Here’s your round-up of all the latest rugby news from Wales and beyond for Wednesday June 22.
Hardy eager to silence the critics
Kieran Hardy says Wales are more than capable of proving their critics wrong in South Africa this summer.
Wayne Pivac’s men are gearing up for the three-Test series against the Springboks, with the opening game penciled in for July 2 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
They are undoubtedly the underdogs against the world champions, but scrum-half Hardy says his team cannot be written off.
“I don’t think you can ever write a team off, particularly with the characters and experience we have in this squad,” he said.
“Obviously we know that some of the performances in the Six Nations didn’t go our way but we know we’re a better team than that.
“It’s a great challenge for us, playing against the best team in the world. Those are the challenges you want to be a part of.
“We’ve prepared really well in the last couple of weeks. We had a little game in house last week, 15 on 15, which was really good for us.
“We’re going there with the mindset that we can win every game. That will always be our aim.”
Gloucester snap up Lillicrap
Wales women’s captain Siwan Lillicrap has joined Gloucester-Hartpury from Premier 15s rivals Bristol Bears.
The 34-year-old back row has spent the last two seasons with the Bears, and helped them make the Premier 15s semi-finals last month.
Lillicrap, who was the first female player to win a professional contract from the WRU, has won 45 caps for her country, and is the second international to join the club this week after England flanker Alex Matthews.
“She is a great player and I am really excited to see her in the squad as I know she’ll have a really positive impact on the players around her,” head coach Sean Lynn said.
Woodward smokes at Barbarians humiliation
Sir Clive Woodward says England allowed their contest with the Barbarians to descend into farce.
England were hammered 52-21 at home to the 14-man Barbarians at Twickenham, with Kruis catching the eye with a backheeled conversion.
Woodward believes it was a level of disrespect England simply tolerated too easily, and says the incident spoke volumes about where his former side are currently sitting within world rugby’s pecking order.
Writing in his dailymailcolumnhe said: “I have given myself 48 hours to reflect on the Barbarians game to ensure I was not over-reacting, but England really should have taken the law into their own hands when the visitors turned the match into a farce.
“I was disappointed with George Kruis for allowing it to happen, especially his antics around his backheel conversion.
“It was also wrong to allow French coach Fabien Galthe and other French players to basically do anything they wanted at Twickenham. It says a lot about this England team.
“To concede 50 points against an opponent with 14 men was more than poor, but to allow the showboating said much about the team. Something had to happen and it did not.
“Can you imagine New Zealand or South Africa letting a Barbarians team come to Auckland or Pretoria and take the mickey?”
The result has only increased the pressure on current boss Eddie Jones, who’s already insisted he’s still the right man to lead England into upcoming tour of Australia, and indeed next year’s World Cup.
However, World Cup winner Sir Clive believes Jones currently has too much influence over the direction of the team.
“A senior rugby figure — a director of rugby — to sort situations out like this is long overdue. Giving Eddie Jones the keys to Twickenham is holding England back now in so many ways,” he wrote.