LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Scrum down: England practise their set-piece skills during forwards training at Pennyhill ParkAFTER A comfortable win over Fiji in their opening QBE International, England are preparing to take on Australia at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon. So what have Chris Robshaw & Co been getting up to behind the scenes? Check out this video to find out…
Bottle it up: The Wales player form a huddle after an excruciatingly late loss The best, worst, most pleasing, annoying defeatWales’ performance against the Springboks, in isolation, was impressive. But in the context of the first test, it was miraculous. The performance must surely rank as one of the greatest seven day turnarounds in Welsh rugby. The Welsh pack was ultra-competitive against arguably the best forward unit in the world. The backrow of Josh Turnbull, Toby Faletau, and Dan Lydiate were mightily effective. Between them they made 44 tackles – Faletau made 18 on his own. Whilst the entire pack’s efforts were laudable, Gethin Jenkins and Alun-Wyn Jones were a level above even that – both senior players put in career highlight performances. Wales claimed 58% of the possession and 53% of the territory. The scrum ran at 83% and the lineout was equally stable, winning 10/12.Wheels on fire: Alex Cuthbert was sensational in the first halfWith a solid platform and almost violent breakdown work, the Welsh backline flourished – Mike Phillips, Alex Cuthbert, Jamie Roberts and Jon Davies proved that they are more than capable of moving the ball into the wider channels. It was particularly refreshing to see Jamie Roberts being allowed to pass the ball to screened runners and decoys rather being used like cannon fodder. Of course despite being seconds away from becoming the first Welsh team ever to beat the Boks in South Africa, this display can’t be treated as a victory. There were some sizable negatives. Wales didn’t blow one sizable lead, but two – they worked hard to build separate 17 and 13 point advantages. The defensive decision making that led to Wales being reduced to 13 men was questionable – as too was Liam Williams‘ brave but naive tackle and the events that led to the first of the unsuccessful drop goals. However, all of the Welsh squad and the nation will be quietly pleased to have restored pride.Gethin Jenkins. Bravery personifiedRecently there have been calls for some senior players to make way for the next generation. However, Gethin Jenkins’s performance against the Springboks will have put some of those calls into perspective. He was simply heroic on Saturday. His scrummaging was solid and defence was immaculate – completing seven tackles and missing none. But it was his work at the breakdown, in the absence of Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric, which was so impressive. His nickname is ‘Melon’; well maybe now it should be ‘Melon ball’, so compact was his body position in the jackal. The Springbok clearout had enormous problems removing him once he had locked over the ball. To have turned in a performance like that after 107 caps does him immense credit. Respect.Cannonball: A gutsy effort by Ken Owens put Wales 24-14 headWales flooded the contact areaThe Welsh’s pack’s key performance indicators were all good against the Springboks but it was their work at the breakdown that requires particular praise. There was a marked difference in the Second Test. Wales flooded the contact area with bodies. There were no one man clear-outs and a single guard. Every ruck, numbers allowing, had a minimum of a double clear-out and two guards – without fail. It was a clever and necessary tactic against the Springboks. Whilst the pack weights, between both teams, are largely similar, there is something different about the Bok forwards. They aren’t made like that in the gym – they’re made like that in the womb and consequently require some shifting. The Welsh set-up will be mightily impressed that their pack managed to dominate the Spingboks for large swathes of the game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g71yBh4mVpQ On Saturday Wales lost to South Africa in the most galling of circumstances in a result that will doubtless take Warren Gatland’s men a while to recover from ‘Feel a tad sorry for Liam WilliamsLiam Williams’ shoulder charge in the dying minutes of the game led to a penalty try and a simple conversion that ultimately cost Wales the game. Warren Gatland has since said that Williams has apologised to the players and that he, Gatland, hopes the player will learn from that experience and hopefully doesn’t do it again. However, before everyone lambasts Liam Williams it is worth remembering Williams was doing everything in his power to win the game for Wales, not lose it. Arguably the decision to opt for a lengthy drop goal, when there was still time to build vital phases was equally as costly.Collision point: Liam Williams closes in on Cornal Hendricks giving away a penalty tryA new approach to defending 5m mauls.Elite margins require elite decision making and it may be time to reassess the way that rolling mauls are defended. Between the 29th and 32 minute Wales conceded two yellow cards and a penalty try whilst defending the Boks’ phenomenal rolling maul. However there may come a point in elite rugby where it is simply more efficient to concede the five points and leave a difficult conversion rather than risk a yellow card and a penalty try. As this test has proved a single yellow card often leads to the concession of more than 7 points – two yellow cards is suicide. It may seem counter intuitive to willingly concede points, but with repeated warnings from the referee, it is surely the correct decision – rather than concede a penalty try and a yellow card. It’s comparable to cricket where the concession of a single run is deemed more beneficial simply to remove an effective batsman from the strike. Food for thought.
An injury to one of Wales’ first and second choice fullbacks this close to the 2015 Rugby World Cup could sharpen Warren Gatland’s mind with regards to Byrne. Giving the armband to the former Clermont fullback follows a solid recruitment strategy at the Dragons and adds to a squad that already includes Taulupe Faletau, Andrew Coombs, Hallam Amos, Jack Dixon, Jason Tovey and this season’s player to watch – Tyler Morgan. The Dragons definitely won’t be the 4th Welsh region next season.Wales Sevens perform well at the Commonwealth gamesYes, Wales didn’t win a medal. Yes, Wales came second in the plate final. But the fact that the Wales Sevens team performed well during the Commonwealth Games is worthy of note. Wales fell just shy of the semi-finals with a two point, ‘clock dead’ defeat to Australia and another two point, last play defeat to England in the plate final. Led by the abrasive Adam Thomas, both Luke Morgan and James Davies excelled on the Sevens stage.Head up high: Wales more than competed on the Commonwealth Games stageBut it was the performances of Lee Williams that once again proved that he is a legitimate force on the circuit. However despite the good performances, as with Wales’ recent 15 man defeat to the Springboks, Wales yet again lost two vital matches with them seemingly won. Whether it is a mere coincidence or a genuine psychological issue it needs to be addressed – defeats in the dying minutes are the only thing currently killing Wales’ potential. It maybe the the off-season but Welsh rugby is rarely quiet. In his monthly round-up Paul Williams ruminates over quality ‘imports’, heartwarming tweets and the painful wait for a Participation Agreement Shrewd moves continue at the DragonsJuly saw Lee Byrne unveiled as this season’s captain of the Newport Gwent Dragons. Andrew Coombs did a fantastic job of leading the team last year, but it could be a shrewd move to name a captain of Byrne’s quality, who can lead the team without the distraction of national duty. Having said that, it may be unwise to rule out Byrne’s involvement with the national squad now that he has returned to Wales.Smooth operator: New Dragons captain Lee Byrne shouldn’t be ruled out of international contention LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS I have never been so happy to see a post on Twitter. Genuinely. Many others obviously feel the same – it has received over 3,300 favourites and 2,000 retweets. Hitting the ‘favourite’ or ‘retweet’ button didn’t quite seem to do it justice. At that moment in time, Twitter required a new button – a ‘Go on son, we’re all behind you!’.Owen’s tweet also said that the messages of support are keeping him going. Well, you heard the man. Keep sending them to @owilliams91. Quality imports continue at Cardiff BluesGareth Anscombe has finally been confirmed as a Cardiff Blues player. It’s another astute signing for the Blues and adds to the already promising additions of Jarrad Hoeata and of course DoR Mark Hammett. But whilst the addition of a quality ten/ fullback is clearly good news for those at Cardiff Arms Park – it’s also positive news for Welsh rugby as a whole. It signals the return – albeit slowly – of quality imports into the game in Wales – although it’s worth noting that Anscombe isn’t an import at all. He legitimately qualifies to play for Wales, but many may initially regard him as such an import.Like it or not the domestic game in Wales needs a handful of quality overseas signings and players such as Xavier Rush, Ben Blair, Regan King (the first time around) and Filo Tiatia genuinely added to the game in Wales during the mid-to-late noughties. Unlike some of the more recent imports into the region which have been of the quality you’d expect when ordering an item online from a dodgy Chinese postal address.Owen Williams. The best tweet ever.Last week, Owen Williams tweeted a picture of himself recovering in hospital with his dog, Riley, by his side. He wrote:“Nice little pick me up today. Visit from Riley. Thanks for all the messages of support. #KeepingMeGoing.” Participation Agreement is slow in comingThe Participation Agreement, or lack of, is normally the first point in these monthly roundups. It is after all the most important issue in Welsh rugby. But July saw no movement – publicly at least. It’s like watching two sloths mating. We’re all vaguely aware that something is happening. There are small periods of activity and the odd grunt. But I’m bored of watching sloths. I’m just waiting for the birth.
Insights into the basketball star’s methods covered in Netflix’s The Last Dance generate some interesting views on micro-skills and analysis in rugby Asked about studying, Burger says he was not as good at individual analysis as many others, but that team analysts fed him invaluable snippets that informed his approach. As for scanning, Burger feels his ability to read unfolding play strengthened over time as he got more minutes against the best sides.Kicking ahead: Felix Jones at Springboks training (Getty Images)Jones tells of one-on-ones during his playing days with Munster under coach Rob Penney, who used to start showing a clip of a game, and as play unfurled he would pause the clip and ask: what happens in the next 20 seconds?The idea was to work on recognising patterns, reading the field, picking up on cues.You get a flash of Rodman in The Last Dance, sitting on a folding steel chair, eyes fixed on a tiny television, doing his own rudimentary analysis, Nineties style. Jones sees a correlation for full-backs searching for where to run next.“This will probably fit in nicely with your piece on Rodman,” Jones assures us. “The level of analysis in rugby in the last five to ten years has gone through the roof. So those guys are now looking for cues from opposition players.“Leigh Halfpenny could be looking at what exactly Johnny Sexton is doing you know, what are his tendencies in attack? Where are his eyes going? What’s his tendency after they get on the front foot? What’s his tendency after they lose momentum?“There are certain cues that some players give away, even unconsciously. Sometimes they know they’re giving it away, but they back their skills to beat you there, with speed or whatever.“So there’s definitely a huge amount of analysis and also in terms of opposition team’s trends. There’s also the coach’s philosophy that you could probably pick up – that they want to bang one up the middle and then move it straight to the edge or if they want to go from edge to edge. If you know that’s the philosophy of the team, it gives you a second or two. And for the guys at the elite level, two seconds… I mean Cheslin Kolbe, Halfpenny, or Anthony Watson or Jonny May, in two seconds they can cover nearly 30m.“So one second is massive, if you can give away a cue, or you can use your analysis, it’s a big, big advantage.”The very elite teams can have four angles of footage for their analysis, which helps with learning opposition cues. Of course then there is what Jones describes as a game of “bluffing” from attackers.He sees Finn Russell as the current world No 1 for bluffing in attack – selling one play with his eyes and then opting for another. “It’s almost a game within a game,” Jones adds, “and a lot of the best full-backs in the world will be watching the ten. And that’s why a lot of tens are good full-backs and vice versa.”Reading the play: Anthony Watson fields a kick (Getty Images)As with Rodman’s analysis and the full-back’s studying, young goalkeepers are also said to assess attacker’s cues. It pays to be able to read your enemies.Of course, it also helps to be in full control of your own physical faculties.Burger says that the difference between the good and great is the ability to make snap decisions; settle on a technique. In the closing stages of his career he felt he was opting to use his left shoulder more as injury trouble meant he struggled to hit or wrap with his right. But before then he had built up “muscle memory” from being in certain positions often enough. In Ulster, Grant appreciates that you cannot drill everything on the paddock, but you need to work and work – this is why at the best organisations, coaches work closely with the S&C, medical and support staff when approaching skill acquisition.Asked a few seasons back, while at Bristol, what his approach was to passing on breakdown expertise, Wallaby great George Smith said: “My theory is you need to know where the ball is, then your body will react to that. If the ball is on the left-hand side, your body will naturally flow to that area. Once you move to that area, it’s about getting your stability or your stance right.“So if you get your stance right before you know where the ball is, you’ve wasted time doing that. The focus is always the ball, if you’re in a breakdown situation, but once you know where the ball is you can get your footing and your stance right.“It is a process, but whenever I talk to players about the process, every player’s body make-up is different. I have short legs, long torso. I would have liked it the other way around! And I’m going to be a lot lower than taller guys just through body mechanics.”As a coach, Brown is not overly fussed about missed tackle statistics, as long as the team are holding shape, working hard and committing to making hits. And with the sledgehammer hitters who come in from a blind spot, they may miss but it could force the attack to play somewhere they had not planned to or, perhaps, they could even get in a ten’s head.Immediately after the 2014 demolition of Clermont, in which Burger ran riot, victorious fly-half Owen Farrell said: “I’m glad he’s not tackling me. I know if I was playing against him you’d be looking for where he is all the time. You wouldn’t want him hitting you from the blindside. You can tell people know he’s coming.”At the very elite end, can an ogreish defender spook a playmaker? Maybe no one would ever admit that, but certainly you need an awareness of any potential stick in the spokes.In heavy traffic: Matt Toomua for Australia (Getty Images)Looking at things from an attacking perspective, Wallabies fly-half Matt Toomua tells Rugby World: “For me the hardest defenders to beat do all their work before the collision.“Whether that be with line speed, tracking or predetermining the move. Those players are very hard to break down, even if they don’t make the ‘biggest’ hit.“Those highlight hits are definitely a combination of the above. A guy like Sam Underhill at the moment has amazing technique, is a good reader and has great intent. Plus, he is physically a great athlete, hence he does well! Trevor Leota or Jerry Collins had so much intent and could read where the collision was going to be, so would unload everything into that spot.“Then a Conrad Smith or Brian O’Driscoll read the play amazingly and had great technique, but the nature of the space out in that (wider) channel doesn’t encourage as many big collisions as with the tighter lads.“It’s never an exact science – sometimes it’s chance and other times it’s more.”It may not be a science but it can be an art. One-off blasts or steals can happen for any player, but the very best, who line them up again and again, put in an awful lot of effort to make that happen. So do their team-mates. And there needs to be a hunger.Back at the court, Phil Jackson summed up Dennis Rodman in his book by saying: “He was so uninhibited and joyful when he stepped on the floor, like a boy discovering how to fly.”And in the end, for anyone to be defensively great in any sport, they need to love what they do. All over them: Rodman and Jacques Burger defend (Getty Images) Where rugby defences and Dennis Rodman convergeIT CUTS so quick in the edit that it feels like Dennis Rodman is picking up pace as he describes his bewitching ability to collect rebounds on the basketball court.“I’d just sit there and react, react,” Rodman says in one episode of The Last Dance, a Netflix documentary series chronicling the exploits of the powerhouse Chicago Bulls side of the Nineties, a team led by the irrepressible Michael Jordan. In the latter stretch of the team’s run they had Rodman – a colourful character whose antics belied an athlete who made a science of reading the flight of the ball and traumatising attackers.Explaining how he honed his instincts, Rodman explains that he would get friends to throw ball after ball at the backboard, from different positions. He adds: “I just practised a lot about the angle of the ball and the trajectory of it. You got a Larry Bird, it’s gonna spin. You got a Magic (Johnson), it’ll maybe spin. When Michael (Jordan) shoot over here, I position myself right there.“Now it hit the rim, it’s boom. Click, go back this way” – as jerking hand movements come in – “Boom, here, here. Click, go that way. Boom, that way. Click here, this way. So basically I just start learning how to put myself in a position to get the ball.”There is an art to being in the right place at the right time. Do it in attack in any sport and you are painted the hero. But do so in defence – especially in rugby – and nuance can be lost; the artistry missed.See a walloping hit, a timely rip, a much-needed turnover and often we ignore the steps preceding the incident. Defence can be a savage dance, but we often only laud the last brutal movement.The coach: Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson in 1995 (Getty Images)On the court, Bulls coach Phil Jackson found the maniac he could trust, writing of Rodman in his book Eleven Rings that: “Dennis played the game with such wild enthusiasm that he soon became a fan favourite. People loved to watch him hustle for loose balls and pull down rebounds to ignite fast breaks.”In rugby, there are plenty of untamed characters prowling along defensive lines.“Jacques Burger was obviously known for the big hits and the venom in his tackles,” ex-Scotland and Saracens flanker Kelly Brown says of his former team-mate. “And that was a big part of it because he was very aggressive in the contact. But a lot of it was down to his anticipation. He knew where to get to in the defensive line so it would give him a chance to make these hits.“His timing in the collision was very, very good. You get someone like Jonny Wilkinson, for example – he is not a big man, but he could smash people and a lot of it is down to timing.“The power in the collision comes from your feet, through your legs, up the body and that essentially explodes out of your shoulder. Now, to get as much force into a collision as possible, that’s all got to be synced up. That’s where Jacques was very good.“I guess it’s just practice.”Related: How Jacques Burger stopped ClermontThe Saracens academy coach mentions that Burger also rarely missed tackles, but according to the man himself, speaking from his farm in Windhoek, he missed plenty when he was working his way up the game.“I made a lot of mistakes defensively because I was a big man-watcher,” Burger explains. “I had my target fixed and so I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning. You make a lot of big hits too, but you make a lot of mistakes when you man-watch constantly.Diving: Rodman and Burger (Getty Images)“If you are man-watching and you see what’s in front of you and it’s that one guy who looks like he is going to get the ball and you decide ‘that’s the guy, I’m going to hit him,’ you get off the line. But when you see that ball goes behind him or the play doesn’t go as expected, you often find yourself in a bad position.“So when you go round the corner, scan, look up and see what’s in front of you. But look at the whole picture, you know. Look where the ball is, the spacing between the next guy and see how many attackers are in front of you, where the touchline is, if you should hold or press hard if you have numbers.“My blessing at Saracens though was that I had freedom. I knew that if I did make a mistake and I made it big, that was fine. Obviously I didn’t want to make a mistake but someone was always on the inside or outside, covering. The coaches gave me that freedom – I wasn’t s*** upon. Paul Gustard especially said, ‘Go out there and if you can make a big hit, great, that means a lot for us. Don’t sit in your box, don’t be tidy and try to stay within the system, go and try hit somebody.’”Burger remembers a time of feeling relatively small. So initially he began throwing himself in low, to chop – though interestingly, he says his generation were not taught well to hit legs, so there was a lot of figuring out the skills further down the line.He says he was also not confident in his younger years. As he got bigger and stronger, he backed himself more. He adds that timing is not something everyone has, it’s like a good punch, and his feel for it came from repetition and sometimes just simple, ever-so-slightly-slower one-on-one work with a team-mate in a tackle suit. It took reps.Over in Ulster, forwards coach Roddy Grant has devoured the Chicago Bulls documentaries. And as he considers the value of chopping your feet to get in the right place, both in the tackle and at the breakdown, he considers examples from other sports too.He explains: “I’m a firm believer that you’ve got to be able to move a certain way to do something technically well. So there’s a big emphasis on movement stuff and flexibility.“That obviously links in with S&C stuff, but as as an example, look at Conor McGregor. He’s believes in being able to move a certain way to throw certain kicks or punches. And there’s Vasyl Lomachenko in boxing. His footwork is incredible. Everyone says, ‘Yeah, he’s incredible, he cuts these angles and he’s the best pound-for-pound boxer.’ It’s because he’s able to do it with his footwork. So I think that’s an area that’s overlooked a lot.”But if we rewind to Burger’s point about one rogue force within a rigid structure, you can see why that can cause carnage. Oftentimes brilliant structure can create opportunities for anyone to make a devastating play.Closing down: Cheslin Kolbe hits England’s Elliot Daly (Getty Images)He does not delve into any of the Springboks tactics that saw South Africa defeat England in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final, but speaking in broader terms, Boks assistant coach Felix Jones highlights ways to give any side an edge in defence.“There’s a huge bit on awareness of spacing,” he tells Rugby World over a video call. “That’s a massive thing, or actually getting numbers on feet. So, somebody might applaud a big read Cheslin Kolbe makes on the outside or a Makazole Mapimpi or Lukhanyo Am, where they make this big read from 30 or 40m away – one of those ones where he’s got huge line speed and the pass is in the air and he takes the guy ball-and-all. Everyone goes ‘Ooh, massive hit!’“The thing is, nobody would have seen the effort, let’s say 20 to 30m away at the breakdown, where Pieter-Steph du Toit or Siya Kolisi or Francois Louw made the tackle, got themselves out of the tackle, recycled back into the defensive line and got two extra feet in their width. So if you think of a Steven Kitshoff or a Frans Malherbe, they’ll never be able to make that giant read on the outside because they don’t have that speed. They don’t have that agility. They don’t have that ability.“What they do have is the ability to win the collision previous. They have the ability to roll out of that, run back into the line and give themselves two feet. It might only be that much (holding his hands shoulder-width apart). But by them giving that much the next person could take that much the next person could take that much (hands grow wider and wider apart). And although they think they’ve only gone two feet, the knock on effect, the domino effect, is that Cheslin gets an extra 15m of width.“Now instead of pressure he can actually see everything because he has all the width.”As Jones explains, if anyone just lies there the line tightens up and the outside men no longer have full-field vision – and what’s worse, if they miss their tackle, they leave strides of space for a speedster to exploit. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Jamie Gibson: How to defend a maul Hard runner: Tom Wood carries for Northampton during a Premiership game in February (Getty Images) Tom Wood: How to buy time in contactTom Wood, the Northampton Saints back-row, won 50 caps for England. He explains how you can buy extra time when you become isolated going into contact…Slow it down“If you get isolated as a ball-carrier, you need to change your approach to the contact.“The worst response is to run as hard and fast as you can, get low-tackled and end up on the floor quickly. The quicker you’re on the floor, the quicker you must release the ball and the more time the opposition have to attack it.”Hold off“Once you recognise the danger, hold your feet as long as possible to buy team-mates time to get to you. To hold your feet, slow up, get your balance, get as low a centre of gravity as you can, and try to fend people off with a hand-off. Keep the ball away from contact.“It’s a balance. If I’m opposite bigger defenders, I might get propelled backwards. So I can’t afford to just be a sitting duck.”Under lock and key: Wood keeps close hold of the ball as he goes to ground v Wasps (Action Plus/Getty)On a roll Sarah Hunter: How to control the ball at No 8 The Northampton Saints flanker explains how to stop… The back-row talks through the latching process that… Every month Rugby World features advice from professional players and coaches on specific skills. Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Collapse Dave Ewers: How to master the latch Sarah Hunter: How to control the ball at No 8 Expand Dave Ewers: How to master the latch Expand Isolated carriers can still protect the ball, explains the Northampton Saints back-row The England Women’s captain gives her tips for… Jamie Gibson: How to defend a maul “Once you’re heading to ground with the ball, and you’re away from your support, get the ball under your body.“You can often ‘fight on the ground’, a roll in the momentum of the tackle. Once I hit the deck and I’m static, if I start rolling there’s a good chance a penalty is going to go against me. If I do it with momentum as I’m hitting the ground, that might buy me an extra yard and an extra second. Making yourself a moving target makes you difficult to get hold of.”MORE SKILLS ADVICE… Tight squeeze“One way to present the ball is to lie on your side and push it back. Another is the long (or pencil) placement where you lie feet pointing at the opposition and reach back towards your own posts. But squeeze ball is the best technique when isolated because anything else exposes the ball. This is when you have the ball under your body and press it between your legs, as if laying an egg.Laying an egg: Exeter using squeeze ball to make life difficult for opponents Munster (Sportsfile/Getty)“There’s no clear target for opponents and it’s difficult for them to attack the ball with both hands. If they have a jackal specialist, like a George Smith or Heinrich Brüssow, you’re probably just doing damage limitation. But against an outside back less good over the ball, squeeze ball might allow a team-mate to make a clear-out and secure the ball.”This article appeared in the May 2019 edition of Rugby World magazine.
Best Rugby Boots for Wide Feet 2021As a wide-footed person myself, the worst thing you can do is try to squeeze your feet into rugby boots that are too narrow. It’s not fun, it’s not comfortable and it can make match day exceptionally miserable.All that can be over, though, by following this guide of boots for wide-footed players. We scoured the boot manufacturers to find those that cater to us galumphing giants and our oversized flippers.Best Rugby Boots for Wide FeetGilbert Kaizen 1.0 SG Boots(Gilbert)Designed for speed and agility, these are ideal for fleet-footed outside backs. A knitted upper, brought over from football boots, hugs the foot without adding more than the bare essentials in weight. Perfect for some dazzling footwork and a sprint into the open field.The offset laces mean that, even when your only option is to kick, you can do it with confidence thanks to an unbroken kicking zone.+ Very lightweight but still offering a solid and secure fit+ A raised heel ensures you are always in the most powerful position when you need to surge by the last defender– The knitted upper and lightweight construction means you can expect a few bruised toes, even if you avoid rucks as much as possibleBuy Now from Lovell Rugby for £45Buy Now from ProDirectRugby for £40Buy Now from Amazon from £83.84Adidas Kakari Z.0 SG Boots(Adidas)The Kakari Z.0 is classy and understated enough for even the most traditional of forwards. The bootie style fit is exceptionally comfortable but an inner support strap ensures that comfort doesn’t come at the expense of performance.The split sole is ideal for the grunt work of the tight five. You can stay low and planted in the turf and still generate power thanks to the sole flexibility.+ A boot for forwards that doesn’t come at the expense of speed+ Slipper like comfort means it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a high-performance boot– At £170 this really is at the top end of boot pricesBuy Now from Sports Direct for £169.99Buy Now from Lovell Rugby for £170Buy Now from ProDirectRugby for £153Canterbury Phoenix 3.0 Pro SG Boots(Canterbury)A do-it-all boot that looks as good as it feels. The Phoenix 3.0 is designed to be lightweight but without sacrificing durability or protection thanks to a TPU mesh skin. The foot is held in place by a neoprene tongue, which combines with internal straps to provide a comfortable but secure fit.Finally, a mix of removable studs and molded elements gives you maximum grip in the winter and flexibility to put on some shorter studs for those spring and autumn days.+ The classy black design is offset perfectly with some silver detail on the laces, a very good-looking boot+ A comfortable fit coupled with a durable upper means you will get plenty of game time out of these boots– Designed for back-row players, these boots lack some protection for the front five and might not be agile enough for the backsBuy Now from Canterbury for £67.96Buy Now from ProDirectRugby for £68Buy Now from Amazon from £74.95Gilbert Kaizen 3.0 Power SG Boots(Gilbert)The perfect boot for a mid-winter game. The eight metal studs provided a firm grip in even the most marshy of pitches while the synthetic uppers limit water absorption. The padded ankle cuff provides some protection to your delicate ankle bones and ensures comfort and optimal fit.These aren’t just for slow-moving forwards though; a heel raise puts the player into their most powerful position, vital for ball-carrying back-rowers who want to escape a chasing defender.+ A rigid sole and secure inner allow you to exert all your power without fear of losing your grip+ Provides durability and foot protection without compromising on agility thanks to its lightweight design– For all but the most traditional the design may be a little safe A buyers’ guide featuring the best boots for players with wide feet LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Buy Now from Amazon from £39.07Buy Now from Lovell Rugby for £60Buy Now from Sports Direct for £60Adidas Kakari Elite SG Boots(Adidas)Some things can be found in all rugby clubs anywhere in the world. The first is at least one Welsh person and the second is a host of players wearing these boots.The Kakari Elite is a boot for forwards that shuns the perceived wisdom that forwards only want to wear black boots. The upper provides protection from a misplaced size 12 but these are still lightweight despite that. An integrated cage system straps the foot firmly in meaning you can dance past the last man once you make the break.+ A stylish boot that is still somehow understated despite the orange and blue colour scheme.+ Achieves the balance of being comfortable and protected while also keeps the foot strapped in place.– Not a year-round boot, you will find them much less comfortable during pre-season training on a sun-parched track.Buy Now from Lovell Rugby for £60Buy Now from Sports Direct for £34.50Buy Now from ProDirectRugby for £40Mizuno Morelia Neo II Mix SG Boots(Mizuno)Something a little different from the Japanese manufacturer. Eight-stud boots are great when the pitch is bad but on dry pitches you might find that they offer less grip than a moulded stud. The Morelia Neo II Mix bridges the gap with the combination of metal studs and plastic moulds. These will offer more than enough traction in all but the most horrendous of conditions.The rest of the boot has plenty to recommend it as well. The external heel and full-lace system hold the foot securely in place and prevent movement when jumping in a lineout or flashing your footwork in the open field. As you would expect at this price point, the boots are lightweight with enough protection for forwards operating in the murky places where backs fear to tread.+ A good combination of stud which should serve you well all season+ Very lightweight, they won’t hide your rapid turn of pace– Nearing the highest priced boot we have mentioned in our guidesBuy Now from Lovell for £128Buy Now from Amazon from £79.89Canterbury Speed 2.0 SG Boots(Canterbury)A blend of pure speed and lightweight agility with enough grip to keep you planted even when the weather turns bad. A locked in toebox and collar ensures the wearer can be confident when dancing around in the backfield but cushioning on the ankle means these boots feel more like slippers than jail cells.Six metal studs on the outer, with seven additional molded studs, allows these boots to be worn throughout the whole year. They are comfortable on cricket pitch-esque touch grounds and quagmire like December surfaces.+ A reasonably priced boot which can do it all+ Eye popping colour scheme which is noticeable without being over the top– As the name suggests, these don’t come with much in the way of protectionBuy Now from Canterbury for £18Buy Now from ProDirectRugby for £15Buy Now from Sports Direct for £27.50Gilbert Side Logo Boots(Gilbert)It might not seem like it, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a really good pair of boots. In the Side Logo, Gilbert deliver the ideal boot for a forward, all for under £40.The laces and padded ankle collar ensure your foot remains locked in, even on the worst of pitches. The collar also gives your ankle bones protection from stray feet. The studs provide maximum traction even under intense scrum pressure. There are no fancy additions, but for most of us, the Side Logo offers everything we need.+ Plenty of traction on even the worst of pitches+ Amazingly good value for this quality of boot construction– Black and neon green is a combination which takes a bit of time to get used tooBuy Now from Lovell Rugby for £37Buy Now from Sports Direct for £37That concludes our rundown of the best rugby boots for players with wide feet. Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Please follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Clear as mud, maybe, but it is also maybe worth asking what the big moment says about the Scotland team though? Below, Jamie Borthwick lays out his won views.You can read the brief report of what happened in the match as Ireland finsh third in the Autumn Nations Cup. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And then there are those spectators who just do not think it is a yellow card offence… Of course, whenever a moment like this happens, there is always the funnier approach to the major decisions. We have some former international players making their views pretty clear…There are also the views on the overall context of the referee’s decision. Patient and powerful Ireland triumphed 31-16 against Scotland clash in the Autumn Nations Cup, but much of the chat around the match may come down to a Duncan Taylor yellow card in the 31-minute mark.Take a look at this clip here. What do you think about it?It’s safe to say, the decision by referee Matthew Carley drew some interesting views on social media. Here are a few of the reactions on Twitter. …and those who do. The Scotland centre got carded for a deliberate knock-on against Ireland All we can deduce from the reaction on social media is that there will always be a clear divide between those who think it is a yellow and those who thought it was a penalty at most. That’s sport! Has to be yellow. #IREvSCO— Three Red Kings (@threeredkings) December 5, 2020 What did you think of the incident? Did you think the Scotland and Saracens centre deserved to spend ten minutes in the sin-bin?It is also worth noting that this was Taylor’s first ever yellow card at Test level.
Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Youth Minister Lorton, VA 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 Rector Pittsburgh, PA Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Submit a Press Release 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 Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Rector Knoxville, TN Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Rector Collierville, TN Advocacy Peace & Justice, Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Press Release Service Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH February 4, 2012 at 8:03 pm What an inspiring way to remember a real “saint” and contemporary martyr for justice, peace, and human rights. Thank you for such a creative vision! God’s Blessings and Peace+ Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Tags Rector Tampa, FL Director of Music Morristown, NJ Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA By Edmund HarrisPosted Feb 3, 2012 Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books 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 Shreveport, LA Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Featured Jobs & Calls Featured Events Grant Bakewell, Jr. says: Submit an Event Listing Youth & Young Adults Rector Hopkinsville, KY Rector Martinsville, VA Associate Rector Columbus, GA Rector Bath, NC AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Comments are closed. Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Jonathan Daniels House: Building the kingdom of God The Rev. Edmund Harris[Episcopal News Service] Jonathan Myrick Daniels was a 26-year-old seminarian when he heard the televised appeal of Martin Luther King Jr. for students and clergy to join the struggle for civil rights.Inspired by the words of the Magnificat about the God who “hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble and meek,” he knew he had to travel to Selma. Once in Alabama, he took up the work of building the kingdom of God: integrating local Episcopal churches, registering African-American voters, tutoring children, and galvanizing relief agencies.After being released from jail for joining a picket line, Daniels was shot and killed while pushing an African-American teenage girl, Ruby Sales, out of harm’s way.Although Daniels is recognized as a martyr of the Civil Rights Movement, few people know that he spent time ministering in South Providence, Rhode Island, before traveling south.Sheila Conway, who grew up in the Roger Williams Public Housing complex and attended Christ Church on the lower South Side, got to know Daniels when he worked at Church House, which offered programming for neighborhood youth. Conway vividly remembers the last time she saw Daniels.“Daniels was in town to say goodbye to friends and my family could not attend the gathering because a family member was ill. He made a point of stopping by our apartment to pray for healing,” she recalled. “There was such a sense of calm.” In August of 1965, a college student involved with Church House knocked on the door to personally tell them that Daniels had been killed.Conway is now part of a new initiative in the Diocese of Rhode Island to establish Jonathan Daniels House, a residential service community for young adults. As a potential member of the Episcopal Service Corps, an expanding network of more than 20 service communities for young adults in cities across the country, Jonathan Daniels House will welcome four to eight young adults to South Providence, we hope in the fall of 2013.Participants in Episcopal Service Corps communities live intentionally in Christian community, work alongside service agencies embedded in local communities, and engage in vocational and spiritual discernment for a period of nine to 11 months. They receive a modest stipend to cover living expenses as well as health insurance, and are supported by a program director and mentors.The idea of Jonathan Daniels House is the fruit of a yearlong study conducted by the South Providence Task Force. The Task Force considered how the Episcopal Church could maintain an active presence in South Providence following the closure of Church of the Epiphany there in 2009.As the Task Force considered how vital ministry of the Episcopal Church might emerge from the needs and hopes of communities in South Providence, including ways the diocese might partner with existing organizations there, the possibilities for collaboration crystallized around the idea of planting a residential service community for young adults.As members of the task force shared with Diocesan Council in June, a community like Jonathan Daniels House would have a wide-reaching impact in South Providence, forming diverse new communities of people, and expanding the reach of existing organizations and programs. Such a community would also have a significant impact on the life of the diocese, nourishing a regular young adult presence, galvanizing parishes and diocesan organizations to become involved, and connecting the diocese to the wider church in service.“We can think of no better way to continue the work of justice and reconciliation for which Daniels lived and died,” they said.—The Rev. Edmund Harris is assistant to the rector of Church of the Epiphany in Rumford, Rhode Island. Curate Diocese of Nebraska Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Rector Belleville, IL Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Comments (1) Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Rector Washington, DC Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Rector Albany, NY Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Submit a Job Listing An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Rector Smithfield, NC
Rector Washington, DC Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT [Episcopal News Service] A number of years ago, my family and I came back to the United States after a semester in England. As we were going through customs, an official picked up my son’s backpack, felt its heft, and exclaimed, “Whew! What’s in here? A bunch of rocks?”“Yes, sir,” answered my son, for his backpack was indeed full of rocks that we had picked up on our travels through the British Isles. Each carried a memory of some special place we had visited. We were grateful to learn that day that it’s not illegal to haul rocks across international borders, though they will mystify customs officials.Our family’s rock-gathering habits came to mind recently when I visited the Grotto of the Redemption, an ornate folk-art landmark that covers a city block in the small town of West Bend in northwest Iowa. So this is what can happen when someone’s rock gathering gets out of hand, I thought, gazing up at the conglomeration of concrete studded with pieces of rose quartz, polished agates, jasper, malachite, and petrified wood.The Grotto of the Redemption is the life work of Father Paul Dobberstein (1872-1954), a Roman Catholic priest who collected rocks and semi-precious stones on his travels. In 1912, he used his collection to start building a shrine that is now one of the largest grottos in the world. Pilgrims come from around the world to marvel and pray, which is somewhat surprising given the fact that this holy place was created afresh: no one was ever martyred here, no saint ever sanctified it with his or her presence, and the surrounding landscape is not particularly scenic. It’s a testimony to a piece of wisdom made popular in the movie Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will come.Entrance to Iowa’s Grotto of the Redemption. Photo/Lori EricksonThere seems to be something instinctual about the human desire to create sacred space. We set St. Francis amid our garden flowers andtuck the Virgin Mary under the shelter of an overturned bathtub. Many of us do even more inside our homes, creating private altars that seem to grow of their own accord on a shelf in our bedroom or on top of a dresser, spots that gradually accrue photographs, stones, sea shells, candles, holy water, and prayer cards. Each seemingly inconsequential item carries a deep weight of memory, prayer, or hope.The same impulse is at work when families place a cross on the side of the highway where a loved one has died. In winter these little shrines are particularly visible, with their sprays of plastic flowers forming a bright splash of color against the snow. While I hope they help ease the pain of those who mourn, they also carry a message for the rest of us. It’s not a bad thing to be reminded of the fleeting nature of life as we speed along the interstate at 70 miles per hour.Such altars can be community affairs, too, for they often grow spontaneously after a tragedy such as the shootings in Tucson in 2011. Mounds of bouquets appear within a short time, brought by grieving bystanders whose pain is somehow eased by the bringing of a bit of beauty into a place of darkness.We need churches to worship, but I think we need these other large and small altars as well, for they remind us that all the world is holy and that our job is to help bless it. Leaving the job of blessing and sanctifying to the clergy means we shirk one of our primary responsibilities as Christians.While we often think abstract words and ideas best carry the message of our faith, its power is often expressed more clearly and reverently in a flower, a candle, or a little statue picked up at a religious supply store. A friend of mine calls these places “hardware stores for the spirit,” places where you can pick up just the right tool for whatever needs fixing. Sometimes you need a Philips screwdriver, and sometimes you need a plastic figurine of Mary holding baby Jesus, an embodiment of the prayer you carry in your heart.For after all, we follow a man who chose the most ordinary of things—bread and wine—to carry the most important of messages.— Lori Erickson writes about inner and outer journeys at www.spiritualtravels.info. She serves as a deacon at Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City, Iowa. Statements and opinions expressed in the articles and communications herein, are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Episcopal News Service or the Episcopal Church. Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Peggy Blanchard + says: This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Rector Belleville, IL Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Rector Hopkinsville, KY Marylin Day says: Comments are closed. October 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm My “shrine” is the forest that surrounds our house. The magnificent oak, maple and hickory trees remind me of the awesome mystery of God’s work. Director of Music Morristown, NJ Fr. Michael Neal says: Tobie Smith says: October 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm I love your vision of all believers as altar builders, wherever we go. And I also love the vision of a world full of altars–thank you! Altars big and small AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET 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 New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Submit an Event Listing Rector Martinsville, VA Youth Minister Lorton, VA Submit a Press Release Rector Albany, NY An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector Shreveport, LA Rector Pittsburgh, PA Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Featured Jobs & Calls Submit a Job Listing 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 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 Rector Collierville, TN Rector Smithfield, NC By Lori EricksonPosted Oct 1, 2012 Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Featured Events Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Press Release Service Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Rector Tampa, FL The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Rector Bath, NC October 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm I’ve been to the Grotto, too, and was amazed at the beauty and complexity of its structures. It is a physical manifestation of one man’s love for an abstract being, and it is deeply impressive. Curate Diocese of Nebraska Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Rector Knoxville, TN Associate Rector Columbus, GA An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME October 3, 2012 at 9:16 am Great story………………………….. Comments (4)
June 29, 2013 at 3:10 pm We rejoice with you, Toua, your family and your community.it has been a long, and difficult, path. God has called you to be part of God’s ministry in this world, broken though it may be, but resilient and hopeful. Your ordination not only for the Hmong community but for the larger Asian and Asian American communities, indeed for all of us, is a poignant reminder of the power of resurrection. Hope overcomes despair, love triumphs over hate….Jim+ Rector Hopkinsville, KY Associate Rector Columbus, GA Toua Vang waits for hands laid upon him at his ordination June 27 in Breck School Chapel, Golden Valley, Minnesota. Photo: Diocese of Minnesota[Diocese of Minnesota] Toua Vang was ordained June 27 by Diocese of Minnesota Bishop Brian N. Prior as an Episcopal priest.It looked very much the same as the other ordinations; Prior placed his hands on Vang’s head, saying: “Therefore, Father, through Jesus Christ your Son, give your Holy Spirit to Toua; fill him with grace and power and make him a priest in your Church.”But it was not the same.Vang, a member of the Hmong-majority Holy Apostles Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, is not only the first Hmong Episcopal priest — but also the first Hmong priest in the entire Anglican Communion.The Rev. Winfred Vergara, Episcopal Church missioner for Asiamerican Ministries, believes the significance of this ordination goes beyond simple demographics. “It demonstrates that the Episcopal Church welcomes all people,” says Vergara. “The Hmong, Nepalese, Cambodians, and the Laos in the United States are probably some of the most marginalized, underprivileged communities here. So it demonstrates our passion and our commitment to empower people. We do not simply speak about it.”The Hmong culture is very communal; Vang himself is extremely humble. It can be easy to see this as the story of a community rather than an individual. Certainly, the Hmong community in St. Paul is a huge part of this story, and the elders of the community early on identified Vang as a potential spiritual leader, encouraging and supporting him. However, Toua himself took enormous risks and leaps of faith.“Toua was identified and affirmed by the community because of his particular gifts,” says Prior, “and his strong desire to serve both his people and the larger world. Toua has a particular missional zeal that really is very compelling — that you hear from hardly anyone else. He really feels this sense of calling. It’s part of the story of his people because they’ve been people in movement. He feels the call to be with other people who have been dislocated and have had to take a similar journey. I think he feels called to serve people who find themselves dislocated and have to move to a new world. He’s really passionate about that.”Inspired by a conversation with the Rev. Joseph Constant from Virginia Theological Seminary about racial minorities in the church, Vang went through a self-awakening.After much reflection and prayer following the visit with Constant, Vang felt that the Holy Spirit wanted him to think about his life.“So I thought about my life way back as far as I could remember, as a little boy,” says Vang. “I put the pieces of the puzzle together. I was born in Laos, in a war-torn country; I experienced the war, the airplane rages in the sky, bomb explosions, cannon explosions, gunfire, dead people, starvation, sickness, and then the journey when we escaped from Laos and the long journey to Thailand for almost four years, and then coming to this country, learning a completely different language and culture: I had a lot of challenges in my life.”For a Hmong man with a family of four children to support, going to seminary was an enormous risk and hardship, explains the Rev. Letha Wilson-Barnard, the vicar of Holy Apostles and Vang’s sponsoring priest. “This is a really important part of the story of this group of Hmong coming to the church,” she says. “In the 55 years since they were first introduced by French Catholic missionaries to Christianity, only a few Hmong ever pursued the priesthood because being married with children is so important — it’s as if not doing that would be giving up a part of your humanity. Family is so deeply a part of the Hmong culture . . . family is so critical, and to give up having children and being married — it was almost unthinkable.”Leaving, even temporarily, the close-knit Hmong community in St. Paul for Virginia Theological Seminary was equally difficult to contemplate.“The thought of leaving families, jobs, and responsibilities is too hard [for most Hmong to imagine],” she says. “It was a huge sacrifice for Toua and his family to do this. There are some Hmong working in Washington, D.C., but otherwise there is no community out there.”Vang was going leave behind a rich and supportive community for several years.Despite the challenges, Vang felt very strongly called to ministry. “When I understood that ministry was my call,” he says, “I felt very happy. I was in tears, but I was very happy.”“We struggled a lot financially, health-wise; I still struggled with my health at seminary. But with the support of the school and many generous people from Minnesota and the bishop and many churches and the national church and many places around the nation, we survived. They sent support and prayers and we made it through seminary, which is a blessing. It was a rewarding, challenging journey for my family and me, but we made it.”“[These sacrifices and struggles] also helped me to really understand yes: I am truly called to minister. Because if not, with all of these struggles and hardships, I don’t think I would have made it. But because it is a true calling, God has called all of these people to help me in this ministry,” adds Vang. “I will still need a lot of support; I don’t think I will make it without a lot of support from the Episcopal Church and colleagues, friends, and individuals. It is too much. But I have high hopes in my ministry that God will make it possible to do that.”Members of Toua Vang’s community wait for his ordination June 27. Photo: Diocese of MinnesotaToua Vang’s communityVergara believes that Vang’s ordination demonstrates the welcoming aspect of the Episcopal Church at large, as well as the enormous resolve of the Hmong community in St. Paul itself.“The Hmong, despite their poverty,” says Vergara, “took part in the education of Toua. The whole community simply did not depend on the favors of the institution. They themselves spent money; they organized themselves to put up a scholarship for Toua.”Vang agrees. “The support that my family and I have received in the past three years is a big blessing. I have never received such warm love and support in my whole life. Whomever I turn to and whomever I talk to, they always find something to help resolve my issues.”His home congregation, Holy Apostles, is as unique as he is: its transformation into the only Episcopal Hmong-majority church was an unusual confluence of a Catholic Hmong community needing a worship home, fortuitous friendships, and a lot of hard work on the part of Hmong elders and Episcopal Church leaders. “It’s interesting [now] that Holy Apostles has been engaged in translating the Book of Common Prayer in the Hmong language,” says Vergara. “I would commend them in being our spokespersons for the Hmong as part of the total people of God.”“Even in Laos, [the Church does] not have a Hmong ministry. Even in Southeast Asia, they are the most marginalized. I want to emphasize how significant it is that the Hmong community is being raised up and being developed. The Hmong youth are some of the most active in the Episcopal Evangelism Network. They should be proud of that.” (You can read more details about Holy Apostles and its unusual beginnings here.)Preparing for the ceremonyA few days before the ordination, Toua Vang still did not have a chasuble or stole, which are needed for the ceremony. “They are important,” says Vang, “But I’m financially struggling and they are costly.” Some ordinands borrow a chasuble and stole for the ceremony, but Vang was having trouble finding any his size. So he sent out an email with a sweetly humorous plea: “Please help! I need a chasuble and stole, but I am a short Hmong man: I am only 5′ 2”, and everyone’s stole and robes are too long for me!”Quickly, he received a response from the Rev. Beth Royalty, rector of St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in St. Paul. “Well, I’m a short white woman, and you can use one of my chasubles!”The stole? The Rev. Susan Moss: the very person who had introduced the first person from his community to the original rector of Holy Apostles in the first place, has gifted him with her original set of stoles from her own ordination.What’s next for Vang?“I think the sense is that typically, priests don’t go back to their home congregation right away,” says Wilson-Barnard. “There is still formation that needs to be done, and it makes it hard when you go back to your own community and they think of you as who you were before.”Vang will most immediately gain experience assisting at White Bear Lake, Minnesota, in a non-stipendiary curacy at St. John’s in the Wilderness Episcopal Church, working with the Rev. Mark Kelm, says Prior.In the long term, Vang feels very passionately called to missionary work in Asia. “I understand that there is a need at Holy Apostles and within the Hmong community,” says Vang, and he fully intends to help fill that need. “But my passion is missionary work. I don’t know why, but maybe because of my experience with the French Missionaries who brought us the good news.Vang remembers fondly three visits to Laos. “In villages I met small children that reminded me of my own life when I was a little boy back in Laos,” says Vang. “I love to do missionary work; I love to take the Gospel to those people in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam in my future. I don’t know if that is possible; all I can do now is just keep praying and talking to people. I hope one day God will give me the energy, the power, the strength, and the wisdom to do the work.”What this means for Vang“If I could be able to describe or to put into words, I just want to thank everybody,” says Vang. “Thank all the generous and wonderful people that God has called to come into my life and walk with me in this challenging and joyful journey. I don’t know how to express it. It’s in my heart. It’s in my prayers. I don’t feel like it’s enough. Like I express it correctly. It’s a lot for me.”What this means for everyone“The Episcopal tradition really inspires Hmong Episcopalians,” says Vang, “because we felt like one family. We felt very supported and loved by the Episcopal Church as a whole. We never had that kind of love before when we were with the Roman Catholic Church, except for the French missionary priests who was with the missionary. That is a big blessing for us.”The way in which Holy Apostles welcomed the Hmong community, says Moss, is “an example of a church welcoming the stranger: that beautiful mandate that you see in the Old Testament. Welcoming the stranger because you were once the stranger, too.”“When we include the Hmong,” says Vergara, “we include everyone. When we gather, when we welcome and embrace all the marginalized people, we are embracing ourselves.“There are so many people involved,” continues Vergara. “It takes the whole Episcopal village to really educate and realize a Hmong priest. Of course, more than that it takes Toua to put himself on the line with all the uncertainties of being employed as a Hmong. Now that he is ordained, he is not just a Hmong priest for the Hmong community; he is now a priest of one holy catholic and apostolic church. It is important for the church to see that. While he represents this underprivileged, marginalized community, he should also be seen as a priest of the one church.”To learn more about why the Hmong are so marginalized in Asia and in the United States, and to read about their unusual experience as a cultural group without a nation; secret warriors for the United States in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam; then as refugees, then immigrants, go here.— Haddayr Copley-Woods is missioner for communications for the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. Rector Collierville, TN Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 June 28, 2013 at 5:20 pm I live in Sacramento CA where there is a large Hmong community. I remember when they flooded into the area in the late 70’s and early 80’s as I was a nurse in the local ER where we saw a lot of them. I think this event of having the first Hmong priest is so exciting. I am thrilled for him and for the church. New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books People Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Press Release Service Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME By Haddayr Copley-WoodsPosted Jun 28, 2013 AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Youth Minister Lorton, VA Rector Washington, DC Rector Shreveport, LA Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Submit a Press Release T. James Kodera says: Comments (8) Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Rector Smithfield, NC This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Director of Music Morristown, NJ Comments are closed. Rector Tampa, FL Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Ethnic Ministries, In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Rector Belleville, IL Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Rector Knoxville, TN Rector Martinsville, VA Submit an Event Listing Tags Via d Ductil says: 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 Ariel Dumaran says: Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL 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 Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Ingrid McCord says: July 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm I join my prayers, blessings and congratulations to the many who see God’s radical presence so evident in the ordination of Toua Vang and his family and community. The God of suprises calling a faithful follower , who responds in his vulnerability with humility, through the engagement of a humble community’s support, love and friendship, joined by others recognising such a call being equally generous. The God who making himself known in ways that reflect the God story in contemporary, affluent society. Toua may you go with God in community as God goes with you, your family and your community. ‘To him who is able to do far more than we can imagine ‘ because God is God. A life giving story for a changing world!! Prayers and Blessings. Cameron(UK) Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Featured Events Walter Brownridge says: Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Curate Diocese of Nebraska Rector Bath, NC Featured Jobs & Calls June 30, 2013 at 8:50 am Congratulations to the newly ordained priest , keep up I guess members of the ANGLICAN COMMUNITY in the Philippines are praying for your success for I know there is a great challenges along the way..May the LORD give you more patience,endeavor and strength in your ministry. July 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm I was ordained in 1993 and i brought with me Filipinos to form the first Anglican parish in Canada. Later most parishioners who joined are from the aboriginal groups from the Philippines who are Episcopalians. It is good to hear this kind of goodnews in our Church. 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 Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Rector Albany, NY Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Peter E. Van Horne says: June 29, 2013 at 6:12 am I am so happy to read about Toua Vang. Congratulations, Toua, on being able to answer your holy call. I worked with Hmong children in Charlotte North Carolina in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I long to reconnect with any of those families. If anyone reads this and knows of families who were in Charlotte at that time, please pass my email along. Thanks be to God, Toua, for your beautiful ministry and your vibrant faith! +Owene Courtney Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Rector Pittsburgh, PA Cameron Martin says: Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET June 29, 2013 at 1:29 am Congratulations to Toua and his family! Article & video: Toua Vang is first Hmong priest in Anglican Communion June 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm My congratulations to the newly-ordained priest and to his community. However, I recall that a number of years ago a Hmong priest was ordained in Fresno, California in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. There was a sizable Hmong community in Fresno. Perhaps someone with access to archived publications could do some checking. Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Owene Courtney says: Submit a Job Listing Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH