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What Genge said about Hoops after blatant act of disrespect, AB banned, Roberts’ perfect farewell


England enforcer Ellis Genge has defended his second Test act of bad sportsmanship and says he’s looking forward to a post-series beer with Michael Hooper.

Genge, fired up by a misconstrued compliment from Taniela Tupou before the second Test, was a one-man wrecking ball in Brisbane.

While his physicality was impressive and left the Australians surprised by the intensity, he crossed the line when he slapped Hooper after England’s only try, then elbowed Nic White in the neck.

Genge has explained away the Hooper incident, which showed massive disrespect to Australia’s captain.

“I wanted them to know we were on top and to break their mental [strength]. That is part of sport,” Genge told The Times.

“I’ve got so much respect for Michael Hooper.

“Don’t for one second think I’m slapping his chest, thinking: ‘This bloke is a mug.’ That is not the case. I’m just letting him know that we’re here all day. I’m sure he will respect that and at the end of it all we will probably have a beer.”

After Darcy Swain reacted to intense provocation from Jonny Hill in the first Test, Hooper and his teammates were understandably reluctant to stand up for themselves in the face of Genge’s actions.

The Guardian’s Rob Kitson joins Brett McKay and Harry Jones for a look at the big north vs. south showdowns and predictions for the weekend ahead

White said England, led by Genge, dominated “in the contact areas and we’re going to have to be better.

“I think both games they’ve come out of the blocks firing, their big men, and we’re gonna have to be better up front,” said White.

“You give any side a leg up like we’ve given England a couple of weeks in a row and you’re going to struggle so that’ll be a focus for us – front up physically at the start.

“I feel like both games we came home pretty strong. It’s just about arresting those first 20 minutes of the first half. There are going to be big explosive men that are coming out of the blocks pretty fast.

Ellis Genge of England breaks through the contact of Noah Lolesio of Australia during game two of the International Test Match series between the Australia Wallabies and England at Suncorp Stadium on July 09, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Ellis Genge of England breaks through the contact of Noah Lolesio of Australia during game two of the International Test Match series between the Australia Wallabies and England at Suncorp Stadium on July 09, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

They certainly won that [physicality] battle and got away to a good lead, and won the territory battle as well. They come with a game plan that they execute very well and we’ve got to be able to stop that – both physicality and around that territory battle.

“A lot of that was the discipline, you can’t be giving up 10 penalties before halftime. You’re gonna give up territory, but you’re we’re also going to give away 3-6-9. “

The tour has left a brutal toll so far with multiple injuries on both sides.

“Quite a lot of them have been from head knocks,” said England skipper Courtney Lawes.

“It shows the progression of the game, where if you picked up a head knock this time last year, you’d be all right to play for this next Test.

“I think it’s better safe than sorry and if you pick up a head knock in a game then you should have the time you need to recover from it, so I see it as a good thing.

“There’s been plenty of other pretty serious injuries, especially on their side, which is tough and very unfortunate to see, to be honest.

“But it is the nature of the game at this point because there’s so many good athletes, there’s so many big collisions and its a tough sport.

“I don’t think you can trouble yourself with it too much. 

“We play a tough physical game and we all know what we signed up for, and a lot of it is effectively down to luck. 

“People catching a ball and coming down awkwardly, getting landed on and stuff like that, it’s bad luck and, unfortunately, it happens.”

A knee injury to Cadeyrn Neville and Darcy Swain’s suspension have depleted Australia’s lock stocks, with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto called into the squad. 

Salakaia-Loto and Lawes will soon be teammates in England when the 30-cap Wallabies forward joins the England skipper’s club, Northampton Saints.

Lawes revealed he and the other Saints members of the England touring party had a coffee with Salakaia-Loto last week before he was drafted into the Wallabies squad.

“All I know is he’s massive, so I’m going to try and avoid running straight into him,” Lawes said.

All Black’s three-week ban

Angus Ta’avao has been banned for three weeks following his red card in the the All Blacks’ 23-12 defeat by Ireland.

Ta’avao was sent off in the 31st minute in Dunedin after he clattered head-first into Ireland centre Garry Ringrose.

Both players were hurt in the incident and Ringrose had to be replaced.

The 32-year-old prop had only been on the field for a matter of minutes, having come on as front-row cover for Ofa Tu’ungafasi, who had been sent to the sin-bin.

Applying World Rugby guidelines, an independent judicial committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of six weeks, which was halved taking into consideration the player’s “excellent disciplinary record”.

Ta’avao admitted he committed an act of foul play but maintained a red card was not warranted due to the presence of mitigating factors.

He has the right to appeal the outcome of the independent disciplinary hearing within 48 hours.

World Rugby also said the sanction could be cut to two weeks if Ta’avao completes the its coaching intervention programme.

Ireland’s victory at Forsyth Barr Stadium was their first over the three-time world champions on New Zealand soil.

The All Blacks face Ireland in the series decider on Saturday in Wellington. The series is level at 1-1.

Jamie Roberts’ perfect thankyou note

Wales legend Jamie Roberts has decided to retire, ending his career as part of this season’s Waratahs squad in Super Rugby.

The 35-year-old won 94 caps for Wales and went on two British and Irish Lions tours including the 2013 win in Australia.

Roberts announced his decision in a long, passionate statement, as follows.

“The time feels right. As I reach the end of my professional playing career, I’m retiring with an immense sense of gratitude for what the sport has provided me.

“Having given everything in body and mind, the game of rugby has given me more than I could have ever dreamt of in return. Our wonderful sport has impacted my life far beyond the white lines of the playing field; I guess its values have defined my attitude and approach to life and certainly shaped who I am today.

“It’s difficult to know where to start when it comes to thanking those who’ve influenced and helped my career. There are too many to mention, but in time, I hope I get the opportunity to share a glass and thank you all individually.

“To my parents Jackie and Norman; taking me to my first rugby session as a six year old lit a fire in me that would eventually inspire me to achieve in the sport. Your support has been unwavering and for that I’m forever grateful. Throughout my youth, my school teachers and age grade coaches were a huge inspiration. Thank you for being my mentors and your commitment to nurturing my talent.

Jamie Roberts of Wales celebrates as he scores their third try with George North during the Six Nations match between Wales and Ireland at the Principality Stadium on March 10, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

“Much hard work is done beyond the players on the field; from coaches to kitmen, referees to touch judges, S&C to medical staff, chefs to analysts, boardroom staff to groundstaff. There are countless others. So many wonderful people and characters across all the environments I’ve been fortunate to be involved in. I thank you all.

“To those in the media, thanks for the praise as well as the critique. As a professional sportsman, the scrutiny that accompanies life in the public eye can bring significant pressure at times. I thank you all for being respectful through good and difficult times.

“To the most important people in our sport, the supporters. I can’t thank you enough for the love and kindness down the years. From beers in the bar after a game, a selfie in the street, or a conversation in the supermarket, the relationship with the supporters is one I have cherished my whole career and I hope will continue well past my playing days.

“I value dearly the opportunity the sport has given me to travel the world and expand my horizons beyond Wales, whether through touring or moving club. Taking those strides to challenge myself outside my comfort zone, although daunting, provided the pressures I craved.

“Those pressures to challenge myself beyond the game also permeated to the lecture theatres and hospital wards. A sincere thanks to the staff at Cardiff University, UWIC, Loughborough University and lastly Cambridge University, where achieving a Blue ranks among my proudest moments. Thanks for your support and understanding while I pursued success on and off the field.

“I’m extremely grateful my club career has spanned five countries and allowed me to experience several tight-knit club families, as well as enjoy a wonderful lifestyle in some of the worlds best cities outside of Wales; namely Paris, London, Bath, Cape Town and Sydney. The playing experiences at each club were unique in their own way and I’m delighted that each environment provided opportunity to learn, improve and challenge myself; from my first game for Cardiff until my last for the Waratahs 16 years later.

“Representing my country was always a childhood dream. I’m fortunate it became reality. It meant the world to me and forever will. I’ll also never forget the immense pride of captaining my country.

“Singing the anthem had the same impact whether at home in Cardiff, away at some of the most iconic stadiums in world rugby, or during two World Cups. I’ll remember fondly reaching the pinnacle of representative rugby and touring twice with the British & Irish Lions.

“The joys and despair I experienced on both tours amounted to nothing short of experiences of a lifetime. The rugby experience with the Barbarians, culminating in victory against the All Blacks, also ranks high amongst my favourite weeks in rugby.

“My experiences in the game have indeed taken me to immeasurable highs, as well as desperate lows, eliciting every emotion possible along the way. Above all, the game has provided a sense of belonging, friendship and healthy competition. There’s no doubt I’ll stay with the sport past retirement. Whilst I figure everything out, that will be predominantly in a broadcasting capacity.

“I’ll miss the changing room, the matchday buzz and the aches and pains. I guess most of all I’ll miss the lads. I’ve had the privilege of playing alongside and against many of the modern day greats; not just great players but great men. I’ll forever appreciate being able to rub shoulders with some brilliant guys that I’ve learnt a huge amount from. To all those I’ve been fortunate to share the field with, it was a pleasure. For a short while, we have the best job in the world. Never forget it.

“I finish with some incredible memories and a heart full. I’m proud to finish knowing I found my calling at number 12. That battle on the advantage line defined me on and off the field. Time to spend some quality time with Nicole and our two wonderful children Tom and Elodie. Signing off from (across) the gainline. JR (Doc).”

(With Reuters)





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