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.
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.
Nathan Grey and Stephen Larkham have been reportedly appointed as assistant coaches for Wallabies.
The defense coach for Waratah and head coach for Brumbies have taken up their new responsibilities for Test season 2015, whilst continuing with previous roles at Super Rugby.
Stephen, who would have a dispatch to work with backs, is revered as one among Australia’s best of playmakers whose stellar record includes Bledisloe, Rugby World & Tri-Nations Victories. Grey is an erstwhile centre from the Australian rugby team & he had been an eminent part of 2 Rugby Worlds and also played a huge role in the first Super Rugby championship title of Waratah.
Michael Cheika, the Wallabies, had only great words to say about the recent selections. “It is crucial that you’ve the best possible personnel & best probable high performing program now when you are marching towards winning performances”, remarked Cheika.
The coach described Stephen as “a great coach & erstwhile player with seriously incredible credentials & in-depth understanding on the steps taken to succeed at this environ- including playing a significant role as an Australian player in 3 Rugby World campaigns.”
Speaking on Grey, the coach noted that Nathan has come up with “a brilliant job in his days at Super Rugby & his great coaching has received kudos by whole Wallabies team during 2014 Spring Tour.”
Wallabies coaching ranks are further upped by selection by Mr. Dean Benton and the man would be playing a significant role in players’ preparation for Rugby Worlds.
However, Cheika should appoint a forwards coach & set-piece given the resignation of Blades (Andrew). The coach has stated that a declaration is to made over time after he expressed his thanks for Blades for a great service.
On the other hand, whilst Patrick Molihan would be the Team Manager, Simon Roberts would be Team Operations Manager.
Kurtley Beale, the troubled playmaker for the Australia Rugby team has seen his contract with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) extended by a further year despite off field troubles ahead of the Rugby World Cup in the summer.
Beale will be a part of the Wallabies squad for the upcoming Rugby World Cup on English soil despite being sanctioned by the ARU for a lewd text message that he had sent to a former business manager of the Wallabies and an altercation in-flight against a member if the team staff in October 2014.
Beale, who currently plays with the Australian Super Rugby XV club the New South Wales Waratahs will remain with the club for the upcoming 2015 season as well.
The 26 year old was sacked from the Australia Rugby team by the ARU after the team returned from Argentina following their autumn internationals in October to allow a full investigation into the incidents. However, after the investigation failed to throw up enough evidence to prove him guilty, Beale managed to escape suspension by the ARU.
He linked up with the Wallabies squad for the final two tests during their spring tour of England and Ireland.
He said that he remains grateful to his club and the ARU for allowing him to continue his playing career in the country. He added that with the Rugby World Cup just around the corner, he is looking forward to getting back out there and play his best rugby for his club in order to cement his place in the Australia Rugby team.
The club was also delighted to announce his extension and is hoping that his off field distractions are behind him once and for all and he will be able to perform n the field with full focus and fulfil his potential.
The tragic news of Hughes’ demise was not only saddening for the Australian cricket team but for the entire sports sector of Down Under. Along with the Baggy Greens, the Aussie rugby too came up with their tribute to the late young cricketer earlier this month.
Australian rugby team players put out cricket bats in the memory of Hughes at Dubai Sevens & produced a stellar power play that definitely made their country, even amidst the mourning ambience for a premature death all over.
When the Australian national rugby women squad lined up ahead of the world series finale against the Kiwis, they had bats along with. It echoed their heart-felt tribute to late Australian cricket player Phil Hughes. Albeit the women side succumbed to a sad final-play loss yet their male counterparts maintained hopes of 1st Dubai title thanks to their 3 great triumphs in the pool play.
The team signed off at the inaugural day of world series challenge by beating the English rugby team before a bustling gallery of 44,000+ people at Sevens.
Erstwhile volleyball player Pama Fou & NZ-born Fa’alava’au (Allan) scored tries in the 12-5 win by Australia. They too came up with cricket bats as a tribute to Hughes.
The team coach Geraint John shared that the team had discussions on how to pay fitting tribute to Hughes.
“We had discussions on it and decided to come up with cricket bats & black armbands”, stated the Welshman. John has been coaching the Wallabies for 5 months now.
“We decided to do that since it’s not only the Aussies who have paid their tributes to the young talent but also sports personalities from all across the world. It was a duty for us & it’s the 1st time that we could come up with our performance since his death.”