All Blacks draw Springboks in 2019 Rugby World Cup pool

Bill Beaumont, chairman of World Rugby, left, and Shinzo Abe, prime minister of Japan, pose with the William Webb Ellis Cup during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Pool Draw at the Kyoto State Guest House in Kyoto, western Japan Wednesday. (Reuters)
Updated 10 May 2017

All Blacks draw Springboks in 2019 Rugby World Cup pool

KYOTO, Japan: New Zealand will face archrival South Africa in the 2019 Rugby World Cup pool stage in Japan and Six Nations champion England was again drawn in the toughest pool of the tournament on Wednesday.
The All Blacks, the two-time defending champions, have never lost a pool game, but that record will be tested when they face the Springboks, the former two-time champions, in Pool B.
The Springboks won their biggest cup match, the 1995 final that was portrayed in the movie “Invictus,” but the All Blacks have won their last two cup matches, including in the 2015 semifinals.
It will be the first time the two nations meet in the pool stage.
“Any one of the top eight teams that you get paired up with are going to be tough,” New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen said. “In this case we get South Africa. They are a team that knows us well and we know them very well. There is a lot of good history between the two teams and it will be one of the games of the tournament.”
The draw took place 2 1/2 years ahead of the Rugby World Cup to allow organizers time to sort out the match schedule and ticketing, confirm venues, and arrange base camps.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was among the dignitaries to take part in the draw at the historic Kyoto Guest House. The 2019 tournament in Japan will be the first to be held in Asia and outside of the traditional rugby nations.
The draw featured the 12 teams that had booked places courtesy of a top-three pool finish at the 2015 World Cup in England.
England was drawn with France and Argentina in a grueling Pool C. Two-time champion Australia was with Wales and Georgia in Pool D. Host Japan was with Ireland and Scotland in Pool A.
England became the first host team to fail to advance from the pool stage in 2015 after it lost to Australia and Wales. The 1991 champions and two-time finalists face another arduous pool in Japan. France has reached three finals, and Argentina has made the semifinals of two of the last three World Cups. The others in the pool could be the United States or Canada, and Fiji or Samoa.
“Our pool will be highly competitive and full of intensity, as a World Cup group should be,” England coach Eddie Jones said. “History shows that you need to win seven games to win the tournament and we will greatly respect every team we play.”
There were gasps from the Japanese in the audience at the draw when the host side was paired with Scotland. Japan’s only loss in the 2015 World Cup pool stage was to Scotland, thanks to an unhelpful draw.
Japan shocked the World Cup by upsetting South Africa 34-32 on the opening weekend, but had to face Scotland just four days later. Scotland, fresh and playing its first match, beat Japan 45-10. Japan became the first winner of three pool matches to fail to reach the quarterfinals.


Vardy hits double in Leicester’s 8th straight victory

Updated 09 December 2019

Vardy hits double in Leicester’s 8th straight victory

  • Leicester takes the second-place team within eight points of Liverpool

BIRMINGHAM: Jamie Vardy scored for an eighth straight game for Premier League high-flyer Leicester on Sunday with a double in a 4-1 dismantling of Aston Villa.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans also scored to help Leicester set a new club record of eight consecutive top-flight wins and take the second-place team within eight points of Liverpool.

Jack Grealish did make it 2-1 just before the break but the Foxes were rarely in danger.

Brendan Rodgers’ side are 14 points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United in the pursuit of Champions League qualification.

“We are up there, we are challenging and playing well,” Evans told broadcaster Sky Sports. “Probably now, today, I think people are starting to talk more about that.

“Coming away from Villa with a really good performance, I think that’s the best Villa team we have played against for quite a while and we had to grind it out and it shows we are capable of getting good results.”

By contrast, Villa is only out of the relegation zone on goal difference after slipping to a fifth defeat in seven games.

Villa was wide open and Leicester should have taken the lead after 10 minutes.

Caglar Soyuncu knocked James Maddison’s deep free-kick back for Evans, who could only shoot straight at goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

Immediately, Villa broke to spurn their own golden chance when Matt Targett crossed for Anwar El Ghazi to hit the bar from six yards. With the chance went Villa’s early hopes and they swiftly lost any grip of the game when Vardy continued his scoring streak in the 20th minute.

Wesley lost the ball and the lively Iheanacho slipped the striker in to race clear and round Heaton. Vardy miscued his kick when preparing to shoot but recovered to tap in, despite Konsa’s efforts on the line.

Vardy is now just three games away from equalling his own Premier League record of scoring in 11 consecutive games.

Villa’s problems were partly of their own making with center back Tyrone Mings unable to cover having already suffered a hamstring injury and the defender was immediately replaced by Bjorn Engels.

Villa could not handle Vardy’s pace and Iheanacho’s movement.

There was a touch of fortune but Leicester deserved to double its lead in the 41st when Maddison crossed and Iheanacho diverted in at the near post.

The Foxes were cruising but Grealish pulled a goal back in first-half injury time when he curled in from 16 yards after the visitors failed to clear a corner.

Leicester, though, wasted no time in restoring their two-goal lead four minutes after the break.