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Irish pot of Gold as Boks stutter

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Ruggaworld’s’ Benedict Chanakira have a look at the weekend’s matches up north.

Irish

Ireland have surprised many but have been on an upward trajectory since that last minute ambush the All Blacks gave them in 2013. The loss was a boost, while most sides would be content with such a result the Irish built on that hurt.

The men in green have been clinical as they confirmed their tag of being the third best side in the world. Their impressive Autumn series including scalps over Australia and South Africa. Would have been an ideal year to see a rematch with the All Blacks.

These two sides have arguably been the two best sides în the rugby year and Champions in their respective Championships! The next ten months will be the true test, as to how good are the men in green?

The Welsh are the biggest culprits to playing a 60/70 minute game but never get a reward. Another example was their game against New Zealand this weekend.

The men from up North led by a point entering the final ten minutes. They always seem to have the upper hand going into this phase and with that time New Zealand scored 19 points. I would like to believe someone can stop the men from New Zealand, I really would but they seem to run on something thats from out of this world.

They seem to possess the calm, confidence and ability to see off any challenge. The World Cup is next year and they have gone through this four year cycle with an unbeaten year and two defeats in 49 games.

That is quite an impressive run. A retrospective look however is that no side has ever defended their World Cup crown. That is not possible, but could these beings manage it?

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The Springboks’ depth is not as formidable as the management may have hoped but the entry of Nizaam Carr was a player who out his hand up.

A dimension different from our accustomed number 8’s in Pierre Spies, Duane Vermaelen, and the sorts. The off load to Reinach was instrumental to the revival of a clueless Bok side.

With Le Roux and Pollard the other difference makers South Africa managed to salvage a desperate situation. Next up  is a Wales side that will play for a good sixty minutes and then fade away. The last dress rehearsal for some of the players.

Who will start at flyhalf ?

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The newly named IRB, now World Rugby named Brodie Rettalick the best rugby player in the world. I will leave you all to let that sink in. Leaves New Zealand with four of those in their current squad.

Still feel there is a conspiracy but their decision is understandable. They will pick their best player from the best team in the world, with an unnamed committee member stating to me, “The best player takes his team to the top.” Got to feel for Thor who could change the course of any game in any way whether on attack or defense.

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France decided not to play this weekend as Argentina felt they wanted to play. Can’t decide how these two have actually fared are the Pumas going forward or they staggering with a bout of inconsistency in their form.

An exciting penultimate weekend to follow for South African rugby!

Ruggaworld “Live” Match Centre

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This weekend see the last test matches for most countries this year and we have some great match-ups to look forward to. Most coaches used this November test window as preparation for the World Cup in England next year.

Only South Africa, Wales, England and Australia will play next weekend to close the 2014 season. As expected most teams have selected their best group of players for this weekend’s matches with exception to South Africa who play Italy on Saturday.

****REMEMBER TO PUT YOUR SCORES IN FOR THE ITALY VS SPRINGBOK GAME AND STAND A CHANGE TO WIN A CLASSIC 15 RUGBY SHIRT

 

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Saturday Test Matches:

Italy vs SA

Italy 0 South Africa 0 (Live on SS1 at 16:00) Details

Scotland vs Tonga

Scotland 0 Tonga 0 (Live on SS6 at 16:15) Details

Ireland vs Aus

Ireland 0 Australia 0 (Live on SS1 at 18:30) Details

wales vs all balcks

Wales 0 New Zeeland 0 (Live on SS6) Details

england vs samoa

England 0 Samoa 0 (Live on SS1 at 20:45) Details

france vs argen

France 0 Argentina o (Live on SS6 at 21:45) Details 

 

Enjoy fighting for the remote today!!!

 

 

 

Carr and Redelinghuys on bench for Boks

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The Springbok starting team to face Italy in Padova on Saturday shows four changes from the side which beat England at Twickenham last week, with three new faces amongst the pack and one in the backline. Nizaam-Carr-SA-training-EOYT-2014_3224608 There are also five changes on the bench, with Nizaam Carr and Julian Redelinghuys included in a Test match-23 for the first time.

Trevor Nyakane will start his first Test for South Africa at loosehead prop, while Coenie Oosthuizen moves up from the bench to replace the injured Jannie du Plessis at tighthead. Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje returns to the starting line-up while Johan Goosen has been selected at fullback.

Joining Carr and Redelinghuys on the bench, are Gurthrö Steenkamp, Lood de Jager and Willie le Roux. Tendai Mtawarira has been given a break after carrying a heavy workload recently. “I’m excited to see what these guys can do on Saturday in what will be a stern Test against a fired-up Italy,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

We planned to make a few shifts for this Test as I’d like to see if these players can make the step up. The guys coming in deserve their opportunities and seeing that we won’t have our overseas-based players available next week against Wales, it made sense to bring a few of them in this week.”

Meyer said he was impressed by the commitment shown by all the uncapped players at training on the tour and that Carr and Redelinghuys are ready for selection. “Nizaam can cover all the positions in the back-row and his call-up is just-reward after a very good season for the DHL Stormers and Western Province,” said the Springbok coach.

“Julian has been superb for the Lions this season and he’s shown that he can scrum. Both of them are now familiar with our plays and structures and I’m looking forward to see what they can bring on Saturday.It will also be a good test for Johan, who I’ve always regarded as a possibility at fullback.

He has a great skill-set and a massive boot which will come in handy on Saturday if we have to play in wet weather again.” Meyer said the Test against Italy will pose different challenges to what the Springboks had faced thus far on the tour. “They are a passionate nation with a very experienced coach in Jacques Brunel and a world-class captain in Sergio Parisse,” said Meyer. “The Italian pack is always formidable and their backs are not scared of taking chances.

Our focus is to show improvements from our performance at Twickenham and we know it will be a big challenge on Saturday.”

The Springbok team to face Italy in Padova is:

Position Name Test Caps Test points
15 Johan Goosen 5 8
14 JP Pietersen 58 90
13 Jan Serfontein 18 10
12 Jean de Villiers (captain) 104 135
11 Bryan Habana 105 280
10 Pat Lambie 38 97
9 Cobus Reinach 4 5
8 Duane Vermeulen 27 10
7 Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje 5 0
6 Marcell Coetzee 24 30
5 Victor Matfield (vice-captain) 119 35
4 Eben Etzebeth 31 0
3 Coenie Oosthuizen 19 10
2 Adriaan Strauss 42 25
1 Trevor Nyakane 11 5
Replacements:
16 Bismarck du Plessis 68 45
17 Gurthrö Steenkamp 52 30
18 Julian Redelinghuys 0 0
19 Lood de Jager 7 10
20 Nizaam Carr 0 0
21 Francois Hougaard 33 25
22 Handré Pollard 7 61
23 Willie le Roux 23 35

The tale of two Halfbacks

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Ruggaworld’s Benedict Chanakira looks at the Springboks match with players that stood out and the other End of Year Tour Internationals played over the past weekend.

(Gallo Images)
(Gallo Images)

Did Patrick Lambie make the 10 shirt his? and was it a master class display?

Apart from errors in missing for touch, charged down and box kicks, Cobus and Pat were sublime. He was calm in all departments, as he slotted the penalties over and managed to control general play. That little chip or delicate foot to ball contact that saw Willie le Roux collect and break through before a well executed offload to Cobus Reinach was the toast of the day.

Lambie continued his own dominance at Twickenham, may it continue to 2015 for the Springbok fans. The Sharks 9-10 axis showed they can step up and perform.

For England the opposite as their halfback pair was the result of them trailing early on and Farrel’s maneuvers to try dance around in the red zone saw an early shot at goal for Lambie. A few moments later Danny Care in his 50th test, was sleeping for a moment as he gifted Jan Serfontein a try under the poles and that left the game in favor of the Springboks!

While England clawed their way back they had to contend with what I feel cost them the game, turning two shots at goal down.While for a moment the Boks looked like they had blown the game they gained control and ground out a win.

Marcell Coetzee and veteran Schalk Burger where phenomenal! They completed a trio with Duane Vermeulen that allowed the English to find no match. Despite the late entry of burly Ben Morgan the English forwards met their match.

With two fixtures left  in which South Africans have a habit of beating, it will be an opportunity to test out the fringe players. It will be more interesting to see the likes of Julian Redelinghuys, Warren Whiteley among many with games that may book their tickets back to England.

The question is will the Bok gaffer give Coenie Oosthuizen a start at tighthead against a side known for their scrummaging prowess and an opportunity to convince the fans and management that he is the answer at 3 should Jannie du Plessis be unavailable?

Will Meyer look to see how Johan Goosen does as the last line of defense maybe allow the mercurial le Roux some much needed rest or bring him closer to the ball play. The last opportunity for experiments or playing games with the line up!

Other highlights over the weekend:

Scotland showed a lot of heart and brave showing against the All Blacks and like most sides fell short again. They showed a good account in the first 60-70 minutes before the World Champions finished strong as is their norm with them these days.

Their second string to say did the job, but the returning Daniel Carter showed his lack of match fitness as he was rusty and well below par. Wales next to wrap up the tour!

For France…… they came out to play and pipped the Aussies, taking their opportunities as they came and grinding out the win. The Wallabies may need to go into further soul searching as their slump in world rugby continues.

While Wales looks off color too the feared group of death which includes England, Wales, Australia, Fiji looks like that of strugglers. For now the hosts and Australia look certain to progress until someone pulls a bull from the hat.

Fiji’s Nadolo was devastating and the islanders may be known for an expansive game but their defense must be lauded for being valiant or is it that Wales had no attacking teeth? Their true Tests await in the next two games over the two weekends for the 2011 World Cup semi-finalists!

 

Ruggaworld’s “Live” Match Centre

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RUGGAWP

Second week of November Internationals this weekend and we have some great match ups again today to look forward to. The game of the weekend should be England hosting South African and also France hosting the much improved Aussies in France.

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England 0 South Africa o (Live on SS1 at 15:30)

For both combatants at Twickenham the success or failure of their respective November campaigns now hinges entirely on Saturday’s result.

I’m not the only one growing a little tired of the constant talk about the World Cup. Since when did Test matches a year before the global event become pseudo warm-up games?

A lot of people are drawing a lot of conclusions about the future when they would be better off focusing on the here and now. I fully agree with All Blacks coach Steve Hansen that it’s “baloney” to say New Zealand have gained a psychological advantage over England ahead of the next year’s final. As Hansen so correctly points out, it’s a fixture that might very well not even happen.

But I do agree that another loss on home soil will most definitely be a massive blow to the English psyche, both on the field and in the stands.

Previous results:

2012: South Africa won 16-15 in London
2012: 14-all draw in Port Elizabeth
2012: South Africa won 36-27 in Johannesburg
2012: South Africa won 22-17 in Durban
2010: South Africa won 21-11 in London
2008: South Africa won 42-6 in London
2007: South Africa won 15-6 in Paris
2007: South Africa won 36-0 in Paris
2007: South Africa won 55-22 in Pretoria
2007: South Africa won 58-10 in Bloemfontein
2006: South Africa won 25-14 in London
2006: England won 23-21 in London
2004: England won 32-16 in London
2003: England won 25-6 in Perth
2002: England won 53-3 in London

The teams:

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Brad Barritt, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Danny Care, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 David Wilson, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 George Kruis, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 George Ford, 23 Marland Yarde.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Cornal Hendricks.

Date: Saturday, November 15
Venue: Twickenham, London
Weather: 11°C. Cloudy but dry
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Jérôme Garcès (France),Nick Briant (New Zealand)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

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Scotland 0, New Zeeland 0 (Live on SS1 at 19:00)

Having overhauled their line-up for their penultimate Test of the year, the All Blacks should face a strong contest against Scotland.

Steve Hansen and his coaching staff will be hoping for a slightly simpler 80 minutes than in recent matches against South Africa, Australia and England, when the All Blacks have been pushed hard.

Claims that the selection is disrespectful feels a touch far, even if only Ben Smith and captain Richie McCaw remain from the starting XV that defeated England at Twickenham.

Even then Smith and McCaw won’t have the same numbers on their backs, with the Highlander moved to full-back while McCaw, with his 135 caps and myriad of accolades, achieves something new by being selected in the six shirt for the first time.

Not that the changes mean New Zealand are sending out some scratch side at Murrayfield, as they look to stretch their unbeaten run against Scotland to 30 straight games.

Performing well in Edinburgh, given the starters are likely to return for Wales, may just alter Hansen’s thinking before next year’s World Cup

Previous Results:
2012: New Zealand won 51-22 in Edinburgh
2010: New Zealand won 49-3 in Edinburgh
2008: New Zealand won 32-6 in Edinburgh
2007: New Zealand won 40-0 in Edinburgh
2005: New Zealand won 29-10 in Edinburgh
2001: New Zealand won 37-6 in Edinburgh
2000: New Zealand won 48-14 in Auckland
2000: New Zealand won 69-20 in Dunedin

The teams:

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Johnnie Beattie, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Sean Lamont.

New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Colin Slade, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Dan Carter, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Richie McCaw (c), 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Sonny Bill Williams, 23 Julian Savea.

Date: Saturday, November 15
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Johnny Lacey (Ireland), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

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France 0 Australia 0 (Live on SS1 at 21:45)

France thrashing Australia in 2012 was the high point of the Philippe Saint-André reign, now the pressure is on for a repeat performance.

Since that unbeaten November series, Les Bleus have won just six matches from a possible 20, including a 3-0 whitewash in Australia.

For their part, the Wallabies are on their third coach during the same period, with Michael Cheika now charged with taking them through to the World Cup.

He got off to a winning start last weekend against Wales, and while it was very tight, the way Australia controlled the game in the last ten minutes will certainly have given Cheika a lot of confidence.

Australia were on the back foot for large periods in that game, but yet again, their clinical finishing whenever they got a chance ended up being the difference between the two sides.

Previous results:

2014: Australia won 39-13 in Sydney
2014: Australia won 6-0 in Melbourne
2014: Australia won 59-23 in Brisbane
2012: France won 33-6 in Paris
2010: Australia won 59-16 in Paris
2009: Australia won 22-6 in Sydney
2008: Australia won 18-13 in Paris
2008: Australia won 40-10 in Brisbane
2008: Australia won 34-13 in Sydney
2005: France won 26-16 in Marseille

The teams:

France: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Alexandre Dumoulin, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Sébastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Papé, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Alexandre Menini
Replacements from: Xavier Chiocci, Benjamin Kayser, Uini Atonio, Alexandre Flanquart, Sébastien Vahaamahina, Yannick Nyanga, Charles Ollivon, Rory Kockott, Rémi Talès, Maxime Mermoz, Mathieu Bastareaud, Maxime Médard

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Leali’ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 James Horwill, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Matt Hodgson, 21 Will Genia, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Rob Horne

Date: Saturday, November 15
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

 

 

 

Boks should have picked Carr

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Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has missed a golden opportunity to bring Western Province and Stormers back-row Nizaam Carr in to his Test squad….by David Skippers from Planet Rugby

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A place in the run-on side – against a team of England’s calibre – might be a bit premature but I believe Carr could definitely have done a job off the two-time world champions’ replacements bench at Twickenham this weekend.

I feel Meyer has made a mistake to include Teboho Mohoje as a reserve ahead of Carr who is more versatile and a player who can add a different dimension – compared to your stereotypical South African loose forward – to Springboks’ back row play.

Unfortunately, Mohoje has not made the most of his chances at Test level and Schalk Burger’s elevation ahead of the Cheetahs man to the starting line-up for the crunch clash with England was not surprising.

Mohoje has been average at best, since making his run-on debut against the Wallabies in a Rugby Championship clash in Cape Town during September and is yet to play more than 60 minutes in a Test.

He has been yanked off between the 45th and 55th minutes in all of his starting Tests – something which is unlikely to happen to the more experienced Burger against England.

While Mohoje has proven to be solid – but unspectacular – that is not what will be needed if he comes off the bench this weekend. A replacement must make an impact when he comes onto the field and Carr fits the bill perfectly in that aspect.

He has a high work-rate, superb ball skills, flair and vision and won’t let any side down on defence. In fact, he was so prolific as a tackler during Western Province’s triumphant Currie Cup campaign, earlier this year, that he finished the tournament having made more tackles (200) than any other player in the competition.

While the standard of the game at Currie Cup level is far inferior to the Test arena, Carr has the ability to make the step up as proven in the Super Rugby competition earlier this year.

He started that tournament as a replacement in the Stormers squad but his superb form saw him finishing as the Cape Town-based outfit’s first-choice openside flanker.

Hopefully Carr’s fine all-round skillset will be rewarded with a Bok debut sooner rather than later.

Of Meyer’s other selections, for Saturday’s Test the demotion of Handrè Pollard is also surprising as his performance in Dublin was largely down to the poor service of his scrum-half Francois Hougaard, who had a shocker and was subsequently replaced by Cobus Reinach.

Bismarck du Plessis and Adriaan Strauss’ rotation for the hooking berth doesn’t raise any eyebrows anymore while the selection of the more experienced JP Pietersen ahead of Cornal Hendricks makes sense against a team of England’s calibre.

By David Skippers

Rokoduguni out for Springboks clash

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Semesa Rokoduguni will miss Saturday’s game with South Africa through injury and has been replaced in the England squad by Marland Yarde.

Semesa Rokoduguni

The Bath winger made his Test debut against New Zealand on Saturday but has picked up a thigh injury which will keep him out of the game against the Springboks.

Yarde is not the only person joining the squad, with James Haskell staying to provide cover for Tom Wood who has not been able to take part in full training. Those are the only two changes to the 23-man squad from those that lost to New Zealand 24-21 on Saturday.

And Stuart Lancaster feels pleased with how his players have responded since that defeat.

The players have responded well and we’ve had a good few days’ training,” he said.”Roko did some limited training this morning but is unlikely to fully recover from his thigh injury in time for the game so Marland is in the group coming back tomorrow. “Tom [Wood] is still sore from the weekend and sat out training so we are including five back rows to give us options before we announce the side on Thursday morning.”

England squad to face South Africa:

Forwards: Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby) Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons) Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) James Haskell (Wasps) George Kruis (Saracens) Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) Joe Marler (Harlequins) Matt Mullan (Wasps) David Wilson (Bath Rugby) Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby) Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain) Billy Vunipola (Saracens) Rob Webber (Bath Rugby) Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)

Backs: Brad Barritt (Saracens) Mike Brown (Harlequins) Danny Care (Harlequins) Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby) Owen Farrell (Saracens) George Ford (Bath Rugby) Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) Marland Yarde (Harlequins) Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Springbok redemption?

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Ruggaworld’s Benedict Chanakira look ahead at this weekend International clashes and have a swipe at the past weekend’s games….

We turn to the second week of Autumn internationals and its pretty much the same story.Wales still talking the talk but always failing in the final hurdle. They’ll need more than a Kiwi coach to edge the big teams. Maybe the future selection of Gareth Anscombe will give them an edge, a player who is a proven winner.

Scotland managed to shock Argentina who failed to build on their Wallaby slaughter as they fell, and will now face New Zealand. The referees will face further scrutiny with growing calls for review systems, two referees and NFL style officiating. The man in the middle are actually the difference in most occasions and some have a desire to be the main act when they actually meant to always be the support cast.

South Africa tried to give the contracted Springboks a short ‘sabbatical’ and it really backfired as it never worked. I even look at the New Zealanders who took sabbaticals for six months and I am met with the picture of a process that really has not worked. Carter, McCaw and Smith suffering niggles and injuries upon their return. Time will tell whether they benefit the player or not.

England vs South Africa

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The media up north have managed to talk up the Boks and they continue to. Rightly so, they are the second best side in the world; but the decision making showed their over confidence. In situations where the old-Springbok side would have taken points they backed their driving maul and dominant lineout which resulted in the solitary try.

They face an English side that pushed the All blacks and for the fourth game on the trot lost after a valiant fight. The Springbok 9\10 axis will decide the game and will need to better than the show over the weekend.

The control of Fourie du preez is greatly missed and the veteran will be key in 2015! England’s injury woes are not as evident as earlier suggests with a decent display this weekend. Will the wounded South Africans have more wounds to lick or will they add more misery to next year’s World Cup hosts?

Scotland vs New Zealand

All Blacks

They have grown. The brave Scots continue to improve and provided quite a shock by beating the Pumas of Argentina. Putting in an exciting and solid show. Their growth will be tested once again as they face a side that seldom loses.

What will be examined will not be a win but rather a  with all due respect. The New Zealanders know how to win and its etched in their heads that they are meant to. They will look to add to their tour scalps and could see them rotate their squad a bit.

France vs Australia

Australia

I still am never sure what French side will decide to pop up on game day. The match this weekend will tell us what the tricolors are thinking. What we know there will be yet another half-back pairing. Well history tells us this.

How Rory Kockott, if selected  will fair against opposition that is quality. Will he add a different to the hapless French who got mauled in the Australasian continent months back? The Australians keep turning a corner and clearly are always back to where they started off.

Their win against a mentally weak Wales side will not be considered. I mean if there is a minute left, and one of the top three trail by 8 points for the win i will bet against a Welsh win. Australia require stability and will key how they approach this match as Cheika continues to stamp and imprint his stamp!

 

 

‘Boks will be more physical than ever’ English Newspapers

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What the English newspapers are saying ahead of the Test against the Springboks at Twickenham on Saturday….by Jon Cardinelli from SARugbyMag

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The consensus among the British scribes is that the 24-21 scoreline at Twickenham this past Saturday flattered England. Stuart Lancaster’s side have now lost four matches this year to the All Blacks, and there is a feeling in the local media that time is running out to make a statement.

Following the recent defeat, the next three weeks have been described as ‘huge’. It is a concern that they will face the Springboks this weekend without centre Luther Burrell and probably without lock Courtney Lawes, who left the field last Saturday with a concussion. They are already missing forwards of the quality of Alex Corbisiero, Geoff Parling, and Joe Launchbury.

‘All Blacks: Lancaster’s men going backwards’ reads the title of a backpage sidebar in today’s Daily Mail. The All Blacks have said that England weren’t as competitive on Saturday as they were in the three-Test series in June.

World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward believes that England need more grunt in their game. ‘We have to circle the wagons, get some sulphur flying around, add some real anger into this team and concentrate on playing ruthless world-class rugby. Winning the next match is all that matters’.

Woodward expects a Bok backlash this week. ‘This week is going to be one of the toughest of Stuart Lancaster’s career. The Boks will be up for is physically more than ever, so England must look to out-think and out-smart them and that needs great coaching and great selecting’. Woodward feels Danny Cipriani should start at No 10 and Owen Farrell at 12 to give England more tactical kicking options.

There is plenty of reflection and analysis in today’s edition of the The Times. ‘Confident Lancaster needs new firepower to fend off snipers’ is the headline of Owen Slot’s piece. Slot writes that there were positives to be taken from the narrow loss to the All Blacks in the first match of the June series. However, he feels that there was little to be enthused about regarding the most recent defeat. ‘The clock has ticked on too far for such comfort to remain… they have found four consecutive ways of losing to the All Blacks of late’.

Slot believes that Lancaster has plenty to ponder in terms of his selections, especially at flyhalf. ‘Owen Farrell’s kicking was poor, hie game management was poor… what if Farrell’s qualities are sufficient to win a Six Nations game but not one against a giant from the southern hemisphere?’ He then goes on to suggest that George Ford may be the best option at pivot, and that Farrell could be a handy No 12.

In the same paper, former England playmaker Stuart Barnes laments the team’s inability to build on a good start against the All Blacks. Barnes also criticises Farrell’s tactical kicking and says ‘Packs do not win matches if backs cannot put them in the right position’.

The headlines in today’s Daily Telegraph are less complimentary. ‘England accused of going backwards’ is the headline of Gavin Mairs’s piece, while Mick Cleary asserts that ‘All Blacks shine light on hosts’ enduring frailty’. The title of Brian Moore’s column, ‘Time for taking positives is running out’, suggests England are under pressure to get things right against the Boks.

Cleary observes: ‘Perhaps this is the real England, incomplete, maddeningly inconsistent on this showing, capable but not commanding. Test rugby is not about flashes of brilliance, it is about sustained excellence’. He also notes that the Boks will be keen to prove a point after their own failure at the Aviva Stadium. ‘The Springboks will be beasting themselves over the next few days after the horrors of Dublin. There will be no talk of positives in their defeat’.

‘England sunk by inability to think quickly under attack’ reads the headline in today’s Guardian. A smaller piece by Dean Ryan is titled ‘Home side lose sight of basics and pressure is now on’.

‘England needed three wins this autumn to show they are moving in the right direction,’ Ryan writes. ‘Two was just about the pass mark, but after the goings-on in Dublin on Saturday England have to nail the Boks and to do otherwise would suddenly make Australia, and even Samoa, potential banana skins’.

By Jon Cardinelli

Arrogant Boks took a beating

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The defeat in Dublin was the reality check all of South African rugby needed when it comes to the Springboks, writes MARK KEOHANE in Business Day newspaper.

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A World Cup was once won at Ellis Park, way back in 1995. And until South Africa again hosts the global showpiece and Ellis Park is pencilled in as the venue for a final, whatever happens in Test matches at Ellis Park won’t have any bearing on the winning of World Cups elsewhere.

The World Cup is a tournament within a rugby calendar year. It’s a seven-week exercise and the aim is to peak within those seven weeks.

It helps to arrive at a World Cup with a winning habit and with the players knowing how it feels to win, both comfortably and in adversity.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, in his first three years, avoided all talk of World Cups. He didn’t speak of a four-year plan or of sacrificing Tests in the name of World Cup planning. He also didn’t experiment at Test level, all in the name of a successful World Cup.

Meyer spoke of a winning habit and of winning Tests. The obsession with the All Blacks, aside, he mostly got it right. The Boks won consistently at home and regularly away from home, even if the wins on the road were fashioned more through grit than anything grandiose.

But all perspective seemed to go when the Boks finally beat the All Blacks at Ellis Park a month ago. Pat Lambie kicked a 79th-minute penalty from 55m and the Boks won by two points. Had he missed or had the penalty not been awarded then the Boks would have lost and the buildup to the northern hemisphere tour would certainly not have been packaged with pleasantries and plaudits.

What happened in Dublin has been a night in the making all year.

The Boks, in Argentina, trailed by 12 points and should have been put away. Somehow they conjured up enough points to win and the Pumas did enough to help them in the final quarter.

Wales led the Boks 30-17 with 15 minutes to go and again the Boks produced a great escape. Wales, like Argentina, were as charitable in their implosion.

The Boks have staggered at times in 2014 but in Dublin they were knocked out. This defeat was emphatic but it doesn’t mean the Boks are no longer World Cup contenders.

Victory, in the last minute against the All Blacks at Ellis Park, also didn’t translate to them being World Cup winners.

This month of rugby in the northern hemisphere is like a mini-World Cup because all the world’s best teams are playing each other. But it’s not a dress rehearsal to the World Cup. It’s not play-off rugby and the loser doesn’t have to take the next flight home.

The All Blacks management were vocal in dulling the senses of those who felt New Zealand’s win against England at Twickenham was a dry run for the World Cup final a year from now.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said it was presumptuous for anyone to assume New Zealand and England would actually be in the final. He felt that to be an insult to some very good rugby teams, whose players were capable of winning the World Cup.

There were five or six title contenders, said Hansen. And New Zealand and England were just two of those six. He said he cherished the win at Twickenham for it being a Test win. It was, he said, nothing more and nothing less.

McCaw, playing his 135th Test and winning for yet another time at Twickenham, also savoured the win and dismissed the relevance of what it meant to the World Cup. McCaw said knockout play-off rugby defined the World Cup and that in any other international tournament or tour, a team could still lose a Test and complete a series victory.

Nothing but the World Cup compared to the World Cup.

The weekend showed the different playing demands in the northern hemisphere. Many southern hemisphere stars have struggled to transfer the potency of home form on the road.

The Boks, in Dublin, were a case in point. The players, individually, are better than what was on show at the Aviva Stadium. But the Aviva Stadium was a reminder of how quickly it can all go wrong, just like Lambie’s 79th-minute penalty at Ellis Park allowed for a fleeting moment of euphoria.

The Boks, in beating the All Blacks at Ellis Park, did not become the world’s best team overnight. And neither did they become the world’s worst team after the embarrassment of Dublin.

Each week is a different Test and the aim is to win each Test.

This month is not a dress rehearsal for the 2015 World Cup. Meyer must not fall into a trap he has, up until now, avoided and confuse the tour with the challenge of a World Cup 11 months from now.

His Boks were underdone in Dublin. They were short a match and they also for the first time seemed to indulge and delight in their own press.

They were arrogant in their approach and took a beating. They didn’t earn the right to win and played with the assumption they’d win.

London will be different, in approach and hopefully also in result.

 

‘Boks out-thought and out-fought’

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What the Irish newspapers are saying after their team’s 29-15 win at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday…by Jon Cardinelli from SARugbymag

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Irish eyes are certainly smiling this morning after a famous victory against the No 2-ranked team in the world. While the press considers the result an upset, the performance by the hosts is being trumpeted as monumental in the context of the 2015 World Cup.

The shot of fullback Rob Kearney hurdling over Bok tighthead Jannie du Plessis features prominently in all of the Sunday papers, with a couple of publications using the image to symbolise Ireland’s progress. The Sunday Times has run the shot of an airborne Kearney on their front page, while the headline ‘Squashed Boks’ leads their sports section.

In his match report, Denis Walsh says that ‘a year of escalating achievement reached a new altitude on a thunderous evening at the Aviva. South Africa came to Dublin with New Zealand’s scalp on their belt and were floored by an Irish team that refused to take a backward step’.

A dedicated double spread is led with the emphatic headline: ‘Steely Ireland beat Boks at own game’. Walsh writes that against South Africa there is no other way to win. ‘You front up or you’re blown out’.

On the adjacent page, Peter O’Reilly talks about how Ireland played down their chances before the game, and that ‘if this was a ruse, it worked beautifully. Ireland didn’t just surprise the Springboks with their ferocity and focus under pressure, they out-thought and out-fought them to deliver a victory of real substance’.

In his player ratings, O’Reilly has given most of the Ireland players 7 or 8, with Kearney and flyhalf Jonny Sexton receiving 9. Bok flanker Marcell Coetzee (8) was the only man who impressed O’Reilly on Saturday.

‘Bowe on target as Ireland stun Boks’ reads the lead in the sports section of the Sunday Independent. The purple prose flows in the next two pages, which include photographs of a leaping Kearney and a determined Rhys Ruddock en route to the tryline.

‘Schmidt outsmarts opponent,’ is the title of Neil Francis’s analysis. Like so many, Francis wonders if Schmidt and company had planned this upset all along. ‘The suspicion lingers that this was the perfect hijack,’ he writes. ‘The roosters came to town with the sound of their own propaganda ringing in their ears and were lulled into a false sense of security’.

Francis commends the Ireland coach for his preparation as well as the team’s performance given their present injury situation. He asserts that Heyneke Meyer ‘has been dwarfed intellectually by the mild-mannered and softly spoken Kiwi [Schmidt]’. Francis adds that Schmidt has ‘the air of a headmaster and the conscience of a rattlesnake’. The same paper has handed Schmidt an 8.5 in the player and coach ratings.

Brendan Fanning hails the performance of the Ireland pack, and wonders what this type of performance means for the near future. It’s possible that the Six Nations champions could would all three of their matches this November and cap an incredible year. ‘Ireland are contemplating what would be a perfect start to their World Cup buildup. Having been careful not to mention the 2015 World Cup anywhere along the way, this result inevitably brings it all a little bit closer’.

The flying form of Kearney is accompanied by the headline, ‘Ireland take a giant leap’ in the Irish Mail on Sunday. The front page of the sports section also declares boldly: ‘Southern hemisphere scalp provides perfect platform for World Cup countdown’.

‘Just sit back and savour the ambush,’ writes Liam Heagney for the same paper. Heagney is evidently pleased with what Schmidt’s side has achieved despite the odds. ‘Sorcerer Joe Schmidt produced another emphatic show of alchemy, conjuring up a magnificent blueprint to out-box the Boks and shake up the established world order 10 months out from the 2015 World Cup’.

Former Ireland prop Peter Clohessy writes in today’s Mail that Ireland were anything but fortunate to win on Saturday. The victory was hard earned. ‘The Boks were certainly off-colour, but that was because Ireland drained the life out of them. They were simply beaten into submission.’

After much debate in the buildup, most of the Irish press seem to agree that Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne have proved their worth as a midfield combination. ‘Payne and Henshaw can be the new hard core’ barks the Mail on Sunday.  After Saturday’s performance, Shane McGrath believes that Schmidt will struggle to talk down his team again in the buildup to a big Test’. Of the new centre pairing, McGrath writes: ‘This was an evening that produced two powerful new weapons for Joe Schmidt’.

By Jon Cardinelli

Meyer accept they were not good enough

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The Springboks were gutted about losing their tour-opener in a wet Dublin to a very good Ireland on Saturday and heaped praise on their hosts for a better performance in tricky conditions.

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Ireland won 29-15 – it was the Springboks’ first defeat to a side from the Northern Hemisphere since they lost to Scotland in November 2010.

Both sides scored two tries apiece but the South Africans were made to pay for ill-discipline at crucial stages of the match as Ireland flyhalf Jonathan Sexton slotted four penalty goals and two conversions for a personal haul of 16 points.

Marcell Coetzee scored the Boks’ first try from a rolling maul while JP Pietersen rounded off a good movement late in the match. Handré Pollard added a conversion and one penalty goal.

“We are sorry that we let our country and our supporters down with that performance,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer after the match.

“The Irish deserve a lot of credit though – they played the conditions better and were tactically superior. We knew it was going to be a tough tussle and we were not good enough on the day.

“But we can’t afford to dwell too much on what is in the past. We have a massive game against England at Twickenham on Saturday and we simply have to show a massive improvement because they will be just as tough to beat at home.”

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers echoed the sentiments of his coach: “Each and every player will have to take a hard look at himself, come back on Monday and work harder.

“Our standards are higher than what we showed against Ireland and we simply made too many errors. Yes, our first phase play was very good and I thought we dominated the scrums and the lineouts, but we didn’t retain the ball and you can’t play rugby without the ball.”

The Springboks travel to London on Sunday, where they face England on Saturday.

Maori All Blacks squeeze past Japan

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A late Dan Pryor try secured the Maori All Blacks a hard-fought 20-18 victory over Japan in Tokyo on Saturday. 

Japan

The Maori All Blacks went in to this match full of confidence after they thrashed the Brave Blossoms 61-21 in Kobe last weekend but, as the scoreline suggests, things did not go as smoothly in this encounter.

Pryor’s try came in the 80th minute, after the visitors took a quick throw-in at a line-out inside Japan’s half and after the ball went through several pairs of hands the dreadlocked flanker dived in at the right-hand corner to break Japanese hearts.

That was a cruel ending for the hosts, who fought back from a 12-5 half-time deficit to take an 18-15 lead shortly before Pryor’s matchwinning try.

Earlier, Japan started brightly and had the bulk of the possession during the game’s opening quarter but could not convert their dominance in to points.

The Maori All Blacks battled to get their hands on to the ball during those early stages and when they were trapped inside their 22 they slowed the ball down cynically at the rucks which led to them conceding several penalties.

New Zealand’s indiscipline at the breakdowns eventually led to referee Angus Gardner brandishing a yellow card as early as the eighth minute. Tom Franklin was the guilty party after he failed to roll away at a ruck close to his 10-metre line.

Japan took a shot at goal but Ayumu Goromaru’s effort was unsuccessful.

Shortly afterwards, the visitors made them pay when Cody Taylor scored against the run of play. The Canterbury hooker ran on to a pass from Pryor, midway between the halfway line and Japan’s 22, before showing a superb turn of speed to outrun the cover defence before crossing over.

Ihaia West added the extras and in the 24th minute the Maori All Blacks notched their second try when Nehe Milner-Skudder dotted down in the right-hand corner after joining his backline at pace and gliding past two defenders.

West missed that conversion but slotted a penalty shortly afterwards, after Shinya Makabe infringed at a ruck. Japan then got their first points on the scoreboard, just before half-time, via a well-taken try from Akihito Yamada.

He scored in the left-hand corner after beating Milner-Skudder with a deft side-step inside the visitors’ 22. This after Goromaru did well in the build-up to draw in Kurt Baker before offloading to Yamada.

Japan started the second half like they did in the opening period and were soon on the attack deep inside the Maori All Blacks’ 22. The Brave Blossoms’ strength at scrum-time was rewarded when they were awarded a penalty try in the 47th minute

Goromaru added the conversion and drew his side level at 15-15 with a penalty in the 55th minute. West then had an opportunity to restore the visitors’ lead, after Luke Thompson was penalised for going off his feet at a ruck, but the Maori All Blacks fly-half’s kick struck an upright and the home side gained a reprieve.

The rest of the half saw Japan gaining the upperhand and they did well to restrict play mostly to the forwards before striking out wide with their backs.

The visitors – who thrived on Japan’s errors in Kobe – seemed shell-shocked by the intensity of the Brave Blossoms’ forward effort which was eventually rewarded when Goromaru slotted another penalty in the 74th minute after Pryor was penalised for not releasing a tackled player.

That gave Japan the lead for the first time but they were denied a series clinching win by Pryor’s five-pointer at the end.

The scorers:

For Japan:
Tries: Yamada, Penalty try
Con: Goromaru
Pens: Goromaru 2

For Maori All Blacks:
Tries: Taylor, Milner-Skudder, Pryor
Con: West
Pen:West
Yellow Card: Franklin

Ruggaworld’s “Live” Match Centre

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It’s really time again for the annual End of Year Tours to Europe and this weekend will have you nailed to your seat. It is great to have the Countries due South take on the best of the north and we will sure have some surprises again this year.

Namibia

Canada 17  Nambia 13 (Live steaming rugbycanada.ca/leagues/newsle) @ 21:00 RSA time

Canada will take on Namibia at Eirias Park in Colwyn Bay on Friday, as both nations look to build momentum going into next year’s Rugby World Cup.

The African side enter this game on the back of a morale-boosting 58-20 victory over Germany in Windhoek and have Jacques Burger returning. His comeback is one of ten changes made by boss Danie Vermeulen as Exeter Chiefs full-back Chrysander Botha also comes into their line-up. Namibia are in the same group as New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Georgia so these testing fixtures are perfect for their 2015 preparations.

The teams:

Canada: 15 DTH van der Merwe, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Conor Trainor, 12 Ciaran Hearn, 11 Sean Duke, 10 Connor Braid, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 John Moonlight, 7 Nanyak Dala, 6 Kyle Gilmour, 5 Jebb Sinclair, 4 Tyler Hotson, 3 Jason Marshall, 2 Ray Barkwill, 1 Hubert Buydens (capt).
Replacements: 16 Doug Wooldridge, 17 Ryan Hamilton, 18 Jake Ilnicki, 19 Brett Buekeboom, 20 Aaron Carpenter, 21 Sean White, 22 Patrick Parfrey, 23 Jordan Wilson-Ross.

Namibia: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Darryl de la Harpe, 12 Johan Deysel, 11 David Philander, 10 Theuns Kotzé, 9 Eneill Buitendag, 8 PJ van Lill, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Tinus du Plessis, 5 Tjiuee Uanive, 4 Morné Blom, 3 André Schlechter, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Johnnie Redelinghuys.
Replacements: 16 Rathony Becker, 17 Franklin Bertholini, 18 Casper Viviers, 19 Stefan Neustädt, 20 Rohan Kitshoff, 21 Ryan de la Harpe, 22 Shawn Kaizemi, 23 Johann Tromp.

Date: Friday, November 7
Venue: Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Neil Paterson (Scotland), Martyn Lewis (Wales)

Maori

Maori All Blacks 20 Japan 18

The Maori All Blacks were too fast, too skilful and too clinical in a 61-21 win in the first game last weekend. After going out to a 25-0 lead, the Maori had a 35-7 advantage at the break and never took their foot off the pedal.

Japan weren’t actually all that bad. The Eddie Jones-coached Brave Blossoms controlled possession for long periods of the game and forced the Maori to defend plenty of five-plus phase plays. They paid for their inability to capitalise on pressure though and the Maori All Blacks scored a couple of long-range tries from turnovers.

Maori All Blacks team to play Japan
(Player Province Iwi)

1 Chris Eves Manawatu Tainui
2 Codie Taylor Canterbury Ngati Raukawa / Muaupoko
3 Mike Kainga Bay of Plenty Ngati Kahungunu / Rongomaiwahine
4 Tom Franklin Otago Ngati Maniapoto
5 Blade Thomson Taranaki Ngapuhi
6 Dan Pryor Northland Ngati Awa / Ngati Pikiao
7 Sean Polwart Auckland Ngati Pu / Ngati Maru
8 Elliot Dixon Southland Ngapuhi
9 Chris Smylie Taranaki Ngati Mutunga/Te Atiawa
10 Ihaia West Hawke’s Bay Ngati Kahungunu / Ngati Porou
11 James Lowe Tasman Ngapuhi / Ngai te Rangi
12 Charlie Ngatai [C] Taranaki Ngati Porou / Te Whanau-a-Apanui
13 Matt Proctor Wellington Ngai te Rangi / Ngapuhi
14 Kurt Baker Taranaki Ngapuhi
15 Nehe Milner-Skudder Manawatu Ngati Porou / Tapuika

Reserves:
16 Joe Royal Bay of Plenty Te Arawa / Ngati Whatua I Orakei /Ngapuhi
17 Brendon Edmonds * Hawke’s Bay Ngati Kahungunu
18 Nick Barrett Auckland Ngati Kahungunu
19 Hayden Triggs North Harbour Ngati Kahungunu
20 Mitch Crosswell * Taranaki Ngati Porou
21 Jamison Gibson-Park Taranaki Ngati Porou / Ngai Tai
22 Marty McKenzie Taranaki Ngati Tuwharetoa
23 Joe Webber * Waikato Ngati Ranginui

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England 0 New Zeeland o (16:00 on SS1)

New Zealand will look to make a dent in England’s World Cup aspirations when the two sides face off at Twickenham on Saturday.

England traditionally ease into these Test matches but there’s no warm-up in 2014; New Zealand are in town and, even having lost to South Africa in October, remain the world’s greatest side.

A quick thought on Ellis Park, while much of the focus has been on South Africa’s win and rightly so, the All Blacks’ comeback has gotten lost in the details. They were one debatable penalty away from another famous win. Against the Wallabies two weeks later, they played their get-out-of-jail card and it worked.

Winning runs are funny things in that the profile and importance of the record is built up over time, but when a loss inevitably does come, the team’s prestige isn’t damaged by defeat.

Previous Results:
2014: New Zealand won 38-17 in Hamilton
2014: New Zealand won 28-27 in Dunedin
2014: New Zealand won 20-15 in Auckland
2013: New Zealand won 30-22 at Twickenham
2012: England won 38-21 at Twickenham
2010: New Zealand won 26-16 at Twickenham
2009: New Zealand won 19-6 at Twickenham
2008: New Zealand won 32-6 at Twickenham
2008: New Zealand won 44-12 in Christchurch
2008: New Zealand won 37-20 in Auckland
2006: New Zealand won 41-20 at Twickenham
2005: New Zealand won 23-19 at Twickenham
2004: New Zealand won 36-12 in Auckland
2004: New Zealand won 36-3 in Dunedin
2003: England won 15-13 in Wellington
2002: England won 31-28 at Twickenham

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Brad Barritt, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Danny Care, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 David Wilson, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 George Kruis, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 George Ford, 23 Anthony Watson

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Liam Messam, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Ryan Crotty.

Date: Saturday, November 8
Venue: Twickenham, London
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

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Wales 0 Australia 0 (Live at 16:20 on SS2)

Another end-of-year Test series is upon us and still the same question remains; can Wales end their drought against the heavyweight southern trio.

Not since 2008 have the Welsh defeated Australia – their last success against either the Wallabies, Springboks or All Blacks – as this nightmare international hoodoo has stayed strong for well over half a decade. It simply must end to gain confidence ahead of next year’s World Cup.

Drawn with the Wallabies and of course England, psychological leg-ups are going to be critical both this November and in the Six Nations. However, on recent form and with plenty of game time from the Rugby Championship and last week against the Barbarians, Australia are slight favourites to come out on top. Rightly so we might add as the likes of Michael Hooper, Tevita Kuridrani and James Slipper are in the form of their lives.

Recent results:

2013: Australia won 30-26, Cardiff
2012: Australia won 14-12, Cardiff
2012: Australia won 20-19, Sydney
2012: Australia won 25-23, Gold Goast
2012: Australia won 27-19, Brisbane
2011: Australia won 24-18, Cardiff
2011: Australia won 21-18, Auckland
2010: Australia won 25-16, Cardiff
2009: Australia won 30-12, Cardiff
2008: Wales won 21-18, Cardiff

The teams:

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 George North, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Cory Allen.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Leali’ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements (one to be omitted): 16 James Hanson, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 James Horwill, 20 Will Skelton, 21 Matt Hodgson, 22 Will Genia, 23 Quade Cooper, 24 Rob Horne.

Date: Saturday, November 8
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), JP Doyle (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

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Ireland 0 Springboks 0 (Live at 18:30 on SS1)

Saturday’s big showdown in Dublin sees the Six Nations champions host a Springbok side high on confidence and looking to lay down a marker.

They say you’re only as good as your last game. Well, last time out an identical Bok starting XV became the only team in two years to beat the All Blacks. Not bad.

The fact that that game was only a month ago is also significant because Ireland haven’t played together since June. By contrast, South Africa have been together since mid-August and Heyneke Meyer has had the rare luxury of working with most of his squad in training camps since the end of the Rugby Championship after many were withdrawn from Currie Cup duty.

In the past, year-end tours have been viewed as a final push before a well-earned break but this year is very different. The Bok management have repeated that the coming month is being regarded as the start of their World Cup campaign, not as an end to the year.

Previous results:

2012: South Africa won 16-12 at Lansdowne Road
2010: South Africa won 23-21 at Lansdowne Road
2009: Ireland won 15-10 at Croke Park
2006: Ireland won 32-15 at Lansdowne Road
2004: Ireland won 17-12 at Lansdowne Road
2004: South Africa won 26-17 at Newlands
2004: South Africa won 31-17 at Free State Stadium
2000: South Africa won 28-18 at Lansdowne Road
1998: South Africa won 27-13 at Lansdowne Road
1998: South Africa won 33-0 at Loftus Versfeld
1998: South Africa won 37-13 at Free State Stadium
1981: South Africa won 12-10 at Kings Park

The teams:

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Paul O’Connell, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Dave Kilkoyne, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Mike McCarthy, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Felix Jones.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Tebo Mohoje, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 JP Pietersen.

Date: Saturday, November 8
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Weather: 6°C. Morning rain
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Alexandre Ruiz (France)
Television match official: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

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Scotland 0 Argentina 0 (Live at 19:20 on SS2)

New Scotland head coach Vern Cotter will get his first taste of action at Murrayfield when Argentina visit on Saturday.

The former Clermont boss encouragingly hasn’t been shy of making changes to his squad that have seen established figures like Kelly Brown, Max Evans and John Barclay miss out.

He will sincerely hope Saturday’s game has a better outcome than the last time Scotland ran out, suffering a 55-6 thrashing by South Africa at the end of a June tour that took them across the Americas and finally to Port Elizabeth.

Such a heavy loss, considering it came nearly in July, is perhaps no surprise. Three wins preceded the Springboks’ big win as Cotter ran the rule over his players.

Previous Results:
2014: Scotland won 21-19 in Córdoba
2011: Argentina won 13-12 in Wellington (RWC)
2010: Scotland won 13-9 in Mar del Plata
2010: Scotland won 24-16 in Tucuman
2009: Argentina won 9-6 at Murrayfield
2008: Scotland won 24-16 in Buenos Aires
2008: Argentina won 21-15 in Rosario
2007: Argentina won 19-13 in Paris (RWC)
2005: Argentina won 23-19 at Murrayfield
2001: Argentina won 25-16 at Murrayfield
1999: Argentina won 31-22 at Murrayfield
1994: Argentina won 19-17 at Ferrocaril Oeste
1994: Argentina won 16-15 at Ferrocaril Oeste
1990: Scotland won 49-3 at Murrayfield

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson,
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Alasdair Strokosch, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Sean Lamont

Argentina: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Juan Imhoff, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Rodrigo Báez, 5 Juan Cruz Guillemaín, 4 Tomás Lavanini, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Marcos Ayerza,
Replacements: 16 Matías Cortese, 17 Lucas Noguera Paz, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Lucas Ponce, 20 Facundo Isa, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Horacio Agulla.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

maxime-medard_1761254c

France 0 Fiji 0 (On SS1 at 22:00)

Fiji have never beaten France in eight attempts and Philippe Saint-André knows he can’t afford to see that record broken in Marseille.

Les Bleus endured a disastrous June Tour to Australia as they were whitewashed by the Wallabies, a 6-0 defeat in the second Test proving to be their most impressive result.

Since then Serge Blanco has joined the national set-up in a supervisory role, although it’s still not clear exactly how much influence he has on the team itself against a Fiji side that impressed in June and is packed with Top 14 talent.

Previous results:

2010: France won 34-12 in Nantes
2003: France won 61-18 in Brisbane
2001: France won 77-10 in Saint-Etienne
1999: France won 28-19 in Toulouse
1998: France won 34-9 in Suva
1991: France won 33-9 in Grenoble
1987: France won 31-16 in Auckland
1964: France won 21-3 in Colombes

France: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Alexandre Dumoulin, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Sébastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Papé, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Alexandre Menini
Replacements from: Xavier Chiocci, Benjamin Kayser, Uini Atonio, Alexandre Flanquart, Sébastien Vahaamahina, Charles Ollivon, Rory Kockott, Rémi Talès, Maxime Mermoz, Mathieu Bastareaud

Fiji: 15 Metuisela Talebula, 14 Watisoni Votu, 13 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 12 Levani Botia, 11 Alipate Ratini, 10 Jonetani Ralulu, 9 Nikola Matawalu, 8 Masi Matadigo, 7 Akapusi Qera (c), 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Campese Ma’afu
Replacements: 16 Viliame Veikoso, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Isei Colati, 19 Nemia Soqeta, 20 Malakai Ravulo, 21 Henry Seniloli, 22 Nemani Nadolo, 23 Timoci Nagusa

Date: Saturday, November 8
Venue: Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Stefano Pennè (Italy)

 

 

 

 

Rokoduguni make England debut

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Bath winger Semesa Rokoduguni will win his first cap for England in the 14 shirt when they take on the All Blacks on Saturday.

Semesa Rokoduguni

The right wing, 27-year-old British Army lance corporal is given a chance to build on some superb Premiership form for Bath, which has seen him score six tries. Team-mate Dave Attwood, whose fiancée Bridget gave birth to their first child on Tuesday, starts his first Test for England since the tour to Argentina in June 2013.

Brad Barritt is handed the number 13 shirt, partnering Kyle Eastmond in a new-look midfield, while Anthony Watson is included in the matchday 23 for the first time to swell the number of Bath players to seven.

In the pack, a back row of Tom Wood, skipper Chris Robshaw and number eight Billy Vunipola makes its seventh start as a combination. Finally, George Kruis will also make his international bow if he enters the fray from the replacements’ bench.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: “I am delighted for Roko. Wing is an extremely competitive position but he has pushed himself forward with his form this season and it’s great to be able to give him this opportunity.

The same is true with Anthony Watson and George Kruis. I am sure they will contribute should they come off the bench. “Dave Attwood has had an eventful week with the birth of his first child and congratulations to him and his fiancée Bridget. He’s back with us now and will be ready to go for Saturday.”

England will be back at Twickenham for the first time since beating Ireland 13-10 in March and Lancaster added: “The atmosphere is superb and the fans really give us a boost. We can’t wait for the walk from the coach to the changing room for what will be another great occasion.”

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Brad Barritt, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Danny Care, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 David Wilson, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 George Kruis, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 George Ford, 23 Anthony Watson

 

“Boks are more dangerous than every”

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What the Irish newspapers are saying ahead of the Test at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday…..by Jon Cardinelli from SARrugbymag.co.za

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‘Boks are more dangerous than ever,’ declares the Irish Independent. The newspaper adds that Heyneke Meyer’s men are ‘no longer reliant on brute force to crush opponents, South Africa’s focus on skill is paying dividends.’

Neil Francis is evidently taken with a team that featured in the unforgettable match at Ellis Park last year, and a team that beat the All Blacks at the same venue in 2014. In his column, the former Ireland forward remembers playing against South Africa and rates them as the most physical opponent. Francis then dedicates the rest of his column to complimenting the Boks on their subtle improvements. It’s clear who he is backing to win at the Aviva Stadium this Saturday.

‘They have too much quality and power, and more importantly, they have rested and ramped up again whereas Ireland come to the arena only lukewarm. It will take a special performance [by Ireland].’

The pack that fronts the Boks will be missing some key players. On Wednesday, hooker Rory Best joined a group of injured stars that includes flanker Sean O’Brien and prop Cian Healy. It’s for this reason why a columnist in the Irish Times feels the ‘Springbok bully boys likely to have too much up front for “nice” Ireland’.

Risteard Cooper’s description of the Bok forwards is colourful to say the least.

‘Mixed with gnarled, grizzly forwards such as Bismarck du Plessis, Duane Vermeulen, and the less than laid back Bakkies Botha springing from the bench, their entire pack look like they wouldn’t be out of place in the remake of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The only difference is that you can picture these boys hunting for their dinner … if there’s a dust-up this Saturday you’d imagine it could involve any of the Springbok pack, but outside of [flanker] Peter “Mad Dog” O’Mahony it’s hard to envisage any Irish player being the aggressor.’

Elsewhere in today’s edition of The Times, it’s suggested that injuries will force Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to make some bold selections. Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin and Mike Ross will start in the front row, and, to much of the media contingent’s shock, Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne in the centres.

‘The coach’s hand has been forced to a degree in the midfield,’ writes Gerry Thornley, ‘but although [veteran No 12] Gordon D’Arcy was unable to train last week, he has trained this week, is playing well and is fit to go, so therefore it is something of a surprise that Schmidt and co have opted for a pairing of the thrice-capped Henshaw and the debutant Payne.’

The Irish Daily Mail has run a profile on Bok captain Jean de Villiers. The strapping centre spent a season with Munster in 2009-10, and while he never made much of an impact as a player, he is well loved by fans and journalists in this part of the world. The article in today’s edition of The Mail is titled: ‘An iconic leader who has grown in adversity’. The writer, Shane McGrath, notes that while De Villiers’s career has ‘soared and dipped, he has maintained an admirable dignity. He is a man the Boks would not swap for anyone.’

Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip is well aware of the challenge that lies ahead.

‘They’re a much better team than [when we last player them] two years ago,’ he told the Irish Examiner. ‘Their backine is operating better. A lot of their game is still about getting momentum. We have to negate that, especially at their launch, especially off the set piece.’

By Jon Cardinelli

 

Cruden and Sonny to start against England

0

Chiefs duo Aaron Cruden and Sonny Bill Williams will start at fly-half and inside centre when New Zealand face England at Twickenham on Saturday.

 All Blacks

As expected, the All Blacks selectors have made a number of changes after giving less experienced squad members an opportunity against the United States, with 12 of the squad from that matchday 23 boosted by the return of some experienced players.

The matchday squad that takes the field against England has 1,029 Test caps between them and an average age of 27 years.

Number eight Kieran Read, Cruden, Williams and full-back Israel Dagg retain their starting spots from the USA Test, while two reserves, lock Brodie Retallick and wing Julian Savea, are back in the starting XV.

Prop Wyatt Crockett joins fellow prop Owen Franks and hooker Dane Coles in the front row; lock Samuel Whitelock is reunited with Retallick in the second row, while All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and number six Jerome Kaino are alongside Read in the back row.

Scrum-half Aaron Smith makes his 11th start of the year inside Cruden, while the All Blacks’ most capped centre, Conrad Smith, will partner Williams in the midfield. Joining Savea and Dagg in the back three is Ben Smith.

The forward reserves are hooker Keven Mealamu, props Ben Franks and Charlie Faumuina, lock Patrick Tuipulotu and loose forward Liam Messam, while the back reserves are scrum-half TJ Perenara, fly-halfBeauden Barrett and midfielder Ryan Crotty.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said: “This Test match is a great opportunity to once again experience the atmosphere of Twickenham and to lay down a marker of where we are currently at in relation to our opponents, England.

We are extremely excited about this challenge and looking forward to it immensely.Having played England already three times this year, at the beginning of our season, and again having the opportunity to play them at the end of season, will tell us a lot about how much our game has progressed.”

The All Blacks will also run out onto Twickenham in their new all-black All Blacks kit which was unveiled in London on Wednesday. The teams will again be playing for the Hillary Shield which honours the late, great Sir Edmund Hillary.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Liam Messam, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Ryan Crotty.

Springbok team to face Ireland

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Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Wednesday named the same starting line-up that beat New Zealand a month ago to face Ireland in the opening Test of the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour on Dublin on Saturday.

saru

The only change to the match-day squad is at replacement prop, where the injured Marcel van der Merwe is replaced by Coenie Oosthuizen.

Although Julian Redelinghuys was also considered, he’s still new in the team and not familiar with our patterns of play and especially the line-out calls, while Coenie knows the way we play well,” said Meyer.

Coenie is also in great shape and we know what he can do, especially if he has to make an impact off the bench. It’s good to have him back.”

Meyer was very happy with the continuity in selection from the last Test.

It’s only the fifth time in what will be the 34th Test since I was appointed as Springbok coach that we’ve been able to select an unchanged starting line-up,” said Meyer.

In this day and age, not making changes to teams is pretty much unheard of, but this is a great position we’re in. However, we need to make it count against a very tough Irish side on Saturday.

“Although we won our last Test, the challenge this week is to make another step up. It’s imperative that we improve in all facets of our play.”

The Springbok team to face Ireland in Dublin is:

15 Willie le Roux (21 caps, 35 points)
14 Cornal Hendricks (9 caps, 25 points)
13 Jan Serfontein (16 caps, 5 points)
12 Jean de Villiers (captain, 102 caps, 135 points)
11 Bryan Habana (103 caps, 280 points)
10 Handré Pollard 6 caps, 56 points)
9 Francois Hougaard 32 caps, 25 points)
8 Duane Vermeulen 25 caps, 10 points)
7 Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje (3 caps, 0 points)
6 Marcell Coetzee (22 caps, 25 points)
5 Victor Matfield (vice-captain, 117 caps, 35 points)
4 Eben Etzebeth (29 caps, 0 points)
3 Jannie du Plessis (60 caps, 5 points)
2 Bismarck du Plessis (66 caps, 45 points)
1 Tendai Mtawarira (61 caps, 10 points)
Replacements:
16 Adriaan Strauss ( 40 caps, 25 points)
17 Trevor Nyakane (9 caps, 5 points)
18 Coenie Oosthuizen (17 caps, 10 points)
19 Bakkies Botha (83 caps, 35 points)
20 Schalk Burger (73 caps, 65 points)
21 Cobus Reinach (2 caps, 0 points)
22 Pat Lambie (36 caps, 81 points)
23 JP Pietersen (56 caps, 85 points)

Stats and facts:

•The Springbok starting team boasts a total of 672 Test caps (289 in the backline and 383 in the forwards), while there are a further 316 caps worth of experience on the bench.

•South Africa and Ireland have played each other 21 times since 1906, with the Springboks winning 16 Tests, losing four and one was drawn. The Springboks have scored 417 points and 60 tries and conceded 248 points and 24 tries for an average score of 20-12.

•South Africa and Ireland last met on 10 November 2012 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The Springboks won 16-12.

•Jean de Villiers will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok centre, with 87 Tests in this position and will captain South Africa for the 31st time, placing him third behind John Smit (83) and Gary Teichmann (36).

•Victor Matfield will extend his own record as the most capped Springbok in history (117 Tests). He will also extend his record of 117 Tests as a lock and will also extend his record as the oldest Springbok ever at 37 years & 146 days.

•Bryan Habana will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok wing, with 102 Tests in this position. If he scores a try, he will extend his record of 56 Test tries for South Africa.

•If he scores a try Bismarck du Plessis will extend his record of nine Test tries for South Africa as a hooker. Bismarck and his older brother Jannie will extend their record of playing together in 40 Tests for the Springboks. Bismarck, Jannie and Tendai Mtawarira will also extend their record of 15 tests in the starting line-up as a front-row trio for South Africa.

•If he goes on as a flank, Schalk Burger will extend his own record as the most-capped Springbok flanker in history (71 caps). If he goes on as a flank and scores a try, he will become the sole record-holder for most Test tries as a flanker (11), a record he currently shares with Juan Smith.

•Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, Duane Vermeulen, Jannie du Plessis and Bismarck du Plessis have played in all nine Tests for the Springboks in 2014. Bryan Habana and Tendai Mtawarira have both missed only one Test in 2014.

•Schalk Burger (Jnr) and Cobus Reinach (both on the bench) are sons of former Springboks. Schalk Burger (Snr) played six Tests for South Africa (1984-1986) and the late Jaco Reinach four Tests for South Africa in 1986. They played together in all four Tests against the New Zealand Cavaliers in 1986.

•For Pat Lambie this is a return to the city where he made his Test debut off the bench against Ireland in 2010.

•It will be the third time in history that a Springbok team will have three centurions in the starting line-up. The two previous occasions were against Australia and New Zealand in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship earlier this year.

•Adriaan Strauss played against his cousin Richardt Strauss when the Springboks and Ireland last met in Dublin on 10 November, 2012. They are likely to meet each other again as Richardt is in the Ireland squad for this Test match.

•It will be Heyneke Meyer’s 34th Test in charge of the Springboks since he took over in 2012. Of the previous 33 Tests South Africa have won 24, lost seven and drawn twice. His winning percentage of 73% is second only to Kitch Christie’s 100% (14 Tests 1994-1995) since 1992.

•The referee is Romain Poite of France. It will be his fifth Test involving South Africa. In previous Tests the Springboks have won three and lost one. His last Test involving South Africa was in June this year against Wales in Durban – a game that the Springboks won 38-16.

Springbok Test match records in Dublin:

Most points – 12 by Percy Montgomery (3c, 2p) against Ireland on 28 November, 1998 and Percy Montgomery again on 13 November, 2004 (4p)

Most tries – three by Jan Stegmann and “Boetie” McHardy against Ireland on 30 November, 1912.

Most conversions – three Gerhard Morkel against Ireland on 30 November, 1912 and by Percy Montgomery against Ireland on 28 November, 1998.

Most penalty goals – four by Percy Montgomery against Ireland on 13 November, 2004

Most drop goals – one by Hannes Brewis against Ireland on 8 December, 1951 and by Morne Steyn against Ireland on 28 November, 2009.

 

Mouth-watering rugby on SuperSport this weekend

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273735_SuperSport_HD_logo_png963c6e0190560b397609056b1bee481d

You better get ready to make up the excuses for this weekend with the wife and kids, as SuperSport will bring you all the international matches “live “over the weekend.

Maori All Blacks v Japan (08/11 at 06:45 on SS1)

Maori

First up will be Maori All Blacks v Japan in the 2nd Test at 06:45 on SS1. Last week we saw the Maori All Blacks running away with the game and one should expect the same going for the second test. Last week’s game was played in front of an enthusiastic crowd but the Maori’s was just too good for the host.

While the Maori All Blacks were inexperienced with ten new caps, the team has been picked with a fair amount of form amongst the playing group, and it showed. Charlie Ngatai, Blade Thomson, Ash Dixon and Tom Franklin were willing ball carriers for Japan, who lost their first international match in 11 fixtures

 

England v New Zealand (08/11 at 16:00 on SS1)

haka_2737180b

Second match of the day will see England hosting the world’s number one team at Twickenham. These two teams played each other in the June internationals and many people were of the opinion that England lost those test rather than New Zeeland winning them.

One thing we always know is that if you want to beat this New Zeeland team, you will have to be prepared to play for not just 80 min but for 85 min. The only team that could beat the All Blacks in the past two years was the Springboks a few weeks ago at Ellis Park, before that the All Blacks only lost against the same England team at Twickenham.

With both teams having some issues with injuries this should be the game of the weekend so hold on to your seats….

Wales v Australia (08/11 at 16:20 on SS2)

israel-folau-australia-scott-williams-wales_3044398

Now this is where it get interesting as fans will have to start using their PVR’s smartly when the men from Wales take on the Aussies. This game runs together with the England v All Blacks game and later on the Ireland v South Africa game will also start on a different channel.

Australia have been going through some rough patches to say the least this last couple of months, and they will want to give their new coach something to smile about come Saturday.

Wales have not win against Australia since 2008 and captain Sam Warburton ask his team to stand up and be counted for, “You are not unlucky nine times in a row,” he said. “Australia have obviously been that smidge better than we have been over those nine fixtures.

Ireland v South Africa (08/11 at 18:30 on SS1)

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Straight after the Wales vs Aussies clash the Springboks will step on the field to take on host Ireland in their first test on the tour.

Between the Irish and the Springboks, they went quietly on with their business and that is something that just give you the feeling it will be one of the toughest test on the tour for the Springboks. South African’s record in Ireland is not that great and we always find that the Springboks take a game to get onto it at end of year tours.

Is there is one team that can upset the Springboks plans to not succeed in keeping their 100% record on the end of year tours, then it is Irleand.

Scotland v Argentina (08/11 at 19:20 on SS2)

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Last game of the day starts almost an hour after the Ireland vs Springbok clash, so here you will have to get funny with your PVR again to make sure you do not miss anything.

Scotland seems never to be able to get out of their building process and this should be one hell of a matchup between the Argentinians and the Scots.

Argentina will go into the match with the much needed confidence after beating Australia in the last match of this year’s Rugby Championship. This confidence could be one of the things that will give them a victory of the Scots.

France v Fiji (08/11 at 22:00 on SS1)

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France will take on Fiji in the last match on Saturday and this can be your desert on a perfect days of rugby. Hopefully you would have wangled your braai in between the other games otherwise you will have your braai for breakfast.

Hopefully the French will be able to put a good performance together as the debate on foreign-born is still going on in France with many old players speaking out against the move to include these players in the French national team.

To end the weekend you can relax on Sunday and watch the Currie Cup Champions DHL Western Province taking on Saracens in London.

Saracens v DHL Western Province (9/11 at 14:45 on SS1)

Champions of ABSA Currie Cup 2014
Champions of ABSA Currie Cup 2014

DHL Western Province will try and achieve what the Cell C Sharks could not do in pre-season Super Rugby and go to England and beat English powerhouse Saracens in their own back yard.

With a few more players not available for selection due to Springbok call up, Western Province had to dig a bit deeper to find the right players to go and do the job.

This should be quite a good game and the match up should be even as Saracens will also be without their international players.

And just to add to all of that in-between you can catch some French Top 14 matches as well over the weekend.

 

 

Tigers well beaten by Barbarians

1

The Barbarians ran in an impressive nine tries against Leicester as they won 59-26 at Welford Road in a slick, high class performance on Tuesday…… by Planet Rugbybarbarians306x200

Despite only leading 21-19 at half-time, the Baa-baas clicked into gear after the break as six more scores had the Tigers struggling to keep pace. South Africa centre Juan de Jongh opened the account for the visitors before prop Thomas du Toit and New Zealand’s Francis Saili crossed.

And then following the turnaround futher scores from flanker Heinrich Brussow, wing Tom English, blindside Michael Rhodes, centre De Jongh and full-back Tevita Li were capped off by veteran Jacques Botes’ effort on his farewell to rugby.

In response, Leicester’s supporters were treated to tries from full-back Freddie Burns, flanker Jamie Gibson, centre Christian Loamanu and back-row Paul Grant on a difficult night at Welford Road.

The scorers:

For Leicester:
Tries: Burns, Gibson, Loamanu, Grant
Con: Williams 2, Grant

For Barbarians:
Tries: De Jongh 2, Du Toit, Saili, Brussow, English, Rhodes, Li, Botes
Con: Boshoff 5, Saili, Botes

‘Best Bok side in 20 years’

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What the Irish newspapers are saying ahead of the Test in Dublin on Saturday? Well Jon Cardinelli from SARugbymag.co.za went and found out…..

Paper_Talk_4_November_2014_620_395_s_c1_top_top

‘Best-ever Boks have embraced a nation’s history of revolution,’ screams a headline in today’s Irish Daily Mail. Hugh Farrelly talks about how far South Africa has come as a nation, and then as a rugby team. Farrelly writes that Meyer has ‘realised that forward strength and precision place-kicking are no longer enough and he has brought through talents like Willie le Roux and Handré Pollard to provide an extra attacking edge. In addition, he has expanded the tactical blueprint and enhanced the skill sets of the established stars’.

Farrelly goes as far as to call this team the best to come out of South Africa in 20 years: ‘This looks to be the most complete Springbok side of the professional era, markedly superior to the teams that won the World Cups in 1995 and 2007’. Farrelly ends his column by declaring that ‘South Africa have found a template for others to aspire to’.

The Irish press corps remain pessimistic about their team’s chances against the Boks this Saturday. This much was clear in the main rugby piece in today’s Irish Independent, in which the writer, Ruaidhri O’Connor, seems surprised to hear that the Ireland team still harbours hope of an upset.

‘We have to be smarter, not try to run through the Boks’ is the comment by Conor Murray that has been used as a headline. The scrumhalf plays down the injuries that have hit the squad, and said Ireland will employ a less direct approach regardless of their personnel. The writer feels that Murray is ‘speaking for a confident squad, one at odds with a fearful public’ and while a win against the Boks would be a great achievement for the top side in Europe, ‘few locals will put their money on it’.

Elsewhere in today’s edition of the Irish Independent, David Kelly notes the evolution of this Bok side under Meyer. ‘And so the Springboks have become reformed creatures, still the most fearsome gainline bashers in the business but with added guile to their formidable grunt’. Kelly says readers can expect an exciting Test now that Pollard is playing at No 10 for the Boks, and suggests the clash between Pollard and Ireland pivot Jonny Sexton, who has been pronounced fit, should be a classic.

The Irish Examiner has published their ‘power rankings’ for the autumn internationals, and unsurprisingly the All Blacks, Boks and Wallabies are ranked at No 1, 2 and 3 respectively. Ireland come in at No 4 ahead of England. Simon Lewis believes England will battle without a series of frontline players this November, and that Ireland will also have to cope following several big losses in personnel.

By Jon Cardinelli

 

Murray wary of Boks’ physicality

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Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray believes his side will lose if they try to match the Springboks’ physicality in Dublin on Saturday.

Conor-Murray-Ireland-scrumhalf-2014_3224932

The Six Nations champions will take on the Boks without injured stalwarts like loosehead prop Cian Healy and back-row Sean O’Brien but Murray believes that the duo’s absence will not alter the men from the Emerald Isle’s game-plan this weekend.

Even if Sean and Cian were here, you still probably wouldn’t look to run through South Africa,” he told the Irish Times. “They get off their line hard and make their hits. You’re going to be on the back foot. South Africa is a team of really big ball carriers, big hitters.”

Running through them is not something we’d want to do. “I think we still have really good ball carriers, who can fill their [Healy and O’Brien’s] shoes throughout the pack. I don’t think it’s an issue.”

The Boks thrive on dominating their opponents in contact situations but Murray believes Ireland have a plan to avoid that and to get the better of their opponents.

Obviously, instead of carrying into a big man it’s about stepping, finding a soft-shoulder and being a bit smarter, maybe having a few micro-plays that we’re looking to play just to drag them out of the line and to create a few softer gaps for us,” he added

The 25-year-old believes Ireland’s players are now settling into head coach Joe Schmidt’s way of thinking and the way he wants the team to play. “I’ve had my fair share of new coaches over the last four years,” added Murray.

This time last year we were, not feeling Joe out, but we were unsure how he wanted us to play and what he thought of you as a player. “A year down the line you are under no illusions as to what he thinks of you and how he wants you to play. “That’s a good place to be and we are a more confident squad looking back on what we did last year and especially coming so close [to beating New Zealand].

 

 

Springboks ready to go in Dublin

2

Springbok assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher and team doctor Craig Roberts spoke to the press in Dublin for the first time on the Springboks injury concerns

 

Craig Roberts on injury report
Craig Roberts on injury report

  Craig Roberts gave us the injury report on the Springboks as they go into their first training session in Dublin. 

Man of Steel Duane Vermeulen
Man of Steel Duane Vermeulen

Craig Roberts explain the way forward with Ruan Pienaar and  on Vermeulen injury he had against the All Blacks.

ABSA Currie Cup
ABSA Currie Cup

Craig Roberts give his thoughts on the Speringboks not taking part in the Currie Cup this year

Tinus Linee
Tinus Linee

Springbok assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher talk about his memories of Tinus Linee who passed away this morning

Francois Hougaard
Francois Hougaard

Springbok assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher talks about Springbok backline play and Francois and Cobus ability to replace Ruan if he is not fit

‘Nemo’ Carr swims into Bok squad

12

Nizaam-Carr-SA-training-EOYT-2014_3224608Nizaam Carr, or Nemo as he was dubbed by his Bishops class mates, decided a year ago to stop swimming against the stream and today finds himself on tour with the Springboks.

The Western Province loose-forward, who played a leading role in his team’s recent Currie Cup success, was rewarded with a place in the Bok squad that will start their European quest against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

And while chances are that he will only receive his first cap should one of the more regular members of the Springbok team gets sidelined through injury, the 23-year-old is still unlikely to lose the smile which became a permanent feature on his face when his provincial team won the Currie Cup at Newlands.

Carr credited his Cape Town coaches for their contribution to his career, but also noted that one of the reasons he was able to rise through the ranks had to do with change in attitude he made.

As a junior I wasn’t as focused, but over this last year I’ve really stepped-up a notch as far as my faith is concerned and I really think that has brought out the best in me,” said the first Muslim devotee to be included in a Springbok squad. “I was so ‘loskop’ (flighty) as a junior and it was probably the reason why I tore my ACL back then. “The renewed focus has put everything into perspective,” he said adding that he fully understands the responsibility he has to represent his community with distinction.

Although he has played most of his rugby in the number eight jersey, Carr received his break at the side of the scrum when flank Siya Kolisi was ruled out through injury. He had to adjust his game and under the guidance of coaches Allister Coetzee and Matt Proudfoot, Carr soon became a rock in his team’s loose-trio.

If I was playing at eight for the Stormers it would not have been that easy as it more of a linking role while at six you play more towards the ball and your tackle count needs to be high and you have to be abrasive and aggressive,” he said. “Defence obviously wins games so I had to pick to improve on that front and playing at six this year really helped.”

Off the field Carr is a gentle giant who loves nothing more than spending time with his family and, like many of the top forwards in the country, he has seemingly mastered the art of transforming into a monster the minute he steps over the sideline.

Addressing the media for the first time as part of the Springbok setup, Carr was cool, calm and collected.

He spoke from the heart and was even able to poke fun at himself for doing silly things as a youngster – like trying to compete in a match with a leg he later discovered was in fact fractured.

Understandably delighted with the recent development, Carr insisted that his feet are still firmly on the ground as he tries to learn as much from the experienced players as he can.

I don’t won’t to be in this bubble and be like, ‘when is Bryan Habana arriving’ or ‘there is Victor Matfield’, so I need to get out of that and embrace that I am here and that I have been selected and it is obviously tough to get out of that bubble, but at the moment I’m really enjoying it and soaking up as much of the experience as I can,” he added.

He is also under no illusions as far as his involvement in the end of year tour is concerned. “If I do get game time it is going to be a bonus, but if I don’t it is also great because to be part of something this big is a great honour and privilege for me,” explained Carr. “Out of how many thousands, if not millions of kids…I got selected and that is really special and obviously one for the record books.”

He explained that the Nemo nickname is a result of the difficult time he initially had to find his classes when he received a scholarship at Bishops. His new friends also found it easier to pronounce than his actual name. “I was always lost, looking for my classes and I guess it stuck,” he quipped.

by Michael Mentz

 

Injury blow for England

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England have been dealt a massive blow ahead of the November Tests as Joe Launchbury was ruled out with a neck problem. This is not good news for the team looking ahead in playing the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies in the coming weeks.

England

 

The Wasps second row will be on the sidelines for six to eight weeks with an ongoing irritation in a nerve in his neck and as a result he has been replaced in the squad by Leicester’s Graham Kitchener.

For the clash with New Zealand this Saturday it appears that Dave Attwood will now likely start in the second row alongside Courtney Lawes, while Saracens’ George Kruis is set to make his debut off the bench.

Launchbury’s injury is the latest in a long line of problems for England coach Stuart Lancaster, who is already deprived of Alex Corbisiero, Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs, Geoff Parling and Ed Slater in the front five alone.

However Lancaster’s main concern was for the return of the 23-year-old Launchbury, who he expects to be ready in plenty of time for the Six Nations.

“It’s obviously disappointing but it’s important for Joe, England and Wasps that he has the appropriate rest and recovery period and we are confident that he will be back in the New Year,” said the head coach, Stuart Lancaster.

England have also brought London Irish hooker David Paice in as cover for Dylan Hartley and Rob Webber, while Luther Burrell and Stephen Myler will definitely not feature against New Zealand.

Springboks arrive in sunny Dublin

0

A bright sunshiny but chilly day greeted the Springboks when they arrived in Dublin on Sunday, where they kick off the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour against Ireland this weekend.

Springboks
Springboks

The South Africans left Johannesburg on Saturday night and travelled via London Heathrow to the Irish capital for their first visit to this part of the world in two years. Eben Etzebeth stayed behind in South Africa and will join the squad on Tuesday following a family bereavement, while there will be more clarity on Ruan Pienaar’s fitness situation on Monday.

I know Eben will slot back in seamlessly as he’s been with us for the last two weeks’ preparation in South Africa – our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“It’s great to be among fellow rugby lovers here in Ireland, which is a wonderful country and we can’t wait to get going tomorrow. “This is a big week for us. We kick off the tour against the Six Nations champions and we’re only focused on Saturday’s game now. Although three tough games follow, we’re not looking further ahead.

“Facing Ireland at the AVIVA Stadium will be a massive challenge and we simply have to be 100% switched on for the match. A lot has been said and written about the conditions we’re probably going to face but we simply have to adapt if we’re going to take our game to the next level.”

The Springboks kick off their preparations in Dublin on Monday and the team for Saturday’s Test will be named on Wednesday.

 

Ruggaworld’s “Live” Match Centre

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RUGGAWP

The domestic competitions is done and dusted and the ABSA Currie Cup is back were it belong   :whistling: so we turn our attention to the “End of Year” tours to Europe before we take a total break until Super Rugby and Varsity Cup start in the new year.

Maori

Maori All Blacks 0 Japan 0 (Live on SS1 at 06:45)

First up is the New Zeeland Maori All Blacks that take on Japan. Maori All Blacks coach Colin Cooper has named 10 debutants in his matchday squad for Saturday’s clash with Japan in Kobe.

In the starting XV, Bay of Plenty tight head prop Mike Kainga, Otago lock Tom Franklin, Auckland flanker Sean Polwart are the newbies in the pack while centre Manawatu Jason Emery and Tasman wing James Lowe are the debutants in the back-line.

There are also five new faces on the replacements bench. They are: Canterbury hooker Codie Taylor, Hawke’s prop Brendon Edmonds, Northland flanker Dan Pryor, Taranaki fly-half Marty McKenzie and Manawatu full-back Nehe Milner-Skudder.

Cooper is pleased with how quickly the team had gelled given the short assembly time with most of the 27 strong squad only coming together last weekend.

New Zealand Maori: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Matt Proctor, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Charlie Ngatai (c) 11 James Lowe, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 Sean Polwart, 6 Blade Thomson, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Mike Kainga, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Nick Barrett, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Nehe Milner-Skudder.

Date: Saturday, November 1
Kick-off: 15:00 local (20:00 GMT)
Venue: Noevir Stadium, Kobe
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardne (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)

barbarians306x200

Barbarians 0 Australia 0 (Live on SS1 at 16:25)

The Wallabies kick of their end-of-year tour when they face the Barbarians in their Killik Cup clash at Twickenham on Saturday.The Barbarians are renowned for their entertaining style of play and this match would normally be seen as an ideal tour opener for any Test side.

However, Australia’s national team has gone through one of its most controversial periods in recent years and there will be extra pressure on them to do well.

The recent scandal involving star back Kurtley Beale has led to Ewen McKenzie’s resignation as coach and there are several players who will use this match to impress McKenzie’s successor Michael Cheika.

The game should be a great spectacle as the new Wallabies boss won the Super Rugby title with the Waratahs earlier this year thanks to an expansive game-plan.

Cheika has made his intentions clear by picking several of Australian rugby’s most exciting players and the Twickenham faithful will be relsihing the prospect of seeing the likes of Israel Folau, Quade Cooper Henry Speight and Will Genia going head-to-head against the Barbarians who also boast players like Tim Nanai-Williams, Juan de Jongh, Colin Slade and Wallaby cult figure Nick Cummins, who all have the ability to get spectators out of their seats.

The teams:

Barbarians: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Al Kellock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Matt Stevens.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Heinrich Brussow, 20 Matías Alemanno, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Joaquín Tuculet, 23 Marnitz Boshoff.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 James Horwill, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements (one to be omitted): 16 James Hanson, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Nic White, 22 Bernard Foley, 23 Christian Leali’ifano, 24 Joe Tomane.

Date: Saturday, November 1
Venue: Twickenham
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Gregory Garner (England)
Television match official: Rowan Kitt (England)
Timekeeper: Roy Marfleet (England)
Assessor: Stephen Leyshon (England)

All Blacks

USA 0 All Black 0 (Live at on SS1 at 21:45)

Already we have a record broken for the biggest crowd poised to watch a rugby match held in the United States, with this the first clash between the two nations in America since the 1980s. Who knows, this could be the start of more regular Stateside stops by nations as the game grows.

Keeping with refreshing changes, the All Blacks of course have not been recognised on the streets of Chicago. But by the end of Saturday they would hope to have put rugby on the map if the numbers stack up watching the live broadcast on NBC, who have half-an-hour’s pre-game build-up to boot.

We suppose the great fear for the Eagles is that they could be embarrassed on the field as box office names such as Sonny Bill Williams and Kieran Read warm up for tougher tests across the Atlantic. USA fans can rest easy of a colossal score though as this team possesses talent.

The teams:

USA: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Seamus Kelly, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Brett Thompson, 10 Adam Siddall, 9 Mike Petri, 8 Danny Barrett, 7 Scott Lavalla, 6 Todd Clever (c), 5 Hayden Smith, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Olive Kilifi, 2 Phil Thiel, 1 Eric Fry.
Replacements: 16 Tom Coolican, 17 Nick Wallace, 18 Mate Moeakiola, 19 Tai Tuisamoa, 20 Louis Stanfill, 21 Benjamin Tarr, 22 Folau Niua, 23 Troy Hall.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Victor Vito, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Daniel Carter, 23 Julian Savea.

Date: Saturday, November 1
Venue: Soldier Field Stadium, Chicago
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Chris Assmus (Canada), tba (Canada)

 

 

 

 

 

20 Players for EOYT Bok camp

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Prep camps and deals to rest players with provinces. Looks like SARU’s getting something right.

Springboks
Springboks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boks tired but triumphant

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The Springboks, frustrated and fatigued, achieved their year-end objective in their 19-10 victory over France in Paris on Saturday.

Test Match: France 10, Springboks 19

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castleout_banner(1)
Stade de France have not been a happy hunting ground for the Springboks for more than 16 years against the French. In fact the last time we won their, against them, was in 1997 at Parc des Prince in 1997.

The French see the Springboks and the All Blacks as a benchmark and it will always lift them when they play at home. One thing we can be sure of is that they will lift their game tonight and their sketchy performance against Tonga last week will have no bearing on this match.

It has been a good year for South Africa with only two loses against the World number one, the All Blacks. The French have played ten test matches and only won two of those matches.

It has not been a great year for France and yet their last Test against New Zealand, when they lost by seven points, was probably their best.
They were clearly up for the game. One thing is for sure, this will be a real test for the Springboks and one that will want dearly to win and end their season on a high.

Recent results:
2010: South Africa won 42-17, Cape Town
2009: France won 20-13, Toulouse
2006: France won 36-26, Cape Town
2005: France won 26-20, Paris
2005: South Africa won 27-13, Port Elizabeth
2005: France and South Africa drew 30-30, Durban
2002: France won 30-10, Marseilles
2001: France won 20-10, Paris
2001: South Africa won 20-15, Durban
2001: France won 32-23, Johannesburg
Teams:
France:
15 Brice Dulin, 14 Sofiane Guitoune, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Yoann Huguet, 10 Rémi Talès, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Wenceslas Lauret, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Papé, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Yannick Forestier.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Frédéric Michalak, 23 Mathieu Bastareaud.
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts , 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Siya Kolisi, 22 Jano Vermaak, 23 Pat Lambie.
Date: Saturday, 23 November 23
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 21.00 (20.00 GMT; 22.00 SA time)
Expected weather: Cold. Overcast with a high of 5°C, dropping to 3°C
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Leighton Hodges (Wales)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)

Wales unimpressive against Tonga

1

7ce4cdc6baed42baae7477d9e62c0a3bWales coach Warren Gatland’s 100th Test match ended with a 17-7 victory over a spirited Tonga but was far from a celebratory event at Cardiff’s Millennium stadium on Friday.

Centres Owen Williams and Ashley Beck crossed for tries as Wales cruised into a 17-0 lead after just 25 minutes.

They appeared on course for a second comprehensive autumn triumph but failed to build upon the foundations set and blew several try-scoring opportunities to leave centurion Gatland with plenty of frustrations.

Man-of-the-match Luke Charteris told the BBC: “It was pretty ugly out there. We knew going into the match how good a side Tonga were and we were not clinical enough.

“A team dogged like this will keep putting us under pressure but we won the game.

“I should have had two tries but didn’t manage to get them.”

The Six Nations champions looked to have taken the lead after just five minute when Ryan Jones charged down Taniela Moa but the Tonga scrum-half, with Viliami Ma’afu did enough to prevent Lloyd Williams from grounding the ball.

The hosts continued to dominate both territory and possession and Leigh Halfpenny booted them into the lead on 12 minutes.

Just four minutes later they grabbed the opening try from a scintillating counter-attack launched from the edge of the twenty-two.

James Hook fixed the defence and put Halfpenny through the gap, the IRB World Player of the Year nominee cut inside and offloaded to Williams.

The Cardiff Blues centre appeared to have taken the wrong option, ignoring Hallam Amos on the outside but he showed a blistering turn of pace and brushed off two Tongan defenders to race home.

Halfpenny converted expertly from the touchline to bring the scores to 10-0 after little more than quarter of an hour.

Wales stretched their lead even further ten minutes later thanks to Beck. Hemani Paea came flying out of the Tongan line but the centre released George North with an inside pass.

The giant wing beat four defenders but was hauled down after losing a boot. Possession was recycled and Hook sent Beck over with a perfectly weighted miss-pass.

Halfpenny made no mistake with the conversion but Beck was quickly at fault as Tonga fought back.

The centre missed a simple tackle on Sione Kalamafoni and the Gloucester flanker evaded two defenders before releasing Will Helu with an inside flick.

Latiume Fosita converted to bring the scores to 17-7 at the break but Wales quickly asserted their dominance in the second-half.

They should have kick-started the scoreboard within minutes of the restart following a deft Hook chip and strip but Tonga hung on by the skin of their teeth.

Minutes later Amos was denied a try on his debut and Tonga were dealt a blow after Sione Kalamafoni was helped off just moments after back-row partner Ma’afu also departed.

Wales continued to pile on the pressure as they set-up camp in Tonga territory but the spirited south sea islanders refused to throw in the towel as the hosts made costly errors in try-scoring positions.

Charteris was next to lose the ball agonisingly short of the whitewash and the Perpignan second-row was at fault as Wales saw a third try ruled out by the TMO.

Williams sniped down the blindside and offloaded to Ryan Jones. He was held short but George North drove over the line only for Carlo Damasco to rule that Charteris blocked the Tongan defence.

Tonga continued to frustrate Wales as the hosts failed to register a single-point following Halfpenny’s 25th minute conversion.

By: Sport24

Springboks retain core for final Test of 2013

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bokke

The core of the Springbok team that has played in 2013 has been selected to start in the final match of the season, marking 100 years of Test rugby against France in Paris on Saturday evening.

 Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth and Morné Steyn all return to the starting line-up after last weekend’s 28-0 win over Scotland in Edinburgh, for the last match of the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.

 Mtawarira, Etzebeth and Steyn are part of a group of 10 players who have been selected for every Test in 2013, along with Willie le Roux, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Ruan Pienaar, Coenie Oosthuizen, Adriaan Strauss and Pat Lambie. A further three players – Du Plessis, Flip van der Merwe and Francois Louw – each missed only one Test this season.

 After an impressive performance against Scotland, Oosthuizen will be in the starting line-up for the first time after 13 appearances off the bench. He takes over at tighthead prop from the injured Frans Malherbe, with the uncapped Lourens Adriaanse coming onto the bench.

 “This is a great opportunity for Coenie and we believe he’s ready to make the step up to a starting role in the team,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

 “I’m also very happy for Lourens, who has been part of the squad for almost the entire season. He’s waited patiently for an opportunity and what better way to make your debut than against France in Paris.”

 Commenting on the return of Mtawarira, Du Plessis, Etzebeth and Steyn, as well as the inclusion of Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi on the bench this week, Meyer said he had rotated the squad during the final three Tests of 2013 in order to keep the players fresh.

 “Gurthrö, Adriaan, Bakkies and Pat did very well last week against Scotland and will have an important role to play this week,” said Meyer.

 “We have been quite fortunate with injuries this year and I’m very happy that we’ve managed to keep the continuity in selection. Most of the players have received ample game time and showed they have what it takes to perform at Test level. Our aim is now to keep on improving against France and hopefully end a very successful season on a high note.”

 The Springboks have won nine of their 11 Tests in 2013 and 12 from the past 14, including last year’s November tour. But the task of taking on Les Bleus in France is a formidable one – South Africa’s last away victory over France was in 1997 at the Parc des Princes.

 South Africa and France have played twice at the Stade de France in Paris with France winning both (20-10) in 2001 and (26-20) in 2005. The Boks have scored 30 points (three tries) against 46 points (four tries) for an average of 15-23.

 The Boks have played six Tests in total at this venue, winning four (England in 1999, 44-21 and twice in 2007 during the RWC, 36-0 and 15-6 in the Final) and Argentina (37-13) also during the 2007 RWC. The Boks’ last game at this venue was the 2007 RWC final against England on 20 October, 2007.

 The Springbok team to face France in Paris is:

 15 Willie le Roux: 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain) 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Siya Kolisi 22 Jano Vermaak, 23 Patrick Lambie

 

  • Springbok Test match records at Stade de France, Paris: 
  • Most points – 34 (2c, 5p, 5dg) by Jannie de Beer on 24 October 1999 against England.
  • Most tries – two by JP Pietersen on 14 September 2007 against England and by Bryan Habana on 14 October 2007 against Argentina.
  • Most conversions – four by Percy Montgomery on 14 October 2007 against Argentina.
  • Most penalty goals – five by Jannie de Beer on 24 October 1999 against England.
  • Most drop goals – five by Jannie de Beer on 24 October 1999 against England. 

    Issued by SARU Corporate Affairs

Boks call-up Jano Vermaak

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6692d442cf1f47a38fb4e233b3e15f59Springbok scrumhalf Jano Vermaak will join the South African touring squad in Paris on Monday as replacement for Fourie du Preez.

By: Sport24

Vermaak played three times for the Springboks earlier this year. He made his Test debut in June against Italy in Durban.

Du Preez became a father shortly before the squad departed from South Africa for the Outgoing Tour. There were concerns over his availability because of injury, but he was passed fit. It was also agreed with his club that he will be released after the Scotland Test.

“Fourie will be sorely missed as he was Man of the Match in two of the five Tests he played this season,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“He really put his body on the line the last fortnight, and we are very fortunate though to replace him with another world class player in Ruan Pienaar.

“It was always part of the plans for Jano to join the team for the France week. He needed game time and had stand-out performances for his club in the last couple of weeks. He has been part of the squad before and knows our plans and systems well. He will be used to the conditions in France and I am looking forward to work with him again.”

Du Preez said: “I’m very thankful for the opportunity I had to play for the Springboks this year and I really enjoyed my time with the team. I’d like to thank everyone who made it possible, especially SARU, my family and my club.

“It was wonderful to be part of the team this year, to see how well they operate and to work with a group of committed players and management.”

Heyneke clear on Paris team

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MeyerSpringbok coach Heyneke Meyer says he has been clear on the team that will take the field in the final Test of the tour against France in Paris next Saturday and nothing that happened at Murrayfield on Sunday has changed his mind.

By: Gavin Rich – SuperSport

According to the supersport.com website, Meyer, chuffed with his team’s comprehensive 28-0 win over Scotland, reminded the media at the post-match press conference that he is a man who does a lot of planning, and that he had been clear when the team departed from South Africa on the selections he would make for each game.

“I do a lot of planning and I am clear in my mind what I want. What is important is that the players also know where they stand, and they are a great bunch of guys who have accepted rotation selections where they are necessary,” said Meyer.

Three players came off with varying injury problems, with Frans Malherbe being the most serious. The prop was helped from the field in the first half and was replaced by Coenie Oosthuizen, who scored the fourth try against a Scotland team that was outplayed initially but stuck gamely to its guns in the second half.

“The news on Frans is not so great as he has a suspected rib cartilage injury and that means the chances aren’t great that he will be able to play in Paris next week,” said Meyer.

However the young Western Province player appears to be the only major injury concern, with loose-forwards Francois Louw and Willem Alberts both likely to start the week under a little doubt but expected to be ready for the weekend. Louw was stretchered from the field later in the game with a neck injury, but Meyer said it was only precautionary.

“Francois was put on a stretcher as a precaution, but I am told he will be fine. Obviously he will still have to be monitored closely. In Willem’s case we are concerned about his shoulder and as you know he was doubtful for this game, and we brought him off early to protect that injury. He should also be fine for Paris.”

Meyer was understandably pleased with his team’s emphatic performance in conditions that he welcomed given that he wants his players tested ahead of the World Cup to be played in the northern autumn of 2015.

“We will take four tries to nil in a test match any day of the week and I thought we produced a good performance in this match,” he said.

“We knew what to expect from Scotland. They are physical and hard, and we knew they would have worked at halting our driving, so I must give credit to Johan van Graan, the forward coach, for the way changed our drive set-ups.

“The lineout was another area we worked hard on, and it paid off with our performance in that phase in the first half. I thought Bakkies Botha was awesome in that sphere of the game. Unfortunately we didn’t get much ball from the lineouts later in the game when it was wet, which was frustrating. But we played well when we needed to. We wanted to put pressure on them early because we expected it to rain in the second half.”

The win takes the Boks to a nine win in 11 start synopsis for the year, and 12 wins in the last 14 matches, and Meyer said he would love to complete the year with just the two losses to the All Blacks as the only blemishes on his team’s record since the start of the last November tour.

“If we win in Paris it will give us an 80 percent plus record for the year, and there has not been many occasions when the Boks have managed that in the post-isolation era, so I will be very happy with that. The good thing is that it is a happy squad, and I think the character and team spirit was shown again in the last few minutes when we did a lot of defending.

“I wanted to work on our defence, and the fact that we kept the Scots to no points is pleasing. We have now scored seven tries on this tour and the opposition hasn’t crossed our line. That is a tribute to both our organisation and our attitude.”

Scotland coach Scot Johnson admitted that his team had been outplayed from the first whistle, when the Boks carried the ball through several phases in a hand to hand build-up that lasted for nearly three minutes.

“It was two different teams to the ones that played against each other in Nelspruit earlier in the year, and the Springboks have obviously grown during the course of the Rugby Championship, whereas we are really only at the start of our season now,” said Johnson.

“They were secure from the first minute onwards. I think we showed that when we were able to keep possession we could hold them, but they are a very skillful try. They showed that skill by scoring off turn-over ball from 60 metres. They are also a fine mauling team, and you don’t have to be a rugby rocket scientist to know that is one of their massive strengths.

“We had some lineout issues in the first half, and that put us under heaps of pressure. I told the guys at halftime that we had dug ourselves into a big hole and we needed to dig ourselves out. The Boks did score quite early in the second half but I thought generally we were a lot better in the second 40 so I suppose you could say we dug quite well. For us it is a learning experience and I thought we learned a lot out there.”

Duane cleans Scottish pipes!

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????????Rob Houwing chooses Willie le Roux and Duane Vermeulen jointly as his standout Bok performers in the triumph over Scotland

Cape Town – A ton-of-bricks performance up front by Duane Vermeulen, coupled with some great moments of artistry and anticipation from Willie le Roux in the backline, went a long way to teeing up the Springboks’ 28-0 romp over Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday.

The South African effort was based much more around raw power and clattering commitment in the collisions than it was silky skills, for the most part, but it was all too much for the Scots who were just too uncreative on attack – not to mention demoralised by awesome Bok defence – to be able to bother the scoreboard themselves.

Here’s how I rated the Boks out of 10:

Willie le Roux 8.5

Arguably his best, most rounded Test match yet; great statement about his ability to excel at fullback in European conditions. Safe under high balls, tactically sound and alert on defence, but his ghosting into the line and then cross-kick for JP Pietersen’s try was the game’s highlight from a skills point of view. Intercept try of his own was a reward for the way he sums up situations for his team’s benefit.

JP Pietersen 7

Much more sprightly than last week, when he still looked rusty against Wales. Fine finishing for his try after Le Roux’s lead-up work, and also produced one memorable, drive-him-back cover tackle on a rare dangerous Scottish foray.

Jaque Fourie 6.5

Still not quite firing in the way pre-2012 Bok fans – not to mention Lions and Stormers faithful – remember. But he’s getting there.

Jean de Villiers 6.5

Made sure no Scottish traffic got through his channel, even if this disgracefully cutting-up pitch was no fitting playground for his attacking skills. Desperately close to bagging one of his legendary intercept tries on one occasion.

Bryan Habana 6

Not the best “first 40” the old pro will ever experience, but then only redoubled his effort to get involved after the break. Turned and tracked back with admirable stealth for diving, fingertip prevention of Scottish try late on.

Pat Lambie 7

We’re still waiting for that really genuine “ooh and ah” performance from Lambie at Test level. In fairness, though, he was efficient and workmanlike here, including making his tackles with gusto and taking good options at No 10, though he did fluff one pretty easy penalty.

Fourie du Preez 7

Still a few slightly irksome rough edges to the veteran’s game, but mostly very decisive and suitably urgent at scrumhalf.

Duane Vermeulen 8.5

Superbly committed: made several decent mini-gains with ball in hand in driving play, managed the back of the scrum smartly, but strongest point was some thunderous tackling that will have left many aching Scottish bodies.

Willem Alberts 7.5

It’s a concern that he walks a near constant, injury tightrope, but as coach Heyneke Meyer reminded, that’s just because of the type of player he is. Like a tank in first half before having to be subbed for Marcell Coetzee.

Francois Louw 7

Got through plenty of work where the proverbial sun don’t shine, even if he will have more profound days as a ball-carrier. Victim of reckless cleanout by serial meanie Jim Hamilton late in match that worryingly required stretcher mode of transport off pitch.

Flip van der Merwe 7.5

Impressive day in the engine-room on the slow, soft Murrayfield surface. Worked his socks off in all departments required of him … and discipline seemed refreshingly better, too.

Bakkies Botha 6

Fairly solid hour of comeback Test activity after a long absence, even if not quite at vintage, robust best. Deserves credit for his muscular contribution to some concerted Bok rolling mauls, though.

Frans Malherbe 6

Was putting himself about purposefully until injury cruelly cut short his second Bok start after 37 minutes. Probably wished there’d been more scrums before his departure, to try to compellingly tick that box.

Adriaan Strauss 6.5

Industrious as ever, until the Boks let Bismarck du Plessis loose off his pitch-side exercise bike just after hour mark. It must be said: lineouts went awry after Strauss exited.

Gurthro Steenkamp 5.5

We still haven’t seen the best of Steenkamp’s qualities both in the scrums and in open play for the Boks since he made France his home base. Just seemed a more forceful Bok during his Bulls years, yes?

Standout substitute:

Coenie Oosthuizen 7.5

Much more game-time than usual, thanks to Malherbe’s exit before half-time … and showed his gratitude for that. Suitably solid on the tighthead side at scrum-time, and used his juggernaut frame to great effect in general play, including registering try from unstoppable maul off lineout.

Scotland 0, Springboks 28

52

bokke

Scotland meet South Africa for the 24th time at Murrayfield on Sunday afternoon – the 18th time the match has been played in Scotland. Of the 23 matches already played Scotland have won five, all at home.

The very first Test South Africa ever played abroad was at Hampden Park in Glasgow and the Scots won 6-0 on an afternoon of miserable weather – a dreigh day as the Scots would have it.

Wet and cold with no closed roof to improve matters. The weather may well suit the Scots, not only because they are more used to it but because it would aid their unstructured aggression against structured control.

Recent results:
2013: South Africa won 30-17, Nelspruit
2012: South Africa won 21-10, Edinburgh
2010: Scotland won 21-17, Edinburgh
2008: South Africa won 14-10, Edinburgh
2007: South Africa won 27-3, Edinburgh
2006: South Africa won 29-15, Port Elizabeth
2006: South Africa won 36-16, Durban
2004: South Africa won 45-10, Edinburgh
2003: South Africa won 28-19, Johannesburg
2003: South Africa won 29-25, Durban

Teams:

Scotland: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 David Denton, 7 John Barclay, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Moray Low, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 John Beattie, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Max Evans.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux: 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain) 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Morné Steyn, 23 JJ Engelbrecht.

Date: Sunday, 17 November 2013
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Kick-off: 15.00 (15.00 GMT; 17.00 SA time)
Expected weather: There is a 20 percent chance of rain with high of 10°C, dropping to 2°C
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gauzère (France), Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)

French ready for ‘physical’ Boks

4

France-v-New-Zealand-Rugb-007France believe the 38-18 victory over Tonga was prefect preparation for the bruising battle that awaits them when they play South Africa next week.

By:AFP

The victory, in an ill-tempered one-off Test match at Le Havre’s Stade Oceane on Saturday, will go some way to avenging the shock 14-19 pool loss Les Bleus suffered at the hands of the South Sea Islanders at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

But France coach Philippe Saint-Andre will doubtless have much to pore over as his side failed to put away a Tongan team which featured a raft of players competing at a much lower club level than their French counterparts.

“It’s pleasing,” France skipper Thierry Dusautoir said of the win.

“We’ve erased what happened at the World Cup and we can move on to something else.

“We’re very happy, but the black mark was losing Yoann [Maestri to the red card],” he said of a game that saw both teams play virtually the entire second half with 14 men – after New Zealand referee Glen Jackson brandished two red cards, for Tonga prop Sona Taumalolo (who plays for Perpignan in the Top 14) and France lock Yoann Maestri after a punch-up.

Next Saturday’s match against South Africa, he added, “will be very tough physically but this match was good preparation for what awaits us.”

Tonga’s cause was not helped when scrumhalf Taniela Moa, who plays his club rugby at French side Pau, also saw yellow just before half-time for elbowing France hooker Dimitri Szarzewski in the face.

Tonga captain Nili Latu Langilangi added: “We were quite confident going into the match and got going, but they regularly put us on the backfoot thanks to a good scrum and their kicking game.

“If we could have better controlled these two areas it would have been tighter. And our indiscipline handed them some easy points.”

Carter to begin sabbatical

1

dan-20carter-20art_20131115085508153945-620x349New Zealand flyhalf Daniel Carter is likely to begin his six-month break from rugby earlier than expected after he limped off with an Achilles injury against England on Saturday.

By: Sport24

The 31-year-old, playing in his 100th test match, left the field after just 26 minutes of the All Blacks’ 30-22 victory at Twickenham.

“Its been rumbling away for a while,” coach Steve Hansen told New Zealand media after his side continued their unbeaten season.

“He’s obviously very sore. It’s not ruptured, I wouldn’t think, but we won’t know that until we get some scans.

“It’s disappointing for him again. He’s had a wretched time with injuries.”

The All Blacks complete their season next week against Ireland in Dublin. If they beat Joe Schmidt’s side they will become the first top tier team to go through an entire year unbeaten since rugby went professional in 1995.

Carter has been dogged by a series of niggling injuries over the last few years and made just his sixth appearance for the All Blacks in their 13th test match of the year at Twickenham.

A broken hand kept him out of tests against France in June before a calf injury saw him miss matches against Australia in the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship.

Hansen said Carter’s latest injury was not related to a torn Achilles’ tendon he suffered while playing for Perpignan in France in early 2009 as that injury was on his other leg.

Carter, who has been granted the sabbatical by the New Zealand Rugby Union, said earlier this year he had considered playing overseas on a short-term contract but felt the time would be better spent having a total break to sort out his injuries and conditioning.

He is not expected to play again until after next year’s June international series when England visit New Zealand for a three tests.

Hansen added that loosehead prop Tony Woodcock would also miss the Ireland match after he sustained a hamstring injury in the first half against England.

England 22, All Blacks 30

44

England vs All Blacks

This will be the strongest matchup this weekend when the All Blacks and England meet this afternoon at Twickenham.

Last year this was the only game the All Blacks lost, in fact this was the first game they lost since winning the World Cup and they will want to change things around. I did not see something very special from England the past two weeks and this should be one that New Zeeland should win, but England likes to upset the apple cart against the All Blacks.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen dismissed claims that illness in the camp played a role in their defeat last year, and said that they simply have to be better this time around.

“We were completely outplayed by them last year but this is an opportunity for us to see if we have improved our game to the point where we can be competitive,” he said.

The build-up to this match has been spiced up by a British reporter who gained access to the All Blacks team room and revealed a number of motivational messages, which has not impressed Hansen or his team at all.

Recent results:
2012: England won 38-21 in London
2010: New Zealand won 26-16 in London
2009: New Zealand won 19-6 in London
2008: New Zealand won 32-6 in London
2008: New Zealand won 44-12 in Christchurch
2008: New Zealand won 37-20 in Auckland
2006: New Zealand won 41-20 in London
2005: New Zealand won 23-19 in London
2004: New Zealand won 36-12 in Auckland
2004: New Zealand won 36-3 in Dunedin

Teams:
England:
15 Mike Brown, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Ben Foden, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 David Wilson, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Alex Goode.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Charles Piutau, 13 Ben Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements; 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Tawera Kerr Barlow, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Ryan Crotty.

Date: Saturday, November 16
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick-off: 14.30 (14.30 GMT; 03.30, Sunday, November 17 NZ time)
Expected weather: Partly cloudy but dry, high of 10, slight breeze
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

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Boks to unleash Bakkies

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Bakkies 2011Bakkies Botha is likely to make his return to the Springbok team for their clash against Scotland in Edinburgh on Sunday.

By:Sport24

Botha, 34, was recalled to the Bok squad for their end-of-year tour but was not included in the 23-man line-up for last week’s Test against Wales in Cardiff as he only joined them last Tuesday evening.

Bok coach Heyneke Meyer told Die Burger’s website that he is likely to call on Botha this weekend.

“There is a good chance that Bakkies will start. We want to see what he can do for us. He’s been very influential since he arrived. You could see how guys like Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit look up to him,” said Meyer.

Botha, who currently plays for French club Toulon, last played for the Boks at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand two years ago.

Meyer also said he would take a few selection risks for the Scotland Test. With the game being played on Sunday – and the following weekend’s one against France on a Saturday – it gives the team relatively short time to recuperate for what will be a tough last outing at the Stade de France.

“We’ll have to think long and hard about the team. The priority is obviously to win and secondly there’s also the issue of having only five days before the Test against France.

“We’ll have to take calculated risks. Not only to make sure that the players are 100% for the game against Scotland, but also for the game against France.

“The plan will be worked out in detail. But the team must be strong enough to beat Scotland.”

Sunday’s clash at Murrayfield kicks off at 17:00 (SA time).

Ireland dominate Samoa

2

IrelandIreland got off to a winning start under new coach Joe Schmidt on Saturday, beating Samoa 40-9 in a scrappy encounter that featured occasional glimpses of the attacking rugby the New Zealander is renowned for.

By: Sport24

Tries from Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, Fergus McFadden and two for debutant David Kearney, together with a solid kicking display from Paddy Jackson eased Schmidt into his job of picking up the Irish from their worst Six Nations in 14 years.

Samoa, ranked one place ahead of Ireland following victories over Wales and Scotland in the last year, looked the more threatening side in the first 20 minutes but only had one Tusi Pisi penalty to Jackson’s two.

The hosts dominated at the set piece and Ireland’s first try began and ended with the pack, driving the visitors back from a lineout just inside the 22-yard line to allow Munster captain O’Mahony to barrel over.

Pisi and Jackson traded penalties to leave the hosts 14-6 ahead at halftime, but crucially the Samoans were reduced to 14 men just before the break when centre George Pisi was sent to the sin bin.

Ireland took full advantage with O’Brien, a first-half replacement for the injured Chris Henry, touching down after a breakaway move that included an outrageous assist from Brian O’Driscoll who flicked an earlier pass through his legs.

The biggest roar was saved for new Ireland captain Paul O’Connell who entered the fray before Kearney, another replacement, stretched the lead after collecting a pass from his brother Rob to dive over in the corner.

That gave the hosts a bit more confidence to fling the ball around and fellow Leinster wing McFadden finished off another smart move for the fourth try with Kearney grabbing his second with two minutes to go.

O’Connell will be expected to lead the side out against Australia next weekend with flyhalf Johnny Sexton, rested after a punishing early season schedule with Racing Metro, also likely to return.

Scorers:

Ireland:

Tries: Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, Fergus McFadden, David Kearney (2)

Conversions: Paddy Jackson (3)

Penalties: Jackson (3)

Samoa:

Penalties: Tusi Pisi (2), Kahn Fotuali’i

Boks too strong for Wales

0

bokkeSouth Africa maintained their winning dominance over Wales on Saturday with a brutal 24-15 (half-time 17-12) victory based on a suffocating blanket defence and an unerring knack of doing the basics well.

By: Sport24

The Springboks scored three tries through captain Jean de Villiers, Bismarck du Plessis and Fourie du Preez, flyhalf Morné Steyn bagging two conversions and a penalty, and Patrick Lambie also hitting a conversion.

Wales had just five Leigh Halfpenny penalties to their credit, meaning that under coach Warren Gatland, they have now lost 21 of their 22 Test matches against southern hemisphere giants New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, the exception a 21-18 win over Australia in 2008.

Their sole victory over South Africa, in 27 internationals stretching back 107 years, came back in 1999.

The match at the Millennium Stadium was one of attrition, notably in the first-half when a series of high-impact collisions saw Wales forced into three replacements and South Africa one.

But for all of Wales’ endeavour, they could not breach a Springbok line led superbly by lock Eben Etzebeth and hooker Du Plessis, the pair also instrumental in their side’s effective driving maul and disruptive lineout play.

An electric start after an emotional rendition of the Last Post in mark of Monday’s Armistice Day saw Wales centre Jonathan Davies burst through four tackles.

A Springbok infringement at the proceeding ruck gifted Halfpenny an opening penalty, swiftly levelled by Steyn at the other end.

Halfpenny kicked his second penalty after Davies again scythed through the Bok midfield in a frantic passage of play, but South Africa responded in magnificent style.

Steyn found Bryan Habana in space in his own 22m area, the Toulon wing accelerating past Welsh hooker Richard Hibbard and passing inside to Du Plessis, whose off-load De Villiers juggled before grounding despite Mike Phillips’ desperate tackle.

Wales were forced into two replacements, with Liam Williams and Jonathan Davies both injured in the build-up to the try, James Hook and Ashley Beck coming on.

The visitors spurned two penalties from kickable distances, and the gamble paid off against a Wales side in disarray, Du Plessis showing great strength to drive over from a slick lineout move to Duane Vermuelen at the back.

A second Steyn conversion and suddenly it was 17-6 after 18 minutes, the Springbok flyhalf then also going off injured to be replaced by Willie le Roux, with fullback Lambie moving to pivot.

Halfpenny clawed back six points with his third and fourth penalties, Wales dominating possession but unable to maximise their pressure in the danger zone.

With tempers raised, Bath flank Francois Louw saw yellow for driving his forearm into a prone Hibbard, and Wales threw everything they had at the Boks, but the visitors’ blanket defence held firm until half-time.

The second period started off quite disjointedly, Halfpenny bagging a fifth, long-range penalty in the 54th minute after prop Gethin Jenkins, outstanding in the loose, forced Bok debutant Frans Malherbe into collapsing a scrum.

Malherbe was immediately subbed off but Irish referee Alain Rolland had lost patience and when the next scrum also went down, Jenkins and replacement Coenie Oosthuizen were sent to the sin-bin, meaning uncontested scrums.

Lambie then scuffed a snatched drop-goal and a penalty attempt as Wales upped their defence against a rattled Springbok team.

But two old heads currently plying their trade in Japan came to the rescue, recalled centre Jaque Fourie following up on a brilliant Du Preez clearing kick, flicking the ball inside to the scrumhalf who scooted under the posts for a simple try Lambie converted.

Scorers:

Wales:

Penalties: Leigh Halfpenny (5)

South Africa:

Tries: Jean de Villiers, Bismark du Plessis, Fourie du Preez

Conversions: Morné Steyn (2), Pat Lambie

Penalty: Steyn

Wallabies thump Italy

0

AustraliaWing Nick Cummins scored two of seven Australian tries as the Wallabies made up for defeat to England with a commanding 50-20 victory over hapless Italy at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.

By: Sport24

Italy had been looking to capitalise on Australia’s morale-sapping 20-13 reverse at Twickenham last week to score a first, historic win over Australia in 16 attempts.

But despite going 10-up before the quarter-hour thanks notably to a try from Australian-born full-back Luke McLean, the tourists came steadily into their game and punished Italian errors with ruthless efficiency.

Captain Ben Mowen touched down for Australia on 15 minutes, with Quade Cooper making up for an earlier penalty miss with the conversion before adding another two points minutes later after Tevita Kuridrani went over on 21 minutes.

Cummins scored the first of his brace just after the half-hour to put Australia 19-10 up at the break to give Jacques Brunel’s men an uphill task in the second half, and with the crowd already lulled into silence.

If Italy had thoughts of producing a stirring fightback, they were soon kicked into touch as the visitors resumed where they had left off.

An Italian infringement at the scrum gave Australia a line-out on Italy’s 22-metre line and led to the Wallabies’ fourth try on 50 minutes.

Adam Ashley-Cooper played a pivotal role, holding off several players and causing confusion metres from the tryline before offloading to Cummins who had time to run in behind the posts for his second.

Cooper added two points with the boot to give Australia a commanding 16-point lead.

Australia were well into their stride and following a line-out deep in Italian territory just before the hour mark took their lead to 33-10.

Italy’s defence initially held firm under wave after wave of Wallaby attack but it eventually caved in and when Will Genia dug the ball out for Cooper and his pass to Ashley-Cooper saw him drive over at the side of the posts, with Cooper kicking the conversion.

Italy were given brief hope of a fightback when replacement Lorenzo Cittadini bundled the ball over shortly after to add five points, but Di Bernardo’s disappointing afternoon with the boot continued when he missed the conversion.

There was no stopping Australia, and the joy on Joe Tomane’s face when he scored the Australians sixth try minutes later said it all.

Israel Folau added a seventh for the visitors with 10 minutes remaining, and, staring at one of their heaviest defeats to Australia in recent years, Italy had no choice but to try to save face.

The hosts pushed deep into Australian territory in the final minutes and were rewarded when second-half replacement Tommaso Allan, formerly a Scotland player at junior level, went over for his maiden Italy try in the 79th minute.

Scorers:

 

Italy:

Tries: Luke McClean, Lorenzo Cittadini, Tomasso Allan

Conversions: Alberto Di Bernado

Penalties: Di Bernado

Australia:

Tries: Ben Mowen, Tevita Kuridrani, Nick Cummins (2), Adam Ashley-Cooper, Joe Tomane, Israel Folau

Conversions: Quade Cooper (4), Christian Leali’lifano (2)

Penalties: Leali’lifano

England too strong for Pumas

0

EnglandIt was a tale of two halves as England made it two wins out of two this November with a 31-12 victory over Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday.

By: Sport24

England had the match all but won at half-time at 24-6 after Joe Launchbury, Billy Twelvetrees and Chris Ashton all scored tries converted by Owen Farrell, with the fly-half also kicking a penalty.

Yet, concerningly ahead of next week’s visit of world champions New Zealand, they didn’t add to their tally until two minutes before full-time when replacement back-row Ben Morgan crossed for a try.

England coach Stuart Lancaster made four changes to the starting side that beat Australia 20-13 at Twickenham last weekend, including a new front row of David Wilson, Dylan Hartley and Joe Marler in a bid to combat the Pumas’ renowned scrum prowess.

Meanwhile Ben Foden, usually a full-back, was recalled on the wing after injuries ruled out both Marland Yarde and Christian Wade.

Argentina, in their first match under new coach Daniel Hourcade, came into this fixture on the back of six straight defeats in the Rugby Championship.

They’d also lost their two most recent Tests against England, 32-3 and 51-26, in Argentina in June.

After an early exchange of penalties between Farrell and opposing fly-half Nicolas Sanchez, England after kicking a penalty for a close-range lineout, saw lock Launchbury driven over for his first Test try in the 13th minute.

Barely 60 seconds later Wilson, was penalised for collapsing a scrum and, from almost halfway, Pumas centre Marcelo Bosch kicked the ball between the posts.

England, however, soon had their second try in eight minutes.

Ashton should have scored after good work by full-back Mike Brown but the wing was held up by Juan Imhoff.

From the resulting five-metre scrum, England moved the ball left and Twelvetrees, who missed a tackle that led to Australia’s opening try last weekend, brushed aside three poor challenges after bursting through an inviting gap in the Argentina defence. Farrell converted and England led 17-6.

And six minutes before the break England had another try when Ashton went in on the blindside after more solid work by the pack in the build-up.

Farrell landed a superb conversion from the right touchline and England, with Bosch’s 53 metre penalty-attempt falling short and a promising Sanchez break pulled back by French referee Pascal Gauzere for offside, had a commanding lead at the break.

England strengthened their scrum by bringing on fit-again prop Alex Corbisiero in place of Joe Marler at half-time.

However, it was Argentina who scored the first points of the second half through two well-struck Sanchez penalties

Lancaster brought on several replacements and England, with Argentina rallying, struggled to get their hands on the ball.

Farrell then carelessly kicked a penalty dead in search of another lineout although England did well to resist a close range scrum.

Argentina were still in the game with eight minutes left but their hopes of a come-from-behind win evaporated when Bosch missed a long-range penalty.

And that miss was compounded when Morgan blasted through Santiago Cordero’s attempted tackle for a try converted by fellow replacement Toby Flood.

England are surely in for a tougher match when the All Blacks, seeking to avenge last year’s shock Twickenham defeat, arrive at ‘headquarters’ next weekend.

Meanwhile, Argentina will continue their European tour against Wales in Cardiff, with the Pumas looking to repeat their victory over the Six Nations champions in last year’s corresponding clash at the Millennium Stadium.

Scorers:

England:

Tries: Joe Launchbury, Billy Twelvetrees, Chris Ashton, Ben Morgan

Conversions: Owen Farrell (4)

Penalties: Farrell

Argentina:

Penalties: Nicolas Sanchez (3), Marcelo Bosch

Scots win over Japan

0

scotland_bannerScotland survived two second half scares to get their November Test campaign off to a winning start against a plucky Japanese side at Murrayfield with a 42-17 victory on Saturday.

By: Sport24

The Scots led 11-3 at half-time but tries by left wing Kenki Fukuuoka twice pegged back the gap to a single point before the hosts pulled clear with four tries in the final 25 minutes.

Scotland bagged six tries in all, wing Tommy Seymour claiming a brace on his home debut and Greig Laidlaw, Alasdair Dickinson, Duncan Weir and Sean Lamont also crossing the opposition whitewash.

The Scots lined up without the injured Stuart Hogg and Tim Visser, Maitland switching from the wing to full-back and Lamont and Seymour filling the vacant berths out wide.

Seymour, born in Nashville, Tennessee, was making his first home start for his mother’s native country, as was his Glasgow team-mate, lock Tim Swinson, both having been blooded on the summer tour to South Africa.

It was the Scots who made the better start, putting the ‘Brave Blossoms’ on the back foot from the off. They took the lead in the seventh minute, scrum-half Laidlaw landing a penalty from the right after the Japanese front row were punished for failing to bind correctly.

Japan might have struck back but after building some promising attacking momentum the move came to a juddering halt when centre Craig Wing was shunted backwards by Swinson.

Thereafter, the Scots regained the upper hand. Laidlaw sent a second penalty attempt, from wide on the right, slamming into the near post in the 17th minute but five minutes later the Edinburgh player made amends with his third pot at the posts, doubling the home lead to 6-0.

It took Scotland half an hour to fully get into the attacking groove but they did so with a vengeance, Maitland making a half break on the left before play was switched to the right and drives by Swinson and David Denton set up Seymour for a score in the corner.

Laidlaw pushed the conversion wide, though, and after full back Ayumu Goromuru nailed a 37th minute penalty for Japan, Scotland had to settle for an 11-3 half-time lead when Lamont followed up a dazzling break by Nick De Luca to cross the try-line – only for the score to be chalked off by television match official Marshall Kilgore because of blocking by Swinson.

Japan cut the gap to 11-10 three minutes into the second half. Fukuoka scored in the left corner, finishing off a move launched by scrum-half Fuimaka Tanaka and Goromuru converted.

There were sighs of relief when Laidlaw dived over to score from a close range ruck four minutes later. His successful conversion made it 18-10 to Scotland.

Again, Japan hit back, Goromaru punching a hole in the home defence and Fukuoka scooting over for his second try on the right. Goromura’s conversion closed the gap to 18-17.

Then it was Scotland’s turn again. Jackson sent a long looping pass out to the right and Seymour crossed for his second try.

Laidlaw missed the conversion but Scotland maintained their momentum, replacement prop Dickinson scoring under the posts in the 64th minute and Laidlaw adding the conversion to make it 30-17.

Five minutes later replacement fly-half Weir squeezed over to score in the left corner. Then, with two minutes remaining, Lamont touched down a loose kick and Weir converted to complete an ultimately comfortable victory.

Scorers:

Scotland:

Tries: Tommy Seymour (2), Greg Laidlaw, Alasdair Dickinson, Duncan Weir, Sean Lamont

Conversions: Laidlaw (2), Weir

Penalties: Laidlaw (2)

Japan:

Tries: Kenki Fukuoka (2)

Conversions: Ayumu Goromaru (2)

Penalties: Goromaru

Preview: Wales versus Springboks

38

Wales-VS-SpringboksWith the roof closed at the Millennium Stadium, Saturday night’s game have all the elements to be a test match to remember.

Between the coaches of Wales and their players they did a lot of talking themselves up for the match against the Springbok. Trying to use the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia as prove of their ability to upset the Springboks, this will be one comparison I would not have made if I was them.

The Australia team has struggled throughout the year as a team and to play any kind of rugby that will make them a force at this stage. The Springboks and New Zeeland were able to put more than four tries against them in the Rugby Championship and Argentinian can close to beat them in Australia.

Wales are the current six nation’s champions and with the roof close the game should bring us a spectacle that we want.

The last time the two teams met was in 2011 and on that day the Springboks only won the game by one point.

In the last five meetings between the two teams the Springboks have won the last three by five points or fewer.

The Key aspects of the game will be the first-phase ball. In the Lineouts the Springboks should be able to dominate and everyone is looking for the scrums as Frans Malherbe comes into the team with Beast and Bismarck. The scrums served the Springboks well this season and they should be able to continue in this way.

In the backs is where most supporters will want to see what Jacque Fourie and JP Pietersen will bring to the team with Lambie moving to fullback.

Both teams have excellent fly half‘s and Meyer will hope that his bench will have a better impact than what they did in their last game against the All Blacks.

This game have the potential to have a big score in the making and we should see some exciting play.

Recent Results
2011: South Africa won 17-16, Wellington (World Cup pool match)
2010: South Africa won 29-25, Cardiff
2010: South Africa won 34-31, Cardiff
2008: South Africa won 20-15, Cardiff
2008: South Africa won 37-21, Pretoria
2008: South Africa won 43-17, Bloemfontein
2007: South Africa won 34-12, Cardiff
2005: South Africa won 33-16, Cardiff
2004: South Africa won 38-36, Cardiff
2004: South Africa won 53-18, Pretoria

Teams

Wales:
15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Liam Williams, 12 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements:
16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Luke Charteris, 20 Justin Tipuric 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 James Hook, 23 Ashley Beck.

South Africa: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements:
16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 JJ Engelbrecht, 23 Willie le Roux.

Date: Saturday, 9 November 2013
Kick-off:
17.30 (17.30 GMT; 19.30 SA time)
Venue:
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Expected weather:
It will be cold and damp in Cardiff on Saturday but that may play no part if the roof is closed.
Referee:
Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees:
George Clancy (Ireland), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

Wales invoke spirit for SA clash

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WalesWales are depending on the spirit that saw the British and Irish Lions record a series win over Australia in the summer for their opening autumn Test against South Africa on Saturday.

By: Sport24

Wales coach Warren Gatland has named 11 players who featured under him for the Lions in their 2-1 win over the Wallabies to take on the might of a vastly experienced, hulking Springbok team.

Saturday’s match at the Millennium Stadium will be the first time the two countries have met since the Springboks edged a 2011 Rugby World Cup pool game in Wellington, 17-16.

Wales, however, went on to reach the semi-finals in New Zealand, with Gatland also overseeing three Six Nations titles and two Grand Slams since taking charge of the Principality’s side in 2008.

But Wales’s record in that same period against the southern hemisphere giants of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia has been dire, with just one win – against Australia in 2008 – compared to 20 defeats.

And Wales have racked up just one victory over South Africa – in 1999, in 26 internationals stretching back 107 years.

“There’s no bigger hurdle when you’re involved with any team and you’re playing against the southern hemisphere and actually winning,” said Wales assistant coach Rob Howley.

“The confidence and self-belief that they had after the Lions tour was huge. You can see a difference in their mindset. This week, the emotion from the players, in particularly the Lions players, has been different.

“There’s been a very positive mindset from the fact they’ve had a wonderful experience in the summer and obviously they need to bring that in the national jersey on Saturday.”

Returning flank Dan Lydiate agreed, saying of previous results that have gone the way of either South Africa, Australia or New Zealand: “We’ve always come so close, it’s that last step.

“The (Lions) win in the summer can only help us and boost us going into these autumn internationals.

“You take confidence in being involved in such a squad.”

Ospreys wing Eli Walker was a late withdrawal for Wales after pulling out with a hamstring injury, his place taken by Scarlets full-back Liam Williams.

South Africa have arrived in Europe on the back of finishing highly creditable second behind world champions New Zealand in the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship and are sure to provide tough opposition.

Prop Frans Malherbe will make his debut for the ‘Boks, while other injuries have forced coach Heyneke Meyer into picking an experienced backline.

The 22-year-old Frans Malherbe comes in for the injured Jannie du Plessis and faces a baptism of fire against a tested Welsh and all-Lions front-row of Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard and Gethin Jenkins.

The only other change to the pack is at lock, with Flip van der Merwe starting next to Eben Etzebeth in the second row.

Star backs JP Pietersen and Jaque Fourie are also back in the Springbok team for the match at the Millennium Stadium.

It will be Fourie’s first Test for South Africa since the World Cup in 2011, while a combination of injury and non-availability means Pietersen is back for his first taste of international rugby yet this season.

“We’re very fortunate to have two world-class players in JP and Jaque available for selection and I wanted to get them into the action as soon as possible,” said Meyer.

“They bring a vast amount of experience to the team and it was clear from our training sessions thus far that they are in great form and ready for Test rugby.”

Oz spring Simmons surprise

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AustraliaForward Rob Simmons has returned from injury to give under-pressure Australia some much-needed power in the scrum ahead of the Wallabies’ second November test against a hungry Italy side on Saturday.

Simmons, who missed last week’s 20-13 defeat to England after suffering an injury in training prior to the opening test of five in November, is regarded as one of Australia’s best locks.

But having played blindside flanker at the 2011 World Cup, coach Ewen McKenzie is hoping the big forward can give the tourists something extra against an Italian team which can sniff a first, famous victory over the Australians.

“Most of the Italians’ strength is derived through their forwards and that’s where they will look to take us on, especially at set-piece. We have to take them on up front,” McKenzie said.

“Having Simmo return will benefit us in that regard. He’s instrumental in us winning our own ball while we’ll be looking for him to put pressure on their lineout, and their scrum.

“Aside from that, he is one of our most athletic and powerful forwards. He has trained very well at blindside flanker and it will be interesting to see how he goes with a bit more space.”

Simmons is the only change from last week’s reverse and replaces Scott Fardy, who is unavailable for selection after suffering concussion at Twickenham.

Australia were leading England 13-6 at half-time last week but allowed the tourists back into the game to get their end-of-season tour off to a negative start.

Going on results alone, it is the Wallabies worst period since the game went professional in 1996 and defeat to Italy, renowned for their strong scrum and who beat both Ireland and France in the 2013 Six Nations, would heap the pressure on further.

Simmons said Australia have their work laid out in front of them.

“Defensively, we need to apply a lot of pressure at the breakdown and try and slow their ball down,” he said. “In attack, we need to make the advantage line and get our backs into the game.

“The forwards have to work hard. It’s a big day for us forwards. If we can nullify their forwards, it will go a good way to winning the game.

“They’re very passionate, and emotional. You can see when they’re singing the national anthem… it’s a bit the same. Their forwards get a good roll-on and they’re hard to stop.

“So we have to try to get into them early and stop them.”

Italy coach Jacques Brunel will name his starting team later on Thursday.

McKenzie added: “There is pressure every week but at the moment we are in the business of winning the next game.

“We’ve never had an easy game here in Italy and even last year they had a chance to tie the game after the final siren. There wouldn’t be anyone in the Six Nations who would say coming here and winning is easy.

“They grow an extra leg playing at home and we recognise that going into the match.”

 

Australia:

15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben Mowen (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Rob Simmons, 5 James Horwill, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper.

Substitutes : 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nic White, 22 Christian Leali’lifano, 23 Joe Tomane.

Heavyweight front row for Poms

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Eng v ArgEngland coach Stuart Lancaster unveiled a new heavyweight front row to face renowned scrummagers Argentina when he announced his side to play the Pumas at Twickenham on Saturday.

By: Rugby24

Lancaster selected the trio of David Wilson, Dylan Hartley and Joe Marler, who all came off the bench during last week’s 20-13 win over Australia at Twickenham last weekend.

British and Irish Lions star Alex Corbisiero, fit after a knee injury kept him out the Wallaby match, had been tipped to replace now injured prop Mako Vunipola but found himself among the replacements when Lancaster announced his side on Thursday.

Instead Marler, as he’d done during last week’s match, replaced Vunipola.

“Joe Marler was excellent off the bench against Australia and merits his opportunity, as does David Wilson, who has been pushing hard for selection,” Lancaster said Thursday.

“Dylan gets a deserved chance at hooker with Tom Youngs on the bench after the safe arrival of his first child this (Thursday) morning. Rob Webber remains on standby.”

In the backs Ben Foden replaced Marland Yarde after the wing failed a fitness test on a hip injury on Thursday.

Kick-off is at 16:30.

Teams:

England

15 Mike Brown, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Ben Foden, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 David Wilson, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler

Substitutes: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Alex Goode

Argentina

15 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamon (captain), 7 Julio Farias Cabello, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 Maximiliano Bustos, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Marcos Ayerza

Substitutes: 16 Santiago Iglesias, 17 Nahuel Lobo, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Benjamín Macome, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Gonzalo Tiesi, 23 Santiago Cordero

Gold: Wales lack mental edge

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(Gallo Images)
(Gallo Images)

Former Springbok forwards coach Gary Gold believes Wales lack the mental edge to beat South Africa.

By: Sport24

The Springboks have dominated Wales over the years and boast a 24-1 winning record, with one match ending in a draw.

However, their last four meetings were close affairs, with the Boks sneaking home 17-16 at the World Cup in New Zealand two years ago and in three Tests in Cardiff before that the respective scorelines read: 29-25; 34-31 and 20-15.

Gold was part of the Springbok camp in those last four meetings and predicts a similar trend when the teams clash at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Wales have developed a habit of losing to South Africa even when they dominated proceedings. In their last clash at the World Cup, the Boks were outplayed at the collisions and breakdowns but still sneaked a one-point win.

In an interview with the SA Rugbymag website, Gold said Wales’ problem is a confidence issue.

He said while there’s not much to choose between the two teams, South Africa believe they can beat Wales, with the Welsh believing the Boks have the physical edge on them.

But Wales will take heart from the fact that they are the Six Nations champions and the bulk of their players made up the British and Irish Lions’ team that beat the Wallabies earlier this year.

However, Gold still predicts a Springboks victory. He said it’s “difficult to explain” but he has been involved in a lot of games against Wales where it seemed as though Wales would win, but somehow end up losing.