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World Cup

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Andrew Mehrtens

Andrew Mehrtens

The All Blacks may march on undefeated but the weekend demonstrated palpably that South Africa are going to be big-time World Cup threats.

Maybe bigger even than the hosts who are also going to take some beating at Fortress Twickenham.

Sure, the Springboks weren’t able to get up and end their five-year losing streak on New Zealand soil, but boy did they get close. And a year out from the Cup it’s significant that they’re knocking on the door.

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Amy Perrett

Amy Perrett of Australia gives a decision.

When I shared a laugh and a chat with Amy Perrett, nearly six months ago, she, like almost everyone else in women’s rugby, had her sights firmly trained on the World Cup in and around Paris during early August.

England subsequently claimed the trophy, and the tournament served to enhance the rapid growth the women’s game continues to enjoy.

Perrett is no stranger to rapid growth. Aged just 25, the Sydneysider has established herself as one of the top referees in the women’s game and a prize commodity for the Australian Rugby Union.

Back on that gloomy March afternoon in Edinburgh, where she was preparing to take control of a Six Nations clash between Scotland and France, she spoke softly of making the cut, of winning selection for the World Cup panel.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was left visibly frustrated and annoyed his side had failed to end the All Blacks’ five-year winning streak in New Zealand.

Deep down, however, he knew the mistakes that had been made could be rectified and the youngsters in his team would only be better for their tight 14-10 defeat to the world champions in Wellington on Saturday.

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Matthew Burke

Matthew Burke

With the recent pedantic display of refereeing, it pains me to say that the World Cup could turn into a game of whistle-blowing, ruining the experience for the spectators and more importantly the players.

Some of the technical refereeing that has been on display has eliminated any “feel” for the game.

Right now, the blokes in the middle are trying to put on their best show to be chosen to get a gig in England in 2015. But who is judging their performance so they get to secure a position as a top whistle-blower?

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William Webb Ellis Trophy

The William Webb Ellis Trophy

Organised criminals with links to the arms and drugs trade were on Wednesday night plotting to hijack the Rugby World Cup ticket launch and hold countless ordinary fans to ransom on the secondary market.

Tournament organisers and senior police officers admitted the second biggest sporting event ever held in the UK would definitely be targeted by gangs of touts, who Britain’s leading anti-ticket fraud expert warned stood to make millions illegally from fleecing unsuspecting supporters.

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Ashley Johnson

The advertisement featuring Ashley Johnson in his Bok jersey.

The hosts of the 2015 Rugby World Cup say they didn’t forget to feature the All Blacks in an ad released yesterday encouraging people to buy tickets to the tournament.

In fact, current and former players were approached to do it, but declined the offer, an England Rugby 2015 official said.

Watch the video here

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Keven Mealamu

MENTOR: Keven Mealamu imparts some knowledge to All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith.

Keven Mealamu says he isn’t done yet, not by a long shot.

As another round of hand wringing about the country’s lack of depth at hooker kicks off, Mealamu has reiterated his desire to be part of next year’s World Cup campaign.

Dane Coles’ looming absence from part, or all, of the All Blacks’ trip to Argentina and South Africa later this month for the birth of his partner’s child has again highlighted the dearth of options available to coach Steve Hansen.

Bay of Plenty’s Nathan Harris was the next cab off the rank, but after that it was anybody’s guess.

“We’ve been bringing people in and out of the environment,” Hansen said.

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The 1995 All Blacks

LINGERING PAIN: The 1995 All Blacks look on after losing the World Cup final at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

The awful truth about the Wallabies’ hammering last weekend is that by 2015 the All Blacks could roll out an entirely different back line and dish it out all over again.

Wallowing in pessimism? Perhaps, but look at the stockpile of talent that wasn’t even in the 23 in Auckland that, in theory, they could select next year.

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Israel Folau

Wanted man… Israel Folau playing against the All Blacks.

The risk of losing star Wallabies like Israel Folau after the 2015 World Cup has prompted the Australian Rugby Union to change its rules to allow overseas sabbaticals.

The Australian Rugby Union will dangle a sizeable carrot to lure the country’s top players to sevens in the lead up to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

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IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 - EnglandA New Zealand radio station has been criticised after running a competition to see how far its male listeners will go to win tickets to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The Edge offered tickets if two heterosexual male friends got married. “We’ve done stranger weddings, naked weddings, same sex weddings but this is the first one that we know will end in divorce,” the station said in its promotional material.

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Aviva Premiership

The Aviva Premiership is threatening to continue with their league schedule

Premiership Rugby has threatened to continue with their league programme during next year’s Rugby World Cup unless a deal can be reached with the RFU.

Tensions have been running high between Premiership Rugby and the RFU in recent months.

Premiership Rugby are upset after the RFU failed to consult them over the bid for the Rugby World Cup.

They are now seeking a compensation deal of £14 million from the RFU as they will have to shut down the league while the Rugby World Cup is taking place in England.

With the global showpiece scheduled to take place between September and October, England’s Premiership clubs will have no matchday income for five months – as the tournament finishes at the end of May – and according to projections each top tier club are set to lose £1.2 million.

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Josh Strauss

Josh Strauss in action for Glasgow Warriors

Josh Strauss admits he must deliver another sterling season for Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO12 – and only then can he turn his attention to winning a Scotland cap.

Strauss, 27, made the move from South Africa to Glasgow in 2012 and will be eligible to play for Scotland on September 19, 2015 – four days before their opening World Cup match.

The back-row has been a formidable force for Gregor Townsend over the last two years, starting in 31 domestic games including last season’s final.

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Emily Scarratt

Feminine side: Emily Scarratt receives the England Women’s Player of the Year award in 2013.

The hostility Emily Scarratt suffered for wanting to play rugby as a teenager was made to look even more absurd when she sealed England’s World Cup triumph last Sunday with a superb individual try.

Like the rest of her team-mates, Scarratt is only too aware of the cliches surrounding women’s rugby.

‘Leave it to the men,’ the dinosaurs say. ‘The rugby field is no place for girls’.

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Gary Botha (L) and Ian McIntosh (R) pose with students from Waterkloof high school in Pretoria

Gary Botha (L) and Ian McIntosh (R) pose with students from Waterkloof high school in Pretoria

The Webb Ellis Cup has completed its first day in South Africa as part of the fifth leg of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour.

On August 18 the Trophy visited Hoerskool Waterkloof in Pretoria where children from the school, along with groups from St Peters, Pretoria Technical High School and Elarduspark got to show off their Rugby playing skills in a coaching clinic which was led by former South Africa coach Ian McIntosh and Rugby World Cup 2007 winner Gary Botha.

Land Rover supports a number of schools through its South African dealer network – a total of 31 dealers who support local schools within their communities.

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England Women

England claimed the Women’s Rugby World Cup after defeating Canada in the final.

England were crowned champions after beating first-time finalists Canada 21-9 in an enthralling Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 title decider at Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris on Sunday.

Hosts France overcame Ireland 25-18 to finish third, while four-time champions New Zealand ran riot against the USA and Australia beat Wales to secure fifth and seventh place. Spain overcame South Africa for ninth place and Samoa picked up their first win to condemn Kazakhstan to 12th place.

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Women's Rugby World Cup 2014England will be aiming to end a run of three straight defeats in Women’s Rugby World Cup finals when they meet Canada in Paris on Sunday.

The Red Roses, who claimed their only world title in 1994, were beaten by New Zealand in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Gary Street’s team are favourites to beat a Canadian side who will be appearing in their first final.

But England captain Katy Mclean warned: “As soon as you start thinking about lifting cups is when you fall over.”

New Zealand, winners of the last four World Cups, were knocked out of the competition at the pool stage after a shock defeat by Ireland.

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Rugby World Cup 2015 rugby ballInnovation and tradition is at the heart of MATCH XV, the official Rugby World Cup 2015 match ball, launched by Rugby World Cup suppliers Gilbert today.

The MATCH XV will make its debut in the English Premiership and French Top 14 later this month and will be used in top level Test matches throughout the rest of 2014 and 2015, meaning the world’s best players will have plenty of competition time with the ball.

A modern classic, the MATCH XV is the latest in a succession of balls stretching back to 1995 to be engineered by the industry-leaders specifically for Rugby’s global showpiece tournament and is packed with innovation. It is also the most-tested Gilbert ball in history.

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Women's Rugby World Cup 2014Canada will face former champions England in the final of Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 on Sunday at the Stade Jean Bouin after they enjoyed contrasting semi-final victories in the French capital.

England booked their place in a sixth Women’s Rugby World Cup final after an emphatic 40-7 victory over first-time semi-finalists Ireland, the Red Roses finally producing the all-round performance they had been craving.

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Women's Rugby World Cup 2014There will be a new name on the Women’s Rugby World Cup as New Zealand are the high profile absentee in the final four of the competition.

In the last round of the pool stages in Marcoussis, England’s draw with Canada saw both into the semi-finals where they will be joined by Australia and Ireland.

New Zealand, who have triumphed in the past four World Cups, won their last game of the pools but they went into their game against the USA already knowing they were out of the competition.

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Nemani Nadolo

Nemani Nadolo

Nemani Nadolo will remain at the Crusaders for two more years, after reports in New Zealand said the giant Fijian winger “never had any intention of going anywhere else”.

“We have loved having Nemani in the Crusaders this season, as have our fans, so it gives me great pleasure to confirm that he will be returning to the team next year and in 2016,” Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said.

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Women's Rugby Wolrd Cup 2014Ireland produced one of the shocks of Women’s Rugby World Cup history by beating four-time world champions New Zealand on an historic day at Marcoussis. As a result of their 17-14 victory, Philip Doyle’s side has taken command of Pool B with a two-point lead now established over the Black Ferns and USA, who meet in the final round of pool fixtures on Saturday.

Another mouth-watering tie lies in wait in Pool A where England and Canada are separated only by points difference at the top of the table, after both teams recorded their second consecutive bonus-point wins of the competition.

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RussiaRussia remain in the hunt for the final place at Rugby World Cup 2015 after beating Zimbabwe 23-15 in their Repechage semi-final in Krasnoyarsk on Saturday.

The Bears, bidding to reach a second consecutive tournament, will now face the winner of the match later today in Montevideo between Uruguay and Hong Kong for the right to join hosts England, Australia, Wales and Fiji in Pool A at RWC 2015.

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Women's Rugby World Cup 2014Defending champions New Zealand got their World Cup defence off to a strong start on day one of the tournament while wins for hosts France, Canada, Australia, England and Ireland mean the competition is set for more classic match-ups before the 17 August final.

The seventh Women’s Rugby World Cup saw sell-out crowds watch six top-quality matches at FFR headquarters in the French capital.

Ireland beat their Pool B rivals USA in a match that could be crucial for the progress of the girls in green, while Australia and England impressed in their pool openers.

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Women's Rugby World Cup 2014The Springbok Women on Friday suffered a disappointing 26-3 defeat against Australia in their opening Women’s Rugby World Cup clash at the French Rugby Federation in Marcoussis.

South Africa showed encouraging signs throughout the match, but their struggle to breach Australia’s defensive line combined with penalties conceded and mistakes made at crucial times denied them from starting the tournament on a high note.

Australia had the upper hand in the first 25 minutes as they retained possession and forced the Bok Women to defend for long periods.

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The choice of England as the host nation for next year’s Rugby World Cup is a fitting one, as it is of course the birthplace of the game.

There is a good sense of continuity after the 2011 edition in New Zealand, as the Land of the Long White Cloud is considered one of the sport’s great heartlands. There is a sense of the battle for the Webb Ellis Cup moving from one side of the world to the other.

The southern Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk may not be the geographical halfway point between Eden Park and Twickenham but it is not too far from it at nearly 8,000 miles from Auckland and almost 4,500 miles from London.

So, perhaps it is apt that the Russian city is to play host to the Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifier between Russia and Zimbabwe with a place in the repechage final against either Uruguay or Hong Kong up for grabs.

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Womens Rugby World Cup 2014

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

C’est parti!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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German Football

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

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

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

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Chloe Butler

Chloe in her Wallaroos outfit

IT’S far from the conventional route, but Chloe Butler had to lose her kit to wear a new one.

The former pin-up girl of the Lingerie Football League is part of Australia’s Wallaroos squad heading to France on Sunday to compete in the IRB Rugby World Cup.

And she insists it was lingerie football that got her here.

To see Chloe in her LFL outfit…..keep reading!

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New Zealand Women

New Zealand celebrate a fourth consecutive WRWC title following victory over England in the 2010 final

With just over two weeks to go before Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014, we take a look back at how previous tournaments unfolded and at the Springbok squad and preparations.

Women’s rugby has experienced phenomenal growth in recent times and the number of women and girls playing the game currently stands at 1.5 million, a quarter of the overall total.

Much of that growth over the past five years has been driven by Olympic inclusion, the inception of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, Rugby World Cup Sevens and ongoing work between national unions and Olympic Committees.

However, many countries have deep roots in the women’s 15-a-side game, which has already seen seven world tournaments, four sanctioned by the IRB and three ‘unofficial World Cups’.

Here we provide a brief history of the Women’s Rugby World Cup movement.

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Bakkies Botha

Springbok hard man, Bakkies Botha, showing his romantic side

Springbok and Toulon lock Bakkies Botha has spoken about life in France, the final 18 months of his career and what he has planned after rugby.

After his successful run with the Springboks in June against the World XV and Wales, the My Players website caught up with the 35-year-old during his off time in the South African bush.

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FIFA World Cup 2014 - BrazilThe FIFA Football World Cup 2014 ends this weekend in Brazil.

The only games remaining are the 3rd Place Play-off on Saturday 12 July 2014 and the Final on Sunday 13 July 2014!

In the 3rd Place Play-off game, Brazil face Netherlands

In the grand Final, it is Germany vs Argentina.

Who will be crowned Football World Champion in 2014?

All of the games are live on TV in SA on SS3 HD, SS3 & Maximo.

FIFA World Cup 2014 - BrazilThe FIFA Football World Cup 2014 is nearing the end in Brazil.

The Quarter-Finals are a thing of the past, only 4 Teams remain!

In the Semi-Finals we have 2 South American Teams against 2 European Teams, who will come out on top? If a Team wins here, they progress to the Final and the loser books a place on the 3rd Place Play-Off!

It is the 3rd Place Play-Off on 12 July and the all importeant Final on 13 July 2014.

In the 1st Semi-Final on 8 July it is Brazil vs Germany and the 2nd Semi-Final on 9 July is between Netherlands vs Argentina.

All of the games are live on TV in SA on SS3 HD, SS3 & Maximo.

NamibiaNamibia qualified for a fifth successive Rugby World Cup by thumping hosts Madagascar 89-10 on Sunday to win the African preliminaries and book a place in Pool C at next year’s tournament alongside defending champions New Zealand.

Namibia finished level on two wins each with Kenya and Zimbabwe at the end of the four-team tournament but qualified by virtue of more bonus points.

Their task was made easier on Sunday when Zimbabwe beat Kenya 28-10, setting Namibia a target of beating Madagascar by 53 points to qualify.

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FIFA World Cup 2014 - BrazilThe FIFA Football World Cup 2014 is nearing the end in Brazil.

The Group Stages are already done and dusted, only 8 Teams remain!

In the knock-out stages, there are no 2nd chances, you lose and you go home. You win and you live to fight another day!

It is the Quarter-finals on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 July.

It is Germany vs France & Brazil vs Columbia on Friday and Argentina vs Belgium & Netherlands vs Costa Rica on Saturday.

The Semi-finals are on 8 & 9 July 2014.

All of the games are live on TV in SA on SS3 HD, SS3 & Maximo.

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