Wallabies coach Michael Cheika in no joking mood for Pumas Test

Wallabies assistant Stephen Larkham has had his wings clipped by the boss ahead of what is being likened to a family reunion on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Australia will face an Argentina side now headed by former Wallabies forwards coach Mario Ledesma at Cbus Super Stadium.

Ledesma helped transform Australia's scrum in the lead up to the last World Cup before leaving for his homeland on the best of terms with coach Michael Cheika.

Joking when asked of Ledesma's influence earlier this week, Larkham cheekily replied that "he struggled as an assistant coach" and "didn't know what he's going to come up with this weekend".

Tongue firmly in cheek, Larkham also suggested his former colleague would be stealing from the Wallabies play book on the Gold Coast.

Cheika wasn't laughing about it on Thursday though, bristling when asked what he thought of Larkham's banter.

"I'm not that into it, you know what I mean," he said.

"I get it, the joke and everything, but there won't be any joking on Saturday."

Cheika will save the jovial interaction for after the game, knowing his side has a chance to pull back more ground after a morale-boosting defeat of South Africa in Brisbane.

Argentina split a home-and-away series against South Africa to start their campaign before a plucky 46-24 loss to the All Blacks last weekend.

"He's (Ledesma) done an excellent job. I'm biased, he's like family to me, but it won't make a difference on Saturday," Cheika said.

The Wallabies are $1.27 favourites to win with some bookies but, after back-to- back Bledisloe Cup floggings to begin the Rugby Championship, Cheika isn't getting ahead of himself.

"We've copped a fair bit of flak recently so after last weekend we get a lot of people telling you 'it's all good, all good'," he said.

"It ain't all good until you're consistent every single day. It's a laugh (the banter), but laughs for me are after the game."

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika during the Wallabies Captain's Run at Eden Park ahead of this weekend's Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship match in Auckland. Friday 14 August 2015. Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika Source: Photosport


Watch: Waikato lock away Ranfurly Shield with sublime offloading display against hapless Hawke's Bay

Waikato have completed their first successful defence of the Ranfurly Shield after a stunning second half performance against Hawke's Bay in Hamilton tonight.

The two Championship sides were locked in a close battle at halftime with Waikato hold a 21-15 lead.

They managed to earn that lead thanks to a yellow card given to Pasqualle Dunn just 12 minutes into the match when the Magpies midfielder made his second dangerous tackle minutes after his first.

That gave Waikato a chance to strike and allowed them to nullify an early try to Brad Weber and build a 14-10 lead before the sides traded blows late in the half.

But it was all one way traffic in the second 40 minute block as Waikato piled in three tries in 11 minutes to lock the Log o' Wood away.

Their final try was a sublime effort from the entire team as three offloads set up reserve Raniera Takarangi to dive over the line and push the lead to 42-15 with nine minutes left.

Hawke's Bay managed a late consolation try but it didn't change the fact they were dominated at the lineout and breakdown throughout the match, leading to the big loss.

The result sees Waikato continue their climb after their horrid start to the season, sitting top of the Championship table with their third-straight win six matches.

Hawke's Bay sit directly under them, although they do have a game in hand having taken three wins in their first five games of 2018.

One thing they don't have though is the Ranfurly Shield which Waikato won't defend again for another two weeks until Southland comes to town.


As it happened: Waikato's wild second half leads to successful Ranfurly Shield defence against Hawke's Bay

Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of tonight's Ranfurly Shield contest between holders Waikato and challengers Hawke's Bay at FMG Stadium in Hamilton.

FT: WAI 42-22 HB

There's a HB TRY on the final whistle to Tofilau but it doesn't matter. Waikato have held onto the Log o' Wood with a stellar second half on attack. The Magpies were their own biggest enemy tonight. Too many handling errors and a poor performance on their lineouts really hurt them. That means Waikato hold the Shield for at least another two weeks until Southland comes to town. That's it from us folks. Pо̄ marie!

77min: WAI 42-15 HB

Hawke's Bay will get one last shot at consolation as Waikato are penalised in their own half for hands in the ruck. The Magpies take it quickly and carry the ball over into Waikato's 22m.

75min: WAI 42-15 HB

Hawke's Bay continue to be their worst enemies as they knock on the first decent touch they've had of the ball in the last 10 minutes. That gives Waikato a scrum 35m from Hawke's Bay's line.

73min: WAI 42-15 HB

WAI TRY! Waikato pull out all the stops and deliver the final blow. It takes them seven phases to get inside Hawke's Bays' 22m from the lineout. They attack to the right wing and  McWhannell gives a beautiful offload to Tucker. He links up with an offload to Takarangi 10m out and he goes the rest of the way to score. Three tries in 11 minutes. That's how you seal away the Ranfurly Shield for another week!

70min: WAI 35-15 HB

Hawke's Bay hurt themselves once again as they're penalised shortly after getting the ball back from kickoff for going off their feet in the ruck. Waikato use the penalty to find touch and it's a lineout on halfway.

68min: WAI 35-15 HB

WAI TRY! Smith floats behind the scrum and attack the blindside. It's popped to him from the base at speed and he bowls through the line and stretches out to score. That could just do it. 

65min: WAI 28-15 HB

Waikato looks destined to score again but there's a stunning trysaving tackle! Ball wrapped up and there's no one it's finding the grass. Hawke's Bay aren't out of the woods yet though. That just gives Waikato a 5m scrum.

63min: WAI 28-15 HB

Waikato follow up their end-to-end magic with a fantastic clearance kick from Smith. It gets every inch possible from 10m off his own line and pushes Hawke's Bay to a lineout on halfway.

61min: WAI 28-15 HB

WAI TRY! Didn't see that coming! Hawke's Bay lose the ball off their lineout and it leads to yet another stellar run from Reece. That gets Waikato to 30m from the Hawke's Bay line and they recycle quickly. It gets to the right wing but the defence stops it 1m short. A couple pick and gos and finally the line is broken thanks to Iti. Big moment in the match.

57min: WAI 21-15 HB

Hawke's Bay attacks for eight phases and they earn a penalty after a dangerous tackle. Nothing too serious. Just a bit high. But it gives the Magpies amazing field position as they earn a 5m lineout.

54min: WAI 21-15 HB

Waikato's turn to be sloppy. They butcher the scrum and there's a knock on at the base. Hawke's Bay scrum deep in their own territory. To make matters worse, there's a penalty soon after for kicking in the ruck so Hawke's Bay clears and gets a lineout 10m inside Waikato's half.

52min: WAI 21-15 HB

Waikato build pressure with a tactical kick floated and bounced into touch to force the Magpies into a lineout 15m from their line. It works perfectly as there's a knock on at the lineout and Waikato get a scrum 15m short.

50min: WAI 21-15 HB

Hawke's Bay turn over the ball but not for long. They look to attack on the right wing but there's an accidental shepherd shifting the ball out there so Waikato get a scrum on halfway.

48min: WAI 21-15 HB

Hawke's Bay's gamble backfires! It's lost at the lineout and Waikato recover it. They clear and to make matters worse for the visitors, they get pulled up for a forward pass in their counter attack bringing the ball back. Waikato scrum on 15m from halfway.

46min: WAI 21-15 HB

Moments after a brilliant play, the Waikato forwards let themselves down as they're penalised for collapsing the scrum. Hawke's Bay smell blood and turn down the three for a kick in the corner. 5m lineout coming up.

45min: WAI 21-15 HB

Waikato clear from their 22m but as Hawke's Bay look to return it, the ball gets held up for a maul. It's going nowhere and the ball is trapped so that's a Waikato scrum. 30m from their own line.

43min: WAI 21-15 HB

Wild start to the half as both sides throw their bodies at the contest for early posession and territory. Waikato make a break down the left wing but Tupaea is isolated and Hawke's Bay turn it over. There's no one back so Weber hoofs it downfield and bounces it into touch inside Waikato's 22m.

40min: WAI 21-15 HB

Waikato get us going again in Hamilton!

HT: WAI 21-15 HB

Hawke's Bay try one last shove but they're dragged into touch for halftime. Back and forth first 40 on our hands and everything you want in a Ranfurly Shield match. Reece is having another blinder for the hosts but Weber is looking just as dangerous for the Magpies. Don't go anywhere. We'll be back with the second half.

37min: WAI 21-15 HB

HB TRY! Hawke's Bay strike right back! Waikato are penalised immediately after the kickoff and the Magpies use it to get a 5m lineout. From there, they convert at the setpiece and cut the deficit to six points. 

34min: WAI 21-10 HB

WAI TRY! Waikato convert on the penalty and it's Reece magic! He breaks down the left wing and looks for an offload 2m from the line. Finds it, and Manihera scores. Mooloo men take a big lead.

31min: WAI 14-10 HB

Waikato straight back on attack after Hawke's Bay are penalised early after kickoff. Big kick from Smith and it reaches halfway for a lineout.

30min: WAI 14-10 HB

WAI TRY! What a solo run by Reece! The lineout is a shocker but the winger comes through and takes the bounce perfectly. Flies through Hawke's Bay's line and bolts for the posts. No one touches him. Try time!

28min: WAI 7-10 HB

It takes them a couple of attempts but they finally find the angle they want for a good clearance. Waikato lineout 35m from Hawke's Bay's line.

26min: WAI 7-10 HB

Waikato slowly build pressure after getting the ball back from kickoff. After 8 phases their on the Hawke's Bay 22m thanks to strong forward runs. It gets to 18 phases and their 1m out. They go for the line with a pick and go and there's a knock on on the line! Unbelievable. Hawke's Bay scrum on their 5m.

23min: WAI 7-10 HB

HB THREE! Waikato are penalised for leaving their feet in the ruck. Magpies are down a man so they take free three on offer.

21min: WAI 7-7 HB

Magpies immediately back on attack as they earn a scrum from the kickoff holding up ball-taker Manihera for a maul. Ball is stuck and going no where so it leads to Hawke's Bay feed 20m from Waikato's line.

20min: WAI 7-7 HB

WAI TRY! Too easy. Manihera pops to Stratton. He draws and passes to Sweeney in a hole and the skipper dives under the posts. All tied up.

18min: WAI 0-7 HB

Waikato hit the line and the ball comes loose! Hawke's Bay dives on it but they knock it on in their desparation! Waikato with their fourth 5m scrum in as many minutes.

17min: WAI 0-7 HB

Hawke's Bay's scrum is penalised and Waikato use it to set another. Something has to give.

15min: WAI 0-7 HB

Waikato come up inches short but they'll get a scrum for their efforts. 5m out, can they convert on this pressure?

14min: WAI 0-7 HB

Waikato using their backs with the numbers advantage but after a ruck is set, there's a knock on by Hawke's Bay trying to steal the ball. That means it's a Waikato scrum 20m from the line in the middle of the field. Prime attacking position.

12min: WAI 0-7 HB

HB YELLOW! Dunn is sent to the bin after his second dangerous tackle in less than 10min. Two poor lifting tackles and Waikato with a big advantage now. They kick for touch with the penalty and it's a lineout on Hawke's Bay's 22m.

9min: WAI 0-7 HB

It's a sloppy lineout but Hawke's Bay get a scrum from it. 10m inside Waikato's half.

8min: WAI 0-7 HB

Waikato get the ball back shortly after kickoff but Hawke's Bay's defence leads to a penalty. Didn't release in the ruck so that's a free kick for touch and a Magpies lineout 30m from Waikato's line.

6min: WAI 0-7 HB

HB TRY! What a try by the Magpies! There's a linebreak on halfway before the ball gets to Weber with 25m to go. He shakes off two, steps inside a third and dives under the posts. Perfect start for the visitors.

3min: WAI 0-0 HB

Waikato clear after the kickoff and Hawke's Bay try to counter attack. Six phases gets them no where so they float a kick into Waikato's 22m. No one there and it bounces into touch. Waikato lineout 20m from their line. Pressure is diverted soon after though as there's a dangerous tackle. Waikato find touch and it's their lineout on halfway.


Hawke's Bay get us going in the Tron!


After a slow start to the season, Waikato have found some red-hot form and claimed the Log 'o Wood with it thanks to a stunning 33-19 win over Taranaki on Sunday.

But celebrations have been cut short with their first defence already arrived as a Championship-leading Hawke's Bay come to town looking to strip it from them.

The Magpies only have one loss so far this season to Premiership outfit Counties but have posted wins over Southland, Otago and Bay of Plenty entering tonight's contest.

Waikato on the other hand started 2018 cold with losses to Manawatū, North Harbour and Auckland before toppling Premiership sides Wellington and and Taranaki last week.

Head-to-head, the hosts come in with a minor advantage having won 27 of the 49 contests between the two. The last time the two teams met in 2016, Waikato earned win No.27 with a 46-22 thumping in Hamilton as well.


Waikato: 1.Ayden Johnstone, 2.Samisoni Taukei'aho, 3.Joshua Iosefa-Scott, 4.Tim Bond, 5.Laghlan McWhannell, 6.Adam Burn, 7.Mitch Jacobson, 8.Jordan Manihera, 9.Jack Stratton, 10.Fletcher Smith, 11.Sevu Reece, 12.Dwayne Sweeney, 13.Quinn Tupaea, 14.Bailyn Sullivan, 15.Mathew Lansdown.

Substitutes: 16.Sekope Lopeti Moli, 17.Haereiti Hetet, 18.Sosaia Fale, 19.James Tucker, 20.Murry Iti, 21.Raniera Takarangi, 22.Mosese Dawai, 23.Tyler Campbell.

Hawke's Bay: 1.Ben May, 2.Kianu Kereu-Symes, 3.Joe Apikotoa, 4.Tom Parsons, 5.Michael Allardice, 6.Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, 7.William Tremain, 8.Gareth Evans, 9.Brad Weber, 10.Tiaan Falcon, 11.Mason Emerson, 12.Pasqualle Dunn, 13.Stacy Ili, 14.Jonah Lowe, Jamie-Jerry Taulagi.

Substitutes: 16.Jason Long, 17.Mark Braidwood, 18.Pouri Rakete-Stones, 19.Geoff Cridge, 20.Josh Kaifa, 21.Folau Fakatava, 22.Tofilau Sasa, 23.Michael Buckley.

Waikato's Josh Hohneck beaks a tackle to score a try. Ranfurly Shield Challenge, Hawkes Bay v Waikato, New Zealand. Friday, 09 October 2015. Copyright photo: John Cowpland / www.photosport.nz
Waikato's Josh Hohneck beaks a tackle to score a try in 2015. Source: Photosport



Watch: Counties Manukau unveil special jerseys for clash with Wellington in honour of Jonah Lomu

Jonah Lomu will be remembered on Saturday by his former province Counties Manukau when they take on another of the legendary All Blacks’ former teams, Wellington.

The Steelers have unveiled a special Jonah Lomu memorial jersey for their clash with the Lions when the two sides meet in Pukekohe.

Some of the 63-Test All Black's old teammates dropped in on Steelers training today to help with the unveiling and remember their friend.

“It’s a great time for Counties rugby,” former winger Joeli Vidiri said.

The jerseys, including the No.11 which will be worn by Tevita Nabura, will be auctioned off for charity after the game.

The late All Blacks legend played for both provinces. Source: 1 NEWS


'It’s awesome to be back!' Grinning Rieko Ioane wasting no time reclaiming All Blacks' starting wing spot

Ma'a Nonu may steal a bit of his thunder for the Blues' opener next season, but Rieko Ioane is still this weekend's big ticket in Wellington.

Back in the side after a few weeks recovering from a hamstring niggle, winger Ioane can't wait to clash with the Springboks at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

"It's always tough watching the other boys playing, but it's awesome to be back."

"I'm still fairly new to this environment, but as a kid it's always been the black jersey, and just having the opportunity to do that week in week out."

The 21-year-old has been able to step up from the 80 per cent he's been operating at for the past few weeks to prepare for Saturday night although as Ryan Crotty explained, even at that level, he can still move.

"His eighty per cent is like half of our hundies!"

Both were named to start by coach Steve Hansen this morning but Crotty admits his road back to black has been more assiduous this time after his sixth concussion in a year.

"Been extremely diligent around this last one. I'm really confident. If I wasn't I wouldn't be here.

“I'm really excited to be back playing and just can't wait to get back out there in the Test match arena."

He'll pair up with Anton Lienert-Brown, who's been rewarded with a rare starting spot after impressive cameos off the bench.

Even accounting for injuries to the likes of Brodie Retallick and Sonny Bill Williams, Saturday's All Blacks look almost as formidable as any since the last World Cup.

And with a perfect record in 2018 at the Westpac Stadium to protect, expect Ioane and co to give nothing less than a hundred percent.