Monday, July 27, 2015


New Zealand 27, South Africa 20 in Johannesburg (Rugby Championship)
Australia 34, Argentina 9 in Mendoza (Rugby Championship)

Australia out muscled and out thought Argentina in Mendoza to win convincingly. The result was very disappointing for Argentina who made all the play early in the match and spun the ball whenever they could.

Australia’s solid defence was the key. Towards the end two quick tries against a tiring Argentina sealed the match.

New Zealand played a very patient game against South Africa. Their defence held against a determined Springbox side that played a very open game at pace (very much like the All Blacks) but mistakes were costly especially in the second half. It was at this stage that New Zealand began to take control and were on top towards the end.


Australia v New Zealand in Sydney
South Africa v Argentina in Durban

This is the last round in a shortened Rugby Championship for 2015. The New Zealand-Australia game will virtually be the final; The winner takes the title.


Tonga 28, Canada 18 in Vancouver (Pacific Nations Cup)
Fiji 30, Samoa 30 in Sacramento (Pacific Nations Cup)
United States 23, Japan 18 in Sacramento (Pacific Nations Cup)

Tonga continued on its winning way in the PNC whilst the USA registered its first win.Canada slumped to their second loss this time on home soil whilst Samoa snuck up on Fiji in the second half to draw their match.

Round Three

United States v Tonga in Toronto (Pacific Nations Cup)
Fiji v Japan in Toronto (Pacific Nations Cup)
Canada v Samoa in Toronto (Pacific Nations Cup)

TEST RUGBY RESULTS: Saturday 18 July

Australia 24, South Africa 20 in Brisbane (Rugby Championship)
Fiji 30, Tonga 22 in Suva (Pacific Nations Cup)
Japan 20, Canada 6 in San Jose (Pacific Nations Cup)
Samoa 21, United States 16 in San Jose (Pacific Nations Cup)
Namibia 43, Russia 5 in Windhoek (2nd test)
Kenya 36, Spain 27 in Nairobi (Friendly)

Australia scored a try in the dying moments to snatch the game away from South Africa.

Fiji, Japan and Samoa opened the Pacific Nations Cup with wins.

In test rugby in Africa, Namibia easily accounted for Russia in the second test in Windhoek while Kenya defeated Spain in Nairobi,

Saturday, July 18, 2015

TEST RUGBY AHEAD: Saturday 18 July

Canada v Japan in San Jose (Pacific Nations Cup)
United States v Samoa in San Jose (Pacific Nations Cup)
Namibia v Russia in Windhoek (2nd test)
Spain v Kenya in Nairobi (Friendly)

I’m not able to review these games in detail.

Pacific Nations Cup

Canada v Japan
I expect Canada to just brush past Japan although a Japanese win would not surprise. The Japanese, under former Australian coach Eddie Jones, has made considerable progress over the last two seasons.
Prediction: Canada by 3 points. Score 21-18

United States v Samoa
Samoa are fresh from their powerful display against New Zealand last week. The travel and that game may well have taken the sting out of this side. A win will depend on how they shape up. For the USA this is their first outing for the season. I’d expect them to be a bit rusty
Prediction: Samoa by 10 points. Score 29-19

African Test Rugby

Namibia v Russia
Namibia won the first test in Windhoek 39-19 last weekend against the visiting Russian side. This series is part of Namibia’s build up to the Rugby World Cup. I expect Russia to perform better this week.
Prediction: Namibia by 8 points. Score 25-17

Kenya v Spain
For me this is one of the matches of this weekend. These cross-continental rugby test matches are what makes the rugby rankings more meaningful and are a fantastic advertisement for this worldly game. Spain will struggle. They have left a large number of test regulars behind this being very much an experimental side. Kenya has defeated Portugal 41-15, Tunisia 46-15 but lost to Zimbabwe 20-28 in their three test matches so far. Spain last played a test match in March.
Prediction: Kenya by 18 points. Score 36-18


Australia 24, South Africa 20

What a finish! A try in the last seconds of the game by Australia clinched this their first test of the season. Australia dominated the play more and more as the second half continued. They more than held their own in the scrum in that half, dominated possession and that pressure resulted in that try.


New Zealand 39, Argentina 18 in Christchurch (Rugby Championship)

New Zealand eased past Argentina in Christchurch in a game of mixed stages.

Initially New Zealand were completely dominant but for a stubborn and well organised Argentina defence. Argentina looked as though they would be overwhelmed.

In the second half Argentina lifted their game and at times seriously rattled the All Blacks. Two quick tries generated from a line out and rolling mauls (an Argentinean speciality) stung the All Blacks to recover and finish the game on top.

Nothing could be taken away from the Argentinean performance.

AUSTRALIA v SOUTH AFRICA: Rugby Championship


Image thanks to

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Both these teams had less than memorable tours of the Northern Hemisphere last November. Australia’s only win was against Wales, whilst South Africa lost to both Wales and South Africa but defeated England.

In the Rugby Championship South Africa defeated the All Blacks at home whilst Australia came within one point of the World Champions on this very ground. The prospect of the outcome of this vital test are mouth watering.

Firstly both teams will be desperate to win. Really desperate! It will be the first step in erasing the pain of November and a more hopeful eye on the World Cup come September.

Australia has reintroduced two veterans in Matt Giteau and David Pocock. They join Genia and Adam Ashley-Cooper in a very experienced back line. But unless they can hold the giant South African pack they could well be back at the drawing board come Monday.

South Africa has failed to produce consistently good results for over a season. They have their veterans in the forward pack including Victor Matfield. Aged 38 and about to play his 122nd test match the fitness levels and ageing bones may well tell if Australia plays and expansive game.

Victor Matfield. Image thanks to

Can’t wait!

Last Five Encounters
06.09.2014 Australia 24-23 in Perth (Rugby Champ., Mandela Cup)
27.09.2014 South Africa 28-10 in Capetown (Rugby Champ., Mandela Cup)28.09.2013 South Africa 28-8 in Capetown (Rugby Champ., Mandela Cup)
07.09.2013 South Africa 38-12 in Brisbane (Rugby Champ., Mandela Cup)
29.09.2012 South Africa 31-8 in Pretoria (Rugby Champ., Mandela Cup)

Australia Last Five P 5, W 1, L 4
29.11.2014 v England L 17-26 at Twickenham (Cook Cup)
22.11.2014 v Ireland L 23-26 in Dublin
15.11.2014 v France L 26-29 in Paris
08.11.2014 v Wales W 33-28 in Cardiff
18.10.2014 v New Zealand L 28-29 in Brisbane (Bledisloe Cup)

South Africa Last Five P 5, W 3, L 2

29.11.2014 v Wales L 6-12 in Cardiff
22.11.2014 v Italy W 22-6 in Padova
15.11.2014 v England W 31-28 at Twickenham
08.11.2014 v Ireland L 15-29 in Dublin
04.10.2014 v New Zealand W 27-25 in Christchurch (Rugby Championship)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table: South Africa 4th, Australia 10th

World Rugby Ranking Points
South Africa 88.23, Australia 82.95

Prediction: South Africa by 4. Score 20-16


15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matthew Giteau, 11 Robert Horne, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 William Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Robert Simmons,
4 William Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (Capt.), 1 James Slipper.
16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Gregory Holmes, 19 James Horwill,
20 David Pocock, 21 Nicholas Phipps, 22 Matthew Toomua, 23 Andrew Mitchell.

Head Coach: Michael Cheika


South Africa
15 William le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende,
11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger,
7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Lodewyk de Jager, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Patrick Lambie, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.

Head Coach: Heyneke Meyer


* This will be Australian coach Michael Cheika's first test on home soil.
* Matt Giteau last played a test for Australia against Samoa in 2011. That was
  a shock loss for Australia. He was playing his 92nd test match.
* Australian wing Adam Ashley-Cooper will play his 105th test for Australia 
  maintaining his place as 4th highest test player.
* David Pocock returns to the Australian test side after an absence of 18
   months due to injury. He last played a test for Australia against Wales in
   November 2012
* Jesse Kriel will be making his test debut for South Africa.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

NEW ZEALAND v ARGENTINA: Rugby Championship


Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

Argentina has chosen to field a below strength against New Zealand in their first major outing this season. In a match they are unlikely to win going on previous history they have rested some key players. They have the Rugby World Cup in a few months in mind. Three players will make their rugby Championship debut; Facundo Isa, Guido Petti and Santiago Cordero.

New Zealand will field a strong line up with a number of veterans being tested well before the final selection of the World Cup squad. Their shaky performance against Samoa is unlikely to be repeated.

Last Five Encounters  NZ 5-0
17.09.2014 New Zealand 34-13 in La Plata (Rugby Championship)
06.09.2014 New Zealand 28-9 in Napier (Rugby Championship)
28.09.2013 New Zealand 33-15 in La Plata (Rugby Championship)
07.09.2013 New Zealand 28-13 in Hamilton (Rugby Championship)
29.09.2012 New Zealand 54-15 in Buenos Aires (Rugby Championship)

New Zealand has never lost to Argentina. The closest Argentina has managed was a 21-21 draw in 1985.

New Zealand Last Five P 5, W 5
08.07.2015 v Samoa W 25-16 in Apia
22.11.2014 v Wales W 34-16 in Cardiff
15.11.2014 v Scotland W 24-16 at Murrayfield
08.11.2014 v England W 24-21 at Twickenham
01.11.2014 v United States W 74-6 in Chicago

Argentina Last Five P 5, W 4, L 1
23.05.2015 v Paraguay W 71-7 in Asuncion (CONSUR Cup)
16.05.2015 v Uruguay W 36-14 in Montevideo (CONSUR Cup)
22.11.2014 v France W 18-13 in Paris
14.11.2014 v Italy W 20-18 in Genoa
08.11.2014 v Scotland L 31-41 at Murrayfield

Argentina also played two non test international matches against a French Barbarians in late  June in Argentina. They lost the first 20-28 and won the second 21-9.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table:New Zealand 5th, Argentina 9th

IRB Ranking Points
New Zealand 93.70, Argentina 78.23

Prediction: New Zealand by 25 points. Score-36-11



New Zealand
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Ma'a Nonu, 12 Sonny Bill Williams,
11 Charles Piutau, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (Capt.), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jeremy Thrush,
20 Liam Messam, 21 Andrew Ellis, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Ryan Crotty.
Head Coach: Steve Hansen


15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Jeronimo De la Fuente, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli,
8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Juan Manuel Leguizamon,
5 Guido Petti, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy (Capt.),
1 Marcos Ayerza.
16 Julian Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Nahuel Chaparro Tetaz, 19 Benjamin Macome, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.
Head Coach: Daniel Hourcade

Team lists thanks to,25883,3551_62778,00.html

Sunday, July 12, 2015


South Africa 46, World XV 10 in Capetown (Non test)
New Zealand Maori 27, Fiji 26 in Suva (Friendly)
Namibia 39, Russia 19 in Windhoek (1st test)

South Africa were too polished and fit for a World XV in Capetown. This international non test match was organised to help South Africa prepare for the Rugby Championship (which starts next weekend).

Fiji built up a huge halftime lead before running out of steam and succumbing to the Maoris by one point. Fiji begins its Pacific Nations Cup campaign next weekend with a test match against Tonga in Suva.

Namibia went 1-0 up in their two-test series against Russia in Windhoek. This was a much improved performance compared to their disastrous Nations Cup outing last month

AFRICA CUP 1B: Third and final day

Ivory Coast 22, Senegal 19 in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)
Uganda 59, Botswana 10 in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)
Madagascar 33, Mauritius 24 in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)


UGANDA 3 3 0 0 134 32 102 3 15
MADAGASCAR 3 3 0 0 99 68 31 2 14
SENEGAL 3 1 0 2 82 51 31 3 7
IVORY COAST 3 1 0 2 59 89 -30 1 5
BOTSWANA 3 1 0 2 54 136 -62 0 4
MAURITIUS 3 0 0 3 38 110 -72 0 0

Uganda is promoted to Africa Cup 1A for 2016. Mauritius is relegated back to 1C.

The relatively poor showing of both Ivory Coast and Senegal (with their predominantly France-based squad) was a surprise.


Uganda v Mauritius, Day 2

Botswana v Senegal, Day 2

Images from

Friday, July 10, 2015


World XV v South Africa in Capetown (Non test)
Fiji v New Zealand Maori in Suva (Friendly)
Namibia v Russia in Windhoek (1st test)
Ivory Coast v Senegal in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)
Uganda v Botswana in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)
Madagascar v Mauritius in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)

Regret unable to review test rugby this weekend due to other commitments.

Thursday, July 9, 2015



What an occasion! Okay so the quality of the rugby was below the expected but there were contributing factors.

Samoa threw everything at the All Blacks. They rattled them with ferocious defence. They attacked them whenever possible and never allowed the world No.1 team to settle.

New Zealand played possibly one of their worst games in memory. They didn’t adjust to the heat and they never dominated the Samoans or controlled any aspect of the game. For a brief period early in the second half they looked like they were about to take control. Then Samoa came back and rattled them again. For New Zealand to take a late penalty goal to snuff out any possible Samoan victory tells the story.’Whew! We got out of that one!

No matter. New Zealand took a start-studded team (4 players with 100+ test caps) to do Samoa a great honour and to show great respect. 10 out of 10. New Zealand finally played a test match IN Samoa. 3 out of 10 because this should have happened long ago! If in future a test match is not played in the islands annually by either Australia or New Zealand then Wednesday was to no benefit long term and was for nought.


Uganda 35, Mauritius 11 in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)
Madagascar 30, Ivory Coast 26 in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)
Botswana 26, Senegal 21 in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)

Uganda’s result was predicted but the other two results came as a surprise. Botswana’s win over Senegal was a real boil over whilst Madagascar came back against Ivory Coast to take the game at the end.

Saturday’s Draw for Final Day


Ivory Coast v Senegal in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)
Uganda v Botswana in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)
Madagascar v Mauritius in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)

Sunday, July 5, 2015


First Day’s play is today, Sunday

Madagascar v Botswana in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)
Mauritius v Senegal in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)
Uganda v Ivory Coast in Kampala (Africa Cup 1B)

Madagascar by 25 v Botswana: Score 40-15
Ivory Coast by 8 v Uganda: Score 27-19
Senegal by 50 v Mauritius: Score 57-7



Lesotho 13, Swaziland 10 in Maseru (Africa Cup 2, South)


Malawi pulled out of this tournament leaving these two teams to slug out a final.


Zimbabwe 19, Tunisia 8 in Harare (Africa Cup 1A)



1.D Mutamangira (Sharks) 2.R Mwale (College Rovers) 3.F Mudariki (Castres) 4.B Tshamala (Busters) 5.N Ndlovu (University of Johannesburg) 6.N Mukondiwa (Old Georgians) 7.J Leitao (Old Georgians) 8.A Rose (Boroughmuir) 9.C Jiji (Hartbury College) 10.T Makwanya (Old Hararians) 11.T Chitokwindo (Old Hararians) 12.C Makotose (Busters) 13.B Rouse (Old Georgians) 14.S Hunduza (Old Georgians) 15.T Nemadire (Old Hararians)
16.N Nyemba (Harrogate RC) 17.K Nqindi (Belhar RC) 18.L Cleminson (Harare Sports Club) 19.F Chipendu (Old Georgians) 20.H Mudariki (University of Johannesburg) 21. L Tambwera (Valke) 23. G Nechironga (Old Hararians)

Two games remaining

08.08.2015: Kenya v Namibia in Windhoek
15.08.2015: Zimbabwe v Namibia in Windhoek


Congo Kinshasa 29, Rwanda 3 in Kinshasa (Africa Cup 2, South East; Final)

Rwanda 18 v Congo Kinshasa ‘B’ 8 in Kinshasa (Africa Cup 2, SE; 1st SF)

Venue: Stade Tata Raphaël

Congo Brazzaville pulled out of this tournament as did Burundi. The unstable political situation in Burundi was the cause of the local rugby team from playing whilst it is unknown as to why Congo Brazzaville, whose capital is just across the Congo River from Kinshasa.

Rwanda (Silverbacks)  (just 13 players in this list):
Forwards: Abdoul-Karim Ngango, Jean de Dieu Habimana, Jean Leonard Twizeyimana, Patrick Kazungu, Gerald Niyoneza, Emmanuel Nemeye, Olivier Nikwigize.
Backs: Emmanuel Ikorukwishaka, Ismael Bikamba, Pierre Niyoyita, Ombane Iradukunda, Emmanuel Nduwayezu, Vincent Kamali (Captain). ... 26/190072/

KENYA v TUNISIA: Africa Cup 1A

Kenya 46, Tunisia 15 in Nairobi (Africa Cup 1A)



Kenya line-up from
15.Samuel Oliech, 14. Darwin Mukidza, 13. Fabian Olando, 12. Kelvin Omiyo, 11. Jacob Ojee, 10. Isaac Adimo, 9. Lyle Asiligwa, 8. Joshua Chisanga, 7. Mike Okombe, 6. Brian Nyikuli (captain), 5. Ronnie Mwenesi, 4. Oliver Mang’eni, 3. Isaiah Nyariki, 2. Samuel Warui, 1. Moses Amusala
Replacements: 16.Peter Kaaria, 17. Curtis Lilako, 18. Davis Chenge, 19. Lawrence Buyachi, 20. Robert Aringo, 21. Dennis Muhanji, 22. Vincent Mose

15. Khlifa Chams Eddin, 14.Chedi Zabri, 13. Haythem Cheli,12. Ahmed Charrada, 11. Houssem Khalfi, 10. Eddin Khlifa Njem,9. Dhif Achref, 8. Majid Zemzem, 7. Said Mohsen,6. Khalid Zagden (captain),5. Guitari Mokhtar, 4. Achref Ben Hamouda, 3. Mohamed Mlise, 2. Salem Khanfouss,1. Mohammed Chargui
Replacements: 16. Mohamed Yassine, 17. Eddin Missaoui Nasser, 18. Bilel Labidi, 19. Werhani Issam, 20. Hamdi Dimassi, 21. Mansour Ali, 22. Salim Barhoumi


Zambia 15, Nigeria 8 in Lusaka (Africa Cup, 1C)

Nigeria 34, Zimbabwe ‘A’ 24 in Lusaka (Africa Cup 1C)

Zambia 19, Zimbabwe ‘A’ 12 in Lusaka (Africa Cup 1C)

Zambia won the Africa Cup 1C tournament and will play in 1B in 2016. The Cameroun were the team that pulled out, being replaced by a disappointing Zimbabwe ‘A’ side. To be fair the ‘A’ side had to be hastily assembled.


Emerging Ireland 45, Georgia 12 in Tbilisi (Tbilisi Cup)
Emerging Italy 23, Uruguay 13 in Tbilisi (Tbilisi Cup)

The Emerging sides dominated the last day. Georgia’s performance, like that of Namibia’s in the parallel Nations Cup, was cause for some concern despite the fact that it was nowhere near their top squad.


Spain 20, Namibia 3 in Bucharest (Nations Cup)
Romania 23, Argentina XV 0 in Bucharest (Nations Cup)

Romania took out the World Rugby Nations Cup in Bucharest with a surprisingly comfortable win over the Argentinians. Namibia’s poor form has created some concerns over that nation’s performance at the 2015 Rugby World Cup