Alan Dymock is the Features Editor for Rugby World magazine. (CNN)In its entire history, Ireland has never made it past the quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup. In eight attempts, it has failed to make it into the last four -- and in 1999 lost a play-off to make the quarters, against Argentina, while in 2007 the men in green couldn't get past the initial pool stage. Yet after Irish exploits in 2018, hope swelled that the Rugby World Cup in Japan the next year would be very, very different. That year Ireland won a Six Nations grand slam, defeating all its northern hemisphere rivals. On the summer tour Ireland won a series away to Australia, 2-1. In November, as well as beating Italy, Argentina and the US, it toppled the world No. 1 All Blacks 16-9 in Dublin. At the World Rugby awards at the end of the year, coach Joe Schmidt was named coach of the year, fly-half Johnny Sexton was player of the year, and the side won team of the year. Read More Ireland was on a roll... But … [Read more...] about Can Ireland reignite Rugby World Cup hopes?
2011 rugby world cup
With Damian McKenzie's season-ending injury testing their first-five depth, the All Blacks may have to look offshore for a third-string pivot for the Rugby World Cup. While Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga are essentially locks for the first two spots, the third now seems an area of genuine concern for Steve Hansen and co. Could that mean an SOS to bring home Aaron Cruden from France? All Blacks great Sir John Kirwan believes that's precisely where the answer lies. Kirwan told Sky Sport's The Breakdown that selectors should consider an attempt to bring the 50-test international back to help defend the World Cup in Japan. All Blacks star ruled out of World Cup All Blacks can fill McKenzie void Black jersey not a focus for Otere The 30-year-old has fallen out of favour with his Montpellier club, after a run of injuries saw him sidelined for more than half of the struggling club's Top 14 fixtures last season. "I think Cruden's the best," Kirwan said. "His club doesn't like him, but … [Read more...] about Rugby World Cup 2019: Could Aaron Cruden be All Blacks bolter?
Ma'a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams could end up fighting for the last spot in the All Blacks World Cup midfield, after coach Steve Hansen gave both veterans ringing endorsements. The battle for the inside-centre jersey is the most intense of any facing Hansen, as he weighs up the merits of some highly accomplished performers against Blues stalwarts Nonu and Williams, who were involved in New Zealand's triumphant campaigns of 2011 and 2015. Nonu, 36, also played in the 2003 World Cup, in the formative stages of a 103-test career. Damian McKenzie ruled out of Rugby World Cup New Zealand Super Rugby Team of the Week Hansen confident All Blacks can fill McKenzie void The 2015 final at Twickenham was thought to be his swansong, but after three seasons with French club Toulon, he has produced compelling displays in the last two rounds of Super Rugby. Hansen acknowledged Nonu's form, before explaining why he wasn't included in a 41-strong player 'foundation day' in Wellington on … [Read more...] about Rugby World Cup 2019: Midfield mix looms as All Blacks’ toughest selection
Wales now loom as the All Blacks' biggest threat at the Rugby World Cup, leaping to second on world rankings, after their Six Nations Grand Slam. Under the guidance of Kiwi Warren Gatland, the Welsh cemented their northern hemisphere domination with a 25-7 win over Ireland on Sunday (NZT) saw them hurdle their rivals on the latest global list. And former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick considers Gatland could step into the NZ national team head coaching role, when it becomes vacant after the world tournament. Kiwis dedicate Six Nations results to Christchurch Wales thump Ireland to win Grand Slam New Zealand are seeking a three-peat of titles in Japan later this year. "Obviously not living in New Zealand, I'm not sure what process they're going through," he told Trackside Radio from England. "New Zealand's very keen on developing their own and employing from within. "I think the result of the World Cup will have a bearing on that and if the All Blacks win the World Cup, I'm sure … [Read more...] about Rugby World Cup 2019: Wales pose threat to All Blacks dynasty after Six Nations win
There are five major world cups in sport in 2019, Jamie Wall kicks us off with the one most New Zealanders will know about - the Rugby World Cup. Graphic: Michel Mulipola When and where is the Rugby World Cup? Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few years, you should know that the sport's showpiece tournament will be held in Japan for the very first time. From 20 September through to the final on 2 November, the All Blacks will mostly be based in Tokyo - with a couple of pool games held in Oita and Toyota City. There are 12 venues in total across the length of Japan, which is roughly the same size as New Zealand geographically. Population-wise, it's a different story, in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area alone there are 38 million people out of a national population of 127 million. So it's fair to say they're not going to have many problems filling the seats in the stadiums. What advantages do the All Blacks have at the Rugby World Cup? The All Blacks are the two … [Read more...] about Year of the Cups: Rugby World Cup 2019