Sam Whitelock

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Reece Hodge of Australia celebrates his try during the 2019 Rugby Championship test match between Australia and  New Zealand last Saturday. Photograph:  James Worsfold/Getty Images

Uneasy lies the crown. The feeling that this year’s World Cup is undoubtedly the most openly competitive in yonks, perhaps ever, was strengthened by t(...)

Australia’s Nic White will start against the All Blacks. Photoraph:  Christiaan Kotze/Getty Images

Australia have approached fixtures against New Zealand more in hope than expectation over the last 12 years but their record against the All Blacks in(...)

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen:  he continues his “risk and reward” experimentation policy. Photograph: Getty Images

Australia v New Zealand, Optus Stadium, Perth, Saturday, 10.45am (Irish time). Live on Sky Sports Action All Blacks coach Steve Hansen believes Kiera(...)

Brodie Retallick looks to offload during New Zealand’s win over Argentina in Buenos Aires. Photograph: Agustin Marcarian/Reuters

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will breathe a huge sigh of relief that his final preparations for the Rugby World Cup got off to a winning start, but h(...)

 New Zealand after winning the Rugby Championship last year. Photograph: Getty Images

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 c(...)

Sevu Reece of the Crusaders scores a try during the Super Rugby semi-final against the Hurricanes in Christchurch. Photograph: John Davidson/Inpho/Photosport

Canterbury Crusaders 30 Wellington Hurricanes 26 The Canterbury Crusaders just about remained on course for a 10th Super Rugby title when they outlas(...)

 Richie Mo’unga of the Crusaders dives over to score a try during the Super Rugby quarter-final match against  the Highlanders  in Christchurch. Photograph: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

Canterbury Crusaders 38 Otago Highlanders 14 Outhalf Richie Mo’unga grabbed two tries in a flawless 23-point game as the Canterbury Crusaders stormed(...)

Even Don King in his element wouldn’t have to resort to much hyperbole to sell each and every one of the 15 match-ups in St James’ Park this Saturday.(...)

CJ Stander of Ireland is tackled by Maro Itoje and George Kruis of England during the Six Nations match at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Bad news on CJ Stander. The Ireland number eight is suspected to have suffered a fractured cheekbone and eye socket. He seemingly played 62 minutes wi(...)

Ben Smith has played 76 Tests for the All Blacks, making his debut in 2009 before being cast into the wilderness for three years. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

All Blacks fullback Ben Smith will leave New Zealand after next year’s World Cup in Japan and join French club Pau, New Zealand Rugby said on Thursday(...)

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