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Key players out for Springboks

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(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber made three changes to his starting team for the clash, two of which were personnel changes and one positional switch, mainly due to injuries to the influential Pieter-Steph du Toit (flanker) and Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf).

With Du Toit, the World Rugby Player of the Year in 2019, having taken a knock to the shoulder in the second Test last weekend, Franco Mostert moves from lock to the side of the scrum, while Lood de Jager is promoted from the bench to the starting team and will start alongside Eben Etzebeth in the second row.

The other change is at scrumhalf, where Cobus Reinach replaces De Klerk, who has been ruled out due to a muscle strain in his leg.

Nienaber opted to name three backs on the bench, with Steyn (flyhalf) joining Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf) and Damian Willemse (utility back).

Should Steyn take the field, it would mark a significant occasion for the player, as it would officially see him participate in back-to-back Castle Lager Lions Series tournaments. He kicked the penalty goal that sealed the series victory in 2009, while it would also see Steyn make a return to Test rugby for the first time in five years, after last playing against New Zealand in 2016.

Franco Mostert moves from lock to flank.

“This is a massive Test for us with the Castle Lager Lions Series on the line, so it was important for us to maintain consistency in selection following on last week’s performance,” said Nienaber.

“Pieter-Steph du Toit was ruled out due to the shoulder injury he suffered last week, but we are fortunate to have experienced players such as Franco and Lood who can step in and who have the physical presence we need in those roles.

“Cobus is also an experienced player with a calm head and who can handle pressure, and we believe he will be able to dictate play well alongside Handré Pollard, while Herschel Jantjies has been great in adding the necessary spark we need off the bench, and will be asked to fulfil that role again.”

Nienaber was thrilled to see midfielder De Allende, who made his Test debut against Argentina in 2014, reach this significant career milestone and said: “It doesn’t get any bigger than earning a 50th Test cap in a series decider against the British & Irish Lions.

“We are excited for Damian and we know what it will mean to him and the team to win this match. He has been a key figure in the Bok team in the last few seasons and it gives us great pride to see him achieve this feat.”

Nienaber was also pleased to see Steyn back in the Bok jersey for the first time in years.

Cobus Reinach will start at scrumhalf on Saturday.

“I am delighted for Morné – he is a world class player and his work ethic and positive attitude on and off the field since joining the team in Bloemfontein has been impressive,” said the Bok coach.

“He can also perform under extreme pressure, as he shown for the Springboks and the Bulls, and that skill will be invaluable in such a vital Test.”

Looking forward to the match, Nienaber said he is expecting an epic battle and that the Boks were ready to give everything to win the Series.

“This group of players are among a handful of players in the history of South African rugby that have an opportunity to clinch a series against the Lions after winning the Rugby World Cup, and every player in this squad understands what a rare honour that is,” said Nienaber.

“I don’t think one needs any more motivation than that to win this weekend. We are preparing for a physical encounter and we know that every small battle will count if we want to win the series.

“This match is as important to us as it is for the Lions, so we know it is going to be tight, and we will have to capitalise on every opportunity we have to score points, and be effective in every area of our game.

Morne Steyn is back in a Bok match-23 for the first time since 2016.

“As Springboks, big moments such as these excite us, so we plan to go out there and give everything we have to clinch the Series.”

Mathieu Raynal (France) will referee the match, with Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) and Nic Berry (Australia) serving as assistant referees, while Marius Jonker (South Africa) will be the television match official.

When it comes to the betting, the bookies seem to agree that South Africa are quite big favourites with odds of 8/11 being the current best. You will be able to find odds of 7/5 for a Lions win and as big as 22/1 for the draw if you fancy an outside bet. If you are considering a bet then maybe check out one of the many free bet websites such as free-bets.uk.com to see if there are any free bets you can claim to use on the match as well.

Springbok team to face the British & Irish Lions:
15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 64 caps, 60 pts (12t)
14 – Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse) – 16 caps, 40 pts (8t)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 17 caps, 20 pts (4t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Munster) – 49 caps, 30 pts (6t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 16 caps, 75 pts (15t)
10 – Handré Pollard (vice-captain, Montpellier) – 51 caps, 494 pts (6t, 79c, 98p, 4d)
9 – Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 15 caps, 35pts (7t)
8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 2 caps, 0 pts
7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 42 caps, 5pts (1t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 53 caps, 30 pts (6t)
5 – Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks) – 47 caps, 25 pts (5t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 88 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 41 caps, 5pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 39 caps, 40 pts (8t)
1 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 50 caps, 5pts (1t)

Replacements:
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 36 caps, 30 pts (6t)
17 – Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 45 caps, 5 pts (1t)
18 – Vincent Koch (Saracens) – 22 caps, 0 pts
19 – Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls) – 4 caps, 0 pts
20 – Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo) – 9 caps, 5 pts (1t)
21 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 13 caps, 25 pts (5t)
22 – Morné Steyn (Vodacom Bulls) – 66 caps, 736 points (8t, 102c, 154p, 10d)
23 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 9 caps, 5pts (1t)

Milestones:

  • Handré Pollard needs six points to reach 500 Test points and two penalty goals to strike 100 penalty goals.
  • The Springboks need two tries to reach 100 tries and one conversion to reach 50 conversions against the British & Irish Lions in this the 49th Test match since 1891.

Miscellaneous:

  • The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is
  • There are 228 caps in the backline with 414 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 140
  • The average caps per player in the backline are 32, the forwards 51 while the players on the bench average 17.

International

Six legends to be inducted into World Rugby Hall of Fame

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World Rugby has revealed that six legends of the game in Osea Kolinisau (Fiji), Humphrey Kayange (Kenya), Huriana Manuel-Carpenter (New Zealand), Cheryl McAfee (Australia), Will Carling (England) and Jim Telfer (Scotland) will be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2021.

The World Rugby Hall of Fame presented by Tudor recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to the game of rugby throughout their careers, demonstrating rugby’s character-building values of integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect on and off the field.

The six inductees excel within two themes selected by the Hall of Fame panel for 2021, rugby sevens and the Olympic Games in a big Olympic year, and the 150th anniversary of the first international match between Scotland and England in March 1871.

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6 Nations

Ireland Squad Named For Autumn Nations Series

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Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Andy Farrell has named a 38 strong squad for the upcoming Autumn Nations Series fixtures at the Aviva Stadium.

Ireland face Japan on Saturday 6th November before hosting New Zealand a week later on Saturday 13th.

The final game in the series sees Mario Ledesma’s Argentina line out at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday 21stNovember.   The Aviva Stadium will be at full capacity for these three games.

Johnny Sexton who has been capped 99 times for his country will lead the squad during this international window.

Six of Ireland’s players who toured with the British and Irish Lions during the summer – Bundee Aki, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson and Conor Murray are included as is Ronan Kelleher who joined the squad in South Africa.

Six of the players who won their first caps during the Vodafone Summer Series in July have been included in the squad – Robert Baloucoune, Harry Byrne, Gavin Coombes, James Hume, Tom O’Toole and Nick Timoney.

There are two uncapped players named Leinster duo Dan Sheehan and Ciaran Frawley while Munster’s Simon Zebo is named in an Ireland squad for the first time since June 2017.

Robbie Henshaw will continue his rehabilitation programme under the supervision of the Ireland medical team.

Thomas Ahern (Munster) and Jamie Osborne (Leinster) will train with the squad as development players during this window.

Ireland Head Coach Andy Farrell, commented,

“It has been a short lead in to this international window but that is the challenge, to get back up to speed quickly and build on the performances from the Six Nations and the Summer Tests.  This is the start of an exciting period for the group as we begin to build towards the Rugby World Cup in France.”

“In September we got together and mapped out what was coming up in this window, the exciting fixtures that lay ahead in the next 12 months and beyond that the opportunities to improve as a group over the next five windows we will have together.

“In a few weeks’ time we will face an exciting and well coached Japan team who showed in July what a dangerous team they are.  New Zealand dominated the Rugby Championship losing just one game while Argentina are battle hardened from playing the southern hemisphere’s Big 3 week in week out over the past two months.

“It would be fantastic to play in front of a full-house at the Aviva Stadium.  We had small crowds back in for the games in July and even that made a huge difference to the team and the atmosphere in the stadium.”

Ireland’s Autumn Nations Series fixtures at the Aviva Stadium will be televised on RTE (ROI) and Channel 4 (NI).

IRELAND Autumn Nations Series Squad 2021

Backs (18)
Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 31 caps
Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen) 1 cap
Harry Byrne (Leinster/Lansdowne) 1 cap
Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 24 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 3 caps
Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 25 caps
Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 93 caps
Ciaran Frawley (Leinster/UCD)*
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 10 caps
James Hume (Ulster/Banbridge) 1 cap
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 13 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 30 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 6 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 5 caps
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 89 caps
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 34 caps
Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 99 caps CAPTAIN
Simon Zebo (Munster/Cork Constitution) 35 caps

Forwards (20)
Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 5 caps
Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 16 caps
Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 22 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 20 caps
Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps
Ultan Dillane (Connacht/Corinthians) 19 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 9 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 49 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 109 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 63 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 22 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 13 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 45 caps
Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 76 caps
Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 1 cap
Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 37 caps
James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 37 caps
Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne)*
Nick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge) 1 cap
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 32 caps

*denotes uncapped player

Development Players

Thomas Ahern (Munster/Shannon)
Jamie Osborne (Leinster/Naas)

Autumn Nations Series Fixtures 2021

IRELAND v Japan
Aviva Stadium , Saturday 6th November, 2021

IRELAND v New Zealand
Aviva Stadium , Saturday 13th November, 2021

IRELAND v Argentina
Aviva Stadium , Sunday 21st November, 2021

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

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Autumn Nations Cup

Scotland confirm Autumn Nations Squad

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(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Scotland has called up its full complement of 2021 British & Irish Lions as Head Coach Gregor Townsend confirms his 42-man squad for the Autumn Nations Series.

The extended group welcomes back Captain Stuart Hogg, half-back pairing Ali Price and Finn Russell, centre Chris Harris, winger Duhan van de Merwe, flanker Hamish Watson as well as props Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland following their involvement in the South African series.

Support for Scotland continues to build ahead of the Autumn Nations Series with the confirmation today that the match against Australia on Sunday 7 November is sold out.

A total of 11 new players are added to the squad ahead of the opening game against Tonga on 30 October from the training group which came together earlier this week at the Oriam High Performance Centre.

Alongside the B&I Lions contingent centres Matt Scott, Huw Jones and fly-half Adam Hastings retain their places alongside flanker Sam Skinner from Scotland’s summer tour squad, which was hampered by Covid cancellations.

Also progressing to the Autumn Series squad are Edinburgh backs Darcy Graham, Blair Kinghorn, Damien Hoyland and Mark Bennett. They are joined by fellow capital teammates Grant Gilchrist, Stuart McInally, Jamie Ritchie and Nick Haining.

Scotland’s west-based professional side Glasgow Warriors provide experience also in the form of hookers Fraser Brown and George Turner, lock Rob Harley and back-row Matt Fagerson. Props Jamie Bhatti, Murray McCallum and Oli Kebble are also selected.

Glasgow Warriors centre Sam Johnson joins scrum-half George Horne and wing Kyle Steyn who all also missed out on possible game time in the summer series and will compete again for places this autumn.

Head Coach Townsend has selected 12 uncapped players to be part of the tournament squad following their initial involvement in the training group this week.

In the pack Ewan Ashman, Josh Bayliss, Rory Darge, Dylan Richardson, Luke Crosbie, Jamie Hodgson, Marshall Sykes and Pierre Schoeman will all be keen to feature in the four-match series, which begins against Tonga and sees Scotland play Australia, South Africa and Japan on consecutive weekends.

Glasgow Warriors provide all the uncapped backs in Rufus McLean, Jamie Dobie, Ross Thompson and Sione Tuipulotu.

It’s exciting to bring together a blend of highly experienced and uncapped players for our first week of the Autumn Nations Series campaign.

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend

“There have been some notable performances from both our home-based players and those at clubs outside of Scotland, which has enabled us as coaches to select a group which are playing well and will be motivated across the four games.

“We also feel that this the right time to bring in some younger players given their early season form. They have created opportunities for themselves to represent their country and we believe that they will thrive in the Test match environment.

“We face four tough matches in four weeks and Tonga, Australia, South Africa and Japan each present a different challenge and an opportunity to perform in front of our people at BT Murrayfield. It’s great to hear that we will now play Australia in front of a capacity crowd at BT Murrayfield, and it means a huge amount to the players to have this level of support.”

Autumn Nations Series Squad

Forwards:
Ewan Ashman – Sale Sharks – uncapped
Josh Bayliss – Bath Rugby – uncapped
Jamie Bhatti – Glasgow Warriors – 18 caps
Fraser Brown – Glasgow Warriors – 54 caps
Luke Crosbie – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Rory Darge – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 13 caps
Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 38 caps
Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby – 45 caps
Nick Haining – Edinburgh Rugby – 8 caps
Rob Harley – Glasgow Warriors – 22 caps
Jamie Hodgson – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Oli Kebble – Glasgow Warriors – 8 caps
Murray McCallum – Glasgow Warriors – 3 caps
Stuart McInally – Edinburgh Rugby – 40 caps
Dylan Richardson – Cell C Sharks – uncapped
Jamie Ritchie – Edinburgh Rugby – 27 caps
Sam Skinner – Exeter Chiefs – 12 caps
Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Rory Sutherland – Worcester Warriors – 16 caps
Marshall Sykes – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
George Turner – Glasgow Warriors – 17 caps
Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 41 caps


Backs:
Mark Bennett – Edinburgh Rugby – 22 caps
Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby – 19 caps
Jamie Dobie – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Chris Harris – Gloucester Rugby – 28 caps
Adam Hastings – Gloucester Rugby – 23 caps
Stuart Hogg – Exeter Chiefs – 85 caps
George Horne – Glasgow Warriors – 14 caps
Damien Hoyland – Edinburgh Rugby – 4 caps
Sam Johnson – Glasgow Warriors – 18 caps
Huw Jones – Harlequins – 31 caps
Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh Rugby – 25 caps
Duhan van de Merwe – Worcester Warriors – 10 caps
Rufus McLean – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Ali Price – Glasgow Warriors – 42 caps
Finn Russell – Racing 92 – 55 caps
Matt Scott – Leicester Tigers – 39 caps
Kyle Steyn – Glasgow Warriors – 1 cap
Ross Thompson – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Sione Tuipulotu – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped

Scotland’s matches against South Africa and Australia are already sold out, a full house at BT Murrayfield is also expected for Japan.

Tonga will be the exciting opponents on Saturday 30 October when Scotland take the field for the first test match at BT Murrayfield with a live crowd since March 2020.

Plans are underway to host a massive Halloween party with fans encouraged to wear fancy dress and with ‘kids for £1’ tickets available it gives a great opportunity for families to see their national team in action, secure your tickets HERE.

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