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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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An Exciting Start for England Rugby in 2018

England v Italy, Twickenham 2013

Eddie Jones renews contract until 2021

Great news for all England fans, with the announcement that hugely successful coach Eddie Jones will continue until 2021. He will be working closely with the RFU in selecting the next chief of staff by the end of the 2019-20 season, hoping to maintain the new-found status quo.

Jones has won 22 of his 23 Tests since taking the role in November 2015, and says extending his deal was “not a difficult decision”.

The big question on everyone’s lips, and surely a guarded secret, is whether Eddie Jones will be at the helm for what would surely be the jewel in the crown. If Eddie Jones led the British and Irish Lions to victory in South Africa it would mark the first time since the 1950s that the Lions toured all three nations without conceding a series.

Italy vs. England Squad Announcement

Eddie Jones has selected eight uncapped players to face Italy on the 4th February at the Stadio Olympico.

Five fresh young forwards in the squad will have their mettle tested, as the Italians are well known for their aggression up front in the mauls and breakdowns.

When Italy came to Twickenham, they employed cunning tactics to try and disrupt the momentum of England. Fans are left wondering what they will have up their sleeve come Sunday.

England have never been beaten by the Azzurri, so hopes are high that a young-looking England team can maintain the current 95% win-rate, spurred on by the knowledge that Eddie Jones tenure is set to continue.

 

Engage offers hospitality for the whole Six Nations tournament, browse our selection.

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6 Nations Players to Watch

6 nations

England

Elliot Daly (age: 24, height: 6ft, weight: 15st 10lbs)

With eight caps to his name, Daly is certainly not an unknown, but he has yet to show his full talents at international level. A clear yet unfortunate red card against Argentina saw his Autumn Internationals cut short, but he is likely to feature strongly in the 6 Nations.

Blessed with searing pace, solid defence, great hands and the ability to step off both feet, Daly can play centre, wing or fullback. He can also bang over penalties from approaching 10m inside his own half, which can seriously demoralise the opposition. 2017 could be the year he becomes a star.

Ireland

Garry Ringrose (age: 21, height: 6ft 1in, weight, 14st 7lbs)

If there’s one cross in world rugby that you wouldn’t want a 21-year old to bear, it would to be touted as the heir apparent to the incomparable Brian O’Driscoll. As if finding your feet as an international centre isn’t hard enough, it is exactly what Garry Ringrose is having to cope with.

The good news, however, is that he may well live up to expectations. In addition to a running style remarkable reminiscent of the great BOD, Ringrose has pace, all the required skills and a real nose for the try line.

Scotland

Jonny Gray (age: 22, height 6ft 6ins, weight 18st 10lbs)

It’s hard to believe, given his size, that Jonny is comfortably the smaller of Scotland’s Gray brothers, with the older, 60-capped Richie hitting 6ft 10ins in his socks and almost 20 stone. Not that it’s held Jonny back, as he’s widely being tipped to make this year’s Lions tour to New Zealand.

Gray is the complete modern lock, with decent hands and good mobility complementing the basics of providing grunt at scrum time and reliable line-out ball. His work rate, however, is his strongest suit. His stats for hitting breakdowns and completing tackles are up there with the very best back-row forwards. Expect to see some world-class performances from him in the upcoming tournament.

Wales

Justin Tipuric (age: 27, height: 6ft 2in, weight: 16st 1lb)

Tipuric has won 46 caps since his 2011 international debut, but he has never managed to cement himself as first choice. That may change for the coming 6 Nations, with Tipuric’s skills as a link man being cited by many rugby sages west of the border as exactly what the national side needs to revive an increasingly predictable attacking game.

France

Baptiste Serin (age: 20, height: 5ft 11ins, weight 12st)

With the skill-set to occasionally play fullback for his club, Bordeaux Bègles, the young scrum-half might just be the spark to ignite France’s backline. Blessed with incredible sleight of hand and an enormous boot, Serin already has a highlights reel full of magical moments. If he gets the nod for France in this year’s 6 Nations tournament, make sure you watch him very, very closely.

Italy

Michele Campagnaro (age: 23, height: 6ft, weight: 15st 8lbs)

Ignoring the obvious choice of Italy’s talismanic Sergio Parisse, we’ve gone for Exeter’s bullocking young centre, Michele Campagnaro. He has won man-of-the-match awards for Italy, but never a 6 Nations match. If 2017 is to be the year Campagnaro breaks his 6 Nations duck, Italy will need him to be at his powerful best in attack and defence.

Opening round fixtures

Scotland vs Ireland, Sat 4th Feb, 2.25pm

Ireland won this fixture by 10 points in Dublin last year, a difference that home advantage could easily reverse in Scotland’s favour. Both teams having progressed since then, making it a difficult match to call.

Irelands inspiring displays against New Zealand, allied to a squad with arguably more strength in depth, make them favourites, but they’ll doubtless have to weather a Scottish storm if they’re to win at Murrayfield.

England vs France, Sat 4th Feb, 4.50pm

England have become a relentless force under Eddie Jones, demanding all teams who face them to push their physical limits until the final whistle, and they’ll be highly fancied to win handsomely at home against a France team long in transition.

France, however, utterly destroyed the Wallaby scrum last autumn, with New Zealand’s pack fairing only slightly better in a game where France rediscovered their attacking verve in a close loss. Maybe chickens should not be counted just yet..?

Italy vs Wales, Sun 5th Feb, 2pm

Wales’ attack has not fired for some months and they were roundly slated by home supporters for some lacklustre displays during the autumn. Boasting a squad dripping with top quality players, they will hope there is some truth behind the old adage, ‘Form is temporary, class is permanent’.

Italy have also been struggling for form, with a first, historic win over the weakest team to ever leave South Africa offering them a rare moment in the sun. New coach Conor O’Shea has expressed his ambitions to make them fitter and more competitive, but it would still be a huge upset if they manage to beat the visiting Welsh team.

Stadia

Twickenham

Location: London, England

Capacity: 82,000

First Rugby International hosted: England v Wales, January 1910

Interesting fact: Twickenham is the world’s biggest dedicated rugby stadium and the fourth largest stadium in Europe.

Principality Stadium

Location: Cardiff, Wales

Capacity: 74,500

First Rugby International hosted: Wales v South Africa, June 1999

Interesting fact: The Principality Stadium is the second-largest stadium in the world with a fully retractable roof, hosting 770,000 paying visitors each year.

Stade de France

Location: Paris, France

Capacity: 81,388

First Rugby International hosted: France v England, February 1998

Interesting fact: The multi-sport stadium was initially built specifically to host the 1998 FIFA World Cup and features a stand that can be retracted to uncover a section of the athletics track.

Stadio Olimpico

Location: Rome, Italy

Capacity: 70,634

First Rugby International hosted: Italy v England, February 2012

Interesting fact: Owned by the Italian National Olympic Committee, Stadio Olimpico’s construction was initiated by the regime of Mussolini, with building taking place between 1928 and 1950.  Early football crowds approached 100,000.

Aviva Stadium

Location: Dublin, Ireland

Capacity: 51,700

First Rugby International hosted: Ireland v South Africa, November 2010

Interesting fact: The Aviva Stadium was built on the site of the old Lansdowne Road Stadium, which had been hosting rugby matches since 1876.

Murrayfield

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Capacity: 67,800

First Rugby International hosted: Scotland v England, March 1925

Interesting fact: Murrayfield was redeveloped to an all-seater stadium in 1994, but, years before, Murrayfield could host 104,000 rugby fans, as it did for their game against England in 1975 (setting a world record that stood for 24 years).

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The 6 Nations Country Guide

6 nations

The 2017 6 Nations is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in years. England may be hot favourites to defend their Grand Slam title, but recent strong showings by Ireland, Scotland and France, alongside a powerful, experienced Welsh squad, mean it is far from a foregone conclusion.

Engage will be hosting clients at some of the tournament’s biggest clashes and you can still join them. Click here for more information.

England

There is talk of a 6 Nations injury crisis for the reigning champions, but Eddie jones has further developed the strong, young squad he inherited from Stuart Lancaster and will not yet be losing sleep.

Injuries to seemingly key men, such as the Vunipola brothers, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury and Chris Robshaw, could be rendered irrelevant by players of the calibre of Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Dave Attwood, Ben Morgan, Nathan Hughes and Tom Wood waiting in the wings.

A huge opening game at home against France and tough trips to Cardiff and Dublin will demand England be at their best if another Grand Slam is to be achieved, but their autumn form after three summer wins in Australia make it hard to argue against the bookmakers, who have them installed as odds-on favourites.

Ireland

Ireland will take great heart from their first win against New Zealand last autumn and the impressive display that followed in a battling loss. They will be further galvanised by the tragic loss of Anthony Foley, whose memory will doubtless inspire some passionate displays. These factors, combined with a fixture list they may well see as favourable, means the final game against England could be a showdown for the 6 Nations Championship.

Wales

Wales are vying with France to be considered the ‘dark horses’ ahead of this year’s 6 Nations. A draw against Ireland and a narrow loss to England last time round would suggest their talented squad only requires a few tweaks to challenge for honours. However, their home form in the autumn, when a heavy defeat to Australia was flowed by unconvincing wins against Argentina, Japan and a toothless South Africa, could point to problems ahead.

A strong showing first up in Rome could steady their nerves and provide the ideal launch pad for a serious title challenge.

Scotland

A recent win against Argentina and a one-point loss to Australia offered further proof that Scotland have been on a steady upward curve in recent years. Though they are not yet widely considered as title contenders, they could certainly derail the claims of teams who are. Blessed with a mobile pack and some outstanding backline talent, including the irrepressible Stuart Hogg, they will be confident at home and dangerous away.

France

Perennially the most unpredictable team in the 6 Nations, France could be playing for the Championship or the wooden spoon come the final weekend.

Their 2016 6 Nations campaign was a disaster, with close wins over Ireland and Italy providing their only solace. Since then, they have drawn a two-match summer series in Argentina and run both Australia and New Zealand very close in Paris (losing by two and five points respectively).

Despite an often-cited dearth of French talent competing in the Top 14, France can still field a monstrous pack and dangerous backline. What they haven’t been able to do in recent seasons is achieve any level of consistency in selection or clarity in collective ambition. If they do manage to address those issues, anything is possible.

Italy

Consistency is also a problem for the Azzurri and something new coach Conor O’Shea has been working hard to address. Last year’s 6 Nations opening weekend saw them five minutes from a win in Paris, only to then suffer four sound thrashings in their subsequent fixtures. The pattern continued in the autumn, when a hiding at the hands of New Zealand was followed by their first ever win over South Africa and a disappointing loss to Tonga.

France in Rome may be their best chance of registering a win this time round, with close losses in the other fixtures possibly representing moral victories.

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Engage Sports Events That Mattered Most In 2016

2016 has been a remarkable year in sports, from the England rugby team going a full calendar year unbeaten and Ireland taking their first win against the All Blacks, to Wales reaching the Euro semis and Andy Murray being crowned as World No.1, the list goes on.

Similarly, 2016 has been a noteworthy year for us.  From launching new facilities for sports events to changes in our team and new business partnerships, we did everything possible to make your experiences better.  So, before we gear up for everything 2017 has in store, let’s have a look at what 2016 meant for us.

1. The launch of the Player Management division

In a frighteningly competitive field, where a player’s life can change in an instant, we aim to give crucial support to emerging and established talents by way of:

  • Contract negotiation
  • Financial advice
  • Post-sport career planning
  • Development and management of commercial portfolios
  • Social media management, PR and brand development
  • Day-to-day support

Therefore, we introduced a new division later this year to set new standards in the care and support of elite athletes.

2. An increase in turnover

It’s been a record year for us delivering a 25% increase in turnover across more events than ever before!

3. Being the official hospitality partner at Lord’s

Engage Hospitality had the privilege to provide official corporate hospitality packages at the Home of Cricket for the Investec series.  In the historic surroundings of Lord’s, and while enjoying the trappings of a memorable VIP hospitality package, our guests caught up with old friends, forged new business relationships and cemented existing ones, with the added bonus of world-class cricket.

4. Office expansion in the heart of the square mile

Our offices in Moorgate have been taking on a new open plan look as we have expanded across the business we’ve taken on new space and redeveloped the old making sure we still have room for the all-important table tennis and pool tables!

5. New partnership with Gaucho at England vs Argentina

In November, we had the opportunity to create an impeccable accompaniment to England’s Old Mutual Wealth Series match against Argentina at Twickenham.  Our wealth of event experience dovetailed perfectly with Gaucho’s culinary expertise and saw the 400 places sell out in just four weeks.

6. The launch of 3 new look facilities

We are always investing back into our facilities to make your experience better. This year saw the new terrace at the Kia Oval for the One Day International delivering the perfect inside and out hospitality experience. The Autumn saw brand new facilities in The Rose Suite at Twickenham Stadium with new staging, production branding and interactive experiences, while outside the stadium we contracted a totally new structure for Twickenham Village with more reception space an decked terrace, themed bars and fully branded interior.

7. 4 new sales teams

We’ve been hiring new talent especially in our sales teams where we have created 4 new teams to promote our new facilities and deliver across all our events.

8. Appointment of Ugo Monye as Engage Ambassador

Ex-Harlequins, England and Lions winger, Ugo Monye, joined Engage in October 2016 as a business ambassador.  Along with attracting the best rugby talent and sponsorship partners, he hosts hospitality experiences for us at Twickenham, the Oval and Lord’s.

9. The launch of a new website

We launched a completely new website in October 2016 to provide our prospective guests with a seamless and hassle-free experience when booking packages.

10. Engage Reward Points Programme

We were keen to leave in no doubt just how highly we value our clients’ loyalty, so we introduced our rewards programme where they receive discounts from our partners, gain access to exclusive competitions, enjoy priority access to VIP boxes and, above all, the option to choose treats from our rewards list.

11. New Faces at Engage

2016 saw some key additions to our team to help us provide the highest quality of service and deliver Engage Hospitality’s core values – excellence, engagement and entertainment.

Joining us were:

Andrew Hodgkins as Managing Director
Eve Grant as Marketing and Events Executive
Harry Harvey as Director (Player Management)
Caroline Roberts as Head of Commercial
Sasha Colvile as Receptionist and Event Assistant

12. An amazing social media reach from 2016 Autumn Internationals

2016 Autumn Internationals recorded plenty of great hits, a few disappointments and some incredible tries. At the same time, this year-end rugby union helped us connect with over 2 million people across Instagram and Twitter. We garnered over 20,000 likes across both the platforms, over 2,000 comments on Instagram and 355 retweets.

13. NFL at Twickenham 

NFL debuted at Twickenham and our clients loved it.