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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"

All Blacks and England are world rugby’s most foul, but they don’t escape punishment

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The All Blacks commit acts of foul play on the rugby field at a rate only matched by England writes BEN STRANG AND ANDY FYERS for www.stuff.co.nz

Steve Hansen’s men have committed 50 penalised acts of foul play in 39 tier one rugby matches since August 2014.

England, by comparison, have committed 52 acts of foul play in 38 matches, making the two teams the most penalised teams when it comes to foul play.

By taking into account the amount of time teams are defending, when the majority of foul play penalties are conceded, the two teams commit an act of foul play every 13 minutes and 48 seconds on defence. The penalty data does not include the 2015 Rugby World Cup or the British and Irish Lions Tour.

Last week, the narrative in the All Blacks’ June series against France revolved around a dangerous tackles by Sam Cane and Ofa Tu’ungafasi, in which Frenchman Remy Grosso suffered two skull fractures.

Neither player was carded despite the incident looking worse than the moment Paul Gabrillagues was yellow carded for a tame high tackle earlier in the match.

Grosso, the victim of the chilling tackle, later said “if we do the same thing, we French get punished.”

It’s a bold claim by Grosso, and one that isn’t backed up by how France have been treated over the same period.

Remy Grosso is clattered by Sam Cane and Ofa Tu'ungafasi.

PHOTOSPORT

Remy Grosso is clattered by Sam Cane and Ofa Tu’ungafasi.

While the All Blacks are carded for every 6.3 foul play penalties they commit, which works out as one for every 86 minutes on defence, France have it easier.

They received a card for every 10 foul play offences since August 2014, including the red card given to Benjamin Fall on Saturday night in Wellington.

It takes France more than three hours and 15 minutes on defence to be awarded a card for foul play, despite them committing a foul play offence every 19 minutes and 36 seconds on defence.

The statistics don’t take into account the severity of a foul play penalty. They don’t differentiate between something that deserved a card or not, and what colour that card should have been.

For that reason, it’s impossible to say if a team has been unduly punished for their acts of foul play. It merely shows how frequently a team commits those acts.

If there were any teams with a case for being punished more harshly than the average, it would be Argentina or Australia.

Argentina received a card for every 2.75 foul play penalties they conceded, compared to 3.07 for Australia.

For every 48 minutes the two teams spent on defence, they received a yellow or red card for an act of foul play. That’s almost double the rate of New Zealand.

Scotland are an interesting case in that they concede the fewest foul play penalties of tier one nations, but have been carded at one of the highest rates.

Since August 2014, they committed only nine acts of foul play on a rugby field, resulting in three cards.

Ireland received the fewest cards for foul play offences, with just two in that time period.

Benjamin Fall gets his marching orders.

GETTY IMAGES

Benjamin Fall gets his marching orders.

When you take into account other cards, those cynical and professional offences the All Blacks often commit at the breakdown, for instance, New Zealand are carded every 28 minutes and 42 seconds on defence.

That is the second highest rate of tier one teams since August 2014, with Australia carded every 27 minutes and 48 seconds on defence. Argentina are third, with a card every 28 minutes and 54 seconds on defence.

If the All Blacks, then, aren’t getting special treatment from referees when they’re on defence, is their an All Blacks bias when they’re on attack?

Are referees subconsciously protecting the All Blacks, and penalising their opponents more than they otherwise would?

New Zealand’s opponents received the fewest cards of all tier one nations, with a card coming once in every 56 minutes the All Blacks were in possession. Their opponents were handed 12 cards in 39 matches, including two red cards.

At the other end of the spectrum, Argentina’s opponents were carded once every 30.2 minutes, with a total of 21 cards handed out.

There was, however, less tolerance for foul play against New Zealand compared to other nations.

While the All Blacks were victims of foul play less often than their opponents, with one foul play penalty every 29 minutes and 12 seconds, cards were handed out more frequently.

New Zealand’s opponents were carded once for every 3.29 foul play penalties they conceded. Ireland were next, with 4.27 foul play calls resulting in a card.

Australia, meanwhile, saw their opposition carded for acts of foul play once every 247 minutes of possession time, the least of tier one nations.

Julian Savea confirm Toulon move

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Julian Savea has confirmed that he will be leaving New Zealand at the end of the 2018 Super Rugby season to join French Top 14 club Toulon.

Savea played 54 Tests for the All Blacks, scoring 46 tries, second only to Doug Howlett on the all-time try-scoring records for New Zealand.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said Savea had won fans all over the world with his speed and size making him a powerful attacking weapon for any side he represented.

“Julian goes with our blessing and we know that French rugby fans will quickly embrace him as their own,” he said.

“We thank Julian for his contribution to rugby in New Zealand and we wish him and his family well for their move to Toulon.”

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Jules can be incredibly proud of everything he has achieved in the black jersey. He is a devastating ball runner who inspired others with his physicality and try-scoring prowess.

“On behalf of all the All Blacks, we want to wish Julian and his family all the very best and thank him for everything he has done for the All Blacks.”

The 27-year-old championship winning Hurricanes wing, has played more than 120 matches for the Hurricanes since making his debut for the Super Rugby Club in 2011, a year after he made his first start for Wellington.  His performance saw him selected into the All Blacks the following year.

Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee said Savea would be truly missed, not only throughout the Hurricanes region but across the country.

“Julian has contributed an incredible amount, not only for our club, but New Zealand rugby as a whole,” he said.

“We wish him and his family all the very best for the future and the next stage of his career and hope he makes the sort of impact in France that he has made for the Hurricanes.”

Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd said Savea and his family would leave the club with its 100 per cent blessing now they had decided it was the right time to go.

“For me, Julian has been one of those guys who has been a one club, one province man who has always given everything he has for Ories, Wellington, the Hurricanes and New Zealand rugby.

“He has always put his heart and soul into it and we respect that greatly.”

Wellington Rugby Football Union CEO Steve Rogers was also quick to recognise Savea’s contribution to the sport in the capital and wish him the best for the future.

“Julian has always done what he can to help Wellington and has been an important leader both on and off the field for the only province he has ever represented,” he said.

“While the opportunity to pull on a Lions jersey was limited during his long All Blacks career, he always wanted to play and be part of our campaigns when he could. I’m sure Toulon will benefit greatly by having him in their club.

“We know Julian was really looking forward to being part of the Lions in 2018 but we fully understand the opportunity that has presented itself in France so we wish him all the best.”

Thanks to

Ashwin no-show shock as SuperSport probe submitted

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SuperSport were due to receive the independent review into the Ashwin Willemsestudio walkout storm later on Monday … but it will be minus vital testimony from the key source of the pundit and former Springbok wing himself, reports Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Sport24 has learnt from reliable sources that Willemse, who sensationally downed his microphone during live Super Rugby studio coverage on May 19 and walked out of the studio, has not presented evidence to the probe, under the charge of Advocate Vincent Maleka.

Contacted for comment, Maleka confirmed that he would be handing in his report on Monday – he had earlier asked for an extra week to complete it after an initial deadline of June 11 had been set.

But he would not say whether all relevant parties in the dispute had presented statements to him, advising Sport24 to contact attorney Dario Milo, a specialist in corporate and tax dispute resolution.

He could not immediately be reached.

Willemse was non-committal when asked whether he had presented a statement to the inquiry, saying: “At this point I have no comment on the matter. I would be willing to chat to you at a later stage … you have my number.”

But it has been learnt from other sources that Maleka has had to bypass testimony from Willemse in assembling his report and findings.

The major figures in the controversy – Willemse and fellow-punditry heavyweights Nick Mallett and Naas Botha, who were on duty together when Willemse downed tools – have consistently stayed largely mum to the media subsequently.

Willemse told a live audience at the time that he was “tired of being patronised” by the other two, who “played during the apartheid era”.

He also said he had endured being branded a “quota player” throughout his career.

It is known that widespread interviews have been conducted by Maleka’s panel throughout the SuperSport pecking order following the incident.

According to sources, no evidence of race-related misconduct by Mallett or Botha will be presented in the findings, and that the pair, who have been inactive since the uproar although on full remuneration, should soon be reinstated to studio roles.

It is understood that Maleka’s area of jurisdiction specifically covered the May 19 flashpoint itself, and not any prior tensions; it has been fairly widely reported that Willemse and Mallett, in particular, have not seen eye to eye for some time.

Willemse is likely to be offered retention of his SuperSport duties as well, but the pair are unlikely to be placed in the same studio panel henceforth by mutual request.

Often a staple presence at the studio touchscreen, Willemse may also be offered more in the way of pitch-side presentation at major SA-hosted matches.

*SuperSport communications chief Clinton van der Berg, who would not comment on other aspects of the probe, asked that Sport24 contact him later in the day for when the corporation might issue a public statement following the report hand-in.

USA stun Scotland

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USA caused a major shock in their June international clash with Scotland as they won 30-29 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on Saturday.

Scores from Joe Taufete’e (2) and Hanco Germishuys, bolstered by the reliable boot of the classy AJ MacGinty, saw the Eagles to a memorable win.

Scotland’s replies arrived through Blair Kinghorn, a penalty try, George Turner and Dougie Fife, with Kinghorn missing the late vital conversion.

For USA though this excellent result will be celebrated long into the night, as their impressive form this year continues under coach Gary Gold.

Scotland started well but didn’t have things all their own way in the first period as they went in only 11 points in front at 24-13 to the good.

It had looked like the visitors were set for a handsome points return when Stuart Hogg’s break on two minutes set up Kinghorn for the score.

However, the USA fought back well and enjoyed plenty of possession and territory, which ultimately saw them kick a penalty through MacGinty.

Kinghorn would miss a relatively simple penalty on 20 minutes but the Scots were undeterred and soon had seven points on the board when a penalty try was given. That decision from Wayne Barnes came after George Horne was tackled high by Samu Manoa, who was also yellow carded.

MacGinty did reduce the arrears to 14-6 with a penalty on 28 minutes but Scotland then struck again seven minutes later, Hogg’s excellent touch finder into the corner leading to Turner edging over from close range. With Kinghorn’s superb conversion the visitors were 21-6 up.

USA weren’t to be outdone though as the superb Taufete’e did well to spin around tackles en route to a try under the posts for 21-13. Despite Kinghorn knocking over a penalty before the interval to make it 24-13, USA had definitely shown enough to concern Gregor Townsend.

Those worries were amplified three minutes into the second-half when Taufete’e would cross again, this time from 10 metres out, for 24-20. And with MacGinty slotting a penalty goal four minutes later, suddenly it was a one-point ball game in Texas, with the result up for grabs.

The Eagles grabbed the lead for the first time on the hour, deservedly too, when MacGinty set up Germishuys for a score in the corner. That came after a kicking battle between the sides and MacGinty followed up that duel with a fine touchline conversion that made it 30-24.

Scotland thought they’d retaken the lead on 69 minutes when replacement Mark Bennett crashed over, but replays showed he lost it over the line.

And despite a late surge from Townsend’s charges that saw Fife cross in the 80th minute, Kinghorn could not add the extras as the Eagles held on for an historic victory that will do their confidence a power of good.

The scorers:

For USA:
Tries: Taufete’e 2, Germishuys
Cons: MacGinty 3
Pens: MacGinty 3
Yellow Card: Manoa

For Scotland:
Tries: Kinghorn, Penalty try, Turner, Fife
Cons: Kinghorn 2
Pen: Kinghorn

Thanks to

Time for World Rugby to sort out it’s house

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It is time now that World Rugby put on their big-boy pants and do actually what they are suppose to do and manage the game of rugby.

Rugby as a whole is struggling at the moment with supporters getting tired of the circus that is going on in the game.

Today alone we saw in three test matches 5 yellow cards and 1 red card in three test matches.

The problem in most cases is that these cards are spoiling the game which fans pay allot of money to watch at the stadiums and at home.

The problem is not the referees giving the cards but the law that force them to dish out these cards.

The red card in the All Blacks v France test was the right decision by the referee. Barrett was played in the air and he fell on his shoulder/head.

The problem is like with all red cards in the game, took the contest out of what suppose to be a brilliant match.

Now my problem is why World Rugby cannot make some simple changes to the game?

For instance, if a player receive a red card then send him off but a simple solution will be to replace him after ten minutes with a replacement player.

This will keep the game a contest which is something fans, players and coaches wanted.

In the Australia v Ireland game the Aussies we saw another problem within the rules of the game.

The Aussies got a penalty try for the Irish collapsing, it was a fair call from the referee. The problem here is that the referee must then give a yellow card for the player as well.

Why punish the defending team twice. Is the penalty try not a punishment enough?

Beside these two examples most of the cards are been given out by referees but it is nowhere consistent from match to match or sometimes even in the same match.

The standard of refereeing this whole season has been poor and not just in our Super Rugby but also up north.

Stadiums are running empty and if World Rugby think that fans will keep on supporting mediocre performances by referees, they are in for a huge surprise.

This needs to be addressed now and changes need to be made before next years world cup.

Wales ease past Argentina to take series

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Wales finished their June tour unbeaten with a comprehensive 30-12 victory over Argentina at Estadio Brigadier Lopez in Santa Fe on Saturday.

It has been a fine summer for Wales as they followed up an impressive victory over the Springboks with back-to-back victories over Argentina. It has also given Warren Gatland the opportunity to test out new combinations ahead of the World Cup next year. Gatland will be pleased with the depth within the squad after the new members in the squad stood up and made themselves counted.

If Wales were bracing themselves for an Argentine backlash, they needn’t have worried as los Pumas were even worse than last weekend’s dismal display. Coach Daniel Hourcade could be seen with his head in his hands so bad was his team’s performance over the two games. Argentina have been well below-par in this series, considering the excellent form of the Super Rugby franchise Jaguares, which consists of basically the same players.

Hourcade’s side made numerous mistakes, 16 handling errors in total by the end of the match and it was a case of Wales making them pay.

Rhys Patchell got Wales on the board with his ninth-minute penalty after Argentina were caught offside. Six minutes later, the Scarlets fly-half doubled the lead with another three-pointer after los Pumas this time were penalised for not rolling away.

The Welsh were dominating the possession and territory statistics and were rewarded with their first try of the match in the 22nd minute thanks to a magnificent individual effort from Josh Adams – the Worcester Warrior stepping his way past numerous defenders in a jinking run on the way to the line as Patchell converted for a 13-0 lead.

The number ten added another two penalties before Argentina finally came to life a minute before the interval as Los Pumas lock Guido Petti made the line break through the middle and played the final pass for Bautista Delguy, who showed the Wales defence a clean set of heels on his way over the whitewash. Nicolas Sanchez converted as Argentina went in to the interval trailing 19-8.

Patchell notched a further two penalties to take his tally to six from seven attempts in a fine kicking display as Wales extended their lead to 25-5 before they got their second try of the match with a superb team move involving brilliant hands from Ross Moriarty to release George North who offloaded well for Hallam Amos to finish clinically, having run an excellent support line. Patchell failed to add the extras but Wales still led 30-5.

The game was slightly marred by some late scuffles, with Ross Moriarty red-carded for his choke hold on Nicolas Sanchez. Argentina capitalised on the numerical advantage with a late Julian Montoya score and will be looking to pick themselves up quickly before they face Scotland next weekend.

For Argentina:
Tries: Delguy, Montoya
Con: Sanchez

For Wales:
Tries: Adams, Amos
Con: Patchell
Pens: Patchell 6

Thanks to

Carrot Ratings – Springbok outplay England again to take series

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It maybe did not have the intensity of the first match but it sure was an improvement in some areas for Rassie Erasmus Springbok team.

The team has three players that has made a huge difference in this team in Le Roux, Vermeulen and De Klerk.

The experience Le Roux and Vermeulen has brought to the party has been massive and cannot be under estimated in the bigger scheme of things.

There was some not so good signs from a few players.

We know that England has not been the best side in the last 12 months and certainly not the team that won 18 test in a row but to clinch the series with one game to go has been special from this young team.

There are plenty of areas in the game that still needs allot of improvement but it has been a good start for this team.

Here is the ratings for the first test as we saw it…

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15. Willie Le Roux (8) 

He may have missed a few high kicks on the night but his understanding of space and getting this backline going on attack has been really good.

It is not just on attack were Willie stands out but also the way he take control of the defensive structure at the back.

Willie gets five carrot again for a second week

healthman

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14. S’bu Nkosi (6)

Nkosi will become a special player for the Boks. He again shown impressive commitment on getting envolve in the game.

Maybe not as good as last week but he did his part on putting huge pressure on the English with the kick and chase.

His defence starting shaky again but he got better as the game went on.

Nkosi get 3 carrots

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13. Lukhanyo Am (5)

Am still has not found his feet in this setup. We are still waiting for him to bring the same game that he has shown at the Sharks to the Boks.

His defence was better this week but on attack did not much for the Boks

Am gets 2 carrots as he still have allot to get right in this setup

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12. Damien De Allende (5)

It was a disappointing day for De Allende as he went back to his old ways. In a backline that was full of running De Allende was most of the time the dead end street on attack for the Boks.

He looses the ball too easily in contact and his game management was poor

Damien gets also just two carrots

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11. Aphiwe Dyantyi (6)

As with Nkosi he did not bring the same game as last week in the first test.

Although he did not have allot of changes, the few he had did not make an impact  on the game.

His chasing was good and defence got better as the game went on.

This wing will only get better as I said last week and time will make a huge improvement for the young win

Dyantyi gets three carrots

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10. Handre Pollard (6)

Handre did not had a bad game but he did not play the word alight either.

His kicking game was better and his kicking at goal as well. We need a bit more on attack from Pollard and he needs to command the backline.

Handre gets two carrots

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9. Faf de Klerk(8.5)

Faf did not have the freedom as last weekend and the English did make life a bit harder for him.

His control of the game was still brilliant and he command the attacking game the Boks have at the moment.

He made a few errors at the start of the test but got back in the game.

Faf kicking game was again in par and put huge pressure on England with great chasing from his backs.

Faf gets 5 carrots from me

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8. Duane Vermeulen (9.5)

What a huge game from Vermeulen. He was the beginning and the end of the Boks effort in this test. He dominated with ball in hand and in defence.

His leadership is vital to this team and he is again a man that is feared by the opposition

Vermeulen gets six carrots

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7. Pieter Steph du Toit (8)

Not many thought that Rassie made a good decision this week to put Du Toit in place of Du Preez at the side of the scrum, but he proofed us all wrong.

He had a massive test and made a huge impact in the scrums, lineouts and rucks.

He played a real in-your-face game which frustrated the English.

His defence has been impressive as we expected but his workrate was the thing that impressed the most

Du Toit gets 5 carrots

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6. Siya Kolisi (6.5)

Siya had a much better test than last week and he was more involved on attack and in defence.

He leaded the team well again and he played a more direct game.

He is not were we want the captain to be but it is step in the right direction.

His defence was outstanding on the night and got more involved in the breakdowns as well

Kolisi gets three carrots

healthman

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5. Franco Mostert(7)

He is just one of those payers that always give his 110%. His partnership with Snyman has been great and the two laid the foundation for the Boks yet again.

He is that kind of player that is always at the bottom of the ruck and making that crucial tackle.

Mostert gets four carrots

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4. RG Snyman(7)

Although not that flashy as last week with ball in hand the big man was again massive in the set pieces.

His work rate as with Mostert is massive for this team. One can almost not believe it was only his second test

Snyman gets four carrots

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3. Frans Malherbe (3)

Not even close what we expect from a Springbok prop. Malherbe struggled in the scrum and also in the general play.

It showed that he has not been playing for along period of time and he is not yet ready for this level.

We know what we have in Malherbe but he did not show any of that on the night.

Need more from Wilco and he get one carrots

healthman

 

 

2. Bongi Mbonambi (7)

Another great test for Bongi. He has impress with his work rate and set pieces.

He got more involved on attack and carried well throughout the test.

His lineouts was again 100% and definitely our second best after Marx

Bongi gets 4 carrots

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1.Tendia (Beast) Mtawarira (7)

It was so nice that the big man got a win in his 100th test. He did not just celebrate a 100 test matches but also one of his best test we have seen in a long time.

He was great in the set pieces and had a great game on attack.

Beast is like red wine getting better the older he gets

Beast gets four carrots

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On the replacements:

Steven Kitshoff – (8) – He had an immediate impact when he came on and the penalty try can be given to him after a massive scrum.

What a player for the Boks to have as impact player or starting a test.

Akker van der Merwe – (6.5) – Akker needs to work on his throw-ins but what a player he is in defence, attack and at ruck time.

There is a reason why they call him the “Angry Warthog”

Thomas Du Toit – (7) – As with Steven he made a huge impact in the set pieces.

Du Toit has impressed since coming into this team and he is getting better with each time he takes the field.

Man of the Match

Duane Vermeulen

He made 8 ball carriers, made 9 tackles, made 74 meters with his carriers and scored the try that turned the Boks game around

Nabetragting – Springboks seal the series in Bloefontein

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If we did not had enough last week the Boks had to start bad again this week in Bloemfontein.

It was a double celebration with Captain Kolisi celebrating his birthday and Beast running out for the 100th time for the Springboks.

The day started on a sad note with the death of one of the Springbok legends Syd Nomis who had a heart attack early on Saturday morning.

He played 23 times for the Springboks and was a rugby man through and through.

England exposed the Springboks defence again out wide when they scored two quick tries.

But as last week the Springboks crawled their way back with some brilliant play from their vice captain Vermeulen.

He scored a power try to start the comeback once England was 12-0 in front.

Pollard had his kicking boots on as he took the Springboks in the lead before halftime with a massive 60 meter penalty.

There was a few questions on the selection of Du Toit at the side of the field but he had a massive game for the Boks on the day.

Faf controlled the game again with his kicks which put huge pressure on the English. The chasing game from these kicks was top notch from the Boks.

Defence was better than last week but there was still to many holes which the English did expose and only bad decision making and handling prevented them from scoring.

There was allot of off the ball stuff which did none of the teams any good and I was very disappointed in Ferrell as the captain from England.

England has looked leaderless in both test and Farrell is not the right man to lead this team.

It showed after the match with Ben Youngs attitude after the match

Malherbe struggled at scrum time and also gave a few penalties away.

This Springbok team would not have been the same without Willie Le Roux, Vermeulen and Faf de Klerk.

They makes a massive difference in this team not just as players but also as leaders.

Beast had the perfect game in his 100th match. He was an absolute monster in the scrums and had some great runs with the ball as well.

Although Snyman and Mostert had not the free runs like last week but they did the hard yards in this test were it matters.

De Allende had a bad game in all. His game management was poor and he kept getting the ball ripped in the tackle.

He did not distribute the ball well and put too much pressure on his outside throughout the match.

The bench made a huge difference for the Boks again with Kitshoff and Du Toit at the front.

The Boks had to work hard for this win but that will give them allot going forward as they still have so much to improve.

The less said about Twat the referee the better. He really has not much of an idea what a maul is and how it works.

It was a huge effort again from the Springboks and it was led by Vermeulen who is again one of the best players in this Springbok team.

He well deserved the Man of the Match award.

Next week it is the final test in Cape Town and Rassie can get a whitewash against this English team which will be a huge improvement from where we was last year.

Springboks do it again against England

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The Springboks came back again to win the second test and the series on Saturday.

They was just to good for the English as they beat them 23-12.

The Springboks looked like they had the better start but a penalty in the scrum from Malherbe gave England the opportunity to good field positions.

They created a two on one out wide and got their first try and the lead of the match.

It almost felt that it will be same old same from last week as England scored their second try immediately after again out wide.

The Springboks had to work hard and just could not finish but it was Thor time as Vermeulen showed his power to get over for their first try.

Pollard made the difference just 2 points with a penalty and the game was played with allot of feeling out there.

The Springboks got in the lead for the first time with a 60-meter penalty from Pollard and that is how the half ended with the Springboks leading 13-12.

The second half start much as the first with England putting pressure on the Springboks early on but good defence kept them out.

The Springboks got there second try from a great scrum and the referee awarded a penalty try which took the lead to 20-12.

England received a yellow card which made the game swing totally to the Boks but they just could not get over the line.

Vermeulen had a massive game on defence and taking the ball forward but was even more impressive was the chase from the Boks kick.

Pollard had another penalty which he knocked over to give the Springboks a handy 23-12 lead.

England did try and come back but the Springboks defence was just too good on the day.

The Springboks had to fight for this win but it was good enough to get the win and the series.

Vermeulen was made the man of the match.

Now for Cape Town…

Scorers:

SA 23 (13)

Tries: Duane Vermeulen, Penalty Try

Conversion: Handre Pollard

Penalties: Pollard (3)

England 12 (12)

Tries: Mike Brown, Jonny May

Conversion: Owen Farrell

 

 

R.I.P. Syd Nomis

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Sad news as former Springbok wing Syd Nomis, who scored six tries in 25 Tests between 1967 and 1972, passed away from a heart attack earlier today. He was 76.

Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends.

Sydney “Syd” Nomis (born 15 November 1941 in Johannesburg) is a former South African national rugby union player who until 2001 held the record for most consecutive matches (25) played for the Springboks.Nomis is best remembered for tries that he scored against France in 1968 and the All Blacks in 1970.

Along with Okey Geffin, Nomis is considered one of the greatest Jewish rugby players of all time, and is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 1999.

Ireland get win over Aussies in second test

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Ireland kept the series alive when the beat the Aussies 26-21 on Saturday in the second test.

The Aussies had the perfect start when Beale found a huge gab in the Irish defence to get over under the sticks for the first try.

Australia started running the ball from the start and with good hands put Ireland under pressure.

The Aussies then put themselves under pressure with a yellow card for a tip tackle. Ireland setup the drive from the lineout to send Convey over in the corner.

This even things up again at 7-all.

Ireland kept the pressure on the Aussies with some direct play as they kept them in their own half. A penalty straight in front gave Ireland the lead 10-7 after 14 minutes.

Ireland got three penalties which they kicked over to stretch their lead to 16-7 before the Aussies was awarded a penalty try.

This made the score 16-14 for Ireland.

The Irish kept the pressure on the Aussies and played most of the game in their half of the field.

It was Ireland that came out the better in the second half as they took control of the match. The Aussies did not have an answer in the first 30 minutes of the second half as the Irish scored another try after one was disallowed by the TMO.

A penalty later extends the lead to 26-14 for the Irish with 67 min gone. As much as people praise the Aussies for playing clever rugby they can dish up some stupid rugby at times.

The Aussies did get one try back but it was too little too late as Ireland took the win 26-21

Scorers:

Australia – Tries: Beale, Penalty try, Tupou. Conversion: Foley (2).

Ireland – Tries: Conway, Furrlong. Conversion: Sexton (2). Penalties: Sexton (3).

 

Italy edge Japan

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Italy claimed their first victory of the year when they beat Japan 25-22 in their June international at the Noevir Stadium in Kobe on Saturday.

The Azzurri dominated the early stages before Japan fought back in the second-half and both sides eventually scored three tries apiece. The result also means that Italy draw their two-Test series with the Brave Blossoms.

Japan were on the back-foot from the outset and suffered a setback as early as the fourth minute when Samuela Anise was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous challenge on Leonardo Ghiraldini.

Italy could not benefit from their numerical advantage, however, and we had to wait until the 19th minute for the opening points when Tommaso Benvenuti crossed for a deserved try after Jayden Hayward and Sebastian Negri did well in the build-up.

Tommaso Allan slotted the conversion which handed his side a 7-0 lead and Benvenuti’s try gave the Azzurriplenty of confidence as they continued to hold the upper-hand as the half progressed.

And their dominance saw them increase their lead in the 26th minute when Ghiraldini crashed over from the back of a line-out drive deep inside Japan’s half.

Italy finished the half strongly but they would not trouble the scoreboard again during this period although Yu Tamura opened Japan’s account courtesy of a penalty in the 34th minute which meant the visitors led 12-3 at half-time.

The Azzurri were fastest out of the blocks in the second-half and in the 44th minute Jake Polledri broke through a tackle before dotting down under the posts before Allan added the extras which gave the visitors a 16-point lead.

The next 15 minutes was a tight affair although neither side scored points during this period but Japan struck back on the hour-mark when Will Tupou crossed the whitewash after the ball went through several pairs of hands in the build-up.

And three minutes later, Amanaki Mafi burst through a tackle before crossing for his side’s second try – Rikiya Matsuda converted both tries which meant Italy were holding a slender 19-17 lead now.

The Azzurri did not panic though and two penalties from Allan gave them a 25-17 lead before Japan struck back with a Kotaru Matsushima try in the game’s closing stages but it was not enough to secure them a come-from-behind win.

The scorers:

For Japan:
Tries: Tupou, Mafi, Matsushima
Cons: Matsuda 2
Pen: Tamura
Yellow Card: Anise

For Italy:
Tries: Benvenuti, Ghiraldini, Polledri
Cons: Allan 2
Pens: Allan 2

Thanks to

Messy All Blacks clinch series against France

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It was a messy performance from the All Blacks as they beat France 26-13 on Saturday.

With the win they also won the series against the French.

The French started the game like last week putting pressure on the All Blacks early on and were the first to put points on.

With a lead of 3-0 the game was turned on its head when Fall tackled Barrett in the air with Barrett landing on his head.

The Referee had no choice than to give a red card for fall which just took all the contest out of the match for the French.

The All Blacks immediately took advantage of the situation and Moody found a huge gab to score the first try of the match.

Smith followed shortly with his try and a lead of 14-3 for the All Blacks after 25 minutes.

The French got the lead reduced by a penalty, but the All Blacks were in control of the match.

The All Blacks showed their brilliance just before halftime with some great hands of the backs as Barrett rounded off a great try.

This gave them a 21-6 lead at the break.

The second half shown a French side that kept the All Blacks honest and putting more pressure on them.

The finishing from the French was not great as they spend enough time in the All Blacks twenty-two without any result.

As the game went dead it took the brilliance of McKenzie to spark a great try for Barrett to take the lead to 26-6 after 59 minutes.

The All Blacks were given a yellow card after repeated penalties in their own twenty-two which made it 14 against 14 for the next 10 minutes.

France got over the line, but the try was not allowed by TMO for a double movement.

The French did end the match with a great try and showed some guts throughout the match as they lost the test 26-13.

Was surely not the best we have seen the All Blacks played and the French with 14 men has showed they are a team on the up.

Scorers:

All Blacks – Tries: Moody, B Smith, Barrett (2). Conversions: McKenzie (3).
France – Try: Gomez Sa. Conversion: Plisson. Penalties: Parra (2).

Looking ahead – Springboks v England 2de test

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It was a comeback that nobody expected but Rassie Erasmus team somehow turned things around in the first test last week but this week will be a total new ball game.

This is a massive test in so many ways and not just for the Springboks but even more so for the English.

The Springboks can seal the series this Saturday with one test remaining at Newlands.

England will not be just rolling over and lie down, they will be up for whatever the Boks through at them.

This is more about just winning a test match or keeping the series alive, it is a matter of pride for them as well.

It did not go down well back in England to let the Boks back after being infront after 18 minutes 24-3.

The English played some of the bets rugby we have seen them play in that first 20 minutes, all year.

The Boks dominated the collisions and that is something they want to make right so no wonder Jones have included Brad Shields in the team for the second test.

He will be a hand-full specially the fact that Erasmus has picked Du Toit inplace of Du Preez.

Joe Launchbury returns after recovering from injury which also help in the effort to draw the series in Bloemfontein.

Erasmus has made changes too, bringing in Frans Malherbe to replace the rested Wilco Louw, who has had a demanding Super Rugby schedule, while Pieter-Steph du Toit comes in for Jean-Luc du Preez at flanker.

Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira will make his 100th appearance for South Africa.

The 32-year-old continues to produce excellent performances and he was part of a forward unit that were too powerful for their opponents in the first Test.

The shape of the Springboks attack was something special last week and they will have to re-preduce that to stop an English side that will come hard at them.

They will have to get a good start and will not have the luxury to make the same defensive errors they made last week.

Prediction: The Springboks have some good confidence after the first test and I believe that will carrier them through this test, South Africa by 6.

The teams:

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 S’busiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Warrick Gelant

England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Mike Brown, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Mark Wilson, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Denny Solomona

Preview – June Internationals

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France will want to get back into the series but I am afraid it will be another All Black test win come Saturday.

The French have now lost 12 matches in a row against the All Blacks and they will want to change that.

The World Champions won last week 52-11 after a yellow card change the game for the All Blacks.

Not that the yellow card change the result as the All Blacks was busy getting control of all aspects of the match by that time.

The problem for the French is that even if the starting fifteen does not play well the All Blacks brings on replacements that destroys teams.

With players like Ben Smith, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jordie and Beaden Barrett it is not easy to get on top of this team.

Despite conceding a half century of points, it wasn’t all doom and gloom in that encounter in Auckland for France, who did well to frustrate the All Blacks for 50 minutes before a controversial yellow card to Paul Gabrillagues changed the complexion of the match.

Prediction: Can not see anything else that All Black win by atleast 18 points

The teams:

New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock (c), 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Ngani Laumape

France: 15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud (c), 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Gael Fickou, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Kelian Gourdon, 7 Kélian Galletier, 6 Mathieu Babillot, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Bernard le Roux, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Dany Priso
Replacements: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Maxime Médard

The Aussies surprise the Irish in the first test as they got one over the Six Nations Champions last week.

It is going to be a great test to watch as the Irish will come back with a massive effort to level the series.

Last weekend it was a case of Ireland exerting the majority of the pressure without being able to capitalise on their dominance, whereas the Wallabies soaked up the pressure brilliantly and were much more clinical on the few occasions they got deep into opposition territory.

The Irish side have made some changes and has a much more experienced side, with influential figures including Johnny Sexton, Cian Healy and Devin Toner among others making their return to the starting line-up.

Tadhg Beirne has been named as a replacement and could make his debut should he run out on the field at AAMI Park.

But it is the return of Sexton that should make all the difference for Ireland.

Sexton is more adept at being able to vary his game by either sitting back in the pocket or taking the ball to the line.

The Wallabies, have a settled unit, with Michael Cheika naming the same matchday 23 for the second match in a row for the first time in his tenure.

David Pocock was a real nuisance to the Emerald Isle in the first Test.

Prediction: Ireland will bounce back by 9 point win

The teams:

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 David Pocock, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Lukhan Tui, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Reece Hodge

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Dan Leavy, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 John Cooney, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour

 

A few tweaks for Springboks second test against England

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Tendai Mtawarira will make his 100th Test appearance for South Africa in Bloemfontein on Saturday in the second Test in the Castle Lager Incoming Series against England, becoming only the sixth Springbok to reach this special milestone. Kick-off at the Toyota Stadium is at 17h05.

The 32-year-old Mtawarira, better known as “Beast”, is the first Springbok prop to reach a century of Test caps and he joins an elite group of only seven props who have made 100 or more Test appearances.

Mtawarira will anchor the Springbok scrum in his milestone Test alongside hooker Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe, who makes a return to the front row after a lengthy absence due to injury.

Malherbe’s inclusion is one of only two changes in the starting team that beat England 42-39 last weekend in Johannesburg. He replaces his DHL Stormers team mate Wilco Louw. The other change sees Pieter-Steph du Toit returning to the starting fifteen in the No 7 jersey, with Jean-Luc du Preez moving to the bench.

Mtawarira made his Springbok debut exactly 10 years against Wales, on 14 June 2008 in Pretoria at the age of 22. The following year he was an instrumental figure in the Springbok tight five as he helped to steer the South Africans to a memorable 2-1 series win over the British & Irish Lions.

Since then, the soft-spoken front rower has established himself as a mainstay for the Cell C Sharks – he has 146 Vodacom Super Rugby caps to his name – and the Springboks. Apart from his 99 Tests, Mtawarira has also played in three tour matches for the Springboks to date, with two Test tries to his name.

Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby, paid tribute to Mtawarira, whom he described as a great servant to Springbok rugby and a very good professional.

“Much like a typical front rower, ‘Beast’ is not someone who likes the spotlight,” said Erasmus.

“However, his contribution to Springbok rugby during the past decade has been enormous and I want to congratulate him on reaching 100 Test caps for South Africa.

“It is a special achievement and while he deserves the accolades, I know he will be totally focussed on the most important job, and that is to face an extremely determined England side on Saturday in Bloem.”

Erasmus added that an improved performance will be needed from the Springboks when the two sides meet again at the Toyota Stadium.

“England is a powerful side and I know Eddie Jones will have his team super prepared for Saturday,” said Erasmus.

“They will no doubt want to bounce back to level the series, so it’s going to be another huge Test of our resolve and character.”

The Springbok team to face England in Bloemfontein (in order of name and surname, franchise/club, caps and points):
15. Willie le Roux (Wasps, England, 42, 55 – 11t)
14. S’busiso Nkosi (Cell C Sharks, 1, 10 – 2t)
13. Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks, 2, 0)
12. Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers, 29, 15 – 3t)
11. Aphiwe Dyantyi (Emirates Lions, 1, 5 – 1t)
10. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls, 27, 235 – 3t, 41c, 43p, 3d)
9. Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England, 12, 5 -1t)
8. Duane Vermeulen (Unattached, 40, 10 – 2t)
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers, 34, 20 – 4t)
6. Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers, 29, 20 – 4t) – captain
5. Franco Mostert (Emirates Lions, 19, 5 – 1t)
4. RG Snyman (Vodacom Bulls, 1, 0)
3. Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers, 17, 0)
2. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers, 15, 5 – 1t)
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks, 99, 10 – 2t)
Replacements:
16. Akker van der Merwe (Cell C Sharks, 2, 0)
17. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers, 25, 5 – 1t)
18. Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks, 2, 0)
19. Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks, 11, 10 – 2t)
20. Sikhumbuzo Notshe (DHL Stormers, 2, 0)
21. Ivan van Zyl (Vodacom Bulls, 2, 0)
22. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls, 30, 40 – 8t)
23. Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Bulls, 3, 5 – 1t)

Q&A – In conversation with SARLA CEO Stefan Terblanche

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On the rugby field he was a gentleman of the game, today he is the CEO of SARLA and giving back to the game that gave him so much over so many years.

Stefan Terblanche played in 37 tests for South Africa, scoring 19 tries, including a South African test record of four tries (equalled with Chester Williams and Pieter Rossouw) on debut against Ireland at Bloemfontein on 13 June 1998, which he later bettered by scoring a then record five tries against Italy on 19 June 1999.

He started his career at the Boland Cavaliers playing 66 times for them before moving to the Sharks were he played 101 for the coastal side from 1999 to 2007.

He had a stint with Ospreys were he played 87 times for the Wales club side and was capped 37 times for the Springboks.

We had the privilege to have a chat with Stefan about the big work that SARLA does in our communities.

Q1 – Ruggaworld: Before we get into the Rugby Legends, it will be a sin not to ask you about your views from Saturday first test against England

ST – We achieved a great result and am sure you will agree that we made a wonderful comeback. What was even more pleasing was the way we played, there was a clear evidence of team spirit and strong player communication.
Q2 – Ruggaworld: Most supporters are exited with the way that Rassie Erasmus has started, you know Rassie well, what makes Rassie such a great visionary?
ST -Rassie is technically very astute and is a master tactician. It is clear that he spends considerable time constantly analysing the opponents and this really gives him an incredible advantage as a Coach. The sharing of this knowledge, combined with his coaching, will ensure the team will be extremely well prepared to execute the game plan for all of the games ahead.
Q3 – Ruggaworld: The Rugby Legends was founded in 2001, what is your objectives with the Association?
ST – We provide a platform for the ex-players to ‘give something back’ to rugby. We aim to pass on the passion we still have for rugby and further, to have fun while doing so. We also raise funds for our VUKA development programme, which is growing substantially each year and where we introduce new players to the game of rugby.
Q4 – Ruggaworld: Development is such an important aspect in our game today, you have Vuka rugby and Legends Cup, can you explain what the Vuka Rugby is all about.
ST – The VUKA Rugby Development Programme is a platform for rural, non-traditional rugby playing schools, the dormant model C schools, and encourages the growth of rugby on many different levels. We are faced with many challenges which include transportation, finding facilities, gang violence and fund raising. We are growing at a very steady pace and more and more players are joining VUKA Rugby. It’s an incredibly rewarding and exciting initiative.
Q5 – Ruggaworld: This programme is run from U15 to U19, how do you identify in which communities you get involved?
ST – We identify certain schools and areas where there is both the desire and the talent and try and secure a central venue where these schools can play the game. We have many teams lining up to join and we could quite easily double the numbers if we could generate and raise sufficient funds.
Q6 – Ruggaworld: Have you had any success stories (players) from your Vuka development?
ST – We have many! There are fantastic and inspiring stories from kids playing in both the Grant Khomo and the Craven weeks, to referees officiating at provincial level.
In addition, we have been successful in providing full bursaries for talented individuals at traditional rugby playing schools and prestigious private schools to provincial universities. There are many more success stories to be shared and still to be made.
Q7 – Ruggaworld: What is the feeling from the communities when you go in there to add not just rugby but also social skills to these kids?
ST – The programme is always accepted with great interest and there is a strong willingness to get involved. Rugby is growing in these areas and for us it is so much more than just about the sport. It is an incredible opportunity for these kids to stay off the streets after school and to not get involved in gangs or other activities that may harm or hurt them. These kids often become role models and an inspiration for their peers. I truly believe that it is one of the most successful activities in SA today and being as personally involved as I am, is an extremely satisfying experience.
Q8 – Ruggaworld: You also run the Legend Cup to develop rugby in our communities, tell us more what you do with the Legends Cup.
ST – Through the VUKA Rugby Programme we identify the best players in the areas and provide them with the opportunity to play against the best players from the other areas and zones. We select zonal teams and the best boys play against one another.
Q9 – Ruggaworld: Last year Durban played host to the South Africa and Monaco Rugby Exchange programme, this year you guys will take it to Cape Town to run inside with the English tour. What will be happening in this week?
ST – We have planned a week jammed-packed with fun, rugby and excitement. Activities for the visiting Monaco kids include a visit to Robben Island, Shark Cage diving and off course, rugby coaching from some of the very best in addition to playing in a tournament. A highlight of the week will of course be attending the test match on Saturday against England. We are also bringing out the England Ladies World Cup Winner, Rachael Burford, who will promote and coach some of our young girls and ladies’ teams in and around Cape Town.
Q10 – Ruggaworld: If old players, sponsors and people want to get involved in your development programmes, can they? And how can they get involved?
ST – We absolutely welcome all help and donations. We get old team mates donating their kits from abroad, ex-players giving us their time and they often travel with SA Rugby Legends locally and abroad. We have sponsors and donators but we always welcome with open arms any contributions, however small you think it might be, it makes a world of difference. Any interested person can contact the SA Rugby Legends at any time and chat to me.
Q11- Ruggaworld: Lastly, we need to ask you, will the Springboks take the series against England?
ST – Yes, I think they will as the first game was always going to be the toughest with a new and unsettled, inexperienced team. The Boks will win 3-0 but I predict that come the last test, they may take their “feet off the gas” so I will go for 2-1 series win. I think England gave their all and came up short in the 1st test and it will be very hard for them to truly believe that they can win the next game.
Ruggaworld: Thank you, Stefan, for your time and keep doing the good work you guys do at the Legends.
ST – Thanks for the opportunity to tell you more about SA Rugby Legends and please contact me with any queries and requests. We are happy to help and we wish to grow the game wherever and however we can.
If you need more information and want to get in contact with Stefan please Philippa on email: philippa@harveyfox.co.za or visit the Rugby Legend Website at www.sarugbylegends.com

Teams for weekend test

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The All Blacks and Aussies will host the French and Irish again this weekend for the second test matches between the nations..

Ireland had decided to make eight changes to their side as the take on Australia in the second test.

Veteran prop Cian Healy is set to win his 80th cap on Saturday as he returns to the starting XV. He is named in a new look front-row alongside Niall Scannell and Tadhg Furlong.

In the second-row Devin Toner starts alongside James Ryan.

Dan Leavy is the final change in the pack as he is named at openside with Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander completing the back-row.

Star fly-half Sexton comes back into the side alongside Conor Murray while Robbie Henshaw moves to inside centre with Garry Ringrose starting at thirteen.

Rob Kearney is at full-back with Andrew Conway on the right wing and Keith Earls on the left.

In the reserves, Tadhg Beirne is set to make his Ireland debut from the bench which also includes Rob Herring, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Joey Carbery and Jordan Larmour.

Australia has kept the same side that beat the Irish in the first test last weekend

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Michael Hooper (c) 6 David Pocock, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Lukhan Tui, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Nick Phipps 23 Reece Hodge

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Dan Leavy, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 John Cooney, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour

Much the same with the All Blacks that kept the same team for their second test against France as well for the second test.

France however made five changes to their team for the second test in Wellington.

On the back of a first Test defeat, boss Brunel calls in Benjamin Fall and Gael Fickou to his backline for Maxime Médard and Remy Grosso.

Up front there’s a start at lock for Bernard le Roux while Mathieu Babillot and Kélian Galletier come in as France’s flankers this weekend.

Kelian Gourdon has been moved to number eight for the match while Morgan Parra and Anthony Belleau continue as the half-back duo.

On France’s replacements bench for the Westpac Stadium clash there are spots for hooker Pierre Bourgarit and prop Cedate Gomes Sa.

New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock (c), 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Ngani Laumape

France: 15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud (c), 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Gael Fickou, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Kelian Gourdon, 7 Kélian Galletier, 6 Mathieu Babillot, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Bernard le Roux, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Dany Priso
Replacements: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Maxime Médard

Still hard work ahead for Springboks

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To think that all is now suddenly well with Springbok rugby is as much an far fetch idea as electric cars saving our planet.

Although we can be proud of the way the Springboks came back last week against England and the way they play on attack there is much work to be done before they can compete week in and week out against the best.

For the Springboks to get better they need to evolve in every game they play.

Grow and learn is the words from assistant coach Proudfoot. The forwards need to improve for this weekend. All was not well with the pack in the first test.

Wilco Louw struggled in the scrums and only when the replacements came on the Springboks got some kind of ascendancy

Erasmus said he will take calculated risk in team selection, this may see some changes to the team that beat England in that first test.

There is a bigger picture than just this series for Erasmus and his players and he will not shy away from getting this team ready for the World Cup next year.

“If you understand Rassie’s philosophy and his leadership to us coaches and the team. He wants us to grow and get better each week. There will always be change,” Proudfoot explained.

“And every week we will change and we will grow. That has been our focus, not so much on England but where can we improve and where can we change.

Rassie wants us to be a dynamic side, he wants us to understand that there will be changes in the team and that is the way we operate.”

Rassie wants players to start thinking like coaches rather than a game plan that has been blue printed to them.

“It really depends what the opposition gives you on the day. What England gave us on Saturday was space out wide, which the players saw. It wasn’t the all-out plan that we went out to that game and said that was where we wanted to exploit them” said Rassie.

“I think the players saw the opportunities when we were under pressure on defence and they saw the opportunities on attack.

Defence was poor to let so many tries in on Saturday and that is not something you want to do against New Zealand and Australia.

It will be interesting to see what game Rassie and his team play on Saturday and who he will pick for the second test

SANZAAR release 2019 Super Rugby fixtures

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SANZAAR has announced the tournament dates for the 2019 Super Rugby competition that will kick-off on Friday 15 February when the Chiefs host the Highlanders in New Zealand. The Final will take place on Saturday 6 July.

As there will be no June inbound international matches in 2019 – due to Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan later in the year – Super Rugby will run uninterrupted for 21 weeks. Plus, there will be a uniform start to the tournament in Round 1 with a full round of seven matches to kick-off Super Rugby.

Click HERE for 2019 Super Rugby match schedule

The tournament’s 15-team, three-Conference format remains the same. Each team plays 16 regular season conference matches that include eight matches within their own Conference (home and away) and four matches against teams from each of the other Conferences (home or away). Each team also has two byes. This is a total of 120 matches in the regular season that will be followed by a seven-match, eight-team finals series.

Australia Conference: Brumbies, Rebels, Reds, Waratahs, Sunwolves

New Zealand Conference: Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders, Hurricanes

South African Conference: Bulls, Lions, Sharks, Stormers, Jaguares

The Finals series will also remain unchanged with each of the three Conference winners qualifying for and hosting a quarter-final.

The team with the most tournament points that is not a Conference winner, regardless of Conference, will host the fourth quarter-final.

This Wildcard team will be joined in the quarter-finals by the next best four Wildcards teams based on tournament points and regardless of Conference.

The released schedule confirms all tournament match dates and kick-off times.

However, the match venues will be announced later in the year once teams have determined where their home matches will be allocated.

SA Rugby Legends – South Africa and Monaco Rugby Exchange

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Excitement is building once again as The SA Rugby Legends (SARLA) prepare to welcome a talented group of U16 rugby players from Monaco as part of theSA-Monaco Rugby Exchange programme, which is run in association with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.

In 2017, Durban played host to Monaco’s U15 Rugby Team as part of this ground-breaking initiative which aims to change lives through positive participation in sport.

The programme is ongoing, providing young players with an opportunity to play in international tournaments in addition to introducing them to new countries and cultures. 2018 will play witness to Cape Town as the country’s proud host and the tour will coincide with the final match of the Springboks Three-Match Test Series against England, on Saturday 23 June, which will truly add to the experience of the tour and seeing international rugby at this level.

The Monaco U16 Rugby Team will also join our Vuka players from the Atlantis Region for a specialised training clinic with the England Rugby Team at the Masi Rugby Club, held in association with English Rugby Legend, Jason Leonard’s, Atlas Foundation.

Further, they will receive coaching clinics from our very own SA Rugby legends in addition to visiting English women’s rugby World Cup and IRPA special award winner, Rachael Burford. Burford is being brought out by SARLA for coaching sessions with the girls who currently participate in the Vuka Rugby programme as well as some of the senior ladies playing rugby for their respective clubs in and around Cape Town.

On Saturday 23 June, the Monaco team will also play in a specially organised rugby tournament against other Vuka teams at City Park Stadium in Athlone, before experiencing the great test match at Newlands.

Gavin Varejes, SARLA President, said “We look forward to seeing some excellent rugby played between our teams and to the skills sharing our training sessions provide.” He added that “Witnessing the Springboks and England play will be an educational highlight for all. “

Stefan Terblanche, SARLA CEO, said “Hosting the young players for the last 3 years was truly a pleasure and we are looking forward to sharing Cape Town with them. They played fantastic rugby and it was a progressive step towards the promotion of rugby at a grassroots level.

We truly hope that this Tour inspires all of the youngsters to achieve personal success, both on and off the field.”

It will be England’s first visit to South Africa in six years, adding to the exhilaration of attending the match at DHL Newlands Rugby Stadium on Saturday, 23 June.

This Third Test will act as the wrap-up to a busy week of rugby training and games in addition to an exciting programme of the Cape’s tourist and cultural attractions.

Varejes added that “My relationship with rugby has consistently illustrated that it encourages players to develop strong values, sportsmanship and fellowship.

Lifelong friendships are built during these tours and we look forward to hosting the young players. We are further grateful to the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation for their ongoing participation.”

For more information on SARLA please visit: http://www.sarugbylegends.com

Exciting Brits joins Boks

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Schalk Brits who thought he retired from rugby after winning another Premiership Title with his English club Saracens have been called up to the Bok camp.

Brits bring s not just a world of experience to the squad but has also been on form this year art Saracens.

“We are busy with building experience, continuity and capacity towards the Rugby World Cup, so we want our young players rubbing shoulders with experienced players such as Duane, Vermeulen and Willie le Roux,” explained Erasmus.

“I want Schalk to perform a similar role, because he has extensive inside knowledge and plenty of experience from playing for Saracens in the English and European conditions. It’s a great way for our younger guys to learn the trade of international rugby from these guys.”

The Springbok team to face England in the second Test in Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein will be named on Thursday.

Tian Schoeman joins Cheetahs

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The Cheetahs have signed former Bulls Tian Schoeman for their upcoming PRO14 season.

He will join the franchise on the 1 July after spending a year with French club Bordeaux.

Schoeman has signed with the Cheetahs till October 2020.

He played his rugby with the Bulls and represented then Blue Bulls 29 times and also played 35 Super Rugby matches for the Bulls.

Schoeman also part of the Springboks end of year tour in 2016.

Erasmus reduces squad

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Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus has reduced his squad for the last two matches of their three-Test series against England.

It has been confirmed that prop Trevor Nyakane has been withdrawn from the Bok squad because of injury.

Nyakane has trouble with a rib injury and did not play a part in Saturday’s victory over the English at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg after he was initially named in the starting line-up.

Meanwhile, Ox Nche, Jason Jenkins, Kwagga Smith, Nizaam Carr, Travis Ismaiel, Curwin Bosch and Cameron Wright have been released from the squad back to their franchises following Saturday’s opening Test against England in Johannesburg.

The Springboks travel to Bloemfontein on Sunday afternoon where they will resume their preparations for the second international against England.

The second test is this weekend in Bloefontein

Blitzbokke on top of the World again – World Champions 2017-2018

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What an emotional day of sevens rugby as the Blitzbokke took us from almost out of it against Spain to Champions of the the World of Sevens again.

It may not have been pretty but at the end the Blitzbokke did what needs to be done after Fiji lost in the quarter final against England.

The Blitzbokke still had to do allot to secure not just the French title but also the Championship in beating the All Blacks in the semi’s and get past England in the final.

They put the cherry on the top to win today after the Springboks yesterday beat England in the fifteens and our ladies beat England in the first ODI with seven wickets.

Dewald Human was the man of the tournament just a week after we had an insight on the man from Avril Filies.

Getting to know Dewald Human and Selvyn Davids

He was brilliant in the semi final against New Zealand and turned the game around also in the quarter final against Spain. Another great talent for South Africa.

He scored a hat-trick against the All Blacks in Paris.

Player of the match, Dewald Human: “It’s a fantastic experience and very special for me. The coach said to just back myself and enjoy every minute on the field. We stuck to our game plan and we’re happy with the win.”

One has to feel sorry for Fiji who has been absolutely brilliant this season.

One need to understand how good this win in Paris was with the Championship win as well.

The Blitzboks were dealt injuries throughout the season which force the coach to bring in new players all the time.

Senatla also pulled out of the semi final and final with a groin injury which was an extra blow for the Boks.

Werner Kok scored in the opening minute after New Zealand failed to secure possession from the kick-off. The regulation conversion attempt in front of the posts though was skewed by Human.

The result keeps the Blitzboks on course for the series title. If Fiji beat the USA to finish fifth at the Paris Sevens, the Blitzboks will need to beat England in the final which they did.

A great year again and series in Paris for the Boks and ending a great weekend for South African sport.

Snyman admits to shock at making the final

South Africa captain, Philipp Snyman: “At the beginning of the tournament we said we don’t want to focus on the result, we want to play some fantastic rugby. We made it difficult for ourselves on day one. We put it behind us and on day two we played phenomenally in the first game and then against New Zealand. I still can’t believe we pulled that back but all credit to the team as we played phenomenal rugby. We stuck to the basics and we’ve put a smile on faces. It’s amazing representing such an amazing country. The people back home never stopped believing, we have amazing support and we’re very grateful.”

 

 

Wales impress with win against Argentina

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Wales have two wins from two outings for the June Internationals after they easily beaten Argentina 23-10.

Argentina was poor and were not in the game which is worrying after some great performances from their Super Rugby side.

Although Nicolas Sanchez opened the scoring for the Pumas, the Six Nations outfit dominated the rest of the half and touched down twice through James Davies and George North to open up a 17-3 advantage.

This was also a much better performance from Wales after a scrappy win against the Boks last week in the USA.

Warren Gatland’s men also played some excellent rugby and caused the opposition defence plenty of consternation, which led to a try for the superb Davies following Hallam Amos’ brilliant off-load.

The Argentinians had their chances but they just could not get their game together for long periods in the game.

Wales also won the small battles and deserve the win against their host

Lezana did go over late on but the visitors had the final word through Gareth Anscombe, who kicked a last-minute three-pointer.

Scorers:

Argentina

Try: Tomas Lezana

Conversion: Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias

Penalty: Nicolas Sanchez

Wales

Tries: James Davies, George North

Conversions: Rhys Patchell (2)

Penalties: Patchell (2), Gareth Anscombe

Springbok carrot rating

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There was always the hope but in some way we did doubt the Springboks getting a win in the first test against England.

After 18 minutes we were looking at a major hiding but somehow players like Faf de Klerk, Willie Le Roux, Vermeulen and RG Snyman got things going for the Boks to fight back for a memorable win over England.

Here is the ratings for the first test as we saw it…

Nabetragting – Springboks stun England

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It was 18 minutes of some brilliant rugby in that first half to take a comfortable 24-3 lead.

At this moment I am sure most Bok supporters was thinking to start the braai early and give the remote to the wife and kids.

England was dominate in all aspects of the game and created space through simple game play first from their forwards to pull defence in and spread it wide where the gabs appeared.

Must say I was wondering about my statement earlier in the week where I said we have the best defensive coach in the world in Nienaber.

It took the Springboks twenty minutes to get into the game and play a brand we always wanted from them.

There was a few outstanding payers for the Springboks no one more than Willie Le Roux and man of the match Faf De Klerk.

The vision and control of both these players was just simply outstanding.

RG Snyman had the perfect test debut. The Lock from the Bulls showed us what a special player he really is.

He made 9 carriers, 49 meters, got over the gainline 3 times, made 9 tackles and stole that crucial last England lineout which took the game away from the visitors.

The other overseas player in the team that had a massive game was Duane “Thor” Vermeulen. The big man had a huge impact in the game and help captain Kolisi in leading this team.

He made 13 carriers, 51 meters, got over the gainline 4 times, made 6 tackles and got 2 crucial turnovers as well.

The hard work was done by the tight five after that first 18 minutes and one must acknowledge the midfield. They were found wanted in that period but came good for the rest of the game.

One aspects we always complained about the Boks in recent years has been there handling and skills, well they showed plenty of that and if this id what Rassie and his team can achieve with these players in two weeks think what they can do in the next few years.

One do not need to get ahead of one self here. There are plenty to work on and plenty that still need to be improve but hell this was a great start for them.

We need to touch on Willie Le Roux and Faf de Klerk. The impact these two players had on this team was huge.

Faf played as good if not better than when we saw him playing for the great Lions teams a few years ago.

The player had evolve and has become a great 9 and all the praises he got from his club in England was justified.

The most impressive part of Faf game was his game management and the way he started that fight back in the first half.

His serves was brilliant and his tactical game as good. He deserved the man of the match award and hopefully we have now the 9 that can take us to the World Cup next year.

Willie Le Roux was also the other player who was absolutely brilliant.

The way he commanded the attack of the Boks was something special on the night. He had a hand in all the first half tries of the Boks and was rewarded with one for himself as well.

On the wings Nkosi and Dyantyi had a good start to there Springbok career.

Nkosi had some lapses on defence in that first half but came back with two great tries to make up for it.

He almost always get over the advantage line and his speed is what we always wanted for the Boks.

It will be fun to rate the players this weekend but this is only the first test and there is long and hard work lying ahead for this series and the building to next years Word Cup.

Here is what the SuperSport guys had to say after the match with interviews with both coaches.

Here is what Siya Kolisi and Rassie Erasmus had to say

 

 

 

One of the greatest fightback see Springboks take first test

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It was a remarkable test match which saw one of the best fight backs from the Springboks to win the first test 42-39.

Nobody expected what we saw in that first forty minutes as England raced to a 24-3 lead and totally played the Springboks of the field.

The Springboks did not start badly but there defence was not great at all as England found space everytime they went on attack.

It was not great to see, and one started to think we are in for a huge hiding.

England controlled the ball and put it through phases which open space out wide but the defence from the Springboks were poor.

It was Faf de Klerk that started coming into the game and got his forwards and back going which England found hard to handle. It was the same man that got there first try after a good run from Nkosi on the wing.

That made the score 24-8 with still allot to do. Nkosi was getting good ball from good work again by Faf and he scored his first test try after a kick forward.

Nkosi was at then end on the other side of the field after great work from Faf and specially Willie Le Roux. With the Springbok just two points behind the magic from Willie le Roux came again as he got into space and scored his try which gave the Boks the lead 29-24.

England had a last penalty before the end of the half which made the score 29-27 at halftime.

The second half was a close affair with the Springboks with the territory and possession on their side, but they could have scored some more points.

Pollard kicked the first points in the second half to extend the lead to 32-27.

The pressure was kept by the Springboks and they got there forwards going to create space for Dyantyi, to get over.

This gave them a 39-27 lead.

England finally got their hands on the ball and they got a try back with 10 minutes to go to make the lead only 39-32.

The Springboks still had plenty of gas and got back into England half to force a penalty. Pollard kicked it over to extend the lead back to 10 points with 4 minutes to go.

England came with a late try after the game got loose with May scoring with minutes to go.

The Springboks were able to hold on and took a incredible win.

There is so many players that stood up after that first 18 minutes what a great start for the Boks in this series.

Scorers:

Springboks – Tries: De Klerk, Nkosi (2), Le Roux, Dyantyi. Conversions: Pollard (4). Penalties: Pollard (3).
England – Tries: Brown, Daly, Farrell, Itoje, May. Conversions: Farrell (4). Penalty: Daly.

 

Georgia and Fiji take wins against Samoa and Tonga

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Georgia and Fiji got their Pacific Nations Cup campaigns off to a winning start on Saturday as they saw off Tonga and Samoa respectively.

The Lelos were narrow 16-15 winners over Tonga on their tournament bow as Soso Matiashvili scored all of their points, including a try.

David Halaifonua and Viliami Lolohea crossed for Tonga in Suva, Fiji, but ultimately they came up short as their opener ended in defeat.

The other game played at the same venue saw Fiji edge Samoa 24-22 in another close contest as they got four tries to Samoa’s three.

Vereniki Goneva, Kini Murimurivalu, Henry Seniloli and Ben Volavola went over for Fiji in front of their home supporters, with Jack Lam, Dwayne Polataivaia and Melani Matavao crossing for Samoa, who must now regroup ahead of next week’s clash with Tonga. Fiji face Georgia.

Japan beat Italy

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Japan produced a polished all-round performance to see of Italy 34-17 at Oita Bank Dome in Oita in their first Test of the year on Saturday.

Tries from Amanaki Mafi, Kenki Fukuoka, Loamno Lemeki and Kotaro Matsushima proved too much for Italy, who scored through Tizano Pasquali and Braam Steyn.

Italy remain winless in 2018 and one feels some serious introspection is in order after a listless performance in humid conditions in Oita.

Lock Pasquali made a dream start to his debut, scoring the first try of the match, carrying the ball over the line after a series of powerful carries from the Azzurri forwards.

However, Japan would respond immediately through who else but talismanic number eight Mafi with a superb individual effort to level matters after 18 minutes.

Brave Blossoms speedster Fukuoka and Italy number eight Steyn got themselves on the scoresheet before half-time as the sides headed into the interval locked at 14-14 apiece.

But in the second stanza, Jamie Joseph’s side would show their superiority, pulling away from the Azzurri with two further tries through Lemeki and Matsushima while Yu Tamura maintained a perfect kicking record throughout.

The scorers:

For Japan:
Tries: Mafi, Fukuoka, Lemeki, Matsushima
Cons: Tamura 4
Pens: Tamura 2

For Italy:
Tries: Pasquali, Steyn
Cons: Allan 2
Pen: Allan

Thanks to

All Blacks put 50 against France in first test

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A brilliant second half gave the All Blacks a massive 52-11 victory over France in the first test on Saturday.

The French were in the lead at the break but had no answer in the second half to what we expected the All Blacks to do at this level.

France came out to play as they show their hands early on wanting to run the ball, but all of this happened in their side of the field.

The All Blacks looked nervous early on and with a loose ball being passed by Smith, Remy Grosso intercept the pass and went over for the first try putting France into the lead 5-0.

The French looked full of running and they put pressure on the All Blacks. Barrett got a second penalty over to put the All Blacks on the board and reduce the lead to 5-3.

France extend the lead again with a penalty but then the three Barrett brothers got into the show, as Beauden Barrett scored in the corner.

This made the score even at 8-all after 23 minutes in the first half.

The game went a bit nowhere in the middle part of the match with the penalties starting to mount up and the game’s flow not there anymore.

France kicked another penalty just before halftime to take the lead again 11-8.

The All Blacks put all the pressure on the French in the last few minutes of the half getting a few penalties to keep in the French twenty-two.

They had a try disallowed after clear obstruction by Smith and decided to go for an attacking lineout. Another penalty came, and the All Blacks went again but the referee decided the ball was held up and that was it for the first half.

The dominance the All Blacks shown at the end of the first half they came out with in the second half.

After a yellow card for a high shot, the French were on the backfoot and the All Blacks scored two quick tries to extend their lead to 25-11.

With the French rattled the All Blacks just kept the tries coming. It was just pure All Black skills that undo the French as they scored three more unanswered tries to quickly go to 40-11.

An intercept try by Ioane gave them six tries in the second half which just showed their dominance.

The All Blacks got another through Savea although referee did not blow up the fact that Savea was tackled and did not released the ball.

This gave the All Blacks a 52-11 victory after being down 11-8.

Scorers:

New Zealand 52 (8)

Tries: Beauden Barrett, Codie Taylor, Ben Smith, Rieko Ioane (2), Damian McKenzie, Ngani Laumape, Ardie Savea

Conversions: Beauden Barrett (3)

Penalties: Beauden Barrett (2)

France 11 (11)

Try: Remy Grosso

Penalties: Morgan Parra (2)

Preview – Australia v Ireland

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Ireland take on Australia in the first game of a three-Test series to be played between the countries at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt views the Australia series as an opportunity to try out new combinations before the nitty-gritty of the Six Nations and World Cup to come next year.

He has made six changes to the team that beat England at Twickenham to clinch a Six Nations Grand Slam, with skipper Rory Best out injured and Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, Dan Leavy and Garry Ringrose all either benched or rested.

“We want to make sure this tour is another building block for what comes in the future,” Schmidt said.

“We’re going to have a big target on our forehead for [the Six Nations] next year and then obviously, beyond that, the really big tournament which follows in September and October is the World Cup.

“We don’t have too many options to trial things between now and then. This will be an opportunity to do some of that. It’s going to be incredibly tough and that’s when you find out about players in those situations.”

In the headline change, Joey Carbery has been preferred at fly-half to Johnny Sexton, who takes his place on the bench and Schmidt believes that Carbery needs to own the jersey.

“One of the challenges we set for Joey [Carbery] is that he’s got to boss it,” Schmidt said. “He’s in that pivotal link for most of what we’re doing so he’s got to boss that.

“At the same time we’ve challenged Robbie [Henshaw] and Bundee [Aki] to help him as best they can because if they can do a little bit of that work for him and take a little bit of that pressure off him, I think it’s going to be advantageous for Joey. It’ll free him up to act rather than to think all the time.”

Meanwhile, if the Wallabies can replicate the sort of form that saw them break a 15-match winless streak against the All Blacks with victory in last year’s third and final Bledisloe match, then they will stand a good chance of breaking Ireland’s 12-game winning streak, which goes back to the fourth match of the 2017 Six Nations against Wales.

There are 10 survivors from that day in Brisbane in late October of last year as Michael Cheika has begun to build some continuity, with this Wallabies side looking a more settled unit than it has in a while with plenty of hot prospects coming through the ranks patiently waiting their turn.

Ireland will as usual look to employ a tight-forwards based game as they look to rain missiles upon the Wallaby back three and prey on any mistakes.

This could have been what prompted Cheika to opt for a second full-back in Dane Haylett-Petty on the left wing. With incumbent number 15 Israel Folau already the best in the world in the air and Haylett-Petty more than adept himself, the Wallabies are well-suited to dealing with the aerial bombardment

The last time the sides met, the Irish targeted scrum-half Will Genia – something which the Aussies might look to do themselves with Conor Murray even more crucial to Irish hopes in Sexton’s absence.

Prediction: Australia by 6, Ireland rest a few players

The teams:

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Dane Haylett-Petty, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 David Pocock, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Lukhan Tui, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Reece Hodge

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Iain Henderson, 4 James Ryan, 3 John Ryan, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Quinn Roux, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Johnny Sexton, 23 Jordan Larmour

Preview – All Blacks v France

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One always think it will be crazy to even suggest that the France can beat the All Blacks and even more so at home, but after some good performances under new their new coach in the Six Nations the possibility is there.

The All Blacks are still the number one side in the world even if they have the likes of Retallick and Read unavailable for this test series.

The first test will be in Auckland on Saturday and this should be a great series to follow this June.

France have a reputation of giving the All Blacks a hard time but if truth be told, the world champions have dominated les Bleus.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen expects a tough encounter for his charges and highlighted his opponents’ prowess on defence.

“Statistically they are the best defensive team in world rugby at the moment,” he said.

“They run at about a 92 percent tackle completion rate and are only letting in one and half tries per game. So we’ve got a massive challenge on our hands and one that we are really excited about facing.”

If France manage to beat New Zealand in this match, they will end the All Blacks’ 24-year winning run at Eden Park. The world champions have gone unbeaten at the iconic ground for 40 straight Test matches since their 23-20 loss to les Bleus in 1994.

Prediction: Would be stupid to go against the All Blacks, All Blacks by 14

The teams:

New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock (c), 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Ngani Laumape

France: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud (c), 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Remy Grosso, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fabien Sanconnie, 7 Kelian Gourdon, 6 Judicaël Cancoriet, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Dany Priso
Replacements: 16 Adrien Pélissié, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Bernard Le Roux, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Gael Fickou

 

Looking ahead – Springboks v England 1st test

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Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has played his cards for the first of three test this weekend against England when he named his team.

There was not much surprises from what we expected it to be and we will have some arguing about combinations maybe, but all in all it is the best side he could field this week.

There was the setback this week with Bismarck and Frans Steyn making themselves unavailable in what was reported as injuries they sustain in the Top 14 final last week.

Hopefully we will get the true story in time but something just do not seem right with that explanation.

This would not have changed Erasmus selection for this weekend as he already stated that he will not pick them for the first test.

Erasmus selection for Saturday test showed that he is not scared to give players there fair change with players like Aphiwe Dyantyi, S’bu Nkosi and Lukhanyo Am.

Erasmus wants to play winning rugby and the important part is to win first, then there is transformation which is not going to go away.

Erasmus said that Rassie the Springboks will never catch up to leading teams in world rugby unless they are willing to keep trying new things.

Playing at altitude Erasmus have picked some players that could make an real impact in the last twenty minutes with Van Der Merwe, Notshe and Du Toit all on the bench.

Bench players have been as important as the run-on players and this may be the key for Erasmus on Saturday.

Ivan van Zyl, Elton Jantjies and Warrick Gelant will cover for the backs.

This means Erasmus will go into the test with a 5/3 split which also shows us that he expect a huge onslaught from the English forwards.

For England Nick Isiekwe will start at No 5 on Saturday. He has been great for Saracens this year and will start inplace of injured Launchbury.

The youngster Curry will start at openside flank with Robshaw bring experience at the blindside. Vanipola will be the number eight for England on Saturday.

Farrell will play in the midfield with Slade which means that Ford and Youngs will start again as 9/10 combination.

Cipriani could not find a spot on the match day 23.

We can expect the English to come hard up front and also bombard the Springbok back three with high kicks.

It will be all up to how the Springboks will be absorbing the pressure and still manage to play their own game.

Predictions: For most it will be a Springbok win but this will be a close contest which is up for grabs for either team… I go with Springboks by 9 just because I do not really know

Teams:

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 S’busiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane/Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw/Thomas du Toit, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant

England – 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Mike Brown, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Nick Isiekwe, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Denny Solomona.

Three uncapped players for first test

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S’busiso Nkosi, Aphiwe Dyantyi and RG Snyman will make their Springbok debuts on Saturday when South Africa face England in the opening Test of the Castle Lager Incoming Series in Johannesburg.

The exciting wing pair and imposing young lock were included in a revamped Springbok team for the clash at Emirates Airline Park, which starts at 17h05. The Boks will also be skippered by a new captain in Siya Kolisi.

Saturday’ starting team is a completely revamped combination from the side that lost by a narrow margin to Wales last Saturday in Washington, with only Wilco Louw possibly starting again if Trevor Nyakane is not cleared to play.

Nyakane, who is nursing a rib injury, has been bracketed with Louw and will be given until Friday when a call on his inclusion will be made.

Experienced fullback Willie le Roux and lively scrumhalf Faf de Klerk were included in the starting team, while Duane Vermeulen has been named at No 8. Le Roux, who like De Klerk last played for the Springboks in 2016, provides valuable experience to a new-look back trio with Nkosi and Dyantyi.

De Klerk, who had an outstanding season with English Premiership side Sale Sharks, partners Handré Pollard at halfback, while Vermeulen teams up with Jean-Luc du Preez and captain Kolisi in the loose forward combination.

The uncapped Snyman has been a steady force for the Vodacom Bulls this year and he deservedly earns his first Springbok cap as lock partner to the industrious Franco Mostert, while Pieter-Steph du Toit will play off the bench.

Tendai Mtawarira (prop) is now just one Test away from a century of Springbok caps after he was named to start next to Bongi Mbonambi in the front row.

SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, said the Springbok match 23 is an exciting combination.

“We have some good experienced players while there are some really exciting young men who have earned their opportunity to play for the Springboks,” said Erasmus.

“I am especially pleased for the three newcomers, Aphiwe, Sbu and RG, and I am looking forward to see how they will perform in tough Test match conditions against a formidable opponent.”

According to Erasmus his side know what to expect from England, whom he described as a very well-drilled team under the leadership of Eddie Jones.

“England are a top-class, quality side and they will do doubt be very determined to be successful in this series, and with us desperate for success as well it means that the supporters can expect a really good Test match Saturday,” said Erasmus.

“We have prepared as well as we could and the players are looking forward to playing in front of our passionate supporters in Johannesburg.”

The Springbok team to face England in Johannesburg (in order of name, franchise/club, caps and points – tries, penalties, conversions, drop goals):
15. Willie le Roux (Wasps, England, 41, 50 – 10t)
14 S’busiso Nkosi (Cell C Sharks, uncapped)
13. Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks, 1, 0)
12. Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers, 28, 15 – 3t)
11. Aphiwe Dyantyi (Emirates Lions, uncapped)
10. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls, 26, 218 – 3t, 37c, 40p, 3d)
9. Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England, 11, 0)
8. Duane Vermeulen (Unattached, 39, 10 – 2t)
7. Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks, 10, 10 – 2t)
6. Siya Kolisi captain (DHL Stormers, 28, 20 – 4t)
5. Franco Mostert (Emirates Lions, 18, 5 – 1t)
4. RG Snyman (Vodacom Bulls, uncapped)
3. Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls 36, 5 – 1t) / Wilco Louw (DHL Stormers, 6, 0)
2. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers, 14, 5 – 1t)
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks, 98, 10, 2 – 1t)
Replacements:
16. Akker van der Merwe (Cell C Sharks, 1, 0)
17. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers, 24, 5 – 1t)
18. Wilco Louw (DHL Stormers, 6, 0) / Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks, 1, 0)
19. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers, 33, 20 – 4t)
20. Sikhumbuzo Notshe (DHL Stormers, 1, 0)
21. Ivan van Zyl (Vodacom Bulls, 1, 0)
22. Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions, 24, 210 – 2t, 40c, 40p)
23. Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Bulls, 2, 5 – 1t)

Du Plessis, Steyn withdrawn from Springbok squad

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Hooker Bismarck du Plessis and centre Frans Steyn have been withdrawn from the Springbok group because of injury.

Both players sustained the injuries while playing club rugby in France last weekend.

Both went for further investigations and specialist opinions and it was decided to rather withdraw them from the Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series against England.

New combinations expected for first test

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If you read between the line we can almost pick the side that will face the English in the first test on Saturday.

Rassie Erasmus played his hand with the team that he send to the USA last week and it is all set that we will have a new back three combination with Dyantyi, Nkosi and Le Roux.

I do not believe that the guys from the Wales test has done themselves any favor to be be selected in the first test squad for Saturday.

The new combinations will not stop at the back three. It all looks like De Allende and Am will form the midfield combination and Pollard with Faf de Klerk the halfback combination.

The loose trio should be Vermeulen, Kolisi and Du Preez at this moment with a surprise or two maybe on the bench who will back them up.

In the back row we should see Snyman and Lions captain Mostert with Du Toit covering at lock and the loosies maybe.

Upfront we should see Beast, Bongi and Trevor starting the game.

It will be interesting to see what Erasmus do with the bench.

All will be revealed tomorrow when he name his first team for the England series for Saturday.

Bok coach ready to make big calls

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Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus explains his selection policy, looking towards the World Cup in Japan next year, reports Rugby365

Flyhalf Robert du Preez was in the crosshairs of the critics, after the Boks 20-22 loss – in a disappointing performance – against Wales last Saturday.

Du Preez had a forgettable debut in the game in the American capital.

A penalty from the Bok flyhalf looked to have given the South Africans victory, but the replacement No.10 then had two consecutive attempted clearance kicks charged down by Tomos Williams and Ryan Elias pounced to win the game.

Erasmus, the new head coach as well as the South African Rugby Union’s Director of Rugby, said it was a “team’ mistake.

However, he admitted that Du Preez will learn from the experience – given that his short stay on the field was forgettable.

It was not just the charged-down kicks.

He conceded a turnover and had three runs for zero metres gained – to add to that double blunder at the end.

Article continues below video.
The Bok coach said the loss in Washington will not deter him from trying out young players in the next 18 months.

“One thing we have to understand, we have to make some big calls now, [looking forward] to the World Cup,” Erasmus said – as his team stepped up preparations for the first of three tests against England.

“We have to put guys on trial and see what they have.

“We will make a few mistakes while doing that.

“We can go the old route and just select the same guys, then try to coach them better and hope for different results.

“Or we can throw guys in at the deep end and hope they swim.

“We had 13 new caps [this past] Saturday – some of them swam and some of them struggled a little bit.

“The next game they will be a little bit better.”

He admitted Du Preez was one of the guys who struggled a little.

“The screen, that gives more space for the No.10, wasn’t in place,” the coach said of the match-changing charge down.

“It wasn’t 100 percent his fault, it was more a team mistake.

“He [Du Preez] does feel guilty.

“The only thing he can do is bounce back and rectify it the next time he gets an opportunity.

“He understands that.”

Thanks to @rugby365com

Feast of test match rugby

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We shifting our focus from Super Rugby to full on Internationals this week with France, Ireland and England touring New Zealand Australia and South Africa.

All three series over the next couple of weeks brings a different challenge to the Southern Hemisphere countries as everyone has one eye on next years World Cup.

The next 16 months will be all about how to get the best players ready for the World Cup in Japan.

International teams have never been closer together than right now and with some exception to the All Blacks in recent years any team can beat any other team on the day.

French tour to New Zealand

It is never easy for any team to tour New Zealand and not many succeed in winning test matches there. Even a top class Lions side could only manage a draw last year which speaks volumes of the current status of All Black rugby.

They will be defending there World Cup trophy next year and as a rugby mad country one can expect them to be the team to beat yet again.

France have been crap for most of the last eight years and they never seemed to settle on couches nor players which makes it a new challenge every time the international window comes up.

They had a good Six Nations this year and they will want to build on that against the All Blacks but easy it will not be.

As per the norm the past how many years New Zealand teams dominate Super Rugby and are just that two or three steps above anybody else.

That gets filtered through to national level and to be frank Hansen can pick a B-Team to win the series against the French.

The French has always been one of that sides the All Blacks struggle against in big tournaments but I can not see them get it wrong at home this time around.

It would be a clean sweep for the All Blacks as they march on as the best team in the world.

Irish touring Australia

This one will be interesting as the Australians seems to think they have a change to win this series against the Irish at home.

Ireland has been the second best team in the world for the past year or so and proven that with the Six Nations.

Australian rugby is in as much trouble as Springbok rugby if not more and their teams seems to be struggling as well in Super Rugby.

The Waratahs has been underperforming for years now with most of the top players playing this franchise and the Rebels with an easy draw at the start of this year is not as good as their log position suggest.

It has always been that the Aussies can put a decent national team together and they will be competitive but still see them struggling against the Irish.

At home one tend to give the advantage to the home side and you can do so in this case as well but still believe Ireland will win the series down under.

Ireland have picked a strong squad to tour Australia and one will be very surprise if they do not take the series

England tour to South Africa

New coach, new combinations, new players all in a days work in South Africa as we start the rebuilding process after the Coetzee era.

There is excitement from some and some who just do not believe we will be able to rebuild Springbok rugby with this squad.

I for one are excited about Rassie Erasmus and what he is going to do for Springbok rugby.

There are plenty of new faces at the moment and this weekend we will have a better understanding on what his plans are and where he is going with this team.

The test against Wales was a waste and although we wanted to see some players take up the challenge, it unfortunately did not happen.

There were so many wrongs while Coetzee was in charge that we expect things to maybe change quicker than it is actually possible.

I truly believe we would have much better off if Warren Whiteley was fit and captain of this team but one can not always get what one wants.

The way Rassie team will play is maybe a bigger issue for me than who he pick to play but England will be no push over.

This is not a bad England side and with Jones as coach one always gets a bit nervous when you have to play them.

They had a horror time at the Six Nations but as many things in life, in rugby you are as good or bad as your last test.

It is going to be a massive test this weekend in Johannesburg and the Springboks will need to manage their game better than what the side did against Wales.

Dominating set pieces will be high on Rassie list for this team but for the supporters out there it will be a combination of a solid forward performance with the backs to complement it.

For too long our back play has been poor but Rassie has pulled in Swys Du Bruin as an assistant for the England series.

Swys has been one of the most successful backline coaches in South Africa for the Lions and he will add value to the back play of the Boks.

It will be interesting to see what game Rassie play on Saturday as we expect a dry winters day in Johannesburg.

Execution is the other aspect that has been lacking in Springbok rugby and it needs to be on par against a side like England otherwise they will punish you.

What ever happens this is a series that should not be missed and hopefully we will see the Springboks rise again.

Here is this weekend Fixtures:

 

 

 

Getting to know Dewald Human and Selvyn Davids

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Through the years Uniondale in the South Western District became well known for the ghost that rides with you in your car and then disappears and Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape, for international surfing, Writes Auntie Avril Filies.

But nowadays the two towns are synonymous with Dewald Human and Selvyn Davids who is now the talk of the town after the Hong Kong Sevens.

Avril Fillies rugby coach and writer tells us more about these two great sevens players.

“The past three years we were part of the Academy Sevens Team of Marius Schoeman, trained with the Blitsboks and competed in sevens tournaments, mainly in South America, when the Blitsboks were in action on the HSBC Sevens Series.

When we were selected to represent the country as the Blitsboks in Hong Kong, we were not fazed by playing on the big stage. As you know, the Blitsboks were at the Gold Coast in Australia to compete in the Commonwealth Games,” said Dewald.

They young guns of Marius were together since the beginning of the year competing in Chile and Uruguay and they won both tournaments.

“When I was appointed as the captain of the team I had to combine playing and being captain but knowing the players, I took it in my stride.

I also knew that Marius would be available if and when I need advice or was struggling with both tasks. The Hong Kong tournament was also the platform for me to see where I am in the Sevens system and how I measure up against players of the caliber as Jerry Tuwai,” said Dewald.

At the Stellenbosch Academy of Sports (SAS) Selvyn and Dewald train together, work on their weaknesses and can pre-empt what the other one is going to do on the field.

According to both that was key to their success in Hong Kong.

“We knew each other and believed in our abilities. Before we left Cape Town coach Marius said that we must see the Hong Kong tournament as another Academy tournament and not focus on the big names of the teams from Fiji and Scotland that were at full strength for this tournament,” said Selvyn.

“We were aware that we are the underdogs and no-one gave us a chance to do well.

This mentality of the rugby specialists globally suited us well, and we decided as a team that we will play our usual game. Marius knew us well and that was an added bonus.

He didn’t put any pressure on us, just encouraged us to play to the best of our abilities.

The team was aware of the fact that the Hong Kong tournament was the bogey tournament of the Blitsboks since the inception of the HSBC Series and through the years they never performed well.

“I only focused on the games that we played on the day and never paid any attention to the performances of other teams.

I never kept a record of how many tries I scored or my performance in each game of 14 minutes. When we won the bronze medal at the end of the tournament and I was awarded the Player of the Tournament accolade I was shocked and surprised.

When I held the trophy in my hand the first names that I saw was those of Werner Kok and Cecil Africa and I think Rob Vickerman also became aware that I was the third South African whose name will be engraved on the trophy,” Selvyn said.

He received a dragon trophy to take home as his memento,  as the Player of the Tournament trophy stays in Hong Kong.

“We kept the deficit of the Blitsboks in tack but at the Singapore tournament relinquished the lead and with the London and Paris tournaments coming up this weekend and the next, Fiji is in the lead.

The Blitsboks is at full strength and will go out guns blazing to defend their HSBC title,” said Dewald.

A biography of the two:

Dewald played U16 or Grant Khomo Weekin 2011 and U18 Craven Week for SWD in 2012 and 2013.

“I was at Outeniqua High in George with players such as Warrick Gelant, Raymond Malan and Diaan van der Merwe when we were selected for the Craven Week team.

It was always my dream to play Sevens and 15’s but now I focus only on Sevens. I admired Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez and never dreamt that I would play or train with them.

When I was at the Junior Olympics in Australia I met them and that was when I decided I want to be like them,” Dewald said.

In 2015 he was invited by Marius to join the Academy team and was in the Sevens system since then.

“I started playing rugby only in Grade 9 in George as tennis was my first choice of sport.

Hailing from Uniondale it was difficult to adjust to not being around my family and friends and I nearly left school at a young age.

Thanks to my father, Dawid, who encouraged me to complete my school career I am the person and rugby player that I am today. He is the person that believed in me and encouraged me to follow my dream.

Before I joined the Sevens team I played for the U21 team of the Blue Bulls and also the Southern Kings,” Dewald said.

He is studying marketing and sport science as he believes education is important in case your rugby career comes to an end.

Selvyn played for the U19 and U21 teams for the Southern Kings and in 2016 and 2017 for the Griffons.

“I was playing for the Griffons in the Sevens tournament in Nelspruit when Marius and Paul Delport scouted me for the Academy team and as the saying goes, the rest is history,” he said.

His rugby career started when he was only six years old a the Pellsrus Primary School in Jeffreys Bay and continued until he completed his high school career at the High School Nico Malan, also in Jeffreys Bay.

“I always admired Cecil in the Blitsbok team and he also hails from the Eastern Cape, also something that we have in common. He is a skillful player, calm and collected under pressure and knows what to do in certain situations.

According to me he is one of the number one players in Sevens in the world. The world acknowledge this when he was the World Sevens Player of the Year in 2011 and he received his trophy at the Rugby World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand,” Selvyn said.

His Mum Nellie is the person that influenced his rugby and personal career.

“My teacher at primary school and the 1st team coach at high school both played a major role in my rugby career and the person that I am today.

My focus is now on Sevens only and when I pull the jersey over my head, I play for the badge on my heart. I don’t have time for hobbies but am trying to play golf,” he chuckled.

Springboks lose to Wales but what was learnt

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Results are not the most important but don’t let that lead to you to thinking getting heavily beaten every week is ok.

Development is most important but that requires reps of match actions, appropriate challenges & fun. It’s like matching a young boxer, it needs to be a fair fight! It’s a quote I saw recently on the internet.

Springbok fans, like Manchester United fans deserve their recent slump in form or quality.

Having stayed up to watch the Springboks yesterday in what was a very interesting game of footy – were they lost to Wales for a third successive game.

While many found it to be dry and boring (You want entertainment? Go to the cinema or circus) – a few lessons can be extracted from that game. Some form of perspective.

How many of you can say they have been riding a bicycle for years and can then seamlessly get into a Tour de France and be very good at it? (Probably a bad example hey?) My point is, it was a Test debut for 13 players yesterday and despite an experienced spine – we can see what approach Rassie Erasmus and the Springboks wanted to use yesterday. The Test match was lost but there was depth created.

Defensively the Springboks applied a lot of pressure through the rush defense and in most instances,  it looked very good. The Welsh played a set play with a chip in behind and it was well covered by Ivan van Zyl, a try was scored last year by the Welsh.

There were a lot of knock ons’ due to the amount of pressure from the defensive line and the pressure to close from the outside – in.

A bunch of players who had never played together managed to put in a lot of good and some bad on their Test debuts. A stark improvement in the high ball assault was seen yesterday in comparison to the End of year tour in 2017.

The kicking game was quite something! Elton and Ivan’s kicking wasn’t perfect but it was great in most cases with Makazole Mapimpi’s chasing another reason to be excited about.

It was also the first time both Springbok wingers scored in same test since the win over Argentina in August last year – eight games ago. Perfecting and executing this kicking game will be paramount to the Springbok rise again. These will be lessons the players will learn in playing at this level and why the Washington test was good for them.

The Set-piece was quite impressive with Chilliboy Ralepelle providing necessary aggression at the breakdown and set-piece security.

Replacement Marvin Orie’s lineout defense was exceptional –  scooped two of the Welsh’s throws and this leaves us a bit clearer on the overall approach. Managing to pin the opposition in their half and apply pressure on their set piece.

The second half saw a rejuvenated Bok scrum with a monstrous shove from the pack on several times. Akker van der Merwe, Steven Kitsoff and Thomas du Toit playing a vital role in this.

Lapses in concentration and depth resulted in basic errors often but that was a splendid opportunity for 13 new caps to play Test rugby and learn several lessons for the next time South Africa calls on them.

In the arena, taking points will also be a lesson they will take going forward. Scoreboard pressure is a vital aspect of Test rugby.

It was disjointed at times, it was sloppy and to be fair some unwatchable moments with  poor camera work on display but so much to take from this game ahead of the England series that will be far more brutal.

Written by

No Excuses – Rassie Erasmus

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Rassie Erasmus offered no excuses for the Springboks’ disappointing 22-20 loss against Wales in Washington DC on Saturday writes SARugbyMag

Wales scored their third and decisive try in the 75th minute through reserve hooker Ryan Elias after a clearance kick by replacement Bok flyhalf Robert du Preez was charged down.

Earlier in the match, the Boks fought their way back from a 14-3 half-time deficit to lead 20-17 thanks to second-half tries by both debutant wings, Makazole Mapimpi and Travis Ismaiel, and penalty goals by Elton Jantjies and Du Preez.

‘We knew there would be risks involved by only coming over later in the week, but we’re not making any excuses – the Welsh showed more determination in the end to clinch the game,’ said Erasmus.

‘All their tries were scored as a result of kicking – a charged down kick and box kicks we failed to control – and also we committed some defensive errors. We had our chances to score, and overall I think it was the pressure, which they were able to put on us at the end, that won it for them.

‘The one positive for me is that there were quite a few new players who got caps today and now know what it’s like to play against a quality team like the Welsh, but it’s still a Test that we lost, and that hurt.

‘It’s never nice when you play your first Test and you lose, and we didn’t want that result, but we wanted to get all of the uncapped players on the field and start building towards the future. However, we still lost and that almost nullified the fact that we capped a lot of new players.’

Looking forward to the three-match series against England, which starts next Saturday in Johannesburg, Erasmus said: ‘We will have to step up against England. We know the pressure will be on us to win, just as they would also be under pressure to be successful following their recent results.’

Pieter-Steph du Toit, who captained the Springboks in the US capital, said that despite the negative outcome, the squad will ultimately benefit from the match against Wales.

‘We managed to work our way through a lot of detailed preparation so that it can also benefit us for the series against England.

‘Going into the change room at 14-3 down, we realised that the first half was not good enough and that we needed to step up after the break.’

Fiji beat Blitzbokke to win England Sevens

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Fiji were crowned the London Sevens champions after beating the Blitzboks 21-17 in the final at Twickenham on Sunday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports for SARugbyMag

The result sees Fiji extend their streak to seven consecutive wins against the Blitzboks this year and firmly puts them in the inside lane to regain the 2017-18 World Rugby Sevens Series title with one tournament – the Paris Sevens  – remaining.

These two sides have been fighting for supremacy at the top of the overall series standings from the start of the season, but based solely on form in London this weekend, Fiji had to be considered favourites coming into this specific encounter as they were the only undefeated side left in the tournament.

Fiji made the worst possible start to this all-important final when Sevuloni Mocenacagi was yellow-carded 10 seconds into the game for playing Justin Geduld in the air. South Africa went on the offence and when the ball was swung to Stedman Gans, he skipped his way past multiple defenders for the opening score. 

The Blitzboks retained and recycled possession well for the rest of the first half, but their inability to score further points proved costly as Fiji hit back on the stroke of half-time through Joshua Tuisova to level the scores.

The Islanders pulled out all the stops in the second half as their superior skills were put on show in the lead-up to Paula Dranisinukula and Jasa Veremalua’s tries for a commanding 21-12 lead. Ruhan Nel dotted down for South Africa in between those two touchdowns for Fiji.

Blitzboks replacement Zain Davids kept his side’s slender hopes alive with a late try and with mere seconds remaining on the clock, they abandoned the conversion attempt in order to have one last kick-off. But Fiji did well to secure possession and ran the ball out of play to end the game.

Fiji are now seven points clear of the Blitzboks at the summit of the overall standings.

Match centre

 

JWC 2018 – Round 2 – Junior Boks march on in World Cup

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The Junior Boks made it two out of two when they beat Ireland on Sunday 30-17 in France.

England, New Zealand, France and South Africa are still unbeaten in the tournament and will go into the final round of group matches unbeaten.

The young Red Rose outfit thrashed Italy 43-5 thanks to tries from Marcus Smith (2), Ben Loader (2), Tom Parton, Gabriel Ibitoye and Rory Brand. Fly-half Smith also kicked four conversions while their opponents’ response came through Antoine Koffi.

Meanwhile, the Baby Blacks were made to work far harder against Wales than they were on day one versus Japan, but they eventually ran out 42-10 winners via Tom Christie, Tevita Mafileo, Bailyn Sullivan, Billy Proctor and Xavier Roe efforts.

There was also a bonus-point triumph for South Africa, who overcame Ireland 30-17, but hosts France had to make do with just the four after scoring three tries in a 24-12 victory over a stubborn Georgia.

Elsewhere, Argentina condemned Scotland to another loss by overcoming the Celts 29-13 while Australia were comfortable in defeating Japan 54-19.

Round two results

Australia 54-19 Japan
France 24-12 Georgia
Scotland 13-29 Argentina
England 43-5 Italy
New Zealand 42-10 Wales
South Africa 30-17 Ireland

Nabetragting – Wales capitalize on Springboks mistakes

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It was not the start that Rassie Erasmus would have wanted for his start as coach with a lost in the USA against a poor Wales side.

Let’s gets the excuses out of the way right now….

Wet field, first time as a team playing together, new coach new game plan and whatever we can think about.

At the end although the Springboks was poor in the game they gave the win on a gold plate to the Welsh team.

There was some good things that we could see in the test with the Springboks dominating the scrums and lineouts. The poor referee did not help as they should have gotten more penalties from these set pieces.

Wales could not handle the the scrums and were not taking the hit 90% of the time.

Saying that the Springboks game management were poor as you expect a team at this level to dominate on the scoreboard as well if you control the set pieces.

The backline never got going with too much kicking going on behind the rucks.

Jantjies was playing deep allot which was strange to see and it did not help that forwards was getting into the way of the backline players.

Dan Du Preez did not work and he is not ready for this level. The same can go for Chiliboy.

Van Der Merwe played better with the 15 minutes he got than Chiliboy did for the 60 odd he was on the park.

One aspect that was nice to see that we had players at the back that could handle the high ball.

There was not much from the backs which can be attribute to the weather but that is a lame excuse, we were just not good enough on attack.

The midfield did not come to the party with Kriel not having a good game at all.

The worst player on the park by far was Oupa. He was a penalty magnet and had no impact on the park.

Not many of these players will make the team for England, maybe one or two will future om the bench.

There was enough opportunities but poor decision making and handling errors led us down again.

Maybe we expected too much from this team but they are professionals and it was just not good enough.

Two of the Wales tries came from mistakes from the Springboks which sums up the end result.

At the end it was just not good enough and 200% improvement is needed if we want to beat England next week.

England Sevens Day 1 Wrap

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Fiji continued their march towards a fourth consecutive tournament win with a dominant display at round nine of the World Rugby Sevens Series in London.

Current World Rugby Sevens Series leaders Fiji were sublime in the London sunshine on day one, claiming three straight victories against Argentina, Scotland and New Zealand to top Pool A. The Pacific islanders will face Pool D runners-up Canada in the first of tomorrow’s cup quarter-finals.

Hosts England finished the day in fine style in front of over 46,000 fans with a convincing 38-12 victory over Kenya to set up an exciting quarter-final against Australia with another huge crowd expected at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday. Australia impressed on day one with a perfect record of three victories over Ireland, Wales and Spain to top Pool B.

South Africa, currently lying in second place in the series standings just four points behind Fiji, finished in top spot in Pool D despite a shock defeat to Samoa after securing victories over Canada and Russia. This sets up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash against New Zealand as the All Blacks Sevens defeated Scotland and Argentina to finish as runners up behind Fiji in Pool A.

USA topped pool C following wins over England and France and a draw with Kenya. The USA Eagles were helped on their way by top try scorer Carlin Isles who showed his pace to overtake teammate Perry Baker as leading series try scorer with an outstanding six tries on day one in London, taking his overall series tally to 41.

The story of the day came from Pool B as Ireland made history by reaching the Cup quarter-finals for the first time ever. On their first appearance in the series since 2004, Ireland clinched second place in the pool courtesy of a comprehensive 38-10 victory over Spain. The Irish attack was led by 24-year-old Jordan Conroy who impressed on his series debut with four tries on day one.

Each round of the series sees one invitational team join the 15 core teams on the world series and Ireland’s success represents the first time a non-core team has reached the quarter-finals since Japan at Las Vegas in 2016.

Cup Quarter-Finals:

Fiji v Canada

USA v Ireland

South Africa v New Zealand

Australia v England

London Sevens, Results: Day One

Samoa 0-14 Canada
South Africa 37-0 Russia
Spain 24-12 Wales
Australia 33-7 Ireland
New Zealand 24-12 Scotland
Fiji 28-19 Argentina
Kenya 19-19 USA
England 34-0 France
Samoa 17-29 Russia
South Africa 17-7 Canada
Spain 10-38 Ireland
Australia 20-12 Wales
New Zealand 36-5 Argentina
Fiji 39-12 Scotland
Kenya 24-21 France
England 14-31 USA
Canada 29-10 Russia
South Africa 12-21 Samoa
Wales 21-19 Ireland
Australia 28-22 Spain
Scotland 19-22 Argentina
Fiji 27-7 New Zealand
USA 38-14 France
England 38-12 Kenya

Nabetragting Super Rugby

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It was all New Zealand and Australia this weekend in Super Rugby as the South Africans are already on the June break.

With most starting to concentrate on the June Internationals we did saw some great games over the weekend.

Here is the current log standings with the Brumbies and Sunwolves still to play on Sunday

PosTeamPWLPts
11412254
21310345
3148640
4139440
5138537

Highlanders 30-14 Hurricanes

Somewhat of a surprise as the Hurricanes has been one of the front runners this year but has been losing shape the last few weeks.

The Highlanders have kept their perfect record at home and played the game as their supporters expected.

Losing the small battles is never a good thing for any team in Super Rugby and the Hurricanes struggled in this game.

The Highlanders were just so much better on attack and able to put players in space which the normal good Hurricanes defence could not handle.

The scorers:

For Highlanders:
Tries: Li, A Smith, Lomax, Naholo
Cons: Sopoaga 2
Pens: Sopoaga 2
Yellow Card: Squire

For Hurricanes:
Tries: J Barrett, Toomaga-Allen
Cons: B Barrett 2

Blues 10-20 Rebels

You cannot really say it is a surprise that the Rebels got the win against the Blues as they have never really got going this year.

Not the best game of rugby as both teams tried but could not really get going.

The Rebels was the best side on the field and deserve the win as the Blues dished up another poor performance.

Their log position tells the story of a team is serious problems and it does not seem that their is light at the end of the tunnel.

The scorers:

For Blues:
Try: Hepetema
Con: Perofeta
Pen: Perofeta

For Rebels:
Tries: Meakes 2, D Haylett-Petty
Con: Hodge
Pen: Hodge

Chiefs 20-34 Crusaders

The Crusaders kept their winning ways as they beat the Chiefs on Saturday in the New Zealand derby.

The Crusaders consolidated their position at the top of the Super Rugby standings when they beat the Chiefs 34-20 in their New Zealand derby in Hamilton on Saturday.

As expected, this was an entertaining affair with plenty of end-to-end action and although the Chiefs were competitive throughout, the Crusaders got the rub of the green in the end as they outscored their hosts four tries to three.

The win is the Crusaders’ tenth successive one and gives them a nine-point lead at the top of the New Zealand Conference while the Chiefs are now in fourth spot, 12 points adrift of the defending champions.

The scorers:

For Chiefs:
Tries: Wainui, Jacobson 2
Con: D McKenzie
Pen: D McKenzie

For Crusaders:
Tries: Bedwell-Curtis, Todd, Bridge, Romano
Cons: Mo’unga 3, Hunt
Pens: Mo’unga 2

Reds 41-52 Waratahs

The Waratahs returned to the victory trail in Super Rugby when they secured a 52-41 win over the Reds in their Australian derby in Brisbane on Saturday.

As the scoreline suggests, this was a high scoring match and the Waratahs were full value for their win in the end as they outscored the Reds eight tries to seven.

The result means the 2014 champions have now won nine successive matches against their traditional rivals and they consolidate their position at the top of the Australian Conference table while the Reds are still in fourth place in those standings.

I saw the Aussie media now say they are ready for Ireland. It is funny as high scoring games does not mean high quality matches.

The defence of both teams were poor at times more than they were great on attack.

I suppose the pajama supporters screaming for pretty rugby will be happy.

The scorers:

For Reds:
Tries: Perese, Higginbotham, Tupou, Mafi, Timu, Petaia, Fa’agase
Cons: Stewart 2, Lucas
Yellow Card: Douglas

For Waratahs:
Tries: Rona, Wells, Naiyaravoro, Folau 2, Phipps, Gordon, Clark
Cons: Foley 6

Still to come

Brumbies to play Sunwolves on Sunday

We take a break from Super Rugby which is maybe a good thing as we get into the test series for the next three weeks.

 

Castres shock Montpellier to take Top 14 title

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Castres claimed a 29-13 victory over Montpellier in the Top 14 final at the Stade de France in Paris to become champions of France on Saturday.

Julien Dumora and Steve Mafi scored tries while Castres fly-half Benjamin Urdapilleta maintained a 100 percent goal-kicking record throughout. Ruan Pienaar was guilty of uncharacteristically missing two easy penalties for Montpol.

Having finished sixth in the regular-season standings, Castres have had to do it the hard way, notching up successive wins over Toulouse, Racing 92 and now Montpellier on their way to their third crown.

Montpellier, who finished top of the table, have been denied a first ever title, having last and only appeared in a final in 2011. Having comfortably been the best team throughout the regular-season, they came unstuck when it mattered most which will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of them, their supporters and indeed Mohed Altrad, who has seen his millions come to nought thus far.

Castres scrapped for everything and although it wasn’t pretty, it was effective as they successfully managed to force the big names of Montpellier in to uncharacteristic mistakes from which they were duly punished.

Urdapilleta and Frans Steyn exchanged penalties in the opening 10 minutes as the sides felt each other out in a cagey start to the match typical of a Top 14 final with so much at stake.

However, Castres pulled away in the next 10 minutes, capitalising on their territorial advantage with two further Urdapilleta penalties, which took the two-times champions out to a 9-3 lead.

Indiscipline was proving to be Montpol’s downfall as Urdapilleta slotted his fourth penalty from four attempts after Benjamin Fall was penalised for playing the ball on the ground.

Having missed his first penalty badly, Pienaar made no mistake with his second after Castres were caught offside to cut the deficit to six points with five minutes to go before half-time.

Montpellier though continued to make rudimentary errors; this time Nico Janse van Rensburg managing to send the ball over his own dead-ball line when he tapped back a line-out too vigorously. Castres punished them from a five-metre attacking scrum as Dumora got on the outside of Fulgence Ouedraogo to dive over. Urdapilleta converted for a 13-point lead as the sides headed into the interval.

Montpellier dominated the beginning of the second-half with the pressure telling when Castres lock Loic Jacquet was yellow-carded for collapsing a maul. From the resulting penalty, Montpol were awarded the penalty try when their scrum dismantled the Castres front-row.

However, Castres did well to eat up time by holding on to the ball despite having a man less and even restored their nine-point buffer when Urdapilleta kicked another three-pointer.

Pienaar had an easy opportunity to cut the deficit to six points once again in the 65th minute after Castres were penalised for holding on, meaning all Montpellier would need is a converted try, but the South African badly shanked his second routine penalty of a forgettable night.

Having been on the backfoot for most of the second-half, Castres soaked up the pressure and went up the other end to score through Mafi which would prove to be the killer blow for a dejected Montpellier side.

The scorers:

For Montpellier:
Try: Penalty Try
Pens: Steyn, Pienaar

For Castres:
Tries: Dumora, Mafi
Cons: Urdapilleta 2
Pens: Urdapilleta 5
Yellow Card: Jacquet

Thanks to

Wales down second string Springboks

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It was a frustrating first test to watch with the Springboks making plenty of mistakes that gave Wales the win 22-20.

The game never got started as both teams made mistake upon mistake not able to put phases together. The scrums were awful to start with as it was almost all we saw in the first thirty minutes.

Both teams decided to use the box kick which did not result in much than just more scrums.

It was a mistake from Kriel who gave Wales their first try as they stole the ball and went through some quick passes to get the first try of the match.

The second try came quickly after that with Wales putting some phases together and the Springboks slipping some tackles.

The Springboks did get into the Wales half at the end of the half but could not get through the Wales defence.

Wales had a well deserved 14-3 lead at the break.

The Springboks had a good start to the half keeping Wales pinned in their twenty-two with some huge defence.

The great defence gave the Springboks their first try and close the gab to 14-10 but that was quickly extended again with a penalty to 17-10.

Wales got a man in the bin when the ball was deliberately knock out in the in-goal area. This gave the Springboks a great opportunity 5 meter out.

The Springboks got the ball out wide to Mapimpi to score his first try for the Boks and level the scores at 17-all.

The Springboks had some great opportunities which they were unable to take advantage from. With all the possession one expected more from the Boks on attack.

It was a great scrum from the Springboks that gave them the lead with Du Preez kick over his first penalty for the Springboks.

Du Preez then charged down two kicks from Du Preez to score another try and take the lead again.

With a few minutes to go the Springboks again had opportunities but could not hold on to the ball.

They had a last change and work their way back to halfway bit another knocks on end their changes to snatch the game at the end.

It was definitely not the best we ever seen from either team but Wales did enough or must I rather say Springboks made enough mistakes to give Wales the win at the end 22-20.

Springboks game management were not good enough as they dominated scrums and lineouts but could not get the points on the board.

Mistakes cost them at the end and something that they will have to correct before England.

Scorers:

Springboks – Tries: Travis Ismaiel, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalties: Jantjies, Rob du Preez.
Wales – Tries: Hallam Amos, Tomos Williams. Conversions: Gareth Anscombe (2). Penalty: Anscombe.