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Naas Botha

Naas Botha

Springbok legend and popular rugby pundit Naas Botha believes South Africa made an important evolutionary change in their game plan in their defeat to the All Blacks in Johannesburg last weekend.

Botha believes Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer needs to persist with the enterprising style adopted – something he believes is long overdue.

“What we saw on Saturday was totally different compared to what we’ve seen over the last couple of years but it should have happened 2 years ago,” Botha said in Midrand on Wednesday.

“I don’t think it is too late, I believe we should build on this now because what we saw over the weekend was quite impressive.

“Yes, we didn’t win and to be honest it is all about winning and they did surprise us with that last lineout.”

Botha was speaking at the launch of Creative Rugby which he co-wrote with Dr Kobus Neethling, a world leader in the field of creativity and whole-brain thinking.

The premise of the book is to promote whole-brain thinking, with modern players now on the same level in terms of fitness and skills.

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Jannie du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Francois Louw

Francois Louw

The Springboks will be without tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis and flanker Francois Louw when they face Argentina’s Los Pumas in Durban next Saturday, but the Springboks could have Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez and Willem Alberts back while at this stage their medical team is optimistic of delivering a fully fit squad to the selectors for the Rugby World Cup, it was announced on Tuesday.

De Villiers, Du Preez and Alberts are 3 of 7 players whose fitness will be assessed on Monday as they complete the final phase of rehabilitation while players such as Duane Vermeulen and Coenie Oosthuizen are progressing well with their rehabilitation.

Although Du Plessis (knee) and Louw (rotator cuff), along with Victor Matfield and JP Pietersen (both hamstring injuries) will miss the Tests against the Pumas, none of these injuries will put their Rugby World Cup participation at risk. Saturday’s other injury victims, Vincent Koch and Warren Whiteley (rib cartilages) should be fit and available for selection next weekend.

Jan Serfontein (hip and knee), Marcell Coetzee (knee), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee) and Steven Kitshoff (knee) will also be assessed on Monday with a view to being available to selection against the Pumas.

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Mario Ledesma

Mario Ledesma

Australia have turned to Argentina’s scrum maestro Mario Ledesma to change the perception that they are pushovers at scrum time in the countdown to September’s Rugby World Cup.

Ledesma, who played 84 Tests for Argentina as a hooker, has begun working with the Wallabies on set pieces after performing the same function for the Waratahs through the Super Rugby season.

The Wallabies much maligned scrum came in for more scrutiny after some shaky moments in their season-opening Rugby Championship Test against South Africa’s Springboks in Brisbane last weekend.

Australia’s scrum has regularly been targeted by opponents over the last decade to great effect, and they will be under enormous pressure at the World Cup against pool rivals and scrummaging powerhouses England and Wales.

Michael Cheika’s men can expect another thorough examination in Mendoza this weekend against Argentina, a nation renowned for their scrummaging prowess.

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ArgentinaVeteran Argentina back rowers Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Juan Manuel Leguizamon were named in a 28-man squad for next week’s Rugby Championship clash with New Zealand.

2 Other survivors from the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, wing Horacio Agulla and prop Marcos Ayerza, were also selected on Thursday for their 17 July tournament opener in Christchurch.

The squad will fly from Sydney on Saturday, where a pre-tournament squad of 36 were training with this year’s World Cup in England also in mind, the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) said.

The squad is dominated by players, including captain Agustin Creevy, contracted to the UAR for the Argentine franchise that will compete in Super Rugby next year.

7, Including former captain Fernandez Lobbe of Toulon, are part of the dwindling contingent of European-based players included.

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Michael Cheika - Wallabies coach

Michael Cheika – Wallabies coach

Wallaby coach Michael Cheika started to show his World Cup hand when he reduced his squad to just 31 players on Friday.

Cheika cut 9 players from the extended squad ahead of the opening Round of The Rugby Championship – when Australia play South Africa in Brisbane on 18 July.

Christian Lealiifano and Wycliff Palu were 2 of the high-profile casualties of the Wallaby cull.

The other 7 players left out from the initial 40-man train-on squad are Dave Dennis, James Hanson, Tetera Faulkner, Samu Kerevi, Toby Smith, Henry Speight and Nic White.

Following a gruelling 5-day camp at Sunshine Coast Stadium, the squad will assemble in Brisbane this Sunday 12 July.

The 31-man squad, captained by hooker Stephen Moore, boasts 2 non-capped players – with Rory Arnold and Taqele Naiyaravoro both closing in on their 1st Wallaby appearance.

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Stuart Lancaster

Stuart Lancaster

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has culled 5 players from his original wider squad for their next training camp in Denver.

The unlucky soles are Elliot Daly, Maro Itoje, Stephen Myler, Nick Easter and Ed Slater.

Daly, Slater, Itoje and Myler will return to their clubs to be on standby, while Easter is suffering from a back injury and will return to Harlequins for treatment, before rejoining the squad on 2 August following their post-Denver break.

Bad boy Danny Cipriani is still in the mix as Lancaster is waiting on the outcome of the drink-driving case before he makes a decision on the flyhalf.

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South Africa 2015 Rugby World Cup Jersey

The Minister of Sport has appealed to corporate South Africa to throw their weight behind the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup campaign in a public message.

Mr Fikile Mbalula asked South Africa’s employers – large and small – to join their workforce in supporting the campaign to wear their Springbok jerseys on BokFridays – starting tomorrow.

“It’s that time of year again where we have to wear our green and gold to support our national pride; the Springboks,” he said.

“Corporate South Africa, black green or yellow, Rainbow Nation, unite behind the Springboks and show your support by wearing the green the gold like me; the Springboks No 1 supporter.”

The Minister’s appeal came on the eve of the Springboks’ 1st match of the season – against a World XV at DHL Newlands on Saturday – and marks the countdown in earnest to the Rugby World Cup kick off in England on 18 September.

Fans have been asked to share the gees by wearing their officially licensed Springbok jerseys on the 11 Fridays between tomorrow and the big kick off.

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Bakkies Botha

Bakkies Botha

Bakkies Botha says that he is not waiting for a phone call from Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer as preparations for the Rugby World Cup in September continue.

Botha, who has just ended a 4-year stint in France with Toulon, says that he was aware of the speculation linking him with a surprise call-up to the Springbok World Cup squad but firmly denied his participation in the tournament.

On Tuesday last week, Meyer was quoted as saying on SuperSport’s Boots & All that Botha had popped into the Springboks training session and was “in good shape”. Meyer confirmed he’d asked Botha to “stay in shape” in case he was required for duty in England in September and October.

“Definitely not,” Botha, who is in Cape Town with the World XV preparing for Saturday’s clash against the Springboks, said however.

“There was speculation that I need to keep the door open for the World Cup. There were a lot of people who said that I have another World Cup in me and I truly believe I do have.

“But I think I called it a day because I know that my last game was when I came from the bench against England at Twickenham (the Springboks won 31 / 28 in November 2014) and I think that peace of mind, that inner peace in me, was the main reason I set a date to retire.

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England Rugby World Cup 2015 jersey

England Rugby World Cup 2015 jersey

 

Hosts England will have a 3D look at the World Cup, following the unveiling of their jersey on Monday.

England put the unveiling of the innovative England jersey in the hands of their most committed supporters, with more than 3 600 fans publishing the exclusive 1st image of the new shirt across their Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr feeds.

England captain Chris Robshaw was then joined by his teammates to officially reveal the team kit to the assembled media at Twickenham Stadium, before meeting with a number of core fans.

The new shirt features a range of innovations that have been developed through more than 220 hours of testing and over 250 000 miles of travel to improve both the look, feel and performance of the kit.

The rose symbolises the connection between the fans and the players and between former internationals who have worn the shirt and those who wear it now. In a striking innovative twist the rose has been 3D injection moulded, developed through rapid prototyping technology to standout in a way that merits the significance of the rose for players and fans alike. The shirt also features contoured ‘ball deadening’ grip placement to complement the players’ physique.

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Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Springbok No 8 and South Africa’s Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, Duane Vermeulen, is in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup following a diagnosis that he will require surgery on a neck injury.

The 29-year-old Vermeulen, who was also the SARPA Players’ Player of the Year and the Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, consulted a specialist in Durban on the recommendation of the Springbok medical team.

The need for surgery was identified to give him the best possible chance to recover in time for the global rugby showpiece in England in September and October. The operation is scheduled for Wednesday.

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Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has appointed veteran hooker Stephen Moore as captain of Australia for this year’s international campaigns.

A veteran of 92 Tests and Australia’s all-time most capped hooker, Moore has been reinstated as Wallaby captain, following a season-ending injury in his 1st outing as skipper.

Moore will be well supported in the role with 2014 Wallaby captain Michael Hooper and Test centurion Adam Ashley-Cooper named as the team’s vice-captains.

“Having spoken to the 2 vice-captains prior to Stephen, both of them couldn’t have made a higher endorsement of Stephen to the lead them personally, this playing group and our country,” Cheika said.

“Leadership is going to be a massive part of this journey, and both Adam and Michael will have a big part to play in supporting Stephen.

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Rugby World Cup 2023France, Ireland, Italy and South Africa have been confirmed as the 4 nations who will bid for the right to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The quartet all submitted formal expressions of interest before last month’s deadline.

A decision on which country will stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup will be made in May 2017 after a tender deadline in June next year.

South Africa staged the World Cup in 1995, when the Springboks won the tournament on home soil, while France played host to the 2007 edition.

However, neither Ireland nor Italy, 2 of Europe’s elite Six Nations along with France, have been the main hosts of a World Cup.

“The candidate hosts now have a year to benefit from detailed knowledge-sharing and preparation, including digesting the detailed tender requirements and observing World Cup 2015 hosting, before the confirmation to tender deadline of June 2016,” said World Cup tournament director Alan Gilpin in a statement.

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Jaco Peyper, referee for the opening game of the Rugby World Cup

Jaco Peyper, referee for the opening game of the Rugby World Cup

 

South Africa’s Jaco Peyper will have the honour of refereeing the opening match at Rugby World Cup 2015 in England as the hosts take on Fiji at Twickenham to kick off 44 days of unmissable rugby action.

Peyper, who is 35 and has refereed 20 internationals to date, has been appointed to the game on 18 September and he will be joined by assistant referees John Lacey of Ireland and Stuart Berry of South Africa while another South African, Shaun Veldsman, will be television match official.

With a further 7 matches taking place over the subsequent 2 days, there is no time for the match officials to ease their way into the tournament gently with no fewer than 22 of the 23 officials involved in some capacity that 1st weekend.

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Francois Steyn

Francois Steyn

Pieter-Steph du Toit

Pieter-Steph du Toit

Two injured players in the Springbok training squad, Frans Steyn and Pieter-Steph du Toit, have been temporarily released from the squad to continue their rehabilitation in Durban for the next few weeks.

Neither of them are expected to be fit for the Springboks’ 1st 2 matches of the season, next Saturday against the World XV in Cape Town and a week later against Australia in Brisbane. Steyn has a pectoral muscle tear, while Du Toit is recovering from a knee injury.

According to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer the decision to send Steyn and Du Toit home was taken with the best interests of the players in mind.

“We’ve discussed the way forward with the players, and all of us agreed that the best way forward at this stage is for them to get full-time rehabilitation at their home province, while our own medical team will keep very close tabs on their progress,” said Meyer.

“Both of them are still firmly in our plans going forward for the season and I really hope they can get back onto the field sooner rather than later. I’m confident the individual attention they will receive in Durban will be a massive benefit to them in the long run.

“We won’t be taking Frans or Pieter-Steph with us to Australia and will reassess their situation when we return from Brisbane.”

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New Zealand Rugby have paid homage to the most iconic of All Blacks teams, The Originals, in the design of their World Cup jersey which includes the latest in sporting apparel technology.

Developed with the input of All Blacks management and senior players, the jersey features a special design across the shoulders and chest – inspired by the famous leather yoke which adorned The Originals jersey.

The subtle design change pays respect to the legendary Originals team which toured the United Kingdom, France and the USA in 1905 – 1906 – losing just 1 match on their famous 35-match tour.

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Frans Ludeke

Frans Ludeke

Former Vodacom Bulls head coach Frans Ludeke could be heading to the World Cup in England in September as part of the Fijian coaching staff.

The 47-year-old stepped down as the Bulls’ head coach in June and is set to be heading to the Pacific Island where he will link up with the Fijians as they begin preparations for the global showpiece.

World-Cup winning Springbok lock Victor Matfield, who is eyeing the Bulls coaching job, revealed that Ludeke was off to Fiji to help the Islanders in the World Cup.

“It’s always sad to see someone go but sometimes the time for change comes. I’ve learned so much from Frans and there are so many players who also learned a lot from him during the 8 seasons with the Bulls.

“I think he’s going to Fiji to help them with the World Cup and I wish him success with that as well,” Matfield said.

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Ofisa Treviranus

Ofisa Treviranus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Francois Louw

Francois Louw

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

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

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

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

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

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Andries Bekker

Andries Bekker

Jaque Fourie

Jaque Fourie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers

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

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

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

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

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

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ItalyItaly’s World Cup preparations are back on track after players and the national federation (FIR) reached an agreement over bonuses.

A training camp scheduled to start on Monday 15 June had been called off as the row over World Cup bonuses and other issues escalated.

Both sides accused the other of cancelling the training camp, although Italy’s players refused to leave their base in the northern town of Villabassa, where they were due to remain in camp until 3 July.

“The agreement will be sealed quickly in order to swiftly reconvene the World Cup preparation camp,” the FIR said in a statement.

A meeting at the Calvisano base of FIR president Alfredo Gavazzi allowed the “basis for a collective agreement to participate at the World Cup while respecting the meritocratic principles proposed by the federation and the requests, not just those economic, put forward by the players,” the statement said.

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ItalyItaly’s World Cup preparations got off on the wrong foot on Monday, when players refused to take part in the 1st training session in a row over pay.

The Italian Rugby Federation said it had “taken note” of the players’ decision “to neither take part in training nor wear federation kit before a financial agreement is found over participation in training and the World Cup”.

40 Players had gathered at Niederdorf / Villabassa, close to the northern town of Bolzano, for the 14 June to 3 July training camp.

However, captain Sergio Parisse and veteran prop Martin Castrogiovanni were both absent after their Top 14 efforts with Stade Francais and Toulon respectively.

The Italian internationals want a match-by-match bonus for the 18 September to 31 October World Cup in England instead of a once-off payment linked to their performances, as desired by the federation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Michael Hooper

Michael Hooper

Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore

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

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

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

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

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

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Frans Ludeke

Frans Ludeke

Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

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

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

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

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

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

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Springboks RWC Jersey 2015

The new ASICS-designed and manufactured Springbok jersey for the Rugby World Cup was launched at a glittering event in Cape Town on Thursday, with the 100 day mark to the start of the global showpiece fast approaching.

The launch of the iconic jersey is the culmination of months of hard work by scientists at the ASICS Institute of Sport Science in Kobe, Japan, in collaboration with the South African Rugby Union (SARU).

Jean de Villiers, Tendai Mtawarira, Eben Etzebeth, Bismarck du Plessis, Duane Vermeulen, Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks and Pat Lambie took part in an extensive testing programme in Japan to fine tune the final product. They were accompanied by Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and other members of the management team.

The main aims in the design of the Springboks’ apparel were to reduce weight without compromising on strength. The jersey for the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be the lightest ever worn by South Africa, at 70 grams lighter than any previous jersey.

It also has smooth surface making it harder than ever before to keep hold of in the tackle, while an area which has seen significant development after player insight is the Super-Grip silicone which features on the chest of the jersey.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

There is a method to the apparent ‘madness’ of Heyneke Meyer’s approach to the Springboks’ 2015 World Cup campaign.

Spending some time with the Bok mentor at a training camp in Cape Town this week, it became abundantly clear just how much preparation has already gone into South Africa’s campaign.

In fact the Bok coach even investigated the hotel beds the players will encounter during their stay in England in September and October – prompting media banter that the ‘Bok coach is sleeping on the job’.

However, even the massive 40-odd players at the 2 training camps – in Johannesburg last month and Cape Town this week – are part of a carefully orchestrated plan to ensure the Boks have the best possible chance of becoming the 1st country to win the Webb Ellis Cup for a 3rd time.

Meyer said the large squads are all part of his long-term plan, with a lot of the younger players that he can take forward.

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