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PREVIEW: All Blacks v Argentina



Saturday’s Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship between the All Blacks and Argentina in Christchurch will be the first time the sides have met in New Zealand since their 2018 Test in Nelson.

Match details: All Blacks v Argentina, Saturday, 27 August, 7.45pm NZT, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch.


Played: 33

Won: All Blacks 31, Argentina 1, Draws 1

Last time: All Blacks 36, Argentina 13, 18 September 2021

Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)





Winning the second Test against South Africa brought reward for the starting XV who are unchanged for the first Test against Argentina. A neck injury suffered in training by first five-eighths Beauden Barrett has meant a change on the bench where Blues and Taranaki first five-eighths/fullback utility Stephen Perofeta will have the chance to become All Black No 1206 as first five-eighths cover for Richie Mo’unga. It would complete a big 12 months for Perofeta who was the NPC player of the year in 2021 in the Taranaki Championship-winning side for whom he scored 172 points.



Argentine tighthead prop Joel Sclavi will face the All Blacks for the first time in his second starting appearance in what will be the sixth Test of his career. Left-wing Lucio Cinti is back in the side while Matías Orlando returns to second five-eighths to complete the three starting changes in the side from that which beat Australia 48-17 in San Juan. Seventy-Test veteran Guido Petti returns to the side after missing the Australian Tests, on the bench.



While Argentina lead the Championship, the statistics suggest they will face a different type of opponent when meeting the All Blacks. The New Zealanders are ahead of Argentina in goal-kicking (88.9 percent to 80), carries (105.0 to 80.0), carry metres (749.8 to 532.1), defenders beaten (24 to 11.5), passes (160.5 to 115), tackle percentage (88.2 to 84.6). Argentina have also made 143 tackles compared to 110 by the All Blacks and they have missed 22 compared to 13 by the New Zealanders. Argentina have managed 5.5 line breaks compared to New Zealand’s 4.5 and their lineout success is 93.1 per cent to 84.6 by the All Blacks. Argentina have conceded 9.5 turnovers while the All Blacks have 11.




“It’s great for us to be able to return to Christchurch. The All Blacks have such a rich history here, and it’s exciting to build on that.”



After their two losses against Ireland in July, the All Blacks need to beat Argentina to avoid suffering three consecutive losses at home – something that has never happened. The closest was three games without a win in 1949-50 – two losses to Australia and a draw with the 1950 British & Irish Lions.


TEAMS (caps in brackets)


All Blacks (* denotes debut): 1. Ethan de Groot (6), 2. Samisoni Taukei’aho (13), 3. Tyrel Lomax, 4. Sam Whitelock (136), 5. Scott Barrett (52), 6. Shannon Frizell (19), 7. Sam Cane – captain (82), 8. Ardie Savea (64), 9. Aaron Smith (107), 10. Richie Mo’unga, 11. Caleb Clarke (7), 12. David Havili (18), 13. Rieko Ioane (52), 14. Will Jordan (17), 15. Jordie Barrett (41).

Substitutes: 16. Codie Taylor (70), 17. George Bower (16), 18. Fletcher Newell (1), 19.Tupou Vaa’i (14), 20. Akira Ioane (16), 21. Finlay Christie (8), 22. Stephen Perofeta (*), 23. Quinn Tupaea (11).


Argentina: 1. Thomas Gallo (7), 2. Julian Montoya captain (79), 3. Joel Sclaivi (5), 4. Matias German (77), 5. Thomas Lavinini (71), 6. Juan Martin Gonzalez (13), 7. Marcos Kremer (49), 8. Pablo Matera (84), 9. Gonzalo Bertranou (42), 10. Santiago Races (24), 11. Lucio Cinti (9), 12. Matías Orlando (51), 13. Matías Moroni (62), 14. Emiliano Boffelli (43), 15. Juan Cruz Mallía (17).


Substitutes: 16. Santiago Socino (6), 17. Mayco Vivas (14), 18. Eduardo Beautiful (3), 19. Guido Petti (69), 20. Santiago Grondona (8), 21. Tomas Cubelli (84), 22. Tomás Albornoz (2), 23. Santiago Lamb (47).


Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


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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Statement on behalf of Dave Rennie



Following Monday’s announcement Dave Rennie has issued the following statement.

“Firstly, I’d like to thank all of those who have reached out to Steph and I over the past 48 hours or so.

“The support has been immense and much appreciated from the more than 500 messages I’ve received from current and former players, coaches, administrators and friends both here and abroad.

“I’ve loved my time with the team. They’re outstanding young men who are keen to learn and prepared to work hard.

“The staff I worked with during my time with the Wallabies are some of the best in the world and they played a massive role in creating a quality environment and developing the depth of the playing group.

“I’d like to particularly thank those in the Australian Rugby community for their support of the team over the past three years and for all the words of encouragement when we have crossed paths in schools, on the training field or in airports around the country.

“I’m disappointed I won’t be able to see out my contract in the way I agreed to back in 2019 but leave knowing I had the full support of the playing group and the staff.

“I certainly felt we have made massive shifts over the past three years both on and off the field, which is off the back of a hell of a lot of hard work put in by good people.

“I wish Eddie, the staff and the team all the best in what’s a massive year, with the Rugby World Cup less than nine months away.”

Content & Images from – Australia Rugby

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