Australia were heavily under-represented in the All Blacks vs Wallabies finals, with just the Brumbies qualifying by way of winning the Australian conference, only to be eliminated at the first hurdle. Not only that, but Australian sides lost all 26 encounters with New Zealand teams during the 2017 competition, although Hansen believes that will have no impact on their national side.
“What happens in franchises and provincial games is irrelevant,” Hansen said.You’re bringing the best of what they’ve got.“They’ve had plenty of time to get ready, so that could be an advantage to them.”
The All Blacks and Wallabies will meet in Sydney on August 19.But not before leaving some of golf’s best players impressed that a two-time MVP for the Golden State Warriors could enter their arena and look respectable.
Curry opened with a 4-over 74 on the TPC Stonebrae and needed a career round to stay for the weekend. Instead, he shot 39 on the front nine Friday, and 34 on the back, for another 74. He was 8 over for the tournament.That was awesome what he did yesterday,” British Open champion Jordan Spieth said Friday at the Bridgestone Invitational. “I think he certainly beat most everybody’s expectations, but I don’t think that really surprised him“It was pretty cool – really cool – to see. You see him fist-pumping out there, and just him talking about how nervous he was when he heard his name called, it just makes us feel a little better when sometimes some of the stuff he does looks like a robot.”One of the highlights for Curry in the opening round was a long birdie putt and telling his caddie to “Go get that” from the cup. That was the famous line Spieth said to his caddie at Royal Birkdale two weeks ago after a 50-foot eagle putt to take the lead“To be honest, I think it’s pretty special for a two-time MVP to be able to shoot 74 at a pro event and beat other pros,” former PGA champion Jason Day said.No one expected very much out of Curry, who last year played in the pro-am at the PGA Tour’s season opener in Napa. The field included players who have competed in majors this year, and seven players who have won on the PGA Tour. All Blacks vs Wallabies
The question in some corners was how high his score would be.“I was asked if I thought he was going to break 80, and that’s the hand grenade question,” Paul Casey said. “But 4 over is really good. It’s a lot of pressure, and he exceeded my expectations.”
Chiefs prop Atu Moli and Highlanders utility Richard Buckman are among the new faces included in the All Blacks squad for a training camp ahead of the Rugby Championship starting later this month.Moli, 22, and Buckman, 28, are two of the four uncapped Test players in coach Steve Hansen’s 34-man squad with Highlanders lock Tom Franklin and Blues loose forward Akira Ioane the others.
Franklin and Ioane have been involved in previous All Blacks training camps but Moli and Buckman have not.
Moli is a former New Zealand under-20s captain while Buckman – a cult hero nicknamed the ‘Barracuda’ – has been a consistent and versatile backline performer in Super Rugby since joining the Highlanders in 2014.Buckman has been listed as a midfielder in the squad announcement which also features recalls for Chiefs props Kane Hames (one Test) and Nepo Laulala (four Tests); Hurricanes prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (one Test); Chiefs lock Dominic Bird (two Tests); Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu (12 Tests); Chiefs midfielder Charlie Ngatai (one Test) and Hurricanes outside back Nehe Milner-Skudder (eight Tests).Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie has been named as a first five-eighth following the departure of Aaron Cruden to France.The squad will spend two days in Christchurch this week as the All Blacks prepare for the first Bledisloe Cup Test against the Wallabies in Sydney on August 19.No Crusaders players were named given they are competing in the Super Rugby final against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday (midnight kick-off AEST, live on Fox Sports).Hansen will name his full Rugby Championship squad on Monday before the team assembles in Auckland on August 10.Wider training squad is the official title but every All Blacks gathering offer morsels of the selection pie.The absence of the All Blacks-heavy Crusaders in Johannesburg ahead of this weekend’s Super Rugby final allowed Steve Hansen to open the door to past, future and fringe talent in the 34-man squad for the two-day camp in Christchurch.The inclusion of Highlanders utility Richard Buckman, ahead of team-mate Malakai Fekitoa who will depart for France at the end of the year, was the biggest talking point; coupled with Hansen’s suggestion that Damian McKenzie may be groomed as a halfback option.Buckman, by way of Hawke’s Bay, has forged a reputation as a tough, competitive, combative player capable of filling every role from midfield out if required.
The man nicknamed “Barracuda” is a success story for perseverance.While a long list of midfielders, including the recalled Charlie Ngatai, remain ahead of Buckman in the pecking order, this is the first time he has firmly registered on the radar.And with Fekitoa soon set to depart, the incentive is there to further push his case.
“He’s a good utility player when you’re thinking about World Cups and you’ve got a limited amount of people you can take,” Hansen said.
“He can play in multiple positions; same as Charlie Ngatai. It’s a great opportunity for us. We don’t know a lot about him from a personal point of view. We’ve not had him in any of our camps before.”We’ve seen him play; we like what we see so we’ve asked him to come in.”
Zach Johnson, a two-time major champion, said he has a friend who knows Curry and said he was a good player. The score in the first round was enough to make a believer out of Johnson.
“Clearly, he is,” Johnson said. “I don’t know that golf course. Someone said they shoot pretty low there often, but it doesn’t matter. You’ve still got to put the ball in the hole. First round as an amateur in a professional tournament? That’s pretty good.” All Blacks vs Wallabies