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Rugby World Cup

England March Into Semis as Wallabies Bow Out

England will play the winner of Ireland’s game with New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals after seeing off Australia in the last-eight

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(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

England have roared into the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup in Japan with a 40-16 victory over Australia this morning.

A brace of tries from Jonny May as well as five-pointers from Kyle Sinckler and Anthony Watson saw off the Aussies despite the Wallabies dominating possession throughout. 

The Wallabies started the better of the two sides, going through the phases on a couple of occasions and they were rewarded on 11 minutes as Christian Leali’ifano slotted over a 40-metre penalty. 

However, England hit back immediately and after having a couple of scrums inside the Wallabies 22 they eventually managed to spread the ball out to the wide-left, where May touched down. Owen Farrell sent over a brilliant touchline conversion to make it 7-3. 

England and May were in again two minutes later as David Pocock had a pass intercepted by Henry Slade just outside the English 22. Slade raced forward before realising he didn’t have the pace to make it to the line, so he cleverly sent a beautiful grubber kick forward, which May latched onto before darting to the left-corner to score the try. Farrell again sent the ball over. 

Leali’ifano doubled his personal tally a couple of minutes after the restart as he knocked over another penalty to make it 14-6. 

That was cancelled out by a Farrell penalty just before the half hour mark as England stretched their lead once more. 

With 39 minutes on the clock Sinckler was deemed to be illegally approaching the scrum and from the resulting penalty Leali’ifano kicked over another three-points to reduce the deficit to eight points as the Wallabies went in 17-9 down at the whistle. 

Again it was Australia who came flying out of the blocks after the whistle and three minutes in they were in for their opening try as they put the ball out wide where youngster Jordan Petaia put a lovely pass inside to winger Marika Koroibete. The speedster did the rest as he burst through the England half and out paced Elliot Daly to touch down. 

Leali’ifano provided the extras again to make it a one-point game. 

England came roaring back and three minutes later some poor defence from the Wallabies saw Sinckler break through a gap in the middle of the pitch, putting the ball down over the line. Farrell slotted the easy conversion to make it 24-16. 

Things got worse for the Aussies with little over 30 minutes to play as Farrell was perfect from the tee with another penalty to push England 27-16 in front. 

Despite Australia dominating the possession stats over the next 20 minutes it was England who kept the scoreboard ticking with two further penalties from Farrell. 

The Wallabies tried hard to respond but a loose pass by Kurtley Beale in his own 22 allowed Watson to intercept and sprint over to secure the win for the English. Farrell converted once again in what was the final score of the game to leave it at 40-16 come full-time. 

England will now wait to find out who they will face in the semi-finals as reigning two-time World Cup holders take on Ireland for a place in the last-four and will be confident either way as they continue their bid to win the Webb Ellis Cup for the second time in their history.

Player Ratings

England Starting XV:

Elliot Daly (6), Anthony Watson (7), Henry Slade (7), Manu Tuilagi (7), Jonny May (8), Owen Farrell (8), Ben Youngs (7), Billy Vunipola (7), Sam Underhill (8), Tom Curry (9), Courtney Lawes (7), Maro Itoje (6), Kyle Sinckler (7), Jamie George (7), Mako Vunipola (7)

Replacements (7)

Australia Starting XV:

Kurtley Beale (7), Reece Hodge (6), Jordan Petaia (7), Samu Kerevi (8), Marika Koroibete (8), Christian Lealiifano (6), Will Genia (7), Isi Naisarani (7), Michael Hooper (8), David Pocock (7), Rory Arnold (6), Izack Rodda (6), Allan Alaalatoa (6), Tolu Latu (7), Scott Sio (7)

Replacements (6)

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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Rugby World Cup

World Rugby Confirm Timing of 2023 RWC Draw

World Rugby have confirmed when they will be hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw and it has put pressure on teams to get positive results this year

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(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

World Rugby has announced that it will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw in November of this year.

The tournament will take place in France with the draw being held in Paris following the November internationals. 

That means that teams only have between now and then to better their current rankings and move into a different drawing band, whereas for the previous draw they had 18 months to improve. 

Speaking on the announcement World Rugby chief Bill Beaumont is excited to discover the fate of the teams and has put the pressure on teams to do well this year. 

“The pool draw is an important milestone on the road to Rugby World Cup 2023 in France as it really drives excitement and momentum both in the host nation and throughout the global rugby family – it is the moment teams and fans can start to plan. With the World Rugby rankings determining the bands for the RWC 2023 pool draw, it promises to be a fascinating year of men’s international rugby with every match counting towards seeding at the end of the November Test series,” he said. 

Twelve of the 20 participating teams from last year’s World Cup in Japan have automatically qualified, with the other eight to be decided in the qualifiers that will begin later this year. 

However, the twelve teams that are already involved will have to be at their best to move up a band in the current rankings or fear dropping down in which case they could get a harder draw. 

As of this moment the first band contains the World Cup semi-finalists from last year in South Africa, England, New Zealand and Wales, with the remaining quarter-finalists making up band two in Ireland, Australia, Japan and France. 

While in band three Scotland and Argentina are joined by Italy and Fiji. 

It will be a tough task for teams to improve their current standings with the Six Nations teams only having one edition of the tournament to improve compared to the two editions they had last time around, but it does add some extra competition to this year’s fixtures.

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International

Fans Player of the Decade Confirmed

World Rugby have announced the winner of their Fans Player of the Decade vote and there’s no surprise who’s won

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(Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

Former All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter has been named World Rugby’s Fans Player of the Decade following their polls over the past couple of weeks.

The organisation narrowed the competition down to 16 players, as they split them into a last-16 style format, with backs on one side and forwards on the other. With two players going head-to-head in the polls to make it through to each respective round. 

Last week it was brought down to the final four, with all of them being New Zealand internationals as Carter was pitted up against Beauden Barrett, with Richie McCaw facing Kieran Read. 

McCaw and Carter were victorious and now Carter has come out as the overall winner as the best player over the past 10-years. 

It is not hard to see why fans have gone for the 112-cap All Black, who finished up his international career in 2015, having guided his country to historic back-to-back Rugby World Cup crowns. 

As well as that he holds the title for the most points scored at test-level rugby with an incredible 1598 to his name. 

On the international stage he was impressive, but he has been equally so at club-level, winning domestic crowns in both France with Racing 92 and in Japan with the Kobelco Steelers. 

The 37-year-old is still under contract with the Japanese outfit, but has been unable to play for them for the majority of the year, having suffered a major injury, which also prevented him from a brief return to Racing 92 for the latter-half of last season. 

However, he is poised to return to the playing field shortly and will be hoping to guide his team to further success and will have the aid of another All Black great joining him in the form of Brodie Retallick, who is linking up with the side for the season during his year sabbatical.  

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