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Rugby World Cup

Springboks Name Experienced Side for All Blacks Test

The Springboks have named an unchanged squad to the one that faced Japan two weeks’ ago for their clash with the All Blacks on Saturday

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(Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)

Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus has announced an unchanged 23-man squad for South Africa’s crunch Rugby World Cup clash with the All Blacks this Saturday.

The team took on World Cup hosts Japan two weeks’ ago, winning 41-7 and Erasmus has stuck with that side for the game between two of the tournament favourites. 

It is in fact the first time that the Springboks have named the same 23-man squad for consecutive games since the 2015 World Cup. 

That means that it is a front-three of Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx and Frans Malherbe, with Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert behind that trio in the engine-room. 

Siya Kolisi captains the side from blindside flanker, with Pieter-Steph du Toit on the openside and Duane Vermeulen makes his 50th appearance for the Boks from No 8 in what is a strong back-row. 

Faf de Klerk opens up at scrum-half and is partnered in the half-backs by Handre Pollard, with Damian de Allandre and Lukhanyo Am outside the pair in the centre positions. 

A solid back-three finish up the starting XV with Makazole Mapimpi on the left-wing, Cheslin Kolbe on the right and Willie le Roux at full-back. 

There is plenty to call upon from the bench also with the likes of Tendi Mtawarira, Francois Louw, Herschel Jantjies and Jesse Kriel among the replacements. 

The All Blacks and Springboks have had some thrilling close games in recent times and Erasmus is expecting another tough test on Saturday. 

“Our last three matches have ended in stalemate, one win each and a draw, for an aggregate score of 82-82. You couldn’t say there is a favourite. I think we have a healthy respect for each other’s capabilities but it will come down to a small moment to decide a big game in the end, I suppose. Our job is to focus on executing our plan and our skills to the best of our ability and hope that that is enough to overcome a New Zealand team that will be doing exactly the same,” he said. 

This game is seen as the one that will decide which of these nations finishes top of Pool B and whoever wins will feel momentum building in their bid to claim the Webb Ellis Cup. 

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

15. Willie le Roux

14. Cheslin Kolbe

13. Lukhanyo Am

12. Damian de Allende

11. Makazole Mapimpi

10. Handré Pollard

9. Faf de Klerk

8. Duane Vermeulen

7. Pieter-Steph du Toit

6. Siya Kolisi (captain)

5. Franco Mostert

4. Eben Etzebeth

3. Frans Malherbe

2. Malcolm Marx

1. Steven Kitshoff

Replacements:

16. Bongi Mbonambi

17. Tendai Mtawarira

18. Trevor Nyakane

19. RG Snyman

20. Francois Louw

21. Herschel Jantjies

22. Frans Steyn

23. Jesse Kriel

Rugby World Cup

Jones Makes Spy Claims After England Training

England head coach Eddie Jones has made some big claims following his side’s training session earlier today

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England head coach Eddie Jones has claimed that someone was spying on his team’s training session earlier today in Japan.

Jones’ England are preparing for the biggest game of their Rugby World Cup campaign so far as they face the All Blacks on Saturday. However, Jones has made a claim that someone was filming his side during training but that he has nothing to hide. 

“There was definitely someone in the apartment block (across from the training ground) filming, it might have been a Japanese fan. You just don’t need to do it anymore. You can watch everyone’s training on Youtube. There’s absolutely no value in that anymore. Don’t care, mate. Don’t care. We knew from the start that they were filming and it doesn’t change anything we do. We have two security guards – Prince Harry’s… and the ex-Prime Minister’s. Only those two. Lovely blokes,” he said. 

The Aussie also admitted that he used to spy on team’s years ago but that he doesn’t see the point anymore. 

“We used to do it [secretly film opposition training sessions]. I haven’t done it since 2001. There’s no need. Everyone knows what everyone else does. There are no surprises in world rugby anymore,” he added. 

In a press conference filled with madness from Jones he also stated that most of New Zealand’s media reporters are “fans with keyboards”. 

Jones is known for playing mind-games before matches and has heaped the pressure on the All Blacks saying that his side have nothing to lose while their opposition have the weight of the world on their shoulders and it will be tough for them to be mentally prepared. 

“We don’t have any pressure, mate. No one thinks we can win. There are 120 million Japanese people out there whose second team are the All Blacks. They [the All Blacks] have got to be thinking, they’re looking for a third straight World Cup, so there will be pressure there. I don’t think they are vulnerable but the pressure is real. The busiest guy for them will be Gilbert Enoka. They will be talking about it the whole week. It’s potentially the last game for their greatest ever coach (Steve Hansen), and for their greatest ever captain (Kieran Read),” he finished. 

England and Jones will need to play the perfect game on Saturday when they take on the All Blacks on Saturday as the Kiwi’s are chasing a third successive Rugby World Cup title and it looks as though Jones will be trying to unsettle them before a ball is even kicked.

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Rugby World Cup

Hansen Explains Read’s Absence at Training

All Blacks captain Kieran Read was nowhere to be seen during the team’s training on Tuesday but head coach Steve Hansen has explained the situation

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(Photo by Silvia Lore/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has confirmed that captain Kieran Read did not train with the rest of the squad today as a precaution to an injury he picked up against Ireland on Saturday.

New Zealand are preparing for their Rugby World Cup semi-final showdown with England on Saturday and while the rest of the squad were training Read was absent with concerns growing over his availability but Hansen insists that the back-rower will be fit for the last-four clash. 

“There is no issue. You didn’t see him train because he was in the gym on the bike. He got a tight calf from the game the other day and we didn’t want to put him out on a wet track today. Yeah, 100 per cent,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Hansen has admitted that replacement forward Matt Todd will definitely not be available this weekend due to injury but should be in contention for next weekend. 

“He is making good progress but not fast enough so he won’t be available (for the England game). He should be right if we are lucky enough to play another game next week,” he added. 

With the game seeing two of the games best coaches line-up against each other in Eddie Jones and Hansen, the latter thinks that it would be stupid not to expect his opposite number to have a few tricks up his sleve ahead of the game. 

“We got the same question from the Irish last week. You’ll be naïve as a coach not to expect the opposition to do something different. That is their job. You practise it and you implement it. If it works, you are a superstar and if it doesn’t you’re an idiot. It’s a fine line we live, us coaches,” he finished. 

New Zealand are looking to make it to yet another World Cup final with victory on Saturday as they continue their quest to win three Webb Ellis Cup’s in a row. However, they know that it will be no easy task against an English side in full flight and fans will be hoping their star captain will be available when the teams are announced later in the week.

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Rugby World Cup

Officials Confirmed for RWC Semi-Finals

World Rugby have announced the officials that will take charge of this weekend’s Rugby World Cup semi-finals

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World Rugby have confirmed that Nigel Owens and Jerome Garces will be the referees for this weekend’s Rugby World Cup semi-finals at the International Stadium Yokohama in Japan.

Following yesterday’s controversy surrounding South African referee Jaco Peyper, where he was pictured posing with Welsh fans and appeared to be mocking the sending off of France forward Sebastien Vahaamahina, World Rugby confirmed that he was not considered for selection. 

That means that Wales’ Owens will take charge of England’s clash with reigning back to back World Cup holders the All Blacks on Saturday, with French duo of Romain Poite and Pascal Gauzere as his assistants. While South Africa’s Marius Jonker is the TMO. 

Meanwhile French referee Garces will be the man in the middle of Wales’ last four showdown with the Springboks on Sunday, with England’s Wayne Barnes and New Zealand’s Ben O’Keeffe as his assistants. Fellow Kiwi Ben Skeen will take to role of TMO. 

Speaking on the appointments chairman of World Rugby Sir Bill Beaumont congratulated those selected explaining they are the best in the business. 

“I would like to congratulate Nigel and Jérôme, the assistant referees and TMOs on their selection for the semi-finals. These are the best of the best, supported by a superb team, and we now look forward to compelling semi-finals at International Stadium Yokohama over the weekend,” he said. 

The officials were selected after a review of their performances so far in the tournament as well as making it a neutral selection for each game. As for Peyper it remains to be seen what his full punishment will be following an investigation by World Rugby.

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