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Springboks

The South African Springboks squad, to take on the world’s best in England, at the 2015 Rugby World Cup was officially announced at 18:00 SA Time (16:00 GMT), live on SuperSport 1 on TV in South Africa.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is on a hiding to nothing, no matter which squad he would have selected, whether it be from lobbiests saying that there are not enough players of colour in the side OR whether he is accused of player bias or choosing old favourists… OR not choosing players on merit.

I urge everybody to accept his selection prerogatives, even though you or me would have done it differently, and to get behind this Springbok side for the Rugby World Cup, where they will be representing their country to the best of their abilities.

The “Ghost Squad” has already been discussed ad-nauseam, the announced squad is exactly the same and feature the inclusion of fringe players like Zane Kirchner, Rudy Paige, Siya Kolisi and Morné Steyn.

Injured or previously injured players like Fourie du Preez, Jean de Villiers, Duane Vermeulen, Coenie Oosthuizen, Jannie du Plessis is also be included in the squad.

A number of players are hugely unlucky not to be selected, they include Heinrich Brüssow, Steven Kitshoff, Marcel van der Merwe, Vincent Koch, Marcell Coetzee, Jan Serfontein, Frans Steyn, Cornal Hendricks, Cobus Reinach and Francois Hougaard.

Here is the Springbok Rugby World Cup squad for 2015, which is now official:

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WP Nel

WP Nel

WP Nel is due to start a test match for Scotland for the 1st time when they face Italy at BT Murrayfield on Saturday. The burly tighthead prop from Loeriesfontein qualifies to play for Scotland on residency grounds, having played for Edinburgh for the last 3 years. Nel who earned his 1st Scotland cap against Italy in Turin last weekend when he came on as a substitute in the 47th minunte is 1 of 14 changes that has been made to the starting team.

Sean Lamont is the only player who retains his place in the starting line-up from last week with several players in the match day squad making their 1st appearance in this series of warm-up matches.

Head coach Vern Cotter announced his team today and the starting line-up appears to be close to what could be considered his 1st choice 15. The halfbacks and fullback look to be Cotter’s favoured choices while there may still be 1 or 2 changes on the wings and 1 at centre. Up front we are likely to be seeing the 1st choice tight 5 in action while there will possibly still be a change or 2 to the loose forward trio.

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Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess was included in England’s final 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup announced on Thursday just 10 months after changing codes from rugby league.

Burgess, the man-of-the-match in South Sydney Rabbitohs’ win in the Australian National Rugby League Grand Final, was included after playing just 70 minutes of Test rugby union – his debut in a 19 / 14 win over France at Twickenham a fortnight ago seeing him sin-binned for 10 minutes.

The 26-year-old edged out the more experienced Luther Burrell for a place among England coach Stuart Lancaster’s centres even though Burgess spent much of last season playing as a back-row forward for Bath.

Henry Slade, who also impressed on his debut against France at Twickenham, was also included in midfield alongside Burgess – although Jonathan Joseph and Brad Barritt appear to be England’s 1st-choice centres.

Ben Morgan, only recently returned from a broken leg, was included among the back-row forwards with Harlequins veteran Nick Easter missing out while Sale flyhalf Danny Cipriani, as was widely forecast, also failed to make it to the final squad.

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Israel Folau

Israel Folau

Israel Folau becomes the 1st Australian player to win consecutive John Eales Medals.

The Wallabies and Waratahs fullback Israel Folau has claimed the 2015 John Eales Medal, winning the award for a 2nd consecutive year.

In just his 3rd year in Rugby Union’s top flight, Folau’s meteoric rise has continued as he becomes just the 3rd player in the 14-year history of the John Eales Medal to collect the major award for a 2nd time, joining George Smith (2002, 2008) and Nathan Sharpe (2007, 2012).

At a packed gala dinner at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) celebrated and acknowledged the players, coaches, fans, match officials and administrators for their dedication, committment and outstanding performance.

Folau picked up 138 votes in total to edge out resurgent flanker David Pocock (113), Wallabies Vice-Captains Michael Hooper (108), Adam Ashley-Cooper (98), and Ben McCalman (95) to become the 1st ever back-to-back winner.

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Image of the New National Stadium in Tokyo, which will now not be built.

Image of the New National Stadium in Tokyo, which will now not be built.

World Rugby has demanded from Japan to supply a list of confirmed venues for the 2019 Rugby World Cup after Tokyo’s decision to scrap the proposed stadium that would host the final.

The decision to remove the future New National Stadium from the line-up was to amid huge cost overruns.

World Rugby said it was giving the tournament’s Japanese hosts until the end of September to come up with a “revised detailed host venue proposal that delivers exceptional team and fan experience, maximising opportunities for fans to be a part of rugby’s showcase event”.

The governing body has also requested a fresh tournament budget that supplies “appropriate financial security”.

The demands come after Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shocked World Rugby last month when he scrapped plans for the New National Stadium for the 2020 Olympics.

The stadium was scheduled to host Rugby World Cup matches in 2019, including the showpiece final.

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BarbariansBakkies Botha will captain the Barbarians in the 1st rugby match staged at the Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The 2007 Rugby World Cup winner leads the invitation side against Samoa on Saturday as rugby arrives at the iconic London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic venue. His team contains international stars from Australia, South Africa and New Zealand as well as a Samoa representative in Paul Williams.

Botha made 85 appearances for the Springboks and is the most experienced player in a group with a total of 455 Test caps between them.

The starting line-up also includes Benn Alexander (72 caps), Pierre Spies (53), Carl Hayman (45), Wynand Olivier (38), Luke Burgess (37), and Saia Fainga’a (36).

Equally exciting are the trio of uncapped players who include Glasgow Warriors’ giant wing Taqele Naiyaravoro, the Japan-based New Zealander Dwayne Sweeney and athletic Melbourne Rebels lock Luke Jones.

Former All Blacks Jamie Joseph and Carlos Spencer are coaching the Barbarians, who celebrate their 125th anniversary this year.

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NamibiaSaracens loose forward Jacques Burger will captain Namibia in the upcoming Rugby World Cup in England after the squad was named on Thursday.

The veteran flank will lead a squad where 14 of the 31 players selected have previous Rugby World Cup experience.

Burger is amongst 4 members of the squad that will be appearing in their 3rd World Cup, with prop Johnnie Redelinghuys, loose forward Tinus du Plessis and scrumhalf Eugene Jantjies also part of the Namibian teams that participated in France 2007 and New Zealand 2011.

Redelinghuys is Namibia highest capped player of all time with 46 Test matches to his credit.

9 Players, Raoul Larson, Rohan Kitshoff, PJ van Lill, Theuns Kotzé, Darryl de La Harpe, Danie van Wyk, Conrad Marais, David Philander and Chrysander Botha also did duty in New Zealand in 2011.

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Ian Robertson

Ian Robertson

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.

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Craig Joubert

Craig Joubert

Referee Craig Joubert has made the cut with 3 fellow South Africans for the team of 12 match officials selected for the 2015 / 2016 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, World Rugby announced on Monday.

Joubert will link up with Ben Crouse, Rasta Rasivhenge and Marius van der Westhuizen and 8 new colleagues following the completion of Rugby World Cup 2015 and before the opening Round in Dubai. He will remain available for 15-a-side duty throughout the season.

Rasivhenge is also among the 10 officials who have been selected for the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, which will also kick off in the United Arab Emirates.

The desire from the world’s top 15s referees to be a part of the match officials’ team, heightens the already tough competition for places as excitement builds in anticipation of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith

New Zealand Rugby, the Highlanders and Manawatu Rugby have announced that Aaron Smith has re-committed through until at least the end of the 2019 season.

26-Year-old Smith, who has played 41 Tests for the All Blacks, 78 games (including 60 consecutive matches) for the Highlanders and more than 40 matches for the Manawatu Turbos, has become an integral part of the All Blacks and Highlanders success over the last few years. He was a standout player for the Highlanders this season, helping the team to their inaugural Super Rugby title and carried his form into the All Blacks season.

The Test scrumhalf said, “I’m really excited and thankful for the commitment shown from New Zealand Rugby, including the Highlanders and Manawatu Turbos.

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Valerio Bernabo

Valerio Bernabo

Italy veteran Marco Bortolami was sidelined, while Valerio Bernabo was a surprise inclusion in Italy’s 31-man squad for the World Cup.

Lock Bortolami, has amassed 112 caps for the Azzurri and captained them 40 times.

He was 1 of several players cut from an initial 40-man training squad by coach Jacques Brunel.

“It was very difficult to communicate the decision, especially when you’ve put in as much work as the lads have over the past 9 weeks,” said Brunel.

“So to tell several players they were not coming to the World Cup was particularly difficult.”

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Jacques Potgieter

Jacques Potgieter

Cell C Sharks-bound Springbok Jacques Potgieter headlines the list of additions to the Barbarians squad.

The invitation club will face Samoa on Saturday in a historic fixture – the 1st rugby match to be staged at London’s Olympic Stadium.

Saturday’s match will both act as a warm-up for Samoa ahead of their involvement in the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England and allow officials a ‘dry run’ for when the Olympic Stadium stages 5 matches during the showpiece tournament – including the 3rd place play-off.

Before the squad was finalised on Monday the BaaBaas had already confirmed that 4 World Cup winners will feature in the game – All Blacks Ali Williams and Adam Thomson, 2011 winners with New Zealand, as well as Springboks Bakkies Botha and Wynand Olivier, who won the Web Ellis Cup with South frica in 2007.

Potgieter, who spent the last 2 seasons with the 2014 Super Rugby champion Waratahs, played 3 Tests for the Springboks in 2012.

The 29-year-old loose forward will join the Cell C Sharks in Durban in 2016 – when Super Rugby expands to an 18-team competition.

Monday’s additions include several other high-profile and international players.

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EnglandWith England’s recent loss to France in Paris the Springboks have bumped up 1 place to 4th in the World Rugby rankings.

The Spriongboks slumped to a lowly 5th place in the World of their loss to Argentina in Durban during The Rugby Championship, however Rugby World Cup hosts England have now claimed that spot.

With 1 match to go before the start of the Rugby World Cup, England find themselves in danger of going into the tournament ranked lower than Pool A rivals Australia and Wales.

Stuart Lancaster’s men are now just 1.3 points ahead of 6th-placed Wales, who travel to Dublin to play Ireland on Saturday. England conclude their Rugby World Cup warm-up campaign against the Irish the following weekend.

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Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones has confirmed that he will be stepping down as Japan coach after the Rugby World Cup.

Jones also confirmed that he will not be taking up a permanent role with the new Japanese Super Rugby franchise, making the speculation of him joining the Stormers even more of a reality.

The former Australia coach said that his contract would not be renewed when it expires at the end of the year.

“The Union are going to announce this afternoon that I will not be continuing after 2015,” he was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

“That was always the case as my contract was until the end of the year, so all they are doing is stating the obvious.

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Canada2 Players with links to the Western Cape have been included in Canada’s squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

Former Glasgow Warriors winger DTH vd Merwe, who has now moved to Llanelli Scarlets in Wales, made the squad announced by coach Kieran Crowley. DTH vd Merwe was born in Worcester and represented Boland at Under 16 level before he emigrated to Canada with his parents. He has played for Canada on numerous occasions and will be 1 of their stalwarts with this being his 3rd World Cup.

Another player, who has spent time in the Western Cape and should be familiar to the Newlands faithful, Jebb Sinclair has also made the squad. Sinclair, who is a backrow player but can also play in the 2nd row, played for the Stormers and Western Province in 2012 and is another veteran of Canadian Rugby. He played in the 2011 World Cup as well.

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dannycipriani

Danny Cipriani scoring against France

Sale flyhalf Danny Cipriani will be left out of England’s 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup.

The 27-year-old impressed off the bench in the defeat by France last weekend, but has not done enough to be included in Stuart Lancaster’s final party.

Owen Farrell and George Ford are set to be named as the 2 flyhalves, with Mike Brown and Alex Goode as the fullbacks, leaving no place for Cipriani.

The squad will be confirmed on Thursday at 14:45 SA Time (13:45 BST, 12:45 GMT).

The tournament, held in England and Wales, gets under way on 18 September.

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Philippe Saint-Andre

Philippe Saint-Andre

Experienced flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc will miss the Rugby World Cup which gets underway in England next month.

He was surprisingly omitted from the France squad announced by coach Philippe Saint-Andre on Sunday.

The 28-year-old who played an influential role for France at the 2011 Rugby World Cup when they lost 7 / 8 to the New Zealand All Blacks in the Final – lost out to unpredictable veteran Frederic Michalak (who played in Saturday’s win over England) and Remi Tales.

Trinh-Duc, capped 50 times since being blooded by Marc Lievremont in 2008, found it difficult to impose himself under Saint-Andre and a serious injury last season ruled him out of contention for this season’s Six Nations.

He was given a chance to prove himself worthy of a spot in the 1st game against England a week ago – a 19 / 14 defeat at Twickenham – but evidently failed to convince Saint-Andre and his coaching staff.

“It is a choice which has been made – not only after 7 weeks, but also after 3 years of life with the squad,” said Saint-Andre, who also cited Trinh-Duc’s lack of accuracy at place-kicking.

For Michalak, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday during the tournament, it represents his 3rd Rugby World Cup – having 1st made an impression at international level during the 2003 edition in Australia.

Despite concerns over his fitness and form, Saint-Andre has kept faith with the 72-times capped playmaker.

In contrast to the flyhalf position Saint-Andre has selected 3 scrumhalves, in Morgan Parra (who was Lievremont’s favoured No 9 alongside Trinh-Duc for much of his reign), South African-born Rory Kockott and Michalak’s clubmate Sebastien Tillous-Borde.

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Nic White

Nic White

Wallabies assistant coach Stephen Larkham says that scrumhalf Nic White could still play a role at the Rugby World Cup.

White and his Brumbies teammate Christian Lealiifano were the surprise ommissions from coach Michael Cheika’s World Cup squad, but with just 2 specialist scrumhalves in the group Larkham said that White will be called on if either Will Genia or Nick Phipps get injured.

The tenacious scrumhalf played a vital role in the Wallabies’ recent victory over the All Blacks in Sydney which saw them claim The Rugby Championship title, and Brumbies coach Larkham admitted that White was understandably disappointed that he did not make the cut for the global showpiece in England next month.

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Geraint John

Geraint John

Welshman Geraint John on Monday quit as coach of Australia’s Sevens team to take up a new role for the Welsh Rugby Union.

The sudden announcement comes barely a year out from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

John, who had served as the Sevens director and head coach since June 2014, resigned to take up a new position with the WRU as the leader of the elite coach development.

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Allan Dell

Allan Dell

Head Coach Vern Cotter today confirmed that seven players have been released from the extended Scotland squad for the Rugby World Cup 2015.

The decision follows the national team’s opening two summer Test matches against Ireland and Italy, with this Saturday’s game against the Azzuri at BT Murrayfield the last chance for the players to stake a claim for the final 31-man squad, before it’s announced the following Tuesday (1 September).

Glasgow Warriors’ pair Mike Cusack (prop) and Rory Hughes (wing) have returned to Scotstoun having made their first outings for the national team this summer, and both starting against Italy in Saturday’s 16-12 win in Turin.

Edinburgh Rugby quintet Allan Dell (prop), Dougie Fife (wing), Damien Hoyland (wing), Ben Toolis (lock) and Hamish Watson (back-row) will rejoin the capital club, with Hoyland and Watson also adding to their international honours at the weekend.

Warriors’ hooker Kevin Bryce – who joined the squad last week as precautionary cover – has also returned to his club.

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BarbariansThe Barbarians have named 4 Rugby World Cup winners in an initial group of 8 players in their squad to face Samoa at the Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, next weekend.

The teams are taking part in the 1st rugby match played at the iconic London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic venue next Saturday (29 August).

South Africa’s Bakkies Botha and Wynand Olivier lifted the trophy in 2007, while New Zealand’s Ali Williams and Adam Thomson were victorious in 2011.

They will be joined by more famous forwards in the shape of South Africa No 8 Pierre Spies, New Zealand prop Carl Hayman, and Australia prop Benn Robinson and flank Liam Gill.

Between them, the 8 players have amassed 342 international caps with Botha retiring from professional rugby later this year having made 85 appearances for the Springboks.

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Fiji topThe elder statesman of Fiji, Seremaia Bai, was the notable omission Friday when Fiji coach John McKee named his 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup.

Fiji are in the so-called pool of death with England, Australia and Wales, and McKee said he had picked a squad which he was confident “will rise to the challenge”.

They go centre stage at the very start of the tournament, playing hosts England in the opening game.

Led by Montpellier flank Akapusi Qera the squad is dominated by overseas professionals with props Lee Roy Atalifo and Peni Ravai the only local amateurs to make the grade.

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ScotlandOn a humid Turin evening Scotland continued their 2015 Rugby World Cup build up with a hard-fought win against an experienced Italy side. Final Score: Italy 12 / 16 Scotland.

Tested in greasy conditions the Scots shut out Italy on the try–count, and capitalised on a rare open passage of play to score the decisive points.

Replacement scrumhalf Henry Pyrgos and centre Peter Horne helped open up a tight Italian defence in the final quarter of the match after Scotland had gone behind for the 1st time in the match 12 / 9.

After a sequence of repelled Scottish attacks an offload in the tackle from wing Sean Lamont to full-back Greig Tonks stretched the Italian defence.

Tonks passed outside to centre Matt Scott who made good yards, drawing the defence, before passing back inside for Pyrgos to finish with just five minutes of the match remaining.

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Michael Cheika - Wallabies coach

Michael Cheika – Wallabies coach

Veteran lock James Horwill and scrumhalf Nic White were the 2 big omissions Friday as southern hemisphere champions, Australia’s Wallabies named their 31-man squad to tackle a challenging group at next month’s Rugby World Cup.

Horwill captained the Wallabies at the last Rugby World Cup in New Zealand but was a high-profile casualty with Kane Douglas returning as 1 of 4 2nd-rowers in the line-up, alongside Dean Mumm, Rob Simmons and Will Skelton.

Coach Michael Cheika phoned Horwill on Thursday to break the news and have what he called “a very difficult conversation”.

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Quintin Geldenhuys

Quintin Geldenhuys

Italy coach Jacques Brunel named Quintin Geldenhuys as captain in a much changed side, with respect to the last Six Nations campaign.

Italy will host Scotland in a Rugby World Cup warm-up game in Turin on Saturday.

With habitual captain Sergio Parisse sidelined with flu-like symptoms, 2nd row forward Geldenhuys has been handed the captain’s armband with Fiji-born Samuel Vunisa stepping into Parisse’s No 8 position.

Brunel has caused a minor surprise in the centres.

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Vern Cotter

Vern Cotter

Coach Vern Cotter has rung the changes to the Scotland team to start against Italy on Saturday.

The Scots will head to Turin’s Stadio Olimpico for the 2nd of their 4 Rugby World Cup warm-up matches.

The match is the 1st of a double-header against the Italians, with the return leg at Murrayfield the following Saturday (29 August).

In all there are 11 new faces taking the field, with the 7 inbound forwards making up an almost entirely new pack, 4 new backs, and 3 starting debuts for John Hardie (back row), Rory Hughes (wing) and Stuart McInally (hooker).

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Frederic MichalakFrance coach Philippe Saint-Andre made 12 changes to his starting line-up for the 2nd of 2 World Cup warm-up games.

France host England at the Stade de France on Saturday.

The French lost 14 / 19 to Stuart Lancaster’s men at Twickenham last Saturday and Saint-Andre is keen to cast an eye over all of his players before cutting back his squad from 36 to 31 on Sunday.

Notably, he has linked up Frederic Michalak with Sebastien Tillous-Borde at halfback, giving both Toulon veterans a chance to state their claims for World Cup squad slots.

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Jonathan Sexton

Jonathan Sexton

Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw

The International Rugby Players Association announced the appointments of Jonathan Sexton and Richie McCaw their Presidents.

Sexton and McCaw are the inaugural Presidents for the North and South respectively.

As 2 of the most recognised and respected players from around the world, both are seen as ideally placed to oversee and represent the collective voice of their fellow players from around the globe.

Both players are passionate about making a difference on issues of international importance to the players and the game.

Sexton and McCaw will take an active part on various IRPA Player Advisory Groups and will use their expert opinion and stature to build on the collaborative relationship with World Rugby, the international Governing Body.

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Liam Messam

Liam Messam

Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams and Liam Messam are the only 2 All Blacks regulars named in New Zealand’s initial rugby sevens squad on Wednesday to begin preparations for next year’s Rio Olympics.

Williams had been widely expected to make himself available for the sevens team for Rio after his switch back from rugby league late last year.

Messam, a former sevens player before he made the All Blacks, had also said he was keen on trying to win Olympic gold in Rio with Gordon Tietjens’ sevens side.

“We know what Liam can do and he will certainly give us some new options up front,” Tietjens said in a statement.

“He’s a hugely experienced sevens player having won 2 Commonwealth Games gold medals and been part of sevens World Series winning New Zealand teams.

“Sonny Bill Williams is a great athlete and has shown he can adapt very easily to the demands of rugby.

“I see him adjusting very well to the fast pace of sevens. He’ll be a great attacking weapon with his speed, strength and uncanny ability to offload.”

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Chris Robshaw

Chris Robshaw

Regular England captain Chris Robshaw was restored to the side for the World Cup hosts’ 2nd warm-up match.

England play France in Paris on Saturday.

The Harlequins flank was 1 of 14 changes made by coach Stuart Lancaster to his starting side – with only try-scoring wing Jonny May retained from the 15 that ran out to defeat France 19 / 14 at Twickenham last weekend.

Robshaw will form a back row alongside veteran James Haskell and Billy Vunipola.

It is the same loose forward trio which started the final match of last season’s Six Nations against France, with 12 of that 15 – which won 55 / 35 at Twickenham 5 months ago, a result that still wasn’t good enough for England to clinch the title – lining up in Paris.

There was no place in the matchday 23 for either former Rugby League star Sam Burgess or fellow centre Henry Slade, who both impressed on their Test debuts against France last weekend.

Instead Lancaster has reverted back to his tried and trusted centre partnership of Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph, leaving open the question of who will provide midfield cover in a Rugby World Cup squad that must be named by 31 August.

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Liam Messam

Liam Messam

SANZAR has issued All Blacks’ team management with a breach notice following an incident that occurred during the Test between the All Blacks and the Wallabies played at Eden Park on Saturday 15 August 2015.

Under tournament rules, water carriers are not permitted within the playing enclosure while the match is in progress. Liam Messam, who was acting as a water carrier for the All Blacks, entered the field of play during the 29th minute which constituted a breach of technical zone protocol.

All Blacks’ team management accepted responsibility for this breach and has been issued a fine of A$ 2 000.00.

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Charlie Faumuina

Charlie Faumuina

All Black prop Charlie Faumuina’s Rugby World Cup hopes suffered another setback after he was knocked out cold in training on Tuesday.

Faumuina was released to play for his NPC side Auckland after he was given the all clear to resume training returning from neck surgery.

Faumuina damaged his neck in the later stages of the Super Rugby series and had surgery in June in a late bid to be fit for the Rugby World Cup.

There were several options – 1 which gave him a shot at the World Cup or another which would take him out of rugby for 6 months and park his tournament ambitions alongside the injured Aaron Cruden and Patrick Tuipulotu.

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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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TongaTonga President Epi Taione has named the Rugby World Cup squad which is filled with a mix of youth and experience.

Tonga line-up in Pool C alongside Georgia, Namibia, Argentina and current William Webb Ellis trophy holders New Zealand.

In a side which sees Pacific Nations Cup debutantes Telusa Veainu, Viliami Tahitu’a and Sosefo Ma’ake joining the campaign, there is also the addition of familiar names, including Gloucester duo David Halaifonua and Sione Kalamafoni, along with Samisoni Fisilau, Aleki Lutui, Paula Ngauomo, Will Helu, and Siale Piutau.

Tonga have named only 30 players in the squad with the 31st expected to be named at a later stage. The word on the street is that Rugby League star Andrew Fifita could cross-codes to fill that last spot.

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ScotlandThe Scotland medical team issued the following squad update after Saturday’s 28 / 22 loss to Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Loose-head prop Ryan Grant left the field of play around the 44th minute having sustained an ankle injury in the lead up to Scotland’s second of three tries.

An x-ray after the game showed no fracture, with the results of a detailed scan later this week expected to give greater insight into the extent of his injury.

Tight-head prop Jon Welsh left the match around the 47th minute for a HIA (head injury assessment), which confirmed his concussion. He is now symptom free and has begun the graduated return-to-play protocol.

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