3 08 2008

The All Blacks struck back in resounding fashion, crushing the Wallabies at Eden Park 39-10.



Deans 1 – Henry 0

28 07 2008

Graham Henry finds the pressure mounting post the Wallabies 34-19 destruction of rugby’s perennial number 1, the All Blacks in Sydney last weekend. Australia sit back and bask in vaulting to the top of the Tri-Nations series, and winning the first of the Bledisloe Cup games.

New Zealanders the world round were left feeling “what if…” post the dismantling of the pride of the nation.  Robbie Deans was widely regarded as being the right man for the job post the quarter-final loss in the World Cup last year, over Graham Henry – the man who coached them during the campaign that many Kiwis saw as ending in a debacle.

There was no denying Henry’s pedigree, despite the loss in France last year. Henry had created a squad that many saw as being incredibly deep, and on their path to the World Cup, Graham Henry’s All Blacks were the winning-est team ever to don the Silver Fern.
However, many a Kiwi regarded Henry as the past, and Deans as the future. Whilst Henry has the winning percentages with the All Blacks, the loss in France (in the quarters, salt on the wound) stands out to many as a stain that no gloss can shine over. Deans is the most successful coach in the history of Super 14s. And there’s no doubting that the Crusaders side he created is one for the ages.

And the Australian team that took the field had many similarities with past Crusaders teams. They played an expansive game, the defense had better structure, and they were well-prepared for the All Blacks.
All Black back Dan Carter declared to AAP that the biggest change was how Deans had given the Wallabies confidence.

“What he does is bring the best out of players and the Wallabies are playing with real confidence, the way they play is a lot more expansive.”

New Zealand head into the next game with some major injury concerns.  Both Andy Ellis and Jimmy Cowan were injured in the game, and for once the All Black pantry looks pretty bare. Piri Weepu – once discarded by the ABs – looks like an obvious choice, but beyond him the options are pretty raw.

For sure, the New Zealand crowd in Auckland on Saturday will be screaming for Australian scalps, but for the first time in many years, the Wallabies will be well-prepared, and eager to take on the All Blacks.  And should the locals falter, it won’t be Australian blood that the mob are baying for…

Wallabies defeat All Blacks – Highlights

27 07 2008

Busier today than expected… but sharing the highlights of the Australia vs New Zealand game…

All hail the Robbabies!

26 07 2008

Robbie Deans takes the Wallabies to a 39-19 thrashing of the All Blacks!

More on this phenomenal victory tomorrow…

Role reversal?

23 06 2008

For a very long time, players from overseas have come to Japan to finish out their rugby careers.
The various sides in Top League rugby here in Japan are littered with players from Australia, New Zealand, the British Isles, South Africa, and the Pacific Islands.

Kosuke Endo has his sights set on reversing the trend.
Endo is headed to New Zealand, to play for perhaps the strongest side in club rugby, Canterbury. Endo will don the red & black in the Air New Zealand Cup.
Japan’s coach John Kirwan was pleased for Endo, and suggested that if he can play well enough, he might even get a chance in the Super 14 squad – The Crusaders.

It’s a huge chance, and one that Japan’s Top League Rugby chiefs recognise as being important – not just to Endo but to Japanese rugby players in general. To that end, they have changed a rule demanding that to play Top League, all players had to be in Japan in August. Endo has been told he can return to Toyota Verblitz, even if Canterbury reaches October 20th’s Cup final.

It’s not the first time Endo’s played club rugby overseas – the 27 year old played in Australia for Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

Rugby is upon us

22 06 2008

The international tour season is here… Time to warm up for it.

George a Sungoliath

20 06 2008

There are very, very few stars in World Rugby as big as George Gregan. And the player who has the most caps as Australian National Team captain will play for the next two years in Japan’s Top League for Tokyo’s Suntory Goliath.

Gregan joins the influx of players, most recently former Wallabies team-mate Stephen Larkham who joined the Ricoh Black Rams in the competition’s second division.

Post the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Gregan spent a year with French side Toulon, and is expected to land in Japan in August. The money must certainly be good playing in Japan, as Gregan was reportedly on E400,000 for his one season – so for him to leave Europe, the money must indeed be good at Tokyo. Gregan’s just the latest of top-flight antipodean players leaving their home shores for far off lands where the money flows more freely.

Gregan will be united with former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones, who has been under Suntory employ as a technical advisor for many a year now.

Suntory’s bound to be one of the stronger teams for the 2008/09 season – as last season they
won last year’s competition, defeating Sanyo Wild Knights 14-10. Adding a player of Gregan’s caliber will only strengthen them further, putting the pressure on other teams to step up, or risk falling further behind.

Suntory’s season kicks off on September 5th when they open with a a night game at Tokyo’s Chichibunomiya Stadium against Sanyo Wild Knights.