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All Blacks defeated in Mbombela by SA



Competing with an unrelenting defensive display, South Africa beat the All Blacks 26-10 in a Lipovitan D Rugby Championship Test in Mbombela that will be known as the Turnover Test.

Hamstrung by a lack of possession, and unable to have any impact in achieving their flow, the All Blacks were unable to find any answers in a Test which for the 53 minutes saw the breakdown become the domain of Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx.


Over the ball he was consistently the man who put the All Blacks on the back foot, and when backed with determination at the tackle by the rest of the side, there was no way through until the 76th minute.


That came when wing Caleb Clarke was able to make a break. South Africa’s defensive determination was exemplified by fullback Damian Willemse who managed to pull Clarke down short of the line.


But replacement flanker Shannon Frizell was quick to the tackle and grabbed the ball to score a try at last.


As much as Marx was so dominant the All Blacks too often conceded easy ball to the home side.


Such was South Africa’s defensive intensity that they quickly latched onto any sniff of a chance and the All Blacks were guilty of feeding that hunger with too many loose passes – the result of their frustrations.


Clarke and Will Jordan were largely anonymous although one dangerous break by Jordan saw his ankles clipped just as he seemed ready to get clear.


Knock-ons compounded the situation and continued a trend that saw the All Blacks the worst offenders at knock-ons in the July Tests.


Second five-eighths David Havili, replacement hooker Dane Coles each lost ball in promising situations and it was almost symbolic of the game that in the last act Frizell knocked the ball on and replacement fullback Willie le Roux was on hand to grab the ball to score a soft try.


Penalties within goal-kicking positions also added to the self-inflicted pressure they found themselves under.


Springboks first five-eighth Handré Pollard landing three penalty goals and a dropped goal to keep the margin widening as he passed 100 points against the All Blacks with his first penalty goal.


While conceding a try in the eighth minute, it wasn’t a poor start to rank with those the All Blacks suffered in the second and third Tests against Ireland. Rather it was a case of being unable to prise the ball away from the Boks pack.


There were still frustrations with mistakes made in promising situations, and in the face of Springbok scrum pressure, with penalties conceded.


Under those circumstances containing them to 10 points in the first half was something of a triumph.


In the first quarter the All Blacks only had 22 per cent of possession which improved to 44 per cent by the break while South Africa enjoyed 58-42 territory advantage. However, by stringing more moves together in the second quarter the All Blacks forced the Springboks to make 55 tackles to 67.


The effort told in the last 10 minutes of the half as the big South African forwards showed the effects of the struggle. However, they worked their substitutions well to keep the pack fresh in the second half.


South Africa also had to make up for the 40-second loss of halfback Faf de Klerk, playing on his home ground. In attempting a tackle of wing Caleb Clarke his head clashed with Clarke’s knee and he was stretchered from the field.


In the case of all class sides, replacement Jaden Hendrikse, in his fifth Test, proved up to the task with an impressive display.


South Africa’s first try came from using their scrum to effect. Then Pollard launched a high kick outside the All Blacks 22m area, pint-sized wing Kurt-Lee Arendse contested with Jordie Barrett and the ball fell to centre Lukhanyo Am. Arendse was quickly in support and ran 22m in open space to score in the eighth minute.


Arendse marred an impressive display with seven minutes left when receiving a red card for taking Beauden Barrett out under a high ball.


Scorers: South Africa 26 (Kurt-Lee Arendse, Willie Le Roux tries; Handré Pollard 2 con, 3 pen, dropped goal) New Zealand (Shannon Frizell try;  Jordie Barrett pen; Richie Mo’unga con). HT: 10-3


Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby

6 Nations

Stewart Joins Ireland Squad In Portugal As Wales Prep Intensifies



Ulster hooker Tom Stewart has joined the Ireland squad in Quinta do Lago to provide additional cover following a hamstring issue picked up by Ronan Kelleher. Kelleher will be managed by the Ireland Medical team over the coming days.

The uncapped Stewart is a former Ireland U20 international who played twice for Emerging Ireland in the Autumn, starting in the victories over the Griquas and the Cheetahs. The Ireland coaching group also included him in the match day preparations for the Ireland ‘A’ game against the All Blacks XV in November.

Stewart’s addition brings the number of Emerging Ireland tourists in the Senior squad to five – Jack Crowley, Joe McCarthy, Jamie Osborne and Cian Prendergast.

The squad will continue to train at The Campus in Quinta do Lago this week before flying to Cardiff on Thursday ahead of the opening round of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations Championship.

Ireland Squad, 2023 Guinness Six Nations:

Backs (17)

Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 41 caps
Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 14 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 7 caps
Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution) 2 caps
Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 98 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 23 caps
Mack Hansen (Connacht) 8 caps
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 25 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Marys College) 30 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 15 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 9 caps
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 100 caps
Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) 3 caps
Jamie Osborne (Leinster/Naas)*
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 47 caps
Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 109 caps (c)
Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) 35 caps

Forwards (20)

Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 8 caps
Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 27 caps
Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 36 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 33 caps
Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 23 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 63 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 121 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 68 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 31 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 18 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 48 caps
Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin University) 1 cap
Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 89 caps
Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 4 caps
Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 48 caps
Cian Prendergast (Connacht/Corinthians) 1 cap
James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 48 caps
Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 13 caps
Tom Stewart (Ulster/Ballynahinch)*
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 45 caps

*denotes uncapped player

2023 Guinness Six Nations Fixtures

Saturday 4th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
VIRGIN / BBC / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

IRELAND v France
Saturday 11th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radi0

Saturday 25th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Scotland v IRELAND
Sunday 12th March 2023, KO 15:00 (IST)
RTE TV / BBC / RTE Radio / BBC Radi0

IRELAND v England
Saturday 18th March 2023, KO 17:00 (IST)
VIRGIN / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography

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Savea back at the helm of the Hurricanes



All Blacks loose forward Ardie Savea will captain the Hurricanes again for the 2023 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season.

Savea, who will have his 11th season in the side, will mark his first appearance in the competition by playing his 120th game.

The Hurricanes’ season opens against the Reds in round one.

Savea said: “I’m looking forward to the season, especially getting out to the communities, when we play in Levin against the Crusaders for our pre-season game and Palmerston North against the Western Force on Sunday, April 2.

“We’ve just moved into our new facility, and there’s something awesome about change; it’s brought in a lot of energy. It’s refreshing to come in and be in a new space alongside other professional teams. Hopefully, being here can help us move forward and prepare well for our games.”

The facility is part of the New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport at what was the Central Institute of Technology at Trentham and houses, several Wellington-based teams.

Coach Jason Holland was delighted to be able to call on Savea’s leadership ability again.

“Ardie is a special leader. He’s the sort of guy you want to follow in whatever he does. He’s worked hard at his leadership around all the small details, around how to get the best out of the people around him.

“He’s been good at driving us as a group, players and management, about being well-planned and clear in our roles in what we’re leading.

“Ards has a great relationship with all the boys and cares about them and the team and that shows in the way he leads.”

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby

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Marshall primed for Crusaders coaching opportunity



James Marshall couldn’t escape rugby’s draw after retiring from playing and failed in his promised avoidance of the coaching ranks.

The former Super Rugby title winner with the Hurricanes has fitted into coaching so well that he will spend 2023 as backs coach for the Crusaders in Super Rugby Pacific.

Auckland-born Marshall started his rugby career with Tasman, but when missing a place in the Super Rugby structure, in a team or wider training group, he had a chance as a 20-year-old to play in Italy with Zebre.

It proved a stimulating experience in coping with playing a different style of rugby at a different level.

He returned to New Zealand six months later for another three seasons with Tasman before getting a chance in the Hurricanes’ wider squad. He had spent four years trying to get a place in the Crusaders.

“I could never crack it as a player but I’m here now as a coach,” he said.

“It is surreal to be here now. When I finished rugby, I promised my wife I wouldn’t get into coaching. We had moved around so many times during my career, even when I was playing for the Hurricanes moving to Taranaki every six months.

“We worked it out there were well over 20 houses we lived in throughout my career so when I got to the end of it I did say I wouldn’t be chasing the coaching dream, and I wouldn’t be moving the family around any more.”

However, back in Nelson, he got the chance to work with Andrew Goodman and Shane Christie, which gave him coaching work where he had decided to settle.

“Then a couple of years later,, I get a call from Razor [Scott Robertson] and it really throws a spanner in the works for my wife and when I got the opportunity, it was a no brainer. It’s such a good opportunity for me to learn and see where coaching can now take me.”

He contacted David Havili to see if he felt Marshall could do the job asked of him as backs coach and to see if he would have the backing of the players.

Havili got back in touch to say how much he thought Marshall could add to the environment. He also contacted some of his Hurricanes contacts and admitted being surprised at how supportive they were.

The Crusaders were one of the most successful sides in the sport’s history, and looking from the outside while playing, he had always wondered what went on and how they did it.

“It’s been impressive. It’s a well-run ship. Razor does a great job. Scotty Hansen, the detail he has on the rugby programme. Tamati Ellison, some of his coaching, it’s all world-class.

“It’s been awesome for me as a young coach to witness these guys at work and try and learn as much as I can off them.

“There’s also the players. It’s a pretty impressive squad when you look at it on paper and the chance to work with some world-class athletes and try and teach them as much as I can, but also try and learn from them,” he said.

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby

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