Rugby Australia have announced a five-year partnership with Cadbury as the new principal partner of the Wallabies and major partner of the Wallaroos.
The deal will see the Cadbury logo displayed on the front of the Wallabies jersey as well as their training shorts.
Along with this, they will also be displayed on the back left of the Buildcorp Wallaroos shorts ahead of their two-test series against Samoa.
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said in a statement: “What a fantastic and proud day for Australian Rugby. We’re incredibly excited to partner up with the team at Cadbury, and to see the opportunities for us both over the coming years.
“From the alignment on values to their commitment to the development of women’s sport, as well as increasing the opportunities and profile of the game, this partnership will only further encourage the growth of our game across all levels.
“I look forward to seeing our partnership grow over the coming years and witnessing its positive impact on our community.”
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RA Chairman Hamish McLennan echoed these sentiments, believing that the sponsorship was a perfect partnership between the two brands.
“Just like the Wallabies, Cadbury are an iconic brand who have stayed at the very top of their game for generations. I want to thank them for joining us on this journey ahead,” he added.
“I have spent my life working with great brands and there is no better brand than Cadbury in terms of its values and its success, and they are perfect for Australian Rugby.”
Mondelēz International President Australia, New Zealand and Japan Darren O’Brien was honoured to be linking up with Rugby Australia, particularly ahead of the 2022 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand.
“Many Australians have a deep and long connection with Cadbury, which has been proudly made and enjoyed in Australia for 100 years. We look forward to building on this with Rugby Australia, by jointly creating many positive shared moments for Australians to be proud of, through local communities and at the elite level with the Wallabies and Wallaroos,” he said.
“We are particularly thrilled to build on our existing support for women in sport by supporting the Wallaroos in their ambitions to bring home the Women’s World Cup next year.
“We have great belief in the vision of Rugby Australia and support their plan for the game in this country, from the grassroots through to the international arena.”
Fans flock back to see the Boks in action
The Springboks came close to a claiming a fifth Castle Lager Rugby Championship title this season, and although there was disappointment in the end, the men in green and gold still performed very well, with a number of Boks dominating the individual statistical analysis of the competition, while South African rugby supporters made the most of the opportunity to return to stadiums.
Due to the COVID-pandemic, the Boks last played in front of fans in South Africa in 2019, and this year just under 300,000 supporters streamed through the gates at the six Tests in South Africa.
For the three Tests against Wales (in Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town), and the three Castle Lager Rugby Championship encounters on home soil (in Nelspruit, Johannesburg and Durban), 297,298 supporters – or a superb 98.91% of full capacity at the six stadiums – saw the Boks in action in South Africa.
Jacques Nienaber’s team finished the Castle Lager Rugby Championship with four wins from their six matches, their most since 2014 and 2013, when they also finished second behind New Zealand with four wins.
South Africa beat Argentina twice (38-21 and 36-20 for a nett points’ difference of +33), won one against Australia – their first away win in the competition over the Wallabies since 2013 – and lost one Down Under (24-8 and 17-25 for a nett points’ difference of +8), and ended equal with New Zealand on one win and one defeat (26-10 and 23-35 for a nett points’ difference of +4).
Zoning in on individual performances in the last two months of international rugby, Malcolm Marx’s influence in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship was clear for all to see, with the Springbok hooker dominating in a number of key areas.
Marx scored two tries – the same as his team-mates Damian De Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Kwagga Smith – which placed them joint-third on the list of top try scorers, behind All Blacks hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho with five, as well as flankers Juan Martin Gonzalez of Argentina (4) and Fraser McReight of Australia (3).
But Marx also dominated on the ground, where he topped the list of breakdown turnovers won, with seven. Second on the list was Springbok captain Siya Kolisi with six, followed by Pumas captain Julian Montoya (five).
The All Blacks duo of Ardie Savea and Sam Whitelock, and Argentina’s Pablo Matera, were all on four, while Kwagga Smith and Steven Kitshoff won three each.
Lood de Jager made the most tackles of any Springbok with 62 (he placed fourth overall, behind the Pumas trio of Marcos Kremer (79), Montoya (66) and Gonzalez (66), while Marx and Kolisi came in at joint-ninth with 54 tackles each.
The Boks’ strongest ball carriers were Jasper Wiese (51 carries for 307m won), De Allende (48 carries for 333m) and Marx (40 carries for 222m).
Four players were tied at the top of the list for average metres gained per carry, namely SA’s Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am, Canan Moodie and New Zealand’s Caleb Clarke, all with an average of 13m, with Clarke’s 540m the most metres gained by any player in 2022, while Mapimpi’s seven clean breaks were the most this season.
The Boks’ starting locks ruled in the air, with De Jager’s 26 lineouts won topping the list, and Etzebeth coming in second with 25.
The top points’ scorers during the competition were Argentina’s Emiliano Boffelli and New Zealand’s Richie Mo’unga, both of whom scored 71 points in their six games, with Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard coming in at third with 32 points in three games.
Barrett relishes opportunity in 12 jersey
It didn’t take long after Saturday’s 40-14 Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship win over Australia for new second five-eighths Jordie Barrett to feel the effects of his changed role.
While he played nearly three-quarters of the earlier Test against Australia in the position, it was a full-fledged effort on Saturday. He remarked that he wouldn’t have to wake up in the morning to feel the effects of the different, and more physically challenging, role at second five-eighths.
He was already feeling the effects.
“It’s different. I felt like I couldn’t get out of fourth gear, particularly with accelerations, decelerations, and more collisions.
“That’s just the nature of being in the midfield. I still love playing 15 [fullback], and I love playing 12 [second five-eighths]. I just enjoy an opportunity to play for the All Blacks.”
Barrett was able to give something back by causing his markers to feel his strength with some charging runs at their line.
“Rugby hasn’t changed, and if you can get some gain-line off set-piece and nullify it on the other side of the ball, you go a long way toward winning a match.
“They’ve got some outstanding carriers, Valentini, Pete Samu and some good outside backs and midfield players with some feet.”
He said he prepared for the traffic that came to his area and concentrated on that in his preparation.
“They have some big ball carriers particularly off set-piece and if they can get some ascendancy and gain-line it bleeds out into the rest of their game so I knew that if we knocked it on the head there that we could bring their game to a bit of a halt so it was a big mover there tonight.”
“If we could stop them at the gain-line it helps the rest of our boys. Our forwards one to eight were outstanding tonight and it makes the backs jobs a lot easier.”
The All Blacks’ Championship-winning effort was driven by a desire to show their worth to home fans and the closeness of their first Test with Australia.
“We weren’t too proud of our last quarter last week, and it could have gone in a different direction, so we knew, coming back to New Zealand, and Eden Park, it’s a place where we hold a high account, and we wanted to put on a performance that our fans and New Zealand are proud of.
“Consistency is important, it’s what we strive for every day as All Blacks. The last few months haven’t been up to standard but I think we’re heading in the right direction now.”
The scrum and maul had allowed the All Blacks to piggyback their way up the field and then kick to gain 50 metres went a long way toward winning Test matches.
Barrett said his employing the spiral punt was something he had been working on, especially with the Adidas balls used in New Zealand. David Hill and Ian Foster had been encouraging him to use the kick, and he had been practising it a lot.
“If I have got time on the ball I feel like I can peel off an extra 10-15 metres so I was lucky to get a couple away.”
All Blacks turn attention to Northern Tour
Locking away the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup for another year was one thing, but advancing on those achievements on their northern tour of Japan and Europe would be vital for the All Blacks.
Coach Ian Foster said claiming the Championship was ‘very satisfying,’ especially having to win it the hard way.
Northern tours were always tough due to fatigue at the end of a season and with the travel involved, but they have been helped this year by having an extra week’s break without a third Bledisloe Cup match.
They have a three-day camp in Nelson and will be fresher than in previous years.
They play Japan in Tokyo on October 29, Wales in Cardiff on November 6 (NZT), Scotland in Edinburgh on November 14 and England on November 20.
“That’s a deliberate strategy. We’re going to get really stuck into this northern hemisphere tour.
“It’s important we finish that in a position that we’ve got a really clear picture of what we’re going to do because next year’s pretty thin when you look at our prep before a World Cup,” he said.
The All Blacks would have five Tests in 2023 before the World Cup, so they had to maximise their opportunities.
Foster said the 2022 win was different to other Championships the All Blacks have won.
“To do it from behind the eight ball at the start, and to have to climb through that was not the way we wanted. I’m really proud of the effort the boys have put in. They’ve worked hard, they’ve been open-minded about some different little things, and I think we’re starting to see the results of it.”
Lessons from the campaign have been that under pressure, they stay tight and that while seeking solutions had made everyone uncomfortable at times, it had been necessary to go through with the goal of getting the performance right.
They are not the finished article, which was seen again in their Eden Park win.
“The building blocks are nice but there’s still a lot of finishing touches we’re not quite getting right. But what a great spot to be,” he said.
Converting line breaks was one area needing attention, as was letting Australia back on the scorecard late in the game.
“They’re small things, but they’ll be important things in 12 months time.”
Foster felt big strides in defence and set-piece play had been made, but they were still not an 80-minute team. That was down to experience across the side.
“It takes a while to get people to understand that you knock off for half a second in a Test match, you get punished.
“We’ve seen signs in the last two months that we had a lot of good spells in games, but we just didn’t quite get the fact that if you don’t nail every little moment you get hurt. And once you get hurt on the scoreboard then it becomes hard to catch up.”
It was about playing against different teams yet remaining in the moment and then looking to the next moment.
“We’ve proven to ourselves that we can climb through adversity, and there’ll be more to come.
“That’s what international rugby is about.
“I’m proud of the way the team’s dealt with the pressure of not performing to the level we want and the pressure that comes with that,” Foster said.
Before announcing the team for the northern tour in two weeks, he would be thinking about his options in midfield, where Jordie Barrett impressed in Saturday’s win.
“What a great athlete. He’s played well for us at fullback and on the wing and now has played really well at 12 [second five-eighths]. He certainly had a big impact last night.”
Foster was pleased with the development in his front row. It had been a season where they intended to put out markers, especially in seeing where their experienced players were at, and part of that was injecting a few younger players who deserved a chance.
“It’s been a journey for them too. You can go back and talk about Ethan [de Groot], for example, and his journey from Super Rugby and then us having to spend six weeks getting him to the fitness levels he needed to do. But the real message is that if you’re wanting to do the work off the park then there’s opportunity. And he has taken that well.”
As well as selecting their team for the northern tour, they would also choose the All Blacks XV for a two-game tour of the United Kingdom, including a game against the Barbarians on November 13 at Tottenham Stadium and one more game yet to be confirmed.
Because of their schedule and the need for them to develop as a team, there would be minimal crossover between the sides, he said.
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