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Commonwealth Games 2014South AfricaThe Commonwealth Games was underway and the first Rugby games of these games were on Saturday 26 July 2014.

All games were played at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow.

South Africa won the Gold Medal, New Zealand the Silver, Australia the Bronze!

Before the Final of these Games, New Zealand had not lost a single Commonwealth Games Sevens game… well, that record no longer stands.

The new Commonwealth Games Gold Medal Champions are South Africa’s Blitzbokke… for 4 more years!

It was a tough and physical Final, and New Zealand still deserve their plaudits for being the premier Sevens side in World Rugby.

Herewith the Fixtures & Results:

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Cricket BallSri-Lanka and South Africa battle each other in the 2nd 5-Day Cricket Test at Colombo in Sri-Lanka from 24 to 28 July 2014. Play starts early for SA viewers, as Sri-Lanka is a few hours ahead of South Africa in the time zones, so it is daly from about 06:00 SA Time every day.

South Africa won the 1st Test and lead the Test Series by 1 / 0 after also taking the ODI Series by 2 – 1, their first ever ODI Series win in Sri-Lanka.

The score cards will be updated at regular intervals here on Rugby-Talk.

Sri-Lanka won the toss and elected to bat.

Sri-Lanka started Day 1 well and at the Close of play on Day 1 were on 305 / 5 after 86 Overs.

It was a slow Day initially on Day 2, both from bat and ball, but the Day started heating up after about 30 Overs done for the Day. Sri-Lanka were all out for 421 in their 1st Innings. South Africa started terribly in their 1st Innings, losing 2 wickets with just 13 on the board. South Africa ended with 98 /  after 52 Overs at Stumps, Day 2.

On Day 3 the South African wickets kept falling at regular intervals, SA reaching 234 / 7 after 111 Overs at Tea of Day 3 and then South Africa were eventually all out for 282 from 134.5 Overs, trailing by 139 rins at the Innings break.

Sri-Lanka started their 2nd Innings and at Stumps on Day 3 were 11 / 0 after 5 Overs.

On Day 4 Sri Lanka kept the pressure on and eventually declared at 229 / 8 after 53.4 Overs, leaving South Africa to chase 369 runs for a win. At Stumps, Day 4 South Africa was on 38 / 1 after 17 Overs, still 331 shy of a win with 9 wickets still in tact.

 

Sri-Lanka:
  • First Innings – 421 (121.4 Overs)
  • Second Innings – 229 / 8 Declared (53.4 Overs)
South Africa:
  • First Innings – 282 (134.5 Overs)
  • Second Innings – 38 / 1 (17 Overs)

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Craig Joubert

Craig Joubert

South African Craig Joubert, the referee of the 2011 World Cup final between the All Blacks and France, has been appointed to control the final.

He will be assisted by Australians Steve Walsh and James Leckie.

The final will be contested between the Waratahs and the Crusaders in Sydney, Australia on Saturday the 2nd of August.

ZIPPY: Bernard Foley takes the ball up for the Waratahs during their Super Rugby semifinal win over the Brumbies.

ZIPPY: Bernard Foley takes the ball up for the Waratahs during their Super Rugby semifinal win over the Brumbies.

He accepted the adulation after scoring one of the most memorable tries of the Super Rugby season to secure the NSW Waratahs’ first home final, but Bernard Foley prefers to dwell on the defensive effort that set up a third title showdown with the Crusaders.

Foley’s completion of a sweeping counterattack in the 76th minute at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night was a belated reminder of the Waratahs’ offensive capabilities – though a bruising semifinal with the Brumbies also highlighted another champion-winning prerequisite: unyielding defence.

As the Waratahs headed for their first debrief today ahead of Saturday’s final at ANZ Stadium, the incumbent Wallabies first five-eighth was still marvelling at his side’s ability to withstand immense pressure and prevent the Brumbies scoring after halftime before they closed out a 26-8 victory.

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Nick Phipps

Nick Phipps of the Waratahs was outstanding on cover defence.

We’ve got the Super Rugby final we wanted as a tantalising entree to the Bledisloe Cup.

Through the whims of the skewed draw, the Crusaders and Waratahs bypassed each other in the regular season but will slug it out on Saturday for the title as the best side in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Tahs have lost 11 on the bounce against the Crusaders since 2004 yet this season there is more spine about them and more collective heat they can generate although that could be more of the hot air which is generated in the guise of objectivity across the Ditch.

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New ZealandStar flyhalf Dan Carter has been returned to the All Blacks squad for this season’s Rugby Championships against Australia, South Africa and Argentina at the expense of his Crusaders’ teammate Colin Slade.

Carter, the world’s leading points-scorer in tests with 1,440, missed New Zealand’s June test matches against England while on a seven-months “sabbatical” from rugby during which he toured the world, attending events such as this year’s Academy Awards ceremony.

The 32-year-old returned to the Crusaders squad for its most-recent matches in Super Rugby, including Saturday’s semifinal against the Sharks, but has been playing at inside center to allow Slade to continue at flyhalf.

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WaratahsInjured skipper Dave Dennis believes Waratahs’ unity will see them win Super Rugby title.

THE Waratahs must overcome one of the longest losing streaks in professional sport to win their first Super Rugby grand final, but injured skipper Dave Dennis believes his team’s unshakable unity will finally deliver a win and the premiership against the Crusaders on Saturday.

The Tahs have not been beaten the Crusaders in a decade, losing 11 straight games that include their previous two grand finals in 2005 and 2008.

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Nemani Nadolo

FLYING FIJIAN: Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo bursts through a Sharks tackle in Saturday’s semi-final win.

At last the Crusaders have a chance to erase the nightmare of losing the 2011 grand final.

Having ripped apart the Sharks 38-6 in Saturday night’s semifinal at AMI Stadium, the Crusaders now prepare to carry their rage to Sydney for this weekend’s grand final against the Waratahs – a side floating high on the back of eight consecutive wins.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder, as much as anyone, will have been praying for this chance.

The only other time the Crusaders have qualified for a grand final under his control was when they met the Reds in Brisbane in 2011; and that epic campaign, when games were played out of Christchurch because of the earthquakes, ended with a 18-13 defeat.

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Colin Slade

HARD LUCK: Despite keeping Dan Carter out of the Crusaders No 10 jumper, Colin Slade is likely to miss out on the All Blacks squad for the Rugby Championship.

Colin Slade may be keeping Dan Carter out of the No 10 jersey for the grand final-bound Crusaders but he is likely to be the backline casualty when the All Blacks’ Rugby Championship squad is named today.

Slade was called up for the England series to cover first five-eighth and fullback with Aucklander Charles Piutau out injured and Aaron Cruden still in the early stages of his comeback from a broken thumb.

But Slade did not play, with Cruden proving his fitness to start all three tests and Beauden Barrett used in reserve.

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Dan Carter

Dan Carter’s calm presence was crucial for the Crusaders as they set about dismantling the Sharks.

Dan Carter, refreshed after his break away from the game and energised by his performance against the Sharks and the opportunities of the week ahead, is promising more.

The All Blacks No10, excelling in his role at second-five for the Crusaders outside Colin Slade, expects an improvement from his team for the final against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday night, and, just as importantly for a winner-takes-all match, better accuracy from his goalkicking.

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Todd Blackadder

Todd Blackadder

CrusadersAfter watching his team demolish the Sharks and qualify for next Saturday’s final, Todd Blackadder was asked how he thought he would feel if he got to lift the Super Rugby trophy as a coach after doing it three times as Crusaders captain.

“I wouldn’t know, I can only imagine,” was Blackadder’s response.

For Blackadder, now is not the time to either tempt fate or get overly emotional. He said the latter was one of his team’s major problems in the lead-up to their last final, the 2011 loss to the Reds in Brisbane. The travel from Cape Town, where they had comprehensively beaten the Stormers in their semifinal, was a big factor, but so, too, were the heightened emotional levels of making a final after a season on the road because of the earthquakes.

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SARUThe South African Rugby Union has denied reports that it has instructed that at least half of the South African Schools team must be made up of players of colour.

“SARU has not issued any instruction to the selectors of the SA Schools team on the number of players to be selected from different race groups and no such meeting took place in Middelburg,” Jurie Roux, SARU CEO, said in response to a report in the Afrikaans weekly Rapport.

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Taine Randall

Taine Randall feels that the Waratahs might just go all the way in 2014.

The glory boys, those pretty boys out of Australian rugby, who have a long history of not living up to the hype, are finally delivering on their promise.

History shows the Waratahs always start well and are always full of talent but tend to welter towards the end. What we’re seeing this season is that may not be the case. They finished the strongest in terms of position on the table and form. They are top qualifier; guaranteed home advantage as long as they’re in the competition and it would be pretty tough to say it wasn’t fully deserved.

The first person you choose in the team is the coach. If you had to choose between the best player and the coach you choose the coach. The coach sets the attitude of the team and there’s no doubt Michael Cheika deserves the greatest credit for the turnaround in fortune of the Waratahs. He’s been a breath of fresh air.

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Sir Gordon Tietjens

Sir Gordon Tietjens is New Zealand’s legendary sevens coach with training techniques to scare the fittest players.

He’s one of the most decorated coaches at the Commonwealth Games, but where did it all begin for New Zealand’s long-time Sevens coach?

“From where he was, from a fancy-free, practical joking, happy go lucky player to where he is now. It’s bloody legendary.”

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Will Skelton

BIG UNIT: Young Waratahs lock Will Skelton is developing a strong ability to offload in the tackle.

Dimension-wise they appear far from clones as professional footballers, yet there is a passing resemblance between Will Skelton and Sonny Bill Williams.

The Auckland-born forwards currently play different codes – though Williams returns to rugby at the end of this NRL season – but they share one skill set: an uncanny ability to offload the ball when under defensive pressure.

Williams propensity to keep the ball alive has been a hallmark of his league and rugby career and now the giant Waratahs lock is also emerging as a dab hand at putting teammates into space.

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WaratahsAn enemy turned ally holds the key to the Waratahs’ hopes of securing their maiden Super Rugby championship with a hoodoo-busting victory over the colossal Crusaders.

The Waratahs will tap into the vast knowledge of assistant coach Daryl Gibson, a vital cog in five of the Crusaders record seven Super Rugby titles, in a bid to conquer the champion New Zealanders for the first time in a decade.

The Tahs have lost their past 11 encounters with the Crusaders, including the 2005 and 2008 title deciders, but have identified Gibson’s expert insight into the competition’s perennial superpowers as priceless.

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Gareth Anscombe

Gareth Anscombe

Outgoing Chiefs and Auckland utility back Gareth Anscombe said that he decided to switch his allegiance from New Zealand to Wales after realising he had little hope of making the All Blacks.

Anscombe, 23, who has signed to play for the Cardiff Blues, said he spoke with All Black coach Steve Hansen earlier this year and found he was well down the pecking order in his favoured position of flyhalf.

“There was a lot of factors, but I mean, there’s a lot of classy No 10′s that are floating around in New Zealand right now and they’re all pretty young as well,” he said.

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BAMPOWAt least half of the SA Schools rugby squad will feature players of colour in a move to implement quotas at schools level for the first time, according to reports on Sunday.

The SA Rugby Union (SARU) had instructed 14 of the 28 member team be drawn from black, coloured or Indian players.

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Ewen McKenzie

Ewen McKenzie

Forget the All Blacks’ attempt to break the world record for most wins in succession, Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie plans a record of his own.

McKenzie is eyeing Australia’s all-time record of 10 wins in a row this year, with his side currently sitting on seven successive victories.

Most focus leading up to the next month’s opening Bledisloe Cup test between the transtasman rivals will be on New Zealand’s pursuit of 18-straight victories, never achieved by a major test nation.

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Dan Carter & Richie McCaw & Keven Mealamu

BACK SEAT: Where the All Blacks sit on the team bus is one of the great traditions around the team that continues to survive. Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and Keven Mealamu wave to fans from the team bus.

New ZealandIt’s a place that has been central to the All Blacks’ domination of world rugby, a place where tactics have been spawned, standards set and discipline dished out.

It’s the back seat of the team bus, where seats are filled according to seniority, and positions are treasured.

It’s a ritual that has survived the test of time, though there have been tinkerings along the way, especially to accommodate the demands of the professional era.

Respected Hawke’s Bay rugby administrator Dr Tom Johnson, a former All Blacks trialist, has co-authored Legends In Black, interviewing some of the greats of the Kiwi game to try to unravel some of the secrets of the team’s culture and remarkable success.

They didn’t hold back when he confronted them regarding the seating arrangements on the team bus down the years.

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Jake White

Jake White cut a forlorn figure as he watched his troops getting slaughtered

Sorry, it doesn’t cut it for me to hear people state upon their crushing exit on Saturday from Super Rugby 2014: “Well done Sharks, at least you got to the Semis.”

If they are simply putting it in the context of their superior performance in relation to the other South African sides, my retort is “big deal”.

This was a year, after all, when the collective SA challenge was lamentably disappointing and our teams hogged the basement terrain on the overall table.

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Jacques Potgieter

SLIPPING THE DEFENCE: Lock Jacques Potgieter makes a break for the Waratahs during their 26-8 Super Rugby Semi-Final victory over the Brumbies

The Waratahs have earned a home final beating the Brumbies in the semi final. The Crusaders will travel to Sydney to contest for the Super Rugby title.

The NSW Waratahs’ history-making season is one step from completion with the Super Rugby title favourites hosting the final for the first time after eliminating the ACT Brumbies with a convincing 26-8 semifinal victory at Allianz Stadium tonight.

An eighth consecutive win in 2014 underscored the Waratahs prospects of claiming their first title, though the team that thwarted that ambition in the 2005 and 2008 finals stands in their way.

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