Rugby World Cup
While all eyes will be on the semi-finals as New Zealand take on USA and France tackle defending champions England, there is still plenty for the other eight teams to play for on the penultimate day of Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 in Belfast.
The Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 semi-finals have a sense of déjà vu about them as they are a repeat of those from the inaugural tournament back in 1991.
On that occasion in Wales, USA edged past New Zealand 7-0 and England overcame France 13-0. Four-time champions New Zealand and France, bidding to reach their first final, will hope that history does not repeat itself to end their title dreams prematurely in Ireland.
The attention inevitably will be on the two semi-finals at Kingspan Stadium, but there is still plenty for the other eight teams to play for on the penultimate match day of Ireland 2017, be it automatic qualification for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 or simply to achieve the best ranking they can.
The top seven teams will secure direct passage to WRWC 2021 and avoid the global qualification process. For hosts Ireland, Australia, Canada and Wales that means if they can taste victory on Tuesday they will confirm their place and avoid the winner-takes-all seventh place play-off on Saturday.
The relationship between Rory Lamont and rugby has always been uneasy. When it was good, it was really good: 29 Scotland caps, two World Cups, and stints in Europe’s top leagues with Toulon, Sale and Glasgow.
When it was bad, it was really bad: whispering campaigns about his attitude, 16 operations, “double figure” concussions. By the time the game ran out of uses for him, the feeling was entirely mutual.
Three years ago this week, Lamont announced his retirement. The last of his many injuries, a lower leg fracture from the previous year, hadn’t properly healed and the end came as a relief.
“I was thinking, ‘finally it’s over’. I felt like an animal being put out of its misery. I’d had a miserable year, people questioning my integrity, and I couldn’t wait to crack on with my life and all the amazing things I was going to do.”
Never did he picture becoming a recluse, battling severe depression and suicidal thoughts. Nowhere in the retirement brochure did it say he’d lose 25kg in four months and be unable to stomach solids for a further five. The bit about being so low he hoped he’d be run over by a bus? Not what he’d signed up for either.
Japan is looking to cash in on the rugby fever that swept the nation in recent weeks by unveiling a life-size bronze statue of Rugby World Cup star Ayumu Goromaru.
However, fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the golden-coloured figure – crouching with its fingers clasped together in the player’s trademark kick routine – will have to be quick.
After being unveiled by Goromaru himself on Monday it will be part of the decorations for Tokyo’s Christmas illuminations for a month only and be removed again afterwards.
Eddie Jones will most likely not be coming back to Cape Town to assist the DHL Stormers in their pre-season preparation work, but he will be in Los Angelos this week.
Newly appointed England coach Jones will be addressing a World Rugby workshop on the success of the Japan team at the Rugby World Cup, who won 3 games despite failing to make the play-offs under his guidance.
Jones was unveiled as the new DHL Stormers coach earlier this month, before being made an offer he could not refuse by the English RFU which saw him leave Cape Town after just 2 weeks.
Stormers director of rugby, Gert Smal, claimed that Jones would return to Cape Town in December to assist with the planning for next season, explaining that the experienced coach felt bad for the way things had transpired with the Stormers.
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.”
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.
When he took to the field as Scotland cap number 1 073, Josh Strauss became the 50th player to make his debut for the national side since the last Rugby World Cup in 2011. This is by far the highest number of new players for Scotland in any Rugby World Cup cycle – more, in fact, than the previous 2 combined (48 new caps). It requires going back to the 1950s to find a greater number of 1st caps in a 4 year period.
Despite having the smallest player base of any of the Six Nations, Scotland has had more debutants than any of their rivals:
- England – 41
- France – 40
- Ireland – 37
- Italy – 31
- Wales – 37
In fact only 1 side who competed at this year’s Rugby World Cup awarded more new caps in the last 4 years. By a quirk of the global calendar Argentina didn’t have access to many of their 1st (or even 2nd) choice players when the South American Championship takes place and 54 of their 67 new caps (including 24 in the space of 5 days in 2013, the last year they appeared in it!) debuted in the annual iterations of this tournament.
Strange as it may seem considering the hype beforehand over “emotional Springbok swansongs” in the bronze playoff match at Rugby World Cup 2015, only 1 member of the squad at the tournament, captain Jean de Villiers, has officially confirmed his Test retirement.
Several younger Springboks spoke beforehand of their desire to beat Argentina – a task duly achieved – as a fitting send-off for senior players bidding farewell to the green-and-gold cause.
Almost 2 weeks on from the end of the Rugby World Cup, however, it is still only the luckless Jean de Villiers, injured again in just the 2nd Rugby World Cup match against Samoa, who has definitely bowed out after 109 appearances since 2002.
Perhaps influenced by the state of flux surrounding embattled coach Heyneke Meyer, the likes of Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez, Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana intriguingly haven’t yet pulled the plug publicly on their illustrious Springbok careers.
The majority of “older” Springboks who took part in their hot-and-cold Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign are now exclusively foreign-based and there have been some pleas back home for only locally-stationed players to be chosen for South Africa henceforth – a tricky matter considering the ever-shrinking strength of the Rand against other currencies, which hardly helps keeps the best players rooted here.
The England Rugby Football Union revealed that Stuart Lancaster has, by mutual consent, stepped down as England coach.
The decision follows England’s recent Rugby World Cup campaign, which saw the team knocked out of the tournament at the Pool stages – after defeats to Wales and Australia.
Lancaster was appointed full time in April 2012 and guided England to 2nd place in all of the past 4 Six Nations Championships, with 1 of his notable victories coming against the All Blacks in 2012, 1 of 28 wins in the 46 Test matches during which he was in charge of England.
“I am obviously extremely saddened to finish the way we did in this World Cup and to step down from the role,” Lancaster said.
“As I have always said, I ultimately accept and take responsibility for the team’s performance and we have not delivered the results we all hoped for during this tournament.
“I did, however, want to take part in the review to ensure I understood the views of others before making a decision.
Wales coach Warren Gatland will quit his post after the 2019 Rugby World Cup and return to New Zealand, media reports in his homeland said on Friday.
Gatland, already Wales’ longest-serving coach after taking up the position in 2007, said he wanted to head home and possibly take a break before resuming his career in New Zealand.
“I’m here (Wales) until 2019 and the plan for me then is definitely to come home for a period,” he reportedly told commercial radio.
Former England coach Sir Clive Woodward says English rugby union is a “laughing stock” after Sam Burgess returned to Rugby League.
Burgess was part of the England squad which went out of their home Rugby World Cup in the group stages.
He will now leave Bath and rejoin South Sydney Rabbitohs in Australia.
Woodward, who led England to 2003 Rugby World Cup success, said he did not blame Burgess “for this mess” but the English game was at one of its “all-time lows”.
Burgess, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, played 21 games for Bath after joining them just over a year ago, scoring 4 tries.
Having made his England debut in August, he was selected for the Rugby World Cup ahead of Northampton centre Luther Burrell, who had looked to have established himself in the team after playing in all 5 of their Six Nations matches earlier in the year.
Burgess, who had been playing at blindside flanker for his club, was picked at centre for the hosts against Wales in the Rugby World Cup and his selection sparked much debate.
Sports minister Fikile Mbabula is expected to brief the media on Thursday on the Springboks’ performance in the Rugby World Cup, as well as on transformation in the national team.
South Africa lost to New Zealand in the one semifinal of the tournament, following blistering wins against Samoa, Scotland and the USA. Those victories came after the Springboks lost in their opening game against Japan.
There has been debate about the racial make-up of the team, especially from the side of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) – who has taken a strong line against coach Heyneke Meyer.
Cosatu Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said on Tuesday that Meyer “must rest assured that he is not welcome in rugby by the majority of SA supporters and he should go”.
Wallabies lock Kane Douglas faces surgery on his injured left knee this week after MRI scans confirmed he sustained a ruptured ACL during Australia’s World Cup Final against New Zealand.
The 26-year-old injured his knee when he fell awkwardly just 15 minutes into the decider and took no further part in the match.
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.
Japan’s Rugby World Cup hero Ayumu Goromaru will join the Reds after signing with the club for the 2016 Super Rugby season.
The 29-year-old fullback became a household name in Japan and turned the rugby world on its head last month when he led his nation’s shock 34 / 32 win over South Africa – with the match being described as the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history.
Goromaru scored 24 points in that match and twice received Man-Of-The-Match honours at the tournament. He has since been labeled a ‘national hero’ in Japan after spearheading his nation’s Rugby World Cup campaign in which they secured a record 3 wins.
The 2016 season will be Goromaru’s 1st in Super Rugby. He has spent his entire professional career playing in Japan’s Top League, while also forging an impressive Test Rugby résumé, with 56 Test caps and 708 points – making him Japan’s all-time leading points scorer.
Rugby World Cup finalists the Wallabies must improve rather than hope the All Blacks drop their lofty standards if they are to overhaul the triple champions, coach Michael Cheika said.
The Australians arrived home during the morning after losing 17 / 34 to the All Blacks in last weekend’s final at Twickenham Stadium.
While the Wallabies have regained respect and more followers in their own country after their Rugby World Cup exploits, Cheika warned his team had to do better if they are to reach the summit of world rugby.
The All Blacks became the 1st team to win 3 Rugby World Cups, but face a breakup with a string of international retirements headed by World Player of the Year Dan Carter along with Test centurions Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock and Ma’a Nonu as well as centre Conrad Smith.
Skipper Richie McCaw, rated by coach Steve Hansen as the greatest All Black, is also undecided about his playing future.
They may not all be “coining it” immediately to the extent that certain foreign-based colleagues are, but Springbok Rugby World Cup 2015 players contracted only to domestic franchises are about to reap the benefits of an unusually lengthy off-season.
In a development that ought to see them importantly start a heavy 2016 roster pretty firmly refreshed, both physically and mentally, those players are largely off competitive duty for the next 4 months.
Outside of a Rugby World Cup year, the month of November would normally see them packing bags – no doubt just a little reluctantly – for the obligatory end-of-year European tour in conditions likely to be wetter and colder than those agreeably experienced during the recent, more autumnal Rugby World Cup in those climes.
Instead the beach beckons back home now as relevant Springboks with extended international futures like Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Lood de Jager, Trevor Nyakane, Rudy Paige, Pat Lambie and Jesse Kriel wipe rugby from their minds for several weeks, until Super Rugby 2016 pre-season activities with their respective sides.
Even then, blue-chip Springbok players are often shielded to a significant extent from warm-up matches staged in inevitably murderous summer heat and are largely asked to instead hit the ground running when the competition-proper gets underway.
No longwinded article, just a nice Press Conference video upon the Springboks return to OR Tambo International Airport…
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.
One of the things that this recently completed Rugby World Cup should have done is put an end to some of the justifications that are perennially forwarded for percentage tactics and neglect of the skill sets and strategies that the 2 finalists boasted and employed in their passage to the Twickenham Stadium decider.
For a start, what happened to that wet weather everyone was talking about and which was supposed to a justification for grinding tactics? It rained in the semifinal between South Africa and New Zealand, where the Kiwis proved once again that they are just as good at the things that the Springboks are supposed to do well as they are.
The tournament was of course not played in the English winter. In fact, you could argue that this year it wasn’t played even in autumn, particularly early on, when cities and towns like Brighton, Birmingham and Newcastle had more of a feel of late summer than a feel of early autumn.
That, coupled with the fact that so many of the Pool games were played on fast paced surfaces built for soccer, tipped the scales towards the quick paced Southern Hemisphere style game. When Wales coach Warren Gatland was asked why the Southern Hemisphere nations shut their northern rivals out of the semifinal Round, he mentioned something about conditions south of the equator facilitating the development of more of a running rugby skill set.
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.
’n Basiese kontrak van R 5 miljoen per jaar, aansporingsbonusse uitgesluit.
Dís glo die vergoeding waartoe die Suid-Afrikaanse Rugbyunie (SARU) ingestem het in die nuwe kontrak met Heyneke Meyer, die Springbok-afrigter.
Volgens bronne het Meyer al voor die Wêreldbeker-toernooi ’n kontrak onderteken om die span vir nog 4 seisoene, tot in 2019, af te rig.
Oregan Hoskins, SARU se president en voorsitter van die uitvoerende raad, het Vrydag benadruk dat die finale besluit by die Algemene Raad sal lê. Elke provinsiale rugbyunie word in die Algemene Raad verteenwoordig.
Die kwessie gaan na verwagting vroeg in Desember ter tafel gelê word.
Uit verskillende oorde is verneem Meyer kry aansporingsbonusse vir die verowering van die Wêreldbeker, ’n wenpersentasie van meer as 60% en ’n 2de plek op die wêreldranglys.
Die kontrakkwessie hang al weke lank soos ’n wolk oor Suid-Afrikaanse rugby, met SARU wat dit nog nie onomwonde in die openbaar ontken het nie.
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.
South African Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, has paid tribute to the Springbok team that defeated Argentina to claim the 3rd place in the Rugby World Cup.
The Springboks claimed 3rd spot at the 2015 Rugby World Cup after beating Argentina 24 / 13 in the Bronze Final at London’s Olympic Park stadium on Friday night.
“I take this rare opportunity to salute Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger, Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez, Jean de Villers for their selfless services and infinite commitment to the men in black green and gold and the people of South Africa,” said Mbalula in a statement released on Saturday.
South Africa said goodbye to a large swathe of great players in victorious fashion when they defeated Argentina 24 / 13 in the bronze medal final on Friday.
Schalk Burger, Fourie du Preez and Bryan Habana (above) will all be over 35 come Japan 2019, while 38-year-old Victor Matfield, who captained them in the bronze medal match at the Olympic stadium, has already announced his retirement for the 2nd time.
All 4 were members of a glorious few years for the Springboks in which they bestrode the world. It began when Jake White’s team won the 2007 World Cup and, under his replacement Peter de Villiers, they won the 2009 Tri-Nations then beat the British & Irish Lions 2 / 1 in a Test series in the same year.
Du Preez, Habana and Matfield were also part of the Blue Bulls team that was coached by Heyneke Meyer and became the 1st South African franchise to win the Super Rugby title, in 2007.
Daniel Hourcade may stay on as coach of Argentina for 2 more years but confirmed on Friday he will not be in charge at the next Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.
Hourcade’s Pumas finished 4th at the tournament when they lost 24 / 13 to South Africa’s Springboks at Olympic Park on Friday.
The Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) have indicated they want him to continue but Hourcade said he had yet to sit down to formalise his next step.
“If we come to an agreement it would be for 2 years,” Hourcade told reporters.
“A lot can happen in 2 years including logical physical wear… Cycles come to an end.”
Hourcade, who told Argentine daily Clarin this week he would not take the team to Japan, has carried out a transformation of Argentina’s game in his 2 years as coach.
Argentina joined The Rugby Championship in 2012 and their only defeats at the Rugby World Cup in England came at the hands of their 3 southern hemisphere rivals.
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.
The Rugby World Cup, with record ticket sales and revenues, will make a $ 230 million surplus, World Rugby president Bernard Lapasset said Saturday.
The 2.4 million tickets sold for the tournament which ended Saturday was 97% of the total, said the World Rugby president. That beat the 93% for the 2007 tournament in France.
He said the £ 150 million Pound ($ 230 million / 210 million Euro) surplus for the English organisers was “by far the record” for a Rugby World Cup.
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.
Springboks (16) 24 / 13 (0) Los Pumas (Final Score)
The South African Springboks and Argentinian Los Pumas did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup 3rd Place Play-off at
Olympic Stadium, London, England at 22:00 SA Time (20:00 UK Time & GMT, 17:00 ARG Time).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.