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All Blacks fall short to Argentina in Christchurch



Applied Argentina defence carried them to a famous 25–18 win, their first on New Zealand soil, over the All Blacks in the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship Test in Christchurch on Saturday.

It was a win that puts Argentina right in the hunt to claim their first Rugby Championship, especially with Australia having beaten South Africa earlier in the day. Argentina and Australia have nine points each. The All Blacks have five points, and South Africa four.


Try as the All Blacks might, with long phases of 17 recycles at times, and veteran lock Sam Whitelock, No8 Ardie Savea, second five-eighths David Havili et al, charging at the line, they were unable to penetrate the determined Argentine tacklers, spread across the field.


Instead it was the Crusaders loose forward Pablo Matera, hooker, captain and turnover maestro Julian Montoya, and goal-kicker Emiliano Boffelli, who landed six penalty goals and the conversion who spearheaded the Argentina effort. The effort went in across the field.


Flanker Marcos Kremer made 26 tackles, Montoya 21 and second five-eighths Matias Orlando 18 as Argentina made 195 tackles to 87 by the All Blacks.


Ironically, for a team with one of the most feared scrums in the world, Argentina were unable to claim any dominance in that department, but it didn’t matter, they competed in the lineouts and put the pressure on through that avenue, and in their defence.


That was highlighted in the last two minutes when desperation saw replacement hooker Codie Taylor fail to throw straight 10m out from Argentina’s line.


That spelled the end for the All Blacks who should have made more of their chances in the first half, in which they led 15-12.


Mistakes, and penalty concessions, niggled the All Blacks and when they might have hoped their fitness would bring them home, they ran into Argentinian fervour when they had history in the grip.


Argentina made the stronger start to the second half, capitalising on a re-start after a penalty goal landed by first five-eighths Richie Mo’unga.


Lock Scott Barrett was unable to hold the restart. Lurking to take the ball was blindside flanker Juan Martin Gonzalez and he ran around into space on the short side and sped through for a try to allow Boffelli to land a sideline conversion to regain the lead.


Another penalty was conceded in the 57th minute and Boffelli landed another goal to give Argentina a 22-18 lead.


Eight penalties conceded in the first half, four of them in goal-kicking range for wing Emiliano Boffelli, denied the All Blacks the ability to build momentum. The sides were competitive but the All Blacks showed their attacking ability with the forward pack piecing together an outstanding driving maul to get hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho over in the 10th minute.


Then, with the Argentine lineout, which had been operating at 93 per cent against Australia, under pressure and conceding two throws, it was Taukei’aho who covered a poor Pumas throw to get the ball moving.


Mo’unga found Havili and centre Rieko Ioane, and he drew the defence to slip a short pass to fullback Jordie Barrett. He linked with wing Caleb Clarke and he ran in the second try.


The All Blacks showed the power they could harness when driving, including one 17 phase effort that sapped the Argentine defence. It also helped that the strength of the All Blacks scrum saw the less experienced Ethan de Groot and Tyrel Lomax defang the experienced Pumas scrum.


Up 15-12 at halftime, the All Blacks could reflect on a competitive start again, but lost opportunities due to that 8-5 penalty count.


Scorers: All Blacks 18 (Samisoni Taukei’aho, Caleb Clarke tries; Richie Mo’unga con, 2 pen) Argentina 25 (Juan Martin Gonzalez try; Emiliano Boffelli con, 6 pen). HT: 15-12


Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


Eddie upbeat for ‘intriguing’ World Cup



Eddie Jones admits the Wallabies are in the chasing pack but still close enough to catch the favourites and win September’s Rugby World Cup.

Jones, after a 15-minute technical glitch, gave his first wide-ranging interview from England on Thursday after his shock appointment on Monday.


He said the battle to wear the No.10 jersey in France was wide open, touched on the side’s ill-discipline and current eligibility laws, assessed the health of the code in Australia and had a neat return-of-serve to rugby league powerbroker Peter V’landys in the latest code-war chapter.

But when asked if he genuinely thought the inconsistent world No.6 side could win the World Cup this year, he was serious.

“There’s no long term; the whole thing is to win the World Cup in 2023,” said Jones, who is on a five-year contract.

“We have to concentrate on areas that will make the biggest difference to the performance of the team and we have to get selection right.
“And we’ve got to create an environment where players are going to give that little bit more, because nobody knows how much they can give.”

Jones will have just five Tests to prepare his men before the Cup and he turned to racing parlance to assess the current power rankings.

He says feels there’s still time for the field to settle with the team who improves the most between now and October set for victory.

“At the moment France and Ireland, in a horse race they’re at the front on the top of the rise,” he said.

“But there’s still plenty of work to do.

“Australia and England are nestled behind them and the team that improves the most over the next nine months will win the World Cup.

“This is the most intriguing World Cup we’ve ever seen.

“Throw in the volatility of the refereeing at the moment with red and yellow cards.

“You’ve got all these things happening that give us this massive opportunity.”

He said every player would have a chance to “select themselves” in club rugby and that replacing Rennie before his contract was to expire at the end of this year wasn’t in his control.

“I wasn’t thinking, ‘I can do this better than Dave, or, I’m a better person’, it’s not that at all,” he said.

“It’s the fact that there was an opportunity there that as an Australian when you get a chance to coach your country you want to do it, mate.”

In a boost for James O’Connor’s hopes after he was cut from Rennie’s extended squad, Jones said he’d base selection on Super Rugby Pacific form and keep an eye on his foreign-based playmakers.

But Jones admits time isn’t on his side when it comes to settling on a preferred partnership, with rival five-eighth Quade Cooper’s recovery from an Achilles tear counting against him.

“We are going to have to decide quite quickly who we think are the best nines and tens and 12s, particularly, to try and build up that cohesion,” he said.

Content & Images from – Australia Rugby

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6 Nations

England team to face Scotland in Six Nations opener



Ollie Hassell-Collins will make his England debut at left wing, Max Malins returns to the side at right wing and Freddie Steward is named at full back.

Owen Farrell captains the side from inside centre and is joined in the midfield by Joe Marchant. Marcus Smith is at fly-half with Jack van Poortvliet at scrum half.

The front row is made up of vice-captain Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler with Jamie George at hooker. Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum start at lock, while Ben Curry makes his second appearance for England at open-side flanker. Lewis Ludlam and Alex Dombrandt complete the back row.

Jack Walker is in line to make his England debut after being named as a substitute, Anthony Watson could make a first England appearance since March 2021, and if Dan Cole comes off the bench he will earn a 96th Test cap.

Mako Vunipola, Nick Isiekwe, Ben Earl, Ben Youngs and Ollie Lawrence make up the remaining replacements.

“There are few fixtures in the rugby calendar that excite both players and supporters alike more than the annual Six Nations meeting of the Auld enemy as they battle for the honour of lifting the Calcutta Cup,” said Borthwick.

“Another packed Twickenham will witness the start of the next chapter of English rugby in one of the most keenly contested tournaments in the world. There is no doubt this England team shares the supporters’ sense of eager anticipation.

“To a man, the players are determined to play with the commitment, fight and desire that is at the very heart of representing England, the sort of passion that our tremendous supporters rightly expect.”

England Match Day Squad


15. Freddie Steward

14. Max Malins

13. Joe Marchant

12. Owen Farrell (C)

11. Ollie Hassell-Collins

10. Marcus Smith

9. Jack van Poortvliet

1. Ellis Genge (VC)

2. Jamie George

3. Kyle Sinckler

4. Maro Itoje

5. Ollie Chessum

6. Lewis Ludlam

7. Ben Curry

8. Alex Dombrandt


16. Jack Walker

17. Mako Vunipola

18. Dan Cole

19. Nick Isiekwe

20. Ben Earl

21. Ben Youngs

22. Ollie Lawrence

23. Anthony Watson

Images & Content from England Rugby
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6 Nations

Scotland name team to face England in 2023 Guinness Six Nations Opener



Head coach Gregor Townsend has named his squad to face England in the opening fixture of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations this Saturday as Scotland bid to retain the Calcutta Cup.

Leading his side in the championship for the first time, blindside flanker Jamie Ritchie is joined at openside by Luke Crosbie, whose excellent recent form is rewarded with a second start for Scotland, with Matt Fagerson completing the back row.

In the second row, the experienced Richie Gray and Grant Gilchrist, who is named as Vice Captain, resume a partnership that impressed during last year’s Autumn Nations Series.

Pierre Schoeman starts at loosehead prop in what is a 17th consecutive international since his 2021 debut, with the evergreen WP Nel – who reached 50 caps in November – selected at tighthead and George Turner named at hooker.

In the back division, scrum-half Ben White will link up with stand-off Finn Russell, a year on from his try-scoring debut in the Calcutta Cup at BT Murrayfield.

Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones are named as a centre pairing, the former having scored his first tries for Scotland in November’s win over Argentina, with the latter having notched no fewer than four tries against England in as many games against them.

In the back three, Scotland’s record try-scorer Stuart Hogg continues at full-back, with Duhan van der Merwe and Kyle Steyn lining up on the wings.

Townsend has selected a bench with a 5-3 split between forwards and backs, with Glasgow Warriors clubmates Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti, Simon Berghan and Jack Dempsey, alongside Jonny Gray, listed as pack replacements. George Horne, Blair Kinghorn and Chris Harris complete the matchday squad as substitute options.

Scotland team to face England in the Guinness Six Nations opener on Saturday, 4 February at Twickenham, kick-off 4.45pm, live on STV and ITV

15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) 96 caps

14. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) 5 caps
13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) 31 caps
12. Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors) 11 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby) 23 caps

10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) 65 caps
9. Ben White (London Irish) 9 caps

1. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby) 16 caps
2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) 30 caps
3. WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) 50 caps
4. Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 69 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – Vice Captain – 59 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby) – Captain – 36 caps
7. Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh Rugby) 2 caps
8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 28 caps


16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) 57 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) 25 caps
18. Simon Berghan (Glasgow Warriors) 31 caps
19. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) 72 caps
20. Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors) 4 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) 18 caps
22. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) 38 caps
23. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby) 39 caps

Tickets for Scotland’s match against Italy at BT Murrayfield in the Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 18 March are still available HERE

Images & Content – Scotland Rugby

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