Category Archive: New Zealand Rugby

New Zealand Rugby News

Nov 17

New Zealand’s Steve Tew: ‘We will not change our culture overnight’

New Zealand rugby has been rocked by sexual and violent incidents at various levels of the game but while recognising there are serious problems with some players’ behaviour, the head of the NZRU insists his sport merely reflects society

It is just as well Steve Tew has broad shoulders: the chief executive of the New Zealand Rugby Union has needed them to absorb the pummelling from his critics in recent months.

One carped Tew was “hopelessly incapable of lifting rugby’s image out of the gutter” following a series of violent and sexual incidents involving players at various levels of the game. Another that he was a “born-to-rule dictator”. A third suggested he had left New Zealand with “its worst PR fiasco in decades” because of his “archaic and outdated management style and beliefs”. It has simultaneously been the best of times for Tew, with the All Blacks racking up a record 18 consecutive Test wins and a new sponsorship deal with AIG, and the worst, with claims he has not done enough to address stone-age attitudes in the game.

Related: New Zealand’s Aaron Smith sorry for ‘huge mistake’ after toilet encounter

We clearly do not want a sport that is disrespectful of any segment of our population

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/nov/17/new-zealand-rugby-steve-tew-culture

Nov 15

What chance a Soldier Field sequel for Ireland against the All Blacks? | Robert Kitson

Ireland’s men in green are daring to dream that after waiting 111 years to defeat New Zealand they can make it twice in as many weeks in Dublin on Saturday

Not many sequels manage to outdo a famous original. You can make a decent cinematic argument that Mad Max, The French Connection, Kill Bill and Toy Story were all superior at the second time of asking but the list is relatively short. Difficult second album syndrome is a frequent musical issue and, where New Zealand rugby is concerned, double-whammy defeats to the same opponents are on the rare side of occasional.

What chance, then, of Ireland improving this weekend on their remarkable Chicago coup earlier this month when they defeated New Zealand for the first time in 111 years of trying? The two sides were always due to reconvene at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday but no-one ever envisaged these circumstances. Two Irish wins over the All Blacks inside a fortnight? That really would prompt a stampede back to Toners and O’Donoghue’s and all the other hospitable pubs of Dublin’s south side.

Related: Spirit of Anthony Foley suffuses Ireland’s Chicago surprise against All Blacks | The Breakdown

Related: Ireland coach Joe Schmidt warns players of New Zealand backlash

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2016/nov/15/ireland-all-blacks-soldier-field-dublin-new-zealand

Nov 14

New Zealand rugby great Richie McCaw flies helicopter in earthquake rescues

• McCaw is commercial helicopter pilot after retiring from game
• ‘I got woken up at midnight … yeah a bit scary,’ he says of earthquake

The former All Blacks great Richie McCaw, who is now a commercial pilot after retiring from rugby in 2015, has been flying rescue workers in the wake of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake in New Zealand.

Related: Rugby union autumn internationals: talking points from the latest action

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/nov/14/new-zealand-rugby-richie-mccaw-helicopter-earthquake

Nov 13

Sarah Hunter crowned women’s player of the year by World Rugby

• Beauden Barrett and Steve Hansen win men’s player and coach awards
• England forward Maro Itoje honoured with breakthrough title

England’s women’s captain, Sarah Hunter, has been crowned World Rugby’s female player of 2016, with New Zealand’s Beauden Barrett winning the men’s award. The England forward Maro Itoje was named the breakthrough player while the All Blacks’ Steve Hansen was voted the coach of the year for the fourth time in five years.

Related: England’s Rochelle Clark celebrates record with try in win over Ireland

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/nov/13/sarah-hunter-world-rugby-female-player-2016-maro-itoje-beauden-barrett-steve-hansen

Nov 13

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt warns players of New Zealand backlash

• All Blacks will be smarting from first defeat to Ireland in Chicago
• Schmidt expects to be taking on a full-strength New Zealand in Dublin

Joe Schmidt has challenged his players to withstand a furious backlash from a New Zealand side seeking revenge in Dublin on Saturday.

Related: Tiernan O’Halloran grabs two tries as underwhelming Ireland beat Canada

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/nov/13/ireland-coach-joe-schmidt-warns-players-new-zealand-backlash

Nov 12

New Zealand bounce back from Ireland defeat with thrashing of Italy in Rome

• Italy 10-68 New Zealand
• New Zealand score five tries in each half as Azzurri overrun

Italy felt the full effect of a New Zealand backlash as the All Blacks strolled to an emphatic win at Stadio Olimpico. A reaction was expected after the shock loss to Ireland last Saturday ended an 18-Test winning streak and the Azzurri knew the best they could hope for was damage limitation, but they still conceded 10 tries, all but one of them converted.

Italy failed to cope with New Zealand’s pace and power, but the replacement Tommaso Boni did manage a try 13 minutes from time, in only his second appearance.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/nov/12/italy-new-zealand-autumn-internationals-match-report

Nov 10

Battle for the soul of New Zealand rugby after its year of off-field shame | Eleanor Ainge Roy

The sex scandals and violence that have beset Kiwi rugby union in 2016 have led to ever louder calls for a shift in the culture of the national game

It has been the best of seasons and the worst of seasons. The All Blacks have charged through on an astonishing winning streak, victorious for 18 Test matches. Some have even heralded the team as the best ever seen, only brought low last Saturday by a surprise loss to Ireland.

But it has also been the worst of times, with New Zealanders’ devotion to their national sport wavering as disturbing sexual and violent incidents involving players at every level of the game have emerged, steadily souring public opinion.

Related: Ireland clinch first ever win over All Blacks to end New Zealand’s record streak

Related: New Zealand’s Aaron Smith sorry for ‘huge mistake’ after toilet encounter

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/nov/11/new-zealand-rugby-year-of-sex-violence

Nov 07

England’s Itoje, Farrell and Vunipola nominated for world player of year

• England players dominate World Rugby’s six-strong shortlist
• Jamie Heaslip, Dane Coles and Beauden Barrett complete list

England have received further recognition for a glory-laden 2016 after Owen Farrell, Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje were included on World Rugby’s six-strong shortlist for player of the year.

The winner will be announced in London on Sunday night amid an unprecedented level of Red Rose interest in the prestigious awards that could see Itoje also crowned breakthrough player of the year, an achievement that would complete a unique double for the 22-year-old lock.

Related: Sam Burgess: ‘The bottom line is that my heart didn’t lie in union’ | Donald McRae

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/nov/07/world-player-year-itoje-farrell-vunipola-nominated

Nov 06

Wounded New Zealand face race to regroup for Ireland rematch in Dublin | Brendan Fanning

Ireland emphatically had the measure of the All Blacks in all the key areas in Chicago and, with more preparation and fine-tuning, could make it two in a row when they meet again on 19 November

When the close to capacity full house at Soldier Field were subjected to the caterwauling version of Ireland’s Call, played with a bit of blarney on a violin, the day seemed to be heading only south. Moments later it was yanked back and pointed upwards, with the Ireland players facing the haka by forming a perfect figure of eight in memory of Anthony Foley. It was one of the great rescue acts. And not the last on a remarkable day.

What followed was a classic Test match, not for its low error count or non-stop action – there were lots of spills and the whole thing took an age to complete – but for the way it developed into a familiar and gripping theme: underdogs set the pace, and then are visibly running out of energy as they are chased down. The history of the fixture only heightened the prize.

Related: Ireland clinch first ever win over All Blacks to end New Zealand’s record streak

Related: CJ Stander dedicates Ireland victory over All Blacks to Anthony Foley

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2016/nov/06/new-zealand-ireland-rematch-brendan-fanning

Nov 06

Ireland full of respect for the All Blacks after historic win, says Rory Best – video

Rory Best says that Ireland’s historic win over the All Blacks is so monumental because of the amount of respect his side have for New Zealand. Speaking following the 40-29 win over the All Blacks in Chicago on Saturday, Ireland’s first ever against New Zealand in 111 years of trying, Best says his team plan to celebrate the victory but also stay humble

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/video/2016/nov/06/ireland-full-of-respect-for-the-all-blacks-after-historic-win-says-rory-best-video

Nov 06

Steve Hansen praises Ireland efforts after first win against All Blacks

• All Blacks coach Hansen: ‘Ireland learned how to close it’
• Ireland coach Joe Schmidt: ‘There was some great cohesion out there’

Steve Hansen’s modus operandi at press conferences is to open with a few sentences to set the tone. He did it here in Chicago to get out first and give credit to the team who had just won for the first time in this fixture after 111 years of trying.

“We allowed ourselves to be dominated in the first half and we didn’t control possession and that was down to Ireland,” he said. “To come back to 29-33 in the circumstances, with injuries and everything, was a pretty brave effort but in the end it was just one step too far to go. But as I said: great credit to Ireland and I hope they enjoy their victory. And it’s great that we’re in a city like Chicago where there are so many fans here to be able to enjoy it. So congratulations to them.”

Related: Ireland clinch first ever win over New Zealand to end All Blacks’ record streak

Related: Death of Munster head coach Anthony Foley linked to heart condition

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/nov/06/steve-hansen-praises-ireland-efforts-first-win-all-blacks

Nov 05

Ireland clinch first ever win over All Blacks to end New Zealand’s record streak

• Ireland 40-29 New Zealand
• Henshaw’s late try seals Ireland’s first win in 111 years against All Blacks

In a week where the Chicago Cubs finally put the curse of the Billy Goat to bed, there was no shortage of people here who thought Ireland were about to do something similar with the monkey on their back. In Ireland’s case that creature is all black, for New Zealand are the only team they had played but never beaten. This confidence was based not on anything as tangible as form, rather on the unique atmosphere that has gripped this city since the Cubs’ World Series win on Wednesday night. The question was not why, but why not?

And it was valid. In keeping with the script, Ireland found themselves hanging off a cliff with a gale-force wind blowing. Faced with the unlikely prospect of keeping their grip, somehow they found the energy and accuracy to clamber up to safety. At 30-8 early in the second half, with Simon Zebo’s try, you knew that if they could stay safe for another five minutes they would be OK. Then they conceded 14 points in six minutes, and suddenly it became an exercise of an entirely different nature. When the gap was reduced to four points they had looked doomed.

Related: Steve Hansen praises Ireland efforts after first win against All Blacks

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/nov/05/ireland-new-zealand-rugby-union-report

Nov 05

Ireland 40-29 New Zealand – as it happened

Ireland scored five tries to stun New Zealand, claim a first win against the All Blacks in 111 years of trying and end the world champions’ record run of 18 straight victories

10.37pm GMT

Brendan Fanning’s report from Soldier Field has landed, which means it’s time for me to go … thanks very much for reading and your emails and tweets. Bye!

Related: Ireland clinch first ever win over New Zealand to end All Blacks’ record streak

10.19pm GMT

Make no mistake about it though, that was an Ireland victory, not an All Blacks defeat.

Eight for Axel. Super tribute to @IrishRugby legend Anthony Foley as Ireland face down the @AllBlacks haka. pic.twitter.com/buaviFgbx2

10.17pm GMT

For New Zealand. the inquest will begin in earnest. Far too lethargic, too indisciplined in the first half they left themselves with just too much to do and having raced through the gears like only they can they could not quite get their noses in front and Henshaw’s try proved decisive – in the same way that Sexton’s missed penalty three years ago would have.

They of course are not superhuman, they were always going to lose at some point but fingers will be pointed at the fact that it was in Chicago. All week has been one rampant PR machine – the All Blacks determined to spread their gospel to the US, aware of the commercial avenues it represents, especially with an impasse over the global calendar beyond 2019. It may of course have nothing to do with it, Ireland were inspired after all, but punt out that many pictures of players squeezing every last drop out of being in Chicago and fingers will be pointed.

Poor, poor Italy… #AllBlacks

10.10pm GMT

Rory Best is speaking to NBC on the pitch: “We just talked about attacking New Zealand. You can see how much it means to our boys. I couldn’t be prouder of the work we put in. It’s been a long time coming, it’s history made. We’re ecstatic.”

So proud!

10.09pm GMT

New Zealand’s winning streak of 18 comes to an end, paying the price in the end for a quite woeful first-half performance. Take nothing away from Ireland though – Murray, Sexton, Stander, Zebo, Best … take your pick, they were all fantastic.

Standing up to the haka in a figure of eight in tribute to Anthony Foley, Ireland were magnificent from the word go. It got hairy in the second half, it was always likely to, and when Scott Barrett’s try – converted by his brother Beauden – brought New Zealand to within four, the comeback felt inevitable.

10.05pm GMT

At the 29th time of trying, after 111 years, Ireland have beaten the All Blacks, in Chicago, in the same week as the Cubs ended their 108-year wait for a World Series. Remarkable! Absolutely remarkable!

@gerard_meagher mother of sweet lanterin jaysus! What a performance! Super stuff! As I said before up there with Logan’s Eurovision wins!

10.04pm GMT

80 mins: Carbery misses the penalty but it is not going to matter. Henshaw almost pounces on a loose ball for another try but it’s a knock-on and a New Zealand scrum. There are seconds to go, the clock is red … it’s an Ireland penalty! And that’s the full-time whistle!

10.02pm GMT

78 mins: New Zealand have the ball but it keeps going to ground. They’re rattled and there is going to be no way back from this. New Zealand knock it on, give away the penalty and Ireland will cruise to victory – a first ever victory against the All Blacks in 111 years of trying.

10.00pm GMT

77 mins: Carbery nails the conversion, and that should be that.

9.59pm GMT

77 mins: WOOOWWWWWWWWSSSEEEERRRRS!!!!! Heaslip breaks from the back of the scrum, runs the switch with Henshaw who forces his way over. Jesus wept!

9.58pm GMT

75 mins: Oh wow. Murray fires the scrum to Carbery, who finds Payne, who loops a brave pass to Zebo. His kick on is perfectly judged and Ireland swarm on Savea who is pushed out. It’s an Ireland scrum, five metres out … a reminder that they lead by four points!

9.56pm GMT

73 mins: Heaslip picks up and finds Murray who nudges through, New Zealand have it five metres from halfway. Barrett brings them into the Ireland half. Perenara has been fantastic since he came on. He’s changed the game dare I say it but Ireland are still remarkably committed in defence and Trimble forces the error from Squire. Another Ireland scrum. Just over six minutes to hold out.

9.54pm GMT

72 mins: New Zealand get the driving maul going, and going, Coles has it at the back and still they come forwards. Perenara almost snipes through but it’s with the forwards again. It’s knocked on by I think Faumuina. Respite for Ireland again. Although they’ll need to win the scrum and go again.

9.53pm GMT

This is a breathless, frantic game of rugby @gerard_meagher. I’m absolutely bricking it and I’m only 1/4 Irish. The ABs are so menacing.

9.52pm GMT

71 mins: On a replay of the turnover, Carbery’s knee appears to find Moala’s back there. That looked painful, and he’ll need some treatment. It didn’t look malicious but it was a knee nonetheless.

This break in play will no doubt suit Ireland.

9.51pm GMT

70 mins: Barrett finds touch. There have been a raft of replacements but Coles is still on finds Read. Ireland have forced the knock-on on the edge of the Ireland 22 though and Murray boots it clear. Savea fields, kicks to Carbery who calls for the mark. And breathe a bit more.

9.49pm GMT

68 mins: Stander rips off his scrum cap and throws it away. Murray puts in. Ireland keep the ball in hand and Dillane has a blast. Still Ireland are in their own half and it’s New Zealand with the frightening line speed. Murray clears and Carbery was a shade too early with his tackle on Barrett.

9.47pm GMT

66 mins: Carbery earns Ireland a bit of time with an excellent touchfinder so New Zealand have it in their own 22. It’s kicked clear, Murray gathers but is pushed into touch, Coles takes the lineout quickly and the All Blacks are almost away again, Savea unable to hold on to the ball on the left. Scrum just inside the Ireland half.

9.46pm GMT

64 mins: Beauden Barrett converts. And New Zealand are to within four.

9.44pm GMT

63 mins: So it’s a New Zealand scrum on the Ireland 22, five metres in from the left. Cruden is on and gets a touch. Squire drives New Zealand into the 22. Cruden then fires it out to the left where Coles is (again). And the Irish defence is breached again. Squire shows delightfully soft hands to feed the onrushing Scott Barrett who reaches out an arm to dot down.

9.42pm GMT

62 mins: It’s a scrum on halfway, Murray to put in. Carbery gets an early couple of touches, but Ardie Savea has turned over and the All Blacks race down the left. A certain try is stopped only by Kearney stooping to stop a grubber. New Zealand are simply breath-taking with quick turnover ball.

9.40pm GMT

60 mins: Murray launches high again and his Munster team-mate Zebo takes a wonderful catch. New Zealand turn it over though, but Ireland follow suit. Joey Carbery is on for Sexton now. What a match for the New Zealand-born fly-half, who turned 21 on Tuesday, to make his debut in …

9.38pm GMT

59 mins: Sexton has cramp, so Murray takes the kick … but he rattles it over. That took some courage but Ireland have an 11-point lead.

9.36pm GMT

57 mins: Barrett fires over a low, pretty ugly conversion but it’s two points nonetheless. Ominous for Ireland. They need something to stem the tide. And they may just have it. A penalty at the restart against Read.

9.35pm GMT

56 mins: New Zealand pinch the lineout, and they’re up into the 22, and Ben Smith thinks he’s over in the corner. And just like that New Zealand are back to within 10 with a conversion to come. Raynal will check with the TMO but it appears to be good.

The All Blacks’ ability to race through the gears is unparalleled in rugby union, and dare I say it world sport. The try is given …

9.32pm GMT

55 mins: Sexton’s turn to go high, Barrett takes it, Ben Smith has it and straightens, and the ball is worked to Savea on the left. He pins back his ears but Trimble makes a fantastic tackle and Savea is in touch. And breathe.

9.31pm GMT

54 mins: New Zealand have a lineout and work the ball the Barrett who goes high but Kearney gathers expertly. New Zealand have worked out their lineout problem, it seems.

9.30pm GMT

52 mins: Barrett slots the conversion, wasting little time in the process. Ireland cannot go into their shells but that said, they need to keep New Zealand out for the next 10 or so minutes.

9.29pm GMT

51 mins: New Zealand must show a bit of urgency and they race up to the Ireland 22. Ireland’s line speed remains impressive but Coles wriggles through, offloads and somehow Perenara gathers to strike back for the All Blacks almost immediately. Here we go!

9.26pm GMT

49 mins: From the left, Sexton is off target with the conversion. Zebo’s try was worked with the kind of precision that is usually only seen in the southern hemisphere. Ireland have the courage of their convictions. It’s going to take something extraordinary from the All Blacks to turn this around.

9.25pm GMT

48 mins: Ireland need to make sure with this lineout. Best tries to find Stander, and does. Here goes the drive. It’s rumbling towards the line. It doesn’t get there, it’s brought down illegally but Murray wants more than three, fires it left to Sexton who finds Zebo on the left. Yikes!!!!!

9.23pm GMT

47 mins: Ireland’s defensive line speed is remarkable. It’s got Andy Farrell’s fingerprints all over it and after New Zealand clear long, Kearney looks to have been tackled high by Moody. Raynal think so but he wants to check with the TMO. Marginal, the first hit is on the chest but it slips up to the neck. Penalty only. It’s on halfway and Sexton hits the left-hand corner.

9.21pm GMT

46 mins: It’s scrappy, that’s a shame for Ireland. Scott Barrett is on for New Zealand so he and Beauden are now the 45th brothers to play for the All Blacks. New Zealand scrum. Perenara is also on for Aaron Smith.

9.20pm GMT

45 mins: And Sexton thumps the penalty down field. Best to take the lineout just outside the 22.

9.19pm GMT

44 mins: New Zealand’s drive goes nowhere but Trimble’s attempt to claim Aaron Smith’s high kick is dreadful. New Zealand are looking dangerous but Ireland’s defenders are swarming. Barrett’s loose pass is picked up by Squire so the All Blacks still have it. Loose again, this time from Aaron Smith. And Sexton? Yes Sexton makes the turnover.

9.17pm GMT

42 mins: The subsequent clearance is poor though so here come New Zealand, up to the Ireland 22. Both props carry strongly before Coles pops up on the left. It’s spilled forward though and Trimble wellies it clear. Up to just beyond halfway.

9.16pm GMT

41 mins: We’re back underway. Ireland clear their lines after fielding the restart and it touched black on the way out so Ireland have the lineout.

9.15pm GMT

A stat for you, 17 points equals New Zealand’s biggest ever half-time deficit. They were also 17 down against Australia in Brisbane in 2011. Australia won that day 25-20.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that in Dublin three years ago, Ireland didn’t score a point in the second half. What they wouldn’t give for an early penalty in front of the posts.

9.12pm GMT

There two New Zealanders with some important words of wisdom to impart at the moment. Steve Hansen won’t be panicking, he doesn’t do panic, but New Zealand have a lethargy about them that they need to shrug off, and fast.

Joe Schmidt on the other hand was visibly wounded three years ago. Do not underestimate how much he would love to guide his side to victory over the All Blacks.

9.05pm GMT

That is not a typo, Ireland are 17 points to the good at half-time at Soldier Field and they are worth every point. New Zealand, from the word go, have been horribly ill-disciplined and their lineout has been terrible with no Whitelock or Retallick but these are the world champions, with 18 straight wins in a row, those sort of things are not supposed to register.

Ireland meanwhile are playing with an intensity that Anthony Foley would be proud of. Facing down the haka in a figure of eight in tribute to Foley, Ireland have been quite magnificent. Thunderous in defence, twice using the choke tackle to excellent effect, Stander is having a game for the ages.

8.59pm GMT

40 mins: New Zealand sweep from right to left before Naholo is finally brought down. And another choke tackle, executed perfectly, earns Ireland a scrum. In, out and off the field I’d have thought …

8.56pm GMT

39 mins: Murray has it on the 22. Cane forces a crucial turnover for the All Blacks there. Perhaps a little bit of overagerness from Ireland. Barrett finds touch and there’ll be a New Zealand lineout on halfway.

8.55pm GMT

38 mins: Wowsers. Savea claims a Murray bomb but Stander, through sheer force of will, batters him back and effects the turnover. Murray clips one over the top into space and Ben Smith has to scramble. The All Blacks are on the ropes.

8.54pm GMT

37 mins: Having said that, Ireland are not trying to hold what they have. They’re happy to attack the frankly woeful All Blacks lineout and they have a lineout of their own after shoving Savea out of play. Here comes the drive.

8.53pm GMT

35 minutes: Sexton receives a bit of treatment. that’s a worry for Ireland because he’s been excellent so far but he dusts himself down to knock over the conversion. Ireland must be thinking ‘don’t concede before half-time, don’t concede before half-time’ …

8.51pm GMT

34 mins: OH MY WORD! Murray, the standout player of the first half, shows and goes and dashes under the posts, catching Aaron Smith off guard. Echoes of Dublin 2013 x a million. Murray always seems to up his game against New Zealand and there’s daylight between the two sides now.

8.49pm GMT

33 mins: The usual scrum delays end with Murray finding Sexton and then the onrushing Payne up the middle. Sexton sends it hight. Barrett overruns it and Murray snaffles it. So Ireland are just outside the New Zealand 22.

8.47pm GMT

31 mins: Van der Flier gets his hands on the ball before Zebo thumps a low kick straight at Naholo – who knocks it on. Again, everything seems to be going Ireland’s way but the root of New Zealand’s problems is their misfiring lineout. With no Whitelock or Retallick perhaps it’s understandable.

8.46pm GMT

30 mins: Stander dislodges the ball from Barrett though and Murray fires it away to safety – to around halfway. That’s an excellent clearance. Stander is on fire. And Ireland claim the New Zealand lineout again!

8.45pm GMT

29 mins: Smith kicks over the top, right into the corner but Zebo pivots and clears left-footed. Sharp work from the Munster wing there. Interest from New Zealand but they have it back, inside the 22 on the left.

8.44pm GMT

28 mins: New Zealand rumble up to halfway and a bit of magic from Barrett works space for Moala, who finds Savea, who runs out of space. He gets it back, and makes what looks conspiciously like a forward pass, but New Zealand are up to the 22 and are building a head of steam.

8.43pm GMT

27 mins: We’re back underway after a long old break. Coles with the lineout on the New Zealand 10-metre line – and Ireland have disrupted it again. New Zealand scramble it back but excellent line speed keeps the All Blacks at bay. For now.

8.40pm GMT

Lovely Munster banner spotted at Soldier Field – ‘God took Axl to tackle Lomu’ #IREvNZL

8.38pm GMT

It is indeed the end of Murphy’s day so Van der Flier is on. It’s a lengthy stoppage though. Murphy appears to be in a fair bit of trouble. Can’t help but think that this break will be more beneficial to New Zealand rather than Ireland.

@gerard_meagher put my 16mth twins down pre haka didn’t think Ireland wud b up by 10. As we aknow from 2013 it ain’t over till the AB’s say

8.36pm GMT

26 mins: Again Murray and Sexton link up well before Murray launches on … Zebo managed to catch it infield before taking it out. That was an excellent chase.

A couple of injuries … Crotty is limping off so Fekitoa is coming on and Murphy’s day is done it appears. He’s down on the ground and in a lot of pain.

8.34pm GMT

25 mins: Everything is going Ireland’s way at the moment and a textbook choke tackle on Kaino earns a scrum for the ‘hosts’.

8.33pm GMT

23 mins: Sexton, from just inside the 22 and to the left, makes no mistake. He prefers them from the left alright.

8.32pm GMT

22 mins: Ireland win the restart so have it on New Zealand’s 22. Zebo almost gets clear down the left. He can’t get their but after Murray fizzes a pass into Coles, it’s another Ireland penalty. Sexton will kick at goal …

It was Kearney who won the restart. He’s having a stormer despite a number of eyebrows (mine included) being raised at his inclusion.

8.30pm GMT

21 mins: Barrett bisects the posts so New Zealand are back to within a score. Moala’s fortuitous try, thanks to Naholo’s magnificent run aside though, New Zealand have barely had the ball.

8.29pm GMT

20 mins: Sexton and Murray and working the ball well but Zebo is caught a bit there, and after another phase or two New Zealand have forced the turnover and now they have the penalty. Their ability to scent an opportunity is frightening. Barrett will kick at goal though. It’s in front of the posts but it’s a measure that the All Blacks are a touch rattled.

8.28pm GMT

19 mins: That’s another penalty against New Zealand! Zebo was taken early at the restart by Naholo. Raynal gives Read a stern talking to. Sexton thumps clear and Ireland have another attacking lineout.

8.26pm GMT

18 mins: Sexton is wide with the conversion so Ireland lead by 10.

8.26pm GMT

17 mins: Best finds Heaslip, it’s not clean but Ireland have it deep inside the New Zealand 22 and they’re playing advantage. Kearney wriggles his way to just short! And it’s another try for Ireland! Stander it is who picks up and dots down. Wow. Echoes of Dublin 2013!

8.23pm GMT

15 mins: Ireland win it back though and continue to back their handling skills. Murray has been busy and really impressive early on. And Ireland have a penalty after a high tackle from Squire. More indiscipline from the All Blacks. And Sexton wellies it right into the corner …

8.22pm GMT

13 mins: Ben Smith’s return kick is too long though and Murray calls a mark. It’s a lineout right on halfway, and the All Blacks are under a bit of pressure – but Heaslip gives away a needless penalty. Silly.

8.20pm GMT

12 mins: Ireland back themselves to go through the phases in their own 22 before Sexton wallops it down field but doesn’t find touch.

8.20pm GMT

11 mins: Sexton strikes it well and nails the conversion from the left-hand touchline.

8.19pm GMT

10 mins: Ireland drive their way up to the 22 and New Zealand collapse the maul. Ireland play a bit of advantage but knock on so it’s a penalty. Kicked to the corner. Bold. I like it.

Here goes the driving maul again, it’s almost over the line, it’s right in the corner … it’s a complete mess. We’ll go upstairs. Raynal asks for a reason why he can’t award the try but hints at a knock-on …

8.14pm GMT

9mins: Mathieu Raynal wants to have a look at the replay of something. Hmm. It’s Moody with a potential tip tackle on Henshaw. Doesn’t look good. Moody’s going to get a card here. It’s going to be yellow.

Henshaw lands on his back/shoulder area which saves Moody from a red. Which is silly. But there you go. Sexton boots deep so Ireland have a lineout and look to get the driving maul going.

8.11pm GMT

7 mins: New Zealand go through the phases, making ground with remarkable ease. Barrett then boots long and Kearney gives Naholo the slip. Ireland are closing in on halfway but they’re being driving backwards. Towards their 22. But it’s an Ireland penalty. Kaino not rolling away.

8.09pm GMT

Barrett misses the conversion so it’s as you were. If Naholo does much more of that though, this will be a long day for Ireland.

8.08pm GMT

5 mins: Well that was explosive. Ben Smith fielded a huge Murray bomb, Naholo scythed through the Ireland defence, stepping on the afterburners, and CJ Stander, racing back, knocked the ball into Read’s face before Moala dots down. No knock-on, so it’s a try.

8.05pm GMT

4 mins: No mistake from Sexton and it’s an early lead for Ireland after some early ill discipline from the All Blacks.

8.05pm GMT

3 mins: Ireland have another penalty though – Moody not rolling away – and this one is definitely in Sexton’s range. Remember his last kick at goal against New Zealand? I bet he does.

8.04pm GMT

2 mins: Ireland have penalty, towards the right. Murray wants to go quickly but Sexton goes for the right-hand corner. Ireland on the front foot early on. The atmosphere, isn’t exactly what it would be at Lansdowne Road, put it like that.

8.03pm GMT

1 min: Sexton kicks off and Aaron Smith, back after missing the last three Tests, kicks clear. Best with the lineout on the All Blacks’ 10-metre line.

7.59pm GMT

Time for the haka. Look’s like it’s TJ Perenara with the honour of leading this one.

Ireland form a figure of eight in response, in tribute of course to Anthony Foley. A lovely touch.

7.57pm GMT

After a tribute to Anthony Foley it’s the New Zealand anthem first. My mum’s from Timaru … I don’t know the words.

Now the Ireland anthem. My dad’s from Tipperary … I don’t know the words.

7.52pm GMT

Looking at the crowd, which is bathed in sunshine, it looks like there’s more green than black but that said, there are plenty of New Zealand supporters in attendance.

Anthems soon, we’re less than 10 minutes from kick-off.

7.50pm GMT

A loose bet on Jared Payne to strike with the first try … a saver on Aaron Smith to do so. Which means I’ve bet against myself … great.

7.49pm GMT

We’re 15 minutes from kick-off and the closer we get, the more I can’t see New Zealand being stopped. The danger is that the unfamiliar surroundings and an eagerness to please gives it the feel of an exhibition match, though if it’s anything like the BaaBaas’ draw with South Africa earlier that would be no bad thing.

But let’s face it, New Zealand will have to have a very bad day and Ireland an extremely good one to still be in the contest with 10 minutes to go. And it’s one thing being in the contest with 10 minutes to go, another thing beating them. Indeed, Pat Lambie’s late penalty being the notable exception, on the rare occasions that New Zealand are beaten it tends to be by more than a score. In other words, with a couple of minutes to go you’d best be out of touching distance.

7.37pm GMT

The front row is unchanged from the 37-10 victory over Australia last time out but it’s in the second row where it’s all change – with no Sam Whitelock or Brodie Retallick, Jerome Kaino, he who was born in American Samoa, moves from blindside and Patrick Tuipulotu joins him. Liam Squire comes into the No6 shirt, Sam Cane comes back in at openside and Kieran Read captains the world champions from No8.

Aaron Smith is back from a stint in the naughty corner and returns at scrum-half while the irrepressible Beauden Barrett continues at No10. As mentioned earlier Ryan Crotty is back at inside-centre with George Moala outside him. Waisake Naholo and Julian Savea are on the wings and Ben Smith is at full-back.

Loved my GAA days in County Meath. Hope you’re well mate. https://t.co/CGgZDe0BIl

ICYMI: Here is your #AllBlacks 23 to take on Ireland this weekend. Where in the world will YOU be watching?#NZLvIRE #TeamAllBlacks pic.twitter.com/d4ULnbfjKw

7.26pm GMT

It’s Jack McGrath at loosehead, not Rory Best, who occupies his usual hooker position and captains the side and Tadhg Furlong at tighthead. Leinster lamp post Devin Toner and Donnacha Ryan are in the second row while CJ Stander, Jordi Murphy and Jamie Heaslip comprise the back row.

Behind them it’s Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton while Robbie Henshaw and Tauranga-born Jared Payne are in midfield with Simon Zebo, Andrew Trimble and Rob Kearney making up the back three of an experienced Ireland XV.

IRELAND v NEW ZEALAND, Soldier Field, 3pm local time/8pm Irish – live eir Sport 2/BT Sport 2 HD/RTÉ Radio 1/ https://t.co/bdd8s7KGZk pic.twitter.com/DjyIq8pEyf

11.34am GMT

Hello world! There can be no doubting that Chicago is the place to be at the moment. The Cubs have just ended their 108-year wait for a World Series victory and Ireland’s wait for a win over New Zealand extends even longer …

The odds that they will end it today at Soldier Field are long. New Zealand arrive on the back of 18 consecutive victories, as we all know a world record for a tier one nation, and as the All Blacks continue to explore commercial avenues in the US, they will be determined to put on a show.

Related: Australia dispel rumours of demise with five-try demolition of Wales

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2016/nov/05/ireland-v-new-zealand-live-rugby-union

Nov 05

Akira Ioane leads Maori All Blacks’ rout of callow US Eagles in Chicago

  • USA 7-54 Maori All Blacks
  • Tourists win by seven tries to one in curtain-raiser for All Blacks v Ireland

Until this week, the Chicago Cubs hadn’t won the World Series for 108 years. Ireland, who play New Zealand in the city on Saturday, haven’t beaten the All Blacks in 111. In 114 years as an international rugby union team, the USA have still never beaten the Maori.

Related: Jerome Kaino: ‘I do feel American, I like it when I see rugby growing in America’

Related: Warren Gatland fears Lions could ‘die’ if tour matches are cut

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/nov/04/akira-ioane-maori-all-blacks-us-eagles-chicago

Nov 03

John Mitchell prepares US Eagles for stern test against Maori All Blacks

Kiwi coach’s Americans face New Zealanders in Chicago, looking to improve on a close result in 2013 and put down markers for games in Europe

On Friday night in Chicago, the US Eagles rugby union team will try again to beat the Maori All Blacks. Three years ago in Philadelphia, they lost 29-19 but entertained a noisy crowd with a rollicking push for an upset. Another sell-out is expected at another Major League Soccer stadium, Toyota Park.

Related: Jerome Kaino: ‘I do feel American, I like it when I see rugby growing in America’

Related: All-conquering All Blacks show the benefit of putting skills before strength | Paul Rees

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/nov/03/john-mitchell-us-eagles-maori-all-blacks

Nov 03

All-conquering All Blacks show the benefit of putting skills before strength | Paul Rees

While New Zealand focus on skills training in their youth teams, too many others emphasise strength and conditioning to the detriment of players’ ability to think

How do you solve a problem like New Zealand? It has been a question that has been asked down the ages and as the All Blacks troop to Soldier Field in Chicago on Saturday looking for a 19th Test victory at Ireland’s expense, heads are being scratched harder than ever. And for Australia’s head coach, Michael Cheika, after his grumpy media conference following his side’s latest defeat to their rivals, irritation has become the sincerest form of flattery.

Related: Jerome Kaino: ‘I do feel American, I like it when I see rugby growing in America’

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/nov/03/all-blacks-skill-strength-the-breakdown

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