Tag Archive: Australia


Friendly reunion it was not, but New Zealand fans relished seeing Richie McCaw back in black (Image | AP)

Friendly reunion it was not, but New Zealand fans relished seeing Richie McCaw back in black (Image | AP)

The Rugby Championship began this weekend in Sydney with an emphatic 47-29 victory for New Zealand, underlining once again their dominance since the Rugby World Cup of 2011.

The Kiwis welcomed back talismanic captain Richie McCaw and although he was received in typically robust style by the Australian forward pack, his ability in the rucks and in the loose was immense.

His return from a sabbatical from rugby following the 2012 autumn international loss against England galvanised the team to victory in the first Bledisloe Cup Test of 2013.

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The British and Irish Lions took to the field in Sydney on Saturday knowing that their place in the rugby history books would be secured if they could beat their Australian hosts.

WORD | Leigh Halfpenny... (Image | talkSPORT)

Game face | Leigh Halfpenny celebrates as the British and Irish Lions wrap up a 2-1 series win in Australia. (Image | talkSPORT)

When they left the field 80 minutes later, the Lions had a 2-1 series win and became the first side since 1997 to achieve success in the Southern Hemisphere.

First test: Lions 23 Australia 21

The first match kicked off the series in a brutal fashion, with Wallabies centre Christian Leali’ifano being stretchered off less than a minute into his international debut.

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The draw, made in London on Monday, effectively marks the beginning of the rugby world's qualification cycle (Image | Getty)

The draw, made in London on Monday, effectively marks the beginning of the rugby world’s qualification cycle. (Image | Getty)

On Monday afternoon in London, the world’s rugby union representatives met to distribute 20 teams across the four groups that will form the first round of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The draw was somewhat kind on Scotland, who drew arguably the weakest side in Band 2, while hosts England will face defeated 2011 finalists Australia and Wales in their group. Each group features three of rugby’s 12 ‘Tier 1’ sides, who are guaranteed a place at the World Cup, and two spots available to qualifiers, who we have attempted to predict.

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Best of enemies | Anna Meares versus Victoria Pendleton was a highlight of London 2012’s great sporting rivalries. (Image | Daily Mail)

We have witnessed a number of extraordinary accomplishments at the London 2012 Olympic Games. In the lead up to the Games, however, there were few events I wished to see more than the culmination of one of the most enthralling sporting rivalries for a generation: Victoria Pendleton facing Anna Meares.

While Pendleton could claim first blood, after taking gold in the keirin, the focus would rightly be on the women’s sprint, which took place on the final day of action in the Velodrome.

Pendleton’s gold in the keirin was an unexpected success. Meares led going into the final lap, but Pendleton timed her move perfectly, taking the lead and maintaining it as she crossed the finish line.

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Berrick Barnes kicked the pain to one side to lead Australia past Wales in the second Test (Image | Getty)

Coming off the back of a series-opening defeat, Wales made four changes to the team for the Second Test in Melbourne. Matthew Rees came in for Ken Owens at hooker, Alun Wyn Jones replaced Luke Charteris in the second row, Ryan Jones came in for the injured Toby Faletau at number eight, and Ashley Beck came in for Scott Williams at centre.

Berrick Barnes had an emotional build up to the game, flying back from the birth of his child before kick off. But it was Wales who got the first score through George North after  just four minutes; Leigh Halfpenny converted for an early seven point lead.

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Debutant Julian Savea gave Ireland the run-around all game long on his way to a stunning hat-trick (Image | Getty)

The first year of the new ‘traditional’ tour schedule has begun with disappointment for the big three teams from the British Isles. Ireland, Wales and England have gone one-nil down in three test series and, while it’s still possible for their summer to be rescued, there’s a lot of work to be done.

In fairness to Ireland, they were never expected to do more than put up a fight against world champions New Zealand. There was pre-match talk from within the Irish camp about going there to win, but the All Blacks are the best team in the world by a significant distance and they outclassed the tourists in a 42-10 victory.

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