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International

New Zealand Star Likely to Miss Pumas Test

The All Blacks look as though they will have to deal without one of their star names for Saturday’s Rugby Championship opener

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(Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

All Blacks star centre Sonny Bill Williams looks set to miss his side’s Rugby Championship opener against Argentina on Saturday.

Williams has been recovering from a hamstring injury for a number of weeks now and it appears as though it will keep him out of action once more this weekend.

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster was talking to the media and confirmed that Williams is unlikely to feature but that he is almost ready to go.

“It’s doubtful. He’s training really well. He’s grumpy with me from holding him back a little bit today because he is raring to go. He’s feeling really good but we’ve got to make sure we’ve got full strength back into that leg,” he said.

The 33-year-old has travelled with the rest of the squad to Argentina and Foster admitted that a final decision on his availability will be made on Thursday before the team is announced.

The 51-cap All Black has struggled for game-time this season having undergone knee surgery in March and then sustaining this hamstring injury.

He will be desperate to prove his fitness soon and get back on the pitch before head coach Steve Hansen picks his World Cup squad as he will want to have a chance to add to his 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup wins.

If he can prove his fitness, he will more than likely be on the plane to Japan for the tournament not only due to his incredible ability but also the experience he brings to a relatively young All Blacks squad.

International

England Demolish Terrible Ireland

England set new records against Ireland in what was a stand-out performance from the home side

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

England thrashed Ireland 57-15 at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon in what was a record win for the English over their visitors.

Eddie Jones’ side secured a record points total against Ireland surpassing their previous 50 points scored against the Irish 19 years ago, while the win also gave them a record winning margin over the men in green.

The home side started well with captain Owen Farrell knocking over a penalty as early as the 7th minute.

However, Ireland bounced back with a Jordan Larmour try coming within two minutes of that score and Ross Byrne kicked the conversion to make it 7-3.

Ireland gave up their lead as quickly as they gained it when England broke out right with Elliot Daly providing the killer pass for Joe Cokanasiga to stroll over for five-points. Farrell couldn’t provide the extras, but it was 8-7 with 12 minutes on the clock.

The game became a more even contest over the next ten minutes with Ireland only getting the next score on 25 minutes courtesy of a brilliant 42 metre Byrne penalty.

That was the best it got for Ireland as Daly and man of the match Manu Tuilagi got in for further tries before half-time to leave it at 22-10 going into the second-half.

Things went from bad to worse for the Irish in the second period with England scoring a try five minutes in as an over-thrown line-out was gathered up and Maro Itoje burst through the defence to touchdown under the posts.

The floodgates were well and truly open after that try as Itoje’s second-row partner George Kruis got in on the try-scoring act in the 53rd minute and was followed up by Tom Curry who scored the team’s sixth try four minutes later.

Cokanasiga made a wonderful break through the Irish defence to score his second try of the game on 65 minutes to make it 50-10 with another Farrell conversion.

Ireland fought back late on and a brilliant step from Bundee Aki left him in the English 22 where he raced down the touchline and dived in for a try while holding off Daly.

England got the last laugh however as substitute Luke Cowan-Dickie caught an over-thrown Irish line-out and barged over for their eighth and final try. Farrell converted to leave it at 57-15 to the hosts.

A worrying sign for the English was the late yellow card received by Kruis who was fortunate not to see red as well as Mako Vunipola’s departure from the game after coming on as a sub.

Ireland will need to dust themselves down quickly and sort out their problems as they head to the Principality next weekend to face Wales, while England will hope that this is the start of what’s to come as they look more and more like World Cup contenders.

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International

Mallinder Leaves RFU for Scotland

Jim Mallinder is set to depart the RFU and take up a role with Scotland

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(Photo by Steve Bardens - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Imagesges)

Jim Mallinder has been confirmed as Scottish Rugby’s new performance director following Scott Johnson’s departure earlier this year.

By taking up the new role in Scotland Mallinder leaves the Rugby Football Union where he has been for some time.

Mallinder admitted that he is sad to leave the RFU behind, but he is also looking forward to his new challenge.

“I’m sad to be leaving the RFU as I’ve really enjoyed my time here, in particular getting to work with some fantastic people in a wide range of roles within the men’s pathway. I will miss working with them all but this was an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse. It’s a chance to lead a long-term programme, work with talented people, and I’m looking forward to moving up to Scotland and getting started,” he said.

Mallinder worked in the English club game for a while, leading the likes of the England Saxons and recently lead an England XV to victory over the Barbarians.

RFU professional director of rugby Nigel Melville thanked Mallinder for his service and wished him luck in his new role.

“I’d like to thank Jim for all the work he’s done within the player pathway over the past year and, on behalf of everyone at the RFU, wish him all the best for his new role with Scottish Rugby,” he said.

Mallinder brings plenty of experience having coached Sale Sharks and Northampton Saints in the Premiership, as well as coaching the England U21’s to the Six Nations in 2006 and working with many underage teams in England during his time.

His new role will see him take over a leading role in the Scotland’s new Super6 competition for semi-professional players, while he will also look after player development, the Scotland Sevens team and the Scotland Women’s team in what is a huge challenge for the now former RFU man.

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International

Farrell Starts at Centre for England

England head coach Eddie Jones has confirmed his England side to take on Ireland this weekend

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England head coach Eddie Jones has announced his 23-man squad to play Ireland in his side’s third World Cup warm-up game this Saturday at Twickenham.

Following last weekend’s 13-6 defeat to Wales Jones is hoping his side will bounce back against a team they dominated away from home earlier this year in the Six Nations and Jones has chosen to pick Owen Farrell to test out a different side to the one who lost to the Welsh.

In the front-row Joe Marler starts alongside Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler, with Maro Itoje and George Kruis behind them against the second-row.

The back-row is made up of Tom Curry and Sam Underhill on either side of Billy Vunipola in what is a formidable looking pack.

 Ben Youngs tarts in at scrum-half and is joined by George Ford who continues at fly-half, with captain Farrell opening at inside centre and Manu Tuilagi beside him at outside centre.

Jonny May takes the 11 jersey, while Joe Cokanasiga is on the right-wing and Elliot Daly completes the starting XV from full-back.

On the bench they have the likes of Courtney Lawes and Jonathan Joseph joined by Mako Vunipola and Mark Wilson to call on, with the latter two set return from injury.

England will want to avoid a second defeat in a row heading into the World Cup and a win for them would see them leap over South Africa into fourth place in the World Rankings.

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

Elliot Daly; Joe Cokanasiga, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, Jonny May; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler; Maro Itoje, George Kruis; Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola. 

Replacements:

 Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, Mark Wilson, Willi Heinz, Piers Francis, Jonathan Joseph.

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