World Cup chiefs have banned Fiji prop Manasa Saulo for 10 weeks for stamping on the head of Wales’ player Luke Charteris.
The ban is the toughest handed out yet for an offence at the Rugby World Cup. Saulo jumped on Wales replacement Charteris during Fiji’s 23 / 13 defeat in Cardiff on Thursday.
Rugby World Cup said the offence was considered at the “top end” of the danger scale and that judicial officer Adam Casselden of Australia had considered a 4 month ban.
“However, taking into account mitigating factors including his early admission, disciplinary record, good character and remorse and the absence of any off-field aggravating factors, the player was suspended for a period of 10 weeks,” said a statement.
Wales (17) 23 / 13 (6) Fiji (Final Score)
Wales and Fiji did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup at
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff at 17:45 SA Time (16:45 BST, 15:45 GMT, Friday 03:45 Fiji Time).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.
Fiji and Wales meet in a Pool A match tomorrow at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff. The match is scheduled to kick off at 17:45 SA Time (16:45 BST, 15:45 GMT).
Both teams have made various changes to the their match day squads, with many of these changes being enforced due to injury and in Fiji’s case also in part due to suspensions.
Fiji have made 6 changes to their starting line up since their last game. Winger Timoci Nagusa is 1 of those changes, he slots into the team in place of injured Waisea Nayacalevu. Another change will see scrumhalf Niko Matawalu miss the game due to a slight niggle. Matawalu’s place in the run on team will be taken by Nemia Kenatale. Another big player missing from Fiji’s line up is winger Nemani Nadolo who is serving a 1 week ban for a dangerous tackle against Australia. His vacant berth is being filled by Aseli Tikoirotuma.
Wales have made 3 changes to their starting team from the 1 who started in their win against England on Saturday night. All 3 of the changes Wales have made are in the backline. Tyler Morgan will make his Rugby World Cup debut as he starts at outside centre in place of the injured Scott Williams. Mathew Morgan and Alex Cuthbert start at fullback and wing respectively in place of the injured duo Liam Williams and Hallam Amos.
There 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.
Wallabies (18) 28 / 13 (3) Fiji (Final Score)
The Australian Wallabies and Fiji did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup at
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff at 17:45 SA Time (16:45 BST, 15:45 GMT, Thursday 01:45 AEST, Thursday 03:45 Fiji Time).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.
Fiji 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.
England 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.
A 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.
South 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.
The elder statesman of Fiji, Seremaia Bai, was the notable omission Friday when Fiji coach John McKee named his 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup.
Fiji are in the so-called pool of death with England, Australia and Wales, and McKee said he had picked a squad which he was confident “will rise to the challenge”.
They go centre stage at the very start of the tournament, playing hosts England in the opening game.
Led by Montpellier flank Akapusi Qera the squad is dominated by overseas professionals with props Lee Roy Atalifo and Peni Ravai the only local amateurs to make the grade.
Glasgow Warriors have signed winger Junior Bulumakau from the British Army on a 1 year contract.
The 24-year-old, who has been training with the Warriors for the last couple of months, played in the 28 / 10 defeat to Clermont in the pre-season fixture in France last Friday and scored a spectacular try from the halfway line.
Junior was born in Fiji and moved to Scotland at the age of 10 with his parents. He has served as an infantryman with The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland since February 2010, deploying on overseas training exercises to Kenya and Cyprus.
He has played for Heriot’s in the BT Premiership, while in May he scored a try for the British Army and was named man of the match in their 36 / 18 win over the Royal Navy in front of 80 000 supporters at Twickenham.
He becomes the 2nd winger to join the club ahead of the new campaign, along with Taqele Naiyaravoro from the Waratahs, while Scotland 7s wingers Mark Robertson and Nyle Godsmark are training with the squad.
All Blacks wing sensation Waisake Naholo declared himself back in the running for a Rugby World Cup berth after a rapid recovery from a broken leg using traditional Fijian medicine.
The miracle cure was attributed to “a gift from God”, the Fiji Times reported.
Naholo cracked a fibia during his All Blacks debut against Argentina last month, and after initial treatment in New Zealand, the Fiji-born flyer was told he would be sidelined for 3 months, putting him out of World Cup contention.
The 24-year-old then turned his back on Western medicine and contacted an uncle in Fiji who specialises in traditional medicine and was told to return to the Pacific island, the Times said.
“If you want to play in the World Cup, get on the plane and come here,” the uncle, Isei Naiova, said he told Naholo from his home in Nadroumai village, which is renowned among indigenous communities for the healing powers of certain families.
Guinness PRO12 medal winners Leone Nakarawa (no. 5 lock) and Niko Matawalu (scrumhalf) played a big role in helping Fiji win the latest Pacific Nations Cup, beating Samoa in the final.
The Glasgow Warriors duo from the 2014/15 season crossed the line four times between them with Nakarawa dotting down twice. Matawalu scored one try but could easily have scored another, instead he crossed the try line after a trade mark scything break and then past the ball to his captain to score. The Warriors player of the season will be sorely missed at Scotstoun next season with the star scrumhalf having made a move to Bath.
For those who have not seen these two Fijians in action I would tip them as exciting players to watch out for during the Rugby World Cup.
Flyhalf Michael Stanley converted a penalty in the final moments as Samoa stormed back to tie Fiji 30 / 30 at the Pacific Nations Cup.
Anthony Perenise, Paul Perez and TJ Ioane each scored 2nd-half tries for Samoa, who beat the United States 21 / 16 in their opening game last Saturday.
In the other contests the United States of America (USA Eagles) held on to beat Japan 23 / 18 and Tonga stopped Canada 28 / 18.
Fullback Metuisela Talebula and Leone Nakarawa scored tries as Fiji wasted no time getting on the board before leading 17 / 10 at halftime.
Gabiriele Lovobalavu scored Fiji’s 4th try early in the 2nd half and, after flyhalf Ben Volavola converted to make it 27 / 10, it looked like the Fijians were off to the races.
But the Samoans roared back and were able to level the score at 27 / 27 with 5 minutes left in regulation time.
Volavola kicked a penalty 3 minutes later and Fiji were back on top by 3 points. That set the stage for Stanley’s penalty goal just before the final whistle to make it 30 / 30.
Samoa’s next game is Wednesday against winless Canada, while Fiji face Japan on the same day.
Fiji came from behind to beat Tonga 30 / 22 in a bone-jarring Pacific Nations Cup encounter in Suva on Saturday.
In a clash full of direct running and big tackles, Tonga had every chance to beat their island neighbours for the 1st time since 2011, leading 22 / 16 going into the last 15 minutes before their high error count caught up with them.
There were 3 tries apiece with Fiji scoring 2 of theirs as they controlled the closing stages to make a positive start to the 10th edition of the tournament.
The Pacific Nations Cup – which also includes Samoa, Japan, the United States and Canada – is being played under a new format this year with the 6 teams split into 2 pools.
Each team will play the 3 sides in the opposing pool before the top 2 sides play off for the Cup.
After trailing in the opening half, the Maori All Blacks came back to defeat an impressive Fijian team 27 / 26 at ANZ Stadium in Suva.
It was the side’s 305th victory in their 437th match against all opposition, and 20th victory against Fiji in 29 clashes against the Pacific Islanders.
The Maori All Blacks began pre-match proceedings with their traditional Haka, which was followed within seconds by the Fijian Cibi Tau.
The healthy crowd in Suva began to hum with the challenges of both teams being laid down – one had the feeling that wet and blustery conditions were not going to effect the ebb and flow of this one.
As it was between the World Champions and Samoa earlier this week, the Fijians came out with some serious intent, and Kini Murimurivalu gave the hosts the ideal start when, despite the efforts of Damian McKenzie, opened the scoring in the corner.
A few minutes of uncertainty from the Maori All Blacks was put aside as they eased into proceedings and managed to put hands on the ball, but despite this could not penetrate a rushing Fijian defence.
Fiji head coach John McKee has named a strong side to take on the Maori All Blacks this weekend in Suva.
Uncapped flyhalf Ben Volavolva, who has signed for the Crusaders from the Waratahs, could make his debut after being named on a strong bench alongside Masi Matadigo, Niko Matawalu and Napolioni Nalaga.
Akapusi Qera captains the side from No 8 while an exciting backline features Crusaders superstar Nemani Nadolo.
9 Of the 23 players are based in France.
McKee said: “I expect an open and fast moving game with both teams prepared to play a running game.”
Former Vodacom Bulls head coach Frans Ludeke could be heading to the World Cup in England in September as part of the Fijian coaching staff.
The 47-year-old stepped down as the Bulls’ head coach in June and is set to be heading to the Pacific Island where he will link up with the Fijians as they begin preparations for the global showpiece.
World-Cup winning Springbok lock Victor Matfield, who is eyeing the Bulls coaching job, revealed that Ludeke was off to Fiji to help the Islanders in the World Cup.
“It’s always sad to see someone go but sometimes the time for change comes. I’ve learned so much from Frans and there are so many players who also learned a lot from him during the 8 seasons with the Bulls.
“I think he’s going to Fiji to help them with the World Cup and I wish him success with that as well,” Matfield said.
The last leg of the 2014 / 2015 HSBC Sevens World Series took place in London England this Saturday and Sunday 16 and 17 May 2015 from 09:00 BST (10:00 SA Time) both days.
All the action was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on Saturday and on SuperSport 1 (Sunday) on TV in South Africa.
After 8 Rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series, Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand battled it out for the 16th World Series title in London.
Following their victory at the Glasgow Sevens last weekend, Fiji headed into the 9th and Final Round of the Series in 1st spot – with Ben Ryan’s side aiming to win their 1st Series title since 2006.
Not since 2010 has a side other than New Zealand won it, but with Fiji on 147 points and South Africa on 142 prior to this tournament, the 4-time defending champions had their work cut out to win a 13th World Series title as they sat 3rd on 139 Log Points, prior to this tournament.
New Zealand fell out of the race for the ultimate World Series title when England beat them in the quarter-final and the same fate befell South Africa’s Blitzbokke as they persihed against Fiji by 7 / 19 in the quarter-finals in London, the same fate which befell them in Glasgow.
Having led the Series since Round 2 the BlitzBokke failed to make the Cup semi-finals for the 1st time all season in Glasgow and now again in London.
It is a tight race to see who takes the Series in Twickenham with Fiji leading the way, and the pools for the London leg have been confirmed.
After their Cup win at the 8th Round of the Series in Glasgow, Fiji are top seeds and head Pool A, while runners-up New Zealand, 3rd-placed England and the 4th semifinalist USA head the remaining pools.
The 2014 / 2015 season carries added significance because the top-ranked sides in the series qualify directly for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. Following their performances in Glasgow, South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand have all confirmed their place in Rio, with just the 4th and final spot still be decided.
Free-scoring Fiji rugby Sevens powerhouse Semi Kunatani has joined French Top 14 club Toulouse on a 2-year deal, the club said on Tuesday.
The rampaging 24-year-old can play as a lock, flank or wing and with 37 international tries since his debut in 2013 he is seen as one of the best sevens players in the world.
South Africa collected 17 valuable World Series log points on Sunday after they defeated Samoa 26 / 5 to finish 3rd at the popular Hong Kong Sevens tournament.
The Blitzboks now have a 2 point lead (110 points) at the top of the standings after Fiji outplayed New Zealand by 33 / 19 to lift the Cup.
The tournament win moved Fiji into 2nd spot, just 1 point ahead of 3rd-placed NZ. The top 4 teams on the league table at the end of the season qualifies for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The teams will be in action in Japan next weekend where they will play in the Tokyo Sevens on 4 and 5 April.
The Springbok Sevens staged a magnificent comeback in their Cup semi-final against Fiji. Unfortunately for them, that was not good enough and they suffered a heart-breaking 21 / 15 loss against the Pacific islanders.
Another Pacific Island nation has fallen foul of the international controlling body of the sport, World Rugby, over the political meddling of its government.
A letter leaked from World Rugby has shown the organisation’s anger at the Fijian government’s seizure of television rights for Sevens and their intention to make it only available to a state owned network at no cost.
Its angry tone hints that Fiji faces a black out of next month’s Wellington tournament and they could also potentially miss out on this year’s 15-man World Cup.
World Rugby (the renamed International Rugby Board) explicitly says any failure to broadcast rugby in Fiji will not be their fault, but the fault of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s government.
After climbing into the top four after two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series, Australia and New Zealand know it’s far too early to rest on their laurels with Olympic qualification also up for grabs this season.
As the 16 captains assemble for the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth, Australian skipper Ed Jenkins and his New Zealand counterpart DJ Forbes reflect on their respective team’s elevation to the all-important top four after the first two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
The second last Tournament in the 2014 calendar year for the HSBC Sevens World Series of 2014 / 2015 is underway in Dubai.
The Emirates Dubai Sevens tournament is played over 2 Days, Friday 5 and Saturday 6 December 2014.
The last Tournament for the year is next weekend, in South Africa, at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
On Day 1, the traditional Sevens big sides, Fiji, New Zealand, South Africa, England and Australia have easily overcome their opponents in their first games.
Surprise results were Canada beating Wales by 19 / 14 and Scotland beating Samoa 21 / 14.
On Day 2 Fiji and New Zealand advanced to the 3rd place play-off and South Africa and Australia advanced to the Final.
South Africa’s Blitzbokke easily took the Final and the Dubai title by 33 / 7.
The Pacific Islands may yet get a taste of Super Rugby, with the Crusaders considering shifting their home match against the Hurricanes to Fiji next year.
The Fiji Village website reported that planning was underway for the seven-time Super Rugby champions to play the Hurricanes in Suva after a sponsor came forward to underwrite the move.
A Crusaders spokesman could not confirm the switch Thursday, saying there were a number of options under consideration with their usual second-choice home venues of Nelson and Timaru also in the mix.
“It’s too soon to comment on what may go ahead,” she said.
Former Fiji wing Rupeni Caucaunibuca has ended his unhappy second stint with French second division side Agen by mutual consent.
Caucaunibuca, more commonly referred to simply as Caucau, had played only 87 minutes for the Pro D2 side this season, having returned for a second spell following a highly successful first stint from 2004-09.
Back then, when Agen were in the French Top 14, Caucau twice finished as top try-scorer in the league.
He moved on to giants Toulouse in 2010 and then in 2012 returned to Northland in New Zealand, where he had also played Super Rugby for the Blues.
Agen said the explosive 34-year-old had asked to have his contract terminated.
Only one more Internatonal Test to be played today, that between Georgia vs Japan at 17:00 SA Time and Georgian Time, the rest of the results are in already!
Some surprising results all around, with the Italian Azzurri holding the Springboks to a limited win, Ireland narrowly beating the Wallabies, Wales containing the All Blacks untill the 69th minute before letting in 3 quick tries and France falling to a spirited Argentinian Pumas side.
The rest of the results, well they are pure wall decorations, for want of a better expletive.
The Weekend’s International Results are as follows:
Fiji (15) 20 / 14 (0) USA (Final Score)
Fiji and the USA Eagles did battle in the End Of Year Tours at
Stade De La Rabine, Vannes, France at 20:00 SA Time (19:00 French Time, 18:00 GMT, 13:00 Can Eastern Time, 07:00 Saturday Fiji Time).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was STREAMED LIVE by World Rugby (IRB) at http://www.worldrugby.org
USA captain Todd Clever will make a welcome return to the starting XV when the Eagles conclude their November tour against Fiji in Vannes, France on Saturday.
Another inclusion into the starting XV will see Ronald McLean earn his first International cap at fullback after he joined the team ahead of their 12-40 loss to Tonga last week.
Taku Ngwenya will look to add to his international try tally when he starts on the wing while Tim Stanfill, who has scored a try in two consecutive matches to begin his young international career, will earn his fourth cap.
Thretton Palamo and Seamus Kelly will hope to create chances from the center positions. Palamo’s second start since returning to the game, will be his fifth cap since making his Eagles debut at the 2007 World Cup.
John McKee has made seven changes to the Fiji run on team that will play against USA this weekend.
McKee said that his selection was based on the form in matches against France and Wales.
“I have named a very strong team for this match based on form in matches against France and Wales and I am also taking into consideration giving the opportunity to players who did not feature in the first and second matches”.
Fiji prop Campese Ma’afu was suspended for a week for being sent off for two yellow-card offenses in the 17-13 loss to Wales at Cardiff last weekend.
Ma’afu appeared before an independent Six Nations disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.
Wales’ narrow 17-13 victory over 2015 World Cup pool opponents Fiji on Saturday was “disappointing and frustrating”, according to coach Warren Gatland.
Despite the South Sea Islanders being reduced to 14 men after prop Campese Ma’afu received a second yellow card in the 52nd minute, the toothless Welsh team remarkably failed to register a score in the second half after leading 17-6 at the break.
Ahead of clashes against world champions New Zealand and South Africa, Gatland said his team’s performance was “disappointing and frustrating”.
Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo will take his place at inside centre for Fiji when they face off against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Ospreys’ contingent in Warren Gatland’s Wales selection will come up against a familiar foe in the form of Josh Matavesi, who has been named at flyhalf for the opposition.
It will be Matavesi’s seventh international cap but his first for almost exactly two years, his last international appearance coming at Twickenham in November 2012 when he came off the bench against England.
The 24-year old missed Fiji’s defeat to France last Saturday due to a shoulder injury.
Cardiff Blues prop Gethin Jenkins will captain a rejigged Wales team for their clash with Fiji at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Saturday, head coach Warren Gatland announced on Tuesday.
Gatland has elected to make eight changes to the team beaten 33-28 by Australia last weekend, although there is no place in the starting XV for recalled Gloucester fly-half James Hook.
Jenkins takes over from Paul James in the front row, while Scott Baldwin of Ospreys will make his first Wales start at hooker.
Flanker Sam Warburton, the regular captain, is being rested, but there are recalls in the backs for fit-again centre Scott Williams, fly-half Rhys Priestland and scrum-half Mike Phillips.