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'That's probably when I work best': Ludlam explains his revival

By PA
(Photo by Alex Davidson/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Lewis Ludlam is poised to resume his England career believing that his appointment as Northampton captain has raised his game to a new level. Ludlam is expected to be involved in Sunday’s non-cap international against the Barbarians at Twickenham five months after his comeback was derailed by a rib injury sustained against Scotland.

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The 26-year-old has been a revelation for Saints this year, emerging as the standout performer in their back row as they reached the Gallagher Premiership semi-finals. 

A place on next month’s tour to Australia is the prize at stake for a player who was a bolter for the 2019 World Cup, only to then become a peripheral figure until his recall for this year’s Six Nations.

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Will Skelton on Champions Cup celebrations and playing for the Barbarians | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 38

The big rig Will Skelton joins us from Monaco this week where he’s on tour with the Barbarians and rooming with George Kruis. He fills us in on the tour so far, hanging out at the palace with the Prince and who’s leading the charge off the pitch. We also hear about his man-of-the-match performance for La Rochelle in the Champions Cup Final, that famous open-top bus celebration and what it’s like playing for coaches like O’Gara and Cheika.

Video Spacer

Will Skelton on Champions Cup celebrations and playing for the Barbarians | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 38

The big rig Will Skelton joins us from Monaco this week where he’s on tour with the Barbarians and rooming with George Kruis. He fills us in on the tour so far, hanging out at the palace with the Prince and who’s leading the charge off the pitch. We also hear about his man-of-the-match performance for La Rochelle in the Champions Cup Final, that famous open-top bus celebration and what it’s like playing for coaches like O’Gara and Cheika.

“I understand myself a lot better. I know what I need to bring in the game so I’m performing consistently,” said Ludlam following his inclusion in this week’s England squad of 36. “I know how my body reacts to training in the week and my nutrition and recovery as well, so that has been something I have probably had a bit more thought about.

“The captaincy stuff has helped a little bit. I have probably had a case of the leader’s legs, where people are looking at you and you are under the magnifying glass a little bit, so you bring out more in yourself.

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“That is probably when I work best, when I feel part of something and I feel like there are people depending on me. It’s a really close group of boys at the club at the moment and it’s been easy for me to work hard for them. Usually, if you’re working hard as a flanker, then you will have an all right game.” 

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M
Mzilikazi 7 hours ago
Swashbuckling Hurricanes and Harlequins show scrum still matters

I always enjoy a good scrum based article. Thanks, Nick. The Hurricanes are looking more and more the team to beat down here in Australasia. They are a very well balanced team. And though there are far fewer scrums in the game these days, destructive power in that area is a serious weapon, especially an attacking scrum within in the red zone. Aumua looked very good as a young first year player, but then seemed to fade. He sure is back now right in the picture for the AB’s. And I would judge that Taukei’aho is in a bit of a slump currently. Watching him at Suncorp a few weeks ago, I thought he was not as dominant in the game as I would have expected. I am going to raise an issue in that scrum at around the 13 min mark. I see a high level of danger there for the TH lifted off the ground. He is trapped between the opposition LH and his own powerful SR. His neck is being put under potentially dangerous pressure. The LH has, in law , no right to use his superior scrummaging skill….getting his head right in on the breastbone of the TH…..to force him up and off the ground. Had the TH popped out of the scrum, head up and free, there is no danger, that is a clear penalty to the dominant scrum. The law is quite clear on this issue: Law 37 Dangerous play and restricted practices in a scrum. C:Intentionally lifting an opponent off their feet or forcing them upwards out of the scrum. Sanction: Penalty. Few ,if any, referees seem to be aware of this law, and/or the dangers of the situation. Matthew Carly, refereeing Clermont v Munster in 2021, penalised the Munster scrum, when LH Wycherly was lifted very high, and in my view very dangerously, by TH Slimani. Lifting was coached in the late ‘60’s/70’s. Both Lions props, Ray McLouglin, and “Mighty Mouse” McLauchlan, were expert and highly successful at this technique. I have seen a photo, which I can’t find online atm, of MM with a NZ TH(not an AB) on his head, MM standing upright as the scrum disintegrates.

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