Rugby

Maori All Stars and Indigenous All Stars split rugby league series

In wet conditions in Sydney, Kodi Nikorima, Esan Marsters and captain Joseph Tapine scored tries for the Maori men.

Tapine was named player of the match for his try coupled with 125 running metres and seven tackle breaks.

He became the third Maori All Stars player in succession to win the Preston Campbell Medal after James Fisher-Harris (2021) and Brandon Smith (2020).

In the women's game, teenager Jaime Chapman scored two tries as the Indigenous All Stars won 18-8 win over the Maori All Stars.

Italy break two-year losing streak

The Azzurri's last victory came against Canada at the Rugby World Cup in September 2019, and the win over the Uruguayans ended a 16-match losing run since then.

New Italy head coach Kieran Crowley suffered defeat in his opening two games against New Zealand and Argentina, but his side held the lead from the 12th minute onwards in Parma after winger Bruno skipped inside two defenders to dot down.

D day for rugby's eligibility laws

Under the current regulations, once a player has represented one country at international level they cannot turn out for another, unless they utilise an unintended sevens loophole. 

Former Tonga captain Inoke Afeaki said the current rules do not allow Pacific Island nations to field their strongest teams.

"The professional game has made it harder," he said. 

All Blacks crush US in one-sided affair in DC

The visitors led 33-7 at half-time and scored 16 tries to two against an understrength US team.

Wing Will Jordan dotted down for a hattrick, while loose forward Luke Jacobsen and prop Angus Ta'avao bagged two tries each.

Prop Ethan de Groot, fullback Damian McKenzie, first-five Richie Mo'unga, second-five Quinn Tupaea, loose forward Dalton Papalii also scored tries as did replacements Anton Lienert-Brown, Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles and TJ Perenara.

The Eagles secured their first-ever try against the All Blacks during the test.

Pasifika rugby coaches in NZ learning in their own language

The first course was held at the Manukau Rovers Rugby Football Club in Māngere Auckland last week, with the compulsory injury prevention workshop translated into Samoan and Tongan.  

Central region delivery lead of Auckland Rugby, Tidah Leaupepe, is on a mission to remove any barriers that might be holding back Pasifika people from taking up opportunities both on and off the field. 

"A lot of them don't come to our Rugby Smart [courses] because language is a barrier," she said.

Nauru introduces women and girls rugby 7s and 15s

Nauru Media News NTV reports Australia has given over $130,000 to promote rugby and support the inclusion of women, girls and people living with disability in the sport.

Nauru Rugby will partner with Rugby Australia and Oceania Rugby to deliver the programme which is part of the Australian Government’s ‘Team Up’ initiative.

Nauru is one of six Pacific countries that will benefit from the Team Up programme.

Nauru Rugby Union executive board member Godwin Debao said they will have to deliver rugby to women and girls.

Decision on Six Nations game expected

The French Rugby Federation announced on Monday that five more players - including captain Charles Ollivon - had tested positive for Covid-19.

Ten France players are isolating and will be unavailable for Sunday's (Monday morning NZ time) game.

Les Bleus are top of the Six Nations table after beating Italy and Ireland.

Scottish Rugby released a statement saying they could be without 10 players should the game be rearranged for another date.

Japan Top League on hold

The competition had been due to start this weekend but with 10 positive tests at Kobe Steelers on Thursday taking the total to 67 league-wide, organisers said they were now aiming for a mid-February start.

Last year's season was cancelled entirely because of the pandemic.

"Japan Rugby Football Union and Top League have had discussions and we want to do everything we can to have this year's Top League season," said JRFU Chairman Kensuke Iwabuchi.

Argentina overhaul team for second crack at All Blacks

Ledesma had made only minor tweaks to his side for last week's clash against the Wallabies after the breakthrough win over New Zealand in their tournament opener, but drew fully on his squad for Thursday's team announcement.

Nicolas Sanchez, who has scored all of Argentina's 40 points in their first two matches, remains at first-five with inspirational captain Pablo Matera and Marcos Kremer retained in the back row and Guido Petti at lock.

England too good for Ireland

England top the group A standings with nine points with one game remaining away to Wales next week and remain on course for a potential competition decider at home against France or Scotland, who meet tomorrow.

It was something of a strange performance from England, who were always in control but barely fired an attacking shot in the second half, seemingly content to display their admittedly impressive defensive organisation and aggression as Ireland banged away in midfield.