Rugby Championship

All Blacks beat Argentina to go top of world rankings

The bonus-point victory in front of 38,000 at Lang Park extended their lead to 10 points over second-placed South Africa in the Rugby Championship table while ending Argentina and Australia's title hopes.

South Africa, beaten 30-17 by Australia in the first match of Saturday's double-header, will need to defeat the All Blacks twice and pile on the tries in their last two matches to earn bonus points to have any hope of stealing the silverware.

Wallabies set to make a change in the halves

The world champion Springboks will be seething after Quade Cooper’s long-range penalty after the siren sunk them in a 28-26 loss on Sunday.

They’ll meet again inside a week at Suncorp Stadium, where the Wallabies have won their last eight tests.

Nursing a shin injury, McDermott remained off after the break on Sunday and White made the most of his extra time on the park.

He kicked a 50-22 early in the second half and then forced the decisive penalty after Australia had turned over a scrum just seconds before fulltime.

Smith to miss Rugby Championship

Smith stayed in New Zealand to be with his family awaiting the birth of his second child.

He will join his Manawatu team this week to train and play in the NPC this season.

Smith said the increasing unlikelihood of getting an MIQ spot to return to New Zealand for the birth was the reason for staying in New Zealand.

His baby isn't due until November but he said he didn't want to risk not being here for the birth.

"The door isn't completely closed to me joining the team for the Northern Tour if our baby comes early.

Off-field stoush looms over final Bledisloe between All Blacks and Wallabies

The All Blacks had chosen not to travel to Perth due to the uncertainty surrounding the Rugby Championship, a decision Rugby Australia described as "unilateral", with boss Andy Marinos essentially accusing his New Zealand Rugby counterpart Mark Robinson of deceit.

"It's incredibly disappointing to be informed of this decision via the media, despite having a conversation with the CEO moments before and there no mention that this was the intention," Marinos said in a statement after NZ Rugby announced it would not travel for the August 28 fixture.

Rugby Championship double-headers to be held in Queensland

New Zealand and Australia are currently subject to lockdowns and the All Blacks cancelled two games last week including their Bledisloe Cup match in Perth.

But Queensland, largely free of coronavirus, has been deemed safe to host all four nations.

The new fixtures will be double-headers over four weekends from 12 September.

The Championship kicked off at Eden Park in New Zealand on 14 August, with the hosts thrashing the Wallabies 57-22.

Boks make 10 changes

Coach Jacques Nienaber says they do not mean to "disrespect" Argentina with the changes from the team that won the Lions series 2-1, but with five test matches on consecutive weekends, there is a concern over player welfare after the Springboks did not play for 20 months following their 2019 World Cup triumph.

Elton Jantjies has taken over at flyhalf, with the hero from Sunday's 19-16 win over the Lions, Morne Steyn, among the replacements. Cobus Reinach has retained his place at scrumhalf.

Perenara, Moody and Tu'ungafasi back for Rugby Championship

The trio missed the July tests against Fiji and Tonga, but have been included in coach Ian Foster's 36-man squad for the upcoming tournament.

Prop George Bower will remain with the squad as injury cover for Moody, who is not expected to return to Test rugby until after the Bledisloe Cup Series.

Hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho will also stay with the All Blacks squad as cover for Asafo Aumua who missed the two tests against Fiji. Aumua may also play the opening round of the NPC to build his match fitness.

'The Islands are the future': Fiji ready for expanded Rugby Championship

The Flying Fijians brought physicality, structure and tempo to the test and troubled the All Blacks for the best part of an hour. The side’s lack of preparation time as a squad leading up to the test seemingly did not show, as some nicely worked interchanges saw them rack up three tries in 60 minutes.

Considering some of the names missing from the Fijian squad for this two-test Steinlager Series with the All Blacks, head coach Vern Cotter will most likely be pleased with how his side represented themselves, both on and off the pitch on Saturday.

All Blacks get five home Rugby Championship tests

 

The Rugby Championship will include all four nations - New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and South Africa with the bulk of the matches played in Australia and New Zealand.

The world champion Springboks missed the competition last year, withdrawing from the tournament due to Covid-19.

The All Blacks have July tests against Tonga and Fiji before the opening Bledisloe Cup against the Wallabies at Eden Park on 7 August.

Rugby Championship set for August kick-off

Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said that would give the Wallabies time to rest after the bunched-up three-test series against France.

"At a worst case we're looking at August 7th as the first possible date that (the Rugby Championship) could happen," he told reporters.

"There's a good two, maybe three weeks after this (France) test series in order for the guys to recoup, refresh and get themselves ready."

World champions South Africa pulled out of last year's Rugby Championship against Australia, New Zealand and Argentina, citing player welfare concerns.