Tuesday’s rugby news has another front-row injury, the All Blacks fit and healthy, Australia crowned wheelchair rugby champs and Hosea Gear back in NZ.
More front-row changes
Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu has broken his arm playing for Sydney Uni in the team’s Shute Shield semi-final loss on Sunday, joining fellow front-rowers Laurie Weeks (hamstring), Tatafu Polota-Nau (knee) and Stephen Moore (knee) on the sidelines. Queensland Reds hooker Saia Fainga’a has been called into the Wallabies squad but Test prop Sekope Kepu believes that Australia’s front-row depth will hold up.
“It’s not like you’re pulling guys that haven’t played at Super Rugby level and guys like [James] Hanson and [Nathan] Charles have played massive amounts of games this year,” he said. Kepu also said he has looked at ways to nullify Wyatt Crockett after the Crusaders scrum started to dominate during the second half of the final. [/one_half]
All Blacks refreshed
While the Wallaby squad is feeling their depth threatened at key positions, the All Blacks have emphasised their relaxed build up to the Bledisloe Cup. Assistant coach Ian Foster believes that the team’s leisurely week and a-half training period has been good for the squad. “It felt like the guys were fresh, bouncing around rather than us dragging them around the park, and you feel a real freshness in the attitude,” he said.
Foster also downplayed the effect of the Australian Super Rugby success this year, saying that while the Waratahs contingent will bring a bit more confidence into the match, the Test arena is a completely different environment. The entire All Blacks squad have been able to take part in this week’s training. [/one_half]
Australia win world champs
The Australian wheelchair rugby team are now the world champions, defeating Canada 67-56 in the physical final on Sunday. The win breaks the North American stranglehold on the sport, with the U.S. winning four times and Canada the other two years of the competition.
“World champions, Paralympic champions, this team just keeps getting better,” coach Brad Dubberley said. “It’s a huge accomplishment.” Veteran Ryley Batt was unstoppable, scoring 45 goals in the final. [/one_half]
Hosea returns to Chiefs for RWC
Former All Blacks winger Hosea Gear will return to Super Rugby in an attempt to crack the New Zealand 2015 World Cup squad. Gear, who recently joined the Honda Japanese rugby side until early next February, has signed a one-year contract with the Chiefs for next year’s competition.
“He’s a good man, very professional and experienced,” said Chiefs coach Dave Rennie. “He’s also a hell of a player, powerful, quick and a quality finisher.” If Gear can show some Super Rugby form he will be able to add to his 14 tests in Steve Hansen’s RWC side. [/one_half]