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.”

Ireland stun New Zealand in Autumn Internationals 2018

Ireland have beaten New Zealand 16-9 in the 2018 Autumn Internationals match at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The contest between World champions and The Rugby Championship winner All Blacks and Irish team was closely fought. Number 2 ranked side Ireland won against World number 1 team New Zealand, earning first ever home victory in 113 years. Previous 16 home games in Dublin had resulted in All Blacks wins and a single draw. Jonathan Sexton was main contributor for Ireland with Jacob Stockdale also hitting a try. Beauden Barrett tried his best to revive All Blacks but he was the lone fighter. This game also served as preparation of Rugby World Cup 2019 for national rugby union teams of both Ireland and New Zealand.

Ireland Vs New Zealand Rugby - Autumn Internationals 2018
Ireland Vs New Zealand – Rugby Union – Autumn Internationals 2018

Jonathan Sexton of Ireland made first scoring of the match with a 11′ penalty. Beauden Barrett of New Zealand equalized the score with a 17′ penalty of his own. Jonathan Sexton put Irish side in front with 27′ penalty. Jonathan Sexton responded with a drop goal on 29′. Jonathan Sexton completed hat-trick of penalties on 39′. Ireland were leading with 9-6 on half time and also battered All Blacks in terms of possession and territory.

Ireland tightened screws in the second half on New Zealand. Jacob Stockdale hit a try on 48′ and Jonathan Sexton converted it on 50′. Irish side were way ahead of All Blacks with 16 points. Beauden Barrett smashed his second penalty on 69’ to take his team’s tally to 9 points. New Zealand could not score any more in last 10 minutes. Ireland finished as winners with 16-9 against the world champions All Blacks. This win will boost their confidence as Ireland get perfect preparation for RWC 2019 by beating last two times world champions New Zealand. Steve Hansen, the All Blacks coach will have to boost New Zealand preparations for RWC 2019 in Japan by tweaking strategy, controlling indiscipline and trying new team combinations.

Ireland captain Rory Best said: “To stop New Zealand scoring a try shows what a fantastic effort it was. The boys are very tired in there but it’s amazing what a win like that can do to give you a little bit more energy. It’s a big result for us no matter what the context is. Yet again, we’ve raised the standard of what we expect. The problem is Joe and the team and going to expect that and more [from now on].”

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said: “I am so proud. I thought it was a fantastic Test. It was billed as 1 v 2 and was definitely a heavyweight contest. Andy Farrell is delighted because it’s so seldom the All Blacks don’t score a try. We were at home, and they were on a back of a long series of games around the world. The crowd were phenomenal tonight. There were a lot of things that went in our favour. It was an incredibly collective and hard-earned win and I’m really proud of it.”

Ireland Vs New Zealand 16-9
17 November 2018 – Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Ireland: 16
Try: Jacob Stockdale (48′)
Con: Jonathan Sexton (50′)
Pen: Jonathan Sexton (11′, 27′, 39′)
New Zealand: 9
Pen: Beauden Barrett (17′, 69′)
Drop: Beauden Barrett (29′)

New Zealand win against England in Autumn Internationals 2018

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 Vs New Zealand - Autumn Internationals 2018
England Vs New Zealand Rugby – Autumn Internationals 2018

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′)