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Rugby Championship

Beauden Barrett to play 100th Test vs Wales

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(Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

The All Blacks team has been named to play Wales at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on Saturday 30 October. (Kick-off: 5.15PM GMT / 5.15AM Sunday NZT) in the second Test of the Tudor Northern Tour.

The matchday 23 is: 

1. Joe Moody (54)

2. Codie Taylor (64)

3. Nepo Laulala (37)

4. Brodie Retallick (89)

5. Samuel Whitelock (128) – captain

6. Ethan Blackadder (7)

7. Dalton Papalii (10)

8. Ardie Savea (56)

9. TJ Perenara (76)

10. Beauden Barrett (99)

11. Rieko Ioane (44)

12. David Havili (11)

13. Anton Lienert-Brown (54)

14. Will Jordan (10)

15. Jordie Barrett (32)

16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (7)

17. Karl Tu’inukuafe  (23)

18. Tyrel Lomax (11)

19. Tupou Vaa’i (8)

20. Akira Ioane (10)

21. Brad Weber (14)

22. Richie Mo’unga (28)

23. Sevu Reece (14)

First five-eighth Beauden Barrett has been selected for his 100th Test in what will be a memorable occasion for the 30 year old and his family.  Barrett will be playing his eighth Test against the Welsh in a stellar career which began back in 2012 and he becomes the All Blacks’ 11th Test centurion.

All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster said: “It’s a very special time for Beauden and his family and it’s also a special time for this team and its legacy.  He’s a big part of this team, he’s a key leader, he’s captained the All Blacks, he’s vice captain on this tour and he’s an influencer on and off the park. I can’t speak more highly about his contribution as a person to the black jersey.  The chance to play his 100th Test at this stadium against Wales is really special.”

In the starting forward pack, the experienced front row of props Joe Moody and Nepo Laulala and hooker Codie Taylor are back, after last running out in the second Test against South Africa earlier this month, while the starting locks of Brodie Retallick, in his 90th Test, and 128-Test All Blacks Captain Samuel Whitelock bring huge international experience. Ethan Blackadder gets the nod at blindside flanker in his fourth Test start, Dalton Papalii is again at seven, while Ardie Savea returns in the number eight jersey. The forward reserves are hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho, props Karl Tu’inukuafe and Tyrel Lomax, lock Tupou Vaa’i and loose forward Akira Ioane.

In the starting backline, halfback TJ Perenara will start inside Beauden Barrett, with David Havili at 12 and centre Anton Lienert-Brown the midfield combination. Rieko Ioane and Will Jordan are on the wings and Jordie Barrett is at fullback.  The back reserves are halfback Brad Weber, first five-eighth Richie Mo’unga and winger Sevu Reece.

Foster said: “It’s exciting to be back here in the North, albeit in very different circumstances.  The All Blacks have always loved touring North, these Test matches are a big part of our history as a rugby team and it’s been three years since we played in Europe, so there’s a real sense of excitement. What a better place to start than at a packed-out stadium here in Cardiff.

Foster added the All Blacks squad was under no illusions about what they would be facing on Saturday.

“The Welsh will play with their traditional passion and their fans singing in the Stadium, and they’ll throw everything at us.  They are Six Nations champions and a very good team.  They have a group of young players coming through who’ll be excited to play so we will have to be ready, and we are.”

Reflecting on how the All Blacks squad was doing nine weeks into a 13-week overseas tour “like no other”, Foster added: 

“We have a short-term focus because the length of the tour is so unique to us.  Clearly, there have been a lot of obstacles we’ve had to go through – and will go through – but I’m incredibly proud of how the team has responded to the challenges.

“But we are focussed on what each week holds and putting all our energy into that. Ultimately, we will be judged on our perfomance on Saturday and that’s what we love. We have got to be clear when we play and go out and do what we do, and we’re certainly ready to do that.

Key Facts

  1. The All Blacks and Wales have played each other 35 times, with 32 wins to the All Blacks and three to Wales. The last match between the two sides was the Bronze Final at RWC2019 in Japan.
  2. All Blacks Captain Samuel Whitelock last week became the third most capped All Black of all time, playing his 128th Test, surpassing Kieran Read. Keven Mealamu is on 132 and Richie McCaw 148.   
  3. As well as playing his 100th Test, Beauden Barrett could surpass 700 Test points on Saturday. He is currently sitting on 693 points (37 tries, 164 conversions, 58 penalties and two droppped goals) and is third on the All Blacks’ all-time scoring list, behind Dan Carter and Andrew Mehrtens.
  4. Barrett scored a try against the USA last week and his 37 tries now put him equal with All Blacks greats Jonah Lomu and Tana Umaga. Barrett also extended his world record for tries scored by a starting five-eighth to 26.

All Blacks Tudor Northern Tour

All Blacks 104 USA 14. Saturday 23 October, FedExField, Greater Landover, MARYLAND 20785

All Blacks vs Wales. 5.15PM GMT Saturday 30 October / 5.15AM NZT Sunday 31 October, Principality Stadium, Westgate St, CARDIFF CF10 1NS

All Blacks vs Italy. 2.00PM CET Saturday 6 November / 2.00AM NZT Sunday 7 November Stadio Olimpico, Viale dei Gladiatori, 00135 ROME

All Blacks vs Ireland. 3.15PM GMT Saturday 13 November / 4.15AM Sunday 14 November NZT, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Rd, Ballsbridge, DUBLIN 4

All Blacks vs France. 9.00PM CET Saturday 20 November / 9.00AM Sunday 21 November NZT, Stade de France, 93200 Saint-Denis, PARIS

Source – All Blacks Rugby

Rugby Championship

Joe Schmidt to join All Blacks as Independent Selector

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(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

One of New Zealand’s leading coaches, former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, is to replace former All Black Grant Fox as the All Blacks Independent Selector.

Fox will be stepping down after next year’s Steinlager Series selection after a decade as a Selector, firstly under former Head Coach Steve Hansen and latterly alongside current Head Coach Ian Foster and fellow selector John Plumtree.

In announcing the appointment, Foster said it was exciting to have someone of Schmidt’s calibre take on the role.

“Joe will bring a wealth of New Zealand and international experience into the role, so we are delighted to have him join us. He will work closely with me and ‘Plums’ on selections but his insights will be valuable in other areas as well, so we look forward to having him join us.”

Schmidt is currently working part time with the Blues for next year’s Super Rugby Pacific competition and will then join the All Blacks, with his first All Blacks selection role to be helping select the squad for the Rugby Championship.

Schmidt was formerly an Assistant Coach with the Blues from 2005 to 2007. He coached Ireland from 2013 to 2019, winning three Six Nations titles, and also won titles coaching French club Clermont Auvergne and Irish club Leinster.  He was also recently World Rugby’s Director of Rugby and High Performance.

Schmidt said: “It’s humbling to be involved and I’m looking forward to learning more about the players and the All Blacks environment and helping out as best I can.”

Foster added that Fox had planned to leave his role as Independent Selector following Rugby World Cup 2019, but he was delighted that he’d been able to convince him to stay until early next year.

“Foxy has been huge for me personally and for the team as a whole and we were so grateful to have him involved for longer than expected.  He says now is the time for him to fully focus on his family and business interests.  We will farewell him closer to the time when he finishes up next year.”

Source – All Blacks Rugby

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International

Leicester confirm signing of Springbok

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Leicester Tigers will welcome World Cup-winning fly-half Handré Pollard to the club ahead of the 2022/23 season. 

The South Africa international will make the move to Leicester from French club Montpellier.

The 27-year-old has been capped on 60 occasions by the Springboks since making his Test debut against Scotland in 2014 while still a member of the South Africa Under-20s squad.

Pollard played youth rugby for Western Province, in Cape Town, while attending Paarl Gimnasium School and was selected for South Africa Schoolboys in 2012.

That same year, Pollard was selected for the Junior Springboks as an 18-year-old and remained in the squad for three successive seasons, captaining the age-grade national side in his final year. 

In 2013, Pollard moved to the University of Pretoria and represented UP Tuks while also making his provincial debut for the Blue Bulls in South Africa’s Currie Cup competition.

His Super Rugby debut followed in 2014 for the Bulls, who he would represent for the next five seasons, as well as a lone campaign for Japanese club NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes in 2015/16. 

After playing in South Africa’s 2019 Rugby World Cup win, Pollard joined current club Montpellier. 

An accomplished goal-kicker, he has registered more than 600 points for the Springboks at an average of more than 10 points per Test.

He represented the Barbarians in 2018 and recently shared in South Africa’s series win over the British & Irish Lions.

Speaking about the addition of Pollard to the Leicester Tigers squad for next season, Head Coach Steve Borthwick said: “Handré is a world-class fly-half who brings with him a wealth of experience from Super Rugby, Top14 and international rugby.

“He is a World Cup winner who has been highly sought-after from clubs all over the globe. But, most pleasingly, he sees Leicester Tigers as the club for him.

“What has impressed me most in our dealings with him has been his desire to be a part of what we are building at this club but also his desire to develop, learn and grow as a player and person.

“This is a very exciting signing for the club and one I hope Leicester Tigers fans are excited about.”

Discussing his decision to join Leicester Tigers, Pollard said: “I am excited to join Leicester Tigers, to be a part of this great group of players at a special club and challenge myself, test my limits and be the very best I can be for the team.

“The club is going brilliantly at the moment and I know there is an expectation to continue that, to keep getting better because getting to the top is hard but staying there is even harder.

“There are bigger deals on the table, but I’ve made this decision to work with Steve [Borthwick] and to be a part of an unreal, great club at Leicester Tigers which has such a great history,” he added.

The Springboks fly-half also spoke of his excitement ahead of playing at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

“I don’t know the whole history of Leicester Tigers, but this is a club that is so well renowned worldwide,” he said.

“Everybody I have spoken to about playing there, for Tigers or an away team, say it’s the one stadium that is on another level.”

Pollard will link up with his new Leicester Tigers team-mates at the conclusion of international commitments ahead of the 2022/23 season.

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Rugby Championship

Sam Cane commits long-term future to New Zealand

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Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

All Blacks, Chiefs and Bay of Plenty loose forward Sam Cane has recommitted to New Zealand Rugby, inking a new deal with his national union, Super Rugby club and province through to 2025.

29-year-old Cane has been a mainstay of the national game since making his professional rugby debut with the Gallagher Chiefs as an 18 year old in 2010 and made his All Blacks debut two years later. The 2015 Rugby World Cup winner has gone on to play for the All Blacks in 77 Tests (56 starts) and captained the team ten times. He has played 126 times for the Gallagher Chiefs.


Cane said he was stoked to be committing to New Zealand Rugby for four more years.


“My passion for the game, whether it’s playing for the All Blacks, Gallagher Chiefs or Bay of Plenty, is as strong as when I started playing, so it was an easy decision for me to extend my contract, and my wife Harriet and I are excited about what the future holds.


“I’m now looking forward to spending summer with my family and friends, and coming back ready go to again in 2022.”

All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster, who selected Cane as his captain last year, said: “We are thrilled that Sam has made a long-term commitment to New Zealand Rugby.


“He’s an instrumental part of the All Blacks leadership group in his role as captain and I know that following a year in which he missed a lot of rugby with his significant injury, he is fully committed to being at his very best in 2022 and beyond, which is exciting.


“We’re delighted for him and Harriet.”

NZR General Manager Professional Rugby and Performance Chris Lendrum added: “We are blessed to have a person of Sam’s calibre playing in New Zealand and he has been an exceptional and loyal player since coming into the professional ranks as a young man. 


“He’s one of the most respected players and voices in our game and all the teams that he has played for have benefitted from his outstanding play and leadership. We’re delighted that he has chosen to stay with New Zealand Rugby for four more years.”


As part of his contract, Cane has the option of taking a non-playing or playing break from the New Zealand game in 2024.


Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan said: “Sam is an exceptional player and highly respected leader, who has a great rapport with both coaches and players. He is passionate about the teams he is involved with and continues to demonstrate that through his ultra-consistent performances on the field.


“We are incredibly fortunate to have his services and look forward to seeing him continue to further his already impressive career.”


Chiefs Rugby Club CEO Michael Collins added: “Having Sam recommit for another four years is an outstanding result. We are incredibly proud of what Sam has achieved so far for the Gallagher Chiefs, All Blacks and Bay of Plenty. We are very much looking forward to seeing him on the field in Super Rugby Pacific in 2022 and beyond.”


Bay of Plenty Rugby Union CEO Mike Rogers said Cane had always been incredibly proud of his roots in the Bay of Plenty.


“When he has the opportunity, he goes out of his way to support rugby in the Bay and even when he’s not physically able to be present, he’s always engaged and prepared to offer his time and support in other ways.


“He made a massive contribution to our environment this year during the Bunnings NPC as he was returning from injury and remains a massive inspiration to the thousands of young male and female players that play rugby in Bay of Plenty.”

Sam Cane – mini bio

Name: Sam Cane
Born: 13 January 1992, Rotorua
Position: Loose forward
Weight: 107kg
Height: 1.88m
Provincial team: Bay of Plenty
Super Rugby team: Chiefs
Test Debut: 16 June 2012 vs Ireland in Christchurch
Test Caps: 77
Test Points: 80 (16 tries)

Source – All Blacks Rugby

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