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Springboks make minor changes for Adelaide Test

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Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has handed Warrick Gelant a start on the right wing and recalled scrumhalf Faf de Klerk in the only two changes to his starting team for their Castle Lager Rugby Championship tour match against Australia in Adelaide on Saturday.

Gelant takes over from Jesse Kriel on the wing, while De Klerk has completed his return to play protocol after missing the second Test against New Zealand due to concussion and slots in for Jaden Hendrikse.

Nienaber also made three changes to the replacements bench, which features a split of five forwards and three backs, where Hendrikse takes over from Herschel Jantjies, while Elton Jantjies will provide flyhalf cover and Frans Steyn additional cover at the back. Willie le Roux and Jasper Wiese are not in the match-23 this weekend.

“This is a very important clash for us to set the tone for our Castle Lager Rugby Championship tour and we feel that continuity in selection is important to build momentum in our campaign,” said Nienaber.

“Warrick was in good form for the DHL Stormers earlier this season and he has been working hard at training, so we thought it would be good to give him a run on the wing. He also combined well with Damian Willemse in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, so we are excited to see what they offer us in the match.

“Faf, meanwhile, is back from concussion and his experience will be important in this game.

“We also feel it is important to give the likes of Ox (Nche), Joseph (Dweba) and Duane (Vermeulen) another opportunity to further build combinations and give them valuable game time as we build toward the Rugby World Cup next year.”

Warrick Gelant will start at right wing on Saturday.

Warrick Gelant will start at right wing on Saturday.

Of the decision to switch from a six-two to a five-three split on the bench, Nienaber said: “We looked at what Australia will bring to the game, and that combined with our need to give Elton and Frans Steyn some vital game time, prompted us to select five forwards and three backs on the bench.

“With Franco (Mostert) and Kwagga (Smith) on the bench, we will have cover at lock and looseforward, while Frans Steyn’s versatility will also be handy as he can cover centre and fullback. These changes obviously mean that Willie, Jasper and Herschel lose out, but we know what we have in them and what they bring to the team.”

Nienaber expected a big onslaught from the Wallabies who will be equally determined to bounce back from their defeat against Argentina and said: “Australia are always a tough force at home and the fact that we haven’t beaten them here since 2013 is evidence of that.

“Much like us, they will also want to bounce back after going down against Argentina, so we expect them to come out firing. The fact that this will be the first Test between the teams in Adelaide will serve as extra motivation for both teams this weekend, so we are preparing for another epic encounter against them.”

Nienaber added: “We had a thorough review of our last match against New Zealand, and we have identified the areas of our game in which we need improve. We know we need to make a big step-up in the quality of our performance to start the tour on a positive note, and that is a big objective for us this weekend.”

Frans Steyn has been included on the bench.

Frans Steyn has been included on the bench.

Springbok team to face Australia in Adelaide:

15 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 20 caps, 12 pts (1t, 2c, 1p)
14 – Warrick Gelant (Racing 92) – 10 caps, 15 pts (3t)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 30 caps, 30 pts (6t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) – 62 caps, 35 pts (7t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 29 caps, 105 pts (21t)
10 – Handre Pollard (Leicester Tigers) – 64 caps, 662 pts (7t, 90c, 144p, 5d)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Yokohama Canon Eagles) – 39 caps, 25 pts (5t)
8 – Duane Vermeulen (Ulster) – 62 caps, 15 pts (3t)
7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) – 62 caps, 25 pts (5t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 67 caps, 35 pts (7t)
5 – Lood de Jager (Wild Knights) – 60 caps, 25 pts (5t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks) – 102 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 50 caps, 5 pts (1t)
2 – Joseph Dweba (DHL Stormers) – 3 caps, 0pts
1 – Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks) – 11 caps, 0pts

Replacements:
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 51 caps, 55 pts (11t)
17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 63 caps, 5 pts (1t)
18 – Vincent Koch (Wasps) 36 caps, 0 pts
19 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 55 caps, 5pts (1t)
20 – Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) – 23 caps, 5 pts (1t)
21 – Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks) – 6 caps, 5 pts (1t)
22 – Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes) – 45 caps, 329 pts (2t, 65c, 62p, 1d)
23 – Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs) – 74 caps, 150 pts (11t, 7c, 24p, 3d)

Springbok record against the Wallabies in Australia:

Played 41; Won 12; Lost 27; Drawn 2; Points for: 685, Points against: 900; Tries scored 80, Tries conceded 91; Highest score 38-12 in Brisbane (2013); Biggest win 26 points in Brisbane (2013). Win % 29%. 

Milestones:

  1. Handre Pollard needs one point to earn 50 Test points against Australia.
  2. Joseph Dweba will play his first Test against Australia, with Jaden Hendrikse also on debut against the Wallabies if he takes the field.

Miscellaneous:

  1. The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 671.
  2. There are 254 caps in the backline with 417 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 353 caps.
  3. The average caps per player in the backline are 36, the forwards 52, while the players on the bench average 44.

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby


International

Marshall primed for Crusaders coaching opportunity

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James Marshall couldn’t escape rugby’s draw after retiring from playing and failed in his promised avoidance of the coaching ranks.

The former Super Rugby title winner with the Hurricanes has fitted into coaching so well that he will spend 2023 as backs coach for the Crusaders in Super Rugby Pacific.

Auckland-born Marshall started his rugby career with Tasman, but when missing a place in the Super Rugby structure, in a team or wider training group, he had a chance as a 20-year-old to play in Italy with Zebre.

It proved a stimulating experience in coping with playing a different style of rugby at a different level.

He returned to New Zealand six months later for another three seasons with Tasman before getting a chance in the Hurricanes’ wider squad. He had spent four years trying to get a place in the Crusaders.

“I could never crack it as a player but I’m here now as a coach,” he said.

“It is surreal to be here now. When I finished rugby, I promised my wife I wouldn’t get into coaching. We had moved around so many times during my career, even when I was playing for the Hurricanes moving to Taranaki every six months.

“We worked it out there were well over 20 houses we lived in throughout my career so when I got to the end of it I did say I wouldn’t be chasing the coaching dream, and I wouldn’t be moving the family around any more.”

However, back in Nelson, he got the chance to work with Andrew Goodman and Shane Christie, which gave him coaching work where he had decided to settle.

“Then a couple of years later,, I get a call from Razor [Scott Robertson] and it really throws a spanner in the works for my wife and when I got the opportunity, it was a no brainer. It’s such a good opportunity for me to learn and see where coaching can now take me.”

He contacted David Havili to see if he felt Marshall could do the job asked of him as backs coach and to see if he would have the backing of the players.

Havili got back in touch to say how much he thought Marshall could add to the environment. He also contacted some of his Hurricanes contacts and admitted being surprised at how supportive they were.

The Crusaders were one of the most successful sides in the sport’s history, and looking from the outside while playing, he had always wondered what went on and how they did it.

“It’s been impressive. It’s a well-run ship. Razor does a great job. Scotty Hansen, the detail he has on the rugby programme. Tamati Ellison, some of his coaching, it’s all world-class.

“It’s been awesome for me as a young coach to witness these guys at work and try and learn as much as I can off them.

“There’s also the players. It’s a pretty impressive squad when you look at it on paper and the chance to work with some world-class athletes and try and teach them as much as I can, but also try and learn from them,” he said.

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


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6 Nations

RTÉ And Virgin Media Confirm Details Of Free-To-Air Six Nations Coverage

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RTÉ and Virgin Media Television today announced details of its joint Guinness Six Nations coverage, where the action will be free-to-air for supporters in the Republic of Ireland.

Kicking off on Friday, 3 February, this year’s Six Nations coverage will include all fixtures from Ireland’s Men’s, Women’s and U20 tournaments.

The partnership will see all games equally aired across both broadcasters again this year.

The 2023 Men’s Six Nations will open with Ireland v Wales on Virgin Media One, followed by England v Scotland on RTÉ2. Ireland will then take on current champions France on Saturday, 11 February.

The TikTok Women’s Six Nations will begin on Sunday, 26 March with Wales v Ireland.

Speaking at this morning’s launch at the Aviva Stadium, presenters Jacqui Hurley and Joe Molloy were joined on stage by members of their broadcast teams this year including pundits Rob Kearney, Fiona Hayes (Virgin Media Television), and RTÉ’s Jamie Heaslip and Hannah Tyrrell.

RTÉ also confirmed that Irish international and Munster player Simon Zebo will be joining their punditry team.

Commenting, Head of RTÉ Sport, Declan McBennett said: “With this being a great year for rugby, there is added excitement about this year’s Six Nations which RTÉ is once again bringing to sports fans all over the country free-to-air along with Virgin Media Ireland as part of our historic partnership which we launched last year.

“It’s going to be a huge year for Irish rugby and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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Statement on behalf of Dave Rennie

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Following Monday’s announcement Dave Rennie has issued the following statement.

“Firstly, I’d like to thank all of those who have reached out to Steph and I over the past 48 hours or so.

“The support has been immense and much appreciated from the more than 500 messages I’ve received from current and former players, coaches, administrators and friends both here and abroad.

“I’ve loved my time with the team. They’re outstanding young men who are keen to learn and prepared to work hard.

“The staff I worked with during my time with the Wallabies are some of the best in the world and they played a massive role in creating a quality environment and developing the depth of the playing group.

“I’d like to particularly thank those in the Australian Rugby community for their support of the team over the past three years and for all the words of encouragement when we have crossed paths in schools, on the training field or in airports around the country.

“I’m disappointed I won’t be able to see out my contract in the way I agreed to back in 2019 but leave knowing I had the full support of the playing group and the staff.

“I certainly felt we have made massive shifts over the past three years both on and off the field, which is off the back of a hell of a lot of hard work put in by good people.

“I wish Eddie, the staff and the team all the best in what’s a massive year, with the Rugby World Cup less than nine months away.”

Content & Images from – Australia Rugby


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