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French Top 14

European Rugby Champions CupFollowing the completion of discussions between EPCR, the Ligue Nationale de Rugby, Premiership Rugby and PRO12 Rugby to reschedule the six European club matches which were postponed due to the Paris attacks, it has been agreed by all parties that the games will be played on the weekend of 8 – 10 January 2016 in advance of Round 5 of the European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.

EPCR would like to thank the 3 leagues and all the clubs involved for their collaboration and understanding during the rescheduling process.

The decision to play the postponed games on the 2nd weekend in January means that the Round 13 fixtures in the TOP 14 will now be played later in the season, as will the following Round 12 fixtures in the Guinness PRO12: Ulster vs Newport Gwent Dragons, Zebre vs Glasgow Warriors, and Cardiff Blues vs Munster.

The Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 9 match between Bath and Sale Sharks, which was due to be played on Friday 8 January 2016, will also take place later in the season on a date to be announced.

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With the Rugby World Cup 2015 now finished and no formal End Of Year Tour schedule (November Internationals) for any of the Southern Hemisphere giants in 2015, there are far fewer high profile games to look forward to, but the games are there nonetheless.

Firstly there are the 2 Barbarians games, the 1st of which is against Gloucester on 17 November, and the 2nd one a very interesting game between the Barbarians and Argentina’s Los Pumas, who gave us all such a wonderful display at the Rugby World Cup, on 21 November.

In addition, this year our TV broadcasters in South Africa are giving us plenty of Prime Time coverage of English Aviva Premiership Club rugby in England, the French Top 14, the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the European Rugby Champions Cup, which we will follow with some good attention, brining maybe not all, but at least the high profile and interesting games to you to savour. There will of course be a whole host of our Southern heros on display in all these competitions.

Then of course there is still the regular HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series of 2015 / 2016, which kicks off in Dubai on 4 & 5 December, followed by Cape Town on 12 & 13 December.

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Montpellier’s new coach, Jake White, arrested a nine-match slide for his French club by using his tried and tested method – going back to basics.

The South African, a former World Cup-winning Springbok coach, got off to a winning start as the Top 14 strugglers beat European and French champions Toulon 16-12 at the weekend.

White was brought in as a consultant to replace the suspended Fabien Galthie in an aim to stem the tide of losses in European and domestic action.

Club President Mohed Altrad, who caused so much controversy when he called Galthie a failure, was full of praise for White.

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WhistleThe Match Officials for this week’s action have been confirmed, with George Clancy refereeing the Wallabies vs Springboks showdown.

The Rugby Championship:

Australia vs South Africa
  • Venue: Patersons Stadium, Perth
  • Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
  • Assistant Referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
  • TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
  • Assessor: Andrew Cole


New Zealand vs Argentina
  • Venue: Mclean Park, Napier
  • Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
  • Assistant Referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
  • TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)
  • Assessor: Lyndon Bray

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Paul Goze

Paul Goze

The president of the Top 14 Paul Goze has revealed there will be harsher financial penalties handed out to those who violate the various rules and regulations of the league.

Goze, who presides over the Top 14’s organisational body Ligue National de Rugby, spoke to Midi Olympique about a variety of issues facing the French domestic game and confirmed there will be rule changes for the forthcoming season with defensive bonus points now awarded to those teams who are within five points of the victor rather than seven.

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top14logoToday is almost Groundhog Day in France as Toulon once again take on Castres in the Top 14 final, but this year there is one crucial difference. Jonny Wilkinson, as the rugby world and his wife is well aware, will hang up his boots on Saturday evening having played the final 80 minutes in his glittering career. Worryingly for Castres, it would be hard to imagine that Wilkinson’s Toulon team-mates will allow him to sign off with an anti-climax.

It’s not just Wilkinson that Toulon will be aiming to win for – the whole team have a score to settle with their opponents. Castres upset the applecart last season by defeating Toulon 19-14 in the final to claim their first league title in 20 years. Having become the first French club to secure back-to-back Heineken Cups last weekend, Toulon are now aiming to secure a league and cup double that will send their already devoted fans into absolute pandemonium.

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Rory KockottToulonCastresDefending champions Castres will play European champions Toulon in a repeat of the 2013 French championship Final, after they edged Montpellier 22-19 after extra-time in an engrossing encounter in Lille on Saturday.

For Castres it was the third successive time they had beaten Fabien Galthie’s Montpellier in the play-offs, after their opponents had got the better of them on their way to the Final in 2011.

While Castres’ South African scrumhalf Rory Kockott scored 14 of their points, it was 35-year-old Fijian centre Seremaia Bai who dropped a rare goal on the stroke of half-time of extra-time that made the difference in the end.

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top14logoflorianfritzOn Friday night Toulouse locked horns against Racing Metro in the Top 14 playoffs for a much-anticipated game at the Stade Ernest-Wallon.

Nineteen minutes in, with Racing Metro 6-3 up, Toulouse’s centre Florian Fritz was tackled and as a result made contact with the onrushing knee of Racing Metro’s Francois Van Der Merwe.

It was a sickening blow, with the results clearly shown on television, as Fritz had blood pouring down his face and splattered on his arm. As play stopped and Toulouse’s medics tended to Fritz, it was clear he was visibly dazed. He had to be escorted off the pitch and stumbled onto the ground when he decided to walk off instead of being carried off on a stretcher.

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

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

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

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

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MONDAY MAUL – Greg Growden surprised me with this article. I thought everything he says is pro Australia and he never criticize his own team. Well read this article by him. He makes a few very debatable statements and hits the nail on the head with some others. Enjoy it..

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A load of bull has been uttered about the Bulls. So what if they rest up to 13 top-tier players for the final round match against the Stormers this weekend? That is the privilege of finishing well ahead of everyone else. That allows them certain luxuries.
Article by Greg Growden on Rugby Heaven, Australia

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