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All Blacks turn attention to Northern Tour



Locking away the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup for another year was one thing, but advancing on those achievements on their northern tour of Japan and Europe would be vital for the All Blacks.

Coach Ian Foster said claiming the Championship was ‘very satisfying,’ especially having to win it the hard way.


Northern tours were always tough due to fatigue at the end of a season and with the travel involved, but they have been helped this year by having an extra week’s break without a third Bledisloe Cup match.


They have a three-day camp in Nelson and will be fresher than in previous years.


They play Japan in Tokyo on October 29, Wales in Cardiff on November 6 (NZT), Scotland in Edinburgh on November 14 and England on November 20.


“That’s a deliberate strategy. We’re going to get really stuck into this northern hemisphere tour.


“It’s important we finish that in a position that we’ve got a really clear picture of what we’re going to do because next year’s pretty thin when you look at our prep before a World Cup,” he said.


The All Blacks would have five Tests in 2023 before the World Cup, so they had to maximise their opportunities.

Foster said the 2022 win was different to other Championships the All Blacks have won.


“To do it from behind the eight ball at the start, and to have to climb through that was not the way we wanted. I’m really proud of the effort the boys have put in. They’ve worked hard, they’ve been open-minded about some different little things, and I think we’re starting to see the results of it.”


Lessons from the campaign have been that under pressure, they stay tight and that while seeking solutions had made everyone uncomfortable at times, it had been necessary to go through with the goal of getting the performance right.


They are not the finished article, which was seen again in their Eden Park win.


“The building blocks are nice but there’s still a lot of finishing touches we’re not quite getting right. But what a great spot to be,” he said.


Converting line breaks was one area needing attention, as was letting Australia back on the scorecard late in the game.


“They’re small things, but they’ll be important things in 12 months time.”


Foster felt big strides in defence and set-piece play had been made, but they were still not an 80-minute team. That was down to experience across the side.


“It takes a while to get people to understand that you knock off for half a second in a Test match, you get punished.


“We’ve seen signs in the last two months that we had a lot of good spells in games, but we just didn’t quite get the fact that if you don’t nail every little moment you get hurt. And once you get hurt on the scoreboard then it becomes hard to catch up.”


It was about playing against different teams yet remaining in the moment and then looking to the next moment.



“We’ve proven to ourselves that we can climb through adversity, and there’ll be more to come.


“That’s what international rugby is about.


“I’m proud of the way the team’s dealt with the pressure of not performing to the level we want and the pressure that comes with that,” Foster said.


Before announcing the team for the northern tour in two weeks, he would be thinking about his options in midfield, where Jordie Barrett impressed in Saturday’s win.


“What a great athlete. He’s played well for us at fullback and on the wing and now has played really well at 12 [second five-eighths]. He certainly had a big impact last night.”


Foster was pleased with the development in his front row. It had been a season where they intended to put out markers, especially in seeing where their experienced players were at, and part of that was injecting a few younger players who deserved a chance.


“It’s been a journey for them too. You can go back and talk about Ethan [de Groot], for example, and his journey from Super Rugby and then us having to spend six weeks getting him to the fitness levels he needed to do. But the real message is that if you’re wanting to do the work off the park then there’s opportunity. And he has taken that well.”


As well as selecting their team for the northern tour, they would also choose the All Blacks XV for a two-game tour of the United Kingdom, including a game against the Barbarians on November 13 at Tottenham Stadium and one more game yet to be confirmed.


Because of their schedule and the need for them to develop as a team, there would be minimal crossover between the sides, he said.

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


Spencer looking to bring innovation to Sky Super Rugby Aupiki



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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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.

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Nienaber, Kolisi praise Boks for special win



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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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