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.
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.”
England defeated Japan 35-15 in the 2018 Autumn Internationals match at Twickenham Stadium in London. Danny Care, George Ford, Elliot Daly, Mark Wilson, Joe Cokanasiga and Dylan Hartley scored for English side. Japanese team scored with Ryoto Nakamura, Michael Leitch and Yu Tamura. This game was part of preparations of Rugby World Cup 2019 for national rugby union teams of both England and Japan.
England scored first in the match with Danny Care smashing a try in 4’ that Red Roses captain George Ford converted in 5’. Japan answered with Yu Tamura kicking a penalty in 17’. Ryoto Nakamura hit a try on 22′ that Tamura converted. Elliot Daly of Red Roses responded with a 28’ penalty. Brave Blossom’s skipper Michael Leitch kicked a try in 31’. Scoreline on break time was 15-10 with Japan leading. It was a remarkable performance by Brave Blossoms, and hinted they may be on mission of another giant slaying.
England had to field co-captain Owen Farrell in the second half to take back the control. George Ford started English attack after break with 56’ penalty. Mark Wilson upped the ante with 59’ try that George Ford converted in 60’. George Ford scored second penalty of his own in 65’. Joe Cokanasiga hit a 71′ penalty that George Ford converted in 72’. England regular captain Dylan Hartley scored a try in 76’ to make team total 35. Japan could not score in the second half unfortunately. England have won two matches in Autumn Internationals 2018 so far. This match served well in English preparation for RWC 2019. Japan will pride in taking Red Roses to the limit in first half. Being the host of 2019 Webb Ellis Cup means that Japanese preparation for RWC 2019 should also be on song.
England head coach Eddie Jones said: “We wanted Japan to be at their best so we’re so pleased with that game; it’s the sort of game we needed. They had a few things go their way and got back into the game and it became an arm wrestle for a while. We had a team with 11 changes and there wasn’t a lot of cohesion, but Owen Farrell made a difference for our team because he’s an influential player.”
Japan head coach Jamie Joseph said: “We gave sloppy penalties away and allowed England back in which was a little bit disappointing, but I’m proud of the players all the same. Comments in the media helped our motivation. Eddie Jones’ comments fired me up a bit but at the end of the day we still prepare how we prepare. Our mentality is slowly changing, we’re starting to believe that we can take these bigger teams on and that’s going to help us next year.”
England Vs Japan 35-15
17 November 2018 – Twickenham Stadium, London England: 35
Try: Care (4), Wilson (59), Cokanasiga (71), Hartley (76)
Con: Ford (5,60,72)
Pen: Daly (28), Ford (56,65) Japan: 15
Try: Nakamura (22), Leitch (31)
Con: Tamura (23)
Pen: Tamura (17)
England came close to toppling New Zealand in 2018 Autumn Internationals match at London’s Twickenham Stadium. Red Roses ended agonizingly one point short at 15-16 as World champions All Blacks won the game. England attacked from the start and had 15-0 lead early in the match. Chris Ashton, captain Dylan Hartley and co-captain Owen Farrell scored for English side. New Zealand staged a counter-attack with Damian McKenzie and Beauden Barrett. Scoreline on break time was 15-10 with Red Roses in front. All Blacks have won two matches in Autumn Internationals 2018 so far. This win is a boost for New Zealand national rugby team in their preparations of Rugby World Cup 2019.
England were outstanding early on in the game. They regularly attacked the New Zealand side with opponents offering little challenge. Try by returning Chris Ashton in 2’ signaled that Eddie Jones’ side is up for a battle with All Blacks. Co-captain Owen Farrell hit a drop-goal on 10’ to carry on the good form against Springboks. Red Roses skipper Dylan Hartley kicked a try in 24′ which Owen Farrell successfully converted. New Zealand started attacking England line after going in deficit of 15 points. Damian McKenzie opened scoring for All Blacks with a try in 39’ which Beauden Barrett converted. Barrett shooted a penalty in 40’ to make scoreboard read 15-10 thus reducing English lead to just 5 points. This performance showcased that England preparation of RWC 2019 is on the right track.
Second half saw New Zealand dominate in attack and equally solid defense. Beauden Barrett scored a drop-goal in 46’ to narrow the gap further. Barrett smashed a penalty in 60’ to make All Blacks score 16, hence taking one point lead. English flanker Sam Underhill attempted a try in closing minutes, but match referee Dan Jones (Wales) asked television match official Marius Jonker (South Africa) to have a look. Try was ruled out as Courtney Lawes was judged offside. Farrell made last attempt before close, but it failed. All Blacks won by a point, but England also gave a super performance. This game is good for the New Zealand preparations for RWC 2019. English team with coach Eddie Jones and co-captain Owen Farrell were happy on Red Roses’ fight against world champions All Blacks.
England Vs New Zealand 15-16
10 November 2018 – Twickenham Stadium, London England: 15
Try: Ashton (2′), Hartley (24′)
Con: Farrell (25′)
Drop: Farrell (10’) New Zealand: 16
Try: McKenzie (39′)
Con: B Barrett (39′)
Penalty: B Barrett (40′, 60′)
Drop: B Barrett (46′)
England beaten South Africa 12-11 in the End of Year Rugby Tests 2018 at London’s Twickenham stadium. South Africa had dominated much of the first half. Springboks made a string of errors which resulted in control shift in the second half. Red Roses capitalized on the opportunity to register a win coming from behind. Owen Farrell played a leading role in English charge. This defeat is a setback for Springboks campaign in Autumn Internationals 2018. South Africa preparations for the 2019 Rugby World Cup have also took a hit. Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus was very disappointed on the missed chance.
Red Roses were weakened by injury and had to field a number of young players. Owen Farrell scored three penalties out of four, with Elliot Daly landing one penalty. Handré Pollard of Springboks made two penalties out of three, while S’busiso Nkosi made one try. England coach Eddie Jones was overjoyed as his side overcame experienced South Africa who dominated much of the match. Springboks had kept 78% of territory and 67% of possession in the first half. Springboks made comedy of errors which gave Red Roses scope of resurgence. England made a remarkable turnaround from playing defensive game in first round, to dishing a commanding attack in second half, to snatch a victory from South Africa.
England were ahead with 12-11 lead in the closing stage of match. South Africa desperately tried to score before finish but Handré Pollard missed penalty in 77th minute. André Esterhuizen made a last minute charge towards England goal, but Owen Farrell made a tackle and ball was kicked dead. Referee Angus Gardner ruled the challenge fair after consulting television match official Olly Hodges. South Africa national Rugby Union Team and coach Rassie Erasmus are are left to work harder for Springboks preparation for RWC 2019 in Japan.
England Vs South Africa 12-11
3 November 2018 – Twickenham Stadium, London England: 12 Pens: Farrell (3/4) 20′, 36′, 72′; Daly (1/1) 50’ South Africa: 11 Try: Nkosi 32’ m; Pens: Pollard (2/3) 6′, 67′
England defeated South Africa 12-11 in Autumn Internationals 2018 match at Twickenham in London. Owen Farrell played important role in the victory of injury-hit Red Roses. Farrell landed three penalties out of four, while Elliot Daly shooted one penalty. Eddie Jones’ men overcame experienced Springboks who dominated much of the match. Handré Pollard of visitors had knocked over two penalties, while S’busiso Nkosi made one try. This victory is important for England’s preparations for the 2019 edition of Rugby World Cup in Japan. South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus was left disappointed as his side ended on losing side despite dominating first half.
South Africa had took lead early in first half with a 6′ penalty by Pollard. Springboks had kept 78% of territory and 67% of possession in 1st half. NKosi scored a try on 32′ to make it 8 points for South Africa against 3 points for English side. Farrell hit a 36′ penalty to make it 8-6 signalling comeback of Eddie Jones’ side. England played a defensive game and ended just two points short on half time. South Africa also made comedy of errors which offered Red Roses a good chance of resurgence.
England started attack on South Africa side after interval. Daly smacked a 50′ try to give England 9-8 lead. South Africa responded with aggression to take control back. Pollard kicked a 67′ penalty to take 9-11 lead. A fighting back and forth ensued between both sides as the game neared ending time. Farrell landed a three-pointer penalty on 72′ to put England ahead with 12-11 lead. South Africa made desperate effort to take lead before closing time. Pollard missed a penalty in 77th minute. André Esterhuizen made a last minute charge towards England goal, but Farrell made a tackle and ball was kicked dead. Referee Angus Gardner ruled the challenge as fair after discussion with Television match official Olly Hodges. England celebrated a well-earned win for a weakened side with injury. England national Rugby Union Team and coach Eddie Jones are happy as this victory will serve well in English preparations for RWC to be held in 2019 in Japan.
England Vs South Africa 12-11
3rd November 2018 at Twickenham Stadium, London England: (6) 12 Pens: Farrell (3/4) 20′, 36′, 72′
Daly (1/1) 50’ South Africa: (8) 11 Try: Nkosi 32’ m Pens: Pollard (2/3) 6′, 67′