Russia will take the narrowest of leads with them to Montevideo in two weeks’ time after they beat Uruguay 22-21 in Saturday’s first leg of the final Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifier in Krasnoyarsk. However, while no team likes to lose a game of rugby, Uruguay’s Pablo Lemoine will probably be the more satisfied of the two coaches as his side is still very much in contention at what is effectively half-time. Of course, the fact that the second half will most likely be played on a warm day in front 12,000 home fans will give him cause for optimism after his team held their own in the near-freezing conditions and vociferous Siberian crowd of the first 80 minutes.
But for Russia’s indiscipline and the cultured right boot of fly-half Felipe Berchesi, who slotted seven penalties, the gap would have been more. Two yellow cards, a high penalty count and the spurning of several try-scoring opportunities did nothing for the mood of Russia coach Raphael Saint-Andre but he will know that his team was the more creative on the day and, if they can somehow learn to compete at set pieces and improve their defence at mauls, they too can make the long journey to South America with some confidence.
Russia remain in the hunt for the final place at Rugby World Cup 2015 after beating Zimbabwe 23-15 in their Repechage semi-final in Krasnoyarsk on Saturday.
The Bears, bidding to reach a second consecutive tournament, will now face the winner of the match later today in Montevideo between Uruguay and Hong Kong for the right to join hosts England, Australia, Wales and Fiji in Pool A at RWC 2015.
The choice of England as the host nation for next year’s Rugby World Cup is a fitting one, as it is of course the birthplace of the game.
There is a good sense of continuity after the 2011 edition in New Zealand, as the Land of the Long White Cloud is considered one of the sport’s great heartlands. There is a sense of the battle for the Webb Ellis Cup moving from one side of the world to the other.
The southern Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk may not be the geographical halfway point between Eden Park and Twickenham but it is not too far from it at nearly 8,000 miles from Auckland and almost 4,500 miles from London.
So, perhaps it is apt that the Russian city is to play host to the Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifier between Russia and Zimbabwe with a place in the repechage final against either Uruguay or Hong Kong up for grabs.
This weekend sees Round 4 of the 2013 End Of Year Tours. It is the last weekend on tour for the Springboks from South Africa, with their last game on tour probably the most difficult one. A a win over France will see the Springboks ending with what can be called a great season.
All in all a good weekend of rugby lies ahead and it will be enjoyed the world over, like always. Here are the head to head stats to help you with your SuperBru picks. Good luck to all sides.
Ting Ting… Round 3 of the End Of Year Tours and it is another weekend filled with lots of rugby. This weekend has a total of 11 clashes and some great ones to predict.
When the Southern teams go North, every match is hyped up as both hemispheres want to prove a point and claim global domination. The big games this weekend to look forward to is England vs New Zealand, Ireland vs Australia and finally Scotland vs South Africa. All in all a good weekend ahead for rugby and it should be enjoyed the world over.
The European climax of the HSBC Sevens World Series kicked off in Scotland with Round Eight this weekend, the Glasgow Sevens at Scotstoun Stadium. The Tournament ran from Saturday 4 to Sunday 5 May.
With ONE more game to go, who will take the CUP, South Africa or New Zealand?
Well, that question was answered in Green and Gold… Blitzbokke take the Glasgow title, with a win by 28 / 21.
Lions 51 (20) / (3) 13 Russia (Final Score)
The Lions and Russian Bears did battle in the first game of the MTN Lions Challenge at Ellis Park, Johannesburg at 19:00 SA Time.
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD4 & CSN on TV in SA.
The Lions proved to be too strong for a game Russia side who never stopped trying. The Lions ran in 5 tries, and were awarded a further 2 penalty tries on a cold and damp Highveld evening.. The Lions still have a way to go before any possible promotion / relegation games for Super Rugby 2014, but after a display like this to build on, coach Johan Ackermann will feel they have started on the right path.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann has named five debutants in the starting line-up to face the Russian Bears at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Lock Franco Mostert, flank Warwick Tecklenburg, flyhalf Lionel Cronje and centres Harold Vorster and Stokkies Hanekom will all make their first appearance for the Johannesburg side in the first match of the Lions Challenge series.
On Tuesday the Lions announced a 35-man squad that will take part in the Lions Challenge series that kicks off against Russia this Saturday at Ellis Park.
The fixtures include matches from the “Lions Challenge”, as well as some friendlies against Super Rugby opposition as well as a number of international, American and European club sides.
The full media release from the Lions follows:
Russia (9) 26 / 40 (21) USA (Final Score)
Russia and the USA Eagles did battle in the IRB International Rugby Series at Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay, Wales at 20:00 SA Time.
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.