Sonny Bill Williams after facing the ban of four years will start playing in New Zealand’s Rugby Championship at center in the opening match against Australia.
Williams, who is now 32 years old was sent off in the second Lions Test, he successfully appealed against the of not including him in a warm-up game during his ban.
He back Kurtley Beale, who is now 28 years old and for Australia, he will make his first appearance after the World Cup final of 2015.
On the other hand, the coach of All Blacks, Steve Hansen has made about six major changes to the side for the third Test, which takes place against the Irish and British Lions in July.
Williams will be partnered by Ryan Crotty at the center, Damian McKenzie comes in at fullback, Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith are named on the wings, whereas Jerome Kaino was replaced by Liam Squire at blindside flanker.
Williams after being red carded has not played any match. He was shown the red card on 1st July for the shoulder charge on Anthony Watson during the second Test victory of Lions over New Zealand.
But now after so many up and downs, the player is all set to show his game to the world.
Experts are hoping that, Williams would have best used the ban time to train himself and he will be able to get on top of a couple of niggles.
Nevertheless, as far as the performance of Williams is concerned, he looks confident and it seems he has groomed himself. The first game of him is the only yardstick to check his preparation for the game. Though, the team as well as the fans of Williams, has lots of hopes from him.
It was a frustrating weekend for the Australian Rugby coach, Michael Cheika after his team fell to a defeat by Scotland in Sydney.
His situation was worsened when a furious fan of the team sent in a long post on the popular social media site, Facebook lashing out at the team for their lousy attitude towards the game.
The social media post by Jack Quigley, an amateur rugby coach and player which made international headlines attracted no less than 50,000 likes.
Fuelled by “15 years of hurt” and 16 beers, the post caught the attention of the Wallabies coach and he decided to give the rugby fan a call.
The post Quigley wrote read thus,
“I’m a pleb. I’m a nobody,” he wrote. “My opinion on rugby counts for the square root of f-all in the grand scheme of things.
“But I’ve got one thing. Passion…. Passion for the game of rugby, and for the Wallabies.And you can’t deny me that. Despite your best efforts.”
Quigleywho offered to address the team with a pep talk in no more than 15 minutes noted that the players lacked passion for the game.
On Monday however, Cheika called the sorrow-laden fan and in a long conversation with him, he urged the fan to continue keeping the faith.
The Wallabies coach however disagreed with some points raised by the fan such as that the players lacked passion for the game and that about Bernard Foley’s goal kicking. He agreed though that fans were in support of the post as it resonated with them.
Cheika who noted that they always wished to make the fans proud in their outings asked Quigley to talk to the fans as that was one important thing to do.
Speaking recently to the AFP in London, Nick Mallett, former coach of the South African Rugby team has reiterated that the coaching touch of Eddie Jones – Australia Rugby team coach, and New Zealanders coach Joe Schmidt has gone a long way to reduce the gap between the northern hemisphere rugby and that of their southern rivals.
Mallett was the coach of the South African team that went on a 17 match winning streak back then in the 1997-98 season. The former coach, while referring to the 2015 world cup, pointed out that the situation had reached an all-time low when the four semi-finalists in the competition, all emerged from the southern hemisphere sides.
Thus Mallett believes that the Six Nations tournament is now the premier international competition, having overtaken the Rugby Championship between World Cups. Also, the 60-year old who once coached Italy in his time for a Six Nations competition, noted that there was more uncertainty in the Six Nations than in any other competitions.
“The Six Nations has a lot more uncertainty about it because there are several teams who can win it,” he said.
Mallett also believes a major reason why the Six Nations currently holds the title of the best regional competition is because the Rugby Championship where the New Zealanders get a bonus point in every game last year has made it become more of a predictable affair.
“New Zealand got a bonus point in every game of last year’s championship. They’re too powerful and no competition is good when everyone knows who the winner is going to be,” said Mallett, whilst speaking as part of the Accenture Analysis Unit.
He further noted that the Six Nations this year would see one potential winner, as Ireland would host England in the final rounds of the game.
After appearing before a World Rugby independent disciplinary committee, Dean Mumm has been cleared to play alongside the rest of the Australian Rugby squad on Saturday in the game against England at Twickenham.
The Wallabies flanker had been sin binned in the second minute of Australia’s game against Ireland where they went on to a 27-24 defeat. This was after he had been involved in a lifting tackle on Tadhg Furlong and subsequently cited for the offence.
Mumm, 32 years old, had appeared at the hearing held in London on Tuesday where he was informed that there would not be any further action against him.
The three man disciplinary committee which was chaired by Welshman, Simon Thomas had accepted Mumms argument that the tackle was not fit to be a red card offence even though it warranted a yellow card, and thus, he should be allowed to play.
“It didn’t meet the red card threshold and that was backed up by the disciplinary committee,”
“It was a good result.”
As the news of Mumms clearance filtered in, French side, StadeFrancais tempered a second rebuttal on the availability of the Wallabies half back, Will Genia.
Genia had left on Sunday back to Paris from Dublin while the rest of the Australian Rugby squad jetted off to London in preparation for their game with England at the Twickenham.
With a loss to Ireland on Saturday ending any hopes for a first grand slam, StadeFrancais remained insistent that Genia be allowed to return back to the French capital ahead of the game against Bayonne on Saturday.
This is despite Cheika having allowed Genia sit out the game against New Zealand earlier this year, so as to let him feature for his club with the hope that he would be available later on.
The coach of the Australian rugby team, Michael Cheika, believes that the Queensland County young players will be very much benefitted from playing with rugby legend Brad Thorn.
The 41 year old former All Blacks lock Brad Horn has decided to come out of retirement to play for the Queensland County against the Western Sydney Rams at the Concord Oval. This match is part of the National Rugby Championship in the country. He will be playing in top level rugby after a gap of one year.
Cheika says that Thorn’s inputs to the team will be very valuable. He did not feel that the young players will suffer due to the return of the Queensland County assistant coach into the playing arena. There will be no problem with that and all that is needed is to enter a game with a perfectly balanced team. There are a lot of new players coming up and you do not find anyone saying that they are being held back. The stage is there for everyone to make use of the opportunity that they get and to show that they belong to this league.
Australia has featured nine new players this season and there could be a couple more that could make the cut by the end of this rugby season. It is all about embracing the opportunity that is given to a player and to make full use of it. In fact, players must make full use of the chance to play with legends and to learn more from them. The National Rugby Championship is not a tournament that is held to promote emerging youth and it provides the youngsters a chance to learn a lot from players like Thorn on the field.
If the tournament must be focusing only on youths, then it must be made an under-20s tournament and not an NRC.
Quade Cooper has signed a deal for 3 years with the Queensland Reds. This deal will entitle him to stay in Australian Rugby Union through to the World Cup in 2019. The 28 year old rugby players had given his consent to the Rugby Union of Australia many weeks ago.
This made him to come back to the Wallabys as he mulled on offers from the Melbourne Rebels and the Reds. But, Cooper expressed his interest on one particular destination. He said there is no better place than Ballymore as he spent his best days of life here with family and friends. Cooper has spent more time in Ballymore than at his home.
As he looked at his life to figure out what was the most important thing he wanted to do, it was the club that brought him back to the top. When he looks ahead, he realizes that he has a team with good people and a new coach. On the back of his move, the bookies made Queensland one of their expert betting tips for the upcoming season, with many recognising that they have the strength in depth to compete now.
A whole lot of things are happening and Cooper is so excited to be a part of everything. Cooper is the best thing and his signings should make the team come back as a strong force after many non attempted seasons.
The captain Stephen Moore and George Smith are in terms to take part in Queensland. The squad is inclusive of numerous wallabies like Taniela Tupou and Andrew Ready. As per Coach Nick Stiles, the achievement of championship title happens when there are quality people in the squad.
Hence, with the return of Quade Cooper in the squad, the coach is fully assured that the best quality is added to the team. The best thing that the coach likes about Cooper is that he is a good competitor and hence such competitors are required to win championships. Well, let’s hope that Cooper keeps up his good work and shows his best rugby performance.
The World Rugby championships being underway, there is much being discussed about the two teams, Australia and England.
Both the teams have a rich history of wins and losses. Last year the tournament had been held in England and the latter had been humiliated when they were unable to pass to the knockout rounds. This time they have been faring better, even if the matches have been happening in Australia. The series opener saw England winning the match, even the first Test series. Hence, there is much anticipation about the upcoming second Test series.
Eddie Jones as the head coach of the English team is much in the spotlight and there is a lot of speculation as to how he is motivating and strategizing with the team to ensure their win of the series. Many fans wish to know the details so that they do not miss watching the match in prime time. The second Test is scheduled to be held on June 18th. It would take place in Melbourne, AAMI Park.
The match would kick off in the morning hours, ensuring that the fans can take to the screens or to the seats at the stadium as soon as they have completed their breakfast. Those who wish to catch the live action should have subscription to Sky Sports I. that will allow them to catch the live action on the field. Alternately, for those who are subscribed to Sky Sports II can catch the highlights in the evening. There are live blogs that would be documenting progress of the game as well. Eddie Jones has been busy, announcing changes in his team’s position for the upcoming game. Fans can surely catch the excitement and be part of the spectacle as it unfolds this weekend and decides the fate for both the teams.
If you reverse to last year’s Rugby championships you will remember the tackle made by Israel Folau of the Australian team, which was attacked by Malakai and others of New Zealand.
This occurred in the Bledisloe cup tournament that was held between the All Blacks team of New Zealand and the Wallabies in Australia. The game had occurred at the Eden Park in August last year in Auckland. Australia definitely showed England who was the champion in the home run final match last year, but there is another clash coming up in June in Brisbane which the fullback player feels will be formidable this year.
This game will be a series opener, which Australia will play against England in June 11. It would be the first clash for the teams after Wallabies were able to oust the hosts in the World Cup last year. The score had been 33-13 which was an exciting group match for Twickenham. Since that last game there has been much water that has flowed under the bridge. England has obtained a new coach and they have become a resurgent figure. They have managed to win the grand slam Six Nations event that was held earlier in the year.
On the other hand, the Wallabies have not been on the playing field since last six months when they lost in the World Cup final to the All Blacks team of New Zealand. Folau, one of the prominent players of the Australian team, feels that the team is not short of motivation for the three match series coming up but they need to be on a competitive edge. Folau feels that the team has to showcase consistency in their performance, which can be tough to maintain over the years. Hence, when the competition begins will it showcase how their great talents are honed and how they can utilize them.
Twickenham is all set to host a Rugby Championship Test game between Australia and Argentina later this year. Sanzaar, the tournament organizer, has stated on 8th October, Saturday, as the date for a match.
This match will make history as this is the very first Rugby Championship game to be played outside any of participating countries – Australia, Argentina, South Africa and New Zealand.
The match, which goes as a home match for Argentina, would finish this year’s contest that started on 20th August and also lists venues like Buenos Aires, Brisbane, Sydney and Wellington.
It suggested that Australia and Argentina will go back to Twickenham around a year after they confronted each other on the same place in a World Cup semi-final game that Wallabies won 29-15.
Andy Marinos, the chief executive of Sanzaar, told that while they see the exciting and daring brand of rugby played by southern hemisphere teams on a daily basis, previous year’s Rugby World Cup truly and well revealed that skill and flair to the rest of the world.
He added that they are happy to declare that two of their national squads Australia and Argentina would be coming back to the United Kingdom some twelve months later to contend what would be a historic chapter of the Rugby Championship – with fans able to buy tickets through this website.
Ian Ritchie, the chief executive of Rugby Football Union, told that they are happy to have the Rugby Championship coming to Twickenham Stadium this October, the first time that one of its matches has been played in England.
After welcoming so many teams and fans here during the 2015 Rugby World Cup, it would be great to be able to open their doors again.
Andrew Hore, a New Zealand born rugby administrator, believes that Welsh as well as Pro12 rugby squads could one day be a part of the Super Rugby elite in an elaborated contest.
Andrew, who was the Crusaders’ trainer one time, is leaving his job as Welsh club Ospreys’ chief executive to become the Waratahs’ new Chief Executive Officer in Sydney.
He fears that the Pro12 that features the Ospreys as well as other teams from Scotland, Italy, Wales and Ireland,, is in danger of leaving behind other Euro contests – England’s Aviva Premiership as well as France’s Top Fourteen as their considerably stronger financial sinew – and later on further the gap between the northern as well as southern hemisphere.
Hore, who has earlier worked for the New Zealand and Welsh rugby unions in high performance roles, thinks that a radical shake up is needed for Pro12 to survive, along with something which is uniquely different to the contests in France and England – and something that could increase Pro 12’s TV appeal.
Speaking to Sunday Times, Hore told that he could not see any deal being overtly great unless they are prepared to change their structure to give television something. The important thing is, what is it their supporters and television companies want that would make a different and valuable proposition, uniquely different from the Premiership and Top 14. They have to bring in a new product around them instead of stagnating and staying with tradition.