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New-ZealandSouth AfricaHeyneke Meyer’s Springbok squad will have the 2nd-most Test caps at this year’s Rugby World Cup in England and Wales.

According to the NZ Herald website, analysis of all 20 of the Rugby World Cup squads has revealed that defending champions and the world’s No 1 side, the All Blacks, have by far the most experience, with the squad combining for 1 484 Test caps – 187 more than the next best side – South Africa.

Led by Richie McCaw (142 caps), Keven Mealamu (126), Tony Woodcock (115) and Dan Carter (106), the defending champions have an added 345 Test caps from their triumph in 2011, where they came into the tournament with the 2nd most caps behind the Springboks.

Victor Matfield (123), Bryan Habana (110) and Jean de Villiers (107) are the 3 Springbok centurions, with Ruan Pienaar next best on 84.

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Chris Rattue

Chris Rattue

Controvertial New Zealand and anti-South African journalist, Chris Rattue, spilled his guts about removal of the Springbok name.

Here’s a muppit who knows sweet blue buggerall about South Africa, using the last of very few brain cells to write tripe of the highest order!

It is not his 1st ever controvertial gig either, the same twerp called the Welsh “Village Idiots” in August 2011, sparking fierce debate about it.

Simple message to this “Village Idiot” – Go concern yourself with yourself, fool!

Here’s what he had to write in the New Zealand Herald:

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Tshidiso Mokhoanatse

Tshidiso Mokhoanatse

The High Court bid to stop the Springboks from competing in the Rugby World Cup was merely meant to draw attention to the need for transformation, the man behind it said on Wednesday.

“The move was tactical. We managed to draw the attention of this country and of the Courts to the need for transformation,” the leader of the Agency for New Agenda (ANA) party, Tshidiso Mokhoanatse, told reporters in Pretoria.

The intention was to move the responsibility for transformation in sport away from the South African Rugby Union and government, to the Courts. He said he had succeeded in this.

He was speaking after he abandoned his bid for an order seeking to prevent the Springboks from going to England and Wales to compete in the World Cup, which starts on 18 September.

Judge Ntendeya Mavundla stood the matter down in the High Court in Pretoria earlier.

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Tshidiso Mokhoanatse

Tshidiso Mokhoanatse

The man trying to stop the Springboks from leaving South Africa needs to find a lawyer, a judge cautioned him on Wednesday, as he is jumping into waters where there are “fish that bite”.

“You may find that you are traversing an area which is like a pond on the surface. It looks calm, but underneath the waters flow with tremendous force, if you are not familiar with that terrain,” Judge Ntendeya Mavundla cautioned Tshidiso Mokhoanatse.

He was referring to the debate about transformation in sport, and society in general.

The leader of the Agency for New Agenda party was about to jump into the deep end and tackle the case on his own, when Mavundla advised him it would be best to get a “scuba diver” to help him.

Mavundla stood the matter down until 14:00 SA Time for a lawyer from the Bar Council or Law Society to help him.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Tuesday applauded the work done by the national team’s medical, strength and conditioning staff to get the squad fit and ready for the Rugby World Cup.

Each member of the 31-man squad took part in most of the field sessions on Monday and Tuesday in Durban, including Duane Vermeulen, Jean de Villiers, Jannie du Plessis, Fourie du Preez and Francois Louw.

The training camp in Durban concludes on Wednesday and the players and management will get together again in Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon. The squad departs for England on Friday 11 September.

“We’re confident that all of the players will be fit to be considered for selection for our opening match against Japan in Brighton on 19 September,” said Meyer.

 

Duane Vermeulen at training

Duane Vermeulen at training

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Taqele Naiyaravoro

Taqele Naiyaravoro

Sam Carter

Sam Carter

James Hanson

James Hanson

The Wallabies have called Taqele Naiyaravoro, Sam Carter and James Hanson into a 34-man squad in the USA for their upcoming Test against USA Eagles at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Hanson and Carter will link with the squad in Indiana following solid performances during the opening rounds of the National Rugby Championship, while Naiyaravoro arrived at the team’s camp at Notre Dame University from London this afternoon after playing in the Barbarians’ 27 / 24 win over Samoa.

All 3 players were involved in last week’s camp in Sydney as part of the wider Wallabies training squad and will continue to play a role in the team’s preparation for the USA match.

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USA RugbyThere were no surprises when the 31-man United States of America (USA Eagles) squad for the Rugby World Cup in England was announced on Tuesday.

Captain Chris Wyles will lead the USA in Pool B where they face Japan, Samoa, Scotland, and South Africa.

The USA team will feature 20 Rugby World Cup debutants.

The squad selected for the Rugby World Cup is the same as the 1 chosen for the 3 World Cup warm-up matches, which included a 3rd-consecutive victory over Canada.

Additionally, 13 players have professional contracts overseas.

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Colin Slade

Colin Slade

The All Blacks played down injury concerns over Colin Slade on Tuesday after the flyhalf went down with a knee problem at training.

Slade received medical attention after slipping over in Wellington, an incident which revived memories of New Zealand’s injury woes at the last tournament in 2011.

“He slipped over during training and landed awkwardly on his knee and gave it a bit of a tweak,” assistant coach Ian Foster said.

“He was walking around the shed afterwards. He’s fine.”

Slade was 1 of 3 flyhalves sidelined with injury during the 2011 World Cup, almost derailing New Zealand’s bid to win the tournament on home soil.

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IrelandIreland’s 2014 Player of the Year Andrew Trimble has been omitted from coach Joe Schmidt’s 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup, announced on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old had missed this years’ Six Nations through injury but had returned to action this year and was available for the global showpiece.

Trimble has played just once for Ireland in the past 12 months, in a 35 / 12 victory over Wales in a World Cup warm-up match on 8 August, but a flare-up of his toe injury meant he played only 33 minutes of that game.

Wings Keith Earls and Luke Fitzgerald, who were injured during Saturday’s Dublin defeat by Wales, are included the squad.

Trimble, Gordan D’Arcy, Kieran Marmion were notably the most high profile players to miss out on the plane.

D’Arcy’s omission could signal the end of his illustrious international career.

The squad is made up of 17 Forwards and 14 Backs and will be captained by Paul O’Connell who is the most capped player in the Ireland group with 103 caps.

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ScotlandScotland’s 31-man Rugby World Cup squad has been named, the players have been told, and it was publicly announced this afternoon at Edinburgh University.

After almost 3 months of hard training and 2 wins out of 3 in the warm-up games, Vern Cotter has made his decision and the paperwork has been delivered to the tournament organisers. Supporters were treated at the Old College Quad to see today’s announcement, which was made at 14:30 BST (15:30 SA Time), and supporters had a chance to mingle with the players afterwards.

Following Saturday’s 48 / 7 win over Italy at BT Murrayfield, Cotter and his coaching staff met for final discussions and assessments of the medical reports before confirming the squad and informing the players of the decision.

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Springbok Rugby World Cup 2015 squad

Springbok Rugby World Cup 2015 squad

With the Springbok Rugby World Cup Squad having been announced on Friday at 18:00 SA Time, this weekend has slowly seen the emergence of the reaction to it.

The general reaction, mine included, is that some players should not be there and some should… but I think it’s fair to say that almost everybody agrees on 85% PLUS of the selected players… call them the “Non-Contestables”, if you will.

It is those final 7 or 8 players which the bickering has featured about as well as the undoubted support for or against the national coach, Heyneke Meyer.

From Government circles, the Minister of Sport & Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, has praised the team and announced that the South African Rugby Union (SARU) is on track with their transformation goals.

To counter this, some obscure little piddly widdly Political Party, the Agency for New Agenda Party…. yeah right, who the hell are they, you are also asking, like me.. have brought a High Court Application in the North Gauteng High Court, seeking an urgent order to compel SARU and the Sports Department officials to surrender their passports so they cannot travel.

Heyneke Meyer has had to fend off those who have questioned some of his selections too, mainly the selection of Rudy Paige at scrumhalf, the only uncapped Springbok in the squad and he has had to give reasons for the specific selection.

In recent weeks, the previous Springbok coach, Peter de Villiers, has also come out with some scathing critisism against Heyneke Meyer, and De Villiers has gone so far as to join forces with Labour Movement, Cosatu, to get his agenda and points accross as well as to form the backbone of a pressure group for the inclusion of more players of colour. Heyneke Meyer has retorted with a very simple yet eloquent reply, by praising Peter de Villiers.

Lastly, with fears regarding the fitness of a number of previously injured and rehabilitating players included in the squad, most notably Fourie du Preez, Jean de Villiers, Duane Vermeulen, Jannie du Plessis and Coenie Oosthuizen, coach Meyer now assures us that all 31 players will be ready to play when the tournament starts on 18 September.

So here goes, let’s look at all these aspects in more depth:

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Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland

Wales coach Warren Gatland named prop Samson Lee in his 31-man squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Lee has not played since rupturing his Achilles tendon in March.

Flyhalf Gareth Anscombe was left out in favour of Matthew Morgan.

Wales are in Pool A with hosts England, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.

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Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones

Japan’s national coach, Eddie Jones, on Monday named former Australian rugby league star Craig Wing among a 31-strong Japan Rugby World Cup squad.

The squad is packed with imported talent for the tournament beginning next month.

Jones handed a place to former Kangaroo and New South Wales State of Origin Craig Wing, named Chiefs flank Michael Leitch – who is of Fijian origin – as captain and also included former Reds loose forward Hendrik Tui.

Australian Jones also turned to 2nd row forward Michael Broadhurst, who is the brother of 1-cap All Black lock James Broadhurst, and picked veteran New Zealand-born big man Luke Thompson, 34, who can play either in the 2nd row or at loose forward.

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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 lobbyists saying that there are not enough players of colour in the side OR whether he is accused of player bias OR choosing old favourites… 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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Nehe Milner-Skudder

Nehe Milner-Skudder

Waisake Naholo

Waisake Naholo

Nehe Milner-Skudder and Waisake Naholo were rewarded for their fine form after they were included in New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup squad.

The inclusion of the 2 pacemean means that there is no place for veterans Israel Dagg and Cory Jane in the squad. Charles Piutau, who has featured regularly for the All Blacks in the last 2 seasons, also misses out on selection.

The squad, captained by Richie McCaw, features 17 forwards and 14 backs. It will be a particularly exciting time for 17 of the All Blacks squad, who will be going to their 1st Rugby World Cup tournament.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said said the squad was a reflection of the depth the country has at the moment.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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roddyed

Roddy Grant

A team of 28, captained by flanker Roddy Grant, has been announced for Edinburgh Rugby’s opening pre-season friendly against Romania at the Greenyards tonight (Friday 21 August, kick-off 18:30 UK Time, 19:30 SA Time).

Bolstering the backs for this season, Edinburgh Rugby announce the signing of winger Otulea Katoa on a 1-year deal.

The Tongan international, who arrived in the capital earlier this week with his wife and 1-year-old son Eli, will bulk up the backs with a number of players involved with Scotland throughout the year.

The 24-year-old, who has been capped 7 times by Tonga, most recently represented his country in July’s Pacific Nations Cup and has been signed from New Zealand provincial side, Southland.

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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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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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