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Easter: Why the Sharks

Nick Easter spoke, EXCLUSIVELY, to RugbyPass about his decision to move to Durban and take up a coaching job at the Sharks.

had no idea he would be celebrating his 40th Birthday with a braai in Durban as he launches a new chapter in his rugby career with the Sharks.

What makes the celebration even more surreal is the presence at the party of former England teammates Joe Worsley and Luke Narraway and ex-England skills coach Rory Teague who are in Durban with the Top 14 Bordeaux Begles team they coach.

Easter: Why the Sharks

Nick Easter

Easter expected to be in London, helping Harlequins prepare for the new Gallagher Premiership campaign but left the club on July 24 as the third coaching change following the arrival of Paul Gustard as the new head of rugby.

Easter played 54 times for England and wore the Quins jersey for 12 seasons and it was a natural move for him to become the defence coach. That role lasted for just two years with Quins disappointing Premiership campaign ending with John Kingston departing as director of rugby followed by forwards coach Graham Rowntree and Easter last month.

While Kingston and Rowntree have yet to reappear on the rugby scene, Easter has been given the opportunity to help the Sharks in their Currie Cup campaign having been invited to Durban by head coach Robert du Preez. Easter will be the team’s breakdown coach and will also assist Braam van Straaten with defence and skills coach Jaco Pienaar with the lineouts during the tournament.

Easter played for the Villagers club in Cape Town during his early career, his Mum is South African and his great-grandfather, Pieter Le Roux, played for the Springboks. His close connection with the country means he is relishing being part of the Currie Cupcompetition.

However, first, he has to negotiate the Birthday party the Sharks have arranged and said: “We had a community coaching clinic along with Bordeaux who is here on a pre-season trip and I met up with Worzel (Joe Worsley), Luke Narraway and Rory Teague and will have a few tonight! Durban is the place to be at the moment because we play Bordeaux on Friday night and then the Springboks take on Argentina the next day. There is a lot of rugby in town!


Nick Easter


Thanks for all the birthday messages. One more year till…… not fooling anyone! Just beginning! 🎉🍻🥂.

“I greeted Worzel with “Melon” and he swung around and said: “no one calls me that in this French team.” I left Quins last month and had been planning to do some coach development and there were some offers to coach at lower levels in England which was great.

“I wanted to make a decision that would develop me as a coach and give me the best opportunity to learn and that was to come down to Durban. I explained my situation to Rob du Preez and said I didn’t want to tread on anyone’s toes. I put it to him and he thought was a great idea and here I am.

“It was key to get into coaching as soon as possible and it is great to be back involved with a team that wants to achieve success. Northern Hemisphere coaches, for various reasons, don’t come down South very often and to be able to come here is a great opportunity.”

Easter acknowledges that the arrival of Gustard, who was England’s defence coach, had obvious ramifications for his role while at Quins and he spoke to the new head of rugby about the situation. “Guzzy always has done defence,” explained Easter. “I said that if he wanted me to stay then I would be happy to stay. It is a big boy’s game and I understand what it’s about. Coupled with the frustrations I had last season when I didn’t feel I could really influence what was going on as much as I would have liked, made me think the best decision would be to experience a new environment. As a result, I am in Durban on my 40th.

Easter: Why the Sharks

“I love doing defence and I am helping out here at the Sharks but if you want to become the best coach possible then you have to understand all elements of the game.

“To become the best defence coach you have to know about attack and the same if you want to be the best attack coach you need to know about the defence. I loved all the elements of the game and like to think I wasn’t a one-trick pony. Rugby fascinates me because it is a decision-making game.”

One decision that Easter has already made is that his first child – wife Kerry is five months pregnant – will be born in London and while she will be travelling out shortly to spend time in Durban, the family will be in England for the birth. “With the little one coming along we will have to look at things going forward:” added Easter.

By Chris Jones, RugbyPass

WP set for player clearout


According to Rapport newspaper, the list includes the names of hooker Scarra Ntubeni, lock Chris van Zyl (WP’s Currie Cup-winning captain in 2017), utility back Craig Barry, centre Dan Kriel and scrumhalf Justin Phillips.

The list has been sent to the Cheetahs, Kings, Pumas and Griquas. However, only 11 players are available immediately, with the remaining nine only to be sold or loaned out after the Currie Cup.

The beleaguered union reportedly has to cut its budget by at least R20-million and the release of underutilised players is one of WP’s methods of reaching that mark.

The players available with immediate effect are Caleb Oosthuizen, Neethling Fouche, Piet-Louw Strauss, Dean Muir, Steph de Witt, Luke Stringer, Nasha Tarusenga, Justin Phillips, Dan Kriel and Grant Hermanus.

The players available after Currie Cup are Scarra Ntubeni, Chris van Zyl, Reuben de Villiers, Nama Xaba, Josh Stander, David Brits, Nico Leonard, Duncan Saal and Craig Barry.

Full story

Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

SA Rugby to slash professional contracts


SA Rugby is reportedly set to adopt a new contracting system that would reduce the country’s professional player pool by 54%.

With several of South Africa’s top unions in financial trouble, SA Rugby believes remodelling the contracting system is the only way to keep the best players in South Africa.

According to Rapport newspaper, there are 989 professional players in South Africa, resulting in R480-million spent on salaries per year. The new contracting system is aimed at reducing salary costs by at least R75-million and the contracted player pool to 459, which will include the national men’s and women’s sevens teams.

This would put South Africa on par with New Zealand, who has between 440 and 500 players on its books, Australia (225) and Ireland (between 180 and 200). Only England has more than 900 contracted players.

SA Rugby has also made financial provision for about 338 semi-professional player contracts for unions not involved in the Super Rugby and Pro14 competitions.

SA Rugby has asked Eugene Henning from MyPlayers and Barend van Graan from Sareo to compile a comprehensive report, consisting of several recommendations on how to best implement this plan.

SA Rugby’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will meet with the presidents and CEOs of all 14 unions on 2 August to discuss the matter.

Full article

Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

Mitchell asks for R90 million!


Scottish Rugby report multi-million pound, record breaking financial results…again


23 July, 1:49pm

Scottish Rugby has generated one of the strongest operating results for the game in its history – according to the organisation who released its 2017/18 Annual Report has confirmed today.

A record turnover of £57.2million was achieved over the 2017/18 season, an 11% rise of £5.8million on the previous season and equating to a 63% rise in income growth since 2011.

This in turn has generated a surplus of £1.8million, among the highest ever recorded for the organisation.

The record-breaking financial results have also enabled Scottish Rugby to record its lowest average debt in the professional era.

A figure of £2.4million has been reported, a drop of £2.8million on the average debt reported in the previous year (2016/17), creating a platform for increasing sums of money to be reinvested into the grassroots game.

Scottish Rugby Chairman, Colin Grassie, said: “I’m pleased to report this year’s turnover of £57.2m marks an increase of £5.8m on the previous year.

“These results provide financial stability and have been driven by growth in broadcast revenue, as well as hospitality and other events at BT Murrayfield.

“On the pitch we have quality coaches, staff and a technical blueprint in place that is helping to drive the success of our national teams and develop our young players.”

The increase in turnover was achieved through strong broadcast revenues of £15.2m and a rise in other operating income to £18.9m in relation to increased commercialisation of the Guinness PRO14, higher match-day hospitality and game-day related sales at BT Murrayfield, non-matchday events and income from British & Irish Lions.

Despite one less Six Nations Championship game last season, ticketing income dropped only slightly to £12.3m as a result of higher average game attendances. Commercial income also recorded a slight fall to £10.8m, reflecting the tough sponsorship market.

The consistent improving performances of the Scotland national team has driven the commercial gains, reflected through five consecutive sell-out matches at BT Murrayfield in the past season and the 553,969 tickets bought to watch professional rugby in Scotland, 335,720 to watch the Scotland national team.


Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson, said: “Rugby in Scotland is enjoying a resurgence at international and professional level and the support for these teams has never been stronger. This has contributed to the strong financial position we can report this year, which will help us to continue to move the game forward at all levels.

“We are committing record levels of investment into the grassroots game in Scotland in order to create a sustainable environment and help improve the standards of rugby being played across the board.

“We continue to build our brand on the global stage and find ourselves in a strong position as we head into Rugby World Cup 2019.”

The sponsorship renewal of BT, extension of Tennent’s and continued support from Macron and new partners helped underpin the positive progress being made on the commercial side.

The results will support the ongoing and increasing investment in grassroots rugby in Scotland to deliver the Agenda 3 programme of support to clubs to help continue work in participation, performance and improved sustainability, as announced at last season’s AGM.

Following four years of support from Principal Partner BT Scottish Rugby is also committing to continuing, and fully funding itself, the highly important Club Sustainability Fund, which saw £1.6million invested into capital, revenue and fast-track projects, over the past four years.

A total of 31 clubs in Scotland have been supported for capital developments through the Club Sustainability Fund towards projects with overall costs of £15.6million during the four years of the previous funding term.

Across all three funding streams of the fund, 167 clubs in Scotlandhave received financial support for projects, initiatives and improvements.
Scottish Rugby’s Chief Operating Officer, Dominic McKay, said: “Commercial success is vital in order to develop rugby in Scotlandfrom the grassroots game to the international stage.

This season our turnover reached a record £57.2m, building on the growth from previous seasons.

“This increase in turnover has been enhanced by a growing fan base for rugby in Scotland and last season we welcomed more than 500,000 fans to our international and professional games. In terms of Scotland crowds, it was the best season ever with 335,720 attending, beating last year’s record despite hosting fewer matches.

“BT Murrayfield continues to be a hugely popular venue for concerts and events and I’m delighted our family of sponsors is growing and existing partners have chosen to extend their time with us further.”

The Annual Report also highlights the excellent work being done to develop rugby in Scotland for the future.

Some 872 teams from 104 clubs, 150 state schools and 25 independent schools compete in the Mitsubishi Motors Schools & Youth Conferences. Now in its third year, the conferences are going from strength to strength, with 2,626 games played (a rise of 16%).

The work with young players is supported nationally through the delivery of over 24,000 rugby sessions by Development Officers last season, across primary schools, secondary schools and clubs.

Strong growth is also being seen in the women and girls’ game. Last season there was a 19% rise in women’s teams to 62.

More than 200 games were played at U15 and U18 level and nearly 1000 female players have been introduced to the sport through Scottish Rugby’s #BeTheBestYou campaign.

Rassie primes SA for moment of truth


Brenden Nel

Often when we listen to a coach talking, we’re so obsessed with the here and now, the current story or latest trend, that we miss the subtle nuances that are thrown our way in laying the foundation for a later, bigger and much more significant story.

So it is with a smirk that I wonder, after listening to Rassie Erasmus for the past three weeks, if he is readying Bok fans for a mighty fall.

Okay, that may be a tad dramatic. But anyone who has been listening to Erasmus will have noticed him peppering his prose with phrases such as “we must be brave” and “we will lose games along the way, but as long as we are growing.”

It’s understandable, in a high-pressure job like coaching the Springboks, that Erasmus will provide caveats to stop the euphoria from getting out of hand. But this week he took it a step further, reminding those in Cape Town that the Boks are “miles behind” the All Blacks at the moment.

That’s hardly the type of comment the average Springbok fan, fresh from a 2-0 drubbing of Eddie Jones’ England, expects to hear. It’s clear that Erasmus is slowly laying the groundwork for the possibility that things will go horribly wrong in the Rugby Championship.

In his defence, the euphoria is sometimes a bit over the top and there is so much positive sentiment in Bok rugby at the moment after the appointment of Siya Kolisi as captain, the removal of the transformation headache that has bogged down so many of his predecessors and, importantly, some great rugby being played on the field.

But there is also a fine line between enthusiasm and support, and blind loyalty. The current crop of Springboks have a lot to work on still, even though they have hauled themselves out of the ditch twice to roar back and score impressive victories.

The England series is won, and now the challenges take a step up. A massive step up.

While we can scoff about Wales’ 2-0 series-win in Argentina, Bok teams have struggled against the Pumas in recent times. Touring Australia has always been our Achilles heel, losing or drawing games that the Boks clearly should have won. And, on September 17, the Boks’ face their moment of truth.

All the sentiment and all the results will, in the eyes of Springbok supporters, be put into context by what happens during 80 minutes of rugby at the Cake Tin in Wellington, New Zealand.

Remember the similar desperation for good news in 2017 after Allister Coetzee’s side had put 35 on France in each of three consecutive wins? There was talk of a “new team culture”, a great, positive outlook, and everything looked dandy.

The team was unbeaten until they stepped onto the pitch in Christchurch on September 16 last year, and then the wheels came off spectacularly as the Boks suffered a record 57-0 loss.

As Mike Tyson famously said: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Allister Coetzee’s tenure fell apart there and he will forever be remembered for the Boks’ biggest loss, just as Heyneke Meyer will always be remembered for the World Cup defeat against Japan. It is harsh, but that is sport.

There is every reason to celebrate the Boks’ success against England, a side that boasted they were coming to South Africa to win 3-0. But it must be seen for what it is – a step in the right direction, but not conclusive evidence of a Bok resurrection.

The main difference with the class of 2018 is that they have a fighting spirit we haven’t seen in a long time. Like a boxer, they’ve stumbled backwards after being hit with a flurry of combinations, but they’ve come back to record two big knockout wins.

Rassie will continue to temper the expectations, knowing that it can all come apart during one week in New Zealand. He will be optimistic about the return of experienced players such as Warren Whiteley, Eben Etzebeth, Malcolm Marx and Coenie Oosthuizen lifting the Boks in September.

And he will be hoping the fighting spirit and belief grows into something that translates into a sustainable upward curve that takes the Boks through to the World Cup.

The Boks are making all the right moves at the moment, but Erasmus is issuing subtle warnings because he knows that a perfect start, and a nation’s belief, can be knocked out by one big punch to the face.

Junior Boks suffer more England agony


What Boks can expect from England


Article written by 

Bismarck, Frans to miss first Test


Rassie Erasmus has confirmed that Montpellier duo Bismarck du Plessis and Frans Steyn will not be considered for selection in Saturday’s series-opening Test against England, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Johannesburg.

Of the five overseas-based players included in Erasmus’ squad for the upcoming three-Test series against England, Steyn and Du Plessis have yet to arrive in South Africa after featuring in the Top 14 final last Saturday.

When fronting up to the media at the Boks’ Montecasino base on Monday – just hours after the travelling squad returned from the one-off Test in Washington – Erasmus confirmed that Steyn and Du Plessis would need some time to settle into the camp before coming into selection contention.

‘When they get here, I obviously want a chance to see them first. We’ve followed and monitored them closely overseas, and seen how motivated they are. They’ve played a game [on Saturday], but now they need to do their exit medicals before they can be released in terms of regulation nine.

‘I’m expecting Bismarck to arrive tomorrow, and I think Frans only on Wednesday. So I won’t consider them this week just because they haven’t trained with us much, and it wouldn’t be fair on the guys that have been with us here [in camp] this whole time. I also want to see what they look like when they get here.’

It means that Damian de Allende is likely to be the preferred option to start at inside centre in this Saturday’s clash at Ellis Park, while Bongi Mbonambi is set to wear the No 2 jersey despite having yet to play this year due to a burst appendix.

‘Of course, the ideal thing is to be able to select guys who have had four or five proper games under the belt [after an injury], but sometimes you don’t have that luxury,’ Erasmus commented when asked about the options at hooker.

‘Bongi is a guy with Test experience and the good thing is that he is not coming back from a period of rehab after a knee or shoulder injury or something, but it was an appendix. So we’ve been working with Bongi quite a bit in camp already on his fitness and conditioning, so we know where he stands.

‘Then obviously between Akker [van der Merwe] and Chiliboy [Ralepelle], we have to make a call there. From next week, though, a guy like Bismarck will be in contention, but I don’t want to just throw a guy from overseas straight into the mix this week.’

Erasmus will name the team to face England on Thursday, although he admitted that it would take until the second Test to know with certainty which are the best combinations available.

Boks without overseas players for Wales Test


2018-05-19 08:30
Willie le Roux (Getty Images)
This comes after three England-based Welsh players – Luke Charteris, Tomas Francis and Josh Adams – were withdrawn from the squad for that match because the Test falls outside World Rugby international Test window.Even though the English season ends on May 26, clubs can still be fined if they allow their players play for their countries outside of an international window.

It means that Rassie Erasmus will be without the likes of Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux for the Wales Test, with both of those players having been tipped to make a return to the national set-up.

A squad of 26 locally-based Super Rugby players will represent the Boks against Wales, while the overseas-based players will come into the squad for the three-Test series against England, starting on June 9.

Source-Sport 24

Preview: All Blacks vs Springboks


Beauden Barrett takes on the Bok defence in 2015Beauden Barrett takes on the Bok defence in 2015

An understrength and somewhat vulnerable Springbok team will struggle to live with the All Blacks in Albany on Saturday, writes JON CARDINELLI.

Consider the Bok team that has been selected for the Test at the North Harbour Stadium on Saturday. Ask yourself: Is this combination truly capable of beating the All Blacks?

The Boks go into this clash without several key players. They have been forced to field third-choice players at tighthead prop and at No 8 due to injuries.

The Boks are missing senior players such as captain Warren Whiteley, Duane Vermeulen, Frans Malherbe, Coenie Oosthuizen and Jaco Kriel. None of the replacements in the aforementioned positions boast the same level of experience, or indeed the leadership skills to make a difference in a contest of this nature.

Eight years ago, John Smit’s team became the third Bok side to win on New Zealand soil (in the professional era). One cannot see the class of 2017 – with all of its injury problems and tactical shortcomings – becoming the fourth.

ALSO READ: Five steps to beating All Blacks

The All Blacks have suffered their own losses. They will go into this match without seasoned front-rankers such as Owen Franks and Joe Moody.

Ben Smith, the best fullback on the planet, won’t be available. Israel Dagg, another classy winger-cum-fullback with oodles of big-match experience, has been ruled out because of injury.

That said, coach Steve Hansen has still managed to select a strong and experienced side.

The All Blacks have noted the Boks’ improvements over the past few months. Hansen and company have managed the New Zealand players with the clash against the Boks in mind. Several first-choice players sat out the recent clash against Argentina in New Plymouth so that they would be fresh for this potentially campaign-defining battle against the Boks in Albany.

Expect the All Blacks to dust off the Kapa o Pango haka on Saturday. Expect their revamped forward pack – Hansen has made a statement by dropping last week’s star Vaea Fifita for Liam Squire – to get stuck into the Boks at the collisions and breakdowns in the first half.

Expect the halfback combination of Aaron Smith and Beauden Barrett to make the most of that front-foot ball. The Bok midfield has had its problems on defence recently. It’s out wide and at the back, though, where there is cause for real concern.

The Boks can’t afford to lose the collisions this weekend. They need to find a way to pressure the All Blacks at the lineouts and to deny the hosts possession at the back of that set piece. Ultimately, they need to ensure that Smith and Barrett don’t receive the ball on the front foot and that that they don’t have the opportunity to dictate the flow of the game.

PLUMTREE: Bok defence won’t stop All Blacks

The Boks have been too passive on defence in this tournament. They’ve given away metres in the wider channels, and have often been breached. They are fortunate that the weak tackling of their wingers hasn’t cost them too dearly to date.

It wouldn’t surprise to see Smith launching a box kick for his wingers to chase. It wouldn’t surprise to see Rieko Ioane getting on top of his smaller South African counterpart, Raymond Rhule.

The All Blacks have a weakness at the back. If the Boks do manage to win the forward battle, and if Elton Jantjies does enjoy sufficient time and space to implement the kick-chase strategy, the visitors should look to target the diminutive Damian McKenzie.

Of course, this ploy could backfire if Jantjies does not kick accurately and if his wingers don’t rush up to pressure the man under the high ball. The All Blacks have the means to punish the Boks on the counter-attack.

Allister Coetzee has said that the All Blacks are vulnerable. It’s true that Hansen’s side hasn’t lived up to its own high standards in 2017.

The All Blacks lost one Test and drew another in the three-game series against the British & Irish Lions. They’re yet to lose a game in this year’s Rugby Championship, but they’re also yet to produce a clinical 80-minute performance.

This bodes badly for the Boks. The All Blacks will not want for motivation this Saturday. They will see a fixture against their traditional foes – who are yet to lose a Test in 2017 – as an opportunity to make a statement.

A win would strengthen the All Blacks’ claim for yet another Rugby Championship title. The Boks, in their current guise, would do well to remain competitive. A loss by seven points or less – and a resultant bonus point – could be seen as a sign of progress for a team that lost 41-13 and 57-15 in their Tests against the All Blacks in 2016.

ALSO READ: Boks brace for backlash

Stats and facts

o The All Blacks have won nine of their last 10 games against the Springboks, including each of their last four and a 42-point win when they last met, which stands as the biggest win in the history of the fixture.

o The All Blacks have won their last seven games against the Springboks when hosting them in New Zealand, conceding an average of just 12 points per game in that period.

o Of the five nations to have played multiple games at North Harbour Stadium, New Zealand (six) and South Africa (two) are the only two that remain undefeated at the venue.

o This will be the first Test at North Harbour Stadium since South Africa defeated Samoa 13-5 at the 2011 World Cup, and the first time New Zealand have played a Test there since brushing past Fiji in a 91-0 win in 2005.

o The All Blacks have won the most rucks per game (92) and boast the best ruck-success rate (97%) of any team this competition. They are also the only squad yet to lose a scrum on their own feed.

o South Africa are yet to concede a try in the opening or closing quarter this campaign; each of the other three teams have conceded at least three in each of those periods.

o Elton Jantjies (49) has opened up a 10-point gap at the top of the point-scoring leaderboard, and is yet to miss a conversion attempt (10).

All Blacks – 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames.
Subs: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.

Springboks – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane,19 Lood de Jager, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende.

FEATURE: Boks, All Blacks best of enemies

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

All Blacks drop Fifita, start Hames


September 13, 2017

Kane Hames is the bolter in the All Blacks squad after being named to make his first Test start against the Springboks in Albany on Saturday.

The Chiefs loosehead prop, most recently on duty for Tasman in New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup, has been used sparingly by the All Blacks since making his Test debut in 2016 and will thus earn just his third cap on Saturday.

Coach Steve Hansen made the move despite admitting that South Africa “scrummages well”, and it is possible that the timing of Hames’ call-up has got something to do with the withdrawal of incumbent Bok tighthead Coenie Oosthuizen with a broken arm suffered during last week’s 23-23 draw against Australia.

Almost as surprising, Hansen opted to drop Vaea Fifita, the star of last week’s 39-22 victory against Argentina in New Plymouth. Instead, Liam Squire returns to the No 6 jersey with Sam Cane packing down at openside, and Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock are reunited in the second row.

In the backs, Aaron Smith returns to the 23 for his 65th Test with TJ Perenara on the bench, Ryan Crotty is back at centre, with Anton Lienert-Brown in the reserves, and Rieko Ioane is back on the left wing.

New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames
Bench: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

Date: Saturday, September 16
Venue: QBE Stadium, North Harbour
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Matthew Carley (England)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Return of historic Bok jersey…


Waratahs prop Benn Robinson returns Springboks jersey thought to have been lost for decades

April 5, 2014

Chief Rugby Reporter

Safely returned: David Malan and Benn Robinson with the jersey that had been thought to be lost.Safely returned: David Malan and Benn Robinson with the jersey that had been thought to be lost. Photo: Thys Lombard

Benn Robinson could finally relax.

The Waratahs and Wallabies prop had been on edge for weeks, carrying around a precious piece of Australian and South African rugby history believed lost for decades.

It had brought him to a hotel lobby in Cape Town, where David Malan was waiting to receive the missing Springboks jersey his father, Abie Malan, had worn to captain South Africa against the Wallabies 51 years earlier.

The jersey had been in the back of a cupboard at the Mosman home of former Wallaby Jim Miller and was being returned to its homeland.

Robinson’s trip across the Indian Ocean with the Waratahs had been a chance to bring the story full circle.

“I got a phone call from an old bloke who didn’t know how to use the phone well and he said ‘mate I have a very special story with this jersey, can you take it to Africa for me’,” Robinson said.

The old bloke being Miller, of Millers Storage fame, who played seven Tests at second row or prop for Australia and turned 75 on Sunday.

He found the jersey while preparing to sell the family home, ‘Rona’, and move permanently to their beef cattle property in the Riverina.

“Jim told me he was really worried about sending it by post, so he asked me to bring it over,” Robinson said.

“So I’ve been holding on to this thing nervously for weeks. I packed it in my luggage and carried it over.”

More than half a century after Malan and Miller stood among their teammates at Newlands Stadium, in the shadow of Table Mountain, on Thursday David Malan finally touched his father’s No.2 jersey.

“I have had my dad’s collection of jerseys for the last 40 years, he gave it to me when I was 12 or so,” Malan said.

“I’ve always cherished them, but the jersey in which he was the Springboks captain –- which is quite different from his other ones –- that shirt was missing.”

Abie Malan was a hooker who played 18 Tests for the Springboks. He was rangy for a rake, by modern standards, standing 183 centimetres tall and weighing just 80 kilograms. He was one of the first ball-carrying hookers, known for his pace and athleticism as well as the traditional set-piece strengths.

South Africa had hosted the Wallabies for a four-month tour including four Test matches in Pretoria, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.

The Wallabies drew the Test series with wins at Newlands Stadium and Ellis Park.

It would go down in Wallabies history as a very special tour. It was the first time any touring side had beaten the Springboks in two consecutive Test matches since the Lions of 1896.

It was also the last time the Wallabies would record a win on the highveld for 47 years. The hoodoo was only broken when Kurtley Beale’s penalty goal sealed a 41-39 victory at Bloemfontein in 2010.

Documented in the book, Springbok Saga, by Chris Greyvenstein, the 1963 Wallabies were described as a side that busted the stereotype of Australia’s exciting but mercurial style of running rugby.

“Gone was the unpredictability, and flair which used to impress [South Africans] so much that we always wanted to follow suit and frequently came to grief as a result,” Greyvenstein wrote.

“In its place was a new approach; the 1963 Wallabies rarely took risks, their backs were defenders first and foremost and unless they received the ball quickly and cleanly they did not attempt to attack.”

It was a successful strategy, incorporating the best of the Australians’ handling and running skills with structure and starch up front.

Miller played the first Test of the series. Malan captained the side for the first two Tests, was dropped for the third and reinstated for the final Test, which the Springboks comfortably won 22-6 in Port Elizabeth.

Nineteen of those Wallabies were alive to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic tour last year.

A group of 10 returned to Cape Town to watch the Springboks steamroll the Ewen McKenzie-coached Wallabies 28-8 in September.

Abie Malan’s son-in-law Thys Lombard met the group and took them to the stadium.

“I remember walking with some of the Wallabies onto the Newlands pitch on the Thursday evening. They had tears in their eyes from the memories after 50 years,” Lombard said.

It was that tour that prompted David Malan to search for his father’s missing jersey. He put feelers out that month but did not hear anything until a 3am email in February.

“That’s where it all started, it took six weeks from then but it felt like six years,” Malan said.

Abie Malan, 78, is still farming grapes for raisin production on the family’s property outside Upington in the Northern Cape, the largest and most sparsely populated of South Africa’s provinces, which also includes part of the Kalahari Desert.

Miller, after selling ‘Rona’ for more than $8 million last month, is living full-time on the land too, running Coolac Cattle Company outside Jugiong.

David Malan and Lombard called Abie Malan when they met with Robinson on Thursday to tell him they were holding the jersey.

Too nervous to speak in English, but eager to prove old sporting rivalries are never forgotten, he told Robinson in Afrikaans: “Tell [Miller] he can keep the jersey, I’d rather have the house in Sydney”.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/waratahs-prop-benn-robinson-returns-springboks-jersey-thought-to-have-been-lost-for-decades-20140405-zqr20.html#ixzz2yGWl9QNH

Jake White baits Michael Cheika after Sharks swamp Waratahs


DURBAN: Jake White was only too eager to pour salt into the gaping wounds left in the Waratahs’ confidence by his new team the Sharks.

March 30, 2014
Former Brumbies coach Jake White.Former Brumbies coach: Jake White. Photo: Getty Images


The former Brumbies coach, who made niggling the Michael Cheika-led Waratahs a sport during his stint in Canberra last year, was delighted with his side’s commanding 32-10 victory at Kings Park on Saturday.

White labelled the win – which cemented the side’s spot at the top of the Super Rugby ladder – a “huge result” and thanked Cheika for handing him the ammunition.

Coach of the NSW Waratahs, Michael Cheika.Coach of the NSW Waratahs, Michael Cheika. Photo: Getty Images

“We had to front up today, they are very abrasive, they’ve got big, strong ball-runners, they bashed the Reds, so we knew we would have to front up,” he said.

“There had been a lot of talk in the media about [going] toe to toe and intensity and aggression, so I suppose I must thank Mike [Cheika] for making my team talk easier, I just put it all on the board.”

Cheika suggested the game, despite the score line, was “tight”, tilted only by a massively lopsided penalty count.

“It was only two tries to one in the end, it was not like we were chasing tries everywhere,” he said.

“It was a tight game in many aspects and we finally got a try in the end…”.

When that assessment was put to White, he said: “Whatever Michael Cheika says, we believe, don’t we”.

He also dredged up the infamous broken door incident from the Brumbies-Waratahs game three weeks ago. Cheika accidentally shattered the pane of glass in the Canberra Stadium facility when he pushed open the door at the end of the match.

White was asked for his take on the penalty count, which grew to 19-9 against NSW and was questioned by Cheika in his post-match comments.

“I just want to see if our coaches’ box is still alright, because I have to get [chief executive John Smit] to get some insurance for it,” White said.

“Hopefully it’s not too damaged.”

The niggle goes back some way, but was generally one-sided when both were coaching in Australia.

White raised eyebrows in the Waratahs when he said it would be an “indictment” on Australia if NSW fullback Israel Folau was picked by the Wallabies before agreeing to extend his one-year stay in rugby.

He also questioned, very early on last season, whether the much-talked about running rugby style Cheika had promised NSW fans had in fact materialised.

On the field both coaches drew blood. The Waratahs copped a 35-6 hiding in Canberra in round four before turning the tables with a 28-22 win in Sydney in round 14.

Cheika was pleased with the team’s defensive effort – an aspect they worked on all week at training – but said their attack was hobbled at the ruck and then by handling errors.

“The backs are trying to align and come onto the ball, so when the ball bobbles around at the ruck the backs come, they stop, they come again, passes weren’t great tonight,” he said.

“We were a bit across field, not as direct as we could have been, and when you run across field passes often go astray.

“That attacking part of the game that has been a strong point for us, we were disappointed with tonight, for sure.”

The result leaves the Waratahs inside the top six but one point behind the Brumbies in the Australian conference.

A win against the Sharks would have put the Waratahs at a commanding lead in the Australian conference after the Brumbies’ loss to Melbourne on Friday.

The squad travels to Cape Town on Wednesday to play the Stormers. They will be bolstered by the arrival of Folau from Australia, although his fitness is still being monitored.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/jake-white-baits-michael-cheika-after-sharks-swamp-waratahs-20140330-zqoky.html#ixzz2xVygCxnd

Super Rugby refs axed for poor displays


South African official Stuart Berry – who whistled the Queensland Reds off Ellis Park in Johannesburg on the weekend – is among four Super Rugby referees axed for poor performances. Berry, compatriot Lourens van der Merwe, Argentina’s Francisco Pastrana and Australian referee Angus Gardner were all stood down by governing body SANZAR on Monday.
March 24, 2014 – 6:36PM

Jim Morton

Stuart Berry during the match between the Lions and the Reds at Ellis Park at the weekend.Stuart Berry during the match between the Lions and the Reds at Ellis Park at the weekend. Photo: Getty Images


The quartet paid the price for sub-par displays as SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray takes a hard stance on improving the competition’s standard of refereeing. Bray last week indicated there would be a purge of officials at the end of the month but has wielded the axe a week early, following continued on-field controversies.

Berry had come under widespread criticism – from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa – after he penalised the Reds 17-4 against the Lions, who came back from 20-3 down to win 23-20 in Johannesburg on Sunday morning Australian time. Reds coach Richard Graham, particularly incensed by the final 10 minutes of the game, said he’d never seen such a lop-sided count.

Berry was due to stand as assistant referee in Pretoria this weekend but has been taken off duty for at least two weeks, as has Gardner.


The performances of Berry, who awarded a controversial try to the Lions against the Blues the week before, and van der Merwe in South Africa had sparked renewed calls for SANZAR to return to neutral referees.

Graham had previously made a formal complaint about van der Merwe’s display in Queensland’s 35-20 loss to the Sharks in Durban the week before.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske was just as cutting after panning Pastrana following his side’s 40-30 loss to the Blues in Auckland.

Van der Merwe has been stripped of controlling this Saturday’s Blues-Highlanders clash in Auckland, while Pastrana has been replaced by Nick Briant, who will referee Friday night’s Crusaders-Hurricanes game in Christchurch.

Bray has dismissed the need for neutral referees but said decreasing the pool of officials would see more consistency, with the very best handling more games heading into the finals. ”One of our core strategic objectives is to grow the depth of the team that is able to referee ‘any game, any time’,” he said. ”In line with this, we have reduced the size of the team heading into the next phase of the competition and in doing so, have recognised who has performed to expectation and who has not.”


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/super-rugby-refs-axed-for-poor-displays-20140324-hvm8h.html#ixzz2ws8VvSnN

Argentina bloods young rugby stars ahead of Super Rugby debut


They take their name from the vast grasslands that produced Argentina’s famous cattlemen, the Gauchos, and they are about to shake up Super Rugby.
March 5, 2014

Rugby Reporter

Young guns: The Pampas round up the ACT's Clyde Rathbone last week.Young guns: The Pampas round up the ACT’s Clyde Rathbone last week. Photo: Melissa Adams MLA


The Pampas, who play a Waratahs A side featuring Cam Crawford, Rob Horne, Jono Lance and Tala Grey in Sydney on Friday, will form the core of the Argentinian team slated to join Super Rugby in 2016.

They are playing in Australia this month in the IRB’s Pacific Rugby Cup and beat a Brumbies A side boasting Clyde Rathbone, Josh Mann-Rea and rising star Allan Alaalatoa last week.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika rates the Pampas the best team in the competition, which is functioning as Australia’s “Super B” tournament. NSW are using their Super Rugby bye week to help their second team prepare for Friday’s clash.

“It’s quite a big game against the Pampas, they’re the best team in the PRC competition. We’re lucky we’re going to have everyone available who’s not been in our first team.”

The Pampas have been around for a number of years, playing in South Africa’s Vodacom Cup for four seasons from 2010. But the nation’s likely inclusion in Super Rugby from 2016 has put the team front and centre in Argentina’s development plans and prompted their move to the PRC.

New Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade, who coached the Pampas from 2010 until he took over the Test job from Santiago Phelan late last year, is in Australia overseeing the side’s progress.

“The idea is to have this Pampas 15 and some of the players that now are playing in Europe [in the Super Rugby team],” Hourcade said. “We need them to play as many games as possible like this. We have come here to improve our level against the Australian way of playing, which is strong and dynamic. We need to be much faster and more dynamic.”

Pumas halfback Martin Landajo is captaining the side, which also includes Pumas rookies Tomas Lavanini (second row) and Patricio Fernandez (five-eighth). Fernandez was named man of the match in their 32-23 win over the ACT XV, scoring two tries and adding a further 12 points off the boot. He and Lavanini are among a number of Pampas players considered the new generation of Argentina Test regulars.

A bid to lure home big-name players from Europe is also at the heart of Argentina’s planning. Hourcade hopes the country’s inclusion in Super Rugby will give some of the Pumas’ best players – such as Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Juan Imhoff, Pablo Matera and Facundo Isa – a reason to stay at home year-round.

“With Super Rugby we will have at least 30 matches in a year, with 15 Super games, six Tests, six Rugby Championship Tests and some trials in June and November,” he said. “With this ambitious schedule players should not have to move to Europe to find a higher [standard of] competition.”

It will not bring everyone home, with the Argentinian Rugby Union (UAR) unable to compete with the salaries of some of the big French and English sides. But Hourcade hopes the development of the Pampas during the next two seasons will convince some to invest in their homeland’s future.

“They will have to make a decision, go for a better salary in Europe – which is a reality – or trust in the project and be proud to play for Argentina,” he said.

The Pampas play the Waratahs Gen Blue at David Phillips Field in Daceyville on Friday at 3pm. Entry is free.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/argentina-bloods-young-rugby-stars-ahead-of-super-rugby-debut-20140305-346uf.html#ixzz2v9qaV2Ae

Eyeing domestic player movement under new Bok selection policy (updated)


Having recently selected a Springbok side containing no less than 10 players contracted to oversea’s clubs, Heyneke Meyer has certainly set a new precedent for domestic players both young and older, who harbour Springbok aspirations.

Some like former Springbok coach Jake White have recently said the Springbok’s policy of picking overseas players is a ticking time bomb. A multi-faceted argument based on fears of player ‘drain’, weakened domestic competitions, decreased revenue  from sponsorship to broadcasting revenues and with it the very means with which to keep top-level players in the country. These concerns come directly from the sponsors themselves, scribes from NZAR Super rugby unions and not just the sage-like Jake White.

A perpetual ticking time bomb indeed.

On the  flip-side Ruggaworld’s own guru Morne has questioned just what type of effect this would have on all of the above, if any at all? He went on further to state that he thought such was the depth and structures in South African rugby, any perceived exodus due to these new policies would be sustainable. He sited the flow from Grant Khomo Week through to Craven Week, Club rugby, Varsity Cup, Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup and to Super Rugby as being the means to consistently produce and sustain quality Springbok players capable of being world-beaters despite concerns.

Considering the antithesis of Heyneke’s new policy having being in effect for over a decade and only really starting in June this year, there really is no data to further any debate without being subjective.

In the next few years will there be a marked exodus of quality players. By quality I mean players of Super Rugby standard, capable of both keeping RSA Super teams winning and of course at the same time contributing to a world beating Springbok side? Will the quality of domestic competitions wane? Will sponsors pull their funds? Could this lead to NZAR finally splitting from SARU in Super rugby?

Right now the answers would be about as accurate as Mark Keohane’s ‘bones’.

It is for this reason I thought it would be handy keeping a running tab on this thread. Documenting every professional South African player leaving  to play in competitions and leagues overseas, rather than ply their trade domestically.Over the next few years, with particular emphasis on the Rugby World Cup 2015 and the new Super Rugby broadcasting rights renewal we should be able to draw some better data with which to see just what effect this selection policy has had on South African rugby domestically and internationally.

With that in mind I’ll start by listing the current South African players announcing their departure in June after Heyneke’s announcement of first test squads. As the list develops so to the means and method of data can evolve with it… a kind of living organism.

June 2013

Andries Bekker (Japan)
Meyer Bosman (Stade Francais)
Heinrich Brussow (Japan)
Kevin Buys (Brive)
Wesley Dunlop (Montauban)
Dewald Duvenhage (Perpignan)
JP du Plessis (Montpellier)
Burton Francis (Agen)
Bryan Habana (Toulon)
JC Janse van Rensburg (Bayonne)
Zane Kirchner (Leinster)
Juandre Kruger (Racing Metro)
Wandile Mjekevu (Perpignan)
Wynand Olivier (Montpellier)
Joe Pietersen (Biaritz)
JP Pietersen (Japan)
Jacques Potgieter (Japan for 6 months and then Saracens)
Chiliboy Ralapele (Toulouse)
Hendrik Roodt (Grenoble)
Wilhelm Steenkamp (Force)
Morne Steyn (Stade Francais)
Jano Vermaak (Toulouse)

July 2013

Robert Ebersohn (Montpellier)
Marcel Brache (Force)
Chris Heiberg (Force)
Wimpie VD Walt (Japan)
Riaan Viljoen (Japan)
Gerhaad VD Heever (Munster)
HP Momsen (Canberra)
Altus Momsen (Canberra)
Marco Kotze (Canberra)
JP Smith (Canberra)
Ruan Smit (Racing Metro)
Don Armand (Exeter)

August 2013
Conrad Hoffman (Brumbies)
Juan Smith (Toulon)

September 2013

Craig Burden (Toulon)
Cornell Du Preez (Edinburgh)
Lionel Cronje (Brumbies)



All Blacks lose Richie McCaw, Cory Jane for Wallaby Test


The All Blacks suffered a double blow on the eve of Saturday’s Test against the Wallabies with captain Richie McCaw and wing Cory Jane ruled out after picking up injuries in training.

DateOctober 18, 2013 – 10:29AM
Cory Jane on the burst against Australia at Eden Park.Cory Jane on the burst against Australia at Eden Park. Photo: Peter Meecham


“Richie McCaw has been ruled out of Test with tight calf. Cory Jane also out w mild hamstring strain,” the All Blacks posted on their Twitter account.

A team spokesman would not comment on the posting but said injury updates would be made at the captain’s run later Friday. It is understood the injuries flared up during training on Thursday.

Sam Cane replaces McCaw on the openside flank and Charles Piutau will start on the right wing, with Steven Luatua added to the replacements, the All Blacks’ official Twitter account said.

In recent weeks McCaw has been troubled by a knee injury suffered against Argentina early in the rugby championship.

Jane had been rushed back after only two appearances in New Zealand’s provincial competition since sitting out most of the year with knee ligaments damaged in pre-season training.

All Blacks :Israel Dagg; Charles Piutau, Ben Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea; Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read (captain), Sam Cane, Liam Messam; Sam Whitelock, Jeremy Thrush; Charlie Faumuina, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock. Replacements: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Brodie Retallick, Steven Luatua, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Tom Taylor.

Wallabies: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Peter Betham, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Ben McCalman, Michael Hooper, Ben Mowen, James Horwill (captain), Rob Simmons, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, James Slipper. Replacements: Saia Fainga’a, Benn Robinson, Sekope Kepu, Sitaleki Timani, Dave Dennis, Nic White, Mike Harris, Bernard Foley.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/all-blacks-lose-richie-mccaw-cory-jane-for-wallaby-test-20131018-2vqux.html#ixzz2i1oLHkLt

Support flows for ‘perfectionist’ Jones


Former Brumbies and Wallabies have rallied to support Jones following what appeared to be a minor stroke in Japan on Tuesday.

Date October 18, 2013

Sports Writer, The Canberra Times


?'He?s the Mecca, pretty much what he says goes over here [Japan].  He?s very highly regarded,?' Andy Friend says on Eddie Jones.”He’s the Mecca, pretty much what he says goes over here [Japan]. He’s very highly regarded,” Andy Friend says on Eddie Jones.

Former Wallabies and Brumbies coach Eddie Jones is a ”perfectionist” who has built a career on an unbeatable work ethic and passion to succeed, Australian great Stephen Larkham says.

The 53-year-old, who now coaches Japan, was taken to hospital where he is said to have suffered some paralysis of his left side. According to reports, he was able to converse.

Former Brumbies coach Andy Friend said Jones was the ”Mecca” of Japanese rugby.

Friend now coaches the Canon Eagles in Japan’s Top League competition and has worked closely with Jones in developing the country’s rugby talent.

”He’s the Mecca, pretty much what he says goes over here,” Friend said. ”He’s very highly regarded.

”Japan is all about a work ethic and Eddie probably has the biggest work ethic there is in the game. He fits the Japanese culture and he’s very astute as a coach.”

Jones led Japan to victory against Wales for the first time this year.

He coached Larkham at the Brumbies and the Wallabies.

”You think the worst when you see the headline with ‘stroke’ in it,” Larkham said.

”Eddie was very dedicated and passionate as a coach. He spent a lot of hours preparing, he spent more time in the office than anyone else. He’s continued that work ethic in Japan, he’s a perfectionist and has a big workload in Japanese rugby.”

Jones was preparing the Japanese team for a historic clash against New Zealand in Tokyo on November 2.

It will the first time the All Blacks have played a Test in Japan.

Former Brumbies coach Jake White was considering flying from South Africa to Japan to be by Jones’ side.

Jones was White’s assistant coach when the Springboks won the World Cup in 2007.

Jones also led the Brumbies to a Super Rugby title in 2001 before guiding the Wallabies into the 2003 World Cup before he was sacked in 2005.

Despite being based in Japan, Jones has been a crucial element in the Brumbies’ success over the past two seasons.

White recruited him as a consultant coach and Larkham still uses Jones as a sounding board.

”He always had good honesty towards the players, he didn’t beat around the bush and was brutally honest sometimes,” Larkham said.

”He was great at getting the best out of individuals. I’ve been speaking to Eddie on and off since he finished off in Australia. I had some good meetings before I started coaching [in 2011].

”He has immense knowledge of coaching in rugby and in general and he’s great to bounce ideas off.”

Stirling Mortlock, Adam Freier and Matt Giteau were among a host of former Wallabies and Brumbies sending messages of support to Jones.

”Eddie has a very, very good work ethic and that sets that standard for everyone around him,” Jones’ Brumbies and Wallabies predecessor Rod Macqueen said.

”Eddie can be very proud of what he’s done … He’s never stopped coaching, he’s a true full-time professional coach.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/support-flows-for-perfectionist-jones-20131017-2vq17.html#ixzz2i1kJN9RH













Springboks name unchanged squad


South Africa will field the same starting 15 and the same bench as they did for their 38-12 humbling of Australia in Brisbane last weekend.

September 11, 2013 – 2:02PM
Zane Kirchner is upended by Israel Folau in Brisbane.Zane Kirchner is upended by Israel Folau in Brisbane. Photo: Getty Images

Coach Heyneke Meyer says the Springboks will need to go up a gear when they face the All Blacks in a top-of-the-table Rugby Championship clash in Auckland on Saturday.

Meyer says it’s a great position to be in to be able to name an unchanged squad, but adds that he has utmost respect for the All Blacks.

“You don’t want to get into the situation where it’s easy to pick the same side and everything goes well and you’ve won,” he said.

“We know we have to make an unbelievable step up. This is the best team in the world we’re facing.”

Meyer said some of his players had the flu but he expected they would all be over it by match day.

Both South Africa and defending champions New Zealand have won their first three matches of the tournament, but the Springboks lead the table because they have an extra bonus point.

New Zealand will name their team on Thursday morning.

South Africa: Zane Kirchner, Willie le Roux, JJ Engelbrecht, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Flip van der Merwe, Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.

Reserves: Adriaan Strauss, Gurthro Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Juandre Kruger, Siya Kolisi, Jano Vermaak, Pat Lambie, Jan Serfontein.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/springboks-name-unchanged-squad-for-all-blacks-clash-20130911-2tjzl.html#ixzz2eYow2FLy

Will Genia dropped, Ben Mowen to captain Wallabies


The Wallabies have a new captain with Ben Mowen to lead the team into action against Argentina on Saturday night after Will Genia was dumped from the starting XV on Wednesday.

September 11, 2013 – 1:12PM

Will Genia has been dropped from the Wallabies starting side. Photo: Getty Images


Mowen becomes the Wallabies sixth captain in two years and will take over the reins in just his seventh Test, making him one of the most inexperienced skippers in Australian history.

Halfback Genia has been axed to the bench with rookie Nic White to take over the No.9 duties.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie revealed the decision to bench Genia was not taken lightly, “The fact that Will has captained his country shows what high regard we hold him in, and while he is naturally disappointed, I also know how competitive he is and I’ve got no doubts he will train himself to a standstill to bounce back as a better player,” McKenzie said.

“We’ve spoken about what areas we believe he can continue to improve and evolve his game and he was receptive to going back and addressing those things.

“In the end, it wasn’t an easy decision because he is undoubtedly a world-class player.”

Ben Mowen will captain the Wallabies against Argentina on Saturday night. Photo: Getty Images

In other changes, prop Ben Alexander returns to the starting XV at tighthead while Quade Cooper retains his place at five-eighth.

White has only played 16 minutes of Test rugby and made his Wallabies debut last month.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has made changes as the team searches for a win to snap its four-game losing streak.

The Wallabies are already without regular captain James Horwill (hamstring) while leader David Pocock is still recovering from a knee reconstruction.

McKenzie hasn’t won a match as Test coach after taking over from Robbie Deans in July.

A defeat at the hands of Argentina would be a massive blow to Australian rugby.

McKenzie remains confident of avoiding any banan skins against the Pumas, “Rugby is a game of chess and we will look forward to the challenge of getting the right balance and our first Rugby Championship win,” the coach said.

Mowen only made his Test debut in June against the British and Irish Lions. In his six Tests, he has won just one match.

The ACT Brumbies captain has been outstanding at the Canberra franchise.

He moved to the capital at the start of the 2012 season for a fresh start after years at the NSW Waratahs trying to break into the Test squad.

Mowen feared his international window had closed.

But switching to the Brumbies has reinvigorated his career and he is widely regarded as one of the best leaders in Australian rugby.

At the start of the year Mowen turned down lucrative offers from Japan to stay in Australia and chase his Wallabies dreams.

It has paid off.

He helped guide the Brumbies into the Super Rugby final, made his international debut against the Lions and has established himself as a crucial cog in the Wallabies forward pack.

White will fill the hole left by Genia.

His kicking game will be a massive boost for the Wallabies but Genia’s absence leaves a gaping hole in Australia’s experience.

White sat on the bench behind Genia last year, but was never given a chance on the field.

When White made the tough choice to have shoulder surgery instead of playing in the Rugby Championship last year, Genia suffered a season-ending knee injury and Nick Phipps was given a chance in the Wallabies No.9 jersey.

But White continued his impressive rise from club rugby this season and has earned the right to test himself against the Pumas.

Wallabies team to play Argentina on Saturday in Perth: 1. James Slipper, 2. Stephen Moore, 3. Ben Alexander, 4. Rob Simmons, 5. Kane Douglas, 6. Scott Fardy, 7. Michael Hooper, 8. Ben Mowen (c), 9. Nic White, 10. Quade Cooper, 11. Nick Cummins, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14. James O’Connor, 15. Israel Folau. Reserves: 16. Saia Faingaa, 17. Scott Sio, 18. Sekope Kepu, 19. Sitaleki Timani, 20. Ben McCalman, 21. Will Genia, 22. Matt Toomua, 23. Tevita Kuridrani

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/will-genia-dropped-ben-mowen-to-captain-wallabies-20130911-2tjdo.html#ixzz2eYmzNWOc

Cooper starts, Folau at 15 for Oz


Israel Folau has made the long-awaited switch to fullback and Quade Cooper will start for the Wallabies against the Springboks in Brisbane on Saturday.
September 4, 2013 – 11:02AM
Georgina Robinson

Quade Cooper will start at five-eighth for the Wallabies against South Africa. Photo: Getty Images

Folau has been named in a back three with wingers James O’Connor and Nick Cummins, who comes into the side at the expense of Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg.

Folau moves to fullback after five Tests on the wing. Folau played fullback for the Waratahs all season and named the No.15 jersey as his preferred position.

Cooper makes his starting return at five-eighth, squeezing out Matt Toomua, who started both Tests against the All Blacks last month. Toomua and Mogg both move to the bench.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has kept his midfield intact, naming Adam Ashley-Cooper and Christian Leali’ifano in the centres for the third Test in a row.

“We have very specific thoughts about how we want to play this game and feel Quade is best suited to carrying that out,” McKenzie said.

“He’s been part of our matchday squad in both games so far but his role now changes from being a finisher to starting the game. We feel that role will suit how we want to play.

“He is also an experienced and successful Test player, which is handy to have against a hardened Springboks outfit.

“It has been almost 12 months since he last started a Test match and I’m sure there were times where he wondered if he would wear the number 10 jersey again. He’s worked really hard both on and off the field to now get that chance.

“He’s carried himself extremely well all year and during the last fortnight in the role we’ve asked him to complete. Now, he gets a chance to make an impact from the start of the game.

“That also means we’re asking Matt [Toomua] to fulfil a new role this week. He has had a great season so far and his form was reflected in our decision to choose him for the opening two Test matches. He’s still in our Test squad and will have a part to play in our success this week and moving forward.”

Versatile prop Sekope Kepu replaces Ben Alexander at tighthead, with the Brumbies prop moving to the bench in the only change to the starting eight.

Reds back-rower Jake Schatz has taken Liam Gill’s spot on the bench in an effort to beef up the Wallabies pack.

Wallabies: James Slipper, Stephen Moore, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, James Horwill (c), Scott Fardy, Michael Hooper, Ben Mowen, Will Genia (vc), Quade Cooper, James O’Connor, Christian Leali’ifano, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Nick Cummins, Israel Folau.

Bench: Saia Fainga’a, Scott Sio, Ben Alexander, Kane Douglas, Jake Schatz, Nic White, Matt Toomua, Jesse Mogg.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/quade-cooper-named-to-start-for-wallabies-as-israel-folau-moved-to-fullback-20130904-2t3z8.html#ixzz2du5VqSg3

South Africans boost Whites.


This is the South African quartet that has helped put Queanbeyan on the verge of ending its grand final drought. But if Whites coach Adam Fahey has his way, he won’t see them again next season.

Date August 31, 2013
Jon Tuxworth

Sports reporter at The Canberra Times

HP Momsen, Altus Momsen, Marco Kotze and JP Smith.HP Momsen, Altus Momsen, Marco Kotze and JP Smith. Photo: Katherine Griffiths

Nineteen-year-old twin centres Altus and HP Momsen, loosehead prop JP Smith and back rower Marco Kotze wound up in Queanbeyan through help from ACT Brumbies coach Jake White.

All four have been invited to the Brumbies’ pre-season training in October, and are key planks in Queanbeyan’s John I Dent Cup premiership charge.

On Saturday, Queanbeyan will vie for its first grand final appearance since its 2010 premiership in the preliminary final against Royals at Viking Park.


”I’d like to say yes [they’ll play for us next year] but they’re chasing their dream of playing at the highest level possible and we support that 100 per cent,” Fahey said. ”We’ll do everything we can to help them become professional rugby players.

”They’ve brought a good mix to our club, the serious nature of the way they approach their rugby and their South African sense of humour off it, which is unique at times.”

Western Force is increasingly looking to South Africa for talent to avoid bidding wars with sides on Australia’s east coast.

Fahey said the huge playing depth and multi-layer path to the top in their homeland makes Australia an attractive option for South Africans. ”They’re playing outside [Queanbeyan star] Robbie Coleman, a Super Rugby player at the Brumbies, and within three months they’ll potentially start training with the elite squad. That’s unheard of in South Africa – you have to go through three or four different levels to get looked at.

”We asked Jake if he knew of any quality players in positions we wanted to strengthen, and the ones who came here have paid off.”

HP Momsen admitted the South Africans were enjoying the more attacking style prevalent in Australia. ”Back home it’s more physical; we find there’s more running rugby here,” he said. ”It’s good for us, you can play with a bit more flair.

”In South Africa we had scholarship opportunities with the Sharks and Cheetahs, but they have 150 players in their squads and it’s more difficult to get into a Super Rugby team there.

”We want to play Super Rugby one day and it would be great if we can get into the Brumbies’ system.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/south-africans-boost-whites-20130830-2swky.html#ixzz2dWQHGdl4


Arthur ready to pack down with Force


The former coach of the Australian cricket team, Mickey Arthur, is in talks to join Perth-based Super Rugby franchise the Western Force.

August 28, 2013

Georgina Robinson

Rugby Reporter

Talks: Mickey Arthur.Talks: Mickey Arthur. Photo: Getty Images

Arthur is understood to have spent the past couple of months in discussions with Force chief executive Mark Sinderberry about stepping into a role centred around talent development and recruitment at the club. Fairfax Media has been told a deal could be reached as early as next week, when Sinderberry returns from annual leave.

Arthur, 45, has extensive rugby connections to his native South Africa and helped the Force lure five-eighth Sias Ebersohn from the Cheetahs last year. He could also play a key role in any academy squad the Force starts as part of the proposed Australian Super Rugby development competition, which was put to the board of the Australian Rugby Union on Tuesday.

Arthur returned to Perth after his sensational sacking as the coach of the Australian cricket team two weeks before the start of the Ashes series in England in June. He is director of cricket at Anglican boys school Christ Church Grammar but, having lived in Perth for three years, developed a good relationship with Force head coach Michael Foley since the latter’s move there a year ago. ”I’m very passionate about rugby union,” Arthur said in January. ”I’ve jumped on the Western Force and talk a lot to Michael Foley, and I’m trying to help the Force with a little bit of recruitment from South Africa.”


The Force are increasingly looking to South Africa as a source of affordable talent that reduces their exposure to the high-priced bidding wars in the Australian market.

At the start of this month they announced former Stormers centre Marcel Brache and prop Chris Heiberg would play for them next year, joining Ebersohn and Bulls second-rower Wilhelm Steenkamp.

The ARU has given the Force and the Melbourne Rebels considerable room to move with recruitment. While the Reds, Waratahs and Brumbies are limited to two foreign signings on their rosters, the Force, for example, are now allowed six foreign development players and two marquees.

”With four provinces fighting over the same players on the east coast, we’ll continue to think outside the square with regard to our recruitment,” Sinderberry said.

Arthur’s addition to the payroll could give the club significant access to the South African market, not to mention the benefit of his coaching experience.

Arthur took the South African cricket team to the top of the international rankings during his five-year stint as head coach, before moving to Australia.

He coached the West Australian team for a year before taking on the top national job as the first foreigner to coach the Australian cricket team.

Following his sacking in June, with two years left to run on his contract, Arthur lodged a case for unfair dismissal with Fair Work Australia. He reached a settlement with Cricket Australia reported to be worth an estimated $600,000, or equivalent to one year’s salary plus bonuses.

Code-breakers: Coaches who have crossed divides

Mickey Arthur

Having enjoyed huge success with the South African cricket team, reviving the fortunes of the Australian side proved beyond Arthur, below, who is now in talks with the Force over a switch to rugby.

Clive Woodward

Rugby World Cup winning-coach of England who moved into football, spending a tumultuous 12 months as performance director, then director of football, at Southampton.

Brian Smith

The former rugby league coach for St George, Parramatta, the Roosters and Newcastle enjoyed a successful collaboration as defence consultant with the Brumbies, helping the team make the Super Rugby final this year.

Ric Charlesworth

Sheffield Shield-winning cricketer for Western Australia in the 1970s who also won Olympic silver with the Kookaburras during a 227-game hockey career. Went on to coach the Hockeyroos for seven years.

Shaun Edwards

England and Wigan rugby league legend who moved to rugby as a coach and is now defence coach for Wales under Warren Gatland.

John Muggleton

Former Eels and Origin player for NSW who coached Georgia at the 2011 Rugby World Cup then spent two seasons as defence coach at the Melbourne Rebels.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/arthur-ready-to-pack-down-with-force-20130827-2sodk.html#ixzz2dEcbFETS

Matt Toomua to make Test debut against the All Blacks


The Qantas Wallabies have announced five uncapped players in their 23-man Test squad with playmakerMatt Toomua to make his debut at flyhalf in Saturday night’s opening Bledisloe Cup and Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship clash against New Zealand at ANZ Stadium.

Toomua is the sole debutant to be chosen in new coach Ewen McKenzie’s inaugural Test starting line-up while fellow uncapped ACT Brumbies teammates Scott Sio, Scott Fardy, Nic White and Tevita Kuridrani have all earned places on the bench.

The selection of five uncapped players marks a new era under McKenzie and is reward for their year-long performances in a Brumbies side that only marginally went down to New Zealand’s Chiefs in the Super Rugby Final a fortnight ago.

They’ll be expected to play an integral role in a new-look Qantas Wallabies line-up that includes eight changes to the starting XV which took the field for Australia in their final Test against The British & Irish Lions in July.

Those changes comprise of Ben Mowen shifting to No.8 and James O’Connor to the wing, along with the inclusion of prop James Slipper, lock Rob Simmons, flankers Hugh McMeniman and Michael Hooper, fullback Jesse Mogg and Toomua.

McKenzie said he was confident the new group could achieve immediate success as they begin their pursuit of winning the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002.

“When we picked the team we didn’t spend one minute looking at how many Test caps a player had or the number of debutants.  It was picked on performance over a sustained period of time and on how we want to play the game,” McKenzie said.

“The fact that five guys haven’t played a Test before isn’t a concern.  Everyone has to start from somewhere and we definitely haven’t picked them on one game. Rather, they are starting their Test careers off the back of consistently strong performances at a provincial level.

“The reality is that whether it’s in Super Rugby or the Test arena, all our guys have a lot of familiarity with who we are playing against.  I see that as a positive as we aren’t playing anyone we don’t already know a lot about.

“If you keep the contest in that space you will find that we’ve had success in all the head-to-head individual battles at some point and under different circumstances.

“So, if our guys do well against their individual opponent, than I think we’ve got a gameplan and a game style where we will be able to express ourselves and put the team in a good position to win.”

All five potential debutants have experienced unique journeys on their way to winning selection in the Qantas Wallabies line-up for Saturday night.

For Toomua, his selection has been four years in the making after the talented 23-year-old made the briefest of appearances for Australia in an uncapped midweek clash against the Cardiff Blues in 2009.

Toomua lasted just four minutes when a broken jaw ended his night prematurely, setting the tone for a frustrating next three seasons where he was limited to just 28 Super Rugby games heading into 2013.

Having enjoyed an injury-free preseason, Toomua has stepped up to the next level during the past year and was an integral member to both the Brumbies’ Super Rugby Finals Series success and also their historic midweek victory over The British & Irish Lions in June.

“We could have gone many different ways at flyhalf as we have a lot of good options there, but in the end we see some great tactical opportunities starting the game with Matt,” McKenzie said.

“It’s obvious that each of our playmaking options have different styles so it’s important that we’re looking to get the best out of their individual strengths at different stages of the game.

“To his credit, Matt has had a really good season and he has been playing up until last week in a team that made the Super Rugby Final.  He’s done a lot of good things and there isn’t any reason he doesn’t deserve a go.”

While just 21 years of age, Sio flashed enormous potential in his second year of Super Rugby to earn a place on the Qantas Wallabies bench.

However his rapid rise has not come unexpectedly, with Sio continuing his family’s long Rugby tradition after father and prop Tevita ‘David’ Sio represented Samoa in the 1991 Rugby World Cup.

It will also be a special occasion for Sio and his family after the 116kg prop was initially named in the Qantas Wallabies squad to take on The British & Irish Lions only to miss out on matchday selection throughout the series.

Joining Sio on the bench is fellow 21-year-old youngster Tevita Kuridrani, who was a deserving winner of the ‘Most Outstanding Young Talent’ award at the Brumbies annual awards ceremony at the weekend.

Also in just his second year of Super Rugby, Kuridrani quickly solidified his place in the starting line-up with an emphasis on strong ball running highlighted when he scored the winning try in the Brumbies upset victory over the Bulls in the Super Rugby Semi-Final.

While Kuridrani just pips Sio as the youngest member of the potential debutants, it’s 29-year-old backrower Scott Fardy who sits at the other end of the spectrum.

It has been an unlikely journey for Fardy to Qantas Wallabies selection after he left Australia for Japanese club Kamaishi Seawaves in 2009 having never played a game of Super Rugby despite spending a season with the Western Force Academy in 2008.

However, after being forced to return to Australia when his village was wiped out by the 2011 tsunami, Fardy took up an Extended Playing Squad contract with the Brumbies only to be offered a fulltime contracted midway through the 2012 season.

He has taken massive strides since returning to Australia and has shown the ability to be equally productive as either a backrower or lock.

Scrumhalf Nic White has been waiting in the wings for a number of years to receive an opportunity for Australia after having sat on the bench for all three of the Qantas Wallabies wins over Wales last June before a shoulder injury ended any hopes of making a Test debut during the Spring Tour.

White returned to full health in 2013 but was overlooked for Australia’s recent series against The British & Irish Lions only to feature heavily in the Brumbies playoff run which ended just short of a dream finish in the Super Rugby Final.

Tickets for the Qantas Wallabies clash against the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 17 August are on sale now via www.ticketek.com.au.

The Qantas Wallabies side to play New Zealand in the opening Bledisloe Cup and Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship match at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 17 August is:

1. James Slipper (Queensland Reds)
2. Stephen Moore (ACT Brumbies)
3. Ben Alexander (ACT Brumbies)
4. Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds)
5. James Horwill (c – Queensland Reds)
6. Hugh McMeniman (Western Force)
7. Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs)
8. Ben Mowen (ACT Brumbies)
9. Will Genia (vc – Queensland Reds)
10. Matt Toomua (ACT Brumbies)*
11. James O’Connor (Melbourne Rebels)
12. Christian Leali’ifano (ACT Brumbies)
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs)
14. Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs)
15. Jesse Mogg (ACT Brumbies)

16. Saia Fainga’a (Queensland Reds)
17. Scott Sio (ACT Brumbies)*
18. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)
19. Scott Fardy (ACT Brumbies)*
20. Liam Gill (Queensland Reds)
21. Nic White (ACT Brumbies)*
22. Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds)
23. Tevita Kuridrani (ACT Brumbies)*

ARU leaning towards two Super conferences


The Australian Rugby Union is open to an overhaul of Super Rugby that would see more trans-Tasman derbies and up to two Argentinian teams included in the competition.

August 8, 2013 – 6:16PM

Georgina Robinson

Rugby Reporter

New challenge: up to two Argentinian teams could  included in a revamped competition.

New challenge: up to two Argentinian teams could included in a revamped competition. Photo: AFP

Super Rugby’s governing body, SANZAR, is under pressure to include a sixth South African team in the competition from 2016 and believes the best way of doing so is to cut the current three-conference system down to two conferences that would not play each other until a finals series.

One conference would include the current Australian and New Zealand teams and the other would include six South African teams and up to two sides from Argentina.

ARU chief executive Bill Pulver would not commit to a preferred model on Thursday but said he supported the inclusion of Argentina, which is playing its second season in the Rugby Championship this year.

It is also understood that while Australia might have preferred to stay with the current three conference model during previous discussions, the prospect of less travel and more marketable derby-style matches between New Zealand and Australian sides has the ARU looking closely at the proposal.

Australian teams would play each other twice and all New Zealand teams once before meeting the top three or four teams from the eight-team South Africa-Argentina conference.

It is becoming less and less likely that Super Rugby in its current format will exist beyond the next Rugby World Cup.

Its new shape is expected to be decided on by the SANZAR nations and Argentina by the end of this year.

A further expansion including an Asian team, possibly Japan, is also on the cards. But Pulver said there was no plan to include a Pacific Islands-based franchise.

Also in the works for 2016 is a new international calendar that would see the June internationals window moved to July and Super Rugby finishing before that break.

The International Rugby Players’ Association has been behind the push, with the SANZAR nations and England’s Premiership Rugby clubs on board.

“I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of having that change,” Pulver said. “Having a Test series take place in June is really quite inconvenient from a Super Rugby perspective. Having to break the competition for a month, particularly for those teams not in the finals series, is very disruptive.”

Wallabies and Waratahs No.7 Michael Hooper also backed the move, saying it made sense to “clean up” the calendar.

“As Waratahs we had to break up for a couple of weeks, come back, play one game against the Reds,” Hooper said. “It’s difficult, while the main squad is training throughout that window you lose guys, guys come back, and it would just clean up the year. I think most players would be for that.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/aru-leaning-towards-two-super-conferences-20130808-2rkhf.html#ixzz2bNFm2by0

Lions ring changes to stop history repeating


The Lions have been here before. We won the first Test in Brisbane 12 years ago and everyone was feeling confident off the back of that performance. But we came to Melbourne and were beaten and then we lost the series in Sydney. No one wants a repeat of that. It is all about making sure this game is won and Warren Gatland’s selections reflect that.

June 29, 2013

Jason Robinson

George Gregan and John EalesVictory 2001: George Gregan, Rod Macqueen and John Eales. Photo: Nick Wilson / Allsport

He has brought in Ben Youngs to replace Mike Phillips at halfback, which should give the Lions a little more zip around the ruck. Tommy Bowe coming back on to the wing is also massive. The Irishman and George North in combination with fullback Leigh Halfpenny will threaten the Wallabies everywhere if the ball ends up in their hands.

It is a strong Lions team and they will be confident going into this game but also mindful that the game last week could have been lost. Although the Australians took a lot of injuries and had to make a lot of changes, they came within a whisker of winning the game.

They will have looked at the video and at all those changes in Australia’s back line and said ”If that kick goes over everything is radically different.” That shows how close these games are and is probably why Gatland has decided to make a few changes.

It was interesting to see Robbie Deans stick with James O’Connor at five-eighth and push Kurtley Beale back to fullback.

Last week, with those few runs he made in Brisbane, Beale showed he certainly knows how to break a defensive line.

I am a massive fan of his and I think that missing that final kick will have disappointed him so he will be out to make a statement this week.

The Lions need to keep a close eye on Israel Folau as well, because scoring two tries on your debut is ridiculous and if the Wallabies can get more ball out to him he will cause more problems for the tourists.

It was always going to be difficult for O’Connor. When you’re not used to playing No.10 it’s one of the highest pressure positions on the field and when your team suffers the injuries that they did it’s always going to put more pressure on you. But it’s pretty simple for him, his job is to control the game, he’s got to get his guys playing in the right areas and involved as much as possible.

At times he also needs to get a little deeper, because I’m sure the Lions will look to put as much pressure on him as possible. But O’Connor is a fantastic player, there is no doubt about it, and just playing those 80 minutes there would have done him the world of good. He’ll be looking to work well with Will Genia, who is one of the best players on the planet at the moment.

When I think back to the 2001 series there is no doubt that winning the first game gives you a massive boost and in a lot of ways you also play knowing you have that buffer.

In the first half we played really well, we were leading 11-6 at the break, and it was only in the second half that it all fell apart. You often talk about games turning at a certain point. In that Test match it was really winger Joe Roff’s intercept try in the 41st minute that started to swing it in favour of the Wallabies. You look at all Tests and quite often they come down to one or two things. Twelve years ago it was Roff’s interception; who knows what it’s going to be in this game.

But for all the Lions’ justified confidence heading into this match, you can never underestimate an Australian side down on its luck.

Even though they lost the first Test 12 years ago and they lost it again this time around, every time you play the Wallabies they are a very confident side.

And you know that even though you’re one-up, you can’t take anything for granted.

From an Australian perspective, when you are forced into a position where you have to win a game, it tends to bring out the best in the players.

I’m sure we’ll see a massive performance from the Wallabies.

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 James Horwill, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Jesse Mogg.

British and Irish Lions: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 George North, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Makovina Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Tom Croft, 20 Sean O’Brien, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Alex Cuthbert.

Date: Saturday, June 29
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Kick-off: 20.05 AEST (11.05 UK & Ireland time; 10.05 GMT)
Expected weather: Mostly clear evening in Melbourne with a minimum of 7°C and a maximum of 15°C. The roof will be closed so rain will not be a factor.
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Romain Poite (France)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/lions-ring-changes-to-stop-history-repeating-20130628-2p2qq.html#ixzz2XWCXVATt

Innocent not lucky: James Horwill defends conduct ahead of unprecedented IRB appeal


Wallabies skipper James Horwill is not concerned about the spectre of another hearing into his alleged stamping on the head of British and Irish Lions second-rower Alun Wyn Jones, declaring that multiple camera angles not yet publicly seen would again vindicate him.

June 28, 2013 – 10:57AM

I didn’t know anything about any incident until after I was cited after the game.

Horwill was cited for a third-minute incident in the second Test when he struck Jones in the head during a ruck, but the Wallabies second-rower was later cleared by a hearing held by judicial officer Nigel Hampton.

James Horwill (L) with fellow second-row partner Kane Douglas.James Horwill (L) with fellow second-row partner Kane Douglas. Photo: Getty Images

However, the International Rugby Board has sparked controversy by effectively appealing its own decision and ordered a rehearing which will take place after Saturday’s second Test against the Lions at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium.

It is an unwelcome distraction for the Wallabies that must win Saturday’s game after losing the first Test 23-21.

Despite the uncertainty he is now facing – an unfavourable decision could rule him out of a potentially series-deciding third Test in Sydney –  Horwill said the IRB ‘‘was entitled to do what they’ve done’’ but he believed the initial hearing, which had viewed nine different camera angles, had given the ‘‘correct result’’.

‘‘I think they just showed that I was completely unaware of what was going on and you can just see that with the different angles,’’ Horwill said. ‘‘You can slow anything down to make it look different but if you look at it from a number of angles you can see what happened.’’

Horwill said he was a clean player and had not even realised that he had struck Jones, who had required stitches.

‘‘‘I didn’t know anything about any incident until I was told the next morning,’’ Horwill said.

“I had no idea about anything that had happened during the game, (and) still when I was told I had been cited I had no idea what it was for until  I was shown the incident a number of times.

‘‘It was a completely accidental act, there was no intent from my side. That’s the way it was, there was no intent, there was no malice. I completely had no idea Alun was anywhere near my feet.

‘‘Any incident you look at you can make it look worse than it is. I’m confident about what happened on the field. I have no knowledge of anything ever happening.’’

‘‘There were nine different camera angles to look at, so it was very thorough and the hearing went through it’s due process.

‘‘I’ve played 130 professional rugby games and never been cited once (and have) never attended any judicial hearing. It was a complete accident. Unfortunately accidents happen in rugby, it’s a contact sport and there was no intent or malice on my end to do anything.’’

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/innocent-not-lucky-james-horwill-defends-conduct-ahead-of-unprecedented-irb-appeal-20130628-2p0zy.html#ixzz2XVqw7VvI

Welsh prop should have been jailed: victim


A man knocked unconscious by Welsh rugby prop Craig Mitchell in an unprovoked pub assault wants tougher sentencing after the international player avoided jail.

June 28, 2013 – 1:06PM
Craig Mitchell representing Wales in 2011.Craig Mitchell representing Wales in 2011. Photo: Getty Images

Mitchell, who has made 15 appearances in a Welsh jersey, was on Friday sentenced to six months jail, wholly suspended for two years.

He also copped an $1800 fine and had to pay victim Cian Barry $3000 in compensation after knocking him out with a single hit at Brisbane’s Normanby Hotel.

King hit victim Cian Barry.King hit victim Cian Barry. Photo: Seven News

The attack occurred after Mr Barry was trying to calm down an altercation at the pub following the British and Irish Lions’ win against the Wallabies just hours earlier.

Mr Barry said Mitchell deserved to be jailed over the attack and called on the government to toughen sentences for gratuitous first-time violent offending.

‘‘It was horrendous,’’ Mr Barry told reporters outside court of the attack.

‘‘It was unprovoked violence, everyone’s had enough of it.’’

Mitchell apologised to Mr Barry in the courtroom, describing his actions as ‘‘totally unacceptable and unforgivable’’.

‘‘I hope you recover from your injuries and I’m truly sorry,’’ he told his victim.

But his lawyer John Cook did the talking outside of court, saying his client realised how close he was to serving time.

Mr Cook said he couldn’t say what implications a recorded conviction would have on Mitchell’s playing career.

Mitchell, who stood stony-faced behind his lawyer, refused to answer similar questions.

But Mr Cook said Mitchell had paid his fine and compensation and would be leaving the country after having his passport returned.

‘‘We’re in a position now where he wants to head off, he’s had a night in the watch house, he had very little sleep and was obviously very anxious because a term of imprisonment (was possible),’’ he said.

Mr Barry, a solicitor and son of retired Family Court judge James Barry, said he didn’t think Mitchell’s apology was genuine.

Magistrate Anne Thacker said merely fining Mitchell wasn’t a sufficient sentence.

‘‘It has to deter other Australians from this sort of behaviour at football matches,’’ she told Mitchell.

Mr Barry was first punched by Welsh tourist Richard Andrew Davies, and then by Mitchell, who travelled to Australia to watch the game.

Ms Thacker on Thursday fined Davies $1000 and ordered he pay Mr Barry $2000 compensation.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/welsh-prop-should-have-been-jailed-victim-20130628-2p217.html#ixzz2XW4eIQmC

Chiefs take bonus-point win over Canes


The Chiefs jumped to the top of the Super Rugby table with a bonus-point 34-22 win over the Hurricanes in Hamilton on Friday.

June 28, 2013 – 7:58PM
Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes loses the lineout ball to Craig Clarke of the Chiefs.

The four-tries-to-three win means the defending champions leapfrog the Brumbies to top the overall table by 61 points to 59 with a game in hand, as the Australian teams take a two-week break for the British and Irish Lions tour.

Julian Savea of the Hurricanes makes a break.Julian Savea of the Hurricanes makes a break. Photo: Getty Images

The Chiefs had an indifferent first half, but the Hurricanes also mixed good with bad in equal measure.

They scored two well-taken tries through TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett and looked dangerous with the ball in hand, making plenty of breaks and kicking intelligently.

But they also conceded too many turnovers, with the Chiefs more effective at the breakdown.

Perenara’s try gave the Hurricanes the lead after 15 minutes, the nuggety halfback burrowing over after Jeremy Thrush did some good work in recycling Barrett’s raking cross-field kick.

It didn’t take the Chiefs long to reply, No.8 Matt Vant Leven latching on to a poor Hurricanes defensive lineout throw four minutes later to swoop through for the try.

Inside centre Bundee Aki extended the Chiefs’ lead at 26 minutes in a nicely worked move from the set piece, showing good pace in running onto Aaron Cruden’s perfectly weighted kick through.

But Barrett narrowed the gap on 30 minutes, making the initial break then showing good strength out wide to touch down after a quick Hurricanes recycle, leaving the Chiefs to take a 17-15 lead into halftime.

The Chiefs scrum started to gain ascendancy as the second half wore on, but had only a Cruden penalty to show for it until the 63rd minute.

With his line under pressure, Barrett couldn’t find touch with his clearing kick from a 10m scrum and Lelia Masaga made him pay with with a scything run which set up halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow for the try.

Replacement prop Ben Tameifuna powered over for the bonus-point try with five minutes remaining, although the Hurricanes replied almost immediately through Alapati Leiua as the Chiefs’ usually organised defence slipped up.

CHIEFS 34 (Bundee Aki, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Ben Tameifuna, Matt Vant Leven tries Aaron Cruden 4 cons 2 pens) bt HURRICANES 22 (Beauden Barrett, Alapati Leiua, TJ Perenara tries Barrett 2 cons pen) at Waikato Stadium. Referee: Garratt Williamson.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-match-report/chiefs-take-bonuspoint-win-over-canes-20130628-2p2u9.html#ixzz2XVxOTj1n

Five South African born players to take on the Lions for the Brumbies.


In 2001, minus the majority of their stars away with the Wallabies, the Brumbies went pain-stakingly close to knocking the Lions over at Canberra Stadium. A late try to Austin Healey saved the Lions, who won 30-28, but it was a moment Brumbies supporters have not forgotten and will be hoping to go one better on Tuesday night.

Andrew Smith will start at inside centre for the Brumbies against the Lions.

Wallabies squad members Peter Kimlin and Scott Sio will join Canberra club star, Chris Cocca when the University of Canberra Brumbies take on the British and Irish Lions on Tuesday night.

An impressive season with Easts in Canberra’s John I Dent Cup has catapulted Cocca into the big time with the burly prop now set to tackle one of the world’s most respected set pieces.

Starting from an eight-man bench, Cocca is joined by fellow debutant prop, Jean-Pierre Smith as two of four new inclusions to the team which pummelled the Rebels two weeks ago. Smith’s identical twin brother, Ruan Smith, will start at loose-head prop.

Andrew Smith has also been included at inside-centre in his first match back since straining his hamstring against the Highlanders in round nine. He comes into the side for Pat McCabe who has been included in the Wallabies squad.

Mark Swanepoel comes onto the bench, with Ian Prior to start in place of Nic White who has a fractured scapular. The team will be skippered by Kimlin, who led the Brumbies to victory in the absence of White, two Friday’s ago against the Rebels.

“It’s fantastic for Chris that he has this opportunity to face the Lions. I’m sure he is still pinching himself,” Head Coach Jake White said.

“He’s been in fantastic form for Easts and deserves this shot at the Lions. It’s a bit of a new situation for us, with an eight-man bench, but JP [Jean-Pierre Smith] has been training with us for a month now and he’s comfortable with the job ahead of him.

“I think it’s a good indication that the competition in Canberra is becoming stronger, that we can take the local players and play them against a quality outfit like the Lions.

“In the backs it’s comforting to be able to include a guy like Andrew Smith, who’s got plenty of experience. With Tevita [Kuridrani], they form a big centre pairing and it will be interesting to see how they combine.

“This is a huge occasion for us as a team, but also individually. The Lions are one of rugby’s last romantic sides, there is plenty of history there and we know that beating the Lions will go down in Canberra’s rugby folk law for many years to come.”

Tuesday, 18 June, 2013
University of Canberra Brumbies v British and Irish Lions
Canberra Stadium, Bruce
Kick-off: 7.30pm

University of Canberra Brumbies
1. Ruan Smith
2. Siliva Siliva
3. Scott Sio
4. Leon Power
5. Sam Carter
6. Scott Fardy
7. Colby Faingaa
8. Peter Kimlin (c)
9. Ian Prior
10. Matt Toomua
11. Clyde Rathbone
12. Andrew Smith
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Henry Speight
15. Jesse Mogg

16. Josh Mann-Rea
17. Jean-Pierre Smith
18. Chris Cocca
19. Etienne Oosthuizen
20. Jordan Smiler
21. Mark Swanepoel
22. Robbie Coleman
23. Zack Holmes

HSBC Waratahs name team to take on Lions


HSBC Waratahs captain Dave Dennis will return from international duty to lead his state into one of the most historic matches in NSW rugby history.

By HSBC Waratahs Media Unit

Dennis returns to lead NSW against Lions

HSBC Waratahs captain Dave Dennis will return from international duty to lead his state into one of the most historic matches in NSW rugby history.

One of two Wallabies released for the game by national coach Robbie Deans, Dennis and Test centre Rob Horne will add a valuable 29 caps of Test experience to the courageous young squad that last week defeated a favoured Western Force side in Perth for the first time in Super Rugby history.

With NSW looking to record their first win over Great Britain since their 18-14 victory in 1959, additional breakdown nous will be provided by the return of combative openside Pat McCutcheon.  McCutcheon was expected to captain last week’s side before being withdrawn through injury.  Now fully recovered from the knee knock, the club captain and former Australia Sevens captain is the third and final change to last week’s run-on side.

Although still missing 11 international players, the changes mean that Head Coach Michael Cheika has been able to field a side boasting four international players, with 63-cap Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell starting at fullback and prop Paddy Ryan, who made his Test debut in the 2012 Spring Tour against France, in at tight-head.

The rivalry between NSW and Great Britain dates back 125 years to the teams’ first meeting at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 2 June, 1888 when NSW lost 2-18.  Since then, the sides have met a total of 20 times, with the NSW Waratahs recording four victories and one draw. In their last encounter on June 23, 2001 at the Sydney Football Stadium (now called Allianz Stadium), NSW lost 24-41. The NSW Waratahs last beat the Lions 18-14 at the Sydney Sports Ground in 1959.

Relishing the chance to make history,  HSBC Waratahs Head Coach Michael Cheika said, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we want it to be something worth remembering.  We’re going to go for it, we can’t be looking for a glorious defeat. As a player, you want to say that you played in an international-level fixture and you made something of it.”

Following yesterday’s announcement that Lions coach Warren Gatland had picked a strong side, led by Tour captain Sam Warburton, Cheika added, “We’re playing against a team with a massive artillery.  Obviously I’d like to have all our international players available but fair play to the ARU to giving us Dave and Rob back and for releasing Bernard and Matt from the sevens camp.

“We’ve been all about trying to develop a winning attitude, no matter who’s in the jersey.  The odds are against us, massively, but we’ll try and buck them.  As long as there’s a chance, we’ll take it. Anything in red that moves, we’ll have a crack at. We need to play our game and do it as best we can and see what happens.”

Named on the bench are three Shute Shield players, called into the squad as cover.  Whilst Richard Aho and AJ Gilbert made their NSW debuts in last week’s 28-13 win over the Force, if he takes the field, 21-year-old Sydney University prop Sam Talakei will earn his NSW debut.  After pushing hard on the selection front, Liam Winton (Sydney University) and Terrence Hepetema (Randwick) have been named as the squad’s 24th and 25th players, in recognition of their contributions to the squad in the lead up to this match.

The HSBC Waratahs v British & Irish Lions match kicks off at 7.30pm AEST this Saturday, June 15 at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium.  NSW fans can follow all the action live on FOX SPORTS or keep up to date with every score live on Twitter by following @NSWWaratahs or searching #WARvLIO.

HSBC Waratahs team to play The British & Irish Lions
Saturday June 15, 2013
Allianz Stadium, Sydney (7.30pm)

1.    Jeremy Tilse (Sydney University, vice captain)
2.    John Ulugia (Eastern Suburbs)
3.    Paddy Ryan (Sydney University)
4.    Will Skelton (Sydney University)
5.    Ollie Atkins (Sydney University)
6.    Jed Holloway (Southern Districts)
7.    Pat McCutcheon (Sydney University)
8.    Dave Dennis (Sydney University, captain)
9.    Brendan McKibbin (Eastern Suburbs)
10.    Bernard Foley (Sydney University, vice captain)
11.    Peter Betham (Sydney University)
12.    Tom Carter (Sydney University)
13.    Rob Horne (Southern Districts)
14.    Cam Crawford (Northern Suburbs)
15.    Drew Mitchell (Randwick)

16.    Luke Holmes (Warringah)
17.    Richard Aho (Randwick)*
18.    Sam Talakai (Sydney University)**
19.    Lopeti Timani (Southern Districts)
20. AJ Gilbert (Northern Suburbs)*
21. Matt Lucas (Manly)
22. Ben Volavola (Southern Districts)
23. Tom Kingston (Sydney University)

* Indicates players from outside the 35-man squad
** Indicates uncapped players

Standby players:
24. Liam Winton (Sydney University)*
25. Terrence Hepetema (Randwick)*

British & Irish Lions team

15. Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
14. Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)
13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets/Wales)
12. Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
11. Simon Zebo (Munster/Ireland)
10. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/Ireland)
9. Mike Phillips (Bayonne/Wales)
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens/England)
2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England)
3. Adam Jones (Ospreys/Wales)
4. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales)
5. Paul O’Connell (Munster/Ireland)
6. Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers/England)
7. Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues/Wales, capt)
8. Jamie Heaslip (Leinster/Ireland)

16. Richard Hibbard (Ospreys/Wales)
17. Alex Corbisiero (London Irish/England)
18. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers/England)
19. Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers/England)
20. Dan Lydiate (Dragons/Wales)
21. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England)
22. Owen Farrell (Saracens/England)
23. Rob Kearney (Leinster/Ireland)

Schalk Burger blow by blow


Schalk Burger has explained exactly how a pre-season calf strain eventually resulted in him ending up in intensive care fighting off bacterial meningitis.

Mon, 03 Jun 2013 12:31

The Springbok flank has not played since February 2012, and as a result has been the subject of much speculation, with his comeback postponed a few times due to a series of complications.

He addressed the media at Newlands on Monday and gave a full explanation of how a calf injury led to an operation on a cyst near his spine which in turn resulted in serious illness.

“Obviously there has been a lot of speculation but basically what happened was I started training with the Stormers at the beginning of this year and I felt reasonably good.

“After a while, in about 40 minutes of training or so, probably the equivalent of about 3km of running, I felt some spasticity in my left calf and when that happened I started to pull up because I was scared that I would tear or pull my calf muscle.

“Eventually I went for a back scan and it showed up that I had a cyst in my back right next to my spinal chord. I went in for an operation to relieve the pressure by draining the cyst, and unfortunately I picked up a hospital bug which led to bacterial meningitis,” he said.

Burger admitted that there were a few nervous moments for his family as he fought off the meningitis in isolation.

“There was a critical stage for about four, nearly five days in which there was a lot of uncertainty. Obviously through that period I was in isolation and I was seriously ill, so ill in fact that some people around me thought ‘this is it’.”

“Luckily I got through that and also draining the cyst wasn’t good enough so they had to come up with a new gameplan and that was actually removing the cyst.

“Unfortunately after that I had to have another three back operations. Where I am at now is that I am busy recovering, the cyst has been removed completely so I am just recovering from the bacterial meningitis,” he explained.

The Stormers stalwart said that the unkown ‘hospital bug’ that he contracted during the initial operation to drain the cyst had simply been a case of bad luck which could have happened to anyone else.

“I contracted a bug which led to bacterial meningitis, but they couldn’t pinpoint exactly what bug it was. I was basically lying in isolation in a room and not able to do much.

“I hade headaches, nausea and I was getting quite a lot of convulsions – not quite seizures but it was certainly close – so I was seriously ill and that was just unfortunate.

“I suppose when you make a hole anywhere there is the chance of infection and getting a bug. That was the serious part, and that happened just after the first procedure so it was just bad luck on my behalf,” he said.

The cyst, which has been there for about the last ten years, has since been completely removed and Burger said that he is grateful that it was identified before it did any long-term damage.

“No-one is really sure what it is about, but it could be trauma-related so it could have been a rugby injury. But it was there for a long time – approximately ten years.

“I am thankful that they caught it at that stage, because if they hadn’t it could have done some long-term damage.

“The bunch of neurosurgeons working on my case decided to have a look. They drained the cyst and analysed the contents thereof, which was benign, there was nothing serious.

“Then I fell ill and I think that influenced the way I was healing so after my illness they decided to remove it completely,” he said.

Burger hopes to return to the playing field once he recovers fully from the meningitis, which could be later this year, and joked that the Stormers’ form this season is not helping the speed of his recuperation.

“I can understand now why coaches lose hair, go grey and get pretty uptight. I think it has been a year of near-misses, I don’t think we have had any luck on or off the pitch.

“I hope for my health they start winning because my nerves and my fingernails haven’t lasted too well this year,” he quipped.

By Michael de Vries



All the leading player statistics after round 12 of this years S15…
Most Points
1. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 163
2. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 148
3. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 140
4. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 119
5. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 106
5. James O’Connor (Rebels) 106
7. Brendan McKibbin (Waratahs) 105
8. Joe Pietersen (Stormers) 104
9. Quade Cooper (Reds) 103
10. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 93
11. Daniel Carter (Crusaders) 70
12. Chris Noakes (Blues) 64
13. Sias Ebersohn (Force) 58
13. Tyler Bleyendaal (Crusaders) 58
15. Colin Slade (Highlanders) 55
16. Burton Francis (Cheetahs) 50
17. Johan Goosen (Cheetahs) 43
18. Henry Speight (Brumbies) 35
19. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 34
20. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 31
Most Tries
1. Henry Speight (Brumbies) 7
2. Israel Folau (Waratahs) 6
2. Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs) 6
4. Alfie Mafi (Force) 5
4. Frank Halai (Blues) 5
4. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 5
4. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 5
4. Raymond Rhule (Cheetahs) 5
9. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 4
9. Cam Crawford (Waratahs) 4
9. Charles Piutau (Blues) 4
9. Gio Aplon (Stormers) 4
9. Hugh Pyle (Rebels) 4
9. Joseph Tomane (Brumbies) 4
9. Julian Savea (Hurricanes) 4
9. Kade Poki (Highlanders) 4
9. Scott Higginbotham (Rebels) 4
9. Sergeal Petersen (Kings) 4
9. TJ Perenara (Hurricanes) 4
9. Willie le Roux (Cheetahs) 4
Most Conversions
1. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 30
2. James O’Connor (Rebels) 19
3. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 18
4. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 17
4. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 17
6. Daniel Carter (Crusaders) 16
7. Brendan McKibbin (Waratahs) 15
7. Quade Cooper (Reds) 15
9. Joe Pietersen (Stormers) 13
10. Chris Noakes (Blues) 10
10. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 10
12. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 9
13. Johan Goosen (Cheetahs) 8
14. Burton Francis (Cheetahs) 7
14. Colin Slade (Highlanders) 7
16. Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders) 6
17. George Whitehead (Kings) 5
17. Meyer Bosman (Sharks) 5
17. Sias Ebersohn (Force) 5
20. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 4
Most Penalty Goals
1. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 33
2. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 32
2. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 32
4. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 26
4. Joe Pietersen (Stormers) 26
6. Brendan McKibbin (Waratahs) 25
7. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 24
7. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 24
9. James O’Connor (Rebels) 21
9. Quade Cooper (Reds) 21
11. Tyler Bleyendaal (Crusaders) 15
12. Sias Ebersohn (Force) 14
13. Chris Noakes (Blues) 13
14. Colin Slade (Highlanders) 12
15. Burton Francis (Cheetahs) 11
15. Daniel Carter (Crusaders) 11
17. Johan Goosen (Cheetahs) 9
18. Jayden Hayward (Force) 7
19. Tom Taylor (Crusaders) 6
20. Piri Weepu (Blues) 5
Most Drop Goals
1. Sias Ebersohn (Force) 2
2. Burton Francis (Cheetahs) 1
2. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 1
2. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 1
2. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 1
2. Tusi Pisi (Hurricanes) 1
Most Tackles Made
1. Wimpie van der Walt (Kings) 172
2. Pieter Labuschagne (Cheetahs) 169
3. Ed Quirk (Reds) 155
4. Sam Cane (Chiefs) 146
5. Michael Hooper (Waratahs) 139
6. Liam Gill (Reds) 136
7. Phillip van der Walt (Cheetahs) 134
8. Matt Todd (Crusaders) 128
9. George Smith (Brumbies) 125
10. John Hardie (Highlanders) 124
11. Cornell du Preez (Kings) 123
11. Matthew Hodgson (Force) 123
11. Robert Ebersohn (Cheetahs) 123
14. Andries Strauss (Kings) 119
14. Luke Braid (Blues) 119
16. Brodie Retallick (Chiefs) 116
16. Jake Schatz (Reds) 116
18. Schalk Ferreira (Kings) 115
19. Kyle Godwin (Force) 114
19. Lodewyk de Jager (Cheetahs) 114
Most Runs
1. Digby Ioane (Reds) 99
1. Israel Folau (Waratahs) 99
3. Charles Piutau (Blues) 92
4. Luke Braid (Blues) 89
4. Peter Saili (Blues) 89
6. Tom Marshall (Crusaders) 86
7. George Whitelock (Crusaders) 84
8. Hosea Gear (Highlanders) 82
8. Liam Messam (Chiefs) 82
10. Deon Fourie (Stormers) 79
10. Julian Savea (Hurricanes) 79
10. Pierre Spies (Bulls) 79
13. John Hardie (Highlanders) 78
13. Marcell Coetzee (Sharks) 78
15. Brad Shields (Hurricanes) 77
16. Matthew Hodgson (Force) 76
17. Jacques Engelbrecht (Kings) 75
17. Steven Luatua (Blues) 75
19. Stephen Moore (Brumbies) 73
19. TJ Ioane (Highlanders) 73
Most Run Metres
1. Israel Folau (Waratahs) 1121
2. Digby Ioane (Reds) 960
3. Charles Piutau (Blues) 929
4. Julian Savea (Hurricanes) 812
5. Tom Marshall (Crusaders) 784
6. Alapati Leiua (Hurricanes) 766
7. Israel Dagg (Crusaders) 731
8. Hosea Gear (Highlanders) 719
9. Ben Smith (Highlanders) 663
10. James O’Connor (Rebels) 660
11. Frank Halai (Blues) 629
12. Alfie Mafi (Force) 611
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs) 599
14. Robert Fruean (Crusaders) 594
15. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 590
16. Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs) 586
17. Ben Tapuai (Reds) 581
18. Rene Ranger (Blues) 564
19. Joseph Tomane (Brumbies) 562
20. Raymond Rhule (Cheetahs) 547
Most Kicks
1. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 120
2. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 91
3. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 83
4. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 78
5. Quade Cooper (Reds) 74
6. Burton Francis (Cheetahs) 73
6. Joe Pietersen (Stormers) 73
8. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 67
9. James O’Connor (Rebels) 60
10. Nic White (Brumbies) 57
11. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 56
12. George Whitehead (Kings) 54
13. Willie le Roux (Cheetahs) 53
14. Sias Ebersohn (Force) 51
15. Tyler Bleyendaal (Crusaders) 50
15. Will Genia (Reds) 50
17. Matt Toomua (Brumbies) 49
18. Aaron Cruden (Chiefs) 47
18. Piri Weepu (Blues) 47
20. Chris Noakes (Blues) 42
Most Kick Metres
1. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 4960
2. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 3122
3. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 2918
4. Burton Francis (Cheetahs) 2874
5. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 2862
6. Joe Pietersen (Stormers) 2733
7. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 2640
8. Quade Cooper (Reds) 2549
9. James O’Connor (Rebels) 2384
10. Sias Ebersohn (Force) 2089
11. George Whitehead (Kings) 1929
12. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 1885
13. Tyler Bleyendaal (Crusaders) 1880
14. Nic White (Brumbies) 1857
15. Matt Toomua (Brumbies) 1829
16. Will Genia (Reds) 1770
17. Aaron Cruden (Chiefs) 1686
18. Willie le Roux (Cheetahs) 1622
19. Elton Jantjies (Stormers) 1460
20. Daniel Carter (Crusaders) 1443
Most Pick And Drives
1. Matthew Hodgson (Force) 23
2. Kyle Cooper (Sharks) 21
3. Corey Flynn (Crusaders) 20
3. Deon Fourie (Stormers) 20
3. Hugh McMeniman (Force) 20
6. Liam Gill (Reds) 18
7. Rob Simmons (Reds) 15
8. Andrew Hore (Highlanders) 14
8. Luke Braid (Blues) 14
8. Luke Jones (Rebels) 14
8. Saia Faingaa (Reds) 14
12. Heath Tessmann (Force) 13
12. Laurie Weeks (Rebels) 13
12. Ma’afu Fia (Highlanders) 13
12. Pierre Spies (Bulls) 13
12. Pieter-Steph du Toit (Sharks) 13
17. Greg Holmes (Reds) 12
17. Marcell Coetzee (Sharks) 12
17. Pekahou Cowan (Force) 12
17. Steven Kitshoff (Stormers) 12
Most Try Assists
1. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 9
2. Aaron Cruden (Chiefs) 7
3. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 5
3. James O’Connor (Rebels) 5
5. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 4
6. Francis Saili (Blues) 3
6. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 3
6. Israel Folau (Waratahs) 3
6. Matt Toomua (Brumbies) 3
6. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 3
6. Nic White (Brumbies) 3
6. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 3
6. Quade Cooper (Reds) 3
6. Rene Ranger (Blues) 3
6. Will Genia (Reds) 3
6. Winston Stanley (Force) 3
17. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs) 2
17. Alapati Leiua (Hurricanes) 2
17. Chris Noakes (Blues) 2
17. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 2
Most Linebreaks
1. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 10
2. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 9
2. Peter Betham (Waratahs) 9
4. Ben Smith (Highlanders) 8
4. Charles Piutau (Blues) 8
4. Henry Speight (Brumbies) 8
4. Hosea Gear (Highlanders) 8
4. Kade Poki (Highlanders) 8
9. Alfie Mafi (Force) 7
9. Israel Folau (Waratahs) 7
9. Lelia Masaga (Chiefs) 7
9. Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs) 7
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs) 6
13. Ben Tapuai (Reds) 6
13. Drew Mitchell (Waratahs) 6
13. Frank Halai (Blues) 6
13. Ged Robinson (Rebels) 6
13. Julian Savea (Hurricanes) 6
13. Michael Hooper (Waratahs) 6
13. Robert Fruean (Crusaders) 6
Most Linebreak Assists
1. Aaron Cruden (Chiefs) 12
2. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 10
3. Israel Folau (Waratahs) 7
4. James O’Connor (Rebels) 5
5. Ben Smith (Highlanders) 4
5. Elton Jantjies (Stormers) 4
5. Francis Saili (Blues) 4
5. Ma’a Nonu (Highlanders) 4
5. Matt Toomua (Brumbies) 4
5. Nic White (Brumbies) 4
5. Rene Ranger (Blues) 4
5. Will Genia (Reds) 4
13. Aaron Smith (Highlanders) 3
13. Daniel Carter (Crusaders) 3
13. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 3
13. Liam Messam (Chiefs) 3
13. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 3
13. Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs) 3
13. Tom Marshall (Crusaders) 3
13. Winston Stanley (Force) 3
Most Offloads
1. Quade Cooper (Reds) 26
2. Israel Folau (Waratahs) 21
3. Luke Braid (Blues) 17
4. Francois Steyn (Sharks) 16
4. Rene Ranger (Blues) 16
4. Robert Fruean (Crusaders) 16
7. Ben Smith (Highlanders) 15
8. James O’Connor (Rebels) 14
9. Aaron Cruden (Chiefs) 12
9. Julian Savea (Hurricanes) 12
9. Ryan Crotty (Crusaders) 12
12. George Smith (Brumbies) 11
12. Kyle Godwin (Force) 11
12. Zac Guildford (Crusaders) 11
15. Asaeli Tikoirotuma (Chiefs) 10
15. Charles Piutau (Blues) 10
15. Digby Ioane (Reds) 10
15. Meyer Bosman (Sharks) 10
15. Nic White (Brumbies) 10
15. Sam Cane (Chiefs) 10
Most Pilfers
1. Sam Cane (Chiefs) 8
2. George Smith (Brumbies) 7
2. Rene Ranger (Blues) 7
4. Liam Gill (Reds) 6
5. Jacques Botes (Sharks) 4
6. Anthony Faingaa (Reds) 3
6. Chris Alcock (Force) 3
6. Jean Deysel (Sharks) 3
6. Josh Bekhuis (Highlanders) 3
6. Meyer Bosman (Sharks) 3
6. Michael Fitzgerald (Chiefs) 3
6. Michael Hooper (Waratahs) 3
6. Nick Phipps (Rebels) 3
6. Pieter Labuschagne (Cheetahs) 3
6. Saia Faingaa (Reds) 3
6. Sam Whitelock (Crusaders) 3
6. Scott Higginbotham (Rebels) 3
6. Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs) 3
6. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs) 3
6. Wimpie van der Walt (Kings) 3
Most Lineouts Won
1. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 60
2. Juandre Kruger (Bulls) 49
3. Andries Bekker (Stormers) 45
4. David Dennis (Waratahs) 43
5. De Kock Steenkamp (Stormers) 40
6. Scott Higginbotham (Rebels) 38
7. Franco van der Merwe (Sharks) 37
8. Flip van der Merwe (Bulls) 34
9. Toby Lynn (Force) 33
10. Sam Whitelock (Crusaders) 32
11. Jeremy Thrush (Hurricanes) 31
12. Rob Simmons (Reds) 30
13. Brodie Retallick (Chiefs) 28
13. Hugh McMeniman (Force) 28
15. Lodewyk de Jager (Cheetahs) 27
15. Steven Sykes (Kings) 27
17. Hugh Pyle (Rebels) 26
17. Pieter Labuschagne (Cheetahs) 26
17. Pieter-Steph du Toit (Sharks) 26
20. Josh Bekhuis (Highlanders) 24
Most Penalties Conceded
1. Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders) 23
2. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 19
3. Greg Holmes (Reds) 17
4. Ben Alexander (Brumbies) 16
5. Steven Kitshoff (Stormers) 15
6. Ben Franks (Hurricanes) 14
7. Ali Williams (Blues) 13
7. Matthew Hodgson (Force) 13
9. Sam Carter (Brumbies) 12
9. Scott Higginbotham (Rebels) 12
11. Karl Lowe (Hurricanes) 11
11. Michael Hooper (Waratahs) 11
11. Schalk Ferreira (Kings) 11
11. Scott Fuglistaller (Rebels) 11
11. Steven Sykes (Kings) 11
16. Angus Ta’avao (Blues) 10
16. Coenrad Oosthuizen (Cheetahs) 10
16. Laurie Weeks (Rebels) 10
16. Liam Messam (Chiefs) 10
16. Pieter Labuschagne (Cheetahs) 10
Most Turnovers
1. Stephen Moore (Brumbies) 31
2. Deon Fourie (Stormers) 26
3. Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs) 24
3. Quade Cooper (Reds) 24
5. Nathan Charles (Force) 21
5. Raymond Rhule (Cheetahs) 21
7. Charles Piutau (Blues) 20
7. Digby Ioane (Reds) 20
9. Hikawera Elliot (Chiefs) 19
9. James Parsons (Blues) 19
9. Motu Matu’u (Hurricanes) 19
12. Bandise Maku (Kings) 18
12. Ged Robinson (Rebels) 18
12. Israel Folau (Waratahs) 18
15. Corey Flynn (Crusaders) 17
15. Heath Tessmann (Force) 17
15. Luke Jones (Rebels) 17
15. Rene Ranger (Blues) 17
15. Scott Higginbotham (Rebels) 17
15. Shaun Venter (Kings) 17
Most Missed Tackles
1. Michael Hooper (Waratahs) 28
2. Chris Noakes (Blues) 27
3. Robert Ebersohn (Cheetahs) 23
4. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 22
4. Sergeal Petersen (Kings) 22
6. Brad Shields (Hurricanes) 20
6. Mitch Inman (Rebels) 20
6. Pierre Spies (Bulls) 20
9. Jacques Engelbrecht (Kings) 19
9. Raymond Rhule (Cheetahs) 19
9. Ronnie Cooke (Kings) 19
12. Asaeli Tikoirotuma (Chiefs) 18
12. Julian Savea (Hurricanes) 18
12. Liam Messam (Chiefs) 18
12. Phillip van der Walt (Cheetahs) 18
16. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 17
16. Francis Saili (Blues) 17
16. JJ Engelbrecht (Bulls) 17
16. Schalk Ferreira (Kings) 17
16. Willie le Roux (Cheetahs) 17

Super Rugby players stats round 6


All the season 2013 player stats that matter after round 6…

Jake White Scholarship announced


A high-performing South African student will receive a chance to study in Australia under a new scholarship announced today.

By Brumbies Media Unit

Jake White chats with a fellow former South African representative, Clyde Rathbone.

The University of Canberra Brumbies Scholarship for General Excellence, known as the ‘Jake White Scholarship’, includes University of Canberra tuition fees, subsidised accommodation and an internship with the University of Canberra Brumbies Super Rugby side.

Students who are South African citizens with a strong academic and sporting records are eligible for the scholarship.

University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Parker joined Jake White to launch the scholarship after the University of Canberra Brumbies Captain’s Run in Durban.

“An international outlook and sports teaching and research are major parts of life at the University of Canberra,” Professor Parker said.

“South Africans and Australians have a lot in common: we both love rugby and we both value education. I hope by giving a young South African rugby player an opportunity to study in Australia we can strengthen the links between our nations.

“University of Canberra is proud of its professional education, applied research and community links in all areas, but especially in sport. Our partnership with the Brumbies is innovative and unlike any other sponsorship arrangement in professional sport, the mutual benefits are significant and the potential is huge.”

The Brumbies will soon relocate to the University of Canberra campus as part of a unique multimillion dollar ‘sports hub’.

Jake White, who is an adjunct professor with the University, welcomed the Scholarship.

“For many students, this scholarship will be 100 per cent life changing. UC has a proven track record of placing students in good jobs and it’s exciting to think that South Africans are now able to enjoy that system too,” he said.

“I’m constantly amazed at the amount of South Africans who ask me about how they can get their own children into the University of Canberra once they’ve finished school. Emails, phone calls and letters, you name it, people are contacting me saying that they want their children to be given the best education possible.

“It’s fantastic to be making the announcement of the Jake White Scholarship today and I look forward to seeing plenty of South African students take on the challenge of living and studying in Canberra in the future.”

About the scholarship

Selection will be based on a written statement which outlines the applicant’s academic and sporting achievements.
The scholarship includes

• A fully funded full-time degree at the University of Canberra (up to a maximum of three years).
• A one-off reimbursement of $1,500 to assist with relocation costs.
• Subsidised on campus accommodation at the University of Canberra
• Access to internship opportunities with Brumbies Rugby. (of at least 10 hours per week during semester)

More information is online at: www.canberra.edu.au/jakewhite

Season 2013 Player Stats Week 2


Still early days but all the season stats leaders after week two…
Most Points
1. James O’Connor (Rebels) 23
2. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 21
2. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 21
4. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 20
5. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 19
6. Michael Harris (Reds) 16
7. Alfie Mafi (Force) 15
8. Piri Weepu (Blues) 14
9. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 12
9. Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders) 12
11. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 10
11. Ben Tapuai (Reds) 10
11. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 10
11. Frank Halai (Blues) 10
11. Sergeal Petersen (Kings) 10
11. Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs) 10
17. Kyle Godwin (Force) 8
18. Joe Pietersen (Stormers) 7
18. Johan Goosen (Cheetahs) 7
20. Nic White (Brumbies) 6
Most Tries
1. Alfie Mafi (Force) 3
1. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 3
3. Ben Tapuai (Reds) 2
3. Frank Halai (Blues) 2
3. Sergeal Petersen (Kings) 2
3. Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs) 2
7. Andries Bekker (Stormers) 1
7. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 1
7. Ben Smith (Highlanders) 1
7. Ben Volavola (Waratahs) 1
7. Chilliboy Ralepelle (Bulls) 1
7. Ged Robinson (Rebels) 1
7. Hosea Gear (Highlanders) 1
7. Jean De Villiers (Stormers) 1
7. Johann Sadie (Cheetahs) 1
7. Kade Poki (Highlanders) 1
7. Pekahou Cowan (Force) 1
7. Rene Ranger (Blues) 1
7. Richard Brown (Force) 1
7. Scott Higginbotham (Rebels) 1
Most Conversions
1. James O’Connor (Rebels) 4
2. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 3
2. Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders) 3
4. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 2
4. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 2
4. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 2
4. Joe Pietersen (Stormers) 2
4. Johan Goosen (Cheetahs) 2
4. Michael Harris (Reds) 2
4. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 2
11. Ian Prior (Brumbies) 1
11. Kyle Godwin (Force) 1
11. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 1
11. Piri Weepu (Blues) 1
Most Penalty Goals
1. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 6
2. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 5
2. James O’Connor (Rebels) 5
2. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 5
5. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 4
5. Michael Harris (Reds) 4
5. Piri Weepu (Blues) 4
8. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 2
8. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 2
8. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 2
8. Kyle Godwin (Force) 2
8. Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders) 2
8. Nic White (Brumbies) 2
14. Brendan McKibbin (Waratahs) 1
14. Joe Pietersen (Stormers) 1
14. Johan Goosen (Cheetahs) 1
Most Tackles Made
1. Ed Quirk (Reds) 36
1. Scott Fuglistaller (Rebels) 36
3. Luke Jones (Rebels) 32
4. Ben Tapuai (Reds) 28
5. Hugh Pyle (Rebels) 26
5. Liam Gill (Reds) 26
7. Angus Cottrell (Force) 25
8. David Bulbring (Kings) 23
8. Michael Harris (Reds) 23
8. Peter Kimlin (Brumbies) 23
11. Gareth Delve (Rebels) 22
11. Ged Robinson (Rebels) 22
11. Greg Holmes (Reds) 22
11. Karl Lowe (Hurricanes) 22
15. David Pocock (Brumbies) 21
15. Mitch Inman (Rebels) 21
17. Cornell du Preez (Kings) 20
17. Laurie Weeks (Rebels) 20
19. Matthew Hodgson (Force) 19
19. Sam Cane (Chiefs) 19
Most Runs
1. Alfie Mafi (Force) 25
2. Stephen Moore (Brumbies) 24
3. Digby Ioane (Reds) 23
4. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 21
5. Angus Cottrell (Force) 18
5. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 18
5. Luke Jones (Rebels) 18
8. Matthew Hodgson (Force) 17
9. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 16
9. Ed Quirk (Reds) 16
11. Ben Alexander (Brumbies) 15
11. Chris Alcock (Force) 15
11. Peter Kimlin (Brumbies) 15
11. Peter Saili (Blues) 15
11. Tetera Faulkner (Force) 15
16. Ben McCalman (Force) 14
16. Charles Piutau (Blues) 14
16. Clyde Rathbone (Brumbies) 14
16. Pekahou Cowan (Force) 14
16. Scott Fardy (Brumbies) 14
Most Run Metres
1. Digby Ioane (Reds) 223
2. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 201
3. Alfie Mafi (Force) 177
4. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 174
5. Charles Piutau (Blues) 168
6. Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs) 153
7. James O’Connor (Rebels) 146
8. Ed Quirk (Reds) 142
9. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 134
10. Ben Tapuai (Reds) 124
10. Francis Saili (Blues) 124
12. Dom Shipperley (Reds) 119
13. Kade Poki (Highlanders) 118
14. Clyde Rathbone (Brumbies) 109
15. Frank Halai (Blues) 104
16. Bryan Habana (Stormers) 103
17. Hennie Daniller (Cheetahs) 102
18. Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks) 100
19. Jaco Taute (Stormers) 98
19. Mitch Inman (Rebels) 98
Most Kicks
1. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 16
2. James O’Connor (Rebels) 15
2. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 15
4. Nic White (Brumbies) 14
5. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 13
6. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 11
6. Kurtley Beale (Rebels) 11
6. Quade Cooper (Reds) 11
6. Sam Christie (Force) 11
10. Matt Toomua (Brumbies) 10
11. Ben Lucas (Reds) 9
12. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 8
12. Piri Weepu (Blues) 8
12. Winston Stanley (Force) 8
15. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 7
15. Cobus Reinach (Sharks) 7
15. Francois Hougaard (Bulls) 7
15. Jaco Taute (Stormers) 7
15. Johan Goosen (Cheetahs) 7
20. Nick Frisby (Reds) 5
Most Kick Metres
1. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 645
2. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 627
3. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 534
4. James O’Connor (Rebels) 447
5. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 414
6. Quade Cooper (Reds) 398
7. Nic White (Brumbies) 384
8. Matt Toomua (Brumbies) 373
9. Kurtley Beale (Rebels) 327
10. Sam Christie (Force) 326
11. Winston Stanley (Force) 291
12. Ben Lucas (Reds) 285
13. Cobus Reinach (Sharks) 274
14. Johan Goosen (Cheetahs) 268
15. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 257
16. Jaco Taute (Stormers) 255
17. S.P. Marais (Kings) 229
18. Francois Hougaard (Bulls) 192
19. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 175
20. Drew Mitchell (Waratahs) 170
Most Pick And Drives
1. Matthew Hodgson (Force) 8
2. Luke Jones (Rebels) 5
2. Tetera Faulkner (Force) 5
4. Ben McCalman (Force) 4
4. Ged Robinson (Rebels) 4
4. Hugh McMeniman (Force) 4
4. Marcell Coetzee (Sharks) 4
4. Sam Wykes (Force) 4
9. Adam Wallace-Harrison (Reds) 3
9. Angus Cottrell (Force) 3
9. Greg Holmes (Reds) 3
9. Laurie Weeks (Rebels) 3
9. Nathan Charles (Force) 3
9. Pekahou Cowan (Force) 3
9. Scott Fuglistaller (Rebels) 3
9. Stephen Moore (Brumbies) 3
17. Jake Schatz (Reds) 2
17. John Hardie (Highlanders) 2
17. Tom McCartney (Blues) 2
17. Tony Woodcock (Highlanders) 2
Most Try Assists
1. James O’Connor (Rebels) 3
2. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 2
2. Winston Stanley (Force) 2
4. Augustine Pulu (Chiefs) 1
4. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 1
4. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 1
4. Conrad Smith (Hurricanes) 1
4. Dewaldt Duvenhage (Stormers) 1
4. Ed Quirk (Reds) 1
4. Francois Hougaard (Bulls) 1
4. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 1
4. George Moala (Blues) 1
4. Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders) 1
4. Nic White (Brumbies) 1
4. Pat Dellit (Force) 1
4. Philip van der Walt (Cheetahs) 1
4. Quade Cooper (Reds) 1
4. Rene Ranger (Blues) 1
4. Richard Kingi (Rebels) 1
4. Shaun Venter (Kings) 1
Most Linebreaks
1. Alfie Mafi (Force) 4
2. Clyde Rathbone (Brumbies) 3
2. Kade Poki (Highlanders) 3
4. Ben Smith (Highlanders) 2
4. Chris Noakes (Blues) 2
4. Francis Saili (Blues) 2
4. Frank Halai (Blues) 2
4. Ged Robinson (Rebels) 2
4. James O’Connor (Rebels) 2
4. Patrick Osborne (Chiefs) 2
4. Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs) 2
12. Conrad Smith (Hurricanes) 1
12. Deon Stegmann (Bulls) 1
12. Hosea Gear (Highlanders) 1
12. Jean De Villiers (Stormers) 1
12. Peter Kimlin (Brumbies) 1
12. Pierre Spies (Bulls) 1
12. Quade Cooper (Reds) 1
12. Rene Ranger (Blues) 1
12. Tim Bateman (Hurricanes) 1
Most Linebreak Assists
1. George Moala (Blues) 2
1. Winston Stanley (Force) 2
3. Andrew Smith (Brumbies) 1
3. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 1
3. Conrad Smith (Hurricanes) 1
3. Dewaldt Duvenhage (Stormers) 1
3. Ed O’Donoghue (Reds) 1
3. Hennie Daniller (Cheetahs) 1
3. James O’Connor (Rebels) 1
3. Kyle Godwin (Force) 1
3. Liam Messam (Chiefs) 1
3. Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders) 1
3. Ma’a Nonu (Highlanders) 1
3. Matt Toomua (Brumbies) 1
3. Michael Harris (Reds) 1
3. Pat Dellit (Force) 1
3. Phil Burleigh (Highlanders) 1
3. Quade Cooper (Reds) 1
3. Rene Ranger (Blues) 1
3. Rhys Marshall (Chiefs) 1
Most Offloads
1. Kurtley Beale (Rebels) 5
1. Quade Cooper (Reds) 5
3. Kyle Godwin (Force) 4
3. Nick Frisby (Reds) 4
3. Phil Burleigh (Highlanders) 4
6. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 3
6. Francois Steyn (Sharks) 3
6. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 3
6. Nic White (Brumbies) 3
6. Philip van der Walt (Cheetahs) 3
6. Scott Fardy (Brumbies) 3
12. Aaron Cruden (Chiefs) 2
12. Andrew Smith (Brumbies) 2
12. Angus Cottrell (Force) 2
12. Brad Shields (Hurricanes) 2
12. Clyde Rathbone (Brumbies) 2
12. John Hardie (Highlanders) 2
12. Kade Poki (Highlanders) 2
12. Richard Kingi (Rebels) 2
12. Sarel Pretorius (Cheetahs) 2
Most Pilfers
1. Jacques Botes (Sharks) 2
1. Mitch Inman (Rebels) 2
3. Ali Williams (Blues) 1
3. Charles Piutau (Blues) 1
3. Culum Retallick (Blues) 1
3. David Pocock (Brumbies) 1
3. Deon Stegmann (Bulls) 1
3. Ed Quirk (Reds) 1
3. Franco van der Merwe (Sharks) 1
3. Hugh McMeniman (Force) 1
3. Josh Bekhuis (Highlanders) 1
3. Matthew Hodgson (Force) 1
3. Nic Groom (Stormers) 1
3. Nick Phipps (Rebels) 1
3. Pierre Spies (Bulls) 1
3. Pieter Labuschagne (Cheetahs) 1
3. Quade Cooper (Reds) 1
3. Reggie Goodes (Hurricanes) 1
3. Saia Faingaa (Reds) 1
3. Steven Sykes (Kings) 1
Most Lineouts Won
1. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 15
2. Hugh Pyle (Rebels) 8
2. Jeremy Thrush (Hurricanes) 8
2. Scott Higginbotham (Rebels) 8
5. Gareth 7
5. Rob Simmons (Reds) 7
7. Angus Cottrell (Force) 6
7. Liam Gill (Reds) 6
7. Steven Sykes (Kings) 6
10. De Kock Steenkamp (Stormers) 5
10. Hugh McMeniman (Force) 5
10. Jason Eaton (Hurricanes) 5
13. Adam Wallace-Harrison (Reds) 4
13. Ali Williams (Blues) 4
13. David Dennis (Waratahs) 4
13. Flip Van der Merwe (Bulls) 4
13. Sam Carter (Brumbies) 4
13. Sam Wykes (Force) 4
13. Toby Lynn (Force) 4
20. Frans Viljoen (Cheetahs) 3
Most Penalties Conceded
1. Steven Kitshoff (Stormers) 5
1. Steven Sykes (Kings) 5
3. Scott Fuglistaller (Rebels) 4
3. Scott Higginbotham (Rebels) 4
5. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 3
5. Dan Palmer (Brumbies) 3
5. Ed O’Donoghue (Reds) 3
5. Ed Quirk (Reds) 3
5. Greg Holmes (Reds) 3
5. Matthew Hodgson (Force) 3
5. Nathan Charles (Force) 3
5. Scott Fardy (Brumbies) 3
13. Conrad Smith (Hurricanes) 2
13. Cornell du Preez (Kings) 2
13. Jarrod Saffy (Rebels) 2
13. Luke Jones (Rebels) 2
13. Mitch Inman (Rebels) 2
13. Nasi Manu (Highlanders) 2
13. Nic White (Brumbies) 2
13. Nick Phipps (Rebels) 2
Most Turnovers
1. Nathan Charles (Force) 9
2. Deon Fourie (Stormers) 7
3. Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs) 6
4. Digby Ioane (Reds) 5
4. Michael Harris (Reds) 5
6. Alfie Mafi (Force) 4
6. Andries Strauss (Kings) 4
6. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 4
6. Julian Savea (Hurricanes) 4
6. Kurtley Bea
le (Rebels)
6. Lachlan Mitchell (Rebels) 4
6. Nick Frisby (Reds) 4
6. Quade Cooper (Reds) 4
6. Rene Ranger (Blues) 4
6. Saia Faingaa (Reds) 4
16. Andre Taylor (Hurricanes) 3
16. Ed Quirk (Reds) 3
16. Ged Robinson (Rebels) 3
16. James Slipper (Reds) 3
16. Sergeal Petersen (Kings) 3
Most Missed Tackles
1. Kurtley Beale (Rebels) 10
2. Nathan Charles (Force) 8
3. Richard Kingi (Rebels) 7
4. Mitch Inman (Rebels) 6
4. Rory Sidey (Rebels) 6
6. Ben McCalman (Force) 5
6. Ed Quirk (Reds) 5
6. Jeremy Thrush (Hurricanes) 5
9. Beast Mtawarira (Sharks) 4
9. Drew Mitchell (Waratahs) 4
9. Flip Van der Merwe (Bulls) 4
9. Josh Bekhuis (Highlanders) 4
9. Michael Harris (Reds) 4
9. Nick Frisby (Reds) 4
9. Phil Burleigh (Highlanders) 4
9. Trevor Nyakane (Cheetahs) 4
17. Elton Jantjies (Stormers) 3
17. Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders) 3
17. Nick Phipps (Rebels) 3
17. Pekahou Cowan (Force) 3


Rathbone to start for Brumbies in season opener


He’s fought a deep, dark battle with depression and now Clyde Rathbone has fought his way back into the ACT Brumbies starting line-up, making his fairytale return to Super Rugby complete.

February 11, 2013 – 4:04PM
Clyde Rathbone is tackled by Gareth Clouston of the ACT XV, during the Super Rugby trial match on February 8.Clyde Rathbone is tackled by Gareth Clouston of the ACT XV, during the Super Rugby trial match on February 8. Photo: Getty Images

The former Wallabies flyer will run out on the wing for the  Brumbies against the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night and coach Jake White hopes it sparks a return to the club’s glory days.

It will also bring up Rathbone’s 50th cap for the Australian province.

Before and after pictures of Clyde Rathbone, as he worked his way from depression back to peak fitness.Before and after pictures of Clyde Rathbone, as he worked his way from depression back to peak fitness.

A chronic knee injury forced him to retire in 2009, but a call from White last year prompted an improbable return to the team he won a championship with in 2004.


White knew Rathbone from when the pair teamed up as captain and coach of South Africa to win the 2002 under-21 World Cup.

Rathbone battled depression and weight issues in his time away from the game.

Clyde Rathbone celebrates victory with the Cook Cup during a match between the Wallabies and England in 2004.Clyde Rathbone celebrates victory with the Cook Cup during a match between the Wallabies and England in 2004. Photo: Getty Images

But he’s impressed in two trial games, scoring three tries.

He has gradually built up his game time and was confident he can play the full 80 minutes.

The 31-year-old was both nervous and excited about playing, but ‘‘more excited’’.

‘‘It’s a pretty big occasion, just in the context of the last couple of years,’’ he said.

‘‘This game has been on the radar for a while and has been a focus of mine to get back for this.

‘‘And in the context of our season it’s pretty important.

‘‘Personally it’s going to be a big occasion, but I think for us as a group leading into the rest of the year this is a massive game.’’

Rathbone has been flooded with messages of support since announcing his comeback and was grateful for the support.

He said his mental-health issues meant he rated the success of his comeback in terms of his enjoyment of the game – the usual measures of games played and tries scored were no longer relevant.

But the South African product still wanted to play every game.

‘‘Saturday’s important for a lot of reasons, but at the end of the day it’s just a game of rugby and that’s allowed me to train better and prepare better and not worry about games, and be excited and stimulated by them and not frantic or anxious about them,’’ Rathbone said.

‘‘Because whatever happens on Saturday, good or bad, I’m still going to make sure I enjoy Sunday, that’s what’s important.’’

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Rathbone, who’s had to overcome hamstring and ankle problems during the pre-season, but he’s forced his way into White’s thinking regardless.

The Brumbies camp has repeatedly said the 26-time Wallaby has come back fitter, faster and stronger than in his glory days.

And White was hoping Rathbone’s return for his landmark game, along with a mouth-watering clash against the Reds, will prompt a big crowd at Canberra Stadium.

‘‘I think [Rathbone’s] done enough to select himself … one thing I’m looking for is an old player coming back hopefully to old ways in Canberra where there’s 20,000 supporters,’’ White said.

‘‘In a lot of ways we’re really getting the hype up and hoping that we can challenge the supporters in Canberra and see if we can get back to those old days.’’

White said Rathbone was a ‘‘winner’’ and brought that mentality with him.

It was one of the reason’s he made the call to Rathbone last February to tempt him out of retirement.

‘‘The fairytale story that he’s had to endure of retiring and depression, and it wasn’t done on a sentimental issue at all, it’s done on talent,’’ he said.

‘‘I think that he’s a winner … he won a junior world cup as the captain of the junior side I coached, and I think again that he is a winner.

‘‘And I’m hoping that sort of influence, both off the field and on the field, is going to be something that’s needed this year in terms of taking our team to be winners.’’

Rathbone has locked in one spot against the Reds, leaving Joe Tomane and Henry Speight to fight it out for the other.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/rathbone-to-start-for-brumbies-in-season-opener-20130211-2e82z.html#ixzz2KZikdsIq

South Africa defeat New Zealand in Las Vegas final


New Zealand have fallen in the final of the Las Vegas Sevens rugby tournament, but have still managed to increase their lead in the world series points table.

February 11, 2013 – 11:39AM
Chris Dry of South Africa is tackled by Warwick Lahmert in New Zealand in the Cup final.Chris Dry of South Africa is tackled by Warwick Lahmert in New Zealand in the Cup final. Photo: AP

New Zealand have fallen in the final of the Las Vegas Sevens rugby tournament, but have still managed to increase their lead in the world series points table.

After being taken to extra time in their semi-final, the All Blacks Sevens were beaten 40-21 by South Africa in the title decider.

The South Africans effectively had the match won by halftime, up 28-0 through two tries to Chris Dry and one each to Warren Whiteley and Branco du Preez.

It was the second year in a row that New Zealand have lost the Las Vegas final, after going down to Samoa last February.


Despite the defeat, the defending world series champions extended their lead in the standings by two points to 23, with South Africa taking over second spot and Samoa third.

The open nature of this season’s competition is shown by the fact that the five rounds so far have had five different winners.

There are four rounds to go, the next being the glamour Hong Kong event on March 22-24.

Meanwhile, Australia crashed out of contention for the main prize, but claimed the Shield with a 41-0 win over Uruguay.

The Australians found themselves contesting the Shield in the fifth round of sevens world series after leaving the pool stage with just one win from three and falling to England in the Bowl quarter-final.

Coach Michael O’Connor said inexperience and a lack of mental toughness cost his team.

“I’m bitterly disappointed, I’m not happy,” O’Connor said.

“We’re a young squad and we find it difficult to get mentally to where is needed. We have to get tougher mentally. You need mental toughness to tackle that second tournament.”


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/south-africa-defeat-new-zealand-in-las-vegas-final-20130210-2e6hn.html#ixzz2KYxdu63E

Brumbies coach Jake White not happy with Robbie Deans’ Wallabies plans


BEWILDERED Brumbies coach Jake White believes Wallabies plans to strip Australian Super Rugby teams of their Test players for crucial penultimate round matches are blatantly unfair.

  • by:Jim Morton
  • From:AAP
  • January 30, 2013 3:29pm
  • Brumbies coach Jake White

Jake White says the Brumbies will suffer most if Robbie Deans gets his way and players are plucked early for a Wallabies training camp. Picture: Kym SmithSource: The Daily Telegraph

White has joined his Queensland and NSW counterparts – Ewen McKenzie and Michael Cheika – in opposing Robbie Deans’ wish to put his Test squad into an extended three-week camp before the British and Irish Lions series in June.

But the former South Africa coach believes it’s the Brumbies who will pay the biggest price if the ARU decide to quarantine Test players, even though he expects the Reds and Waratahs to have more chosen.

The Brumbies are scheduled to meet the Melbourne Rebels on June 7 in Canberra – 15 days before the first Wallabies-Lions Test – in their second last fixture match and desperately want the likes of David Pocock, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander and Pat McCabe available.
The same weekend, NSW play the Western Force in Perth while Queensland, who have a Super bye, host the Lions at Suncorp Stadium.

Still tormented by missing last season’s finals by one point following a last-round upset loss to the Blues, White said every competition point would be hugely important to his team’s play-off hopes that late in the competition.

“Last year in the last round our whole season changed so I find it highly unlikely that in the last rounds this year that the expectations from anybody would not be to play your best teams,” he told AAP.

“We’re all happy to help (the Wallabies) but it’s making sure everyone wins. We can’t have this situation.”
McKenzie has said he’d be prepared to compromise by allowing Test players to start their camp on June 2 in the hope they’d be released towards the end of the week to play that weekend.

But that would not appease 2007 World Cup winner White who feels he needs his young, improving side together for a full week to prepare for their clash with the Rebels.

“Ewen is in a different situation because he’s talking about a Lions (tour) game and he also has a very settled team,” he said.

“It makes no difference if one guy (Quade Cooper) boxes one Saturday and plays the next Saturday – there’s not many teams who can afford that.

“The Waratahs have a Wallaby pack of forwards who play together every Saturday – if it’s not for the Waratahs it’s for the Wallabies.

“We’re in a very different situation.

“We can’t afford to lose four guys or five guys and then by Saturday they’re back to play.”

The Brumbies provided eight of 49 players to a Wallabies logistics camp this month and they have no issue with resting Test players from their Lions tour clash on June 18.

White confirmed Pocock would make his Brumbies debut this Friday night against his old Force teammates in a Darwin trial.

Former Wallabies winger Clyde Rathbone will also make his comeback, playing at centre outside playmakers Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano who will trial at 10 and 12 with McCabe (neck) sidelined until round four.

Always the victim, never the perpetrator: All Blacks must own their acts of violence



For two days the world waited for Andrew Hore, Steve Hansen, Richie McCaw, Steve Tew or even the bloke who carries the bags to apologise for the All Black hooker’s unprovoked assault on Bradley Davies.

November 28, 2012 – 12:55PM

Mark Reason


New video angle of Hore assault

Instead, New Zealand rugby appeared stuck on an endless loop of John Cage’s soundless epic. At the time of writing there had not been a solitary public note of regret.

Andrew Hore talks to All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen and assistant coach Ian Foster after the match.Andrew Hore talks to All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen and assistant coach Ian Foster after the match. Photo: Getty Images

Many good men and women in this country are ashamed of this craven refusal to say sorry, but they should not be surprised.

When Adam Thomson took it upon himself to stand on Scotland’s Alasdair Strokosch’s head, All Blacks rugby reached for the euphemism.

The old melon, the bonce and the noggin had all got a bit of a scrape but there was apparently no malice in Thomson’s calculated decision to stamp on another human being’s skull.

"What Hore did has got no place on a rugby field as far as I'm concerned, it was an absolute disgrace" ... Wales attack coach Rob Howley on Andrew Hore's attack on Bradley Davies, pictured.“What Hore did has got no place on a rugby field as far as I’m concerned, it was an absolute disgrace” … Wales attack coach Rob Howley on Andrew Hore’s attack on Bradley Davies. Photo: Getty Images

The real villain of the piece was a Welsh rugby writer called Stephen Jones and the real victim was New Zealand rugby, which again was the unfortunate casualty of a media beat-up.

You do wonder if New Zealand rugby will ever learn how decent society behaves. When Dean Greyling disgracefully assaulted McCaw, the Springboks leadership reacted immediately. Coach Heyneke Meyer publicly called the attack “unacceptable” and said: “I want to apologise to Richie McCaw.” Captain Jean de Villiers said: “We’ll never condone playing dirty” and promised to take action.

But all we have had out of Hansen so far is evasion. Initially Hansen wasn’t sure if Hore “clocked him but he certainly hooked him out”.

A little later he said: “It looked like he was trying to clean out the Welshman in front of him It’s unfortunate that it’s happened.” Then Hansen said: “I am just resigned to the fact that he will probably get cited . . . think they think we’re thugs or something but we don’t play differently to anyone else.”

We should be thankful that Hansen is no longer a policeman. He would have presumably let Charles Manson off with a caution.

The All Blacks coach, like many of his predecessors, clearly suffers from Arsene Wenger syndrome, an unfortunate irritation of the optic nerve that causes temporary blindness when watching your own team.

The world accepts that rugby has always had its thugs. Martin Johnson and Danny Grewcock got up to some revolting things on a rugby pitch and many of the English press excoriated those men and their actions. But the world does not accept the code of silence that has pervaded the All Blacks and a supine part of their media for far too long.

Many years ago Cyril Brownlie became the first man to be sent off in a rugby match.

The Welsh referee was considered the finest in the world and he had already issued three general warnings. He then saw Brownlie stamp on an opposition player’s leg off the ball and he sent him from the pitch.

The All Blacks manager of the time said the referee had “made a mistake” and “a grave injustice has been done to Brownlie”, an occurrence that “could not help the spirit of imperialism”.

New Zealand papers whinged about the sending-off then and they are still crying about it now. True to future form, Brownlie has somehow become the victim of his own violent action.

It is this reaction that continues to gall the rest of the world. The recent list of All Blacks shame is a long one – the Canterbury front row deliberately beating up the 71 Lions, John Ashworth tearing open JPR’s face with a double stamp, Richard Loe’s assault on Paul Carozza, Jamie Joseph wrecking Kyran Bracken’s ankle, Keven Mealamu and Tana Umaga smashing Brian O’Driscoll’s shoulder.

These acts are bad enough, and other nations have similar shameful incidents in their rugby history, but what really grates is the consistent lack of a full and proper apology.

Steve Hansen talks of taking ownership, but when has New Zealand rugby ever taken ownership of these acts of violence? These players are national folk heroes just like Colin Meads, the daddy of them all.

The national exculpation of Mealamu and Umaga was a disgrace that still angers many people in Britain and other parts of the rugby world. It was an assault that came desperately close to breaking a decent man’s neck.

And yet many in the New Zealand rugby community portrayed the All Blacks as the victims of an hysterical over-reaction by the British media.

If there was any hysteria, it was caused by shock at New Zealand’s collective failure to say sorry for what constituted common assault.

Good on the many callers in to talkback radio who have condemned Hore’s attack on Davies, but the delay in a similar condemnation from either the All Blacks management or the NZRU shows how out of touch these people still are.

The nation may be growing up, but New Zealand rugby is still behaving like the child who won’t own up.

How glorious it would be if Tew, Hansen, McCaw and Hore faced the world’s media and apologised to Bradley Davies.

How glorious it would be if Joseph was told to strip Hore of the captaincy of the Highlanders.

How glorious it would be if the law in this country decided to prosecute rugby players for assault.

Is that really all so far fetched? Together we could make it happen.

Fairfax NZ News

Poll: Have the All Blacks shown enough contrition for Andrew Hore’s hit?



Total votes: 5249.

Poll closes in 2 days.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/always-the-victim-never-the-perpetrator-all-blacks-must-own-their-acts-of-violence-20121128-2acrh.html#ixzz2DTyfte6j

Post weekend updates as they happen


Boks sweating over star wing

Seasoned Springbok wing JP Pietersen has a mild groin strain and is doubtful for South Africa’s final tour match, against England at Twickenham on Saturday. Bok team doctor Craig Roberts said the 2007 World Cup winner and 2012 SA Players’ Player of the Year will be “medically managed” this week, after he sat out training on Monday.

Bok lock cited for ‘eye-gouging’

South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth has been cited for making contact with the “eye or eye area” of Scotland flyhalf Greig Laidlaw, the International Rugby Board announced Monday. The alleged incident occurred 14 minutes into the second half of the Springboks’ 21-10 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday. He was cited by Alan Mansell of England. Etzebeth, 21, will appear before an IRB disciplinary hearing on Tuesday and if found guilty faces a lengthy ban – which could include the Springboks’ Test against England at Twickenham this coming Saturday.

Cooper walk-out rocks Wallabies

Controversial Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper has reportedly dropped a major bomb by walking out on Australian rugby. According to Channel Nine news the injured No.10 has turned his back on the Australian Rugby Union and the Wallabies and will look to continue his career overseas or switch to Rugby League. Cooper has a Super Rugby contract with Queensland, but according to the Channel Nine report that agreement is contingent upon a contract with the game’s governing body.

Marler set to miss Bok clash

England prop Joe Marler is set to miss Saturday’s Test against the Springboks after suffering a knee injury in last weekend’s loss to Australia. The Harlequins loosehead sustained a grade one medial collateral ligament tear during England’s 20-14 home defeat and is expected to be replaced by Alex Corbisiero. Coach Stuart Lancaster hinted that the injury-enforced change won’t be the only alteration to the team for the important match against South Africa. “We will potentially freshen things up with one or two changes. We have players on the return – Alex played 75 minutes yesterday and Jonathan Joseph played,” Lancaster said. Source

Perth likely to be a battle for runner-up


Under pressure … the respective coaches, Robbie Deans and Heyneke Meyer, enter this encounter with critics banging at the door.

September 7, 2012

Paul Cully

  • Under pressure ... the respective coaches, Robbie Deans and Heyneke Meyer, enter this encounter with critics banging at the door.

Photo: John Selkirk

Those old enough to have grey hairs will have allowed themselves a wry grin at some of the commentary emerging from South Africa this week.

Some malcontents suggested a new playing style was required to match it with the All Blacks, and that a re-evaluation of the traditional Springboks strengths was required. It’s the sort of complaint that surfaces when the South Africans fail to crush an opponent through sheer physicality, as was the case in the draw with Argentina.

It won’t happen. There may be tweaks but South Africa’s gloriously physical style will be the same in a decade as it is now. Their under-20 side, even with the likes of outstanding prospect Jan Serfontein in the midfield, won the Junior World Championship final against New Zealand this year using four familiar bludgeons: the lineout drive, the scrum, heavy collisions and a superior kicking game. The Springboks side that takes to the field in Perth tomorrow night will not be a great one, but at least their foundations will be solid.

The respective coaches, Robbie Deans and Heyneke Meyer, enter this encounter with critics banging at the door. This is as common in coaching as selecting but Deans’s situation is evidently perilous and there is no mystery behind it.


His side, in one real sense, has been going backwards for months. The Wallabies have spent progressively less time in the opposition 22 in every game this year, starting with the Scotland debacle in June. The figure fell to about 25 per cent in first Test against Wales, had dropped to 13 per cent by the third Test of that series in Sydney and stood a touch above 10 per cent in Auckland two weeks ago.

Accordingly, tinkering with the line-ups over the past three weeks has given the appearance of charging at windmills. New men have come and gone to little effect. At least the forwards can say they were simply outgunned. The lightweights behind them have underperformed.

The prevailing winds have also been against the New Zealander all year. Australian Super Rugby sides won a miserable 24 per cent of their games against South African opposition this year. The Reds, who make up almost half of the 22 to face the Springboks, succeeded in one match from five. The only team to avoid a losing record (the Brumbies, 2-2) were coached by a South African. The school of thought – recently voiced by a former coach from the analog age – that Australia is sitting on a group of players who would conquer the world if they were not being so egregiously mismanaged interprets the situation too simply.

Yet this week’s XV at least gives the appearance of an improvement. Adam Ashley-Cooper at No.13 is a threat to the wonderful but declining Jean de Villiers and powerful but medium-paced Francois Steyn. Dom Shipperley is a desperately needed finisher because despite all his outstanding work, Digby Ioane’s strike rate is nine tries from 27 Tests.

When the Argentinians got in behind the Springboks’ defence two weeks ago, their lack of speed was palpable. Yet adventure – absent from the Wallabies this year – is first required to achieve it. The first four Argentina passes in the move that provided their try were all offloads in contact, from a counter-attacking situation. The blueprint could not be any clearer.

Problematically, South Africa have also emerged stronger from deliberations at the selection table.

The key switch is the removal of Francois Hougaard from the base of the ruck – where his clearances were substandard against Argentina – to the wing, with Ruan Pienaar taking over at No.9.

Pienaar is a confidence player but that commodity is high since playing an instrumental role in leading his Irish province, Ulster, to the Heineken Cup final.

In the pack, Andries Bekker was unrecognisably poor in Argentina, third best in every two-man collision, and makes way for the sterner Juandre Kruger. And Willem Alberts returns to his best position, at blindside, instead of Jacques Potgieter, who was repeatedly cut in half on the gainline by the low-tackling Pumas.

There should be concern about Hougaard’s role on the flank, which will undoubtedly contain a roving component. If the big Springboks ball runners start to rumble through the 10-12 channel, Hougaard’s eye for a gap and acceleration in the following phases will be a huge issue for Australia.

Both these sides are weaker than the outfits that contested the World Cup finals, but the result is no less in the balance.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/australia-rugby/perth-likely-to-be-a-battle-for-runnerup-20120906-25h4n.html#ixzz25lVNjUPe

Boks focus on today’s Wallabies, not last year’s cup


SPRINGBOKS supporters still wince when reminded of it, but South African coaching staff will not be using the horrid memories of last year’s World Cup exit to motivate their team against the Wallabies.

September 6, 2012
Bryce LawrenceNot a favourite person among Springboks fans … referee Bryce Lawrence. Photo: Jason Oxenham

The Wallabies’ 11-9 triumph over the Springboks in the quarter-final in Wellington in October caused uproar in South Africa, with New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence becoming the country’s public enemy No.1 after several dubious decisions went Australia’s way. The then Springboks coach Peter de Villiers was scathing, basically blaming Lawrence for his team’s departure from the tournament.

However, de Villiers’ successor, Heyneke Meyer, has no interest in reliving that game, believing it has no relevance to the Perth Test on Saturday night. That might have a lot to do with only four Springboks who played in Wellington remaining in the starting line-up.

”I am not a guy who lives in the past,” Meyer said when announcing his Test line-up. ”There’s only Jannie [du Plessis] left from that World Cup forward pack, so I can’t use it as a motivation. But I also don’t believe in negative motivation. I instead know where we have to go, and we want to be the best team in the world.


”We are far from that yet. We have our own goals over the next four years, and that’s the focus – not what happened in previous games.”

Meyer made some unexpected selections, including moving halfback Francois Hougaard to the wing, and revamping his back row. He even conceded this could cause problems.

”One thing we don’t have in our back row, which is a little bit of a concern, is out-and-out pace,” Meyer said. ”But we make up for that by having a back row with a big work rate. Duane [Vermeulen] is not your typical No.8, but he is a very hard, grafting player, and gives you go-forward. What we lose in speed, we gain in muscle and intelligence.”

The Wallabies were not too bothered to hear Hougaard had been moved out wide last night, as they believe he is more dangerous closer to the ruck.

Meyer argued Hougaard out wide could be a match winner.

”He is a great player,” he said of the 24-year-old. ”It doesn’t matter where you pick him, he remains a game breaker. He will get more space on the wing.”

SOUTH AFRICA: Zane Kirchner; Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers (capt), Francois Steyn, Francois Hougaard; Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Marcell Couetzee, Juandre Kruger, Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira. Res: Tiaan Liebenberg, Pat Cilliers, Flip van der Merwe, Francois Louw, Johan Goosen, Pat Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/boks-focus-on-todays-wallabies-not-last-years-cup-20120905-25eqx.html#ixzz25lCmUuB5

Wallabies forwards get rev-up from White


SPRINGBOKS World Cup-winning coach Jake White has called on the Wallabies forwards to dramatically lift their standards against South Africa tomorrow night, otherwise they will suffer their third straight humiliating Test loss.

"The real issue is the Wallabies forwards are not gaining any ascendancy at the gain line so the backs have no platform to launch attacking raids" ... Jake White.

“The real issue is the Wallabies forwards are not gaining any ascendancy at the gain line so the backs have no platform to launch attacking raids” … Jake White. Photo: Getty Images

The now Brumbies coach believes the Wallabies forwards’ inability to dominate the gain line battle has made it virtually impossible for the Australian attack to perform.

White is not hiding from these comments, instead giving the team a jarring rev-up for tomorrow night’s Perth Test, with revealing statistics that emphasise how impotent the Wallabies forwards were in the two Bledisloe Cup Tests.

White, who was involved in 11 internationals against the Wallabies while Springboks coach between 2004 and 2007, makes the telling point that Radike Samo made more metres in one international last year than the whole Wallabies pack combined in the Sydney and Auckland losses.


”Some of the statistics from the recent Bledisloe Cup clashes are mind blowing,” White wrote. ”In two Tests the Wallabies forwards carried the ball just 80 metres (50 in Sydney then 30 in Auckland), while the All Blacks forwards carried for 225 metres – almost three times as much.

”Much criticism has been aimed at the Wallabies attack for failing to score a try in Auckland, but it may not be the backs’ fault. The real issue is the Wallabies forwards are not gaining any ascendancy at the gain line so the backs have no platform to launch attacking raids.

”The backs can be creative as they like, and the Wallabies back line is full of creative players, but without the time and space to execute their attack they were easily closed down by the All Blacks.

”There could be two reasons for this. Either the Wallabies, in their desperation to attack, are getting the ball to the backs too often or the forwards are being given the ball but can’t gain any ascendancy. The latter isn’t surprising as they are missing some of their best ball carriers.” This includes Wycliff Palu and James Horwill, who are both injured, while Tatafu Polota-Nau and Samo hasn’t started every Test.

”In one run last year against the All Blacks in Brisbane, Radike Samo carried the ball more than the entire Wallabies pack in the first two clashes this season. Whatever the cause, the Wallabies must go forward.”

White said the Springboks had ”the opposite problem”. Their forwards were carrying the ball too much, and so their attack ”is one dimensional, and, as we saw in Mendoza against Argentina, easily contained”. This is because Heyneke Meyer ”is using the Bulls game plan, based around forward power and gaining a physical edge over opponents”.

The Wallabies forward woes do not end there. Hooker Stephen Moore was yesterday ruled out due to a hamstring injury. As a result of the strain, Polota-Nau will return to the starting line-up, with Saia Faingaa moving onto the reserves bench.

At least tight-head prop Ben Alexander is prepared, explaining he was not distracted by all the speculation over the future of beleaguered coach Robbie Deans, whose position will be placed under greater scrutiny if they lose to the Springboks.

”We feel a responsibility for the side not performing, and our concern is that we play well for our country,” Alexander said. ”The criticism of Robbie hurts us too because its a reflection of us and how we didn’t do a great job representing our country [against the All Blacks].”

Meanwhile, Dan Carter’s Wellington jinx has continued after being ruled out of the All Blacks team to face Argentina tomorrow. Carter strained his left calf muscle at an indoor training session on Thursday morning and will be replaced in the starting No.10 jersey by Aaron Cruden.

Beauden Barrett, who has trained with the squad this week, will come onto the reserve bench.

with AAP

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/australia-rugby/wallabies-forwards-get-revup-from-white-20120906-25h4o.html#ixzz25lBFHE1I

Preview: Wallabies v All Blacks


WALKING WOUNDED: The Wallabies are missing several key players through injury. Skipper James Horwill won’t play again in 2012 after suffering a serious hamstring injury playing for the Reds. James O’Connor is also sidelined with a hamstring injury and will miss at least the first two Rugby Championship fixtures against New Zealand. Inside-centre Pat McCabe (leg) and loose forward Ben McCalman (shoulder) are also unavailable for Saturday’s clash, while destructive No.8 Wycliff Palu will miss the majority of the tournament with shoulder nerve damage. All Blacks outside-centre Conrad Smith is sidelined with an eye injury. Veteran lock Brad Thorn and outstanding flanker Jerome Kaino are the only other notable absentees from the World Cup winning squad having taken up lucrative deals in Japan.
16/8/2012 9:52 AM

VENUE & TIME: ANZ Stadium, Saturday August 18, 8.00pm (AEST).

HEAD TO HEAD: Played 167 – All Blacks 115, Wallabies 47, Draw 5.

LAST TIME: October 16, 2011 (Auckland) – New Zealand 20-6 Australia.

WALKING WOUNDED: The Wallabies are missing several key players through injury. Skipper James Horwill won’t play again in 2012 after suffering a serious hamstring injury playing for the Reds. James O’Connor is also sidelined with a hamstring injury and will miss at least the first two Rugby Championship fixtures against New Zealand. Inside-centre Pat McCabe (leg) and loose forward Ben McCalman (shoulder) are also unavailable for Saturday’s clash, while destructive No.8 Wycliff Palu will miss the majority of the tournament with shoulder nerve damage. All Blacks outside-centre Conrad Smith is sidelined with an eye injury. Veteran lock Brad Thorn and outstanding flanker Jerome Kaino are the only other notable absentees from the World Cup winning squad having taken up lucrative deals in Japan.

FORM: The Wallabies rebounded from ‘that loss’ to Scotland in Newcastle with three narrow victories over Six Nations champions Wales. They were dominant in the opening Test in Brisbane, prevailing 27-19, but could have easily lost the Melbourne (25-23) and Sydney (20-19) fixtures. The All Blacks kept their undefeated record against Ireland in tact during their three-Test series in June. They did suffer one almighty scare in the second Test in Christchurch, but Dan Carter saved the day with a field goal at the death to clinch the series. They bookended the series with a 42-10 victory in Auckland and a 60-0 thrashing in Hamilton to send a message to their Rugby Championship rivals.

WHO’S HOT: Wallabies flyhalf Berrick Barnes made the most of his chance in the No.10 jumper in June, winning two man-of-the-match awards in the Wales series. Loose forward Scott Higginbotham was the pick of the forward pack while tighthead prop Sekope Kepu continues to improve with every match. All Blacks superstar Sonny Bill Williams was spectacular against Ireland and has two more chances to prove himself on the international stage before taking the cash in Japanese rugby en route to the Sydney Roosters. New scrumhalf Aaron Smith emerged as the next Kiwi superstar in the June series against Ireland, while Kieran Read and skipper Richie McCaw were also excellent.

WE THINK: The 20-6 scoreline in the Rugby World Cup semi-final flattered the Wallabies. It was much more one-sided than that. Robbie Deans’ men have won two of their past four clashes against the Kiwis, but the semi-final result highlighted the massive gulf in class and it’s hard to see how that gap has closed in 10 months. To make matters worse for the Wallabies, they are missing several key personnel through injury while the tourists ar

:e close to full strength. The All Blacks won the last two meetings at ANZ Stadium by a point and Sydney typically produces tight and physical affairs. The venue might help narrow the margin but it won’t be enough to reverse the result. All Blacks by 10.

Wallabies 15. Kurtley Beale, 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13. Rob Horne, 12. Anthony Fainga’a, 11. Digby Ioane, 10. Berrick Barnes, 9. Will Genia, 8. Scott Higginbotham, 7. David Pocock (c), 6. Dave Dennis, 5. Nathan Sharpe, 4. Sitaleki Timani, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau 1. Benn Robinson.

Reserves: 16.Stephen Moore, 17. James Slipper, 18. Rob Simmons, 19. Radike Samo, 20. Michael Hooper, 21. Nick Phipps, 22. Drew Mitchell.

All Blacks 1. Tony Woodcock, 2. Keven Mealamu, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Luke Romano, 5. Sam Whitelock, 6. Liam Messam, 7. Richie McCaw (c), 8. Kieran Read, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Dan Carter, 11. Hosea Gear, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 13. Ma’a Nonu, 14. Cory Jane, 15. Israel Dagg.
16. Andrew Hore, 17. Ben Franks, 18. Brodie Retallick, 19. Victor Vito, 20. Piri Weepu, 21. Aaron Cruden, 22. Ben Smith.

Flyhalf: Stats continue to tell a story


Some interesting trends have emerged as we continue our statistics-based feature of the leading candidates for the Springbok No.10 jersey.

Tue, 10 Jul 2012 12:09

Sharks star Patrick Lambie did not play this past weekend (again), so we still have no stats to compare him with the other flyhalf candidates – incumbent Morné Steyn, Stormers pivot Peter Grant and Lions No.10 Elton Jantjies.

This past weekend the Bulls got hammered in Durban, the Stormers couldn’t score tries in the rain in Bloemfontein and the Lions entertained with a rare win in Johannesburg.

However, that has done nothing to change the perceptions many pundits have of strengths and weaknesses of the trio.

The facts, or stats, continue to tell a story of their own.

For one, Steyn and Jantjies both got more distance with their kicks out of hand at the coast than Grant did away from the coast, where the ball is meant to travel that much further.

The other perception is about Grant’s brilliant play – how well he ‘takes the ball to the line’ and creates opportunities. Yet, the Stormers’ only try this past weekend came from a Grant chip-kick (which does say something for his decision-making, of course).

And Jantjies has not had a single ‘try assist’ since we started monitoring these stats. Those assists came from players like Michael Bondesio, Anthonie Volminck and Lionel Mapoe.

We will let the numbers speak for themselves – again:

Morné Steyn (Bulls):

He is the Bok incumbent, has played 37 Tests and has 103 Super Rugby caps.

Played 59 minutes in the 40-24 demolition of the Cheetahs and the Bulls had a 40-0 lead when he left the field.
* Goal-kick success rate: 83.3 percent – five from six conversions.
* He received the ball 24 times – kicked nine times (for 401 metres gained – average distance of 44.5 metres per kick), passed 14 times, ran once and had one try-assist.
* He made five tackles and missed none.

Played 77 minutes in the 10-32 loss to the Sharks
* Goal-kick success rate: 100 percent – two from two (one conversion and one penalty)
* He received the ball 29 times – kicked six times (for 217 metres gained – average distance of 36.16 metres per kick), passed 21 times, ran twice and had no try-assist.
* He made five tackles and missed two.

* Goal-kick success rate: 88 percent – seven from eight
* He received the ball 53 times – kicked 15 times (for 618 metres gained – average distance of 41.2 metres per kick), passed 35 times, ran three and had one try-assist.
* He made 10 tackles and missed three.

Peter Grant (Stormers):

He has five Test caps, but has not played in Green & Gold since 2008. He has 83 Super Rugby caps.

He played all 80 minutes in the 27-17 win over the Lions.
* Goal-kick success rate: 100 percent – three from three conversion and two from two penalty goals.
* He received the ball 39 times – kicked twice (for 51 metres gained – average of 25.5 metres per kick), passed 32 times, ran five times and had one try-assist.
* He made eight tackles and missed two.

Played 80 minutes in the 13-6 win over the Cheetahs
* Goal-kick success rate: 100 percent – three from three (one conversion and two penalties)
* He received the ball 41 times – kicked 19 times (for 623 metres gained – average distance of 32.78 metres per kick), passed 15 times, ran seven and had one try-assist.
* He made seven tackles and missed one.

* Goal-kick success rate: 100 percent – six from six
* He received the ball 80 times – kicked 21 times (for 674 metres gained – average distance of 32.09 metres per kick), passed 47 times, ran 12 and had two try-assists.
* He made 15 tackles and missed three.

Elton Jantjies (Lions):

He was a Springbok tourist for the year-end tour of Britain and Ireland in 2010 and also a member of the Bok squad for the series against England in 2012, but has yet to play a Test. He has 23 Super Rugby caps.

He played all 80 minutes of the Lions’ 17-27 loss to the Stormers.
* Goal-kick success rate: 75 percent – two from two conversions and one from two penalties.
* He received the ball 40 times – kicked eight times (for 258 metres gained – average of 32.25 metres per kick), passed 27 times, ran five times and had no try assists.
* He made 10 tackles and missed just one.

Played 80 minutes in the 37-32 win over the Rebels
* Goal-kick success rate: 100 percent – seven from seven (four conversions and three penalties)
* He received the ball 34 times – kicked 12 times (for 492 metres gained – average distance of 41 metres per kick), passed 17 times, ran five and had no try-assist.
* He made eight tackles and missed three.

* Goal-kick success rate: 91 percent – 10 from 11
* He received the ball 74 times – kicked 20 times (for 750 metres gained – average distance of 37.5 metres per kick), passed 44 times, ran 10 and had no try-assist.
* He made 18 tackles and missed four.

There you have it. Do the stats lie? Who would you say was the most influential flyhalf this week?

By Jan de Koning

Baby Blacks player breaks his silence on rape allegations


Baby Blacks hooker Nathan Harris has revealed he is the player being investigated for rape by South African police, and vowing he is innocent.
June 28, 2012 – 11:35AM
Nathan Harris.Nathan Harris.

The Bay of Plenty-based 20-year-old released a statement today, saying he was doing so to prevent a cloud of suspicion falling on all his teammates.

“I am making this statement today so everyone knows that I am the player at the centre of this issue. There is no one else involved.

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“I want to say very strongly that I am innocent of the allegation made against me. However, I should not have allowed a woman to enter my room.  This was against team rules.

A 22-year-old woman filed a complaint with police in South Africa, alleging the player had raped her in the weekend.

The New Zealand Rugby Union confirmed earlier this week that player had been with a 22-year-old woman during the night just hours after his team lost junior world championship final to South Africa.

Although the woman had made the allegation, her statement was that she could not remember anything about the incident, including who the person involved was, according to information the NZRU had received from South African police.

Harris said he was proud to have the opportunity to represent his country and knew he let the team and his family down by inviting the woman back to his room.

“For that I am truly sorry and I want to apologise to my team mates, team management and to all the parents and friends who supported our team, but especially to my family for the distress this has caused them all.

“The past five days have been a very stressful and painful time for me and my family.  I have learnt a lot and now I am hoping for a good outcome so I can get on with my life.

“I have been advised that with a police investigation underway I am unable to comment further.”

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said earlier this week that there was a possibility that Harris could return to South Africa to help with investigations.

The team had co-operated with South African police following the complaint and had flown back to New Zealand as scheduled.

Harris had been drinking on the night in question, but not excessively, and had broken the ‘no women on floor’ policy that applied to all national rugby teams, including the All Blacks, Tew said.

He did not rule out disciplinary action against Harris for breaking the “no woman on floor” policy.

Fairfax NZ

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/baby-blacks-player-breaks-his-silence-on-rape-allegations-20120628-213yc.html#ixzz1z3PPmKQU

Carter out of revamped All Blacks


HAMILTON: All Blacks matchwinner Dan Carter is out of Saturday’s third Test against Ireland in a revamped side that also features Richie McCaw moving to the backrow.

June 21, 2012 – 7:26AM
The world's best five-eighth ... Dan Carter.The world’s best five-eighth … Dan Carter. Photo: Getty Images

There are six changes to the starting XV as coach Steve Hansen covers for injuries and to shore up holes exposed in the tense 22-19 second Test victory in Christchurch last weekend.

Carter, the team playmaker who won the match with a last minute drop goal, suffered a hamstring injury in training during the week while number eight Kieran Read has been sidelined by concussion.

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First Test hero Julian Savea and fellow wing Zac Guildford have been replaced by Hosea Gear and Ben Smith, while lock Brodie Retallick and side rower Adam Thomson drop to the bench.

Luke Romano will make his Test debut in the second row and uncapped fly-half Beauden Barrett comes into the reserves with Aaron Cruden starting in place of Carter in the pivot role.

Hansen said Carter had suffered a mild strain, but it was enough to keep him sidelined, while most of the other changes were fallout from the high-pressure second Test.

“The All Blacks, by their own admission, weren’t happy with the way they performed on Saturday, and in part this is a credit to the way the Irish played.

“They have laid down a challenge and the key will be now how we respond. We will have to ensure our preparation is spot on this week so we can get the performance we need on Saturday.”

McCaw, who will be starting for the 100th time in his illustrious 105-Test career, has always worn the number seven jersey but moves to the backrow for the first time in an injury enforced shake-up of the loose forwards.

Liam Messam who is probably more accustomed to the number eight role will start on the side of the scrum with his Waikato Chiefs’ teammate Sam Cane.

The inclusion of Cruden at fly-half restores another partnership from the Super 15 leading Chiefs with Sonny Bill Williams beside him at inside centre.

Long-serving hooker Keven Mealamu returns from injury and is on the bench. along with Tamati Ellison, whose one previous Test was in 2009, providing cover for the outside backs.

Romano gets his start following second-Test wobbles in an All Blacks’ scrum that has been down on power in the second row following the retirement of Brad Thorn after last year’s World Cup.

New Zealand (15-1): Israel Dagg; Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Hosea Gear; Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith; Richie McCaw (captain), Sam Cane, Liam Messam; Samuel Whitelock, Luke Romano; Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks, Brodie Retallick, Adam Thomson, Piri Weepu, Beauden Barrett, Tamati Ellison.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/carter-out-of-revamped-all-blacks-20120621-20p59.html#ixzz1yO0mcK81

Jannie hails new Bok scrum doctor


Springbok tighthead Jannie du Plessis has hailed new scrum coach Pieter de Villiers as the key to South Africa’s strong performance up front last week.

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 15:17

The Boks put in a solid showing at scrum-time against a physical England pack on their way to victory in the first Test in Durban, and Du Plessis said that he expects another fierce test in Johannesburg on Saturday.

“Both teams were very physical and I think it is massive for this week’s game to stay physical and play good rugby,” he said.

Former French international front row star De Villiers only had one week with the Boks ahead of the first Test, but Du Plessis said that he made some vital technical adjustments in that time which paid off at Kings Park.

He commented: “We have a new coach in Pieter de Villiers who has really brought in some new ideas and exercises that made a massive difference.

“It is one of the foundations of getting good go-forward ball so there is always a lot of emphasis on scrummaging, but it is nice to work with people that make a point of talking about it.

“He brought us technical exercises, a few fitness drills and other ways to put your feet. All those things make a big difference at the end of the day.”

The 29-year-old prop had an impressive match in front of his home crowd, getting involved in some loose play as well as the tight exchanges, but he was quick to point to the collective contribution of his teammates.

“It doesn’t always happen like that because you play against opposition who are the best in their country.

“I guess that is why it is called Test rugby – it really does test you and maybe it was lucky for me I got seen a bit more on the weekend.

“All the eight guys played brilliant rugby in the pack and also in the backs, so I wouldn’t say it was my best game – I would say it was a great team performance,” he said.