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Australia hammer France to sweep test series NZ rout England to equal test win records

HAMILTON, New Zealand, June 21, (RTRS): Julian Savea scored a hat-trick of tries as New Zealand produced a clinical, high-paced first half performance to set up a 36-13 win over England and seal a record-equalling 17th successive test victory at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday.
Scrumhalf Aaron Smith scored two tries as the All Blacks produced a first half that coach Steve Hansen called ‘as good as you can get’.
Flyhalf Aaron Cruden kicked nine points and his replacement Beauden Barrett added a late conversion as the hosts clinched the three-test series 3-0.
Flyhalf Freddie Burns slotted two first half penalties and converted Marland Yarde’s second half try for the visitors who impressed on their tour with their combativeness and willingness to play a wide game.
The victory ensured Steve Hansen’s side equalled the record amongst Tier One Nations jointly held by the 1965-69 All Blacks and the 1997-98 South African teams.
The team had been on the cusp of equalling the mark twice in the past four years only to be held to a 18-18 draw by Australia in 2012, ending a 16-game winning streak, while the Wallabies also ended a 15-game winning run in 2010 with a 26-24 victory.
They have the opportunity to eclipse the record, coincidentally against Australia in Sydney on Aug. 16 in their opening Rugby Championship match.

In Sydney, Australia defeated France 39-13 in Sydney on Saturday to clean sweep the three-test series, dominating possession and territory and displaying an expansive game.
Criticised after their ugly, try-less 6-0 win in the second test at Docklands stadium, the Wallabies ran in five tries to one, with test debutant lock Will Skelton scoring the first within minutes.
The victory in front of a record 43,188 fans at the Sydney Football Stadium marked the Wallabies’ seventh successive win, their best run since the World Cup-winning days under Rod Macqueen in 1999.
“We dominated possession and territory and while we didn’t make the most of every opportunity, I was pretty happy with the intent,” said Australian coach Ewen McKenzie.
Skelton’s 135 kg frame and speed sparked attack in the Wallabies backline, with captain Michael Hooper and fullback Israel Folau always threatening.
Australia promised an expansive game and threw the ball from one side of the ground to the other, with a heavier forward pack frequently barging through the French defence.
The visitors were unable to penetrate and had to settle for a try late in the game.
French frustration was reflected when prop Rabah Slimani was yellow carded for tackling Hooper without the ball.

In Tokyo, Japan’s forward line put in a dynamic performance as the Asian champions extended their record winning streak to 10 games with a nail-biting 26-23 victory over Italy on Saturday.
Male Sau’s bulldozing try on the hour mark ultimately proved the difference for Japan but the home side had to survive a nervous finish before recording their first win in six meetings with the Azzurri.
“The great thing today was we won,” Japan coach Eddie Jones told reporters. “We didn’t play well but it’s a testament to the guys that we’re beginning to win when things are not going well for us.”
Japan struggled in the lineout but they punched above their weight in the scrum, while Italy coach Jacques Brunel slammed his butter-fingered players as the Six Nations side lost their ninth game in a row.
“We made way too many mistakes,” fumed the Frenchman. “We gave away too many penalties and committed 12 turnovers — you can’t beat a team like Japan if you play like that.”
Japan are now set to break into the world’s top 10 for the first time, but Jones insisted all that mattered was next year’s World Cup.
“That’s all I’m worried about,” said the former Australia coach. “We’ve got to keep winning but we’ve got to win at the World Cup.

In Cordoba,Argentina, Scotland defeated Argentina 21-19 with a late penalty on Friday to win three successive rugby tests for the first time in two years.
Just as in June 2012, the Scots have won all three on the road. Following wins over the United States and Canada, Scotland produced the winning points late for the second straight match, with flyhalf Duncan Weir kicking a penalty from 40 meters in the 79th minute.
Scotland trailed by one at halftime and 19-10 with 10 minutes to go, and looked like wasting a considerable advantage in possession and in the set-pieces against the feisty second-string Pumas who ran Six Nations champion Ireland close, twice.
The Scots forsook makeable penalty shots for attacking lineouts around the hour mark, and blew both. So when their scrum destroyed Argentina’s, Grant Gilchrist, their youngest captain in 18 years, directed Weir to kick the penalty. He nailed the attempt from 45 meters to close the gap to six and renew Scotland’s hopes.
Moments later, they attacked from deep and channeled the ball down the left wing of Tommy Seymour, their best attacking player. Seymour broke and sent in replacement scrumhalf Henry Pyrgos. Weir couldn’t convert from the touchline but the gap was one with seven minutes left.
Argentina conceded the decisive penalty by joining a Scottish rolling maul from the side. But the Pumas still gave themselves a chance to steal the win after the hooter, setting up flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez for a dropped goal from 35 meters. But Sanchez, who left the game temporarily for suspected concussion, shot wide left.

In Suva, Fiji, Samoa flyhalf Tusi Pisi kicked six penalties to lift the visitors to an 18-13 win over Fiji on Saturday in rugby’s Pacific Nations Cup.
Pisi kicked five first half penalties to give Samoa a 15-5 lead at halftime and added his sixth penalty, Samoa’s only points of the second half, to finish with six goals for seven attempts.
The win lifted Samoa to the top of the three-team Pacific division in the six-nation tournament after their opening draw with Tonga.
Fiji had a win over Tonga and a loss to Samoa, while Tonga ended with a draw and a loss.
Japan has won the North American section with two wins ahead of the match later Saturday between the United States and Canada.

Three players received yellow cards in Saturday’s match at Fiji’s National Stadium, including Samoa captain David Lemi, his teammate Fautua Otto and Fiji’s Leone Nakarawa.
Pisi punished Fiji errors with penalties in the second, 16th, 25th, 28th and final minutes of the first half. He missed one attempt in the 22nd minute of the second spell but landed another two minutes later to complete his team’s scoring.
Fiji scored tries through center Nemani Nadolo in the 11th minute and winger Naplioni Nalaga in the 42nd. Nemani missed the conversions of both tries but added a second half penalty which briefly cut Samoa’s lead to 15-13 before Pisi extended their lead with his final goal.
Defeat was a setback for Fiji ahead of next weekend’s critical Oceania World Cup qualifying match against the Cook Islands. The winner of that match will take a place in Pool A at next year’s World Cup alongside Australia, hosts England, Wales and another playoff winner.
The Cook Islands have never qualified for a World Cup but have a strong team, including players with Super Rugby experience

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