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



Average Joe to Olympian: How NZR's new initiative paves a path for sevens triallists to Tokyo Games

New Zealand Rugby says the new initiative it has launched today could see some undiscovered Kiwi talent head to the Tokyo Olympics as part of the World Champion All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens squads.

The Ignite Sevens was announced today which will see New Zealanders under the age of 23 able to trial for spots in the two sides.

NZR head of high performance Mike Anthony says the programme was designed to "encourage talented athletes from all sporting codes, regardless of rugby experience, to come forward and have a go at sevens".

"Our national Sevens teams compete at the highest level on the world stage and we want to be sure we are casting the net as wide as possible and tapping into the huge reservoir of athletic talent that exists across New Zealand."

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

People registered their interest earlier this year before NZR's high performance sevens coaches and trainers selected 96 players (48 men and 48 women) who will assemble in Auckland from 21 November to 24 November for a training camp and tournament.

The selected athletes will have their strength, speed, skill and agility measured before three days of training to start the camp.

Then, on the final day, players will be divided into four teams to play against each other in the inaugural Ignite7 tournament with three men and women selected by scouts to attend national development camps next year.

"The selected six players will be training alongside the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens in the New Year," Anthony said.

"It’s a massive opportunity that will give these players access to the full benefits of NZR’s high performance system and it effectively opens the door for selection into our two national Sevens teams."

After that, the chosen six can become full-fledged Sevens players in time for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan much like how Black Ferns Sevens players Michaela Blyde and Portia Woodman did in 2016 after a similar programme.

High performance manager Tony Philp says the Ignite 7s could be a big break for untapped Kiwi talent. Source: 1 NEWS


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'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."


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'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


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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 / www.Photosport.nz
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."