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Autumn Nations Cup

Doubt cast on South Africa’s northern tour

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(Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images)

South Africa is threatening not to undertake its northern hemisphere tour next month if required to go through a strict bio-bubble environment.

The Springboks have been in bubbles since June, ahead of their hosting of the British & Irish Lions tour.

After their 31-29 win over the All Blacks that ended the Rugby Championship on the Gold Coast on Saturday, South Africa’s players headed home before heading to France for a camp ahead of their northern tour.

They are to play Wales on November 6, Scotland on November 13 and England on November 20.

South Africa is on Britain’s ‘red list’ of countries, although it hopes to be removed from the list soon.

South Africa sits 17th in the world for Covid-19 cases with 2.91million cases and 87,753 deaths. Britain has had 7.87million cases, the fourth highest in the world, and 137,000 deaths.

South Africa Rugby’s president Mark Alexander hopes a solution can be found with the British government.

“Another strict bio-bubble is out of the question, it will break the players,” he told South African newspaper Die Burger.

The players could not endure another set of restrictions, he said. They had already had extended periods confined to their hotels, a high number of Covid tests and limited movement.

No8 Duane Vermeulen said after Saturday’s win, people didn’t understand what the players had to go through to play.

“It’s difficult. People say it is your job and whatever, and we don’t listen to the public’s opinion, but, it’s not as easy as people think,” he said.

“Our first two weeks [in Australia], we were in hard lockdown, we couldn’t do anything. We had no support in the hotel. You had to do all the things on your own, make your bed, clean your room, and it’s a whole different set-up.

“And then, once you are out of quarantine, it’s a whole different thing as well. You have got to keep on adjusting to what is thrown at us, and sometimes it is difficult. But, at the end, we got it all together and walk away with a win at the end of the tour.

“It’s good vibes and good energy now and, hopefully, we can take that positive energy going into the end-of-year tour.

“We only have two weeks off back home, and then we go on another five or six-week tour.

“It’s difficult, it’s a whole different set-up and with Covid, it makes it more difficult, but the team is in a good mental state at the moment and, hopefully, we can take that going into the end of the year,” he said.

Source – All Blacks Rugby

Autumn Nations Cup

All Blacks bring up a century in Washington DC

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(Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Making the most of their starting opportunities the All Blacks’ less experienced players took them with both hands in a 104–14 record win over the United States Eagles in Washington on Sunday (NZT).

Second five-eighths Quinn Tupaea, halfback Finlay Christie, lock Tupou Va’ai and centre Braydon Ennor all had respective impacts as the All Blacks posted 16 tries against two.

Apart from a phase through the middle stages of the second half, the Eagles were shut out of the game, and the All Blacks recovered to come home with two tries in the last three minutes to reach their century.

Scoring the first of their nine first-half tries only 29 seconds into the game when flanker Luke Jacobson scored the first of two tries, the All Blacks set the tune from the outset.

Speed was the obvious difference between the sides. It showed up in the All Blacks’ decision-making, and it was demonstrated in their handling and unrelenting support play.

Every time an All Black’s progress was impeded there was someone on hand to carry on the momentum.

Common contributors in set-up plays were Va’ai and Tupaea, who were frequently responsible for giving the ball tidily to those coming through to join breakdowns and allowing the ball to be moved quickly and effectively.

Prop Ethan de Groot scored a try on starting debut six minutes into the game while tighthead prop Angus Ta’avao crossed for his first in the 32nd minute and then backed that up by opening the second half scoring after flanker Dalton Papalii had worked with fullback Damian McKenzie to open the defences.

McKenzie’s speed on the outside break was a constant problem for the Americans throughout the game and produced the first try of the game for Jacobson.

On the left wing Will Jordan was able to feast on the wealth of possession to score three tries while first five-eighths Richie Mo’unga scored a lovely try halfway through the first spell, chipping ahead for Jordan to regather and then feed back to the Crusader. He was tripped but got back up and had enough time to run in the try during a 23-point haul.

An electric break he made early in the second half saw him link with McKenzie who then had flanker Dalton Papalii inside him to score.

The USA had reward just before halftime when lively halfback Nate Augspurger broke from a ruck and had the speed to run away and score what was the first United States try in all matches against New Zealand. That was supplemented in the second half when former North Harbour Sevens player and wing Ryan Matyas got over in the corner.

Flanker Hanco Germishuys was a constant presence in the home defence but lacked the support the All Blacks enjoyed. First five-eighths Luke Carty showed some good touches when the USA was able to build some momentum.

But there were few other moments to savour, as the pressure didn’t ease up as the replacements were ushered onto the field. Centre Anton Lienert-Brown scored almost immediately, inevitably off a good ball from Tupaea.

Replacements first five-eighths Beauden Barrett, hooker Dane Coles and halfback TJ Perenara all crossed before the end to set up the remaining four Tests of their 2021 programme.

Scorers: United States 14  (Nate Augspurger, Ryan Matyas tries; Luke Carty 2 con) New Zealand 114 (Luke Jacobson 2, Ethan de Groot, Will Jordan 3, Damian McKenzie, Angus Ta’avao 2, Richie Mo’unga, Quinn Tupaea, Dalton Papalii, Anton Lienert-Brown, Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles, TJ Perenara tries; Richie Mo’unga 9 con; Damian McKenzie 3 con). HT: 59-7

Source – All Blacks Rugby

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Autumn Nations Cup

Scotland confirm Autumn Nations Squad

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(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Scotland has called up its full complement of 2021 British & Irish Lions as Head Coach Gregor Townsend confirms his 42-man squad for the Autumn Nations Series.

The extended group welcomes back Captain Stuart Hogg, half-back pairing Ali Price and Finn Russell, centre Chris Harris, winger Duhan van de Merwe, flanker Hamish Watson as well as props Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland following their involvement in the South African series.

Support for Scotland continues to build ahead of the Autumn Nations Series with the confirmation today that the match against Australia on Sunday 7 November is sold out.

A total of 11 new players are added to the squad ahead of the opening game against Tonga on 30 October from the training group which came together earlier this week at the Oriam High Performance Centre.

Alongside the B&I Lions contingent centres Matt Scott, Huw Jones and fly-half Adam Hastings retain their places alongside flanker Sam Skinner from Scotland’s summer tour squad, which was hampered by Covid cancellations.

Also progressing to the Autumn Series squad are Edinburgh backs Darcy Graham, Blair Kinghorn, Damien Hoyland and Mark Bennett. They are joined by fellow capital teammates Grant Gilchrist, Stuart McInally, Jamie Ritchie and Nick Haining.

Scotland’s west-based professional side Glasgow Warriors provide experience also in the form of hookers Fraser Brown and George Turner, lock Rob Harley and back-row Matt Fagerson. Props Jamie Bhatti, Murray McCallum and Oli Kebble are also selected.

Glasgow Warriors centre Sam Johnson joins scrum-half George Horne and wing Kyle Steyn who all also missed out on possible game time in the summer series and will compete again for places this autumn.

Head Coach Townsend has selected 12 uncapped players to be part of the tournament squad following their initial involvement in the training group this week.

In the pack Ewan Ashman, Josh Bayliss, Rory Darge, Dylan Richardson, Luke Crosbie, Jamie Hodgson, Marshall Sykes and Pierre Schoeman will all be keen to feature in the four-match series, which begins against Tonga and sees Scotland play Australia, South Africa and Japan on consecutive weekends.

Glasgow Warriors provide all the uncapped backs in Rufus McLean, Jamie Dobie, Ross Thompson and Sione Tuipulotu.

It’s exciting to bring together a blend of highly experienced and uncapped players for our first week of the Autumn Nations Series campaign.

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend

“There have been some notable performances from both our home-based players and those at clubs outside of Scotland, which has enabled us as coaches to select a group which are playing well and will be motivated across the four games.

“We also feel that this the right time to bring in some younger players given their early season form. They have created opportunities for themselves to represent their country and we believe that they will thrive in the Test match environment.

“We face four tough matches in four weeks and Tonga, Australia, South Africa and Japan each present a different challenge and an opportunity to perform in front of our people at BT Murrayfield. It’s great to hear that we will now play Australia in front of a capacity crowd at BT Murrayfield, and it means a huge amount to the players to have this level of support.”

Autumn Nations Series Squad

Forwards:
Ewan Ashman – Sale Sharks – uncapped
Josh Bayliss – Bath Rugby – uncapped
Jamie Bhatti – Glasgow Warriors – 18 caps
Fraser Brown – Glasgow Warriors – 54 caps
Luke Crosbie – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Rory Darge – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 13 caps
Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 38 caps
Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby – 45 caps
Nick Haining – Edinburgh Rugby – 8 caps
Rob Harley – Glasgow Warriors – 22 caps
Jamie Hodgson – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Oli Kebble – Glasgow Warriors – 8 caps
Murray McCallum – Glasgow Warriors – 3 caps
Stuart McInally – Edinburgh Rugby – 40 caps
Dylan Richardson – Cell C Sharks – uncapped
Jamie Ritchie – Edinburgh Rugby – 27 caps
Sam Skinner – Exeter Chiefs – 12 caps
Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Rory Sutherland – Worcester Warriors – 16 caps
Marshall Sykes – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
George Turner – Glasgow Warriors – 17 caps
Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 41 caps


Backs:
Mark Bennett – Edinburgh Rugby – 22 caps
Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby – 19 caps
Jamie Dobie – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Chris Harris – Gloucester Rugby – 28 caps
Adam Hastings – Gloucester Rugby – 23 caps
Stuart Hogg – Exeter Chiefs – 85 caps
George Horne – Glasgow Warriors – 14 caps
Damien Hoyland – Edinburgh Rugby – 4 caps
Sam Johnson – Glasgow Warriors – 18 caps
Huw Jones – Harlequins – 31 caps
Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh Rugby – 25 caps
Duhan van de Merwe – Worcester Warriors – 10 caps
Rufus McLean – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Ali Price – Glasgow Warriors – 42 caps
Finn Russell – Racing 92 – 55 caps
Matt Scott – Leicester Tigers – 39 caps
Kyle Steyn – Glasgow Warriors – 1 cap
Ross Thompson – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Sione Tuipulotu – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped

Scotland’s matches against South Africa and Australia are already sold out, a full house at BT Murrayfield is also expected for Japan.

Tonga will be the exciting opponents on Saturday 30 October when Scotland take the field for the first test match at BT Murrayfield with a live crowd since March 2020.

Plans are underway to host a massive Halloween party with fans encouraged to wear fancy dress and with ‘kids for £1’ tickets available it gives a great opportunity for families to see their national team in action, secure your tickets HERE.

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Autumn Nations Cup

Manu Samoa announces Management to lead clash against the Barbarians for the Killik Cup

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Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan - Simon Smith - Barbarians

Samoa’s rugby clash against the Barbarians for the Killik Cup at Twickenham on November 27, will be from a selected team to take the field in London, drawn from profile coaches and Samoan players based mainly in Europe, but also Australia, New Zealand, Japan and USA.

The Barbarian’s game is the only match to be played from the recently cancelled tour of Europe due to Covid-19 implications. The trip north proved too difficult for some management and squad of players from the southern hemisphere, with health and safety of everyone being prioritized especially upon returning home.

An overseas based Coaching and Management team has been selected, and Head Coach, Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua is confident with the selected coaching group.

“I am very pleased to be able to call the services of coaches that are plying their trade overseas and have an intimate knowledge of the Manu Samoa environment.” Said Vaovasamanaia.

“The challenges that the Pandemic has given us, have also created opportunity for me to grow our people in these key roles and to make sure that we are able to get our Manu Samoa on the field, as well as launch our new partnership with apparel sponsor Castore.” He added.

“Given the nature of the Barbarians, this should prove to be a highly entertaining game and a fantastic opportunity to round off the Autumn Internationals in style.”

The selected Coaching team members are made up of former Manu Samoa stars:
The Co-Coaches are Lemalu Tusiata Pisi, currently coaching at the Toyota Shokki in Japan, and Census Johnston with Racing 92 in France. The Assistant Coaches are Kane Thompson who coaches at NOLA Gold – USA (MLR), and Terry Fanolua who previously coached at Gloucester RFC. The Team Manager is Niuafolau Faautu Talapusi, who has extensive experience with Lakapi Samoa and currently residing in London.

The Manu Samoa players selected for the match will soon be announced, with the reveal of its new apparel sponsor, as game tickets are selling fast with close to 45,000 already sold.

Lakapi Samoa acknowledges the Barbarian Football Club and all its partners in making this very important match possible and their support is invaluable to the Union.

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