Andrew McFadden Will Pay The Highest Price For Warriors Off-Field Issues

Players like Manu Vatuvai and Konrad Hurrell won’t be the biggest casualties to come out of the latest off-field drama to engulf the Warriors, but rather it will be coach Andrew McFadden.

Following their 42-0 loss to Melbourne on Anzac Day, six Warriors players were spotted drinking and gambling in Auckland following the sides return flight home. A handful of those players were late to a team meeting the next day.

Those players included key veterans and leaders Manu Vatuvai and Konrad Hurrell.

As a result, all six players, including Vatuvai and Hurrell, have been discounted for selection for the Warriors clash against the Dragons on Sunday. Continue reading Andrew McFadden Will Pay The Highest Price For Warriors Off-Field Issues

Chiefs Win Historic Jaguares Encounter 30-26 In Thriller

Brad Weber has scored what will go down as a famous try to hand the Chiefs a win over the Jaguares 30-26 in a thrilling finish.

A full house and expectant home crowd packed into Estadio Jose in Bruenos Aires for the Jaguares historic first home game in Super Rugby, and the new side packed full of regular Pumas nearly pulled off something special.

Leading at the break, the Jaguares appeared to have just fallen short, before a brilliant breakaway try with three minutes remaining put the hosts in front.

But a try at the death by Brad Weber, following by a perfect kick from Damian McKenzie on the touch line, snatched victory for the Chiefs, making Weber a hero, and providing a thrilling finish to one of the best matches in Super Rugby history.

Weber can pay a lot of his historic moment to Aaron Cruden, showing all his class as an All Black regular, helping to setup the try, and creating space for Weber to run into.

The full story:

Argentine rugby is known for its power at scrum time, so perhaps it was fate that the first try the Jaguares would score at home in Argentina came from this. Jaguares captain Augistin Creevy getting the honours as the first to score a try for the club playing at home.

A handling error after the kick off saw the Jaguares early lead be quickly snatched away, quick hands by the Chiefs backline saw winger Sam MicNicol score his debut try in Super Rugby in the corner.

Damian McKenzie added a fourth try in as many matches to increase the Chiefs lead after the Jaguares coughed up possession near their own try line for the second time.

Constant penalties began to mount against the Chiefs as the Jaguares continued to play their expansive, fast-flowing, and brave style, refusing to kick possession away. All Black halfback and experienced Chiefs player Tawera Kerr-Barlow was sent to the sin bin for playing the ball on the ground and illegally taking possession away from the Jaguares.

Nicolas Sanchez’s boot saw the Jaguares kick their way back into the lead with the score 14-13 at half time.

With Aaron Cruden failing to convert on his chances in the first half, Damian McKenzie was given the kicking duties, and continued his rich vain of form with the boot to kick the Chiefs back into the lead.

The dominance that the Jaguares had in the scrum fell away, and when the handling errors continued, Chiefs midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown created a counter attack, and James Lowe was there to clutch the pass and score in the corner.

The Jaguares kept their faith in an expansive style of rugby, often attempting to run the ball out of their own goal line.

After television replays showed Martin Landojo had touched the ball down, the Jaguars were right back in the match, and it was their daring brand of rugby that had been on the script all night that turned the match on its head again.

From deep in their own half, and helped by weak tackles from Chiefs defenders, Martias Moroni raced away to score, and put the Jaguares into the lead.

With precious time remaining, the Chiefs were awarded a scrum, and after a successful execution, Aaron Cruden found space and connected with Brad Weber to score a try that put the Chiefs back in front, but only by two points.

Damian McKenzie converted from out wide, giving the Chiefs a 30-26 lead, and the win.

Score Centre

Jaguares 26

(Augistin Creevy, Martin Landojo, Martias Moroni, Nicolas Sanchez 3 pen, 1 con)

Chiefs 30

(Sam McNicol, James Lowe, Brad Weber, Damian McKenzie 1 try, 1 pen, 2 con, Aaron Cruden 1 pen)

Blues Beat Chiefs Despite Losing Kaino After Punch

Poor discipline from the Chiefs has seen the Blues come away with a 24-12 victory in Pukekohe.

Head coach Dave Rennie will be less than pleased with his side after the Chiefs gave away 13 penalties, many coming in the second half, allowing the Blues to come charging back into the match after a poor opening.

Blues captain Jerome Kaino had been red carded early in the second half after punching Chiefs prop Pauliasi Manu, but replays showed no intention and just an accident by Kaino.

But the Chiefs couldn’t take advantage of having an extra man, and if anything, Kaino’s sending off had a profound effect on the Blues and they would go on to score three further tries.

In his return to rugby, Aaron Cruden helped the Chiefs out to an early lead, setting up Seta Tamanivalu for a try after casually stepping his way through the Blues defense in a breathtaking move.

Cruden played about 60-minutes and looked dangerous with ball in hand, but his kicking game needs a bit of work.

Glen Fisiiahi was also impressive again, showing his speed on the wing.

Score Centre:

Chiefs 14

(Charlie Ngatai, Seta Tamanivalu, Aaron Cruden 1 con)

Blues 24

(Patrick Tuipulotu, Bryn Hall, Lolagi Visinia, Matt Duffy, Ihaia West 1 con, Mark Guyton 1 con)

Waitangi Weekend Brings Sports Galore

It may be Waitangi Day, but sports fans have a busy schedule over the next few days with so much world-class action taking place.

The NRL Nines kicks off just after lunchtime on Saturday, and like it was last year, the Warriors come into the tournament as hot favourites. Shaun Johnson has recovered from a broken ankle that sidelined him for months and faces a stiff fitness test in the fact-paced Nines format. The event will also see the big debut of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in Warriors colours.

Set to become a millionaire during the match, Martin Guptill will be focused on helping the Blackcaps put Australia away for the second time in four days. The Blackcaps have an impressive winning record at Westpac Stadium, including victories over Australia in their last two ODI meetings at the venue. For the Australian side, fresh off one of their heaviest defeats ever that has left their media calling for blood, a win today is absolutely crucial and for much more than just keeping the series alive.

Over the ditch, Sonny Bill Williams will be looking to impress more than he managed to last weekend as the All Black Sevens attempt to go back-to-back and claim the Sydney leg of the HSBC Sevens Series. Quade Cooper was left out

Oh, and don’t forget the Super Bowl on Monday afternoon when the Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers.

McKenzie and Volavola easily fill Crusaders’ playmaker exodus

Marty McKenzie and Ben Volavola have both arrived at the Crusaders with similar paths through Super Rugby.

New Zealand-born Marty McKenzie has dabbled in two different Super Rugby clubs and is a Maori All Black representative.

Ben Volavola was a key part of the Fijian national side at last years Rugby World Cup and has amassed eight caps for the Waratahs in Super Rugby.

Volavola and McKenzie give Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder reasonable playmaking ability at both first five and fullback during Super Rugby 2016.

Picking up these two eager but young footballers is a big win for the Crusaders.

Not only does it take care of the No.10 exodus that threatened to ruin any chance of a title in 2016, but it also provides a fresh injection of youth into a position that, in Crusaders colours, has always been filled by more senior heads i.e. Daniel Carter.

With lacking opportunity at the Chiefs, Marty McKenzie didn’t need much convincing to take his talents to the Crusaders. McKenzie slotted 23 points in seven Super Rugby appearances last season, proving he can kick with reasonable success.

Despite Volavola’s experience on the international stage, many believe that the confidence and counter attack game that Marty McKenzie possesses would warrant the starting role.

The pre season will give the Crusaders a good look at both McKenzie and Volavola, beginning with a matchup against the Hurricanes in Blenheim.

The 2016 Super Rugby season will be the last for Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder.

ASB Premiership: Auckland City show class in 2-0 win over WaiBOP

Auckland City FC has shown all their class fresh off the FIFA Club World Cup after beating WaiBOP United easily in Hamilton today 2-0.

Opportunities were available for both WaiBOP United and Auckland City, but only one team ever looked like winning, with the second and crucial goal for the visitors coming from the boot of international Emiliano Tade.

Aimless passing along the ground and in the air saw WaiBOP struggle to put together attack, and despite having opportunities on goal, Auckland City’s keeper had a relatively relaxed afternoon.

With the 2-0 loss, WaiBOP United’s journey to the ASB Premiership top four just got a lot harder.

The full story:

WaiBOP’s goal was under attack early, two big chances went begging for Auckland City, but the visitors had the best of the opening minutes.

A magnificent leap into the air by Auckland City goalkeeper Danyon Drake kept WaiBOP scoreless

Micah Lea’Alafa was brought down in the penalty box by WaiBOP defender Finn Cochran gave the referee no choice but to award Auckland City a penalty 15th minute.
The penalty led to nothing thanks to a brilliant diving punch by Zac Speedy that kept Emiliano Tade’s shot out.

Moments later, a deflection off a WaiBOP defender from the corner saw Speedy outnumbered and diving to his left, but a quick inside pass allowed Daewook Kim to score.

Auckland City took a 1-0 lead.

Stephen Hoyle found the side netting of goal after some nifty footwork outside put WaiBOP in scoring position.

Auckland City went into halftime with the 1-0 lead.

A freakish dummy and brilliant footwork by Argentine import Emiliano Tade fooled the WaiBOP defense early in the second half to allow Auckland City to race ahead 2-0.

Marquez blew a chance on goal for WaiBOP and rightfully earned the shaking heads of the home supporters.

Micah Lea’Alafa nearly extended Auckland City’s lead as WaiBOP defenders couldn’t shut down the wide attacker, and but for a brilliant save by Speedy kept Lea’Alafa off the score sheet.

Speedy took a heavy knock saving the goal and required medical attention for a brief period.

Ryan De Vries tried to get in on Auckland City’s party and was left furious when Speedy kept his shot out from goal in a one on one situation, but the game was quickly becoming well in the bag.

Finn Cochran tried desperately to get WaiBOP back into the match but couldn’t challenge the goalkeeper from his header.

Stephen Hoyle was down and in a lot of pain on the sidelines as time ticked away, but WaiBOP were not going down without a fight and began enjoying a long period of attacking possession with no result.

Auckland City held on through five minutes of injury time to record a classy 2-0 win.

At a glance:

WaiBOP United 0

Auckland City FC 2 (Daewook Kim ’19, Emiliano Tade ’49)

47-9 win for All Blacks to end pool play

A commanding second half performance has helped ease the nerves of the New Zealand rugby public after the All Blacks beat Tonga 47-9 in Newcastle this morning. But only for now.

Credit: Guim UK

Ma’a Nonu scored in his 100th game as the All Blacks ran in seven tries, including five in the second half on the way to putting together their most solid performance in the World Cup so far.

Tonga dominated the physical battle and came up unlucky not to score in the closing moments of the first half.

The result isn’t enough to say that the All Blacks are back on track, but with a quarter-final looming against either France or Ireland in Cardiff, speculation over Steve Hansen and his men ‘holding things back’ for the finals is still debatable. Arguably in the weakest pool of the tournament, the intensity and momentum still appears to be lacking in the All Blacks squad no matter who Steve Hansen is selecting on the day.

Tonga played a good game, but the fitness levels of the All Blacks once again proved to be superior and helped blow the result out towards the end, however scrappy ball security still remains a big concern.

Perhaps the All Blacks are holding back some tactical elements in this campaign.

The 47-9 victory over Tonga showed glimpses of what All Black fans have been craving for during the World Cup. Dotting over the line for two tries, Nehe Milner-Skudder has all but solidified his spot in the starting line up, and Daniel Carter’s accuracy on goal in this match is a sigh of relief.

Signs of life, for the moment, appears to be back in the All Blacks RWC campaign.

England’s humiliating RWC exit

England has crashed out of their RWC, and heads will no doubt be about to roll. Chris Robshaw and Stuart Lancaster may not survive this one.

Credit: CityAM

Australia humiliated the tournament hosts, thrashing England 33-13 in London on Saturday night in front of an expectant crowd, including members of the royal family.

England will now reflect on where it all went wrong in a short-lived tournament stint that never got off the ground, but they need not look any further than themselves after being blown off the park in a surprisingly poor performance.

English coach Stuart Lancaster apologised to the public in the post match press conference, but his words will do little to help heal the wounds to the heart of his players that will have to live with the reality of the next few weeks.

England will not get their hands on the RWC this time round, and it is a terrific shame for the tournament.

TV commentators said prior to the game that if England lost; fans would leave Twickenham and tear up their expensive tickets in disgust. One can’t help if at least a handful of the 82,000 strong crowd made largely of English fans did just that following the fulltime siren.

Crashing out of the tournament is one thing, but for England to do so on their home soil is humiliating. Not only is it the darkest day in the history of English rugby, Stuart Lancaster and his men now become the first host national to be eliminated from a RWC before the quarterfinals.

Given the amount of talent in this English side; this reality is staggering.

England were expected to do well at this World Cup, perhaps even go all the way, but on the night of Saturday October 3rd it was Australia who solidified their place as new tournament favourites.

Australia put on the most dominant performance seen at the RWC yet, their superiority at the breakdown kept England’s usually formidable forward pack contained and unable to contain the ball, but it was Bernard Foley’s impressive ability to step past the English defense that set Australia well ahead going into halftime.

Ultimately, England never recovered and the nail was put into the coffin when Owen Farrell was sent to the sin bin with ten minutes left on the clock.

In fact, Farrell’s opportunities were limited on goal in this match.

Sam Burgess’s big arrival on the rugby union stage came to an abrupt end; the midfielder had no impact off the bench in a theme that was familiar to both sides in the match. Australia’s bench threatened to undo all the good work, but England was simply left with not enough time left and too great a deficit.

Slight ankle tweak for Colin Slade

The nation can breathe a sigh of relief – Colin Slade’s injury is not serious.

Colin Slade. Credit: MoreFM

Slade was carried from the field during an All Blacks training session this morning, but it has been confirmed that the injury will not rule the first five out of the Rugby World Cup.

Slade rolled his ankle while training in wet conditions in Wellington, however is expected to make a full and quick recovery.

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster squashed the concerns on Slade, revealing that the extent of the injury was a minor angle tweak

A frustrated Slade urged nearby journalists to ease up prior to the media conference.

“Tell the reporters to relax. They’re making my mum nervous,” Slade said.

Highlanders win first Super Rugby title

The Highlanders are Super Rugby champions after beating the Hurricanes 21-14 in a clinical performance.

(Photo credit: Sportal via Google Images) 

The final wasn’t without controversy when the TMO awarded Highlanders forward Elliot Dixon a try, however replays showed that Dixon hadn’t touched the ball down with any conviction.

The try would go on to be a crucial difference in the final outcome, but didn’t take away from the Highlanders who executed well across the park.

Hurricanes kicker Beauden Barrett had a difficult night, missing all his early kicks before finding some stability in the second half.

Each time the Hurricanes slotted penalties to draw closer, the Highlanders answered immediately, and with time running out, the Hurricanes began to panic and slipped off the game plan quickly.

Julian Savea will be haunted when he looks at the tape because not taking such a simple catch to score in the corner to score at a crucial time took the life out of the Hurricanes.

The Highlanders did a good job at keeping key Hurricanes attackers out of the game, and Lima Sopoaga was brilliant again with the boot and with ball in hand, working well in partnership with Ben Smith and Waiseke Naholo again.

A hometown crowd of nearly 40,000 couldn’t push the Hurricanes over the line, and it is a heartbreaking way to for the club to end such a successful season.

The Highlanders will return to Dunedin tomorrow as Super Rugby champions for the first time.