Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou to start against Springboks as Scott Sio set for 50th Test

Alex Broun 27/09/2018
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Taniela Tupou will start against South Africa

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has made four changes to his starting fifteen ahead of Australia’s Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon (19:05 UAE time).

Prop Taniela Tupou will earn his first Test start when he runs out at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium after six appearances off the bench to open his International career.

Tupou will bookend the scrum alongside Scott Sio who is set to notch his 50th Test cap.

Captain Michael Hooper returns to the side after being a late scratching from Australia’s 19-23 defeat to Argentina a fortnight ago and he’s joined by Ned Hanigan in the backrow.

In the other change, Adam Coleman re-gains his spot at lock after coming off the bench against Argentina on the Gold Coast.

Australia haven’t tasted victory in South Africa since 2011 but did earn a draw in the Republic last year, when both sides fought out a 27-all stalemate in Bloemfontein.

Saturday’s clash will be the first meeting between the two sides in Port Elizabeth since 1963, when South Africa won 22-6 to level the four-match Test series.

Wallabies team to play South Africa at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth on Saturday 29 September

  1. Scott Sio (49 Tests)
  2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (86 Tests)
  3. Taniela Tupou (6 Tests)
  4. Adam Coleman (26 Tests)
  5. Izack Rodda (11 Tests)
  6. Ned Hanigan (15 Tests)
  7. Michael Hooper (c) (85 Tests)
  8. David Pocock (73 Tests)
  9. Will Genia (94 Tests)
  10. Kurtley Beale (78 Tests)
  11. Marika Koroibete (15 Tests)
  12. Matt Toomua (37 Tests)
  13. Reece Hodge (31 Tests)
  14. Israel Folau (67 Tests)
  15. Dane Haylett-Petty (25 Tests)

Reserves

  1. Folau Faingaa (3 Tests)
  2. Sekope Kepu (97 Tests)
  3. Allan Alaalatoa (27 Tests)
  4. Rory Arnold (17 Tests)
  5. Rob Simmons (88 Tests)
  6. Nick Phipps (67 Tests)
  7. Bernard Foley (62 Tests)
  8. Jack Maddocks (4 Tests)

Rugby Championship Fixtures and Results

Wallabies 13 v New Zealand 38 at ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Saturday 18 August

New Zealand 40 v Wallabies 12 at Eden Park, Auckland, Saturday 25 August

Wallabies 23 v South Africa 18 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Saturday 8 September

Wallabies 19 v 23 Argentina at Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast, Saturday 15 September

South Africa v Wallabies at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, Sunday 30 September

Argentina v Wallabies at Padre Ernesto Martearena Stadium, Salta, Sunday 7 October

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England captain Dylan Hartley's hunger has sharpened ahead of international return

Duncan Bech 27/09/2018
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Dylan Hartley is hungry to return to international action

Dylan Hartley‘s recent break from the game has sharpened his hunger as he acknowledges the crucial timing of his return for England.

Hartley took an extended period of rest encompassing the June tour to South Africa after being concussed against Ireland in March, but has been involved in all four of Northampton‘s matches this season.

The 32-year-old hooker missed the last Rugby World Cup due to suspension and with a year to go until Japan 2019, he appreciates the importance of being restored to Eddie Jones’ squad ahead of the autumn series.

“It makes you realise what you’re missing. The easy thing when you’re injured or not selected is just to accept your fate. ‘OK that’s me’,” he said.

“When you’re on the outside you’ve got to work it out for yourself. Tunnel vision, be very selfish, work out how you can get back in.

“It’s a good thing to be on the outside looking in. A new perspective is always a good tool in all walks of life. Refire, re-energise, refocus. What do you need to do?

“Now there’s definitely a heightened sense of excitement. Everything we’ve been working towards is drawing in.

“Being in the room… now that we’re in the final year you want to be in the room.”

Hartley is expected to resume as captain for the looming series against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia after his leadership was missed in the 2-1 series defeat by the Springboks.

Assisting in his objective of featuring at Twickenham in November has been the influence of Northampton’s former All Blacks prop Ben Franks, whose meticulous preparation even includes making a packed lunch.

“I’ve got a new mate. Ben trains better than anyone I’ve ever seen. He finds time in his day to do extra weight sessions,” Hartley said.

“No one in the strength and conditioning team questions him when he does his own warm-up or his own weights session.

“He carries around his own lunch box, brings his own food. A lot of the young lads are like ‘oh my God, he brings his own food’.

“I asked him why and he said because ‘when I started, you didn’t get food, you had to bring it’. It’s like making a sandwich and going off to school.

“I said ‘why would you do that if you’ve won two World Cups?’ and he said ‘I’m scared that if I stop doing the work, my body will shut down’. So he works incredibly hard to maintain his ability to play.

England open their Rugby World Cup challenge on September 22 next year and Hartley’s anticipation has been heightened by the support the nation’s football team received during the march to the semi-final of Russia 2018.

“I really enjoyed the fanfare. I don’t watch football games but I watched football games during the World Cup,” Hartley said.

“In England we are very patriotic given the chance. I think we saw the best side of ourselves.

“I think if we win the country will follow. Especially at World Cups. No one’s going to remember performances, they’re going to remember results.”

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England boss Eddie Jones says he understands reasons for Joe Marler's international retirement

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Joe Marler has announced his international retirement.

England boss Eddie Jones says he understands Joe Marler‘s “reasoning” after the Harlequins prop announced his immediate retirement from international Rugby.

The 28-year-old forward, who has won 59 England caps, told Quins TV he had made the decision to spend more time with his family.

Marler, one of British Rugby’s most colourful and controversial characters, will continue to play for Quins.

Marler had a six-year international career, making his first and last England appearances against South Africa in 2012 and 2018, and also toured New Zealand last year with the British and Irish Lions.

His decision will be a big blow to Jones just a year out from the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Although Marler is currently England’s preferred back-up loosehead to Mako Vunipola, he remained a key part of Jones’ plans and could have expected to be involved in this season’s autumn Test schedule, which features games against world champions New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Japan.

In a statement released by Quins, Jones said: “Joe is a great player and team member, so I am disappointed and we will miss him. But he has made his decision on personal grounds and we understand his reasoning.

“He’s a good guy – an honest, mature person who understands the demands of the game and the demands of family life. I have got to admire his honesty and the way he has gone about this.”

Marler withdrew from a three-day England training camp in Bristol earlier this week, citing “personal reasons,” while he also pulled out of England’s 2016 tour of Australia due to not being in the right frame of mind to play international Rugby.

Prior to that Australia trip, he received a two-week ban and £20,000 fine for calling Wales prop Samson Lee “gypsy boy” during a Six Nations game between the countries at Twickenham.

In his first match back he was then cited for kicking Grenoble forward Arnaud Heguy in a European Challenge Cup fixture and received a fortnight’s suspension.

In terms of his international retirement, Marler said it was probably pre-England’s South Africa tour this summer that he had already made his mind up.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my country, and of course this has been a very difficult decision to make,” he said.

“But I have decided to retire from playing international Rugby with immediate effect to spend more time with my family.

“It is an incredible commitment to play Rugby for England, and I strongly believe that if you are unable to give yourself fully to it then it is time to step away, otherwise it would not be fair on the team, or my family.

“Being with England you have to spend an incredible amount of time away, and I could not do that any more.

“So now is the time to walk away and get some new blood in the team. And I am looking forward to being able to give my wife and children more of my time.

“I would like to thank everyone at England for the opportunities that I have been given. I will always be grateful for the memories playing for my country has given me.”

Last season, Marler was was banned on two separate occasions for striking opposing players with his shoulder and elbow, receiving suspensions of six and three weeks.

Despite his disciplinary issues, though, he was was a key part of England regimes under the coaching of Stuart Lancaster and currently Jones, with 43 of his international appearances being as a starting XV player, with just 16 off the bench.

With Marler no longer available and highly-rated Leicester loosehead Ellis Genge and Bath forward Beno Obano both currently recovering from long-term injuries, Jones’ loosehead prop options behind Vunipola have suffered another setback.

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