All Blacks

James O'Connor to start at centre for Wallabies against All Blacks

Australia do not name their team until Thursday but it is understood coach Michael Cheika is set to make a number of changes for the match at Perth on Saturday.

O'Connor's selection at No 13 in place of Tevita Kuridrani is set to be the big talking point, with the Brumbies centre understood to have been left out of the match day 23 altogether.

It caps a remarkable comeback for O'Connor, who played his first game since 2013 for the Wallabies two weeks ago in Brisbane, coming off the bench.

All Blacks expect Pocock to play against them this weekend

Pocock has not played a game since March after injuring his calf during the Super Rugby season, and after touring with the Wallabies all winter but working on his own, the world-class flanker has been back training with the main squad this week in Perth.

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster expects him to play.

"You always prepare for that sort of scenario. But we have played against those two (Pocock and Michael Hooper) when they play together, a number of times."

Sonny Bill Williams blasts critics saying he's under pressure to make Rugby World Cup

The midfielder rarely uses Twitter to respond to media stories about him, but Williams was clearly fired up, saying those who say he's under pressure need to 'get their priorities right.'

Williams wrote that playing sport for a living can't be compared to those who are struggling to deal with far bigger problems.

"And for those that say I'm under pressure playing a game that I enjoy," Williams wrote. 

"Get your priorities right. Look at what's going on in the world.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen defends Beauden Barrett: 'They all do it'

A South African supporter spotted All Blacks fullback Barrett nudging the ball with his foot while referee Nic Berry had his back turned during the 16-all draw in the Cake Tin last weekend, and posted TV footage of the incident on social media.

Feedback from fans online didn't lack heat.

Fan takes legal action after rugby ball hits their head during All Blacks test in Ireland

The fan has made a personal injury claim after being struck by a ball during Ireland's historic 16-9 win over the All Blacks in Dublin on November 17, 2018. 

According to The Times, the case is one of two lodged by separate female fans against the IRFU and New Stadium DAC, who operate the Aviva Stadium. Both were hit in the head by balls players had booted into the stands.

The other incident was during a European Champions Cup game between Munster and Saracens on April 22, 2017.

All Blacks hopeful Retallick will be fit for World Cup

Retallick was cleared out in a ruck by Springboks opposite RG Snyman and landed awkwardly on his left shoulder. He was in visible pain as he walked off in the 61st minute of the 16-16 draw in Wellington.

Hansen did not give a timeline for his return to reporters on Sunday but sounded optimistic the former World Player of the Year would be fit to travel to Japan for the Sept. 20-Nov. 2 showpiece.

"Hopefully he will be available for the World Cup. He is one of our best players so that's good," the coach said.

Sonny Bill Williams has to stay on park, Steve Hansen says

When asked what he wanted to see from the injury-prone second-five against the Springboks on Saturday night, the All Blacks coach's answer was to the point.

"We want to see him stay on the park," he said. 

"If he comes off it's because he's run out of energy as opposed to injury. We know he can play to a high level so it's his durability at the moment that's been affecting him getting on the park. We just want to see him put some minutes together then assess it from there."

Prepare for fiery All Blacks-Springbok clash

The tactical cat and mouse that comes with most lead-in Tests to the showpiece tournament in Japan won't apply on Saturday at Westpac Stadium as the two heavyweights get set to field teams at close to full strength.

Hanging over the contest is last year's result at the same venue which the Springboks won 36-34.

Retallick says there's no way he could forget that result, one of just four losses he has experienced in his 76 tests in an All Blacks jersey.

Springbok test no guide to World Cup

The Rugby Championship Test in Wellington on Saturday is the only meeting of the old rivals ahead of their clash in Yokohama on September 21st, a match that should set the World Cup alight on day two of the tournament.

Hansen says both teams are in a building process and plenty can happen in two months, stripping this week's match of a bragging rights element.

"I guess it will give whoever wins it a little confidence going in to the World Cup, but it won't mean whoever wins this one will automatically win the one in the World Cup," he said.

More than 700 tickets to All Blacks Test cancelled

Ticket seller Ticketek told New Zealand Rugby to void the tickets to the 27 July match at Westpac Stadium.

NZ Rugby chief commercial officer Richard Thomas said cancelling the tickets was a matter of taking a stand against fraud.

"Unfortunately, it is highly likely that some of these tickets will have already been on-sold to unknowing fans on the secondary market and those fans may only discover their tickets are invalid when they present them at the gate at Westpac Stadium.