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West Coast RFU 125th Jubilee Celebrations announced.

committee

Committee members Colin Smith, John Torrance, Jim Costello, Chips Robinson (all standing), Ben Ferguson, Karen Burrows and John Sturgeon, pose in front of a collection of West Coast rep jerseys from the past 20 years.

The West Coast Rugby Football Union is celebrating 125 years of existence with its Jubilee celebrations taking place on Friday the 28th and Saturday the 29th of August this year.

The Union was formed after a meeting of Clubs at the former Albion Hotel in May 1890 and has established a proud Rugby history during the intervening years.

The Jubilee Committee are putting together an exciting weekend of celebrations featuring top quality guest speakers at the Saturday night dinner, festival Golden Oldies Rugby, Junior Rugby events, a West Coast Colts fixture and the highlight of the celebrations will be the West Coast Heartland fixture at Rugby Park on the Saturday afternoon. There will also be an informal get together at the Regent Theatre in Greymouth on Friday evening at which no doubt old rugby pals will be reunited and many memories shared.

ribbon2Attendees will also have the chance to bid for one of fifteen replicate jerseys numbered 1 to 15 from the 1907 season at an auction to be held as a feature of the Saturday night dinner. The jerseys were designed from one of the Unions oldest archive team photos and features thinner stripes, old fashioned laces, with strong cross stitching across chest and shoulders with the Committee anticipating there will be strong interest from former West Coast representative players vying for their position jersey number.

West Coast Rugby Chairman, Colin Smith, said that the weekend will be a wonderful occasion for all those who have participated in West Coast Rugby at any level whether as players, coaches, managers, administrators, referees or supporters and their partners to come together and join in the celebration of 125 years of the Union’s rich, vibrant and proud history of Rugby in our province.

Registration forms are now available and can either be completed via the online registration page at westcoast125.co.nz, or by picking up a registration form at locations up and down the West Coast, including, the Ikamatua store, Alf Harrisons Menswear or Hannan and Seddon (both in Greymouth), Eats on Revell, Hokitika, Manera’s Store, Ross, Pukeko Tearooms, Hari Hari, White Heron Store, Whataroa, Glacier Motors, Franz Josef and Fox Store at Fox Glacier.

The Jubilee Committee expects the Friday and Saturday night events, which are limited as to numbers due to venue size, will sell out quickly and especially urges locals to register early as there is already a lot of interest being shown by ex-pats enquiring about the weekend celebrations.

 

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January 20, 2015 Posted by | Heartland Championship, West Coast RFU | Leave a comment

Waikato and Auckland crowned new Bayleys National Sevens champions

7s2014Waikato and Auckland crowned new Bayleys National Sevens champions
Luke Masirewa and Kayla McAlister named players of the tournament

Two new champions have been crowned after the Finals of the Bayleys National Sevens tournament in Rotorua today.

The Waikato Mooloos took down Wellington in an entertaining nine-try men’s Cup Final, while the Auckland women dominated defending champions Manawatu to claim their Cup Final, at Rotorua International Stadium today.

The Waikato men beat Wellington 38-19 in a feast of tries with men’s player of the tournament and crowd favourite, Luke Masirewa grabbing a double-try and the attention of All Blacks Sevens Coach Gordon Tietjens.

Masirewa was on fire all weekend, and proved to be the circuit-breaker his team needed as he punched through Wellington’s early 12-0 lead seven minutes into the first half. Masirewa thrilled Waikato supporters with a 60 metre runaway try that sparked a scoreless Waikato into life, and he promptly followed that with a second five-pointer, having slipped and stepped out of Wellington’s stunned defence.

That sparked a fantastic Waikato come-back who were up 14-12 at the break. Wellington scored another two tries in the second half, but the momentum was already lost as Waikato notched up four more tries with Dylan Collier and Declan O’Donnell both nabbing doubles.

In the ultimate grudge match, the women’s Final was a repeat of last year, with Auckland and Manawatu facing off having fended off semifinal challenges from Bay of Plenty and Waikato respectively.

Auckland came out steaming against the defending women’s champions Manawatu, making their intentions clear when they crossed four times in the first half having spent all but the first minute in Manawatu’s half.

A shellshocked Manawatu went to the break, down 24-0 but they bit back in the second half, working hard to finish for a couple of scoring opportunities that went begging.

Try scoring machine and women’s player of the tournament Kayla McAlister notched up the only second half try for Auckland and despite two late tries to Manawatu, the damage had been done, and Auckland claimed the title honours winning 29-14.

New Zealand Women’s Head Coach Sean Horan said he was delighted with the improved calibre of rugby from the women’s teams.

“If you look at the areas of growth, it’s in the skill component, and the way they are playing the game – they are getting fitter and faster. We’re starting to see different brands of the way the game is played, particularly in the contact area, defence systems, competitiveness and the overall fitness.

“We are seeing some real improvements from those Unions investing in this form of the game, and that’s probably told in today’s results. But the other unions are definitely showing signs of improvement and it won’t take much for them to catch up.”

Horan noted that McAlister in particularl, was in electrifying form in her first tournament after being out since mid-2014 with injury. The weekend’s tournament was her first competitive sevens rugby on her return, and despite being streaks ahead of anyoe else with pace, Horan said hew as excited that McAlister was still yet to reach her internatioal match fitness potential.

Horan is due to name his 2015 contracted squad this week, he said he now had some tough choices to make, after watching some great talent on display.

All Blacks Sevens Coach Sir Gordon Tietjens said he had been very impressed with how teams backed up yesterday’s play with good performances today.

“Waikato and Wellington were certainly the two best teams certainly on day two. A great, great Final. A lot of players were on show for me and some players, certainly in the Waikato side, stepped up in the Final to perhaps be a contender for my side.

“It was pleasing that some of the players backed up yesterday’s performance with a couple of good performances today. I thought that Luke Masirewa, who has been contracted to New Zealand before, played very, very well; had an exceptional Final which was probably the point of difference (making him player of the tournament). Also Dylan Collier – new to sevens – he’s an ITM Cup player for Waikato, and played extremely well. Isaac Te Tamaki, Johnathan Malo, Murphy Taramai (Wellington) – there’s a lot of good players out there who played exceptionally well over the weekend.”

Tietjens is looking to assemble a camp squad next week before finalising his team for the Wellington Sevens.

Two of the men’s minor Finals – Mid Canterbury v Canterbury, and Manawatu v North Harbour – were forced into extra time with golden points giving Canterbury the Shield, and North Harbour the Bowl. Taranaki easily despatched Northland in the Plate Final to win 22-7.

In the women’s minor Finals Otago kept out Southland to win 19-12 their Bowl Final while Wellington dominated Waikato 24-14 to win the Plate.

For full results go to www.nationalsevens.co.nz.

Men’s Finals
Shield: Canterbury
Bowl: Harbour
Plate: Taranaki
Cup: Waikato

men_summaryWomen’s Finals:
Bowl: Otago
Plate: Wellington
Cup: Auckland

women_summary

 

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January 18, 2015 Posted by | New Zealand, Sevens | , , | Leave a comment

Legends take the 7s field once again ….

7s2014A highlight of day one was the invitational match featuring the legends of the game.

Rugby stars running out include All Blacks loose forward Liam Messam, who won two Commonwealth Games gold medals (2010 and 2006) during his time with the national sevens side.

Former All Blacks speedsters and sevens Commonwealth gold medal winners Joeli Vidiri and Rico Gear are also pulling on their boots as well as long serving New Zealand sevens stars Dallas Seymour, Orene Ai’i, Brad Fleming, Craig De Goldi and Karl Te Nana.

Current All Blacks Sevens DJ Forbes, Tim Mikkelson, Joe Webber, Sam Dickson and Scott Curry also turned out for the match.

Video – Sky Sports

 

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January 17, 2015 Posted by | New Zealand, Sevens | , , , | Leave a comment

Legends of sevens turn out for National Sevens

7s2014Legends of sevens turn out for National Sevens
All Blacks Sevens and New Zealand Women’s Sevens players out in force

A star-studded line-up of All Blacks Sevens stars from the past and present will be a feature of the opening day of the Bayleys National Sevens which kicks-off at Rotorua International Stadium this Saturday.

The bulk of the All Blacks Sevens squad will also be turning out for their provinces as players get in valuable game time ahead of the next two legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Wellington (6, 7 February) and Las Vegas (13-15 February).

This is the second year Rotorua has hosted the national tournament and Tournament Director Allison Stewart said the city was gearing up for an exciting two days of fun and sevens rugby.

“There will be something for everybody over the two days – great music, family fun and of course sevens rugby at its best.”

A total of 16 men’s and 10 women’s teams are taking part, with Wellington the defending men’s champions bolstered by All Blacks Sevens Lote Raikabula and Ambrose Curtis. The defending women’s champions, Manawatu, are once again expected to be led by New Zealand Women’s Sevens captain Sarah Goss. Most of the current women’s squad will also be representing their provinces.

A highlight of day one will be an invitational match featuring the legends of the game which takes place following the 2pm opening ceremony. Rugby stars running out include All Blacks loose forward Liam Messam, who won two Commonwealth Games gold medals (2010 and 2006) during his time with the national sevens side.

Former All Blacks speedsters and sevens Commonwealth gold medal winners Joeli Vidiri and Rico Gear are also pulling on their boots as well as long serving New Zealand sevens stars Dallas Seymour, Orene Ai’i, Brad Fleming, Craig De Goldi and Karl Te Nana. Current All Blacks Sevens DJ Forbes, Tim Mikkelson, Joe Webber, Sam Dickson and Scott Curry are also turning out for the match.

All Blacks Sevens Coach Gordon Tietjens said he was keen for all of the national team players to do their bit to promote the game which debuts at the Olympics in Rio de Janiero next year. He was also looking forward to assessing the form of current players as the team prepares for Wellington and Las Vegas, as well as keeping an eye on emerging players. Tietjens will confirm one more player for his contracted squad after the tournament, while two wider training group spots also remain up for contention.

New Zealand Women’s Sevens Coach Sean Horan will be watching the form of players closely as he looks to finalise his 2015 contracted squad of 20 shortly after the tournament. The squad then assembles in Mount Maunganui on Monday 26 January to prepare for the second leg of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Sao Paulo (7, 8 February).

This weekend’s competing sides had to qualify by attending one of three regional tournaments (the Southern, Central and Northern regionals).

Canterbury (Southern), Taranaki (Central) and Counties Manukau (Northern) claimed the titles in the men’s side of the draw while on the women’s side, 2014 national champions Manawatu took out the central crown. Canterbury (Southern) and Waikato (Northern) round out the leading qualifiers.

Tournament details
The Bayleys National Sevens will be held on Saturday and Sunday at the Rotorua International Stadium. Daily tickets are $15 adult, $5 child and a family of four (two adults and two children) is $35 per day. Tickets available from Ticketmaster or the stadium.

Pools
Men
Pool A: Taranaki, Tasman, Northland, Horowhenua Kapiti
Pool B: Counties Manukau, Canterbury, Bay of Plenty, South Canterbury
Pool C: Manawatu, Auckland, Otago, Mid Canterbury
Pool D: Waikato, Wellington, Wairarapa Bush, North Harbour

Women
Pool A: Manawatu, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Taranaki, Canterbury
Pool B: Waikato, Auckland, Otago, Counties Manukau, Southland

For full draw details, click here.

SKY Sport will broadcast both days live from 10am.

Matches start from 10:05 NZT, with the final match of the first day at 18:40 NZT, while day two will see the knockout matches played before the Women’s Final at 4.55pm and the Men’s Final at 5.30pm.

 

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January 15, 2015 Posted by | New Zealand, Sevens | , , , , | Leave a comment

Greg Smith appointed Black Ferns Head Coach

Nz_media14

Greg Smith appointed Black Ferns Head Coach

4024251Former professional player and Waikato Coach Greg Smith has been appointed Head Coach of the New Zealand Black Ferns team through to the next Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017.

New Zealand Rugby General Manager Rugby Neil Sorensen today announced Smith’s appointment effective from the beginning of 2015.

“We are very excited about Greg coming on board as he will bring an extensive mix of playing and coaching experience to the Black Ferns programme.”

The former Chiefs, Waikato and Fijian international hooker has been an active coach since hanging up his playing boots in 2005.

For the past two years, Smith has been a resource coach for the Black Ferns, and recently was an assistant coach to Manu Samoa.  He coached in Japan for five years, and held a number of provincial coaching roles including time as a specialist resource coach for the Chiefs.

As a player, Smith amassed 48 Super Rugby Caps with the Chiefs, ran out 70 times for Waikato and made 46 international appearances for Fiji over nine years – eight of those as captain – including at two Rugby World Cup tournaments.

“Greg brings some fresh thinking and he will challenge players to remain competitive for spots in the team,” said Sorensen.

“The Black Ferns programme for 2015 is still being finalised but we hope to announce early in the New Year an exciting schedule that will see the Black Ferns travel off-shore for at least two Test matches.  Greg will spend this summer working with Provincial Unions to identify candidates for Black Ferns development training camps early next year.

“We know that the Black Ferns were disappointed with their Women’s Rugby World Cup results in France this year, but we also know there are some very talented, dedicated and hard working players out there.

“We hope they will continue to push for a place in the 2015 Black Ferns team under Greg’s leadership,” Sorensen said.

Greg Smith said he was looking forward to the new role.

“This is an exciting challenge – there’s some work to be done to get us back to being the best in the world, but I’m really looking forward to that.

“There are some very talented athletes out there – I have been keeping an eye on competitions this year, and I know that as well as the experience we have in abundance, there is plenty of undiscovered talent, and that’s always exciting.”

Greg Smith – Career summary  

Professional Rugby Player (10 years)

  • 46 International Caps. Fiji.
  • 70 Games
  • 9 years of International Rugby
  • 8 years as Team Captain
  • Rugby World Cups. 1999, 2003
  • 48 Caps Chiefs Super Rugby, NZ.
  • 70 Caps Waikato Provincial Team, NZ

COACHING:

2012-14     Manu Samoa – Assistant Coach – Forwards and Defence

  • Pacific Nations Cup
  • European Tours
  • Castle Lager series, South Africa

2013-14  NZRU Resource Coach

  • Black Ferns

2011-14. Teikyo University. Japan

  • 5 consecutive all Japan University Championships

2011 Chiefs Super 15. New Zealand
Specialist resource coach – Scrums and Lineouts Throwing

2010-11 Waikato Provincial team.  Assistant Coach – Forwards and Set Piece
Finalist in both seasons

2009 Bay of Plenty Provincial team. Head Coach.

2008 IRB. Level 4 coaching accreditation
2008 Top student
Recipient of the highest mark ever achieved  in NZ

2008 Fraser Tech Rugby Club. Head Coach
Winner of Waikato Rugby Union Premiership

2001 Fijian National Team. Assistant Coach
Winner of Epsom Cup, Pan Pacific  Championship

 

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December 23, 2014 Posted by | New Zealand, Women's Rugby | , | Leave a comment

Wayne Smith to re-join All Blacks coaching staff for 2015

Nz_media14

wayne_smithOne of world rugby’s leading coaches, Wayne Smith, is to return to the All Blacks coaching staff for the 2015 season, it was announced today.

Smith, who was part of the All Blacks coaching staff from 2004 through to the team’s victory at Rugby World Cup 2011, and a Chiefs Assistant Coach from 2012-2014, will come in as a specialist defence coach and joins the coaching team of Head Coach Steve Hansen, Assistant Coach Ian Foster and fellow specialist coaches Mike Cron (forwards) and Mick Byrne (skills).

Hansen said they were delighted that Smith had accepted the offer to return to the All Blacks.

“He is one of the most astute rugby coaches in world rugby and having worked with him in the past, we know just how valuable he is to any team he is involved in.  ‘Smithy’ will add another dimension to what is already a strong coaching group in what will be a big year for us. We look forward to welcoming him back into the fold.

“Smithy’s role will be purely around defence, but as we do with all our coaches we will tap into his vast knowledge of other areas of the game.”

Smith said he never thought he would be involved with the All Blacks again, after leaving the team at the end of 2011.

“When I was asked to be involved in the All Blacks again for 2015, it was a case of checking whether I had the support of my family, which I did.  I also spoke to some of the senior players in the team and everyone was incredibly supportive.  I care deeply about the All Blacks, I’m excited to be back and looking forward to getting stuck into next year.”

Smith will be stepping down from an official coaching role with the Chiefs, but will still work from the team’s base and continue to do on-field coaching once a week to keep his coaching hand in. He will also be working with all five of New Zealand’s Investec Super Rugby teams during the season in his All Blacks capacity.

Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman said:  “Wayne is a highly respected and knowledgeable man.   He is an extremely talented coach and mentor so it is easy to see why the All Blacks want him involved in their environment for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

“As a rugby club, the Chiefs are committed to providing as much support as possible to the All Blacks in their quest to win back-to-back World Cups, so we support Wayne 100 percent in his decision to assist the All Blacks and appreciate the massive contribution he has made to the Chiefs.”

Wayne Smith – biography

Born in the Waikato town of Putaruru, 57-year-old Wayne Smith CNZM played 35 games and 17 Tests for the All Blacks between 1980 and 1985 before embarking on his successful coaching career.  He coached the Crusaders to back-to-back Super Rugby victories in 1998 and 1999 (alongside Steve Hansen) and was a technical advisor to the All Blacks in 1998-1999 before taking over the top job for the following two seasons.  He spent three seasons with English club Northampton from 2001 to 2004 before re-joining the All Blacks coaching set up alongside Sir Graham Henry and Hansen.  Smith helped coach the All Blacks to Rugby World Cup victory in 2011 before joining the Chiefs coaching set up under Head Coach Dave Rennie helping the team to back-to-back Super Rugby victories in 2012 and 2013.

 

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December 22, 2014 Posted by | New Zealand | , , | Leave a comment

Qualification process confirmed for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017

Qualification process confirmed for Women's Rugby World Cup 2017

Seven teams will directly qualify for the next Women’s Rugby World Cup, with five qualifying from regional routes

World Rugby has confirmed the qualification process for the next Women’s Rugby World Cup, to be held in 2017.

Following a comprehensive review of this year’s successful tournament, the World Rugby Council agreed that the top seven teams from Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 will qualify directly, meaning reigning champions England, Canada, France, Ireland, New Zealand, USA and Australia are confirmed for the 2017 tournament.

The additional five teams will be determined through the following qualification process:

  • The two best ranked Women’s 6 Nations teams (outside of those teams already qualified) from the combined results of the 2015 and 2016 Women’s 6 Nations tournaments.
  • The winner of a home and away playoff match between the lowest ranked side in the Women’s 6 Nations (combined 2015 and 2016 results and outside of the teams already qualified) and the Rugby Europe Women’s champion.
  • The two best ranked teams from a final qualifying tournament featuring South Africa, one team from Oceania and two teams from Asia. The qualification process for the Oceania and Asian teams into the final qualification tournament will be determined at a later date.

The host selection tender and the qualifying process was ratified by the World Rugby Council at their meeting in London last month.

Head of Rugby World Cup Alan Gilpin said: “The record-breaking success, appeal and excitement of Paris 2014 underscored just why women’s rugby is one of the world’s fastest-growing team sports.

“We’re happy that the qualification process for the 2017 tournament is robust and will ensure the 12 best teams in the world will be competing.

“The host selection tender process has already stimulated significant interest, and I predict a fantastic Women’s Rugby World Cup in three years’ time, wherever it’s held.”

The tender process to host Women’s Rugby World Cup was launched in November and World Rugby Council will make a decision on the host union at a scheduled meeting in May 2015.

The tournament, which was won by England in Paris last August, will move to 2017 to maximise synergy with the Olympic and Rugby World Cup Sevens cycles. The event will return to a four-year cycle after 2017.

 

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December 19, 2014 Posted by | IRB WRWC, Women's Rugby, WorldRugby | , , | Leave a comment

Daniel Carter to leave New Zealand Rugby at end of 2015

mediarelease

Daniel Carter to leave New Zealand Rugby at end of 2015

carterDaniel Carter, world rugby’s leading points scorer and one of the greatest players to ever don the All Blacks jersey, is to leave New Zealand rugby at the end of the 2015 season.

The All Blacks and Crusaders first five-eighth has announced he has signed a three-year deal with French Top 14 club Racing Metro.  It will be Carter’s second stint in France after he played five games for Perpignan in 2008-2009 during his sabbatical from New Zealand rugby.

32-year-old Carter said it was exciting to confirm his future post 2015.

“It’s going to be an awesome adventure for me and my family. Having visited France many times, including my time with Perpignan, I know what the French culture and their rugby culture is like and it’s something I really love.

“Having said that, it’s the immediate future that is exciting me at the moment.  2015 is going to be a big year and I’m looking forward to getting into it, firstly with the Crusaders and then hopefully with the All Blacks. My body is feeling really good, I’m training really hard and getting some good conditioning in so I can hit the ground running next year. I’m looking forward to getting out and playing some good footy.”

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said while everyone was looking forward to seeing Carter in action in 2015, today’s announcement was an opportunity to celebrate everything he had already achieved in New Zealand rugby.

“I am sure all New Zealand rugby fans will celebrate Dan’s remaining time in New Zealand and he will leave with New Zealand rugby’s very best wishes.

“Dan has been incredibly loyal to New Zealand Rugby over the years and for that we thank him. Whilst everyone is aware of his outstanding achievements on the rugby field, it’s also important to note that during his career he recommitted to New Zealand at two critical junctures in our rugby history – after the 2007 Rugby World Cup and again following the 2011 tournament.

“That decision by Dan and other senior players to re-sign with New Zealand Rugby after 2007 should not be underestimated; he was a key part of a group of players who formed the backbone of the All Blacks over the following years, which ultimately helped the All Blacks to victory at Rugby World Cup 2011.  For that we will be eternally grateful to him. We look forward to having him in New Zealand for one final season.”

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “On behalf of the All Blacks, I want to congratulate Dan on his decision and also on his career to date.  He is still in the midst of a wonderful career, both as a provincial and Super Rugby player and an All Black, and will leave us as the greatest first five-eighth ever.

“Whilst he hasn’t finished yet in New Zealand, he has already set the benchmark for first five play, and we look forward to seeing him out on the paddock in 2015.”

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder added: “Dan Carter has given so much to rugby in this region.  He is one of the most famous rugby players in the world, but he is still a local lad who has never forgotten his roots.  ‘DC’ is the ultimate team player and his contribution is as significant off the field as it is on the field.

“The Crusaders will be very sad to see a player of DC’s calibre go, but we are thankful for all that he has given us over the last 11 years and we are looking forward to a final season with him in 2015.  I know that this will be a special season for Dan and we’ll certainly be hoping to help him leave on a high note.”

Daniel Carter – biography

From the small rural Canterbury town of Southbridge, 32-year-old Daniel Carter has grown into an icon of world rugby since making his provincial debut for Canterbury in 2002 and his Super Rugby and All Blacks debut the following year. World rugby’s foremost first five-eighth and two-time World Rugby Player of the Year, he holds numerous All Blacks and international rugby records.  He is one of five All Blacks centurions and the leading points scorer in world rugby, scoring a staggering 1457 points (29 tries, 260 conversions, 258 penalties, six dropped goals) in his 102 Tests to date, for an average of 14 points per Test. He is also the leading points scorer in Investec Super Rugby and a Super centurion, amassing 1581 points (33 tries, 264 conversions, 285 penalties, 11 dropped goals) in his 11 seasons to date. Carter was named New Zealand Player of the Year in 2004, won the New Zealand and World titles in 2005 and was again World Player in 2012. He was also a World Player nominee in 2006 and 2008.

 

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December 18, 2014 Posted by | New Zealand, Players | , | Leave a comment

Top teams face tough pools in Brazil

worldrugby

Women’s Sevens: Sao Paulo

Top teams face tough pools in Brazil

New Zealand and Australia are top of the standings after Dubai but will face difficult match-ups in Brazil.

The draw for the second round of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series will see the top teams face difficult pool clashes in Brazil in February.

At the last round in Dubai, New Zealand continued their intense rivalry against Australia with another thrilling cup final, which was claimed by the Kiwis with the last play of the match.

However, it was the improvement of teams such as Russia and France that also grabbed the headlines during round one, with both teams making great strides from last season.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW BRAZIL SCHEDULE >>

World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2014/2015 Brazil, February 7/8

Pool A Pool B Pool C
New Zealand Australia Canada
France Fiji England
USA Brazil Russia
Spain China South Africa
France ran New Zealand close in the semi-final in Dubai and they meet again in Pool A, alongside USA and Spain. Pool B will see Australia play Fiji, who forced England to extra time in a memorable plate final in Dubai, along with hosts Brazil and China.

Pool C makes for some interesting clashes with Canada, England and Russia all set to do battle in Sao Paulo in February, along with South Africa.

With less than two years to the Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro, rugby returns to Brazil on 7-8 February with round two of the women’s series kicking off in Sao Paulo. This season will see the top four teams qualify for the Rio Games in 2016, and as a result, the competition has already seen a step up in intensity, energy and skill levels.

Last year’s event at the Arena Barueri saw passionate crowds turn out for the first ever series event in the world’s sixth largest city, and organisers are hopeful of even larger crowds in 2015.

All rounds of the 2014-15 season will be live streamed on worldrugby.org with geo blocking applying in some areas.

The action from round two in Sao Paulo gets underway at 11:00 local time, with Fiji taking on China.

 

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December 17, 2014 Posted by | Sevens, Women's Rugby, WorldRugby | , | Leave a comment

Hansen reappointed as All Blacks Head Coach to 2017

mediareleaseHansen reappointed as All Blacks
Head Coach to 2017

hansen

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen has been reappointed until the end of the 2017 season, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) confirmed today.

The contract extension, announced by NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew at a media conference in Wellington, will see Hansen coach the All Blacks beyond next year’s Rugby World Cup into the 2017 season when the British and Irish Lions tour New Zealand, in what will be a major event for the country.

“We think this is fantastic news for the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby and Steve is the right man for the job, having won the World Rugby and Steinlager Coach of the Year awards for the past three years and 38 of his 42 Test matches in charge. On behalf of all New Zealand rugby, I would like to congratulate him on his reappointment.

“Steve is the first All Blacks coach to be given a contract extension beyond a Rugby World Cup which demonstrates just how much faith the Board and our wider organisation, together with the All Blacks players and management, have in him.

“He has huge experience and under his guidance the All Blacks have reached remarkable heights.  To have him re-sign as Head Coach through to 2017 gives the All Blacks the continuity they will need as they make the transition into 2016 and beyond, following next year’s Rugby World Cup.”

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “I am honoured by the faith and confidence the Board has shown in me by offering an extension to my contract.

“It’s a privilege to be part of the All Blacks and not something you could ever take for granted.  After getting the support of my family and various team personnel to continue, I asked myself if I still had the hunger and desire to continue in the role, which I do, so the decision to continue became a no-brainer, because there is no better job in world rugby.

“Whilst I am well aware that there is a lot of work to do, I am really looking forward to the future, starting with 2015 and the opportunity and challenge that awaits us at the Rugby World Cup. 2016 will bring its own challenges with a number of senior players likely to be moving on and then 2017, when the British and Irish Lions tour, which will be massive.

“Finally, I would like to thank my wife Tash and family for their ongoing love and support.  Without that, I wouldn’t be able to do the job.”

Steve Hansen biography

55-year-old Steve Hansen CNZM was born in Mosgiel and has been coaching for two decades at club, provincial, Super Rugby and international level. He was appointed Head Coach of the All Blacks following the All Blacks’ famous Rugby World Cup 2011 victory after serving as Assistant Coach for eight years. The All Blacks have fashioned an enviable record under Hansen with 38 wins, just two losses and two draws for a winning record of 90 percent.  The record includes the historic unbeaten season of 2013, victories in the Steinlager Series and Investec Rugby Championship each year, and the retention of the Bledisloe Cup. Hansen has been named World Rugby Coach of the Year in the last three years, with the team also getting the ‘three-peat’ as World Rugby Team of the Year. Prior to joining the All Blacks, Hansen coached Wales for two years, was Assistant Coach of the Crusaders during their title–winning seasons in 1999 – 2001 and won titles with Canterbury in 2001 and 1997.

 

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December 16, 2014 Posted by | New Zealand | , , | Leave a comment

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