Tonga coach Kefu out of hospital following burglary attack

By Sports Desk August 18, 2021

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  • South Africa 23-35 New Zealand: Battling All Blacks stop the rot to give under-fire Foster much-needed win South Africa 23-35 New Zealand: Battling All Blacks stop the rot to give under-fire Foster much-needed win

    Ian Foster may have been given a lifeline at Ellis Park as New Zealand stopped the rot with a thrilling 35-23 Rugby Championship win over South Africa.

    All Blacks head coach Foster has faced huge pressure after a dismal run of five defeats in six Tests, but his side appear to be behind him on the evidence of their impressive performance in Johannesburg on Saturday.

    They opened up a 15-point lead following tries from captain Sam Cane and Samisoni Taukei'aho, but the world champions fought back to take the lead with 12 minutes to go courtesy of scores from Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi, as well as 15 points from the trusty boot of Handre Pollard.

    New Zealand were also a man down with Beauden Barrett in the sin bin, but late tries from David Havili and Scott Barrett stunned the Springboks to deliver a vital victory.

    Richie Mo'unga scored 15 points from the tee as the holders secured a battling victory for the under-fire Foster.

    South Africa lost Damian Willemse to the sin bin for a ruck infringement early on and Jesse Kriel was unable to return after a head injury assessment, but they prevented New Zealand from scoring when they were a man down.

    A scrappy Test burst into life after Mo'unga's 25th-minute penalty, as Cane finished in the corner following an incisive break from Caleb Clarke and Taukei'aho crashed over for a try that Mo'unga converted brilliantly.

    The Springboks quickly reduced the arrears when Am showed power and pace to round off a slick move on the right wing and Pollard cut the gap to five points with a mammoth penalty on the stroke of half-time.

    Mo'unga was on target again after Pollard's second successful penalty early in the second half and the All Blacks fly-half put his side eight points up when he sent another kick between the posts after Mapimpi had a try disallowed for obstruction.

    Mapimpi was not to be denied moments later, though, taking a brilliant pass from Willemse and touching down for a score that Pollard expertly converted from the left touchline.

    Pollard booted the Springboks into the lead for the first time with 12 minutes to go after replacement Beauden Barrett was yellow-carded for obstructing Jaden Hendrikse.

    New Zealand dug deep to win it despite being a man down. with Havili going over in the corner following a brilliant break started by Rieko Ioane and Scott Barrett putting the icing on the cake from close range - with Mo'unga adding the extras for both scores.

  • The Rugby Championship: The Breakdown - Foster on the brink as All Blacks face another Boks battle The Rugby Championship: The Breakdown - Foster on the brink as All Blacks face another Boks battle

    Even a victory may not be enough for Ian Foster to keep his job when New Zealand lock horns with South Africa once again at Ellis Park on Saturday.

    Foster was under massive pressure before the Rugby Championship started and a 26-10 defeat at the hands of the Springboks last weekend ensured the writing would appear to be on the wall for the All Blacks head coach.

    That loss in Mbombela pushed New Zealand down to their worst ever world ranking of fifth, and they face another almighty battle against the world champions in Johannesburg.

    Australia fought back to start the tournament with a 41-26 victory over Argentina, so the Pumas will be hungry for revenge at Estadio Bicentenario in round two.

    Stats Perform preview the matches using Opta data.

     

    SOUTH AFRICA V NEW ZEALAND

    FORM

    It is now five losses in six Tests for the wounded All Blacks and three defeats in a row. Only once in the past 70 years have they lost more than three games in a row - suffering five consecutive defeats from July to August in 1998.

    South Africa have won six of their past seven home games in the Rugby Championship, including four on the bounce. It is the third time they have won four on the spin at home in the competition and they have never managed five straight wins in such fixtures.

    The Springboks have won their past two meetings with New Zealand. The last time they won more in succession against the All Blacks was a three-game streak from July to September in 2009.

    ONES TO WATCH

    The vastly experienced Duane Vermeulen returns at number eight for South Africa after recovering from a knee injury. He replaces Jasper Wiese and will need to hit the ground running.

    A standout selection for New Zealand was the inclusion of Richie Mo'unga at fly-half, with Beauden Barrett dropping to the bench a week after he was involved in a nasty collision with Kurt-Lee Arendse. Foster will look to Mo'unga to provide control and set the tempo, provided he gets the ball to enable him to pull the strings.

    ARGENTINA V AUSTRALIA

    FORM

    Australia have lost only one of their past 14 Tests against Argentina, winning 11 and drawing two. The Wallabies have won their last three versus the Pumas; 10 of the wins being decided by margins of at least 10 points.

    Argentina are winless in 10 Rugby Championship/Tri Nations game, losing eight and drawing two. They have lost their last seven in the competition and squandered a 19-10 half-time lead last weekend.

    It is now five Rugby Championship/Tri Nations victories in a row for Dave Rennie's Australia side, their longest winning run in the competition.

    ONES TO WATCH

    Former Australia head coach Michael Cheika has turned to Gonzalo Bertranou to start at scrum-half. The pivot must get Argentina ticking and put the Wallabies on the back foot.

    Another cruel injury blow for Quade Cooper has opened the door for James O'Connor to start at fly-half for Australia. The number 10 will know he has a great opportunity to put on a show just over a year before the World Cup starts.

  • Sunshine Girl Romelda Aiken George and husband Dan welcome daughter Gianna Sunshine Girl Romelda Aiken George and husband Dan welcome daughter Gianna

    Sunshine Girl Romelda Aiken George is now a mom after giving birth to a daughter Gianna earlier this week. Gianna is the first child of the naturalized Australian and her husband Dan, who has three other children from a previous relationship.

    She shared the news on social media early on Friday.

    “Welcome to this crazy world our beautiful baby Gianna George. We’re so in love with you,” she posted on Instagram.

    The post drew reactions from a number of former players including now retired Jamaican player Vangelee Williams, who posted “She’s adorable Diddy. Congratulations to you both.”

    Australian player Nat Medhurst, herself a mother said, “A massive congratulations Diddy and Dan. Welcome to the world, Gianna. Lots of love to you all.”

    England player Helen Housby was also among those who offered congratulatory messages to the new mom. “Congratulations guys. She’s gorgeous!”

    Romelda and Dan, a former basketball player turned businessman, were married in September 2021 at the conclusion of the Suncorp Super Netball Season and have now started to build a family.

    Aiken has been playing professional netball in Australia since 2008 when she was signed by the Queensland Firebirds and has won three titles with them. She became an Australian citizen in January 2020.

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