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World RugbyAs the Rugby World Cup looms, the Springboks this week remain 4th on World Rugby’s official rankings.

Heyneke Meyer’s charges currently boast 85.15 ratings points, trailing Ireland Australia and New Zealand.

Ireland’s 16 / 10 home loss to Wales at the weekend saw them slip to 3rd, with Australia moving into 2nd spot.

Ireland’s defeat cost them 1.7 ratings points, leaving them on 85.19 points, 1.48 adrift of the Wallabies.

The All Blacks (92.89) remain comfortably atop the rankings – a position they have occupied since November 2009.

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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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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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Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith

New Zealand Rugby, the Highlanders and Manawatu Rugby have announced that Aaron Smith has re-committed through until at least the end of the 2019 season.

26-Year-old Smith, who has played 41 Tests for the All Blacks, 78 games (including 60 consecutive matches) for the Highlanders and more than 40 matches for the Manawatu Turbos, has become an integral part of the All Blacks and Highlanders success over the last few years. He was a standout player for the Highlanders this season, helping the team to their inaugural Super Rugby title and carried his form into the All Blacks season.

The Test scrumhalf said, “I’m really excited and thankful for the commitment shown from New Zealand Rugby, including the Highlanders and Manawatu Turbos.

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Liam Messam

Liam Messam

Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams and Liam Messam are the only 2 All Blacks regulars named in New Zealand’s initial rugby sevens squad on Wednesday to begin preparations for next year’s Rio Olympics.

Williams had been widely expected to make himself available for the sevens team for Rio after his switch back from rugby league late last year.

Messam, a former sevens player before he made the All Blacks, had also said he was keen on trying to win Olympic gold in Rio with Gordon Tietjens’ sevens side.

“We know what Liam can do and he will certainly give us some new options up front,” Tietjens said in a statement.

“He’s a hugely experienced sevens player having won 2 Commonwealth Games gold medals and been part of sevens World Series winning New Zealand teams.

“Sonny Bill Williams is a great athlete and has shown he can adapt very easily to the demands of rugby.

“I see him adjusting very well to the fast pace of sevens. He’ll be a great attacking weapon with his speed, strength and uncanny ability to offload.”

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Liam Messam

Liam Messam

SANZAR has issued All Blacks’ team management with a breach notice following an incident that occurred during the Test between the All Blacks and the Wallabies played at Eden Park on Saturday 15 August 2015.

Under tournament rules, water carriers are not permitted within the playing enclosure while the match is in progress. Liam Messam, who was acting as a water carrier for the All Blacks, entered the field of play during the 29th minute which constituted a breach of technical zone protocol.

All Blacks’ team management accepted responsibility for this breach and has been issued a fine of A$ 2 000.00.

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Charlie Faumuina

Charlie Faumuina

All Black prop Charlie Faumuina’s Rugby World Cup hopes suffered another setback after he was knocked out cold in training on Tuesday.

Faumuina was released to play for his NPC side Auckland after he was given the all clear to resume training returning from neck surgery.

Faumuina damaged his neck in the later stages of the Super Rugby series and had surgery in June in a late bid to be fit for the Rugby World Cup.

There were several options – 1 which gave him a shot at the World Cup or another which would take him out of rugby for 6 months and park his tournament ambitions alongside the injured Aaron Cruden and Patrick Tuipulotu.

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New ZealandAustraliaAll Blacks (13) 41 / 13 (6) Wallabies (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and Australian Wallabies did battle in a Bledisloe Cup game at

Eden Park, Auckland at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 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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New ZealandThe All Blacks have restricted fallout from last week’s loss to Australia to just 3 changes for the return bout in Auckland, formulating their own version of a tandem attack at the breakdown.

Victor Vito will be in the No 6 jersey on Saturday, with Sam Whitelock restored at lock, while in the backline Ma’a Nonu returns for the injured Sonny Bill Williams.

Teaming the athletic Vito with Richie McCaw should bolster the All Blacks’ speed to the collision area where they were soundly beaten by Australia’s terriers David Pocock and Michael Hooper in The Rugby Championship decider.

Whitelock returns as the senior lock to give more drive over the ball as the All Blacks fight to retain the Bledisloe Cup, which Australia last held in 2002.

Apart from sharpening that area, coach Steve Hansen has backed the notion that the bulk of his side beaten 27 / 19 last weekend deserve a shot at redemption.

But he has made clear there needs to be a commanding performance in the All Blacks’ last home game before the Rugby World Cup and to celebrate Richie McCaw breaking the World record for the most Test matches, in his 142nd international.

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Waisake Naholo

Waisake Naholo

All Blacks wing sensation Waisake Naholo declared himself back in the running for a Rugby World Cup berth after a rapid recovery from a broken leg using traditional Fijian medicine.

The miracle cure was attributed to “a gift from God”, the Fiji Times reported.

Naholo cracked a fibia during his All Blacks debut against Argentina last month, and after initial treatment in New Zealand, the Fiji-born flyer was told he would be sidelined for 3 months, putting him out of World Cup contention.

The 24-year-old then turned his back on Western medicine and contacted an uncle in Fiji who specialises in traditional medicine and was told to return to the Pacific island, the Times said.

“If you want to play in the World Cup, get on the plane and come here,” the uncle, Isei Naiova, said he told Naholo from his home in Nadroumai village, which is renowned among indigenous communities for the healing powers of certain families.

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Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams

All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams could miss Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup decider in Auckland after sustaining an injury against the Wallabies in Sydney.

New Zealand’s coach, Steve Hansen, said Williams injured his tailbone after a heavy fall midway into the 1st half of The Rugby Championship clash, which the Wallabies won by 27 / 19.

He is unlikely to train on Tuesday but has not been ruled out of the upcoming Test at Eden Park.

“He landed on his rear end… got a knock on the buttock and that’s tightened up so we’ll have to see how he goes,” explained Hansen.

Williams looked out of sorts for most of the match and his injury could explain his hesitation to take the ball in to contact against the Wallabies and he was eventually replaced by Malakai Fekitoa in the 55th minute.

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The Wallabies celebrate winning The Rugby Championship of 2015

The Wallabies celebrate winning The Rugby Championship of 2015

The Wallabies have made a statement ahead of the Rugby World Cup with a 27 / 19 victory over the All Blacks to win the 2015 Rugby Championship.

The All Blacks have won every Rugby Championship since the expansion to 4 teams in 2012, but were outscored by 3 tries to 2 by their hosts in a thrilling contest at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

The result also means New Zealand must win next week’s clash at Eden Park if they are to retain the Bledisloe Cup, which they have held since 2003.

This is Australia’s 1st title since claiming the Tri-Nations in 2011.

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AustraliaNew ZealandWallabies (3) 27 / 19 (6) All Blacks (Final Score)

The Australian Wallabies and New Zealand All Blacks did battle in Round 3 of The Rugby Championship at

ANZ Stadium, Sydney at 12:05 SA Time (20:05 AEST, 22:05 NZ Time, 07:05 Arg Time, 10:05 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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The Rugby ChampionshipIt is the 3rd and final Round of the abbreviated Rugby Championship of 2015 (Only 1 Round of matches against each side in 2015 as opposed to a double Round of matches against all sides – home and away in non Rugby World Cup years).

The last 2 games are both on Saturday 8 August.

The Action of the Round is kicked off in Sydney, Australia where the Wallabies and All Blacks dual it out for tournament honours and The Rugby Championship of 2015 concludes with the match between the Springboks against Los Pumas in Durban.

On Saturday at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney at 12:05 SA Time (20:05 AEST, 22:05 NZ Time, 10:05 GMT) referee Wayne Barnes of England is in charge in the Wallabies vs All Blacks game.

On Saturday at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban at 17:05 SA Time (12:05 ARG Time, 10:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time) referee Romain Poite of France is in charge of the Springboks vs Los Pumas game.

The game between the Wallabies and All Blacks has all to play for and should be a thriller of note. It is hard to imagine the Wallabies pipping the All Blacks though. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has opted for a rather large number of changes to the All Blacks side, but the run-on side is a vastly experienced unit… with the return of Julian Savea, Sonny Bill Williams, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith all in the backline alone. The Wallabies see some old hands like Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau & James Horwill return to the run-on side and also sees the pair of openside flankers of David Pocock and Michael Hooper in the looseforwards to try and dominate the ground ball situations against the All Blacks.

Both the Springboks and Los Pumas have made a number of changes to their run-on sides.

For the Springboks we see a return of Captain Jean de Villiers at No 13, with Jesse Kriel moving 1 wide to the right wing berth. Vincent Koch comes in for injured Jannie du Plessis at tighthead prop and Marcell Coetzee takes over at blindside flank from the injured Francois Louw. On the bench we see the return of Pieter-Steph du Toit from injury, as well as the return of Marcel van der Merwe, Siya Kolisi and Lwazi Mvovo.

The game between the Springboks should logically only go 1 way and that is with a comfortable win against Los Pumas.

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Nehe Milner-Skudder

Nehe Milner-Skudder

Hurricanes flyer Nehe Milner-Skudder will make his Test debut for the All Blacks in The Rugby Championship decider against the Wallabies.

The All Blacks and Wallabies go head-to-head in Sydney on Saturday, dead-locked at the Top of the table on 9 points each.

The 24-year-old Milner-Skudder will feature on the right wing in 1 of several changes to the All Blacks side which beat the Springboks in Johannesburg in Round 2.

Julian Savea is back on the left wing and will play his 1st Test of 2015, with Ben Smith moving back to fullback.

Sonny Bill Williams is at No 12, while Dan Carter is back at flyhalf for his 105th Test match.

In the run-on forward pack, Jerome Kaino comes in at blindside flank, while Luke Romano comes in at lock.

There are just 2 changes to the bench, with Nepo Laulala providing tighthead prop cover and Sam Cane coming in to cover the loose forwards.

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WhistleSANZAR has named the match officials for the 3rd and last Round of the abbreviated Rugby Championship of 2015.

England’s Wayne Barnes will officiate in the championship decider in Sydney and he will be assisted by Nigel Owens and Frederico Anselmi as Assistant referees. Shaun Veldsman will do TMO duty.

Frenchman Romain Poite will referee the Springboks vs Los Pumas game in Durban and will be assited by JP Doyle and Marius Mitrea, with Ben Skeen doing the TMO duties.

Poite is well remembered among Springbok fans for the controvertial sending off of Bismarck du Plessis in a Test against the All Blacks 2 years ago.

Poite harshly and erroneously Yellow-Carded Du Plessis for a tackle on All Black flyhalf Dan Carter before later dishing out another Yellow (which automatically meant a Red Card) to the hooker as the Springboks went on to lose 29 / 15 at Eden Park in Auckland.

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Rob Simmons

Rob Simmons

Wallaby lock Rob Simmons will miss this Saturday’s Rugby Championship decider against the All Blacks and next week’s Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland – after being ruled out with a scaphoid injury.

Simmons will undergo surgery in Brisbane on Tuesday and is expected to make a full recovery before the Wallabies take on the United States in Chicago next month.

Wallaby coach Michael Cheika said he was “disappointed” to lose the veteran of 52 Tests, but said it would provide great competition for other locks to press their claims for selection.

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Sam Cane

Sam Cane

All Blacks flank Same Cane is not phased by the Wallabies possibly adopting a double-fetcher approach when the 2 sides meet on Saturday.

Australia and New Zealand will clash in the 1st of 2 Bledisloe Cup ties, the 1st match being The Rugby Championship decider.

With the all-clear given to Wallaby flank Michael Hooper, Australia could well play Hooper and David Pocock in the same team, which will certainly give the All Blacks something to think about at the breakdown.

The use by more sides of 2 openside flanks is nothing new, New Zealand has had several exponents of it in their past.

But it was now being tried by South Africa and the calls were increasing for Australia to go the same way especially with quality players like Pocock and Hooper.

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Patrick Osborne

Patrick Osborne

Tawera Kerr-Barlow

Tawera Kerr-Barlow

Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Patrick Osborne are the main additions to the New Zealand squad for their Rugby Championship decider in Sydney on Saturday.

The All Blacks and Wallabies have each won 2 games in the compacted 3-Round tournament, with Australia sitting at the Top of the standings – with a slender 1-point advantage in the points differential column.

The biggest concern ahead of the All Blacks’ trip to Australia is midfielder Ma’a Nonu’s availability, who remains in doubt for the encounter which doubles as a Bledisloe Cup Test, with a shoulder complaint.

While Nonu has been cleared of a serious shoulder injury, coach Steve Hansen is unsure whether he’ll be available to play the Wallabies.

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Michael Hooper

Michael Hooper

An appeal has been lodged against the outcome of a judicial hearing held on Wednesday 29 July and Thursday 30 July, which found Michael Hooper of Australia’s Wallabies guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (a) and issued a sanction of a 1 week suspension.

Under the SANZAR Judicial Rules, all formal judicial hearings are reviewed by an independent Appeals Review Officer. The review officer, the Honourable Graeme Mew (Canada), has examined the Hooper case and in his determination, referred it to a SANZAR Appeals Committee to review the sanction handed down by Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC.

A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Jannie Lubbe SC, with Terry Willis and Mike Heron QC as members, will hear the appeal via videoconference on Sunday 2 August 2015 at 17:00 AEST (19:00 NZ Time, 09:00 SA Time, 07:00 GMT, 04:00 ARG Time).

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The Rugby Championship This weekend saw Round 2 of The Rugby Championship.

In johannesburg, South Africa it was heart-break for the Springboks again, 2nd week in a row, this time losing in the dying minutes against a better conditiond and fitter All Blacks side, by 20 / 27, with All Blacks capatin Richie McCaw doing the damage to snatch the lead from the South Africans with only 6 minutes to go in the match.

In Mendoza, Argentinia, the Wallabies led 8 / 6 at halftime before tuning in all the screws and beating Los Pumas comfortably by 34 / 9, also earning their bonus point for tries in the process.

As a result of the Round 2 results, the All Blacks and Wallabies are joint leaders of The Rugby Championship Log, with 2 wins apiece, whereas the Springboks and Los Pumas are still winless in the Competition, with the Springboks on a paltry 2 Log points and Los Pumas still not out of the starting gates, on 0 Log Points.

In 2015 there is of course only 3 Rounds in total, in the abbreviated version of the prime Southern Hemisphere international competition due to this year being a Rugby World Cup year. In this shortened version of the competition, where in stead of the normal double Round of matches by every side against the other sides, there is only a single Round of matches by every side against each of the other nations.

Round 3 is only in a fortnight, where the focus will be on the Bledisloe clash between the Wallabies and All Blacks for this year’s overall title.

The Springboks dominated most of the 1st half but at the break the scores were still tied on 10 / 10 and later on 17 / 17 before South Africa took a slender 20 / 17 lead and held that lead untill 6 minutes from time, whereafter the All Blacks showed their class and superior fitness and better bench selections to add 10 further points and running out 7-point winners.

All is not lost for the Springboks and one feels that they showed some quality rugby 2 weeks in a row, but they will surely now realize that their overall conditioning, fitness as well as the impact their bench is supposed to have in the vital Rugby World Cup during September and October still need a massive amount of work if they are to stand a proper chance of winning the world showpiece in 2015.

The All Blacks once again appear to be massive favourites to not only win theis year’s Rugby Championship but to also go on to clinch the Rugby World Cup title in October.

Argentina seem to be dogged by the same “Illness” that the Springboks are suffering from, as they also seem incapable of ending games strong enough and also tend to kick tactically poorly, which invariably results in scores against them in the latter stages of games when defences are no longer as tight as in the beginning of matches.

The Wallabies are building up nicely towards the Rugby World Cup, having first narrowly dispatched the Springboks week before last and now comforably beating Los Pumas on the weekend. They managed to score 2 quick-fire tries towards the end of the clash in Argentina, first by Tevita Kuridrani and then barely 3 minutes later one by Adam Ashley-Cooper (to earn them the bonus point for tries) to hammer the nails in properly against the Pumas.

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Brodie Retallick

Brodie Retallick

Ma'a Nonu

Ma’a Nonu

New Zealand’s come-from-behind win over South Africa at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday has come at a price.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, in his 140th appearance for his country, produced the match-winning try with a pre-planned lineout move 6 minutes from time – as they came back from trailing by 7 points twice.

The All Black flank won a lineout close to the Springboks’ line and brushed off the challenge of scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar to score a try that will go a long way towards New Zealand claiming The Rugby Championship title.

However, injuries to key players will have cast a cloud over the team’s celebrations.

Coach Steve Hansen confirmed that centre Ma’a Nonu has damaged his rotator cuff in his shoulder.

“He will have scans done when he gets home (next week) to determine the extent of the injury,” Hansen told a post-match media briefing.

The other big concern is lock Brodie Retallick, who took to the field despite injuring his ankle during warm up.

Hansen said the lock “showed his character” to play through the match with the injury.

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Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika

Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika believes New Zealand are way ahead of their closest rivals as they prepare for The Rugby Championship decider.

The Wallabies and All Blacks are locked on 9 points apiece in the Log Table after picking up 2 wins from their respective 2 games so far in the tournament.

And it seems the mind games have already begun ahead of the 8 August clash in Sydney, with Cheika praising how New Zealand are playing at the moment.

“This year it’s a little bit closer, but it’s very obvious that New Zealand are the best team in the world, and I mean by a long way at this stage,” the coach told Australian media after their impressive bonus-point win over Los Pumas.

“To beat South Africa like they did, I think they did it pretty easy in the end.

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Springboks vs All Blacks

We look at the key statistics from yesterday’s game and discuss some of the more telling moments of the match. Statistics are courtesy of Vodacom, opinion is this writer’s own. Where at all possible, blame will be placed squarely at the feet of non-WP players and / or the match officials, pitch conditions and Jan van Riebeeck.

They say you get lies, damn lies and statistics and when you look at the comparisons, it would appear to be a very close game, and indeed it was, with the All Blacks making decisive scoring breaks in injury time in the 1st half as well as the last 10 minutes of the game to sneak the victory. They clearly have higher fitness levels than the Springboks, both physically and mentally and managed to out last as well as out think the Springboks, the try scored by Richie McCaw being a prime example of excellent tactical superiority.

The statistic that is most interesting is the breakdown of meters run. When you analyze which positions made the most meters the following is apparent:

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South AfricaNew ZealandSpringboks (10) 20 / 27 (10) All Blacks (Final Score)

The South African Springboks and New Zealand All Blacks did battle in Round 2 of The Rugby

Championship at Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, 12:05 Arg Time,

Sunday 03:05 NZ Time, Sunday 01:05 AEST). This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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The Rugby ChampionshipIt is Round 2 of the abbreviated Rugby Championship of 2015 (Only 1 Round of matches against each side in 2015 as opposed to a double Round of matches against all sides – home and away in non Rugby World Cup years).

There are 2 games on Saturday 25 July.

The Action of the Round is kicked off in South Africa, where the Springboks take on the old foe, the All Blacks in Johannesburg and concludes with the late night match between the Argentinian Pumas against the Australian Wallabies in Mendoza.

On Saturday at Emirates Airline Park (Ellis Park) in Johannesburg at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, 12:05 Arg Time, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time, Sunday 01:05 AEST) referee Jérôme Garcès is in charge in the Springboks vs All Blacks game.

On Saturday at Estadio Malvinas in Mendoza, at Sunday 00:40 SA Time (19:40 Arg Time, 22:40 GMT, Sunday 08:40 AEST, Sunday 10:40 NZ Time) referee Jaco Peyper of South Africa is in charge of the Pumas vs Wallabies game.

The game between the Springboks and the All Blacks should be a humdinger of note and the result could go either way. Last time these 2 sides met, also at the same venue, the Springboks won by a measly 2 points. Both sides have made some bold selections, with 2 debutants on the All Blacks side and on the Springbok side we see the return of Heinrich Brüssow, who makes his 1st Springbok appearance since November 2011. One cannot help but feel that the All Blacks have ironed out most if not almost all the chinks in their armour, whereas the Springboks still seem to be a work in progress.

The Pumas and the Wallabies have each made 7 changes to their starting line-ups and the question begs whether Los Pumas could repeat their win over the Wallabies of last year in Mendoza. The Wallabies came back very strongly against the Springboks last week, so I quite fancy them for a win against the Pumas… in Argentina.

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The Castle Rugby ChampionshipIn a shortened version of The Rugby Championship, the 2 losers of Round 1 are practically in last chance saloon while victories for Round 1’s winners would set up a winner-takes-all Bledisloe Cup clash in Round 3.

It makes for a must-see weekend of action.

 

South AfricaNew ZealandSpringboks vs All Blacks:

It’s been 6 years since South Africa managed back-to-back wins over New Zealand and Saturday’s clash between the world’s top 2 teams represents an important chance to lay down a marker.

Last year’s last-minute victory for the Springboks in Johannesburg – only their 2nd win over the All Blacks since 2009 – ended a 3-year losing streak against their great rivals.

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Steve Hansen

Steve Hansen

All Black coach Steve Hansen has been girding his team for a rolling maul onslaught from South Africa in Saturday’s Castle Lager Rugby clash between the old rivals at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg.

Although the Kiwis scored a good driving maul try of their own against Los Pumas in Christchurch last week, the Pumas momentarily got themselves back into the game with 2 of their own in the 2nd half. The look on All Black skipper Richie McCaw’s face told a story after the South Americans easily got over for their 2nd try. In short, he wasn’t happy.

But while that opened up a perception of possible All Black vulnerability to the driving maul, and let’s face it the New Zealanders are so good that opposing teams do need to make the most of even the slightest chink, Hansen made it clear to a press conference in the build-up to the game that he thought it was the laws that were vulnerable, not his team.

“We’re not too bad at the rolling maul ourselves these days,” he quipped. “There were 3 tries scored through driving mauls last week, but is that the game we want?”

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Heinrich Brüssow

Heinrich Brüssow

The Springbok team to face New Zealand’s All Blacks for the 90th time shows 9 changes to the match-23 which did duty against Australia’s Wallabies, for the 2nd match in the condensed Castle Lager Rugby Championship, at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Heinrich Brüssow will make his 1st start for the Springboks since the 2011 Rugby World Cup, while Vincent Koch has been included on the bench for what could be his Test debut for South Africa.

JP Pietersen, who was initially picked on the right wing, has since starined his hamstring in training and is replaced on right wing by Cornal Hendricks, with Lionel Mapoe replacing Cornal Hendricks’ place on the bench.

Of the 9 changes, 3 are to the pack, 1 to the backline and 5 are on the bench. The backline is unchanged. Schalk Burger will captain the team from No 8.

Francois Louw will start in the No 7 jersey for the injured Marcell Coetzee in a positional change, with Heinrich Brüssow assuming the openside role (No 6). The only other changes to the starting line-up is at lock, where Lood de Jager takes over from Victor Matfield and on right wing where Cornal Hendricks will do duty.

On the bench, Vincent Koch will be joined by Lionel Mapoe, Trevor Nyakane, Flip van der Merwe and Warren Whiteley, who could make his 1st Test appearance in South Africa, in front of his home crowd in Johannesburg.

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Lima Sopoaga

Lima Sopoaga

The New Zealand All Blacks team to face the Springboks in The Rugby Championship on Saturday at Emirates Airline Park contains 2 Test debutants amongst other changes.

Lock James Broadhurst and flyhalf Lima Sopoaga will line up to make their Test debuts for the All Blacks. Sopoaga comes in for Daniel Carter at flyhalf and Broadhurst takes over from Luke Romano.

In other changes in the starting 15, Dane Coles comes in at hooker, with Liam Messam at blindside flank. In the backs, Aaron Smith returns to the starting scrumhalf position, while the world-record midfield combo of Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith is back.

As well, with a desire to continue to give Israel Dagg more game time, Ben Smith is named on the right wing.

On the bench, Ben Franks comes in as reserve prop alongside Wyatt Crockett, Codie Taylor retains the reserve hooker jersey, Sam Whitelock is reserve lock, with Victor Vito covering the loose forwards. TJ Perenara is reserve scrumhalf, with Beauden Barrett and Malakai Fekitoa the other backs on the pine.

Broadhurst and Sopoaga will be surrounded by a hugely experienced All Blacks side, with the starting forward pack boasting a total of exactly 500 Test caps, with a further 320 caps in the starting backline and 217 on the bench.

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Kieran Read

Kieran Read

Being taunted by 61 000 fans at Ellis Park (Emirates Airline Park) doesn’t cause Kieran Read much anxiety.

No 8 Read expects the Springboks supporters at Johannesburg to rip into the All Blacks on Saturday (Sunday morning NZ Time), but he gives the impression that they could turn the volume up 10-fold and he still wouldn’t be too fussed.

Read is so in-the-zone during matches that the clatter coming out of the mouths of inhospitable fans doesn’t register as being unfriendly, or otherwise.

“I know the crowd will certainly be baying for our blood,” Read said.

“Once you get on the field, it pretty much becomes WHITE NOISE to be honest, and in some ways they could be screaming for you.

“It’s hard to know exactly what is being said.”

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WhistleSANZAR has released the names of the Match Officials for Round 2 of The Rugby Championship.

Jerome Garces starts the action this weekend in Johannesburg when South Africa’s Springboks host the All Blacks from New Zealand.

In the 2nd match of this Round, Argentina’s Los Pumas host the Wallabies from Australia in Mendoza and the referee is Jaco Peyper.

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Malakai Fekitoa

Malakai Fekitoa

Conrad Smith

Conrad Smith

New Zealand All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will have some big selection decisions to make this week, as his team prepares to take on South Africa’s Springboks at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg.

Having rested the bulk of the All Blacks who featured in the all-New Zealand Super Rugby Final (between the Hurricanes and Highlanders) in the 1st 2 Tests of the year, he has to decide how many of them will now be unleashed on the Springboks.

Ben Smith, Aaron Smith, Conrad Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles, Ben Franks, Victor Vito and James Broadhurst are all keen to get a run against Springboks in their Rugby Championship outing on Saturday.

Probably the most interesting selection would be what combination he chooses to oppose South Africa’s exciting new midfield pairing of Jesse Kriel and Damian de Allende.

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Conrad Smith

Conrad Smith

The All Blacks will be in the firing line when they take on the Springboks in Johannesburg on Saturday.

South Africa suffered a narrow loss to Australia’s Wallabies in their Rugby Championship opener in Brisbane at the weekend and New Zealand expect a backlash from their arch rivals at Emirates Airline Park.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has left Dan Carter and Sonny Bill Williams out of his 31-man squad to travel to Johannesburg, saying it is important that he tests the mettle of other players in a high-profile Test in front of a sold-out crowd.

“We have to be brave to find out some answers to some questions and what better place to find out some questions about people – it is a heck of a pressure situation, isn’t it, against one of the best teams in the world,” he told Fairfax Media.

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Users: grootblousmile, 5 Guests, 10 Bots


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Recent Comments

  • MacroPolo 2 Sep 2015, 16:49 SAST - @ Lion4ever: Fake it till you make it. Also this is usually the time when you will get the most...
  • Lion4ever 2 Sep 2015, 16:29 SAST - @ MacroPolo: Why is it in SA just before the RWC, we get plagued by these sideshows that distract us...
  • MacroPolo 2 Sep 2015, 15:44 SAST - @ Lion4ever: I am sure he will find a "New Agenda" :lol:
  • Lion4ever 2 Sep 2015, 15:33 SAST - Some people will do anything for their 5 minutes of fame. Seems like he had a tolerant yet firm judge...
  • grootblousmile 2 Sep 2015, 15:07 SAST - I have obtained the Full Court Application, anybody who wants it, here they are: Direct LINK to it: http://petitions.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/High-Court-Papers.pdf I...
  • MacroPolo 2 Sep 2015, 15:06 SAST - Happy with the approach from Nolis to make Jan play for his spot in the team, also hope the new...

Rugby-Talk RWC 2015

Pool Name: Rugby-Talk RWC 2015

Pool Code: bosslire

Rule: You HAVE TO BE REGISTERED (as a Subscriber here on www.rugby-talk.com) to be eligible for acceptance in the Rugby-Talk pools on SuperBru.

The Pool is now OPEN for new Applications.


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