June Internationals 2018

Home June Internationals 2018

Springboks do it again against England

0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vermeulen was made the man of the match.

Now for Cape Town…

Scorers:

SA 23 (13)

Tries: Duane Vermeulen, Penalty Try

Conversion: Handre Pollard

Penalties: Pollard (3)

England 12 (12)

Tries: Mike Brown, Jonny May

Conversion: Owen Farrell

 

 

Ireland get win over Aussies in second test

0

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

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

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

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

This even things up again at 7-all.

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

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

This made the score 16-14 for Ireland.

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

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

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

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

Scorers:

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

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

 

Italy edge Japan

0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The scorers:

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

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

Thanks to

Messy All Blacks clinch series against France

0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scorers:

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

Looking ahead – Springboks v England 2de test

0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The teams:

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

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

Preview – June Internationals

0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The teams:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Ireland will bounce back by 9 point win

The teams:

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

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

 

A few tweaks for Springboks second test against England

23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teams for weekend test

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still hard work ahead for Springboks

5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exciting Brits joins Boks

11

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

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

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

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

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

Erasmus reduces squad

5

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

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

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

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

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

The second test is this weekend in Bloefontein

Wales impress with win against Argentina

0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scorers:

Argentina

Try: Tomas Lezana

Conversion: Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias

Penalty: Nicolas Sanchez

Wales

Tries: James Davies, George North

Conversions: Rhys Patchell (2)

Penalties: Patchell (2), Gareth Anscombe

Springbok carrot rating

2

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

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

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

Nabetragting – Springboks stun England

17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is what Siya Kolisi and Rassie Erasmus had to say

 

 

 

One of the greatest fightback see Springboks take first test

2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This gave them a 39-27 lead.

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

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

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

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

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

Scorers:

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

 

Georgia and Fiji take wins against Samoa and Tonga

0

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

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

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

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

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

Japan beat Italy

0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The scorers:

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

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

Thanks to

All Blacks put 50 against France in first test

0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scorers:

New Zealand 52 (8)

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

Conversions: Beauden Barrett (3)

Penalties: Beauden Barrett (2)

France 11 (11)

Try: Remy Grosso

Penalties: Morgan Parra (2)

Preview – Australia v Ireland

0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Australia by 6, Ireland rest a few players

The teams:

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

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

Preview – All Blacks v France

0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The teams:

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

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

 

Looking ahead – Springboks v England 1st test

9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teams:

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

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

Three uncapped players for first test

14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feast of test match rugby

3

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

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

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

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

French tour to New Zealand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Irish touring Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

England tour to South Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is this weekend Fixtures:

 

 

 

No Excuses – Rassie Erasmus

7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nabetragting – Wales capitalize on Springboks mistakes

2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wales down second string Springboks

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scorers:

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

Preview – Springboks v Wales

9

It is a bit of an unknown for us with this test match this weekend against Wales in the USA.

Rassie Erasmus has included a bunch of youngsters in his team to face the Wales team.

It is a one-off test at the Robert F Kennedy Stadium which will be a first for the stadium to host a rugby international.

With any Springbok game there will be pressure but Rassie Erasmus will start feeling that when his first Springbok side take the field.

He has opted to go with a very young and inexperienced team although Gatland has done the same with his Wales side to face the Boks.

There will be seven player playing there first test for the Boks and all eyes will be on these players on Saturday.

Wales have rested 10 players of the squad that was part of the Lions tour to New Zealand last year.

Back-row Ross Moriarty played in three Tests for Wales during their Six Nations campaign, but then found game time hard to come by on his return to Gloucester.

But now he is itching to play for his country again.

Wales have had the better of the Boks in recent years as they won the last two test against the Boks.

There are a few players to watch for in this test and one of them are Kwagga Smith who has made great strides in the 15-man code with the Lions at Super Rugby level.

Dan Du Preez is another and it will be interesting to see the battle between him and Ross Moriarty.

Du Preez was part of the Springbok team which suffered a narrow defeat to Wales in Cardiff last year and will be hoping to build on that effort.

There are a few players that need to proof they are ready for test rugby in this Springbok side.

Bosch have done well for the Sharks but have not play the world on fire at fullback. His defence have been suspect for a while now and it will be tested by Wales.

It is an interesting combination in the midfield with Kriel and Esterhuizen so we will be looking closely how this pan out.

The Biggest concern for the many this year concerning the Boks have been who will wear the number 9 jumper and Ivan van Zyl is a player than many believe will become a great asset to Springbok rugby.

One of my favourites are Ox Nche who will get his chance in the front row.

With so many new players and combinations one just want to see how they shape up and what Rassie’s plan are for the team.

Prediction: One always want to go with the Boks but this one with so many new caps and combinations in both teams can go either way.

The teams:

South Africa: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit (c), 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Robert du Preez, 23 Warrick Gelant

Wales: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 George North, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Ellis Jenkins (c), 6 Seb Davies, 5 Cory Hill, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Rhys Patchell/Gareth Davies, 23 Hadleigh Parkes