The All Blacks were left feeling “hollow” and “gutted” after their record-equalling test win streak came to a limp end on Saturday night at the Olympic stadium.
To that they might have added relieved at escaping with a draw they scarcely deserved.
Truth be told, the All Blacks were fortunate indeed to slip out of Sydney with a 12-12 stalemate that was flattering to them, after being outplayed in the second half by a Wallabies outfit who just weren’t good enough to close out a victory that was theirs for the taking.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen appears resigned to losing test veteran Tony Woodcock for the rest of 2014 – though he believes there is a significant upside to the loosehead prop’s likely season-ending injury.
Hansen wrapped up the second day of a mini-camp with his non-Crusaders All Blacks in Auckland today, and said the prognosis was looking increasingly dim for Woodcock who was battling a serious shoulder problem.
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.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen praised the bravery and class of flyhalf Aaron Cruden for producing the match-winning moment in a tight Test.
Cruden was hailed as the hero of the All Blacks’ last gasp 20-15 win over England at the weekend, not for the five penalties he kicked but for the one he turned down.
Cruden not only caught England napping but also his own teammates when he opted to tap and run when the All Blacks won a handy penalty with the score locked at 15-all.
Steve Hansen could never be accused of being a conservative.
The All Blacks coach has struck a balance between future and present in naming three new caps on the reserves bench to play England at Eden Park on Saturday.
Centre Malakai Fekitoa, lock Patrick Tuipulotu and halfback TJ Perenara have all been named in the 23-man squad for the first test of the international season.
The All Blacks have called up two new players and recalled two World Cup-winners to the squad to face England.
Highlanders midfielder Malakai Fekitoa and Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu are the two uncapped players, whilst loose forwards Jerome Kaino and Victor Vito return after extended absences.
The backs – forwards split sees 17 forwards selected (two hookers, five props, four locks and six loose forwards) and 14 backs (three halfbacks, three first five–eighths, four midfielders and four outside backs) and the squad has a combined total of 1,125 Test caps.
The year was full of spectacular moments and performances as well as disappointing lows and infamous incidents; we name and shame the best and worst in our 2013 Awards.
New Zealand and Wales ruled their respective hemispheres for the second successive year, the All Blacks enjoying a flawless 2013 campaign.
All Blacks and Crusaders vice captain Kieran Read has been named the International Rugby Board’s Player of the Year for 2013.
New Zealand rugby claimed a triple scoop on the awards as the All Blacks were also named team of the year while coach of the year went to Steve Hansen.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was a proud man after a dramatic comeback against Ireland capped an unbeaten year for his side.
The world champions were forced to come from behind to become the first team to win every match in a calendar year in the professional era.
It was not the perfect weekend for the All Blacks, with France running them close. This begs the question whether Daniel Carter is still the flyhalf maestro he once was.
All Blacks coach, Steve Hansen, says the All Blacks will be better against England compared to how they went against France.
As expected, New Zealand All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has given his charges the week off after their stellar performance over the weekend, clinching The Rugby Championship against the Springboks from South Africa.
They are nursing quite a number of bumps and bruises, the result from the hard encounter with the Springboks.
The All Blacks headed to South Africa on Monday banking on the return of talismanic captain Richie McCaw to put the seal on another successful season.
Although New Zealand require just a single bonus point to retain their Rugby Championship title, they are determined to seal it by beating arch rivals South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday.
And the All Blacks are confident they will have McCaw in their arsenal.
Steve Hansen will be taking charge of the Barbarian side that will face Fiji at Twickenham later this year.
New Zealand rejected suggestions that Argentina will resort to foul play in Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test in Hamilton as they brace for a physical challenge from the South Americans.
Argentina came under the microscope after their recent defeat to South Africa, with Leonardo Senatore receiving a nine-week suspension for biting while Pablo Matera was accused of eye-gouging, though he was found not guilty.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen believes New Zealand’s former head coach, Graham Henry, is having an even greater impact over Argentina this year.
Uncapped Hurricanes loose forward Brad Shields has been included in a 30-man All Black training squad who will gather in Auckland this week ahead of the Rugby Championship.
Blues utility back Francis Saili is the second uncapped player included in the squad by All Black coach Steve Hansen, who has as expected welcomed back captain Richie McCaw.
Kieran Read was named as the captain of a 32-man All Blacks squad including six new faces to face France in the upcoming series.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named 10 uncapped players in a 38-man training squad ahead of New Zealand’s Test series against France.
Hansen says that he has called up an enlarged squad at first as he wants to assess emerging talent in New Zealand Rugby.
All Black flyhalf Dan Carter was named the International Rugby Board Player of the Year at the IRB Awards in London on Monday.
All Black coach Steve Hansen pulled out the big guns for New Zealand’s encounter with Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
Hansen named a hugely experienced and in-form All Black side, with 745 caps in the starting XV and 140 on the eight-man bench.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has come out in defence of his Wallabies rival Robbie Dean who is under severe pressure for his job to turn the Australian Rugby team around or face the sack.
The All Blacks selectors, Coach Steve Hansen, Assistant Coach Ian Foster and fellow selector Grant Fox, have selected 35 players to attend two training camps ahead of the three Steinlager Series Tests against Ireland.
The first wider training group camp will be held in Auckland from next Sunday 20 May – Tuesday 22 May with the second camp in Wellington from Sunday 27 May – Tuesday 29 May.
Former Chiefs Super Rugby Coach Ian Foster has been named as the new assistant coach of the All Blacks and former All Black great flyhalf Grant Fox has become a selector.
Hansen has been announced as Graham Henry’s successor at a media conference in Wellington this afternoon after the New Zealand Rugby Union board met earlier today to consider the appointment.
Hansen was the only candidate recommended by an appointments panel to go through to a full interview with the board, which unanimously voted for him.
Rugby World Cup winning coach Graham Henry and his assistant Steve Hansen have accepted invitations to coach the Barbarians against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday 26 November.
Lessons from the past should provide the Lions rugby union with the vision needed to get them out of their current administrative crisis.
A perfect Autumn evening in Johannesburg. Not too hot, no wind, and no threat of rain.
Perfect that is until the Blues from Aukland spoilt it all for the vast majority of the 26 532 people at Coca Cola Park in downtown Johannesburg.
An estimated Fourty five thousand spectators arrived at Coca-Cola Park on Friday evening to watch the first Super Rugby match to be played in Gauteng in 2011.
Fears that the inclement weather would keep the spectators away was unfounded, despite the fact that the game started in a slight drizzle.
There are many reasons why I will keep a very close eye on the Lions this year, and their on-field results won’t be one of them. Continue reading