Connect with us

Rugby World Cup

Terrific All Blacks Trounce Terrible Ireland

New Zealand have booked a Rugby World Cup semi-final date with England after demolishing Ireland in their quarter-final

Published

on

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

New Zealand have secured a semi-final with England after a dominant 46-14 win over Ireland in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Japan this afternoon.

A brace of tries from scrum-half Aaron Smith along with further five-pointers from Beauden Barrett, Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, George Bridge and Jordie Barrett saw the All Blacks ease to victory over a dismal Irish side who just never got going.

The ball switched hands early on but it was the All Blacks who struck first as Richie Mo’unga slotted over a penalty from the right-hand side of the posts to make it 3-0 five minutes in. 

Ireland responded well but their revival was short-lived as New Zealand came powering back to make their way into the Irish 22. From there they went through the phases close to the try-line before scrum-half Smith took a quick pick and go at the back of a ruck to touch down near the posts. Mo’unga added the easy extras to make it 10-0 after 14 minutes. 

With a quarter of the match gone New Zealand perfected a set-piece move from a scrum, spreading the ball out to the left-wing to Bridge who almost went in for a try but from the resulting ruck, Smith picked and dived over the line in the left-corner for his second-try. Mo’unga sent over the kick from the touchline to push the reigning champions further ahead. 

The men in green could not find a way into the game and just past the half hour mark they were even further behind as the ball was spilled from a tackle on Johnny Sexton. Mo’unga kicked ahead, before Beauden Barrett continued the move by kicking the ball along the ground again. 

Barrett raced forward to latch onto the ball in the right-corner to put the ball down for his side’s third try of the game. Mo’unga couldn’t provide the extra two this time around but Ireland looked down and out at 22-0. 

Ireland battled hard to try and register a score before the half-time whistle but their efforts failed as the All Blacks went in to the dressing rooms 22-0 up. 

Things only got worse for Ireland after the break as New Zealand hammered away at the opposition defence going through the motions over the opening stages of the half and rewarded eight minutes in. They went through phase after phase before captain Kieran Read broke through a gap before popping the ball up as he got tackled to Taylor, who went in under the posts. Mo’unga ensured the easy conversion went over to make it 29-0. 

As the clock ticked past the hour mark New Zealand made their dominance count again as a cross-field kick over to Sevu Reece who darted through the Irish 22, being held up just before the try-line, but from the ruck they popped the ball to substitute Matt Todd to barge over. Mo’unga missed the conversion this time around but Ireland looked out on their feet. 

With just over ten minutes remaining Ireland managed to get some points on the board as CJ Stander picked from the back of a five-metre scrum, passing to Robbie Henshaw, who dived under the posts to score the try. Joey Carbery converted to make it 34-7. 

That score kicked the All Blacks into action once more as they turned over a ruck in the middle of the pitch, breaking forward through Ardie Savea, who passed to sub Dane Coles, who sent a lovely offload to Bridge to charge over for another try. Mo’unga knocked over another two points. 

In what was a hectic final 10 minutes Ireland were awarded a penalty try three minutes from time as Todd prevented a certain try and received a yellow-card for his actions. 

The scoring wasn’t over there as New Zealand went up the other end of the pitch, winning a scrum before sending the ball to man of the match Beauden Barrett, who in turn launched a long-pass out to his brother Jordie, who dived over in the right-corner. The extras were missed with the last kick of the game as it finished 46-14 to the All Blacks.  

For Ireland it is the end of another disappointing World Cup campaign in what also closes the book on Joe Schmidt’s Ireland tenure as well captain Rory Best’s playing career. While for the All Blacks they will prepare for a semi-final with England next Saturday as they continue their bid to win a third successive Webb Ellis Cup. 

Player Ratings

New Zealand Starting XV:

Beauden Barrett (9), Sevu Reece (8), Jack Goodhue (7), Anton Lienert-Brown (7), George Bridge (7), Richie Mo’unga (8), Aaron Smith (8), Kieran Read (7), Sam Cane (7), Ardie Savea (8), Sam Whitelock (7), Brodie Retallick (8), Nepo Laulala (7), Codie Taylor (8), Joe Moody (8)

Replacements (8)

Ireland Starting XV:

Rob Kearney (4), Keith Earls (4), Gary Ringrose (6), Robbie Henshaw (6), Jacob Stockdale (5), Johnny Sexton (4), Conor Murray (5), CJ Stander (6), Josh van der Flier (6), Peter O’Mahony (5), James Ryan (6), Iain Henderson (6), Tadhg Furlong (6), Rory Best (5), Cian Healy (5)

Replacements (6)

International

Is Schmidt to Blame for Ireland’s RWC Failings?

The IRFU have placed the blame of Ireland’s dismal World Cup campaign on Joe Schmidt, but is it really that easy?

Published

on

(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Yesterday, the IRFU held a meeting with a group of handpicked journalists to deliver their verdict on Ireland’s Rugby World Cup campaign.

The result according to the IRFU was that Ireland failed to evolve a game plan, failed in performance due to anxiety, had poor preparation ahead of the tournament and had a skills deficit compared to the world’s best teams. 

All of which appears to have been placed on head coach Joe Schmidt, who stepped aside following the conclusion of the tournament. 

The conclusion of where the team failed was reached by IRFU high performance director David Nucifora, who interviewed coaches and staff, while an independent body held discussions with the players, with all roads leading to the four failings mentioned above. 

Schmidt, who took over as head coach in 2013, a year before Nucifora took his role with the IRFU, is becoming the sole person responsible for the team’s failure, but is that fair?

Yes, Ireland appeared to be stuck playing the same game-plan as their impressive 2018 campaign, which saw them defeat all before them, which is a failure to evolve, but Schmidt had a full team of back-room staff, were they not capable of coming up with a different plan? Or were the players themselves unable to use their own initiative to bring forward a case of how they should play to Schmidt?

In terms of performance anxiety, these are international stars, playing on the biggest stage in European rugby for their provinces on a regular basis. Some criticized Schmidt for not rotating the team enough, but that meant that the same players where playing on the international stage for Ireland on a regular basis too, why are they anxious? 

These are the cream of the crop in Ireland, players that have won Champions Cups and PRO14 titles with their clubs, Six Nations titles and Grand Slams with Ireland, winning series tours with their country and some have even represented the British and Irish Lions on the grand stage. Why are they anxious and what does it have to do with Schmidt? 

Schmidt is a man renowned for his tactical and thorough preparation, looking at teams inside out to find their weaknesses and looking at his own team to find their strengths so what changed this year from a man that admitted his only regret when leaving the job was the fact that he only took one day off in six years. 

The team had played together many times before, went on training camps weeks before the tournament in Japan, including hot-weather camps to prepare for the soaring temperatures and humidity, and played pre-World Cup warm-up games. So why weren’t they prepared and once more how is Schmidt to blame?

Lastly, a lack in skills, an area were former players have noted Ireland failed to capitalise on during the past year. Some pointing towards Leinster’s style of play and asking why players weren’t following that example. 

It is true that Schmidt prefers a risk-free game, but surely once on the pitch, the players must use their initiative when opportunities arise, and play expansive rugby when the chances come if that’s how to win a game of rugby. 

Schmidt may have asked them to be more careful, but it is up to the players on the pitch to seize a game by the scruff of the neck and create openings. It seems unlikely that Schmidt would have argued with his players if they made it further in the World Cup by taking more of a risk. 

The four areas where Ireland failed to seem to be somewhat of the overall problem, and it would be foolish not to place some of the blame on the head coach, but it seems strange and even more foolish to pile the sole blame on him. 

There was a group of staff and players that prepared and went to Japan, a group of talented individuals, if Schmidt was falling short they should have been able to point it out and take it upon themselves to help solve the issues at hand. 

May the environment had gone stale after six years of the same routine, may the players needed more of a challenge, but what appeared to happen this year more than before was the players looked to lack motivation and desire in the green jersey, and that is on them no matter who tries to cover it up. 

While others find it easy to point the finger of blame to a man no longer associated with the IRFU, a look in the mirror may be a good idea. Afterall, if Schmidt was the problem then questions may be raised as to why it is his former right-hand man becoming Ireland’s head coach. Hopefully exciting times lie ahead under Andy Farrell, but don’t be surprised if more of the same is to follow.  

Four years ago Ireland were trounced in the quarter-finals of the World Cup by Argentina, in between then they arguably became the best team in the world under Schmidt, before being trounced again by the All Blacks at the same stage of the competition. The hope will be that Farrell can produce something others have failed to in the Irish hot-seat, but a review of a tournament isn’t what will help, a review of the system is needed and each member involved with Ireland’s failings should hold their hand up for the failure, because one man isn’t the only person at fault.

Continue Reading

Champions Cup

Kolbe Aims for Two More Gold Medals

Fresh off the back of his Rugby World Cup victory with South Africa, Cheslin Kolbe has confirmed that he has ambitions to add two further gold medals to his cabinet

Published

on

(Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images)

South African Rugby World Cup winner Cheslin Kolbe has admitted he would like to win not only the Champions Cup but also Olympic gold with the Blitzbokke in 2020.

The flying-winger, who was also part of Toulouse’s Top14 winning team last season, as well as the Springboks Rugby Championship winning squad before the World Cup has set his sights on those two competitions in particular. 

“There are two more things I would still love to achieve and that’s probably winning the European Champions Cup and hopefully the Olympics with South Africa. I will keep on working hard and if there’s a door that opens or an opportunity that comes my way I’ll just make sure that I’m ready for whatever opportunities,” he said after being crowned the Top14 player of the year at Monday’s awards ceremony. 

The 26-year-old has previous experience with the South African Rugby Sevens having featured during their 2016 Olympic campaign and admitted that he is hopeful he can be a part of the set-up once again, but it is yet to be discussed. 

“I haven’t discussed it in person with SA Rugby. It’s something I would love to be a part of. It’s another big event. It’s probably one of the biggest stages of rugby or sport. If it does it happen, it happens,” he added. 

As well as being part of winning teams this year, and claiming last night’s top prize, Kolbe was also nominated for World Rugby player of the year, which he lost out to Springbok teammate Pieter-Steph du Toit and is thankful for the players he has had around him during his successful year. 

“It’s been a phenomenal season, not just for me but for my club and for my country, winning the Top 14, The Rugby Championship and then World Cup in one year I’m really blessed. I couldn’t have done this without all my team-mates. I give credit to all of them because if they didn’t create opportunities for me as a winger to finish off I wouldn’t be standing here now,” he finished. 

Kolbe will be hoping to hear from the Blitzbokke soon with regard to his chances of featuring at the Olympics next year, however, before then he will be not only trying to achieve his goal of Champions Cup success but help Toulouse climb the Top14 table where they currently sit in eighth position.

Continue Reading

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

Trending