Who’s hot and who’s not: All Blacks title win and Scotland duo sparkle, Leinster’s kit blunder and Wallabies

All Blacks celebrate with Bledisloe Cup while Eddie Jones looks on. Credit: Alamy

All Blacks celebrate with Bledisloe Cup while Eddie Jones looks on. Credit: Alamy

It’s time for our Monday wrap of who has their name in lights and who is making the headlines for all the wrong reasons after the weekend.

THEY’RE ON FIRE!

Ben Healy and Darcy Graham: Scotland kicked off their Rugby World Cup warm-up matches with a come-from-behind win over Italy that was thanks largely to the aforementioned pair. Healy, on his first international start, was excellent at fly-half as he controlled matters and clearly impressed head coach Gregor Townsend, who had nothing but praise for the number 10. Graham meanwhile picked up a couple of tries on his return to Test rugby, showing what an exciting talent he is. What a year it has been for Healy for Munster and now Scotland.

All Blacks wrap up the sweep: Few expected anything but an All Blacks victory over the Wallabies but to run out 38-7 winners was the icing on the Rugby Championship cake for New Zealand. Victory of course also locked up the Bledisloe Cup for an incredible 21st straight year as tries from Shannon Frizell, Codie Taylor, Will Jordan, Caleb Clarke, Mark Telea and Rieko Ioane helped put on a show. Suddenly they’re very much Rugby World Cup contenders as tournament rivals will no doubt have noted the All Blacks’ rapid improvements of late.

TV star Eddie Jones: The Wallabies boss was the talk of the town ahead of the Bledisloe I, creating a buzz with his comments about New Zealand sinking when the All Blacks lose. While Saturday’s resounding victory over the Wallabies proved they are very much afloat, we did enjoy Jones showing that he might have a future in advertising after two brilliant adverts were released last week starring the man himself.

Rugby World Cup draw changes: Better late than never, but really it should have been this year, as World Rugby boss Sir Bill Beaumont confirmed that the future draws for World Cups will be held “as late as possible”. The 2023 pool draw took place in December 2020, resulting in a lopsided line-up for the tournament where two of the current top four teams – France, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa – will not make it into the semi-finals. According to World Rugby’s chairman, this will change going forward, a move that can be widely celebrated.

Classy Crusaders farewell from Razor: This week marked Scott Robertson’s last at the Crusaders as he officially vacated his role as he prepares to take on the All Blacks job next year. The hugely successful and popular head coach took out a full-page ad in the newspaper ‘The Press’ to bid farewell to the fans, staff, players and family at the Crusaders – a typically classy touch from the incoming All Blacks head coach.

Flying Fijians and Japan: Fiji have one hand on the Pacific Nations Cup silverware after defeating Manu Samoa 33-19 in round two of the tournament. Simon Raiwalui has had an instant impact with the team, claiming back-to-back wins in charge of the side as they ramp up their preparations for this year’s Rugby World Cup. They are five points clear of second placed Japan, who they tackle in Tokyo this weekend, with the Brave Blossoms bouncing back from a round one loss to beat Tonga 21-16 over the weekend. It promises to be a great final round clash.

COLD AS ICE!

Wallabies rock bottom: So there we have it. Australia finish bottom of the Rugby Championship pile after three defeats in what’s been a nightmare start to Jones’ second tenure in the hot-seat. That hammering they suffered at the hands of the All Blacks is another blow to their morale ahead of the Rugby World Cup and with New Zealand in Dunedin next up before facing France in Paris, things do not get any easier for Australia. Yes, their World Cup draw is considered favourable in comparison to Pools A and B but if they don’t show signs of improving soon could an exit before the knockout stages be on the cards? That would be unthinkable for Australia but stranger things have happened.

Are they in or out? Steve Borthwick’s constant England World Cup training squad updates have left fans scratching their heads. While supporters will eventually get over a particular player missing out, or won’t, the England boss has been toying with the emotions of Bevan Rodd and Val Rapava-Ruskin. One week the former is out, and the latter is in, and the next, the opposite is true. Puzzling, to say the least.

Leinster’s kit supplier blunder: Leinster and their kit suppliers were left red-faced last week as images surfaced of their jerseys featuring five stars. The Irish province have controversially sported four stars on their United Rugby Championship jersey, representing the number of Champions Cup titles, but the criticism went up a notch when exclusive retail partner, Everlys, posted images of the new shirt with a fifth star on show. The mistake was quickly ridiculed online, as the kits were seemingly made before last season’s final, which Leinster ultimately lost.

Dai Young’s departure: Cardiff Rugby and Young parted ways last week following an extensive investigation into the director of rugby’s conduct after he was accused of bullying. After a thorough process, a barrister concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations and that no further action should take place. However, the events understandably took a toll on the relationship between the club and Young, who has now departed with the best wishes from the region. Cardiff are now searching for his successor ahead of the new season.

READ MORE: Rugby Championship Team of the Week: All Blacks dominate our side after Bledisloe Cup success

The article Who’s hot and who’s not: All Blacks title win and Scotland duo sparkle, Leinster’s kit blunder and Wallabies appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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