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All Blacks expecting fast and physical game plan from Wales

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Restored to something approaching full strength, the All Blacks expect Wales to throw everything at them in a physical contest at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Sunday (NZT).

All Blacks coach Ian Foster said playing Wales in Cardiff was always a special occasion.

“There’s a lot of passion in the crowd and we know they demand 100 percent attitude and commitment from you, so it’s a great place to start the European part of our tour.

The stadium roof will be closed, and, as a result, the prospect was that Wales would look to play a fast game in attempting to beat the All Blacks for the first time since 1953.

Wales had selected a strong team who had been competitive in their three Tests in South Africa, and they would play with a lot of confidence from that.

“They’ve picked an uncapped player on the wing [Rio Dyer] and he’s very quick, so they’ve got plenty of speed, but we know that Wales are a very physical rugby team and they challenge your commitment and physicality.”

Foster said the selection of Codie Taylor was down to managing the three hookers in the side, but it was also a reaction to the enforced changes made moments before the start of last week’s Test in Japan.

Original starter Dane Coles cried off with a calf injury resulting in Samisoni Taukei’aho starting and Taylor coming on as a substitute later in the game.

“It’s a strategy of switching them around and sharing the load at this stage.

“Codie was going to have a break, and he ended up playing, so we felt we’ve got two battle-hardened hookers, and we’ll switch them around.

“But, Codie was probably under a lot of pressure in his last Test start and we were delighted with how he went about it, and played, and it was good to see him back. So, it’s a chance for him to cement his role as one of our leading hookers.”

The choice of Jordie Barrett at second five-eighths was down to his performance against Australia at Eden Park.

“We’ve gone with combinations from that Test,” Foster said.

“I said then that Jordie had an outstanding game. It’s a chance to give him another start in that position in a different environment against a different team. This is a chance for him to cement his understanding of that role – it gives us a different style and a different game.

“It’s a bit about gathering information for the future, but [we’re] also excited about what he brings and also the ability to use Davey [Havili] off the bench and utilise Jordie in a different role later in the game.”

Halfback Aaron Smith’s achievement in playing his 113th Test and becoming the most capped back in All Blacks history would be a special moment. It was the sort of milestone that came around when involved for as long as Smith has been. He has moved past Dan Carter to the No1 position.

“It was pretty special having DC [Carter] at the game last week and he came down to our shed afterwards and said a few words. He’s a special man, he’s been a massive part of us the last decade and I’m delighted that this little milestone is something he can tick off and I’m sure he will want to do it in typical Aaron Smith manner.”

In Sam Cane’s absence, flanker Dalton Papali’i has the chance for much-wanted game time, and Foster said he was jumping out of his skin to play.

“He’s been a big contributor all campaign. He’s turned into a quality loose forward and he’s relishing the chance to play.”

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


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Spencer looking to bring innovation to Sky Super Rugby Aupiki

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Former All Blacks and Blues first five-eighths Carlos Spencer hopes to pass on the sort of rugby that marked his career as a backs coach for the Blues women’s side in Sky Super Rugby Aupiki in 2023.

The 99-time Blues’ pivot played 44 Tests for the All Blacks and 89 games for Auckland during his career spanning the turn of the century. He also played for Northampton and Gloucester in the English Premiership.

Since building his coaching record after completing his rugby-playing career in South Africa in Gauteng, he has coached in the Republic, the United States and the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Now he has taken the chance to join head coach Willie Walker and fellow assistant coach Linda Itunu with the Blues.

Spencer, 47, said: “When I was playing, I always liked to bring a bit of innovation and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking to the table. Now, as a coach, I want to encourage and help grow those same traits in our Blues wahine.”

Like most of New Zealand, he was caught up in the Black Ferns’ World Cup success, and he anticipates there will be a follow-on effect in Sky Super Rugby Aupiki.

“You’ve seen the rise of women’s rugby and the way the public got right in behind the Black Ferns.

“We’re at an exciting juncture for the sport, and I’m looking forward to getting involved and doing what I can to help grow and support women’s rugby.”

“I’ve known Willie [Walker] for a while. We’ve thrown the touch ball around and have a good relationship. He’s done some fantastic work with the Auckland Storm in the Farah Palmer Cup, and I’m looking forward to exchanging ideas and getting the backline humming.

“I don’t know Linda, but have seen her exploits on the field for many years with the Black Ferns – she was an enforcer on the field,”

Blues chief executive Andrew Hore said having Spencer on board with the Blues organisation was special, and was an example of harnessing the resources available within the franchise’s region.

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


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Constructive talks between World Rugby, Erasmus

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South Africa Rugby - Image Credit Asics

World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin and World Rugby Director of Rugby Phil Davies met with South Africa Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus on Thursday and held positive discussions regarding recent events and match official communications in general.

Views were exchanged resulting in a better understanding of the respective positions.

There was agreement that further dialogue was needed in terms of enhancing the process that operates between teams and match officials to ensure all can play their part in creating great spectacles and avoid frustration but in a way that underpins the respect for match officials, coaches and players.

Further dialogue will continue after today’s final Springbok test of the year.

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby


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Nienaber, Kolisi praise Boks for special win

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South Africa Rugby - Image Credit Asics

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and captain Siya Kolisi praised the team for their brave effort to earn their first win over England at Twickenham since 2014, and their first personal victories in London as they registered a rewarding 27-13 victory on Saturday.

The Boks built up an encouraging 14-3 halftime lead and managed to stretch it to 27-6 in the 57th minute before being reduced to 14 men for the last 20 minutes after replacement prop Thomas du Toit received a red card for a dangerous tackle. Despite this, the team hung on as if their lives depended on it to snatch the memorable victory.

The result saw the Boks win two of their four matches on the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour – with the two narrow defeats being against the first and second ranked teams in the world in Ireland and France.

“We’ve had a couple of special results as a team, but this was the first win for Siya and I at Twickenham, so it’s very special to us,” said Nienaber.

“The forwards were outstanding and created a good platform for our backs to attack, so all-in-all, it was a fantastic team effort.”

Kolisi echoed lauded the entire team for their efforts to make the victory possible.

“Sometimes we take it for granted what a special environment one is in and the great coaching team we have,” said Kolisi.

“When we got together with most of this coaching team in 2018, we all bought into the plans and the synergy and the way we work together is really special in this group.”

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi thanks the crowd after the Boks won at Twickenham.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi thanks the crowd after the Boks won at Twickenham.

Nienaber was delighted with the way some of the young players rose to the occasion and said: “With this match being outside of the international Test window there were a whole lot of players who were not available for selection, but we have a lot of players knocking on the door and it was great to give those guys an opportunity tonight.

“It’s always good to give those players a chance under such pressure in front of a packed Twickenham, which can be pretty hostile, and they stood up today.”

Asked what he had told his players when they were reduced to 14 men, Kolisi said: “We actually said last week there is nothing we haven’t faced together as a group year. We’ve even been in situation when we had a red card, so the players knew what to do.

“Everyone knew they had to work harder to make up for the extra man, and the way the forwards played was great, and everyone did their bit to get the result.”

Wrapping up the tour, Nienaber said: “This was one of the most enjoyable four weeks we’ve had had even though we only got a 50% win record. The way the team, coaches, management and the game drivers made plans and worked tightly together with it was great, and we can take a lot from this going forward.”

The team will make their journey back to South Africa on Sunday and arrive on their home soil on Monday.

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby


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