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.
Canada 17 Nambia 13 (Live steaming rugbycanada.ca/leagues/newsletter.cfm?clientID=3817&leagueID=0&page=83745 …) @ 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.
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 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
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
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.
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)
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.
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
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)
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.
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
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)
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.
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)
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.
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)