November Tests: Late injury blow for Ireland

by staff

The teams are rolling in for another big week of November internationals, headlined by the Ireland-New Zealand blockbuster.


Saturday November 17, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, 7pm Saturday, Sunday 6am AEDT, LIVE on beIN Sports Channel 515.

Josh van der Flier will start for Ireland in their Test match with world champions New Zealand on Saturday after fellow flanker Dan Leavy dropped out, an IRFU spokesman said on Friday.

Van der Flier played in the 54-7 win over Italy a fortnight ago but did not feature in last Saturday's 28-7 victory against Argentina.

The 25-year-old, whose Dutch grandparents emigrated to Ireland in the 1950s, has played well for Leinster this season after returning from a cruciate ligament injury he suffered in Ireland's Six Nations win over France in February.

His Leinster team-mate Leavy, who was one of the new faces to star in Ireland's Six Nations Grand Slam exploits last season, impressed against Argentina last weekend but failed to train on Thursday, with a spokesman saying he had general muscle tightness.

Jordi Murphy fills van der Flier's place on the bench.

"From our point of view it doesn't affect us that much, we are replacing one quality player with another," said captain Rory Best.

"I think Josh and Dan are rather similar players. Josh will bring his game and fit in seamlessly," Best added.

Ryan Crotty is the only new face in the All Blacks' starting XV for Sunday morning's highly-anticipated clash.

Crotty comes into the starting side in place of the injured Sonny Bill Williams, who hurt his shoulder in the All Blacks' 16-15 win over England last weekend.

Anton Lienert-Brown comes into the matchday 23 to replace Crotty on the pine.

Halfback Aaron Smith will play his 82nd Test for the All Blacks in the clash, making him the most capped Kiwi Test nine of all time, surpassing Justin Marshall.

Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock will start together for the 50th time , a New Zealand record.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said the entire team was ready for this one.

"This will be another great challenge for our squad and one that we're all really looking forward to," he said.

"These are the types of Test matches that gets everyone up - it's number one versus number two - and there's a real excitement that's building as we get closer to Saturday."


Ireland to face New Zealand

IN: Josh Van der Flier, Jordi Murphy, Rob Kearney, Garry Ringrose

OUT: Sean O'Brien, Dan Leavy, Will Addison, Andrew Conway, 

1. Cian Healy

2. Rory Best

3. Tadhg Furlong

4. Devin Toner

5. James Ryan

6. Peter O'Mahony

7. Josh van der Flier

8. CJ Stander

9. Kieran Marmion

10. Johnny Sexton

11. Jacob Stockdale

12. Bundee Aki

13. Garry Ringrose

14. Keith Earls

15. Rob Kearney


16. Sean Cronin

17. Jack McGrath

18. Andrew Porter

19. Iain Henderson

20. Jordi Murphy

21. Luke McGrath

22. Joey Carbery

23. Jordan Larmour

New Zealand to face Ireland

IN: Anton Lienert-Brown

OUT: Sonny Bill Williams (shoulder)

1. Karl Tu'inukuafe (11)

2. Codie Taylor (40)

3. Owen Franks (105)

4. Brodie Retallick (73)

5. Samuel Whitelock (107)

6. Liam Squire (22)

7. Ardie Savea (33)

8. Kieran Read - captain (116)

9. Aaron Smith (81)

10. Beauden Barrett (71)

11. Rieko Ioane (22)

12. Ryan Crotty (43)

13. Jack Goodhue (6)

14. Ben Smith (75)

15. Damian McKenzie (21)

16. Dane Coles (58)

17. Ofa Tuungafasi (24)

18. Nepo Laulala (15)

19. Scott Barrett (27)

20. Matt Todd (16)

21. TJ Perenara (53)

22. Richie Mo'unga (6)

23. Anton Lienert-Brown (31)


Scotland have rung the changes to face South Africa. Photo: Getty ImagesScotland coach Gregor Townsend has warned his side will have to up their game when they face an "ambitious" South Africa at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The Scots ran in eight tries during a 54-17 thrashing of Fiji last weekend.

But South Africa, edged out 12-11 by England at Twickenham in their tour opener and fresh from a 29-26 comeback win over France in Paris, are set to provide Scotland with a tougher test.

Townsend has responded to the challenge of the Springboks by making six changes to his side for the upcoming encounter in Edinburgh, which will see both sides continue their preparations for next year's World Cup in Japan.

Sam Skinner, Scotland's man-of-the-match against Fiji, has been switched to blindside flanker after making his Test debut at lock.

Jonny Gray and Ben Toolis return to form the second-row partnership, while Hamish Watson returns to the back row.

Vice-captain Stuart McInally starts at hooker, with London Irish prop Gordon Reid at loosehead prop.

The only change in the back division sees the return of try-scoring centre Huw Jones.

"South Africa have made a lot of improvements over the last three or four months, beating the All Blacks in New Zealand and putting in an 80-minute performance to defeat France in Paris, which underlines their quality," said Townsend after naming his matchday 23.

South Africa scrum-half Embrose Papier will make his first Test start after being selected Thursday in the run-on XV to face Scotland at Murrayfield this weekend.

All of Papier's five previous caps have come off the bench.

But with Faf de Klerk released back to English club side Sale, following last week's come from behind 29-26 win against France in Paris, Papier gets a chance in the No 9 shirt.

Ivan van Zyl is on the bench.

In the pack, Duane Vermeulen moves to No 8 in place of the injured Warren Whiteley, while Pieter-Steph du Toit packs down at blindside flanker, moving from lock, where he started in both the tour-opening 12-11 defeat by England and against France.

RG Snyman starts at lock, with the Springboks deciding not to rush Eben Etzebeth back from the ankle injury he sustained against England.

Scotland named their team for Saturday's match in Edinburgh on Wednesday.


Scotland to face South Africa

IN: Huw Jones, Simon Berghan, Ali Price, Hamish Watson

OUT: Grant Gilchrist, Matt Fagerson, Alex Dunbar, Alex Allan

1. Gordon Reid

2. Stuart McInally

3. Willem Nel

4. Ben Toolis

5. Jonny Gray

6. Sam Skinner

7. Hamish Watson

8. Ryan Wilson

9. Greig Laidlaw

10. Finn Russell

11. Sean Maitland

12. Pete Horne

13. Huw Jones

14. Tommy Seymour

15. Stuart Hogg


16. Fraser Brown

17. Allan Dell

18. Simon Berghan

19. Josh Strauss

20. Jamie Ritchie

21. Ali Price

22. Adam Hastings

23. Chris Harris

South Africa to face Scotland

IN: Ivan van Zyl, Lood de Jager

OUT: Warren Whiteley, Faf de Klerk,

1. Steven Kitshoff

2. Malcolm Marx

3. Frans Malherbe

4. RG Snyman

5. Franco Mostert

6. Siya Kolisi

7. Pieter-Steph du Toit

8. Duane Vermuelan

9. Embrose Papier

10. Handre Pollard

11. Aphiwe Dyantyi

12. Damian de Allende

13. Jesse Kriel

14. Sbu Nkosi

15. Willie le Roux


16. Bongi Mbonambi

17. Thomas du Toit

18. Vincent Koch

19. Lood de Jager

20. Francois Louw

21. Ivan van Zyl

22. Elton Jantjies

23. Cheslin Kolbe


Saturday November 17, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, 2:30pm local, Sunday 1:30am AEDT

Leicester back Jonah Holmes will make his Wales debut against Tonga this week, the Welsh Rugby Union announced on Thursday.

Holmes, born in Stockport, northwest England, qualifies for Wales through his Welsh grandmother.

He takes his place in a Wales side, fresh from last week's 9-6 win over Australia in Cardiff, alongside Saracens wing Liam Williams will earn his 50th cap.

Cardiff Blues flanker Ellis Jenkins captains a team where there are also starts for centre Tyler Morgan, scrum-half Tomos Williams, No. 8 Seb Davies, flanker Aaron Wainwright and prop Leon Brown in 14 changes from the victory over the Wallabies.


Wales to face Tonga

IN: Wyn Jones, Leon Brown, Jake Ball, Aaron Wainwright, Seb Davies, Steff Evans, Owen Watkin, Tyler Morgan, Ryan Elias, Jonah Holmes, Aled Davies, Rhys Patchell

OUT: Nicky Smith, Ken Owens, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric, Gareth Davies, Gareth Anscombe, Hadleigh Parkes, Jonathan Davies, George North, Leigh Halfpenny, Dillon Lewis,

1. Wyn Jones

2. Elliot Dee

3. Leon Brown

4. Jake Ball

5. Adam Beard

6. Aaron Wainwright

7. Ellis Jenkins

8. Seb Davies

9. Tomos Williams

10. Dan Biggar

11. Steff Evans

12. Owen Watkin

13. Tyler Morgan

14. Liam Williams

15. Jonah Holmes


16. Ryan Elias

17. Rob Evans

18. Tomas Francis

19. Cory Hill

20. Ross Moriarty

21. Aled Davies

22. Rhys Patchell

23. Josh Adams

Tonga to face Wales



Saturday November 17, Twickenham, London, 3pm local, Sunday 2am AEDT, LIVE on beIN Sports Channel 513

Bath powerhouse wing Joe Cokanasiga was handed an England debut on his 21st birthday as coach Eddie Jones made 11 changes to his starting side announced Thursday for this weekend's international against Japan at Twickenham.

Fiji-born flyer Cokanasiga -- his full name is Ratu Josateki Tuivanuavou Waqanivalu Cokanasiga -- takes over on the right wing from Chris Ashton, who shifts across to take over from Jonny May on the left wing.

Cokanisiga, who is 1.95m and 110 kilos, moved to England with his parents when he was just three. He began his rugby career with London Irish before moving to Bath this season.

"This weekend is a good opportunity for us to test the depth of the squad," said Jones.

"A number of players have changed their roles going from finishers to starters and starters to finishers so that is the essential change to the squad.

"It is exciting to be able to give starting opportunities to Zach Mercer and Joe Cokanasiga and young Ted Hill on the bench."

Leicester's George Ford starts at fly-half and captains the side in his 50th Test, having come off the bench for last week's agonising 16-15 loss to world champions New Zealand.


England to face Japan

IN: Ted Hill, Zach Mercer, Alex Lozowski, Joe Cokanasiga, Richard Wigglesworth

OUT: George Kruis, Brad Shields, Ben Youngs, Jonny May, Ben Te'o

1. Alec Hepburn

2. Jamie George

3. Harry Williams

4. Charlie Ewels

5. Maro Itoje

6. Courtney Lawes

7. Mark Wilson

8. Zach Mercer

9. Danny Care

10. George Ford

11. Chris Ashton

12. Alex Lozowski

13. Jack Nowell

14. Joe Cokanasiga

15. Elliot Daly


16. Dylan Hartley

17. Ben Moon

18. Kyle Sinckler

19. Ted Hill

20. Sam Underhill

21. Richard Wigglesworth

22. Owen Farrell

23. Henry Slade

Japan to face England

IN: Jiwon Koo, Masakatsu Nishikawa, Kazuki Himeno, Akihito Yamada, Koki Yamamoto, Shunsuke Nunomaki

OUT: Hirohi Yamashita, Kazuki Himeno, Jamie Henry, Ryohei Yamanaka, Masataka Mikami, Vakautalsileli Nakajima

1. Keita Inagaki

2. Atsushi Sakate

3. Jiwon Koo

4. Wimpie van der Walt

5. Uwe Helu

6. Michael Leitch

7. Masakatsu Nishikawa

8. Kazuki Himeno

9. Fumiaki Tanaka

10. Yu Tamura

11. Kenki Fukuoka

12. Ryoto Nakamura

13. Timothy Lafaele

14. Akihito Yamada

15. Will Tupou


16. Yusuke Niwai

17. Koki Yamamoto

18. Asaeli Ai Valu

19. Samuela Anise

20. Hendrik Tui

21. Shunsuke Nunomaki

22. Yutaka Nagare

23. Rikiya Matsuda


Saturday November 17, Stade de France, Paris, 9:05pm local, Sunday 7:05am AEDT, LIVE on beIn Sports Channel 515

Gonzalo Bertranou is back at nine for the Pumas. Photo: Getty ImagesScrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou replaces Tomas Cubelli in the only change by Argentina coach Mario Ledesma from the Pumas team that lost to Ireland last week ahead of Saturday's Test against France.

Bertranou started in Argentina's final match of the Rugby Championship, a 45-34 defeat to Australia on October 6, but was replaced by Cubelli for last week's 28-17 reverse in Dublin.

Cubelli will be among the replacements in Lille where France will be looking to make amends for their 29-26 defeat to South African in Paris last week.

Replacement fly-half Joaquin Diaz pays the price for Ledesma's decision to go with six forwards and only two backs on the bench by being left out of the squad.

He is replaced on the bench by lock forward Mariano Galarza, who last played for Argentina at the 2015 World Cup.

France coach Jacques Brunel called up Top 14 leading try-scorer Gael Fickou and the experienced Yoann Huget on Thursday for this weekend's Test against Argentina in Lille.

They are the only two changes to the side that started last weekend's match against South Africa which the French lost in the last minute.

Fickou will start at inside centre against the Pumas, replacing Geoffrey Doumayrou who suffered a concussion against the Springboks.

It will be his first run at centre since the 2017 tour to South Africa, since when he has largely featured on the wing.


France to face Argentina

IN: Yoann Huget, Benjamin Fall

OUT: Damian Penaud, Geoffrey Doumayrou

1. Jefferson Poirot

2. Guilhem Guirado

3. Cedate Gomes Sa

4. Sebastien Cahaamahina

5. Yohann Maestri

6. Wenceslas Lauret

7. Arthur Iturria

8. Louis Picamoles

9. Baptiste Serin

10. Camille Lopez

11. Yoann Huget

12. Gael Fickou

13. Mathieu Bastareaud

14. Teddy Thomas

15. Maxime Medard


16. Camille Chat

17. Danny Priso

18. Rabah Slimani

19. Paul Grabrillagues

20. Mathirew Babillot

21. Antoine Dupont

22. Anthony Belleau

23. Benjamin Fall

Argentina to face France

IN: Mariano Galarza

OUT: Joaquin Diaz

1. Santiago Garcia Botti

2. Agustin Creevy

3. Santiago Medrano

4. Matias Alemanno

5. Tomas Lavanini

6. Pablo Matera

7. Javier Desio

8. Guido Petti

9. Gonzalo Bertranou

10. Nicolas Sanchez

11. Ramiro Moyano

12. Jeronimo De La Fuente

13. Matias Orlando

14. Bautista Delguy

15. Emiliano Boffelli


16. Julian Montoya

17. Juan Pablo Zeiss

18. Lucio Sordoni

19. Mariano Galarza

20. Rodrigo Bruni

21. Tomas Lezana

22. Tomas Cubelli

23. Matias Moroni