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Michael Cheika accepts Wallabies coaching job

Sticking together: Michael Cheika with  current Wallabies captain Michael Hooper.

Sticking together: Michael Cheika with current Wallabies captain Michael Hooper. Photo: Getty Images

Michael Cheika has accepted a three-year offer to take on the Wallabies coaching job left vacant by the resignation of Ewen McKenzie.

A source close to Cheika confirmed he would take up the deal and was keen to bring in Stephen Larkham as an assistant coach and Michael Foley to work with the forwards.

A smiling Cheika, dressed in a Waratahs tracksuit top and black jeans, confirmed the offer when he spoke to the media out the front of Waratahs headquarters at Moore Park. “It’s  a pretty humbling experience to be asked to be involved in something like that, but we’ll see what happens,” Cheika  said.

Cheika is planning to remain in charge of the Waratahs next season and would like Larkham (Brumbies) and Foley (Force) to also stay at the helm of their respective provinces as he tries to build unity throughout the states for Australia’s 2015 World Cup campaign.

“There are a few things to be ironed out, obviously the logistics, etc … everything is so close. So we will see how it goes and work it out from there.”

Incoming: Michael Cheika.Incoming: Michael Cheika. Photo: Getty Images

Asked if he was excited about the opportunity, he said: “Who wouldn’t be excited in coaching [the Wallabies].”

Asked if the deal could be sealed before Friday when the team flies to Europe for its spring tour, Cheika said: “We’ll see how it happens.”

The strength of the Waratahs’ say in any deal between him and the ARU has grown markedly.

Cheika still has one year to serve on his  contract as Waratahs coach, so no agreement between the ARU and Cheika could be reached without the Waratahs’ approval – and on his and their full terms. Waratahs chief executive Jason Allen made that clear to Fairfax Media after he spoke with the ARU chief executive Bill Pulver on the telephone about matters he would not divulge.

With only a few days until the Wallabies fly out for their five-game tour, it is hard to imagine any discussion would not have something to do with pressing ARU matters. And for the ARU there is a mountain of those. They include officially appointing and naming a new coach and the new management structure Pulver said would be created before McKenzie resigned, approving and naming the Wallabies touring party initially scheduled for Tuesday, booking confirmed flights, and fine tuning arrangements for what is supposed to be a Wallabies celebration – the John Eales Medal dinner.

“I had a long chat with Bill about a number of things. I am not going to repeat what they were about,” Allen said. “All I will say is, if that were to eventuate with Michael Cheika [asked to coach the Wallabies], that’s the position of the Waratahs board.”

Asked what the Waratahs board position is, Allen said it remained as Waratahs chairman Roger Davis expressed last week.  “We would want him to coach us next season, so we are willing to work with the ARU on the solution and wouldn’t stop him obviously,” Allen said. “I know Roger said we would definitely support him in advancing his career. There is no doubt about it.”

Meanwhile, Allen said any loss of Cheika’s services to the Waratahs would only compound an already challenging number of issues  they have to resolve before the 2015 season.

Firstly, if Cheika left, there would be the cost factor of  a global search the Waratahs would have to execute to try and find the right person, at a time when there is not a flood of top available coaches. During that search, the Waratahs would then have to appoint an interim coach from one of their two assistants, in former Crusaders assistant and All Black Daryl Gibson or former Wallaby Nathan Grey.

With the Waratahs having won their first ever Super title, losing Cheika could also compromise their potential to win back to back titles – and with that, increased gate taking and sponsorship opportunities.

“From a board position, we are on the lookout for a new CEO, and a new manager of commercial and marketing,” said Allen, who will soon leave his position.

“[Finding] a head coach at this time of year … [it] would prove to be a little difficult to find a suitable candidate. It would be bloody tough … there are not too many coaches around at the moment.

“So we would want that … [having Cheika still at the Waratahs] would be our perfect solution.”

Allen was confident the ARU would recognise the Waratahs’ issues and work with them to find the best solution for all parties.

“We have a pretty good working relationship with the ARU. If it did go that way I am sure we would work something out,” Allen said.

“I don’t think it would be in the ARU’s interest to have any of the team put in a predicament where they are hanging off the edge. So surely there will be a sensible decision at the end of it.”

Asked if he is confident that that would happen if Cheika was offered the Wallabies job, he said: “Who knows. I am not a decision maker of the ARU. As my chairman has put out, they know our position.”

Asked if a subject of discussion in his conversation with Pulver was the Beale code of conduct tribunal, , Allen said: “No  mate …  Our position is loud and clear on Kurtley Beale.

“This is an ARU matter. Since it happened in an ARU period of time, we support an employee of ours — we support Kurtley – through this process.”


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October 21, 2014 Posted by | Australia | Leave a comment

2014 Maori All Blacks squad named

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2014 Maori All Blacks squad named

The Māori All Blacks squad to take on Japan next month was named in Wellington today and features 11 new caps.

The team will be captained by Chiefs midfield back Charlie Ngatai with Tasman loose forward Shane Christie as vice-captain.

While New Zealand Rugby has yet to receive official confirmation, the planned match in Singapore against the Asia Pacific Dragons on 15 November, will not proceed due to pitch issues at the National Stadium.

The squad for the Māori All Blacks 2014 Tour to Japan is:
iwi – Province

FORWARDS
Hookers
Joe Royal Te Arawa/Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei Bay of Plenty
Ash Dixon Ngāti Tahinga Hawke’s Bay
Codie Taylor* Ngāti Raukawa/Muaupoko Canterbury

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Chris Eves Tainui Manawatu
Mike Kainga* Ngāti Kahungunu Bay of Plenty
Nicholas Barrett Ngāti Kahungunu Auckland
Brendon Edmonds* Ngāti Kahungunu Hawke’s Bay
Locks
Tom Franklin* Ngāti Maniapoto Otago
Joseph Wheeler Ngāi Tahu Tasman

Loose forwards
Shane Christie (vc) Te Atihaunui a Paparangi Tasman
Blade Thomson Ngāpuhi Taranaki
Liam Squire Ngāi Tahu Tasman
Elliot Dixon Ngāpuhi Southland
Sean Polwart* Ngāti Pū/Ngāti Maru Auckland
Dan Pryor* Ngāpuhi/Ngāti Pikiao Northland

BACKS
Halfbacks
Jamison Gibson-Park Ngāti Porou/Ngā Tai Taranaki
Chris Smylie Ngāti Mutunga Taranaki

First five-eighths
Ihaia West Ngati Kahungunu/Ngāti Porou Hawke’s Bay
Marty McKenzie* Ngāti Tūwharetoa Taranaki

Midfield backs
Jason Emery* Ngāti Haua/Ngāti Maniapoto Manawatu
Charlie Ngatai (c) Ngāti Porou/Te Whanau-a-Apanui Taranaki
James Lowe* Ngāpuhi/Ngāi te Rangi Tasman

Outside backs
Matt Proctor Ngāpuhi/Ngāi te Rangi Wellington
Kurt Baker Ngāpuhi Taranaki
Joe Webber* Ngāti Ranginui Waikato
Nehe Milner-Skudder* Ngāti Porou/Tapuika Manawatu
Robbie Robinson Tūwharetoa/Ngāti Tahinga North Harbour

*new cap

The 27-strong squad departs for its first ever visit to Japan on Monday 27 October. The team plays Japan on Saturday, 1 November at Noevair Stadium, Kobe and on Saturday, 8 November at Prince Chichibu Stadium, Tokyo. Players not considered because of injury were Hika Elliott, Ben Afeaki and Luke Braid.

Coach Colin Cooper said he was pleased with the mix of youth and experience in the 2014 squad, which includes 16 players who took part in last year’s North American Tour.

“We have some exciting young players keen to make their mark like Joe Webber and Marty McKenzie who are capped for the first time, plus some very experienced older hands like Shane Christie and Elliot Dixon, so it’s a very well balanced side.

“The team has a proud legacy and an enviable record against national teams so I am sure all 27 players will be working hard to ensure this tour honours that legacy.

“We are very conscious that this team plays an important role in New Zealand Rugby’s high performance strategy so our selections are very much guided by that. We certainly see this tour as a valuable opportunity for players to show what they can do on the international stage.

“This tour will have its challenges – we know Japan will be keen to make the most of the two matches as it builds for Rugby World Cup 2015 and its recent successes show they cannot be taken lightly.

“I would like to thank New Zealand Rugby’s Major Global Sponsor AIG for helping to make this tour possible. Their support is helping us take our brand of rugby to new places and connect with more fans, as well providing exciting opportunities for young players to press for higher honours.”

24 year old Charlie Ngatai succeeds Tim Bateman as captain. Bateman is now playing offshore.

“This is a wonderful honour for Charlie and who has shown great maturity as a young player and certainly leads by example,” said Cooper. “He knows the team culture well and I am sure he will equip himself well in this important role.”

Ngatai has played for the Maori All Blacks on the past two tours.

“I’m really excited to lead this team,” he said. “We have a proud legacy and I am determined to do my best to ensure we honour the great teams and players that have gone before us during the three matches next month.”

Update on Singapore match
New Zealand Rugby was very disappointed the match against the Asia Pacific Dragons had to be cancelled.

“We feel somewhat let down that this has happened at this late stage,” said New Zealand Rugby General Manager Planning and Operations Nigel Cass.

“However, the safety of our players is paramount and we were unable to get the assurances we needed that the pitch was playable.

“We think Singapore has huge potential for rugby and we remain very keen to play our part in developing the game there. We are certainly committed to coming back at some point to play this important match and in the meantime hope to take some players there after Japan to undertake community and other activities.”

Māori All Blacks 2014 Tour to Japan (NZT)
1 November v Japan, Noevair Stadium, Kobe, 2.15pm (6.15pm)
8 November v Japan, Prince Chichibu Stadium, Tokyo, 2pm (6pm)

Watch the Māori All Blacks
• New Zealand – all matches live on SKY.
• Japan – J Sports


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October 21, 2014 Posted by | NZ Maori | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pacific rugby teams to challenge IRB in court


 Manu Samoa Assistant Coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia. Photo: PHOTOSPORTManu Samoa Assistant Coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia.

Three Pacific Island rugby unions are to challenge the International Rugby Board in court over a rule change on player eligibility.

Manu Samoa assistant coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia says he was disappointed when the IRB removed a rule which allowed a player from one country to play for another after representing the latter in one leg of the 7’s World Series.

Now players set to change allegiance must play in four legs in the series.

Namulauulu told Samoan Capital Radio that Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are preparing a court challenge to the rule change.

He says the change was inappropriate because the IRB did the move after applications for six players to play for Samoa had been submitted.

Two of those players were scheduled to represent Manu Samoa 7’s at the Gold Coast tournament last weekend in order to qualify for the national 15s.

The remaining players were to have turned out for the Samoa team at other tournaments.

Two of the players were also picked for Manu Samoa’s tour of Europe end of the year.

The Samoa Rugby Union is still hopeful that an IRB meeting would approve the allegiance switch of the six players.


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October 20, 2014 Posted by | International Rugby | , , , , | Leave a comment

All Blacks squad for MyRepublic Northern Tour

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All Blacks squad for MyRepublic Northern Tour
Strong side picked for Tests against USA, England, Scotland and Wales

The All Blacks selectors Steve Hansen, Ian Foster and Grant Fox have selected their squad for the four-Test MyRepublic Northern Tour against the USA, England, Scotland and Wales.

The All Blacks will play the four sides over respective weekends, with the first Test of the tour against the USA at Soldier Field, Chicago, on Saturday 1 November.

The squad is as follows: (with province and Test caps. New caps are in bold)

Forwards

Hookers
Dane Coles (Wellington, 24 Tests)
Nathan Harris (Bay of Plenty, 1)
Keven Mealamu (Auckland, 120)

Props
Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury, 33)
Charlie Faumuina (Auckland, 22)
Ben Franks (Hawke’s Bay, 37)
Owen Franks (Canterbury, 63)
Joe Moody (Canterbury, 5)

Locks
Brodie Retallick (Bay of Plenty, 33)
Luke Romano (Canterbury, 16)
Jeremy Thrush (Wellington, 4)
Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland, 5)
Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury, 60)

Loose Forwards
Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty, 21)
Jerome Kaino (Auckland, 54)
Richie McCaw – captain (Canterbury, 134)
Liam Messam (Waikato, 35)
Kieran Read (Canterbury, 69)
Victor Vito (Wellington, 24)

Backs

Halfbacks
TJ Perenara (Wellington, 7)
Augustine Pulu (Counties Manukau *)
Aaron Smith (Manawatu, 36)

First five-eighths
Beauden Barrett (Taranaki, 25)
Daniel Carter (Canterbury, 100)
Aaron Cruden (Manawatu, 35)

Midfielders
Ryan Crotty (Canterbury, 9)
Malakai Fekitoa (Auckland, 6)
Conrad Smith (Wellington, 83)
Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau, 19)

Outside backs
Israel Dagg (Hawke’s Bay, 43)
Cory Jane (Wellington 52)
Charles Piutau (Auckland, 11)
Julian Savea (Wellington, 28)
Ben Smith (Otago, 35)

The squad features the return of four recent All Blacks, including world rugby’s leading points scorer Daniel Carter, who missed the All Blacks’ recent victorious Investec Rugby Championship campaign through injury. Loose forward Victor Vito also returns to the team after being out since the Steinlager Series in June with injury.

The squad also sees midfielder Sonny Bill Williams return to the national side. Williams returned to New Zealand rugby with his Counties Manukau ITM Cup provincial side earlier this month after two seasons away from the game. Williams, who last played for the All Blacks in 2012, has inked deals with New Zealand Rugby and the Chiefs for the 2015-2016 seasons.

Lock Luke Romano also returns to the national side after a long injury layoff.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said it was decided to include Romano as a 34th player as the selectors felt, with a limited number of Tests next year before the Rugby World Cup, and given he had been out of the game for a while, it was important to bring him back into the group and up to speed with the All Blacks strategies and skillsets.

Another feature is the inclusion of halfback Augustine Pulu, who has been named in his first official All Blacks squad, after being called into the All Blacks as an injury replacement for last weekend’s Bledisloe Cup Test preparations.

“I want to congratulate all those who have been selected and also commiserate with the unlucky players who haven’t made it this time. It was a very hard team to select, more because of the depth we have, rather than people not being good enough to make it,” Hansen said.

The positional split for the squad sees 19 forwards selected (three hookers, five props, five locks and six loose forwards) and 15 backs (three halfbacks, three first five-eighths, four midfielders and five outside backs).

The All Blacks squad will again be led by the All Blacks’ most capped player, long-time captain and openside flanker Richie McCaw, who will be making his 11th tour to Europe. The squad has a combined total of 1,249 Test caps experience and, as well as McCaw, features three of the other most capped All Blacks of all-time in their position: hooker Keven Mealamu, first five-eighth Daniel Carter and centre Conrad Smith.

Three players, halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow, midfielder Ma’a Nonu and prop Tony Woodcock, were not available for selection because of injuries.

The squad features a spread of Super Rugby representation and is made up of three Highlanders players, 10 Crusaders, nine Hurricanes, seven Chiefs and five Blues while provincial representation is led by Canterbury (nine players) with Wellington (seven), Auckland (six), Bay of Plenty (three), Counties Manukau, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu (two); and Waikato, Taranaki and Otago (one).

Looking at the tour ahead, Hansen said the squad was looking forward to kicking off the MyRepublic Northern Tour with the historic Test match against the USA Eagles.

“It’s going to be an exciting week in Chicago as we build up for the match at Soldier Field. It’s somewhere different for the team which will be stimulating, the match is sold out, which is fantastic, and we are looking forward to showing American rugby fans what the All Blacks are all about.

“The England Test match the following week is going to be massive. We have already played them three times this year and we are their first opponent at home in what will be a big Series for them and they will be looking to put a stake in the ground, as will we.

“Scotland and Wales will then offer their own unique challenges in the second half of the Tour.”

Hansen said the MyRepublic Northern Tour would provide his side with the opportunity to develop ideas on several fronts.

“As a team, it gives us the opportunity to develop our game and test it against a different opponent each week. We can also grow the players through their game time and training. And finally, without losing sight of the task at hand, it gives us the opportunity to road-test a few things ahead of Rugby World Cup.”

Hansen also said extra management staff would come on Tour and was a reflection of the numbers of management that would be going to the RWC. He said it would give those staff the experience of touring, and an extra opportunity to work with the players and existing management.

The All Blacks squad assembles in Auckland this Sunday for the flight to Chicago.

All Blacks Management – MyRepublic Northern Tour

Darren Shand – Manager
Steve Hansen – Head Coach / Selector
Ian Foster – Assistant Coach / Selector
Grant Fox – Selector
Gilbert Enoka – Assistant Manager
Mike Cron – Forwards Coach
Mick Byrne – Skills Coach
Brian “Aussie” McLean – Analyst
Alistair Rogers – Performance Analyst
Dr Tony Page – Doctor
Peter Gallagher – Physiotherapist
George Duncan – Manual Therapist
Dr Nic Gill – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Katrina Darry – Nutritionist
Kevin “Chalky” Carr – Logistics Manager
Joe Locke – Media Manager
Bianca Thiel – Team Services Manager

All Blacks support staff

Don Tricker – High Performance Manager
Jason Healy – Performance Analysis Manager
Mike Anthony – High Performance Player Development Manager

MyRepublic Northern Tour – All Blacks Tests

1. United States (Soldier Field, Chicago, 2.50PM, Saturday 1 November)
2. England (Twickenham, London, 2.30PM, Saturday 8 November)
3. Scotland (Murrayfield, Edinburgh, 5.30PM, Saturday 15 November)
4. Wales (Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, 5.30PM, Saturday 22 November)


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October 20, 2014 Posted by | New Zealand | , , , , , | Leave a comment

International Rugby – Weekend Results Wrap

With the conclusion of the Bledisloe Cup Series for 2014 and the dramatic final seconds 29-28 victory to the the All Blacks over the Wallabies the focus now is the European Nations Cup 2014-16 as the teams of Europe begin their new campaigns under the guise of the newly created “Rugby Europe” organisation , formerly FIRA-AER.

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We begin our look back at the past week end with video from the Europe 2 ENC

2014-16 European Nations Cup – Details
ANDORRA 15-34 LITHUANIA

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2014-16 European Nations Cup – Details

POLAND  9-8 NETHERLANDS

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2014-16 European Nations Cup – Details

SLOVENIA 48-3 SERBIA

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2014-16 European Nations Cup

NORWAY 20-12 FINLAND

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2014-16 European Nations Cup
SWEDEN 00-45 UKRAINE

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Jaguars retain Americas Rugby Championship

Jaguars retain Americas Rugby Championship Argentina Jaguars retained the Americas Rugby Championship trophy after Wednesday’s bonus-point win over local rivals Uruguay. Photo: Judy Teasdale

By Frankie Deges, at the Westhills Stadium, Langford

Argentina Jaguars maintained their unbeaten record in the Americas Rugby Championship with a 31-9 bonus-point win against a plucky Uruguayan side at the Westhills Stadium on Wednesday night. Given that USA Select failed to pick up a bonus point in their tight 16-3 win against hosts Canada, the South Americans retain the trophy for a fourth consecutive year, again, with a round to spare.

Going into Sunday’s finale the Jaguars cannot be caught at the top of the table as they boast a maximum 10 points from 10, with Canada and USA Select on four points while Uruguay have yet to open their account. Los Teros could still make it a South American one-two and finish second to Argentina, though, if they score four tries or more in a win over USA Select and keep the Eagles’ development team pointless and the Jaguars v Canada A result goes their way.

The Jaguars’ 31-9, four-try victory over Uruguay did not come easy; their last two tries were scored in the final five minutes. And it was only when they returned to their hotel to prepare for Sunday’s fixture that they realised they had done enough to be crowned champions.

Fast start

It all started very easily for the Jaguars with speedy winger Franco Sábato touching down within 25 seconds of kick-off for Román Miralles to convert. Soon after another touchdown was called back for an infringement that could have sealed the game within the opening 10 minutes.

Uruguay gradually found their shape and two penalties by 20-year old Manuel Blengio, one of four players that played in this year’s IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in Hong Kong, got them back into the match. As the first half drew to a close, and despite having a man in the sin-bin, the Jaguars managed to score a converted try after a direct run by centre Joaquín Paz and a penalty by Miralles.

Uruguay dug in after the break and made life difficult for their opponents, scoring the only points of the half until the final five minutes through a third penalty  At that point the Jaguars found their stride again, having used their bench to good effect, and scored two late tries through Guido Petti and Tomás Lezana.

Post-match, there were differing views from the changing rooms. Argentine captain Rodrigo Báez was not happy with the display of his team. “We were not able to play the style we want to play. Uruguay was very good at spoiling and the ball was slippery. We were untidy,” he concluded.

But his counterpart Francisco Bulanti was pleased with his team’s efforts. “We got together three weeks ago and there are many young players; to play the way we did shows that we have a good young generation of players,” he said.

Stanfill double delight

Soon after, one of the biggest rivalries in rugby history wrote a new chapter. Countless errors made for a scrappy encounter between hosts Canada A and USA Select, one which neither side would have taken much satisfaction from.

USA Select were superior throughout and uncapped winger Tim Stanfill scored the only tries of the match with one in each half.The first came in the 10th minute when quick ball gave him time and space on the left to go over and hand his side a 5-0 lead. A 50-metre penalty from USA’s Adam Siddall provided the only other points of a stop-start first half.

Four minutes after the restart USA Select were reduced to 14 men when Andrew Suniula was yellow-carded for a high tackle, and Canada’s Gordon McRorie put two earlier penalty misses behind him to nail the resulting three-pointer.

USA Select scored their second try a couple of minutes after a Siddall penalty had cannoned back off the upright, Stanfill picking up loose ball to race home from 40 metres out.

A second Siddall penalty concluded the scoring, with Canada’s hopes of staging a comeback stymied by Ryan Hamilton’s late yellow card.

“We know that when we play Canada it will be physical; it was scrappy but we are happy with the win,” said USA Select captain Phil Thiel. “That’s now three wins in the row against them in the Americas Rugby Championship which is great for us.”

Canada’s Gordon McRorie added: “Our goal was to win three out of three in this tournament. We will have to work on our game and our mistakes.”

Results

Saturday October 10
USA Select 14-41 Argentina Jaguars
Canada A 20-6 Uruguay

Wednesday October 15
Uruguay 9-31 Argentina Jaguars
Canada A 3-16 USA Select

Sunday October 18
Uruguay v USA Select
Canada A v Argentina Jaguars


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October 20, 2014 Posted by | International Rugby | Leave a comment

RESULT | Bledisloe #3 – Australia 28 v 29 New Zealand

RESULT: BLEDISLOE CUP #3
Australia 28 v 29 New Zealand @Suncorp Stadium Brisbane

2928ausnzl
bledisloe1
Australia – 28
Tries : A.Ashley-Cooper (42), B.Foley (38), N.Phipps (11)
Penalties: N.White (76) , B.Foley (58,32)
Cons : B.Foley (43,13)

New Zealand – 29
Tries : M.ekitoa (80) A.Smith (69), D.Coles (34), C.Jane (14)
Penalties : B.Barrett (53)
Cons : C.Slade (81) , B.Barrett (70,15)
Yellow Card: P.Tuipulotu (59)

Australia 28-29 New Zealand: Late drama in Bledisloe Cup clash as Colin Slade’s conversion after Fekitoa try hands All Blacks victory

The All Blacks have broken the hearts of the Wallabies scoring a 29-28 win after the siren at Lang Park.

Trailing 28-22 the All Blacks scored in the dying seconds of Saturday night’s Test match through centre Malakai Fekitoa before Colin Slade converted after the siren to give New Zealand a one-point victory.

The Wallabies had led for much of the match and jumped to a 22-12 early in the second half after winger Adam Ashley-Cooper, playing in his 100th Test, crossed for a converted try.

The All Blacks narrowed the margin with a penalty goal to Beauden Barrett in the 54th minute before Bernard Foley added one himself four minutes later to take the score to 25-15.

The All Blacks lost interchange forward Patrick Tuipulotu for 10 minutes after he was ruled to take out the legs of Wallabies lock Rob Simmons at the kick-off in the 59th minute.

But with one man down New Zealand rallied and put pressure on the Wallabies’ line before scrum half Aaron Smith dived over for a try that was coverted by Beauden Barrett.

Replacement scrum half Nic White kicked a long-range penalty with three minutes to go to give the Wallabies a 28-22 lead but the All Blacks rallied at the end to steal the victory.

Malakai Fekitoa (right) scored a late try to pull the All Blacks back within a point, then Colin Slade kicked a last minute conversion

Bernard Foley celebrates scoring Australia's second try in the Bledisloe Cup match with New Zealand in Brisbane

Australia's Nick Phipps bundles over the line to score their first try in the Bledisloe Cup encounter at the Suncorp Stadium

 

 


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October 18, 2014 Posted by | Australia, New Zealand | , , | Leave a comment

Head to Head Previews – Lochore/Meads Cup Semi Finals

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MEADS CUP

BULLER@2x-pwg1kuxb.HOROWHENUAKAPITI@2x-v12vam1m.

BULLER v HOROWHENUA KAPITI

Westport 2:30pm

coastfmlogo

Click Coastfm.net.nz

Saturday 18 October, 2.30pm at Victoria Square, Westport
Played: 7, 2008-2014 | Horowhenua Kapiti wins: 1 | Buller wins: 5 | Draw: 1
Last match: Buller 19 Horowhenua Kapiti 13, 27.09.14 in Westport (HC)
Last Horo-Kapiti win: Horo-Kapiti 17 Buller 13, 29.08.08 in Westport (HC)
Biggest Horowhenua Kapiti score: 17 (17-13), 29.08.08 in Westport (HC)
Biggest Buller score: 34 (34-16), 29.09.12 in Westport (HC)
Biggest margin: Buller by 18 (34-16), 29.09.12 in Westport (HC)

POVERTYMIDCANTERBURY

POVERTY BAY v MID CANTERBURY

Gisborne 2.30pm

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Click irirangi.net

Saturday 18 October, 2.30pm at Rugby Park, Gisborne
Played: 5, 2006-2013 (DNP 2014 RR) | Mid Cant wins: 2 | Poverty Bay wins: 3
Last match: Mid Canterbury 31 Poverty Bay 12, 24.08.13 in Ashburton (HC)
Last Poverty Bay win: Poverty Bay 8 Mid Cant 6, 20.08.11 in Patutahi (HC)
Biggest Mid Canterbury score: 31 (31-12), 24.08.13 in Ashburton (HC)
Biggest Poverty Bay score: 25 (25-20), 28.08.10 in Ashburton
Biggest margin: Mid Canterbury by 19, (31-12), 24.08.13 in Ashburton (HC)

LOCHORE CUP

KINGCOUNTRY wang_new2

KING COUNTRY v WANGANUI

Saturday 18 October, 2.30pm at Rugby Park, Te Kuiti
Played: 8, 2006-2014 | Wanganui wins: 5 | King Country wins: 2 | Draws: 1
Last match: King Country 30 Wanganui 29, 11.10.14 in Te Kuiti (HC)
Last Wanganui win: Wanganui 22 King Country 19, 13.10.12 in Te Kuiti (HC)
Biggest Wanganui score: 52 (52-22), 18.09.10 in Taupo (P)
Biggest King Country score: 30 (30-29), 11.10.14 in Te Kuiti (HC)
Biggest margin: Wanganui by 30 (52-22), 18.09.10 in Taupo (P)

SOUTHCANTERBURY NORTHOTAGO

SOUTH CANTERBURY v NORTH OTAGO

Saturday 18 October, 2.30pm at Alpine Energy Stadium, Timaru
Played: 9, 2006-2014 | North Otago wins: 5 | South Canterbury wins: 4
Last match: North Otago 22 South Canterbury 19, 27.09.14 in Dunedin (HC)
Last South Cant win: South Cant 21 North Otago 15, 31.08.13 in Timaru (HC)
Biggest North Otago score: 43 (43-14), 02.10.10 in Oamaru (MC)
Biggest South Canterbury score: 52 (52-37), 15.09.12 in Oamaru (HC)
Biggest margin: North Otago by 30 (36-6), 23.09.06 in Oamaru (MC)

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October 18, 2014 Posted by | Heartland Championship | | Leave a comment

MyRepublic backing All Blacks on Northern Tour

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MyRepublic backing All Blacks on Northern Tour

 Internet provider MyRepublic is the new title sponsor for the All Blacks four match  Northern Tour.

The MyRepublic Northern Tour kicks-off with the historic Test against the USA Eagles in Chicago on 1 November followed by matches against England, Scotland and Wales.

The company, which also operates in Singapore, recently launched in New Zealand and aims to unleash the potential of fibre broadband for households throughout New Zealand.

“We are really excited to be partnering with a technology company and warmly welcome MyRepublic to the All Blacks sponsorship group,” said New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew.

“MyRepublic is a smart and innovative company, bringing a fresh competitive edge to the rapidly changing internet market. The All Blacks likewise are a sharp and dynamic team always looking for a new edge in a highly competitive game so we think this is a great fit.

“The MyRepublic Northern Tour is an important stepping stone in the All Blacks’ preparation for Rugby World Cup 2015 so this is an exciting time for MyRepublic to partner with the team.”

“When we looked at partnerships, the All Blacks stood out with their incredible record, constant innovation and drive to deliver the ultimate performance on and off the field,” said MyRepublic Managing Director, Vaughan Baker.  “It became an obvious choice to enter into such a relationship as part of our launch in New Zealand.

“Our two organisations are a perfect fit, aligned through common goals and aspirations.

Full credit must go to New Zealand Rugby for recognising this and providing us with the chance to come on board.”

The All Blacks squad for the MyRepublic Northern Tour will be announced on Monday 20 October.

About MyRepublic
MyRepublic is purpose-built for the ultra-fast national broadband platforms available in Singapore and New Zealand.

MyRepublic was founded to challenge attitudes on the importance of customer experience, products and pricing.

Whether it concerns service reliability or superior support, MyRepublic looks to do things differently if it means doing it better, empowering consumers with greater choice and control over their online experience.


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October 17, 2014 Posted by | New Zealand | , , | Leave a comment

All Blacks team for Brisbane Test against Australia

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All Blacks team for Brisbane Test against Australia

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The All Blacks team to play Australia in the third Bledisloe Cup Test of the year has been named.

The Test will be played at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, this Saturday 18 October. (Kick-off: 7.05PM QLD time, 10.05PM NZT.)

The starting XV features two changes from the front row which started the Test against South Africa 12 days ago, with Dane Coles starting at hooker and prop Wyatt Crockett coming back from injury at loosehead prop. Lock Brodie Retallick also returns from injury to the second row and Liam Messam is at blindside flanker. The backline features just one change, with Cory Jane coming in for the rested Ben Smith on the right wing.

On the reserves bench, Patrick Tuipulotu has been named at reserve lock, Sam Cane comes in as loose forward cover, TJ Perenara is reserve halfback and Charles Piutau comes in to cover the outside backs.

The team is (with Test caps in brackets):

Starting XV:bledisloe1
1. Wyatt Crockett (32)
2. Dane Coles (23)
3. Owen Franks (63)
4. Brodie Retallick (32)
5. Samuel Whitelock (59)
6. Liam Messam (35)
7. Richie McCaw (captain) (133)
8. Kieran Read (68)
9. Aaron Smith (35)
10. Beauden Barrett (25)
11. Julian Savea (28)
12. Malakai Fekitoa (6)
13. Conrad Smith (82)
14. Cory Jane (51)
15. Israel Dagg (42)
Reserves:
16. Keven Mealamu (119)
17. Ben Franks (37)
18. Charlie Faumuina (22)
19. Patrick Tuipulotu (3)
20. Sam Cane (19)
21. TJ Perenara (6)
22. Colin Slade (14)
23. Charles Piutau (10)

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “There is a real sense of determination in the team this week to prepare well and put in a quality performance on the weekend.

There were some aspects of our game in the loss to South Africa that we weren’t happy with and we have worked hard on addressing those this week.

There is always an expectation that when you pull on the All Blacks jersey, that individually and collectively as a team, you will play well and this week is no different.”

Highlights
* Keven Mealamu looks set to play his 120th Test for the All Blacks from the bench, while Sam Whitelock will play his 60th.
* Beauden Barrett has scored 94 points for the All Blacks and looks set to surpass Kieran Crowley’s record of 105 points as the highest scoring All Black from Taranaki.
* Brodie Retallick will play his 100th game of first-class rugby.
* The All Blacks and Australia have played each other 151 times with 103 wins to the All Blacks, 41 victories to Australia and seven draws.

The two previous matches against Australia this year saw the two teams draw 12-12 in the first Test in Sydney in August and the All Blacks win 51-20 in the second Test in Auckland.


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October 16, 2014 Posted by | Australia, New Zealand | , | Leave a comment

Jones names squad to take on Maori, Romania and Georgia

Jones names squad to take on Maori, Romania and Georgia

TOKYO (Oct. 14) – Japan coach Eddie Jones named four uncapped players Tuesday for Japan’s two games and two tests in November.

A Japan XV host the Maori All Blacks in Kobe on Nov. 1 and then in Tokyo a week later before Jones and the players fly to Europe to play test matches against Romania on Nov. 15 and Georgia on Nov. 23.

With eight senior players missing through injury – or in Fumiaki Tanaka’s case selection for the Barbarians – Jones said this was the ideal time for some young players to raise their hands for selection for Rugby World Cup 2015.

“It is fantastic timing for this to happen as it will really test our depth and is a fantastic opportunity for those who have not been in the 23 to show us whether they are capable of being in the 31-man squad for the World Cup.”

No. 8 Amanaki Lelei Mafi, props Keita Inagaki and Shinnosuke Kakinaga and wing Karne Hesketh are the uncapped players in the 30-man squad, which will be captained by Michael Leitch.

Scrumhalf Yuki Yatomi and hooker Ryuhei Arita also return to the international fold, having last played for their country in 2009 and 2012, respectively.

“Everything we do now is geared towards the World Cup,” said Jones. “It is best for the injured seven that they stay at home in November and get ready for the World Cup. And it’s a great opportunity for the others to come in and prove where we are.”

Jones said he was expecting the home games to be very different from the two games in Europe. But he was hoping the results would be the same.

“The Maori are a free-running unstructured team, while Romania and Georgia are the exact opposite,” he said. “We may have prioritized the World Cup ahead of short-term results, but our target is still to win the next four games.”


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October 14, 2014 Posted by | Georgia, Japan, NZ Maori, Romania | Leave a comment

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