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Steval PumasSteval Pumas coach MJ Mentz announced an unchanged 22-man line-up for the 4th Currie Cup match of the season.

The men from Nelspruit will host the high-flying Xerox Golden Lions on Friday – the 2nd time the 2 sides will meet this season in the Currie Cup.

The Golden Lions beat the Pumas 44 / 27 in Johannesburg a fortnight ago.

The sides have not met in Nelspruit since the Pumas’ return to the Currie Cup competition in 2014.

However, Pumas coach MJ Mentz is confident about his team’s chances.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Vodacom Blue Bulls turned in a fantastic 2nd-half performance to hand defending ABSA Currie Cup champions, the DHL Western Province, their 1st defeat of the season in a pulsating 47 / 29 win at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The thrilling win was a perfect gift for veteran prop Werner Kruger, who played in his 100th ABSA Currie Cup match for the Blue Bulls.

It was the 1st time since 2012 that the Blue Bulls ran out winners in the traditional North versus South encounter.

Thanks to their outstanding display the Blue Bulls consolidated their Top spot on the Premier Division standings and they now have 15 points from 3 matches, which all were all clinched with convincing bonus-point victories.

The new generation of Blue Bulls were superbly led by 2014 Junior Springbok fullback Warrick Gelant and veteran scrumhalf Francois Hougaard and they were also the only outfit to register a home win this weekend.

Gelant, also a Springbok Sevens international, displayed his wonderful assortment of attacking skills and was deservedly awarded the ABSA Man of the Match award.

The Xerox Golden Lions held off a determined challenge from the Cell C Sharks on their way to a 31 / 16 (halftime 7 / 6) win at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Saturday. The Sharks led by a single point after 61 minutes but the Golden Lions ensured that they remain unbeaten by turning in a strong final quarter as they ran in 3 tries to hand the Sharks their 2nd loss in 3 games.

On Friday night in Kimberley, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, spearheaded by pivot Fred Zeilinga, notched their 1st win of the campaign when they outplayed the ORC Griquas 31 / 9 (halftime 10 / 9).

Flyhalf JC Roos kicked 5 penalties as the Steval Pumas edged the Eastern Province Kings 15 / 13 after leading 6 / 3 in the other Friday evening clash in Port Elizabeth.

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ABSA Currie Cup2 Of the tournament’s pace-setters are going head-to-head on Saturday. But it is no ordinary match. It is the BIG north-south derby – the Vodacom Blue Bulls hosting DHL Western Province in the feature match of the weekend, when they meet in Pretoria on Saturday.

They are 2 of only 3 remaining unbeaten sides.

However, before we get there we have 2 Friday games – which will feature 3 teams still seeking their 1st win.

The winless Eastern Province Kings host an ambitious Steval Pumas team in Port Elizabeth, while the central unions partners (and rivals) ORC Griquas and Toyota Free State Cheetahs will meet in Kimberley.

Griquas and Cheetahs are also both still winless.

The Cell C Sharks, fresh from their 1st win of the season, host the high-flying Xerox Golden Lions in Saturday’s early match before we get to the BIG derby at Loftus Versfeld.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls are currently sitting at Top of the standings – as a result of their greater points difference over their Gauteng neighbours, the Xerox Golden Lions – with both on a full-house 10 Log points.

DHL Western Province are 1 Log point further back (9) in 3rd place.

The Cell C Sharks (5 points), Steval Pumas (4), Toyota Free State Cheetahs (1), EP Kings (1) and ORC Griquas (1) trail behind the pace-setters.

We look at all the Round 3 matches!

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Steval PumasThe Steval Pumas have made 3 changes to the side that will face the EP Kings in their ABSA Currie Cup clash in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

Prop Corné Fourie will start his 1st match of the season for the Pumas, scrumming down at loosehead prop, with Khwezi Mona shifting to tighthead prop in place of De-Jay Terblanche.

Jason-Colin Fraser earns a starting berth at No 8 in place of Lambert Groenewald, while lock Rudi Matthee will feature in the run-on side for Giant Mtyanda, who shifts to the bench.

The Pumas will be looking to bounce back from their 44 / 27 defeat to the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg last weekend.

In the corresponding fixture in 2013 the Pumas suffered a narrow defeat to the Eastern Cape side.

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Daniel Hourcade

Daniel Hourcade

There were no great surprises as Argentina head coach Daniel Hourcade named his 31-man Rugby World Cup squad on Sunday.

Star players Juan Imhoff, Juan Martin Hernandez, Juan Fernandez Lobbe and Marcelo Bosch all took their places in the final squad.

Hourcade ditched 7 players from the squad that participated in The Rugby Championship, ending their campaign last week with a 1st ever victory over South Africa.

Racing Metro lock Manuel Carizza and Saracens prop Juan Figallo were amongst those to miss out.

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Stefan Watermeyer

Stefan Watermeyer

The Steval Pumas face an injury crisis ahead of Friday’s Currie Cup Round 3 clash with the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth.

Pumas physio Luzahn Louw revealed that a number of players are doubtful for this weekend’s match – following their 27 / 44 loss to the Golden Lions this past weekend.

Influential Pumas captain Stefan Watermeyer suffered a thigh strain, but should be fit for Friday’s encounter.

His leadership skills helped them upset the Sharks in Round 1.

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ArgentinaSouth AfricaLos Pumas (9) 12 / 26 (20) Springboks (Final Score)

The Argentinian Pumas and South African Springboks did battle in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match at

Vélez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires at 21:40 SA Time (16:40 ARG Time, 19:40 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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


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ArgentinaThe Pumas have made 7 changes to the team that humiliated the Springboks last weekend for a Test rematch in Buenos Aires Saturday.

Apart from the personnel alterations, coach Daniel Hourcade has made 2 positional switches as the Pumas seek to build on a stunning 37 / 25 win over the Springboks in Durban.

It was the 1st triumph for Argentina over South Africa after 19 failed attempts since the countries 1st met in 1993 in Buenos Aires.

And it was the 1st Rugby Championship away victory for the South Americans after 10 losses in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa over 4 seasons.

Out of the Durban starting backline go right wing Horacio Agulla, centres Marcelo Bosch, injured Jerónimo De la Fuente and scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli.

They are replaced by Santiago Cordero, Matias Moroni, Nicolas Sanchez and Martin Landajo for the match at the 50 000 capacity Estadio Jose Amalfitani in a western suburb of the Argentine capital.

Veteran Hernández, who was outstanding at flyhalf last weekend, retreats to inside centre to accommodate Sanchez in the pivotal role.

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Steval PumasSteval Pumas coach MJ Mentz has named an unchanged side to face the Xerox Golden Lions on Saturday in Round 2 of the Currie Cup at Emirates Airline Park.

Mentz has stuck with his troops that pulled off a 33 / 24 victory over the Cell C Sharks in Nelspruit last weekend.

In last year’s fixture between the 2 sides the Golden Lions defeated the Pumas 29 / 15 in Johannesburg.

Lock Rudi Mathee was a late withdrawal ahead of last week’s match against the Sharks after suffering a shoulder injury, which will keep him sidelined for 3 weeks.

Jaco Bouwer slots onto the bench as cover in the loose forward and lock area.

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Daniel Hourcade

Daniel Hourcade

Los Pumas have retained the squad that stunned the Springboks at the weekend, except for injured centre Jerónimo De la Fuente.

They have also added 6 players for the Test rematch in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

A rib injury rules De la Fuente out of a game which offers the Pumas a chance to prove that a historic 37 / 25 Rugby Championship triumph in Durban 3 days ago was not a fluke.

It was the 1st Pumas victory in 20 Tests against the Springboks from South Africa and their 1st away win in the Southern Hemisphere championship after 10 losses since debuting 3 seasons ago.

Argentina took 26 players to South Africa last week and coach Daniel Hourcade has expanded the squad to 31 for the rematch with the Springboks at the 50 000-capacity Estadio Jose Amalfitani.

The 6 additions are fullback Santiago Cordero, centre Matias Moroni, flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez and loose forwards Javier Ortega Desio, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Facundo Isa.

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ABSA Currie CupDefending ABSA Currie Cup champions, DHL Western Province, the Vodacom Blue Bulls and the Xerox Golden Lions all scored impressive wins in the opening Round of South Africa’s premier provincial competition over the weekend.

The 1st Round of the famous competition saw a number of outstanding individual performance as the teams got their new campaign underway. 6 Of the 8 teams started with new coaches at the helm, while several of the line-ups included numerous Junior Springboks and also a few Springbok Sevens stalwarts.

Springbok scrumhalf Francois Hougaard gave a masterclass performance for the Vodacom Blue Bulls, who scored 6 tries in total in their comprehensive 57 / 19 win over the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

In the other match played on Saturday afternoon, Junior Springbok flank Kwagga Smith was equally impressive for the Xerox Golden Lions in Port Elizabeth where he scored a hattrick of tries in their 51 / 14 demolition of the Eastern Province Kings.

Champions Western Province kicked off their campaign in perfect fashion on Friday afternoon with a 6-try victory over the ORC Griquas in Kimberley. Springbok Sevens flyer Seabelo Senatla scored 2 tries to demonstrate his deadly finishing abilities.

Meanwhile, history repeated itself in the late match on Friday when the Steval Pumas beat the Cell C Sharks 33 / 24 in the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The score was almost identical to the 32 / 22 shock win of the Pumas over the Sharks in the opening Round fixture of last year at the same venue.

Pumas live-wire flank Marnus Schoeman scored 2 tries and was denied a 3rd by a desperate Thomas du Toit tackle just as he was about to launch himself over the try line.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls currently sit on Top of the Log, thanks to their bonus point win and better points’ difference and they are followed by the Xerox Golden Lions, DHL Western Province (both also on 5 points) and the Steval Pumas (4 points).

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Los Pumas celebrate the win against the Springboks

Los Pumas celebrate the win against the Springboks

A hat-trick from Juan Imhoff helped the Argentinian Pumas record their 1st ever win over the Springboks in a 37 / 25 Rugby Championship victory in Durban on Saturday.

It’s taken 20 attempts but the Pumas finally got a positive result against the Springboks after 2 close calls last year. Using their domination at scrum time as a platform, Argentina created the biggest upset in the history of The Rugby Championship on the day that they commemorated 50 years since their 1st tour of South Africa.

The result means the Springboks have now lost 4 consecutive Tests to different countries for the 1st time since 1965.

While the Pumas produced their best game of the year, tackling their hearts out, their disjointed hosts were a pale shadow of the side that troubled the All Blacks 2 weeks prior as they made countless unforced errors and offered very little on attack.

Los Pumas led 27 / 13 at halftime thanks to 3 excellent tries, including 2 for Juan Imhoff, who also helped set up the opening try for Marcelo Bosch.

The Springboks hit back via a try from lock Lood de Jager, but the visitors were well worth their lead against an error-prone Springbok outfit.

Imhoff bagged his hat-trick in controversial circumstances soon after the break and although the Springboks hit back via tries from Willie le Roux and Bryan Habana, they fell well short of saving the result.

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Agustín Creevy

Agustín Creevy

Argentinian Pumas skipper Agustin Creevy said the presence of former Pumas in Durban helped inspire a stunning and historic 37 / 25 Rugby Championship triumph over the Springboks on Saturday.

“The presence of these rugby heroes of our nation was a major factor in the success,” the 30-year-old hooker said.

Survivors of the 1965 Pumas – the 1st Argentine rugby team to play in South Africa – celebrated the 50th anniversary of the pioneering trip by watching the Test at the Growthpoint Kings Park stadium.

And when the final whistle blew and the Pumas triumphed for the 1st time against the Springboks after 19 failed attempts and also won away in The Rugby Championship for the 1st time, they moved toward the ‘golden oldies’ and clapped.

The gesture was returned as the group of smartly attired ex-national team players, wearing dark suits, blue ties and white shirts, stood to acknowledge a great day for Argentine rugby.

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South AfricaArgentinaSpringboks (13) 25 / 37 (27) Los Pumas (Final Score)

The South African Springboks and Argentinian Pumas did battle in Round 3 of The Rugby Championship at

Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban at 17:05 SA Time (12:05 ARG Time, 15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, Sunday 03:05 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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The Rugby ChampionshipIt is the 3rd and final Round of the abbreviated Rugby Championship of 2015 (Only 1 Round of matches against each side in 2015 as opposed to a double Round of matches against all sides – home and away in non Rugby World Cup years).

The last 2 games are both on Saturday 8 August.

The Action of the Round is kicked off in Sydney, Australia where the Wallabies and All Blacks dual it out for tournament honours and The Rugby Championship of 2015 concludes with the match between the Springboks against Los Pumas in Durban.

On Saturday at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney at 12:05 SA Time (20:05 AEST, 22:05 NZ Time, 10:05 GMT) referee Wayne Barnes of England is in charge in the Wallabies vs All Blacks game.

On Saturday at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban at 17:05 SA Time (12:05 ARG Time, 10:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time) referee Romain Poite of France is in charge of the Springboks vs Los Pumas game.

The game between the Wallabies and All Blacks has all to play for and should be a thriller of note. It is hard to imagine the Wallabies pipping the All Blacks though. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has opted for a rather large number of changes to the All Blacks side, but the run-on side is a vastly experienced unit… with the return of Julian Savea, Sonny Bill Williams, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith all in the backline alone. The Wallabies see some old hands like Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau & James Horwill return to the run-on side and also sees the pair of openside flankers of David Pocock and Michael Hooper in the looseforwards to try and dominate the ground ball situations against the All Blacks.

Both the Springboks and Los Pumas have made a number of changes to their run-on sides.

For the Springboks we see a return of Captain Jean de Villiers at No 13, with Jesse Kriel moving 1 wide to the right wing berth. Vincent Koch comes in for injured Jannie du Plessis at tighthead prop and Marcell Coetzee takes over at blindside flank from the injured Francois Louw. On the bench we see the return of Pieter-Steph du Toit from injury, as well as the return of Marcel van der Merwe, Siya Kolisi and Lwazi Mvovo.

The game between the Springboks should logically only go 1 way and that is with a comfortable win against Los Pumas.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has admitted that a combination of injuries and the 2 narrow defeats in the opening part of The Rugby Championship have changed his plans slightly, but he is still committed to making conditioning the priority after this week’s clash with Los Pumas at Growthpoint Kings Park.

Meyer said after announcing his team for the match that several 1st choice players will stay behind in Durban when the playing squad travels to Buenos Aires next week for what has the status of a return ‘friendly’ international against the Pumas. However, because he is coaching the South African national team and knows how important winning is to the nation, he’s not going to make changes to quite the extent that he intended to when he did his planning for the Rugby World Cup build-up.

“I’ve always said that I haven’t been happy with the fitness and conditioning and the last 2 matches when we lost in the last few minutes proved that we still have a lot of work to do in that regard,” said Meyer.

“My plan has always been to implement a very intense 3 week conditioning programme after The Rugby Championship is completed and that will mean that some of the top players will be staying behind in Durban next week rather than going to Argentina. If we are going to win the World Cup it is imperative that we get our conditioning right and the players can look forward to a really tough camp.

“The players who do travel to Argentina will slot into that fitness camp after they return. We are going to make an all-out effort to get the conditioning right. It is something that has improved gradually over the past few years, but we need the 3 week conditioning top up that is planned in order to get it totally right.”

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Stefan Watermeyer

Stefan Watermeyer

Seasoned midfielder Stefan Watermeyer will lead the Steval Pumas in the opening Round of the Currie Cup, when they host the Cell C Sharks in Nelspruit on Friday.

He will be assisted by lock Lubabalo ‘Giant’ Mtyanda, who has been named vice-captain.

Mtyanda is 1 of a handful of players returning from Super Rugby franchises. The lock played for the Cell C Sharks this year during Super Rugby, before returning to Nelspruit for the Currie Cup competition.

Also back is scrumhalf Francois ‘Faf’ de Klerk, who was released from the Springbok training camp on Tuesday – where he had been for the past month, after his impressive Super Rugby season with the Emirates Lions.

Also back from the Emirates Lions is prop Corne Fourie.

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WhistleSANZAR has named the match officials for the 3rd and last Round of the abbreviated Rugby Championship of 2015.

England’s Wayne Barnes will officiate in the championship decider in Sydney and he will be assisted by Nigel Owens and Frederico Anselmi as Assistant referees. Shaun Veldsman will do TMO duty.

Frenchman Romain Poite will referee the Springboks vs Los Pumas game in Durban and will be assited by JP Doyle and Marius Mitrea, with Ben Skeen doing the TMO duties.

Poite is well remembered among Springbok fans for the controvertial sending off of Bismarck du Plessis in a Test against the All Blacks 2 years ago.

Poite harshly and erroneously Yellow-Carded Du Plessis for a tackle on All Black flyhalf Dan Carter before later dishing out another Yellow (which automatically meant a Red Card) to the hooker as the Springboks went on to lose 29 / 15 at Eden Park in Auckland.

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Marne Coetzee

Marne Coetzee

The Steval Pumas have made 2 key signings ahead of the start of the Currie Cup competition.

Pumas coach MJ Mentz confirmed that former South African Under 20 prop Marne Coetzee and SA Sevens player Deon Helberg will join the Nelspruit-based outfit for the rest of the season.

Coetzee, a powerful tighthead prop that played SA Schools in 2011 and for the Junior Springboks in 2013, is on loan from the Sharks.

The arrival of the 22-year-old former Glenwood scholar will offset the absence of powerhouse Vincent Koch, who is currently on duty with the Springboks.

Described as a “a strong and powerful scrummager” who is also very good with ball in hand, he is expected to fit right into the Pumas’ exciting style of play.

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Ramiro Herrera

Ramiro Herrera

Argentina arrived in South Africa on Sunday without powerful tighthead prop Ramiro Herrera.

The 26-year-old front row forward has ruptured medial ligaments in his knee and has undergone surgery.

Team doctor Guillermo Botto said Herrera will require between about 4 to 6 weeks to recover, playing him in doubt for the Rugby World Cup – which gets underway on 18 September.

He has been replaced in the 26-man squad – for The Rugby Championship Test against South Africa’s Springboks in Durban on Saturday – by veteran prop Juan Pablo Orlandi, who last played for Los Pumas against England in November 2013.

The 32-year-old Orlandi played in 15 Tests for his country before being axed. He has now been thrown a World Cup lifeline.

Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade said they will continue to “evaluate” players ahead of next month’s World Cup – when they face the Springboks in Durban this week and Buenos Aires a week later.

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Michael Hooper

Michael Hooper

A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Jannie Lubbe SC (South Africa) and comprising Terry Willis (Australia) and Mike Heron QC (New Zealand) unanimously dismissed both appeals brought by SANZAR and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) on behalf of Michael Hooper.

The Committee dismissed the ARU appeal on behalf of Michael Hooper on the basis that the appellant was unable to show that the Judicial Officer erred in law in finding that Hooper’s striking of Nicolas Sanchez from Argentina was a breach of Law 10.4 (a).

The Committee also dismissed the appeal brought by SANZAR that the Judicial Officer’s sanction of 1 week was unduly lenient. The Committee found the Judicial Officer was correct in the exercise of his discretion that the offending was low-end.

As such, the player’s suspension from all forms of the game for 1 week was confirmed.

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The Rugby Championship This weekend saw Round 2 of The Rugby Championship.

In johannesburg, South Africa it was heart-break for the Springboks again, 2nd week in a row, this time losing in the dying minutes against a better conditiond and fitter All Blacks side, by 20 / 27, with All Blacks capatin Richie McCaw doing the damage to snatch the lead from the South Africans with only 6 minutes to go in the match.

In Mendoza, Argentinia, the Wallabies led 8 / 6 at halftime before tuning in all the screws and beating Los Pumas comfortably by 34 / 9, also earning their bonus point for tries in the process.

As a result of the Round 2 results, the All Blacks and Wallabies are joint leaders of The Rugby Championship Log, with 2 wins apiece, whereas the Springboks and Los Pumas are still winless in the Competition, with the Springboks on a paltry 2 Log points and Los Pumas still not out of the starting gates, on 0 Log Points.

In 2015 there is of course only 3 Rounds in total, in the abbreviated version of the prime Southern Hemisphere international competition due to this year being a Rugby World Cup year. In this shortened version of the competition, where in stead of the normal double Round of matches by every side against the other sides, there is only a single Round of matches by every side against each of the other nations.

Round 3 is only in a fortnight, where the focus will be on the Bledisloe clash between the Wallabies and All Blacks for this year’s overall title.

The Springboks dominated most of the 1st half but at the break the scores were still tied on 10 / 10 and later on 17 / 17 before South Africa took a slender 20 / 17 lead and held that lead untill 6 minutes from time, whereafter the All Blacks showed their class and superior fitness and better bench selections to add 10 further points and running out 7-point winners.

All is not lost for the Springboks and one feels that they showed some quality rugby 2 weeks in a row, but they will surely now realize that their overall conditioning, fitness as well as the impact their bench is supposed to have in the vital Rugby World Cup during September and October still need a massive amount of work if they are to stand a proper chance of winning the world showpiece in 2015.

The All Blacks once again appear to be massive favourites to not only win theis year’s Rugby Championship but to also go on to clinch the Rugby World Cup title in October.

Argentina seem to be dogged by the same “Illness” that the Springboks are suffering from, as they also seem incapable of ending games strong enough and also tend to kick tactically poorly, which invariably results in scores against them in the latter stages of games when defences are no longer as tight as in the beginning of matches.

The Wallabies are building up nicely towards the Rugby World Cup, having first narrowly dispatched the Springboks week before last and now comforably beating Los Pumas on the weekend. They managed to score 2 quick-fire tries towards the end of the clash in Argentina, first by Tevita Kuridrani and then barely 3 minutes later one by Adam Ashley-Cooper (to earn them the bonus point for tries) to hammer the nails in properly against the Pumas.

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ArgentinaAustraliaLos Pumas (6) 9 / 34 (8) Wallabies (Final Score)

The Argentinian Pumas and Australian Wallabies did battle in Round 2 of The Rugby

Championship at Estadio Malvinas, Mendoza at Sunday 00:40 SA Time (19:40 Arg Time, 22:40

GMT, Sunday 08:40 AEST, Sunday 10:40 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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The Rugby ChampionshipIt is Round 2 of the abbreviated Rugby Championship of 2015 (Only 1 Round of matches against each side in 2015 as opposed to a double Round of matches against all sides – home and away in non Rugby World Cup years).

There are 2 games on Saturday 25 July.

The Action of the Round is kicked off in South Africa, where the Springboks take on the old foe, the All Blacks in Johannesburg and concludes with the late night match between the Argentinian Pumas against the Australian Wallabies in Mendoza.

On Saturday at Emirates Airline Park (Ellis Park) in Johannesburg at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, 12:05 Arg Time, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time, Sunday 01:05 AEST) referee Jérôme Garcès is in charge in the Springboks vs All Blacks game.

On Saturday at Estadio Malvinas in Mendoza, at Sunday 00:40 SA Time (19:40 Arg Time, 22:40 GMT, Sunday 08:40 AEST, Sunday 10:40 NZ Time) referee Jaco Peyper of South Africa is in charge of the Pumas vs Wallabies game.

The game between the Springboks and the All Blacks should be a humdinger of note and the result could go either way. Last time these 2 sides met, also at the same venue, the Springboks won by a measly 2 points. Both sides have made some bold selections, with 2 debutants on the All Blacks side and on the Springbok side we see the return of Heinrich Brüssow, who makes his 1st Springbok appearance since November 2011. One cannot help but feel that the All Blacks have ironed out most if not almost all the chinks in their armour, whereas the Springboks still seem to be a work in progress.

The Pumas and the Wallabies have each made 7 changes to their starting line-ups and the question begs whether Los Pumas could repeat their win over the Wallabies of last year in Mendoza. The Wallabies came back very strongly against the Springboks last week, so I quite fancy them for a win against the Pumas… in Argentina.

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The Castle Rugby ChampionshipIn a shortened version of The Rugby Championship, the 2 losers of Round 1 are practically in last chance saloon while victories for Round 1’s winners would set up a winner-takes-all Bledisloe Cup clash in Round 3.

It makes for a must-see weekend of action.


South AfricaNew ZealandSpringboks vs All Blacks:

It’s been 6 years since South Africa managed back-to-back wins over New Zealand and Saturday’s clash between the world’s top 2 teams represents an important chance to lay down a marker.

Last year’s last-minute victory for the Springboks in Johannesburg – only their 2nd win over the All Blacks since 2009 – ended a 3-year losing streak against their great rivals.

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Daniel Hourcade

Daniel Hourcade

The Argentinian Pumas head coach, Daniel Hourcade, has made several changes to his starting line-up that will face Australia’s Wallabies at Estadio Malvinas in Mendoza on Saturday.

There is a new-look back-3 as Santiago Cordero moves to fullback in place of Joaquin Tuculet while Gonzalo Camacho and Juan Imhoff start as wings.

Matías Moroni and Juan Pablo Socino are the centres, coming in for Marcelo Bosch and Jeronimo De la Fuente, while the other change to the backline sees the experienced Martín Landajo replace Tomás Cubelli at scrumhalf.

In the pack there is a start for Javier Ortega Desio on the flank and Tomás Lavanini in the 2nd-row, which are the Pumas’ only changes up front.

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AustraliaMichael Cheika has rung the changes in his Wallabies side with 7 in total for the clash with Argentina’s Los Pumas in Mendoza on Saturday.

In 1 of 3 changes in the forwards, Reds veteran Greg Holmes will start for the green and gold for the 1st time since 2007 against Canada, while Western Force stalwart Ben McCalman returns for his 1st appearance of the 2015 international season at No 8.

The final change in the pack sees David Pocock come into the starting line-up at openside flanker with Michael Hooper named on the replacements bench.

In the backs, Waratahs scrumhalf Nick Phipps and Brumbies centre Matt Toomua replace the injured Will Genia and Matt Giteau, while Joe Tomane comes in for the injured Rob Horne on the wing.

Waratahs pivot Bernard Foley replaces Quade Cooper in the starting lineup, with Cheika keen to give plenty of players a chance in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup.

“We are fortunate with the level of depth in the squad to be able to cover for the injuries we sustained last Saturday night against the Springboks,” said Cheika.

“They all deserve their start against Los Pumas and they now have an opportunity to build on the performance last week and stake their claims.

“We have 2 fine playmakers in Quade and Bernard. Both players can make an enormous impact on our team.”

There are also some new faces on the bench, with both Nic White and Kurtley Beale included after missing out last week.

Dean Mumm’s decision to return home has paid dividends, as he is set to rejoin the international arena. The 31-year-old is the last of the new faces included on the bench after his return to Australia from Exeter Chiefs.

“We know Argentina will provide a physical challenge in this match, and our reserves will have a significant role to play,” added Cheika.

“Last week they (the bench) got us home against the Springboks, and I will be looking forward to an even a greater impact from our players entering game this weekend.”

Argentina won the last clash between the 2 sides, a 21 / 17 win in the final game of the 2014 Rugby Championship, also in Mendoza.

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Steval PumasIn the 2nd match of their Cape Town tour, the Steval Pumas had to battle a strong wind to beat the Boland Cavaliers 38 / 19 at the Boland Stadium on Wednesday.

Head coach MJ Mentz made several changes to the team that played Western Province to give all players a run on tour.

Boland secured the 1st 5 points of the game whereafter the Pumas fought hard for their halftime score of 24 / 5. All the Pumas 1st-half tries were scored by the loose forwards. JJ Breet opened the score line for the Pumas, Jason Collin Fraser and Jaco Bouwer also scored a 5-pointer each.

Bouwer scored his 2nd try just before the end of the half with Justin van Staden successful with only 2 of the 4 conversions.

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WhistleSANZAR has released the names of the Match Officials for Round 2 of The Rugby Championship.

Jerome Garces starts the action this weekend in Johannesburg when South Africa’s Springboks host the All Blacks from New Zealand.

In the 2nd match of this Round, Argentina’s Los Pumas host the Wallabies from Australia in Mendoza and the referee is Jaco Peyper.

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Kieran Read on the rampage

Kieran Read on the rampage


New Zealand kicked off their Rugby Championship campaign with a comfortable 39 / 18 win over Argentina in Christchurch on Friday.

Impressive at scrum time, the All Blacks showed their power in defence and attack in the 1st half, running in 2 tries through Richie McCaw and Ma’a Nonu, allowing them to take an 18 / 6 halftime lead.

Despite 2 2nd-half tries from Agustin Creevy, it was the All Blacks who controlled things, running in 3 more scores through Charles Piutau, Kieran Read and debutant Codie Taylor.

The key to the game was the difference in defence, with New Zealand able to knock back runners all day long, while the Pumas were constantly on the back foot.

With quick ball, they created plenty of opportunities and were never really in danger, giving McCaw and Dan Carter a fitting farewell for their final international games in Christchurch.

Argentina had rested a number of experienced players, putting in faith in the likes of Guido Petti and Facundo Isa, who impressed last November, as well as promising winger Santiago Cordero.

In contrast New Zealand were playing the most experienced side in Test history, despite the absence of the likes of Conrad Smith, Julian Savea and Sam Whitelock. There was an All Black debut for Waisake Naholo, the Highlanders winger who topped the try-scoring charts in Super Rugby this season.

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Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers

The Steval Pumas were too strong for Western Province at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre, walking away with a 19 / 6 victory on Saturday.

The Pumas led by 19 / 3 at halftime thanks to 3 tries and 2 conversions but the hosts fought back strongly in the 2nd half to keep the visitors scoreless.

Currie Cup coach John Dobson was happy with certain aspects of the team’s performance in a match which saw Springbok captain Jean de Villiers start as he continues his comeback to top level rugby from a serious knee injury.

“Given the amount of time we had to prepare, compared to them, I am not disappointed with the performance. The only thing that’s disappointing is that it is Western Province and it’s this field with the occasion and we would have liked to have won the game.

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New ZealandArgentinaAll Blacks (18) 39 / 18 (6) Los Pumas (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and Argentinian Pumas did battle in The Rugby Championship at

AMI Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 04:35 ARG Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 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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The Rugby ChampionshipIt is Round 1 of the abbreviated Rugby Championship of 2015 (Only 1 Round of matches against each side in 2015 as opposed to a double Round of matches against all sides – home and away in non Rugby World Cup years).

There is 1 games on Friday 17 July and 1 game on Saturday 18 July.

The Action of the Round is kicked off in New Zealand, where the All Blacks take on Los Pumas of Argentinia in Christchurch and concludes with the match between the Australian Wallabies against the South African Springboks in Brisbane.

On Friday at AMI Stadium in Christchurch at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 04:35 ARG Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) referee Craig Joubert is in charge in the All Blacks vs Los Pumas game.

On Saturday at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, at 12:05 SA Time (20:05 AEST, 22:05 NZ Time, 07:05 ARG Time, 10:05 GMT) referee Nigel Owens of Wales is in charge of the Wallabies vs Springboks game.

The game between the All Blacks and Los Pumas should only produce 1 result and that is a comfortable win for the All Blacks. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has opted for a very experienced run-on side and replacement bench, whereas Argentinian coach Daniel Hourcade has included a number of inexperienced players in a very experimental Pumas side.

The game between the Wallabies and Springboks is extremely difficult to call but Rugby Championship and Tri-Nations history favours the Wallabies greatly at home in Australia against the Springboks. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has opted to haul back some big guns, 2 from overseas (Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell) and 2 recent Australian-based Wallabies who missed some of last year’s internationals (Will Genia & Quade Cooper) to bolster his match-day 23. Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has changed just 1 player from the run-on side which demolished the World XV side last weekend, namely Schalk Burger in place of Warren Whiteley at No 8 and has made 4 further changes on the bench.

One would have to flip a coin or be very bold to nominate a winner here, but I suppose the home side goes in with a slight advantage.

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