Saturday, August 2, 2014


The Repechage playoffs are to find the final place at the 2015 Rugby World Cup finals to be played in the United Kingdom. The winner will play in Pool A along with England, Wales, Australia and Fiji. Russia qualified as Europe No.3, Zimbabwe as Africa No.2, Hong Kong as Asia No.2 and Uruguay as America’s No.3. The home draw is dependent on teams having the highest IRB Ranking. The winning teams from this weekend will playoff for the final place.

Russia v Zimbabwe in Krasnorask (WCQ Repechage 1)

Venue: Central Stadium

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

This is the first meeting between these two teams. Zimbabwe has been playing opposition well below of what Russia has been playing. The Africans playing in the middle of Russia would have been a huge physical and mental struggle. Plus they have had little preparation.

Russia hasn’t exactly set the rugby world on fire with some very ordinary results in the IRB Nations cup but I expect them to be fielding a stronger line up. They will just be too much fro Zimbabwe.

Last Five
22.06.2014 L 6-13 v Uruguay in Bucharest (IRB Nations Cup)
18.06.2013 L 16-20 v Romania in Bucharest (IRB Nations Cup)
13.06.2013 L 0-66 v Emerging Ireland in Bucharest (IRB Nations Cup)
24.05.2013 W 31-20 v Germany in Hamburg (WCQ Europe R5 Playoff)
15.03.2013 W 34-20 v Belgium in Brussels (WCQ Europe R5; ENC 1A)

06.07.2013 W 28-10 v Kenya in Antananarivo (WCQ Africa; Africa Cup 1A)
02.07.2013 L 20-24 v Namibia in Antananarivo (WCQ Africa; Africa Cup 1A)
12.11.2013 W 29-14 v Kenya in Windhoek (IRB Tri-Nations)
08.11.2013 L 26-35 v Namibia in Windhoek (IRB Tri-Nations)
14.07.2013 L 17-29 v Kenya in Antananarivo (WCQ Africa; Africa Cup 1A, Final)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Do not apply

IRB Ranking Points
Russia 63.43, Zimbabwe 55.98

Prediction: Russia by 40 points


1 Grigory Tsnobiladze
2 Valery Tsnobiladze
3 Andrey Igretsov
4 Alexander Voytov
5 Andrey Ostrikov
6 Andrey Garbuzov
7 Andrey Temnov
8 Viktor Gresev
9 Alexander Yaniushkin
10 Yuri Kushnariov
11 Denis Simplikevich
12 Alexey Makovetsky
13 Vasily Artemyev
14 Mikhail Babayev
15 Igor Kliuchnikov
16 Stanislav Selsky
17 Innokenty Zykov
18 Artiom Fatakhov
19 Pavel Butenko
20 Alexey Scherban
21 Igor Galinovsky
22 Ramil Gaisin

Zimbabwe Squad

Pieter Joubert, Keith Murray, Kevin Nqindi, Jan Ferreira, Graeme Lawler, Jacques Leitao, Lambert Groenewald, Lawrence Cleminson, Sanele Sibanda, Matthew Mandioma, Farai Mudariki, Fortune Chipendu, Kingsley Lang, Takunda Chifokoyo.

Daniel Hondo (captain), Hilton Mudariki, Guy Cronje, Stephan Hunduza, Riaan O’Neill, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Peter Du Toit, Lenience Tambwera, Shayne Makombe, Danny Robertson.

‘The Sables have not been able to get into camp prior to the Russian trip due to financial challenges but are expected to depart for Siberia on Saturday where they are scheduled to hold a five-day training camp.’

Hong Kong v Uruguay in Montevideo (WCQ Repechage 2)

Venue: Estadio Charrúa

Referee: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)

I expect this to be a much closer contest than the Russia-Zimbabwe match.
’Hong Kong is a solid squad. Having watched them for a few years now, they have improved immensely and if there is any A5N team outside of Japan that could beat Uruguay, it's Hong Kong. Unfortunately I think their biggest loss is not a player, but losing head coach Leigh Jones to become Japan's defence coach is something that will go a long way. Hong Kong play a pretty structured/patterned game that relies off of good set piece. They play a solid in to out drift defence with an occasional blitz. They're system is very similar to the Welsh spread/fan where they prefer to put numbers into the line instead of loading the breakdown. They one or two they put in though will be pests, able to slow and turn over ball.

While Uruguay may boast a better forward pack, Hong Kong will certainly threaten out wide, and are not afraid to let their 7s stars play with the ball. The key for Hong Kong is they can't have any lapses, they need to put in the full 80. As we saw against Japan, 3 tries in about 10 minutes at the end of the first half really took the wind out of their sails. I would say Uruguay is a favorite but I wouldn't be surprised if Hong Kong was able to keep it close right until the end. They're one scrappy bunch. Uruguay beat Kazakhstan something like 44-6 four years ago? I believe Hong Kong 2014 to be better than Kazakhstan 2010.’
Thanks to Martin Dunham at

‘Peter McKee failed a fitness test so he was dropped, props Stephen Nolan and Alex Ng were unavailable so Bennett and Leung were selected. Scrumhalf Kenneth Hsieh was unavailable, enter Charles Cheung. Centre Lee Jones is still recovering from injury (didn't play in this year's A5N), aiming to return for the A7S. Baddeley had passed his fitness test before departing, securing his spot.’
Again, thanks to Martin Dunham

Last Five
Hong Kong
25.05.2014 v Japan L 8-49 in Tokyo (WCQ Asia; Asia 5 Nations)
10.05.2014 v Korea W 39-6 in Hong Kong (WCQ Asia; Asia 5 Nations)
03.05.2013 v Sri Lanka W 41-10 in Colombo (WCQ Asia; Asia 5 Nations)
26.04.2014 v Philippines W 108-0 in Hong Kong (WCQ Asia; Asia 5 Nations)

22.06.2014 v Russia W 13-6 in Bucharest (IRB Nations Cup)
18.06.2014 v Emerging Ireland L 3-51 in Bucharest (IRB Nations Cup)
13.06.2013 v Romania L 16-34 in Bucharest (IRB Nations Cup)
17.05.2014 v Argentina L 9-65 in Montevideo (CONSUR Cup)
10.05.2013 v Chile W 55-13 in Montevideo (CONSUR Cup)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table: Uruguay 17th, Hong Kong 23rd

IRB Ranking Points
Uruguay 61.86, Hong Kong 58.47

Prediction: Uruguay by 15 points


Hong Kong

1. Leon Wei Hon-sum; 2. Alex Harris; 3. James Cooper; 4. Paul Dwyer; 5. Jack Delaforce; 6. Nick Hewson (captain); 7. Matt Lamming; 8. Pale Tauti; 9. Jamie Hood; 10. Chris McAdam; 11. Salom Yiu Kam-shing; 12. Jake Phelps; 13. Lloyd Jones; 14. Rowan Varty; 15. Alex McQueen.
Replacements: 16. Tom Bolland; 17. Jack Bennett; 18. Phil Leung; 19. Bill Brant; 20. Alex Baddeley; 21. Charles Cheng; 22. Niall Rowark; 23. Tom McQueen.


1) Alejo Corral ,2) Nicolás Klappenbach(c), 3) Óscar Duran; 4) Matías Palomeque, 5) Franco Lamanna, 6) Juan Gaminara, 7) Diego Magno, 8) Alejandro Nieto; 9) Agustín Ormaechea, 10) Felipe Berchesi; 11) Jerónimo Etcheverry, 12) Alberto Román, 13) Joaquín Prada, 14) Santiago Gibernau; 15) Gastón Mieres.

El banco será con: 16) Arturo Ávalo, 17) Rodolfo De Mula, 18) Carlos Arboleya ,19) Cristofer Soarez de Lima, 20) Juan De Freitas, 21) Guillermo Lijtenstein, 22) Alejo Duran y 23) Santiago Vilaseca.

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