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Wallabies Confirm New Attack Coach

Australia have announced the arrival of a new attack coach just three months before the start of the Rugby World Cup

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Melbourne Rebels assistant coach Shaun Berne has been confirmed as the new Wallabies attack coach.

The move comes with less than three months until the start of the Rugby World Cup in Japan and only a month before the Wallabies open their Rugby Championship campaign against South Africa.

Berne’s commitments with the Rebels only finished at the end of the Super Rugby regular season last weekend and the coach is delighted to have the opportunity to work with the national side.

“This is a huge opportunity for me personally but more importantly, I want to do whatever I can to make the Wallabies successful this year. I want to contribute to the team by focusing on the things that will serve us best when we are under pressure, like passing, catching, alignment, running lines and deception – on and off the ball. I just want to add wherever I can to the coaching team around me – it sounds simple but simple things done really well, all the time, will get us to where Cheik wants us to be as a team,” he said.

As well as his time with the Rebels the 40-year-old has been involved with the Western Force and with Leinster ‘A’ in Ireland.

Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika is excited to have the youthful coach on board.

“Shaun’s a great young coach and he’s going to add new energy into how we coach the players. His job will be to help players achieve their top levels of play and stay at that level more consistently,” he said.

Berne takes over from Stephen Larkham who was sacked earlier in the year before recently taking up a role with Munster.

As mentioned above Berne will have to settle in quickly with Australia’s opening game of the Rugby Championship on July 20th while their Rugby World Cup campaign starting against Fiji on September 21st.

International

Huge Suspension Handed to Tongan Star

One of Tonga’s main men has been handed a big suspension as he heads back to play club rugby following the team’s elimination from the World Cup

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Tongan hooker has been handed a heavy ban after admitting to foul play during the side’s final Rugby World Cup game against the USA on Sunday.

Ngauamo admitted that he kicked an opposition player in the face contrary to Law 9.12 (kicking) during the Sunday’s 31-19 win. 

An independent Judicial Committee in Tokyo sat on Tuesday and after taking into account the situation at hand in which the Tongan player clearly kicked an opponent in the face they decided it would warrant at least a mid-range offence. 

Under World Rugby’s mandatory sanctions a mid-range entry point results in a minimum eight-week suspension, which was handed down to Ngauamo. 

However, after taking into account the player’s admission to the offence at an early stage in proceedings as well as his good disciplinary record up to the offence they chose to take a week off the ban meaning he will serve a seven-week suspension. 

The player is returning to his home country today before jetting back to France where he will return to Top 14 club Agen, but will now be out of selection for seven-weeks meaning he will not feature until around December in what is a huge blow for him and the club.

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Scottish Ace Considering International Future

Following Scotland’s departure from the Rugby World Cup it now looks like one of their key men may have finally had enough

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Scotland star Greig Laidlaw has admitted that he will consider his international future following his side’s exit from the Rugby World Cup.

The Scots were knocked out yesterday following a 28-21 loss to hosts Japan, which coupled with their opening round 27-3 loss to Ireland to leave them with two wins and two losses in the group as they finished third. 

It seems as though this set back could have been enough to push Laidlaw out the door as Scotland continue to falter on the biggest stages. 

“I’ll go away and have a think. Tonight it’s about staying together as a group. Tonight is not about me. I’ll go away and talk to the people I need to talk to and make my decision from there,” he said after the game. 

Having been capped 76 times for his country the 34-year-old is one of their longest serving players and is a regular starter along with being their main place-kicker so his departure would leave a huge void in the team. 

He also admitted that Japan were the better team on the day, applauding their improvement since the last World Cup and saying they were fully deserving of their victory. 

“We knew Japan have really improved as a team since four years ago. We have to give them credit for the way they have progressed and the way we have performed this evening. We gave away two soft tries and we left ourselves with a mountain to climb. They didn’t catch us off guard, we actually started the game pretty well. We got into a lead, we never switched off, but we let Japan into the game,” he added. 

Before the match was even played Japan were ranked higher than their opponents showing how far they have developed and how far Scotland are falling. 

However, following this latest set back and pending on Laidlaw’s decision things could get worse before they start to get better as he could open the flood gates with regards to player departures from the international stage as they seem pretty fed up.

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SA Rugby Issue Statement on Etzebeth

South African Rugby Union have issued a statement regarding star man Eben Etzebeth’s current situation

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South African Rugby Union have issued a statement with regard to forward Eben Etzebeth after reports yesterday claimed that the South African Human Rights Commission plan to take legal action against him.

Etzebeth is at the centre of an allegation claiming that he was involved of in a racist incident as well as it having physical repercussions. The incident is said to have taken place the day before the Springboks Rugby World Cup squad was announced. 

However, the towering second-row has already denied all allegations having been interviewed by the Human Rights Commission before the squad left for Japan. 

Following reports yesterday the Springboks have confirmed in a statement that the Human Rights Commission will proceed with legal action. 

“The South African Human Rights Commission announced on Wednesday that it would institute legal proceedings against Eben Etzebeth in the Equality Court, relating to allegations of an incident in Langebaan in August,” the statement read. 

As well as the statement a Springbok spokesperson has confirmed that they will continue to help with the case as much as possible as they look to come to a conclusion sooner rather than later. 

“SA Rugby reaffirms its commitment as a good corporate citizen to abide by any requirements placed on it or its employees by South African authorities. We have fulfilled all requests to date and will continue to do so as and when advised. Following our discussions with the South African Human Rights Commission we have instituted an internal process to address the matter, the details of which remain an employment matter between SA Rugby and the player,” he said. 

Etzebeth will hope that the case will not require him to return to South Africa before the conclusion of the World Cup in Japan as he is a vital part of the Springboks team that hope to win the whole tournament. 

However, whatever happens his sights will be firmly set on Friday’s clash with Italy, where he has been named among the starting line-up in what could decide who finished second in Pool B and progress to the last eight.

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