Monday, September 29, 2014
The All Blacks retained the Rugby Championship with a game to spare after claiming a 34-13 bonus point victory over Argentina on Saturday. Next weekend's fixture against South Africa shifts to a matter of pride, rather than the title being on the line.
The win in La Plata secured a third successive Rugby Championship title for the World Champions, who scored tries through Ben Smith, Israel Dagg, Julian Savea and TJ Perenara.
Despite there being one match left to play between the All Blacks and the Springboks in Johannesburg, even a bonus-point victory for the hosts will leave them a point behind the leaders, and now winners, of the the 2014 edition of the southern hemisphere quadrangular tournament.
Richie McCaw said post match that finding motivation certainly won't be a problem when it comes to facing their arch rivals at Ellis Park this coming Saturday.
"It won't take much. When the All Blacks play South Africa, especially in South Africa, that's one of the games you live for so the boys will enjoy tonight and then look forward to next week."
The skipper acknowledged Argentina's part in what was a good contest, despite the final scoreline.
"The Pumas came to play and it was a pretty good match to watch because both teams came to play, I'm just proud the guys took their chances. We defended really well and didn't let them across the line until the end and I'm really proud of the guys because it really showed their backbone."
View quick highlights below (better will be updated if possible), and on page two you can get a look inside the sheds with the New Zealand team after the match, and hear their thoughts on the victory
Posted at 5:19 pm | 0 comments
A late flurry of tries gave the Springboks a convincing 28-10 victory over the Wallabies in Cape Town, but the final score doesn't reflect what happened for the majority of what was an extremely tight Rugby Championship Test match.
The Wallabies led 10-5 at halftime before the Springboks edged ahead with a Pat Lambie dropgoal in the 69th minute. What followed was an unbelievable ten minutes of rugby, with the home side scoring three tries, to add to the one in the first half, and claim a bonus point victory.
"I feel sorry for the players, they set the game up for the win and that won't be reflected in the final score, it will probably be forgotten," said Wallabies coach Ewan McKenzie post match.
"There was some really good stuff from our guys, we were in a good position to win it. We will have to look at the video and see why we didn't."
With the match finally poised, a string of well timed substitutions, including that of former IRB Player of the Year Schalk Burger, seemed to up the momentum and tempo for South Africa. Lambie took control, and despite missing kicks at goal, slotted the dropgoal and scored a great try of his own.
Captain Jean De Villiers scored twice, including after the final hooter, to cap what was a memorable day for Springbok rugby, as they gave themselves a chance of snatching the Rugby Championship title, if it were not for the All Blacks' victory over Argentina a few hours later.
"Australia's defence was awesome in the first 60 minutes and we were frustrated at times," said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. "But the players that came off the bench upped the tempo and were brilliant. Last year we scored the most tries in the competition, I know we can score when we keep the ball in hand."
De Villiers said he is looking forward to the clash with rivals New Zealand next weekend.
"We will take all the good from this match into next week. We came so close to beating New Zealand in Wellington and I think we can be very competitive next weekend at Ellis Park."
Below are quick highlights (longer up soon if possible) and the press conference chat with shell-shocked McKenzie and Wallaby skipper Michael Hooper is on the next page.
Posted at 11:34 am | 2 comments
Friday, September 26, 2014
Wallaby Nick Cummins is playing rugby in Japan currently, but found time to cash in on his hot streak of fame by doing this Head & Shoulders advert. As you can see, when you're 100% flake free and smell like a man, man, good happens.
Posted at 11:43 am | 12 comments
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Total Rugby caught up with All Black centre Conrad Smith recently to speak about his life as an All Black, his midfield partnership with Ma'a Nonu, and what the future holds as we head into another Rugby World Cup year. He'll be 33 next month, but hopes to be in England to defend the title.
Smith has played 80 Tests for his country, with a winning rate of an unbelievable 90% - he's only ever lost 7 times at that level. It's no coicidence either as Smith, along with midfield partner Nonu, has become an integral part of the team setup.
They equalled the record for the midfield partnership with the most Test caps recently, but with Nonu injured, won't be able to add to that for a while.
This interview gives us a nice insight into the mindset of the man that has a law degree to his name.
View more archived Player Features here
Posted at 10:48 am | 4 comments
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Tom Palmer made this great hit during Gloucester's 25-22 loss to Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm. The home crowd were let down in the end, but this tackle and three tries, were the highlights of the night. Gareth Steenson, who kicked four penalties and a conversion, was on the receiving end.
It's a lock on a flyhalf, so a mismatch physically but still great to see how they both went airborne.
View more big hits and great tackles in the Big Hits section
Posted at 1:32 pm | 3 comments
Monday, September 22, 2014
This is Courtney Lawes' crunching tackle from last weekend against Wasps. It's not as lethal as some of his previous hits, but it's on a flyhalf yet again, so is equally amusing. If you take a look through our Related Posts below this, you'll see many more of his hits on hapless number tens.
In this case it was Ruaridh Jackson, who should have known, but just didn't see it coming.
Posted at 3:24 pm | 8 comments
When he's not diving, Richard Hibbard is one of the hardest hitting hookers in world rugby. He won over the Gloucester fans recently with this smashing hit vs Sale, his opposite number, Shalva Mamukashvili. Unfortunately he was ruled to have knocked it on, but it was a great tackle anyway.
View more Big Hits here
Posted at 1:40 pm | 4 comments