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Rugby World Cup Team of the Weekend

The Rugby World Cup came to a brilliant close this weekend with two final games but who impressed the most over the last round

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(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The Rugby World Cup finished on Saturday as South Africa lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time with an impressive 32-12 win over England.

24 hours earlier and the All Blacks picked up their consolation bronze medals with a brilliant 40-17 victory over Wales in the third-place play-off. 

Across the two games there were some standout performances but who makes our last team of the weekend for this year’s World Cup and why did we pick them. 

Check out who we picked below and why we chose them. 

Backs 

15) Beauden Barrett –

Put the previous weekend’s defeat behind him to put on another fantastic show from full-back. Had tough competition in the team from Springboks Willie le Roux who saved his best performance of the tournament for the final. However, Barrett showed his dancing feet in for his try, his ability in the air dealing with everything that the Welsh threw at him, just on a different level. No matter who takes over as the new head coach this man will be key to the squad. 

14) Ben Smith – 

His last performance in an All Blacks jersey and he left fans wondering if he should have started in the semi-finals as he ran the show. Again, was pushed close by the Boks Cheslin Kolbe but the despite a wonderful try for the winger in green he just didn’t see enough of the ball unfortunately. On the other hand, Smith was everywhere, popping up with two wonderful tries before the half-time whistle to take the game beyond Wales. He will leave some big boots to be filled. 

13) Sonny Bill Williams – 

He started at 12 on what was also his final appearance in a New Zealand jersey but we had to fit him in as he was just simply incredible with his handling game. Age doesn’t seem to affect his skill, producing a wonderful offload for a try assist and unlucky not to set-up another. Splits opinion at times but his talent was on full show on Friday as he ended a glittering international career on a high. 

12) Damian de Allende –

An absolute animal! He seems to be able to carry and make metres with every touch of the ball no matter who is in front of him. Part of a brilliant defensive unit as well and capped off a brilliant tournament individually with yet another powerful performance. 

11) Makazole Mapimpi – 

Josh Adams deserves recognition for his try against the All Blacks which meant he finished top of the try scoring pile with seven. However, Mapimpi was second in the list and this weekend produced a brilliant all-round performance. His try was the highlight, showing great pace and imagination to tear open the England defence and score the Boks first-ever try in a World Cup final. We knew how good he was with the ball in hand but he won his aerial duals as well, in what was just a showing of true class. 

10) Handre Pollard – 

Once again he was steady from the boot putting an early miss behind him to go on a score 22 of his side’s points and finish top scorer at the tournament. He was brilliant with ball in hand as well and put in some big hits throughout the contest. When he’s in this kind form there aren’t many better than him. 

9) Faf de Klerk –

Aaron Smith put in a big shift for the All Blacks but de Klerk continued his rise as a contender to be named the best No 9 on the planet. He ran the show from minute one, passing well and putting up some inch perfect kicks for his teammates. Much like in the semi-finals he showed that he is not afraid to take on a bigger man in a battle, putting in some huge hits on some of the most powerful players in the game. He is just a joy to watch. 

Forwards

1) Tendai Mtawariria – 

In the scrum the Springboks dominated and he was at the front of it, putting Mako Vunipola to the sword. He gave his all and made some important hits throughout. Showing exactly why he is nicknamed ‘the Beast’. Possibly his last game for the country and what a servant he has been. 

2) Malcolm Marx – 

Thrown into action much earlier than expected but stepped up plate with ease. Line-outs were perfect, slotted into the scrum perfectly and carried well. Rose to the occasion when asked and demonstrated his class. 

3) Frans Malherbe –

Again, won penalty after penalty for the Boks from the scrum! Impressive from minute one until he was taken off and continued to develop as a top-class prop. 

4) Eben Etzebeth – 

A massive, massive shift from the Springboks lock! Won his line-outs, carried well, smashed the opposition in the tackle and led throughout. He is vital to the Boks system and showed the world just why on Saturday. 

5) Brodie Retallick – 

Missed the start of the tournament through injury, only playing 30 minutes before the knock-out stages but managed a full 80 come the final weekend. Moved him to five as he had to be in the team. For such a big unit his handling skills are up there with some of the best backs in the world and dominated this game from the off against some of the best opporaters around. 

6) Siya Kolisi – 

Captain fantastic! Deserves a spot in the XV for his speech after the game alone! Although on the pitch he was calm, leading his troops from the front-foot throughout and was impossible to get by from an English perspective. There isn’t a player in the world that deserved to lift the trophy more than this man on Saturday. 

7) Pieter-Steph du Toit – 

Won his title of men’s player of the year 24 hours later and this performance may have swayed the voters. A world-class flanker! He hits opposition attackers with such power and determination, but is equally as effective in attack when his side need to make the hard yards. If he can continue like this he will go down as one of the greatest in his position. 

8) Duane Vermeulen – 

Some call him ‘Thor’ and on Saturday it was as though a film script was written for him and he grabbed it with both hands! He may not have the cape but he has the power and sheer work-rate of any Avenger! Nobody could get past him and when called upon he took the hard hits himself for his team. Man of the match on the day and rightly so, a monster of a performance from the big man.

International

Scene set for super-charged Rugby World Cup as new dates in 2022 confirmed

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  • Matches will take place between 8 October–12 November, 2022 in Auckland and Whangārei
  • RWC 2021 tournament window increases from 35 to 43 days (including 5 days ahead of first match)
  • Match schedule prioritises player welfare with five-day minimum rest days
  • Revamped format with all fixtures to be played on weekends with triple-header matches scheduled per day
  • New Rugby World Cup 2021 brandmark unveiled, including bespoke te reo Māori version for tournament promotion in New Zealand

Rugby World Cup 2021 will feature increased rest periods for all teams following World Rugby’s confirmation of the revised tournament dates which will now see New Zealand host the tournament between 8 October-12 November, 2022.

With the ambition of super-charging the schedule for players, fans and the host nation, the tournament window, including preparation ahead of the first match, will be extended from 35 to 43 days resulting in all teams having a minimum of five rest days between matches. This aligns with the approach recently approved for the men’s competition.

The extension of the tournament window, also allows for a revamped tournament format that will see all matches take place on Saturdays and Sundays, with no overlap, meaning fans will not miss a moment of the first women’s edition of a Rugby World Cup to be hosted in the southern hemisphere.

With the tournament starting later in the year, players and fans will benefit from warmer weather and longer daylight hours. The pool phase will be played on the weekends of 8-9, 15-16 and 22-23 October, 2022 at Eden Park, Northlands Events Centre in Whangārei and Waitakere Stadium.

The quarter-finals will take place on 29-30 October followed by semi-finals on Saturday, 5 November. The bronze final and RWC 2021 final will be played on Saturday, 12 November, with Eden Park set to create history by becoming the first stadium to host both the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup finals.

A detailed match schedule and broadcast timings will be announced at a later date.

In addition to the revised tournament dates, World Rugby has also unveiled new tournament brandmarks retaining reference to 2021, the year the tournament was originally intended to take place, while conveying to fans and audiences that the tournament will now be played in 2022. A bespoke te reo Māori version of the new brandmark has also been designed for tournament promotion in New Zealand. This reflects the importance of te reo as an official language of Aotearoa, New Zealand and to signify the desire to celebrate the unique Māori culture for all those connected with the tournament.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “We are fully committed to accelerating the women’s game at all levels and while the postponement was disappointing for everyone, it has provided the unique opportunity to review every aspect of the event to ensure it is the best it can be for the players, fans around the world and the wonderful and enthusiastic New Zealanders.

“Longer rest periods between matches for all teams is further commitment to delivering comprehensive player welfare standards at RWC 2021.

“I would like to thank all stakeholders for their support and open-minded approach to this process and we can now look forward to a truly spectacular Rugby World Cup 2021, playing in 2022.”

International Rugby Players appointee to the RWC Board, Melodie Robinson, said: “While it’s disappointing that the 2021 tournament had to be postponed, the positive is that we’ve been able to ensure the 2022 event and subsequent Rugby World Cups will have a minimum five-day turnaround for players. 

“Just like the men’s tournament, this will hopefully help to level the playing field for all sides and see an increase in competitive matches.”

Rugby World Cup 2021 Tournament Director Michelle Hooper said: “We are delighted that together with World Rugby we have been able to further super-charge the women’s game here in New Zealand with the confirmation of the new dates in 2022 and the amendments to the tournament format. We are excited to be hosting Rugby World Cup here in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

“The momentum for women’s sport is continuously building and we look forward to demonstrating this to the world through the unstoppable energy that will be on display during Rugby World Cup in 2022. We can’t wait to welcome the world’s best women’s rugby players to our shores and share the Manaakitanga so intrinsically linked to our people and our place and rugby in Aotearoa, New Zealand with them and their fans.”

In a commitment to delivering an outstanding Rugby World Cup 2021, playing in 2022, earlier this year World Rugby announced a £2 million funding package to support a Rugby World Cup 2021 high performance preparation and competition programme for qualified teams and teams still competing in the qualification process.

The programme will focus on providing teams with additional monetary support to deliver additional team training camps and coordinating international competition to give them the greatest opportunity to be at their best in New Zealand next year. Further details will be announced at a later stage.

Source – World Rugby

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Rugby Championship

Australia to launch its bid to host Rugby World Cup 2027

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Australia Rugby

Australia will formally announce their bid to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup this morning in Sydney.

The announcement will be made at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney on Thursday, with Rugby Australia and the Bid Advisory Board unveils the ‘Game On’ campaign.

RA Chairman Hamish McLennan believes that the opportunity for Australia to host its second men’s World Cup is significant for the country and the Pacific region.

“This is an exciting day for all Australians as we formally put our hand up to host the third-largest sporting event in the world,” he said in a statement.

“Hosting Rugby World Cup 2027 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Australia, which would drive substantial economic outcomes for our country, while also providing a lasting legacy for Rugby in this region.

“It would also allow us to support the Australian Government’s ambitions around major events in what is shaping up to be a green and gold decade for the nation – from the FIBA Women’s World Cup in 2022, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2022, FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023, the British and Irish Lions Tour in 2025, Netball World Cup in 2027, and the exciting potential of an Olympic Games in Queensland in 2032.

“It is also a significant opportunity for Rugby in Australia and the Pacific, with the event to provide an unrivalled opportunity to grow the game by attracting further investment, participants, officials and volunteers.

“Australia is a sports-loving nation with a vast network of world-class modern stadia. We have a proud Rugby heritage in this country and are also home to ex-pats from across the globe who love to get out and support their teams when they tour.”

World Rugby will announce the successful host candidate in May 2022, with Australia entering the dialogue phase of the host selection process.

2027 Bid Advisory Board Chairman, Sir Rod Eddington, believes the event would be vital to the growth of the country if successful

“Hosting Rugby World Cup 2027 would be a significant moment for Australia on the world stage,” he added.

“This event is a beacon to the business community and tourists around the world. We cannot underestimate the significance hosting this tournament would have for Australia’s economy.

“The 2027 event is projected to attract more than two million attendees across seven weeks of competition, including 200,000 international visitors, and generate $2.5 billion in direct and indirect expenditure to the economy, while also creating 13,300 FTE jobs and stimulating $500 million in new trade and investment.

“This is a moment for all Australia to celebrate as we put our best foot forward and say to the world, it is time for Rugby’s showpiece event to return to Australian shores in 2027.”

With the nation set to host a plethora of international competitions over the next five years, Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck shared the sentiment that securing the World Cup would once again show off Australia’s sporting credentials.

“Australia already has a strong record as an international host. We understand what it takes to stage the kind of major events that are watched by millions of sport fans across the world,” Colbeck added.

“Rugby World Cup 2027 would again showcase Australia’s credentials as a sporting host.

“It will also serve as a point of pride for Australian spectators who will be cheering from the sidelines.”

Source – Australia Rugby

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Rugby World Cup

Women’s Rugby World Cup looks set to be postponed.

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World Rugby has made the difficult decision to recommend the postponement of Rugby World Cup 2021, scheduled to be hosted in New Zealand between 18 September-16 October, until next year. The recommendation will be considered by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee on 8 and 9 March respectively.Play Video

While appreciating the recommendation is extremely disappointing for teams and fans, it has their interests at heart, and gives the tournament the best opportunity to be all it can be for them, all New Zealanders and the global rugby family.

The recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global COVID-19 landscape. It has become clear in recent discussions with key partners including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Government and participating unions, that, given the scale of the event and the COVID-19-related uncertainties, it is just not possible to deliver the environment for all teams to be the best that they can be on the sport’s greatest stage.  

The challenges include uncertainty and the ability for teams to prepare adequately for a Rugby World Cup tournament both before and on arrival in New Zealand, and challenging global travel restrictions. 

World Rugby can assure teams, New Zealanders and the global rugby family that the recommendation to postpone the tournament will help to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2021 will be all it can be next year for players, fans and the rugby family – one of the great Rugby World Cups.

Further updates will be issued following the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee meetings next week.  

Statement Ends.

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