Connect with us

International

O’Connor Starts in Wallabies’ All Blacks Showdown

James O’Connor will make his first start for the Wallabies in six years this weekend

Published

on

(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika has named James O’Connor in the centre for his side’s Rugby Championship game in Perth on Saturday.

O’Connor is one of four changes and will make his first start in six years for the Wallabies when he lines out at outside centre for the men in green and gold.

The former ‘bad boy’ takes the place of Tevita Kuridrani as Cheika looks to bring some creative spark in the midfield to break down the All Blacks.

Elsewhere, Folau Fainga’a has dropped to the bench with Tolu Latu stepping into the starting XV, while Allan Alaalatoa takes the place of Sekope Kepu at tighthead prop, with Kepu dropping out of the squad.

The only other change to the side is that Lukhan Salakaia-Loto comes into the back-row alongside captain Michael Hooper and Isi Naisarani.

Once again David Pocock misses the game however, the good news for Wallabies fans is that Cheika is confident that he will be ready for action next week.

“He has trained all week with the team, slightly modified but this is the most he has done with the team so he is getting very close. He will train fully with the team today and I am hoping he will be available next week,” he said.

The Wallabies clash with the All Blacks serves as their final game in this year’s shortened Rugby Championship campaign as well as being the first of two Bledisloe Cup matches between the sides.

There is a slim chance that the Wallabies could still win the Rugby Championship title if they beat the All Blacks and Argentina do them a favour and defeat South Africa, meaning it is all still to play for this weekend.

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

1. Scott Sio (56 Tests)

2. Tolu Latu (13 Tests)

3. Allan Alaalatoa (32 Tests)

4. Izack Rodda (19 Tests)

5. Rory Arnold (21 Tests)

6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (13 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (93 Tests)

8. Isi Naisarani (2 Tests)

9. Nic White (24 Tests)

10. Christian Lealiifano (20 Tests)

11. Marika Koroibete (21 Tests)

12. Samu Kerevi (vc) (27 Tests)

13. James O’Connor (45 Tests)

14. Reece Hodge (35 Tests)

15. Kurtley Beale (85 Tests)

Reserves:

16. Folau Fainga’a (9 Tests)

17. James Slipper (88 Tests)

18. Taniela Tupou (13 Tests)

19. Adam Coleman (31 Tests)

20. Luke Jones (4 Tests)

21. Will Genia (102 Tests)

22. Matt To’omua (44 Tests)

23. Tom Banks (4 Tests)


International

Savea back at the helm of the Hurricanes

Published

on

All Blacks loose forward Ardie Savea will captain the Hurricanes again for the 2023 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season.

Savea, who will have his 11th season in the side, will mark his first appearance in the competition by playing his 120th game.

The Hurricanes’ season opens against the Reds in round one.

Savea said: “I’m looking forward to the season, especially getting out to the communities, when we play in Levin against the Crusaders for our pre-season game and Palmerston North against the Western Force on Sunday, April 2.

“We’ve just moved into our new facility, and there’s something awesome about change; it’s brought in a lot of energy. It’s refreshing to come in and be in a new space alongside other professional teams. Hopefully, being here can help us move forward and prepare well for our games.”

The facility is part of the New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport at what was the Central Institute of Technology at Trentham and houses, several Wellington-based teams.

Coach Jason Holland was delighted to be able to call on Savea’s leadership ability again.

“Ardie is a special leader. He’s the sort of guy you want to follow in whatever he does. He’s worked hard at his leadership around all the small details, around how to get the best out of the people around him.

“He’s been good at driving us as a group, players and management, about being well-planned and clear in our roles in what we’re leading.

“Ards has a great relationship with all the boys and cares about them and the team and that shows in the way he leads.”

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


Continue Reading

International

Marshall primed for Crusaders coaching opportunity

Published

on

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


Continue Reading

6 Nations

RTÉ And Virgin Media Confirm Details Of Free-To-Air Six Nations Coverage

Published

on

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


Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending