The flagship international rugby union event, the World Cup, returns in 2023, and the preliminary draw has already been made. In a ceremony that took place in Paris, which will also host the final at the Stade de France, the 12 teams that have already qualified were drawn into their respective pools.
Here is a look at the pools for the 2021 Womens Rugby World Cup to be held in New Zealand.
How many teams will be participating at the Womens Rugby World Cup 2021?
12 teams will be participating in the Womens 2021 RWC (divided into three groups of four teams)
Which group are England Women in for Rugby World Cup 2021?
England Rugby Women are in Pool C for RWC 2021 alongside France, South Africa and Fiji
Which group are the Black Ferns (NZ rugby women) in for the 2021 Womens World Cup?
The Black Ferns are in Pool A alongside Australia, Wales and a to be decided qualifier.
Which group are Springbok women in for the 2021 RWC?
South Africa women are in a tough group alongside England, France and Fiji. Their men’s team are the reigning RWC holders, having beaten England 32-12 in the 2019 RWC final.
Asian qualifiers: Japan, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan (one qualifies, runner up goes to repechage tournament)
European qualifiers: Russia, Netherlands, Spain (one qualifies, runner up goes to repechage tournament)
Final Repecharge tournament: Asian runner up, European runner up, Samoa, Winner of Colombia v Kenya
Here is a look at the official attendance statistics for the 2020 Bledisloe Cup and the Tri-Nations (Rugby Championship) this year. Owing to Covid-19, South Africa will not be participating in the RC, and all games will be held in Australia only.
Bledisloe Cup 2020 Attendances
New Zealand 16-16 Australia Wellington 2020 Attendance 31,020 (11 October)
All Blacks 27-7 Wallabies Eden Park Auckland 2020 Attendance 46,049 (18 October)
Australia 5-43 NZ Sydney ANZ Stadium 2020 Crowd 25,689 (31 October)
Australia 24-22 All Blacks Suncorp Brisbane Attendance 36,626 (7 November, 2020)
Total Bledisloe Cup 2020 attendance: 139,384
Average Bledisloe Cup 2020 Crowd: 34,846
Tri Nations/ Rugby Championship 2020 Attendance Statistics
Australia vs NZ 5-43 ANZ Sydney 2020 Crowd 25,689 (31 October)
Australia vs All Blacks 24-22 Brisbane Attendance 36,626 (7 November, 2020)
New Zealand 15-25 Argentina Bankwest Stadium Sydney 2020 Attendance 9,063 (14 November, 2020)
Total Rugby Championship 2020 attendance: 71,378
Average Tri Nations 2020 Crowd: 23,793
Argentina produced one of the greatest performances in their rugby history as they defeated New Zealand for the first time ever, upsetting Ian Foster’s men 25-15 in Sydney. Here are our talking points from the Tri Nations clash.
Nicolas Sanchez excellent: Argentinian teams in the past have had issues with goalkickers- a reliable one with the boot is often the difference in tight games. Sanchez was excellent here, scoring all 25 of Argentina’s points and nailing penalties from near the half way line to keep Los Pumas ahead of the All Blacks.
Argentina do not miss a single tackle: In past Rugby Championship games, Argentina have often been able to keep pace with the All Blacks for 50 odd minutes, only to fall away in the last quarter as New Zealand’s superior fitness and quality off the bench turned the game in their favour.
Here though, Los Pumas ensured they didn’t miss a single tackle in the game. With New Zealand struggling to break the line, the All Blacks’ attack looked toothless. Dominating NZ’s tight five and winning the forward exchanges with quality defence has proven to be an effective template against the All Blacks in recent years, and Argentina adopted it perfectly here.
Richie Mo’unga misses touch late in the first half against Argentina: New Zealand are often said to be at their most dangerous in the ten minute period just before and after the interval. They had an excellent opportunity here too just before the break, but Mo’unga missed touch with his penalty, and Argentina escaped. A good kick would’ve set up a maul close to the Los Pumas line, and a try to the All Blacks at that stage could’ve been a killer blow to the Pumas.
Sotutu missed pass to Damian McKenzie: Hoskins Sotutu was excellent off the bench, and one key second half movement had him come off the back of the scrum close to the Pumas line. He attempted to pass to Damian McKenzie, but it ended up going into touch instead. Had that pass been executed, it would’ve been try time for the All Blacks.
It’s small things like this that the likes of Kieran Read and Richie McCaw were excellent at doing, and the lack of execution hurt New Zealand here.
Pablo Matera a warrior for Argentina: Right from his fifth minute talk to Angus Gardner demanding “respect” and his brilliant 74th minute turnover penalty, flanker Matera was a warrior for Los Pumas. The Argentine back three dominated New Zealand and were key to the South Americans’ stunning victory.
As captain, Matera has probably already cemented his legacy in Pumas history- the first in his country to beat the All Blacks.
Since 1888 there has been a special rugby union team that is known the world over, and in July 2021, they’ll be making a long-awaited return to South Africa again. The team we’re talking about is the British & Irish Lions, of course, which has developed a rich history and tradition for assembling marvellous groups of Home Nations players, then pitting them against the cream of the Southern Hemisphere international sides.
It promises to be a tasty affair, pitting the Lions against the reigning world champions! With the Boks withdrawing from the 2020 Rugby Championship, it also means that the Lions could be their first major test match following their 2019 RWC triumph in Japan. Continue reading “Looking Ahead to the next Lions Tour of South Africa”
Beauden Barrett’s much awaited debut for the Blues will be happening this weekend as Super Rugby resumes in New Zealand, but the All Blacks star will be starting at full back in his first game for the Auckland franchise, instead of 10, as some might have expected.
Barrett, who played most of the 2019 World Cup at 15, will be lining up against his former side the Hurricanes. It might have been Beauden vs Jordie, but for an injury to the latter that has ruled him out of this clash.
Otere Black starts at 10, and Barrett at 15 means that both Harry Plummer and Matt Duffie will be on the bench. No Dan Carter yet, but not even the most optimistic among us would have expected the veteran to start so early on his return to SR.
Solid back row for the Blues as well- a loose trio combination that pushes the highly rated Dalton Papalii to the bench. Continue reading “Beauden Barrett first game for Auckland Blues- BB at 15 vs Hurricanes in Super Rugby Aotearoa 2020”
Over the next three years there are World Cups in both rugby league and union, but how Australia’s national teams are expected to perform differs wildly depending on the code. League is the pink of health, but union appears to be sinking fast, with fans disappointed with the lack of success for both the country’s Super Rugby sides as well as the Wallabies. The gap appears to have widened so much that some journalists are suggesting that union be merged into league in light of the Covid-19 pandemic that has further crippled the 15-man code Down Under.
The Kangaroos, Australia’s national rugby league side, have lifted the RL World Cup a record 11 times and are ranked the second best team in the world behind New Zealand. They have a thriving club competition in the National Rugby League (NRL) which attracts the best players from around the globe to come Down Under. Continue reading “Contrast between codes illustrates magnitude of job on Rennie’s hands”
Long suffering Natal Sharks fans have waited ages to win Super Rugby. They would’ve done it in 2007 but for two horrible mistakes from Frans Steyn, and came close several times earlier this decade (most notably the Jake White coached side in 2014), but lost momentum at a crucial stage in their campaign.
The Sharks’ 24-14 win over the Stormers was the last game before Super Rugby was officially suspended in light of the Coronavirus epidemic sweeping the world. By winning the clash, the Sharks have now placed themselves on top of the SR table, and should the competition be cancelled altogether, Sean Everitt might become the club’s first coach to win a Super Rugby title!
Super Rugby 2020 points table at the time of Covid 19 suspension- Sharks first
Another horrible jersey clash in Super Rugby, and this one was from the Bulls vs Highlanders clash, with both bizarrely choosing to wear blue. The Bulls changed their kit after half time, and eventually won the game 38-13.
South Africa produced a Hollywood-esque comeback in Los Angeles as they stunned Fiji 29-24 to take gold at the USA sevens. The Blitzboks were trailing 24-12 with less than 50 seconds to go on the clock, but managed a comeback that will surely rank as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, in sevens history.
Major moments from South Africa vs Fiji LA Sevens Final 2020
Chris Dry wins a Fiji lineout at 24-12: Having won a penalty, Fiji kicked for the corner and had an attacking line out in the South African half. The score was 24-12 in favour of Fiji, with 50 odd seconds remaining on the clock. However Dry managed to poach the lineout, and that set the stage for South Africa’s revival. Dry also scored the try that took the Blitzbokke to 24-17.
The Branco du Preez conversion to ensure ET: South Africa had foregone a chance to convert Dry’s try in the hope that they would get a few more seconds to score the fourth try they need to force extra time. From the restart the Boks managed to get the ball back, and finally made their way over the line. The conversion was a tough one from a difficult angle, but Branco du Preez managed it to level the scores and force extra time. The Blitzboks’ goal kicking was considered one of their weaknesses in the past, but this was a stunning effort under pressure.
The Waisele Nacuqu yellow card: At 24-17, Fiji’s Nacuqu was sent to the bin for a high shot on JC Pretorius. It gave South Africa an extra man advantage which they fully made use of- first to level the scores and then to win it in extra time.
(img via Springboks/Twitter)
Here is the list of crowds for Australian conference games during the 2020 Super Rugby season. The Australian conference consists of five teams- four from Australia (Waratahs, Reds, Brumbies, Rebels) and one from Japan (Sunwolves). Last updated after Brumbies v Highlanders (Attendance 7,270) on 15 Feb, 2020
Brumbies 2020 Super Rugby Crowd
Brumbies vs Reds 2020 attendance 7,436 (Brumbies 27-24 Reds on 31 January, 2020)
Brumbies vs Rebels 2020 Attendance 7,098 (Brumbies 39-26 Rebels on 7 February, 2020)
Brumbies vs Highlanders 2020 Attendance 7,270 (ACT 22-23 Otago on 15 February, 2020)
Sunwolves SR 2020 Crowd
Sunwolves vs Rebels 2020 Attendance 10,426 (Sunwolves 36-27 Rebels on 31 January, 2020)
Sunwolves v Chiefs 2020 Attendance 18,708 (Sunwolves 17-43 Chiefs on 15 February, 2020)
Waratahs 2020 Super Rugby Attendances
Waratahs vs Blues Attendance 2020 7,491 (Tahs 12-32 Auckland Blues on 8 February, 2020)
Rebels 2020 SR attendance
Rebels v Tahs Attendance NOT ANNOUNCED 2020 (Rebels 24-10 Waratahs on 14 February, 2020)
South Africa became the first team to lose a group stage game and win the Rugby World Cup after beating England 32-12 in Yokohama. The Boks defied history to claim their third World Cup crown, putting them equal with New Zealand and keeping the title in the Southern Hemisphere.
Here we take a look at five key reasons why the Springboks won
Dan Cole becomes another Phil Vickery: England were dealt a blow early in the game when tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler walked off due to concussion after a collision with Maro Itoje. It meant Dan Cole had to play nearly 78 minutes, and he suffered the same fate that befell Phil Vickery in the first Lions test ten years ago- domination at the hands of Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira.
The Springbok scrum had the English one backpedalling on several occasions (despite being 20 kgs lighter) and thanks to the trusty boot of Handre Pollard, kept adding points whenever Jerome Garces blew a penalty their way- nearly 12 points came from scrum penalties.
Cheslin Kolbe’s early tackle on Courtney Lawes: England were restricted to their own half for the first ten minutes, and couldn’t build the quick start they normally desire. On one occasion with the Boks 3-0 up, England had a 5 on 2 overlap, but Cheslin Kolbe executed a brilliant tackle on the much larger Courtney Lawes. England managed to take three points from a ruck penalty, but it should’ve been seven, but for Kolbe, who is so integral to the Bok blitz defence, and implements his role perfectly.
Farrell’s missed kick at 15-9: England started the second half much, much better than they did the first one, and Owen Farrell, normally a very reliable kicker, had the opportunity to reduce the gap to three points. However he missed a relatively easy kick by his standards and instead of it becoming 15-12, the Boks pounced at the other end to make it 18-9, and the game was effectively over then, with England needing two scores to overhaul the Boks.
The brilliance of Duane Vermeulen: The Springbok 8thman has probably been the Player of the Decade for them, and put in a Man of the Match performance for them. He earned them breakdown penalties, was instrumental in the massive 20 odd phases of defending on the own line that the Boks did against Vunipola, Tuilagi and co. around the half hour mark, and was also the brains of a midfield maul move that took England by surprise, and earned them a penalty that put them two scores ahead.
Two fantastic tries for the Boks: The Springboks have often been accused of playing ten man rugby, but both their tries in this game were fantastic- Lukhanyo Am’s no-look pass to Makazole Mapimpi for the first, and Kolbe’s individual brilliance, leaving Owen Farrell eating grass, for the second.
As Warren Gatland had predicted, England perhaps played their World Cup final a week before against the All Blacks, and the Boks, with their six man forward bench, were too big and strong for Eddie Jones’ side, and thoroughly deserved winners.