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WP Nel

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Huw Jones

Head Coach Vern Cotter has made six personnel changes to the Scotland team to face Japan in this Saturday’s second summer Test match at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo (25 June, kick-off 11.20am BST, 7.20pm JST) – live on BBC.

The alterations are split evenly between the backs and forwards, with a positional switch made in each division to accommodate the new faces.

Scrum-half Henry Pyrgos, wing Sean Maitland and centre Peter Horne all come off the bench to start the match, with Pyrgos taking on the captaincy and kicking duties from Greig Laidlaw.

Maitland is promoted in place of Damien Hoyland, with Sean Lamont coming into the squad among the substitutes, while Horne comes into midfield in place of the injured Duncan Taylor (hamstring), prompting a move to outside-centre for Matt Scott to accommodate the Warriors playmaker.

In the pack, Rory Sutherland remains in possession of the loosehead berth he inherited in the third minute of last weekend’s Test win over Japan, when Alasdair Dickinson limped off with a hamstring injury, earning his first start for the national team.

On the other side of the front-row, Moray Low swaps places with try-scorer Willem Nel to start his first Test since the 2014 summer tour win over Canada in Toronto, while Josh Strauss comes in to the back-row for John Hardie, with John Barclay moving to openside to make room for Strauss on the blindside.

Other notable inclusions see prop Gordon Reid (who arrived in Tokyo on Monday) take up a spot among the replacements, with uncapped centre Huw Jones set for an international debut if called upon from the bench.

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Scottish Rugby have released a sneak preview of the new Scotland home and away kit which will be available from the 8th of July. The clip features a few players including former Loeriesfontein strong man WP Nel. The burly tight-head prop, who scored a try early in the second half against Japan last weekend,  can be seen grinning about midway through the clip below.

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Jannie du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis is telling the story of the day the Springboks decided to change their entire lineout book in the build-up to Saturday’s World Cup match with Scotland.

The tighthead prop, with 66 caps packed into his near-33 years, bows his head and laughs.

“It was Monday. Black Monday,” he explains.

“Our forwards coach came in and said, ‘OK, on the weekend Scotland will have Josh Strauss and WP Nel in their team. We respect them as rugby players and we respect their ability to understand lineout calls in Afrikaans. So we’re changing our calls.’

“We said, ‘What? All of them?’ Our coach said, ‘Yes, every one. We start today.’ There was more than 1 sigh of frustration in that room, I can tell you. We were saying, ‘No! How am I going to learn all of this in a week!’ Maybe it’s a blessing. We made so many mistakes with the old ones. Maybe we needed to change anyway.”

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Josh Strauss

Josh Strauss

Josh Strauss is set to make his debut for Scotland on Wednesday as he has been named as a replacement for the Rugby World Cup match against Japan in Gloucester. Fellow South African WP Nel has been named in the starting line up for this match.

 

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 David Denton, 7 John Hardie, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Josh Strauss, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Sean Maitland.

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Josh Strauss

Josh Strauss

WP Nel

WP Nel

You would think after years of repeated and soul-destroying failure in the Six Nations, those with an affection for the Scotland team would be looking at the upcoming Rugby World Cup with some trepidation.

Some do fear that a 2nd successive group stage exit is a distinct possibility but others will tell you that this tournament represents an opportunity for an emerging squad to spring some shocks on the rugby elite.

Scotland begin their campaign against Japan at Kingsholm on 23 September before facing the USA and 2-time champions South Africa ahead of the final – and potentially decisive – pool match against Samoa.

3 Former Scotland internationals were asked to assess how Scotland will fare in the World Cup.

  • Chris Paterson ( CP ) is Scotland’s record cap holder and played in 4 World Cups from 1999 through to 2007.
  • Peter Wright ( PW ) won 21 caps for Scotland, played at the 1995 World Cup and was selected for the 1993 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.
  • John Beattie ( JB ) appeared 25 times for Scotland, was part of the 1984 Grand Slam winning squad and toured twice with the British & Irish Lions.

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ScotlandScotland’s 31-man Rugby World Cup squad has been named, the players have been told, and it was publicly announced this afternoon at Edinburgh University.

After almost 3 months of hard training and 2 wins out of 3 in the warm-up games, Vern Cotter has made his decision and the paperwork has been delivered to the tournament organisers. Supporters were treated at the Old College Quad to see today’s announcement, which was made at 14:30 BST (15:30 SA Time), and supporters had a chance to mingle with the players afterwards.

Following Saturday’s 48 / 7 win over Italy at BT Murrayfield, Cotter and his coaching staff met for final discussions and assessments of the medical reports before confirming the squad and informing the players of the decision.

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WP Nel

WP Nel

WP Nel is due to start a test match for Scotland for the 1st time when they face Italy at BT Murrayfield on Saturday. The burly tighthead prop from Loeriesfontein qualifies to play for Scotland on residency grounds, having played for Edinburgh for the last 3 years. Nel who earned his 1st Scotland cap against Italy in Turin last weekend when he came on as a substitute in the 47th minunte is 1 of 14 changes that has been made to the starting team.

Sean Lamont is the only player who retains his place in the starting line-up from last week with several players in the match day squad making their 1st appearance in this series of warm-up matches.

Head coach Vern Cotter announced his team today and the starting line-up appears to be close to what could be considered his 1st choice 15. The halfbacks and fullback look to be Cotter’s favoured choices while there may still be 1 or 2 changes on the wings and 1 at centre. Up front we are likely to be seeing the 1st choice tight 5 in action while there will possibly still be a change or 2 to the loose forward trio.

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WP Nel

WP Nel

At the end of a trying season of provincial rugby under the sweltering South African sun, Willem Petrus Nel trudged exhausted from the field.

He turned to his coach and mentor, Pierre Ribbens, a distinguished ex-prop for the Bulls in what is now the Super 15 competition, the cream of the Southern Hemisphere game.

“I think I’m done with rugby – I don’t want to play anymore,” he said.

In late 2008, the 22-year-old tight-head had completed his agricultural studies, his certificate signed and stamped. From university some 250 miles to the south, the pull of home, the sheep farm he had been raised tending and the rolling mountains of the Northern Cape was strong.

“Give me a week,” replied Ribbens.

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Glasgow WarriorsEdinburghThis weekend represents the final chance for Gregor Townsend and Alan Solomons, head coaches of Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby, to test out various combinations in a match situation ahead of the 2014/2015 season which starts in all earnest next weekend. Edinburgh played their pre-season friendly match last night against Newcastle Falcons in Hawick while Glasgow Warriors face London Scottish in London.

In last night’s match the final score was Edinburgh Rugby 21(11)/15 (10) Newcastle Falcons. Alan Solomons was pleased with the win as although it was only a friendly match they had gone into it with the mind-set of it being a competitive one.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011Peter Murchie scored twice as Glasgow Warriors climbed to second in the RaboDirect PRO12 table with a dramatic 37-34 win over Edinburgh that also sealed them the 1872 Cup for a fifth year in a row.

In their rescheduled clash after January’s fixture was washed out, the Warriors ran in three tries in the first half through Murchie, the departing Ruaridh Jackson and Mark Bennett.

WP Nel barrelled over for the visitors who struggled with ill discipline as they lost a man in each half to the sin bin but Murchie bagged a second soon after the interval to put the Warriors in control.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011Edinburgh_Rugby_logoEdinburgh Rugby will welcome the return of captain Greig Laidlaw this Sunday as they look to repeat last season’s away success against Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park (6 October, kick-off 3.05pm South African Time).  The 27-year-old scrum-half – who kicked the winning drop-goal on that day last year – has recovered from the knee injury that has kept him side-lined since the summer to make his first competitive outing of the season.

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The RaboDirect Pro12 2012/13 season kicked off on Friday night with Welsh outfit Newport Gwent Dragons hosting tournament newcomers the Italian team Zebre. The Dragons slayed Zebre, outscoring the visitors by four tries to none.

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Early last month Edinburgh Rugby announced they had acquired the services of former England and Lions star flanker Neil Back; as forwards coach.

Yesterday, Edinburgh indicated they had bolstered their hooking options by signing another former Lions player, and one time Sale Sharks stalwart, hooker Andy Titterrell.

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Hello all, I have been coerced into being a contributing author on Rugby-Talk, providing a Cheetah perspective on all things rugby! This is new territory for me, but in the interests of Cheetahs supporters, and the growth of Rugby-Talk, I will give it a good old whirl.

In today’s Article, I will look at the possible contenders for props in the Cheetahs 2012 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention. I encourage all to differ from me, as that is what we all blog for. However, let’s avoid the personal diatribes.

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I wrote a piece a few months ago entitled : “Most enjoyable Test against England”. It was an Article about two Test matches South Africa played against England in 1984.

Danie Gerber scored 4 tries in the two Tests; overall South Africa crossed the English goal line 9 times.

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