'We look at them for inspiration!' NFL veteran says Seattle Seahawks watch rugby for tackling techniques

An American football veteran says he and his NFL teammates look at rugby players as inspiration for tackling and toughness in their own sport.

Michael Bennett, a defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, stopped by a training to speak to the Auckland Blues today as they prepare for the first round of Super Rugby this weekend.

The 2014 Super Bowl winner told 1 NEWS he was in awe of the players.

"We watch rugby to learn how to tackle better, be better defenders, be better trackers," he told 1 NEWS.

"Everybody in rugby is so tough - the way they play through injuries - we look up to them for inspiration to be tougher players and better defenders."

The 32-year-old said the two sports share a common enemy at the moment with concussion a pressing issue for player safety.

"We try and limit our concussions but both sports have problems with conussions right now," he said.

"Everyone's trying to find a way to protect the integrity of the sport but also the players."

Former NFL player and Paul Lasike made a successful transition from grid iron to rugby over the weekend after making his international debut for USA against Chile.

The NZ-born 27-year-old scored a try and set up another for USA in the 45-13 win.

Michael Bennett said he and teammates were also in awe of rugby players' ability to play through injury. Source: 1 NEWS


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Former All Blacks coach John Hart appointed one of three NZR representatives on Blues Board

Former All Blacks coach John Hart has been appointed by New Zealand Rugby to the Blues' board.

Hart, along with current NZR Board member Richard Dellabarca and current NZR Rugby Committee member Sam Lotu-Iiga have all been assigned to the board after it was announced last month that NZR had taken a 40 per cent partnership in the Super Rugby club.

NZR boss Steve Tew said it was important that the governing body's representatives on the Blues Board had proven experience in rugby, business and strong connections to the Auckland region.

"We are pleased that John, Richard and Sam are available to represent New Zealand Rugby's partnership interest in the Blues Super Rugby club.

"Their collective skills will extend the existing depth of experience of the Blues Board and in combination with other recent changes to the coaching team and re-signing and recruitment of key players, this is one of many steps to help rebuild the success of the club."

Hart coached the All Blacks between 1996 and 1999, guiding the team to 31 wins in 41 Tests before resigning after the unexpected 1999 World Cup semi-final loss to France.

He also coached Auckland to the NPC title in 1982, 1984 and 1985.

Jonah Lomu will be farewelled at a special ceremony held at Mt Eden park today.
Source: 1 NEWS


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Jamie Joseph stepping down as Sunwolves coach to focus on Japan's RWC campaign

The Sunwolves will have a fourth head coach in four seasons of Super Rugby after Jamie Joseph announced he'll stand aside in 2019.

Japan national coach Joseph will instead concentrate on preparing the Brave Blossoms for next year's World Cup, which they will host.

He will play a part in appointing next year's Sunwolves coaching staff.

Tony Brown will be favoured to be promoted from assistant coach to head coach, potentially mirroring the same transition that took place at New Zealand's Highlanders in 2017.

Joseph revealed the change at a news conference in Tokyo before the launch of events to celebrate one year to go to the World Cup.

The 48-year-old New Zealander succeeded Filo Tiatia as head coach this year and failed to prevent the Sunwolves picking up the wooden spoon for the second time in their three-year existence.

They also finished last in their inaugural 2016 campaign under Mark Hammett.

The Sunwolves, who have won six of 46 games, look set to struggle again next year.

Josephy revealed a number of his Japanese international players on the Sunwolves roster will sit out the opening rounds of Super Rugby to ensure they are peaking for the World Cup.

Former Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph. Source: Photosport


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World Rugby urges players to cover tattoos at Japan 2019 to 'respect the culture' and avoid offence

World Rugby organisers have advised players competing at the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup, as well as supporters, to cover up any tattoos in public to avoid causing offence, with markings easily mistaken to be associated with Yakuza, a Japanese mafia.

There is also an education programme put in place by the organisers, which gives information about appropriate footwear to wear indoor and outdoors.

Head of the Rugby World Cup Alan Gilpin says the Japanese people will be aware that there will be players not accustomed to Japan's culture.

"We will make (Japanese) people aware around the facilities that players will use in the country that people with tattoos in a Rugby World Cup context are not part of the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia," said Gilpin.

"That's where the issue comes from. We have done a lot in the last year or so with the teams to get them to understand that.

"When we raised it with the teams a year or so ago we were probably expecting a frustrated reaction from them but there hasn't been at all. That is a great tribute to the sport itself and to the rugby players themselves."

Gilpin also said players with tattoos are expected to cover up by wearing a vest when swimming in a public pool.

"They all also buy into the idea of putting on a rash-vest in the pool or in a gym as they want to respect the Japanese culture. If they are using a public pool they will have to cover up.

"Players will also have to wear different trainers indoors and outdoors. It will all be self-policing. We won't force any teams to cover up but they will want to because they want to be seen to be respecting the culture.

"Whether it is Scotland, Ireland, Wales or Italy, who have all been there recently, they all get it, they really do."

Beauden Barrett celebrates his try with Aaron Smith.
2nd Bledisloe Cup Test of the 2018 Investec Rugby Championship.
New Zealand All Blacks v Australia (Wallabies) at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand on 25 August 2018.
Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz
Beauden Barrett celebrates with Aaron Smith. Source: Photosport

The Rugby World Cup begins on September 20 in 2019 with the opening match to be played between the host nation Japan and Russia at Tokyo Stadium.

Dejected All Blacks Rieko Ioane and TJ Perenara seen after their team's loss during the 2018 Rugby Championship between All Blacks vs South Africa at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, Saturday 15th September 2018. Copyright Photo: Raghavan Venugopal / © www.Photosport.nz 2018
Dejected All Blacks Rieko Ioane and TJ Perenara seen after their team's loss during the 2018 Rugby Championship between All Blacks vs South Africa at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Source: Photosport


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