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AustraliaAustralia’s 2015 World Cup preparations will be well tested on their end-of-season European tour in November with coach Ewen McKenzie trying to replicate their potential campaign for the Webb Ellis trophy as much as possible.

McKenzie’s side will play five matches on five successive weekends, which includes clashes against World Cup Pool A opponents England and Wales.

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David Malan & Ben Robinson - Abie Malan Jersey - smallBenn Robinson could finally relax.

The Waratahs and Wallabies prop had been on edge for weeks, carrying around a precious piece of Australian and South African rugby history believed lost for decades.

It had brought him to a hotel lobby in Cape Town, where David Malan was waiting to receive the missing Springboks jersey his father, Abie Malan, had worn to captain South Africa against the Wallabies 51 years earlier.

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Ewen McKenzieAustraliaWallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said on Friday that the attitude of players as much as form will help him decide the makeup of his team as he plots a course towards next year’s Rugby World Cup.

McKenzie said the desire to wear the gold jersey and professionalism would be major factors in weighing up contenders ahead of June’s three-Test home series against France.

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Rugby World Cup 2015South AfricaSouth African rugby fans need not worry about securing match tickets for Springbok matches at Rugby World Cup 2015 in England following the establishment of SA Rugby Travel, it was announced on Tuesday.

The new company – a joint venture between the South African Rugby Union and Tourvest Destination Management – has secured thousands of tickets for likely Springbok matches and tailored packages to suit a wide range of fans’ pockets and experience choices.

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Quade CooperQuade Cooper’s remarkable return could culminate with him becoming the next Wallaby captain after Ben Mowen’s shock decision to quit Australian rugby.

Mowen on Thursday announced that he’ll join the French exodus at the end of the year, seemingly leaving vice-captain Cooper next in line to lead Australia.

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James O'ConnorWallaby James O’Connor is hot property in Europe at the moment, but it has been confirmed he will return home to Australia next January.

O’Connor went into a self-imposed exile last year after being dumped from the Wallaby squad by coach Ewen McKenzie and had his contract torn up by the Australian Rugby Union over his ongoing alcohol-related transgressions.

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2013The year was full of spectacular moments and performances as well as disappointing lows and infamous incidents; we name and shame the best and worst in our 2013 Awards.

New Zealand and Wales ruled their respective hemispheres for the second successive year, the All Blacks enjoying a flawless 2013 campaign.

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WalesAustraliaNew ZealandSouth AfricaWales will have an opportunity to break their SANZAR bogey when they face the world’s top three sides in next year’s November internationals.

The International Rugby Board’s (IRB) top three ranked sides, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia will visit the Millennium Stadium along with Pacific Island nation Fiji.

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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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End Of Year Tours - 2013Round 5 of the End Of Year Tours is the last Round of the tour and also signals the end of the Southern Hemisphere season as well as the welcome rest period for Southern Hemisphere teams.

This weekend does not see quite as much rugby, compared to to the previous 4 Rounds as it only has 2 matches, but it is going to be two great clashes. Any weekend with rugby is all in all still a good weekend.

Here are some head to head statistics and predictions.

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WalesWinger Alex Cuthbert has made a surprise return to the Wales team to play Australia on Saturday after recovering ahead of time from an ankle injury that initially seemed to rule him out of the entire autumn series.

Cuthbert will reunited with his British and Irish Lions back three partners George North and Leigh Halfpenny as Wales hope the Lions influence can end their own dismal run against the Wallabies.

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New ZealandIrelandFranceWalesEnglandAustraliaSouth AfricaNew Zealand media have dubbed the 2013 All Blacks “The Unbeatables” after their perfect season, but acknowledged their rivals are closing the gap ahead of the next World Cup.

The tone was more relieved than triumphant after the New Zealanders snatched a 24-22 result over a desperately unlucky Ireland to record 14 wins from 14 and become the first international side in the professional era to win every single Test in a calendar year.

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