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Argentina Rugby

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From Left to Right: UAR President Carlos Araujo, Juan Martin Leguizamon & UAR Secretary Fernando Rizzi

From Left to Right: UAR President Carlos Araujo, Juan Martin Leguizamon & UAR Secretary Fernando Rizzi

Juan Manuel Leguizamon is set to return to his homeland to represent Argentina’s new Super Rugby franchise after a decade in Europe.

The veteran, who has represented London Irish, Stade Francais and Lyon, signed his contract on Tuesday in the presence of UAR President, Carlos Araujo and Secretary of the Union, Fernando Rizzi.

“This is another important day for Argentine rugby,” Araujo said.

“Juan Manuel has been a strength of the Pumas and 1 of the pillars of a process that has been underway for years and that will peak in 2016 with the inclusion of Argentina in the Super Rugby competition.

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Daniel Hourcade

Daniel Hourcade

There were no great surprises as Argentina head coach Daniel Hourcade named his 31-man Rugby World Cup squad on Sunday.

Star players Juan Imhoff, Juan Martin Hernandez, Juan Fernandez Lobbe and Marcelo Bosch all took their places in the final squad.

Hourcade ditched 7 players from the squad that participated in The Rugby Championship, ending their campaign last week with a 1st ever victory over South Africa.

Racing Metro lock Manuel Carizza and Saracens prop Juan Figallo were amongst those to miss out.

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ArgentinaSouth AfricaLos Pumas (9) 12 / 26 (20) Springboks (Final Score)

The Argentinian Pumas and South African Springboks did battle in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match at

Vélez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires at 21:40 SA Time (16:40 ARG Time, 19:40 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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ArgentinaThe Pumas have made 7 changes to the team that humiliated the Springboks last weekend for a Test rematch in Buenos Aires Saturday.

Apart from the personnel alterations, coach Daniel Hourcade has made 2 positional switches as the Pumas seek to build on a stunning 37 / 25 win over the Springboks in Durban.

It was the 1st triumph for Argentina over South Africa after 19 failed attempts since the countries 1st met in 1993 in Buenos Aires.

And it was the 1st Rugby Championship away victory for the South Americans after 10 losses in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa over 4 seasons.

Out of the Durban starting backline go right wing Horacio Agulla, centres Marcelo Bosch, injured Jerónimo De la Fuente and scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli.

They are replaced by Santiago Cordero, Matias Moroni, Nicolas Sanchez and Martin Landajo for the match at the 50 000 capacity Estadio Jose Amalfitani in a western suburb of the Argentine capital.

Veteran Hernández, who was outstanding at flyhalf last weekend, retreats to inside centre to accommodate Sanchez in the pivotal role.

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Zane Kirchner

Zane Kirchner

Victor Matfield will captain the Springboks against Los Pumas on Saturday, with Zane Kirchner, Lwazi Mvovo, Pat Lambie, Willem Alberts, Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss and Trevor Nyakane all getting their 1st starts of the season.

Jan Serfontein and Schalk Brits have also been included in the match-23 for the 1st time this season.

A total of 28 players will travel to South America on Wednesday to play the Pumas at the Vélez Sarsfield on Saturday evening (SA Time). The match-23 shows numerous changes from the side that lost to Argentina last weekend, many of them injury-enforced.

Kirchner takes over at fullback from the injured Willie le Roux, Jesse Kriel moves from wing to centre for Jean de Villiers, with Lwazi Mvovo getting his 3rd run of the season, in the No 14-jersey. Willem Alberts replaces the injured Marcell Coetzee in what will be his 1st Test in more than a year.

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Daniel Hourcade

Daniel Hourcade

Los Pumas have retained the squad that stunned the Springboks at the weekend, except for injured centre Jerónimo De la Fuente.

They have also added 6 players for the Test rematch in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

A rib injury rules De la Fuente out of a game which offers the Pumas a chance to prove that a historic 37 / 25 Rugby Championship triumph in Durban 3 days ago was not a fluke.

It was the 1st Pumas victory in 20 Tests against the Springboks from South Africa and their 1st away win in the Southern Hemisphere championship after 10 losses since debuting 3 seasons ago.

Argentina took 26 players to South Africa last week and coach Daniel Hourcade has expanded the squad to 31 for the rematch with the Springboks at the 50 000-capacity Estadio Jose Amalfitani.

The 6 additions are fullback Santiago Cordero, centre Matias Moroni, flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez and loose forwards Javier Ortega Desio, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Facundo Isa.

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Los Pumas celebrate the win against the Springboks

Los Pumas celebrate the win against the Springboks

A hat-trick from Juan Imhoff helped the Argentinian Pumas record their 1st ever win over the Springboks in a 37 / 25 Rugby Championship victory in Durban on Saturday.

It’s taken 20 attempts but the Pumas finally got a positive result against the Springboks after 2 close calls last year. Using their domination at scrum time as a platform, Argentina created the biggest upset in the history of The Rugby Championship on the day that they commemorated 50 years since their 1st tour of South Africa.

The result means the Springboks have now lost 4 consecutive Tests to different countries for the 1st time since 1965.

While the Pumas produced their best game of the year, tackling their hearts out, their disjointed hosts were a pale shadow of the side that troubled the All Blacks 2 weeks prior as they made countless unforced errors and offered very little on attack.

Los Pumas led 27 / 13 at halftime thanks to 3 excellent tries, including 2 for Juan Imhoff, who also helped set up the opening try for Marcelo Bosch.

The Springboks hit back via a try from lock Lood de Jager, but the visitors were well worth their lead against an error-prone Springbok outfit.

Imhoff bagged his hat-trick in controversial circumstances soon after the break and although the Springboks hit back via tries from Willie le Roux and Bryan Habana, they fell well short of saving the result.

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Agustín Creevy

Agustín Creevy

Argentinian Pumas skipper Agustin Creevy said the presence of former Pumas in Durban helped inspire a stunning and historic 37 / 25 Rugby Championship triumph over the Springboks on Saturday.

“The presence of these rugby heroes of our nation was a major factor in the success,” the 30-year-old hooker said.

Survivors of the 1965 Pumas – the 1st Argentine rugby team to play in South Africa – celebrated the 50th anniversary of the pioneering trip by watching the Test at the Growthpoint Kings Park stadium.

And when the final whistle blew and the Pumas triumphed for the 1st time against the Springboks after 19 failed attempts and also won away in The Rugby Championship for the 1st time, they moved toward the ‘golden oldies’ and clapped.

The gesture was returned as the group of smartly attired ex-national team players, wearing dark suits, blue ties and white shirts, stood to acknowledge a great day for Argentine rugby.

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South AfricaArgentinaSpringboks (13) 25 / 37 (27) Los Pumas (Final Score)

The South African Springboks and Argentinian Pumas did battle in Round 3 of The Rugby Championship at

Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban at 17:05 SA Time (12:05 ARG Time, 15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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The Rugby ChampionshipIt is the 3rd and final Round of the abbreviated Rugby Championship of 2015 (Only 1 Round of matches against each side in 2015 as opposed to a double Round of matches against all sides – home and away in non Rugby World Cup years).

The last 2 games are both on Saturday 8 August.

The Action of the Round is kicked off in Sydney, Australia where the Wallabies and All Blacks dual it out for tournament honours and The Rugby Championship of 2015 concludes with the match between the Springboks against Los Pumas in Durban.

On Saturday at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney at 12:05 SA Time (20:05 AEST, 22:05 NZ Time, 10:05 GMT) referee Wayne Barnes of England is in charge in the Wallabies vs All Blacks game.

On Saturday at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban at 17:05 SA Time (12:05 ARG Time, 10:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time) referee Romain Poite of France is in charge of the Springboks vs Los Pumas game.

The game between the Wallabies and All Blacks has all to play for and should be a thriller of note. It is hard to imagine the Wallabies pipping the All Blacks though. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has opted for a rather large number of changes to the All Blacks side, but the run-on side is a vastly experienced unit… with the return of Julian Savea, Sonny Bill Williams, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith all in the backline alone. The Wallabies see some old hands like Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau & James Horwill return to the run-on side and also sees the pair of openside flankers of David Pocock and Michael Hooper in the looseforwards to try and dominate the ground ball situations against the All Blacks.

Both the Springboks and Los Pumas have made a number of changes to their run-on sides.

For the Springboks we see a return of Captain Jean de Villiers at No 13, with Jesse Kriel moving 1 wide to the right wing berth. Vincent Koch comes in for injured Jannie du Plessis at tighthead prop and Marcell Coetzee takes over at blindside flank from the injured Francois Louw. On the bench we see the return of Pieter-Steph du Toit from injury, as well as the return of Marcel van der Merwe, Siya Kolisi and Lwazi Mvovo.

The game between the Springboks should logically only go 1 way and that is with a comfortable win against Los Pumas.

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Morné Steyn

Morné Steyn

Flyhalf Morné Steyn has been ruled out of the Springboks’ trip to Argentina next week, as his wife is due to give birth.

The Springboks will play the Pumas in a non-championship Test at the Estadio Jose Amalfitani in Buenos Aires on Saturday 15 August at 21:40 SA time.

The Test will also be the Springboks’ final run-out ahead of the Rugby World Cup starting on 18 September.

The fact that Steyn won’t be available means that he will not have played any Test rugby in 2015, giving coach Heyneke Meyer something of a headache.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has admitted that a combination of injuries and the 2 narrow defeats in the opening part of The Rugby Championship have changed his plans slightly, but he is still committed to making conditioning the priority after this week’s clash with Los Pumas at Growthpoint Kings Park.

Meyer said after announcing his team for the match that several 1st choice players will stay behind in Durban when the playing squad travels to Buenos Aires next week for what has the status of a return ‘friendly’ international against the Pumas. However, because he is coaching the South African national team and knows how important winning is to the nation, he’s not going to make changes to quite the extent that he intended to when he did his planning for the Rugby World Cup build-up.

“I’ve always said that I haven’t been happy with the fitness and conditioning and the last 2 matches when we lost in the last few minutes proved that we still have a lot of work to do in that regard,” said Meyer.

“My plan has always been to implement a very intense 3 week conditioning programme after The Rugby Championship is completed and that will mean that some of the top players will be staying behind in Durban next week rather than going to Argentina. If we are going to win the World Cup it is imperative that we get our conditioning right and the players can look forward to a really tough camp.

“The players who do travel to Argentina will slot into that fitness camp after they return. We are going to make an all-out effort to get the conditioning right. It is something that has improved gradually over the past few years, but we need the 3 week conditioning top up that is planned in order to get it totally right.”

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WhistleSANZAR has named the match officials for the 3rd and last Round of the abbreviated Rugby Championship of 2015.

England’s Wayne Barnes will officiate in the championship decider in Sydney and he will be assisted by Nigel Owens and Frederico Anselmi as Assistant referees. Shaun Veldsman will do TMO duty.

Frenchman Romain Poite will referee the Springboks vs Los Pumas game in Durban and will be assited by JP Doyle and Marius Mitrea, with Ben Skeen doing the TMO duties.

Poite is well remembered among Springbok fans for the controvertial sending off of Bismarck du Plessis in a Test against the All Blacks 2 years ago.

Poite harshly and erroneously Yellow-Carded Du Plessis for a tackle on All Black flyhalf Dan Carter before later dishing out another Yellow (which automatically meant a Red Card) to the hooker as the Springboks went on to lose 29 / 15 at Eden Park in Auckland.

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Ramiro Herrera

Ramiro Herrera

Argentina arrived in South Africa on Sunday without powerful tighthead prop Ramiro Herrera.

The 26-year-old front row forward has ruptured medial ligaments in his knee and has undergone surgery.

Team doctor Guillermo Botto said Herrera will require between about 4 to 6 weeks to recover, playing him in doubt for the Rugby World Cup – which gets underway on 18 September.

He has been replaced in the 26-man squad – for The Rugby Championship Test against South Africa’s Springboks in Durban on Saturday – by veteran prop Juan Pablo Orlandi, who last played for Los Pumas against England in November 2013.

The 32-year-old Orlandi played in 15 Tests for his country before being axed. He has now been thrown a World Cup lifeline.

Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade said they will continue to “evaluate” players ahead of next month’s World Cup – when they face the Springboks in Durban this week and Buenos Aires a week later.

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Michael Hooper

Michael Hooper

A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Jannie Lubbe SC (South Africa) and comprising Terry Willis (Australia) and Mike Heron QC (New Zealand) unanimously dismissed both appeals brought by SANZAR and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) on behalf of Michael Hooper.

The Committee dismissed the ARU appeal on behalf of Michael Hooper on the basis that the appellant was unable to show that the Judicial Officer erred in law in finding that Hooper’s striking of Nicolas Sanchez from Argentina was a breach of Law 10.4 (a).

The Committee also dismissed the appeal brought by SANZAR that the Judicial Officer’s sanction of 1 week was unduly lenient. The Committee found the Judicial Officer was correct in the exercise of his discretion that the offending was low-end.

As such, the player’s suspension from all forms of the game for 1 week was confirmed.

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The Rugby Championship This weekend saw Round 2 of The Rugby Championship.

In johannesburg, South Africa it was heart-break for the Springboks again, 2nd week in a row, this time losing in the dying minutes against a better conditiond and fitter All Blacks side, by 20 / 27, with All Blacks capatin Richie McCaw doing the damage to snatch the lead from the South Africans with only 6 minutes to go in the match.

In Mendoza, Argentinia, the Wallabies led 8 / 6 at halftime before tuning in all the screws and beating Los Pumas comfortably by 34 / 9, also earning their bonus point for tries in the process.

As a result of the Round 2 results, the All Blacks and Wallabies are joint leaders of The Rugby Championship Log, with 2 wins apiece, whereas the Springboks and Los Pumas are still winless in the Competition, with the Springboks on a paltry 2 Log points and Los Pumas still not out of the starting gates, on 0 Log Points.

In 2015 there is of course only 3 Rounds in total, in the abbreviated version of the prime Southern Hemisphere international competition due to this year being a Rugby World Cup year. In this shortened version of the competition, where in stead of the normal double Round of matches by every side against the other sides, there is only a single Round of matches by every side against each of the other nations.

Round 3 is only in a fortnight, where the focus will be on the Bledisloe clash between the Wallabies and All Blacks for this year’s overall title.

The Springboks dominated most of the 1st half but at the break the scores were still tied on 10 / 10 and later on 17 / 17 before South Africa took a slender 20 / 17 lead and held that lead untill 6 minutes from time, whereafter the All Blacks showed their class and superior fitness and better bench selections to add 10 further points and running out 7-point winners.

All is not lost for the Springboks and one feels that they showed some quality rugby 2 weeks in a row, but they will surely now realize that their overall conditioning, fitness as well as the impact their bench is supposed to have in the vital Rugby World Cup during September and October still need a massive amount of work if they are to stand a proper chance of winning the world showpiece in 2015.

The All Blacks once again appear to be massive favourites to not only win theis year’s Rugby Championship but to also go on to clinch the Rugby World Cup title in October.

Argentina seem to be dogged by the same “Illness” that the Springboks are suffering from, as they also seem incapable of ending games strong enough and also tend to kick tactically poorly, which invariably results in scores against them in the latter stages of games when defences are no longer as tight as in the beginning of matches.

The Wallabies are building up nicely towards the Rugby World Cup, having first narrowly dispatched the Springboks week before last and now comforably beating Los Pumas on the weekend. They managed to score 2 quick-fire tries towards the end of the clash in Argentina, first by Tevita Kuridrani and then barely 3 minutes later one by Adam Ashley-Cooper (to earn them the bonus point for tries) to hammer the nails in properly against the Pumas.

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ArgentinaAustraliaLos Pumas (6) 9 / 34 (8) Wallabies (Final Score)

The Argentinian Pumas and Australian Wallabies did battle in Round 2 of The Rugby

Championship at Estadio Malvinas, Mendoza at Sunday 00:40 SA Time (19:40 Arg Time, 22:40

GMT, Sunday 08:40 AEST, Sunday 10:40 NZ Time). This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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The Rugby ChampionshipIt is Round 2 of the abbreviated Rugby Championship of 2015 (Only 1 Round of matches against each side in 2015 as opposed to a double Round of matches against all sides – home and away in non Rugby World Cup years).

There are 2 games on Saturday 25 July.

The Action of the Round is kicked off in South Africa, where the Springboks take on the old foe, the All Blacks in Johannesburg and concludes with the late night match between the Argentinian Pumas against the Australian Wallabies in Mendoza.

On Saturday at Emirates Airline Park (Ellis Park) in Johannesburg at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, 12:05 Arg Time, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time, Sunday 01:05 AEST) referee Jérôme Garcès is in charge in the Springboks vs All Blacks game.

On Saturday at Estadio Malvinas in Mendoza, at Sunday 00:40 SA Time (19:40 Arg Time, 22:40 GMT, Sunday 08:40 AEST, Sunday 10:40 NZ Time) referee Jaco Peyper of South Africa is in charge of the Pumas vs Wallabies game.

The game between the Springboks and the All Blacks should be a humdinger of note and the result could go either way. Last time these 2 sides met, also at the same venue, the Springboks won by a measly 2 points. Both sides have made some bold selections, with 2 debutants on the All Blacks side and on the Springbok side we see the return of Heinrich Brüssow, who makes his 1st Springbok appearance since November 2011. One cannot help but feel that the All Blacks have ironed out most if not almost all the chinks in their armour, whereas the Springboks still seem to be a work in progress.

The Pumas and the Wallabies have each made 7 changes to their starting line-ups and the question begs whether Los Pumas could repeat their win over the Wallabies of last year in Mendoza. The Wallabies came back very strongly against the Springboks last week, so I quite fancy them for a win against the Pumas… in Argentina.

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The Castle Rugby ChampionshipIn a shortened version of The Rugby Championship, the 2 losers of Round 1 are practically in last chance saloon while victories for Round 1’s winners would set up a winner-takes-all Bledisloe Cup clash in Round 3.

It makes for a must-see weekend of action.

 

South AfricaNew ZealandSpringboks vs All Blacks:

It’s been 6 years since South Africa managed back-to-back wins over New Zealand and Saturday’s clash between the world’s top 2 teams represents an important chance to lay down a marker.

Last year’s last-minute victory for the Springboks in Johannesburg – only their 2nd win over the All Blacks since 2009 – ended a 3-year losing streak against their great rivals.

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Daniel Hourcade

Daniel Hourcade

The Argentinian Pumas head coach, Daniel Hourcade, has made several changes to his starting line-up that will face Australia’s Wallabies at Estadio Malvinas in Mendoza on Saturday.

There is a new-look back-3 as Santiago Cordero moves to fullback in place of Joaquin Tuculet while Gonzalo Camacho and Juan Imhoff start as wings.

Matías Moroni and Juan Pablo Socino are the centres, coming in for Marcelo Bosch and Jeronimo De la Fuente, while the other change to the backline sees the experienced Martín Landajo replace Tomás Cubelli at scrumhalf.

In the pack there is a start for Javier Ortega Desio on the flank and Tomás Lavanini in the 2nd-row, which are the Pumas’ only changes up front.

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WhistleSANZAR has released the names of the Match Officials for Round 2 of The Rugby Championship.

Jerome Garces starts the action this weekend in Johannesburg when South Africa’s Springboks host the All Blacks from New Zealand.

In the 2nd match of this Round, Argentina’s Los Pumas host the Wallabies from Australia in Mendoza and the referee is Jaco Peyper.

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Kieran Read on the rampage

Kieran Read on the rampage

 

New Zealand kicked off their Rugby Championship campaign with a comfortable 39 / 18 win over Argentina in Christchurch on Friday.

Impressive at scrum time, the All Blacks showed their power in defence and attack in the 1st half, running in 2 tries through Richie McCaw and Ma’a Nonu, allowing them to take an 18 / 6 halftime lead.

Despite 2 2nd-half tries from Agustin Creevy, it was the All Blacks who controlled things, running in 3 more scores through Charles Piutau, Kieran Read and debutant Codie Taylor.

The key to the game was the difference in defence, with New Zealand able to knock back runners all day long, while the Pumas were constantly on the back foot.

With quick ball, they created plenty of opportunities and were never really in danger, giving McCaw and Dan Carter a fitting farewell for their final international games in Christchurch.

Argentina had rested a number of experienced players, putting in faith in the likes of Guido Petti and Facundo Isa, who impressed last November, as well as promising winger Santiago Cordero.

In contrast New Zealand were playing the most experienced side in Test history, despite the absence of the likes of Conrad Smith, Julian Savea and Sam Whitelock. There was an All Black debut for Waisake Naholo, the Highlanders winger who topped the try-scoring charts in Super Rugby this season.

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Rugby-Talk.com LogoSuperBru

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi,

We have 2 NEW SuperBru Pools for all to join!

  • An abbreviated version of The Rugby Championship 2015 starts on 17 July 2015, so hurry up and do not delay to register for it!
  • The ABSA Currie Cup 2015 starts on 7 August 2015, register for it too, whilst the iron is hot!
  • The Rugby World Cup 2015 starts on 18 September 2015, however, there is no provision for Pools for it yet on SuperBru… hang in there, soon we’ll have a Pool for that one too!

As is usual, Rugby-Talk.com’s SuperBru Pools are open for ALL REGISTERED SUBSCRIBERS of Rugby-Talk.com, so if you are not yet registered here on Rugby-Talk.com, do so without delay! It is so easy to register and such fun to discuss rugby here.

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New ZealandArgentinaAll Blacks (18) 39 / 18 (6) Los Pumas (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and Argentinian Pumas did battle in The Rugby Championship at

AMI Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 04:35 ARG Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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The Rugby ChampionshipIt is Round 1 of the abbreviated Rugby Championship of 2015 (Only 1 Round of matches against each side in 2015 as opposed to a double Round of matches against all sides – home and away in non Rugby World Cup years).

There is 1 games on Friday 17 July and 1 game on Saturday 18 July.

The Action of the Round is kicked off in New Zealand, where the All Blacks take on Los Pumas of Argentinia in Christchurch and concludes with the match between the Australian Wallabies against the South African Springboks in Brisbane.

On Friday at AMI Stadium in Christchurch at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 04:35 ARG Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) referee Craig Joubert is in charge in the All Blacks vs Los Pumas game.

On Saturday at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, at 12:05 SA Time (20:05 AEST, 22:05 NZ Time, 07:05 ARG Time, 10:05 GMT) referee Nigel Owens of Wales is in charge of the Wallabies vs Springboks game.

The game between the All Blacks and Los Pumas should only produce 1 result and that is a comfortable win for the All Blacks. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has opted for a very experienced run-on side and replacement bench, whereas Argentinian coach Daniel Hourcade has included a number of inexperienced players in a very experimental Pumas side.

The game between the Wallabies and Springboks is extremely difficult to call but Rugby Championship and Tri-Nations history favours the Wallabies greatly at home in Australia against the Springboks. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has opted to haul back some big guns, 2 from overseas (Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell) and 2 recent Australian-based Wallabies who missed some of last year’s internationals (Will Genia & Quade Cooper) to bolster his match-day 23. Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has changed just 1 player from the run-on side which demolished the World XV side last weekend, namely Schalk Burger in place of Warren Whiteley at No 8 and has made 4 further changes on the bench.

One would have to flip a coin or be very bold to nominate a winner here, but I suppose the home side goes in with a slight advantage.

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New ZealandArgentinaThe Rugby Championship’s most successful team kicks off against the least successful when New Zealand’s All Blacks host the Argentinian Pumas on Friday.

In fact the teams’ records in the competition almost exactly mirror each other, with the All Blacks having won 16, drawn 1 and lost 1, while Argentina have won 1, drawn 1 and lost 16.

Even their points for and against are remarkably similar, New Zealand having racked up 543 points, 4 fewer than Argentina have conceded, and the Pumas scoring 273, 1 fewer than the All Blacks have let in.

Those numbers show that the All Blacks’ dominance in the competition has been very similar to Argentina’s struggles and it’s hard to see that changing in Christchurch on Friday.

Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade is using the game as an opportunity to test out some young players, while Steve Hansen is more focused on a few old heads proving their form.

That’s not to say the All Black side is completely devoid of new faces, Waisake Naholo will start for the 1st time, while Codie Taylor should also make his debut off the bench.

However it is the form of the likes of Israel Dagg, Tony Woodcock and Keven Mealamu, which will be of serious interest.

The latter pair should be inked in for the Rugby World Cup squad, despite disappointing seasons for the Blues, but for all Hansen’s protestations, Dagg is surely fighting for a place on the plane to England given the depth of options in the back 3.

In comparison, Hourcade has chosen to rest a number of 1st team regulars, giving Rugby Championship debuts to Facundo Isa, Guido Petti and Santiago Cordero.

The latter has been highly-rated for a while, but has not had many opportunities against top tier opposition. With Manuel Montero ruled out of the Rugby World Cup through injury, this could be Cordero’s chance to shine.

Having said that, Argentina have made it very clear they are solely focused on the World Cup, and it’s hard to imagine them picking up a 1st-ever win over New Zealand.

They did however secure their first Rugby Championship win in their final game of last year’s edition, but the Wallabies at home and the All Blacks away are very different challenges.

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ArgentinaArgentina head coach, Daniel Hourcade, has confirmed the Pumas team that will tackle New Zealand in Friday’s opener of The Rugby Championship in Christchurch.

The side features 12 changes from the last match against the French Barbarians with just the trio of Guido Pagadizabal Petti, Facundo Isa and Jerónimo De la Fuente retaining their places from the 21 / 9 victory.

Manuel Carizza has been re-called for his 1st match for Argentina since the June 2014 Test against Scotland while Santiago Cordero will line-up for his 1st Rugby Championship match, along with Isa and Petti.

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New ZealandThe All Blacks team to play the Argentinian Pumas in The Rugby Championship-opening match has been named, with exciting winger Waisake Naholo to make his Test debut.

Another new All Black, hooker Codie Taylor, is named on the reserves bench for the clash at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.

24-Year-old Naholo comes in for George Moala in 1 of 6 changes from the match-day 23 that played Samoa last week.

In the forwards, lock Brodie Retallick is back in the starting 15, replacing Samuel Whitelock, with Jeremy Thrush coming in as lock reserve; TJ Perenara is at scrumhalf, with Andy Ellis, who played his 250th 1st-class match last week, moving to the bench; while Ma’a Nonu has been named at centre in his 95th Test, and Ryan Crotty moving to the bench. Taylor replaces Hikawera Elliot as reserve hooker and the only other change in the reserves sees loose forward Liam Messam come in for Matt Todd.

It’s another hugely experienced All Blacks team for the Rugby Championship opener, with prop Tony Woodcock to make his 100th Test start in his outstanding career. The match-day 23 boasts 1068 caps worth of experience and an average age of 28 years.

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ArgentinaVeteran Argentina back rowers Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Juan Manuel Leguizamon were named in a 28-man squad for next week’s Rugby Championship clash with New Zealand.

2 Other survivors from the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, wing Horacio Agulla and prop Marcos Ayerza, were also selected on Thursday for their 17 July tournament opener in Christchurch.

The squad will fly from Sydney on Saturday, where a pre-tournament squad of 36 were training with this year’s World Cup in England also in mind, the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) said.

The squad is dominated by players, including captain Agustin Creevy, contracted to the UAR for the Argentine franchise that will compete in Super Rugby next year.

7, Including former captain Fernandez Lobbe of Toulon, are part of the dwindling contingent of European-based players included.

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Juan Figallo

Juan Figallo

Argentina and Saracens prop Juan Figallo has been ruled out of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England after undergoing surgery.

Figallo was with Argentina training for The Rugby Championship in Sydney last Thursday and he turned in a tackle and injured his knee.

The prop flew back to London after the injury and has already undergone surgery and will work his way back to fitness with Saracens.

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Thomas Lavanini

Thomas Lavanini

Thomas Lavanini has committed to the new Argentinean Super Rugby team until at least the end of 2018.

The 22-year-old lock started his professional career at Hindú in the Argentinean capital before moving to Racing Metro at the beginning of this season.

He is capped 18 times for the Pumas and is currently in Sydney as the squad prepares for the forthcoming Rugby Championship.

“I am very happy with agreeing to terms,” he said.

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Daniel Hourcade

Daniel Hourcade

Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade gave the 1st indication of what his Rugby World Cup line-up will look like, when he named his squad for The Rugby Championship.

He wasted no time in drafting in his overseas-based players who were not part of the just-completed 2-match series against the French Barbarians.

Horacio Agulla (Bath), Marcos Ayerza (Leicester Tigers), Marcelo Bosch (Saracens) and Gonzalo Camacho (Leicester Tigers) joined the squad.

The numbers will be reduced from the current 36 to 28 when they head to Sydney on Saturday 11 July, where they will prepare for their opening Rugby Championship encounter – with the New Zealand All Blacks in Christchurch on 17 July.

Hourcade said it has been a long process to select the squad.

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SpringboksThe Junior Springboks clinched their 2 match international rugby series 2 – 0 against Argentina Under 20 after beating Los Pumitas 39 / 28 in Rosario on Saturday, with prop Jan van der Merwe helping himself to a hat-trick of tries in the 1st half.

The 2 teams used the series as final warm-up exercise for the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Italy next month.

On Saturday at the beautiful Club Gimnasia Stadium in Rosario, the Junior Boks raced into a commanding 25 / 6 halftime lead thanks to a trio of tries by front ranker Jan van der Merwe. Argentina struggled to match the visitors’ powerful forward surges and could only reply with 2 penalties.

The South Africans scored 2 more tries in the 2nd half through Leolin Zas (wing) and Joseph Dweba (replacement hooker). However, they had to show great determination on defence against Los Pumitas, who stormed back with 3 tries in the 2nd stanza.

Captain and No 8, Hanro Liebenberg, led with example with ball in hand and also did sterling work on defence. The Junior Boks dominated the scrums, were supreme in the lineouts and mauled powerfully which resulted in 3 tries.

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SpringboksJunior Springbok coach Dawie Theron has shuffled his match-23 for the 2nd international rugby friendly against Argentina Under 20 (Los Pumitas) this coming Saturday in Rosario. The match will kick-off at 14:00 ARG Time (19:00 SA Time).

The young South Africans won the 1st meeting between the 2 sides 25 / 22 on Tuesday in Santa Fe. Both teams are using the 2-match series as their final warm-up for the World Rugby Under 20 Championship which will be hosted by Italy in June.

Theron elected to retain only a number of players from the starting 15 which managed to edge Los Pumitas, while he opted also for 2 positional changes.

Tighthead prop Thomas du Toit, Jason Jenkins (lock), Leolin Zas (left wing), Daniel du Plessis (inside centre) and JT Jackson (outside centre) will all start in their 2nd tour match. N0 8 Dan du Preez and right wing Grant Hermanus will however run out in different positions.

Du Preez moves to flank while Hermanus will wear the No 15 jersey. Fullback Warrick Gelant and prop Frans van Wyk were not considered for selection because of shoulder injuries.

Hanro Liebenberg of the Vodacom Blue Bulls returns to the starting line-up at the back of the scrum and will also take over the captaincy from Rikus Bothma (DHL Western Province) who led the side in Santa Fe. Liebenberg sat out the 1st tour match as precaution for his troubled hand.

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SpringboksThe Junior Springboks were made to fight hard to overcome a courageous Argentina Under 20 rugby team by 25 / 22 in the 1st of 2 matches between the sides late on Tuesday in Santa Fe, Argentina.

Los Pumitas led 15 / 10 at halftime after they dominated possession and territory while playing with a strong wind in their favour in the 1st half. They scored 2 tries and a penalty to take a deserved lead, while the Junior Springboks answered with a converted try and a penalty to stay within distance despite their many unforced errors.

The young South Africans used their dominance in the scrums and set pieces to much better effect in the 2nd half, adding a penalty and an excellent try to edge out the hosts in front of a passionate crowd.

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