight ago, have come thanks to patience and a predatory instinct – knowing when the guards have drifted away from their post, and striking. Take a look at how Owen Franks is wrong-footed:While Wales could not capitalise on the break as Roberts’ attempted offload went awry in midfield, the All Blacks did not keep Webb out later in the piece. Try timeFalling behind when Savea barged over minutes into the second half, Wales were flat and an eerie hush enveloped the Millennium Stadium. A spark was needed, and Webb stepped up:The reverse angle offers a vivid idea of how this fine try is conjured. First, Webb creates the hole for Faletau by getting on the outside of the guard, Sam Whitelock, and sucking in the body guard, Retallick with a dummy:Faletau hits the hole wonderfully, but the All Blacks scramble well and it requires a superb offload to manufacture the try. However, Webb also aids his No 8 by checking his support line – thus remaining behind the carrier and in the game as an option when the New Zealanders commit themselves to Faletau: LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Sniper supreme: Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb dives over for his try against New Zealand last_img read more

Special offer: 50% off Rugby World subscriptions

first_imgFor one week only you can get a Rugby World subcription for half the normal price – why not treat yourself or a friend? LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS To commemorate the week of the 2015 Rugby World Cup final we are offering a MASSIVE 50% off Rugby World subscriptions for a limited time only. If you’ve caught the rugby bug from watching the breathtaking moments at this World Cup, make sure you continue to get your rugby fix with Rugby World delivered to your door every month.Rugby World brings you the story behind the news with exclusive big-name interviews, expert analysis and views, advice from professional players and coaches, news from the women’s, sevens and grass-roots games – and much more.The offer is for one-week only, from 10am on Monday 26 October to Sunday 1 November 12pm, so take advantage quickly! Subscribe to Rugby World and save 50% – from just £14.50SAVE MONEY on the cover price every monthA Rugby World subscription gives supporters EXCLUSIVE ACCESS to the gameDon’t miss a single issue with GUARANTEED HOME DELIVERYGet exclusive Rewards every month. Handpicked offeres, unique GIVEAWAYS, and unmissable PRIZES. Check out the Rewards at rugbyworld.com/rewardsGet the new issue every month BEFORE IT HITS THE SHOPSIn every issue of Rugby World we feature interviews with the biggest namesGO DIGITAL! As a little extra, every print subscription includes access to the digital version for iPad and iPhone so you can read your magazine anytime, anywhereStill unsure? Have a look at our fantastic reviewsSo what are you waiting for? Christmas has come early! Take advantage of this incredible deal now – either as a treat for yourself or Christmas presents for your friends and family.Plenty to cheer: Rugby World has plenty to make fans smile. Photo: Getty Imagescenter_img The fantastic reasons to subscribe now:  TAGS: Highlight last_img read more

Lions 2017: All Blacks 30-15 British & Irish Lions

first_imgSilly penalties – Any good defensive work gets undone when you commit a stupid sin. The Lions got into the first half when they cut out the nonsense, but then got right back at it at the start of the second with a senseless Ben Te’o tip tackle. An offside call at the wrong time or killing the ball near your posts or at their end can take games away from you. The Lions just gave away too many penalties.Scrum blips – At the moment the Lions are solid in set-piece, but have one sleepy scrum a game. They did the same in this one, and with the All Blacks ploughing ahead, the All Blacks backs had all the acreage they would ever want to hit a flying Ioane for his first score. All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen was certainly happy with it after the match.Lions power – The lineout drive didn’t get the edge it needed, but Warren Gatland was gracious enough to praise the direct style of the All Blacks, which dragged them forward. The Lions must smash everything next week if the All Blacks come right at them. And they must slow more ball down.Statistics11 – The number of penalties the Lions gave away.64 – The Lions made 64 more tackles than the All Blacks.63% – The All Blacks’ territory.New Zealand: Ben Smith (Aaron Cruden 26); Israel Dagg, Ryan Crotty (Anton Lienert-Brown 32), Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith (TJ Perenara 56); Joe Moody (Wyatt Crockett 53), Codie Taylor (Nathan Harris 66), Owen Franks (Charlie Faumuina 53), Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino (Ardie Savea 45), Sam Cane, Kieran Read (c)(Scott Barrett 77).Try: Taylor, Ioane 2. Con: Barrett 3. Pen: Barrett 3.Lions: Liam Williams (Leigh Halfpenny 72); Anthony Watson, Jonathan Davies, Ben Te’o (Johnny Sexton 57), Elliot Daly; Owen Farrell, Conor Murray (Rhys Webb 67); Mako Vunipola (Jack McGrath 51), Jamie George (Ken Owens 67), Tadhg Furlong (Kyle Sinckler 60), Alun Wyn Jones (Maro Itoje 47), George Kruis, Peter O’Mahony (c)(Sam Warburton 53), Sean O’Brien, Taulupe Faletau. Try: O’Brien, Webb. Con: Farrell. Pen: Farrell. Sometimes you make it easy on the opposition. This was by far the Lions’ most exciting showing, but they met an New Zealand side at their clinical best just as their own error count climbed upwards. A final score of 30-15 shows that while the Lions worked hard, their mistakes were punished ruthlessly by the All Blacks.The game was finely balanced at half-time, with the host leading 13-8 at the interval. For all of the All Black bluster – Israel Dagg did well to stop Elliot Daly scoring at the very start of the game, Codie Taylor scored  smartly after Aaron Smith’s tap penalty was sent through Dagg’s hands to the hooker, and Beauden Barrett was also sharp off the tee – the Lions came back. Sean O’Brien’s first-half score was one of true beauty.Sublime score: Sean O’Brien finishes off a flowing moveLiam Williams ran an unexpected arc, looking for all the world like he was lost. But he slid through a hole in the cover and sprung ahead. He fed Jonathan Davies, who would hit Elliot Daly and then take it back again, with both weaving as they ran. By the time O’Brien hared in at the inside, the try-line was awaiting him.The second half was one of powerful intent form New Zealand, though. They started drawing a big number of Lions tackles. Then from a monstrous All Black scrum, the ball was flicked out to the backs and in a blink Rieko Ioane was found out wide to score. He would score another from a ball that bounced beyond Williams and the 20-year-old winger scorched past Daly. By this point the All Blacks were winning the collisions and forcing Lions errors.A late score from Rhys Webb, who found a gap near the line as forwards piled up, made the scoreline look a little more respectable, however the game was lost between minutes 50 and 70.The Lions can come back from this smarter and harder, but they need to eradicate the mistakes, get on the referee’s good side and capitalise in those moments when the All Blacks are rattled. Because their are holes there. But at the moment, New Zealand did not have to search for too long to find the Lions’ holes.Here is what’s hot and what’s not from this opening Test.Offloading: The All Blacks were allowed to play continuity rugby with quick ballWhat’s hot?Fun! – How entertaining was that?! If all Tests were like this, rugby would be the most popular sport in the world. From Barrett scooping balls off the deck on the sprint to Watson’s spectacular mark or Rieko Ioane’s searing run off a badly bouncing ball. Every try involved either sublime passing or a run at the highest pace.Lions adventure – All that talk of the Lions being boring was a blown to bit. Sean O’Brien’s try was a thing of beauty, with Liam Williams arcing, and Jonathan Davies getting the ball twice on the way to the Irish flank’s score. Then early in the second the Lions swept forward with Davies again to the fore, trading passes with Conor Murray, with Anthony Watson snared in the corner, illegally. The Lions kicked to the corner, but coughed it up. That was quickly followed with another breakout from Watson.Kieran Read‘s return – He has played very little rugby up to this point, being out since late April, but while other short-term returners like Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty were unable to survive the fire of this Test, captain Read powered on through. A fine knock from the New Zealand skipper.Senseless challenge: Ben Te’o tips opposite man Sonny Bill WilliamsWhat’s not? Beginning of the end: Rieko Ioane scored his first try of the match center_img TAGS: Highlight LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more

Rugby World survey – we want your feedback

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Rugby World survey – we want your feedbackHere at Rugby World we’re always striving to make a better magazine for you, the readers, so we’ve put together a survey to find out what you think. We want to give you more of what you like and less of what you don’t.The survey is focused on our June 2018 edition, which features an exclusive interview with All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett, columnist Stephen Jones’s verdict on the eligibility crisis in rugby and former Fiji Sevens coach Ben Ryan’s views on player burnout.Tommy Bowe also reflects on his life in pictures, Hamish Watson talks about his baseball cap business and Jeff Hassler takes us for a motorbike ride. Elsewhere, we go behind the scenes with England U20, discover what it’s like to row the Atlantic, and analyse Glasgow’s attacking play under Dave Rennie. There’s loads more besides.If you haven’t already read the June 2018 edition, you can view it and download it via the following link for free:https://issuu.com/rugbyworld2018/docs/june Read Rugby World’s June 2018 issue for free and let us know what you think about the magazine Once you’ve enjoyed the June issue, please take ten minutes to complete the Rugby World survey by clicking on the link below:If you take part, you’ll be in with a chance of winning £50. Plus, we’ll put your feedback to good use in terms of making Rugby World an even better magazine for you.And if you like what you read in the June issue, why not subscribe to Rugby World? You’ll pay less than at the newsagent, get the magazine delivered direct to your door each month, and be kept up to date with all the news and views ahead of next year’s World Cup in Japan. The August issue is on sale now too, if you want to read expert advice on how to make the most of pre-season, our special investigation into rugby’s relationship with alcohol, exclusive interviews with Maro Itoje and Ellis Jenkins, analysis of the summer tours and much more.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.last_img read more

Face-Off: Is Exeter Chiefs’ branding appropriate?

first_imgChiefs repeatedly ignore voices that ask them to reconsider the branding. Their nickname predates the official adoption of the branding in 1999. How hard would it be to keep the name but base any imagery on something more relevant – such as the ancient Celtic people of Devon, the Dumnonii?English rugby wants to appear inclusive and plans to expand into the US, but their branding complicates both aims. Nobody thinks Exeter and their fans are intentionally offensive, but they’re on the wrong side of history and it’s time to change.Related: Are artificial pitches good for rugby? There is certainly no intention to offend the sensitivities of the Native American Nation. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” go the immortal words of William Shakespeare. Exeter Chiefs claim their use of Native American imagery is not offensive and respects their culture. This falls into the logical fallacy: “If I don’t mean it to be offensive, it isn’t.”Many Native North Americans find appropriation and misuse of their culture offensive – it defies efforts to reclaim their identity after centuries of discrimination. Using Native symbols in sports is maybe the most noticeable example of ‘Disneyfication’ – creating stereotypes that enforce misunderstanding and prejudice. I applaud and respect the pride and rich traditions of the Native North Americans, their culture and their history. I believe the good people of Exeter rugby club feel the same.Dee Brown’s book, Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, epitomises the brutal manner in which 19th Century American expansionism abused, mutilated and killed Native Americans. Surely the current Nation has more important issues of consternation?Please stop trying to rip the heart out of an honest, proud and decent club. It’s a tradition in the South-West for clubs to call first XVs ‘Chiefs’. Thus we have Sidmouth Chiefs, Barnstable Chiefs and, of course, Exeter Chiefs.Since professionalism arrived, an instantly recognisable logo is required to identify teams nationally. In Exeter’s case, what better than the striking profile of a proud Native Chief? COLIN BENTLEYPassionate fan in rural Devoncenter_img LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Face-Off: Is Exeter Chiefs’ branding appropriate?Exeter Chiefs’ branding has been put under the microscope again recently as a group of supporters set up a petition calling for the club to “drop its racist use of Indigenous Peoples’ imagery & branding”.The club discussed the issue at their latest board meeting and while deciding to retain the name and logo have opted to retire the club’s mascot ‘Big Chief’.Exeter said in a statement: “Part of the club’s review has seen the club engage with its sponsors and key partners to seek their views – and they have also listened to the response of our supporters, the wider rugby community and certain sections from the Native American community, all of whom have provided us with detailed observations in letters, emails, social content and videos.“Content provided to the board indicated that the name Chiefs dated back into the early 1900s and had a long history with people in the Devon area. “The board took the view that the use of the Chiefs logo was in fact highly respectful. It was noted over the years we have had players and coaches from around the world with a wide range of nationalities and cultures. At no time have any players, coaches or their families said anything but positive comments about the branding or culture that exists at the club. “The one aspect which the board felt could be regarded as disrespectful was the club’s mascot ‘Big Chief’ and as a mark of respect have decided to retire him.”Retired: Big Chief will no longer be the Exeter Chiefs mascot (Getty Images)Exeter Chiefs for Change, who have led calls for the branding to be changed, have expressed their dismay at the decision.A spokesperson said: “It is incredibly disappointing that Exeter Chiefs has thrown away this opportunity to show itself as an inclusive club. Indigenous Peoples have made it clear time and time again that all uses of their imagery in this way are offensive, harmful and unacceptable. Exeter’s refusal to fully listen to these pleas is tone deaf and sticks two fingers up not only to them but to all minorities.“We accept that the intention of the club for the branding was originally positive and not derogatory, but now they know it is not perceived in that way, they are making a conscious decision to be intentionally offensive by continuing to use it. The club claims that the imagery honours and respect the Indigenous cultures, but if they respect them why won’t they listen to them?“As fans we are disappointed and frustrated that this battle continues. As human beings we are horrified that we still live in a society where a major sports club can treat Indigenous Peoples like this. It reflects badly on rugby, Devon and the UK, and we should all be thoroughly ashamed.”Face-Off: Is Exeter Chiefs’ branding appropriate?Rugby World magazine covered this topic back in 2017 – and here are both sides of the debate on the branding of one of England’s biggest clubs that we ran three years ago…LEE CALVERTRuns bloodandmud.com A look at the debate surrounding the Premiership club’s branding This first appeared in the November 2017 issue of Rugby World.This article originally appeared in Rugby World’s September edition.last_img read more

Episcopal leaders push to abolish death penalty across the country

first_img Youth Minister Lorton, VA By Sharon SheridanPosted Jun 13, 2012 Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Joe Parrish says: Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Rector Hopkinsville, KY Dudley Sharp says: June 14, 2012 at 9:49 am Very odd the EC is against the death penalty.God/Jesus: ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother must certainly be put to death.’ Matthew 15:4This is a New Testament command, which references several of the same commands from God, in the same circumstance, from the OT.Jesus: Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Jesus) replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23: 39-43It is not the nature of our deaths, but the state of salvation at the time of death which is most important. This was the perfect opportunity for Jesus to say something contrary to support for execution.Jesus: “So Pilate said to (Jesus), “Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?” Jesus answered (him), “You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above.” John 19:10-11The power to execute comes directly from God.Jesus: “You have heard the ancients were told, ˜YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER” and “Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court”. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, “Raca”, shall be guilty before the supreme court and whoever shall say, “You fool”, shall be guilty enough to go into fiery hell.” Matthew 5:17-22.Fiery hell is a considerable more severe sanction than any earthly death.The Holy Spirit, God, through the power and justice of the Holy Spirit, executed both Ananias and his wife, Saphira. Their crime? Lying to the Holy Spirit – to God – through Peter. Acts 5:1-11.No trial, no appeals, just death on the spot.God: “You shall not accept indemnity in place of the life of a murderer who deserves the death penalty; he must be put to death.” Numbers 35:31 (NAB) full context http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/numbers/numbers35.htmFor murder, there is no mitigation from a death sentence. June 14, 2012 at 12:34 am What about all the victims of the horrendous acts of violence? I work in victim services for a state Dept of Justice. If church members and clergy read the accounts of some of the crimes committed against the innocent, they may change their opinion of the death penalty. Who in the Church will speak out for the victims?I do not support the Church engaging in political activity as an institution. The First Amendment allows me the freedom from government’s intrusion on my religious liberties. I’d rather not have the Episcopal Church as an institution that I freely choose to be a part of, make political statements on my behalf. I believe in the tenets of the Church, tradition, The Bible and reason. I understand the Church taking the moral high ground based on tradition and scripture, but find the reasoning behind the political activity questionable. Rafiki Bakari says: June 13, 2012 at 10:18 pm Now if we could only get our beloved President to do away with his KILL LIST, and set a national moral standard. God bless The President and all these United State- let’s let everyone live even if they don’t deserve to live for the crimes they have committed. That’s ALL of US !!!!Pax and $$$,RPM+ June 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm As a prison reform advocate in Florida for more than 25 years, I am profoundly grateful to all who have pressed for the repeal of the death penalty. We must continue. Please consider, however, the hopelessness of true “life without parole,” particularly for youthful offenders whose immaturity and impulsiveness has put them into a terrible situation. Look at the “life” sentences meted out in other civilized countries such as Israel, England, and Holland, where crime rates are lower than they are in the U.S. These sentences are generally the length of a generation – 20 to 30 years. The emphasis on all but a few irreparable cases is on rehabilitation. We must strive for restorative justice, not just locking the door and throwing away the key. The Rev. Canon Richard P. McDonnell, D.Min. says: Submit a Job Listing Christopher Johnson says: Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector Albany, NY Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA July 24, 2014 at 12:26 am It is good to see the Episcopal Church advocate for abolition of the death penalty. I am impressed with the leadership the Church takes on important public policy issues — this being a key one. I wish the Roman Catholic Church would step up more on this and other issues as well.Remember that Christ was executed in a horrific way. He did so to save us. We should not forget Christ’s despair of the Cross as he cried out Father why have you forsaken me… that dark, terrible moment. We can seek peace in the understanding of the suffering and his love for us.We don’t need to repeat torture and death. This cannot bring back victims of violent crimes – an eye for an eye. We have the new covenant — love God and love thy neighbor. We have a just God. True Justice comes in God’s love and grace and accountability. It is good that the Church evolves away from things that likely do not please God — such as the torture, even of a criminal. No need to be stuck in the middle ages. And, what of innocents who are wrongly convicted and put to death. What is that justice or the morality in Gods eyes. We must pray for the victims and we must pray for those who committed the crimes. Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ June 14, 2012 at 10:29 am I agree and am glad the Episcopal Church is working to end the death penalty, another issue that is as or more important is that all Churches should work to end taking a precious innocent baby’s life through abortion! The Very Rev. Kevin Carroll says: Rector Pittsburgh, PA Associate Rector Columbus, GA Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI June 15, 2012 at 12:27 pm I am grateful for the comments above referencing the death penalty handed down to so many of our unborn children. They are the modern Holy Innocents. June 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm I am pleased with the efforts of many in the USA and the State of Ohio where I live in Cleveland. If not for the grace of GOD I may have been a victim of the Ohio’s electric chair. In 1975 I was charged with the crime of Aggravated Murder With Specializations. I was found guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter in January of 1976. I am innocent of the crime. I witness a suicide. Here it is 2012, I served time for Voluntary Manslaughter, three years. Since my release, 33 years ago, life has been difficult with the Aggravated Murder charge still on my record. I am being punished for life for a crime I did not do. I came very close to being convicted of Aggravated Murder and thus the electric chair. I am a black man, I was 23 years of age when convicted, and I was a Vietnam veteran which did not help my case during the 1970’s. I strongly support the efforts to end death penalty. There are far too many black men becoming innocent victims to the death penalty. June 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm Good for all of these church leaders who are fighting against the death penalty. As I testified before two committees of the New York State Legislature a couple of years ago “one mistake is one mistake too many, especially if you are the mistake” and “in addition to theological reasons against the death penalty, it is better stewardship to impose life without parole.” These thoughts seemed to have reached several of our legislators. Jack Dudley Sharp says: Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Comments (16) The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Rector Belleville, IL Kathleen Murff Whiting says: Curate Diocese of Nebraska Comments are closed. Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Rector Shreveport, LA Featured Events Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Episcopal leaders push to abolish death penalty across the country Rector Knoxville, TN June 16, 2012 at 7:46 am Eternal charity should be a bit more important.Romano Amerio, a faithful Catholic Vatican insider, scholar, professor at the Academy of Lugano, consultant to the Preparatory Commission of Vatican II, and a peritus (expert theologian) at the Council.“The most irreligious aspect of this argument against capital punishment is that it denies its expiatory value which, from a religious point of view, is of the highest importance because it can include a final consent to give up the greatest of all worldly goods. This fits exactly with St. Thomas’s opinion that as well as canceling out any debt that the criminal owes to civil society, capital punishment can cancel all punishment due in the life to come. His thought is . . . Summa, ‘Even death inflicted as a punishment for crimes takes away the whole punishment due for those crimes in the next life, or a least part of that punishment, according to the quantities of guilt, resignation and contrition; but a natural death does not.’ The moral importance of wanting to make expiation also explains the indefatigable efforts of the Confraternity of St. John the Baptist Beheaded, the members of which used to accompany men to their deaths, all the while suggesting, begging and providing help to get them to repent and accept their deaths, so ensuring that they would die in the grace of God, as the saying went.”Some opposing capital punishment ” . . . go on to assert that a life should not be ended because that would remove the possibility of making expiation, is to ignore the great truth that capital punishment is itself expiatory. In a humanistic religion expiation would of course be primarily the converting of a man to other men. On that view, time is needed to effect a reformation, and the time available should not be shortened. In God’s religion, on the other hand, expiation is primarily a recognition of the divine majesty and lordship, which can be and should be recognized at every moment, in accordance with the principle of the concentration of one’s moral life.”Some death penalty opponents “deny the expiatory value of death; death which has the highest expiatory value possible among natural things, precisely because life is the highest good among the relative goods of this world; and it is by consenting to sacrifice that life, that the fullest expiation can be made. And again, the expiation that the innocent Christ made for the sins of mankind was itself effected through his being condemned to death.”“Amerio on capital punishment “, Chapter XXVI, 187. The death penalty, from the book Iota Unum, May 25, 2007 ,http://www.domid.blogspot.com/2007/05/amerio-on-capital-punishment.html Submit an Event Listing Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC center_img Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Kevin Roberts says: June 15, 2012 at 7:49 pm God bless those who speak for those who truly have no voice and are truly innocent – the unborn. Charitable as the opposition to the death penalty may be, I do not see how it squares with the rabid support this denomination shows for abortion. Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Director of Music Morristown, NJ Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Thomas Andrew says: This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Rob Nelson says: Featured Jobs & Calls Jack M McKelvey says: An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Submit a Press Release June 14, 2012 at 10:33 am I believe that it is right and good that the church speaks out against capital punishment. Yet, if we do not include other issues, such as abortion, war, assisted suicide, and violent crime in the same conversation it lacks moral integrity. How we treat human life from the inception of person-hood through death needs to be an all-inclusive conversation. If we cherry pick a politically correct issue out of the breadth and death of God’s imperative that we respect human life we abrogate our baptismal vow to respect the dignity of every human being. New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books The Rev. Matthew Tucker says: Press Release Service Jennifer Myers says: June 13, 2012 at 5:10 pm The execution abolition movement seems to be gaining steam. We will need to get many other denominations to help. The Roman Catholic Church has played a key role so far in several states, but we have helped. It is very good to see Episcopalians take this issue on more vigorously! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis June 14, 2012 at 9:13 pm I would be much more impressed by all this if these bishops and anyone else opposed to the death penalty showed the same care and solicitude for the lives of the unborn. Because if this country completely does away with the death penalty, those of us who claim to be Christians will still have an American holocaust to account for. Rector Washington, DC TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Rector Bath, NC In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Rector Smithfield, NC Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Dudley Sharp says: Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Advocacy Peace & Justice June 14, 2012 at 10:04 am Ms. Myers:You imply that being against the death penalty is pursuing the moral high ground.The foundation of support for the death penalty is justice, the same foundation as for all criminal sanctions.The pursuit of justice may be the greatest of all human endeavors.Note that the EC first opposed the death penalty in 1958 and the official Church of England originated in the 1500’s, with Henry VIII’s direction to separate from the Catholic papacy, not in small part because of the Pope’s refusal to aprove of Henry VIII’s divorce request.The EC supported executions for about 400 years, before voicing its recent opposition, which is largely the result of liberal, secular influence, in opposition to the 400 years of biblical and theological based death penalty support, as well as the total 2000 years of support from the Catholic Church An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Dudley Sharp says: June 16, 2012 at 7:56 am Rev. Carrol:I am more familiar with Catholic teaching on these topics, within which abortion and assisted suicides are moral evils and both war and the death penalty may be justified on moral grounds.It is not a matter of cherry picking, but of properly finding that there are different moral foundations for different types of killing.It would be morally irresponsible to say that there is no moral difference between the killing involved in the rape and murder of children and the killing involved in the execution of that rapist/murderer.“Killing Equals Killing: The Amoral Confusion of Death Penalty Opponents”http://homicidesurvivors.com/2009/02/01/murder-and-execution–very-distinct-moral-differences–new-mexico.aspx Rector Martinsville, VA Tags Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Rector Collierville, TN Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Rector Tampa, FL Connecticut Bishops Ian T. Douglas, Laura J. Ahrens and James E. Curry during an April 3 public witness in Hartford, Conn., marking the Stations of the Cross and protesting the state’s death penalty. The Diocese of Connecticut organized the public witness attended by some 200 people. Connecticut has since abolished the death penalty. Photo/Marc Yves Regis[Episcopal News Service] When Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill in April making Connecticut the fifth state in five years to abolish the death penalty, Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut Bishop Suffragan James Curry’s attendance at the ceremony testified to the influence of Episcopal leaders on ending capital punishment in the state.Curry and other members of the diocese had worked with the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty since the 2005 execution of serial killer Michael Ross, the first prisoner put to death in New England in 45 years.Abolishing the death penalty became “a very, very contentious issue” in Connecticut after two recently released prisoners invaded a home and “brutally murdered” two girls and their mother in 2007, he said.“In the midst of that, it was very hard to have a conversation in this state about not demanding the death penalty for such horrific crimes,” Curry said. “It was also a time in the church where we started to shift the conversation from that this is punishment to [that] the death penalty is really about the kind of statement we want to make about what we want our society to be.”The Episcopal Church officially has opposed the death penalty for more than half a century, and its advocacy is gaining traction as momentum builds across the country to end capital punishment. Bishops and other church leaders are writing letters, joining coalitions, testifying before legislators and publicly demonstrating their opposition to the death penalty.Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have ended capital punishment. In total, 3,189 people remain on death row in the United States, including some in Connecticut and New Mexico, which repealed the penalty without making it retroactive, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.The Episcopal Church first passed a resolution opposing the death penalty in 1958, said Alexander Baumgarten, Episcopal Church director of government relations. “It’s been reaffirmed in multiple conventions since then, so our position as a church has been clear for a long time.“I think the fact that we’ve seen a recent pattern of bishops and other leaders in the church in the dioceses of the United States raising the profile of our advocacy is a reflection of the climate in which public opinion in the United States seems to be moving against the death penalty for the first time in a number of years.”A 2011 Gallup poll showed about one in three Americans opposing the death penalty, a 19 percent drop in support for capital punishment over 17 years and down from an all-time high of 80 percent supporting it in 1994. Baumgarten attributes the trend to an understanding of “the inherent flaws in the application of the death penalty.”Repeated studies, for example, have documented that capital punishment does not deter crime, he said. The death penalty also carries inherent racial and socio-economic biases and the chance of killing innocent people, he said.According to the Death Penalty Information Center:Studies indicate the chance of being sentenced to death is much higher when murder victims are white, and a 1998 study reported a pattern of race-of-victim or race-of-defendant discrimination or both in 96 percent of states where race and the death penalty had been reviewed.More than 130 people have been released from death row since 1973 with evidence of their innocence, with an average of five people exonerated annually from 2000 to 2011.“As people start to understand the complexities of how the penalty is applied in practice,” Baumgarten said, “I think we start to see people who on its face might not be opposed to the death penalty now start to say: As a matter of applied justice in this country, this doesn’t really work.”While the Episcopal Church has an official stance against the death penalty, this primarily is a state issue, and church abolition efforts have originated mostly at the local level, noted Baumgarten, who works in the church’s Washington, D.C., office.“It’s not something that I think has been driven by central structures of the Episcopal Church or central governing entities of the Episcopal Church,” he said. “Bishops and congregations and leaders in the dioceses have looked at the church’s historic stance on this and applied it to the … context that’s evolving around them.”Cooperative effortsIn Connecticut, the diocese worked with the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty on legislative efforts that fell short more than once before the governor signed the April 25 bill abolishing the death penalty in the state. Then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell vetoed a bill in 2009. A 2011 abolition bill failed by two votes in the state Senate.The 2012 bill ended the death penalty, but not for those previously convicted – including the two men sentenced to death for the high-profile 2007 murders.“It’s a flaw in the bill,” Curry said. “I think that’s going to be a legal battle.”During the push for the successful abolition legislation, the Connecticut network helped organize conversations in churches around the death penalty, he said. “We started organizing letter-writing campaigns to state representatives and senators. We made ourselves available for conversation. We were lobbying at the legislative office building.”The diocese also partnered with the church’s Washington, D.C., office, sending alerts through a Connecticut public policy network.The diocese’s public witness included inviting clergy to renew their vows during Holy Week this year while participating in a Stations of the Cross service that meditated on issues of justice in society and particularly on abolishing the death penalty. Between 175 and 200 people participated, mostly Episcopal priests but also some clergy from other denominations, Curry said. “We had one rabbi join us … It speaks to the power of this issue and the power of the coalition, because the very language of our Stations of the Cross was unsettling to him.”While they walked in prayer, the last senator needed to pass the abolition bill held a press conference saying she had changed her mind after opposing similar legislation last year, Curry said. The church made a difference in the bill’s passage, he said, from the letter writing to the image of three Episcopal bishops and numerous clergy in their cassocks processing through the state capital.“For me, the other reality is that the church learned that we have the possibility to affect public discourse by staying true to who we are and by creating alliances with other groups like the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty, and that’s a learning that were going to keep as we’re looking into social justice,” said Curry. ” We need to always keep looking beyond ourselves, outside of ourselves for other voices that we can ally with.”In the Diocese of Montana, Bishop C. Franklin Brookhart Jr. belongs to the Montana Abolition Coalition, an umbrella group of religious and other organizations seeking to end the state’s death penalty. He has written editorials and letters to legislators opposing the death penalty and testified before a state Senate committee.“It’s difficult in some ways because, in doing this, you have to speak to people with a broad range of ethical and religious backgrounds,” he said. “It’s easiest for me simply to speak as a Christian.”He raises issues such as whether the death penalty is justice or vengeance; how accurately it can be applied; whether it deters crime; and whether it serves the common good. He views the death penalty as “morally corrosive to a society,” he said.“I think we have to say that there is no question from the Scriptures that the state has – the traditional phrase is ‘the power of the sword’ — to do this, but is it in this day and age really a Christian witness to say let’s kill people? I don’t think it is.”Like Curry, he believes the church’s witness makes a difference.“I believe there is power in being a bishop and speaking on behalf of the church. I know I get listened to more carefully because of that,” he said, adding, “The other side is, I think that for some people it is easier to dismiss me: Well, what would you expect a soft-headed Christian to say?”The Montana legislature meets for 90 days every two years, and death penalty abolition is an issue every session, he said. “It nearly got through last time.”“Every time it comes up … the idea of the death penalty seems to have less power and appeal to it, and it will come up again this time when the legislature meets in January 2013,” he predicted.Episcopal leaders advocate against the death penalty in other states as well.As president of the Ecumenical Leaders Group of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council, Diocese of Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton most recently led a march to Maryland’s State House following an early-morning Ash Wednesday service at St. Anne’s Episcopal Parish in Annapolis, said Sharon Tillman, diocesan spokesperson. The Feb. 22 event culminated in a press conference and discussions with religious leaders and legislators.In 2008, at an anti-death-penalty rally in Annapolis, Sutton said, “There is no room for state-sponsored killing and state-sponsored revenge. To kill and to revenge for the killing of another person contributes to a cycle of killing. … Love is doing what is right precisely when it is hard. Jesus taught his disciples to go beyond an ‘eye for an eye’ and ‘a tooth for a tooth,’ for that would inevitably lead to what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others would call an ‘eyeless and a toothless society.’ Instead, he taught us to love even the unlovely and stop the cycle of violence.”In the Diocese of Los Angeles, Bishop J. Jon Bruno and Bishops Suffragan Mary Douglas Glasspool and Diane Jardine Bruce endorsed the SAFE California Act, which will replace the state’s death penalty with a sentence of life in prison without chance of parole as the maximum punishment for murder.Helping to recruit signers in the successful petition drive to get the initiative on California’s November 2012 ballot were the diocesan Program Group on Peace and Justice Ministries, the diocesan PRISM Restorative Justice Ministries and All Saints Church, Pasadena, and St. Michael and All Angels Church, Studio City, among other congregations, said Robert Williams, diocesan canon for community relations.Diocese of California Bishop Mark Andrus also has supported abolition efforts.In the Diocese of Ohio, the Rev. Will Mebane, canon for Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, testified in February before the Senate Judiciary Committee to support a bill to abolish the death penalty.In Kansas, Episcopal and other bishops have participated in letter-writing campaigns and other efforts encouraging abolition of the death penalty.Theology of justice workSuch efforts are consistent with the church’s mission, Baumgarten said.“If we look at the catechism in the prayer book,” he said, “it tells us that the church lives out its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the gospel and promotes justice, peace and love.”“As Episcopalians, as Anglicans, we would understand the promotion of just structures in society and peace in God’s kingdom on earth as something that is central to the mission of the church, not a distraction from the mission of the church,” he said. “We would be remiss if we did not look at what our faith says about justice and peace and then work for it in the world around us.”Curry agreed.“Our biblical witness is about transforming the world, and it’s not about hoarding the good news of God’s redemptive love,” he said. “I think that we have to be out in the world and that one of the primary reasons for church community is to equip every single Christian to take that faith out in their own lives. So I have great respect for legislators who are living out their faith or social workers or organizers. It’s almost counterintuitive that clergy would feel they can’t do that.”Church polity allows Episcopalians to shape the church’s stance on public-policy issues, Baumgarten noted. “One of the important things about the Episcopal Church’s system of governance is that there really is a straight line from the congregational level to the General Convention level. … Everybody has the ability to participate in the church’s discernment of where it stands on particular issues.”This doesn’t mean that every Episcopalian must agree with every stance the church takes, as Brookhart noted.“I think our church has the sense that we don’t expect everyone to agree with the official so-called positions,” he said, adding that there’s no “punitive side” for disagreeing with General Convention resolutions on public-policy issues.“On the other hand,” he added, “I think it’s important to say that there are some issues that are important enough that the church needs to make a witness about it, even if a substantial minority of its members don’t agree.”And that witness doesn’t remain at the institutional level.Advocacy is part of the mission of every person of faith including Episcopalians, Baumgarten said. “It’s not uniquely the role or responsibility of churchwide structures or bishops or church leaders.”“That comes from our understanding of baptism,” he said. “That comes from our understanding of the commands of Jesus. That comes from our understanding of mission and Anglican theology. And so our [Washington, D.C.] office exists for the purpose of equipping Episcopalians to engage in the ministry of advocacy in their own contexts.“In one sense, we provide a representative face of the church in Washington on an ongoing basis,” he said. “But in the most important sense, the heart of our work, the heart of our ministry as an office, is to equip Episcopalians around the country for their own ministry of advocacy.”— Sharon Sheridan is an ENS correspondent. Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MIlast_img read more