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Autumn Nations Cup

All Blacks named for Italy Test

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Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

The All Blacks team has been named to play Italy at Stadium Olimpico in Rome, on Saturday 6 November (Kick-off: 2.00PM CET / 2.00AM NZT Sunday) in the third match of the Tudor Northern Tour.

The matchday 23 is:

1.George Bower (9)
2. Dane Coles (77)
3. Tyrel Lomax (12)
4. Tupou Vaa’i (9)
5. Josh Lord (1)
6. Luke Jacobson (11)
7. Sam Cane – captain (75)
8. Hoskins Sotutu (9)
9. Brad Weber (15)
10. Richie Mo’unga (29)
11. George Bridge (17)
12. Quinn Tupaea (5)
13. Braydon Ennor (3)
14. Sevu Reece (15)
15. Damian McKenzie (38)

16. Asafo Aumua (5)
17. Ethan de Groot (3)
18. Ofa Tuungafasi (42)
19. Samuel Whitelock (129)
20. Shannon Frizell (15)
21. Finlay Christie (4)
22. David Havili (12)
23. Jordie Barrett (32)

The squad sees the young locking partnership of Tupou Vaa’i and Josh Lord named to start in the second row.  It will be 21-year-old Vaa’i’s fourth start in his 10th Test while 20-year-old Lord gets his first Test start after making his debut against the USA in the first Test of the Tudor Northern Tour.

The duo will have the experience of 77-Test hooker Dane Coles with them, together with props George Bower and Tyrel Lomax, in the starting front row, while the starting loose forward trio is Luke Jacobson at six,  Sam Cane will captain the side in the seven jersey, while Hoskins Sotutu is at number eight.

The starting forward pack will be ably supported by hooker Asafo Aumua, props Ethan de Groot and Ofa Tuungafasi, lock Samuel Whitelock and returning loose forward Shannon Frizell.

In the starting backline, Brad Weber is at halfback and Richie Mo’unga has been named at first five-eighth, while the young midfield pairing of Quinn Tupaea and Braydon Ennor are at second five-eighth and centre respectively.  George Bridge is on the left wing, Sevu Reece is on the right and Damian McKenzie is at fullback. The back reserves are halfback Finlay Christie, midfielder David Havili and outside back Jordie Barrett.

All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster said: “We’ve had a great week here in Rome. It’s very stimulating to be in this city and, whilst we can’t get out as much as we like, it’s great to have the players experience a new culture, and that’s all part of generating energy in a squad when you’re touring.

“We are ready and prepared for this weekend. We know it’s a really big game for us when it comes to improving our skillsets and decision-making as we’ve made that a bit of a focus this week. The team that’s been selected has been given the job of ensuring we grow in those areas from our game against Wales.

“With this tour we have an objective of growing the opportunities and the depth in this group. We’ve been driving our performances upwards because the competition and the energy in the squad has been huge. This week is about this particular group putting another marker down.”

Commenting on his young starting locks combination, Foster said: “Tupou is a quality footballer and we have seen more signs of that in the last two weeks, while Josh on his first tour has learnt things quickly and has been really clear-headed at training. It’s his first start, which is exciting for him, and we’ve got a lot of faith in him.”

Foster said the All Blacks would be facing a little of the unknown with the Italians.

“They have a new coach in Kieran Crowley so they’ll have a different philosophy and I like that for us, because it means we will go into the match with a bit of an edge.

“While Italy may not have been happy with their recent Six Nations results, things generally shift when a new regime comes in, so we’re expecting them to play with a lot of passion in front of their home crowd.” 

Key Facts

  • The All Blacks and Italy have played each other 15 times since 1979, with the last Test at Stadio Olimpico in 2018.  The All Blacks won 66 – 3.
  • The All Blacks have now scored 89 tries and 628 points this year – a points-scoring record points for the team and will be chasing down England’s record 644 points scored in 17 games in 2003.
  • Will Jordan has scored 14 tries in nine games this year. Joe Rokocoko scored 17 tries in 12 games in 2003.
  • Beauden Barrett has now scored 703 points in Tests for the All Blacks. His 39 tries to date puts him equal in sixth place with Ben Smith on the All Blacks Test tryscorers list.

Source – All Blacks Rugby

Autumn Nations Cup

England announce exciting Autumn Series

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Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

England men will play four home matches at Twickenham Stadium as part of the 2022 Autumn Nations Series.

England will first take on the same two teams that they will face in their opening 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool D fixtures – beginning their campaign against Argentina [Sunday 6 November], followed by Japan [Saturday 12 November].

Eddie Jones’ side will then play New Zealand on Saturday 19 November for the first time since the 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final, where England beat the three-time world champions 19-7.

Their final game is against world champions South Africa [Saturday 26 November].  Last month, in a tightly contested game England beat the Springboks 27-26 with an 80th-minute penalty.

Jones said: “These fixtures will be a really important part of our preparation for the 2023 World Cup.

“It’s almost a mini World Cup in itself and we’re fortunate to have it less than a year before the tournament.

“It will be a good litmus test for the team to see where we are at, culminating in playing first and second in the world.

“We saw how much of a difference having a full Twickenham Stadium was this autumn and we can’t wait to play a series of games against such quality opposition in front of our supporters.”

Hospitality packages are on sale now via EnglandRugby.com/Hospitality and wider ticket details will be issued early in 2022.

Kick off times will be confirmed in coming weeks.

Full fixtures (all KOs TBC)
England v Argentina        Sunday 6 November 2022
England v Japan               Saturday 12 November 2022     
England v New Zealand  Saturday 19 November 2022
England v South Africa   Saturday 26 November 2022     

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6 Nations

Garry Ringrose Signs New Three Year IRFU Contract

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Image Credit - @IrishRugby Twitter

Ireland centre Garry Ringrose has signed a three year IRFU contract which will see him continue to play with Leinster until the end of the 2024/25 season.

Garry started all three of Ireland’s Autumn Nations Series fixtures having missed the summer Tests through injury.  Garry made his Ireland debut against Canada in the 2016 Guinness November Series and has since represented his country on 37 occasions scoring 10 tries.

Garry Ringrose in action against New Zealand in the recent Autumn Nations Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 13/11/2021

A grand slam winner in 2018 Garry also starred on the summer tour of Australia and started four or Ireland’s Rugby World Cup fixtures in Japan in 2019.

The former Ireland U20 has made 90 senior appearances for Leinster scoring 28 tries and has won a European Champions Cup (2018) and four PRO rugby titles (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021) with his province.

IRFU High Performance Director, David Nucifora commented,

“Garry has had a tough road with injuries since the World Cup in Japan but he is a top international player who delivers big performances for Ireland and Leinster.   He will be an influential figure at both national and provincial level over the coming years.”

Garry Ringrose commented, “Delighted to sign for another three years. It is an exciting time to be involved with Leinster and Ireland. Both squads have ambition to be competing for silverware every year and I’m motivated to do whatever I can to contribute”

Source – Irish Rugby

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Autumn Nations Cup

World Rugby approves birth right amendment for players to transfer unions

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  • New process can benefit players and the global competitiveness of rugby
  • Fairness and integrity key principles that underpin the framework
  • Approval follows extensive discussion and collaboration across the game
  • Revised Regulation will apply from 1 January 2022

The World Rugby Council has approved an amendment to the sport’s regulations governing national team representation that will now permit an international player to transfer once from one union to another subject to demonstrating a close and credible link to that union via birth right.

From 1 January, 2022, in order to transfer from one union to another under the revised Regulation 8 (eligibility), a player will need to achieve the below criteria:

  • The player must stand-down from international rugby for 36 months
  • The player must either be born in the country to which they wish to transfer or have a parent or grandparent born in that country
  • Under the revised Regulation 8 criteria, a player may only change union once and each case will be subject to approval by the World Rugby Regulations Committee to preserve integrity

After 1 January 2022, any player who meets the above criteria can apply immediately for a transfer.

The Regulation 8 revisions will also align the “age of majority” across 15s and sevens. All players will now be ‘captured’ at 18 years of age to simplify the Regulation and improve union understanding and compliance.

Approval of the amended regulation follows requests by emerging nations and a subsequent wide-ranging consultation process with member unions, regions and International Rugby Players examining the possibility of amending the principle within Regulation that stipulates that a player may only represent one union at international level, save for specific circumstances relating to participation in the Olympic Games.

The benefits of the amendment include:

  • Simplicity and alignment: transfers are currently permitted in the context of participation in the Olympics in the sevens game. This amendment will create one aligned, simplified process across the game
  • Development of emerging nations: the player depth of emerging nations may be improved by permitting players, who have close and credible links to the “emerging union” through birth or ancestry, to “return” to those unions having previously represented another union
  • Player-focused approach: the process recognised the modern rugby environment, including global player movement, the current ability to capture players by selecting them on the bench, and the desire of some players to transfer having been selected a limited number of times for one union. It also examined the impact of any change on the integrity of the international competition landscape.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Approval of this landmark regulatory change is the culmination of detailed and widespread modelling and consultation across the game. We have listened to our membership and players and sought to update the regulation recognising the modern professional rugby environment without compromising the integrity of the international game.

“Any player who wishes to transfer will need to have a close and credible link to their new union, namely birth right or parent or grandparent birth right while meeting strong criteria, including a 36-month stand down period. We believe that this is the fairest way to implement progressive change that puts players first while also having the potential to support a growing, increasingly competitive international men’s and women’s game.”

World Rugby Vice-Chairman Bernard Laporte added: “We have listened to our membership and honoured our pledge to undertake wide-ranging review of this important regulation. We have consulted, sought feedback from our unions, regions and most importantly to players’ representatives, before making a recommendation to the Council. This change to how international rugby operates will provide transformational opportunities to players with dual backgrounds, providing they meet the key criteria sets out in the Regulation 8.”

International Rugby Players CEO, Omar Hassanein said:“The proposal to change the rules around player eligibility is something that we have worked on over many years with our member associations. Many players across the world will now benefit from the chance to represent the country of their or their ancestors’ birth, serving as a real boost to the competitiveness of emerging nations, which in turn, will benefit the game as a whole.” 

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