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All Blacks vs Japan

by Morshedul 0 Comments
All Blacks vs Japan

A TEST against Japan which initially seemed one of the most inconsequential of New Zealand’s 2018 season has become more significant and contentious because of coach Steve Hansen’s approach to All Blacks selections.

Hansen has selected eight new caps in his squad for the match in Tokyo on Saturday (4.45pm AEDT), the most rookies in one All Blacks squad since 1986 when the so called “Baby Blacks” beat France while most leading players were suspended for their part in a rebel tour to South Africa.

The 23 players selected were part of a squad of 51 picked for New Zealand’s five match tour which began last weekend against Australia in Yokohama and will continue with matches against England, Ireland and Italy.

Hansen’s rationale for playing a second string lineup this weekend, in a Test squeezed into the existing schedule, is to spare his top players for tougher Tests against England and Ireland. Most of the regular All Blacks starters have already left Japan.

Critics argue that handing out test caps to players who aren’t considered among New Zealand’s best cheapens the jersey and the All Blacks’ heritage.

Hansen and his backers have hit back angrily against those claims, saying such measures are necessary in modern rugby because of the workload international players face in a season that runs from February to December.

“We play so many Test matches now and we play so many Super Rugby games that it is a nonsense when you hear people say that they didn’t give Test caps away like this years ago,” Hansen said.

“Well, they only played four or five test matches and probably six or seven provincial games.

“Today we are playing 14 or 15 Test matches and you just can’t ask the same people to do it all the time and expect them to play to the level we expect them to.”

Hansen’s comments have been widely debated.

All Blacks teams in the era he referred to took on tours to Britain and Europe or South Africa which comprised 18 matches and three Tests, or 24 matches and four Tests, and which involved midweek and weekend matches.

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They undertook those tours, some lasting three months, usually with only 26 players.

In past eras during the domestic season, some players played for the All Blacks one day and their provinces the next.

Those players also played club rugby and many worked fulltime.

The impression for some in New Zealand remains that Hansen has been profligate with the All Blacks heritage and disrespectful toward Japan, which they’ll meet for only the seventh time in Tests.

Hansen has also framed the match as a selection exercise with relevance to next year’s World Cup in Japan.

“This is a young side, there is no disputing that,” Hansen said.

“But, as I said, the expectation is that they go out and play really well.

“That puts a bit of pressure on them, but you get to see how they perform under that pressure which then gives you an opportunity to make some sound judgments when you need to about the selections that are coming up next year.”

Japan (15-1): Ryohei Yamanaka, Jamie Henry, Will Tupou, Timothy Lafaele, Kenki Fukuoka, Yu Tamura, Yutaka Nagare, Hendrik Tui, Kazuki Himeno, Michael Leitch (c), Wimpie van der Walt, Samuela Anise, Hiroshi Yamashita, Atsushi Sakate, Keita Inagaki

Reserves: Yusuke Niwai, Masataka Mikami, Asaeli Ai Valu, Uwe Helu, Isileli Nakajima, Fumiaki Tanaka, Rikiya Matsuda, Ryoto Nakamura

New Zealand (15-1): Jordie Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Matt Proctor, Ngani Laumape, Waisake Naholo, Richie Mo’unga, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Luke Whitelock (c), Dalton Papalii, Vaea Fifita, Jackson Hemopo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Angus Ta’avao, Dane Coles, Ofa Tuungafasi

Reserves: Liam Coltman, Tim Perry, Tyrel Lomax, Dillon Hunt, Gareth Evans, Mitch Drummond, Brett Cameron, George Bridge

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Australia and New Zealand announced as bidders for 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup

by Morshedul 0 Comments
Australia and New Zealand announced as bidders for 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup

Australia and New Zealand have each been shortlisted as potential hosts of the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

The sport’s governing body World Rugby made the announcement today, following the August 10 deadline for any countries wishing to bid for the tournament.

Initially six countries expressed a formal interest in hosting the event, which was the highest number ever.

In the end none of England, Wales, France or Portugal submitted bids, however.

New+Zealand

The 2021 tournament will be the first to feature various format changes, which include extending the event from 23 days to 35.

A quarter-final stage will also be played for the first time, while the squad sizes will increase from 28 to 30 players.

It is hoped the changes will improve athlete welfare by allowing more rest between matches, whilst also maintaining the highest possible standard of play.

With Australia and New Zealand the only countries shortlisted, an Oceania host is guaranteed.

No country in the southern hemisphere has hosted the event before.

Their bids will now undergo “a detailed evaluation” before the host is decided at a meeting of the World Rugby Council in Dublin on November 14.

“We are delighted that Australia and New Zealand – two trailblazers in women’s rugby and women’s sport in general – are committed to hosting a fantastic Women’s Rugby World Cup as a sporting, societal, economic and legacy driver,” World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said.

“The excellent support reflects the significant global excitement and momentum behind women’s rugby and women in rugby.”

The last edition of the tournament was held in Ireland in 2017, and was won by New Zealand.

It was the best attended, most viewed and msot socially engaged edition ever, setting new standards for the tournament and extending the reach of the game around the world.

“Ireland 2017 was a magnificent tournament by any Rugby World Cup standards and I am sure that both unions will be determined to raise the bar again, as we look forward to a tournament that features an exciting new format,” Beaumont added.

 

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