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The Rugby Championship

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South AfricaHarold VersterFree State Rugby Union CEO Harold Verster says the union will next host a Test match in the 2016 season.

Verster wrote a column on the Volksblad website where he explained to fans the situation regarding the union’s hosting of Test matches.

Verster said the union gave up its right to host last year’s Rugby Championship Test between South Africa and Argentina.

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South AfricaThe Springboks will face 2013 Six Nations champions Wales in two Tests in Durban and Nelspruit during the Castle Lager Incoming Series in June, followed by a once-off international against Scotland in Port Elizabeth.

The fixtures were confirmed by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Wednesday.

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2013The year was full of spectacular moments and performances as well as disappointing lows and infamous incidents; we name and shame the best and worst in our 2013 Awards.

New Zealand and Wales ruled their respective hemispheres for the second successive year, the All Blacks enjoying a flawless 2013 campaign.

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New ZealandSteve HansenAs expected, New Zealand All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has given his charges the week off after their stellar performance over the weekend, clinching The Rugby Championship against the Springboks from South Africa.

They are nursing quite a number of bumps and bruises, the result from the hard encounter with the Springboks.

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IRBNew ZealandFollowing the Test between South Africa and New Zealand this past weekend, the New Zealand All Blacks have solidified their clasp on the IRD World Test Rankings more, stretching their lead over 2nd placed South Africa to a full 5.19 ranking points.

The Australian Wallabies have also slightly improved their position after their fine win against the Argentinian Pumas over the weekend, leaving them in 4th spot.

World Champions, New Zealand have stretched their lead further by almost a full rating point.

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ABSA Currie CupSharksDHL WPWith The Rugby Championship now done and dusted, the Springbok players involved look set to be returning to their Provincial Unions and respective overseas Clubs to continue plying their trade.

This of course leaves Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer a worried man and wishing he was in the fortunate situation which the All Blacks coach finds himself, where the All Black players will rest some more before the November Internationals start (of course there is still the matter of a Bledisloe Cup encounter between the All Blacks and Wallabies to consider on 18 October).

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Jean de VilliersDane ColesAll Black coach Steve Hansen has rightly commended Springbok captain Jean de Villiers for the way in which he handled the substitute mishap of Dane Coles in their Rugby Championship Test at Ellis Park on Saturday.

On the field there was some confusion and discussion well after the All Blacks had brought replacement hooker Dane Coles on for Andrew Hore in the 2nd half.

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Felipe ContepomiPumas great Felipe Contepomi was not too dejected after the Wallabies spoiled his Test swansong with a 54-12 win in Rosario on Saturday.

The Rugby Championship clash at Estadio Gigante de Arroyito brought down the curtain on Contepomi’s illustrious international career.

The utility back, who made his Test debut for Argentina against Chile back in 1998, played in his record 87th Test and retired as the Pumas’ top points-scorer of all time having accumulated 651 Test points and broken Hugo Porta’s record of 590 points.

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Martin LandajoFollowing the final match of The Rugby Championship of 2013, the one between the Argentinian Pumas and Australian Wallabies, it has transpired that Argentina scrumhalf Martin Landajo has been suspended from all forms of the game for one week after stamping on some Australian players in Rosario.

Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton has accepted a guilty plea from Landajo for contravening Law 10.4 (b) Stamping or trampling after he was cited.

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ArgentinaAustraliaPumas (10) 17 / 54 (25) Wallabies (Final Score)

The Argentinian Pumas and Australian Wallabies did battle in The Rugby Championship at

Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario at 00:40 Sunday SA Time (19:40 ARG Time, 22:40 GMT, 09:40 Sunday EDT Aus Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.

******************

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South AfricaNew ZealandThis important Test match is turning out to be the final of The Rugby Championship of 2013, however it is not a winner-takes-all final, but rather a terms-and-conditions-apply final.

A draw or a win for the All Blacks and the trophy is theirs. The Springboks on the other hand need to do a lot more. They need 4 tries, they need to prevent the All Blacks from scoring 4 tries and they need to beat the All Blacks by more than 7 points to win the trophy. If the Springboks just win the match without scoring 4 tries they will finish second, 1 Log point behind the All Blacks. All the All Blacks need is 1 solitary Log point, to secure this year’s Rugby Championship.

The Springboks have a great record at Ellis Park, when facing the All Blacks and recorded a massive win here under the coaching of Jake White in 2004 of 40 / 26.

For the Springboks to take the title will be a tall order, but not an impossible one. This could turn out to be the clash of the year.

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ArgentinaAustraliaWith the Pumas hosting the Wallabies this weekend it is still all to play for for both sides to avoid the wooden spoon in The Rugby Championship.

These two teams are facing their own demons this season as the Pumas have recorded no wins and the Wallabies only one win in this year’s competition. The Pumas will be backing themselves for a win against a struggling Wallaby team who also aeem to be full of internal politics about pay disputes.

The losing team in this clash will finish at the bottom of the Log. This clash will be an interesting one as both teams want to prove a point.

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James O'ConnorAustraliaThe Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has reached a mutual agreement to grant James O’Connor an early release from his national contract for 2013 and will not offer him a national contract for 2014.

The decision to grant O’Connor an early release from his national contract follows an ARU integrity investigation into an alleged incident at Perth Airport involving the 23-year-old in the early hours of Sunday, September 15.

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Graham HenryWorld Cup-winning coach Graham Henry, affectionally also known as “Ted”, could find himself in hot water once again for disparaging remarks he has made about match officials.

The former All Blacks boss who is now a technical advisor for the Pumas, had some choice words to say about the standards of refereeing in the Rugby Championship, saying that referees and the judicial panel have been “totally inconsistent” and are “a weakness in the game.”

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New ZealandRichie McCawSteve Hansen, the All Blacks coach has made only 2 changes to the All Blacks starting 15 for their important Test match and a fitting finale to The Rugby Championship, against the Springboks of South Africa at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

As expected, Richie McCaw returns to captain the side and fill the openside flanker role, with Sam Cane dropping to the bench. Richie will play in his 120th Test match and has never had the opportunity to play in a Test at Ellis Park.

The injured prop, Owen Franks, has failed to recover from a groin strain and has been replaced by Charlie Faumuina at tighthead prop, with Ben Franks coming onto the bench.

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South AfricaTendai MtawariraTendai “Beast” Mtawarira will play in his 50th Test for the Springboks when they take on New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday, in the final round of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

The 28-year-old Mtawarira, who made his Test debut on 14 June 2008 against Wales in Pretoria, will become the 27th Springbok to reach 50 Test caps, following hot on the heels of his fellow front rankers, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, as well as Morné Steyn.

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South AfricaIt may come as a surprise to Springbok fans, but coach Heyneke Meyer has lamented the fact that his team has fallen behind the All Blacks in terms of their kicking game, with the Boks being far too wayward in their kicking this season.

While the Boks have made massive strides at the breakdown under consultant Richie Gray and currently lead the Castle Lager Rugby Championship standings for turnovers won in the competition, they have fallen behind in terms of their kicking game – something that has always been a strength.

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