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New Zealand

Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw, does he still have plenty to offer?

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen disagrees Richie McCaw is a fading force but insists neither he, nor his captain, will be afraid to make the right call to end his illustrious career.

On either side of the Tasman, there are growing concerns an ageing McCaw won’t make it to next year’s World Cup.

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Steve Hansen

SOBERING NIGHT IN SYDNEY: Is All Black coach Steve Hansen running out of ideas for his All Blacks?

Love the rain. Give me a stick of dynamite and I would blow the roof off the Millennium Stadium. Wet weather rugby is a whole new ball game. It demands a higher skill level, a flexible tactical mind and it gives the fate of the contest to the forwards.

Suddenly these All Blacks didn’t look half the team that some people had assumed they were.

Don’t tell me the conditions were impossible or that they ruined the spectacle. And don’t tell it to the 39,523 people, it is still hard to believe the size of the crowd, who were jammed into Wellington’s Athletic Park back in 1996.

The conditions that day were far worse than they were in Sydney last weekend, because a howling wind drove the rain, but those All Blacks played the rugby of the gods.

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The past few years has seen Rugby’s world be dominated by one group of Villains that we have come to respect, hate, admire, deride, sledge and applaud. Let’s take a look at these Bad Guys and their alter-egos – whilst not forgetting that most of these guys eventually get their comeuppance. – Enjoy!

 

15. Ben Smith -Keyser Soze – The usual Suspects
Keyser Soze

Keyser Soze – The Usual Suspects

This is one of those moments where we are lulled into a false sense of security. The guy looks harmless enough and seems to melt into the background when surrounded by other more unsavory types. But it is with the Big reveal that things unfold and the manipulator truly emerges.

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Phil Kearns and David Campese

A youthful Phil Kearns and David Campese showing off the World Cup in 1991.

According to those Wallabies who have played there, nothing is particularly forbidding about the graveyard of Eden Park. It’s not the sound of a hostile crowd, or the reverberation of the grandstand above the visitors’ dressing room.

The spookiest part for those in gold jumpers is the number: how many years it has been since Australia last beat the All Blacks at the famous Auckland ground.

Twenty-eight years… Boo!

Alan Jones coached the Wallabies in 1986, and he knew in the opening 20 minutes of the third and deciding Test of the series that his Wallabies were about to carve out their own slice of Bledisloe Cup history.

“I knew they would throw the kitchen sink at us,” Jones recalls. “I picked up that vibe by my contacts around the pubs and so on.”

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IRBThere has been no change in the Top 12 of the IRB world rankings following the opening round of The Rugby Championship.

Despite seeing their 17-Test win streak end in Sydney thanks to a 12-12 draw with the Wallabies, New Zealand continue to lead the way on 93.42 points.

The Wallabies, courageous in their efforts – and perhaps a little unlucky – remain in third position on 87.32.

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New Zealand haka 1916

New Zealand side perform the haka before taking on South Africa in Richmond, Surrey, reportedly in April 1916. No further details of the match exist, with the All Blacks’ last official Test coming in August 1914.

Rugby Union did not shut down completely with the declaration of war in August 1914.

Australia and New Zealand were, as dominions of the British Empire, included in Britain’s declaration on 4 August, but inevitably the matter was less urgent.

The machinery of military recruitment clicked into action and the Wellington Rugby Union cancelled its programme of second, third and fourth grade matches on the following Saturday to enable players to attend volunteer parades. But war caught both countries in mid-season and with the All Blacks part way through a tour of Australia.

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Women's Rugby World Cup 2014There will be a new name on the Women’s Rugby World Cup as New Zealand are the high profile absentee in the final four of the competition.

In the last round of the pool stages in Marcoussis, England’s draw with Canada saw both into the semi-finals where they will be joined by Australia and Ireland.

New Zealand, who have triumphed in the past four World Cups, won their last game of the pools but they went into their game against the USA already knowing they were out of the competition.

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Cyprus

Cyprus players celebrate a victory over Austria in the European Nations Cup. It was their 21st in a row and they have won two more since.

When the All Blacks take the field against the Wallabies on Saturday, they’ll know they stand 80 minutes away from a landmark 18 successive wins.

If they come out on top, they’ll leapfrog the All Blacks of the late 1960s and the 1997-98 Springboks to further their reputation as one of the greatest teams in rugby history.

It’s an impressive feat, and would be a record for a tier one nation, but it won’t strictly be a world record.

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Women's Rugby World Cup 2014Defending champions New Zealand got their World Cup defence off to a strong start on day one of the tournament while wins for hosts France, Canada, Australia, England and Ireland mean the competition is set for more classic match-ups before the 17 August final.

The seventh Women’s Rugby World Cup saw sell-out crowds watch six top-quality matches at FFR headquarters in the French capital.

Ireland beat their Pool B rivals USA in a match that could be crucial for the progress of the girls in green, while Australia and England impressed in their pool openers.

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Glasgow 2014There 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.

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IRBThere was little change in the International Rugby Board’s rankings after the weekend’s matches, according to the IRB website.

Full IRB World Rankings

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).

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Dawie Theron

Dawie Theron

The Junior Springboks finished top of pool C at the IRB Junior World Championship in New Zealand on Tuesday, beating a spirited Samoa 21-8 in Pukekohe. Samoa had a 8-7 lead at the break.

The South Africans scored three tries, two of them in the second half, as they battled poor playing conditions and a very committed Samoan team to finish as the top qualifier at the tournament.

It was a frustrating evening for the Junior Boks, who lacked the sharpness and edge that highlighted their play against New Zealand on Friday. They could not execute on a number of occasions, but finished strongly.

The South Africans were held over the line on three occasions, lost the ball over the line twice and had two penalties to the poles drifted wide.

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IRB JWC 2014The IRB Junior World Championships are underway in New Zealand.

Rugby-Talk will update the Results and Logs on a regular basis.

The Tournament started on 2 June 2014 and will run till 20 June 2014.

The Big winner in Round 2, on Friday 6 June was South Africa’s Junior Springboks, who beat the Junior All Blacks in their backyard, by 33 / 24. The Junior Springboks scored 4 tries to boot, earning them a vital bonus point going forward, whilst the Junior All Blacks earned no Log Points at all, making it an uphill battle for them to even reach the semi-finals, as only one 2nd placed team in all Pools will go through to the semi-finals with the 3 respective Pool winners.

Day 3 of the tournament is on Tuesday 10 June.

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New ZealandSouth AfricaJunior All Blacks (17) 24 / 33 (14) Junior Springboks (Final Score)

New Zealand Under 20 and South Africa Under 20 did battle in the 2014 Junior World Championships at

QBE Stadium, Albany, Auckland at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & SHD on TV in SA.

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Jesse & Dan Kriel with Dawie Theron

Jesse & Dan Kriel with Dawie Theron

Powerfully built twins Jesse and Dan Kriel will play alongside each other in the midfield for the Baby Boks against the New Zealand Under 20′s.

Injury to four players has forced Theron to reshuffle his match 23 after the Junior Boks scored a convincing 61-5 win over Scotland.

Midfielders Rohan Janse van Rensburg (ankle), Andre Esterhuizen (head blow) and flank Jacques Vermeulen (ankle) were all ruled out of selection because of injuries sustained against the Scots.

On Thursday, Golden Lions hooker Malcolm Marx was also ruled out of action for several weeks after he had suffered a knee injury during a training session.

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IRB JWC 2014The IRB Junior World Championships are underway in New Zealand.

Rugby-Talk will update the Fixtures and Results on a regular basis.

The Tournament started on 2 June 2014 and will run till 20 June 2014.

As expected, the “Big Guns” all started with wins on the 1st day of the Tournament.

Day 2 of the tournament is on Friday 6 June.

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EnglandAn under-strength England squad arrived in New Zealand Thursday, with coach Stuart Lancaster rejecting suggestions his weakened side faces a “Tour from Hell” against the world champion All Blacks.

Lancaster had to leave up to a dozen top players behind for the Premiership Final between Saracens and Northampton, meaning they will be unavailable for the opening match of the three-Test series.

“It’s not ideal when you come to play the world champions in their own back yard and you don’t have your best side available,” he told reporters in Auckland.

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HughMcLeodScottish Rugby is immensely saddened to learn of the death on Monday night of the former Hawick, Scotland and Lions internationalist Hughie McLeod. He was 81.

Hugh Ferns McLeod was a pioneer, ahead of his time. His achievements as a player were the stuff of legend but, arguably, it was the manner in which he moulded future success in Hawick that marked him as a truly special character.

Hugh drove himself very hard as a player. He set high standards and expected the same of others. Into retirement he still followed a fitness regime which might have proved – no, would have proved too onerous for younger folk. Whether it was cycling, swimming up in Edinburgh or walking, Hughie loved to be active.

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barbariansDean RyanWorcester director of rugby Dean Ryan says that he is “honoured” to have been asked to coach the Barbarians against England at Twickenham on 1 June.

England are likely to name a weakened side – just a week before Test matches on successive weekends in New Zealand.

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EnglandAlex CorbisieroTom YoungsTom CroftBritish and Irish Lions forwards Alex Corbisiero, Tom Croft and Tom Youngs will miss England’s forthcoming tour of New Zealand.

Croft and Corbisiero have recently returned to full fitness but are not yet considered ready for what is set to be a gruelling three-Test series against the world champion All Blacks.

Meanwhile Leicester hooker Youngs will miss the June campaign to help support his wife, who is having treatment for an illness.

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HSBC Sevens World SeriesNew-ZealandNew Zealand brushed aside England 26-7 to win the Hong Kong Sevens and reclaim top spot in the overall standings in the IRB Sevens World Series, Sunday.

The All Blacks Sevens, the defending World Series champions, won its third tournament this season in fine style, running four tries past a hapless England to claim their 11th Cup Championship in Hong Kong and first since 2011.

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Cricket BallSouth Africa and New Zealand battled each other in the World T20 Cricket competition at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong (neutral venue) on Monday 24 March.

This was a Group 1 game.

New Zealand won the toss and elected to field.

The score cards were updated at regular intervals here on Rugby-Talk.

South Africa won by 2 runs, after an excellent last bowling over by Dale Steyn!

 

South Africa: 170 / 6 (20 Overs)

New Zealand: 168 / 8 (20 Overs)

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glasgowrugbyWinger Lee Jones has been added to the Glasgow Warriors squad for the forthcoming RaboDirect PRO12 matches, to provide injury cover until the end of the season.

The 25-year-old returns from Scotland 7s duty in New Zealand following his agreed loan from Edinburgh Rugby and will be available for this Sunday’s game against Connacht at Scotstoun Stadium.

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South AfricaHSBC Sevens World SeriesSouth Africa defended their Las Vegas Sevens successfully when they defeated New Zealand 14-7 in another dramatic and tense Cup final between the two rugby rivals in the early hours of Monday morning (SA time).

The teams were tied 7-all at halftime after Scott Curry had opened the scoring for New Zealand and Branco du Preez replied for the Springbok Sevens.

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Junior World Championship 2014 - New ZealandThe Junior Springboks were grouped with hosts New Zealand, Samoa and Scotland when the pools and fixtures of the IRB Junior World Championship 2014 were confirmed earlier today in Auckland.

The future stars of world Rugby will come together in New Zealand from 2-20 June 2014 for the seventh edition of the Under 20 tournament which will see matches played at North Harbour Stadium and Pukekohe Stadium during the pool stages and semi-finals on 2, 6, 10 and 15 June 2014.

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End Of Year Tours - 2013Round 1 of the End Of Year Tours of 2013 is upon us and it is that time of the year where we see the teams from the South migrate to the North to go do battle with those from Europe and beyond.

The Test rugby games of the End Of Year Tours or November Internationals are always a nice spectacle to see. Some teams use this as an experimental base, whilst other teams use this competition to prepare for other competitions like the 6 Nations. The big thing here is that the 3 Southern Hemisphere giant teams are ranked No 1 to 3 in the world. So, every team wants to beat these sides for bragging rights and to also get an indication of where they stand in preparation of the next Rugby World Cup.

So let the battles begin!

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HSBC Sevens World SeriesThe European climax of the HSBC Sevens World Series kicked off in Scotland with Round Eight this weekend, the Glasgow Sevens at Scotstoun Stadium. The Tournament ran from Saturday 4 to Sunday 5 May.

With ONE more game to go, who will take the CUP, South Africa or New Zealand?

Well, that question was answered in Green and Gold… Blitzbokke take the Glasgow title, with a win by 28 / 21.

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