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The Rugby Championship

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South AfricaHarold VersterFree State Rugby Union CEO Harold Verster says the union will next host a Test match in the 2016 season.

Verster wrote a column on the Volksblad website where he explained to fans the situation regarding the union’s hosting of Test matches.

Verster said the union gave up its right to host last year’s Rugby Championship Test between South Africa and Argentina.

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South AfricaThe Springboks will face 2013 Six Nations champions Wales in two Tests in Durban and Nelspruit during the Castle Lager Incoming Series in June, followed by a once-off international against Scotland in Port Elizabeth.

The fixtures were confirmed by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Wednesday.

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The Rugby ChampionshipSANZAR have announced the draw for the 2014 Rugby Championship which will start on the 16th of August when Australia host New Zealand in Sydney.

The 2014 Super Rugby season ends on August the 2nd and then the Southern Hemisphere’s best players will get the weekend of August the 9th off and then the Rugby Championship starts a week later on the 16th.

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ABSA Currie CupSharksDHL WPWith The Rugby Championship now done and dusted, the Springbok players involved look set to be returning to their Provincial Unions and respective overseas Clubs to continue plying their trade.

This of course leaves Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer a worried man and wishing he was in the fortunate situation which the All Blacks coach finds himself, where the All Black players will rest some more before the November Internationals start (of course there is still the matter of a Bledisloe Cup encounter between the All Blacks and Wallabies to consider on 18 October).

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Jean de VilliersDane ColesAll Black coach Steve Hansen has rightly commended Springbok captain Jean de Villiers for the way in which he handled the substitute mishap of Dane Coles in their Rugby Championship Test at Ellis Park on Saturday.

On the field there was some confusion and discussion well after the All Blacks had brought replacement hooker Dane Coles on for Andrew Hore in the 2nd half.

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ArgentinaAustraliaPumas (10) 17 / 54 (25) Wallabies (Final Score)

The Argentinian Pumas and Australian Wallabies did battle in The Rugby Championship at

Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario at 00:40 Sunday SA Time (19:40 ARG Time, 22:40 GMT, 09:40 Sunday EDT Aus Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.

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South AfricaNew ZealandThis important Test match is turning out to be the final of The Rugby Championship of 2013, however it is not a winner-takes-all final, but rather a terms-and-conditions-apply final.

A draw or a win for the All Blacks and the trophy is theirs. The Springboks on the other hand need to do a lot more. They need 4 tries, they need to prevent the All Blacks from scoring 4 tries and they need to beat the All Blacks by more than 7 points to win the trophy. If the Springboks just win the match without scoring 4 tries they will finish second, 1 Log point behind the All Blacks. All the All Blacks need is 1 solitary Log point, to secure this year’s Rugby Championship.

The Springboks have a great record at Ellis Park, when facing the All Blacks and recorded a massive win here under the coaching of Jake White in 2004 of 40 / 26.

For the Springboks to take the title will be a tall order, but not an impossible one. This could turn out to be the clash of the year.

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ArgentinaAustraliaWith the Pumas hosting the Wallabies this weekend it is still all to play for for both sides to avoid the wooden spoon in The Rugby Championship.

These two teams are facing their own demons this season as the Pumas have recorded no wins and the Wallabies only one win in this year’s competition. The Pumas will be backing themselves for a win against a struggling Wallaby team who also aeem to be full of internal politics about pay disputes.

The losing team in this clash will finish at the bottom of the Log. This clash will be an interesting one as both teams want to prove a point.

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Graham HenryWorld Cup-winning coach Graham Henry, affectionally also known as “Ted”, could find himself in hot water once again for disparaging remarks he has made about match officials.

The former All Blacks boss who is now a technical advisor for the Pumas, had some choice words to say about the standards of refereeing in the Rugby Championship, saying that referees and the judicial panel have been “totally inconsistent” and are “a weakness in the game.”

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New ZealandRichie McCawSteve Hansen, the All Blacks coach has made only 2 changes to the All Blacks starting 15 for their important Test match and a fitting finale to The Rugby Championship, against the Springboks of South Africa at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

As expected, Richie McCaw returns to captain the side and fill the openside flanker role, with Sam Cane dropping to the bench. Richie will play in his 120th Test match and has never had the opportunity to play in a Test at Ellis Park.

The injured prop, Owen Franks, has failed to recover from a groin strain and has been replaced by Charlie Faumuina at tighthead prop, with Ben Franks coming onto the bench.

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South AfricaTendai MtawariraTendai “Beast” Mtawarira will play in his 50th Test for the Springboks when they take on New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday, in the final round of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

The 28-year-old Mtawarira, who made his Test debut on 14 June 2008 against Wales in Pretoria, will become the 27th Springbok to reach 50 Test caps, following hot on the heels of his fellow front rankers, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, as well as Morné Steyn.

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South AfricaIt may come as a surprise to Springbok fans, but coach Heyneke Meyer has lamented the fact that his team has fallen behind the All Blacks in terms of their kicking game, with the Boks being far too wayward in their kicking this season.

While the Boks have made massive strides at the breakdown under consultant Richie Gray and currently lead the Castle Lager Rugby Championship standings for turnovers won in the competition, they have fallen behind in terms of their kicking game – something that has always been a strength.

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Ben MowenAustralia’s Rugby Championship campaign is being threatened by a pay row involving one of the key players in the team.

Media reports suggest Ben Mowen is considering walking out over a payment dispute with the Australian Rugby Union – just a fortnight after captaining the team against Argentina.

The 28-year-old is understood to be frustrated because he’s not receiving a top-up contract from the ARU, despite being a regular starter for the Wallabies.

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Flip van der MerweFranco van der MerweThe Springboks were dealt a big blow when burly lock Flip van der Merwe was banned for one week and will miss the Rugby Championship decider at Ellis Park on Saturday.

A SANZAR judicial hearing found Flip van der Merwe guilty of contravening Law 10.4(e): Dangerous Tackling, which also constituted a breach of Law 10.4 (a): Striking.

The Bok lock was cited after South Africa’s 28-8 demolition of Australia in Cape Town at the weekend.

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New ZealandRichie McCawThe All Blacks headed to South Africa on Monday banking on the return of talismanic captain Richie McCaw to put the seal on another successful season.

Although New Zealand require just a single bonus point to retain their Rugby Championship title, they are determined to seal it by beating arch rivals South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday.

And the All Blacks are confident they will have McCaw in their arsenal.

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BonusHow big is the role that bonus points play in rugby these days? Are teams and specifically SA teams scared of bonus points or impotent to get them?

Has the bonus point hurdle become to high for SA teams to get over, or are SA teams just coached wrong in terms of bonus points?

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The Rugby ChampionshipIt was the penultimate Round of rugby in The Rugby Championship of 2013, with the South African Springboks playing the Australian Wallabies at Newlands, Cape Town and the Argentinian Pumas playing the New Zealand All Blacks in Argentina.

The Springboks comfortably beat the Wallabies by 28 / 8, however a 4th bonus point try just barely eveded them, whilst the All Blacks won away from home against the Pumas by 33 / 15, barely getting their 4th try in the dying seconds of the match.

The All Blacks are now 5 points clear on the Combined Log (23 points), the Springboks 2nd (18 points), followed at quite some distance by the Wallabies (4 points) and the Pumas (2 points).

The competion is now poised for two games next weekend, where the Springboks and All Blacks will contest for the Championship title, whilst the loser between the Pumas and Wallabies will receive the wooden spoon for 2013.

Here are 2 highlites videos of the matches played:

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South AfricaBoth Springboks coach and captain, Heyneke Meyer and Jean de Villiers were very pleased following their convincing 28-8 win over the Wallabies at DHL Newlands on Saturday night.

The Springboks scored three tries, but neither the coach nor captain dwelled on a fourth try that would have resulted in a bonus point win.

The vital Springbok win temporarily placed them on equal terms with the New Zealand All Blacks on The Rugby Championship Log, till the All Blacks beat the Pumas from Argentina later in the night, by 33-15 and in the process scoring a 4th try on the final hooter. This now leaves the All Blacks (23 Log Points) 5 Log Points clear of the Springboks (18 Log Points) prior to the finale at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on 5 October. The Springboks would have to achieve a full haul of 5 Log Points whilst also beating the All Blacks by more than 7 points and at the same time not conceeding 4 tries in the last match to clinch The Rugby Championship. In anybody’s language THAT is a tall order against the No 1 team in the world, but at least the Springboks are in with a fighting chance.

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Flip van der MerweFlip van der Merwe of South Africa has been cited for alleged foul play during a Rugby Championship match at the weekend.

Van der Merwe is alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (a) Punching or Striking when he made contact with Australian winger Joe Tomane. The incident occurred in the 39th minute of the match between South Africa and Australia at DHL Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday 28 September.

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ArgentinaNew ZealandPumas (9) 15 / 33 (11) All Blacks (Final Score)

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

de la Plata, La Plata, Argentina at 00:40 Sunday SA Time (19:40 ARG Time, 22:40 GMT, 11:40 Sunday NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.

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South AfricaAustraliaA win in this match is crucial for the Springboks if they are to still have a chance of winning the tounament at the conclusion of the Test against the All Blacks next weekend, a loss could mean season over as far as silver wear goes.

The Wallabies are battling under new coaching staff and winning has become an extinct species down under.

They managed their first win this year in The Rugby Championship in their last encounter against the Pumas, with one solitary point, having scored zero points in the second half.

All in all it is doubtful that the Wallabies will walk away with a win in this match, having said that, they will not make it easy for the Springboks, in a must win match.

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