All Black greats united to pay tribute to Jonah Lomu with a powerful haka, as thousands of fans packed a memorial service at New Zealand rugby’s spiritual home, Eden Park.
A grim-faced Buck Shelford led more than 20 former internationals in a “Ka Mate” haka while the legendary wing’s casket was carried into a hearse.
Former teammates including Tana Umaga, Justin Marshall and John Kirwan joined the emotional tribute on the same turf that Lomu once dominated as a player.
“Jonah, you were a freak on the field and a gentle, caring giant off it,” former All Blacks coach John Hart said.
The Crusaders have announced that Todd Blackadder will step aside as head coach at the conclusion of the 2016 Super Rugby season.
“This will be my 8th season coaching the Crusaders, and every minute in the role has been a privilege, but moving on at the end of the 2016 season is the right thing for me and the right thing for the team,” Blackadder said.
“I have been so fortunate to be able to do my dream job for all of these years, but 8 years is a relatively long time in coaching and I feel that the time is right for someone else to take the reins and lead the team in their own direction in the future.
“One of the important things to come out of our 2015 season review is that distractions were a problem for us last season, so that is why I was keen to make my intentions clear before the season begins to avoid my future becoming a distraction for the team during the 2016 season,” Blackadder said.
Blackadder took over from Robbie Deans as head coach of the Crusaders in 2009. He has coached the team to 4 Super Rugby Semifinals and 2 Finals so far, and the final against the Waratahs in 2014 marked his 100th game in the Crusaders’ top job.
SANZAR has appointed Andy Marinos as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
His new job will formally commence on 1 January 2016 and he replaces Greg Peters – who is taking over as CEO of the new Argentina Super Rugby team.
The South African, who is no stranger to the position, having previously served as CEO between 2008 – 2010, brings a wealth of business and rugby experience to the role, both as an administrator and professional player.
Marinos re-joins SANZAR from SARU, where he has served as General Manager of Commercial & Marketing for the past 5 years, in addition to SARU Acting Managing Director and Board Member (2008 – 2010), Springbok Team Manager (2008), Manager of South African National Teams (2005 – 2010) and World Rugby Sevens Advisory Group (2008 – 2015).
Queen Elizabeth II offered her condolences over Jonah Lomu’s death as the rugby legend’s family revealed they were planning a send-off as big as the great man himself.
The family said they had been overwhelmed by a global “outpouring of love” after the charismatic winger died unexpectedly on Wednesday aged just 40, leaving a wife and 2 young sons.
Former All Blacks coach John Hart said feelings were so intense in Lomu’s native New Zealand that Auckland’s Eden Park stadium may be needed as a venue for a public memorial.
Flanked by the player’s relatives outside the family’s Auckland home, Hart said Prime Minister John Key’s office had relayed condolences from the Queen to Lomu’s widow Nadene.
“(She) has written to the prime minister specifically asking for a message to be sent to Nadene and the family to say how much she mourns the loss as well,” he told reporters outside Lomu’s Auckland home.
Richie McCaw has confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby.
The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the 2nd time.
McCaw announced his decision at a media conference at the New Zealand Rugby offices in Wellington on Thursday.
“I’m hanging up my boots having accomplished everything I could have ever dreamed about in the game. Knowing that I was able to end my career by helping the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup Final is a hugely satisfying feeling,” he said.
New Zealand rugby union great Jonah Lomu has died aged 40.
Lomu, who scored 43 tries in 73 matches for New Zealand between 1994 and 2002, had been diagnosed with a rare and serious kidney condition.
It forced him to quit the game and he had a kidney transplant in 2004, but the organ stopped functioning in 2011.
“Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world,” said New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew.
“We’re lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah’s family.”
Family spokesman John Mayhew told New Zealand television that Lomu’s death was “totally unexpected” and that he had only arrived back from the UK on Tuesday, after spending time there for the Rugby World Cup.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said: “The thoughts of the entire country are with his family.”
All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster has extended his contract with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) through to 2017, NZRU chief executive Steve Tew announced on Tuesday.
Foster has been assistant coach alongside All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen since 2012.
“It’s been an honour and a privilege to have worked for the All Blacks over the last few years and to help the team achieve its goals, including winning the Rugby World Cup, and I look forward to getting stuck into next season after the summer break,” Foster said.
Steve Tew paid tribute to Foster’s work with the national team, which has fashioned a stunning record of 49 wins, 2 draws and just 3 losses, in their 54 Tests since 2012.
“Ian has provided outstanding coaching of the All Blacks over the last 4 years. He has a calm yet forthright style which works well in the team and his strategic thinking and development of the All Blacks’ back play, which is his specialist area, has been exceptional. We look forward to his ongoing contribution over the next 2 years.”
Tew confirmed that All Blacks forwards coach Mike Cron had also re-signed with NZRU through until 2017.
Double Rugby World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw is expected to confirm his decision to retire from rugby this week, New Zealand media reported on Sunday.
McCaw, who turns 35 on 31 December, led the All Blacks to their 3rd Rugby World Cup triumph 2 weeks ago when his side beat trans-Tasman rivals Australia 34 / 17 in the final at a packed Twickenham stadium in London.
The All Blacks were the 1st team to retain the trophy, after the openside flanker led the team to victory in 2011 while playing with a broken foot.
McCaw had done little to dampen expectations that he would retire after this year’s Rugby World Cup, though never explicitly said he would, preferring to state he would not make up his mind until the global showpiece ended.
He was not named last month in the Canterbury Super Rugby squad for 2016 though New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the Crusaders said there was space for him if he chose to play on.
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew says Rugby World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw will make an announcement on his playing future “shortly”.
McCaw, who led New Zealand to victory at the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups, indicated he would likely retire after this year’s tournament in England but is yet to make a definitive announcement.
His comments immediately after the All Blacks’ Cup final win over Australia suggested the 148-Test veteran might be considering continuing his international career.
New Zealand Rugby chief Steve Tew said it was premature to speculate about Japan joining The Rugby Championship.
The sport is currently on a high in the Asian nation after the Brave Blossoms’ exploits at the Rugby World Cup, which included a stunning 34 / 32 win over South Africa, but there are already concerns about its preparations for the expanded Super Rugby competition next year.
With Japan set to host the next edition of the Rugby World Cup in 2019, World Rugby is keen to consolidate its popularity in a large and potentially lucrative market.
The governing body’s chairman Bernard Lapasset said on a trip to Tokyo this week that Japan should join The Rugby Championship, which currently comprises New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.
But New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said a more immediate concern for Japanese rugby was fielding a competitive side in the Super Rugby competition in 2016.
New Zealand referee Chris Pollock has announced his retirement from international rugby.
According to reports, the 43-year-old Pollock has returned to full-time teaching in his home province of Hawke’s Bay.
Pollock was on the refereeing panel for the recent Rugby World Cup and his last match as an assistant in the Bronze Final between South Africa and Argentina.
Durban, and not Johannesburg, will host back-to-back Rugby World Cup winners, the New Zealand All Blacks next year.
The South African Rugby Union revealed that the 3-times Rugby World Cup champion All Blacks will play the Springboks in Durban on 8 October in The Rugby Championship encounter between the 2 sides on SA soil.
The Springboks and All Blacks have played each other in Johannesburg 5 times in the last 6 years – with 2011 the exception, when they met in Port Elizabeth.
Durban last hosted a Springboks versus All Blacks Test in 2009, with Newlands completely off the map (for the biggest face-off in the game) since 2008.
The exceptionally large All Black following in Cape Town, which have become increasingly vengeful towards the Springboks (even spitting at players), is the main reason why Newlands will not host the All Blacks in the near future.
Bloemfontein (2009) and Pretoria (2006) have also not seen an All Black Test in years.
SANZAR is delighted to reveal that Super Rugby is coming to the Pacific Islands for the 1st time as Fiji is announced to host the Round 15 clash between the Chiefs and the Crusaders.
The match, to be played at Suva’s ANZ Stadium, will see Fiji become the 8th nation to host a Super Rugby fixture, joining Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
SANZAR Interim CEO, Brendan Morris, welcomed the exciting news.
“In 2016, Super Rugby is being delivered to more countries and more fans than ever before. Not only will we see games played in Argentina, Japan and Singapore for the 1st time in history, but we are delighted to partner with the Fijian Government, the Chiefs and event promoter Fortress to deliver the 1st ever match to the Pacific Islands.
The British & Irish Lions have announced that Canterbury will be their Official Apparel Partner for the 2017 tour of New Zealand.
The new deal sees Canterbury hold exclusive rights to manufacturing both the match and training kit alongside a new lifestyle range for the Lions.
John Feehan, British & Irish Lions CEO, said, ”We are delighted to be working with Canterbury as our new Apparel Partner.”
The All Blacks returned home to a frenzy of hakas and hysteria on Wednesday, with even the players stunned as 50 000 fans packed central Auckland to celebrate their Rugby World Cup victory.
“It’s huge to come back and see all this support and everyone turning out, it’s just overwhelming,” the tournament’s breakout star Nehe Milner-Skudder said as the crowd at the city’s Victoria Park roared approval.
The All Blacks arrived from London early Wednesday morning and celebrations began even before they stepped off the plane, with dozens of airport workers performing a haka on the tarmac to welcome them.
New Zealand and Australia’s World Cup finalists join forces in a superstar Barbarians’ squad when they take on Gloucester and Argentina this month. Add a sprinkling of South Africans to it and you have the Barbarians squad.
Wing Nehe Milner-Skudder, the All Blacks’ opening try scorer in the 34 / 17 win against the Wallabies, is just 1 of 7 All Blacks in the squad.
Milner-Skudder will be joined by Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Charlie Faumuina, as well as fellow wing Waisake Naholo, when the world famous invitation club returns to action at Kingsholm on 17 November before taking on Rugby World Cup semifinalists Argentina in the Killik Cup match at Twickenham Stadium on 21 November.
Tevita Kuridrani – the scorer of Australia’s 2nd final try – has been added to the squad and joins Wallabies captain Stephen Moore and flank Scott Fardy in a 24-man group.
The squad also contains one of the world’s greatest lock partnerships in South Africa’s Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha who are backed up by rising star Lood de Jager.
Barbarians head coach Michael Cheika will have formidable firepower at his disposal with the likes of Fiji’s World Cup star Nemani Nadolo lining up with South Africa’s Pat Lambie and Australia’s Joe Tomane.
There is world class front row potential with Moore and Faumuina alongside South Africa’s Tendai Mtawarira, while flank Fardy was 1 of Australia’s most consistent Rugby World Cup performers.
There are 2 uncapped players in the squad: Cheetahs’ centre Francois Venter and Hurricanes flank Ardie Savea.
Fans will be able to welcome back the All Blacks at homecoming celebrations in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington this week.
The All Blacks will travel home with the help of sponsor Air New Zealand which has sent an all black Boeing 777-300 to London to pick up the Rugby World Champions.
The team touches down on Wednesday morning at 07:00 NZ Time, arriving at Auckland International Airport before departing for an overnight stay in the city.
Aucklanders will then get a chance to celebrate their Rugby World Cup triumph at a very special event featuring the team at Victoria Park in central Auckland at midday.
The next day Christchurch will welcome the All Blacks with a street parade and official reception at Hagley Park. On Friday, Wellington will celebrate the All Blacks success with details and timing to be confirmed.
As well as winning a host of new admirers for their adventurous approach throughout Rugby World Cup 2015, beaten semifinalists Argentina and headline-grabbing Japan have also enjoyed the biggest rise of all the competing nations in the World Rugby Rankings. Both are ranked 3 places higher than where they were when Rugby World Cup 2015 began at Twickenham Stadium on Friday 18 September.Los Pumas have moved up from 8th to 5th thanks to their 2nd place finish behind New Zealand in Pool C and the way that they effortlessly brushed Ireland aside in the quarterfinals.
A disappointing World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup campaign this summer left Japan languishing 13th in the rankings, and at that stage few people would have predicted what they would go on to achieve in England: 3 wins from 4 and a place in tournament folklore.
The Brave Blossoms’ historic 34 / 32 win over South Africa in Brighton may not have been enough to book them a place in the knockout stages but it did help them return to the world’s Top 10.
With points exchanges doubled to reflect the importance Rugby World Cup matches no-one fared better than Japan, going from 72.06 rating points pre-tournament to 77.05 at its conclusion.
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and coach Steve Hansen will be offered knighthoods following New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup triumph.
But the timing will depend on when they retire, Prime Minister John Key said on Monday.
McCaw, 34, has already turned down the honour once, after New Zealand’s 2011 tournament win, saying he did not feel it was right to accept while he was still playing.
Key was asked if the inspirational skipper would be approached again about putting a “Sir” before his name in the wake of the 34 / 17 Cup final win over Australia and said: “That’s right.”
However, he said the offer would remain on hold until McCaw decides his future.
Dan Carter has been named World Rugby Player of the Year 2015 in association with MasterCard during a star-studded World Rugby Awards ceremony at Battersea Evolution in London on Sunday.
Flyhalf Carter joins his All Blacks captain Richie McCaw as a 3-time recipient of the prestigious accolade, having also been named Player of the Year in 2005 and 2012, and follows in the footsteps of other previous winners such as Thierry Dusautoir, Bryan Habana and Jonny Wilkinson.
New Zealand was named World Rugby Team of the Year after becoming the 1st nation to successfully defend the Webb Ellis Cup with a 34 / 17 defeat of Australia in the Rugby World Cup 2015 final on Saturday.
Australia coach Michael Cheika received the World Rugby Coach of the Year accolade after transforming the Wallabies in his 12 months at the helm, guiding them to The Rugby Championship title and the Rugby World Cup 2015 final.
All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams was presented with a new Rugby World Cup winners’ medal to replace the 1 he handed to a young fan after Saturday’s victory over Australia.
The boy, identified as 15-year-old Charlie Lines, was thrown to the ground by a security official after running on to the Twickenham pitch following New Zealand’s 34 / 17 triumph.
“I am sure that he’ll remember it. I’m happy that he has it because I know that he will really appreciate it,” Williams said at Sunday’s World Player of the Year awards.
“When he’s older, he can tell the story to his children.”
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said Sunday he is unlikely to take his champion team through to the next Rugby World Cup.
Hansen who directed New Zealand to their 34 / 17 record-breaking victory over Australia in Saturday’s final at Twickenham Stadium is currently contracted through to 2017.
From being Assistant Coach when the All Blacks won in 2011, Hansen has enhanced his reputation since taking over as head coach 4 years ago.
Under his guidance they have won 49 of 54 games and the win over Australia made the All Blacks the 1st side to defend the Rugby World Cup crown and the 1st to win it 3 times.
But Hansen said the time is fast approaching for someone else to take over the prestigious coaching role.
Richie McCaw became the 1st man to lift the Rugby World Cup twice on Saturday and whether or not he opts to call it a day as an All Black, his place as the greatest leader of a rugby team the game has seen is assured.
Like the New Zealand juggernaut he has led with such distinction, McCaw has kept evolving and at the age of 34 his hunger for success and focus has been as intense as ever.
That the game’s outstanding loose forward has stood up to the demands of Test rugby for so long is a reflection of his durability, enthusiasm, consistency and the way he relishes pressure.
And he is not quite ready to bow out just yet.
“I still don’t want it to end. I’m still part of this team, I’m going to enjoy today, how can you have enough of this?,” he said after New Zealand beat Australia 34 / 17 to become Rugby World Cup winners for a record 3rd time.
The New Zealand All Blacks withstood a gutsy AustralianWallabies fightback to claim victory 34 / 17 in the Rugby World Cup final and create history as the 1st side to win 3 titles, the last 2 back-to-back.
The All Blacks were given a Halloween night fright by the Wallabies, who battled their way back from 21 / 3 with 2 tries to get within 4 points of Richie McCaw’s side at 21 / 17.
But the cool boot of man of the match, Dan Carter, nudged the All Blacks ahead to give them breathing space at 27 / 17, before Beauden Barrett sealed matters with a length-of-the-field kick and chase in the 79th minute, converted by – who else? – Carter for a 34 / 17 final scoreline.
All Blacks winger Julian Savea’s remarkable 2nd try of his hat-trick in the 62 / 13 thrashing of France in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals was voted Try of the Tournament by television viewers on Friday.
It was Savea’s savage aggression that made the try so special as he smashed 3 big French tacklers aside to score in the left corner.
All Blacks (16) 34 / 17 (3) Wallabies (Final Score)
The New Zealand All Blacks and Australian Wallabies did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup FINAL at
Twickenham Stadium, London, England at 18:00 SA Time (16:00 UK Time, 16:00 GMT, Sunday 03:00 AEDT, Sunday 05:00 NZ Time).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.
On 31 October, 9 of the iconic aircraft will treat fans in Twickenham Stadium, as well as the Richmond and Trafalgar Square fanzones, to a special flypast prior to the start of the final between New Zealand and Australia. They will flyover Trafalgar Square 7 minutes before kick-off, then over Twickenham Stadium and the Richmond Fanzone at 15:55 as the teams line up for the anthems.
The finalists are set to battle it out for rugby’s greatest prize, the Webb Ellis Cup, in front of a sell-out crowd of 80 125. South Africa and Argentina will also go head to head in front of a full house in the Bronze final at The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – in front of 56 000 spectators.
New Zealand All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named an unchanged side to face Australia’s Wallabies in the Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday.
The line-up is the same as the one that defeated South Africa 20 / 18 in the semifinals last weekend.
The last time the All Blacks named an unchanged starting line-up between successive Rugby World Cup matches was in 2011, when they made no changes to the team that defeated Australia in the semifinals then beat France in the final.
13 Players in the current All Blacks 31-man squad were part of the triumphant 2011 Rugby World Cup squad and Tony Woodcock, would have made that 14 if he had not left injured.
The players hoping to win the Webb Ellis Cup for a 2nd time are Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Ben Franks, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Victor Vito, Dan Carter, Colin Slade, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Sonny Bill Williams.
Conrad Smith, Nonu, Woodcock, Mealamu, Owen Franks, Whitelock, Kaino, McCaw and Read all started in the 2011 Final and Williams came on as a replacement in that match.
Massive experience and exciting new talents are the order of the day for all New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchises as they reveal their 2016 squads.
The Highlanders have made minimal changes to their 2015 championship winning squad, with just 9 new additions to their 38-man squad. The side they beat in the 2015 final, the Hurricanes, have taken a similar approach, opting for continuity in retaining 30 players of the greater 39-man squad.
The Chiefs will boast 12 former and current All Blacks in their squad and a further 14 fresh faces. 4 Players have been promoted from the Crusaders’ wider training group with a further 11 players joining the franchise for the 1st time.
The Blues are the only side who have gone against the grain as head coach Tana Umaga has built his 2016 squad around 6 core players, as he looks to resurrect the franchise to his former glory.
We look at all New Zealand’s Super Rugby squads:
The Southern Hemisphere nations consolidated their positions as the Top 4 in world rugby after a weekend of battle that resulted in the Top 2, New Zealand and Australia, moving through to this Saturday’s final of Rugby World Cup 2015.
South Africa, who lost 20 / 18 to New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup semifinal on Saturday, retain their position as world No 3 ahead of Argentina, who were defeated 29 / 15 by Australia in Sunday’s semifinal.
The Springboks and Pumas will contest the Rugby World Cup bronze final on Friday and the winner is likely to be the world No 3, with the sides separated in the rankings by less than 1 point.
Under the points exchange system used to calculate rankings, sides take points off each other based on the match result; whatever 1 side gains, the other loses. Such points exchanges are doubled during the Rugby World Cup to recognise the unique importance of the event.
Nigel Owens has been appointed to referee the final of Rugby World Cup 2015. The 44-year-old from Wales is a veteran of 67 Tests but on Saturday at 17:00 SA Time (16:00 UK Time) he will take charge of the biggest match of his career to date.
Owens will become just the 7th referee to do the job, following in the footsteps of Kerry Fitzgerald (1987), Derek Bevan (1991), Ed Morrison (1995), Andre Watson (1999 and 2003), Alain Rolland (2007) and Craig Joubert (2011).
His experience and his consistency over many years, as well as his excellent form during the build-up to and during Rugby World Cup 2015, has won him selection to the pinnacle match in the sport at the end of a tournament in which the high quality of officiating has been a feature.
World Rugby has announced the shortlist for the inaugural Breakthrough Player of the Year 2015 award, with the winner set to be revealed at the World Rugby Awards dinner at Battersea Evolution, London, on 1 November.
With some of the world’s exciting young players leaving their mark on Rugby World Cup 2015, the 3 nominees for this prestigious award are Scotland centre Mark Bennett, Georgia scrumhalf Vasil Lobzhanidze and New Zealand winger Nehe Milner-Skudder.
“They are all worthy candidates for this award but unfortunately there can only be 1 winner. I’m sure all 3 players have a bright future not only for their teams and the countries they play for but for world rugby in general. I really look forward to watching their careers.”
In order to be eligible for the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year award, players must have played less than 1 year of senior international rugby.
The nominees were selected by an independent panel, comprising former Wallaby scrumhalf Gregan, former Argentina captain Felipe Contepomi and journalists Stephen Jones, Sarah Mockford and Jim Kayes.
Springboks (12) 18 / 20 (7) All Blacks (Final Score)
The South African Springboks and New Zealand All Blacks did battle in a Semifinal at the 2015 Rugby World Cup at
Twickenham Stadium, London, England at 17:00 SA Time (16:00 BST, 15:00 GMT, Sunday 04:00 NZ Time).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.
Old age is not for sissies, they say.
At Twickenham Stadium on Saturday youth will not be for sissies, as those men will fling themselves body and soul into the Rugby World Cup semifinal between New Zealand’s All Blacks and the South African Springboks, still the game’s greatest rivalry.
Those 46 men, in peak fitness, will risk everything in a sport that is as near as it can be to battle.
They will risk sinew, muscle, bone, heart and mind – everything short of life itself and, who knows, if it were asked of them would life be too big a sacrifice?
And then 80 minutes later they will shake hands and even hug the men they battled against – despite the fury of their effort and despite even the disappointment of defeat.
The match will not be a hate-filled war.
The 2 sides have met 3 times before in Rugby World Cups.
South Africa just won the Final in 1995 and then won the 3rd place play-off in 1999. New Zealand walloped South Africa in the quarterfinal of 2003.
The people of both countries will know about this match and experience their own level of tension in the hopes and fears of the day.
It is a part of the culture of those countries.
In days when matches between the 2 countries were few and far between, as travel dictated (and there were racial hamstrings in 3 New Zealand sides to South Africa till 1970), South Africa led New Zealand in the winning tally.
Those days ended when the world was an easier place for travel.
Then New Zealand pulled ahead and are now 17 matches ahead, with the Springboks still closer in the rivaly than all other sides against New Zealand, which also means that they are more likely to beat the All Blacks than other teams would be.
For the 4 coaches of the Rugby World Cup semifinalists – Argentina’s Daniel Hourcade, Australia’s Michael Cheika, New Zealand’s Steve Hansen and South Africa’s Heyneke Meyer – the coming weekend promises to be a defining moment in their careers.
Win and they can look forward to leading their teams out for the Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham Stadium next Saturday, lose and they will be left to prepare for Friday night’s bronze medal match at the Olympic stadium, wondering what might have been.
Hansen summed up the contrast earlier in the week: “You either stand up and be counted or go home. Even worse, you have to play that other game.”
One thing the coaches share is that none had spectacular playing careers – Cheika’s Australia Under 21 caps represent the closest any of them came to international rugby – though all 4 have worked tirelessly as coaches to earn the positions they currently occupy.