Wallabies make two changes for ‘Grand Final’ against Ireland

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Nick Phipps gets to grip with Conor Murray

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has made two changes to his starting side ahead of the Ireland Series decider, to be played in front of a sold-out Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

David Pocock shifts to No8 to make way for Lukhan Tui at blindside flanker while Nick Phipps will start in the number nine jersey after Will Genia suffered a fractured arm in game two.

Saturday night’s Test will be Tui’s first start in Wallaby gold, having appeared off the bench in his previous six Internationals.

Phipps brings plenty of Test experience and will lean on his Waratahs backline combination with Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau.

Fellow scrumhalf Joe Powell will aim to add to his three Test caps after being named on a six-two bench along with 2017 Wallabies Rookie of the Year, Ned Hanigan who makes his return from injury.

The series is locked at one-all following Ireland’s five-point win over Australia in Melbourne last Saturday.

Australia and Ireland last faced off in Sydney back in 1994, when the Wallabies won 32-18 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The series is the first-ever three Test Series between the two nations despite having played each other in 34 Tests over 90 years.

Qantas Wallabies team to play Ireland at Allianz Stadium, Sydney on Saturday 23 June, 14:05 UAE time

  1. Scott Sio (45 Tests)
  2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa (2 Tests)
  3. Sekope Kepu (93 Tests)
  4. Izack Rodda (6 Tests)
  5. Adam Coleman (22 Tests)
  6. Lukhan Tui (6 Tests)
  7. Michael Hooper (c) (81 Tests)
  8. David Pocock (68 Tests)
  9. Nick Phipps (63 Tests)
  10. Bernard Foley (57 Tests)
  11. Marika Koroibete (10 Tests)
  12. Kurtley Beale (73 Tests)
  13. Samu Kerevi (20 Tests)
  14. Dane Haylett-Petty (20 Tests)
  15. Israel Folau (64 Tests)


  1. Tolu Latu (6 Tests)
  2. Tom Robertson (20 Tests)
  3. Taniela Tupou (3 Tests)
  4. Rob Simmons (84 Tests)
  5. Ned Hanigan (12 Tests)
  6. Pete Samu (2 Tests)
  7. Joe Powell (3 Tests)
  8. Reece Hodge (26 Tests)

Mitsubishi Estate Ireland Series

Qantas Wallabies 18 defeated Ireland 9, last Saturday (June 9) at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Qantas Wallabies 21 defeated by Ireland 26, last Saturday (June 16) at AAMI Park, Melbourne

Qantas Wallabies v Ireland at Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Saturday 23 June 8.05pm AEST

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Four debutants named in All Blacks team for third Test against France

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Players and tattoos are also an issue for organisers ahead of next year's World Cup.

The All Blacks selectors have named the team to play France in the third and final Test at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, on Saturday 23 June.

The key feature is the selection of new All Blacks Shannon Frizell in the number six jersey and Jackson Hemopo on the bench.

The tight five is unchanged, with Samuel Whitelock again named as captain.

In other forward changes, Ardie Savea gets his fourth start in the number seven jersey, while Matt Todd will provide additional impact off the bench. Liam Coltman, who made his Test debut in 2016, comes in as the reserve hooker, while Karl Tu’inukuafe and Ofa Tuungafasi will again provide front row power from the bench.

In the backs, Damian McKenzie gets his first Test start in the number 10 jersey outside halfback Aaron Smith. Midfielder Jack Goodhue, who played against the France XV on last year’s Northern Tour, will make his Test debut at centre, outside Sonny Bill Williams, who has made a remarkable return from injury.

The back three have been reshuffled, with Waisake Naholo coming in on the right wing, Ben Smith at fullback and Rieko Ioane on the left wing.

TJ Perenara is reserve halfback, Richie Mo’unga, who also played the non-Test against the France XV last year, looks set to make his Test debut off the bench, while Jordie Barrett is the other back reserve.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “One of the aims of the Series was to continue to build depth across our squad and give players opportunities.”

“Now that we have secured the Dave Gallaher trophy and won the Series, we think this is the right time to do that.

“It’s an exciting mix of players with big-match experience, newer All Blacks who are continuing to grow their game, and four players who have been named in the Test 23 for the first time.

“On behalf of the All Blacks, I want to congratulate Shannon, Jackson, Jack and Richie, on their selection in the Test side.

“Our focus this week has been concentrating, firstly, on getting our individual processes done well, and then working on these collectively as a team.

“Another key focus has been our mental preparation, which needs to be bone deep and genuine.

“The French have proven to be a worthy opponent and very difficult to play, and we see this Test as another opportunity to improve our game.

“Once again we are looking forward to playing under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium in guaranteed good conditions.”

The matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps in brackets. New Test All Blacks are in bold):

  1. Joe Moody (33)
  2. Codie Taylor (31)
  3. Owen Franks (97)
  4. Samuel Whitelock (98) – captain
  5. Scott Barrett (18)
  6. Shannon Frizell
  7. Ardie Savea (24)
  8. Luke Whitelock (4)
  9. Aaron Smith (73)
  10. Damian McKenzie (14)
  11. Rieko Ioane (15)
  12. Sonny Bill Williams (46)
  13. Jack Goodhue
  14. Waisake Naholo (18)
  15. Ben Smith (65)
  16. Liam Coltman (1)
  17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (2)
  18. Ofa Tuungafasi (16)
  19. Jackson Hemopo
  20. Matt Todd (13)
  21. TJ Perenara (44)
  22. Richie Mo’unga
  23. Jordie Barrett (4)

The new All Blacks

Shannon Frizell

Shannon Frizell

Shannon Frizell is blessed with dynamic rugby skills, which were on full display this year when he scored three tries in the Highlanders win over the Blues in round ten of Investec Super Rugby. Standing tall at 1.95m, the 24-year-old Tongan-born loose forward moved to Nelson after signing a development contract with the Tasman Rugby Union in 2015. He represented New Zealand Marist at Under 19 level and also played for the Tasman sevens team. He made his provincial debut for Tasman in 2016 playing in all matches, and after a blockbuster 2017 Mako season earned a Super Rugby contract with the Highlanders.

Jackson Hemopo

Jackson Hemopo

24-year-old lock / loose forward Jackson Hemopo has gone from strength to strength since making his debut for the Highlanders in 2015 during their championship-winning season. Standing 1.93m and 108 kg, Hemopo was selected for the Maori All Blacks for their Northern Tour last year on the back of a very impressive provincial season with Manawatu. Showing his ability to step up to international rugby, Hemopo had already impressed with his outstanding form for the Highlanders in their historic victory against the British & Irish Lions.  Hemopo was a member of the 2013 New Zealand Under 20 side, and played for Otago in 2013-2015 before signing a deal to return to Manawatu in 2016 where he has continued to develop ever since.

Facts and stats

* With his 31st try last weekend, Ben Smith is now joint tenth on the All Blacks try-scoring list. Smith has now scored 400 points in first-class rugby from 79 tries, one penalty and one conversion.

* Damian McKenzie also kicked his first points for the All Blacks last weekend. He now has six tries and three conversions.

* Aaron Smith had his 69th start at halfback for the All Blacks – just five short of Justin Marshall record of 74. Meanwhile, Smith and Beauden Barrett started their 26th Test as the All Blacks halfback / first five-eighth combination. This is second most for the All Blacks behind the 44 Tests played by Marshall and Andrew Mehrtens.

* Last weekend’s David Gallaher Cup Test was the 60th between the All Blacks and France. The All Blacks have won 47 times and the French 12, with one draw.

Series Results

  1. All Blacks 52 France 11, Saturday 9 June, Eden Park, AUCKLAND
  2. All Blacks 26 France 13, Saturday 16 June, Westpac Stadium, WELLINGTON
  3. vs. FRANCE. Saturday 23 June, 7.35PM, Forsyth Barr Stadium, DUNEDIN

Last tickets to the Dunedin Test are available from www.allblacks.com/tickets

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International Rugby round-up as Boks and All Blacks roll on, USA upset Scotland and Fiji win Pacific Nations Cup

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USA players celebrate their shock victory over Scotland

A thrilling weekend of international rugby with upsets for the USA, Russia and Wales while the All Blacks and Boks coasted to series victory and Ireland levelled it up down under.

There’s also action from the Pacific Islands and Japan.

Here’s our round up of all the matches:

New Zealand 26 France 13 in Wellington, NZ

(New Zealand lead the series 2-0)

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen called for a rethink of rugby’s penalty system on Saturday after their series-sealing, 26-13 win over France was spoiled by an early red card.

Hansen called the mid-air collision that saw France fullback Benjamin Fall dismissed in the 12th minute “not intentional”, and said the laws of the game should accept that accidents happen.

Hansen said he was pleased with the world champions’ four-tries-to-one victory, which clinched the three-match series with a game to spare, but riled by the French misfortune.

Benjamin Fall saw red for this tackle.

Benjamin Fall saw red for this tackle.

“It’s always a shame when someone gets red-carded particularly for an offence that is not really intentional,” Hansen said.

Fall collided with Beauden Barrett in the air, with the All Blacks fly-half crashing head-first to the turf and leaving the field with concussion.

“It was a challenge and he (Fall) got it wrong. The referee had to red-card him because that’s what the rules say but it does spoil the game.”

The All Blacks made the most of their one-man advantage to lead 21-6 by half-time before a courageous French side fought back gallantly in the second period.

Their chances of pulling off an upset win — after being thrashed 52-11 when a yellow card marred last week’s first Test — were dashed when they twice crossed the line but blew the try-scoring opportunities.

New Zealand 26 (J Moody, B Smith, J. Barrett 2 tries; D McKenzie 3 cons) defeated France 13 (C Gomes Sa try; J Plisson con, M Parra 2 pens)

Australia 21 Ireland 26 in Melbourne, Australia

(Series drawn 1-1 with one match to play)

Ireland’s summer series in Australia will come down to a winner-takes-all finale in Sydney next week after the tourists secured a first away win in Australia in exactly 39 years.

With big hitters like Johnny Sexton and Tadhg Furlong back in the starting XV following the 18-9 first Test reversal, Joe Schmidt’s Six Nations champions produced some of their best rugby of the season as they over-powered the Wallabies at the breakdown, where captain Peter O’Mahony was immense.

Both sides will count the cost of this bruising encounter in the coming days after a host of players were forced off injured, but they will have to do it again in seven days’ time and Ireland have the wind in their sails after tries from Andrew Conway and Furlong and a 16-point haul from Sexton saw them home 26-21 in front of an attendance of 29,018.

Ireland 26 (A Conway, T Furlong tries; Sexton 2 cons, 4 pens) defeated Australia 21 (K Beale, penalty, T Tupou tries; Foley 2 cons)

South Africa 23 England 12 in Bloemfontein, South Africa

(South Africa ahead 2-0 in three match series)

In a repeat of the first Test match, the Boks found themselves a couple of tries down with just a quarter gone as they were again unable to cope with the pace at which England played.

But the Red Rose scored no further tries in the match as the Boks controlled the rest of the game, coming away with a deserved series win as Rassie Erasmus’ tenure gets off to a positive start ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

South Africa 23 (D Vermeulen, Penalty Try; H Pollard con, 3 pens) defeated England 12 (M Brown, J May tries; O Farrell con)

Argentina 12 Wales 30 in Santa Fe, Argentina

(Wales won series 2-0)

Wales coach Warren Gatland was thrilled Sunday by the strength in depth within his squad after winning all three Tests on an end-of-season Americas tour.

After edging South Africa 22-20 in Washington, the Dragons outplayed Argentina 23-10 in San Juan and then 30-12 in Santa Fe on Saturday to complete a 2-0 series triumph.

Wales left many of their stars at home in order to blood fringe contenders and New Zealand-born Gatland gambled by altering his line-ups even as the team won.

“A huge advantage bigger nations like New Zealand have is that when someone puts on a jersey they know there are five guys behind waiting if you mess up,” explained Gatland.

The reverse was the case for Pumas boss Daniel Hourcade who announced his resignation after the 2-0 series reverse.

Wales 30 (J Adams, H Amos tries; Rhys Patchell con, 6 pens) defeated Argentina 12 (B Delguy, J Montoya tries; N Sanchez con)

Japan 22 Italy 25 in Kobe, Japan

(Series drawn 1-1)

Italy completed a nail-biting 25-22 away win over Japan on Saturday to tie their two-Test series against the 2019 Rugby World Cup hosts.

The Italians attacked with real purpose in Kobe after being humbled 34-17 by the Brave Blossoms last weekend, but needed two clutch penalties from fly-half Tommaso Allan to repel a furious late Japan fightback.

“It was our last game of the season so we’re really happy to finish like that,” said Italy captain Leonardo Ghiraldini.

“We know exactly where we want to go — our target at the World Cup is to qualify for the quarter-finals, but we have the Six Nations before that and that’s our focus.”

Italy 25 (T Benvenuti, L Ghiraldini, J Polledri tries; T Allan 2 cons, 2 pens) defeated Japan 22 (W Tupou, A Mafi, K Matsushima tries; R Matsuda 2 cons, Y Tamura pen)

Canada 20 Russia 43 in Ottawa, Canada

The No. 19 Russians defeated Langford-based No. 21 Canada 43-20 in a Test match Saturday in Ottawa.

It was Canada’s second consecutive loss of a crucial three-game summer Test series to prepare for the last-chance qualifier, in November, for the 20th and final berth into the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

The series began with a 48-10 loss to world No. 6 Scotland last weekend at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. The series concludes next Saturday against the U.S. Eagles at the Wanderers Ground in Halifax.

“We were disappointed, to be honest, on the scoreboard,” said Canadian head coach Kingsley Jones, who, in a previous coaching incarnation, built up the Russian national team. “We’re all a bit deflated, players and crowd. We disappointed the home crowd. [The fans] were fantastic, but we didn’t give them enough to cheer about.

Russia 43 (A Rudoi 3, A Mikhaltsov 2, N Vavilin tries; Y Kushnarev 5 cons, pen) defeated Canada 20 (L Campbell, N Blevins tries; B Staller 2 pens, con, S O’Leary con)

United States 30 Scotland 29 in Houston, USA

USA caused a major shock in their June international clash with Scotland as they won 30-29 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on Saturday.

Scores from Joe Taufete’e (2) and Hanco Germishuys, bolstered by the reliable boot of the classy AJ MacGinty, saw the Eagles to a memorable win.

Scotland’s replies arrived through Blair Kinghorn, a penalty try, George Turner and Dougie Fife, with Kinghorn missing the late vital conversion.

For USA though this excellent result will be celebrated long into the night, as their impressive form this year continues under coach Gary Gold.

USA 30 (J Taufete’e 2, H Germishuys tries; AJ MacGinty 3 cons, 3 pens) defeated Scotland 29 (B Kinghorn, Penalty try, G Turner, D Fife; Kinghorn 2 cons, pen)

Rugby World Cup qualifying


Germany 16 Portugal 13 in Heidelberg, Germany

Second-tier European rugby’s roller-coaster trip towards next year’s Rugby World Cup saw Germany beat Portugal 16-13 on Saturday to set up a two-leg play-off with Samoa, the winner of which qualifies directly for Japan.

“For us, this was a real end game and really important for the future of German rugby. We have now taken a big step forward,” said Germany coach, Uruguayan Pablo Lemoine.

The boot of South African-born Raynor Parkinson sealed the win with three penalties in Heidelberg.

The inside centre also converted a second-half try from Number Eight Jarrid Els, another South African convert who has qualified for Germany on residency.

The Germans will travel to Apia on June 30 and host the return leg on July 14, with the winner going on to complete Pool A, facing Japan, Ireland, Russia and Scotland.

Germany 16 (J Els try; R Parkinson 3 pens, con) defeated Portugal 13 (S Villax try; L Rodrigues cons, 2 pens)

African Gold Cup

Zimbabwe 23 Morocco 23 in Harare, Zimbabwe

Former South Africa coach Peter de Villiers suffered an early setback to hopes of leading two countries at the Rugby World Cup when Zimbabwe were held at home by Morocco.

De Villiers would have been celebrating a winning start but for disappointing goal-kicking by fly-half Lenience Tambwera, who fluffed a late penalty.

Tambwera took the shorter shots at goal and centre Brendon Mandivenga the longer ones, and between them they missed five of 10 attempts.

In a seesaw struggle, Zimbabwe built an early 11-point lead thanks to two tries by debutant full-back Shingirai Katsvere only for Morocco to hit back and lead 16-14 at half-time.

The north Africans, bolstered by a number of France-based players, fell behind again before winger Karim Quadri scored to put them ahead 23-20.

Tambwera slotted a penalty on 72 minutes to equalise and both sides squandered late chances to win at Harare Sports Club.

Zimbabwe 23 (S Katsvere 2 tries; L Tambwera cons 2, pens 3) drew with Morocco 23 (I Nassik, Q Karim tries; H Chakir cons 2, pens 3)

Namibia 55 Uganda 6 in Windhoek, Namibia

Namibia launched their campaign for a sixth consecutive Rugby World Cup appearance by overwhelming Uganda at Hage Geingob Stadium.

Coached by former Wales lock Phil Davies, the home team scored four tries in the opening half to turn over 26-3 ahead and added another five after the break.

Winger JC Greyling and hooker Louis van der Westhuizen scored two each but the biggest cheer was reserved for the try by full-back Chrysander Botha on his 50th Test appearance.

Namibia 55 (J Venter, J Greyling 2, O Nortje, J Deysel, C Botha, W Conradie, Louis van der Westhuizen 2 tries; C Loubser 5 cons) defeated Uganda 6 (J Ijongat 2 pens)


Fiji 37 Georgia 15 in Suva, Fji

Fiji won the Pacific Nations Cup 2018 after defeating Georgia 37-15 in Saturday’s title decider at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

Scrum-half Henry Seniloli scored two first-half tries, his 64th-minute replacement Frank Lomani added a brace late on and Semi Radradra got in on the act on his Test debut as Fiji overturned a five-point half-time deficit after Alexander Todau had given the visitors the lead.

Fiji 37 (H Seniloli 2, F Lomani 2, J Vatubua, S Radradra; Nadolo 2 cons, pen) defeated Georgia 15 (S Todua, O Giorgadze tries; Soso Matiashvili con, pen)

Tonga 28 Samoa 18 in Suva, Fiji

Tongan scrum-half Sonatane Takulua contributed 13 points with the boot. Penikolo Latu, Viliame Lolohea and former NRL player and Wallabies winger Cooper Vuna also scored first-half tries for the Tongans, who were beaten 16-15 by Georgia last week.

The Tongans lost their discipline in the last 15 minutes, losing three players to the sin-bin in that period but the Samoans were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage as the Tongans claimed the Pacific Nations Cup runner-up spot.

Tonga 28 (V Lolohea, C Vuna, P Latu tries; S Takulua 2 cons, 3 pens) defeated Samoa 18 (E Fidow, M Matavao; A Tuala 2 pens, con)

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