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Pocock to be Eased Back Following Injury

David Pocock will have his “load managed” when he returns from injury

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Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

Brumbies and Australian international player David Pocock is to be carefully managed once he returns from injury this weekend against the Lions.

The flanker has been unavailable since his Brumbies side lost to the Rebels on March 8th when he sustained a calf injury.

Speaking ahead of the weekend’s clash Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has confirmed that Pocock will not be rushed back and will be managed carefully.

“You have to manage him. Calf injuries … they can be tricky and hang around a while, so we have to manage his load well. He’s not going to play 80 minutes. That would be silly from our end. We’re just going to manage him wisely and make sure he can string some games together,” he said.

The coach also spoke of Pocock’s vital influence for both his team and the Wallabies heading into the World Cup later this year and would like to get him to build some momentum to get back to his best.

“It would be nice for him to get some consistency week in week out and build his performance. Even if you’re a world class player, if you’re in one week then out for a few more it’s hard to get momentum in your own individual performance,” he added.

Pocock has been somewhat injury prone over the past year with neck injuries and concussion being the most common factors in keeping him side-lined.

However, with Israel Folau’s future in Australia up in the air, a return to full health and form for the 30-year-old leader would be a timely boost to Aussie coach Michael Cheika as Japan approaches quickly.

International

Wallabies to Play Test in Newcastle

The Wallabies have confirmed that one of their Rugby Championship games will be played in Newcastle this year

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(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Wallabies will face Argentina in the Rugby Championship at McDonald Jones Stadium on September 5th it has been announced.

It will be the first time that Newcastle has hosted a Rugby Championship game and will be the Wallabies fourth game of the tournament. 

Speaking on the decision Rugby Australia’s chief executive Rennie Castle is delighted that the Wallabies will be able to provide the “sports mad” area with a game at the highest level.

“Newcastle is a sports-mad city and the support for both men’s and women’s Rugby is almost second to none across the country. We can’t wait to showcase the Wallabies in one of our strongest Rugby communities and getting out and about in the community to allow locals to get up close and personal with the team. If the support from the region for the Buildcorp Wallaroos Test last year is any guide, the first ever Rugby Championship match is going to be one of the biggest events of the year and will certainly be one of the highlights of our 2020 Test match calendar,” she said. 

As mentioned above it will be the fourth game of their campaign with home and away tests against the All Blacks and a date with the reigning World Cup holders South Africa in Perth beforehand. 

It is also the first time that the men’s side will have played in Newcastle since 2012 when they lost to Scotland in what was a disaster for the Wallabies. 

The team will be hoping that they can put behind them a poor showing at the Rugby World Cup last year when they get back into action and this gives fans in the city something to look forward to as well as the squad.

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All Blacks Confirm 2020 Home Fixtures

The All Blacks have announced there six home fixtures next season and the venues that they will take place in

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(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The All Blacks have confirmed that their home calender for next year, with a total of six games set to take place on New Zealand soil.

Up first will be the visit of Wales, who will play the All Blacks at Eden Park on July 4th before taking them on again a week later in Wellington. The games will be the new head coaches first in charge, while the opening game will be a stand-out fixture for new Wales head coach Wayne Pivac, who is a former Auckland and North Harbour coach. 

It will be Wales’ first visit to New Zealand since 2016 and is a repeat of the bronze final at this year’s Rugby World Cup which the All Blacks won. 

Following their double-header with the Welsh the All Blacks will face Scotland on home soil for the first time in 20 years, in a one-off match in Dunedin on July 18th. 

Those games lead into the Rugby Championship with the Wallabies first-up at home for the All Blacks at Wellington on August 15th, which will be new Aussie head coach Dave Rennie’s first match against their rivals. 

Argentina are the next in town with a match on August 29th at the FMG Stadium Waikato, while the year will be finished up with a hotly anticipated game against the reigning World Cup holders South Africa at Eden Park on September 5th. 

Speaking on the announcement NZR Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass is looking forward to the fixture list for whoever the new head coach is as they begin a new era of All Blacks rugby. 

“Post Rugby World Cup there is always a degree of the unknown. The All Blacks will have a new head coach and some new players and I’m sure New Zealanders can’t wait to again get behind the team. Wales and Australia also have new coaches and will bring a lot of energy. It’s fantastic to have Scotland back in New Zealand after such a long time. Our countries have always had close ties and that’s been particularly true of Dunedin where no doubt the region will be ready to roll out the tartan welcome mat. And, what better finish to the home schedule than a Test against South Africa at Eden Park for the Freedom Cup,” he said. 

The All Blacks are expected to announce their newest head coach this month with Steve Hansen’s assistant coach Ian Foster and the Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson thought to be the leading candidates for the position at present. 

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Steyn’s Rugby Career Could be Over

Double World Cup winner Frans Steyn could be set to call time on his career early following his latest triumph

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(Photo by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Springboks great Frans Steyn looks likely to at least pull the curtain down on his European career in order to return to his homeland.

The two-time Rugby World Cup winner, who managed to pick up medals from the 2007 edition of the tournament and this year’s one, beating England in both finals, is currently contracted to French Top 14 giants Montpellier. 

However, it is believed that he has held discussions with the club about ending his contract come the end of January instead of when it is supposed to expire in July and speaking to South African news-outlet Volksblad, he seems keen on settling down in his homeland. 

“Rugby has always been an inspiration for the Afrikaners, especially for farmers. If we had a bad week, if we watch good rugby on Saturday, then everything is better again. Only good rain, a good rugby weekend gives us the power to face Mondays again. It is a privilege that many farmers do not have. We know what to do in the future and what we need to have in place. We want to raise our children here and are attached to the rural feel that Bloemfontein offers. We want our children to have a good experience here as my wife and I had when one grew up here,” he said. 

The 32-year-old has a family farm in Bloemfontein and it is understood this is not the first time he has made the suggestion to return to the area, but it now looks more likely than ever that he will get what he likes. 

Steyn is expected to return to the French club next week, where he would play until January before his possible move back to South Africa. 

At this time it is unknown whether the back would continue his rugby career with local professional side the Cheetahs, who play in the PRO14, or whether he will end his career early, having played at the top level for such a long time already.

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