A first win over Wales in 11 years has seen Scotland climb to their highest ever position of fifth in the World Rugby Rankings.
Vern Cotter has achieved what none of his predecessors as head coach could do by steering Scotland to an all-time high of fifth place in the World Rugby Rankings.
Following their first win over Wales since 2006 Scotland have moved above Saturday’s vanquished opponents and South Africa in the rankings, which were first introduced in October 2003, after gaining 1.28 rating points.
The South African rugby community was in mourning on Monday following the passing of Joost van der Westhuizen, one of South Africa’s greatest-ever Springbok legends.
Van der Westhuizen passed away after a long and courageous struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neuron disease (MND), for the past 6 years. He was 45 and leaves behind 2 children, Jordan (13) and Kylie (10), as well as his father Gustav, mother Mariana, and brothers Pieter and Gustav.
“Joost will be remembered as 1 of the greatest Springboks – not only of his generation, but of all time,” said Mr Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby.
Reigning 1872 Cup holders Edinburgh Rugby host Glasgow Warriors at Murrayfield in their Guinness PRO12 league match which doubles up as the first leg of this season’s 1872 Cup.
Glasgow Warriors are currently in 6th place on the PRO12 log with 27 points, 10 points off leaders Munster after 10 rounds, while Edinburgh who parted ways with Alan Solomons earlier this season are down in lowly 10th place with a mere 17 points. Both teams are doing fairly well in Europe although Glasgow are playing in the top European Rugby Champions Cup while Edinburgh are playing in the Challenge Cup.
There will be a mouth watering battle of the back rows, especially at number 8 where players who both used to ply their trade in South Africa Josh Strauss and Cornell du Preez have been selected for Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively.
World Rugby comments on the latest developments in the George North head injury incident.
World Rugby notes the outcomes from the independent Concussion Management Review Group investigating the handling of George North’s head injury incident during the Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints Aviva Premiership match on 3 December 2016.
World Rugby’s number one priority is player welfare and our primary concern is the welfare of George and all players. It is therefore disappointing that apparent non-compliance with the sport’s elite head injury protocols led to George remaining on the field of play when he should have been immediately and permanently removed.
World Rugby’s recognise and remove protocols state in no uncertain terms that any player displaying clear or suspected signs of loss of consciousness should be permanently and immediately removed from the field of play. In this case, the Head Injury Assessment should not have been undertaken.
Northampton Saints will face no sanction following the investigation into their treatment of Wales wing George North’s latest head injury.
However, the concussion review panel concluded that the 24-year-old should not have returned to the field of play after he fell in a mid-air tackle against Leicester on 3 December.
The panel’s 17-page report stated that head injury assessment (HIA) protocol was followed correctly, but the Saints medical team have accepted that North may have lost consciousness.
“The CMRG considered the welfare of North was always at the centre of Northampton’s actions, and does not consider that the medical team (or the club) failed to complete the HIA protocol nor intentionally ignored the player’s best interests.”
Josh Strauss will make his 100th appearance for Glasgow Warriors in Friday night’s European Rugby Champions Cup match against Racing 92 at Scotstoun.
The Warriors won 23-14 against the French side in Paris last Saturday.
All 7,351 tickets have been sold for the Pool 1 encounter.
Stuart Hogg continues at full-back and Tommy Seymour and Lee Jones complete the back-three.
Alex Dunbar, who scored one of the tries last weekend, links up with Sam Johnson in midfield.
Last week’s Man of the Match Finn Russell is at fly-half and Ali Price, who scored Glasgow’s second try in Paris, starts at scrum-half.
England captain Dylan Hartley will be available for their opening fixture of the Six Nations against France after receiving a six-week ban for striking.
The 30-year-old caught flanker Sean O’Brien with a swinging arm during Northampton Saints’ Champions Cup loss to Leinster on Friday and received the third red card of his career.
He has now been suspended for a total of 60 weeks.
Hartley, who pleaded guilty to the charge at an independent disciplinary hearing in London on Wednesday, is able to play again from 23 January.
Players making contact with an opponent’s head in “reckless tackles” will receive a yellow card at least in changes to rules over high tackles.
Players will be punished even if the tackle starts below the shoulders.
If head contact is accidental – for example, if a ball-carrier slips into a tackle – a penalty will be awarded.
A reckless tackle occurs when a player “knew or should have known that there was a risk of making contact with the head of an opponent, but did so anyway”.
In September 2015, World Rugby’s chief medical officer Martin Raftery said that the game’s rules may have to change to reduce concussions.
As Rory Best declared in his on-field post-match interview at a rowdy Soldier Field in Chicago, it’s been a long time coming. Just the 111 years, that’s all. But at last, that black stain in Irish rugby has been removed, with a first ever victory over the All Blacks in 29 attempts.
Fully deserved it was too. Soldier Field crackled with atmosphere, vast swathes of the 63,300 bedecked in green watched Ireland dominate vast swathes of the first-half and kept counter-punching in a riotous rollercoaster of a second half, ultimately outscoring the back-to-back world champions and runaway winners of the Rugby Championship by five tries to four, and thus end their world record 18-match sequence of test wins.
The 1971 and 1974 Lions were the greatest touring teams that have departed these shores, but the monopoly they appear to have on key positions in the Four Home Unions is now coming under scrutiny. The appointment of John Spencer, the 1971 Lions and England centre, as manager of the 2017 Lions is a case in point.
Spencer’s installation was not greeted with unanimous approval, and the same was true when Tom Grace, the 1974 Lions and Ireland wing, was appointed as Lions chairman.
The 1971 and 1974 Lions have rightfully had a major influence on the future of the touring side, and that has been recognised with luminaries from those sides being awarded the majority of the management, coaching and administrative roles in the intervening 40 plus years.
However, exactly how appointments are made in Lions rugby has always been shrouded in fog.
Four Home Unions appointments have always had a whiff of the clandestine about them, with vested national interests and horse-trading to the fore. As a result, in the professional era they have been a mixed bag.
Australia’s women beat New Zealand 24-17 to win the first ever Olympic rugby sevens gold medal, after Great Britain lost to Canada in the bronze match.
Favourites Australia outscored the Black Ferns four tries to three, with two of those coming while New Zealand’s Portia Woodman was in the sin bin.
Meanwhile, Britain’s women missed out on Olympic medal as they lost 33-10.
Canada – who lost to GB in the pool game between the two – led throughout in the bronze medal match.
A new eight-year deal worth more than £225m has been agreed between the Rugby Football Union and Premiership clubs – with England getting more flexibility and greater player access in return.
Clubs will earn more for releasing players for international duty, as well as meeting the English-qualified players target and academy standards.
England will get two more training camps a season and larger elite squad.
“This is a true partnership,” said RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie.
“[It is] focused on making English rugby the best in the world for club and country.”
The agreement is worth more than double the previous one, which was signed in 2007, and will give England greater flexibility in selection, with the Elite Player Squad (EPS) expanded from 33 to 45 players, while during core periods 36 players can be selected for camps rather than 33.
South Africa Rugby has welcomed Ilhaam Groenewald as their first female Executive Council member.
Groenewald, along with the returning Monde Tabata as independent member of the Exutive Council, were elected last week and will attend their first meeting of the newly constituted Exco in Cape Town.
Groenewald succeeds Mputumi Damani as one of two independent members of the 12-person Executive Council. Damani was warmly thanked for his contribution since being elected in 2011.
“My passion is sport management and development so when I was asked if I was happy to have my name put forward, I had no hesitation,” said Groenewald.
“You cannot work in sports administration in the Western Cape and not know about rugby so I have very good insight into the work that SA Rugby does. I have also received very positive support from Stellenbosch University management,” she added.
The relationship between Rory Lamont and rugby has always been uneasy. When it was good, it was really good: 29 Scotland caps, two World Cups, and stints in Europe’s top leagues with Toulon, Sale and Glasgow.
When it was bad, it was really bad: whispering campaigns about his attitude, 16 operations, “double figure” concussions. By the time the game ran out of uses for him, the feeling was entirely mutual.
Three years ago this week, Lamont announced his retirement. The last of his many injuries, a lower leg fracture from the previous year, hadn’t properly healed and the end came as a relief.
“I was thinking, ‘finally it’s over’. I felt like an animal being put out of its misery. I’d had a miserable year, people questioning my integrity, and I couldn’t wait to crack on with my life and all the amazing things I was going to do.”
Never did he picture becoming a recluse, battling severe depression and suicidal thoughts. Nowhere in the retirement brochure did it say he’d lose 25kg in four months and be unable to stomach solids for a further five. The bit about being so low he hoped he’d be run over by a bus? Not what he’d signed up for either.
I found the article below on a website called rugbybetting.com (See the Link to the original Article by clicking HERE). The article is actually not about betting. It put the racial policy of SA rugby within context of the World Rugby rule book. Interesting perspectives. I thought the rugby-talk readers might enjoy this.
The World Rugby (formerly known as the IRB) rule book on racial discrimination reads as follows:
In terms of By-Law 3 of the IRB rules and regulations, the IRB is compelled to prevent any form of racial discrimination in rugby. IRB Regulation 20 also stipulates that any action which may be construed as racial discrimination will be regarded as misconduct. In terms of By-Law 7, not only is a country’s international team bound to this; the provincial rugby unions resorting under a country’s board must adhere to these principles as well. In terms of By-Law 9.4(r) the IRB may institute disciplinary steps against any rugby body that violates these rules.
Co-Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Councillor Martin Kitts-Hayes and the Chair of the local branch of the Samaritans Peter Benton will plant a tree to remember those lost to suicide in the north east of Scotland.
The tree planting and dedication ceremony will take place in Kellands Park, Inverurie at 12:00pm on Saturday 12th December.
Officials and players from Garioch and Shetland Rugby Clubs are expected to attend the event ahead of their match.
Last year 60 people from the north east of Scotland died by suicide – leaving a lasting impact on families, friends and communities.
Cllr Kitts-Hayes said: “I am honoured to be asked to be a part of this ceremony. It is important, that we offer support to those who have been close to someone who has taken their own life and to raise awareness of suicide to encourage people to seek help.”
Legendary Fijian Sevens rugby player, Waisale Serevi, was moved to tears after winning the International Vets title in Dubai at the weekend.
Serevi played for the J9 Legends team who won the title after beating the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation side.
Former Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen is the founder of the J9 Legends and Serevi was honoured to represent the team.
Van der Westhuizen, who played 89 Tests for the Springboks, is stricken by the terminal motor neuron disease (MND).
His J9 Foundation supports research to try to find a cure for MND.
“We were together, everyone was working hard for each other. I have never been so proud in my life as I am winning this for Joost,” Serevi said.
“The side has been here for 3 years, and, having lost in the final twice, I am so happy. I have met Joost’s wish, to win this tournament for him.”
Carlisle United players have offered to help people in their community affected by flooding caused by Storm Desmond.
Tens of thousands of homes across northern England and parts of Scotland are without power after the floods and Cumbria is one of the worst-hit areas.
Carlisle’s players volunteered their services after winning 5 / 0 at Welling on Sunday in the FA Cup 2nd Round.
The club’s home ground, Brunton Park, close to both the rivers Petteril and Eden, has been engulfed by flood water.
All Black greats united to pay tribute to Jonah Lomu with a powerful haka, as thousands of fans packed a memorial service at New Zealand rugby’s spiritual home, Eden Park.
A grim-faced Buck Shelford led more than 20 former internationals in a “Ka Mate” haka while the legendary wing’s casket was carried into a hearse.
Former teammates including Tana Umaga, Justin Marshall and John Kirwan joined the emotional tribute on the same turf that Lomu once dominated as a player.
“Jonah, you were a freak on the field and a gentle, caring giant off it,” former All Blacks coach John Hart said.
Queen Elizabeth II offered her condolences over Jonah Lomu’s death as the rugby legend’s family revealed they were planning a send-off as big as the great man himself.
The family said they had been overwhelmed by a global “outpouring of love” after the charismatic winger died unexpectedly on Wednesday aged just 40, leaving a wife and 2 young sons.
Former All Blacks coach John Hart said feelings were so intense in Lomu’s native New Zealand that Auckland’s Eden Park stadium may be needed as a venue for a public memorial.
Flanked by the player’s relatives outside the family’s Auckland home, Hart said Prime Minister John Key’s office had relayed condolences from the Queen to Lomu’s widow Nadene.
“(She) has written to the prime minister specifically asking for a message to be sent to Nadene and the family to say how much she mourns the loss as well,” he told reporters outside Lomu’s Auckland home.
The South African Rugby Union extended its condolences to the family of legendary Springbok centre John Gainsford, who passed away on Wednesday morning following a long battle with cancer. He was 77.
Gainsford established himself as one of the greatest centres of his generation due to his powerful bursts and rock-solid defence.
He earned 33 Test caps and scored 8 tries during his Springbok career between 1960 and 1967, playing in 71 Springbok matches in total (including tour matches). He remained the most capped Springbok centre until as recently as 2001 when his record was finally overtaken by Japie Mulder.
Gainsford was a world-renowned player, who emerged from the Villagers Rugby Club in Cape Town. He made his Springbok debut on 30 April 1960 against Scotland at the young age of 21 and played his last Test at the age of 28.
New Zealand rugby union great Jonah Lomu has died aged 40.
Lomu, who scored 43 tries in 73 matches for New Zealand between 1994 and 2002, had been diagnosed with a rare and serious kidney condition.
It forced him to quit the game and he had a kidney transplant in 2004, but the organ stopped functioning in 2011.
“Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world,” said New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew.
“We’re lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah’s family.”
Family spokesman John Mayhew told New Zealand television that Lomu’s death was “totally unexpected” and that he had only arrived back from the UK on Tuesday, after spending time there for the Rugby World Cup.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said: “The thoughts of the entire country are with his family.”
For the 4 coaches of the Rugby World Cup semifinalists – Argentina’s Daniel Hourcade, Australia’s Michael Cheika, New Zealand’s Steve Hansen and South Africa’s Heyneke Meyer – the coming weekend promises to be a defining moment in their careers.
Win and they can look forward to leading their teams out for the Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham Stadium next Saturday, lose and they will be left to prepare for Friday night’s bronze medal match at the Olympic stadium, wondering what might have been.
Hansen summed up the contrast earlier in the week: “You either stand up and be counted or go home. Even worse, you have to play that other game.”
One thing the coaches share is that none had spectacular playing careers – Cheika’s Australia Under 21 caps represent the closest any of them came to international rugby – though all 4 have worked tirelessly as coaches to earn the positions they currently occupy.
England have dropped 2 places to 8th in the World Rugby rankings after their World Cup defeat to Australia at Twickenham.
Only once before, in 2009, have England been as low as 8 on the list. There were times in 2003 and 2004 when they were the No 1 team in the world.
If Scotland were to register 2 more victories at the Rugby World Cup, they could move up and push England even lower. Never, since the rankings began in 2003, have England been outside the top 8. Only 4 other teams – New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and France – have maintained a top-8 place since the rankings began.
8 Teams have moved up 1 place in the rankings, which are based on results and the level of opposition.
Under the points exchange system used to calculate rankings, sides take points off each other based on the match result – whatever 1 side gains, the other loses. Such points exchanges are doubled during Rugby World Cup to recognise the unique importance of this event.
4 Nations have dropped down: Wales by 1 place from 2 to 3, Ireland by 1 from 4 to 5, England by 2 from 6 to 8, and Samoa by 4 from 11 to 15.
The 8 risers, all by 1 place, are Australia to 2nd, South Africa to 4th, France to 6th, Argentina to 7th, Japan to 11th, Tonga to 12th, Italy to 13th and Georgia to 14th.
The late former South African state President Nelson Mandela had been, posthumously, inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
The special ceremony took place at St James’ Park in Newcastle on Saturday, before the Springboks’ 34 / 16 victory over Scotland in a World Cup Pool B match.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset presented the coveted Hall of Fame cap to the Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, Gert Oosthuizen and Francois Pienaar, captain of the South Africa team that won the Rugby World Cup of 1995 on home soil.
Lapasset said: “The World Rugby Hall of Fame recognises those who have made an indelible mark on our sport through feats on the field of play, displays of great character or through their tireless and inspirational work in driving forward our great game.
The teams have been announced for the “world’s oldest varsity match”, which returns home today.
The Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews will contest at men’s and women’s first XV level on the international pitch at BT Murrayfield, with a crowd of more than 10 000 expected.
Their 2nd and 3rd 15s will also meet on the stadium’s back pitches.
The match – which pre-dates the battle between light and dark blues down south and which has attracted sponsorship from the Royal Bank of Scotland – pits 2 of the founder members of the Scottish Rugby Union against each other.
St Andrews are the current holders of the men’s trophy having triumphed on the last 2 meetings, when the fixture was contested at Richmond Athletic Ground as a means of connecting with Alumni in the London area.
Rugby World Cup debuts galore as Scotland’s tournament finally gets underway. After the group opened with a Double B (that’s a Bucking Belter) in Brighton will we have a Grand Guignolin Gloucester?
Only 4 players remain from Scotland’s last Rugby World Cup match, a 16 / 12 defeat to England in Auckland in 2011, with Ross Ford the only player in the same position for both games.
Japan bring 6 players into their starting line-up as they try to back up their stunning victory over former champions, South Africa. The Japanese bench features a 6 forwards to 2 backs split, which suggests they expect Scotland to try and overpower them up front and reinforcements will be required.
Twenty-five greats of the game whose careers spanned 3 centuries have been inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in a ceremony at Wembley on Sunday at 18:00 SA Time (17:00 BST, 16:00 GMT)
Players from 7 different countries and a wide array of backgrounds were honoured at a special presentation in the Spirit of Rugby lounge at Wembley Stadium before the eagerly awaited Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool C match between New Zealand and Argentina.
From the pioneering 19th century Welsh tactician Gwyn Nichols to Rugby World Cup winners in Australian centre Tim Horan and South African scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen, the latest induction list reads like a ‘who’s who’ of rugby.
18 Captains of their countries are included. Irishman Fergus Slattery and Mervyn Davies are 2 of the names that ‘The voice of rugby’ Bill McLaren, the only non-international to feature in the latest Round of inductions, once reeled off in his unforgettable BBC commentaries.
Twice-capped coaching guru Carwyn James is 1 of 7 Welshmen to be inducted, while South Africa have 5 representatives. England, Ireland and Scotland have 3 apiece and 2 each from France and Australia make up the 25.
The winners of the Rugby World Cup on Saturday 31 October 2015 will receive, with glee, the Webb Ellis Cup.
That is the name the handsome cup carries – the Webb Ellis Cup.
It is a bit of a misnomer. It is named after a clergyman, the Reverend William Ellis, who died in 1872, but was credited with starting the rugby game in 1823.
The crediting happened 68 years after Ellis left Rugby School and 23 years after he died.
There is no record of his having played the game, certainly not of being its founder. His middle name was Webb, his mother’s maiden name, but his older brother was plain, Thomas Ellis.
The Cell C Sharks will play in a commemorative jersey when they tackle DHL Western Province in a Currie Cup clash at Growthpoint Kings Park on Saturday.
This year the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union celebrates its 125 year anniversary, and in celebration of this proud milestone, the Sharks have opted to alter their kit for the game against WP.
According to the Sharks, the design of the jersey will have a striking resemblance to the 1st ever Currie Cup jersey the old Natal played in.
Thomas du Toit will pack down at loosehead prop for the Sharks against WP after he recently declared that his preferred position is tighthead. Du Toit believes that his physique is better suited to anchoring the scrum, although he wasn’t out of place at loosehead prop. Du Toit has been playing tighthead since his school days, however his selection at loosehead this week means that he is still being used as a utility prop much like Springboks Coenie Oosthuizen and Trevor Nyakane.
The 79-year-old All Black great who was missing in London has been found and taken to hospital.
Terry Lineen, who was a midfield back in the 1950s, went missing at Heathrow Airport shortly after arriving from Auckland, missing his connection to Edinburgh.
He had been missing since 13:00 BST on Thursday (00:00 Friday NZ Time).
However, on Friday evening (NZ Time) his daughter-in-law Lynne said Lineen had been found by police in Twickenham and was in an ambulance on his way to hospital.
Her post on Facebook said Lineen was found at 07:00 BST (18:00 NZ Time) after a member of the public reported seeing a distressed man with a bleeding arm, who they thought had been hurt in a hit and run accident.
International rugby’s ruling body, World Rugby, are expected to sanction an experiment in Wales that will see 6 points being awarded for tries and 2 points for all kicks…
The sports governing body are constantly reviewing the rules in rugby and looking at ways to improve the game and this experiment is expected to promote scoring tries instead taking kicks for points.
The experiement is expected to go ahead in Wales’ 2nd-tier Premiership which is made up of semi-professional teams and includes some of the biggest clubs in the history of the Welsh game and includes Pontypridd, Llanelli, Cardiff and Newport.
Ex Springbok centre and fullback, Ian Robertson, a skilled and determined player from what was then Rhodesia, died on Monday 24 August 2015.
He was only 65 but had been ill for a long time in a battle against leukaemia, ironic for such a fit man who helped so many others to fitness.
He played in 5 Tests for South Africa – not many but then there were not many in the 70’s and it was that much harder for a Rhodesian to be selected.
He 1st became a Springbok in 1974 as part of the rebuilding of the team after the trashing by the 1974 British Lions. He was chosen as a centre and played his 1st Test against France in Toulouse and then his 2nd at Parc des Princes in Paris. The Springboks won both, the 1st one 13 / 4, the 2nd 10 / 8.
In each case his centre partner was Johan Oosthuizen. In 1976 the All Blacks came and Robertson played fullback against them in 2 Tests and centre in 1. The Springboks won the series 3 / 1. He also played for a World XV against Cardiff that year.
Robertson was Rhodesia’s Sportsman of the Year in 1976.
We desperately try to stay clear of political content here on Rugby-Talk.com, however this week, after the loss by the Springboks to Los Pumas in Durban, it appears that another mini-storm has been brewing regarding the inclusion or non-inclusion of non-white players (such an ugly term in a new and supposedly democratic South Africa) in the Springboks.
Firstly it was reported that 5 Black Springboks (yet another unfortunate term in the new South Africa) have apporached trade union Cosatu about being sidelined in Test matches for the Springboks.
Then of course Cosatu, as we have come to know their standard methodology, responded about the supposedly racist choices of SA Rugby, condemning it and shouting from the rooftops.
Then there was the logical retort from SARU… not that it cleared matters up at all.
The Minister of Sport & Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, also jumped on board this discussion and seemed to be “the voice of reason” in this rather unfortunate circumstance, saying that South Africans must be patient with the pace of transformation in rugby in South Africa. From my side a small thank you to the Minister – good on you!
These political shannanigans always build on the discourse in South African traditional politics and fuel the devide, in stead of bringing harmony to this nation with so many possibilities.
I guess what I am asking myself, through all of this, is which other logical first choice Black Springboks merited 1st choice selection above their not so black peers?
Do we want the best team out there or do we want transformation tokens in our Springbok side?
To me it’s simple… do the transformation thing, but for goodness sakes, allow the Springbok coach to select the best Springbok squad out there, based on merit and merit alone, whether that squad only consists of White Springboks or only of Black Springboks or of a smattering of one and the other… the rest is immaterial to me!
Retired All Black Andrew Hore is facing a firearms charge, for the 2nd time.
The 36-year-old Hore will appear in the Alexandra District Court on Tuesday – where he will be charged with supplying a firearm to a non-licensed holder following an accident on the 1st weekend of duck shooting season.
A police spokesman said the charge was laid following an incident on 2 May at Patearoa when a 23-year-old was shot in the elbow.
A number of people had been driving in an all-terrain vehicle when as the ATV went over a rise, the victim fell off, along with 2 firearms.
“As the firearms hit the ground, 1 discharged and shot the man in the elbow.”