World champions South Africa are set to remain in the Rugby Championship until at least 2030 despite the suggestion they could join the Six Nations. 

Speculation around the future of the Springboks in the international tournament has increased in recent months. 

Holders South Africa withdrew from this year's Rugby Championship amid complications linked to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving Australia, New Zealand and Argentina to play a three-team tournament. 

This followed South Africa's vote to withdraw domestic clubs from Super Rugby and begin talks over a move to Europe's Pro14. 

But SANZAAR, which organises both the Rugby Championship and Super Rugby, said on Wednesday all four of its nations - including South Africa - had "committed to an international rugby future through to 2030". 

The Rugby Championship will change from a six-match to 12-match structure, allowing all four teams to play each other home and away through the new mini-tour match schedule.

The move would appear to end any imminent Springboks move to link up with England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France and Italy. 

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux said: "We welcome the changes announced to the Rugby Championship with our SANZAAR partners and we are looking forward to seeing what the new strategic plan for the competition entails, with possible international expansion on the cards. 

"Although we had to change our domestic focus, we still have a long history with the All Blacks and Wallabies as well as a long-standing friendship with the Pumas and we look forward to more world class Test rugby. 

"Ever since the Tri-Nations was first contested in 1996, and more recently the Rugby Championship from 2012, a team from the Southern Hemisphere has won the Rugby World Cup five out of six times - which is testimony to the high quality of Test rugby played on this side of the equator."

West Indies wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua Da Silva admits he is thrilled with the prospect of another opportunity to showcase his ability after recently arriving in New Zealand.

The 22-year-old was last selected as part of the team’s tour to England after a solid performance in the regional four-day competition.  Da Silva led the T&T Red Force’s batting with 507 runs, a high score of 113, and an average of 50.70.

Da Silva, however, did not feature for the first-team squad, but made a good impression in the warm-up games, leading some to call for the player’s inclusion in the first team.  The player scored 133 not out in the first and 56 not out in the final practice match.  With some experience batting in New Zealand, Da Silva hopes to put in another good performance.

“I’m looking forward to learning a lot like what I did on the tour of England earlier this year. It’s really good to be playing red-ball cricket again and being back with the West Indies team,” Da Silva told West Indies Cricket.

“I played in Auckland and Queenstown … the pitches were always nice and good for batting so I’m really looking ahead to getting out there and performing,” he added.

The West Indies squad begun training in New Zealand, on Tuesday, after being given the all-clear following negative COVID-19 test results.

The team and management unit has been in isolation since arriving in the country last Friday.  Under New Zealand’s rigorous testing program, the team had to spend the first three days in isolation and then return a negative test before they could begin training in small groups at New Zealand Cricket’s High Performance Centre.

The squad must now undergo two further tests on Day 6 and Day 12 before they are allowed to train in larger groups.

 The tour will bowl off with a T20I series against the Black Caps at Eden Park in Auckland under lights. The series then moves to Mount Maunganui for two matches at Bay Oval – the first a day match and the second under lights.  The team will then travel to Hamilton for the first Test at Seddon Park and then south to Wellington for the second match at the historic Basin Reserve.

 

Match Schedule:

November 27: 1st T20I at Eden Park, Auckland

November 29: 2nd T20I at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui

November 30: 3rd T20I at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui

December 3-7: 1st Test at Seddon Park, Hamilton

December 11-15: 2nd Test at Basin Reserve, Wellington

 

 

Cricket commentator Michael Holding believes Nicholas Pooran should be playing Test cricket despite the fact that he has not played much first-class cricket.

Phil Simmons believes several of his T20 players, who will be arriving late to New Zealand, will be ready to be at their best for the upcoming three-match T20 series against New Zealand next month, despite being in isolation until the eve of the opening match.

Several members of the T20 squad including Fabian Allen, Kieron Pollard, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul, Oshane Thomas, Nicholas Pooran, and Jaspon Holder, are expected to arrive in New Zealand near mid-November to join the touring party that arrived in New Zealand late last week. The players were engaged in the ongoing IPL tournament that concludes on November 10.

Pooran's time in the IPL will be winding down soon after his KXIP team were eliminated from playoff contention after losing to CSK earlier today. 

Notwithstanding, for those playing in the international T20 series, it means they will be quarantined for two weeks and will only be cleared to play just prior to the start of the series on November 27.

However, Simmons, the West Indies head coach, is optimistic that the period of inactivity will have that much of an impact of the late-arriving players.

“The plus about that is that they are coming from playing in a high-quality tournament so they will be sharp. The guys that are with us, we have to get them up to that level so when we meet on as a full squad everyone is on the same page,” he said.

West Indies spinner Hayden Walsh Jr insists his confidence heading to New Zealand will not be diminished, despite enduring a relatively poor CPL campaign this season.

The 26-year-old burst on the scene during the 2019 CPL season, when he was the tournament’s most lethal bowler with best match figures of 5 for 19 and a total of 22 wickets.

Walsh struggled to replicate that form this season, managing just 7 wickets in 10 matches, at an economy rate of 7.65.  Notably, the bowler suffered a brutal onslaught from a rampaging Kieron Pollard, which saw him end with figures of 44 for 1 in that match.  Nonetheless, Walsh was selected as part of the T20 squad for the tour of New Zealand next month.

The bowler, however, remains confident of making an impact, perhaps as much as he did in India last year where he was decisive in the second game.

“I would agree that the results didn’t quite go my way, but I was still quite satisfied with the way I was consistent, but as I said, you can’t win all of them all of the time so it really was a good learning opportunity and a good learning tournament,” Walsh told the Antigua Observer.

“That one game or that one over doesn’t determine who I am as a leg-spinner on a whole.  I always try to get back to my feet because my father always taught me that cricket and life go hand in hand.  So, it is just like life, when you fall down today, we still have to get back up the next day and keep going again.”

 

Sam Cane is excited by what the future could hold for New Zealand after they dished out a record-breaking hammering of Australia to retain their firm grip on the Bledisloe Cup.

The All Blacks hammered their trans-Tasman rivals by the biggest ever margin at ANZ Stadium on Sunday, starting the Tri Nations series with an emphatic six-try drubbing.

Richie Mo'unga scored a first-half double and finished with 23 points in a victory for Ian Foster's side that gave them a 2-0 lead over the Wallabies with one Bledisloe Cup match to play,

New Zealand have not lost a Bledisloe Cup series since 2002 and captain Cane believes there is more to come from his side after a brutal demolition of Australia.

The flanker said: "It's a pretty happy changing room in there at the moment … just filled her [the trophy] up. The trophy is really important to us, and we care a lot about it.

"I'm just so proud of the work we’ve put in over the last five-six weeks building up to this moment. It feels like we’ve improved every single week and I'm really excited about where this group can go.

"They're a tough side. There will be areas they'll be happy with and there will be areas they're not. One thing I've always admired about the Aussies is the way they pick themselves up. They'll turn up again next week with a similar confidence and attitude.

"But we'll enjoy tonight, and all the hard work that’s gone into getting us here, then decompress tomorrow, and we go again for next week. I’m pretty excited about where this team can go because I think we’ve improved steadily every week."

Head coach Foster echoed his skipper's sentiments.

He said: "It was the patience we showed tactically. Sometimes when you get out early you can loosen up a lot but I thought in that second quarter we stuck to what was working.

"We saw space and we took it. There was some nice instinctiveness about it, too. We're building something here."

New Zealand recorded their biggest winning margin over Australia as a 43-5 thrashing secured another Bledisloe Cup series triumph and a fine start to the Tri Nations.

The All Blacks suffered a chastening 47-26 loss in their previous match on Australian soil last August, but ensured there was no repeat in Sydney as they followed up their 27-7 Eden Park victory earlier this month in style.

Karl Tu'inukuafe, Richie Mo'unga (2) and Dane Coles touched down in the first half at ANZ Stadium, where a socially distanced crowd witnessed a masterclass from Ian Foster's side.

Debutant Noah Lolesio hit back in a much-improved second-half showing from Australia, but New Zealand rarely looked anything other than comfortable and added gloss through Rieko Ioane and Jordie Barrett, with Mo'unga's conversion earning his country a slice of history.

With the Bledisloe Cup now beyond their grasp, Dave Rennie's men will look to bounce back against the same opponents in Brisbane next week to kickstart their Tri Nations campaign.

The Wallabies endured an early setback, Filipo Daugunu seeing yellow for a dangerous tackle on the airborne Caleb Clarke.

Foster's charges initially capitalised as Tu'inukuafe crashed over for his first international try, but Jordie Barrett soon followed fellow number 14 Daugunu into the sin bin for leading with his forearm on Dane Haylett-Petty.

The visitors had two tries ruled out by the TMO, one for grounding and the other for being in touch, before Mo'unga's brace of fine solo scores eased their frustrations.

Coles, earlier denied by the TMO, drove over from a lineout to effectively put the game to bed before the break.

Australia got off the mark a minute after the interval as Lolesio seized on a sharp pass inside to dart over the line, though the All Blacks soon reasserted their authority to seal a record win over their rivals.

Mo'unga kicked a penalty and added the extras to tries from Ioane and Barrett, the second of those conversions ensuring New Zealand's 43-6 win over Australia in 1996 was eclipsed.

West Indies bowling coach Roddy Estwick has urged the players to raise their game for the series against New Zealand set to run from November 27 to December 15.

New Zealand will look to wrap up another Bledisloe Cup series triumph and make a strong start to the Tri Nations when they face fierce rivals Australia in Sydney on Saturday.

The All Blacks cruised to a 27-7 victory over the Wallabies at Eden Park to take a 1-0 lead after the first match ended in a 16-16 draw.

New Zealand have dominated the rivalry in recent times, and you have to go back to 2002 for the last time their trans-Tasman rivals lifted the famous trophy.

While Australia are unable to end that wait this weekend, they could draw first blood in the opening Tri Nations Test and set up a Bledisloe Cup decider next week in Brisbane.

South Africa's withdrawal from the Rugby Championship leaves just Australia, New Zealand and Argentina to battle it out in a rebranded Tri Nations.

With the Pumas having to wait until November 14 for their opening contest with the All Blacks, we use Opta facts to preview another almighty battle at ANZ Stadium.

Australia v New Zealand

- New Zealand have lost only one of their last seven Tests against Australia (W5, D1); however, that single defeat did come in their last meeting on Australian soil, going down 47-26 in Perth last August.

- The All Blacks have won seven of the most recent nine Tests between the two sides at ANZ Stadium, including their last three. They have averaged 44.67 points per game in that three-match run.

- Australia have won four of their last five Tests at home, losing one. They have been victorious in the last three and the last time they enjoyed a longer winning run on home soil was a four-match span from September 2013 to June 2014.

- New Zealand have scored 70 tries at ANZ Stadium, their second-most at any Test ground outside New Zealand. They need two more to surpass their tally of 71 at the SCG.

- Marika Koroibete has scored 13 tries since making his Test debut in September 2017, the most of any Australia player in that time; New Zealand's Rieko Ioane (18) and South Africa's Makazole Mapimpi (14) are the only southern hemisphere tier one players with more in that period.

- Beauden Barrett needs one more try for the outright record of most in Tests against Australia by any player. He is currently level on 11 with Richie McCaw and Ma'a Nonu and has blanked in his last two Tests against the Wallabies.

Sam Whitelock has been named to return for the All Blacks, while the Wallabies included two debutants in their starting side.

Whitelock has recovered from concussion to return for the Bledisloe Cup and Tri Nations Series clash in Sydney on Saturday.

The lock's return is one of three changes to the starting XV for New Zealand.

While Whitelock replaces Tupou Vaa'i, Karl Tu'inukuafe is in for Joe Moody and Hoskins Sotutu takes Ardie Savea's place.

The All Blacks lead the four-game Bledisloe Cup series 1-0 as they seek to keep a trophy they have held since 2003.

"It's the third Test of a four-Test series and the Bledisloe Cup is on the line," All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said.

"It's a real chance for us to come into their home patch, a place which they take a lot of pride in playing and for a trophy which means a lot to them, and we need to show them how much it means to us. 

"The chance to go and win a trophy that's precious to us is exciting."

Australia have named two debutants – Noah Lolesio and Irae Simone – in their starting side, with James O'Connor out with a knee injury.

Allan Alaalatoa, Jordan Petaia and Dane Haylett-Petty will also start, while debutants Fraser McReight and Tate McDermott are among the replacements.

"It's really exciting to be able to name four more debutants in the squad this week," Australia coach Dave Rennie said.

"Noah and Irae have played a lot of footy together and we have no doubt they're ready to take the step up to Test rugby. Tate and Fraser have had big Super Rugby seasons and have impressed in training over the past month.

"It's an especially significant night for us with the chance to represent and celebrate our First Nations people by wearing the Indigenous jersey on home soil in front of our Wallabies family.

"We know New Zealand will pose another tough challenge but we've prepared well and will be ready to go on Saturday night."

Australia: Dane Haylett-Petty, Filipo Daugunu, Jordan Petaia, Irae Simone, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Nic White; James Slipper, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Allan Alaalatoa, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Matt Philip, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper, Harry Wilson.
Replacements: Jordan Uelese, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Fraser McReight, Tate McDermott, Reece Hodge, Hunter Paisami.

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith; Karl Tu'inukuafe, Dane Coles, Ofa Tuungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Samuel Whitelock, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane, Hoskins Sotutu.
Replacements: Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman, Tyrel Lomax, Scott Barrett, Dalton Papalii, TJ Perenara, Ngani Laumape, Rieko Ioane.

Former West Indies fast bowler, Tony Gray, has expressed surprise at the selection of all-rounder Keemo Paul to the West Indies squad for the upcoming tour of New Zealand, as he deems the player not suited for Test cricket.

The 22-year-old Paul, who has earned 3 Test match caps so far, was previously invited to join the team for the tour of England but along with Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer turned down the series due to health concerns.

“Keemo Paul to me at this time is not suited to play Test cricket,” Gray told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“He’s too inconsistent with his bowling, he tries too many things and he cannot work to a game plan.  In Test cricket you need a plan.  You need the sort of deliveries to be patient but also having the wickets to take deliveries but the thing about him is he is not patient.  His batting has declined too,” he added.

Paul made his debut against Bangladesh in 2018 and has taken six wickets in his three games, while conceding 189 runs.  Gray insisted there were enough seamers and spinner Roston Chase already in the squad.  He believes the team would have been better suited keeping discarded batsman Shai Hope around the squad, even if not a part of the first team.

 

In his brief senior career to date, Shimron Hetmyer has demonstrated that he is a talented batsman. However, on paper his figures have not been flattering.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief selector Roger Harper insists he is keeping a watchful eye on the situation surrounding all-rounder Andre Russell after the player decided to spurn the team’s invitation to tour New Zealand because he needed time to ‘clear his head.’   

The 32-year-old’s choice could be looked upon as quite a reasonable one given his recent struggles, particularly in this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL).  According to reports, however, Russell was recently drafted to take part in the Lankan Premier League, which will begin on November 21 and roughly take part at the same time as the team’s tour of New Zealand.

 When pressed on the issue, Harper insisted he could not draw any conclusions and could only rely on what he had been told.

“Andre said he needed some time to clear his head.  He wasn’t handling a situation very well, that’s what he said.  How he chooses to clear his head, I can’t determine that,” Harper told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I don’t know what decision he has made.  Where he is playing or if he is playing.  I can only look and see what he had told me and then look at what happens subsequently,” he added.

“He is free to make those decisions.  We will look to see what the situation is, how it develops, and take it from there,” Harper said.

“What I will say is that it gives a younger player an opportunity and hopefully that player can make the most of it and really do us proud.”

Former Windies opener Philo Wallace insists opener John Campbell should consider himself lucky as he did not merit selection for the team’s upcoming tour of New Zealand, based on his most recent performance in England.

Campbell, in truth, did indeed struggle to make a strong impression at the crease against England in July.  The left-handed batsman averaged a paltry 16.8 while tallying only 84 runs in six innings as the regional side lost the three-Test series 2-1.  Campbell was caught behind twice, while in the first innings of the final Test he was caught for 32 when attempting to negotiate a steep short delivery from Jofra Archer.  Wallace believes those struggles should have cost the batsman his spot.

“John Campbell is a very lucky man, I wish him all the best but it’s 'very best' in common letters.  He struggled in England and then came back and said why he struggled, and we are taking him for another tour of New Zealand, which is said will be tougher,” Wallace said on the Mason and Guest radio program.

Campbell was far from the only batsman that struggled in England, but Wallace believes that is a part of the broader issue and called for tougher decisions to be made when it comes to selection.

“We pick the same batsmen that struggled in England and are sending them to New Zealand, saying New Zealand is going to be a bit tougher.  How are we going to get these guys to perform?  These guys have no confidence and the selection panel is going back with the same guys tried and tested,” he added.

"There are some players that are biting at the bit to get a play and we are rewarding people with mediocre performances.  They had all the opportunities in England.  The board sent them up there a month before, they played wonderfully well in the first Test, they messed it up in the second and third and you are rewarding them for mediocrity with a tougher Test?”

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.