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Alaalatoa to captain, Nawaqanitawase and Donaldson to debut in Italy

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Allan Alaalatoa will become the 85th Wallabies captain when he leads the side out against Italy in Florence on Saturday afternoon (local time).

The Brumbies leader will skipper his country for the first time and returns to the side after missing last weekend’s one-point loss to current Six Nations champions France in Paris.

He’s one of 11 changes to the starting XV, linking up with hooker Folau Fainga’a and Alstonville product Matt Gibbon in the front row, who earns his first run-on at Test level.

NSW Waratahs speedster Mark Nawaqanitawase will cap off a remarkable year, set to make his Wallabies debut at Stadio Artemio Franchi on the right wing. He combines with Tom Wright and Jock Campbell in the back three.

The imposing Will Skelton earns his first Test start since June 2016 and will partner with Nick Frost who will be looking to continue his strong form at International level against Italy.

An all-new backrow sees Ned Hanigan at blindside flanker in his 27th Test, Reds star Fraser McReight at openside flanker and Pete Samu anchoring the scrum at number eight.

As forecast earlier by coach Dave Rennie, NSW skipper Jake Gordon returns to the number nine jersey and will connect with Noah Lolesio who will steer the team as flyhalf. Gordon making his international debut the last time the Wallabies played in Italy in 2018.

Queensland’s Hunter Paisami returns as the starting inside centre after injury to Lalakai Foketi in Paris and will partner Brumbies outside centre Len Ikitau in the midfield.

Ikitau’s club teammate Lachlan Lonergan will play his first Test in Europe as the finishing hooker, joined in the replacement front row by Tom Robertson who swaps to the finishing loosehead position and Taniela Tupou who was impressive against France.

Darcy Swain returns from a six-match suspension as the second row cover with Langi Gleeson in line for his second Test as the loose forward replacement.

Livewire Tate McDermott will be hoping to find space late in the game to showcase his running game as the finishing scrumhalf, while NSW Waratah and former Junior Wallaby Ben Donaldson has been named for his potential Test debut as the replacement playmaker. Jordan Petaia rounds out the matchday 23 in Florence.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “Allan’s a great man and an exceptional leader. There was a massive roar in the team room when he was named captain this week and that shows the respect and standing he has within the group.”

“Mark and Ben have both had outstanding seasons for the Waratahs and Australia A and they’re both excited for what’s an extremely proud moment for them and their families.

“We always knew a gruelling five-Test end of year tour would require a full squad effort. We made nine changes after the win over Scotland and planned a similar number for Italy but injuries have increased that by a couple.

“Kieran Crowley is an excellent coach and Italy have made significant progress this year. They’re coming off a massive win over Samoa last weekend and beat Wales in the 6 Nations, so we’re under no illusions of the challenge that’s in front of us.”

Every Wallabies Test from the 2022 Spring Tour will be ad-free, live and on-demand with extended coverage on Stan Sport.

Wallabies team to play Italy at Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence on Saturday 13 November, 2:00pm CET/12:00am AEDT (Sunday)

  1. Matt Gibbon (4 Tests)
  2. Folau Fainga’a (35 Tests)
  3. Allan Alaalatoa (c) (61 Tests)
  4. Nick Frost (7 Tests)
  5. Will Skelton (22 Tests)
  6. Ned Hanigan (26 Tests)
  7. Fraser McReight (8 Tests)
  8. Pete Samu (30 Tests)
  9. Jake Gordon (17 Tests)
  10. Noah Lolesio (15 Tests)
  11. Tom Wright (20 Tests)
  12. Hunter Paisami (22 Tests)
  13. Len Ikitau (23 Tests)
  14. Mark Nawaqanitawase*
  15. Jock Campbell (2 Tests)
    Replacements
  16. Lachlan Lonergan (6 Tests)
  17. Tom Robertson (28 Tests)
  18. Taniela Tupou (45 Tests)
  19. Darcy Swain (16 Tests)
  20. Langi Gleeson (1 Test)
  21. Tate McDermott (19 Tests)
  22. Ben Donaldson*
  23. Jordan Petaia (22 Tests)
    *denotes uncapped

2022 Spring Tour Fixtures

Wallabies 16 defeated Scotland 15, Sunday 30 October at BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh

Wallabies 29 defeated by France 30, Sunday 6 November at Stade de France, Paris

Wallabies v Italy, Sunday 13 November, 12:00am AEDT at Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence

Wallabies v Ireland, Sunday 20 November, 7:00am AEDT at Aviva Stadium, Dublin

Wallabies v Wales, Sunday 27 November, 2:15am AEDT at Principality Stadium, Cardiff

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International

Spencer looking to bring innovation to Sky Super Rugby Aupiki

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Former All Blacks and Blues first five-eighths Carlos Spencer hopes to pass on the sort of rugby that marked his career as a backs coach for the Blues women’s side in Sky Super Rugby Aupiki in 2023.

The 99-time Blues’ pivot played 44 Tests for the All Blacks and 89 games for Auckland during his career spanning the turn of the century. He also played for Northampton and Gloucester in the English Premiership.

Since building his coaching record after completing his rugby-playing career in South Africa in Gauteng, he has coached in the Republic, the United States and the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Now he has taken the chance to join head coach Willie Walker and fellow assistant coach Linda Itunu with the Blues.

Spencer, 47, said: “When I was playing, I always liked to bring a bit of innovation and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking to the table. Now, as a coach, I want to encourage and help grow those same traits in our Blues wahine.”

Like most of New Zealand, he was caught up in the Black Ferns’ World Cup success, and he anticipates there will be a follow-on effect in Sky Super Rugby Aupiki.

“You’ve seen the rise of women’s rugby and the way the public got right in behind the Black Ferns.

“We’re at an exciting juncture for the sport, and I’m looking forward to getting involved and doing what I can to help grow and support women’s rugby.”

“I’ve known Willie [Walker] for a while. We’ve thrown the touch ball around and have a good relationship. He’s done some fantastic work with the Auckland Storm in the Farah Palmer Cup, and I’m looking forward to exchanging ideas and getting the backline humming.

“I don’t know Linda, but have seen her exploits on the field for many years with the Black Ferns – she was an enforcer on the field,”

Blues chief executive Andrew Hore said having Spencer on board with the Blues organisation was special, and was an example of harnessing the resources available within the franchise’s region.

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


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Constructive talks between World Rugby, Erasmus

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South Africa Rugby - Image Credit Asics

World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin and World Rugby Director of Rugby Phil Davies met with South Africa Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus on Thursday and held positive discussions regarding recent events and match official communications in general.

Views were exchanged resulting in a better understanding of the respective positions.

There was agreement that further dialogue was needed in terms of enhancing the process that operates between teams and match officials to ensure all can play their part in creating great spectacles and avoid frustration but in a way that underpins the respect for match officials, coaches and players.

Further dialogue will continue after today’s final Springbok test of the year.

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby


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Nienaber, Kolisi praise Boks for special win

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South Africa Rugby - Image Credit Asics

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and captain Siya Kolisi praised the team for their brave effort to earn their first win over England at Twickenham since 2014, and their first personal victories in London as they registered a rewarding 27-13 victory on Saturday.

The Boks built up an encouraging 14-3 halftime lead and managed to stretch it to 27-6 in the 57th minute before being reduced to 14 men for the last 20 minutes after replacement prop Thomas du Toit received a red card for a dangerous tackle. Despite this, the team hung on as if their lives depended on it to snatch the memorable victory.

The result saw the Boks win two of their four matches on the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour – with the two narrow defeats being against the first and second ranked teams in the world in Ireland and France.

“We’ve had a couple of special results as a team, but this was the first win for Siya and I at Twickenham, so it’s very special to us,” said Nienaber.

“The forwards were outstanding and created a good platform for our backs to attack, so all-in-all, it was a fantastic team effort.”

Kolisi echoed lauded the entire team for their efforts to make the victory possible.

“Sometimes we take it for granted what a special environment one is in and the great coaching team we have,” said Kolisi.

“When we got together with most of this coaching team in 2018, we all bought into the plans and the synergy and the way we work together is really special in this group.”

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi thanks the crowd after the Boks won at Twickenham.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi thanks the crowd after the Boks won at Twickenham.

Nienaber was delighted with the way some of the young players rose to the occasion and said: “With this match being outside of the international Test window there were a whole lot of players who were not available for selection, but we have a lot of players knocking on the door and it was great to give those guys an opportunity tonight.

“It’s always good to give those players a chance under such pressure in front of a packed Twickenham, which can be pretty hostile, and they stood up today.”

Asked what he had told his players when they were reduced to 14 men, Kolisi said: “We actually said last week there is nothing we haven’t faced together as a group year. We’ve even been in situation when we had a red card, so the players knew what to do.

“Everyone knew they had to work harder to make up for the extra man, and the way the forwards played was great, and everyone did their bit to get the result.”

Wrapping up the tour, Nienaber said: “This was one of the most enjoyable four weeks we’ve had had even though we only got a 50% win record. The way the team, coaches, management and the game drivers made plans and worked tightly together with it was great, and we can take a lot from this going forward.”

The team will make their journey back to South Africa on Sunday and arrive on their home soil on Monday.

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby


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