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Internationals

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Springboks

With the International Test window just around the corner (11 July), the Rugby news in South Africa is being dominated by Springbok preparations for what lies ahead in 2015… The World XV game, the abbreviated Rugby Championship and 1 further match against Los Pumas and of course the Rugby World Cup from 18 September to 31 October 2015.

Of course, it could also be argued that we do not have anything else to talk about, because South African sides have all been done and dusted with Super Rugby for a couple of weeks already, whilst 2 New Zealand sides are still contesting it… on their ownsome lonesome!

Maybe it is a blessing in disguise though, for overall Springbok preparations, as they now have much more time to get their ducks in a row for the international scene, and to re-introduce the injured and rehabilitating players…

BUT, and it’s a big BUT… the injury list seems almost as long as the list of fighting fit candidates and that is a big concern.

In this article, we focus on what Heyneke Meyer says and feels about his chosen Springbok squad, and we have a good look at the fitness and injury update from the Springbok camp.

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Henry Speight

Henry Speight

A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Nigel Hampton QC (New Zealand) and comprising Lex Mpati (South Africa) and Terry Willis (Australia) unanimously dismissed an appeal brought by the Brumbies against the decision that found Henry Speight had contravened Law 10.4 (j) – Lifting Tackle.

The Committee dismissed the appeal on the basis that the appellant was unable to show that the Judicial Officer’s central factual findings, that the tackle involved both a lifting and driving, were in error.

The Committee also unanimously dismissed the appeal brought against the 5-week (4-match) suspension imposed on Speight, finding that the Judicial Officer had not erred in principle and that the sanction imposed was not manifestly excessive.

As such, the player remains suspended from all forms of the game for 5 weeks up to and including Saturday 25 July 2015.

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Charlie Ngatai

Charlie Ngatai

Chiefs centre Charlie Ngatai will captain an exciting mix of experienced hands and promising young talent when the Maori All Blacks play Fiji and the New Zealand Barbarians.

Coach Colin Cooper has retained 13 players who took part in last year’s tour to Japan, drafted in 3 members of the World Champion New Zealand Under 20 team and boasts 10 new caps ahead of their matches in July.

“This is a well-balanced side with some very experienced campaigners who have now played on several tours and know our systems well. I’ll be expecting them to lead by example and show the new boys the high standards we expect.

“We have a proud record of success to uphold and I am sure this side will work hard to honour the great legacy of the Maori All Blacks,” Cooper said.

Akira Ioane, who had a stellar Super Rugby season for the Blues and went on to help the Under 20 side win the World Title in Italy, is joined by fellow Under 20 stars flyhalf Otere Black and utility back Sean Wainui while Sevens star Rieko Ioane has also been added to the squad.

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Frans Ludeke

Frans Ludeke

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.

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Ofisa Treviranus

Ofisa Treviranus

Ofisa Treviranus will lead Samoa’s World Cup campaign in September and will get a taste of captaincy when they go up against world champions New Zealand in a 1-off Test on 8 July.

The 31-year-old flank, who plies his trade with London Irish in the Premiership, said he had just been focusing on making the starting lineup for the fixture – the 1st ever visit to Apia by the All Blacks.

“It’s always an honour to represent Samoa, but it is something very special when you are asked to captain your team,” Treviranus said in a statement on Monday.

Treviranus, a powerful ball carrier known for his big defensive tackles, previously captained a Samoa side to victory in the Sevens World Series in 2010.

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Rugby World Cup 2023The French Rugby Federation (FFR) confirmed their interest and their name in the hat to bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

In a statement issued at the end of their annual congress in the eastern city of Belfort, the FFR said that an official bid should be delivered in 2017.

A final decision on the host nation will be made in May of 2017 by World Rugby. Ireland, Italy, South Africa and the United States have also expressed interest in hosting the 2023 tournament.

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SpringboksThe selection of 8 uncapped players and the return of a further 6 are the features of the Springbok squad named on Saturday for the 5 matches leading up to the Rugby World Cup later this season.

In addition to the 36 squad members, the national selectors have identified 13 players who are currently injured or will be in rehabilitation, but will form part of an extended squad for the matches against the World XV, Castle Lager Rugby Championship and the Test against Argentina in Buenos Aires.

The uncapped players in the squad are Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Rudy Paige, Faf de Klerk, Jesse Kriel, Franco Mostert and Lionel Mapoe.

Back in the Springbok fold after not featuring in any Springbok Tests last year, are Elton Jantjies, Frans Steyn, Jaque Fourie, Heinrich Brüssow, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Heinke van der Merwe.

The currently injured players included in the squad are Springbok captain Jean de Villiers, Lionel Mapoe, Heinrich Brüssow, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Frans Steyn, Coenie Oosthuizen, Lood de Jager, Duane Vermeulen, Cobus Reinach, Pat Lambie, Jaque Fourie, Jan Serfontein and Fourie du Preez. The latter suffered a knee injury while training with his Japanese club earlier this week.

“It’s a long list of injured players but all of them are in the selection frame and we’d like to work with them to assist with their rehabilitation,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

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Daniel Hourcade

Daniel Hourcade

Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade gave the 1st indication of what his Rugby World Cup line-up will look like, when he named his squad for The Rugby Championship.

He wasted no time in drafting in his overseas-based players who were not part of the just-completed 2-match series against the French Barbarians.

Horacio Agulla (Bath), Marcos Ayerza (Leicester Tigers), Marcelo Bosch (Saracens) and Gonzalo Camacho (Leicester Tigers) joined the squad.

The numbers will be reduced from the current 36 to 28 when they head to Sydney on Saturday 11 July, where they will prepare for their opening Rugby Championship encounter – with the New Zealand All Blacks in Christchurch on 17 July.

Hourcade said it has been a long process to select the squad.

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USAChris Wyles will captain the United States national team as the USA Eagles prepare for the Rugby World Cup – at a 4-match Pacific Nations Cup campaign.

Wyles, who won the Premiership with Saracens and helped the Eagles Sevens team qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in a 2-week span, will assume the captaincy role beginning with the team’s assembly in northern California.

The Eagles will play Samoa in San Jose on 18 July, before taking on Japan in Sacramento on 24 July.

Both opponents are in Pool B with the US at the Rugby World Cup.

“Chris has been one of the most respected and successful Eagles of all time and has been a selfless and proud Eagle for nearly a decade,” coach Mike Tolkin said.

“His success as a professional player with Saracens, matched with the respect that he has garnered with his teammates throughout his career, makes him a natural choice as captain.”

Wyles will succeed Todd Clever, the team’s longest-serving captain in history, after embracing the role post-World Cup 2007.

After seeing out his contract with Shining Arcs in Japan’s Top League earlier this year, Clever returned to his home state of California to play with Old Mission Beach Athletic Club.

Blaine Scully will serve as Vice-captain of the USA Eagles.

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Pat Lambie

Pat Lambie

The Springboks will welcome the news that flyhalf Pat Lambie has been declared fit for action.

The Cell C Sharks pivot visited a specialist on Thursday to determine the extent of the neck injury which sidelined him for the past 3 months.

The Sharks on Thursday announced that the 24-year-old was fit to play.

He is expected to be included in Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok squad on Saturday.

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Danie Vermeulen

Danie Vermeulen

Namibia head coach Danie Vermeulen has stepped down from his position less than three months before the team kicks off their World Cup campaign in England, the Namibian Rugby Union confirmed on Friday.

Vermeulen, who has been in charge of the team since 2012, tendered his resignation on Wednesday afternoon and it was accepted by the NRU board at a meeting in Windhoek, Wednesday evening.

His place will now be taken by Phil Davies who was previously the team’s technical advisor.

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Flip van der Merwe

Flip van der Merwe

JJ Engelbrecht

JJ Engelbrecht

Gurthrö Steenkamp

Gurthrö Steenkamp

Bakkies Botha

Bakkies Botha

Bakkies Botha will be joined by 3 South African Test players and 1 Ex-Sharks player who has formed part of the Springbok squad in the confirmed World XV squad for their match on Saturday 11 July at DHL Newlands in Cape Town against the Springboks.

The World XV squad boasts a combined total of 460 Test caps and represents 6 nations.

Rugby World Cup winning forwards Bakkies Botha (Toulon) and Gurthrö Steenkamp (Toulouse) will be joined by the Vodacom Blue Bulls’ JJ Engelbrecht and Flip Van der Merwe, as well as former Cell C Sharks hooker Craig Burden (Toulon), a Springbok tourist in 2012, in the 23-man squad which will be coached by former Wallaby and Crusaders mentor Robbie Deans.

The match will be the Springboks’ 1st of the 2015 season before a shortened Castle Later Rugby Championship. It will be a stern test for Heyneke Meyer’s team as they start their preparations for the Rugby World Cup later this year in England.

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Steve Mafi

Steve Mafi

Western Force lock / flank Steve Mafi took another step towards representing Tonga in this year’s World Cup after being selected in the Tongan Pacific Nations Cup squad.

The squad will have a strong Western Force presence with former Force hooker Elvis Taoine and former team staff Scott Anderson (Performance Analyst) and Rob Naish (Physiotherapist) also a part of the squad.

The tournament will be hosted in 3 countries – Fiji, United States of America and Canada with the opening match on 18 July with Tonga facing Fiji.

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Nelson Mandela & Francois Pienaar in 1995 with the World Cup trophy.

Nelson Mandela & Francois Pienaar in 1995 with the World Cup trophy.

 

South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins on Wednesday congratulated and thanked the Springbok squad involved in the 1995 Rugby World Cup as they celebrated the 20th anniversary of their epic World Cup final win in Johannesburg.

The Springboks won their 1st Rugby World Cup on 24 June 1995, beating New Zealand, 15 / 12, in a memorable final played at Ellis Park. The result unleashed a tide of goodwill and nation-building across South Africa, which a year earlier had celebrated democracy after decades of racial segregation.

“We proudly celebrate this day as a rugby family, because this team helped Nelson Mandela unite a country,” said Mr Hoskins. “It was a moment that astonished a nation and provided one of the foundation stones for the country we were to become. It was arguably the greatest day in our rugby history.

“Mr Mandela together with that Springbok team pointed the way to a new future for our people and 20 years later that day still has a massive resonance.

“We continue to salute the 1995’ers for what they achieved as a rugby team and what they meant to a nation.”

Mr Hoskins said it was also a day to remember and honour the legacy of the fallen heroes from that day, President Mandela, the Springbok coach Kitch Christie and flanker Ruben Kruger.

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Francois Louw

Francois Louw

Francois Louw is determined to keep hold of his Springbok jersey despite being based overseas in Bath.

Louw is 1 of the overseas-based players expected to make the Springbok squad to be announced later this week. However other contenders for the openside role are the likes of Heinrich Brussow, Marcell Coetzee, Siya Kolisi and Jaco Kriel who have all been in the Super Rugby spotlight this year.

Louw is the incumbent Springbok flank and has been Heyneke Meyer’s 1st choice for some time though he acknowledges the challenge of cracking the Springbok squad from the northern hemisphere.

“When I 1st signed for Bath, I knew it would be more challenging making the Springbok squad. But it was a move I needed to make at that stage of my career as I needed a fresh challenge, on and off the field,” Louw said.

“So when Heyneke Meyer gave me my opportunity in 2012, I was delighted and made the most of it. I’m glad that I’ve been able to play an extended role for South Africa over the years, and I want to continue giving my best to the team.”

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Andries Bekker

Andries Bekker

Jaque Fourie

Jaque Fourie

New Kobe Steelers’ coach Allister Coetzee has said that Springbok centre Jaque Fourie is available and keen to play for South Africa at the World Cup.

Fourie had previously announced his retirement from international rugby in November 2014 which came as a surprise to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

Coetzee however, in his final Stormers press conference, said that Kobe Steelers’ centre Fourie is keen to play at the World Cup but Springbok lock Andries Bekker is not available.

According to Coetzee the Japanese club have made it clear to SARU that Bekker will not be an option for the Boks.

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Pat Lambie

Pat Lambie

Springbok flyhalf Pat Lambie will see a specialist in Durban on Thursday to determine his availability.

A neck injury saw the Sharks pivot miss the latter half of the Super Rugby competition and there is uncertainty regarding his availability for the Springboks’ 1st game against a World XV at DHL Newlands on 11 July.

“I’m going to see the doctor for a final examination,” Lambie said. “I hope to be fit and available for the World XV match as well as The Rugby Championship.”

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R.I.P Norman Berryman

R.I.P. Norman Berryman

New Zealand Rugby said on Tuesday that cult hero “Stormin” Norman Berryman has died at the age of 42.

Reports said Berryman suffered a heart attack at his home near Perth, Australia, where he settled after his rugby career.

Berryman, a powerful winger, was a fan favourite during a long career in Super Rugby but played just 1 Test for the All Blacks, a 23 / 24 loss to South Africa in 1998.

He was widely considered to be unlucky to miss out on more Test caps but was competing for spots against the likes of Jonah Lomu and Inga Tuigamala.

Berryman also did himself no favours with his outspoken criticism of then All Blacks coach John Hart, who he said “has got a vibe about him that projects negativity”.

He famously walked out of an All Blacks training camp in Auckland and hitch-hiked home to Whangarei after a disagreement with Hart.

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All BlacksThe All Blacks selectors gave their 1st hint of World Cup thinking, naming 5 new faces in an enlarged 41-man squad.

Coach Steve Hansen has named 33 new All Blacks since they won the last World Cup in 2011 with the latest additions being Crusaders hooker Codie Taylor, Hurricanes lock James Broadhurst and fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder, Highlanders flyhalf Lima Sopoaga and wing Waisake Naholo.

Naholo is the leading try-scorer in Super Rugby this year, touching down twice in the Highlanders 24 / 14 play-off victory over the Chiefs on Saturday to take his total for the year to 11.

Milner-Skudder is a cousin of Buff Milner and a nephew of George Skudder, both former All Blacks.

There is also a recall for 3-Test hooker Hika Elliot who has not been required for international duty since June 2012.

A final group of 31 to defend their world crown will be named at the end of August following The Rugby Championship Tests against South Africa, Australia and Argentina as well as a 1-off Test with Samoa and an extra clash with Australia.

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EnglandAustraliaThe Wallabies will play England in a blockbuster 3-Test series in Australia in June 2016, the Australian Rugby Union announced on Friday.

It will be 1st time in the century-old rivalry between Australia and England that the 2 nations will meet in a 3-Test series. The teams last met on 3 occasions in the same year in 2010, although just 2 matches were played on Aussie soil as part of England’s inbound tour.

Michael Cheika’s men will play their old rivals for the Cook Cup in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Australian Rugby Union CEO, Bill Pulver said: “With a rivalry that dates back to 1909, it is remarkable that Australia and England have never before played a 3-match series and the history of this occasion is sure to add to the anticipation for the tour.

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Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has no plans to retire after this year’s Rugby World Cup.

De Villiers suffered a horrific knee injury in the Springboks’ final Test against Wales in Cardiff late last year and underwent intensive rehabilitation to recover in time for this year’s World Cup.

He appears to have made a remarkable recovery and on Wednesday confirmed that he would be able to return to the playing field in a month’s time.

The Bok skipper also said he had no intentions of calling it quits after the World Cup.

“I didn’t go through 10 months of rehabilitation just to play 10 more games,” De Villiers was quoted as saying.

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New ZealandEnglandNew Zealand (11) 21 / 16 (10) England (Final Score)

New Zealand Under 20 and England Under 20 did battle in the Final of the World Rugby

Under 20 Chamionship at Stadio Giovanni Zine, Cremora at 20:30 SA Time

(20:30 Italy Time, 18:30 GMT). This was the live match discussion Article.

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

Scorers:

New Zealand:

  • Penalties – Otere Black (3)
  • Drop Goals – 0
  • Tries – Vince Tavae-Aso (1), Akira Ioane (1)
  • Conversions – Otere Black (1)

England:

  • Penalties – Rory Jennings (3)
  • Drop Goals – 0
  • Tries – Matt Clark (1)
  • Conversions – Rory Jennings (1)

 


 

South AfricaFranceJnr Springboks (28) 31 / 18 (8) France (Final Score)

The South African Junior Springboks and France Under 20 did battle in the 3rd Place play-off match

of the World Rugby Under 20 Championship at Stadio Giovanni Zini, Cremora at 18:35 SA Time

(18:35 Italy Time, 16:35 GMT). This was the live match discussion Article.

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

Scorers:

Jnr Springboks:

  • Penalties – Brandon Thompson (1)
  • Drop Goals – 0
  • Tries – Thomas du Toit (1), Jason Jenkins (1), Dan du Preez (2)
  • Conversions – Brandon Thompson (4)

France:

  • Penalties – Lucas Meret (1)
  • Drop Goals – 0
  • Tries – Arthur Bonneval (1), Julien Delannoy (1), Lucas Blanc (1)
  • Conversions – 0

Springboks

The departure shortly from the Stormers of superstar No 8 Duane Vermeulen on a three-year deal to Toulon arguably confirms for the first time a grim reality: an overseas-based group of players would now make up the bulk of a full-strength Springbok team.

Vermeulen is the cherry on top, in many ways, of a fresh wave of once staunchly SA-based players quitting the domestic landscape either following this season’s Super Rugby competition – only the Stormers retain an interest in it – or later in the year after the Currie Cup and RWC 2015 have run their courses.

He is one of the most precious elements of the current Bok mix, and if you consider him foreign-based henceforth – along with several other seasoned internationals on their bikes imminently – then it is quite feasible to argue that the cream of coach Heyneke Meyer’s intended first-choice Test XV will suddenly be drawn from foreign climes.

Before, it was just a sprinkling, with men like France-based Bryan Habana, English-stationed Francois Louw and JP Pietersen from Japan bolstering a Bok side still made up very strongly of “home” elements.

But that trend is set for a pretty violent change.

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South AfricaEnglandJnr Springboks (6) 20 / 28 (18) England (Final Score)

The South African Junior Springboks and England Under 20 did battle in a semi-final in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship at Stadio San Michele, Calvisano at 20:30 SA Time (20:30 Italy Time, 19:30 BST, 18:30 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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

Other matches – Fixtures & Results:

Australia 31 / 21 Scotland (Final Score)
New Zealand 45 / 7 France (Final Score)

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USAThe United States of America Sevens side will defend their Olympic rugby crown next year after defeating Canada 21 / 5 on Sunday to seal their tickets to Rio de Janeiro, where the sport is returning after a 92-year absence.

The 2 countries were playing in the final of the 2-day North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) qualifying tournament in Cary, North Carolina and it was the Eagles who showed their class in a game they were never troubled in.

First-half tries from former American football player Perry Baker, Danny Barrett and Maka Unufe were enough for the USA, who recently won the prestigious London leg of the international sevens circuit.

The USA, who won the gold medal at the 1924 Olympics in Paris when 15-a-side rugby was included in the games, effectively wrapped up victory in the opening minutes at WakeMed Park in sweltering conditions.

The Eagles struggled in the set pieces to start the match, including a 2nd-minute lineout following a penalty to Canada in the USA’s half. Canada, too, fell prey to unforced errors with a forward pass on the stolen possession.

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SpringboksJunior Springbok coach Dawie Theron made 2 changes to his match-23 for the World Rugby Under 20 Championship semi-final against defending champions England on Monday evening in Calvisano, Italy.

DHL Western Province flank Rikus Bothma takes over the No 6 jersey from his provincial team mate Jacques Vermeulen, while Malcolm Jaer (EP Kings) replaces Grant Hermanus (DHL WP) on the bench.

The rest of the match squad who defeated Australia in Calvisano last Wednesday, were kept unchanged.

Theron said the changes are part of the team’s rotational policy.

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Michael Cheika - Wallabies coach

Michael Cheika – Wallabies coach

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said that overseas-based players will not be part of his Rugby Championship training squad.

Cheika has named a group of 22 players not involved in next week’s Super Rugby finals, but will give foreign-based hopefuls some extra time off.

The Wallabies coach said he spoke to Europe-based stars Matt Giteau, George Smith and Drew Mitchell and they all indicated they were available for The Rugby Championship, starting on 18 July against South Africa in Brisbane.

“They’ll be considered for selection for the 1st game,” Cheika told reporters.

“They’ve just finished seasons over there – they don’t need to come back now.

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EnglandEngland players have been dangled a large financial carrot ahead of the Rugby World Cup later this year.

The home side’s players have been offered a performance bonus of just over £ 100 000.00 (R 1.9m) each if they win the title, according to the Daily Mail website.

The financial incentive is believed to be more than 6 times greater than the £ 16 000.00 (R 300 000.00) reward that was on offer for winning this year’s Six Nations tournament – which they missed out on in dramatic fashion as Ireland triumphed.

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Wallabies 2015 Rugby World Cup jerseyIn the wake of the massive uproar over the Springbok World Cup jersey, Australia’s fans have taken to social media to voice their opinions on the design of their newly launched jersey.

Words such as “awful” and “disgraceful” have been used to describe the re-design which boasts a stars-and-stripes feature on the right sleeve. The colour scheme remains gold – or rich yellow – and green and the stars are the southern cross.

The Wallabies logo, like the Springbok emblem, has been moved to the left sleeve to make way for the World Cup logo to satisfy commercial requirements.

Australia and South Africa’s jerseys have a similar look as they share a common apparel sponsor, Asics.

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Michael Hooper

Michael Hooper

Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper has signed a new contract with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and the Waratahs which will keep him at home until the end of the 2018 season.

The hard-running 23-year-old, who captained the Wallabies last season and has played 42 tests for his country, is a certainty to be in the Australia squad for this year’s World Cup.

“The opportunity to play for my country is something I am very passionate about, and is a huge reason why I wanted to commit beyond my current term,” he said in a news release.

“I am just stoked to be in this position. To be able to stay here in Australia allows me represent my country, state, club, and all of the people who have supported me since I began playing rugby.

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Michael Hooper

Michael Hooper

Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore

With the International season looming upon us, Australia head coach Michael Cheika has seemingly already decided on his Wallaby captain.

There is more than enough leadership ability in the players that are under consideration for the Australian squad. Michael Hooper, Stephen Moore, David Pocock, Will Genia, James Horwill and even veteran George Smith have all lead the team on previous occasions.

Cheika made it clear at the launch of the new Australian World Cup jersey that the 2 contenders for the captain role are Hooper and Moore.

“We will pick a captain who will go the distance… no point chopping and changing,” Cheika said.

Cheika said he would name the captain before the Wallabies take on South Africa in the opening match of The Rugby Championship in Brisbane on 18 July.

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South AfricaAustraliaJnr Springboks (20) 46 / 13 (3) Australia U 20 (Final Score)

The South African Junior Springboks and Australia Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under 20

Championship at Stadio San Michele, Calvisano at 20:30 SA Time (20:30 Italy Time, 18:30 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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Fourie du Preez

Fourie du Preez

Springbok talisman Fourie du Preez will have at least 1 competitive game before he joins the Springbok side again – for his Japanese club Suntory Goliath.

Du Preez said he will head back to Japan in the next 2 weeks to rejoin the pre-season training camp for the club and has requested that he play at least 1 competitive game before heading to the Springbok camp next month.

The veteran scrumhalf, who is still rated as 1 of the best in the world, has not played for the past 3 months since the Japanese season ended and his club were ousted in the Cup competition.

He has had discussions with the Springbok management on the issue and they are happy for him to follow the route, the same one he has over the last 2 seasons before donning the green and gold again.

On both occasions Du Preez returned sharp and in form, and made a significant difference to the Bok set-up with his experience and vision on the field.

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Frans Ludeke

Frans Ludeke

Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Could Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer possibly return to the Vodacom Bulls after this year’s Rugby World Cup?

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has not yet offered Meyer an extension of his contract beyond the current Rugby World Cup.

While talks are ongoing at SARU about Meyer’s future, it is understood the Vodacom Bulls would be happy to return him and his management team to Loftus Versfeld if he doesn’t continue as Springbok coach.

The future of current Bulls coach, Frans Ludeke, appears uncertain after the men from Pretoria again failed to reach the Super Rugby playoffs.

Ludeke has a contract with the Bulls until October 2016, but there are rumours he could be relieved of his coaching duties, while there is also talk of Ludeke being promoted to Director of Rugby.

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Bakkies Botha

Bakkies Botha

Springbok lock Bakkies Botha, who announced his retirement from international rugby late last year, will head up a strong group of Test icons for the match between South Africa and a World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday 11 July 2015.

Botha is 1 of 9 Toulon players who will line up against the Springboks. The giants from the south of France recently won their 3rd consecutive European club title.

Toulon coach Bernard Laporte, who was previously in charge of the French national team, will assist former Wallaby and Crusaders coach Robbie Deans with the World XV.

Botha’s Toulon team-mates who have been confirmed for the World XV are Delon Armitage (fullback), David Smith (wing), Rudi Wulf (centre), Maxime Mermoz (centre), Steffon Armitage (loose forward), Ali Williams (lock), Craig Burden (hooker) and Alexandre Menini (prop).

Added to this list are Springbok and Vodacom Bulls centre JJ Engelbrecht, Wallaby scrumhalf Luke Burgess and France scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud. The World XV will be captained by Louis-Benoit Madaule, who plays on the flank for French club Bordeaux Begles.

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