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All Blacks vs Japan

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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.

Watch Japan v All Blacks LIVE on beIN SPORTS with the Foxtel Sport pack. Sign up now and start streaming straight away via FOXTEL GO

 

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

FOLLOW ALL THE BUILDUP AND LIVE ACTION IN OUR BLOG BELOW!

 

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All Blacks vs Japan Rugby in Tokyo 2018 on Saturday.

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All Blacks vs Japan Rugby in Tokyo 2018 on Saturday.

Japan’s “Brave Blossoms” meet the world champion New Zealand All Blacks in a one off game at Ajinomoto Stadium in Chofu. The Test Match in Japan will be a great opportunity for the All Blacks to prepare for the 2018 end of year tour and it will also gives the team first-hand experience of playing in Japan less than a year out from 2019!

Japan vs All Blacks – Autumn Internationals 2018

Tokyo, Ajinomoto Stadium (Tokyo Stadium), Japan
Saturday, November 03 2018 14:45
Japan offers global rugby fans and intrepid travellers endless opportunities to experience its history, culture, gastronomy and beauty. You will be welcomed into the heart of the most metropolitan city in Japan with 3 nights at The Westin Tokyo including daily breakfast.

How to Watch All Blacks vs Japan Rugby ?

6:45pm Saturday for live updates of the All Blacks vs Japan rugby test in Tokyo . All the Rugby Fans living in NZ , USA, can enjoy the live action on getrugbystream.com or on their TV network.

In Australia, Seven Network will telecast Rugby Matches live and in New Zealand, you can Enjoy game son Sky TV. Remember these sports networks will not only telecast matches on TV, but also, they will provide live stream via their website.

 

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Australia vs New Zealand rugby: TV channel, live stream, kick-off time and team news for Bledisloe Cup

Australia vs New Zealand rugby: TV channel, live stream, kick-off time and team news for Bledisloe Cup
AUS vs NZ rugby online

FIERCE enemies Australia and New Zealand have both endorsed the All Blacks’ use of the haka after the tradition Maori war dance came under fierce criticism.

Ahead of the first Bledisloe Cup – the Rugby Championship opener – reported comments in a rugby book questioned the value of the haka in the modern era.

AUS vs NZ rugby

The All Blacks will perform the haka as usual

But support from the All Blacks was matched by the Wallabies, who are also looking for a more extensive indigenous recognition for their jersey in future.

Said New Zealand flanker Sam Cane: “From an All Blacks point of view we love doing the haka.

“We’re well aware of the strong history that it has and it’s part of who we are as All Blacks – it’s as strong and powerful as ever, in my opinion.”

Wallaby halfback Will Genia jumped to the All Blacks defence saying he didn’t believe the haka was over-commercialised.
All Blacks flanker Sam Cane says the haka is ‘part of who we are’
AUS vs NZ rugby
Wallaby halfback Will Genia jumped to New Zealand’s defence

He said: “They don’t do it for commercial purpose. They do it because it is something that is important to them in terms of their culture.

“From our perspective, we have an incredible amount of respect for it.”

What TV channel is Australia vs New Zealand on and can I live stream the game?

You can see the match live on Sky Sports Action with coverage starting at 10.30am.
To stream the game live without a Sky subscription, you can buy a Sky Sports Day Pass from Now TV for £7.98.
Alternatively, you can follow the action in SunSport’s LIVE blog
Michael Hooper has been declared fit for the Wallabies

What time is the kick-off?

The match gets underway on Saturday, August 18 at 11.05am
It will be played at Stadium Australia in Sydney.

Team news

Australia captain Michael Hooper has been cleared to play after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Prop Scott Sio and winger Dane Haylett-Petty have also been given the green light.

 

Aussie giant Scott Sio has also been given the green light

 

But All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams is still ruled out

The squad, trimmed down from 36, includes only two uncapped players in outside backs Tom Banks and Jack Maddocks.

That’s after Rory Arnold, Curtis Rona and Sefa Naivalu were cut from the preliminary training squad.

All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams has been ruled out for both Tests against Australia to continue a horror injury run that also saw him miss the entire France series on home soil.

Williams missed the first two Test against France with a knee injury and hasn’t played since damaging a shoulder joint in the third Test.

 

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2018 Bledisloe Cup Live Stream and Wallabies Free to Air TV Replay

2018 Bledisloe Cup Live Stream and Wallabies Free to Air TV Replay

The Bledisloe Cup is one of the most iconic pieces of silverware in world sport, played between the New Zealand All Blacks and Australian Wallabies across three tests.

The All Blacks have held the trophy since 2003, with home ground advantage being vital, with home ground advantage being vital, but the 2018 edition will see each side getting one game with a third potential decider to be staged on neutral soil in Japan, and you need not miss a key moment of the series when watching at home on your TV or streaming the matches live to a mobile device.

2018 Bledisloe Cup Preview

The Bledisloe Cup is a test series between Australia and New Zealand, that has become one of the most fiercely contested annual traditions in the sport of Rugby. The All Blacks have held the iconic trophy since 2003, and will look to raise the Cup once again. Last year’s three test Bledisloe Cup series was regarded by some as the one that got away from the Wallabies. They were terrible in game one, then arguably should have won game two before pinching the third game at Suncorp Stadium by 23-18. There is renewed hope for Australia leading into the Bledisloe Cup given some key Australian players doing some good things recently during the Super Rugby season.

The Wallabies will look to take advantage of home ground advantage, which is especially important because Australia haven’t posted two consecutive victories over the All Blacks since 2001. A quick start is essential for a variety of reasons, none more so than the fact that the All Blacks are near unbeatable at home, with the last win in New Zealand for the Wallabies coming in 2001 at Dunedin, so safe to say it’s been a while between drinks. Game one will be at ANZ Stadium before the dreaded trip to Eden Park. Then should there be a decider, the teams will play on October 27 at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama.

2018 Bledisloe Cup Live

2018 Bledisloe Cup Live TV (AEST)

Saturday 18 August LIVE: Wallabies v All Blacks at 8.05pm (Foxtel/Ten)
Saturday 25 August LIVE: All Blacks v Wallabies at 5.35pm (Foxtel/Ten)
Saturday 27 Oct LIVE: All Blacks v Wallabies at TBD (Foxtel/Ten)

Shown as Sydney time, adjust for regional differences. Full Bledisloe Cup replays available on Fox Sports 501 shortly after each match concludes.

Watch or Stream the Bledisloe Cup Live

While you can find the Bledisloe Cup on Free to Air TV in Australia (ch. 10), Fox Sports 501 (Foxtel) is the only channel that will also televise the entire 2018 Rugby Championship series live, in HD, and with no ad-breaks during play, along with replays of the games for those who want to catch up.

So if you’re a resident of Australia you may wish to consider the Foxtel Sports Combo TV Pack which will offer this exciting Rugby action in full, and if you have to be out and about you can stream the Bledisloe Cup free through the Foxtel app within minutes of getting started.

 

Wallabies Preview

The Wallabies will have to break a hoodoo and make history in order to win back the Bledisloe Cup. They were brave earlier in the year against Six Nations champs Ireland but just felt short in a three-test series. They beat the All Blacks last year at Suncorp Stadium proving the task can be achieved if their mind is put to it. Given the potential for history, you don’t want to miss any portion of the action as the Bledisloe Cup free to air broadcasts (ch. Ten) include ad-breaks during play.

All Blacks Preview

The reigning champs came to the end of a golden era after the World Cup (2015), but there still appears to be real class and dominance about their play, as we saw earlier in the year against the French. The side is filled with experience and class right across the board, despite some injuries which occurred during the latter part of the Super Rugby Season. This is one of the great sporting sides in the world, not just in Rugby Union, and despite us Aussies naturally wanting to hate the All Blacks, you do have to give them enormous respect for what they have done.

Bledisloe Cup Players To Watch

Israel Folau is the best player in the Wallabies side, by a mile, and that was clearly evident during the recent Super Rugby Finals Series. But for some Australians, he’s a polarizing figure because of his recent strong stance on a certain social issue. Just the same, if Australia are to win the goods, Folau needs the ball in his hands as often as possible, and you can enjoy watching the Bledisloe Cup live online.

Kieran Read has been an unbelievable captain since the retirement of Richie McCaw but you’d have to question how match fit he is given a knee injury saw him miss quite a large chunk of the Super Rugby Season for the Crusaders along with the three-test series against France. His leadership on the field in the forward pack is absolutely vital to the All Blacks. They proved too good for France, but Australia with a young, vibrant forward pack, will prove different gravy.

Another Australian player that should be watched quite closely is Bernard Foley, who has really stood up in recent weeks, leading the NSW Waratahs superbly as skipper and he was one of the real stars in their Quarter Final win, showing unbelievable poise with the ball in hand. That will be needed for the Wallabies if they are any chance of winning this series, especially game one. If he folds under the pressure, then the All Blacks will open them right up.

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

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

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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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Australia, New Zealand to contest hosting rights for Women’s Rugby World Cup

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Australia, New Zealand to contest hosting rights for Women’s Rugby World Cup

rugby world cup 2017 women

World Rugby has confirmed that Australia and New Zealand will contest hosting rights for the 2021 edition of the Women’s Rugby World Cup.

The two countries have been selected after their respective unions submitted their bid responses to the international federation by a deadline of August 10. In June, World Rugby detailed an initial list of nations that had showed interest in the hosting rights which also included England, France, Portugal and Wales. The two bids will now undergo a detailed evaluation before the World Rugby Council announces the host during its interim meeting in Dublin, Ireland on November 14.

In submitting their bids, Australia and New Zealand were required to outline their vision for hosting the World Cup and ensure the delivery of an event that will further promote the growth of the women’s game.

Bids were required to reflect World Rugby’s hosting objectives, which include a vision for the tournament and how it can build on the success of the 2017 event in Ireland, a strong financial model and commercial capability, venues and infrastructure that meets requirements, full venues and a strong fan base, consideration of player welfare, a clear Impact Beyond Legacy programme, and a strong marketing and communications policy to promote fan awareness and ticket sales.

The 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup will be an extended version of the tournament, running for 35 days instead of 23. The tournament will feature a quarter-final stage, while squad sizes will also increase from 28 players to 30.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “It is particularly exciting that both bids have strong government financial backing, which underscores the importance and attractiveness of Women’s Rugby World Cup as a sporting, societal, economic and legacy driver. This excellent support reflects the significant global excitement and momentum behind women’s rugby and women in rugby.

“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.”

New Zealand won last year’s Women’s World Cup in Ireland, defeating England in the final. Neither Australia nor New Zealand have hosted the tournament before, although the latter nation has won five of the last six events.

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The 2018 State of Origin Series

The 2018 State of Origin Series

Welcome to The Roar‘s coverage of the 2018 State of Origin series, including news, previews, video, highlights and team announcements. We’ll be updating this page daily as the latest news breaks.

Click here Watch Now Live Coverage

 

In 2018, one game will be played in Melbourne, followed by games in Sydney and Brisbane.

New South Wales will head into the series with a new coach as Brad Fittler takes the reigns from Laurie Daley. Kevin Walters will again coach the Maroons after a successful 2017 series.

The Maroons have won 11 of the last 12 series, but will head into 2018 without stalwarts of that success Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk.

The fixtures for the 2018 State of Origin series were announced in November.

Date Time (AEDT) Home Away Venue
Game 1 Wed Jun 6 8:00 PM Queensland Maroons New South Wales Blues Melbourne Cricket Ground
Game 2 Sun Jun 24 8:00 PM New South Wales Blues Queensland Maroons ANZ Stadium, Homebush
Game 3 Wed Jul 11 8:00 PM Queensland Maroons New South Wales Blues Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

*Important note – most Origin games commence later than this time. The exact kick-off, after the Australian national anthem is performed, and TV specials are completed, is closer to 8:15pm.

2017 State of Origin series

In 2017, Queensland won the series making it 11 series wins in the last 12 years after taking a dominant 22-6 victory over NSW at Suncorp Stadium, with Valentine Holmes scoring three tries.

Holmes scored two tries in the first half of Game 3 to give Queensland a 12-0 advantage at half time. A Josh Dugan try brought it back to 12-6, but a third from Holmes and one from Jarrod Wallace saw Queensland run away with a 22-6 series-deciding victory.

Queensland’s Dane Gagai was awarded the Wally Lewis Medal for player of the series, becoming just the first winger in the history of Origin to take home the award.

Earlier in the series, the Blues cruised to a 28-4 Game 1 win in Brisbane before the Maroons hit back with a nailbiting 18-16 win in Game 2 in Sydney to set up the decider, courtesy of a last-gasp Johnathan Thurston conversion after Dane Gagai scored two tries in the second half.

History and format

Considered by many as the pinnacle of rugby league, State Of Origin is one of Australia’s premier sporting events, played in front of sold-out stadiums. The series itself is contested between New South Wales and Queensland, who have formed an epic rivalry that has resulted in some of the toughest and most skilful games ever.

Since its inception in 1980, the results between NSW and QLD had been extraordinarily even, contributing further to the competition’s success, until a 12-year streak in which Queensland have won 11 series. Overall the Maroons have won 24 series compared to the Blues’ 13.

In recent years, State of Origin has been played on Wednesday nights, spaced three weeks apart. In 2018 though, the second game of the series will be played as a stand alone game on Sunday night in Sydney. The first and third games will remain on Wednesday nights.

Year-by-year Origin history

2017 series

2017 Game 1: New South Wales made a positive start to the series, clinching a 28-4 victory away from home.

2017 Game 2: The Maroons returned the favour during Game 2 though, coming from behind in the second half to win 18-16.

2017 Game 3: The Blues never recovered as they travelled north for Game 3, looking like a shell of the team they were in the first game of the series, eventually going down 22-6 to lose another series.

2016 series

2016 Game 1: The first game of the series saw Queensland take a low-scoring 6-4 victory away from home.

2016 Game 2: Queensland wrapped up the series in straight sets. It was another tight affair, but more open with more points as the Maroons clinnched a 26-16 victory.

2016 Game 3: New South Wales picked up a consolation victory in Game 3, taking an 18-14 victory with a miracle try on the buzzer.

2015 series – how it happened

2015 Game 1: Queensland won the first match of the State of Origin series 11-10, at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

2015 Game 2: A record 91,514 fans packed the MCG in Melbourne. NSW won the match 26-18 thanks to a heroic performance from Michael Jennings, forcing a decider which was played in Brisbane.

2015 Game 3: 52,500 people were in Suncorp Stadium to witness a complete domination from the Maroons, who won 52-6. The 46-point win was the biggest winning margin in Queensland Origin history.

2014 series – how it happened

Game 1 of the 2014 series on May 28 saw the two teams take to Suncorp Stadium. The build-up was as tense, and when the teams took the park the action was ferocious.

Despite an early Darius Boyd try, New South Wales enjoyed the ascendency in the first half, with tries to Brett Morris and Jarryd Hayne seeing them take a 10-4 lead.

As the second half began, a penalty goal took the Blues to a 12-4 lead, but Darius Boyd’s second try brought the game back to life. The Blues however didn’t relent, and managed to hold off at fast-finishing Queensland to win 12-8.

Game 2 was competitive, controversial, and full of niggle, which made for a low-scoring contest. But NSW’s 6-4 win resulted in their first series victory over Queensland since 2005.

Queensland took two penalty goals either side of halftime through Johnathan Thurston. But Trent Hodkinson managed to convert pressure into points for the Blues, when after five consecutive sets attacking the Queensland line he slipped through the Maroons’ defence for the only try of the match.

There was a controversial moment at the end of the match, with the ball brushing Aaron Woods before going dead on the full, but the Blues were awarded a penalty, and held on for the win and the series victory.

Game 3 was a ‘dead rubber’ by name, but was still played with passion, pride and intensity. It showed the Queensland team of old, as the Maroons piled on five tries to thrash the Blues 32-8.

Although they only took a 6-2 lead into halftime, the win was built on the back of an opening half where NSW were forced to get through a mountain of defensive work. As a result, the Maroons managed four tries in a clinic of attacking play in the second half.

Tries to Aiden Guerra, Billy Slater, Darius Boyd and Cooper Cronk saw the Maroons home in a thrashing, but it didn’t stop Blues skipper Paul Gallen from holding aloft the shield after the match in front of 50,000 Queenslanders.

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Munster vs Racing 92 and Leinster vs Scarlets Champions Cup semi-final fixtures confirmed

Munster vs Racing 92 and Leinster vs Scarlets Champions Cup semi-final fixtures confirmed

Details of Munster’s and Leinster’s Champions Cup semi-final fixtures have been confirmed by tournament organisers this afternoon, prompting the usual rush to book planes, trains, automobiles and hotel rooms by supporters from both provinces.

Munster will, as had been expected, play on Sunday, April 22, at Bordeaux’s Stade Chaban-Delmas. Kick-off has been pencilled in for 4.15pm French time and the game will be shown in Ireland on BT Sports for those left behind.

Leinster face Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin the day before. Kick-off there is set for 3.30pm.

Dawson travel and Lee travel will both have day trips and overnight packages to Bordeaux available from Cork. Both companies will have packages available either before close of business today or by Wednesday lunchtime.

Demand is already high. Close to 400 people have already registered interest in packages on Facebook with Dawson Travel alone, many for parties of two or three people at a pop.

Ryanair has added two extra flights to Bordeaux for Munster’s match.

An extra Cork to Bordeaux flight will leave at 13.40 on April 20, with an added Bordeaux to Cork flight departing at 10.05am (local time) on April 23.

Champions Cup semi-finals (Kick-offs local time):

Saturday, 21 April

Leinster Rugby v Scarlets

Aviva Stadium (Dublin) 3.30pm

Sky Sports / beIN SPORTS

Sunday, 22 April

Racing 92 v Munster Rugby

Stade Chaban-Delmas (Bordeaux) 16.15

FR2 / BT Sport / beIN SPORTS

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Munster vs Toulon

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Munster vs Toulon

Match preview: Munster v Toulon

Double Heineken Cup Champions Munster will be looking to get their 2010/11 campaign back on track after defeat to London Irish last weekend.

The Irish province have made it through to the knock-out stages every year since 1997 and will need a victory at Thomond Park if they wish to progress in one of the competition’s toughest groups.Toulon made their Heineken Cup debut last weekend and last season’s Amlin Challenge Cup finalists got off to a winning start beating Celtic league champions the Ospreys.

Philippe Saint-Andre’s men struggled at the start of the season but have found some form and it sets up an intriguing encounter on Saturday.

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