Thursday, August 13, 2015
Both the All Blacks and the Wallabies have named their teams for this weekend's Bledisloe Cup decider in Auckland. New Zealand have made just three changes, while Australia have brought in Quade Cooper and Matt Tomua, despite winning last weekend.
The All Blacks selectors have made just three changes to the starting XV which started last week's opening Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney. Ma'a Nonu returns for the injured Sonny Bill Williams, lock Samuel Whitelock comes in off the bench for Luke Romano, while Victor Vito comes in for Jerome Kaino, who moves to the bench.
The All Blacks side will again be captained by All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, who will break the world record for most Test matches this weekend in his 142nd Test.
The Wallabies meanwhile have made six changes to their starting XV, with playmakers Quade Cooper and Matt Toomua replacing Bernard Foley and Matt Giteau in the midfield, while Will Skelton switches with Dean Mumm to start the match with James Horwill in the second row.
Brumbies Nic White and Henry Speight alongside Waratahs number 8 Wycliff Palu have all been named in the run-on side for the first time in 2015. Kane Douglas will also play his first match for the Wallabies since 2013 from the bench, after returning from Ireland on a long-term contract with the Australian Rugby Union.
Eden Park, Auckland, Saturday 15 August 5:35pm (AEST) 7:35pm (local time) 07:35 GMT
1. Scott Sio 2. Stephen Moore (C) 3. Sekope Kepu 4. Will Skelton 5. James Horwill 6. Scott Fardy 7. Michael Hooper, 8. Wycliff Palu 9. Nic White 10. Quade Cooper 11. Henry Speight 12. Matt Toomua 13. Tevita Kuridrani 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper,15. Israel Folau
Reserves: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau 17. James Slipper 18. Greg Holmes 19. Dean Mumm 20. Kane Douglas 21. David Pocock 22. Matt Giteau 23. Kurtley Beale
All Blacks Team:
1. Tony Woodcock 2. Dane Coles 3. Owen Franks 4. Brodie Retallick 5. Samuel Whitelock 6. Victor Vito 7. Richie McCaw (C) 8. Kieran Read 9. Aaron Smith 10. Daniel Carter 11. Julian Savea 12. Ma'a Nonu 13. Conrad Smith 14. Nehe Milner-Skudder 15. Ben Smith
Reserves: 16. Keven Mealamu 17. Wyatt Crockett 18. Nepo Laulala 19. Jerome Kaino 20. Sam Cane 21. TJ Perenara 22. Colin Slade 23. Malakai Fekitoa
Key points of interest
- The All Blacks and Australia have played each other 153 times, with the All Blacks winning 104 times and the Wallabies 42, with seven draws.
- Daniel Carter will start his 88th Test match at first five eighths to equal the world record holder, Steven Jones of Wales. Carter also surpassed the 1,500 Test points milestone last weekend.
- In last weekend's Test, Nehe Milner-Skudder became the first All Black to score two tries on a Test debut against Australia since Bruce Watt in 1962.
- The Wallabies are aiming to lift the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002 when they claimed the Cup for the fifth time in a row.
- Adam Ashley-Cooper has scored more tries against New Zealand (9) than any other
player. He touched down in each of the last two meetings between the nations.
- New Zealand was last defeated at Eden Park in July 1994. They drew their next game
at the venue in August 1994 and since then have won 33 in a row in Auckland.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Ireland gave rivals Wales a bit of a seeing to in Cardiff on Saturday in a Rugby World Cup Warmup that has led to the 35-21 victors moving up to second on the official world rankings.
One of the more memorable tries was when Wales attempted to get back in the game after leaking some early points. A hospital pass left Eli Walker in a terrible position, so Andrew Trimble lined him up and made the perfect hit, allowing the ball to pop up for poacher Earls.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
As the excitement builds towards Rugby World Cup kickoff on September 18th, World Rugby have provided a quick look at a memorable try from the 2007 edition, as Tonga came close to upsetting eventual champions, South Africa.
Viliami Vaki finished the try but the Tongan effort started way back and gave South Africa, who had opted to field a second string outfit, a real scare late in the pool stages.
South Africa hung on to win 30-25, thanks to their big guns coming on late in the game.
This year Tonga are in Pool C alongside Argentina, Georgia, Namibia and New Zealand.
As it gets nearer, we'll be posting all RWC news and features in our Rugby World Cup section
Juan Imhoff scored a hat-trick of tries as Argentina beat South Africa for the first time in 20 attempts, winning 37-25 in Durban. The win sees them earn big points in the World Rugby rankings, while South Africa drop down to the unfamiliar position of fifth.
Argentina were inspired by the presence of the 1965 Pumas, as they went on to outplay an error-prone Springbok side who suffered their fourth straight loss.
It's the first time that the Springboks have gone through a Tri Nations or Rugby Championship campaign without a win, leaving them in a poor state with not long to go until RWC 2015.
"We need to give credit to Argentina, who outplayed us today," said coach Heyneke Meyer.
"They delivered a great performance and deserved the win. They played a game that suited them and not us. We could not adapt and sadly, we were just not good enough today. We have let our country and our supporters down today with this unacceptable performance.
"We are a proud team, but you will lose sometimes. What we dished up in the first half was very poor. I apologise to the nation as the buck stops with me as coach. There are no excuses. I take responsibility and will work harder to rectify this before the Rugby World Cup."
Meyer will not allow the poor campaign to halt his team's progress going forward.
"This does not put us back for the Rugby World Cup. We are a much better team than this. We will be working even harder. I still believe we are in contention for the World Cup. We are getting a number of big ball carriers back soon and we will be better for it."
The two sides meet again in Argentina this coming weekend, but the visitors will be without captain Jean de Villiers, who broke his jaw, Marcell Coetzee (knee injury) and Willie Le Roux (sprained ankle).
Imhoff became the first man in 124 years to score a hat-trick of tries against South Africa.
Monday, August 10, 2015
The Wallabies achieved victory over the All Blacks for the first time in four years when they won 27-19 in Sydney on Saturday. Nic White's late try gave them a thrilling Rugby Championship title victory in from of 73,824 fans.
Scrumhalf White came off the bench to kick a long range penalty and later convert his own try as the Wallabies got one up on their arch rivals for the first time since 2011. The All Blacks had led 19-17 with 11 minutes left before White's injection changed the game.
Prop Sekope Kepu and winger Adam Ashley-Cooper also crossed for tries whiles Nehe Milner-Skudder scored twice for New Zealand on debut.
For the Wallabies victory not only means a Rugby Championship title, but also a Bledisloe Cup boost ahead of the decider at Eden Park next weekend. It also ends a 10-match losing streak against the All Blacks.
"We fought hard for each other, and the crowd really lifted us there at the end," said Wallabies captain Stephen Moore. "Both sides pushed the boundaries and it was a good contest."
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw paid tribute to the opposition. "They took their opportunities. It was a pretty intense sort of match. It probably came down to a couple of missed tackles that counted at the end.
"I thought when we got back in the game, when we got ahead with 15 to go that’s when we needed to be really sharp, not playing at the wrong end of the field, and a couple of lapses on defence was the difference in the end."
Following the win, the Wallabies have moved up to 2nd in the official World Rugby rankings.
Ireland claimed a psychological advantage in the first of two Rugby World Cup warm up games against Wales as they won comfortably at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday. The 35-21 victory came after a convincing 25-7 lead at the break.
Ten minutes from fulltime Ireland actually led 35-7, so this was a bit of a drubbing in that sense, despite Wales coming back and later scoring a try on full time to flatter the scoreline.
Wales have just returned from an arduous training camp, but signs of that hard work weren't evident as Ireland blitzed their way to an early lead in the first half.
It was an experimental side, as was Ireland's, and New Zealand born Gareth Anscombe made his debut in the second half, while flanker Justin Tipuric showed a number of quality touches.Scott Williams said post match that he was pleased with how the game finished.
"Ireland had a lot of experience and that showed in the end. I was happy with the way we finished the game. It is the first time we have played together as a team and it was a big occasion."
Wales play hosts England, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay in Pool A at the World Cup, which starts on September 18, while Ireland are in Pool D alongside France, Italy, Canada and Romania.
These two sides meet again for a return match in Dublin on Auguest 29th.
*Updated with longer highlights
Friday, August 07, 2015
This week's Wraparound offers something a little bit different to the norm, as Sean and the Rugby HQ guys recap all the very best action that took place in Australian club rugby over the course of the last week. It features some stunning tries, woeful defence and balls of steel.
View previous episodes and all archived Plays of the Week