Connect with us

Rugby World Cup

All Blacks Go All Out for Ireland

The All Blacks have announced a star-studded line-up for their Rugby World Cup quarter-final clash with Ireland this weekend, but one veteran has been left out

Published

on

(Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has confirmed his 23-man squad for his side’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Ireland in Japan this Saturday.

The biggest selection question was who would start in the midfield for the reigning champions and Hansen has decided to go with the duo of Anton Leinert-Brown and Jack Goodhue who started the last game against Namibia. Meaning that Sonny Bill Williams takes a place among the replacements with Ryan Crotty missing out completely. 

As well as Crotty fellow veteran Ben Smith has been dropped from the squad as Hansen has chosen Jordie Barrett to cover the back-three from the bench. 

Elsewhere it is what you would expect with Joe Moody, Cody Taylor and Nepo Laulala opening the game in the front-row, while Hansen has taken a risk by starting Brodie Retallick alongside Sam Whitelock in the engine-room, with the former having played very little rugby in recent times. 

Ardie Savea has been handed the No 6 jersey, with Sam Cane wearing No 7 and captain Keiran Reid completes the forwards from No 8. 

Aaron Smith has pipped TJ Perenara to start at scrum-half and is joined by Richie Mo’unga in the half-back partnership as Leinert-Brown and Goodhue are outside them in the centre. 

George Bridge has been selected on the left-wing, with Sevu Reece on the right and Beauden Barrett finishes the starting XV from full-back. 

There is plenty of talent among the reserves with the likes of Dane Coles and Scott Barrett joining players such as Sonny Bill and Perenara on the bench.

Speaking ahead of the game Hansen confirmed that all of his 31-man squad were available for selection but he chose the players that impressed him the most so far. 

“This is a great reflection on the players themselves and the staff who have done a great job getting them through the Pool Play phase of the tournament. We are very happy where the team is at at this stage and it feels like the team is right where it needs to be for what will be a physical and fiercely-fought encounter,” he said. 

New Zealand are not only hot favourites for this game but to go on and win the whole tournament for the third successive time, but Ireland have defeated the mighty All Blacks in two of their past three encounters meaning they will need to be at their best if they are to make it past the men in green. 

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

Beauden Barrett, Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, George Bridge, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read (c), Sam Cane, Ardie Savea, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody

Replacements:

Dane Coles, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Angus Ta’avao, Scott Barrett, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Sonny Bill Williams, Jordie Barrett

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

Published

on

(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.

Continue Reading

International

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

Published

on

(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.

Continue Reading

International

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

Published

on

(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. 

Continue Reading

Trending