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Last minute try secures victory and the Bledisloe Cup



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


Eddie upbeat for ‘intriguing’ World Cup



Eddie Jones admits the Wallabies are in the chasing pack but still close enough to catch the favourites and win September’s Rugby World Cup.

Jones, after a 15-minute technical glitch, gave his first wide-ranging interview from England on Thursday after his shock appointment on Monday.


He said the battle to wear the No.10 jersey in France was wide open, touched on the side’s ill-discipline and current eligibility laws, assessed the health of the code in Australia and had a neat return-of-serve to rugby league powerbroker Peter V’landys in the latest code-war chapter.

But when asked if he genuinely thought the inconsistent world No.6 side could win the World Cup this year, he was serious.

“There’s no long term; the whole thing is to win the World Cup in 2023,” said Jones, who is on a five-year contract.

“We have to concentrate on areas that will make the biggest difference to the performance of the team and we have to get selection right.
“And we’ve got to create an environment where players are going to give that little bit more, because nobody knows how much they can give.”

Jones will have just five Tests to prepare his men before the Cup and he turned to racing parlance to assess the current power rankings.

He says feels there’s still time for the field to settle with the team who improves the most between now and October set for victory.

“At the moment France and Ireland, in a horse race they’re at the front on the top of the rise,” he said.

“But there’s still plenty of work to do.

“Australia and England are nestled behind them and the team that improves the most over the next nine months will win the World Cup.

“This is the most intriguing World Cup we’ve ever seen.

“Throw in the volatility of the refereeing at the moment with red and yellow cards.

“You’ve got all these things happening that give us this massive opportunity.”

He said every player would have a chance to “select themselves” in club rugby and that replacing Rennie before his contract was to expire at the end of this year wasn’t in his control.

“I wasn’t thinking, ‘I can do this better than Dave, or, I’m a better person’, it’s not that at all,” he said.

“It’s the fact that there was an opportunity there that as an Australian when you get a chance to coach your country you want to do it, mate.”

In a boost for James O’Connor’s hopes after he was cut from Rennie’s extended squad, Jones said he’d base selection on Super Rugby Pacific form and keep an eye on his foreign-based playmakers.

But Jones admits time isn’t on his side when it comes to settling on a preferred partnership, with rival five-eighth Quade Cooper’s recovery from an Achilles tear counting against him.

“We are going to have to decide quite quickly who we think are the best nines and tens and 12s, particularly, to try and build up that cohesion,” he said.

Content & Images from – Australia Rugby

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6 Nations

England team to face Scotland in Six Nations opener



Ollie Hassell-Collins will make his England debut at left wing, Max Malins returns to the side at right wing and Freddie Steward is named at full back.

Owen Farrell captains the side from inside centre and is joined in the midfield by Joe Marchant. Marcus Smith is at fly-half with Jack van Poortvliet at scrum half.

The front row is made up of vice-captain Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler with Jamie George at hooker. Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum start at lock, while Ben Curry makes his second appearance for England at open-side flanker. Lewis Ludlam and Alex Dombrandt complete the back row.

Jack Walker is in line to make his England debut after being named as a substitute, Anthony Watson could make a first England appearance since March 2021, and if Dan Cole comes off the bench he will earn a 96th Test cap.

Mako Vunipola, Nick Isiekwe, Ben Earl, Ben Youngs and Ollie Lawrence make up the remaining replacements.

“There are few fixtures in the rugby calendar that excite both players and supporters alike more than the annual Six Nations meeting of the Auld enemy as they battle for the honour of lifting the Calcutta Cup,” said Borthwick.

“Another packed Twickenham will witness the start of the next chapter of English rugby in one of the most keenly contested tournaments in the world. There is no doubt this England team shares the supporters’ sense of eager anticipation.

“To a man, the players are determined to play with the commitment, fight and desire that is at the very heart of representing England, the sort of passion that our tremendous supporters rightly expect.”

England Match Day Squad


15. Freddie Steward

14. Max Malins

13. Joe Marchant

12. Owen Farrell (C)

11. Ollie Hassell-Collins

10. Marcus Smith

9. Jack van Poortvliet

1. Ellis Genge (VC)

2. Jamie George

3. Kyle Sinckler

4. Maro Itoje

5. Ollie Chessum

6. Lewis Ludlam

7. Ben Curry

8. Alex Dombrandt


16. Jack Walker

17. Mako Vunipola

18. Dan Cole

19. Nick Isiekwe

20. Ben Earl

21. Ben Youngs

22. Ollie Lawrence

23. Anthony Watson

Images & Content from England Rugby
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6 Nations

Scotland name team to face England in 2023 Guinness Six Nations Opener



Head coach Gregor Townsend has named his squad to face England in the opening fixture of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations this Saturday as Scotland bid to retain the Calcutta Cup.

Leading his side in the championship for the first time, blindside flanker Jamie Ritchie is joined at openside by Luke Crosbie, whose excellent recent form is rewarded with a second start for Scotland, with Matt Fagerson completing the back row.

In the second row, the experienced Richie Gray and Grant Gilchrist, who is named as Vice Captain, resume a partnership that impressed during last year’s Autumn Nations Series.

Pierre Schoeman starts at loosehead prop in what is a 17th consecutive international since his 2021 debut, with the evergreen WP Nel – who reached 50 caps in November – selected at tighthead and George Turner named at hooker.

In the back division, scrum-half Ben White will link up with stand-off Finn Russell, a year on from his try-scoring debut in the Calcutta Cup at BT Murrayfield.

Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones are named as a centre pairing, the former having scored his first tries for Scotland in November’s win over Argentina, with the latter having notched no fewer than four tries against England in as many games against them.

In the back three, Scotland’s record try-scorer Stuart Hogg continues at full-back, with Duhan van der Merwe and Kyle Steyn lining up on the wings.

Townsend has selected a bench with a 5-3 split between forwards and backs, with Glasgow Warriors clubmates Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti, Simon Berghan and Jack Dempsey, alongside Jonny Gray, listed as pack replacements. George Horne, Blair Kinghorn and Chris Harris complete the matchday squad as substitute options.

Scotland team to face England in the Guinness Six Nations opener on Saturday, 4 February at Twickenham, kick-off 4.45pm, live on STV and ITV

15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) 96 caps

14. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) 5 caps
13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) 31 caps
12. Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors) 11 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby) 23 caps

10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) 65 caps
9. Ben White (London Irish) 9 caps

1. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby) 16 caps
2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) 30 caps
3. WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) 50 caps
4. Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 69 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – Vice Captain – 59 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby) – Captain – 36 caps
7. Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh Rugby) 2 caps
8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 28 caps


16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) 57 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) 25 caps
18. Simon Berghan (Glasgow Warriors) 31 caps
19. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) 72 caps
20. Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors) 4 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) 18 caps
22. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) 38 caps
23. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby) 39 caps

Tickets for Scotland’s match against Italy at BT Murrayfield in the Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 18 March are still available HERE

Images & Content – Scotland Rugby

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