Rugby: Autumn Nations Cup – Round 2 summary

With the second round finished, Matthew Childs takes a look at the performances of the international teams.

Here is a look at the line ups for each team in round two against their respective teams

Game 1 – London – England vs Ireland

Score: 18 – 7

The biggest match of the weekend took place at Twickenham between the 2020 Six Nations champions and a strong Ireland squad. In a game that was always going to be a challenge for each team, England showed that defence is the best offence.

England made a total of 208 tackles compared to a mere 76 from Ireland. The hosts knew that they didn’t need the ball for most of the match but when they did get it they made sure to come out with some points on the board.

Ireland simply couldn’t break down England’s high pressure defence. Even though Ireland had more possession and more metres carried it was clear to see that England dominated the game defensively and that Ireland lacked the strategy to trouble the perfect England squad.

Johnny May scored two tries for England with one being an immense solo try. Maro Itoje also performed remarkably earning him Man of the Match for his defensive work and ability to upset the Ireland attack.

Ireland will be annoyed by this loss and they definitely suffered by not having Johnny Sexton or Rob Henshaw on the field due to injuries. However, it is hard to believe that they would have made a significant difference to this scoreline if they had been on the pitch.

England now sit comfortably at the top of Group A with nine points. Although they lost, Ireland have kept their second place position in the table above Wales and Georgia.

England face an improved Welsh squad this Saturday, away. In their current form it is hard to believe that any team can beat them, while Ireland will be happy to have an easier game against Georgia on Sunday.

Game 2 – Llanelli – Wales vs Georgia

Score: 18 – 0

This was a must win match for Wales to bring back some hope to the future of the Welsh squad. Knowing this, Wayne Pivac decided to field a team that was younger and less experienced, to show some variety and new possibilities for the Welsh squad. Wales gave four debuts against Georgia, showing that Pivac wanted to test a new squad.

Although it was a win, this match was a chance for Wales to make up for a loss in the first round by getting a bonus point victory. Unfortunately, they didn’t achieve that and Georgia deserve some of the credit for consistent defence that caused problems for the Welsh attack.

A stand-out performance from 19-year-old Louis Rees Zammit earned him his first ever international try. His natural talent has been shown in his prolific try scoring success with Premiership team Gloucester. Now with an international try to his name as well, it is clear to see that he will be in the Welsh squad for years to come.

The performances from the Welsh players this week were an improvement from what we have seen so far, but there were still a lot of mistakes being made. That could not be said, however, for back row Aaron Wainwright. His performance earned him Man of the Match due to a very consistent performance at ensuring every breakdown was secured and ready for the scrum half and earning some turnovers along the way.

Wales will be gutted to lose Justin Tipuric to a nasty head injury. Luckily they have a lot of back row options that are just as capable and can fill his spot this weekend when they play against the in-form England. For Georgia, it’s a journey to Dublin to face Ireland.

Game 3 – Edinburgh – Scotland vs France

Score: 15 – 22

Scotland on a winning streak of five games got their hopes shattered by France in a close match from start to finish at Murrayfield. Scotland set out to beat the in-form and talented French squad in what turned out to be the closest match of the weekend, not only through the scoreline but physically as well. It was a match-up where, until the latter parts of the second half, it could have gone either way.

Wayne Barnes may have been a strict referee in this match but he was a fair one. Both teams conceded a lot of penalties that were capitalised on by the opposing kickers. Scotland and France both showed strengths in attack but discipline mistakes cost them vital territory and point-earning penalties. With Scotland scoring no tries, all of their points came from penalty kicks.

Both teams showed their kicking ability from penalties, for territorial gain or in the case of France, the dying art of the drop goal. Scotland’s fly half Duncan Weir showed his threat as a kicking force and a viable replacement for Finn Russell by scoring all 15 points for Scotland from penalties. France also proved their kicking strength with full back Thomas Ramos scoring 14 points ( four penalty kicks and one conversion) alongside a spectacular drop goal from Matthieu Jalibert in the first half.

Scotland were still rewarded for their efforts with a bonus point due to finishing within seven points of France.

Scotland were set to face Fiji at Murrayfield on Saturday, however several positive coronavirus tests in the visiting squad has forced the game to be cancelled. France on the other hand host Italy.

Game 4 – Florence – Italy vs Fiji

Score: 28 – 0

Again, just like the previous week, Fiji have suffered another automatic bonus point defeat to Italy due to having too many positive cases of coronavirus in their team.

Italy will be happy as it is the first game they have technically won since beating Canada in the World Cup in 2019. Italy face France away on Saturday and will be hoping the form they showed against Scotland two weeks ago hasn’t gone away so they can challenge a strong France team.

As it stands, England are at the top of group A with nine points. Wales and Ireland are in joint second place with four points each but Ireland are ahead based on points difference. Georgia sit at the bottom, yet to score any tournament points.

Group B sees France at the top of the table with nine points as well. Scotland sit in second with six points after getting a bonus point this week which put them just ahead of Italy on five points after been given the win against bottom of the table Fiji. It’s a shame that Fiji have not taken precautions seriously enough as they might have caused upsets to some of the northern hemisphere teams but for now they sit at the bottom on zero points.

Leicester Nigerian food business delivered on a scooter

by Khrista Davis

A Pharmacy student has launched her own lockdown business – making Nigerian food and delivering it to customers by scooter.

Dami Salako, a 19-year-old student at De Montfort University, launched her initiative when a job furlough began to wind down and she realised it could not sustain her for much longer.

Having been let go from her hospitality job and been put on furlough, Dami realised that it was time for her to take up a new venture.

Her solution? A Nigerian food business that is open everyday, with a USP where she personally delivers the food to her customers on a scooter.

She said: “Having a job is quite tiring as well as university, so working from home and being in control of my own business has been really helpful.

“I’ve always wanted to have my own business, but I think being on furlough kind of gave me the push I needed to get up and actually start properly.”

Dami started her own food business called 1&OnlyKitchen from the comfort of her home.

With Nigerian food as her staple, she wanted to bring home cooking to those who don’t have access to home all the time.

“When a lot of students from Nigerian backgrounds come to university they can’t cook their own food.

“They enjoy it at home but they don’t necessarily get that luxury when they get to university, which I now provide and want to provide on a bigger scale in the future if I get my own little spot.

“The majority of food on my menu is stuff that people wouldn’t be able to cook at university as there isn’t enough time to cook those dishes.

“I decided my niche would be food that people don’t have the luxury of having when they come to university, traditional homemade food,” she added.

Dami specialises in traditional Nigerian dishes such as ayamase, efo and pounded yam.  

But she also has other items on offer for those who want something different, such as mac n cheese and honey BBQ wings.

Catering to the public but more so students, she makes sure her prices are student-friendly.

A full meal and a drink can range from £10 to £20 depending on portion sizes.  She additionally does bulk meals as well as platters ranging from £25 to £40, all depending on size.

With promo deals, recycleable and re-useable packaging, Dami keeps customers coming back, with deals where a purchase of her infamous Chapman drink also gets you a re-useable cup, so every time you order with her, your drink is free – a surefire way of maintaining customer loyalty.

For more information or to place an order, go to www.instagram.com/1andonlykitchen__ .

DMU research finds drug gangs adapt to avoid lockdown restrictions

By Beatriz Abreu Ferreira

A study by university teams into the impact of Covid-19 has found drug gangs have made special adaptations during the spring lockdown.

The focus of the study by the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab in collaboration with the De Montfort University (DMU) School of Law is county lines offending.

These involve drug supply networks where drugs are transported across different areas, usually by children or vulnerable people who are manipulated by gangs.

The lockdown did not change the demand for drug dealing, so young people continued to supply illegal substances, being forced to take trains to city or town suburbs.

Professor Dave Walsh of DMU Law School said: “Before lockdown the drug runners were really hard to spot on the trains because too many people were using them.

“But during the first lockdown, trains were reduced in number, and there were also very few people on them.

“So the drug runners were easy pickings for two reasons: they were sticking out, as no one else was on the trains, plus there was more police spotting because the police were not doing other work, like policing the night time economy, as in lockdown there is no need for that type of policing.”

So the gangs’ supply methods were changed.

Research has now identified a preference by the criminals towards private and hired vehicles, with bulk deliveries to provincial areas.

Methods of delivery and payment have also adapted, for example with dealers refusing to accept cash and using local children as runners rather than children from outside the area.

“We found many adaptations like instead of making people travel regularly, they put them in budget hotels, or use delivery uniforms and supermarket uniforms to pose as someone who was expected to be seen on the street.

“They have also started dealing in supermarket carparks because they are still busy and are easier to blend in.

“Our ultimate aim is to help effect new practices for police and other professionals working to break up the county lines operators who have been quick to adapt to take advantage of the pandemic,” Professor Walsh added.

A team of academics from DMU School of Law is also working on new research to examine what difference the use of telephone or video calls, as opposed to face to face participation, has on the fairness and effectiveness of police interviews, carried out with witnesses, victims and suspects of crime.

DMU students respond to “travel window” as Leicester’s infection rate rises

By Isobel Rix

With the coronavirus infection rate rising in Leicester, students are doubtful the travel window will provide much relief.

Leicester is currently 16th highest in the country for COVID-19 cases per 100,000 of the population.

A tweet from the city council on Monday (NOV23) encouraged people to continue following the rules to bring the rate back down.

However, many of the city’s residents feel they have been vigilant in following the rules and have seen no significant difference.

A response to the tweet by Leicester City Council

The rate per 100,000 people has increased significantly over the past two months with Monday (NOV23) seeing 158 new cases.

The government student travel window lasts from December 3 to 9, with face to face teaching at de Montfort University for the winter term to finish by December 9 at the latest.

Matthew Childs, 20, a Journalism and Film Studies student, said: “I feel as if it [the travel window] is hard to manage.

“Since I live in a house I can’t imagine them waiting outside your house to make sure you’re leaving on the right day anyway, so I don’t think people will stick to it.”

Emma Savage, 21, a Dance student, said: “I don’t think people will pay attention to it [the travel window] because hearing from other people on my course they’re making their own way home on dates that they decide.

“We’ve been given an assessment on the day we’re supposed to be travelling home so people are even less likely to travel on the allocated day.”

Sceptical: Emma Savage wearing a mask, on her way to class

Georgia Sampson, 21, a Psychology with Criminology student, said: “I think the travel window is being used as a way for the government to say that they’ve done what they need to do so that they don’t have any blame on them.

“I think in practise it’s not actually going to work and, it’s okay in theory, but you’re making thousands of people travel on the same day, or use the trains on the same day, rather than filtering back as they would.”

New Fosse Park Specsavers store welcomes customers

by Khrista Davis

Leicester’s new branch of Specsavers opened it’s doors on Monday (NOV23) to the public.

The new optician is located inside Sainsbury’s at Leicester’s popular retail park, Fosse Park.

The store’s opening times are from 8am until 7pm Monday to Friday, 8am until 6.30pm on Saturday, and 9.30am until 4pm on Sunday.

Run as a joint venture partnership, this Specsavers is the largest store within a Sainsbury’s supermarket in the country.

As claimed by the team, the new store provides more flexibility for the Leicester community in terms of accessing eye and audiology care.

In line with COVID-19, store colleagues wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and face masks, all equipment and surfaces are sanitised.

This is in addition to obvious restrictions on the number of customers allowed into the store alongside social distancing, with card payments and not cash.

Appointments need to be booked in advance by calling 01164971560 or visiting www.specsavers.co.uk/stores/fosseparksainsburys.