Rugby World Cup 2023 Daily: Aaron Smith, Sam Whitelock proof still plenty of life in old dogs

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These daily files will give you the latest reports surrounding the World Cup as well as betting lines, what to watch for information and best reads. Check in with ESPN throughout the tournament as we bring you the latest from France.

Rugby World Cup 2023: squads | schedule | Standing | podcast | injury


Lead: Smith, Whitelock Evidence Still Old Dog Life Abounds

The All Blacks turned in one of the greatest attacking displays in Rugby World Cup history to beat Italy 96-17 in Lyon on Friday night, earning themselves a possible quarter-final date with Ireland in the process.

Almost everything New Zealand touched turned to gold, as they ran in 14 tries with pinpoint crossfield kicks, brilliant short passes, daring offloads and set-pieces and breakdowns with an authority that would have pleased coach Ian Foster best.

And then there was veteran scrum-half Aaron Smith, who scored a maiden Test hat-trick in his 122nd international appearance, showing that Cam Roiggaard could be his heir apparent after the World Cup, even at the age of 34. Try them with the best.

Smith was the beneficiary of an All Blacks rolling maul early on, then Cody Taylor raced on from a short-side pass and turned inside to score his second, before completing the treble with a classic no. 9’s support line to take a pass from Jordy Barrett and run under the sticks.

Even better, all three five-pointers came in the game’s opening 34 minutes.

“I don’t think I scored a hat-trick [in] first class [rugby] Ever,” Smith said of his efforts after the match. “Maybe when I was eight.

“But I was grateful to get another game, and any try is a great try, but a couple of games were really nice and special. But when the team and the forward pack are playing like that, you’re just looking for opportunities or cracks, and seeing them and taking them. our work

“And the forwards were outstanding tonight, the platform they gave us, and when we won the penalty and kicked in the 22, we were quite dangerous when we played our part.”

It was also a special night for Sam Whitelock, who overtook two-time World Cup-winning captain Richie Mack to top New Zealand’s Test cap chart to become the most capped All Black of all time.

“It was really special on a personal level, I had some really great moments this week, some people said some great things; some videos, some calls, some texts. I didn’t read them all, but I was able to read some of them, and stop and slow. It’s been really cool to be on the pace and enjoy some of those messages,” Whitelock said.

Asked to share one of the aforementioned messages, Whitelock spoke of Brad Thorn’s influence on his young career when he first started at Crusaders.

“I saw Brad Thorn a few weeks ago, and he sent a couple [of texts]He was there for me at the beginning, and he really set me up to be successful,” Whitelock said. “And he used to tell Wayne Franks and myself before we even played a Test match that we would play 100. , it’s really nice to reconnect with him and see his beautiful family, and reminisce about some of the things we used to do in the first few years.”


around the cup

Kolisi is about to rise to new heights as captain in the 50th Test

Siya Kolisi will captain South Africa for what must have been a 50th time in Pool B of the Rugby World Cup with Tonga in Marseille on Sunday, something that seemed fanciful in his early years when putting food on the table was a daily challenge.

The flanker has become an iconic figure in the game after helping his team to the 2019 World Cup title in Japan, and is arguably South Africa’s most loved athlete. Only John Smit has 83 Tests as Springbok captain.

Growing up in poverty-stricken Zwede, Kolisi never dreamed of becoming the symbol of a united team for South Africa.

“I played rugby because I enjoyed it, it kept me out of trouble and most of my friends played. I certainly didn’t think I would be sitting here now,” he told reporters on Friday.

Hissey’s captain’s journey began with the Stormers in 2017 when he was captained by former Bok center Robbie Fleck and Kolisi admitted it took time to adapt to his new responsibilities.

“I’ve always been the joker in the team, the mischievous one. Coach Flecky came to my wedding and listened to me. After that he said, ‘I think you should lead the team’,” Kolisi said.

“He gave me the captaincy but it took a while. I was always the last one at the party, the drunkest at the party and now I must be something else.”

Bok director of rugby Rassie Erasmus also saw Kolisi’s leadership and symbolized making him South Africa’s first black captain a year later in 2018.

“Coach Rasi has known me since I was 17, Jacques (Niaber) since I was 18. They know what kind of person I am, and they built things around me.

“In my mind, being the captain of the Springboks is already a big thing, but it means a lot more to a lot of people and I didn’t realize the weight of that.

“I’m lucky to have the players in our team; Duane (Vermeulen), Eben (Etzbeth), Pieter-Steph (Du Toit) and Handre Pollard. I couldn’t have done it without me. The guys we have.”

– Reuters

Japan is already waiting to see the ‘Grand Final’ against Argentina

Japan quickly turned their attention to their Pool D decider against Argentina after beating Samoa 28-22 on Thursday to reach their second straight quarter-final at the Rugby World Cup.

The Brave Blossoms were on top of everything in Toulouse and won by three tries with 13 points from the boots of Peter Labuschen, Michael Leitch, Kazuki Himeno and Rikiya Matsuda.

Samoa red carded Ben Lam early in the second half and that helped Japan although the Pacific side made a late comeback with a penalty and a Christian Liali’fano try.

The result leaves Japan in second place with nine points, three ahead of third-placed Samoa. England, with 14 points, qualified for the last eight as Pool D winners.

Argentina play Chile on Saturday and a bonus win would see them level with Japan ahead of their clash next week.

“It’s our grand final, isn’t it? We’ve got a chance to play a Tier One team we’ve played a few times before,” Japan coach Jamie Joseph said.

“All the guys are going to be really excited for it – it’s a big game for us.”

Argentina won their last encounter 54-20 in 2016 and won their only World Cup meeting 33-12 in 1999, but Japan have improved since then while the Pumas have struggled recently.

To get there, Samoa made Japan work hard, with their physical capabilities pushing the Asian team to the limit.

“It was a really tough game and we had to work hard to win. Well done to the Samoan boys – they really took it to us,” said Joseph, praising his side’s defence.

“They’re big guys, aren’t they? They got on top of us at times and we really had to keep it up for the whole game,” he added.

“The promise was definitely there but there was one or two things to work on for next week.”

– Reuters


Match preview

Argentina vs Chile

tab(tab.com.au): Argentina $SUSP, -47.5 $1.85, Chile $51, +47.5 $1.95

What a moment it is for South American rugby, the first ever World Cup match between two countries from the continent. Chile arrive in France with some rugby fans knowing little of their history or abilities, but they will leave with many admirers for their attacking efforts, despite their heavy losses. Sadly there will be one more before heading to European shores, with the Pumas trying to find some attacking rhythm ahead of next week’s big clash with Japan. They are without key Test regulars Emiliano Boffelli, Pablo Matera and captain Julian Montoya, who has given coach Michael Cheika the week off, but Argentina will still be desperate to build some momentum – and find that fluidity – ahead of the Brave Blossoms clash. Missing the first few weeks of the tournament. Pumas will be comfortable winners.

Fiji vs Georgia

tab(tab.com.au): Fiji $1.08, (-17.5) $1.90, Georgia $8, (+17.5) $1.90

Fiji can also make their first quarter-final appearance since 2007 in France with a bonus-point win over Georgia on Saturday evening. Fresh off a week’s rest, and their 69-year history-breaking win over the Wallabies, the Pacific Islanders will be buoyed by the chance to make more history in the coming weeks. And they now have the game to do so, displaying a defensive tenacity against Australia and a ferocity at the breakdown rarely seen in Fijian rugby. At the same time they still possess an array of attacking weapons, with the added bonus of Simeon Kuruvoli’s newfound accuracy from the kicking tee. Georgia, meanwhile, were disappointing in their 18-all draw with Portugal, who they narrowly lost to, and will need to find something special if they are to have any chance of stopping the Fijians’ campaign. The Europeans will look to apply pressure in scrum time, and have improved in their own attack in recent times, but they are prone to mistakes and poor decisions under pressure, and that could be the difference here.

Scotland v Romania

tab(tab.com.au): Scotland SUSP, (-59.5) $.190, Romania $51, (+59.5) $1.90

Now it’s Scotland’s turn to turn the heat on the hapless Romanians, and in the process try to build some momentum ahead of next week’s pool-defining clash with Ireland. Coach Gregor Townsend has made a number of changes, resting key men Finn Russell, Jamie Ritchie and Doohan van der Merwe for next week’s big clash, but that will matter little here with the Scots piling on the points. Romania showed no improvement in the tournament and were predicted to whip the boys every inch, so a few tries here would be a decent result. They will be happy when the final whistle blows, knowing that slightly less clinical Tongans await them next weekend.


news of the day

As Eddie Jones questions his post-World Cup future and continues to weave, the Wallabies boss refuses to give a definitive answer on whether he will remain Australia’s coach next year. Asked if he would stay with the Wallabies through their current struggles, Jones said: “I think I’ve said that before. I know you’re going down that track. I am focusing on the Portugal game. I’m 100% “committed to the job and I’ve said it before. And I know you want to ask and you can keep asking. I appreciate your interest.”

full story


Top features of the day

Magic All Blacks oust Italy – but to what end will it serve?

New Zealand resembled the All Blacks of old in Lyon on Friday night, running up a monstrous score against Italy, but the question must be asked: what purpose does an attacking attack serve when bigger challenges lie ahead? Written by Sam Bruce.

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