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The all-conquering Cyprus rugby side play Andorra in their first match in European Division 2B
THE usual air of confidence that floats through the Cyprus changing room before a rugby international is slightly tempered now by the knowledge that some things have changed.
The Moufflons have accomplished so much over the last five years, gliding effortlessly from the bottom division in Europe to being promoted into division 2B.
On Saturday, they play Andorra at the Paphiakos Stadium with the kick-off at 2pm.
Although a small country like the hosts, the Andorrans have a rich rugby pedigree. Their players are mainly drawn from the second divisions of French and Spanish rugby which fields hundreds of teams competing every weekend.
Compare this with the Cypriot side that will draw its players from the three home-based clubs and the diaspora, probably not more than a hundred players in total.
Many of the Andorrans will be semi-professional who have learned the game from early school. Their fathers and uncles will have played and the region abounds in clubs that are recognised as giants of the game such as Toulouse, Montpelier, Bezier and Bayonne.
When Phil Llewellyn, the newly-appointed Moufflons coach, meets up with his players for his first international with them, he will have done his research on the opposition as all good coaches do.
He will be looking for their strengths and weaknesses while at the same time being aware of his own. Llewellyn will not have the luxury of a couple of weeks preparation – more likely a couple of days. And it may be this paucity of resources – physical, chronological and most of all financial – that is the very key to the team’s success.
A visiting official from the Cyprus Sports Authority who attended the home game against Austria last season was asked why Cyprus Rugby was so starved of funds but still remained so successful.
His answer was “victory through adversity”, which led to the suggestion from a rugby committee member that perhaps it might be a good idea to switch the rugby grant to the Cyprus national Football Team and gives theirs to the Moufflons.
Laurence Vassiliades, the Cyprus Rugby Federation president, this week stated: “We are entering a new era. The team has arrived at this position under the tutelage of Paul Shanks and now the reins are passed to Phil Llewellyn, a younger coach, but with a remarkable background, and some of the players that Paul nurtured, who were novices three years ago, are now seasoned internationals who will be role models for a new wave of young players.
“I anticipate a good challenging game against Andorra, but believe we will continue our winning ways.”
Cyprus are the current holders of the world record for consecutive international wins (23) and expect to extend it against Andorra.
Theo Lenos, the team manager, has little doubt that this will be the outcome: “Our coaches have been very active and will be bringing some very fit players to the arena. If ever the lads needed an example of match-ready fitness they need look no further than George Agathocleous, not only part of the on-island coaching staff, but at 32 one of the country’s top try scorers and holder of the record number of caps.
“Phil will be trying out a couple of new caps that have shown promise, and I hope that the weather holds because we need the supporters coming through the turnstiles.”
The next international in Division 2B will be away against Latvia on November 22, followed by Hungary on March 29 and then Lithuania at home on May 2.
By Alexander McCowan http://cyprus-mail.com/
Preparations for the 2015 Junior World Championships have begun with the selection of 51 players to attend the New Zealand Under 20s camp.
The camp, from 27 November to 3 December will be held at the Sport and Rugby Institute in Palmerston North.
Further camps, training clinics and games are planned for the coming months to help select the squad for the 2015 Junior World Championships next June in Italy.
The squad includes two members of the successful New Zealand Schools Team, Rieko Ioane and Shaun Stevenson. Players selected for Super Rugby squads were not considered for the camp.
The training squad is:
Isileli Tu’ungafasi (Auckland)
Morgan Poi (Wellington)
Tom Hill (Canterbury)
Aidan Ross (Bay of Plenty)
Atunaisa Moli (Waikato)
Blair Prinsep (Canterbury)
Tau Koloamatangi (Waikato)
Michael Tamoaieta (Auckland)
Liam Polwart (Auckland)
Ricky Riccitelli (Otago)
Travis Taylor (Manawatu)
Steven Misa (Waikato)
Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury)
Hamish Dalziel (Canterbury)
Joshua Goodhue (Northland)
Liam Hallam-Eames (Wellington)
Jamie Lane (Auckland)
James Blackwell (Wellington)
Ethan Blackadder (Tasman)
Sam Wasley (Wellington)
Sam Godwin (Canterbury)
Mitchell Karpik (Auckland)
Henry Stowers (Wellington)
Dillon Hunt (Otago)
Teariki Ben-Nicholas (Wellington)
Alex Fitzgerald (Otago)
Akira Ioane (Auckland)
Dylan Wihongi (North Harbour)
Harrison Levien (Waikato)
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Taranaki)
Lisati Milo-Harris (Auckland)
Sam Malcom (Manawatu)
Luke Campbell (Wellington)
FIRST FIVE EIGHTHS
Daniel Hollinshead (Bay of Plenty)
Mitchell Hunt (Auckland)
Fletcher Smith (Otago)
MID FIELD BACKS
Tinoai (TJ) Faiane (Auckland)
Jonathan Fa’auli (Canterbury)
Wes Goosen (Wellington)
Jack Goodhue (Canterbury)
Sean Wainui (Taranaki)
Rieko Ioane (Auckland)
Pryor Collier (Auckland)
Faraimo Nofoaigo (Wellington)
Tu Puoho Stephens (Canterbury)
Fletcher Matthews (Tasman)
Gavin Stark (Otago)
Shaun Stevenson (Auckland)
George Bridge (Canterbury)
Luteru Laulala (Canterbury)
Jaye Thompson (Southland)
|KOBE (Oct. 30) – Japan coach Eddie Jones named his side Thursday for Saturday’s game against the Maori All Blacks in Kobe.
With the game not an official test and a number of players unavailable through injury, Jones has named a mix of the experienced and not so experienced for the match at Noevir Stadium.
The replacements include four players yet to be capped.
Namibia’s national team, the Welwitchias, defeated Germany by 58 points to 20 in the Windhoek Draught International Challenge played at Trustco United in the country’s capital on Wednesday. The hosts led 36-6 at the break. Watched by 3000 spectators the match produced 11 tries, nine of which scored by Namibia. Centre Johan Deysel opened the scoring as early as the third minute after Namibia won a line-out on Germany’s 22 and went through a number of phases before Deysel crossed. Two penalties from Germany’s flyhalf Christopher Hilsenbeck put the visitors into a six-five lead on the 10 minute mark, but that was the last time Germany looked like winning the match. Led by a brilliant Rohan Kitshoff the Namibian forward pack dominated and secured quality possession for their back line that had too much pace for their opponents to cope with. In the 11 th minute try scorer Deysel turned provider for left wing Johan Tromp who crossed for the second try of the evening. This was pretty much the trend for the remaining 25 minutes of the first half, Namibia’s forwards in complete control with Germany finding the pace too hot to handle.
Namibia added three more first half tries through their captain Kitshoff who scored back to back tries and Ryan de La Harpe. The England based scrumhalf dealt Germany a hammer blow just before the break when Germany were on the attack but de le Harpe intercepted and ran 70 meters for the try. Namibia were full value for their 36-6 lead at the break.
Namibia started the second half in the same fashion as they did the first and when loose forward Thomasua Forbes and full back Danie Dames both scored inside the first 8 minutes of the second half, a record score looked a strong possibility. The handy lead allowed Namibian coach Danie Vermeulen the opportunity to give his replacement bench a run. This lead to the inevitable loss of momentum and the rest of the second half was pretty much uneventful. Namibia reached the half century mark when left wing Tromp scored his second of the evening.
The next 20 minutes saw the German team playing with more composure and they were rewarded with two tries, the first by loose forward Kehoma Brenner after an impressive line-out drive and the second by their captain Sean Armstrong. New cap JC Greyling scored Namibia’s 9 th try of the match 4 minutes before the end. Germany were on the attack when the final whistle went, victory to Namibia and an important confidence booster before they leave for their 3-match Northern Hemisphere tour this weekend.
The match was refereed by South Africa’s Marius Jonker who after the final whistle confirmed that he had retired from first class refereeing and that this was his last match in charge.
Windhoek Draught International Scorers:
Namibia 58 (20) -
Tries: Johan Deysel, Johan Tromp (2), Rohan Kitshoff (2), Thomasua Forbes, Ryan de la Harpe, Danie Dames, JC Greyling
Conversions : Shawn Kaizemi (5)
Penalty: Shawn Kaizemi
Germany 20 (06) -
Tries : Kehoma Brenner, Sean Armstrong
Conversions : Christoper Hilsenbeck (2)
Penalties : Christopher Hilsenbeck (2)
Issued by NRU Media Services
The sold-out match between the All Blacks and the USA Eagles this weekend will be live streamed at no cost on All Blacks TV to 127 territories thanks to the support of match presenting sponsor AIG.
The All Blacks take on the USA Eagles at Soldier Field in Chicago on Saturday 1 November (kickoff 3pm CT, 9am NZT 2 November), marking the first match between the two sides on American soil for 34 years and just the third official Test.
“It’s fantastic news that All Blacks fans from Oslo to Santiago and many points in between will be able to see this historic match, and join 61,500 fans at Soldier Field for what will be a great occasion for rugby,” said New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew.
“We are very grateful for the support of our Major Global Sponsor AIG in making this happen. AIG is helping to bring rugby to new fans in new places around the world and this live streaming initiative is another great example of the benefits we are seeing every day from this valuable partnership.
“The USA match is a wonderful opportunity to grow our global fan base and with live streaming, we hope many more fans will now join Team All Blacks and support all our men and women in black.”
“We are very proud to be the presenting sponsor of this significant match which brings the World Champion All Blacks to the USA, and even prouder to enable fans around the world to watch this historic match live,” said Daniel Glantz, Global Head of Sponsorship for AIG.
This marks the third such Test match live streamed by All Blacks TV, following the matches against Australia and Japan last year.
As well as the live stream, AIG is also supporting the match to be available in some territories viewed through Video on Demand (VOD), subject to broadcast restrictions.
The All Blacks and USA Eagles Test will be live streamed on www.allblacks.com/TV/USAvAllBlacks.
The All Blacks and USA Eagles Test will be live streamed on www.allblacks.com/TV/USAvAllBlacks in the following territories:
Albania ; Anguilla ; Antarctica ; Antigua and Barbuda ; Argentina ; Armenia ; Aruba ; Austria ; Azerbaijan
Bahamas ; Bangladesh ; Barbados ; Belarus ; Belgium ; Belize ; Bermuda ; Bhutan ; Bolivia ; Bosnia and Herzegovina ; Brunei Darussalam ; Bulgaria
Cambodia ; Canada ; Cayman Islands ; Chile ; China ; Christmas Island ; Colombia ; Costa Rica ; Croatia ; Cuba ; Cyprus ; Czech Republic
Denmark ; Dominica ; Dominican Republic
East Timor (Timor-Leste) ; Ecuador ; El Salvador ; Estonia
Falkland Islands ; Faroe Islands ; Finland
Georgia ; Germany ; Gibraltar ; Greece ; Greenland ; Grenada ; Guatemala ; Guyana
Haiti ; Holy See ; Honduras ; Hong Kong ; Hungary
Iceland ; India ; Indonesia ; Italy
Jamaica ; Japan
Kazakhstan ; Korea, Democratic People’s Rep. (North Korea) ; Korea, Republic of (South Korea) ; Kosovo ; Kyrgyzstan
Lao, People’s Democratic Republic ; Latvia ; Liechtenstein ; Lithuania ; Luxembourg
Macau ; Macedonia, Rep. of ; Malaysia ; Maldives ; Malta ; Mexico ; Moldova, Republic of ; Mongolia ; Montenegro ; Montserrat ; Myanmar, Burma
Nepal ; Netherlands ; Netherlands Antilles ; Nicaragua ; Norway
Pakistan ; Panama ; Paraguay ; Peru ; Philippines ; Poland ; Puerto Rico
Romania ; Russian Federation
Saint Kitts and Nevis ; Saint Lucia ; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ; San Marino ; Serbia ; Singapore ; Slovakia (Slovak Republic) ; Slovenia ; Spain ; Sri Lanka ; Suriname ; Sweden ; Switzerland
Taiwan (Republic of China) ; Tajikistan ; Thailand ; Tibet ; Timor-Leste (East Timor) ; Trinidad and Tobago ; Turkey ; Turkmenistan ; Turks and Caicos Islands
Ukraine ; Uruguay ; Uzbekistan
Vatican City State (Holy See) ; Venezuela ; Vietnam ; Virgin Islands (British) ; Virgin Islands (U.S.)
All Blacks team named to play historic Test against USA
Record American crowd to see team take on US Eagles
The All Blacks team to play the United States this weekend has been named, with the All Blacks selectors unveiling a team combining young All Blacks talent and experienced heads for the historic match at Soldier Field, Chicago.
The match this Saturday 1 November is a 61,500 capacity sell-out, with the All Blacks playing in front of a record attendance for a rugby match in the USA.
The team is:
- Joe Moody (5)
2. Nathan Harris (1)
3. Charlie Faumuina (23)
4. Jeremy Thrush (9)
5. Patrick Tuipulotu (4)
6. Victor Vito (24)
7. Sam Cane (20)
8. Kieran Read – captain (69)
9. TJ Perenara (7)
10. Aaron Cruden (35)
11. Charles Piutau (11)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (19)
13. Ryan Crotty (9)
14. Cory Jane (52)
15. Israel Dagg (44)
16. Keven Mealamu (120)
17. Wyatt Crockett (33)
18. Ben Franks (38)
19. Brodie Retallick (33)
20. Liam Messam (36)
21. Augustine Pulu *
22. Daniel Carter (100)
23. Julian Savea (29)
The starting backline features the experienced duo of Israel Dagg at fullback and Cory Jane on the right wing, with Charles Piutau on the left wing. Sonny Bill Williams returns to the All Blacks midfield for his first game since August 2012, starting in the 12 jersey alongside Ryan Crotty at centre. Aaron Cruden returns to the playmaker’s role in the 10 jersey, with TJ Perenara at halfback.
The team will be captained by number eight and 2013 IRB Player of the Year Kieran Read, who will lead the side for the eighth time in his 70th Test.
Also in the forwards, Sam Cane starts at openside flanker with Victor Vito on the blindside; Jeremy Thrush and Patrick Tuipulotu are the locking duo in the second row. In the front row, hooker Nathan Harris gets his first Test start after coming off the bench against Argentina last month; Joe Moody also gets his second Test start at loosehead prop, with Charlie Faumuina at tighthead prop.
Young Counties Manukau and Chiefs halfback Augustine Pulu has the opportunity to make his Test debut from the bench on Saturday, while All Blacks Test centurion and world rugby’s leading points scorer, first five-eighth Daniel Carter also makes his return from injury from the bench. Wing Julian Savea has also been named as the outside back cover.
In the forwards reserves, the All Blacks have the experienced 120-Test veteran Keven Mealamu to call on, together with his fellow front rowers Wyatt Crockett and Ben Franks. Brodie Retallick is the reserve lock, with Liam Messam reserve loose forward.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “This is going to be an exciting occasion for the team, playing the USA in front of a record crowd here in Chicago, and it’s great to be here representing the All Blacks and New Zealand.
“It’s another chance for those selected to pull on the jersey and play well. On this MyRepublic Northern Tour, we want to give all players in the squad the opportunity to grow their game – and we also want to develop our game as a team – and it starts on Saturday.
“While we are giving a number of players another opportunity this weekend, our expectation is that they will play to the highest level and we get a quality performance.”
The All Blacks and USA have played each other three times, most recently at the 1991 Rugby World Cup in Gloucester when the All Blacks won 46-6. The teams also played in 1980 in San Diego, California, and in 1913 in Berkeley, California.
Coach Colin Cooper said he was pleased with how quickly the team had gelled given the short assembly time with most of the 27 strong squad only coming together last weekend.
“Many players have come off a pretty intense few weekends of rugby so we’ve been mindful to not over-burden them.
“There has been a lot to take in, particularly given how we want to work together blending our Maori culture with our high performance team culture.
“The boys have coped well with the long flight and have quickly settled into their routines here in Kobe. We are gradually lifting the intensity of training, but our main driver has been to keep things simple.
“We know we are up for a tough challenge with Japan as the 11th ranked team in the world so it’s important we get the basics right and ensure we gel together as a team very quickly.
“I congratulate the 10 players who will wear the Maori All Blacks jersey for the first time. This is a proud moment for them and I know they and the rest of the team will be working hard to honour our legacy.”
Maori All Blacks 2014 Tour to Japan and Singapore (NZT)
• 1 November v Japan, Noevir Stadium, Kobe, 2.10pm (6.10pm)
• 8 November v Japan, Prince Chichibu Stadium, Tokyo, 2pm (6pm)
Watch the Maori All Blacks
• New Zealand – all matches live on SKY.
• Japan – J Sports
Two thousand more players laced up their rugby boots in 2014 than the previous year and many of them were women, teenagers and Small Blacks (5-12 years).
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has released its player registration numbers for the year and for the first time they have topped 150,000.
New Zealand Rugby’s General Manager Community and Provincial Union Rugby Brent Anderson said the numbers reflected the special place rugby has in New Zealand communities.
“In small towns, rural communities and big cities across the country thousands of people of all ages and walks of life come together to play rugby because they love playing with their mates, having a run around, and being part of a team.
“They’re taking to the field with the support of Provincial Unions, volunteers, referees and coaches who all work really hard to give them the opportunity to play.”
Anderson said NZR had placed particular emphasis on encouraging teenagers to stay in the game and attracting more female players of all ages.
“Keeping teenagers in the game is a challenge as they have so many demands on their time like school, work and social activities. It’s an area we’ve invested in and it’s pleasing that it’s starting to pay dividends.
“This year we’ve introduced the minimum playing time rule so all players under 1st XV level play at least half a game every Saturday. Their feedback to us is they want to play and we’re doing all we can to give them the opportunity to do so.”
He said Rippa Rugby, a non-contact version of the game played by both boys and girls, is growing in popularity and encouraging females to choose rugby.
“We’ll be launching a plan soon to grow rugby for girls and women and we have ambitious goals. We are developing more opportunities for teenagers and women to play in tournaments, increasing competition and skill levels. With Women’s Sevens in the Olympic Games in 2016 we’re expecting women’s rugby to become an increasing popular choice to play and watch,” Anderson said.
Rugby by the numbers:
• 150,564 players – increase of 2,081 compared to 2013
• Highest number since NZR started recording player numbers in 2001
• 80,249 Small Blacks (5-12 years) – increase of 1,607 (2 percent) compared to 2013
• 42,314 teenagers (13-20 years) – increase of 469 compared to 2013
• 27,821 players aged 21+ – increase of 5 compared to 2013
• 17,825 female players – increase of 1,912 (12 percent) compared to 2013
• 1,884 referees – decrease of 207 compared to 2013
• 11,713 coaches – decrease of 19 compared to 2013
TOTAL player numbers year on year
New Zealand Rugby congratulates Investec Super Rugby players – class of 2015
A total of 160 players have been confirmed as fully contracted members of one of the five New Zealand Investec Super Rugby teams for the 2015 season. This includes 38 players receiving full time contracts for the first time.
The Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders have today announced their finalised fully contracted and wider training group squads with the last of their draft selections secured yesterday.
New Zealand Rugby General Manager Rugby Rugby Neil Sorensen congratulated all players and coaches on their 2015 squads.
“This is one of the most exciting phases in our season. With Super Rugby now the main launching pad for All Blacks selections, many players aspire to secure a contract that allows them to turn their passion into a profession.
“Today is an exciting day for all those named for the first time in one of the five teams. We only need look at players like Malakai Fekitoa, who was selected for the All Blacks after a sensational start to his Super Rugby career with the Highlanders this season. The pathway to the All Blacks is very real for this group.
“For coaches and team management, it’s a chance to demonstrate they can pick talent, combinations, build depth and create great high performance environments that produce winning teams and great players.
“Next year’s Super Rugby squads include a total of 38 players new to full contracts, although 12 have already played their first Super Rugby game in 2014.
“A further 22 players are new to wider training groups but as we’ve seen in recent years, there is every likelihood those players will also take the field in 2015.
“Of all the debutants, six players were in this year’s New Zealand Under 20 side including skipper Simon Hickey, and a large number have picked up their first contracts after stunning ITM Cup seasons for their province.”
Three All Blacks Sevens players are also named in the squads.
The 2015 squads see the return of Rugby World Cup 2011 All Blacks Jimmy Cowan (Blues), Hosea Gear and Sonny Bill Williams (both Chiefs).
The season gets under way on Friday, 13 February 2015, with the Crusaders hosting the Rebels in Christchurch, and the Blues hosting the Chiefs. As they have done for the past two seasons, the Hurricanes start their campaign in South Africa, against the Lions. The Highlanders drew the bye meaning they get an extra week to prepare for their first match – an exciting South Island derby at home in Dunedin against the Crusaders.
With the exception of All Blacks now on MyRepublic Northern Tour duty, and the Maori All Blacks in Japan, the majority of Super Rugby players are now officially on leave. Most will return for training in late November.
Super Rugby debutants will attend a one-day induction with New Zealand Rugby in late November.
Details on all Super Rugby squads: