As the West Indies squad continues to prepare to take on New Zealand in three T2o Internationals and two Tests later this month, West Indies batsman Shamarh Brooks said he is eagerly anticipating the challenge.

West Indies bowling coach Roddy Estwick does not believe there should be any doubting the talent of all-rounder Keemo Paul but believes it is crucial to see the player getting more red ball cricket under his belt.

The 24-year-old Paul has been included in a 15-man Test squad to face New Zealand this month.  The player was previously invited for the team’s tour of England but along with Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer, declined to participate for health reasons.

His selection has not been entirely without controversy, with some believing the player to be too inconsistent to play Test cricket, particularly with the way he bowls.  Estwick believes, however, that a few of those inefficiencies come down to not playing the format enough.

“Keemo is very talented player, obviously he hasn’t played first-class cricket for a while because he has been with the West Indies and on the T20 circuit.  It’s good to have him back to see where he is at.  We have two first class games coming up to see where he is at,” Estwick told members of the media.

“We know the talent of Keemo Paul there is no doubt about that, a wonderful talent player.  He reminds me of someone like the late Keith Boyce from Barbados who represented the West Indies. Very athletic fielder, good mover, excellent timer of the ball,” he added.

“Remember Keemo is only 24 so it’s about how hard you work and how much preparation you put in.  Once Keemo can do that and he can get first class cricket under his belt, there is no doubt about his talent.  The last time he played a full first-class season he got 40-odd first-class wickets.”

 

Recently appointed West Indies vice-captain Roston Chase claims there is a special vibe around the team, similar to when it put in a stellar performance to beat England in the Caribbean last year.

On that occasion, the Windies showed plenty of grit and determination to beat the much more highly fancied England 2-1.  A similar result against New Zealand would be even more remarkable, however, considering the team’s poor showing against the Blackcaps in recent campaigns.

With the regional team having not registered a Test series win against New Zealand since 2012, it is the Kiwis that have won the last three, with the Windies winning just a match.  The victories included a 2-1 win over the West Indies in the Caribbean in 2014.  Chase, however, believes the upcoming series could be a little different.

“New Zealand is never an easy place to play…but I am feeling something special about this tour.  The energy that I’m feeling from the guys.  The eagerness reminds me of when we played the series against England in the Caribbean,” Chase told windiescricket.com.

“I just really have a good feeling about this one,” he added.

Chase replaced opener Kraigg Brathwaite as vice-captain of the squad.  The West Indies will face-off against New Zealand in two Test and three T20 internationals.

Nicolas Sanchez said inspiring a historic victory over New Zealand was extra special as the fly-half thought his Argentina career was over after the Rugby World Cup.

The Pumas had failed to beat the All Blacks in 29 Tests before securing a magnificent 25-15 Tri Nations victory in Sydney on Saturday.

Sanchez scored all of the Pumas' points at Bankwest Stadium, booting six penalties between the posts and touching down for a first-half try.

Argentina had not played since the Rugby World Cup last October due to the coronavirus crisis and 32-year-old Sanchez revealed he did not think he would play for his country again following the tournament in Japan.

The number 10, who is the second-highest points-scorer against the All Blacks behind Matt Burke, said: "It was a very hard year. After the World Cup we all had something very strong inside, but the pandemic helped us transform.

"These last four weeks of preparation were spectacular and today it was spectacular. We knew that with our defence they could not advance. We proposed this, we came to win and we are happy.

"Adversity always makes teams stronger. Now in our heads we only have the idea of ​​continuing to grow. When the World Cup ended I thought my career at the Pumas was over, I didn't think I was going to be able to wear the jersey again. and much less being here."

Emotional Pumas head coach Mario Ledesma was full of praise for his side after they carried out the game plan to perfection.

"These guys are in love with what they do and it was reflected on the pitch," said Ledesma.

"When we sat in the stands, before the game started, it didn't seem real to me to be experiencing something like this. After everything that happened, waiting for a game again was crazy.

"But with the pandemic there are things that are difficult to do. There was a lot of intangibles that came together and that was reflected here. We never beat them and we came to win here.

"We talked about being very disciplined, where we wanted to play, at what pace, and that happened. The players took what we had talked about to the letter. And there are many things that are happening between them, with the appearance of new leaders, new ways of doing things.

"Many people prepared this. And it's nice to see the fruits, because I would have said the same thing if we had lost, but this validates a bit what has been done since the beginning of the year.

"There is a cohesion that is being generated that is very beautiful. We all wanted that to be seen on the field and it happened. In Argentine rugby an immense work is done. I want to thank all those who support us, in some way we play for them also."

Pablo Matera said it was mission accomplished after "hungry" Argentina were able to fill "chests with pride" by securing a historic victory over New Zealand.

The Pumas sparked jubilant scenes on the pitch and in the stands at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday when they defeated the All Blacks for the first time in 30 Tests.

Fly-half Nicolas Sanchez scored all of Argentina's points in a famous 25-15 Tri Nations win in Sydney.

Argentina had not played since the Rugby World Cup in October 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they came out firing in their first game of the tournament to consign Ian Foster's side to back-to-back defeats.

Captain Matera savoured a special day for his country.

The flanker said: "I don't know how to put it into words. They were eight very hard months [without being able to play].

"A lot of work, a lot of people who are not here, but we have a very hungry team and we came to fill all the people in Argentina's chests with pride."

The skipper added: "We play for the boys, for Argentine rugby.

"There are a lot of boys who haven't played rugby with their friends for eight months and we went out onto the pitch to show that we can and hopefully bring more people to rugby."

Argentina do battle with Australia at McDonald Jones Stadium in their next Tri Nations encounter on November 21.

Ian Foster said New Zealand are "hurting greatly" and Sam Cane admitted they "weren't good enough" in a shock historic defeat to Argentina.

The All Blacks were expected to respond to a loss against Australia last weekend with a Tri Nations victory in their third match of the tournament at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday.

Argentina had other ideas, beating New Zealand for the first time at the 30th attempt with a 25-15 triumph in Sydney.

Nicolas Sanchez scored all of the Pumas' points in a stunning victory that was even more impressive given it was their first match since October 2019 at the Rugby World Cup.

New Zealand have now lost two out of three Tri Nations matches and head coach Foster said they could have no complaints after losing back-to-back Tests for the first time since August 2011

"It was the second week in a row we haven't had good composure when things didn't go our way," Foster said.

"We're hurting greatly but they should be very proud of their team. It was a historic win for them."

Cane doffed his cap to Argentina, but felt New Zealand left themselves down.

"The lesson is in Test match rugby you've got to turn up with the right intent, the right attitude every single weekend, or you get it handed to you," said the All Blacks captain.

"They were good, and we weren't good enough. Their defence was outstanding."

Cane scored a second-half try and Caleb Clarke touched down late on, but Argentina had a famous victory in the bag by then.

Argentina made history by claiming their first win over New Zealand with a sensational 25-15 victory in Sydney on Saturday.

The Pumas had not beaten the All Blacks in 29 previous Tests – losing 28 games and drawing once – but that dramatically changed in their first international since last year's Rugby World Cup in October as Nicolas Sanchez produced a masterclass and scored every point for his team.

Argentina held a 16-3 half-time lead and never looked back in the Tri-Nations showdown, despite a New Zealand rally at Bankwest Stadium, where the All Blacks were condemned to back-to-back Test defeats for the first time since August 2011.

The All Blacks were desperate for a response following last week's 24-22 loss to trans-Tasman rivals Australia in the final Bledisloe Cup encounter, having already wrapped up the title.

But Ian Foster did not get the reaction he wanted as Argentina stunned a near full strength New Zealand on Australian soil.

Argentina and New Zealand traded penalty goals before the Pumas took control – star Sanchez collecting the rebound after his chipped pass bounced horribly for Beauden Barrett and crossing in the 19th minute.

Pumas fly-half Sanchez had two tries and as many assists in his previous five Tests against New Zealand heading into the match, scoring 50 points.

With the All Blacks rattled, Sanchez drilled two more penalty goals before half-time as Argentina moved clear.

Argentina extended their lead thanks to Sanchez's fourth three-pointer of the game, though New Zealand threatened a comeback when Sam Came crashed over to reduce the deficit to 19-10 in the 53rd minute.

New Zealand huffed and puffed, and while Caleb Clarke muscled his way over at the death, Sanchez's fifth and sixth penalty goals had already put a historic result beyond doubt.

A trans-Tasman tournament has been agreed for 2021 featuring all 10 Super Rugby teams.

Rugby Australia (RA) and New Zealand Rugby (NZR) have agreed a new event that will contain 26 games over a packed six-week period.

All Blacks captain Sam Cane said the development was "awesome" and what all the players wanted.

The event will follow the two nations' domestic Super Rugby competitions, running from May 14 until a final on June 19.

All teams from Australia and New Zealand will play two home matches and two away games, while a Super Round will be held at a location that is yet to be confirmed, where every match will be played at the same venue over one weekend.

After five rounds, when teams from each nation have faced every outfit from the other, the top two teams in the table will meet in the final, which will be hosted by the side sitting first.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said: "Super Rugby Trans-Tasman is a great result for fans on both sides of the Tasman and is testament to the strength of the relationship between New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia.

"It has been a testing time for rugby in both countries, but also a chance to reimagine the game in our part of the world for 2021. The result is an exciting and innovative new competition, which will benefit fans, players, broadcasters and Super clubs."

Rugby Australia interim chief executive Rob Clarke added: "This is a truly historic day for rugby in the Southern Hemisphere, with the first ever Australian and New Zealand Super Rugby competition.

"This will generate enormous excitement across both countries with some of the best players in the world set to challenge each other after the conclusion of Super Rugby AU and Super Rugby Aotearoa."

 The place of talented all-rounder Andre Russell could be in doubt for future West Indies teams after a number of injuries and invitation declines.

Russell was invited to join the team for the upcoming tour of New Zealand but, according to Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors Roger Harper, declined after claiming he needed space to ‘clear his head’ after having to deal with playing during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The player last represented the West Indies on tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year, where his scintillating 40 from 14 deliveries saw him named man-of-the-match.

Even with such brilliant performances under his thumb, Harper insisted he was keeping an eye on things and that emerging talent could make it difficult for the 32-year-old to continually be selected ‘if they take their opportunities.’

“I think as we move forward we will look at all situations, all players and determine whether we need to continue to look at those players, continue to consider those players, or we need to move on,” Harper told members of the media, from the team’s training camp in New Zealand, in reference to the situation.

“A lot of things are determined by how well the team performs.  How well the players in the team at the time perform, and the success of the team.  I think if players in the team perform exceedingly well, then it will make it difficult for those that are not on the tour to get back into the team. So a lot of things will be taken into consideration as we move forward.”

 

 

Kraigg Brathwaite has been dropped as West Indies Test vice-captain in order for him to be able to concentrate on improving his batting, CWI chief of selectors Roger Harper has revealed.

Brathwaite was replaced as vice-captain by all-rounder Roston Chase and batsman Nicholas Pooran ahead of the start of the team’s tour of New Zealand.  The opener, who was first appointed the Test vice-captain in 2015, had averaged 21 from his last 15 Tests heading into the England series.

He did show signs of a promised recovery with half-centuries in the first Test, where he scored 65 and 75 in the second.  Brathwaite, however, also had scores of 4, 12, 1 and 19 to average 21.  According to Harper, the decision panel is hoping less responsibility will lead to more consistency from the player.

“We thought it important at this time to allow Kraigg Brathwaite, who has been the vice-captain for a while, to just pay a little more attention, to focus a little more on his batting,” Harper told members of the media from the team’s training base in New Zealand.

“He has not been in the best of form for a little while.  I think he began to get himself together on the England tour, we want him to build on this.  We thought the relieving of the responsibility would allow him to focus some more on his batting.”

 

Argentina must beware the wounded animal when they start their Tri Nations campaign against New Zealand on Saturday.

The All Blacks were beaten 24-22 by Australia at Suncorp Stadium in the final Bledisloe Cup encounter last weekend.

Ian Foster's side had already retained the famous trophy and made eight changes in Brisbane, but his rotation backfired as the Wallabies got up and running in the Tri Nations.

Foster has named a near full-strength side for the round three clash at Bankwest Stadium, where the Pumas will play their first Test since the Rugby World Cup last October.

We use Opta data to preview the contest in Sydney.

- New Zealand are undefeated in their 29 Tests against Argentina (W28, D1). That is the second-most games of any tier one nation against another to have never lost and the fourth-most of any rugby-playing nations overall.

- The All Blacks have won their last seven Tests in Australia against teams other than the Wallabies by an average margin of 45 points per game.

- New Zealand will be out to avoid back-to-back Test defeats for the first time since August 2011.

- Argentina have won two of their last three Tests (L1) and will be hunting for back-to-back Test wins for the first time since June 2016 after a 47-17 win over the USA in their last match.

- New Zealand have beaten 35+ defenders in four of their last five Tests against Argentina after having managed to do so only once in their 11 meetings prior.

- No player won more lineouts in the 2019 edition of The Rugby Championship than Argentina's Guido Petti (13, including two steals).

- Argentina fly-half Nicolas Sanchez has scored two tries and provided as many assists in his last five Tests against New Zealand, scoring 50 points in those matches.

All members of the West Indies team have returned negative results from their third and final COVID-19 tests, conducted on Day 12 of the ongoing tour of New Zealand.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has apologized for the behavior of his players who breached New Zealand’s Covid-19 safety protocols and caused the team to be stripped of exemptions that had allowed to train while in isolation.

Joe Moody has returned for a much-changed All Blacks ahead of their Tri Nations clash against Argentina on Saturday.

Moody missed New Zealand's previous two Tests, including last week's 24-22 loss to Australia, due to a head injury.

Beauden Barrett has returned to full-back from number 10, while Jordie Barrett has switched to the right wing.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said his team were eager to bounce back from their loss to the Wallabies.

"We were bitterly disappointed with the loss against Australia on the weekend, but we've taken a lot of lessons from that game," he said.

"Specifically, we need to be smarter in seeing space and executing our plan around that. We also want to continue growing our work at the breakdown, both on attack and in defence, as I feel we are making great progress here.

"We're now into the next phase of the tournament playing against Argentina and it will be exciting playing a new opposition.

"The Argentinians are well coached by Mario Ledesma and we have a lot of respect for them. You only need to go back to Buenos Aires last year, when we had a real arm wrestle with them, to know how tough they can be.

"They've been in Australia for a number of weeks, they are well-prepared and this is their first Test of 2020 so it'll be a massive occasion for them and their country so we have to be ready."

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Tyrel Lomax, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Whitelock, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane, Ardie Savea.
Replacements: Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman, Nepo Laulala, Tupou Vaa'I, Hoskins Sotutu, Brad Weber, Rieko Ioane, Damian McKenzie.

Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave said he is especially disappointed with the West Indies who breached New Zealand’s strict Covid-19 protocols earlier this week, is that they arguably are the most experienced dealing with being in isolation since the return of competitive cricket.

Grave also hinted at the possibility of individual sanctions facing as many as four or five players who are alleged to have been involved and said there were plans to interview all the players and personnel who would have information salient to an investigation into the matter.

In a statement Tuesday night, CWI said it had launched an investigation to the reports that several players had breached protocols and as a result had been banned from training for the final two days of isolation.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health reported that members of the team were confirmed to have repeatedly broken isolation rules. Many of the incidents were captured on close circuit television and have been reported by staff at the facility where the players are being housed.

New Zealand cricket said the incidents included some players compromising bubble integrity by sharing food, and socializing in hallways. However, there is no evidence that any members of the touring party left the facility, or that any unauthorized persons accessed it.

An embarrassed Grave speaking to media on a Zoom call expressed his disappointment at the situation while supporting the sanctions imposed on the players.

“I think my disappointment is mainly the fact that our players are probably the most experienced players in the world in dealing with these strict quarantine measures. I am not, for any second, saying that they’re easy and living in them day in and day out is obviously a massive challenge. It’s still not natural for people to always wear a mask and always do things we have been trained to do for so many years, living our lives in the way we have before Covid,’ he said.

“But these players, the majority of them have been in a seven-week quarantine isolation bubble for the duration of the England men’s tour that we held in June and July. They all pretty much went to Trinidad and Tobago, which had a very similar situation to New Zealand with its borders fully shut with the government dispensation to allow us to host the Caribbean Premier League, and they have been within that facility in Christchurch for virtually the whole quarantine period. So its hugely disappointing that players who knew what the protocols were have clearly broken them by mixing together.”

He said their actions have put the tour and the New Zealand population at risk.

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