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England Rugby Upside Down

World Rugby is investigating reports that England’s coaching staff made an illegal approach to match officials at halftime in their loss to Australia.

According to media reports 2 England coaches made the approach as the 2 teams left the field at Twickenham on Saturday, with England trailing 3 / 17. Head coach Stuart Lancaster was not among them however.

“World Rugby is investigating an alleged breach by the England coaching team of the match-day communications protocol between match officials and team members or union officials,” said a World Rugby statement.

“The protocol prohibits certain conduct on match days including coaches approaching match officials during a match or at halftime during a match,” the statement added.

Media reports have suggested that there is CCTV footage from the tunnel where the alleged incident took place.

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World RugbyEngland have dropped 2 places to 8th in the World Rugby rankings after their World Cup defeat to Australia at Twickenham.

Only once before, in 2009, have England been as low as 8 on the list. There were times in 2003 and 2004 when they were the No 1 team in the world.

If Scotland were to register 2 more victories at the Rugby World Cup, they could move up and push England even lower. Never, since the rankings began in 2003, have England been outside the top 8. Only 4 other teams – New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and France – have maintained a top-8 place since the rankings began.

8 Teams have moved up 1 place in the rankings, which are based on results and the level of opposition.

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

4 Nations have dropped down: Wales by 1 place from 2 to 3, Ireland by 1 from 4 to 5, England by 2 from 6 to 8, and Samoa by 4 from 11 to 15.

The 8 risers, all by 1 place, are Australia to 2nd, South Africa to 4th, France to 6th, Argentina to 7th, Japan to 11th, Tonga to 12th, Italy to 13th and Georgia to 14th.

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Stuart Lancaster in absolute abject dismay after the loss by England to Australia

Stuart Lancaster in absolute abject dismay after the loss by England to Australia

With the weekend loss by England against the Australian Wallabies by 13 / 33 and effectively putting them well beyond reaching the Quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup, there has been a lot of discussion and fallout regarding their coaching structures, squad selections, game approach and a lot of scribes and supporters baying for their blood.

England will now be the first Host Nation not to advance past the Pool stages in a Rugby World Cup.

We will summarise a look at how it hits England in the pocket, what their immediate reactions are, who leads the taunts against them, their public apology to their nation, the scars left by the defeat and early exit and whether their coach Stuart Lancaster will survive as England coach, to fight another day.

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Rugby World Cup 2015There seems to have been so many injuries already in this tournament which is barely halfway through the group stages. One feels sorry for the players who have had their World Cup short and wish them all a speedy recovery, it just shows what an attritional game Rugby Union is.

We could theorize all day on the possible reasons for all of these injuries: too many games, players bulking up, laws not being sufficient or those that are there not sufficiently enforced, players possibly carrying injuries into the tournament. The harsh reality for those who have been ruled out is that the game involves high speed collisions of big men and they have been reduced to being spectators for the rest of the tournament as well as having to undergo a period of rehabilitation, for some this involves surgery.

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EnglandEngland head coach Stuart Lancaster says he has not panicked by replacing flyhalf George Ford with Owen Farrell for Saturday’s game with Wales.

Ford, 22, started last week’s 35 / 11 World Cup Pool A win over Fiji, but Farrell impressed off the bench.

Sam Burgess has been selected at inside centre after Jonathan Joseph was ruled out with a chest injury.

“I don’t think putting an in-form and confident Owen Farrell into the team is a risk,” said Lancaster.

Billy Vunipola comes in at No 8 for Ben Morgan, who has a knee injury, while James Haskell and Alex Goode step up to the bench for the 1st time.

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FijiFiji coach John McKee has named his team to play England in the Rugby World Cup opening match at Twickeham Stadium, London on Friday.

Fiji have been able to include Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo who missed the Pacific Nations Cup which Fiji were crowned champions.

McKee’s backline will be controlled by former Waratah and Super Rugby winner Ben Volavola.

“I am very pleased to be able to announce a very strong line-up for the opening match of RWC2015,” said McKee.  “We have come through a very good preparation phase and are ready to move into the competition.

“All our players are fit and available for selection,” McKee added.

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EnglandEngland head coach Stuart Lancaster has retained the team that beat Ireland in the warm-ups for their Rugby World Cup opening match against Fiji.

The only change to the match day 23 is on the replacements’ bench with Rob Webber (Bath) replacing Jamie George (Saracens).

Scrumhalf Ben Youngs retains his place in the starting line-up ahead of Richard Wigglesworth on the replacements bench.

Leicester Tigers scrumhalf Youngs will win his 50th cap for England in the Rugby World Cup tournament opener after winning his 1st cap in 2010.

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Rugby World Cup 2015A popular topic of debate heading into the Rugby World Cup is that of eligibility, particularly that resulting from the residency method. We take a look at the foreign-born players in each squad, where they were born and how they are eligible.

An interesting fact – only Argentina can claim that all 31 players in their squad are native to their country. The other 19 teams all have players born abroad, including significant numbers in some of rugby’s most powerful nations.

All told, Rugby World Cup 2015 will have a grand total of 33 countries involved in the tournament. Players born in various African countries –  Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Zimbabwe join the participating Namibia and South Africa. Zimbabwe has players representing 4 countries, more than any other non-competitor.

Spain is another country not present at the Rugby World Cup who have players representing multiple countries while other countries include Belgium, Israel, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, and the Netherlands are also all represented.

Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa lead the way in terms of players representing others at the Rugby World Cup.

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Victor Matfield

Victor Matfield

Springbok lock Victor Matfield will join the Northampton Saints on a 1-year deal at the end of this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Matfield, who at the age of 38 captained the Springboks earlier this year against Australia and Argentina, will join up with the British club for a swansong to end his career after the Springboks conclude their Rugby World Cup commitments.

He has been released from his coaching contract by mutual agreement by the Blue Bulls Company, after requesting a release earlier this week.

South Africa’s most capped Springbok and Rugby World Cup squad member, Matfield, is widely seen as possibly the greatest lock ever to play the game, and has been capped 123 times for the Springboks as he heads into his 4th Rugby World Cup.

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World RugbySouth Africa moved up to 3rd place in the World Rankings without even kicking a ball.

It means the Springboks have climbed 2 places in the World Rankings since their last match – a win over Argentina in Buenos Aires, last month.

Their rise, despite the team’s inactivity, is the result of Ireland’s dramatic slump – the men from the Emerald Isle having lost to Wales (10 / 16) and England (13 / 21) in the past fortnight.

As a result, Rugby Championship heavyweights New Zealand, Australia and South Africa will go into the Rugby World Cup as the Top 3 nations in the rankings.

Ireland’s rating fell by 0.79 points and resulted in a 3-place drop to 6 for the Six Nations Champions, placing them below the Springboks.

England gained the same amount of points to leapfrog their Pool A opponents Wales into 4th.

Long-time leaders New Zealand remain untouchable – for a fortnight at least – on 92.89 points, with Australia 6.22 points behind in 2nd and South Africa a further 1.52 points back in 3rd.

Australia were unable to make up any ground on their arch rivals, despite being the only one of the 3 in action over the weekend.

Their 47 / 10 win over the USA Eagles in Chicago did not come with any ratings points, given the double-figure difference in rankings positions and rating points between the nations.

Serious injuries to star fullback Leigh Halfpenny and scrumhalf Rhys Webb, made it a day to forget for Wales, who scraped home 23 / 19 against Italy at the Millennium Stadium.

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World RugbyThere were some very interesting results on the weekend in the last Rugby World Cup warm-up matches, befor the world showpiece starts on 18 September in England.

  • England beat Ireland at Twickenham, by 21 / 13.
  • Wales barely beat Italy by 23 / 19 but at the same time suffered 2 huge injury blows, one to Rhys Webb and the other to Leigh Halfpenny.
  • France edged a spirited Scotland side at Stade de Framce, by 19 / 16.
  • The Australian Wallabies romped past the USA Eagles by 47 / 10 at Soldier Field.
  • Fiji put Canada to the sword by 47 / 18.
  • Tonga beat Romania by 21 / 16.
  • Japan beat Georgia 13 / 10.
  • Samoa beat Wasps 25 / 19.
  • Argentina beat Leicester 55 / 34.

It is the major results we will focus on however…

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Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess was included in England’s final 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup announced on Thursday just 10 months after changing codes from rugby league.

Burgess, the man-of-the-match in South Sydney Rabbitohs’ win in the Australian National Rugby League Grand Final, was included after playing just 70 minutes of Test rugby union – his debut in a 19 / 14 win over France at Twickenham a fortnight ago seeing him sin-binned for 10 minutes.

The 26-year-old edged out the more experienced Luther Burrell for a place among England coach Stuart Lancaster’s centres even though Burgess spent much of last season playing as a back-row forward for Bath.

Henry Slade, who also impressed on his debut against France at Twickenham, was also included in midfield alongside Burgess – although Jonathan Joseph and Brad Barritt appear to be England’s 1st-choice centres.

Ben Morgan, only recently returned from a broken leg, was included among the back-row forwards with Harlequins veteran Nick Easter missing out while Sale flyhalf Danny Cipriani, as was widely forecast, also failed to make it to the final squad.

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EnglandWith England’s recent loss to France in Paris the Springboks have bumped up 1 place to 4th in the World Rugby rankings.

The Spriongboks slumped to a lowly 5th place in the World of their loss to Argentina in Durban during The Rugby Championship, however Rugby World Cup hosts England have now claimed that spot.

With 1 match to go before the start of the Rugby World Cup, England find themselves in danger of going into the tournament ranked lower than Pool A rivals Australia and Wales.

Stuart Lancaster’s men are now just 1.3 points ahead of 6th-placed Wales, who travel to Dublin to play Ireland on Saturday. England conclude their Rugby World Cup warm-up campaign against the Irish the following weekend.

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Danny Cipriani scoring against France

Sale flyhalf Danny Cipriani will be left out of England’s 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup.

The 27-year-old impressed off the bench in the defeat by France last weekend, but has not done enough to be included in Stuart Lancaster’s final party.

Owen Farrell and George Ford are set to be named as the 2 flyhalves, with Mike Brown and Alex Goode as the fullbacks, leaving no place for Cipriani.

The squad will be confirmed on Thursday at 14:45 SA Time (13:45 BST, 12:45 GMT).

The tournament, held in England and Wales, gets under way on 18 September.

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Chris Robshaw

Chris Robshaw

Regular England captain Chris Robshaw was restored to the side for the World Cup hosts’ 2nd warm-up match.

England play France in Paris on Saturday.

The Harlequins flank was 1 of 14 changes made by coach Stuart Lancaster to his starting side – with only try-scoring wing Jonny May retained from the 15 that ran out to defeat France 19 / 14 at Twickenham last weekend.

Robshaw will form a back row alongside veteran James Haskell and Billy Vunipola.

It is the same loose forward trio which started the final match of last season’s Six Nations against France, with 12 of that 15 – which won 55 / 35 at Twickenham 5 months ago, a result that still wasn’t good enough for England to clinch the title – lining up in Paris.

There was no place in the matchday 23 for either former Rugby League star Sam Burgess or fellow centre Henry Slade, who both impressed on their Test debuts against France last weekend.

Instead Lancaster has reverted back to his tried and trusted centre partnership of Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph, leaving open the question of who will provide midfield cover in a Rugby World Cup squad that must be named by 31 August.

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SpringboksSA Schools coach Hein Kriek and his SA Schools A counterpart Lance Sendin on Monday made wholesale changes to their starting line-ups for the 2nd Round of the Under 18 International Series at Outeniqua Park in George on Tuesday.

The SA Schools team will take on France at 17:00 SA Time and the SA Schools A team will go up against England at 13:00 SA Time.

In the other clash Wales will take on Italy at 15:00 SA Time.

Kriek made 7 changes to his team, which sees 2014 Coca-Cola Craven Week player of the year Curwin Bosch move from flyhalf to fullback, while flyhalf Damian Willemse will join forces with scrumhalf Embrose Papier in a new halfback combination.

The other changes in the backline were on the left wing where Wandisile Similane replaces Manie Libbok and centre Heino Bezuidenhout is selected alongside Stedman Gans, who scored 2 tries in their opening fixture against Wales.

Up-front Kriek retained the flanker combination of Cobus Wiese and captain Ersnt van Rhyn, while Hacjivah Dayimani has been selected at No 8. In the engine room lock Ruben van Heerden will start alongside Ruben de Villiers.

Ashwyn Adams, meanwhile, will start at loosehead prop in a strong front row with tighthead prop Carlu Sadie and hooker Johan Grobbelaar.

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Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess will make his England debut at centre when Stuart Lancaster’s side host France on Saturday.

The former Great Britain rugby league player is one of three debutants, with centre Henry Slade and flanker Calum Clark the other new faces in the 15.

Head coach Lancaster says Saturday’s match is the final chance for some of his players to impress before he selects his 31-man World Cup squad.

“The following week we’ll probably change a lot,” he said

Burgess, 26, started his union career in midfield for Bath before switching to the back row.

Former England scrumhalf Matt Dawson has questioned Burgess’s “game-management” at inside centre, but Lancaster described the former South Sydney player, who switched codes last October, as a ball carrier who could threaten the gain line.

“It’s an option for us to look at and it’ll be an interesting insight to see whether it goes well at the weekend or not,” he said.

“It’s about what’s right for the team. We’ll see if he can translate what he does in training and see how it goes.”

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Stedman Gans - SA Scools

Stedman Gans – SA Scools

The SA Schools and SA Schools A teams on Friday started the Under 18 International Series on a high note at the City Park Stadium in Crawford, Cape Town, as they registered encouraging victories against Wales and Italy respectively to make their presence felt early on.

The SA Schools team delivered a solid performance on attack and defence against Wales for a 42 / 11 victory, while the SA Schools A side overcame a closely-fought 1st half against Italy for 29 / 14 win.

In the other clash England defeated France 15 / 7.

The teams will battle it out in the 2nd Round in George on Tuesday before returning to the City Park Stadium on Saturday 15 August for the closing Round of the Series.

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Stuart Lancaster

Stuart Lancaster

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has culled 5 players from his original wider squad for their next training camp in Denver.

The unlucky soles are Elliot Daly, Maro Itoje, Stephen Myler, Nick Easter and Ed Slater.

Daly, Slater, Itoje and Myler will return to their clubs to be on standby, while Easter is suffering from a back injury and will return to Harlequins for treatment, before rejoining the squad on 2 August following their post-Denver break.

Bad boy Danny Cipriani is still in the mix as Lancaster is waiting on the outcome of the drink-driving case before he makes a decision on the flyhalf.

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England Rugby World Cup 2015 jersey

England Rugby World Cup 2015 jersey


Hosts England will have a 3D look at the World Cup, following the unveiling of their jersey on Monday.

England put the unveiling of the innovative England jersey in the hands of their most committed supporters, with more than 3 600 fans publishing the exclusive 1st image of the new shirt across their Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr feeds.

England captain Chris Robshaw was then joined by his teammates to officially reveal the team kit to the assembled media at Twickenham Stadium, before meeting with a number of core fans.

The new shirt features a range of innovations that have been developed through more than 220 hours of testing and over 250 000 miles of travel to improve both the look, feel and performance of the kit.

The rose symbolises the connection between the fans and the players and between former internationals who have worn the shirt and those who wear it now. In a striking innovative twist the rose has been 3D injection moulded, developed through rapid prototyping technology to standout in a way that merits the significance of the rose for players and fans alike. The shirt also features contoured ‘ball deadening’ grip placement to complement the players’ physique.

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EnglandAustraliaThe Wallabies will play England in a blockbuster 3-Test series in Australia in June 2016, the Australian Rugby Union announced on Friday.

It will be 1st time in the century-old rivalry between Australia and England that the 2 nations will meet in a 3-Test series. The teams last met on 3 occasions in the same year in 2010, although just 2 matches were played on Aussie soil as part of England’s inbound tour.

Michael Cheika’s men will play their old rivals for the Cook Cup in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Australian Rugby Union CEO, Bill Pulver said: “With a rivalry that dates back to 1909, it is remarkable that Australia and England have never before played a 3-match series and the history of this occasion is sure to add to the anticipation for the tour.

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New ZealandEnglandNew Zealand (11) 21 / 16 (10) England (Final Score)

New Zealand Under 20 and England Under 20 did battle in the Final of the World Rugby

Under 20 Chamionship at Stadio Giovanni Zine, Cremora at 20:30 SA Time

(20:30 Italy Time, 18:30 GMT). This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.


New Zealand:

  • Penalties – Otere Black (3)
  • Drop Goals – 0
  • Tries – Vince Tavae-Aso (1), Akira Ioane (1)
  • Conversions – Otere Black (1)


  • Penalties – Rory Jennings (3)
  • Drop Goals – 0
  • Tries – Matt Clark (1)
  • Conversions – Rory Jennings (1)



South AfricaFranceJnr Springboks (28) 31 / 18 (8) France (Final Score)

The South African Junior Springboks and France Under 20 did battle in the 3rd Place play-off match

of the World Rugby Under 20 Championship at Stadio Giovanni Zini, Cremora at 18:35 SA Time

(18:35 Italy Time, 16:35 GMT). This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.


Jnr Springboks:

  • Penalties – Brandon Thompson (1)
  • Drop Goals – 0
  • Tries – Thomas du Toit (1), Jason Jenkins (1), Dan du Preez (2)
  • Conversions – Brandon Thompson (4)


  • Penalties – Lucas Meret (1)
  • Drop Goals – 0
  • Tries – Arthur Bonneval (1), Julien Delannoy (1), Lucas Blanc (1)
  • Conversions – 0

South AfricaEnglandJnr Springboks (6) 20 / 28 (18) England (Final Score)

The South African Junior Springboks and England Under 20 did battle in a semi-final in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship at Stadio San Michele, Calvisano at 20:30 SA Time (20:30 Italy Time, 19:30 BST, 18:30 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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


Other matches – Fixtures & Results:

Australia 31 / 21 Scotland (Final Score)
New Zealand 45 / 7 France (Final Score)


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SpringboksJunior Springbok coach Dawie Theron made 2 changes to his match-23 for the World Rugby Under 20 Championship semi-final against defending champions England on Monday evening in Calvisano, Italy.

DHL Western Province flank Rikus Bothma takes over the No 6 jersey from his provincial team mate Jacques Vermeulen, while Malcolm Jaer (EP Kings) replaces Grant Hermanus (DHL WP) on the bench.

The rest of the match squad who defeated Australia in Calvisano last Wednesday, were kept unchanged.

Theron said the changes are part of the team’s rotational policy.

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EnglandEngland players have been dangled a large financial carrot ahead of the Rugby World Cup later this year.

The home side’s players have been offered a performance bonus of just over £ 100 000.00 (R 1.9m) each if they win the title, according to the Daily Mail website.

The financial incentive is believed to be more than 6 times greater than the £ 16 000.00 (R 300 000.00) reward that was on offer for winning this year’s Six Nations tournament – which they missed out on in dramatic fashion as Ireland triumphed.

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SaracensOwen Farrell helped himself to a personal tally of 18 points, as Saracens got their hands back on the Premiership trophy, beating Bath 28 / 16 and becoming the 1st side to finish outside the Top 2 in the regular season and go on to be crowned champions.

Saracens got off to a flying start as flyhalf Farrell touched down after only 6 minutes and England teammate Jamie George followed him over the whitewash shortly after.

And Chris Wyles added a 3rd try as Saracens went into the break 25 / 3 ahead, Bath having just a solitary George Ford penalty on hte board.

But Bath, appearing in their 1st Premiership Final since 2004, came out stronger after the break and Jonathan Joseph’s try and the boot of Ford got them back into the contest as they trailed 16 / 25 with a quarter of the game to go.

However, man-of-the-match Ford stretched Saracens lead with a penalty and from then on Mark McCall’s men never looked like relinquishing their lead as they got their hands back on the trophy for the 1st time since 2011.

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Barbarians RugbyJoe Launchbury and Ed Slater will resume their international careers by lining up for an England XV against the Barbarians today (Sunday).

The lock pairing will feature in a side captained by scrum-half Lee Dickson, and with Mathew Tait at fullback.

The squad features 10 players from Stuart Lancaster’s initial World Cup squad, including Danny Cipriani at No 10.

New Zealand’s World Cup-winning forward Brad Thorn skippers an experienced BaaBaas side at Twickenham.

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EnglandEngland head coach Stuart Lancaster has named 10 players from his World Cup training group in a squad of 24 to play the Barbarians next Sunday Twickenham.

The England side will be captained by experienced scrumhalf Lee Dickson, who has 18 international caps to his name, and who also led the England Saxons team to victory against the Irish Wolfhounds in Cork earlier this year.

The other World Cup training squad members named are Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers) and Marland Yarde (Harlequins).

The fixture will provide an opportunity for those who narrowly missed out on initial selection for the 50-man training squad to press their claims as well as allowing a number of up-and-coming players to work with Lancaster and his senior coaching group.

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Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess

Stuart Lancaster has announced England’s extended training squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The 50-man group will meet up at Pennyhill Park on Monday 22 June to begin preparing for the tournament, which starts against Fiji, at Twickenham, on Friday 18 September.

England will also face France home and away and Ireland at Twickenham as part of the QBE Internationals as they build towards the World Cup.

Five eye-catching inclusions are Luke Cowan-Dickie, Maro Itoje, Sam Burgess, Elliot Daly and Henry Slade, all of whom featured in an 18 / 9 victory for England Saxons over Ireland Wolfhounds back in January.

Calum Clark and Ed Slater bring the tally of uncapped players to 7. Each of them will be vying for a Test debut.

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Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess

Springbok loose forward Francois Louw is backing his Bath teammate Sam Burgess to make his debut for England on the flank.

Rugby League convert Burgess has impressed since moving to the back row from the centres, and is widely tipped to be included in England’s pre-World Cup training squad – which will be named on Wednesday.

“I don’t think Sam will struggle at international level,” said Louw. “He will hold his own.”

“Stuart Lancaster has his hands full with loose forwards, but it’s not going to be too long before Sam makes his international debut on the flank.”

“Maybe it will be at this year’s World Cup and I’ll see him there.”

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Aviva PremiershipEnglish Premiership organisers have confirmed the teams and venues for the 2015 Aviva Premiership Semi-finals.

Both Semi-finals will be played next Saturday on 23 May 2015 and the kick-off times will be at 14:00 BST (15:00 SA Time) and 17:00 BST (18:00 SA Time) and both will be broadcast on BT Sport in the UK.

Northampton Saints will host Saracens at Franklin’s Gardens in the 1st Semi-final.

In the 2nd Semi-final Bath will host Leicester Tigers at the Recreation Ground.

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Manu Tuilagi

Manu Tuilagi

England rugby union player Manu Tuilagi will not play in the World Cup after admitting assaulting police officers, head coach Stuart Lancaster has said.

The Leicester Tigers centre, 23, was fined £ 6 205.00 when he appeared before magistrates.

He had been charged with 2 counts of assaulting a police officer, assault by beating and causing criminal damage, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Lancaster said he would not be considered for England until January.

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  • rugby_only 6 Oct 2015, 11:43 SAST - I was disappointed in Veldsman when he missed Hoopers shoulder charge. In a big match like this NZ & Aus...
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