November Internationals

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England run away against Samoa

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England made it three wins out of three in their November internationals as they overcame Samoa 48-14 at Twickenham on Saturday.

Tries from Mike Brown, Alex Lozowski, Elliot Daly (2), Henry Slade and Semesa Rokoduguni saw them past Samoa in a scrappy showing.

Piula Faasalele and Chris Vui crossed for Samoa, who bounced back admirably from last week’s loss to Romania with a spirited display.

England raced out of the blocks and were looking in red hot form when full-back Brown crossed after just two minutes, following flanker Maro Itoje’s smart pick and go from 15 metres out. Ford added the extras off the tee as Samoa looked rocked with a big scoreline in the offing.

The hosts continued to dominate and on 10 minutes went over for their second try, this time Lozowski finished off good work from wing Daly and Jamie George after Tim Nanai-Williams spilled a high kick. Ford was wayward with a relatively simple conversion, which kept it at 12-0.

Samoa then admirably quelled the attacks and launched one of their own three minutes later, crossing through Faasalele with a carry.

But England hit back with the only further try before the break as lock Ewels barged over on 29 minutes, adding to Ford’s earlier penalty.

Coming out for the second-half at 22-7 in front, it was expected that England would ease away of Samoa. However, they were frustrated until the hour mark as Samoa were strong at the breakdown, regularly getting over the ball to win relieving penalties that halted the hosts.

But cometh the hour cometh Daly who finished well, stepping inside off his wing with the pressure finally telling as England went 29-7 up.

That seemed to release the shackles for Jones’ men and they had their fifth try when replacement scrum-half Ben Youngs fed outside centre Slade brilliantly with a flat pass to make it 36-7 with the conversion on 70 minutes.

And there was still time for both sides to add to their tally as first Samoa captain Vui finished superbly on the left for a consolation try before Daly showed his pace to go in under the posts, with Rokoduguni adding the late gloss.

The scorers:

For England:
Tries: Brown, Lozowski, Ewels, Daly 2, Slade, Rokoduguni
Cons: Ford 5
Pen: Ford

For Samoa:
Tries: Faasalele, Vui
Cons: Nanai-Williams 2
Yellow Card: Faasalele

Scotland with emphatic win over Aussies

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Scotland scored eight tries in a thrilling 53-24 win over Australia at Murrayfield on Saturday – their record-highest win over the Wallabies.

The first half was a relatively even contest, but the match turned after Sekope Kepu was sent off right before half-time. From there, Scotland dominated.

Stuart Hogg was forced to withdraw from the Scotland starting XV before kick-off. Sean Maitland moved to full-back to cover for him, while Byron McGuigan
started on the left wing.

Finn Russell opened the scoring for Scotland after 14 minutes, slotting his kick over after Sean McMahon was penalised for offside.

The first try of the game came a minute later. McGuigan started the move by pouncing on a poor pass and finished it by running onto his own kick and crossing the line. Russell converted.

The Wallabies finally struck back 33 minutes in. Bernard Foley put a clever kick through for Tevita Kuridrani to score and then converted the try.

Three minutes later, Kuridrani scored another try to put Australia ahead. Once again, Foley initiated the move with a kick-and-chase and got the final pass away to the centre. However, this time, the fly-half missed the conversion.

Just as Australia seemed to be finding their feet, Sekope Kepu was red carded on the stroke of half-time for diving dangerously with his shoulder into the head of Hamish Watson.

Scotland capitalised on their numerical advantage 39 minutes in as Ali Price peeled off the driving maul to score their second try. Russell converted once more.

Australia hit back two minutes into the second half with an unconverted try as Kurtley Beale powered over following some patient build-up.

However, from there, it was all one way traffic. First, Maitland went on a brilliant run down the left, scoring an unconverted try to put Scotland back ahead four minutes after conceding. Then, after another three minutes, Jamie Bhatti’s run set Jonny Gray up for Scotland’s fourth try. This time, Russell converted.

Huw Jones then added another try 55 minutes into the game after Russell set him up following a quickly-taken penalty. Despite his good work in the build-up, the fly-half failed to convert.

McGuigan scored his second try after 61 minutes after some quick hands from the hosts in the build-up. Once again, Russell missed his conversion attempt.

Australia scored a consolation try with 11 minutes left on the clock, with Lopeti Timani getting down low and powering through for the finish after the visitors were awarded a penalty for offside. Foley added the extras.

However, John Barclay crashed through three tackles at the other end five minutes later to score after a lengthy build-up. This time, Russell popped a simple conversion over.

Kurtley Beale was yellow carded in the 79th minute for foul play and Stuart McInally crashed over from the driving maul. Russell converted with the last kick of the game.

Scorers:

Scotland – Tries: Ali Price, Byron McGuigan (2), Sean Maitland, Jonny Gray, Huw Jones, John Barclay, Stuart McInally. Conversions: Finn Russell (5). Penalty: Russell.
Wallabies – Tries: Tevita Kuridrani (2), Kurtley Beale, Lopeti Timani. Conversions: Bernard Foley (2).

Boks beat Italy

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The Springboks won at the end easily with 35-6 but made hard work at it when they beat Italy on Saturday.

It will always be a game that we expect the Springboks to win by atleast 20 points as Italy has been poor sitting as the number 13th ranked side in the world.

It was not the best start for the Boks as Italy kept ball in hand and kept the Springboks pinned down in their own half.

Pollard struggled to exit properly giving the Italians the chances to do all the play. It was Italy with the frit points on the board through a penalty.

The Springboks hit back immediately with a great try scored by Louw but it was a great build-up from the whole team in that try.

Italy got another penalty over before the Boks did a drive from an attacking lineout which gave Bongi his try from the back of the maul.

This gave the Springboks a 14-6 lead.

The Springboks started play a bit longer with ball in hand and were able to get more in Italy half which led to another try from Venter after Pollard did a cross kick to take the lead to 21-6.

This was also the halftime score.

The second half was a much better start for the Springboks than the first as they put pressure on the Italians and with a great drive Kitshoff scored his try.

Italy had enough time on the ball in the middle of the second half, but the Springboks defence was up for it.

It was a scrappy game in the wet but the Springboks managed another try through Mostert which ended the match in 35-6 for the Boks.

It was not a perfect game from the Springboks but atleast it was a win.

There are still some pretty average players in this side with Coetzee yet again showing his poor form yet again.

His inability to play towards his supported players and always killing the ball stopped the Springbok attack a few times.

His decision making when to run and when to kick was also yet again poor and their need to be some suggestions to look at Gelant to get a chance at 15.

Next week it is Wales and the Springboks will lose some of their players playing outside South Africa.

Scorers:

Italy

Tries: None

Penalties:Carlo Canna(20′) Carlo Canna(11′)

Cons: None

South Africa

Tries: Franco Mostert(75′) Steven Kitshoff(44′) Francois Venter(34′) Mbongeni Mbonambi(24′) Francois Louw(14′)

Penalties: none

Cons: Elton Jantjies(79′) Handre Pollard(45′) Handre Pollard(35′) Handre Pollard(25′) Handre Pollard(16′)

Preview – Weekend International Previews

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The last week of internationals for most with only South Africa who will play Wales next week. I t has been an interesting few weeks with a a few sides surprising the bigger unions.

First test of the weekend is Italy hosting the struggling Springboks.

Allister Coetzee has come under huge criticism for his selections and game plan but it seems he will be sticking to his so called continuity policy. Coetzee have however made a few changes to the side that narrowly won against France last week with Du Toit returning and again playing outside hi position on the side of the scrum.

Bongi Mbonambi also gets a change to start at hooker this weekend with Gelant only able to make the bench for Saturday where he will hopefully make his debut for the Boks.

Coetzee had decided not to risk Marx after he injured his shoulder last week and promoted Bongi to the starting lineup. This will be his first start for the green and gold after twelve test caps fromn the bench.

Paige are however not so lucky as he is still only warming the bench again this weekend.

 

The Springboks go into the test with the lost of last year fresh in the back of their heads and it does not seem Coetzee troops are much better off than when they lost against Italy last year.

Just to think that a Springbok side coach is talking about picking hist strongest side against a team like Italy who cannot even buy a win in the Six Nations, shows you that the state of Springbok rugby is even worst than last year.

Springboks should be able to pick a B Team against a side like Italy and still win.

The Italians November series did not go as plan and they will want to get a win this week around and with the confident of last years surprise against the Springboks you will be sure they will go for the Boks.

Coetzee said the Italians will pose a difficult challenge at home: “We respect the Italian side, they are well coached and I know they will be up for the challenge. However, we focus on ourselves and a disciplined and clinical performance is what is needed this weekend.

“It would be important for our pack to again create a good platform of which to play from and therefore our set piece will be key in the expected wet conditions,” said Coetzee.

Eben Etzebeth will again lead the Springboks after the big lock has shrugged off a lower leg injury, which he suffered in Paris.

To add some more spice to the test Mr Poite is the man in the middle.

Teams:

Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Tommaso Boni, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Giovanni Licata, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Andrea Lovotti
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Francesco Minto, 20 Renato Giammarioli, 21 Edoardo Gori, 22 Ian Mckinley, 23 Matteo Minozzi

South Africa: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Dan du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant

Date: Saturday, November 25
Venue: Stadio Euganeo, Padova
Kick-Off: 15:00 local (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

England coach Eddie Jones made nine changes to his side to face Samoa this weekend with George Ford and Robshaw being named as co-captains for the test.

It has been a bit of both worlds for Jones England side with a somewhat poor performance against the Argentinians in week one but an emphatic win against the Aussies last week. England took the pressure and in the final quarter of the test put Australia to sward.

Their was a few lucky calls and the bounce of the ball but the great Gary Player always said :” You make your own luck”

England is steadily building towards the World Cup in Japan and are clearly the worlds second best team behind the All Blacks. They have been steadily improving since Jones took over in 2016 and the next two years will go in winning the World Cup.

Samoa should not cause a problem for England with the quality they have at the moment but we know how smaller test sides step up when they play the bigger unions and England will have to pitch up against Samoa.

Samoa was not bad this test series in Europe and with huge men they play a very direct game so defence will be vital for England.

It should be another great test and one to surely tune in for on Saturday

 

“This is an exciting squad to play against Samoa and we are expecting them to be immensely physical and committed this weekend,” said Jones.

“We want to follow up last week’s performance against Australia and play better again this week. Our intent in every game and every training session is to be better.

“This week it is an opportunity for some squad members who haven’t been playing to put their best foot forward. We will have to play smart and will need to find ways to win the contest against Samoa.

“The crowd last week were outstanding and we want to put on a good performance again for them this weekend.”

Teams:

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Alex Lozowski, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford (cc), 9 Danny Care, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Chris Robshaw (cc), 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Courtney Lawes, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni

Samoa: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Paul Perez, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 David Lemi, 10 Tim Nanai-Williams, 9 Dwayne Polataivao, 8 Jack Lam, 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Piula Faasalele, 5 Chris Vui (c), 4 Josh Tyrell, 3 Donald Brighouse, 2 Motu Matu’u, 1 Jordan Lay
Replacements: 16 Manu Leiataua, 17 James Lay, 18 Hisa Sasagi, 19 Faatiga Lemalu, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Melani Matavao, 22 Rey Lee-Lo, 23 JJ Taulagi

Date: Saturday, November 25
Venue: Twickenham
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Scotland taking on Australia will most properly be the test of the weekend and the one not to be missed as it is expected to be a great advert for the game with both teams playing better when they do keep ball in hand.

Scotland will be going full out to achieve the double on the Aussies this year with the win they had early this year in Australia.

It will surely not be easy with the Aussies that will still be a little bit upset on how the test went last week against England. It would have been a very disruptive week for the Aussies with their coach also being investigated for an outburst on the side of the field.

The Aussies had a difficult year with bad performances in June and against the All Blacks but did manage two draws and a win at the end against New Zealand before coming on the end of year tour.

Another lost against the English will not sit well with Cheika nor his players and Scotland may be in for a backlash this weekend.

The problem for Australia will be not to get to emotional about the lost earlier this year against the Scots nor the lost against England last week as this Scottish side is becoming a dangerous team with great abilities to score tries from anywhere on the field.

 

 

The Scots have enjoyed a massive two years and even British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland admitted that it was tough on Scotland who he felt were unlucky not to have more representation in the squad named to tour New Zealand.

Groundbreaking wins over Wales and Ireland in the Six Nations shows the axis of power is slowly shifting in British rugby with Scotland closing the gap on their counterparts quite significantly.

 

This is going to be a cracker don’t miss it.

The teams:

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay (c), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Darryl Marfo
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Byron McGuigan

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Ben McCalman, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Karmichael Hunt, 23 Henry Speight

Date: Saturday, November 25
Venue: Murrayfield
Referee: Pascal Gaüzère (France)
Assistant referees: John Lacey (Ireland), David Wilkinson (Ireland)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

The welsh have been struggling this test series and have not been their best by a long way. One of the teams that normally get off well in November, they struggled to get rythm this year and they will be up against it when they face the All Blacks.

Luckily for Wales the All Blacks have not really kicked on like we expected after the close win at Newlands against the Boks and the lost against the Aussies this year. Hansen had made a few changes this tour to his side given all his players in his squad a change unlike Coetzee with the Springboks.

The problem for Wales is that even a New Zealand second best test side can win most other test nations and they will also be going out to end their year and tour on a good performance this weekend.

The last time Wales beat the All Blacks was back in 1953 and they will have to improve 200% from what we have seen so far this series to have any chance to beat the world best side.

All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock, who will captain the side in the absence of Read, feels the fact that Wales haven’t beaten his country in more than 50 years has no relevance on this weekend’s Test.

“It’s one of those things, history’s history,” he said.

“Once it’s happened you can’t change it, it’s happened. We’re always just looking forward to the next game and that’s this week.

“We are aware of it to a point but we don’t put a lot of time and energy onto that. We’re just trying to energise the current group and looking forward to this week. We feel that’s the best way to go and have a good performance.”

Taking on the All Blacks, who are the game’s leaders in attack, is a formidable task and Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards highlighted the enormity of the task at hand, paricularly for him.

“Let’s be honest, I have got a pretty tough job this week, probably one of the toughest jobs in world sport to be the defence coach against the All Blacks,” he said.

“But you know me, I am up for a challenge. Hopefully on Saturday we can put pressure on through our line speed, but there is a lot more to defending than just having line speed. There are a lot of different aspects to it.

“One of them is what Scotland did very well. They held the ball for 60 percent of the time. They had 60 per cent territory and 60 per cent possession.

“If we can do that, I will be very happy. Even though the All Blacks only had 40 per cent possession, they still scored three tries and were still very dangerous, but obviously starving them of the ball is one way of keeping their attack quiet.”

These sides met last year in New Zealand with the All Blacks claiming a 3-0 series whitewash.

 

The teams:

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Hallam Amos, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Jamie Roberts

New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Samuel Whitelock (c), 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

Date: Saturday, November 25
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-Off: 17:15 GMT
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Frank Murphy (Ireland)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

Ireland as with England had two indifferent performances this series with a great win over the Springboks and really so-so performance against Fiji. Many where surprised by the way the Irish played last week against Fiji and almost lost the test.

This will be a huge test for them and they will want to get things back on track as what they showed against the Springboks. The Pumas is a difficult side as yo never know what to expect from them even if they had one of their worst season this year.

The Argentinians can not be taken lightly and Ireland can be sure that they will have to face a angry and determined Puma side this weekend.

Adam Byrne will win his first cap for Ireland on the right wing on Saturday.

Joining Byrne in the back-three will be Rob Kearney at full-back and Jacob Stockdale on the other wing.

Chris Farrell, who made his debut last week, is paired in the centre with Bundee Aki, who got his first start against South Africa in the opneing game of the end-of-year series.

Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray resume their partnership in the half-backs.

Rory Best returns to captain the team and is joined in the front-row by Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong while James Ryan starts in the second-row with Iain Henderson.

Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien and CJ Stander return to the back-row.

The replacements are James Tracy, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Devin Toner, Rhys Ruddock, Luke McGrath, Ian Keatley and Andrew Conway.

This should be a an pertaining test and one to look out for

Teams:

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 James Ryan, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 John Ryan, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Andrew Conway

Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Tomas Lezana, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Santiago Garcia Botta
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 23 Sebastian Cancelliere

Date: Saturday, November 25
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Marius Mitrea (Italy), Mike Adamson (Scotland)
TMO: David Grashoff (England)

Here is a list of all the Test matches this weekend from around the Globe.

Italy v South Africa Stadio Euganeo, Padova
Georgia v USA Mikheil Meskhi Stadium, Tbilisi
Namibia v Uruguay Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium, Windhoek
Scotland v Australia Murrayfield, Edinburgh
England v Samoa Twickenham
Romania v Tonga Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf, Bucuresti
Fiji v Canada Parc des sports et de l”Amitie, Narbonne
Wales v New Zealand Principality Stadium
Ireland v Argentina Aviva Stadium
France v Japan U Arena, Nanterre

Italy change two for Springboks

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Italy head coach Conor O’Shea has made two alterations to his starting line-up for the end-of-year Test against South Africa in Padova on Saturday.

In the backline, there is one change with Angelo Esposito coming into the run-on side on the right wing in place of Leonardo Sarto, who drops out of the matchday squad.

The only other change is in forwards where Giovanni Licata starts on the blindside flank with Francesco Minto relegated to the replacements bench.

Italy will be keen to return to the victory trail after suffering a 31-15 defeat to Argentina last weekend.

The Azzurri made history against South Africa in the corresponding fixture last year in Florence when they grabbed their first win in 13 attempts against the Springboks courtesy of a 20-18 triumph.

Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Tommaso Boni, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Giovanni Licata, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Andrea Lovotti
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Francesco Minto, 20 Renato Giammarioli, 21 Edoardo Gori, 22 Ian Mckinley, 23 Matteo Minozzi

Date: Saturday, November 25
Venue: Stadio Euganeo, Padova
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

Jones back to lead Wales against All Blacks

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Wales captain and second-row Alun Wyn Jones returns to lead the side against New Zealand in Saturday’s end-of-year international in Cardiff.

Jones is part of an unchanged pack from the opening year-end clash against Australia and he will line up alongside Jake Ball in the second row, with Aaron Shingler, Josh Navidi and Taulupe Faletau named in the back row. The front row comprises of Rob Evans, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis.

Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar partner at half-back with Owen Williams lining up alongside Scott Williams in the midfield with the Scarlets centre winning his 50th cap on Saturday.

The back-three features Leigh Halfpenny at full-back with Hallam Amos and Steff Evans, who have scored three tries between them in the opening two end-of-year encounters, on the wings.

“It’s great to name an unchanged pack from the Australia match, we were pleased with a lot of aspects of our second half performance in that match so we are looking to build on that on Saturday,” said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

“We have a couple of injuries in the backline but we also have players on form starting. Steff Evans and Hallam Amos are both on form and we are excited to see what they can do.

“We have spoken heavily about opportunity this autumn and there is no greater opportunity than lining up against the world champions.”

Kristian Dacey, Wyn Jones and Leon Brown provide the front row cover on the bench.

Cory Hill and Justin Tipuric, who returns from injury for his first involvement in the autumn campaign, completing the forward contingent. Gareth Davies, Rhys Priestland and Jamie Roberts provide the back-line cover.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Hallam Amos, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Gareth Davie, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Jamie Roberts

Date: Saturday, November 25
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Frank Murphy (Ireland)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

Jones make nine changes for Samoa clash

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England head coach Eddie Jones has made nine changes to his starting XV to play Samoa in the final end-of-year Test at Twickenham on Saturday.

George Ford (Leicester Tigers) and Chris Robshaw (Harlequins) are named as co-captains, a role they played in England’s match against the Barbarians in May.

Robshaw moves to openside flank with Maro Itoje (Saracens) starting at blindside. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs) will make his first start for England at number eight in the absence of Nathan Hughes (Wasps).

There are two changes in the front row with Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers) and Jamie George (Saracens) replacing Mako Vunipola (Saracens) and Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints). The England captain has been named as a finisher.

Charlie Ewels (Bath) will start alongside last weekend’s man of the match Joe Launchbury (Wasps) in the second row.

This weekend will see Alex Lozowski (Saracens) and Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs) as the centre combination with Mike Brown (Harlequins) returning to the starting 15 shirt after missing the Australia Test due to injury. Danny Care (Harlequins) will start his first Test of the series with Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers) named as a finisher.

“This is an exciting squad to play against Samoa and we are expecting them to be immensely physical and committed this weekend,” said Jones.

“We want to follow up last week’s performance against Australia and play better again this week. Our intent in every game and every training session is to be better.

“This week it is an opportunity for some squad members who haven’t been playing to put their best foot forward. We will have to play smart and will need to find ways to win the contest against Samoa.

“The crowd last week were outstanding and we want to put on a good performance again for them this weekend.”

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Alex Lozowski, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford (cc), 9 Danny Care, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Chris Robshaw (cc), 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Courtney Lawes, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni

Date: Saturday, November 25
Venue: Twickenham
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Eight changes for France to face Japan

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France have made eight changes to their starting side that will face Japan in Narbonne on Saturday, with Baptiste Serin named at scrum-half.

Serin is joined in the half-backs by Francois Trinh-Duc with Teddy Thomas the only back to keep his place after the loss to South Africa.

Scott Spedding, Gabriel Lacroix, Damian Penaud and Henry Chavancy come into the backs as they look to prove a point to Guy Novès.

In the pack the front-row remains as it was but Romain Taofifenua gets the nod at lock, as does Sekou Macalou, who makes his debut.

France: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Gabriel Lacroix, 13 Damian Penaud, 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Sekou Macalou, 6 Judicaël Cancoriet, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Romain Taofifenua, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Daniel Kotze, 18 Sebastien Taofifenua, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Fabien Sanconnie, 21 Antoine Dupont, 22 Mathieu Bastareaud, 23 Hugo Bonneval

Date: Saturday, November 25
Venue: U Arena, Nanterre
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Joy Neville (Ireland)
TMO: Sean Davey (England)

Four changes for Scotland to face Aussies

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Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made four changes to his starting XV to face Australia in their year-end Test at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Three of the changes appear in the pack, where Glasgow Warriors number eight Ryan Wilson returns to start after missing the All Blacks match with a shoulder injury.

Edinburgh lock Grant Gilchrist starts his first match of the series alongside Jonny Gray, while tighthead prop Simon Berghan earns his first start for the national team in the front row.

Recent squad addition Sean Maitland (Saracens) is the only change to an otherwise all-Glasgow Warriors back-line.

He starts in place of wing Lee Jones – who misses out on the matchday 23 – to combine with Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour in the back-three, leaving an unchanged half-back pairing (Ali Price and Finn Russell) and midfield (Alex Dunbar and Huw Jones), providing Dunbar completes the graduated return-to-play protocol, having sustained a concussion last weekend.

Last week’s starting back-row Cornell du Preez, lock Ben Toolis and prop Zander Fagerson move to the bench, where Fraser Brown – who recovered from a knee injury to join the squad this week – replaces fellow Glasgow Warriors hooker George Turner.

Townsend’s men are keen to end their three-Test series on a high after an opening win over Samoa (44-38) and a narrow loss to world champions New Zealand (22-17).

“This is the third and final game of our autumn series and the players are looking forward to ending it on a high,” he said.

“Last weekend’s game was a proper Test match – intense, competitive and full of drama. Unfortunately, we just fell short of our goal, and were disappointed with the loss, but take confidence going into the game against Australia.

“Scotland’s recent history against Australia has been one of close-fought matches and, after a couple of narrow defeats, we managed to record a win last June out in Sydney.

“Our players have been training hard and will draw on all they’ve learned in the games against Samoa and New Zealand to rise to the challenge of this final Autumn Test.”

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay (c), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Darryl Marfo
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Byron McGuigan

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Murrayfield
Referee: Pascal Gaüzère (France)
Assistant referees: John Lacey (Ireland), David Wilkinson (Ireland)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

News Update – Autumn Test Series

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We are entering the last week of Test match rugby for this November window this weekend and some exciting clashes to look forward to.

Jones has kept only 25 players for their final test against Samoa this weekend with Nathan Hughes dropping out due to injury.

Mike Brown, who missed out against Australia, is included, while fellow backs Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph return to their clubs.

Ben Te’o will remain in camp until Wednesday while Sam Underhill will continue to go through his graduated return to play protocols in camp.

England squad:

Backs: Mike Brown, Elliot Daly, Jonny May, Semesa Rokoduguni, Danny Care, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Piers Francis, Alex Lozowski, Henry Slade, Ben Youngs

Forwards: Charlie Ewels, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Chris Robshaw, Sam Simmonds, Dan Cole, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler, Mako Vunipola, Harry Williams

Players released back to their clubs:

Tom Dunn, Nathan Hughes, Jonathan Joseph, George Kruis, Zach Mercer, Marcus Smith, Denny Solomona, Anthony Watson

Wales will have to face the All Blacks without Liam Williams and Alex Cuthbert this weekend as both had to pull out due to injuries.

Williams has an abdominal injury and Cuthbert struggles with a calf injury.

“At this stage no time frame for recovery has been set for either player and they have been released back to their respective club/region,” read a statement issued on the Welsh Rugby Union website about the injured players.

The double blow leaves Wales light on wing options with Hallam Amos and Steff Evans now likely to start the game against New Zealand.

Meanwhile Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has defended his selection policy which have made limited use of foreign base players.

Coetzee explained that it is apparently expensive to call up a foreign base player and sometimes the clubs also do not play their part with withholding the players money when they are away from the club.

He also said to the press that it is disruptive to bring in these players (contradicting what he said last week again when Vermeulen joined the group)

“You can’t in one week bring those players up to the level (of those) who have been part of the squad‚” Coetzee told Times Live.

Coetzee still runs with the excuse of continuity in selection and does not like rotation policies.

He was specifically asked about Jan Serfontein‚ Pat Lambie and Frans Steyn’s situation.

“They are all quality players and they are available (in terms of SA Rugby’s 30-Test criteria),” he said.

“Jan is settling in‚ in France. He’s not available. Pat hasn’t played more than four games.

“I had a chat with Frans last week. We haven’t resolved those issues with the club that will allow him to play.

“Some players have long term contracts. They need to decide whether they want to play for the Boks.

“It is the player that has to make the decision. Certain players are not certain about their futures.

“They don’t want to risk their future. This is not a clear-cut thing.

“There is Regulation 9 that allows players to play for their country.

“They have to make a decision‚ either they retire from international rugby or give up their contract and return to South Africa.

“I don’t know if there is an alternative at this point in time.”

 

Gatland, who led the British and Irish Lions to a 1-1 series draw with the All Blacks earlier this year, has refuted claims that their opponents are ‘vulnerable’.

“I’ve never seen an All Black team that’s been vulnerable. The quality and depth they have, they would be hurting and disappointed they didn’t play better [against Scotland]. In saying that, they coped with the pressure and won the game,” Gatland told Stuff.

“The All Blacks have commented themselves they have dominated the game for too long – and people want to see them come under pressure. I think that’s good for rugby. We want to see those close contests where teams that perform on the day are able to push the No 1 team in the world really close.”

Gatland felt the All Blacks had been plagued of injuries recently which had affected their results but that this was part and parcel of the game and happened to so many sides.

“They were pretty good against France but they’ll be disappointed with Scotland,” he added. “The Scots took it to them. But they still won the game and they had that X-factor when they needed to turn it on.

“In fairness to Scotland they kept going. In the past they may have capitulated when they went behind and conceded some soft tries, but they kept playing. I was impressed.”

Gatland has the difficult task of juggling his side as he sweats on the fitness of Liam Williams (abdominal injury) and Justin Tipuric (thigh) available, and he says he feels his experience of leading the Lions in New Zealand will stand him in good for stead for facing them with Wales.

“It was challenging from a personal perspective but, Kiwis understand this, when you back someone into a corner we come out fighting,” he said. “There is no way I was going to allow something to get the better of me. I got mentally tougher. I kind of felt like I was in a boxing match.

“I enjoyed that challenge. I enjoyed thinking that no-one was going to get the better of me, or split the squad or create controversy.

“There was some pretty underhand stuff going on. It was challenging. There are one or two people I would like to get into a corner of a room with me now. But that might wait for another day.”

Gatland and his men face an uphill battle; Wales have not beaten the All Blacks since 1953.

“You watch Scotland, and you take some positives out of that. But we can’t expect that New Zealand aren’t going to improve. This is their last game of the year, so we expect them to front up, hurting a little bit, knowing that they haven’t played to their potential.

“We’ve got to build from the second half against Australia and go and put the best team in the world under some pressure.”

Springboks get over the line…just

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The Springboks scrapped through to win against not the best French side on Saturday with 18-17.

Both teams started the match with a lot of speed and trying to spread the ball and give their runners some space.

The Springboks had the better of the early exchanges and it was also them to score the first points and try of the test.

Pollard looked good at the start but started to lose his shape and had some senseless kicks down field.

The passing game was yet again shocking from the Springboks with Cronje to slow and not good at all to send his backline away.

The Springboks extend their lead with a penalty to 8-0 before the French ripped through the Boks defence to score their first points and try of the test.

This reduced the Springboks lead to only 8-7.

The Springboks had a few opportunities with a couple of penalties but missed both to go into the break with the one-point lead.

The second half did not start well for the Springboks as the French took control of the ball and did most of the attack.

The Springboks defence was suspect, and they let too many tackles slipped which gave the French the go forward ball they wanted.

It was France to kick the first points of the second half with a penalty and the lead of 10-8.

With the Springboks on attack they forced a penalty and a yellow card for an early tackle which gave them the lead again 11-10.

With the yellow card advantage the Springboks put pressure on the French and after some quick play Kriel went over for the Springboks second try.

The Springboks was not present in the final ten minutes giving France the opportunity to attack from everywhere whit poor tackling.

The try had to come and with 2 minutes to go the Springboks led 18-17.

Springboks were able to keep the ball till the final whistle and take the win.

Scorers:

France:

Tries: Baptiste Serin(76′) Anthony Belleau(27′)

Penalties: Anthony Belleau(48′)

Cons: Anthony Belleau(77′) Anthony Belleau(28′)

Springboks:

Tries: Jesse Kriel(62′) Dillyn Leyds(7′)

Penalties: Handre Pollard(59′) Handre Pollard(18′)

Cons: Handre Pollard(63′)

Ireland sneak past Fiji

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Ireland were made to work hard for their 23-20 victory over a quality Fiji outfit, but got the job done at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Ian Keatley’s penalty was key with tries coming from Darren Sweetnam, Dave Kearney and Jack Conan, with Joey Carbery adding a conversion.

Fiji’s tries came from Henry Senioli and Timoci Nagusa, with Ben Volavola kicking the remaining 10 points in an impressive display from them.

A much-changed Ireland started brightly in Dublin with a try set up by Carbery seeing him slice through before finding Sweetnam wide out. The young fly-half was off-target with his conversion attempt but it was an early example of how deadly a player he is with ball in hand.

Volavola did pull Fiji back to within two points on 21 minutes after an offside from Ireland but the hosts hit back almost immediately when Andrew Conway held two defenders to create space on the left for Kearney to dive over. This time Carbery hit the post with his conversion.

Kearney was denied a second try on the half-hour due to a knock-on from Conway in the attempt of claiming a ball, but Ireland didn’t have to wait long for their third crossing as Conan showed decent pace to collect a spillage and get over on the right, making it a 17-3 lead.

Fiji recovered admirably though and a try just before the break from Senioli, set up by Nemani Nadolo, and one four minutes into the second-half from Nagusa, suddenly pulled them level at 17-17. Nagusa’s score came as he intercepted Kearney’s loose pass on halfway.

Suddenly it was anyone’s game in Dublin and Joe Schmidt went to his bench in an attempt to respond. Fiji though were growing in confidence.

Keatley and Volavola traded penalties in the 66th and 69th minute respectively, with the prospect of a thrilling finish becoming a reality.

But a tip tackle on Cian Healy from Kini Murimurivalu gifted Keatley his second three-pointer on 73 minutes which proved the match-winner.

The scorers:

For Ireland:
Tries: Sweetnam, Kearney, Conan
Cons: Carbery
Pens: Keatley 2

For Fiji:
Tries: Senioli, Nagusa
Cons: Volavola 2
Pens: Volavola 2

Thanks to

All Blacks edge brave Scotland

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New Zealand had to fight hard to keep the brave Scots out in the final minutes of the match to take a 22-17 win at the end.

The game started with Scotland in control forcing the All Blacks to defend for a better half of the first 20 minutes.

The Scots played some inventive rugby surprising the All Blacks with their attacking ability.

They were first on the board with a penalty to lead 3-0.

Some great opportunities also came the Scots way, but a few handling errors stop them from scoring.

The All Blacks had a few opportunities but with the Scottish defence up for it they could not found the space to get through and kept scoreless for better part of 32 min.

The All Blacks did manage to get a penalty over in the first forty minutes to go 3 all into the break.

It was a good start to the second half for the Scots but a mistake lead to the first try to the All Blacks and the lead of 8-3 after 47 minutes.

The All Blacks got their second try from a great kick by Williams and stretch their lead to 15-3. It looked like the Scots were starting to lose their composer but with some strong play got their first try.

This made the All Blacks lead only 15-10 with Cane in the bin with a yellow card.

It was again Williams with his magic that got Barrett away for his try to extend the All Blacks lead to 22-10.

Scotland never gave up and with another yellow card to the All Blacks they felt they had a chance, but the All Blacks just stepped up and showed why they are the best.

It had to be some brilliance from Huw Jones with quick hands that gave the Scots still a chance with minutes to go.

Scotland went all the way and almost created a win but a final past went forward which could have sealed a win or at least a draw against the World Champions.

At the end the All Blacks survived the last effort from Scotland to win 22-17.

Scorers:

Scotland:

Tries: Huw Jones(77′) Jonny Gray(62′)

Penalties: Finn Russell(7′)

Cons: Finn Russell(78′) Finn Russell(63′)

All Blacks:

Tries: Beauden Barrett(67′) Damian McKenzie(51′) Codie Taylor(45′)

Penalties: Beauden Barrett(39′)

Cons: Beauden Barrett(69′) Beauden Barrett(52′)

Wales wins ugly

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Wales bounced back from last week’s loss to Australia by claiming a 13-6, if under-whelming, victory over Georgia at the Principality Stadium.

It wasn’t pretty and the Welsh were never out of sight as the Lelos stayed in the match throughout, with Hallam Amos the only try scorer.

Rhys Priestland kicked eight points while in reply Soso Matiashvili slotted Georgia’s six in a game they can leave with their heads high.

Wales were frustrated in the first half in Cardiff and were limited to just one try, coming through Amos in the 19th minute to lead 10-3.

Before that they’d set out their stall with quick taps from Rhys Webb showing they wanted to play at pace and not get dragged into a scrap.

Priestland nudged them in front on seven minutes when Georgia were penalised at a ruck and they thought they’d crossed the whitewash soon after, but wing Alex Cuthbert was held up over the line by scrum-half Vasil Lobzhanidze’s brilliant try saving tackle. It remained at 3-0.

Wales weren’t to be denied though 10 minutes later when a lineout drive was moved wide by Webb before Priestland’s wrap around created the space on the left wing for Amos, who finished easily. Priestland slotted the difficult extras too to move Wales into a deserved 10-0 lead.

There was then a spell that arguably changed the game as Amos thought he had his second from long range but play was brought back for a rip in contact that saw the ball go forward. That resulted in a scrum penalty for Georgia and Matiashvili kicked it for a fillip for the Lelos.

After the break the visitors further reduced the margin on 48 minutes when a scrum penalty saw Matiashvili make it 10-6 from 42 metres out.

But Priestland cancelled that out just after the hour mark as the Bath fly-half was informed by his captain to take the points, which was a clear shift in mindset from the early-game attacking. Wales were now wary that they were struggling to put the rugged Georgians to bed.

In fact Georgia were sniffing a levelling seven-pointer on the 70 minute mark but thankfully for Wales their pack stood up at scrum time to repel the onslaught. That and more spirited defence that led to replacement prop Tomas Francis being yellow carded on 79 minutes for side entry, ultimately ended with the hosts fending off the visitors’ late short carries as Wales held on to avoid a shock defeat.

The scorers:

For Wales:
Try: Amos
Con: Priestland
Pens: Priestland 2
Yellow Card: Francis

For Georgia:
Pens: Matiashvili 2

Thanks to

England to good for Aussies

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England waited till the last ten minutes to score a brace of tries to beat Australia 30-6.

It was a game that will be remembered for some controversial officiating leaded by Kiwi Ben O’Keeffe.

There were some crucial decisions by O’Keeffe that turned the match and will have Cheika fuming for week to come.

The game was played in the wet and was not easy for both teams as they kicked allot to gain advantage.

The Aussies looked good on attack but with England playing the ball behind them found them wanting a few times.

It was al kicks that dominate not just the first half but also the scoreboard in the half.

Australia had to play with fourteen men for twenty minutes when first Hooper was send off for to many penalties by him in the red zone and early in the second half Beale for a deliberate knock down.

England got the first try controversially after the TMO decided the ball did not touch the line on a kick through and awarded the try which gave England a great lead.

With Australia on attack the TMO and O’Keeffe was again in the frame and decided Moore was obstructing and disallowed a possible try for the Aussies.

For here is was downhill for the Aussies as mistakes cost them three tries in the last ten minutes for England to win 30-6.

England showed why they are the second-best team in the world and keeps on building into a unit that will challenge the All Blacks all the way.

Scorers:

England

Tries: Danny Care(82′) Jonny May(79′) Jonathan Joseph(72′) Elliot Daly(54′)

Penalties: Owen Farrell(33′) Owen Farrell(7′)

Cons: Owen Farrell(74′) Owen Farrell(56′)

Australia

Tries: None

Penalties: Bernard Foley(64′) Reece Hodge(49′)

Cons: None

 

Pumas fight to get the win over Italy

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Argentina put the disappointment of last week lost against England behind them when they beat Italy 31-15 on Saturday.

It was not easy and they had to work hard in the match to eventually pull away from the Italians in the second half.

It was trading of penalties for most of the match till the Pumas got their second try halfway through the second half.

This is only Argentina second win of the year from 11 test matches but they again proof that they have the better of the Italians for the seventh time in a row.

The Pumas lost Sanchez early on with a head injury but Hernandez had a good game for the Pumas and got the first points on the board through a penalty.

 

It will give the Pumas a bit of confidence after this win scoring three tries at the end.

The scorers:

For Italy:
Pens: 
Canna 4
Drop-goal: Violi

For Argentina:
Tries: 
Cancelliere, Kremer, Tuculet
Cons: Sanchez 2
Pens: Hernandez, Sanchez 3

Weekend Preview – Internationals

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We have an action pack weekend again with International test and some French Top14 as well to end it of on Sunday afternoon.

There are a few test which one should not miss and here is a look at what to expect this weekend.

First up it will be a historical test match when Wales and Georgia will meet for the first time in a test match.

For most people the Georgia players will not be someone they know but there has been a massive improvement from them over recent years. Last week they beat Canada with ease and they have been pushing hard to get excepted into the Six Nations championship.

Georgia coach Haig have kept faith in the team that beaten Canada last week as they take on Wales.

Wales on the other hand have made 14 changes from the side that lost to Australia last week.

This will be one of those test matches that you would want to support Georgia but will feel sorry if Wales lose against them in their first test match…ask Springboks and Japan.

Prediction: Wales will win this one by 20 points

Teams:

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Seb Davies, 7 Sam Cross, 6 Dan Lydiate (c), 5 Cory Hill, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Josh Navidi, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Owen Williams

Georgia: 15 Soso Matiashvili, 14 Giorgi Koshadze, 13 Davit Katcharava, 12 Merab Sharikadze (c), 11 Mirian Modebadze, 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Beka Bitsadze, 7 Vito Kolelishvili, 6 Lasha Lomidze, 5 Giorgi Nemsadze, 4 Kote Mikautadze, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Kakha Asieshvili, 18 Soso Bekoshvili, 19 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 20 Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 21 Giorgi Begadze, 22 Revaz Jintchvelashvili, 23 Merab Kvirikashvili

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Sean Gallagher (Ireland)
TMO: Leo Colgan (Ireland)

 

Sometimes it just do not get any better than England v Australia with another showdown between Jones v Cheika.

Both sides come from wins last week with England not really impressive against Argentina and Australia having to work really hard to get the win over Wales. Australia have been on great form of late with wins over the All Blacks, Barbarians, Japan and Wales leading into this test.

The one thing Cheika have been able to do this year was to keep the spotlight mostly of his team and they have been improving week after week. The best part for Cheika is the fact that he has given a few youngsters the opportunity and they have taken it on.

Test matches over the last couple of year between England and Australia have been close and we expect the same comes Saturday.

Jones have shown for the first time some anger for his troops last week and he responded with some personal changes this week. Farrell is back for England at ten and will make a huge difference to the flow of this England team.

Jones have also shown Kruis the door after his poor performance Watson will take the number 15 jumper from the injured Brown.

 

I have selected the strongest 23 to play Australia and we will have to be effective in everything we do this weekend to win,” said Jones. “This is going to be a great challenge, as we know Australia have been in great form towards the end of their season.

“The players have had an extremely positive week. They have trained well and worked hard and we are all excited about going out on Saturday and playing well against a very good Australian side.

Michael Cheika has backed Samu Kerevi against England, keeping the Reds centre at 12, with Karmichael Hunt on the bench for the second week in a row.

Kerevi has made the most of his starting opportunities in the last fortnight, showing his progress in defence. Though he wasn’t as dominant against Wales as he was against Japan, Kerevi did enough to hold out Hunt in that starting line-up.

Predictions: I have a feeling we can get a surprise here, Aussies by 7 points

Teams:

England: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Jonny May, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Maro Itoje, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Danny Care, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni

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

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Twickenham
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), George Clancy (Ireland)
Television match official: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Scotland had a great start against Samoa last week and although letting too many tries through at the end they did play a brand of rugby that was not just exciting but effective. It will be a totally different monster this week when they face the All Blacks.

Wales have been building steadily the past year with good wins over Ireland and Wales in the Six Nations and a great win over the Aussies in June.

Scotland will have to make another huge step up this weekend when the welcome New Zealand and with players like Laidlaw and Ross Ford injured the task is just so much harder against a side like the All Blacks.

The closets the Scots have come to winning against the All Blacks was two draws out of the 30 times they have played and as always we will expect the Scots to come out guns blazing.

“We have to go and play with intent, be aggressive and try to impose ourselves on them as well,” Barclay said.

“I think if we sit back and are in awe or are inspired by a team then something’s probably quite drastically wrong with our mindset.”

In June, Scotland stunned Australia by claiming a 24-19 victory in Sydney and Barclay hopes for a similar upset against the All Blacks.

We played well over there,” he said, in reference to the Australia result.

“We had a pretty good tour and that game sticks out.

“We played with good intent that day, with a lot of accuracy. That was the main thing and those will be the key things this weekend.”

However, many feel this might be the most opportune time to play the All Blacks, who appear to be at their most vulnerable point in recent history after a series of underwhelming performances.

Prediction: New Zealand will win this one by 25 points

The teams: 

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Lee Jones, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay (c), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Darryl Marfo
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Byron McGuigan

New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Murrayfield
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Ian Davies (Wales)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)

Ireland have had the perfect start to the Internationals with a record win over the Springboks last week. They were yet again clinical in what they did and outsmart, outplayed and outwit the Springboks.

Ireland will see Chris Farrell make his debut at test level when they take on Fiji this Saturday. Conway will move to the number 15-jumper and Kearney returns to the side to make up the back three with Sweetman.

Fiji have included Nadolo in their side as he is one of four changes from last week team that lost to Italy.

Scrum-half Henry Senioli, centre Levani Botia and flanker Dominiko Waqaniboruto are the other new men coming into the team.

Prediction: Ireland should be easy winners of this one with +20 points

Teams:

Ireland: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Rhys Ruddock (c), 5 Devin Toner, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Robbie Henshaw

Fiji: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Jale Vatabua, 12 Levani Botia, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Henry Senioli, 8 Nemani Nagusa, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Dominiko Waqaniboruto, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Talemaitoga Tuapati, 1 Campese Ma’afu
Replacements: 16 Sunia Koto, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Kalivati Tawake, 19 Sikeli Nabou, 20 Peceli Yato/Semi Kunatani, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 23 Vereniki Goneva

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Aviva Stadium
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Alex Ruiz (France)
Television match official: David Grashoff (England)

It has not been the best weeks for SA Rugby, firstly losing to a record margin against Ireland last week and secondly losing the rights to host the 2023 World Cup against France on Wednesday.

It is safe to say their will be some feeling out there this weekend when South Africa take on France in Paris. One word can describe the Springboks performance last week, pathetic. The excuses off course can afterwards from the way they traveled to the UK to adopting to conditions.

Frankly South African supporters are fed-up with Springbok coach Coetzee and all the excuses but more so that he change his mind more than trains change tracks at Jo’burg station.

This week see a number of changes contradicting again his early statements about why and who he selects.

Springbok Vermeulen is back at the number 8-jumper with Louw finally moving back to his specialist position on the side of the scrum. There is no locks playing on the side of the scrum this week with Kolisi teaming up with Flo.

Coetzee kept De Jager in the team with Mostert again on the bench.

Upfront we will have Beast, Marx and Wilco Louw packing in the front row.

Coetzee picked a new inside centre in Francois Venter after De Allende yet again failed last week. His failure did not prompt Coetzee to bring in Am as the talented centre is again not even in the match 23.

Although talking about combinations all year Coetzee picked Pollard at ten but left Paige yet again to warm the bench. The back three who was left founding last week kept their places and there was no place for the talented Galant in the team or on the bench.

The French decided to keep their team the same after a great performance against the All Blacks and will be highly motivated to get one over the Springboks after the whitewash they suffered in June.

Their will surely be an extra spring in their step as well after they beat South Africa in the race to host the 2023 World Cup.

Coetzee showed a bit of balls this week but not enough and have still players in the side who are just not good enough at this level.

Prediction: I can see some more disappointment for Bok supporters, France by 10 points

Teams: 

France: 15 Nans Ducuing, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Mathieu Bastareaud, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Judicael Cancoriet, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Clement Maynadier, 17 Sebastien Taofifenua, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Paul Jedreasiak, 20 Anthony Jelonch, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Damian Penaud

South Africa: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Dan du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian de Allende

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Stade de France
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Tom Foley (England)
Television match official: Rowan Kitt (England)

 

Van der Walt signs with Edinburgh

2

Scottish club Edinburgh have confirmed the signing of former Lions playmaker Jaco van der Walt on a two-and-a-half year deal.

Van der Walt, 23, is a product of the Lions’ youth system, having played for the union across all age grades at junior level.

Despite being one of the Lions’ standout performers in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup over the past two seasons, the union did not offer Van der Walt a contract renewal for next season.

Edinburgh will travel to South Africa on Sunday for their two-match Pro14 tour against the Cheetahs and Kings, and Van der Walt is set to meet up with his new team then.

Head coach Richard Cockerill explained the reasons behind his decision to get Van der Walt on Edinburgh’s books: ‘Jaco is a skilful young player who is equally adept at stand-off [flyhalf] or fullback. He’s an excellent goal-kicker and will provide cover in key areas for us.

‘We’re delighted that he’s chosen to be part of what we’re building here at Edinburgh.’

Thanks to 

Coleman starts for Aussies against England

1

Coleman have been included in the Australian side to face England this weekend after battling with a thumb injury during the week.

Cheika also picked Kerevi in the midfield with Hunt on the bench to cover.

Kerevi has made the most of his starting opportunities in the last fortnight, showing his progress in defence. Though he wasn’t as dominant against Wales as he was against Japan, Kerevi did enough to hold out Hunt in that starting line-up.

Cheika has named an extended bench for the clash, with the final team to be named on Friday.

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

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Twickenham
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), George Clancy (Ireland)
Television match official: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

France unchanged for Springboks test

0

France will have the same starting team for the Springboks as last week against the All Blacks which is looking like a juicy test match after this weeks 2023 announcement.

Lat week the French had a good game against the World Champions but will want to repeat it against a Bok side who has not find shape this year.

The fear always for any French coach is consistency as you never know if your players will pitch up for the game.

On the bench there is one change however as Sebastien Taofifenua comes in for Raphael Chaume as prop cover this weekend.

France: 15 Nans Ducuing, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Mathieu Bastareaud, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Judicael Cancoriet, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Clement Maynadier, 17 Sebastien Taofifenua, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Paul Jedreasiak, 20 Anthony Jelonch, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Damian Penaud

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Stade de France
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Tom Foley (England)
Television match official: Rowan Kitt (England)

Coetzee makes 10 changes for French showdown

15

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has made 10 changes to the match-23 for Saturday’s second Test in the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour against France in Paris, which include starts for experienced No 8 Duane Vermeulen and flyhalf Handré Pollard.

Coetzee also handed a first Test start to prop Wilco Louw, while Francois Venter has been selected at inside centre. The Springbok coach also made several positional changes to the match day squad that lost to Ireland in Dublin last weekend.

Upfront, Louw is set to make his starting debut in place of Coenie Oosthuizen, who suffered a serious knee injury in Dublin. And with Pieter-Steph du Toit ruled out with concussion, Vermeulen starts at No 8 in a revamped loose trio combination which sees Francois Louw moving to flank where he will join Siya Kolisi on the side of the scrum.

In the backline, Pollard is in line to make his first start for South Africa since the 2015 Rugby World Cup bronze medal playoff match against Argentina in London, in place of Elton Jantjies. Venter, who made his Test debut in 2016, comes in at No 12 for Damian de Allende.

Jantjies and De Allende are included amongst the replacements, where they will be joined by prop forward Trevor Nyakane and uncapped loose forward Dan du Preez.

Coetzee said Vermeulen brings a lot of experience to the team: “Duane is very experienced and fits in well with our plan for Saturday. He is a great lineout and ball-carrying option to fill the void left by Pieter-Steph, while his leadership and experience will offer great support to Eben Etzebeth.

“His presence and knowledge of the French is also a huge benefit for us. Duane has made good contributions since joining us at the beginning of the week, and I am looking forward to his combination with Siya and Francois,” said Coetzee.

Pollard’s playing opportunities over the past two years has been halted by a series of injuries.

“Handré has trained exceptionally hard the past few months and he is looking forward to the opportunity to once more start in the Springbok jersey,” said Coetzee.

“Elton has started in all 10 Tests so far this season and has made good contributions and I am pleased with his development. However, both flyhalves need playing time to continuously work on their game management in different conditions.”

Louw made a good impression last week in what was only his second Test, and this week he will make his starting debut in Paris.

“Wilco did very well last Saturday and gained valuable experience when he came on as an early replacement for Coenie. He deserves the opportunity to start against a strong French pack of forwards,” said Coetzee.

“Francois is also rewarded for continued good performances. He is a leader is his own right with an exceptional high work rate.”

According to Coetzee, the Springboks will be looking for an improved performance in all areas on Saturday after the disappointing performance in Dublin: “We have to fight back and play much better after our poor performance against Ireland.

“France is a much changed and improved side and will certainly pose a different challenge this time. They have a new half back combination and a strong ball carrying midfield, so they’re definitely not the same team we faced in June in South Africa,” said Coetzee, who furthermore believes the two big focal points for Saturday will be the battle for set piece dominance and gain line advantage.

“We have to be more accurate at the breakdown, especially with our reaction speed and basic fundamentals. Discipline, as well as our decision-making in tackle situations, are of paramount importance.

“We understand the importance of this match and we have to be at our best in terms of tactics, physicality and mental preparation, in order to confront and match France in front of their passionate supporters,” explained Coetzee.

The Springbok team to face France in Paris on Saturday:
15. Andries Coetzee, Emirates Lions – 10 caps, 0 points
14. Dillyn Leyds, DHL Stormers – 6 caps, 0 points
13. Jesse Kriel, Vodacom Bulls – 26 caps, 30 points (6 tries)
12. Francois Venter, Toyota Cheetahs – 4 caps, 0 points
11. Courtnall Skosan, Emirates Lions – 10 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
10. Handré Pollard, Vodacom Bulls – 23 caps, 190 points (2 tries, 30 conversions, 37 penalties, 3 drop goals)
9. Ross Cronje, Emirates Lions – 7 caps, 10 points (1 tries)
8. Duane Vermeulen, Toulon (France) – 37 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
7. Siya Kolisi, DHL Stormers – 26 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
6. Francois Louw, Bath (England) – 55 caps, 40 points (8 tries)
5. Lood de Jager, Vodacom Bulls – 33 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
4. Eben Etzebeth (captain), DHL Stormers – 64 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
3. Wilco Louw, DHL Stormers – 2 caps, 0 points
2. Malcolm Marx, Emirates Lions – 12 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
1. Tendai Mtawarira, Cell C Sharks – 96 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Replacements:
16. Bongi Mbonambi, DHL Stormers – 12 caps, 0 points
17. Steven Kitshoff, DHL Stormers – 20 caps, 0 points
18. Trevor Nyakane, Vodacom Bulls – 34 caps, 5 points (1 try)
19. Franco Mostert, Emirates Lions/Ricoh Black Rams (Jap) – 16 caps, 0 points
20. Dan du Preez, Cell C Sharks – 0 caps, 0 points
21. Rudy Paige, Vodacom Bulls – 12 caps, 5 points (1 try)
22. Elton Jantjies, Emirates Lions/NTT Shining Arcs (Japan) – 21 caps, 198 points (2 tries, 37 conversions, 38 penalties)
23. Damian de Allende, DHL Stormers – 28 caps, 15 points (3 tries)

Farrell back for England

0

After a disappointing start for England last week against Argentina which left their coach Eddie Jones fuming in the stands.

Jones has made four changes which include the return of Owen Farrell as his starting ten for the Aussie test.

With Farrell we see Henry Slade at inside centre, Jonny May at the wing and Anthony Watson at fullback for the injured Brown.

Up front we see Launchbury replacing Kruis with Itoje on the bench to make an impact.

“I have selected the strongest 23 to play Australia and we will have to be effective in everything we do this weekend to win,” said Jones. “This is going to be a great challenge, as we know Australia have been in great form towards the end of their season.
 
“The players have had an extremely positive week. They have trained well and worked hard and we are all excited about going out on Saturday and playing well against a very good Australian side.” 

England: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Jonny May, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Maro Itoje, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Danny Care, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Twickenham
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), George Clancy (Ireland)
Television match official: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Samoa makes four changes for Romania

0

Samoa coach Tafua has made four changes to his team to take on Romania in Bucharest on Saturday.

Samoa had a very good start to their tour although they lost to Scotland but losing 44-38 is no shame for the Island team.

Polataivao will replace Cowley at the number 9 jumper and Treviranus will return to replace Lam at the number 8 jumper who will move to the openside in place of Ioane.

Lemalu will come in at lock and will replace Tyrell and the last change will see Matu’u taking over the hooker roll from Leiataua.

Team: 

Samoa: 15 Ah See Tuala, 14 Paul Perez, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Reynold Lee-Lo, 11 David Lemi, 10 Tim Nanai-Williams, 9 Dwayne Polataivao, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Piula Faasalele, 5 Chris Vui (c), 4 Faatiga Lemalu, 3 Donald Brighouse, 2 Motu Matu’u, 1 Jordan Lay
Replacements: 16 Manu Leiataua, 17 James Lay, 18 Hisa Sasagi, 19 Brandon Nansen, 20 Maurie Faasavalu, 21 Melani Matavao, 22 Jj Taulagi, 23 Alapati Leiua

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Stadionul Arcul de Triumph, Bucharest, Bucharest
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Mike Adamson (Scotland), Shota Tevzadze (Georgia)
TMO: Neil Paterson (Scotland)

Autumn Internationals – Players called up to squads

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We move into the second week of the November international window and their are already some movement of players into and out of the squads.

Here is a quick look at what is happening with injuries and replacements

Jordi Murphy and Sean Reidy have joined the Ireland squad following injuries to Tommy O’Donnell and Dan Leavy which ruled them out of selection this week.

The Ireland management have issued a squad update ahead of the Fiji match on Saturday.

Following Saturday’s physical encounter against South Africa at the Aviva Stadium there are a few players who will either be managed or require further medical investigation.

Peter O’Mahony received a number of stitches to his ear. John Ryan presented with a calf injury following the game. He will rehab in Munster this week.

The remainder of the match day 23 emerged with the usual bumps and bruises but are expected to be fit to train this week.

Newcastle prop Jon Welsh has been added to the Scotland November series squad after Willem Nel, Tim Swinson and Rob Harley were ruled out through injury.

Nel and Swinson sustained an arm fracture and hand injury respectively in Saturday’s win over Samoa at BT Murrayfield, each requiring further specialist assessment.

Wing Tommy Seymour injured his toe in the same match.

A MRI scan was performed at Spire Murrayfield Hospital, which confirmed that the player will require ongoing treatment by the Scotland medical team before returning to training this week.

Harley sustained a knee injury in training last week with medical assessment confirming he will take no further part in the autumn campaign.

He has returned to the care of his club’s medical team.

 

Toulon fly-half François Trinh-Duc has been included in the France XV’s starting line-up for Tuesday’s clash with New Zealand in Lyon.

Trinh-Duc came off the replacements bench during the last five minutes of France’s 38-18 defeat to the All Blacks in Paris on Saturday.

The 31-year-old is the only player who represented les Bleus in that Test who will be in action against the world champions again on Tuesday and he has been preferred to Jules Plisson, who has been named amongst the replacements.

Trinh-Duc will form a half-back partnership with Bordeaux Bègles’ Yann Lesgourgues while Clermont’s Scott Spedding has been named at full-back.

There’s a strong look to the team with French internationals Romain Taofifenua and Yoann Maestri lining up in the second row while the experienced Wenceslas Lauret starts on the flank.

France XV: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Gabriel Lacroix, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Hugo Bonneval, 10 François Trinh-Duc, 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Sekou Macalou, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Malik Hamadache, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Dany Priso
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Mohamed Boughanmi, 18 Lucas Pointud, 19 Julien Le Devedec, 20 Fabien Sanconnie, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Vincent Rattez

Experienced No 8 Duane Vermeulen has been called up to the Springbok squad as replacement for Coenie Oosthuizen who sustained a serious knee injury on Saturday in Dublin.

Oosthuizen underwent a scan before flying home from Dublin, and the results showed that he has sustained medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligament damage which will require surgery and an extended period of time of out of the game.

Vermeulen, who plays for French club Toulon, is set to join the Springbok squad on Monday at their base in Paris.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed that loose forward Pieter-Steph du Toit will miss Saturday’s Test against the French because of concussion he suffered against Ireland. He left the field in the closing minutes of play after receiving a blow to his head.

 

Another huge lost for Springboks

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Ireland humiliated the Springboks on Saturday when they beat them 38-3.

The Springboks looked at the start to want to play the game in Ireland half scoring tries but we soon realised that Coetzee plan was to put pressure on Ireland through a kicking game.

Cronje and Jantjies have shown now for two to three seasons with Lions that they are an attacking pair putting players in space.

Playing a game plan with players that can not play it is looking for big problems at international level and that is exactly what the Springboks got from Ireland.

The Springboks was put on the backfoot from the start with Oosthuizen leaving the field in the second minute with what looked like a knee injury.

That brought Louw in the frame but for some reason the referee decided not to reward the dominate scrum and penalised the Springboks a few times which gave Ireland a lead of 9-0 first up.

It went downhill from there for the Springboks with the Springboks backline unable to put any real attack together to put any threat in the Irish defence.

There was way too much kicking and it may not have been that bad a plan if they were able to execute it.

The Springboks had enough ball to attack from, but it seems there was no plan other to try and put the ball behind the Irish.

Upfront we were also not able to control the game or even come close to dominating this aspect of the test.

Playing players out of position in the forwards did not help the Boks at all with Louw struggling to be dominate at the breakdown.

We saw the forwards try all game, but Ireland were brilliant in spoiling our ball.

At halftime we had our backs against the wall with Ireland leading and one of the worst first half from the Boks.

The second half saw the Springboks put their first and only points on the board through a penalty from Jantjies.

With the Springboks trying the Irish just grew in confidence and it showed as they control almost all aspects of the game with the bounce of the ball also going their way.

Coetzee started early to put his bench on but it did not really helped as Ireland just kept their dominance and where able to stretch the lead even further.

We were treated with some great tries from Ireland and although the Springboks were poor, one have to give credit to Ireland in the way they played.

They were lucky that they could hit the rucks and fallen over spoiling and slowing the Boks ball.

At the end the Irish was just way to good for what the Springboks could put in the field and some big decisions will have to come from Coetzee before France.

Scorers:

For Ireland:
Tries: 
Conway, Ruddock, Herring, Stockdale
Con: Sexton, Carbery 2
Pens: Sexton 4

For South Africa:
Pen: 
Jantjies

England win ugly

0

England got their end-of-year international campaign off to a winning start as they battled past Argentina 21-8 at Twickenham on Saturday.

Nathan Hughes and Semesa Rokoduguni’s tries saw them to victory in a scrappy display that needs to improve next week against Australia.

The tries came either side of the break with George Ford kicking 11 points, while Nicolas Sanchez crossed for Argentina late on in the contest.

It was hardly a first-half to write home about and with Sam Underhill’s tackling the highlight, that told a story of the lack of attacking. Underhill was a rock in the contact area and alongside Hughes, impressed during the opening stanza, putting his name forward for the shirt.

Missed kicks from both outfits were evident too as Ford was off-target with two of his five first-half attempts, although they both struck the post. Meanwhile, Juan Martin Hernandez missed two out of two off the tee for Argentina, who still managed to stay in touch with their hosts.

Ford hit the upright on two minutes before knocking over a penalty soon after, with Emiliano Boffelli levelling from range a minute later.

The England number 10 then made it 6-3 before Pumas full-back Joaquin Tuculet was yellow carded for making contact with Mike Brown in the air. That was Brown’s last act as England then went in search of making their numerical advantage count which pleased the Twickenham fans.

It took them no time at all to cross as Ford’s brilliant flat pass saw Hughes collect and get over wide out, making it an 11-3 advantage.

Then came the misses from the kickers as first Ford’s conversion attempt hit the upright before Hernandez was wayward with two penalties. However, Ford made no mistake seven minutes before the interval to give his side an 11-point buffer which they deserved at the turnaround.

Things didn’t improve in terms of quality early in the second period and just when England seemed to be turning the screw at an attacking line-out, a spillage from Dylan Hartley at the base foiled the set-piece. It seemed like Eddie Jones would soon be turning to his bench.

Argentina too were racking up the errors, their latest seeing Boffelli miss a penalty. That meant there was still no points in the half, with replacement fly-half Sanchez also missing his first shot, a relative sitter, on 65 minutes as their kicking woes continued.

That was compounded when England broke from nowhere a minute later and crossed through Rokoduguni, who collected Henry Slade’s flat pass and dived over on the right wing. Ford slotted the extras and suddenly the result was beyond doubt at 21-3. England rolled on their bench.

But it was a Pumas replacement who had the final say as Sanchez crossed in the 78th minute for a consolation score in a forgetful game at Twickenham.

The scorers:

For England:
Tries: Hughes, Rokoduguni
Con: Ford
Pens: Ford 3

For Argentina:
Try: Sanchez
Pen: Boffelli
Yellow Card: Tuculet

Scotland edge Samoa in exciting test

0

Scotland scored six tries to claim a hard-fought 44-38 win over Samoa in a high-scoring game at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Tries from Stuart Hogg, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Pete Horne and a Stuart McInally brace proved too much for Samoa who scored through Josh Tyrell, Piula Faasalele, Tim Nanai-Williams, Kieran Fonotia and Ofisa Treviranus.

It was a game in which Scotland would extend their lead only to be pegged back by Samoa who almost always came up with a response.

Nanai-Williams was a revelation at fly-half for Samoa showcasing his versatility and that tried and trusted right boot. Russell was excellent too for Scotland.

Russell’s defence-splitting grubber kicks was arguably the Scots’ main attacking weapon. Stuart Hogg was a very willing chaser, profiting once and almost on another occasion but just couldn’t keep the ball in play.

Scotland opened the scoring in the third minute. After winning an early penalty Scotland passed the ball out wide to the right. Russell’s kick resulted in Hogg getting his chance and grabbing his opportunity with both hands to dot down. Russell made no mistake with the conversion.

Tim Nanai-Williams responded with a penalty after a Scotland tackler was penalised for not rolling away in the 12th minute but Russell restored his side’s seven-point buffer with a penalty of his own after this time Samoa were penalised for not rolling away.

Soon after, Russell extended the lead to a 10-point margin at 13-3 with another penalty before Samoa hit back with an excellent try. Showing great ball retention as they took the ball through the phases among the forwards before Josh Tyrell manouevred his way over from close range. Nanai-Willliams made it a three-point game at 13-10 with the Samoans breathing down the Scots’ necks as he made no mistake in slotting the conversion.

The Scots scored their second try five minutes before half-time. Taking a quick lineout, Russell did well to keep the ball alive and it was shifted out toward the left touchline courtesy of an long, flat Ali Price spin pass to Jones who ran a great line with the Samoa defence guilty of being slightly stand-offish. Jones slipped his tackler and had too much momentum for the covering defender as he bashed over.

And the hosts still had time to extend their lead when McInally went over at the back of a well co-ordinated Scottish driving maul. Russell added the extras with Scotland taking a 25-10 lead in to the interval.

The second half started just as the first ended with McInally going over in the exact same fashion, the hooker emerging from the melee of bodies after another  rolling lineout driving maul.

Soon after, Fa’asalele hit back for the visitors as he burst over after a series of powerful carries from the Samoan forwards. Nanai-Williams added the extras to make the score 32-17 to Scotland with 51 minutes gone.

And then 10 minutes later, Nanai-Williams further reduced the deficit as he cut through the Scotland defence like a hot knife through butter to cap an impressive performance in the unfamiliar 10 position.

Just when it was starting to look dangerous for Scotland, Dunbar got himself on the try column when he bashed between two tacklers to dot down after substitue fly-half Pete Horne produced a delicate kick over the top which Lee Jones collected and offloaded for Dunbar who ran on to the ball with great momentum and was not going to be stopped.

Soon after, Samoa restored their deficit to six when a really quick pick and go from Fonotia saw the former Crusaders man going over for his score.

But Scotland put the game beyond doubt when Horne turned try-scorer this time after a beautiful pass from Cornell du Preez meant Horne had a gaping hole to cross the whitewash from 20 metres out. Horne converted his own try as it ended 44-31 to Scotland.

Samoa, as they proved the whole game, managed to find a response when Treviranus showed great speed and ingenuity as he exploited the empty space behing the ruck with his opportunistic pick-and-go.

The scorers:

For Scotland:
Tries: Hogg, Jones, McInally 2, Dunbar, Horne
Cons: Russell 3, Horne
Pens: Russell 2

For Samoa:
Tries: Tyrell, Fa’asalele, Nanai-Williams, Fonotia, Treviranus
Cons: Nanai-Williams 5
Pen: Nanai-Williams

Italy beat Fiji

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Italy got their end-of-year campaign off to an impressive start when they claimed a hard-fought 19-10 win over Fiji in Catania on Saturday.

The result is a significant one for the Azzurri as it is their first victory of the 2017 and ends a nine-match losing streak which stretches back to their 19-17 loss to Tonga in Padova last November.

There was plenty of hype about this match in its build-up as both teams went into the fixture employing expansive game-plans, but although there was plenty of enterprising play during the first half, the Azzurri played more with their forwards after half-time and this helped them to secure the result.

Both sides scored a try apiece although Fiji conceded too many penalties in the second half which paved the way to victory for their hosts.

Italy took an early lead courtesy of a Carlo Canna penalty in the fifth minute after Fiji’s backs were blown up for offside play close to their try-line.

The Azzurri held the upper-hand for the next 15 minutes but although they set up several attacks inside Fiji’s half, they had no reward as they were met by a solid defensive effort from the Pacific isladers.

And in the 21st minute, the visitors drew level via a Ben Volavola penalty after Canna infringed at a ruck. The Azzurri continued to attack and five minutes later, Simone Ferrari ran onto a Marcello Violi pass and barged over for the opening try.

Fiji thought they had their first try in the 35th minute when Josua Tuisova went over the try-line after he charged down an attempted clearance kick from Jayden Hayward deep inside Italy’s 22.

The try was not awarded, however, as television replays showed that Tuisova lost control of the ball while crossing the whitewash.

That setback did not prove too costly though as on the stroke of half-time, Leone Nakarawa burst through a tackle from Sergio Parisse, just outside Italy’s 22, and the Fijian lock showed a superb turn of speed to outpace the cover defence before dotting down next to the uprights.

Volavola added the extras which meant the sides were deadlocked at 10-10 at the interval.

The Azzurri were fastest out of the blocks after the break when, from a Fijian lineout on their five-mete line, Canna, who was standing in the scrum-half position, came around at the set-piece and ripped the ball from Apisalome Ratuniyarawa’s grasp before dotting down.

Like Tuisova’s effort earlier, referee John Lacey checked with his TMO, Neil Paterson, who ruled correctly that Canna came from an offside position.

But despite that ruling, Italy got stronger as the match progressed while Fiji faded badly. Two Canna penalties in the 52nd and 58th minutes, gave the hosts a six-point cushion which meant the visitors had to take more risks in the final quarter.

But things went from bad to worse when Volavola was sent to the sin bin for a cynical foul at a ruck in the 65th minute. That meant the visitors were under the cosh for the rest of the match and Italy sealed their win courtesy of a penalty from debutant Ian McKinley, two minutes before full-time.

The scorers:

For Italy:
Tries:
 Ferrari
Con: Canna
Pens: Canna 3, McKinley

For Fiji:
Tries: 
Nakarawa
Cons: Volavola
Pens: Volavola
Yellow Card: Volavola

Preview – Italy v Fiji

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There should be plenty of thrilling action when Italy get their end-of-year Test campaign underway against a confident Fiji side in Catania on Saturday.

Italy will be out for revenge after they suffered a cruel blow in the previous match between these sides – a 22-19 triumph to the Pacific Islanders after Ben Volavola landed a drop-goal with the final act of the match.

That result formed part of an underwhelming run of results for the Azzurri, who also suffered losses to Scotland and Australia during June. This means Italy are still winless at Test level in 2017 after they lost all five their matches in the Six Nations earlier this year.

Despite those poor results, Italy head coach Conor O’Shea is optimistic his side can turn the corner this weekend.

“I’m excited for this first challenge of the season, happy with the preparation work we have done so far,” he said.

“Zebre and Treviso have started with some interesting performances and looking at the team we have chosen for Saturday’s match I think there is a great group, an interesting mix between our two franchises and the overseas players.

“We are working hard with these guys and I think the future for us can be positive.”

The Pacific Islanders have named a strong starting line-up and there are several potent attackers in their backline and players like Kini Murimurivalu, Josua Tuisova, Asaeli Tikoirotuma and Jale Vatubua all capable of wreaking havoc on attack.

Much will depend on the performance of their forwards, however. If they can stand up to the physicality of their counterparts, and provide their backs with quality ball, then they could upset their hosts.

Fiji head coach John McKee believes Vatubua, who plays for Pau in the Top 14, is ready to kick on after making his Test debut against Australia ealier this year.

“Jale was excellent for us throughout the June-July Test internationals,” McKee told the Fiji Sun.

“We need him to continue that good form during this campaign.

“He is a strong player week in week out at his club Pau in France and I am looking for him to continue this for the Flying Fijians.

“He has formed a good combination with former All Blacks Colin Slade and Conrad Smith at Pau.”

For Fiji: While Fiji possess several attacking threats in their backline, keep an eye on their athletic second-row Leone Nakarawa who is sure to light up this match with his superb skill-set. Nakarawa’s prowess with ball in hand makes him a threat to any defence especially his offloading ability which can bamboozle opponents when he’s on song.

Prediction: Home ground advantage will be crucial in what should be another close affair. Italy to win by three points.

The teams:

Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Tommaso Boni, 12 Tomasso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Andrea Lovotti
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Marco Lazzaroni, 20 Giovanni Licara, 21 Edoardo Gori, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 Matteo Minozzi

Fiji: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 12 Jale Vatubua, 11 Timoci Nagusa, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Frank Lomani, 8 Nemani Nagusa, 7 Akapusi Qera (c), 6 Semi Kunatani, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4  Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 1 Campese Ma’afu
Replacements: 16 Sunia Koto, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Ropate Rinakama, 19 Sikeli Nabou, 20 Mosese Voka, 21 Henry Seniloli, 22 Levani Botia, 23 Vereniki Goneva

Too late for Duane, Frans – Coetzee

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A short week is the reason that Springbok coach Allister Coetzee did not consider the “world-class” duo of Duane Vermeulen and Frans Steyn for duty against Ireland on Saturday

Reports

“I learned last year how important continuity and team culture is,” Coetzee told Netwerk24. “To have enough time to prepare is critical in Test Rugby. Players may be world-class but need more than a Test week to get involved.”

As per World Rugby regulations, Vermeulen and Steyn would only have been available to join the Boks on Monday from Top 14 contenders Toulon and Montpellier.

Coetzee has not ruled out the possibility of calling up the duo in the future, but in the interim he has opted to stick with the back-row combination of Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Francois Louw that did duty against New Zealand at Newlands in August, plugging the hole in the midfield with Damian de Allende.

“We will definitely stay in touch with them, but we are pleased with the players in the group,” said Coetzee. “We’ve got a good team culture here and it was important for me to work with the same group of players.

“We have everything we need in the loose trio. Pieter-Steph offers an explosive ball-carrier at blindside flank and is a good line-out option. Siya has been outstanding all season and he and Flo can both play to the ball. On our ball it’s important to ensure that we secure the first breakdown and the bonus is that they can both force turnovers.”

They will have their work cut out for them in Dublin when they go up against a British & Irish Lions back row of CJ Stander, Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony.

“We are looking forward to it,” said Kolisi.

Preview – France v All Blacks

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The last test match of the weekend is another big one when the World Champions take on the passion that is the french in Paris. For some reason the French always pick up their game against the All Blacks and we expect exactly the same.

The French are always a dangerous side and even more so at home and the rumors are that a few new young and exciting players will make their appearance this weekend.  The Top14 has been playing at a very high standard and what has been nice to see this season so far was that the french players are starting to play better.

New Zealand have been beaten twice this year and had a close call against the Springboks in Cape Town but their is so much quality in that squad that one cannot see them losing this one.

They will welcome back their star players this week after they beaten the Barbarians with a mostly second string side last week.

This test is the perfect way to end the weekend’s matches and one to look forward to.

Fly-half Anthony Belleau will make his debut alongside scrum-half Antoine Dupont.

Mathieu Bastareaud returns to the starting XV after a two-year absence as France coach Guy Noves picked four uncapped players on Thursday to face the All Blacks

Belleau, 21, will make his debut alongside Dupont, 20 and with just three caps, in one of the youngest ever half-back partnerships for les Bleus.

Back row Judicael Cancoriet, 21, and second row Paul Gabrillagues, 24, will also make their debuts, alongside Bastareaud’s centre partner Geoffrey Doumayrou, 28.

The 29-year-old Bastareaud’s last France appearance was in October 2015 in the humiliating 62-13 World Cup quarter-final thrashing at the hands of New Zealand.

Matches between France and New Zealand are usually thrilling affairs and this should also be an entertaining spectacle. In 57 Tests between these countries, the All Blacks have 44 wins, a draw and 12 losses.

The world champions have also won the last 10 fixtures between these sides and the last time they met, in Paris last year, New Zealand had to work hard for their 24-19 victory.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has made wholesale changes to his starting line-up.

Hansen has recalled most of his first-choice players and made nine alterations to his run-on side which claimed a 31-22 come-from-behind win over the Barbarians at Twickenham last weekend.

They’ve been complemented by a group of senior All Blacks returning to the starting XV, including captain Kieran Read, hooker Dane Coles, lock Sam Whitelock, scrum-half Aaron Smith and midfielders Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty.

Meanwhile, Vaea Fifita has been named at blindside flanker, Rieko Ioane is back on the left wing, after recovering from the mumps, and Damian McKenzie is at full-back.

Prediction: All Blacks by 15 points

Teams: 

France: 15 Nans Ducuing, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Mathieu Bastareaud, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Judicael Cancoriet, 5 Paul Gabrillagues, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Clement Maynadier, 17 Raphael Chaume, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Anthony Jelonch, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Damian Penaud

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

Preview – Wales v Australia

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At the same time of the Ireland v Springbok test the Aussies will take on Wales also starting 19:00 local time. When these two nations play their is always something for everyone and we can expect another classic come Saturday.

The Aussies have been running with their tails up after beating the All Blacks, Barbarians and Japan the last couple of weeks and are starting to look like the dangerous side we were used to in years gone by.

Their forwards have been way better and improving each time they get onto the park and they have some dangerous backs that have shown that they can break the defence of any team. The Aussies have always been a clever team and they have players with lovely skills in this squad.

Wales will have to turn up for this one or it can be a blood bath at home.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones will lead Wales in their opening November Series encounter with Australia on Saturday.

Jones is one of seven returning British & Irish Lions to line-up in the starting XV for the clash against the Wallabies, alongside Ken Owens, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Biggar, Jonathan Davies, Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny.

Three players will make their home debut at Principality Stadium, Owen Williams and Steff Evans in the backline and flanker Josh Navidi.

Captain Jones will pack down alongside Jake Ball in the second-row, behind a front-row of Rob Evans, Owens and Tomas Francis.

Three uncapped players have been named on the bench: Dragons prop Leon Brown and Ospreys duo Sam Cross and Owen Watkin.

Kristian Dacey and Nicky Smith make up the front-row replacements alongside Brown with Cory Hill completing the forward contingent. Aled Davies and Hallam Amos join Watkin as the backline replacements.

Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika has made two alterations to his starting line-up for Saturday.

Bernard Foley and Will Genia come back into the starting side and will start at fly-half and scrum-half respectively.

Initially it seemed Karmichael Hunt would also come in at full-back, pushing Kurtley Beale into 12.

However, Samu Kerevi’s form against Japan forced Cheika’s hand, keeping him in the starting XV for the 23-year-old’s first game in Europe.

The return of experienced duo Foley and Genia will be a handy boost for a Wallabies team light on Northern Hemisphere experience.

Foley will take the goal-kicking duties back along with the flyhalf jersey, as Reece Hodge shifts back to the wing, pushing Henry Speight onto the bench.

Prediction: Aussies by 10

Teams:

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Sam Cross, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Owen Watkin, 23 Hallam Amos

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

Preview – Ireland v South Africa

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The Springboks take on Ireland and this is one of the test matches of the weekend as Coetzee and his players tries to show that the Newlands test was not just a once off.

Although the Springboks have shown a slight improvement this year from last season it is not yet where we need to see the Springboks.

The Irish have been one of the sides in Europe that plays a clever brand of rugby and have upset most top teams in the world. They outsmart most and with that have one of the better packs in world rugby as well.

They will surely target the Boks upfront and if the Springboks can not dominate the collision on Saturday they will find it hard to get past this good Irish side.

The Springboks are also without some good players like their captain Whiteley who has been injured since Super Rugby. The Springboks will also start this test with a new unproved center combination as Serfontein made himself unavailable for selection.

Coetzee went with the tried and not always succeeded combinations and left the door shut to give some other players a run against a top test side. With Serfontein not available Coetzee went with De Allende and Kriel in the midfield and kept his back three the same.

Their are some worry on the back three being able to control the kicking game and something we will see Ireland test them on.

With Jantjies and Cronje at ten and nine Coetzee also missed the opportunity to give Paige and Pollard a proper run. Managing your players are as crucial as picking the right one’s and Coetzee could have done both if he went for the Bulls combination.

Upfront Du Toit will again play out of position with De Jager being picked before the inform Mostert at lock with Etzebeth. Coenie and Beats are back in the front row with Marx at hooker.

Ireland have named their squad that will take on South Africa in Dublin on Saturday, with Bundee Aki in the starting line-up at centre.

Ireland hooker Rory Best returns to captain the side having missed the Summer Tour as a member of the British & Irish Lions squad. Best is joined in the front row by Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong.

Iain Henderson and Devin Toner pack down in the second row. Peter O’Mahony and O’Brien are on the flanks with CJ Stander at number eight.

The uncapped Darren Sweetnam is named in the replacements, while James Ryan, who his first cap on the Summer Tour is also included.

Prediction: Ireland by 7

Teams:

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 John Ryan, 19 James Ryan, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Darren Sweetnam

South Africa: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Uzair Cassiem, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Francois Venter

Preview – England v Argentina

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Next up we moved to England were Eddie Jones and his England squad will kick of their anthem fixtures against Argentina.

Argentina have been on a downward curve for the last few years and this year was yet again not something they want to remember losing against a England second string side in June at home and not really making any improvement in the Rugby Championship.

Although playing a very attractive brand of rugby and coming close most of the times against the top test nations in the world Argentina has always fallen short at the end and most of it because of discipline.

If they can keep their cool, clam down on the penalty count and cards they may start having the big wins over these top teams.

A worrying factor from the Pumas has been their scrums. For many years the Puma scrum has been feared all over the world and as time went on their ability to overpower teams in this aspect of the game has gone backwards.

At test level you need to have the foundation and the set pieces has become one of the most important aspects of the modern game.

England at Twickenham will always be a difficult prospect and more so when they have been on such a good run of form. They have been one of the best teams in the world for the past two seasons since Eddie Jones took over as coach and are looking the closest than any other test nation when trying to compare to the All Blacks.

The quality of players in the English league has been great and it has filtered through to the test side making Jones job so much easier with the quality that he can pick from.

Jones have always said that he has a plan to win the 2019 world cup and it seems that he is on track with that plan.

England head coach Eddie Jones has named a strong starting line-up to face Argentina.

Seven players – Mike Brown (Harlequins), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs) and Sam Underhill (Bath) – who started in England’s last Test against Argentina in June retain their place this weekend.

Elliot Daly (Wasps) has recovered from a knee injury and will start on the left wing after Jonny May (Leicester Tigers) did not recover in time from his hamstring injury.

Back-row Sam Simmonds is in line for his debut as a finisher, replacing Tom Curry who injured himself in training on Thursday.

Argentina have named Juan Martin Hernandez at 10 for their November series opener against England.

Hernandez is joined in the half-backs by another experienced campaigner in Martin Landajo, while Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias and Matias Moroni are at centre and Emiliano Boffelli, Ramiro Moyano and Joaquin Tuculet are the back-three.

Up front Agustin Creevy will pack down in between Santiago Garcia Botta and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Matias Alemanno and Tomas Lavanini are the locks while Pablo Matera and Marcos Kremer will flank Tomas Lezana at number eight.

Prediction: Saturday should be a easy win for the English although we can expect the Pumas to start with a bang. At the end England will have to much class and power and we expect a win by at least 15 points or more.

Teams:

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Henry Slade, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 George Kruis, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Tom Curry, 21 Danny Care, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni

Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Tomas Lezana, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Santiago Garcia Botta
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Benjamin Macome, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Nicolas Sanchez, 23 Sebastian Cancellere

Preview – Scotland v Samoa

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The weekend kick off with Scotland hosting Samoa and will be broadcast on SuperSport 1 at 16:20 on Saturday. This test will quickly bring us in the mood for what is to follow and the Scots can expect a heavy onslaught from the islanders.

Although the Samoa squad are mostly unknown for most supporters they always have that brute force with which they play with some great off the ball runners that can crack any teams defence.

TJ Ioane, Jack Lam, Maurie Faasavalu and Ofisa Treviranus are included in the forwards while Kahn Fotuali’i, Kieron Fonotia, Alapati Leiua, Tim Nanai-Williams and David Lemi are among the backs for the end-of-year games.

Huw Jones fresh from a Currie Cup final which he helped Western Province win cannot wait to be part of the Scottish setup as he missed the June Internationals due to a injury he picked up while playing in the Six Nations.

He has ended his contract at province and have signed with Glasgow but representing in country will be his first job

“(I’m) very excited. I not only missed the summer tour, I also missed the whole of Super Rugby as well,” Jones told the Dundee Courier.

“So I’ve missed a lot of rugby, and my focus on going into the Currie Cup was to get back to the form I had that time last year. “I think I’m there or thereabouts and happy to be called up to the Scotland squad again.”

“I remember thinking during the Six Nations when we found out what the summer tour was going to be; ‘oh yeah I can’t wait to go to those countries’, not to mention playing the games.

“It was very disappointing to miss out on those, so I’m glad I’m back in the mix now.Jones also said he is feels as if his game is back to where it was before the lengthy layoff. “I think it took me a little bit longer than I’d hoped to reach form during the Currie Cup, we had a bit of an up and down season,” Jones said.

Chiefs Nanai-Williams will start this weekend at 10 for Samoa as they take on Scotland

Williams take over from Pisi which see Tuala taking up the fullback spot. Williams played fifteen against Fiji in their last test.

Perez will also come in for Leinua on the wing with Cowley that takes over the number nine jumper from Fotuali’i

In the pack they have Brighouse and Tyrell who will make their test debuts as they replace Alo-Emile and Lemalu.

Chris Vui will lead the team from the second row with Lam moving from the side of the scrum to number eight.

TJ Ioane comes in on the side of the scrum wearing the number seven jumper with Leiataua replacing Elia at hooker.

Head Coach Gregor Townsend has named four uncapped players in the 23-man Scotland squad to face Samoa this Saturday at Murrayfield.

It is the first of three November Tests played on consecutive Saturdays this month, with the following Tests against New Zealand (November 18) and Australia (November 25).

Scotland Head Coach Townsend, said: “We’re looking forward to playing three very good teams this autumn and Samoa will be a big challenge for us first up.

Edinburgh prop Darryl Marfo will start the match, while Glasgow Warriors front-row forwards George Turner and Jamie Bhatti, and Newcastle Falcons outside back, Chris Harris, could debut if called upon from the bench.

Marfo is joined by fellow Edinburgh forwards Stuart McInally and Willem Nel in the front-row, with the back-five from the summer Test win over Australia earning reselection: Jonny Gray reforming the locking partnership with Ben Toolis, while number eight Ryan Wilson is partnered with flankers Hamish Watson and captain John Barclay.

The return to fitness and recent signing of Huw Jones means that an all-Glasgow Warriors back-line will start the match. Teammates and housemates Ali Price (scrum-half) and Finn Russell (fly-half) start together for Scotland for the fifth time this year, Alex Dunbar joins Jones in midfield, with Lee Jones, Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg as the back-three.

Prediction: This match will not be easy for Scotland but we do expect them to get a win by at least 7 points.

Teams:

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Lee Jones, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay (c), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Darryl Marfo
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Cornell Du Preez, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Chris Harris

Samoa: 15 Ah See Tuala, 14 Paul Perez, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Reynold Lee-Lo, 11 David Lemi, 10 Tim Nanai Williams, 9 Pele Cowley, 8 Jack Lam, 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Piula Fa’Asalele, 5 Chris Vui (c), 4 Josh Tyrell, 3 Donald Brighouse, 2 Manu Leiataua, 1 Jordan Lay
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 James Lay, 18 Hisa Sasagi, 19 Fa’Atiga Lemalu, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Mealani Matavao, 22 Aj Alatimu, 23 Alapati Leiua

Beast and Coenie back for Boks

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Experienced props Tendai Mtawarira and Coenie Oosthuizen, as well as inside centre Damian de Allende, all return to the Springbok starting team to face Ireland on Saturday evening (kick-off at 19h30 SA time) at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

The match is the first of four Castle Lager Outgoing Tour Tests that also include internationals against France, Italy and Wales.

Mtawarira, the team’s most experienced player with 95 Test caps, comes back into the starting line-up at loosehead prop while Steven Kitshoff, who made his starting debut against the All Blacks last month in Cape Town, will move back to the bench, where he has been very impressive this year.

“Modern day rugby is about using 23 players effectively, and having Kitshoff coming off the bench with 30 mins to play has worked well for us this season,” said Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.

Oosthuizen has recovered from an arm fracture sustained against the Wallabies in Perth in September, and he takes over the tighthead position from Ruan Dreyer, who started in the Boks’ previous three outings.

There is only one change in the backline, with De Allende earning a first start of the season as replacement for Jan Serfontein, who has played in all previous nine Bok matches of the year. Serfontein has moved to French club Montpellier and has asked not to be considered for the month-long European tour.

The rest of the starting line-up is unchanged from the team that lost by one point to New Zealand last month, with Pieter-Steph du Toit retaining the No 7 jersey after a strong performance against the All Blacks.

Kitshoff will be joined on the bench by loose forward Uzair Cassiem – in place of the injured Jean-Luc du Preez – after missing the Cape Town match with a rib injury. De Allende’s place on the bench goes to Francois Venter.

Coetzee said the Springboks will have to adapt to a different challenge against an experienced Irish team this weekend.

“They beat us here in 2014 and with an experienced coaching team and world class players, they are rightfully considered as the favourites and is one of few teams in the last five years that managed to beat the All Blacks,” said the Springbok coach.

“The Irish have a world-class halfback pair and their set-piece play is extremely good, so it will be a great battle on Saturday. They know how to keep the ball and uses a good kicking game to put teams under pressure.”

Regarding the changes to the starting team, Coetzee said: “Continuity is important and we have kept changes to a minimum, with Jean-Luc injured and Jan not available. I am really excited to see Damian getting an opportunity on Saturday. He has worked very hard and looked good in training.”

The Springbok team to against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday:
15. Andries Coetzee, Emirates Lions – 9 caps, 0 points
14. Dillyn Leyds, DHL Stormers – 5 caps, 0 points
13. Jesse Kriel, Vodacom Bulls – 24 caps, 30 points (6 tries)
12. Damian de Allende, DHL Stormers 27 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
11. Courtnall Skosan, Emirates Lions – 9 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
10. Elton Jantjies, Emirates Lions/NTT Shining Arcs (Japan) – 20 caps, 198 points (2 tries, 37 conversions, 38 penalties)
9. Ross Cronje, Emirates Lions – 6 caps, 10 points (1 tries)
8. Francois Louw, Bath, England – 54 caps, 40 points (8 tries)
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit, DHL Stormers – 29 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
6. Siya Kolisi, DHL Stormers – 25 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
5. Lood de Jager, Vodacom Bulls – 32 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
4. Eben Etzebeth (captain), DHL Stormers – 63 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
3. Coenie Oosthuizen, Cell C Sharks – 29 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
2. Malcolm Marx, Emirates Lions – 10 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
1. Tendai Mtawarira, Cell C Sharks – 95 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Replacements:
16. Bongi Mbonambi, DHL Stormers – 11 caps, 0 points
17. Steven Kitshoff, DHL Stormers – 19 caps, 0 points
18. Wilco Louw, DHL Stormers – 1 cap, 0 points
19. Franco Mostert, Emirates Lions/Ricoh Black Rams (Jap) – 15 caps, 0 points
20. Uzair Cassiem, Toyota Cheetahs – 6 caps, 5 points (1 try)
21. Rudy Paige, Vodacom Bulls – 11 caps, 5 points (1 try)
22. Handré Pollard, Vodacom Bulls – 22 caps, 190 points (2 tries, 30 conversions, 37 penalties, 3 drop goals)
23. Francois Venter, Toyota Free State Cheetahs – 3 caps, 0 points

Fifita starts for All Blacks against France

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Exciting Vaea Fifita will start for the All Blacks on Saturday on the blindside when they take on the French in Paris.

Fifita will replace Squire who was not considered due to illness with Kaino also out from a ligament injury he picked up against the Baabaas.

Beauden Barrett gets back in his number 10 jumper and Romano replace Scott Barrett in the second row for the test.

Read is back to captain the side from last weeks water-boy roll against the Baabaas.

There are 11 players who beat the Baabaas last week in the match day squad for Saturday.

‘This weekend is another opportunity for us to continue growing our standards, our game and our skillsets. If we can do that and put in a complete 80-minute game we’ll go a long way to putting in a performance we can all be proud of,’ said Hansen.

‘Having said that, France are an exciting team and playing France in Paris is one of the biggest challenges in rugby. While most of our players know what to expect, six of the match 23 haven’t played the French before [Kane Hames, Nepo Laulala, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Lima Sopoaga, Fifita and McKenzie] so it’ll be a new experience for them and an exciting challenge for the entire squad.’

Team:

All Blacks – 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano,  3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.

Boks in limbo

1

The Springboks continue to be hamstrung by the bizarre decisions taken by the coaching staff and the SA Rugby administrators, writes JON CARDINELLI in Dublin for SARugbyMag.co.za

‘Hang on a minute,’ the Irish journalist pleaded. His expression belied feelings of confusion and disbelief. The information that I’d relayed clearly wasn’t computing.

‘So you’re telling me that Rassie Erasmus is still in Ireland. He’s been working here [with Munster] for more than a year and has a good knowledge of the local game.

‘He was recently named the South African director of rugby. The Boks are in Dublin this week, but Allister Coetzee won’t meet with him at all?’

We both attended the press conference in St Helens on Monday. Coetzee confirmed that he and Erasmus would not meet until early 2018.

How about making time for a phone call or a coffee to discuss strategy during a Test week? Apparently it’s impossible.

How about reaching out for any sort of help ahead of a Test that could render this tour a relative success? Coetzee gave those present at the media gathering the impression that the thought had never crossed his mind.

My new Irish friend kept trying to add up his South African rugby sum. I started to wonder how the international media and indeed the fans from other countries must view us a rugby community.

ALSO READ: Van Graan not done with Boks

‘[Assistant coach] Johann van Graan will replace Rassie at Munster, but he will leave in the middle of the Boks’ four-game tour? How does that work?’

Good question. The Boks will be without a lineout specialist ahead of the games against Italy and Wales, games in which the set pieces will be crucial.

‘[Defence coach] Brendan Venter is still contracted to Italy? What’s going to happen when the Boks go to Padua in two weeks?’

‘Brendan won’t coach against the Boks,’ I tell him.

He gives me a look. I raise my hands in surrender. ‘That’s the official line.’

‘What about this game in Dublin?’ he says, shaking his head. ‘This is South Africa. Who are they really missing in terms of injured players?’

‘They’re missing a full back row if you consider that Jaco Kriel, Jean-Luc du Preez and Warren Whiteley have all been ruled out for extended periods.

‘Duane Vermeulen has played a couple of games for Toulon since returning from injury, though. He declared himself fit and available for selection this past Sunday. The Boks aren’t interested.’

‘Why?’

I shrug. Why indeed.

ALSO READ: Duane hopes for Bok recall

‘Who else is unavailable?’

‘Jan Serfontein will be missed,’ I offer. ‘He was one of the stars in the series against France; one of the Boks’ most influential players on defence. Apparently the Boks have granted him leave to settle at his club in France while the team tours Europe.’

‘Hang on, hang on,’ he says. The Irish newspapers have been up in arms over Simon Zebo’s defection to France. Forget the game against the Boks. This – along with the 2023 World Cup bid race – is the big issue in Irish rugby at present.

More than one media outlet has aligned the South African team’s results of the past two years with the number of players – over 300 – playing abroad. Will Ireland suffer the Boks’ fate? Clearly some feel that Zebo could be the first of many to seek fame and fortune in the French Top 14.

‘Elton Jantjies has started all nine games for the Boks this year,’ he says, trying to change the subject. ‘Why would Coetzee say that Handré Pollard now has the inside lane at flyhalf?’

‘Jantjies, Franco Mostert and Francois Louw won’t be available for the final tour match against Wales,’ I tell him. ‘Jantjies has also been with his Japanese club recently while Pollard has been in camp with the Boks.’

His eyes widen as if I’ve told him an incredible joke. He taps away on his laptop for two or three minutes and then turns to me again.

‘So, do you think the Boks have any chance this Saturday?’

COMMENT: Brains to trump brawn

Nanai-Williams starts at 10 for Samoa

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Chiefs Nanai-Williams will start this weekend at 10 for Samoa as they take on Scotland

Williams take over from Pisi which see Tuala taking up the fullback spot. Williams played fifteen against Fiji in their last test.

Perez will also come in for Leinua on the wing with Cowley that takes over the number nine jumper from Fotuali’i

In the pack they have Brighouse and Tyrell who will make their test debuts as they replace Alo-Emile and Lemalu.

Chris Vui will lead the team from the second row with Lam moving from the side of the scrum to number eight.

TJ Ioane comes in on the side of the scrum wearing the number seven jumper with Leiataua replacing Elia at hooker.

Team:

Samoa: 15 Ah See Tuala, 14 Paul Perez, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Reynold Lee-Lo, 11 David Lemi, 10 Tim Nanai Williams, 9 Pele Cowley, 8 Jack Lam, 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Piula Fa’Asalele, 5 Chris Vui (c), 4 Josh Tyrell, 3 Donald Brighouse, 2 Manu Leiataua, 1 Jordan Lay

Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 James Lay, 18 Hisa Sasagi, 19 Fa’Atiga Lemalu, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Mealani Matavao, 22 Aj Alatimu, 23 Alapati Leiua

Autumn Internationals kick-off with a bang this weekend

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We are back in the international window and for the next four weeks we will see the southern hemisphere taking on the test nations up north in what will be some exciting test matches.

We kick of this weekend with some mouthwatering test matches.

 The weekend kick off with Scotland hosting Samoa and will be broadcast on SuperSport 1 at 16:20 on Saturday. This test will quickly bring us in the mood for what is to follow and the Scots can expect a heavy onslaught from the islanders.

Although the Samoa squad are mostly unknown for most supporters they always have that brute force with which they play with some great off the ball runners that can crack any teams defence.

TJ Ioane, Jack Lam, Maurie Faasavalu and Ofisa Treviranus are included in the forwards while Kahn Fotuali’i, Kieron Fonotia, Alapati Leiua, Tim Nanai-Williams and David Lemi are among the backs for the end-of-year games.

Huw Jones fresh from a Currie Cup final which he helped Western Province win cannot wait to be part of the Scottish setup as he missed the June Internationals due to a injury he picked up while playing in the Six Nations.

He has ended his contract at province and have signed with Glasgow but representing in country will be his first job

“(I’m) very excited. I not only missed the summer tour, I also missed the whole of Super Rugby as well,” Jones told the Dundee Courier.

“So I’ve missed a lot of rugby, and my focus on going into the Currie Cup was to get back to the form I had that time last year. “I think I’m there or thereabouts and happy to be called up to the Scotland squad again.”

“I remember thinking during the Six Nations when we found out what the summer tour was going to be; ‘oh yeah I can’t wait to go to those countries’, not to mention playing the games.

“It was very disappointing to miss out on those, so I’m glad I’m back in the mix now.Jones also said he is feels as if his game is back to where it was before the lengthy layoff. “I think it took me a little bit longer than I’d hoped to reach form during the Currie Cup, we had a bit of an up and down season,” Jones said.

 

This match will not be easy for Scotland but we do expect them to get a win by at least 7 points.

Next up we moved to England were Eddie Jones and his England squad will kick of their anthem fixtures against Argentina.

Argentina have been on a downward curve for the last few years and this year was yet again not something they want to remember losing against a England second string side in June at home and not really making any improvement in the Rugby Championship.

Although playing a very attractive brand of rugby and coming close most of the times against the top test nations in the world Argentina has always fallen short at the end and most of it because of discipline.

If they can keep their cool, clam down on the penalty count and cards they may start having the big wins over these top teams.

A worrying factor from the Pumas has been their scrums. For many years the Puma scrum has been feared all over the world and as time went on their ability to overpower teams in this aspect of the game has gone backwards.

At test level you need to have the foundation and the set pieces has become one of the most important aspects of the modern game.

England at Twickenham will always be a difficult prospect and more so when they have been on such a good run of form. They have been one of the best teams in the world for the past two seasons since Eddie Jones took over as coach and are looking the closest than any other test nation when trying to compare to the All Blacks.

The quality of players in the English league has been great and it has filtered through to the test side making Jones job so much easier with the quality that he can pick from.

Jones have always said that he has a plan to win the 2019 world cup and it seems that he is on track with that plan.

Saturday should be a easy win for the English although we can expect the Pumas to start with a bang. At the end England will have to much class and power and we expect a win by at least 15 points or more.

Next up will see the Springboks take on Ireland and this is one of the test matches of the weekend as Coetzee and his players will want to show that the Newlands test was not a once off.

Although the Springboks have shown a slight improvement this year from last season it is not yet where we need to see the Springboks.

The Irish have been one of the sides in Europe that plays a clever brand of rugby and have upset most top teams in the world. They outsmart most and with that have one of the better packs in world rugby as well.

They will surely target the Boks upfront and if the Springboks can not dominate the collision on Saturday they will find it hard to get past this good Irish side.

The Springboks are also without some good players like their captain Whiteley who has been injured since Super Rugby. The Springboks will also start this test with a new unproved center combination as Serfontein made himself unavailable for selection.

Most supporters want Coetzee to give the young stars some exposure but if you look at Coetzee selection trend he will most properly go with players who he has picked before.

Allot will depend on the selection in my eyes and we will see when Coetzee picked his side if we will still be optimistic in beating Ireland at home.

At the same time of the Ireland v Springbok test the Aussies will take on Wales also starting 19:00 local time. When these two nations play their is always something for everyone and we can expect another classic come Saturday.

The Aussies have been running with their tails up after beating the All Blacks, Barbarians and Japan the last couple of weeks and are starting to look like the dangerous side we were used to in years gone by.

Their forwards have been way better and improving each time they get onto the park and they have some dangerous backs that have shown that they can break the defence of any team. The Aussies have always been a clever team and they have players with lovely skills in this squad.

Wales will have to turn up for this one or it can be a blood bath at home.

Wales number eight Faletau believes Wales have the back-row to cope with the injuries Wales have suffered before the international window even started.

Wales are already without British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton, Cardiff Blues flanker Ellis Jenkins, Dragons star Ollie Griffiths and Ross Moriarty for the visit of the Wallabies on Saturday and are now set to be without Justin Tipuric. Josh Navidi, Sam Cross, Aaron Shingler and Dan Lydiate are all in contention to start.

Despite the loss of so many back-row stars do Wales have the strength in depth to defeat the Wallabies?

“Yeah definitely,” claimed Faletau.

“We are here because we can play rugby – we are not picked for no apparent reason. We back ourselves to win against anybody. They have a few new backrowers. Hooper is a great leader for them, but we will be fine.”

It will be difficult but possible and with a positive and noisy crowd behind them Wales can start the series of with a win.

Wallaby Adam Coleman expects to see flow-on effects from the British and Irish Lions series on Saturday

The Lions’ drawn series with the All Blacks in July was based around rush defence and a strong set-piece, and Coleman said the Welsh would certainly have taken some lessons, and plenty of confidence, from that, under the tutelage of Lions and Wales coach Warren Gatland.

“They’ve spent more time playing together (because of the Lions series),” he told the Australian Rugby Union’s official wenbsite.

“I’m not sure of the number of Welsh players in the Lions but the more time you play with your teammates, the better the combinations are going to be week in week out.

“Definitely I feel like it will have a knock-on effect and I’m sure Wales will be red-hot this weekend.”

The last test match of the weekend is another big one when the World Champions take on the passion that is the french in Paris. For some reason the French always pick up their game against the All Blacks and we expect exactly the same.

The French is always a dangerous side and even more so at home and the rumors are that a few new young and exciting players will make their appearance this weekend.  The Top14 has been playing at a very high standard and what has been nice to see this season so far was that the french players are starting to play better.

New Zealand have been beaten twice this year and had a close call against the Springboks in Cape Town but their is so much quality in that squad that one cannot see them losing this one.

The will welcome back their star players this week after they beaten the Barbarians with a mostly second string side last week.

This test is the perfect way to end the weekend’s matches and one to look forward to.

Most teams will be announced on Thursday as we look forward to the weekend.

Here is all the other test matches taking place all over the world:

Saturday 11 November

Georgia v Canada Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi at 16:00

Italy v Fiji Stadio Angelo Massimino, Catania at 16:00

 

Shoulder scan for O’Donnell

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Tommy O’Donnell is set for a shoulder scan after he injured it on Monday was the bad news Ireland forward coach Simon Easterby told the media.

This is not great news for the Irish who is building up for the massive clash with the Springboks in front of a sell out crowd this Saturday.

Speaking at a media session after training, Easterby said: “Tommy O’Donnell picked up a bit of a shoulder bump in training yesterday so he’s due to have a scan today.

“Jack Conan sat out training, he just had a heavy workload and Dan Leavy had a bit of tightness in his hamstring, obviously he played at the weekend. Again it’s just managing his workload.

“It’s just about being sensible and earmarking players who may have potential weaknesses. If you know about things, at least you can prepare for that and not take any unnecessary risks.”

Jones take England squad down to 26

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Eddie Jones have picked his 26-man squad from which he will select his team to take on Argentina on Saturday.

He released Denny Solomona back to his club in the process as well as Tom Dunn, Nick Isiekwe, Charlie Ewels and Piers Francis.

His two apprentice players Zach Mercer and Marcus Smith have also return to their clubs.

England squad

Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Danny Care (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Forwards: Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby) Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)

Coetzee must back Pollard

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Handré Pollard must be given an extended run at No 10 on the Springboks’ four-Test tour of Europe, writes JON CARDINELLI in Dublin for SARugbyMag

On Monday, Allister Coetzee told the media gathered at the team hotel in St Helens that Pollard was likely to start against Ireland.

‘Elton has been away recently [with his club in Japan] and so I have to decide whether to go with Elton or Pollard at No 10,’ the Bok coach said. ‘I have to weigh up how prepared Elton is going to be for that game versus how Pollard has been in camp with the team for the past three weeks.

Jantjies has started all nine of the Boks’ Tests in 2019. The Lions flyhalf impressed during the early stages of the season in games against France and Argentina. In the subsequent fixtures against Australia and New Zealand, however, Jantjies’ game management and option-taking left a lot to be desired.

Pollard was the Boks’ first-choice flyhalf at the 2015 World Cup. A series of injuries precluded him from selection in 2016 and in the early stages of the 2017 season. He made his comeback to Test rugby in the Rugby Championship, but was limited to a bench role.

This Saturday, Pollard could win his first start for the Boks in more than two years. What’s more, he may receive the opportunity to redeem himself after a poor showing against Ireland the last time the Boks were in Dublin.

In that 2014 fixture, Pollard and halfback partner Francois Hougaard had a night to forget. That said, Pollard and Hougaard weren’t helped by the fact that their forwards lost the collisions and breakdowns.

Will history repeat itself this Saturday? Even at this stage, Coetzee is still pondering his loose-forward options.

The Boks have travelled to Europe without Warren Whiteley, Jaco Kriel and Jean-Luc du Preez (all injured) while Duane Vermeulen has not been considered due to a lack of game time in the wake of his own long-term ailment.

Coetzee may be tempted to stick with the back row that fronted the All Blacks a month ago. Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Francois Louw certainly took the fight to the New Zealanders on that occasion.

On the other hand, Uzair Cassiem is back from injury. Going by how the Boks were running at training in Dublin on Monday, Oupa Mohoje may well be considered for a start at blindside flank.

Whatever the case may be, the Boks will go into Saturday’s clash as underdogs. While they may have the front and second rows to challenge Ireland at the set pieces, they lack the experience and the continuity in the loose trio to be considered as favourites at the breakdowns and collisions.

Ireland also have halfbacks that are capable of translating forward dominance into territory and attacking chances, as Coetzee pointed out.

‘The aerial game might not be as important in Super Rugby, but I know that in the northern hemisphere the aerial bombardment plays a big part,’ the Bok coach said. ‘Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton are great kickers of the ball. They see those kicks as an attacking opportunity as well.

‘Physicality is a given against a northern-hemisphere side. We’ve got to be smart with our detail this week. Ireland are quite innovative. They run good lines and defensively we will have to work at stopping their momentum.’

Three years ago, Pollard was dropped from the starting side in the wake of his poor showing against Ireland. Pat Lambie started the remaining Tests against England, Italy and Wales.

Does Pollard need to win the match single-handedly this weekend to guarantee a start in the following three Tests? Coetzee gave the impression that the Boks are looking to build some continuity on this tour. Jantjies, of course, will head back to his Japanese club ahead of the clash against Wales in Cardiff, a Test that falls outside of the World Rugby-sanctioned Test window.

Coetzee believes that the Boks’ kicking game has been on point this season. This Saturday, he will be looking to his flyhalf to translate forward dominance into territory and, when the situation presents itself, points.

‘You have to win the small battles in big Tests like these,’ he said. ‘There’s the battle at the scrum, the lineout, the battle for territory, the breakdown, and the kicking game. If you win three out of five you have a good chance of winning the game.

‘On top of all that, you have to build scoreboard pressure. You need a No 10 who can keep that scoreboard pressure going. You have to keep building through those three-pointers, especially in the northern hemisphere.’

Those scoring chances will, however, hinge on a competitive showing by the Boks up front. And if Coetzee is serious about building continuity on this tour he has to hand Pollard an extended run in that position of responsibility.

Eben fit to lead Boks

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Springbok coach Allister Coetzee was in a happy mood when he confirmed the news that Etzebeth, Cassiem and Oosthuizen was fit to play against the Irish this weekend.

‘Eben did limited training with the team when they arrived in Dublin on Saturday,’ said the Bok coach.

‘He will be taking full part in training this afternoon. I have no concerns about him whatsoever and he will be fit to lead the team against Ireland.

‘Uzair Cassiem came through contact training without any problems,’ added Coetzee.

‘Coenie Oosthuizen is 100% ready. From a wellness point of view, we are in very good shape.’

Coetzee also explained the Springboks’ approach towards the coming month-long tour: “Our mindset is that it’s not the end of year tour – this tour is about making sure we improve as a group and keep on growing as a team, while also staying on course with our 2019 plan.

“This is an important tour for us and our standard of play has to be at the level of our last match against New Zealand in Cape Town,” said Coetzee.

The Bok coach also spoke very highly of the Irish side: “They are really a top-class side with an experienced coaching team and quality players. There is no doubt we have to be at our best on Saturday.

“Our ability to adapt to the conditions, and how we want to play, will be tested. I know that up here (northern hemisphere) there will be many contests, and the arial bombardment will be one it.

“In that respect Ireland have a great weapon in their halfback pair as both are prolific kickers, and as a combination, they are world-class. It will be important to win the many small battles and our focus will be to improve execution in all departments,” said the Springbok coach.

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Jones name 33-man squad for Test series

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England coach Eddie Jones has named his 33 players for the upcoming November test series which starts against Argentina this coming weekend.

Daly has been recalled after he was was not with the squad that traveled to Portugal due to a knee injury.

England’s forward pack will train against Wales in Bristol on Monday morning before travelling back to Pennyhill Park in the afternoon to continue their preparation with the rest of the squad.

Tom Dunn (Bath), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), Zach Mercer (Bath) and Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs) will remain at Pennyhill Park on a separate training schedule on Monday.

England squad:

Forwards: Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Zach Mercer (Bath)*, Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs), Sam Underhill (Bath),Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Tom Dunn (Bath), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)

Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath), Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks), Anthony Watson (Bath), Danny Care (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Piers Francis (Northampton Saints), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Aussies demolish Japan

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Australia continued with their superb recent form when they secured an impressive 63-30 victory over Japan in Yokohama on Saturday.

As the scoreline suggests, this was a one-sided affair with the Wallabies dominating for large periods and they eventually outscored the Brave Blossoms nine tries to three with Tevita Kuridrani leading the way with a deserved hat-trick.

The Wallabies controlled proceedings from the outset and held a 35-3 lead at half-time courtesy of a brace of tries from Kuridrani and further five-pointers from Samu Kerevi, Henry Speight and Tatafu Polota-Nau.

They continued to dominate in the second half and were rewarded with further tries from Kuridrani, Kerevi, Nick Phipps and Rob Simmons.

Head coach Michael Cheika deserves credit for his decision to play Reece Hodge at fly-half as the 23-year-old impressed as his team’s chief playmaker and finished with an 18-point haul after converting all his side’s tries.

Japan improved as the game progressed and although they scored three tries in the second half, most of their points came during the game’s latter stages when the Wallabies had the game in the bag.

Australia were fastest out of the blocks and Kerevi cantered over for the opening try after Adam Coleman and Polota-Nau laid the groundwork with strong carries in the build-up.

Five minutes later, Speight crossed for his side’s second try before Rikiya Matsuda opened the home side’s account via an 18th minute penalty after Polota-Nau strayed offside on defence.

The burly hooker made up for that indiscretion in the 24th minute, however, when he dotted down off the back of a driving maul and the visitors undrlined their dominance when Kuridrani scored two of his tries towards the end of the half.

Japan made a fine start to the second half when Wimpie van der Walt barged over from close quarters after Amanaki Mafi set him up with a strong run. Matsuda converted and kicked a penalty which meant the Wallabies led 35-13 by the 50th minute.

Kerevi soon crossed for his second try though after impressive work from Hodge, Speight and Kurtley Beale before Matsuda slotted his third penalty in the 55th minute.

Australia continued to attack and Kuridrani crossed for his third try on the hour-mark after gathering an offload from Kerevi. Phipps and Simmons’ tries followed in quick succession and with the result secured, the visitors took their foot off the pedal as the clock wound down.

To their credit, the Brave Blossoms did not surrender and they were rewarded wwhen Mafi and Kazuki Himeno scored tries which added respectabilty to the scoreline.

The scorers:

For Japan:
Tries: 
Van der Walt, Mafi, Himeno
Cons: Matsuda, Tamura 2
Pens: Matsuda 3

For Australia:
Tries: 
Kerevi 2, Speight, Polota-Nau, Kuridrani 3, Phipps, Simmons
Cons: Hodge 9

Maori All Blacks put fifty past Canada

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The Maori All Blacks have battered a flaky Canada side from pillar to post, winning Saturday’s match 51-9 in Vancouver (NZT).

It was one-way traffic for the full 80 minutes in British Columbia as the Maori All Blacks ran in an unanswered seven tries, accounting for a Canadian outfit missing several of their regular overseas-based players.

Chiefs-based midfielder Charlie Ngatai impressed in an unfamiliar fullback role, scoring a try and dropping in and out of the attack at will.

The Maori All Blacks forwards were also far too strong at the scrum and lineout.

With the Canucks dispatched, Clayton McMillan’s troops will now head across the pond for next week’s clash with the French Barbarians in Bordeaux.

They’re likely to present more of a challenge than the Canadians.

The Maori All Blacks enjoyed almost 70 per cent of territory in the opening stanza as their speed and precision befuddled Les Rouges.

Yet it took some time for their dominance to show on the scoreboard.

Aided by the boot of goal-kicking winger Brock Staller – and by Dan Pryor’s yellow card – the Canadians remained within one point by the 25-minute mark, having conceded the match’s opening try to a speedy Ambrose Curtis.

But a barnstorming Akira Ioane effort subsequently put daylight between the sides, and a late Tom Franklin try sent the Maori All Blacks into the sheds 27-9 ahead.

Appearing set to dominate the second half, the Maori All Blacks again found themselves quelled by a yellow card, this time to Tim Bateman for a high tackle.

Yet the Canucks couldn’t take advantage, and instead conceded a fourth try in the 54th minute to a counter-attacking Ngatai.

The return of Bateman duly cemented his side’s dominance, while a sin-binning to Northland-based Canadian lock Josh Larsen served to make matters worse.

Additional straightforward tries to Shaun Stevenson, Jackson Garden-Bachop and Sean Wainui closed out the one-sided match.

The scorers:

For Canada:
Pens: 
Staller 3
Yellow Card: Larsen

For Maori All Blacks:
Tries:
 Curtis, Ioane, Franklin, Ngatai, Stevenson, Garden-Bachop, Wainui
Cons: West 4, Garden-Bachop
Pens: West 2
Yellow Cards: Pryor, Bateman

-AAP

Preview – Japan v Australia

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Japan will be looking to upset the odds once again when they host the Wallabies at Yokohama Stadium on Saturday in the first November international.

Who could ever forget that monumental victory over the Springboks in the 2015 World Cup that marked the dawn of a new era for Japan rugby.

While Eddie Jones, who now coaches England, was the man who oversaw that turning point, Japanese Rugby has continued to put world-class coaches at the helm.

Having brought in Jamie Joseph as head coach, they recently bolstered the coaching ranks with an excellent addition in the form of former Hurricanes assistant John Plumtree as defence coach.

However, the Sunwolves were well off the pace in Super Rugby with New Zealand Rugby Union boss Steve Tew also saying Japan are far from joining the Rugby Championship.

The Sunwolves conceded far too many tries in Super Rugby and Plumtree will need to get to work fast if he is to paper over the cracks, but it could be asking too much.

The Wallabies are a well-oiled outfit having had plenty of time together with that added training camp prior to the Rugby Championship. Well-drilled too by Michael Cheika, the Aussies have experienced something of a resurgence after their woeful June series in which they lost to Scotland and almost to Italy.

The national side has gone some way to redeeming Australian rugby after a woeful Super Rugby season which saw Aussie sides go winless against Kiwi teams as well as the ongoing saga over which franchise would be cut from Super Rugby and Andrew Forrest’s plans to start his own competition.

The renaissance was well and truly completed with the breaking of their Bledisloe drought with a 32-18 victory over the All Blacks a fortnight ago. This, after credible draws with the Springboks and running the All Blacks close in Dunedin.

Cheika has named a strong side, clearly not wanting all of his good work to be undone as he seeks to build continuity.

However, some are viewing his selection of Reece Hodge at fly-half as a ‘massive gamble’, with Hodge not having played in that position for the Rebels in Super Rugby this season.

Players to watch:

For Australia: Samu Kerevi has recently lost his spot in the regular starting XV to Tevita Kuridrani. He will want to show everyone the sort of performances at international level that earned him a spot in the Super Rugby 2017 Team of the Year. He makes dozens of carries and tackles, boasting a phenomenal work rate.

For Japan: Michael Leitch skippers the side and is an experienced campaigner. He led them to “the biggest shock in Rugby World Cup history” as part of the team that defeated two-time world champions South Africa in 2015 and has plenty of Super Rugby experience. His leadership, dogged defence and ball carrying will be critical to Japan’s effort.

Head-to-head: Amanaki Mafi and Sean McMahon are both key players for their respective sides. They are the go-to ball carriers, play a critical link-up role between forwards and back and step up on defence as well. The battle between these two hard men should be great to watch. Whoever performs better, particularly with ball in hand, will have a major say in who has the upper hand on attack.

Previous results:

2007: Australia won 91-3 in Lyon
1987: Australia won 42-23 in Sydney
1975: Australia won 37-7 in Sydney
1975: Australia won 50-25 in Brisbane

Prediction: Wallabies by 25. The Japanese defence will be put to the sword here.

The teams:

Japan: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Lomano Lava Lemeki, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Ryuji Noguchi, 10 Rikiya Matsuda, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 6 Michael Leitch (c), 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Kazuki Himeno, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Koki Yamamoto, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Fetuani Lautaimi, 21 Yutaka Nagare, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Sione Teaupa

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Reece Hodge, 9 Nic Phipps, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Lopeti Timani, 22 Joe Powell, 23 Curtis Rona

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