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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News sees New Zealand Trying To Make Amends,  Argentina Prepares , Europe Wrap, and Caslick is All In

NEW ZEALAND TRYING TO MAKE AMENDS

Sam Cane and Ian Foster in the post-match press conference

Fresh off back to back losses and increasing media scuttlebutt regarding his future, All Blacks coach Ian Foster has rung the changes in the forward pack for their must-win clash against the Pumas on Saturday.

With continued pressure in the NZ media even making it to the BBC overseas, Foster has resisted the urge to make massive changes to the team, opting instead to shake up the pack in order to take the game to the Argentinian’s, who out muscled and out-enthused them in the last encounter.

In the front row, Joe Moody and Nepo Laulala come into the team to start. Scott Barrett returns at lock after his silly yellow card against the Wallabies in Brisbane, and in the loose Akira Ioane replaces Shannon Frizell. Among the finishers, TJ Perenara and Will Jordan come back into the equation.

It is not very often that the All Blacks feel the need to talk about redemption, but 2020 being the bizarro world that it is, this is where we are. Foster told rugby.com.au that redemption was precisely the theme of the week in the New Zealand camp, saying, “We’ve had a great week building into what will be a vital Test for us,” he said. “It’s exciting in the sense that we have the opportunity to redeem ourselves after our last game, and we also have the opportunity to win the Tri Nations. There’s a real determination in the team to perform well, not only for ourselves, but also our families and friends at home and our country.”

Should the All Blacks fail to win this weekend what will this actually mean for Foster? Will a move be made by a country not used to losing? The All Blacks have not lost three in a row since 1998 so this is clearly not sitting well with many over the ditch.

What would you do if you were New Zealand Rugby? Let us know in the comments.

ALL BLACKS (1-15): Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Nepo Laulala, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Akira Ioane, Sam Cane (c), Ardie Savea, Aaron Smith, Richie Mo’unga, Caleb Clarke, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jordie Barrett, Beauden Barrett

RESERVES: Codie Taylor, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Tyrel Lomax, Patrick Tuipulotu, Hoskins Sotutu, TJ Perenara, Rieko Ioane, Will Jordan

ARGENTINA PREPARES

Michael Cheika, Mario Ledesma and Mick Byrne

After two momentous weeks of rugby for Los Pumas, they back up for the third week in a row with a chance to put one (unexpected a month ago) hand on the Tri-Nations trophy against the All Blacks.

Mario Ledesma, perhaps to give some aching bodies a chance to rest and perhaps also with one defensive eye on an All Blacks team that will perhaps be angrier than ever has made sweeping changes to his team, with only five of the fifteen who started against the Wallabies in the starting side this weekend.

Rather than mention who has come into the team, it is probably easier to look at who is left from last week.  Hooker Julian Montoya, lock Guido Petti, back-rowers Pablo Matera and Marcos Kremer and fly-half Nicolas Sanchez are the only remaining players from the Wallaby game.

Among the notables into the starting lineup are No.8 Facundo Isa, who returned from injury off the bench last week, fullback Emiliano Boffelli and centre Jeronimo de la Fuente so it is not Ledesma is short of talent or experience among those coming in.

If you look on paper then the All Blacks should romp this in, but paper has not meant much the last couple of weeks has it? The Argentinians seems to have developed the team bonds not unlike the All Blacks under Richie McCaw, whereas the All Blacks in their last two games have been the disjointed, ill-disciplined team that doesn’t seem to have a plan B when the going gets tough.

On that basis, the paper tip says the All Blacks by 20 but only if they have found their mojo again. If they haven’t then Matera and his band of merry men may just come away with the chocolates again.

PUMAS (1-15): Mayco Vivas, Julian Montoya, Santiago Medrano, Guido Petti, Lucas Paulos, Pablo Matera (c), Marcos Kremer, Facundo Isa, Felipe Ezcurra, Nicolas Sanchez, Santiago Cordero, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Juan Cruz Mallia, Ramiro Moyano, Emiliano Boffelli

RESERVES: Santiago Socino, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Lucio Sordoni, Matias Alemanno, Santiago Grondona, Gonzalo Bertranou, Santiago Carreras, Lucas Mensa

 

EUROPE WRAP

320px-Premiership_rugby_logo_2018.svg

With yet another Fiji game in the Autumn Nations Cup being called off, let’s take a look at the other games this weekend as well as some of the other rugby news coming out of Europe this week.

Firstly a small piece of good news for the RFU in England with news overnight that the UK Government is slowly opening attendance up again with 2,000 allowed at Twickenham for their final game Nations Cup game next weekend. Should England win this weekend against Wales it will be for first place in what has become the Mickey Mouse Cup.

Firstly the English need to get past a Welsh team that still hasn’t quite clicked yet, and English coach Eddie Jones has done his usual mental games saying the English will “bring an intensity the Welsh have never faced before.” The Welsh meanwhile have made eight changes after beating Georgia last week, and flanker James Botham makes his second start while telling all that he wants to make his own legacy while at the same time being photographed with his pie loving ex-cricketing grandfather.

Other matches in the Nations Cup include France v Italy on Saturday night which the French are taking very seriously by naming five debtuants while on Sunday Scotland take on what has been a disappointing Georgian outfit.

In English club rugby this weekend’s round sees London Irish face Leicester, Newcastle v Sale, Northampton and Harlequins, Bristol hosting Worcester, Gloucester and Wasps, Exeter Chiefs and Wasps.

In the land of the Pro-14, Leinster and Scarlets is off due to COVID in the Scarlets camp, while Connacht play Ospreys, Benetton host Dragons, and Cardiff host Glasgow.

 

CASLICK IS ALL IN

Charlotte Caslick

In a year that has been sadly bereft of actual Sevens rugby, let alone news from the Sevens front, it brings me great joy to bring this to you the reader. In a move that will go a long way to assisting in the defence of the Gold medal won in Rio, superstar Charlotte Caslick has been the latest key member of the squad to commit to playing in the now-2021 Tokyo Olympics.

After a briefy but memorable stint in NRLW this year where a number of the Sevens squad performed exceptionally, the focus is turning back to Tokyo and the defence of the medal against key foe New Zealand, whose last four years have been building solely to one thing- winning the Gold Medal and squaring the Olympic ledger.

Caslick and the others that crossed over to the dark side all excelled, more than likely as a result of them coming from their background of professionalism as opposed to the semi-professional nature of the NRLW.

She has vowed to be part of the title defence, telling ESPN, “This team has taken the challenges thrown at us in our stride and I am really proud of the way we have adapted and progressed with everything that happened this year,” Caslick said. “I am looking forward to continuing the hard work as we work towards that Olympic goal.”

For his part coach John Manenti was just as pleased to see the talismanic player commit, saying, “We saw this year how world-class Charlotte is across the codes and it is a credit to her the way she attacks every opportunity both on and off the field,” Manenti said. “We are really excited to have Charlotte committing to what will be a big 2021 with the Olympics ahead and making sure that we are peaking at the right time.”

The return of Caslick means the key players including Sharni Williams, Shannon Parry, Ellia Green, Chloe Dalton and Emilee Cherry are all lining up to be part of the squad to come home with back-to-back Golds.

It is still unclear exactly how the Sevens scene will shape up pre-Tokyo with the NZ and Australian legs of the tour already binned. It may be the case that as opposed to the HSBC Sevens Series, the key teams might look to set up some sort of bubble and compete in their own camp and tournament environments, so stay tuned as the Aussie Sevens gear up for Tokyo.

 

 

 

 

  • Dr K Mootoosamy

    Jack Whetton has signed with the Waratahs for 2021

    • Ads

      Not quite the marquee signing we were hoping for but good to see some activity. Hope he goes well.

      • Alister Smith

        If we refuse to let the Argentinian locks (run on and reserves) leave the state after next weekend’s game it would be a good start. Let’s get Gladys on it, sort of a reverse quarantine- say you aren’t allowed to leave the country (except to travel to NZ for games) for a period of 3 years. We will make an exception if you renounce your Argentina citizenship in which case you can travel overseas but only as part of a Wallabies squad.

        • Greg

          Mr Dutton?
          Do the have au pair skills?

        • Alister Smith

          I’ll get on it. I am sure they can look after a few kids between training. Or run some kiddy rugby drills at least.

    • Reds Revival

      At 6’4″, he’s not exactly the tall timber that they need.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Ben. Well I’m picking ABs by 15. Sort of have to TBH or they may start revoking my citizenship. It will be an interesting game and I think how the ABs respond to the niggle and slow play will be key. I’m hoping they just ignore it and up the intensity in the contact so they get fast ball. I think they key to beating the rush defence is to up the tempo with fast ball out to players running onto it and then varying the attack. If the ABs do this then I think a BP win is there for the taking.
    Great to see these girls coming back and preparing for the 7’s. I almost enjoy the girls 7’s more than the boys and it’s be great to see them play again.

    • Reds Revival

      The ABs have always struggled with rush defence (England and SA), so unless they have come up with a different plan I think they will find it hard going against the Pumas. I expect a tight match, but will be surprised if the ABs don’t win it (although, I would be very happy with a draw).

      • onlinesideline

        50 mins – blackout that will last 10 mins and break the Argies

      • UTG

        They’ve hardly changed their personnel which is going to make it hard to play that differently. Can’t believe Savea is still starting over Sotutu, they got pummelled by the Pumas backrow last game and they’re still starting with two 7s when they have a quality 8 on the bench?

        J Bar seems to be tenured at this point. Shocking game last time, just not a winger at all. Get Will Jordan in there.

        Perenara on the bench to come on and throw wild passes. Weber looked lively when he came on last game.

        Once again they’re pinning their hopes on the Argies dropping their bundle and Mo’unga and Barrett capitalising on counter. Big risk, the Pumas haven’t had a poor defensive period this tournament.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        I think every team struggles with the rush defence. It’s a hard one to defend, which is why teams do it of course. The ABs have tried using pods with quick passes to change the point of attack but I’m not sure that’s effective. When I’m refereeing it’s always been the quick ball and variety that breaks it down

  • Brisneyland Local

    My tip. Kiwi’s by 20 points! I dont know why but i reckon after all this pressure they are come out hard. I am not sure the FISM’s can back it up three weeks in a row.

    • Greg

      Go the FISM.
      We all know we want it! :-)

      • Brisneyland Local

        Greg, didnt say I didnt want the FISM’s to win. Because I do. I just dont think the AB’s can be held down three in a row. After the pizzling they have copped in the media, I reckon they will come out uber hard.

        • Timbo

          They may want it, but the Argies now know that the black jersey is not magical or impossible to beat. They have heart and playing for Maradona who was a big Pumas fan, they will come out hard and really test the blackness. ABs by 3 with some tired and broken bodies

        • Brisneyland Local

          I think we all got this one wrong

        • Ian

          “Coming out uber hard” sounds like the name of the all blacks madi-gras float?

        • Yowie

          As a tribute to the rugby gay community, perhaps the regular All Blacks could adopt the mardi gras version of the haka (done to dance music) in their regular games for a bit?

          Obviously some of the non-family-friendly dance moves might need to be altered a bit depending on kick-off broadcast time.

        • Reds Revival

          The haka done to the tune of “YMCA”.

        • From NooZealand
        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure gold

        • Damo

          But just imagine the hullabaloo across the ditch if the Argies do win.

        • From NooZealand

          We re not even thinking that (we are terrorized)

        • From NooZealand

          Hope so, not sure.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        I don’t

    • I think playing three weeks in a row at this level might be the deciding factor tbh. I’ll admit I was a bit surprised that the Pumas didn’t fall off the pace towards the end of either of their last two matches with their crazy preparation schedule, something we’ve seen in previous years, but you’ve got to think it will have an effect eventually.

      I’ll be interested to see how the tweaked back row of the ABs goes. Frizzel has been a bit hit and miss for me, Ioane might be better. I just think they’ve fixed only 2/3 of the problem. Cane might be a really nice guy, and he’s had one stellar game, but too many mediocre ones. There are better 7’s in NZ (one is playing at 8 and it good there too) and someone who has a bit more mongrel than Cane would be good for what’s sure to be a real scrap at the breakdown would be good for the ABs. They don’t really need what Cane provides at his best: an elegant fetcher and a smooth runner and passer, they need someone who scraps over the ball, McCaw like. OK, the laws have changed so maybe not exactly McCaw like, but in that sense of scrapping at every damn ruck… and Cane is never that player.

      In the longer view, unpopular though it may be, for Australian rugby, I’m going to say I hope the ABs win comfortably. If they do, they’ll probably keep Foster. If they lose again, I think he’ll be out. Over the next three years, I’m much more worried about a Robertson-coached ABs will do than a Foster-coached ABs

  • Mike D

    I see Foster is saying they’ve prepared well… so they’ve trained well.

    • Reds Revival

      They’re guaranteed the win then…

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      He’s sounding more like Cheika every day

  • Mike D

    This one’s going to come down to the ref. There will be some “interesting” play in the break down and around the contact, from both sides. Which colour will be more invisible? Will the ref suddenly spot that Penni jumps right across the lineout when he’s making a steal? Will the Pumas be penalised for not rolling away? Will ABs be pulled up for loitering offside behind the ruck?

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    So Foster is complaining about the niggle, and how those poor innocent never-transgress New Zealanders are being victimised.

    *cough* Dane Coles *cough*

  • Reds Revival

    Out of interest, which team would figure that they have the home ground advantage this weekend?

    • Who?

      NZ. Every game they play in Australia is a home game for them. Even at ‘Fortress Suncorp’, there were more boos for Swinton’s high shot than Tu’ungafasi’s.

  • Patrick

    I said on an earlier post that this was NZ’s greatest challenge since 99. Well last night French TV kindly replayed the 99 SF in honour of Domenici and let me say that was an amazing match, so much I had forgotten .

    But most of all a kiwi team with a weak captain (even if Sam Cane is not Taine Randell territory), a soft pack and an untried coach coming off a generational change are mentally there for the taking.

    I think the Argies will put them under all sorts of pressure and it will be a hell of a match.

  • Greg

    It is hilarious listening to the kiwi commentators complaining about cynical play from the Pumas!!

    • Geoffro

      Not as hilarious as everyone saying the ABs are done.

      • Greg

        Geoffro,
        They just seemd so aggrieved that this could happen.

        They can’t do thet…. thet is cynical.

        Where have they been for the last 20 years?

        • Geoffro

          :) :) I know what you saying

Rugby
@Ben_Marczyk

Passionate about rugby from the grass roots up. Usually found at Brisbane club rugby games, or being involved in the junior and schools system. Love a chat, happy to admit when I'm wrong. I will watch any game of rugby regardless of who is playing, from juniors through to tests

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