Plymouth caretaker boss Kevin Nancekivell has called for his side to keep up the good work for the final five games of the season after they picked up a valuable 1-0 Championship victory at Rotherham.

The defeat rubberstamped Rotherham’s return to League One after two seasons in the second tier, while Argyle had been heading towards the trapdoor themselves following a hapless run under former boss Ian Foster.

Nancekivell and Neil Dewsnip replaced him in the hotseat this week and got a much-needed win with Bali Mumba’s first-half strike seeing them move four points above the drop zone.

He said: “I am relieved – it’s been a traumatic week and to come and get three points is massive for us.

“We are really, really pleased. It’s only three points and there is a lot of work to do but we look forward to Tuesday against QPR.

“They are all huge games now. We know what we have got to do, recover and prepare properly and hopefully get a repeat performance. We are all in it together.

“There was a lot on the game. It was a high-pressurised game and when it is, you lose that little bit of quality.

“It’s always nervous at 1-0 and the longer it goes on you get a bit fearful but you can’t be too greedy.”

Mumba’s strike just after the half-hour mark proved decisive. He was picked out by Argyle’s star man Morgan Whittaker at the back post and managed to squeeze his shot beyond Viktor Johansson.

Rotherham then went out with a whimper and never really threatened to get back in the game.

It was the visitors pushing for a goal late in the game and they missed a host of chances with substitute Ben Waine striking the post and then being denied when clean through by Johansson.

Rotherham head coach Leam Richardson, who has only won twice since replacing Matt Taylor in December, said: “That doesn’t represent me. I am not hiding away from anything, I am at the front of it and I take the full blame.

“I also take responsibility for making Rotherham United a better football club. The biggest positive is that we know about it and we know the areas where we need to get better. I have never shied away from a challenge.

“We are in a competitive league and we can’t hide away from that.

“It was a poor game. They deserved to win. I thought we would be a better version of ourselves tonight.

“There’s a couple who can still hold their head up to a level.

“It’s not one game, it’s not the Plymouth game. It’s been 40 games.”

Rotherham’s relegation from the Sky Bet Championship was confirmed after they lost 1-0 at home to Plymouth.

Leam Richardson’s team knew only victory would keep their outside hopes of survival alive but they could not muster a fightback after Bali Mumba had put Argyle ahead in the first half.

Interim head coach Neil Dewsnip was in the dugout for the visitors after Ian Foster’s catastrophic reign was brought to an end earlier this week, with Argyle only picking up one win in their last 11 matches.

The run dragged them deep into relegation trouble of their own but Mumba’s strike gave them only their third victory on the road this season and moves them four points clear of the drop zone.

Rotherham’s first effort came from Seb Revan, who, encouraged by his goal on Easter Monday, took aim from distance but fired high and wide.

Plymouth threatened when a set-piece bobbled around the six-yard area before being eventually scrambled away by the Rotherham defence.

The visitors’ Callum Wright could not get a shot away in time from a promising position as he was charged down by Hakeem Odoffin, before Wright spurned an even bigger opportunity when he was unmarked from Ryan Hardie’s cross but headed off target.

Plymouth made the decisive breakthrough in the 32nd minute when Mumba poked in after a cross from Morgan Whittaker evaded Revan and found the full-back lurking unmarked at the back post. He cut in and managed to finish beyond Viktor Johansson’s grasp at the near post.

Argyle top-scorer Whittaker was becoming more influential early in the second half and he was close to doubling their lead with a driven effort from range.

Rotherham had a decent opening when a deep corner from Sam Clucas ran all the way through to Cohen Bramall at the back post but the full-back’s effort was weak.

The hosts threatened again through Revan who cut in from the right flank and stung the palms of Michael Cooper, with the rebound just evading Tom Eaves.

Argyle were still trying for a killer second goal and Johansson had to be alert to Ryan Hardie’s touch from Adam Randell’s impressive front post delivery.

Substitute Adam Forshaw’s curling effort had Johansson temporarily worried but it was just off target.

Plymouth really should have secured the victory in the final minutes but Dan Scarr’s header was kept out, then Ben Waine’s effort cannoned off the post.

Waine was denied again by an onrushing Johansson when one-on-one but the margin at the end was just one goal.

Plymouth manager Ian Foster was furious with referee James Linington after his side lost 2-1 at Norwich to stay deep in the Sky Bet Championship relegation scrap.

The high-flying Canaries scored two second-half goals to take the points, after being stunned by Morgan Whittaker’s 10th-minute opener, his 20th of the season.

The second-half comeback brought Linington’s decision not to award a penalty to Plymouth when Alfie Devine went down under a challenge from keeper Angus Gunn under the spotlight, while the official’s insistence that Lewis Gibson went off before the corner that led to the winner was also a bone of contention.

“All we ask is that the officials make the right calls and that wasn’t the case today,” said Foster.

“I thought the referee got lots of decisions wrong and two of them were absolutely key decisions in the game.

“For me it was a clear penalty. Their keeper slid in, didn’t get the ball and took Alfie out – but he gave a yellow card to Alfie.

“For the corner there was a collision between two of our players and immediately the referee calls the physio on – he doesn’t ask if our player needed treatment, which he didn’t, he was fine.

“We have to accept responsibility for not defending set-plays properly – but it was still frustrating.

“I think the loyal fans who travelled all this way to follow their team would have been proud of the performance – I know I am.

“We have spoken about being more ruthless at the key moments in both boxes but overall there were a lot of positives to take from that.”

The match was settled by two goals inside seven minutes, both from right-wing corners.

The first was a set routine, with substitute Christian Fassnacht playing the ball low into the path of the deep lying Josh Sargent, who had the space he needed to sweep home his 14th goal of the season.

Regular taker Gabriel Sara then sent in a more conventional corner to the near past where Sam McCallum headed it on and a deflection off Ashley Phillips took the ball into far corner of the net.

It was a deserved win for Norwich, but relegation-threatened Plymouth gave the hosts a scare by taking the lead after just 10 minutes when Whittaker nodded home Matthew Sorinola’s cross to make it 20 for the season.

“It was a big win for us, especially after going behind so early,” said Norwich head coach David Wagner.

“In the first half I thought we played really well, we didn’t let the goal affect us and created lots of chances without being able to take them.

“In the second half we were not so good and sometimes over the course of the season you have to rely on your set-pieces, which we work on very hard.

“Overall it was probably not at the level we have shown over the past few games but once again the players have put in a shift, shown their togetherness to get the result we wanted.”

Ryan Lowe’s Preston reignited their play-off hopes with a 1-0 win at his former club Plymouth.

Substitute Liam Millar scored the decisive goal in the 43rd minute after a sweeping move down the left.

The victory lifted North End up to ninth, five points off sixth-placed Norwich with a game in hand, and condemned Ian Foster’s struggling Argyle to a fourth successive home defeat.

The hosts started well, with Ryan Hardie firing wide after latching on to a superb through-ball down the left by Mickel Miller.

Preston boss Lowe was forced to shuffle his line-up early on as Milutin Osmajic was forced off injured after only seven minutes, Millar coming on.

The visitors also lost Brad Potts in the 19th minute, with Layton Stewart taking his place.

But the two changes did little to disrupt Preston’s intent and they forced the pace of the game for much of the first half

Millar should have scored in the 20th minute when he latched on to a pass along the edge of the box by Mads Frokjaer-Jensen and raced into the area, chesting the ball down but then firing wide with only goalkeeper Michael Cooper to beat from close range.

But he made no mistake shortly before half-time as Liam Lindsay’s deep cross was flicked on by Will Keane and Millar at the far post smashed a volley back across goal and into the corner.

Argyle’s best chances came late in the half as they forced a succession of corners, with North End keeper Freddie Woodman at full stretch to tip away Adam Randell’s inswinging set-piece before Mustapha Bundu’s header from another ball in flew high and wide.

Millar forced a good diving save from Cooper in the 52nd minute as Preston began the second half on the front foot.

Cooper made an even better stop to keep out Jordan Storey’s far-post header from a 59th-minute corner.

Argyle’s top-scorer Morgan Whittaker then swept his shot wide when well-placed in the box.

Keane’s long throw from the left was then gathered 20 yards from goal by an unmarked Stewart, who let fly with a fierce, dipping shot which beat Cooper but smashed off the foot of a post.

Adam Randell went close for Plymouth with a 20-yard strike, but the hosts could not find a leveller.

Plymouth head coach Ian Foster felt his side ‘dominated from start to finish’ in their 1-1 Sky Bet Championship draw at 10-man Blackburn.

Rovers’ Sammie Szmodics took his league goal tally to 21 with a sublime curling opener in the seventh minute but the home side were second best thereafter.

Their task was made harder when Kyle McFadzean was sent off for a professional foul early in the second half and Plymouth deservedly equalised through Morgan Whittaker’s close range 74th-minute finish, taking his own league tally to 18.

The goals and dismissal barely tell the story. Despite Arnor Sigurdsson striking the post in the first half, it was Argyle who created the best chances with Ryan Hardie and Bali Mumba both missing when one-on-one, while Mickel Miller and Hardie again both went agonisingly close.

Foster felt the point was “the very least we deserved” although it is now just one win in seven matches for the Pilgrims, who are three points clear of danger.

He said: “A lot of people will look at the game, see the result, see the sending off and think we’ve only scored because they’ve been reduced to 10 men.

“Before their goal and after their goal, we’ve dominated the game, literally from start to finish.

“The whole 95 minutes we’ve been the team on top – 20 shots away from home, our xG is through the roof and the only disappointment that we go away with is that we haven’t converted all those chances, or some of them.

“I’m really proud of the players. We picked the team today to dominate the ball. We felt that we could here and we did that – 66 per cent I think in the first half.

“I’ve never witnessed a team 1-0 up at half-time getting booed off. (It’s a) quite unique thing to see and hear but that just shows you the dominance we had in the first 45 minutes.

“No halves are ever the same but the players continued to knock on the door and we eventually got what we deserved.

“We’re all that little bit disappointed to come away with just the one point.”

Blackburn remain level on points with Plymouth and are yet to win under John Eustace, who praised his team’s character after playing more than half an hour with 10 men.

Eustace said: “I thought we started the game really well, played some really good football, scored a fantastic goal, had a great chance to go 2-0 up which we didn’t take unfortunately.

“Plymouth then had a couple of good chances themselves. We came in at half-time, adjusted a couple of things, started the second half quite well and obviously going down to 10 men, it’s a different game.

“I thought the character the group showed, the togetherness, the fight not to lose the game was very evident for everyone to see.

“I think the way the boys defended, fought, scrapped, and stuck together against a good attacking team and limited them to hardly anything really second half – they had pressure but no real clear-cut chances, maybe one. But we still had a couple of half-chances ourselves.

“The big positives to take out of the game…the way the group really stuck together and fought. You can see the fight is there that we want to stay in this league.”

Ian Foster urged Plymouth to look up the table after claiming his first Championship win as Argyle head coach with a 3-1 win over Cardiff at Home Park.

Argyle soared to 15th on the back of two goals by Scottish striker Ryan Hardie, who also set up top scorer Morgan Whittaker for his 15th Championship goal of the season, after Cardiff had taken a 10th-minute lead through Perry Ng.

Foster said: “We expected a difficult game and they always are, they are tight at this level. You have seen the results in the league today. There is never an easy game.

“The message to the players was to claw these (Cardiff) back. I think they were six places and seven points above us. If it becomes 10 it’s almost impossible. It’s four now.

“I am really pleased with the players because there was evidence again today that they are taking on the information we are giving to them.

“I have been (in post) two weeks yesterday so we have not had that many sessions, four players very new to the football club on the pitch today and two of them have only had very limited time with the group.

“A lot of positives today but a game I thoroughly thought we deserved to win.

“We don’t want to be looking over our shoulders, we want to be looking up at the next team and that’s how we did it today.

“We looked at these and said ‘let’s get these back’ and that’s our challenge.

“Cardiff are the next team above us, four points, and we have got to bridge that gap as soon as possible.

“I am happy. It’s really challenging, I knew it would be. I am really enjoying it.”

Cardiff boss Erol Bulut said his side stopped playing after taking the lead.

Bulut said: “It is not the first time that I have been disappointed, the fans are disappointed.

“They are right because today we had the game in our hands, we started well and were leading 1-0 but after that the game is not finished.

“We stopped playing and the result was we lost 3-1. We had some changes but we didn’t score again, there was too many individual mistakes in different situations and they (Plymouth) scored from those mistakes.

“The game is not only 31 minutes, it is 95 minutes.

“We can speak about having only 15/16 players available, we had 11 players on the pitch so we have to do everything. We stopped after scoring the goal and it is not easy after that.

“We had similar problems in other games, we have to be more aggressive, we have been more aggressive and won games and the last two games – Leeds and today – was not like that.

“I don’t have players outside to replace them and they are getting tired, I don’t have anyone on the bench to make that change in defence. My players are doing their best and it is not enough.”

New Zealand boss Ian Foster plans to enjoy a bowl of popcorn while watching England’s blockbuster with South Africa after his side eased into the Rugby World Cup final by dispatching Argentina.

Foster can put his feet up for Saturday evening’s colossal semi-final clash between Steve Borthwick’s men and the Springboks thanks to a crushing 44-6 success over Los Pumas in Paris.

The 58-year-old expects an “interesting contrast of styles” in the other last-four fixture and is not bothered who the All Blacks face in next week’s showpiece match at Stade de France.

New Zealand barely broke sweat in booking an unprecedented fifth World Cup final appearance and now have the luxury of an extra day’s rest as they await the identity of their ultimate opponents.

“I’ll be watching it,” said Foster. “I’ll probably have some popcorn and sit there and watch it and I don’t care who wins. We’re very much in a focus-about-ourselves stage.

“One thing that extra day does give us, it gives us a bit of a chance to have a break mentally and not to spend too much juice worrying about if it’s them, if it’s them.

“They’re both good teams. South Africa have been playing some brilliant rugby the last few weeks and are clearly on top of their game.

“But we’ve also seen an English side that just build away quietly and are probably starting to understand how they want to play and they’re starting to get really good at how they want to play and believe in that.

“It will be an interesting contrast of styles.”

All Blacks wing Will Jordan ran in a hat-trick during the seven-try rout in Saint-Denis to lift him above France’s Damian Penaud as the World Cup’s leading try scorer on eight.

The treble also saw the 25-year-old equal the record for tries in a single tournament, putting him alongside Jonah Lomu, Bryan Habana and Julian Savea.

Foster was able to empty his bench long before the full-time whistle due to the emphatic scoreline and opted to keep the sin-binned Scott Barrett on the sidelines for around five minutes longer than required as the Kiwis finished with 14 men.

Asked if those situations could prove advantageous moving towards the final, Foster said: “I don’t think they’ll make a massive difference.

“Finals are finals and whoever we play, they’ll be a hundred per cent.

“It was an opportunity for us to make sure that we looked after our resources as best we could.

“We really didn’t see a need of putting Scooter (Barrett) back on, only from the perspective that if he had another little yellow card incident in the next five minutes, it might have made it a little bit niggly.”

Argentina were a shadow of the side who stunned Wales in the last eight.

A pair of first-half Emiliano Boffelli penalties was all they could muster.

Shannon Frizell’s double, plus further tries from Jordie Barrett and Aaron Smith, added to their punishment.

Los Pumas head coach Michael Cheika felt New Zealand ruthlessly exploited each of his team’s errors and was unhappy with some of the refereeing, particularly during first-half rucks.

The Australian promised his players will respond to a difficult outing in the bronze-medal match.

“It’s not a sad moment; it’s a moment when I’m actually proud of my team,” he said.

“It’s not an easy path that we’ve been on. We’ve invested ourselves a lot in this. But we’ve lost on details. I’m sad for them.

“It’s hard but its a good thing it’s hard. On Friday, we will be there, have no doubt. We will not leave this way.

“We want to finish third. We’ve got things we want to show in the bronze final. Right now, we’re hurting.”

Head coach Ian Foster has warned New Zealand the past counts for nothing as they head into their World Cup semi-final against Argentina as overwhelming favourites.

The three-time champions have lost just two of 36 matches against Los Pumas and are widely expected to prevail again in Friday’s crunch clash at the Stade de France in Paris.

“There are two teams in the semi-final – anyone can win,” said the All Blacks boss. “That’s the first mindset both teams have.

“We are massively respectful of Argentina. We know that they have had a great tournament.

“We don’t live in the past in terms of results. Rugby World Cup tournaments are really about the present. It’s about the best team on the night.

“If you go into a World Cup semi-final with any expectation that the past is going to happen again, you have got problems.”

Foster has made two changes to his side following the hard-fought 28-24 quarter-final win over Ireland, with Samuel Whitelock coming into the second row and Mark Telea starting on the left wing.

Foster said: “We’ve been really impressed with Argentina. We’re playing a team that we know scrap and fight for every little bit of possession. We are going to have to be at our best.”

Argentina overcame a 10-point deficit to beat Wales last weekend and reach the semi-finals for a third time.

Coach Michael Cheika has recalled Gonzalo Bertranou at scrum-half in his one change to the line-up.

“The history is not in our favour, but it is up to us to change that,” said Cheika, who oversaw a famous win over the All Blacks in Christchurch last year.

“We have a chance to on Friday and we will be ready. When we arrive on the field we will do what we do best.”

Head coach Ian Foster has warned New Zealand the past counts for nothing as they head into their World Cup semi-final against Argentina as overwhelming favourites.

The three-time champions have lost just two of 36 matches against Los Pumas and are widely expected to prevail again in Friday’s crunch clash at the Stade de France in Paris.

“There are two teams in the semi-final – anyone can win,” said the All Blacks boss. “That’s the first mindset both teams have.

“We are massively respectful of Argentina. We know that they have had a great tournament.

“We don’t live in the past in terms of results. Rugby World Cup tournaments are really about the present. It’s about the best team on the night.

“If you go into a World Cup semi-final with any expectation that the past is going to happen again, you have got problems.”

Foster has made two changes to his side following the hard-fought 28-24 quarter-final win over Ireland, with Samuel Whitelock coming into the second row and Mark Telea starting on the left wing.

Foster said: “We’ve been really impressed with Argentina. We’re playing a team that we know scrap and fight for every little bit of possession. We are going to have to be at our best.”

Argentina overcame a 10-point deficit to beat Wales last weekend and reach the semi-finals for a third time.

Coach Michael Cheika has recalled Gonzalo Bertranou at scrum-half in his one change to the line-up.

“The history is not in our favour, but it is up to us to change that,” said Cheika, who oversaw a famous win over the All Blacks in Christchurch last year.

“We have a chance to on Friday and we will be ready. When we arrive on the field we will do what we do best.”

New Zealand boss Ian Foster has warned his players “not to get softened” by the acclaim which followed their thrilling World Cup win over Ireland ahead of a semi-final showdown with Argentina.

The All Blacks booked a last-four spot by upsetting Andy Farrell’s men with a pulsating 28-24 victory in Paris.

New Zealand return to Stade de France on Friday evening and are red-hot favourites to progress to a final against either England or reigning champions South Africa.

Head coach Foster feels “being patted on the back” following a statement last-eight victory over the Irish derailed the Kiwis in the 2019 tournament and is eager to avoid history repeating itself.

“The best way to recover is to refocus really quickly on what the next challenge is and not to listen too much to any praise you’re given as a group for a performance,” said Foster, who was assistant to Steve Hansen four years ago when New Zealand lost to England in the semi-finals.

“Not to go down that path, not to get softened because everyone’s patting you on the back saying you played well.

“That’s not a good place to be as a team.

“I love the way the team has buckled down, we’ve redefined the challenge for us as a group, we’re not satisfied with where we are now and when you’re clear about your goal for the week the recovery comes along pretty quickly.

“You know that if we’re not right on Friday night at Stade de France, it’s going to be a sad old night and we don’t want it to be like that.

“You get people talking to you about tomorrow and trying to take your eyes off today.

“In 2019 we probably didn’t stop being patted on the back after the quarter-final, hence some of my language today and we’re just trying to dial this back, keep things simple and let’s just worry about Friday.”

New Zealand’s starting XV shows two changes, with wing Mark Telea and lock Sam Whitelock in for Leicester Fainga’anuku and Brodie Retallick.

Telea was dropped for last weekend’s clash with Ireland due to a breach of team protocols.

Foster says the 26-year-old, who has scored three tries in the tournament, has served his punishment.

“That’s the team we think is best for this week,” he said.

“Mark’s done his time. He made a mistake, he accepted what was happening.

“But you don’t linger in that space. He’s been our form winger through this tournament and we really have a lot of faith in him and believe he’s in a good place to play this game.

“It’s a chance for us to get Mark back on the park and I know he’s excited.”

Underdogs Argentina have won two of the past seven meetings between the nations, including a landmark first success on New Zealand soil – 25-18 in Christchurch – in last year’s Rugby Championship.

Foster is braced for a “heck of a game”.

“You’ve never heard us say we’re favourites,” he said. “We know that these games are do-or-die.

“It’s the best team on the night that wins it. We know Argentina has done that to us. We’re not buying into anything about favouritism or underdogs.

“They are perhaps an underrated team worldwide that has got a really rich history of perhaps overachieving at World Cups.

“They have done a fantastic job to get here at the same level as we are. It’s going to be a heck of a game.”

Keith Earls insists in-form Ireland have eradicated habits instilled by Joe Schmidt ahead of a reunion with their former head coach in Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand.

Schmidt led the Irish into the previous two World Cups, both of which ended with disappointing last-eight exits, before joining the All Blacks’ coaching team last summer.

The 58-year-old’s largely positive six-year tenure culminated in a 46-14 hammering at the hands of the Kiwis at the 2019 tournament in Japan before he was succeeded by his assistant Andy Farrell.

Schmidt is now plotting the downfall of his former employers after switching sides, with Ireland seeking to make history in Paris by stretching their winning run to 18 matches to reach a maiden semi-final.

New Zealand boss Ian Foster publicly outlined plans to tap into Schmidt’s extensive knowledge of the opposition, but Munster wing Earls dismissed the merits of doing so.

“I don’t think Joe would know anything about this squad,” said the 36-year-old. “We’re a completely different squad.

“He probably knows things about individuals but, again, we’ve all changed our habits under this coaching staff and we genuinely don’t use any of the habits that Joe taught us.

“Look, he might have a thing on a couple of individuals, but we’re certainly not the same team that played under Joe.”

Schmidt was due to join the set-up of his native New Zealand following last summer’s three-match home series against Ireland, but he was rushed in early after Covid-19 sidelined Foster and some of his staff.

The All Blacks won the first Test but lost the next two as Ireland launched their current winning streak with a historic tour triumph.

Veteran Earls believes that landmark achievement gave Ireland greater belief, which was enhanced further by this year’s Six Nations Grand Slam success.

Yet he concedes they would be foolish to underestimate the three-time world champions, who have scored 240 points and 36 tries across thrashings of Namibia, Italy and Uruguay following an opening-night defeat to hosts France.

“This tournament is a different animal,” said Earls.

“I know we have beaten New Zealand a few times in the last few years, but they have obviously taught us one or two lessons in between that and beaten us by more than one score.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Irish Rugby (@irishrugby)

“We’re under no illusion as to what is coming at the weekend.


“People speak about New Zealand the last year or two that they’ve dipped in performances, but what we’ve seen in this World Cup, they’re starting to come back with a roar.

“After the French game it’s obviously ignited some spark in them. They’re starting to hit their stride again.

“We’re certainly not undermining New Zealand, you would be very silly to do that.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup)

“I have no doubt they will be highly emotional and looking for revenge and bring everything they have.”


Earls hopes to be available to add to his 101 caps after sitting out last weekend’s victory over Scotland due to a hamstring niggle.

He also missed Ireland’s landmark first win over the All Blacks in 2016 in Chicago through suspension, a result, masterminded by Schmidt, which he credits for helping to improve Ireland’s self-image.

“As Irish people, we can lack a lot of confidence and be a small bit too humble at times,” he said.

“We’ve done an awful lot of work on ourselves to believe that we can play a certain brand of rugby that can make us compete with anyone in the world.”

Courtney Lawes insists England have forged an identity based on self-sacrifice as the personalities of the World Cup heavyweights begin to emerge.

England have crushed Argentina, Japan and Chile to claim a quarter-final place as Pool D winners with a match to spare and their procession through the group phase will be completed against Samoa on Saturday.

Expectation is rising, even allowing for the fact they have been gifted the easiest route into the knockout phase, but the likes of Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand have been making greater waves.

After the All Blacks’ 14-try rout of Italy on Friday, head coach Ian Foster made a pointed reference to the grinding nature of Ireland’s seismic victory over the Springboks.

“If you look at the South Africa-Ireland game, it was a different game of rugby,” Foster said.

“The ball was in play for 27 minutes throughout the whole game. It was a very stop-start game, very physical, very combative.

“You saw a different spectacle from us and at some point the world has got to decide which game it would rather watch.”

Lawes sees room for all playing styles and is satisfied with the traits developed by Steve Borthwick’s side.

“Our way is the England way. Doing it our way is doing it for each other,” the Northampton back row said.

“I like that it’s now really obvious what is every team’s DNA and what they’re trying to do. All the top teams have got really different genetics as a team, if you will – a team strategy.

“It’ll be interesting when they play each other how that is going to play off. I think that’s really good for us as players to see and be a part of.

“We’re a really strong defensive team. That’s our backbone. We’ve conceded one try in three games. We’re an aerial, kicking team and are very good at getting the ball back.

“We’re looking to build an attack off that, and hopefully by the time we get later on in the tournament that is where we want to be, and we will show a bit of a different side to us.

“Especially at the 2019 World Cup and this time, in terms of a team of players, we are so much more selfless.

“We want to play, we want to go out there and put our bodies on the line for each other and that is what really makes a difference when it hits the fan and you are under the cosh.

“You have got to want to get into it for each other or you get found out pretty quickly.

“We know what works, we want everybody to buy in, we do this for each other, not for ourselves.

“We hit a ruck and forego the glory so we can get the ball and someone else can score.

“Those are the things we pride ourselves on as a team and what we want to carry on into the future as well.”

New Zealand would have been better off biding their time before announcing Ian Foster's replacement, according to former head coach Steve Hansen.

The All Blacks confirmed on Tuesday that Crusaders coach Scott Robertson will succeed Foster after this year's Rugby World Cup in France.

Robertson, who lost out to Foster on the position when Hansen stood down four years ago, has been handed a deal that will run through until after the next World Cup in 2027.

Foster revealed earlier this month he would not be reapplying for the job when his contract expires in November. 

The 57-year-old questioned New Zealand Rugby (NZR)'s decision to find his successor while their tournament preparations are in full swing.

NZR said "significant competition for elite coaching talent" forced them to act now, but Hansen believes that decision may backfire.

"I think they got burned last time so they were worried about that," he told The Platform podcast. "What they didn't take into account was everybody had their coaching sorted.

"In my opinion, they would have been better to wait, but in their opinion they wanted to push the button and they've done that.

"They're in charge of New Zealand Rugby, so it's them that die and fall on these decisions.

"Just like coaches there's got to be repercussions if it doesn't work. If it does work, well they've been super."

Robertson played 23 Tests for New Zealand and has been praised for his work since moving into coaching, having won six successive Super Rugby titles with Crusaders.

That made Robertson an obvious contender to take over as the All Blacks' next head coach, but Hansen questioned NZR's handling of the situation.

"It doesn't come as a surprise because he's been offered the job. [Foster] fought back and maintained it [last year]. He was obviously the prime candidate," Hansen said.

"I don't know who else applied and they're not telling us, so I think [NZR's] leading us in the dark whether there was more than one candidate or not."

New Zealand, who are third in the rankings, begin their Rugby World Cup campaign against hosts France before facing Namibia, Italy and Uruguay.

A decision on New Zealand's next head coach following the Rugby World Cup in France will come in the next six weeks.

Ian Foster has confirmed he will not reapply for his role, having previously urged New Zealand Rugby (NZR) to wait until after September's World Cup to decide his successor.

However, competition for talent in the global rugby market has forced NZR's hand to begin the hunt sooner and the process is now under way.

"Following wide-ranging consultation and after carefully weighing up all scenarios and the key lessons from 2019, New Zealand Rugby is now commencing a process for selecting the All Blacks Head Coach from 2024," NZR chairwoman Patsy Reddy said in a statement.

"Noting the divergent views as to the best timings for this process and that neither timing window is perfect, out of respect for the people involved, New Zealand Rugby will not be making any further comment after today until a decision has been reached. This will be concluded in the next four to six weeks."

Scott Robertson is widely considered to be the leading candidate for the role, having lost out to Foster in 2019 but overseeing success with the Canterbury Crusaders since.

New Zealand meet Italy, Uruguay, Namibia and hosts France in the pool stage of the Rugby World Cup.

Eddie Jones hailed England's spirit after they overcame a "baptism of fire" to fight back from 19 points down in an incredible draw with New Zealand.

New Zealand looked destined to clinch a seventh consecutive victory when they entered the final 10 minutes with a comfortable 25-6 lead at Twickenham.

However, Beauden Barrett's late yellow card facilitated a remarkable collapse from the All Blacks, as England replacement Will Stuart crossed over twice either side of Freddie Steward in a dramatic finish, leaving Jones enthused.

"I thought we played with tremendous spirit in the first half. New Zealand were superb in the first half, and I can't recall New Zealand playing as well as they did," Jones said.

"[They were] aggressive, sharp around the ruck, attacking kicks. We just had to hang in there.

"We hung in there and hung in there, and then at the start of the second half, we were able to put some pressure back on them. 

"In the first 20 minutes of the second half I thought we were the dominant team, but it didn't convert to any points.

"All of a sudden, someone blows some magic dust and the passes start to click, the lines are a bit sharper, and I thought our finishers came on and really improved the game we wanted to play. Sometimes that happens.

"It's a good moment for the team, there's a lot of guys out there playing their first Tests against New Zealand, and sometimes that can be a bit of a daunting experience, because they go after you.

"You've got to be able to handle that baptism of fire, and sometimes you don't. But you've got to learn from it, and the next time they play them, they'll be better."

Having overseen wins over Wales and Scotland in the All Blacks' previous two outings, New Zealand coach Ian Foster said the nature of England's revival meant the draw felt like a defeat. 

"Seventy minutes in control, and then 10 minutes, a combination of a yellow card that fired them up, and they got a lot of quick ball against us. We got passive defensively for some reason," Foster said.

"At the end of the day, it’s a draw we probably let slip. But there was still a lot of good rugby I was proud of.

"It's a team that's grown strong. We nailed two games and drew the third. It's not a loss, but it feels like that a little bit at the moment."

Page 1 of 4
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.