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

Test Rugby: Argentina in Wales

Argentina v Wales in Cardiff

Venue: Millennium Stadium

Referee: George Clancey (Ireland)

This test match could well be one of the closest of the weekend.

Argentina went down to England 9-16 in a dull game last weekend, whilst Wales struggled to overcome Samoa 17-13. Argentina posses, along with Italy, one of the most feared test packs. And like Italy they struggle in the backs, with many of their stalwart players not available or retired.

Wales will be desperate for this win. They bring back a number of experienced players who did not play v Samoa. Stephan Jones, Shane Williams, Martyn Williams and Duncan Jones are household names, and shore up the Welsh team.

Last Five Encounters
18.08.2007 Wales 27-20 in Cardiff (World Cup Warm up)
17.06.2006 Argentina 45-27 in Buenos Aires
11.06.2006 Argentina 27-25 in Puerto Madryn
19.06.2004 Wales 35-20 in Buenos Aires
12.06.2004 Argentina 50-44 in Tucaman

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-Argentina 7th, Wales 8th

Prediction: Wales will falter in the forwards. Argentina by 3 points



15 James Hook (Neath Swansea Ospreys) Age 24, 35 tests
14 Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues) 20, 8
13 James Roberts (Cardiff Blues) 22, 14
12 Jonathan Davies (Llanelly Scarlets) 21, 3
11 Shane Williams (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 32, 66
10 Stephan Jones (Llanelly Scarlets) 31, 81
9 Gareth Cooper (Gloucester, England) 30, 43
8 Ryan Jones, Capt. (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 28, 34
7 Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blue) 34, 89
6 Andrew Powell (Cardiff Blues) 28, 10
5 Luke Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons) 25, 16
4 Alun-Wyn Jones (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 24, 33
3 Paul James (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 25, 3
2 Matthew Rees (Llanelly Scarlets) 28, 32
1 Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) 28, 70
16 Huw Bennett (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 25, 25
17 Duncan Jones (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 31, 55
18 Jonathan Thomas (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 26, 47
19 Duncan Lydiate (Newport gwent Dragons) 21, New cap
20 Dwayne Peel (Sale Sharks, England) 28, 70
21 Andrew Bishop (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 24, 6
22 Thomas James (Cardiff Blues) 22, 6
Head Coach: Warren Gatland


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

Test Match: Italy Can Expect Backlash from South Africans

South Africa v Italy in Udine

Venue: Stadio Friuli

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

South Africa is yet to win a game on its northern tour. They have lost to Leicester and Saracens in mid-week games, and then lost to France last weekend. They are a position whereby a loss against Italy would give the team one of the poorest performances in Europe.

Italy can expect the South Africans to play a determined game, to erase the failures they've experienced on tour so far.

Never far from controversy, another below-par performance from South Africa, however, will have the memories forgetting the Tri Nations success for 2009, and the knives out for the South African coach

2009 Peter De Villiers
Peter de Villiers could well have the fingers pointing at him again. Image thanks to

But can Italy win? They were dominant in the forwards against the All Blacks last weekend. The Italian pack would have to be one of the strongest in the world. It in the backs where they come unstuck. Coach Nik Mallett has made changes in the backline, still searching for combinations that will test the opposition defence. To date they have registered nil in that area. It's in this area that the better organised South Africans will eventually succeed. History is against Italy. Twenty-six points is the closest they've got to South Africa in the last ten years. Perhaps Saturday will see them get the closest ever.

Last Five Encounters
21.06.2008 South Africa 26-0 in Capetown
17.11.2001 South Africa 54-26 in Genoa
30.06.2001 South Africa 60-14 in Port Elizabeth
19.06.1999 South Africa 101-0 in Durban
12.06.1999 South Africa 74-3 in Port Elizabeth

GWC Rugby Rankings: South Africa 2nd, Italy 10th

Prediction: South Africa by 13 points.


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


South Africa
15 Zane Kirchner (Blue Bulls)
14 JP Pietersen (Natal Sharks)
13 Jaque Fourie (Golden Lions)
12 Adi Jacobs (Natal Sharks)
11 Bryan Habana (Western Stormers)
10 Morne Steyn (Blue Bulls)
9 Fourie du Preez (Blue Bulls)
8 Ryan Kankowski (Natal Sharks)
7 Danie Rossouw (Blue Bulls)
6 Heinrich Brussow (Free State Cheetahs)
5 Andries Bekker (Western Stormers)
4 Bakkies Botha (Blue Bulls)
3 John Smit, Capt. (Natal Sharks)
2 Adriaan Strauss (Free State Cheetahs)
1 Wian du Preez (Free State Cheetahs)
16 Tendai Mtawarira (Natal Sharks)
17 BJ Botha (Ulster, Ireland)
18 Victor Matfield (Blue Bulls)
19 Jean Deysel (Natal Sharks)
20 Francois Hougaard (Blue Bulls)
21 Ruan Pienaar (Natal Sharks)
22 Wynand Olivier (Blue Bulls)
Head Coach: Peter de Villiers

Rugby Test: Samoans Travel to France

Samoa v France in Paris

Venue: Stade de France

Referee: David Pearson (England)

Samoa playing France in a test match is a rare occurrence indeed. It has been ten years since the Samoans faced a French side, their only encounter.

France has made a number of changes to their starting XV from the team that were successful against South Africa last weekend. Coach Lievremont will blood a few new players ringing the changes again as is his fashion. The pack won't be as savage as it was against South Africa but the backs look a more potent combination.

Samoa has had the benefit of a game and a week's preparation under its belt. Can they improve on their 13-17 loss to Wales? They may well do but at the moment the French are at a level above the other European teams.(except perhaps Ireland)

Previous Encounters
12.06.1999 France 39-22 in Apia

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-France 1st, Samoa 12th

Prediction: France by 14 points


15 Damien Traille
14 Vincent Clerc
13 Yann David
12 Maxime Mermoz
11 Cédric Heymans
10 Francois Trinh-Duc
9 Julien Dupuy
8 Louis Picamoles
7 Imanol Harinordoquy
6 Thierry Dusautoir, Capt.
5 Romain Millo-Chluski
4 Lionel Nallet
3 Nicolas Mas
2 William Servat
1 Fabien Barcella
16 Dimitri Szarzewski
17 Sylvain Marconnet
18 Sébastien Chabal
19 Julien Bonnaire
20 Morgan Parra
21 David Marty
22 Maxime Médard
Head Coach: Marc Lièvremont


15 Lolo Lui
14 David Lemi
13 Henry Fa'afili
12 Seilala Mapusua
11 Alesana Tuilagi
10 Fa'atonu Fili
9 Junior Polu
8 Henry Tuilagi
7 Ofisa Treviranus
6 Jonathan Fa'amatuainu
5 Kane Thompson
4 Filipo Levi
3 Cencus Johnston
2 Mahonri Schwalger, Capt.
1 Justin Va'a
16 Andrew Williams
17 Jeremiah Fatialofa
18 Iosefa Tekori
19 Misioka Timoteo
20 Uale Mai
21 Fuimaolo-Sapolu
22 Titi Esau
Head Coach: Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua

Rugby Test Match: Fiji Take on the Irish

Fiji v Ireland in Dublin

Venue: Croke Park

Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

The last time these two teams met Ireland game the Islanders a fearful beating. That was back in 2002. Ireland wasn't at its strongest on that day whilst Fiji face a team that has changed dramatically in the last seven years.

Ireland has predictably made many changes from the team that drew 20-20 with Australia last Sunday. Some old veterans have been drafted into this side, including D'Arcy, Cullen, Horgan and Trimble. This match against a struggling Fijian side is a good opportunity to try out some new combinations. Special interest will be on new fly half Sexton, who is being groomed to one day to replace the great O'Gara.

Fiji has made a number of changes to the team that lost to Scotland last weekend. They have a new front row whilst veteran Norman Ligairi returns at fullback. Prop Deacon Manu is unavailable due to his wife being about to have a baby

Despite Ireland's changes the team is probably just as strong as the team that came back strongly against Australia. I can't see them losing against a disorganised Fijian team that just hasn't played enough together this year.

Previous Encounters
16.11.2002 Ireland 64-17 in Dublin
18.11.1995 Ireland 44-8 in Dublin
19.10.1985 Ireland XV 16-15 in Dublin
09.06.1978 Ireland XV 8-0 in Suva
Fiji has never defeated Ireland or any Irish sides.

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-Ireland 5th, Fiji 11th

Prediction: Ireland by 30 points


15 Robert Kearney (Leinster) Age 24, 17 tests
14 Shane Horgan (Leinster) 31, 64
13 Brian O'Driscoll, Capt. (Leinster) 30, 93
12 Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster) 29, 42
11 Keith Earls (Munster) 22, 3
10 Jonathan Sexton (Leinster) 24, 1
9 Eion Reddan (Leinster) 29, 17
8 James Heaslip (Leinster) 25, 19
7 Denis Leamy (Munster) 28, 43
6 Stephan Ferris (Ulster) 24, 14
5 Paul O'Connell (Munster) 30, 63
4 Leo Cullen (Leinster) 31, 20
3 John Hayes (Munster) 36, 95
2 Jeremy Flannery (Munster) 31, 32
1 Thomas Court (Ulster) 29, 5
16 Sean Cronin (Connacht) 23, 1
17 Anthony Buckley (Munster) 29, 13
18 Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster) 30, 56
19 S O'Brien (Leinster) 22, New cap
20 Thomas O'Leary (Munster) 26, 9
21 Patrick Wallace (Ulster) 30, 17
22 Andrew Trimble (Ulster) 25, 23
Head Coach: Declan Kidney

Trimble last played for Ireland v England in the Six Nations match, March 2008. Shane Horgan played only once for Ireland last season, coming on as a replacement in Ireland’s first game v Canada, in November. Leo Cullen goes back even further, last playing for Ireland v Argentina, 2nd test in Buenos
Aires, in June 2007.


15 - Norman Ligairi (Brive, France)
14 - Vereniki Goneva (Nadi)
13 - Gabiriele Lovobalavu (Toulon, France)
12 - Seremaia Bai, Capt. (Clermont Auvergne, France)
11 - Nasoni Roko (Yokogawa, Japan)
10 - Nicky Little (Padova, Italy)
9 - Mosese Rauluni (Saracens, England)
8 - Asaeli Boko (Nadroga)
7 - Akapusi Qera (Gloucester, England)
6 - Apolosi Satala (Gloucester, England)
5 - Ifereimi Rawaqa (World, Japan)
4 - Wame Lewaravu (London Welsh, England)
3 - Viliame Seuseu (Nadi)
2 - Viliame Veikoso (Nadi)
1 - Asaike Tarogi (Suva)
16 - Isireli Ledua (Northland, Fiji)
17 - Graham Dewes (Esher RFC, England)
18 - Leone Nakarawa (Suva)
19 - Samu Bola (Suva)
20 - Waisale Vatuvoka (Naitasiri)
21 - Josh Matavesi (Exeter Chiefs, England)
22 - Timoci Nagusa (Ulster, Ireland)
Head Coach: Samuela Domoni

International Rugby: Can Japan Make it Two in a Row?

Canada v Japan in Tokyo

Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground

Referee: Vincent Munro (New Zealand) 1st test

I cannot believe that Canada could play two bad games in a row. Japan played extremely well last Sunday in the first test, but I'd expect Canada to up their game. The score line of 46-8 was unbelievable. Canadian captain Pat Riordan talks about the game. "The team supporters at home should know the guys are well aware of the shortfall and disappointed in the result. That to play your best and lose is one thing.... but to play poorly and lose is much more difficult as all true rugby players know. According to the official rugby web site, players needed stitches following some brutal training seesions post that result. Looks like we can expect the Canaks to jump out of the starting gate fired up on Saturday.

2009.11.21 Pat Riordan
Canadian captain Pat Riordan reflects on a bad outing last Saturday. Image thanks to

Japan certainly looked impressive in the first test. Coach John Kirwan was pleased with all aspects of the display except the lineouts. Japan were dominant at scrum time and were first to the ball in the loose. They played the game at a hectic pace and fed on the Canadian's mistakes as the visitors tried to play an expansive game.

Kirwan has a few changes to the squad of 22. Tupuailei moves into centre with Ryan Nicholls moving in a place. Yoshida has a run at scrum half whilst two new players move onto the bench. Kirwan is still blooding new players whilst maintaining the nucleus of the team that played so well last Sunday.

I'd expect the Canadians to play a tighter game and try to out muscle the Japanese up front.

Last Five Encounters
15.11.2009 Japan 46-8 in Sendai
25.09.2007 Drawn 12-12 in Bordeaux (World Cup, Pool B)
29.05.2005 Canada 15-10 in Tokyo (Super Cup, Final)
30.05.2004 Japan 34-21 in Tokyo (Superpowers Cup, Final)
08.07.2001 Japan 39-7 in Tokyo (Pacific Rim; Playoff 3rd-4th)

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-Japan 13th, Canada 15th

Prediction: Canada will be a different team but psychologically Japan has the advantage, Japan by 10.



15 Go Aruga (Suntory) Age 25, 13 Tests
14 Kosuke Endo (Toyota) 28, 24
13 Alisi Tupuailei (Honda) 29, 1
12 Ryan Nicholas (Suntory) 30, 16
11 Hirotoki Onozawa (Suntory) 31, 53
10 Shaun Webb (Coca-Cola) 27, 15
9 Tomoki Yoshida (Toshiba) 27, 19
8 Takashi Kukutani, Capt. (Toyota) 29, 27
7 Philip O’Reilly (Yokogawa) 29, 10
6 Michael Leitch (Tokai Univ.) 21, 8
5 Toshizumi Kitagawa (Toyota) 28, 24
4 Hitoshi Ono (Toshiba) 31, 36
3 Kensuke Hatakeyama (Suntory) 24, 9
2 Shota Horie (Sanyo) 23, 1
1 Naoki Kawamata (Sanyo) 24, 4
16 Takeshi Kizu (Tokai Univ.) New cap
17 Hisateru Hirashima (Kobe) 26, 9
18 Shinya Makabe (Suntory) 22, New cap
19 Toetuíu Taufa (Kintetsu) 28, 8
20 Yuki Yatomi (Yamaha) 24, 13
21 James Arlidge (Newport, Wales) 30, 15
22 Ayumu Goromaru (Yamaha) 23, 9
Head Coach: John Kirwan


15 James Pritchard (Bedford Blues, England) Age 30, 30 Tests
14 Ciaran Hearn (Castaway Wanderers) 23, 9
13 Matthew Evans (Hartpury College, England) 21, 7
12 Nicholas Blevins ((Velox Valhallians) 20, 1
11 Justin Mensah-Coker (Moseley, England) 25, 19
10 Ander Monro (Castaway Wanderers) 28, 18
9 Sean White (James Bay Athletic Assoc.) 21, 1
8 Aaron Carpenter (Coventry, England) 26, 29
7 Adam Kleeberger (Rotherham Titans, England) 25, 22
6 Nanyak Dala (Castaway Wanderers) 25, 8
5 Tyler Hotson (Plymouth Albion, England) 24, 11
4 Jebb Sinclair (Castaway Wanderers) 23, 10
3 Douglas Woolridge (Cowichan) 23, 3
2 Pat Riordan, Capt. (University of Victoria) 30, 25
1 Kevin Tkachuk (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) 33, 51
16 Mchael Pletch (Velox Valhallians) 26, 23
17 Daniel Pletch (Oakville Crusaders) 26, 23
18 Chauncey OíToole (Castaway Wanderers) 23, 3
19 Marc MacSween (Balmy Beach) 23, New cap
20 Phil Mack (University of Victoria) 24, 5
21 Nathan Hirayama (University of Victoria) 21, 3
22 Sean Duke (University of Victoria) 21, 4
Head Coach: Kieran Crowley