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Boks pummel Pumas in Rugby Championship

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(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Amid uncertainty over the future of the Rugby Championship, South Africa have beaten Argentina 29-10 while the remainder of the southern hemisphere tournament was in limbo after New Zealand’s decision to cancel games in its country because of a new COVID-19 outbreak.

The Springboks’ two tries came early in the second half on Saturday at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium through wing Makazole Mapimpi and hooker Malcolm Marx, although the home team was already in control at 15-3 by the time Mapimpi crossed in the left corner for the first of the tries.

Flyhalf Handre Pollard had kicked five first-half penalties to give the Boks their ascendancy.

South Africa added the two converted tries in the second half but didn’t manage a try-scoring bonus point despite having dominance and another 30 minutes to get a third try.

It was Argentina who had the final say when flanker Pablo Matera swivelled out of a tackle and crashed over five minutes after the full-time hooter had sounded.

That gave the Pumas their only try in two games in South Africa in the space of a week.
South Africa won 32-12 at the same stadium seven days earlier in the first round of the Rugby Championship.

Marx scores a try off the back of a well executed lineout play

The world champion Springboks came off a series victory over the British and Irish Lions to make a winning start to the Rugby Championship but it’s unclear where they will go next.

Both the South Africa and Argentina squads were due to leave for Australasia on Sunday but those plans will likely be put on hold while tournament organisers SANZAAR decides where the remaining nine games of this year’s Rugby Championship will be played.

New Zealand were meant to travel to Australia to play the Wallabies in Perth in a round-two match next Saturday but have pulled out of that fixture and also cancelled their two home Tests against the Springboks in September and October after new virus cases put the country into lockdown.

South Africa has offered to host the rest of the tournament – if it gets permission from its government – although no fans are currently allowed at any sports events there. It is also still in a winter wave of virus cases and regularly recording more than 10,000 new infections daily.

However, there are no mandatory quarantine rules currently in place in South Africa for foreign visitors.

In another option, reports say Rugby Championship games might be held in Europe, where crowds could be allowed.

Source – Australia Rugby

Rugby Championship

All Black captain signs long contract extension

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Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

All Blacks loose forward Ardie Savea has signed a four-year deal with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) which will keep him in Aotearoa through to the end of the 2025 season.

Savea, who captained the All Blacks for the first time in 2021 and produced consistently compelling performances throughout the Test season, has also extended his contract with the Hurricanes.

The 28-year-old said he was grateful to extend his contract with club and country and have certainty for himself and his family for the next four years.

“I’ve really enjoyed this season, both the good and the bad,” Savea said. “While it’s taken awhile to finalise my contract, my wife Saskia and I are very grateful that I’m able to play here in New Zealand for another four years. Our family is settled and happy in New Zealand and there are things I want to challenge and pursue with New Zealand Rugby, the All Blacks and the ‘Canes, both on and off the field.

“Right now, I’m looking forward to really getting away from rugby and getting mentally refreshed to come back and be better in the 2022 season.”

Savea has played 59 Tests for the All Blacks since his debut in 2016 and was a key figure in 2021, starting 10 of 15 Tests and captaining the team four times during the Fortinet Rugby Championship, becoming the All Blacks 70th Test captain.

As part of his new contract, Savea will have the option of playing his rugby offshore for a period of six-months during the 2024 season.

NZR General Manager Professional Rugby and Performance Chris Lendrum said:

“Ardie’s been loyal to his club Oriental Rongotai, his province Wellington and to the Hurricanes in Super Rugby during his playing career and he’s continuing that loyalty by recommitting to New Zealand Rugby for another four seasons.

“His performances this season have been very strong, and it’s testament to the drive and passion Ardie has for the Hurricanes and All Blacks that he’s committed his long-term future to New Zealand. We look forward to his continued contribution to the teams and communities he represents so well.”

Savea has recommitted to the Hurricanes until 2023. He made his Super Rugby debut for the club in 2013 and has gone on to play 108 matches, captaining the side in 2021. 

Hurricanes Head Coach Jason Holland said he was thrilled to have Savea back on board as the club prepares for the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific season in 2022.

“It’s great to get Ardie re-signed. He is a quality man, a key member of our team and a hell of a player so it’s awesome to have him recommit to the club.

“He has a wealth of experience, a calming influence as a leader and a competitive presence on the field which most certainly brings out the best in others.”

Source – All Blacks Rugby

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International

SA matches postponed due to COVID variant risk

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Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

In a statement, organisers said that due to the sudden developments that had placed South Africa on the UK and EU travel red list the matches would be rescheduled for later this season.

“The safety and well-being of our participating clubs’ players, coaches, support staff and match officials is the foremost priority and the URC is currently working with the four visiting clubs – Cardiff Rugby, Munster Rugby, Scarlets and Zebre Parma – to facilitate their return as soon as possible,” the statement advised.

“This decision is based upon the latest guidance against non-essential travel to and from South Africa, the ban on direct flights to the UK and other home destinations and the potential hotel quarantines enforced upon those returning from South Africa.

“As has been the operating practice throughout the pandemic, the URC will continue engaging with our Medical Advisory Group, our union shareholders and respective governments to plan according to the latest health guidelines.

“A period of assessment will now be required to better understand the impact of these new travel restrictions and how to reschedule these games within the current season. Given the nature and speed of these developments URC will provide further updates at the appropriate time through official channels only.”

Source – South Africa Rugby

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Autumn Nations Cup

World Rugby approves birth right amendment for players to transfer unions

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  • New process can benefit players and the global competitiveness of rugby
  • Fairness and integrity key principles that underpin the framework
  • Approval follows extensive discussion and collaboration across the game
  • Revised Regulation will apply from 1 January 2022

The World Rugby Council has approved an amendment to the sport’s regulations governing national team representation that will now permit an international player to transfer once from one union to another subject to demonstrating a close and credible link to that union via birth right.

From 1 January, 2022, in order to transfer from one union to another under the revised Regulation 8 (eligibility), a player will need to achieve the below criteria:

  • The player must stand-down from international rugby for 36 months
  • The player must either be born in the country to which they wish to transfer or have a parent or grandparent born in that country
  • Under the revised Regulation 8 criteria, a player may only change union once and each case will be subject to approval by the World Rugby Regulations Committee to preserve integrity

After 1 January 2022, any player who meets the above criteria can apply immediately for a transfer.

The Regulation 8 revisions will also align the “age of majority” across 15s and sevens. All players will now be ‘captured’ at 18 years of age to simplify the Regulation and improve union understanding and compliance.

Approval of the amended regulation follows requests by emerging nations and a subsequent wide-ranging consultation process with member unions, regions and International Rugby Players examining the possibility of amending the principle within Regulation that stipulates that a player may only represent one union at international level, save for specific circumstances relating to participation in the Olympic Games.

The benefits of the amendment include:

  • Simplicity and alignment: transfers are currently permitted in the context of participation in the Olympics in the sevens game. This amendment will create one aligned, simplified process across the game
  • Development of emerging nations: the player depth of emerging nations may be improved by permitting players, who have close and credible links to the “emerging union” through birth or ancestry, to “return” to those unions having previously represented another union
  • Player-focused approach: the process recognised the modern rugby environment, including global player movement, the current ability to capture players by selecting them on the bench, and the desire of some players to transfer having been selected a limited number of times for one union. It also examined the impact of any change on the integrity of the international competition landscape.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Approval of this landmark regulatory change is the culmination of detailed and widespread modelling and consultation across the game. We have listened to our membership and players and sought to update the regulation recognising the modern professional rugby environment without compromising the integrity of the international game.

“Any player who wishes to transfer will need to have a close and credible link to their new union, namely birth right or parent or grandparent birth right while meeting strong criteria, including a 36-month stand down period. We believe that this is the fairest way to implement progressive change that puts players first while also having the potential to support a growing, increasingly competitive international men’s and women’s game.”

World Rugby Vice-Chairman Bernard Laporte added: “We have listened to our membership and honoured our pledge to undertake wide-ranging review of this important regulation. We have consulted, sought feedback from our unions, regions and most importantly to players’ representatives, before making a recommendation to the Council. This change to how international rugby operates will provide transformational opportunities to players with dual backgrounds, providing they meet the key criteria sets out in the Regulation 8.”

International Rugby Players CEO, Omar Hassanein said:“The proposal to change the rules around player eligibility is something that we have worked on over many years with our member associations. Many players across the world will now benefit from the chance to represent the country of their or their ancestors’ birth, serving as a real boost to the competitiveness of emerging nations, which in turn, will benefit the game as a whole.” 

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