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Preview : 2015 Rugby World Cup final

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WC Final

 

The script could not have been set more perfectly. After the final whistle blew at Twickenham the rest of the rugby fans were left with a cliff hanger scenario. What will happen in the final. Two of the best teams in the world. Two of the best coaches in the world. The best referee in the world. Two sides with legends set to bow out. Most notable will be the end on an era not just in New Zealand-Australia but in the world. The most notable departure will be that of Richie McCaw. The most capped player of all time. Sadly this final is not about Richie. It is a game that has the echoes of perfection to it. Number 1 vs Number 2. Whoever comes out on top will be deserving of the accolade of World Champions. Both sides are sitting on a 10-1 record and with so much at stake expects an explosive evening.

It has been an amazing last five weeks and the All Blacks will look to finish of strong as they have gradually got better every week. Some would say the Wallabies had a tougher run but New Zealand had the small matter of taking on the Springboks, France, Tonga, Georgia, Namibia and Argentina. These sides may have undoubtedly lacked variety to worry the defending champions but had the physical abilities to bother them. New Zealand took a battering and have survived remarkably. What the difference is now, is the ability of their final opposition Australia who have done well to combine brute physicality with variety and variation. Australia who faced Fiji, Uruguay, England, Wales, Scotland and Argentina could say they have faced similar opposition to the All Blacks.

The Wallabies victory this year was against this All Black side and it was when ‘Pooper’ was introduced and theAll Blacks could not handle them at the breakdown . What most will ignore is the fact that New Zealand was at hand to miss countless kicks and Dan Carter almost sealed a miss-on the World Cup squad. The next game was a completely different affair as the All Blacks at home sent the Wallabies packing. Australia may take comfort in the rotation but all that comes out the window in a game, set for a neutral ground that will grab the attentions of millions.

The game will be decided by who will outwit and execute better. The Wallabies and All Blacks match-up will be an exciting affair non-the-less and will leave some in tears of joy or disappointment.

Key battle:

Dan Carter vs Bernard Foley– The two pivots will need to be at their A-game. They will need to be kicking perfectly and marshaling their back lines with prowess. Foley is the new kid on the block while Carter is the veteran that could end his career in what dreams are made off. The match up to watch and definitely plays a pivotal role on who will keep Bill after Saturday.

Poser : Something is set to change or better yet, remain the same. New Zealand have never won  the World Cup outside New Zealand. Australia have never lost a Rugby World Cup game in the United Kingdom. No team has ever defended a World Cup, while no side has had the opportunity to win a Tri-Nations or Rugby Championship in the same year as being crowned Champions. History to be made and one last go at breaking a record.

Prediction : What can be distasteful and easily disrespectful would be the way the Australian media has taken to this game. They have gone as far as to ridicule, insult and show no respect to new Zealand and more so to Richie McCaw. The “Richetty grub” statement will be the sole reason I hope the All Blacks send off their legends in style by not only being the most successful rugby side in the world but in history. On ability either side can win it, but New Zealand just seen to have the edge. Good thing about rugby is there is no guarantees. It could be a fairy tale for New Zealand or Australia could crash the party!

Can New Zealand be beaten?

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 05 October 2013 : Kieran Read of the All Blacks celebrates the victory with his try during the Castle Lager Rugby Championship test match between SOUTH AFRICA and NEW ZEALAND at ELLIS PARK  in Johannesburg, South Africa on 05 October 2013. The All Blacks won the trophy by beating the Boks 38-27. © Anton de Villiers / PHOTOSPORT
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 05 October 2013 : Kieran Read of the All Blacks celebrates the victory with his try during the Castle Lager Rugby Championship test match between SOUTH AFRICA and NEW ZEALAND at ELLIS PARK in Johannesburg, South Africa on 05 October 2013. The All Blacks won the trophy by beating the Boks 38-27.
© Anton de Villiers / PHOTOSPORT

The old enemies will be at it again and this time in the Rugby World Cup for the first time since 2003. In the last few years the All Black have got one over us and bar the penalty Pat Lambie struck to snatch a win. The Springboks have only tasted victory over New Zealand once in the last four years. Do we ride on the myth that as the All Blacks biggest rivals we can beat them and are the only side capable of giving them a headache? New Zealand have been in scintillating form and have managed to score countless tries in the last few games passing the fourty mark four times. Daniel carter has rediscovered his form, Ma’a Nonu has been on the rise and they managed to kick the poor french back to France.

What do the Boks need to do? I look at three of many areas the Springboks will need to be on their guard.

  1. Stop Julian Savea– The bus as he is known has failed to score against South Africa ever but the winger has just rediscovered his tormenting form and has been on a rampage. A natural try score who has 38 tries in 39 games (more than Lomu). He is the top try scorer in the World Cup and impressively, has done well both out wide, in the middle and when the All Black winger’s new tactic of doing pick and go’s. They have been able to use their wingers on the fringes which has seen opposition sucked in and you will see a loose forward or hooker having to deal with either one or scoring on the wing or a Savea using his power and explosiveness to not only just gain vital yards but score. It will be interesting to see if they will be out to use this tactic against the Springbok wingers that are among the biggest in the world. Will they test the Bok forwards as well? Springboks defense on the fringes has to be organized. On the attack the side has to be able to manipulate the space down the middle of the All Black ruck as the defending champions have a habit of stepping back from rucks.
  2. Dan Carter & Nehe Milner-Skudder brilliance– Dan was at his mercurial best this weekend and is clearly on an upward trajectory. The man was easily the general, kicking with aplomb and creating tries in such mesmerizing manner. Nehe Milner Skudder? Can you defend X-factor? It has been done before majority of the winger’s tries are pretty much a step out side and a dart inside(vs -Australia, France,Tonga & Namibia). It’s not as easy as that but the winger has a habitual action which was handled well by the Highlanders in the Super Rugby final. The Springboks will need to have their defensive game up to scratch and will need to have Duane Vermeulen and Bismarck du plessis in wrecking mode as they look to impose themselves physically. It will be important to note how Carter had two or three defenders around him, resulting in created space outside or back door pass in his last few games. South Africa’s 10-12-13 axis has a habit of being sucked in and will need to be shepherded well by a leader. A defensive leader must stand up this weekend.
  3. Kicking game – Probably the best kicking game in the land. NZ have been exceptional when it comes to kick and chase and the catch by Ben Smith last week brings back nightmares of Dan Biggar’s leap against Willie le Roux.The Bok’s high ball skills will need to be on their A-game but more importantly their overall kicking game has to improve or they will be punished. Handre Pollard’s 5/8 kicking was just enough and in any other knock out game would have been not good enough.New Zealand where at hand to score of a charge down through Brodie Retallick and unless Fourie du Preez (who was charged down recently) is protected or the rest of the kicking options practice perfection. They will be punished.

Variety will be the order of the day. South Africa can not afford a one-dimensional approach and will need to re-enact the performances of 2013 and 2015, but must also look to sustain this pressure. South Africa – New Zealand clashes have been decided by the superior fitness of the kiwis and their mental ability to dominate the second half and more importantly the last 20 minutes of a clash. In the two side’s last 20 clashes the All Blacks have outscored South Africa on 17 occasions in the last 20 minutes. The last time was 2009 when South Africa outscored NZ 6-3.

Will the men in green be able to produce a performance of the ages? In Jerome Garces, they have a bogey referee from France and the Springboks have tasted defeat a couple of times when they have officiated their games. The injury cloud over the likes of Lood, Bismarck du Plessis and Victor Matfield will have many worried particularly Lood de Jager. Meyer is believed to be contemplating throwing young Pieter-Steph du Toit in or Willem Alberts at lock should the locks fail to recover. Physical, accurate, smart and a controlled aggression approach can win this clash for South Africa.

Adding a bit of variation and surprising the All Blacks will assist in beating their biggest rivals. What they have shown over the last few weeks will not worry New Zealand. A brand new Springbok must play on Saturday and not the timid, average side that has shown character but scrapped through the World Cup.

Average score over the last 7 games has been 27-18 to the All Blacks. It promises to be a clash to remember or to forget.

Meyer could be in until 2019!

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Heyneke-Meyer-630

 

So reports suggest Meyer could be in the Springbok hot seat until Rugby World Cup 2019. The news has been prominent since last season and has surfaced once again this year at a time which is the toughest in Heyneke Meyer’s tenure.

This is not new, Springbok coaches always feel the heat before the World Cup and this is nothing new. The call if true could be the right one. South Africa are definitely not ready for a foreign coach and the uproar from the politicians could further complicate the life of that man.

A look around the local fraternity and you are likely to not find any candidates as well that are ripe enough. Meyer has only been bettered as a coach by only three other stalwarts as Springbok coach.

Meyer has selected 17 players of color in his tenure and managed to bring in several exciting young players over the years. He was pivotal in the transforming of the Blue Bulls a few years ago and a further four years could be a step in the right direction for the Springboks despite his recent results.

This is something that has benefited New Zealand in a continuation of a coaching set up. Meyer is one of the best coaches in the country, if not the best.

NZ squad to tour South Africa

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 05 October 2013 : Kieran Read of the All Blacks celebrates the victory with his try during the Castle Lager Rugby Championship test match between SOUTH AFRICA and NEW ZEALAND at ELLIS PARK  in Johannesburg, South Africa on 05 October 2013. The All Blacks won the trophy by beating the Boks 38-27. © Anton de Villiers / PHOTOSPORT
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 05 October 2013 : Kieran Read of the All Blacks celebrates the victory with his try during the Castle Lager Rugby Championship test match between SOUTH AFRICA and NEW ZEALAND at ELLIS PARK in Johannesburg, South Africa on 05 October 2013. The All Blacks won the trophy by beating the Boks 38-27.
© Anton de Villiers / PHOTOSPORT

Daniel Carter and Sonny Bill Williams among big players miss out on the squad to tour Africa, I mean South Africa. There will also be no Waisake Naholo as the start winger managed to break his leg on what was an impressive debut for the All Blacks. Hansen also sounded disappointed with the injury suffered by Naholo who he feels will make a great All Black. Nehe Milner Skudder was also omitted due to a rib injury that has not ecovered.

New Zealand’s 31-man squad:

Forwards: Dane Coles, Keven Mealamu, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Nepo Laulala, Tony Woodcock, James Broadhurst, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Samuel Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam, Kieran Read, Victor Vito
Backs: Andy Ellis, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Lima Sopoaga, Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Israel Dagg, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Ben Smith

3N will now be known as ‘The Rugby Championship’

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AUSTRALIA will defend their southern hemisphere title next year in an expanded competition called The Rugby Championship – and will meet new boys Argentina on the Gold Coast.

Here’s our 3N Rat Race winner!

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We have our winner for the Tri-Nations Rat Race competition!

Cooper cited, but not guilty

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A SANZAR Judicial Hearing held in Brisbane today has dismissed a charge of foul play against Australian flyhalf Quade Cooper.

O’Connor suspended

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The Australian Rugby Union has today suspended James O’Connor until Sunday 28 August after the Wallabies winger failed to appear at two official team functions on Thursday 18 August.

No Carter, McCaw in AB squad

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All Blacks Coach Graham Henry and his Assistant Coaches Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith have named their 25–man squad which will be travelling to South Africa for the Investec Tri Nations Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth on 20 August.

Rat Race log, Round 2

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In a short competition like this with some obvious results on the cards, there is a lot of congestion on the log but we have one guy that has pulled well clear.

Between a rock, and some other rock

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It’s hard to identify with what plan the Springboks embarked on their away leg of the Tri-Nations tournament.

Tri-Nations Rat Race now OPEN!

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RuggaWorld’s Tri-Nations 2011 Rat Race competition is now open!

Aussies calls on stars

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Inspirational halfbacks Quade Cooper and Will Genia have been restored to Australia’s line-up for Saturday’s Tri-Nations opener against South Africa as the Wallabies look to put their shock defeat to Samoa behind them.

Muller, Brussow included in tour squad

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World Cup winner Johann Muller and star flanker Heinrich Brüssow were included in the Springbok squad on the away leg of the Castle Tri-Nations Series on Friday.

DéJà-Vu for Muller

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The man who captained South Africa’s “B-team” alongside Bob Skinstad in 2007 has declared himself fit for the challenge of facing the Wallabies again under similar circumstances in Sydney.

Muller, Oosthuizen decision delayed

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Lock Johann Muller and prop Coenie Oosthuizen sat out the morning training once more on Tuesday, but should be cleared to leave with the Springbok team on the away leg of the Castle Tri-Nations on Friday, said Springbok coach Peter de Villiers following training.

Aussie 3N squad named

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The inclusion of three newcomers, and seven uncapped players overall, highlights the Qantas Wallabies squad of 40 that has been released today for this year’s Castrol Edge Rugby Test against Samoa, and for the 2011 Castrol Edge Tri Nations series.

All Blacks name 3N squad

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All Blacks Coach Graham Henry and his Assistant Coaches Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith have today announced the squad for the 2011 Investec Tri Nations and the All Blacks Test against Fiji For Canterbury, with the selection of new All Black Jarrad Hoeata and the return of several All Blacks the key features of the 30–strong squad.

Bok squad for 3N away leg

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Captain John Smit will lead a squad of 27 players drawn from the Springboks’ preliminary Rugby World Cup squad on the away leg of the Castle Tri-Nations Series, it was announced on Friday.

Massive injury list for Boks

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A total of 21 players have been ruled out of the away leg of the Tri-Nations due to injury.

Castle announced as new 3N sponsor

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The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Wednesday unveiled Castle Lager as the new title sponsor of the Tri-Nations series, as well as of home Springbok Tests and overseas tours.

Franchises gives Bok coach access to players

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In what can only be described as a sensible decision, the 5 franchise coaches have agreed to give Springbok coaching management and staff access to their elite players during the Super 15.

The 2011 Rugby fixture list

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Here are all the rugby fixtures for 2011 which involves SA Rugby teams.

SA Rugby must move North

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One of RuggaWorld’s favourite journalists, Peter Bills, believes SA Rugby will in future need to look North if it wants to sustain its rugby structures and future.

The new art of kicking

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Former Wallabies coach and assistant to the successful 2007 World Cup winning Springboks, Eddie Jones, gives some fascinating views on the new art of kicking.

Currie Cup sold for 30 pieces of silver

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If Currie Cup is your thing, then I have some bad news for you.  You are about to witness the long, and painful death of the world’s oldest and most fierce domestic rugby competition.

Big Vic one of the greatest of all time

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Springbok captain John Smit has made a passionate plea to fans and the people of Pretoria to jam-pack Loftus Versfeld for Saturday’s Tri-Nations encounter between the Boks and Australia to honour rugby great Victor Matfield.

Refereeing debacle heading for the courts?

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The refereeing debacle in the Tri-Nations has taken a new twist with a possible court case on the horizon and players and referees now openly questioning the application of the laws by certain referees.

IRB replaces SA ref with NZ ref

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The International Rugby Board has confirmed a change to the match official panel for Saturday’s Tri-Nations match between New Zealand and Australia.

Cooper appeal dismissed

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A SANZAR Appeals Committee has dismissed an appeal by Australian first five-eighth Quade Cooper against his two-week suspension imposed after the Australia v South Africa Tri Nations Test match in Brisbane on Saturday 24 July 2010.

Boks must stick to plans

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Allister Coetzee has called on Springbok supporters to back their team during this difficult time and he is confident the Boks can “fix the potholes” in the home leg of the Tri-Nations.
(RW Note: This is how you do it Jake…)

Wallabies 30, Springboks 13

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After a tough, disappointing and possibly demoralising two matches in New Zealand, South Africa move north to menacing Brisbane where even in the best of times they have not won for 39 years.

RW PREDICTION competition

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Well we seemed to have lost some predictors in week 2 but we have a plan for even you! Here is your leaderboard after two weeks and be sure to get your predictions in for this weekend’s test against the Ozzies.

Tired of being PC about ref’s

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UPDATE: HOSKINS TAKES ACTION.
The line between calling something as you see it and whining seems to be very fine, so call me a whiner if you like, but I am getting tired of being politically correct when criticising referees.

Jean gets two weeks

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Springbok wing Jean de Villiers has been suspended for two weeks after being cited for a dangerous tackle during the Investec Tri Nations Test match, New Zealand v South Africa at Westpac Stadium, in Wellington last night.

RW SCORE PREDICTION competition

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WIN A SPRINGBOK JERSEY!
Okay folks, that time again – get your scores in and try and knock Bunny off the top spot.

Soccer City test sold out in 48 hours

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The Golden Lions Rugby Union announced on Wednesday that all currently available tickets had been sold out for the Vodacom Tri-Nations Test between South Arica and New Zealand at National Stadium (formerly Soccer City) on August 21.

Jean wants his jersey back

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Springbok wing Jean de Villiers wants to play in his favourite inside centre position again, but for now he is just happy to get another opportunity to play for South Africa again.

We let ourselves down

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The lights were on but no-one was at home!

Remember the Titan

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The more I think about it, the more I believe that it is one of Springbok rugby’s greatest injustices that a man and player of this calibre had to wait so long to reach such an important milestone in his rugby career.

Bakkies is no thug

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Bakkies Botha is not a thug. He made a mistake, has been punished and will learn from it.

All Blacks 32, Springboks 12

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The soccer World Cup has grabbed attention and forced the start of the Tri-Nations into second place, not the usual fanfare, certainly not vuvuzela-fare.

RuggaWorld’s Tri-Nations score prediction competition

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Last year we ran something similar and we thought it would be fun to do it again.

Boks have tremendous depth

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Springbok coach, Peter de Villiers, says South Africa currently has tremendous depth in every position and it was a difficult task to select the side to face the All Blacks for the Tri-Nations encounter at Eden Park on Saturday.

Oficial: Boks play Kiwis at FNB Stadium

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The Springboks will play New Zealand at National Stadium (formerly known as Soccer City) on August 21, following a ground-breaking decision between the South African Rugby Union and the Golden Lions Rugby Union.

Vuvu’s banned for 3N opener

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New Zealand stadium authorities have moved swiftly to ensure the vuvuzelas providing an ear-splitting backdrop to the soccer World Cup in South Africa are unlikely to be heard at next year’s rugby equivalent.

Why Rugby beats Soccer any day

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Perhaps its just me, but I can’t wait for the Fifa World Cup to end so we can get back to some bone-crunching action on the rugby field.

Wallabies going soft?

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Are the Wallabies being properly conditioned for the Tri Nations Tests?
Article by Bruce Ross

‘We are ready’ – Spies

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South Africa’s convincing 55-11 win over Italy at the Buffalo City Stadium on Saturday was the perfect preparation for their Tri-Nations onslaught.

All Blacks haunted by ghost of Steyn

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It’s time for the All Blacks to start having nightmares about Morné Steyn again after he succeeded with all seven his kicks at goal in Saturday’s 55-11 win over Italy by the Springboks.