The SA Rugby magazine team rounds up some of the interesting news snippets making headlines around the world.
Oupa back after a year
Springbok flank Oupa Mohoje is set to return to action after being out injured for more than 12 months.
The 29-year-old says he has recovered from injury after tearing knee ligaments in the Cheetahs’ first match of last season’s Pro14 campaign.
Mohoje also suffered a quadricep injury while training with teammates in June, which further delayed his return.
The 19-Test Bok still needs to fully prove his fitness but hopes to feature for the Cheetahs when they face the Glasgow Warriors in their first game of the 2019-20 Pro14 season in Bloemfontein on 27 September.
No Boks in ‘Snub XV’
With every squad having been announced ahead of next week’s World Cup, Fox Sports Lab has compiled their fictional ‘Snub XV’ – a 23-man squad of players who missed out on selection for their nations.
The squad, which is ‘good enough to beat most teams on the planet’ is dominated by All Blacks, while four Englishmen and Irishmen also make the cut.
High-profile inclusions are veterans Owen Franks and Devin Toner, while Japanese wing Akihito Yamada was named among the reserves.
Huw Jones – who previously played for the Stormers – is the only player with a South African connection, after the Scotland centre missed out on a place in Gregor Townsend’s squad.
Interestingly, there are no Springboks chosen with Bok fringe players Dillyn Leyds, Andre Esterhuizen and Lizo Gqoboka not selected.
‘Snub XV’ squad – 15 Tom Banks (Australia), 14 Teddy Thomas (France), 13 Huw Jones (Scotland), 12 Ngani Laumape (New Zealand), 11 Santiago Cordero (Argentina), 10 Danny Cipriani (England), 9 Danny Care (England), 8 Facunda Isa (Argentina), 7 Jordi Murphy (Ireland), 6 Liam Squire (New Zealand), 5 Felix Lambey (France), 4 Devin Toner (Ireland), 3 Owen Franks (New Zealand), 2 Dylan Hartley (England), 1 Jack McGrath (Ireland).
Subs: 16 Nathan Harris (New Zealand), 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe (New Zealand), 18 Samson Lee (Wales), 19 Vaea Fifita (New Zealand), 20 Pete Samu (Australia), 21 Kieran Marmion (Ireland), 22 Ben Te’o (England), 23 Akihito Yamada (Japan).
Mo’unga on track to face Boks
All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster expects Richie Mo’unga to be fully fit in time for the clash with the Springboks.
Mo’unga, who missed the 92-7 hammering of Tonga after picking up a shoulder injury against the Wallabies last month, looks set to start at flyhalf against the Boks.
‘He’s tracking really well. Last week we pulled him out more [as a] precaution, so this week is about him graduating back into full training and we expect him to be fully fit and available,’ said Foster.
Beauden Barrett is likely to slot in at fullback once again with the combination having delivered glimpses of success this season.
In an encounter that will likely decide who tops Pool B, the two title favourites face off on 21 September.
Mortlock critical of Wallabies’ form
Former captain Stirling Mortlock says that he is concerned about the ‘one-dimensional’ nature of the Wallabies attack, after watching their final World Cup warm-up game against Samoa last weekend.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mortlock admitted that an opportunity for the Wallabies to build momentum right before the start of the World Cup was lost.
‘I wasn’t that impressed with the Samoa performance,’ said Mortlock.
‘In the first half it was a pretty decent performance but we didn’t assert ourselves in the second half.’
Despite claiming a 34-15 victory, the Wallabies attacking game plan lacked variation and creativity according to Mortlock, who does, however, believe that on their day the Wallabies are capable of beating any side in the world.
‘I can definitely see this Wallaby outfit surprising a lot of people with a strong championship-style performance in the World Cup.’
With this year’s tournament set to be the most open in World Cup history, Mortlock believes that the All Blacks, England and the Springboks are favourites for the title.
‘England in my view have always been a dark horse because I’ve got no doubt Eddie [Jones] is going to get them to peak at the right time … they can beat anyone quite easily,’ continued Mortlock.
‘New Zealand are in great form and South Africa under Rassie Erasmus have got their act together.’
Premiership to deploy new concussion initiative for 2019-20 season
The new English Premiership season will bring the use of independent doctors on match days as well as for European competition home games.
Match-day doctors will oversee head injury assessments (HIAs) and collaborate with team doctors and other staff regarding head injuries and substitutions for blood.
With concussion protocols and laws constantly under review in recent years, it is hoped that this new initiative will align the domestic game in England with international standards and ensure better player welfare.
Having already introduced the Hawkeye system to assist with the identification of head injuries during games, the match-day doctor will work alongside the video reviewer and the Hawkeye technician. Collectively, they will monitor head injuries of players and make decisions accordingly.
Picture: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix