Category Archives: All Blacks

England, Wales eye finals

nippon loses fire

Braves Blossoms lost their steam in their quarterfinals against South Africa. Photo: NikkeiAsia

In spite of the last minute effort by the Welsh to comeback and snatch a win from France; the Red Dragons look the better contender to advance to the finals against England in a fortnight.

Watching the game on television last night, the French had done enough to win the match but didn’t have the killer punch to amass enough points to keep the margin clear from the grasp of the Six Nations champion, Wales.

But the unlucky red card on French lock Sebastien Vahaamahina for smashing his elbow into the face of flanker Aaron Wainwright in a needless moment of foul play weakened Les Bleus playing the last half-hour with 14 men.

The nine-point margin was chewed up by a penalty and a converted try which pushed Wales 20-19 to pip the French on full time.

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The unleashing of Bok’s halfback Faf de Clerk’s box kicks softened the attack from the Brave Blossoms. Photo: World Rugby

The last quarterfinal between unheralded hosts Japan and South Africa was a tussle of strength and strategy with the Springboks’ so simple and decisive.

Playing to their strength in the height with tons of high balls, the Boks cut off the successful ground assaults that the Japanese had utilised in their pool matches especially against Ireland and Scotland.

The tackling by the South Africans was increased and the effective ploy in the elimination of the speed and power in the two wideouts Kenki Fukuoka and Kotaro Matsushima, sometimes gang tackling by the heavier Boks’ defenders.

The intensive running game by the Brave Blossoms in their last match against the Scots had sapped the strength of the forwards, especially the loose forwards who had seemingly had endless supply of energy.

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Kiwis eying a three-peat. Photo: World Rugby

Pivot Yu Tamura who had amassed a total of 51 points; had an off day with his attacks and bag of options in pinpoint cross and grubber kicks which had softened the sharpness of attacks witnessed during the pool games.

The open show of emotions by the Japanese in weeping with the loss by both players and fans has characterised the 2019 Rugby World Cup as a tournament that gave freedom for expression for men to publicly weep.

Incidently, the weeping by the players and fans were not confined to the quarterfinal loss but were witnessed in the victories over tier one nations Ireland and Scotland in the pool matches.

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The Red Dragons score a try against Les Bleus. Photo: Independent

England are beginning to show glimpses of their armory with the dispatching of Australia 40-16 in the earlier quarterfinals on Saturday and the Kiwis dismissed Ireland with a 46-14 scoreline.

England is the only team that can match New Zealand with brute strength and swiftness of play so the winners of the first semi-final this Saturday may very well walk away with the spoils, the Webb-Ellis Cup.

Wales have the size and strength to match the Springboks in the second semi-final but both teams currently don’t have the firepower and defence to match the first semi-finalist opponents.

England looks like the form team to win a second title.

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England left wing Johny May scored the first try against the Wallabies. Photo: BBC



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Filed under 2019 Rugby World Cup, All Blacks, England, Focus on rwc, Rugby World Cup, South Africa, Springboks, Wales, William Webb-Ellis Cup

Fiji or Japan to win 2019 RWC


The Brave Blossoms celebrate after upsetting the Springboks in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Getty Images


Just like the violent tsunami that hit Kamaishi, the aftereffects of the 2011 great Sendai 9.1 earthquake, a Tier 2 nation will win the Japanese Rugby World Cup after the final at the International Stadium in Yokohama on November 2.

Either hosts Japan or Fiji will win the number IX showcase event after Tier One nations New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and England dominated proceedings in the past eight tournaments.

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Filed under All Blacks, Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, Flying Fijians, Japan, Opinion, Pacific Nations Cup, Rugby World Cup, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Springboks, Wales, Wallabies

Veitokani replaces Volavola

After four years of a stranglehold as pivot for the Flying Fijians, a new flyhalf in Alifereti Veitokani has been named for the return match against the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua.
Ben Volavola who was thrown in the cauldron of battle against England in the opening match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in Twickenham was a surprise inclusion to fans. Continue reading

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Filed under All Blacks, Fiji, Flying Fijians, Maori All Blacks

Steep hill to climb

Rotorua attraction . . . geothermal lakes

The Flying Fijians will have a steep hill to climb on the return match in Rotorua on Saturday night after humbling the Kiwis 27-10 in Suva.

The end of the 62 year drought against the Maori All Blacks will have sent chills in the spines of both the big boys of the Pacific; New Zealand and Australia and will try to out-manouvre the tiny island nation and put them back in the backwaters where they belong.

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Filed under All Blacks, British Lions, Europe Fiji players, Fiji, Fiji Rugby Union, Flying Fijians, Focus on rwc, French Club, Lions, New Zealand, Rugby World Cup, Super Rugby, Top 14, World Rugby Cup

Kiwis sidestep their way to Las Vegas

One of the new stars of the New Zealand sevens side. Rieko Ioane. Photo: IRB

One of the new stars of the New Zealand sevens side. Rieko Ioane. Photo: IRB

TV commentator Keith Quinn gives his thoughts on the Sevens Wellington as he travels to round five of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Las Vegas.

Following New Zealand’s victory over England at the Sevens Wellington, we caught up with TV commentator Keith Quinn who watched on at the Westpac Stadium. Quinn witnessed Gordon Tietjens’ side win 27-21 in the final and record their first Cup title of the season, and will travel with the teams to round five of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Las Vegas, where Olympic qualification continues.

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Filed under All Blacks, HSBC Sevens World Series, New Zealand, Sevens

NZ master conditions to beat England

Richie McCaw controls the ball for the Kiwis. Photo: Planet Rugby

Richie McCaw controls the ball for the Kiwis. Photo: Planet Rugby

Winning by three tries to two, New Zealand controlled the appalling conditions in the second half to defeat England 21-24 at Twickenham.

Nowhere near their best but so effective in the way they handled the weather, the All Blacks put away a spirited England side to make it six wins out of the last seven In London.

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Filed under All Blacks, England, New Zealand, November Tests

Tameifuna changes his mind


Ben bides time to make up his mind to go black or red. Photo: Skysports

Ben bides time to make up his mind to go black or red. Photo: Skysports

Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna has changed his mind about playing for Tonga and now hopes to play for New Zealand instead.

Tameifuna, who was in the All Blacks training squad in 2012, was originally selected for Tonga’s end of year tour which consists of away Tests against Georgia, the United States and Scotland.

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Filed under All Blacks, England 2015, Focus on rwc, Pacific Islanders, Super Rugby, Tonga, William Webb-Ellis Cup