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.
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.
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.
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.
Aki Banned For Eight Weeks
Aki will be unavailable for the westerners’ next five URC games, including the derby clashes with Munster and Leinster, and will also miss at least the first two of Ireland’s Autumn Nations Series fixtures.
He will definitely be absent for the Tests against South Africa and Fiji, but could return to face Australia on Saturday, November 19 if he ‘successfully completes the Head Contact Process Coaching Intervention programme’.
After an act of foul play against Stormers winger Seabelo Senatla, referee Gianluca Gnecchi showed Aki a red card in the 60th minute of the game under law 9.20(a).
The particular law states that a player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without binding onto another player in the ruck or maul.
In his responses to the judicial officer overseeing the disciplinary process (Pamela Woodman from Scotland), Aki had accepted that he had committed an act of foul play which warranted a red card.
She determined that his actions towards Senatla were reckless and took into account, among other things, the speed, force and high degree of danger in his actions.
Ms. Woodman determined that, had it been based on this conduct alone, the offending would have been categorised as mid-range on the scale of seriousness.
However, she also considered Aki’s actions and demeanour towards the referee in connection with the issue of the red card, which she found did not meet the expected standards of conduct or respect.
This was also taken into account (in accordance with URC’s disciplinary rules) in determining that his offending was at the top-end on the scale of seriousness, which warranted an entry point sanction of 10 weeks.
The judicial officer then considered if there were any mitigating factors and found that Aki’s acceptance that he had committed an act of foul play (during the off-field disciplinary process), expression of remorse, apologies to both the opposing player and referee, and willingness to engage with his provincial coaching staff on a plan to address this issue, were relevant mitigating factors.
These mitigating factors warranted a reduction in the sanction of four weeks.
Aki’s previous suspensions for red cards in 2019 and 2021 for foul play involving head contact, as well as his suspension and warning for previous conduct relating to interactions with referees, were considered aggravating factors, which the judicial officer decided warranted a further two weeks of sanction.
As a result, the Ireland international will be suspended for a period of eight weeks. As previously stated, should he complete the Coaching Intervention programme then the sanction will be reduced by one week.
Fixtures Bundee Aki is unavailable for:
Vodacom Bulls v Connacht, September 30, BKT URC
Connacht v Munster, October 7, BKT URC
Connacht v Leinster, October 14, BKT URC
Connacht v Scarlets, October 21, BKT URC
Ospreys v Connacht, October 29, BKT URC
Ireland v South Africa, November 5, Autumn Nations Series
Ireland v Fiji, November 12, Autumn Nations Series
Ireland v Australia, November 19, Autumn Nations Series (substituted if the player successfully completes the Head Contact Process Coaching Intervention programme)
Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography
Jones names squad for training camp
England will begin preparations for their four home Autumn Nations Series fixtures in November during the camp. The squad will meet in Richmond on Sunday 2 October and train at Twickenham Stadium.
First call-ups for camp include Northampton Saints’ Alex Coles and Saracens’ Hugh Tizard, both players having previously appeared for England U20s.
Manu Tuilagi and Sam Simmonds are back in the squad following injury and there are returns for Ben Youngs, Alex Mitchell, Tom Pearson and David Ribbans.
England face Argentina in the first of their four matches at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday 6 November (2.15pm KO). They will then host Japan on Saturday 12 November (3.15pm KO), followed by New Zealand on Saturday 19 November (5.30pm KO). Their final match is against South Africa on Saturday 26 November (5.30pm KO).
“With a year to go to the Rugby World Cup, this is a big opportunity for players to come in and impress,” said Jones. “We want them to show real energy and enthusiasm and that they want to be a part of this massive year.
“It doesn’t mean that those who have been left out won’t be considered for the Autumn Nations Series matches. We’ll be looking at club games, form and fitness and the door is left open for those players.
“We finished the Australia tour well. It was a fantastic experience, particularly for the younger players. We now have to start again, but we’ll build on what we’ve done there and continue that momentum.”
Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 5 caps)
Alex Coles (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 37 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 41 caps)
Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 39 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 69 caps)
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, 5 caps)
Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks, 15 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 14 caps)
Tom Pearson (London Irish, uncapped)
David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
Patrick Schickerling (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 14 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 23 caps)
Hugh Tizard (Saracens, uncapped)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 64 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 70 caps)
Jack Walker (Harlequins, uncapped)
Jack Willis (Wasps, 4 caps)
Henry Arundell (London Irish, 3 caps)
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 97 caps)
Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints, 2 caps)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 6 caps)
Will Joseph (London Irish, 1 cap)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 69 caps)
Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 1 cap)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 42 caps)
Guy Porter (Leicester Tigers, 2 caps)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 13 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 13 caps)
Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 46 caps)
Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 3 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 117 caps)
Unavailable for selection due to injury: Alfie Barbeary, Nic Dolly, Alex Dombrandt, Charlie Ewels, George Ford, Sam Jeffries, Maro Itoje, Nick Isiekwe, Courtney Lawes, Sam Underhill, Anthony Watson.
New governance structure agreed for rugby in Scotland
Scottish Rugby President Colin Rigby hailed a “significant milestone” for the game in Scotland when member clubs agreed a new governance structure at an online special general meeting last night.
The new structure, based on the recommendations on the Standing Committee on Governance (SCOG), sees the new Scottish Rugby Union (a company limited by guarantee) take on the responsibility for the oversight of the organisation’s main operating vehicle, Scottish Rugby.
It also will provide an oversight function to the organisation’s members.
Professor Lorne Crerar CBE, Interim Chair of the new Scottish Rugby Union, pledged to the SGM that “all the promises for a new, well-functioning governance system will absolutely be delivered.”
Professor Crerar also called on the membership to play its part in finding the “very best talent” to serve as “custodians” on the new company’s board.
Colin Rigby thanked members, SCOG, the Scottish Rugby Council and Scottish Rugby’s employees for their patience, while the new structure was arrived at.
He added: “This is a significant milestone in the history of the Scottish Rugby Union where all stakeholders now have clarity around governance, roles and responsibility.”
John Jeffrey remains chairman of the Scottish Rugby Board which will continue to oversee the day-to-day operational, commercial and executive functions of Scottish Rugby.
Earlier tonight, members voted unanimously to receive Scottish Rugby’s financial statements for 2021-22 at the second part of the organisation’s AGM.
During the period, overall revenue returned to within 5% of pre-pandemic levels at £57.9million, a rise of £5.5million from the previous year.
The accounts showed a deficit of £5.3 million on the base business, while the strategic investment from private equity partners CVC drove a gain on disposal of investment of £34.2million, bringing Scottish Rugby’s net surplus after tax to £29million for the year.
Images & Content – Scotland Rugby
Aki Banned For Eight Weeks
Jones names squad for training camp
New governance structure agreed for rugby in Scotland
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