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Late Springbok charge not enough against Wallabies



The Wallabies defeated the Springboks by 25-17 (halftime 10-3) despite a strong finish by the South Africans, with Kwagga Smith scoring two tries in the final 10 minutes of their third round Castle Lager Rugby Championship match played in bright winter sunshine in Adelaide on Saturday morning (SA time).

The Wallabies went into the halftime break with a 10-3 lead following a converted try and a penalty goal, while South Africa replied with a single penalty goal despite their dominance in the set piece, territory and the penalty count in their favour.

A string of basic errors in the first half meant the Springboks could never get into their stride, while the Wallabies made a perfect, fast start to the game which set the tone for their first-half performance; 40 minutes of rugby the Springboks would rather forget.

After conceding a converted try in the opening two minutes and then a penalty goal soon afterwards, the visitors found themselves 10-0 behind with hardly a hand laid on the ball during that period.

From a Springbok mistake with the kick-off, Australia beautifully took the ball through a couple of phases and flanker Fraser McReight rounded off a quick start with a converted try next to the posts. Moments later, when flyhalf Noah Lolesio slotted a close ranged penalty goal following a South African high tackle, the Wallabies were 10-0 up within five minutes.

Hooker Joseph Dweba left the field in the 11th minute with a cut above the eye, and Malcolm Marx came on while the starting hooker received stiches for his head wound. Handre Pollard, who slotted 10 consecutive kicks in his previous two matches, steered his first penalty attempt wide of the upright.

Eben Etzebeth put in yet another massive shift in his 103rd Test.

Eben Etzebeth put in yet another massive shift in his 103rd Test.

When the Boks finally got some passes going and ventured into the Wallaby danger zone, they committed several handling errors which relieved the pressure on the Australians.

Pollard pulled another penalty kick when the Wallabies were penalised at scrum time, but he had no problem with his third attempt a few minutes later to finally put the Boks on the scoreboard at 10-3.

With the Boks now getting good go-forward ball, Wallaby right wing Tom Wright was yellow carded for going offside when SA took a quick tap penalty five meters from his goal line, but again the visitors failed to capitalise as they conceded a penalty from an attacking scrum.

The men in Green and Gold were now in control at the set piece and they generated a lot of scoring opportunities, but frustratingly, they were unable to convert those because of numerous errors, but the hosts also defended well, as was the case when wing Makazole Mapimpi was stopped in his tracks with the try line in sight by a desperate Marika Koroibete tackle.

To make matters worse for the Boks, scrumhalf Faf de Klerk was yellow carded for foul play on opposite number Nic White just before the break, and the Wallabies took advantage of that with an extra man on the field early in the second half.

After the break, Koroibete scored the Wallabies’ second try of the match when he showed good footwork to step Pollard and dive over. Lolesio hit the upright with his conversion, but the Wallabies had stretched their lead to 15-3 just seven minutes after the break.

Damian Willemse looks for a gap with support from Eben Etzebeth and Handre Pollard.

Damian Willemse looks for a gap with support from Eben Etzebeth and Handre Pollard.

Springbok Jacques Nienaber sent on Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Kwagga Smith, Franco Mostert, Frans Steyn, Jaden Hendrikse and Elton Jantjies as replacements in the second half in an effort to lift the tempo.

But it was the Wallabies who kept the scorers busy when McReight ran in for his second try of the game. The flanker was on hand to take a pass from his flyhalf after a clever inside pass to score next to the sticks and with Lolesio adding the extras, the Boks were left with a mountain to climb at 22-3 and only 20 minutes of play remaining.

Jantjies was then unfortunately pinned on the wrong side of a ruck after having made a tackle, and Lolesio hit the mark with his second penalty goal attempt as he took the Wallabies’ advantage to 25-3.

The Boks looked for a strong finish and finally scored their first try, initiated by Kitshoff and fellow front-ranker Koch, who sent replacement No 8 Smith over for a try converted by Jantjies.

The South Africans kept on going and when Wallaby No 8 Rob Valetini was yellow carded for a cynical foul towards the end, Smith took a quick tap penalty to dive over for his second try of the game, which Jaden Hendrikse converted.

However the fightback came too late as the Wallabies left the pitch as 25-17 winners, and South Africa now must go back to the drawing board for next week’s rematch in Sydney.


Australia 25 (10) – Tries: Fraser McReight (2), Marika Koroibete. Conversions: Noah Lolesio (2). Penalty goals: Lolesio (2).

Springboks 17 (3) – Tries: Kwagga Smith (2). Conversions: Elton Jantjies, Jaden Hendrikse. Penalty goal: Handre Pollard.

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby


Eddie upbeat for ‘intriguing’ World Cup



Eddie Jones admits the Wallabies are in the chasing pack but still close enough to catch the favourites and win September’s Rugby World Cup.

Jones, after a 15-minute technical glitch, gave his first wide-ranging interview from England on Thursday after his shock appointment on Monday.


He said the battle to wear the No.10 jersey in France was wide open, touched on the side’s ill-discipline and current eligibility laws, assessed the health of the code in Australia and had a neat return-of-serve to rugby league powerbroker Peter V’landys in the latest code-war chapter.

But when asked if he genuinely thought the inconsistent world No.6 side could win the World Cup this year, he was serious.

“There’s no long term; the whole thing is to win the World Cup in 2023,” said Jones, who is on a five-year contract.

“We have to concentrate on areas that will make the biggest difference to the performance of the team and we have to get selection right.
“And we’ve got to create an environment where players are going to give that little bit more, because nobody knows how much they can give.”

Jones will have just five Tests to prepare his men before the Cup and he turned to racing parlance to assess the current power rankings.

He says feels there’s still time for the field to settle with the team who improves the most between now and October set for victory.

“At the moment France and Ireland, in a horse race they’re at the front on the top of the rise,” he said.

“But there’s still plenty of work to do.

“Australia and England are nestled behind them and the team that improves the most over the next nine months will win the World Cup.

“This is the most intriguing World Cup we’ve ever seen.

“Throw in the volatility of the refereeing at the moment with red and yellow cards.

“You’ve got all these things happening that give us this massive opportunity.”

He said every player would have a chance to “select themselves” in club rugby and that replacing Rennie before his contract was to expire at the end of this year wasn’t in his control.

“I wasn’t thinking, ‘I can do this better than Dave, or, I’m a better person’, it’s not that at all,” he said.

“It’s the fact that there was an opportunity there that as an Australian when you get a chance to coach your country you want to do it, mate.”

In a boost for James O’Connor’s hopes after he was cut from Rennie’s extended squad, Jones said he’d base selection on Super Rugby Pacific form and keep an eye on his foreign-based playmakers.

But Jones admits time isn’t on his side when it comes to settling on a preferred partnership, with rival five-eighth Quade Cooper’s recovery from an Achilles tear counting against him.

“We are going to have to decide quite quickly who we think are the best nines and tens and 12s, particularly, to try and build up that cohesion,” he said.

Content & Images from – Australia Rugby

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6 Nations

England team to face Scotland in Six Nations opener



Ollie Hassell-Collins will make his England debut at left wing, Max Malins returns to the side at right wing and Freddie Steward is named at full back.

Owen Farrell captains the side from inside centre and is joined in the midfield by Joe Marchant. Marcus Smith is at fly-half with Jack van Poortvliet at scrum half.

The front row is made up of vice-captain Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler with Jamie George at hooker. Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum start at lock, while Ben Curry makes his second appearance for England at open-side flanker. Lewis Ludlam and Alex Dombrandt complete the back row.

Jack Walker is in line to make his England debut after being named as a substitute, Anthony Watson could make a first England appearance since March 2021, and if Dan Cole comes off the bench he will earn a 96th Test cap.

Mako Vunipola, Nick Isiekwe, Ben Earl, Ben Youngs and Ollie Lawrence make up the remaining replacements.

“There are few fixtures in the rugby calendar that excite both players and supporters alike more than the annual Six Nations meeting of the Auld enemy as they battle for the honour of lifting the Calcutta Cup,” said Borthwick.

“Another packed Twickenham will witness the start of the next chapter of English rugby in one of the most keenly contested tournaments in the world. There is no doubt this England team shares the supporters’ sense of eager anticipation.

“To a man, the players are determined to play with the commitment, fight and desire that is at the very heart of representing England, the sort of passion that our tremendous supporters rightly expect.”

England Match Day Squad


15. Freddie Steward

14. Max Malins

13. Joe Marchant

12. Owen Farrell (C)

11. Ollie Hassell-Collins

10. Marcus Smith

9. Jack van Poortvliet

1. Ellis Genge (VC)

2. Jamie George

3. Kyle Sinckler

4. Maro Itoje

5. Ollie Chessum

6. Lewis Ludlam

7. Ben Curry

8. Alex Dombrandt


16. Jack Walker

17. Mako Vunipola

18. Dan Cole

19. Nick Isiekwe

20. Ben Earl

21. Ben Youngs

22. Ollie Lawrence

23. Anthony Watson

Images & Content from England Rugby
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6 Nations

Scotland name team to face England in 2023 Guinness Six Nations Opener



Head coach Gregor Townsend has named his squad to face England in the opening fixture of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations this Saturday as Scotland bid to retain the Calcutta Cup.

Leading his side in the championship for the first time, blindside flanker Jamie Ritchie is joined at openside by Luke Crosbie, whose excellent recent form is rewarded with a second start for Scotland, with Matt Fagerson completing the back row.

In the second row, the experienced Richie Gray and Grant Gilchrist, who is named as Vice Captain, resume a partnership that impressed during last year’s Autumn Nations Series.

Pierre Schoeman starts at loosehead prop in what is a 17th consecutive international since his 2021 debut, with the evergreen WP Nel – who reached 50 caps in November – selected at tighthead and George Turner named at hooker.

In the back division, scrum-half Ben White will link up with stand-off Finn Russell, a year on from his try-scoring debut in the Calcutta Cup at BT Murrayfield.

Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones are named as a centre pairing, the former having scored his first tries for Scotland in November’s win over Argentina, with the latter having notched no fewer than four tries against England in as many games against them.

In the back three, Scotland’s record try-scorer Stuart Hogg continues at full-back, with Duhan van der Merwe and Kyle Steyn lining up on the wings.

Townsend has selected a bench with a 5-3 split between forwards and backs, with Glasgow Warriors clubmates Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti, Simon Berghan and Jack Dempsey, alongside Jonny Gray, listed as pack replacements. George Horne, Blair Kinghorn and Chris Harris complete the matchday squad as substitute options.

Scotland team to face England in the Guinness Six Nations opener on Saturday, 4 February at Twickenham, kick-off 4.45pm, live on STV and ITV

15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) 96 caps

14. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) 5 caps
13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) 31 caps
12. Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors) 11 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby) 23 caps

10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) 65 caps
9. Ben White (London Irish) 9 caps

1. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby) 16 caps
2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) 30 caps
3. WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) 50 caps
4. Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 69 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – Vice Captain – 59 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby) – Captain – 36 caps
7. Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh Rugby) 2 caps
8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 28 caps


16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) 57 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) 25 caps
18. Simon Berghan (Glasgow Warriors) 31 caps
19. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) 72 caps
20. Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors) 4 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) 18 caps
22. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) 38 caps
23. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby) 39 caps

Tickets for Scotland’s match against Italy at BT Murrayfield in the Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 18 March are still available HERE

Images & Content – Scotland Rugby

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