Ngani Laumape scores four tries as Hurricanes blow away lowly Blues

Relive all the action of 1 NEWS NOW's live coverage of tonight's Super Rugby clash between the Hurricanes and Blues at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

FULLTIME - HURRICANES 42 BLUES 24

The Hurricanes were too strong for the Blues after they mounted a minor comeback in the second spell. But home team's superstars stood up with Beauden Barrett making a great intercept and offload for Ngani Laumape's fourth try of the match to close out the game for the Canes. 

79 mins - HURRICANES 42 BLUES 24

NO TRY! Ihaia West stabs in a clever grubber in behind the Blues' defence and Julian Savea makes a clean pick up - but he can't hold onto the ball. He loses the ball just before the goal line. 

72 mins - HURRICANES 42 BLUES 24

TRY! Beauden Barrett makes a stunning intercept, he bobbles the ball but he regathers it before delivering a great offload to Ngani Laumape who sprints 50 metres to score his fourth try of the match. Jordie Barrett bangs over the conversion from in front of the sticks. 

69 mins - HURRICANES 35 BLUES 24

TRY! Ngani Laumape has a hat-trick! Brad Shields throws a perfect pass to a charging Laumape and he still busts his way over to score with three Blues defenders hanging onto him. Jordie Barrett slots his shot at goal from easy range.

65 mins - HURRICANES 28 BLUES 24

TRY! Michael Collins gets the pat on the back from his teammates after he goes over after a pick and go play. Stephen Perofeta is successful with his conversion attempt. The Blues are right back into this contest - the Canes need to be careful now after giving away multiple penalties in the last five minutes.

63 mins - HURRICANES 28 BLUES 17

PENALTY! The Bliues opt for a scrum right in front of the goal posts 5m out from the goal-line after the Hurricanes are penalised for an infringement in the breakdown.

56 mins - HURRICANES 28 BLUES 17

MISTAKE! Julian Savea knocks the ball on off the kick and the Blues now have a chance to try out a set play off a scrum on the 22m line. NO TRY! Akira Ioane goes off the back of the scrum down the blindside and throws an offload to Augustine Pulu, but he can't hold onto it. He had no-one in front of him.

54 mins - HURRICANES 28 BLUES 17

TRY! Beauden Barrett goes himself off the scrum and carries Augustine Pulu over the try-line. His brother Jordie Barrett converts his try.

48 mins - HURRICANES 21 BLUES 17

TRY! Rieko Ioane is in for his second try of the night - great patience shown by the visitors as they hold onto the ball after 10 phases.

Stephen Perofeta is online with his conversion attempt.

43 mins - HURRICANES 21 BLUES 10

Brad Shields of the Hurricanes in action. Super Rugby match, Blues v Hurricanes at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand. 11 May 2018 © Copyright Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung / www.photosport.nz
Brad Shields of the Hurricanes in action against the Blues. Source: Photosport

ERROR! The Blues' throw in to the line-out isn't straight and the Canes get a feed into the scrum around halfway.

40 mins - HURRICANES 21 BLUES 10

And we are back underway!

HALFTIME - HURRICANES 21 BLUES 10

It was all the Hurricanes in the first half, mistakes are costing the Blues. The visitors made two massive errors on defence which allowed Ngani Laumape to stroll in to score two tries. The Blues did muster a good comeback late - but need to cut down the errors if they are to steal this from the home side. Stephen Perofeta has been a good attacking threat for the Blues but the visitors as well as the Canes are both guilty of trying to do too much and forcing a pass when it is not on.

38 mins - HURRICANES 21 BLUES 10

TRY! And the Blues are finally in! Rieko Ioane sees acres of space and no-one can catch him, Ioane gets up and gives Jordie Barrett a nasty look to rub salt into the wound. It was a great ball from Stephen Perofeta which put Ioane into the hole.

Perofeta lands his conversion kick from the sideline. 

35 mins - HURRICANES 21 BLUES 3

TRY! Ngani Laumape is in again! The Blues defenders make another misread and the Canes midfielder powers over to score. Jordie Barrett lands the extras.

33 mins - HURRICANES 14 BLUES 3

NO TRY! Ngani Laumape goes over the goal-line but he is held up by Stephen Perofeta, the Hurricanes have another scrum five-metres out of the try-line.

29 mins - HURRICANES 14 BLUES 3

PENALTY! The Blues are penalised for coming in from the side of a line-out maul. Beauden Barrett kicks the ball into touch and the Canes have a attacking lineout deep inside the Blues' 22.

28 mins - HURRICANES 14 BLUES 3

After a great initial break from Blues' fullback Matt Duffie he knocks the ball on just outside the Hurricanes' 22. Sam Lousi picks up the ball and hoofs it down field. It is a good chase from the Canes and Julian Savea and TJ Perenara drag Blues winger over the sideline.

23 mins - HURRICANES 14 BLUES 3

TRY! Nehe Milner-Skudder throws a short ball to Ngani Laumape off a line-out at halfway and Laumape is gone! A bad defensive read from the Blues and the Canes are in for their second try.

Jordie Barrett nails his kick at goal from easy range.

20 mins - HURRICANES 7 BLUES 3

PENALTY! The Blues have stolen another line-out and Hurricanes' No. 8 Blade Thompson has been penalised for an intentional knock on.

18 mins - HURRICANES 7 BLUES 3

SCRUM - The have a penalty and Stephen Perofeta has kicked the ball dead - the Hurricanes have a scrum inside their own 22.

12 mins - HURRICANES 7 BLUES 3

TRY! Blade Thomson pops the ball up to TJ Perenara and he pops the pass to a charging Ngani Laumape who is in a massive gap. He is tackled by Melani Nanai but Laumape gets an offload away to Julian Savea and he is over for the first five-pointer of the match.

Jordie Barrett is online with his conversion attempt. 

10 mins - HURRICANES 0 BLUES 3

SCRUM - Stephen Perofeta knocks the ball on just outside his 22 and the Hurricanes are in perfect attacking position.

5 mins - HURRICANES 0 BLUES 3

THREE! Sam Henwood has been penalised for leaving his feet in the ruck and slowlying down the play for the Blues. Augustine Pulu points at the sticks and Stephen Perofeta lands his 40m kick at goal and the visitors lead 3-0.

4 mins - HURRICANES 0 BLUES 0

A scrappy start from both teams - Brad Shields attempts an intercept on his own 40m line but he can't hold onto and the Blues has scrum just outside the Hurricanes' 40m line.

HURRICANES 0 BLUES 0

KICK-OFF! Stephen Perofeta gets things started with a deep kick-off towards the Canes.

PRE-MATCH:

The Hurricanes are in the midst of a three-game losing streak after going down to the Brumbies last weekend in Canberra 24-12.

Thankfully for the Canes, who sit second in the New Zealand conference, welcome back All Blacks stars Beauden Barrett and Vaea Fifita into their starting XV.

The Blues on the other hand linger at the bottom of the New Zealand Super Rugby conference standings and will be playing for pride.

Tana Umaga's men will take some confidence into tonight's clash after they defeated the Reds 39-16 at Eden Park in Auckland last Friday.

Ben Lam has been dropped to the bench for the Canes with Julian Savea named to start on the left wing while Nehe Milner-Skudder will start on the right flank. Wes Goosen partners up with Ngani Laumape in the midfield with Jordie Barrett named to start at fullback.

All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane has been named at second five-eighth for the Blues and will be in for a tough night against Laumape.

Augustine Pulu will captain the Blues at halfback with enforcers Akira Ioane, Jerome Kaino and Ofa Tu'ungafasi rounding out the starting XV in the forwards.

TEAMS: 

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Wes Goosen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Sam Henwood, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.

Reserves: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Ben Lam.

Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (c), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Matiaha Martin, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 Matt Moulds, 1 Alex Hodgman.

Reserves: 16 James Parsons, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Nee-Nee, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 TJ Faiane.

HURRICANES 0 BLUES 0
4 mins - HURRICANES 0 BLUES 0
48 mins - HURRICANES 21 BLUES 17
56 mins - HURRICANES 28 BLUES 17
65 mins - HURRICANES 28 BLUES 24
69 mins - HURRICANES 35 BLUES 24
Hurricanes second-five Ngani Laumape scores a try in the tackle of Blues' halfback Augustine Pulu. Round 18 Super Rugby match, Hurricanes v Blues. Westpac Stadium, Wellington. Saturday 7th July 2018. © Copyright Photo: Grant Down / www.photosport.nz
Hurricanes second-five Ngani Laumape scores a try in the tackle of Blues' halfback Augustine Pulu. Source: Photosport



As it happened: Tasman outlast scrappy Manawatū to take hard-earned win

Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of tonight's Mitre 10 Cup match between Manawatū and Tasman at Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North.

FT: MAN 19-29 TAS

That does it for a scrappy ol' game in Palmy. A much better performance from Manawatū than in recent weeks but still not enough to get them a win. Tasman will have plenty they want to work on this week - especially the forwards at set piece after a horrid night in both scrums and lineouts. Still, it's a bonus point win and keeps them in the upper echelon of the Premiership table. That'll do it from us here tonight. Have a good evening.

77min: MAN 19-29 TAS

Manawatū look for a late line break but there's a forward pass from Malcolm. That'll probably do it. Mako scrum on halfway.

75min: MAN 19-29 TAS

TAS THREE! Hunt slots it with ease and pushes the lead to 10.

74min: MAN 19-26 TAS

Mako launch a composed attack and get to within 2m after 19 phases of play. Nothing fancy. Just forwards and backs hitting the line with hard, straight runs and getting over the advantage line. Manawatū finally give up a penalty for being offside. Looks like Tasman will play it safe and take the three.

70min: MAN 19-26 TAS

Black's kick goes to waste as there's another knock on at the lineout. Tasman scrum on their 22m.

69min: MAN 19-26 TAS

Tasman try to milk another penalty at the scrum but it backfires as they lose control of the ball at the back and get penalised for not releasing when Manawatū come through to steal it. Black hoofs it down field and it's a beauty. Turbos lineout on Tasman's 22m.

67min: MAN 19-26 TAS

Turbos straight back under pressure as their lineout throw isn't straight just outside their 22m. That's going to give Tasman an attacking scrum.

65min: MAN 19-26 TAS

MAN TRY! Tasman are penalised for an early push at the scrum. It's taken quickly but the ball is inches short. Turbos recycle quickly, numbers to the right and Tagicakibau goes over. Black adds the extras and Manawatū are back to within seven.

63min: MAN 12-26 TAS

Tasman's defence holds and they bundle Mafi into touch. Tasman's lineout 10m from their line but it's another shocker and they knock it on! Turbos with another chance as they get the scrum 10m from the Mako line.

60min: MAN 12-26 TAS

Turbos with a big chance to come back here as they get a penalty and kick for touch. The lineout will be 10m from Tasman's line. They're still down a man though.

57min: MAN 12-26 TAS

TAS TRY! Too easy. Hunt sees a hole off the lineout, pins the ears back and sprints through it to score under the posts. Big task coming up now for the hosts.

55min: MAN 12-19 TAS

MAN YELLOW! Ironically, Kiri Kiri is sent to the bin as he's penalised for a high tackle off the lineout. Mako kick AGAIN for touch and now the lineout is 15m from the Turbos' line. Three penalties for 80m. Not a bad trade.

54min: MAN 12-19 TAS

Mako get another penalty as their maul forces another offside play from Manawatū. The ref calls in Kiri Kiri and says another one will see someone in the bin. Tasman kick for toucha again and now their lineout is 10m inside Turbos' half.

53min: MAN 12-19 TAS

Mako scrum puts the shunt on and earn a penalty as Manawatū collapses. Mako kick for touch and get a lineout 15m from halfway.

52min: MAN 12-19 TAS

Turbos go absolutely nowhere for 12 phases until finally Otere Black makes a run down the left wing. Gets passed his man and finds support. Christie makes a try-saving ankle tap and there's a knock on. Mako scrum 15m from their own line.

50min: MAN 12-19 TAS

Manawatū with an attacking chance after kickoff as Tasman try to run the ball and a loose pass goes into touch. Turbo lineout 10m inside the Mako's half.

49min: MAN 12-19 TAS

TAS TRY! Mako get inside Manawatū's 22m shortly after the lineout. It comes to the left and somehow Fox-Mataamua holds onto a pass behind with a one-handed catch. He gets it to Jordan and the sub is in with his first touch of the night. O'Malley's conversion is off the post... seen that a bit lately.

47min: MAN 12-14 TAS

Big 30min coming up for one man as Jackson Hemopo comes onto the field. If he gets through this, could be in for a trip to Argentina with the All Blacks. On the field, it'll be a Mako lineout 10m inside Manawatū's half.

45min: MAN 12-14 TAS

Manawatū's defence holds for 12 phases and it forces Tasman to go wide. The pass is a big skip pass and it's forward! Turbos scrum on their 5m.

43min: MAN 12-14 TAS

Mako with another strong drive and it leads to a penalty as Turbos enter the maul offside. Mako kick for touch again and look to do the same with a 5m lineout.

42min: MAN 12-14 TAS

Mako immediately with a great attacking chance after Turbos are penalised for an illegal strip. Mako kick for touch and it's a lineout 15m from Manawatū's line.

40min: MAN 12-14 TAS

Mako get us going again.

HT: MAN 12-14 TAS

Halftime and the scoreboard is a fair reflection of the game so far. Close contest in the first half but Tasman have done more with ball in hand to earn a two point lead. What will really concern the Mako is their set play. Lineouts are a horror show at the moment and they've give up multiple penalties at the scrum too. For Manawatū, a strong first half and they'll be confident they're right in this one. It's on them now to keep that intensity up and force more errors in the second 40. Don't go anywhere. We'll be back soon.

40+2min: MAN 12-14 TAS

MAN TRY! Patience and power from Manawatū gets them a big try on halftime. They continue to pick and go for 13 phases to get within 5m of the line. Alaalatoa is at the back of the ruck and sees space on the left of the ruck. Picks, goes and stretches out to score. Plonks the ball right on the line to score. Big moment in the game.

38min: MAN 5-14 TAS

Turbos slowly burrow their way towards Tasman's 22m but there's a knock on and the Mako counterattack with Alaimalo on the left wing. He kicks ahead to chase but the bounce goes into touch. Manawatū's lineout 10m from halfway.

35min: MAN 5-14 TAS

It's a clean lineout for Tasman but a poor pass from the ensuing ruck leads to a knock on. Turbos scrum on halfway.

34min: MAN 5-14 TAS

Tasman's scrum earns another penalty as Manawatū buckle from the shove. Mako clear and get a lineout 10m from halfway.

33min: MAN 5-14 TAS

Tasman survive a horror restart. They completely misread the kickoff and Tagicakibau takes it on the full. He runs it all the way to within 5m. Manawatū go to pick and goes but one is too upright and the ball gets held up. It's a maul that dies and Tasman gets a scum 10m from their line. Lucky.

31min: MAN 5-14 TAS

TAS TRY! Tasman finally get a lineout right and it leads to Aumua scoring. They maul for a solid 20m before Makalio breaks from the back. He's taken short. It's recycled quickly and Aumua is over with ease. O'Malley converts and pushes their lead to nine.

29min: MAN 5-7 TAS

It takes a couple of resets but the Mako finally get a clean scrum. They attack down the blindside and it works as the Turbos make the tackle but they're penalised for playing at the ball off their feet. Mako kick for touch and get lineout on Manawatū's 22m. Can they get it right here?

26min: MAN 5-7 TAS

Manawatu look to score down the right wing again but they get isolated and penalised for not releasing. Tasman kick for touch and get a lineout 15m from halfway. It's yet another horrid lineout but they're lucky this time as Manawatū knock it on trying to steal it. Mako scrum 10m outside their 22m.

24min: MAN 5-7 TAS

Manawatū's defence doesn't budge for 13 phases and it forces Tasman to go wide. But that backfires as Alaimalo is driven into touch. Turbos lineout just outside their 22m.

21min: MAN 5-7 TAS

Turbos use a short lineout and get the ball to Kiri Kiri in the midfield. He hits the line hard but pops the ball loose in contact. Tasman scrum in the middle of the field bang on halfway.

20min: MAN 5-7 TAS

Turbos throw the ball away shortly after the lineout when they're penalised for not releasing. Great kick from O'Malley gives them a lineout just inside Manawatū's 22m. But it's another shocker from the Mako and a knock on leads to a Turbos scrum. Mako scrum is again penalised for collapsing so Turbos kick for toucha and it's a lineout on halfway.

17min: MAN 5-7 TAS

Tasman front row is penalised after they collapse it twice in a row. Turbos kick for touch and get a lineout 10m inside Tasman's half.

16min: MAN 5-7 TAS

Turbos clear early after the kickoff and Tasman look to attack. But after eight phases of hitting the line hard with straight runs there's a knock on. Manawatū scrum 15m inside their own half.

14min: MAN 5-7 TAS

MAN TRY! Turbos strik back with a brilliant team try. They launch an attack 40m from Tasman's line with a skip pass to the right win. Kiri Kiri fends off one before giving the ball to Waitokia. Waitokia is one-on-one and gets and offload to Malcolm who runs it 20m to score in the right corner. Great stuff.

11min: MAN 0-7 TAS

Turbos escape pressure after the Mako have another poor lineout. Turbos get the ball and Tasman are penalised for being offside soon after. Turbos kick for touch and get a lineout on halfway.

9min: MAN 0-7 TAS

Tasman right back on attack after Manawatū are penalised for hands in the ruck straight after kickoff. Mako kick for touch and get a lineout 10m inside the Turbos half.

8min: MAN 0-7 TAS

TAS TRY! What an amazing run from Spowart! Gets the ball from the base of the scrum at speed and he steps inside his man. Pins the ears back and he's away to score untouched. Superb solo run. O'Malley with the extas from the right wing and he's got it.

6min: MAN 0-0 TAS

Laloifi makes a great break down the left wing but he's driven hard into the ground. Unfortunately, his head hits the ground hard with whiplash and he stays down so that forces a stoppage in play. He's slow to get up. That's his night done unless he passes an HIA. Game will restart with a scrum to Tasman 10m inside their half after Laloifi also lost the ball in contact.

5min: MAN 0-0 TAS

Manawatū come up with a steal at the lineout and clear shortly after. But Tasman counter attack down the left wing and get all the way down to just outside the Turbos' 22m. That great attack from Alaimalo is undone though as Tasman are penalised for misconduct at the breakdown. Turbos clear and get a lineout on halfway.

2min: MAN 0-0 TAS

Tasman cleary early after kickoff and the Turbos return it from halfway. Blackadder comes up with a steal at the breakdown though and Tasman look to attack but the Turbos are penalised for being offside. Mako kick for touch and get a lineout 5m inside Manawatū's half.

KICKOFF

Turbos get us going!

PRE-GAME

Clear night in Palmy. Light northerly favouring the team playing left to right. 16 degrees at the moment dropping to 14. Pretty perfect conditions underfoot too.

PREVIEW

Tasman Mako player Tim O'Malley during their Pre Season Mitre 10 Cup rugby union game against the Manawatu Turbos. Trafalgar Park, Nelson, New Zealand. Friday 12 August 2016. ©Copyright Photo: Chris Symes / www.photosport.nz
Tasman Mako player Tim O'Malley makes a run against the Turbos in 2016. Source: Photosport

It's David against Goliath in Palmerston North tonight as Championship strugglers Manawatū host Premiership high-flyers Tasman.

After a positive start to 2018 with a 24-19 win over Waikato, Manawatū have suffered four straight losses to Taranaki, Otago, Canterbury and Northland.

On the other hand, Tasman have won all their matches in 2018 bar a hefty loss to undefeated Premiership leaders Auckland and enter tonight's game coming off a convincing 53-17 win over Taranaki.

One positive for the Turbos is the inclusion of All Blacks rookie Jackson Hemopo on the bench but they will be without strong performing midfielder Rob Thompson, who has been rested for the match.

Tasman have also made tweaks to their backline with captain David Havili making a rare outing at fullback with Will Jordan shifted to the bench.

TEAMS

MAN: 1.Fraser Armstrong, 2.Tim Cadwallader, 3.Michael Alaalatoa, 4.Tom Hughes, 5.Liam Hallam-Eames, 6.Samuel Slade, 7.Antonio Kiri Kiri (captain), 8.Brad Tucker, 9.Jamie Booth, 10.Sam Malcolm, 11.Michael Tagicakibau, 12.James Tofa, 13.Hamish Northcott, 14.Te Rangatira Waitokia, 15.Junior Laloifi.

Substitutes: 16.Sam Stewart, 17.Faalelei Sione, 18.Sione Asi, 19.Jackson Hemopo, 20.Adrian Wyrill, 21.Kayne Hammington, 22.Otere Black, 23.Lefeimi Mafi.

TAS: 1.Wyatt Crockett, 2.Andrew Makalio, 3.Tyrel Lomax, 4.Pari Pari Parkinson, 5.Quinten Strange, 6.Ethan Blackadder, 7.Sione Havili, 8.Taina Fox-Mataamua, 9.Finlay Christie, 10.Mitchell Hunt, 11.Solomon Alaimalo, 12.Alex Nankivell, 13.Levi Aumua, 14.Jamie Spowart, 15.David Havili (captain).

Substitutes: 16.Ray Nuiua, 17.Ryan Coxon, 18.Blair Prinsep, 19.Mike Curry, 20.John Akauolo-Laula, 21.Jack Grooby, 22.Tim O'Malley, 23.Will Jordan.

Jamie Spowart took the ball off a scrum, spied a hole and never looked back. Source: SKY


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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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