Rugby World Cup 2015
Wales coach Warren Gatland fired an early shot at the All Blacks’ World Cup defence, suggesting the New Zealanders may be hampered by their weak pool.
New Zealand and Wales face vastly different challenges to make the World Cup playoffs. The All Blacks head Pool C that includes the improving Argentina, Tonga, Georgia and Namibia.
In contrast, Wales find themselves in the “pool of death” with hosts England, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.
Japan coach Eddie Jones says former Springbok coach Jake White is the ideal candidate to take over as Wallabies mentor should Ewen McKenzie be sacked.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald website, speculation is growing that McKenzie could be fired within weeks.
This comes despite the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chief executive Bill Pulver publicly backing McKenzie as the man to take the Wallabies to next year’s World Cup in England and Wales.
Uruguay beat Russia 36-27 in Montevideo on Saturday to snatch the last qualification spot for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.
Although they lost the first leg in Moscow 22-21, the South Americans got the result they needed to qualify for their first World Cup since 2003.
They will now line up in a daunting Pool A alongside the hosts, twice former winners Australia, Wales and Fiji.
Stuart Lancaster will be England Head Coach until 2020 after the Rugby Football Union decided to extend his contract.
Appointed permanent head coach in March 2012, his tenure in charge of the England team is now set to include the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Lancaster’s coaching team – Forwards Coach Graham Rowntree, Backs Coach Andy Farrell and Attacking Skills Coach Mike Catt – have also been contracted to the end of the 2019-20 season.
Jake White could make a quick return to rugby coaching with Japan coach Eddie Jones keen to secure his services with the Brave Blossoms.
It was announced yesterday that White would be parting ways with the Sharks after a single season in Durban.
White and Jones worked together with South Africa during the successful 2007 World Cup campaign when the Australian helped the squad in a consulting role.
And the roles could be reversed this time, with Jones in charge of Japan, and eager to bring in White although he admits the South African will be in high demand.
“He is going to do some consultancy, I just don’t know where,” Jones told Kyodo News.
All Blacks star Ma’a Nonu has been linked to French club Toulon as the European champions ramp up recruitment ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Respected French newspaper Midi Olympique claims Toulon are close to finalising a two-year deal with the veteran New Zealand midfielder.
Russia will take the narrowest of leads with them to Montevideo in two weeks’ time after they beat Uruguay 22-21 in Saturday’s first leg of the final Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifier in Krasnoyarsk. However, while no team likes to lose a game of rugby, Uruguay’s Pablo Lemoine will probably be the more satisfied of the two coaches as his side is still very much in contention at what is effectively half-time. Of course, the fact that the second half will most likely be played on a warm day in front 12,000 home fans will give him cause for optimism after his team held their own in the near-freezing conditions and vociferous Siberian crowd of the first 80 minutes.
But for Russia’s indiscipline and the cultured right boot of fly-half Felipe Berchesi, who slotted seven penalties, the gap would have been more. Two yellow cards, a high penalty count and the spurning of several try-scoring opportunities did nothing for the mood of Russia coach Raphael Saint-Andre but he will know that his team was the more creative on the day and, if they can somehow learn to compete at set pieces and improve their defence at mauls, they too can make the long journey to South America with some confidence.
When the World Cup kicks off in a little under a year’s time, England will have played all but one of the other nine sides in the top ten of the current IRB World Rankings. Psychologically, it is a huge 12 months for next year’s hosts.
In the past few seasons, they have made huge strides in the right direction – but they are not the finished product yet.
There’s a year to go until the World Cup – just enough time for it to be turned into an eligibility farce.
The potential for the game’s biggest event to be laughed out of town is growing. The prospect of teams turning up with legions of players who don’t really have a strong link to the jersey they wear is real.
The Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby have settled their dispute over World Cup compensation, the governing bodies have announced.
England’s 12 clubs are likely to share £13 million provided by the RFU and have been cleared to play matches during the knockout stage of the tournament.
“It’s a reflection of the strength of the partnership that once again we have managed to come to an arrangement that benefits both the RFU and clubs,” RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie said.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen can see where his predecessor, Sir Graham Henry, is coming from.
But Hansen wants his team to continue improving without the need of a loss as a wake-up call.
Henry, with Hansen as an assistant, steered New Zealand to the World Cup title in 2011.
However, 12 months out from the start of their defence, Henry is worried they might get too used to winning and believes some adversity, namely a loss, might have benefits.
Sir Graham Henry believes Steve Hansen’s All Blacks have the ingredients to carry out a historic defence of the Rugby World Cup at next year’s tournament in England.
Henry delivered New Zealand their second World Cup at home in 2011 following their victory as hosts of the inaugural tournament in 1987.
No team has won back-to-back titles and no All Blacks side has triumphed away from home.
But, a year out from next year’s tournament, Henry is backing the current side to buck history.
“For sure, but it won’t be easy,” warned Henry who oversaw the quarterfinal disaster in 2007 before redeeming himself.
Today marks exactly 1 year before Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off.
World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry has committed the ultimate sin in rugby-mad New Zealand, suggesting it would not hurt the All Blacks if they lose a game before they defend the Webb Ellis trophy next year in England.
The All Blacks have lost just once since Steve Hansen succeeded Henry after the successful World Cup campaign in 2011, winning 32 of their 35 Tests. They have also drawn twice with Australia.
The Wallabies quest for an unprecedented third Rugby World Cup crown is now just 12 months away with Thursday marking the one year countdown to the game’s showpiece event.
The eighth edition of the tournament will bring the game’s elite together in England and it will again be the All Blacks who start as red-hot favourites.
Sir Graham Henry would pick Dan Carter for the next World Cup though admits the veteran first-five now needs to earn his starting position ahead of two young “world class” alternatives in Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett.
Today is a year-to-the-day before the Rugby World Cup tournament began at Twickenham with a match between England and Fiji.
The defending champion All Blacks will launch their campaign two days later with a match against Argentina at Wembley Stadium.
The All Blacks may march on undefeated but the weekend demonstrated palpably that South Africa are going to be big-time World Cup threats.
Maybe bigger even than the hosts who are also going to take some beating at Fortress Twickenham.
Sure, the Springboks weren’t able to get up and end their five-year losing streak on New Zealand soil, but boy did they get close. And a year out from the Cup it’s significant that they’re knocking on the door.
On Thursday, the start of RWC 2015 will be exactly one year away. Nineteen of the 20 participating nations have been decided, with Russia and Uruguay fighting it out over two legs in the next few weeks to fill the last remaining spot.
We take a look at how the pools are shaping up in terms of where the competing countries are in the World Rankings.
With the recent pedantic display of refereeing, it pains me to say that the World Cup could turn into a game of whistle-blowing, ruining the experience for the spectators and more importantly the players.
Some of the technical refereeing that has been on display has eliminated any “feel” for the game.
Right now, the blokes in the middle are trying to put on their best show to be chosen to get a gig in England in 2015. But who is judging their performance so they get to secure a position as a top whistle-blower?
Organised criminals with links to the arms and drugs trade were on Wednesday night plotting to hijack the Rugby World Cup ticket launch and hold countless ordinary fans to ransom on the secondary market.
Tournament organisers and senior police officers admitted the second biggest sporting event ever held in the UK would definitely be targeted by gangs of touts, who Britain’s leading anti-ticket fraud expert warned stood to make millions illegally from fleecing unsuspecting supporters.
The hosts of the 2015 Rugby World Cup say they didn’t forget to feature the All Blacks in an ad released yesterday encouraging people to buy tickets to the tournament.
In fact, current and former players were approached to do it, but declined the offer, an England Rugby 2015 official said.
Watch the video here
The short-term future of James O’Connor and his return to Australia is assured, but doubts remain about his long-term plans after the World Cup in Britain next year.
Queensland are expecting O’Connor, who has 44 Test caps with the Wallabies, to remain in Brisbane after announcing last Friday that the back had signed a two-year deal with them – starting next season.
Keven Mealamu says he isn’t done yet, not by a long shot.
As another round of hand wringing about the country’s lack of depth at hooker kicks off, Mealamu has reiterated his desire to be part of next year’s World Cup campaign.
Dane Coles’ looming absence from part, or all, of the All Blacks’ trip to Argentina and South Africa later this month for the birth of his partner’s child has again highlighted the dearth of options available to coach Steve Hansen.
Bay of Plenty’s Nathan Harris was the next cab off the rank, but after that it was anybody’s guess.
“We’ve been bringing people in and out of the environment,” Hansen said.
The awful truth about the Wallabies’ hammering last weekend is that by 2015 the All Blacks could roll out an entirely different back line and dish it out all over again.
Wallowing in pessimism? Perhaps, but look at the stockpile of talent that wasn’t even in the 23 in Auckland that, in theory, they could select next year.
A New Zealand radio station has been criticised after running a competition to see how far its male listeners will go to win tickets to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The Edge offered tickets if two heterosexual male friends got married. “We’ve done stranger weddings, naked weddings, same sex weddings but this is the first one that we know will end in divorce,” the station said in its promotional material.
Communities across the length and breadth of England and Wales will share in the excitement of hosting Rugby World Cup 2015 after tournament organisers England Rugby 2015 and owners Rugby World Cup Limited announced the selection of team base camps.
With Rugby at heart, a selection of 41 venues from the University of Exeter in the south to Newcastle Royal Grammar School in the north, extend the reach of the showcase tournament, while delivering the stage for the world’s best teams to perform to their potential.
The search for team bases was launched via an open tender process in April 2013 and just under 100 bids were received from across the country and in Wales. All prospective team bases were subject to a rigorous selection process which included an expansive and detailed programme of site visits as well as liaison with the competing Rugby World Cup 2015 teams.
Premiership Rugby has threatened to continue with their league programme during next year’s Rugby World Cup unless a deal can be reached with the RFU.
Tensions have been running high between Premiership Rugby and the RFU in recent months.
Premiership Rugby are upset after the RFU failed to consult them over the bid for the Rugby World Cup.
They are now seeking a compensation deal of £14 million from the RFU as they will have to shut down the league while the Rugby World Cup is taking place in England.
With the global showpiece scheduled to take place between September and October, England’s Premiership clubs will have no matchday income for five months – as the tournament finishes at the end of May – and according to projections each top tier club are set to lose £1.2 million.
Innovation and tradition is at the heart of MATCH XV, the official Rugby World Cup 2015 match ball, launched by Rugby World Cup suppliers Gilbert today.
The MATCH XV will make its debut in the English Premiership and French Top 14 later this month and will be used in top level Test matches throughout the rest of 2014 and 2015, meaning the world’s best players will have plenty of competition time with the ball.
A modern classic, the MATCH XV is the latest in a succession of balls stretching back to 1995 to be engineered by the industry-leaders specifically for Rugby’s global showpiece tournament and is packed with innovation. It is also the most-tested Gilbert ball in history.
Nemani Nadolo will remain at the Crusaders for two more years, after reports in New Zealand said the giant Fijian winger “never had any intention of going anywhere else”.
“We have loved having Nemani in the Crusaders this season, as have our fans, so it gives me great pleasure to confirm that he will be returning to the team next year and in 2016,” Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said.
Russia remain in the hunt for the final place at Rugby World Cup 2015 after beating Zimbabwe 23-15 in their Repechage semi-final in Krasnoyarsk on Saturday.
The Bears, bidding to reach a second consecutive tournament, will now face the winner of the match later today in Montevideo between Uruguay and Hong Kong for the right to join hosts England, Australia, Wales and Fiji in Pool A at RWC 2015.
Several ex-New Zealand and Australia internationals have confirmed that they will lodge an application to switch allegiances to a Pacific Island nation with whom they hold a passport, with a view to participating at the Rugby World Cup in England next year.
With the inclusion of rugby 7s at the Olympics in 2016, there has been a change in eligibility laws that will see players who have represented one nation now eligible to play for another, if they hold a passport from that country.
If they have not played international rugby in the past 18 months, they will be eligible for their new country in the Sevens World Series or designated Regional Olympic Qualification Tournaments and would thus be able to play for that country in all forms of rugby.
As the dust settles on Germany’s recent FIFA World Cup triumph is there anything that those side’s hoping to lift the Rugby World Cup crown in England next year could learn from Joachim Löw and his all-conquering team?
Are there lessons that could prove pivotal for those sides aiming to win the Women’s Rugby World Cup in France next month?
Namibia qualified for a fifth successive Rugby World Cup by thumping hosts Madagascar 89-10 on Sunday to win the African preliminaries and book a place in Pool C at next year’s tournament alongside defending champions New Zealand.
Namibia finished level on two wins each with Kenya and Zimbabwe at the end of the four-team tournament but qualified by virtue of more bonus points.
Their task was made easier on Sunday when Zimbabwe beat Kenya 28-10, setting Namibia a target of beating Madagascar by 53 points to qualify.
Kenya are in pole position to make history and qualify for a Rugby World Cup for the first time after maintaining their winning run in the Confederation Africaine de Rugby Africa Cup Division 1A Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifying tournament in Antananarivo on Wednesday.
Kenya, aiming to break Namibia’s recent stranglehold as the Africa Region’s second representative on Rugby’s greatest stage, recorded a bonus point 34-0 win over Madagascar to open up a four-point lead over Zimbabwe at the top of the table with one round remaining on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s 24-20 defeat to Namibia in the opening match of the day means that it is mathematically possible for all three teams to finish top of the table going into Super Sunday when Madagascar play Namibia and Kenya face Zimbabwe.