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Internationals

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SA SchoolsThe South African Rugby Union (SARU) announced on Thursday an SA Schools squad of 28 players for the forthcoming Under-18 International series against France, Wales and England, from 10 to 24 August.

The squad was selected following a successful trial match held on Saturday at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park, after the conclusion of the Coca-Cola Youth Weeks.

Nine players from the Blue Bulls were selected in the squad, Eastern Province have four representatives while three players each from KwaZulu-Natal and South Western Districts were selected.

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has asked teams not to pick their contracted Springboks for the entirety of this year’s Absa Currie Cup tournament.

In the past, Springbok players returned during the latter stages of the competition, but this year will be different.

The Cell C Sharks were the first team to confirm the matter, with CEO John Smit saying the defending champions have to make the best of the tricky situation.

“It was decided upon that all contracted Boks will play no part in the Currie Cup, which puts us at a bit of a disadvantage,” Smit told Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.

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All Blacks coach finds positives in likely season-ending shoulder injury of prop Tony Woodcock.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen appears resigned to losing test veteran Tony Woodcock for the rest of 2014 – though he believes there is a significant upside to the loosehead prop’s likely season-ending injury.

Hansen wrapped up the second day of a mini-camp with his non-Crusaders All Blacks in Auckland today, and said the prognosis was looking increasingly dim for Woodcock who was battling a serious shoulder problem.

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Jacques Kallis

Jacques Kallis has acknowledged on Wednesday that his dream of playing in next year’s Cricket World Cup was “a bridge too far”.

Kallis, 38, scored just five runs in three innings in a recent one-day international series in Sri Lanka

“I just knew on that tour that I was done,” Kallis said in a statement.

“The squad that was in Sri Lanka is an amazing one and I believe they have a good chance of bringing the trophy home in March.”

It always seemed a long shot for Kallis to remain competitive through to the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next February and March.

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SIGNIFICANT ROLE: All Black Tony Woodcock, charging forward against England in June, may need surgery for a shoulder injury.

Tony Woodcock could be forgiven for feeling undervalued.

Only in his absence is his importance to the All Blacks genuinely appreciated.

Even in the modern game, loose-head props are as influential as prominent openside flankers or quality first five-eighths.

Recent changes to the scrum laws place immense forces on the No.1′s shoulders. Anyone in this role with poor technique or lack of strength is now, more than ever, brutally exposed.

Over the past 12 years, during 110 tests, Woodcock has been that cornerstone; the rock of the All Blacks’ scrum.

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ANOTHER BIG DREAM: Conrad Smith thinks many All Blacks would love the chance to compete at an Olympic Games.

New Zealand rugby bosses continue to debate who and how many top tier fifteens players should be made available for a tilt at Olympic sevens glory, but All Blacks centre Conrad Smith has indicated most players are crystal clear on the issue.

“There’s obviously certain forwards that don’t give it much thought, but for the last year or so certainly some of the backs and some of the guys that have been involved before talk about how they’d love to be involved and why not?” he said yesterday.”

“It’s a pretty unique opportunity to get an Olympic gold. That would be something most guys would jump at.”

It has become clear the New Zealand Rugby Union and the All Blacks management want to help the sevens team secure a gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, but are still debating exactly how to do so.

All Blacks backs coach Ian Foster said it would be a matter of striking a balance between helping the sevens Olympic campaign and not adversely effecting the national fifteens team.

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Henry Speight

Henry Speight

AustraliaWinger Henry Speight will be sidelined for a month by a hamstring injury and has been replaced in the Wallabies squad for the Rugby Championship by Peter Betham.

Fijian-born Speight was included in the squad last week despite not becoming eligible to play for Australia on residency grounds until 11 September, halfway through the tournament.

The tackle-busting winger sustained the injury in the second half of the Brumbies’ Super Rugby semifinal defeat to the Waratahs last Saturday.

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BlitzbokkeThe Springbok Sevens team will soon start the next phase in their pursuit of Olympic silverware after they stunned the New Zealand team in the final at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games at the weekend.

The South African team made history by beating the All Blacks for the first time since Rugby Sevens were introduced as one of the sporting codes in 1998.

“It is an important tournament win for us as a Springbok Sevens team. This will mean a lot for us going into the next season and going into the Olympics in 2016,” Blitzbokke coach Neil Powell said at the team’s arrival in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

“It is always great to beat the All Blacks in a final and it was a tough one, the guys really worked hard to win that one. Credit to my boys.”

“It is an honour and a privilege to represent your country and to win in the Commonwealth games is special and means a lot to us.”

The South African team captured the imagination as they played with unbridled vigour throughout the campaign.

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Conrad Smith

Conrad Smith

Injured All Blacks centre Conrad Smith will make his return to the field after recovering from a broken thumb in a rare outing for his provincial side Wellington on Friday.

The 32-year-old injured the thumb during last month’s Test series against England and missed the third match, with rookie Malakai Fekitoa making his first start at centre in the 36-13 victory.

Smith was named in Steve Hansen’s All Blacks squad for the Rugby Championship on Monday, indicating he would be available for the first clash against Australia in Sydney on 16 August.

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Sonny Bill Williams

STAR POWER: Players like Sonny Bill Williams could potentially turn out for the New Zealand Sevens team at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Opinions in New Zealand rugby are divided on the details of how many top tier fifteens players should be made available for a tilt at Olympic sevens and how those players should be transitioned into rugby’s abbreviated game.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew confirmed today a number of top tier Super Rugby players and All Blacks would prioritise sevens in 2016 in the lead up to the Rio de Janeiro Games.

However, he said there was plenty of debate around exactly how that process would be handled and hinted the failure to win gold in Glasgow would be factored into discussions.

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Womens Rugby World Cup 2014

The 12 team captains launch Womens Rugby World Cup 2014 in Paris

C’est parti!

The 12 teams participating in Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 have arrived in France and are all set for kick-off in Paris this Friday, August 1.

Under the opulence of the City Hall in Paris, and with an earlier photo call in the shadow of the iconic Eiffel Tower, #WRWC2014 was officially launched in the French capital on Tuesday.

New Zealand are in France to defend their title, which they claimed after a thrilling final against England in 2010.

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Serge Blanco

Serge Blanco: Hands on

FFR vice-president Serge Blanco has announced that he is set to play a more active role within the French national team with the aim of “supporting” head coach Philippe Saint-André.

Les Bleus and their staff have come in for harsh criticism from all quarters after their dismal tour of Australia in June which saw them lose all three Tests, two of them by more than 25 points (50-23, 6-0 and 39-13).

Saint-André has the worst win percentage of any French coach in the modern era and calls for his head have been growing from the media and fans.

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Olympics 2016New ZealandAustraliaSeveral ex-New Zealand and Australia internationals have confirmed that they will lodge an application to switch allegiances to a Pacific Island nation with whom they hold a passport, with a view to participating at the Rugby World Cup in England next year.

With the inclusion of rugby 7s at the Olympics in 2016, there has been a change in eligibility laws that will see players who have represented one nation now eligible to play for another, if they hold a passport from that country.

If they have not played international rugby in the past 18 months, they will be eligible for their new country in the Sevens World Series or designated Regional Olympic Qualification Tournaments and would thus be able to play for that country in all forms of rugby.

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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.

South Africa were in to bat the whole of Day 5, but there was no attempt to chase a win, it was block, block, block to save the Test! After 102.5 Overs bowled it was 148 / 8, which was then still 221 runs short of the win, with 2 wickets in hand. Rain delayed the Final Session of play on Day 5 for a while, but play resumed again.

South Africa managed to stand their ground, eecking out a DRAW, ending with 159 / 8 after 111 Overs. The result, or non-result, means South Africa moves up to TOP Test spot in the world Cricket Test rankings.

 

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 – 159 / 8 (111 Overs)

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German Football

What lessons can be learnt from the successful German Football campaign?

As the dust settles on Germany’s recent FIFA World Cup triumph is there anything that those side’s hoping to lift the Rugby World Cup crown in England next year could learn from Joachim Löw and his all-conquering team?

Are there lessons that could prove pivotal for those sides aiming to win the Women’s Rugby World Cup in France next month?

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Eric Anderson

Former All Black Eric Anderson in 2006

Former All Black front-rower Eric Anderson has died.

Prop Anderson, who was 83, played 10 matches for the All Blacks on the tour of Australia and South Africa, scoring two tries against Western Australia.

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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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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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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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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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Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith has re-signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union through to 2016

Nine All Blacks have re-signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union, six of which re-committing through to 2016.

All Blacks and Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith, who has played 29 tests since making his debut in 2012, has re-signed with to 2016.

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Charles Piutau

Charles Piutau is set to be recalled to the All Blacks for the Rugby Championship

Dan Carter and Charles Piutau will be named in the All Blacks’Rugby Championship squad on Monday, but their return to fitness has provided the selectors with some tough decisions.

Who to leave out of the 31-player squad in order to include them? The most vulnerable might be two Crusaders who will be playing alongside Carter in the Super Rugby semifinal against the Sharks in Christchurch today – Colin Slade and Ryan Crotty. Both have been consistent performers this year.

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Glasgow 2014Some four years of hard work, of highs and of lows, have led to this weekend. Today (Friday 25 July) marks the eve of the rugby sevens tournament at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

During the past 1,460 days, a full-time sevens programme has been implemented, beginning at the outset of season 2011-12, the abbreviated national team’s most successful head coach, Stephen Gemmell, was reinstated in January 2013 and the Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens Festival was transported along the M8 to Scotstoun Stadium, where the Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s has taken place for the past three years.

It was in the host city, only two months ago that Scotland 7s matched their best ever finish in a HSBC Sevens World Series event, finishing in fourth place

Now, it is the belief of many that Gemmell has picked the best ever 12-man squad to pull-on Scotland’s short game jersey and that this is a squad who can make sevens history.

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South AfricaThe Sharks’ advancement to the Super Rugby semi-finals has meant the Springbok squad announcement for the upcoming Rugby Championship will be slightly delayed.

The SA Rugby Union on Wednesday announced that there are lingering injury concerns over certain players which will see the 30-man Springbok squad only be announced on Saturday 2  August.

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Juan Smith

Juan Smith

Juan Smith has moved closer to a possible recall for the Springboks after his French club Toulon released him along side Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha for the Rugby Championship.

This comes as SARU announced that a 30-man Springbok squad for the forthcoming Rugby Championship will only be announced on Saturday 2 August.

This is due to the Sharks still being involved in Super Rugby and lingering injury concerns over certain players.

In April 2012, Smith announced that he would be taking an indefinite break from rugby due to the ongoing battle with his Achilles injury.

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