Category Archive: New Zealand Rugby

New Zealand Rugby News

Jun 24

New Zealand 30-15 British & Irish Lions: first Test player ratings

Brodie Retallick was key to the All Blacks’ success in collisions and at the breakdown, while Alun Wyn Jones did not do enough to warrant his selection for the Lions

Ben Smith, full-back 6/10 Coughed up a few of Murray’s high kicks before making way in first half for a HIA and failing to return. But had already shown a couple of glimpses of his talents.

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Jun 24

All Blacks surprised Lions by forgoing ‘champagne rugby,’ says Gatland

• ‘We were looking to get the upper hand up front … they got it today’
• Lions captain O’Mahony laments missed chances in first half

The Lions coach, Warren Gatland, suggested his side’s 30-15 defeat was partly down to being caught off guard by New Zealand’s tactics, saying he did not expect the All Blacks to be so physical up front.

Related: New Zealand and Rieko Ioane run away with first Test against Lions

Related: New Zealand 30-15 Lions: first Test – as it happened

Related: Rugby union: Schmidt relieved as Ireland beat Japan, Scotland lose to Fiji

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Jun 24

New Zealand and Rieko Ioane run away with first Test against Lions

• New Zealand 30-15 British & Irish Lions
• Liam Williams sparks brilliant first-half try but All Blacks too good after break

The British & Irish Lions must now win both remaining Tests to deny New Zealand a series victory after a sobering loss to the All Blacks in Auckland. The Lions defended heroically at times but two sharp second-half tries from Rieko Ioane ultimately took the home team well clear of Warren Gatland’s side.

The contest was far more competitive than the final margin might suggest but New Zealand were never once behind on the scoreboard. The All Black lock Brodie Retallick was particularly outstanding and Codie Taylor also scored a smartly taken try as the world champions demonstrated again how tough they are to beat on home soil. The Lions did manage a splendid 36th-minute try by the flanker Sean O’Brien but could not quite nail a couple of half chances which might conceivably have influenced the outcome

Related: New Zealand v Lions: first Test – live!

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Jun 24

New Zealand 30-15 Lions: first Test – as it happened

Two tries from Rieko Ioane and one from Codie Taylor have given New Zealand an impressive victory over the Lions in the first Test

10.46am BST

That’s all from me, join me again on Tuesday for the final midweek match against the Hurricanes.


10.35am BST

Here’s the match report from our man in Auckland …

Related: New Zealand and Rieko Ioane run away with first Test against Lions

10.30am BST

For all the huffing and puffing it’s the All Blacks who have strangled the Lions!!! #LionsNZ0217

10.29am BST

You have to say New Zealand are thoroughly worth that win, probably by a few points. The Lions had some magical moments of their own but New Zealand were in total control. The dominated the gainline, they were on top at the scrum and they were lethal when they had their chances.

O”Brien’s try has a thing of beauty and the Lions will rue failing to take advantage when Davies broke down the left early in the second half but there were too many errors and too many penalties against. New Zealand force them however. Kieran Read was quite magnificent on his comeback and things will get harder for the Lions now next week in Wellington.

10.26am BST

80 mins: The Lions have advantage as Farrell tries to step in from the right. Back we go for the penalty. The clock is read but the new laws dictate that Sexton can still kick to the corner. Owens hits Faletau, the Lions have another penalty. We’re playing advantage, Webb throws the dummy, Davies can’t quite get there. Webb tries again though … and this time he’s over.

Farrell adds the extras and a little respectability.

10.23am BST

79 mins: The scrum will be re-set so we’ll go again. The Lions could really do with something to take with them here.

10.22am BST

78 mins: The Lions work to ball to the left, Sexton’s pass goes out but it’s a knock-on from Barrett. Sexton thinks it was deliberate but it’s just a scrum.

10.21am BST

77 mins: Lions win a penalty on halfway at the breakdown, Sexton goes for the corner, this time on the right.

Read goes off to a standing ovation.

10.20am BST

76 mins: The throw is overcooked though and Sinckler goes hard up the middle again.

10.19am BST

75 mins: Cruden finds touch, Whitelock takes the lineout, and the All Blacks have another penalty. That’s No11 conceded by the Lions.

10.18am BST

74 mins: Sinckler makes ground with a bust up the right, O’Brien then makes ground on the left but he’s penalised for holding on.

10.17am BST

73 mins: Halfpenny is on for Williams. Faletau is penalised for taking the man in the air but Barrett, perhaps his first mistake, fails to find touch.

10.15am BST

71 mins: The Lions come forward through Davies but loses it … Williams can’t take the high kick and Ioane picks up the loose ball. Wowsers, Ioane turns on the afterburners – Daly is not slow but Ioane burns him on the outside. That’s the game.

Barrett knocks over the conversion to make it six from six.

10.13am BST

69 mins: Whitelock steals … Kruis charges down though. New Zealand take the lineout swiftly and Cruden has plenty of time to clear so we’ll have a lineout for the Lions on the All Blacks 22.

10.12am BST

68 mins: The Lions have the advantage and we’ll come back for it. Cane pinged for blocking. Sexton goes for broke with the kick, it’s inch perfect. The maul has been very well defended so far but the Lions must take advantage of this. Webb and Owens on for Murray and George.

10.10am BST

67 mins: Scrum to the Lions, on the left, on their 10 metre line. Time to make something happen. Murray puts in, Sexton dummies but is hit hard.

10.09am BST

66 mins: Itoje steals it. Murray clears well in touch. That has just about kept the Lions alive. Taylor finds Read … but it’s not straight.

10.08am BST

65 mins: New Zealand kick to the corner. Ominous.

10.07am BST

64 mins: Ioane takes New Zealand up to the 22. The All Blacks are looking for the killer blow here, Barrett is almost there … it’s knocked on but we’re back for a penalty. The Lions are almost out for the count.

10.05am BST

63 mins: Sexton restarts. The Lions have it all to do now. Perenara clears and Williams takes it under pressure … the Lions put width on the ball but Watson can’t take it, it’s a knock-on. He scrambles to avoid anything worse than a scrum to New Zealand in a dangerous area.

10.04am BST

61 mins: It’s in front of the posts and Barrett will stretch New Zealand’s lead to 15 points.

10.03am BST

60 mins: Warburton takes the lineout but New Zealand have stolen it. Dagg threatens on the right. Warburton doing what he’s brought on to do, slowing the ball down, but Read takes New Zealand to five metres. Itoje comes up with a thumping tackle. Cane takes New Zealand to a couple of metres out, we’re back for a penalty to the All Blacks.

10.00am BST

Sinckler comes on for Furlong.

10.00am BST

59 mins: SBW carries hard – New Zealand are winning the gainline at the moment. Lienert-Brown juggles but still has it. Barrett grubbers so we’ll have a Lions lineout near their 22, or where they don’t want to be in other words.

9.58am BST

57 mins: Farrell kicks off for the Lions, who need the next score. Perenara is on for New Zealand and clears … it’s an untimely knock-on from Kruis.

Sexton is on for the outstanding Te’o. Farrell goes to 12.

9.57am BST

56 mins: Smith puts in, but we’ll go again. In it goes, and the scrum is going forward … the penalty is awarded but the ball bounces about and into Smith’s hands. New Zealand have numbers on the left, out it goes to Ioane and his over in the left corner. We’re going upstairs though … the Lions are hoping Read has knocked it on. He hasn’t.

Barrett’s conversion is from the touchline … and it’s straight through the posts.

9.52am BST

Sam Warburton is on for Peter O’Mahony.

9.51am BST

54 mins: The ball is loose and Daly is running on to it … but we’ll come back for a Lions knock-on in the tackle from Te’o. Excellent defence from Te’o though. New Zealand change their props.

9.50am BST

53 mins: Taylor hits his man, Itoje is in the thick of it for the Lions … Cruden thinks he’s seen some space but it’s patient from the All Blacks.

9.48am BST

52 mins: SBW grubbers, Williams collects it but his kick to touch is poor. Williams has a massive shiner and his head is bandaged. McGrath is on for Vunipola.

9.48am BST

51 mins: The All Blacks take a quick lineout … Dagg has it wide on the right near halfway.

9.47am BST

50 mins: O’Mahony takes the lineout again. Murray box-kicks. Dagg takes it under no pressure though and Barrett kicks again, this one stays in though. Williams’s kick is allowed to bounce but Dagg evades the tackle. Smith clears and Williams knocks it on.

9.45am BST

49 mins: Farrell thumps clear, Barrett takes it and measures his kick to touch. The Lions will have the lineout, just inside their own half. It’s raining.

9.43am BST

Maro Itoje is coming on. Ardie Savea is already on for Jerome Kaino.

9.42am BST

48 mins: New Zealand put in to the scrum just inside their 22. Smith gets it out, finds Cruden and then Ioane and the All Blacks are looking dangerous but Read has lost it forward. A let-off.

Cane it was that lost it forward, sorry.

9.40am BST

47 mins: Watson is stepping, and stepping, and stepping! He offloads, he should have held on to the ball. This is breathless stuff. Absolutely breathless. The Lions need to keep their heads though.

9.40am BST

45 mins: The Lions go for the corner, they go short with the lineout but can’t get the maul going. New Zealand have stolen it, but the Lions have it back, now the All Blacks have it back again and Dagg clears.

9.38am BST

44 mins: The Lions have burst down the left, Davies wriggles clear gives it to the left, then gets it back. Watson is almost there, then Williams has a go. What a break! The penalty is coming but will be there more? Te’o slips at just the wrong moment before Read wallops Farrell. The ball goes loose so we’re back for the penalty. Wow.

9.37am BST

43 mins: SBW then tackles Te’o just outside the Lions 22. It’s taken back so Davies’s kick stays infield.

9.36am BST

42 mins: Te’o wallops SBW in the tackle. The legs were taken just too high. There was some feeling in that … Cruden finds a good touch though but the Lions have it back.

9.35am BST

41 mins: Here we go again. Farrell kicks off … Daly takes the restart but it’s lost forward so there’s a scrum on the New Zealand 22.

9.33am BST

Great half. NZ playing some top-drawer stuff, Lions doing outstandingly well to stay in it. Bench impact could yet decide this… #NZLvBIL

9.31am BST

The Lions, we must remember are still five points down, but they went an early try behind four years ago until a moment of magic from George North sparked new life into them. Is Liam Williams’ break going to have the same effect?

9.24am BST

Well, well, well – Gatland said he had something up his sleeve and Liam William at full-back has come up with an ace just when the Lions needed it. He started the move that ended in one of the great Lions tries in history, finished off by Sean o’Brien, just when the Lions needed it.

Things were looking ominous up until then. After an even, breathless opening New Zealand were on top, keeping the tempo high and forcing mistakes and penalties from the Lions. Taylor has scored their only try but they have looked threatening indeed.

9.21am BST

40 mins: Smith has pinched it though but Cruden is charged down. New Zealand have it back though and have advantage … it’s very messy. The Lions needs to keep their discipline here. Retallick brings them up into the 22. The LIons have turned it over though and Murray kicks out. And breathe again. Huge and crucial hit in there from Te’o.

9.20am BST

39 mins: Murray finds a good touch after the restart. He’s hurt his hand though, which will be a worry. New Zealand lineout but the Lions have stolen it. Farrell tries to go through the middle, then Te’o. Some points from this would be very nice …

9.18am BST

37 mins: What. A. Try! Williams steps inside in his own 22 and arcs his way up the middle. He’s looking around him, he gets to halfway and offloads to Davies. Davies passes on to Daly, who looks to go in, then out, then back inside to Davies, who has O’Brien – where did he come from! – on his inside to splash over. What. A. Try! Farrell pulls his conversion though.

9.16am BST

35 mins: Watson can’t gather Barrett’s high kick cleanly but Farrell has it, Murray goes high but Barrett takes it from Watson.

9.15am BST

34 mins: Barrett from the tee, wide on the left but not quite from the touchline … and through it goes.

9.14am BST

33 mins: Lienert-Brown is not a bad replacement though.

9.13am BST

32 mins: Cruden hangs it up and Retallick taps it back. Kaino goes hard at Faletau and Read wriggles away and finds Crotty … Aaron Smith milks the penalty from George but Barrett kicks … Murray calls for the mark so we’re back for the penalty. Crotty is limping off here.

9.11am BST

31 mins: Farrell finds touch, the Lions move in to the New Zealand 22 after the lineout, New Zealand think they’ve stolen it but it’s a penalty. Farrell will go for goal. It’s there – the Lions needed that.

9.10am BST

29 mins: Faletau takes it and the Lions have a penalty advantage. Farrell finds Daly with a crosskick. His gathered it … but he can’t get the pass away – had he seen Williams behind him the full-back was away. As it is we’re coming back for the penalty. Another chance goes begging.

9.08am BST

28 mins: Ben Smith is off for a HIA – which means Barrett goes to 15 and Cruden to 10. Dagg comes in to first receiver and looks for Ioane on the left wing. It’s just overcooked though. Lions lineout.

9.07am BST

27 mins: The Lions have it back and this looks promising, they’re approaching the Lions 22 but Jones spills the ball. Retallick nearly gets through – Aaron Smith’s kick is charged down by Furlong! But he can’t gather the ball, he’s knocked it on. Scrum-time.

9.05am BST

26 mins: There’s a break in play while George receives treatment. He’s good to go though and he’ll take the lineout. The Lions badly need the next score. George finds Jones, Te’o gets nowhere so Farrell kicks high.

9.03am BST

25 mins: Barrett finds touch near the Lions 10 metre line after a short break. Taylor hits Read again but SBW loses the ball in contact and Murray kicks into space. Barrett is under pressure but stays cool. Aaron Smith eventual clears long with a superb kick.

9.01am BST

23 mins: It’s a Lions scrum … Farrell is hit hard by SBW. This is a rare bit of possession for the Lions before Murray goes high again. Again the Lions get it back … but they’ve shipped a penalty. Too many of those.

8.58am BST

21 mins: New Zealand have been ominously good so far and Kruis has been stripped. Barrett spills it though – the Lions needed that.

8.57am BST

20 mins: Free-kick against Furlong, Read goes quickly and now Ben Smith is stepping … Moody carries strongly and the All Blacks are up to the 22. The Lions are under increasing pressure. Jones makes an important tackle on Read but Kruis gives the penalty away. Aaron Smith goes quickly and the ball is worked to Taylor out on the right wing … and he’s over! Barrett knocks over a fine conversion from the touchline.

8.53am BST

16 mins: The All Blacks have a scrum after disrupting the Lions there. They’ll be happy with that.

8.53am BST

15 mins: Ben Smith takes the restart and Aaron Smith clears to touch near halfway. George finds Jone but the Lions can’t get the drive going.

8.51am BST

14 mins: Barrett makes no mistake. New Zealand have already made four offloads by the by. Lions defenders must go a bit higher.

8.50am BST

13 mins: New Zealand take the lineout quickly, this is relentless. Kaino carries hard, then SBW. Cane tries to step Faletau, then Retallick has a bust before the Lions are pinged for offside. Barrett will go at goal.

8.49am BST

12 mins: The All Blacks are getting closer … Barrett looks for Ioane with a delicate chip wide but Watson takes a superb catch.

8.48am BST

11 mins: New Zealand have numbers on the left and are slowly making ground. SBW goes up the guts as Te’o makes a firm tackle on Barrett.

8.48am BST

10 mins: Here comes the Lions maul after O’Mahony takes the lineout again. Murray kicks again but Dagg takes this one cleanly.

8.46am BST

9 mins: Farrell fizzes a pass to Daly on the left touchline. Murray goes to the skies again, Ben Smith can’t take it. Another excellent kick from Murray so the Lions have it back. That’s a risky pass from Furlong though – and it doesn’t come off. Aaron Smith chips over the top so the Lions get away with that mistake.

8.44am BST

7 mins: Aaron Smith puts the ball in, and out it comes. SBW and Crotty bosh up the middle, Smith wriggles free but the Lions have turned it over and Farrell boots it into space. Dagg then finds touch.

8.42am BST

5 mins: Barrett takes it so New Zealand have it in the middle of the field. Barrett tries a grubber, it hits Murray’s legs but Barrett’s pick-up is ridiculous. There’s a knock-on so we’ll have a scrum. And breathe.

8.41am BST

4 mins: Taylor hits Read with the lineout. Aaron Smith box-kicks and Daly takes it but gets smashed back. The ball is out though and Vunipola carries before Murray kicks clear.

8.40am BST

3 mins: No try! Fantastic scramble defence by Dagg, who got Daly into touch. Just Very encouraging for the Lions though and New Zealand are under pressure with a lineout five metres out. Whitelock takes it under pressure but the Lions are offside.

8.38am BST

2 mins: Te’o charges up from the lineout, the Lions are up to the New Zealand 10 metre line … Davies ghosts up the middle! He’s got Murray on his inside! Murray can’t quite get there though. But Daly thinks he might be over in the corner! We’ll go up stairs …

8.37am BST

1 min: Here we go then … Barrett gets us going and Faletau takes the ball cleanly. Murray box-kicks and Watson gives chase. A sign of things to come? No one takes it cleanly but Aaron Smith gives away a penalty and Farrell finds touch.

8.34am BST

Time for the New Zealand national anthem, Gatland opts against singing. Probably best. Now the haka, led by Perenara. Magnificent.

8.30am BST

And now here are the All Blacks … looking a little more relaxed than the Lions it must be said. The opening few minutes of this are going to be ludicrously fierce. Not long to go now …

Rieko Ioane is smiling from ear to ear. What were you doing when you were 20?

8.28am BST

Here come the Lions, led by O’Mahony – Sean O’Brien looks like someone has just told him his favourite tractor is broken.

8.26am BST

Here are your teams once more:

New Zealand: B Smith; I Dagg, R Crotty, SB Williams, R Ioane; B Barrett, A Smith; J Moody, C Taylor, O Franks, B Rettalick, S Whitelock, J Kaino, S Cane, K Read (capt).

8.23am BST

Drink responsibly ladies and gents …

Because drinking in your pyjamas on a Saturday morning is an ideal start to the weekend, here’s the #LionsDrinkingGame#LionsNZ2017

8.22am BST

Just over 10 minutes until kick-off, time to set myself up for a fall. New Zealand to win by more than a score …

8.19am BST

COIN TOSS: @lionsofficial have won the toss and decided the #AllBlacks will kick off.#NZLvBIL #LionsNZ2017

8.16am BST

Some more pre-match reading for you, from yours truly, on Peter O’Mahony – British & Irish Lions captain.

Related: Peter O’Mahony’s rise to Lions captaincy offers perfect tribute to mentor Foley | Gerard Meagher

8.15am BST

A couple of late tries for Australia have seen the Wallabies home against Italy 40-27.

Sky Sports has gone montage crazy, meanwhile, I can’t stop putting bets on …

7.55am BST

A wee bit of a bad language in this, but worth a watch nonetheless …

@gerard_meagher I’m sure PO’M’ last words to the team will be short & impacting bit MJ in 2001

7.53am BST

From the looks of things it’s been a fine day in Auckland, maybe the odd shower or two, but that will suit the All Blacks. It is probably a bit simplistic to bill this as attack against defence but there is little doubting New Zealand want an open game, the Lions a set-piece focused, territorial battle.

7.51am BST

Well that settles it …

Decisive prediction from a Lions insider… #NZBIL

7.49am BST

Time for a bit more reading to whet the appetite – here’s how our columnist Nick Evans thinks things may pan out …

Related: Attack the All Black pack and the Lions can turn pressure on Barrett up to 10 | Nick Evans

7.46am BST

By the by, there are less than 10 minutes to go in Australia’s clash with Italy. Australia lead just 28-27 … woof!

You can follow that one here …

Related: Wallabies v Italy, and more: Australia sportwatch – live!

7.40am BST


And welcome to the first Test of the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

Related: Lions carry hope against history in their crazy endeavour to beat the All Blacks | Andy Bull

12.07pm BST

Gerard will be here soon.

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Jun 23

Owen Farrell backs Lions to end All Blacks’ unbeaten record at Eden Park

• Fly-half unfazed by New Zealand run that dates back to 1994
• ‘Do your preparation then go in with a clear mind,’ urges Farrell

Those who query the Lions’ future would have been well advised to consult Owen Farrell on the eve of the first Test. As a player on his second Lions tour, about to face the sport’s ultimate challenge, the fly-half has seldom sounded more motivated. Top players relish big occasions and few come bigger than this.

From where Farrell sits, all the players feel the same way; he thinks it is “very strange” some doubt the Lions concept. “When you see the hype around it, how much the players enjoy it and how much everybody involved loves it … it seems like everybody grips on to it when it’s happening so I don’t see why anything negative is said about it. The buy-in and how much players look forward to it is huge.”

Related: Lions’ unlikely lads could help pull off something special in New Zealand | Robert Kitson

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Jun 23

Attack the All Black pack and the Lions can turn pressure on Barrett up to 10 | Nick Evans

Time will tell if Beauden Barrett can cast a Dan Carter-like spell for New Zealand but the first Test intriguingly pits his versatile fly-half style against Owen Farrell

In 2005 I was in and around the New Zealand squad and I was on the bench for the third Lions Test – they decided to give Dan Carter the night off. He probably deserved it after blowing away everyone in Wellington with a performance that left me thinking: “Bloody hell, how am I going to get past him and into the team?”

Related: Lions’ pride and potential could produce New Zealand series for the ages | Robert Kitson

Related: Lions carry hope against history in their lunatic endeavour to beat the All Blacks | Andy Bull

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Jun 23

Lions’ pride and potential could produce New Zealand series for the ages | Robert Kitson

The tourists are under no illusions about their task against the world’s No1 side but there is genuine belief within a Lions team that is arguably the strongest since 2001 and that has been buoyed by encouraging warm-up wins

It may sound counterintuitive but, before the first Test, the British & Irish Lions should be drawing inspiration from a bunch of New Zealanders in Bermuda. For those not tuned into this year’s America’s Cup, New Zealand’s yachtsmen have slogged through numerous tough knockout contests to face the defending champions and hosts Oracle Team USA in the final. And the latest? It is never over until the plump mermaid sings but the fancied Americans are a clear second, reduced to playing catch-up by their battle-hardened visitors.

Related: Lions carry hope against history in their lunatic endeavour to beat the All Blacks | Andy Bull

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Jun 23

Lions carry hope against history in their lunatic endeavour to beat the All Blacks

The history books tell a story of home nations toiling against New Zealand but on the eve of the first Test the anticipation and optimism remains unparalleled

Nine in the morning, the day before the game. Jet-lagged Lions fans are up before the winter sun, ambling around in a daze. They say there are 20,000 of them here, but Auckland has more than a million citizens and for the last few days the straggling bands of foreign supporters, conspicuous in their red jerseys, have looked a little lost in the bustle of a city going about its business.

But on Friday morning everything changed. Now they’re all here, the weekend’s near, and the atmosphere has come alive. You can see the excitement, sense the anticipation. “It’s getting real now, it’s definitely getting real,” said Conor Murray, just after he’d come back from a coffee with his family, who had flown in that morning. “The buzz is there, it feels proper.” Some of his team-mates were heading down into town themselves that afternoon, just to get a taste.

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Jun 23

Sports quiz of the week: All Blacks v Lions, family photos and farming

Who won in New Zealand? Who struck an unlikely pose? And who was fuming?

Peter O’Mahony will captain the Lions against the All Blacks on Saturday. Which of his countrymen led the team out for the first Test when the Lions last toured New Zealand, in 2005?

Paul O’Connell

Brian O’Driscoll

Ronan O’Gara

Gordon D’Arcy

The All Blacks have only lost one of their last 22 Test matches. Who beat them?





When did the All Blacks last lose a Test match in New Zealand?





In each the last seven golf majors …?

… the world No1 has finished outside the top 10

… Rory McIlroy has failed to make the cut

… the winner has been American

… the winner has picked up the first major of his career

What did Margate striker Mike Thalassitis do this week to leave his manager “fuming”?

He won the town’s annual ice-cream eating contest

He was spotted stealing a free ride at the local Dreamland Amusement Park

He was pictured in the local paper wearing a Maidstone United shirt

He went on ITV show Love Island without telling the club

The 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup begins this weekend, with England v India and New Zealand v Sri Lanka kicking things off on Saturday. Which team has won six of the previous 11 tournaments?



New Zealand


Seventeen-year-old Moise Kean needs his father’s permission to sign a new contract at Juventus. Why might he scupper the deal?

He won’t sign until his son is given the No9 squad number, which belongs to Gonzalo Higuaín

He says Juventus have reneged on a promise they made to buy him tractors

He doesn’t want his son playing for a club that “embarrassed his whole family” in the Champions League final

He says his son should not be associated with the club after the Calciopoli scandal

Who hit a century in the Champions Trophy final?

Fakhar Zaman

Hardik Pandya

Joe Root

Rohit Sharma

Oscar has been banned for eight matches and fined £4,620 for starting a brawl in a Chinese Super League game. How long does it take him to earn £4,620?

116 minutes

Six hours

18 hours

Three days

Where was Peter Crouch when he tweeted a picture with the caption: “Summer for me is about time with family”?

Standing beside his wife

Holding his kids

Feeding two giraffes

Towering over Mount Rushmore

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Jun 22

Warren Gatland questions All Blacks’ team selection before first Test

• Lions head coach believes New Zealand could regret dropping Julian Savea
• Gatland also says opponents’ preparation has not been as good as his side’s

New Zealand’s selectorial judgment has been openly questioned by the British & Irish Lions head coach, Warren Gatland, before the first Test at Eden Park on Saturday. The Lions management have been particularly baffled by the decision to drop the prolific try-scoring winger Julian Savea and also regard the All Blacks’ bench as weaker than normal.

Related: Steve Hansen draws on hazy memories of 1971 to inspire All Blacks against Lions | Andy bull

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Jun 22

Lions’ unlikely lads could help pull off something special in New Zealand | Robert Kitson

For Jamie George, Ben Te’o and Elliot Daly to be selected to face the All Blacks in a Lions XV captained by Peter O’Mahony is a lesson to all disgruntled fringe players

For months thousands of people in both hemispheres have been trying to second‑guess Warren Gatland. They would have been better off buying a fistful of lotto tickets. Even Gatland himself, as recently as a few days ago, would not have imagined naming the XV he has finally selected for the British & Irish Lions’ first Test against the All Blacks.

Related: How defence expert Dave Ellis switched sides to become All Blacks’ Lion tamer | Gerard Meagher

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Jun 22

Warren Gatland’s five big calls for the Lions’ first Test against All Blacks | Gerard Meagher

The head coach is rolling the dice with key personnel decisions, but starting Leigh Halfpenny and Maro Itoje on the bench are gambles that may backfire

Considering the form in which he finished the season – not to mention how he performed in New Zealand last summer – Liam Williams’s selection is hardly a huge surprise but it still came somewhat out of the blue seeing as he played all 80 minutes against the Chiefs. He has a running threat not posed by Leigh Halfpenny but still, the 2013 player of the series can count himself unlucky. Halfpenny has been rock solid so far – even if Gatland has repeatedly said he needs more than that from his back three to beat New Zealand – but perhaps most significantly he has been flawless from the tee. Owen Farrell has been successful with five of his eight kicks and while Elliot Daly can take the long ones dropping Halfpenny is a gamble from Gatland, especially considering the fly‑half’s recent injury scare.

Related: Warren Gatland opts for form not reputation in first Test against All Blacks

Related: How defence expert Dave Ellis switched sides to become All Blacks’ Lion tamer | Gerard Meagher

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Jun 22

How defence expert Dave Ellis switched sides to become All Blacks’ Lion tamer | Gerard Meagher

Dave Ellis was rejected for a coaching role by 2005 Lions so the then Gloucester coach threw in his lot with the All Blacks, who coasted to a 3-0 series win

If the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand in 2005 is best summed up as a circus then perhaps Clive Woodward’s lingering regret is overlooking the self-styled “lion tamer”.

Woodward decided against handing a place on his staff to the defence coach Dave Ellis, who subsequently became the Englishman working for the enemy – seconded by Graham Henry to help the All Blacks before their 3-0 series win. “It was satisfying because I was disappointed to be overlooked by the Lions,” Ellis says. “On the flight home I wore a T-shirt that my brother had sent me which said ‘lion tamer’ on the back – it didn’t go down very well.”

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Jun 22

Lions must be ‘bold and courageous’ against All Blacks, says Gatland – video

British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland wants his side to play with positivity and flair in the first Test against the All Blacks on Saturday. Speaking on Thursday in Auckland, Gatland says his team must be ‘courageous and bold’ if they are to challenge the world champions at Eden Park, a venue where New Zealand have not lost since July 1994  

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Jun 22

Warren Gatland calls on Lions to ignore All Blacks’ pre-Test ‘trash talk’

• ‘Let’s let the rugby do the talking,’ says Gatland
• Coach urges Lions to take risks in game at Eden Park

Warren Gatland is urging his British & Irish Lions team to silence their detractors in New Zealand with a “bold and courageous” performance in Saturday’s first Test. The Lions head coach also insists the visitors will take the game to the All Blacks and will not be distracted by the “trash talk” aimed at them in the build-up.

Gatland and his opposite number Steve Hansen have indulged in regular verbal sparring this month but, having confirmed his matchday 23 for Eden Park, the former is now hoping to enjoy the last laugh on the field. “Let’s let the rugby do the talking because there’s been enough trash talk already,” said Gatland, after confirming the Irish flanker Peter O’Mahony will captain the Lions.

Related: British & Irish Lions have gone for a side to keep the All Blacks guessing | Robert Kitson

Related: Steve Hansen refuses to waste emotion on worrying about first Lions Test

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Jun 22

Steve Hansen draws on hazy memories of 1971 to inspire All Blacks against Lions | Andy bull

New Zealand’s coach got a few details wrong about events in Dunedin 46 years ago but was confident he had done his tactical homework before the first Test

No one is sure exactly how many fans were in Dunedin for the first Test match of the Lions’ 1971 tour. Carisbrook, the old House of Pain, was a ramshackle stadium, a jumble of permanent and temporary stands, and for that match its capacity had been boosted to around 45,000. But those were only the ones who had paid to get in. There were plenty more, at least another 10,000 or so, up on the railway embankment atop the hill around the back of the ground, which the locals all called the Scotsman’s Grandstand, where the passing trains would sometimes slow to a halt so that the passengers could catch a glimpse of the match. Something around 55,000 altogether, then. Or just under half as many people as lived in the city.

Steve Hansen was somewhere among them. He had only just turned 12, and his father Des, who coached at a local club called Marist RFC, had seats just behind the hoardings. It was Hansen’s very first Test match, and they were so close to the pitch that, he says, he could hear the players’ conversations through the roar of the crowd. Hansen, like every little kid at his first game, remembers being struck by how big the players seemed to be. The All Blacks pack, in particular, giant men such as “Pinetree” Meads, “Jazz” Muller, Ian Kirkpatrick. Not that their size helped them much in that match, which the Lions turned into one long lesson in scrummaging.

Related: Kieran Read back but All Blacks add twist with Rieko Ioane and Ryan Crotty | Andy Bull

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