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Western Province are set to sign Pumas tighthead prop Vincent Koch as they look to replace departing front rankers.
Koch, a member of the 2012 Tuks Varsity Cup-winning side, has enjoyed a stellar season with the Pumas in the Currie Cup, where he made a shift from his regular loosehead position.
With experienced campaigners Pat Cilliers (Montpellier) and Brok Harris (Newport) heading overseas following the conclusion of the domestic season, Western Province have acted swiftly to bolster their tighthead stocks.
It is also believed that Province have already added Blue Bulls tighthead Wilco Louw to their ranks for next season. The highly rated youngster featured in the Junior Boks side that made it to the final of the World Championships in New Zealand earlier this year.
Matt Hodgson to captain Aussies against Barbarians
Western Force back-row Matt Hodgson will captain the Wallabies in Saturday’s clash against the Barbarians at Twickenham. New Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has given Hodgson the responsibility of leading a team which boasts 495 Test caps in the starting line-up, and which also includes four players who will wear the green and gold jersey for the first time in 2014.
The clash against the Barbarians is an uncapped international although will see playmakers Quade Cooper and Will Genia, wing Henry Speight and back-row Sean McMahon receive their first opportunities for Australia this year.
Babarians name their team for Aussies
Barbarians head coach John Kirwan has named his side that will take on Australia at Twickenham on Saturday, with nine New Zealanders starting. Scotland international Alastair Kellock will skipper the side alongside Dominic Bird in the engine room while there is an all-New Zealand back-row of Adam Thomson, Matt Todd and Steven Luatua…read more here…
O’Connor waiting for Cheika’s call
Kurtley Beale has given Michael Cheika enough off-field drama to address in his short time with Australia, but James O’Connor is waiting. Playing in Toulon, O’Connor is set to return to Australia at the beginning of next year with the Reds in Super Rugby in order to make himself eligible for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. That agreement was devised under the reign of Ewen McKenzie, which unceremoniously came to an end with his resignation at the beginning of October.
Hoffman new Match Offials development manager for Queensland
Queensland based Super Rugby referee Rohan Hoffman will take on the new role of Match Officials Development Manager – Queensland, in a joint venture between Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and Queensland Rugby. Hoffman, a product of Marist College Ashgrove, represented Queensland at a schoolboy, under 19 and under 21 level.
He played Premier Rugby for Brothers and went on to earn 27 Test caps for Portugal playing at flyhalf, outside centre and fullback in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Following his playing career, the 42-year-old has refereed 16 Super Rugby games and five Test matches as well as a large number of Queensland Premier Rugby matches. Hoffman has also been appointed to referee this Saturday’s inaugural Buildcorp NRC Grand Final at Ballymore between McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City and the Perth Spirit.
Meyer to get experimental
With only eight Tests left before the start of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will be conducting his final experiments during the tour of the Northern Hemisphere starting next week. Meyer would even sacrifice his 100 percent winning record on an end-of-year tour rather than go into the World Cup with questions marks over certain positions….read more here….
Sonny to start for All Blacks
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named a starting XV combining youth and experience for Saturday’s clash with the USA in Chicago. The starting backline features the experienced duo of Israel Dagg at fullback and Cory Jane on the right wing, with Charles Piutau on the left wing.
Sonny Bill Williams returns to the All Blacks midfield for his first game since August 2012, starting in the 12 jersey alongside Ryan Crotty at outside centre. Aaron Cruden returns to the playmaker’s role in the 10 jersey, with TJ Perenara at scrum-half…..read more here…
Boyd thrilled with Nonu’s attitude
Set to field a star-studded backline in 2015, new Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has plenty to address before the season starts. The easy matter is Ma’a Nonu, who on returning to Wellington in Super Rugby for the first time since 2011 can be best described as pumped up. “I had another meeting with Ma’a in the last couple of days and he’s been awesome. He’s really looking forward to rolling his sleeves up and playing,” Boyd told The Dominion Post.
10 New Zeelanders in Baabaas
The Wallabies will need to shake off their heartbreaking Bledisloe Cup defeat when they face Barbarians starting side loaded with New Zealanders at Twickenham.
Barbarians coach, All Blacks great John Kirwan, on Wednesday named ten of his compatriots to face Australia on Saturday in Michael Cheika’s first match as Wallabies coach.
Kirwan’s starting XV includes five-eighth Colin Slade, who kicked a match-winning conversion in New Zealand’s 29-28 win over Australia in Sydney a fortnight ago, along with fellow unwanted All Blacks Steven Luatua, Dominic Bird and Matt Todd, who all missed selection for their nation’s tour of the US and UK.
Barbarians: Tim Nanai Williams (Chiefs), Frank Halai (Blues, New Zealand), Juan de Jongh (Stormers, South Africa), Francis Saili (Blues, New Zealand), Nick Cummins (Coca Cola West Red Sparks, Australia), Colin Slade (Crusaders, New Zealand), Tomas Cubelli (Belgrano Ath, Argentina); Steven Luatua (Blues, New Zealand), Matt Todd (Crusaders, New Zealand), Adam Thomson (Canon Eagles, New Zealand), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow, Scotland), Dominic Bird (Canterbury, New Zealand), Angus Taavao (Blues), James Parsons (Blues), Matt Stevens (Sharks, England). Res: Mahonri Schwalger (Chiefs, Samoa), Thomas Du Toit (Sharks), Lourens Adriaanse (Sharks), Heinrich Brussow (Cheetahs, South Africa), Matias Alemanno (La Tablada, Argentina), Sarel Pretorius (Cheetahs), Joaquin Tuculet (Grenoble, Argentina), Marnitz Boshoff (Golden Lions, South Africa).
Maori All Blacks team to play Japan
The Maori All Blacks team to take on Japan in Kobe in the first match of its 2014 tour has been named and features 10 new caps. Coach Colin Cooper said he was 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.
“Many players have come off a pretty intense few weekends of rugby so we’ve been mindful to not over-burden them.”…..read more here….
Namibia defeat Germany
Namibia defeated Germany by 58 – 20 in the Windhoek Draught Namibia v Germany International at Trustco United on Wednesday evening.
Hannes Brits reported Namibia beat Germany 58-20 in a test match played yesterday evening at Trustco United Sport Club. The half time score was 36-06 for Namibia. Not a fluent performance by Namibia as some of the over sea based players only joined the team on Tuesday and one arrived on Wednesday morning. Jacques Burger and Chrysander Botha playing in England and David Philander playing in New Zealand will join the team when they depart for their European tour.
Thanks for the info Hannes!! ……..read more here…..
Waldouck set to make up for lost time
Northampton centre Dom Waldouck admits there is much to catch up on after he missed most of the Saints’ successful 2013/14 season. “I haven’t missed a training session all season.”
After falling at the final LV= Cup hurdle – to Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park – Northampton bounced back in impressive style, clinching an Aviva Premiership Rugby and European Challenge Cup double.
France Test on Herrera’s mind
Castres and Argentina prop Ramiro Herrera is full of excitement ahead of the upcoming November Tests in Europe. A breakout figure in the 2014 Rugby Championship where his impressive scrummaging caught the eye for los Pumas, Daniel Hourcade’s team will be looking to build on their famous win over Australia.
Nothing in Argentina’s philosophy however has radically changed following their success over the Wallabies, as Herrera points out.