Gregor Paul selects his World XV for 2015 which features 6 All Blacks, 3 Australians and Argentinians, and 1 Fijian, Georgian and Scotsman — and nobody from South Africa, England, Ireland, Wales or France.
15 Ben Smith (New Zealand):
Ben from all accounts had an outrageously good season. He captained the Highlanders to the most unlikely Super Rugby title and then inspired the All Blacks to a World Cup victory. His aerial skills and footwork are unbelievable.
14 Adam Ashley-Cooper(Australia):
Ashley-Cooper is the Wallaby version of Smith. He’s a superb all-round footballer who continually does the right thing. Has pace, footwork, awareness and the ability to covert half-chances. Was deadly at the World Cup.
13 Mark Bennett (Scotland):
A rugged, tough ball runner with innate timing. Picked off the intercept try in the World Cup quarter-final that should have sunk Australia and contributed some big tackling and deft passing.
World Rugby has announced the shortlist for the prestigious Player of the Year 2015 Award in association with MasterCard, which will be presented at the World Rugby Awards at Battersea Evolution in London on 1 November.
Following a stellar of year for international rugby, which will culminate with Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final, the shortlist features a world-class line-up of players who have excited and inspired fans around the world with their feats this year. Rugby World Cup 2015 finalists New Zealand and Australia both have 2 nominees and Wales and Scotland 1 each.
The 2015 nominees are: Dan Carter (New Zealand), Michael Hooper (Australia), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), Greig Laidlaw (Scotland), David Pocock (Australia) and Julian Savea (New Zealand).
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.
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.
Australian Wallaby stars Israel Folau and David Pocock are doubts for the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal with Scotland on Sunday.
However, they are both expected to train on Wednesday, coach Michael Cheika said.
Folau is trying to shake off an ankle problem that forced him off in the 33 / 13 whipping of hosts England and appeared to restrict his freedom of movement in the thrilling 15 / 6 victory over Wales last weekend.
Pocock, a revelation after being switched to No 8 from flank, is still battling a calf muscle injury that saw him leave the Wales game early and at a crucial period when they were down to 13 men.
There was better news regarding centre Matt Giteau, who is set to return to training after missing Tuesday’s session.
World class loose forwards David Pocock and Michael Hooper have both been named in the Australian Wallabies run-on side to face Fiji in Cardiff on Wednesday.
The star quality of the Wallabies’ openside flankers Hooper and Pocock is undeniable and has forced coach Michael Cheika’s hand in starting them both against Fiji.
Australia will roll out the brilliant backrow, including blindside flank Scott Fardy, with Pocock filling the No 8 jersey.
It is just the 2nd time the pair will have started a match together, following a successful outing in a 27 / 19 win over the All Blacks in Sydney in August, but Cheika admits the combination cannot be held back any longer.
The Brumbies are celebrating the re-signing of 1 of world rugby’s most respected players, after David Pocock committed to a new 1-year deal with the club.
Pocock was a standout for the Brumbies in 2015 and was rewarded with 3 of the club’s highest on-field honours, the Brett Robinson Player’s Player, the fan-voted Stallion of the Year and the Best Forward awards.
Capping off a remarkable season, he was also named the Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year at the annual John Eales Medal ceremony in Sydney.
His achievements this season were made even more remarkable by the fact he had played just 5 games in 2013 and 2014 due to 2 serious knee injuries.
The Wallabies have recalled Quade Cooper and rested David Pocock – ditching their successful twin openside flank weapon.
This is amongst 6 changes made to the side to face the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday.
After beating New Zealand last week in Sydney, to claim the Rugby Championship, the Wallabies are now aiming to win the Bledisloe Cup for the 1st time in 13 years and end a 39-year losing streak at Eden Park.
But with 1 eye on the bigger prize of the Rugby World Cup, starting in England next month, coach Michael Cheika has put last week’s 27 / 19 victory behind him and made wholesale changes to test the depth of his squad.
Back row forwards Michael Hooper and David Pocock have both been named in the Wallabies starting line-up for The Rugby Championship decider against the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday.
It will be the 1st time the pair will have started a Test together, with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika assembling a mobile pack – indicating an intention to play a high-paced game.
Hooper has won the right to the No 7 jersey, with Pocock in at No 8.
“Australian rugby is very fortunate to have some quality flanks competing for the No 7 jumper,” Cheika said when announcing the line-up on Thursday.
“Both players have been in outstanding form for franchise and country this season and have shown their class in sharing the spot in the 1st 2 matches.
“They now have an opportunity to start a Test together which they are very excited about.”
Cheika has shaken up his forward pack for the final Round – a clash between the only 2 unbeaten sides in the competition, that also includes South Africa and Argentina.
James Horwill, Dean Mumm and Scott Sio have been promoted to the starting 15 – with Mumm’s rise since returning from Europe forcing Will Skelton to the bench for the 1st time this season.
In the backs, Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps remain the preferred halfback pairing, while Matt Giteau returns from injury to replace Matt Toomua – Giteau in his 1st start against the All Blacks since 2011. The 93-Test veteran forms a centre partnership with Tevita Kuridrani.
Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Israel Folau form a potent back 3.
All Blacks flank Same Cane is not phased by the Wallabies possibly adopting a double-fetcher approach when the 2 sides meet on Saturday.
Australia and New Zealand will clash in the 1st of 2 Bledisloe Cup ties, the 1st match being The Rugby Championship decider.
With the all-clear given to Wallaby flank Michael Hooper, Australia could well play Hooper and David Pocock in the same team, which will certainly give the All Blacks something to think about at the breakdown.
The use by more sides of 2 openside flanks is nothing new, New Zealand has had several exponents of it in their past.
But it was now being tried by South Africa and the calls were increasing for Australia to go the same way especially with quality players like Pocock and Hooper.
The Brumbies are following protocol regarding the concussion of flank David Pocock in the hopes that he will be available for their must-win game against the DHL Stormers on Saturday.
Pocock was taken out of the Crusaders game just before halftime on Saturday, after he copped a knock to the head from a Richie McCaw cleanout at the breakdown.
The Brumbies No 7 stayed down for several seconds, but played on for about 5 minutes before coming off.
David Pocock’s principled stand against homophobia on the field will cost him any chance of captaining Australia again, says former Wallaby Greg Martin.
Pocock’s on-field complaints to the referee led to Waratahs forward Jacques Potgieter being fined AU$ 20 000.00 for using homophobic slurs during his side’s win over the Brumbies on Sunday.
Respected rugby commentator Martin says Pocock did the right thing in speaking out but his action will split opinion in the game.
“He’ll pay for it. It will mean that he will never captain the Wallabies again,” Martin told Brisbane’s Triple M radio on Tuesday.
“What he’s done, he hasn’t fractured the game down a Waratahs-Brumbies line… It won’t be fractured down like that, but it will be fractured upon clear-thinking, modern-thinking footballers who will support David Pocock and the more old school, hard heads who will say that was a disgrace he shouldn’t have done that.
Allegations of homophobic slurs marred a resounding return to form for defending champions the Waratahs, who delivered a 28 / 13 win over arch rivals the Brumbies in Sydney on Sunday.
It is understood a NSW forward will be investigated for allegedly using the word “faggot” when addressing two different Brumbies players in the second half of the blockbuster derby at Allianz Stadium. The Brumbies made a formal complaint after the match.
Brumbies flanker David Pocock took the allegation to referee Craig Joubert in the 67th minute as his side trailed by 10 points, and made his concerns known again in the 72nd minute. Joubert said he did not hear the remarks – allegedly made at scrum time – but asked NSW captain Michael Hooper to have a word to his forwards.
“I’m getting some pretty aggressive comments coming from your guys – that there are homophobic slurs,” Joubert said. Hooper replied: “We’re not into that”.
But that did little to satisfy Pocock, who is a vocal supporter for same sex marriage rights.
“You heard that sir … you can’t say that, there could be gay players out there.” Pocock continued: “That’s fine, but after that their captain said: ‘That’s rugby’. That’s not right.”
Wallabies flank David Pocock will return via the Brumbies bench this Sunday when the team travels to Sydney to take on the Waratahs.
Pocock hasn’t featured for the Brumbies since Round 1, but the former Wallabies and Brumbies captain has successfully rehabbed a syndesmosis injury and is the only change in a 23 man-squad named to tackle the reigning champs.
For the 3rd-straight week the Brumbies have named an unchanged starting side.
Head coach Stephen Larkham’s backline has remained consistent since Round 1 and Captain Stephen Moore is back in the driver’s seat for his 3rd straight game as skipper.
David Pocock will not be available for selection this Friday after receiving a grade-one syndesmosis to his ankle during Friday’s win over the Reds in Canberra.
Pocock did not train with the main squad on Monday. He said it was now a matter of getting his ankle right for a quick return to the field.
“Obviously it’s a disappointing outcome and not what I wanted, having spent a long time out. But it’s treatable and I know I’m in good hands here with the Brumbies medical team,” Pocock said.
Former Wallabies skipper David Pocock escaped conviction on Wednesday over a protest against an Australian coal mine in which he locked himself to a digger.
Pocock was arrested in late November after he attached himself to the machine for 10 hours to protest against the Maules Creek coal mine in a New South Wales state forest.
The 26-year-old flank pleaded guilty at Gunnedah Local Court to hindering a workman in use of property but the charge was dismissed without conviction.
The Brumbies will field 8 Wallabies, including David Pocock, this Friday – when they head to Perth to face the Force in the first Super Rugby hit-out of 2015.
In the backs the likes of Matt Toomua, Nic White, Christian Leali’ifano, Joe Tomane and Henry Speight will all feature, while 2014 top-try scorer Robbie Coleman will also travel west for the game.
The Players’ Player of the Year, Jarrad Butler, fronts a strong pack of Brumbies forwards – including Pocock, who has been named for the first time since February last year when he suffered a ruptured ACL.
Nic White and David Pocock will help lead the Brumbies as vice-captains in 2015, after head coach Stephen Larkham and captain Stephen Moore made the announcement on Thursday.
Both Pocock and White have proven leadership qualities having led professional sides on the big stage in the past.
White was named the Brumbies youngest captain against the Hurricanes in 2013, while Pocock has captained both the Wallabies and the Western Force.
A former Brumbies academy captain, White said he was thrilled to have been acknowledged with the vice-captaincy of the main squad.
The Australian Rugby Union has issued a formal written warning to David Pocock following his arrest on Sunday.
In a statement published on Monday afternoon, the ARU said, “While we appreciate David has personal views on a range of matters, we’ve made it clear that we expect his priority to be ensuring he can fulfil his role as a high-performance athlete.
“The matter is now subject to legal proceedings and we will now let the legal process take its course.”
The Wallabies quest for an unprecedented third Rugby World Cup crown is now just 12 months away with Thursday marking the one year countdown to the game’s showpiece event.
The eighth edition of the tournament will bring the game’s elite together in England and it will again be the All Blacks who start as red-hot favourites.
He has played just five games in two seasons, but the ACT Brumbies are keen to start negotiations with injured Wallabies captain David Pocock to keep him in Canberra beyond next year’s World Cup.
The Brumbies are already planning for the future just days after being bundled out of Super Rugby title contention by the Waratahs.
Coach Stephen Larkham revealed his intent to start negotiations with Pocock, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander and Pat McCabe, whose contracts expire at the end of next season.
Larkham also hopes to have his back-room staff finalised in the next month, including appointing another assistant coach with breakdown expertise to replace director of rugby Laurie Fisher and a team manager.
Wallabies flanker David Pocock will miss the rest of the Super Rugby after undergoing left knee surgery on Wednesday for the second time in a year.
David Pocock will make his return from injury when he leads the Brumbies in their pre-season clash with the Highlanders in Queenstown this weekend.
Wallabies flanker and captain David Pocock has signed a new contract with the Australian Rugby Union for another three years ensuring that he will be available for Australia in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Starting lock Sitaleki Timani is among four players who remain in doubt for the Wallabies opening Test against France this weekend.
Wallabies captain David Pocock is in doubt for Australia’s Bledisloe Cup rematch with the All Blacks and the rest of tournament after after he sustained a knee injury in their 19-27 in the Rugby Championship opener.
Wallabies David Pocock and Kurtley Beale have played their last games of Super Rugby for the season and may be in doubt for Australia’s back-to-back Tests against the All Blacks next month.
Australia and Wales play each other in the 3rd test match of the current series in at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday, 23rd June. Kick off is at 07.00 SA time.
There are few changes to the teams following the 2nd test last week that Wales agonizingly lost following a last minute Australian penalty. Wales outscored the Wallabies by two tries to one in that game.
Scotland will be playing the first of their test matches on this years summer tour tomorrow, Tuesday 5th June, against Australia. The game will be played at Newcastle, seemingly this is the heart of rugby league country in Australia. Kick off is at 11.30 South African time.
Western Force flanker David Pocock has been named as Wallabies captain for Australia’s match against the Barbarians at Twickenham Stadium in London.
SWD Eagles (9) 12 / EP Kings (10) 16 (Final Score)
The SWD Eagles hosted the Eastern Province Kings at Outeniqua Park, George in the Final of the Currie Cup 1st Division Final at 19:10 SA Time. This is the match thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1 on DSTV in SA.
The Eastern Province Kings won a scrappy affair by 16 / 12 after leading by 10 / 9 at Halftime.
The SWD Eagles will be aiming to secure their third Absa Currie Cup First Division title while the EP Kings will be out to achieve their maiden title on Friday when these sides go head to head in the final at Outeniqua Park at 19h10.