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Rugby Championship

Samu Kerevi reportedly set to join Wallabies squad

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Andrew Phan/Wallabies Media

Samu Kerevi has reportedly earned a shock call-up to the Wallabies set-up ahead of the Rugby Championship.

The 27-year-old, who just competed at the Tokyo Olympics, is set the Wallabies once his two-week hotel quarantine stint is over ahead of the third Bledisloe.

It has been reported by News Corp and SMH the Suntory-based centre will come into the squad as cover with Hunter Paisami set to leave the group for the impending birth of his child.

Kerevi made his return to Australian Rugby via the Sevens program on a short-term deal as he pushed for Olympic selection.

He would eventually earn a spot in the 13-man side, however, they finished in a disappointing seventh.

In the build-up to the Games, he admitted he yearned to return to the Wallabies and thought his time in gold was over.

“After the World Cup, I thought that was it,” he said in June.

“You always have the urge to play high-level Rugby, especially playing for your nation.

“You never forgot that taste of that jersey when you get the honour of wearing it.

“To run out with 14 other mates of yours, I think it’s a really special thing to have in your career.”

Kerevi is the second player to be called on since tweaks were made to ‘Giteau’s Law.’, allowing two players who have played under 60 caps to be selected for the Wallabies.

He will be joined by former Reds teammate and Toulon centre Duncan Paia’aua as current COVID restrictions limit the availability of players.

Fellow former Red Quade Cooper is currently travelling with the squad as a training member, with his 70 caps qualifying him for selection.

Source – Australia Rugby

International

SA Rugby assumes administrative control of Western Province RFU

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SA Rugby has advised the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) that it was invoking its constitutional power to take administrative control of the Union.

The advice was provided following a decision by the Executive Council (Exco) of the South African Rugby Union on Monday.

Experienced former SA Rugby CEO, Rian Oberholzer, has been appointed as an administrator and will assume oversight of the union’s affairs immediately. His remit includes supervision of the operational affairs of Western Province (Pty) Ltd, which manages the professional playing teams of the DHL Stormers and Western Province.

The president of Western Province, Mr Zelt Marais, was informed of the decision this morning (Tuesday).

SA Rugby president, Mr Mark Alexander, said the decision had been taken with extreme reluctance.

“We had engaged with the WPRFU over a number of months on the challenges the organisation faced and tried to assist them in finding solutions,” said Mr Alexander.

“We attempted to partner in a joint oversight committee but were frustrated in our attempts to receive accurate information and engage constructively.

“However, the Union has regressed in its attempts to extricate itself from those challenges and we could no longer stand by.

“This is very much the last resort, but it had become apparent that the Union’s leadership was incapable of putting in place the actions to regularize its position.

“Several of the Union’s stakeholders have contacted our offices to express their dismay and we are aware of the public alarm.

“Clause 29 of the constitution of the South African Rugby Union charges that all unions have to ‘conduct their business affairs in such a way that, at all times, they are in a sound financial position, comply with the laws of the Republic and adhere to the requirements of good governance’.

“It is Exco’s view that WPRFU has failed that test and we could no longer distribute SA Rugby income in that knowledge. On that basis we have taken this decision with a heavy heart.”

The powers of clause 29 allow for the “assumption of responsibility for the affairs of unions…[including] the suspension from office of their elected and/or appointed officials, and the appointment by SARU of administrators, who shall assume all decision-making powers of the unions at both governance and operational levels, and who shall have the authority to direct employees, including chief executive officers, on a day to day basis, such administrators to report and be accountable to and to take direction from the executive council.”

Mr Alexander said that all stakeholders – the union’s commercial partners, broadcaster, coaching staff, players’ union and Vodacom United Rugby Championship partners – had been advised of the decision.

He assured supporters that the appointment of an administrator was to stabilise the Union’s governance and operational business and was not to have any direct influence on DHL Stormers affairs.

“Clause 29 gives us the authority to remain in administration until the Union’s affairs are stabilised,” said Mr Alexander.

“It is not possible right now to put a timeline to that – although it is our intention and desire to make this process as short-lived as possible.

“The most important thing right now is to quietly go about the off-field business so that coach John Dobson and the DHL Stormers squad can focus on performing to their best in their debut season in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.”

Source – South Africa Rugby

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Rugby Championship

Big names bolster All Blacks for northern tour

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Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

All Blacks captain Ardie Savea will continue to lead the side as they prepare for their northern hemisphere tour on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Coach Ian Foster said with Sam Cane, Sam Whitelock, Dane Coles and Shannon Frizell meeting up with the All Blacks in Washington their readiness to play would be assessed before any captaincy change was considered.

“At the moment, we’re going to stay with the status quo,” Foster said. “…so, Ardie will carry on leading this team in the short-term future but then once we get to Washington and Wales, we’ll make some assessments about where the other guys are, then we’ll let people know.”

Cane would be left to come back into the environment for two or three weeks to get his confidence up. The 29-year-old loose forward has not played since the end of March, when he suffered a pectoral injury against the Blues in Super Rugby Aotearoa,

The All Blacks are to play: the United States on October 24 in Washington, Wales in Cardiff on October 31, Italy in Rome on November 6, Ireland in Dublin on November 14 and France in Paris on November 20.

With locks Scott Barrett and Patrick Tuipulotu returning home, after securing places in the MIQ lottery, the way was open for Taranaki bolter Josh Lord to join Brodie Retallick, Tupou Vaa’i and Sam Whitelock as the locks for the trip.

Foster said Lord was a young player with a lot of promise who had impressed the selectors when doing their rounds of the Super Rugby sides.

“He’s very athletic and we saw this as an opportunity to grow a young player for the future. He’s got the physical attributes that we think are right, and it’s a chance to get him on this tour and start working with him,” he said.

It wasn’t a new ploy by the All Blacks as Jerome Kaino, Isaia Toeava and, Asafo Aumua were examples of what former coach Sir Graham Henry described as ‘special projects’ on past tours.

There was a temptation to include another lock but, with Frizell, they felt they had sufficient cover.

Vaa’i would have an increased role with the side, and Foster was confident of his ability to handle that.

“We love what he did with us last year. We saw Tupou come in quickly last year, and he dealt with a starting role in a Bledisloe Cup game under a lot of pressure. Whenever we put him on the park, we felt he performed well, and he’s continued to do that and impress us.

“We see this tour as a chance for him to get some significant game time and have a big role,” he said.

Whitelock and hooker Coles will play Bunnings NPC games this weekend, and with Bay of Plenty on a bye, efforts are being made for Cane to play a Heartland game.

While the NPC continuing into November would be ideal should injuries be an issue for the All Blacks, Foster said it wasn’t a concern because previous northern tours occurred when the NPC had finished.

Having the competition continue meant it would be easier to get players into Europe and that would be a useful backup should they get an injury.

“The fact that some NPC is going is still a positive for us,” he said.

They were resigned to halfback Aaron Smith not joining them, but such was the situation that it was a case of ‘never saying never’, he said.

Source – All Blacks Rugby

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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

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