Glasgow Warriors and Scottish Rugby have been handed a further boost today after announcing one of Scotland’s established young players has signed a new long-term contract.
Jonny Gray has committed to Glasgow Warriors for a further 3 years, meaning he’ll be staying at Scotstoun until at least May 2018.
Last week the club announced that Finn Russell had signed a new 3 year contract, which along with Jonny’s extension and other new signings, reflects the increased investment from Scottish Rugby.
Gray came through the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy system and was heavily involved last season when the club won the Guinness PRO12 for the 1st time.
The lock played in 4 of Scotland’s 5 Rugby World Cup matches in England last month.
The Ospreys confirmed that lock De Kock Steenkamp has been released from his contract and will return home to South Africa after undergoing surgery for an ongoing hip problem.
It brings to an end an injury ravaged 14-month spell with the team that has seen the lock restricted to just 2 competitive appearances at the start of this season.
The 28-year-old signed from the Cape Town based DHL Stormers in September 2014 to add his considerable experience and physical presence to a young squad, having earned a reputation as one of the leading line-out operators in Super Rugby.
However, an achilles injury sustained within days of his arrival at Llandarcy Academy of Sport meant that he missed last season in its entirety, returning to full training for this pre-season.
Having come through the summer months, Steenkamp then stepped up his involvement with an appearance in the pre-season win over Saracens before making his competitive debut, starting in the PRO12 opener away to Ulster. A 2nd appearance followed off the bench against Munster the following week but he then found himself sidelined once again, after reporting hip instability to the region’s medical team.
After further investigation, the player underwent surgery at the weekend and, having assessed all options both parties have agreed to the early release.
The Toyota Cheetahs have started their preparations for the 2016 Super Rugby tournament by naming a 51-man pre-season squad.
The squad features a number of players who featured in the ABSA Currie Cup this year, in coach Franco Smith’s debut season in charge.
Springbok Lood de Jager is included in the squad after returning from South Africa’s Rugby World Cup campaign in England.
They will be facing the team from Argentina in their 1st Super Rugby encounter for 2016 on 26 February.
Australian flyhalf Quade Cooper reported for duty at European champions Toulon on Tuesday, having negotiated a special contract clause so he can play in the Olympics next year.
The 27-year-old flyhalf apologised to Toulon fans for the extended negotiations that even last week appeared compromised because of doubts about his international future.
“It has been a drawn-out process and I apologise for that,” Cooper told a press conference alongside Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal.
Australia’s selection rules only allow foreign-based players to be chosen if they have 60 caps. Cooper has 58 but made only 1 Rugby World Cup appearance because of the hot form of Bernard Foley.
Cooper said the 1st version of his Toulon contract did not mention being freed for national games, but it was renegotiated. Boudjellal said, and “if he is called he will be immediately freed.”
Cooper said the talks with Boudjellal had focused on allowing him to go to the Olympics in Rio next August when Sevens rugby will be played for the 1st time.
New Zealand and Australia’s World Cup finalists join forces in a superstar Barbarians’ squad when they take on Gloucester and Argentina this month. Add a sprinkling of South Africans to it and you have the Barbarians squad.
Wing Nehe Milner-Skudder, the All Blacks’ opening try scorer in the 34 / 17 win against the Wallabies, is just 1 of 7 All Blacks in the squad.
Milner-Skudder will be joined by Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Charlie Faumuina, as well as fellow wing Waisake Naholo, when the world famous invitation club returns to action at Kingsholm on 17 November before taking on Rugby World Cup semifinalists Argentina in the Killik Cup match at Twickenham Stadium on 21 November.
Tevita Kuridrani – the scorer of Australia’s 2nd final try – has been added to the squad and joins Wallabies captain Stephen Moore and flank Scott Fardy in a 24-man group.
The squad also contains one of the world’s greatest lock partnerships in South Africa’s Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha who are backed up by rising star Lood de Jager.
Barbarians head coach Michael Cheika will have formidable firepower at his disposal with the likes of Fiji’s World Cup star Nemani Nadolo lining up with South Africa’s Pat Lambie and Australia’s Joe Tomane.
There is world class front row potential with Moore and Faumuina alongside South Africa’s Tendai Mtawarira, while flank Fardy was 1 of Australia’s most consistent Rugby World Cup performers.
There are 2 uncapped players in the squad: Cheetahs’ centre Francois Venter and Hurricanes flank Ardie Savea.
They may not all be “coining it” immediately to the extent that certain foreign-based colleagues are, but Springbok Rugby World Cup 2015 players contracted only to domestic franchises are about to reap the benefits of an unusually lengthy off-season.
In a development that ought to see them importantly start a heavy 2016 roster pretty firmly refreshed, both physically and mentally, those players are largely off competitive duty for the next 4 months.
Outside of a Rugby World Cup year, the month of November would normally see them packing bags – no doubt just a little reluctantly – for the obligatory end-of-year European tour in conditions likely to be wetter and colder than those agreeably experienced during the recent, more autumnal Rugby World Cup in those climes.
Instead the beach beckons back home now as relevant Springboks with extended international futures like Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Lood de Jager, Trevor Nyakane, Rudy Paige, Pat Lambie and Jesse Kriel wipe rugby from their minds for several weeks, until Super Rugby 2016 pre-season activities with their respective sides.
Even then, blue-chip Springbok players are often shielded to a significant extent from warm-up matches staged in inevitably murderous summer heat and are largely asked to instead hit the ground running when the competition-proper gets underway.
Fans will be able to welcome back the All Blacks at homecoming celebrations in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington this week.
The All Blacks will travel home with the help of sponsor Air New Zealand which has sent an all black Boeing 777-300 to London to pick up the Rugby World Champions.
The team touches down on Wednesday morning at 07:00 NZ Time, arriving at Auckland International Airport before departing for an overnight stay in the city.
Aucklanders will then get a chance to celebrate their Rugby World Cup triumph at a very special event featuring the team at Victoria Park in central Auckland at midday.
The next day Christchurch will welcome the All Blacks with a street parade and official reception at Hagley Park. On Friday, Wellington will celebrate the All Blacks success with details and timing to be confirmed.
The Steval Pumas have signed a total of 13 new players in a bid to become a stronger and more competitive team in the 2016 season.
MJ Mentz has also been reappointed the head coach of team on a 2 year term and will be assisted by Marius van Rensburg (operations Manager), Luzahn Louw (physiotherapist), Robin Arkell (strength and conditioning), Tobias van Niekerk (conditioning) and Ernst Kruger (assistant performance analyst).
The Pumas’ new contracted players:
Stephan Greeff (ORC Griquas), Nardus van der Walt (ORC Griquas), Francois Brummer (ORC Griquas), Hugo Kloppers (ORC Griquas), Tyler Fischer (Cell C Sharks), Marné Coetzee (Cell C Sharks), Chris Cloete (DHL Western Province), Emil Temperman (UP-TUKS), Lambert Groenewald (Xerox Golden Lions), Ruben Johannes (SA Sevens), Dylan Petersen (UJ) and Deon Helberg (Xerox Golden Lions). Marlo van Niekerk is on loan from the EP Kings.
One of the things that this recently completed Rugby World Cup should have done is put an end to some of the justifications that are perennially forwarded for percentage tactics and neglect of the skill sets and strategies that the 2 finalists boasted and employed in their passage to the Twickenham Stadium decider.
For a start, what happened to that wet weather everyone was talking about and which was supposed to a justification for grinding tactics? It rained in the semifinal between South Africa and New Zealand, where the Kiwis proved once again that they are just as good at the things that the Springboks are supposed to do well as they are.
The tournament was of course not played in the English winter. In fact, you could argue that this year it wasn’t played even in autumn, particularly early on, when cities and towns like Brighton, Birmingham and Newcastle had more of a feel of late summer than a feel of early autumn.
That, coupled with the fact that so many of the Pool games were played on fast paced surfaces built for soccer, tipped the scales towards the quick paced Southern Hemisphere style game. When Wales coach Warren Gatland was asked why the Southern Hemisphere nations shut their northern rivals out of the semifinal Round, he mentioned something about conditions south of the equator facilitating the development of more of a running rugby skill set.
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and coach Steve Hansen will be offered knighthoods following New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup triumph.
But the timing will depend on when they retire, Prime Minister John Key said on Monday.
McCaw, 34, has already turned down the honour once, after New Zealand’s 2011 tournament win, saying he did not feel it was right to accept while he was still playing.
Key was asked if the inspirational skipper would be approached again about putting a “Sir” before his name in the wake of the 34 / 17 Cup final win over Australia and said: “That’s right.”
However, he said the offer would remain on hold until McCaw decides his future.
Richie McCaw became the 1st man to lift the Rugby World Cup twice on Saturday and whether or not he opts to call it a day as an All Black, his place as the greatest leader of a rugby team the game has seen is assured.
Like the New Zealand juggernaut he has led with such distinction, McCaw has kept evolving and at the age of 34 his hunger for success and focus has been as intense as ever.
That the game’s outstanding loose forward has stood up to the demands of Test rugby for so long is a reflection of his durability, enthusiasm, consistency and the way he relishes pressure.
And he is not quite ready to bow out just yet.
“I still don’t want it to end. I’m still part of this team, I’m going to enjoy today, how can you have enough of this?,” he said after New Zealand beat Australia 34 / 17 to become Rugby World Cup winners for a record 3rd time.
South Africa said goodbye to a large swathe of great players in victorious fashion when they defeated Argentina 24 / 13 in the bronze medal final on Friday.
Schalk Burger, Fourie du Preez and Bryan Habana (above) will all be over 35 come Japan 2019, while 38-year-old Victor Matfield, who captained them in the bronze medal match at the Olympic stadium, has already announced his retirement for the 2nd time.
All 4 were members of a glorious few years for the Springboks in which they bestrode the world. It began when Jake White’s team won the 2007 World Cup and, under his replacement Peter de Villiers, they won the 2009 Tri-Nations then beat the British & Irish Lions 2 / 1 in a Test series in the same year.
Du Preez, Habana and Matfield were also part of the Blue Bulls team that was coached by Heyneke Meyer and became the 1st South African franchise to win the Super Rugby title, in 2007.
Argentina loosehead prop Marcos Ayerza, who was set to start for Los Pumas in the bronze final against the Springboks on Friday, has been ruled out of the game due to a hamstring injury sustained in training on Thursday, according to team doctor Guillermo Botto.
Team management have called up Santiago García Botta, a Belgrano Athletic prop with 5 Test caps under his belt, to take his place in the squad.
García Botta, 23, flew in from Buenos Aires on Thursday and will be on the replacements bench at the Olympic Stadium as Daniel Hourcade’s men take on South Africa for the right to finish 3rd at Rugby World Cup 2015.
The Cell C Sharks have announced the signing of former Springbok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle, who will join the franchise from the start of the new Super Rugby season.
The announcement was made on Friday on the Cell C Sharks website.
Commenting on his signing, Sharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold said: “I am pleased to have acquired the services of a hooker with the pedigree of Chiliboy Ralepelle. He is a brilliant player with a strong work ethic and will be an asset to our squad.
England centre Sam Burgess will stay at Bath and continue in rugby union, according to his coach Mike Ford.
The 26-year-old has been given time off to consider his future and his representatives have been in talks with his former club South Sydney Rabbitohs about a return to rugby league.
Burgess was controversially picked for England’s dismal Rugby World Cup campaign.
“This is the time that he becomes a better rugby union player,” Ford said.
Ford said Burgess had come back to training after the Rugby World Cup but “didn’t feel quite right” and gave the player some time off.
But he expects Burgess to return to the Recreation Ground on 2 November.
Burgess switched codes last year and signed a 3-year contract with Bath, with the aim of playing in a home Rugby World Cup.
The Western Province Rugby Football Union indicated that they would like to wish former DHL Western Province and DHL Stormers captain Jean de Villiers well as he embarks on the next phase of his stellar rugby career at top English club, Leicester Tigers.
De Villiers 1st wore the Blue & White hoops of Western Province as an aspiring Under 13 Craven Week player, that after his father, Andre, represented Western Province with distinction in the 1970s.
Jean de Villiers played his final match for the DHL Stormers on 3 May 2014 (against the Highlanders at DHL Newlands), racking up a total of 105 caps since his debut against the Sharks in February 2005.
He also played 50 matches for DHL Western Province, his final appearance coming in the 2013 ABSA Currie Cup Final – having made his debut in the Vodacom Cup in February 2001.
De Villiers would certainly have played more games for WP Rugby had it not been for a catalogue of serious injuries – especially the knee injury he suffered on his Springbok debut in November 2002 – but he will go down as one of this union’s greatest players in the modern era after also amassing 109 Springbok caps (including 37 as captain).
First-choice prop Scott Sio returns to the Australian Wallabies side for the Rugby World Cup final against the New Zealand All Blacks on Saturday.
It is the only change to the side announced by coach Michael Cheika.
Sio has recovered from an elbow injury and James Slipper, who played in the semifinal win over Argentina, returns to the bench.
Australia, who have had a tough route to Twickenham – having to play England, Wales, Scotland and Argentina – will be in a record-breaking 4th Rugby World Cup Final.
However, it will be the 1st between the Wallabies and the All Blacks.
Matt Giteau, who left the semifinal with a groin injury but has been cleared for Saturday, is the only player who took part in their last Final – when they lost to England in Sydney in 2003.
Glasgow Warriors and Scottish Rugby have secured the talents of one of Scotland’s most exciting young players for the next 3 years.
Finn Russell has signed a new long-term contract with the Warriors, meaning the Scotland international will be staying at Scotstoun until at least May 2018.
The news follows the announcement earlier today that Scottish Power has agreed a 3-year, 6-figure sponsorship deal with the club, which will see their logo displayed on the back of the home and alternate playing shirts.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer named his strongest possible team as a mark of the greatest respect to an outstanding Argentina team as both teams chase the end-of-season reward of a bronze medal at the Olympic Stadium in London on Friday evening.
Victor Matfield replaces Lood de Jager as 1 of only 2 changes to the starting line-up from Saturday’s semifinal against New Zealand. He takes over the over the captaincy from the injured Fourie du Preez, whose place in the No 9 jersey is taken by Ruan Pienaar, with Rudy Paige coming onto the bench.
Nicolas Sanchez, the highest points scorer at the Rugby World Cup, will captain Argentina for the 1st time in Friday’s 3rd-place play-off against South Africa.
Sanchez, who has 89 points, mainly from the boot, will take over the armband from the injured Agustin Creevy.
Coach Daniel Hourcade has made 9 changes to the team that started the 15 / 29 semifinal loss against Australia last Sunday.
Many were forced by injury as key players Creevy, outstanding wing Juan Imhoff and veteran centre Juan Martin Hernández all had to be replaced on Sunday.
Massive experience and exciting new talents are the order of the day for all New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchises as they reveal their 2016 squads.
The Highlanders have made minimal changes to their 2015 championship winning squad, with just 9 new additions to their 38-man squad. The side they beat in the 2015 final, the Hurricanes, have taken a similar approach, opting for continuity in retaining 30 players of the greater 39-man squad.
The Chiefs will boast 12 former and current All Blacks in their squad and a further 14 fresh faces. 4 Players have been promoted from the Crusaders’ wider training group with a further 11 players joining the franchise for the 1st time.
The Blues are the only side who have gone against the grain as head coach Tana Umaga has built his 2016 squad around 6 core players, as he looks to resurrect the franchise to his former glory.
We look at all New Zealand’s Super Rugby squads:
Former Springbok captain Jean de Villiers will continue his playing career in the English Premiership after signing with the Leicester Tigers.
De Villiers was part of South Africa’s Rugby World Cup winning squad in 2007 and captain of the 2015 campaign but announced his international retirement after suffering a fractured jaw in the 2nd Round of the tournament. With 109 Test caps he is among the most experienced players in the world game.
Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “Jean brings invaluable experience to the squad. He is among the leading centres in the modern game and has played at the very highest level for a significant period of time.
South Africa captain Fourie du Preez says Saturday’s semifinal defeat by New Zealand is likely to be his last game for his country after he picked up a facial injury.
Du Preez finished the match with a swollen eye and cheekbone and is doubtful for the bronze final on Friday.
Asked about his future, a dejected du Preez said: “I don’t know if that was my last game, I’ll see how the injury goes. That was probably my last game. I have got a broken tooth and I will be getting a check on my cheekbone tomorrow, but they don’t think it’s broken.
Scans taken after the match cleared the No 9 of a fractured cheekbone, but he does have a damaged tooth.
He will also have to wait and see if the swelling goes down before a decision is made if he will play against Argentina at the Olympic Stadium in London this coming Friday.
However, medical opinion is that he should be available.
The Springboks have been given 2 days off, before they will fit in a couple of training sessions – a full session on Wednesday and the captain’s run on Thursday – ahead of Friday’s meaningless encounter.
Team doctor Craig Roberts’s post match medical report had some other good news as well.
Flank Francois Louw, who received 16 stitches to his forehead for a deep cut, is available for selection.
“That won’t keep him out of play, it has healed up and it is fine,” Roberts told a media gathering.
Argentina have dismissed Springbok suggestions that Friday’s bronze final does not mean anything and are determined to celebrate their attacking style at the tournament by beating their Rugby Championship rivals.
After his side narrowly lost to New Zealand 20 / 18 in Saturday’s 1st semifinal, South African coach Heyneke Meyer said it would be tough mentally to prepare for the clash at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. “It does not mean anything to me. It is like kissing your sister,” he said.
But, despite the disappointment of failing to get past Australia in their semifinal, Argentina captain Agustin Creevy and his squad were excited about trying to secure the 3rd place.
Asked about Meyer’s comments, Creevy said: “I don’t know why he said that. I would rather be 3rd than 4th. We want to be in the Top 3. We need to get over the defeat and start again. The 3rd-place playoff means a lot.”
Flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez, who scored all of Argentina’s points in the 29 / 15 defeat by the Wallabies, said: “We came here to play the final, but I think we gave it our all. The biggest challenge now is to finish on a high note and get the 3rd place.
“We’ve got a mentally very tough game ahead. This week probably won’t be as pleasant as this past one, but we’ll make a great effort to get the bronze medal.”
David Pocock and Israel Folau will return to action for Australia in the team named by coach Michael Cheika to face Argentina in their semifinal at Twickenham Stadium, London at 18:00 SA Time (17:00 UK Time, 16:00 GMT) on Sunday.
No 8 David Pocock (calf) and fullback Israel Folau (ankle) have been declared fit for the clash after Friday’s training session and will take their place in the starting 15, along with prop James Slipper who replaces the injured Scott Sio.
Slipper, who captained the side against the USA Eagles in Chicago last month, will start at loosehead prop while Toby Smith comes on to the replacements bench for the Wallabies’ 6th appearance in a Rugby World Cup semifinal.
With a combined 876 caps, this is the most experienced Wallaby starting line-up ever in a Rugby World Cup match. The side that defeated Scotland in the quarterfinals had 818 Test caps.
It is the 2nd-oldest Wallabies starting line-up in a Rugby World Cup match. At an average of 28 years and 142 days of age, it is only 21 days younger than the side (28 year and 163 days of age) that defeated Wales on 23 October 1999.
The match will be Slipper’s 73rd in the gold jersey, making the 26-year-old the most capped Wallabies prop in history, surpassing Benn Robinson (72 Tests).
Vice-captain Michael Hooper will also celebrate a milestone with his 50th Test appearance.
Drew Mitchell will once again line up on the left wing, needing 1 more try to draw level with Bryan Habana and Jonah Lomu as the all-time Rugby World Cup leading try scorer on 15 tries.
South African Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer named an unchanged starting 15 to face New Zealand’s All Blacks in the 1st Rugby World Cup 2015 semifinal, on Saturday at Twickenham Stadium in London, England.
The only change to the matchday squad is at replacement lock – where Victor Matfield has overcome his hamstring injury and takes over from Pieter-Steph du Toit, bringing even more experience to the bench.
There is a provisa though, Lood de Jager still has to pass a fitness test on Friday, to be able to play, and if he does not pass that fitness test, Victor Matfield will slot into the starting berth at No 5, with Pieter-Steph du Toit then coming onto the Replacements bench.
It’s the 1st time since last November that Meyer has been able to name an unchanged team for back-to-back Tests and only the 6th time since his appointment in 2012.
New Zealand All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made 1 change to the side that thrashed France for their semifinal showdown against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.
Joe Moody replaces the injured Wyatt Crockett (groin) at loosehead prop, with Ben Franks being promoted to the bench to provide cover.
1 Is the least number of changes that the All Blacks have made to their starting line-up so far in the tournament and the fewest between successive Rugby World Cup matches since making no changes at all to the side that defeated Australia in the 2011 semifinals and went on to beat France in the final.
No player in international test rugby has been on the winning side against the Springboks more often than Richie McCaw (19 times). Only Australia’s George Gregan (30 times) has played them more often than McCaw (25).
Brodie Retallick (6), Wyatt Crockett (5), Sam Cane (3), Luke Romano (2), TJ Perenara (1) and Codie Taylor (1) have won all of their individual test appearances against the Springboks.
McCaw sets a Rugby World Cup record in captaining his side for the 12th time in the competition, surpassing the 11 captain’s appearances by Martin Johnson and Will Carling (both England), Raphaël Ibañez (France), John Smit (South Africa) and Sam Warburton (Wales).
Former Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has been linked with a move to English Premiership club, Leicester Tigers.
A jaw fracture suffered against Samoa prematurely ended De Villiers’s Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign, with the midfielder subsequently announcing his retirement from international rugby.
De Villiers hinted that he would finish his professional career overseas, while revealing that he was considering a few options in England.
He was linked to the Tigers earlier this year, but the deal fell through before the start of the Rugby World Cup.
The Highlanders have confirmed 2 exciting new midfield signings for the 2016 season, Canterbury’s Rob Thompson and Otago’s Matt Faddes.
Thompson, is an exciting player who debuted for Canterbury in 2013 and after a solid year earned a wider training group contract with the Crusaders leading to his Super Rugby debut against the Blues in 2014.
A powerful runner, who has the strength to play in the midfield and the speed to play in the outside backs, Thompson will provide versatility and depth to the Highlanders midfield stocks.
Thompson commented that “the Highlanders play an attractive style of rugby that appeals to me, they look to be a quality outfit and I’m looking forward to getting down there and doing my bit to continue the success they are enjoying.”
Faddes, like backs coach Tony Brown, grew up in South Otago and has been playing for Otago since 2011, debuting against North Harbour.
New Zealand will join forces with World Cup semifinal opponents South Africa for the Barbarians next month.
Nehe Milner-Skudder – whose brilliant try opened the scoring in the weekend’s 62 / 13 win over France – tops the list of All Blacks invited to feature in games against Argentina and Gloucester.
The rookie wing now has 7 tries in his 1st 6 Tests for New Zealand and will be joined by scrumhalf Tewera Kerr-Barlow, wing Waisake Naholo and prop Charlie Faumuina from the current Rugby World Cup squad, and reinforced by centre Ryan Crotty, flyhalf Lima Sopoaga and uncapped flanker Ardie Savea.
The Barbarians, who beat Samoa at the former Olympic Stadium in August, take on Gloucester on 17 November at Kingsholm before facing the Argentinian Pumas at Twickenham Stadium on 21 November.
The famous invitation club was founded 125 years ago and the Killik Cup match against Rugby World Cup semifinalists Argentina is the centrepiece of the celebrations.
France flyhalf Frederic Michalak has ended his international career after Les Bleus’ 13 / 62 defeat by New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.
Michalak left the pitch with a thigh injury after 11 minutes at the Millennium Stadium.
He said: “It’s quite sad to finish like that. I truly thought I’d be able to raise the Cup, and I didn’t imagine that I would finish like that, with an injury, which makes it even worse. Of course I’ll recover from this injury, but I’ll take care of my body and play fewer games per year.”
The Toulon player, 33, won 77 international caps and played in 3 Rugby World Cups, in 2003, 2007 and this year. He is under contract with Toulon until 2016.
France lock Pascal Pape, 35, is also retiring from internationals after 65 tests.
Ross Ford and Jonny Gray (Scotland) are free to resume playing with immediate effect after successfully appealing against their 3-week suspension for acts of foul play contrary to Law 10.4(j) (dangerous tackles).
The appeal took place today at the London offices of the official law firm for Rugby World Cup 2015 Clifford Chance and was heard by an Appeal Committee, chaired by the Honourable Justice Lex Mpati (South Africa), sitting with Justice Graeme Mew (Canada) and Robbie Deans (New Zealand).
Having conducted a detailed review of all the evidence, including new submissions from the players and their representatives, along with all available camera angles, the Appeal Committee dismissed the finding that the players had committed an act of foul play as the player had not been dropped or driven and therefore the tackle was not dangerous.
Key players David Pocock and Israel Folau handed Australia a double blow on Friday.
Both failed to prove their fitness and will miss the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal with Scotland on Sunday.
David Pocock, whose conversion to No 8, from openside flank, has been a roaring success, has been struggling with a calf injury suffered during the 15 / 6 Pool A victory over Wales last Saturday.
Fullback Israel Folau struggled through the Wales game with a painful ankle, a knock he had picked up in the 33 / 13 whipping of hosts England a fortnight ago, and the injury sees him miss his 1st Test for the Wallabies since he made his debut in 2013.
Pocock has been replaced by Ben McCalman, with Kurtley Beale coming in at fullback for Folau.
Meanwhile Stephen Moore and Matt Giteau will become the newest Wallabies centurions.
UPDATE: Ireland flyhalf Jonathan Sexton was supposed to start in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against Argentina in Cardiff on Sunday, after recovering from a groin problem, but the groin injury has flared up again and Ian Madigan takes his place in the run-on side, with Paddy Jackson coming onto the bench.
The 30-year-old Sexton, who went off in the 1st half of the 24 / 9 win over France, initially provided a rare bit of good news for the Irish this week when he was included in the side, but the good news did not last.
Iconic captain and lock Paul O’Connell and flank Peter O’Mahony were ruled out of the rest of the tournament with injuries, while Sean O’Brien was handed a 1 week ban for punching French lock Pascal Pape in the stomach.
Iain Henderson, who has had an outstanding tournament, comes into the locks to partner Devin Toner, with Jordi Murphy and Chris Henry filling the flank vacancies left by O’Mahony and O’Brien.
The Irish, who will be captained by No 8 Jamie Heaslip, are bidding to reach the semifinals for the 1st time.
Argentina have reverted to their strongest side for their quarterfinal match against Ireland on Sunday.
Argentina’s starting 15 at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday will contain 496 caps worth of experience, their 2nd most experienced of this tournament after the 54 / 9 win over Georgia in their 2nd Pool C match.
Head coach Daniel Hourcade has made 10 changes from the team that beat Namibia. This is the largest amount of changes made to an Argentina side, except for the 11 made between the Tonga and Namibia matches, since the opening 2 games of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
The whole front row changes, with the replacements from the Namibia game starting against Ireland and the Namibia game starters dropping to the bench. Tomas Lavinini comes in for Matias Alemanno in the locks, with the latter dropping to the bench.
There are also 2 changes in the loose forwards, with Javier Ortega Desio out of the matchday-23 and Facundo Isa dropping to the bench, as Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Leonardo Senatore return.
In the backs, Juan Martin Hernandez reverts to inside centre to allow for the return of Nicolas Sanchez. Scrumhalf Martin Landajo and Matias Moroni retain their places, though Moroni moves to outside centre. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino drops to the bench.