Schalk Brits will become the second oldest captain in Springbok history when he leads South Africa against Argentina on Saturday.

Hooker Brits, at 38 years and three months, has been chosen to lead the Boks in the Test at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, as he makes his first start for the national team in over 10 years.

Victor Matfield was almost three months older than Brits when he skippered the Springboks in the 2015 Rugby World Cup third-place match, but Brits becomes the oldest man to be a first-time captain of the team.

With World Cup places at stake, coach Rassie Erasmus has selected a strong yet experimental side, challenging some of his players to prove they deserve a seat on the plane to Japan.

Erasmus said it was "make or break" for a number of the players, as he prepares to finalise his tournament squad.

The pack shows changes following the Boks' Rugby Championship triumph, with flanker Siya Kolisi, number eight Marcell Coetzee and prop Thomas du Toit named in the starting XV, with Wilco Louw - another prop - and back-rower Marco van Staden on the bench.

Kolisi, coming back from a knee injury, is the team's regular captain but may only last for part of the first half as Erasmus eases him back into the team.

"I've asked Siya to empty his tank and go as hard for as long as he can," Erasmus said.

"I've told him he might even come off in the first half. He has played less than 50 minutes of Currie Cup rugby in the last 12 weeks but I needed him to have a taste of Test rugby again before we leave for Japan."

Cobus Reinach gets a chance to impress at scrum-half, with fly-half Elton Jantjies primed to take over the captaincy if - as seems likely - South Africa replace Brits with the uncapped Scarra Ntubeni during the match.

Herschel Jantjies is ruled out after taking a blow to the head in training that is not expected to affect his World Cup chances.

Erasmus urged his players to raise their level for what is their last match before heading to Japan.

He said: "No matter what has happened before this weekend, the momentum we will go to the World Cup with will depend on what happens on Saturday.

"Some of these players will know they are on the plane but for others it is make or break – and even if they don't make the plane there will be six standby roles to be identified."

 

South Africa team to play Argentina: Warrick Gelant, Sbu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Andre Esterhuizen, Dillyn Leyds, Elton Jantjies, Cobus Reinach; Thomas du Toit, Schalk Brits, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Lood de Jager, Siya Kolisi, Rynhardt Elstadt, Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements: Scarra Ntubeni, Lizo Gqoboka, Wilco Louw, Marvin Orie, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Faf de Klerk, Frans Steyn.

Joey Carbery looks set to be included in Ireland's Rugby World Cup squad after discovering an ankle injury should only keep him out for up to six weeks.

There were concerns that the fly-half could face a long-term absence when he was carted off in the 29-10 World Cup warm-up win over Italy last Saturday.

Carbery did damage at the base of a ruck in the second half and looked a forlorn figure as he left the field at the Aviva Stadium.

The 23-year-old's injury is not as serious as feared, though, and he is expected to be out for between four and six weeks after undergoing rehabilitation.

Ireland start their World Cup campaign against Scotland in Yokohama City five weeks on Sunday.

Carbery flew out with the Ireland squad for a warm-weather training camp in Portugal on Wednesday along with Devin Toner and Rob Herring, who have recovered from ankle and back injuries respectively.

John Cooney, Finlay Bealham and Mike Haley were omitted.

 

Ireland squad for Portugal training camp:

Forwards: Rory Best, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Dave Kilcoyne, Jean Kleyn, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Tommy O'Donnell,Peter O'Mahony, Andrew Porter, Rhys Ruddock, James Ryan, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, Josh van der Flier.

Backs: Will Addison, Bundee Aki, Ross Byrne, Joey Carbery, Jack Carty, Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Robbie Henshaw, Dave Kearney, Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Kieran Marmion, Luke McGrath, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose, Johnny Sexton, Jacob Stockdale.

 

Duncan Taylor will win his first cap for over two years and Stuart McInally will captain Scotland in their first Rugby World Cup warm-up match against France on Saturday.

Taylor has not played for his country since June 2017 due to injury problems, but the 29-year-old will make up a new centre pairing with Huw Jones at the Allianz Riviera in Nice.

Fellow midfielder Rory Hutchinson and lock Scott Cummings could make their debuts off the bench against Les Bleus.

Adam Hastings gets the nod at fly-half and Ali Price starts at scrum-half five weeks before Scotland face Ireland in their World Cup opener in Yokohama City.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: "A huge amount of work has gone in throughout the past two months in order to deliver our best level of performance in the Rugby World Cup.

"These four Tests are a vital part of that process in terms of testing our systems and combinations but also in seeing which players put their best foot forward when it comes to selection for the final 31-man group going to Japan next month."

 

Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Darcy Graham, Huw Jones, Duncan Taylor, Byron McGuigan, Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Jamie Bhatti, Stuart McInally (captain), Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, John Barclay, Jamie Ritchie, Josh Strauss.

Replacements: George Turner, Gordon Reid, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Rory Hutchinson, Blair Kinghorn.

Swys de Bruin has quit as South Africa attack consultant less than six weeks before the start of the Rugby World Cup.

De Bruin stepped down from his role for "personal and medical reasons" after a win over Argentina last weekend, which sealed a first Rugby Championship triumph for a decade.

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said: "Swys made a great contribution to the squad in his time with us and I'd like to thank him on behalf of his fellow management and the players he has worked with in the past 12 months.

"He brought a fresh perspective to one facet of the game and he'll be hard to replace.

"I'd also like to thank the Lions for releasing him to us and SA Rugby for supporting his appointment."

Erasmus will weigh up his options before appointing a short-term replacement for De Bruin.

"This was not something we were expecting but our planning has been thorough and it's something we can manage," he added.

South Africa face the Pumas again at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, five weeks before taking on defending champions New Zealand in a blockbuster World Cup clash.

New Zealand lock Scott Barrett has been suspended for three weeks following his red card in last week's heavy Bledisloe Cup defeat against Australia.

Barrett was sent off prior to half-time as the All Blacks suffered their join-heaviest loss – a 47-26 Rugby Championship defeat to the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday.

The 25-year-old was ordered off for a no-arms tackle on Michael Hooper at Optus Stadium, where world champions New Zealand conceded the most Test points in their history.

Barrett accepted a guilty plea on Tuesday, ruling him out of this week's second Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia in Auckland.

The ban will last up until September 1, meaning Barrett will be available for New Zealand's final Rugby World Cup warm-up against Tonga on September 7.

"Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including submissions from his legal representative, Stephen Cottrell, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the Red Card under Law 9.16," SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee chairman Adam Casselden said.
 
"With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks due to World Rugby instructions that dictate any incident of foul play which results in contact with the head and/or neck must start at a mid-range level. 

"However, taking into account mitigating factors including the Player's exemplary judicial record, his expressed remorse and the fact the Player has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 3 weeks."

"The Foul Play Review Committee adjourned the hearing to seek more evidence regarding the Player's proposed schedule of matches. Upon reconvening the Foul Play Review Committee was presented with extensive evidence demonstrating the Player's intended playing schedule."

New Zealand lock Scott Barrett has been suspended for three games following his red card in last week's heavy Bledisloe Cup defeat against Australia.

Barrett was sent off prior to half-time as the All Blacks suffered their join-heaviest loss – a 47-26 Rugby Championship defeat to the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday.

The 25-year-old was ordered off for a no-arms tackle on Michael Hooper at Optus Stadium, where world champions New Zealand conceded the most Test points in their history.

Barrett accepted a guilty plea on Tuesday, ruling him out of this week's second Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia in Auckland.

The ban will last up until September 1, meaning Barrett will be available for New Zealand's final Rugby World Cup warm-up against Tonga on September 7.

"Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including submissions from his legal representative, Stephen Cottrell, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the Red Card under Law 9.16," SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee chairman Adam Casselden said.
 
"With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks due to World Rugby instructions that dictate any incident of foul play which results in contact with the head and/or neck must start at a mid-range level. 

"However, taking into account mitigating factors including the Player's exemplary judicial record, his expressed remorse and the fact the Player has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 3 weeks."

"The Foul Play Review Committee adjourned the hearing to seek more evidence regarding the Player's proposed schedule of matches. Upon reconvening the Foul Play Review Committee was presented with extensive evidence demonstrating the Player's intended playing schedule."

Eddie Jones refused to divulge why Ben Te'o was omitted from England's Rugby World Cup squad, simply declaring "he's just not in our top 31 players".

Centre Te'o and full-back Mike Brown were notable absentees when the squad for the tournament in Japan was named on Monday.

The duo were reportedly involved in an altercation at a social event during England's warm-weather training camp in Treviso last week.

England head coach Jones was not prepared to disclose why British and Irish Lion Te'o had been overlooked from a squad that includes Piers Francis and former Sevens specialist Ruaridh McConnochie.

The Australian said: "I'm not going to go into reasons why he wasn't selected. We've had conversations; he understands it. Whether he agrees with it is another matter.

"We've had that discussion with him and he's just not in our top 31 players at the moment."

Asked if Te'o had missed out due to his form, Jones added: "Again, we don't go into reasons as to why we select them or unselect. We won't disclose conversations we have with players."

Jones also defended his decision to pick only two scrum-halves in Ben Youngs and Willi Heinz, who impressed on debut in the victory over Wales on Sunday.

"We'd like to take three of every specialist position, but that would leave us short in other positions. We decided to go with two there and two at tighthead," Jones said.

"There's risk involved, but there's risk involved in other positions, so we've got contingency. We've got contingency in George Ford to play a little bit of half-back.

"He's been doing some training and we'll continue to do that. If we say we need a third half-back, we believe he can fulfil the role for a period of time."

Captain Siya Kolisi will make his South Africa comeback in the Rugby World Cup warm-up encounter with Argentina on Saturday.

The flanker played no part as the Springboks won the Rugby Championship for the first time in a decade due to a knee injury.

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus on Monday revealed Kolisi will feature against the Pumas at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria this weekend.

"He is a guy we desperately want to be involved on Saturday and we will involve him, but it will be limited minutes," said Erasmus.

"We won't rush him – we need to carefully manage his return."

South Africa thrashed the Pumas 46-13 in Salta to win the title on Saturday and Erasmus wants the players to put on a show in their final match on home soil before the World Cup in Japan.

"This is a very important week for us and I'm really excited about what we plan to do," he added.

"We're determined to build on the momentum we've produced over the past few weekends and we're really looking forward to ticking a few more boxes before we leave for Japan.

"This is the last 80 minutes we will have before reaching Japan and then we have only one match there before playing New Zealand [in their first World Cup match] so this match is very important to the campaign.

"We don't know what team Argentina will pick but you can be sure they'll be going all out to end their pre-Rugby World Cup campaign with a morale-boosting win."

Jofra Archer is as ready as ever to make his red-ball debut for England but has warned he cannot work miracles ahead of the second Ashes Test against Australia.

Archer looks set to earn his first Test cap on Wednesday, with the Sussex paceman likely to replace the injured James Anderson in the XI.

The 24-year-old featured as a substitute fielder as England lost by 251 runs in the first Test at Edgbaston but is now set to start at Lord’s as the hosts look to even up the five-match series.

Archer returned to Sussex last week to play for their second XI, taking 6-27 from 12.1 overs with the ball as Gloucestershire were skittled for just 79 on the opening day before following up his devastating spell by hitting a century, casting aside any doubts over whether he had fully recovered from a side strain.

"I'm probably more ready than I've ever been," Archer told a news conference on Monday.

"Don't expect any miracles, firstly. Hopefully I'm going to make my debut sooner rather than later, but I can only come in and do what I can. I can't work miracles. I'll try to, but I don't think that's how it will work out. I can only give my best.

"I believe in Test cricket you get a lot more opportunities to redeem yourself. In 50 overs, if you don't have a good 10 overs that's it, you have to wait until the next game. You have ample chances to do it in the red ball game.

"Test cricket is the same as first-class cricket. You know what you've got to do, know what your strengths are. You've just got to stick to them."

When asked how Australia planned to deal with Archer, coach Justin Langer suggested to the media his side must look to wear the Barbados-born bowler down.

Archer, however, responded by insisting he will not wilt under a heavy workload.

"I've bowled 50 overs in one game already for Sussex, so I'm usually the one bowling the most overs anyway," he said.

"I think Justin Langer's got another thing coming."

Wales will be without key man Gareth Anscombe for the Rugby World Cup after the fly-half was ruled out with a knee injury.

Head coach Warren Gatland confirmed Anscombe would undergo a scan after the 28-year-old went off during the first half of the 33-19 defeat to England at Twickenham on Sunday.

Anscombe's chances of being involved for the tournament in Japan are now over, however, after it was confirmed the New Zealand-born player had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

No timetable has been set for his return, with his absence leaving Dan Biggar, Jarrod Evans and Rhys Patchell as the three fly-halves remaining in a 40-man squad that will need to be trimmed down to 31 by September 8.

"Gareth Anscombe is out of Rugby World Cup contention after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the match against England," read a statement from the Welsh Rugby Union.

"His prognosis and management with be determined following further specialist reviews."

Anscombe's superb performances in Wales' triumphant Six Nations campaign had established himself as first choice for the World Cup.

The loss of a first-team regular is a further setback for Gatland, particularly as British and Irish Lions back-rower Taulupe Faletau was already out of contention with a collarbone issue.

Wales start their Pool D campaign against Georgia on September 23, with Fiji, Uruguay and 2015 finalists Australia also in the same group.

Ruaridh McConnochie has been named in England's 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup - but there is no place for Ben Te'o ahead of the tournament in Japan.

Wing McConnochie, who claimed a silver medal on sevens duty for Great Britain at the 2016 Olympic Games, is the only uncapped player selected by Eddie Jones following an excellent season with Bath.

Having impressed on their debuts in a 33-19 win over Wales at Twickenham on Sunday, Lewis Ludlam and Willi Heinz both make the cut.

However, there is no place for experienced centre Te'o, Jones instead opting for Piers Francis.

Taniela Tupou has signed a four-year contract extension with Rugby Australia and the Reds.

The Tonga-born prop agreed a deal to remain with the Queensland Super Rugby franchise and continue to be available for the Wallabies until after the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Tupou has won 13 caps for Australia since making his debut against Scotland in 2017, having made a big impact with the Reds after joining them straight from high school five years ago.

The 23-year-old said: "I'm very excited to sign for the next few years. Queensland and Australia offered me the first opportunity out of school and I feel I have more to do to repay that faith.

"I only started playing consistently in the last two or three years, so I think there's still more for me to offer in Australia for the Reds and Wallabies.

"We have a really good young group in Queensland who have been working hard the last few years and I know we're heading in the right direction.

"I love playing for Australia. Obviously growing up as a kid, watching them, and now being able to pull on the jersey is an honour. To know that I will be here for the next four years is exciting because it means I may have the opportunity to pull on the jersey again if I continue to work hard."

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: "It's good to see Taniela Tupou re-commit to Queensland.

"To have him here at Ballymore for the next four years is a great result. He's come through the system with the Queensland U20s and is only four caps away now from playing 50 games for Queensland.

"Taniela's developed a lot since he arrived at Ballymore as an 18-year-old. He's a threat to any opposition. He's a strong ball runner and is even tougher in defence. With more hard work he can only better."

Eddie Jones hit out at World Rugby over a "ridiculous" red card shown to New Zealand's Scott Barrett and allayed injury concerns over Tom Curry after England's Rugby World Cup warm-up win over Wales.

England ended Grand Slam winners Wales' run of 14 consecutive victories with a 33-19 triumph at Twickenham on Sunday.

Tries from Billy Vunipola, Joe Cokanasiga and Luke Cowan-Dickie and a perfect kicking display from stand-in captain George Ford prevented a strong Wales side from replacing New Zealand at the top of the rankings.

It was events in Perth a day earlier that Jones was more keen to discuss, taking aim at the governing body for Jerome Garces' dismissal of All Black Barrett.

Barrett was ordered off for a no-arms tackle on Michael Hooper in Australia's Bledisloe Cup victory over the world champions.

"I thought there was an issue with the referee [Mathieu Raynal in England's win]. We saw a red card yesterday which affected the game, and potentially I think we need to get some consistency in that area of the game." said the England head coach.

"In the World Cup, if you lose a player to a red card - as New Zealand did yesterday - it makes the game very difficult.

"We saw two instances today when that could have happened, and I urge World Rugby – though I don't think they do anything at great pace – to get some consistency in that area.

"Otherwise, we are going to have games that are being destroyed by an inconsistent official making a decision on a law that is not clear."

Asked about Barrett's punishment, Jones said: "I thought it was ridiculous. A bloke gets tackled, he goes to be in as second man and his shoulder hits the head and gets a red card.

"We cannot have that in the game, there has to be some common sense applied. Maybe common sense was applied today really well, but what I'm saying is that we need to have some consistency in common sense. It's important for the game, really important for the game."

Jones had more positive words to say on flanker Curry, who was withdrawn in the first half with a shoulder injury the day before England's World Cup squad is announced.

The Australian said: "He's got a bit of an AC joint, we don't feel it’s too serious. I thought he was absolutely outstanding, he's worked really hard in the off-season to make himself a bit bigger and a bit more dynamic - we'll see a lot more of him."

Warren Gatland faces an anxious wait to discover the extent of a knee injury suffered by Gareth Anscombe in Wales' 33-19 Rugby World Cup warm-up defeat to England on Sunday.

The fly-half was helped off in the first half at Twickenham with a damaged left knee, after England lost Tom Curry to what appeared to be an arm injury on the eve of Eddie Jones' World Cup squad announcement.

Anscombe watched on with a pair of crutches as rusty Wales incurred a loss which prevented them from replacing New Zealand at the top of the rankings.

Wales head coach Gatland said it was too early to judge for how long Anscombe might be out of action, less than six weeks before the World Cup starts in Japan.

"I've spoken to the physios. He's [Anscombe] got to get a scan. If it's a strain, he'll be out for a few weeks. We'll find out. I wouldn't want to be naming my team on Monday," said New Zealander Gatland.

Gatland was less concerned by an injury sustained by flanker Justin Tipuric.

"He just slightly rolled his ankle. I don't think it's an issue," the Wales head coach added.

Gatland also revealed Tomos Williams (shoulder) will undergo a scan on Monday after missing the clash in London, while Adam Beard has a strained wrist.

The Six Nations champions failed to match the intensity of a fired-up, experimental England side, but Gatland says they will be much improved when they attempt to gain revenge in Cardiff next weekend.

"We went into the Six Nations match with a strategy but today we tried to play differently to work things out. England did what they do," said Gatland.

"We've got a couple of things to work on. We need to be more accurate in attack. We addressed a few things at half-time and they're pretty fixable things. We'll work on them this week and we'll be a lot better for it."

Gareth Anscombe and Tom Curry suffered injuries just six weeks before the Rugby World Cup starts as an experimental England side prevented Wales from going top of the rankings with a 33-19 win at Twickenham.

Australia's Bledisloe Cup victory on Saturday opened the door for the Six Nations champions to replace New Zealand as the top-ranked side in the world for the first time, but they were denied by a fired-up England.

Wales also have a big concern over the fitness of Anscombe, the fly-half limping off in the first half after damaging his left knee in Alun Wyn Jones' Welsh record 135th Test.

England lost Curry to what appeared to be an arm injury in the first half on the eve of Eddie Jones' squad announcement for the tournament in Japan.

Tries from man of the match Billy Vunipola, Joe Cokanasiga and Luke Cowan-Dickie, 15 points from the boot of captain George Ford and an Elliot Daly drop goal gave England a morale-boosting victory, with debutants Willi Heinz and Lewis Ludlam among those to impress along with the fit-again Anthony Watson.

Gareth Davies scored a superb solo try, while George North and Jones also crossed, but a strong Wales side - who will get the chance to gain revenge in Cardiff next weekend - looked rusty and could not match England's intensity.

Wales did not know what had hit them as England made a blistering start, the brilliant Vunipola crashing over four minutes in with Heinz dictating and the forwards overpowering the Wales pack.

Cokanasiga bulldozed his way over from short range before Davies produced a moment of magic to get a flat Wales side on the board, bursting his way through from the back of a scrum at great speed and capitalising on slack defending to go under the posts.

England lost Curry before Anscombe was helped off in pain and there was more woe for Wales when Ken Owens' poor throw at a lineout sailed over captain Jones, gifting Cowan-Dickie a first Test try.

Ford converted that score just before the break and made it four out of four from the tee with a penalty early in the second half to put England 17 points to the good.

Wales finally found another gear and were rewarded with quickfire scores from North and Jones, but two more Ford penalties and a strike from Daly took the world number one status beyond Wales.

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