Rugby World Cup results sees New Zealand beat South Africa, Australia and France both win

21 Sep

New Zealand began their World Cup defence with a win against South Africa.

The current champions are aiming to win a third successive crown and remain on course to do so by winning 23-13 in Yokohama.

They last lost a World Cup game 4,368 days ago when France beat them in the 2007 quarter-final.

New Zealand fended off everything a turbocharged Cheslin Kolbe and the Springboks could throw at them, with George Bridge and Scott Barrett bagged the New Zealand tries, with Richie Mo’unga slotting 10 points with the boot and Beauden Barrett notching a penalty of his own.


Eddie Jones names strong team for World Cup opener

England vs Tonga will see Eddie Jones’ men face the heaviest player in Test rugby

Home nations preview, as Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales begin in Japan


New Zealand players bow to their supporters in Japan
Getty Images - Getty

“It was a heck of a Test match,” Kieran Read said afterwards, while head coach Steve Hanson said: “Today was a big game for both sides and fortunately for us we came out on top, but it was another titanic struggle between New Zealand and South Africa and hopefully people got excited by it.

“They’re never out of it, they’re always a team that comes back. The players took their opportunities and scored.”

France, the last side to beat the Kiwis in a World Cup match, held off a spirited second-half comeback from Argentina to win their World Cup Pool C opener 23-21 at the Tokyo Stadium.

In the Sapporo Dome, meanwhile, Australia beat Fiji 39-21.

RESULTS

New Zealand 23-13 South Africa
France 23-21 Argentina
Australia 39-21 Fiji

Rugby World Cup results sees New Zealand beat South Africa, Australia and France both win

21 Sep

New Zealand began their World Cup defence with a win against South Africa.

The current champions are aiming to win a third successive crown and remain on course to do so by winning 23-13 in Yokohama.

They last lost a World Cup game 4,368 days ago when France beat them in the 2007 quarter-final.

New Zealand fended off everything a turbocharged Cheslin Kolbe and the Springboks could throw at them, with George Bridge and Scott Barrett bagged the New Zealand tries, with Richie Mo’unga slotting 10 points with the boot and Beauden Barrett notching a penalty of his own.


Eddie Jones names strong team for World Cup opener

England vs Tonga will see Eddie Jones’ men face the heaviest player in Test rugby

Home nations preview, as Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales begin in Japan


New Zealand players bow to their supporters in Japan
Getty Images - Getty

“It was a heck of a Test match,” Kieran Read said afterwards, while head coach Steve Hanson said: “Today was a big game for both sides and fortunately for us we came out on top, but it was another titanic struggle between New Zealand and South Africa and hopefully people got excited by it.

“They’re never out of it, they’re always a team that comes back. The players took their opportunities and scored.”

France, the last side to beat the Kiwis in a World Cup match, held off a spirited second-half comeback from Argentina to win their World Cup Pool C opener 23-21 at the Tokyo Stadium.

In the Sapporo Dome, meanwhile, Australia beat Fiji 39-21.

RESULTS

New Zealand 23-13 South Africa
France 23-21 Argentina
Australia 39-21 Fiji

Israel Dagg: New Zealand World Cup winner retires from playing through injury

5 Apr

Israel Dagg has announced his retirement from playing rugby at the age of 30.

The New Zealand international has failed to recover from a serious knee problem and the decision to hang up his boots comes after taking medical advice.

Dagg, above left, won the World Cup with New Zealand in 2011

Dagg required two operations on the injury that was initially sustained in early 2018 before suffering a recurrence while on Super Rugby duty for the Crusaders last weekend.

In a glittering career, he earned 66 caps for New Zealand and was a member of the 2011 World Cup-winning All Blacks squad.

Dagg played 66 times for New Zealand and scored 138 Test points – 26 of which were tries

“While it’s bittersweet to mark the end of my playing career, I’m grateful to still be able to contribute to this Crusaders team in 2019,” said Dagg, who took medical advice to retire.

“On a personal note, I’m looking forward to taking on some new challenges in the future, and looking forward to spending more time with my young family.”

Making his Test debut in June 2010 against Ireland when he was 22, Dagg scored his first try – a stunning individual effort – for the side a month later when he came against South Africa.

His final Test was in September 2017 in a 39-22 win against Argentina.

In addition to his international career, he won back-to-back Super Rugby championships with the Crusaders in 2017 and 2018.

New Zealand head coach, Steve Hansen said: “It’s always a shame when injury forces a player to retire, but ‘Izzy’ will leave our game knowing that he’ll forever be remembered as an outstanding player who definitely enhanced the All Blacks jersey and contributed to the legacy of the team.”

Israel Dagg: New Zealand World Cup winner retires from playing through injury

5 Apr

Israel Dagg has announced his retirement from playing rugby at the age of 30.

The New Zealand international has failed to recover from a serious knee problem and the decision to hang up his boots comes after taking medical advice.

Dagg, above left, won the World Cup with New Zealand in 2011

Dagg required two operations on the injury that was initially sustained in early 2018 before suffering a recurrence while on Super Rugby duty for the Crusaders last weekend.

In a glittering career, he earned 66 caps for New Zealand and was a member of the 2011 World Cup-winning All Blacks squad.

Dagg played 66 times for New Zealand and scored 138 Test points – 26 of which were tries

“While it’s bittersweet to mark the end of my playing career, I’m grateful to still be able to contribute to this Crusaders team in 2019,” said Dagg, who took medical advice to retire.

“On a personal note, I’m looking forward to taking on some new challenges in the future, and looking forward to spending more time with my young family.”

Making his Test debut in June 2010 against Ireland when he was 22, Dagg scored his first try – a stunning individual effort – for the side a month later when he came against South Africa.

His final Test was in September 2017 in a 39-22 win against Argentina.

In addition to his international career, he won back-to-back Super Rugby championships with the Crusaders in 2017 and 2018.

New Zealand head coach, Steve Hansen said: “It’s always a shame when injury forces a player to retire, but ‘Izzy’ will leave our game knowing that he’ll forever be remembered as an outstanding player who definitely enhanced the All Blacks jersey and contributed to the legacy of the team.”

New Zealand captain Kieran Read to retire from international rugby after the 2019 World Cup

6 Mar

New Zealand captain Kieran Read will bow out from Test rugby after the World Cup later this year.

The Crusaders number eight, who has won 118 caps and played in two All Blacks World Cup-winning teams, has confirmed he will leave New Zealand and join Japanese club Toyota Verblitz.

Kieran Read won the World Cup with New Zealand in 2011 and 2015

Read, 33, has skippered New Zealand 43 times, including in the drawn Test series against the British and Irish Lions in 2017.

In a statement released by the Crusaders and All Blacks, Read said: “Every young rugby player in New Zealand dreams of the opportunities I have had to represent the All Blacks and the Crusaders.

“And I know I will look back at the end of the year with a great deal of pride to have worn those jerseys for as long as I have.

“My family and I are looking forward to an overseas experience, and Japan presents an awesome opportunity to immerse ourselves in Japanese culture as part of the Toyota club.

“I feel the time is right to make this announcement on my playing future so that I can focus my efforts on the season ahead.”

Kieran Read is one of the most-capped rugby players in history

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen led the tributes to Read, who has enjoyed a 13-year career in New Zealand rugby.

“On behalf of New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks, I’d like to acknowledge the fantastic contribution that ‘Reado’ has made to our game,” Hansen said.

“His performances on the park speak for themselves. He has played 118 Tests and started 111 of them, which is an outstanding achievement.

“However, that is only part of the Kieran Read story. His contribution off the park has been just as impressive.

“He has developed into a fantastic leader, who has the utmost respect of all his peers.

“What he has achieved has been remarkable, and it’s fair to say that he is one of the greats of our game who has enhanced the legacy of not only the All Blacks jersey, but also the Crusaders jersey.”

England 15-16 New Zealand: Eddie Jones’ men denied historic win over All Blacks as Sam Underhill try is controversially ruled out

10 Nov

England fell agonisingly short of toppling the mighty New Zealand after a late try by Sam Underhill was controversially ruled out in a 16-15 defeat at Twickenham.

Courtney Lawes charged down TJ Perenara’s 76th-minute box kick and the ball fell to Underhill, who weaved fly-half Beauden Barrett inside out to touch down in the left corner.

Underhill thought he had scored, only for the decision to be ruled out

After reviewing the try with the TMO, however, referee Jerome Garces judged that Lawes had been in an offside position and awarded the All Blacks a penalty.

It was a marginal call and England responded with a late onslaught that failed to produce the crucial winning score, but it was a fine performance from Eddie Jones’ men that will serve them well heading into next year’s World Cup.

They led from the second minute until the 60th as early tries by Chris Ashton and Dylan Hartley helped them to a scarcely-believable 15-0 lead that was gradually eroded.

Beauden Barrett nudged the All Blacks in front with a penalty as England’s play grew progressively worse having set off like a steam train, their forwards bristling with aggression.

Barrett scores the decisive drop goal

The momentum shift began late in the first half and was confirmed by a terrific try from McKenzie.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had raised expectations by declaring the match to be bigger than last year’s series against the British and Irish Lions, but an arm wrestle of a contest failed to provide quite the same drama.

England were depleted by injury but buoyed by a rousing 12-11 victory over South Africa a week earlier and they traded on equal terms with the world champions from start to finish.

Jones called on his players to act as movie directors rather than extras in the 41st instalment of the fixture and they did exactly that in the first half.

Damian Mackenzie was magnificent at Twickenham

Strong carries from Underhill, Kyle Sinckler and Maro Itoje in a rampaging start sucked in defenders and when Ben Youngs spotted an unmarked Ashton stationed on the touchline, he sent the Sale wing sliding over with a floated pass.

McKenzie was shoved into touch by Underhill and then Jonny May as the All Blacks came under renewed pressure and England extended their lead with a drop goal by Owen Farrell.

Elliot Daly and then May running at speed into heavy traffic produced a roar from Twickenham, but it was in response to Hartley’s 24th minute-try that the crowd really erupted.

A line-out 15 metres out developed into an unstoppable maul that arrowed diagonally towards the posts and with backs adding their weight, a pile of white shirts crashed over the line with Hartley scoring.

Chris Ashton opened the scoring inside 106 seconds

New Zealand-born Brad Shields disappeared to the blood bin – an England player could be heard complaining on the ref mic that the flanker had been punched – and in a blow to the tourists Sonny Bill Williams followed him off the pitch with a groin problem.

The All Blacks strung together 23 phases and through Rieko Ioane they finally threatened the try line, the breakthrough arriving soon after when McKenzie ran a brilliant line to take an inside scoring pass from Barrett.

A Barrett penalty slashed the deficit to five points at half-time and when the teams emerged for the second-half Hartley had been replaced by Jamie George.

Ardie Savea dropped a poor pass by Aaron Smith with the line beckoning but a Barrett drop-goal – the first of his 71-cap career – continued to drain England’s lead.

Youngs almost dummied his way over from an attacking scrum as play swung to the opposite and New Zealand took the lead for the first time in the 60th minute through a Barrett penalty.

An ascendant scrum offered England a platform but they failed to make the most of it and with the clock ticking down Underhill’s heart was broken by the intervention of the officials after he had outfoxed McKenzie.

‘Disrespectful’ England fans slammed on Twitter for booing and singing as New Zealand perform haka at Twickenham

10 Nov

England fans received plenty of criticism on Twitter for booing and singing while New Zealand perform the Haka.

The All Blacks perform the ceremonial Maori dance before every international fixture as a way of intimidating opposition sides and fans.

England watch on as the All Blacks perform the Haka

In Japan last weekend, the entire stadium fell into a state of revered silence to observe the dance. However, there was no such thing at Twickenham.

In order to unnerve the All Blacks, thousands of England fans chose to sing ‘Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot’ over the top of the chanting, with some fans even booing the ritualistic dance.

Seen as one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring things in sport, fans took to Twitter to criticise the English for their attempts at drowning the Haka out.

Several fans called the move ‘disrespectful’, with one user calling the hosts ‘arrogant’.

The Haka has been used by New Zealand before games for over a century

Check out the best Tweets below!

England rugby news: Chris Ashton to make first start in four years in New Zealand Test

8 Nov

Chris Ashton will start for England for the first time in four years in Saturday’s long-awaited Test against New Zealand.

Head coach Eddie Jones has named his starting XV for the second Quilter International at Twickenham, making three changes to the side that beat South Africa 12-11 in their autumn opener.

Chris Ashton has been named in England’s starting XV against New Zealand

Ashton, who scored a try when England last beat New Zealand in 2012, lines up on the right wing in place of Jack Nowell after impressing as a substitute in last weekend’s win over the Springboks.

The 31-year-old has amassed 40 caps in an international career interrupted by suspension, falling out of favour with successive England coaches and a season-long spell in Toulon, but has returned to the fold after signing for Sale.

Nowell drops to the bench but there is no place for Manu Tuilagi despite his recovery from the groin strain which ruled him out against South Africa.

The two other changes see Ben Moon come in for Alec Hepburn at loosehead prop and Sam Underhill replaces Tom Curry, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the autumn by an ankle injury.

Courtney Lawes returns to the bench after overcoming a lower back problem, forcing Zach Mercer out of the matchday 23.

England celebrate their narrowest of wins against South Africa

Fly-half Owen Farrell – who needs only one more point to reach 700 for England – co-captains the team alongside Dylan Hartley.

England face New Zealand for the first time in four years and have been installed as big underdogs against the world champions.

“The expectation for Saturday is no different to any other Test match,” Eddie Jones said.

“We want to be at our best, better than we were in the previous Test match and we want to play with pride and passion which ignites the fan.

“It’s been a good week, the players have recovered well, trained well on Tuesday, exceptionally well on Wednesday and we look forward to the challenge of taking on New Zealand on Saturday.”

Eddie Jones hopes his side can defy the odds and beat New Zealand at Twickenham

England starting XV v New Zealand:

15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 22 caps), 14 Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks, 40 caps), 13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 14 caps), 12 Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors, 14 caps), 11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 38 caps), 10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 62 caps) co-captain, 9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 78 caps), 1 Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap), 2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 94 caps) co-captain, 3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 14 caps), 4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 23 caps), 5 George Kruis (Saracens, 26 caps), 6 Brad Shields (Wasps, 3 caps), 7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 6 caps), 8 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 5 caps)

Finishers:

16 Jamie George (Saracens, 29 caps), 17 Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs, 3 caps), 18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 12 caps), 19 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 7 caps), 20 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 65 caps), 21 Danny Care (Harlequins, 82 caps), 22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 48 caps), 23 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 27 caps)