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Rugby headlines as petition calls for Phil Steele’s Scrum V return and huge name lined up for World 12s

Here are your morning headlines for Friday 17 September.

Eddie Jones lined up by World 12s organisers

The organisers of the proposed World 12s want to recruit England head coach Eddie Jones.

The concept for a 12-a-side tournament was launched last week, with the proposal for the best players in world rugby to be recruited via an eight-team franchise system to play in three consecutive weekends next August and September.

Former RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie is the chairman and has now stated that the plan is to attract the best coaches as well as players.

“Eddie has nothing to do with the operations side of it but as a rugby concept he has used it and been engaged with it,” Ritchie told the Telegraph.

“He has obviously got a full-time job to say the least and we would need to discuss that with Bill (Sweeney, the current RFU CEO).

“If I was still chief executive, I think I would say two things – how much time is it and how much does it detract if at all from the day job?

“But I don’t know any of the top coaches who don’t work unbelievably hard. And just as we think the best players in the world will benefit from playing alongside each other, it is the same with the coaches.”

‘Bring back Steeley’

Welsh rugby fans have started a petition to get popular pitchside reporter Phil Steele back on Scrum V.

Steele announced earlier this week he will “sadly” not be in the role after 14 years. He was flooded with messages of goodwill from the public amid huge disappointment over the decision at BBC Wales.

Now, hundreds of people have signed a petition, entitled “Bring back Steeley”. Nearly 800 people have signed it at the time of writing.

On Friday, BBC Wales announced Gabby Logan as the new face fronting their Scrum V Live coverage as pro rugby returns to the channel next week with the start of the United Rugby Championship.

Chris Robshaw relives Baa-Baas shame

Former England captain Chris Robshaw has opened up on the mistakes that led to last year’s clash between England and the Barbarians being cancelled.

His involvement in the drinking shenanigans that resulted in the match at Twickenham last October getting cancelled due to breaches of the invitational team’s bubble.

An RFU investigation found that Robshaw had gone out socialising two nights in succession and the resulting punishment was 50 hours of unpaid community work.

However, he was grateful for such a punishment and now believes that it should be the benchmark moving forward.

“Of course, massively not proud of that (match cancellation) and that was a very dark time for myself and all the other twelve guys involved,” Robshaw told RugbyPass.

“It was tough. We shouldn’t have done what we did, we got our punishment and we have moved forward… I’m in a much better place now.

“But on the punishment, we got a lot of community work and I’m actually in talks with Bill Sweeney about instead of just giving guys match bans (for indiscipline in the English game), can we not bring in this community work so you have to do a certain amount of time?

Read more : How Wales’ World Cup squad looks exactly two years out

“Whenever I have been to a club it has been great for me personally because I find as a player, and especially when you get to that top level, you are busy and you don’t go to the grassroots clubs a lot, you might lose a little bit of touch with it. We don’t say we don’t, but realistically we unfortunately do and the lift it [community work] gives clubs is phenomenal.

“I use an example: if you look at when Owen Farrell got banned for his high tackle a couple of seasons ago, you couldn’t tell me there is one community club in the country that wouldn’t snap their arm off to get him down for a couple of hours to do a kicking session. I’m in talks with him [Sweeney] about how that process can change because the benefit has been great both for clubs and myself.”

Pick your greatest Wales XV now

Harrison Keddie aims to break up Welsh back-row contingent

Dragons back-row Harrison Keddie is aiming to leapfrog his established team-mates when the new season starts

The former Wales U20s star has his work cut out at Rodney Parade, with a host of Wales internationals such as Ross Moriarty, Aaron Wainwright, Taine Basham and Ollie Griffiths all competing for back-row spots.

That isn’t an easy challenge, but it’s one that Keddie isn’t backing down from.

“If I want to push on and keep playing then I have to match their performances or better them,” said Keddie.

“We are pretty strong there at the minute. Whenever you get a chance to play you have to make the most of it.”

Welsh stars primed for Premiership kick-off

A group of Welsh stars will be involved as the Gallagher Premiership kicks off tonight.

Bristol Bears welcome Saracens back to the top flight after their enforced year in the Championship this evening.

And the hosts have Callum Sheedy, Ioan Lloyd and Dan Thomas all starting.

As for the visitors, Nick Tompkins and Aled Davies are their Welsh representatives.

Bristol Bears: Charles Piutau; Luke Morahan, Piers O’Conor, Alapati Leiua, Ioan Lloyd; Callum Sheedy, Andy Uren; Jake Woolmore, Harry Thacker, Max Lahiff, Ed Holmes, Chris Vui, Steven Luatua (c), Dan Thomas, Nathan Hughes.

Reps: Will Capon, Yann Thomas, Jake Armstrong, Dave Attwood, Jake Heenan, Harry Randall, Sam Bedlow, Niyi Adeolokun.

Saracens: Elliott Obatoyinbo, Alex Lewington, Dom Morris, Nick Tompkins, Rotimi Segun, Alex Lozowski, Aled Davies; Ralph Adams-Hale, Tom Woolstencroft, Marco Riccioni, Nick Isiekwe, Tim Swinson, Jackson Wray (c), Ben Earl, Billy Vunipola.

Reps: Kapeli Pifeleti, Richard Barrington, Alec Clarey, Callum Hunter-Hill, Sean Reffell, Joe Simpson, Manu Vunipola, Ben Harris.

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