RWC 2019

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen confirms he will step down after next year’s World Cup

He said whoever replaced him would bring a new perspective.

"Some fresh eyes, some fresh thinking ... whoever it is will be fresh. It will be for the enhancement of the legacy of the jersey," he said.

Hansen comes off contract with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) after the tournament, which runs next September and October.

He has been Head Coach of the All Blacks since 2012 and prior to that was an Assistant Coach for eight years.

Hansen told media this morning two big reasons for making the choice were what was right for the team, and what was right for his family.

Japanese star records Rugby World Cup 2019 anthem World in Union

With less than a year to go before Rugby World Cup 2019 ™ kicks off in Japan, tournament organisers have announced Japanese artist Kiyoe Yoshioka’s version of World in Union as the tournament’s official anthem.

The lead singer of the pop-rock band Ikimono-gakari, Kiyoe is hugely popular across Japan. Her version of World in Union, with its message of global unity and friendship, is synonymous with Rugby’s global showpiece and is set to be a hit among Japanese rugby fans and Kiyoe’s loyal fanbase throughout Japan.

Jones can reinvent himself ahead of World Cup

England have lost six out of nine games this year, including a 2-1 series defeat to South Africa in June.

They also finished fifth in the Six Nations, which they entered as champions.

"I would never underestimate his ability to turn things around, very, very quickly. He's been around for a long time, and knows how to reinvent himself and tweak things within a team," World Cup winner Eales told the BBC.

England's slump has come as a shock after an fine run since Jones' appointment in 2015, which included 18 consecutive test wins and two Six Nations titles.

Ex-All Black Charles Piutau wants to play for Tonga

The 26-year-old earned 17 test caps for New Zealand between 2013 and 2015, but was overlooked for the last World Cup squad after signing for Ulster.

He is set to become world rugby's highest-paid player when he switches to English club Bristol next season, where older brother and 'Ikale Tahi captain Siale Piutau is already on the books.

Tonga coach Toutai Kefu said the former Tonga Under 20s representative was keen and would add real quality.

All Blacks to start World Cup defence against Springboks

The All Blacks beat the Springboks at the semi-final stage of the 2015 World Cup in England before going on to defeat Australia in the final.

Steve Hansen's men begin the defence of their title against their fellow-Pool B heavyweights at the International Stadium on September 21 in the 2019 tournament. 

Hosts Japan get the World Cup started a day earlier at Tokyo Stadium versus a European qualifier in Pool A.

England face Tonga at Sapporo Dome on September 22, a day after 2015 runners-up the Wallabies take on Fiji at the same venue.