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Countering Australia’s set-piece will be key – Retallick



Countering Australia’s set-piece orientation at the maul and scrum would be important for the All Blacks’ hopes in Thursday’s first Lipovitan D Rugby Championship Test in Melbourne.

Lock Brodie Retallick said the Australians played in a manner similar to the Brumbies, and success in those areas had paid rewards for them.


With their exciting backs, they could be dangerous with fast ruck ball, and if they are able to set a platform up front, he said.


Retallick, who hasn’t started since the third Test against Ireland where he suffered a fractured cheekbone, said he was excited to be starting again in a Bledisloe Cup match. He had found there were still new things to learn in his role with new coaches involved.


The team was conscious that it needed to be building towards more consistency instead of the 1-1 splits in the Championship games to date.


“We need to start doing it now and what greater challenge than being here and for Bled 1 before going back to Auckland.”


Retallick said when first selected as an All Blacks, the significance of the Bledisloe Cup had been passed to newcomers like him by Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Keven Mealamu, and the like. Now he and more experienced members of the side had passed that on to their newer teammates.


Retallick had many memories of Bledisloe Cup games on both sides of the Tasman. They were all enjoyable, and, having been lucky enough to retain the Cup throughout that time, they were looking to do it again in 2022.



Recalled to No8, Hoskins Sotutu said he had been waiting since his last Test, against Italy in November last year, and was ready for his chance.


“With Ardie [Savea] not being here, they are big shoes to fill, but I’ve just got to do what I do, don’t over-complicate it, and be me.


“I’ve been preparing myself to be ready for an opportunity to come. I knew it was going to be limited, so whenever it came, I just had to be ready.”


Sotutu has played Bunnings NPC games for Counties Manukau to get time in the middle, and after a big season of Super Rugby with the Blues, he would fall back on those performances in preparing.


There was always Savea’s example to follow.


“His preparation is second to none, and for him being able to perform consistently every week, I find it pretty amazing. It’s something for me to drive toward.


“He’s like the all-round player, aggressive on defence, and on attack, and he can also make things happen. It’s something for me to work towards in the future.”


Sotutu has his own style, and is a more fluid operator, although powerful on the break and fast.


“I just try to do things the way I do it. At training, if I see something different, I’ll speak up. I’m still young, and still trying to learn. Ardie is the master at the moment – he’s the teacher.”

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


Savea back at the helm of the Hurricanes



All Blacks loose forward Ardie Savea will captain the Hurricanes again for the 2023 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season.

Savea, who will have his 11th season in the side, will mark his first appearance in the competition by playing his 120th game.

The Hurricanes’ season opens against the Reds in round one.

Savea said: “I’m looking forward to the season, especially getting out to the communities, when we play in Levin against the Crusaders for our pre-season game and Palmerston North against the Western Force on Sunday, April 2.

“We’ve just moved into our new facility, and there’s something awesome about change; it’s brought in a lot of energy. It’s refreshing to come in and be in a new space alongside other professional teams. Hopefully, being here can help us move forward and prepare well for our games.”

The facility is part of the New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport at what was the Central Institute of Technology at Trentham and houses, several Wellington-based teams.

Coach Jason Holland was delighted to be able to call on Savea’s leadership ability again.

“Ardie is a special leader. He’s the sort of guy you want to follow in whatever he does. He’s worked hard at his leadership around all the small details, around how to get the best out of the people around him.

“He’s been good at driving us as a group, players and management, about being well-planned and clear in our roles in what we’re leading.

“Ards has a great relationship with all the boys and cares about them and the team and that shows in the way he leads.”

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby

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Marshall primed for Crusaders coaching opportunity



James Marshall couldn’t escape rugby’s draw after retiring from playing and failed in his promised avoidance of the coaching ranks.

The former Super Rugby title winner with the Hurricanes has fitted into coaching so well that he will spend 2023 as backs coach for the Crusaders in Super Rugby Pacific.

Auckland-born Marshall started his rugby career with Tasman, but when missing a place in the Super Rugby structure, in a team or wider training group, he had a chance as a 20-year-old to play in Italy with Zebre.

It proved a stimulating experience in coping with playing a different style of rugby at a different level.

He returned to New Zealand six months later for another three seasons with Tasman before getting a chance in the Hurricanes’ wider squad. He had spent four years trying to get a place in the Crusaders.

“I could never crack it as a player but I’m here now as a coach,” he said.

“It is surreal to be here now. When I finished rugby, I promised my wife I wouldn’t get into coaching. We had moved around so many times during my career, even when I was playing for the Hurricanes moving to Taranaki every six months.

“We worked it out there were well over 20 houses we lived in throughout my career so when I got to the end of it I did say I wouldn’t be chasing the coaching dream, and I wouldn’t be moving the family around any more.”

However, back in Nelson, he got the chance to work with Andrew Goodman and Shane Christie, which gave him coaching work where he had decided to settle.

“Then a couple of years later,, I get a call from Razor [Scott Robertson] and it really throws a spanner in the works for my wife and when I got the opportunity, it was a no brainer. It’s such a good opportunity for me to learn and see where coaching can now take me.”

He contacted David Havili to see if he felt Marshall could do the job asked of him as backs coach and to see if he would have the backing of the players.

Havili got back in touch to say how much he thought Marshall could add to the environment. He also contacted some of his Hurricanes contacts and admitted being surprised at how supportive they were.

The Crusaders were one of the most successful sides in the sport’s history, and looking from the outside while playing, he had always wondered what went on and how they did it.

“It’s been impressive. It’s a well-run ship. Razor does a great job. Scotty Hansen, the detail he has on the rugby programme. Tamati Ellison, some of his coaching, it’s all world-class.

“It’s been awesome for me as a young coach to witness these guys at work and try and learn as much as I can off them.

“There’s also the players. It’s a pretty impressive squad when you look at it on paper and the chance to work with some world-class athletes and try and teach them as much as I can, but also try and learn from them,” he said.

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby

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6 Nations

RTÉ And Virgin Media Confirm Details Of Free-To-Air Six Nations Coverage



RTÉ and Virgin Media Television today announced details of its joint Guinness Six Nations coverage, where the action will be free-to-air for supporters in the Republic of Ireland.

Kicking off on Friday, 3 February, this year’s Six Nations coverage will include all fixtures from Ireland’s Men’s, Women’s and U20 tournaments.

The partnership will see all games equally aired across both broadcasters again this year.

The 2023 Men’s Six Nations will open with Ireland v Wales on Virgin Media One, followed by England v Scotland on RTÉ2. Ireland will then take on current champions France on Saturday, 11 February.

The TikTok Women’s Six Nations will begin on Sunday, 26 March with Wales v Ireland.

Speaking at this morning’s launch at the Aviva Stadium, presenters Jacqui Hurley and Joe Molloy were joined on stage by members of their broadcast teams this year including pundits Rob Kearney, Fiona Hayes (Virgin Media Television), and RTÉ’s Jamie Heaslip and Hannah Tyrrell.

RTÉ also confirmed that Irish international and Munster player Simon Zebo will be joining their punditry team.

Commenting, Head of RTÉ Sport, Declan McBennett said: “With this being a great year for rugby, there is added excitement about this year’s Six Nations which RTÉ is once again bringing to sports fans all over the country free-to-air along with Virgin Media Ireland as part of our historic partnership which we launched last year.

“It’s going to be a huge year for Irish rugby and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography

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