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Last minute try secures victory and the Bledisloe Cup

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Jordie Barrett scored a controversial last-minute try to give the All Blacks a Bledisloe Cup-winning 39-37 win in the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship Test against Australia in Melbourne on Thursday.

In a game that tested the lawbook in rare fashion, a first half that lasted 58 minutes and saw the Australians come back from 13-31 down to push the All Blacks to the limit, it had everything.

 

Three yellow cards to Australia, two of them at the same time, and one for New Zealand made it a niggly game, yet the last-minute try kept the All Blacks in the hunt to claim the Rugby Championship in the return match at Eden Park on Saturday week.

 

Australia tested the limits of the law and paid the consequences with three yellow cards, but all that may pale with referee Matthieu Raynal’s last-minute decision to penalise them for time wasting in front of their goalposts.

 

Raynal explained that when the penalty from the breakdown was awarded time was stopped. When it resumed he told Australia first five-eighths Bernard Foley to play, but he delayed, and delayed, and Raynal awarded the All Blacks the scrum that provided Barrett’s try.

 

New Zealand put the pressure on from the start but Australia, while rattled early, settled down and refused to bow.

 

Australia failed to take the kick-off to start the game and the All Blacks pounced with immediate effect. Australia conceded three penalties and each time the All Blacks put their lineout to use, finally succeeding with hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho crossing in the third minute.

 

 

Enjoying some time with the ball, much of it generated by halfback Jake Gordon, including a high kick that bounced favourably for No8 Rob Valentini who kicked it down the sideline to set up the chance for a penalty goal, and then a try to fullback Andrew Kelleway.

 

However, the 20th minute try was disallowed when television evidence showed All Blacks centre Rieko Ioane prevented the ball from being grounded.

 

Raynal twice penalised the All Blacks for closing the gap at the lineout. On the second occasion in the 24th minute, they secured a try for Valetini when the maul split. In the process, replacement flanker Dalton Papali’i, who had just come on for Sam Cane, who was having an HIA which he failed, was sin-binned for bringing the maul down.

 

Valetini, and flankers Pete Samu and Rob Leota, had the desired effect for Australia. Samu made a superb break that provided the momentum that lead to Valetini’s try, while Leota was strong in the breakdown and on the tackle.

 

The game came unstuck in the latter stages of the half which was extended to 58 minutes. Australia lost wing Tom Wright to the sinbin for cynical play after a sensational midfield run by wing Caleb Clarke.

 

Then the TMO saw dangerous play when replacement forward Darcy Swain hit replacement second five-eighths Quinn Tupaea with an illegal tackle to his leg when he was emerging from a ruck. Swain appeared fortunate to have only a yellow card.

 

Tupaea had to be assisted from the field with a knee injury, leaving both he and Havili, who failed an HIA, out of the game. That saw Beauden Barrett on to play fullback with brother Jordie moving to second five-eighths.

 

New Zealand went close to scoring again just before the break from a lineout drive only for Gordon to knock the ball from Taukei’aho’s hand as he attempted to ground the ball.

 

It took only 52 seconds to take advantage of Australia being reduced to 13 men when from the restart the Beauden Barrett kicked to Will Jordan’s wing and the ball was moved with Rieko Ioane and No8 Hoskins Sotutu running before Sotutu kicked ahead.

 

Kelleway took the ball but the All Blacks counter-rucked and it was prop Ethan de Groot and lock Brodie Retallick who were positioned in the backline to feed Taukei’aho who had the power to score his second.

 

A superb lineout drive exposed the Australian defences and Gordon was sin-binned for collapsing a maul and from the resulting lineout the move saw Jordie Barrett feeding  first five-eighths Richie Mo’unga who stepped his way across in the 51st minute.

 

Two minutes later Jordan took a Beauden Barrett chip kick and raced away from the chasing Australian defence for a 20th try, in his 20th Test.

 

Australia responded with penalties getting them into the All Blacks’ 22m area. From a lineout, Foley in the midfield broke the line and fed Kelleway across.

 

Six minutes later, Kelleway benefited from another penalty lineout and the long pass from centre Len Ikitau put him in space for the try, to pull the score back to 27-31.

 

Mo’unga landed a penalty goal but Australia secured the ball from a Mo’unga kick and they moved the ball, worked the rucks and then freed it to Samu on the left flank. He broke a tackle, fed Marika Koroibete who fed back to Samu who scored.

 

The situation was not helped when replacement halfback Nic White slammed over a 50m penalty goal to give Australia a 37-34 lead with four minutes to play.

 

But the Australians felt they had secured the game when the All Blacks had kicked to the corner rather than the posts. However, Australia won a penalty at a breakdown after the maul but Reyand made his time-wasting decision and awarded the scrum to the All Blacks.

 

They moved the ball through Mo’unga, Jordan, who stepped, drew a tackle and then fed Jordie Barrett over in the corner.

 

Australia 37 (Rob Valentini, Andrew Kelleway 2, Pete Samu tries;  Bernard Foley 4 con, 2 pen; Nic White pen) New Zealand 39 (Samisoni Taukei’aho 2, Richie Mo’unga, Will Jordan, Jordie Barrett tries; Mo’unga 4 con, 2 pen). HT: 10-10.

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


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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6 Nations

O’Connell Gives Update On Keenan As Ireland Return To Training

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Hugo Keenan is Ireland’s main injury concern ahead of Saturday week’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations clash with Wales. The ever-influential full-back took a blow to his left knee during the win over Italy.

Keenan sustained the injury when falling awkwardly in a 52nd-minute tackle from Italian replacement Giosuè Zilocchi. He was replaced shortly afterwards by Harry Byrne, with Jack Crowley switching to the full-back position.

The 27-year-old Dubliner has become central to Andy Farrell’s plans in a short space of time, with his 15s international debut coming just over three years ago. He has accumulated more match minutes than any other player so far during Farrell’s coaching reign.

He has started 38 of Ireland’s last 42 Test matches, and Jimmy O’Brien and Michael Lowry are the only other players who have worn the number 15 jersey during that time.

Asked about Keenan’s likely availability for the third round of the Six Nations, Ireland forwards coach Paul O’Connell said: “Hugo didn’t train today, but he hasn’t been ruled out for the Welsh game yet.

“He’s progressing with his rehabilitation, he was there at training today and took part in the organisational bits, but I have no full update. He’s still available for selection for Wales, but I’m not sure what will happen in the next few days.

“He plays a big role, he’s obviously been injury-free for a long time. He’s an excellent player and in full-back, covering the back-field defensively, he has a lot of work to do in attack as well, recreating our attack by moving side to side.

“There’s a lot of IP (intellectual property) there that we might miss out on if he wasn’t playing. He also plays a big leadership role for us, he’s a very smart guy.

“He’s a problem-solver within the group and highly regarded within the group. Whether he’s there or not, he’ll continue to play that role.”

Keenan has had a strong start to the tournament, with his individual highlights including his try-saving tackles on Damian Penaud, including one which drove the French dangerman back a few feet, and an electric break against Italy from Craig Casey’s kick over the top.

He has an 85.7% tackle success rate, including two dominant hits and a turnover tackle. In attack, he has had gain-line success with two-thirds of his carries in the Championship, and has the team’s best tackle evasion rate of 47.1%.

If the Leinster star is ruled out when Ireland resume their campaign next week, the versatile Ciaran Frawley, Jordan Larmour, Jacob Stockdale, Calvin Nash, or indeed Crowley, could be options to fill the full-back berth.

Larmour, who returned to international action last Sunday for the first time since 2021, made nine starts at full-back between 2018 and 2020. Farrell handed him the number 15 shirt for his first game in charge of Ireland four years ago.

Last August against Italy, Frawley made his debut as a half-time replacement for O’Brien at full-back. He has started six times in the position for Leinster this season, with Stockdale, Nash and Crowley also having provincial experience in the back-field.

As O’Brien and Mack Hansen are also injury-enforced absentees, O’Connell admits that it could provide an opportunity to build more depth in that area if Keenan is unable to recover in time.

“It’s good for us in some ways because it makes us play someone else there if he doesn’t make it,” commented the Limerick man, who is in his fourth Men’s Six Nations campaign as part of the Ireland coaching group.

“I’m not sure yet, I don’t pay as much attention to the backs, but I’m not sure yet where  Hugo is at. As I said, he was around training today, so we’d be hopeful.”

Meanwhile, Garry Ringrose is on track to play some part against Wales at the Aviva Stadium having returned to training. He missed the opening two rounds due to a shoulder injury.

“Yeah it looks like it, he trained today,” O’Connell said of Ringrose. “We didn’t do a massive session today but he trained today and was in good shape.

“No one else sat out training, no, so they’re all good to go, I believe.”

That includes captain Peter O’Mahony (calf), Tadhg Furlong (calf), and Bundee Aki (knee), who all sat out the 36-0 bonus point victory over Italy as they recovered from their respective knocks.

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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