New Zealand’s All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen says focus is on the World Cup. Reuters
New Zealand began the on-field build-up to their defence of the World Cup with a scratch combination and a scratchy 20-16 win over Argentina in the Rugby Championship on Saturday.
South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus described debutant Herschel Jantjies as “awesome” after the 23-year-old scrum-half scored two tries in a 35-17 triumph over Australia in their opening Rugby Championship clash on Saturday.
With the Rugby Championship being seen as little more than a World Cup warmup for the southern hemisphere’s top four nations the abridged tournament could produce a surprise or two amid the tinkering with tactics and selections.
Cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams was benched and fellow centre Ryan Crotty missed out altogether as New Zealand named their team for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Ireland.
Bottom club Ittihad Kalba will look to bounce back to give their new coach a winning debut when they take on Fujairah in the fourth round match of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) on Friday.