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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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ArgentinaAustraliaLos Pumas (6) 9 / 34 (8) Wallabies (Final Score)

The Argentinian Pumas and Australian Wallabies did battle in Round 2 of The Rugby

Championship at Estadio Malvinas, Mendoza at Sunday 00:40 SA Time (19:40 Arg Time, 22:40

GMT, Sunday 08:40 AEST, Sunday 10:40 NZ 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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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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Daniel Hourcade

Daniel Hourcade

The Argentinian Pumas head coach, Daniel Hourcade, has made several changes to his starting line-up that will face Australia’s Wallabies at Estadio Malvinas in Mendoza on Saturday.

There is a new-look back-3 as Santiago Cordero moves to fullback in place of Joaquin Tuculet while Gonzalo Camacho and Juan Imhoff start as wings.

Matías Moroni and Juan Pablo Socino are the centres, coming in for Marcelo Bosch and Jeronimo De la Fuente, while the other change to the backline sees the experienced Martín Landajo replace Tomás Cubelli at scrumhalf.

In the pack there is a start for Javier Ortega Desio on the flank and Tomás Lavanini in the 2nd-row, which are the Pumas’ only changes up front.

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AustraliaMichael Cheika has rung the changes in his Wallabies side with 7 in total for the clash with Argentina’s Los Pumas in Mendoza on Saturday.

In 1 of 3 changes in the forwards, Reds veteran Greg Holmes will start for the green and gold for the 1st time since 2007 against Canada, while Western Force stalwart Ben McCalman returns for his 1st appearance of the 2015 international season at No 8.

The final change in the pack sees David Pocock come into the starting line-up at openside flanker with Michael Hooper named on the replacements bench.

In the backs, Waratahs scrumhalf Nick Phipps and Brumbies centre Matt Toomua replace the injured Will Genia and Matt Giteau, while Joe Tomane comes in for the injured Rob Horne on the wing.

Waratahs pivot Bernard Foley replaces Quade Cooper in the starting lineup, with Cheika keen to give plenty of players a chance in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup.

“We are fortunate with the level of depth in the squad to be able to cover for the injuries we sustained last Saturday night against the Springboks,” said Cheika.

“They all deserve their start against Los Pumas and they now have an opportunity to build on the performance last week and stake their claims.

“We have 2 fine playmakers in Quade and Bernard. Both players can make an enormous impact on our team.”

There are also some new faces on the bench, with both Nic White and Kurtley Beale included after missing out last week.

Dean Mumm’s decision to return home has paid dividends, as he is set to rejoin the international arena. The 31-year-old is the last of the new faces included on the bench after his return to Australia from Exeter Chiefs.

“We know Argentina will provide a physical challenge in this match, and our reserves will have a significant role to play,” added Cheika.

“Last week they (the bench) got us home against the Springboks, and I will be looking forward to an even a greater impact from our players entering game this weekend.”

Argentina won the last clash between the 2 sides, a 21 / 17 win in the final game of the 2014 Rugby Championship, also in Mendoza.

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Kieran Read on the rampage

Kieran Read on the rampage

 

New Zealand kicked off their Rugby Championship campaign with a comfortable 39 / 18 win over Argentina in Christchurch on Friday.

Impressive at scrum time, the All Blacks showed their power in defence and attack in the 1st half, running in 2 tries through Richie McCaw and Ma’a Nonu, allowing them to take an 18 / 6 halftime lead.

Despite 2 2nd-half tries from Agustin Creevy, it was the All Blacks who controlled things, running in 3 more scores through Charles Piutau, Kieran Read and debutant Codie Taylor.

The key to the game was the difference in defence, with New Zealand able to knock back runners all day long, while the Pumas were constantly on the back foot.

With quick ball, they created plenty of opportunities and were never really in danger, giving McCaw and Dan Carter a fitting farewell for their final international games in Christchurch.

Argentina had rested a number of experienced players, putting in faith in the likes of Guido Petti and Facundo Isa, who impressed last November, as well as promising winger Santiago Cordero.

In contrast New Zealand were playing the most experienced side in Test history, despite the absence of the likes of Conrad Smith, Julian Savea and Sam Whitelock. There was an All Black debut for Waisake Naholo, the Highlanders winger who topped the try-scoring charts in Super Rugby this season.

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New ZealandArgentinaAll Blacks (18) 39 / 18 (6) Los Pumas (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and Argentinian Pumas did battle in The Rugby Championship at

AMI Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 04:35 ARG 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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The Rugby ChampionshipIt is Round 1 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 is 1 games on Friday 17 July and 1 game on Saturday 18 July.

The Action of the Round is kicked off in New Zealand, where the All Blacks take on Los Pumas of Argentinia in Christchurch and concludes with the match between the Australian Wallabies against the South African Springboks in Brisbane.

On Friday at AMI Stadium in Christchurch at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 04:35 ARG Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) referee Craig Joubert is in charge in the All Blacks vs Los Pumas game.

On Saturday at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, at 12:05 SA Time (20:05 AEST, 22:05 NZ Time, 07:05 ARG Time, 10:05 GMT) referee Nigel Owens of Wales is in charge of the Wallabies vs Springboks game.

The game between the All Blacks and Los Pumas should only produce 1 result and that is a comfortable win for the All Blacks. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has opted for a very experienced run-on side and replacement bench, whereas Argentinian coach Daniel Hourcade has included a number of inexperienced players in a very experimental Pumas side.

The game between the Wallabies and Springboks is extremely difficult to call but Rugby Championship and Tri-Nations history favours the Wallabies greatly at home in Australia against the Springboks. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has opted to haul back some big guns, 2 from overseas (Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell) and 2 recent Australian-based Wallabies who missed some of last year’s internationals (Will Genia & Quade Cooper) to bolster his match-day 23. Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has changed just 1 player from the run-on side which demolished the World XV side last weekend, namely Schalk Burger in place of Warren Whiteley at No 8 and has made 4 further changes on the bench.

One would have to flip a coin or be very bold to nominate a winner here, but I suppose the home side goes in with a slight advantage.

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New ZealandArgentinaThe Rugby Championship’s most successful team kicks off against the least successful when New Zealand’s All Blacks host the Argentinian Pumas on Friday.

In fact the teams’ records in the competition almost exactly mirror each other, with the All Blacks having won 16, drawn 1 and lost 1, while Argentina have won 1, drawn 1 and lost 16.

Even their points for and against are remarkably similar, New Zealand having racked up 543 points, 4 fewer than Argentina have conceded, and the Pumas scoring 273, 1 fewer than the All Blacks have let in.

Those numbers show that the All Blacks’ dominance in the competition has been very similar to Argentina’s struggles and it’s hard to see that changing in Christchurch on Friday.

Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade is using the game as an opportunity to test out some young players, while Steve Hansen is more focused on a few old heads proving their form.

That’s not to say the All Black side is completely devoid of new faces, Waisake Naholo will start for the 1st time, while Codie Taylor should also make his debut off the bench.

However it is the form of the likes of Israel Dagg, Tony Woodcock and Keven Mealamu, which will be of serious interest.

The latter pair should be inked in for the Rugby World Cup squad, despite disappointing seasons for the Blues, but for all Hansen’s protestations, Dagg is surely fighting for a place on the plane to England given the depth of options in the back 3.

In comparison, Hourcade has chosen to rest a number of 1st team regulars, giving Rugby Championship debuts to Facundo Isa, Guido Petti and Santiago Cordero.

The latter has been highly-rated for a while, but has not had many opportunities against top tier opposition. With Manuel Montero ruled out of the Rugby World Cup through injury, this could be Cordero’s chance to shine.

Having said that, Argentina have made it very clear they are solely focused on the World Cup, and it’s hard to imagine them picking up a 1st-ever win over New Zealand.

They did however secure their first Rugby Championship win in their final game of last year’s edition, but the Wallabies at home and the All Blacks away are very different challenges.

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ArgentinaArgentina head coach, Daniel Hourcade, has confirmed the Pumas team that will tackle New Zealand in Friday’s opener of The Rugby Championship in Christchurch.

The side features 12 changes from the last match against the French Barbarians with just the trio of Guido Pagadizabal Petti, Facundo Isa and Jerónimo De la Fuente retaining their places from the 21 / 9 victory.

Manuel Carizza has been re-called for his 1st match for Argentina since the June 2014 Test against Scotland while Santiago Cordero will line-up for his 1st Rugby Championship match, along with Isa and Petti.

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New ZealandThe All Blacks team to play the Argentinian Pumas in The Rugby Championship-opening match has been named, with exciting winger Waisake Naholo to make his Test debut.

Another new All Black, hooker Codie Taylor, is named on the reserves bench for the clash at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.

24-Year-old Naholo comes in for George Moala in 1 of 6 changes from the match-day 23 that played Samoa last week.

In the forwards, lock Brodie Retallick is back in the starting 15, replacing Samuel Whitelock, with Jeremy Thrush coming in as lock reserve; TJ Perenara is at scrumhalf, with Andy Ellis, who played his 250th 1st-class match last week, moving to the bench; while Ma’a Nonu has been named at centre in his 95th Test, and Ryan Crotty moving to the bench. Taylor replaces Hikawera Elliot as reserve hooker and the only other change in the reserves sees loose forward Liam Messam come in for Matt Todd.

It’s another hugely experienced All Blacks team for the Rugby Championship opener, with prop Tony Woodcock to make his 100th Test start in his outstanding career. The match-day 23 boasts 1068 caps worth of experience and an average age of 28 years.

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ArgentinaVeteran Argentina back rowers Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Juan Manuel Leguizamon were named in a 28-man squad for next week’s Rugby Championship clash with New Zealand.

2 Other survivors from the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, wing Horacio Agulla and prop Marcos Ayerza, were also selected on Thursday for their 17 July tournament opener in Christchurch.

The squad will fly from Sydney on Saturday, where a pre-tournament squad of 36 were training with this year’s World Cup in England also in mind, the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) said.

The squad is dominated by players, including captain Agustin Creevy, contracted to the UAR for the Argentine franchise that will compete in Super Rugby next year.

7, Including former captain Fernandez Lobbe of Toulon, are part of the dwindling contingent of European-based players included.

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Juan Figallo

Juan Figallo

Argentina and Saracens prop Juan Figallo has been ruled out of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England after undergoing surgery.

Figallo was with Argentina training for The Rugby Championship in Sydney last Thursday and he turned in a tackle and injured his knee.

The prop flew back to London after the injury and has already undergone surgery and will work his way back to fitness with Saracens.

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Thomas Lavanini

Thomas Lavanini

Thomas Lavanini has committed to the new Argentinean Super Rugby team until at least the end of 2018.

The 22-year-old lock started his professional career at Hindú in the Argentinean capital before moving to Racing Metro at the beginning of this season.

He is capped 18 times for the Pumas and is currently in Sydney as the squad prepares for the forthcoming Rugby Championship.

“I am very happy with agreeing to terms,” he said.

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Daniel Hourcade

Daniel Hourcade

Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade gave the 1st indication of what his Rugby World Cup line-up will look like, when he named his squad for The Rugby Championship.

He wasted no time in drafting in his overseas-based players who were not part of the just-completed 2-match series against the French Barbarians.

Horacio Agulla (Bath), Marcos Ayerza (Leicester Tigers), Marcelo Bosch (Saracens) and Gonzalo Camacho (Leicester Tigers) joined the squad.

The numbers will be reduced from the current 36 to 28 when they head to Sydney on Saturday 11 July, where they will prepare for their opening Rugby Championship encounter – with the New Zealand All Blacks in Christchurch on 17 July.

Hourcade said it has been a long process to select the squad.

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SpringboksThe Junior Springboks clinched their 2 match international rugby series 2 – 0 against Argentina Under 20 after beating Los Pumitas 39 / 28 in Rosario on Saturday, with prop Jan van der Merwe helping himself to a hat-trick of tries in the 1st half.

The 2 teams used the series as final warm-up exercise for the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Italy next month.

On Saturday at the beautiful Club Gimnasia Stadium in Rosario, the Junior Boks raced into a commanding 25 / 6 halftime lead thanks to a trio of tries by front ranker Jan van der Merwe. Argentina struggled to match the visitors’ powerful forward surges and could only reply with 2 penalties.

The South Africans scored 2 more tries in the 2nd half through Leolin Zas (wing) and Joseph Dweba (replacement hooker). However, they had to show great determination on defence against Los Pumitas, who stormed back with 3 tries in the 2nd stanza.

Captain and No 8, Hanro Liebenberg, led with example with ball in hand and also did sterling work on defence. The Junior Boks dominated the scrums, were supreme in the lineouts and mauled powerfully which resulted in 3 tries.

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SpringboksJunior Springbok coach Dawie Theron has shuffled his match-23 for the 2nd international rugby friendly against Argentina Under 20 (Los Pumitas) this coming Saturday in Rosario. The match will kick-off at 14:00 ARG Time (19:00 SA Time).

The young South Africans won the 1st meeting between the 2 sides 25 / 22 on Tuesday in Santa Fe. Both teams are using the 2-match series as their final warm-up for the World Rugby Under 20 Championship which will be hosted by Italy in June.

Theron elected to retain only a number of players from the starting 15 which managed to edge Los Pumitas, while he opted also for 2 positional changes.

Tighthead prop Thomas du Toit, Jason Jenkins (lock), Leolin Zas (left wing), Daniel du Plessis (inside centre) and JT Jackson (outside centre) will all start in their 2nd tour match. N0 8 Dan du Preez and right wing Grant Hermanus will however run out in different positions.

Du Preez moves to flank while Hermanus will wear the No 15 jersey. Fullback Warrick Gelant and prop Frans van Wyk were not considered for selection because of shoulder injuries.

Hanro Liebenberg of the Vodacom Blue Bulls returns to the starting line-up at the back of the scrum and will also take over the captaincy from Rikus Bothma (DHL Western Province) who led the side in Santa Fe. Liebenberg sat out the 1st tour match as precaution for his troubled hand.

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SpringboksThe Junior Springboks were made to fight hard to overcome a courageous Argentina Under 20 rugby team by 25 / 22 in the 1st of 2 matches between the sides late on Tuesday in Santa Fe, Argentina.

Los Pumitas led 15 / 10 at halftime after they dominated possession and territory while playing with a strong wind in their favour in the 1st half. They scored 2 tries and a penalty to take a deserved lead, while the Junior Springboks answered with a converted try and a penalty to stay within distance despite their many unforced errors.

The young South Africans used their dominance in the scrums and set pieces to much better effect in the 2nd half, adding a penalty and an excellent try to edge out the hosts in front of a passionate crowd.

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RG Snyman

RG Snyman

Blue Bulls lock RG Snyman was withdrawn from the Junior Springbok touring squad to Argentina due to an ankle ligament injury.

The big lock hurt his ankle during a training session in Stellenbosch and will be out of action for 2 to 4 weeks.

Loose forward Rikus Bothma, the former SA Schools captain and skipper of last year’s Western Province Under 19 team, has been named as his replacement.

Snyman will continue with his rehabilitation until Friday and will return to the camp when the squad reassembles after the tour. He will undergo a fitness test on his return.

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Nicolás Sánchez

Nicolás Sánchez

Pumas flyhalf Nicolás Sánchez is the latest player to sign with the Argentina Rugby Union ahead of their entry into Super Rugby next year.

The 26-year-old former Bordeaux Begles and Toulon playmaker has signed a 3-year contract starting on 1 January and making him available until at least the end of 2018.

The deal was sealed at Sánchez’s current club, Tucuman Lawn Tennis Club, which is celebrating it’s centenary year.

Sánchez joins fellow Pumas Joaquín Tuculet and Agustín Creevy in committing to their national union despite having enjoyed successful and lucrative stints in Europe.

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Joaquín Tuculet

Joaquín Tuculet

Cardiff Blues fullback, Joaquín Tuculet, has confirmed that he will return home to Argentina to represent his country’s Super Rugby team from 2016.

Tuculet joins his national captain, Agustin Creevy, as the 1st European-based players to commit to the new team and has signed through until at least the end of the 2018 Super Rugby season.

“It is with great pride that I have decided to commit to this project by the UAR and Daniel Hourcade,” he said.

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Agustine Creevy

Agustine Creevy

Pumas captain, Agustín Creevy, has become the 1st player based outside of Argentina to commit to the country’s Super Rugby franchise which will join the competition next year.

Creevy, 30, currently plays for Worcester in the United Kingdom but has signalled his intention to return home and play for the new franchise, bringing the number of contracted players to 22.

Making the announcement via videoconference on Monday evening, Creevy said, “It makes me very happy to confirm this agreement with the UAR. It’s a big step. I have played for Argentina from a young age and was always proud to defend the Argentina shirt. I never hesitated to go back home.

“This is a very important year. The World Cup is the main aim for this 2015, but then comes the moment to join Super Rugby which is a historic dream for everyone.”

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Nicolás Sánchez

Nicolás Sánchez

Argentina flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez has left European champions Toulon to get ready for his wedding in May and to prepare for the World Cup.

Sanchez joined the French and European champions in October as an injury replacement for Frederic Michalak.

But after the latter returned to action on Saturday in the 34 / 24 defeat at home to Toulouse, Sanchez was no longer available for Top 14 action.

He could have continued to turn out for Toulon in the European Cup – the champions hosts Wasps in the quarterfinals next weekend – but he said he preferred to return home.

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World RugbyA strong second half saw Rugby World Cup 2015 hosts England storm back to beat Wales 21 / 16 in their Six Nations opener in Cardiff, a result which lifted them above Ireland back to 3rd in the latest World Rugby rankings.

According to the World Rugby (previously IRB), the victory sees England regain the mantle as the leading northern hemisphere nation in the rankings behind New Zealand and South Africa and they now sit 0.35 points above Ireland after their 26 / 3 victory over Italy in Rome had no impact due to the 11 places separating the teams.

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Tomas Cubelli

Tomas Cubelli

Pumas scrumhalf, Tomas Cubelli headlines a numer of players to commit to Argentina’s new Super Rugby franchise with Javier Ortega Desio, Thomas Lezana, Gabriel Ascarate and Matias Orlando also signing up.

The group all signed contracts until at least the end of the 2017 season following a Pampas XV training session in Rosario on Tuesday.

These players join Martin Landajo, Guido Petti Pagadizábal, Pablo Matera, Matías Alemanno, Rodrigo Baez, Jerome de la Fuente, Facundo Isa and Manuel Montero who have all committed for three years.

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Martín Landajo

Martín Landajo

Preparations are underway for Argentina’s entry to Super Rugby in 2016 with Martín Landajo and Guido Petti becoming the first players to commit to the Buenos Aires-based franchise.

The pair both currently play on home soil in Argentina’s domestic league, but will have their sights set on international provicinal competition when the new team comes into existence in a little over 12 months from now.

Both players and the UAR confirmed their signing via Twitter on Friday.

Landajo, a 26-year-old scrumhalf has 40 caps for Argentina while Petti, a 20-year-old lock has two to his name after debuting in a 20-18 victory over Italy in Genoa.

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BarbariansArgentinaThe Barbarians will round off their 125th anniversary year by tackling Argentina at Twickenham in November 2015, organisers announced on Tuesday.

After a chastening 2013, the invitational side proved themselves credible opponents for the world’s elite teams this year, going down 49-39 to a youthful England team in June and narrowly losing 40-36 to Australia last month.

They are scheduled to play Ireland in Limerick on 8 May and will play England three days later before finishing the year against Argentina.

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ArgentinaThe one time in Europe that Argentina strayed slightly away from their traditional strengths, they lost, engaging in an entertaining running contest with Scotland, but otherwise closed the year with a 3-1 record over their last four.

It means that Los Pumas finish the season with form behind only New Zealand and Ireland, defeating the Wallabies in Mendoza, before grinding down Italy and France on consecutive weekends to return to South America on a high.

Coach Daniel Hourcade has been superb and his feats have been lost somewhat when talking about the likes of Steve Hansen or Joe Schmidt.

Yet the former Pampas mentor has turned many local players into hardened Test regulars, further ridding Argentina of a heavy reliance on European based stars.

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Gilbert Rugby BallOnly one more Internatonal Test to be played today, that between Georgia vs Japan at 17:00 SA Time and Georgian Time, the rest of the results are in already!

Some surprising results all around, with the Italian Azzurri holding the Springboks to a limited win, Ireland narrowly beating the Wallabies, Wales containing the All Blacks untill the 69th minute before letting in 3 quick tries and France falling to a spirited Argentinian Pumas side.

The rest of the results, well they are pure wall decorations, for want of a better expletive.

The Weekend’s International Results are as follows:

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Four International Tests overlapped or at least partly overlapped one another between 18:30 to almost midnight on Saturday 22 November 2014, SA Time.
Seeing as all 4 matches were broadcast LIVE on TV in South Africa… although on 2 different SuperSport channels, we hosted all FOUR in one GLOBAL ARTICLE!

 

IrelandAustraliaIreland (20) 26 / 23 (20) Wallabies (Final Score)

Ireland and the Australian Wallabies did battle in the End Of Year Tours at

Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland at 18:30 SA Time (16:30 BST & GMT, 03:30 Sunday AEST).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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WalesNew ZealandWales (3) 16 / 34 (3) All Blacks (Final Score)

Wales and the New Zealand All Blacks did battle in the End Of Year Tours at

Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales at 19:30 SA Time (17:30 BST & GMT, 06:30 Sunday NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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EnglandSamoaEngland (13) 28 / 9 (6) Samoa (Final Score)

England and Samoa did battle in the End Of Year Tours at

Twickenham, London, England at 21:00 SA Time (19:00 BST & GMT, 09:00 Sunday Samoa 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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FranceArgentinaFrance (3) 13 / 18 (15) Los Pumas (Final Score)

France and the Argentinian Pumas did battle in the End Of Year Tours at

Stade de France, Paris, France at 22:00 SA Time (21:00 French Time, 20:00 GMT, 17:00 Arg Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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FranceRising star Teddy Thomas has been sanctioned by French coach Philippe Saint-Andre for missing a training session, and has subsequently been dropped for Saturday’s Test against Argentina in Paris.

Thomas made a stunning debut against Fiji, becoming only the second Frenchman to score a hat trick of tries on his first appearance for Les Bleus adn followed that up by scoring his fourth International try in two matches against Australia a week later.

The 21-year-old earned a third straight call-up on Wednesday for the Test against the Pumas but the young Racing-Metro player forgot to attend training on Wednesday evening, along with the squad at the French national training centre at Marcoussis, outside Paris.

And Saint-Andre and his deputies, Yannick Bru and Patrice Lagisquet, decided to drop Thomas and called up Toulouse wing Maxime Medard, who has 40 caps for France, in his place.

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Agustín Creevy

Agustín Creevy

Nicolás Sánchez

Nicolás Sánchez

Argentinean head coach Daniel Hourcade has made four changes to his starting 15 for their final November Test against France in Paris on Saturday.

Nicolás Sánchez replaces Juan Martín Hernández at flyhalf which sees the latter move to inside centre.

Hernández will be partnered with Marcelo Bosch in the midfield after Bosch returned to the squad from doing club duties while Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino moves to the bench and is replaced by Juan Imhoff.

The only change in the forwards sees captain Agustin Creevy returning to the hooker position at the expense of Matias Cortese, who is relegated to the bench.

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Super Rugby

  • SANZAR Executive Committee formally approves Japan Rugby Football Union and Union Argentina de Rugby’s admission into Super Rugby from 2016
  • The Japanese team will be based at Tokyo’s Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Stadium with three home games per season to be played at the Singapore Sports Hub
  • The Argentine and Japanese national teams are currently ranked 9th and 10th in the world respectively
  • There are nearly a quarter of a million rugby players in Japan and Argentina combined
  • Japan will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympic Games

Super Rugby’s expansion to 18 teams from 2016 is officially complete with SANZAR formally confirming the participation of the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) and Union Argentina de Rugby (UAR) at an Executive Committee meeting in London today.

The confirmation is the final stage of formalities and paves the way for the Tokyo and Buenos Aires-based franchises to start contracting players and staff ahead of their historic entry to Super Rugby in a little over 12 months from now.

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