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.”
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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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′