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All Blacks team named for second Bledisloe Cup Fortinet Rugby Championship Test against Australia



Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

The All Blacks team has been named to play Australia in the second Bledisloe Cup Fortinet Rugby Championship Test at Eden Park on Saturday 14 August (kick-off 7.05PM).

The matchday 23 is (Test caps in brackets):

1.   George Bower (4)
2.   Codie Taylor (59)
3.   Nepo Laulala (32)
4.   Brodie Retallick (84)
5.   Samuel Whitelock (126) – captain
6.   Akira Ioane (5)
7.   Dalton Papalii (6)
8.   Ardie Savea (51)
9.   Aaron Smith (100)
10. Richie Mo’unga (25)
11. Sevu Reece (11)
12. David Havili (6)
13. Rieko Ioane (38)
14. Will Jordan (5)
15. Damian McKenzie (31)
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (2)
17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (19)
18. Angus Ta’avao (17)
19. Scott Barrett (42)
20. Luke Jacobson (6)
21. TJ Perenara (69)
22. Beauden Barrett (92)
23. Jordie Barrett (26)

The All Blacks selectors have gone with the same forward pack named to start the first Bledisloe Cup Test, with hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho coming onto the reserves bench for Dane Coles, and Scott Barrett also returning as reserve lock.

In the backs, Rieko Ioane moves to centre, replacing Anton Lienert-Brown, who took a knock to his knee on the weekend. Sevu Reece moves to the left wing and Will Jordan comes in on the right wing. Halfback TJ Perenara also returns to the All Blacks matchday 23, as halfback reserve.

All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster said: “We’re all excited to be returning to Eden Park for the second Bledisloe Cup Test. It’s been a very ‘forward looking’ week. We were delighted with the result last weekend and obviously had some things that we had to work on this week so that has kept us focussed.

Foster said there was huge motivation amongst the team ahead of this weekend.

“We know that Australia will be disappointed with the result and will lift. It’s a do or die game for them.

“But the Bledisloe Cup means a lot to us. It’s an historic trophy and it’s easy for people to take it for granted based on results in recent years, but throughout history it has been a hard Cup to win, so it’s hugely important.”

Stats and facts

  • Hooker Codie Taylor will be playing his 60th Test on the weekend, Brodie Retallick his 85th and TJ Perenara his 70th.
  • The All Blacks and Australia will be playing their 172nd Test against each other. New Zealand has won 118 of those matches, Australia 45 with eight draws. The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003.
  • Tickets to this weekend’s Test are available from

Source – All Blacks Rugby


Joe ‘Schmidt’n by chance to set up Wallabies for future



New Wallabies boss Joe Schmidt has laid down his plans for his tenure as coach, focused on building the foundations for a successful side for years to come.

It was almost one year ago that Eddie Jones first spoke to the media, taking shots at Peter V’landys and galvanising Rugby supporters by talking up the game.

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For Schmidt, you get the sense he’ll let his actions do the talking, referring to his character as ‘pragmatic’ and ‘boring.’

What the Kiwi is, however, is hungry to get the Wallabies back on track.

Schmidt witnessed the Wallabies’ World Cup struggles close by with the All Blacks, based an hour away from Australia’s Saint Etienne camp and believed they looked unrecognisable to the team that pushed his Irish side in 2018.

“I’m desperate for the Wallabies to be competitive and if I can help, that’s why I’m here,” he said.

“I think the global rugby family is desperate for the Wallabies to be where they need to be. British and Irish Lions, they want to have a fantastic series. We want to build toward that and give them exactly what they want and not make anything easy for them and two years after that, you’ve got a home World Cup and I’m desperate that the Wallabies are really competitive in that World Cup and we get through to those really competitive playoff rounds.”

The deal only takes Schmidt until the British and Irish Lions tour in 2025 and the Kiwi was coy about whether he would stay on longer, which is understandable given his future.

The 58-year-old referenced his son with epilepsy, awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2019 for his advocacy work around the condition.

“It’s pretty much public knowledge that I have a young man at home who suffers quite badly with epilepsy and this job will take me away from the time that I’d committed to pitching in and helping him out,” he explained, having initially retired from coaching after his Ireland departure.

“If we can get the job done over the next 18 months and get the momentum heading in the right direction then I will feel like I’ve done my part of it and I’ll be happy to be hands-on. Or if some Australian coaches come through, I’m really keen to help get some of the Australian coaches more experience as well so they can pitch up and lead the Wallabies. 

“It’s certainly not a hit and run [mission]. For both RA and myself it is a good fit at that time. If you were going to make a change before the World Cup, you don’t want to do it a year out.

“You want to make sure you’ve got a decent run at it but at the same time if we get to the end of the British and Irish Lions series and things are going in the right direction and discussion amongst the board and Phil (Waugh) and Pete (Horne) is that the best thing is for me to stay, then that’s a bridge we will cross then.”

There will always be a reaction when a non-Australian takes on the Wallabies job (just ask Robbie Deans and Dave Rennie), but it’s a sign of modern sport when you look at the Matildas’ success with Sweden’s Tony Gustavsson.

“When I started in Ireland for example with Leinster or even when I started in Clermont, I didn’t speak any French. People would still say my accent is really bad but I speak it now. I invested in their culture and language and tried to assimilate myself but also to bring a real effort and endeavour to help them become better players and try to become the best version of themselves,” Schmidt explained.

“I think that formula still applies in a national side. Players recognise if you care about how they are developing and you’re investing in them, they’ll tend to invest in themselves in their teammates.

“Hopefully that will demonstrate where you originate from, you can still help and build a successful national team other than the country of your birth.”

But Schmidt’s appointment is all about developing the system around him that his predecessor referenced as being ‘broken’.

His assistant coaching staff will be largely Australian and the two year deal gives contenders Stephen Larkham and Dan McKellar the chance to further their expertise in Australia and abroad respectively.

“I’d love to get in (and help at Super Rugby level). I coached with Les Kiss for a couple of years. He’s up with the Reds. Darren here, Cronno … those guys. Stephen Larkham was coaching at Munster for a while,” Schmidt revealed.

“It’s a circuit that I’ve lived on for 20 years so you get to know a fair few people and it’ll be really good to get in and reconnect with some and reconnect with others and try to work out how they are going and what is really important to them and how they are building their team so we can try and collaborate and build some of that into how we put the Wallabies together.”

Schmidt may not be the ‘messiah’ that Eddie Jones was claimed to be. But his appointment just may be the turning point the Wallabies need.


Content & Images from – Australia Rugby

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SA Rugby Private Equity Status Update



Image Credit - World rugby

What is the state of play? SA Rugby has been approached by private equity companies who wish to acquire a shareholding in the sport’s commercial activities.

Why would you do such a deal? A private equity partnership offers not just an immediate financial boost but also crucially provides the expertise, networks, and resources necessary to enhance the commercial value of South African rugby. This collaboration can position SA Rugby, the Springboks and, eventually, other teams for greater global prominence.

Who are you talking to? The preferred bidder is Ackerley Sports Group (ASG), an American company that is an expansion of an investment company established in 2002 by brothers Ted and Christopher Ackerley. Ackerley Partners have owned all or a part of several professional sports franchises in American basketball, ice hockey, soccer, and rugby, and recently partnered with 49ers Enterprises to assume majority control of the Leeds United Football Club.

Why did you choose ASG? They were unanimously chosen by the members of SA Rugby – including the franchise owning unions – at a General Meeting of SA Rugby on 7 December 2023 after ASG, and another bidder, CVC, made presentations to the meeting. ASG’s offer primarily focuses on immediate financial gain and guaranteed income, with lower thresholds for contingency payments, presenting a straightforward proposal for a commercial partnership, which we believe could offer comprehensive advantages to our organization. The ultimate decision will hinge on balancing the immediate financial requirements with the long-term strategic objectives of our rugby organisation.

Is it a done deal? No, our team was mandated to pursue further discussion. The members of SA Rugby have agreed on the primary conditions, however, substantial effort is ongoing behind the scenes to finalise the specifics. Since the finer points are critical, no final approval will be granted until our members have been thoroughly briefed and a mandate secured. This process can only be agreed upon once our 14 members have approved it.

Who has sign off? Only one body – the member unions of SA Rugby, the sport’s shareholders. It cannot happen without their approval.

When will they see the details? Once a proposed final structure for the new company and its relationship with the existing SA Rugby structure has been finalised a series of workshops and information sessions will be undertaken to allow member unions to fully interrogate the deal. That structure is still a work in progress.

Are you selling the Springboks? No. The Springboks and all national teams will retain their existing management and ownership models. As national institutions, the Springboks and SA Rugby are not transferable to private equity. This strategy is about harnessing our commercial rights in partnership with an organisation, creating a separate entity dedicated to elevating our commercial profile.

So how will the Springboks be paid? The new commercial entity will remit an annual fee to cover all current operations of SA Rugby – from paying the Boks to providing funding to the unions.

What are the next steps: Once a proposed post-deal structure is nearing finalisation it will be workshopped with member unions. Until such time as that position has been reached it would be counter-productive to speculate on.

Is there a deadline for approval: While not definitive, it is anticipated that a conclusive proposal will be presented to the members at the Annual General Meeting scheduled for 30 May 2024, for their approval or rejection.

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby

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Erasmus signed to 2027; Bok coaches confirmed



Image Credit - World rugby

Rassie Erasmus – the mastermind behind the Springboks’ back-to-back Rugby World Cup titles of 2019 and 2023 – has returned to the role of head coach for the next four years, following the departure of Jacques Nienaber to Leinster.

Erasmus, who coached the team in 2019 and was Director of Rugby four years later, will lead a modified coaching team in the absence of Nienaber and attack coach Felix Jones, who has left to join England.

Replacing them will be former Ireland hooker and Harlequins assistant coach Jerry Flannery, who will take charge of the team’s defence, and former All Black flyhalf Tony Brown, who served as an assistant coach for Japan from 2016 to the 2023 World Cup and was also the Highlanders head coach in 2017, 2021 and 2022. His focus will be on attack.

The duo will complete the Springbok coaching team which consists of Mzwandile Stick, Deon Davids and Daan Human, as well as Andy Edwards as Head of Athletic Performance, who were key coaching staff in 2023 and whose contracts were extended midway through 2023 until the conclusion of the 2027 World Cup in Australia.

Another exciting new addition to the Springbok team will see renowned international referee and four-time Outsurance Referee of the Year, Jaco Peyper – who recently announced his retirement from refereeing – join the team as National Laws Advisor.

Double RWC-winning Springbok eighthman, Duane Vermeulen, has also been appointed to a roving coaching role with all SA Rugby’s national teams, where he will become the third member of a mobi-coaching unit, joining forces with existing coaches, Franzel September and Bafana Nhleko.

Tony Brown.

Tony Brown.

SA Rugby President Mr Mark Alexander welcomed the appointments and said he was confident that they would add immense value to the team for their playing and coaching experience, under the guidance of Erasmus.

“We are delighted to announce that Rassie Erasmus will take over the reins as the Springbok head coach once again following his success with the team since 2018, and we believe that with the continuity in the coaching structures and the exciting additions, we are in good hands in the ultimate objective of claiming a hat-trick of World Cup titles,” said Mr Alexander.

“Tony Brown and Jerry Flannery are both former international players and bring fantastic coaching experience, and their skills will complement Mzwandile Stick, Deon Davids, and Daan Human.

“It is also a huge coup to have a world class referee in Jaco Peyper as a member of the management team and to retain his expertise in South African Rugby, as understanding the referees and their analysis of the laws is critical to any team’s success.

“We are excited about this Springbok coaching team, and we’ll be thrilled to see how the double World Champions perform once they return to the field for the first time since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in France last year.”

Jerry Flannery.

Jerry Flannery.

Mr Alexander also welcomed the appointment of Vermeulen: “Duane has tremendous experience as a player and will take that IP into the coaching teams of our other national teams to give them an insight into what it takes to be a champion team.

“It also allows us to extend our own coaching base from within the ranks of the Springboks with an eye to the future.”

Erasmus, who is recuperating from medical procedures after a freak accident, said he was thankful for the trust placed in him by SA Rugby’s leadership to steer the national team once again, and he was equally thrilled about the new appointments.

“It is a massive honour to coach the Springboks, and I am grateful for the trust placed in me,” said Erasmus. “The main difference between the last four years and this season is that I will be more hands-on at the field sessions.

“In my role as Director of Rugby in the last four years I continued to oversee the team structures and strategy in conjunction with Jacques and the other coaches, so it should be an easy transition back into the head coach role.

Jaco Peyper.

Jaco Peyper.

“We already had our first coaching session this week at the hospital, and it’s great to see the enthusiasm among the coaches to get the season underway.”

Erasmus was confident about the player depth available both for the Springboks, where several young players came through the ranks in the last few years to become key members of the 2023 team such as Manie Libbok and Kurt-Lee Arendse, and a number of players coming through at the provincial unions.

“One of our key pillars in the last few years was building player depth and we are excited about the talent available to us this season,” said Erasmus. “Most of the 2023 World Cup-winning players are still available for selection, and several young players now have the luxury of international and World Cup experience, which is invaluable at Test level.

“We have a challenging Test season ahead with a Test Series against Ireland on Saturday 6 and 13 July in Pretoria and Durban, and we face Portugal for the first time ever a week later in Bloemfontein in the Castle Lager Incoming Series.

“We then have an exciting Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign, which features two home tests against New Zealand on Saturday 31 August and 7 September in Johannesburg and Cape Town, before facing Argentina in Nelspruit on Saturday, 28 September.

Duane Vermeulen.

Duane Vermeulen.

“With the coaching team finalised, we can now focus on planning for the season and the next few years.”

Rian Oberholzer, CEO of SA Rugby, said that the role of Director of Rugby had been mothballed pending a restructuring of the rugby department of SA Rugby to meet the evolving high performance and participation needs of the sport.

The off-field management team will be announced following the team’s first alignment camp.

Springbok coaching team:
Rassie Erasmus – Head coach
Mzwandile Stick – Assistant coach
Deon Davids – Assistant coach
Daan Human – Assistant coach
Tony Brown – Assistant coach
Jerry Flannery – Assistant coach
Andy Edwards – Head of Athletic Performance

Fact files:

Tony Brown:
Date of birth: 17 January 1975
Place of Birth: Balclutha, New Zealand

Playing career:

  • 1999-2001: New Zealand (18 Test caps)
  • 1995-2004: Otago
  • 1996-2001: Highlanders
  • 2004-2011: Sanyo Wild Knights
  • 2006: Hollywoodbets Sharks
  • 2008: DHL Stormers

Coaching experience:

  • 2016-2023: Japan assistant coach (attack)
  • 2017, 2021-2022: Highlanders head coach
  • 2014-2016, 2020: Highlanders assistant coach (attack)
  • 2012-2014: Otago head coach
  • 2011-2012: Panasonic Wild Knights assistant coach
  • 2011: Otago assistant coach and player
  • 2006-2011: Sanyo assistant coach


  • Certificate in fitness management (University of Otago)

Jerry Flannery
Date of birth: 17 October 1978
Place of Birth: Galway, Ireland

Playing career:

  • 2005-2011: Ireland (41 Test caps)
  • 2001-2003: Connacht
  • 2003-2012: Munster
  • 2003: Ireland Development XV selection

Coaching experience:

  • 2020-2023: Harlequins defence and lineout coach
  • 2015-2019: Munster forwards coach
  • 2013-2015: Munster scrum coach


  • Stage 4 assistant coach (Irish Rugby Football Union)
  • Masters in Sports Performance (University of Limerick)
  • Certified strength and conditioning specialist (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Geography (University College Cork)

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby

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