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Rugby World Cup

Wallabies Set to Announce New Attack Coach

Australia are to confirm their new attack coach with less than 100 days until the start of the World Cup

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Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika is to announce his new attack coach for the World Cup in Japan within the next week.

Australia have been searching for a replacement for Stephen Larkham (who looks set to take a role in the Munster coaching set up), since his departure in February, but director of rugby Scott Johnson told the media on Thursday that an announcement would be made shortly.

“There will be a decision made in the next couple of days. There’s been reasons why we’ve held off … we’ve been looking at the candidates, some are internal and some have got other jobs to do so there will be an announcement imminently,” he said.

Johnson, who was speaking at a Melbourne Rebels function ahead of the final regular season games of this year’s Super Rugby, also believes that the Wallabies are in with a serious chance of upsetting the odds at the tournament.

“I think New Zealand’s dominance is probably a little closer than it was in previous World Cups and I wouldn’t be surprised if the winner lost a pool game. There’s five or six teams who could win but it’s a fickle competition in favour of us – the weather will be good and the decks will be fast and that will suit us,” he added.

Johnson was the attack coach for the national side at the 2007 World Cup, however, he confirmed that he was not in the running this time around.

Although an announcement is due soon there is still no clear indication of who will take up the role.

It is rumoured that ex-Wallabies Matt Giteau and Brian Smith are in with a chance along with Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson and Rebels assistant coach Shaun Berne.

Whoever does come in will only have five test matches to get across their style and philosophy so they will have to be ready for a quick transition.

Rugby World Cup

Predicted Ireland Team vs Scotland

There have been lots of reports of injuries and so on over the past week with regards to Ireland and we are taking a look at the most likely team Ireland will send out against Scotland on Sunday

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Joe Schmidt is set to announce his 23-man squad for Ireland’s Rugby World Cup opening game on Sunday and here we take a look at his most likely selection before he confirms the team.

Reports are claiming that Rob Kearney and Keith Earls will join Robbie Henshaw on the touchlines as they are suffering from calf and knee injuries respectively. It is reported by Irish media that in their absence Andrew Conway will take the full-back jersey, with Jordan Larmour coming on to the right-wing. 

Completing the back-three will be try-scoring machine Jacob Stockdale, in what is an exciting prospect in the back, however, it is an inexperienced group at the back. 

With Henshaw out it is more than likely that Garry Ringrose will start at 13 alongside Bundee Aki at 12, while Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton will open in the half-back pairing. 

In the front-row it is predicted that Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong will join captain Rory Best up top, while Iain Henderson looks set to take over from Jean Kleyn as James Ryan’s second-row partner. 

Reports are also suggesting that Jack Conan will drop out of the starting XV with CJ Stander moving to No 8, as Peter O’Mahony and Josh van der Flier on the flanks. 

If that team is to be picked one would imagine that it would see Dave Kilcoyne, Sean Cronin and Andrew Porter take places on the bench. Tadhg Beirne will be great cover for the second-row and back-row, while Jack Conan may be given an opportunity to impress as a substitute. 

The backs replacements will likely see Luke McGrath, Jack Carty and one of Chris Farrell or Joey Carbery the last sub, with Carbery probably holding the edge as he can cover more positions than Farrell. 

Ireland will be hoping that no matter who they pick they will be able to get their tournament off to a good start as it is more than likely a clash between the two teams vying to top the pool. 

Check Out the Predicted 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

Andrew Conway, Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Bundee  Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny Sexton, Connor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander 

Replacements:

Dave Kilcoyne, Sean Cronin, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Luke McGrath, Jack Carty, Joey Carbery

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Rugby World Cup

Star Duo to Miss Out for Ireland

Two of Ireland’s key men are set to sit out Sunday’s World Cup opener against Scotland, forcing Joe Schmidt’s hand

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Ireland look set to be without veteran duo Rob Kearney and Keith Earls for their opening Rugby World Cup game against Scotland on Sunday according to the Irish Independent.

The publication claims that full-back Kearney, who picked up a calf injury during Monday’s training session, and wing Earls, who has been suffering from a knee injury since Ireland’s final warm-up game against Wales, will be unavailable for selection. 

The news comes only a day after Ireland assistant coach Andy Farrell announcing that the pair were training well and would be ready for Sunday’s game. 

“We’re pleased with how things have gone today. Rob and Keith Earls ran well and trained well. There are a few protocols that they need to go to, so that’s what we need to adhere to with the medical staff. But they are very happy. They are available, so we’ve obviously another session to go on Friday. It is Wednesday. The game’s on Sunday, so we’re building nicely. Everybody (barring Robbie Henshaw) is available for selection,” he said. 

However, if the report is to be believed they will join centre Robbie Henshaw on the touchline, with the Leinster star missing with a hamstring injury. 

If Kearney and Earls are both to be out head coach Joe Schmidt will have his hand forced as he will have to start Andrew Conway and Jordan Larmour at full-back and on the wing respectively. 

Both were in contention to take over the 15 jersey from Kearney if he were to miss the game, but due to the other players within the 31-man squad they will both be needed against the Scots. 

At the time of writing standby player Will Addison is yet to be called up to come out to Japan for cover, as he was informed to be ready due to Henshaw’s injury. However, with Addison being such a versatile player and with the growing injury list it would be no surprise to see him brought in. 

Ireland will hope that their stars will make speedy recoveries as they have a quick turnaround following the Scottish clash, facing hosts Japan only six days later. 

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All Blacks at Full-Strength for Boks Game

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has announced his team to play the Springboks in their World Cup opener and the question of where star Beauden Barrett will play has been answered

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All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has named his strongest team possible for their clash with South Africa on Saturday.

The main selection question people were looking for Hansen to answer was where Beauden would start, and he has chosen to put the former World Player of the Year at full-back with Richie Mo’Unga at fly-half. 

Scott Barrett also makes a return to the line-up for the first time since his controversial red-card against the Wallabies. While Sam Cane, Dane Coles and Aaron Smith also coming in as changes to the side that demolished Tonga 92-7 two weeks’ ago. 

With that in mind it means that Joe Moody and Nepo Laulala join Coles in the front-row, with Sam Whitelock partnering Barrett in the second-row. 

The back-three of the pack looks formidable with Cane and Ardie Savea on either flank and Kieran Read captaining the team from No 8. 

Smith and Mo’Unga link-up in the half-backs, while Ryan Crotty continues his return from injury at  inside-centre has Anton Lienert-Brown alongside him in the midfield. 

George Bridge and Sevu Reece are on the wings with Barrett concluding the side at full-back. 

There are star names among the replacements too with the likes of Codie Taylor, TJ Perenara, Sonny Bill Williams and Ben Smith all ready to make an impact off the bench. 

Hansen has made a point that the bench will be key throughout the tournament and he is excited that they are kicking-off their title defence against a rival team. 

“In today’s rugby environment, you need to have the mindset that it’s not just about who starts, it’s also about what the players coming off the bench can provide. As an example, we have a great one-two punch with Dane and Codie at hooker and Aaron and TJ at halfback. The challenge of playing one of our oldest and most respected foes in the opening Test of RWC2019 has us excited and energised by what lies ahead.  Each time we play South Africa, it’s a tight battle and a real arm wrestle. To perform at our very best, we’ll have to play with real clarity, intent, energy and clear heads. Both teams will have their moments and it’ll be our job to ensure we limit theirs and take full opportunity of our,” he said. 

This clash is expected to be the defining battle as to who finishes top of their pool as both are expected to defeat Italy, Namibia and Canada in the other pool fixtures, but whoever wins on Saturday will feel a huge boost in their quest to win the Webb Ellis Cup. 

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

Beauden Barrett, Sevu Reece, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read (capt), Sam Cane, Ardie Savea, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Nepo Laulala, Dane Coles, Joe Moody

Replacements:

Codie Taylor, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Angus Ta’avao, Patrick Tuipulotu, Shannon Frizell, TJ Perenara, Sonny Bill Williams, Ben Smith

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