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Rugby World Cup

All Blacks Claim Bronze with Win Over Wales

New Zealand have finished third in the Rugby World Cup with a classy win over Wales

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(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

New Zealand have claimed the bronze medal at the Rugby World Cup in Japan with a 40-17 victory over Wales this morning.

Tries from Joe Moody, Beauden Barrett, Ryan Crotty, Richie Mo’unga as well as a brace from Ben Smith saw the All Blacks run out healthy winners in the third-place play-off.

The All Blacks got off to a flying start and although Mo’unga missed an early penalty they were over for a try within the opening five minutes as they burst through the Welsh defence making some wonderful offloads which led to prop Moody racing over for the score. Mo’unga made no mistake from the tee this time around to make it 7-0. 

Eight minutes later and they had their second try of the match as Aaron Smith sent a lovely inside pass to Beauden Barrett who showed some dancing feet to shuffle his way past the defence and run in the five-pointer. Mo’unga smashed over the extras to extend the advantage. 

On the quarter-hour mark Wales hit back through full-back Hallam Amos who darted towards the line, deceiving the defence with a dummy pass and waltzing over for the try. Rhys Patchell converted to make it 14-7. 

Wales cut further into the lead minutes later with Patchell knocking over a penalty to make it a four-point game. 

However, on 33 minutes Ben Smith got in for the first of his tries with a brilliant jinking run in the Welsh 22, evading players left, right and centre to get over the line for the score. Mo’unga again converted to make it 21-10. 

Smith was in again on the stroke of half-time as Aaron Smith sent a beautiful pass out to him and from there he showed great strength and pace to avoid the touchline to go over in the corner. Mo’unga sent the conversion over from the touchline to leave it at 28-10 come the whistle. 

Things only got worse for Wales after the break as New Zealand got off to a blistering start, as centre Crotty was sent through from close-range by a fantastic offload from Sonny Bill Williams with Crotty touching down for the try. Mo’unga made it 35-10 with the kick. 

Ben Smith thought he had scored his hat-trick minutes later only for it to be chalked off for a forward pass. 

Wales hit back once again on the hour mark as winger Josh Adams got his seventh try of the tournament as he made a great pick and go at the back of a maul on the try-line and dived over for the five-points. Replacement fly-half Dan Biggar scored the conversion make it 35-17. 

The All Blacks had the last laugh though as Mo’unga received a pass from the back of a scrum five-metres out from the Welsh line, slipping through two defenders to touch the ball down. He failed to convert his own try leaving the final score at 40-17. 

It is the end of the road for both teams in the competition as the All Blacks take home the bronze medal. While it is also the end of the road for a number of players involved such as All Blacks captain Keiran Read, centres Crotty and Williams, winger Smith as well as both their coach Steve Hansen step aside from the international stage, while for Warren Gatland it is the end of a 12 year coaching career with the Welsh.

Player Ratings 

New Zealand Starting XV:

Beauden Barrett (8), Ben Smith (9), Ryan Crotty (7), Sonny Bill Williams (8), Rieko Ioane (6), Richie Mo’unga (8), Aaron Smith (8); Joe Moody (8), Dane Coles (6), Nepo Laulala (7), Brodie Retallick (9), Scott Barrett (8), Shannon Frizell (7), Sam Cane (7), Kieran Read (8)

Replacements (7)

Wales Starting XV:

Hallam Amos (7), Owen Lane (7), Jonathan Davies (7), Owen Watkin (6), Josh Adams (8), Rhys Patchell (7), Tomos Williams (6); Nicky Smith (7), Ken Owens (6), Dillon Lewis (6), Adam Beard (7), Alun Wyn Jones (7), Justin Tipuric (7), James Davies (7), Ross Moriarty (6)

Replacements (7)

Match Highlights:

Rugby

Gatland Explains England RWC Final Comments

Warren Gatland has come out to explain his comments around England’s Rugby World Cup final as well as looking back on one vital mistake he made in his career

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(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Former Wales head coach Warren Gatland has given his reason for predicting England’s fall in the Rugby World Cup final while talking to Off the Ball.

The coaching great, who stepped aside from his 12-year stint with Wales following the conclusion of their World Cup campaign was promoting his new book ‘Pride and Passion’ and explained how the emotional toll of England’s semi-final win over New Zealand was hard to follow up. 

“At the very elite level of sport, it is the emotion that counts. And sometimes when you have a great performance and you are emotionally charged right on the edge, it is difficult to repeat that,” he said. 

It proved to be the case for England as they failed to find another gear in the final, being dominated by South Africa who ran out 32-12 winners. He drew on past experiences in his career to back up his point, including a discussion about the 2013 British and Irish Lions Tour.

“When I look back at my time coaching, there are two examples that really strike out for me. One was in London coaching Wasps, and we played Leicester in the last round. Martin Johnson’s last game and Neil Back’s last game at Welford Road. I completely underestimated the emotion of that. They beat us 45-24 or something like that. Then in the final, I didn’t think they could bring the same level of emotion so we put 40-points on them in the final. It was the same scenario with Australia in the second test in 2013. James Horwill, tears running down his eyes, the effort and energy they put into that, I didn’t think they could bring the same the following week,” he added. 

That Lions tour threw up some major complications for Gatland including a decision to drop Irish legend Brian O’Driscoll for the third test, which caused huge backlash and the Kiwi regrets how he went about the decision that week. 

“The biggest mistake we made was on the Sunday after the second test we put Brian up for media. That was a huge mistake because everyone just assumed with Sam Warburton getting injured that Brian was going to play and going to be captain the following week. So we made the decision and I said to the other coaches ‘there could be a big falling out over this’. I didn’t realise quite the extent,” he finished. 

Gatland’s experience is easy to see and he will take charge of yet another Lions tour in 2021 as he leads his charges to South Africa as he completes the full cycle of tours having also managed them to a series draw with New Zealand in 2017. In the meantime Gatland has taken up a role with Super Rugby franchise the Chiefs as he returns to his homeland looking to add further success to his CV.

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Steyn’s Rugby Career Could be Over

Double World Cup winner Frans Steyn could be set to call time on his career early following his latest triumph

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(Photo by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Springboks great Frans Steyn looks likely to at least pull the curtain down on his European career in order to return to his homeland.

The two-time Rugby World Cup winner, who managed to pick up medals from the 2007 edition of the tournament and this year’s one, beating England in both finals, is currently contracted to French Top 14 giants Montpellier. 

However, it is believed that he has held discussions with the club about ending his contract come the end of January instead of when it is supposed to expire in July and speaking to South African news-outlet Volksblad, he seems keen on settling down in his homeland. 

“Rugby has always been an inspiration for the Afrikaners, especially for farmers. If we had a bad week, if we watch good rugby on Saturday, then everything is better again. Only good rain, a good rugby weekend gives us the power to face Mondays again. It is a privilege that many farmers do not have. We know what to do in the future and what we need to have in place. We want to raise our children here and are attached to the rural feel that Bloemfontein offers. We want our children to have a good experience here as my wife and I had when one grew up here,” he said. 

The 32-year-old has a family farm in Bloemfontein and it is understood this is not the first time he has made the suggestion to return to the area, but it now looks more likely than ever that he will get what he likes. 

Steyn is expected to return to the French club next week, where he would play until January before his possible move back to South Africa. 

At this time it is unknown whether the back would continue his rugby career with local professional side the Cheetahs, who play in the PRO14, or whether he will end his career early, having played at the top level for such a long time already.

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Scots End Row with World Rugby

Scotland and World Rugby have been unhappy with one another for the guts of a month, but they have finally sorted their differences out

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(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

World Rugby have confirmed this morning that the Scottish Rugby Union has accepted the punishment received for comments made during the Rugby World Cup in Japan last month.

The punishment of a £70,000 fine and a meaningful apology was handed to the union following comments made by their chief Mark Dodson, who suggested sueing World Rugby as his team’s clash with Japan came under threat by Typhoon Hagibis. 

In what was a must-win game for the Scots to progress to the knock-out stages, he also criticised the running of the competition by the hosts. Eventually the match was played and Scotland lost 28-21, leaving them heading home, but World Rugby were not happy. 

Having announced the punishment last week, World Rugby have now released a statement to confirm that Scotland have accepted the decision. 

“World Rugby can confirm that the Scottish Rugby Union has expressed its regret and has confirmed it will not challenge World Rugby further on this matter. The Scottish Rugby Union has agreed to pay a donation of £70,000 to World Rugby and the matter is now closed. There will be no further comment from either party,” the statement read. 

It puts and end to a dragged out argument between the organisations which will be a relief to fans. The fine will be donated to the Childfund Pass it Back programme, which is continuing to help the areas affected by the typhoon last month. 

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