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IT’S THE start of the new global calendar, with seven northern hemisphere countries down south for end-of-season tours. The July issue of Rugby World looks ahead to the Test action in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific islands through the eyes of four home nation stars – Manu Tuilagi, Gethin Jenkins, Brian O’Driscoll and Nick De Luca. Plus, we get the inside view from Down Under.

The 2011-12 domestic seasons in Britain and Ireland threw up all manner of drama, with Harlequins and the Ospreys both winning coruscating finals. And Leinster have raised the bar in Europe, with a third Heineken Cup triumph in four years. Rugby World salutes the achievements of all three teams, along with all the league winners up and down the British Isles in our champions section. We also choose our Team of the Year at grass roots, schools and professional level.

Elsewhere, we examine the rise of statistical analysis in the pro game, visit Kazakhstan with Eddie Jones as he starts a new job as coach of Japan, and reflect on the changing face of sevens in the wake of another successful IRB World Sevens Series. Exeter prop Ben Moon shows us round his first club, Cullompton, while Matt Hampson interviews new London Irish defence coach Shaun Edwards. And, of course, there’s all the usual great advice in our Game Zone, in which we introduce our new fitness editor John Dams – the strength and conditioning expert behind England champions Harlequins.

All in all, it’s a champion issue!


The Front Row…

30 minutes with Chris Cusiter

Springboks – Hooker Bismarck du Plessis is looking forward to a new era

Wallabies – Coach Andrew Blades has been doing his homework on Wales

All Blacks – John Afoa says Ireland will have to defy history itself in NZ


Christian Wade – The Wasps wing has made quick progress and hopes to impress with England. By Sarah Mockford

Dan Biggar – The Ospreys fly-half is desperate to seize his Welsh tour opportunity this month, says Owain Jones

Conor Murray – The Munster and Ireland half-back tells Bea Asprey that it’s time for the country’s youngsters to grow up

Tom Ryder – Winning a Scotland cap is the final piece of the jigsaw for the Glasgow lock, says Katie Field

The Centres…

Manu Tuilagi – The Leicester centre is loving life in the England camp under Stuart Lancaster

Gethin Jenkins – Wales’ prop star is off to Toulon – but not before a gruelling schedule in Oz

Brian O’Driscoll – Fresh from his Heineken Cup victory, the Ireland legend still has one hurdle to overcome

Nick De Luca – A torrent of Twitter abuse knocked the Scot sideways, but he’s ready to bounce back

Tech Zone – Dan Cottrell’s coaching tips on decision-making skills

Mini Zone – Get your minis playing rugby cricket. Plus, how to offload

Fitness Zone – Plan your pre-season and an Olympic sport you should try

Sevens Rugby – The London finale of the HSBC Sevens World Series

Stephen Jones – As the season concludes, our resident columnist dishes out a few alternative awards

Eddie Jones – He’s taken Australia and South Africa to World Cup finals – now he’s working his magic on Japan

Heineken Cup – Relive Leinster’s win over Ulster and their crowning as European champions in our photo special

Amlin Cup – The Challenge Cup was a French affair, Biarritz sneaking past Toulon. Get all the reaction here

It Started Here – Ben Moon takes us round his first club, Cullompton, and talks about Exeter’s rise

Moneyball – Find out how top clubs are using in-depth statistical analysis to cut injuries and aid recruitment

Shaun Edwards – Matt Hampson meets Wales’ assistant coach to talk World Cups, Lions and young bucks

Australia – Meet two Rebels who’ve become big stars at a tender age – James O’Connor and Kurtley Beale

Naked Truth – After hanging up his boots, Simon Danelli talks us through the future

The Backs…

Club Guide – We run through all the league winners and reveal our Team of the Year. Is your club featured?

Naked Truth – Ulster’s Scotland wing Simon Danielli talks retirement, uni adventures and chocolate

Armchair Zone – The latest DVDs, books and products on the rugby market

Tour Tale – What shocked JPR Williams at the Middlesex Sevens?


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