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South AfricaIrelandSpringboks (13) 19 / 13 (10) Ireland (Final Score)

The South African Springboks and Ireland did battle in the 2016 June Internationals at

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, at 17:00 SA Time (15:00 GMT, 16:00 UK Time).

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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England1South AfricaEngland U20  (31) 39 / 17 (3) Junior Springboks U20 (Final Score)

England Under 20 and South Africa’s Junior Springboks Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 (semifinals) at Manchester, at 20:45 SA Time (18:45 GMT, 19:45 UK 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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IrelandArgentinaIreland U20  (21) 37 / 7 (7) Argentina U20 (Final Score)

Ireland Under 20 and Argentina Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 (semifinals) at Manchester, at 18:30 SA Time (16:30 GMT, 17:30 UK 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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New ZealandWalesNew Zealand U20  (35) 71 / 12 (5) Wales U20 (Final Score)

New Zealand Under 20 and Wales Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship 2016 (5yh Place Play-off) at Manchester, at 16:15 SA Time (14:15 GMT, 15:15 UK 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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IrelandIreland have included three South Africans for their three-Test tour to South Africa in June.

Loose forward Christiaan Stander, lock Quinn Roux and hooker Richardt Strauss are the three inclusions named in Joe Schmidt’s touring group.

Roux, 25, is one of only two uncapped players included in the squad, with New Zealand-borne Ulster flank Sean Reidy also set to earn his first international stint.

Roux represented Western Province and the Stormers at Currie Cup and Super Rugby level, before signing with Leinster in 2012, making 21 appearances for the province.

He then switched to Connacht in 2015 and earned six caps for the side.

Loose forward Stander has will be looking to boost his international experience as he has already earned five Test caps for Ireland, having made his first international appearance during their 2016 Six Nations campaign.

He previously represented the Bulls at Super Rugby level.

Strauss, the cousin of Springbok and Bulls hooker Adriaan, has racked up 16 caps for the Irish since joining them in 2012.

Richardt played with Adriaan,  who is tipped to captain the Boks for the June fixtures, for two years at the Cheetahs before heading abroad to join Pro12 finalists Leinster in 2009.

The veteran second row has featured 114 times for Leinster.

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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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RBS 6 NationsIreland have made 2 changes, with fit-again Jared Payne starting at centre and Simon Zebo deputising for injured full-back Rob Kearney.

Stuart McCloskey, who made his Test debut against England a fortnight ago, drops out of the squad altogether.

Hooker Rory Best will captain the side on his 50th championship appearance.

Flyhalf Edoardo Padovani makes his 1st start as 1 of 4 changes for Italy, along with Guglielmo Palazzani, David Giazzon and George Biagi.

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StretcherMore than 70 doctors and academics are calling for a ban on tackling in rugby matches played in UK and Irish schools.

In an open letter to ministers, they say injuries from this “high-impact collision sport” can have lifelong consequences for children.

They argue 2 3rds of injuries in youth rugby and most concussions are down to tackles and urge schools to move to touch and non-contact rugby.

Supporters say rugby builds character and other forms are less challenging.

The concerns have been raised as a 7-year programme headed by the Rugby Football Union is on target to introduce rugby to a million children in state schools across England.

The RFU’s programme, which began in 2012 and is running until 2019, has so far reached 400 schools, with 350 to follow.

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Elliot Daly could make his England senior debut against Ireland

Elliot Daly could make his England senior debut against Ireland

Wasps centre Elliot Daly is set for his England debut after being named in Eddie Jones’ 23-man squad for Saturday’s match against Ireland.

Daly replaces lock Courtney Lawes in the only change from the squad that beat Italy.

“Elliot Daly has impressed in training and is now ready to be part of the matchday 23,” Jones said.

England won their opening 2 matches and top the table, while Ireland lost to France and drew with Wales.

Daly, 23, has played 4 times for England Saxons and also represented England at Under 18 and Under 20 level.

Ireland could also bring a debutant into midfield, with Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey in contention for a 1st cap if fitness-doubt Jared Payne is ruled out.

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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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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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England Women vs Ireland WomenThe Ireland Women are back in action for the 1st time since regaining the Six Nations title in March, as Tom Tierney’s new-look side take on England at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday (kick-off 15:00 UK Time & GMT, 17:00 SA Time).

The Ireland Women’s team to play England in an historic 1st November international has been named. There are 6 uncapped players included in Tom Tierney’s starting line-up.

New caps Jeamie Deacon of Blackrock and Mairead Coyne from Galwegians have been named on the wings with team captain Niamh Briggs at fullback.

Cill Dara’s Aine Donnelly will win her 1st cap in the centre alongside the experienced Jackie Shiels, with Coyne’s club-mate Sene Naoupu donning the No 10 jersey for the 1st time alongside regular scrumhalf Larissa Muldoon.

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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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Springboks vs All Blacks

Durban, and not Johannesburg, will host back-to-back Rugby World Cup winners, the New Zealand All Blacks next year.

The South African Rugby Union revealed that the 3-times Rugby World Cup champion All Blacks will play the Springboks in Durban on 8 October in The Rugby Championship encounter between the 2 sides on SA soil.

The Springboks and All Blacks have played each other in Johannesburg 5 times in the last 6 years – with 2011 the exception, when they met in Port Elizabeth.

Durban last hosted a Springboks versus All Blacks Test in 2009, with Newlands completely off the map (for the biggest face-off in the game) since 2008.

The exceptionally large All Black following in Cape Town, which have become increasingly vengeful towards the Springboks (even spitting at players), is the main reason why Newlands will not host the All Blacks in the near future.

Bloemfontein (2009) and Pretoria (2006) have also not seen an All Black Test in years.

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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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Jonathan Sexton

Jonathan Sexton

UPDATE: Ireland flyhalf Jonathan Sexton was supposed to start in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against Argentina in Cardiff on Sunday, after recovering from a groin problem, but the groin injury has flared up again and Ian Madigan takes his place in the run-on side, with Paddy Jackson coming onto the bench.

The 30-year-old Sexton, who went off in the 1st half of the 24 / 9 win over France, initially provided a rare bit of good news for the Irish this week when he was included in the side, but the good news did not last.

Iconic captain and lock Paul O’Connell and flank Peter O’Mahony were ruled out of the rest of the tournament with injuries, while Sean O’Brien was handed a 1 week ban for punching French lock Pascal Pape in the stomach.

Iain Henderson, who has had an outstanding tournament, comes into the locks to partner Devin Toner, with Jordi Murphy and Chris Henry filling the flank vacancies left by O’Mahony and O’Brien.

The Irish, who will be captained by No 8 Jamie Heaslip, are bidding to reach the semifinals for the 1st time.

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Jonny Sexton in tears after injury

Jonny Sexton in tears after injury

Ireland are holding out hope that injury-hit flyhalf Jonny Sexton will be fit for Sunday’s quarterfinal against Argentina, according to assistant coach Les Kiss.

Sexton limped off after 25 minutes of Ireland’s hard-fought 24 / 9 victory over France last Sunday, a win that saw them undefeated in Pool D and avoiding a last-8 clash against defending champions New Zealand.

“Jonny has a slight adductor strain. There’s been some improvement. Hopefully we’ll see a little bit more on Wednesday and that’ll give us a clearer picture,” said Kiss.

“Each day will give us some more information.”

Kiss insisted head coach Joe Schmidt would not be rushed into a decision about picking Sexton, for whom Ian Madigan came on against the French, putting down his own marker with an astute play-making display.

“We have to be pragmatic about what works and it will probably come down to the last minute when we make the decision,” Kiss said.

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Here’s a quick summary of the Diciplinary Sanctions imposed on cited players of remaining Quarterfinal Countries – Argentina, Ireland and Scotland – following the weekend’s last Pool Stage games in the Rugby World Cup of 2015.

  • Marcelo Bosch of Argentina is suspended for 1 week, for a dangerous tackle
  • Sean O’Brien of Ireland is suspended for 1 week, for striking a player
  • Ross Ford of Scotland is suspended for 3 weeks, for his participation in a dangerous tip takle against Samoa
  • Jonny Gray of Scotland is suspended for 3 weeks, for his participation in a dangerous tip takle against Samoa

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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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Rugby World Cup 2015Ireland: Paul O’Connell replaced by Mike McCarthy:

Paul O’Connell’s 108-Test career is over after the Ireland captain sustained a severe hamstring injury in the victory over France in Cardiff on Sunday.

The 35-year-old lock will have surgery this week and not play again at Rugby World Cup 2015.

He led Ireland in 28 Tests and was also captain in 3 of his 7 Tests for the British and Irish Lions.

His replacement, Mike McCarthy, will join the squad in Cardiff on Tuesday.

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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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Peter O'Mahony

Peter O’Mahony

Ireland flank Peter O’Mahony will play no further part in the Rugby World Cup after suffering knee ligament damage in his team’s victory over France.

There were continuing doubts over the future participation of captain and lock Paul O’Connell and flyhalf Jonny Sexton, who both went off injured in a ferocious 1st half of Sunday’s match won 24 / 9 by the Irish at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

“Peter O’Mahony suffered a knee ligament injury and is returning to Dublin. He will play no further part in the World Cup,” said Ireland team manager Michael Kearney.

“Paul O’Connell suffered a significant hamstring injury and was hospitalised overnight.”

Sexton, who limped off in the 25th minute, sustained a “groin injury” and was awaiting scans later Monday, Kearney said.

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Rugby World Cup 2015A popular topic of debate heading into the Rugby World Cup is that of eligibility, particularly that resulting from the residency method. We take a look at the foreign-born players in each squad, where they were born and how they are eligible.

An interesting fact – only Argentina can claim that all 31 players in their squad are native to their country. The other 19 teams all have players born abroad, including significant numbers in some of rugby’s most powerful nations.

All told, Rugby World Cup 2015 will have a grand total of 33 countries involved in the tournament. Players born in various African countries –  Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Zimbabwe join the participating Namibia and South Africa. Zimbabwe has players representing 4 countries, more than any other non-competitor.

Spain is another country not present at the Rugby World Cup who have players representing multiple countries while other countries include Belgium, Israel, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, and the Netherlands are also all represented.

Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa lead the way in terms of players representing others at the Rugby World Cup.

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World RugbySouth Africa moved up to 3rd place in the World Rankings without even kicking a ball.

It means the Springboks have climbed 2 places in the World Rankings since their last match – a win over Argentina in Buenos Aires, last month.

Their rise, despite the team’s inactivity, is the result of Ireland’s dramatic slump – the men from the Emerald Isle having lost to Wales (10 / 16) and England (13 / 21) in the past fortnight.

As a result, Rugby Championship heavyweights New Zealand, Australia and South Africa will go into the Rugby World Cup as the Top 3 nations in the rankings.

Ireland’s rating fell by 0.79 points and resulted in a 3-place drop to 6 for the Six Nations Champions, placing them below the Springboks.

England gained the same amount of points to leapfrog their Pool A opponents Wales into 4th.

Long-time leaders New Zealand remain untouchable – for a fortnight at least – on 92.89 points, with Australia 6.22 points behind in 2nd and South Africa a further 1.52 points back in 3rd.

Australia were unable to make up any ground on their arch rivals, despite being the only one of the 3 in action over the weekend.

Their 47 / 10 win over the USA Eagles in Chicago did not come with any ratings points, given the double-figure difference in rankings positions and rating points between the nations.

Serious injuries to star fullback Leigh Halfpenny and scrumhalf Rhys Webb, made it a day to forget for Wales, who scraped home 23 / 19 against Italy at the Millennium Stadium.

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