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Internationals

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The Springboks concluded a week of intense training at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport on Friday as their preparations for the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour to Ireland, England, Italy and Wales stepped up a gear.

A total of 31 players took part in the training camp after prop Marcel van der Merwe withdrew due to injury.

Amongst the squad were four uncapped players in Lizo Gqoboka (prop), Bongi Mbonambi (hooker), Boela Abrahams (scrumhalf) and Rudy Paige (scrumhalf), who were invited to get a taste of what Springbok rugby is all about after impressive performances for their provinces in the Absa Currie Cup.

“We had a good week and the players really worked very hard on the field and in the gym,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“The emphasis was on conditioning and we also paid a lot of attention to detail on and off the field. It was great to have time to work on these things before we embark on what will be a very tough tour.

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NamibiaThree new caps have been included in the Namibian national side to face Germany in Windhoek on 29 October.

The side will be captained by Western Province loose forward Rohan Kitshoff, who will make his 17th test appearance for his country.

Coach Danie Vermeulen on Thursday included Free State Cheetahs hooker and captain Torsten van Jaarsveld, Brive’s Tjuee Uanive and JC Greyling from Old Wesley RFC (Dublin, Ireland) in his squad of 23 for the once-off Test match.

Van Jaarsveld and Uanive are in the starting line-up, while Greyling is expected to earn his first cap coming off the bench.

The 27-year-old Van Jaarsveld was outstanding for the Free State Cheetahs this year and will start in his first Test for the Welwitchias.

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ItalyItaly captain Sergio Parisse believes winning the first of a three-match Test series, against Samoa next month, is “crucial” if the Azzurri are to build confidence ahead of the tougher challenge of Argentina and South Africa.

“It’s crucial for us to start this Test series off on a positive note with a win,” Parisse told reporters in Rome.

Italy head into the November Test series looking for massive improvements after finishing with the Six Nations wooden spoon and returning from a mid-year tour of the south Pacific winless.

Coach Jacques Brunel has welcomed several players back from injury, including Francesco Minto, Luca Morisi, Simone Favaro and scrumhalf Edoardo Gori.

New Zealand-born Kelly Haimona and Fijian Samuela Vunisa are also among three squad debutants alongside Simone Ragusi for November’s Tests.

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USAThirty-five players have been chosen for the United States national team’s tour next month – which starts with a 1 November Test against New Zealand in Chicago.

Coach Mike Tolkin will not have all of the players will available for every match.

The US Eagles management and European officials recently reached an agreement to allow leading American players based in Britain, France and Japan to play against the All Blacks at Soldier Field.

Among them are Cameron Dolan and Samu Manoa of Northampton Saints, Newcastle Falcons’ Eric Fry, Leicester Tigers’ Blaine Scully, as well as Hayden Smith and Chris Wyles of Saracens.

Thretton Palamon will be able to leave Saracens to play against Tonga in Gloucester, England, on 15 November, and Fiji in Vannes, France, on 22 November.

The Eagles also will play Romania in Bucharest on 8 November.

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EnglandSaracens wing Chris Ashton has been dropped from Stuart Lancaster’s England squad for the End Of Year Tours (November Internationals).

Ashton has been replaced in the squad by Bath wing Semesa Rokoduguni, one of three uncapped players named in the 33-man squad on Wednesday.

England play against New Zealand ( 8November), South Africa (15 November), Samoa (22 November) and Australia (29 November).

Chris Robshaw will captain the side in the four-game series at Twickenham.

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ArgentinaArgentina head coach Daniel Hourcade has added 5 new players to the squad that will be touring the Northern Hemisphere in November.

Matías Moroni, Santiago Cordero, Juan Cruz Guillemain, Santiago Iglesias Valdez and Guido Petti have been brought in after not playing any part in the Rugby Championship while Mariano Galarza and Bruno Postiglioni have not been included due to injury.

With lock Mariano Galarza injured, Hourcade has brought 2 second row forwards into a 30-man squad, Juan Cruz Guillemain of Stade Francais and Guido Petti of local side SIC.

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South AfricaSpringbok captain Jean de Villiers spoke about Monday afternoon’s start to the national training camp in Stellenbosch as the beginning of the build-up to next year’s World Cup, and if that was so, where it all began should end up being like chalk and cheese to where it will surely end.

Twickenham next November is what the Boks are aiming for, and it will doubtless be chilly and probably a little gloomy, as it so often is in London at that time of year.

On Monday though a burning sun beat down as the Cape spring continues to play more like a summer, with sweltering conditions adding to the discomfort levels even after 5pm as the players ended their session with a grueling crawling drill directed by conditioning coach Basil Carzis.

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Schalk Brits

Schalk Brits

Marcel van der Merwe

Marcel van der Merwe

The Springboks were dealt a double blow on Monday, when first Saracens hooker Schalk Brits and then Blue Bulls tighthead prop Marcel van der Merwe was ruled out of the End Of Year Tour (November Internationals) with a knee injury.

Van der Merwe was supposed to join up with the Bok training camp this week but hurt himself in the dying minutes of the Vodacom Blue Bulls loss in the ABSA Currie Cup semifinal against DHL Western Province on Saturday, and will miss the next four to six weeks of rugby with a medial knee ligament injury.

“He fell awkwardly in the last few minutes of the game,” Blue Bulls doctor Org Strauss said, “He has a grade 2 medial ligament tear, luckily not the same knee that has given him problems in the past, I expect him to be out for anywhere between four and six weeks.”

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WalesWales Head Coach Warren Gatland has named a 34 man squad to play in the upcoming End Of Year Tours (November Internationals) which features just one uncapped player but no place for Adam Jones and James Hook.

Instead of British & Irish Lions prop Jones, 20-year-old Ospreys prop Nicky Smith has been called into the squad for the first time and features alongside 12 players who return to International duty after missing the summer tour to South Africa.

Gatland’s side take on Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa on consecutive weekends in November as the countdown begins to next year’s Rugby World Cup.

In the front-row, former Wales Under 20 prop Smith, who has started all seven of the Ospreys’ encounters this season, joins the experienced Gethin Jenkins and Paul James.

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Manu Tuilagi

Manu Tuilagi

England centre Manu Tuilagi will miss the End Of Year Tours (November Internationals) after suffering a groin injury during Leicester Tigers’ first match in the new European Champions Cup, the Premiership club said on Tuesday.

The Samoa-born player hobbled off the field after 15 minutes of the 25-18 win over Ulster on Saturday.

Tuilagi was making only his second start after three weeks out with a groin problem but Leicester said it was not a recurrence of the same injury.

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Barbarians RugbyThe Barbarians completed their squad with the addition of 11 more players including the South African duo of Juan de Jongh and Sarel Pretorius.

The Barbarians are set to take on the Wallabies at Twickenham on 1 November under the guidance of Blues coach John Kirwan.

Of the 11 new players added on Tuesday, the majority (5 of them) are from New Zealand with a further 3 Argentineans and a Scot to go along with the 2 South Africans.

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AustraliaNew Wallabies coach Michael Cheika included five debutants in his first squad unveiled on Wednesday for the End Of Year Tour in England, France, Ireland and Wales.

The 33-man Australia squad, led by 22-year-old Michael Hooper, includes three changes to the group that lost 29-28 to the All Blacks last Saturday.

The tour sees the return of injured duo Matt Toomua and Ben McCalman and the inclusion of uncapped Melbourne Rebels back-row forward Sean McMahon.

He is one of five uncapped players alongside Western Force pair Tetera Faulkner (prop) and Kyle Godwin (centre), and wingers Henry Speight (Brumbies) and Tom English (Rebels).

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AustraliaMichael CheikaThe Australian Rugby Union on Wednesday confirmed that Michael Cheika is the new Wallaby coach, ahead of a tough End Of Year European tour.

He has been appointed on a three-year contract, coming in the wake of the controversial departure of Ewen McKenzie as a result of the fall-out over the Kurtley Beale saga.

ARU Chief Executive Officer Bill Pulver said Michael Cheika was the outstanding candidate for the role.

“Central to our decision was selecting a world-class coach who can lead us to victory in next year’s World Cup and a person who represents the game’s core values,” Pulver said.

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Singapore Sports Hub - National Stadium

Singapore Sports Hub – National Stadium

The maligned pitch at Singapore’s expensive new National Stadium has forced the cancellation of next month’s Maori All Blacks clash with the invitational Asia-Pacific Barbarians, which could have ramifications for the team’s Super Rugby bid.

The Maori All Blacks were scheduled to play the Tana Umaga-coached side at the stadium, the centrepiece of a $1 billion Sports Hub, on November 15 after two matches in Japan.

The New Zealand Rugby Union, however, said on Tuesday the match had been cancelled due to the poor quality of the pitch that has drawn numerous complaints from sporting teams.

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South AfricaFollowing the elimination of the Cell C Sharks and the Vodacom Blue Bulls from the ABSA Currie Cup and the conclusion of the First Division, 8 more players have been invited to the Springboks’ training camp in Stellenbosch.

The Springbok selectors have invited Lwazi Mvovo, Cobus Reinach, Lourens Adriaanse (all Cell C Sharks), Handré Pollard, Rudy Paige, Marcel van der Merwe, Bongi Mbonambi (all Vodacom Blue Bulls) and Boela Abrahams, who starred for the Down Touch Griffons in their ABSA Currie Cup First Division final victory on Friday, to join 20 nationally contracted players and 4 others as the team start their preparations for what will be an arduous Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.

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Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams

Dan Carter

Dan Carter

New Zealand welcomed back superstars Dan Carter and Sonny Bill Williams for next month’s Northern Hemisphere tour, but dropped pivot Colin Slade, despite his heroics against Australia at the weekend.

Flyhalf Carter, the world’s most prolific international points scorer, has not played since breaking his leg in the Super Rugby Final in August, while Williams returns to the All Blacks after two seasons playing Rugby League in Australia.

There is also a return for Aaron Cruden, who has finally been forgiven for his late-night indiscretion in the latter stages of the Rugby Championship.

Coach Steve Hansen also recalled flank Victor Vito at the expense of Steven Luatua, and included promising scrumhalf Augustine Pulu as the only uncapped player in the squad for the four-Test tour.

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USAThe United States has reached an agreement that will allow it to include leading players based in Britain, France and Japan in its team to play New Zealand in a rugby Test in Chicago on 1 November.

Under the agreement, US players in the English Premiership, second-tier IPA Championships, France’s Top 14, Japan’s Top League and Scotland’s Guinness PRO12 will be released for the match at Soldier Field.

The US Eagles’ Test against New Zealand falls outside the International Rugby Board’s window for international matches and clubs are not obliged to release players.

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Grant Gilchrist

Grant Gilchrist

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has named a 33 man squad for the End Of Year Internationals with lock Grant Gilchrist being named as captain.

The honour represents a return for the 24-year-old product of Alloa and Stirling County rugby clubs, who led Scotland twice during the June Internationals, including a 21-19 victory over Argentina in Cordoba.

He will return to the role against the same opposition when the Tests get underway at Murrayfield next month, when Scotland face the Pumas on Saturday 8 November (kick-off 17:30 BST), before facing Rugby Championship winners New Zealand, at the same venue (15 November), followed by Tonga at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock (22 November).

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Waratahs coach Michael Cheika, offered to coach the Wallabies

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika confirmed on Monday he has been offered the Wallabies coaching job left vacant by the resignation of Ewen McKenzie, saying it was “humbling”.

A smiling Cheika, dressed in a Waratahs tracksuit top and black jeans, confirmed the offer when he spoke to the media out the front of Waratahs headquarters at Moore Park. “It’s a pretty humbling experience to be asked to be involved in something like that, but we’ll see what happens,” Cheika said.

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Ewen McKenzieThe Australian Rugby Union revealed that Ewen McKenzie has resigned as Wallaby coach.

McKenzie announced his resignation after the Qantas Wallabies were gallant in defeat, going down 29-28 to New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 18 October.

Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver paid tribute to McKenzie who has led Australia in 22 Tests since starting in the role in August 2013.

“I did not ask Ewen to resign, but understand his decision. He informed me this morning of his intention to resign, regardless of tonight’s result.”

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AustraliaNew ZealandWallabies (15) 28 / 29 (12) All Blacks (Final Score)

The Australian Wallabies and New Zealand All Blacks did battle in a Bledisloe Cup match at

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane at 11:00 SA Time (19:00 AEST, 22:00 NZ Time, 09:00 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

*******************

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Beauden Barrett

Beauden Barrett

The All Blacks were given a big scare ahead of their Test against the Wallabies on Saturday.

First-choice flyhalf Beauden Barrett is under a slight injury cloud, following a training ground mishap.

The No 10 limped out of training with his left thigh iced and Colin Slade running the final few minutes of the session.

There is no indication when a call will be made on Barritt’s fitness.

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Steve Hansen

Steve Hansen

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has admitted that they are wary of a backlash from the troubled Wallabies who have lost their last two matches.

The Wallabies situation has been compounded by an off-field scandal involving star backliner Kurtley Beale and a text message scandal that saw a Wallaby back room staffer resign.

There has also been speculation in the media that Australian coach Ewen McKenzie could be replaced if the Wallabies suffer a thumping at the hands of the All Blacks.

The All Blacks want to get back on track after they lost their first Test in 23 matches when they were edged by South Africa’s Springboks two weeks ago.

Hansen’s All Blacks have now lost just two matches since their won the Rugby World Cup in 2011 so the pressure on Australia to win is much greater than the New Zealanders.

“When a team is under siege as they are at the moment then one of two things can happen,” Hansen said.

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Mourad Boudjellal

Mourad Boudjellal

Mourad Boudjellal is planning to take the IRB to court over payments to players on international duty in a groundbreaking move.

The outspoken Toulon president had already made his feelings clear erlier this season when he complained about having to pay the likes of Bryan Habana, Juán Martín Fernández-Lobbe and Bakkies Botha while they were away at the Rugby Championship.

And he has now revealed that he has the support of Premiership bosses in England ahead of a legal battle with the game’s governing body, who he has accused of an ‘abuse of power’.

“We’re in the process of speaking to our lawyers in Paris to see if we go to commercial or administrative court,” he told Var Matin.

“The IRB rules have no provisions for unions to pay the clubs for their internationals. Yet the IRB is made up of the unions.

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SpringboksFour additional players, Trevor Nyakane, Lood de Jager, Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje and Lizo Gqoboka, have been invited to the Springboks’ training camp in Stellenbosch next week.

The three Toyota Free State Cheetahs forwards and the EP Kings prop are not nationally contracted but as their teams did not qualify for the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division semi-finals, their unions had been requested to release them for the training camp.

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Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland

Wales coach Warren Gatland fired an early shot at the All Blacks’ World Cup defence, suggesting the New Zealanders may be hampered by their weak pool.

New Zealand and Wales face vastly different challenges to make the World Cup playoffs. The All Blacks head Pool C that includes the improving Argentina, Tonga, Georgia and Namibia.

In contrast, Wales find themselves in the “pool of death” with hosts England, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.

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Aaron Cruden

Aaron Cruden takes part in a team huddle with his Manawatu team-mates, something he won’t do with the All Blacks in Brisbane.

Aaron Cruden continues to be frozen out of the All Blacks.

Steve Hansen, who recently kicked the playmaker off the tour of Argentina and South Africa because he missed a pre-departure meeting, hasn’t even bothered naming him in the reserves for the test against the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday night.

Instead Beauden Barrett will again start at first five-eighth, while Colin Slade, who can play first-five, wing and fullback, has been listed in the substitutes.

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MoneyHaving just read an article which elicited quite a strangely strong emotional shout out loud response from myself I thought it would be worth sharing it here to bring it to the attention of anyone else who may not have heard about what I feel to be a very crude deal that has been made.

As it is so hot of the press (for me) I am not sure whether this horse trading breaks any specific laws as laid out by the International Rugby Board but I feel it certainly goes against the Spirit of our great game.

The detail of the deal between USA Rugby and Premiership Rugby Ltd (PRL) needs to be viewed in the context of the recent past regarding PRL’s stance on players playing for their country outside of the International Window. In particular, I am referring to the instance where they reportedly fined Northampton Saints (one of the clubs playing and contributing to the success of their very own league) £60 000 for allowing George North to play for Wales in a match that fell outside of the International Window.

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Marnitz Boshoff

Marnitz Boshoff

Springbok flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff is set to join the Barbarians when they take on the Wallabies at Twickenham on 1 November.

Boshoff joins a list of New Zelanders who were added to the squad on Monday along side a large South African contingent that were added earlier in the month.

All Blacks Adam Thomson, Francis Saili and Frank Halai have all been added to the squad to facing Australia and Leicester Tigers in November.

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Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper

Mercurial flyhalf Quade Cooper was among the reserves named on Tuesday for the embattled Wallabies with Adam Ashley-Cooper chosen for his 100th Test against the All Blacks in this weekend’s Bledisloe Cup clash.

Under-fire coach Ewen McKenzie made two changes to his starting line-up with Christian Leali’ifano at inside centre and Rob Simmons returning at lock for a team that lost 21-17 to Argentina on 3 October.

Leali’ifano replaces the injured Matt Toomua while Simmons displaces James Horwill from the beaten side in Mendoza.

Cooper has not played for Australia this year after suffering a shoulder injury in May, when he lost his place to Bernard Foley.

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Thelo WakefieldThe Western Province Rugby Union wants to persuade the South African Rugby Union to hand Newlands the Springboks / All Blacks Rugby Championship Test next year.

This comes after SANZAR on Monday issued a release revealing that the Springboks will tackle the All Blacks at a South African venue to be decided on Saturday, 25 July.

It will be part of a curtailed, single-round Rugby Championship for the first time since its inception in 2012, a situation brought about by the priority given to next year’s World Cup in England and Wales from September.

The Boks play both the defending champion All Blacks and Argentina (Saturday, 8 August) at home, with their only overseas obligation being against Australia in Brisbane (Saturday, 18 July).

WP president Thelo Wakefield said that they will send a letter to SARU president Oregan Hoskins to consider handing the All Blacks Test to Newlands.

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Ewen McKenzie & Bill Pulver

Ewen McKenzie & Bill Pulver

The Australian Rugby Union is rejecting reports it is preparing to replace Ewen McKenzie as Wallabies coach.

Australian media say talks have taken place between senior union officials and McKenzie’s most-likely successor, New South Wales Waratahs coach Michael Cheika.

But in a statement late Monday ARU Chief Executive Bill Pulver said: “the ARU has not had any conversations with any other coaches regarding the Wallabies coaching position.

“Ewen [McKenzie] is coaching the team [against the All Blacks] this weekend and next Friday he will board the plane with the team for the November Tests tour [to Britain] and is contracted to Australian Rugby to lead the Wallabies to next year’s Rugby World Cup.”

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Tony Johnson

Tony Johnson

Before we start treating an All Blacks victory in Brisbane as a fait accompli its worth considering a few things.

It is true that the Wallabies are in a state of disarray, and must be vulnerable.

Their legacy of player power has come back to bite them, and it is extraordinary that their captain should be publically defending a repeat offending player ahead of the team unit, and by extension the coach.

Ewen McKenzie has tried to take a firm line in the past, but despite his strong actions on the end of year tour last year has been unable to instil a sense of no nonsense in the team.

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