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Farrell at flyhalf for England


Photo: BackpagePix
Photo: BackpagePix

Stuart Lancaster has made five changes to his starting line-up, most among the back division, for the second Test against New Zealand.

Having welcomed back 15 players from Premiership finalists Northampton Saints and Saracens, Lancaster has resisted the urge to tinker too much with the team that pushed the All Blacks all the way in the opener at Eden Park.

In the only change to the pack that bullied the Blacks in the first Test, Tom Wood replaces James Haskell at blindside flank.

The backline has a very different look about it, with a number of positional as well as personnel changes. Danny Care starts having missed the first Test through injury, while Farrell will replace the impressive Freddie Burns outside of him. Lancaster has opted for a new centre combination, with Billy Twelvetrees and Luther Burrell resuming their Six Nations partnership.

This means Manu Tuilagi will start on the right wing, setting up a colossal clash with Julian Savea. Marland Yarde has meanwhile, been switched to the opposite flank.

The bench has been bolstered by the likes of Billy Vunipola, Chris Ashton, Courtney Lawes and Dylan Hartley, all of whom are capable of making a significant contribution later on in the match.

England  15 Mike Brown, 14 Manu Tuilagi, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Danny Care, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Joe Marler.
Subs: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Chris Ashton.

EP Kings 12(0), Wales 34(17)



Wales’ three-match tour of South Africa is set for a rousing start, when the visitors tackle the Eastern Province Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

The Welsh Dragons will be sharpening their claws for the much more daunting task of taking on the Springboks in a two-Test series – in Durban this coming Saturday, June 14, and Nelspruit a week later, June 21.

For the home team’s players it is about staking a claim for berths in the starting line-up when the Currie Cup season gets under way in August.

Dan Lydiate will captain Wales in their opening game after recovering from a hamstring injury, and coach Warren Gatland is keen to see how his charges perform.

The teams:

Eastern Province Kings: 15 Hansie Greeff, 14 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Scott van Breda, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Devin Oosthuizen, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Darron Nell (captain), 3 Charl du Plessis, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Albe de Swardt, 17 BG Uys, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Steven Cummins, 19 Stefan Willemse, 20 Jaco Grobler, 21 Dwayne Jenner, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa.

Wales: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Steven Shingler, 11 Jordan Williams, 10 James Hook, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Dan Baker, 7 Josh Turnbull, 6 Dan Lydiate (captain), 5 Ian Evans, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Rhodri Jones, 2 Scott Baldwin, Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Aaron Jarvis, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Luke Charteris, 20 Aaron Shingler, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 George North, 23 Liam Williams.

Date: Tuesday, June 10
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 19.00 (17.00 GMT; 18.00 UK time)
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant referees: Christie du Preez, Rodney Boneparte
TMO: Jason Jaftha


Australia 50(29), France 23(9)


Australia, comprised of a team of Super Rugby form players, will welcome a French team that is looking a little thin after the Top 14 Final.
None of Les Bleus will fear the Wallabies, however, after they embarrassed them in 2012, in the scrums and elsewhere, to win 33-6 in Paris the last time they played.
This time around the Wallabies will be targeting a 3-0 home series outcome as they had against Wales in 2012, but each Test was a close run thing and this series could be the same.
French coach Philippe Saint-André has given the Wallabies a significant advantage for the first test.
He has rested all the players who appeared in the Top 14 Final last weekend, except for a couple of backs on the bench.
Thierry Dusautoir and Yannick Nyanga, who have played only a few hours between them since they were injured early in 2014, are also included in the squad.
Some of his squad haven’t played since the end of the regular season at the beginning of May and are rusty already.
McKenzie had to make tough decisions on his matchday team.
It was a wrench for him to drop improving scrumhalf Will Genia from the 23, but Nic White and Nick Phipps had been playing well for longer, and it was better to start White against France than against the All Blacks or Springboks.
Foley was nominated as flyhalf and Matt Toomua, inside centre. Toomua played well at No.10 for the Brumbies, but was outstanding in the 12 jersey for the Wallabies on their 2013 End of Year tour before he was injured.
Foley, only recently earning his test debut when he came on against Argentina to score a try and add two conversions, is clearly proud to wear the Gold jersey.
Recent results:
2012 France won 33-6, Paris
2010 Australia won 59-16, Paris
2009 Australia won 22-6, Sydney
2008 Australia won 18-13, Paris
2008 Australia won 40-10, Brisbane
2008 Australia won 34-13, Sydney
2005 France won 26-16, Marseille
2005 Australia won 37-31, Brisbane
2004 France won 27-14, Paris
2002 Australia won 31-25, Sydney
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nic White, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 James Slipper.  Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 James Horwill, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Kurtley Beale, 23 Pat McCabe.
France: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Yohann Huget, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Felix Le Bourhis, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Maxime Machenaud; 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Nicolas Mas (captain), 2 Guilhelm Guirado, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Alexandre Flanquart, 20 Antoine Burban, 21 Morgan Parra, 22 Remi Lamerat, 23 Brice Dulin.
Date: Saturday, June 7
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 19.40 (09.40 GMT; 11.40 French time)
Expected weather: It should be great conditions for rugby, as it will be mostly sunny and mild, with a high of 24°C and a low of 13°C. There will be a gentle (14 km/h) breeze blowing in a SSE direction.
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
Source: Rugby365

All Blacks 20(9), England 15(9)



The All Blacks will get their international season started against a depleted England side at their Eden Park fortress on Saturday.

The world champions went unbeaten last year, and they are fully expected to continue where they left off against an England side which does not feature any of the players who were involved in last weeekend’s Premiership Final.

However, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen does not seem to be taking anything for granted after naming a full-strength side as they look to gain some momentum.

England coach Stuart Lancaster is philosophical about his team’s lack of experience, pointing out that they have not had much to draw on since he took over after the last World Cup in 2011.

Recent results:
2013: New Zealand won 30-22 in London
2012: England won 38-21 in London
2010: New Zealand won 26-16 in London
2009: New Zealand won 19-6 in London
2008: New Zealand won 32-6 in London
2008: New Zealand won 44-12 in Christchurch
2008: New Zealand won 37-20 in Auckland
2006: New Zealand won 41-20 in London
2005: New Zealand won 23-19 in London

Prediction: England look to be on a hiding to nothing in this one, and whilst the All Blacks may take some time to warm up they should win this one by at least 20 points in the end.


New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Cory Jane, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Victor Vito, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa.

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Jonny May, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 James Haskell, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 David Wilson, 1 Rob Webber, Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Chris Pennell.

Date: Saturday, June 7
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT; 08.35 UK time)
Expected weather: Partly cloudy but dry. High of 18, wind 20 kph
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Jérôme Garcès (France)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Source: Rugby365

Haskell earns recall to England side



Loose forward James Haskell has been recalled to England’s starting team after an absence of 12 months for the opening match of their three-test series against New Zealand at Eden Park on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Haskell will start at blindside flanker for Stuart Lancaster’s side, who have been shorn of several of their first-choice players due to the late arrival of 16 members of the squad after the English Premiership final at the weekend.

Just seven of Saturday’s line-up started against Italy in their final Six Nations match in March, though the return of British and Irish Lions players Geoff Parling and Manu Tuilagi will undoubtedly strengthen the team.

“It’s great to welcome back Geoff Parling and James Haskell who have a lot of experience,” Lancaster said in a statement.

Gloucester’s Freddie Burns will start at flyhalf with the recalled Danny Cipriani on the bench. Regular flyhalf Owen Farrell was one of the late arrivals in New Zealand.

Inside centre Billy Twelvetrees was ruled out with an ankle injury and would be replaced by Bath’s Kyle Eastmond, who along with Tuilagi should provide All Blacks Conrad Smith and Ma’a Nonu with a challenge in the centres.

“Billy Twelvetrees is recovering well from his ankle injury and should be available for the second test,” Lancaster added.

“It’s now a good opportunity for Kyle Eastmond to build on what he achieved in Argentina last summer.”

Scrumhalf Danny Care was named to start, though British media reported he was also under an injury cloud after picking up a shoulder injury at training.

Lancaster named two uncapped players, hooker Joe Gray and outside back Chris Pennell on an inexperienced bench.

Replacement scrumhalf Ben Youngs (35) has accumulated more caps than the other seven players combined, who have a total of 33.

ENGLAND: 15-Mike Brown, 14-Marland Yarde, 13-Manu Tuilagi, 12-Kyle Eastmond, 11-Jonny May, 10-Freddie Burns, 9-Danny Care; 8-Ben Morgan, 7-Chris Robshaw (captain), 6-James Haskell, 5-Geoff Parling, 4-Joe Launchbury, 3-David Wilson, 2-Rob Webber, 1-Joe Marler

Replacements: 16-Joe Gray, 17-Matt Mullan, 18-Henry Thomas, 19-Dave Attwood, 20-Tom Johnson, 21-Ben Youngs, 22-Danny Cipriani, 23-Chris Pennell

Mallett warns World XV


Nick Mallett England

Nick Mallett was warned his World XV players to have the right attitude when they run out against the Springboks in Saturday’s international friendly at Newlands.

Speaking in Cape Town on Tuesday, former Springbok coach Mallett said he told his players at a de-briefing that they would be in for a “very unpleasant afternoon” if they did not approach the match in the right frame of mind. Mallett said sound preparation was a hallmark of Heyneke Meyer’s coaching career over the years. He said Meyer and his coaching staff, whether coaching the Springboks or the Bulls, always paid attention to all aspects of the game and opponents who were not sufficiently prepared, were punished severely.

“There are some wonderful classy rugby players in the World XV group but it is not about talent,” said Mallett. “We all know they can play. Everything hinges on the right attitude. This is a good team but in the Springboks we’re up against the second best team in the world.” Mallett said although the match was a friendly he expected his team to give a good account of themselves. “As the coach I want to appeal to the fact that these players will not want to embarrass themselves, or be humiliated,” said Mallett. “It’s one of those funny sort of games because the players will have a relaxed week but they will retain a strong focus. They will have to be prepared to put their body on the line.”

Mallett said he warned his charges that the Springboks can be ruthless. “South Africa is very good at punishing you and they have run up huge scores when opponents were not up to scratch,” Mallett said. “They (World XV players) have a responsibility to perform and if they don’t they will be in for a very unpleasant afternoon – and they can also get hurt.” Mallett has coached World XV and Barbarians sides before and he said the big challenge was to prepare a team in a matter of a few days.

“Some of the players are only arriving on Wednesday so they will only be on-lookers at training tomorrow,” said Mallett. “They just need to know our strategies. I will be trying to make it a competitive game. Some have never played with each other before and they speak different languages.” Hosea Gear, one of the in-form World XV players, is hoping to use the match to improve his chances of a recall to the New Zealand Test team. Last week Gear scored two tries in the Barbarians’ 39-29 win over an England XV at Twickenham and he is keen to make the All Blacks squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The 13-times capped All Black said he was leaving French club Toulouse to play a season in Japan for Honda before taking up a Super Rugby contract in New Zealand early next year.

“We are here to enjoy ourselves after a long season but we’ll do our best,” said the 30-year-old winger. The 23-year-old Wallaby wing James O’Connor said he was pleased to be playing at Newlands because it was the kind of game that attracted interest around the world. “Playing on this stage is what all (rugby) people see and I’m pushing my case forward to get a look in again (for Australia’s Test team),” said O’Connor. “Coming from different teams, we play various styles of rugby but all Southern Hemisphere teams all have the same mindset.

“We will want to enjoy ourselves but we won’t let ourselves down. I am playing for my pride, my family and my team on the day.”

Source: Planet Rugby

RFU to move All Black’s Test


EnglandThe Rugby Football Union have failed in their bid to have England’s opening Test match against New Zealand pushed back a week.

England have a three match tour of New Zealand this June but they will be without many of their best players in the opening Test due to their domestic fixtures.

The Aviva Premiership final is at Twickenham on May the 31st and the first England test against New Zealand is in Auckland on June the 7th.

England head coach has said that players involved in the Premiership final will not play in the opening June Test match as they will not have enough time to prepare.

RFU Chairman Bill Beaumont approached the International Rugby Board about moving the Test back a week as there was a difference of opinion over when the June Test window starts but was unsuccessful.

“We made a request to the IRB because they interpreted the week of May 31-June 1 as a June weekend, and we maintain it is a May weekend,” Beaumont told the Rugby Paper.

“We’ve tried for some time now to get it changed, but to no avail.”

The IRB responded saying, “When the Test schedule was agreed in 2010 the RFU was going through administrative changes. “

“At that time they were asked to respond to the schedule, and that did not happen, so the schedule was drawn up as is.”

Bokke 56, Samoan dirtbags 23


Yes it’s true. I said it. Samoa are scum. They always play dirty against the Bokke and escape. Will today be different?

Scotland 30 v Italy 29


Wooden spooners in a comp that just embarrassed them.

Bok team for Samoa changes three.


Stok stays unfortunately

Heyneke Meyer lashes out at breakdown lottery


Bok coach is very annoyed at Scotland’s brazen cheating and referee inconsistency.

Argentina 26 v England 51


England blasted the Argies off the park last weekend which I am sure will motivate them to deliver a better performance this time around.

Recent results:
2013: England won 32-3, Salta
2011: England won 13-9, Dunedin (World Cup pool match)
2009: England won 16-9, London
2009: Argentina won 24-22, Salta
2009: England won 37-15, Manchester
2006: Argentina won 25-18, London
2002: England won 18-26, Buenos Aires
2000: England won 19-0, London
1997: Argentina won 33-13, Buenos Aires
1997: England won 46-20, Buenos Aires


Argentina: 15 Martin Bustos Moyano, 14 Belisario Agulla, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Gabriel Ascarate, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Felipe Contepomi, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Tomas Leonardi, 7 Benjamin Macome, 6 Rodrigo Baez, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Julio Farias Cabello, 3 Maximiliano Bustos, 2 Martin Garcia Veiga, 1 Guillermo Roan.
Replacements: 16 Mauricio Guidone, 17 Pablo Henn, 18 Francisco Gómez Kodela, 19 Esteban Lozada, 20 Tomás De la Vega, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Benjamín Madero, 23 Matías Orlando.

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Tom Wood (captain), 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 Paul Doran Jones, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Ben Foden.

Date: Saturday, 15 June
Venue: Velez Sarsfield Stadium, Buenos Aires
Kick-off: 16.10 (19.10 GMT; 20.10 UK time)
Expected weather: Sunshine and some clouds, with no rain expected. High of 17°C, low of 11°C
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Boks 30 v Scotland 17


The score between these two teams in recent years have been very close, but the Boks should be way too good at home and at altitude for a Scottish side missing their best players to the B&I Lions.

Recent results:
2012: South Africa won 21-10, Edinburgh
2010: Scotland won 21-17, Edinburgh
2008: South Africa won 14-10, Edinburgh
2007: South Africa won 27-3, Edinburgh
2006: South Africa won 29-15, Port Elizabeth
2006: South Africa won 36-16, Durban
2004: South Africa won 45-10, Edinburgh
2003: South Africa won 28-19, Johannesburg
2003: South Africa won 29-25, Durban
2002: Scotland won 21-6, Edinburgh


South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.

Scotland: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Ryan Wilson, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Jon Welsh, 18 Moray Low, 19 Alastair Kellock, 20 David Denton, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Duncan Taylor.

Date: Saturday, June 15
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Kick-off: 17.15 (15.15 GMT; 16.15 UK time)
Expected weather: Sunny with a high of 23°C , dropping to 10°C
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gauzère (France), Nigel Hennessy (Wales)
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)

Samoa 39 v Italy 10


After their impressive win over Scotland last week, Samoa will aim to take two Northern Hemisphere scalps as they face off against Italy.

Could have been better, could have been worse


Guest writer Mike Bersiks gives an analysis nof the Boks’ performance against Italy.

USA 12 v Ireland 15


The USA juniors might have received a spanking at the U/20 World Cup from the Baby Boks, but their senior team will look for an historic first win over the Irish.

Recent results:
2011: Ireland won 22-10, New Plymouth
2009: Ireland won 27-10, Santa Clara
2004: Ireland won 55-6, Dublin
2000: Ireland won 83-3, Manchester
1999: Ireland won 53-8, Dublin
1996: Ireland won 25-18, Atlanta
1994: Ireland won 26-15, Dublin

Prediction: The USA will put up some strong resistance at the beginning of the game but as it opens up a bit the Irish should cruise home. Ireland to win by more than 20.

The teams:

USA Eagles: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Luke Hume, 13 Seamus Kelly, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Takudzwa Ngwenya, 10 Toby L’Estrange, 9 Mike Petri, 8 Todd Clever (Captain), 7 Scott LaValla, 6 Samu Manoa, 5 Louis Stanfill, 4 Brian Doyle, 3 Eric Fry, 2 Chris Biller, 1 Shawn Pittman.
Replacements: 16 Zach Fenoglio, 17 Nick Wallace, 18 Phil Thiel, 19 Peter Dahl, 20 John Quill, 21 Robbie Shaw, 22 James Paterson, 23 Adam Siddall.

Ireland: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Peter O’Mahony, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Mike Ross (captain), 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 David Kilcoyne.
Replacements:16 Mike Sherry, 17 Jamie Hagan, 18 Tom Court, 19 Dan Tuohy, 20 Tommy O’Donnell, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Felix Jones.

Date: Saturday, June 8
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston
Kick-off: 19.30 (00.30 GMT Sunday, June 9)
Expected weather: Blazing day in Houston with a high of 32°C, cooling into the evening with the temperature for the game at a pleasant 23°C. No rain predicted.
Referee: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
Assistant referees: Bryan Arciero (Canada), Chris Assmus (Canada)

Springboks 44 v Italy 10


A new-look Bok side will host Italy in the second game in Durban this weekend in what promises to be a great spectacle.

Previous results
2010: South Africa won 55-11, East_London
2010:  South Africa won 29-13, Witbank
2009: South Africa won 32-10 , Udine
2008: South Africa won 26-0 , Cape Town
2001: South Africa won 54-26, Genoa
2001: South Africa won 60-14, Port Elizabeth
1999: South Africa won 101-0, Durban
1999: South Africa won 74-3, Port Elizabeth
1997: South Africa won 62-31, Bologna:
1995: South Africa won 40-21 , Rome


South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.

Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Alberto di Bernardo, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Robert Barbieri, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Antonio Pavanello, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Alberto de Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Martín Castrogiovanni, 19 Valerio Bernabò, 20 Joshua Furno, 21 Tobias Botes, 22 Luciano Orquera, 23 Tommaso Iannone.

Date: Saturday, June 8
Kick-off: 17.15 (15.15 GMT; 17.15 Italian time)
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Expected weather: Sunny with a high of 28°C, dropping to 15°C,
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Nigel Hennessy (Wales), Blake Beattie (South Africa)
TMO: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)
Timekeeper: Paul Ackermann (South Africa)

Scotland 17 v Samoa 27


It is a first time we have a double-header test match rugby day in South Africa at the same venue – this series kicks off with Scotland versus Samoa.

Recent results:
2012: Scotland won 17-16, Apia
2010: Scotland won 19-16, Aberdeen
2005: Scotland won 18-11, Edinburgh
2004: Scotland won 38-3, Wellington
2000: Scotland won 31-8, Edinburgh
1999: Scotland won 35-20, Edinburgh
1995: Draw 15-15, Edinburgh
1991: Scotland won 28-6, Edinburgh

Prediction: The Samoans have changed up a lot of their personnel from the hiding they got from the Golden Lions last week which will mean they will be a lot more competitive than people think they will be. With this in mind, I still do not feel that they will have enough power and experience to match the Scottish side. Scotland to win by at least 10 points.

The teams:

Scotland:15 Greig Tonks, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Kelly Brown (captain), 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Alastair Kellock, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Steven Lawrie, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Peter Horne, 23Duncan Taylor.

Samoa: 15 James Sooialo, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Paul Williams (captain), 12 Jonny Leota, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Tusiata Pisi, 9 Jeremy Sua, 8 Taiasina Tuifua, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Ofisa Treviranus, 5 Daniel Leo, 4 Teofilo Paulo, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Wayne Ole Avei, 1 Logovii Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 Maatulimanu Leiataua, 17 Sakaria Taulafo, 18 James Johnston, 19 Faatiga Lemalu, 20 Junior Poluleuligaga, 21 Brando Vaaulu, 22 Seilala Mapusua, 23 Alafoti Faosiliva.

Date: Saturday, June 8
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 14.00 (12.00 GMT; 01.00, Sunday, June 9 Samoa time)
Expected weather: Absolute scorcher predicted for Durban with a high of 29°C which will be uncomfortable to play in at 14.00. No rain predicted with a low of 15°C.
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Sindile Mayende (South Africa)

Japan v Wales


It’s an historic event as the hosts of the Rugby World Cup in 2019 will look for their first victory over a major rugby country as Japan hosts a depleted Welsh side.


Japan: 15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Yoshikazu Fujita, 13 Male Sau, 12 Craig Wing, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Harumichi Tatekawa, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Takashi Kikutani (captain), 7 Michael Broadhurst, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Shoji Ito, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Masataka Mikami.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Yusuke Nagae, 18 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 19 Toshizumi Kitagawa, 20 Ryuta Yasui, 21 Atsushi Hiwasa, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Hirotoki Onozawa

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Owen Williams, 12 Jonathan Spratt, 11 Dafydd Howells, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Ryan Bevington, 7 Emyr Phillips, 6 Scott Andrews, 5 Bradley Davies (captain), 4 Lou Reed, 3 Andrew Coombs, 2 James King, 1 Rob McCusker.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Andries Pretorius, 20 Dan Baker, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Tom Prydie.

Date: Saturday, June 8
Venue: Kintetsu Hanazono Stadium, Osaka
Kick-off: 14.00 (06.00 UK time; 05.00 GMT)
Expected weather: There will be plenty of cloud around, but no chance of rain. Hot an humid with a high of 28°C and a low of 15°C
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Greg Garner (England), TBC (Japan)

Three new invites to first Bok camp


REPOSTED: Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jan Serfontein and Robert Ebersohn are the new faces in a Springbok training group named ahead of the Incoming Test series in June.

Springbok schedule for 2013


The Springboks will end off a busy international season with a tour to Scotland, Wales and France in Europe in November this year, while the venues for the first two Springbok Tests of 2013 have been reversed to avoid an event clash.

Springboks 14 v England 14


The Springboks will look for a clean-sweep and record 10 victories in a row when they tackle England in Port Elizabeth.

All Blacks 60 v Ireland 0


The All Blacks had to fight hard for a victory last week, and with 6 changes this week it will not get much easier against a desperate Ireland who will be looking to record their first victory ever over the might Blacks.

Poms change 6 for Boks


England coach Stuart Lancaster has made wholesale changes to his team to face the Springboks on Saturday, including a first start for Alex Goode.

Carter out of revamped All Blacks


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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South Africa 36, England 27


The Boks will look to record their 9th consecutive and series win today at altitude in Johannesburg against the Poms.

Australia 25, Wales 23


Wales will be looking to bounce back from a poor first test performance against the Wallabies today in Melbourne.

All Blacks 22 v Ireland 19


Ireland travels to the home of the Super Rugby kings today in Christchurch to try and make amends for their heavy first test defeat against the World Champions, All Blacks.

England announce team to face Boks


Jonathan Joseph will start his first England international in Saturday’s second Test against South Africa at Coca Cola Park, Johannesburg.

Boks make 3 changes


Springbok coach, Heyneke Meyer, has made 3 changes to his match day 22 which was forced through injury.

Jannie hails new Bok scrum doctor


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

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 15:17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


‘No-name’ Brumbies to test Wales, says White


In Jake White’s own words, his “no-name” Brumbies have been lumped with a huge challenge to take down the second-best side that Six Nations champions Wales can muster in their mid-week tour match on Tuesday.

By , 12 Jun 2012

But the Brumbies coach insists his squad have made a habit of performing beyond the merits of their CVs this Super Rugby season and are confident they can keep Wales winless two games into their Australian visit.

Five days out from their second Test against the Wallabies, Wales have named a second-tier outfit to take on White’s Brumbies, with lock Luke Charteris the only starting player to back up from their 27-19 first Test loss.

Two others, hooker Ken Owens and five-eighth Rhys Priestland, will start from the bench.

But White maintains there’s plenty to be wary of in the Welsh squad, particularly up against a Brumbies’ side light on Super Rugby experience, let alone international caps.

“Take a look at the records and the Test caps they’ve got,” White said on Monday.

“(Five-eighth James) Hook has got over 60 Test caps, you know, and their lock pairing have got over 100 Test caps, so if you compare that to what we have … we’ve got a relatively young and inexperienced team.

“But that’s nothing that we’re not used to.

“We started the campaign playing the (Western) Force on the first weekend and they had six Wallabies in their pack and we had a bunch of no-name brands (the Brumbies won 19-17).

“So it might be a big ask, but (we’re calling on these young players) to step up to the plate and take a chance.”

With eight Brumbies on Wallabies duty, the Wales game looms as a golden opportunity for some of the youngsters to make their presence felt, with three making their run-on debuts for the year and another six making game debuts.

The game also gives White an opportunity to test combinations out, particularly Andrew Smith and Tevita Kuridrani in the centres.

The Brumbies will have to re-jig their backline when they return to the Super Rugby season against the Force in Perth on June 30, after regular winger Joe Tomane went down with an ankle injury while training with the Wallabies.

“They’re a little bit like Pat McCabe and Anthony Faingaa in terms of the way they play, so it’ll be interesting to see how that combination comes off,” White said.

“It gives us a chance to see what Andrew Smith can do at No.12.”

Caretaker Wales coach Rob Howley is meanwhile hopeful a desperate performance from the mid-week side will boot Wales’ Australian tour back into action.

“The mid-week side becomes very important in terms of attitude and this group were out training at 9am the morning after the first Test,” he told PA.

“Some of the boys are backing up (the main squad) but we are confident in our fitness and where we are with this team because they’ve already had a game against the Barbarians.”

The tour match kicks off at 7.30pm (AEST) at Canberra Stadium on Tuesday.

    University of Canberra Brumbies
    1. Ruaidhri Murphy
    2. Anthony Hegarty
    3. Scott Sio
    4. Leon Power
    5. Ben Hand (c)
    6. Peter Kimlin
    7. Colby Faingaa
    8. Ita Vaea
    9. Ian Prior
    10. Zack Holmes
    11. Kimami Sitauti
    12. Andrew Smith
    13. Tevita Kuridrani
    14. Cam Crawford
    15. Robbie Coleman

    16. Siliva Siliva
    17. JP Predaud
    18. Dylan Sigg
    19. Fotu Auelua
    20. Beau Mokoputo
    21. Tom Cox
    22. Jesse Mogg

© AAP 2012

SH Form XV


I thought I’d give this ‘team of the week’ thing a go, not so much to tell you who I thought stood out on the weekend, but to actually try and figure out how many will agree with me!

Pedestrian Boks show England the scale of task ahead


A tough tour suddenly got a whole lot tougher. This was the game England had to win because South Africa were undercooked and because England had to build on the momentum and confidence gained from the Six Nations. But it did not go to plan. Not remotely.

Paul Ackford at Kings Park, Durban

June 11, 2012 – 12:39PM

England lost the collisions against the Springboks.England lost the collisions against the Springboks. Photo: Getty Images

The stark conclusions from what was a very ordinary Test match were that England still lack an attack that is capable of unlocking defences, even one as pedestrian as South Africa’s, and that they lack forwards who can mix it with the Bok pack.

It was reasonably close in the end thanks to a smartly taken try by Ben Foden but in the third quarter, when South Africa finally got their big men smashing forward, England were beaten in the collisions, beaten for territory, beaten for possession.

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The result means that the Boks have won eight straight games against English opposition. With two Tests to come, there is every chance of that number reaching a damaging double figures.

It does not help England’s cause that South Africa took an age to find themselves in their first Test under Heyneke Meyer. Apart from Bryan Habana, still one the game’s great entertainers, and the impressive wrecking ball that is Willem Alberts, there was not much to get excited about from a Springbok point of view.

Indeed, for most of the first half, England were very much in the game. But when it mattered, when the screw needed to be turned, it was South Africa who raised the intensity and scored a brace of tries, through Morne Steyn and skipper Jean de Villiers, which swung the game their way. Although England battled back gamely, they were effectively out of contention on the hour mark, bit-part players in an unedifying spectacle.

It was good that the contest had a bit of excitement late on because the first half was wretched. On second thoughts, it was worse than that. Professionals playing Test-match rugby are under no obligation to entertain the paying public, but you would think there might be some desire to make the best of themselves.

The Springboks did not get close. They had the excuse of a new side coming together after a couple of training sessions but there was no subtlety, no imagination, nothing remotely resembling a cohesive, fluent idea of how to play the game.

By far the most dispiriting element was the time they took to organise themselves at the back of a static breakdown. As the clock ticked interminably on, Francois Hougaard pulled forwards this way and that to provide cover and time for him to box-kick, yet the scrum-half was so poor at this skill that on one occasion, even after an age had passed, Tom Johnson managed to charge down the clearance.

At least England showed some ingenuity in the first half, though it flared briefly and most often when Owen Farrell was not involved. His kicking game, like Ben Young’s inside him, was ill-judged. The kicks were too long, allowing the Bok catcher time to gather and reply with interest.

But Farrell’s unsympathetic passing hurt England most. When they did find space and momentum, which was not often, Farrell either fired the pass too hard or flung the ball hopefully behind a gaggle of would-be receivers. There are many outstanding qualities to Farrell, not least his temperament, but over the past few games he has struggled to get his back line going.

The half finished with England tied with South Africa 6-6, Morne Steyn and Farrell having banged over two penalties each. Manu Tuilagi was England’s most dangerous attacker, attracting two or more defenders to haul him down, and there was a fine run from Chris Ashton that required the fleet-footed Hougaard to pull him to ground.

Apart from those incidents, England were left to admire the roughhouse debut of Johnson, who tried to match the Bok in contact, and the general resolve of his team-mates.

The match slipped away from England early in the second half. There had been signs of growing South African authority. Alberts was always a handful, Bismarck du Plessis was finding outside shoulders and Habana was needle sharp.

Strangely, though, the pedestrian Morne Steyn opened South Africa’s account after Habana and De Villiers had counter-attacked and Alberts and Jannie du Plessis had thumped up the middle. When de Villiers added South Africa’s second 12 minutes later, flying horizontally through the final English defender, England’s goose was properly cooked.

England’s main concern after that was to limit the damage, which they achieved with Foden’s late try but this was a side running on empty and with problems increasing in seriousness.

If Johnson had a debut to be proud of, there was less to cheer about from Joe Marler, who was not helped by referee Steve Walsh’s fussing about the engagement sequence at scrum-time. At least Marler will be consoled with the fact that England’s scrummaging deteriorated after he was replaced.

Yet it is not the calibre of individuals that will perturb coach Stuart Lancaster as he seeks to unsettle the Boks in Johannesburg. There was no lack of effort from England, no lack of collective resolve. All that was fine. It was the mechanics that deserted them. They still find it difficult to progress in midfield.

It seemed that Ben Youngs was playing a game alien to the one that is so successful for him in Leicester colours, and that Farrell is not yet mature nor skilful enough to orchestrate a Test attack, especially when paired with Brad Barritt. Lancaster and Mike Catt, newly installed as England’s attack coach, need new personnel and new ideas if England are to stop the Boks wrapping up the series this Saturday.

Mind you, they are not alone. Yesterday was disastrous for the reputation of northern hemisphere rugby as Ireland, then Wales, then England fell to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa respectively.

The one northern hemisphere success of the week? Scotland, the wooden spooners of the Six Nations, against the Wallabies last Tuesday.

Rugby, eh? It’s a funny old game.

The Telegraph, London

Read more:

Stern words lift Boks


Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer says a few harsh words were spoken at half-time after they outplayed England in the second half at Kings Park on Saturday.

Springboks 22 v England 17 FT


Heyneke Meyer’s Boks will make their debut today against England in Durban – a test that will set the tone for Meyer’s tenure as Bok coach.

Australia 27, Wales 19


Australia is under immense pressure following their loss to Scotland earlier in the week, but it won’t get any easier against Wales today in Brisbane.

All Blacks 42, Ireland 10


The Southern Hemisphere test season is upon is with 3 games taking place today starting with the All Blacks who host the Irish.

In the Hotseat – Heyneke Meyer from Durban


Heyneke Meyer took some time off from preparing the Boks for the first Test against England to answer your questions sent in to him by readers of BOKzine.
June 07, 2012

Heyneke Meyer took some time off from preparing the Boks for the first Test against England to answer your questions sent in to him by readers of BOKzine.

Your Question: The Bulls defence is suspect, Bob showed it during Boots and All Thursday night 31-05-2012. The record also proves it. Why do you not employ the Stormers defence coach? He has made the Stormers the best defencive side in the Super 15? – Owen Hughes

Heyneke answers: That is a good question Owen. I won’t say the Bulls’ defence is suspect, in some of their tour games they rather made individual errors which allowed tries to be scored. I have a lot of respect for Jacques Nienaber and we’ll look at getting him involved in some role in future, but we’ve gone with John McFarland as him and I have been working together for years. He also does more than just defence and is very involved in our kicking game as well as helping the hookers with their throwing, being a former hooker himself.

Your Question: Howzit going boet? I am really a massive fan In fact my spare room has every scarf, hat towel, flag, big springbok and little springbok I have all the rugby balls dude from BOKKIE to world cup, I’ve been to all the Scotland and South African games…. I was wondering what are the chances of getting a signed card or something from the BOKKE. thank you. – Trevor Conradie

Heyneke answers: It’s always nice to hear from someone who is a passionate Bok fan, thanks Trevor. I’ll have to speak to the relevant people to see what they can come up with. All the best!

Your Question: Heyneke, What I would like to know is if you could name ANY former Springbok to the team for this series, not as a way to add depth, but in terms of the effect you feel the given player has on a squad as a whole, who would it be? Please consider more than just the players who retired from Test rugby recently. – AJ White

Heyneke answers: I’m really happy with my squad and I know the guys can do the job for us. Now that the team has been named, it would really be unfair of me to single out any specific player from days gone by, I’m sure you understand. We considered all available options and now it’s up to the players in the squad to show they can stay here.

Your Question: We can expect the All Blacks and Australia to play an expansive game, and they clearly have exceptional backline players to accomodate this. What is your thinking in terms of how the Springboks will counter this – do we take them on at their own game or do we go for a more traditional approach? – Gareth Brown

Heyneke answers: Gareth, I think we’ll have to wait and see. The All Blacks were certainly not the most expansive side at the World Cup last year, in fact, they kicked more than any other team. We will go for the approach that will help us win Tests. But we’re only focused on playing England at the moment.


Heyneke answers: Hi Michael – this question was answered yesterday when I named my team. Juandre is in the mould of Andries and Victor as line-out specialist and organiser (very important) and Eben and Flip are more like Bakkies, who do the hard work around the park. There will always be room for both kinds of locks in a team.

Your Question: Hi coach, I seriously hope you will give Joe Petersen a chance at fullback as I think Zane Kirchner and him has been far the best fullbacks this year. Also just one thing please? Please pick players on form only? No matter who the players are- if they are not performing drop them. Thank you and good luck!! – Marius

Heyneke answers: Hope you like the team we announced on Wednesday Marius, but I’m guessing you would’ve preferred Joe over Zane. We’ve gone for the best players that we think can do the job against England and I can assure you that Joe is not out of the picture at all, but he is injured at the moment.

Your Question: Im still over the moon u got the job ! Dont u think its ridiculous that bizzy was selected to play a hapless lions team days b4 Eng series, they arnt exactly going to loose if a hungry/fit//fresh 180% Burden plays ??? U agree that our plyr mgmt should take a leaf out of the Crusaders & NZ re rotation/injury comeback etc. – Holzie

Heyneke answers: Thanks for the support Holzie, it’s nice to see I’ve still got some fans out there ;-). We don’t have any say over the way the Vodacom Super Rugby franchises utilise their players and I have faith in their coaches. We communicate with them regularly, but in the end they also have a job to do and I understand that full well, having been on the “other side” as well.

Your Question: Hello Heyneke Meyer, do you think you right to coach the bok team. And do you got a different format than the province coaches. – Desmond

Heyneke answers: I’m very excited about this opportunity to be entrusted with this big job. It’s not up to me to say whether I’m the best man for the job, but I will always do my best for the Boks. My format will be to use our traditional strengths or whatever it takes to get the Boks back to winning ways again.

Your Question: Indien klein Lambie gesond is gaan daar ‘n plek vir hom in die Bokspan wees? Veral gesien dat Francois Steyn nou ook terug is. Al is dit net op die bank om iemand tussen die agterspelers wat beseer word te vervang. Gaan ons no. 1 stut geleer word om reguit te druk – onthou hy het die meeste strafskoppe teen hom van enige stut!! – Dirk C le Roux

Heyneke answers: Ja Dirk, altyd, soos jy gesien het met die spanaankondiging. Pat is uiters talentvol, het ‘n goeie voet, kan aanval en is veelsydig. Ons het goeie losskakels en heelagters en daar sal altyd plek wees vir ouens wat my wys hulle wil vir die Bokke speel. Ons stutte het baie hard gewerk aan hul tegniek saam met ons skrum-afrigter, Pieter de Villiers. Dis iets wat vir ons baie belangrik is.

(Dirk asks about what role Pat Lambie will play and if our loosehead prop will push straight. Heyneke said there will always be a place for Lambie as he is very talented, kicks well, can attack and can play in different positions in the backline. And that our props will be ready as they’ve worked hard with scrum coach Pieter de Villiers.


Heyneke answers: Basil, ek ag Heinrich baie hoog – asook ‘n hele klomp ander oopkantflanke wat vanjaar skitterende rugby gespeel het. Dis altyd moeilik om span te kies, maar ons voel gemaklik met die span wat ons vir hierdie eerste toets gekies het. Brussow is beslis nie uit die prentjie nie – ek dink ook hy is ‘n baie goeie mens en dit maak dit soveel moeiliker om hom nie te kies nie.

(Basil says Brussow has not conceded many penalties but that Oosthuizen has. Heyneke says that it’s never easy to select a side but that they are happy with the team selected to face England and that Brussow is not out of the picture at all.)

Barritt starts against Boks


England coach Stuart Lancaster has named his team to face the Springboks in the first of their three-Test series at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday, Kick-off is at 17:00

Deans makes eight changes to Wallabies


Loose-head prop Benn Robinson will play his first Test in 18 months after being one of eight new faces included in the Wallabies starting side for Saturday night’s clash with Wales.

June 7, 2012 – 10:59AM

Benn Robinson will lead an all-Waratahs front row.Benn Robinson will lead an all-Waratahs front row. Photo: Getty Images

Loose-head prop Benn Robinson will play his first Test in 18 months after being one of eight new faces included in the Wallabies starting side for Saturday night’s clash with Wales.

Robinson, whose 2011 international season was ruined by a serious knee injury, will feature in an all-NSW front-row as Australia try to bounce back from Tuesday night’s upset loss to Scotland.

Coach Robbie Deans has brought in five new forwards and three backs to his starting line-up after the shock 9-6 defeat to the Scots in Newcastle.

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Waratahs’ trio Robinson, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Sekope Kepu will start up front while NSW teammate Wycliff Palu will play No.8 and Reds lock Rob Simmons will start beside veteran Nathan Sharpe in the second-row.

Centres Pat McCabe and Rob Horne replace Queenslanders Mike Harris and Anthony Faingaa in the midfield, while utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper takes over from Luke Morahan at fullback.

Under-pressure playmaker Berrick Barnes has been retained at five-eighth.

Uncapped Brumbies halfback Nic White has been named as a reserve and will become the 860th Wallaby if he makes his debut off the bench.

A world-class No.1, Robinson’s last Test for the Wallabies was at the end of the 2010 Spring Tour when Australia scored a record 59-16 victory over France in Paris.

Palu’s inclusion means Scott Higginbotham moves from No.8 to blind-side flanker, while back-rower Dave Dennis has kept his place in the 22 as Deans has elected against naming a specialist lock on the bench.

Saturday night’s Test in Brisbane is the first in a three-match series between the Tri-Nations champions and the Six Nations winners.

Australia beat Wales twice last season, downing them in the bronze play-off at the World Cup before scoring a 24-18 win in Cardiff in December.

Wallabies: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Joe Tomane, Rob Horne, Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane, Berrick Barnes, Will Genia, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock (capt), Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson.Res: Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Nic White, Anthony Faingaa, Mike Harris.


Read more:

Three new caps in Bok team


Cape Town – Forwards trio Marcell Coetzee, Juandre Kruger and Eben Etzebeth will all make their Springbok debuts on Saturday after being named in the starting XV for the first Test against England in Durban. Kick-off is at 17:00.

2012-06-06 12:36
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)

Coenie Oosthuizen will also earn his first cap, although he plays off the bench.

Zane Kirchner won the battle for selection at fullback ahead of Patrick Lambie, who was named on the bench.

Frans Steyn, who was based in France, but will join the Sharks next month, starts at inside centre.

It was also confirmed that Bismarck du Plessis will be the vice-captain to Jean de Villiers in South Africa’s first international since last year’s Rugby World Cup.


South Africa:

15 Zane Kirchner, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 Wynand Olivier

CAMPO: Boks go for combinations and a simple game plan


I was at the Springboks training session the other day, after their first squad for the year had been named, and it was interesting to get a first hand perpective on the tactics the team will take into the English Tests.

The verdict – precise kicking from 9 and 10.

By , 6 Jun 2012

Jean De Villiers of the Springboks is brought down by Jamie Roberts of Wales. AFP PHOTO / Marty Melville

From what I could determine, it looks like kicking will play a big part in the game plan, which fits in with the type of team that new coach Heyneke Meyer has selected (Blue bulls style).

He has clearly picked a team that he knows will play the simple style that he wants to play. It’s a team rich in talent and experience, which is important as he must win in the eyes of all South Africans.

Sure, there’s been a lot of people in South Africa complaining about the squad, and the omission of flanker Heinrich Brussow in particular. And to be fair, a number of Stormers players who have been playing well haven’t been picked.

But Heyneke knows the world will be watching, and playing England at home, he knows winning is the first and foremost priority.

Yesterday, we saw the Wallabies lose (again) to Scotland.

It seems to me, the problem was that the Australian team had no combinations in the centres and at 8-9-10.

You need combinations at this level of rugby. You can’t just pick a bunch of talented individuals and expect them to do the job.

I am sure some will use the weather as an excuse but, sorry, not good enough. This is the ultimate level of rugby and there are no excuses.

In the past, the most successful teams have had great combinations in key positions: Farr-Jones/Ella, Farr-Jones/Lynagh, Hawker/O’Connor, Nonu/Smith, van der Westhuizen/Stransky, Gregan/Larkham, to name a few.

What is concerning me is the move towards creating all-round players and doing away with specialist players, which affects the team and the combinations.

Communicating and understanding each other comes through playing together consistently, which does not happen nowadays. Some would argue that Australia has not produced a successful combination at 10/12/13 since Horan and Little, some 12 years ago.

The Springboks under 20 team played against Ireland the other day.

Ireland controlled the game and the Boks combinations didn’t click into gear. They had a few opportunities to win but combinations and confidence let them down.

At one point near the death, they had a lineout four meters out from the Irish line and lost the ball and the match as a result.

You must stay composed and stick to the basics.

This is what happens when you get together as a new team, without any significant combinations in place.

Look at the Reds this season. Genia has struggled this year because, for much of it, he hasn’t had Cooper alongside of him in the backline. The more great players you have, the more pressure you put on the opposition.

But an even bigger problem in Australia is that we lack combinations in the centers, as we saw in the RWC2011.

Wouldn’t it be great to see a Horan/Little combo again? Stop the opposition and give the outside backs a chance to show how good they are.

Having watched the Springboks backline at training, you could see that it is a backline that has played together and will understand each other under pressure.

Meyer has entered his debut series with an understanding that he needs to pick combinations in key positions to be in with a show of winning.

At this level of rugby, you can’t keep chopping and changing. That’s when things fall apart.

Against England, the Springboks are playing the enemy. There is a lot of pride there. They simply have to win. And I think this squad can do it.

Check out a bbumper weekend of rugby ahead, with the All Blacks vs Ireland and Australia vs Wales. I know what I will be doing.

Seven new caps in All Blacks squad


The All Blacks selectors have named a 30-man All Blacks squad featuring seven new caps for the three-test series against Ireland.

June 3, 2012 – 8:55AM
Sonny Bill Williams will be vying for a mid-field berth.Sonny Bill Williams will be vying for a mid-field berth. Photo: Getty Images

The All Blacks selectors have named a 30-man All Blacks squad featuring seven new caps for the three-test series against Ireland.

The Chiefs’ powerful forward display this season has seen three players picked for the squad in prop Ben Tameifuna, loose forward Sam Cane and lock Brodie Retallick.

Crusaders lock Luke Romano is also a new cap in the forwards.

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The new caps in the backs are talented Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith, and the exciting Hurricanes duo of Beauden Barrett and Julian Savea.

Meanwhile, Chiefs hooker and two-Test All Black Hikawera Elliot will also come into the All Blacks squad as an injury replacement for Keven Mealamu who is recovering from a calf injury.

The squad is made up of six Highlanders, 10 Crusaders, four Hurricanes, five Chiefs and five Blues. The squad will be once again led by 31-year-old All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and vice-captain Daniel Carter and is made up of 16 forwards and 14 backs, with a combined total of 879 test caps.

Players who were unavailable for selection due to injury include wider training group player Charlie Faumuina (calf), Anthony Boric (neck), Cory Jane (ankle), Richard Kahui (shoulder), Jerome Kaino (shoulder), Colin Slade (leg) and Isaia Toeava (hip).

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen welcomed his new caps to the All Blacks squad today and commiserated with the wider training group players who missed out.

“It’s always a proud moment for any rugby player to be named in the All Blacks, but the first time is particularly special,” Hansen said.

“We would also like to take this opportunity to say to those players who have missed out, to not give up on your dreams. Opportunities will always arise.”

“We have selected a really balanced squad of experienced players who have played with distinction over a number of tests, and a group of young players with huge potential.

“The two wider training group camps we held over the last two weeks really helped us establish the selection of the squad and lay the groundwork ahead of the first test. There’s been a real energy, professionalism and excitement coming from all the players involved.

“There are always huge external expectations on the All Blacks. But, for us, we wouldn’t want it any other way because what this does is raise our own internal expectations to an even higher level. We want to win test matches, and we want to do it by performing well.

Hansen also said he was very excited about leading a talented management team and coaching group into the series.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Grant Fox and Ian Foster from a selection point of view and have also been very impressed with the coaching qualities of Ian (back attack), Aussie McLean (defence) and Mike Cron (forwards). They have all brought a huge amount of experience and great rugby nous into the All Blacks environment, which has been refreshing and stimulating for those of us involved.

“I want to publicly welcome and acknowledge them, as well as the rest of the All Blacks management team who have been busily preparing for the season.”

The All Blacks squad assembles in Auckland today to prepare for the first Test against Ireland next Saturday at Eden Park. The second Test is at Christchurch’s AMI Stadium (Addington) on Saturday 16 June and the third Test at Hamilton’s Waikato Stadium on Saturday 23 June. The All Blacks side to play in the first Test will be named this Thursday.

The squad is as follows: (with province and test caps. * denotes a new cap)


Hookers: Andrew Hore – Highlanders (62) , Keven Mealamu – Blues (92)

Props: Wyatt Crockett – Crusaders (6), Owen Franks – Crusaders (31) , Ben Tameifuna – Chiefs * , Tony Woodcock – Blues (83)

Loose forwards: Sam Cane – Chiefs *, Richie McCaw (C) Crusaders –  (103), Kieran Read –  Crusaders (36) , Adam Thomson – Highlanders (24) , Victor Vito – Hurricanes (13)

Halfbacks: Aaron Smith – Highlanders *, Piri Weepu – Blues (56),

First five-eighths: Beauden Barrett – Hurricanes *, Daniel Carter – Crusaders (85), Aaron Cruden – Chiefs (9)

Midfielders: Tamati Ellison – Highlanders (1), Ma’a Nonu – Blues (66), Conrad Smith – Hurricanes (55), Sonny Bill Williams – Chiefs (14)

Locks: Brodie Retallick – Chiefs *, Luke Romano – Crusaders * , Samuel Whitelock – Crusaders (25) , Ali Williams – Blues (73)

Outside backs: Israel Dagg – Crusaders (12), Hosea Gear – Highlanders (8), Zac Guildford – Crusaders (8), Ben Smith – Highlanders (2), Julian Savea – Hurricnaes *

Fairfax NZ News

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Sevens stars named in SA Barbarians teams


Three players with Springbok Sevens experience have been named in the SA Barbarians teams to take on England in two mid-week matches during next month’s five match tour, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) announced on Monday.
May 28, 2012

Current Bok Sevens star, Cornal Hendricks, as well as veterans Danwel Demas and Mpho Mbiyozo, have been named by the SA Barbarians selectors in strong combinations to meet the tourists, chosen from the Absa Currie Cup First Division teams.

EP Kings’ centre Wayne Stevens will captain a SA Barbarians (South) combination to meet England in Kimberley on June 13 (kick off 15h00). JW Jonker of the Pumas will captain the northern SA Barbarians selection against England in Potchefstroom on June 19 (kick off 19h10).

All 44 players will assemble with head coach Jimmy Stonehouse – and assistant coaches Eddie Myners and Oersond Gorgonzola – in Durban on Wednesday for a preliminary three-day training camp.

SA Barbarians (South) v England, Kimberley (June 13)

15-Jacquin Jansen (Boland); 14-Cornal Hendricks (Boland), 13-Kempie Rautenbach (SWD), 12-Wayne Stevens (EP Kings, captain), 11-Norman Nelson (EP Kings); 10-Elgar Watts (Boland), 9-Boela Abrahams (EP Kings), 8-Jacques Engelbrecht (EP Kings), 7-Shaun Raubenheimer (SWD), 7-Mpho Mbiyozo (EP Kings), 6-David Bulbring (EP Kings), 5-Nolan Clark (Boland), 3-Ross Geldenhuys (Boland), 2-Hannes Franklin (EP Kings), 1-Corne Fourie (Pumas).
Replacements: 16-Clemen Lewis (Boland), 17-Dean Hopp (SWD), 18-Ben Venter (Border), 19-Zandre Jordaan (Boland), 20-Ntando Kebe (Border), 21-Ricardo Croy (Boland), 22-Ntabeni Dukisa (Border).

SA Barbarians (North) v England, Potchefstroom (June 19)

15-JC Roos (Pumas); 14-Danwel Demas (Pumas), 13-JW Jonker (Pumas, captain), 12-Joubert Engelbrecht (Leopards), 11-Deon Scholtz (Pumas); 10-Coenie van Wyk (Pumas), 9-Shaun Venter (Pumas); 8-Nicky Steyn (Griffons), 7-MB Lusaseni (Leopards), 6-Jaco Bouwer (Pumas), 5-Rudi Mathee (Pumas), 4-Eduan van der Walt (Pumas), 3-Ashley Buys (Pumas), Torsten van Jaarsveld (Pumas), BG Uys (Leopards).
Replacements: 16-Pellow van der Westhuizen (Pumas), 17-Zane Kilian (Valke), 18-Boela Serfontein (Pumas), 19-Martin Sithole (Griffons), 20-Johann Laker (Leopards), 21-Hoffman Maritz (Leopards), 22-Tertius Maarman (Griffons).

Bekker blow for Springboks


Cape Town – The Springboks have been dealt a heavy blow ahead of their three-Test series against England with the news that Stormers lock Andries Bekker has been ruled out of action for five weeks.

2012-05-30 14:20


Andries Bekker (File)

Cape Town – The Springboks have been dealt a heavy blow ahead of their three-Test series against England with the news that Stormers lock Andries Bekker has been ruled out of action for five weeks.

Bekker was excluded from the Stormers team to face the Bulls in their crucial Vodacom Super Rugby derby at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday with a lower back strain.

Bekker will also miss the Tests against England which start on June 9 in Durban.

Cooper skids into Wallabies contention


QUADE COOPER was fast-tracked into the Wallabies’ train-on squad last night because of concerns that Kurtley Beale, the first choice Test five-eighth, might not be able to play against Scotland in Newcastle in June 5.

May 28, 2012
Returning to the Wallabies squad after injuring his knee in last year's World Cup ... Cooper.Returning to the Wallabies squad after injuring his knee in last year’s World Cup … Cooper. Photo: Getty Images

And, as revealed in The Sun-Herald, David Pocock will captain the team for their first international of the season, with Will Genia expected to be his deputy.

Even before Test skipper James Horwill injured his hamstring during Saturday night’s Reds-Brumbies match, the Wallabies selectors had planned to rest him for Newcastle, instead scheduling his return for the following Saturday in Brisbane against Six Nations champions Wales.

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Out ... James Horwill hobbles into  camp yesterday.Out … James Horwill hobbles into camp yesterday. Photo: Mick Tsikas

The Australian Rugby Union has approved Pocock taking over as skipper, a role he was given for the match against the Barbarians at Twickenham last November.

But there is now uncertainty when Horwill, who is scheduled to have scans in Sydney today, will return. The seriousness of the injury is shown by the selectors opting against including him last night in the large 39-man squad.

The most likely scenario is that Horwill, who arrived at the Wallabies camp at Coogee last night to be assessed, will miss all four June internationals but be back for the Reds’ final three Super Rugby round matches in

late June-July. Horwill’s place in the Test front row is expected to be taken by veteran 34-year-old Nathan Sharpe, who is in line for his 102nd Test cap.

Beale is another on the doubtful list after being an early casualty in the Rebels’ 66-24 loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday, where he aggravated a long-standing shoulder complaint. Beale was scheduled to be the Test No.10 against Scotland, due to the unavailability of James O’Connor.

Cooper was also expected to be held back until the Rugby Championship later in the year when the Wallabies play New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina, as he had only been involved in two games this season after seven months out recovering from a knee reconstruction.

After his erratic World Cup performances last season, there was consideration at ARU level to bringing back Cooper slowly, but after playing 80 minutes against the Brumbies on Saturday night and half a game the previous week, the Test selectors believe he is ready to fill the void against Scotland. The other option at No.10 is the Waratahs’ Berrick Barnes, who after several erratic efforts had a much improved performance against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein at the weekend.

As expected, it is a training squad full of new names, including 15 players who have yet to play for the Wallabies.

The biggest name to miss out is former Wallabies captain Rocky Elsom, but an injury-marred season gave the selectors no choice but to overlook him.

The unluckiest is Reds utility Ben Lucas, who was going to be picked but injury concerns make it uncertain when he will be able to train.

The bolter is Rebels second-rower Cadeyrn Neville, who has played only a few Super Rugby games. For many years, Neville competed in international youth rowing events, and to improve his aerobic strength in 2009 he tried out with the Manly club, starting on the bench in fourth grade. The next season he was elevated to first grade where he was sighted by the Rebels. Beside him will be his Rebels second-row partner Hugh Pyle, another newcomer.

Brumby Michael Hooper will be Pocock’s openside breakaway back-up, with Liam Gill, his closest rival, instead captaining the under-20s at the world championships.

There is a strong Waratahs representation, with 11 players who return from South Africa being involved – the most unexpected being promising utility back Bernard Foley and second-rower Kane Douglas. Alongside them are Adam Ashley-Cooper, Barnes, Dave Dennis, Rob Horne, Sekope Kepu, Wycliff Palu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson and Sitaleki Timani.

The training squad will be culled to about 30 for the Test series against Wales.

Australia rugby train-on squad named on Sunday: Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Kurtley Beale, Quade Cooper, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Anthony Faingaa, Saia Faingaa, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Michael Harris, Scott Higginbotham, Michael Hooper, Rob Horne, Digby Ioane, Sekope Kepu, Salesi Ma’afu, Pat McCabe, Ben McCalman, Jesse Mogg, Stephen Moore, Luke Morahan, Cadeyrn Neville, Dan Palmer, Wycliffe Palu, Nick Phipps, David Pocock, Tatafu Polata Nau, Hugh Pyle, Benn Robinson, Nathan Sharpe, Dominic Shipperley, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Sitaleki Timani, Joseph Tomane, Cooper Vuna, Nic White.

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Stonehouse appointed SA Baabaa’s coach


Experienced Absa Currie Cup coach, Jimmy Stonehouse of the Mpumalanga Pumas, has been appointed coach of the SA Barbarians teams that will take on England in two matches during next month’s Castle Incoming Tour series.

Meyer names players for final planning camp


Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will hold a fourth and final Planning Camp in Durban from Sunday, with 42 players across all five Vodacom Super Rugby franchises invited to attend.

Barritt, Botha included in Eng squad for Boks


South Africans Brad Barritt and Mouritz Botha was included in the England squad for their 3-test match series tour to South Africa.