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All Blacks named for Investec Rugby Championship

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The All Blacks selectors, Steve Hansen, Ian Foster and Grant Fox, have today named a squad balanced with experience and youth for the 2014 Investec Rugby Championship.

The squad is as follows: (with province, Super Rugby team and Test caps).

Forwards:

Hookers
Dane Coles Wellington / Hurricanes (18)
Keven Mealamu Auckland / Blues (113)

Props
Wyatt Crockett Canterbury / Crusaders (27)
Charlie Faumuina Auckland / Blues (20)
Ben Franks Hawke’s Bay / Hurricanes (31)
Owen Franks Canterbury / Crusaders (57)
Tony Woodcock North Harbour / Blues (110)

Locks
Dominic Bird Canterbury / Crusaders (1)
Brodie Retallick Bay of Plenty / Chiefs (27)
Patrick Tuipulotu Auckland / Blues (2)
Samuel Whitelock Canterbury / Crusaders (54)

Loose forwards
Sam Cane Bay of Plenty / Chiefs (14)
Jerome Kaino Auckland / Blues (51)
Steven Luatua Auckland / Blues (11)
Richie McCaw (c) Canterbury / Crusaders (127)
Liam Messam Waikato / Chiefs (32)
Kieran Read Canterbury / Crusaders (62)

Backs:

Halfbacks
Tawera Kerr-Barlow Waikato / Chiefs (14)
TJ Perenara Wellington/ Hurricanes (3)
Aaron Smith Manawatu / Highlanders (29)

First five-eighths
Beauden Barrett Taranaki / Hurricanes (19)
Daniel Carter Canterbury / Crusaders (100)
Aaron Cruden Manawatu / Chiefs (32)

Midfielders
Malakai Fekitoa Auckland / Highlanders (2)
Ma’a Nonu Wellington / Blues (91)
Conrad Smith Wellington / Hurricanes (77)

Outside backs
Israel Dagg Hawke’s Bay / Crusaders (39)
Cory Jane Wellington / Hurricanes (48)
Charles Piutau Auckland / Blues (10)
Ben Smith Otago / Highlanders (29)
Julian Savea Wellington/ Hurricanes (22)

Crusaders and Canterbury prop Joe Moody has also been brought in as an injury replacement for Tony Woodcock who will miss the start of the Investec Rugby Championship with a shoulder injury.

The 31-strong squad, which will again be captained by the All Blacks indomitable, regular skipper Richie McCaw, features the return of the world’s leading Test points scorer Daniel Carter, who is back in the national side after his extended break; and the return of Blues and Auckland outside back Charles Piutau and Chiefs and Bay of Plenty loose forward Sam Cane, who both missed the recent Steinlager Series against England through injury.

Chiefs and Bay of Plenty hooker Nathan Harris will assemble with the All Blacks for the domestic part of the season as part of his ongoing hooker “apprenticeship” with the national side.

Players from this year’s Steinlager Series squad who have missed out on selection are the Crusaders and Canterbury trio of Colin Slade, Ryan Crotty and Matt Todd, while Hurricanes and Wellington loose forward Victor Vito and Crusaders and Canterbury lock Luke Romano were not considered for selection due to injury.

The squad is made up of 17 forwards (two hookers, five props, four locks and six loose forwards) and 14 backs (three halfbacks, three first five-eighths, three midfielders and five outside backs) and has a combined total of 1,272 Test caps (757 in the forwards and 515 in the backs) and an average age of 26.

The All Blacks squad will assemble on Wednesday this week for a two-day camp on Auckland’s North Shore minus the eight players in the Crusaders, who will be preparing for this weekend’s Super Rugby Final. In their absence, a number of other players will be brought into the camp: hookers Harris and the Hurricanes’ Motu Matu’u; props Pauliasi Manu from the Chiefs and Highlander Kane Hames; Hurricanes lock Jeremy Thrush; loose forwards Liam Squire from the Chiefs and Shane Christie from the Highlanders.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said the selectors had faced a difficult task in trimming the squad down to 31.

“In doing so, we had to leave out players who are performing at a very, very high level and they could consider themselves unlucky not to be selected. But while we feel for those guys, unfortunately, we have to make the hard decisions.”

Hansen also said the selectors had been hugely impressed with the way the All Blacks players had been playing in the last month for their Investec Super Rugby teams and it augured well for the Investec Rugby Championship.

“We are now looking forward to bringing the players together and building on the progress we made in the Steinlager Series against England.

“The Investec Rugby Championship gives us the next opportunity to see where we are at and it doesn’t get much bigger than back-to-back Bledisloe Cup Tests to kick it off.

“It’s going to be another intense competition. South Africa and Australia are ranked second and third in the world and both had successful June Test series, while Argentina will again bring the physicality and passion which we know they are renowned for. They will also bring the knowledge and experience which comes from playing in The Rugby Championship and we are expecting them to improve further.”

The squad features representation across all New Zealand’s Investec Super Rugby teams with three Highlanders players, eight Crusaders, seven Hurricanes, five Chiefs and eight Blues, while ten provinces are represented, led by Auckland and Canterbury (seven players each) with Wellington (six); Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu (two each); and Taranaki, North Harbour and Otago (one each).

Following the two-day camp this week, the All Blacks will re-assemble in Auckland on Thursday 7 August to prepare for the opening Test of the competition, the Bledisloe Cup clash against Australia in Sydney on Saturday 16 August.

The Investec Rugby Championship – All Blacks Tests
1. Australia (ANZ Stadium, Sydney, 8.05PM, Saturday 16 August)
2. Australia (Eden Park, Auckland, 7.35PM, Saturday 23 August)
3. Argentina (McLean Park, Napier, 7.35PM, Saturday 6 September)
4. South Africa (Westpac Stadium, Wellington, 7.35PM, Saturday 13 September)
5. Argentina (Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata, 7.10PM, Sat 27 September)
6. South Africa (Ellis Park, Johannesburg, 5.05PM, Saturday 4 October)

All Blacks – The Highlights

* Since the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks have played 31 Tests, with 29 wins, one draw and one loss, for a winning record of 95 percent.

* The All Blacks head in to the Investec Rugby Championship on the back of an unbeaten season last year and a three-Test Steinlager Series victory over England in June.

* The All Blacks have won The Rugby Championship for the past two years, held The Bledisloe Cup (played between New Zealand and Australia) since 2003 and The Freedom Cup (played between New Zealand and South Africa) since 2010.

Story Source : allblacks.com


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July 28, 2014 Posted by | New Zealand, Rugby Championship | Leave a comment

Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens |Day 2 Results

Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens

Commonwealth Games 2014

Commonwealth Games 2014

45 GAMES. 16 TEAMS. 1 GOLD

South Africa stun New Zealand for sevens gold

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Tries from Seabelo Senatla (2) and Cecil Afrika, one converted by Branco du Preez, were enough for the Springboks to inflict a first-ever Commonwealth defeat on the previously all-conquering All Blacks.

New Zealand, who were on a winning streak of 30 Commonwealth matches that stretched back to a Jonah Lomu-inspired side that won gold in the inaugural tournament in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, scored two tries through Sherwin Stowers and Joe Webber, Gillies Kaka nailing one conversion.

In front of 171,000 raucous spectators over four sessions, the tournament was again a massive boost for the abbreviated form of 15-a-side union that makes its Olympic debut in Rio in 2016.

“This feeling is the greatest,” said key Springbok playmaker Afrika. “We as South Africans are so proud. Rugby is our national sport, we always strive to be the best in the world.

“The Commonwealth Games is a one-off tournament. As a squad we want to take this forward to the Rio Olympics. I know we have made the people back home proud.”

New Zealand skipper DJ Forbes was magnanimous in defeat, saying: “It’s disappointing. For maybe 10 or 11 minutes of that 20-minute final we were just a little bit off pace.

“They put pressure on us but we had a chance to win the game. But it didn’t go to plan and that’s rugby.

“We are part of the legacy that has gone before us — we’d never been beaten. As a country we have a lot of chances to win medals but as a New Zealand rugby player it is disappointing to come second.”

In a hard-fought opening, full international Cornal Hendricks threatened for South Africa, while Afrika did well to track back and knock the ball out of a fast-advancing Kiwi wingman Ben Lam down the right.

The ‘Boks were then dealt a blow when influential skipper Kyle Brown was replaced after just two minutes with nasty-looking shoulder injury.

Kwagga Smith snagged down Lam straight after, but New Zealand skipper DJ Forbes was in support and laid off Stowers with a pass back inside, Kaka converting.

Bryce Heem was then yellow carded for stupidly kicking the ball away after the South Africans won a penalty pressing in the New Zealand 22m area, handing the ‘Boks a golden opportunity to capitalise.

But it was Lam who broke away after some teak-tough defence, scragged down by Branco du Preez.

New Zealand were caught napping after trying to run the clock down to half-time with Heem off the pitch.

A smart turnover by Senatla immediately put the South Africans on the front foot against an absentee midfield defence, the flyer getting up and latching on to the final pass from Afrika for a try under the posts.

Senatla got his second after the break, pressure building after a superb tackle and turnover by Afrika, Frankie Horne with a nice feint and offload out wide. Du Preez missed the conversion.

South Africa had their tails up, Chris Dry and Hendricks hitting the Kiwis hard in the tackle, and when Warren Wheatley turned over Forbes, Dry popped the ball to the supporting Afrika who scampered away for a try in the corner.

Unconverted, the score stood at 17-7, but just when the crowd thought it was all over, Kiwi Declan O’Donnell broke down the wing and managed to get a pass inside to Webber, who dotted down but missed the conversion.

Bok replacement Justin Geduld spilled the ball forward in a costly mistake with less than minute to play, but he was saved from embarrassment as from the resulting scrum Stowers did the same thing in midfield to hand South Africa a historic victory.

Australia were always in control against Samoa in the bronze medal match, two first-half tries by impressive flyer Greg Jeloudev setting them nicely en route to a comprehensive 24-0 victory.

Queensland Reds’ Liam Gill crashed over for a third try shortly after the break, and Con Foley’s great tap tackle on Afa Aiono kept the South Sea islanders pointless, Wallaby replacement Sam Myers crossing for a fourth late try.

RESULTS DAY 2

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July 28, 2014 Posted by | Commonwealth Games 7s | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens |Day 1 Results

Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens

Commonwealth Games 2014

Commonwealth Games 2014

45 GAMES. 16 TEAMS. 1 GOLD

com7aPreliminaries
Pool A
26 Jul 10:32 New Zealand 39
Canada 00
26 Jul 12:50 Canada 68
Barbados 05
26 Jul 13:56 New Zealand 17
Scotland 14
26 Jul 18:02 Scotland 56
Barbados 00
26 Jul 20:20 New Zealand 59
Barbados 00
26 Jul 21:04 Canada 05
Scotland 21
Pool B
26 Jul 11:16 Kenya 28
Cook Islands 00
26 Jul 12:22 South Africa 36
Trinidad&Tobago 00
26 Jul 14:40 Cook Islands 33
Trinidad&Tobago 10
26 Jul 19:30 South Africa 50
Cook Islands 00
26 Jul 19:52 Kenya 35
Trinidad&Tobago 05
26 Jul 22:10 South Africa 20
Kenya 00
Pool C
26 Jul 11:38 Samoa 33
Papua N Guinea 14
26 Jul 12:00 Wales 52
Malaysia 00
26 Jul 14:18 Papua N Guinea 36
Malaysia 07
26 Jul 18:46 Wales 29
Papua N Guinea 07
26 Jul 19:08 Samoa 54
Malaysia 00
26 Jul 21:26 Samoa 19
Wales 12
Pool D
26 Jul 10:54 Australia 62
Sri Lanka 07
26 Jul 13:12 Australia 43
Uganda 05
26 Jul 13:34 England 57
Sri Lanka 00
26 Jul 18:24 England 40
Uganda 00
26 Jul 20:42 Sri Lanka 14
Uganda 17
26 Jul 21:48 England 07
Australia 15

com7aStandings

  • Pool A Standings
    Team MP MW MT ML For Ag Di Pts
    New Zealand 3 3 0 0 115 14 101 9
    Scotland 3 2 0 1 91 22 69 7
    Canada 3 1 0 2 73 65 8 5
    Barbados 3 0 0 3 5 183 -178 3
  • Pool B Standings
    Team MP MW MT ML For Ag Di Pts
    South Africa 3 3 0 0 106 0 106 9
    Kenya 3 2 0 1 63 25 38 7
    Cook Islands 3 1 0 2 33 88 -55 5
    Trinidad&Tobago 3 0 0 3 15 104 -89 3
  • Pool C Standings
    Team MP MW MT ML For Ag Di Pts
    Samoa 3 3 0 0 106 26 80 9
    Wales 3 2 0 1 93 26 67 7
    Papua N Guinea 3 1 0 2 57 69 -12 5
    Malaysia 3 0 0 3 7 142 -135 3
  • Pool D Standings
    Team MP MW MT ML For Ag Di Pts
    Australia 3 3 0 0 120 19 101 9
    England 3 2 0 1 104 15 89 7
    Uganda 3 1 0 2 22 97 -75 5
    Sri Lanka 3 0 0 3 21 136 -115 3

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July 27, 2014 Posted by | Commonwealth Games 7s | , | Leave a comment

Super Rugby | Semi Final Result | Waratahs 26 v 08 Brumbies

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Waratahs 26 – 08 Brumbies

Stubborn defence and a brilliant final try booked the Waratahs a home final in Sydney next weekend by beating the Brumbies 26-8.

After the dominance of the Crusaders earlier in the day against the Sharks, watching the ‘Tahs and Brumbies batter each other into the mud will have given Richie McCaw and co. something to smile about. They will get a hell of a contest.

This was less of the beautiful backline play we’ve come to expect from the Waratahs this season and more a brutal slog, typical of an Aussie derby played out in front of a 38,000 crowd.

Michael Hooper was outstanding. Few 22-year-olds handle the captaincy as well as the Wallaby openside, who flung his rig into the collisions with raw abandon and made turnovers when they mattered most.

The Brumbies insistence on turning down shots at goal at first seemed naive, but by the end was utterly foolish. Doing so on three separate occasions yielded one unconverted try – five points when they could have had nine and forced a tighter finish.

Instead the Waratahs held firm, ahead by more than a converted try and not giving an inch. So much of their play this year has been pretty, but this was the resilience that they will need to defeat the Crusaders next weekend.

In a way it’s impressive that the Waratahs have topped the table given the inconsistency of their set-piece.

Tatafu Polota-Nau on this basis can’t be a great darts player, while the Brumbies undoubtedly had the upper hand in the scrum early on.

Faced with unrelenting pressure in defence, Alofa Alofa pounced on the loose ball to sprint 60 metres for the game’s opening try.

Bernard Foley’s three points put the Waratahs 8-0 up at the end of physical opening quarter, dominance in defence overcoming ambition in attack.

Even with plenty of time on the clock and hardly a mountain ahead on the scoreboard, three times from penalties in the Waratahs 22 the Brumbies elected to kick to the corner rather than the posts.

It was a gamble that bore fruit, Henry Speight continuing his hot streak with a try in the corner to put the Brumbies on the board after half an hour.

Momentum was slowly creeping the visitors way but just as Lealiifano levelled things up, the Brumbies infringed before the sound of the hooter for Foley to send his side into the break up 11-8.

Lealiifano’s kicking was so exemplary in 2013 that his 2014 standard has been shocking. His latest miss, a straightforward attempt near the posts, could have come back to bite the Brumbies.

Kurtley Beale’s try saw to that, ripping the ball from the clutches of Jesse Mogg as the Brumbies full-back stuttered before sprinting away to the corner.

Robbie Coleman was inches and a catch from hitting back for the Brumbies but the ball just wouldn’t sit in his hands with the corner ahead of him. The sting of that was worsened by seeing Henry Speight limp off.

Bodies were being pummelled. Nic White suffered the full force of Will Skelton but earned a penalty for his efforts. The option to go for points was again rejected, keeping the Brumbies eight points down at 16-8.

It was the same story minutes later when the Brumbies opted for a scrum, unable to find the try against the side who have conceded the least points in 2014.

Beale’s try aside, the Waratahs had barely touched the Brumbies half, but given the nature of their dominance it was no surprise to see them immediately score more points as Foley added his third penalty.

Victory almost assured, the Waratahs capped it with a moment of magic. Breaking out from the back through first Benn Robinson and then Rob Horne via Folau, Will Skelton’s run was out of this world.

Palming off would be tacklers the giant had the presence of mind to find Foley for the ‘Tahs third try, and one of their best of the year. A fitting end to a dogged performance. The Crusaders are coming.

Waratahs 26
Tries : Bernard Foley (76), Kurtley Beale (47), Alofa Alofa (3)
Penalties : Bernard Foley (73,40,22)
Cons : Bernard Foley (77)

Brumbies 08
Tries : Henry Speight (31)
Penalties : Christian Lealiifano (39)
The teams:
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (capt), 6 Stephen Hoiles, 5 Jacques Potgieter, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tola Latu, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Jeremy Tilse, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Mitch Chapman, 21 Pat McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbon, 23 Matt Carraro, 24 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 25 Cam Crawford (two to be omitted).Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Leon Power, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Ruaidhri Murphy, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Fotu Auelua, 20 Tom McVerry, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Joe Tomane, 23 Pat McCabe.Date: Saturday, July 26
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert, James Leckie
TMO: George Ayoub

STATS & Story Source :  http://rugbyredefined.com - http://www.rugbydata.com 


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July 26, 2014 Posted by | Brumbies, Super Rugby, Waratahs | Leave a comment

Super Rugby | Semi Final Result | Crusaders 38 v 06 Sharks

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Crusaders 38 – 06 Sharks

26th July 2014 Ground: AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Crusaders try-scorer Kieran Read says their 38-6 mauling of the Sharks on Saturday was an extremely satisfying way to reach the Super Rugby final.

IRB World Player of the Year Read chalked up the first of five tries as the Christchurch-based franchise outmuscled and outclassed the Sharks in front of a partisan AMI Stadium crowd.

Wingers Nemani Nadolo and Johnny McNicholl were also on the scoreboard, as were scrum-half Willi Heinz and flanker Matt Todd, while Dan Carter kicked 11 points as the home side dominated throughout on their way to an 11th Super Rugby final.

The seven-time champions will face either the New South Wales Waratahs or Canberra’s Brumbies in next Saturday’s showpiece event and All Black No 8 Read is relishing the prospect of another Super Rugby final.

“Extremely satisfied, knowing we are going to the big stage next week is an awesome feeling,” said Read in the aftermath of their emphatic victory. “We are really pleased with that performance.

“We started really well and we were able to put a bit of pressure on them early. We played a pretty high tempo early that set the scene and sometimes when you travel it’s hard to adjust and we actually caught them early.”

The Sharks’ kicking-based territory game was executed badly with the ball either finding Crusaders’ players in plenty of space to run it back, going out on the full or in one case by fly-half Pat Lambie, rolling dead in goal.

Israel Dagg, Carter and Colin Slade capitalised by pinning the Sharks inside their own half or by playing at pace and stretching the visitors across the field, with Read prominent in his characteristic bursts down the wide channels.

It was a display that left Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis despondent and the Springbok international admits they simply could not carry out their game-plan.

“Everything we worked on the last two weeks, we just couldn’t do, we are extremely disappointed with our performance,” he said.

“We didn’t play in the right areas and couldn’t do what we worked on.”

The scorers:

For Crusaders:
Tries: Read, Nadolo, Heinz, McNicholl, Todd
Cons: Carter 2
Pens: Carter 3

For Sharks:
Pens: Lambie 2

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Kieron Fonotia, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn , 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Johnny McNicholl.

Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 S’bura Sithole, 23 Tonderai Chavhanga.

Date: Saturday, July 26
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT, 09:35 SAST)
Weather: 9° C. Clear skies.
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann, Mike Fraser

STATS & Story Source :  http://rugbyredefined.com - http://www.rugbydata.com 


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July 26, 2014 Posted by | Crusaders, Sharks, Super Rugby | , , , | Leave a comment

NZ Preview:#Glasgow2014Sevens

Commonwealth Games 2014

Commonwealth Games 2014

Preview:#Glasgow2014Sevens

New Zealand matches:  26 July, 2014

v Canada 10:32am local (9:32pm NZT)
v Scotland 13:56am local (Sunday 27 July 12:56am NZT)
v Barbados 20:20pm local (Sunday 27 July 07:20am NZT)

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It is quite fitting that the Commonwealth Games is being staged in Scotland in 2014 just two years out from Sevens making its grand debut at the Summer Olympics, after all, it was here in the Borders to the South that the game began.

History suggests that a butcher from Melrose suggested that a shortened version of the game be played to raise money at a local fair, with Ned Haig credited with leading his team to defeat Gala to win the first unofficial Sevens competition in 1883.

The story that Sevens started because the forwards decided one day they didn’t want to play is more of an urban myth.


While the small Borders town has other interests for historians as it is fabled to be the birth place of the legendary King Arthur, the importance of the region is celebrated with the Rugby Sevens World Cup named after Melrose.


However this weekend roughly one and a half hours drive to the North West, all eyes will be on Ibrox Stadium.

The iconic ground, usually the home of football side Rangers, will see 45 games played out with the ultimate prize a small shiny medal which New Zealand has not relinquished since it was introduced in 1998 to the 16th Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

Since then Sir Gordon Tietjens has guided his troops to four consecutive Gold Medals and 25 straight victories at the Games while scoring an incredible 971 points over this time.

However so much has changed since then, even since the 2010 Commonwealth Games, both for the title holders and the rest of the world.

The competition in Delhi was held less than a year after the grand news that Sevens had been accepted into the Summer Olympics, and since then the landscape has developed considerably.

One merely needs to take a look at the hosts, grouped in the same pool as New Zealand.

Two months ago the Scottish achieved their best ever IRB Sevens tournament result, finishing fourth in Glasgow, and head coach Stephen Gemmell has selected a squad containing 88-Test veteran Sean Lamont and British and Irish Loin Stuart Hogg – perhaps the strongest Scottish Sevens team ever assembled.

The buttressing of Sevens squad for such events is nothing new, Australia has Reds Investec Super Rugby flanker Liam Gill while there has been plenty of talk over the release of Bryan Habana from Toulon so the Springboks wing can feature for the Blitzbokke.

Meanwhile Tietjens, who has had the likes of Jonah Lomu and Christian Cullen at his disposal before, will not rely on a galaxy of All Blacks.

This year only Blues back Pita Ahki is a Investec Super Rugby regular in the squad.

However this will not faze New Zealand, who know that enlisting high profile names is no guarantee for success, a strong core of Sevens veterans led by current Gold medallists DJ Forbes, Sherwin Stowers and Tim Mikkelson are more valuable than any player from the 15s version of the game.


Add to this the likes of now senior members of the team like playmaker Gillies Kaka, strike forward Ben Lam and emerging youngster Akira Ioane – and the defending champions have a rounded squad that showcases the growing depth of the abbreviated code in New Zealand.


While many of the European sides have played in grand prix style competitions for preparation, Tietjen’s men were based in Amsterdam where they played against local teams for a more low key build up to the event.

New Zealand were well aware of the challenge ahead of them with the advancement of many Sevens nations, but the squad will back their trademark dependability – during the 2013/2014 circuit the team featured in seven of the nine Cup Finals.

“To win, it’s all about consistency,” Tietjens said.Commonwealth Games Logo

“It’s being accurate when you need to be, strong defense and dominating possession. If we can play consistently well, and having a strong bench will help, then that plays a big hand in being successful.”

How tactics pan out will be interesting as well, with the weather expected to be typically ambivalent, if the wet strikes, one suspects that New Zealand will have a slight advantage with their comfort in playing such football.

While that would set the stage for a potential Haka in the rain.

All sides have strengthened their groups with experience which will be crucial, but if the favourites can play their high tempo precision defensive game that has been on display over the last 12 months they will be confident.

Unbeaten and with four straight Gold Medals, the biggest threat will be the mantle of expectancy that comes with those black jerseys.

“Yes, there is lot of pressure and expectation on us going into this tournament, but the boys don’t really think about it too much,” said Ahki.

“Gold is what we’re aiming for and we know the steps we have to take to get it. There are some big rugby nations playing at this tournament but it will be down to who shows up on the day.”

The sixteen teams who will strive for the coveted Gold medal in front of packed audiences at Ibrox Stadium are Australia, Canada, Cook Islands, England, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Barbados, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and Wales.

The reigning champions have been drawn in Pool A alongside Canada, Barbados and Scotland.

Glasgow 2014 rugby sevens pools: 

• Pool A – New Zealand, Canada, Scotland, Barbados
• Pool B – South Africa, Kenya, Cook Islands, Trinidad and Tobago
• Pool C – Samoa, Wales, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia
• Pool D – England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Uganda

The team is:10502011_681050188631316_444696509239812442_n

Pita Ahki (North Harbour)
Scott Curry (Manawatu)
Sam Dickson (Canterbury)
DJ Forbes, captain (Counties Manukau)
Bryce Heem (Tasman)
Akira Ioane (Auckland)
Gillies Kaka (Hawke’s Bay)
Ben Lam (Auckland)
Tim Mikkelson (Waikato)
Declan O’Donnell (Waikato)
Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau)
Joe Webber (Waikato)

New Zealand matches:

26 July, 2014

v Canada 10:32am local (9:32pm NZT)
v Scotland 13:56am local (Sunday 27 July 12:56am NZT)
v Barbados 20:20pm local (Sunday 27 July 07:20am NZT)

Story Source : http://www.allblacks.com/


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July 26, 2014 Posted by | Barbados, Canada, Commonwealth Games 7s, New Zealand, Sevens | , | Leave a comment

All Blacks seal important signatures for post-World Cup

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beaudanbarretFirst Five Beauden Barrett and scrumhalves Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara are the latest All Blacks to commit to New Zealand rugby until after next year’s World Cup, New Zealand Rugby Union said on Saturday.

Smith, who has cemented himself as the All Blacks’ first-choice scrumhalf since his 2012 debut, Perenara, who made his test debut this year, and Barrett have all signed through until the end of 2016, the NZRU said in a statement.

Experienced prop Tony Woodcock, who has 110 caps for the All Blacks, has also been signed through until after the global showpiece in England next year.

Tighthead prop Charlie Faumuina and utility back Tom Taylor have also signed through until 2015.

“It’s great news for the All Blacks and New Zealand rugby, especially with a large number of talented, young players re-committing to the country,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said in the statement. “It bodes well for the future.”

Prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen, lock Dominic Bird and loose forward Matt Todd, all of whom have won test caps in the last two years but remain on the periphery of the squad, have also signed through until 2016.

 


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July 26, 2014 Posted by | New Zealand, Players | Leave a comment

Chloe Butler says Lingerie Football helped get her to women’s Rugby World Cup

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Chloe Butler in her Wallaroos kit.

Chloe Butler in her Wallaroos kit.

IT’S far from the conventional route, but Chloe Butler had to lose her kit to wear a new one.

Butler in her LFL kit.

Butler in her LFL kit.

The former pin-up girl of the Lingerie Football League is part of Australia’s Wallaroos squad heading to France on Sunday to compete in the IRB Rugby World Cup.

And she insists it was lingerie football that got her here.

The concept of women playing a full-contact sport in lingerie may not appeal to everyone, but Butler says it provides a platform for female athletes when other avenues have closed.

“It’s not for everyone and if you’re lucky enough to have an avenue in your chosen sport that allows you to stay professional, or stay elite, then I definitely back that, but the LFL is a different avenue,” Butler said.

“As women, it’s hard. You get to your 20s and you finish school and all those athletic avenues close and you think, well, what next? I gave and sacrificed most of my childhood to be some kind of athlete, do I really just hang my hat here?

“I think the LFL worldwide has offered that platform for other women who had injuries or had to change sports. I think it’s such a high calibre of athlete competing and that was why I joined it.”

It wasn’t just the platform that the LFL provided, but gridiron also gave Butler an opportunity to condition her body for rugby.

“These girls are fair dinkum athletes,” she said. “They’re hitting hard and there is great support in terms of strength and conditioning and the best of physio and training facilities in terms of developing athletes, so I just took the opportunity.

“Had I not found the LFL and had a platform to keep me elite, in a contact sport and keep me game fit, I may not have been strong enough to be the player I am today.”

The LFL is played in front of packed stadiums in the US and has a global TV audience. Butler knew what she was signing up for when she joined — what she calls a “sex sells” marketing campaign — but she insists she never felt exploited.

“I am feminine, I am girly, and so I didn’t mind curling my hair and putting lipstick on,” Butler said.

“It’s just for one day that you dress up in that, the rest of the time you’re just a normal football athlete. You train in a normal outfit and you have your teammates, just like a normal football team.”

But rugby is Butler’s new chapter and she is excited to be part of one of the fastest growing female sports in the world.

She just hopes the rest of­ ­society pays attention.

“If society perhaps kept an eye out on what’s happening in the women’s sporting world they might just learn that they like it,” she said.

“Especially rugby, because we do hit pretty hard and that’s always entertaining — watching girls go at each other on the field. I can’t imagine that putting on the green and gold would ever get old and I’m just so privileged to be part of the movement in women’s rugby across the world.”

Originally published as Butler swaps lingerie for World Cup -

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July 25, 2014 Posted by | Australia, IRB World Cup 2014, Players, Women's Rugby | Leave a comment

Super Rugby | Semi Final Preview | Waratahs v Brumbies

waratahs2014super15 brumbies2014

Waratahs – Brumbies

26th July 2014 Ground: Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Henry Speight of the Brumbies looks to break from a tackle by Nick Cummins of the Force

Henry Speight: Retains his place on the wing

The strongly-favoured NSW Waratahs have the lure of hosting their first Super Rugby final if they can get past the ACT Brumbies in a mouthwatering all-Australian semi-final clash at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

The Waratahs are chasing their first Super Rugby title after two losing finals and are in the midst of a seven-match unbeaten run, including a 39-8 thumping of the Brumbies in Sydney.

The ‘Tahs have been the perennial underachievers in 18 years of Super Rugby, but under taskmaster Michael Cheika they finished seven points clear in this season’s final standings and look the team to beat.

The Sydneysiders have the twice triumphant Brumbies to overcome on home soil to ensure that they will stage this year’s final against the winners of the Crusaders and Sharks, who do battle in Christchurch on the same day.

It will be the fourth time the Waratahs have hosted a semi-final, with their only loss coming to the Brumbies, 51-10 in 2002.

Even though the ‘Tahs crushed the Brumbies five tries to one at their last meeting, Cheika is warning his charges to expect a torrid Australian derby with the Canberra side, who dethroned double defending champions the Waikato Chiefs 32-30 in last week’s home play-off.

“Their key players are back and they’ve got just as many international players as we have and they’ve got an excellent record in the last two or three seasons,” Cheika said.

“It’s going to be a really good match. We know what we have to do. We’re concentrating very much on our style and what we need to deliver in the game – try and turn the dial up as high as possible come kick-off.”

Israel Folau

Israel Folau: The Waratahs fullback returns to action

Folau returns

Cheika has recalled South African powerhouse lock Jacques Potgieter and is leaving Wallaby giant Will Skelton on the bench for a second-half impact.

Meanwhile, 12-try full-back Israel Folau and winger Rob Horne both return to the side after missing the final match of the regular season against Queensland Reds because of a thigh problem and ‘flu respectively.

The Brumbies are only weakened for Saturday’s match by long-term injuries to Wallabies David Pocock and Stephen Moore.

Henry Speight and Robbie Coleman retain their places on the wings, while Wallabies Joe Tomane and Pat McCabe will offer back-three cover from the bench meaning there is no place in the side for winger Clyde Rathbone, the sole survivor of the Brumbies’ last Super Rugby title in 2004.

“To have got through last weekend injury free, it’s great for us to be playing again this weekend to maintain momentum,” Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher said.

“We were comfortable with where our set piece was last week against the Chiefs. I expect those areas to work in our favour again this weekend.

“The result won’t be determined by who’s favourite. The result will be decided by who is the better team on the night.

“There’s an intense rivalry which has been there since the competition started and I’m expecting a fierce clash of bodies this weekend.”

The Waratahs have a strong record at home over the Brumbies, winning seven of their last eight meetings.

Last 10 games played between the Waratahs and Brumbies
28-Jun-14 Waratahs 39 – 08 Brumbies
15-Mar-14 Brumbies 28 – 23 Waratahs
17-May-13 Waratahs 28 – 22 Brumbies
9-Mar-13 Brumbies 35 – 06 Waratahs
7-Jul-12 Waratahs 15 – 19 Brumbies
5-May-12 Brumbies 23 – 06 Waratahs
18-Jun-11 Waratahs 41 – 07 Brumbies
26-Mar-11 Brumbies 22 – 29 Waratahs
24-Apr-10 Waratahs 19 – 12 Brumbies
13-Mar-09 Brumbies 21 – 11 Waratahs

waratahs1

Overall Stats Waratahs

Overall Stats Brumbies

Overall Stats Brumbies

Games Played 24 Games Played 24
*Games Won 13 *Games Won 11
*Games Lost 11 *Games Lost 13
Games Drawn 0 Games Drawn 0
*Longest Winning Streak 3 *Longest Winning Streak 3
*Longest Losing Streak 3 *Longest Losing Streak 3
*Largest Points For 44 *Largest Points For 56
*Largest Points Against 56 *Largest Points Against 44
*Largest Winning Margin 34 *Largest Winning Margin 47
*Largest Losing Margin -47 *Largest Losing Margin -34
*Total Points For 531 *Total Points For 575
*Avg Points For 22.13 *Avg Points For 23.96
*Total Points Against 575 *Total Points Against 531
*Avg Points Against 23.96 *Avg Points Against 22.13
*Total Points Difference -44 *Total Points Difference 44
*Avg Points Difference -1.83 *Avg Points Difference 1.83
* = By  Waratahs * = By Brumbies

 

RugbyData.com

The teams:

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (capt), 6 Stephen Hoiles, 5 Jacques Potgieter, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tola Latu, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Jeremy Tilse, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Mitch Chapman, 21 Pat McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbon, 23 Matt Carraro, 24 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 25 Cam Crawford (two to be omitted).

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Leon Power, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Ruaidhri Murphy, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Fotu Auelua, 20 Tom McVerry, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Joe Tomane, 23 Pat McCabe.

Date: Saturday, July 26
Kick-off: 19:40 local (10:40 BST, 09:40 GMT)
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert, James Leckie
TMO: George Ayoub

STATS & Story Source :  http://rugbyredefined.com - http://www.rugbydata.com 


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July 24, 2014 Posted by | Brumbies, Super Rugby, Waratahs | , , | Leave a comment

Super Rugby | Semi Final Preview | Crusaders v Sharks

crusaders2014super15sharks2014b12

Crusaders – Sharks

26th July 2014 Ground: AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Seven-time champion Crusaders take on a ravenous Sharks side in the first Super Rugby semi-final at the usually impenetrable fortress that is AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday.

PATRICK LAMBIE SHARKS

Pat Lambie: Restored to flyhalf for in-form Sharks

The fixture comes just two months after the Sharks produced a memorable 30-25 win at the venue that ended a run of 13 years without success for South African sides in the city.

But Crusaders’ head coach Todd Blackadder will have revenge on his mind as well as seeking a place in the Super Rugby final on August 2.

The Kiwi giants will be bidding to reach an 11th final having finished second to the New South Wales Waratahs in the regular season standings, but have not won a title since 2008 and the closest they have come to adding an eighth crown was when they lost the final to the Queensland Reds in 2011.

Two late penalties from flyhalf Frans Steyn allowed the Sharks to edge the Otago Highlanders 31-27 in Durban, putting them into the semi-finals for the eighth time.

Jake White’s side are the South African conference winners and also have the added incentive of trying to become the first overseas team to win a final in the history of Super Rugby.

“We have to be positive about winning two games overseas to get the title,” White said.

“Over the last fortnight we have had a great win over the Stormers and then had to fight for our lives to beat the Highlanders, and that is great momentum to take into the semi-finals.”

Three changes

Pat Lambie has been restored to fly-half and fellow international Willem Alberts has been shifted to lock as the Sharks made three changes to their starting line-up for the shopwdown in Christchurch.

Lambie, who made his first appearance in four months as a replacement in last weekend’s win over the Otago Highlanders, is restored to fly-half with Frans Steyn moved to inside centre alongside Paul Jordaan.

Springbok JP Pietersen, who was outside centre last week, is named on the wing in place of Sibusiso Sithole, who drops to the bench.

Alberts shifts to lock to replace the injured Anton Bresler, with Jean Deysel taking Alberts’ place on the flank. Stephan Lewies is back at lock after injury in place of Etienne Oosthuizen.

It will be Lambie’s first start since March when he tore his bicep. With Deysel having been elevated into the starting line-up, Tera Mtembu comes on to the bench.

Injury keeps talismanic prop Tendai Mtawira out but his teenage replacement Thomas du Toit received high praise after last weekend’s playoff win.

Richie McCaw C of the Crusaders leaves the field

Richie McCaw: Back in Crusaders colours

McCaw back

All Blacks captain and former World Player of the Year, Richie McCaw, will be back in Crusaders colours, having recovered from the broken rib he suffered playing for New Zealand against England in June.

Blackadder has also brought in hooker Corey Flynn, meaning the Crusaders will boast 13 current or former All Black internationals in their run-on side.

Fly-half Dan Carter also starts in an unfamiliar position, again lining up at inside centre outside Colin Slade as he continues his return from a six-month sabbatical.

“The Sharks have shown this season that they are an extremely classy outfit and a very difficult team to beat. This is our biggest challenge yet, but we feel ready for it,” Blackadder said.

The winners of the match will play the New South Wales Waratahs or ACT Brumbies, who face off in Saturday’s second semi-final in Sydney.

Last 10 games played between the Crusaders and Sharks
17-May-14 Crusaders 25 – 30 Sharks
5-Apr-13 Sharks 21 – 17 Crusaders
25-Jun-11 Crusaders 36 – 08 Sharks
27-Mar-11 Crusaders 44 – 28 Sharks
26-Feb-10 Crusaders 35 – 06 Sharks
18-Apr-09 Sharks 10 – 13 Crusaders
2-May-08 Crusaders 18 – 10 Sharks
3-Mar-07 Sharks 27 – 26 Crusaders
25-Feb-06 Crusaders 22 – 20 Sharks
29-Apr-05 Crusaders 77 – 34 Sharks

Overall Stats Crusaders

Overall Stats Crusaders

Overall Stats Sharks

Overall Stats Sharks

Games Played 20 Games Played 20
*Games Won 14 *Games Won 5
*Games Lost 5 *Games Lost 14
Games Drawn 1 Games Drawn 1
*Longest Winning Streak 7 *Longest Winning Streak 2
*Longest Losing Streak 2 *Longest Losing Streak 7
*Largest Points For 77 *Largest Points For 58
*Largest Points Against 58 *Largest Points Against 77
*Largest Winning Margin 43 *Largest Winning Margin 32
*Largest Losing Margin -32 *Largest Losing Margin -43
*Total Points For 620 *Total Points For 488
*Avg Points For 31 *Avg Points For 24.4
*Total Points Against 488 *Total Points Against 620
*Avg Points Against 24.4 *Avg Points Against 31
*Total Points Difference 132 *Total Points Difference -132
*Avg Points Difference 6.60 *Avg Points Difference -6.60
* = By Crusaders * = By Sharks

RugbyData.com

The teams:

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Kieron Fonotia, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn , 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Johnny McNicholl.

Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 S’bura Sithole, 23 Tonderai Chavhanga.

Date: Saturday, July 26
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT, 09:35 SAST)
Weather: 9° C. Clear skies.
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann, Mike Fraser

STATS & Story Source :  http://rugbyredefined.com - http://www.rugbydata.com 


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July 23, 2014 Posted by | Crusaders, Sharks, Super Rugby | , , , , | Leave a comment

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