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Springboks hit back in style with bonus point win



The Springboks have won their first Test in Australia since 2013 when they beat the Wallabies by 24-8 at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney, outscoring the hosts by four tries to one for a bonus point and to keep alive their hopes in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

The victory, after leading 12-3 at halftime, was the perfect way to bounce back after last week’s defeat in Adelaide. The bonus point victory was not only the Boks’ first in Australia in nine years, but in fact their first win in Sydney since 1993.

The Springboks dominated territory and possession and scored two tries and a conversion in the first half, while the Wallabies could only reply with a sole penalty goal. The visitors then added 12 more points in the second stanza through two more five pointers and one conversion, while interestingly, they never attempted one penalty kick at goal for a gutsy and convincing win.

In wet and slippery conditions, the Springboks made a positive start with several promising forays into the Wallabies 22m area.

The Boks got onto the scoreboard in the 11th minute following a huge amount of pressure on the Wallaby try-line, which resulted in three penalties in a row. Lock Eben Etzebeth did well to pass the ball to midfielder Damian de Allende, who went over under the posts, with an easy conversion by No 10 Damian Willemse to give them a 7-0 lead.

Canan Moodie scores on debut.

Canan Moodie scores on debut.

A couple of unforced errors gave the Wallabies some much breathing space, especially with lock Matt Philip in the sin bin, and the home side did well to keep the scoreboard quiet during the period when they were down to seven forwards.

The Boks showed more accuracy and composure at the breakdown, but they had very little reward from their early kicking game, with Wallaby fullback Reece Hodge handling the arial bombs particularly well in the tricky conditions.

The Wallabies finally made their way into the Bok half and earned a penalty for a high tackle, which flyhalf Noah Lolesio easy steered through the posts for their only score of the opening half.

Canan Moodie, who became the second youngest Springbok debutant in the professional era at 19 years old, had a good game and scored the Springboks’ second try on the stroke on halftime when he gathered another high ball in front of Marika Koroibete to run in for his try out wide, which took the halftime score to 12-3.

Franco Mostert went over for a crucial try early in the second half.

Franco Mostert went over for a crucial try early in the second half.

The Boks opened the second half with a brilliantly crafted try by flanker Franco Mostert, who went over inside the corner flag following some splendid handling between backs and forwards, with Bok skipper Siya Kolisi featuring prominently.

Although Willemse missed the conversion, the Boks managed to increase their advantage 17-3 with almost a full half of play to come.

However, the Wallabies came back during a determined period and the men in green and gold were this time relieved to escape from a passage of huge Aussie pressure when prop Allan Alaalatoa was penalised for foul play.

The rest of the second half was a huge arm wrestle between the two teams and the Springboks did well to ride out several Wallaby attacks, while they themselves fell short at regular intervals.

Another brilliant finish by Makazole Mapimpi.

Another brilliant finish by Makazole Mapimpi.

Deon Fourie – SA’s oldest debutant at 35 years old a few months ago – replaced Kolisi with 10 minutes to go, with the skipper having put in a good shift with ball in hand as well as some crunch tackles at crucial times.

Makazole Mapimpi, denied a certain try by a desperate Koroibete tackle last week in Adelaide, got his try this time when he raced away after Willie le Roux put the speedster in space to score a crucial fourth Bok try in the corner.

However, the wing was yellow carded for his action after the try, which led to some pushing and shoving involving both teams. Utility replacement back Frans Steyn added the extras from the touchline to put the Boks in a commanding position at 24-3 with less than 10 minutes to go.

Replacement flanker Pete Samu scored a try on the hooter in a passage of play that saw Le Roux sin-binned for foul play while the Aussies were on the attack, which meant the Boks finished the game with 13 players.


Springboks 24 (12) – Tries: Damian De Allende, Canan Moodie, Franco Mostert, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Damian Willemse, Frans Steyn.

Australia 8 (3) – Try: Pete Samu. Penalty goal: Noah Lolesio.

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby

6 Nations

‘It’s A Great Appointment’ – Farrell On Murphy’s Move To Ulster



With Dan McFarland stepping down as Ulster head coach this week, it has been confirmed that Murphy will take over the role on an interim basis following the conclusion of the Under-20 Six Nations Championship.

The Ireland Under-20s are in title contention again thanks to two opening wins, with Murphy having overseen back-to-back U-20 Grand Slam successes and a World Rugby U-20 Championship final appearance in the last two seasons.

Farrell first worked alongside Murphy when they were defence coach and skills and kicking coach respectively, during Joe Schmidt’s coaching reign with Ireland.

The pair have kept up a strong connection with Murphy continuing for a short while as a specialist kicking resource for the senior squad, and the Under-20s often training with Farrell’s men during the Six Nations window.

“I think it’s a great appointment. I think Richie will do a fantastic job (at Ulster), his rugby knowledge is second to none,” commented Farrell.

“He is a very experienced guy that has been an assistant for quite some time and I know that he worked with us for a short period before we went to the Under-20s, but that was his next step to take that type of mantle on and do it his way.

He has certainly done a fantastic job. I mean, coaching the Under-20s is coaching in its purest form, it’s bloody difficult because of the swapping and changing the whole time each year.

“It shows exactly the quality that he’s got and his knowledge of the whole game. I think the players up at Ulster there will love him.

“His attitude is great but first and foremost I think they will respect his knowledge, definitely.”

McFarland was in charge of Ulster since 2018 and guided them to the PRO14 final two years later. They looked to be finding form again with a trio of wins over Racing 92, Connacht, and Leinster, coming into the New Year.

However, last Sunday’s poor 19-17 defeat at the Ospreys was their third loss in a row, leaving them eighth in the BKT United Rugby Championship, and came just a few weeks after failing to reach the last 16 of the Investec Champions Cup.

Assistant coach Dan Soper will take the reins for their next URC fixture at home to the Dragons on Saturday week, before Murphy comes on board for their two-match tour to South Africa where they will play the Hollywoodbets Sharks and the DHL Stormers.

The Bray man will have to quickly get up to the speed as the Ulstermen then travel to Montpellier in the EPCR Challenge Cup’s round of 16, just after Easter. Given the people involved, Farrell is confident they can turn things around at Kingspan Stadium.

“Look, it’s obvious that we want all the provinces playing at the top of their game. If that happens, it’s a special place to be but it doesn’t tend to happen that often, does it?

“One thing I know for sure is that Ulster have got a fantastic squad and good people up there. The lads that we have within our squad are exemplary to the province, as far as their attitudes are concerned whether they’re playing or not.”

A dislocated toe, suffered during that loss to the Ospreys, means Iain Henderson is unavailable for Ireland’s clash with Wales on Saturday. His Ulster colleague, Stuart McCloskey, is one of only two backs on the hosts’ bench as they opt to return to a six-two split.

New-look Wales, who lost their first two games to Scotland and England by a combined three points, come to Dublin with a squad that has accumulated 662 caps, compared to Ireland’s 1012.

119 of those caps are provided by George North alone, while 21-year-old Exeter Chiefs lock Dafydd Jenkins continues as captain, and Cardiff back rower Mackenzie Martin could make his debut off the bench.

Asked what he is expecting from Wales this weekend, Farrell replied: “Playing against Wales, you know it’s always going to be a scrap.

“You know that every single time Wales play against Ireland, it means probably a little bit more to them, I’ve been told (that) over the years.

“So we’re aware of that, and we also know as well that Wales historically have got better throughout the competition.

“We’re five weeks into it come the weekend, from when we first started training. We know that they’ll be better and hopefully we’ve used our time wisely as well.”

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography

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6 Nations

Wales team to face Ireland in Dublin named



Senior men’s head coach Warren Gatland has named the Wales side to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the third round of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 24 February (KO 2.15pm live on ITV and S4C).

There is one change to the starting XV that played England at Twickenham on 10 February, with Sam Costelow returning for Wales at fly half.

Among the replacements back-row Mackenzie Martin is in line to win his first senior cap this weekend and would become the 1,200th Wales men’s international.


Tight-head prop Dillon Lewis would be making his first appearance of this Championship if called on from the bench.

Gatland said: “We are excited to go out to Dublin and test ourselves against one of the leading sides in world rugby. It’s a challenge we are relishing.

“We’ve made steps in the last couple of games and now it’s about building on that, learning from those experiences and taking that into this weekend.

“It’s about continuing to work hard, looking for accuracy in our performance across 80 minutes and also keeping our discipline.”

Wales senior men’s team to play Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the Guinness Six Nations, Saturday 24 February KO 2.15pm GMT. Live on ITV and S4C.
15. Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 56 caps)
13. George North (Ospreys – 119 caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 34 caps)
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons – 16 caps)
10. Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 9 caps)
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 55 caps)
1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 27 caps)
2. Elliot Dee (Dragons – 48 caps)
3. Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby – 4 caps)
4. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 14 caps) Captain / Capten
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 53 caps)
6. Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 15 caps)
8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 45 caps)


16. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 40 caps)
17. Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)
18. Dillon Lewis (Harlequins – 54 caps)
19. Will Rowlands (Racing 92 – 30 caps)
20. Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
21. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 19 caps)
22. Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets – 4 caps)
23. Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)

Images & Content – Wales Rugby

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6 Nations

Jager and Ahern Join Ireland Squad Ahead Of Wales



The Ireland squad re-assembled in Dublin on Sunday evening ahead of this weekend’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations Round 3 clash against Wales at Aviva Stadium (Kick-off 2.15pm).

Prop Oli Jager has joined the squad and Thomas Ahern has also linked up with Andy Farrell‘s side at the IRFU High Performance Centre this week.

Iain Henderson picked up a foot injury during Ulster’s URC game away to Ospreys on Sunday and there will be a further update later in the week.

The Ireland Match Day Squad to face Wales at Aviva Stadium will be named on Thursday at 2pm.

Ireland Squad – Wales Week: 

Backs (15):

Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht)
Harry Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster)
Jack Crowley (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Ciaran Frawley (UCD/Leinster)
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
James Lowe (Leinster)
Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Calvin Nash (Young Munster/Munster)
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster)
Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster)

Forwards (21):

Thomas Ahern (Shannon/Munster)*
Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster)
Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster)
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster)
Oli Jager (Munster)*
Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jeremy Loughman (Garryowen/Munster)
Joe McCarthy (Dublin University/Leinster)
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)(captain)
Tom O’Toole (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster)
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster)
Dan Sheehan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Tom Stewart (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Nick Timoney (Banbridge/Ulster)
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster)

*Denotes uncapped player

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography

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