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Romain PoiteSteve WalshFrancisco PastranaIRBNo, this is no April Fools joke, it is true… the IRB has released the names of the Match Official Appointments for the June International Test window!

Romain Poite (FFR), hated by most South Africans, will referee the match between South Africa and Wales on 14 June 2014 at Growthpoint Kings Park and will be assisted by Steve Walsh (ARU), Francisco Pastrana (UAR) and Vinnie Munro (NZR).

One could be forgiven to believe, despite our assurances, that this MUST SURELY be an April Fools joke, because apart from the run-in with Romain Poite, South Africans have had run-in’s by Steve Walsh too and just recently Francisco Pastrana was taken off the Super Rugby officiating lists till further notice for his abhorrent and totally inept refereeing performance against yet another South African side.

Let’s cut to the chase and just place the Official Appointments list here for you…

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Edinburgh RugbyglasgowrugbyOne of the advantages of having the national rugby union in control of its clubs was highlighted by today’s announcement by the Scottish Rugby Union of the loan of Edinburgh tight head prop Geoff Cross to Glasgow Warriors for the rest of the season due to injuries to two of Glasgow’s props.

Glasgow Warriors are currently in fifth position on the RaboDirect PRO12 log, 3 points behind the forth placed Ospreys,  with two games in hand over the teams above them. This loan arrangement indicates that Glasgow reaching the knockout stages of the PRO12 must be considered priority by the Scottish Rugby Union, and as such they and Edinburgh Rugby need to be applauded for this decision.

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ERCA new European Cup accord will be signed this week after nearly two years of fraught negotiations and stand-offs. The six unions involved in the tournament, together with officials from competing sides in England, France and Wales, met in Paris on Monday to finalise the details.

It was hoped the stakeholders would be able to sign the heads of agreement at the meeting but the translation of the document into Italian was completed only over the weekend and their rugby federation said it had not had time to fully scrutinise it.

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Stuart HoggScotlandScotland’s Stuart Hogg made a public apology after being sent off during his side’s record Six Nations defeat by Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

The full-back was given his marching orders at the Millennium Stadium by French referee Jerome Garces in the 22nd minute following a late shoulder charge into the face of Wales fly-half Dan Biggar.

Garces intially produced a yellow card but, after viewing replays on the stadium’s giant screen, changed it to a red.

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SIX-NationsWales, France, Ireland, England, Scotland and Italy have named thie teams for the weekend’s Six Nations action.

Wales named 6 changes in their side for the clash against Scotland.

France made 4 changes to their side, including bringing back Gael Fickou, for their clash against Ireland on the weekend.

Ireland made just 1 change to their side to face France.

England made no changes to their starting side and has made only 1 change on the bench, bringing back Manusamoa Tuilagi in the place of Alex Goode, for their clash with Italy in Rome.

After initially only naming the forwards and sweating over the composition of his backline, Scotland coach, Scott Johnson, has named his backline, with Edinburgh winger Dougie Fife winning his first cap.

Italy coach, Jacques Brunel, has made 3 changes to the Italy side, to face England, with Sergio Parisse returning to the fold and leading the team.

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FranceFrance manager Philippe Saint-Andre has made seven changes to the team that put in a dismal display against Wales as Les Bleus seek to put their Six Nations challenge back on track when they face Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Saint-Andre has remained loyal to Jules Plisson at flyhalf for the fourth match in a row, pairing the Stade Français player with Maxime Machenaud and relegating Jean-Marc Doussain to the bench.

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ScotlandScotland have made three changes including recalls for Kelly Brown and Geoff Cross in their Six Nations championship match against France at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Cross has been rewarded for his contribution off the bench in the 21-20 win against Italy, with the starting berth at tight-head and David Denton enlisted for the back-row in place of Ryan Wilson who has been laid low by a tonsillitis bug over the last few days. Brown starts instead of Chris Fusaro.

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SIX-NationsThe fourth round of the 2014 RBS 6 Nation Championship takes place this weekend with the first match kicking off in Dublin on Saturday where Ireland host Italy. Scotland are hosts to France shortly after this, while the final game of the weekend takes place on Sunday with England hosting Wales at Twickenham.

There  has been a bit of a gap in Six Nations action with no games played last weekend and so the thinking has been that this may be a good time to share an article to remind us of the action from the previous round.

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ScotlandFranceScotland were boosted by the availability of stalwart tight head prop Euan Murray for this Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations encounter against France at Murrayfield.

Murray has yet to feature in the tournament this year due to an injured thumb.

Meanwhile, France hooker Dimitri Szarzewski has become the latest in a long list of French players who will be unable to play in the match. He misses out due to an ankle injury.

This means that France will fielding their third choice hooker on Saturday.

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ScotlandEnglandScotland Women head coach, Jules Maxton, has shown faith in the same 23 person squad, who lost to Ireland in the opening Six Nations tie, to take on England today, Sunday February 9th in Aberdeen.

The match is due to kick off at 16:00 SA Time (14:00 GMT) and will be broadcast live on Scottish Rugby Unions YouTube channel.

Our resident Scot, Bullscot, is at the game.

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RBS Six NationsIt is the 2nd week of RBS Six Nations rugby this weekend.

As usual, there will be 3 Six Nation games on the weekend, between these 6 participationg countries, 2 on Saturday and 1 on Sunday.

Ireland host Wales on Saturday, 16:30 SA Time (14:30 GMT).

Scotland host England on Saturday, 19:00 SA Time (17:00 GMT).

France host Italy on Sunday, 17:00 SA Time (16:00 France Time, 15:00 GMT).

Rugby-Talk will feature LIVE GAME ARTICLES for all 3 games.

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glasgowrugbyWinger Lee Jones has been added to the Glasgow Warriors squad for the forthcoming RaboDirect PRO12 matches, to provide injury cover until the end of the season.

The 25-year-old returns from Scotland 7s duty in New Zealand following his agreed loan from Edinburgh Rugby and will be available for this Sunday’s game against Connacht at Scotstoun Stadium.

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