England thrash France 44-8 in 2019 Six Nations

England have continued good run in Six Nations Championship 2019, with 44-8 victory against France on 10th February 2019 at Twickenham Stadium, London. England have won second match in a row in 2019 Six Nations. This is France’s second defeat with largest margin versus England, after their 37-0 loss in 1911. This is second biggest loss for France against any team in Six/Five Nations history since that drubbing. Six Nations Championship offers adequate training for Rugby World Cup 2019 to rugby union teams hailing from northern hemisphere.

England attacked on France right from the start of match. Jonny May opened scoring with a penalty on 2′. English captain Owen Farrell kicked a penalty on 7′. Morgan Parra opened account for France by nailing a penalty on 10′. Farrell smashed his second penalty on 13′. Jonny May booted his second try on 24′. Jonny May completed his hat-trick of penalties on 29′, that Owen Farrell converted on 31′. Damian Penaud registered second and final scoring shot for France with a try on 35′. Henry Slade knocked a try on 40′ that Farrell converted. England were way ahead with 30-8 against France on half time.

England overpowered France in Six Nations 2019
England overpowered France in Six Nations 2019

With a 22 point deficit, chances of revival were bleak for France. A penalty try on 49′ all but sealed the game for England. Owen Farrell hit a penalty on 55′ and did a subsequent conversion himself on 56′. Scoreline read 44-8 in favour of England and remained so till match finish time. France were so devastated that they could not manufacture another scoring shot. Game closed on 44-8 with England emerging as victorious team on the closing time.

England coach Eddie Jones stated: “We weren’t happy at half time; we felt we had gone off the boil a little so I was really pleased with the second half as we shut them out … left a few scoring opportunities out there but certainly our second half was better than our first. It is a difficult game, you get points in front, your natural tendency is to get seduced by the scoreboard and you start doing things you wouldn’t normally do but we kept to our discipline. That’s the way the game is going (the kicking). If teams defend like that (with a high line) then the space is there in the back field and we have the pace. I’m sure teams will start defending us differently and that will create space in other areas.”

France coach Jacques Brunel said: “It was obviously very disappointing, especially the first half. The kicking game created pressure that we were not able to overcome. The same things happened throughout the game. We found ourselves on the line without anyone in behind and we were punished.”

England Vs France 44-8
10th February 2019 – Twickenham Stadium, London
England: 44
Try: Jonny May (2′, 24′, 29′), Henry Slade (40′), Penalty Try (49′), Owen Farrell (55′)
Con: Owen Farrell (31′, 40′, 56′)
Pen: Owen Farrell (7′, 13′)
France: 8
Try: Morgan Parra (10′)
Pen: Damian Penaud (35′)

Italy beaten by Wales 15-26 in Six Nations 2019

Italy have continued their lean run in 2019 Six Nations Championship, with a 15-26 defeat against Wales on 9th February 2019 at Stadio Olimpico, Rome. Wales have won second match of 2019 Six Nations to extend their winning run to eleven matches. Six Nations Championship provides ample preparations of Rugby World Cup 2019 for rugby union teams belonging to northern hemisphere.

Wales played attacking game from the start with Dan Biggar going on penalty spree, scoring four times on 2’, 15’, 19’ and 30’. Visitors were on the roll with scoreline reading 0-12. Italy opened score with a try by Braam Steyn on 34’, that Tommaso Allan converted on 36’ to make score 7-12. Wales had a lead of 5 points over hosts Italy on half time.

Italy defeated by Wales 15-26 in Six Nations 2019
Italy defeated by Wales 15-26 in Six Nations 2019

Tommaso Allan nailed a penalty on 44’ to take Ireland close with 10-12. But then Wales went on to take game out of the reach of Italy. Josh Adams kicked a try on 54’, that Dan Biggar converted on 55’. Owen Watkin hit a try on 70’, with a conversion by Gareth Anscombe on 71’. Scorecard read 10-26 in Wales favour at that point. Edoardo Padovani slotted over a penalty for Italy on 75’ to take hosts to 15 points. Italian side could not score more points, and match finished on 15-26 with Wales turning victorious on the close.

This was Wales’ 11th consecutive win, international men’s rugby union competitions. It equaled their longest winning run, set between 1907 and 1910. Italy have been defeated for record 19 times in Six Nations. Italy had last won versus Scotland in February 2015. Josh Navidi was judged man of the match. Wait of Italy rugby team and coach Conor O’Shea for a victory in Six Nations continues.

Wales coach Warren Gatland said: “There’s definitely things we need to work on. Our lineouts were poor again, and if we play like that against England, it could be embarrassing. We won’t play like that, though. There were a few guys out there that hadn’t played a lot of rugby so we weren’t as tight in the front five as we would have liked. We made those changes because we are trying to look ahead to the World Cup. We didn’t have as much momentum and tempo as we would have liked, but we’re looking at the Six Nations and trying to build for the World Cup.”

Italy Vs Wales 15-26
9th February 2019 – Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Italy: 15
Try: Braam Steyn (34’), Edoardo Padovani (75’)
Con: Tommaso Allan (36’)
Pen: Tommaso Allan (44’)
Wales: 26
Try: Josh Adams (54’), Owen Watkin (70’)
Con: Dan Biggar (55’), Gareth Anscombe (71’)
Pen: Dan Biggar (2’, 15’, 19’, 30’)

Australia remove assistant coach Stephen Larkham before Rugby World Cup 2019

Rugby Australia has removed Stephen Larkham from assistant coach job. He had strong differences with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika. He is appointed as national performance national high-performance coach adviser. The decision to axe Stephen Larkham from attack coach post was made by head coach Michael Cheika. His removal is surprising because there are just little over seven months are left in the Rugby World Cup 2019.

Rugby Australia (RA) issued a statement: “Larkham will move into the new role with immediate effect after a decision was made by head coach Michael Cheika that Larkham should no longer continue in the role of assistant coach of the Wallabies”.

Australia remove assistant coach Stephen Larkham on head coach Michael Cheika's demand
Australia remove assistant coach Stephen Larkham on head coach Michael Cheika’s demand

Stephen Larkham had been attack coach since 27th October 2015. Michael Cheika had chosen him for assistant coach role after joining wallabies as head coach in 22nd October 2014. Michael Cheika and Stephen Larkham guided Australia to final of 2015 Rugby World Cup, where they eventually lost to New Zealand. Relationship between the two coaches deteriorated. They were not on same page regarding strategy and game philosophy. Stephen Larkham will focus on coach mentoring, coaching and skills development across Rugby Australia’s national programmes, including Australian sevens program, Junior Wallabies, state under-20s academies and Wallaroos.

Stephen Larkham said: “Ultimately Michael is responsible for the performance of the team. We have differences in attacking strategy and overall game philosophy. We couldn’t agree on these key points and it is in the best interest of the team that they receive clear and consistent messages from their coaches. I am obviously disappointed with this outcome as I had chosen to pursue the experience of taking the Wallabies through to the World Cup, however I am pleased to be able to continue coaching and contributing to Australian Rugby in this new role.”

Australia gone through worst season in 2018, winning just 4 out of 13 matches. This was worst win-loss record for Wallabies in 60 years. Rugby Australia reviewed dismal performance, but shown faith in coaching of Michael Cheika. RA though have roped in Scot Johnson for newly created post of Director of Rugby. Shuffling in team management has also resulted in resignation of Haydn Masters from head of athletic preparation job.

Ireland stunned by England 20-32 in 2019 Six Nations

Ireland have a dismal start to their 2019 Six Nations Championship campaign, with a 20-32 defeat against England on 2nd February 2019 at Aviva Stadium, Dublin. England under coach Eddie Jones kicked their Six Nations 2019 quest by outclassing 2018 champions Ireland. Six Nations Championship offers important preparation of Rugby World Cup 2019 for rugby union teams from northern hemisphere.

England outclass Ireland in Six Nations 2019
England outclass Ireland in Six Nations 2019

England attacked right from the beginning with Jonathan May scoring a try in 2′, that captain Owen Farrell converted on 3′ to make score 0-7 in visitors favour. Ireland replied with a penalty by Jonathan Sexton on 11′. Irish prop Cian Healy hit a try on 25′, which Jonathan Sexton converted on 26′ to turn scoreline read 10-7. Elliot Daly put England ahead with a try on 30′ and subsequent conversion by Farrell on 31′. Owen Farrell nailed a penalty on 40′ to put England in lead with 10-17 score on half time.

Jonathan Sexton kicked a penalty on 55′ to take Ireland close. But then England went on rampage to take game out of Ireland. Henry Slade smashed a try on 66′, while Owen Farrell connected a penalty on 70′. Henry Slade scored his second try on 76′, with a conversion by Farrell on 77′. John Cooney consoled Ireland with a try on 80′ with a conversion by Jonathan Sexton to make scoreboard read 20-32 with England emerging victorious on match close.

This was first home defeat for Ireland under coach Joe Schmidt in Six Nations Championship. This loss finished Ireland’s 12-match winning streak at home. This was first victory of England against Ireland at Aviva Stadium after their win in 2013 Six Nations, which had also ended the run of 14 unbeaten matches by Ireland at Aviva Stadium. England won the Millennium Trophy for 19th time with Ireland trailing by 13 awards.

Ireland Vs England 20-32
2nd February 2019 – Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Ireland: 20
Try: Cian Healy (25′), John Cooney (80′)
Con: Jonathan Sexton (26′, 80′)
Pen: Jonathan Sexton (11′, 55′)
England: 32
Try: Jonathan May (2′), Elliot Daly (30′), Henry Slade (66′, 76′)
Con: Owen Farrell (3′, 31′, 77′)
Pen: Owen Farrell (40′, 70′)

New Zealand Rugby and Cricket stars to Play in Black Clash Twenty20

Rugby and Cricket players of New Zealand will compete in “Black Clash” Twenty20 match on 25th January 2018 at Hagley Oval in Christchurch. Winners will be awarded with Lomu-Crowe trophy. This cricket trophy is named after late sports legends Martin Crowe and Jonah Lomu. Proceeds from the match will be used for charity.

Jonah Lomu was New Zealand rugby star, who was famous around the world. He had debuted in 1995 at the age of 19, becoming the youngest ever All Black. He ended his international career with 63 caps and 37 tries in 2002. He died in November 2015 at the age of 40 after a heart attack. Martin Crowe was a former New Zealand Cricket captain and one of the finest Kiwi batsman. Crowe was skipper of famed BlackCaps cricket team that was tipped for success in 1992 Cricket World Cup before being eliminated by Pakistan in Semi Final. Martin Crowe died aged 53 in March 2016 after a long battle with cancer.

New Zealand Rugby and Cricket players to Contest in Black Clash Twenty20
New Zealand Rugby and Cricket players to Contest in Black Clash Twenty20

Team Rugby will feature main All Blacks rugby players like Kieran Read, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Israel Dagg, Jordie Barrett, Ofisa Tunu’u, Jason Spice, Richie McCaw, Ali Williams, Kaylum Boshier and Kendra Cocksedge. Team Rugby have selected former Australia cricketer David Hussey as international wildcard. Team Rugby will wear the red and black colours of Canterbury. New Zealand rugby team are currently preparing for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan. This contest offers a different kind of preparation for All Blacks as it is uphill task to take on seasoned cricket superstars.

All Blacks outside back Israel Dagg said: “It’s huge. Look at the trophy, it’s amazing, it’s beautiful. It symbolises New Zealand and, obviously, you’ve got two great, world renowned athletes in Lomu and Crowe. Those names will live on forever.”

Dagg who had tryst with cricket in 2005 echoed: “I’ll try and get it down as fast as I can. Obviously, with rugby you do a lot more upper body weights. I’ll try and do 130, something like that. I live pretty close to [All Blacks captain Kieran] Reado, so I might knock on his door and go and have a net.”

Team Cricket will include Brendon McCullum, Stephen Fleming, Luke Ronchi, Grant Elliott, Kyle Mills, James Franklin, Hamish Marshall, Nathan Astle, Chris Harris and Liz Perry. Team Cricket will announce the international wildcard next week. Team Cricket will don the blue kit in the competition. Team Cricket comprise of retired cricket players, but proceed from this match will benefit New Zealand Cricket. Experts have termed BlackCaps as favourits for Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.

New Zealand’s hero in the 2015 World Cup semifinal and final Grant Elliott stated: “Absolutely. Everything to lose, nothing to gain but our pride. I think pride is the important thing. I’ve always seen games like this start off with a bit of a smile on the face, but then there’s always a pivotal moment and suddenly that completive spirit takes over.”

Team Rugby: Kieran Read (c), Richie McCaw, Israel Dagg, Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Aaron Smith, Jason Spice, Ali Williams, Kendra Cocksedge, Kaylum Boshier, Ofisa Tunu’u, David Hussey (wildcard). Coach: Sir Graham Henry.

Team Cricket: Stephen Fleming (player coach), Brendon McCullum (c), Grant Elliott, Luke Ronchi, Kyle Mills, Chris Harris, Nathan Astle, James Franklin, Hamish Marshall, Liz Perry, Wildcard (TBA). Manager/motivator: Scott Robertson.

Beauden Barrett: New Zealand coach Steve Hansen tough to replace

All Blacks player Beauden Barrett has praised outgoing Steve Hansen, as his team prepares for last season with him as head coach. Hansen will step down as New Zealand coach after Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan. Beauden stated this during an interview with Stuff.co.nz on January 7, 2019.

Beauden Barrett says New Zealand coach Steve Hansen will be tough to replace
Beauden Barrett says New Zealand coach Steve Hansen will be tough to replace

Beauden Barrett said: “He’ll be a huge loss – but it leaves an opportunity for someone else to step up. He’s done a lot for me and my game and I have to thank him for that. I could only wish him the best. He’s had a fantastic career and obviously the job’s not done yet – We all want to win the World Cup, retain the Bledisloe [Cup] and all the rest of it.”

All Blacks first-five Beauden Barrett has reckoned that it will be difficult to best Steve Hansen, as he has set top standards. In his opinion future coaches will have to carry on the legacy. It will definitely be hard for them to fill his shoes.

Beauden Barrett described: “His ability to understand the player and get the best out of the player [is vital]. He knows how every individual in the team ticks, he treats everyone as an individual and I think the way he’s developed that, from when I first made the team to now – it’s obviously been a work-on and that’s why he’s the best coach in my opinion.”

Beauden Barrett who is now 27 years of age, had started his New Zealand career under Steve Hansen in 2012. He went on to become important All Blacks team member under guidance of Hansen. He credited his coach for helping in establishing a prime Rugby Union career for him.

Beauden Barrett continued: “It’s reassuring to know that your head coach goes out to bat for you when perhaps things haven’t gone our way – he has our best interests at heart and he backs us 100 percent.”

Beauden Barrett is on extended break to get more rest like other main All Blacks players, to be ready for 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan. He disclosed that it is the first time he has trained this much in any off season. Beauden has remained active after New Zealand finished northern hemisphere tour with Autumn Internationals 2018 tournament in November. Beauden Barrett has set his eyes on Rugby World Cup as his focus is on enabling All Blacks in their title defense.

Beauden Barrett echoed: “This is probably the most I’ve ever trained over an off-season, because I’ve got an extended break. I’m trying to keep my fitness up and that way you enjoy the break too. You do the work in the morning and then you can have the rest of the day off and really enjoy it.”

All Black Beauden Barrett thinking about Rugby World Cup 2019 every time

New Zealand player Beauden Barrett has set his focus on the ultimate goal in the off-season, as Rugby World Cup comes close. All Blacks first-five revealed that he thinks about the tournament every day. He told that this is the most he has ever trained in the off-season. He revealed all this in an interview with Stuff.co.nz on 7th January 2019.

New Zealand player Beauden Barrett thinking about Rugby World Cup 2019 every day
New Zealand player Beauden Barrett thinking about Rugby World Cup 2019 every day

Beauden Barrett said: “Every time you train, you train for a reason, for a purpose and ultimately that’s a big goal of mine at the end of the season. It’s something that we’re all working towards, so I think about it every day. It’s usually around the training time, which is done in the morning, then I relax for the rest of the day and switch off completely, usually on a golf course.

New Zealand were given a reality check during Autumn Internationals 2018. Ireland defeated them 16-9 in Dublin to highlight that Northern Hemisphere teams are closer to All Blacks. It also started debate in sports circles that Rugby World Cup 2019 will be open for all Rugby Union teams. Apart from Irish team, England and South Africa have also given tough time to New Zealand in recent times.

Beauden Barrett stated: “Obviously there were a couple of results we weren’t too pleased about, but at least it gave us a good idea of where we need to be, come World Cup time.”

Beauden Barrett who started All Blacks career in 2012, is now 27-year old. Beauden is on extended break to give more rest to top New Zealand players to make them ready for Webb Ellis Cup campaign. But this has not restrained him from training in the off-time. He claimed that he has trained more than any off-season this time around. He mentioned that he has kept himself active after the All Blacks finished their northern hemisphere tour in November 2018.

Beauden Barrett echoed: “This is probably the most I’ve ever trained over an off-season, because I’ve got an extended break. I’m trying to keep my fitness up and that way you enjoy the break too. You do the work in the morning and then you can have the rest of the day off and really enjoy it.”

New Zealand favourite for Rugby World Cup with Ireland following

Three times world champions New Zealand are favorites for 2019 Rugby World Cup. But they will have to keep close eye on Ireland. World number one ranked All Blacks had a seesaw year in 2018 with highs and lows. World No. ranked Irish side had defeated New Zealand 16-9 in Autumn Internationals 2018 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Steve Hansen’s All Blacks have now lost two out of three last games played against Joe Schmidt’s Irish team. Johnny Sexton, Ireland vice-captain played important role in the wins. Ireland have revealed that there are some weakness in New Zealand’s arsenal in a long while. This opens up the stacks for the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.

New Zealand are Favourite for Rugby World Cup with Ireland following
New Zealand are Favourite for Rugby World Cup with Ireland following

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said: “As of now they are the number-one team in the world. So if you want to make them World Cup favourites, go ahead. I guess they are favourites.”

New Zealand top the World Rugby Rankings, closely followed by Ireland. While other top Rugby Union teams like Wales, England, South Africa, Australia and Scotland are trailing closely behind. It is hard to think of a World Cup like the 2015 edition, when all four semi-finalists came from the southern hemisphere.

This comes after All Blacks lost 34-36 against South Africa in September 2018 at Wellington, thus ending 15-match winning streak by New Zealand. It was first loss at home by All Blacks versus an international Rugby Union side since 2009, apart from defeat against British and Irish Lions in 2017. New Zealand are ruling the World Rugby scene since their third Rugby World Cup title win in 2015. All Blacks are double defending champions as they had won RWC edition at their home turf in 2011. New Zealand were also world champions of the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus said: “We’ve shown on the day when everything’s aligned and the guys are all in the same frame of mind, we can beat the All Blacks away and win a series against England”.

“It’s wide open,” he said of the World Cup. “I’ve been involved in World Cups since 1995, but really this one I couldn’t put money on who’s going to be in the semi-finals.”

Sonny Bill Williams Clues to Continue All Blacks Career Beyond Rugby World Cup

All Black Sonny Bill Williams has proposed that he may continue playing after next year’s Rugby World Cup. It was thought that Williams would probably draw the curtain on his stellar rugby profession in Japan, with other promises such as family and study now taking up more of his time. But the 51-test veteran told the Sydney Morning Herald that he still energy to play test rugby and would even reflect looking into rugby league proposals.

“I’ve enjoyed the process so far,” he said. “And I have to think about what I will do in the future. I am positioning myself in case that becomes an option. I am enjoying doing a bit of studying and keeping my brain going in a different way.

“The last couple of years have been tough with injury, but I still have the fire inside me. I still feel fresh.

“I’m not sure if league is in my future at 33 [but] if there are offers, I will examine it with my family and go from there.”

The 33-year-old code hopping superstar tackled off against Australian Bachelorette winner Stu Laundy in a four, two-minute round charity boxing bout on Saturday night, in an event called ‘The Banger Under the Hanger’.
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Canada qualify for Rugby World Cup winning Repechage tournament

Canada have booked place in the Rugby World Cup 2019 after winning the qualification Repechage tournament at Pierre-Delort Stadium, Marseille, France. Canada won all three matches played against Kenya, Germany and Hong Kong. Canada eliminated Hong Kong on 23rd November 2018 to advance to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Canada representing Americas topped the competition table with three wins from three matches. Germany of Europe came second with two victories from three games. Tournament top seeded Hong Kong of Asia finished third with one win from three fixtures. Kenya of Africa rounded the tournament table without a win from three match-ups.

Canada wins Repechage - Qualifies for Rugby World Cup 2019
Canada wins Repechage – Qualifies for Rugby World Cup 2019

Canada had missed on direct qualification for Rugby World Cup after finishing fourth in the Americas qualification process. Argentina had automatically qualified for RWC 2019 after finishing as semi finalist of the RWC 2015. United States and Uruguay had qualified as Americas 1 and Americas 2 in the Americas qualification of 2019 Rugby World Cup. Canada ended fourth in the Americas qualification process and moved to the 2019 RWC Qualification Repechage tournament. Canada have qualified for the 9th edition of RWC by triumphing in Repechage competition. Canada have nevertheless participated in every Rugby World Cup edition since inaugural tournament in 1987. This is an incredible achievement for a tier 2 rugby union team.

2019 Rugby World Cup Qualification Repechage was held from 11th November to 23rd November 2018 at the Pierre-Delort Stadium in Marseille, France. Canada defeated Kenya 65-19 in opening match on 11th November 2018. Top seeded Hong Kong were stunned 9-26 by Germany in other fixture of the Round 1. Hong Kong bounced back with a bonus point win over Kenya 42-17 on 17th November 2018 in Round 2. Canada beaten Germany 29-10 in second match-up of the day. Kenya were outclassed by Germany 6-43 on 23rd November 2018 in Round 3. Second match of the day and last fixture of the competition served as the tournament finale’. Rugby World Cup berth was on the line in Hong Kong vs Canada matchup. Hong Kong were eliminated by Canada 10-27 on 23rd November 2018. Canada national Rugby team qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Canucks are hopeful of channeling Repechage tournament success for Canadian preparation of RWC 2019 in Japan.