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Former South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins (Photo by Luke Walker/Gallo Images)

Former South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins (Photo by Luke Walker/Gallo Images)

Mr Oregan Hoskins announced on Wednesday that he was stepping down as president of the South African Rugby Union (SARU) after a decade of service and achievement.

Mr Hoskins advised the membership of SA Rugby at a meeting of the General Council in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

“I have enjoyed a remarkable ten and a half years in one of the most high-profile roles in South African sport and have enjoyed some incredible highs,” said Mr Hoskins. “It has been a pleasure and a privilege and I want to thank everyone involved in South African rugby for the fantastic journey we have shared.

“There have also been plenty of challenges to confront but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way – it’s an indication of how much our sport matters in this country.

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England1South AfricaEngland U20  (31) 39 / 17 (3) Junior Springboks U20 (Final Score)

England Under 20 and South Africa’s Junior Springboks Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 (semifinals) at Manchester, at 20:45 SA Time (18:45 GMT, 19:45 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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IrelandArgentinaIreland U20  (21) 37 / 7 (7) Argentina U20 (Final Score)

Ireland Under 20 and Argentina Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 (semifinals) at Manchester, at 18:30 SA Time (16:30 GMT, 17:30 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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New ZealandWalesNew Zealand U20  (35) 71 / 12 (5) Wales U20 (Final Score)

New Zealand Under 20 and Wales Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 (5yh Place Play-off) at Manchester, at 16:15 SA Time (14:15 GMT, 15:15 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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South AfricaFranceJunior Springboks (18) 40 / 31 (24) France U20 (Final Score)

South Africa’s Junior Springbok Under 20 and France Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Salford, at 20:45 SA Time (18:45 GMT, 19:45 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.

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England1AustraliaEngland U20  (6) 17 / 13 (13) Australia U20 (Final Score)

England Under 20 and Australia Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Manchester, at 20:45 SA Time (18:45 GMT, 19:45 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on TV in SA.

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GeorgiaIrelandIreland U20  (20) 35 / 7 (7) Georgia U20 (Final Score)

Ireland Under 20 and Georgia Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Manchester, at 18:30 SA Time (16:30 GMT, 17:30 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.

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New ZealandWalesNew Zealand U20  (10) 18 / 17 (14) Wales U20 (Final Score)

France Under 20 and Japan Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Salford, at 18:30 SA Time (16:30 GMT, 17:30 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on TV in SA.

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ItalyScotlandScotland U20  (5) 27 / 19 (7) Italy U20 (Final Score)

Scotland Under 20 and Italy Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Manchester, at 16:30 SA Time (14:30 GMT, 15:30 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.

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ArgentinaJapan-Rugby-LogoArgentina U20  (15) 39 / 20 (13) Japan U20 (Final Score)

Argentina Under 20 and Japan Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Salford, at 16:30 SA Time (14:30 GMT, 15:30 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on TV in SA.

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South AfricaArgentinaJunior Springboks (6) 13 / 19 (13) Argentina U20 (Final Score)

South Africa’s Junior Springbok Under 20 and Argentina Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Salford, at 19:00 SA Time (17:00 GMT, 18:00 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on TV in SA.

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ScotlandEngland1England U20 (13) 44 / 0 (0) Scotland U20 (Final Score)

England Under 20 and Scotland Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Manchester, at 19:00 SA Time (17:00 GMT, 18:00 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was not broadcast LIVE on TV in SA.

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WalesGeorgiaWales U20 (7) 10 / 9 (6) Georgia U20 (Final Score)

Wales Under 20 and Georgia Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Manchester, at 16:45 SA Time (14:45 GMT, 15:45 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was not broadcast LIVE on TV in SA.

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FranceJapan-Rugby-LogoFrance U20 (17) 46 / 14 (7) Japan U20 (Final Score)

France Under 20 and Japan Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Salford, at 16:45 SA Time (14:45 GMT, 15:45 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on TV in SA.

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ItalyAustraliaAustralia U20 (7) 38 / 10 (10) Italy U20 (Final Score)

Australia Under 20 and Italy Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Manchester, at 14:30 SA Time (12:30 GMT, 13:30 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on TV in SA.

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New ZealandIrelandNew Zealand U20 (14) 24 / 33 (20) Ireland U20 (Final Score)

New Zealand Under 20 and Ireland Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Salford, at 14:30 SA Time (12:30 GMT, 13:30 UK Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was not broadcast LIVE on TV in SA.

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Rugby-Talk.com LogoSuperBru

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi,

We have 2 NEW SuperBru Pools for all to join!

  • The World Rugby Under 20 Championship (Junior World Cup) 2016 starts on 7 June 2016 (today), so hurry up and do not delay to register for it!
  • The June Internationals 2016 starts on 11 June 2016, register for it too, whilst the iron is hot!

This year we are doing it a bit differently and opened our Pools up to all readers of Rugby-Talk.com, but we encourage you to register as a subsciber on Rugby-Talk.com anyway, as our banter and commenting about our Pools will mostly take place here on the website and not on the SuperBru banter boards! It is so easy to register and such fun to discuss rugby here.

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South AfricaJapanJunior Springboks (14) 59 / 19 (19) Japan U20 (Final Score)

South Africa’s Junior Springbok Under 20 and Japan Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Manchester, at 16:15 SA Time (14:15 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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FranceArgentinaFrance U20 (8) 15 / 24 (6) Argentina U20 (Final Score)

France Under 20 and Argentina Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Salford, at 16:15 SA Time (14:15 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on TV in SA.

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WalesIrelandWales U20 (17) 25 / 26 (15) Ireland U20 (Final Score)

Wales Under 20 and Ireland Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Manchester, at 18:30 SA Time (16:30 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.

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AustraliaScotlandAustralia U20 (7) 10 / 15 (3) Scotland U20 (Final Score)

Australia Under 20 and Scotland Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Salford, at 18:30 SA Time (16:30 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on TV in SA.

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EnglandItalyEngland U20 (17) 48 / 10 (3) Italy U20 (Final Score)

England Under 20 and Italy Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Manchester, at 20:45 SA Time (18:45 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.

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New ZealandGeorgiaNew Zealand U20 (31) 55 / 0 (0) Georgia U20 (Final Score)

New Zealand Under 20 and Georgia Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 at Salford, at 20:45 SA Time (14:15 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on TV in SA.

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rorylamont

Rory Lamont: On-field treatment following Fibula fracture against France in 2012

The relationship between Rory Lamont and rugby has always been uneasy. When it was good, it was really good: 29 Scotland caps, two World Cups, and stints in Europe’s top leagues with Toulon, Sale and Glasgow.

When it was bad, it was really bad: whispering campaigns about his attitude, 16 operations, “double figure” concussions. By the time the game ran out of uses for him, the feeling was entirely mutual.

Three years ago this week, Lamont announced his retirement. The last of his many injuries, a lower leg fracture from the previous year, hadn’t properly healed and the end came as a relief.

“I was thinking, ‘finally it’s over’. I felt like an animal being put out of its misery. I’d had a miserable year, people questioning my integrity, and I couldn’t wait to crack on with my life and all the amazing things I was going to do.”

Never did he picture becoming a recluse, battling severe depression and suicidal thoughts. Nowhere in the retirement brochure did it say he’d lose 25kg in four months and be unable to stomach solids for a further five. The bit about being so low he hoped he’d be run over by a bus? Not what he’d signed up for either.

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Fourie du Preez

Fourie du Preez

Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez called time on his illustrious rugby career today (Thursday).

The 34-year-old Du Preez represented South Africa in 76 Tests between 2004 and 2015, captaining the Springboks in 4 Tests at the World Cup in England last year. He also won 164 caps for the Bulls and Blue Bulls from 2001 to 2011, and played 55 times for Suntory Sungoliath in Japan.

Du Preez played his last match in the green and gold in last year’s World Cup semifinal against New Zealand, where he picked up an injury which ruled him out of the 3rd-place play-off. He has subsequently finished his career with Suntory.

“Fourie du Preez will go down in the annals of South African rugby as one of the most decorated players ever,” said SA Rugby President Oregan Hoskins.

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Ayumu Goromaru

Ayumu Goromaru

Japan is looking to cash in on the rugby fever that swept the nation in recent weeks by unveiling a life-size bronze statue of Rugby World Cup star Ayumu Goromaru.

However, fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the golden-coloured figure – crouching with its fingers clasped together in the player’s trademark kick routine – will have to be quick.

After being unveiled by Goromaru himself on Monday it will be part of the decorations for Tokyo’s Christmas illuminations for a month only and be removed again afterwards.

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Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones

England’s new rugby coach Eddie Jones has been hired as an adviser by Goldman Sachs in Japan in the hope he can reproduce the Midas touch he showed at the Rugby World Cup.

The 55-year-old Australian, who recently led Japan’s Brave Blossoms to 3 victories in 4 games at the Rugby World Cup, will join a 9-member advisory board at the start of next year, a spokesman said Friday.

“(Jones) has achieved the impossible by bringing the Japanese team to a level on par with the best in world rugby,” Goldman Sachs Japan president Masanori Mochida said in a statement.

“Goldman Sachs will benefit from his unrivalled leadership and his ability to bring together a multi-cultural team, set clear goals and pull an entire team toward a shared vision.”

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Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones will most likely not be coming back to Cape Town to assist the DHL Stormers in their pre-season preparation work, but he will be in Los Angelos this week.

Newly appointed England coach Jones will be addressing a World Rugby workshop on the success of the Japan team at the Rugby World Cup, who won 3 games despite failing to make the play-offs under his guidance.

Jones was unveiled as the new DHL Stormers coach earlier this month, before being made an offer he could not refuse by the English RFU which saw him leave Cape Town after just 2 weeks.

Stormers director of rugby, Gert Smal, claimed that Jones would return to Cape Town in December to assist with the planning for next season, explaining that the experienced coach felt bad for the way things had transpired with the Stormers.

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Jonah Lomu

R.I.P. Jonah Lomu

New Zealand rugby union great Jonah Lomu has died aged 40.

Lomu, who scored 43 tries in 73 matches for New Zealand between 1994 and 2002, had been diagnosed with a rare and serious kidney condition.

It forced him to quit the game and he had a kidney transplant in 2004, but the organ stopped functioning in 2011.

“Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world,” said New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew.

“We’re lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah’s family.”

Family spokesman John Mayhew told New Zealand television that Lomu’s death was “totally unexpected” and that he had only arrived back from the UK on Tuesday, after spending time there for the Rugby World Cup.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said: “The thoughts of the entire country are with his family.”

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Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw

Double Rugby World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw is expected to confirm his decision to retire from rugby this week, New Zealand media reported on Sunday.

McCaw, who turns 35 on 31 December, led the All Blacks to their 3rd Rugby World Cup triumph 2 weeks ago when his side beat trans-Tasman rivals Australia 34 / 17 in the final at a packed Twickenham stadium in London.

The All Blacks were the 1st team to retain the trophy, after the openside flanker led the team to victory in 2011 while playing with a broken foot.

McCaw had done little to dampen expectations that he would retire after this year’s Rugby World Cup, though never explicitly said he would, preferring to state he would not make up his mind until the global showpiece ended.

He was not named last month in the Canterbury Super Rugby squad for 2016 though New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the Crusaders said there was space for him if he chose to play on.

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ScotlandWhen he took to the field as Scotland cap number 1 073, Josh Strauss became the 50th player to make his debut for the national side since the last Rugby World Cup in 2011. This is by far the highest number of new players for Scotland in any Rugby World Cup cycle – more, in fact, than the previous 2 combined (48 new caps). It requires going back to the 1950s to find a greater number of 1st caps in a 4 year period.

Despite having the smallest player base of any of the Six Nations, Scotland has had more debutants than any of their rivals:

  • England – 41
  • France – 40
  • Ireland – 37
  • Italy – 31
  • Wales – 37

In fact only 1 side who competed at this year’s Rugby World Cup awarded more new caps in the last 4 years. By a quirk of the global calendar Argentina didn’t have access to many of their 1st (or even 2nd) choice players when the South American Championship takes place and 54 of their 67 new caps (including 24 in the space of 5 days in 2013, the last year they appeared in it!) debuted in the annual iterations of this tournament.

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EnglandEngland Rugby Football Union Chief Executive Ian Ritchie said that England were determined to appoint a coach of “proven international experience”.

The search for this new coach – to replace Stuart Lancaster – will continue, however long it takes.

England’s dismal Rugby World Cup campaign set the seal on Lancaster’s 3-and-a-half years in charge, with the RFU announcing earlier on Wednesday he had left his post by “mutual consent”.

Under Lancaster – who had little prior elite rugby experience – England became the 1st host nation to fail to get out of the group phase at the recent Rugby World Cup.

RFU Chief Executive Ritchie said the decision to replace Lancaster had been “unanimously accepted” by the governing body’s board.

England’s next match is their Six Nations opener away to Scotland on 6 February, with the squad due to be announced in January.

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SpringboksStrange as it may seem considering the hype beforehand over “emotional Springbok swansongs” in the bronze playoff match at Rugby World Cup 2015, only 1 member of the squad at the tournament, captain Jean de Villiers, has officially confirmed his Test retirement.

Several younger Springboks spoke beforehand of their desire to beat Argentina – a task duly achieved – as a fitting send-off for senior players bidding farewell to the green-and-gold cause.

Almost 2 weeks on from the end of the Rugby World Cup, however, it is still only the luckless Jean de Villiers, injured again in just the 2nd Rugby World Cup match against Samoa, who has definitely bowed out after 109 appearances since 2002.

Perhaps influenced by the state of flux surrounding embattled coach Heyneke Meyer, the likes of Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez, Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana intriguingly haven’t yet pulled the plug publicly on their illustrious Springbok careers.

The majority of “older” Springboks who took part in their hot-and-cold Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign are now exclusively foreign-based and there have been some pleas back home for only locally-stationed players to be chosen for South Africa henceforth – a tricky matter considering the ever-shrinking strength of the Rand against other currencies, which hardly helps keeps the best players rooted here.

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Stuart Lancaster and Ian Richie

Stuart Lancaster and Ian Richie

The England Rugby Football Union revealed that Stuart Lancaster has, by mutual consent, stepped down as England coach.

The decision follows England’s recent Rugby World Cup campaign, which saw the team knocked out of the tournament at the Pool stages – after defeats to Wales and Australia.

Lancaster was appointed full time in April 2012 and guided England to 2nd place in all of the past 4 Six Nations Championships, with 1 of his notable victories coming against the All Blacks in 2012, 1 of 28 wins in the 46 Test matches during which he was in charge of England.

“I am obviously extremely saddened to finish the way we did in this World Cup and to step down from the role,” Lancaster said.

“As I have always said, I ultimately accept and take responsibility for the team’s performance and we have not delivered the results we all hoped for during this tournament.

“I did, however, want to take part in the review to ensure I understood the views of others before making a decision.

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SpringboksThe South African Rugby Union (SARU) has delayed its General Council meeting by a week.

The meeting was originally due to take place on 4 December and is understood to have a major influence on whether or not Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s contract is extended following the Springboks semifinal exit at this year’s Rugby World Cup.

The meeting will now take place on 11 December and will follow a meeting of the Executive Council on 9 December.

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Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland

Wales coach Warren Gatland will quit his post after the 2019 Rugby World Cup and return to New Zealand, media reports in his homeland said on Friday.

Gatland, already Wales’ longest-serving coach after taking up the position in 2007, said he wanted to head home and possibly take a break before resuming his career in New Zealand.

“I’m here (Wales) until 2019 and the plan for me then is definitely to come home for a period,” he reportedly told commercial radio.

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Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess

Former England coach Sir Clive Woodward says English rugby union is a “laughing stock” after Sam Burgess returned to Rugby League.

Burgess was part of the England squad which went out of their home Rugby World Cup in the group stages.

He will now leave Bath and rejoin South Sydney Rabbitohs in Australia.

Woodward, who led England to 2003 Rugby World Cup success, said he did not blame Burgess “for this mess” but the English game was at one of its “all-time lows”.

Burgess, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, played 21 games for Bath after joining them just over a year ago, scoring 4 tries.

Having made his England debut in August, he was selected for the Rugby World Cup ahead of Northampton centre Luther Burrell, who had looked to have established himself in the team after playing in all 5 of their Six Nations matches earlier in the year.

Burgess, who had been playing at blindside flanker for his club, was picked at centre for the hosts against Wales in the Rugby World Cup and his selection sparked much debate.

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Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess

England Rugby Union international Sam Burgess has left Premiership club Bath with immediate effect in order to return to Rugby League side South Sydney Rabbitohs, the BBC reported Thursday.

The 26-year-old Burgess had 2 years left on a 3-year deal with west country side Bath.

Burgess was a member of the England squad that recently became the 1st Rugby World Cup host nation to exit the tournament in the group stages, with coach Stuart Lancaster criticised for what many saw as the overly rapid promotion of the Bath man into the Test side.

It was only last year, after helping South Sydney win the Australian National Rugby League Grand Final, that Burgess changed codes with the express ambition of playing for England at the Rugby World Cup.

The end of his brief spell in union is likely to prove embarrassing for both Bath and Lancaster, whose position as England coach is currently being scrutinised as part of a Rugby Football Union review into England’s woeful Rugby World Cup campaign.

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Fikile Mbalula

Fikile Mbalula

Sports minister Fikile Mbabula is expected to brief the media on Thursday on the Springboks’ performance in the Rugby World Cup, as well as on transformation in the national team.

South Africa lost to New Zealand in the one semifinal of the tournament, following blistering wins against Samoa, Scotland and the USA. Those victories came after the Springboks lost in their opening game against Japan.

There has been debate about the racial make-up of the team, especially from the side of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) – who has taken a strong line against coach Heyneke Meyer.

Cosatu Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said on Tuesday that Meyer “must rest assured that he is not welcome in rugby by the majority of SA supporters and he should go”.

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Kane Douglas down injured in the Final against the All Blacks

Kane Douglas down injured in the Final against the All Blacks

Wallabies lock Kane Douglas faces surgery on his injured left knee this week after MRI scans confirmed he sustained a ruptured ACL during Australia’s World Cup Final against New Zealand.

The 26-year-old injured his knee when he fell awkwardly just 15 minutes into the decider and took no further part in the match.

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Nehe Milner-Skudder waving to Auckland crowds at the All Blacks homecoming

Nehe Milner-Skudder waving to Auckland crowds at the All Blacks homecoming

The All Blacks returned home to a frenzy of hakas and hysteria on Wednesday, with even the players stunned as 50 000 fans packed central Auckland to celebrate their Rugby World Cup victory.

“It’s huge to come back and see all this support and everyone turning out, it’s just overwhelming,” the tournament’s breakout star Nehe Milner-Skudder said as the crowd at the city’s Victoria Park roared approval.

The All Blacks arrived from London early Wednesday morning and celebrations began even before they stepped off the plane, with dozens of airport workers performing a haka on the tarmac to welcome them.

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Ayumu Goromaru

Ayumu Goromaru

Japan’s Rugby World Cup hero Ayumu Goromaru will join the Reds after signing with the club for the 2016 Super Rugby season.

The 29-year-old fullback became a household name in Japan and turned the rugby world on its head last month when he led his nation’s shock 34 / 32 win over South Africa – with the match being described as the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history.

Goromaru scored 24 points in that match and twice received Man-Of-The-Match honours at the tournament. He has since been labeled a ‘national hero’ in Japan after spearheading his nation’s Rugby World Cup campaign in which they secured a record 3 wins.

The 2016 season will be Goromaru’s 1st in Super Rugby. He has spent his entire professional career playing in Japan’s Top League, while also forging an impressive Test Rugby résumé, with 56 Test caps and 708 points – making him Japan’s all-time leading points scorer.

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Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika

Rugby World Cup finalists the Wallabies must improve rather than hope the All Blacks drop their lofty standards if they are to overhaul the triple champions, coach Michael Cheika said.

The Australians arrived home during the morning after losing 17 / 34 to the All Blacks in last weekend’s final at Twickenham Stadium.

While the Wallabies have regained respect and more followers in their own country after their Rugby World Cup exploits, Cheika warned his team had to do better if they are to reach the summit of world rugby.

The All Blacks became the 1st team to win 3 Rugby World Cups, but face a breakup with a string of international retirements headed by World Player of the Year Dan Carter along with Test centurions Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock and Ma’a Nonu as well as centre Conrad Smith.

Skipper Richie McCaw, rated by coach Steve Hansen as the greatest All Black, is also undecided about his playing future.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

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.

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Steve Hansen & Richie McCaw with the coveted Webb Ellis Cup

Steve Hansen & Richie McCaw with the coveted Webb Ellis Cup

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.

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World RugbyAs well as winning a host of new admirers for their adventurous approach throughout Rugby World Cup 2015, beaten semifinalists Argentina and headline-grabbing Japan have also enjoyed the biggest rise of all the competing nations in the World Rugby Rankings. Both are ranked 3 places higher than where they were when Rugby World Cup 2015 began at Twickenham Stadium on Friday 18 September.Los Pumas have moved up from 8th to 5th thanks to their 2nd place finish behind New Zealand in Pool C and the way that they effortlessly brushed Ireland aside in the quarterfinals.

A disappointing World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup campaign this summer left Japan languishing 13th in the rankings, and at that stage few people would have predicted what they would go on to achieve in England: 3 wins from 4 and a place in tournament folklore.

The Brave Blossoms’ historic 34 / 32 win over South Africa in Brighton may not have been enough to book them a place in the knockout stages but it did help them return to the world’s Top 10.

With points exchanges doubled to reflect the importance Rugby World Cup matches no-one fared better than Japan, going from 72.06 rating points pre-tournament to 77.05 at its conclusion.

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All Blacks celebrate winningOne 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.

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Richie McCaw & Steve Hansen to be knighted?

Richie McCaw & Steve Hansen to be knighted?

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.

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SpringboksThe positons of the Springbok coaching and management team for the 2016 season and beyond will be reviewed by the Executive Council (Exco) of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), SARU announced on Monday.

Jurie Roux, the chief executive officer of SARU, said that the contracts of all of the national team’s coaching, medical and logistical staff expire at the end of the year.

“The Executive Council (Exco) has the power to appoint management and coaching staff with the exception of the position of the Springbok coach, which is ultimately decided by the General Council of SARU,” said Roux.

“That body meets on 4 December when the positon of the Springbok coach for 2016 will be on the agenda. Once all affected individuals have been notified of any decisions a public announcement will be made, which is not expected before 5 December.

“We realise the great public interest in the subject and this is easily one of the most important decisions we take as an organisation. Supporters will understand therefore that we have many factors to consider before any announcements can be made. Those deliberations cannot take place in public out of respect for individuals and our governance structures.”

Media are advised that SARU will make no further comment on the process until any announcements have been made.

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Dan Carter, World Rugby Player of the Year 2015

Dan Carter, World Rugby Player of the Year 2015

Dan Carter has been named World Rugby Player of the Year 2015 in association with MasterCard during a star-studded World Rugby Awards ceremony at Battersea Evolution in London on Sunday.

Flyhalf Carter joins his All Blacks captain Richie McCaw as a 3-time recipient of the prestigious accolade, having also been named Player of the Year in 2005 and 2012, and follows in the footsteps of other previous winners such as Thierry Dusautoir, Bryan Habana and Jonny Wilkinson.

New Zealand was named World Rugby Team of the Year after becoming the 1st nation to successfully defend the Webb Ellis Cup with a 34 / 17 defeat of Australia in the Rugby World Cup 2015 final on Saturday.

Australia coach Michael Cheika received the World Rugby Coach of the Year accolade after transforming the Wallabies in his 12 months at the helm, guiding them to The Rugby Championship title and the Rugby World Cup 2015 final.

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Sonny Bill Williams gives his Gold medal to young Charlie Lines, the boy who was tackled by a security guard

Sonny Bill Williams gives his Gold medal to young Charlie Lines, the boy who was tackled by a security guard

All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams was presented with a new Rugby World Cup winners’ medal to replace the 1 he handed to a young fan after Saturday’s victory over Australia.

The boy, identified as 15-year-old Charlie Lines, was thrown to the ground by a security official after running on to the Twickenham pitch following New Zealand’s 34 / 17 triumph.

“I am sure that he’ll remember it. I’m happy that he has it because I know that he will really appreciate it,” Williams said at Sunday’s World Player of the Year awards.

“When he’s older, he can tell the story to his children.”

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