International Rugby

Wow!! How dramatic and thrilling it was to close out the 2023 Rugby World Cup Final in the 47th & final match of the six-week tournament at Paris’s Stade De France where one of the two almighty nations will become the first 4 x Webb Ellis Cup winners – All Blacks & the Springboks. The first half has been full of penalty kicks where the Boks led the way from the beginning & while the ABs have caught them up at times, but then they lost skipper Sam Cane for the rest of this match due to a high jaw tackle on Jesse Kriel – which was initially seen as a yellow card before being upgraded to red by the referee Wayne Barnes. Half-time: 6-12. Although the ABs may have scored the one & only TRY by closing in on the Boks by just a single point later during the 2nd half. Unfortunately, not only they struggled to get away these kicks between the sticks from a difficult & long range, but they also couldn’t find a way to get past a scrambled Boks defense before it was too late. Despite no 2nd half score & seeing both skipper Siya Kolisi & Cheslin Kolbe sitting in the naughty chair, the Boks held on their one-point buffer really well en route towards their 4th World Championship title after full-time, 11-12.

Pieter-Steph Du Toit is one of the Boks’ most important players out there thanks to an all-round display in the Openside role at No.7. He’s extremely tall who did well to limit the All Blacks’s attacking play while he puts his body on the line through their wall every time the Boks have the ball on hand, which shows how much they need him so badly as the longer they hold on, the better it will be to see light at the end of the tunnel that saw the ABs struggle under pressure. Next up Handre Pollard ends up as the No.1 kicker and No.10 player for the World Championship winning Boks team. He’s an excellent team member who can give them everything as his kicking conversion accuracy was spot on as always thanks to these winning penalties, even though all the points his side has accrued has been three-point kicks. Both of them have been stronger as ever that reflects the Bokke’s rebuild from the top since 2018-19 whereas nearly all of their four original Super Rugby franchises now ply in Europe – congrats on being the first team to lift 4 x Webb Ellis Cup trophies now in Rugby World Cup history.

And Mark Telea rounds off the Top 3, having done the best he can to try and get the All Blacks over the line on the wide right at No.14. He’s an excellent communicator who backs up really well as being tested both in attack & defense before Mark was able to make good use of the ball such as the pace including these 1 v 1 battles against defenders that saw him found the quick ball assist to fellow Blues player Beauden Barrett with the team’s only big score. Sadly, ill-discipline has hit them very hard where the ABs were so behind before they couldn’t get it done under pressure in the end as runners-up.

After 47 games over the last six weeks, the 2023 Rugby World Cup has come to a close as we look forward to the next World Cup edition in four years time at our own backyard in Australia. It’s been great seeing the Southern Hemisphere teams dominate once again despite some early round defeats against 1-2 best Northern sides out there including some first-time moments from the Tier 2 nations, such as Portugal’s win v Fiji 23-24 in Pool C & Uruguay def. Namibia 36-26 in Pool A respectively. Now we’re going to swap the Gilbert rugby ball with a cricket bat and ball for the summer as always following a long season this year before we go back all again beginning with a brand new season of Super Rugby in February 2024 followed by the Wallabies & Club Rugby (Shute Shield & QLD Hospital Cup) campaigns during the 2nd half of the year.

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We’re now one match left to wrap up the 2023 Rugby World Cup tournament with the All Blacks v Springboks final around the corner tomorrow AM AEDT time where we look back at the Bronze match final between Los Pumas v England. England got off to a great start while Pumas made up some lost time with their first TRY not long from the break 10-16. Although the Pumas found the breakthrough for the lead at one point, but then England responded really well by regaining the lead before they went on to shut them out on the run home for the best of 3rd – 23-26.

Commiserations to the Pumas who didn’t play bad where they’ve caught up to the English really well including a short 2nd half lead not long after the break. But just couldn’t hold it off or get the job done under pressure where England’s great start & the way they regroup themselves with patience has saw them fell short towards the end there. Hope things will get better & strong for the Argentinians going forward to next year under the helm (Head Coach) of Aussie’s own Michael Cheika.

And England played really well as we’ve seen by taking a few safe plays with the number of three-point penalty goals for a start. Glad they’ve made some improvements here & there when it comes to collecting these big points as the game goes on, which is something they should’ve done (like five-metre line-out when it comes to a close winning penalty from the TRY area for example) against a scrambled Springboks defense during the 2nd semi last weekend. But all in all, great seeing England collect the bronze/3rd place, who has been good in the last two World Cup campaigns. They’re still the only Northern Hemisphere team so far to lift the Webb Ellis Cup once back in 2003 against the Wallabies at Stadium Australia in Sydney when No.10 Jonny Wilkinson broke their hearts at extra time courtesy of that winning drop goal through the posts, 17-20.

2023 Rugby World Cup Final Preview: All Blacks-Springboks at Stade De France

Now the tables have turned to one of the world’s long-time rivalries in World Rugby that takes place every year – All Blacks v Springboks. The Boks have won against them a few times in recent years after struggling for the majority between after the 2007 World Cup win to around 2017 beforehand including the warm-up game in London back in August, even though they’re no longer in Super Rugby & instead ply themselves in Europe. All Blacks on the other hand have been one of the world’s greatest sporting teams that everyone looks up to as their source of inspiration & they too have always been winning lots of matches here & there, but they had some downtimes too including the opening WC game v France as well as the three-match series v Ireland at home last year & they also lost to England during the 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final in Japan.

Given the Boks have won three of the last six games v the ABs since 2021, their scrambled defense & the way they gradually get themselves into the game by being right on the money will be the key to their success that will leave the ABs bereft of options before being haunted at the opposition’s own danger zone. If not, look out for the ABs possession-based tactics where they will look to get the best out of their attacking football through the gate before being able to defend at ease & that is going to be the secret weapon by making the Boks difficult to chase them up during 80 minutes of play tomorrow AM.

It all comes down to just two top-quality teams in the 47th & final game of this tournament where one of them will be the first four-time Webb Ellis Cup winner in Rugby World Cup history at Paris’s Stade De France since its inception in 1987. And if I was going to pick a winner between those two, it’s going to be the All Blacks  – even though it will be a close one by seven points.

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The 2023 Rugby World Cup Final is all set through the best of the two Southern Hemisphere teams & also both 3 x champions, whom they’ve shared a lot of history together as rivals that happens every year via The Rugby Championship & also the Freedom Cup Series trophy. It’s the All Blacks v Springboks for the Webb Ellis Trophy next Sunday AM at 6am AEDT at Stade De France in Paris (You can watch that big final match-up live & free on 9Gem). Plus, Los Pumas will take on England the day beforehand (also 6am Saturday AM AEDT) when it comes to the best of 3rd place in the Bronze Medal Final.

Los Pumas might have opened the scoresheet first via the penalty goal (and also collected the 2nd three-pointer later during the first half), but the ABs were too good fair & square all along from 6-20 at half-time to 6-44 in the end off the back from the Will Jordan hat-trick brace on his wide right role. Meanwhile, the 2nd semi game was a close one where the first half was full of three-point kicks with England leading the way v the Boks 12-6. Later on the Boks responded to Owen Farell’s drop goal with the one & only big score of their own before a successful scrum penalty saw their own No.10 Handre Pollard kick that winning three-point conversion from such a long distance with four minutes left towards the end by a one-point win 15-16.

Not the day the Pumas was hoping for where the first points were there off the back of the winning penalties, even though it’s just through a penalty kick conversion. But their open play performances wasn’t the same where the Pumas unfortunately didn’t score any big points as the ABs were simply too good for them. Speaking of ABs, they were outstanding from start to finish. They’ve  been patient with the ball on hand that dominated easy possession v the Pumas, while the passage of play & execution with the safety of their numbers has been effective in order to get the job done.

Looking at England now, they weren’t bad for a start in the way they use their winning penalties towards a shot between the sticks. I don’t blame them for that strategy one bit but it would’ve been better if they took a bit more risk by dismantling a robust Boks defense when it comes to the big points where holding on such a small lead was sadly backfired towards the end there. And the Boks are on their way on what is going to be another World Cup final at the same place they’ve last won back in 2007 also against England. They did so well to keep up with the English initially with the winning penalties before the Boks finally found a way to split their territory while dominating the rest of the match in all areas with the match-winning penalty goal to savour as a fourth title awaits to whichever winning team comes out first alongside fellow 3 x World Champs the ABs.

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The last two remaining Quarter-Final Rugby World Cup matches are now done & dusted where we’ve just witnessed something that was so extraordinary & unreal to watch. England saw off Fiji’s 2nd half comeback bid (30-24) while current champs Springboks just locked up the doors of the host nation France with a one-point win (28-29) – having came from a few points down at half-time (22-19) that sets up a 2019 Final rematch against England for semi-final 2 this Sunday AM.

Hats off to England with the win where they’re the one and only Northern Hemisphere team in the hunt for that Webb Ellis Cup after the eliminations of France, Wales & Ireland. They fired off really well to bring in the early big points as they can while their opponents were playing catch up. Yes, they may have been under threat at times, having scored no tries in the 2nd half. But England showed that were the better team thanks to holding off their small lead where another series of three-point goals was enough to see them move into the last four v Boks.

Also, how good was the Boks who absolutely broke the home nation’s hearts in front of their national stadium as the defending champs are still chasing World Cup title No.4. Gotta love their fight back and the way they controlled with the ball before the rewards were there to see every time when given the opportunity. Yes, they might have suffered some ill-discipline earlier on but they kept on scoring while showing excellent defense to stop the French in its tracks with the close win.

Meanwhile, as said with the host nation, it’s hard to see a loss at home when they came in this tournament as one of the few favourites to lift the trophy alongside Ireland & South Africa. The French opened the scoring account first as reflected with their first half display, having never been out of place to try and stop the Boks from going past their lane. But sadly the French’s 2nd half form just wasn’t the same; Yes, they’ve made some lost time as said where France were still alive all along but couldn’t escape them in the end.

And for Fiji, love their response to the opposition’s early start, especially when looking to close England down after half-time in the hope of a late win. But if the Flying Fijians scored the big points first that reflects a full 80 performance, then they would’ve knocked England out where they’ve made this deep into the last 8 thanks to some excellent growth via Fijian Drua in Super Rugby. Sadly, it’s too little, too late when they levelled the scorecard before England went on to rebound by extending their lead a bit further before their elimination was confirmed that would’ve seen Fiji round out an all Southern Hemisphere semis shootout.

All in all, here’s a few questions that we’re about to see ahead of the weekend’s semi-finals. Can the All Blacks put in another amazing show like they did the other day v World No.1 Ireland en route towards the main event final for the first time since 2015? If not, will it be Michael Cheika’s turn this time as the Los Pumas coach? Having lost to the ABs once in a World Cup match back in 2015 when the Wallabies had to settle as runners-up. Plus, will England go one better and make the Boks pay after their 2019 Final loss to the reigning champs in Japan under coach Steve Borthwick? Or can the Boks go all the way for their fourth possible big final & hopefully light up Paris once again like 2007 since they got the favourites cap on?

We shall find out by Sunday AM where two winners will go into the main event for the Webb Ellis Cup trophy while the losing two teams will play in the Bronze final for third place going into the last weekend of October.

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Wow!! Couldn’t believe what a Saturday it has been to kickstart the first two Quarter-Final matches of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. The day belongs to two Southern Hemisphere teams who will now be on its way for next weekend’s semi-final match (6am Saturday AM AEDT) against each other – All Blacks (New Zealand) & Los Pumas (Argentina).

Final score: Wales 17-29 Los Pumas & Ireland 24-28 All Blacks

ABs did well to not just get the ball rolling but respond well to Ireland’s fight both in defense and attack, which is brilliant to watch as they’re still alive in the hope of winning a fourth World Cup title. Plus, the Pumas may have only collected just the 1st-half penalty goal, but made a remarkable turnaround by spotting the isolated Welsh attack under pressure before the rewards are there quick smart as the clock ticks down. Credit to Michael Cheika for that tactical masterclass where he could be in a shot for another World Cup final but this time with the Pumas. And for the other two losing Northern Hemisphere sides, Wales fired off well but looked lost as the game goes on to the Pumas & World No.1 Ireland did their best to stay in the fight all along before they just couldn’t get past the ABs under pressure in the end. Wales will now look to stay on the up since Warren Gatland is back for another spell at the top job (Head Coach) while Ireland would want to come back better & win for it next time – having still not yet won a Quarter-Final match in the World Cup knockout stages before.

The tables will now turn to the remaining two Quarter-Final games tomorrow that will set up the 2nd semi-final next Sunday AM AEDT – England v Fiji followed by the Host Nation France v Defending champions Springboks (South Africa). Could we see a 2019 Final rematch between England v Boks? Will the Flying Fijians wow the English with pace en route towards their first ever semi in RWC history? or is it going to be France’s year still in the search of their first World Cup title after entering the tournament as one of the favourites for the Webb Ellis Cup? It all remains to be seen going into the 2nd week of Finals.

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As the 2023 Rugby World Cups heads into the knockout stage this weekend with four quarter-final matches to kick off, it seems Nine will only air the big Final live now on Sunday 29th October at 5am AEDT since the Wallabies are out of the pool stages for the first time (3rd in Pool C thanks to losses against Fiji & Wales last month).

Other than that, it’s just going to be one-hour weekly highlights show on a Saturday afternoon (2pm tomorrow on the main channel) for the rest of this month. That means, all four quarter-finals, two semi-finals & the bronze medal match will only be shown on Stan Sport – which is Nine’s paid streaming platform where you can watch it without ads. I’m also sure that they will have their own on-air talent for each day of the finals matches as well.

If the Wallabies did make it into the last eight, then we would have at least have two quarter-final games on Nine as well as maybe both semis there and possibly the Bronze Medal match on FTA regardless of their results. But then none of this happened by surprise unfortunately & therefore, Nine will only just air the big Final in order to finish off this tournament.

Then the Rugby season is over for us here as we come back next year with one weekly Saturday night Super Rugby game, as well as selected Shute Shield and Hospital Cup Club Rugby games & the home Wallabies games during the second half of the year live on Nine & 9Gem.

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We’ve just wrapped up the pool stage portion of the 2023 Rugby World Cup this morning ahead of the upcoming knockout stages this weekend with a wonderful Fiji v Portugal showdown that has determined both of the team’s final placing status in Pool C. Although Australia may had a week-long off after a difficult campaign, but all they can hope for is for Portugal to win by eight points or more in order to score a miracle QF meeting v England.

The first half saw both sides leave without a TRY as they share the lead pie going into the break 3-3. Portugal went on to snatch the lead later on while responding well to Fiji’s fightback with another 1-2 tries. Although Portugal have won the hearts of World Rugby on what has been their first ever win in RWC history 23-24. 

But despite the close loss & the 2nd half effort, Fiji has finished 2nd in this Pool table by a small points difference of five, even though they ended up at a total of 11 points with 3rd-placed Australia. That means, Fiji will take on England next Monday at 2am AEDT while Australia is out of the Pool stages for the first time in RWC history under Coach Eddie Jones.

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The Wallabies has returned to St Etienne for their 4th & final Pool C group stage match v Portugal earlier today where they opened the scoring account first with a three-point penalty goal before they fought back well from their opponent’s brief 1st half lead with three tries ahead of half-time 24-7. Portugal on the hand has made every serious effort all along which is their 2nd time playing in the Rugby World Cup since 2007 also in France, having made a few big scoring attempts to try & get themselves back on track.  Although they eventually found one at last later in the 2nd half, but the refs’ repeated NO TRY decisions saw the Wallabies hold on & extend their winning share via the bonus point 34-14. So Portugal are out now where they will end up 4th with one match left v Fiji next Monday. Speaking of Fiji, all the Wallabies can hope for is for them to lose during their week-long off if their small Quarter-Final chance can be possible v England on the 15th this month.

Nick Frost has made a huge difference in the Wallabies first half display on the Second Row at No.4 just like he has been all along as seen with the Brumbies in Super Rugby level. He’s two metres tall with excellent physical power to not just hold the opponents up through a brick wall but also muscles his way forward when his side has the ball before Nick earned an early rest not long after half-time at 24-7.

There’s another Brumbies player who never stopped working hard also for the Wallabies is Rob Valetini at No.8, having saw off a threatening Portuguese attack whenever possible. He’s got the pace, physical strength, backing up/communication & vision there to help find the Wallabies get past the opposition line with the ball where tries were made there. They too had another great year in Super Rugby where the Brumbies finished Top 4/semis, but here’s hoping they can get some support & create some robust competition in order to win trophies going forward – which is a clear message Rugby Australia must fix ASAP.

And Samuel Marques has been such a huge threat to the Wallabies own half, who has lots of experience playing in France as well for the Portuguese National side at half-back (No.9 shirt). He has great control with the ball while he communicated with his team-mates well in order to strike the best scoring chances possible; Plus, he can be a handy conversion kicker too. Yes, Portugal should’ve scored more than just the two tries if the ref didn’t deny them, but sure they will continue to improve over time – it’s the things we love to see in World Rugby.

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It was an alarming and unfortunate day for the Wallabies today where their big loss v Wales at the Lyon Stadium confirmed their elimination from the Rugby World Cup pool stages for the first time in history with one more match remaining v Portugal next Monday AM Australian Daylight time. Yes, the Wallabies may have scored back-to-back penalty goals in reply to Wales’s quick start with their opening TRY. However, not only Wales have stayed ahead with another few three-pointers at the same time (16-6) during the first-half, but they also went on to extend their winning share later on (2nd half) where Wales were absolutely too good (2 x tries + 3 x penalty goals & 1 x drop goal) through the finish line (40-6).

Nick Tompkins has lit up the Welsh attack alight in the No.12 shirt at Inside Centre thanks a quick start to the game followed by by a magnificent 2nd half display v the Wallabies. He just never stopped running as being tested to help out in defense, but his attacking play has been top-notch where the communication was there in order to grasp it out with the ball that led to tries here & there. Next up is reserve No.10 Gareth Anscombe, having made an impressive impact right away after he unexpectedly came on for the injured Dan Biggar earlier in the 1st half. His kicking game has been unbelievable that reflected his attacking creativity through the pitch while his conversions conversions look near perfect including that 2nd half drop goal & he never stopped working without a fight.

They have both been brilliant so far for Wales this RWC with more to come in the Quarter-Final v Samoa or Japan from Pool D sometime next month thanks to Head Coach Warren Gatland who is back from NZ for 2nd spell via the Chiefs Super Rugby side since December 2022.

And lastly, just no words to the Wallabies right now after the worst day ever in their entire existence. There is one person though who did the best possible & everyone should follow his lead in none other than Angus Bell who plays on the front row at loosehead (No.1). He showed lots of physicality with a sound defense including some pace when backing them up while having the ball in attack. It allowed him to catch the Welsh accountable earlier on that led to 2 x penalty goals thanks to his work rate via the towering reach that reflected the importance he has put in as seen both with the Waratahs at Super Rugby level as well as Internationally for a few years now.

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  • Match: Wales vs Australia
  • Series: Autumn International
  • Venue: Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales
  • Date & Time: Saturday, 26th November 2022 at 3pm local time/Sunday, 27th November 2022 at 2.15 am AEDT

Points Summary

Rio Dyer 51′
Jac Morgan 9′, 46′
Taulupe Feletau 21′
TriesLachlan Lonergan 77′
Penalty Try 72′
Mark Nawaqanitawase 57′, 67′
Folau Faingaa 33′
Gareth Anscombe 10′, 22′, 47′, 52′ConversionsNoah Lolesio 68′, 78′
Ben Donaldson 34′
Gareth Anscombe 18′, 27′Penalty GoalsBen Donaldson 3′, 14′
  • Wales & Australia ended their 2022 campaigns by playing one of the games of the year in Cardiff, as the Wallabies came back from a huge 21-point deficit to win 39-34, scoring the winning try with just 100 seconds on the clock.
  • The first-half started off brilliantly for Wales, after Jac Mprgan crashed over to finish off a move sparked by a speedy line break from veteran lock Alun Wyn Jones. Wales kept their good on the pedal and were soon over again, after Taulupe Feletau crased over out wide. The two sides exchanged two penalties over the course of the first-half, and Folau Faingaa’s TRY from the maul gave Australia some parity at the break, trailing the hosts by 20 points to 13.
  • The second half started in an even more rapid-fire style for the hosts, who crossed once more within moments when Morgan grounded at the back of a rolling maul. They shipped it wide for another try, which was finished in the left-hand corner by Rio Dyer. Australia had seen two men sent to the sin-bin by this point, and the Wallabies looked dead and buried with the score at 34-13 in Wales’s favor.
  • The Wallabies, however, came back, and came back firing alright. Winger Mark Nawaqanitawase had been relatively quiet for much of the game, but he burst into life in the second-half, crossing in the corner to give the Wallabies their first points of the second period. He soon scored their second five-pointer, darting from the back of a line-out to race clear and dot down again as the momentum began to shift. A trip from Wales captain Justin Tipuric reduced the home side to 14 men, and with the last 10 minutes approaching, the game only looked to be going one way.

Match Preview

  • In the first half, Wales began to spread their offense with Morgan’s try in the 9th minute. Wales had 20 points at half time. Although Donaldson scored a penalty goal in 3rd minutes. With that Wallabies started to get points. But they only scored 13 points in the 1st half. Wales had 20:13 lead in the 1st half.
  • In the Second half, although Wales showed an aggressive style of play. The Wallabies also showed a skillful style of play and the 2 tries that got the Mark Nawaqanitawase were outstanding. In this way Wallabies went to victory by collecting 39 points with 5 tries.

Winning Wallabies end brutal tour in perfect way

  • Christmas came 29 days early for Australia, as the Wallabies mounted the most heroic of heroic comebacks to turn that game around in the dying moments. Their fifth and final Test of an autumn campaign that has at times looked hapless ended in brilliant fashion, with several of their fringe players coming to the fore. Nawaqanitawase in particular announced himself to the world today, and with the World Cup on the horizon, results like these can certainly buoy Australian rugby going into 2023. 

What’s next for Wales?

  • Wayne Pivac’s Wales have now completed their autumn international schedule for 2022, having picked up a win over Argentina, and defeats vs New Zealand, Georgia and Australia. They are next in action at the 2023 Six Nations, where they start against Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday, February 4.
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