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All Blacks finish home season in style

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Applied All Blacks pressure, delivered with unrelenting intent, overcame an Australian effort that bordered on the desperate, even undisciplined, in the 40–14 win in the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship at Eden Park.

The win left South Africa with the challenge of not only beating Argentina but overcoming a points differential of 39 points, to deny the All Blacks the Rugby Championship title.

 

The win extended New Zealand’s record to 23 consecutive wins over Australia at the ground since 1986.

 

Outstanding efforts by the front rowers Tyrell Lomax and Ethan de Groot highlighted the application of the All Blacks pack with locks Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock marking their world record-equalling 63rd Test together with huge contributions.

 

New Zealand was better at the breakdown taking 15 turnovers to six while Australia were forced to make 127 tackles to 112 by the All Blacks, who conceded only 12 penalties to 16 by Australia.

 

Jordie Barrett made his case for more consideration at second five-eighths in the future with a powerful display that committed the Australian defence time and again.

 

Wing Will Jordan was elusive, especially in the first half, but limped from the field with a leg injury 67 minutes into the game.

 

Wing Caleb Clarke was safe in coping with high balls kicked in his area, making the tactic redundant, but still employed.

 

 

Two early yellow cards, to lock Jed Holloway and hooker David Porecki, were the last thing Australia needed if they were to vent their frustration from the manner of the Melbourne Test defeat 10 days ago.

 

Up 17-0 at the turn, the All Blacks struck first in the second half when Whitelock scored beneath the posts. Hooker Codie Taylor was able to score in an All Blacks lineout maul and, when he was replaced by Samisoni Taukei’aho, he marked his revival with another driving maul, with four of the backline joining to power the ball over the line.

 

Australia had the satisfaction of two tries toward the end. The first, created from a partial chargedown of a clearing kick, and giving replacement hooker Fainga’a Folau the chance to score. And on fulltime, Jordan Petaia got over after an Australian penalty kick to the corner resulted in the play moving to midfield where the chance came after another period of torrid All Blacks defener.

 

New Zealand were not as efficient as they might have wanted in the first quarter, their inability to take chances costly while also allowing Australia the chance to mount their own challenges. That forced the All Blacks to make 25 per cent more tackles in that quarter.

 

But once they were able to string their moves together, they played at a tempo that Australia couldn’t match. It was that man, Jordan who gave the All Blacks a stunning try, almost from the restart after first five-eighths Richie Mo’ounga opened the scoring with a penalty goal.

 

Outstanding set-up provided by Jordan in a lineout play and support from flanker Dalton Papali’i, the ball emerged with fullback Beauden Barrett in the line and feeding Jordan who rounded his marker with a superb burst of speed to run in the try.

 

The Australians infringed and after the All Blacks kicked towards the goal-line they mounted a thrilling driving maul which was taken down by Porecki, resulting in a penalty try, and 10 minutes off the field for the offender.

 

It was a desperate first half for the Wallabies. They had a try denied when wing Marika Koroibete stepped on the sideline before diving for the line, while on another occasion the ball was held up.

 

They had plenty of time in the All Blacks’ 22m area, and while receiving penalties rather than opting to kick for goal, they attempted tap penalties or kicked to the corner.

 

None of the tactics brought reward as sterling home defence held them out.

 

Some of the defence was frightening in its severity. The Australians attempted to batter down the ramparts but they proved solid and, for the first half at least, impenetrable.

 

It seemed that whatever they tried whether bullocking runs or high kicks to the All Blacks rearguard the home team were up to the task when it mattered.

 

Scorers: New Zealand 40 (Will Jordan, Sam Whitelock, Codie Taylor, Samisoni Taukei’aho tries; Penalty try; Richie Mo’unga 2 con, 2 pen) Australia 14 (Folau Fainga’a, Jordan Petaia tries; Bernard Foley con; Reece Hodge con). HT: 17-0

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


6 Nations

‘It’s A Great Appointment’ – Farrell On Murphy’s Move To Ulster

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With Dan McFarland stepping down as Ulster head coach this week, it has been confirmed that Murphy will take over the role on an interim basis following the conclusion of the Under-20 Six Nations Championship.

The Ireland Under-20s are in title contention again thanks to two opening wins, with Murphy having overseen back-to-back U-20 Grand Slam successes and a World Rugby U-20 Championship final appearance in the last two seasons.

Farrell first worked alongside Murphy when they were defence coach and skills and kicking coach respectively, during Joe Schmidt’s coaching reign with Ireland.

The pair have kept up a strong connection with Murphy continuing for a short while as a specialist kicking resource for the senior squad, and the Under-20s often training with Farrell’s men during the Six Nations window.

“I think it’s a great appointment. I think Richie will do a fantastic job (at Ulster), his rugby knowledge is second to none,” commented Farrell.

“He is a very experienced guy that has been an assistant for quite some time and I know that he worked with us for a short period before we went to the Under-20s, but that was his next step to take that type of mantle on and do it his way.

He has certainly done a fantastic job. I mean, coaching the Under-20s is coaching in its purest form, it’s bloody difficult because of the swapping and changing the whole time each year.

“It shows exactly the quality that he’s got and his knowledge of the whole game. I think the players up at Ulster there will love him.

“His attitude is great but first and foremost I think they will respect his knowledge, definitely.”

McFarland was in charge of Ulster since 2018 and guided them to the PRO14 final two years later. They looked to be finding form again with a trio of wins over Racing 92, Connacht, and Leinster, coming into the New Year.

However, last Sunday’s poor 19-17 defeat at the Ospreys was their third loss in a row, leaving them eighth in the BKT United Rugby Championship, and came just a few weeks after failing to reach the last 16 of the Investec Champions Cup.

Assistant coach Dan Soper will take the reins for their next URC fixture at home to the Dragons on Saturday week, before Murphy comes on board for their two-match tour to South Africa where they will play the Hollywoodbets Sharks and the DHL Stormers.

The Bray man will have to quickly get up to the speed as the Ulstermen then travel to Montpellier in the EPCR Challenge Cup’s round of 16, just after Easter. Given the people involved, Farrell is confident they can turn things around at Kingspan Stadium.

“Look, it’s obvious that we want all the provinces playing at the top of their game. If that happens, it’s a special place to be but it doesn’t tend to happen that often, does it?

“One thing I know for sure is that Ulster have got a fantastic squad and good people up there. The lads that we have within our squad are exemplary to the province, as far as their attitudes are concerned whether they’re playing or not.”

A dislocated toe, suffered during that loss to the Ospreys, means Iain Henderson is unavailable for Ireland’s clash with Wales on Saturday. His Ulster colleague, Stuart McCloskey, is one of only two backs on the hosts’ bench as they opt to return to a six-two split.

New-look Wales, who lost their first two games to Scotland and England by a combined three points, come to Dublin with a squad that has accumulated 662 caps, compared to Ireland’s 1012.

119 of those caps are provided by George North alone, while 21-year-old Exeter Chiefs lock Dafydd Jenkins continues as captain, and Cardiff back rower Mackenzie Martin could make his debut off the bench.

Asked what he is expecting from Wales this weekend, Farrell replied: “Playing against Wales, you know it’s always going to be a scrap.

“You know that every single time Wales play against Ireland, it means probably a little bit more to them, I’ve been told (that) over the years.

“So we’re aware of that, and we also know as well that Wales historically have got better throughout the competition.

“We’re five weeks into it come the weekend, from when we first started training. We know that they’ll be better and hopefully we’ve used our time wisely as well.”

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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6 Nations

Wales team to face Ireland in Dublin named

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Senior men’s head coach Warren Gatland has named the Wales side to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the third round of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 24 February (KO 2.15pm live on ITV and S4C).

There is one change to the starting XV that played England at Twickenham on 10 February, with Sam Costelow returning for Wales at fly half.

Among the replacements back-row Mackenzie Martin is in line to win his first senior cap this weekend and would become the 1,200th Wales men’s international.

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Tight-head prop Dillon Lewis would be making his first appearance of this Championship if called on from the bench.

Gatland said: “We are excited to go out to Dublin and test ourselves against one of the leading sides in world rugby. It’s a challenge we are relishing.

“We’ve made steps in the last couple of games and now it’s about building on that, learning from those experiences and taking that into this weekend.

“It’s about continuing to work hard, looking for accuracy in our performance across 80 minutes and also keeping our discipline.”

Wales senior men’s team to play Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the Guinness Six Nations, Saturday 24 February KO 2.15pm GMT. Live on ITV and S4C.
15. Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 56 caps)
13. George North (Ospreys – 119 caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 34 caps)
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons – 16 caps)
10. Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 9 caps)
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 55 caps)
1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 27 caps)
2. Elliot Dee (Dragons – 48 caps)
3. Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby – 4 caps)
4. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 14 caps) Captain / Capten
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 53 caps)
6. Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 15 caps)
8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 45 caps)

Replacements

16. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 40 caps)
17. Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)
18. Dillon Lewis (Harlequins – 54 caps)
19. Will Rowlands (Racing 92 – 30 caps)
20. Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
21. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 19 caps)
22. Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets – 4 caps)
23. Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)

Images & Content – Wales Rugby


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6 Nations

Jager and Ahern Join Ireland Squad Ahead Of Wales

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The Ireland squad re-assembled in Dublin on Sunday evening ahead of this weekend’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations Round 3 clash against Wales at Aviva Stadium (Kick-off 2.15pm).

Prop Oli Jager has joined the squad and Thomas Ahern has also linked up with Andy Farrell‘s side at the IRFU High Performance Centre this week.

Iain Henderson picked up a foot injury during Ulster’s URC game away to Ospreys on Sunday and there will be a further update later in the week.

The Ireland Match Day Squad to face Wales at Aviva Stadium will be named on Thursday at 2pm.

Ireland Squad – Wales Week: 

Backs (15):

Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht)
Harry Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster)
Jack Crowley (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Ciaran Frawley (UCD/Leinster)
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
James Lowe (Leinster)
Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Calvin Nash (Young Munster/Munster)
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster)
Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster)

Forwards (21):

Thomas Ahern (Shannon/Munster)*
Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster)
Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster)
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster)
Oli Jager (Munster)*
Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jeremy Loughman (Garryowen/Munster)
Joe McCarthy (Dublin University/Leinster)
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)(captain)
Tom O’Toole (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster)
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster)
Dan Sheehan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Tom Stewart (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Nick Timoney (Banbridge/Ulster)
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster)

*Denotes uncapped player

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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