All Blacks international Charles Piutau signed a 1-season contract with English Premiership club Wasps on Thursday after the being left out of his country’s squad for the Rugby World Cup.
Piutau will join Celtic League side Ulster next July, but they aren’t able to include him in their squad for this current campaign as their foreign allocation is full.
And when the 23-year-old missed out on a place in the All-Blacks’ final 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup, which gets underway next week, Piutau opted to play for Wasps in 2015 – 2016.
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.
Former Australian international prop Salesi Ma’afu could face jail after French prosecutors on Tuesday requested an 8-month prison sentence and a € 1 500.00 fine for an alleged assault.
The 32-year-old Toulon player, capped 14 times, is believed to have been involved in a heated argument over a parking place on 16 August and to have hit someone who attempted to intervene.
Ma’afu has not sparkled in pre-season friendlies since he joined the 3-time European champions from English side Northampton, and only came on for the last half hour of the opening day defeat to Racing-Metro.
Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has denied any wrongdoing on the part of the club or players with regard to allegations surrounding a criminal investigation.
Reports in French media have stated that pharmacists illegally distributed products to the French Top 14 club’s players.
Prosecutors in Marseille confirmed on Tuesday that they have launched an investigation into the practices of a number of pharmacies in Toulon following a notification from AFDL, France’s anti-doping authority.
However, Boudjellal has held a press conference to rubbish the reports.
Italy captain Sergio Parisse is in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup after undergoing surgery to drain a hematoma.
The charismatic No 8 returned to the National side last weekend in a warm-up match against Wales in Cardiff but sustained a knock to his left leg in the 19 / 23 defeat.
The surgery took place in Paris where the 31-year-old Argentine-born flank had a swelling of clotted blood drained.
Further details on his expected absence would be revealed following tests “in the coming days”.
Following Saturday’s narrow win over Italy, Wales have now been hit by the news and reality that Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb are out of the Rugby Wolrd Cup, their injuries serious enough to keep them out of the tournament in total.
Leigh Halfpenny suffered torn right knee ligaments in a warm-up match against Italy at the weekend.
There 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…
France (6) 19 / 16 (9) Scotland (Final Score)
France and Scotland did battle in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match at
Stade de France, Paris at 21:00 SA Time (21:00 French Time, 20:00 BST, 19:00 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on TV in SA.
Ireland have left out prop Cian Healy and fullback Rob Kearney from the side to play England in their final World Cup warm-up match.
The 2 sides will go head-to-head at Twickenham on Saturday.
Joe Schmidt, the Ireland coach, has decided to give Healy more time to recover following the loosehead’s long-standing neck problems.
Healy only returned to full training this week, following neck surgery in May, and at one stage, was doubtful even to make Ireland’s final 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup.
Jack McGrath starts in his place.
Former Springboks Pierre Spies and Wynand Olivier will start for the Barbarians when they tackle English club Worcester Warriors this weekend.
World Cup winner Ali Williams has been named captain of the BaaBaas, replacing South African Bakkies Botha who led the team against Samoa last week.
The former New Zealand lock leads a cosmopolitan team with internationals from 8 different nations at Sixways on Saturday.
The famous invitation side made 6 changes to the team that beat Samoa at the former Olympic Stadium last weekend.
Australia flyhalf Mike Harris and wing Dom Shipperley come into the backline alongside veteran Italy scrumhalf Paul Griffen.
Up front, Williams, Tolu Latu (Waratahs) and former USA captain Todd Clever all step into the starting line-up.
Recently added to this week’s squad is Aled Brew (Dragons & Wales) who takes over from Stade Francais fullback Paul Williams.
Wales captain Sam Warburton is set to make his 1st appearance of the Rugby World Cup warm-up campaign.
He was named to lead the side in Saturday’s match against Italy at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
The openside flank suffered a shoulder injury in training last month and was rested from Wales’ 16 / 10 win away to Six Nations champions Ireland in Dublin last weekend.
Wales coach Warren Gatland has named a strong side for Wales’ final World Cup tune-up fixture.
Warburton is part of a new look back row – alongside James King at flank and Taulupe Faletau at No 8.
The same front row which faced Ireland in Dublin last weekend will start against Italy – with the World’s most capped prop Gethin Jenkins packing down with Ken Owens and Tomas Francis, who will make his 1st appearance at the Millennium Stadium.
Jake Ball and Dominic Day are named in the 2nd row.
Halfbacks Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar continue their partnership, whilst there is a new look midfield with Scott Williams lining up alongside Cory Allen.
The back 3 from Dublin also remains unchanged with George North and Alex Cuthbert on the wings and Leigh Halfpenny at fullback.
Influential French captain Thierry Dusautoir returns to action for his team’s final warm-up game against Scotland at Stade de France on Saturday.
The 33-year-old flank, who skippered France into the Rugby World Cup final in New Zealand 4 years ago, has been sidelined for a month with a knee injury and missed the 1st 2 preparation games against England.
But with the Rugby World Cup opener against Italy looming on 19 September, coach Philippe Saint-Andre deemed it appropriate to recall his right-hand man on the pitch.
Blue Bulls & Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe has been released from his contract at the Vodacom Blue Bulls with immediate effect.
While the Blue Bulls initially decided that Van der Merwe was necessary for their ABSA Currie Cup campaign, his call-up to the Springboks a few weeks ago negated this and they had to find a way to do without him.
The Blue Bulls initially were worried about a lack of experience in the team but their good start to the Currie Cup season, where they are still unbeaten after 4 Rounds has led them to back their youngsters.
When Van der Merwe didn’t make the cut for the Springbok squad to the Rugby World Cup, it was decided to release him from his contract so that he could further his career in France.
Van der Merwe signed with French Top 14 club Clermont Auvergne during this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby season, at the same time as another Bulls lock, Jacques du Plessis, signed with Montpellier.
Ireland’s 2014 Player of the Year Andrew Trimble has been omitted from coach Joe Schmidt’s 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup, announced on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old had missed this years’ Six Nations through injury but had returned to action this year and was available for the global showpiece.
Trimble has played just once for Ireland in the past 12 months, in a 35 / 12 victory over Wales in a World Cup warm-up match on 8 August, but a flare-up of his toe injury meant he played only 33 minutes of that game.
Wings Keith Earls and Luke Fitzgerald, who were injured during Saturday’s Dublin defeat by Wales, are included the squad.
Trimble, Gordan D’Arcy, Kieran Marmion were notably the most high profile players to miss out on the plane.
D’Arcy’s omission could signal the end of his illustrious international career.
The squad is made up of 17 Forwards and 14 Backs and will be captained by Paul O’Connell who is the most capped player in the Ireland group with 103 caps.
Scotland’s 31-man Rugby World Cup squad has been named, the players have been told, and it was publicly announced this afternoon at Edinburgh University.
After almost 3 months of hard training and 2 wins out of 3 in the warm-up games, Vern Cotter has made his decision and the paperwork has been delivered to the tournament organisers. Supporters were treated at the Old College Quad to see today’s announcement, which was made at 14:30 BST (15:30 SA Time), and supporters had a chance to mingle with the players afterwards.
Following Saturday’s 48 / 7 win over Italy at BT Murrayfield, Cotter and his coaching staff met for final discussions and assessments of the medical reports before confirming the squad and informing the players of the decision.
Wales coach Warren Gatland named prop Samson Lee in his 31-man squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Lee has not played since rupturing his Achilles tendon in March.
Flyhalf Gareth Anscombe was left out in favour of Matthew Morgan.
Wales are in Pool A with hosts England, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.
WP Nel is due to start a test match for Scotland for the 1st time when they face Italy at BT Murrayfield on Saturday. The burly tighthead prop from Loeriesfontein qualifies to play for Scotland on residency grounds, having played for Edinburgh for the last 3 years. Nel who earned his 1st Scotland cap against Italy in Turin last weekend when he came on as a substitute in the 47th minunte is 1 of 14 changes that has been made to the starting team.
Sean Lamont is the only player who retains his place in the starting line-up from last week with several players in the match day squad making their 1st appearance in this series of warm-up matches.
Head coach Vern Cotter announced his team today and the starting line-up appears to be close to what could be considered his 1st choice 15. The halfbacks and fullback look to be Cotter’s favoured choices while there may still be 1 or 2 changes on the wings and 1 at centre. Up front we are likely to be seeing the 1st choice tight 5 in action while there will possibly still be a change or 2 to the loose forward trio.
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.
Italy veteran Marco Bortolami was sidelined, while Valerio Bernabo was a surprise inclusion in Italy’s 31-man squad for the World Cup.
Lock Bortolami, has amassed 112 caps for the Azzurri and captained them 40 times.
He was 1 of several players cut from an initial 40-man training squad by coach Jacques Brunel.
“It was very difficult to communicate the decision, especially when you’ve put in as much work as the lads have over the past 9 weeks,” said Brunel.
“So to tell several players they were not coming to the World Cup was particularly difficult.”
With 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.
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.
Experienced flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc will miss the Rugby World Cup which gets underway in England next month.
He was surprisingly omitted from the France squad announced by coach Philippe Saint-Andre on Sunday.
The 28-year-old who played an influential role for France at the 2011 Rugby World Cup when they lost 7 / 8 to the New Zealand All Blacks in the Final – lost out to unpredictable veteran Frederic Michalak (who played in Saturday’s win over England) and Remi Tales.
Trinh-Duc, capped 50 times since being blooded by Marc Lievremont in 2008, found it difficult to impose himself under Saint-Andre and a serious injury last season ruled him out of contention for this season’s Six Nations.
He was given a chance to prove himself worthy of a spot in the 1st game against England a week ago – a 19 / 14 defeat at Twickenham – but evidently failed to convince Saint-Andre and his coaching staff.
“It is a choice which has been made – not only after 7 weeks, but also after 3 years of life with the squad,” said Saint-Andre, who also cited Trinh-Duc’s lack of accuracy at place-kicking.
For Michalak, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday during the tournament, it represents his 3rd Rugby World Cup – having 1st made an impression at international level during the 2003 edition in Australia.
Despite concerns over his fitness and form, Saint-Andre has kept faith with the 72-times capped playmaker.
In contrast to the flyhalf position Saint-Andre has selected 3 scrumhalves, in Morgan Parra (who was Lievremont’s favoured No 9 alongside Trinh-Duc for much of his reign), South African-born Rory Kockott and Michalak’s clubmate Sebastien Tillous-Borde.
Head Coach Vern Cotter today confirmed that seven players have been released from the extended Scotland squad for the Rugby World Cup 2015.
The decision follows the national team’s opening two summer Test matches against Ireland and Italy, with this Saturday’s game against the Azzuri at BT Murrayfield the last chance for the players to stake a claim for the final 31-man squad, before it’s announced the following Tuesday (1 September).
Glasgow Warriors’ pair Mike Cusack (prop) and Rory Hughes (wing) have returned to Scotstoun having made their first outings for the national team this summer, and both starting against Italy in Saturday’s 16-12 win in Turin.
Edinburgh Rugby quintet Allan Dell (prop), Dougie Fife (wing), Damien Hoyland (wing), Ben Toolis (lock) and Hamish Watson (back-row) will rejoin the capital club, with Hoyland and Watson also adding to their international honours at the weekend.
Warriors’ hooker Kevin Bryce – who joined the squad last week as precautionary cover – has also returned to his club.
On a humid Turin evening Scotland continued their 2015 Rugby World Cup build up with a hard-fought win against an experienced Italy side. Final Score: Italy 12 / 16 Scotland.
Tested in greasy conditions the Scots shut out Italy on the try–count, and capitalised on a rare open passage of play to score the decisive points.
Replacement scrumhalf Henry Pyrgos and centre Peter Horne helped open up a tight Italian defence in the final quarter of the match after Scotland had gone behind for the 1st time in the match 12 / 9.
After a sequence of repelled Scottish attacks an offload in the tackle from wing Sean Lamont to full-back Greig Tonks stretched the Italian defence.
Tonks passed outside to centre Matt Scott who made good yards, drawing the defence, before passing back inside for Pyrgos to finish with just five minutes of the match remaining.
A team of 28, captained by flanker Roddy Grant, has been announced for Edinburgh Rugby’s opening pre-season friendly against Romania at the Greenyards tonight (Friday 21 August, kick-off 18:30 UK Time, 19:30 SA Time).
Bolstering the backs for this season, Edinburgh Rugby announce the signing of winger Otulea Katoa on a 1-year deal.
The Tongan international, who arrived in the capital earlier this week with his wife and 1-year-old son Eli, will bulk up the backs with a number of players involved with Scotland throughout the year.
The 24-year-old, who has been capped 7 times by Tonga, most recently represented his country in July’s Pacific Nations Cup and has been signed from New Zealand provincial side, Southland.
Springbok utility back Frans Steyn is set to join Montpellier in the French Top 14 and reunite with his World Cup winning coach Jake White.
Steyn is one of many recruits from South Africa and Australia in a completely revamped Montpellier outfit under the guidance of coach White.
White, who had coaching roles at the Sharks and Brumbies as well as the South African national side, has confirmed 20 new signings for Montpellier – with a number of them from places where he used to ply his trade.
The 28-year-old Steyn is no foreigner to France having had a spell at Racing Metro from 2009 – 2012.
His versatility at flyhalf, centre and fullback should be particularly useful to Montpellier, given the many departures announced this off-season for the French club.
The French scene is notorious for big-money signings a look is taken into the major comings and goings in the Top 14 for the season ahead.
Italy coach Jacques Brunel named Quintin Geldenhuys as captain in a much changed side, with respect to the last Six Nations campaign.
Italy will host Scotland in a Rugby World Cup warm-up game in Turin on Saturday.
With habitual captain Sergio Parisse sidelined with flu-like symptoms, 2nd row forward Geldenhuys has been handed the captain’s armband with Fiji-born Samuel Vunisa stepping into Parisse’s No 8 position.
Brunel has caused a minor surprise in the centres.
Coach Vern Cotter has rung the changes to the Scotland team to start against Italy on Saturday.
The Scots will head to Turin’s Stadio Olimpico for the 2nd of their 4 Rugby World Cup warm-up matches.
The match is the 1st of a double-header against the Italians, with the return leg at Murrayfield the following Saturday (29 August).
In all there are 11 new faces taking the field, with the 7 inbound forwards making up an almost entirely new pack, 4 new backs, and 3 starting debuts for John Hardie (back row), Rory Hughes (wing) and Stuart McInally (hooker).
France coach Philippe Saint-Andre made 12 changes to his starting line-up for the 2nd of 2 World Cup warm-up games.
France host England at the Stade de France on Saturday.
The French lost 14 / 19 to Stuart Lancaster’s men at Twickenham last Saturday and Saint-Andre is keen to cast an eye over all of his players before cutting back his squad from 36 to 31 on Sunday.
Notably, he has linked up Frederic Michalak with Sebastien Tillous-Borde at halfback, giving both Toulon veterans a chance to state their claims for World Cup squad slots.
The Scotland medical team issued the following squad update after Saturday’s 28 / 22 loss to Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Loose-head prop Ryan Grant left the field of play around the 44th minute having sustained an ankle injury in the lead up to Scotland’s second of three tries.
An x-ray after the game showed no fracture, with the results of a detailed scan later this week expected to give greater insight into the extent of his injury.
Tight-head prop Jon Welsh left the match around the 47th minute for a HIA (head injury assessment), which confirmed his concussion. He is now symptom free and has begun the graduated return-to-play protocol.
Experienced trio James Hook, Mike Phillips and Richard Hibbard were among 8 players released from Wales’s World Cup training squad.
The announcement was made by Welsh coach Warren Gatland on Thursday.
Flyhalf Hook, capped 78 times, scrumhalf Phillips, who has made 94 international appearances, and 38-cap hooker Richard Hibbard failed to make the cut after Gatland trimmed his squad from 46 players to 38.
Jack Dixon, Rhys Patchell, Nicky Smith, Rory Thornton and Dan Baker are the other players who will return to their respective clubs and regions.
European champions Toulon of France and Super Rugby winners the Highlanders of New Zealand are hoping to face-off in Hong Kong on 6 February.
The 1-off fixture brings together triple European champions Toulon with the Highlanders, who landed their 1st Super Rugby title this month.
“Toulon and the Highlanders have sent off a request for agreement from their respective federations,” Philippe Spanghero, a spokesman for the organisers, told AFP.
“When that’s obtained we’ll put together a proposal to World Rugby to get all the required authorisation,” he added.
Scottish Rugby is delighted to announce that Scotland Head Coach Vern Cotter has committed to the national team by extending his contract to 2017.
Since he took the reins in the summer of 2014, Cotter has brought a confident, attack-minded mentality to Scotland’s on-field approach that has sought to connect with the traditional culture of Scottish play.
He said: “I’m really happy to be able to continue working with the players, the organisation, the Board, and everyone involved.
“There are some talented players with some things to develop, and together we are focused on facing that challenge in what I think are exciting times for Scottish rugby all over.
“There’s a generation of players coming all the way from the new BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academies, Scotland under-20s and the pro clubs into the national team and I’m pleased to be part of that.”
SA 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.
Glasgow scrumhalf Henry Pyrgos was on Tuesday named captain of a 25-man Scotland squad for Saturday’s World Cup warm-up match against Ireland in Dublin.
He is joined in the squad by 4 uncapped players: New Zealand-born flanker Hugh Blake, Glasgow prop Mike Cusack, South Africa-born Edinburgh prop Allan Dell and Edinburgh hooker Stuart McInally.
Head coach Vern Cotter will name his starting 15 for the clash at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday.
The squad is missing several key players, such as regular captain Greig Laidlaw and 2nd row brothers Richie and Jonny Gray.
After playing Ireland, Scotland will also face Italy twice and France once as they gear up for their opening World Cup Pool B match against Japan in Gloucester on 23 September.