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Q1 2019 Events Roundup

As the 2019 Guinness 6 Nations came to a climactic end, and we have had time to breathe and reflect on the first 3 months of the year with the ICON Club at Twickenham in full swing as well as hosting in Dublin, Cardiff and Edinburgh, it was always going to be a rugby filled three months.

The last three months however haven’t just been about rugby here at Engage.

January saw the return of the NBA London Game 2019 presented by Norwegian, with the Washington Wizards beating the New York Knicks 101-100. For the last two years Engage have been the official hospitality provider for the NBA; a truly unique experience and definitely one for the bucket list.

The highlight of February was the BRIT Awards 2019 with Mastercard. Hugh Jackman took centre stage to open the show, showering The O2 in glitter as he performed The Greatest Show. With the likes of Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris, Sam Smith and Jess Glynne to name but a few of the talented artists performing throughout the ceremony, the evening drew to a close with a true showman as P!nk received the Outstanding Contribution to Music award before showing us all how it’s done with a rendition of some of her vast collection of hits.

In March Engage hosted the Engage ICON Club at Cheltenham Festival with special guest John ‘Motty’ Motson. With a sensational view of the course, some occasional appearances from the sun and more than a few winners, we’re already looking forward to next year.

With such an array of events in just 3 months, it begs the question what else is there to look forward to this year, there can’t possibly be more?

But with the FA Cup Semi’s and Final just around the corner, possibly the busiest summer of cricket in living memory, and not to mention the return of the Spice Girls; it seems there is no time to waste. We’re ready for the summer!

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England overwhelm Six Nations champions Ireland

England centre Henry Slade scores a try against Ireland on Saturday

England Rugby manager Eddie Jones put another notch on his impressive record Saturday, guiding England to a 29th win out of 36 international Tests since he took the reins. To make the victory especially sweet, it was a conquest over Joe Schmidt’s formidable Ireland side at home at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. A testament to the power of Jones’ game-planning, England looked immensely strong as they took on the Six Nations champions, taking apart the host’s strategy and backing them into a corner.

Leading 17-13 by the 66th minute, England created a fantastic opportunity coming out of the scrum, Henry Slade first fed Jonny May the ball and then chased down May’s fantastic chip, a slick maneuver allowing Slade’s exceptional pace to seal the deal in a beautiful try. The work of both May and Jack Nowell on the wings was pivotal for England’s success in a terrific day’s rugby, with May’s opening try inside the first two minutes setting the tone.

Culminating in a 32-30 victory, Saturday represents potentially England’s most dominant win under Jones in contest with another top team, the four-try bonus point illustrating just how effectively they dismantled Andy Farrell’s defense, and the Irish squad taking a heavy beating at the hands of England’s driven intensity. Ireland lost Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, CJ Stander and Devin Toner to injury. “I don’t think I’ve seen a game where our opponents got so many physical, dominant tackles, where our opponents have carried physically in the manner that they did,” the Ireland manager Joe Schmidt confessed after the game. However, England suffered the loss of star player Maro Itoje, a presence who will be sorely missed going into subsequent games.

Manu Tuilagi’s long absence due to injury was forgotten as he bulldozed his way into the match, a powerhouse playing with the destructive flair that he’s known for, and the Vunipola brothers showed their incredible athleticism and sporting quality. Overall, England looked stronger against Ireland than they have during the whole of Schmidt’s tenure as manager, and England fans will be hopeful that this impressive victory is a good omen for the rest of the tournament going into their match against France at Twickenham this Sunday.

As always, Engage Hospitality provide full official hospitality for all matches in the Six Nations, which is a gold standard for the corporate hospitality calendar and a superb opportunity to show your clients a rollicking good time alongside the best rugby in the world. Be sure to check out our on-site Twickenham hospitality as we are official ‘Good for Rugby’ partners with the RFU, and browse our rugby packages here.

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England Cricket Summer Review

England v Pakistan Cricket World Cup Hospitality

This Summer has proven to be not only one of the warmest on record but also one of the most productive for an England Cricket team in a long while. Engage’s Nicholas Gibbens takes a look back at the Summer of 2018.

England v Pakistan

England were off to a sluggish start against Pakistan back in May, when at Lord’s, Home of Cricket they were beaten comprehensively within 4 days by a margin of 9 wickets.

A lot of soul searching was needed after a below-par winter in Australia and New Zealand, and there were more questions than answers when the teams headed to Headingley for the second test.

A hallmark of this England team under Root has been inconsistency, unbeatable one week and then undesirable the next. The Leeds Test was no different, a revitalized England team, spearheaded by the dependable Anderson & Broad partnership, bowled Pakistan out twice in conditions that have historically suited English bowlers.

Returning to the Test team at Lord’s  a decision made by the newly appointed head of selectors Ed Smith  Jos Butler along with a young Dom Bess put in match-winning performances. A great start for Smith and his new team of selectors.

In short, Butler’s selection had come off the back of an effective IPL, where he saw five 50+ scores in a row  equaling the record alongside the great Mahendra Singh Dhoni. After one of the most fruitful summers for any England batsman, I think we will be seeing Butler in Test Whites for years to come.

England v Scotland

A move to white ball Cricket with a one off ODI against Scotland would see the most exciting game between these two teams in the history of the fixture. Scotland racking up 371/5 in their 50 overs on a very small Edinburgh Grange ground. England ‘only’ mustered 365 in response. Cue the celebrations.

England v Australia

Due to the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 Australia would be entertained a year early in five ODI’s and one T20. Australia were missing 5 front line players due to injury and various misdemeanors allowing a full strength England to show their class in the white ball format; winning five out of five, and breaking the record for the highest ODI total along the way. The T20 did little to halt English momentum, completing the whitewash at Edgbaston.

England v India

India’s arrival halted the English summer party, comprehensively winning their opening contest in conditions more reminiscent of Mumbai than Manchester. India was always going to provide much sterner competition, and with the little known Kuldeep Yadav in their line up bamboozling English batsmen, the true contest of the summer was beginning. England leveled the series but the final matched proved decisive as India took the T20 Series 2- 1.

England wrapped up the ODI series 2 – 1 with back to back hundreds from Captain Root (Drop the mic). A timely return to form leading into a five tests. However, it turned out that the Test Series was dominated by one man, Virat Kholi scoring 593 runs at an average of 59.30; at times taking on England’s bowling attack single handed. Special mentions for Jos Butler England’s top batsmen and player of the summer, Alistair Cook who retires as England’s GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), James Anderson who is now the leading Fast Bowler in Tests with 540 wickets, and finally Sam Curran who has burst onto the Test scene with both ball and bat. A man, and hopefully a team, with a very bright future ahead.

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Anthony Joshua’s Road to Legend

Anthony Joshua defeated Alexander Povetkin by TKO

Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin

Alexander Povetkin was never going to be a pushover. The Russian heavyweight is an Olympic gold medallist and has been boxing professionally at the highest levels for over a decade. In the 35 professional bouts he fought before meeting Joshua, Povetkin was only defeated once, by all-time great Wladimir Klitschko. The first round showed that Anthony Joshua was not invincible, receiving a broken nose at the end of the first round with a fiery combination from the Russian veteran. In the second round, too, Povetkin looked strong as he darted inside the taller man’s reach looking for connection.

However, by the third round AJ had started to find his equilibrium again, evading hits and dealing damage. It was in the fourth round that he landed a smarting uppercut that split Povetkin’s brow, as he started to gain real momentum in this fight. It wasn’t one-sided by any means, and if Povetkin’s renowned left hook had connected, it could have swung the other way – but the Russian started to look wild in his aggression, desperately seeking a strike that would tip the scales back in his favour. For his part, Joshua looked cool and composed, two left hooks finding Povetkin’s face.

Round five was quieter for the most part, and for a while in round six it looked like Povetkin was coming back, with explosive energy belying the fact he was fighting a man 11 years his junior. AJ took it well though, biding his time and landing some hits of his own, body shots to an opponent he described afterwards as “strong to the head, weak to the body”. Finally, in the seventh round, Anthony Joshua delivered his conclusive blows, true heavyweight knockout punches that would obliterate any opponent. Povetkin to his credit managed to stagger back to his feet, but swaying, his reactions slowed, he was unable to defend himself from AJ’s onslaught and the referee quickly called an end to the bout.

Next Steps

The same day as this fantastic fight at Wembley Stadium, the two main contenders for AJ’s next opponent announced a fight of their own: Deontay Wilder will defend his WBC heavyweight title against Tyson Fury on December 1st. It’s no secret that Joshua is looking for the WBC belt to complete his set and become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. The fans will be crying out for a unification bout to happen, and the odds are good, given that Joshua is the obvious opponent for whoever wins, if they have the ambition.

That fight, when it happens, will take place at Wembley. As Joshua said before his fight with Povetkin, “Providing I beat Povetkin, April 13 is booked. Wembley is there.” Engage Hospitality is therefore excited to present the next instalment of Anthony Joshua’s meteoric rise to the status of boxing legend, to becoming a name spoken in the same breath as the very greatest boxers of all time, in the city of his birth. Our ICON Club is a ring-facing hospitality facility that delivers the thrill and electricity of a big fight; with luxurious dining, delightful service, and boxing legends and celebrity guests hosting to make an already special night into an unforgettable occasion. Experience better with Engage and register your interest now to secure your place at this historic occasion.

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What to Wear to Rugby Hospitality

Smart casual rugby hospitality Ugo Monye

Often we get people asking what clothes are appropriate for rugby hospitality, at an event such as the 2018 Quilter Internationals, or the ever-popular Six Nations. This is a great question, because many of our rugby hospitality guests are entertaining clients or business partners as part of a corporate charm offensive, whereas others are simply there to enjoy the creature comforts and celebrity guests of the hospitality area with their friends and family. This situation calls for finesse and balance on the sartorial front, but don’t worry, because we have you covered: this is Engage Hospitality’s guide to getting it right when dressing for rugby hospitality.

Rugby hospitality dress code
The ideal for rugby hospitality is smart casual, as competently modelled by this cheerful Engage guest at Twickenham

No trainers or ripped jeans

Please remember that hospitality is somewhat more formal than only attending the match itself. As such, the appropriate clothing is somewhat smarter than might otherwise be expected. Please refrain from wearing trainers or ripped jeans. Smart-casual is the name of the game, even when entertaining business clients – it’s important that everyone feels comfortable and ready to enjoy themselves, in a less formal environment than the boardroom. Dress as you would feel comfortable attending a nice restaurant.

Rugby shirt at hospitality
Rugby shirts can be a suitable option for hospitality guests

Rugby shirts are appropriate

Don’t make the mistake of being overly formal however. Remember that this is after all a sporting event, and people are attending to have fun! There’s categorically nothing wrong with supporting your favourite team with a scarf or rugby shirt, and at Engage we’re always delighted to see them. Just leave the shorts and boots at home…

Charlie Ewels rugby hospitality clothing
Bath and England lock Charlie Ewels balancing style and practicality with a classic quilted jacket while hosting for us

Dress warmly

As some of you are no doubt aware, rugby is a winter sport, and it can be quite cold in the stadium. While there are few sights as inspiring as tens of thousands of England fans singing Swing Low (Sweet Chariot), their breath visible rising in the crisp air of Twickenham Stadium, it’s best not to be shivering so you can fully appreciate it. Bring a nice warm winter coat to keep you warm until the action on the pitch gets your blood flowing! Before and after the match, you will be toasty, ensconced in the comfortable environs of the hospitality facility with hot food and drinks, so worry not.

Best clothes for rugby hospitality
England vs Ireland on St Patrick’s day in the 2018 Six Nations was an opportunity for some spectacular wardrobe choices!