All Blacks lose to the Wallabies

The All Blacks have lost their second test of the season 23-18 (the also lost one to the British and Irish Lions), in the third of the year against the Wallabies, in Brisbane. The ABs had won easily in the first test in Sydney but only just came out in front in Dunedin a week later.

This was a ‘dead rubber’, the Bledisloe Cup had already been won for the season, but it will have (or should have been) a severe blow to All Black pride. But overall it shouldn’t do them any harm, being reminded of the hurt of losing can help drive teams to win.

It was a big win for the Aussies, who have been under a lot of pressure this year but are improving. Good on them.

This is obviously an excellent result for the Wallabies and for Australian rugby. It is also good for the game worldwide.

I didn’t watch the game so I won’t comment on specifics of the game. It was too late for me to be bothered going out and watching it, and I’m still refusing to pay Sky exorbitant amounts for single games and also won’t pay a subscription for a lot of crap I don’t want just to be able to watch what I do want to see.

I see that the All Black business is going to offer pay-per-view internationally for the tour of Europe, starting shortly. Sky will supply the feeds via streaming. I could be tempted, but at $24.95 a game that’s still a bit steep. The Maori All Black games are more reasonable at $14.95 but I’m not as interested in watching them – with so much rugby on these days I’m a lot more selective in what I watch.

All Blacks v Springboks

I’m glad I got up to watch the test between New Zealand and South Africa at Cape Town this morning. A classic match.

The ABs were relentless at times but made a lot of mistakes and failed to capitalise on their dominance. The teams were barely separated after a 50 minute first half.

Then the second half was absorbing. The Springboks started well and took the lead, and the lead kept changing from there. A couple of very good All Black tries, but the Springboks kept coming back. In the end a 25-24 scoreline was a fair enough reflection on how the game went, but it could easily have gone either way.

Commentators complained about the red card but I think that was the only option. A deliberate late charge with forearm contact to the head had to result in marching orders. It would always have been a yellow at least so it made no difference to the final outcome, apart from giving the All Blacks what turned out to be a crucial 3 points.

 

All Blacks v Springboks

It’s been a good year for rugby. First the Lions tour, drawn. Then Australia came very close to upsetting the All Blacks in Dunedin after a great come back from a poor first test.

Tonight the ABs get to test themselves against a resurgent Springbok team. This is the last home game of the year but it should be a good one.

It’s good to have a diversion from the election campaign.

Women’s rugby world cup final

This deserves a post of it’s own, the highlights of the women’s rugby world cup final, with the Black Ferns beating England 35-29.

Black Ferns win semi-final

Women’s rugby gets nothing like the coverage of the male version, and the Black Ferns get a fraction of the attention of the All Blacks, but they have been having a very good world cup in Ireland.

They have just beaten the USA in a semi-final 45 to 12.

RNZ:  Black Ferns into Rugby World Cup final

The Black Ferns have made it to the final of the Rugby World Cup, with a 45-12 victory over the US in their semi-final in Belfast this morning.

The Americans were competitive in the first half, but the New Zealanders took control in the second half, playing the majority of the game in the opposition half, and dominated possession.

The Black Ferns scored seven tries in total, with four of them to winger Portia Woodman.

That was a very good try on the way to an excellent win.

The Black Ferns will play either France or defending champions England in the final.

England have had some big wins too, beating the USA in a pool match 47-26. And France beat Australia 48-0!

Website: Women’s Rugby World Cup

Lions v All Blacks – 3rd test

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Tonight’s 3rd test between the British and Irish Lions and the All Blacks is one of the biggest and most anticipated games of rugby for a long time outside the Rugby World Cup.

There’s something special about a closely contested series. It is 1-1 after two tests, so everything is riding on this game.

The winner is already rugby, and no matter who wins the game will have benefited a lot from this series.?

Who’s going to win? I have no idea, both teams start the game on 0-0, and it could easily go either way.

There could end up being one dominant team, or it could be close all the way and come down to one piece of brilliance or one bad mistake.

It’s great to have a game to watch that is so full of interest and uncertainty.

Of course I want the All Blacks to win, but if they turn out to be no good enough then so be it.—

The Lions have won the toss and will kick off at Eden Park.

Half time 12-6 to the All Blacks.

The Lions have played well at times but the ABs had the better of the first half that’s been full of action. Two very good tries, but a few missed chances as well through handling mistakes.

The Lions need to come out in the second half with new energy and lift themselves or they may struggle as fatigue sets in. They don’t look as committed as they were last week.

Still anyone’s game, but advantage at this stage to the All Blacks, both on the scoreboard and on dominance.

An odd second half, very stop start, mistakes from both sides.

Final score 15-15, a drawn series.

The All Blacks seemed to see it as a failure, the Lions saw it as a success.

One very contentious decision where it seems that a penalty (kickable) to the All Blacks was changed to a scrum after referring to the video ref – I didn’t think the video ref could be used for general play decisions like that, it still looked like a deliberate play so offside, but the ref ruled and the All Blacks didn’t finish off so the result stands.

All Blacks v Lions, 1st test

Crunch time for the All Blacks and the British and Irish Lions tonight as when they meet in the first of three tests in Auckland.

LionsAllBlacks

 

I’m looking forward to this game more than most, due to the difficulty in predicting a winner, and due to the novelty of Lions tours – they come here every 12 years so their last tour was in 2005.

 

The All Blacks haven’t been beaten at Eden Park this century – their last loss there was in 1994. They have been hard to beat anywhere in the world, but the Irish showed that it can be done last year when they played in Chicago.

They had a romp against Samoa last week but should be game hardened through the players involvement in the Super competition.

The Lions had a mixed start to their tour but have improved and have won their last two games. They will be very strong in the forwards, and are expected to kick ahead a lot to keep things in front of their pack.

It may be wet which may favour the Lions a bit but the All Blacks should be ready to deal with the conditions.

I think it’s anyone’s game, and I’m happy to put them at 50/50 odds.

Roll on 7:35.

A ripping first half. The ABs have put on a lot of pressure and got points but the Lions came back with a top try running it from inside their 22.

Halftime 13-8 to the ABs.

Great game, ABs too strong in the middle of the second half, the Lions came back to score on full time but too little, too late.

Final score 30-15.

Lions beat Crusaders

The British and Irush Lions beat the Crusaders in Christchurch tonight, 12-3, all penalties.

Tough for the Crusaders to lose their first game this season, and unusual for them to be kept tryless, but they were outscored and outplayed. The Crusaders were claiming the game as a virtual test, but they weren’t up to it.

This is a good result for the Lions obviously, but an even better result for their tour. It’s a tough one for them but each game will be tough for their opponents.

This result signals that it is game on for the test series. That’s good for the game.

 

Rugby World Cup draw

The draw – or at least the preliminary draw, has just been made for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

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Who knows how strong South Africa will be by then. Or the All Blacks. Or Italy.

Still over two years away with quite a few gaps to fill in.

Falling from the heights of rugby stardom

Last week it was reported that ex-Wallaby Dan Vickerman had died – some reports didn’t state a cause but appended ‘helpline’ links, while others were open about it being suicide.

There was discussion about the difficulty many rugby and other sports stars had in transitioning to more normal and more anonymous lives.

It’s the silence that kills us: The sad case of Dan Vickerman

There was also news that Dan Carter had been arrested for drunk driving.

Dan Carter loses sponsorship deal after drink driving charge

NZ should man up like Dan Carter to face our sport and alcohol problem – Steve Stannard

There are still strong and contentious links between alcohol and sport. But alcohol isn’t the only problem drug.

Blues coach Tana Umaga seeking ‘clarity’ around Patrick Tuipulotu’s situation

Blues coach Tana Umaga is remaining tight-lipped on the situation surrounding his absent lock Patrick Tuipulotu after authorities confirmed being alerted to a positive drugs test from the player on the All Blacks’ northern tour last November.

After Fairfax Media revelations that the 24-year-old Blues and All Blacks lock’s career was in limbo following a failed drugs test, both New Zealand Rugby and NZ’s Players’ Association on Sunday confirmed the key facts in the situation.

In a joint statement, NZR and the NZRPA said Tuipulotu was shocked by the result and “working hard to identify the source of the specified substance”.

Patrick Tuipulotu cleared of doping charge

But performance enhancing drugs hover over sports these days. There can be a fine line between banned drugs and legal ‘enhancers’.

Tributes flow for former All Blacks forward Sione Lauaki, dead at 35

Mark Reason: After the death of Dan Vickerman the cult of silence is killing too many of our young men

This week I was contacted by David Briggs, a former Chief and captain of Tonga. He wants to go into things “too much”. I think we should stand up and applaud him. The telling of Briggs’s story shows the late Lauaki respect. It shows that Briggs wants to make a difference for the kids of the future. It shows a great deal of courage.

Briggs, who is now 46 years of age, said, “I started taking creatine in 1998. We were all on creatine. I got huge on it. I went from 114kg to 125kg in a matter of weeks. We didn’t know what we were really taking. We were just told it worked.

“But it didn’t feel right. Our bodies got big, but lots of people’s stomachs were playing up. I got cramps and was getting sick. I cannot be sure, but creatine’s killing all the boys. Jonah reckoned it was part of the reason he was sick.

“I was Lauaki. I got in trouble with the law and alcohol. I don’t drink anymore. I had to give alcohol away or go to jail. I woke up in a cell and went before a judge. Either I changed or I would lose everything.

“I retired from the Chiefs in 2004, but I am still getting headaches. I had heaps of concussions. I suffered depression big-time from those head knocks. I don’t think I will ever be right. I accept I will have depression for the rest of my life and a lot of memory loss. I go to the fridge and think, ‘Shit, what did I need?’ It’s just cos I played rugby without a mouthguard.

“We didn’t think about the future. I’m here now and I’m going, ‘Damn’. The young ones need to be careful. I believe creatine is killing all the boys. I can’t be 100 per cent certain. But all the Pacific Islanders are having problems now.

Former All Black Byron Kelleher arrested in France for domestic violence

And now news involving an ex All Black and an ex Wallaby:

Former All Black Ali Williams arrested on alleged cocaine charge

Former All Black Ali Williams has been sidelined by his club in Paris, after being arrested on suspicion of trying to buy cocaine.

As our Paris correspondent Catherine Field reports, Williams was picked up outside a nightclub along with former Wallabies star James O’Connor.

“He was taken in by police at around 3 o’clock Saturday morning Paris time, the two men were spotted by plain clothed drug enforcement officers, trying to buy cocaine.

Apparently they were trying to pay around 200 euros in cash for the cocaine.”

As Field reports, his club Racing has already put him on suspension.

“They say that they want to respect the presumption of innocence- he’s only been charged, he hasn’t been been found guilty of this crime yet, however, they go on in the statement to say this would be a major violation of the clubs ethics.”

Presumption of innocence unless proven guilty – but I think France has a difference system of justice.

France has been a very lucrative place to go for retired international rugby players. It also seems to be a risky place to go, where heaps of money and leisure time seems to easily lead to trouble.