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Andy Marinos

Andy Marinos

SANZAR has appointed Andy Marinos as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

His new job will formally commence on 1 January 2016 and he replaces Greg Peters – who is taking over as CEO of the new Argentina Super Rugby team.

The South African, who is no stranger to the position, having previously served as CEO between 2008 – 2010, brings a wealth of business and rugby experience to the role, both as an administrator and professional player.

Marinos re-joins SANZAR from SARU, where he has served as General Manager of Commercial & Marketing for the past 5 years, in addition to SARU Acting Managing Director and Board Member (2008 – 2010), Springbok Team Manager (2008), Manager of South African National Teams (2005 – 2010) and World Rugby Sevens Advisory Group (2008 – 2015).

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Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika

Australian Wallabies coach Michael Cheika insisted Monday he had no interest in taking over the vacant England position, as he joined a growing list of high-profile figures in ruling himself out as a successor to Stuart Lancaster.

Last week saw Lancaster quit as England coach, as he paid the price for a poor Rugby World Cup, which saw England become the 1st host nation to fail to get out of the group phase.

“No one from there (England’s governing Rugby Football Union) has contacted me and they know they can’t contact me because I am committed to Australia,” Cheika, who led the Wallabies to last month’s Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham Stadium, said.

“That’s where I want to be coaching.”

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AustraliaAustralia will embark on their 10th ‘Grand Slam’ tour in 2016, aiming to beat the Home Nations in 1 trip for the 1st time in 30 years.

After falling to New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham Stadium in London earlier this month, the Wallabies will return to the northern hemisphere next year for a 7-match, 5-Test tour, including France.

“The ‘Grand Slam’ is 1 of the rarest achievements in the game and has been a notoriously difficult one for the Wallabies over time, with only 1 successful attempt out of 9,” Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver said.

The last time the Wallabies pulled off the feat was in 1984. In their most recent attempt, in 2013, Australia opened with a loss to England before defeating Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as Italy.

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Steve Tew

Steve Tew

New Zealand Rugby chief Steve Tew said it was premature to speculate about Japan joining The Rugby Championship.

The sport is currently on a high in the Asian nation after the Brave Blossoms’ exploits at the Rugby World Cup, which included a stunning 34 / 32 win over South Africa, but there are already concerns about its preparations for the expanded Super Rugby competition next year.

With Japan set to host the next edition of the Rugby World Cup in 2019, World Rugby is keen to consolidate its popularity in a large and potentially lucrative market.

The governing body’s chairman Bernard Lapasset said on a trip to Tokyo this week that Japan should join The Rugby Championship, which currently comprises New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

But New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said a more immediate concern for Japanese rugby was fielding a competitive side in the Super Rugby competition in 2016.

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Richie Arnold

Richie Arnold

Perth based Super Rugby franchise the Western Force have signed Queensland Country lock Richie Arnold adding size to their forward pack for 2016.

Arnold’s identical twin, lock Rory Arnold is at the Brumbies.

Richie stands at a towering 2,08m and weighs 127Kg – 7Kg heavier than his brother.

The 25-year-old would rank as the equal 2nd tallest player in Super Rugby history, alongside his brother and former Stormers lock, Andries Bekker, and only behind Lions lock JP du Preez (2,09m) – will join the Force as part of the club’s Wider Training Squad, as he looks to push for his Super Rugby debut in 2016.

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Henry Speight

Henry Speight

Ed Jenkins will lead an experienced Australian Sevens team in the Oceania regional Olympic qualifying tournament in Auckland this coming weekend – 14 and 15 November.

Interim coach Tim Walsh named an extended 15-man squad that includes veterans Jesse Parahi and Con Foley.

Pama Fou, Greg Jeloudev and Henry Hutchinson offer pace out wide.

Wallaby Henry Speight, recently returned from 2015 Rugby World Cup duty, will also travel with the squad for the trip to New Zealand.

Tom Cusack has been rewarded for a series of powerful performances during the recent Central Coast Sevens with a spot in the squad and star centre Cameron Clark returns after a minor hamstring problem.

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Springboks vs All Blacks

Durban, and not Johannesburg, will host back-to-back Rugby World Cup winners, the New Zealand All Blacks next year.

The South African Rugby Union revealed that the 3-times Rugby World Cup champion All Blacks will play the Springboks in Durban on 8 October in The Rugby Championship encounter between the 2 sides on SA soil.

The Springboks and All Blacks have played each other in Johannesburg 5 times in the last 6 years – with 2011 the exception, when they met in Port Elizabeth.

Durban last hosted a Springboks versus All Blacks Test in 2009, with Newlands completely off the map (for the biggest face-off in the game) since 2008.

The exceptionally large All Black following in Cape Town, which have become increasingly vengeful towards the Springboks (even spitting at players), is the main reason why Newlands will not host the All Blacks in the near future.

Bloemfontein (2009) and Pretoria (2006) have also not seen an All Black Test in years.

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James Slipper

James Slipper

The Reds will need a new captain for the start of the 2016 Super Rugby season as Wallabies Rugby World Cup prop James Slipper will have surgery in the off season.

Slipper has returned to Australia from England and will see surgeon Phil Duke to sort out a shoulder issue that has been troubling him for several seasons.

The new Super Rugby season begins in 14 weeks and the Reds start the new season with a match against the Waratahs in Sydney on 27 February.

Minor shoulder surgery will rule him out of the opening Rounds of the season while a full shoulder reconstruction could keep him out until April or May.

In his absence the Reds captaincy could go to vice-captain and Wallabies lock Rob Simmons or flanker Liam Gill.

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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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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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Mourad Boudjellal & Quade Cooper

Mourad Boudjellal & Quade Cooper

Australian flyhalf Quade Cooper reported for duty at European champions Toulon on Tuesday, having negotiated a special contract clause so he can play in the Olympics next year.

The 27-year-old flyhalf apologised to Toulon fans for the extended negotiations that even last week appeared compromised because of doubts about his international future.

“It has been a drawn-out process and I apologise for that,” Cooper told a press conference alongside Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal.

Australia’s selection rules only allow foreign-based players to be chosen if they have 60 caps. Cooper has 58 but made only 1 Rugby World Cup appearance because of the hot form of Bernard Foley.

Cooper said the 1st version of his Toulon contract did not mention being freed for national games, but it was renegotiated. Boudjellal said, and “if he is called he will be immediately freed.”

Cooper said the talks with Boudjellal had focused on allowing him to go to the Olympics in Rio next August when Sevens rugby will be played for the 1st time.

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Nehe Milner-Skudder

Nehe Milner-Skudder

New Zealand and Australia’s World Cup finalists join forces in a superstar Barbarians’ squad when they take on Gloucester and Argentina this month. Add a sprinkling of South Africans to it and you have the Barbarians squad.

Wing Nehe Milner-Skudder, the All Blacks’ opening try scorer in the 34 / 17 win against the Wallabies, is just 1 of 7 All Blacks in the squad.

Milner-Skudder will be joined by Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Charlie Faumuina, as well as fellow wing Waisake Naholo, when the world famous invitation club returns to action at Kingsholm on 17 November before taking on Rugby World Cup semifinalists Argentina in the Killik Cup match at Twickenham Stadium on 21 November.

Tevita Kuridrani – the scorer of Australia’s 2nd final try – has been added to the squad and joins Wallabies captain Stephen Moore and flank Scott Fardy in a 24-man group.

The squad also contains one of the world’s greatest lock partnerships in South Africa’s Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha who are backed up by rising star Lood de Jager.

Barbarians head coach Michael Cheika will have formidable firepower at his disposal with the likes of Fiji’s World Cup star Nemani Nadolo lining up with South Africa’s Pat Lambie and Australia’s Joe Tomane.

There is world class front row potential with Moore and Faumuina alongside South Africa’s Tendai Mtawarira, while flank Fardy was 1 of Australia’s most consistent Rugby World Cup performers.

There are 2 uncapped players in the squad: Cheetahs’ centre Francois Venter and Hurricanes flank Ardie Savea.

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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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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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All Blacks celebrate the RWC 2015 win

All Blacks celebrate the RWC 2015 win

The New Zealand All Blacks withstood a gutsy AustralianWallabies fightback to claim victory 34 / 17 in the Rugby World Cup final and create history as the 1st side to win 3 titles, the last 2 back-to-back.

The All Blacks were given a Halloween night fright by the Wallabies, who battled their way back from 21 / 3 with 2 tries to get within 4 points of Richie McCaw’s side at 21 / 17.

But the cool boot of man of the match, Dan Carter, nudged the All Blacks ahead to give them breathing space at 27 / 17, before Beauden Barrett sealed matters with a length-of-the-field kick and chase in the 79th minute, converted by – who else? – Carter for a 34 / 17 final scoreline.

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New ZealandAustraliaAll Blacks (16) 34 / 17 (3) Wallabies (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and Australian Wallabies did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup FINAL at

Twickenham Stadium, London, England at 18:00 SA Time (16:00 UK Time, 16:00 GMT, Sunday 03:00 AEDT, Sunday 05:00 NZ Time).

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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Red Arrows

On 31 October, 9 of the iconic aircraft will treat fans in Twickenham Stadium, as well as the Richmond and Trafalgar Square fanzones, to a special flypast prior to the start of the final between New Zealand and Australia. They will flyover Trafalgar Square 7 minutes before kick-off, then over Twickenham Stadium and the Richmond Fanzone at 15:55 as the teams line up for the anthems.

 

Full House:

The finalists are set to battle it out for rugby’s greatest prize, the Webb Ellis Cup, in front of a sell-out crowd of 80 125. South Africa and Argentina will also go head to head in front of a full house in the Bronze final at The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – in front of 56 000 spectators.

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AustraliaFirst-choice prop Scott Sio returns to the Australian Wallabies side for the Rugby World Cup final against the New Zealand All Blacks on Saturday.

It is the only change to the side announced by coach Michael Cheika.

Sio has recovered from an elbow injury and James Slipper, who played in the semifinal win over Argentina, returns to the bench.

Australia, who have had a tough route to Twickenham – having to play England, Wales, Scotland and Argentina – will be in a record-breaking 4th Rugby World Cup Final.

However, it will be the 1st between the Wallabies and the All Blacks.

Matt Giteau, who left the semifinal with a groin injury but has been cleared for Saturday, is the only player who took part in their last Final – when they lost to England in Sydney in 2003.

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World RugbyThe Southern Hemisphere nations consolidated their positions as the Top 4 in world rugby after a weekend of battle that resulted in the Top 2, New Zealand and Australia, moving through to this Saturday’s final of Rugby World Cup 2015.

South Africa, who lost 20 / 18 to New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup semifinal on Saturday, retain their position as world No 3 ahead of Argentina, who were defeated 29 / 15 by Australia in Sunday’s semifinal.

The Springboks and Pumas will contest the Rugby World Cup bronze final on Friday and the winner is likely to be the world No 3, with the sides separated in the rankings by less than 1 point.

Under the points exchange system used to calculate rankings, sides take points off each other based on the match result; whatever 1 side gains, the other loses. Such points exchanges are doubled during the Rugby World Cup to recognise the unique importance of the event.

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Nigel Owens

Nigel Owens

Nigel Owens has been appointed to referee the final of Rugby World Cup 2015. The 44-year-old from Wales is a veteran of 67 Tests but on Saturday at 17:00 SA Time (16:00 UK Time) he will take charge of the biggest match of his career to date.

Owens will become just the 7th referee to do the job, following in the footsteps of Kerry Fitzgerald (1987), Derek Bevan (1991), Ed Morrison (1995), Andre Watson (1999 and 2003), Alain Rolland (2007) and Craig Joubert (2011).

His experience and his consistency over many years, as well as his excellent form during the build-up to and during Rugby World Cup 2015, has won him selection to the pinnacle match in the sport at the end of a tournament in which the high quality of officiating has been a feature.

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Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika’s father was his harshest critic as a rugby player but his courage in leaving Lebanon for a new life in Australia has been an example in hauling the Wallabies to the Rugby World Cup final.

The Australia coach said that he hopes he has given this “no fear factor” to his players going into the fiery atmosphere of Saturday’s encounter with arch-rivals New Zealand.

Cheika’s father Joseph left Lebanon for Australia in 1950 and his mother followed 10 years later.

“I think everyone is inspired by their parents,” said 48-year-old Cheika.

“There you have someone who left his country with nothing and then rocked up in another country – and it was 7 days on an aeroplane way back then – and then said ‘right okay I’ve got to start from nothing,’ after being dropped off in Redfern Park in Sydney.

“Well that sort of no fear factor is something I have really taken from my Dad and I like that quality and hope I’ve succeeded in passing that on to the lads.”

Cheika, the only coach to have won the Northern and Southern Hemisphere continental club trophies with Irish province Leinster and the Waratahs respectively, said there is a touch of Lebanon in the cultures in the Australia squad.

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AustraliaArgentinaWallabies (19) 29 / 15 (9) Los Pumas (Final Score)

The Australian Wallabies and Argentinian Los Pumas did battle in a Semifinal at the 2015 Rugby World Cup at

Twickenham Stadium, London, England at 18:00 SA Time (17:00 BST, 16:00 GMT, 13:00 Arg Time, Monday 03:00 AEDT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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ArgentinaAustraliaArgentina will be looking to break new ground in the rugby world when they face Australia in their Rugby World Cup semifinal at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday.

The Latin Americans have been fantastic in this year’s tournament, with their only hiccup coming in a spirited 16 / 26 defeat to defending champions New Zealand in their opening match. They are now just 1 win away from reaching their 1st-ever Rugby World Cup Final.

Their 43 / 20 win over Ireland in last weekend’s quarterfinals was a clear message to the other remaining teams in the competition that they are not in Britain to make up the numbers.

However, they are facing a stern test against a street smart Wallabies’ outfit who are many pundit’s favourites to win the coveted title this year, after the mighty All Blacks won it the last time around in 2011. Flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez has been one of the stars of Argentina’s campaign so far scoring 74 points.

Despite many singing his praises, Sanchez’s attention remained firmly on preparing for the semifinal this week.

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Heyneke Meyer, Steve Hansen, Daniel Hourcade & Michael Cheika... the 4 Rugby World Cup 2015 SEMIFINALS coaches

Heyneke Meyer, Steve Hansen, Daniel Hourcade & Michael Cheika… the 4 Rugby World Cup 2015 SEMIFINALS coaches

For the 4 coaches of the Rugby World Cup semifinalists – Argentina’s Daniel Hourcade, Australia’s Michael Cheika, New Zealand’s Steve Hansen and South Africa’s Heyneke Meyer – the coming weekend promises to be a defining moment in their careers.

Win and they can look forward to leading their teams out for the Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham Stadium next Saturday, lose and they will be left to prepare for Friday night’s bronze medal match at the Olympic stadium, wondering what might have been.

Hansen summed up the contrast earlier in the week: “You either stand up and be counted or go home. Even worse, you have to play that other game.”

One thing the coaches share is that none had spectacular playing careers – Cheika’s Australia Under 21 caps represent the closest any of them came to international rugby – though all 4 have worked tirelessly as coaches to earn the positions they currently occupy.

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David Pocock

David Pocock

Israel Folau

Israel Folau

David Pocock and Israel Folau will return to action for Australia in the team named by coach Michael Cheika to face Argentina in their semifinal at Twickenham Stadium, London at 18:00 SA Time (17:00 UK Time, 16:00 GMT) on Sunday.

No 8 David Pocock (calf) and fullback Israel Folau (ankle) have been declared fit for the clash after Friday’s training session and will take their place in the starting 15, along with prop James Slipper who replaces the injured Scott Sio.

Slipper, who captained the side against the USA Eagles in Chicago last month, will start at loosehead prop while Toby Smith comes on to the replacements bench for the Wallabies’ 6th appearance in a Rugby World Cup semifinal.

With a combined 876 caps, this is the most experienced Wallaby starting line-up ever in a Rugby World Cup match. The side that defeated Scotland in the quarterfinals had 818 Test caps.

It is the 2nd-oldest Wallabies starting line-up in a Rugby World Cup match. At an average of 28 years and 142 days of age, it is only 21 days younger than the side (28 year and 163 days of age) that defeated Wales on 23 October 1999.

The match will be Slipper’s 73rd in the gold jersey, making the 26-year-old the most capped Wallabies prop in history, surpassing Benn Robinson (72 Tests).

Vice-captain Michael Hooper will also celebrate a milestone with his 50th Test appearance.

Drew Mitchell will once again line up on the left wing, needing 1 more try to draw level with Bryan Habana and Jonah Lomu as the all-time Rugby World Cup leading try scorer on 15 tries.

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Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika marked a year as Australia coach on Thursday, having unified a fractious squad, restored pride in the green and gold jersey and brought the Wallabies back to winning ways.

The 48-year-old Cheika will watch his side play Argentina in a Rugby World Cup semifinal on Sunday hoping he has mixed the magic ingredients to make him one of the ultimate rugby alchemists and deliver the Webb Ellis Trophy come 31 October.

He has pushed all the barriers to the limits since he picked up the debris left from the short but catastrophic Ewen McKenzie reign.

McKenzie’s 15 months in charge was marred by scandal, split the squad into factions and saw results on the pitch take a hit.

Under Cheika, Australia beat New Zealand on the way to winning the Southern Hemisphere’s Rugby Championship this year. In England, they are vying with New Zealand and South Africa to become the 1st country to get 3 Rugby World Cup titles.

Cheika – whose Lebanese father arrived in Sydney in 1950 with barely a penny in his pocket – set a new tone with the Australia players, right from the start, by lancing the boil that had festered during the McKenzie era.

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Mario Ledesma

Mario Ledesma

It is going to be an emotional week for an emotional man. For 20 years, Mario Ledesma, the proudest of Argentines, gave everything for the Pumas’ cause at the head of their mighty scrum. This week, he is charged with obliterating the prospect of the greatest day in his country’s rugby history.

Ledesma, one of the game’s greatest hookers who helped Argentina reach new heights at 4 Rugby World Cups, is now transforming Australia’s pack, as the coach of the vastly improved Wallabies’ scrum.

On Sunday, the popular Ledesma’s Australian charges face their most demanding test yet against the team whose reputation for scrummaging prowess was so greatly enhanced by the flinty 42-year-old from Buenos Aires.

The Twickenham semifinal, Australian coach Michael Cheika understands, is bound to be a strangely conflicting experience for such a passionate servant of Argentine rugby.

He also knows it will not stop Ledesma from continuing to put “120%” into the Wallabies’ team he has learned to love over the past year. Either way, it will probably end in tears for “Super Mario”.

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Vodacom Stats AppSouth Africa may have squeaked through in their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match against Wales but the statistics suggest a more dominant performance by the Springboks.

Statistics taken from the Vodacom Rugby App demonstrate how Wales had to defend South Africa’s relentless attacks on the advantage line.

The Springboks topped the carries stats in the quarterfinals with 157, forcing the Welsh to make 197 tackles in their encounter.

Influential flanker Schalk Burger was South Africa’s main strike runner taking the ball up 26 times in the match.

Burger led the carries statistics over the weekend with compatriot Duane Vermeulen behind him with 15.

The wave after wave of attack by the South Africans is also reflected in the fact that 5 Springbok players feature among the Top 5 in the carries category.

Springbok centre Damian de Allende (14), Eben Etzebeth (13) and Handré Pollard (12) followed behind Burger and Vermeulen in the stats.

Argentina, who upset Ireland to book a semifinal clash against Australia made the 2nd most carries with 122, with the Wallabies following in 3rd with 112.

The 4 Southern Hemisphere teams that will feature in the semifinals topped the Carries statistics with Argentina (122), Australia (112) and New Zealand (109) following behind the Springboks.

South Africa did not only test the Welsh defence but were also made to work hard to keep the opposition off the line by making 123 tackles – the 2nd most of the weekend.

Wales and South Africa kicked the most of all the quarterfinal matches, with the Springboks making 46 kicks from hand and the Red Dragons 2 less.

The Welsh’s desperate defence on the day is reflected in the individual tackles stats with 4 of their players among the Top tacklers.

Loose forward Dan Lydiate tops the stats with 24, with Alun Wyn Jones (19), Taulupe Faletau (18) and Sam Warburton (17) following behind him.

Scotland’s Jonny Gray with 18 and Burger with 16 were the only players among the Top 5 from other countries.

While the weekend produced its fair share of nail-biting moments it was not the case in the match between New Zealand and France.

The All Blacks were in sensational form as they stepped up a gear as they set a new Rugby World Cup quarterfinal victory margin beating the French by 49 points.

Running in 9 tries it is no surprise they dominate the Metres run and Clean breaks categories, as they ran the French rampant.

They ran 732 metres, which was 142 metres more than their nearest rivals, Argentina, while they made 19 clean breaks – more than double as many as Australia who ranked 2nd with 9.

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WhistleThe Match Officials have been confirmed for the semifinal stage of Rugby World Cup 2015 this weekend, with Jérôme Garcès and Wayne Barnes selected as Referees.

The 1st semifinal will take place at Twickenham Stadium between South Africa and New Zealand on Saturday (kick-off at 17:00 SA Time, 16:00 BST) with France’s Garcès in the middle. He will be joined on the line by compatriot Romain Poite and Ireland’s John Lacey, with George Ayoub of Australia being the Television Match Official.

The following day at the same venue, Argentina will take on Australia in the 2nd semifinal (kick-off 17:00 SA Time, 16:00 BST) and England’s Wayne Barnes will take charge. His Assistant Referees will be Jaco Peyper of South Africa and Ireland’s George Clancy. New Zealand’s Ben Skeen will be TMO.

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World RugbyThe Top 4 spots on the current world rankings are all taken up by Southern Hemisphere teams, with Argentina moving up to 4th.

The Pumas and South Africa were the biggest climbers after their wins over Ireland and Wales respectively in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals.

Los Pumas moved up 2 places on the rankings – overtaking Ireland and Wales. South Africa improved their position from 5th to 3rd after a tough 23 / 19 win over Wales.

Ireland plummeted from 3rd to 6th on the rankings, while Wales also fell from 4th to 5th.

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Israel Folau

Israel Folau

David Pocock

David Pocock

Israel Folau and David Pocock are on course to return to Australia’s start line-up for the Rugby World Cup semifinal against Argentina on Sunday, coach Michael Cheika said Monday.

However, 1st choice prop Scott Sio is a doubt and is to undergo a scan on his elbow which forced him to leave the fray early in the thrilling 35 / 34 win over Scotland on Sunday.

Pocock – who in a stroke of genius has been switched from flanker to No 8 by Cheika and was instrumental in the pool game win over humiliated hosts England – missed the quarterfinal because of a calf injury he suffered in the 15 / 6 win over Wales.

Fullback Folau has been struggling with an ankle problem since the 33 / 13 win over the English and the game against Scotland was the 1st Test he had missed since making his debut in 2013.

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Drew Mitchell

Drew Mitchell

Australia’s Drew Mitchell entered the race for the Rugby World Cup try-scoring record with a brace against Scotland in their 35 / 34 quarterfinal victory at Twickenham on Sunday.

Mitchell dotted down twice to bring his tally in World Cups to 14 – a single try shy of current joint leaders, New Zealand great Jonah Lomu and Springbok Bryan Habana.

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A lot has been made about Scotland’s early exit from the Rugby World Cup under a cloud of anger about the way referee Craig Joubert refereed the match… specially that last penalty, which when converted ultimately sunk a very, very brave and deserving Scotland.

We raked the web for an article which takes all the emotion and anger out of the equation and gives probably the best clinical and sensible discussion on the matter.

At the time the game was played, I thought the penalty was justly awarded, whereas many thought it was’nt the case!

Well, let’s first off say, that last penalty and everything around it happened so quickly, that anybody who can now unequivocally say that they saw everything clear as day at the time it happened, is bullshitting everybody. Of course now all of us have had the luxury of hindsight and have had repeated and even more repeated replays of that insident at hand… and still the judgment call is not easy.

But, I digress… let’s have a look at the ARTICLE I dug up… Paul Dobson the Author…

 

Then after that, have a good look at World Rugby’s Statement on the Match official’s performance review (Australia vs Scotland), it is right at the end of the article!

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