Thursday, December 31, 2009


I wish all viewers a happy new year and all the best for 2010

Friday, December 25, 2009





Wednesday, December 23, 2009

International Rugby: Hong Kong Completes European Tour


Germany 24, Hong Kong 14 in Heidelberg

Czech Republic 17, Hong Kong 5 in Prague

Netherlands 25, Hong Kong 10 in Maarstrict

Hong Kong ended its European tour without a victory. It would be wrong to regard this venture as unsuccessful. Hong Kong may have dropped in IRB rankings as a result of these losses but this venture has opened the way for similar cross-continental tours. Perhaps the timing was out.

The team experienced some cold European weather. It may be wise in future to play in Europe in September or May. The home sides played mostly without their strong foreign-based players. The same will happen in September or May. It doesn't really matter. Its the playing of such test matches, the breaking down of narrow vision and of widening up the game into a true world game that is important.

So, good on you Hong Kong. May we now see Germany, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands try an East Asian tour next year. Lets see how they cope with 30 deg C and 90% humidity in Hong Kong in May!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Test Rugby: Hong Kong in Europe

Hong Kong v Germany in Heidelberg (Friendly)

Venue: Fritz-Grunebaum Sports Park


Hong Kong is making its first tour of Europe. Today they play Germany, Czech Republic Wednesday and then Netherlands next Saturday. This is a very ambitious tour for Hong Kong who finished 4th at the end of the 2009 Asia Nations Series. Thisa tour is pert of the preparation in Hong Kong's bid for a place at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

This is not the first time Hong Kong has ventured far. Last season they played two tests in Tunisia before they began their bid to win the Asia Nations Championship. It certainly is refreshing to see cross-continental test matches being played.

Their opponents Germany is taking the opportunity to blood new players before the European Nations Cup fixtures early next year. A number of regulars are either unavailable or have retired. Colin Grzanna and former captain Jens Schmidt are two who have retired. Unavailable are Robert Moir, Eckhert, Franke, Bodo Sieber, Widiker and Faber. Despite the disappointment of not being able to field their strongest team a number of France-based players have indicated they will be available for most of the 2010 fixtures.

Mustafa Güngör is the new captain of Germany. Image thanks to

After this match both teams will appear on the World Table of the GWC Rugby Rankings.

Prediction: It's a bit like comparing apples with oranges but I would expect the Germans to be stronger on their home turf whilst the East Asians might find the climate change their biggest problem. Germany by 7 points.



Hong Kong Squad
Jon Abel (DeA Tigers)
Timothy Alexander (Valley)
Alex Baddeley (Valley)
Jack Bennett (Valley)
Renaud Chavanis (Valley)
Fan, Shun Kei (DeA Tigers)
Charles French (Hong Kong Football Club)
Gavin Hadley (Newcastle University, England)
Nick Hewson (Valley)
Benjamin Ho (DeA Tigers)
Kwok, Ka Chun (Kowloon)
Simon Leung (Hong Kong Football Club)
Andy Li (DeA Tigers)
Thomas McColl (Kowloon)
Michael McKee (Watsonians RFC, Scotland)
Graham Manchester (DeA Tigers)
Alex Ng (Valley)
Kenzo Pannell (Causeway Bay RFC)
Sebastian Perkins (Hong Kong Football Club)
Adam Raby (DeA Tigers)
Keith Robertson (DeA Tigers)
Salom Yiu, Kam Shing (Valley)
So, Hok Ken (Kowloon)
Pete Spizzirri (Hong Kong Football Club)
Tsang, Hing Hung (DeA Tigers)
Rowan Varty (DeA Tigers)
Mark Wright (Hong Kong Football Club)
Ivan Zenovic (DeA Tigers)
Head Coach: Dai Rees,
Manager: Fung, Kai Hang


Germany Squad
Benjamin Brierley (Ampthill RUFC, England) Aged 23, 4 tests
Kehoma Brenner (RG Heidelberg) 24, 9
Anjo Buckman (Heidelberger RK) 20, New cap
Timothy Coly (RG Heidelberg) 30, 31
Domenick Davies (Bournemouth RFC, England) ?, 1
Kieron Davies (Ampthill RUFC, England) 29, 25
Mustafa Güngör, Capt. (RG Heidelberg) 28, 22
Raphael Hackl (Berliner RC) 22, New cap
Alexander Hauck (SC Frankfurt 1880) 21, New cap
Alexander Hug (TSV Handschuhsheim) 25, 4
Jamie Houston (SC Frankfurt 1880) 27, New cap
Timothy Kasten (Heidelberger RK) 26, 20
Benjamin Krause (DSV 1878 Hannover) 27, 11
Alexander Pipa (TSV Handschuhsheim) ?, 1
Daniel Preussner (SC Frankfurt 1880) 23, New cap
Patrick Schliwa (Heidelberger RK) 24, New cap
Benjamin Simm (DSV 1878 Hannover) 23, 7
Mark Sztyndera (SC Frankfurt 1880) 23, New cap
Edmore Takaendesa (RG Heidelberg) 29, 7
Marcus Trick (SC Neuenheim) 32, 16
Benjamin Ulrich (RK 03 Berlin) 21, New cap
Clemens von Grumbkow (Cavalieri Prato, Italy) 26, 20
Rolf Wacha (SC Frankfurt 1880) 28, 5
Manuel Wilhelm (RG Heidelberg 28, 20

Eight players making their test debuts: Hackl, Sztyndera, Ulrich, Buckman, Hauck, Preussner, Schliwa and Houston

Related articles:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

International Rugby Results: Saturday 5 December

Barbarians (UK) RFC 25, New Zealand 18 at Twickenham (Non test)
Peru 47, Costa Rica 8 in La Guácima (CONSUR B)
Colombia 34, Venezuela 0 in La Guácima (CONSUR B)

The Barbarians recorded a rare defeated of New Zealand 25-18 at Twickenham, thanks to three tries by South African Brian Habana. Colombia took the CONSUR B title by defeating Venezuela 34-0 whilst Peru took third place with a 47-8 win over hosts Costa Rica.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

International Rugby: Barbarians Take on the All Blacks

New Zealand v Barbarians (UK) RFC at Twickenham (Non test)

Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)

Although not a test match, the All Blacks usually take this match as seriously. It always comes at the end of a northern tour or more often the not the New Zealander's find themselves undefeated. Open rugby yes. A defeat-No! Certainly in the past the Barbarian team has taken on a British and Irish Lions look and it has, sometimes, been a battle to the death. Well that's not what, traditionally , it is supposed to be.

Back in 1948 the touring Australian rugby team were a bit short of the readies and their French and North American legs of their northern tour was in some doubt. A match was arranged against the Barbarians as a fund raiser for the Aussies. The Barbarians won 9-6 and a traditional fixture against touring teams was established.

There has been famous games. The 1963-64 All Blacks played open rugby to defeat the club 36-3, with captain Wilson Whineray selling an outrageous dummy to score the last try.

In 1973 the All Blacks were again involved in a match against the Barbarians and again the match was a cracker. Phil Bennett started a movement well inside his 22, he jinked, he side stepped the end result being many hands played the ball until Gareth Edwards scored a magnificent try in the corner.

All who attend such matches by the Barbarian club at Twickenham fully expect a match played traditionally, with open rugby, plenty of passing and a game played in the best of spirits. It hasn't always been that way. Lets hope this game will.

For New Zealand its the last match of their year. They will play their 'second' team which I think is a pity. Why not play more of your top layers and give the Twickers crowd a thrill. I would argue that a Tuesday game against say the England Counties amateur side at say Bath would have been more fitting for the 'second' team and keep the top guys for this fixture. The All Blacks will still want to remain undefeated on this tour.

The Barbarians may have more name players but the Kiwis have a better team combination. This will tell in the end.

Prediction: New Zealand by 16 points



New Zealand
15 Cory Jane
14 Ben Smith
13 Tamati Ellison
12 Luke McAlister
11 Zac Guildford
10 Stephen Donald
9 Brendon Leonard
8 Rodney So'oialo
7 Richie McCaw (capt)
6 Liam Messam
5 Anthony Boric
4 Jason Eaton
3 John Afoa
2 Corey Flynn
1 Wyatt Crockett.
16 Andrew Hore
17 Neemia Tialata
18 Adam Thomson
19 Tanerau Latimer
20 Jimmy Cowan
21 Mike Delany
22 Sitiveni Sivivatu
Head Coach: Graham Henry


Drew Mitchell (Australia)
14 Joe Rokocoko (New Zealand)
13 Jaque Fourie (South Africa)
12 Jamie Roberts (Wales)
11 Bryan Habana (South Africa)
10 Matt Giteau (Australia)
9 Fourie du Preez (South Africa)
8 George Smith (Australia)
7 Schalk Burger (South Africa) 6 Rocky Elsom (Australia)
5 Victor Matfield (South Africa)
4 Carlo del Fava (Italy)
3 W P Nel (Free State Cheetahs)
2 Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa)
1 Salvatore Perugini (Italy)
16 Stephen Moore (Australia)
17 Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa)
18 Quintin Geldenhuys (Italy)
19 Andy Powell (Wales)
20 Will Genia (Australia)
21 Morne Steyn (South Africa)
22 Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)
Head Coach: Nik Mallett (South Africa)

Test Rugby: CONSUR B Playoff 3rd-4th

Peru v Costa Rica at Polo Club-Los Reyes. Las Vueltas, La Guácima

Costa Rica has come a long way since it first entered the CONSUR B competition back in 2006. So miserable were it's performances back then that Rugby Costa Rica decided to concentrate on developing its club structures and its junior rugby. It has re entered the competition as hosts for 2009.

Peru has been a part of the CONSUR B competition since its inception in 2000. Their results since have been up and down but they have always been competitive. In this tournament so far they have lost to Colombia 10-33 and to Venezuela 13-25. Costa Rica has lost to Venezuela 8-43 and to Colombia 3-48. I would expect Peru to win but in front of its home crowd Costa Rica will still be a handful.

2009.12.02 Costa Rica v Venezuela
Costa Rica put up a good fight against Venezuela. Image thanks to La Nacion

Back in 2006 Peru won its game against Costa Rica, in Caracas, by 31-3. Id expect the result to be much closer

GWC Rugby Rankings: CONSUR Table-Peru 8th, Costa Rica 9th

Prediction: Peru by 22 points



Costa Rica
Rodolfo Araya
Luis Miguel Arias
David Bennett
Pierric Beros
Ivan Bogantes
Germàn Campoy
Alvaro Castro
Roberto Castro
Ramón Cole
Tomas Franceschi
Bagues Ciryl García
Marco Hernandez
Patricio Herrera
Guillermo Lavari
Pedro Madriz
Dennos Morales
Leonardo Muñoz
Franklin N´Gassa
Leandro Petinari
Gerardo Quiroz
Fernando Ramirez
Steve Thompson
Lucas Withington
Franklin Zuñiga
Head Coach: Pablo Gonzalez Lucats


Squad not available

International Rugby: CONSUR B Final

Colombia v Venezuela at Polo Club-Los Reyes. Las Vueltas, La Guácima

This match is the final of this competition. Both teams have won their previous matches; Colombia has defeated Peru 33-10 and Costa Rica 48-3, whilst Venezuela has defeated Costa Rica 43-8 and Peru 24-13. Colombia would be favoured based on these result but I'm going for Venezuela to cause a minor upset

2009.12.00 Colombia at CONSUR B
Colombian Squad

Last Five Encounters
21.06.2008 Venezuela 32-15 in Asuncion (WCQ America; CONSUR B)
04.11.2007 Colombia 33-13 in Lima (CONSUR B)
16.10.2006 Colombia 25-20 in Caracas (CONSUR B)
02.10.2005 Colombia 24-7 in Asuncion (CONSUR B)
13.11.2004 Venezuela 31-27 in Medellin (WCQ Americas, 1B)

GWC Rugby Rankings: CONSUR Table-Venezuela 6th, Colombia 7th

Prediction: Venezuela by 7 points



Venezuela Squad
Rommel Aponte (Araguaney RC)
Thomas Aponte (Universidad Metropolitana)
Jonnathan Arias (Universidad Católica Andrés Bello)
Pablo Barboza (Caballeros RC)
Juan Carlos Berbesi (La Universidad Simón Bolívar)
Carlos Caraza (Unexpo Guayana RC)
Luis Castro (Nomadas RC)
Victor Castro (Nomadas RC)
Rodolfo Cavicchioni (Caballeros RC)
Gerardo Dominguez CANADA
Sergio Figallo (Universidad Católica Andrés Bello)
Gerson Jimenez (Mérida RC)
Alfonso Lopez (Universidad Metropolitana)
Miguel Molina (Mérida RC)
Luis Plumacher (Maracaibo RFC-Oil Blacks)
Jose Manuel Puerta (Barquisimeto RC)
Pedro Reanez (Fundeportes Caracas RC)
Freizer Rees (Maracaibo RFC-Oil Blacks)
Andres Rodriguez (Universidad Católica Andrés Bello)
Julio Rodriguez ALEMANIA
Carlos Salas (Maracaibo RFC-Oil Blacks)
Rodrigo Salas (Maracaibo RFC-Oil Blacks)
Leopoldo Sequeda (Araguaney RC)
Luis Zamora (Universida Centralo de Venezuela)
Head Coach: Graciano Molina


Colombia Squad
Mauricio Alvarez (Gatos de Medellín)
Lucas Brand (Carneros de Bogotá),
Carmelo Buelvas (Gatos de Medellín)
Saúl Campuzano (Petirrojos de Medellín
Javier Castellanos (Carneros de Bogotá)
Giovanny Daza (Gatos de Medellín)
Daniel De Castro (Carneros de Bogotá)
Jose Manuel Diosa (Duendes de Medellín)
Santiago Escalante (?)
Juan Felipe Escobar (Gatos de Medellín)
Pablo Lemoine (Carneros de Bogotá)
Ferney Mejía (Gatos de Medellín)
Sebastian Mejía (Gatos de Medellín)
Luis Felipe Moreno (Petirrojos de Medellín)
Julian Perez (Arrieros de Pereira)
Joe Posada (Gatos de Medellín)
Germán Rodriguez (Carneros de Bogotá)
Mauricio Rodriguez (?)
Alexander Ruda (Carneros de Bogotá)
Juan Scharrer (Gatos de Medellín)
Carlos Felipe Trujillo (?)
Edgar Urueña (?)
Eduardo Vasquez (?)
Jorge Enrique Vega (Carneros de Bogotá)
Head Coach: Camilo García

CONSUR B Results

Colombia 48, Costa Rica 3 in La Guacima (CONSUR B)
Venezuela 25, Peru 13 in La Guacima (CONSUR B)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Test Rugby Ahead: This week. Barbaas face the All Blacks Saturday

Colombia v Costa Rica in La Guacima (CONSUR B)
Venezuela v Peru in La Guacima (CONSUR B)

New Zealand v Barbarians (UK) Club at Twickenham (Non test)
Colombia v Venezuela in La Guacima (CONSUR B)
Peru v Costa Rica in La Guacima (CONSUR B)

The CONSUR B tournament saga will be completed this weekend. Its expected that Colombia and Venezuela will play for the final on Saturday. New Zealand plays a traditional end-of-tour game against the Barbarians at Twickenham. This used to be a free flowing games of grand rugby. In recent years it has become more serious. Possibly the greatest try scored ever at the international level, occured in this fixture at the end of the 1972-73 All Black tour of Britain and France. After a run that saw just about every Barbarian player handle after Phil Bennet jinked around inside his own 25, Gareth Edwards scored in the corner. That try is why this great game is played in heaven.

Test Rugby Results: The Latest

Canada 22, Russia 6 in Vancouver

Andorra 21, Serbia 7 in Andorra La Vela (ENC 3A)
Colombia 33, Peru 10 in La Guacima (CONSUR B)
Venezuela 43, Costa Rica 8 in La Guacima (CONSUR B)

In wet and windy conditions, Canada overcame their disappointment of losing both matches against Japan, to register a 22-6 win over Russia. Only one try, to Aaron Carpenter, was scored, this being in the second half. The teams were level 6-6 at the break.

Tournament favourites Colombia and Venezuela got their CONSUR B title bids off to good starts. Colombia accounted for Peru comfortably 33-10, whilst hosts Costa Rica showed how much they had improved since 2006 by holding the strong Venezuelan team 8-43.

Wednesdays CONSUR B games see hosts Costa Rica face another tough team, Colombia. Peru faces Venezuela.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

International Rugby Tournament: CONSUR B

Teams: Costa Rica (host), Venezuela, Colombia, Peru.

Venue: Polo Club-Los Reyes. Las Vueltas, La Guácima, Alajuela, Costa Rica

This level of CONSUR is below that of Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina (represented by the Jaguars, or Argentina 'A'). Costa Rica first played in this tournament in 2006 but found the going tough. They have only re entered this year but also managed to host the tournament.

Game 1: Colombia v Peru

Without Paraguay and Brazil (both now in CONSUR A) they way is now open for either Colombia and Venzuela to make a bid for CONSUR B champion.

Last Five Encounters
23.06.2008 Colombia 25-20 in Asuncion (CONSUR B)
07.11.2007 Peru 13-9 in Lima (CONSUR B)
22.10.2006 Colombia 25-5 in Caracus (CONSUR B)
28.09.2005 Peru 17-16 in Asuncion (CONSUR B)
16.10.2004 Peru 15-10 in Sao Paulo (CONSUR B)

GWC Rugby Rankings: South American Table-Colombia 7th, Peru 8th

Prediction: Colombia by 15



Colombia Squad
Mauricio Alvarez (Gatos de Medellín)
Lucas Brand (Carneros de Bogotá),
Carmelo Buelvas (Gatos de Medellín)
Saúl Campuzano (Petirrojos de Medellín
Javier Castellanos (Carneros de Bogotá)
Giovanny Daza (Gatos de Medellín)
Daniel De Castro (Carneros de Bogotá)
Jose Manuel Diosa (Duendes de Medellín)
Santiago Escalante (?)
Juan Felipe Escobar (Gatos de Medellín)
Pablo Lemoine (Carneros de Bogotá)
Ferney Mejía (Gatos de Medellín)
Sebastian Mejía (Gatos de Medellín)
Luis Felipe Moreno (Petirrojos de Medellín)
Julian Perez (Arrieros de Pereira)
Joe Posada (Gatos de Medellín)
Germán Rodriguez (Carneros de Bogotá)
Mauricio Rodriguez (?)
Alexander Ruda (Carneros de Bogotá)
Juan Scharrer (Gatos de Medellín)
Carlos Felipe Trujillo (?)
Edgar Urueña (?)
Eduardo Vasquez (?)
Jorge Enrique Vega (Carneros de Bogotá)
Head Coach: Camilo García


Squad list as yet unavailable

Game 2- Costa Rica v Venezuela

Costa Rica struggled in its first CONSUR B tournament played in Caracus, 2006. They lost 0-67 to Venezuela, conceded 100 points to Brazil, lost 5-41 to Colombia and 3-31 to Peru. The Costa Ricans have worked hard to improve their game. Last year they hosted the Cayman Islands (lost 12-17) and they now have a club competition. I'd expect them to be more competitive, especially playing on their home ground.

GWC Rugby Rankings: CONSUR Table-Venezuela 6th, Costa Rica 9th

Prediction: Venezuela by 30


Venezuela Squad
Leopoldo Sequeda (Araguaney RC)
Rommel Aponte (Araguaney RC)
Jose Manuel Puerta (Barquisimeto RC)
Pablo Barboza (Caballeros RC)
Rodolfo Cavicchioni (Caballeros RC)
Alfonso Lopez (Universidad Metropolitana)
Thomas Aponte (Universidad Metropolitana)
Pedro Reanez (Fundeportes Caracas RC)
Gerson Jimenez (Mérida RC)
Miguel Molina (Mérida RC)
Luis Castro (Nomadas RC)
Victor Castro (Nomadas RC)
Carlos Salas (Maracaibo RFC-Oil Blacks)
Rodrigo Salas (Maracaibo RFC-Oil Blacks)
Luis Plumacher (Maracaibo RFC-Oil Blacks)
Freizer Rees (Maracaibo RFC-Oil Blacks)
Sergio Figallo (Universidad Católica Andrés Bello)
Jhonnathan Arias (Universidad Católica Andrés Bello)
Andres Rodriguez (Universidad Católica Andrés Bello)
Luis Zamora (Universida Centralo de Venezuela)
Carlos Caraza (Unexpo Guayana RC)
Juan Carlos Berbesi (La Universidad Simón Bolívar)
Julio Rodriguez ALEMANIA
Gerardo Dominguez CANADA
Head Coach: Graciano Molina

Costa Rica
Rodolfo Araya
Luis Miguel Arias
David Bennett
Pierric Beros
Ivan Bogantes
Germàn Campoy
Alvaro Castro
Roberto Castro
Ramón Cole
Tomas Franceschi
Bagues Ciryl García
Marco Hernandez
Patricio Herrera
Guillermo Lavari
Pedro Madriz
Dennos Morales
Leonardo Muñoz
Franklin N´Gassa
Leandro Petinari
Gerardo Quiroz
Fernando Ramirez
Steve Thompson
Lucas Withington
Franklin Zuñiga
Head Coach: Pablo Gonzalez Lucats

Test Rugby: Andorra Fights Against Relegation

Serbia v Andorra at Andorra La Vela (ENC 3A)

Venue: Camp del Consell.

Referee: Hoyer (Netherlands)

The promotion relegation race in this division is now on. Armenia's loss to Switzerland last weekend drew it back into the group most likely to produce the relegated team. Lithuania won this pool due to Armenia's defaulting that game.

Andorra is at the bottom of the table. They lost their test match against Serbia away in December last year. Since then they have defeated Armenia, who were thought to be a threat to the Lithuanians, but lost to Switzerland and Lithuania. They must win against Serbia to help their cause.

Serbia started the season with a disastrous 0-41 loss to Armenia, but recovered to defeat Andorra and then Switzerland twice. They must be favoured to win this match.

Previous Encounters
06.12.2008 Serbia 32-7 in Smederevo (WCQ Europe R2; ENC 3A)
04.05.2002 Yugoslavia 19-5 in Andorra La Vela (FIRA B, Pool A)
14.10.2000 Andorra 12-9 in Andorra La Vela (WCQ Europe R1; FIRA Pool 3)
04.05.1996 Yugoslavia 30-12 in Vrsac (FIRA B2)
20.05.2000 Andorra 9-3 in Split (FIRA C)

Note: Serbia was known as Yugoslavia to 2003.

GWC Rugby Rankings: Europe Table-Serbia 24th, Andorra 26th

Prediction: Serbia by 12


Andorra Logo

Andorra squad (to be reduced to 22)
Marc Abelló
Paul Alieu
Peter Ambor
Alex Ballesta
Miquel Barbolla
Jeremy Berrier
Albert Canturri
Antoni Carmona
Marcos Cellone
Óscar Corbalán
Benjamin Fajol
Joan Fité
Roger Fité
Roger Font
Jonathan Garcia
Bonaventura Gaset
Antony Gaulin
Marc Gispert
Josep Magallón
Didac Martínez
Frank Mitjana
Esteve Pérez
Jaume Rifà
Manu Sartí
Maxim Taurinyà
Nuno José Oliveira Teixeira
Iosif Txelidze
Xavier Vilasetrú
Head Coach: ... _PK=254&h= Thanks to ‘Quentin’ at


Serbia Squad
Dalibor Antić (RC Partizan Belgrade)
Nemanja Babić (RC Partizan Belgrade)
Uroš Babić (RC Pobednik Belgrade)
Igor Dejanović (RC Partizan Belgrade)
Aleksandar Đorđević (KBRK Belgrade
Srđan Doroški (RC Partizan Belgrade)
Vladimir Đukić (RC Pobednik Belgrade)
Miloš Joksimović (RC Partizan Belgrade)
Marko Kapor (RC Pobednik Belgrade)
Nenad Matejić (RC Partizan Belgrade)
Marko Milosavljević (RC Partizan Belgrade)
Milan Orlović (RC Pobednik Belgrade)
Branimir Petrović (RC Pobednik Belgrade)
Aleksandar Petrović (RC Partizan Belgrade)
Milan Rastovac (RC Pobednik Belgrade)
Ivan Rodić (KBRK Belgrade)
Nemanja Simonović (RC Pobednik Belgrade)
Nikola Simonović (RC Pobednik Belgrade)
Dejan Tasić (RC Partizan Belgrade)
Branko Vojvodić (KBRK Belgrade)
Miladi Zivanov (RC Pobednik Belgrade)
Miloš Zogović (RC Partizan Belgrade)
Head Coach: Žagar Kristijan and thanks to ‘drugby’ at

Rugby Rankings: GWC Rankings Changes 28 Nov.

Except for Canada-Russia result and Hong Kong's European tour in December, the GWC Rankings World Table is all but finalised. Yesterday's results saw some spectacular rises and falls. This is the beauty (and possible fault) of the GWC Ranking system.

New Zealand 39, France 12
This result propelled New Zealand to the top of the World Table for 2009, retaining their 2008 position. The result dropped France to 2nd place, and South Africa to 3rd.

Ireland 15, South Africa 10
South Africa were bounced again after this result. Ireland rose to 3rd, South Africa dropped from 3rd to 4th, Scotland to 5th, Australia to 6th.

Australia's win over Wales could not stop it dropping dramatically, as Wales was below them on the ladder.

Argentina 9, Scotland 6
This result had dramatic effects. Perhaps a little unjustly, it promoted Argentina to 5th, whilst it pushed Scotland, Australia, England (who had defeated Argentina) and Wales down a place

The other results did not have any effect on the table.

World Table-2008 place in brackets

9WALES (3)
10ITALY (10)
11FIJI (12)
12SAMOA (13)
13JAPAN (14)
14TONGA (11)
15CANADA (17)
17GEORGIA (15)
18NAMIBIA (22)
20RUSSIA (19)
21ROMANIA (16)
22SPAIN (20)
23URUGUAY (23)
24CHILE (24)
25MOROCCO (25)
26KOREA (26)
27TUNISIA (27)
28HONG KONG (28)
29BRAZIL (29)

Test Rugby Results: Saturday 28 November

New Zealand 39, France 12 at Marseilles
Ireland 15, South Africa 10 in Dublin
Australia 33, Wales 12 in Cardiff
Argentina 9, Scotland 6 at Murrayfield
Fiji 29, Romania 18, in Bucharest
Italy 24, Samoa 6 in Ascoli
Tonga 24, Portugal 19 in Lisbon
Namibia 22, Tunisia 10 in Windhoek (WCQ Africa, Africa Cup; Final, 2nd leg)
Canada v Russia in Vancouver-being played

Ireland 'A' 31, Argentina 'A' 0 in Dublin (Tallaght Stadium)

We are seeing more and more the inconsistency of teams at the top level. France, the giant killer against South Africa, were simply totally outplayed by New Zealand. Watch out for this Kiwi side, with a number of newish players to international rugby. Are the All Blacks pacing themselves before the 2011 Rugby World Cup?

And now to South Africa. They have had a miserable northern tour. They are more like the French. Brilliant one game, awful the next. The same could be said of both Wales and Australia. Australia played well above what they've done so far on tour. Wales, probably affected by injuries, were outplayed early on in the match to concede huge lead. For both teams-great one week, poor the next.

Here we go with Scotland. Same again. Great against Australia last week, poor against Argentina this week. Argentina won a game on tour but really they have played well below what is normal for them. Their second team, the Jaguars, has also had a poor tour.

Fiji won their historic test in Bucharest. It was a good game by some accounts. Samoa, however, lost to Italy who has finally broken the winning drought. Tonga got one back for the southern hemisphere with its close win against Portugal.

Namibia secured a place in the 2011 Rugby World Cup as Africa 1 with a 22-10 win over Tunisia at home. Their 17 point overall aggregate showed their dominance over the North Africans.

I'm waiting for the Canada-Russia result.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

International Rugby: All Blacks in France

New Zealand v Marseilles

Venue: Stade Velodrome

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

France gave New Zealand a surprise during their southern tour this year. In the first test, played in Dunedin, France scored an upset 27-22 win over a New Zealand team well below strength. New Zealand recovered to win the second test 14-10. The All Black team in Europe is a stronger unit than that which played France in June.

If the Ireland, South Africa game is between the two champion teams in terms of silverware (Ireland has the 6 Nations Trophy, South Africa the World Cup and the 2009 Tri Nations Trophy), surely this test match is between the two form teams. Ranking first and third on the GWC Rugby Rankings, this is the final of the World Championship.

France defeated South Africa earlier in November, showing they had a forward pack able to match any in the world. They easily accounted for Samoa last weekend.The team is reaching a peak, they are fresher than the New Zealanders and has only lost one game at this stadium in the last 20 years.

New Zealand has three key players in their side that were missing when France won that test in Dunedin in June. Carter, McCaw and Sivivatu bring a solidity to what is a fairly inexperienced All Black side. Despite this they remain undefeated on this tour and a formidable foe for France to beat.

Last Five Encounters
20.06.2009 New Zealand 14-10 in Wellington
13.06.2009 France 27-22 in Dunedin
06.10.2007 France 20-18 in Cardiff (World Cup, Quarter Final)
04.06.2007 New Zealand 61-10 in Wellington
02.06.2007 New Zealand 42-11 in Auckland

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-France 1st, New Zealand 3rd

Prediction: New Zealand by 3



15 Damien Traille
14 Vincent Clerc
13 David Marty
12 Yannick Jauzion
11 Maxime Medard
10 Francois Trinh Duc
9 Julien Dupuy
8 Julien Bonnaire
7 Fulgence Ouedraogo
6 Thierry Dusautoir, Capt.
5 Romain Millo Chluski
4 Sebastien Chabal
3 Sylvain Marconnet
2 William Servat
1 Fabien Barcella
16 Dimitri Szarzewski
17 Nicolas Mas
18 Lionel Nallet
19 Julien Puricelli
20 Morgan Parra
21 Yann David
22 Cedric Heymans
Head Coach: Marc Lievremont


New Zealand
15 Mils Muliaina
14 Cory Jane
13 Conrad Smith
12 Ma'a Nonu
11 Sitiveni Sivivatu
10 Daniel Carter
9 James Cowan
8 Kieran Read
7 Richie McCaw, Capt.
6 Jerome Kaino
5 Thomas Donnelly
4 Bradley Thorn
3 Neemia Tialata
2 Andrew Hore
1 Tony Woodcock
16 Corey Flynn
17 Owen Franks
18 Anthony Boric
19 Tanerau Latimer
20 Andrew Ellis
21 Stephen Donald
22 Luke McAlister
Head Coach: Graham Henry

Test Rugby: South Africa and Ireland Meet

South Africa v Ireland in Dublin

Venue: Croke Park

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

This is one of the major test matches to be played in the November window. South Africa arrive at Croke Park with the Southern Hemisphere Tri Nations to their name, and of course, holder of the Rugby World Cup. Ireland front up as 6 Nations champions plus the Grand Slam winners of the last season.

South Africa rallied to defeat Italy last weekend, their first win on a horror tour. I give credit to the South Africans for including two mid-week games on this tour, bringing back memories of how touring teams played two games a week, for weeks on ends in the good old days. They lost those two mid-week games, and the test against France.

The biggest surprise for Ireland must be the selection of Jonathan Sexton at flyhalf ahead of veteran Ronan O'Gara. Apart from that selection, the rest of the team looks to be as predicted

Last Five Encounters
11.11.2006 Ireland 32-15 in Dublin
13.11.2004 Ireland 17-12 in Dublin
19.06.2004 South Africa 26-17 in Capetown
12.06.2004 South Africa 31-17 in Bloemfontein
19.11.2000 South Africa 28-18 in Dublin

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-South Africa 2nd, Ireland 6th

Prediction: Ireland by 7



15 Robert Kearney (Leinster)
14 Thomas Bowe (Neath Swansea Ospreys, Wales)
13 Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster), Capt.
12 Patrick Wallace (Ulster)
11 Keith Earls (Munster)
10 Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)
9 Tomas O'Leary (Munster)
8 James Heaslip (Leinster)
7 David Wallace (Munster)
6 Stephen Ferris (Ulster)
5 Paul O'Connell (Munster)
4 Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster)
3 John Hayes (Munster)
2 Jeremy Flannery, (Munster)
1 Cian Healy (Leinster)
16 Sean Cronin (Connacht)
17 Anthony Buckley (Munster)
18 Leo Cullen (Leinster)
19 Denis Leamy (Munster)
20 Peter Stringer (Munster)
21 Ronan O'Gara (Munster)
22 Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster)
Head Coach: Declan Kidney


South Africa
15 Zane Kirchner (Blue Bulls)
14 JP Pietersen (Natal Sharks)
13 Jaque Fourie (Lions)
12 Wynand Olivier (Blue Bulls)
11 Bryan Habana (Blue Bulls)
10 Morne Steyn (Blue Bulls)
9 Fourie du Preez (Blue Bulls)
8 Danie Rossouw (Blue Bulls)
7 Schalk Burger (Western Province)
6 Heinrich Brussow (Free State Cheetahs)
5 Victor Matfield (Blue Bulls)
4 Bakkies Botha (Blue Bulls)
3 BJ Botha (Ulster, Ireland)
2 John Smit, Capt. (Natal Sharks)
1 Tendai Mtawarira (Natal Sharks)
16 Bismarck du Plessis (Natal Sharks)
17 CJ van der Linde (Leinster, Ireland)
18 Andries Bekker (Western Province)
19 Jean Deysel (Natal Sharks)
20 Dewald Potgieter (Blue Bulls)
21 Ruan Pienaar (Natal Sharks)
22 Jean de Villiers (Munster, Ireland)
Head Coach: Peter de Villiers

Rugby Test Match: Australia Plays Wales

Australia v Wales in Cardiff

Venue: Millennium Stadium

Referee: Wales Barnes (England)

Australia will be desperate to salvage something from this most unsuccessful tour. An opportunity to claim the 'Grand Slam', Australia has only managed to defeat England. They drew 20-20 with Ireland and then lost 8-9 to Scotland last weekend. Can they rise against Wales.

Wales showed last weekend that they are approaching the form that will bring them down from the valleys in droves. They are missing their regular captain Ryan Jones, out with an injury after originally being selected. With two tries against Argentina, they have a match winner in Shane Williams and would do well to expose Australia's defence weaknesses.

It will be a close game but I expect Wales to just prevail against a fighting Aussie team.

Last Five Encounters
19.11.2008 Wales 21-18 in Cardiff
15.09.2007 Australia 32-20 in Cardiff (World Cup, Pool B)
02.06.2007 Australia 31-0 in Brisbane
26.05.2007 Australia 29-23 in Sydney
04.11.2006 Drawn 29-29 in Cardiff

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-Australia 5th, Wales 8th

Prediction: Wales by 3 points



15 James Hook
14 Leigh Halfpenny
13 Jamie Roberts
12 Jonathan Davies
11 Shane Williams
10 Stephen Jones
9 Dwayne Peel
8 Andy Powell
7 Martyn Williams
6 Dan Lydiate
5 Luke Charteris
4 Alun-Wyn Jones
3 Paul James
2 Matthew Rees
1 Gethin Jenkins, Capt
16 Huw Bennett
17 Duncan Jones
18 Jonathan Thomas
19 Sam Warburton
20 Martin Roberts
21 Andrew Bishop
22 Tom James
Head Coach: Warren Gatland


15 Adam Ashley-Cooper
14 Peter Hynes
13 Digby Ioane
12 Quade Cooper
11 Drew Mitchell
10 Matt Giteau
9 Will Genia
1 Benn Robinson
2 Stephen Moore
3 Ben Alexander
4 James Horwill
5 Dean Mumm
6 Rocky Elsom, Capt.
7 David Pocock
8 Wycliff Palu
16 Tatafu Polota-Nau
17 Matt Dunning
18 Mark Chisholm
19 George Smith
20 Luke Burgess
21 James O'Connor
22 Kurtley Beal
Head Coach: Robbie Deans

Test Match: Last Chance For Argentina

Argentina v Scotland at Murrayfield

Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)

It has been a most disappointing northern tour for Argentina. This has not been their strongest combination, blooding some new layers in the hot seast of British rugby.They have lost 9-16 to England and 16-33 to Wales. On Saturday they will meet a Scottish side on the rise after it's historic 9-8 win over Australia last weekend and with a clean sweep within their grasp.

Scotland will still have to deal with a strong Argentine forward pack. They did this in the last test on their tour to Argentina in 2008. There is a new feeling in this Scottish side and they could well do what was only hopeful in October, remain undefeated against all comers in the month of November.

Last Five Encounters
14.06.2008 Scotland 26-14 in Buenos Aires
07.06.2008 Argentina 21-15 in Rosario
07.10.2007 Argentina 19-13 in Paris (World Cup, Quarter-Final)
21.11.2005 Argentina 23-19 at Murrayfield
18.11.2000 Argentina 25-16 at Murrayfield

Scotland last defeated Argentina at Murrayfield way back in 1990. They won by a massive 49-3! Times have changed.

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-Scotland 4th, Argentina 9th

Prediction: Scotland by 16



15 R Lamont (Toulon, France)
14 S Lamont (Llanelly Scarlets, Wales)
13 A Grove (Worcester, England)
12 B Cairns (Edinburgh)
11 T Evans (Glasgow)
10 P Godman (Edinburgh)
9 C Cusiter (Glasgow, capt)
8 J Beattie (Glasgow)
7 A MacDonald (Edinburgh)
6 A Strokosch (Gloucester, England)
5 A Kellock (Glasgow)
4 N Hines (Leinster, Ireland)
3 M Low (Glasgow)
2 R Ford (Edinburgh)
1 A Jacobsen (Edinburgh)
16 D Hall (Glasgow)
17 K Traynor (Edinburgh)
18 J White (Clermont Auvergne, France)
19 R Vernon (Glasgow)
20 R Lawson (Gloucester, England)
21 C Paterson (Edinburgh)
22 N De Luca (Edinburgh)
Head Coach: Andy Robinson


15 Horacio Agulla (Brive, France)
14 Lucas Borges (Albi, France)
13 Gonzalo Tiesi (Harlequins, England)
12 Martin Rodriguez (Atletico de Rosario)
11 Federico Martin Aramburu (Dax, France)
10 Santiago Fernandez (Hindu Club)
9 Alfredo Lalanne (London Irish, England)
8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Capt. (Toulon, France)
7 Alejandro Abadie (Rovigo, Italy)
6 Alejandro Campos (Montauban, France)
5 Patricio Albacete (Toulouse, France)
4 Manuel Carizza (Biarritz, France)
3 Martin Scelzo (Clermont Auvergne, France)
2 Alberto Vernet Basualdo (Toulouse, France)
1 Marcos Ayerza (Leicester, England)
16 Agustin Creevy (San Luis)
17 Rodrigo Roncero (Stade Francais, France)
18 Estaban Lozada (Toulon, France)
19 Tomas Leonardi (San Isidro Club)
20 Agustin Figuerola (Club Atletico San Isidro)
21 Benjamin Urdapilleta (CUBA)
22 Horacio San Martin (Tala)
Head Coach: Santiago Phelan

International Rugby: Fiji Makes Historic Visit to Bucharest

Fiji v Romania in Bucharest

Venue: Stadionul "Arcul de Triumf"


The most historic encounter of this weekend sees Fiji venture into Eastern Europe for the first time. As part of the IRB's push to open up encounters between tier 2 nations and across continents, Fiji will play Romania in Bucharest.

Fiji will not be at the strength of previous games on this tour as four players return to their European clubs. Coach Sam Domoni will have a home-based side to face the Oaks. The absence of Rawaqa, Bai, Qera and Rauluni will leave gaps difficult to fill. Aplosi Satala will lead the team. Fiji has played some of the top teams of the 6 Nations and may find relief against the less convincing Romanians.

Romania were most disappointing in their 6-33 loss to Italy 'A' and has recalled 2007 Rugby World Cup veteran Sorin Socol to lead the side. But not included are two other World Cup veterans in Tincu and Manta. Romania has revamped its forward pack, determined to win this game before the crucial World Cup qualifiers start again in February. They could well find the Fijians in a rampant mood.

Previous Encounter
12.10.1991 Romania 17-15 in Brive (World Cup)

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-Fiji 11th, Romania 21st

Prediction: Fiji by 25 points



15. Norman Ligairi (Brive, France)
14. Timoci Nagusa (Ulster, Ireland)
13. Vereniki Goneva (Nadi)
12. Gabiriele Lovobalavu (Toulon, France)
11. Semi Tadulala (Gloucester, England)
10. Josh Matavesi (Exeter Chiefs, England)
9. Waisale Vatuvoka (Naitasiri)
8. Asaeli Boko (Nadroga)
7. Jimilai Naikadawa (Naitasiri)
6. Samu Bola (Suva)
5. Leone Nakarawa (Suva)
4. Apolosi Satala, Capt. (Gloucester, England)
3. Viliame Seuseu (Nadi)
2. Vereniki Sauturaga (Naitasiri)
1. Aisake Tarogi (Suva)
16. Isireli Ledua (Northland, Fiji)
17. Alefoso Yalayalatabua (Suva)
18. Graham Dewes (Esher RFC, England)
19. Viliame Veikoso (Nadi)
20. Kelemedi Bola (Suva)
21. Jonetani Ratu (Nadroga)
22. Nasoni Roko (Yokogawa, Japan)
Head Coach” Samuela Domoni


15. Florin Vlaicu
14. Stefan Ciuntu
13. Ionut Dimofte
12. Dan Dumitru
11. Catalin Nicolae
10. Iulian Dumitras
9. Lucian Sirbu
8. Ovidiu Tonita
7. Vasile Rus
6. Stelian Burcea
5. Augustin Petrichei
4. Sorin Socol, Capt.
3. Paulica Ion
2. Andrei Radoi
1. Bogdan Balan
16. Petrisor Toderasc
17. Bogdan Zebega
18. Valentin Ursache
19. Viorel Lucaci
20. Valentin Calafeteanu
21. Csaba Gal
22. Dan Dumbrava
23. Mihai Lazar
Head Coach: Serge Lairle

Test Rugby: Samoa Visit Italy

Samoa v Italy in Ascoli

Venue: Stadio Del Duca

Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)

Samoa and Italy first met during the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. Since then Samoa has had the advantage on the scoreboard.

Italy has lost there charismatic captain and one of their top players, possibly the best number 8 in European rugby. The Italian team will be struggling to fill his place. They will still be a most formidable forward pack for the Samoans to handle. Italy should win the battle there. The Italian backs will be reminded of past encounters with Samoa in which the Islander's bone crunching tackles can cause the odd eye to wander from the ball. It will be tough for both teams but I expect the hosts to win.

Italy will need to work very hard without their regular captain. Image thanks to

Previous Encounters
21.11.2001 Samoa 17-9 in L'Aquila
08.07.2000 Samoa 43-24 in Apia
27.05.1995 Samoa 42-18 in East London (World Cup)

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-Italy 10th, Samoa 12th

Prediction: Italy by 5 points.



15 Luke McLean
14 Kaine Robertson
13 Gonzalo Canale
12 Gonzalo Garcia
11 Mirco Bergamasco
10 Craig Gower
9 Tito Tebaldi
8 Alessandro Zanni
7 Mauro Bergamasco
6 Joshua Sole
5 Quintin Geldenhuys
4 Carlo Antonio Del Fava
3 Martin Castrogiovanni
2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, Capt.
1 Salvatore Perugini
16 Fabio Ongaro
17 Ignacio Rouyet
18 Antonio Pavanelli
19 Simone Favaro
20 Simon Piccone
21 Riccardo Bocchino
22 Alberto Sgarbi
Head Coach: Nik Mallett


15 Titi Esau
14 Henry Fa'fili
13 Gavin Williams
12 Seilala Mapasua
11 David Lemi
10 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu
9 Junior Polu
8 Henry Tuilagi
7 Ofisa Treviranus
6 George Stowers, Capt.
5 Kane Thompson
4 Filipo Levi
3 Justin Va'a
2 Mahonri Schwalger
1 Census Johnson
16 Andrew Williams
17 Sakaria Taulafo
18 Jonny Fa'amatuainu
19 Misioka Tomoteo
20 Semiperive Semeane
21 Uale Mai
22 Lucky Munipola
Head Coach: Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua

Both teams thanks to

Rugby Match: Tongans in Historic Visit to Lisbon

Tonga v Portugal in Lisbon

Venue: Estádio Universitário de Lisboa


At other times or occasions,at a World Cup for example, this match may be regarded as a miss match. At the 2007 Rugby World Cup, that Tongan side would have ripped Portugal in half. But this Tongan side is nowhere near as strong. The Tongan's have struggled against 'B' international sides whose 'A' sides, at the 2007 Rugby World Cup for example, would have struggled against them. The situation warrants an investigation into why teams like Fiji, Tonga and Samoa find themselves below strength during the so-called 'November Window' of international rugby. However, under these circumstances, this looks to be an even contest.

Portugal are without two of their France-based players. I'm not sure whether they are injured or have been requested by their clubs. Perhaps Portugal not as strong as v Argentina 'A' second test last weekend.

Last night Ireland 'A' defeated Argentina Jaguars 31-0, whilst Tonga lost to Ireland 'A' 19-48. Last weekend Portugal lost 14-23 to the Jaguars On that basis Tonga would be ahead. Wonder how the Portuguese backline takes those typical Tongan cruch tackles?

This is the first time these two teams have met.

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-Tonga 14th, Portugal 19th

Prediction: Tonga by 9 points.



Eduardo Acosta (GD Direito) Age 31, 11 tests
António Aguilar (GD Direito) 31, 52
Aurelien Beco (Limoges, France) 23, 1
Pedro Cabral (CD University Lisboa) 26, 23
João Correia, Capt. (GD Direito) 28, 47
Gonçalo Foro (CD University Lisboa) 27, 18
Tiago Girão (CD University Lisboa) 24, 21
João Junior (CD University Lisboa) 23, 7
Pedro Leal (GD Direito) 25, 35
David Mateus (OS Belenenses) 29, 33
Diogo Mateus (OS Belenenses) 29, 66
Juan Murre (Auch, France) 29, 17
Salvador Palha (GD Direito) 25, 12
Duarte Cardoso Pinto (AEIS Agronomia) 27, 42
Miguel Portela (GD Direito) 35, 58
Emmanuel Rebelo (Dijon, France) 28, 1
Jorge Segurado (GD Direito) 25, 7
Francisco Serra (Académica) 23, 2
Juan Severino (AEIS Agronomia) 27, 25
Pedro Silva (OS Belenenses) 24, 9
Nuno Taful (GD Direito) 23, 3
Gonçalo Uva (GD Direito) 24, 42
Vasco Uva (GD Direito) 26, 57
Head Coach: Tomaz Morais

From v Argentina 'A', 2nd test
In-Taful, Aguilar
Out-Da Costa, das Reis (both with French clubs)


Team not yet available

Rugby Test: Namibia is almost at the World Cup

Tunisia v Namibia in Windhoek

Venue: Stade National de Rugby d’El Menzah


Namibia has the luxury of entering their 2nd leg home encounter against Tunisia with a five point buffer. Tunisia would have wanted a win at home due to the fact they do not have a good record against Namibia away. The fact they lost at home gives a distinct psychological advantage to Namibia.

Namibian coach John Williams has had to make some changes to the successful first leg win. Heini Bock and Jurie von Tonder are injured. Heinz Koll replaces veteran Wacca Kazombiaze, who moves to the bench.

2009.11.14 Kees Lensing v Tunisia
Kees Lensing captained Namibia to their 1st leg win in Tunis. Image thanks to

Unfortunately I cannot find a word about the Tunisian team on the internet. They will certainly have a tough time to defeat the hosts by 6 points or more even though the locals have a few key players out in the backline. Perhaps Tunisia has a few injury worries as well.

Last Five Encounters
14.11.2009 Namibia 18-13 in Tunis (WCQ Africa, Africa Cup, Final)
07.10.2006 Namibia 23-15 in Windhoek (WCQ Africa R2, Grp B; Africa Cup, Grp B)
01.07.2006 Tunisia 24-7 in Tunis (WCQ Africa R2, Group B; Africa Cup Group B)
12.10.2002 Tunisia 24-17 in Tunis (WCQ Africa R4)
28.09.2002 Namibia 26-19 in Windhoek (WCQ Africa R4)

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-Namibia 18th, Tunisia 27th
Africa Table-Namibia 2nd, Tunisia 3rd

Prediction: Namibia by 25



15 Chrysander Botha
14 Tinus Venter
13 Piet van Zyl
12 David Philander
11 Bradley Langenhoven
10 Emile Wessels
9 Eugene Jantjies
8 Tinus du Plessis
7 Jacques Niewenhuis
6 Jacques Burger
5 Nico Esterhuizen
4 Heinz Koll
3 Marius Visser
2 Hugo Horn
1 Kees Lensing, Capt.
16 Shaun Esterhuzen
17 Johnny Redelinghuys
18 Jane du Toit
19 PJ van Lill
20 Ismael du Plessis, New cap
21 Wacca Kazombiaze
22 Robert Herridge
Head Coach: John Williams


Team list not yet available.

Russian Team v Canada Update

15. Igor Klyuchnikov (VVA-Podmoskovje)
14. Vasily Artemyev (VVA-Podmoskovje)
13. Mikhail Babaev (VVA-Podmoskovje)
12. Sergey Trishin (VVA-Podmoskovje)
11. Alexander Gvozdovskiy (Krasny Yar)
10. Yury Kushnarev (VVA-Podmoskovje)
9. Alexander Shakirov (VVA-Podmoskovje)
8. Alexey Panasenko (VVA-Podmoskovje)
7. Evgeny Matveev (VVA-Podmoskovje)
6. Victor Gresev (VVA-Podmoskovje)
5. Artem Fatakhov (Enisey-STM-Krasnoyarsk)
4. Alexander Voytov (VVA-Podmoskovje)
3. Evgeny Pronenko (Enisey-STM-Krasnoyarsk)
2. Vlad Korshunov, Capt. (VVA-Podmoskovje)
1. Alexander Khrokin (VVA-Podmoskovje)
16. Sergey Bazhenov (Enisey-STM-Krasnoyarsk)
17. Valdimir Botvinnikov (Enisey-STM-Krasnoyarsk)
18. Alexey Travkin (VVA-Podmoskovje)
19. Andrey Garbuzov (Krasny Yar)
20. Alexander Yanyushkin (VVA-Podmoskovje)
21. Alexey Koroberynikov (Enisey-STM-Krasnoyarsk)
22. Andrey Kuzin (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Head Coach: Nikolay Nerush ... page=40361 and thanks to ‘nnu’ at

Friday, November 27, 2009

International Rugby: The Russians Are Coming-To Canada

Russia v Canada in Vancouver

Venue: Swangard Stadium, Burnaby

Referee: Christopher Henshell (USA)

This is a weekend of historic events in international rugby. We have seen Fiji play in Bucharest for the first time and Tonga playing in Lisbon for the first time. Now we see the Russians visit North America for an historic first test, against Canada.

Mid-week the British Columbian Bears defeated Russia 38-16. The match display the rustiness of the Russians who will have improved with the outing. Canada has the advantage of more recent match play even if those outings were two large loses to Japan

Russia is in a very good position in its European Nations Cup competition to qualify for the 2011 Rugby World Cup finals

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-Canada 15th, Russia 20th

Prediction: Canada by 28 points



Russia Squad
Vasily Artemiev (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Mikhail Babaev (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Sergey Bazhenov (Enisey-STM-Krasnoyarsk)
Vladimir Botvinnikov (Enisey-STM-Krasnoyarsk)
Artem Fatakhov (Enisey-STM-Krasnoyarsk)
Igor Galinovskiy (Krasny Yar)
Andrey Garbuzov (Krasny Yar)
Victor Gresev (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Alexander Gvozdovskiy (Krasny Yar)
Alexander Khrokin (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Igor Kluchnikov (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Alexey Korobeynikov (Enisey-STM-Krasnoyarsk)
Vladislav Korshunov, Capt. (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Kirill Kushnarev (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Yuri Kushnarev (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Andrey Kuzin (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Carlo Maglakelidze (Enisey-STM-Krasnoyarsk)
Evgeny Matveev (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Pavel Novikov (Enisey-STM-Krasnoyarsk)
Alexey Panasenko (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Evgeny Pronenko (Enisey-STM-Krasnoyarsk)
Andrey Proshin (Capilano, Canada)
Alexander Shakirov (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Alexey Travkin (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Segey Trishin (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Alexander Voytov (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Alexander Yanushkin (VVA-Podmoskovje)
Head Coach: Nikolay Nerush

Thanks to ‘nnu’ at http://www.fira-aer-


15. Nathan Hirayama (University of Victoria)
14. Sean Duke (University of Victoria)
13. Matt Evans (Hartpury College, England)
12. James Pritchard (Bedford Rugby Club, England)
11. Justin Mensah-Coker (Moseley, England)
10. Ander Monro (Castaway Wanderers)
9. Sean White (James Bay AA)
8. Aaron Carpenter (Coventry RFC, England)
7. Adam Kleeberger (Rotherham Titans, England)
6. Chauncey O’Toole (Castaway Wanderers)
5. Tyler Hotson (Plymouth Albion, England)
4. Jebb Sinclair (Castaway Wanderers)
3. Doug Wooldridge (Cowichan RFC)
2. Pat Riordan, Capt.(University of Victoria)
1.Kevin Tkachuk (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
16. Mike Pletch (Velox Valhallians)
17. Dan Pletch (Oakville Crusaders)
18. Tom Dolezel (London St. Georges) New cap
19. Brian Erichsen (Vancouver Meraloma) New cap
20. Mark MacSween (Balmy Beach RFC) New cap
21. Phil Mack (University of Victoria)
22. Mike Scholz (Oakville Crusaders) New cap
Head Coach: Kieran Crowley

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Test Rugby This Weekend: November 28-29

Ireland 'A' v Argentina 'A' in

New Zealand v France at Marseilles
South Africa v Ireland in Dublin
Australia v Wales in Cardiff
Argentina v Scotland at Murrayfield
Romania v Fiji in Bucharest
Samoa v Italy in Ascoli
Portugal v Tonga in Lisbon
Tunisia v Namibia in Windhoek (WCQ Africa, Africa Cup; Final, 2nd leg)
Canada v Russia in Vancouver

Andorra v Serbia in Andorra La vela (ENC 3A)
Colombia v Peru in Alajuela, Coast Rica (CONSUR B)
Costa Rica v Venezuela in Alajuela (CONSUR B)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Test Rugby Result: Switzerland Too Good

Switzerland 18, Armenia 0 in Yverdon (ENC 3A)

This loss now puts Armenia in the relegation danger zone along with Andorra. What has happened to Armenia? This time last year they'd won comfortably over Serbia and Switzerland, then pushed Lithuania 19-24. This year they withdraw from their fixture v Lithuania and now lose 0-18 to Switzerland away.

2009.11.22 Switzerland v Armenia 1 2009.11.22 Switzerland v Armenia 2
Images from the game. Thanks to There are more pics on the link
Thanks also to 'Quentin' at

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Test Rugby: Switzerland Travels to Armenia

Switzerland v Armenia in Yverdon (ENC 3A)

Venue: Yverdon-les-Bains, Vuagères

Referee: Gallastegi (Spain)

Armenia mysteriously withdrew from their scheduled game against Division leaders Lithuania earlier this month. Having given Lithuania the title as a result, the Armenians are home to Switzerland in a battle to avoid relegation. Switzerland and Andorra are both on 7 points whilst Armenia is on 8.

2008.10.18 Armenia v Switzerland
Armenia defeated Switzerland 35-15 last time they met.

Previous Encounters
18.10.2008 Armenia 35-15 in Abovian (WCQ Europe R2; ENC 3A)
06.10.2007 Armenia 28-15 in Nyon (ENC 3A)
30.09.2006 Switzerland 29-16 in Vienne (ENC 3A)

GWC Rugby Rankings: Europe Table-Switzerland 25th, Armenia 27th

Prediction: Armenia by 15 points



Switzerland squad
Clement Bartschi
Schelte Betten
Joshua Bjornson
Francis Booth
Cyril Cafiero
Jacky Dervey
David Flück
Oliver Gerber
Nicholas Guyou
Mathieu Guyou-Kreis
Geoffrey Johnson
Ludovic Keller
Eric Laval
Victor McClean
Ryan Naude
Jesse Nicholas
Ali Nouri
David Reber
Bastien Saschet
Yannik Staubli
Leo Vera
Daniel Weigh
Frank Vincent
Iain Wise
Head Coach: Steve Smith ... er/60.html


Armenia Squad
Makinadjian Ancelin
Gregory Apelian
Karnik Avedikian
Raffy Axarlian
Lawrence Bebrossian
Gregory Derderian
Hovanes Erenan
William Guerlach
Lawrence Hairabetian
Gregory Jonathan
David Kehirian
Eric Lawrence
Oundjian Tapol
Gregory Torossian
Eric Tournaire
Ralph Vartabedian
Gregory Vartanian
Pierre Alexandre Vignaut
Nicolas Vincent
Head Coach: Jean-Jacques Bos

International Rugby Results: Friday-Saturday 20-21 November

New Zealand 19, England 6 at Twickenham
Scotland 9, Australia 8 at Murrayfield
Wales 33, Argentina 16 in Cardiff
South Africa 32, Italy 10 in Udine
France 43, Samoa 5 in Paris
Ireland 41, Fiji 6 in Dublin
Japan 27, Canada 6 in Tokyo (2nd test)
United States 27, Uruguay 6 in Lauderhill (WCQ Americas R2, Playoff 2nd leg)
Argentina ‘A’ 24, Portugal 13 in Lisbon

Scotland ‘A’ 38, Tonga 7 in Galashiels
Italy ‘A’ 8, Georgia 7 in Palmanova

The biggest upset of the weekend was Scotland's 9-8 win over Australia. Although a little unfair to Scotland, one would have to ask the question, how did Australia lose this one? Still, the result is the result. Australia's hopes of remaining undefeated on this tour has vanished.

All the other European contests went as predicted. New Zealand added to Martin Johnson's misery with the England team. Wales won well against an Argentine team perhaps below strength, whilst South Africa won their first match on tour. France and Ireland won their test matches against the Pacific Island teams with such ease that Fiji's cry of 'foul' against the IRB for not demanding players be released from club could well be heard again.

Japan won against Canada again, wrapping up the series 2-0. I just don't get how easily Japan has won this series.

The USA entered the Rugby World Cup finals for 2011 by defeating Uruguay 27-6 at home, thus scoring a 54-29 aggregate against Uruguay. Uruguay is not out of the reckoning yet. They have a chance to get in to the finals via a repecharge system.

Add your comments and views on the weekend results below.

World Rugby Rankings: Scotland's Rapid Rise

The GWC Rugby Rankings is my system for rankings rugby nations at the international level. There are two main categories, or 'tables' as I call them. There is the 'World Table' open to any country that plays outside its georgraphical continent, and then a table for nations within a geographical region. It works as a simple 'tennis' ladder. You replace the team you defeat. There is some jigging of places at the end of a tournament, or end of a test series, to reflect the real team's placing.The system is better explained at, scroll down to 'Important Rugby Stuff', then rankings. For the history of my rankings go to the menu at the left.

Scotland's 9-8 win over Australia caused the most changes on the World Table this weekend

Scotland moved up to 4th, Australia dropped to 5th
Ireland, England, Argentina and Wales all drop a place as a result

Wales 33, Argentina 16, was the only other result that affected the World Table.

Wales and Argentina swapped places, Wales to 8th, Argentina to 9th.

The Top 20 Nations on the World Table are..


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rugby Test Match: New Zealanders at Twickers

New Zealand v England at Twickenham

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

Where does England go from last weekend's ordinary display against Argentina? Probably not a lot further according to the media this week. Martin Johnson has made a few cosmetic changes but has largely stuck with the team that played Argentina. I'm not sure that recalling 36 year old Simon Shaw is the answer to England's prayers, but the veteran did have a good series for the Lions against the South Africans in June.

Is Simon Shaw going to make a difference for England? Image thanks to

New Zealand has made wholesale changes to the team that struggled against Italy. Back come their test veterans and back should come that ruthless All Black machine that swept Europe last season.Although France may be more of a prize for the All Blacks next weekend, they will still want to be thorough and clinical against England. They will want to win and win well.

It's been a while since England won against New Zealand at Twickenham. England may just want to limit the damage that this All Black side could do. Saturday does not look being the day that will change.

Last Five Encounters
29.11.2008 New Zealand 32-6 at Twickenham
21.06.2008 New Zealand 44-12 in Christchurch
14.06.2008 New Zealand 37-20 in Auckland
05.11.2006 New Zealand 41-20 at Twickenham
19.11.2005 New Zealand 23-19 at Twickenham

England last defeated New Zealand, 15-13, in Wellington 2003. They drew 26-26 with the Kiwis at Twickenham in 1997, and England last defeated New Zealand at Twickenham, 15-9 in 1993.

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-New Zealand 3rd, England 6th

Prediction: The Kiwis are not up to the standard of the All Black team last season. They'll still win though, by 12 points.



New Zealand
15 Mils Muliaina
14 Zachery Guildford
13 Conrad Smith
12 Ma'a Nonu
11 Sitiveni Sivivatu
10 Daniel Carter
9 James Cowan
8 Kieran Read
7 Richie McCaw (capt)
6 Adam Thomson
5 Thomas Donnelly
4 Bradley Thorn
3 Owen Franks
2 Andrew Hore
1 Tony Woodcock
16 Aled de Malmanche
17 John Afoa
18 Anthony Boric
19 Jerome Kaino
20 Andrew Ellis
21 Stephen Donald
22 Tamati Ellison
Head Coach: Graham Henry


15 Mark Cueto
14 Matthew Banahan
13 Daniel Hipkiss
12 Ayoola Erinle
11 Ugo Monye
10 Jonny Wilkinson
9 Paul Hodgson
8 James Haskell
7 Lewis Moody
6 Joseph Worsley
5 Steve Borthwick, Capt.
4 Simon Shaw
3 Duncan Bell
2 Dylan Hartley
1 Timothy Payne
16 Steven Thompson
17 Paul Doran-Jones
18 Courtney Lawes
19 Thomas Croft
20 Daniel Care
21 Andrew Goode
22 Louis Deacon
Head Coach: Martin Johnson

International Rugby: Australians in Scotland

Australia v Scotland at Murrayfield

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

The Australians were very disappointed to lose the game against Ireland (ending in a 20-20 draw) in the last movement of the match. The Grand Slam went out the window with that draw but now they look to remain undefeated in the remaining internationals. Veteran George Smith moves up into the pack from the bench with David Pocock injured.

George Smith
100 test veteran George Smith returns to the Australian starting lineup. Image thanks to

For Scotland the cupboard has been bare a long time when it comes to Australia. It's been 27 years since the Blues defeated the Golds. They won against Fiji last week, more clinically than with style. The team remains virtually unchanged from last weekend. New coach Andy Robinson and an expectant Murrayfield crowd will be willing the Scots on to a famous victory. The test really comes this Saturday.

Last Five Encounters
25.11.2006 Australia 44-15 at Murrayfield
20.11.2004 Australia 31-17 in Glasgow
06.11.2004 Australia 31-14 at Murrayfield
19.06.2004 Australia 34-13 in Sydney
13.06.2004 Australia 35-15 in Melbourne

Scotland last defeated Australia, 12-7, in Brisbane in 1982

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-Australia 4th, Scotland 9th

Prediction: A right real tussle awaits Murrayfield. Australia by 10 points



15 Rory Lamont (Toulon, France) Aged 27, 19 tests
14 Sean Lamont (Llanelly Scarlets, Wales) 27, 34
13 Alexander Grove (Worcester Warriors, England) 21, 1
12 Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors) 27, 17
11 Simon Danielli (Ulster, Ireland) 31, 21
10 Philip Godman (Edinburgh Gunner) 27, 18
9 Christopher Cusiter, Capt. (Glasgow Warriors) 27, 45
8 John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors) 22, 12
7 John Beattie (Glasgow Warriors) 23, 5
6 Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester, England) 26, 12
5 Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) 28, 18
4 Nathan Hines (Leinster, Ireland) 32, 59
3 Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors) 25, 3
2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Gunners) 25, 30
1 Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh Gunners) 31, 37
16 Douglas Hall (Glasgow Warriors) 29, 29
17 Kyle Traynor (Edinburgh Gunners) 23, 1
18 Jason White (Clermont Auvergne, France) 31, 75
19 Richard Vernon (Glasgow Warriors) 22, 1
20 Rory Lawson (Gloucester, England) 28, 15
21 Chris Paterson (Edinburgh Gunners) 31, 96
22 Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Gunners) 25, 11
Head Coach: Andy Robinson


15 Adam Ashley-Cooper (ACT Brumbies)
14 Peter Hynes (Queensland Reds)
13 Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds)
12 Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds)
11 Drew Mitchell (NSW Waratahs)
10 Matthew Giteau (ACT Brumbies)
9 Wil Genia (Queensland Reds)
8 Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs)
7 George Smith (ACT Brumbies)
6 Rocky Elsom, Capt. (ACT Brumbies)
5 Mark Chisholm (ACT Brumbies)
4 James Horwill (Queensland Reds)
3 Benjamin Alexander (ACT Brumbies)
2 Steven Moore (ACT Brumbies)
1 Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)
16 Tatafu Polota-Nau (NSW Waratahs)
17 Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)
18 Dean Mumm (NSW Waratahs)
19 Richard Brown (WA Western Force)
20 Luke Burgess (NSW Waratahs)
21 Ryan Cross (WA Western Force)
22 James O'Connor (WA Western Force)
Head Coach: Robbie Deans