Sunday, August 28, 2011

CONSUR B TEST RUGBY: Venezuela Are New Champions

Colombia 27, Costa Rica 12 in Lima
Venezuela 17, Peru 15 in Lima

Venezuela are the new CONSUR B champions following their 17-15 win over hosts Peru. Peru led 15-5 at one stage but could not withstand the Venezuelan comeback.

In the playoff game Costa Rica proved they have advanced considerably since last year. They lead 12-3 at one stage but Colombia also produced a grand comeback to clinch the game.

My understanding is that in the future there will be a playoff between last in CONSUR A and first in CONSUR B and that a CONSUR C is being considered for 2012. Possible candidates for CONSUR B would be Bolivia and Ecuador, who already have a healthy club set up, followed by Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama.

TEST RUGBY RESULTS: Saturday 27 August

Australia 25, New Zealand 20 in Brisbane (Tri Nations; Bledisloe Cup)
England 20, Ireland 9 in Dublin (World Cup Warm-up)

The test in Brisbane was an exciting game. One team dominated, built up a handy lead, for the other to storm back and look like winning but to just miss out.

Australia broke a long drought of victories against the All Blacks (excluding the win in Hong Kong last year) to take the Tri Nations for the first time since 2001. It was the same scenario as the result in Auckland earlier in the month, except this time it was Australia who, but for a period at the beginning of the second half, dictated play.

All the tries were superb efforts. Genia’s early try was excellent, 35 year-old Radiki Samo stamped his name into the history books of Trans-Tasman rugby with a brilliant solo try, Will Genia, was in action again, setting up a try to Kurtley Beale which was breath-taking, and Kiwi Ma’a Nonu’s try, who cut through a slither of a gap to score near the posts, were all tries that will be talked about for years.

Australia went into the second half with a 20-3 lead. They dominated play for most of the first half, exerting considerable pressure on the Kiwis. What little ball the All Blacks got they were forced into errors and turn-over ball.

Then the All Blacks stormed home at the beginning of the second half. So much did they dominate that period, playing mostly pick-and-drive play close to the rucks, they gradually whittled away the lead to close up to 20-20 with a superb Nonu try. As in Auckland the opposition scored immediately afterwards and although play sea-sawed excitedly for the remainder of the half, with New Zealand applying great pressure, the Australians held out for a memorable victory.

So what can we read into this result? Firstly New Zealand are beatable. Secondly, this was an excellent performance by Australia, thirdly, the All Blacks looked easily rattled, and finally, the All Blacks are going into this World Cup with two successive losses. Is that a worry or a blessing? Oh, so much to look forwards to.

Incidentally, I will be in NZ for the pool stages and will be relying on friends, family and internet computers to keep the World Cup alive on my blog and my web site. Not sure how successful that will be but to have my own personal internet access over in NZ is just too expensive.

An the other game? ‘Praga’ from planet-rugby’s forum says this.. “Yeah...Well while you lucky divils were watchin that [NZ v Australia] I was watchin the Ireland England ..ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ”. This was a scrappy game, which became scrappier as the game and rain progressed. England scored 2 tries to nil, and dominated play for much of the game. Ireland had their moments but nothing that really threatened the English line. Ireland now have lost four tests in a row and England broke their long drought of losses to Ireland. Apart from that it was..well, a little boring.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

TEST RUGBY: Final Pre World Cup Contest

England v Ireland in Dublin (World Cup Warm-up)

Venue: Aviva Stadium

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

England has a very poor record against Ireland over the last few years. They have registered one win since 2008, and then you have to go back to 2003 for the one before that. England will want a win as a confidence boost before heading to New Zealand.

Ireland is registering a poor run in their World Cup warm-up matches, losing all three so far and are in danger of slumping to their lowest IRB points tally all time.

England has an injury scare in Nick Easter. Fourie has been called into the squad as cover. Jonny Wilkinson will be keen to impress in this game and cement pole position as England’s 2011 Rugby World Cup fly half.

Brian O’Driscoll will miss this final kick-out for the Irish before heading to New Zealand. He has a slight injury and won’t be risked. Paul O’Connell takes over the captaincy.

Veteran Irish full back Geordan Murphy returns to test rugby after a long break. This is not the strongest possible Irish combination.

Last Five Encounters
19.03.2011 Ireland 24-8 in Dublin (6 Nations)
27.02.2010 Ireland 20-16 at Twickenham (6 Nations)
18.02.2009 Ireland 14-13 in Dublin (6 Nations)
15.02.2008 England 33-10 at Twickenham (6 Nations)
14.02.2007 Ireland 43-13 in Dublin (6 Nations)

England last defeated Ireland in Dublin in 2003, winning 42-6. England has registered only the one win, in 2008, since. They have a decidedly poor record against Ireland in the last decade.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table- Ireland 6th, England 8th
Europe Table-Ireland 3rd, England 5th

IRB Ranking Points
England 81.82, Ireland 79.57

Prediction: Ireland to upset all the pundits and win by 10 points



15 Benjamin Foden, 14 Christopher Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 MichaelTindall, Capt. 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Nicholas Easter,
7 James Haskell, 6 Thomas Croft, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Daniel Cole, 2 Steven Thompson, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Matthew Stevens, 18 Simon Shaw, 19 Thomas Wood, 20 Joseph Simpson, 21 Tobias Flood, 22 Delon Armitage.
Head Coach: Martin Johnson


15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Thomas Bowe, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 James Heaslip, 7 David Wallace,
6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Paul O'Connell, Capt.4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Michael Ross, 2 Jerremy Flannery, 1 Cian Healy.
16 Rory Best, 17 Thomas Court , 18 Donnacha Ryan, 19 Denis Leamy, 20 Conor Murray, 21 Jonathan Sexton, 22 Fergus McFadden.
Head Coach: Declan Kidney

BLEDISLOE CUP TEST RUGBY: New Zealand and Australia in Tri Nations Showdown

New Zealand v Australia in Brisbane (Bledisloe Cup; Tri Nations)

Venue: Suncorp Stadium

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

New Zealand already has the Bledisloe Cup safely stored in Wellington thanks to their earlier win over Australia. As the holder they only required that win to retain the trophy. What is up for grabs is the Tri Nations Trophy and a huge amount of Trans-Tasman pride.

New Zealand lost last weekend to South Africa with what amounted to their ‘B’ side. But a loss is a loss not easily dealt with by a nations that expects their rugby side to win every game. New Zealand need the win to make sure their World Cup train is firmly on the tracks. A loss tonight would be a severe derailment.

Australia has a very poor record against New Zealand in recent times. They have lost ten of the past even encounters with the All Blacks. A win tonight is vital in restoring Australia’s place as a major threat at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. A clash with their Australasian cousins, and with so much at stake, is what the Australians need to bring out the best in them.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this Australian side, from suspensions, to in-team fights and to a sudden change of captaincy. This will be James Horwell’s debut as captain. Vickerman returns to test rugby after a three year gap.

New Zealand coach Graham Henry has predictably made eleven changes to the side that last last weekend to South Africa.

Last Five Encounters
06.08.2011 New Zealand 30-14 in Auckland (Bledisloe Cup; Tri Nations)
30.10.2010 Australia 26-24 in Hong Kong (Bledisloe Cup)
11.09.2010 New Zealand 23-22 in Sydney (Tri Nations; Bledisloe Cup)
07.06.2010 New Zealand 20-10 in Christchurch (Tri Nations; Bledisloe Cup)
31.07.2010 New Zealand 49-28 in Melbourne (Tri Nations; Bledisloe Cup)

Previous Encounters in Brisbane
13.09.2008 New Zealand 28-24 (Bledisloe Cup; Tri Nations)
29.07.2006 New Zealand 13-9 (Bledisloe Cup; Tri Nations)
27.07.1996 New Zealand 32-25 (Bledisloe Cup; Tri Nations)
19.07.1992 Australia 19-17 (Bledisloe Cup)
16.07.1988 Drawn 19-19 (Bledisloe Cup)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 2nd, Australia 3rd
Oceania Table-New Zealand 1st, Australia 2nd

IRB Ranking Points
New Zealand 91.64, Australia 87.85

Prediction: A close game, with New Zealand clinching it late in the second half. New Zealand by 4 points



15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Anthony Fainga'a, 12 Patrick McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 William Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 James Horwill, Capt. 4 Daniel Vickerman, 3 Benjamin Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Salesi Ma'afu, 18 Robin Simmons, 19 Benjamin McCalman, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Robert Horne.
Head Coach: Robbie Deans


New Zealand
15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, Capt. 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Bradley Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
16 Andrew Hore, 17 John Afoa, 18 Alistair Williams, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Andrew Ellis, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Isaia Toeava.
Head Coach: Graham Henry

TEST RUGBY RESULT: Friday 26 August

Australia Barbarians 38, Canada 14 in Canberra (World Cup-warm up),25883,16024_7126395,00.html

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Canada v Australian Barbarians in Canberra (World Cup Warm-up)
Peru v Venezuela in Lima (CONSUR B)
Colombia v Costa Rica in Lima (CONSUR B)

Peru and Venezuela set the perfect CONSUR B final with their wins yesterday. A win the Peru, the hosts, would mean they would retain the CONSUR B championship.

Canada plays the Australian Barbarian team in Canberra in their final run before the Rugby World Cup finals. The Australian Barbarian team consist of a number of World Cup squad members and some non-travelling reserve players.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

TONGA RUGBY SQUAD: 2011 Rugby World Cup

The 'Ikale Tahi squad are:
1. 'Aleki 'Aho Lutui
2. Ephraim Taukafa
3. 'Aloisio 'Ilaisa Ma'asi
4. 'Alisona Taumalolo
5. Kisi Pulu
6. Soane Longopoa Tonga'uiha
7. Halani 'Aulika
8. Taufa'ao Filise
9. Kelekolio Paino Hehea
10. Sione Lamipeti Ngalu Timani
11. Tukulua Lokotui
12. Joseph Mark Laifone Tu'ineau
13. Sione Ma'ake Kalamafoni
14. Finau Maka, (Captain)
15. Viliami Suaesi Ma'afu
16. Samiu Vahafolau
17. Sione Vaiomo'unga
18. Taniela Moa
19. Thomas Taufoou Palu
20. Samisoni Fisilau
21. Kurt Stanley Morath
22. Siale Vailea Piutau
23. Latu 'Alipate H Naqasima Fatafehi
24. Andrew Kautonga Ma'ilei
25. Sukanaivalu Ikavuka Hufanga
26. William Fetu'ufuka Ukumaki Helu
27. Fetu'umoana Vainikolo
28. Alaska Nikolasi Taufa
29. Viliame Volovola 'Iongi
30. Vungakoto Lilo (Vice Captain)

2011-'isitolo Maka-coach
Head Coach: 'Isitolo Maka

Original selected former captain Nili Latu was not included in the squad following the release of the revised squad.

Catch up with the details of the controversy at

Tonga’s Build up to the World Cup
19.08.2011 v Fiji W 32-20 in Lautoka
13.08.2011 v Fiji L 12-27 in Lautoka
13.07.2011 v Samoa W 29-19 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
09.07.2011 v Japan L 27-28 in Suva (Pacific Nations Cup)
02.07.2011 v Fiji W 45-21 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
18.06.2011 v Italy ‘A’ L 18-27 in Gloucester (Churchill Cup, Playoff 3rd-4th; Non-test)
12.06.2011 v England Saxons L 14-41 in Worcester (Churchill Cup; Non-test)
08.06.2011 v United States W 44-13 in Esher (Churchill Cup)



Corey Flynn Canterbury (14)
Andrew Hore Taranaki (54)
Keven Mealamu Auckland (85)
John Afoa Auckland (33)
Ben Franks Tasman (11)
Owen Franks Canterbury (23)
Tony Woodcock North Harbour (75)
Anthony Boric North Harbour (20)
Brad Thorn Canterbury (51)
Samuel Whitelock Canterbury (17)
Ali Williams Auckland (65)
Loose forwards
Jerome Kaino Auckland (41)
Richie McCaw (capt) Canterbury (97)
Kieran Read Canterbury (31)
Adam Thomson Otago (21)
Victor Vito Wellington (7)

Jimmy Cowan Southland (47)
Andy Ellis Canterbury (20)
Piri Weepu Wellington (48)
First five–eighths
Daniel Carter Canterbury (82)
Colin Slade Canterbury (5)
Richard Kahui Waikato (12)
Ma’a Nonu Wellington (58)
Conrad Smith Wellington (48)
Sonny Bill Williams Canterbury (7)
Outside backs
Israel Dagg Hawke’s Bay (7)
Zac Guildford Hawke’s Bay (6)
Cory Jane Wellington (24)
Mils Muliaina Waikato (97)
Isaia Toeava Auckland (31)


Coach: Graham Henry

All have played test rugby. Victor Vito is the major surprise. Anthony Boric has not played a rugby game since the Super 15 semi-finals. He will play for North Harbour this weekend.

Those who missed out
Hosea Gear, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Ben Smith, Liam Messam, Wyatt Crockett and Jarred Hoeata. This group is the back-up for any injuries.,25883,16024_7118969,00.html

New Zealand’s build up to the finals
27.08.2011 v Australia in Brisbane (Bledisloe Cup, Tri Nations)
20.08.2011 v South Africa L 5-18 in Port Elizabeth (Tri Nations)
06.08.2011 v Australia W 30-14 in Auckland (Bledisloe Cup; Tri Nations)
30.07.2011 v South Africa W 40-7 in Wellington (Tri Nations)
22.07.2011 v Fiji W 60-14 in Dunedin

TEST RUGBY RESULTS: Sunday 21 August

Japan 20, United States 14 in Tokyo (World Cup Warm-up)
Peru 40, Costa Rica 13 in Lima (CONSUR B)
Venezuela 57, Colombia 19 in Lima (CONSUR B)

England and Australia RWC 2011 teams to visit Christchurch


August 23, 2011

Tournament organiser Rugby New Zealand 2011 today welcomed the decision of the England and Australian Rugby World Cup 2011 teams to include Christchurch in their Tournament itineraries.

“Both teams were due to play matches in Christchurch, but the devastating earthquake of February 22 of course changed those plans so we are grateful that the team are able to do their bit to raise the spirits of the city,” said RNZ 2011 CEO Martin Snedden.

England team manager Martin Johnson and several team members will spend time in the city on September 7 ahead of their opening match against Argentina in Dunedin on September 10.

Australia team members will travel from Hanmer Springs on September 28 undertake a variety of community activities prior to flying to Nelson for their match against Russia. This will include a tour of the new Fanzone at Hagley Park, a fund raising lunch and school and hospital visits.

“I thank Martin Johnson and Australian coach Robbie Deans for making team members available for these visits during what is an intense time for any RWC team,” said Mr Snedden.

“But I know they will mean a lot to fans in Christchurch and the wider Canterbury area who should have been looking forward to seven RWC 2011 matches had it not been for the tragic events of just over six months ago.”

The New Zealand team has already announced plans to base themselves in Christchurch from September 17 to 20 ahead of their key pool match against France at Eden Park on September 24.

“The New Zealand Government, the Christchurch City Council, the NZ 2011 Office and many others have worked hard to ensure the people of Canterbury can still share in the excitement of this Tournament. The Hagley Park Fanzone, REAL New Zealand Festival events and now these team visits will I am sure help people feel a real part of this fantastic six week celebration that is nearly upon us.”

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says, "It was very disappointing to lose our matches, but Cantabrians are still getting into the spirit of Rugby World Cup 2011 and these team visits will certainly help them to feel part of the hype. We look forward to welcoming members from both the England and Australian teams to the Garden City."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

TEST RUGBY RESULTS: Saturday 20 August

South Africa 18, New Zealand 5 at Port Elizabeth (Tri Nations)
France 26, Ireland 22 in Dublin (World Cup Warm-up)
Wales 28, Argentina 13 in Cardiff (World Cup Warm-up)
Scotland 23, Italy 12 at Murrayfield (World Cup Warm-up)
Romania 41, Ukraine 16 in Kiev (ENC 1A)

Tonga 32, Fiji 20 in Lautoka (World Cup Warm-up)


United States v Japan in Tokyo (World Cup Warm-up)
Costa Rica v Peru in Lima (CONSUR B)
Colombia v Venezuela in Lima (CONSUR B)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

TEST RUGBY: France Plays Last World Cup Warm-up.

France v Ireland in Dublin

Venue: Aviva Stadium

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

It will gladden Irish hearts to see their beloved BOD back in the Irish side following injury. Felix Jones makes his test debut at fullback. After selection flanker Wallace was ruled out with injury and replaced by Shane Jennings.

An Irish XV, made up of players not required for this game, defeated Connacht 38-3 mid-week.

French coach Lievremont has, as predicted, made wholesale changes to the side that defeated Ireland last weekend. Players returning after a long time away from the game because of injuries are Aurélien Rougerie and prop Fabien Barcella.

I predict a close tough game.

Last Five Encounters
13.02.2011 France 25-22 in Dublin (6 Nations)
13.02.2010 France 33-10 in Paris (6 Nations)
07.02.2009 Ireland 31-20 in Dublin (6 Nations)
09.02.2008 France 26-21 in Paris (6 Nations)
21.09.2007 France 25-3 in Paris (World Cup, Pool D)

France Last Five
13.08.2011 v Ireland W 19-12 in Bordeaux (World Cup Warm-up)
19.03.2011 v Wales W 28-9 in Paris (6 Nations)
12.03.2011 v Italy L 21-22 in Rome (6 Nations)
26.02.2011 v England L 9-17 at Twickenham (6 Nations)
13.02.2011 v Ireland W 25-22 in Dublin (6 Nations)

Ireland last Five
13.08.2011 v France L 12-19 in Bordeaux (World Cup Warm-up)
06.08.2011 v Scotland L 6-10 at Murrayfield (World Cup Warm-up)
19.03.2011 v England W 24-8 in Dublin (6 Nations)
12.03.2011 v Wales L 13-19 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
27.02.2011 v Scotland W 21-18 at Murrayfield (6 Nations)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-France 5th, Ireland 6th
Europe Table-France 2nd, Ireland 3rd

IRB Ranking Points
France 82.69, Ireland 80.67

Prediction: France by 3



15 Felix Jones, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, Capt. 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 James Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Sean O'Brien, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Michael Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
16 Jeremy Flannery, 17 Thomas Court, 18 Michael McCarthy, 19 Stephen Ferris, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Luke Fitzgerald
Head Coach: Declan Kidney


15 Cedric Heymans, 14 Maxime Médard, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Fabrice Estebanez, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 David Skrela, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Louise Picamoles, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Lionel Nallet, 4 Pascale Papé, Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux.
16 Guilhem Guirado , 17 Fabien Barcella , 18 Julien Pierre, 19 Raphaël Lakafia, 20 Dimitri Yachvili, 21 David Marty, 22 Vincent Clerc, 23 Luc Ducalcon
Head Coach: Marc Lièvremont

RUGBY TEST: Wales Face The Pumas

Argentina v Wales in Cardiff (World Cup Warm-up)

Venue: Millennium Stadium,

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

This will be one of the more interesting rugby test matches to be played in the Northern Hemisphere on Saturday. Argentina will be out to prove they will again be a force to be reckoned with after they finished 3rd in the 2007 Rugby World Cup. And who better to prove that point against? Why Wales, who defeated England last weekend.

These two sides played a World Cup warm-up test just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Wales won that test 27-20 but Argentina went on to have a most successful tournament.

Argentina has named a strong lineup to take on the Welsh. Their previous games were by their second and third string players who shared a series against a French Barbarian side and then a one of international against a South American side. This will be a test for the Pumas who really haven’t had a lot of practice time together.

The Pumas did not fare at all well in their tour of Europe last Autumn, defeating Italy but losing to France narrowly but then heavily (9-29) against Ireland. There are now a number of veteran players in the side and some old legs might be catching up with this side.

Argentina will play their final World Cup Warm-up match against Worcester Warriors next Tuesday.

Wales staff replaced selected captain Ryan Jones from their starting lineup after a niggling injury forced the issue. Jone’s place will be taken by Andy Powell with Jonathan Thomas moving onto the bench.

Martyn Williams will play his 99th test for Wales in what will probably be his last on Welsh soil. He has been given the honour of the captaincy following Jone’s withdrawl. It will be the 35 year old’s last chance to impress the Welsh selectors for inclusion in their World Cup squad. Like all the other teams Wales has seen fit to make changes from their last outing and give players a last chance to impress.

Last Five Encounters
21.11.2009 Wales 33-16 in Cardiff
18.08.2007 Wales 27-20 in Cardiff
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

Argentina defeated Wales in Cardiff last in 2001, winning 30-16.

Last Five Wales
13.08.2011 v England W 19-9 in Cardiff (World Cup warm-up)
06.08.2011 v England L 19-23 at Twickenham (World Cup Warm-up)
19.03.2011 v France L 9-28 in Paris (6 Nations)
12.03.2011 v Ireland W 19-13 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
26.02.2011 v Italy W 24-16 in Rome (6 Nations)

Last Five Argentina
06.08.2011 v South America XV (non-test) W 78-15 in San Juan
10.06.2011 v French Barbarians (non-test) L 18-21 in Buenos Aires
04.06.2011 v French Barbarians (non-test) W 23-19 in Buenos Aires
29.11.2010 v Ireland L 9-29 in Dublin
20.11.2010 v France L 9-15 in Montpellier

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Wales 7th, Argentina 11th

IRB Ranking Points
Wales 80.22, Argentina 78.97

Prediction: Argentina need more match practice. Wales by 10 points

15 Martin Rodriguez, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Gonzalo Camacho, 10 Felipe Contepomi, Capt. 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Mario Ledesma, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Martin Scelzo, 18 Mariano Galarza, 19 Alejandro Campos, 20 Alfredo Lalanne, 21 Nicolas Sanchez, 22 Juan Imhoff
Head Coach: Santiago Phelan


15 Lee Byrne, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 James Roberts, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 George North, 10 James Hook, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Andrew Powell 7 Martyn Williams,
Capt. 6 Daniel Lydiate, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James.
16 Huw Bennett, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Jonathan Thomas, 19 Justin Tipuric, 20 Lloyd Williams, 21 Stephen Jones, 22 Aled Brew.
Head Coach: Warren Gatland


Italy v Scotland at Murrayfield (World Cup Warm-up)

Referee: David Pearson (England)

Wholesale changes are the order of the day as coaches strive to give all prospects for a World Cup place a chance to prove a late point. Ireland’s team contains only one player from the starting line up that defeated Ireland two weeks ago whilst Nik Mallett has made eleven changes to his side that defeated Japan last weekend.

Among those to turn out for Ireland after a long absence are Chris Cusiter (scrum half) and Euan Murray (prop).

Leonardo Ghiraldini was replaced late after selection due to injury. His place has been taken by experienced test player Fabio Ongaro. In other late changes, Joshua Furno takes Matteo Pratichetti’s place on the bench whilst Edoardo Gori  takes the injured Pablo Canavosio’s also on the bench.

Last Five Encounters
19.03.2011 Scotland 21-8 at Murrayfield (6 Nations)
27.02.2010 Italy 16-12 in Rome (6 Nations)
28.02.2009 Scotland 26-6 at Murrayfield (6 Nations)
15.03.2008 Italy 23-20 in Rome (6 Nations)
29.09.2007 Scotland 18-16 in St Etienne (World Cup, Pool C)

Italy defeated Scotland at Murrayfield in February 2007, with a famous 37-17 win.

Italy Last Five
13.08.2011 v Japan W 31-24 in Cesena (World Cup Warm-up)
19.03.2011 v Scotland L 8-21 at Murrayfield (6 Nations)
12.03.2011 v France W 22-21 in Rome (6 Nations)
26.02.2011 v Wales L 16-24 in Rome (6 Nations)
12.02.2011 v England L 13-59 at Twickenham (6 Nations)

Scotland Last Five
06.08.2011 v Ireland W 10-6 at Murrayfield (World Cup Warm-up)
19.03.2011 v Italy W 21-8 at Murrayfield (6 Nations)
13.03.2011 v England L 16-22 at Twickenham (Calcutta Cup; 6 Nations)
27.02.2011 v Ireland L 18-21 at Murrayfield (6 Nations)
12.02.2011 v Wales L 6-24 at Murrayfield (6 Nations)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Scotland 4th, Italy 10th
Europe Table-Scotland 1st, Italy 6th

IRB Ranking Points
Scotland 78.57, Italy 74.14

Prediction: Scotland too much oomph in the second half, to win by 19 points.



15 Rory Lamont, 14 Max Evans, 13 Nicholas De Luca, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 Daniel Parks, 9 Michael Blair, 8 Richard Vernon, 7 John Barclay, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alastair Kellock, Capt. 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Moray Low, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
16 Douglas Hall, 17 Euan Murray, 18 Richard Gray, 19 Ross Rennie, 20 Christopher Cusiter, 21 Ruaridh Jackson, 22 Nikki Walker.
Head Coach: Andy Robinson


15 Andrea Masi, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Mirco Bergamasco, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Sergio Parisse, Capt. 7 Robert Barbieri, 6 Paul Derbyshire, 5 Cornelius Van Zyl, 4 Carlo Antonio Del Fava, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Lorenzo Cittadini, 18 Marco Bortolami, 19 Alessandro Zanni, 20  21 Riccardo Bocchino, 22 Joshua Furno
Head Coach: Nik Mallett

RUGBY TEST MATCH: New Zealand in South Africa

New Zealand v South Africa in Port Elizabeth (Tri Nations)

Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

The last test played by South Africa in this seaside city was in 2006 against Scotland. South Africa won 29-15. South Africa lost to the 1974 British Lions 9-26 in this city but generally since 1994 the city has hosted nations below the top level of test rugby, and then few and far between. For the city to host a major test time like the All Blacks is a major coup.

Prior to the 1970’s Port Elizabeth was a regular host to visiting touring sides. South Africa’s first test match in 1891 was played here. Port Elizabeth was a regular graveyard for visiting All Blacks sides right up to 1970. New Zealand lost there on all four tours from 1928 to 1970.

The expectations on this South African side are now enormous. They have lost their last three Tri Nations game this season including a 9-14 loss to Australia at home last weekend. That was to be the match that was supposed to turn South Africa’s fortunes around. It heralded the return of a number of top players after recovering from injuries. The Springbox just did not handle the wet weather in the second half. A win to South Africa will be expected today buy the local fans. Nothing less will do.

New Zealand may have played into South Africa’s hands by sending a rather make-shift side to the republic. Nine top All Blacks have been left behind in New Zealand. Graham Henry is giving some of his second string players (and second-string combinations) a chance to prove their worth. For many players it’s a last opportunity to impress. And impress the could well do. New Zealand has a good record when fielding such sides.

It certainly is going to be a most interesting clash. The pressure on the Springbox could well tell. The New Zealanders will be able to witness first hand what home pressure can do to the national side. They will be facing the same situation come September.

Last Five Encounters
30.07.2011 New Zealand 40-7 in Wellington (Tri Nations)
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)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 1st, South Africa 3rd

IRB Ranking Points
New Zealand 93.26, South Africa 84.08

Prediction: It will be close. New Zealand just squeak in!



South Africa
15 Patrick Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
16 John Smit, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 CJ van der Linde, 19 Danie Rossouw, 20 Ashley Johnson, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Butch James.
Head Coach: Pieter de Villiers


New Zealand
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Isaia Toeava, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 James Cowan, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Adam Thomson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Alistair Williams, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (capt) 1 Tony Woodcock.
16 Andrew Hore, 17 Benjamin Franks, 18 Jarrad Hoeata, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Andrew Ellis, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Cory Jane.
Head Coach: Graham Henry


United States v Japan in Tokyo (World Cup Warm-up)

Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground


Image thanks to

John Kirwan has made many changes to his side from that which lost to Italy last weekend. Everybody who has a chance of making the Japan World Cup squad will be given every opportunity and for some today is their last chance. “I believe everyone in the squad should have the opportunity to put themselves forward for selection for the game against France [on Sept. 10]. And I told the players that last week,” he said.

USA head coach Eddie O’Sullivan was in much the same mind when he announced his lineup. “Again we have made a number of changes to selection, as this is our final hit out before Rugby World Cup (RWC) and also our last opportunity to take a look at players before we make the final squad announcement,” said O’Sullivan.

Usual USA captain Todd Cleaver is out injured with scrum half Mike Petri given the job to lead the team. Veteran prop Mike MacDonald will equal the most test caps by any USA player, 62 held by Luke Goss. MacDonald is a veteran of both the 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cups.

A win is important to both side so close to the World Cup. Japan playing at home and the USA’s poor record this season tips the odds in Japan’s favout.

Last Five Encounters
22.11.2008 Japan 32-17 in Tokyo (Friendly)
16.11.2008 Japan 29-19 in Nagoya (Friendly)
27.10.2003 USA 39-26 in Gosford (World Cup, Pool B)
17.05.2003 USA 69-27 in San Francisco (Superpowers Cup)
27.05.2000 USA 36-21 in Osaka (Pacific Rim)

The USA defeated Japan 38-27 in 1996, the last time the USA won in Tokyo.
Japan and USA played their first test match in 1985. USA winning in Tokyo by a single point, 16-15.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Japan 12th, USA 17th

IRB Ranking Points
Japan 71.96, USA 65.00

Prediction: Japan by 20 points



United States
15 Blaine Scully (Unattached)
14 Kevin Swiryn (Agen, France)
13 Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore)
12 Paul Emerick (Life University)
11 James Paterson (Otago, New Zealand)
10 Nese Malifa (Glendale)
9 Mike Petri, Capt. (New York Athletic Club)
8 Jonathan ‘JJ’ Gagiano (Univ. of Cape Town, South Africa)
7 Louis Stanfill (Unattached)
6 Patrick Danahy (Life University)
5 Hayden Smith (Saracens, England)
4 Scott LaValla (Stade Francais, France)
3 Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks)
2 Phillip Thiel (Life University)
1 Mike MacDonald (Leeds Carnegie, England)
16 Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate)
17 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh, England)
18 Nic Johnson (Unattached)
19 Ryan Chapman (Utah Warriors)
20 Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC, England)
21 Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby)
22 Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins)
Head Coach: Eddie O’Sullivan

Unavailable through injury: Todd Clever (Suntory Sungoliath, Japan)
Did not travel, but unavailable through injury: Troy Hall (NYAC), Brian McClenahan (Olympic Club), Chris Wyles (Saracens, Japan)

Adapted from


Most unusually, the Japanese side is not available

TEST RUGBY: ENC Match for Romania

Romania v Ukraine in Lvov (ENC 1A)

Venue: Youth Stadium



This rugby test match has been carried over from ENC 1A 2010-11. The test match was not played as scheduled in February due to a frozen pitch. In the Ukraine autumn it is all lovely and green so no weather problems. For Romania it is a timely warm-up match before the travel to New Zealand for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Not considered by Romania for this match from the squad of 31 who have been preparing for the 2011 Rugby World Cup are, Valentin Urasche, Ional Cazan, Csaba Gal and Marius Tincu.

Romania has had a better run up to this game than Ukraine. The Romanians took part in the IRB Nations Cup in June in Bucharest, defeating Namibia 13-11, losing to eventual competition winners South Africa Kings 23-27 and finally losing 13-37 to Argentina Jaguars, a disappointing result.

The Ukraine has not played since March. Their 2011 record in the four ENC 1A matches played were; lost 3-62 to Georgia, 13-35 to Spain, 5-41 to Russia and 24-46 to Portugal. These are not encouraging results. Hopefully new coach Lezhava, a Georgian who played test rugby in the 90s, will have made some impact.

I’d expect Romania to win comfortably.

Last Five Encounters
05.06.2010 Romania 61-7 in Bucharest (WCQ Europe R5, Semi-final 2)
2205.2010 Romania 33-3 in Kiev (WCQ Europe R5, Semi-final 1)
03.06.2006 Romania 58-0 in Kiev (ENC 1)
19.03.2005 Romania 97-0 in Bucharest (ENC 1)
30.05.1998 Romania 39-17 (WCQ Europe Pool 2, Round B)

The above are all the test matches played between these two nations.

GWC Rugby Rankings
Europe Table-Romania 8th, Ukraine 17th

IRB Ranking Points
Romania 65.57, Ukraine 53.34

Prediction: Romania by 46 points



Ukraine Squad

Nicolas Deliergiev (RC Kredo-63)
Dmitri Fedyshyn (RC Kredo-63)
Sergueï Garkavy (Olmyp-RSC KhTZ)
George Gegidze (RC Kredo-63)
Vlad Grabowski (Sokol Lviv)
Zourab Kikacheishvili (RC Kredo-63)
Nikolaï Kirsanov (Olmyp-RSC KhTZ)
Oleg Kosarev (Olmyp-RSC KhTZ)
Vyacheslav Krasil'nik (Olmyp-RSC KhTZ)
Vitaly Krasnodemsky (RC Kredo-63)
Sergueï Kravtchenko (Olmyp-RSC KhTZ)
Roman Kulakivsky (RC Kredo-63)
Alexander Lomakin (Olmyp-RSC KhTZ)
Jaba Malaguradze (RC Kredo-63)
Taras Marchenko (Aviator Kiev)
Dennis Masyukovy (RC Kredo-63)
Paul Masyukovy (RC Kredo-63)
Denis Milov (RC Kredo-63)
Alex Novokreschenov (RC Kredo-63)
Vitaly Orlov (Enisey-STM (Russia)
Aleksander Polanski (RC Kredo-63)
Vyacheslav Ponomarenko (Olmyp-RSC KhTZ)
Rusalan Radchuk (RC Kredo-63)
Eugène Tchaïka (RC Kredo-63)
Edward Vertiletsky (RC Kredo-63)
Ivan Zaliznyak (Olmyp Kharkov)
Sergueï ?(sec) (Olmyp Kharkov)
Sergei ? (Eglise) (Olmyp-RSC KhTZ)
Head Coach: Zaza Lezhava


Romania Squad
Stelian Burcea (Timisoara)
Daniel Carpo (Farul Constanta)
Dragos Dima (Blagnac, France)
Ionut Dimofte (Baia Mare)
Danut Dumbrava (Steaua Bucaresti)
Iulian Dumitras (Lourdes, France)
Catalin Fercu (Timisoara)
Constantin Gheara (Farul Constanta)
Mihaita Lazar (Aix en Provence, France)
Paulica Ion (London Irish, England)
Madalin Lemnaru (Timisoara)
Mihai Macovei (Baia Mare)
Nicolae Nere (Steaua Bucarest)
Catalin Nicolae (Farul Constanta)
Cristian Petre, Capt. (Saint Etienne, France)
Valentin Poparlan (CSM Bucuresti)
Andrei Radoi (Baia Mare)
Cosmin Ratiu (Dinamo Bucaresti)
Lucian Sirbu (Millau, France)
Florin Surugiu (CSM Bucuresti)
Ovidiu Tonita (Perpignan, France)
Florin Vlaicu (Steaua Bucaresti)
Bogdan Zebega (Steaua Bucaresti)
Head Coach: Romeo Gontineac

TEST RUGBY RESULT. Friday 19 August

Tonga 32, Fiji 20 in Lautoka (World Cup warm-up, 2nd test)

Tonga reversed last weekend’s result with a confidence-boosting 12 point win over Fiji. This was the final workout for both teams before they head to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Tonga took an early lead, Fiji fought back but lost their first half advantage through poor discipline. No. 8 Sisa Koyamaibole was yellow-carded jut before half time and broke the Fijian dominance.

Tonga scored two quick tries early in the second half, brilliant kicker Kurt Morath did the rest and Fiji were sunk.

Fiji’s injury woes continue and discipline is still an issue.


The 2011 CONSUR B tournament takes place in the next week in Lima, Peru. The competing teams are Peru (hosts and winners last year), Costa Rica, Venezuela and Colombia. At the same time under 18 age group teams from the same countries will compete.

Costa Rica v Peru

Costa Rica is the minnow in this competition. They first entered the competition in 2006 but were completely outclassed. That was followed by a three year rebuilding phase and they re entered the competition in 2009. They struggled again and it is gratifying to see them persist at the international test match level.

Hosts Peru should have little difficulty with the Costa Ricans.

Previous Encounters
30.10.2010 Peru 61-5 in Medellin (CONSUR B)
05.12.2009 Peru 47-8 in La Guacima (CONSUR B)
20.10.2006 Peru 31-3 in Caracas (CONSUR B)

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

IRB Ranking points do not apply.

Prediction: Peru by 48



Peru Squad
Jonathan Bedoya Alessi (Universitario Agraria RC)
Daniel Cino Barreda (Flaming Lions RC)
Jose Luis Garcia Beyer (Flaming Lions RC)
Sergio Charlo Bustamante (Universitario Agraria RC)
Martin Leon Calle (Alpamayo RC)
Sebastián Velarde-Alvárez Clark (Universitario Lima RC)
Mirko Kovacic Goñi (Flaming Lions RC)
Esteban Salmón Hernández (Alpamayo RC)
Jose Diego Ruiz Huidobro (Old Markhamians RC)
Luis Tejeda León (Universitario Lima RC)
Giovani Lu Lopez (Alpamayo RC)
Arturo Coral Mogollón (Universitario Lima RC)
Jorge O´Hara Ordoñez (Alumni RC)
Augusto Sotomayor Gonzalez-Otolla (Alumni RC)
Jean Paul Michael Aramayo Poma (Old Markhamians RC)
Gianfranco Barreto Portocarrero (Flaming Lions RC)
Gustavo Martínez Raya (Old Markhamians RC)
Arturo Vivanco Rivas (Universitario Agraria RC)
André Urquieta Ruíz (Old Markhamians RC)
Paolo Urquieta Ruíz (Universitario Agraria RC)
Robin Nieto Solis (Old Markhamians RC)
Jorge Abugattas Sologuren (Flaming Lions RC)
Miguel Angel Garces Vam-Heurck (Alumni RC)
Angel Martin Venegas (Flaming Lions RC)
José María Pareja Vivanco (USIL RC)
Augusto Robles Zanelli (Universitario Lima RC)
Head Coach: Stéphane Brusset

Adapted from and special thanks to ‘Quentin’ from who does an amazing job on this forum to search and post team lists. Much appreciated ‘Q’.


Costa Rica squad not yet available

Colombia v Venezuela

Venezuela reasserting its dominance over their neighbours at last years CONSUR B tournament. Prior to that Venezuela had been mostly ahead of Clombia going back to 2001. Certainly Colombia’s standards have improved. It should be a close tussle.

Last Five Encounters
30.10.2010 Venezuela 28-26 in Medellin (CONSUR B)
05.12.2009 Colombia 34-0 in La Guacima (CONSUR B)
21.06.2008 Venezuela 32-15 in Ascuncion (WCQ America; CONSUR B)
04.11.2007 Colombia 33-13 in Lima (CONSUR B)
16.10.2006 Colombia 25-20 in Caracas (CONSUR B)

These two teams first met in 2001. Venezuela winning 55-0 in Caracas

GWC Rugby Rankings
CONSUR Table-Venezuela 7th, Colombia 8th

IRB Ranking Points
Venezuela 42.88, Colombia 41.73

Prediction: Venezuela by 4 points


Colombia Squad
Juan Arango (Petirrojos RC)
Pablo Arboleda (Carneros RC)
Manuel Correa (Gatos RC)
Andres Espinosa (Gatos RC)
Fausto Garcés (Renos Bellos RC)
Sebastian Gil (Universita Nacional)
Jose Gomez (Gatos RC)
Carlos Hoyos (Petirrojos RC)
Juan Mejia (Gatos RC)
Juan Mena (Gatos RC)
Carlos Montoya (Gatos RC)
Jhon Moreno (Gatos RC)
Oscar Ortiz (Duendes RC)
Juan Pamplona (Gatos RC)
Daniel Perez | melé (Carneros RC)
Emanuel Pulgarín | apertura (Gatos RC)
Juan Ramirez (Carneros RC)
Mario Restrepo (Gatos RC)
Duverney Rodriguez (Aguilas Bacaramanga RC)
Ferney Rodriguez (Gatos RC)
Carlos Restrepo (Gatos RC)
Janny Suaza (Gatos RC)
Jesus Triana (Aguilas Bacaramanga RC)
Santiago Martinez (Gatos RC)

Adapted from


Venezuela Squad not available

Friday, August 19, 2011

TEST RUGBY: Tonga v Fiji 2nd Test

Tonga v Fiji in Lautoka (World Cup Warm-up 2nd test)

Venue: Churchill Park


cibi  sibu-tau-war-dance
Fijian war dance the Cibi                   Tongan war dance Sibu Tau

Tonga and Fiji meet again for the second test in this World Cup warm-up series. Last week Fiji were dominant and won 27-12. This week tong look to have their strongest side available. Tonga’s next outing will be in front of a capacity crowd for the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony and fist game against the All Blacks.

Fiji has made four changes to the line up that won last weekend. Captain Deacon Manu, who is unwell, is replaced by Waisea Daveta, whilst Talei, Tagicakibau and Fatiaki all get runs, with Deai and Bai rested.

Tonga run on side sees Maka back as captain with France-based Alipate Fatafehi included to make a strong side.

Last Five Encounters
13.08.2011 Fiji 27-12 in Lautoka (World Cup Warm-up)
02.07.2011 Tonga 45-21 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
19.06.2010 Fiji 41-38 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
13.06.2009 Fiji 36-22 in Nuku’alofa (Pacific Nations Cup)
05.07.2008 Tonga 27-16 in Nuku’alofa (Pacific Nations Cup)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Fiji 13th, Tonga 14th
Oceania Table-Fiji 3rd, Tonga 4th

IRB Ranking Points
Fiji 72.25, Tonga 71.17

Prediction: Fiji by 5 points



15. Kini Murimurivalu
14. Vereniki Goneva
13. Albert Vulivuli
12. Ravai Fatiaki
11. Michael Tagicakibau
10. Waisea Luveniyali
9. Vitori Buatava
8. Sisa Koyamaibole
7. Akapusi Qera, Capt.
6. Netani Talei
5. Wame Lewaravu
4. Rupeni Nasiga
3. Waisea Daveta
2. Sunia Koto
1. Campese Ma'afu
16. Talemaitoga Tuapati
17. Setefano Somoca
18. Leone Nakarawa
19. Masi Matadigo
20. Nemia Kenatale
21. Nicky Little
22. Iliesa Keresoni
Head Coach: Samuela Domoni

Adapted from


15. Viliami Iongi
14. Fetuu Vainikolo
13. Alipate Fatafehi
12. Siale Piutau
11. Vungakoto Lilo
10. Kurt Morath
9. Taniela Moa
8. Viliami Maafu
7. Finau Maka, Capt.
6. Sione Kalamafoni
5. Joseph Tuineau
4. Lisiate Faaoso
3. Tonga Leaaetoa
2. Aleki Lutui
1. Soane Tongauiha
16. Ilaisia Maasi
17. Halani Aulika
18. Sione Timani
19. Samiu Vahafolau
20. Andrew Mailei
21. Thomas Palu
22. Sukanaivalu Hufanga
Head Coach: 'Isitolo Maka

Adapted from Adapted from

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Tonga v Fiji in Lautoka (World Cup Warm-up)

New Zealand v South Africa in Port Elizabeth (Tri Nations)
France v Ireland in Dublin (World cup Warm-up)
Argentina v Wales in Cardiff (World cup Warm-up)
Italy v Scotland at Murrayfield (World Cup Warm up)
United States v Japan in Tokyo (World Cup Warm-up)
Romania v Ukraine in Kiev (ENC 1A)
Costa Rica v Peru in Lima (CONSUR B)
Colombia v Venezuela in Lima (CONSUR B)

Monday 22 August is the deadline for the twenty nations to announce their 2011 Rugby World Cup squads. This weekend will almost the last round of matches and last chances for players to stake a claim for a place in their team.

Tonga and Fiji clash for the third time in two months. Fiji won easily last Saturday. Is Tonga holding back something special for the World Cup opening game against the All Blacks?

France and Ireland clash again this time in Dublin. France announced last weekend that they would field an almost new team for this game.

We see Argentina for the first time in full regalia this season. For Wales it will be am opportunity to show their win against England last weekend was not a fluke.

One of the really interesting games this weekend will be the clash between Italy and Scotland. Italy has been Scotland’s nemesis since 2000. In the 6 Nations competition they have defeated Scotland regularly. Often this clash has been an arm-wrestle to see who avoids the 6 Nations wooden spoon.

Japan host the USA in their final run before the World Cup. The USA will be looking for a win after two straight losses to Canada in the last two weeks.

And finally something that has nothing to do with the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Four Latin American nations will tussle for the honour of winning the CONSUR B competition to be held in Lima, Peru. Peru won the competition last year and being the host are favourites to take the title again. CONSUR has been looking at ways of bridging the gap between the ‘A’ and ‘B’ competitions. It looks like a promotion-relegation system will be looked at in 2012 and hopefully some more nations become active and we can have a CONSUR C competition. At this stage likely candidates could come from Bolivia, Panama, Nicaragua and Ecuador. These four nations have a senior competition of sorts.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Australia 14, South Africa 9 in Durban (Tri Nations; Mandela Trophy)
France 19, Ireland 12 in Bordeaux (World Cup Warm-up)
Wales 19, England 9 at Cardiff (World Cup Warm-up)
Italy 31, Japan 24 in Trieste (World Cup Warm-up)
United States v Canada in Glendale (World Cup Warm-up)-to come
Fiji 27,Tonga 12 in Lautoka (World Cup Warm-up)

Australia got the result they wanted, South Africa didn’t. This was the best side South Africa could field and it was the most experienced in their history. But as the weather conditions changed in the second half so did Australia’s grip on the game. This was not a good sign for South Africa as they are likely to encounter changable conditions in New Zealand. The Tri Nations will now be decided on August 27 when Australia face New Zealand in Brisbane.

France began their World Cup campaign with a win over Ireland but the French camp would be left with worries. The French dominated the first half and looked very much like a cup final contender. In the second half it all went wobbly for the French as their discipline and game plans went wayward and Ireland fought back.

Wales defeated an English side that dominated possession and territory for much of the game. How can a team win so much advantage and lose? The answer is-ineptitude! The English backline was simply dreadful. They wasted good ball earned whilst Wales defended brilliantly. Smiles for Gatland, woes for Johnson.

Japan led Italy 17-14 at halftime and looked a likely winner at that stage. Italy fought back in the second half to clinch the game but it was a very rusty Italian performance.

Fiji defeated Tonga 27-12 to avenge their earlier July defeat (21-45) in the Pacific Nations Cup. For a change the Fijian discipline did not let them down. They were calm under pressure and deserved the win. Tonga will be concerned about the amount of possessions and territory they had in the second half without capitalising.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

TEST RUGBY: England v Wales

England v Wales in Cardiff (World Cup warm-up)

Venue: Millennium Stadium

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

England and Wales square up again, after England defeated Wales 23-19 at Twickenham last weekend. The second encounter is in Wales and both teams have made changes in order for all World Cup candidates given a run.

England has made 13 changes to their starting lineup from last weekend. Wales has made just 4.

Wales is under pressure to perform in this World Cup as the Pacific Island teams loom as their major hurdle to qualify, and of course South Africa. "We've told the players that for us to be regarded as contenders at the Rugby World Cup we need to beat England at home this weekend, to send out that message to everyone that we are contenders”, said Gatland. He aslso said it is crucial to win against Argentina next weekend as well.

Last Five Encounters
06.08.2011 England 23-19 at Twickenham (World Cup Warm-up)
04.02.2011 England 26-19 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
06.02.2010 England 30-17 at Twickenham (6 Nations)
14.02.2009 Wales 23-15 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
02.02.2008 Wales 26-19 at Twickenham (6 Nations)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-England 6th, Wales 10th
Europe Table-England 3rd, Wales 6th

IRB Ranking Points
England 82.89, Wales 79.14

Prediction: England by 8 points



15 Benjamin Foden
14 Christopher Ashton
13 Michael Tindall, Capt. 
12 Shontayne Hape
11 Mark Cueto
10 Tobias Flood
9 Richard Wigglesworth
8 Nicholas Easter
7 Hendre Fourie
6 Thomas Wood
5 Courtney Lawes
4 Louis Deacon
3 Daniel Cole
2 Steven Thompson
1 Alexander Corbisiero.
16 Lee Mears
17 Matthew Stevens
18 Thomas Palmer
19 James Haskell
20 Daniel Care
21 Charles Hodgson
22 Matthew Banahan
Head Coach: Martin Johnson


15 James Hook
14 George North
13 James Roberts
12 Gavin Henson
11 Shane Williams
10 Rhys Priestland
9 Michael Phillips
8 Tobias Faletau
7 Samuel Warburton
6 Daniel Lydiate
5 Alun-Wyn Jones
4 Luke Charteris
3 Craig Mitchell
2 Lloyd Burns
1 Paul James
16 Huw Bennett
17 Ryan Bevington
18 Joshua Turnbull
19 Justin Tipuric
20 Tavis Knoyle
21 Scott Williams
Head Coach
Head Coach: Warren Gatland

INTERNATIONAL TEST RUGBY: Ireland Face France in Bordeaux

Ireland v France in Bordeaux (World Cup Warm-up)

Venue: Stade Chaban Delmas

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)

Ireland plays its second 2011 Rugby World Cup warm-up rugby test whilst France begin its preparations Saturday. These two teams clash again next weekend in what will be their final kick out before their respective squads are announced for the World Cup Finals.

Irish coach Declan kidney has made a number of changes from the side that lost 6-10 to Scotland last weekend. The entire front row is new, Ryan moves to flanker, O’Brien moves into the other flank, the half backs are replaced, with veteran O’Gara and Reddan moving in and still no sign of Brian O’Driscoll. He is due to play next weekend in the return games against France in Dublin. Leo Cullen retains the captaincy in his place.

French coach Marc Lievremont will field a largely new side in the return test match next weekend. "We want to have consistency and have two good matches by lining up two homogenous groups," explained Lièvremont. "It's a mix of youth and experience in every row."

Raphaël Lakafia, whose father is of New Caledonian heritage, will make his test debut at number eight.

Last Five Encounters
13.02.2011 France 25-22 in Dublin (6 Nations)
13.02.2010 France 33-10 in Paris (6 Nations)
07.02.2009 Ireland 31-20 in Dublin (6 Nations)
09.02.2008 France 26-21 in Paris (6 Nations)
21.09.2007 France 25-3 in Paris (World Cup, Pool D)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Ireland 5th, France 9th
Europe Table-Ireland 2nd, France 5th

IRB Ranking Points
France 82.06, Ireland 81.29

Prediction: Ireland by 4 points.



15 Robert Kearney
14 Andrew Trimble
13 Keith Earls
12 Patrick Wallace
11 Luke Fitzgerald
10 Ronan O'Gara
9 Eoin Reddan
8 Denis Leamy
7 Sean O'Brien
6 Donncha Ryan
5 Leo Cullen, Capt.
4 Donncha O'Callaghan
3 Michael Ross
2 Rory Best
1 Cian Healy.
16 Jeremy Flannery
17 Anthony Buckley
18 Paul O'Connell
19 James Heaslip
20 Conor Murray
20 Fergus McFadden
22 Felix Jones.
Head Coach: Declan Kidney


15 Damien Traille
14 Vincent Clerc
13 David Marty
12 Maxime Mermoz
11 Alexis Palisson
10 François Trinh-Duc
9 Dimitri Yachvili
8 Raphaël Lakafia
7 Imanol Harinordoquy
6 Thierry Dusautoir, Capt. 
5 Romian Millo-Chluski
4 Julien Pierre
3 Luc Ducalcon
2 Dimitri Szarzewski
1 Sylvain Marconnet
16 Guilhem Guirado
17 Jean-Baptiste Poux
18 Lionel Nallet
19 Julien Bonnaire
20 Morgan Parra
21 David Skrela
22 Maxime Médard
23 Fabien Barcella
Head Coach: Marc Lievremont

TEST MATCH RUGBY: Australia in South Africa

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

Venue: King’s Park

Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)

This is turning out to be one of THE clashes in this years shortened Tri Nations competition. Australia is coming off a 14-30 loss to New Zealand last weekend whilst South Africa has recalled a number of top players who did not make the earlier tour to Australia and New Zealand. Australia must win this game to stay in contention for the trophy plus they dare not arrive in Auckland for the Rugby World Cup Finals with a string of losses.

Coach Robbie Deans has brought Higginbotham into his starting lineup after two high energy games for Australia off the bench. He was Australia’s stand-out forward last weekend. Prop Ma’afu returns to test rugby since his Super 15 injury. He played in most of Australia’s test matches last year. Australia’s scrum has looked steady against New Zealand and South Africa. His inclusion off the bench could make a big impact at scrum time. There are the only two changes in the starting lineup from last week with Nathan Sharp, arguably the best lineout jumper in world rugby, returning to the team. A 5-2 forward-back bench combination sees Radike Samo called into the squad.

South African coach has, predictably, made 13 changes to the line up that lost 7-40 to New Zealand two weeks ago. Captain Smith and Rossouw are the only survivors from that loss to start again this week. Returning are a group of players who have virtually missed a year of test rugby due to injuries, they being JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Butch James and Gurthrö Steenkamp.Other leading players not considered due to injury are Schalk Burger, Juan Smith and Willem Alberts. "We still have a number of leading players unavailable through injury but this is the strongest squad we have been able to choose from since 2009," said De Villiers.

It’s set for a cracker of a game.

Last Five Encounters
23.07.2011 Australia 39, South Africa 20 in Sydney (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
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)

Previous in Durban
23.08.2008 Australia 27-15 (Tri Nations; Mandela Cup)
21.08.2004 South Africa 23-19 (Tri Nations)
26.08.2000 Australia 19-18 (Tri Nations)
16.08.1969 South Africa 16-9
19.09.1953 South Africa 18-8
22.07.1933 Australia 21-6

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Australia 2nd, South Africa 3rd

IRB Ranking Points
Australia 86.58, South Africa 85.24

Prediction: South Africa by 3 points



15 Kurtley Beale
14 James O'Connor
13 Adam Ashley-Cooper
12 Pat McCabe
11 Digby Ioane
10 Quade Cooper
9 Will Genia
8 Scott Higginbotham
7 David Pocock
6 Rocky Elsom, Capt.
5 James Horwill
4 Nathan Sharpe
3 Benjamin Alexander
2 Stephen Moore
1 Sekope Kepu
16 Saia Fainga'a
17 Salesi Ma'afu
18 Sitaleki Timani
19 Benjamin McCalman
20 Radike Samo
21 Luke Burgess
22 Anthony Fainga'a
Head Coach: Robbie Deans


South Africa
15 Frans Steyn
14 J.P Pietersen
13 Jaque Fourie
12 Jean de Villiers
11 Bryan Habana
10 Butch James
9 Fourie du Preez
8 Pierre Spies
7 Danie Rossouw
6 Heinrich Brussow
5 Victor Matfield
4 Bakkies Botha
3 Jannie du Plessis
2 John Smit, Capt.
1 Tendai Mtawarira
16 Bismarck du Plessi
17  Gurthro Steenkamp
18 Gerhard Mostert
19 Jean Deysel
20 Francois Houggard
21 Morne Steyn
22 Gio Aplon
Head Coach: Peter de Villiers

RUGBY TEST MATCH: Japan in Italy

Japan v Italy in Cesena (World Cup Warm-up)

Venue: Stadium Dino Manuzzi



Japan will play Italy in a rugby test Saturday. The Japanese arrive to begin their 2011 Rugby World Cup preparations, as do Italy.

Italy has made a number of changes from their 6 Nations team including a few new caps. This will be their last opportunity to impress before Italy takes on Scotland in their final warm-up match. Prop Lo Cicero returns and will become the second highest test capped player for Italy behind the famous Alessandro Troncon (101 tests).

The Italians will be somewhat rusty playing their first rugby test in 5 months whereas Japan has played in the Asia5Nations and the Pacific Nations Cup. I’d expect the Italians to dominate up front but struggle to contain the Japanese backs.

Previous Encounters
18.08.2007 Italy 36-12 in St Vincent (World Cup Warm-up)
11.06.2006 Italy 52-6 in Tokyo (Friendly)
03.07.2004 Italy 32-19 in Tokyo (Friendly)
21.04.2007 Italy 25-3 in Padova (Friendly)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Italy 8th, Japan 12th

IRB Ranking Points
Italy 73.54, Japan 72.56

Prediction: Italy by 7



15 Luke Mclean (Benetton Treviso) 28 caps
14 Giulio Toniolatti (MPS Aironi) 5
13 Alberto Sgarbi (Benetton Treviso) 12
12 Matteo Pratichetti (MPS Aironi, 22
11 Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Treviso) 6
10 Riccardo Bocchino (Estra I Cavalieri Prato) 6
9 Edoardo Gori (Benetton Treviso) 3
8 Sergio Parisse, Capt. (Stade Francais, France) 77
7 Mauro Bergamasco 84
6 Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Treviso) 52
5 Marco Bortolami (MPS Aironi) 84
4 Quintin Geldenhuys (MPS Aironi) 21
3 Lorenzo Cittadini (Benetton Treviso) 4
2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso) 37
1 Andrea Lo Cicero (Racing-Metro Paris, France) 86
16 Tommaso D'Apice (MPS Aironi) New cap
17 Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester Tigers, England) 76
18 Cornelius Van Zyl (Benetton Treviso) New cap
19 Paul Derbyshire (Benetton Treviso) 10
20 Pablo Canavosio (Cammi Calvisano) 36
21 Luciano Orquera (MPS Aironi) 22
22 Gonzalo Canale (Clermont-Auvergne, France) 66
Head Coach: Nik Mallett

Adapted from


15 Shaun Webb (West Red Sparks)
14 Kosuke Endo (Toyota)
13 Koji Taira (Suntory)
12 Ryan Nicholas (Suntory)
11 Takeisa Usuzuki (Toyota)
10 James Arlidge (Nottingham RFC, England)
9 Fumiaki Tanaka (Panasonic)
8 Ryukoliniasi Holani (Panasonic)
7 Michael Leitch (Toshiba)
6 Takashi Kikutani, Capt. (Toyota)
5 Toshizumi Kitagawa (Toyota)
4 Justin Ives (Panasonic)
3 Kensuke Hatakeyama (Suntory)
2 Shota Horie (Panasonic)
1 Hisateru Hirashima (Kobe Steel)
16 Hiroki Yuhara (Toshiba Brave Lupus)
17 Nozomu Fujita (Honda Heat)
18 Luke Thompson (Kintetsu Liners)
19 Tadasuke Nishihara (Panasonic Wild Knights)
20 Atsushi Hiwasa (Suntory Sungoliath)
21 Alisi Tupuailai (Canon Eagles)
22 Murray Williams (Toyota Industry Shuttles)
Head Coach: John Kirwan

Adapted from

INTERNATIONAL RUGBY: First test Fiji v Tonga

Tonga v Fiji in Lautoka (World Cup Warm-up 1st test)

Venue: Churchill Park


Fiji and Tonga have opted for a two-test series based at Lautoka as their Rugby World Cup preparations. They meet again next Friday 19th. Both Fiji and Tonga will announce their Rugby World Cup squads after that match.

Fiji will be out to erase the memory of their record 21-45 loss to Tonga, here on the same ground, in the opening Pacific Nations match.

New Tongan players added to squad include experience players Finau Maka, Sione Tonga’uiha, Halani ‘Aulika and Fetu Vainikolo who did not play in the Pacific Nations Cup series.

The Fijians are struggling with injuries.

Fiji’s scrum prepares for Saturday.
Image thanks to

Other Previews

Last Five Encounters
02.07.2011 Tonga 45-21 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)
19.06.2010 Fiji 41-38 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
13.06.2009 Fiji 36-22 in Nuku’alofa (Pacific Nations Cup)
05.07.2008 Tonga 27-16 in Nuku’alofa (Pacific Nations Cup)
16.06.2007 Tonga 21-15 in Lautoka (Pacific Nations Cup)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Tonga 13th, Fiji 14th
Oceania Table-Tonga 3rd, Fiji 4th

IRB Ranking Points
Tonga 71.80, Fiji 71.52

Prediction: Tonga by 5 points.


15 Viliame 'Iongi.
14 William Helu
13 Sukanaivalu Hufanga
12 Andrew Ma'ilei
11 Fetu'u Vainikolo
10 Samisoni Fisilau
9 Taniela Moa
8 Viliami Ma'afu
7 Sione Vaiomo'unga
6 Sione Kalamafoni
5 Paino Hehea
4 Tukulua Lokotui
3 Halani Aulika
2 'Aleki Lutui (Captain)
1 'Alisona Taumalolo
16 Ephraim Taukafa
17 Tonga Lea'aetoa
18 Sione Timani
19 Samiu Vahafolau
20 Tomasi Palu
21 Siale Piutau
22 Vungakoto Lilo
Head Coach: ‘Isotolo Maka

Adapted from

15. Kini Murimurivalu
14. Vereniki Goneva
13. Albert Vulivuli
12. Seremaia Bai (v-capt)
11. Adriu Delai
10. Waisea Luveniyali
9. Vitori Buatava
8. Sisa Koyamaibole
7. Malakai Ravulo
6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu
5. Wame Lewaravu
4. Rupeni Nasiga
3. Deacon Manu, Capt.
2. Sunia Koto
1. Campese Maafu
16. Viliame Veikoso
17. Waisea Daveta
18. Jovilisi Domolailai
19. Masi Matadigo
20. Waisale Vatuvoka
21. Ravai Fatiaki
22. Iliesa Keresoni
Head Coach: Samuela Domoni

Adapted from

TEST RUGBY: Canada face USA In Second Test

Canada v United States in Glendale (World Cup Warm-up 2nd test)

Venue: Infinity Park


After a decade in which Canada were a class above their USA neighbours last weekend saw a more even encounter. Both sides have made changes to their lineups as they seek to finalise their Rugby World Cup squad.

The USA has brought veteran Mike MacDonald into their starting fifteen whilst Canada is without veteran scrum half Ed Fairhurst who has work commitments.

I will expect this to be a close match. It will be the USA’s last home game before the Rugby World Cup.

Last weekend Canada defeated USA 28-22.
Image thanks to

Other Previews

Last Five Encounters
06.08.2011 Canada 28-22 in Toronto (CanAm Series, World Cup Warm-up)
11.07.2009 Canada 41-18 in Edmonton (WCQ Americas R2 Final, 2nd leg)
04.07.2009 USA 12-6 in Charleston (WCQ Americas R2 Final, 1st leg)
21.06.2008 Canada 26-10 in Chicago (Churchill Cup, Playoff 5th-6th)
02.06.2007 Canada 52-10 at Twickenham (Churchill Cup, Playoff 5th-6th)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Canada 16th, USA 17th
NACRA Table-Canada 1st, USA 2nd

IRB Ranking Points
Canada 70.18, USA 66.38

Prediction: Canada by 3 points



15. James Pritchard (Bedford RFC, England)
14. Ciaran Hearn (The Rock)
13. DTH van der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
12. Mike Scholz (Ontario Blues)
11. Phil Mackenzie (Esher RFC, England)
10. Ander Monro (Ontario Blues)
9. Sean White (British Columbia Bears)
8. Aaron Carpenter (Plymouth Albion RFC, England)
7. Chauncey O'Toole (The Rock)
6. Adam Kleeberger (British Columbia Bears)
5. Jamie Cudmore (ASM Clermont Auvergne, France)
4. Jebb Sinclair (The Rock)
3. Jason Marshall (British Columbia Bears)
2. Pat Riordan, Capt. (British Columbia Bears)
1. Hubert Buydens (Prairie Wolf Pack)
16. Ryan Hamilton (British Columbia Bears)
17. Andrew Tiedemann (Prairie Wolf Pack)
18. Brian Erichsen (British Columbia Bears)
19. Tyler Hotson (Plymouth Albion RFC, England)
20. Jamie Mackenzie (Esher RFC, England)
21. Ryan Smith (Prairie Wolf Pack)
22. Nathan Hirayama (British Columbia Bears)
Head Coach: Kieran Crowley

United States
15 Blaine Scully (Unattached)
14 Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz, France)
13 Paul Emerick (Life University)
12 Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins)
11 Colin Hawley (Olympic Club)
10 Nese Malifa (Glendale)
9 Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC, England)
8 Nic Johnson (Unattached)
7 Todd Clever, Capt. (Suntory Sungoliath, Japan)
6 Louis Stanfill (Unattached)
5 Hayden Smith (Saracens, England)
4 John van der Giessen (Unattached)
3 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh, England)
2 Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate)
1 Mike MacDonald (Leeds Carnegie, England)
16 Phillip Thiel (Life University)
17 Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks)
18 Scott LaValla (Stade Francais, France)
19 Jonathan ‘JJ’ Gagiano (Univ. of Cape Town, South Africa)
20 Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club)
21 Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby)
22 Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore)
Head Coach: Eddie O’Sullivan

Not considered due to injury-Troy Hall (NYAC), Brian McClenahan (Olympic Club), James Paterson (Highlanders, New Zealand), Junior Sifa (Unattached), Chris Wyles (Saracens, England)