Rugby headlines as All Blacks come out fighting overnight amid calls for them to be removed

These are your rugby headlines for Saturday, August 21

Boks: We’ll host remainder of Rugby Championship

South Africa have confirmed they have offered to host the remaining fixtures of the Rugby Championship.

The tournament was plunged into chaos this week after New Zealand pulled out hosting two games against the Springboks, adding that they would not be facing Australia next week either.

The tightening of government regulations on travel and quarantine due to Covid was the reasoning behind the decision.

Now the Boks have offered to host the remaining outstanding fixtures.

The northern hemisphere is the other possible destination for the rest of the tournament, with Cardiff’s Principality Stadium touted as a host venue.

The world champions, who saw off the British Lions 2-1 in their summer Test series, are currently hosting Argentina in the opening two games of their Rugby Championship campaign, with the second of those fixtures kicking off today.

‘All Blacks should withdraw!’

There have been calls in South Africa for New Zealand to be removed from the Rugby Championship after pulling the plug on their third Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia next weekend.

New Zealand sparked anger and chaos on Friday by announcing they would not be travelling to Perth amid Covid restrictions. They also cancelled matches against South Africa later in the tournament.

None of the other teams knew the New Zealand announcement was coming.

South African rugby journalist Mark Keohane believes it’s time for the Springboks to join the Six Nations. He wrote on his website : “The New Zealand Rugby Union, in the way its leadership conducted itself during Super Rugby and now during the Rugby Championship, is self-serving, about the All Blacks only and has no meaningful investment in the SANZAAR alliance, outside of how it serves New Zealand.

“If the All Blacks can’t make their games, then they should forfeit the points or they should withdraw from the tournament and allow Australia, South Africa and Argentina to get on with it.”

“There has been an ongoing call for the Springboks to be added to an expanded Six Nations or replace the tournament’s whipping boys Italy. Half the Springboks test squad plays for clubs up north and the South African rugby alignment should be on a flight to London and not Sydney.

“If Italy’s place is non-negotiable, then add the Springboks and Argentina to an expanded Six Nations and make it the most sought after international annual tournament with these eight nations. Let New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the Pacific Islands have their international tournament.”

New Zealand hit back

The All Blacks have hit back this morning after facing a barrage of criticism from the Wallabies, South Africa and SANZAAR over their decision and perceived lack of consultation.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie described himself as “bloody angry”, revealing he and his players found out the game was off via social media. Rugby Australia boss Any Marinos also expressed his annoyance at finding out through the media.

But New Zealand Rugby chief Mark Richardson dismissed the reaction, telling Newstalk ZB: “Certainly I know that senior All Blacks and Wallabies were discussing the situation and our players were making them aware of the reality of our situation.

“It’s a shame that it couldn’t get back to Dave and some of the people he’s referring to.

“I haven’t read all of his comments, but my understanding of some reference to no consultation, that’s simply not true.

“We had calls right through from sort of Wednesday, Thursday; we put something in writing on Thursday, and then we spoke to them (Rugby Australia) before anything was released.

“I have real sympathy for Dave.

“I’d have thought there’d have been talking in the days up to when this came a possibility, that there would have been communication within Rugby Australia to identify this as a possibility.”

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Kefu opens up on violent break-in

Australia legend Toutai Kefu has revealed extensive details of the shocking break-in at his Brisbane home in which he stabbed.

The Tonga coach opened up on the incident which saw his wife suffer injuries that she may never recover from.

“I’m taking it day-by-day,” he said.

“At times, there are outbursts of crying.”

The family were awoken by intruders in the early hours of Monday morning, and Kefu’s wife was the first to hear the disturbance.

“She heard a bit of a rustle downstairs, as she got up, had a look outside, she noticed the car across the road, but she thought it was an Uber driver dropping someone off and then she went back to bed,” he said.

“She thought maybe a possum had gone in the house, so she went downstairs and that’s what she was confronted by, the two intruders, and let out this shrieky kind of scream [and] I jumped out of bed.”

Kefu also revealed the injuries that the pair sustained in the break-in.

“It was quite a lot of blood and they had actually nicked [my] liver,” he said, before adding about his wife: “I don’t think she’ll get 100 per cent use of her arm but she’s still alive.

“At one stage, the doctor said to her if the blade was sharper it could have cut her whole arm off.

“The bone actually stopped the blade. It was really graphic and she’s a trooper, old Rach.”

Four boys aged between 13 and 15 have since been charged.

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