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The new Rugby Podcast from The Times & The Sunday Times Owen Slot and a selection of rugby luminaries provide insight and analysis on the latest events in rugby

The new Rugby Podcast from The Times & The Sunday Times Owen Slot and a selection of rugby luminaries provide insight and analysis on the latest events in rugby
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The new Rugby Podcast from The Times & The Sunday Times Owen Slot and a selection of rugby luminaries provide insight and analysis on the latest events in rugby




Harlequins boiling frog problem

Owen Slot welcomes The Observer's Michael Aylwin and Rugby World's Alan Dymock. The panel discuss: the top fifty young players to watch, the rules suiting rugby's image over safety. The 'boiling frog' problem with struggling Northampton and Harlequins and are English coaches struggling to take the step up to Director of Rugby? There's also a comprehensive preview for the European semi-finals.


Struggling Giants.

This week Owen Slot ls joined in the studio by Chris Jones (Evening Standard), Tom Hamilton (ESPN) and Stephen Jones (Sunday Times). We hear about some of the problems facing England’s top teams, talk about selection and wannabe new players. And Love is in the air.


Rugby Economics and Fly-Half Targeting?

Stephen Jones is Joined by Al DImmock (Rugby World), Nick Cain (The Rugby Paper) and Adam Hathaway (The People, everywhere). We hear about Saracens, Fly-half targeting, the European Challenge Cup,The Economics of the premiership, and ring fencing - are teams trying to pull the drawbridge up behind them? Should cities that are awarded major sporting events be prohibited from profiteering?


European preview and injury crisis analysis

Stephen Jones is joined by Adam Hathaway, Sam Peters and Alex Lowe to discuss which players England should take to South Africa and who will progress from the European quarter finals. In the final section (26:11) the panel discuss the latest injury findings and whether rugby is shying away from a crisis.


More nations analysed and the story behind a Spanish shambles

Owen Slot welcomes Alex Lowe, Stuart Barnes and Al Dymock to answer who made the greatest step forward in the six nations, why Ireland will improve further and why Wales should be delighted by second place. Finally Al Dymock tries to explain the shambolic scenes at Belgium vs Spain as World Cup qualifying descended into farce.


The Autopsy

Owen Slot welcomes Alex Lowe, Stuart Barnes and Al Dymock for an in-depth look into England's disastrous campaign and the major questions they now face. Including: has England's world cup chance already gone, why did performance levels drop so quickly and should Eddie Jones' position now be questioned?


The changes England must make

Stephen Jones welcomes Times rugby writer Steve James, editor of Rugby World, Sarah Mockford and world cup winner, Michael Lynagh. The panel discuss, who England need to change in the back row, whether all the problems lie there and if this England side has plateaued? There's also debate whether Eddie Jones should make sweeping changes with 5th place looming, if Owen Farrell needs to move to 10 and can they rescue their campaign and stop the Irish grand slam? Also analysed: where...


Special: lessons from the professional era

In this special episode Stephen Jones welcomes Owen Slot and ex-Harlequins CEO and Saracens boss, Mark Evans to cast an eye over Rugby's professional era. They discuss if the unions have too much power, the mass media effect, whether the Premiership is marketed correctly, should lessons should be learned from Australia and America, and if relegation needs abolishing in order to grow? Mark then presents his blueprint to improve the games standing and details his involvement with the...


Was this England's watershed moment?

Stephen Jones welcomes the Rugby Paper's, Nick Caine, The Sunday Times, Nigel Botherway and red top favourite, Adam Hathaway. They discuss the passion and precision of Scotland and where "flummoxed, static and poor" England go next, after being dominated. The panel also detail the changes they would make for England. Do Hartley, Brown and Robshaw survive? Or does the entire game plan need an overhaul? The rest of the weekend is reviewed and players of the weekend picked.


A visit to Pennyhill Park

Recorded from England's training camp, Owen Slot welcomes Alex Lowe from The Times and Alex Spink from The Mirror. They discuss why the Calcutta Cup has been such a bore for decades, why Ireland suddenly look beatable and after post match turmoil, why France have gone backwards. There's also an exclusive interview with Dean Benton, Head of Sports Science for England Rugby, who describes the difference in culture when it comes to working with players.


The future of rugby

Owen Slot welcomes Rugby World's, Al Dymock and The Observer's, Michael Aylwin to a special episode focusing on the future of the game. Will rugby turn into thirteen man game, can Georgia turn into a tier one side, will we need bigger pitches, can England win three out of the next world cups and will all performance enhancing drugs soon be legal? The panel also debate Stephen Jones' 6 Nations team of the week. Next week is a mailbag special email your questions to


Was it a try?

Owen Slot welcomes Rugby World's, Al Dymock, The Observer's, Michael Aylwin and Times columnist, Ben Kay. The panel discuss, the Sam Underhill tackle, Finn Russell appearing to regress, and opposing coaches putting players under pressure in the media. We also hear who is ahead between grand slam contenders England and Ireland. And the big question question is answered: was it a try? Tomorrow's episode features disagreement over Stephen Jones' team of the week and there is discussion on...


First weekend reviewed: Simmonds, drop goals and church bells

Recorded in Rome, Owen Slot welcomes Alex Lowe from The Times and Jonny Fordham from The Sun for a review of the 6 Nations first weekend. Up for discussion: why Alex only rated Sam Simmonds 8/10 for his performance against Italy, what shone from England's play, did Scotland believe their only media hype and what will Stephen Jones' mandatory talking points say about Ireland being firm favourites? In the final section, the panel predict the next round of fixtures, pick a team of the week...


6 Nations live special: Barnes, Jones, Slot, Roberts and Hogan

Stuart Barnes hosts a special episode, welcoming former Ireland international and Sunday Times columnist Shane Horgan, Wales international and Harlequin, Jamie Roberts, with regulars Stephen Jones and Owen Slot completing the panel. Up for discussion: the volume of player injuries, if the 6 nations is tainted without big stars, why Ireland are the journalists pick to win, where and why England have stagnated, how rugby has evolved in the last four years and the panel predict the player of...


6 Nations Opening Weekend Preview

Stephen Jones welcomes Owen Slot, Al Dymock, Peter O'Reilly and Paul Eddison for a full preview of the 6 nations opening weekend. Every team's strengths and weaknesses are assessed with a comprehensive analysis of the key match ups. Can Ireland overcome the history books and see off France, will England ever get the credit Eddie Jones thinks they deserve, and will the loser of Scotland vs Wales be instantly in the "mental mush"? Also find out what the panel hate about the tournament in...


Interview Special: Wayne Barnes

In this special edition of The Ruck, Stephen Jones talks to Wayne Barnes about life as a referee, the tactics officials will be keeping an eye on in the Six Nations and what Nigel Owens sang at his wedding. They also discuss the legality of Saracens’ rush defence, what to do when a player calls for a rival to be sin-binned and whether Richie McCaw truly knew the rule book better than anyone else...


Secrets of the Saracens turnaround

This week Owen Slot welcomes Alex Lowe and former Saracens player, Will Fraser. They discuss the final round of the European group stages, the reasons behind English rugby having just one representative in the quarters, with player fatigue, declining quality and the cyclical nature of sport considered. Then the panel explore how Saracens recovered off the back of multiple defeats earlier this campaign with unique insight from Fraser's access at the club. Finally England's seven position...


Why Irish sides are dominating whilst English sides stall

Owen Slot welcomes Stephen Jones and Alex Lowe to discuss another thrilling weekend of European rugby. Peter O'Reilly joins the debate from Dublin and offers his thoughts on the current strong form of the Irish teams and defends the Pro 14 from the opinion they have it much easier than the Premiership sides. The writers also reflect on their favourite European club performance down the years before suggesting what to do with the England team ahead of the squad announcement this...


The problem with Jones and Hartley

The Ruck returns with Stephen Jones, Owen Slot, Stuart Barnes and Jonny Fordham. The panel discuss why Dylan Hartley's club form will not change Eddie Jones' thinking on starting him for England. Owen explains the book which led Jones to think this way and Jonny reveals the day to day relationship between captain and coach. Stephen and Stuart then disagree on the England coach's criteria and selection policy. There's also a full preview of all the big european action and Stuart explains...


Boxing Day Special

Owen Slot welcomes Stephen Jones, Al Dymock and Steve James for a festive round up of 2017. The panel pick their rugby heroes and villains of the year before Owen attempts to conduct a quiz.


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