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End Of Year Tours

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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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South AfricaFollowing the elimination of the Cell C Sharks and the Vodacom Blue Bulls from the ABSA Currie Cup and the conclusion of the First Division, 8 more players have been invited to the Springboks’ training camp in Stellenbosch.

The Springbok selectors have invited Lwazi Mvovo, Cobus Reinach, Lourens Adriaanse (all Cell C Sharks), Handré Pollard, Rudy Paige, Marcel van der Merwe, Bongi Mbonambi (all Vodacom Blue Bulls) and Boela Abrahams, who starred for the Down Touch Griffons in their ABSA Currie Cup First Division final victory on Friday, to join 20 nationally contracted players and 4 others as the team start their preparations for what will be an arduous Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.

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Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams

Dan Carter

Dan Carter

New Zealand welcomed back superstars Dan Carter and Sonny Bill Williams for next month’s Northern Hemisphere tour, but dropped pivot Colin Slade, despite his heroics against Australia at the weekend.

Flyhalf Carter, the world’s most prolific international points scorer, has not played since breaking his leg in the Super Rugby Final in August, while Williams returns to the All Blacks after two seasons playing Rugby League in Australia.

There is also a return for Aaron Cruden, who has finally been forgiven for his late-night indiscretion in the latter stages of the Rugby Championship.

Coach Steve Hansen also recalled flank Victor Vito at the expense of Steven Luatua, and included promising scrumhalf Augustine Pulu as the only uncapped player in the squad for the four-Test tour.

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USAThe United States has reached an agreement that will allow it to include leading players based in Britain, France and Japan in its team to play New Zealand in a rugby Test in Chicago on 1 November.

Under the agreement, US players in the English Premiership, second-tier IPA Championships, France’s Top 14, Japan’s Top League and Scotland’s Guinness PRO12 will be released for the match at Soldier Field.

The US Eagles’ Test against New Zealand falls outside the International Rugby Board’s window for international matches and clubs are not obliged to release players.

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Grant Gilchrist

Grant Gilchrist

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has named a 33 man squad for the End Of Year Internationals with lock Grant Gilchrist being named as captain.

The honour represents a return for the 24-year-old product of Alloa and Stirling County rugby clubs, who led Scotland twice during the June Internationals, including a 21-19 victory over Argentina in Cordoba.

He will return to the role against the same opposition when the Tests get underway at Murrayfield next month, when Scotland face the Pumas on Saturday 8 November (kick-off 17:30 BST), before facing Rugby Championship winners New Zealand, at the same venue (15 November), followed by Tonga at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock (22 November).

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Rory Kockott

Rory Kockott

Scrumhalf Rory Kockott was called into the France squad to face Fiji, Australia and Argentina next month after the South African qualified to play for his adopted nation through residency rules, the French federation said on Sunday.

Castres Olympique player Kockott has been on Philippe Saint-Andre’s radar for some time as the France coach regularly tinkers with his halfback line.

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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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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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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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Johnsonville halfback Jack Taulapapa will put his plumbing apprenticeship on temporary hold after being selected by Samoa.

Apprentice plumber Jack Taulapapa’s rugby career is suddenly flowing as smoothly as an unblocked pipe.

That’s because two weeks ago the 21-year-old Johnsonville halfback got the sort of phone call most club players can only dream about.

“The phone rang out of the blue and it was Alama [Ieremia],” Taulapapa said after his unexpected callup for Samoa’s end of year tour to Europe.

“He just asked me a few questions, checked up on how I was going, and said they were looking to bring a new halfback into the squad, breed a new guy in.

“He said they had a few options, but were checking up on what I was up to and that was really the first contact I’d had.”

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Jake White

Jake White

Tonga have added former Springboks coach Jake White to their backroom staff for the year-end tour to Asia and Europe.

White will serve as a technical advisor to head coach Mana Otai when Tonga plays Georgia, the United States and Scotland next month it was reported by TVNZ.

“Through some mutual acquaintances we got in touch with Jake and he was extremely keen to come on board,” Tonga high performance manager Peter Harding told ONE News.

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Morné Steyn

Morné Steyn

Flyhalf Morne Steyn will not tour with the Springboks on their upcoming trip to Europe, a report on Sunday suggested.

According to the report, only two flyhalves – Handré Pollard and Pat Lambie – will be picked for the tour which includes Tests against Ireland (Dublin, 8 November), England (London, 15 November), Italy (Padova, 22 November) and Wales (Cardiff, 29 November).

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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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South Africa20 Springboks contracted by the SA Rugby Union (SARU) will take part in a training camp in Stellenbosch from October 20 to 24, the union announced on Sunday.

The camp forms part of the team’s preparations ahead of the Outgoing Tour next month.

“The Springboks are our first priority and the provinces have been very supportive, which we’re very thankful for,” SARU chief executive officer Jurie Roux said.

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Barbarians RugbyThe Barbarians will have a South African flavour for their matches against the Wallabies and Leicester Tigers in early November.

Barbarians coach Sir John Kirwan has called up former England prop Matt Stevens for the games and he is joined by Eastern Province Kings’ CJ Van der Linde and Cheetahs’ Coenie Oosthuizen and Heinrich Brussow. He has also called upon the services of Sharks flanker Thomas du Toit, Stormers’ Michael Rhodes and back-row Jacques Botes.

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Nick Cummins

Baabaa boy … Nick Cummins will play against the Wallabies.

The Wallabies are set to face one of their own at Twickenham after Nick Cummins agreed to wear the black and white of the Barbarians against Australia in November.

Little more than two months after he left Australia for Japan’s Top League, Cummins has agreed to play for the invitational side in the November 1 fixture that kicks off the Wallabies five-week spring tour of Europe, his manager said.

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England's rugby jersey

NEW DESIGN: England’s rugby jersey features a pattern of crosses resembling the Victoria Cross.

There’s no sign of a change in design, but the Rugby Football Union has issued an apology over the controversial new jersey England will debut against the All Blacks in London in November.

The jersey, manufactured by Canterbury, has drawn criticism for its use of rubber grips across the chest area in the shape of the hallowed Victoria Cross. They were intended to help deaden the impact of the ball and help with grip.

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Sonny Bill Williams

The mercurial Sonny Bill Williams is close to returning to Rugby Union

Dual international Sonny Bill Williams will be considered for the New Zealand’s end of year tour if he is fit and in top form.

That is the word from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen who said time was a factor less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup. Hansen feels Williams’ return to the All Blacks will depend on his condition when he returns from the Sydney Roosters’ NRL campaign and whether he manages to play some part for Counties Manukau in the ITM Cup.

Hansen admitted that he hoped Williams’ return to Test rugby is sooner rather than later.

“There is no doubt he’s an exceptional rugby player and if he’s available then we’d be foolish not to look at him, but we have to take into account he’s come off a big season,” Hansen told Fairfax Media.

“We have to take a whole lot of things into consideration before we make a decision. What’s right for Sonny? What’s right for the team?”

“Next year’s a bit different because we don’t have the June series and if we can’t use him going into the World Cup then if we can have that opportunity to spend time with him then that would be good.”

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All BlacksUSAThe New Zealand Rugby Union confirmed on Tuesday the All Blacks will travel to take on the USA in Chicago on 1 November.

The world’s best will take on their American counterparts at the 61,000-seater Solider Field stadium, home to the NFL’s Chicago Bears.

Though rumours and speculation regarding this fixture have bubbled away for nearly six months, it was only on Tuesday that the match was publicly announced as the Kiwis’ newest overseas initiative, with the purposes of drawing on the developing market – boasting huge potential – in the USA, generating a ballpark figure of at least $1 million NZ dollars for the NZRU, and offering the Test side important preparation for the subsequent fixtures in Europe.

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South AfricaHarold VersterFree State Rugby Union CEO Harold Verster says the union will next host a Test match in the 2016 season.

Verster wrote a column on the Volksblad website where he explained to fans the situation regarding the union’s hosting of Test matches.

Verster said the union gave up its right to host last year’s Rugby Championship Test between South Africa and Argentina.

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South AfricaThe Springboks will face 2013 Six Nations champions Wales in two Tests in Durban and Nelspruit during the Castle Lager Incoming Series in June, followed by a once-off international against Scotland in Port Elizabeth.

The fixtures were confirmed by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Wednesday.

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WalesAustraliaNew ZealandSouth AfricaWales will have an opportunity to break their SANZAR bogey when they face the world’s top three sides in next year’s November internationals.

The International Rugby Board’s (IRB) top three ranked sides, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia will visit the Millennium Stadium along with Pacific Island nation Fiji.

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End Of Year Tours - 2013Round 5 of the End Of Year Tours is the last Round of the tour and also signals the end of the Southern Hemisphere season as well as the welcome rest period for Southern Hemisphere teams.

This weekend does not see quite as much rugby, compared to to the previous 4 Rounds as it only has 2 matches, but it is going to be two great clashes. Any weekend with rugby is all in all still a good weekend.

Here are some head to head statistics and predictions.

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Barbarians RugbyThere are 6 Springboks in the starting 15 and a further 2 on the bench for the Barbarians’ clash with Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday. It would have been 7 Springbok starters as the initial side was named including Flip van der Merwe as No 4 lock, but he has been withdrawn from the squad after the Blue Bulls said NO under such short notice. Flip is directly replaced by Mick O’Driscoll of Ireland.

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WalesWinger Alex Cuthbert has made a surprise return to the Wales team to play Australia on Saturday after recovering ahead of time from an ankle injury that initially seemed to rule him out of the entire autumn series.

Cuthbert will reunited with his British and Irish Lions back three partners George North and Leigh Halfpenny as Wales hope the Lions influence can end their own dismal run against the Wallabies.

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TVThe season may have ended for International sides like the South African Springboks and the New Zealand All Blacks, but we still officially have one Test weekend left on the End Of Year Tours in 2013, and it is this weekend!

The Barbarians take on Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon at 16:30 SA Time (14:30 GMT), with a number of prominent Springboks and All Blacks in the Barbarians side and Wales host the Wallabies from Australia at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff at 19:00 SA Time (17:00 GMT).

But that’s not all folks, we have some quality Sevens Rugby on Friday and Saturday (HSBC Sevens World Series, Dubai Tournament) and we also have the Varsity Sevens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday… all broadcast live. In addition we have Aviva Pemiership Round 9 rugby betwwen Gloucester vs Leicester Tigers and French Top 14 Round 13 rugby between Perpignon vs Clermont Auvergne on Friday night and an Aviva Premiershpi Round 9 rugby match between Newcastle Falcons vs Harlequins on Sunday

Here are the broadcast times for Friday, Saturday and Sunday:

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Recent Comments

  • cane 22 Oct 2014, 10:40 SAST - Looks like past closing time at The Pub. Never mind, I'll track down Hodor, and have a beer with him....
  • gunther 22 Oct 2014, 09:32 SAST - @ Jeraldjay: Don't be like that. Smile I'm supporting the Brokies on Saturday. With Gunther for them who can be...
  • Blue Bird 21 Oct 2014, 23:39 SAST - @ IAAS: Flipping brilliant tune there by The Cranberries... Robzim introduced me to this song!! Funny considering it is Irish!!...
  • Tassies 21 Oct 2014, 23:14 SAST - okay guys. Outta here. Man's gotta eat. and it ain't for free. was a fun interlude. cheers
  • Tassies 21 Oct 2014, 23:07 SAST - @ ufo: damned cutest lasses on the planet, The Corrs
  • Tassies 21 Oct 2014, 23:05 SAST - saving the best till last. How about this track, if you are not sold on these guys already........ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYQFVjA7U4E


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