Rugby Championships

All Blacks ring changes for Argentina with McKenzie at first five

McKenzie takes over from Beauden Barrett who drops to the bench for the Brisbane test, after playing a leading role in last weekend's 39-0 drubbing of the Pumas on the Gold Coast.

Joe Moody starts at prop after his return to the All Blacks off the bench last week, with hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho making his first Test start.

Tyrel Lomax will also start while fellow prop Ofa Tuungafasi is in the reserves for his first test following knee surgery.

Boks still to decide on Rugby Championship

Rugby South Africa says "several hurdles needed to be cleared if it is to be confirmed" that the Springboks participate in the four-nation Southern Hemisphere championship in Australia from November 7 to December 12.

The South African government lifted the ban on international sporting participation one week ago but SA Rugby said it was seeking further clarification on the regulations.

"A final decision is likely to be finalised early next week once those clarifications had been assessed internally and with SA Rugby's SANZAAR partners," a statement added.

Christmas in quarantine on the cards for All Blacks

The draw was released this morning with the All Blacks set to play their last game (against Australia) on December 12th, meaning the players won't be home for christmas once they've undergone a two week quarantine.

New Zealand Rugby says the release of the schedule from Rugby Australia and SANZAAR is a change from original planning.

The All Blacks are scheduled to play Australia in Brisbane on Saturday 7 November and Argentina the following Saturday in Sydney on 14 November.

Pumas confident COVID-19 won't keep them out of Rugby Championship

More than a dozen players and staff, including Ledesma, tested positive for coronavirus over the last few weeks as the Pumas assembled to prepare for the tournament starting in November.

Ledesma, however, said almost all had been asymptomatic and the testing regime in place meant he was sure they would travel to Australia next month.

"We're testing every 72 hours," Ledesma told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"We'll be tested 72 hours before leaving, and once we get into Australia we'll be tested again.

NZ Rugby to consider player opt out case by case

Those players include first-fives Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said they want to have the tournament wrapped up by early December.

"We want our players to feel happy safe and comfortable in the environments they are in ... we are like any employer we want to do the right thing by them and ensure they have the appropriate time to consider all the ramifications of being away for that period of time so we will just continue to work through that.

SANZAAR refuse to give up on Rugby Championship as new details revealed about potential 2020 tournament

Despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, chief executive Andy Marinos wants the Wallabies, All Blacks, Springboks and Pumas all involved in a Rugby Championship starting in October.

Marinos told the tournament could run through to December if travel and health restrictions can cater for an eight-week window.

Australia and New Zealand are the likeliest destinations, with the pandemic having taken hold in South Africa and Argentina, preventing any rugby being played since Super Rugby was halted in March.

Four Wallabies named in Vikings squad

Led by Head Coach Nick Scrivener, the Vikings, who reached the semi-final stage last season only to fall to the Fijian Drua in the Pacific Islands, have named a strong-looking group of players that includes full Wallabies internationals Tom Banks, Joe Powell, Pete Samu and Blake Enever.

There’s a real emphasis on youth amongst the group with promising young talent such as Junior Wallabies props Bo Abra and Angus Wagner, hooker Lachlan Lonergan, and backs Noah Lolesio, Bayley Kuenzle and Len Ikitau, set to take the tournament by storm.

South Africa draw with New Zealand after late Herschel Jantjies try

The other round two game saw Australia beat Argentina 16-10 in Brisbane.

The All Blacks led 16-9 as replacement scrum-half Jantjies, who had two tries on his debut in last week's win over Australia, crossed at the death.

Handre Pollard added the conversion to tie the game and keep the Springboks top of the table with one round to go.

All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick suffered a dislocated shoulder in Wellington but is expected to be fit in time for the World Cup, which starts in Japan on 20 September.

James O’Connor set for Wallabies return six years after last test

O'Connor flew into Brisbane with the Wallabies on Monday night and could be named in the test side to play the Pumas at Suncorp Stadium, capping a fairytale return for a player almost universally maligned when he played his last test in 2013.

Four new All Blacks named in extended squad for Rugby Championship

Crusaders backs Sevu Reece and Braydon Ennor, Chiefs loose forward Luke Jacobson and Highlanders first-five Josh Ioane have been named as All Blacks for the first time.

The extended squad, named in Auckland on Tuesday night, will have its first assignment against Argentina on July 21 - the All Blacks first match of the 2019 Rugby Championship.