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Australian Rugby

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AustraliaWallabies backrower Matt Hodgson will be given the honour of captaining Australia in Saturday’s opening match of the 2014 Spring Tour against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

New head coach Michael Cheika has given Hodgson the responsibility of leading a team which boasts 495 Test caps in the starting line-up, and which also includes four players who will wear the green and gold jersey for the first time in 2014.

The clash against the Barbarians is an uncapped international, although will see playmakers Quade Cooper and Will Genia, winger Henry Speight and backrower Sean McMahon receive their first opportunities for Australia this year.

An extended nine-man bench has also been named for the clash with one player to be omitted following Thursday afternoon’s training session in London.

Cheika said the team was looking forward to the opportunity on Saturday.

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BarbariansAlastair Kellock will lead the Barbarians against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

The former Scotland captain takes charge of a cosmopolitan squad, coached by Sir John Kirwan, for the Killik Cup match.

In the starting side are Australia wing Nick Cummins, who lines up against his former team-mates, with New Zealand’s Bledisloe Cup match winner Colin Slade at flyhalf.

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Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika

New Wallaby defence coach Nathan Grey believes Australia can turn around their disastrous 2014 campaign if they get it right in the top six inches.

The Wallabies get their five-match year-end tour underway when they take on the Barbarians at Twickenham on Saturday.

While the emphasis is often on entertainment in BaaBaas games, it is when they take on Wales, France, Ireland and England in the following weeks that the heat will be turned up on a Wallaby team in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Grey said the challenge for the Wallabies was to have a winning mentality.

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AustraliaAustralia embarks on a difficult trip to Europe, playing the busiest schedule of any Southern Hemisphere power, clashing with Sir John Kirwan’s Barbarians to open November for the Wallabies before four straight Tests against the best the old continent has to offer.

Michael Cheika is the newest Test coach on the highest stage, and the successful coach, the only mentor in rugby history to record a Super Rugby / Heineken Cup double, will relish the immediate challenge which has seen him get ready for departure without even trying on his Wallabies gear.

From an on field perspective, to suggest the men in gold are in crisis is ludicrous, after they made the All Blacks look decisively mortal for long periods in Brisbane.

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Israel Folau

Israel Folau

Wallabies and Waratahs fullback Israel Folau has been handed the ultimate honour in Australian rugby after being named the John Eales Medallist for 2014.

At Australian rugby’s night of nights, the ARU celebrated and acknowledged the men and women in the Australian rugby community – fans, players, coaches, match officials and administrators – for their dedication, commitment and outstanding performance.

The 2014 ceremony was the first time performances in Super Rugby competition were incorporated into the event, while it was the first opportunity to recognise the best performers from the inaugural National Rugby Championship.

The John Eales Medallist is voted for by Wallabies players on a 3-2-1 basis after each Test. The winner is the player that has accumulated the most points over the past 12 months from the 2013 Spring Tour to the third Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand earlier this month.

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Kurtley Beale

Kurtley Beale

Disgraced utility back Kurtley Beale has been fined, but will rejoin the Wallaby team at the weekend.

He will board a flight on Saturday to rejoin the Wallabies on their year-end European tour.

It followed his in-flight confrontation with former Wallabies business and logistics manager Di Patston and subsequent revelations that he sent lewd text messages to teammates about the former staffer.

A tribunal on Friday found Beale guilty of a serious violation of the Australian Rugby Union code of conduct, and handed down a AU$ 45 000 (about US$ 40 000) fine, for sending an offensive photograph to an ARU employee.

The charge related to an image Beale admitted to sending on 9 June.

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Greg Peters

Greg Peters

Japan has beaten out Singapore as the preferred host for the 18th team in the expanded Super Rugby competition, governing body Sanzar said on Friday.

The southern hemisphere provincial competition will increase from 15 to 18 teams in 2016, with one team from South Africa and another from Argentina already awarded places.

Japan and Singapore were vying against each other for the last available spot with Japan getting the vote after a meeting of the South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby (Sanzar) executive board.

“Compelling proposals were put forth by Japan and Singapore in what was a very competitive tender process and we thank both parties for their passion in sharing our vision to expand the competition to new fans, territories and commercial markets,” Sanzar chief executive Greg Peters said in a statement.

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Singapore National Stadium

Singapore Sports Hub – National Stadium

Singapore has effectively conceded it has lost out to Japan to become the 18th Super Rugby side.

Although the South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby (Sanzar) has not officially announced which Asian country would host the new team in an expanded competition, it has already been widely reported that Japan has won the bid ahead of Singapore.

Singapore’s bidders released a statement on Thursday, seemingly acknowledging that Japan had been selected as the winner.

“Clearly Japan is a mature, established rugby market, while Singapore is new to the global rugby scene,” said Eric Series, the financial backer of the proposed Singapore bid.

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Barbarians RugbyThe Barbarians completed their squad with the addition of 11 more players including the South African duo of Juan de Jongh and Sarel Pretorius.

The Barbarians are set to take on the Wallabies at Twickenham on 1 November under the guidance of Blues coach John Kirwan.

Of the 11 new players added on Tuesday, the majority (5 of them) are from New Zealand with a further 3 Argentineans and a Scot to go along with the 2 South Africans.

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AustraliaNew Wallabies coach Michael Cheika included five debutants in his first squad unveiled on Wednesday for the End Of Year Tour in England, France, Ireland and Wales.

The 33-man Australia squad, led by 22-year-old Michael Hooper, includes three changes to the group that lost 29-28 to the All Blacks last Saturday.

The tour sees the return of injured duo Matt Toomua and Ben McCalman and the inclusion of uncapped Melbourne Rebels back-row forward Sean McMahon.

He is one of five uncapped players alongside Western Force pair Tetera Faulkner (prop) and Kyle Godwin (centre), and wingers Henry Speight (Brumbies) and Tom English (Rebels).

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AustraliaMichael CheikaThe Australian Rugby Union on Wednesday confirmed that Michael Cheika is the new Wallaby coach, ahead of a tough End Of Year European tour.

He has been appointed on a three-year contract, coming in the wake of the controversial departure of Ewen McKenzie as a result of the fall-out over the Kurtley Beale saga.

ARU Chief Executive Officer Bill Pulver said Michael Cheika was the outstanding candidate for the role.

“Central to our decision was selecting a world-class coach who can lead us to victory in next year’s World Cup and a person who represents the game’s core values,” Pulver said.

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Stephen Larkham

Stephen Larkham

Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham turned down the opportunity to help coach the Wallabies on their End Of Year Tour.

The Rugby World Cup winning Wallabies playmaker Larkham has tipped to be the attack coach working as an assistant to Michael Cheika.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika was confirmed as replacement Wallabies coach on Wednesday.

Larkham said that he was honoured to be considered but would prefer to concentrate on preparing for the Brumbies upcoming Super Rugby season.

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Waratahs coach Michael Cheika, offered to coach the Wallabies

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika confirmed on Monday he has been offered the Wallabies coaching job left vacant by the resignation of Ewen McKenzie, saying it was “humbling”.

A smiling Cheika, dressed in a Waratahs tracksuit top and black jeans, confirmed the offer when he spoke to the media out the front of Waratahs headquarters at Moore Park. “It’s a pretty humbling experience to be asked to be involved in something like that, but we’ll see what happens,” Cheika said.

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Ewen McKenzieThe Australian Rugby Union revealed that Ewen McKenzie has resigned as Wallaby coach.

McKenzie announced his resignation after the Qantas Wallabies were gallant in defeat, going down 29-28 to New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 18 October.

Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver paid tribute to McKenzie who has led Australia in 22 Tests since starting in the role in August 2013.

“I did not ask Ewen to resign, but understand his decision. He informed me this morning of his intention to resign, regardless of tonight’s result.”

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AustraliaNew ZealandWallabies (15) 28 / 29 (12) All Blacks (Final Score)

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

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane at 11:00 SA Time (19:00 AEST, 22:00 NZ Time, 09:00 GMT).

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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Beauden Barrett

Beauden Barrett

The All Blacks were given a big scare ahead of their Test against the Wallabies on Saturday.

First-choice flyhalf Beauden Barrett is under a slight injury cloud, following a training ground mishap.

The No 10 limped out of training with his left thigh iced and Colin Slade running the final few minutes of the session.

There is no indication when a call will be made on Barritt’s fitness.

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WhistleRound nine of the National Rugby Championships (NRC) in Australia took place earlier with the first game providing us with what was quite possibly the worst ever decision on a rugby field, and the first ever ‘Own Try’ in rugby.

The Sydney Stars versus North Harbour Rays clash gave Mitch Lewis a chance to bag some meat and get on the scoresheet, but he never would have guessed it would be against his own team.

In football (or soccer) own goals aren’t unsual, as defenders occasionally slot the ball into the back of their own net. In rugby however, no such thing exists, because when a player grounds the ball over his own tryline, it’s a 5m scrum if carried over, or a 22m drop-out if not.

All that changed in Australia a while ago however, as a bizarre call resulted in the TMO and Referee awarding what is quite possibly the first ever own try in rugby! Seriously.

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Steve Hansen

Steve Hansen

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has admitted that they are wary of a backlash from the troubled Wallabies who have lost their last two matches.

The Wallabies situation has been compounded by an off-field scandal involving star backliner Kurtley Beale and a text message scandal that saw a Wallaby back room staffer resign.

There has also been speculation in the media that Australian coach Ewen McKenzie could be replaced if the Wallabies suffer a thumping at the hands of the All Blacks.

The All Blacks want to get back on track after they lost their first Test in 23 matches when they were edged by South Africa’s Springboks two weeks ago.

Hansen’s All Blacks have now lost just two matches since their won the Rugby World Cup in 2011 so the pressure on Australia to win is much greater than the New Zealanders.

“When a team is under siege as they are at the moment then one of two things can happen,” Hansen said.

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Aaron Cruden

Aaron Cruden takes part in a team huddle with his Manawatu team-mates, something he won’t do with the All Blacks in Brisbane.

Aaron Cruden continues to be frozen out of the All Blacks.

Steve Hansen, who recently kicked the playmaker off the tour of Argentina and South Africa because he missed a pre-departure meeting, hasn’t even bothered naming him in the reserves for the test against the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday night.

Instead Beauden Barrett will again start at first five-eighth, while Colin Slade, who can play first-five, wing and fullback, has been listed in the substitutes.

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Jake White and Eddie Jones

Jake White and Eddie Jones

Japan coach Eddie Jones says former Springbok coach Jake White is the ideal candidate to take over as Wallabies mentor should Ewen McKenzie be sacked.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald website, speculation is growing that McKenzie could be fired within weeks.

This comes despite the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chief executive Bill Pulver publicly backing McKenzie as the man to take the Wallabies to next year’s World Cup in England and Wales.

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Marnitz Boshoff

Marnitz Boshoff

Springbok flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff is set to join the Barbarians when they take on the Wallabies at Twickenham on 1 November.

Boshoff joins a list of New Zelanders who were added to the squad on Monday along side a large South African contingent that were added earlier in the month.

All Blacks Adam Thomson, Francis Saili and Frank Halai have all been added to the squad to facing Australia and Leicester Tigers in November.

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Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper

Mercurial flyhalf Quade Cooper was among the reserves named on Tuesday for the embattled Wallabies with Adam Ashley-Cooper chosen for his 100th Test against the All Blacks in this weekend’s Bledisloe Cup clash.

Under-fire coach Ewen McKenzie made two changes to his starting line-up with Christian Leali’ifano at inside centre and Rob Simmons returning at lock for a team that lost 21-17 to Argentina on 3 October.

Leali’ifano replaces the injured Matt Toomua while Simmons displaces James Horwill from the beaten side in Mendoza.

Cooper has not played for Australia this year after suffering a shoulder injury in May, when he lost his place to Bernard Foley.

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Ewen McKenzie & Bill Pulver

Ewen McKenzie & Bill Pulver

The Australian Rugby Union is rejecting reports it is preparing to replace Ewen McKenzie as Wallabies coach.

Australian media say talks have taken place between senior union officials and McKenzie’s most-likely successor, New South Wales Waratahs coach Michael Cheika.

But in a statement late Monday ARU Chief Executive Bill Pulver said: “the ARU has not had any conversations with any other coaches regarding the Wallabies coaching position.

“Ewen [McKenzie] is coaching the team [against the All Blacks] this weekend and next Friday he will board the plane with the team for the November Tests tour [to Britain] and is contracted to Australian Rugby to lead the Wallabies to next year’s Rugby World Cup.”

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Tony Johnson

Tony Johnson

Before we start treating an All Blacks victory in Brisbane as a fait accompli its worth considering a few things.

It is true that the Wallabies are in a state of disarray, and must be vulnerable.

Their legacy of player power has come back to bite them, and it is extraordinary that their captain should be publically defending a repeat offending player ahead of the team unit, and by extension the coach.

Ewen McKenzie has tried to take a firm line in the past, but despite his strong actions on the end of year tour last year has been unable to instil a sense of no nonsense in the team.

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New Zealand

New Zealand will head into next year’s Rugby Championship as title-holders

Australia will play New Zealand twice in a week as part of their preparation for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The draw for the condensed 2015 Rugby Championship sees champions New Zealand host Argentina in Christchurch but travelling to South Africa and Australia.

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Di Patston

Di Patston

Wallabies Business Manager Di Patston has left the Australian Rugby Union, after resigning late on Friday – because of stress related to recent events.

Patston clashed with star back Kurtley Beale and sparked a major controversy over team management.

ARU Chief Executive Bill Pulver said Patston’s departure did not impact on plans for Beale to face a Code of Conduct Tribunal in relation to the distribution of what the ARU considers offensive text messages and images.

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Kurtley Beale

Kurtley Beale

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has said on Sunday Kurtley Beale should not be sacked and has called for a squad honesty session to dispel talk of team disunity under coach Ewen McKenzie.

Hooper insisted the “team is tight” and backed the besieged McKenzie, who has become embroiled in the fallout of Beale’s messy spat with former team business manager Di Patston.

Beale was suspended from last week’s Argentina game in Mendoza over a mid-flight argument with Patston, and was later barred from selection indefinitely after the emergence of “deeply offensive text messages” about Patston.

The Australian Rugby Union said Patston had resigned from her position late on Friday, citing stress relating to the recent events.

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Adam Ashley-Cooper

Adam Ashley-Cooper

Versatile Wallabies back Adam Ashley-Cooper will quit Australia after next year’s World Cup to play club rugby in Europe, the 99 times capped international has said on Sunday.

The 30-year-old, who is set to become only the sixth Australian to win 100 caps, said he would like to link up with former Wallabies team mate Matt Giteau at big-spending European champions Toulon in France.

“I’m certainly scoping out the areas of Toulon but there are a few other clubs that are interested,” Ashley-Cooper said on Sunday.

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Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper is set to make his return to Test rugby after being named in the Wallabies’ 32-man squad for next week’s third Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium.

Cooper suffered a serious shoulder injury back in May but has shown good form in the NRC tournament for Brisbane City.

The talented five-eighth is likely to come off the bench with Bernard Foley to start, however Cooper’s return for the clash at Suncorp Stadium on October 18 is timely given the suspension of Kurtley Beale and injuries to several other inside backs.

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WhistleThe International Rugby Board has announced the match official appointments for upcoming November internationals.

Appointments were made by the IRB Match Official Selection Committee at its recent meeting in Dublin and follow a detailed review of recent performances during the June international window, The Rugby Championship and other matches.

South Africa’s Craig Joubert will kick off a busy month of Tests as teams and officials begin the countdown to Rugby World Cup 2015, when he takes charge of the New Zealand v USA fixture at Soldier Field in Chicago on November 1.

Steve Walsh will be the man in the middle for England’s match with the Springboks and Nigel Owens will officiate at Stade de France when Les Bleus take on Australia, as well as refereeing New Zealand’s visit to Twickenham. Wayne Barnes has been appointed to Wales v New Zealand in Cardiff, while Ireland v Australia in Dublin will be refereed by Glen Jackson. Jérôme Garces will be in charge when the Wallabies take on England and will be in Padova on November 22 to referee Italy v South Africa.

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Super RugbyThe race to become the 18th Super Rugby franchise in 2016 took an intriguing twist on Wednesday.

According to media reports Japan and Singapore, the contestants in the two-horse race, are going to put their names in the same hat and share the games.

If the reports, quoting various sources, are to be believed, Japan have stolen the march on rival Singapore – but only because they offered to host matches in Singapore.

This, they believe, will negate concerns from South Africa about additional travel times.

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Kurtley Beale

Kurtley Beale in MORE Trouble

Troubled Wallaby Kurtley Beale faces new allegations of having breached the players’ code of conduct.

It is almost certain the latest revelations will result in Beale not being offered a new contract by the Australian Rugby Union.

It was revealed by ARU the  that a new disciplinary allegation involving the utility back, Beale, will be referred to a tribunal.

Beale was dropped for the last Rugby Championship Test against Argentina last Saturday, after an ugly in-flight public spat with members of the team management.

ARU Chief Executive Bill Pulver said Thursday that while investigating the incident, during the flight from Johannesburg to Sao Paulo, officials were made aware of another matter involving Beale and text messages he sent in June.

The ARU said Beale will not be considered for Australian selection until the tribunal concludes.

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Jonathan Kaplan

Jonathan Kaplan

This weekend saw the finale of The Rugby Championship and we saw two very contrasting games. The All Blacks won the trophy… again. Deservedly.

The Pumas won their first ever fixture in this tournament, a historical moment and one they will never forget… I certainly won’t, but the highlight had to be the bromance in the coaches box after the game where their Latin exuberance, warmth and hot blooded nature got the better of some of them… Put it this way, there was lots of lovin!!

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  • MacroBok 1 Nov 2014, 08:40 SAST - Japan moes vir FDP gekies het
  • MacroBok 1 Nov 2014, 08:36 SAST - More almal, wind waai dat die kak spat
  • MacroBok 1 Nov 2014, 08:35 SAST - @ Pietman: Ja Japan kan nie so swak wees nie, die Maoris doen ook moer goed om die bal stadig...
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