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International

All Blacks Big Guns Return for Wallabies Clash

The All Blacks have brought in some star names for their first Bledisloe Cup game against the Wallabies

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(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has confirmed his team to play the Wallabies in their first Bledisloe Cup game as they also hope to retain their Rugby Championship title.

The biggest call is that Ardie Savea has been chosen to play at blindside flanker, alongside Sam Cane on the openside and captain Kieran Read finishing up the loose forwards at No 8.

Elsewhere in the pack, Dane Coles begins the game at hooker, while Scott Barrett makes his first appearance of the international season after overcoming a thumb injury to line-out in the second-row.

His timing is perfect as he takes the place of the injured Brodie Retallick.

In the back-line Aaron Smith partners Richie Mo’unga in the half-backs, with Beauden Barrett continuing at full-back.

Anton Lienert-Brown and Jack Goodhue join-up in the centre, with Ngani Laumape taking a place on the bench. Sonny Bill Williams isn’t part of the squad as he plays for Counties Manukau over the weekend.

Hansen is delighted with the preparation that his All Blacks have undergone in Australia ahead of their clash in Perth.

“Our preparation this week here in Perth has been very good. We can tell that it’s ‘Bledisloe One’ week as there’s a real sense of purpose in everything we do, and a real desire to do it well. With the extra time together, we’re starting to see an improved clarity of roles out on the training park. We’ll need to take the confidence that comes with that clarity into the Test on Saturday and deliver a game which has high energy, high skill and great decision-making,” he said.

The head coach is also determined for his team to lay down a marker during the Bledisloe Cup and wants his side to earn their right to win the trophy.

“The Bledisloe Cup has always been incredibly important to this team and teams before us. It’s those teams, ourselves, our country and our many fans that inspire and drive us to want to go out and ‘re-take’ the trophy. We’ve never felt that it’s about going out and ‘retaining’ the Cup because it’s always been about earning the right to have it. This Saturday is no different. Both teams will be desperate and hungry for success,” he said.

This weekend’s match will be the first of two Bledisloe Cup games as the Wallabies go in search of their first Cup since 2002 with the All Blacks determined to continue their rivals draught.

As well as being in to win the Cup the All Blacks know they could still win this year’s shortened Rugby Championship if they defeat the Wallabies and South Africa fail to win against Argentina.

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

1. Joe Moody (38)

2. Dane Coles (62)

3. Owen Franks (107)

4. Scott Barrett (29)

5. Samuel Whitelock (109)

6. Ardie Savea (36)

7. Sam Cane (61)

8. Kieran Read – captain (119)

9. Aaron Smith (84)

10. Richie Mo’unga (10)

11. Rieko Ioane (25)

12. Anton Lienert-Brown (35)

13. Jack Goodhue (8)

14. Ben Smith (78)

15. Beauden Barrett (75)

16. Codie Taylor (42)

17. Atu Moli (1)

18. Angus Ta’avao (5)

19. Patrick Tuipulotu (22)

20. Matt Todd (18)

21. TJ Perenara (56)

22. Ngani Laumape (11)

23. George Bridge (2)

International

England Coach Set for Departure

England have confirmed that one of their coaches will leave at the end of the season and they already have his replacement sorted

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England have confirmed that assistant coach Steve Borthwick will leave his role come the end of the season.

The 57-cap former England international has been involved with head coach Eddie Jones since 2012, having previously held the role of Japan’s forwards coach. 

However, in 2016 the two left for England, during which time they have picked up two Six Nations crowns and made it to the Rugby World Cup final last year, but Borthwick admits following the tournament in Japan he made the decision to call time on his current role. 

“I am very proud of what we have achieved as a team since 2016, culminating in a Rugby World Cup Final last year. Having come back from Japan, spent time with my family and reflected on my time with England, I have decided to step away from the role towards the end of the season,” he said. 

As well as his time with England, Borthwick was also part of the coaching set-up during the British and Irish Lions drew with New Zealand in 2017. 

Speaking on his departure head coach Eddie Jones praised his assistant’s impact and confirmed he will be missed around the camp. 

“I have had a great seven years with Steve. He is a loyal, hard-working and analytical coach but I understand he needs now to get out on his own following this campaign. He’s made that decision and we are really pleased for him. He created a great lineout for England and really developed the young guys. If you look at someone like Maro Itoje, he’s become a world-class lock under Steve. He has also turned our maul into a weapon for us and he’s done brilliant work co-ordinating the England programme. We will miss him greatly,” he said. 

The Rugby Football Union have already announced that Jason Ryle will take on the position in November and he is delighted to have the opportunity. 

 “I am really excited about the opportunity to work in a world-class programme with the England national team and someone like Eddie with his experience is very appealing for me. It will be a real honour to work with some of the best coaches and so many quality England player,” he said. 

Ryle is currently the assistant coach at Australian rugby league side Melbourne Storm, where he has been since 2016, but this will be a huge step up for him. 

Meanwhile, it is expected that Borthwick will head to Leicester when he does leave the England team, in what would be a massive boost for the Premiership outfit. 

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International

Wales to Face Japan in the Summer

Wales have confirmed that they will play Japan in the summer along with their clashes with the All Blacks

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(ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Wales have announced that they will take on Japan in the far east this summer with the venue to be confirmed in due course.

It will be Wales’ first time back to Japan since their Rugby World Cup campaign last year, where they went on to finish fourth following a semi-final loss to eventual winners South Africa and another loss to the All Blacks in the third-place play-off. 

The match will take place on June 27th, ahead of the team’s trip to New Zealand where they will play two tests against the mighty All Blacks and head coach Wayne Pivac is looking forward to the recent World Cup hosts. 

“Going back to Japan for Wales will be a really big fixture on the back of a really successful Rugby World Cup for Japan as hosts both on and off the field. The squad and Welsh Rugby Union made a huge impression on the country in the lead up to and during the World Cup and attracted a lot of local support so it will be great to take the squad back to Japan for the first summer test,” he said. 

Wales’ neighbours England are also set for a return to Japan in the summer, with Eddie Jones’ side set for a two-test series against the Brave Blossoms. 

It is a huge boost for the Japanese team, who will now get to face some top-tier nations following their incredible World Cup displays and will now have the chance to continue their progression at the top-level of the game. 

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6 Nations

Huge Relief for Jones Ahead of Six Nations

Eddie Jones will be a relieved man with one of his key men set to return from injury this weekend

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England prop Kyle Sinckler is set to return to action for Harlequins this weekend in what is welcome news for England head coach Eddie Jones.

Sinckler missed out on last weekend’s loss to Sale Sharks in the Premiership having gone off injured during Quins draw with Leicester the week before. 

The England star left the field of play in the 65th minute of that match and the worst was feared as medical staff helped him come off. 

However, the tighthead is in line to return to the starting line-up for Quins trip to Bath in the Champions Cup this weekend. 

It is a massive boost for Jones, who lost his star early in the Rugby World Cup final last year due to concussion and would have been worried that he would once again be without him for the country’s Six Nations opening game against France on February 2nd. 

If he can stay fit between now and then Sinckler appears to be nailed on for a starting role in what will be the team’s first game since their World Cup loss to South Africa

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