There is a palpable level of excitement in the country ahead of the Commonwealth Games which will be held in Glasgow this year. Driving up the road over the weekend one was reminded by overhead sign boards long before reaching Glasgow of the need to plan ahead and potential difficulties in travelling as a result of the Games.
The online search engine Google has the theme of the games on its page, there is a lot of coverage in the media both online, in print and of course in audio and visual. Radio schedules have already been changed on some stations providing coverage already ahead of the Games which are due to get kick started with the opening ceremony tonight. In advertising it’s radio coverage the national broadcaster has even made a pledge to bring all the action of Scotland’s medal winning events live to the public. Colleagues have members of their family involved on a voluntary basis as ambassadors for Glasgow 2014 with some having already been helping out in the Athletes Village for the last two weeks.
In rugby, like most sports, teams and athletes have had a bad playing strip or two. Individual sports that comes to mind is cycling and golf. There have been some truly terrible creations that those athletes have worn, all in the name of sponsorship and moolah.
In rugby, its generally the alternate, or so called away strip, where designers indulge in a bit too much whacky weed before sitting down in front of the drawing boards. For the most part, kits are practical and speak of tradition and history, however, there are times that the Sporting and Designing Gods sincerely fall out and abominations like the ones that appear below.
These choices of ours are by no means exhaustive and is fairly recent in it’s selection, however, if you disagree, let us know and tell us which ones you think should have made the cut.
There’s ccertainly been some strange kit in recent years!
It appears the Kit sponsors want to stamp some sort of mark on their creations, so prepare yourself for some more strange jerseys in future!
For all the talk of players leaving Australian shores, the costliest exit may be Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher, who is bound for Gloucester next year. The Brumbies’ lineout, drive, scrum and defence against the relatively new Chiefs tactic of setting up mauls in general play were the difference in an outstanding qualifying final of tiny margins on Saturday. Not only that, but Fisher worked lineout miracles with emergency hooker Ruaidhri Murphy in the few short weeks since he understandably struggled against the Waratahs. Murphy was like Phil Taylor with his arrows when he came on for the closing stages, even hitting Ben Mowen at the tail of one set-piece. Brilliant work
We don’t always get to hear much about our top-level coaches these days, certainly not much beyond the usual ‘this bloke is rubbish’/’this bloke’s a genius’ debate, but often there are stories and insight to be provided that goes well beyond the standard clichés.
Alistair Hargreaves has been appointed as the new Saracens captain. The Springbok lock forward, 28, succeeds Steve Borthwick, who retired at the end of last season.
The former Sharks man has been with the Saracens since 2012, born and schooled in Durban he played for the Sharks from under-19 level.
He has been capped four times for the Springboks, the last of those coming in the 2011 Tri-Nations tournament.
Fiji have qualified as Oceania 1 for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England by beating the Cook Islands 108-6 in Lautoka. The Flying Fijians scored 17 unanswered tries in a runaway victory in front of their adoring home fans at Churchill Park.
Fiji join hosts England, Australia, Wales and the yet to be determined Repechage winner in Pool A, and will have the honour of playing England at Twickenham in the opening match of the tournament on 18 September.
New Zealand rugby writers have hailed the All Blacks record-equalling performance to trounce England in the third Test on Saturday, seeing it as a set-back for England’s World Cup hopes.
The “muscularity” of the All Blacks forwards was given as much credit as the flair of the backs who scored all five tries and ran England ragged, particularly in the first half.
“As good as it gets” said Fairfax Media, echoing the thoughts of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, while the Herald on Sunday praised the “well-oiled All Black machine”.
England came in for scathing criticism from their coaches after failing to measure up to the intensity of the All Blacks, who won the third Test in Hamilton 36-13 on Saturday.
“We started poor and it got worse,” assistant coach Andy Farrell said, referring to a Freddie Burns opening kick-off a that failed to go the required 10 metres, setting the All Blacks up for a first-half rout in which they led 29-6 at half-time.
In the first two Tests, the All Blacks had to come from behind in the second half to win, but in Hamilton they seized control from the start.
All Blacks (29) 36 / 13 (6) England (Final Score)
The New Zealand All Blacks and England did battle in the 3rd Test of the June Internationals at
Waikato Stadium, Hamilton at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.
England Under 20 retained their title as the IRB’s Junior World Champions when they edged their South African counterparts 21-20 in Auckland on Friday.
It was far from a clinical display. In fact it was a typical Final – in which there was good and bad kicking, handling errors, moments of sublime brilliance and a few poor options.
However, it was a great and enthralling encounter to watch, as two of the giants of the junior game went head-to-head.
In the end England deserved the win, if only because they made fewer errors and managed to overcome their soft moments better than the Baby Boks did.
Two of the key aspects were the line-outs, where JD Schickerling reigned supreme, and the kicking game – with Handré Pollard and Warrick Gelant’s boots just so much more accurate and secure.
However, errors limited the Baby Boks’ ability to capitalise on their superiority on those departments.
England were on Friday forced into a forward reshuffle on the eve of the third Test against the All Blacks in Hamilton with Joe Launchbury replacing injured lock Geoff Parling.
Launchbury will partner Courtney Lawes to re-establish England’s Six Nations middle-row pairing in what becomes the eighth change to the side that lost the second Test in Dunedin 28-27.
Parling has not fully recovered from a hamstring injury suffered in the Dunedin clash.
England coach Stuart Lancaster has made a number of changes to his team ahead of the third and final Test against New Zealand at the Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, on Saturday.
Most notably was the decision to move Manu Tuilagi’s back to midfield, making his transition to a Test wing a very shortlived affair.
Tuilagi, who caused trouble for New Zealand from his preferred centre position in the first Test in Auckland, was largely anonymous on the right wing for the second Test in Dunedin last week.
He will be joined in midfield by his first Test centre partner Kyle Eastmond.
Kieran Read will play in his first Test of the year, after finally overcoming the concussion issues that has sidelined him for months.
Read’s inclusion in the starting 15 is one of two changes to the team hat will play England in the third and final Test of the June series at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, on Saturday.
The All Blacks made just the two changes, injecting Read and Malakai Fekitoa to the starting line up as they chase a clean sweep in the series.
Coach Steve Hansen said he’d decided not to try new combinations with the series already won, as he looks to develop his preferred run-on side – who were far from perfect in winning the first two Tests 20-15 and 28-27.
There was little change in the International Rugby Board’s rankings after the weekend’s matches, according to the IRB website.
New Zealand, who beat England 28-27 in Dunedin to secure the three-match series, remain at the top with 93.81 ratings points.
The Springboks, who beat Wales 38-16 in Durban, stay in 2nd position on 89.34, while Australia – who were 6-0 victors over France in Melbourne – stay in 3rd position (86.92) ahead of England (85.68).
England flyhalf Owen Farrell has been ruled out of the third Test against New Zealand on Saturday after straining the medial ligament in his left knee.
Farrell, who was a late arrival in New Zealand due to the English club final, played in the second test at Dunedin, won 28-27 by the All Blacks to clinch an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
The England team said he would remain with the squad until the end of their tour, which concludes following the third Test in Hamilton on Saturday.
England outscored the Crusaders by six tries to one to cruise to a comfortable 38-7 victory in Christchurch on Tuesday.
It was their first win on their tour of New Zealand in their first-ever clash with the seven-time Super Rugby champions following narrow defeats in both Tests against the All Blacks so far.
The fluent performance against a Crusaders side boasting six All Blacks will certainly give England coach Stuart Lancaster some interesting food for thought ahead of the final Test in Hamilton this weekend.
Flyhalf Danny Cipriani staked a claim for inclusion in England’s side for the third Test with a brief but influential performance.
England have named a team of fringe players to face the Crusaders on Tuesday, with coach Stuart Lancaster looking to ensure all his touring party receive game-time in New Zealand.
Debutant Ed Slater will captain a starting XV against the seven-time Super Rugby champions which features only one player, flank James Haskell, who has started a Test during the New Zealand tour.
While Lancaster insisted “we are treating this as like an additional Test”, the selection indicates he is aiming to develop depth in his squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup while retaining his first-choice players for the final Test in Hamilton on Saturday.
The Semi-Final Play-off Round of the IRB Junior World Championship is a thing of the past, with South Africa Under 20 and England Under 20 advancing to contest the FINAL and leaving Ireland Under 20 and New Zealand Under 20 to contest for 3rd place.
South Africa, the top seeds, beat New Zealand by 32 / 25 in a hard-fought game, socring the winning try with 2 minutes left on the clock.
England trounced Ireland by 42 / 15 and of course is the defending champions, looking to successfully defend their title.
- France beat Wales 19 / 18
- Australia demolished Samoa by 53 / 16
- Scotland narrowly beat Italy by 21 / 18
- Argentina saw off Fiji by 38 / 12
The All Blacks will get another crack at matching the record for consecutive Tier One Test victories when they face England in Hamilton this weekend.
The record of 17 victories has been reached by the All Blacks side of the late 1960′s and Nick Mallett’s Springbok team of the lates 1990′s, and Richie McCaw will have his third shot as captain at joining them on Saturday.
The Wallabies have twice ended an All Blacks winning streak on 16 victories in recent years, springing a surprise in Hong Kong back in 2010 and then earning a draw in Brisbane in 2012.
The Crusaders will host an historic mid-week match against England this Tuesday night at AMI Stadium (Addington). Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named his team to take on the touring side. Packing down in the front row will be Tim Perry, Corey Flynn and Nepo Laulala. Prop Joe Moody has been named in the reserves for his first game since he broke his leg in last year’s ITM Cup final. Another prop, Siate Tokolahi, has been called into the squad for this game and will also take a place on the bench.
Joel Everson is set to make his Crusaders debut at lock alongside Jimmy Tupou, and another player called into the squad could make his debut if he comes off the bench – lock Scott Barrett, younger brother of All Black first five Beauden Barrett. Flanker Matt Todd has been released by the All Blacks to join the team and will take a place in the reserves to provide cover for Whitelock brothers George and Luke and Jordan Taufua in the loose forwards.
All Blacks (6) 28 / 27 (10) England (Final Score)
The New Zealand All Blacks and England did battle in the June Internationals at
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.
England on Friday called in Michael Paterson as second row cover for the last week of their New Zealand tour.
The 29-year-old Sale lock was a member of the England training squad last month and started in the pre-tour match against the Barbarians.
When Martin Johnson’s England side beat the All Blacks in Wellington in 2003, it was a massive step on their way to becoming world champions later that year.
The timescale is a bit different this time – the World Cup is still 16 months away – but England must be thinking they can put a real marker down once again in New Zealand.
They could, and maybe should, have beaten the world champions in the first Test last week.
And now, with a team strengthened by the arrival of half-a-team’s worth of first-choice players, they will have real belief they can level the series at 1-1 in Dunedin on Saturday.
England coach Stuart Lancaster has made five changes to his team’s starting line-up for the second Test against New Zealand in Dunedin on Saturday.
Lancaster called in some backline reinforcements for the must-win encounter at the indoor stadium.
With his entire squad now available, Lancaster selected the backline combination that England used in the Six Nations over the supposedly “second string” line-up that pushed the All Blacks close in a 15-20 defeat in the first Test last week.
He recalled centres Billy Twelvetrees and Luther Burrell, pivot Owen Farrell and scrumhalf Danny Care, as well as naming Tom Wood at blindside flank in place of James Haskell.
Manusamoa Tuilagi switches from the centre to right wing, with Marland Yarde moving to the left wing to accommodate him.
Wing Julian Savea returns to the New Zealand side for Saturday’s second test against England in Dunedin after fullback Israel Dagg was ruled out through injury.
Savea, who has scored 19 tries in 20 matches for the world champion All Blacks, missed the 20-15 first test victory with a knee complaint, but should add extra firepower to the backline after a sluggish performance in Auckland.
Ben Smith moves to fullback from the wing in Dagg’s absence.
The All Blacks’ aura of invincibility is gone for England prop Joe Marler, who said his team’s fighting loss in Auckland last week had raised their belief that they could match the world champions.
England, the only team to beat top-ranked New Zealand in the past two seasons, lost the series-opener 20-15 last weekend against a rusty All Blacks side many had thought would thrash the tourists at their home Eden Park fortress.
England will have their pick of many of the first-choice players that missed the Auckland match due to the nation’s club final earlier this month and should field a stronger side on paper for the second Test in Dunedin.