Watch: Former All Blacks star Malakai Fekitoa bulldozes through two defenders with deadly fend on way to scoring superb solo try

Malakai Fekitoa has continued his destructive ways despite playing rugby on the other side of the world after the former All Black centre showed his raw power in Toulon's recent French Top 14 match against Agen.

Toulon dominated the match against the struggling club, winning 54-5 at Stade Mayol on Sunday morning, with Fekitoa putting the exclamation mark on the match with a late solo try.

Fekitoa ran back in-field after getting the ball off a ruck and spied a gap between two Agen defenders which he ran full-tilt at.

Replacement back Thomas Vincent attempted to stop the former Highlanders star and broke the line to stop Fekitoa, but a fend pushed the French sub into the dirt and the Kiwi centre continued his charge.

Fekitoa was then met by substitute hooker Loick Jammes but he met the same fate as his team-mate as another strong fend from Fekitoa sent him flying and allowed the midfielder to waltz into the in goal to score.

The result keeps Toulon in a close second on the ladder, with the team just one point behind Racing 92, while Agen continues to hover outside the relegation zone, four points clear of Brive.


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All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams confirms return to boxing ring in December

All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams has confirmed he will step back into the boxing ring at the end of the year.

Williams, 33, is set to fight in Sydney on December 1 on a charity event named "Banger in the Hanger".

"I'm looking forward to getting back in the ring again. I know this will be a hard fight for me after being out of the ring for three years," he said.

"Some people will say I'll be rusty. But I can't wait! I know I'll put on a good show and the cause is a great one. It feels good to be giving something back."

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has supported the cross-code star's ambition to return to the ring. 

"Look, from my understanding I think it's a very, very low-key fight and it's about raising money for the homeless in Sydney and for the Auckland City Mission," said Hansen.

"He is pretty confident, I've spoken to Khoder (Nasser, Williams' agent) and Khoder's confident that what's going to take place won't be of hindrance to him, so you've got to back their judgement and from what I understand it shouldn't be too much of a task."

All proceeds from the fight will be split between Auckland City Mission and Australian charities the Exodus Foundation and the Bill Crews Charitable Trust.

The All Blacks star will return to the ring later this year. Source: 1 NEWS

"The winner of the fight will be known as the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE HOMELESS & NEEDY as proceeds of the night will go to helping the homeless in Australia and New Zealand," a press release stated today.

Sonny Bill Williams against Chauncy Welliver in Sydney Source: Photosport


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'Thinking of ways to keep this big machine going' - Steve Hansen looking for ways to keep talent in NZ

New Zealand are as fragile off the field as they are dominant on it.

That's the grim assessment of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who has renewed a call for New Zealand government support if his all-conquering team are to maintain their pre-eminent place in world rugby.

Hansen's concerns about the financial strain on the Kiwi game came in the same week World Rugby vice-chairman Augustin Pichot warned the international scene is in danger of disintegrating if a unified global calendar can't be nailed down within 12 months.

Pichot said rugby's business model doesn't add up for most countries.

He has threatened to walk away rather than "be an accomplice to rugby's ruin".

Despite its success at all levels, New Zealand Rugby is losing money and struggling to retain all of its leading players who are being courted by large offshore clubs.

Hansen says finding a financial solution is imperative.

"The word complacency's been bandied around about us as a team but we're fighting it all the time with our fans and our country," Hansen said.

The All Blacks coach said he is trying to implement ways of keeping top Kiwi talent in NZ. Source: 1 NEWS

"It's not an everlasting thing that we're doing. I'm sure there would be a different attitude if this team wasn't performing."

Former All Black Lima Sopoaga this week said playing for New Zealand was losing its allure and that players will increasingly accept overseas deals, such as he has with English club Wasps.

Hansen hoped New Zealand Rugby's commitment to protecting player welfare can help prevent the current trickle of departures turning into a torrent.

"I don't think there's any more going than there has been and there's a lot of guys over there who think it's a grind," Hansen said.

"But we have to keep thinking of ways to keep this big machine going."

Hansen's previous plea for government support of the country's richest sport organisation was greeted with widespread negativity.

He pointed out central funding could be a means to boost the grass roots game, freeing up more sponsorship money to retain top players.

That, in turn, would protect an All Blacks brand he believes puts Kiwis on the map.

"Rugby in this country is part of who we are and what we are.

"You can go anywhere in the world and people may not know New Zealand but they've heard of the All Blacks."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
All Blacks v France. Rugby Union. Steinlager Series, 2nd test match. Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand. Saturday 16 June 2018. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. Source: Photosport


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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


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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.


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