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Ireland Give Schmidt and Best Perfect Send Off

Ireland concluded their Rugby World Cup preparations with a dominant winning display against Wales

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(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Ireland finished off their Rugby World Cup preparations with a brilliant 19-10 win over Wales at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The game was a massive improvement for the Irish as they sent head coach Joe Schmidt and captain Rory Best off with a perfect result in what was the duos final home game for Ireland. It also left Ireland heading to the tournament in Japan as the No 1 team in the world rankings.

Wales dominated the possession early on and were nearly in for a try with only two minutes on the clock when Leigh Halfpenny had a shot at goal but missed.

George North nearly barrelled over a couple of minutes late, but Ireland held them out.

The home side began to grow into the game after some impressive defensive work and took their chance when it came on 20 minutes as they gave up a chance to take 3-points in the opposition 22, going for the corner instead.

James Ryan took the line-out and after a few phases Conor Murray flung the ball out to the backs with Jonny Sexton providing a beautiful pass to Rob Kearney, who held off Jonathan Davies to barge over for the first try of the game.

Sexton slotted home the conversion from the left-hand side to make it 7-0. To add to Wales’ worries Rhys Patchell went off injured as the game restarted.

However, the Welsh came back following that score with Halfpenny thumping a kick over from the left-hand side of the pitch just inside the Irish 10-metre line with 25 minutes gone.

Replacement out-half Dan Biggar seemed to steady the away team’s attack and made an interception on halfway on 30 minutes, racing to the try-line only to be held up.

Although from the resulting five-metre scrum Wales struck with centre Hadleigh Parkes bursting through the Irish line to score a try beside the posts. Halfpenny tipped the conversion over to make it 10-7 to Wales, and that’s how they went in at the half-time whistle.

Ireland dominated the second-half in both terms of territory and possession and went ahead again on 51 minutes after camping in the Welsh 22.

Following a number of penalties, the home side took a scrum which they went through a couple of phases before a huge carry from Tadhg Furlong lead to a try. Sexton knocked over the conversion from the left to make it 14-10.

Ireland continued to put pressure on the away team and got in for their third try of the game just before the hour mark as man of the match Ryan powered over the line. Sexton failed with the kick this time around, but Ireland opened up a nine-point lead.

They stayed in the Welsh half for most of the remainder of the match, as they pounded away at the defence, which led to a yellow card for Adam Beard, but the score remained the same as it finished 19-10.

Both teams will now head to Japan for the Rugby World Cup where they will be hoping to be in the mix for the Webb Ellis Cup come the start of November.

Player Ratings:

Ireland –

Rob Kearney (7), Jordan Larmour (8), Robbie Henshaw (7), Bundee Aki (7), Keith Earls (6), Jonathan Sexton (8), Conor Murray (8); Cian Healy (6), Rory Best (7)(capt), Tadhg Furlong (8), James Ryan (9), Jean Kleyn (6), CJ Stander (7), Josh van der Flier (7), Jack Conan (6)

Replacements (7)

Wales –

Leigh Halfpenny (6), George North (6), Jonathan Davies (7), Hadleigh Parkes (7), Josh Adams (5), Rhys Patchell (5), Tomos Williams (6); Wyn Jones (6), Elliot Dee (6), Tomas Francis (6), Jake Ball (5), Alun Wyn Jones (6) (CAPT), Aaron Wainwright (6), Justin Tipuric (6), Ross Moriarty (7)

Replacements (5)


6 Nations

Stewart Joins Ireland Squad In Portugal As Wales Prep Intensifies

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Ulster hooker Tom Stewart has joined the Ireland squad in Quinta do Lago to provide additional cover following a hamstring issue picked up by Ronan Kelleher. Kelleher will be managed by the Ireland Medical team over the coming days.

The uncapped Stewart is a former Ireland U20 international who played twice for Emerging Ireland in the Autumn, starting in the victories over the Griquas and the Cheetahs. The Ireland coaching group also included him in the match day preparations for the Ireland ‘A’ game against the All Blacks XV in November.

Stewart’s addition brings the number of Emerging Ireland tourists in the Senior squad to five – Jack Crowley, Joe McCarthy, Jamie Osborne and Cian Prendergast.

The squad will continue to train at The Campus in Quinta do Lago this week before flying to Cardiff on Thursday ahead of the opening round of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations Championship.

Ireland Squad, 2023 Guinness Six Nations:

Backs (17)

Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 41 caps
Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 14 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 7 caps
Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution) 2 caps
Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 98 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 23 caps
Mack Hansen (Connacht) 8 caps
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 25 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Marys College) 30 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 15 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 9 caps
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 100 caps
Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) 3 caps
Jamie Osborne (Leinster/Naas)*
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 47 caps
Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 109 caps (c)
Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) 35 caps

Forwards (20)

Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 8 caps
Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 27 caps
Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 36 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 33 caps
Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 23 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 63 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 121 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 68 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 31 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 18 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 48 caps
Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin University) 1 cap
Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 89 caps
Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 4 caps
Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 48 caps
Cian Prendergast (Connacht/Corinthians) 1 cap
James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 48 caps
Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 13 caps
Tom Stewart (Ulster/Ballynahinch)*
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 45 caps

*denotes uncapped player

2023 Guinness Six Nations Fixtures

Wales v IRELAND
Saturday 4th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
VIRGIN / BBC / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

IRELAND v France
Saturday 11th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radi0

Italy v IRELAND
Saturday 25th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Scotland v IRELAND
Sunday 12th March 2023, KO 15:00 (IST)
RTE TV / BBC / RTE Radio / BBC Radi0

IRELAND v England
Saturday 18th March 2023, KO 17:00 (IST)
VIRGIN / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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Savea back at the helm of the Hurricanes

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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

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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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