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Week 1 Week 2 Week 3Fixtures

* All KO times are local unless otherwise stated


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Week 1

Australia Scotland New Zealand Ireland Australia WalesSouth Africa England Canada USA Argentina Italy


Australia AUSTRALIA 6 - 9 SCOTLAND Scotland

HUNTER STADIUM, NEWCASTLE - Tuesday 05 June 2012
KO: 19:30/10:30 BST HT: 3-6 Att: 20,088

Australia Scotland captain Ross Ford with Hopetoun CupIN truly awful conditions, Scotland battled through rain and gales to beat the Wallabies in overtime for the first time in 30 years in Australia’s back yard, and will be taking home the Hopetoun Cup for just the second time since its creation in 1998.

The Australian government had issued weather warnings of possible flooding, but that did not halt the teams as they stepped out into the howling wind and torrential rain. From the beginning, the game was marred by handling problems as the both sides slipped and slid around the pitch, trying desperately to keep hold of the ball.

Australia Scotland Greig LaidlawScotland had the advantage for the opening period with the wind behind them, and Ryan Grant broke free, but his offload went awry after 7 minutes of play. The visitors had the majority of possession for the initial 20 minutes, pushing up on the Wallabies and causing problems. Eventually, after many attacks failing, scrums collapsing, rucks in chaos and the referee Jaco Peyper doing little to help, the Scots grabbed a penalty and Greig Laidlaw slotted it to get the scoreboard ticking after missing an earlier attempt. It was not long until the fly-half was teeing up again, as Australia showed poor discipline.

However, the homeside were on the move by now, picking up some strong positions on field and making use of the ball. The Scottish defence had their work cut out at times but held up well against the battering. Just after the half hour mark, Mike Harris added a penalty of his own to reduce the margin. The break loomed and Australia mounted another offence, but the visitors battened down and managed to keep the score at 3-6 until the interval.

Australia ScotlandIt was expected Australia would come out as the dominant force, no longer kicking into the wind. This looked to be the case when Harris levelled the score after just 2 minutes of play, but Scotland showed their grit and dug deep for the rest of the match. Digby Ioane gave the visitors a few scares, sprinting towards the tryline only to be halted before he could cause damage. Harris tried to increase the tally with a long-range shot but was unable to find his target. Swiftly after this, the Australians piled over the tryline and the TMO was asked to take a look, but it was clear that the ball was held up and their efforts were not quite enough.

The Scots put together a heroic defence, proving that the Australians would not get an easy ride and they were still in the game. The Wallabies’ discipline let them down at key moments, allowing their opponents to clear their lines to relieve important pressure. Berrick Barnes tried desperately to haul the homeside in front with a drop kick, but the greasy ball came off his boot poorly and his attempt was of no use. Harris had issues too, teeing up and hurtling a penalty under the crossbar. In the final minutes Scotland had one last surge, pushing themselves into enemy territory and earning a Australia Scotland celebrationsscrum. The Scots drove and the scrum wheeled, the referee called for a reset but a penalty should have been given.

Finally, the penalty was awarded, this time for the scrum collapsing, and 3 minutes after time ran out Laidlaw smacked over the winning 3-pointer. The Scottish team jumped on each other to celebrate their well-deserved win and drew the only blood of the match, as Joe Ansbro cut his eyebrow by clashing heads with an elated Alasdair Strokosch.

Australia15 Luke Morahan 14 Joe Tomane 13 Anthony Fainga’a 12 Mike Harris 11 Digby Ioane 10 Berrick Barnes 9 Will Genia 8 Scott Higginbotham 7 DAVID POCOCK (C) 6 Dave Dennis 5 Nathan Sharpe 4 Sitaleki Timani 3 Dan Palmer 2 Stephen Moore 1 James Slipper BENCH: 16 Saia Fainga’a 17 Ben Alexander 18 Rob Simmons 19 Michael Hooper 20 Nick Phipps 21 Pat McCabe 22 Adam Ashley Cooper

SCORERS P: Harris (2)

Scotland15 Stuart Hogg 14 Joe Ansbro 13 Nick De Luca 12 Matt Scott 11 Sean Lamont 10 Greig Laidlaw 9 Mike Blair 1 Ryan Grant* 2 ROSS FORD (C) 3 Euan Murray 4 Alastair Kellock 5 Richie Gray 6 Alasdair Strokosch 7 Ross Rennie 8 John Barclay BENCH: 16 Scott Lawson 17 Jon Welsh 18 Tom Ryder* 19 Richie Vernon 20 Chris Cusiter 21 Duncan Weir 22 Tom Brown*

SCORERS P: Laidlaw (3)

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa) Asst Refs: Craig Joubert (SARU), Keith Brown (NZRU) TMO: Vinny Munro (NZRU)

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New Zealand NEW ZEALAND 42 - 10 IRELAND Ireland

EDEN PARK, AUCKLAND - Saturday 09 June 2012
KO: 19:35/08:35 BST HT: 23-3 Att: tbc

THERE was little threat from Ireland as New Zealand toyed with the side that had never beaten them. The All Blacks saw a stunning debut from the Hurricanes’ Julian Savea, who scored a hat-trick to mark his entrance onto the international stage in true form. New Zealand Ireland 1st Test Richie McCaw hakaThe Irish found themselves battling to keep their wild opponents under control as they attacked from all angles. Their confidence will now need building for the rest of their summer tests after a hefty battering, mainly at the hands of a rookie.

The national anthems were sung, not in a particularly brilliant fashion it has to be said, and the traditional Ka Mate haka performed to pump up the All Blacks before the match got underway.

Both fly-halves exchanged early penalties, but it did not take long before the All Blacks tightened their defence and sharpened their attack. The Irish were left scrabbling for possession and swiftly left adrift as Dan Carter slotted two further penalties before Savea flew through for his first try. Carter added the extras and it was clear that Ireland were not cut out for their opponents, trailing 3-16 just before the half hour mark. Although the visitors made some promising runs at times, it did not take much for the homeside to shut down the attacks and regain a handle on proceedings.

New Zealand Ireland 1st Test Julian SaveaThe TMO was deferred to for Savea’s next try and confirmed that the winger had been successful. The debutant could not have wished to a better game, playing beautifully and really proving himself worthy of his coveted spot in the All Blacks starting line-up. By this point, the Irish had lost any initial spark they had shown and were struggling to keep the New Zealanders at bay as their defence was swamped with black. The visitors headed down the tunnel at half-time with a depressing score of 23-3 to work against in the final 40 minutes.

After the interval, the situation did not brighten for the unfortunate Irish as Savea took all of 4 minutes to finish his impressive scoring streak to seal his hat trick. Dan Carter converted, and Ireland were soon threatened by the rookie yet again, though this time they shut him down before further damage was inflicted.

New Zealand Ireland 1st Test Brian O DriscollThe Irish continually missed tackles, failed to ruck effectively and fumbled at key moments. But finally, after so many failed attempts, Fergus McFadden took a high ball and raced downfield to find his way over the tryline, handing over some consolatory points to his battered team. Sexton proved that he could be as accurate as Carter and slotted the extras to bring the score to 30-10.

However, the moment of glory was short and made bitter by the All Blacks scoring twice more before the end of the match, Adam Thomson and Conrad Smith both racing over the whitewash. Carter missed one of the two conversions but it did not matter.

Ireland were bruised and dejected whilst New Zealand ruled supreme. A score of 42-10 was not what Ireland wanted to begin their summer; they certainly did not rain on the Rugby World Cup Champions’ parade.

New Zealand1 Tony Woodcock 2 Andrew Hore 3 Owen Franks 4 Brodie Retallick* 5 Samuel Whitelock 6 Victor Vito 7 RICHIE MCCAW (C) 8 Kieran Read 9 Aaron Smith* 10 Daniel Carter 11 Julian Savea* 12 Sonny Bill Williams 13 Conrad Smith 14 Zac Guildford 15 Israel Dagg BENCH: 16 Hikawera Elliot 17 Ben Franks 18 Ali Williams 19 Adam Thomson 20 Piri Weepu 21 Aaron Cruden 22 Ben Smith

SCORERS T: Savea (3), Thomson, Smith C: Carter (4) P: Carter (3)

Ireland15 Rob Kearney 14 Fergus McFadden 13 BRIAN O’DRISCOLL (C) 12 Keith Earls 11 Simon Zebo* 10 Jonathan Sexton 9 Conor Murray 1 Cian Healy 2 Rory Best 3 Declan Fitzpatrick* 4 Dan Touhy 5 Donnacha Ryan 6 Peter O’Mahony 7 Sean O’Brien 8 Jamie Heaslip BENCH: 16 Sean Cronin 17 Ronan Loughney* 18 Donncha O’Callaghan 19 Kevin McLaughlin 20 Eoin Reddan 21 Ronan O’Gara 22 Darren Cave

SCORERS T: McFadden C:  Sexton P: Sexton

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU) Asst Refs: Jaco Peyper (SARU), James Leckie (ARU) TMO: Matt Goddard (ARU)

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Australia AUSTRALIA 27 - 19 WALES Wales

SUNCORP STADIUM, BRISBANE - Saturday 09 June 2012
KO: 20:00/11:00 BST HT: 10-3 Att: tbc

Australia Wales Tour 2012A late surge by Wales was not enough to save them as their lack-lustre start left them struggling to catch Australia. Australia had to make amends for their loss to Scotland earlier in the week and put to bed any talk of the side being too tired to win internationals. The Wallabies are mid-way through a long Super Rugby season and were suffering several injuries, which left 5th choice fly-half Berrick Barnes with much weight on his shoulders. However, the weather conditions were far better than their previous match, and positivity was flowing through the stadium as the anthems rang out.

As soon as the game began, it was clear that the Welsh were in for a rough match as Australia wasted no time in getting down to business. Barnes soon teed up to slot a penalty as the Wallabies pushed the Welsh about and forced errors at the ruck. The visitors tried to counter with a surge of attack but sloppy handling and a lack of inspiration quelled any hopes of piercing the defence. The Australians swiftly increased their lead with a score from Scott Higginbotham and a conversion from Barnes.

Australia Wales 1st TestWales responded with a penalty from Halfpenny but spent the remainder of the half failing to make the most of their opportunities. George North flew back to cover a loose chip ball from Will Genia but injured himself in the process, making the situation worsen for the Welsh as the half-time whistle blew and the score remained  10-3.

The restart was dire for the visitors as Genia, who had been causing havoc during the first half, dashed over the whitewash within a minute of kick-off. Barnes added the extras and Wales looked completely outplayed and out of control. Halfpenny was able to grab another 3-pointer but this was soon nullified by Barnes with a beautiful drop goal, whilst the Wallabies hammered the Welsh defence. Every time the visitors made progress towards the tryline, bad discipline or poor handling saw their efforts turn to nothing. Both sides saw players leave the pitch injured when Tatafu Polota-Nau and Scott Williams collided and were left seriously groggy from the experience.

Australia Wales 1st TestThe benches of both teams were emptied and fresh legs gave Wales an influx of energy. Halfpenny added a further penalty before Alex Cuthbert found a gap and crossed for a much-needed try. The successful conversion and another 3 points from Halfpenny put the Welsh within a point of the Wallabies, 20-19, in an excellent comeback at the end of the third quarter.

However, the Australians turned clinical as they shut down their opponents and swiftly moved up the field to put Pat McCabe over for a touchdown. Barnes slotted the conversion to take the final score to 27-19 and, although Wales tried desperately to increase their tally, it was all over. The Wallabies proved that they were still a team to watch, and Wales left with their tails between their legs.

Adding to their woes, Welsh No.8 Toby Faletau broke his hand during the match and will miss out on the rest of the tour, whilst the haematoma on wing George North’s thigh may keep him out of the next test match. Melbourne Rebels’ captain, Gareth Delve, who has 11 caps for Wales, has been brought in as cover for Faletau.

Australia’s coach, Robbie Deans, said that he was “really proud of the guys’ efforts,” but that he knows “what’s going to be coming next week, another hell of a fight”. So there will certainly be plenty to look forward to in the next round of this battle.

Australia15 Adam Ashley-Cooper 14 Cooper Vuna 13 Rob Horne 12 Pat McCabe 11 Digby Ioane 10 Berrick Barnes 9 Will Genia 8 Wycliff Palu 7 DAVID POCOCK (C) 6 Scott Higginbotham 5 Nathan Sharpe 4 Rob Simmons 3 Sekope Kepu 2 Tatafu Polota Nau 1 Benn Robinson BENCH: 16 Stephen Moore 17 Ben Alexander 18 Dave Dennis 19 Michael Hooper 20 Nic White* 21 Anthony Fainga’a 22 Mike Harris

SCORERS T: Higginbotham, Genia, McCabe C: Barnes (3) P: Barnes DG: Barnes

Wales15 Leigh Halfpenny 14 Alex Cuthbert 13 Jonathan Davies 12 Scott Williams 11 George North 10 Rhys Priestland 9 Mike Phillips 1 Gethin Jenkins 2 Ken Owens 3 Adam Jones 4 Bradley Davies 5 Luke Charteris 6 Dan Lydiate 7 SAM WARBURTON (C) 8 Toby Faletau BENCH: 16 Matthew Rees 17 Paul James 18 Alun Wyn Jones 19 Ryan Jones 20 Lloyd Williams 21 James Hook 22 Ashley Beck

SCORERS T: Cuthbert C: Halfpenny P: Halfpenny (4)

Referee: Craig Joubert (SARU) Asst Refs: Keith Brown (NZRU), Garratt Williamson (NZRU) TMO: Vinny Munro (NZRU)

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South Africa SOUTH AFRICA 22 - 17 ENGLAND England

MR PRICE KINGS PARK, DURBAN - Saturday 09 June 2012
KO: 17:00/16:00 BST HT: 6-6 Att: tbc

South Africa England 1st TestNOT since November 2006 had England beaten South Africa, and on African soil, it was June 2000 in Bloemfontein. The task ahead of England was quite monumental at Kings Park in Durban, but off the back of a very good Six Nations outing back in March, a new head coach, and a wholly different team that last faced the Springboks in 2010, hope was with the young side now building towards 2015. Though sadly, despite quite outstanding defence in the first half, hope was not enough and the Bokke took control and won with two tries to England’s one. Much had been made of the Springboks being in a state of flux too with their retirements post-world cup, new coach, Heyneke Meyer, and captain Jean de Villiers, but the homeside still boasted 458 caps in their starting XV as compared to England's 187, and experience eventually won out.

The visitors opened the scoring with a penalty from Owen Farrell, preceded by his requisite freaky stare. England matched South Africa up front in defence as well as attack, and as expected, kicking played a major part in the game plan, with Mike Brown matching Francois Hougaard and the Springbok effort well.

South Africa England 1st Test Dan Cole Chrish RobshawDebutant Tom Johnson made a magnificent debut, and in the 10th minute charged down a hoofing clearance kick. Captain Chris Robshaw further proved himself throughout the match, smothering Zane Kirchner after he stole the ball at the breakdown on half way. But as quickly as England headed into the Bokke 22, the ball headed to the opposite end of the field, and Ben Youngs clearance was swiftly intercepted, setting up a penalty for the home side which Morné Steyn deftly smacked between the uprights to equalise.

For a brief moment, England’s bulldozing machine Manu Tuilagi charged straight through the Bok defence over half way, but advantage was not taken of his abilities throughout as the ball was got not to him nearly enough to have the impact head coach, Stuart Lancaster had hoped. On the rare occasions Tuilagi was involved, he was efficiently shut down by the opposition.

England’s centres on the whole were not particularly effective, with Youngs’ box kicks appalling, some very mediocre offloading from Farrell who did not kick much at all other than four penalties in 80 minutes, and Tuilagi and Brad Barritt were given little opportunity to be effective.

Adding to the fray was the infamous Steve Walsh as referee, and many an obvious infringement was overlooked, whilst England were busted at the scrum repeatedly. Walsh even singled out Ben Morgan for a lecture as he accused the visitors of engaging too early, though how the No.8 could be responsible for this, one can only surmise. However, though he made a couple of interesting breaks, Morgan was another player that did not come even close to his potential.

South Africa England 1st Test Willem Alberts Mo BothaA cynical infringement from the Bokke defence gave Farrell the chance to take the lead again from within their 22, which he expedited efficiently with 25 minutes gone. But only moments passed before a penalty went to the home side and Morné Steyn equalised as the light rain came in.

Bryan Habana went down injured giving Chris Ashton a clear channel to break towards the 22 before Hougaard shut him down. The previously devastating wing appeared to recover temporarily before being forced off, replaced by Wynand Olivier.

Line out after line out went well for England as Dylan Hartley fed with efficiency and maintained a 100% record, whilst the Springboks lost three of theirs, and it was particularly heartening to see him take control of potentially heated situations and calm the parties involved rather than get stuck in. The Bokke’s final line out of the first half deep in England territory did not go to plan and the visitors thumped the ball into touch, going into the break at 6-all.

South Africa England 1st Test Morne Steyn tryThe restart saw a renewed Springbok side run out with a definitive plan, and to add to favour, Habana returned to the field, alongside another accomplished kicker, Patrick Lambie who replaced full back Kirchner. A massive kick put the ball right in England’s 22, and another pedestrian kick from Youngs allowed Jannie du Plessis to charge through the centre right back close to the whitewash. Despite the defence slowing the ball down, it was not enough and good recycling skills allowed Morné Steyn to score in the corner, though unusually he could not convert.

Barritt went off with an injury to his eye, and Toby Flood came on in his place, while rookie Coenie Oosthuizen replaced Jannie du Plessis. As time approached the final quarter, and more replacements headed onto the paddock, the Bokke managed to skilfully keep England pinned in their own 22 until an offload eventually ended up in the captain’s hands, and de Villiers went over for a second try. The conversion was missed again, but the Springboks were now 10 points clear at 16-6.

The fresh legs had an impact on both sides, and Ben Foden found the space to almost cross the tryline. The Bokke defended in their own 22 but handed over an easy penalty to Farrell to reduce the deficit by 3. But the home side still slightly flustered, a second penalty came England’s way; with 15 minutes to go, England trailed only 12-16.

The home side regrouped, headed back up the other end, and an infringement from Tuilagi gave Morné Steyn the chance to focus his abilities and add another penalty. The last ten minutes the pace picked up again, Lee Dickson replacing Youngs. But the final scrum saw England hand over another three points, 22-12.

All seven previously uncapped players got on the field, the last being England’s Jonathan Joseph two minutes from time, but the visitors were not yet done. JJ played his part well in the final play of the game, and superb passing kept the ball alive until Foden flew over in the corner. TMO Giulio de Santis confirmed the score, and though Farrell missed the conversion, the visitors showed a glimpse of what could be achieved with the correct combination of players.

South Africa15 Zane Kirchner 14 JP Pietersen 13 JEAN DE VILLIERS (C) 12 Frans Steyn 11 Bryan Habana 10 Morné Steyn 9 Francois Hougaard 1 Tendai Mtawarira 2 Bismarck du Plessis 3 Jannie du Plessis 4 Eben Etzebeth*5 Juandré Kruger* 6 Marcell Coetzee* 7 Willem Alberts 8 Pierre Spies BENCH: 16 Adriaan Strauss 17 Coenie Oosthuizen* 18 Flip van der Merwe 19 Keegan Daniel 20 Ruan Pienaar 21 Pat Lambie 22 Wynand Olivier

SCORERS T: Morne Steyn, de Villiers P: Morne Steyn (4)

England15 Mike Brown 14 Chris Ashton 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi 12 Brad Barritt 11 Ben Foden 10 Owen Farrell 9 Ben Youngs 1 Joe Marler* 2 Dylan Hartley 3 Dan Cole 4 Mouritz Botha 5 Geoff Parling 6 Tom Johnson* 7 CHRIS ROBSHAW (C) 8 Ben Morgan BENCH: 16 Lee Mears 17 Paul Doran Jones 18 Tom Palmer 19 Phil Dowson 20 Lee Dickson 21 Toby Flood 22 Jonathan Joseph*

SCORERS T: Foden P: Farrell (4)

Referee: Steve Walsh (ARU) Asst Refs: Alain Rolland (IRFU), Simon McDowell (IRFU) TMO: Giulio de Santis (FIR)

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Canada CANADA 28 - 25 USA USA

RICHARDSON STADIUM, KINGSTON - Saturday 09 June 2012
KO: 17:00/18:00 BST HT: 20-18 Att: 7,521

NEW skipper Aaron Carpenter scored the winning try as he led Canada to a 28-25 win over the USA Eagles and was named Man of the Match. It was the first test match for both nations since the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Played in front of 7,521 fans at Queen’s University’s Richardson Stadium, both sides scored three tries in a game that went from end to end. The difference was the goal-kicking of Canada fullback James Pritchard who slotted five from six for 13 points.

Canada v USACanada scored first in the 4th minute when Evans was able to dummy and run straight through the USA defence from 22 metres out, scoring a try near the posts. James Pritchard converted to make it 7-0 Canada. The USA replied 4 minutes later from a scrum 45 metres out from Canada’s goal line. The ball got out to centre Paul Emerick who was able to slip a tackle and send the ball to Chris Wyles. The USA fullback got the ball to winger Luke Hume, who still had work to do to score in the corner. Will Holder’s conversion attempt came up short. Canada held the lead, 7-5.

Canada hit back from a line out in the 12th minute as Ciaran Hearn was able to round the defence to score in the corner. Pritchard made the touchline conversion to increase the lead to 14-5. The first half was played very fairly with only 5 penalties awarded in total. Two goals kicked by the Americans and one by the home side meant the gap closed to 17-11.

In the 30th minute, the Eagles were able to work through the phases in Canada’s 22, testing the defence. A well-timed inside pass from Holder to James Paterson got the winger to the line where he was then able to reach over for the try. With the successful conversion, the U.S took the lead from the first time, 18-17.

Canada had the last say in the half when the USA conceded a penalty in the 34th minute. Pritchard kicked three more points to return the lead to Canada, 20-18 at the break.

In the 2nd half, the USA again started poorly kicking the restart out on the full. From the ensuing possession, Canada was able to work into the USA half where the Eagles conceded another penalty. Pritchard kicked the goal to extend the lead to 23-18.

In the 50th minute, Chauncey O'Toole’s foot tripped the USA skipper and was shown a yellow card. The USA was able to pressure their hosts with the man-advantage but the defence held firm with only giving away a missed penalty 30 metres out in the 58th minute.  

Canada USA Scott LaValla tryWith 10 minutes remaining, breaking into the USA 22, DTH van der Merwe dummied right but then popped left allowing Carpenter to score in the corner, after outrunning the cover defence. The conversion was missed as Canada increased the lead to 28-18.

The USA came back hard in the dying minutes and the Canadian defence held until the 78th, when flanker Scott Lavalla barged over near the posts. Holder’s conversion made it 28-25, which was the final score.

Match report courtesy of Rugby Canada

Canada15 James Pritchard 14 Sean Duke 13 DTH Van der Merwe 12 Mike Scholz 11 Ciaran Hearn 10 Matt Evans 9 Sean White 1 Hubert Buydens 2 Ryan Hamilton 3 Andrew Tiedemann 4 Brett Beukeboom 5 Tyler Hotson 6 Nanyak Dala 7 Chauncey O'Toole 8 AARON CARPENTER (C) BENCH: 16 Jason Marshall 17 Tom Dolezels 18 Jebb Sinclair 19 Tyler Ardron 20 Kyle Armstrong 21 Phil Mackenzie 22 Jeff Hassler

SCORERS T: Evans, Hearn, Carpenter C: Pritchard (2) P: Pritchard (3)

USA15 Chris Wyles 14 James Paterson 13 Paul Emerick 12 Andrew Suniula 11 Luke Hume 10 Will Holder 9 Mike Petri 1 Mike MacDonald 2 Chris Biller 3 Eric Fry 4 Louis Stanfill 5 Brian Doyle 6 Scott Lavalla 7 Andrew Durutalo 8 TODD CLEVER (C) BENCH: 16 Derek Asbun 17 Shawn Pittman 18 Tom Katzfey 19 Taylor Mokate 20 Shaun Davies 21 Roland Suniula 22 Colin Hawley

SCORERS T: Hume, Paterson, Lavala C: Holder (2) P: Holder (2)

Referee: Marius Jonker (SARU) Asst Refs: Dave Pearson (RFU), Stuart Berry (SARU)

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Argentina ARGENTINA 37 - 22 ITALY Italy

ESTADIO DEL BICENTENARIO, SAN JUAN - Saturday 09 June 2012
KO: 16:10/20:10 BST HT: 13-10 Att: c.10,000

ITALY began their tour of the Americas at San Juan, but could not overcome the driven Pumas, who are heading into an exciting era in their rugby history by playing in the inaugural Rugby Championship alongside the southern hemisphere’s top three teams in July. And it was captain, Felipe Contepomi who racked up 22 of Argentina’s 37 points, though the Azzurri did score a very respectable 22 of their own.

Argentina Italy

Kris Burton opened the scoring with a penalty for Italy just 3 minutes from the start, but Contepomi equalised half way through the first quarter. In a physical encounter, Italy raced ahead by a score after Julio Farias Cabello was shown a yellow card, and the visitors were awarded a penalty try which Burton converted at the start of the second quarter.

Argentina Italy Felipe ContepomiItaly’s dominance drew to a close after half an hour when the Pumas responded with a sustained attack, resulting in flanker Tomás Leonardi crossing the tryline to score, confirmed by the TMO. Contepomi added to his two earlier penalties with the conversion, and the homeside ran into the break with a slight advantage, 13-10.

The Pumas captain returned and added to his points tally quickly with a penalty, but from a strong set piece, scrum half Edoardo Gori picked up from the base of the scrum and ran in a second try, reducing the deficit to just a point when he found the whitewash in the 54th minute.

The Argentineans reacted quickly, and Rodrigo Roncero evaded tackles that came his way long enough to find the line for a second try. The conversion took the Pumas 23-15 ahead.

The Azzurri fiercely matched the home side in attack and defence, and Alberto Sgarbi was next to cross the all important tryline. But after consultation between referee Jérôme Garces, and the TMO Shaun Veldsman, the play was ruled as a no try.

Argentina ItalyHeading into the final quarter, Italy head coach, Jacques Brunel began to ring in the changes in the front row, and the impact on the game was palpable. The game continued in an exciting fashion, the Italians pushing Argentina hard, but they could to quite finish their moves with the pace required to turn momentum into points.

Argentina responded with replacement wing, Manuel Montero almost crossing, and the quick defence could not prevent a third and excellent try from Leonardo Senatore, converted by Contepomi. The captain then ran in a converted one of his own five minutes from time, putting the Pumas in front 37-15.

The final moments before the siren, winning his 90th cap for the Azzurri, Mauro Bergamasco made one last attack scoring one last try for posterity, converted by Riccardo Bocchino, closing out the game 37-22 to the Pumas.

Argentina15 Joaquín Tuculet 14 Belisario Agulla 13 Gabriel Ascárate  12 FELIPE CONTEPOMI (C) 11 Agustín Oscar Gosio 10 Ignacio Mieres 9 Martín Landajo 1 Rodrigo Roncero 2 Eusebio Guiñazú 3 Francisco Gómez Kodela 4 Esteban Lozada 5 Julio Farias Cabello 6 Genaro Fessia 7 Tomás Leonardi 8 Leonardo Senatore BENCH: 16 Bruno Postiglioni 17 Francisco Nahuel Tetaz 18 Benjamín Macome 19 Tomás de la Vega 20 Tomás Cubelli 21 Manuel Montero 22 Román Miralles

SCORERS T: Leonardi, Roncero, Senatore, Contepomi C: Contepomi (4) P: Contepomi (3) Yellow Card Farias Cabello

Italy15 Luke McLean 14 Giovanbattista Venditti 13 Roberto Quartaroli 12 Alberto Sgarbi 11 Tommaso Benvenuti 10 Kristopher Burton 9 Edoardo Gori 8 Robert Barbieri 7 Mauro Bergamasco 6 Alessandro Zanni 5 MARCO BORTOLAMI (C) 4 Antonio Pavanello 3 Martin Castrogiovanni 2 Carlo Festuccia 1 Alberto De Marchi* BENCH: 16 Davide Giazzon* 17 Lorenzo Romano* 18 Joshua Furno 19 Simone Favaro 20 Tito Tebaldi 21 Riccardo Bocchino 22 Giulio Toniolatti

SCORERS T: Penalty Try, Gori, Bergamasco C: Burton, Bocchino P: Burton

Referee: Jérôme Garces (FFR) Asst Refs: George Clancy (IRFU), Christie du Preez (SARU) TMO: Shaun Veldsman (SARU)

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Week 2

SA BaaBaas South England Canada Italy Fiji ScotlandNew Zealand Ireland Australia Wales South Africa EnglandArgentina France


South Africa SA BARBARIANS SOUTH 26 - 54 ENGLAND England

GWK PARK, KIMBERLEY - Wednesday 13 June 2012
KO: 15:00/14:00 BST HT: 14-25 Att: TBC

SA Barbarians England SouthTHE Barbarians were conceived by Oxford and Cambridge Blues, and thus in honoured tradition, the SA Barbarians South ran out in light and dark blue jerseys at GWK Park in Kimberley, the diamond-mining town home of Currie Cup team, the Griquas.

The team was made up of players from South Africa’s First Division southern Currie Cup, barely RFU Championship level, so the England elite should have run riot over this almost semi-professional scratch side. The 26-54 score flattered an unimpressive England immensely, and was not reflective of the passion, endurance and skill level that caused the visitors some serious problems throughout. In a match that produced twelve tries, four came from the homeside; a focussed England team would never have allowed an arguably amateur side to leak even one. As for the kicking quality, a certain Charlie Hodgson fell back to his paltry fashion, missing four conversions and two penalties totalling 14 points. BaaBaas fly half, Elgar Watts, missed only one conversion. And the referee - SARU’s Jonathan Kaplan - mediocre at best though favoured neither side.

Within 3 minutes the Barbarians were 7-0 ahead, Jacques Engelbrecht taking credit for the driving maul from a simple 5m lineout. England were in complacent mode while the BaaBaas were determined to show what they were capable of fronting up to any team that challenged them.

Danny CareNot until the 17th minute did England take the lead from Thomas Waldrom’s first try thanks to some excellent work from Danny Care, finally returning to the England fold after his December folly. The scrum half was almost the only player worthy of note, even sneaking in a try himself, alongside possibly Christian Wade and his hat trick, and replacement hooker Tom Youngs.

By the start of the second quarter, a perfect chip forward from Care was chased by Wade to dot down, and finally England switched up into second gear for an 18-7 lead. This was promptly followed by the Quins boys working in tandem with a Jordan Turner-Hall offload to George Lowe who sauntered over the whitewash.

After half an hour, Kaplan finally lost patience with England’s infringements and following three warnings to Harlequins’ newest England captain, George Robson, showed yellow to James Haskell. The globe-trotting flanker showed little benefit of his widened experience playing in Japan and now Super Rugby for the Highlanders, and definitely did himself no favours in pushing for a starting XV position in the Test side.

With the visitors down to 14 men and a lighter pack, the BaaBaas took full advantage and heaved over the tryline. Watts converted Hannes Franklin’s try, and that was the final score before the teams broke for halftime, SA BaaBaas South 14, England 25.

Two minutes into the second half, Haskell returned to bring England back up to a full XV, but promising wing Lowe -yet to be capped- was driven off the pitch on a stretcher cart (but sitting upright), replaced by Lee Dickson out of position.

Half an hour to go and the replacements began to make an appearance, whilst Thomas ‘the tank’ Waldrom -still awaiting his first cap- heaved over the line for his second try, confirmed by the TMO. Hodgson continued to miss his target.

England defence waned again and Norman Nelson charged through a gaping hole to score for the BaaBaas. Watts converted, and almost ran through for his own try immediately, but for an ankle tap that took him down.

With the final quarter fast approaching, England finally kicked up into the next gear - though far from optimum - and excellent hands allowed lock Graham Kitchener to score. Soon after a turnover for the visitors, Anthony Allen offloaded to Wade to run in under the posts, a score easy enough for even Hodgson not to miss from directly in front, giving a 42-21 lead.

But the BaaBaas wasted no time reciprocating the opposition, deftly turning over a ball sent out wide on their own 22. Replacement centre Ntabeni Dukisa ran the length of the pitch entirely unhindered to bring the Barbarians to their final score of 26, as no conversion followed.

With just fifteen minutes remaining, the homeside had run out of like for like replacements, and captain Wayne Stevens desperately needed to come off, but with no backs remaining, he soldiered on but weakened a formidable team, who managed to show England in an unforgiving light.

Yet another perfect chip forward from Care was landed on by Allen, but the TMO confirmed loss of control. SA Barbarians England South Christian WadeWade almost completed his hat trick, but was shuffled into touch just before he reached his goal. But then Care showed his sniping prowess from the base of the breakdown, going in low and fast to score under the posts for try no. #8. Hodgson converted with four minutes remaining.

As the clock ticked over 80 minutes, England were camped out deep in the opposition 22; the ref called one last penalty for a high tackle on Wade. The visitors opted for a scrum, and Care moved the ball out quickly enough for Wade to collect his third try, and Hodgson to miss yet another conversion, leaving many many questions left to be answered by players and coaches from the touring side, whilst the BaaBaas could walk away proud to have taken the game to England.

South AfricaSA BARBARIANS (SOUTH)
15 Jacquin Jansen (Boland) 14 Cornal Hendricks (Boland) 13 Kempie Rautenbach (SWD) 12 WAYNE STEVENS (C | EP Kings) 11 Norman Nelson (EP Kings) 10 Elgar Watts (Boland) 9 Boela Abrahams (EP Kings) 8 Jacques Engelbrecht (EP Kings) 7 Shaun Raubenheimer (SWD) 6 Mpho Mbiyozo (EP Kings) 5 David Bulbring (EP Kings) 4 Nolan Clark (Boland) 3 Ross Geldenhuys (Boland) 2 Hannes Franklin (EP Kings) 1 Corne Fourie (Pumas) BENCH: 16 Clemen Lewis (Boland) 17 Dean Hopp (SWD) 18 Samora Fihlani (Border) 19 Zandre Jordaan (Boland) 20 Ntando Kebe (Border) 21 Ricardo Croy (Boland) 22 Ntabeni Dukisa (Border)

SCORERS T: Engelbrecht, Franklin, Nelson, Dukisa C: Watts (3)

England15 Alex Goode 14 George Lowe 13 Anthony Allen 12 Jordan Turner-Hall 11 Christian Wade 10 Charlie Hodgson 9 Danny Care 1 Matt Mullan 2 Joe Gray 3 Paul Doran Jones 4 Graham Kitchener 5 GEORGE ROBSON (C) 6 James Haskell 7 Carl Fearns 8 Thomas Waldrom BENCH: 16 Tom Youngs 17 Rupert Harden 18 Tom Palmer 19 Jamie Gibson 20 Lee Dickson 21 Phil Dowson 22 Nick Abendanon

SCORERS T: Waldrom (2), Wade (3), Lowe, Kitchener, Care C: Hodgson (4) P: Hodgson (2) Yellow Card James Haskell

Man of the Match: Thomas Waldrom (England)

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (SARU)

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Canada CANADA 16 - 25 ITALY Italy

BMO FIELD, TORONTO - Friday 15 June 2012
KO: 19:00/00:00* BST HT: 13-9 Att: 12,220

Canada Italy Martin CastrogiovanniUNDER the captaincy of Martin Castrogiovanni, the hot boot of Italy fly-half Kris Burton was instrumental in Canada’s downfall as the Italians walked away with a 25-16 victory at Toronto’s BMO Field Friday night.
 
Played in front of 12,220 fans, Canada took an early lead in the game and was 13-9 ahead at half-time. But the dominant Italian scrum handcuffed the Canadians in the second half. Burton kicked 20 of his team’s 25 points, missing only one kick on the night. Canada fullback James Pritchard was also accurate, but had fewer chances at goal. Pritchard did manage to kick 11 points on four shots at goal, which put him into second on Canada’s list of all time points-scorers. Playing a more expansive game early on, Canada was stymied by Italy in the second half.
 
Canada started the match brightly, disrupting Italy’s throw on the first line out of the match. They spun the ball wide and earned a penalty, which saw them take an early 3-0 lead. Italy replied with a penalty soon after to level the score at 3 apiece.
 
A turning point for Canada was the loss of prop Hubert Buydens in the 17th minute with an ankle injury.
 
Canada Italy Conor Trainor tryBoth sides traded penalty goals before Pritchard took a mark in his own 22m off an Italian kick and launched a towering bomb. The Italian scrum-half Tito Tebaldi could not hold on to it and Canadian winger Conor Trainor scooped on the loose ball and ran it in for a try under the posts to make it 13-6 Canada. Burton added one more penalty to make it 13-9 at the break.
 
Italy struck first after the break, with Burton punishing the Canadians for a ruck infringement to reduce the lead to just one point, 13-12.

Canada was again penalised for a ruck infringement in the 50th minute and the resulting kick for touch gave Italy a lineout just 10 metres out from the Canadian line. Italy perfectly executed a driving maul off the line out to score their only try of the match and take the lead for the first time. Burton converted the try to take the score to 19-13.

Canada Italy 2012Off the resulting kick-off Italy were penalised for obstruction and Pritchard was successful with the three points, closing the gap to 19-16. That was as close as the Canadians would come.
 
Italy won a scrum penalty right in front of Canada’s post and Burton made no mistake, extending the lead to 22-16. Italy’s scrum dominance continued to earn them penalties. Burton extended the score to 25-16 with less than eight minutes remaining.
 
Canada finished the match with a strong surge on the Italian line, however the Azzurri’s defence held strong to preserve their nine point lead and 12th spot in the official IRB world rankings.

Match report courtesy of Rugby Canada

Canada15 James Pritchard 14 Conor Trainor 13 DTH Van der Merwe 12 Mike Scholz 11 Phil Mackenzie 10 Matt Evans 9 Sean White 1 Hubert Buydens 2 Mike Pletch 3 Jason Marshall 4 Jebb Sinclair 5 Tyler Hotson 6 Tyler Ardron 7 Chauncey O'Toole 8 AARON CARPENTER (C) BENCH: 16 Andrew Tiedemann  17 Tom Dolezels 18 Jon Phelan 19 Nanyak Dala 20 Ed Fairhurst 21 Liam Underwood 22 Ciaran Hearn

SCORERS T: Trainor C: Pritchard P: Pritchard (3)

Italy15 Alberto Benettin* 14 Giovambattista Venditti 13 Andrea Pratichetti* 12 Alberto Sgarbi 11 Tommaso Benvenuti 10 Kristopher Burton 9 Tito Tebaldi 8 Robert Barbieri 7 Simone Favaro 6 Alessandro Zanni 5 Antonio Pavanello 4 Joshua Furno 3 MARTIN CASTROGIOVANNI (C) 2 Tommaso D’Apice 1 Michele Rizzo BENCH: 16 Carlo Festuccia 17 Lorenzo Romano 18 Marco Fuser* 19 Mauro Bergamasco 20 Edoardo Gori 21 Riccardo Bocchino 22 Giulio Toniolatti

SCORERS T: D'Apice C: Burton P: Burton (6)

Referee: Dave Pearson (RFU) Asst Refs: Stuart Berry (SARU), tbc (USA)

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Fiji FIJI 25 - 37 SCOTLAND Scotland

CHURCHILL PARK, LAUTOKA - Saturday 16 June 2012
KO: 14:00/03:00 BST HT: 11-24 Att: tbc

Fiji Scotland Tim VisserSCOTLAND continued their winning run by recording their second victory on tour in Fiji on an afternoon that should have been just like a British summer’s day in 30˚ heat. But back home as fans suffer torrential rain, flooding and weather more akin to a February winter’s day, some stayed up to watch Fiji come within just 2 points with 10 minutes to go, but a brace of tries from debutant Tim Visser sealed the visitors’ victory in Lautoka.

Early ill-discipline from Scotland allowed Fiji to take the lead with two penalties from Jonetani Ralulu; within 7 minutes they were 6-0 up, and it would have been 9-0 had Ralulu’s third penalty from 50m found its target.

Fiji Scotland scrumParity was restored after a break from Max Evans, and good teamwork allowed fly half Greig Laidlaw to snipe around the defence to cross the whitewash for his first points of a total of 23. Converting his own try, Laidlaw put Scotland 7-6 ahead, and the homeside never quite managed to catch up again.

A penalty try took the Scottish lead to 14-6 in the second quarter, before replacement flanker, Josefa Domolailai scrambled over the line for Fiji’s first try of three. This time Ralulu could not find his mark, but he was not to fail again.

Another penalty and Visser’s first try, converted by Laidlaw, came before referee Jaco Peyper’s half time whistle, and the visitors headed into the break 24-11 clear.

The flying Fijians ran out with a vengeance, and scrum half Nikola Matawalu made a spectacular break, but the Scots defence prevented him from making anything of it. Soon after, infringement from the homeside allowed Laidlaw to knock over his second penalty from directly in front of the posts.

Fiji Scotland Tuapati Talemaitoga Just moments later, in typical 7s style, Waisea Nayacalevu charged over the tryline, and then with half an hour left on the clock, the replacements began to appear on the field.

The next score came from another debutant, Metuisela Talebula, and the conversion from Ralulu brought the Fijians within touching distance, 25-27. But as quickly as the Fijians narrowed the gap, the Scots forced it wide open again to 25-30, starting with a final penalty from Laidlaw.

Visser, the Dutchman who only qualified for Scotland through the IRB’s 3 year residency law 4 days ago, bypassed all defence at some pace to run in his second try. With just 5 minutes remaining, Fiji Scotland Captain Ross FordLaidlaw’s conversion sealed the win with some conviction in an exciting match.

Scottish Rugby captain, Ross Ford was thrilled with a second consecutive win away from home, the first being an historic one over Australia after 30 years last week, and a final win in Samoa on the 23rd would show Andy Robinson’s tenure as head coach in an excellent light after returning home triumphant from Scotland’s last Summer Tour to Argentina in 2010.

Fiji15 Isimeli Koniferedi 14 Waisea Nayacalevu 13 Vereniki Goneva 12 Aloisio Buto 11 Watisoni Votu 10 Jonetani Ralulu 9 Nikola Matawalu 8 NETANI TALEI (C) 7 Malakai Ravulo 6 Iliesa Ratuva 5 Leone Nakarawa 4 Apisai Naikatini 3 Setefano Somoca 2 Viliame Veikoso 1 Jeremaia Yanuyanutawa BENCH: 16 Tuapati Talemaitoga 17 Waisea Daveta or Graham Dewes 18 Josefa Domolailai 19 Kelepi Ketedromo 20 Nemia Kenatale 21 Kameli Ratuvou 22 Metuisela Talebula*

SCORERS T: Domolailai, Nayacalevu, Talebula C: Ralulu (2) P: Ralulu (2)

Scotland15 Stuart Hogg 14 Max Evans 13 Nick De Luca 12 Matt Scott 11 Tim Visser* 10 Greig Laidlaw 9 Mike Blair 1 Ryan Grant 2 ROSS FORD (C) 3 Euan Murray 4 Alastair Kellock 5 Richie Gray 6 Alasdair Strokosch  7 Ross Rennie 8 John Barclay BENCH: 16 Scott Lawson 17 Geoff Cross 18 Tom Ryder 19 Richie Vernon 20 Chris Cusiter 21 Duncan Weir 22 Sean Lamont

SCORERS T: Laidlaw, Penalty Try, Visser (2) C: Laidlaw (4) P: Laidlaw (3)

Referee: Jaco Peyper (SARU) Asst Refs: Ian Smith (ARU), Andrew Lees (ARU)

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New Zealand NEW ZEALAND 22 - 19 IRELAND Ireland

RUGBY LEAGUE PARK, CHRISTCHURCH - Saturday 16 June 2012
KO: 19:35/08:35 BST HT: 9-10 Att: 20,669

IRELAND stepped up a gear for their second test against New Zealand and took the game to the opposition, matching them at every turn, but were beaten at the last by a drop goal from Dan Carter.

New Zealand Ireland Steinlager Series 2012

It was the first time the All Blacks had returned to Christchurch since the 2011 earthquake, which caused so much tragedy and destruction, and the homecoming gave the atmosphere an extra special buzz. The anthems had more verve, the Haka was performed with more passion, and the crowd roared as the match kicked off.

Twice the Irish took the lead from the formidable All Blacks, and for the final 10 minutes held them to a draw until Carter whacked over the final flourish in the final minute to win 22-19.

Ireland had learnt from their previous mistakes and got off to a storming start, Conor Murray leaping over from short range for a try after just 9 minutes. New Zealand had held some early pressure but this did not faze the Irish and they hit back with full force. The Irish held their own in the scrums and mauls, proving that they had the strength to take on the fierce All Blacks pack. Jonathan Sexton added the extras and it was a bright beginning for the visitors.

New Zealand Ireland 2nd Test Sean O'BrienAlthough the homeside tried to pierce the defence and equal the scores, the Irish closed them down quickly and their attempts came to nothing. This flustered the All Blacks and soon Sexton was teeing up for a penalty as Owen Franks came in at the side of a ruck. By the end of the first quarter, Ireland were ahead 10-0.

New Zealand eventually got their scoreboard ticking, applying enough pressure to grab a penalty within range of the posts. Carter stepped up and slotted the 3-pointer to reduce the deficit. The All Blacks did not settle down after this though, producing messy play culminating in Israel Dagg throwing a loose pass into touch, ruining a good chance. However, Carter managed to smack over a further two penalties to bring the gap to just a point before the break. He had a chance to take the lead in the 39th minute but was unable to find the distance, leaving the score 9-10.

At the restart it was clear that New Zealand had been thinking hard over half-time, returning to the pitch with more confidence and fervour. It paid off instantly. Aaron Smith finished a stunning piece of play to give the All Blacks the lead and Carter made no mistake with the conversion. However, Sexton kept the Irish in touch with another penalty just 4 minutes in, 16-13, and the visitors did not shy away from the more physical parts of the second half.

Both sides had moments of unease as a poor pass or kick halted their attacks, but the All Blacks became extremely frustrated with this and it did not take long for tempers to fray. Every time Carter added a penalty, Sexton replied with one of his own until, finally, the Irish drew level at 19-all with only 10 minutes of play left.

Carter had tried everything to create some space between the scorelines, even throwing in a rather awful attempt at a drop goal, but it was to no avail. The Irish had an answer for each kick and step up an exciting finish for all watching.

New Zealand Ireland 2nd Test Dan Carter drop goalThis was the last thing the All Blacks had expected or wanted and their irritation showed in the break out of more scuffles, before Dagg was shown a yellow for tackling a man off the ball.  New Zealand’s sportsmanship may have diminished but their determination certainly had not. With one final surge, the All Blacks piled into the Irish 22, setting up a scrum. Carter had missed earlier drop goals but he saved his accuracy for the most important moment. His boot swung true and the ball sailed through the posts to win the match, leaving the Irish devastated.

Many will agree that the All Blacks were helped out somewhat by referee Nigel Owens when he called a penalty against Ireland for wheeling the scrum when really they were simply winning the scrum. However, refereeing error or not, the All Blacks scrapped a victory, which was enough to save their blushes.

New Zealand15 Israel Dagg 14 Zac Guildford 13 Conrad Smith 12 Sonny Bill Williams 11 Julian Savea 10 Daniel Carter 9 Aaron Smith 8 Kieran Read 7 RICHIE McCAW (C) 6 Adam Thomson 5 Samuel Whitelock 4 Brodie Retallick 3 Owen Franks 2 Andrew Hore 1 Tony Woodcock BENCH: 16 Hikawera Elliot 17 Ben Franks 18 Ali Williams 19 Sam Cane* 20 Piri Weepu 21 Aaron Cruden 22 Ben Smith

SCORERS T: Aaron Smith C: Carter P: Carter (4) DG: Carter Yellow Card Dagg

Ireland15 Rob Kearney 14 Fergus McFadden 13 BRIAN O’DRISCOLL (C) 12 Gordon D’Arcy 11 Andrew Trimble 10 Jonathan Sexton 9 Conor Murray 1 Cian Healy 2 Rory Best 3 Mike Ross 4 Dan Touhy 5 Donnacha Ryan 6 Kevin McLaughlin 7 Sean O’Brien 8 Jamie Heaslip BENCH: 16 Sean Cronin 17 Declan Fitzpatrick 18 Donncha O’Callaghan 19 Peter O’Mahony 20 Eoin Reddan 21 Ronan O’Gara 22 Simon Zebo

SCORERS T: Murray C: Sexton P: Sexton (4)

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales) Asst Refs: Romaine Poite (FFR), Pascal Gauzere (FFR) TMO: Matt Goddard (ARU)

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Australia AUSTRALIA 25 - 23 WALES Wales

JAMES BEVAN TROPHY
ETIHAD STADIUM, MELBOURNE - Saturday 16 June 2012
KO: 20:00/11:00 BST HT: 13-7 Att: 33,888

Australia Wales Tour 2012AUSTRALIA snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a last minute penalty to steal the win from a dejected Wales side, and since its creation in 2007, yet again claimed the James Bevan Trophy for the fifth time in six years. The scoreline rocked back and forth for the duration, but in the end the Wallabies emerged triumphant 25-23.

Berrick Barnes, who contributed 17 of Australia’s 25 points at fly half, almost did not make the match from his home in Sydney after his wife, Bec gave birth to baby Archie 6 weeks prematurely on Friday night. He arrived just in time for the 6.30 team meeting before kick off at 8.

Australia Wales 2nd Test George North tryThe Welsh began with a bang, George North racing over for a try after just 2 minutes. Leigh Halfpenny converted neatly and it was clear that Wales had learnt some tricks over the past week. This energetic start was soon quelled by Australia though, as the Wallabies locked on to the ball and held the majority of possession. Berrick Barnes slotted his first penalty to reduce the deficit, however, the homeside were struggling with the scrum. Early engagements caused problems for the Wallabies and gave the Welsh a platform to spring from. Meanwhile, the visitors were taking a hammering against their defensive line, but stood firm.

It was inevitable that with all the possession and pressure, Wales could not help but infringe at breakdowns and Australia would pick up further points. With just 10 minutes remaining of the half, Barnes added another penalty to bring the Wallabies just a point adrift.

Australia Wales 2nd Test Berrick BarnesWelsh hopes of holding off the opposition until the break were shattered in the 38th minute when Barnes broke and threw a beautiful dummy before offloading to Rob Horne for the touchdown. The fly half added the extras, leaving the score 13-7 when the whistle blew on half time. Australia were able to return down the tunnel happy in the knowledge that they had given Wales something to think about during the break. However, their visitors had made the match hard work for them so far and this did not change after the restart.

Again it took all of 2 minutes for the Welsh to make an impact after the interval, with Jonathan Davies thundering downfield to jump on a loose ball for a score. Halfpenny added the extras to take the lead again, 14-13. Although it was not a pretty try, it was a crucial one.

The elation did not last long though, with Barnes swiftly teeing up as Wales gifted the Wallabies another penalty by not releasing. However, Halfpenny responded with one of his own to regain the one point advantage; the Welsh defence worked hard to maintain it too. 10 minutes into the half and Wales led again, 17-16.

Australia Wales 2nd Test scrum WalesAfter the scrum continued to crumble, attempts at the Welsh tryline provided no points for the Wallabies, though Barnes eventually grabbed another 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter. But Cooper Vuna took Halfpenny in the air, causing the young fly half to crash to the ground horridly, earning a yellow card and thus a one-man deficit for the Wallabies. Thankfully, Halfpenny was shaken but not hurt by the fall so still managed to slot the ensuing penalty from a distance, showing what a true professional he is. Vuna was later cited on two counts for the dangerous tackle and tackling a player in the air.

Barnes managed one more penalty, but after Halfpenny stole the lead back one final time at 23-22, the Wallaby picked up an injury at the restart. The tension in the stadium was palpable with just 10 minutes left on the clock, and after another scrum collapse, a match-winning penalty directly in front of the posts for the homeside went awry and Barnes had to be replaced with Queensland Reds fly half Mike Harris.

Australia Wales 2nd Test Mike Harris penaltyWales kept their nerve and composure for the remaining time until the final minute, handing over a last minute penalty. Harris kicked to the corner, and Wales conceded again at the rolling maul, giving the fly half a difficult angle but shot at goal all the same just as the clock struck 80 minutes.

Harris stepped up to take the all-important kick, held his nerve, took a couple of deep breaths and kicked. The ball soared through the posts and Welsh faces dropped as the assistant referees raised their flags. It was all over; Wales had come so close only to fall at the final hurdle.

Australia15 Adam Ashley-Cooper 14 Cooper Vuna 13 Rob Horne 12 Pat McCabe 11 Digby Ioane 10 Berrick Barnes 9 Will Genia 8 Wycliff Palu 7 DAVID POCOCK (C) 6 Scott Higginbotham 5 Nathan Sharpe 4 Rob Simmons 3 Sekope Kepu 2 Tatafu Polota Nau 1 Benn Robinson BENCH: 16 Stephen Moore 17 Ben Alexander 18 Dave Dennis 19 Michael Hooper 20 Nic White 21 Anthony Fainga’a 22 Mike Harris

SCORERS T: Horne C: Barnes P: Barnes (5), Harris Yellow Card Vuna

Wales15 Leigh Halfpenny 14 Alex Cuthbert 13 Jonathan Davies 12 Ashley Beck 11 George North 10 Rhys Priestland 9 Mike Phillips 1 Gethin Jenkins 2 Matthew Rees 3 Adam Jones 4 Bradley Davies 5 Alun Wyn Jones 6 Dan Lydiate 7 SAM WARBURTON (C) 8 Ryan Jones BENCH: 16 Richard Hibbard 17 Paul James 18 Luke Charteris 19 Justin Tipuric 20 Rhys Webb 21 James Hook 22 Scott Williams

SCORERS T: North, Davies C: Halfpenny (2) P: Halfpenny (3)

Referee: Chris Pollock (NZRU) Asst Refs: Craig Joubert (SARU), Garratt Williamson (NZRU) TMO: Vinny Munro (NZRU)

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South Africa SOUTH AFRICA 37 - 26 ENGLAND England

ELLIS PARK, JOHANNESBURG - Saturday 16 June 2012
KO: 17:00/16:00 BST HT: 25-10 Att: 60,101

SPRINGBOKS versus England Rugby Round 2...ding ding! Had anyone just seen the first 40 minutes or the 25-10 score at half time, they would have been perfectly correct to assume that visitors were en route to a proper routing by the Bokke. But in the second half, England turned the game around and had the upper hand, scoring 17 points to South Africa’s 11, though it was not enough.

Francois Pienaar Nelson Mandela RWC 1995 Ellis ParkThe last time England beat the Springboks on the high veldt at Ellis Park -the hallowed ground engraved in history where Francois Pienaar famously lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy in 1995 with Nelson Mandela by his side- it was 3rd June 1972, decades before these rugby boys were even born. And despite a magnificent second half effort, that record was not to be broken 40 years on. The Bokke were ultimately too strong and experienced to let these young pups win out, though they did have more than a moment of worry once the visitors dropped their shackles.

The atmosphere was electric as Morné Steyn kicked off proceedings, and the Springboks slow marched into England territory before Bryan Habana broke into the 22. The first scrum 5m from England’s tryline went to the homeside.

Sadly, the combination of Alain Rolland presiding, and the utterly hopeless Steve Walsh assisting led the first setpiece turning into a much talked-about farce from which the first points were won. IRB Law 20.7 (c) states If the ball is not played by a front row player, and it goes straight through the tunnel and comes out behind the foot of a far prop without being touched, the scrum half must throw it in again. This is exactly what occurred. Both referees were clueless, Walsh said “that’s fine” and play continued for Willem Alberts pick up and run in to score a soft try. This level of refereeing set the tone for the entire match: useless.

South Africa England 2nd Test Bismarck du Plessis tryThe Bokke began as they meant to go on, running rings around a very amateur England side that looked about as clever as an Under 17s team. Morné Steyn may have missed the first conversion, but he did not make that mistake again in a hurry, so when the hugely talented hooker, Bismarck du Plessis dragged himself over Jonathan Joseph -who made an impressive start and tried his utmost to hold the ball up- and the tryline, and TMO Giulio de Santis confirmed the grounding, Steyn increased the scoreline to 12-0 after just 7 minutes.

The Springboks handed over the first of their 13 penalties and Toby Flood opened the scoring for the visitors, though England racked up 12 penalties of their own. But Toby Flood had a most impressive match, popping up everywhere on the park, and cleverly shutting down Frans Steyn, backed up by Chris Robshaw who again put in an outstanding performance. South Africa England 2nd Test Ben Youngs Toby FloodBut the player most worthy of mention this week was scrum half Ben Youngs, who completely turned round his dire performance from the previous week to become England shining star, starting by single-handedly preventing a third try from the Boks over the tryline. But with no support, the penalty went to the homeside and Morné Steyn matched points to minutes with a 15-3 lead.

After a repeated battering from the Springboks, Francois Hougaard deftly crossed the whitewash, and Steyn added the extras for a 22-3 lead as the first quarter came to an end. Any rustiness the Bokke had experienced had definitely fallen away since last week, and England’s prospects were not looking healthy after just 20 minutes.

All was not lost, however, and a wry smile came over Stuart Lancaster’s face after following a penalty from the scrum, Youngs wasted no time shifting fast, offloaded to Flood who flanked by Chris Ashton, charged over the tryline, followed up with a conversion. Fifteen minutes remained of the first half.

Bismarck du Plessis remarkably kept popping up on both wings, but as he tripped up, Morné Steyn grabbed the ball to thump over a drop goal, taking the score to 25-10. The score halted there for the final 10 minutes, but not the action. Chris Ashton jumped on the ball as JP Pietersen chased it into England’s 22, and Joseph saved a high ball from reaching its destination over the tryline.

Morné Steyn missed another penalty, but soon another opportunity arose just over halfway in Bokke territory. This time Frans Steyn, renowned for his long range kicking, made an attempt from 56 metres which just fell short. Patrick Lambie tapped the ball into touch for the teams to head down the tunnel.

England did not make a good restart, and Morné Steyn added another 3-pointer. Meanwhile, Wynand Olivier replaced Lambie for the Boks, Thomas Waldrom came on for Ben Morgan at No.8 to earn his first cap, Tom Palmer for Mo Botha, and Alex Corbisiero arrived in the front row as a blood replacement for Dan Cole. And then England found form with half an hour left.

South Africa England 2nd TestFlood set up a 5m lineout, the ball fell back into touch, but the Bokke lost their lineout for Youngs to pounce on and fly over the tryline, despite being simultaneously high tackled by Alberts in the act of scoring, which was clearly a penalty try to England. Rolland, however, had other ideas and deferred the matter to the TMO, who took an age to finally award the try with no penalty. Flood converted and reduced the deficit to 28-17.

More replacements came on, and Cole returned but it was Marler that was taken off, leaving strength in the front row of Corbisiero, Hartley and Cole. England attacked far into Bok territory, and kept bouncing back when kicked away, until Youngs was dragged backwards a fair distance with ball in hand in quite spectacular fashion.

Eventually the Bokke won another penalty in England’s 22 and Morné Steyn added 3 more points, 31-17. But England finally had a firm handle on the game, and from a driving maul 10m out, Youngs again acted quickly to score a brace. A perfect conversion from Flood was marred only by Juandré Kruger being stretchered off the pitch, though he was subsequently cleared of serious injury.

England had ripped up the play-book, and narrowed the gap to just 4 points after a hugely strong scrum giving Flood the penalty to smack over right between the uprights. This was soon followed up by Morné Steyn missing a relatively easy penalty, and just 10 minutes remained. History was for the making, but it was not to be.

South Africa England 2nd Test JP PietersenAfter Frans Steyn cleared England out of their danger zone, Pietersen made a break, Manu Tuilagi missed a crucial tackle, the ball eventually fell back into the wing’s hands to score a fourth try. Morné Steyn missed the conversion again.

A series of small follies from England prevented any further score in the final 5 minutes after the final replacements appeared which included Youngs being subbed off with a shoulder injury that would rule him out of the final test, instead forcing him to return home early. The ball found touch in the 80th minute for the Springboks to win the match and the series, with one match still to go.

The South Africans had put in a commanding performance, but England had run them close for a sustained period, making for a thrilling match, and great positives to take for the progressing Springboks and fledging England.

South Africa15 Pat Lambie 14 JP Pietersen 13 JEAN DE VILLIERS (C) 12 Frans Steyn 11 Bryan Habana 10 Morné Steyn 9 Francois Hougaard 1 Tendai Mtawarira 2 Bismarck du Plessis (VC) 3 Jannie du Plessis 4 Eben Etzebeth 5 Juandré Kruger 6 Marcell Coetzee 7 Willem Alberts 8  Pierre Spies BENCH: 16 Adriaan Strauss 17 Werner Kruger 18 Flip van der Merwe 19 Keegan Daniel 20 Ruan Pienaar 21 Wynand Olivier 22 Bjorn Basson

SCORERS T: Alberts, Bismarck du Plessis, Hougaard, Pietersen C: Morne Steyn (2) P: Morne Steyn (3) DG: Morne Steyn

England15 Ben Foden 14 Chris Ashton 13 Jonathan Joseph 12 Manusamoa Tuilagi 11 David Strettle 10 Toby Flood 9 Ben Youngs 1 Joe Marler 2 Dylan Hartley 3 Dan Cole 4 Mouritz Botha 5 Geoff Parling 6 Tom Johnson 7 CHRIS ROBSHAW (C) 8 Ben Morgan BENCH: 16 Lee Mears 17 Alex Corbisiero 18 Tom Palmer 19 Thomas Waldrom* 20 Lee Dickson 21 Owen Farrell

SCORERS T: Flood, Youngs (2) C: Flood (3) P: Flood (2)

Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU) Asst Refs: Steve Walsh (ARU), Simon McDowell (IRFU) TMO: Giulio de Santis (FIR)

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Argentina ARGENTINA 23 - 20 FRANCE France

ESTADIO MARIO ALBERTO KEMPES, CÓRDOBA - Saturday 16 June 2012
KO: 18:10/22:10 BST HT: 13-14 Att: tbc

OVER the last ten years, France has beaten every rugby nation from the All Blacks to the USA and everyone in between. But Argentina has been in thorn in their side, winning 7 of their last 10 matches both home and away. This time, in a thrilling match, the first half saw the lead flit between the Pumas and Les Bleus, before the French forged ahead until the 77th minute, when Manuel Montero took it upon himself to claim the victory on home soil in the first test.

Argentina France 1st Test Belisario Agulla tryIn Córdoba, the town that gave the infamous Che Guevara his passion for rugby, it was France that opened the scoring with a penalty from Morgan Parra. But only seconds later, Belisario Agulla intercepted a loose pass from Francois Trinh-Duc and shot downfield to score unhindered by any defensive manœuvres. Legendary captain Felipe Contepomi converted, and half way through the first quarter, another Parra penalty separated the sides by a single point, 7-6.

Les Bleus then missed two point-scoring opportunities with Parra’s penalty going awry - the first of many - and Florian Fritz misjudging a drop goal. But Contepomi soon followed suit missing his target. Eventually, first Parra then Contepomi found their mark in the second quarter, Argentina just in front 10-9.

Earning his first cap, fullback Brice Dulin made a spectacular break almost to the whitewash, the recycled ball beautifully floated from Trinh-Duc to Yoann Huget who missed it, but Louis Picamoles got to it and flew over in the corner. Referee George Clancy deferred the grounding to TMO Shaun Veldsman who confirmed the try. Again Parra missed his mark, but France had crept ahead 14-10.

Les Bleus had two more chances to score before half time, but players offside, another of Parra’s mis-kicks and gifting a penalty gave Contepomi the excuse to narrow the deficit to 13-14 at the break.

Argentina France 1st Test Morgan ParraReplacements came on from the outset of the second half, and Parra almost blew another kick at goal but it just snuck through 3 minutes in. Los Pumas heaped on the pressure on the opposition, kicking the ball back into French territory every time Trinh-Duc kicked it away, but eventually Les Bleus ran it over halfway. Tomas Leonardi upset the ref once too often and was sent off for a 10 minute reprieve, denying his team a No.8 thus weakening the scrum, and Trinh-Duc took over the kicking duties and belted over the penalty to lead 20-13 with half an hour remaining.

Argentina so far just had the edge in terms of possession and territory with 57% and 58% respectively, but had leaked more penalties to remain behind the visitors. But heading into the last quarter, Contepomi added another 3-pointer bringing the scoreline to 16-20. France drove deep into the Pumas 22 but churlishly clung on to the ball at the breakdown, cancelling out all their hard work.

Argentina France 1st TestThe French lineout continued to operate well even after the 18 year old imposing hooker, Christopher Tolofua took over from Dimitri Szarzewski earning his first cap. But every time Les Bleus gained some territory, they hit a wall of Pumas determined to stop the attrition of their scoreline.

With 4 minutes remaining, Frederic Michalak reached the opposition 22 but lost the ball forward. Recently capped Joaquín Tuculet chipped the ball towards French territory and young Montero ran 70 metres to hurl himself over the tryline leaving Les Bleus in his wake. Contepomi’s sublime conversion gave the homeside a 3-point cushion but there were still 2 minutes remaining on the clock where the French had to be kept at bay.

Philippe Saint-André’s young side sporting 5 new caps this evening, though they looked dangerous with ball in hand, had not had the best evening, spilling the ball, missing kicks at goal, making numerous unforced errors, and they ended in the same vain by knocking on. Los Pumas claimed their 8th victory in 11 matches, winning 23-20.

Argentina France 1st Test

Argentina15 Román Miralles 14 Belisario Agulla 13 Joaquín Tuculet 12 FELIPE CONTEPOMI (C) 11 Manuel Montero 10 Ignacio Mieres 9 Martín Landajo 1 Eusebio Guiñazú 2 Bruno Postiglioni 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro 4 Benjamín Macome 5 Esteban Lozada 6 Julio Farías Cabello 7 Tomás De la Vega 8 Tomás Leonardi BENCH: 16 Andrés Bordoy* 17 Pablo Henn 18 Rodrigo Bruno 19 Rodrigo Báez 20 Tomás Cubelli 21 Benjamín Urdapilleta 22 Facundo Barrea

SCORERS T: Agulla, Montero C: Contepomi (2) P: Contepomi (3) Yellow Card Tomás Leonardi

France15 Brice Dulin* 14 Jean Marcellin Buttin 13 Wesley Fofana 12 Florian Fritz 11 Yoann Huget 10 Francois Trinh Duc 9 Morgan Parra 1 Yvan Watremez* 2 Dimitri Szarzewski 3 David Attoub 4 PASCAL PAPÉ (C) 5 Yoan Maestri 6 Wenceslas Lauret 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo 8 Louis Picamoles BENCH: 16 Christopher Tolofua* 17 Vincent Debaty 18 Romain Taofifenua* 19 Alexandre Lapandry 20 Maxime Machenaud* 21 Frederic Michalak 22 Maxime Mermoz

SCORERS T: Picamoles P: Parra (4), Trinh-Duc

Referee:  George Clancy (IRFU) Asst Refs: Wayne Barnes (RFU), Christie du Preez (SARU) TMO: Shaun Veldsman (SARU)

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Week 3

SA BaaBaas North England Samoa Scotland Australia WalesNew Zealand Ireland South Africa England Canada GeorgiaArgentina France USA Italy


South Africa SA BARBARIANS NORTH 31 - 57 ENGLAND England

PROFERT OLEN PARK, POTCHEFSTROOM - Wednesday 19 June 2012
KO: 19:10/18:10 BST HT: 10-31 Att: 9,437

Northern Barbarians England George RobsonTHE university city of Potchefstroom hosted the Northern Barbarian side facing England in the second and final mid-week match of the June Tour. And though the visitors, again led by George Robson, won by a 2-point lesser margin than they had against the Southern Barbarians, the side appeared to be somewhat stronger, again outscoring the opposition eight tries to four in a not particularly impressive overall performance for an international team.

It was the SA Barbarians North that opened the score with a quick penalty, and though England immediately equalised from the boot of Charlie Hodgson, a superb break led to Joubert Engelbrecht evading the defence and running length of pitch to slam dunk the first try for the home side. JC Roos converted perfectly from out wide, despite slipping in the process, and the BaaBaas had a 10-3 lead after just 16 minutes, not dissimilar to the previous week.

But England quickly pulled themselves together, switched up a gear and got to work. Good defence forced the ball along the tryline twice before Nick Abendanon found the space to score his first try of three. Switching into the second quarter, Hodgson’s conversion had the teams level-pegging at 10-all.

Next, Lee Dickson moved the ball away from the breakdown following a 5m lineout, and the ball passed through the hands of Ugo Monye, Dickson and Jordan Turner Hall before Ben Morgan heaved over the tryline. Hodgson -much improved from the Southern BaaBaas match- added the extras for a 17-10 lead.

Northern Barbarians England Ugo MonyeHowever, just prior to the half hour mark, disaster struck for Monye as he hurled an immense tackle at Shaun Venter where his head must have caught the scrum half’s hip since he hit the ground unconscious on the tryline. For an age he did not move, and eventually had to be stretchered off, but by this time he had movement in his limbs. It was later confirmed after a scan he was simply suffering from concussion and would be perfectly fine, but because of precautionary IRB rules, would not be considered for the upcoming final test. Monye’s tour was over after just 26 minutes, replaced by Jonny May, who proceeded to have a stormer of a game.

Next it was pocket rocket Christian Wade’s turn to head for the whitewash, but his double double movement as he crawled to the line was rightly discounted, handing the BaaBaas a penalty. However, from England’s next lineout, a series of offloads put Wade over in the corner, accompanied by an elbow in the neck from Dean Scholtz. A resulting penalty to the BaaBaas, after the TMO deliberated the move, cleared the visitors out, but like a boomerang they returned for Abendanon to fly around and inbetween the posts for a second score. A simple conversion and England were ahead 24-10 with 8 minutes left of the half.

With barely time to catch his breath, Abendanon landed his hat trick from a chip ahead after May failed to secure it. Hodgson took the score to 31-10 and left Scholtz's left ruing his slow reaction. And England almost reached the white line again, but for a wall of BaaBaas this time. However, they kept the ball alive long after the half time siren had gone, recycling until eventually a knock on allowed the BaaBaas to kick it away and secure a penalty. Roos attempted a last punt at the uprights but with no change in score, the teams finally left the pitch with the score 10-31.

Northern Barbarians England Shaun VenterOnly the BaaBaas got close to scoring early in the second half, but Venter -who was a Springbok 7s Blitzbokke- was bundled into touch by Wade before he actually could. Knock ons and forward passes marred play, and again the home side were close to adding points until Wade disrupted momentum. England showed their lack of concentration again, giving Venter the opportunity to run through a gaping hole to finally score. This was rapidly followed by a late tackle from Jamie Gibson off the ball who was show a yellow, the penalty allowing Venter to manœuvre his way over for a brace. Roos converted both tries, and the BaaBaas were back in the game 24-31.

Northern Barbarians England Jonny May try Not until the start of the final quarter did England crack on again as replacements began to appear on both sides. Neat play began from Anthony Allen and via Abendanon, May went over in the corner, annotated with a balletic pirouette to evade a tackle. May then attempted a second score but lost it just under the posts after charging from his own half to encouraging cheers from the crowd.

Ten minutes to go and May deftly scored try no. six, beautifully converted by Hodgson, followed by an excellent break from replacement scrum half, Karl Dickson to the tryline, unselfishly offloading at the last for Allen to score. Hodgson brought the score to 24-48 with just 5 minutes left.

But then England got complacent, allowing Hoffman Maritz, only arriving on the pitch 2 minutes earlier, to run from half way straight at the posts to score a converted try.

The visitors corrected their last folly by securing a 5m scrum, reset, awarded a penalty opting for a scrum again, and after another reset were finally awarded a penalty try  in the 79th minute. A simple conversion from Hodgson closed out the game with a final scoreline of 31-57 in favour of the visitors, who had many positives to take away individually, but also had exposed numerous faults and gave rise to some defensive questions. The Northern Barbarians, however, had put up a good fight against an international side.

South AfricaSA BARBARIANS (NORTH)
15 JC Roos (Pumas) 14 Danwel Demas (Pumas) 13 JW JONKER (C | PUMAS) 12 Joubert Engelbrecht (Leopards) 11 Deon Scholtz (Pumas) 10 Coenie van Wyk (Pumas) 9 Shaun Venter (Pumas) 8 Nicky Steyn (Griffons) 7 MB Lusaseni (Leopards) 6 Jaco Bouwer (Pumas) 5 Rudi Mathee (Pumas) 4 Eduan van der Walt (Pumas) 3 Ashley Buys (Pumas) 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (Pumas) 1 BG Uys (Leopards) BENCH: 16 Pellow van der Westhuizen (Pumas) 17 Zane Kilian (Valke) 18 Boela Serfontein (Pumas) 19 Martin Sithole (Griffons) 20 Andries Mahoney (Griffons) 21 Hoffman Maritz (Leopards) 22 Tertius Maarman (Griffons)

SCORERS T: Engelbrecht, Venter (2), Scholtz C: Roos (4) P: Roos

England15 Nick Abendanon 14 Christian Wade 13 Anthony Allen 12 Jordan Turner-Hall 11 Ugo Monye 10 Charlie Hodgson 9 Lee Dickson 1 Matt Mullan 2 Tom Youngs 3 Paul Doran Jones 4 Graham Kitchener 5 GEORGE ROBSON (C) 6 Jamie Gibson 7 Carl Fearns 8 Ben Morgan BENCH: 16 Joe Gray 17 Rupert Harden 18 Mouritz Botha 19 James Haskell 20 Karl Dickson 21 David Strettle 22 Jonny May

SCORERS T: Abendanon (3), Morgan, May (2), Allen, Penalty try C: Hodgson (7) P: Hodgson Yellow Card Jamie Gibson

Referee: Mark Lawrence (SARU)

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Samoa SAMOA 16 - 17 SCOTLAND Scotland

APIA PARK, APIA - Saturday 23 June 2012
KO: 15:30/03:30 BST HT: 6-7 Att: c.15,000

SCOTLAND proudly return home the only northern hemisphere team to head down under in June and come back with three of three wins under their belt against Samoa, Fiji, and most outstandingly, Australia.

The following report is entirely courtesy of Scottish Rugby since the match was not broadcast internationally, but there is the added bonus of now watching the entire match thanks to Samoa Tourism.

Samoa Scotland Rob HarleyFor the second successive meeting between our two countries, Samoa have lost out at the death – in Aberdeen two years ago Ruaridh Jackson’s late penalty proved their downfall and here, an injury time try, fashioned by Mike Blair and finished so emphatically by debutant Robert Harley, the fifth new cap of the tour, ensured a repeat.

Scotland did get out of jail here but after being on the wrong end of some close calls over the past year – think Argentina in Wellington, England in Auckland and, yes, France at Murrayfield – it would take a hard man to say we didn’t deserve a turn of fortune. Head coach Andy Robinson has thus piloted the first three Test success in the Southern Hemisphere and that’s some achievement from a side that is starting to muster self-belief.

There was a bit more to Scotland’s escape today.  The goal-kicking master-class of Greig Laidlaw needs mentioned.  Maybe for a man of his calibre you would expect him to knock over the match-winning conversion in front of the posts of Harley’s try to seal the deal.

But, somewhere earlier in the day, it was just so matter of fact that he stroked over a touchline conversion of Joe Ansbro’s third career try for Scotland, when the elements were against him. With such excellence are matches won and lost.

SAMOA v SCOTLAND FIRST HALF

And when it comes to distinction, where do you begin with Alasdair Strokosch? The flanker sneaked into the front row of the Scotland team picture 24 hours before the match – territory reserved for those with the most caps.

Your correspondent was not about to move him, especially on grounds of merit.  He has been the consummate warrior on this tour, the embodiment of forward motion whether in attack or defence.

Samoa Scotland Ross Rennie And when plaudits are being dished out, let’s get Ross Rennie to take a bow too.  At 17-16, Samoa still had a kick-off as referee Jaco Peyper pondered no-side.  They seemed to regather the ball as well, but there was Rennie, forcing the ball free in the act of the tackle for Scotland to get the scrum feed and Laidlaw boot the ball to Pago Pago for no-side. Rennie is a gem.

Blair, who became Scotland’s third-most capped player, overtaking Gregor Townsend today, played a superb role off the bench.  Mike is a fine man with a dry sense of humour but I sense he was riled by those who seem only too keen to write his international obituary.

At 31 he’s suddenly become a veteran – he seemed to even bypass the evergreen stage – yet he is a class act and his characteristic virtues (vision and an ability to play at pace) were seen in spades as he outsmarted the Samoans.

The penalty for Laidlaw to edge Scotland back in front at 10-9 early in the second-half was down to Blair’s quick-witted tap and burst.

SAMOA v SCOTLAND SECOND HALF

And the decisive try?  Here’s Robinson’s take.  “It was a fantastic charge-down from Mike in the first place to get field position.  From that the lovely shoulder ball he gave and then Rob Harley on his debut – what a fantastic moment.”

Samoa ScotlandBlair modestly paid tribute to the line that Harley ran but new cap 1034 was having none of it. “It was a fantastic ball from Mike Blair. That’s what he does, he just showed the ball and dragged the defender away from me to give me a clear run to the line.”

You have to feel for the Samoans but their supporters, all 15,000 of them who packed into Apia Park from hours before kick-off, have been gracious and generous hosts and that was not about to change even in the circumstances of their heroes’ defeat today.

Samoa15 Fa'atoina Autagavai 14 Paul Perez 13 Fautua Otto 12 Paul Williams 11 DAVID LEMI (C) 10 Tusi Pisi 9 Kahn Fotuali'i 8 Kane Thompson 7 Maurie Fa'asavalu 6 Ben Masoe 5 Daniel Crichton 4 Fa'atiga Lemalu 3 Census Johnston 2 Ti'i Paulo 1 Sakaria Taulafo BENCH: 16 Wayne Ole Avei 17 Logovi'i Mulipola 18 Joe Tekori 19 Afa Aioni 20 Jeremy Sua 21 Ki Anufe 22 Lolo Lui

SCORERS T: Pisi C: Pisi P: Pisi (2) DG: Pisi

Scotland15 Stuart Hogg 14 Sean Lamont 13 Joe Ansbro 12 Matt Scott 11 Tim Visser 10 Greig Laidlaw 9 Chris Cusiter 1 Ryan Grant 2 ROSS FORD (C) 3 Euan Murray 4 Richie Gray 5 Alastair Kellock 6 Alasdair Strokosch 7 Ross Rennie 8 Richie Vernon BENCH: 16 Scott Lawson 17 Geoff Cross 18 Tom Ryder 19 Rob Harley 20 Mike Blair 21 Duncan Weir 22 Max Evans

SCORERS T: Scott, Ryder C: Laidlaw (2) P: Laidlaw

Referee: Chris Pollock (NZRU) Asst Refs: Ian Smith (ARU), Andrew Lees (ARU)

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Australia AUSTRALIA 20 - 19 WALES Wales

ALLIANZ STADIUM, SYDNEY - Saturday 23 June 2012
KO: 15:00/06:00 BST HT: 12-9 Att: 42,889

Australia Wales Tour 2012ANOTHER heart-breaking loss left Wales whitewashed by Australia as the homeside claimed the final test of the series with another late penalty. A record crowd turned up to see the Wallabies snatch a victory from the afternoon match. It was not just the crowd which was unusual, the Wallabies had not played a home afternoon fixture since the 2003 Rugby World Cup, and had not played at this stadium since 1998. Welsh fans were hopeful that this test would be the one where finally they broke the Wallabies but, alas, their composure did not sustain long enough to shut down the game.

Australia Wales 3rd Test Winners

The homeside drew first blood, Berrick Barnes knocking over an early penalty to begin proceedings. However, Leigh Halfpenny was soon on his heels and equalled the tally. This was the format for most of the first half; Barnes would set the mark and Halfpenny would duly respond. Neither side made any truly threatening movements into enemy territory in the opening quarter, relying on their fly-halves to do the talking, the score just 9-6. The initial period saw handling errors and mistakes at the breakdown for both teams, whilst referee Craig Joubert caused havoc with the scrum.

Eventually, play began to flow more readily and some decent breaks were seen from Sam Warburton and Alex Cuthbert. However, Australia’s defence was solid and they gave as good as they got in terms of challenging the opposition. On top of this, Wales struggled to maintain focus and often found themselves in trouble at the restarts, unable to catch the high balls and finding themselves swamped by Wallabies. The homeside’s confidence crept up as the half reached the closing stages with Wales sometimes scrappy in their defence. The captain, Warburton was replaced by Justin Tipuric before the half-hour mark due to injury and this left the visitors looking for guidance a little as the break drew near. Barnes was gifted another penalty, taking the lead for Australia, and the best answer Wales could produce was a hideous drop goal attempt, wasting a good opportunity. And so the Wallabies headed into the interval 12-9 up.

The second half was where the match really sparked into life. The Wallabies returned all guns blazing, Digby Ioane’s inability to hold on to the ball denying them a sure try within minutes of the restart. Wales changed up a gear too however, causing panic amongst the Australian ranks just moments later as a kick and chase proved troublesome. Wales continued to get penalised at the breakdown for numerous infringements, whilst the Wallabies struggled with their handling. Meanwhile, the crowd was getting agitated as the pace of the game was slowed by constant scrum resets, Joubert not managing to point to any particular man for causing the problems.

Australia Wales 3rd Test Leigh HalfpennySuddenly the dearth of tries in the first half was replaced with two in just 4 minutes in the second. Finally Wales managed to finish a strong piece of play with half an hour remaining and, although Cuthbert was initially stopped, Ryan Jones found his way over the line from short range. Halfpenny added the conversion and suddenly Wales were looking to likely to clinch a long-awaited win against the Aussies. But, alas, the euphoric moment was crushed almost instantaneously, as Rob Horne managed to maintain control of the ball long enough to touchdown and regain a one point advantage. Barnes’ tricky shot at goal from the touchline flew wide and a nail-biting finish was set up. It was 17-16 and there were 15 minutes left on the clock.

It seemed likely that Wales might just edge the Wallabies as Halfpenny added another 3-pointer with only 10 minutes to go. However, their composure slipped, penalties were awarded and back-chat to the ref was heard. Welsh fans were left dismayed as they watched Barnes kick through the winning penalty to leave the scoreboard at 20-19. Wales made a valiant effort to end on a high, James Hook making a dash, but the ball bounced away and the Wallabies closed the game down. Wales were left dejected, once again not being able to find that extra touch of magic and walking away from their tour with no wins.

Australia Wales 3rd Test Losers

This has been a good tour for the homeside including retention of the James Bevan Trophy, and has left many, including their coach Robbie Deans, feeling positive about their upcoming fixtures in all-new Rugby Championship with Argentina added to the Tri Nations. Dean expressed his contentment with the way his side had performed.

“Considering how much was happening off the ball I think these guys did a good job, we showed composure at the end and I think that will service us well going forward.” and I think the leadership group has been excellent and the composure has been great and we’ll carry that forward to the Rugby Championship and further into the season.”Will Genia Wallabies

Wales return home in the knowledge that a few outstanding players rocked onto the Welsh Rugby scene to take up a long term berth, none more so than the outstanding fullback, contributing almost 70% of the points throughout the Test series. And the Wallabies have found themselves a meritorious new captain in David Pocock, alongside a genuinely excellent replacement for the legendary former captain, George Gregan in standout Will Genia.

Australia15 Kurtley Beale 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper 13 Rob Horne 12 Pat McCabe 11 Digby Ioane 10 Berrick Barnes 9 Will Genia 8 Wycliff Palu 7 DAVID POCOCK (C) 6 Scott Higginbotham 5 Nathan Sharpe 4 Sitaleki Timani 3 Sekope Kepu 2 Tatafu Polota Nau 1 Benn Robinson BENCH: 16 Stephen Moore 17 Ben Alexander 18 Rob Simmons 19 Dave Dennis 20 Michael Hooper 21 Nic White 22 Anthony Fainga’a

SCORERS T: Horne P: Barnes (5)

Wales15 Leigh Halfpenny 14 Alex Cuthbert 13 Jonathan Davies 12 Ashley Beck 11 George North 10 Rhys Priestland 9 Mike Phillips 1 Gethin Jenkins 2 Matthew Rees 3 Adam Jones 4 Bradley Davies 5 Alun Wyn Jones 6 Dan Lydiate 7 SAM WARBURTON (C) 8 Ryan Jones BENCH: 16 Ken Owens 17 Paul James 18 Luke Charteris 19 Justin Tipuric 20 Rhys Webb 21 James Hook 22 Scott Williams

SCORERS T: Ryan Jones C: Halfpenny P: Halfpenny (4)

Referee: Craig Joubert (SARU) Asst Refs: Jaco Peyper (SARU), Jonathan White (NZRU) TMO: Vinny Munro (NZRU)

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New Zealand NEW ZEALAND 60 - 0 IRELAND Ireland

WAIKATO STADIUM, HAMILTON - Saturday 23 June 2012
KO: 19:35/08:35 BST HT: 29-0 Att: tbc

New Zealand Ireland 3rd Test IN a history beginning in 1905, the All Blacks had faced Ireland on 26 occasions in New Zealand, in Ireland, and once in South Africa in the 1995 world cup. With the exception of an encounter at Lansdowne Road in 1973 when the match resulted in a draw, the Kiwis had an unblemished record of beating their opponents, and today at the Waikato Stadium was to be no exception. The only difference was the scoreline - the 60-0 routing was the worst loss Ireland had ever suffered.

New Zealand finished the Steinlager Series in style, completely demolishing Ireland with an embarrassingly high score. Ireland had given the All Blacks a bit of a scare in the previous test and all involved knew that this meant a backlash was coming, but no one expected it to this extent. The homeside were missing several key names, including Dan Carter, but this certainly did not trouble them. The Irish were left reeling as their defence fell flat and their offence was practically non-existent. The All Blacks took all of 6 minutes to burst through for their first try, thanks to Sam Cane, after applying pressure from the kick-off. Aaron Cruden converted and it was clear they were the dominant force.

The Irish tried to muddle together a counter attack but New Zealand dealt with them swiftly, shutting down any runs and clearing their lines. Just 5 minutes later, Cruden broke free and offloaded beautifully to Sonny Bill Williams, who charged over the whitewash for a second converted try. The roughly equating points to minutes continued until the 23rd minute, once Williams had added his second score and Ben Smith followed suit with a touchdown. Israel Dagg managed only one of the conversions, having taken over kicking duties from an injured Cruden.

New Zealand Ireland 3rd Test Brian O Driscoll Sonny Bill WilliamsIreland stemmed the flow until the end of the half. They strove to overcome their inability to outfox the All Blacks and held their own in scrums and lineouts. However, it was still not enough; poor handling and a lack of imagination left the visitors struggling; they had the lion’s share of the possession this half and yet could not find any points for their efforts, choosing to kick to touch rather than for goal when handed penalties, of which the All Blacks handed over 7 in total.

New Zealand were just toying with their prey though, swatting off any attacks with relative ease. Meanwhile, Ireland were taking a battering from big tackles. It was brutal to watch and there was still another 40 minutes to come. The visitors became frustrated, and as the clock ran into overtime Rob Kearney chose to deliberately knock on and earned himself a yellow card to add to Ireland’s woes. Beauden Barrett slotted the ensuing penalty and left the score a stark 29-0 at the interval.

After the break there was more of the same. Ireland failed to increase their performance and the All Blacks produced some more stunning scores. Cane began the second half as he had the first, finishing some excellent open play with a try, juggling the ball before planting it. Barrett added the extras and swiftly was teeing up again as Hosea Gear was rewarded for his efforts by the TMO, controlling the ball enough to be deemed worthy of points after storming upfield handing off the defence; Barrett missed the shot this time. Meanwhile, Ireland were struggling to contest in the rucks, losing possession to turnovers at the majority of breakdowns.

New Zealand Ireland 3rd Test Donnacha Ryan Aaron Cruden  Paddy WallaceThe points continued to pour in for New Zealand, Israel Dagg making his way over the whitewash, finally collecting some points of his own for his brilliant play throughout the match. Ireland were just about building some decent play when the All Blacks stole the ball and put the final nail in the coffin. Adam Thomson, who had just replaced Cane, swooped in for another touchdown to seal the massive 60-0 scoreline. Barrett added the extras and so ended this woeful tale for Ireland. Not once did they look threatening, not once did they look remotely comfortable. The All Blacks bulldozed their opponents with a most clinical performance before sending them packing on their long journey home with a 3-0 loss of the series.

New Zealand1 Tony Woodcock 2 Andrew Hore 3 Owen Franks 4 Luke Romano* 5 Samuel Whitelock 6 Liam Messam 7 Sam Cane 8 RICHIE McCAW (C) 9 Aaron Smith 10 Aaron Cruden 11 Hosea Gear 12 Sonny Bill Williams 13 Conrad Smith 14 Ben Smith 15 Israel Dagg BENCH: 16 Keven Mealamu 17 Ben Franks 18 Brodie Retallick 19 Adam Thomson 20 Piri Weepu 21 Beauden Barrett* 22 Tamati Ellison

SCORERS T: Cane (2), Williams (2), Smith, Gear, Messam, Dagg, Thomson C: Cruden (2), Dagg, Barrett (3) P: Barrett

Ireland15 Rob Kearney 14 Fergus McFadden 13 BRIAN O’DRISCOLL (C) 12 Paddy Wallace 11 Keith Earls 10 Jonathan Sexton 9 Conor Murray 1 Cian Healy 2 Rory Best 3 Mike Ross 4 Dan Tuohy 5 Donnacha Ryan 6 Kevin McLaughlin 7 Sean O’Brien 8 Peter O’Mahony BENCH: 16 Sean Cronin 17 Declan Fitzpatrick 18 Donncha O’Callaghan 19 Chris Henry 20 Eoin Reddan 21 Ronan O’Gara 22 Andrew Trimble

SCORERS Yellow Card Rob Kearney

Referee: Romaine Poite (FFR) Asst Refs: Pascal Gauzere (FFR), James Leckie (ARU) TMO: Matt Goddard (ARU)

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South Africa SOUTH AFRICA 14 - 14 ENGLAND England

NELSON MANDELA BAY STADIUM, PE - Saturday 23 June 2012
KO: 17:00/16:00 BST HT: 9-8 Att: tbc

PORT ELIZABETH is a fortress for the Springboks. Since 1891, of 26 matches against every major rugby nation, the Bokke have been victorious on 20 of those occasions, losing only 3 times at the turn of the last century to Britain, and to the 1974 British & Irish Lions, and drawing with both just once. England were walking into the Lions’ den for this final test of 3, having lost twice already. Losing was not an option for the visitors. And in a thrilling and passionate match at the impressive Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, where for the first time England matched the Springboks in physicality from the outset, both teams put on a spectacle and a draw was the final result yet again in PE.

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium PE

Both the Bokke and England had significant losses to their respective squads this week, the former missing Willem Alberts and Pat Lambie to injury, and the hugely influential Frans Steyn to his own matrimonial ceremony. The visitors lost their captain, Chris Robshaw with a broken thumb with Dylan Hartley stepping up to the breach, scrum half Ben Youngs, and late in the week, Alex Corbisiero in the front row.

South Africa England 3rd Test Pierre SpiesPierre Spies came out alone in honour of his 50th cap, and after a moment’s silence for recent former Springbok bereavements, the worst screeching rendition of God Save The Queen in history, and the most rousing one of the South African anthem, England got to work with Steve Walsh overseeing proceedings.

The outstanding Man of the Match, Danny Care returned to the starting XV and made a massive impact immediately, as he continued to throughout the game. A penalty from the first scrum gave Toby Flood -also earning his 50th cap- the opportunity to open the scoring, which he did with aplomb, but came away ominously limping. He missed a second penalty in the 5th minute, and it was not the best day for fly halves all round, though in their defence, the wind and rain was not conducive with a kicking game.

The visitors soon handed over their first penalty, and Morné Steyn did not falter - this time; Steyn was to only achieve 50% accuracy, but England fared only a little better with 60%. 10 minutes in and the teams were level at 3-all, but not for long.

South Africa England 3rd Test Danny CareFrom a chargedown, Care took the ball in record time from the base of the breakdown and sniped over the whitewash for a magnificent try. Flood could not manage the simple conversion, and Owen Farrell was brought on as his replacement. The stats backed up England’s early lead with 71% possession and territory.

Thomas Waldrom suffered the same affliction as the previous week, knocking on the ball at the restart, Tom Palmer gave the Bokke the next penalty in his own 22, allowing Steyn to reduce the deficit to 6-8.

The score remained until almost the half hour mark, both sides showing flashes of brilliance from the likes of Gio Aplon, Tom Johnson and Joe Marler, but also schoolboy errors from the remainder of England’s back row, as well as far too much kicking away of the ball and therefore possession by Farrell, who had to be subbed off for blood for 10 minutes, replaced by Brad Barritt.

South Africa England 3rd Test Dylan Hartley Marcell CoetzeeWalsh had firm words with Hartley for repeated infringements at the breakdown, and awarded the Boks another penalty which Steyn converted to take the lead, 9-8. The Springboks got the upper hand in the final 10 minutes of the half, with a break from the devastating Bryan Habana, and persistent pressure on the England tryline for almost the duration, but the visitors held their composure and discipline in defence. Ben Foden was particularly effective, and England as a unit slowed the ball down enough to halt any momentum the Bokke had banked on, and had to be content with just the one point lead when the siren went and the teams were sent off down the tunnel at half time, the score 9-8.

No doubt everyone expected the Springboks to return and give England a huge wake up call as they had done for sustained brutal periods in the previous two tests, but the visitors had matured of late. Waldrom found his feet from the restart, and proceeded to have a much improved second half. Alex Goode at fullback performed his duties with excellence, choosing to run the ball rather than kicking it away on more than one occasion. And a spectacular tackle from Chris Ashton took out a stunned Gio Aplon, giving England a penalty for Farrell to take the lead to 11-9 after just 5 minutes.

Hartley kept his cool as Bismarck du Plessis attempted to play fisticuffs on the ground, but Steyn missed his chance to increase the lead from a penalty. But in the next play, Hartley was pinged for slowing the ball down and sent off to the bin for 10 minutes. Rather than concede points whilst a man down, England held it together, with Tom Palmer promoted to captain in the absence of Flood who was vice captain.

Ruan Pienaar had come on for Francois Hougaard, who had a nightmare match, and transformed the shape of the Springbok game, aided by Flip van der Merwe and Ryan Kankowski. England were forced to sacrifice the exceptional Johnson for Lee Mears in the scrum whilst Hartley was off. And Manu Tuilagi had a go at flanker at England’s scrum.

South Africa England 3rd Test JP PietersenAt the start of the final quarter, the Bokke lost their way defensively somewhat, and Foden made another phenomenal break, but found himself alone. Dan Cole, despite also impressing throughout the match, was pinged for holding on, allowing the Bokke to set up a line out on England’s 22. The move worked for the homeside and they were just inches from the tryline, but the defence held out. From deftly recycled ball, England fell horribly short and JP Pietersen screamed through a chasm to score, taking the lead 14-11.

The England captain had returned, Steyn missed the conversion, the replacements continued, and both sides continued to battle. England reached the Bokke 22 with 10 minutes remaining but traversed the line, unable to find a way through until Tuilagi danced through the defence to make some headway. England were gunning for a try and won a scrum inside the 22. Care kept going knowing he had advantage and the penalty was coming, and Steyn bundled over the top of the breakdown, handing Farrell just 3 points to equalise at 14-all.

The last 7 minutes were spent by all spectators on the edge of their seats as the ball flew from one end to the other. The Bokke were all over England’s 22 but could not break the defence; Steyn dropped a goal but it hopelessly fell wide, and he was horribly booed by the Bokke fans from all sides of the stadium. The visitors tried their damndest to clear the Springboks out of their 22, but to no avail.

South Africa England 3rd Test Wynand Olivier Manu TuilagiFour minutes remaining and the homeside had another penalty just outside England’s 22; desperately they tried to set up a drop goal as going forward was being thwarted at every turn, but eventually England forced play across halfway.

The situation reversed for the last 2 minutes with England weighing heavily on the Bokke 22, but they could not breach the wall of green shirts. Still in possession, Tuilagi broke the line, the siren having gone 60 seconds earlier, but the recycled ball went only backwards for Farrell to lamely attempt a drop goal from too far out; it rolled over the dead ball line and the teams had to be content with the draw.

The Springboks admirably won the series, but a draw from this developing England side showed Stuart Lancaster to be heading in the right direction with young players, many of whom individually proved their worth on this brutal but enthralling tour, both in the tests, and almost more so in the mid week games.

South Africa15 Gio Aplon 14 JP Pietersen 13 JEAN DE VILLIERS (C) 12 Wynand Olivier 11 Bryan Habana 10 Morné Steyn 9 Francois Hougaard 1 Tendai Mtawarira 2 Bismarck du Plessis 3 Jannie du Plessis 4 Eben Etzebeth 5 Juandré Kruger 6 Marcell Coetzee 7 Jacques Potgieter 8 Pierre Spies BENCH: 16 Adriaan Strauss 17 Werner Kruger 18 Flip van der Merwe 19 Ryan Kankowski 20 Ruan Pienaar 21 Elton Jantjies 22 Bjorn Basson

SCORERS T: Pietersen P: Steyn (3)

England15 Alex Goode 14 Chris Ashton 13 Jonathan Joseph 12 Manusamoa Tuilagi 11 Ben Foden 10 Toby Flood 9 Danny Care 1 Joe Marler 2 DYLAN HARTLEY (C) 3 Dan Cole 4 Tom Palmer 5 Geoff Parling 6 Tom Johnson 7 James Haskell 8 Thomas Waldrom BENCH: 16 Lee Mears 17 Paul DOran Jones 18 Mouritz Botha 19 Phil Dowson 20 Lee Dickson 21 Owen Farrell 22 Brad Barritt

SCORERS T: Care P: Flood, Farrell (2) Yellow Card Dylan Hartley

Man of the Match: Danny Care (England)

Referee: Steve Walsh (ARU) Asst Refs: Nigel Owens (WRU), John Lacey (IRFU) TMO: Giulio de Santis (FIR)

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Canada CANADA 31 - 12 GEORGIA Georgia

SWANGARD STADIUM, BURNABY - Saturday 23 June 2012
KO: 14:00/22:00 BST HT: 23-7 Att: 3,661

Canada GeorgiaIT was the James Pritchard show at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium on Saturday as the fullback scored 21 points as Canada scored a convincing 31-12 win over Georgia, a relatively young rugby nation, but where rugby has now taken over as the national sport. It was the third and final International test match in three weeks for the Canadian side who began with a 28-25 win over USA and then suffered a 25-16 loss to Italy.

Pritchard had the game won for Canada by half time, scoring a try, kicking two converts and three penalty goals. That brings his all-time Canadian scoring total to 445 as he continues to close in on former national team player and current team manager Gareth Rees’s all-time total of 492.

Canada Georgia DTH van der MerweCanada’s other tries came from winger DTH van der Merwe at the 5-minute mark of the first half and winger Sean Duke 5 minutes from full time.

Pritchard, not taking credit for his offensive effort, said this was a team effort, especially from the team’s younger players. Canadian coach Kieran Crowley said he thought his defence did a good job, especially when Georgia got down near the goal line several times during the first half and Canada kept them out. And he was pleased with what he saw from his younger players. Canada made seven line up changes from that of the game against Italy.

Playing on a perfect day for rugby, overcast but sunny breaks, Canada made its mark early when van der Merwe picked up a loose ball on the Georgia side of the field and raced the rest of the way down the sidelines for the game’s initial score. Pritchard converted.

Then Pritchard took over. Following a 15 yard penalty goal five minutes later, he then scored his try on a great run off a scrum by Phil Mackenzie who in turn passed to Matt Evans who tossed it to Pritchard near the goal line. Pritchard’s convert made it 17-0. Pritchard then added to his total with another penalty goal 30 minutes in. 

Canada GeorgiaGeorgia finally got on the scoreboard after their scrum continually dominated Canada near the goal line and hooker Mikheil Nariashvili pushed the ball over from one yard out. Pritchard then kicked another penalty goal from 30 yards out as the half ended, 23-7 in Canada’s favour.

Canada put the game away and took the heart out of Georgia just four minutes into the second half. Winger Sean Duke intercepted an errant Georgia pass on the Canada 20 yard line and raced 80 yards into the Georgia end zone.

Georgia got their second try 27 minutes into the second half when Shalva Sutiashvili pushed the ball over from five yards out off a scrum.

And so it was fitting that Pritchard should end his eventful day with another penalty goal on the last play of the game.

Match report courtesy of Rugby Canada

Canada15 James Pritchard 14 DTH Van der Merwe 13 Conor Trainor 12 Phil Mackenzie 11 Sean Duke 10 Matt Evans 9 Edward Fairhurst 1 Tom Dolezel 2 Andrew Tiedeman 3 Jason Marshall 4 Jebb Sinclair 5 Tyler Hotson 6 Tyler Ardron 7 Chauncey O’Toole 8 AARON CARPENTER (C) BENCH: 16 Mike Pletch 17 Doug Woolridge 18 Brett Beukeboom 19 Nanyak Dala 20 Sean White 21 Jeff Hassler 22 Ciaran Hearn

SCORERS T: DTH van der Merwe, Pritchard, Duke C: Pritchard (2) P: Pritchard (4) Yellow Card Jason Marshall

Georgia15 Irakli Kiasashvili 14 Irakli Machkhaneli 13 David Kacharava 12 Tedo Zibzibadze 11 Lekso Gugava 10 Merab Kvirikashvili 9 Irakli Abuseridze 1 Mikheil Nariashvili 2 Revaz Belkania 3 David Zirakashvili 4 Giorgi Chkhaidze 5 Vakhtang Maisuradze 6 Gia Labadze 7 Giorgi Tkhilaishvili 8 Beka Bitsadze BENCH: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili 17 Levan Chilachava 18 Shalva Sutiashvili 19 Givi Berishvili 20 Bidzina Samkharadze 21 Lasha Malaguradze 22 Alexander Todua

SCORERS T:Nariashvili, Sutiashvili C: Kvirikashvili

Man of the Match: Phil Mackenzie (Canada)

Referee: Dave Pearson (RFU) Asst Refs: Stuart Berry (SARU), tbc

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Argentina ARGENTINA 10 - 49 FRANCE France

ESTADIO JOSÉ FIERRO, TUCUMÁN - Saturday 23 June 2012
KO: 18:10/22:10 BST HT: 3-30 Att: tbc

PHILIPPE SAINT-ANDRÉ’S experimental young side, peppered with a few experienced older heads, finally bore fruit in the second and final test in Argentina, crushing their nemeses 49-10 in a one-sided match, and making them one of the few European teams to win against the southern hemisphere in this gruelling June Test series. To add to the triumph, led by Pascal Papé, Les Bleus secured the routing on Argentine soil for the first time in 14 years, recording their biggest ever win against the Pumas.

Argentina France 2nd Test

Los Pumas captain, Felipe Contepomi announced on Friday that this would be his last game for his country for the short term and would not be participating in the inaugural Rugby Championship against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, but rather taking a well-earned 4 week rest before returning to his club, Stade Français for pre-season training. He led out his young side with seven changes to that of last week who stole a march on France in Córdoba. But in stark contrast, aside from a consolatory from Tomás De la Vega, and a penalty and conversion from the captain, the Pumas could not muster a performance of any note.

Argentina France 2nd Test Frederic MichalakThe Pumas spent most of the match defending to the point of exhaustion, whilst France kept the ball firmly in possession for the majority of the game, notching up six tries, all but one converted by Freddie Michalak to add to his three penalties. Michalak was picked at 10 in the starting XV for the first time since 2007, and has of late has been plying his trade and re-learning the mysterious ways of southern hemisphere rugby with The Sharks in Durban.

Les Bleus had also made seven changes to their starting XV from last week’s team, including a debut starting berth for the young Maxime Machenaud, but little occurred on the scoreboard until half way through the first quarter. Benjamin Fall, winning just his second cap since his debut in 2009, found the space to land over the tryline for France’s first try of the night. Michalak converted, then swiftly proceeded to add three penalties before the half hour mark.

Argentina France 2nd Test Felipe ContepomiYoann Huget scored his debut try, quickly followed by the same from Machenaud just as the first half came to a close, and Michalak converted both. Meanwhile Contepomi had scored his only penalty of the match. The teams ran off to the break with France 30-3 up.

The only thing that changed for the first 15 minutes into the second half was both sides as they began bringing on replacements early on. Maxime Mermoz then recommenced the try-scoring, followed by Huget for his second at the start of the final quarter, though Michalak converted only the first, but France were now 42-3 ahead.

Alexandre Lapandry scored the final converted try for Les Bleus with just 12 minutes to go, but Christopher Tolofua, who had not long come onto the park to replace Argentina France 2nd Test Tomas de la VegaDimitri Szarzewski at hook, earned himself a yellow card for the remainder of the match.

With the Pumas a man up, De la Vega found the whitewash, which Contepomi finished off for the final score of 10-49, but there were 5 minutes still to go. Despite the homeside having possession in the midfield for the final minutes, as the match drew to an end, no crossing of the gainline left nothing to be done, and referee George Clancy brought the game to a close.

Argentina1 Eusebio Guiñazú 2 Andrés Bordoy 3 Francisco Gómez Kodela 4 Julio Farías Cabello 5 Esteban Lozada 6 Tomás De la Vega 7 Tomás Leonardi 8 Leonardo Senatore 9 Tomás Cubelli 10 Benjamín Urdapilleta 11 Manuel Montero 12 FELIPE CONTEPOMI (C) 13 Agustín Gosio 14 Facundo Barrea 15 Joaquín Tuculet BENCH: 16 Bruno Postiglioni 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro 18 Santiago Guzmán 19 Benjamín Macome 20 Rodrigo Báez 21 Martín Landajo 22 Gabriel Ascárate

SCORERS T: de la Vega C: Contepomi P: Contepomi

France15 Brice Dulin 14 Benjamin Fall 13 Florian Fritz 12 Maxime Mermoz 11 Yoann Huget 10 Frederic Michalak 9 Maxime Machenaud 1 Vincent Debaty 2 Dimitri Szarzewski 3 David Attoub 4 PASCAL PAPÉ (C) 5 Yoan Maestri 6 Alexandre Lapandry 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo 8 Louis Picamoles BENCH: 16 Christopher Tolofua 17 Thomas Domingo 18 Christophe Samson 19 Wenceslas Lauret 20 Morgan Parra 21 Francois Trinh-Duc 22 Wesley Fofana

SCORERS T: Fall, Huget (2), Machenaud, Mermoz, Lapandry C: Michalak (5) P: Michalak (3) Yellow Card Christophe Tolofua

Referee: George Clancy (IRFU) Asst Refs: Wayne Barnes (RFU), Christie du Preez (SARU) TMO: Shaun Veldsman (SARU)

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USA USA 10 - 30 ITALY Italy

BBVA COMPASS STADIUM, HOUSTON - Saturday 23 June 2012
KO: 19:30/01:30* BST HT: 20-10 Att: 17,241

LIKE Scotland, the Azzurri are the only other northern hemisphere side to be returning home triumphant with a series win over the north American teams, Canada and the USA, though they did lose the first test to Argentina, ending a long and weary season.

USA ItalyThe teams ran out at the BBVA Compass Stadium, hosting the first rugby match on a proper Texan summer’s evening in 90˚ heat in front of a record crowd for the homeside in Houston. Head coach Jacques Brunel and captain Martin Castrogiovanni directed Italy to a 30-10 victory over USA Rugby in a much easier ride than afforded by either the Pumas or the Canucks in previous weeks.

The Azzurri wasted no time in opening the scoring with Carlo Festuccia collecting the ball from a US lineout gone wrong, evading all defenders to score in the third minute, and a conversion from Riccardo Bocchino set the tone for the match. Chris Wyles booted over a penalty to open the American account, but Bocchino took the visitors to a 10-3 lead by the end of the first quarter.

USA ItalyAlmost half an hour into the match, a favourable lineout allowed Roland Suniula to aid Paul Emerick -earning his 51st cap- in finding the whitewash, and with Wyles’ conversion the home side equalised, much to the glee of the American fans. But sadly, this was the last time the USA would trouble the scoreboard.

The remaining 10 minutes saw Bocchino add another penalty, and Edoardo Gori dummy beautifully, out-foxing Luke Hume and ran 30 metres to score the last try of the half. The conversion from the Italian fly half sent the teams down the tunnel 10-20 at the break.

USA Rugby put themselves at a distinct disadvantage just 4 minutes into the second half with Andrew Suniula earning himself a red card for a dangerous late tackle on Bocchino. Despite this, the home side had many an opportunity to exploit, but it all amounted to nothing, though their defence held well. And at the start of the final quarter, another penalty presented itself to Wyles, but he missed the uprights and the score remained at 10-20.

More trouble arose for the Americans; a shoulder charge from Emerick resulted in a second red card, and the home side had to play out the remaining 15 minutes of the game with just 13 men. Moments later, the US were pinged for not releasing the ball and Bocchino punished them with one more penalty.

USA ItalyHume started one final manœuvre for the USA with a good break, offloading to Mike Petri who found Scott Lavalla with the space to score, but the latter knocked on and killed the last opportunity America would have.

The Azzurri continued to make numerous handling errors, but the two man advantage was too much for the homeside to bear, and the admirable defence eventually was broken. Replacement fly half, Kris Burton dove over the tryline in the 77th minute, and his own conversion ended USA Rugby’s misery, maintaining Italy’s winning record.

USA15 Chris Wyles 14 James Paterson 13 Paul Emerick 12 Andrew Suniula 11 Luke Hume 10 Roland Suniula 9 Mike Petri 1 Shawn Pittman 2 Chris Biller 3 Eric Fry 4 Louis Stanfill 5 Brian Doyle 6 Taylor Mokate 7 Scott Lavalla 8 TODD CLEVER (C) BENCH: 16 Derek Asbun 17 Mike MacDonald 18 Tolifili (Andre) Liufau 19 Andrew Durutalo 20 Mose Timoteo 21 Will Holder 22 Colin Hawley

SCORERS T: Emerick C: Wyles P: Wyles Red Card Andrew Suniula, Paul Emerick

Italy15 Luke McLean 14 Giovanbattista Venditti 13 Roberto Quartaroli 12 Luca Morisi 11 Tommaso Benvenuti 10 Riccardo Bocchino 9 Edoardo Gori 8 Robert Barbieri 7 Mauro Bergamasco 6 Alessandro Zanni 5 Joshua Furno 4 Antonio Pavanello 3 MARTIN CASTROGIOVANNI (C) 2 Carlo Festuccia 1 Alberto De Marchi BENCH: 16 Davide Giazzon 17 Michele Rizzo 18 Simone Favaro 19 Tommaso D’Apice 20 Tito Tebaldi 21 Kristopher Burton 22 Alberto Sgarbi

SCORERS T: Festuccio, Edoardo, Burton C: Bocchino (2), Burton P: Bocchino (3)

Referee: Jérôme Garces (FFR) Asst Refs: Derek Stoltz (Canada), Marc Nelson (USA) TMO: Davey Ardrey (USA)

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