test match

Hodge to face All Blacks at first-five as Wallabies ring the changes

With James O'Connor still struggling with a knee injury that ruled him out of last weekend's record 43-5 loss to the All Blacks, 42-test veteran Hodge was named in the side in place of Noah Lolesio, who had a poor game on debut in Sydney.

An injury to lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto also forced a change in the second row with Rob Simmons set to earn his 104th cap alongside Matt Philip in the fourth Bledisloe Cup clash, that doubles as a Tri-Nations match.

The All Blacks have already sealed the Bledisloe Cup series.

Lions to play Japan

The Lions will host the Brave Blossoms in Edinburgh next June ahead of their tour of South Africa.

It will mark just the third time the Lions have played on home soil following games in Cardiff against Argentina in 2005 and a Rest of the World XV in 1986.

"We saw Japan play some excellent rugby during the World Cup and they will come to Edinburgh fully-motivated to win," Lions head coach Warren Gatland said.

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph said it was a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" for the players.

The Lions play South Africa in three tests in July-August.

FNRL works on Bati end of year test against Tonga

FBC News reports the FNRL is anticipating an end of the year test between the Fiji Bati and the invitational Tonga side as a build-up to the Rugby League World Cup next year.

The International Rugby League has expelled Tonga after a long-running battle over governance, money and a threatened player boycott but FNRL interim chief executive Don Natabe said the IRL has adopted a structure that will allow Tonga to play Fiji as an invitational side.

Sonny Bill Williams’ Samoa v Jason Taumalolo’s Tonga set to go ahead in America

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that promoter Paul Langi Kinikini wants to cough up the cash to bring the two mega stars to Utah.

The city has a large Tonga population and if it gets approved by international chiefs would be played in Salt Lake City.

League authorities would be wise to examine the fallout from the Kiwis vs England Test in Denver in 2018, which saw both the New Zealand and English federations out of pocket following Jason Moore’s failed event.

But Kinikini told The Sydney Morning Herald he didn’t have an issue with paying the cash up front.

Australia claim crushing win over Pakistan in first Test

Pakistan were bowled out for 335 in their second innings as Australia wrapped up victory inside four days in Brisbane.

Despite Babar Azam's brilliant century and a 95-run knock from Mohammad Rizwan, Australia were not to be denied – paceman Josh Hazlewood leading the way with figures of 4-63.

Pakistan resumed on 64-3 and faced a heavy defeat after man of the match Marnus Labuschagne and David Warner put Australia in a dominant position at 580, in reply to Pakistan's first-innings 240.

That'll do it!

Tonga look to the future after Kiwis defeat

The Kingdom were beaten 36-14 in their Oceania Cup rugby league test in Auckland, as the Kiwis made them pay for any defensive lapses.

Head coach Kristian Woolf said they played well for large periods of the match but were punished for defensive flaws.

"We had plenty of opportunities there at different times and just couldn't quite crack their line," he said.

Taumalolo ready for another sea of red in New Zealand

Taumalolo says it is always overwhelming to see such support and they are looking forward to seeing the same turn out as the last one.

“It’s obviously hard to put in words. I guess the feeling does not become overwhelming until you take the field. So to be there alongside a crowd wearing red all around and singing the national anthem that’s when it really hits,” he said in an interview with NRL.com

Taumalolo said whenever fans sing a hymn or cheer that gives the boys a lift.

All Blacks to play Tonga in Hamilton in 2019

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew revealed details of the additional Test match fixture on the All Blacks' 2019 calendar. The match will be played at FMG Stadium, Waikato, on Saturday 7 September. It will be a hit-out for the Rugby World Cup 2019 squad, and it will be the first All Blacks Test match in Hamilton since 2016.

All Blacks playmaker says the game changes in Europe

All Blacks five-eighth Barrett helped engineer the comeback from 15-0 down against England at Twickenham, withstanding wet conditions and a smothering rush defence from the hosts.

The effervescent playmaker landed a dropped goal and all his shots at goal during the tense 16-15 arm-wrestle win.

It's the sort of contest that could be mirrored in Saturday's clash with world No.2 Ireland in Dublin.

It will require another change of mindset at the tail end of an All Blacks season in which their 11 Tests before arriving at Twickenham averaged nine tries per match.

Springbok captain expects all-out assault from All Blacks

After a surprise away win in New Zealand last month, Kolisi is awaiting a backlash in the last match for both teams in this year's southern hemisphere competition.

"Obviously the All Blacks have already won the Rugby Championship, but we have heard them speaking of the fact that they are coming here with a real desire to win this one," Kolisi said.

South Africa's 36-34 win in Wellington was only the fourth time the New Zealanders have lost since they won the 2015 World Cup.