Class gulf as All Blacks blow away Canada 63-0

New Zealand’s center Sonny Bill Williams scores All Blacks’ third try against Canada. (AFP)
Updated 03 October 2019

Class gulf as All Blacks blow away Canada 63-0

OITO, JAPAN: Refreshed after an 11-day break, New Zealand gave Canada a 63-0 thrashing that was expected in the Rugby World Cup on Wednesday.

The gulf in class between the defending champion All Blacks and the last team to qualify for the tournament was always going to be measured by a high score, and the New Zealanders poured eight tries, plus a penalty try, through a defense that missed 46 tackles.

After a first half that turned messy in humid conditions under the Oita Dome, New Zealand sent on replacement scrumhalf Brad Weber and midfielder Ryan Crotty to tidy up the attack, and they turned it on, being ruthlessly entertaining.

Winger Rieko Ioane, trying to find the form to become a regular starter again, glided in for his 24th try in 27 tests after a Jordie Barrett catch and Sonny Bill Williams break. There followed four more tries in the next 16 minutes for New Zealand to rocket to from 28-0 at halftime to 63-0. One of the tries went to lock Scott Barrett, who joined his brothers Beauden and Jordie as try-scorers, supplementing their milestone as the second trio of brothers to play in the Rugby World Cup after the Vunipola brothers of Tonga in 1995.

There was no more scoring through the last quarter, but only because the pace the All Blacks were playing at was too quick for even themselves, and passes were knocked on or forward to let the Canadians off the hook.

Dominating almost every category and making most of the running, the All Blacks made 15 handling errors. But they made 24 breaks to Canada’s three, and 94 carries over the gain-line to Canada’s 29.

The All Blacks almost scored inside a minute from the opening kickoff, surging to the posts until the Canadians scrambled to hold up scrumhalf TJ Perenara. It took until the fifth minute for the first try to come as the scrum pushed the Canadians back over their tryline between the posts. But before captain Kieran Read could touch down, Canada scrumhalf Gordon McRorie interfered and the All Blacks received a penalty try.

Jordie Barrett had the honor of the first try, taking a crosskick from flyhalf Richie Mo’unga with no Canadian within 10 meters of him. He just had to catch and fall over.

The impressive Williams almost set up a try for Ioane, then took matters into his own hands with a step off his left foot for the gap, and stretching out to score with Canada hooker Eric Howard on his back. At 21-0 after 17 minutes, the match was going as expected.

Then it went sloppy. A ruck pass by prop Atu Moli surprised flanker Matt Todd, and Canada’s McRorie intercepted. Peter Nelson was almost to the tryline when he was scragged by Beauden Barrett. As the All Blacks scrambled, Read made what appeared to be a no-arms shoulder charge to a Canadian player’s head, the kind of contact which has been heavily penalized by World Rugby at this tournament.

The All Blacks survived but there was a bombed try by Scott Barrett, who dropped the ball over the line and dropped catches. Coach Steve Hansen looked uncomfortable in the stands. Just before halftime, a Williams grubber kick was snatched by Beauden Barrett to score the fourth, bonus-point try. The 28-0 scoreline flattered the Canadians but they would have been pleased it wasn’t worse.


Italy’s Serie A to resume on June 20

Updated 29 May 2020

Italy’s Serie A to resume on June 20

  • ‘Italy has started to return to normal life again, it is only right that football should do the same’

ROME: Italy’s Serie A was given the green light on Thursday to resume on June 20 after a three-month absence as one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic begins to ease restrictions.
Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora said that the government’s Technical and Scientific Committee (CTS) had agreed to the health protocol proposed by Italian football chiefs.
“Italy has started to return to normal life again, it is only right that football should do the same,” said Spadafora.
“The federation assured me that it had a Plan B and a Plan C.
“In light of these considerations, the championship can resume on June 20.”
Italian football federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina told the minister during the video conference that a play-off system would be used if the championship were again interrupted, while the existing standings would be used if it were stopped.
“We had a very useful meeting,” said Spadafora. “From the start, I said that football could restart once all the security conditions had been met.”
No top-flight matches in Italy have been played since Sassuolo beat Brescia 3-0 on March 9.
One of the hardest hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic with over 33,000 deaths, Italian football now faces a scheduling nightmare, for matches which will take place behind closed doors.
Lega Serie A will meet on Friday morning to examine “the different calendar hypotheses” for the remaining Serie A and Italian Cup matches, amounting to 127 in total.
Most teams have 12 league games left to play, but there were four postponed fixtures.
Spadafora suggested that the Italian Cup could be concluded the week before the return to Serie A action.
The semifinal return leg matches between Inter Milan and Napoli and AC Milan and Juventus, could be played on June 13-14 with the final on June 17.
“I also hope to be able to send a positive signal to the whole country by taking advantage of the week from June 13 to 20 to conclude the Italian Cup,” he added.
The announcement of the resumption of the Italian league comes just after the English Premier League confirmed it will restart on June 17.
The German championship has already resumed and Spain’s La Liga will return to the pitch the week of June 8.
Among the five major European championships, only the French Ligue 1 has been definitively stopped.
“I’m happy and satisfied,” said Gravina. “The restart of football represents a message of hope for the whole country.”
But many issues remain to be resolved including match schedules, players’ contracts which end on June 30, and unpaid TV rights by broadcasters.
“Footballers are not robots, there are concerns,” said Damiano Tommasi, president of the players’ union.
“A critical issue is (playing a) match at 4.30pm which in June and July in Italy is unthinkable,” added the former Italy and Roma player.
The thorniest issue remains the two-week quarantine period in the case of a positive test, which Spadafora insisted would remain.
“The CTS agreed with the medical protocol, but confirmed the absolute necessity for a quarantine period if a player were to test positive,” said Spadafora, who did not exclude future changes to the rule.
“I’m ready to bet on the resumption of the championship, but with this rule of quarantine of 14 days, the possibilities of concluding it are not high,” said Enrico Castellacci, president of the Italian Football Doctors Association.
“It’s a crime. I’m not going to quarantine 50 healthy people. We don’t do this if there is a positive case in a factory,” argued Lazio doctor Ivo Pulcini, with the Roman club committed to a resumption of the season, as they sit just one point behind leaders Juventus.