Fitzpatrick: Lomu – our strength and weakness

Sean Fitzpatrick on the charge during the RWC 1995 quarter-final win over Scotland. Photo: Getty Images

Sean Fitzpatrick on the charge during the RWC 1995 quarter-final win over Scotland. Photo: Getty Images

As the most successful captain of the most successful team of all time, Sean Fitzpatrick knows a thing or two about winning.

A world champion just 16 days after his 24th birthday, Fitzpatrick went on to earn 92 caps for New Zealand, 62 of them as captain.

He experienced far more wins (74) than losses (16) as an All Black before a knee injury forced his retirement from the game 10 years after New Zealand first lifted the Webb Ellis Cup.

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Filed under All Blacks, Focus on rwc, IRB

Alofa relishing Nadolo challenge

Alofa Alofa keen to put his body on the line. Photo: Skysports

Alofa Alofa keen to put his body on the line. Photo: Skysports

Waratahs wing Alofa Alofa is ready to put his body on the line when he lines up against the Crusaders’ Nemani Nadolo in Saturday’s final in Sydney.

Alofa will be playing in his last match for the Sydneysiders before heading off to Top 14 outfit La Rochelle and he knows he will have to be at his best when he marks the much bigger Nadolo, who has been one of the Crusaders’ main attacking weapons this season.

Nadolo weighs 125 kilograms and is 1.94 metres tall which makes him more than 30kg heavier and almost 10 centimetres taller than Alofa, who is relishing the challenge of taking on the bigger man.

“I’m going to throw my body on the line and put it in for the team, if I do get picked this week,” he told New Zealand’s Newswire.

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Filed under Fijian players, Flying Fijians, Pacific Islanders, Super Rugby, Tonga

Ex-All Blacks keen to switch allegiance

Anthony Tuitavake could be in Tongan colours in RWC next year. Photo: Skysports

Anthony Tuitavake could be in Tongan colours in the RWC next year. Photo: Skysports

A number of former All Blacks have confirmed that they intend to make themselves available for other countries at next year’s World Cup.

A loophole in the IRB’s Olympic Sevens qualifying regulations which allows capped players the opportunity to swap countries could open the way for the likes of ex-All Blacks Anthony Tuitavake, Sam Tuitupou and ex-Wallabies Mark Gerrard and Sitaleki Timani to represent the Pacific Island nations for which they hold passports.

In 2013, the IRB created an exemption to Regulation 8 governing eligibility for the Rio Olympics. It applies with a stand down period of 18 months for Rio, thereafter it will be three years.

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Filed under All Blacks, Focus on rwc, Switch Allegiance, William Webb-Ellis Cup

Sevens to go to a six-day affair in Rio

For real . . . South Africa wins gold in Glasgow after defeating New Zealand 17-12 in the final. Photo: Skysports

For real . . . South Africa wins gold in Glasgow after defeating New Zealand 17-12 in the final. Photo: Skysports

Rugby sevens’ debut at the Rio Olympics is set to be extended to a six-day event from the weekend festival that’s become commonplace at the Commonwealth Games and on the IRB world circuit.

But IRB chief executive officer Brett Gosper insists the integrity of the high intensity game won’t be compromised.

IOC officials have advised the IRB to try to increase the visibility of their sport if they wish to ensure sevens lasts longer than the guarantee of two Olympics it’s been given so far.

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Filed under Commonwealth Games, Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, Sevens

McKenzie eyes All Black scalp

Ewen McKenzie believes the Aussies can beat the All Blacks next month. Photo: Skysports

Ewen McKenzie believes the Aussies can beat the All Blacks next month. Photo: Skysports

Australia head coach Ewen McKenzie believes his charges are showing the signs they are ready to defeat New Zealand in the Rugby Championship.

Since losing to the All Blacks the last time they played them, 41-33 in October, the Wallabies have gone on to win seven internationals in a row.

And ahead of the tournament which they are third favourites to win, McKenzie is adamant they are heading in the right direction to claim victory.

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Filed under All Blacks, International, Wallabies

South Africa wrest gold from Kiwis

South Africa's Warren Whiteley attacks in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Photo: Skysports

South Africa’s Warren Whiteley attacks in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Photo: Skysports

South Africa made history by handing New Zealand their first ever Commonwealth Games defeat to take Gold in Glasgow.

Brilliance from the Blitzbokke, even without captain Kyle Brown for the whole contest, marked a special moment.

Cecil Afrika, who had been the flagbearer for South Africa at the opening ceremony, scored the crucial try that separated the two teams in the end.

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Filed under Commonwealth Games, Sevens

Waratahs to meet Crusaders final

The Waratahs scored a couple of cracking tries but their defence won them into the Super Rugby final. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

The Waratahs scored a couple of cracking tries but their defence won them into the Super Rugby final. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

The NSW Waratahs have outclassed the Brumbies 26-8 in a tense Super Rugby derby to set up a blockbuster final with the Crusaders.

Almost 40,000 fans packed into Allianz Stadium to see the Waratahs grimly defend their fortress and convert their only three try-scoring opportunities to earn a first title decider in Sydney.

After losing their only two previous finals to the Crusaders, the seven-time champions once again stand in the Waratahs’ way of an elusive maiden championship after thumping Jake White’s Sharks 38-6 in Saturday’s first semi in Christchurch.

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