Argentina will be a World Cup powerhouse and Mo'unga just needs more time: Five things from All Blacks v Pumas

With the dust settling on Nelson's first All Blacks Test, a couple of important lessons surfaced from last night's 46-24 win - and it wasn't just from the hometown heroes.

1. Nelson is an international rugby venue

What an atmosphere in Trafalgar Park! How it took so long for Nelson to get an All Blacks Test is beyond me (considering they hosted Rugby World Cup matches in 2011!) but the community followed up on their warm hospitality from throughout the week with a great turn out last night.

Sold out crowd. Sea of black. Great weather and a great pitch. Can you ask for much more?

Kieran Read and Steve Hansen have already expressed interest in returning to Nelson and you can't really blame them after the week they had - Read has a Key to the City from the mayor now too so he should be able to get back in!

2. The All Blacks forward pack is a dominant force right now

Frizell had a big outing against Argentina which he topped off with a try in front of his adopted hometown fans. Source: 1 NEWS

They've always been a strong pack but last night was a big statement at set piece. Karl Tu'inukuafe's presence in the front row led to two big shoves and he was rewarded with penalties. It wasn't just him but for a first Test start, it deserved a mention. 

But considering how early they lost Brodie Retallick and the notoriously-physical pack they were up against in the Pumas, the forwards last night delivered a big platform.

3. Richie Mo’unga just needs more time

Let's be honest. It wasn't the dream performance many were hoping for. It probably didn't help that Beauden Barrett had a four-try performance against the Wallabies before handing over the No.10 jersey too.

But it was apparent from the early penalty kick that failed to find touch the Crusader was fielding some nerves and it didn't help the man outside him he trained with all week, Ngani Laumape, was gone early in the match too.

Hansen and Foster have already stated they didn't expect a world class performance in the match but emphasised after the match what was important.

"We'll go through and review some of the decisions, how he felt, how he saw things, the work ons and the learnings from that."

Good things take time, people.

4. Argentina will be a powerhouse at next year’s World Cup

Mario Ledesma says some players had faith but the squad on the whole is yet to see their potential. Source: 1 NEWS

The scoreline really isn't a reflection of how well the Pumas played last night. In all fairness, it was probably one of the All Blacks' hardest Tests to date this year.

And most of it has to do with the stellar backline Ledesma has moulded.

Between the back three all shining at different moments in the night with breaks and Nico Sánchez continuing to hone his playmaking style at No.10, this Pumas outfit showed last night they can go toe-to-toe with the world's best.

If they can steal a win in Australia next week, which they absolutely can, they'll be well on their way to another strong World Cup run in Japan next year.

Thank goodness they're not in our pool for once.

5. It's scary how much depth we have in NZ

Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi made his first appearance in the black jersey last night. Source: 1 NEWS

Think about it. Shannon Frizell in his second Test dazzled in front of his adopted hometown last night. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi officially became an All Black and capped off his debut with a no-look pass that set up a stellar late try. We've already discussed Tu'inukuafe.

And then you have guys like Damian McKenzie coming off the bench.

The programme Hansen and Co. have set up to nurture and develop not just a stellar All Blacks XV but rather an entire squad is something to be marvelled and will surely help us in Japan next year.

Even with injuries to the likes of Retallick (speedy recovery!), we're able to call in guys like Patrick Tuipulotu who turned back the clock on Friday night with a hat-trick against Tasman.

In summary, we're a darn good rugby union nation.

Steve Hansen and Ian Foster said the young first-five will learn from the experience. Source: 1 NEWS

'I will be joining an elite Test team' - John Mitchell confirmed as new England defence coach

Former New Zealand head coach John Mitchell will be joining Eddie Jones' staff as England's defence coach until the end of next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Mitchell will leave his role of Executive of Rugby for South African Super Rugby side the Bulls and join up with former Wallabies boss Jones this month to help prepare for their upcoming run of internationals, including a clash against Australia on November 24 at Twickenham.

The 54-year-old replaces Paul Gustard, who took over as head coach of English premiership side Harlequins this season.

"This is an exciting opportunity to work with England Rugby and support Eddie Jones as head coach," Mitchell said.

"I will be joining an elite high-performance programme, test team and coaching group where I will use all my experience and focus to bring the necessary clarity and confidence to the players from a defensive perspective."

England's defence has come under intense scrutiny after a poor run of form in 2018 that has included five defeats in eight internationals.

Three of those losses came in the Six Nations as the defending champions finished a dismal fifth, and criticism has mounted in the wake of their 2-1 series defeat in South Africa.

The hope is that Mitchell's experience will aid an upturn in form. The New Zealander previously served as forwards coach to Clive Woodward when the latter was in charge of England between 1997 and 2000.

As head coach of the All Blacks, he won 23 of 28 tests and led the team to a third-place finish at the 2003 Rugby World Cup and consecutive Tri-Nations titles.

"Defence is a key pillar of our game and John is an experienced coach," said Australian Jones.

"He's coached the All Blacks, USA Rugby and a number of Super Rugby sides so he will bring a wealth of experience and add to the coaching mix we have here."


'It's a great opportunity' - Canterbury law student dabbles in new NZ Rugby initiative, Ignite Sevens

Canterbury sevens player Grace Steinmetz only played the game last year in December and is now having a crack at making the national women’s team.

New Zealand Rugby has started a new initiative Ignite 7 which sees 48 female and 48 male athletes take part in a four day event on November 21.

Players will go through a field of testing before playing in a televised one day tournament to earmark new talent.

"Hadn't played rugby or sevens before, so come from a touch and hockey background," said Steinmetz.

The 20-year-old law student hopes to one day wear the Black Ferns women jumper as she tries out her hand in the Ignite 7 tournament.

"It is something I would love to do one day, I think it's a great opportunity for sevens now girls, it's professional and it can be your job now," she said.

"I don't have to worry about my law degree, like I can just go and train and be a professional athlete which is definitely a goal of mine."

Coming from a touch and hockey background Grace Steinmetz admits she is still getting used to contact. Source: 1 NEWS



Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup tickets to go on sale, All Blacks fans urged to get in quick

All Blacks fans are urged to get in quick if they are to secure seats at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, with officials warning tickets will sell out fast one year out from the tournament.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw holds aloft the William Webb Ellis Cup after winning Rugby World Cup Final. New Zealand All Blacks v Australia Wallabies, Twickenham Stadium, London, England. Saturday 31 October 2015. Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga /
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw holds aloft the William Webb Ellis Cup after winning Rugby World Cup Final. Source: Photosport

Half a million tickets have already been pre-sold with tickets set to be open for sale to the public at 1pm today (NZ time).

Head of the Rugby World Cup Alan Gilpin believes there will be an "unprecedented demand" for tickets which involves the home team, Japan's Brave Blossoms and the top tier nations.

"All the matches involving Japan, definitely all the matches involving New Zealand... England, Australia are experiencing high demand and we would expect they will be sold out very quickly," said Gilpin.

The All Blacks begin their title defence against the Springboks in Yokohama, the evening after the tournament opener between Japan and Russia in Tokyo on September 20, 2019.

Adult ticket prices are expected to range from ¥10,000 - ¥40,000 (NZD $136-$544) while tickets to the final on November 2 to cost anywhere between ¥25,000 - ¥100,000 (NZD $340-$1361).

"When you bring Rugby World Cup to a place like Japan, you hope that people will get behind it and the demand will be there – and it really has been," said Gilpin.

"It's a fantastic story for the event and a good message of confidence for the organising committee."

Most read: Meet the Kiwi farmer who went from being a Black Fern to becoming the first female to ref a men's first-class game

This story was first published on Tuesday September 18

Rebecca Mahoney says the milestone isn’t about gender – it’s about hard work and a bit of training. Source: 1 NEWS | Sky

Former Black Fern Rebecca Mahoney may have made history when she became the first woman to referee a men’s first-class rugby match last weekend, but she’s shaking off the milestone.

"It's not about who you are or where you're from or what your gender is, it's just hard work and a bit of training."

The 35-year-old has been around rugby most of her life, having won two World Cups before trading in her No.10 jersey for the whistle.

That experience came in handy on Saturday in Te Aroha when she officiated her first Mitre 10 Heartland Championship game between King Country and Thames Valley.

"To see women ref out there, there's no problems," Thames Valley captain Alex Bradley said after the game.

"They take control - probably better than some of the men."

But it’s not just her experience from the game that helps her.

Mahoney says farm life in Eketahuna plays an important role too.

"I'm extremely challenged to hit a standard that most of the boys can hit quite easily, and that's not going to change - genetics aren’t going to change that," she said.

"It’s just a lot of hard work that's going to have to go into it."

History shows the rural lifestyle has gone hand in hand with rugby's greatest figures – take Sir Colin Meads as a prime example.

Women have officiated men in Tests between developing nations but nothing close to the intensity of first-class New Zealand domestic rugby.

While Mahoney doesn’t think she’ll ever officiate the All Blacks, she’s happy knowing the path is a little bit closer.