Redemption rugby from the All Blacks paralysed Argentina who were denied any sniff of opportunity in a seven try 53-3 win for New Zealand in the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship Test in Hamilton on Saturday.
Wet weather rugby from the All Blacks, pressure applied through kick-chasing and superior offensive tackling unsettled Argentina. They were a shadow of the side that won the first Test, lacking the intensity in the face of a committed home side.
Improved discipline also denied Argentina the goal-kicking chances of the first Test while there was more dominance at the breakdown.
The scene was set at the outset when in front of his posts lock Tomas Lavinini dropped the ball and Argentina conceded an early penalty. And things never improved.
It was a game that saw captain Sam Cane lead from the front with his best game of the season while evidence of a maturing midfield combination between second five-eighths David Havili and centre Rieko Ioane could not have been more obvious.
Havili was the back room master, doing the nuts and bolts work that freed up Ioane to show his best attacking intent.
But the pack were not to be outshone, hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho and his front row allies try scoring Ethan de Groot and Tyrell Lomax were superb while blindside flanker Shannon Frizell was much more of the enforcer the All Blacks have lacked.
The option-taking was vastly improved. Applying short chip and grubber kicks, the All Blacks turned Argentine around often and they showed their discomfort. No8 Pablo Matera was a battler for his side but his record-equalling 15th Test appearance for Argentina against the All Blacks was not a night to remember.
Nine minutes into the half, wing Will Jordan and centre Rieko Ioane contested a kick to take the ball forward. Ioane had a second run to set up a quick ruck and de Groot was able to slide across the line on the back of his momentum on the wet ground.
Sixteen minutes into the game a chip kick from first five-eighths Richie Mo’unga was contested, with quick ball and a slick pass from flanker Sam Cane giving Ioane room, and time, to run in and out of wing Emiliano Boffelli to feed wing Caleb Clarke in for a try.
Argentina finally got some consistent ball in the second quarter, but dogged All Blacks defence confined the damage to a Boffelli penalty goal.
But as soon as the restart occurred, Jordan applied the pressure to the catcher and with quick forward support, a turnover was achieved and a penalty was tapped by the ever-present, and diligent, No8 Ardie Savea. It looked to produce a try for hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho, but it was ruled out for a knock-on, unluckily as it turned out, as an Argentina arm looked to knock the ball.
However, the All Blacks were under advantage, and with Lavanini sin-binned for foul play, they took a scrum and a powerful shove allowed Havili to slip the shortest of passes to Ioane, who had his reward for a good first half with a try under the posts.
Argentina threw everything into the third quarter, their only reward seeing replacement prop Fletcher Newell sent to the sin-bin. But that didn’t stop the All Blacks who, gaining a scrum from another Argentina mistake, ran the ball, initially in helter-skelter fashion, but then straightened by, who else, than Ioane?
He raced 50 metres, and, in the tackle, passed back up to replacement halfback Finlay Christie. He moved the ball on with Cane twice prominent, including handing the final pass for fullback Jordie Barrett to score.
Another breakout saw Savea in his element and from a penalty lineout, he accepted a pass from replacement hooker Dane Coles to score.
Putting the icing on the cake was a determination after the final hooter had blown to work the ball under penalty pressure to in front of the Argentine posts. A scrum option was requested and acting skipper Savea ran off the back drawing the defence and replacement first five-eighths Beauden Barrett spied the gap and took it to score.
Mission accomplished with an 80-minute performance that was everything that had been asked for and keep Rugby Championship hopes alive.
New Zealand 53 (Ethan de Groot, Caleb Clarke, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Ardie Savea, Brodie Retallick, Beauden Barrett tries; Richie Mo’unga 4 con 2 pen; Jordie Barrett 2 con) Argentina 3 (Emiliano Boffelli pen). HT: 24-3
Aki Banned For Eight Weeks
Aki will be unavailable for the westerners’ next five URC games, including the derby clashes with Munster and Leinster, and will also miss at least the first two of Ireland’s Autumn Nations Series fixtures.
He will definitely be absent for the Tests against South Africa and Fiji, but could return to face Australia on Saturday, November 19 if he ‘successfully completes the Head Contact Process Coaching Intervention programme’.
After an act of foul play against Stormers winger Seabelo Senatla, referee Gianluca Gnecchi showed Aki a red card in the 60th minute of the game under law 9.20(a).
The particular law states that a player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without binding onto another player in the ruck or maul.
In his responses to the judicial officer overseeing the disciplinary process (Pamela Woodman from Scotland), Aki had accepted that he had committed an act of foul play which warranted a red card.
She determined that his actions towards Senatla were reckless and took into account, among other things, the speed, force and high degree of danger in his actions.
Ms. Woodman determined that, had it been based on this conduct alone, the offending would have been categorised as mid-range on the scale of seriousness.
However, she also considered Aki’s actions and demeanour towards the referee in connection with the issue of the red card, which she found did not meet the expected standards of conduct or respect.
This was also taken into account (in accordance with URC’s disciplinary rules) in determining that his offending was at the top-end on the scale of seriousness, which warranted an entry point sanction of 10 weeks.
The judicial officer then considered if there were any mitigating factors and found that Aki’s acceptance that he had committed an act of foul play (during the off-field disciplinary process), expression of remorse, apologies to both the opposing player and referee, and willingness to engage with his provincial coaching staff on a plan to address this issue, were relevant mitigating factors.
These mitigating factors warranted a reduction in the sanction of four weeks.
Aki’s previous suspensions for red cards in 2019 and 2021 for foul play involving head contact, as well as his suspension and warning for previous conduct relating to interactions with referees, were considered aggravating factors, which the judicial officer decided warranted a further two weeks of sanction.
As a result, the Ireland international will be suspended for a period of eight weeks. As previously stated, should he complete the Coaching Intervention programme then the sanction will be reduced by one week.
Fixtures Bundee Aki is unavailable for:
Vodacom Bulls v Connacht, September 30, BKT URC
Connacht v Munster, October 7, BKT URC
Connacht v Leinster, October 14, BKT URC
Connacht v Scarlets, October 21, BKT URC
Ospreys v Connacht, October 29, BKT URC
Ireland v South Africa, November 5, Autumn Nations Series
Ireland v Fiji, November 12, Autumn Nations Series
Ireland v Australia, November 19, Autumn Nations Series (substituted if the player successfully completes the Head Contact Process Coaching Intervention programme)
Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography
Jones names squad for training camp
England will begin preparations for their four home Autumn Nations Series fixtures in November during the camp. The squad will meet in Richmond on Sunday 2 October and train at Twickenham Stadium.
First call-ups for camp include Northampton Saints’ Alex Coles and Saracens’ Hugh Tizard, both players having previously appeared for England U20s.
Manu Tuilagi and Sam Simmonds are back in the squad following injury and there are returns for Ben Youngs, Alex Mitchell, Tom Pearson and David Ribbans.
England face Argentina in the first of their four matches at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday 6 November (2.15pm KO). They will then host Japan on Saturday 12 November (3.15pm KO), followed by New Zealand on Saturday 19 November (5.30pm KO). Their final match is against South Africa on Saturday 26 November (5.30pm KO).
“With a year to go to the Rugby World Cup, this is a big opportunity for players to come in and impress,” said Jones. “We want them to show real energy and enthusiasm and that they want to be a part of this massive year.
“It doesn’t mean that those who have been left out won’t be considered for the Autumn Nations Series matches. We’ll be looking at club games, form and fitness and the door is left open for those players.
“We finished the Australia tour well. It was a fantastic experience, particularly for the younger players. We now have to start again, but we’ll build on what we’ve done there and continue that momentum.”
Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 5 caps)
Alex Coles (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 37 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 41 caps)
Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 39 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 69 caps)
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, 5 caps)
Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks, 15 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 14 caps)
Tom Pearson (London Irish, uncapped)
David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
Patrick Schickerling (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 14 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 23 caps)
Hugh Tizard (Saracens, uncapped)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 64 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 70 caps)
Jack Walker (Harlequins, uncapped)
Jack Willis (Wasps, 4 caps)
Henry Arundell (London Irish, 3 caps)
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 97 caps)
Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints, 2 caps)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 6 caps)
Will Joseph (London Irish, 1 cap)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 69 caps)
Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 1 cap)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 42 caps)
Guy Porter (Leicester Tigers, 2 caps)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 13 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 13 caps)
Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 46 caps)
Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 3 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 117 caps)
Unavailable for selection due to injury: Alfie Barbeary, Nic Dolly, Alex Dombrandt, Charlie Ewels, George Ford, Sam Jeffries, Maro Itoje, Nick Isiekwe, Courtney Lawes, Sam Underhill, Anthony Watson.
New governance structure agreed for rugby in Scotland
Scottish Rugby President Colin Rigby hailed a “significant milestone” for the game in Scotland when member clubs agreed a new governance structure at an online special general meeting last night.
The new structure, based on the recommendations on the Standing Committee on Governance (SCOG), sees the new Scottish Rugby Union (a company limited by guarantee) take on the responsibility for the oversight of the organisation’s main operating vehicle, Scottish Rugby.
It also will provide an oversight function to the organisation’s members.
Professor Lorne Crerar CBE, Interim Chair of the new Scottish Rugby Union, pledged to the SGM that “all the promises for a new, well-functioning governance system will absolutely be delivered.”
Professor Crerar also called on the membership to play its part in finding the “very best talent” to serve as “custodians” on the new company’s board.
Colin Rigby thanked members, SCOG, the Scottish Rugby Council and Scottish Rugby’s employees for their patience, while the new structure was arrived at.
He added: “This is a significant milestone in the history of the Scottish Rugby Union where all stakeholders now have clarity around governance, roles and responsibility.”
John Jeffrey remains chairman of the Scottish Rugby Board which will continue to oversee the day-to-day operational, commercial and executive functions of Scottish Rugby.
Earlier tonight, members voted unanimously to receive Scottish Rugby’s financial statements for 2021-22 at the second part of the organisation’s AGM.
During the period, overall revenue returned to within 5% of pre-pandemic levels at £57.9million, a rise of £5.5million from the previous year.
The accounts showed a deficit of £5.3 million on the base business, while the strategic investment from private equity partners CVC drove a gain on disposal of investment of £34.2million, bringing Scottish Rugby’s net surplus after tax to £29million for the year.
Images & Content – Scotland Rugby
Aki Banned For Eight Weeks
Jones names squad for training camp
New governance structure agreed for rugby in Scotland
What rugby is on and where to watch it October – December
Six Nations 2020 – Fixtures & TV Schedule
Farrell Names Ireland’s Six Nations Squad
URC7 days ago
Munster issue statement regarding Chris Farrell
Premiership1 week ago
RFU issue statement surround Worcester future
International1 day ago
Leon MacDonald announced as All Blacks XV Head Coach
Premiership15 hours ago
Baxter outlines Simmonds departure
Premiership4 days ago
Saints sign Bristol forward on loan
Premiership7 days ago
London Irish confirm 2022/23 captain
URC7 days ago
Sexton to make first start for Ulster
Premiership3 days ago
RFU issue statement on Worcester future