Category Archive: New Zealand Rugby

New Zealand Rugby News

Aug 21

Sir Colin Meads obituary

All Blacks captain with a reputation as one of the hardest, most uncompromising players in rugby union

Few sportsmen or sportswomen have so defined their country as did Colin Meads, the former New Zealand rugby captain, who has died at the age of 81. A man uncomfortable with fame, he early in his career described himself as a “country hick in the big time” and saw himself as a father first, a farmer second and an All Black incidentally.

Meads’ international career spanned 14 years and covered three decades, from his debut against Australia in 1957 to his final appearance against the 1971 Lions when he was 35. He broke his back later that year in a car crash and his body was encased in plaster, but typical of a man who had played on against Eastern Transvaal in 1970 after suffering a broken arm, and who had returned to the field against France in 1967 after being viciously kicked in the head as he lay on the ground, he was back on the field within five months. He was expected to tour the British Isles in the autumn of 1972, only to make himself unavailable because of differences with the New Zealand coach Bob Duff.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/21/sir-colin-meads-obituary

Aug 20

All Blacks rugby union legend Colin Meads dies aged 81

Meads, who has died of pancreatic cancer, played 133 games for the All Blacks, including 55 tests, from 1957 to 1971.

Colin Meads, the famously tough All Blacks captain hailed as New Zealand’s greatest rugby player of the 20th century, has died after suffering from cancer. He was 81.

Meads played 55 tests among 133 games for New Zealand between 1957 and 1971 – a prodigious number in an era in which the All Blacks seldom played more than four tests a year.

Related: Remembering the Lions tour of 1971: the great awakening of British rugby | Paul Rees

A sad day for NZ rugby and for NZ. Sir Colin was not only a great All Black but also a genuinely good Kiwi bloke. He will be missed.

RIP Sir Colin Meads. #legend

Related: Ruthless All Blacks teach Wallabies lesson in Bledisloe Cup opener

saddened to hear that one of the great men in rugby has passed away . rest well Colin Meads

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/20/all-blacks-rugby-union-legend-colin-meads-dies-aged-81

Aug 18

All Blacks security guard not guilty of making up bugging device claims

Magistrate says not enough evidence to convict Adrian Gard of making a false representation resulting in a police investigation

Adrian Gard, the security consultant at the centre of the All Blacks bugging case, had his public mischief charge dismissed by a Sydney court on Friday.

Gard was accused of making a false statement to police about a listening device found in the All Blacks’ hotel meeting room before the August 2016 match against Australia in Sydney.

Related: Tackle, tackle and then tackle again – how the Wallabies can upset the All Blacks

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/18/all-blacks-security-guard-not-guilty-of-making-up-bugging-device-claims

Aug 17

All Blacks spring selection surprise for Bledisloe opener against Wallabies

  • Damian McKenzie named at fullback by coach Steve Hansen
  • Loose forward Liam Squire also included, at expense of Jerome Kaino

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has opted for young gun Damian McKenzie at fullback for the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship opener against Australia in Sydney.

The 22-year-old livewire, who enjoyed a stellar Super Rugby campaign with the Chiefs, is the main beneficiary of a backline reshuffle. He will play in the black No15 jumper for just the second time, while incumbent fullback Ben Smith moves onto the right edge.

Related: Tackle, tackle and then tackle again – how the Wallabies can upset the All Blacks

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/17/bledisloe-cup-opener-teams

Aug 04

Eddie Jones: Manu Tuilagi is only England player able to demolish All Blacks

• Tuilagi has played only 20 minutes of Test rugby for Jones because of injuries
• ‘He’s worth time, he’s worth effort and worth a lot of care,’ says head coach

Eddie Jones has labelled Manu Tuilagi as the only player at his disposal able to “demolish the All Blacks” after seizing the opportunity to call the fit-again centre back into the England frame.

Tuilagi has not played since January following a knee injury – the latest in a long line of fitness problems – but was among the 37-man squad called into this weekend’s camp. The 26-year-old has made one appearance under Jones – off the bench against Wales during the 2016 Six Nations – but the head coach has not forgotten Tuilagi’s bulldozing performance in England’s victory over New Zealand in 2012. Tuilagi scored one try and set up two inside eight minutes as Stuart Lancaster’s England romped to a 38-21 win at Twickenham.

Related: Eddie Jones hands Manu Tuilagi chance to resume England career

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/04/eddie-jones-manu-tuilagi-demolish-all-blacks-england-rugby-union

Aug 03

New Zealand rugby mourns death of Sir John Graham at age of 82

Former All Blacks captain, who represented his country 53 times, was also a respected educator and staunch opponent of apartheidSir John Graham, the former All Blacks captain, rugby administrator and educator, has died after a short illness, aged 82.Gr…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/03/new-zealand-rugby-mourns-death-of-sir-john-graham-at-age-of-82

Jul 10

England block players from joining Barbarians for ‘Lions decider’ v All Blacks

• Barbarians v New Zealand in November had been mooted as Lions decider
• ‘England players will be focusing on preparing for our matches,’ says RFU

England have ruled out the possibility of releasing players for the Barbarians’ fixture against New Zealand on 4 November.

It has been suggested that the match at Twickenham could be elevated to the status of an unofficial fourth Test to the British and Irish Lions tour, which concluded on Saturday with the series against the All Blacks drawn 1-1.

Related: Lions did themselves proud against New Zealand – a draw was a fair result | Nick Evans

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/10/england-barbarians-lions-all-blacks-new-zealand-rugby-decider

Jul 10

Lions 2017: Guardian writers present their awards for the New Zealand tour

Maro Itoje exemplifies the Lions spirit and the epic try scored by Sean O’Brien their swashbuckling style in a fiercely fought series of high drama

Maro Itoje. The youngest Lion in the squad started only two of the Tests but, crucially, the All Blacks won neither. Wants to keep hold of Bil, the cuddly Lion mascot, and deserves to have his wish granted. Robert Kitson

Related: Warren Gatland says Lions’ draw ‘some achievement’ and declares 2021 interest

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/10/british-and-irish-lions-all-blacks-test-series

Jul 10

Lions did themselves proud against New Zealand – a draw was a fair result | Nick Evans

Honours deserved to be even as tourists weathered the expected All Blacks onslaught with a superior kicking game and superb defence

Like most people I had a sense of anticlimax at the final whistle. It was a strange feeling. I couldn’t help but think: “Even if they flip a coin, surely it can’t end like that?” But thinking about it a bit more, it means that the 2017 series will go down in history. We will look back on it in the future and there will be a bit of mythology to it.

And for all that it was a perplexing end to the tour, I don’t think there should be any changes to the laws. It is so rare that it happens and, as Steve Hansen said, it was probably a fair result for where the two teams were in that point in time. If it comes down to a draw after all the hype, everything that has gone on before, then so be it.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/10/nick-evans-british-lions-new-zealand-third-test

Jul 09

Warren Gatland sees Lions’ draw against All Blacks as next best thing to success | Andy Bull

Head coach is justifiably proud of his team’s achievement of a tied series against the best team in the world on their home territory

Warren Gatland lost his red nose somewhere along the way on Saturday night, but he did have a couple of black bags under his eyes on Sunday morning. He said he was feeling fresh, but you would not have guessed it to look at him. It had been “a pretty quiet night,” he said, “quiet for me, anyway.”

Related: Sam Warburton the Lions’ brightest star in series that had everything

Related: Warren Gatland says his Kiwi instinct was a crucial factor in Lions series draw

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/09/warren-gatland-lions-draw-all-blacks

Jul 09

Sam Warburton the Lions’ brightest star in series that had everything | Robert Kitson

The Lions captain did not make the starting XV for the first Test but his influence in the second and third matches against New Zealand was incalculable

There are several defining images from the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour, many of them involving the same colour: the red card shown to Sonny Bill Williams in Wellington, Warren Gatland’s red clown nose, the oceans of red in the stadiums and, perhaps above all else, the red‑shirted Lions captain, Sam Warburton, jokingly yanking the trophy towards himself as he and his New Zealand opposite number, Kieran Read, posed for end-of-series photographs.

Related: Warren Gatland sees Lions’ draw against All Blacks as next best thing to success | Andy Bull

Related: Warren Gatland says his Kiwi instinct was a crucial factor in Lions series draw

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/09/sam-warburton-brighteest-star-lions-tour-new-zealand

Jul 09

Warren Gatland says his Kiwi instinct was a crucial factor in Lions series draw

• Gatland admits some New Zealand media coverage was hard to take
• Wales coach leaves door open for potential role in 2021 tour to South Africa

Warren Gatland has claimed his Kiwi background was the British & Irish Lions’ secret weapon in their 1-1 series draw against New Zealand. The former All Blacks hooker, hailed as “the best head coach in the world” by his tour manager, John Spencer, has also made clear he would not be averse to doing the job again when the Lions travel to South Africa in 2021.

Gatland, who has become the first Lions head coach not to lose a series on successive tours following the team’s 2013 triumph in Australia, said he initially thought he was on “a hiding to nothing” but believes his inside knowledge of the Kiwi psyche made a difference to the outcome. “I think if anyone else had been doing it we might not have drawn the series,” he said.

Related: Warren Gatland says Lions’ draw ‘some achievement’ and declares 2021 interest

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/09/warren-gatland-british-irish-lions-new-zealand

Jul 09

British & Irish Lions series man marks

Maro Itoje and Sean O’Brien were outstanding performers in a squad of players that showed up strongly across three Tests and seven other tour matches

Greig Laidlaw

Related: Lions and All Blacks fight to a standstill after the most intense battle | Andy Bull

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/09/british-irish-lions-series-man-marks

Jul 09

British & Irish Lions’ tour: Five things we learned from tour of New Zealand | Paul Rees

Are the All Blacks, who are used to flattening every team they face, actually starting to flatline, as England close in on them at the top of the global rankings ahead of the 2019 World Cup?The players voted Jonathan Davies the Lion of the tour af…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/09/five-things-british-lions-tour-new-zealand

Jul 09

Stalemate blues: a New Zealander’s perspective on the final Lions Test | Jim Kayes

With the All Blacks missing three golden opportunities and a questionable late decision going against them, the crowd left Eden Park feeling deflated

It rained on Sunday morning in New Zealand. Absolutely teemed down in Auckland, so it was tough to see if the sun rose on the morning after the night before. It seemed fitting, somehow. Nature’s attempt to wash away the stain left at Eden Park by a Test that had promised so much. A game that fell flat just when we were expecting a crescendo.

There was no euphoria when the final whistle blew. The crowd stunned into silence after 80 minutes of raucous support trickled away from Eden Park, disappointed it had come to this.

Related: The Lions are priceless: meddle too much and they will become an endangered species | Paul Rees

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/09/stalemate-new-zealand-perspective-final-lions-test

Jul 09

The Lions are priceless: meddle too much and they will become an endangered species | Paul Rees

The likely reduction of tour matches for the trip to South Africa in 2021 sets a dangerous precedent and overlooks the impact Lions series have both at home and abroadWhen Warren Gatland submits his report on the tied Lions series in New Zealand to the…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/09/lions-tour-priceless-2021-south-africa-rugby-union

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