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All Blacks stick with ‘best 10 in the world’

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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named a full-strength team to face the Springboks at Newlands on Saturday in the final round of the Rugby Championship.

Last week, five stalwarts were pulled out of the All Blacks rotation to face the Pumas in Buenos Aires. Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Liam Squire, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Ryan Crotty have all been restored to the run-on side this week.

Flyhalf Beauden Barrett was supposed to swell that ‘rest squad’ to six players, but Lima Sopoaga was a late withdrawal from the trip to Argentina to witness the birth of his first child.

The New Zealand media had since been debating the merits of starting Sopoaga this week. That clearly wasn’t part of Hansen’s plans.

“After what happened in Albany, we’re playing a team that will be hurting incredibly,” the All Blacks coach said, referring to a 57-0 drubbing of the Boks in Round 4.

“We need to make sure that we meet that and continue on growing and developing ourselves. And to do that you’ve got to play a good team.”

On playing Barrett off the bench, Hansen said: “Then you think ‘well, you’ve got the best flyhalf in the world playing on the bench. You may as well start him.”

There are three changes up front where Whitelock replaces Luke Romano in the second row, and Matt Todd and Vaea Fifita make way for Cane and Squire.

At the back, Crotty and Milner-Skudder replace Anton Lienert-Brown and Waisake Naholo, while Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara and Negani Laumapi fall out of the matchday squad, surrendering their bench spots to Todd, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Sopoaga respectively.

“We’ve settled in well in Cape Town this week. However, our preparation has been different because of the need to recover well from all the travel,” added Hansen.

“This has meant that there’s been less time on the park and an even greater emphasis than normal on the mental side of our preparation. As always, getting real clarity of our roles and how we want to play has been key.

“Our skill execution, our physicality and our ability to play our ‘triple threat’ game will be critical.

“The team is really looking forward to playing at Newlands after a nine-year absence.  We know we have a huge fanbase here and the hospitality and reception we have received from the local folks has been fantastic.”

All Blacks: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22  Lima Sopoaga, 23 David Havili

thanks to

Vulnerable All Blacks ‘lacking desire and ready to lose’ to Springboks

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Apparently the All Blacks have a lack of desire and that means the Springboks will win the test in Cape Town this weekend.

That’s the theory doing the rounds in South Africa, promoted by respected local rugby pundit Mark Keohane.

In his latest column veteran scribe Keohane senses – he does clarify that by calling himself “eternally optimistic” – a real opportunity for the Boks to embarrass a team who have won every Rugby Championship match this year and already has the title sewn up. That success, in a nutshell, is the All Blacks’ Achilles heel for this match.

The Springboks were shattered the last time they played the All Blacks.

GETTY IMAGES

“But … and here’s the but … it will be more because of New Zealand’s lack of desire than anything else should the Boks win.

“The occasion is all set up for a South African victory. The desperation is with South Africa. The match is an ‘after the fact’ test for the All Blacks. They’ve already won the Rugby Championship and the bigger picture for Steve Hansen is the end of year tour to the Northern Hemisphere.

“There’s also the irritation of playing another ‘after the fact’ test against the Wallabies in the guise of a Bledisloe Cup match that the All Blacks have also already won this year.”

All Blacks wing Rieko Ioane streaks away from the Springboks defence during the 57-0 win in Albany.

GETTY IMAGES

Keohane believed it was a huge mental test for the All Blacks in an area where they had already shown vulnerability this year.

“How does a player get up for a match in a competition that has already been won? The intention will always be to put everything on the line but the mindset is always different from a player when there is nothing to win.

“The All Blacks, without question the greatest team in the modern era and the most dominant international sports team of the last decade, have proved to be at their most vulnerable in these so called dead rubbers.

“The All Blacks, in all their test matches this season, have also looked decidedly disinterested once the match seemingly has been won, which in many instances in this Rugby Championship season has been within 30 minutes of kick-off.”

Keohane chose to brush aside New Zealand’s 57-15 win over the Boks in Durban in the championship finale last year  and the rampant 57-0 win over South Africa last month.

“There have been so many indifferent and ordinary halves in between that there is a very good possibility that the All Blacks at Newlands will be nowhere near as potent as the black tidal wave that crushed the Springboks in Albany.”

Keohane’s article also took another desperate edge, turning to historical statistics and averages to back up his optimism.

“If not a rare Springboks success against the men in black on Saturday, then when? Everything points to this being the day for the men in green and gold. The averages suggest that the Boks are due a win because they’ve only had one in the last 11, and the trend in the last five years would indicate that South Africa poaches a win every six tests against the All Blacks.

“There has been enough about the All Blacks this year to give teams of reasonable quality hope that they can be beaten. But it requires everything to go the way of the team wanting to beat the All Blacks.

“Teams that want to beat the All Blacks have to nail try-scoring opportunities and kick points on offer because even when the All Blacks don’t play well they can still conjure up 20 points in a few minutes.”

Keohane was adamant the Boks needed the win more than the All Blacks and that had to be borne out in performance.

“The edge in intensity has to come from South Africa, and I believe it will. This will be just another game of rugby for the All Blacks but for the Springboks playing careers and coaching careers could be on the line,” he wrote on Sport24.

“There will be little consequence to the All Blacks if they lose. Not so the Springboks.

“It may be clutching at straws, but straws are all I have when assessing the possibilities of a Springboks win.

“If this was the Rugby Championship decider I’d never even contemplate the possibility of the Springboks getting a win, but it’s not a championship decider.”

 – Stuff

Safety a priority at DHL Newlands for Boks v All Blacks

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All those attending the Castle Lager Rugby Championship match between the Springboks and the All Blacks at DHL Newlands on Saturday, October 7 are encouraged to take note of the following safety and security information.

Safety and security will be a priority at this event and all spectators will be searched at the gates prior to entry, so ensure you plan carefully and gain entry to the stadium at least 60 minutes before the 17h05 kick-off time.

Tickets

Tickets are sold out, only those with a valid ticket will be granted access to the stadium. Resale of tickets is illegal, do not buy tickets from touts.

Season tickets for the 2017 season are valid, with no further action required.

Scholar’s season tickets are valid for Under 18s in the designated scholar’s enclosure.

No over 18s with either a valid scholars match, or season ticket, will be granted access to the scholar’s area.

Get to seats early

Gates at DHL Newlands will open at 14h00, a full three hours before the 17h05 kick-off and spectators must get to their seats well in advance in order to clear security on time.

A sell-out crowd is expected and every single spectator will be searched on entry to the ground, so if you do not enter at least an hour before kick-off you are likely to miss some of the action.

There will be pre-match entertainment as well as the national anthems and the Haka before the 17h05 kick-off, so plan accordingly.

Two former Blitzboks captains, a former Bafana Bafana striker and a former Proteas all-rounder, along with a host of well-known performers will play in a TAG Rugby curtain-raiser as part of the pre-match entertainment.

Former Blitzboks captains Neil Powell and Paul Delport will be joined in their TAG Rugby match by Benni McCarthy and JP Duminy, as well as artist Chad Saaiman, junior world champion high jumper Breyton Poole, and comedians Siv Ngesi and Nik Rabinowitz, amongst others.

To provide a bit more rugby acumen, Springbok Women’s Sevens captain Veroeshka Grain and her national team-mate Chané Stadler will also be in action in this match, which kicks off at 15h00.

The national anthems will be sung by the winner of The Voice 2017, Craig Lucas (SA) and well-known local artist Tarryn Lamb (NZ), while there will be more entertainment provided by various dancers – including Cape Town’s very own world champion street-styler Blake Williams – and other artists.

Please bring warm clothes with you to the game for when the sun goes down and the temperature drops.

The Castle lawns and SAB fields will be open, but please leave at least 60 minutes to get into the stadium on time.

Spectators should approach the stadium from the direction closest to the stand they are sitting in – Jan Pickard (North), Danie Craven (South), Grandstand (West), Railway stand (East) – in order to ease congestion in Boundary rd.

Parking arrangements and general access

Please make use of designated parking and do not park illegally.

Parking is available at the following schools in the stadium vicinity:

Groote Schuur High School (R50) Open at 12h00 and close at 22h00
Groote Schuur Primary School (R50) Open at 14h00 and close at 22h00
Sans Souci Girls’ High School (R50) Open at 12h00 and close at 22h00
SACS Junior (R50) Open at 13h00 and close at 22h00
Rondebosch Boys High (R50) Open at 12h00 and close at 22h00
Rondebosch Preparatory (R30) 13h30 and close at 22h00
Westerford High School (R50) 13h00 and close at 22h00

Drinking and braaing in designated parking areas is strictly prohibited.

Please take note of which stand you are sitting in and enter the stadium from the correct direction in order to ensure ease of foot traffic in the stadium precinct.

•    Those sitting in the Jan Pickard Stand (North) should park at Westerford and enter Boundary rd via Arbor rd off the Main rd to the north of the stadium.

•    Those sitting/standing in the Danie Craven Stand (South) should park at San Souci and approach via Sport Pienaar rd past Newlands Cricket Stadium and SAB Breweries to the south of the stadium.

•    Those sitting in the Grand Stand (West) should park at SACS Preparatory or Westerford and approach the stadium via Boundary rd off the Main rd to the West of the stadium.

•    Those sitting in the Railway Stand (East) should park at Groote Schuur and approach the stadium from Kelvin rd across the railway line to the East of the stadium.

Please note that no taxi service will be granted access to the immediate stadium precinct before or after the match. Please plan to be dropped off and collected remotely and do not request taxi services to access Boundary rd or the immediate stadium surrounds.

Prohibited items

There will be an extremely large crowd, so ensure that you safeguard your belongings at all times. Certain items are not allowed into the stadium – Please see the stadium rules which can be found at www.wprugby.com.

Please specifically note that umbrellas are not allowed into the ground for the game given a capacity crowd. Should there be rain please bring a raincoat and not an umbrella.

Behaviour

Please be RESPECTFUL of all supporters and those around you, as well as the players, coaches, officials and staff. Everyone would like to enjoy the game in a safe and pleasant environment.

Please specifically note that – Western Province Rugby, the SAPS, VOC Commander, the safety officer or Disaster Management members shall be entitled to refuse admission to, or to eject from the Ground, any person whose behaviour or conduct could in the reasonable opinion of WP Rugby, the SAPS, VOC Commander, the safety officer or Disaster Management members constitute a source of danger, nuisance or annoyance to spectators or other persons.

Western Province Rugby reserves the right to refuse admission to, or to eject from the Ground, any person who in the reasonable opinion of WP Rugby, its servants or agents, makes or incites any form of racial abuse, chanting, gesturing or behaviour.

Should you experience any issues please report to the nearest security officer, or request a security manager.

Field invasion

In the Stadium no unauthorised person is permitted on the playing or performance area (i.e. the pitch and its surrounding) and no person may remain in a gangway, entrance, exit or staircase at any time.

Please specifically note that unauthorised access to the field is strictly prohibited and field invaders will be subject to arrest by SAPS.

Alcohol sales

Alcohol will be sold in the stadium to over 18s subject to a valid liquor licence being granted.
Beer only (two per person at a time) will be allowed out onto the stands. Please consume alcohol responsibly and respect others around you.

Please note that the Jan Pickard stand and both scholar areas are alcohol free zones, those with tickets for the Jan Pickard stand will not be able to take alcohol out onto the stands.

Spectators are also reminded that admission to the Stadium may also be denied to ticket holders under the influence of, or carrying alcohol or any narcotic substance.

Drunk individuals will be ejected from the ground by security or the SAPS.

Smoking

Please note that the stadium is a non-smoking facility. Pass-outs are allowed at designated gates to allow smokers to exit the stadium other than 15 minutes prior to kick-off and 15 minutes after kick-off, or when large traffic volume is experienced.

Smoking in the stadium will result in a fine from law enforcement and ejection from the stadium.

Safety, or medical issue

ER24 and specialists doctors are on site as are members of all safety and security services.

If you experience an issue, have something to report, or witness an incident, approach the nearest security officer and request assistance, report any issue, or request a security manager. You can also call the VOC emergency number 021-6594650.

Enjoy the game and please be respectful to those around you.

Du Toit join Boks

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Sharks prop Thomas du Toit has been called up to the Springbok squad ahead of Saturday’s final Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks.

In a statement from SA Rugby on Tuesday, Du Toit’s call-up was said to be to provide extra front-row cover, while it was also confirmed that wing Raymond Rhule has been released again to be available for Pro14 duty with the Cheetahs.

Uncapped Du Toit has been in impressive form throughout the year for the Sharks, and featured for South Africa A against the French Barbarians in June.

Rhule rejoined the Boks on Sunday after featuring for the Cheetahs last Friday, but will now head back to Bloemfontein, with Dillyn Leyds understandably set to continue on the right wing after a good performance against Australia.

The Bok team for Saturday’s Test at Newlands will be named at 15:00 on Thursday.

Coetzee defend Dreyer

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The Springboks have moved to defend under-fire tighthead prop Ruan Dreyer after his recent below-par Rugby Championship performances.

Dreyer has been criticised for giving away too many penalties. Dreyer was the most penalised prop in Super Rugby 2017 so it should come as no surprise to Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.

Former Springboks coach Nick Mallett is one of the prominent voices calling for Dreyer to be dropped.

“It’s the second match in a row that Ruan Dreyer has been penalised on the tighthead side for early engagement, shoving early before the ball was put in, and over-extending.”

“To win, you have to be absolutely flawless at the set pieces and work will have to go into the Boks’ scrummaging to stop the front row from giving away so many penalties,” Mallett told Supersport.

The options are thin for Coetzee at tighthead, with Julian Redelinghuys, Frans Malherbe and Coenie Oosthuizen all unavailable. Wilco Louw of Western Province has been called up to the squad but it appears Coetzee is showing continued faith in Dreyer.

The Boks come up against an All Blacks side yet to lose a scrum on their own feed in the last nine Tests, an incredible feat. Thus Dreyer’s task is not going to get any easier after he was already exposed against Australia a week ago and the All Blacks two weeks before that.

Although regular prop combination Joe Moody and Owen Franks are sidelined with long-term injuries for the All Blacks, Nepo Laulala and Kane Hames have proved more than able replacements while Wyatt Crockett always makes an impact off the bench.

“We do have a lot of tighthead props who are injured, but Ruan is there and he just needs some time out there,” said Coetzee.

“We still back him as a tighthead, but I just think that the picture seems to differ from referee to referee [at scrum time] … But we do know that we have to come with a better scrummaging performance against the All Blacks.”

Hansen- Coetzee playing mind games

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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen hinted that Bok coach Allister Coetzee is implementing mind games ahead of their Test in Cape Town on Saturday.

Coetzee told The Cape Times that the All Blacks are on another level ahead of their fixture which will take place at Newlands in Cape Town.

“We, as a new-look team, only got together this year, so after three months and two weeks together thinking we’re in a position to topple the All Blacks would be living in a fool’s paradise,” he said as he played down his side’s chances.

However, Hansen believes it is all just a ploy for Coetzee to get his team fired up for the occasion.

“You don’t want to believe everything you read in the paper,” Hansen told NewsHub.

“What you have to understand that it’s a beautiful way to psyche his own team up.

“It’s reverse psychology, so you guys (the press) can believe it if you want to, but we won’t be.”

Hansen said the 57-0 score was flattering to the All Blacks and will select a strong squad for the game despite sealing the Rugby Championship title.

“Our guys after that game in Albany, while the score was so big, talking to them it didn’t feel any different,” he said.

“We were pretty fortunate in that we took every chance we created and they didn’t. It won’t take much for it to swing back the other way.

“The fact that we have won the Rugby Championship is obviously pleasing, but we are playing one of our greatest foes and one that we have a lot of history [with] and one that we have a lot of respect for.

“We are looking forward to the game.”

Thanks to

Coetzee recalls Rhule for Newlands test

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Wilco Louw, Dan du Preez, Raymond Rhule and S’busiso Nkosi have re-joined the Springbok squad in Cape Town ahead of their All Blacks clash.

The group have got their preparations underway for this weekend’s final Rugby Championship fixture. The Test will take place at Newlands.

The four joined the rest of the Springbok squad on Sunday evening in the Mother City following their involvement in the weekend’s Currie Cup and PRO14 competitions. Louw (prop) played off the bench for Western Province on Sunday, Rhule was in action for the Cheetahs on Friday, and Du Preez (loose forward) and Nkosi (wing) ran out for the Sharks on Friday.

Meanwhile, Springbok number eight Uzair Cassiem was on Monday ruled out of action for up to six weeks as a result of the rib injury he sustained against the Wallabies this past weekend in Bloemfontein. Cassiem left the field early in the first half and was replaced by Jean-Luc du Preez.

“Uzair sustained a fractured rib and it will take him about six weeks to recover,” confirmed Dr Konrad von Hagen, the Springbok team doctor.

“Apart from the normal bumps and bruises after a very hard Test match, the rest of the players are in good health. Actually, if you look at us going through a tough Castle Lager Rugby Championship and the strenuous Vodacom Super Rugby competition, then I am glad to report that the rest of the squad are all able to train this afternoon (Monday).”

“From a medical and conditioning point of view, we are in a very good space.”

The Springboks will announce their match 23 on Thursday.

Boks doomed to chase shadows

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Recent results and performances have highlighted the poor planning and tactical shortcomings of the Springbok coaching team, writes JON CARDINELLI for SARugbyMag

The All Blacks went into the clash against the Boks two weeks ago without senior players of the calibre of Ben Smith, Owen Franks, Joe Moody and Israel Dagg. Six of the 15 players who started that Test had fewer than 20 Test caps. The All Blacks still scored eight tries and handed the Boks their heaviest Test defeat in history.

More recently, the All Blacks travelled to Argentina without the aforementioned players as well as Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane and Liam Squire. The All Blacks – fielding nine players in the starting XV with fewer than 20 caps – ran in five tries and claimed a 26-point win.

Consider what the All Blacks could accomplish in any one-off match between now and the 2019 World Cup final if they had all of their best players fit and available. Consider how strong they could be in terms of player depth by the time that global tournament comes to pass.

The All Blacks in their current guise are the product of careful planning. All five of the New Zealand franchises work together to ensure that the national side is as strong as it can possibly be. On top of that, a crack team of coaches is constantly searching for new ways to boost the levels of performance.

The former has proved instrumental to New Zealand’s sustained success. The influence of Hansen and the other All Blacks coaches, of course, cannot be discounted.

I disagree with those who say that we shouldn’t put Hansen’s All Blacks on a pedestal. After all, how do you argue with a 90% win-record across a period of 77 Tests?

At the same time, I disagree with those who argue that an international side has to play like the All Blacks to beat the All Blacks. Indeed, there’s a reason why teams like the Boks and Wallabies are considered part of the chasing pack while others like England and Ireland are seen as genuine threats to the All Blacks’ dominance.

The Boks, as well as the less successful South African Super Rugby sides, have attempted to copy the New Zealand brand of rugby in recent years instead of building on their traditional strengths and establishing their own identity. If they continue on their current course, they will continue to chase and chase without getting any closer to the goal of matching the New Zealanders’ offloading game and remarkable fitness levels.

Allister Coetzee’s Boks were praised in the wake of their convincing wins against Argentina in August. A couple of months on, and those performances are being viewed in a new light.

The Pumas have lost all five games to date and have conceded nearly 200 points. Meanwhile, the Boks have scored just five tries across the three Tests against Australia and New Zealand.

In the wake of the recent result in Bloemfontein, Coetzee attempted to talk up the Wallabies as if they were a world-beating side. This is the same Wallabies side that lost to Scotland at home earlier this year and the same side that was pushed close by Italy. The Boks have failed to beat the same mediocre Wallabies side on two occasions in the Rugby Championship.

That the South African structures are backward and in dire need of fixing is not up for debate. That said, the current Bok coaching team has to take some responsibility for the team’s results and performances over the past two seasons.

REVIEW: Boks, Aus vie for second spot

The Boks disappointed with their frantic attacking approach in Perth. The compulsion to offload was almost as frustrating to watch as Coetzee’s post-match assurances that his team would have scored if those speculative passes had stuck.

The Wallabies came into the match in Bloemfontein knowing that the Boks would attempt to run and offload regardless of what transpired at the gainline. In an attempt to lift the tempo, the Boks lost the ball in contact or proceeded to hand the opposition an easy intercept.

The Wallabies clearly don’t have what it takes to punish the Boks to a more telling degree. The All Blacks, however, have already inflicted one 50-point hammering on the Boks in 2017. A second heavy defeat may be in the offing if the Boks persist with these flawed tactics and don’t address their defensive shortcomings.

We can expect a series of excuses pre-empting a loss at Newlands: The Boks have lost a host of first-choice players to injuries and are thin in positions like loose forward and tighthead prop; South Africa doesn’t boast the same structures as New Zealand and are thus limited in what they can build and achieve at Test level.

Coetzee intimated at the post-match press conference in Bloemfontein that the Boks would do well to avoid another hiding at the hands of the All Blacks.

What Coetzee and company fail to acknowledge, though, is the role they have played in South African rugby’s sharp decline. The Boks will play into the All Blacks’ hands next Saturday – and indeed in all matches that follow in the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup – if they attempt to beat the New Zealanders at their own game.

Ten years ago, Bok coach Jake White formulated a game plan based on South African rugby’s physical strengths. The Boks went on to win the 2007 World Cup via a simple yet effective approach. Who knows how far the Boks may have progressed if they had built on those structures in the years that followed?

More recently, Eddie Jones’ move to steer England back to a more physical approach has resulted in two Six Nations titles. Jones’ England are currently at No 2 in the World Rugby rankings.

We can expect a clash of styles when England meet New Zealand in 2018. If the recent British & Irish Lions series is any indicator, we can expect a closely contested match.

Coetzee’s Boks are still caught between two styles and are still searching for an identity. Until a new coaching staff is installed or – more realistically – until Rassie Erasmus returns to South Africa in early 2018 and provides the team with more tactical direction, the Boks will continue to chase shadows.

Another bonus point win for All Blacks

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New Zealand moved 13 points clear at the Rugby Championship summit after they beat Argentina 36-10 at Estadio Vélez Sarsfield on Saturday.

With the 2017 title already sewn up due to South Africa and Australia drawing 27-27 in Bloemfontein, the All Blacks had the pressure off.

And it was a simple victory in the end, thanks largely to their strong start, as crossings from number eight Kieran Read (2), full-back Damian McKenzie and wing Waisake Naholo saw them to the five points. David Havili, on debut, also crossed the whitewash in the game’s final play.

In reply Argentina’s lone try scorer was Juan Manuel Leguizamón as their poor Rugby Championship campaign now reads five losses from five.

It was a quite sensational first half-hour from the All Blacks as they raced into a 29-3 lead to leave the Pumas struggling for answers.

Following an early penalty from each side, New Zealand clicked into gear in the seventh minute when Naholo’s line break led to him finding Read on the right wing for a run in. Beauden Barrett couldn’t add the kick from wide out but it was a warning shot fired by the visitors.

The next score seemed inevitable when New Zealand applied big pressure on 15 minutes and they had their wish two minutes later as, from a scrum penalty, an alert McKenzie raced forward for a quick tap in front of referee Jaco Peyper before diving over to make it a 15-3 lead.

More was to come as fly-half Barrett’s run down the right led to him offloading to Naholo, who showed power and pace to extend the buffer.

Things got worse for Argentina soon after as Tomas Lavanini received a yellow card for a no arm tackle on Sonny Bill Williams. And the try followed five minutes later as Barrett’s under-leg pass to McKenzie then saw him set off before finding Read on his shoulder for a brace.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Argentina though as they pressed hard before half-time, but came up short despite Matt Todd being carded.

Argentina were clearly riled by their first-half showing and upped their performance in the early stages of the second period, setting up camp in the All Black 22 with more lineout mauls. However. Pablo Matera was unsuccessful in his quest for the line after good scrambling defence.

What gave the Pumas further hope of cutting the deficit was the sight of Read being sin-binned for a high tackle on 51 minutes. Once again New Zealand fought tooth and nail in defence but eventually the pressure told as Leguizamón barged over from close range to make it 29-10.

The All Blacks thought they had responded in the ideal fashion when Naholo crossed, but replays showed his earlier pass drifted forward so it was chalked off. Soon after, the Pumas were down to 14 men when Ramiro Herrera was yellow carded for repeated scrum infringements.

Still though New Zealand struggled to add a fifth try, that was until replacement Havili sliced through from close range to add the icing to the win as they now head to South Africa looking to make it a clean sweep in the Rugby Championship.

The scorers:

For Argentina:
Try: Leguizamón
Con: Sanchez
Pen: Sanchez
Yellow Cards: Lavanini, Herrera

For New Zealand:
Tries: Read 2, McKenzie, Naholo, Havili
Cons: Barrett 4
Pen: Barrett
Yellow Card: Todd

Thanks to 

Another draw for Springboks against Aussies

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The Springboks again created so much but delivered nothing yet again with another draw against Australia in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

There are just too many players with bad habits in this team costing them when they do create chances. A 27 draw is not a good result and we have more questions than answers.

Only a great win would be required from the passionate supporters of Springbok rugby to try and forget the loss against the All Blacks.

The Springboks started test with intend to run the ball and play in the Aussies half. They created plenty of opportunities in the first half but were unable to take the points.

Dominating play, they conceded the first try when the Aussies scored from a scrum to lead 7-0.

There were enough good things done by the Springboks to have more points on the board but it almost felt that they were rushing everything they do.

With attack, there must be structure but that was lacking for the Boks in the first half.

They did get on the board after some good play from the forwards sending Dreyer over for their first try.

That made the score 7-all and all to play for. The Aussies took the lead with a penalty but was cancelled by Jantjies penalty to level it again at 10-all.

Before halftime the Aussies got another penalty over to take the lead again 13-10 which was also the halftime score.

Israel Folau was lucky to stayed on the field after tackling Leyds on his hair and throw him to the ground.

Etzebeth also luck not to be send off the field for coming in after the Leyds tackle was warned by the referee.

Allot of feeling in the test and everything was still to play for with forty minutes to go.

The second half did not improve in creativity nor the general decision making of the Springboks nor Australians.

There have been some poor performances yet again from Jesse Kriel, Jantjies and Coetzee.

It was Marika Koroibete who scored the first try in the second half for the Aussies as they start to look to take the game away from South Africa.

It took a forward in Kolisi to show the Springboks backs how to run straight as he sends Serfontein over.

It looked like the Springboks would start to dominate but they kept on making mistakes, giving away penalties not enough support on the ball carrier and really poor decision making from the backs.

With the Aussies leading 27-24 a penalty from Jantjies levelled the score again which made for a frantic last 7 minutes.

Jantjies had a last-minute chance to kick for victory but missed and they ended in a draw yet again.

Next week does not look good for this Springbok team.

Scorers:

SOUTH AFRICA

 Tries – Dreyer, Serfontein, Skosan

Penalties – Jantjies(2)

Cons – Jantjies(3)

AUSTRALIA

Tries – Israel Folau, Marika Koroibete(2)

Penalties – Bernard Foley(2)

Cons – Bernard Foley(3)

Havili set to make debut for All Blacks

2

Crusaders utility back David Havili is set to make his Test debut after he was named on the All Blacks bench for Saturday’s clash with Argentina in Buenos Aires.

As well as Havili, the matchday 23 for Saturday also features a number of other changes in the backs. Anton Lienert-Brown has been named in the 13 jersey, Waisake Naholo is on the right wing for his first match in the Rugby Championship, while Ngani Laumape will provide extra back cover.

In the forwards, Luke Romano and Scott Barrett have been named as the starting locks, with Patrick Tuipulotu named in the reserves, set for his first appearance for the All Blacks in 2017. Vaea Fifita is at blindside flanker and Matt Todd at openside in his fourth Test start.

“We’ve selected what we believe is a quality team and have high expectations that they’ll go out and put in a strong performance this weekend,” said All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen.

“The team has had a great week here in Buenos Aires. As always, our training throughout the week has been of paramount importance. Whilst this is a team requirement, it is also an individual necessity. Our training and preparation has to be bone deep, and when this is achieved, we always give ourselves the opportunity to play well on Saturday.

“In saying that, we are under no illusion about what we’ll be facing this weekend. After having a torrid tussle against us in New Plymouth, Argentina will be even more determined on their home pitch and in front of their passionate fans. Our job will be to start well and to put in a performance for the full 80 minutes.”

New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23 David Havili

thanks to

Cheika pick three rookies for Bok test

0

Australian coach Cheika has named three uncapped players in his test side to face the Springboks in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The Australians have lost two of their Rugby Championship matches both against the All Blacks with a draw and a win against the Bokke and Argentina.

The Aussies will want to take advantage of a Springbok team hurting after a humiliating lost two weeks back against the All Blacks.

Izack Rodda, Jack Dempsey and Marika Koroibete will run on to the field for the first time in a Aussie jersey as Cheika keep on building his test side after a very disappointing year for Australian rugby.

Rodda comes in ahead of Rob Simmons, Dempsey gets the nod ahead of Ned Hanigan and Koroibete, having made his debut against Argentina a fortnight ago, has been preferred to Henry Speight.

Stephen Moore is the only major change to the bench outside of the straight swaps for the Hanigan, Speight and Simmons, the former skipper coming back in ahead of young gun Jordan Uelese.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Lukhan Tui, 21 Ned Hanigan, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Samu Kerevi, 24 Henry Speight

Rugby365 talks about Springbok coaches

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THE RUGBY365 TEAM – EUGENE ELOFF, TAURIQ EBRAHIM AND JAN DE KONING – DO NOT HOLD BACK AS THEY TAKE ON THE SPRINGBOK MANAGEMENT OVER THE PORKIES THEY ARE TRYING TO SELL THE PUBLIC.

There is also a call to our Irish friend Ian Cameron to get the inside on the Pro14 and Currie Cup predictions.

Rugby Championship Preview

0

The Rugby Championship is all but dusted with the All Blacks just need some kind of points this weekend in Argentina to take yet another championship.

Although their was plenty of promises from all three the other sides before the start of the tournament it has been yet again only the All Blacks that could deliver with the other three falling short yet again.

The current log standings are as follow….

Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 New Zealand 4 4 0 0 185 85 100 19
2 South Africa 4 2 1 1 101 118 -17 11
3 Australia 4 1 1 2 131 132 -1 8
4 Argentina 4 0 0 4 80 162 -82 0

So at best the Aussies and Springboks will fight it out to take second place behind the All Blacks and I might say that this second place is miles behind the world champions at the moment.

The last time these two side met it ended in a draw but the Springboks have had the Aussies number when playing them in South Africa the last couple of years.

The Australians have said they are building as did Coetzee with his Springbok team but between the two the Aussies look like making the best progress as we build up to two years out till Japan 2019 Wold Cup.

It has been a frustrating time for for Springboks supporters after a good start to the year against the French at home and the two test against the Pumas but it started to go south from the Aussies test a few weeks ago.

Losing a few key players did not help Coetzee and his team but what was more frustrating has been the off the field decisions from Coetzee on game-plan and player selection.

Coetzee have been confusing in every statement he has made since they struggled to the draw in Australia and it does not give great confidence for this weekend after the humiliation against the All Blacks.

Saying one thing and doing another must be as much confusing to the players as to the public.

A huge outcry came this week for better quality in the back three and after firstly defending the out-of-depth Rhule earlier this week Coetzee send him packing back to the Cheetahs. With contradicting statements from Coetzee on the dropping of Rhule and the no call to Lions star Combrinck left most people confused and upset.

For the Springboks the problem unfortunately lies deeper than just one or two players and with a free flowing approach Cheika Aussies want to play makes this weekend another test which does not spell anything good for the Springboks supporters.

Huge problems in our scrums was exploded by the All Blacks since Oosthuizen got injured and it even looks like Coetzee backup is not the answer. Although I do not blame hooker solely on lineout misses Marx did not had a good time of late with his locks and something we need to get right for the Aussie test.

When you struggle in lineouts and scrums it takes away two of the most important attacking pieces in the game and teams will struggle to get a win.

The Aussies have always been a clever team even if they are not the best, they will learn from mistakes and comeback with a plan to outsmart you. We can expect the Aussies to make sure that they come out firing and try upset the Springbok early on to take advantage of the scares left by the 57-0 defeat from the All Blacks.

It will be a huge test on the character of not just the team but also the coaches thsi weekend for the Springboks and anyone putting money on this game can call himself a gambler.

teams and more to follow….

 

 

The All Blacks need one single point to take another championship early Sunday Morning against Argentina and all is setup for the All Blacks to get yet another clean sweep this year.

With this weekend and the Cape Town test left this season not many people will bet against them and rightly so after they yet again dominated southern hemisphere rugby this year.There have been allot of talk in the media about the All Blacks not sending their best team to play Argentina and some even suggested it is an insult to Puma rugby.

The fact remains that the All Blacks second string team beat them in their first meeting this year in New Zealand and a second string All Blacks side will most properly beat most test nations in the world, they are that good.

The Argentina side have been poor in all aspects this season in Super Rugby and in the Rugby Championship with poor performances throughout the test. They seemed to only be able to play for 40 to 50 minutes and discipline have been poor again this year.

With Puma rugby the last two years it seems they take two steps forward and four steps back again. From a team that ended forth in the 2016 World Cup to a team that could not beat a third string England side at home in June and slipped away to number 10 on the world rankings.

The Pumas should come out with a spirited gameplan this weekend but at the end the All Blacks should have enough to win with a  bonus point.

teams and more to follow…..

 

Coetzee failing left-field selection test

1

SIMNIKIWE XABANISA says Allister Coetzee’s decision not to recall Ruan Combrinck shows his inability to make sensible left-field calls.

SIMNIKIWE XABANISA writes for SARugbyMag

One blustery night in 2004 in Gosford, a tiny Australian town north of Sydney, former Springbok coach Jake White held court over drinks with the South African media on all things rugby.

It was a most informative and at times odd session – he did claim centre De Wet Barry was the country’s best fetcher at one stage – when Bok coaches and rugby hacks could still have informal chats.

The one topic he particularly warmed to was selection, which is considered his second best gift after building teams from the ashes. White shared such theories as the late Kitch Christie’s belief that ‘the first two names on your team are the tighthead and the reserve tighthead’, and his own about the best players not necessarily making up the best teams.

What he may have left out was how crucial left-field selections are for an international coach. These gut-feel selections are those inspired coach’s calls which leave the rest of us wondering if he’s lost his marbles but somehow work.

This is the kind of selection that almost runs parallel to whether a player has enough experience or is in form, it’s a sixth sense that the white-hot cauldron of Test rugby might bring out the best in him regardless of how much he’s played or if he looks sharp or not.

While he may have invested in some questionable ideas himself – he flirted with the thought he could get by with Jaco van der Westhuyzen at flyhalf and without Victor Matfield at lock – White had some pearlers.

How many people would have brought back the exiled Percy Montgomery and Os du Randt – then on a comeback trail from retirement – like he did in 2004?

White’s best call at that time was probably Joe van Niekerk, who was always injured during Super Rugby and hardly played for the Stormers. Yet not only did he always made the Bok team, he actually cooked in the Tri-Nations.

Looking at Bok coach Allister Coetzee’s most recent attempts to quell the debate that won’t die down – why Ruan Combrinck can’t get a game for the Boks when even Handré Pollard can – one can only come to the conclusion that he hasn’t got the ability to make left-field calls that make sense.

Coetzee’s explanation was that Combrinck didn’t play much for the Lions and hadn’t started any of his games for his Japanese club.

ALSO READ: Ruan must keep performing – Coetzee

The obvious counter to that is Pollard – having had knee, shoulder and ankle surgery in the last two seasons – had played just a handful of games for the Bulls and looked distinctly out of sorts. His selection gave the impression all he had to do to play for the Boks was fall out of his hospital bed.

Coetzee then said Pollard had shown the necessary sharpness in the Bok camp, a theory so disproved by his one-off performance against the All Blacks he is now lucky to catch a Currie Cup game with the Bulls off the bench.

Forget the rumblings about Pollard’s SA Rugby contract dictating that he not play Currie Cup rugby, if this was Coetzee’s left-field selection then he failed the test miserably.

What makes these calls work is the coach’s ability to see something the rest of us don’t in a player. But Pollard’s 20 minutes against the All Blacks not only left us none the wiser, it did little to help him crack the nod for a struggling Bulls side.

Unfortunately, Coetzee has a history of not exactly dazzling with his ‘inspired’ selections. You have to remember this is the man who brought back the monochrome Morné Steyn and played the lumbering Willem Alberts at openside flank in reaction to the Boks’ horrendous season last year.

Ironically, if ever there was a left-field call to be made it would be to pick Combrinck. I don’t know him from a bar of soap, but he has a reputation for marching to his own beat and being difficult to manage if he hasn’t bought into a coach or his systems.

Man-managing that situation would go some way towards suggesting Coetzee can go the path less-travelled when it comes to selection.

Chameleon Coetzee sends Rhule back to Cheetahs

5

I truly believe that Springbok coach Allister Coetzee will become a politician after rugby with the way he is speaking in the media.

First Coetzee told us that there is no issue with Pollard not playing almost any Super Rugby matches nor any other matches since World Cup 2015 and days later he say Combrinck has not played enough rugby to warrant a Springbok call up.

Then this week he spoke to the media and said e certainly wasn’t ready to write Rhule off.

Don’t forget how good Raymond was against Australia [in Perth]. I’m not a coach who will look at one poor performance and chuck someone away. He was outstanding against the Wallabies. There were a few areas where the All Blacks targeted us, but we will work on that and get better. In the seven Tests Raymond has played, he has gained a lot of experience, so now do I just throw him out and start all over again with a new player?

It’s our job as coaches to ensure that the plan is simple, and that he understands his role and his job. We will help him to improve from the last game, and that’s our responsibility. Having said that, he was the first guy to text me and say: “I watched the game again and I could have been better here or there”. The big thing is about owning up and taking responsibility, which is what I enjoy about this group of players. All of us have to accept responsibility and it’s our duty to turn it around.’

Then the next day Coetzee send Rhule, Dan Du Preez and Nkosi back to their unions.

I am sure that Coetzee is half Chameleon half human.

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

 

All Blacks gamble to win, but they’re still insulting the wrong country

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They’ll be singing their hearts out at the alluringly-named Estadio Jose Amalfitani this weekend, because that is what Argentinian rugby fans do, writes Chris Rattue Sports writer for the NZHerald

There should actually be a chorus of protest though when the world’s best team runs out at the 50,000-capacity stadium in Buenos Aires, because it won’t be the world’s best team at all.

Buenos Aires is being served All Blacks Lite with important players saved by Steve Hansen for the following match against the Springboks, who will lie in wait at Cape Town having laid down completely at Albany.

All Black rugby’s amazing tall timber, the locking greats Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock, are among the absentees leaving the stockier Luke Romano – recently revealed as some sort of lineout doctor – and a couple of cut-down cohorts to take charge.

There’s very little to criticise the amazing All Blacks over these days. New Zealand Rugby’s system of central control and development, allied to exceptional coaching and a wondrous player talent pool, has produced a team capable of wiping opponents out like basketball’s Harlem Globetrotters do.

But apart from the influence of history and tradition, it’s hard to work out why Argentina have drawn the short locks because this month’s results indicate the All Blacks are insulting the wrong team.

The Pumas put up a damned fine effort in New Plymouth, a 17-point margin rating as a narrow squeak for these All Blacks.

In some ways, the game was tougher than that, the Pumas leading at halftime and taking the All Blacks to their limits for nearly an hour before a rampaging Vaea Fifita ripped their heart out.

On the other hand, the try tally was six against one.

But it was a real-deal test, unlike the disgraceful shambles a week later, when the Springboks capitulated by 57-0 and were so bad that some honestly believe the All Blacks should have scored more than eight tries.

Exhibit B in this argument is the wee matter of a test in Durban last year, won by the All Blacks 57-15. In comparison, the Pumas provided much stiffer opposition in Buenos Aires, when their scrum helped put the second half brakes on the All Blacks.

Hansen and co. are taking a surprising risk with their selection for Argentina, to my mind, especially when you recall what happened when they played without their great locks against Ireland in Chicago not all that long ago.

Maybe, but only maybe, this bravado is to be admired and it quickens the pulse in anticipation.

The payoff, in terms of building World Cup players steeled for any type of situation and finding out the flakes, is huge.

And the World Cup has come to mean just about everything to the major rugby nations. To some of us though, this dumbing down of test rugby still feels very wrong.

Yet there was barely a squeak in protest from the public when Retallick, Whitelock, Sam Cane, Beauden Barrett (initially), Liam Squire and Ryan Crotty were excused from the Pumas match.

No one really saw this coming, yet no one complained once it had.

Times have moved on, our views apparently twisted and softened by these newfangled selection policies, spin and most importantly results.

Endless All Black victories involving an avalanche of tries have apparently made the argument about rest and rotation passe, yet the British and Irish Lions exposed weaknesses, the All Blacks admit they are experimenting with tactics, and they are going into a scrummaging lion’s den armed with a potential pussycat.

While it has virtually been outlawed to suggest an All Black plays badly anymore, newbie prop Kane Hames had a shocker against the ‘Boks.

The most experienced loosehead Wyatt Crockett isn’t a safe scrum bet either, and the both-sides option Ofa Tu’ungafasi is a bench specialist and unknown starting quantity. The tall test rookie Jeffery Toomaga Allen has also had his scrum difficulties.

With Owen Franks and the outstanding Joe Moody off the scene, that leaves the seven-test Nepo Laulala as the main pillar of scrum strength.

With the engine room of Retallick and Whitelock zooming off to Cape Town, and the strongman flanker Sam Cane joining them, the normally ambitious Pumas of today might decide to turn the clock back and engineer a scrum-fest if possible.

Test matches should still be about trench warfare in the name of victory, if the time is right, rather than happy-clappy World Cup prep.

There is the other prospect of course, that the new-look All Blacks pack will fly through the assignment.

In the name of real test rugby, and giving the Pumas the respect they deserve in future, I’m hoping their pack gives the All Blacks a good going over whatever the end result.

Newlands sold out for All Blacks test

1

All currently available public tickets for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test between the Springboks and the All Blacks at DHL Newlands on October 7 have been sold.

Public match tickets went on sale at 12h00 on Monday and were sold out in less than an hour, ahead of the All Blacks’ first visit to DHL Newlands since 2008.

The first Test match between the Springboks and All Blacks, at DHL Newlands, took place in 1928, with the All Blacks winning 13-5. The Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test this year will be only the 10th encounter between the two teams at the second oldest active Test venue in the world.

Western Province Rugby group CEO Paul Zacks said that the enthusiasm of the DHL Newlands Faithful will make this Test one to remember.

“The passion of the DHL Newlands Faithful for rugby is well-known and once again they have proven their loyalty.

“This Test match will be a special occasion and one we are all looking forward to very much,” he said.

President of the Western Province Rugby Football Union, Mr Thelo Wakefield, said that it is a pleasure to welcome the All Blacks back to DHL Newlands once again.

“It is wonderful to have the Springboks up against the All Blacks at DHL Newlands once again in what will be the latest chapter of rugby’s greatest rivalry,” he said.

Missed opertunities will haunt Boks

23

Sometimes a draw is worst than a lost and to draw a test match which you know you should have won is even worst than that.

The Springboks still have not lost in 2017 but Saturdays performance was not a step forward. Pieter Steph du Toit, Jaco Kriel, Siya Kolisi, Jan Serfontein and Kitsie all impressed on the day with Du Preez making another great contribution from the bench.

There was allot of good things the Boks did on the day but it was only in patches and next week we will need a full 80 minutes to even think of challenging the All Blacks in New Zealand.

We can also be sure that Hansen will pick his best side against the Boks which will put added pressure on this young team.

Tactics was my biggest problem in Saturdays test especially in that first half. It was almost if we have turned back the clock to 2016 and it was worrying that we still believe we can kick on Aussies back three and expect to retain the ball.

The less said about referee Glen Jackson the better so I am not even going to get into that as it is a wast of time and energy. What we do need to expect is that referees have different interpretations to the game and we need to learn to adopt to them.

We have enough changes to win this test and with three clear linebreaks we should have scored. Our finishing was not good enough and something we need to get right as the All Blacks do not give you allot of that in 80 minutes.

The Wallabies made over 300 more metres with ball in hand from 20 more carries than the Boks, while the visitors made close on 90 more tackles than the Aussies, missing only 14 for a 92% success rate.

Both sides kicked 23 times, but it was the Boks who carved off 842 meters via the boot, 150m more than the home side. Not that it was always at the right time, or executed that well. In fact, often they seemed to be too deep, giving the likes of Israel Folau and Kurtley Beale far too much time to deal with them.

In short our tactical kicking was poor.

The Boks made 18 handling errors 6 more than the Aussies and at this level it is nothing to be proud off.

Here is some stats from All out Rugby

Points: AUS 23-23 SA,  Tries: AUS 2-2 SA Goal kicking %: AUS 83% – 83% SA, Possession: AUS 53% – 47% SA, Territory: AUS 53% – 47% SA, Ball in play: 31 minutes

Attacking stats: Ball Carries: AUS 99-79 SA, Metres run: AUS 823-497 SA, Line breaks: AUS 4-1 SA, Tackle breaks: AUS 3-4 SA, Passes: AUS 166-95 SA, Good Passes: AUS 161-86 SA, Offloads: AUS 5-7 SA, Rucks won: AUS 86-54 SA, Rucks lost: AUS 3-1 SA, Mauls won: AUS 1-6 SA, Mauls lost: AUS 0-0 SA, Turnovers conceded: AUS 6-9 SA

Defensive stats: Tackles made: AUS 78-167 SA, Tackles missed: AUS 10-14 SA, Tackle success: AUS 89% – 92% SA, Tackle turnover: AUS 1-0 SA, Dominant tackles: AUS 5-5 SA

Kicking stats: Kicks from hand: AUS 23-23 SA, Metres kicked: AUS 689-842 SA

Error stats: Handling errors: AUS 12-18 SA, Penalties conceded: AUS 6-7 SA

ct from the bench. Loads of good things today, but only in patches. Patience

Allot to work on this week and a huge challenge against the world number team, the All Blacks

Coenie out with broken arm

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Beside the fact that referee Jackson could not see the illegal tactics the Aussies used at scrum time the Springboks lost Coenie Oosthuizen with a broken arm as well on Saturday.

He will be replaced by WP Wilco Louw.

Oosthuizen sustained the injury in the second half of the encounter which ended in a draw after both sides scored two converted tries and three penalties each.

He will go back to Durban to see a specialist but it is expected he will be out for a few months.

It is hard breaking that referees can not see these days as poor scrums like the Aussies use illegal tactics in an important aspect like the scrums and that a Aussies scrum get rewarded for these tactics.

The draw means that the Springboks will have to win next week to really stand a change in staking a claim at the Championship this year.

name his starting team to face the All Blacks, on Thursday.

Springboks and Aussies draw in Perth

4

It was a match of missed opportunities and poor tactics from both sides that made for a 23-all draw on Saturday. The Springboks tactics in that first half and for most of the second half was strange as they persist on kicking ball away with no real pressure.

It was a frustrating test to watch and the Springbok brain-trust made the wrong decisions for this test. The backline showed no real ambition in breaking the Aussies defence and Jesse Kriel was yet again one of the poor players for the Boks.

Defence was not good enough and we expected much more from this Springbok side against what can only be describe as a poor Aussie side.

It was made out as the first real test for the Springboks this year and a must win to really challenge the All Blacks next week.

The game never really got going as both teams scored one try in the first forty minutes but the quality of both was not present.

Both teams wanted to get the ball out wide and run at the space but mistakes and poor decision making stop any more tries.

It was the Springboks who got first on the board with a penalty but the Aussies got one back soon after.

The Springboks seemed to have decided to kick the ball behind the Aussies which did not work as their kicks and follow up was poor to say the least.

Their defence also seemed to be struggling as the Aussies found allot of holes in that first half.

The Springboks scored the first try from a turnover in their own half which ended up with Kriel scoring, giving the Springboks a 10-3 lead.

The Aussies immediately hit back from a poor kick-off which they missed and Beale running through the Springboks poor defence.

Just before halftime the Aussies got a penalty over to lead 13-10 at the break.

The second half was better in a way for the Boks but to many mistakes and missed opportunities they had to seal the game.

A fantastic driving maul saw Australia hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau score a converted try early in the second half. South Africa reduced the home side’s lead to seven points after Jantjies slotted another penalty kick which was awarded after a Wallaby was caught offside.

The Springboks then scored a levelling converted try after a 20 metre maurauding maul resulted in a try for Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx. After 67 minutes, a monsterous Bok scrum from five metres out resulted in a penalty awarded which Jantjies duely converted.

Foley responded with his third penalty conversion after South Africa illegally cleared out the scrum-half. Posession was exchanged numerous times in the last five minutes but the drama ended with a 23-23 draw.

The scorers:

For Australia:
Tries: Beale, Polota-Nau
Cons: Foley 2
Pens: Foley 3

For South Africa:
Tries: Kriel, Marx
Cons: Jantjies 2
Pens: Jantjies 3

All Blacks put Pumas away

1

The All Blacks and Pumas made a few changes to their sides for this test match and it was the Pumas that shown their intend throughout that first half.

They attacked the All Blacks from the start but could not get pass the defence of the All Blacks.

The All Blacks absorb the pressure well and were also the first to get pints on the board when they found a gab in the Pumas defence.

Nehe Milner-Skudder was the man that got over the line and a lead of 5-0 for the home side. Barrett did not bring his kicking boots with on the day and missed all three of the All Blacks first half try.

The Pumas got on the board with a penalty but it was the All Blacks that scored their second ty with a perfect kick from Barret which Anton Lienert-Brown caught and dotted down.

The Argentinians stayed in the game with another penalty and a drop goal.

Dagg was at the end of sustain pressure from the All Blacks on the Pumas line to score their third try of the half and stretch the lead to 15-9 with a few minutes to go.

The All Blacks had to defend their line just before halftime and Read could not managed the short lineout with the Pumas getting their hands on the ball and after three phases Nicolas Sanchez got their first try.

This gave the Pumas a halftime lead over the All Blacks of 16-15.

The Pumas extended their lead early in the second half with another long-range kick from Emiliano Boffelli to extend their lead to 19-15.

Things went from bad to worse for the All Blacks as they lost Barrett to a yellow card and the Pumas extending the lead to 22-15.

The All Blacks with fourteen men strike back immediately with a brilliant try from Vaea Fifita to level the scores at 22 all.

The All Blacks kept the pressure on and the Pumas did not have any answer when they speed up the game.

It was Damian McKenzie that dived over in the corner for another try to the All Blacks and the lead again of 29-22.

The lead was extended with another penalty from Sopoaga. The game started to get to fast for the Pumas as they All Blacks dominated all aspect of it.

The All Blacks got another try through Barrett from just sustain pressure and got to a lead of 39-22 after 79 minutes.

Although the Pumas was in the game they just could not match the All Blacks speed and game at the end.

The scorers:

For New Zealand:
Tries: Lienert-Brown, Milner-Skudder, Dagg, Fifita, McKenzie, Barrett
Cons: Sopoaga 3
Pen: Sopoaga
Yellow Card: Barrett

For Argentina:
Try: Sanchez
Cons: Sanchez 2
Pens: Sanchez 2, Boffelli 2
Drop Goal: Sanchez

Six changes for Argentina to face All Blacks

0

Argentina have made six changes to their starting line-up for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash with the All Blacks in New Plymouth.

Veteran loose forward Juan Manuel Leguizamon has been omitted from the matchday 23 with Benjamin Macome taking his place.

“We choose the best players for each match,” Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade said when naming his team on Thursday.

“Benjamin Macome is training very well, is a ball-carrier similar to Leguizamon and now will have his opportunity. The rest of the players are also training very well.”

The highly-rated Guido Petti, who was named in SANZAAR’s Super Rugby team of the year, has been included in the starting XV at the expense of Tomas Lavanini.

Although Lavanini was not handed any further ban for his two yellow cards in Argentina’s second loss to South Africa, he has paid for his indiscipline with Hourcade opting to drop him from the matchday squad.

Meanwhile, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro has been included at the expense of injured tighthead prop Ramiro Herrera, Javio Ortega Desio replaces Tomas Lezana at flank, while in the backs Nicolas Sanchez returns at fly-half in place of Juan Martin Hernandez.

Other changes in the backline sees Santiago Cordero replacing wing Ramiro Moyano and Matias Moroni preferred to Matias Orlando at centre.

Argentina have never beaten the All Blacks, which Hourcade said gave them “a huge motivation” going into Saturday’s Test.

Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Benjamin Macome, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Lucas Noguera Paz
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto Heilan, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Matias Orlando

Hansen rotate for Argentina

6

New Zealand have made several changes to their side that will face Argentina in their Rugby Championship clash in New Plymouth on Saturday.

In the forwards, Vaea Fifita gets his first start in his second Test, named at blindside flanker, while lock Luke Romano makes his first start of the year. Ardie Savea starts at openside flanker with Sam Cane moving to the bench. Prop Wyatt Crockett also returns to the 23 on the bench.

In the backs, TJ Perenara starts at scrum-half, while Tawera Kerr-Barlow makes his first appearance of 2017 on the bench. Anton Lienert-Brown has been named at 13. Nehe Milner-Skudder makes a welcome return to the All Blacks on the left wing, marking his first appearance since the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Israel Dagg is on the right wing. Ngani Laumape is back cover on the bench in the 23 jersey.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “This Test match is all about us taking opportunities. It’s an opportunity for our players to grow individually and collectively as a team, not only in our preparation throughout the week, but in our performance on Saturday.

“We’ve taken some key learnings from our first two Tests against Australia and now it’s an opportunity to take those learnings into a Test match against an old foe who we know pretty well now. Argentina are a dynamic, physical team who are growing their style of game. They are a proud people as well so they’ll be desperate (after their losses against South Africa) so we’ll have to be ready for that challenge.

“We’ve had a great build up here in New Plymouth, it’s a real rugby city and the people have made us feel really welcome, so we’re all looking forward to Saturday.”

New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Ngani Laumape

Strong Aussie side to take on Boks

5

Tevita Kuridrani will run out for his 50th Test for the Wallabies when they face the Springboks at the nib Stadium in Perth on Saturday.

Kuridrani has retained the number 13 jersey and will, once again, line up in midfield with Kurtley Beale in this must-win Test for the Wallabies.

Head coach Michael Cheika has made four changes to the squad who were narrowly defeated by New Zealand in Dunedin two weeks ago.

With the withdrawal of first-choice hooker Stephen Moore, who stayed in Brisbane for the birth of his third child, the door opened for Rebels rookie Jordan Uelese’s potential debut, who despite his limited game time at the elite level starts starts on the replacements bench.

Tatafu Polota-Nau will take the number two jersey in one of three changes to the starting pack, with Sekope Kepu to start at tighthead prop and Adam Coleman returning from injury to partner Rory Arnold in the second row.

Coleman was an 11th-hour withdrawal from the Wallabies’ second Bledisloe Cup Test with a shoulder injury, but has shaken that off in the fortnight since.

His Force team-mate Dane Haylett-Petty was ruled out earlier on Thursday, with the wing set to undergo surgery on a torn bicep muscle, putting him out for the rest of the 2017 season.

Reece Hodge will replace Haylett-Petty in the starting side, his first start of the year at Test level.

Samu Kerevi has earned a reprieve onto the bench after being dropped for the second Bledisloe Test in Dunedin, having played for Brisbane City in the opening round of the NRC last weekend.

Flanker Jack Dempsey is in line to add to his one June appearance, named on the bench in favour of Lopeti Timani for this weekend’s South African challenge.

Uelese, 20, bolted into the Wallabies squad last month and has not put a foot wrong since bringing his hulking frame into the Test landscape, impressing his team-mates and coaches alike.

The Melbourne youngster has played three games for the Rebels, with 16, five and seven minutes in those outings, as well as starring in the U20s World Championship campaign.

He has played just 28 minutes of Super Rugby but Rebels rookie Jordan Uelese is in line to be the latest Wallabies debutant, named in Australia’s 23 to take on the Springboks.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Samu Kerevi, 23 Curtis Rona

Cronje back for Aussie clash

4

Ross Cronjé has shrugged off his ankle injury and comes back at scrumhalf in the Springbok team for Saturday’s important Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test in Perth against Australia.
Cronjé, who has established himself as the regular No 9 this season for the Boks, missed the away victory over the Pumas in Salta because of an ankle ligament sprain he suffered in the Port Elizabeth match.

He resumes the scrumhalf duties next to flyhalf Elton Jantjies, while Francois Hougaard returns to the bench.

The only other change to the starting team is at lock, Franco Mostert gets a well-deserved break with Pieter-Steph du Toit returning to the starting team for the first time this season in a rotational switch.

Mostert has been a stalwart for the Springboks and the Emirates Lions this season and gets a break because of his heavy workload.

Du Toit is the current SA Rugby Player of the Year and the big lock is reunited in the second row with Bok captain, Eben Etzebeth, who makes his 60th appearance on Saturday. The 25-year old Etzebeth leads the Springboks for the fourth time this season, while Lood de Jager will start on the bench.

The final change to the match-23 that played in Salta sees the inclusion of experienced flyhalf Handré Pollard amongst the reserves. Pollard, who can also easily slot into midfield if needed, makes his first appearance in a match day squad since the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Mostert has established himself as the starting No 5 lock this year, and has been a stalwart figure in the Springboks’ five wins so far this season.

“Franco has played an enormous amount of rugby – at Vodacom Super Rugby level, playing club rugby in Japan and starting all of our Tests matches so far this year,” said Coetzee.

“We have to be sensible in managing the workload of certain players, such as Franco. We are fortunate to have a number of very good locks. Pieter-Steph now gets an opportunity to start again, and we know what he is capable of.”

Pollard has fought his way back to full fitness and comes onto the replacement bench. According to Coetzee, Pollard has worked extremely hard to get back into selection frame after another injury sustained earlier this year.

“I am really satisfied with the way he has trained till now and it’s great for the team to have a player of his calibre on the bench,” said Coetzee.

Coetzee praised the hard work and attitude of the squad, which has resulted in five Springbok wins in a row. The Boks scored a 3-0 series win over France in June and defeated Argentina home and away in the opening rounds of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

“Even though we travelled to three continents in ten days, this group has the desire to get better, and learn from previous experiences,” said Coetzee.

“The performance in Salta was not perfect, but we are looking forward to the next opportunity to improve as individuals and as a team.”

The Springbok coach again emphasised that the Wallabies will come with a massive challenge on Saturday: “They are a well-coached side, with great deception on attack. Their playmakers and strike runners complement each other very well and we will have to be very sharp on defence.

“If you look at their performances against New Zealand, you will see how well they have functioned in scoring nine tries and 63 points in two matches,” said Coetzee.

The Springbok side to face the Wallabies in Perth:

15. Andries Coetzee (Emirates Lions), 5 caps, 0 points
14. Raymond Rhule (Toyota Cheetahs), 5 caps, 5 points (1 try)
13. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls), 21 caps, 25 points (5 tries)
12. Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Bulls), 31 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
11. Courtnall Skosan (Emirates Lions), 5 caps, 5 points (1 try)
10. Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions), 16 caps, 166 points (2 try, 30 conversions, 32 penalties)
9. Ross Cronje (Emirates Lions), 3 caps, 5 points (1 try)
8. Uzair Cassiem (Toyota Cheetahs) 3 caps, 5 points (1 try)
7. Jaco Kriel (Emirates Lions), 10 caps, 0 points
6. Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers), 21 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), 25 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
4. Eben Etzebeth (captain, DHL Stormers), 59 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
3. Coenie Oosthuizen (Cell C Sharks), 28 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
2. Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions), 7 caps, 5 points (1 try)
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), 92 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Replacements:
16. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), 10 caps, 0 points
17. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), 15 caps, 0 points
18. Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls), 30 caps, 5 points (1 try)
19. Lood de Jager (Vodacom Bulls), 29 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
20. Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks), 6 caps, 5 points (1 try)
21. Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors, England) 44 caps, 25 points (5 tries)
22. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls), 20 caps, 188 points (2 tries, 29 conversions, 37 penalties, 3 drop goals)
23. Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers), 24 caps, 15 points (3 tries)

Ridiculous ticket prices for Newlands test

1

Newlands tickets will go on sale for the public on Monday September 11 but supporters will not be happy.

WP rugby have announced the prices from R100 for scholars to R950 for prime seats. The in-between seats are also not so great with standing tickets for R150 and other selected seats at R450.

Their is only a limited amount of tickets available for the general public with season ticket holders having no problems for the test.

 

There are no public tickets currently legally on sale. Only tickets bought from wprugby.computicket.com or any Computicket outlet will be valid for this match.

These are the only outlets which are licenced to sell tickets to Newlands. Tickets obtained from any other source are not valid.

These prices a far and wide from what we saw in PE where tickets prices starting from as low as R75.

Ticket prices for the SA vs Argentina match played in PE:

– North/South Levels 5&6: R75
– West/East Levels 5&6: R200
– North/South Levels 2: R275
– East Levels: R400
– West Levels 2: R500
– Royal Lounge: R750

Ticket prices for Springboks v All Blacks at Newlands on October 7:

Category One & Two R950

Category Three R850

Category Four R450

Category Five (standing) R150

Scholars enclosures R100 – (Dedicated Under-18 scholars enclosures at the north and south ends of the ground)

It is no wonder people do not go to stadiums anymore with these ridiculous prices.

Are WP Rugby trying to make the money they need for all the law suits  against them?

 

Pollard back in Springbok squad in-place of Bosch

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Fly-half Handré Pollard, scrum-half Ross Cronje and utility back Dillyn Leyds have been included in the Springbok touring squad for their Australasian leg of the Rugby Championship as coach Allister Coetzee opted for continuity.

Pollard has successfully completed his ankle injury rehabilitation and was selected in the place of Curwin Bosch, the young utility back who made his Springbok debut against Argentina in Port Elizabeth.

Cronje has established himself as the regular Springbok number nine so far this season. He missed the trip to Salta but has recovered from his ankle injury and can be considered for the Test against Australia in Perth next Saturday.

Leyds, who covers wing and full-back, is back in the squad in the place of centre Francois Venter.

Venter, Bosch and Jano Vermaak have all been released back to their respective provinces.

Regarding the changes, Coetzee said: “Handré was really impressive during the two weeks he spent with us in Port Elizabeth. Even though he was fit and available for the away match against Argentina in Salta, we made a decision that another week of conditioning will be beneficial for him.

“I believe he is fit and ready to go and he will be utilised in a versatile role, covering centre too. He is the kind of player that really thrives in the Springbok environment and is very coachable. It must be said that he also made huge improvement in terms of his skill levels and the understanding of this team’s technical plan.

“Curwin has grown a lot during his time with us, and all our coaches are pleased with his current development. He knows what is expected of him in this environment, and like I said before, it is my responsibility to manage him properly at international level.

“We would like to see him carry the confidence he has gained during his time with Springboks into the Currie Cup.”

The versatile Leyds featured in the three-Test series against France in June and has played consistently well since returning to Western Province, paving the way for his Springbok return.

“Dillyn covers wing, full-back and if needed he can slot into to fly-half as well,” said Coetzee.

“He has continued to impress while playing for his province in the Currie Cup competition.”

Meanwhile, the Springboks will know the full extent of the rib injury to prop Coenie Oosthuizen by Wednesday. He is scheduled to undergo a scan later on Tuesday.

The rest of the touring squad to Argentina was kept unchanged for the next two away matches in Australia and New Zealand. The Springboks face the Wallabies in Perth on 9 September and meet the All Blacks a week later in Auckland.

Coetzee was delighted with the consistency of the group so far this season, which has again allowed him to keep squad changes to a minimum.

“This group has done well in the previous two matches against Argentina but the next two away matches will pose completely different and difficult challenges,” he added.

The Springboks will reassemble in Johannesburg on Friday and the squad will depart to Australia in two groups. The backs fly out on Friday evening while the forwards will follow them a day later.

Springbok squad:

Forwards: Uzair Cassiem, Lood de Jager, Ruan Dreyer, Dan du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth (c), Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle

Backs: Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronje, Damian de Allende, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Jesse Kriel, Dillyn Leyds, Rudy Paige, Handre Pollard, Raymond Rhule, Jan Serfontein, Courtnall Skosan

All Blacks may need to expand their repertoire against Springboks, Pumas

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Fast and furious in both tests against the Wallabies, the All Blacks may look to temper their game when they face Argentina and South Africa writes Gregor Paul Sports writer for NZHerald

The Bledisloe Cup series has been devoted to all-out attack – an almost exclusive devotion to pass-and-catch rugby, where New Zealand have tried to play at a frenetic pace.

Against Australia, in both tests, their kicking game was nowhere to be seen.

They didn’t crash big ball carriers off Aaron Smith the way they did in the first test against the British & Irish Lions, and nor did they show much in the way of pick and go, bar some flashes of it in the second half in Dunedin.

Tactically, the All Blacks were largely one-dimensional against the Wallabies, which was deliberate. They wanted to play, with a dry ball and fast track at both venues, at a high tempo and trust their skill execution to be at a higher level than Australia’s.

It was not a sign they have little else to offer. They retained the Bledisloe, so who can say they weren’t right to play the way did?

But there will inevitably have to be some adjustment, when they meet the Pumas on September 10 in New Plymouth and then again for South Africa in Albany on September 17.

It’s likely that both Smith and Beauden Barrett will be asked to kick more in the coming weeks. They won’t look to overdo it, but certainly the All Blacks will feel they need to introduce more aspects to their attack game to make them a harder proposition to shut down.

The Wallabies were reading the All Blacks superbly in Dunedin, epitomised by the way they were able to get off the line and target lock Brodie Retallick. They knew the All Blacks were going to use the big lock to crash over the gain line in the middle of the field, so they swarmed and shut him down.

The relentless nature of the Wallabies defence was also able to unsettle the All Blacks to the point where they lost a little faith in their own skill execution. Rather than try to play their way out of trouble with creativity and vision, the All Blacks responded to going 17-0 down by being overtly physical.

They will look to avoid making that same mistake in New Plymouth, and expect that by having more elements, more balance to their attack, they will give themselves more space and opportunity to use their running pace and skill passing game.

In terms of personnel, they know they will be without Owen Franks and Ben Smith. They could also be without Sam Cane and Ryan Crotty, both of whom are under concussion protocols.

If Cane isn’t passed fit, Matt Todd will join the squad, and if Crotty isn’t cleared, it is possible Jack Goodhue could step in.

Catch the second test highlights here:

Coenie to undergo scans

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There are some concern over Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen as he will undergo a scan to determine the rig injury he got in the Springboks win over Argentina in Salta.

Oosthuizen left the field in the second half and was replaced by Nyakane.

The Springboks will arrive back in South Africa on Tuesday which will see Oosthuizen go for further scans and assessments.

The next match for the Springboks is only in two weeks when they take on the Aussies in pert on the 9 of September.

Ossthuizen have relish in the opportunity he got this year and has been one of the South Africans outstanding players. Allot of the credit in the dominate scrums against the Argentinians has gone to Oosthuizen

Watch the Highlights of the second test here:

Bonus point win for Springboks in Salta

5

The Springboks claimed a bonus point win in Salta on Saturday night which moved them to the top of the Castle Rugby Championship when they beat Argentina 41-23.

It was not pretty but it was effective and they did what they needed to do for their first win away from home this year.

The Stormers captain Siya Kolisi score two tries and another man of the match performance. Kolisi and Jaco Kriel combined brilliantly in this test and both had one of their best test matches this year.

Jaco Kriel have surely cemented his posision on the team and he was one of the best players on the field for the Springboks on Saturday night.

The test was played with allot of frastration from the Argentina team and it showed with the ill-discipline shown by the South Americans in the second half.

The Springboks dominated much of the test and again the scrums which frastrated the Pumas and led to the discipline problems and cards being dished out in the second half.

Tomás Lavanini received a second yellow for an automatic red card and took the contest away from the Pumas.

The Springboks were great at moments of this test but were also very ordinary and poor at other stages.

This is something Allister Coetzee will have to work hard on in the next two weeks before taking on the Aussies in Australia.

The attacking play of the Springboks were again good and they scored some great tries in the test.

The biggest problem for the Springboks was as soon as they scored a try to pull ahead they let the Argentinians back with easy tries again.

Although the Springboks scored 4 tries with the penalty try, they left allot of points yet again on the field.

Opportunities does not come fast and many in test matches and they will have to start taking those opportunities when the comes.

With the test getting to the final minutes Jean-Luc Du Preez scored his first test try in the corner for the Springboks.

The bench players yet again made an impact when they came on and something that was lacking last year.

This test was yet again a good build-up to the four test against the Aussies and All Blacks that lies ahead but that there is still hard work to do is clear to see.

Scorers:

Argentina – Tries: Ramiro Moyano, Matías Moroni. Conversion: Juan Martín Hernández, Nicolás Sánchez. Penalties: Emiliano Boffelli (2), Hernandez.
Springboks – Tries: Siya Kolisi (2), Elton Jantjies, penalty try, Jean-Luc du Preez. Conversions: Jantjies (4). Penalty: Jantjies (2).

Jaco Kriel

Stats : Ball Carries (Metres) 54, Linebreaks 1, Tackle-completion% 87%, Tackles – Made 13

All Blacks win a thriller against much improved Aussies

1

It was one of those magic test matches between New Zealand and Australia with the All Blacks stealing it with 3 minutes to go.

With a lead of 17-0 at one stage the Aussies lost this game 35-29 at the end.

The Aussies ad the perfect start with Faloa getting an intercept try from his on twenty two to get the Aussies on the board.

This gave them a lead of 5-0 after just 2 minutes into the game.

The All Blacks got quickly back into the Aussies twenty two but through some good defence from the Aussies and handling mistakes from the All Blacks they could not get points from the field posision.

The Aussies got back into the All Balcks half and from a attacking lineout Hooper breoked though the ruck to score their second try and a 12-0 lead.

The All Blacks did get one back as they again put pressure inside Aussies twenty two when Ioane got an inside pass to get their first try after 22 minutes.

The All Blacks did not handle the defensive pressure well from Aussies forcing them to hurry their play and making mistakes.

With the All Blacks camping in the Aussies half they finally got over for their third try when Smith sneaked over from a scrum to make the halftime score 17-14 for the Aussies.

The All Blacks were first to cross the line in the second half but the try was disallowed because they could not see a clear grounding.

The All Blacks took the lead in the 62 minute of the test when Barrett got over after some great pressure from them on Aussies try line.

The Aussies came back with a great try to take the lead back 22-21 but Foley could not kick the conversion as he failed many times on the night.

This sparked the All Blacks into action and they put 22 phases together to send Ben Smith over for their forth try and the lead of 28-22.

The Aussies were not done and got the lead back with three minutes to go when Beale went over for their fifth try of the test and the lead of 29-28.

It had to be absolute magic from the All Blacks to get a win with three minutes to go and they did just that when Barrett was at the end of some brilliant running lines and passes to get the win 35-29.

This was one of the better test matches we have seen for a long time and the Aussies have shown that they are on the road back with brilliant defence and attacking ability.

The All Blacks would have been very happy to have come back from a 17-0 to win this one 35-29.

Scorers:

All Blacks – Tries: Rieko Ioane, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett (2), Ben Smith. Conversions: Barrett (5).
Wallabies – Tries: Israel Folau, Michael Hooper, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Kurtley Beale. Conversions: Foley (2).

 

Preview: Argentina v Springboks

0

Springbok coach Coetzee will be a much happier man from last year this time. This will be the first time the Springboks will be playing outside South Africa this year and a huge test of their character building up to the Aussie and New Zealand test in a few weeks from now.

It was not perfect last week and the Springboks struggled to get through the Argentina defence but won comfortably at the end of the day.

With captain Whiteley still out for a few weeks Etzebeth will again lead the Springboks in Salta with the aim to get a bonus point win. That in itself will be a huge boost for the Boks and getting in the right frame to take on the Aussies.

Building from last years disaster has been smooth this far for the Springboks and Coetzee but each week will be a step up again and progress is all we can ask at the moment.

Last year the away test was not a good one and they will be in a mindset to not just correct that but keep playing a brand of rugby that will enable them to challenge the best test nations out there.

Lats year thet Pumas forced the Boks in a kicking game which the Springboks could not handle and they need to be ready for much the same this weekend.

Defence has been one of the biggest turnarounds for the Springboks this year and an aspect they they and coach Venter want to keep building on especially away from home.

One would also like to see that our backline runs straight this week as they constantly shifted to the side last week which forced them to the side of the field most of the time.

The set pieces went well last week for the Springboks but they can expect a much bigger onslaught this week from the Pumas especially in the scrums.

For the Springboks Francois Hougaard comes in for the injured Cronje but the rest of the starting fifteen stayed the same as last week.

Previous meetings:

2017: Springboks won 37-15 in Port Elizabeth
2016: Argentina won 26-24 in Salta
2016: South Africa won 30-23 in Nelspruit
2015: South Africa won 24-13 in London
2015: South Africa won 26-12 in Buenos Aires
2015: Argentina won 37-25 in Durban
2014: South Africa won 33-31 in Salta
2014: South Africa won 13-6 in Pretoria

The teams:

Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Lucas Noguera
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Nicolas Sanchez, 23 Matias Moroni

South Africa: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Damian de Allende

Hougaard get start in Salta

8

Experienced scrumhalf Francois Hougaard will make his 44th Test appearance for the Springboks when South Africa face Argentina in the high altitude of Salta on Saturday evening (SA time).

Hougaard comes into the Springbok starting fifteen in place of the injured Ross Cronje, who sustained an ankle injury in the Springboks’ 37-15 triumph over the Pumas last weekend in Port Elizabeth.

Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, said that while the loss of Cronje is a big blow to the team, the Boks are in the fortunate position to call on the services of the very experienced Hougaard.

With Hougaard elevated to the starting team, Rudy Paige moves back into the match day squad as the replacement scrumhalf.

“Francois has played a lot of Test match rugby, his work ethic is second to none and he has been working hard up to now since joining the squad,” said Coetzee.

“Rudy made a good impact in the third Test against France and I expect the same from him this weekend.”

According to the Springbok coach, the entire match 23 played well in Port Elizabeth, making it easy to announce just the one forced change in a week that the team has a short turnaround due to the travel to South America. The consistent team selection also allows the Springboks to continue with their processes and keep building on their continuity.

Coetzee also pointed to the healthy competition for places in the team: “The players outside of the match 23 squad are all knocking on the door and that is a great position to be in.”

Coetzee said the Springboks have to deliver an even better performance in Salta, where a fierce Puma challenge is expected.

“This is going to be a different challenge but I have no doubt the players will benefit and grow from every tough experience,” said the Springbok coach.

“Our approach and preparation will be just the same as when we prepared for all our home Tests, and to control whatever we can control.

“We must again show patience, hunger and the desire to execute our game plan.”

The two teams have met twice in Salta before – in 2014, Jean de Villiers’ Springboks clinched a narrow 33-31 win over the Pumas at the high altitude venue, and in 2016 the Pumas recorded a famous 26-24 win over the South Africans.

The Springbok side to face Argentina in Salta:

15. Andries Coetzee (Emirates Lions), 4 caps, 0 points
14. Raymond Rhule (Toyota Cheetahs), 4 caps, 5 points (1 try)
13. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls), 20 caps, 25 points (5 tries)
12. Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Bulls), 30 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
11. Courtnall Skosan (Emirates Lions), 4 caps, points (1 try)
10. Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions), 15 caps, 147 points (1 try, 26 conv, 30 pen)
9. Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors, England) 43 caps, 25 points (5 tries)
8. Uzair Cassiem (Toyota Cheetahs) 2 caps, 5 points (1 try)
7. Jaco Kriel (Emirates Lions), 9 caps, 0 points
6. Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers), 20 caps, 5 points (1 try)
5. Franco Mostert (Emirates Lions), 11 caps, 0 points
4. Eben Etzebeth (captain, DHL Stormers), 58 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
3. Coenie Oosthuizen (Cell C Sharks), 27 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
2. Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions), 6 caps, 5 points (1 try)
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), 91 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Replacements:
16. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), 9 caps, 0 points
17. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), 14 caps, 0 points
18. Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls), 29 caps, 5 points (1 try)
19. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), 24 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
20. Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks), 5 caps, 0 points
21. Rudy Paige (Vodacom Bulls) 8 caps, 5 points (1 try)
22. Curwin Bosch (Cell C Sharks), 1 cap, 0 points
23. Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers), 23 caps, 15 points (3 tries)

Preview: All Blacks v Australia

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It is the second week of the Castle Rugby Championship and just a reverse in venue from last weeks first round of tests.

The All Blacks will be hosting the Aussie in New Zealand this weekend in the first test of the day after beating them 54-34 last week. A bonus point win was just what the All Blacks wanted from there trip to OZ and they will want to repeat it at home.

It was a indifferent test last week with the All Blacks dominating and flying away with the score in the first half but let some easy tries in from the Aussies in the second half.

Defensively they will want to put a better performance together but one must give credit to the Aussies for they way they came back in that second half and their attacking capabilities.

The Australian team is busy with a re-build and one can expect that they will struggle against the likes of the All Blacks but their defensive communication was poor and not up to test standard. They are struggling this year and need to start making progress not just in attack but in all departments of the game.

Lineouts and scrums were 50/50 but we can expect a huge effort from the All Blacks at home and if they can dominate upfront the Aussies are in for another long day at the office.

The All Blacks welcome back their star hooker Dan Coles this week which should add to not just their scrumming and lineouts but also go forward ball. In my mind Coles and Marx are the best hookers in world rugby at the moment and to have him back will be huge for Hansen team.

Coach Michael Cheika picked Tevita Kuridrani in his midfield but one still believe that the All Blacks will be too good for them to defend against.

This will be yet again a fast and power game from the All Blacks and the Aussies that will try and hold on. Many people believed after the British & Irish Lions series that the All Blacks are beatable but you have to be as good as them in all departments to come even close to what the Lions side did against them.

Teams:

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

Wallabies – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Lopeti Timani/Jack Dempsey, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Reece Hodge, 23 Curtis Rona.

Coles back for All Blacks

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The All Blacks will have Dan Coles back in the team when they host the Aussies on Saturday in their second Rugby Championship clash

Prop Kane Hames comes onto the bench replacing Wyatt Crockett, while Scott Barrett is the reserve lock, in for Luke Romano, who has a minor foot niggle.

“It’s been great to be back home in New Zealand and we’ve had a great week’s preparation in Dunedin,” said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

“Whilst we were very happy with the way we played for periods of the game in the first Test, there were also moments where we weren’t so crash hot. However, this is a new week and we’re well aware that we’ll have to be better in all areas of our game, and we’ve concentrated on those areas we want to improve. Once again, a good start will be important.”

Hansen said the team was again looking forward to playing at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

“Playing under the roof in Dunedin means we should see a high-speed game, which should suit both teams and create an entertaining match that fans won’t want to miss,” he said. “I know the team itself is looking forward to Saturday as it’s another opportunity to grow and develop as a group.”

Team:

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