LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Toulouse centre Florian Fitz appears before a disciplinary hearing on Thursday after his tackle on Tom Varndell and the subsequent gesture he made to the Wasps crowd at Adams Park. What punishment would you give him after watching the video.
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The full list of winners at the 2011 Steinlager Rugby Awards is as follows:NZRU Age Grade Player of the Year· Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty, New Zealand Under 20)Richard Crawshaw Memorial Sevens Player of the Year· Tim Mikkelson (Waikato, New Zealand Sevens)NZRU Referee of the Year· Bryce LawrenceNZRU Women’s Player of the Year· Fiao’o Fa’amausili (Auckland, Black Ferns)Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year· Andy MacDonald (Canterbury)Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year· Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury, Crusaders, All Blacks)Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year· Piri Weepu – Whakatohea (Wellington, Hurricanes, All Blacks)Heartland Championship Player of the Year· Jon Smyth (Wanganui, Heartland XV)ITM Cup Player of the Year· Aaron Cruden (Manawatu)adidas Team of the Year· All BlacksNZRU Coach of the Year· Graham Henry (All Blacks)Steinlager Salver for an Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand Rugby· Jock HobbsKelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year· Jerome Kaino (Auckland, Blues, All Blacks) Nominated for the IRB’s Junior Player of the Year after showing outstanding form at the Junior World Championship, New Zealand Under 20 and Bay of Plenty flanker Sam Cane picked up the NZRU Age Grade Player of the Year; Waikato’s Tim Mikkelson won the Richard Crawshaw Memorial Sevens Player of the Year; and All Blacks halfback Piri Weepu capped off a remarkable comeback to be named the Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year.Test referee Bryce Lawrence won the NZRU Referee of the Year award for a fourth time; and Canterbury Rugby’s Andy MacDonald was named the Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year Award for his services to community rugby, which include administration and groundsman duties, and coaching the Parklands Rugby Under 13s, Shirley Boys’ High School Under 16 and Canterbury Under 13 representative teams.The hero of the Manawatu Turbos and All Blacks first five-eighth Aaron Cruden was named the ITM Cup Player of the Year.The Heartland Championship Player of the Year Award went to Wanganui’s Jon Smyth. A member of the 2011 Heartland XV and the Meads Cup-winning Wanganui team, the lock has played 50 consecutive first-class matches for his Provincial Union.Special PresentationsThe Steinlager Salver, a special presentation to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand rugby, was presented to former All Blacks captain and recent NZRU Chairman Jock Hobbs. Acclaimed for his leadership in New Zealand’s 2005 winning bid to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup, illness forced Hobbs’ early retirement from his roles as Chairman of the NZRU and the RWC tournament body, Rugby New Zealand 2011.A Canterbury flanker in his playing days, Hobbs debuted for the All Blacks in 1983 and after captaining 16 matches including four Tests, he continued to utilise his leadership skills as an influential administrator. The successful bid to host the Rugby World Cup and the resounding success of the tournament, are testament to Hobbs’ personal integrity and the mana he commands on the international stage.The IRB this year also honoured Hobbs with the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service. AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – AUGUST 06: Jerome Kaino of the All Blacks looks on during the Tri-Nations Bledisloe Cup match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australian Wallabies at Eden Park on August 6, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images) Kaino was named the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the YearJerome Kaino’s massive contribution to the All Blacks’ 2011 campaign was rewarded when the powerhouse loose forward was named the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year at tonight’s Steinlager Rugby Awards which also celebrated the remarkable achievements of rugby hero Jock Hobbs and our own Rugby World Cup- winning All Blacks.Kaino, 28, pipped two of his All Blacks team mates – captain Richie McCaw and second five-eighth Ma’a Nonu – to win the award, which was presented by Pam Tremain to Jerome’s brother Kaino Kaino on his behalf. The award was one of 13 presented at the New Zealand Rugby Union’s annual premier awards event at the Langham Hotel in Auckland.Kaino’s relentless work rate and ball skills made him almost irreplaceable and he played all but 55 seconds of Rugby World Cup 2011. Kaino was also nominated for the IRB Player of the Year.The 2011 Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year award went to Crusaders and All Blacks loosehead prop Wyatt Crockett.The World Champion All Blacks emerged as the 2011 adidas Team of the Year, edging out the ITM Cup-winning Canterbury team, Investec Super Rugby Finalists, the Crusaders; and the World Series-winning New Zealand Sevens team.Auckland and Black Ferns forward Fiao’o Fa’amausili took out the Women’s Player of the Year award reflecting her status as one of the leading hookers in the women’s game on the international stage.All Blacks Head Coach Graham Henry won the 2011 New Zealand Rugby Coach of the Year. Henry retired from the job as one of the most successful coaches of all time, guiding the All Blacks to an 85 per cent winning record – a remarkable 88 victories from 103 Tests, during his eight years.Henry headed off a field which included Canterbury Coach Rob Penny who guided his team to a fourth successive national provincial title in this year’s ITM Cup and Gordon Tietjens who steered the New Zealand Sevens team to their ninth HSBC Sevens World Series win.Henry was the sole nominee and recipient of the 2011 IRB Coach of the Year award – the fifth time he has won the accolade.
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS He’s probably seen as too much of a risk, something of an unknown. But a quick look at two recent World Cup-winning coaches shows that sometimes it’s worth taking a punt. Sir Clive Woodward led England to glory in 2003 but when he took over the England reins in 1997 he was Andy Robinson’s assistant at Bath and internationally had only worked with England U21. That choice proved something of a masterstroke as he had a vision that suited the professional era. Kirwan hasn’t even been given the chance to put forward his vision at an interview.Jake White’s coaching experience was limited to schools and international age-grade rugby when he became South Africa coach in 2004, but his Springboks went on to lift the Webb Ellis Cup in 2007. So experience isn’t everything. Head man: Will Stuart Lancaster be given the England job full-time?As it was the headhunting firm employed by the RFU that informed Kirwan he wouldn’t be put forward for an interview, I also have to ask why there was a need for headhunters in the first place. It seems like a waste of money to me. Everyone worth knowing knew there was a vacancy and if a coach can’t be bothered to apply for one of the biggest jobs in rugby then he shouldn’t even be considered for the job. The RFU should be looking for someone with enthusiasm and drive, not someone who needs to be mollycoddled and persuaded to apply for the post.People are saying the job is now Nick Mallett’s to lose, but with Kirwan out of the running I’d like Lancaster to be given the opportunity full-time. He’s got even less experience than Kirwan but at least he was granted an interview. He’s created a great buzz within the England squad and the players have bought into his approach, so why break up a happy camp? NOT FOR FEATURED Does the cap fit? John Kirwan has been involved in a record 23 World Cup games as a player and coachBy Sarah Mockford, Rugby World Features EditorI WAS indulging in some girly pampering on my day off on Friday, but I couldn’t resist the odd glimpse at my Twitter feed. That’s where I saw the news that John Kirwan was out of the running for the England job because he was seen as too inexperienced. After reading that I needed a few more treats to perk me up.Kirwan, you see, was the man I favoured to take over the England reins if Stuart Lancaster’s interim spell did, in fact, turn out to be interim. And to rule him out on experience grounds because he hadn’t coached one of the ‘Big Eight’ countries seemed daft to me.In at deep end: Woodward had no Test coaching experience when he took charge of England in 1997For a start, he’s been involved in more World Cup games (23) than anyone (11 as a player for New Zealand, four as Italy coach and eight as Japan coach). Okay, he’s not coached one of the world’s top eight countries but surely experience in the game’s showpiece tournament counts for something, especially when the next England coach will be guiding the team to a home World Cup in 2015.Then look at his most recent coaching record with Japan. With Kirwan in charge, Japan rose from 19th to 11th in the world rankings – an impressive leap. His Japanese side also caused France numerous problems in their opening game of last year’s World Cup, a couple of late French tries putting an undeserved gloss on the scoreboard. The schedule proved their undoing after that, but he had Japan playing an attractive rugby style that suited their skill-set. What could he do with the playing resources, not to mention money, available in a country like England? Well, sadly we won’t find out because he won’t be given the chance.
Back-room team: Jonny Wilkinson has picked out four coaches who have been hugely beneficial to his careerBy Jonny Wilkinson, England 2003 World Cup winnerI HAVE been enormously fortunate to have been coached by some of the best coaches around. Here I let you know why they are so good…Double act: Steve Black with JonnySteve BlackFormer Newcastle Falcons mentor, fitness conditioner, motivator and mental visualisation guru It is difficult to narrow down what Blackie’s strengths are because there are no weaknesses. His class is his ridiculous knowledge, his thirst for gaining more and his ability to apply it all to an athlete. Blackie treats everybody as an individual and has always found the best way to help me to get better, just by being myself.His flexibility means he has been able to train me to the maximum in any environment, under any time constraints and in any circumstances (normally involving me being injured and unable to use the majority of my body!).He knows sport and understands pressure having been there and done it himself. Everything he teaches is about staying specific to your goal and visualising yourself being great so that no negative energy is wasted elsewhere. He leads by example and has only ever asked one thing from me: that I am honest in saying that I really want it and that I turn up and give him all that I have got.I discuss my goals with Blackie numerous times every season and then I know that I don’t need to ask any more questions. I trust him that much and without him I simply wouldn’t be here. Blackie has kept me going, kept me training and kept me improving every day.Kicking guru: Dave AlredDave Alred MBEEngland assistant coach, kicking coach, mind coach and psychological specialistI have worked with Dave since I was 16 years old. He revolutionised my understanding of kicking and changed the course of my career. I was an average kicker at best and he showed me that it was truly possible to take full control of your abilities.Dave always knows exactly what I’m talking about, even when I’m making no sense. This is because he possesses the proof. By this I mean he not only gives you the ‘how to’ but actually then goes and does it himself. I will never forget the first few times he kicked in front of me. I couldn’t believe we were using the same ball. Dave has been there too, kicking at the highest level in rugby league, union and American football. His principles cross to any sport and he is currently changing professional golfers’ lives too, just like he changed mine.Dave’s amazing ability to use metaphor and conjure up images to help explain his points is phenomenally powerful. He has given me technique and understanding which holds up under pressure and has been there for me without failure from day one. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Watch a Jonny Wilkinson kicking masterclassEarly mentor: John FletcherJohn FletcherCurrent England U18 coach and former Newcastle Falcons Academy Manager and Director of RugbyJohn Fletcher knows his stuff inside out and always gives you the details you need for the ‘how to’ part of coaching, but his skill is that he knows how to communicate it. He has knowledge and incredible people skills.I met John when he came to coach the academy up at Newcastle Falcons. I instantly recognised the respect that the young players had for him. All the players did, not just the ones playing in the team but also the ones who never made it. When he became head coach I experienced it myself. Fletch created a great team environment and guided his players brilliantly, but he also spent time with everyone. He listened, made the effort to understand each individual and made us all feel important.With very few people have I ever felt such a good balance between being coached and being given the freedom to express myself and my ideas. As a team, I don’t think we ever performed so consistently well as we did under Fletch’s reign.World Cup hug: Clive WoodwardSir Clive WoodwardThe British Olympic Association’s Director of Elite Performance and England’s 2003 World Cup-winning coachEverybody knows that the Clive Woodward era of England rugby was a productive one, but it did not come about without a huge amount of effort and great leadership. One of Clive’s main strengths was his ability to combine learning lessons from defeat with creative decision making and forethought. He had a fantastic way of leading change. This often entailed taking big risks and some fairly serious tactical shifts but he took the pressure of those potential outcomes on himself and left us with nothing but the confidence and the motivation to go out there and believe in ourselves.Doing things differently to how they have largely been done before takes courage and conviction. Doing the same thing without deep understanding and awareness of what is required to make it work is actually irresponsible. Clive put in place an amazing set up which ensured he could take England rugby in a new direction. He never stopped thinking outside the box in innovative new ways, but at the same time he never lost sight of what rugby had taught him and the lessons we went through together. NOT FOR FEATURED All of these abilities came together to enable Clive to lead a victorious World Cup campaign. Clive was at the head of the team, but also spent huge amounts of time with every one of us, ensuring we were happy, looked after and ready to be our bests. It was an approach which was to bring us all the reward we ever wanted.There are approximately 1.1m people involved in coaching in the UK and with the London Olympics just months away, Gillette has launched its ‘Great Start’ campaign, which aims to celebrate coaches and inspire the next generation. Gillette is awarding ‘Great Start’ grants in 2012 to help both existing and new coaches gain qualifications. Applications can be made via www.facebook.com/GilletteUK – just click on the ‘Coaching’ link.
Doing what they’re good at: Talents Mike Phillips and James O’Connor have made wrong choices in recent timesBy Alan DymockTHERE IS a sitcom starring David Cross called ‘The increasingly poor decisions of Todd Margaret’ and while the subject is somewhat unusual – the American protagonist spends his days trying to flog an energy drink to the British – you could supplant the name of the lead character with one of Mike Phillips or James O’Connor and the title would still make perfect sense.The Welsh scrum-half is anxiously awaiting his fate with club Bayonne after it was reported he had been sacked by the club following an incident where allegedly he, Kiwi stand-off Stephen Brett and Dwayne Haare all turned up drunk to a video analysis session following an Amlin Challenge Cup victory over Grenoble.Doing his job: Phillips playing for Bayonne against ToulonThe club later announced that the report from ‘paper Midi Olympique was inaccurate, stating: “Aviron Bayonnais Rugby Pro says that so far no decision has been made regarding the recent facts reported by the press.“Aviron Bayonnais Rugby Pro deplores the deliberate attempt on the part of Midi Olympique and its website rugbyrama.fr to destabilise (the club) on the eve of an important game in the club season.”However, Phillips himself has been moved to apologise for his actions and will have to see where things land. The player is no stranger to controversy and while he has protested that things have been blown out of proportion before this incident sits in stark contrast with his sentiment in the August edition of Rugby World, when he said he was looking to settle down and have a few young ‘uns.Some Welsh fans have called for the Lion to return to Wales, however it remains to be seen what the fallout of this latest infraction will be and what the actual facts are. Nevertheless, with Phillips being 31, some may be surprised that headlines like this are still being written.However, while it could be argued that the half-back should know better, there is an almost off-kilter response to the news that James O’Connor may be coming to England to ply his trade with London Irish. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS After being told that he was a poisonous influence in the Wallaby dressing room and being let loose by the Melbourne Rebels it was announced that O’Connor would have no contract with the ARU until after 2014. This was a move that gave O’Connor the option to take a look at himself and decide whether he wanted to knuckle down and aim for full reinstatement – there was never any official statement to say his Australian future was completely over from that point – in 2015 and for the Rugby World Cup.Happier times: O’Connor with AustraliaAt 23, the versatile back has already amassed 44 caps, still has the mentality to impress on a good day and could side-step wood in a matchbox. What he does lack, though, besides the fortitude to avoid social howlers, is foresight.Surely it would be better for James O’Connor the athlete and James O’Connor the human to stay in Australia?While several parties have expressed excitement at potentially seeing another talented star cutting a swathe through the Aviva Premiership, a lower-order side seeking big names is hardly likely to impose social shackles on him. Or are they? Is the big city of London the environment for him to stay in, live clean and reflect on his past failings?He has time to pull his socks up and earn his way back into international favour for 2015. It will be much harder to do so from Europe and maybe this is the sort of mountain he needs to climb and so he has purposefully chucked his crampons away. MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 19: James O’Connor of the Wallabies watches on during an Australian Wallabies training session at Visy Park on August 19, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) Who knows, but he is lucky he still has options in a continent that have a liberal approach to signing from outside its borders. However, if O’Connor was to look at Mike Phillips (who certainly does still have an international future at this point) he would quickly see that even the liberal European clubs take a hard-line view when players behave unprofessionally.Let’s hope the pair have set their minds to make the kind of decisions that make them better people and ensure they are still superb rugby players two years from now.
Plan of action? Philippe Saint-Andre tries to get his point across in training. Photo: Reuters THE STATS are damning. Since taking charge of France at the end of 2011, Philippe Saint-André has presided over an era of unparalleled RBS 6 Nations failure. Of 18 matches, France have won just seven – and not one victory against Ireland and Wales, Europe’s two strongest teams over the past decade. His detractors – growing in number and volubility – cite the incoherence of his overall strategy as his biggest failing. As one exasperated Frenchman wrote to Midi Olympique last month: “Can someone please tell me what this team’s game plan is?” This column can’t, but it can highlight ten other areas where Saint-André has gaffed…1. Slow out of the blocksThe 2012 Six Nations was the perfect chance to begin building for RWC 2015 after the turbulence of the 2011 tournament, when an experienced French squad reached the final despite a very public falling out with then coach Marc Lievremont. It was time for a new era, young players who would form the heart of the 2015 squad. Instead, for his first match in charge against Italy, PSA selected ten players in his starting XV who were the wrong side of 30, including many – Aurélien Rougerie, Dimitri Yachvili, Lionel Nallet and William Servat – who were past their international peak.2. Messing with MasNicolas Mas was one of the ten thirtysomethings selected for that Italy Test. But three years later the Montpellier tighthead, now 34, remains one of the best scrummagers in the world game, as he showed with his form in the weeks before this year’s Six Nations. PSA duly selected Mas only to omit him from his first three match-day squads in preference for props so inferior to the masterly Mas it’s laughable.No way through: Wesley Fofana is surrounded by Ireland’s tacklers. Photo: Reuters3. Wasting WesPSA has never managed to get the best out of Wesley Fofana, one of the most gifted centres in European rugby. He even got it into his head in 2012 that the Clermont man was better on the wing, and so Fofana found himself shunted out wide for seven Tests. A criminal waste of one of France’s most potent attacking weapons.4. A nightmare for flairTo lose is one thing but to lose without panache is what has most distressed the French public in PSA’s sterile reign. Just 57 tries in 35 Tests, that’s an average of 1.62 per game. Contrast that with the 94 tries scored by France under Lievremont (2.08 a game) or the 295 tries Les Bleus scored in the 98 Tests under Bernard Laporte, an average of 3.01 a match.5. Hapless PapéThere was a time when the 34-year-old Pascal Papé was a decent second-row forward for France. But he’s never been an inspirational captain. His notorious indiscipline (witness his recent ten-week ban for kneeing Jamie Heaslip) was reason enough not to make him captain in the absence of the frequently injured Thierry Dusautoir. But the manner in which Papé bawled out the young Hugo Bonneval during last season’s game against Wales should have prompted PSA to strip Papé of the honour there and then. This Six Nations has highlighted the flaws of the France coach’s regime Past his best? Pascal Pape tries to find a way through the Scotland defence. Photo: Reuters6. Tough on TeddyA genuine talent, Racing winger Teddy Thomas was the star of France’s first two autumn Tests last year, dotting down for a hat-trick against Fiji and then scoring a brilliant try in the win over the Wallabies. Four days later he was out on his ear, jettisoned for missing a squad meeting. Of course, Thomas should have been present but it was a minor indiscretion from a young man with a fragile temperament. PSA’s heavy-handed response to drop him for the Argentina Test was crass.7. Selection shamblesSince taking charge of Les Bleus, PSA has called on no fewer than 81 players. If that figure wasn’t alarming enough, the fact that 43 of them have won fewer than five caps bears testament to his incoherent selection policy.8. Position ImpossibleWesley Fofana isn’t the only player to have been played out of position by PSA. Clemont’s Damien Chouly is a fine blindside but in his 22 appearances for France at No 8 he’s rarely impressed. Yet of all PSA’s potty positional switches none surpass his bizarre decision to start last season’s Six Nations game against Scotland with Sebastien Vahaamahina at six. The 6ft 7in, 19st giant is slow for a lock, let alone a loose forward, and he’d never played a full game in the back row for his club. He lasted 65 minutes before being replaced and has never appeared in the No 6 shirt again. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Man at ten: Camille Lopez tries to offload to Yoann Huget against Wales. Photo: Inpho9. Young, gifted and shorn of confidenceLast season it was Jules Plisson, this season it’s Camille Lopez. Two young fly-halves who started their club seasons in fine form and a few months later – once they’d spent time with PSA – were shadows of their former selves, shorn of their confidence and making the most basic of errors. And it’s not just fly-halves: Scott Spedding, Maxime Mermoz, Sébastien Tillous-Borde and Hugo Bonneval are just some of the other fine players not able to express themselves for France the way they regularly do for their clubs.10. The Blame GameIn an emotional press conference the day after the defeat to Wales, PSA savaged his players, describing them as “starlets” and insinuating some were more interested in off-field activities than playing for France. But the buck must always stop with the coach, and how can any Test side expect to play well when in 35 Tests there have been 15 different half-back combinations? The truth is that PSA has never been up to the job of coaching France, as his shocking win ratio of 40% proves. With just 14 victories in his three-and-a-half years in charge – a return that makes him the worst coach in the history of the national team – it’s time he was fired and a new face installed who, might, just might, give France a faint chance of turning things round in time for the World Cup.
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS To a younger audience, John Sydney ‘Syd’ Millar will be more familiar as an elder statesman of rugby administration, this recognition coming after a four-year stint as IRB chairman (2003-07) and eight years as chairman of the IRFU (1995-2003).Yet to those a little longer in the tooth, Millar was a hard-nosed prop from Country Antrim who played his club rugby with Ballymena and Ulster.Despite being built like a brick outhouse, Millar started his early rugby career as an outside-half and was more than capable of stepping away from the coal face and playing a handling game.A highly technical prop, however, he prided himself on the set-piece and could play on either side of the scrum. Although tighthead was said to be his preference, he packed down at loosehead in both the 1959 and 1962 Lions series, and it’s in that capacity that he makes our Top 10 list.Called up for Ireland in 1958, Millar won the first of his 37 caps against France in Colombes. He showed the tenacity that served him well in later years when, after being overlooked for nearly four years, he reclaimed his Ireland shirt, making a final 14 appearances with his last game coming against Wales in 1970. TAGS: The Greatest Players Major teams: Ballymena, UlsterCountry: IrelandTest span: 1958-70Ireland caps: 37 (37 starts)Lions caps: 9 (9 starts)Test points: 0 Millar also went on to carve a reputation as a Lions talisman and he holds the distinction of being involved in more tours than his great friend and fellow Ulsterman, Willie John McBride. Millar was involved in nine tours, playing in three, where he started in nine Tests.In all he played 39 times for the Lions, displaying guile and diplomacy in equal measure, so it was no surprise when he was selected to be head coach on the 1974 tour, where he memorably led the ‘Invincibles’ to a series win in South Africa. His various administrative positions include chairman on the 2001 Lions tour to Australia and a Legion d’honneur in 2007.For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here.
Ireland shocked the rugby world at the weekend with a first win over the All Blacks in 111 years and in doing so handed Steve Hansen’s men their first defeat of 2016 By the Whiff of Cordite blogDespite having a team entirely composed of players from the unfairly maligned Pro12, Ireland managed to not only win a rugby match but beat the record-equalling New Zealand with an unforgettable performance in Chicago. In a match of many memorable moments, the one that will live long in our memories is Conor and four other Irishmen man-handling Julian Savea into touch in the 74th minute. It was clinical, clear-headed and nasty – and the moment you knew the game was won. In hindsight, you could question the All Blacks focus, and certainly the selection – Jerome Kaino at lock? – but this was about so much more. It was about Ireland bashing down a psychological barrier, and boy did they do so. In the grand tradition of semi-thoughtful hot takes from us, here’s the quintet of learnings:Passion: Every Ireland player lifted their gameIreland’s closers got it done.Ireland have twice threatened signature breakthroughs recently – in 2013 they were 16 points in front at half-time against the same opponents (until Saturday, a record deficit), but couldn’t quite hang in there. Ryan Crotty’s try was the culmination of relentless All Blacks pressure and Irish desperation just running out of road. This summer, Ireland had the exact same lead in the second test in Johannesburg, but by the time the Irish bench got on, the Springboks were rampant, and a series Ireland should have won was lost. This time, the bench managed to wrestle momentum back to Ireland – a 15-minute wobble meant it was a 4 point game in the 65th minute, but from there Ireland successfully disrupted New Zealand and forced them into a desperate chasing game. It was the platform for the glorious finale.Bitter memories: The famous last-second loss to the All Blacks will have haunted IrelandConor Murray bestrode the game like a colossusAaron Smith has been one of the standout players of the last 12 months, but he was completely eclipsed by Murray. By the time Smith knew where Murray was for his try, the Munsterman had scored, had a shower and got a round in at the post-match function. Such a display of controlled poise marks Murray out among the worlds elite, and he must surely be should pencilled in as a Lions starter next June.World-class: Conor Murray’s performance put him in an elite bandIreland are no longer reliant on Johnny Sexton And how can we not point out the architect of a piece of history, the man who came up with the gameplan that outwitted his own countrymen – Joe Schmidt. We’ve been a critic of Schmidt’s selections as conservative and too reliant on a core bunch of men from his Leinster days. Indeed, we were critical of his selection of Rob Kearney and Jordi Murphy for Saturday. Now, you can argue until the cows come home about Van der Flier’s heroics in his hour, or whether Tiernan O’Halloran would have done what Kearney did and more – but you can’t deny Schmidt got it right. Again. As Pat Lam said, Schmidt was the only person in the country who would have selected Kearney, but it paid off. We’ll continue to opine, but questioning Schmidt is generally a losing trade. The phrase “in Joe we trust” makes us gag for a number of reasons, but still – Uncle Joe is undoubtedly some sort of genius. And one Ireland have locked down for the entirety of this RWC cycle. Hallelujah!Mark of respect: Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith congratulate Joe SchmidtFor the latest Rugby World subscription offers click here. Find your local stockist here and you can download the digital edition here. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS In the very recent past, opponents would look at Johnny Sexton and see Ireland’s beating heart, a man who could be taken out to disrupt the rhythm of the entire team. Now, we’ve seen Paddy Jackson almost orchestrate a series win in South Africa, and Joey Carbery slot in against the All Blacks as if he was clocking in for a regular runout at the RDS. Sexton is far from done, but Ireland are no longer as reliant on the cranky playmaker as they have been and that’s a good thing. All Ireland need now is a backup No 9 who is semi-decent?Nerveless: Joey Carbery proved an able deputy for Johnny SextonAndy Farrell defensive masterclass One pleasing aspect of Ireland’s performance was the blitz defence that bore the unmistakable hallmark of one Andrew Farrell. Irish teams have come unstuck against that kind of defensive alignment in the past, particularly from pumped up English ball-carriers and Warren Gatland‘s Welsh power-runners so it was gratifying to see the men in green being the blitzers for once. Farrell got plenty of brickbats cast his way with England, but his expertise in league-style defence was never in doubt. The signs were there in South Africa, but Saturday’s team had the indelible stamp of a Farrell defence.No way through: Andy Farrell deserves credit for inspiring Ireland’s defenceThe incomparable Joe Schmidt One for the scrapbooks: Munster’s Ireland contingent celebrate history
Ireland: Rob Kearney; Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Keith Earls; Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Niall Scannell, Tadhg Furlong; Devin Toner, James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony (capt), Dan Leavy, CJ Stander.Replacements: Rob Herring, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Joey Carbery, Jordan Larmour. All you need to know about the second Test between Australia and Ireland in Melbourne Australia v Ireland Preview for Match TwoLast week’s series opener between Australia and Ireland was such a close affair that in the end it took a decisive, dominant scrum from the Wallabies, a bullying breakdown performance from David Pocock and a CJ Stander try that never was to see the worlds’ No 2 side defeated.The manner of that 18-9 loss is why Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has made big changes to his pack. He hopes to counter their hosts’ set-piece and to combat the work of Wallaby scavengers.Game one was a furiously physical contest, with the result in the balance to the death. Many will point to Stander’s incredible run for the line that ended with the No 8 unable to get a decisive grounding under the bodies of Marika Koroibete and Dane Haylett-Petty.However, the Wallabies deserve great credit for their tenacity and gumption up front. Even though questions were raised about why a late Kieran Marmion try was chalked off for a dubious ‘knock-on’, the result had been secured already.Related – Australia’s scrum analysed in current issue of Rugby WorldSo how can Ireland turn things around in Test two?If it ain’t broke…: The Wallabies have named the exact same sideWhat’s the big team news?For the visitors, Johnny Sexton returns at fly-half as Joe Schmidt makes eight changes. Andrew Conway and Garry Ringrose also come into the back-line, while there is a new-look front row with Cian Healy, Niall Scannell and Tadhg Furlong joining forces.Mr Reliable, Devin Toner replaces Iain Henderson at lock and Dan Leavy comes in for Jordi Murphy on the flank.Meanwhile, perhaps in an attempt to show that the breakdown is not just a green and gold domain, turnover-specialist Tadhg Beirne looks in line for his Test debut as he is listed amongst the substitutes.Related – The remarkable story of Tadhg BeirneThe Wallabies have rewarded last week’s winning side by putting out an unchanged team this week, which means Ireland know exactly what’s coming…Chief nuisance: David Pocock’s performance at the breakdown has generated a lot of opinionsWhat have the coaches said?“He’ll wear (the scrutiny). He’s a tough guy. I think it’s been a bit overblown. He’s just going to rucks and trying to make tackles and get up. That’s football, that’s rugby. I don’t know why it’s such a big deal,” Cheika said of breakdown nuisance and last week’s man of the match, Pocock.Cheika was also reacting to the words of Irish columnist Neil Francis, who described Pocock as “a cancer on the game” earlier in the week. Cheika continued: “That guy needs to choose his words better. It’s not a very nice term to use to say … there are people who are really sick out there so I’m not into that.” Meanwhile, Joe Schmidt said: “With Australia naming the same team, we’re very confident that they’ll come well prepared and they’ll improve their game a little bit, so we’ve got to improve that little bit more because I felt they were very good last Saturday.”Wanting more: Joe Schmidt talks to his players in trainingAny interesting statistics?46 – This is the first time in Michael Cheika’s four-year reign as Wallabies head coach – spanning 46 Tests – that he has picked the same side for two consecutive matches.56 – David Pocock’s number of ruck involvements last week. That includes four turnovers in 15 attempts to steal the ball.81.3% – Australia’s lineout win percentage last week (Ireland’s was 100%).2 – Ireland lost in their two previous visits to Melbourne (17-16 at RWC 2003 and 18-12 in 2008)1.66 – The ranking points available if Ireland win, meaning they stay in second place in the World Rankings. If they lose, they swap places with Australia in third.When does it kick off and is it on TV?This will be played at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Kick-off is at 11am UK and Ireland time. Match coverage will be shown live on Sky Sports Action from 10.45am.Paul Williams from New Zealand will be the referee.Shoring up the scrum: Niall Scannell comes into the front rowWhat are the line-ups?Australia: Israel Folau; Dane Haylett-Petty, Samu Kerevi, Kurtley Beale, Marika Koroibete; Bernard Foley, Will Genia; Scott Sio, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Sekope Kepu, Izack Rodda, Adam Coleman, David Pocock, Michael Hooper (capt), Caleb Timu.Replacements: Tolu Latu, Tom Robertson, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Lukhan Tui, Pete Samu, Nick Phipps, Reece Hodge. Back in harness: Johnny Sexton returns in one of eight Irish changes LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
More than a cycling challenge – Make a new year’s resolution by joining Dallaglio Cycle Slam and Break The Cycle. Are you ready for a cycling challenge across the Mediterranean next summer, where you could be joining World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio, England and Tigers legend Austin Healey and pop royalty in Andrew Ridgeley?Then why don’t you join the Dallaglio Cycle Slam? The event could be a fantastic new year’s resolution by challenging yourself to get ready for the demanding stages as well as raising important funds for Dallaglio RugbyWorks with disengaged 14 to 17-year-olds.Taking place in June and July 2020 across Spain and Portugal, the three-week cycling tour will see over 80 riders navigating their way through a route that will take in the likes of Valencia, Seville and Lisbon.Once signed up to the Cycle Slam, all travel, accommodation and meals will be included in your cycling adventure, so you can focus on your attempts to take on the challenges of the Mediterranean course, whilst raising as much money as possible to help the 550 young people we work with thrive in the UK.Over 15 days, the Slammers will cycle over a combined total of 1700km each on a route designed by Ben Wilson, former World Masters Games Road Race champion. Dallaglio Cycle Slam is a truly special event and riders will be a vital part of ensuring disengaged and disadvantaged young people will be able to succeed in life. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS There are still places available on stages one and two on Cycle Slam, so if you wish to join Lawrence, Austin and Andrew on an incredible journey supporting a greater cause, book your place today by visiting dallagliorugbyworks.com or contacting [email protected] could help break the cycle of lack of opportunities for disengaged young people to succeed in life by raising essential funds with your cycling efforts! There will also be plenty of opportunities along the way to get into the team spirit with group gatherings at the end of each day and stage to get the camaraderie as rider raise each penny and pound through their pedal power.All money raised will go to Dallaglio RugbyWorks. The charity helps over 550 young people across eight regions in England and Wales, with the aim of supporting young people with the highest needs in the country secure future opportunities in education, employment and training.