Roses to wilt?

Weekend Herald - - Your Sporting Weekend -

An­other big rugby week­end with New Zealand teams right in the thick of it. First-up this morn­ing, the Black Ferns are in Toulon to play France for just the fifth time. The world cham­pion women should tick off an­other one fol­low­ing their romp in Chicago a week ago. They first played the French in 1996 win­ning 109-0. Six years later at the 2002 World Cup they won 30-0 and added 40-10 and 45-7 vic­to­ries in sub­se­quent World Cups — the last in 2010. Hard to see the hosts foot­ing it with the ram­pant Ferns but it has the mak­ings of a de­cent tus­sle. From early to­mor­row morn­ing wall-to-wall in­ter­na­tion­als with Fiji first up against Scot­land at Mur­ray­field. Ten min­utes later it is off to Twick­ers for the highly-an­tic­i­pated All Blacks clash with Ed­die Jones' Eng­land — the 41st meet­ing of the two proud na­tions with the ABs ahead 32-7 with one draw. The All Blacks need 31 points to reach 1000 against the Red Rose. All but two of the games in Eng­land have been played at the home of rugby. Their first meet­ing in 1905 was at Lon­don's Crys­tal Palace and they played the first of two tests in 1997 at Manch­ester's Old Traf­ford be­fore trav­el­ling to Twick­en­ham for a 26-26 draw. They last met four years ago with the ABs win­ning 24-21. Also to­mor­row morn­ing Wales against Aus­tralia, Ire­land play­ing Ar­gentina, France meet­ing the Boks and the Maori

All Blacks in Sao Paolo to play Brazil.

● Women's in­ter­na­tional, to­day

8.30am. Men's in­ter­na­tion­als, to­mor­row from 3.20am in­clud­ing Eng­land v New Zealand 3.30am and Brazil v Maori All Blacks

9.30am.

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