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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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Rahul Bose: India will take 50 years to qualify for Rugby World Cup

by Morshedul 0 Comments
Rahul Bose: India will take 50 years to qualify for Rugby World Cup

Former India rugby player and film personality Rahul Bose attended the second leg of the 2019 Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour held at the Bombay Gymkhana on Wednesday

In an exclusive chat with Reubyn Coutinho, Bose spoke about the state of rugby and what kind of impact Rugby World Cup 2019, which is going to be held in Japan, will have in India.

While Mumbai was chosen as a host city due to Rugby having its roots in the Bombay Gymkhana ground, why was Bhubaneswar chosen as the third city?

Rahul Bose: India will take 50 years to qualify for Rugby World Cup

That’s because of rugby’s history with Bhuvneshwar that goes back 15 years ago when rugby was introduced in  Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (K.I.S.S). It’s a free school for tribal children from Grade 1 to postgraduate. I can guarantee you that, out of their current 27,000 children, approximately 5,000 play rugby. Moreover,  Bhuvneshwar is the largest youth Rugby playing centre in the country. It will also be hosting the next Asian Rugby Championships Under 19 girls, India’s first international tournament.

Also, Bhubaneswar is one of our big focus and I can guarantee you this, it’s going to be one of the sports capitals of India, in the next one year.

Will Bhuveneshwar be the sports capital in India for just rugby or other sports too?

I’m speaking here keeping all sports in mind. We’re hosting the Hockey World Cup and that’s a huge thing. Apart from cricket which has its stadium in Cuttack, Bhuvneshwar has also done well in 0other sports too. Athletics has a centre to hold events, as a place to hold camps, training, and events.

How would the 2019 Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour impact a budding player?

The trophy tour could spark up just initial interest, because let’s face it, just viewing the World Cup trophy doesn’t teach you to play the sport. People who are thinking about the sport will think seriously about it, people who are playing the sport will be encouraged, but we have to build on it. Immediately after this, we need to have the Asian Rugby Championships in October in Bhubaneswar after that we need to have the World Cup coming up in Japan, drum up a lot of support here and our teams, our national teams have to do well. So, it’s a long process, but this is just a start.

When could we see India make an attempt to qualify for the Rugby World Cup?.

Realistically, it should take about 50 years. In football, we haven’t yet done it. In rugby, we are ranked 84th in the men’s out of 120, meanwhile, in football, we are still ranked 140th.

When corrected that India are ranked No. 97 in football, Bose immediately said, “We’re 97th! Oh Great! I think that it’s taken a long time for these sports to come of age and Rugby is only 26 years old. About 40-50 years is realistic for us to break into the top 32 in the World Cup.

Who do you think will win the 2019 Rugby World Cup?

New Zealand. But I’m hoping Japan will make the semi-final as it is being held in Japan.

 

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