The SA Rugby magazine team rounds up some of the interesting news snippets making headlines around the world.
Springbok fans set up petition
Angry Bok fans are demanding that Jerome Garces be removed from officiating Sunday’s World Cup semi-final between South Africa and Wales.
News of the Frenchman’s appointment has jumpstarted an online petition requesting that World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper to not award the position to Garces.
The reaction from furious fans follows the Springboks’ shocking record when the controversial Garces has taken charge of games involving South Africa.
The Boks have won just four of their 14 Tests when Garces has been in the middle, including the 2015 World Cup semi-final defeat by the All Blacks as well as that defeat by Japan.
Garces, who also had the whistle for the Boks’ World Cup opener against defending champions New Zealand, came under much criticism for his decision-making around the scrum and breakdown.
Royalty visits Wales camp
Prince Charles paid a special visit to a Wales training session in Tokyo on Wednesday ahead of the World Cup semi-final clash with the Boks this weekend.
The Prince of Wales is in Japan for the enthronement of the host nation’s new Emperor Naruhito, and spent some time with the players and coaches at the Prince Chichibu memorial rugby stadium.
After conversing with several players and informing Alun Wyn Jones’ men that he was certain that they will ‘make us all proud’, Prince Charles happily presented a World Cup cap to Owen Lane, who recently arrived in Japan to replace the injured Josh Navidi.
England to tour Japan in 2020
According to RugbyPass, England are set to return to Japan for a historic two-Test tour against the Brave Blossoms next July. The trip to the Asian nation will be the first time England play the World Cup hosts on home turf.
The England Rugby Football Union is yet to confirm the schedule but their official travel agent, England Rugby Travel, has already begun advertising tour packages on their website.
England have beaten Japan on both occasions the two nations have faced off, winning 60-7 at the 1987 World Cup and, more recently, 35-15 at Twickenham in November last year.
Teenage sprint sensation to attend sevens talent camp
New Zealand sprint star Edward Osei-Nketia has moved closer to potentially pursuing a career in rugby after being included among the attendees of a sevens talent-identification camp next month.
The 18-year-old (1.90m, 95kg) is currently the fourth-fastest New Zealander in history, having clocked a personal-best time of 10.19s in the 100m.
The talented teenager will be at the Red Bull Ignite programme, an initiative designed by New Zealand Rugby to find young rugby and non-rugby playing athletes with potential in the seven-man code.
O’Connor jumps to Cheika’s aid
Wallabies utility back James O’Connor has paid tribute to outgoing coach Michael Cheika, following the latter’s departure after a disappointing World Cup game.
After receiving much criticism from players and the media following his tenure as Wallabies boss, Cheika was shown some appreciation by the 29-year-old O’Connor in an Instagram post.
The former wonderkid of Australian rugby thanked Cheika for including him in the Wallabies set-up earlier this season, after a six-year hiatus from the national team.
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix