Warren Gatland faces an anxious wait to discover the extent of a knee injury suffered by Gareth Anscombe in Wales' 33-19 Rugby World Cup warm-up defeat to England on Sunday.

The fly-half was helped off in the first half at Twickenham with a damaged left knee, after England lost Tom Curry to what appeared to be an arm injury on the eve of Eddie Jones' World Cup squad announcement.

Anscombe watched on with a pair of crutches as rusty Wales incurred a loss which prevented them from replacing New Zealand at the top of the rankings.

Wales head coach Gatland said it was too early to judge for how long Anscombe might be out of action, less than six weeks before the World Cup starts in Japan.

"I've spoken to the physios. He's [Anscombe] got to get a scan. If it's a strain, he'll be out for a few weeks. We'll find out. I wouldn't want to be naming my team on Monday," said New Zealander Gatland.

Gatland was less concerned by an injury sustained by flanker Justin Tipuric.

"He just slightly rolled his ankle. I don't think it's an issue," the Wales head coach added.

Gatland also revealed Tomos Williams (shoulder) will undergo a scan on Monday after missing the clash in London, while Adam Beard has a strained wrist.

The Six Nations champions failed to match the intensity of a fired-up, experimental England side, but Gatland says they will be much improved when they attempt to gain revenge in Cardiff next weekend.

"We went into the Six Nations match with a strategy but today we tried to play differently to work things out. England did what they do," said Gatland.

"We've got a couple of things to work on. We need to be more accurate in attack. We addressed a few things at half-time and they're pretty fixable things. We'll work on them this week and we'll be a lot better for it."

South Africa's victory in the Rugby Championship is nothing more than a stepping stone for the upcoming Rugby World Cup, skipper Duane Vermeulen has said.

The Springboks clinched their first southern hemisphere title since the 2009 Tri Nations as they hammered Argentina 46-13 on Saturday.

Their ruthless dismantling of the Pumas followed New Zealand's shock 47-26 loss to Australia, with Steve Hansen criticising his world champions for "dumb footy" in their heavy Perth defeat.

New Zealand's stumble may actually be a good omen for them ahead of their world title defence. No side to have won the Rugby Championship in a World Cup year has gone on to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.

South Africa will be out to buck that trend and Vermeulen believes the Springboks need to show greater consistency to do so in a competition they begin against the All Blacks on September 21.

"We started the Rugby Championship working on executing our plans and in a way we are happy with our performance but there are still a few things to work on," he said.


"It's a great feeling for us to walk away with the title, but in the end it's a stepping stone for us going into the World Cup.

"The victory is a great thing for our country because we know that if the Springboks do well then everyone is happy in South Africa.

"So for us it's a great feeling, but I want to emphasise it's more about working on our consistency and working towards the things we hope to achieve.

"New Zealand had a tough game and they will be hungry to bounce back so we have to prepare well. But we are happy with where we are at the moment."

South Africa may have just won the Rugby Championship, but history is against them when it comes to completing a double at this year's World Cup.

In the previous five years when there has been both a Rugby Championship – or its previous incarnation the Tri Nations – and a World Cup, the champions of the first tournament have failed to also deliver success on the global stage.

The Springboks have the chance to make history in Japan, then. They lifted the first of two possible trophies in style on Saturday, thrashing Argentina 46-13 on the road to dethrone New Zealand as champions. 

We take a look at those who have conquered the Southern Hemisphere in the past, only to fall short at the World Cup.

 

1999: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA

The All Blacks won the first two Tri Nations and made it three in four years by thrashing South Africa 28-0, beating Australia 34-15 and claiming another victory over the Springboks.

However, a 28-7 loss to the Wallabies in the final fixture suggested New Zealand were not so invincible...

At the World Cup, the great Jonah Lomu scored eight tries yet France stunned New Zealand 43-31 in the last four, with Australia then winning the final against Les Bleus.

2003: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – ENGLAND

Four wins out of four delivered another Tri Nations triumph for New Zealand.

The All Blacks scored 282 points in their four World Cup pool games in Australia too before easing past South Africa 29-9 in the quarter-finals.

But Elton Flatley's accuracy from the tee consigned New Zealand to another semi-final loss and sent Australia back to the final, where Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal in Sydney delivered a famous success for England.

2007: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – SOUTH AFRICA

Neither Australia nor South Africa could deny the All Blacks another Tri Nations title in 2007, though it was a Northern Hemisphere nation who would stop their run at the World Cup.

New Zealand led 13-3 in the first half of their quarter-final against France only to suffer another knockout loss to their World Cup nemesis as Yannick Jauzion scored a brilliant converted try 11 minutes from time to seal a 20-18 success.

Defending champions England beat France in the semi-final but Percy Montgomery won the battle of the boots with Wilkinson in the final as South Africa secured their second World Cup.

2011: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND

In the final Tri Nations before Argentina joined to form the Rugby Championship, Graham Henry's team lost their last two matches as Australia triumphed for the first time in a decade.

The World Cup was hosted in New Zealand and after years of being the nearly men, it was the All Blacks' turn to taste global glory again.

France were their final opponents and, in a tense, low-scoring contest, New Zealand won 8-7.

2015: RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND

Four years ago, Australia beat the other three nations to win the Rugby Championship, and came out on top of a World Cup pool that included Wales and hosts England.

The Wallabies narrowly saw off Scotland 35-34 and ousted Argentina 29-15 to set up a final with a New Zealand side that had hammered France 62-13 in the last eight.

No team had ever retained the World Cup before but Dan Carter shone on his international farewell to ensure Steve Hansen's side lifted the Webb Ellis Cup again.

The outstanding Handre Pollard racked up a 31-point haul as ruthless South Africa hammered Argentina 46-13 in the Salta sun to win the Rugby Championship for the first time in a decade.

South Africa knew a victory in the final match of the tournament at Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena would deny Australia the title after the Wallabies had thrashed defending champions New Zealand 47-26 earlier on Saturday.

Pollard grabbed a try in each half and booted 21 points as the Springboks got the job done six weeks before they start their bid for Rugby World Cup glory with a blockbuster clash against the All Blacks in Yokohama.

Mbongeni Mbonambi also touched down after Santiago Cordero opened the scoring with an early try, which proved to be a false dawn for the Pumas.

Further scores from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe rubbed salt into the wounds, South Africa running away with it to take the title for a fourth time in style.

Nicolas Sanchez scored two penalties in what was a tight contest for much of the first half, but the ill-disciplined Pumas were scoreless after the break and finished bottom of the table without a win to their name.

Joey Carbery did not suffer a fractured ankle in the win over Italy but Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is unsure how serious the fly-half's injury is.

Carbery was carted off in the second half of a 29-10 Rugby World Cup warm-up win in Dublin on Saturday, just seven weeks before the tournament starts in Japan.

The 23-year-old scored Ireland's first try and controlled the game at number 10 before doing damage to his left ankle at the base of a ruck.

Munster's Carbery was cleared of a break and must now wait to discover the extent of his setback.

"The good news is there's no fracture, it's a bit puffy on the inside of his left ankle," said New Zealander Schmidt.

"We'll give it 24 to 48 hours for the swelling to go down. He's been cleared of a fracture so that's the good news on Joey.

"We don't have anyone else who's a major concern. We're hopefully relatively unscathed but with Joey it will take 24 to 48 hours to know for sure.

"I was really happy with Joey's performance today. Defensively he got himself into the right places and that's a challenge sometimes.

"I thought he ran the game very well, with the variety of his kicking game and running game. He is a danger with the ball and he almost got through the line a couple of times. I thought as a package Joey's game was really tidy."

First-choice fly-half Johnny Sexton has been struggling with a thumb sprain but is set to return against England at Twickenham on August 24.

Michael Cheika was "pumped" after Australia crushed New Zealand in the Bledisloe Cup opener but warned: "All we’ve done is bought a ticket to Auckland."

The Wallabies have not lifted the Bledisloe Cup for 17 years, but they have a great opportunity to end that drought after thrashing their trans-Tasman rivals 47-26 in Perth on Saturday.

Reece Hodge scored two of Australia's six tries and Scott Barrett was sent off on the stroke of half-time after being deemed to have shoulder-charged Michael Hooper in an emphatic win at Optus Stadium.

Head coach Cheika challenged his players to pull off a repeat when they do battle with the world champions at Eden Park next Saturday.

Cheika said: "Pride is something I always have in these players. It was some game because there was plenty of action.

"When you get that atmosphere brewing it makes you want to do better and play better. A few things went our way but I was really pleased for the lads, they have been working hard. It's a nice little reward for them."

He added: "I know we're all pumped but at the end of the day all we've done is bought a ticket to Auckland, that's it.

"Great atmosphere and great for the players to get the win but in the bigger scheme of things we've got a ticket to go there and take the opportunity we're going to get given there."

Cheika knows facing Steve Hansen's side without home advantage will be a very different proposition.

"We're trying to work out how we can get around obstacles in games and not lose our way there when obstacles occur. We got through a few tonight and there will be a few presented to us next week as well.

"We won't have this big Perth crowd behind us but we'll go with the fact there is a lot of camaraderie in the team. We'll do our absolute best to get it done."

New Zealand suffered the joint-heaviest loss in their history on Saturday as Australia thumped the All Blacks 47-26 in Perth.

Michael Cheika's side took full advantage of Scott Barrett's red card on the stroke of half-time, with the Wallabies ending a run of six successive Rugby Championship defeats against the All Blacks in style.

The loss ensured New Zealand will not win the tournament for the first time in four years, while they could also relinquish their grip on the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002.

Here, we take a look at the heaviest defeats in the All Blacks' history.

AUSTRALIA 47-26 NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 10, 2019

The All Blacks were only one point behind when Barrett was dismissed in the 40th minute for an apparent shoulder charge on Michael Hooper at Optus Stadium.

Australia scored six tries against the 14 men, Reece Hodge adding to his first-half effort while Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Nic White, Marika Koroibete and Kurtley Beale also went over.

The 47 points are the most New Zealand have ever conceded, surpassing the 46 South Africa put up 19 years earlier.

AUSTRALIA 28-7 NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28, 1999

Unlike Saturday's try-fest, the Wallabies only ran in one five-pointer through Mark Connors the last time they beat New Zealand by 21 points.

It was Matt Burke's boot that proved the difference in the Tri Nations clash as he converted seven penalties, while the All Blacks were restricted to a lone score from Andrew Mehrtens.

New Zealand still won the tournament but Australia's victory meant they did retain the Bledisloe Cup.

SOUTH AFRICA 17-0 NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 30, 1928

Twenty-five years after their inaugural Test, the All Blacks toured South Africa for the first time and won six of their seven tour matches before coming up against the Springboks in Durban.

New Zealand failed to put a point on the board that day and the 17-0 triumph remains South Africa's biggest victory over them.

The four-Test series was drawn, though, as the All Blacks recovered to win at Ellis Park and Newlands.

ENGLAND 38-21 NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 1, 2012

Despite winning the Rugby World Cup the year before, New Zealand proved no match for a rampant England side at Twickenham in 2012.

The All Blacks were unbeaten in 20 matches but found themselves 15-0 down thanks to Owen Farrell's kicking before tries from Julian Savea and Kieran Read reduced the deficit to just one point.

Yet Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi all went in to hand England their first win over New Zealand in nine years.

AUSTRALIA 26-10 NEW ZEALAND - JULY 12, 1980

Nearly 50,000 were at the SCG to witness the Wallabies face a New Zealand side who had been hit by an illness bug in the build-up.

The final score was therefore perhaps not surprising, with Australia 14 points up by half-time.

Test debutant Peter Grigg scored two of his team's four tries at a time when dotting down was worth only four points rather than five.

Joey Carbery was carted off with an ankle injury just over a month before the start of the Rugby World Cup as Ireland eased to a 29-10 victory over Italy at the Aviva Stadium.

The fly-half had been hugely impressive in Dublin on Saturday, scoring his team's opening try and controlling the game with ball in hand and the boot before he was forced off in pain with damage to his left ankle sustained at the bottom of a ruck.

Carbery looked emotional as he was taken off early in the second half, with Jack Carty coming on to replace Johnny Sexton's understudy.

Dave Kearney, winning his first cap since 2017, was also among the try-scorers as he staked his claim for a seat on the plane to Japan, and fellow wing Andrew Conway touched down in a man-of-the-match display.

Chris Farrell also caught the eye with Andy Farrell watching on as stand-in coach, while Jordi Murphy and Kieran Marmion crossed after the break.

Tries from Maxime Mbanda and Carlo Canna had put Italy in front during the first half and they caused problems with their kicking game, but Ireland were worthy winners over Conor O'Shea's men.

Lock Jean Kleyn made his presence felt and fellow Ireland debutant Mike Haley was given a 20-minute run out at full-back 42 days before Ireland face Scotland in their Pool A opener in Yokohama.

The main concern for Ireland will be the extent of the injury suffered by playmaker Carbery.

Steve Hansen slammed his New Zealand side for playing "dumb footy" after Australia consigned them to a 47-26 Bledisloe Cup drubbing in Perth on Saturday.

The Wallabies eased to a rare win over their trans-Tasman rivals in a high-scoring contest at Optus Stadium, where Scott Barrett was sent off by referee Jerome Garces in the first half after being adjudged to have shoulder charged Michael Hooper.

Australia outscored the world champions by six tries to four to go top of the Rugby Championship table ahead of second-placed South Africa's clash with Argentina later in the day.

The All Blacks will slip off the top of the world rankings if Wales beat England on Sunday and head coach Hansen was not impressed with their showing in Western Australia.

Hansen said: "I'm obviously disappointed. Australia played particularly well and deserved the win. They were the best side on the day.

"The red card didn't help us, but we didn't help ourselves either. Our discipline was poor in the first half.

"There were numerous occasions when we got offside when we didn't need to.

"It was dumb footy and we've got to be smarter than that.

"Our changing shed is very disappointed because of how we performed and that's how it should be. Australia gave us a lesson in what to do when you have a side down by one man.

"At the same time, I'm extremely proud of the way they hung in. Australia wanted to play footy, they wanted to play fast. In the end we couldn't cover the extra space."

Ruaridh McConnochie will have to wait a little longer for his England debut after a hip injury forced him out against Wales.

The former Sevens star had been set to make his Test bow on the right wing in Sunday's Rugby World Cup warm-up after just a single season in 15-a-side action.

But McConnochie is among three players to miss out with ailments, making room for Joe Cokanasiga, Jonathan Joseph and Lewis Ludlam to come into the team.

Cokanasiga replaces club colleague McConnochie on the wing, while fellow Bath team-mate Joseph - who had not been named in the 23 - plays at outside centre due to Henry Slade's knee problem.

Sam Underhill, another Bath man, has a troublesome toe and makes way, with Tom Curry switching to openside flanker and Ludlam playing blindside.

Courtney Lawes and Manu Tuilagi have joined the matchday squad as replacements.

Revised England XV: Elliot Daly, Joe Cokanasiga, Jonathan Joseph, Piers Francis, Anthony Watson, George Ford (captain), Willi Heinz; Ellis Genge, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Charlie Ewels, Lewis Ludlam, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Jack Singleton, Joe Marler, Harry Williams, George Kruis, Courtney Lawes, Ben Youngs, Joe Marchant, Manu Tuilagi.

New Zealand captain Kieran Read lamented the All Blacks' performance in their joint-heaviest defeat as Australia inflicted a 47-26 thrashing on the reigning Rugby World Cup champions.

The Wallabies ran in six tries at Optus Stadium - against a team that played the entire second half with 14 men following Scott Barrett's red card - to ensure Michael Cheika's side will finish above the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship standings.

New Zealand had won the previous six Rugby Championship meetings between the two but now face a fight to keep hold of the Bledisloe Cup.

The two teams are due to meet again in Auckland next weekend, when Australia will aim to win the trophy for the first time in 17 years.

After seeing his team concede the most points they ever have in a Test, Read admitted there needs to be a marked improvement when the two meet again.

"We've got to be better than that," he told Fox Sports.

"We can't afford to give away that many missed tackles.

"You've got one chance - next week it's do or die."

Cheika has previously said he will walk away from the Australia job if his team do not win the World Cup in Japan later this year, and this performance was a real statement of intent.

Reece Hodge scored two of their tries while Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Nic White, Marika Koroibete and Kurtley Beale also crossed.

"They were very good," Read added.

"We knew that this was going to be the case, I think that we just let our discipline slip early in that first half and we let them get ahead.

"It was pretty tit-for-tat in that first half but we just couldn't get our hands on the ball and that hurt us right after half-time and really gave them confidence."

Australia captain Michael Hooper claimed the victory can be a significant boost to morale ahead of a huge few months of international rugby.

"I'm just very proud of the build-up and very proud that the building that we have been talking about has turned into a good result," he said.

"That's a nice little hit of confidence and momentum for us."

Australia celebrated a record-setting Bledisloe Cup victory over 14-man rivals New Zealand to keep themselves in the running for the Rugby Championship title.

The Wallabies entered Saturday's match trailing both the All Blacks and South Africa in the standings but, with the Springboks in action later on Saturday, Michael Cheika's men moved into pole position with a 47-26 success, which marks New Zealand's joint-heaviest defeat and the most points they have conceded in a Test, while Australia racked up the highest number of points they have have scored in this fixture.

New Zealand had won the sides' past six Rugby Championship meetings, yet Scott Barrett's red card for an apparent shoulder charge on Michael Hooper's neck late in the first half gave them an uphill battle.

Australia, already leading from Christian Lealiifano's boot, capitalised on the man advantage and ran in six tries, meaning an Argentina win in Salta could hand Cheika's side the title.

Meanwhile, a tough weekend for the All Blacks could yet get worse as a Wales victory over England would see them knocked off the top of the world rankings for the first time since 2009.

 

Australia captain Michael Hooper and coach Michael Cheika are confident Tolu Latu will be able to keep his cool when the Wallabies take on New Zealand in the Rugby Championship.

The All Blacks head into the first of two Bledisloe Cup matches a point behind Rugby Championship leaders South Africa, who face Argentina in their last game of the shortened tournament.

Australia were well beaten in their opening outing against South Africa but rallied to claim a win over Argentina last time out.

Latu featured in the 16-10 win over Los Pumas and is in line to play again in Perth on Saturday.

New Zealand targeted Latu in a Test in Japan in October 2018, with the hooker cautioned after he clashed with Codie Taylor and shoved the All Black in the face.

The Waratahs man was also suspended for six weeks during the Super Rugby season and convicted of drink driving in June.

But Hooper has faith in Latu's renewed sense of discipline and believes the 26-year-old will repay the belief shown in him by Cheika.

"I don't know if they are going to employ that tactic," Hooper said when asked if the All Blacks may target Latu once more.

"Tolu has grown as a player and as a person a lot in the last 12 months, and he is playing really good rugby. That usually takes away from the other stuff."

Cheika added: "His attitude has been excellent and against Argentina there was many times where he was on the ball and the ref called him off the ball and he got straight off it.

"I think that shows he's starting to understand that he's got skill but he's got to know when to use it and when not to."

One week after meeting in Perth, Australia and New Zealand will go head to head again in Auckland as their World Cup preparations continue.

Kieran Read says New Zealand have no concerns that they could be knocked off the top of the rankings this weekend ahead of a blockbuster showdown with Australia.

The All Blacks head into the Bledisloe Cup clash in Perth on Saturday knowing a defeat at Optus Stadium will open the door for Wales to become the top-ranked side in the world.

A win for the Six Nations champions over England on Sunday and a loss for Steve Hansen's side would take Warren Gatland's men to number one.

Captain Read stated that the world champions have not given any thought to the possibility they could be knocked off the top as they prepare for another battle with their fierce trans-Tasman rivals.

The back-row said: "It's not even part of our equation really, to be honest.

"We turn up here to win the game. We'll try and do that again tomorrow. We know it won’t be easy and it never is over here. We’ll put in our best performance."

New Zealand have won 10 of their last 11 Tests against the Wallabies but Read is expecting a big challenge.

"They’ve definitely had the fire in their bellies the last few years." he added.

"We know they will certainly have that again tomorrow night, so we can't just rest on what we've done over those years. It's important we reset and make sure we play as well as we can.

"These games you can't rely on your skills. It's about your mental fortitude and how you turn up and how you want to be physical. It's going to be important for us how we do that tomorrow."

Ruaridh McConnochie and Willi Heinz have been handed England debuts, while Alun Wyn Jones will become Wales' most capped player in the Rugby World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham on Sunday.

Versatile Bath back McConnochie has played only season as a professional in the 15-a-side format but will start on the right wing against the Grand Slam-winners a year after ending his sevens career.

Heinz is to make his Test bow at the age of 32 and the New Zealand-born scrum-half has also been named as a vice-captain alongside Sam Underhill, with George Ford skippering the side.

Anthony Watson gets the nod on the left wing for what will be his first Test appearance since March 2018 after recovering from a serious Achilles injury.

Jack Singleton, Lewis Ludlam and Joe Marchant are set to make their debuts off the bench for Eddie Jones' men.

Wales skipper Jones will make a record 135th Test appearance and a 126th for his country in an experienced team.

Fly-half Gareth Anscombe again partners Gareth Davies, with Dan Biggar having to settle for a place on the bench.

 

England team: Elliot Daly, Ruaridh McConnochie, Henry Slade, Piers Francis, Anthony Watson, George Ford (captain), Willi Heinz; Ellis Genge, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Charlie Ewels, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Jack Singleton, Joe Marler, Harry Williams, George Kruis, Lewis Ludlam, Ben Youngs, Joe Marchant, Joe Cokanasiga.

 

Wales team: Liam Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Gareth Anscombe, Gareth Davies; Nicky Smith, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (captain) Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Aaron Shingler, Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar, Owen Watkin.

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