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WhistleThe International Rugby Board has announced the match official appointments for upcoming November internationals.

Appointments were made by the IRB Match Official Selection Committee at its recent meeting in Dublin and follow a detailed review of recent performances during the June international window, The Rugby Championship and other matches.

South Africa’s Craig Joubert will kick off a busy month of Tests as teams and officials begin the countdown to Rugby World Cup 2015, when he takes charge of the New Zealand v USA fixture at Soldier Field in Chicago on November 1.

Steve Walsh will be the man in the middle for England’s match with the Springboks and Nigel Owens will officiate at Stade de France when Les Bleus take on Australia, as well as refereeing New Zealand’s visit to Twickenham. Wayne Barnes has been appointed to Wales v New Zealand in Cardiff, while Ireland v Australia in Dublin will be refereed by Glen Jackson. Jérôme Garces will be in charge when the Wallabies take on England and will be in Padova on November 22 to referee Italy v South Africa.

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Neil Doak

Neil Doak – New Ulster head coach

UlsterNeil Doak has been appointed Ulster head coach, while Les Kiss will become the province’s director of rugby after next year’s World Cup.

The elevation of attack coach Doak, 42, to the head coaching role is not a surprise.

Ireland assistant coach Kiss, 49, has been Ulster’s interim director of rugby at Kingspan Stadium in recent months following Mark Anscombe’s departure.

Kiss will leave the Ulster interim role next week but will return next October.

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Rugby World Cup 2015There’s a year to go until the World Cup – just enough time for it to be turned into an eligibility farce.

The potential for the game’s biggest event to be laughed out of town is growing. The prospect of teams turning up with legions of players who don’t really have a strong link to the jersey they wear is real.

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The great Peter Cranmer makes a break against Wales in 1935

The great Peter Cranmer makes a break against Wales in 1935

International coaches – and selection panels before them – traditionally prize solidity at centre, and nowhere more than in England.

Which is not to say that they’ve not had great creative centres; Jeff Butterfield, Jerry Guscott and Will Greenwood had talents that would have been welcomed in any team in the world.

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IRBThere has been no change in the Top 12 of the IRB world rankings following the opening round of The Rugby Championship.

Despite seeing their 17-Test win streak end in Sydney thanks to a 12-12 draw with the Wallabies, New Zealand continue to lead the way on 93.42 points.

The Wallabies, courageous in their efforts – and perhaps a little unlucky – remain in third position on 87.32.

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Women's Rugby World Cup 2014There will be a new name on the Women’s Rugby World Cup as New Zealand are the high profile absentee in the final four of the competition.

In the last round of the pool stages in Marcoussis, England’s draw with Canada saw both into the semi-finals where they will be joined by Australia and Ireland.

New Zealand, who have triumphed in the past four World Cups, won their last game of the pools but they went into their game against the USA already knowing they were out of the competition.

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Women's Rugby World Cup 2014Defending champions New Zealand got their World Cup defence off to a strong start on day one of the tournament while wins for hosts France, Canada, Australia, England and Ireland mean the competition is set for more classic match-ups before the 17 August final.

The seventh Women’s Rugby World Cup saw sell-out crowds watch six top-quality matches at FFR headquarters in the French capital.

Ireland beat their Pool B rivals USA in a match that could be crucial for the progress of the girls in green, while Australia and England impressed in their pool openers.

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Simon Easterby

Going green: Simon Easterby has left Scarlets to become Ireland’s new forwards coach

Simon Easterby has been confirmed as Ireland’s new forwards coach.

The former Ireland captain will replace John Plumtree in head coach Joe Schmidt’s back-room set-up, with the New Zealander returning home for family reasons.

Easterby will assume his new role in October, in time for Ireland’s autumn international Guinness Series of Tests against South Africa, Georgia and Australia.

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markanscombe

Mark Anscombe

UlsterThe niceties dictate that the phrase ‘parted company’ is employed but effectively Ulster have sacked Mark Anscombe. The New Zealander did not know what was in the offing over the weekend and only learned of his fate yesterday.

Ireland’s defence coach Les Kiss will combine those duties with the responsibility of those as interim head coach for the province. There is no time limit placed on his dual remit.

Ulster rugby released a statement yesterday afternoon. It read: “Following the departure of director of rugby, David Humphreys, Ulster Rugby has today announced that head coach, Mark Anscombe, is to leave the province with immediate effect.”

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TVWe’ve already seen the matches of Round 2 of the 2014 Junior World Championships on TV on Friday 6 June, but Saturdat 7 June sees the proper start of the June Internationals, with 4 of those international Tests broadcast live on TV in South Africa.

These Fixtures will of course also be handled as Live Game Articles right here on your favourite rugby website, Rugby-Talk.

The action is kicked off at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 08:40 BST, 07:35 GMT) between the All Blacks vs England, followed by the Wallabies vs France at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 09:40 France Time & GMT).

The Springboks vs the World XV side follows at 17:00 SA Time (15:00 GMT).

At 20:40 SA Time (15:40 ARG Time, 19:40 BST, 18:40 GMT) we see Argentina vs Ireland.

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John Plumtree & Chris Boyd

John Plumtree & Chris Boyd

Chris Boyd and John Plumtree will reunite as Super Rugby coaches in 2015 – this time on home soil.

The pair, who coached the Durban-based Sharks together in 2009 and 2010, have today been announced as the new coaching duo to lead the Hurricanes into next year’s campaign.

Current Wellington Lions coach, Boyd, will take up the head coach role, with Plumtree as his assistant.

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EnglandIrelandScotlandWalesThe reluctance of the Home Unions to come to the party is what is preventing a more acceptable global season to be implemented.

It has long been suggested that the selfish nature of Home Union officials – those from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland – has been at the heart of the troubled and scattered international and domestic calendars.

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UlsterIan HumphreysIan Humphreys is back at Ulster after the fly-half left London Irish to sign a two-year deal with his home province.

The 32-year-old former Leicester Tigers player moved from Ulster to the Exiles in 2012.

“I have loved my time at London Irish but when the unexpected opportunity to come home arose, it was a very easy decision to make,” said Humphreys. ” It’s exciting to be part of a squad that’s challenging in Europe and is at the top of the Pro12 every year.”

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LeinsterLeinster have confirmed that 21 players have signed new IRFU contracts to continue playing with the province for the next season and beyond, plus the signing of prop Sean McCarthy from Jersey.

Coach Matt O’Connor made the announcement ahead of training as season ticket number sales have also now passed the 10,000 mark for next season.

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AustraliaAustralia’s 2015 World Cup preparations will be well tested on their end-of-season European tour in November with coach Ewen McKenzie trying to replicate their potential campaign for the Webb Ellis trophy as much as possible.

McKenzie’s side will play five matches on five successive weekends, which includes clashes against World Cup Pool A opponents England and Wales.

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Rugby World Cup 2015South AfricaSouth African rugby fans need not worry about securing match tickets for Springbok matches at Rugby World Cup 2015 in England following the establishment of SA Rugby Travel, it was announced on Tuesday.

The new company – a joint venture between the South African Rugby Union and Tourvest Destination Management – has secured thousands of tickets for likely Springbok matches and tailored packages to suit a wide range of fans’ pockets and experience choices.

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ERCA new European Cup accord will be signed this week after nearly two years of fraught negotiations and stand-offs. The six unions involved in the tournament, together with officials from competing sides in England, France and Wales, met in Paris on Monday to finalise the details.

It was hoped the stakeholders would be able to sign the heads of agreement at the meeting but the translation of the document into Italian was completed only over the weekend and their rugby federation said it had not had time to fully scrutinise it.

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SIX-NationsWales, France, Ireland, England, Scotland and Italy have named thie teams for the weekend’s Six Nations action.

Wales named 6 changes in their side for the clash against Scotland.

France made 4 changes to their side, including bringing back Gael Fickou, for their clash against Ireland on the weekend.

Ireland made just 1 change to their side to face France.

England made no changes to their starting side and has made only 1 change on the bench, bringing back Manusamoa Tuilagi in the place of Alex Goode, for their clash with Italy in Rome.

After initially only naming the forwards and sweating over the composition of his backline, Scotland coach, Scott Johnson, has named his backline, with Edinburgh winger Dougie Fife winning his first cap.

Italy coach, Jacques Brunel, has made 3 changes to the Italy side, to face England, with Sergio Parisse returning to the fold and leading the team.

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ItalyItaly will be without injured captain Sergio Parisse but will start with a new half-back pairing of Luciano Orquera and Tito Tebaldi for Saturday’s Six Nations clash against Ireland in Dublin.

Parisse, who along with Martin Castrogiovanni picked up a record 104th cap for Italy against Scotland in Rome, is suffering from a calf injury and is just one of several third row players missing from Jacques Brunel’s squad.

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SIX-NationsThe fourth round of the 2014 RBS 6 Nation Championship takes place this weekend with the first match kicking off in Dublin on Saturday where Ireland host Italy. Scotland are hosts to France shortly after this, while the final game of the weekend takes place on Sunday with England hosting Wales at Twickenham.

There  has been a bit of a gap in Six Nations action with no games played last weekend and so the thinking has been that this may be a good time to share an article to remind us of the action from the previous round.

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