Saturday, August 8, 2015



Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)

Both these teams are fielding experimental sides with fringe players getting the opportunity to stake a claim for inclusion in their national Rugby World Cup squads.

Ireland will take the opportunity to get revenge over Wales after their defeat in Cardiff during the 6 Nations this year. Wales’ win robbed the Irish of a Grand Slam although they did go on to take the 6 Nations title.

Wales’ side is less experimental than Ireland’s and they look stronger in the forwards. This will be a game that won’t be memorable but I’ll give Wales a narrow win.

I still think Ireland will have their best ever Rugby World Cup.

Last Five Encounters Wales 3, Ireland 2
14.03.2015 Wales 23-16 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
08.02.2014 Ireland 26-3 in Dublin (6 Nations)
02.02.2013 Ireland 30-22 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
05.02.2012 Wales 23-21 in Dublin (6 Nations)
08.10.2011 Wales 22-10 in Wellington (World Cup QF)

Ireland Last Five P 5, W 4, L 1
21.03.2015 v Scotland W 40-10 at Murrayfield (6 Nations)
14.03.2015 v Wales L 16-23 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
01.03.2015 v England W 19-9 in Dublin (6 Nations)
14.02.2015 v France W 18-11 in Dublin (6 Nations)
07.02.2015 v Italy W 26-3 in Rome (6 Nations)

Wales Last Five P 5, W 4, L 1
21.03.2015 v Italy W 61-20 in Rome (6 Nations)
14.03.2015 v Ireland W 23-16 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
28.02.2015 v France W 20-13 in Paris (6 Nations)
14.02.2015 v Scotland W 26-23 at Murrayfield (6 Nations)
07.02.2015 v England L 16-21 in Cardiff (6 Nations)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table: Wales 1st, Ireland 2nd 
Europe Table: Wales 1st, Ireland 2nd

World Rugby Ranking Points
Ireland 85.76, Wales 84.07

Prediction: Wales by 3 points Score: 24-21



15 Hallam Amos, 14 Alexander Cuthbert, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Scott Williams (Capt.), 11 Eli Walker, 10 James Hook, 9 Michael Phillips, 8 Daniel Baker,
7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Aaron Jarvis,
2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Nicholas Smith.

16 Robert Evans, 17 Kristian Dacey, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 James King,
20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Matthew Morgan.

Head Coach: Warren Gatland


15 Felix Jones, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Darren Cave, 11 Fergus McFadden, 10 Patrick Jackson, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 James Heaslip (Capt),
7 Thomas O'Donnell, 6 Jordi Murphy, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Iain Henderson,
3 Michael Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Jack McGrath

16 Rory Best, 17 David Kilcoyne, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Daniel Tuohy, 20 Chris Henry, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Simon Zebo

Head Coach: Joe Schmidt

Team lists adapted from,25883,3551_68344,00.html


  • Test debuts: Wales. Dominic Day, Ross Moriarty, Hallam Amos and Tyler Morgan.
  • Donnacha Ryan, Andrew Trimble and Keith Earls return to test rugby after lengthy spells.
  • Mike Ross will play his 50th test for Ireland.


New Zealand v Australia in Sydney

Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

It’s all happening in Sydney this weekend. The Rugby Championship decider sees the Wallabies take on the All Blacks in what is one of the traditional rivalries of test rugby.

Australia has a lot going for it in this match. They will want to end the four years of drought in tests involving New Zealand. They have improved since last November’s northern tour and under Cheika has gone from strength to strength. They appear to be building nicely for the World Cup. A win against New Zealand tonight will be a huge boost for their confidence, an area seriously lacking in the Australian team for some time. They will need to catch New Zealand on a bad day however.

The All Blacks have a history of performing well before and World Cup and then croaking at Semi-final or final hurdles, 2011 being an exception. It is a very nervous time for New Zealand supporters and I’m sure the team has this in mind as well. At this stage they are performing very close to world champions and I can’t see them losing tonight.

Last Five Encounters NZ 4, Drawn 1.
18.10.2014 New Zealand 29-28 in Brisbane (Bledisloe Cup)
23.08.2014 New Zealand 51-20 in Auckland (Rugby Champ., Bledisloe Cup)16.08.2014 Drawn 12-12 in Sydney (Bledisloe Cup; Rugby Champ.)
19.10.2013 New Zealand 41-33 in Dunedin (Bledisloe Cup)
24.08.2013 New Zealand 27-16 in Wellington (Rugby Champ., Bledisloe Cup)

Australia Last Five P 5, W 2, L 3
25.07.2015 v Argentina W 34-9 in Mendoza (Rugby Championship)
18.07.2015 v South Africa W 24-20 in Brisbane (Rugby Champ., Mandela Cup)
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

New Zealand Last Five P 5, W 5
25.07.2015 v South Africa W 27-20 in Johannesburg (Rugby Championship)17.07.2015 v Argentina W 39-18 in Christchurch (Rugby Championship)
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

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table: Australia 4th, New Zealand 5th
Oceania Table: New Zealand 1st, Australia 2nd

World Rugby Ranking Points
New Zealand 94.33, Australia 85.23

Prediction Score: New Zealand 25-16



15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matthew Giteau, 11 Andrew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nicholas Phipps, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill, 4 Dean Mumm,
3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (Capt.) 1 Scott Sio,

16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Gregory Holmes, 19 William Skelton, 20 Benjamin McCalman, 21 Nicholas White, 22 Matthew Toomua,
23 Kurtley Beale.

Head Coach: Michael Cheika


New Zealand
15 Benjamin Smith, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read,
7 Richie McCaw (Capt.), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Luke Romano, 4 Brodie Retallick,
3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock.

16 Codie Taylor, 17 Benjamin Franks, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Samuel Whitelock, 20 Samuel Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa.

Head Coach: Steve Hansen


  • Test debut: New Zealand. Nehe Milner-Skudder
  • Richie McCaw will eqial Brian O’Driscoll’s world record 141 test caps.

Team lists adapted from,25883,3551_68416,00.html

Friday, August 7, 2015


New Zealand v Australia in Sydney (Bledisloe Cup, Rugby Championship)
South Africa v Argentina in Durban (Rugby Championship)
Ireland v Wales in Cardiff (World Cup Warm Up)
Kenya v Namibia in Windhoek (Africa Cup 1A)

The warm up fixtures will be well and truly underway this weekend with the first 6 Nations side hitting out. Ireland and Wales clash in Cardiff.

The Africa Cup 1A competition continues with Namibia at home against up-and-coming Kenya. It will be a big test for both sides. Kenya has impressed this season whilst Namibia will be keen to add the Africa Cup to the silverware cabinet before they land in England for the World Cup. They have another game in Windhoek next weekend. This will be the last Africa Cup 1A game and it will be against Zimbabwe.

The final round of the 2015 Rugby Championship (shortened because of the Rugby World Cup) will see a final between New Zealand and Australia in Sydney. Both teams go into this test match undefeated. Australia, as hosts, will be eager to defeat New Zealand for the first time in four years. New Zealand captain will equal Brian O’Driscoll’s world record 141st test caps. This game will be a cracker. Can’t wait!

In the other game South Africa meets Argentina in Durban to sort out the minor placings. The Rugby Championship though is not really the top prize for 2015. These games are really just curtain raisers.


Fiji 39, Samoa 29 in Vancouver (Pacific Nations Cup, Final)
Tonga 31, Japan 20 in Vancouver (Pacific Nations Cup, Playoff 3rd-4th)
United States 15, Canada 13 in Vancouver (Pacific Nations Cup, Playoff 5th-6th)

Fiji finished strongly to defeat Samoa and recapture their dominance of Pacific rugby. Japan were defeated by Tonga and although this was not their strongest combination appear to have lost a little gloss to their game. The United States scored five penalty goals to sink Canada who slumped to last place in this competition. This was a huge disappointment for the host nation. They will be more than a little worried about their poor form leading up to the Rugby World Cup/


Uruguay 30, Argentina XV 26 in Montevideo (World Cup Warm up)

It may not have been Argentina’s first team (That team is in South Africa preparing for the Rugby Championship test against South Africa this Saturday) but a number of the Argentine side would have the opportunity to stake a claim for inclusion into the World Cup Puma’s side. They were in for a big shock!

Uruguay were playing their last test in front of their home crowd before they venture off the prepare for the Rugby World Cup. And play their hearts out they did. They inflicted a first ever defeat of an Argentinean side by another South American side.