Saturday, July 30, 2011

TRI NATIONS TEST RUGBY: South Africa v New Zealand

South Africa v New Zealand in Wellington (Tri Nations)

Venue: Westpac Stadium

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

South Africa plays the second leg of their away games in this year’s shortened Tri Nations competition. Having lost the test 20-39 against Australia last weekend, the Springbox limp into Wellington with 20 add top-flight players left at home.

New Zealand is fresh from a 60-14 win over Fiji which was, as expected, a rusty first up performance. The Kiwis will be defending their hold on the Trophy which is a symbol of rugby supremacy between New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.

New Zealand has rested a few key players for this test match.

Last Five Encounters
21.08.2010 New Zealand 29-22 in Johannesburg (Tri Nations)
17.07.2010 New Zealand 31-17 in Wellington (Tri Nations)
10.07.2010 New Zealand 21-12 in Auckland (Tri Nations)
12.09.2009 South Africa 32-29 in Hamilton (Tri Nations)
01.08.2009 South Africa 31-19 in Durban (Tri Nations)

South Africa last won against New Zealand in Wellington back in 1998, South Africa winning 13-3.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-South Africa 2nd, New Zealand 6th

IRB Ranking Points
New Zealand 93.19, South Africa 85.24

Prediction: New Zealand by 12 points



New Zealand
15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 James Cowan, 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Richie McCaw, Capt. 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Alistair Williams, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Benjamin Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
16 Corey Flynn, 17 John Afoa, 18 Jarrad Hoeata, 19 Liam Messam, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Sonny Bill Williams.
Head Caoch: Graham Henry


South Africa
15 Morne Steyn, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Adi Jacobs, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Daniel Rossouw, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Gerhard Mostert, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 John Smit, Capt. 1 Dean Greyling.
16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Ryan Kankowski, 19 Ashley Johnson, 20 Charles McLeod, 21 Wynand Olivier, 22 Odwa Ndungane.
Head Caoch: Pieter de Villiers

RUGBY TEST MATCH: Mekong Cup Laos v Cambodia

The Mekong Cup is the symbol of rugby supremacy between Cambodia and laos. The Cup began in 2008. This is the first year that both matches are being played away from other regional tournaments. Laos and Cambodia were originally to play in Asia Nations Division 5, with Brunei and Mongolia. The last two teams pulled out.

Cambodia v Laos in Vientiane (Mekong Cup)


Venue: Chao Anouyong Stadium

Laos, the Cup holder, won the first leg 21-19 in Cambodia earlier in the month. This gives them a vital 2 point lead on aggregate going into the second leg which is played in Laos.

More previews here plus a summary of the first game

From Cambodia

Previous Encounters
16.07.2011 Laos 21-19 in Phnom Phen (Mekong Cup)
26.06.2010 Laos 12-3 in Phnom Phen (Asia Regional; Mekong Cup)
15.05.2010 Laos 16-14 in Vientiene (Mekong Cup)
23.05.2009 Cambodia 24-8 in Phnom Phen (Mekong Cup)
28.03.2009 Laos 8-3 in Savannakhet (Asia Regional; Mekong Cup)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Asia Table-Laos 18th, Cambodia 20th

No IRB Ranking Points

Prediction: Laos by 14 points


Laos squad

FORWARDS (from):
Phetthanousone CHITTHAPHONG
Phayphisit MANISENG
Somxainoy PHOKHAM
Sompavanh KHETTIYA
Matsumoto HIDEAKI
Phonphasit SANSAIYA

BACKS (from):
William LUANGRATH ... _2011.html

Cambodian Squad not available

RUGBY IN AFRICA: CAR Division 2, North Finals Day

Mali v Niger in Bamako (CAR Africa Cup Division 2, North, Final)

mali-flag niger[2]

Results to the Final
v Chad W 32-3
v Ghana W 28-3

v Mali ‘A’ W 28-3
v Burkino Faso W 12-5

Last Five Encounters
21.07.2010 Niger 6-3 in Niamey (CAR Africa Trophy, Semi-Final)
12.07.2009 Drawn 11-11 in Tsevie (CAR Dev.Trophy, North, Pool A)
25.06.2008 Drawn 3-3 in Accra (CAR Dev. Trophy, North, Pool B)
20.06.2007 Mali 10-6 in Ougadougou (CAR Castel Beer Trophy, North, Pool A)
28.03.2006 Niger 15-0 in Niamey (CAR Castel Beer Trophy, Pool A)

These are all the test matches these two teams have played against each other.

GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table-Niger 16th, Mali 17th

Prediction: Niger by 7 points

Teams Not Available

Ghana v Burkino Faso in Bamako (CAR Africa Cup Division 2, North, Playoff 3rd-4th)

logo-flag-ghana logo-burkina

Results to The 3rd-4th Playoff

v Benin W 16-7
v Mali L 3-28

Burkino Faso
v Togo W 11-6
v Niger L 5-12

Previous Encounters
15.07.2009 Ghana 17-7 in Tsevie (CAR Dev. Trophy, North, Pool B)
27.06.2008 Burkino Faso 9-8 in Accra (CAR Dev. Trophy, North, Pool B)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table-Ghana 18th, Burkino Faso 19th

Prediction: Ghana by 7 points

Teams Not Available

Mali ‘A’ v Benin in Bamako (CAR Africa Cup Division 2, North, Playoff 5th-6th)
mali-flag margouillatm
Results to the 5th-6th Playoff

Mali ‘A’
v Niger L 3-28
v Togo W 14-11

v Ghana L 7-16
v Chad W 16-11

No Previous Encounters and no GWC Rugby Rankings

Prediction: Mali "’A’ by 7 points

Chad v Togo in Bamako (CAR Africa Cup Division 2, North, Playoff 7th-8th)

chad-flag togo-flag

Results to 7th-8th Playoff

v Mali L 3-32
v Benin L 11-16

v Burkino Faso L 6-11
v Mali ‘A’ L 11-14

These two teams have never met before. Prior to this tournament, Chad last played test rugby in 2008

GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table-Togo 20th, Chad 30th

Prediction: Togo by 7 points

TEST RUGBY: CAR Africa Division 2, North

This tournament is being held in Bamako, Mali

Results From Last Week

Round 1-Mali ‘A’ took the place of Gabon who didn’t show up.
Niger 28, Mali ‘A’ 3
Mali 32, Chad 3

Ghana 16, Benin 7
Burkino Faso 11, Togo 6

Round 2
Mali ‘A’ 14, Togo 11
Benin 16, Chad 11

Niger 12, Burkino Faso 5
Mali 28, Ghana 3


South Africa v New Zealand in Wellington (Tri Nations)
Cambodia v Laos in Vientiene (Mekong Cup)
Mali v Niger in Bamako (CAR Africa Cup Division 2, North, Final)
Ghana v Burkino Faso in Bamako (CAR Africa Cup Division 2, North, Playoff 3rd-4th)
Mali ‘A’ v Benin in Bamako (CAR Africa Cup Division 2, North, Playoff 5th-6th)
Chad v Togo in Bamako (CAR Africa Cup Division 2, North, Playoff 7th-8th)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

TEST RUGBY RESULTS: Saturday 23 July

Australia 39, South Africa 20 in Sydney (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
Zimbabwe 26, Kenya 20 in Nairobi (Victoria Cup) Another source says 26-21

Australia were simply too good for what was basically a second string South African side in Sydney. The Australian backs were magnificent whilst South Africa looked staid and predictable, except for fullback Aplon and winger Mvovo. It was just the reply Australia needed after their disastrous loss to Samoa last weekend.

South Africa will need to rebuild and rethink ahead of the second test on their tour, when they play New Zealand in Wellington next Saturday.

Zimbabwe did enough to win a rather scrappy game 26-20 (or 21) in Nairobi. There was not a lot to play for as Zimbabwe had secured the Victoria Cup and remained undefeated.

No news yet from the CAR tournament in Mali

Saturday, July 23, 2011

TEST RUGBY: Tri Nations Rugby Gets Underway

South Africa v Australia in Sydney (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)

Venue: ANZ Stadium

Referee: Christopher Pollock (New Zealand)


The Tri Nations rugby tournament gets underway in Sydney tonight. The symbol of supremacy in test rugby between New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, the Tri Nations this year also serves as a warm up for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, now only a few months away.

Australia has an uphill battle to prove some points in Sydney. Firstly they will want to wash away the disappointment of the result and their performance against Samoa last weekend. Without taking anything away from Samoa, the Australians were caught on the hop and a lot of that was blamed on complacency and inexperienced players. That excuse won’t hold up this weekend. Australia came to earth with a thud and the only way now is up. A second dud performance will be followed by sharpening of knives.

Some of that sharp edge may well be pushed in the direction of coach Robbie Deans who has a somewhat uncertain relationship with Australian rugby. During poor patches of form from his team over the last two years Deans has certainly come under fire from the media, past players, fans..well..everyone really. I can’t see Australia changing coaches so close to the 2011 Rugby World Cup but a poor performance wont stop the critics.

Thirdly, Australia is playing a South African side that on paper Some 20 top notch players are back in South Africa nursing various wounds and the Springbox are not expected to be at full strength until South Africa plays its two home tests (The Tri Nations has been shortened due to the Rugby World Cup). A loss or poor performance against ‘South Africa B’ will be unacceptable to Australian rugby fans. Robbie Deans will be sitting close to the edge of his seat than the rest of the Australian rugby public tonight.

South Africa did this in 2007. In that year they won the Rugby World Cup after resting key players before the tournament. Are they doing the same again? Yep!

Last Five Encounters
04.09.2010 Australia 41-39 in Bloemfontein (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
28.08.2010 South Africa 44-31 in Pretoria (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
24.07.2010 Australia 30-13 in Brisbane (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
05.09.2009 Australia 21-6 in Brisbane (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
29.08.2009 South Africa 32-25 in Perth (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)

The last test between these two nations in Sydney
07.07.2007 Australia 25-17 (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)

The Last Time South Africa won v Australia in Sydney
31.07.1993 South Africa 19-12

The First Test Match Between These Two Nations
08.07.1933 South Africa 17-3 in Capetown. This was the Australian’s first test on their long tour of South Africa that year.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-South Africa 1st, Australia 5th

IRB Ranking Points
South Africa 86.44, Australia 85.45

Prediction: South Africa by 8 points. A result that will turn Australian rugby on its head!



15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Patrick McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 William Genia, 8 Benjamin McCalman,
7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, Capt. 5 James Horwill, 4 Robert Simmons, 3 Benjamin Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Pekahou Cowan, 18 Nathan Sharpe, 19 Matthew Hodgson, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nicholas Phipps, 22 Anthony Fainga'a
Head Coach: Robbie Deans


South Africa
15 Gio Aplon, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 John Smit, Capt 1 Dean Greyling
16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Ryan Kankowski , 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charles McLeod, 21 Adrian Jacobs, 22 Patrick Lambie
Head Coach: Pieter de Villiers

RUGBY TEST MATCH: Zimbabwe in Kenya

Zimbabwe v Kenya in Nairobi (Victoria Cup)

Venue: Nyayo National Stadium

Zimbabwe has already taken out the Victoria Cup for 2011. Kenya, last year’s winner, will be seeking a win that would jump it into second place. Kenya lost 18-32 to Uganda last weekend in Kampala, placing Uganda into second place.

Zimbabwe have two players unavailable for personal reasons, skipper Daniel Hondo and flanker Jacques Leitao.

Last Five Encounters
25.06.2011 Zimbabwe 42-24 in Harare (Victoria Cup)
17.07.2010 Kenya 23-18 in Harare (Victoria Cup)
12.06.2010 Kenya 11-10 in Nairobi (Victoria Cup)
24.07.2004 Zimbabwe 24-15 in Bulawayo (Friendly)
24.05.2003 Kenya 32-24 in Nairobi (Friendly)

Zimbabwe last won in Nairobi back in 1993, a 42-7 World Cup qualifying match.

GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table-Zimbabwe 5th, Kenya 6th

IRB Ranking Points
Zimbabwe 51.58, Kenya 50.40

Prediction: Zimbabwe by 6 points



15 Daniel Robertson.
14 Gardener Nechironga
13 Lloyd Machanjaire
12 Dylan Bradshaw
11 T Nemadire
10 Tichafara Makwanya
9 Charles Jiji
8 Norman Mukondiwa
7 Costa Dinha, Capt.
6 Shingi Mpofu
5 Schalk Ferreira
4 Fortune Chipendu
3 Kuda Kambasha
2 Prayer Chitenderu
1 Denford Mutamangira
16.Tatenda Karuru
17. Pieter Joubert
18.Brian Makamure
19 Jan Ferreira
20. Njabula Ndlovu
21. Cleopas Makotose
22. Thomas Nelson
Head Coach: Brandon Dawson


15.Vincent Mose
14, Victor Sudi, Capt.
13. Kelvin Omiyo
12. Patrice Agunda
11. Peter Abuoga
10. Issac Adimo
9. Peter Mutai
8 Lawrence Buyachi
7. Andrew Amonde
6. Anthony Mutai
5. Ronnie Mwenesi
4.Martin Likami
3.Daniel Kiptoo
2. Vincent Ong'era
1.Joel Ng'ang'a
16. Dennis Abenga
17. Dennis Karani
18. Victor Oduor
19. David Mogere
20. Edwin Achayo
21. Nato Simiyu
22. Allan Omuka
Head Coach:


CAR Division 2, North
There has been some mystery as to which teams would turn up to this tournament. Only yesterday was it revealed that Gabon would replace Congo Brazzaville to make up the eight nations participating. We only know for sure the first round, being played over Saturday and Sunday.

Leading up to this tournament Chad were involved in warm-up games. On July 17 Chad 3, defeated French Servicemen 0, in Chad. Prior to that Chad defeated a Cameroun XV 21-5. Chad has not played a test match since 2008.

The venue: Stadium Quezzin, Bamako

Teams Participating
Niger, Mali, Ghana, Burkino Faso, Togo, Benin, Chad, Gabon

Round One
Saturday 23 July

Niger v Gabon in Bamako (CAR Africa Cup Division 2, North)

niger[2]  gabon-flag

Gabon is making, as far as I am aware, their test debut. They have played games prior to this but I have seen them labelled as ‘Gabon Selection’.

GWC Rugby Rankings do not apply.

Prediction: Niger by 20 points

Mali v Chad in Bamako (CAR Africa Cup Division 2, North)

mali-flag  chad-flag
Previous Encounters

29.06.2008 Chad 10-0 in Accra(CAR Dev.Trophy, North, playoff 5th-6th)
18.06.2007 Mali 32-0 in Ouagadougou (CAR Castel Beer Trophy, North, Grp A)
26.03.2006 Mali 12-5 in Niamey (CAR Castel Beer Trophy, North, Grp A)

GWC Rugby Rankings do not apply as Chad has not played a test match since 2008.

Prediction: Mali by 14 points


Sunday 24 July-Previewed Tomorrow
Ghana v Benin in Bamako (CAR Africa Cup Division 2, North)
Burkino Faso v Togo in Bamako (CAR Africa Cup Division 2, North)

TEST RUGBY: New Zealand Class Above Fiji

New Zealand 60, Fiji 14 in Dunedin

New Zealand were too good for Fiji in their opening game for 2011. Scoring 8 tries to 2, they dominated the Fijians in all areas of play.

To Fiji’s credit this was their best result against New Zealand and managed to come back to score two second-half tries.

Both sides were without key players. For New Zealand, they left out most of their Crusader contingent from the starting XV, whilst Fiji left out No.8 Sisa Koyamaibole and centre Seru Rabeni due to suspension, and lock Leone Nakarawa because his links with the Fijian army.

Match Details
Half-time: NZ 32 - 0

New Zealand
Tries: Hore, Muliaina, Sivivatu, Slade, CG Smith, Thomson, Weepu, Penalty try
Cons: Carter 3, Slade 4
Pens: Slade 2

Tries: Goneva, Serelevu
Cons: Baikeinuku

Friday, July 22, 2011

TEST RUGBY: New Zealand Warms Up Against Fiji

Fiji v New Zealand in Dunedin

Venue: Carisbrook

Referee: Stuart Dickinson, Australia

This warm up rugby test match for New Zealand also doubles as a charity match for Christchurch earthquake victims.

Talk about is on the possibility of Fiji repeating Samoa’s feat of defeating a top nation at test rugby. Fiji’s record against New Zealand is 5 losses from 5, with 50 points being the narrowest margin.

Not all has gone well in Fiji’s preparations. “With Nicky Little injured and Waisea Luveniyali suspended it means Seremaia Baikeinuku mans the flyhalf spot with the recalled Taniela Rawaqa as cover on the bench.
One late change to the side sees veteran lock forward Ifereimi Rawaqa pulling out due to sickness and replaced by Nadroga’s feisty loose-cum-lock forward Rupeni Nasiga”.

New Zealand coach Graham Henry has rested all Crusader players for this match, giving some bench players the opportunity to add themselves on the consideration list for New Zealand’s final 30 for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The side still looks strong enough to hold Fijian early pressure and allow their superior fitness and organisation to win the game in the second half.

Previous Encounters
10.06.2005 New Zealand 91-0 in Albany
29.06.2002 New Zealand 68-18 in Wellington
14.06.1997 New Zealand 71-5 in Albany
27.05.1987 New Zealand 74-13 in Christchurch (World Cup)

Surprisingly few test matches between these two Pacific nations in the past although many NZ Maori and Under 23/Junior sides have faced Fiji. Fiji has come unstuck against New Zealand in all their previous encounters.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 6th, Fiji 14th
Oceania Table-New Zealand 1st, Fiji 4th

IRB Rugby Ranking Points
New Zealand 93.19, Fiji 71.52

Prediction: New Zealand by 24 points



New Zealand
15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Zac Guildford, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Colin Slade, 9 James Cowan, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Richie McCaw, Capt. 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Benjamin Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
16 Corey Flynn, 17 John Afoa, 18 Samuel Whitelock, 19 Jerome Kaino, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Daniel Carter, 22 Benjamin Smith.
Head Coach: Graham Henry


15 Iliesa Keresoni, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Albert Vulivuli, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Seremaia Baikeinuku, 9 Nemia Serelevu, 8 Sakiusa Matadigo, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Rupeni Nasiga, 4 Sekonaia Kalou, 3 Deacon Manu, Capt. 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Campese Ma'afu.
16 Viliame Veikoso, 17 Setefano Somoca, 18 Josefa Domolailai, 19 Malakai Ravulo, 20 Vitori Buatava, 21 Taniela Rawaqa, 22 Vereniki Goneva.
Head Coach: Samuela Domoni

Monday, July 18, 2011

TEST RUGBY: Shock Result!

Samoa 32, Australia 23 in Sydney

I couldn’t believe the result when I saw it. I don’t have pay TV so didn’t see the game. My brother tells me it was a great game. Is this THE greatest day in Samoan rugby history?

It certainly is a fantastic result for Samoa and for rugby in Oceania. Yes, look out for these island team at the game. But don’t write Australia off. Far from it. I’m still picking Australia to be one of the teams in the final. And I’m hoping like hell the other is New Zealand!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Samoa v Australia in Sydney (World Cup Warm-up test)

Venue: ANZ Stadium

Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Test matches between these two Oceania nations are few and far between. It’s been 6 years since their last clash, a 74-7 drubbing from Australia. For both side it will their first serious hit out in the lead up games to the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Samoa has already played 3 tests in the 2011 Pacific Nations Cup (which they lost) but without a number of leading players.

Queensland Red players Saia and Anthony Faingaa, James Horwill, Radike Samo, Will Genia and Quade Cooper are rested after the Queensland Red’s Super 15 win last weekend. Rod Davies was originally to be rested but an injury to James O’Connor saw him called into the side to make his test rugby debut. Ben Robinson’s injury (which will see him miss the World Cup) and James Slipper’s injury has further weakened the side. However, there is enough depth around Australian rugby these days for those positions to be reasonably covered. It is also important that the back-up players are exposed to international test rugby. The old saying that you team is only as good as your reserves will test Australia tonight.

Samoa has had a less than successful build up to this game. As usual, getting the best Samoan players on the paddock at the same time is not a luxury available to the Pacific Island teams until a month before any Rugby World Cup. Their results in the Pacific Nations Cup just ended reads 1 win, 2 losses. They lost the Cup which they won last year. The arrival in Sydney of Seilala Mapusua, Alesana Tuilagi, Sailosi Tagicakibau, and Kahn Fotuali'i will strengthen the Samoans but lack of team work and time to master combinations will tell against the Samoans in the end.

Previous Encounters
11.06.2005 Australia 74-7 in Sydney
26.09.1998 Australia 25-13 in Brisbane (WCQ Oceania , Rnd C)
06.08.1994 Australia 73-3 in Sydney
09.10.1991 Australia 9-3 in Pontypool (World Cup)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Australia 4th, Samoa 14th
Oceania Table-Australia 2nd, Samoa 3rd

IRB Ranking Points
Australia 87.45, Samoa 73.90

Prediction: Australia by 19

The teams


15 Mark Gerrard, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson, 6 Rocky Elsom (c), 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
16 James Hanson, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Dan Vickerman, 19 Scott Higginbotham, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Will Genia, 22 Kurtley Beale.
Head Coach: Robbie Deans

Rod Davies makes his test debut for Australia after James O’Connor dropped out due to injury. Mark Gerrard returns to test rugby for the first time since the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Sitaleki Timani also makes his test debut. His brother Sione played for Tonga in this years Pacific Nations Cup.


15 Paul Williams, 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 13 George Pisi, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 George Stowers, 7 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 6 Taisina Tuifu'a, 5 Daniel Leo, 4 Kane Thompson, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Mahonri Schwalger (c), 1 Sakaria Taulafo.
16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Census Johnston, 18 Filipo Lavea Levi, 19 Manaia Salavea, 20 Brenton Helleur, 21 Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu, 22 James So'oialo
Head Coach: Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua

TEST RUGBY RESULTS: Saturday 16 July

Uganda 32, Kenya 18 in Kampala (Victoria Cup, Elgon Cup)

Laos 21, Cambodia 19 in Phnom Phen (Mekong Cup)
Point scoring details at!/Laorugby

Uganda caused a major upset by toppling neighbours Kenya at home. Uganda very nearly scored a better aggregate, Kenya finally taking the Elgon Cup 45-42. The result also handed Zimbabwe the Victoria Cup, Kenya needing to win today to have a chance.

Laos, up 13-5 at halftime, had to withstand a Cambodian comeback to hold on to win the first leg of the Mekong Cup. They go into the second leg, to be held in Vientiane 30 July, with a 2 point lead.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Kenya v Uganda in Kampala (Victoria Cup, Elgon Cup)

Venue: Kyandondo RFC


2011 VICTORIA CUP  Updated 16.07.2011 Home
Points: Win = 4, Draw = 2, Loss = 0, Bonus points-1 4 tries, 1 losing within 7 points
25.06.2011 ZIMBABWE 42 KENYA 24 ZIMBABWE ZIMBABWE 3 3 0 0 116 60 56 2 0 14
02.07.2011 ZIMBABWE 49 UGANDA 21 BULAWAYO UGANDA 3 0 0 3 46 101 -55 0 0 0
09.07.2011 KENYA 27 UGANDA 10 NAIROBI * KENYA 2 1 0 1 51 52 -1 0 0 4
* Also for Elgin Cup 

Uganda will be playing only for pride as they were swept away from any title chances in previous losses to Kenya and Zimbabwe. Only Kenya has a mathematical chance of overtaking Zimbabwe to retain the Cup.

Kenya also has a firm grip on the Elgon Cup, played between Kenya and Uganda at both women’s and men’s test rugby. Kenya goes into this match with a 17 point aggregate lead. Uganda would need to win by 18 points to take the Elgon Cup.

Uganda’s coach has made three changes to the side that lost to Kenya last weekend, keeping faith with the bulk of his players.

Last Five Encounters
09.07.2011 Kenya 27-10 in Nairobi (Victoria Cup; Elgon Cup)
10.07.2010 Kenya 21-5 in Nairobi (Victoria Cup; Elgon Cup)
03.07.2010 Kenya 33-25 in Kampala (Victoria Cup; Elgon Cup)
19.08.2009 Uganda 18-13 in Kampala (Elgon Cup)
15.08.2009 Kenya 30-22 in Nairobi (Elgon Cup)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table-Kenya 6th, Uganda 7th

IRB Ranking Points
Kenya 51.61, Uganda 46.58

Prediction: Kenya by 10 points




A. Musoke, J. Kimono, M. Wokorach, E. Kingasia, J. Onen, B. Kiiza, A. Matsiko, A. Olweny, T. Mudoola, R. Seguya, R. Ogwal, S. Oluoch, B. Odong, A. Mubiru, R. Adigasi
S. Mawanda, D. Mugambe, T. Kabonero, R. Musajja, A. Kinene, L. Wakabi, O. Kalyango
Head Coach: Yayiro Kasasa


Kenya team not available

TEST RUGBY: Mekong Cup

Laos v Cambodia in Phnom Phen (Mekong Cup)

Venue: RCAF Old Stadium


For the first time the Mekong Cup is being contested as a separate competition, away from Asian regional or division fixtures. Originally set down as Asia Nations Division 5, Brunei and Mongolia withdrew, leaving Laos and Cambodia to play international test rugby in 2011.

Laos is the present holder of the Cup, winning both test matches last year. The Cup is decided on points aggregate over the two matches.

Previous Winners

Last Five Encounters
26.06.2010 Laos 12-3 in Phnom Phen (Asia Regional; Mekong Cup)
15.05.2010 Laos 16-14 in Vientiene (Mekong Cup)
23.05.2009 Cambodia 24-8 in Phnom Phen (Mekong Cup)
28.03.2009 Laos 8-3 in Savannakhet (Asia Regional; Mekong Cup)
12.07.2008 Laos 33-0 in Djakarta (Asia Regional; Mekong Cup)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Asia Table-Laos 18th, Cambodia 20th

IRB Rankings do not apply

Prediction: Cambodia by 7 points


15. Anousith Chaleunsouk
14. Thit Outhone Thirakhoune
13. Saysana Vinavong
12. Pisa Vongdeuangpheng
11. Soukthavi Souliyachack
10. Chris Mastaglio
9. Vannaxay Somsuthi
8. Phouphet Phoutthavong
7. Somsay Phokham
6. Somphone Vongvilay
5. Phayphisit Maniseng
4. Garry Wright
3. Phettanousone Chittaphong
2. Damlongsack Chanthasouk
1. Phanavanh Bouuthavong, Capt.
16. Sompavanh Khettiya
17. Matsumoto Hideaki
18. Ekkasan Sengchanpheng
19. Mit Oudone Keohanam
20. Phonphasit Sansaiya
21. Savanhxay Xayyasone
22. Phoudthasi Thammavongsa

Head Coach: Ian Melhuish

Cambodia Squad
Chro Kim Seng (Sisowath Knights)
Koeut Sovan Raksmey (S Knights)
Mom Samrach (S Knights)
Tun Sopha (PSE Garudas)
Nong Sovanrado (S Knights)
Ut Vuthy (PSE Garudas)
Vong Vannak (PSE Garudas)
Dan Wetherall (S Knights)
Phorn Bophan (PSE Garudas)
Pich Ratana, Capt. (PSE Garudas)
Mout Sarom (Stade Khmer)
Luke Wilkie (Sisowath Knights)
Khoeun Sangsa (Stade Khmer)
Dul Khemrin (Stade Khmer)
Nhab Rotha (PSE Garudas)
Uk Dara (PSE Garudas)
Dul Khemararaingsey (S Knights)
Pen Sophea (Stade Khmer)
Loem Bonpuv (PSE Garudas)
Em Ratana (Stade Khmer)
Lach Sopeara (PSE Garudas)
Man Salida (Stade Khmer)
Head Coach; Richard Flanagan

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Japan 24, Fiji 13 in Lautoka
Tonga 29, Samoa 19 in Lautoka

Fiji shot itself in the foot in Lautoka, conceding 2 red cards and 3 yellow to finish the game with 12 players! Japan scored a try in injury time to seal the win and gain the bonus point to take the Pacific Nations Cup for the first time.

It was a fought tussle in the curtain raiser as Kurt Morath kicked Tonga to victory. The win gave Tonga a sniff of victory in the 2011 Pacific Nations Cup but Japan undid all that in the last minute of their match.

This has been a very even competition.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Japan v Fiji in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
Samoa v Tonga in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)

Saturdays results showed just how even this competition is. Tomorrows results could go any which way.

Fiji by 3 v Japan
Samoa by 3 v Tonga, plus a bonus point and will retain their title.

I regret I cannot preview this tournament in more detail. My full time job is a very busy place this time of the year.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Japan 28, Tonga 27 in Suva (Pacific Nations Cup)
Fiji 36, Samoa 18 in Suva (Pacific Nations Cup)
Kenya 27, Uganda 10 in Nairobi (Victoria Cup; Elgon Cup)


Japan and Fiji bounced back from defeats in the first round to win in the second, throwing the whole competition wide open. Wednesday’s round 3 matches will decide who takes the Pacific Nations Cup and it could be any one of the four participants

Wednesday Round 3 in Lautoka
Japan v Fiji in
Tonga v Samoa

Kenya, as predicted, defeated Uganda at home. They have registered their first win in  the Victoria Cup series (Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya) and they have a 17 point aggregate lead going into the Elgon Cup second leg in Kampala next Saturday.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Japan v Tonga in Suva (Pacific Nations Cup)

Venue: National Stadium


Tonga’s rugby standing is very high after they took apart hosts Fiji in last weekend’s opening Pacific Nations Cup round. This performance will sound alarm bells throughout a Japanese team that were humbled by Samoa in Tokyo. It is going to be a big hurdle for the Japanese to bounce back. But bounce back they must if John Kirwan’s side has any chance of winning the Cup. Also, the Rugby World Cup finals are just around the corner and the Japanese will need to significantly lift their game if they are to have any impact on the world stage come September-October when they face Tonga again in Pool A.

Japan’s head coach John Kirwan has made a number of changes from last week’s side. ‘The pack shows two changes with Justin Ives replacing Toshizumi Kitagawa and Michael Leitch in for Tadasuke Nishihara.Ives came off the bench last week, while Leitch was a late withdrawal. However, the Toshiba Brave Lupus flanker has recovered from an ankle injury and is back on the flank alongside captain Takashi Kikutani and Ryu Koliniasi Holani. Ives with partner Luke Thompson in the second row and the pair will pack down behind Hisateru Hiroshima, Yusuke Aoki and Kensuke Hatakeyama.

In the backs, there are recalls from injury for James Arlidge, Hirotoki Onozawa and Koji Taira. Arlidge takes over the No. 10 jersey from Shaun Webb, who switches to fullback, Onozawa replaces Takehisa Usuzuki, while Taira returns to partner Ryan Nicholas in the centres in place of Yuta Imamura.
Kosuke Endo and Fumiaki Tanaka keep their places at wing and scrumhalf, respectively.’

Last Five Encounters
26.06.2010 Japan 26-23 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
27.06.2009 Japan 21-19 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
16.06.2008 Japan 35-13 in Sendai (Pacific Nations Cup)
02.06.2007 Japan 20-17 in Coff’s Harbour (Pacific Nations Cup)
04.06.2006 Tonga 57-16 in Fukuoka (Pacific Five Nations)

It’s been five years since Tonga defeated Japan.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Tonga 11th, Japan 14th

IRB Ranking Points
Tonga 71.63, Japan 69.89

Prediction: Tonga by 8 points

10[1]  20[1]

Team lineups  at


Fiji v Samoa in Suva (Pacific Nations Cup)

Venue: National Stadium


The oldest rivalry in Pacific rugby is renewed today when Samoa take on hosts Fiji. They played their first test encounter back in 1924. Fiji may have the home advantage but Samoa is the holder of the Pacific Nations Cup and has better recent form.

Fiji has made a number of changes from the side that lost 21-45 to Tonga last weekend. A number of European-based players are out. The Samoan line up is not available on line.

Despite Samoa’s form Fiji will bounce back to make this a close hard-fought game.

Rival captains Manu and Schwalger
hold the Pacific Nations Cup.
Photo thanks to

Last Five encounters
26.06.2010 Samoa 31-9 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
27.06.2009 Fiji 19-14 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
07.06.2008 Fiji 34-17 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
19.05.2007 Samoa 8-3 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
24.06.2006 Fiji 23-20 in Suva (Pacific Five Nations)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Fiji 12th, Samoa 13th
Oceania Table-Samoa 3rd, Fiji 4th

IRB Ranking Points
Samoa 75.58, Fiji 74.05

Prediction: Samoa by 3 points



15. Taniela Rawaqa
14. Ilikena Bolakoro
13. Albert Vulivuli
12. Ravai Fatiaki
11. Vereniki Goneva
10. Nicky Little
9. Nemia Serelevu
8. Sakiusa Matadigo
7. Malakai Ravulo
6. Rupeni Nasiga
5. Leone Nakarawa
4. Sekonaia Kalou
3. Deacon Manu, Capt
2. Talemaitoga Tuapati
1. Campese Ma’afu
16. Viliame Veikoso
17. Penijamini Makutu
18. Josefa Domolailai
19. Malakai Volau
20. Vitori Buatava
21. Waisea Luveniyali
22. Adriu Delai

Adapted from

Out from v Tonga- Murimurivalu, Lovobalavu, Nagusa, Ranuku, Waqaniburotu, Cavubati, Dewes, Tuapati and Buatava.


Samoan team not available

AFRICAN TEST RUGBY: Uganda Face Kenya in Nairobi

Uganda v Kenya in Nairobi (Victoria Cup; Elgon Cup)



Both teams have recently been on the receiving end of defeats by a resurgent Zimbabwe. Last weekend Uganda lost 21-49 and two weeks ago Kenya lost 24-42, both in Zimbabwe. This should give a fairly accurate indication of the form of both teams.

Uganda has the advantage of more game time. They have played two extra test matches, losing 15-25 to Zimbabwe at home in mid June in a Victoria Cup and CAR Division 1B match, and then defeated Madagascar 58-30 a few days later, also at home.

Kenya has the home ground advantage. They are also the holder of the Elgon Cup, which is also up for grabs. They have also a good record against Uganda since 2008.

Without knowing the squad lists it is difficult to gauge the strength of todays teams.

Last Five Encounters
10.07.2010 Kenya 21-5 in Nairobi (Victoria Cup, Elgon Cup)
03.07.2010 Kenya 33-25 in Kampala (Victoria Cup, Elgon Cup)
19.08.2009 Uganda 18-13 in Kampala (Elgon Cup)
15.08.2009 Kenya 30-22 in Nairobi (Elgon Cup)
16.08.2008 Kenya 39-20 in Nairobi (Elgon Cup)

Uganda last won against Kenya in Nairobi in 2006, winning 22-20.

Previous Winners of the Elgon Cup

GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table-Kenya 6th, Uganda 7th

IRB Ranking Points
Kenya 51.21, Uganda 46.88

Prediction: Kenya by 8 points

66[1]  95[1]

Teams not available

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Tonga v Japan in Suva (Pacific Nations Cup)
Fiji v Samoa in Suva (Pacific Nations Cup)
Uganda v Kenya in Nairobi (Victoria Cup; Elgon Cup)

High flyers from the Pacific Nations Cup first round, Tonga and Samoa circle each other in the second round. Tonga meets Japan whilst Samoa plays host Fiji. Both Fiji and Japan suffered defeat in the first round and will need to improve dramatically to win their games. Next Wednesday’s clash between Tonga and Samoa could well see a clash to decide the winner.

Meanwhile in Kampala Uganda has an uphill struggle to win against hosts kenya.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Samoa 34, Japan 15 in Tokyo (Pacific Nations Cup)
Tonga 45, Fiji 21 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
Zimbabwe 49, Uganda 21 in Bulawayo (Victoria Cup)

Samoa began its 2011 Rugby World Cup preparations in grand style with a convincing win in Tokyo. Japan’s stumble at this first major test hurdle would be worrying for coach John Kirwan.

Tonga caused a major upset with its 45-21 over Fiji in Lautoka. It was their highest ever score against Fiji and the 24 point winning margin was also a record. Tonga are looking good for the rest of this tournament. The ‘old hands’ recalled to the side and the wealth of experience has paid off.

Zimbabwe has regained a lot of the lost ground at test level over the last decade or so and this convincing win against Uganda is a clear indication that the rise will continue.

Test Matches Coming Up
9 July
Tonga v Japan in Suva (Pacific Nations Cup)
Fiji v Samoa in Suva (Pacific Nations Cup)
Kenya v Uganda in Nairobi (Victoria Cup; Elgon Cup)

If Tonga and Samoa keep their winning ways their 13 July clash would set up a winner-takes-all scenario.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

INTERNATIONAL TEST RUGBY: Pacific Nations Cup Gets Underway

Samoa v Japan in Tokyo (Pacific Nations Cup)

Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground


The 2011 Pacific Nations Cup was due to be held in Japan but due to the massive earthquake there earlier in the year it was decided to hold the bulk of the games in Fiji. This is the only test to be held in Japan. It pits the local team against Last year’s Pacific Nations Cup winner Samoa

Both teams will use this tournament as a valued warm up leading to the 2011 Rugby World Cup finals. Japan has the home advantage and a 4-test lead up to this fixture.

Japan waltzed through the Asia Five Nations competition, defeating Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka to take it’s fifth successive title. In the process they scored 310 points (average 77.5 per game) whilst conceding just 35 (Hong Kong bagged 22 of them!) They will find, as always, the Pacific Island nations a much tougher proposition, especially as this year more overseas players are gracing the Island teams, with Rugby World Cup selection in view.

Last year Japan defeated the eventual winner in Apia but the Samoan side has a number of overseas-based players making it probably a stronger side.

Last Five Encounters
30.10.2010 Samoa 13-10 in Tokyo (Friendly)
19.06.2010 Japan 31-23 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
18.06.2009 Samoa 34-15 in Sigatoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
05.07.2008 Samoa 37-31 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
16.06.2007 Samoa 13-3 in Sendai (Pacific Nations Cup)

Japan last defeated Samoa in Japan in 1999, winning 37-34 in Osaka for the then Pacific Rim Trophy.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Samoa 12th, Japan 13th

IRB Ranking Points
Samoa 74.02, Japan 71.45

Prediction: A close tussle-Samoa by 4 points



15- Goshi Tachikawa (Toshiba) Age 34, Tests 20
14- Kosuke Endo (Toyota) 30, 35
13- Yuta Imamura (Kobe Steel) 26, 30
12- Ryan Nicholas (Suntory) 32, 27
11- Takehisa Usuzuki (Toshiba) 25, 2
10- Shaun Webb (West) 29, 26
9- Fumiaki Tanaka (Panasonic) 26, 25
8- Koliniasi Ryu Holani (Panasonic) 29, 16
7- Tadasuke Nishihara (Panasonic) 23, New cap
6- Takashi Kikutani, Capt. (Toyota) 31, 39
5- Luke Thompson (Kintetsu) 30, 30
4- Toshizumi Kitagawa (Toyota) 30, 34
3- Kensuke Hatakeyama (Suntory) 25, 18
2- Yusuke Aoki (Suntory) 27, 18
1- Hisateru Hirashima (Kobe Steel) 28, 21
16- Takeshi Kizu (Kobe Steel) 22, 5
17- Naoki Kawamata (Panasonic) 25, 14
18- Justin Ives (Panasonic) 27, 4
19- Itaru Taniguchi (Kobe Steel) 26, 3
20- Atsushi Hiwasa (Suntory) 24, 2
21- Murray Williams (Toyota) 28, New cap
22- Hirotoki Onozawa (Suntory) 33, 60
Head Coach: John Kirwan

After selection Michael Leitch failed a fitness test and was replaced in the starting XV by new cap Nishihara.

Adapted from Data from RiJ Newsletter, thanks to Ian McDonnell


15 James Sooialo (Northern United RFC, New Zealand) Age 22, New cap
14 Sailosi Tagicakibau (London Irish, England) 28, 15
13 George Pisi (ASM Clermont Auvergne, France) 24, 5
12 Seilala Maposua, Capt. (Kubota, Japan) 31, 17
11 Alesana Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers) 30, 21
10 Tusi Pisi (Suntory, Japan) 29, New cap
9 Lualua Vailoaloa (Parramatta RFC, Australia) 29, 1 (in 2005)
8 George Stowers (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 32, 18
7 Manaia Salavea (Narbonne, France) 25, 5
6 Ezra Taylor (Connacht, Ireland) 28, New cap
5 Daniel Leo (Bordeaux-Begles, France) 29, 23
4 Joseph Tekori (Castres, France) 27, 15
3 Anthony Perenise (Hurricanes, New Zealand) 28, 7
2 Tii Paulo (ASM Clermont Auvergne, France) 28, 2
1 Sakaria Taulafo (London Wasps, England) 28, 8
16 Ole Avei (Bordeaux-Begles, France) 28, New cap
17 Logovii Mulipola (Vaiala) 23, 2
18 Filipo Levi (Newcastle, England) 32, 25
19 Maurie Faasavalu (Harlequins, England) 30, 6 (last in 2003!)
20 Uale Mai (Marist Old Boys) 32, 13
21 Tasesa Lavea (ASM Clermont Auvergne, France) 30, 3
22 Timoteo Iosua (Vaiala) 24, 1 (in 2006)
Head Coach: Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua

Team lists adapted from, and data from unpublished lists. Note: The data for Samoan players on do not match my data nor that of Stuart Farmer’s at