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Wales vs Scotland: Live stream, TV channel, kick-off time and team news for Six Nations

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Wales vs Scotland: Live stream, TV channel, kick-off time and team news for Six Nations

WALES and Scotland will open the 2018 Six Nations at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in a game that is expected to be played on a knife-edge.

Scotland have been backed by many to be the dark horses of the Six Nations, outsiders for the title at 11/1 despite a nine-try win over Australia and very nearly turning over New Zealand in the autumn.

Wales meanwhile are missing at least 10 players through injury and former Lions coach Warren Gatland will have to work all his magic to extract maximum performance out of the line-up.

The Scots ended a decade-long losing streak against the Welsh at Murrayfield last year, winning 29-13, but you have to go back to 2002 to find their last victory in Cardiff.

Wales vs Scotland kick-off time

The 2018 tournament will get underway on Saturday February 3 when Wales kick off against Scotland in Cardiff at 2.15pm.

Wales vs Scotland TV channel

The Six Nations coverage for 2018 has been split between ITV and the BBC once again.

ITV will show all of England’s home games as well as four others while the BBC will retain all of the other eight matches including England’s trips to Edinburgh and Paris.

BBC One has the first match of the tournament, with coverage of Wales vs Scotland presented by John Inverdale starting at 1.45pm.

Wales vs Scotland live stream

Since both ITV and BBC are terrestrial and free-to-air, every game of the Six Nations will be shown live online for free.

Viewers simply need to hold a valid TV licence and may be required to sign in on the BBC website to watch Wales vs Scotland.

Wales team vs Scotland

Starting XV: Leigh Halfpenny; Josh Adams, Scott Williams, Hadleigh Parkes, Steff Evans; Rhys Patchell, Gareth Davies; Rob Evans, Ken Owens, Samson Lee, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones, Aaron Shingler, Josh Navidi, Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Tomas Francis, Bradley Davies, Justin Tipuric, Aled Davies, Gareth Anscombe, Owen Watkin.

Scotland team vs Wales

Starting XV: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Chris Harris, Huw Jones, Byron McGuigan; Finn Russell, Ali Price; Gordon Reid, Stuart McInally, Jon Welsh, Ben Toolis, Jonny Gray, John Barclay, Hamish Watson, Cornell du Preez.

Replacements: Scott Lawson, Jamie Bhatti, Murray McCallum, Grant Gilchrist, Ryan Wilson, Greig Laidlaw, Pete Horne, Sean Maitland.

Wales vs Scotland next games

Saturday February 10, England vs Wales (4.45pm; ITV)

Sunday February 11, Scotland vs France (3pm; BBC)


Te’o back for England in Six Nations rugby

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Te’o back for England in Six Nations rugby

Ahead of their opening Six Nations rugby match against Italy in Rome, centre Ben Te’o will play his first England Test for almost a year.

Centre Ben Te’o will play his first England Test for almost a year after overcoming injury to be included in the team to face Italy in Rome in their opening Six Nations rugby match.

After featuring for the British and Irish Lions last year in New Zealand, the hard-running Te’o played only a handful of games for his club Worcester before suffering a bad ankle injury in October that required the insertion of a plate.

After extensive rehabilitation, the former NRL player has done enough in the England camp to impress coach Eddie Jones, and will partner Owen Farrell on Sunday, winning his ninth England cap but making only his second start.

In the absence of injured duo Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes, Sam Simmonds wins a fourth cap at No.8, with Chris Robshaw and Courtney Lawes either side of him in the back row.

Mike Brown retains the fullback jersey, with Anthony Watson and Jonny May on the wings.

Uncapped prop Alec Hepburn has been named among the replacements, as is winger Jack Nowell, who has recovered quicker than expected from an ankle injury, and usual first-choice centre Jonathan Joseph.

England have won all 23 meetings with Italy, averaging 40 points a game, although they had a scare at Twickenham last year when they struggled to deal with the Italians’ surprise “no ruck” tactics before coming from behind at halftime to emerge 36-15 winners.

England, who have lost only one of 23 games under Eddie Jones, are seeking to become the first team to win the Five/Six Nations championship three years in a row.


15 Mike Brown; 14 Anthony Watson; 13 Ben Te’o; 12 Owen Farrell; 11 Jonny May; 10 George Ford; 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Mako Vunipola; 2 Dylan Hartley (capt); 3 Dan Cole; 4 Joe Launchbury; 5 Maro Itoje; 6 Courtney Lawes; 7 Chris Robshaw; 8 Sam Simmonds.

Res: 16 Jamie George; 17 Alec Hepburn; 18 Harry Williams; 19 George Kruis; 20 Sam Underhill; 21 Danny Care; 22 Jonathan Joseph; 23 Jack Nowell.


Sam Simmonds to make Six Nations debut for England vs Italy

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Sam Simmonds to make Six Nations debut for England vs Italy

Exeter Chiefs No 8 Sam Simmonds will make his Six Nations debut for England against Italy in Rome on Sunday, having been named to start by Eddie Jones.

Simmonds made his England debut against Argentina in November and with Billy Vunipola (arm), Nathan Hughes (knee) and Zach Mercer (illness) all ruled out through injury – plus James Haskell’s suspension – the 23-year-old has been named to start at No 8 at the Stadio Olimpico.

Elsewhere, Bath centre Jonathan Joseph must make do with a place on the bench as Worcester Warriors centre Ben Te’o starts at outside centre, alongside playmaker Owen Farrell in midfield.


Simmonds’ Exeter Chief team-mate Jack Nowell has been named on the replacements bench having made a ‘miracle recovery’ from an ankle injury.

Nowell had initially been expected to be out for three to four weeks but will provide cover to a back-three of Mike Brown, Anthony Watson and Jonny May.

Another Chiefs player in loosehead Alec Hepburn is in line to make his England debut, having been named among the replacements.

Having been dropped in the autumn, Saracens forward George Kruis returns to the squad as second row cover on the bench, with Courtney Lawes starting on the blindside and Joe Launchbury and Maro Itoje the starting locks.

Leicester Tigers duo Dan Cole and Ben Youngs have been named to start, holding off the challenges of Harry Williams and Danny Care, both of whom are on the bench.

England team to play Italy: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Ben Te’o, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Dylan Hartley, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Maro Itoje, 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Chris Robshaw, 8 Sam Simmonds.

Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 George Kruis, 20 Sam Underhill, 21 Danny Care, 22 Jonathan Joseph, 23 Jack Nowell.


Six Nations TV Coverage 2018: BBC and ITV Matches

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Six Nations TV Coverage 2018: BBC and ITV Matches

The Six Nations is nearly upon us, so take a look at what games are being televised where, to make sure you don’t miss any of the action


Six Nations TV Coverage 2018: BBC and ITV Matches

The pinnacle of Test rugby, the Six Nations, in the northern hemisphere has rolled around again so to make sure you miss none of the action, Rugby World has compiled an information page with the games and where they will be televised.

Men’s Six Nations

In the Men’s Six Nations Championship the games are shared between BBC and ITV this year. But importantly, it all revolves around who is playing at home.

So, if England, Italy, and Ireland are playing at home, then the game will be televised on ITV.

However, if France, Scotland, and Wales are, then the BBC is televising the match.

Six Nations TV Coverage 2018: BBC and ITV Matches

Round 1

Saturday 3rd February Wales v Scotland, 2.15pm – BBC
Saturday 3rd February France v Ireland, 4.45pm – BBC
Sunday 4th February Italy v England, 3.00pm – ITV

Round 2
Saturday 10th February, Ireland v Italy, 2.15pm – ITV
Saturday 10th February, England v Wales, 4.45pm – ITV
Sunday 11th February, Scotland v France, 3.00pm – BBC

Round 3
Friday 23nd February, France v Italy, 8.00pm – BBC
Saturday 23rd February, Ireland v Wales, 2.15pm – ITV
Sunday 24th February, Scotland v England, 4.45pm – BBC

Round 4
Saturday 10th March, Ireland v Scotland, Saturday 2.15pm – ITV
Saturday 10th March, France v England, Saturday 4.45pm – BBC
Sunday 11th March, Wales v Italy, Sunday 3.00pm – BBC

Round 5
Saturday 17th March, Italy v Scotland, Saturday 12.30pm – ITV
Saturday 17th March, England v Ireland, Saturday 2.45pm – ITV
Saturday 17th March, Wales v France, Saturday 5.00pm – BBC

Women’s Six Nations 

Additionally, every single England game in the women’s tournament is being televised on Sky Sports.

Round 1

02/02/2018 – Wales vs Scotland – BBC Wales – 18.00

03/02/2018 – France vs Ireland – 20.00

04/02/2018 – Italy vs England – Sky Sports – 17.30

Round 2

10/02/2018 – England vs Wales – Sky Sports – 12.15

10/02/2018 – Scotland vs France – 19.05

11/02/2018 – Ireland vs Italy – 13.00

Round 3

23/02/2018 – Scotland vs England – Sky Sports – 19.05

24/02/2018 – France vs Italy – 20.00

25/02/2018 – Ireland vs Wales – 15.00

Round 4

10/03/2018 – France vs England – Sky Sports – 20.00

11/03/2018 – Wales vs Italy – BBC Wales (tbc) – 11.45

11/03/2018 – Ireland vs Scotland – 13.00

Round 5

16/03/2018 – England vs Ireland – Sky Sports – 17.30

16/03/2018 – Wales vs France – 18.00 (tbc)

18/03/2018 – Italy vs Scotland – 15.00

U20 Six Nations 

As you would expect the Under-20 competition has limited television coverage, but there are still a few games for you to sit back and enjoy.

Round 1

02/02/2018 – Italy vs England – 18.00

02/02/2018 – France vs Ireland – 20.00

02/02/2018 – Wales vs Scotland – BBC Wales – 20.15

Round 2

09/02/2018 – Ireland vs Italy – 19.15

09/02/2018 – England vs Wales – Sky Sports – 19.45

09/02/2018 – Scotland vs France – 19.45

Round 3

23/02/2018 – France vs Italy – 17.45

23/02/2018 – Ireland vs Wales – 19.15

23/02/2018 – Scotland vs England – 19.30

Round 4

09/03/2018 – Ireland vs Scotland – 19.15

09/03/2018 – Wales vs Italy – BBC Wales – 19.15

09/03/2018 – France vs England – 20.00

Round 5

16/03/2018 – Italy vs Scotland – 14.00

16/03/2018 – England vs Ireland – Sky Sports – 20.00

16/03/2018 – Wales vs France – 20.15

Happy watching! Come back to the Rugby World website and social media channels for all the latest news, opinion and gossip on the Six Nations

Six Nations 2018: Start time, fixtures, results, rule changes, and full TV schedule

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Six Nations 2018: Start time, fixtures, results, rule changes, and full TV schedule
Rugby Union - 2015 RBS Six Nations Media Launch - The Hurlingham Club, Ranelagh Gardens, London - 28/1/15 (L-R) France's Captain Thierry Dusautoir, Italy's Captain Sergio Parisse, England's Captain Chris Robshaw, Ireland's Captain Paul O'Connell, Wales' Captain Sam Warburton and Scotland's Captain Greig Laidlaw pose with the RBS Six Nations trophy during the launch Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Everything you need to know as England, Ireland, France, Italy, Scotland and Wales prepare for action

ENGLAND will be looking to become the first nation to win three successive Six Nations titles.

The 2016 and 2017 champions will be looking to defend their title when the action kicks off in February.

What is the Six Nations?

This is an annual international rugby union competition that consists of just six sides.

England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales will all play each other once.

If a team wins all of its games, then they are said to have won a ‘Grand Slam’.


When does it start and what TV channel can I watch them on?

The Six Nations action will get underway on Saturday, February 3.

Wales will take on Scotland to kick-off proceedings in Cardiff.

And all of the matches will be available for you to watch live on either the BBC or ITV.

Are there any rule changes for the 2018 Six Nations?

The 2017 Six Nations introduced the bonus-point system and it WILL be used again this year.

This means that it is four points for a win and a team will secure an extra point if they score four tries or more.

If a team loses by less than seven points then they will secure a losing bonus-point.

A draw is worth two points and a Grand Slam is worth three points.


What is the fixture list for the 2018 Six Nations?


Wales vs Scotland: February 3, 2.15pm, Cardiff, BBC

France vs Ireland: February 3, 4.45pm, Paris, BBC

Italy vs England: February 4, 3pm, Rome, ITV.


Ireland vs Italy: February 10, 2.15pm, Dublin, ITV

England vs Wales: February 10, 4:45pm, London, ITV

Scotland vs France: February 11, 3pm, Edinburgh, BBC


Frances vs Italy: February 23, 8pm, Marseille, ITV

Ireland vs Wales: February 24, 2.15pm, Dublin, BBC

Scotland vs England: February 24, 4.45pm, Edinburgh, BBC


Ireland vs Scotland: March 10, 2.15pm, Dublin, ITV

France vs England: March 10, 4:45pm, Paris, BBC

Wales vs Italy: March 11, 3pm, Cardiff, BBC


Italy vs Scotland: March 17, 12:30pm, Rome, ITV

England vs Ireland: March 17, 2:45pm, London, ITV

Wales vs France: March 17, 5pm, Cardiff, BBC



Oxford vs Cambridge Live Stream The Varsity Match Online FREE

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Oxford vs Cambridge Live Stream The Varsity Match Online FREE

Battle оf thе Blues: Oxford vѕ Cambridge Watch Thе Varsity Match

Thе Varsity Match іѕ аn annual rugby union fixture played bеtwееn thе universities оf Oxford аnd Cambridge іn England. Thе event began іn 1872, wіth interruptions оnlу fоr thе twо World Wars. Sіnсе 1921, thе game hаѕ bееn played аt Twickenham Stadium, London. It іѕ nоrmаllу played іn early December.

Fоllоwіng thе 135th match іn 2016, Oxford University RFC hаvе 59 wins, аnd Cambridge University R.U.F.C. maintain thе lead wіth 62; 14 games hаvе ended іn draws. Varsity matches bеtwееn Oxford аnd Cambridge аrе аlѕо arranged іn vаrіоuѕ оthеr sports. Fоr example, thе fіrѕt recorded water polo match іn history wаѕ played bеtwееn Oxford аnd Cambridge іn 1891.

Thе women’s rugby Varsity Match wаѕ fіrѕt played іn 1988 аnd hаѕ tаkеn place аt Twickenham оn thе ѕаmе day аѕ thе men’s game ѕіnсе 2015. Thе 2016 score wаѕ 3-0 tо Oxford.

Thursday 7 December 2017

OURFC MEN : Oxford: Oxford University Rugby Football Club :

Oxford University Rugby Football Club (OURFC) wаѕ founded іn 1869, ѕоmе fifteen months bеfоrе thе foundation оf thе Rugby Football Union. OURFC consists оf fоur men’s teams; Men’s Blues, Greyhounds (Men’s 2nd XV), Whippets (Men’s 3rd XV) аnd Men’s U20s.

Thе OURFC squad train аt play аt thеіr home ground іn Oxford, Iffley Road, whеrе thеу hаvе bееn based ѕіnсе thе 1890s.

OURFC hаvе worn Dark Blue ѕіnсе thеіr inception, winning thе fіrѕt еvеr Varsity Match іn 1872.

Durіng thіѕ time, mоrе thаn 300 Oxford players hаvе gained representative international honours; including Phil de Glanville, Joe Roff, Tyrone Howe, Anton Oliver, Simon Halliday, David Kirk аnd Rob Egerton.

Team Squad:

Hooker : Edward Hart
Centre : Henry Hughes,Alex Hogg,James Beaufils,
Full Bасk : Conor Kearns ,Matt Geiger ,
Scrum-half : Tom Kershaw,Henry de Berker,
Prop: James Scaife,Joseph Morris,Hugo Lu,Kieran Ball
Fly-half : Basil Strang ,
Wing : Tom Stileman,Ed David,
Sесоnd Row : Fergus Taylor (c),Nicholas Roberts-Huntley,Jonathan Marsden,Graeme MacGilchrist,Andrew Grant,
Bасk Row : Wіll Wilson,Will Thornton,George Blomfield,

CURUFC MEN : Cambridge: Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club

Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club (CURUFC) wаѕ founded іn 1872, thе year thе fіrѕt Varsity Match wаѕ played аgаіnѕt Oxford. CURUFC іѕ mаdе uр оf thrее men’s teams; Men’s Blues, LX Club аnd Undеr 20s.

Thе CURUFC squad аrе based аt Grange Road, Cambridge, whісh hаѕ bееn thеіr home ѕіnсе 1896.

CURUFC originally played іn Pink bеfоrе moving tо thеіr traditional Light Blue аnd white frоm 1876.

Sіnсе inception оvеr 325 players hаvе gained international honours; including Mike Gibson, Gerald Davies, Alastair Hignell, Rob Andrew, Gavin Hastings, Dan Vickerman аnd Jamie Roberts. CURUFC hаѕ аlѕо produced mоrе players whо hаvе represented thе British аnd Irish Lions thаn аnу оthеr club, including ѕеvеn Lions captains.

Team Squad :

Prop : Henry Somers,William Briggs,Jonathan Dixon,Demitri Moros
Wing :Charlie Amesbury,Simon Davies,Lare Erogbogbo
Bасk row :Richard Bartholomew,Lola Erogbogbo, Andrew Hunter,Henry King,Ollie Phillips,
Scrum Hаlf : Chris Bell,Sebastian Tullie
Sесоnd Row : Tim Bond
Hooker : Andrew Burnett,Simon Hugkulstone
Flanker : Daniel Dass (c),Brian du Toit,Tom Stanley
Fly Hаlf : Fraser Gillies
Centre : George Griffiths,Michael Phillips,Rory Triniman,

Thе Women’s Match kicks оff аt 11:30 аnd thе Men’s Match kicks оff аt 15:00.
Twickenham Stadium, London,
Stadium Rules fоr Children:
Babes іn arms nееd tо bе іn а front carrier – buggies,
Thе Varsity Match 2017
Twickenham Stadium, London,
Thu 7 Dec 2017, 11:30

Men Thе Varsity Match 2016 results:
Men’s varsity match
Oxford (3) 18
Tries: Hughes, David Pens: Strang 2 Cons: Strang
Cambridge (7) 23
Tries: Phillips, Triniman Pens: Gillies 3 Cons: Gillies 2

Men’s varsity Match Squad 2016 :

Cambridge men: Amesbury; Davies, Triniman, Phillips, King; Gillies, Tullie; Briggs, Burnett, Dixon, Hunter, Bond, Stanley, Du Toit, Dass (c).

Replacements: Hugkulstone, Somers, Moros, Erogbogbo, Bartholomew, Bell, Erogbogbo, Griffiths.

Oxford men: Geiger; David, Hughes, Hogg, Stileman; Strang, De Berker; Ball, Hart, Morris, Taylor (c), Grant, Roberts-Huntley, Blomfield, Wilson.

Replacements: Thornton, Scaife, Lu, Marsden, MacGilchrist, Beaufils, Kershaw, Kearns

Live: Australia vs England, Rugby League World Cup final in Brisbane

Live: Australia vs England, Rugby League World Cup final in Brisbane

AUSTRALIA will be hoping its Rugby League World Cup comes full circle when it plays England in the final at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

The Kangaroos defeated the Poms 18-4 in the tournament opener and coasted through its next four matches to reach the decider, conceding just 16 points along the way. There are rumours tonight could see the final appearance of Billy Slater and perhaps even Cameron Smith in the green and gold, and a win would provide them with the perfect send-off if they decide to hang up the boots.

England scraped through its semi-final against Tonga to book its place against the home side tonight. Wayne Bennett’s men won 20-18 after Andrew Fifita’s try in the dying seconds was disallowed because of a knock-on and they will be hoping fortune favours them again against the Kangaroos.

Kick-off is scheduled for 8pm AEDT.



Earlier former Australian forward Gorden Tallis said he didn’t think the home side’s pack could match it with England’s big men if Sam Burgess and James Graham fired, but ex-NSW prop Mark Geyer disagreed.

“No, I don’t think they (England) have (the edge in the forwards),” Geyer told Channel Seven.

“Australia’s strength has been their forwards, in particular (David) Klemmer and (Aaron) Woods and then on comes (Reagan) Campbell-Gillard and (Jordan) McLean, with (Cameron) Smith guiding the ship.

“Their forward back has been immense. Sam Burgess tonight as captain will lead from the front and will be inspiring tonight.”

The stage is set for stand-in England skipper Sam Burgess to dominate an inferior Kangaroos pack and inspire a boilover in the Rugby League World Cup final in Brisbane, Gorden Tallis says.

Former Kangaroos enforcer Tallis has rated Burgess as the greatest British forward to play in the NRL and believes the South Sydney talisman can prove the difference against overwhelming favourite Australia at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

England appeared to cop a huge blow before its first Cup final appearance in 22 years when captain Sean O’Loughlin ruled himself out with a quad injury on match eve.

But Tallis believes Burgess can still provide enough firepower to blow away what he considered a lesser Kangaroos pack.

“He is one of the best forwards I have ever seen,” Tallis told a Rugby League World Cup final function in Brisbane.

“He is the best English forward that has come out here to play, I think he is absolutely outstanding.”

Tallis believes Burgess could pack a one-two punch with England forward James Graham that could give the Australian forwards nightmares.

“If he and James Graham can play the way they do in the NRL, if they can play with that intimidation and ferocity I don’t think the Australian forward pack are as good as those guys,” Tallis said.

“Australia have a great back-row but if those two guys can light it up and play to the best of their ability I think they will give the Australian pack a real nightmare.”

Back-rower Burgess will replace O’Loughlin at lock, with Ben Currie starting on the edge and utility Jonny Lomax added to the bench.

O’Loughlin is the second key forward coach Wayne Bennett has lost in a week, following star hooker Josh Hodgson’s torn ACL in the semi-final win over Tonga.

England has not won a series involving Australia since 1972. And it last beat Australia at a World Cup in 1995.

But Burgess was daring to dream, even contemplating who would lift the trophy for England if Australia — undefeated at a World Cup since 2008 — was somehow denied.

“I don’t think it gets much better than the World Cup final and it will be a special moment, although it’s kind of bittersweet if I’m honest,” said Burgess who led England in last year’s Four Nations tournament.

“Sean has been captain the whole tournament and he’ll lift the trophy if we get to that situation.”

Laine Clark, AAP

Final RLWC crown down to Australia v England (Live Stream) after thrilling semi final

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Final RLWC crown down to Australia v England (Live Stream) after thrilling semi final

NINE years ago, Queensland-born Wayne Bennett shattered Australia’s hearts by inspiring New Zealand to an upset victory in the 2008 World Cup final.

On Saturday in his home town of Brisbane, the 67-year-old is planning another inside job, this time with England.

In what could be the master taciturn’s final stand as a representative coach, Bennett will attempt to gift England a historic first-ever World Cup final victory over Australia.

Working as an assistant coach with the Kiwis in 2008, Bennett is back to haunt the Kangaroos after the Poms advanced to the final by ending fairytale story of the World Cup, Tonga.

Australai vs england rlwc final 2017

Main title

FROM 14 nations down to two, a thrilling finish to the last RLWC semi final means England will face Australia in a battle for the world title. This is what you need to know ahead of the big dance.

Australia v England in the RLWC 2017 final
Suncorp Stadium, Queensland
Saturday, December 2, 8pm AEDT
Australia won all three of its pool matches comfortably while England dropped its first match.


The first pool match England lost was – in fact – against Australia. Wayne Bennett’s men went down 18-4 in the first match of the tournament.


Led by a brilliant display from fullback Gareth Widdop, England prevailed in incredible and controversial circumstances over Tonga 20-18 in front of a raucous Mt Smart Stadium crowd, in Auckland yesterday.

After Tonga had rallied from 20-0 down with eight minutes remaining, Tongan forward Andrew Fifita felt he was disallowed a legitimate try as the full-time siren sounded.

Fifita was stripped of possession as he powered towards the line, before appearing to regather and plant the ball down over the tryline.

However, on-field referee Matt Cecchin refused to use the video referee to check if Fifita had scored.

A shattered Fifita needed to be consoled by opposition forward Sam Burgess after the match.

The elimination of Tonga is a blow to scriptwriters and tournament organisers, who spent yesterday privately cheering for the small Polynesian island to advance to the final — a moment which would’ve been the greatest achievement in it’s sporting history.


However, while predictable in it’s outcome, rugby league’s ‘Ashes’ between Australia and England won’t be without appeal and spice.

On the field, James Graham will attempt to stop his former Canterbury teammate David Klemmer.

Elsewhere, Widdop will use his intel from four years at the Storm to try and stop Billy Slater, Cam Smith and Cooper Cronk.

But it’s in the coaches box, which should keep the pre-match build-up busy.

Few would be so naive to believe that all is rosy between Bennett and Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga.

Meninga famously fell-out with Bennett over the veteran coach’s championing, or lack their of, when his fellow Queenslander announced his intention to step away from coaching Origin to lead Australia in 2016.

The pair have since declared publicly any suggestion they “don’t get on is a fallacy’’ – a claim, that is certain to be pressure tested by journalists ahead of Saturday’s final.

Ego is also on the line for Bennett, who in two previous clashes against Meninga’s Australian side, is yet to record a victory.

Not surprisingly, Australia will start overwhelming favourites to claim their first World Cup since 2013 — punters using the Kangaroos complete domination of the tournament-to-date as their form guide.

Having conceded just 16 points on their road to the final, the Kangaroos attack has piled on a thumping 204 points.

No doubt, Meninga will also confidently analyse where Australia can improve from their opening pool match against England.

The tournament-opener, played 29-days ago at AAMI Park, saw a clunky Kangaroos do enough to outclass England 18-4.

Most recently, the Kangaroos put the cleaners through Fiji 54-6 in their semi-final on Friday night — winger Valentine Holmes, continuing his dream tournament.

Holmes’ outrageous six tries against Fiji took his tally to 12 for the tournament and in a stand-and-cheer match-up, the Cronulla star will duel with England’s own try-sneak, Jermaine McGilvary.

The powerful right winger opened the scoring for England yesterday — his seventh try in five games.

Unlike Australia, who are already in Brisbane preparing for the final, England will be required to recover and travel from Auckland to Brisbane.

One player who will need every minute of the next six days to recover is England and Canberra hooker, Josh Hodgson.

Hodgson limped from the field with a left knee injury in the 23rd minute yesterday — unable to return.

Source: dailytelegraph.com.au

Rugby League World Cup 2017 Final Game : England v Australia Miss Josh Hodgson

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Rugby League World Cup 2017 Final Game : England v Australia  Miss Josh Hodgson

Rugby League World Cup 2017: England’s Josh Hodgson to miss final with knee injury

Rugby League World Cup final: Australia v England
Date: Saturday, 2 December Kick-off: 09:00 GMT
Coverage: Watch live coverage and highlights on BBC One, Connected TV, online & the BBC Sport app; live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app

England hooker Josh Hodgson will miss Saturday’s World Cup final against Australia with a knee ligament injury.

The 28-year-old sustained the injury in England’s dramatic 20-18 win over Tonga in the semi-finals.

A scan on Sunday showed Hodgson has an anterior cruciate ligament injury and is almost certain to miss the start of the NRL season with Canberra Raiders.

“Hodgson will now return to Canberra for a specialist review with a view to operate,” said an England spokesman.

Former Hull KR captain Hodgson has started four of England’s five matches at the World Cup.

He limped off after 23 minutes of the victory over Tonga at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday and failed to return.

James Roby, who started on the bench against Tonga, won his 30th cap as a replacement for Hodgson and the St Helens man claimed he is ready to step into a starting role.

“It’s obviously bad news for Josh and I feel for him,” Roby said. “If that means me starting, I’m going to have to get ready to get going from the off.”

With no other specialist hooker in his 24-man squad, England head coach Wayne Bennett may call on the versatile Stefan Ratchford or half-back George Williams to provide back-up against the Kangaroos – though Roby says he is ready to play a full game if needed.

“I’m used to playing 80 minutes, but these World Cup games are that intense,” he added. “If I have to do 80, I’ll put my hand up and do my best.”

England have yet to provide an update on captain Sean O’Loughlin, who is also a fitness doubt after picking up a thigh strain against Tonga.

All Blacks v Wales live stream, how to watch New Zealand rugby Test, scores, updates, video, highlig…

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All Blacks v Wales live stream, how to watch New Zealand rugby Test, scores, updates, video, highlig…

WARREN Gatland, the former New Zealand hooker who coaches Wales, doesn’t believe the All Blacks are ever vulnerable.

The flatterer also said this week they could put out a fourth, fifth or sixth best side and still beat most other teams.

Gatland was purring because he didn’t want to rile up New Zealand before their rugby Test in Cardiff on Saturday (Sunday 4.15am AEDT).

Wales has lost 29 successive Tests to New Zealand, including 10 on Gatland’s watch.

But if he had said they were vulnerable, nobody could argue with him.

Since beating South Africa 57-0 in mid-September, when some…

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WARREN Gatland, the former New Zealand hooker who coaches Wales, doesn’t believe the All Blacks are ever vulnerable.

The flatterer also said this week they could put out a fourth, fifth or sixth best side and still beat most other teams.

Gatland was purring because he didn’t want to rile up New Zealand before their rugby Test in Cardiff on Saturday (Sunday 4.15am AEDT).

Wales has lost 29 successive Tests to New Zealand, including 10 on Gatland’s watch.

But if he had said they were vulnerable, nobody could argue with him.

Since beating South Africa 57-0 in mid-September, when some observers believed the All Blacks were occupying another universe, the team has come back to earth.

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— In the return match in Cape Town, New Zealand trailed by two with 10 to go, but prevailed 25-24 with a late clinching Lima Sopoaga penalty.

— Australia in Brisbane ended a two-year losing drought to the All Blacks.

— France rallied from 31-5 down at halftime to 31-18 and lost the momentum after a try was disallowed.

— And lastly, Scotland outplayed the All Blacks for long periods last weekend but failed when it mattered most.

The All Blacks have been vulnerable, and lost two tTsts this year for the first time since 2011. But even in the face of yellow cards, penalties, and a welter of handling errors, the All Blacks have still proved tough to take out.

Newcomers have had an immediate effect, even when teamwork has taken time to gel.

That’s been the positive for coach Steve Hansen.

“I thought 2016 would be a tough year (after the post-Rugby World Cup retirements) but we got through it pretty well and unscathed from an adversity point of view, apart from Chicago,” Hansen said.

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“But this year we’ve had to work hard and it’s been good for us. It’s put us in places mentally where we’ve got to go inside ourselves and find the strength and the courage to get the job done, and by and large we’ve done that. It’s been a good year for the team because we’ve had to grow.”

Wales forwards Ken Owens, Alun Wyn Jones, and Taulupe Faletau and scrumhalf Rhys Webb joined an exclusive club of Welshmen to have beaten New Zealand when they were part of the British and Irish Lions who won the second Test in June in Wellington.

What Owens took away from that tour was not just belief but also keys to victory: The need to put New Zealand under sustained pressure, stay intense, win the collisions, bring line speed in defence, and keep it going for all 80 minutes.

“They never feel they can be beaten,” Owens mused.

“Even when they are under a bit of pressure, they do find ways out and ways of winning the game when they are perhaps not at their best. If you look at the Scotland game they were under pressure — Scotland played really well — but they found their moments of magic.”

In another tough autumn schedule, Wales has already lost to Australia 29-21, and tackles South Africa next week.

Gatland favours playing the best sides to draw the best out of his team, even though his record against the southern hemisphere powers is pitiful: Two wins in 30 matches.

Which makes him scoff at any notion these All Blacks are vulnerable.

“They are undefeated on this tour. They know how to win, they know how to grind out performances, and they know how to come back,” Gatland said.

“We are excited about the opportunity to play the best team in the world. If you can’t get up for that, then you shouldn’t be on the pitch.

“As a group, we haven’t spoken about the summer (Lions tour) and what happened in New Zealand. It is about Wales and us concentrating on ourselves.”

Wales v New Zealand teams

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; Hallam Amos, Scott Williams, Owen Williams, Steff Evans; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Taulupe Faletau, Josh Navidi, Aaron Shingler; Alun Wyn Jones (c), Jake Ball; Tomas Francis, Ken Owens, Rob Evans

Reserves: Kristian Dacey, Wyn Jones, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, Justin Tipuric, Gareth Davies, Rhys Priestland, Jamie Roberts

New Zealand: Damian McKenzie; Waisake Naholo, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Luke Whitelock, Sam Cane, Liam Squire; Sam Whitelock (c), Patrick Tuipulotu; Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, Kane Hames

Reserves: Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Scott Barrett, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Lima Sopoaga, Anton Lienert-Brown

Referee: Wayne Barnes (ENG)