Ireland captain Peter O'Mahony challenges Joey Carbery to seize his opportunity against the Wallabies

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Peter O'Mahony will captain Ireland against the Wallabies

Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony has challenged Joey Carbery and the other new faces in his team to seize their opportunity on the eve of their first Test against Australia in Brisbane.

The Munster flanker skippers his country for the fourth time at Suncorp Stadium as they look to build on their Grand Slam success in the spring.

Joe Schmidt has made six changes to the team that beat England to secure that success in March with Carbery starting at fly-half ahead of Johnny Sexton, who is on the bench, while Jack McGrath, Rob Herring, John Ryan, Jordi Murphy and Robbie Henshaw come into the side.

There is plenty of focus on 22-year-old Carbery, who last week confirmed that he would be moving from Leinster to Munster next season.

O’Mahony has encouraged all of the players who have come into the side to rise to the challenge.

“We talk about guys being able to slot in and of building a squad and guys having to take their opportunities. These are the opportunities that you can’t let pass you by,” the Corkman said.

“This is the standard of Rugby that you want to be playing at and with the squad that we’ve built, certainly over the last two or three years, we always say that guys should slot in seamlessly and that’s the way we run things.”

O’Mahony, who captained the Lions in the first Test against New Zealand last year, has been impressed with the way Carbery has responded to his surprise inclusion.

“It’s been great. He’s an incredible footballer,” he said.

“He’s really grown into that leadership role. I suppose over the past two years he’s been getting better and better and he’s a big character in the squad, which you need from your 10.

“I think he’s growing all the time and it’s a huge opportunity for him tomorrow.”

Australia are determined to begin their season by taking a 1-0 lead in the series and coach Michael Cheika has brought David Pocock back into the team after his hiatus last year.

Reds pair Caleb Timu and Brandon Paenga-Amosa will make their debuts in Brisbane, while Crusaders flanker Pete Samu is likely to join them off the bench.

Captain Michael Hooper has called on his team to bring a positive approach to the clash.

“We’d be silly not to run the ball with some of the strike power we’ve got,” he said.

“We’ve got a really fit team – forwards who want to work and get over the advantage-line.

“We’ve a mobile back row and we’ve seen during the Super Rugby season some of the damage that the backs can do and some of the form that our play-makers are in.

“We’ve got to be smart in how we do it.

“Some of this stuff needs a little bit of a tweak sometimes in how we relieve pressure at times because we know that the Irish are good – they build pressure.

“We saw what they did to some teams in the Six Nations, how they can put up a kick anywhere on the field and keep putting pressure on you so how we deal with that is critical.”

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All the line-ups for a packed weekend of International Test Rugby

Alex Broun 8/06/2018
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The Barrett brothers will be lining up against France: (L to R) Scott, Jordie and Beauden.

It’s a packed weekend of international rugby with the All Blacks taking on France, the Wallabies hosting Six Nations champions Ireland, England in South Africa and Argentina up against Wales.

In other matches there is a double header in Suva as Fiji and Samoa battle out a local derby and Tonga face Georgia, while Italy travel to Japan.

All the line-ups for the eagerly waited tests are below:

New Zealand vs France (Auckland)

New Zealand (15-1): Jordie Barrett; Ben Smith, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, Rieko Ioane; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Luke Whitelock, Sam Cane, Liam Squire; Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock (captain), Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody. Reserves: Nathan Harris, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi, Vaea Fifita, Ardie Savea, T.J. Perenara, Damian McKenzie, Ngani Laumape.

France (15-1): Maxime Medard; Teddy Thomas, Mathieu Bastareaud (captain), Geoffrey Doumayrou, Remy Grosso; Anthony Belleau, Morgan Parra; Kevin Gourdon, Fabien Sanconnie, Judicael Cancoriet; Yoann Maestri, Paul Gabrillagues, Uini Atonio, Camille Chat, Dany Priso. Reserves: Adrien Pelissie, Cyril Baille, Rabah Slimani, Bernard Le Roux, Alexandre Lapandry, Baptiste Serin, Jules Plisson, Gael Fickou.

Australia vs Ireland (Brisbane)

Australia (15-1): Israel Folau; Marika Koroibete, Samu Kerevi, Kurtley Beale, Dane Haylett-Petty; Bernard Foley, Will Genia; Caleb Timu, Michael Hooper (captain), David Pocock; Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda, Sekope Kepu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Scott Sio. Reserves: Tolu Latu, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Lukhan Tui, Pete Samu, Nick Phipps, Reece Hodge.

Ireland (15-1): Rob Kearney; Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Joey Carbery, Conor Murray; C.J. Stander, Jordi Murphy, Peter O’Mahony; Iain Henderson, James Ryan, John Ryan, Rob Herring, Jack McGrath. Reserves: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong, Quinn Roux, Jack Conan, Kieran Marmion, Johnny Sexton, Jordan Larmour.

South Africa vs. England (Johannesburg)

South Africa (15-1): Willie le Roux; S’busiso Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi; Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Duane Vermeulen, Jean-Luc du Preez, Siya Kolisi (captain); Franco Mostert, RG Snyman, Trevor Nyakane or Wilco Louw, Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Akker van der Merwe, Steven Kitshoff, Wilco Louw or Thomas du Toit, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Ivan van Zyl, Elton Jantjies, Warrick Gelant.

England (15-1): Elliot Daly; Jonny May, Henry Slade, Owen Farrell (captain), Mike Brown; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Billy Vunipola, Tom Curry, Chris Robshaw; Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Mako Vunipola. Reserves: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Joe Marler, Harry Williams, Brad Shields, Nathan Hughes, Ben Spencer, Piers Francis, Denny Solomona.

Argentina vs. Wales  (San Juan)

Argentina (15-1): Emiliano Boffelli; Bautista Delguy, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de le Fuente, Ramiro Moyano; Nicolas Sanchez, Gonzalo Bertranou; Javier Ortega Desio, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera; Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Agustin Creevy (captain), Santiago Garcia Botta. Reserves: Julian Montoya, Javier Diaz, Santiago Medrano, Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lezana, Martin Landajo, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Sebastian Cancelliere

Wales (15-1): Hallam Amos; Josh Adams, Scott Williams, Hadleigh Parkes, George North; Rhys Patchell, Gareth Davies; Ross Moriarty, James Davies, Seb Davies; Cory Hill (captain), Adam Beard, Dillon Lewis, Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones. Reserves: Ryan Elias, Rob Evans, Tomas Francis, Josh Turnbull, Aaron Wainwright, Aled Davies, Gareth Anscombe, Owen Watkin.

Fiji vs. Samoa (Suva)

Fiji (15-1): Kini Murimurivalu; Benito Masilevu, Jale Vatubua, Sevanaia Galala, Verniki Goneva; Ben Volavola, Henry Seniloli; Akapusi Qera (captain), Viliame Mata, Dominiko Waqaniburotu; Leone Nakawara, Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, Manasa Saulo, Talemaitoga Tuapati, Campese Ma’afu. Reserves: Ratu Vere Vugakoto, Eroni Mawi, Ropate Rinakama, Sikeli Nabou, Nemani Nagusa, Serupepeli Vularika, Alivereti Veitokani, Timoci Nagusa.

Samoa (15-1): Ah See Tuala; Ed Fidow, Rey Lee-Lo, Alapati Leiua, Sinoti Sinoti; Tusi Pisi, Melani Matavao; Mat Luamanu, Jack Lam, Piula Faasalele; Chris Vui (captain), Josh Tyrell, Paul Alo-Emile, Motu Matu’u, Logovii Mulipola. Reserves: Seilala Lam, Jordan Lay, Viliamu Afatia, Joe Tekori, T.J. Ioane, Dwayne Polataivao, Rodney Iona, Paul Perez.

Tonga vs. Georgia (Suva)

Tonga (15-1): Sione Fifita; David Halaifonua, Nafi Tuitavake, Siale Piutau (captain), Penikolo Latu; Kurt Morath, Sonatane Takulua; Nasi Manu, Fotu Lokotui, Daniel Faleafa; Joe Tuineau, Leva Fifita, David Lolohea Paul Ngauamo, Siegfried Fisiihoi. Reserves: Sosefo Sakalia, David Feao, Ben Tameifuna, Valentino Mapapalangi, Michael Faleafa, Shinnosuke Tu’umoto’oa, Latiume Fosita, Viliami Lolohea.

Georgia (15-1): Soso Matiashvili; Anzor Sitchinava, Davit Kacharava, Giorgi Kveseladze, Alexander Todua; Lasha Khmaladze, Vasil Lobzhanidze; Mikheil Gachechiladze, Otar Giorgadze, Shalva Sutiashvili; Nodar Tcheishvili, Giorgi Nemsadze (captain), Levan Chilachava, Shalva Mamukashvili, Karlen Asieshvili. Reserves: Jaba Bregvadze, Giorgi Tetrashvili, Irakli Mirtskhulava, Konstantin Mikautadze, Saba Shubitidze, Giorgi Begadze, Lasha Malaghuradze, Merab Kvirikashvili.

Japan vs. Italy (Oita)

Japan (15-1): Kotaru Matsushima; Lomano Lemeki, Will Tupou, Timothy Lafaele, Kenki Fukuoka; Yu Tamura, Fumiaki Tanaka; Amanaki Mafi, Michael Leitch (captain), Kazuki Himeno; Samuela Anise, Wimpie Van Der Walt, Ji-Won Koo, Shota Horie, Keita Inagaki. Reserves: Yusuke Niwai, Shintaro Ishihara, Takuma Asahara, Uwe Helu, Yoshitaka Tokunaga, Yutaka Nagare, Rikiya Matsuda, Ryoto Nakamura.

Italy (15-1): Matteo Minozzi; Tommaso Benevenuti, Michele Campagnaro, Tommaso Castello, Mattia Bellini; Tommaso Allan, Marcello Violi; Abraham Steyn, Giovanni Licata, Sebastian Negri; Dean Budd, Alessandro Zanni, Tiziano Pasquali, Leonardo Ghiraldini (captain), Andrea Lovotti. Reserves: Luca Bigi, Federico Zani, Giosue Zilocchi, George Biagi, Marco Fuser, Jake Polledri, Tito Tebaldi, Jayden Hayward.

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Rugby Africa lifts Nigeria’s suspension from international championships

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Nigeria are back in international rugby

Rugby Africa held an Executive meeting in Gaborone, Botswana on May 25 where it lifted the suspension on the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF)  from participating in any international championship and pledged to help the game grow in the country.

Nigeria was suspended from all international activities following a leadership crisis that trailed last year’s election in to the board of the federation. The suspension stopped Nigeria from featuring in some international engagements in 2017.

Rugby Africa’s new stance is not unrelated to the outcome of its investigations into the crisis.

Rugby Africa’s top Executive Mr Khaled Babbou reported that the NRFF General Assembly held in March, 2018 was properly constituted and that the new constitution which had been reviewed ahead of time was lawfully adopted by stakeholders to chart a new path for rugby in Nigeria.

‘’As far as Rugby Africa is concerned, this means that the NRFF is eligible to participate in the Regional Sevens Prequalifier tournament which will take place in Cote d’Ivoire in September. Further detail will be communicated about this competition from our office’’, said President of Rugby Africa – Abdelaziz Bougja  in the letter written to NRFF President on Monday.

NRFF President, Kelechukwu Mbagwu commended Rugby Africa for giving Nigeria the nod to rejoin the international scene. He pledged that his administration would not relent in making rugby more popular in the country.

“I am happy to see that Nigeria is back to the international scene. On assuming office as the president of (NRFF), I stated that it would not take too long for Nigeria to be back in the international scene.”

“The journey had not been easy, but I thank God Rugby Afrique understood the need to develop rugby in Nigeria by lifting the ban.”

“We are grateful. This recent development would make the NRFF to redouble it efforts and keep working hard to reposition the national rugby team (The Black Stallions), the female team, Nigerian domestic clubs and grassroots development programmes,” he said.

Nigeria will be playing Niger Republic who are champions of the Super 16 rugby tourney in a friendly game in August.

Talks are still ongoing with the Ghana national team for another tune up game. These are all geared to put the national team on the right track to contend with other teams at the international level.

“Cote d’Ivoire would host the Rugby Africa Regional Championship later this year, but Nigeria is on the waiting list to host if they are not ready,” Mbagwu declared.

“The Northern domestic league would start on 30th June with eight clubs. The South South league, which is making its debut in Nigeria, would commence soon. My target is to see that rugby is played in all part of the country. This is why we also focus on grooming children in rugby,”

Speaking with the Teams Manager, Mr Dele Coker: ‘’We can confirm that the match against Niger Republic will take place in Niamey on the 11th of August.”

“Any prospective players who wish to represent their country at Senior Men’s, Ladies and Under 17 from within Nigeria or Abroad should complete the online forms at www.theNRFF.com to register their commitments for July, August, September and October Rugby for Nigeria.’’

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