Tuesday, June 29, 2010

AFRICAN RUGBY: Africa Cup Pool C Begins

Semi-Finals for Pool C in Bulawayo

30.06.2010
Zimbabwe v Botswana
Madagascar v Zambia

Previews
Play in Pool C gets underway tomorrow in Bulawayo, a city South West of Zimbabwe's capital Harare

Zimbabwe v Botswana

Referee:

Previous Encounters
25.07.2009 Zimbabwe 23-3 in Gaborone (CAR development Trophy, South)
07.09.1996 Zimbabwe 130-10 in Bulawayo (Friendly)

Botswana will struggle in this match. It has been reported that they will arrive with a below strength side affected by injuries.

GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table-Zimbabwe 10th, Botswana 12th
IRB Ranking Points-Zimbabwe 46.11, Botswana 39.21

Prediction: Zimbabwe by 34 points

Teams

27[1]

Zimbabwe Squad
A.Sairai. V. Hove, J. Butchanan, D. Mutamangira, R. Gurumani, Z. Tondoro, G. Nechironga, J. Leitao, N. Mukondiwa, T. Mafi, D. Robertson, T. Nemadire, L. Machanjaire, G. Sibanda P. Staark, D. Hondo, W. Mbanje, T. Mhende, S. Johns, J. Rowe, P. Jessub, D. Mutamangira, S. Sibanda, P. Chitenderu, N. Ndlovu, S. Sibanda.

Head Coach: Brandon Dawson (coach)

http://www1.herald.co.zw/inside.aspx?sectid=20603&cat=5

42[1]

Botswana squad not available

Madagascar v Zambia

Referee:

Previous Encounters
22.07.2009 Madagascar 36-15 in Gaborone (CAR Development Trophy, South)
26.08.2006 Madagascar 59-18 in Antanaviro (Africa Cup, Group D)

Zambia is very much the lightweight in this match. Although I can't find a squad list you can be sure Madagascar will be more than a handful for the Zambians.

GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa table-Madagascar 11th, Zambia 14th
IRB Ranking Points-Madagascar 46.90, Zambia 39.31

Prediction: Madagascar by 17 points

Teams

28[1]

Zambia squad
Nigel Chibwe
MacManus Musonda
Ali Bika
Boyd Nyirenda
Tedious Chololo
Sydney Mwansapa
Daniel Sakala
Ephraim Musukwa
Chiluba Kangwa
John Chibanga
Thomas Chipoya
Lazarous Chiti
Edward Mwamba
Tom Chaloba
Tom Mweemba
Jonathan Gondwe
Alex Mwila
Danny Kabila
Patrick Kasongo
John Kabwela
Patrick Chanda
Benaya Mukwamba
Chileshe Mwape

Head Coach: Noble Chisenga

71[1]
Madagascar Squad Not available

Sunday, June 27, 2010

TEST RUGBY RESULTS: Saturday 26 June

26.06.2010 Updated
Argentina 41, France 13 in Buenos Aires
South Africa 55, Italy 11 in East London
Australia 22, Ireland 15 in Brisbane
New Zealand 29, Wales 10 in Hamilton
Samoa 31, Fiji 9 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup-New result
Japan 26,Tonga 23 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup) New result
Laos 12, Cambodia 3 in Phnom Pehn (Asia Regional Tournament, Mekong Cup)

Briefly
Argentina sensationally defeated France in Buenos Aires to eclipse their previous record win, that wonderful 34-10 win at the 2007 Rugby World Cup playoff match. South Africa easily disposed of Italy whilst New Zealand did the same to Wales. Australia stuttered to a 22-15 win over Ireland whilst Laos won the Asia Regional tournament with a spiteful card-ridden 12-3 win over Cambodia. The win also meant that Laos, with a better aggregate score over Cambodia, takes the Mekong Cup back to Ventiane.

For South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, eyes are now turned towards the Tri Nations tournament beginning held next month. For Northern Hemisphere teams, it's now about, the exceptions being Scotland and possibly England, licking their wounds and trying to take positives out of what were miserable performances. It is all thought provoking test rugby results with the Rugby World Cup only 15 months away.

Finally, Samoa took out the 2010 Pacific Nations title for the first time with a 31-9 win in front of a huge home crowd. Japan defeated Tonga 26-23 in the other match.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

INTERNATIONAL TEST RUGBY: France in Argentina

26.06.2010
France v Argentina in Buenos Aires

Venue: Stade Velez Sarsfield

Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)

Preview
The Grand Slam French side were slam dunked by South Africa two weeks ago. Northern reputations carry little weight when they tour down under. France certainly slipped heavily in that match but now has a redemption change against a side frequently their stumbling block of recent years.

Argentina has not been playing too well of recent themselves. They recently lost a home test series against Scotland. They just haven't recaptured that grand form of the team of 2007. This will be their last opportunity until the northern autumn tests to prove that they are potentially that 3rd best side in the world. Perhaps they have been saving their best for their favourite opponent France.

France has opted to rest a few of their seasoned players.

Last Five Encounters
08.11.2008 France 12-6 in Marseilles
19.10.2007 Argentina 34-10 in Paris (World Cup, Playoff 3rd-4th)
07.09.2007 Argentina 17-12 in Paris (World Cup, Pool D)
25.11.2006 France 27-26 in Paris
20.11.2004 Argentina 24-14 in Marseilles

France last played a test in Argentina in 2003. They actually played two tests as part of the start to the build up to the 2003 Rugby World Cup. France lost both tests, both played in BA, 6-10 and 31-32. France's record against Argentina reads a grim adventure for the French. Who can forget that historic 17-12 win by Argentina in pool play during the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and then the even more famous walloping they gave France in the 3rd-4th playoff.

France last won in Buenos Aires way back in 1998.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-France 3rd, Argentina 6th
IRB Rankings-France 3rd (84.91), Argentina 9th (77.54)

Prediction: I'll punt for Argentina to add to France's misery. A win to the Pumas by 3 points.

13[1]

Teams

Argentina
Martín Rodríguez, Lucas González Amorosino, Gonzalo Tiesi, Santiago Fernández, Rafael Carballom, Felipe Contepomi, Nicolás Vergallo, Rodrigo Roncero, Mario Ledesma, Martín Scelzo, Manuel Carizza, Patricio Albacete, Genaro Fessia, Alejandro Campos, Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe
Replacements: Agustín Creevy, Marcos Ayerza, Juan Figallo, Mariano Galarza, Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Agustín Figuerola, Horacio Agulla
Head Coach: Santiago Phelan

5[1]

France
Jerome Porical, Vincent Clerc, Lionel Mazars, Florian Fritz, Julien Malzieu, Francois Trinh-Duc, Morgan Parra, Fabien Barcella, Dimitri Szarzewski, Nicolas Mas, Pascal Papé, Lionel Nallet, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Louis Picamoles, Julien Bonnaire
Replacements: Guilhem Guirado, Jean-Baptise Poux, Julien Pierre, Gregory Lamboley, Dimitri Yachvili, Maxime Mermoz, Clement Poitrenaud.
Head Coach: Marc Lievremont

RUGBY TEST: Italy to Battle the Box

26.06.2010
Italy v South Africa in East London

Venue: ABSA Stadium

Referee: Andrew Small (England)

Preview
The wandering Springbox road show enters another provincial town. Forced (well agreeably) out of the major rugby sporting venues whilst the soccer world is being held, the Springbox arrive in the Border provincial town of East London.

The last time South Africa played a test match in East London was when they dismantled Uruguay 134-3 back in 2005. Uruguay has never returned not surprisingly. Hopefully this is not a bad omen for the Italians. I suspect it may be!

Both coaches have made a number of changes to their sides from last week. With the World Cup a little over a year away it is important for sides to broaden their playing strength.

Italy has certainly taken that step in this match. It may be a risk but coach Nik Mallett obviously has the future in mind when naming this side.

The South Africans laboured in their 29-13 win last weekend. There is a more settled and experienced look about this week's side.With the Tri Nations just around the corner Pieter de Villers sees the time has come to stop experimenting. The South Africans will be motivated to secure places in this side whilst Italy will suffer with an experienced side, especially up front where they can usually match an opposition.

Last Five Encounters
19.06.2010 South Africa 29-13 in Witbank
21.11.2009 South Africa 32-10 in Udine
21.06.2008 South Africa 26-0 in Capetown
17.11.2001 South Africa 54-26 in Genoa
30.06.2001 South Africa 60-14 in Port Elizabeth

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-South Africa 2nd, Italy 10th
IRB Rankings-South Africa 2nd (89.46), Italy 11th (72.97)

Prediction: South Africa by 50 points

Teams

34[1]

South Africa
G Aplon (Stormers), J de Villiers (Western Province), J Fourie (Stormers), J de Jongh (Stormers), B Habana (Stormers), M Steyn (Blue Bulls), R Januarie (Stormers), G Steenkamp (Blue Bulls), J Smit, Capt (Natal Sharks), J du Plessis (Natal Sharks), B Botha (Blue Bulls), A Bekker (Stormers), S Burger (Stormers), F Louw (Stormers), P Spies (Blue Bulls)
Replacements: C Ralepelle (Blue Bulls), BJ Botha (Ulster, Ireland), F van der Merwe (Blue Bulls), D Potgieter (Blue Bulls), R Pienaar (Natal Sharks), B James (Bath, England), W Oliver (Blue Bulls)
Head Coach: Pieter de Villiers

6[1]

Italy
L McLean (Benetton Treviso), M Sepe (Viadana), G Canale (Clermont Auvergne, France), A Masi (Racing Metro, France), M Bergamasco (Racing Metro, France), C Gower (Bayonne, France), S Picone (Benetton Treviso), S Perugini (Bayonne, France), F Ongaro (Saracens, England), L Cittadini (Benetton Treviso), C del Fava (Viadana), M Bortolami (Gloucester, England), M Vosawai (Banca Monte Parma), P Derbyshire (Petrarca Padova), S Parisse, Capt. (Stade Francais, France)
Replacements: L Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso), F Sbaraglini (Benetton Treviso), Q Geldenhuys (Viadana), A Zanni (Benetton Treviso), T Tebaldi (Gran Parma), R Bocchino (Rovigo), M Pratichetti (Viadana)
Head Coach: Nik Mallett

TEST RUGBY: Pacific Nations Cup

26.06.2010
Fiji v Samoa in Apia

30[1] 15[1]

Referee:

Preview
Fiji only needs to turn up to win the 2010 Pacific Nations Cup. Their nearest rival is Japan. Even with a win and a bonus point Japan cannot overtake Fiji as Fiji defeated Japan in the first game.

Motivation will be Fiji's biggest problem. But this encounter is always one of the highlights of Pacific Island rugby as these two old foes do battle.

Samoa has more to fight for in what has been a disappointing tournament for them. With a huge home crowd behind them this inter island local derby will be a cracker.

Related articles
http://www.oceaniarugby.com/teams_in_the_anz_bank_a.html/ref/267
http://www.oceaniarugby.com/samoa_last_stand.html/ref/267

Last Five Encounters
27.06.2009 Fiji 19-14 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
07.06.2008 Fiji 34-17 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
19.05.2007 Samoa 8-3 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
24.06.2006 Fiji 23-20 in Suva (Pacific Five Nations)
30.07.2005 Fiji 21-15 in Suva (WCQ Oceania R3)

Fiji has a more impressive record against their neighbours of recent. Samoa can boast a last start win in Apia. Fiji has to go back to 2004 for their last wain against Samoa in Apia.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Fiji 11th, Samoa 13th
IRB Rankings-Fiji 10th (76.25), Samoa 13th (70.89)
Oceania Table-Fiji 3rd, Samoa 4th

Prediction: Fiji by 7 points

Teams not available

26.06.2010
Japan v Tonga

10[1] 20[1]

Referee:

Preview
Japan could draw level with Fiji if they defeat Tonga and Samoa upsets Fiji. All three teams could draw level on the table with 9 points a piece.

Tonga will be very physical against Japan. There is the feeling that japan could buckle against the physicality of the Tongans. Japan lasted well against Samoa after their poor performance against Fiji in the first match of the tournament. If Tonga can unsettle the japanese they could be in with a chance.

Tonga certainly played well in the first half against Fiji last week to build what looked like a winning 28-0 lead. The Tongans ran out of steam big time in the second half to let the Fijians back in the game. They will be fitter and wiser, so watch out Japan!

Last Five Encounters
22.06.2009 Japan 21-19 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
15.06.2008 Japan 35-13 in Sendai (Pacific Nations Cup)
02.06.2007 Japan 20-17 in Coffs Harbour (Pacific Nations Cup)
04.06.2006 Tonga 57-16 in Fukuoka (Pacific Five Nations)
25.05.2002 Tonga 41-29 in Kumaguya (Friendly)

Japan has an impressive recent record against Tonga.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Japan 12th, Tonga 14th
IRB Rankings-Japan 12th (71.92), Tonga 16th (67.63)

Prediction: Japan by 9 points

Teams
Japan team here at http://www.rugby-japan.jp/japan/japan/2010/id8346.html

Tonga team not available

TEST MATCH RUGBY: Ireland out to do Damage

26.06.2010
Ireland v Australia in Brisbane

Venue: Suncorp Stadium

Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)

Previews
Ireland will be looking to cause an upset against an Australian side struggling to find rhythm. Both teams come into this test match with disappointing recent results. For Ireland they will want to salvage something from a less than convincing southern tour whilst Australia were stunned by their 20-21 loss to England last weekend.

Milestone-Ronan O'Gara could earn his 100th test for Ireland if he comes off the bench.

Last Five Encounters
15.11.2009 Drawn 20-20 in Dublin
14.06.2008 Australia 18-12 in Melbourne
19.11.2006 Ireland 21-6 in Dublin
24.06.2006 Australia 37-15 in Perth
19.11.2005 Australia 30-14 in Dublin

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Ireland 4th, Australia 8th
IRB Rankings-Australia 4th (83.83), Ireland 5th (82.61)

Prediction: Australia by 3 points

Teams

1[1]

Ireland
R Kearney (Leinster); T Bowe (Ospreys, Wales), B O'Driscoll, Capt (Leinster), P Wallace (Ulster), A Trimble (Ulster); J Sexton (Leinster), T.O'Leary (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), S Cronin (Connacht), T Buckley (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), M O'Driscoll (Munster), N Ronan (Munster), S Jennings (Leinster), C Henry (Ulster).
Replacements: D Varley (Munster), T Court (Ulster), Tuohy (Ulster), R Ruddock (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster), R O'Gara (Munster), G Murphy (Leicester, England).
Head Coach: Declan Kidney

7[1]

Australia
J O'Connor (WA Western Force), D Mitchell (NSW Waratahs), R Horne (NSW Waratahs), M Giteau (ACT Brumbies), A Ashley-Cooper (ACT Brumbies), Q Cooper (Queensland Reds), L Burgess (NSW Waratahs), R Brown (WA Western Force), D Pocock (WA Western Force), R Elsom (ACT Brumbies), M Chisholm (ACT Brumbies), D Mumm (NSW Waratahs), S Ma'afu (ACT Brumbies), S Faingaa (Queensland Reds), B Daley (Queensland Reds).
Replacements: H Edmonds (ACT Brumbies), J Slipper (Queensland Reds), M Chapman (ACT Brumbies), M Hodgson (WA Western Force), J Valentine (ACT Brumbies), B Barnes (NSW Waratahs), K Beale (NSW Waratahs).
Head Coach: Robbie Deans

INTERNATIONAL RUGBY: Wales out to restore pride

26.06.2010
Wales v New Zealand in Hamilton

Venue: Waikato Stadium

Stadium Aerial
Waikato Stadium. Image thanks to http://www.waikatostadium.co.nz

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

Preview
Wales will out to restore some pride in their second test against New Zealand in Hamilton. Having already received a mighty 9-42 beating from New Zealand Wales can expect nothing less than a committed All Black side again in Hamilton.

New Zealand has had to make a few changes from last weekend's team due to injury. Veteran Muliaina returns at fullback whilst Kahu, Guildford, Tialata and Donnelly also return to the starting lineup. Wales can expect the Kiwis to come out firing despite these changes. All positions, except perhaps McCaws, are up for grabs leading up to next years rugby world cup.

Wales has brought in inexperienced Dan Biggar for veteran Jones at flyhalf. Wales will need to play a full 80 minute game and compete with New Zealand at the breakdowns if they are going to have any hope of getting near the home side. I just can't see them doing it.

Last Five Encounters
19.06.2010 New Zealand 42-9 in Dunedin
07.11.2009 New Zealand 19-12 in Cardiff
22.11.2008 New Zealand 29-9 in Cardiff
25.11.2006 New Zealand 45-10 in Cardiff
05.11.2005 New Zealand 41-5 in Cardiff

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 1st, Wales 9th
IRB Rankings-New Zealand 1st (91.68), Wales 8th (78.58)

Prediction: New Zealand by 39 points

Teams

8[1]

New Zealand
Mils Muliaina (Waikato); Cory Jane (Wellington), Richard Kahui (Waikato), Benson Stanley (Auckland), Zac Guildford (Canterbury); Daniel Carter (Canterbury), Jimmy Cowan (Southland); Tony Woodcock (North Harbour), Keven Mealamu (Auckland), Neemia Tialata (Wellington), Brad Thorn (Canterbury), Tom Donnelly (Otago), Jerome Kaino (Auckland), Richie McCaw, Capt. (Canterbury), Kieran Read (Canterbury).
Replacements
Aled de Malmanche (Waikato), Owen Franks (Canterbury), Sam Whitelock (Canterbury), Adam Thomson (Otago), Piri Weepu (Wellington); Aaron Cruden (Wellington), Rene Ranger (AucklandBlues)
Head Coach: Graham Henry

3[1]

Wales
Lee Byrne (Ospreys); Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues), Tom Prydie (Ospreys); Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Ospreys); Paul James (Ospreys), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Cardiff Blues), Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Gavin Thomas (Newport-Gwent Dragons), Ryan Jones (Ospreys, capt).
Replacements
Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Craig Mitchell (Ospreys), Deiniol Jones (Cardiff Blues), Rob McCusker (Scarlets), Richard Rees (Cardiff Blues), Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Will Harries (Newport-Gwent Dragons)
Head Coach: Warren Gatland

ASIA REGIONAL RUGBY TOURNAMENT

26.06.2010
Laos v Cambodia in Phnom Phen

Venue: Royal Cambodian AF Stadium

Referee:

Preview
Cambodia lost the opening game of this tournament to Brunei last Sunday. Laos defeated Brunei fairly easily Wednesday by 23-5. Laos will be the favourites to win this tournament on those results. However, Cambodia is playing at home. They also lost by only two points in the first match against Laos, in Vientiane back in late May. Laos may well find the Cambodians a handful in this test match which is also the return Mekong Cup fixture. Cambodia holds the Mekong Cup although Laos holds a two point aggregate advantage.

Last Five Encounters
15.05.2010 Laos 16-14 in Vietiane (Mekong Cup)
23.05.2009 Cambodia 24-8 in Phnom Phen (Mekong Cup)
28.03.2009 Laos 8-3 in Savannakhet (Asia Regional Tourn., Mekong Cup)
12.07.2008 Laos 33-0 in Jakarta (Asia Regional Tourn., Mekong Cup)
31.05.2008 Laos 15-14 in Vientiane (Mekong Cup)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Asia Table-Laos 18th, Cambodia 20th
IRB Rankings do not apply

Prediction: Laos by 14 points

Teams

Laos logo

Laos
15 Anousith Chaleunsouk
14 Gregory Pham
13 Thit Outhone Thirakoun
12 Saysana Vinavong
11 Phakkham Sengsouliving
10 Chris Mastaglio
9 Savannhxay Xayyasone
8 Lee Sheridan
7 Somphone Vongvilay
6 Phouphet Phouttavong
5 Garry Wrigh
4 Phayphisit Maniseng
3 Phettanousone Chitthaphong
2 Damlongsak
1 Phanavan Boutthavong
Replacements
16 Soubin Phensomphu
17 Ekkasan Sengchanpheng
18 Anousith Phaipanya
19 Mit Oudone Keohanam
20 Matsumoto Hideaki
21 Soukthavi Souliyachack
22 Vannaxay Somsuthi
Head Coach: Maloo

4 players making test debut but which 4 not known.

http://www.laorugby.com/Lao_Rugby_Federation/A5N_2010_23_June.html

Cambodia logo

Cambodia Squad not available

INTERNATIONAL TEST RUGBY THIS WEEKEND : Saturday 26 June

26.06.2010
France v Argentina in Buenos Aires
Italy v South Africa in East London
Ireland v Australia in Brisbane
Wales v New Zealand in Hamilton
Fiji v Samoa in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
Tonga v Japan in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
Cambodia v Laos in Phnom Pehn (Asia Regional Tournament, Mekong Cup)

LATEST TEST RUGBY RESULTS: Wednesday 23 June

New Zealand Maori 35, England 28 in Napier (Non Test)
Laos 23, Brunei 5 in Phnom Pehn (Asia Regional Tournament)

Monday, June 21, 2010

RUGBY TEST RESULTS: Sunday June 20

IRB Nations Cup in Bucharest

20.06.2010
Namibia 21, Georgia 16
Romania 27, Italy A 22
Argentina A 33, Scotland A 13

Asia Regions in Phnom Phen

20.06.2010
Brunei 10, Cambodia 9

Briefly
Namibia won the 2010 IRB Nations Cup in Bucharest with a fine win against Georgia. Georgia lost the plot in the second half, conceding 3 yellow cards in the last 10 minutes. This was a fantastic moral boost for the Namibians before their Rugby World Cup finals in 2011. In previous World Cups they have been hammered. Hopefully they will be more competitive this time. Romania came second with a good final day win over Italy A. The Romanians have improved and now they head for a playoff against Tunisia in the repecharge stage of the Rugby World Cup qualifying stage.

Little Brunei caused an upset with a 1 point win over hosts and tournament Favourites, Cambodia.

RUGBY TEST RESULTS: Saturday 19 June-Updated

19.06.2010
Scotland 13, Argentina 9 in Mar del Plata
South Africa 29, Italy 13 in Witbank
New Zealand 42, Wales 9 in Dunedin
England 21, Australia 20 in Sydney
Japan 31,Samoa 28 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
Fiji 41, Tonga 38 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
England Saxons 38, Canada 18 in Harrison (Churchill Cup, Final) Non-test
France A 25, United States 10 in Harrison (Churchill Cup, 3rd-4th) Non-test
Russia 38, Uruguay 19 in Harrison (Churchill Cup, 5th-6th)
Morocco 29, Tunisia 6 in Tunis (Africa Cup, Pool A, Final)
Senegal 21, Ivory Coast 6 in Tunis (Africa Cup, Pool A, Playoff 3rd-4th)
Kenya A 27, Uganda A 13 in Arusha (Africa Trophy South, Final) -non-test
Mauritius 21, Tanzania 13 in Arusha (Africa Trophy South, Playoff 3rd-4th)

Briefly
Scotland achieved something it has never done before-win a test series overseas. Scotland achieved this with its 13-9 2nd test win over Argentina, having won the first test 24-16. This result leaves Argentina floating in 'What's next?' land as they prepare for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and their entry into the Tri Nations rugby tournament in 2012. Are they up to it?

South Africa defeated Italy but it was a forgettable display. Will South Africa now put their strongest XV against Italy for the second test next weekend?

New Zealand crushed Wales whilst England clawed one back against the Australians, winning by 1 point in Sydney.

England Saxons won the Churchill Cup, Canada being unable to repeat their grand performances in the preliminary matches. Oh, why can't Canada award its players test caps for this game?

Russia boosted its Rugby World Cup standing following it's 38-19 win over Uruguay. Uruguay will soon play Kazakhstan in one of the repecharge World Cup qualifying matches. Tunisia, who went down 6-29 to Morocco, is in the other repecharge pool. They are down to play Romania. I can see Uruguay defeating Kazakhstan and Romania defeating Tunisia, leaving Uruguay and Romania to fight for the last Rugby World Cup 2011 finals spot.

More results in when they arrive.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

RUGBY TOURNAMENT: IRB Nations Cup, The Final Day

This tournament is being held in Bucharest, Romania. It is an important springboard for Tier 2 nations as they pit themselves against like-ranked nations and the A teams of Tier 1 nations.

20.06.2010
Georgia v Namibia
Italy A v Romania
Argentina A v Scotland A

Previews
Namibia, on eight points, looks in a healthy position to take or at least share the title with Italy 'A'. Both teams remain undefeated. What a pity this competition is not organised along the lines of the Churchill Cup, where you actually get the two best teams in a final. This tournament needs just one more playing day to achieve that.

Georgia and Namibia has faced each other twice before. The last time was during the 2007 Rugby World Cup when both were in Pool D. Georgia were too strong that day, winning 30-0. They also won 26-18 in the IRB Nations Cup of 2007, held in Bucharest. Georgia has an historical advantage but I think Namibia could just pip them on form.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Georgia 17th, Namibia 18th
IRB Rankings-Georgia 15th (69.09), Namibia 22nd (60.98)

Romania has improved considerably from their poor performance on day 1 and could well push the Italians closely. Italy A is the form side and should prevail.

A disappointing Scotland A, who won the tournament last year, will fight for the scraps with an Argentina A side that is also not as strong as it usually is. (I think the real A side was kept in Buenos Aires to play the Friday night game against France.)

Predictions
Namibia by 1 v Georgia
Italy A by 3 v Romania
Scotland A by 8 v Argentina A

TEST RUGBY IN ASIA: Asia Regional Tournament

Asian rugby is organised into levelled competitions. At the top is the Asia5Nations, followed by divisions 1 to 4, and below that are regional competitions, from which further divisions can be made. In 2010 a new 4th division was created out of a 2009 regional division. The only regional tournament in Asia for 2010 is being held in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia. The teams are Cambodia, Laos and Brunei.

Brunei logo Cambodia logo Laos logo

Some more here http://www.asian5nations.com/Regional

The Draw
Sunday 20 June
Cambodia v Brunei

Wednesday 23 June
Laos v Brunei

Saturday 26 June
Cambodia v Laos (also for the Mekong Cup)

Preview
Cambodia v Brunei

Venue:

Referee:

Preview
Cambodia has already played a Mekong Cup test match against Laos, so they will be more match-fit than Brunei. Cambodia is also playing on home turf, a big advantage at this level of international rugby. The Combodians won't forget the loss they suffered against Brunei in the regional tournament held in Laos last year.

Previous Encounters
25.03.2009 Brunei 21-10 in Savannakhet (Asia Regions 1)
11.07.2007 Cambodia 30-8 in Brunei (Asia Nations Series, Div.6)
29.05.2006 Cambodia 41-10 in Phnom Phen (Asia Tournament, Tier 6)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Asia Table-Cambodia 19th, Brunei 20th
IRB Rankings do not apply

Prediction: Cambodia by 14 points

Teams

Not available

INTERNATIONAL RUGBY: Sunday 20 June

Pacific Nations Cup
Actually these are played Saturday but Apia is right on the international Date line and are being played about...NOW!!!

Sorry, no time to really review these

Samoa v Japan in Apia

Prediction: Japan by 3 points

Tonga v Fiji in Apia

Prediction: Fiji by 16 points

Saturday, June 19, 2010

TEST RUGBY: Scotland in Argentina

19.06.2010
Scotland v Argentina in Mar del Plata

Venue: Estadio Jose Maria Minella

Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)

Preview
There has been a series of see-saw results between these two nations in the last two years. Last weekend Scotland won by being able to contain Argentina up front, penetrate through their backs and milk the flow of penalties as Argentina took an undisciplined approach to the game. The question will be can Argentina correct their errors and prevent a rare home series loss, and a first-time ever Scottish series win overseas.

Last Five Encounters
12.06.2010 Scotland 24-16 in Tucuman
28.11.2009 Argentina 9-6 at Murrayfield
14.06.2008 Scotland 26-14 in Buenos Aires
07.06.2008 Argentina 21-15 in Rosario
07.10.2007 Argentina 19-13 in Paris (World Cup, quarter final)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Scotland 5th, Argentina 6th
IRB Rankings-Argentina 7th (78.89), Scotland 9th (78.47)

Prediction: Argentina by 3

Teams

13[1]

Argentina
M Rodriguez (Stade Francais, France); L Gonzalez Amorosino (Leicester, England), G Tiesi (Stade Francais, France), S Fernandez (Montpellier, France), H Agulla (Leicester, England); F Contepomi, Capt. (Toulon), A Figuerola (CASI); R Roncero (Stade Francais, France), M Ledesma (Clermont Auvergne, France), M Scelzo (Clermont Auvergne. France), M Carizza (Biarritz, France), P Albacete (Stade Toulousian, France), G Fessia (Cordoba Athletic), JM Leguizamon (Stade Francais, France), JM Fernandez Lobbe (Toulon, France).
Replacements: M Ayerza (Leicester, England), S Guzman (Tucuman RC), A Campos (Montauban, France), N Vergallo (Dax, France), R Carballo (Beagles Bordeaux, France), L Borges (Albi, France).
Head Coach: Santiago Phelan

Scotland

4[1]
H Southwell (Stade Francais, France); S Lamont (Llanelly Scarlets, Wales), M Evans (Glasgow Warriors), G Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), S Danielli (Ulster, Ireland); D Parks (Glasgow Warriors), R Lawson (Gloucester, England); A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), R Ford (Edinburgh), M Low (Glasgow Warriors), J Hamilton (Edinburgh), A Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), K Brown (Glasgow Warriors), J Beattie (Glasgow Warriors), J Barclay (Glasgow Warriors).
Replacements: S Lawson (Gloucester, England), A Dickinson (Gloucester, England), S MacLeod (Edinburgh), A Strokosch (Gloucester, England), M Blair (Edinburgh), P Godman (Edinburgh), N De Luca (Edinburgh)
Head Coach: Andy Robinson

TEST RUGBY: Churchill Cup, Finals Day

The preliminary rounds were held in Glendale, Colorado. The finals day is being held in Harrison, New Jersey.

19.06.2010
England Saxons v Canada (Final)

Preview
Canada has reached the final for the first time since the Cup was launched in 2003. Canada has not fared well when playing England 'A' or the Saxons as they are now known.
2006-England A won 41-11 2005 England A won 29-5 2004 England A won 48-23 and in 2003 England A won 47-3.

Canada has emerged as the most improved team in this tournament. This could well be the year that belongs to Canada.

Prediction-Canada A by 7 points

Teams

11[1]

Canada
M Evans (Newport Gwent Dragons, Wales); C Hearn (The Rock), DTH van der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland), P Mackenzie (Esher, England), J Mensah-Coker (un-attached); A Monro (Ontario Blues), S White (BC Bears), D Wooldridge (Ontario Blues), P Riordan (BC Bears, capt), A Tiedemann (Prairie Wolf Pack), L Tait (Un-attached), B Erichsen (BC Bears), C O'Toole (The Rock), A Kleeberger (Rotherham, England), A Carpenter (Un-attached)
Replacements: R Hamilton (BC Bears), J Marshall (BC Bears), T Hotson (Plymouth Albion, England), N Dala (Prairie Wolf Pack), E Wilson (BC Bears), R Smith (Praire Wolf Pack), J Pritchard (Bedford RFC, England) .
Head Coach: Luke Lancaster

2[1]

England Saxons:
A Goode (Saracens); J Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester), J Clarke (Northampton Saints), A Allen (Leicester Tigers) , N Abendanon (Bath); S Myler (Northampton Saints), L Dickson (Northampton Saints); N Wood (Gloucester), A Titterrell (Leeds Carnegie) , A Corbiserio (London Irish), J Hudson (Newcastle Falcons), G Skivington (London Wasps, capt), T Wood (Worcester Warriors), A Saull (Saracens), L Narraway (Gloucester Rugby)
Replacements: R Vickers (Newcastle Falcons), D Bell (Bath), G Kitchener (Worcester Warriors), K Myall (Leeds Carnegie), M Young (Newcastle Falcons), O Smith (Harlequins), T Varndell (London Wasps)
Head Coach:Kieran Crowley

United States v France A( Playoff 3rd-4th)

Prediction: France A by 15 points

Teams

12[1]

U.S. Lineup:
15. Chris Wyles (Saracens, England)
14. Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz Olympique, France)
13. Alipate Tuilevuka (Provo Steelers)
12. Junior Sifa (Middleton RFC)
11. Paul Emerick (Parma RFC, Italy)
10. Nese Malifa (Belmont Shore)
9. Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club)
1. Mate Moeakiola (Sporting Club Albi, France)
2. Phil Thiel (Life University)
3. Shawn Pittman (Bayside RFC)
4. John Van Der Giessen, Capt. (Sporting Club Albi, France)
5. Scott Lavalla (Dublin University, Ireland)
6. Louis Stanfill (Canberra Royals, Australia)
7. J.J. Gagiano (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
8. Nic Johnson (Denver Barbarians)
Reserves
16. Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate)
17. Tony Purpura (Boston Rugby Club)
18. Patrick Danahy (Life University)
19. Dan LaPrevotte (San Francisco Golden Gate)
20. Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC, England)
21. Volney Rouse (Te Kawau, New Zealand)
22. Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins)
Head Coach: Eddie O'Sullivan

5[1]

France A

Russia v Uruguay (Playoff 5th-6th)

This will be an interesting rugby test. Previous encounters have been close and there is not much between them on the rankings.

Previous Encounters
21.06.2009 Russia 29-26 in Bucharest (IRB Nations Cup)
20.06.2008 Uruguay 23-19 in Bucharest (IRB Nations Cup)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Russia 20th, Uruguay 22nd
IRB Rankings-Russia 19th (64.64), Uruguay 20th (62.37)

Prediction: Russia by 6 points

Teams

rugby_russia_en_150[1]

Russia
1. Sergey Popov 2. Vladislav Korshunov (c) 3. Alexey Travkin 4. Alexander Voytov 5. Artem Fatakhov 6. Victor Gresev 7. Kirill Kushnarev 8. Nikita Medkov 9. Alexander Yanyushkin 10. Yury Kushnarev 11. Vasily Artemyev 12. Alexey Makovetskiy 13. Mikhail Babaev 14. Andrey Kuzin 15 Igor Klyuchnikov
Replacements 16. Evgeny Mateev 17. Vladimir Botvinnikov 18. Alexander Khrokin 19. Sergey Sergeev 20. Alexander Shakirov 21. Alexey Korobeynikov 22. Sergey Trishin
Head Coach:

24[1]
Uruguay
1. Alejo Corral 2. Carlos Arboleya (c) 3. Pablo Lemoine 4. Juan Pablo Horta 5. Diego Magno 6 Santiago Deicas 7. Ignacio Grignola 8. Matias Fonseca 9. Manuel Martinez 10. Emiliano Caffera 11. Gaston Mieres 12. Juan DeFreitas 13. Juan Martin Llovet 14. Leandro Leivas 15. Ivo Dugonjc
Replacements 16. Juan Pablo Ruffalini 17. Juan Pedro Rombys 18. Edgardo Benitez 19. Nicolas Badano 20. Matias Braun 21. Nicolas Morales
Head Coach:

TEST RUGBY TOURNAMENT: Africa Cup

The Africa Cup is Africa's major tier 1 15's rugby tournament. 12 teams are involved at this level, divided into 3 pools

Pool A-Morocco, Tunisia, Ivory Coast and Senegal
Pool B-Namibia, Uganda, Cameroun and Zambia
Pool C-Kenya, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Botswana

The winner of each pool plus the best second-placed team will compete in the finals to be held in November, venue to be determined.

Pool A Final
Morocco v Tunisia in Tunis


25[1] 77[1]

Preview
Morocco created a mild sensation with an emphatic 60-3 crushing of Ivory Coastmid week. The Ivory Coast team has gradually been building strength with a healthy smattering of France-based players but during the week Morocco systematically took the team apart. Morocco were bundled out of Rugby World Cup finals contention last year but appear to be bouncing back.

Morocco also has a healthy rugby player base in France. They will pose a serious threat to Tunisia.

The Tunisians will be warming up for their upcoming struggles with Romania in the World Cup Repechage playoffs. They were less than impressive with their 12-11 win over Senegal mid-week.

Last Five Encounters
23.04.2005 Morocco 10-3 in Tunis (CAR Div.1, Pool C)
24.04.2004 Morocco 17-7 in Casablanca (CAR Div.1, Pool A)
18.05.2002 Tunisia 27-26 in Tunis (WCQ Africa R3, North: CAR North 1)
19.05.2001 Morocco 30-3 in Casablanca (Africa Championship, North)
17.03.2001 Morocco 17-14 in Tunis (Africa Championship, North)

It has been a while since these two North African teams met. Morocco has an historical advantage.

GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table-Tunisia 3rd, Morocco 4th
IRB Ranking Points-Tunisia 54.20, Morocco 53.05

Prediction-Morocco looks to have the form. Morocco by 5 points

Teams are not available

Pool A Playoff
Ivory Coast v Senegal

Preview
Senegal gave the Tunisians a mother of a fright mid week whilst Ivory Coast fell apart against Morocco. On form Senegal would be favourites to win this playoff.

Previous Encounters
26.05.2007 Ivory Coast 12-10 in Dakar (Africa Cup, Div.1, North B)
09.07.2005 Ivory Coast 20-6 in Dakar (WCQ Africa Rnd 1B, Pool A)
1983 Ivory Coast 25-0 in Abidijan
1977 Ivory Coast 15-9 in Dakar

GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table- Ivory Coast 7th, Senegal 8th
IRB Ranking Points-Ivory Coast 50.31, Senegal 42.12

Prediction: The rankings would give it to Ivory Coast, but on form I have to go with Senegal to cause a bit of an upset, and win this by 5 points.

Teams



Ivory Coast squad
Edgar Babaou, Capt. (Gennevilliers, France) Prop
Arouna Cisse (ASPA) prop
? Stanislaus (p L'Abidjan Université Club) prop
Ahmed Hodroj (Begles-Bordeaux, France) Prop
Brahima Konate (Trechville Biafra Olympique) hooker
Charles Zambia (L'Abidjan Université Club) hooker
Frank Acho (Poitiers, France) lock
Issa Meit (Auc L'Abidjan Université Club) lock
Claude Kouakou (Trechville Biafra Olympique) lock
Kinafo Diabate ((Trechville Biafra Olympique) lock or flanker
Gaoussou Dao (Drancy, France) flanker
Bemba Camara (Lunel, France) Flanker
Sydney Edward (Graulhet, France) lock or flanker
Hyacinthe Mouguy (Massy, France) Scrum half
Mohamed Dembele (Trechville Biafra Olympique) scrum half
Tidiane Kamara (Trechville Biafra Olympique) fly half
Jean Maurice Ulum (Oyonnax, France) fly half or centre
Djakaridja Sombes (Trechville Biafra Olympique) centre
Toure Salif (Epernay, France) center or winger
Tediaga Coulibaly (Gennevilliers, France) winger
James Zie winger or rear, Metro Racing)
Yann Lohore (Montauban, France) winger
Louis Konan Kouadio (Trechville Biafra Olympique) fullback
Coaches: Abou Camara and Ludovic Chaix

Adapted from http://rugbivoire.midiblogs.com/
Senegal
Squad list not available


88[1]


2010-Senegal Africa Cup
Senegal Squad photo for 2010 African Cup. Thanks to http://www.senegal-rugby.com/

TEST MATCH: Victoria Cup

The Victoria cup is in its first year of competition, being the newest competition in African rugby. Uganda, Zimbabwe and Kenya compete for this Cup in a similar format to that of the Tri Nations.

Zimbabwe lost by 1 point to Kenya in Nairobi last Saturday. Today they play their second game away.

19.06.2010
Zimbabwe v Uganda in Kampala (Victoria Cup)

Preview
'...word has trickled in that the Sables Team Manager Nody Kanyangarara slapped the Ugandan liaison officer Chris Lubanga who is reported to have opened a case of assault at the Kira road police station. As Uganda prepares to battle Zimbabwe on the rugby pitch the visitors seem to have thrown the first punch albeit below the belt with a potential diplomatic row in the offing.Saturday's match will surely be interesting.'

http://ugrugbyfanzone.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=120:rugby-cranes-and-sables-exchange-veiled-salvos&catid=38:latestnews&Itemid=86

Zimbabwe dropped their first game in this tournament against Kenya. They will have a difficult task to pull a win out of Kamapala. Uganda hs a very experienced team including winger Allan Musoke, brought out of retirement.

The Ugandans have an impressive record over the last few seasons.

Last Five Encounters
27.08.2005 Zimbabwe 13-5 in Kampala (CAR Div.1, Pool A)
20.08.2005 Uganda 20-9 in Harare (WCQ Africa R1B, Playoff 2nd leg)
06.08.2005 Zimbabwe 22-16 in Harare (WCQ Africa R1 B, Playoff 1st leg)
11.09.2004 Zimbabwe 17-0 in Harare (CAR Div.1, Pool B, South 1)
05.07.2003 Uganda 25-3 in Kampala

Zimbabwe has never defeated Uganda in Kampala

GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table-Uganda 5th, Zimbabwe 10th
IRB Ranking points-Uganda 49.17, Zimbabwe 46.49

Prediction: Uganda by 22

Teams

27[1]

Zimbabwe
15. Tafadzwa Mhende (Harare Sports Club)
14. Wesley Mbanje
13. Daniel Hondo (Hurtpury RFC, England)
12. Paul Staak (Matabeleland Province)
11. Lloyd Machanjaira (Old Miltonians)
10. Danny Robertson
9. Tapiwa Mafi (Old Hararians)
8. Norman Mukondiwa (Matabeleland Province)
7. Jacques Leitao (Mashonaland Country Districts)
6.Gardner Nechironga (Polokwane, South Africa)
5. Zacks Tondoro (England-based club)
4.Fortune Chipendo
3. Rockface Gurumani, Capt. (Old Hararians)
2. Justin Buchanan (South Africa-based club)
1.Vakai Hove (South Africa-based club)
Replacements
16.Peter Joubert
17. Prayer Chitenderu (Old Hararians)
18.Brian Makamure
19. Njabulo Ndlovu (Mashonaland Country Districts)
20. Tichara Makwanya
21. Josh Rowe (South Africa-based club)
22. Paul Jessub (Harare Sports Club)
Head Coach: Brendan Lawson

http://www.zimbabwerugby.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=899:zimbabwe-sables-off-to-uganda-for-tri-nations-cup&catid=77:june-2010&Itemid=191

95[1]

Uganda
15.Simon Wakabi (UTL Kobs)
14.Allan Musoke (UTL Kobs)
13.Michael Wokorach, V.Capt.(MTN Heathens)
12.Tim Mudoola (UTL Kobs)
11.Dennis Etuket (G4S Pirates)
10.Benon Kizza (MTN Heathens)
9.Faisal Gamma (MTN Heathens)
8. Andrew Olweny(Entebbe Mongers)
7.Mathias Ochwo, Capt.(MTN Heathens)
6.Robert Seguya (MTN Heathens)
5.Moses Soita (UTL Kobs)
4.Victor Wadia (UTL Kobs)
3.Brian Odong (UTL Kobs)
2.Alexander Mubiru (MTN Heathens)
1.Ronald Adigasi (Entebbe Mongers)
Replacements
16.Solomon Mawanda (G4S Pirates)
17.Oscar Echulu (UTL Kobs)
18.Timothy Dumba (G4S Pirates)
19.Steven Ogwete (UTL Kobs)
20.Phillip Karumuna (G4S Pirates)
21.Brian Jjemba (G4S Pirates)
22.Bishop Onen (MTN Heathens)
Head Coach: Ham Onsando
Assit. Coach: Sam Ahamya
Team Manager: Brian Tabaruka

http://ugrugbyfanzone.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=120:rugby-cranes-and-sables-exchange-veiled-salvos&catid=38:latestnews&Itemid=86

TEST MATCH RUGBY: Finals Day in Arusha

Africa Trophy, South
The Africa Cup is the top playing Tier for African rugby. The Trophy is the next tier down.

19.06.2010
Kenya A v Uganda A
Mauritius v Tanzania

Previews
The A teams of Kenya and Uganda will meet in the final of this tournament. Mauritius and Tanzania will clash for the 3rd-4th spot.

This article laments Tanzania's showings http://dailynews.co.tz/sports/?n=10888

Teams not available

Predictions
Kenya A by 5 v Uganda A
Mauritius by 10 v Tanzania

Note: Tanzania has played Mauritius twice before
05.07.2008 Mauritius 22-17 in Curepipe (CAR Dev.Trophy, South)
06.08.2005 Mauritius 20-10 in dar es Salaam (CAR Div.2)

Tanzania did not play ant international 15's rugby during 2009

TEST RUGBY: Italians Have Hard Task in South Africa

19.06.2010
Italy v South Africa in Witbank

Venue: Puma Stadium

Referee: Andrew Small (England)

Preview
International test rugby arrives in this provincial capital for the first time. With South Africa awash with the happenings over the oval ball game, and the South Africa RU evacuating their main stadiums, South Africa rugby has taken this, and the next test, to provincial capitals.

South Africa has been in great form so far in 2010. After an average Northern tour last November they came back with a good win over Wales and then, last weekend, an excellent victory over the French. Even with 11 changes in the side from last weekend, South Africa should continue this winning run. It bodes well for their chances at the Rugby World Cup in 2011 when a team can win with many changes in the lineups.

Italy has their forward pack. It will take a huge South African effort to overcome what is probably the world's best scrummaging unit. Even at the breakdown Italy has the return of their world class No.8 and captain Parisse. It will be in the backs where Italy will struggle and their defensive systems will be tested by a bigger, more mobile South African backline.

Last Five Encounters
21.11.2009 South Africa 32-10 in Udine
21.06.2008 South Africa 26-0 in Capetown
17.11.2001 South Africa 54-26 in Genoa
30.06.2001 South Africa 60-14 in Port Elizabeth
19.06.1999 South Africa 101-0 in Durban

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-South Africa 2nd, Italy 10th
IRB Rankings-South Africa 2nd (89.46), Italy 11th (72.97)

Prediction: South Africa by 20 points

Teams

34[1]

South Africa
Z Kirchner (Blue Bulls); G Aplon (Stormers), J de Villiers (Western Province), B James (Bath, England), B Habana (Stormers); M Steyn (Blue Bulls), R Januarie (Stormers); G Steenkamp (Blue Bulls), C Ralepelle (Blue Bulls), J du Plessis (Natal Sharks), B Botha (Blue Bulls), V Matfield, Capt.(Blue Bulls), F Louw (Stormers), D Potgieter (Blue Bulls), P Spies (Blue Bulls)
Replacements: B Maku (Blue Bulls), CJ van der Linde (Free State Cheetahs), A Hargreaves (Natal Sharks), R Kankowski (Natal Sharks), R Pienaar (Natal Sharks), J de Jongh (Stormers), B Basson (Free State Cheetahs)
Head Coach: Pieter de Villiers

6[1]

Italy
L McLean (Benetton Treviso), K Robertson (Viadana), A Masi (Racing Metro, France), M Pratichetti (Viadana), M Bergamasco (Racing Metro, France), C Gower (Bayonne, France), T Tebaldi (Banca Monte Parma), S Perugini (Bayonne, France), L Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester, England), V Bernabo (Roma), Q Geldenhuys (Viadana), S Favaro (Banca Monte Parma), A Zanni (Benetton Treviso), S Parisse, Capt. (Stade Francais,France),
Replacements: F Ongaro (Saracens, England), L Cittadini (Benetton Treviso), M Bortolami (Gloucester, England), P Derbyshire (Padova), S Picone (Benetton Treviso), R Bocchino (Rovigo), G Canale (Clermont Auvergne, France)
Head Coach: Nik Mallett

TEST RUGBY: Poms out for Revenge

19.06.2010
England v Australia in Sydney (Cook Cup)

Venue: ANZ Stadium

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

Preview
England's coach Martin Johnson will want to reestablish England's place in the rugby world by winning here in Sydney as he did as captain of the 2007 side that defeated Australia on this ground. More alarmingly though will be England's record against Southern hemisphere sides since 2007-10 straight losses!

A new-look Aussie side handed England a lesson on playing with spirit and flare when faced with a daunting forward mauling last weekend. Robbie dean's is molding this Australian team into a spirited and inventive side that may well take the New Zealanders and South African's by surprise in the Tri Nations this year.

What can England do? They will dominate up front in the set pieces for sure. But I suspect Australia will have an edge elsewhere on the park. The English will again miss Jonny Wilkinson's generalship and defence qualities as he sits on the bench again. He is not in his best form yes but there looked to be nobody else who can direct play like he can. Big mistake England!

58753529
Jonny Wilkinson will not be in the starting lineup. Is this a mistake?

Last Five Encounters
12.06.2010 Australia 27-17 in Perth
07.11.2009 Australia 18-9 at Twickenham (Cook Cup)
15.11.2008 Australia 28-14 at Twickenham (Cook Cup)
06.10.2007 England 12-10 at Marseilles (World Cup, Quarter-final)
17.06.2006 Australia 43-18 in Melbourne (Cook Cup)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Australia 7th, England 8th
IRB Rankings-Australia 3rd (85.71), England 6th (79.95)

Prediction: England provides the power, Australia provides the flare, and will win by 15 points.

Teams

7[1]

Australia
J O'Connor (WA Western Force); D Mitchell (NSW Waratahs), R Horne (NSW Waratahs), M Giteau (ACT Brumbies), D Ioane (Queensland Reds); Q Cooper (Queensland Reds), W Genia (Queensland Reds); B Daley (Queensland Reds), S Faingaa (Queensland Reds), S Ma'afu (ACT Brumbies), D Mumm (NSW Waratahs), N Sharpe (WA Western Force), R Elsom, Capt. (ACT Brumbies), D Pocock (WA Western Force), R Brown (WA Western Force)
Replacements: H Edmonds (ACT Brumbies), J Slipper (Queensland Reds), M Chisholm (ACT Brumbies), M Hodgson (Western Force), L Burgess (NSW Waratahs), B Barnes (NSW Waratahs), A Ashley-Cooper (ACT Brumbies)
Head Coach: Robbie Deans

2[1]

England:
B Foden (Northampton); M Cueto (Sale Sharks), M Tindall (Gloucester), S Hape (Bath), C Ashton (Northampton); T Flood (Leicester), B Youngs (Leicester); T Payne (Wasps), S Thompson (Brive, France), D Cole (Leicester), C Lawes (Northampton), T Palmer (Stade Francais, France), T Croft (Leicester), L Moody, Capt. (Leicester), N Easter (Harlequins)
Replacements: G Chuter (Leicester), D Wilson (Bath), S Shaw (Wasps), J Haskell (Stade Francais, France), D Care (Harlequins), J Wilkinson (Toulon, France), D Armitage (London Irish)
Head Coach: Martin Johnson

INTERNATIONAL TEST RUGBY: Wales Arrive in New Zealand

19.06.2010
Wales v New Zealand in Dunedin

Venue: Carisbrook

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

Preview
It is with great sadness that this will be the last test match played at this famous rugby ground in New Zealand. Nicknamed 'The House of Pain', it has been the downfall of many touring rugby sides. It's closeness to the parochial and noisy crowd has always given the All Blacks a 5 point lead even before kickoff!. It will be no more. A new stadium, New Zealand's first with a roof, is being built across town but surprisingly with only a 30,000 capacity.

300px-Carisbrook[1]
Farewell to Carisbrook. Image thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carisbrook

To this game. Wales will be but a shadow of the side that pushed the All Blacks last November. Injuries has meant a new-look side will tackle an All Black side coming off a 40 point win over Ireland.

The Kiwis are also blooding new players but this did not lessen the pace nor lower the skills this side possesses. A hard day at the office for Wales

Last Five Encounters
07.11.2009 New Zealand 19-12 in Cardiff
22.11.2008 New Zealand 29-9 in Cardiff
25.11.2006 New Zealand 45-10 in Cardiff
05.11.2005 New Zealand 41-5 in Cardiff
20.11.2004 New Zealand 26-25 in Cardiff

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 1st, Wales 9th
IRB Rankings-New Zealand 1st (91.68), Wales 8th (78.58)

Prediction: New Zealand in a walk over, by 47 points.

Teams

8[1]

New Zealand
I Dagg (Hawkes Bay); C Jane (Wellington), C Smith (Wellington), B Stanley (Auckland), J Rokocoko (Auckland); D Carter (Canterbury), J Cowan (Southland); B Franks (Canterbury), K Mealamu (Auckland), O Franks (Canterbury), B Thorn (Canterbury), A Boric (North Harbour), V Vito (Wellington), R McCaw, Capt. (Canterbury), K Read (Canterbury).
Replacements: A de Malmanche (Waikato), T Woodcock (North Harbour), S Whitelock (Canterbury), A Thomson (Otago), P Weepu (Wellington), A Cruden (Wellington), R Kahui (Waikato)
Head Coach: Graham Henry

3[1]

Wales
L Byrne (Ospreys); L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), A Bishop (Ospreys), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), T Prydie (Ospreys); S Jones (Scarlets), M Phillips (Ospreys); P James (Ospreys), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jones (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), AW Jones (Ospreys), J Thomas (Ospreys), G Thomas (Newport Gwent Dragons), R Jones, Capt. (Ospreys)
Replacements: H Bennett (Ospreys), J Yapp (Cardiff Blues), D Jones (Cardiff Blues), R McCusker (Scarlets), T Knoyle (Scarlets), D Biggar (Ospreys), J Davies (Scarlets)
Head Coach: Warren Gatland

Thursday, June 17, 2010

TEST RUGBY COMING UP: June 18-20

18.06.2010
New Zealand Maori v Ireland in Rotorua
France v Argentina A in Mar del Plata

19.06.2010
Scotland v Argentina in Mar del Plata
Italy v South Africa in Witbank
Wales v New Zealand in Dunedin
England v Australia in Sydney
Samoa v Japan in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
Tonga v Fiji in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
England Saxons v Canada in Harrison (Churchill Cup, Final)
United States v France A in Harrison (Churchill Cup, 3rd-4th)
Russia v Uruguay in Harrison (Churchill Cup, 5th-6th)
Morocco v Tunisia in Tunis (Africa Cup, Pool A, Final)
Ivory Coast v Senegal in Tunis (Africa Cup, Pool A, Playoff 3rd-4th)
Kenya A v Uganda A in Arusha (Africa Trophy South, Final)
Mauritius v Tanzania in Arusha (Africa Trophy South, Playoff 3rd-4th)

20.06.2010
Georgia v Namibia in Bucharest (IRB Nations Cup)
Italy A v Romania in Bucharest (IRB Nations Cup)
Argentina A v Scotland A in Bucharest)
Cambodia v Brunei in Phnom Pehn (Asia Regional Tournament)

RUGBY TOURNAMENT: CAR Africa Trophy 16 June

The trophy tournaments are a tier below the Africa Cup in African rugby. This tournament is being held in Arusha, Tanzania. Kenya A and Uganda A were drafted into the competition following the with drawl of Reunion and Swaziland.

16.06.2010
Kenya A 27, Mauritius 3
Uganda A 39, Tanzania 3

Saturdays Finals Day
Kenya A v Uganda A

Playoff
Mauritius v Tanzania.

TEST RUGBY: Africa Cup Pool A

Semi-finals in Tunis

15.06.2010
Morocco 60, Ivory Coast 3
Tunisia 12, Senegal 11

Briefly
The huge win to Morocco was a surprise as Ivory Coast has been tough competition in the past (and made the 1995 Rugby World Cup). Even more alarming was Tunisia's close call with Senegal. Senegal has made grant strides in their rugby development.

Finals Saturday
Morocco v Tunisia

Playoff
Ivory Coast v Senegal

Winner of each pool plus best second place getter meet in November.

INTERNATIONAL TEST RUGBY: IRB Nations Cup

Results in from Bucharest

15.06.2010
Italy A 21, Georgia 3
Namibia 23, Scotland 20
Romania 24, Argentina A 8

Points After Round 2

'So we are confronted by the weird situation of the possiblity that a team will win all its games, but still finish second - a reflection of the crazy format that the IRB persist with.
1. Italy A: 8 (+20)
2. Namibia: 8 (+7)
3. Romania: 5 (+12)
4. Georgia: 4 (-17)
5. Scotland A: 2 (-4)
6. Argentina A: 1 (-18)'

And the scenario..

Round 3 Sunday

Georgia v Namibia
Italy A v Romania
Argentina A v Scotland A

'So to win the tournament:
Italy A: Must win over Romania, which you'd think would be enough considering their high point difference. Bonus point win would almost guarantee the trophy.
Namibia: Must either thrash Georgia, or hope that Romania cause Italy A problems, or both. Realistically, this will be a very tight encounter and a narrow win is probably all that Namibia could get out of this - so they need Italy A to slip up.
Romania: Must beat Italy A by five points or more to finish above them. Also, they will need Georgia to beat Namibia, but not thrash them. A bonus point win would be golden for Romania.
Georgia: Must beat Namibia by scoring four tries by eight points or more. Realistically, they need to win this by 30 points or more and hope that Romania only narrowly beat Italy A. They need and absolute miracle.'

Thanks to 'Natal' at http://www.fira-aer-rugby.com/forum2007/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3498&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=75

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

RUGBY TESTS: Churchill Cup Day 2

13.06.2010
England Saxons 32, United States 9 in Glendale
Canada 33, France A 27 in Glendale

Briefly
England Saxons continued their winning ways whilst Canada provided a major upset, turning over a very formidable France A side.

Monday, June 14, 2010

INTERNATIONAL RUGBY: Africa Cup, Pool A

The 2010 Africa Cup will be contested in three pools. The winner of each pool plus the best second place side will go to the finals to be held in November. Pool A consists of the northern African nations, Morocco, Tunisia, Ivory Coast and Senegal.

In Pool A the two winning sides from today will play off for first next Saturday.

Ivory Coast v Morocco

GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table-Morocco 4th, Ivory Coast 7th
IRB Ranking Points-Morocco 53.06, Ivory Coast 50.31

Prediction: Morocco by 15 points

Senegal v Tunisia

GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table-Tunisia 3rd, Senegal 8th
IRB Ranking Points-Tunisia 54.20, Senegal 42.12

Prediction: Tunisia by 35 points

TEST RUGBY: IRB Nations Cup, Day 2

IRB Nations Cup-Bucharest
Italy A v Georgia
Scotland A v Namibia
Romania v Argentina A

Previews
After a first day of upsets, the second day of this tournament will see some interesting contests.

Italy A v Georgia

Both Italy A and Georgia won on the first day. Italy A defeated the much fancied Argentina Jaguars whilst Georgia defeated last year's tournament winner Scotland A. There will not be a lot between these two teams but I suspect Italy A has the edge.

Prediction: Italy A by 3 points

Scotland A v Namibia

Namibia caused a major upset on day 1 by defeating hosts Romania. They could one step further against a Scottish side reeling from a one point loss on day 1.

Prediction: Namibia by 5 points

Romania v Argentina A

This could be the cracker of a match on the day. Both side were on the favourites lists before the tournament started, whilst today one of these teams will, unless there is a draw, have suffered two defeats. I suspect Argentina A will just edge out the home side.

Prediction: Argentina A by 1 point

Sunday, June 13, 2010

TEST RUGBY RESULTS: Saturday 12 June

12.06.2010 -Updated
New Zealand 66, Ireland 28 in New Plymouth
Scotland 24, Argentina 16 in Tucuman
Australia 27, England 17 in Perth
South Africa 42, France 17 in Capetown
Samoa 24, Tonga 23 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)-New result
Fiji 22, Japan 8 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
Kenya 11, Zimbabwe 10 in Nairobi (Victoria Cup)
Israel 13, Finland 6 in Helsinki (ENC 3C) - New result
Iran 19, Pakistan 6 in Jakarta (Asia Nations Div.3, Final)
Guam 49, Indonesia 12 in Jakarta (Asia Nations Div.3, Playoff 3rd-4th)
Jordan 28, Uzbekistan 3 in Almaty (Asia Nations Div.4, Final)
Mongolia v Almaty Select XV in Almaty (Asia Nations Div.4, Playoff 3rd-4th)-result to come

Briefly
A red card and a yellow card effectively ended Ireland's hopes of winning against New Zealand.
Scotland slogged out a win in Argentina.
Australia won against England in spit of giving away two penalty tries.
South Africa were too good against a tired looking French side.
Fiji caused a surprise by defeating Japan.
Kenya just sneaked past Zimbabwe at home in the inaugural Victoria Cup match.
Iran move to Asia Nations Div.2 for 2011 and become recognised as Asia's high flyer at the moment.
Hosts Indonesia crashed out to Guam and are relegated to Asia Nations Div.4 next year.
Jordan won Asia Nations Div.4 and replace Indonesia in Div.3

Saturday, June 12, 2010

RUGBY MATCHES MISSING!

Due to a glitch in the computer works and family commitments this weekend, there may be some matches I cannot cover. What games I have covered will not have the usual team stats available, due to the glitch and lack of time.

It can take an average of an hour to put together each game you see, so with twelve games on Saturday alone (5 more on Sunday) every moment counts. When other commitments turn up or a glitch happens with the computer, something has to give. I love doing this, don't misunderstand me, but I'm not getting any income from the blog nor the associated web site, so it has to drop when other priorities occur. I hope you understand.

Now the time is coming when I will have to consider whether to make these a membership only blog and web site. Let me know if you would support that idea, or not. Let me also know what you would be prepared to pay, say monthly, yearly, or for life. Those are the sort of options I'm looking at.

Rugby never sleeps around the world.

RUGBY TOURNAMENT: Asia Nations Division 4, Finals Day

Asia Nations Division 4 finals in Almaty

12.06.2010
Jordan v Uzbekistan
Mongolia v Almaty Selects XV (I think this match will happen)

Preview
Kygyzstan's no show at this event is understandable. Civil unrest continues to plague this Central Asian nation. Originally down to host this tournament the Kygzstani's pulled out of this commitment. At the last minute the tournament went to neighbour Kazakhstan, and then the Kyzygy team itself pulled out of the tournament. This is, of course, a major blow to the rugby development of this emerging nation, and I do hope life gets back to normal there as soon as possible.

The final showdown will be between Jordan, who won their first ever international test rugby match Wednesday, against Mongolia, and Uzbekistan who had little more than a training run against a local team on the same day. The prize is that the winner goes to Division 3 next year.

These two teams have not played each other before.

GWC Rugby Rankings
Asia Table-Uzbekistan 21st, Jordan 23rd
IRB Rankings-These guys do not register yet.

Prediction: I think the Uzbekistanis will just have too much experience and grunt up front, to win by 14 points.

RUGBY TOURNAMENT: Asia Nations Div.3

Finals Day in Jakarta

Final
12.06.2010
Iran v Pakistan

Preview
The final of the Asia Nations Division sees neighbours Iran and Pakistan battle for the honour of promotion to Division 2 for 2011. Iran has the better record and played well to win against Guam Wednesday.

Previous Encounters
06.11.2007 Iran 32-3 in Colombo (Asiad Shield)
18.08.2007 Iran 22-11 in Lahore (Iran's first test match)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Asia Table-Iran 14th, Pakistan 15th
IRB Rankings do not apply

Prediction: Iran by 15 points and head to Division 2 in 2011.

Teams not available

Playoff 3rd-4th
Guam v Indonesia

Preview
Tricky one this game. Guam won easily last year but Indonesia played well against Pakistan Wednesday.

Previous Encounter
01.07.2009 Guam 23-3 in Manilla (Asia Nations Div.3, Semi-final)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Asia Table-Guam 16th, Indonesia 17th

Prediction: Guam by 7 points, and hosts Indonesia head down to division 4 for 2011.

Teams not available

RUGBY TEST MATCH: England Against Australia

12.06.2010
England v Australia in Perth

Venue: Subiaco Oval

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Preview
Whilst not quite reaching the intensity of the Ashes cricket series between these two nations, a rugby test match still brings out a bit of the colonial boys v the home country feelings. Both teams certainly have a lot to prove.

Robbie Deans, the Aussie coach, is having to rapidly build this young side into a World Cup finals contender. They have a little over a year to get it right and there are promising signs. Injuries has certainly made Deans' job difficult and the retirement of world-class flanker Smith has left the team vulnerable in the loose play. In fact only Elsom remains from the starting 15 who played England last November. Veteran Nathan Sharp is back, thankfully, to give the Australian pack much needed experience. Still, the opportunity is there for younger players to make their mark in this game and to force their way into the Australian side next year.

England, frankly, are playing poorly and have done so, well, since the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Their huge and experienced forward pack would have few equals in the world. This pack has been largely kept together for this tour. This is an area in which England should dominate. But those backs! For the money that is behind this England team, and with players like Wilkinson, the flare and the skill are frankly just missing. I have found watching England play just boring! Step up England and produce!

Last Five Encounters
07.11.2009 Australia 18-9 at Twickenham (Cook Cup)
15.11.2008 Australia 28-14 at Twickenham (Cook Cup)
06.10.2007 England 12-10 at Marseilles (World Cup, Quarter-final)
17.06.2006 Australia 43-18 in Melbourne (Cook Cup)
11.06.2006 Australia 34-3 in Sydney (Cook Cup)

Australia hold the Cook Cup, symbol of rivalry between these two nations. They have held it since June 2006. This is the first time England has played a test match in Perth.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-England 6th, Australia 8th
IRB Rankings-Australia 3rd (85.56), England 7th (80.10)

Prediction: It won't be pretty, but England to grunt it by 3

Teams

7[1]

Australia
15 James O'Connor, 14 Digby Ioane, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, Capt. 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 James Slipper, 18 Mark Chisholm, 19 Matt Hodgson, 20 Will Genia, 21 Peter Hynes, 22 Kurtley Beale.
Head Coach: Robbie Deans

2[1]

England
15 Ben Foden, 14 Mark Cueto, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Chris Ashton, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Lewis Moody, Capt. 6 Tom Croft, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Steve Thompson, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 David Wilson, 18 Courtney Lawes, 19 James Haskell, 20 Ben Youngs, 21 Jonny Wilkinson, 22 Mathew Tait.
Head Coach: Martin Johnson

TEST RUGBY: Victoria Cup

12.06.2010
Zimbabwe v Kenya in Nairobi

Preview
Kenya and Zimbabwe clash for the inaugural match for the Victoria Cup, Africa's newest rugby competition. Both side are playing their first tests for 2010. Both sides have a big programme of test rugby involing this new Cup in Africa as well as the CAR Africa Cup.

Last Five Encounters
24.07.2004 Zimbabwe 24-15 in Bulawayo (Friendly)
24.05.2003 Kenya 32-24 in Nairobi (Friendly)
28.09.2002 Kenya 19-12 in Nairobi (Kenya Airways Cup)
03.07.1993 Zimbabwe 42-7 in Nairobi (WCQ Africa)
13.08.1989 Zimbabwe 56-9 in ?

GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table-Kenya 6th, Zimbabwe 10th
IRB Ranking Points-Kenya 49.68, Zimbabwe 46.91

Prediction: Kenya by 18 points

Teams

Kenya
15. Vincent Mose (Impala RFC)
14. Victor Sudi (Kenya Harlequin FC)
13. Innocent Simiyu, Capt. (Impala RFC)
12. Patrice Agunda (Kenya Harlequin FC)
11. Peter Abuoga (Kenya Harlequin FC)
10. Nato Simiyu (Impala RFC)
9. Peter Mutai (Kenya Commercial Bank)
8. Paul Oimbo (Impala RFC)
7. David Mogere (Kenya Harlequin FC)
6. Ben Nyambu (Nondescripts RUFC)
5. Michael Aung (Nondescripts RUFC)
4. Wilson K'Opondo (Mean Machine RFC)
3. Joel Ng'anga (Kenya Harlequin FC)
2. Vincent Ongera (Kenya Harlequin FC)
1. Daniel Kiptoo (Kenya Harlequin FC)
Replacements
16. Edwin Alubaka (Kenya Commercial Bank)
17. Nzioka Muema (Impala RFC)
18. Tony Mutai (Kenya Harlequin FC)
19. Andrew Amonde (Kenya Commercial Bank)
20. Charles Kanyi (Nondescripts RUFC)
21. David Ambunya (Kenya Harlequin FC)
22. Naftaly Bondo (Kenya Harlequin FC)
Head Coach: Michael Otieno

Kenya's Games ahead
June 12 v Zimbabwe in Nairobi (Victoria Cup)
June 19 v Mupumalanga in Witbank-Curtain raiser Italy v S.Africa
June 26 v Uganda (Elgon Cup)
July 17 v Zimbabwe in Bulawayo (Victoria Cup)

http://www.kbc.co.ke/story.asp?ID=64509

Zimbabwe Squad
Justin Butchanan (South Africa-based club) *
Prayer Chitenderu (Old Hararians)
Rocky Gurumani, Capt. (Old Hararians)
Daniel Hondo (Hurtpury RFC, England)
Vakai Hove (South Africa-based club) *
Paul Jessub (Harare Sports Club) *
Scotty Johns (South Africa-based club) *
Jacques Leitao (Mashonaland Country Districts)
Lloyd Machanjaira (Old Miltonians)
Tapiwa Mafi (Old Hararians)
W. Mbanje
Tafadzwa Mhende (Harare Sports Club)
Norman Mukondiwa (Matabeleland Province)
D, Mutamangira
Njabulo Ndlovu (Mashonaland Country Districts)
Gardner Nechironga (Polokwane, South Africa)
Danny Robertson
Josh Rowe (South Africa-based club) *
Sanele Sibanda (South Africa-based club) *
Paul Staak (Matabeleland Province)
Zacks Tondoro (England-based club)

Head Coach: Brandon Dawson
Assistant: Cyprian Mandenge
Manager: Noddy Kanyangarara

* New caps

Player info. put together from my own records.

Adapted from http://www1.herald.co.zw/inside.aspx?sectid=19860&cat=5

TEST RUGBY: Fierce Test Predicted

12.06.2010
France v South Africa in Capetown

Venue: Newlands Park

Referee:Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)

Preview
The World Cup soccer tournament is being held at the same time in South Africa as this tour of the Republic by France. So the nations is really focused on soccer but instead of drawn defensive soccer games expect something very different in Capetown.

I recently watched again the South Africa v France rugby test played last November in France. I don't think I have seen a more physical game of rugby for sometime. Not dirty. Just pure physical confrontation as only this magnificent game can bring. France won that brutal game and then promptly folded against New Zealand a few weeks later.I Ah! French rugby!

Last Five Encounters
13.11.2009 France 20-13 in Toulouse
24.06.2006 France 36-26 in Capetown
26.11.2005 France 26-20 in Paris
25.06.2005 South Africa 27-13 in Port Elizabeth
18.05.2005 Drawn 30-30 in Durban

South Africa has not defeated France since June 2005, losing the last three in a row.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-France 2nd, South Africa 4th
IRB Rankings-South Africa 2nd (88.60), France 4th (85.43)

Prediction: Who knows? You certainly cannot predict the French. I'll Say France by 5

Teams

South Africa
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ricky Januarie , 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield , 4 Danie Rossouw, 3 BJ Botha, 2 John Smit, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Jannie du Plessis, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Dewald Potgieter, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22 Jean de Villiers.
Head Coach: Pieter de Villiers

France
15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 David Marty, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Aurélien Rougerie, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Julien Bonnaire, 7 Wenceslas Lauret, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 5 Romain Millo- Chluski, 4 Lionel Nallet, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Guilhem Guirado, 17 Jean Baptiste Poux, 18 Julien Pierre, 19 Louis Picamoles, 20 Dimitri Yachvili, 21 David Skrela, 22 Marc Andreu.
Head Coach: Marc Lièvremont

INTERNATIONAL TEST RUGBY: Ireland Down Under

12.06.2010
Ireland v New Zealand in New Plymouth

Venue: Yarrow Stadium

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Preview
Could this be Ireland's day? For so long the Irish have played the All Blacks and lost. On Saturday they have a grand opportunity to achieve what no other Irish team has done.

The Irish arrive in New Zealand with virtually their strongest possible side whilst New Zealand introduces 6 new players to test rugby, either in the starting lineup or from the bench.

It will be a fascinating test, old v new.

Last Five Encounters
15.11.2008 New Zealand 22-3 in Dublin
07.06.2008 New Zealand 21-11 in Wellington
17.06.2006 New Zealand 27-17 in Auckland
10.06.2006 New Zealand 34-23 in Hamilton
22.06.2002 New Zealand 40-8 in Auckland

Of recent Ireland's best performances have been on New Zealand soil. The closest Ireland has come was 10-10 draw in Dublin, 1973.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 1st, Ireland 3rd
IRB Rankings-New Zealand 1st (91.68), Ireland 5th (82.61)

Prediction: New Zealand by 10 points.

Teams

8[1]

New Zealand
1
5 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, Capt. 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Anthony Boric, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 Neemia Tialata, 18 Sam Whitelock, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Zac Guildford.
Head Coach: Graham Henry

1[1]

Ireland
15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, Capt. 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 David Wallace, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Mick O'Driscoll, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 John Hayes, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 John Fogarty, 17 Tony Buckley, 18 Dan Tuohy, 19 Shane Jennings, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Jonathan Sexton, 22 Geordan Murphy.
Head Coach: Declan Kidney

TEST MATCH: Pacific Nations Cup

12.06.2010
Samoa v Tonga in Apia

Venue: Apia Park

Referee: Peter FitzGibbon (Ireland)

Preview
The first of the Pacific Nations cup matches in Apia begins today. Host nation Samoa plays the visiting Tongan side. Both side will be flexing their muscles and preparing for next years Rugby World Cup. As usual both teams are without a number of their top overseas-based players so the opportunity is there for younger players to establish themselves before next years event.

Both sides have been able to call upon some of their overseas-based players including London Wasps' David Lemi and London Irish's George Stowers for Samoa. Traditionally Samoa has had the edge over their Pacific Island neighbours. The one famous exception was Tonga's magnificient win in the 2007 Rugby World Cup after suffering a mauling from Samoa earlier in the year. Expect some big hits!

Last Five Encounters
23.06.2009 Samoa 27-13 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
28.06.2008 Samoa 20-15 in Nuku'alofa (Pacific Nations Cup)
16.09.2007 Tonga 19-15 in Montpellier (World Cup, Pool A)
23.06.2007 Samoa 50-3 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
01.07.2006 Samoa 36-0 in Gosford (Pacific 5 Nations)

Tonga last won in Apia in 1980, winning 15-12.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Samoa 12th, Tonga 14th
Oceania Table-Samoa 4th, Tonga 5th
IRB Rankings-Samoa 12th (72.08), Tonga 15th (68.18)

Prediction: Samoa too strong at home and in the slip stream of their successful 7's side, to win by 13 points.

Teams

15[1]

Samoa
15 Paul Williams, 14 Mikaele Pesamino, 13 George Pisi, 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 David Lemi, 10 Lolo Lui, 9 Junior Poluleuligaga, 8 George Stowers, 7 Falemiga Selesele, 6 Iosefa Tekori, 5 Kane Thompson, 4 Filipo Lavea Levi, 3 Sakaria Taulafo, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Anthony Perenise.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Williams, 17 James Afoa, 18 Manaia Salave'a, 19 Alafoti Faosiliva, 20 Uale Mai, 21 Fautua Otto, 22 Uarotafou Setu.
Head Coach: Fuimaono Tafua

20[1]

Tonga
15 Vungakoto Lilo, 14 Alaska Taufa, 13 Saia Fekitoa, 12 Andrew Ma'ilei, 11 Manu Ahotaeiloa, 10 Kurt Morath, 9 Daniel Morath, 8 tbc, 7 Paula Kata, 6 Kelepi Halafihi, 5 Alepini Olosoni, 4 Akameta Feao, 3 Pa'alo'i Taula, 2 Aleki Lutui (c), 1 Toma Toke.
Replacements: 16 Sione Vaiomounga, 17 Sione Fukofuka, 18 Sitiveni Mafi, 19 Atunaisa Sikalu, 20 Samisoni Fisilau, 21 Fangatapu Apikotoa, 22 Alipate Fatafehi.
Head Coach: Isitolo Maka