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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

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(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)

Rugby World Cup

Qualification process set for Rugby World Cup 2023

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Image from World Rugby
  • Process designed to promote regional strength and the best teams to rugby’s showcase event
  • 12 teams already qualified owing to top three pool placing at RWC 2019
  • RWC 2023 on track to be a spectacular celebration of rugby and France


World Rugby has announced details of the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.

Following the most competitive and widely-acclaimed Rugby World Cup to date in Japan, the qualification process is designed to deliver the top teams in the world to rugby’s showcase tournament, while promoting a genuine opportunity for all unions.

With 12 teams having secured their place at France 2023 courtesy of finishing in the top three of their respective pools at RWC 2019, the remaining eight places will be determined by a process of regional and cross-regional qualifiers. The process will conclude with a four-team round-robin Final Qualification Tournament in November 2022 to determine the final qualifier.

The dates for events in 2021 will be announced in due course and will be subject to an anticipated easing of the COVID-19 situation.

The announcement follows consultation with unions and regions in January 2020 and a full review of performance at Rugby World Cup 2019, where rankings upsets and the impressive performances in particular of Japan, Fiji, Uruguay, Tonga and Georgia cut the performance gap, with the average winning margin between established and emerging unions decreasing in comparison with 2015 benchmarks.

The Americas will deliver two direct places, while Oceania will deliver a direct qualifier with a further direct place available following a play-off with Asia. The Rugby Europe Championship (two direct places), Rugby Africa Cup (one direct place) and Final Qualification Tournament (one direct place) will provide the other qualifiers. Further details are provided below.

RWC 2023 qualification principles

  • Americas: the Americas will qualify two teams by September 2022. The third best team in the region will enter the Final Qualification Tournament – Americas 1 & Americas 2
  • Europe: the existing Rugby Europe Championship will have two qualifying places, with the two best teams in March 2022 qualifying directly and the third placed entering the Final Qualification Tournament – Europe 1 & Europe 2 
  • Africa: the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 winner will qualify directly and the runner-up team will go to Final Qualification – Africa 1
  • Oceania: a home and away play-off between Tonga and Samoa in 2021 will determine the direct qualifier for the Oceania region. – Oceania 1
    The loser will then play the Oceania Rugby Cup 2021 winner in the highest ranked team’s country with the eventual winner contesting Asia / Pacific (see below) as Oceania 2
  • Asia / Pacific: the winner of the Asian Rugby Men’s Championship 2021 will play Oceania 2 home and away. The winner on aggregate will determine the qualifier and the loser will go to Final Qualification – Asia / Pacific 1
  • Final Qualification Tournament: the tournament in November 2022 will feature four teams playing in a round-robin format with the winner qualifying for RWC 2023 – Final Qualification winner


Teams already qualified: South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France (host), Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “With the global pandemic having halted most rugby activity, confirmation of the global qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 provides a beacon of excitement for all, including players and fans.

“The process that has been developed via full consultation with our regional associations and member unions will provide a genuine opportunity for full member unions to qualify for our showcase men’s 15s event.

“Maximising existing regional competitions, the process is good for regions and unions in managing costs for organisers and participants alike, which is important as we all recover from the global pandemic.

“On behalf of World Rugby, I’d like to wish all teams involved the best of luck on their journey to France 2023.”

Rugby World Cup France 2023 CEO Claude Atcher added: “This qualification process gives emerging unions an opportunity to take part in our sport’s biggest competition.

“The success of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and performances by the host nation is a testimony of rugby’s expansion globally. As the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is about to be won, I welcome this optimistic prospect of reconnecting with the excitement of our sport. This is the start of our journey towards France 2023, which will be the best tournament ever delivered.”

Final details of the regional competition formats and dates will be announced in due course.

Official Press Release from World Rugby

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6 Nations

Official. Eddie Jones signs new England Deal.

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England men’s head coach Eddie Jones and the RFU have agreed a contract extension which will see him continue his role until the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
 
Jones joined England Rugby at the end of 2015 and has coached the men’s national side on 54 occasions winning 42, drawing one and losing 11 – giving him a win ratio of 78%, the highest in the history of England coaches.
 
Under Jones, England has won two Six Nations titles including a Grand Slam in 2016, a 3-0 away Test series win against Australia in the same year, an unbeaten run of 18 matches equalling New Zealand’s record and were finalists at last year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan. 
 
Jones said: “The extension is a great honour for me, but in the current environment, it is only right to acknowledge what a difficult time the world is facing.  We are all looking forward to a time when we can get back to playing rugby and use the sport as a force for good in bringing people back together. I never thought coming here four years ago I would be doing a second four years but the circumstances are right. Obviously it is important for the team that we keep improving and my focus will be solely on that.
 
“I am excited about raising the standards again. We have a great team. We set out four years ago to be the best team in the world and unfortunately we missed that by 80 minutes. Now we want to be the team that is remembered as being the greatest team the game has ever seen. It’s a big ambition but I believe we are capable of doing it. We have players with an enhanced reputation, we have a team that is expected to do well, so it’s a great opportunity for us to keep moving forward.”
 
Bill Sweeney, RFU CEO said: “My thoughts and those of all of us at the RFU are with everyone impacted by COVID-19, both across the country at large but also within our own rugby union community. In exceptionally difficult times, we are pleased to be sharing some good news.  We are delighted that Eddie will continue as head coach to run England’s campaign to take us to the 2023 Rugby World Cup. His record since joining speaks for itself and he has proven why he is one of the best coaches in world rugby. The progress shown by England since 2015 has been indisputable and having fielded the youngest-ever team to play in a World Cup final, we know even more growth is possible. We are all excited by what this squad can do and having Eddie leading the team is very important to us. 
 
“We reached an understanding soon after returning from Japan but there were some things that we wanted to make sure worked for both sides. We have announced Eddie’s contract extension a few weeks later than planned as our focus was diverted to support the English rugby community during this difficult time, we are now turning our attention to developing plans to support the rebooting of rugby and a winning England team will provide a vital role in that.”
 
Ahead of the Guinness Six Nations Jones confirmed Simon Amor and Matt Proudfoot would join Steve Borthwick and John Mitchell as his assistant coaches. Jason Ryles will join later in the year as skills coach following Borthwick’s departure towards the end of the season.

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International

Ireland Climb in Latest World Rankings

Ireland have had the biggest boost in the latest World Rugby Rankings ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw later this year

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Ireland have leapfrogged Wales in the latest World Rugby Rankings of the the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw in November of this year.

The boys in green have taken over the No 4 spot in the rankings following their 24-14 win over Wales in the Six Nations over the weekend, with their opponents dropping down to fifth. 

It is a major boost for the Irish and gives them something to hold on to heading into the rest of this year’s fixtures as they are now currently in the top seeds ahead of the draw for the pool stages of France 2023. 

World Rugby announced recently that they will hold the draw later this year meaning that teams will have less time to climb the rankings than last time around when they had 18 months between the previous World Cup and the draw for the next one. 

A total of twelve teams will head into the draw as seeds in three brackets with the top four in the rankings being first seeds, meaning as of now Wales would be second seeds along with France, Australia and Japan. 

While Scotland, Argentina, Italy and Fiji are in the third bracket, with the remainder of the teams to be decided through different qualifiers over the next three years. 

Elsewhere in the rankings Georgia have moved up ahead of Italy, following the former’s latest two defeats in the Six Nations, while the biggest risers have been Portugal, who have moved from 22nd to 20th, but Russia have dived from 20th to 25th. 

Ireland will be hoping to continue their perfect start to the Six Nations campaign when they take on the third-ranked team England away from home, whom they may look to overtake in the rankings before the draw. 

It is certainly heating up between the Six Nations teams as they try to be the best-placed behind South Africa and New Zealand, who take the first and second spots, but won’t play until the summer.

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