Fans flock back to see the Boks in action
The Springboks came close to a claiming a fifth Castle Lager Rugby Championship title this season, and although there was disappointment in the end, the men in green and gold still performed very well, with a number of Boks dominating the individual statistical analysis of the competition, while South African rugby supporters made the most of the opportunity to return to stadiums.
Due to the COVID-pandemic, the Boks last played in front of fans in South Africa in 2019, and this year just under 300,000 supporters streamed through the gates at the six Tests in South Africa.
For the three Tests against Wales (in Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town), and the three Castle Lager Rugby Championship encounters on home soil (in Nelspruit, Johannesburg and Durban), 297,298 supporters – or a superb 98.91% of full capacity at the six stadiums – saw the Boks in action in South Africa.
Jacques Nienaber’s team finished the Castle Lager Rugby Championship with four wins from their six matches, their most since 2014 and 2013, when they also finished second behind New Zealand with four wins.
South Africa beat Argentina twice (38-21 and 36-20 for a nett points’ difference of +33), won one against Australia – their first away win in the competition over the Wallabies since 2013 – and lost one Down Under (24-8 and 17-25 for a nett points’ difference of +8), and ended equal with New Zealand on one win and one defeat (26-10 and 23-35 for a nett points’ difference of +4).
Zoning in on individual performances in the last two months of international rugby, Malcolm Marx’s influence in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship was clear for all to see, with the Springbok hooker dominating in a number of key areas.
Marx scored two tries – the same as his team-mates Damian De Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Kwagga Smith – which placed them joint-third on the list of top try scorers, behind All Blacks hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho with five, as well as flankers Juan Martin Gonzalez of Argentina (4) and Fraser McReight of Australia (3).
But Marx also dominated on the ground, where he topped the list of breakdown turnovers won, with seven. Second on the list was Springbok captain Siya Kolisi with six, followed by Pumas captain Julian Montoya (five).
The All Blacks duo of Ardie Savea and Sam Whitelock, and Argentina’s Pablo Matera, were all on four, while Kwagga Smith and Steven Kitshoff won three each.
Lood de Jager made the most tackles of any Springbok with 62 (he placed fourth overall, behind the Pumas trio of Marcos Kremer (79), Montoya (66) and Gonzalez (66), while Marx and Kolisi came in at joint-ninth with 54 tackles each.
The Boks’ strongest ball carriers were Jasper Wiese (51 carries for 307m won), De Allende (48 carries for 333m) and Marx (40 carries for 222m).
Four players were tied at the top of the list for average metres gained per carry, namely SA’s Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am, Canan Moodie and New Zealand’s Caleb Clarke, all with an average of 13m, with Clarke’s 540m the most metres gained by any player in 2022, while Mapimpi’s seven clean breaks were the most this season.
The Boks’ starting locks ruled in the air, with De Jager’s 26 lineouts won topping the list, and Etzebeth coming in second with 25.
The top points’ scorers during the competition were Argentina’s Emiliano Boffelli and New Zealand’s Richie Mo’unga, both of whom scored 71 points in their six games, with Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard coming in at third with 32 points in three games.
Farrell Names 42-Player Ireland Summer Training Squad
Ireland Head Coach Andy Farrell has today named a 42-player Summer Training Squad to begin preparations for the Bank of Ireland Nations Series and Rugby World Cup 2023.
Following the conclusion of the BKT United Rugby Championship and Heineken Champions Cup campaigns, the Ireland Coaching Team have selected an extended panel of players to assemble at the IRFU High Performance Centre on 18th June for the first block of pre-season.
The Ireland squad will train at their Dublin base through June and July ahead of the Bank of Ireland Nations Series which will see Farrell’s side fine-tune their preparations for Rugby World Cup 2023 with home matches against Italy (Saturday, 5th August – kick-off 8pm) and England (Saturday, 19th August – kick-off 5.30pm) at Aviva Stadium and a fixture against Samoa at Stade Jean-Dauger in Bayonne (Saturday, 26th August – kick-off 9pm local time/8pm Irish time).
Broadcast details for the Bank of Ireland Nations Series will be confirmed shortly, with tickets for the games against Italy and England at Aviva Stadium available to purchase via Ticketmaster now.
Farrell has included four uncapped players in his Summer Training Squad, with Ulster hooker Tom Stewart called up having been part of the extended Ireland squad during the Guinness Six Nations campaign, while Leinster backs Ciaran Frawley and Jamie Osborne and Munster winger Calvin Nash are rewarded for their performances for their Provinces this season.
Commenting on the squad announcement, Farrell said: “It is exciting to announce our extended training squad for the first phase of Rugby World Cup preparations, and we’re looking forward to assembling in Dublin next month to hit the ground running as a group.
“It’s pleasing to see that selection has been as tough as ever, as real quality players have initially been unfortunate to have missed out. I’m sure that camp will be competitive enough as we grow minds and bodies and look to push on with our game from last season.
“In the meantime, it’s important that we freshen up for a busy and exciting summer ahead, so we’re ready to get to work on 18th June and build towards the Bank of Ireland Nations Series and to France beyond that.”
In addition to the three Bank of Ireland Nations Series matches, the Ireland squad will travel to Portugal for a warm-weather training camp in August, before Farrell’s final 33-player Rugby World Cup squad is announced in late August.
Ireland open their Rugby World Cup campaign against Romania in Bordeaux on 9th September, before further Pool B clashes against Tonga (16th September) in Nantes, and South Africa (23rd September) and Scotland (7th October) at the Stade de France in Paris.
Ireland Training Squad
Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University)
Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers)
Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne)
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere)
Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster)
Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College)
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf)
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf)
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy)
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch)
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne)
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians)
Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin University)
Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution)
Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch)
Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD)
Cian Prendergast (Connacht/Corinthians)
James Ryan (Leinster/UCD)
Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne)
Tom Stewart (Ulster/Ballynahinch)*
Kieran Treadwell (Ulster/Ballymena)
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD)
Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians)
Caolin Blade (Connacht/Galwegians)
Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD)
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon)
Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution)
Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster)
Ciaran Frawley (Leinster/UCD)*
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster)
Mack Hansen (Connacht/Corinthians)
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers)
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD)
James Lowe (Leinster)
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor)
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen)
Calvin Nash (Munster/Young Munster)*
Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas)
Jamie Osborne (Leinster/Naas)*
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD)
Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College)
Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan)
*denotes uncapped player
Bank of Ireland Nations Series Fixtures
- Saturday 5th August, Ireland v Italy – Aviva Stadium, 8pm
- Saturday 19th August, Ireland v England – Aviva Stadium, 5.30pm
- Saturday 26th August, Ireland v Samoa, Stade Jean-Dauger, 9pm local time/8pm Irish time
Rugby World Cup 2023 Fixtures
- Saturday 9th September, Ireland v Romania – Stade de Bordeaux, 3.30pm local time/2.30pm Irish time
- Saturday 16th September, Ireland v Tonga – Stade de la Beaujoire, 9pm local time/8pm Irish time
- Saturday 23rd September, Ireland v South Africa – Stade de France, 9pm local time/8pm Irish time
- Saturday 7th October, Ireland v Scotland – Stade de France, 9pm local time/8pm Irish time.
Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography
Wayne Smith appointed as Performance Coach for the Black Ferns and All Blacks
Wayne Smith has been appointed as Performance Coach to the Black Ferns and All Blacks in a unique new role that will include mentoring and supporting the respective Head Coaches and enhancing the quality of coaching delivery across the two teams.
Smith has already started working with Black Ferns Director of Rugby Allan Bunting but will not start his role with the All Blacks until after the 2023 Rugby World Cup when new Head Coach Scott Robertson takes up the role.
Smith said he was grateful to be able to continue his long association with the legacy of the black jersey and New Zealand Rugby (NZR).
“I have a deep connection and love for any team that wears the black jersey and particularly the Black Ferns and the All Blacks. I also have strong relationships with the respective head coaches and many of the players, so it feels like this role across the two teams is a natural fit, and one where I can hopefully add and contribute to both environments.”
Smith, who masterminded the Black Ferns 2022 Rugby World Cup championship run as Head Coach, said he would continue to challenge norms and encourage coaches and players to think outside the box.
“It’s important to consider different perspectives and solutions as coaches. As we head into a new era for the game, I am a great believer in the importance of diversity, of relationships and of people. As a coach I’ve been very fortunate to have been exposed to that through my career”.
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said Smith would be the Performance Coach to sit across the Black Ferns and All Blacks, and the new role would continue a legacy of innovation and excellence.
“Smithy’s input and insights on the shape of the game and trends in the game internationally will be of enormous benefit to coaches and players, but more than that his integrity, honesty, passion for the jersey and care for the legacy of the black jersey are invaluable.
“We are very fortunate to have someone of his calibre in our game and involved with our two top national teams the Black Ferns and the All Blacks. I know he is excited and energised by the challenge ahead and I’m confident our players, fans and stakeholders will feel the same way.”
Wayne Smith – All Black #806 – 17 Tests 1980-1985
2023: Black Ferns and All Blacks Performance Coach (commencing November 2023)
2022: Black Ferns Head Coach (Rugby World Cup winners)
2018: Kobelco Steelers Director of Coaching (Back-to-back Top League Japanese championships)
2015-2017: All Blacks Assistant Coach
2012-2014: Chiefs Assistant Coach
2012: Queen’s Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours, he was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rugby
2004-2011: All Blacks (Assistant Coach)
2001-2004: Northampton Saints Coach (England)
2000-2001: All Blacks Head Coach
1997-1999: Crusaders Head Coach (back-to-back Super Rugby titles 1998-1999)
Squads announced for Barbarian F.C. vs World XV
The Killik Cup will be on the line next Sunday (28 May, kick-off 2pm), as two of the most decorated coaches in world rugby, Eddie Jones (Barbarians) and Steve Hansen (World XV), go head-to-head for an unmissable showdown in London.
The two squads are jam-packed with world-class talent, with internationals from England, Wales, South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina, Australia, Tonga, Japan, Scotland, Fiji and Italy all involved for the blockbuster clash at HQ.
The sides contain a total of 1,286 international caps between them – with 650 for the Barbarians and 636 for the World XV – as well as Rugby World Cup winners, British & Irish Lions tourists, and several returning Barbarians.
Nic Dolly (Leicester Tigers and England)
Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby, Wales, British & Irish Lions)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales, British & Irish Lions)
Stephan Lewies (Harlequins and South Africa)
Steven Luatua (Bristol Bears and New Zealand)
Enrique Pieretto (Glasgow Warriors and Argentina)
Carlü Sadie (Cell C Sharks)
Rob Simmons (London Irish and Australia)
Harry Thacker (Bristol Bears)
Sione Vailanu (Glasgow Warriors and Tonga)
Aaron Wainwright (Dragons Rugby and Wales)
Alex Waller (Northampton Saints)
Tom West (Leicester Tigers)
Hiroki Yamamoto (Toshiba Brave Lupus and Japan)
Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys and Wales)
Qaude Cooper (Hanazono Kintetsu Liners and Australia)
Aaron Cruden (Tokyo Sungoliath and New Zealand)
Francois Hougaard (Saracens and South Africa)
Samu Kerevi (Tokyo Sungoliath and Australia)
Teviat Li (Tokyo Sungoliath)
Jack Maunder (Exeter Chiefs and England)
Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons and England)
Seta Tamanivalu (Toshiba Brave Lupus and Fiji)
“It’s an incredible honour to be asked to coach the Barbarians for a second time,” said Jones. “I am very much looking forward to returning to Twickenham Stadium – a venue I have so many fond memories of – as head coach of the Barbarians, and I’m more motivated than ever to put on a show.
“Going up against Steve rekindles a great rivalry which first started in our days competing in Super Rugby and progressed into the international arena. It’ll be a great challenge and one we’re both relishing.”
The fixture against the World XV marks the first return to Twickenham for the Barbarians since a stunning 52-21 victory over England in June 2022. They then retained the Killik Cup in November, courtesy of a 35-31 win over an All Blacks XV in front of 35,000 people at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Hansen added: “I’m really excited to be returning to Twickenham. I’ve coached both for and against the Barbarians during my career, and while you always have to expect the unexpected where they are concerned.
“You can be certain we’ll have a hugely entertaining match played in a festival atmosphere.”
Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors and Scotland)
Niccolò Cannone (Benetton Rugby and Italy)
Elliot Dee (Dragons Rugby and Wales)
Allan Dell (Glasgow Warriors and Scotland)
Harry Hockings (Tokyo Sungoliath)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets Rugby, Wales, British & Irish Lions)
Oli Kebble (Glasgow Warriors and Scotland)
Michele Lamaro (Benetton Rugby and Italy)
Viliame Mata (Edinburgh Rugby and Fiji)
Sebastian Negri (Benetton Rugby and Italy)
Api Ratuniyarawa (London Irish and Fiji)
Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs)
Bryn Hall (Shizuoka Blue Revs)
Adam Hastings (Gloucester Rugby and Scotland)
Israel Folau (Urayasu D-Rocks and Tonga)
Marika Koroibete (Saitama Wild Knights and Australia)
Ngani Laumape (Kobelco Kobe Steelers and New Zealand)
Sbu Nkosi (Vodacom Bulls and South Africa)
Rhys Patchell (Scarlets Rugby and Wales)
Nick Phipps (Green Rockets Tokatsu and Australia)
Charles Piutau (Bristol Bears and Tonga)
Semi Radradra (Bristol Bears and Fiji)
Further squad updates will follow in the coming days, with one player expected to be added to each squad.
General admission tickets for this spectacular showcase of rugby are still available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk/barbarians, with ticket prices starting from just £27.50* for adults and £16.95* for Under-16s.
For a 10% discount on groups of 10 or more visit www.eticketing.co.uk/rfu/events, while hospitality packages are available to purchase from £299 per person by CLICKING HERE.
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