Rugby Championship Lineups – Round 6

Rugby Championship Lineups – Round 6

SOUTH AFRICA vs NEW ZEALAND

Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Duane Vermeulen/Schalk Burger, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Schalk Burger/Warren Whiteley, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 JP Pietersen.

All Blacks – 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Ryan Crotty.

ARGENTINA vs AUSTRALIA

Argentina – 15 Joacquin Tuculet, 14 Juan Imhoff, 13 Horacio Agulla, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Lucas González Amorosino, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Benjamín Macome, 6 Rodrigo Baez, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Subs: 16 Matías Cortese, 17 Bruno Postiglioni, 18 Ramiro Herrera, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Marcelo Bosch, 23 Jerónimo De la Fuente.

Wallabies – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Jake Schatz, 21 Matt Hodgson, 22 Nic White, 23 Rob Horne.

Past weekend’s rugby results

Currie Cup

Sep 27 Griquas 8 – 46 Golden Lions GWK Park, Kimberley
Sep 27 Sharks 53 – 24 Eastern Province Kings Kings Park, Durban
Sep 26 Free State Cheetahs 22 – 31 Blue Bulls Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Sep 26 Pumas 23 – 37 Western Province Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Rugby Championship

Sep 27 South Africa 28 – 10 Australia Newlands, Cape Town
Sep 27 Argentina 13 – 34 New Zealand Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata

 

2014 Rugby Championship fixtures released

2014 Rugby Championship fixtures:

16 August
Australia vs New Zealand (Stadium Australia, Sydney)
South Africa vs Argentina (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)

23 August
New Zealand vs Australia (Eden Park, Auckland)
Argentina vs South Africa (TBC, Argentina)

6 September    
Australia vs South Africa (Patersons Stadium, Perth)
New Zealand vs Argentina (McLean Park, Napier)

13 September   
Australia vs Argentina (Skilled Park, Gold Coast)
New Zealand vs South Africa (Westpac Stadium, Wellington)

27 September   
South Africa vs Australia (Newlands, Cape Town)
Argentina vs New Zealand  (TBC, Argentina)

4 October 
South Africa vs New Zealand (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)
Argentina vs Australia (TBC, Argentina)

Is Quade Cooper all that important to the Wallabies?

By far the biggest omission from the Wallaby squad to take on the British and Irish Lions is Reds flyhalf and mercurial talisman, Quade Cooper. When Cooper is on, there is almost no stopping him. He posses a combination of running and kicking skills that cannot be matched by any current player. He beats defenders with ease and creates farm-size tracts of space for the runners outside of him. He can bamboozle the most stubborn of defenses and often leaves quality internationals sprawled in his wake as glides toward the sticks.

But then there is the other side of the coin. The dark side. The erratic side. The party animal side. With any maverick throughout history, you have to take the good with the bad, and when Cooper is off, be it on the field or off, he can bring all those around him down to depths unfathomable. Cooper’s off-field antics saw him dropped from Robbie Deans’s squad, after describing the environment in the Australian national side as “toxic”. When egos clash in sport everyone tends to suffer, as those used to winning often refuse to take a backward step – even, or maybe especially, when they are in the wrong.

A British & Irish Lions tour is bigger than Deans and Cooper; it’s a national event that happens every 12 years for the host country, and the decision not to pick Cooper, could tip the scales in favour of the touring Europeans. Successful rugby teams are often built on good combinations. Front row combinations for scrumming, hooker – lock combinations in the lineouts, center combinations for defense, back three combinations for kick receiving and counter attacking, and then possibly the most important combination, 9 – 10. Here Australia have one of the most most talented and settled combinations in world rugby.RW Stamp

Both Cooper and Will Genia play for the Reds in Super Rugby, and were instrumental in the Reds’ only Super Rugby title win 2 years ago. They are a settled combination, and with Will Genia having no real competition for his number 9 jersey, he would probably prefer to play with Cooper, than with any other flyhalf and with Genia playing a leadership role in the Wallabies setup, one would expect him to have pushed for Cooper’s inclusion.

It is well known that Robbie Deans is rather stubborn and has had a lot of success with teams he has chosen and coached. He trusts himself and his structures to right the Australian ship, but in his 5 years in charge has not managed to turn them into the world-beaters he promised. His reluctance to choose Cooper must be for reasons other than rugby, as his only Tri-Nations trophy came with the Reds man at the helm. The only other possibility is that the feeling within the team is that Cooper is a disruption – but then we have to remember that Australia also have to deal with the even more walk-about Kurtley Beale, who had to be disciplined by his Super Rugby franchise after he got into a brawl with teammates – one of which was his captain.

So is Quade Cooper that important to Wallaby success against a pretty strong British & Irish Lions side? This writer thinks he is. With a spate of injuries, the Aussies won’t cope with the depth of the Lions’ talent if they refuse to pick some of their best players – they just don’t have that luxury. Last time they beat the Lions they had the settled provincial duo of Gregan and Larkham running the game, and one thinks they may need that type of combo again.

SGR

Preview: Italy vs Australia

THE FACTS

SA born Lock Quintin Geldenhuys will start at lock for the Azzuri this weekend as they take on the Wallabies. Fresh off a 43 – 10 loss to the All Blacks, Italy has made two changes in an attempt to out play their next antipodean foe. As well as Geldenhuys, Robert Barbieri returns to the starting line up to link up with Sergio Parisse and Alessandro Zanni in teh back row.

Australian coach Robbie Deans has selected 33 year old Brett Sheehan to start at scrum half against the Italians, 6 years after his test debut. “No one should doubt the impact that Brett Sheehan has made since he has joined the squad either. Nick [Phipps] did well last weekend against England and he is still in a position to contribute this weekend but Brett has worked hard and has earned this opportunity,” Deans said. Deans has shuffled his side around for the match with the Azzuri with Drew “money” Mitchell returning to the starting team after a torrid season and bad boy flanker Scott Higginbotham returning after suspension.

THE BATTLES

While Australia are favourites to win on Saturday, the key match-up will be in the front row. Italian’s Castrogiovanni, Leonardo Ghiraldini and Andrea Lo Cicero will ask some stern questions of the Aussie front row of Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore and Ben Robinson.

THE HISTORY

2011: Australia won 32-6, Albany
2010: Australia won 32-14, Florence
2009: Australia won 34-12, Melbourne
2009: Australia won 31-8, Canberra
2008: Australia won 30-20, Padua

THE PREDICTION

The Wallabies should win this one, while the Azzuri will put up a good fight for 60 mins but after that the Aussies will run away with it.

AUSTRALIA by 10 – 15 points

THE TEAMS

Italy:15 Andrea Masi, 14 Giovambattista Venditti, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Mirco Bergamasco, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Robert Barbieri, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Francesco Minto, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
Replacements:
16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Antonio Pavanello, 20 Simone Favaro, 21 Manoa Vosawai, 22 Tobias Botes, 23Luke McLean.

Australia: 15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements:
16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Mike Harris, 23 Digby Ioane.

THE TIME

Italy host the Wallabies in Florence on Saturday, KO 17:00 GMT (19:00 CAT)

Sheehan return for Wallabies

Australian coach Robbie Deans has selected 33 year old Brett Sheehan to start at scrum half against the Italians, 6 years after his test debut.

“No one should doubt the impact that Brett Sheehan has made since he has joined the squad either. Nick [Phipps] did well last weekend against England and he is still in a position to contribute this weekend but Brett has worked hard and has earned this opportunity,” Deans said.

Deans has shuffled his side around for the match with the Azzuri with Drew “money” Mitchell returning to the starting team after a torrid season and bad boy flanker Scott Higginbotham returning after suspension.

“If you look at the men who are coming in, they are all seasoned Test players. Drew [Mitchell] is one of the most experienced Test wingers in Australian history; Stephen Moore is our most capped hooker, while Scott [Higginbotham] was the Test incumbent in his position until the suspension. “They are not the first side to have suffered in that manner against the All Blacks, If you look at the game in its entirety as I’m sure Jacques [Italy coach, Jacques Brunel] will have done, there was a lot of good in it for them. I’ve no doubt they will be looking forward to another opportunity this weekend. It has been a notable feature of recent performances that the Italians are looking to play with a bit more width and use the ball more, expanding on their usual strength in the physical exchanges.” added Deans.

Australia face Italy in Florence on Saturday, KO 15:00 GMT (17:00 CAT)

MM

Australia: 15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Mike Harris, 23 Digby Ioane.