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ArgentinaFrancePumas (17) 30 / 19 (10) France (Final Score)

The Argentinian Los Pumas and France did battle in the 2016 June Internationals at

Estadio Monumental José Fierro, Tucumán, at 23:10 SA Time (21:10 GMT, 18:10 ARG Time, 23:10 French Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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RBS 6 Nations trophyWho was your standout player of the 2016 RBS 6 Nations? Read the profiles below for a reminder of the achievements of our nominees.

 

Gareth Davies:

The Wales scrumhalf took the opportunity that Rhys Webb’s injury presented and impressed throughout the Championship.

He scored a stunning try in their victory over Scotland in Round 2, was RBS 6 Nations Man of the Match in Round 3 against France and claimed the final score of Wales’ Championship when he came off the bench against Italy on Super Saturday.

 

Guilhem Guirado:

Guy Novès’ France side might have finished with 3 defeats but their captain Guirado led by example throughout.

The hooker was superb, crossing for tries against Wales and Scotland, driving his pack forwards and demonstrating brilliant tackle and breakdown work in every match.

 

Stuart Hogg:

The Scotland fullback’s scorching try in the final Round against Ireland will live long in the memory but Hogg’s influence throughout the Championship was apparent.

He made 2 tries as Vern Cotter’s side ended their winless run in downing Italy, scored 1 and he scored 1 and made 1 in their historic win over France – while also adding a penalty from his own half. All that before his fantastic solo score in Dublin on Super Saturday.

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Joe Marler

Joe Marler

England and Harlequins prop Joe Marler has been cited for striking Wales prop Rob Evans in England’s 25 / 21 RBS 6 Nations victory over Wales at Twickenham.

Harlequins prop Marler appeared to land a forearm in the face of Evans while trying to assist Dan Cole ground the ball over Wales’s try-line.

“Joe Marler has been cited by the independent citing commissioner for allegedly striking an opponent in the 15th minute of the 1st half of the RBS 6 Nations match between England and Wales at Twickenham,” said an RBS 6 Nations statement.

If found guilty at a disciplinary hearing later this week, Marler will face an “entry-point” ban of 2 weeks, which would rule him out of England’s attempt to seal a 1st Grand Slam since 2003.

Officials have yet to decide whether a separate incident of verbal abuse, in which Harlequins prop Marler called Wales’s Samson Lee “gypsy boy” during the 1st half of England’s 25 / 21 win at Twickenham last Saturday, warrants disciplinary action.

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Toulon RFCCell C SharksToulon (0) 21 / 29 (17) Sharks (Final Score)

Toulon and the Cell C Sharks did battle in a Super Rugby 2016 warm-up match at

Stade Mayol, Toulon, France at 21:45 SA Time (20:45 French Time, 19:45 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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SIX NationsThe Under 20 SIX Nations, not as glamorous as the SIX Nations for the senior teams, is intensely contested.

Last year England were the unbeaten winners followed, in order, by France, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Italy.

Like their senior team, England’s Under 20 captain is a hooker – Jack Walker, whose brother Chris captained the 2012 side which retained the championship.

Coach John Callard said: “The 1st game of any Championship is always tough, especially playing away in Scotland, but the players are excited about getting started.

“We’ re looking for them to use this competition to continue developing their all-round game.  For example, we want functionally fit forwards who, as well as having a strong set piece, are ball handlers and good decision makers right across the field.

“You can always come back to a tighter game but we want players to see this as an opportunity to express themselves and enjoy playing for their country.”

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Women's 6 Nations 2016

Women’s 6 Nations Team Captains

It will be a campaign brimming with sub-plots. New talent will emerge, reputations will need to be restored and everyone will need to put on a show as the 15-a-side game fights for attention in an Olympic year.

With the gaps between teams ever decreasing, this year’s Women’s 6 Nations is expected to be the most open we have seen.

Defending champions Ireland will fight to retain their title, although France and England will severely test their grit.

Last season the Red Roses faltered, with the world champions finishing 4th, and the combination of retirements and a number of their players focusing on the Sevens for Rio 2016 means they will have much to prove.

But it is not only England who must adjust and discover new talent, because most nations have withdrawn their Sevens players to focus on this summer’s Olympics.

Amid such uncertainty, who will prevail?

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Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks received a timely boost with confirmation that seasoned Springbok loose forward Keegan Daniel is returning to Durban.

Daniel, who has spent 2 seasons with Kubota in Japan, will be playing for the Sharks in the 2016 Super Rugby season.

With 199 caps for the Sharks, 59 of those as captain, he also led the team to Currie Cup glory in 2013.

Daniel, 30, played the last of his 5 Tests for the Springboks against Argentina at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza, in August 2012.

Always a fierce competitor, he will bring strong leadership and experience to the team environment – which will greatly benefit the youngsters in the Sharks squad.

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Sergio Parisse, Sam Warburton, Rory Best, Dylan Hartley, Greg Laidlaw and Guilhem Guirado (from left to right)

Sergio Parisse, Sam Warburton, Rory Best, Dylan Hartley, Greg Laidlaw and Guilhem Guirado (from left to right) at yesterday’s RBS 6 Nations 2016 launch

The 2016 RBS 6 Nations launched in style on Wednesday morning at the Hurlingham Club and the 6 captains present an intriguing mix of the old and the new.

There are 3 brand new skippers for this year’s Championship, which gets underway in 10 days’ time on Saturday 6 February when France welcome Italy to the Stade de France – and they are all hookers.

Rory Best takes the armband for 2-time defending champions Ireland after Paul O’Connell’s retirement, Eddie Jones’ England have Dylan Hartley at the helm and France under Guy Noves will be led by Guilhem Guirado.

Those 3 were joined by Scotland’s Greig Laidlaw, Wales’ Sam Warburton and Italy’s Sergio Parisse on Wednesday – 3 captains that have led their country with great distinction for many years.

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ScotlandHead Coach Vern Cotter  named uncapped props Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland in a 35-man Scotland squad for the 2016 RBS 6 Nations.

Glasgow Warriors’ tighthead prop Fagerson turned 20 yesterday (Tuesday 19 January) meaning he could become the 4th youngest prop in Scottish history, and the youngest to represent Scotland for more than half a century (since Bill Black debuted against France at Murrayfield 1948).

Fellow propping prospect Sutherland (23) plies his trade at the opposite end of the M8 and earns selection through his increasingly impressive showings for Edinburgh since signing from Gala last season.

The young pair are among 4 changes to Scotland’s front row options originally named for Rugby World Cup 2015, with 29-times capped Exeter Chiefs tighthead, Moray Low, and 6-times capped Glasgow Warriors hooker, Pat MacArthur, earning selection for the 1st time since the summer of 2014.

Scotland Head Coach Vern Cotter, said: “We’ve selected a mixture of experience with some exciting young players coming through, some of whom have experienced the Rugby World Cup and are eager to move forward, take the RBS 6 Nations head on and show that we can develop our game and be competitive.”

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Nemani Nadolo

Nemani Nadolo

New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchise the Crusaders have confirmed that Fijian Rugby World Cup winger Nemani Nadolo will not be extending his contract with the Christchurch team next season.

Nadolo has agreed to play his rugby in France for French club Montpellier after the 2016 Super Rugby season.

Fijian winger Nadolo was raised in Brisbane Australia and has had playing stints in the UK, France, Australia and Japan but his career only really took off when he joined the Crusaders.

Nadolo is now 1 of the hottest wingers in World Rugby but it was not long ago that he was with the Waratahs and was unable to make the match day team.

The winger left Sydney and played for Bourgoin between 2010 and 2011 before joining Japan’s NEC Green Rocket where he was brought to the attention of Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder.

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SA Rugby LegendsIn the aftermath of the recent attacks in Paris, the SA Rugby Legends Association have joined forces with the large Gauteng-based French community to honour those fallen and to help raise funds to assist the families who lost loved ones in the attacks.

On Saturday 28 November, the Legends will do just that by playing a special match against the French community, comprising Frenchmen who have played rugby at various levels.

The event will take place at the French International School – Lycee Francais Jules Verne – in Morningside from 12:00 SA Time, with the match starting at 14:00 SA Time.

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AustraliaAustralia will embark on their 10th ‘Grand Slam’ tour in 2016, aiming to beat the Home Nations in 1 trip for the 1st time in 30 years.

After falling to New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham Stadium in London earlier this month, the Wallabies will return to the northern hemisphere next year for a 7-match, 5-Test tour, including France.

“The ‘Grand Slam’ is 1 of the rarest achievements in the game and has been a notoriously difficult one for the Wallabies over time, with only 1 successful attempt out of 9,” Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver said.

The last time the Wallabies pulled off the feat was in 1984. In their most recent attempt, in 2013, Australia opened with a loss to England before defeating Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as Italy.

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Morné Steyn

Morné Steyn

Springbok flyhalf Morné Steyn has extended his contract with French Top 14 club Stade Francais by a further 2 years.

The 31-year-old joined the Paris-based club from the Vodacom Bulls in 2013 and now looks set to finish his career in France.

Steyn was part of the Springbok squad at the recent Rugby World Cup, but received limited game time, with Handré Pollard and Pat Lambie ahead of him in the flyhalf pecking order.

Steyn, who made his Springbok debut in 2009, has 60 Test caps to his name.

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Gary Gold

Gary Gold

The Cell C Sharks will travel to France in February 2016, on a pre-season tour ahead of the start of their Super Rugby 2016 campaign.

There are 2 games lined-up for the tour, with a visit to Stade Mayol 1st up to take on 2-time European champs Toulon on Friday 5 February before they face Toulouse on Thursday 11 February.

The Sharks believe that these matches against 2 of the best European clubs in recent times, marks an ideal opportunity to fine tune their preparation for Super Rugby.

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Mourad Boudjellal & Quade Cooper

Mourad Boudjellal & Quade Cooper

Australian flyhalf Quade Cooper reported for duty at European champions Toulon on Tuesday, having negotiated a special contract clause so he can play in the Olympics next year.

The 27-year-old flyhalf apologised to Toulon fans for the extended negotiations that even last week appeared compromised because of doubts about his international future.

“It has been a drawn-out process and I apologise for that,” Cooper told a press conference alongside Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal.

Australia’s selection rules only allow foreign-based players to be chosen if they have 60 caps. Cooper has 58 but made only 1 Rugby World Cup appearance because of the hot form of Bernard Foley.

Cooper said the 1st version of his Toulon contract did not mention being freed for national games, but it was renegotiated. Boudjellal said, and “if he is called he will be immediately freed.”

Cooper said the talks with Boudjellal had focused on allowing him to go to the Olympics in Rio next August when Sevens rugby will be played for the 1st time.

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Guy Noves

Guy Noves

New France coach Guy Noves has vowed to bring back the excitement following the national team’s Rugby World Cup debacle under predecessor Philippe Saint-Andre.

France were often accused of being dull during Saint-Andre’s tepid and fruitless 4 years in charge of Les Bleus, which culminated in a Rugby World Cup humiliation at the hands of eventual champions New Zealand.

4 Years on from making the mighty All Blacks tremble on home turf in a 7 / 8 Rugby World Cup Final defeat in Auckland, France were put to the sword in spectacular fashion in this year’s quarterfinals in Cardiff, suffering a chastening 13 / 62 defeat.

France were mostly uninspired as well as unsuccessful under Saint-Andre, but Noves says he’s going to bring back the flair-filled rugby for which the French have always been famed.

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World RugbyAs well as winning a host of new admirers for their adventurous approach throughout Rugby World Cup 2015, beaten semifinalists Argentina and headline-grabbing Japan have also enjoyed the biggest rise of all the competing nations in the World Rugby Rankings. Both are ranked 3 places higher than where they were when Rugby World Cup 2015 began at Twickenham Stadium on Friday 18 September.Los Pumas have moved up from 8th to 5th thanks to their 2nd place finish behind New Zealand in Pool C and the way that they effortlessly brushed Ireland aside in the quarterfinals.

A disappointing World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup campaign this summer left Japan languishing 13th in the rankings, and at that stage few people would have predicted what they would go on to achieve in England: 3 wins from 4 and a place in tournament folklore.

The Brave Blossoms’ historic 34 / 32 win over South Africa in Brighton may not have been enough to book them a place in the knockout stages but it did help them return to the world’s Top 10.

With points exchanges doubled to reflect the importance Rugby World Cup matches no-one fared better than Japan, going from 72.06 rating points pre-tournament to 77.05 at its conclusion.

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Vodacom Stats AppSouth Africa may have squeaked through in their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match against Wales but the statistics suggest a more dominant performance by the Springboks.

Statistics taken from the Vodacom Rugby App demonstrate how Wales had to defend South Africa’s relentless attacks on the advantage line.

The Springboks topped the carries stats in the quarterfinals with 157, forcing the Welsh to make 197 tackles in their encounter.

Influential flanker Schalk Burger was South Africa’s main strike runner taking the ball up 26 times in the match.

Burger led the carries statistics over the weekend with compatriot Duane Vermeulen behind him with 15.

The wave after wave of attack by the South Africans is also reflected in the fact that 5 Springbok players feature among the Top 5 in the carries category.

Springbok centre Damian de Allende (14), Eben Etzebeth (13) and Handré Pollard (12) followed behind Burger and Vermeulen in the stats.

Argentina, who upset Ireland to book a semifinal clash against Australia made the 2nd most carries with 122, with the Wallabies following in 3rd with 112.

The 4 Southern Hemisphere teams that will feature in the semifinals topped the Carries statistics with Argentina (122), Australia (112) and New Zealand (109) following behind the Springboks.

South Africa did not only test the Welsh defence but were also made to work hard to keep the opposition off the line by making 123 tackles – the 2nd most of the weekend.

Wales and South Africa kicked the most of all the quarterfinal matches, with the Springboks making 46 kicks from hand and the Red Dragons 2 less.

The Welsh’s desperate defence on the day is reflected in the individual tackles stats with 4 of their players among the Top tacklers.

Loose forward Dan Lydiate tops the stats with 24, with Alun Wyn Jones (19), Taulupe Faletau (18) and Sam Warburton (17) following behind him.

Scotland’s Jonny Gray with 18 and Burger with 16 were the only players among the Top 5 from other countries.

While the weekend produced its fair share of nail-biting moments it was not the case in the match between New Zealand and France.

The All Blacks were in sensational form as they stepped up a gear as they set a new Rugby World Cup quarterfinal victory margin beating the French by 49 points.

Running in 9 tries it is no surprise they dominate the Metres run and Clean breaks categories, as they ran the French rampant.

They ran 732 metres, which was 142 metres more than their nearest rivals, Argentina, while they made 19 clean breaks – more than double as many as Australia who ranked 2nd with 9.

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World RugbyThe Top 4 spots on the current world rankings are all taken up by Southern Hemisphere teams, with Argentina moving up to 4th.

The Pumas and South Africa were the biggest climbers after their wins over Ireland and Wales respectively in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals.

Los Pumas moved up 2 places on the rankings – overtaking Ireland and Wales. South Africa improved their position from 5th to 3rd after a tough 23 / 19 win over Wales.

Ireland plummeted from 3rd to 6th on the rankings, while Wales also fell from 4th to 5th.

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Pascal Pape

Pascal Pape

Frederic Michalak

Frederic Michalak

France flyhalf Frederic Michalak has ended his international career after Les Bleus’ 13 / 62 defeat by New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.

Michalak left the pitch with a thigh injury after 11 minutes at the Millennium Stadium.

He said: “It’s quite sad to finish like that. I truly thought I’d be able to raise the Cup, and I didn’t imagine that I would finish like that, with an injury, which makes it even worse. Of course I’ll recover from this injury, but I’ll take care of my body and play fewer games per year.”

The Toulon player, 33, won 77 international caps and played in 3 Rugby World Cups, in 2003, 2007 and this year. He is under contract with Toulon until 2016.

France lock Pascal Pape, 35, is also retiring from internationals after 65 tests.

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New ZealandFranceAll Blacks (29) 62 / 13 (13) France (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and France did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup at

Millennium Stadium, Cardiff at 21:00 SA Time (20:00 BST, 19:00 GMT, 21:00 France Time, Sunday 08:00 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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Thierry Dusautoir

Thierry Dusautoir

France captain Thierry Dusautoir has rubbished reports there had been a split between coach Philippe Saint-Andre and his players.

“Since the start of the World Cup, the players and staff have been together and they will work together until the end of the World Cup,” Dusautoir insisted.

The 33-year-old skipper said he had “total confidence” in Saint-Andre, a former France captain who will step down after the Rugby World Cup.

French newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur published an article Thursday citing a “source close to the players” who said there had been a players’ uprising against Saint-Andre.

“I don’t know where that’s come from, but you need to ask the person who wrote the article to tell us more,” he said.

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Philippe Saint-Andre

Philippe Saint-Andre

France coach Phillippe Saint-Andre has dropped some last weekends under-performers against Ireland, for their quarterfinal meeting against New Zealand on Saturday.

Saint-Andre has made 3 changes in total to his side. Morgan Parra takes the place of discarded scrumhalf Sebastien Tillous-Borde and Mathieu Bastareaud and Damien Chouly also drops to the bench.

Centre Alexandre Dumoulin takes Bastareaud’s place in the backline while South Africa-born flanker Bernard le Roux is preferred to Chouly in the loose forwards for the crunch match at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

Scrumhalf Tillous-Borde misses out on the matchday-23 altogether as South African-born Rory Kockott has been named on the replacement bench as backup scrumhalf.

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WhistleRugby World Cup organisers have announced that Wayne Barnes, Nigel Owens, Jérôme Garcès and Craig Joubert will referee the Rugby World Cup 2015 quarterfinals this weekend.

England’s Wayne Barnes will take charge of the 1st match on Saturday between South Africa and Wales at Twickenham Stadium, London (Kick-Off 17:00 SA Time, 16:00 UK Time, 15:00 GMT) and will be joined by Assistant Referees George Clancy (Ireland) and JP Doyle (England) with the Television Match Official being Graham Hughes, also of England.

Later the same day, New Zealand take on France at the Millennium Stadium (Kick-Off 21:00 SA & French Time, 20:00 UK Time, 19:00 GMT) in a repeat of the Rugby World Cup 2011 final, with Nigel Owens of Wales refereeing the game at his union’s home ground. On the line will be Jaco Peyper of South Africa and John Lacey of Ireland while the Television Match Official will be South Africa’s Shaun Veldsman.

The 3rd quarterfinal between Ireland and Argentina in Cardiff (Kick-Off 14:00 SA Time, 13:00 UK Time, 12:00 GMT) on Sunday will be refereed by Jérôme Garcès of France with his countryman, Romain Poite, and New Zealand’s Chris Pollock as Assistant Referees. George Ayoub (Australia) will be the Television Match Official.

The final match of the stage will take place at Twickenham on Sunday (Kick-Off 17:00 SA Time, 16:00 UK Time, 15:00 GMT) between Australia and Scotland and will be refereed by Craig Joubert (South Africa). He will be assisted by Glen Jackson (New Zealand) and Pascal Gauzere (France) with Ben Skeen (New Zealand) the Television Match Official.

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Rugby World Cup 2015The agony etched on the face of Ireland’s iconic captain Paul O’Connell said it all. Clutching a hamstring during the 24 / 9 win against France on Sunday, the giant lock’s pain was physical and emotional. The group stages were where his Rugby World Cup 2015 would end.

As bruised and battered players take a deep breath, head for the ice baths and prepare to go again in the quarterfinals, some of their less-fortunate teammates will be forced to watch those matches from the stands, or on television.

The withdrawal of O’Connell on Tuesday, hard on the heels of fellow Ireland players Jared Payne and Peter O’Mahony, means that all 8 teams left in the competition will enter the knockout stages depleted, in some way, by injuries.

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World RugbyIreland have moved up 2 places to 3rd in the World Rugby Rankings after beating France in the Rugby World Cup Pool D decider on Sunday.

Joe Schmidt’s side, who topped the pool with their 24 / 9 win against Les Bleus, have leapfrogged Wales (4) and South Africa (5) in the rankings, which are published by World Rugby every Monday.

France dropped 1 place to 7th following Sunday’s defeat at the Millennium Stadium, swapping places with Ireland’s quarterfinal opponents Argentina, who rose to 6th.

7 Of the 8 Rugby World Cup 2015 quarter-finalists feature in the Top 8 of the rankings; the exception being Scotland, who remain 1 place below England in 9th position.

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 the Rugby World Cup to recognise the unique importance of the event.

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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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FranceCanadaFrance (24) 41 / 18 (12) Canada (Final Score)

France and Canada did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup at

Stadium MK, Milton Keynes at 21:00 SA Time (21:00 French Time, 20:00 BST, 19:00 GMT, 15:00 Canadian Eastern Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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FranceRomaniaFrance (17) 38 / 11 (6) Romania (Final Score)

France and Romania did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup at

Olympic Park, London, England at 21:00 SA Time (21:00 French Time, 22:00 Rom Time, 20:00 BST, 19:00 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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Yoann Huget

Yoann Huget

French coach Philippe Saint-Andre confirmed on Sunday that wing Yoann Huget is out for the rest of the Rugby World Cup after injuring his knee.

A tearful Huget was forced off during France’s 32 / 10 victory over Italy in their opening Rugby World Cup match on Saturday.

His place was taken by Castres wing Remy Grosso.

He has injured the ligaments in his right knee, Saint-Andre said in an interview.

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