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Australian Rugby

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WhistleSANZAR has announced the names of the Match Officials for Round 13 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

There are only 6 matches on the weekend and 3 Teams have their BYE wekkend, namely the Vodacom Bulls, Toyota Cheetahs and Chiefs.

It therefore also means that only 3 South African franchises are in action on the weekend.

We have 2 matches on Friday 8 May and 4 matches on Saturday 9 May.

The Weekend’s action is kicked off on Friday by Mike Fraser who will be in charge of the Crusaders vs Reds game in Christchurch at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT). The Melbourne Rebels host the Blues in Melbourne on Friday at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT), where Angus Gardner will wield the whistle.

On Saturday at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT) the Hurricanes host the battling Cell C Sharks in Wellington, officiated by Chris Pollock, whereafter the Western Force tackle the Waratahs in Perth at 11:40 SA Time (17:40 AWST, 19:40 AEST, 09:40 GMT), blown by Rohan Hoffmann.

The 2 matches in South Africa then follow, with the Emirates Lions hosting the Highlanders in Johannesburg at 15:00 SA Time (13:00 GMT, 01:00 NZ Time), officiated by Craig Joubert, followed by Stuart Berry in the match between the DHL Stormers vs Brumbies in cape Town at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, 23:00 AEST).

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Stephen Larkham

Stephen Larkham

Steven Larkham has done his homework on the Stormers as he looks to turn the Brumbies’ season around with the clash at Newlands on Saturday, pointing out the lineout as an area of weakness.

The Brumbies and the Stormers are both coming off hard-fought derby losses which will put added pressure in the camps as they look to rectify that by preparing for their encounter in the Cape.

“It’s about focusing on your job and focusing on your game, we’ve done a fair bit of research on the Stormers and they are a dangerous outfit,” Larkham said at a press conference at their hotel in Cape Town on Tuesday.

There were 2 key areas of concern in the Stormers loss to the Cheetahs: Their lineout was poorly organised and executed, and miss-fired kicks at goal ended up costing them the game.

Since Manuel Carizza’s injury, the Stormers’ lineouts have fallen to pieces.

Ruan Botha called the shots in the set-piece on Saturday and it did not go down well, however when Eben Etzebeth was controlling the calls he did not do a much better job.

It can also partly be blamed on Bongi Mbonambi, who is no John Smit when it comes to hitting your jumpers. Scarra Ntubeni is once again, not much better in that regard.

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Sean McMahon

Sean McMahon

Melbourne Rebels and Wallaby loose forward Sean McMahon has been cleared of any serious damage to his hip, after limping off against the Chiefs in considerable pain last Saturday.

McMahon, who was replaced in the opening half of the Rebels’ 16 / 15 victory over the Chiefs at AAMI Park, will still need to pass a number of different tests to prove his availability ahead of the visit of the Blues this Friday.

Rebels’ head of athletic performance Bryce Cavanagh said McMahon’s injury was a painful blow to his hip, making movement difficult and uncomfortable for the 2nd year player.

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Kurtley Beale

Kurtley Beale

Di Patston

Di Patston

A compensation claim against the Australian Rugby Union by a woman at the centre of the Kurtley Beale texting affair has been settled out of court, it was announced on Tuesday.

Former Wallabies business manager Di Patston was on the receiving end of an offensive text message sent by Beale during a team tour last year, an affair that proved hugely damaging to Australian rugby.

It sparked a heated argument on a flight from South Africa to Argentina, which ultimately led to a number of issues within the Wallabies quickly unravelling.

Coach Ewen McKenzie abruptly quit after speculation over internal dissent and his relationship with Patston, while she also resigned, citing stress. She later said the controversy had driven her to contemplate suicide.

The saga also put the spotlight on the ARU’s management of the scandal.

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Vodacom Stats AppWith only 5 Rounds left before the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby playoffs the top performing players in the competition are starting to cement their places in the top stats on the Vodacom Rugby App.

Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard is opening a considerable gap at the top of the Points category scoring 143 points for the Vodacom Bulls over 12 Rounds of rugby.

His closest rival is New Zealand pivot Beauden Barrett of the Hurricanes with 110 points with the Brumbies’ Christian Lealiifano and Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies sharing 3rd place with 103.

Stormers flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis is the 3rd South African at the top with the 101 points he scored so far this season.

Bulls winger Francois Hougaard and Cell C Sharks flanker Marcell Coetzee represent the country in the Tries category with scoring 5 apiece.

The top try-scorer after 12 Rounds of Vodacom Super Rugby is Highlanders flyer Waisake Naholo with 8, while the Hurricanes’ TJ Perenara and Julian Savea scored 7 and 6 respectively.

Equally influential are the men that made the tries happen, with Toyota Cheetahs fullback Willie le Roux sharing the top spot in terms of Try Assists with the Waratahs’ Israel Folau and Nic White of the Brumbies with 6 apiece.

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Nic White

Nic White

Brumbies scrumhalf Nic White has arrived in Cape Town ahead of Saturday’s clash against the DHL Stormers at Newlands.

The Brumbies flew into South Africa on Monday ready for a big week in the Cape, the Stormers preparing to right the wrongs of last week after falling to the Toyota Cheetahs.

White returns for the Stormers match this weekend after 3 weeks out, his ankle injury now firmly beaten.

He said the Stormers presented the Brumbies with a significant challenge.

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Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper

The Reds believe the Australian Rugby Union’s revised contracting system could convince star playmaker Quade Cooper to remain in Brisbane.

Cooper’s future remains a hot topic of conversation, following the announcement by Toulon than the 53-Test veteran had signed a 2-year contract with the French club.

Cooper, the Reds and the ARU vehemently denied his departure is a done deal – accusing the Top 14 club of jumping the gun.

It is now reported that Cooper has been offered a 4-year flexible contract by the ARU, which will allow him to play in Japan during the off-season and return for Super Rugby to remain eligible for the Wallabies.

Reds coach Richard Graham, addressing a media scrum in Brisbane on Monday, said they remain optimistic that Cooper will not take up the Toulon offer.

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Tatafu Polota-Nau

Tatafu Polota-Nau

Waratahs and Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau could take a long leave of absence from rugby or even the quit the game entirely if he suffers another heavy head knock.

Polota-Nau, who has been working with Australian neurologists on the effects of concussion, was forced from the ground with a head injury early in the Waratahs’ Super Rugby win over the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday.

The 29-year-old was also forced to miss a couple of games in the southern hemisphere’s provincial championship earlier in the season after suffering another blow to the head at training.

4 Months out from the World Cup, Polota-Nau, who has amassed 50 caps for Australia despite battling a litany of injuries throughout his career, said he was taking a cautious approach to his playing future.

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Mick Mathers

Mick Mathers

Former Wallaby and Waratahs captain Mick Mathers has been appointed President of New South Wales Rugby Union, taking over from Tim Gavin who has stood down after 3 years in the role.

As a player Mathers represented the Waratahs on 14 occasions, and played 2 Test matches for Australia in a distinguished career on the field. Mathers also had the honour of captaining the Wallabies in non-Test touring matches.

He has held the position of Vice-President of NSWRU for the last 3 years, prior to that he held positions on the Unions Judicial panel and was Team Manager of the Waratahs in the early days of Super Rugby.

Former World Cup winning fullback Marty Roebuck was elected to the vacant Vice Presidents position.

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Super RugbyThe Vodacom Bulls are back at the Top of the South African Conference, taking over from the DHL Stormers who came up short in Bloemfontein on an exhilarating Saturday of Vodacom Super Rugby.

The weekend started on a disappointing note for the Cell C Sharks in Dunedin though. After a solid start for the visitors, the Highlanders turned on the heat and eventually beat the Durbanites by 48 / 15 in their opening tour match Down Under.

Saturday saw 2 cracking local derbies, both won by the home teams.

1st Up, the Toyota Cheetahs caused a minor upset when they won their 3rd successive home game against the DHL Stormers in Bloemfontein, by 25 / 17.

The home team outscored the visitors by 3 tries to 2 and thoroughly deserved their 4th win of the season. It was also only the 3rd time in 14 matches that the DHL Stormers could not score any Log Points against the Toyota Cheetahs.

The final match of the weekend was a proper humdinger in Pretoria, where the Vodacom Bulls beat their neighbours, the Emirates Lions, by 35 / 33. A total of 7 tries were scored as both sides went hammer and tongs against each other for the full 80 minutes.

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Matt Giteau

Matt Giteau

Matt Giteau said he would love to return to Twickenham with the Wallabies at this year’s World Cup after guiding Toulon to a 3rd straight European title.

Giteau was at flyhalf in an all-star international backline featuring Wales’s Leigh Halfpenny and South Africa’s Bryan Habana as Toulon beat French rivals Clermont 24 / 18 in the European Rugby Chamions Cup Final at Twickenham on Saturday.

Having made his Test debut as a 20-year-old at Twickenham back in 2002, Giteau effectively called time on his 92-cap Australia career when he signed for Toulon after failing to be included in the Wallabies’ squad for the 2011 World Cup.

But he was given a route back into the international arena when the Australia Rugby Union announced last month it was relaxing its hardline stance barring overseas-based players from representing the Wallabies.

“I signed over here knowing I wouldn’t play Test rugby again,” said Giteau after Saturday’s match. “Now the rules have changed, it’s a possibility. I had no idea it was coming, but I’m happy it has.

“It’s very exciting for Australian rugby that they’ve changed that (the eligibility rules). For me in particular, it doesn’t change a great deal until I’m contacted.”

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Super RugbyIt is Round 12 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 2 games on Friday 1 May and 5 games on Saturday 2 May.

The Reds have a BYE weekend.

There are 2 lip-licking South African derbies on the weekend, between the Toyota Cheetahs vs DHL Stormers in Bloemfontein as well as between the Emirates Lions vs Vodacom Bulls. The Cell C Sharks is on touir and will be in action against the Highlanders in the 1st match of the weekend.

On Friday, the Highlanders host the Cell C Sharks in Dunedin at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT) before the Brumbies host the Waratahs, in Canberra, at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 09:55 GMT).

On Saturday morning early the Blues host the Western Force in Auckland at 07:30 SA Time (17:30 NZ Time, 13:30 AWST, 05:30 GMT) before the Hurricanes host the Crusaders in Wellington at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT), whereafter the Melbourne Rebels host the Chiefs in Melbourne at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

Over to South Africa and next up, at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT), the Toyota Cheetahs host the DHL Stormers in Bloemfontein, before the Vodacom Bulls host hte Emirates Lions in Pretoria at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT).

The game between the Highlanders and Cell C Sharks is a difficult one to call, equally so the derby between the Brumbies and Waratahs, on Friday.

On Saturday one would be hard-pressed to pick between the Blues and Western Force, as both of them are bottom-dwellers in the overall competition.

Over to another mouthwatering derby where the high-flying Hurricanes should have the measure of the Crusaders, who have been very inconsistent in 2015.

In Australia the Chiefs should easily have the measure of the Melbourne Rebels.

The DHL Stormers, even though they are playing away from home in Bloemfontein, should start as overwhelming favourites over the Toyota Cheetahs. The Trans-Jukskei derby in Pretoria between the Vodacom Bulls and Emirates Lionsis going to be a cracker, where the team with the biggest cahoonas will win… who it will be will remain to be seen!

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Super RugbyAs the Cell C Sharks kick off their Vodacom Super Rugby tour of Australasia, the DHL Stormers and Vodacom Bulls will be involved in 2 derbies which could go a long way in determining the eventual champion of the SA Conference.

The Durbanites will try to improve their winning record in New Zealand when they take to the field in Dunedin on Friday morning – against their 2nd favourite Kiwi opponent away from home.

It’s only against the Blues, where they’ve won 6 out of 8 in New Zealand, that the Cell C Sharks boast a better away winning record than against the team from Otago (4 from 8).

The Cell C Sharks have won 3 from 8 against the Hurricanes away, 3 from 9 against the Chiefs and 1 from 12 against the Crusaders.

2 Exciting local derbies are on the cards for Saturday afternoon and early evening.

1st Up is the Battle of Bloem between the Toyota Cheetahs and the DHL Stormers, where the Capetonians will be looking to improve their lead at the Top of the SA Conference without tripping up at what has become quite a tricky venue for most sides.

Then it’s the 2nd Jukskei Derby of 2015, this time in Pretoria, where the Vodacom Bulls’ aim will be to stay as close to the Top 6 on the Combined Log while at the same time not lose their 1st-ever home game against their neighbours from just south, the Emirates Lions.

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Reds6 Of the Reds most promising young players have committed themselves to the franchise for the 2016 season beyond after signing new contact extensions.

Prop Sef Fa’agase, hooker Andrew Ready and loose forwards Michael Gunn and Adam Korczyk have committed to the club for 3 years, while prop Sam Talakai and outside back Jamie-Jerry Taulagi have signed for 2 years.

All 6 have made their Super Rugby debut for Queensland over the last 2 seasons and have been identified as future stars of the club.

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Cadeyrn Neville

Cadeyrn Neville

The Reds have signed Melbourne Rebels lock Cadeyrn Neville for 2 years, as they look to find a replacement for the departing James Horwill.

The 26-year-old will join the Reds at the conclusion of the 2015 Super Rugby season, whilst Horwill makes is way north to join Premiership side Harlequins after the the World Cup.

Originally from Manly in Sydney and a former rower with the Australian Institute of Sport, Neville has spent the past 4 seasons in Melbourne and played more than 40 Super Rugby games for the Rebels.

At 2.02m and 123kg, Reds head coach Richard Graham believes the developing Neville will make a suitable replacement for departing Wallabies lock Horwill.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced the names of the Match Officials for Round 12 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

There are once again 7 matches on the weekend, and only 1 team will on a BYE weekend, the Reds.

The Weekend sees 2 matches on Friday 1 May and 5 matches on Saturday 2 May.

On Friday referee Angus Gardner kicks off the action in the game between the Highlanders vs Cell C Sharks in Dunedin, at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT), followed by the Brumbies vs Waratahs clash in Canberra at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 09:40 GMT) which will be controlled by Glen Jackson.

On Saturday the action starts early, at 07:30 SA Time (17:30 NZ Time, 15:30 AEST, 13:30 AWST, 05:30 GMT), with Ben O’Keeffe at the helm in the game between the Blues vs Western force in Auckland. This is followed by another match in New Zealand, at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT) with the Hurricanes hosting the Crusaders in Wellington, with Mike Fraser in charge of the whistle.

In Australia at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT), referee Andrew Lees will officiate in the game between the Melbourne Rebels vs Chiefs, in Melbourne.

2 Mouthwatering derbies follow on South African soil, with the Toyota Cheetahs hosting the DHL Stormers in Bloemfontein at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT), where Craig Joubert will be in charge of procedings, followed by the final Round 12 game in Protoria where the Vodacom Bulls host their trans-jukskei rivals, the Emirates Lions at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT) with Marius van der Westhuizen will wield the whistle.

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Luke Jones

Luke Jones

Telusa Veainu

Telusa Veainu

The Melbourne Rebels are hopeful that Wallaby lock Luke Jones and powerhouse wing Telusa Veainu will be in contention for selection this week against the Chiefs.

Jones missed the narrow defeat against the Waratahs on Saturday due to a delayed concussion.

While the Club expects Jones to be available, they will prioritise his wellbeing alongside teammate Telusa Veainu, who sustained a head knock in a Man Of The Match performance for Melbourne Unicorns in Round 5 of the Dewar Shield.

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Super RugbyIt was a weekend of drama and excitement in South Africa as the DHL Stormers moved to the Top of the local Super Rugby Conference and the Emirates Lions kept alive their dream of reaching the Top 6.

The Emirates Lions beat the Toyota Cheetahs by 34 / 29 in an 8-try humdinger on Saturday afternoon to record their 6th victory of the season, making 2015 their 2nd best yet but with 6 Rounds to go.

Last year, the Emirates Lions finished with 7 wins, 2 better than their 5 from 2007, but they are on track to better their best in the coming weeks.

The Toyota Cheetahs also deserve a lot of credit for never giving up as they returned to Bloemfontein with 2 bonus points.

The 2nd local match on Saturday delivered heaps of drama and the result was in the balance right until the end, but the DHL Stormers hung on for their 2nd victory over the Vodacom Bulls this season as they won by 15 / 13.

The visitors from Pretoria scored the only try of the match when Bjorn Basson went over early in the 2nd half, but the match-clinching moment came at the death when Duane Vermeulen charged down an attempted drop-goal by Handré Pollard to lead his side to their 7th win of the season.

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Ian Prior

Ian Prior

The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC has accepted a guilty plea from Ian Prior of the Force for contravening Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle, after he was sent off following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Prior has been suspended from all forms of the game for 3 weeks up to and including Sunday 17 May 2015.

The incident occurred in the 28th minute of the match between the Chiefs and Force at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on 24 April 2015.

SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC assessed the case.

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Ian Prior

Ian Prior

Ian Prior of the Western Force received a Red Card for a tip-tackle on Tim Nanai-Williams during a Super Rugby match against the Chiefs on Friday.

Prior dumped Nanai-Williams in a tackle that saw the Chiefs wing land on his neck and head, in an incident that occurred in the 28th minute of the match at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.

He is alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (j) Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and / or upper body come into contact with the ground.

The case is to be ruled by SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton.

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Rob Simmons

Rob Simmons

James Slipper

James Slipper

The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has locked away 2 key members of the Wallabies’ forward pack – re-signing the experienced Reds duo James Slipper and Rob Simmons.

The signatures of the 2 talented tight forwards are significant for the future of Australia.

Slipper agreed to a new 3-year deal, through until the end of 2018, while Simmons has also inked a multi-year extension – through until the end of 2017.

Despite his young age of just 25, Slipper and Simmons, 27, have already accumulated a combined 113 Tests between them for Australia.

Both also hold leadership positions at either the Wallabies or Reds.

Slipper and Simmons, who were announced earlier this year as the captain and vice-captain of the Reds, grew up playing together on the Gold Coast at the Southport School.

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Super RugbyIt is Round 11 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 2 games on Friday 24 April, 4 games on Saturday 25 April and 1 game on Sunday 26 April.

The Cell C Sharks have a BYE weekend.

There are 2 lip-licking South African derbies on the weekend, between the Emirates Lions vs Toyota Cheetahs as well as between the DHL Stormers vs Vodacom Bulls, and no South African side is on tour at the moment.

There are no more unbeaten sides left in the tournament, since the Hurricanes lost against the Waratahs last weekend.

On Friday, the Chiefs host the Western Force in Hamilton at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 15:35 AWST, 07:35 GMT) before the Brumbies host the Highlanders in a slightly later match than usual due to the Anzac Day Centenary celebrations, in Canberra, at 11:55 SA Time (19:55 AEST, 21:55 NZ Time, 09:55 GMT).

On Saturday morning the Crusaders host the Blues in Christchurch at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT), whereafter the Waratahs host the Melbourne Rebels in Sydney at 11:55 SA Time (19:55 AEST, 09:55 GMT).

Over to South Africa and next up, at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT), the Emirates Lions host the Toyota Cheetahs in Johannesburg, before the DHL Stormers host the Vodacom Bulls in Cape Town at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT).

On Sunday morning at 08:05 SA Time (16:05 AEST, 18:05 NZ Time, 06:05 GMT) the Reds host the high-flying Hurricanes side in the last game of the Round.

The game between the Chiefs and Western Force should see the Chiefs aesily beating the Force whereas the game between the Brumbies and Highlanders a bit later on Friday is extremely difficult to call.

On Saturday one would suspect that the Crusaders will beat the Blues but the Crusaders seem to be on the downhill slope, whereas the Blues seem to be improving.

The Waratahs should take care of the Melbourne Rebels.

The Emirates Lions should have too much firepower and also too much depth for the struggling Cheetahs side but the duzy of the weekend between the DHL Stormers and Vodacom Bulls is another difficult one to predict for, however if this year’s prior form is anything to go by, the Stormers should have this one in the bag.

The Hurricanes should beat the struggling Reds in Brisbane on Sunday… and convincingly so, as the Reds have truly been diabollically bad in 2015!

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Matt Hodgson

Matt Hodgson

Wallaby flank, and inspirational captain, Matt Hodgson will make his long awaited return to Super Rugby for the Western Force when he runs out against the Chiefs on Friday.

Hodgson, a massive part of the Force’s successful season last year, has not made an appearance in 2015 due to a hamstring injury suffered in a pre-season fixture against the Asia Pacific Dragons.

The Force skipper will return to his familiar openside flank position and join No 8 Ben McCalman and blindside flank Angus Cottrell in a loose forward combination that started in 11 of 16 matches during the 2014 season.

A foot injury to interim captain Sam Wykes sees Steve Mafi shift from side of the scrum into the second row.

In the backline, Ian Prior will start his 1st match of 2015, replacing scrumhalf Alby Mathewson, who has been sidelined with a knee injury.

On the bench, Cottelsoe scrumhalf Ryan Louwrens is in line to make his Super Rugby debut after a knee injury – requiring a reconstruction – scuppered his 2014 season.

Flank Kane Koteka makes his return after being rested against the Stormers following concussion, while big lock Wilhelm Steenkamp will also start from the Western Force reserves list.

Prop Pek Cowan is also set to become the 2nd player to play 100 Super Rugby matches for the Western Force, when he runs out against the Chiefs.

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Dave Dennis

Dave Dennis

Head coach Michael Cheika has made a number of changes to the Waratahs team to take on the Melbourne Rebels at ANZ Stadium on Anzac Day.

Captain Dave Dennis moves to the No 8 role, while Wycliff Palu will start on the bench.

Mitchell Chapman moves into his role at lock and Tatafu Polota-Nau returns to the starting line-up.

Peter Betham keeps his place on the right wing ahead of Taqele Naiyaravoro, after this week announcing his move to England to join Leicester Tigers.

Adam Ashley-Cooper makes his 2nd start since returning from injury at outside centre.

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Dom Shipperley

Dom Shipperley

Melbourne Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has re-introduced Sam Jeffries and Dom Shipperley into the squad, as he named his team to face the Waratahs at ANZ Stadium on Saturday in a clash which will commemorate the centenary of the Anzac landing.

Wallaby Shipperley returns to the starting line-up, while his Melbourne University teammate in second rower Sam Jeffries replacing Luke Jones in the squad, with Cadeyrn Neville elevated to start.

Jones developed concussion symptoms after the win in Canberra against the Brumbies last weekend, and the Rebels have opted to leave him out of the team as a precautionary method.

McGahan said that it was pleasing to be able to draw upon players with match fitness and form when changes were made.

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Richard Graham

Richard Graham

Reds Head coach Richard Graham has made 4 changes to his starting side, with injuries playing their part in a backline shuffle for when the Reds take on the Hurricanes at Suncorp Stadium.

Injury has forced 2 of the changes, with Curtis Browning (knee) and Karmichael Hunt (adductor) ruled out of the match after suffering injuries against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last weekend.

3 Of the 4 changes come in the backs, the injury to Hunt has forced veteran utility Lachie Turner from wing to fullback.

Chris Feauai-Sautia goes from outside centre to wing and Anthony Fainga’a is brought back into the starting side at inside centre.

In the forwards, recent debutant Adam Korczyk will make his starting debut at blindside flank, in place of the injured Browning.

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Sam Carter

Sam Carter

Brumbies lock Sam Carter will miss this weekend’s clash with the Highlanders following the death of a close family friend who tragically passed away last weekend playing for the Quirindi Lions.

The Wallaby lock’s family are still based in Quirindi and he will be allowed to return home for the funeral and for as long as he needs.

“At a time like this, rugby takes a back seat. From our point of view family is extremely important,” said Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham told the Canberra Times.

“Player welfare is extremely important and it’s right for Sam and his family to be up there with the current situation.”

Blake Enever will replace Carter in the second row in Canberra.

2 South African brothers start for the Brumbies on the weekend, JP & Ruan Smith.

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Dave Dennis

Dave Dennis

Waratahs captain Dave Dennis has signed a new contract with the ARU keeping him in Australia for at least 2 more years.

The 31-year-old who can play in both the 2nd row and the back row, has signed up through to 2017 as he looks to help the Waratahs retain their Super Rugby title.

Injury kept him out of the knockout stages of last year’s win, but Dennis has been in good form so far this season.

The fact he is staying will be a welcome boost for Daryl Gibson, who will replace Michael Cheika as Waratahs boss at the end of the season.

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Toby Smith

Toby Smith

Loosehead prop Toby Smith has signed a new contract with the Melbourne Rebels keeping him at the club until 2017.

The former Chiefs prop joined the Rebels in 2014 and has impressed since moving to Australia after winning the Super Rugby title with the Chiefs.

And he has now extended his stay for a further 2 seasons, with the Rebels currently enjoying their best season since joining Super Rugby.

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AustraliaThe Australian Rugby Union relaxed eligibility rules to allow senior players at overseas franchises and clubs to represent the Wallabies.

The move, which is effective immediately, follows in the wake of recent revelations that Australia faces a mass exodus of stars after this year’s World Cup.

A host of players – such as Adam Ashley-Cooper, former skipper James Horwill, Will Genia and Sekope Kepu – are among those lured abroad by lucrative contracts in Europe and due to leave Australia after the World Cup in England in September and October.

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Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper

Toulon have quashed rumours that they have signed Irish captain Paul O’Connell, but it is believed that the Reds & Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper has made the move.

It was reported that the French giants were chasing another Galácticos signing for the second row, with current legends Bakkies Botha and Ali WIlliams set to retire at the end of the season.

O’Connell’s contract with the IRFU expires in June of 2016, but it was speculated that Toulon were eager for him to be released from his contract to join them after the World Cup.

Since then, a strong statement has been released insisting ‘any alleged contacts between the player and the french club are pure speculation’.
Meanwhile, French paper L’Equipe has said that Toulon have captured the signature of the mercurial Cooper on a 2-year deal.

Cooper, if reports are to be believed, would join a burgeoning Australian contingent at Toulon with Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell already there.

Toulon have already brought in All Black Ma’a Nonu ahead of next season with Samu Manoa, Salesi Ma’afu and Napolioni Nalaga also joining the reigning European champions.

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  • MacroSssss 6 May 2015, 10:05 SAST - Hmm another apparent contractual dispute between a player and SARU (Flip vd Mervwe) whats SARU doing?
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  • robzim 6 May 2015, 08:49 SAST - "Larkham was envious when speaking of the Stormers’ pivots saying they are in a fortunate position of having diverse options...
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