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Fourie du Preez scores the winning try against Wales in the Rugby World Cup 2015 Quarterfinal

Fourie du Preez scores the winning try against Wales in the Rugby World Cup 2015 Quarterfinal

The Springbok mantra has been summed up by captain Fourie du Preez in one strong sentence – We didn’t come to the World Cup to lose in a semifinal.

Du Preez was speaking ahead of the Rugby World Cup showdown with the All Blacks at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday for a place in next week’s final, and showed the focus of the Springbok talisman as they head into what he calls “the biggest game of my career.”

Coming from a Rugby World Cup winner that is quite a statement but it also shows the challenge facing the Springboks against a rampant World Champion All Black side and what they will need to do when they get on the field.

The Springboks have looked more relaxed this week – perhaps because they know what to expect or know the All Blacks so well , but Du Preez contends it is still the same as in the previous 5 weeks before.

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Lood de Jager

South African Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer named an unchanged starting 15 to face New Zealand’s All Blacks in the 1st Rugby World Cup 2015 semifinal, on Saturday at Twickenham Stadium in London, England.

The only change to the matchday squad is at replacement lock – where Victor Matfield has overcome his hamstring injury and takes over from Pieter-Steph du Toit, bringing even more experience to the bench.

There is a provisa though, Lood de Jager still has to pass a fitness test on Friday, to be able to play, and if he does not pass that fitness test, Victor Matfield will slot into the starting berth at No 5, with Pieter-Steph du Toit then coming onto the Replacements bench.

It’s the 1st time since last November that Meyer has been able to name an unchanged team for back-to-back Tests and only the 6th time since his appointment in 2012.

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Joe Moody

Joe Moody

New Zealand All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made 1 change to the side that thrashed France for their semifinal showdown against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

Joe Moody replaces the injured Wyatt Crockett (groin) at loosehead prop, with Ben Franks being promoted to the bench to provide cover.

1 Is the least number of changes that the All Blacks have made to their starting line-up so far in the tournament and the fewest between successive Rugby World Cup matches since making no changes at all to the side that defeated Australia in the 2011 semifinals and went on to beat France in the final.

No player in international test rugby has been on the winning side against the Springboks more often than Richie McCaw (19 times). Only Australia’s George Gregan (30 times) has played them more often than McCaw (25).

Brodie Retallick (6), Wyatt Crockett (5), Sam Cane (3), Luke Romano (2), TJ Perenara (1) and Codie Taylor (1) have won all of their individual test appearances against the Springboks.

McCaw sets a Rugby World Cup record in captaining his side for the 12th time in the competition, surpassing the 11 captain’s appearances by Martin Johnson and Will Carling (both England), Raphaël Ibañez (France), John Smit (South Africa) and Sam Warburton (Wales).

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Steve Hansen

Steve Hansen

New Zealand All Blacks coach Steve Hansen on Thursday promised “a performance to be proud of” in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semifinal against the South African Springboks.

Hansen only made 1 chnage to his side with Joe Moody coming in for loosehead prop Wyatt Crockett who suffered a groin strain in the All Blacks 62 / 13 quarterfinal win over France.

“We’re ready to go,” Hansen said ahead of the Twickenham clash.

The defending champions had prepared well during the week to “produce another game we can all be proud of” after demolishing France.

“Though we’ve met many times over the years, we’ve only played 3 times at the Rugby World Cup and these Cup finals matches are totally different,” Hansen said.

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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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WhistleThe Match Officials have been confirmed for the semifinal stage of Rugby World Cup 2015 this weekend, with Jérôme Garcès and Wayne Barnes selected as Referees.

The 1st semifinal will take place at Twickenham Stadium between South Africa and New Zealand on Saturday (kick-off at 17:00 SA Time, 16:00 BST) with France’s Garcès in the middle. He will be joined on the line by compatriot Romain Poite and Ireland’s John Lacey, with George Ayoub of Australia being the Television Match Official.

The following day at the same venue, Argentina will take on Australia in the 2nd semifinal (kick-off 17:00 SA Time, 16:00 BST) and England’s Wayne Barnes will take charge. His Assistant Referees will be Jaco Peyper of South Africa and Ireland’s George Clancy. New Zealand’s Ben Skeen will be TMO.

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Ian Foster

Ian Foster

One lesson the All Blacks have taken from the disputed Australia vs Scotland Rugby World Cup quarterfinal is that they cannot leave the outcome of their semifinal against South Africa to the referee.

“That showed us if the game’s tight at the end anything can happen,” All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said Monday.

And Foster expects a similar nail-biting finish when the All Blacks play arch-rivals South Africa on Saturday to decide who will go through to the final against Australia or Argentina.

After reviewing the controversial end to the Australia vs Scotland match, World Rugby said referee Craig Joubert was wrong when he awarded a last minute penalty that secured Australia’s 35 / 34 victory over Scotland.

Foster said it would be up to the All Blacks to avoid being put in the same situation even though he expected the match would be a close call.

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Julian Savea

Julian Savea

JP Pietersen

JP Pietersen

South African Springboks wing JP Pietersen insisted on Monday he is looking forward to confronting New Zealand All Blacks flyer Julian Savea, arguably the most potent attacking threat in rugby, in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semifinal.

Savea was in supreme form with a hat-trick out of 9 New Zealand tries as the reigning world champions thrashed France 62 / 13 in the quarterfinals.

There were times at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday when the 1.93m, 103kg Savea simply bounced off would-be French tacklers.

His blistering pace and strength has brought the 25-year-old wing 38 tries in just 39 Tests, including 8 in 4 matches at this Rugby World Cup, has seen Savea compared to All Blacks star Jonah Lomu.

Pietersen, no shrinking violet himself at 1.9m and 102kg, was well aware of the task confronting him this weekend.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Steve Hansen

Steve Hansen

South Africa’s Springboks and New Zealand’s All Blacks will renew one of the greatest and most bitter rivalries in rugby in their Rugby World Cup semifinal at Twickenham on Saturday… but off the field, the coaches and players remain firm friends.

For both nations, the game provides the ultimate challenge on a rugby pitch and in the adrenalin-pumping atmosphere of a high stakes showdown at such a prestigious venue, it promises to be another bruising battle.

However, behind the intensity and bone-crunching tackles is a mutual respect between the teams on the pitch that has in more recent years extended to solid friendships off it.

None more so than between the 2 coaches – New Zealand’s Steve Hansen and South Africa’s Heyneke Meyer.

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HighlandersThe Highlanders have confirmed 2 exciting new midfield signings for the 2016 season, Canterbury’s Rob Thompson and Otago’s Matt Faddes.

Thompson, is an exciting player who debuted for Canterbury in 2013 and after a solid year earned a wider training group contract with the Crusaders leading to his Super Rugby debut against the Blues in 2014.

A powerful runner, who has the strength to play in the midfield and the speed to play in the outside backs, Thompson will provide versatility and depth to the Highlanders midfield stocks.

Thompson commented that “the Highlanders play an attractive style of rugby that appeals to me, they look to be a quality outfit and I’m looking forward to getting down there and doing my bit to continue the success they are enjoying.”

Faddes, like backs coach Tony Brown, grew up in South Otago and has been playing for Otago since 2011, debuting against North Harbour.

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Mils Muliaina

Mils Muliaina

British prosecutors have dropped a charge of sexual assault against former All Black Mils Muliaina for allegedly groping a woman in a nightclub, his New Zealand-based agent said Tuesday.

The 35-year-old was dramatically arrested in April, when police swooped at Gloucester Rugby’s Kingsholm Stadium after his Irish side Connacht had played an away game at the ground.

He was charged over a supposed incident in Cardiff city centre on 7 March, when a woman said he had “touched her bottom while she was dancing”.

Muliaina said it had been an ordeal, not only for himself but also his 7-year-old son, declaring he intended to “put this behind us and carry on with life”.

“I always knew I had nothing to hide, I had done nothing wrong. However, being unable to comment publicly has been incredibly frustrating,” he said in a statement.

“While I understand the police have a job to do, the manner of my arrest and the subsequent outcome of their investigation remains difficult to understand.

“It has been an extremely tough 7 months.”

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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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New ZealandThe New Zealand All Blacks broke their own Rugby World Cup quarterfinal victory margin with their demolition of France at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.

The All Blacks scored 9 tries in their 62 / 13 romp in a one-sided repeat of the 2011 World Cup final.

Their 49-point margin of victory bettered their previous record of 27 points when they accounted for Scotland 30 / 3 at the 1987 tournament.

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New ZealandFranceAll Blacks (29) 62 / 13 (13) France (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and France did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup at

Millennium Stadium, Cardiff at 21:00 SA Time (20:00 BST, 19:00 GMT, 21:00 France Time, Sunday 08:00 NZ 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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Joe Moody

Joe Moody

All Black coach Steve Hansen wasted no time in drafting in recently arriving prop Joe Moody into the side to play France in their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal in Cardiff on Saturday.

Moody, a specialist loosehead prop, has had a whirlwind few days. He has been named on the bench for the encounter at the Millennium Stadium just 4 days after arriving in the United Kingdom as a replacement for the injured Tony Woodcock.

Moody will play his 9th Test off the bench, after playing 8 Tests in the black jersey in 2014.

With Moody on the bench, Wyatt Crockett takes over the starting loosehead duties from the injured Tony Woodcock.

Meanwhile, All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw returns to the starting 15 along with lock Brodie Retallick and wing Julian Savea.

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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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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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Kieran Read sitting on the 'Naughty Chair" after being Yellow Carded in the Tonga game

Kieran Read sitting on the ‘Naughty Chair” after being Yellow Carded in the Tonga game

The New Zealand All Blacks’ image as surefire Rugby World Cup winners is starting to fade.

Not only critics, but also the team’s fans, are beginning to question coach Steve Hansen’s master plan.

Even Kieran Read, the stand-in captain for Friday’s 47 / 9 win over Tonga, admitted there were problems to be addressed.

Hansen put on a bold front after the game, declaring himself “very happy” with the way things are going.

“What’s happening now is irrelevant. What happens next week will be and it’s about maintaining performances from here on in and winning,” he said after Tonga finally folded at St James’ Park.

“We had a plan and we stuck to that plan now we have to wait to see if it works.”

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New ZealandTongaAll Blacks (14) 47 / 9 (3) Tonga (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and Tonga did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup at

St James’ Park, Newcastle, England at 21:00 SA Time (20:00 BST, 19:00 GMT, Saturday 08:00 NZ & Tonga 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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Ma'a Nonu

Ma’a Nonu

Veteran midfielder Ma’a Nonu will play his 100th Test match for the New Zealand All Blacks, when they face Tonga in a Rugby World Cup Pool C match on Friday.

Nonu, who made his All Blacks Test debut in 2003, has had 83 Test starts in his stellar career, scored 29 tries and is the most capped All Blacks inside centre.

He will become the All Blacks 6th Test centurion on Friday and will line up alongside 3 of those centurions – hooker Keven Mealamu, prop Tony Woodcock and flyhalf Dan Carter.

“On behalf of the All Blacks, we would like to congratulate Ma’a on this special milestone,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said.

“He has been an incredibly valued member of our group for a very long time.

“He has been fully committed to enhancing the All Blacks jersey and the values that go with it.

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Waisake Naholo

Waisake Naholo

New Zealand All Blacks wing Waisake Naholo, on the comeback trail from a broken leg, is again under an injury cloud and in doubt for their final Pool C match against Tonga on Friday.

The try-scoring specialist is in need of game time after being sidelined for 3 months and the All Blacks will wait until the last minute before naming their team on Wednesday to decide if he will be fit enough to play.

Naholo missed the All Blacks 1st 2 games as he completed his recovery from a leg fracture.

He then exploded onto the Rugby World Cup stage with a sensational try, with his 1st touch of the ball in the 3rd game against Georgia which the All Blacks won 43 / 10 to confirm their quarterfinal berth.

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World RugbyEngland have dropped 2 places to 8th in the World Rugby rankings after their World Cup defeat to Australia at Twickenham.

Only once before, in 2009, have England been as low as 8 on the list. There were times in 2003 and 2004 when they were the No 1 team in the world.

If Scotland were to register 2 more victories at the Rugby World Cup, they could move up and push England even lower. Never, since the rankings began in 2003, have England been outside the top 8. Only 4 other teams – New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and France – have maintained a top-8 place since the rankings began.

8 Teams have moved up 1 place in the rankings, which are based on results and the level of opposition.

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 Rugby World Cup to recognise the unique importance of this event.

4 Nations have dropped down: Wales by 1 place from 2 to 3, Ireland by 1 from 4 to 5, England by 2 from 6 to 8, and Samoa by 4 from 11 to 15.

The 8 risers, all by 1 place, are Australia to 2nd, South Africa to 4th, France to 6th, Argentina to 7th, Japan to 11th, Tonga to 12th, Italy to 13th and Georgia to 14th.

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GeorgiaNew ZealandGeorgia (10) 10 / 43 (22) All Blacks (Final Score)

Georgia and the New Zealand All Blacks did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup at

Millennium Stadium, Cardiff at 21:00 SA Time (20:00 BST, 19:00 GMT, 23:00 Gerorgia Time, Saturday 08:00 NZ 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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Waisake Naholo

Waisake Naholo

All Blacks wing Waisake Naholo will make his eagerly-awaited World Cup debut against Georgia in Cardiff on Friday.

Naholo, who made his 1st Test appearance for the All Blacks against Argentina in the Rugby Championship in July, cracked his fibula in that match and team bosses feared he would have to miss the World Cup.

However, thanks to a traditional herbal remedy, the 24-year-old Fiji-born flyer has made a recovery that has astounded the specialists.

“We’re looking forward to seeing Waisake back on the track, he’s been jumping out of his skin at training and I’m sure he can’t wait for game day,” Hanson said.

Hansen has made 10 changes to the starting line-up that defeated Namibia on 24 September with Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino and Julian Savea making a 3rd start.

4 Players were not considered for selection due to injury – Ma’a Nonu (shoulder), Colin Slade (hamstring), Liam Messam (calf) and Beauden Barrett (whiplash).

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NamibiaNew ZealandNamibia (6) 14 / 58 (34) All Blacks (Final Score)

Namibia and the New Zealand All Blacks did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup at

Olympic Park, London, England at 21:00 SA Time (21:00 NAM Time, 20:00 BST, 19:00 GMT, Friday 06:00 NZ 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 ZealandArgentinaAll Blacks (12) 26 / 16 (13) Los Pumas (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and Argentinian Pumas did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup at

Wembley Stadium, London, England at 17:45 SA Time (16:45 BST, 15:45 GMT, 12:45 ARG Time, Monday 01:45 NZ 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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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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HSBC Sevens World SeriesThe last leg of the 2014 / 2015 HSBC Sevens World Series took place in London England this Saturday and Sunday 16 and 17 May 2015 from 09:00 BST (10:00 SA Time) both days.

All the action was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on Saturday and on SuperSport 1 (Sunday) on TV in South Africa.

After 8 Rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series, Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand battled it out for the 16th World Series title in London.

Following their victory at the Glasgow Sevens last weekend, Fiji headed into the 9th and Final Round of the Series in 1st spot – with Ben Ryan’s side aiming to win their 1st Series title since 2006.

Not since 2010 has a side other than New Zealand won it, but with Fiji on 147 points and South Africa on 142 prior to this tournament, the 4-time defending champions had their work cut out to win a 13th World Series title as they sat 3rd on 139 Log Points, prior to this tournament.

New Zealand fell out of the race for the ultimate World Series title when England beat them in the quarter-final and the same fate befell South Africa’s Blitzbokke as they persihed against Fiji by 7 / 19 in the quarter-finals in London, the same fate which befell them in Glasgow.

Having led the Series since Round 2 the BlitzBokke failed to make the Cup semi-finals for the 1st time all season in Glasgow and now again in London.

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HSBC Sevens World SeriesIt is a tight race to see who takes the Series in Twickenham with Fiji leading the way, and the pools for the London leg have been confirmed.

After their Cup win at the 8th Round of the Series in Glasgow, Fiji are top seeds and head Pool A, while runners-up New Zealand, 3rd-placed England and the 4th semifinalist USA head the remaining pools.

The 2014 / 2015 season carries added significance because the top-ranked sides in the series qualify directly for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. Following their performances in Glasgow, South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand have all confirmed their place in Rio, with just the 4th and final spot still be decided.

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Cricket BallNew Zealand and South Africa battled each other in 1 of the 2 Semi-Final games of the Cricket World Cup, at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand.

The match started at 03:00 SA Time (14:00 NZ Time).

As expected, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and India made the Semi-Finals.

The Other Semi-Final, between Australia vs India take place on Thursday 26 March at 05:30 SA Time (14:30 Sydney Time) at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first.

The South African Innnings was interrupted by rain and the game was reduced to a 43 Over per side game.

South Africa reached a total of 281 / 5 in their allotted 43 Overs, with Faf du Plessis (82), AB de Villiers (65 not out) and David Miller (49 off just 18 balls) doing the damage.

New Zealand started like a house on fire, with Brendan McCullum racing to 59 off only 26 balls… till he eventually perished. Kane Williamson perished on 6 runs, off 11 balls. Martin Guptill eventually perished on 34, from 38 balls and then Taylor departed for 30 off 39 balls. At this stage, New Zealand was still just above the required run-rate.

2 More wickets followed but it was not enough for South Africa.

New Zealand won with 1 ball spare, a 6 off the last ball by Grant Elliott, an Ex-South African himself!



South Africa: 281 / 5 (43 / 43 Overs)

New Zealand: 299 / 6 (42.5 / 43 Overs, 298 required due to D/L)

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Jack Payne

Jack Payne

Former Wales and Llanelli flyhalf Phil Bennett has questioned Scarlets’ move for Welsh-qualified flanker Jack Payne from Queensland Reds in Australia.

Payne, 20, has arrived in Wales, but any move cannot be made official until passport issues have been resolved.

Scarlets president Bennett would prefer to see local players at Scarlets, but admitted importing Welsh-qualified players from abroad could help Wales.

“There’s a lot of mixed feeling from Llanelli,” he said.  “We’re kind of old fashioned here. People still go back to the great Llanelli days . . .  they all want to be Welsh, Welsh-speaking if they had their way,” joked 66-year-old Bennett.

“But let’s be honest, look at the Australians, the All Blacks and how they’ve milked the situation of getting players from Fiji, Samoa and different places. You’ve got to get and live with the very best in the world.”

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Captains for the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens tournament

Captains for the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens tournament: Ed Jenkins, Osea Kolinisau, DJ Forbes & Kyle Brown

After climbing into the top four after two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series, Australia and New Zealand know it’s far too early to rest on their laurels with Olympic qualification also up for grabs this season.

As the 16 captains assemble for the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth, Australian skipper Ed Jenkins and his New Zealand counterpart DJ Forbes reflect on their respective team’s elevation to the all-important top four after the first two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

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AustraliaAustralia have slipped another place to fifth in the latest World Rugby Rankings with France, Japan, Tonga, Canada and Namibia also falling after defeats.

Australia’s 26-23 loss to Ireland on Saturday has seen the Wallabies slip another place to fifth – equalling their lowest ever position since the World Rugby Rankings were introduced in October 2003.

The Wallabies headed into the match in Dublin sitting just one hundredth of a rating point above England, but will now travel to Twickenham to face Stuart Lancaster’s men this weekend behind two northern hemisphere nations with Ireland strengthening their hold on third place with the win.

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Rugby-Talk RWC 2015

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