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  • Horwill gets off

    Tuesday July 2 2013,
    Tags: James Horwill, IRB, Alun Wyn Jones
    Wallaby captain James Horwill has escaped suspension
    Australian captain James Horwill has escaped suspension on Tuesday after the IRB called for an additional hearing.

    Horwill was originally cleared for his stamp on Lions forward Alun Wyn Jones during the first test, but the IRB intervened after receiving complaints from an unknown source.

    But the second hearing recorded the same result, meaning Horwill is free to play this weekend against the Lions.

    "The protection of players from foul play, intentional or otherwise, is vital in upholding the values and image of rugby and to send a clear message to all levels of the game that such acts are unacceptable," the IRB said.

    "In light of the potential adverse implications, the IRB is keen to ensure all acts of foul play involving the head should be given serious and thorough consideration. This was recognised by the Appeal Officer in his decision.
    Read full article »

    Australia vs British and Irish Lions Report

    Monday July 1 2013,
    Tags: Australia, Lions, Warburton, O'Connor
    Australia level series with Lions
    Australia has leveled their series with the British and Irish Lions after winning 16-15 in Melbourne on Saturday.

    A late try to Adam Ashley-Cooper proved to be the difference for the hosts in a match dominated by handling errors and the whistle of Craig Joubert.

    Neither side really got in to any kind of offensive flow and as a result the match was a stop-start affair, in stark contrast to last week.

    But similarly, another penalty attempt at the full-time whistle was missed, with Leigh Halfpenny unable to kick a difficult match-winner from halfway.

    Crucially, Australia only got on top once Sam Warburton left the field with an injury, his tour now in doubt. Much criticism has been leveled at the Lions captain since his appointment, but his man of the match performance in Melbourne silenced many.

    The two sides now head to Sydney for the deciding match of this tremendous three match series.
    Read full article »

    Australia vs British and Irish Lions Preview

    Friday June 28 2013,
    Tags: Lions, Wallabies, O'Connor, Robbie Deans
    Lions meet Wallabies in Melbourne for 2nd test
    The Wallabies will be out for revenge when they host the Lions in the 2nd test in Melbourne on Saturday night.

    The Lions clinched the first match of the series with an unconvincing 23-21 victory in Brisbane, with a series of serious injuries and missed opportunities burying the Wallabies.

    The result has heaped pressure on the Wallabies and most notably, their stubborn coach Robbie Deans. Injury has forced his hand, however, with Pat McCabe and Berrick Barnes both unavailable. James O'Connor remains at flyhalf despite a torrent of critism and Kurtley Beale will start at fullback. Meanwhile, on the wing, Joe Tomane will get his first cap, as will the Brumbies Jesse Mogg who is on the bench.

    Despite winning, Lions coach Warren Gatland has made some changes that have Lions fans purring their approval. Alex Cuthbert has been sent to the bench whilst scrum-half Mike Phillips has been cut from the squad. Ben Youngs gets the nod at 9 whilst Irish speedster Tommy Bowe gets his chance on the wing. In the backrow, Dan Lydiate has been given a start which is probably the only questionable inclusion for the Lions.

    I think the Wallabies were the better side last week and should have won, but I also believe the Lions also look a bit stronger this time around. I expect the Wallabies to win and send the series to a deciding third match. Wallabies by 10.
    Read full article »

    Horwill maintains innocence

    Friday June 28 2013,
    Tags: James Horwill, IRB, Alun Wyn Jones
    Wallaby captain James Horwill stands firm as IRB moves in
    Australian captain James Horwill is still fighting charges of stamping after having the initial judiciary findings appealed by the International Rugby Board.

    Horwill made contact with the face of Lions front-rower Alun Wyn Jones early during the first test and the incident was later reported to the judiciary.

    Horwill was found not guilty by the judiciary in the midweek hearing and was free to play in the second test, but the IRB has controversially stepped into matters and appealed the decision, meaning Horwill must face another hearing with suspension looming as a likely result.
    Read full article »

    North admits embarrassment

    Friday June 28 2013,
    Tags: George North, Will Genia
    Lions winger George North ashamed of finger waving incident
    Lions winger George North has admitted he feels terrible for his actions during the first test against Australia last week.

    North scored a fantastic individual try, beating several Australian defenders on a 60m run to the line. The final defender, Will Genia, got some extra treatment from North, with the big Welshman pointing at Genia's face before touching down for the tourists.

    "I've had a few words from various people. I've apologised and can't really explain what I did," he explained.

    "I got caught up in the emotion of the try. Looking back I feel horrendous for doing it now. I'll have to live with that and take it on the chin.

    "I've had big words from (tour manager) Andy Irvine, which was fun. Rugby's a gentleman's game and that shouldn't be involved in the game.

    "Andy said that to me and I knew it as soon as I'd done it. It's very difficult to explain your emotions when you've scored a try.
    Read full article »

    O'Connell breaks arm

    Monday June 24 2013,
    Tags: Paul O'Connell, Ireland, Lions
    Lions lock Paul O'Connell ruled out of Lions tour after breaking arm
    Irish lock Paul O'Connell will miss the rest of the Lions tour of Australia after breaking his arm in the first test.

    The loss comes as a serious blow for the tourists, who will miss the services of one of their most senior members.

    English lock Geoff Parling looms as the most likely replacement for O'Connell, whose 7 match streak for the Lions will now come to an end. Lions boss Warren Gatland has stated there are no plans to call up a replacement for O'Connell at this stage.

    O'Connell was set to captain the Lions in Tuesday's match against the Rebels, this honor now falls to Welsh backrower Dan Lydiate.
    Read full article »

    South Africa vs Samoa Report

    Saturday June 22 2013,
    Tags: Samoa, South Africa, Bryan Habana
    Springboks give lesson to Manu Samoa
    South Africa has handed Samoa a heavy 56-23 defeat at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

    The Samoans, who came into the match full of confidence and hopeful of victory were quickly quashed as the Springboks built a 32-9 halftime lead. It was the best forty minutes the Springboks have played in some time as the hosts picked up four tries in a dominant period.

    The second half quickly disintegrated with the Samoans clearly angered by the situation. James So'oialo felt up Adriaan Strauss and was lucky to escape unscathed before Alesana Tuilagi was red carded for a brutal high tackle.

    Nevertheless, Bryan Habana picked up his 50th test try of his career as the match fell apart during the final 15 minutes with the 'Boks taking their foot off the pedal.
    Read full article »

    Scotland vs Italy Report

    Saturday June 22 2013,
    Tags: Scotland, Italy
    Late try sinks Italy
    A last minute try to Alasdair Strokosch has given Scotland a 30-29 victory over Italy at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

    A 20 all halftime scoreline reflected an entertaining contest, with each side scoring two tries in an attacking first 40.

    However, with the Italians claiming a narrow lead, the Azzurri attempted to choke the life out of the contest with extremely conservative play.

    The tactic proved to be successful until the final minute of the match, when Strokosch got past Sergio Parisse for a try. Greig Laidlaw made no mistake with the simple conversion and the match was Scotalnds.
    Read full article »

    Australia vs British and Irish Lions Report

    Saturday June 22 2013,
    Tags: Lions, Wallabies
    Lions hold on for 23-21 victory over Wallabies
    The Lions have drawn first blood in their series with the Wallabies, recording a 23-21 victory in Brisbane on Saturday night.

    Kurtley Beale missed two kickable penalties to win the match in the final minutes, but failed on both occasions, gifting the match to the tourists.

    Both sides scored two tries each, with Israel Folau benifitting from some Genia magic before Berrick Barnes made the mistake of kicking to George North, with North easily evading Pat McCabe and Barnes for a great try.

    The Wallabies had lost Christian Leali'ifano, McCabe and Barnes to concussion injuries, meaning there were only forwards left as replacements.

    But it didnt stop Folau scoring again, as he beat 3 players to score another impressive try. James O'Connor, who had missed two simple penalties earlier on, missed again with the conversion, sending the Lions into the sheds with a 13-12 advantage.

    Alex Cuthbert then ran a good line at the start of the second half to give the Lions a handy 20-12 lead. A couple more penalties to Australia saw the gap close to 20-18 with 20 to play.

    Halfpenny and Beale both kicked an extra penalty each before Beale missed two potential match winners, his final effort at the siren coming from a rare dominant scrum from the Wallabies.

    The Lions will now play the Rebels on Tuesday before the second test against the Wallabies on the 29th of June.
    Read full article »

    New Zealand vs France Report

    Saturday June 22 2013,
    Tags: All Blacks, New Zealand, France
    All Blacks edge away for 3-0 series sweep
    New Zealand has completed their three match sweep of France, with a 24-9 victory at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth on Saturday night.

    Things did not all go New Zealands way, however, with the makeshift French side staying in touch for much of the match. Despite being held tryless and never looking like threating New Zealand, the French only trailed 8-6 at the break and were down 11-9 with around 20 minutes remaining.

    But New Zealand finished the stronger and once Yoann Maestri was sent to the sinbin for headbutting the French effort was all but ended.

    Finally, Beauden Barrett scored a popular hometown try when he finished off Ben Smith's clever kick and the All Blacks claimed the 3-0 series whitewash.
    Read full article »

    Australia vs British and Irish Lions Preview

    Friday June 21 2013,
    Tags: Lions, Wallabies, O'Connor,
    Lions take on Wallabies in first test
    The Lions are set to meet the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday night in one of the most anticipated rugby matches this year.

    The tourists are reeling after becoming the first Lions sqaud in 42 years to have lost to a provincial side, as they lost to the Brumbies this week.

    But Gatland has made his changes and has a very handy first XV taking the field, despite debate raging around the lose forward selections.

    Wallaby coach Robbie Deans has also selected a squad that sees most of the home supporters happy, with the only serious question marks being around the selection of Berrick Barnes at fullback.

    The Wallabies are incredibly hard to beat at Brisbane and I expect this to be another such occasion with an early series lead being claimed by the hosts. Wallabies by 10.
    Read full article »

    Ranger off to France

    Friday June 21 2013,
    Tags: Rene Ranger, Montpellier
    All Black dangerman Rene Ranger has signed with Montpellier
    Auckland Blues and New Zealand have lost one of their most dangerous players this week, with Rene Ranger signing with Montpellier in France.

    The loss continues the trend of better and younger stars moving to France to take advantage of the big money on offer. The 26 year old had only just broken into the All Blacks squad after an excellent Super 15 season, but is expected to earn around $600,000 a year at Montpellier.

    "It's one of those decisions I was looking at earlier in the year," Ranger said.

    "I didn't actually think I would be in this team( the All Blacks). They had Richard Kahui, Tamati [Ellison], Cory Jane. I thought I was still behind them.
    Read full article »

    Brumbies vs Lions Report

    Tuesday June 18 2013,
    Tags: Brumbies, Lions
    Brumbies shock Lions in Canberra boilover
    In one of the biggest boilovers in rugby history, the ACT Brumbies have defeated the British and Irish Lions 14-12 in Canberra on Tuesday.

    The Brumbies, who were missing several key starters to the national side, were able to keep the Lions tryless, becoming the first provincial side in 42 years to defeat the famous tourists.

    The Brumbies got on the board first with Christian Wade beaten twice by the hosts before Tevita Kuridrani scored the only try of the match. The Brumbies continued to play defensively for the rest of the half, happy to kick the ball away when in their own half and the teams went to the sheds with the Brumbies leading 8-3.
    Read full article »

    'Lions are cheats'- Dwyer

    Saturday June 15 2013,
    Tags: Bob Dwyer, Dave Dennis
    Former Wallaby coach Bob Dwyer has hit out at the Lions illegal tactics
    Former Wallaby coach Bob Dwyer has criticized the touring Lions, claiming they are cheats following their victory over the NSW Waratahs on Saturday.

    "We have a great game and there is massive scope for playing attractive rugby," Dwyer told the Weekend Australian. "It's not supposed to be a contest to see who can cheat the best. It's who can play the best."

    Dwyer specifically cited the Lions coach, Warren Gatland, saying: "After having seen the Lions in action on tour, it doesn't come as any surprise they're coached by a New Zealander because they play outside the laws of the game, as every New Zealand side does."
    Read full article »

    Argentina vs England Report

    Saturday June 15 2013,
    Tags: England, Argentina, Pumas
    England thump Argentina, rack up 50
    England have thrashed Argentina again, recording a 51-26 at Velez Sarsfield in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

    The English scrum was completely dominant in the match, with the second string outfit being rewarded with an unheard of two penalty tries in the first half.

    With the halftime score favoring the visitors 25-12, the Pumas had it all to do and were unable to make any real inroads as the English back line lit up the scoreboard.

    Serious questions should now be asked of the Pumas with the impending Rugby Championship against the SANZAR nations coming up whilst England will be delighted to have discovered considerable depth in the national squad.
    Read full article »

    S Africa vs Scotland Report

    Saturday June 15 2013,
    Tags: Scotland, South Africa
    Springboks survive battle of Scotland
    South Africa had to come from behind to beat Scotland in Nelspruit on Saturday, recording a 30-17 victory.

    Scotland lead 10-6 at half time and were within touching distance the entire match as they played with no abandon.

    As usual, the Springboks used a conservative gameplan and paid the price, asserting no scoreboard dominance until the end against the understrength Scots.

    South Africa were well out of the game until, whilst trailing 17-6, Scottish lock Jim Hamilton was given a yellow card for pushing Eben Etzebeth. That gave the Springboks the momentum which they rode all the way to the full time whistle.
    Read full article »

    Waratahs vs Lions Report

    Saturday June 15 2013,
    Tags: Lions, Waratahs
    Lions gobble up Waratahs in Sydney
    The British and Irish Lions have got their best victory so far after beating the Waratahs 47-17 in Sydney on Saturday night.

    Leigh Halfpenny scored 30 points in the rout, with the Lions recording 5 tries in front of a packed stadium.

    Simon Zebo and Jonathan Davies combined well in the early stages and were the protagonists for the Lions first try.

    The Waratahs struck back though, was Tom Carter scoring the first of his two tries after Bernard Foley found Peter Betham with a clever kick.

    But the Lions were still in complete control in every area and powered away from the Waratahs with little fuss.

    The Lions will play the Brumbies in three days time before their first match against Australia on the 22nd of June.
    Read full article »

    New Zealand vs France Report

    Saturday June 15 2013,
    Tags: France, All Blacks, New Zealand
    All Blacks hammer France
    The All Blacks have given the French a spanking on Saturday night, recording a 30-0 hammering in Christchurch.

    The result ends the three match series as New Zealand now holds a 2-0 series advantage, with a relatively meaningless fixture set in New Plymouth next weekend.

    Julian Savea profited from a Ma'a Nonu grubber early for New Zealands first score, with Aaron Crudens conversion making it 7-0. But despite dominating territory the All Blacks could only add a penalty to their tally to leave the field at halftime 10-0 up.

    Frederic Michalak was charged down after the break, leading to Ben Smiths 5 pointer and the match was slipping out of the hands of Les Bleus.

    France then rung the changes and began pressing New Zealand, but another effort from long range saw Conrad Smith chip and chase the French for Cruden, who released Beauden Barrett for the death blow.
    Read full article »

    Japan vs Wales Report

    Saturday June 15 2013,
    Tags: Wales, Japan
    Japan shock Wales, record historic victory
    Japan have made history with their first ever victory over Wales on Saturday afternoon in Tokyo.

    The 23-8 triumph capitalized on the recent growth of the Japanese national side, with the Cherry Blossoms recording a comprehensive victory.

    Wales did have the best of the first half, but were unable to get points on the scoreboard with Japan claiming a narrow 6-3 lead at the break.

    Tom Prydie crossed for Wales soon after the break but from then on it was all Japan, as the hosts recorded two tries with Ayumu Goromaru eventually killing Wales off with another penalty in a flawless kicking display.
    Read full article »

    Cooper omitted as final squad announced

    Monday June 10 2013,
    Tags: Robbie Deans, Australia, Quade Cooper
    Robbie Deans has controversially omitted Quade Cooper from the Wallabies squad
    Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has omitted Quade Cooper from his squad as the final 6 names were named on Monday.

    Kurtley Beale, Hugh McMeniman, Digby Ioane, Pat McCabe, Peter Kimlin and Scott Sio were all added to the squad, Beale having only just returned from counseling for his alcoholic issues.

    It appears to be more payback from Deans, after Coopers 2011 lambasting of the Wallaby environment being 'toxic', as on form there is little question that Cooper deserves a place.

    "I'm pleased; he's a bloody good player," Lions defence coach Andy Farrell said. "If I was the coach I'd want him in my side, but having said that I don't know the background or ins and outs of why he isn't selected. But he's certainly a handful, he brings a lot to the party, so I'm pretty pleased."

    The decision could well be the death knell on Deans' career in Australia should the Wallabies lose the series to the Lions.
    Read full article »