Update from the North

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The All Blacks may have had a 25-25 draw with England at the weekend but they did dent the pride of the English pack.

England hooker Jamie George confirmed that in the lead-up to Saturday's Test against South Africa when saying the pack was hurting after being outmuscled by the All Blacks.

"That's been the talk all week. The way we scrummaged and mauled is not the England standard and we're fully aware of that.

"Players have been accountable to that and what better than testing yourself against one of the best packs in the world?"

Former Wales and British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton said after Wales' loss to Georgia at the weekend that the game in the principality needs the biggest reform in its history.

Wales in 2022 has lost to Italy, Georgia, England, Ireland, France, South Africa (twice) and the All Blacks.

"The situation has been brewing for some time both on and off the field. The system is just not working. The whole thing needs to be wiped clean and a fresh start made. Sadly, I know it won't happen. I know I will say these things and we will be in the same situation in 12 months," he wrote in a column in The Times.

Parochialism in Wales was the issue, he said, and the amateur game still had too much sway in Wales.

"Of the 12 directors on the Welsh Rugby Union's board, there are eight community members. That is like having eight people on the board of a company that are contributing to just one part of the business. It's just way too many."

Former Blues coach Pat Lam is looking forward to the return from injury of former All Blacks Charles Piutau and Steven Luatua, and Fijian international Semi Radradra from injury next week.

Their Bristol side has been struggling in the Premiership. Luatua hasn't played all season while Radradra last played in April. Piutau broke his nose at the end of October. Lam said, "Just their presence in the team, their game smarts, their experience, their knowledge and their ability.

"A lot of our experience has been missing, but it's been good because it's forced us to make sure we're getting the most out of, and growing and developing the other guys that are coming through.

Australia goes into Saturday's Test against Wales looking to avoid their 10th loss in 14 Tests. If unable to win it will be their worst season since 1958.

Sadly, they haven't won their final fixture of a season since 2013.

What makes it more difficult for them is their injury list with flanker Michael Hooper's concussion against Ireland the latest blow.

The injury list reads: Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Hunter Paisami, Dave Porecki, Andrew Kellaway and Nic White.

Adding some spice to the game is the fact the teams share the same pool at next year's Rugby World Cup.


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