Live Nation Announces Neil Diamond’s The 50 Year Anniversary World Tour for 2017

Produced by Live Nation, The 50 Year Anniversary World Tour Kicks Off On April 7 with Shows Lined Up In Cities Across the U.S. and Canada; Europe and U.K. Dates To Be Announced Soon –

Tickets For The 50 Year Anniversary World Tour On Sale December 9 at

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Live Nation announced today that music icon, Grammy Award winner and Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Member, Neil Diamond, will celebrate his unparalleled career spanning 50 years with a world tour.

The 50 Year Anniversary World Tour, produced by Live Nation, will begin April 7in Fresno, CA and will visit cities across North Americaincluding New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver, Tampa and more as the incomparable artist performs songs from his iconic discography.

North American tour dates are listed below.

Europe and U.K. dates to be announced soon.

Live Nation Announces Neil Diamond's The 50 Year Anniversary World Tour

American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets for The 50 Year Anniversary World Tour before the general public beginning Monday, December 5 at 10:00 am through Thursday, December 8 at 10:00 pm. Tickets for The 50 Year Anniversary World Tour go on sale December 9 at

“Neil Diamond is more than just a music icon. His singular artistry and talent has left an indelible mark on American culture and has helped shape the sound of popular music for five decades,” says Michael Rapino, President and Chief Executive Officer of Live Nation Entertainment. “Live Nation is honored to be a part of bringing his 50 year anniversary tour to fans around the world.”

Throughout an illustrious and wide-ranging musical career, Neil Diamond has sold over 125 million albums worldwide and has charted 37 Top 40 singles and 16 Top 10 albums both in the U.S. and internationally. A Grammy Award-winning artist, Diamond is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the highest honors bestowed upon songwriters. Diamond’s many other achievements include a Golden Globe Award, 13 Grammy nominations and 2009’s NARAS’s MusiCares Person of the Year award. In 2011, Diamond received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor for his lifetime of contributions to American culture.


All dates, cities and venues below subject to change.

Friday, April 7, 2017 Fresno, CA SaveMart Center
Sunday, April 9, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT Vivint Smart Home Arena
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 St. Louis, MO Scottrade Center
Friday, April 14, 2017 Omaha, NE CenturyLink Center
Sunday, April 16, 2017 Oklahoma City, OK Chesapeake Energy Center
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
Friday, April 21, 2017 Louisville, KY KFC Yum! Center
Sunday, April 23, 2017 Tampa, FL Amalie Arena
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 Ft. Lauderdale, FL BB&T Center
Friday, April 28, 2017 Charlotte, NC Spectrum Center
Sunday, April 30, 2017 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
Tuesday, May 2, 2017 New Orleans, LA Smoothie King Center
Sunday, May 21, 2017 Des Moines, IA Wells Fargo Arena
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
Friday, May 26, 2017 Indianapolis, IN Banker’s Life Fieldhouse
Sunday, May 28, 2017 Chicago, IL United Center
Tuesday, May 30, 2017 Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena
Friday, June 2, 2017 Detroit, MI The Palace of Auburn Hills
Sunday, June 4, 2017 Rochester, NY Blue Cross Arena
Wednesday, June 7, 2017 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
Friday, June 9, 2017 Baltimore, MD Royal Farms Arena
Sunday, June 11, 2017 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
Thursday, June 15, 2017 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
Saturday, June 17, 2017 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
Thursday, June 22, 2017 Bethel, NY Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Friday, July 14, 2017 Wichita, KS INTRUST Bank Arena
Sunday, July 16, 2017 Houston, TX Toyota Center
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
Friday, July 21, 2017 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
Monday, July 24, 2017 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena
Wednesday, July 26, 2017 Seattle, WA Key Arena
Friday, July 28, 2017 Portland, OR Moda Center
Sunday, July 30, 2017 San Jose, CA SAP Center
Wednesday, August 2, 2017 Sacramento, CA Golden 1 Center
Friday, August 4, 2017 Phoenix, AZ Talking Stick Resort Arena
Tuesday, August 8, 2017 San Diego, CA Valley View Casino Center
Thursday, August 10, 2017 Los Angeles, CA The Forum
Saturday, August 12, 2017 Los Angeles, CA The Forum

For the latest on Neil Diamond:

This weekend in Arniston -bands ,comedy ,food -2 -4 December

Top bands .loads of fun at the 2nd Weekender Music festival in Arniston

Sacking BOK Coach Coetzee would be like putting an elastoplast on an amputation.

It is as simple as this. If the South African Rugby Union was listed on the stock exchange, the Board of Directors would be fired. The investors would have looked at the plunging stock, the disappearing dividends, and heads would roll.

There is no sentiment in business. Not when there is cold cash involved and expectant investors.

Are we taking it too far in saying that the Springboks are far more than sport and a business and that the Saru Board should fall on its sword?

Of course not. And when we are talking about a brand as internationally famous as the Springboks, the economic impact of a brand in free-fall becomes more complicated.

There are the direct stakeholders, the title sponsors and a whole bunch of supporting financial contributors that have their name attached to the Boks but, perhaps even more importantly, there is the countless multitude of “silent investors” that are the supporters.

The folk who buy (and burn!) the supporters jerseys and pay large sums to watch their team in stadiums around the world.

Springbok matches are watched by South Africans in virtually every city in the world. I have found a pub to watch a Springbok match in Bangkok and New York, others will have found a live screening in a startling array of arenas across the globe.

The Boks are big business. Those green and gold jerseys surface all around the world when the Boks play.

But what if more immediate supporters, those in South Africa, just stopped going to watch the Boks get humiliated …. again?

It is not debatable that the Boks are at their lowest ever ebb. Yes, they have lost a number of matches in a season before, such as in 1965 when there were seven losses and just one win (which was against the All Blacks) but that has been against top class opposition.

This year, the scale of the losses has been horrible, and how on earth can a Springbok team possibly lose to a very poor Italy team?

The easy target is Allister Coetzee and yes, he has been proved terribly out of his depth, but I feel sympathy for him and my sentiment is that the buck should stop with the Board that appointed him in the first place.

Allister was never going to be a success. And especially with the backroom staff that he was (mostly) given. I have nothing against Mzwandile Stick but how can he come from absolutely nowhere to coach the backline of the Boks? We know that it is because the coaching staff of Heyneke Meyer was seen to be too white.

Why on earth not continue with Ricardo Loubscher, one of Heyneke Meyer’s assistants who had spent four years with the Boks and is highly regarded? He would have been a merit appointment and offered continuity.

This is just one point among many that critics could make.

The bottom line is do not blame Coetzee for the blunders he has made this season, blame those who appointed him.

The stakeholders should be targeting the South African Rugby Union, not the hapless Coetzee. He did not appoint himself and he is surely doing his best.

But he was set up to fail by an amateurish Saru Board who did no forward planning – have they ever given that the Bok coaching staff changes entirely every post-World Cup year? – and appointed Coetzee almost by default. The suspicion is that nobody else could be found to take the job and the lateness of Coetzee’s appointment this year confirms that Saru were squirming ever since the end of the 2015 World Cup when they made it untenable for Meyer to continue.

Meyer did not want to leave. Yes he lost to Japan but in the end the Boks came third at the World Cup and almost beat the All Blacks in the semi-finals (18-20).

What would be soothing for the army of Springbok supporters worldwide (who can only voice their dissatisfaction on social media) is if the financial muscle that sponsors the Boks got together and read the Riot Act to the real culprits that are sinking South African rugby.

Sacking Coetzee, with no change among the green-blazered denizens of the Saru boardroom, would be like putting an elastoplast on an amputation.

BY Mike Greenaway


Snyman to lead experienced Springbok Sevens to Dubai

Four of the most experienced Springbok Sevens players, boasting a total of 198 tournament caps between then, were included in Neil Powell’s 13-man squad that will travel to Dubai for the opening tournament of the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Kyle Brown (56 tournaments), Chris Dry (52), Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez (45 each) have all been included in the Blitzbok squad for the Emirates Airlines Dubai 7s on December 2 and 3, while another stalwart, Philip Snyman (37 tournaments) was named as captain of the side.

pic credit -Gallo Images

The SA Rugby Sevens Academy side, on the other hand, will have a number of new faces to the senior sevens set-up, as Academy Manager, Marius Schoeman, looks to grow the depth of his group with some talented youngsters.

It will be a 10th visit to The Sevens Stadium for Brown, with Dylan Sage and Siviwe Soyizwapi the only players not to have donned the Blitzboks colours at this iconic venue in the Arabian Desert before.

Soyizwapi will travel to Dubai as standby player in a revised World Rugby squad structure that allow an additional player to the squad, in case of injury. Powell could not pick the injured Tim Agaba and named Sage as a forward for this trip.

“Dylan has played as a forward for us before and did very well there in our recent warm-up tournament in Namibia, so I am very happy to name him in the front line,” Powell explained.

“He might not be the most experienced in that position, but we have a number of stalwarts in the pack. Kyle, Philip and Chris are some of the most experienced players ever in our squad, so I am pretty confident that they will guide Dylan through any potential potholes.”

The coach added that his squad shows maturity and experience and with him extending his contract for another four years, a fair amount of consistency.

“No doubt, we will be one of the most experienced sides in Dubai,” said Powell.

“This group of players have won a couple of tournaments in the past, but as we realised at the end of the previous season in our final against Scotland, you cannot relax for one second. So experience only really counts when you combine that with faith in your structures and your best effort on the day.”

The Blitzboks will face Scotland again in pool play, as well as Uganda and USA in their other matches next Friday.

The Springbok Sevens squad for Dubai is:

1. Chris Dry (52 tournaments, 360 points)

2. Philip Snyman (captain, 37, 211)

3. Dylan Sage (7, 40)

4. Kwagga Smith (24, 250)

5. Werner Kok (19, 210)

6. Kyle Brown (56, 385)

7. Branco du Preez (45, 874)

8. Rosko Specman (13, 169)

9. Justin Geduld (25, 558)

10. Cecil Afrika (45, 1123)

11. Ruhan Nel (11, 110)

12. Seabelo Senatla (29, 785)

13. Siviwe Soyizwapi (3, 30)

Two Junior Springboks included in young SA Rugby Sevens Academy squad

Meanwhile, SA Rugby Sevens Academy Manager, Marius Schoeman, included regular sevens campaigner, Stephan Dippenaar, in his squad for the 2016 Dubai International Invitational tournament, to be played at The Sevens in Dubai on 1 and 2 December.

Dippenaar, who played in 29 tournaments for the Blitzboks, will add valuable experience, as Schoeman named a young squad with the eye on the future. The squad includes two players who travelled to England with the Junior Springboks this year in Zain Davids and Stedman Gans.

Gans and Mfundo Ndhlovu were part of Schoeman’s team that won the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa last year, while 21-year old Ryan Oosthuizen won gold with Schoeman at the Australian Youth Olympics four years ago. Xerox Golden Lions Under-19 midfielder Wayne van der Bank adds another injection of youth.

A number of players who impressed Schoeman and coach Paul Delport at the recent Interprovincial Sevens played in Nelspruit were called up, including Diederik Oberholzer (Leopards), Joel Booysen (Western Province), Robbie Louw (Boland), Impi Visser (Blue Bulls) and Selvyn Davids (Griffons), who was named Player of the Tournament.

“We need to assist in introducing promising young players to the sevens systems as the Academy is all about finding the next guy who can play for the Blitzboks,” said Schoeman.

“The likes of Kwagga Smith, Seabelo Senatla and Werner Kok all started here and we believe a couple of players in this squad for Dubai that can also follow that pathway.”

The SA Rugby Sevens Academy squad for Dubai is:

1. Ryan Oosthuizen (Western Province)

2. Stephan Dippenaar (SA Rugby)

3. Zain Davids (Western Province)

4. Robbie Louw (Boland)

5. Impi Visser (Blue Bulls)

6. Wayne van der Bank (Golden Lions)

7. Selvyn Davids (Griffons)

8. Malcolm Jaer (Eastern Province)

9. Diederik Oberholzer (Leopards)

10. Mfundo Ndhlovu (KZN)

11. Joel Booysen (Western Province)

12. Stedman Gans (Blue Bulls)

Blitzboks stats and facts:

• The Springbok Sevens team have won the Emirates Air Dubai Sevens tournament four times in 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2014.

• The squad includes three World Rugby Sevens Players of the Year – Cecil Afrika won in 2011, Werner Kok in 2015 and Seabelo Senatla in 2016.

• There have been 161 Springboks Sevens players since the inception of the World Series in 1999 (excluding Sevens World Cups), with Siviwe Soyizwapi the last.

• No less than 33 Blitzboks have gone on to represent the Springboks, with Warren Whiteley, Cornal Hendricks and Jamba Ulengo the most recent. Seabelo Senatla has toured with the Boks, but didn’t feature in any matches.

Issued by SA Rugby Communications

[tags, Springbok Sevens , Emirates Air Dubai Sevens tournament ]

Francois van As won the Comedy Central “Grab the mic” last night in Johannesburg and has also cura ted all the comedy for the Arniston Weekender

Laugh your Arniston off at the Weekender

Francois van As won the Comedy Central “Grab the mic” last night in Johannesburg and has also curated all the comedy for the Arniston Weekender
The Weekender is back in Arniston (2-4 December) and they come bearing gifts. This year they will be bringing festival goers an exclusive and intimate comedy stage, the likes of which has never before been seen in this quiet coastal town. Well, quiet for now.

Brought to life by an improbable pair

The comedy stage at this year’s Weekender at Arniston has been put together by the festival’s organiser, Christopher De Vries with the help of Afrikaans funny guy and Bredasdorp local, Francois Van As. What makes their relationship interesting is the fact that they didn’t meet on Linkedin or Facebook, but rather in a club

Christopher approached Francois after a stand-up comedy show at the aforementioned venue and Francois agreed to help him craft a special comedy experience, exclusively for Arniston. When Francois looks back on the events of that fateful evening, he realises that he might have agreed to anything at that moment. Not just because he had adrenaline surging through his veins from an amazing time on stage, but also because he was severely relieved that the tall gentleman was too cool for words .

pic Francois Van As

Never before seen in the Overberg

Underground stand-up comedy has been around for a long time in South Africa, but it has only recently become mainstream, with the arrival of the Comedy Central channel on DSTV and the international success of comedians such as Trevor Noah.

Even though stand-up comedy has become more accessible to South Africans it is still something that can mostly be experienced only if one travels to Cape Town or Johannesburg. Quality stand-up comedy shows in the platteland, such as the one happening at The Weekender : Arniston, is a rare and precious find.

A new exciting line-up

This year’s line-up at the Weekender’s comedy stage is like a famous crispy chicken recipe. Each of the comedians was specially selected, like secret spices if you will, to form an unforgettable comedy production.

Francois van As will be hosting both parts of this comedy extravaganza and the band of misfits he has called together includes names like Melt Sieberhagen, Monique Nortje, Westley Cockrell, Justin Ray, Jarryd Pillay and another local boytjie, Dugald Pieterse.

Francois considers them his close friends, rather than colleagues. The have laughed together, cried together and toured together (which mostly entails a good balance of laughing and crying together). They have performed together at venues and festivals all around the country, including Aardklop and KKNK.

Something for everyone

The comedy is for everyone and although their material is slightly PG, as most jokes are, but younger audience members will be taken into account.

In the end whether your , young or old, One thing is for sure. This December you’re going to laugh your Arniston off at the Weekender.

Janse van Rensburg, Ulengo and Cassiem to make Springbok debuts against Wales

Four debutants in Springbok squad to face Wales

· Total of 12 changes to match-23 for Welsh Test
· Janse van Rensburg, Ulengo and Cassiem to make Springbok debuts
· Uncapped Du Preez on bench with Marx, Van Zyl and Mapoe

Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Jamba Ulengo and Uzair Cassiem will make their Springbok debuts against Wales in the Principality Stadium on Saturday, while a fourth uncapped player, Jean-Luc du Preez, has been included on the bench for the final match of the 2016 Outgoing Tour.

Uzair Cassiem pictured

Strongly-built inside centre Janse van Rensburg, who takes over from Damian de Allende in a rotational switch, and winger Ulengo, who is in for Bryan Habana, are part of a reshuffled backline announced by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee on Thursday.

Both Janse van Rensburg and Ulengo played for South Africa in the international match against the Barbarians three weeks ago at Wembley Stadium in London, but will now become officially capped Springboks.

Cassiem, who didn’t feature against the Baabaas, will also get his Test debut after Willem Alberts was ruled out because of a neck niggle.

A new-look backline also sees the return of Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf) and Elton Jantjies (flyhalf) as halfback combination, while there is a further change at fullback, with Johan Goosen named to start in the No 15 jersey.

In the other change upfront, Lourens Adriaanse comes in at tighthead in place of Vincent Koch, which means that 14 players who will be based in South Africa for Vodacom Super Rugby in 2017 will start against Wales, with a further seven on the bench.

Coetzee said the revamped side was picked as result of a combination of factors. Apart from rotational changes and injuries, some of the selections were made with the building process towards 2019 in mind. The total amount of caps amongst the backs are 40, the lowest amount since 1994.

“We have a less experienced team, but I want to see some energy and an improved performance. Our selection is also keeping in mind of the process and necessity to build towards 2019,” said Coetzee.

“Uzair was impressive during our domestic competitions and he was man of the match in the Currie Cup final. He made a good impression during the build-up to the Barbarians match and has continued to work hard on this tour since re-joining us.

“Jamba, Uzair and Rohan are examples of players who have forced their way into the squad through consistently performing well on the domestic scene and during training on tour, and now they are getting their opportunities to play for the Boks. Even though Damian played well against England and Italy we felt Rohan deserved an opportunity.

Regarding the change in the front row, the coach added: “Lourens played well whenever he was selected and he too deserves his opportunity.”

Regarding the challenge of facing Wales at home in front of a passionate crowd of 75,000 at the Principality Stadium, Coetzee said he expects another huge battle between the two sides.

“Recent matches between us have always delivered close fought battles and small point margins and I expect more of the same on Saturday,” said Coetzee.

The Springbok team to face Wales in Cardiff is:
Johan Goosen

Ruan Combrinck

Francois Venter

Rohan Janse van Rensburg

Jamba Ulengo

Elton Jantjies

Faf de Klerk

Warren Whiteley

Uzair Cassiem

Nizaam Carr

Lood de Jager

Pieter-Steph du Toit

Lourens Adriaanse

Adriaan Strauss (captain)

Tendai Mtawarira


Malcolm Marx

Steven Kitshoff

Trevor Nyakane

Franco Mostert

Jean-Luc du Preez

Piet van Zyl

Pat Lambie

Lionel Mapoe

Stats and facts:

Head to head:
Wales and South Africa will play in their 32nd Test match since their first Test match in 1906. South Africa won 28 and lost two with one Test match drawn.
The biggest win against Wales was in June, 1998 in Pretoria when the Springboks thrashed Wales 96-13. The 96 points scored being the 4th highest total points in South African Test match history.
This Saturday, Wales will be looking at back to back wins at this venue as they won Jean de Villiers’ Springboks two years ago 12-6. The date was 29 November, 2014.
South Africa’s complete record against Wales is: P: 31; W: 28; L: 2; D: 1; PF: 837; PA: 459; TF: 102; TA: 37; Percentage won: 90%; Average score: 27-15.

Team match records against Wales:
Highest score – 96-13 in Pretoria, 1998
Most points conceded – 36 in Cardiff, 2004
Most tries – 15 in Pretoria, 1998
Most tries conceded – 3 on four occasions

Individual match records against Wales:
· Most points – 31 by Percy Montgomery in Pretoria, 1998
· Most tries – 3 by Joost van der Westhuizen in Cardiff, 1996 and Pieter Rossouw in Pretoria, 1998
· Most conversions – 9 by Percy Montgomery in Pretoria, 1998
· Most penalty goals – 5 by Butch James (Bloemfontein, 2008), Morné Steyn (Cardiff, 2010) and Handré Pollard (London, 2015)
· Most drop goals – 1 by Hansie Brewis in Cardiff, 1951, Lionel Wilson in Durban, 1964 and Handré Pollard in London, 2015

Career records against Wales:
· Most appearances – 13 by Victor Matfield
· Most points – 91 by Percy Montgomery
· Most tries – 6 by Joost van der Westhuizen and Jean de Villiers
· Most conversions – 18 by Percy Montgomery
· Most penalty goals – 10 by Percy Montgomery
· Most drop goals – 1 by Hansie Brewis in Cardiff, 1951; Lionel Wilson in Durban, 1964; and Handré Pollard in London, 2015

Match officials:
· The match officials for this match are: Referee – Romain Poite (France); Assistant referees – Greg Garner (England) and Tom Foley (England) with the TMO Graham Hughes (England).
· It will be Poite’s seventh appearance as referee in Test matches involving South Africa. The Springboks won three of the previous six with Poite in charge.

The stadium:
· Principality Stadium, previously known as the Millennium Stadium, was opened in June, 1999 and the first International Rugby match was against South Africa on 26 June, 1999.
· Wales won their first ever Test match against the Springboks on that day 29-19 before a crowd of 27 683.
· The last time South Africa played at this stadium was on 29 November, 2014 against Wales. Wales won 12-6 for only their second win against South Africa in 30 encounters.

The team:
· The total Test caps in the starting line-up are 260, of which there are 40 caps in the backline and 220 among the forwards. The combined Test caps of those on the bench are 110. The average caps per player for the match-23 are 18.
· With only 40 caps in the backline this is the most inexperienced Springbok backline since 1994.
· The youngest player in the starting lineup is Rohan Janse van Rensburg (22y, 2m) while the oldest member of the team is Tendai Mtawarira (31y, 3m).
· The tallest player in the squad is Lood de Jager (2.05m), the heaviest is Steven Kitshoff (125kg), and Faf de Klerk is both the shortest (1.72m) and the lightest (80kg).
· Adriaan Strauss and Tendai Mtawarira will play in their 12th consecutive Test in the starting XV under Allister Coetzee’s reign.
· The new Springboks will be Jamba Ulengo (Springbok #878), Rohan Janse van Rensburg (#879) and Uzair Cassiem (#880), with a possible first cap to Jean-Luc du Preez (#881).

· Apart from the debutants, six players in the starting line-up will face Wales for the first time in a Test match: Lourens Adriaanse, Warren Whiteley, Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies, Francois Venter and Ruan Combrinck.
· Of the 23 players, Tendai Mtawarira is the most capped player against Wales with nine appearances.
· Adriaan Strauss, who made his Test debut against Australia in 2008, will retire from international rugby after this Test. He will have played in 66 Test matches of which 12 were as captain.

Milestones and records:
· One try by South Africa in this Test match will bring up the 1 300th try in Springbok Test rugby.

Issued by SA Rugby Communications

Friday 25th Nov -Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse and band live in JHB at Winnie’s

All Blacks to play France in Paris on Saturday 26 November named

The All Blacks team has been named to play France in the fourth and final Test of the All Blacks Vista Northern Tour at Stade de France, Paris, on Saturday 26 November (Kick-off: 9.00PM CET, 9.00AM Sunday 27 November NZT).
The matchday 23 is:

1. Joe Moody (23)
2. Dane Coles (48)
3. Owen Franks (89)
4. Brodie Retallick (59)
5. Samuel Whitelock (83)
6. Jerome Kaino (76)
7. Matt Todd (7)
8. Kieran Read – captain (96)
9. TJ Perenara (28)
10. Beauden Barrett (48)
11. Julian Savea (51)
12. Ryan Crotty (25)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (7)
14. Waisake Naholo (11)
15. Israel Dagg (60)
16. Codie Taylor (14)
17. Wyatt Crockett (57)
18. Charlie Faumuina (45)
19. Scott Barrett (3)
20. Ardie Savea (11)
21. Aaron Smith (57)
22. Aaron Cruden (46)
23. Rieko Ioane (1)

In the forwards there are just two changes to the XV which started last week’s Test against Ireland: Jerome Kaino returns to the six jersey for his sixth Test against France, while Matt Todd is at openside flanker, in for the injured Sam Cane.

In the backs, TJ Perenara has been named in the starting halfback jersey, with Aaron Smith in the replacements, while Ryan Crotty returns from injury and is in the 12 jersey, with Anton Lienert-Brown moving to centre. With Ben Smith out injured, Israel Dagg moves to fullback, with Waisake Naholo on the right wing. Rieko Ioane comes onto the bench to cover the outside backs.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “When it came to selecting this side, we had to make some changes because of injuries, but we also looked to pick the best side possible for what we think will be a titanic battle against the French.

“It was a very physical match in Dublin on the weekend so we have looked to get this week’s preparation spot on – both mentally and physically – as we know France will also be looking to impose themselves upon us come Saturday night.

“We’re excited by the unique challenge that comes with playing the French. They’ve improved immensely since the Rugby World Cup when we last played them, and we’re well aware they’ll be looking to finish their autumn season with a big performance. As we all know, they’re capable of producing wonderful rugby on their day. As always, we’re looking forward to the challenge.

Steve Hansen added: “The Test is also another opportunity for our team to experience the Northern Hemisphere style of rugby which will give this new group another chance to learn and grow. We have introduced 11 new players to the All Blacks environment this year which can only bode well for the future. ”

All Blacks vs France, Paris – key facts

* The All Blacks and France have played each other 56 times since 1906, with 43 wins to the All Blacks, 12 losses and one draw.

They have played 24 times in France, 14 times in Paris and five times at Stade de France.
* Israel Dagg leads the try-scoring tally in 2016 with nine to date.

Next in line are Beauden Barrett and Ben Smith with eight each.

Barrett is also the only first five-eighth in international history to have scored eight tries in Test matches in a calendar year.

Barrett has also converted 37 tries for the All Blacks this year – second only to Daniel Carter on 39.

* The All Blacks have scored 538 points and 77 tries this year – trailing their best of 602 points and 81 tries in 2003 and 594 points and 80 tries in 2007.

Kyle Brown has stepped down as Springbok Sevens captain

Brown steps down, Snyman to take over as Springbok Sevens captain

Kyle Brown has stepped down as Springbok Sevens captain and will instead settle into a more supportive role to the younger leaders in the squad, with Philip Snyman appointed as the Blitzboks’ new captain.

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell praised Brown for the role he played over the last five seasons and emphasised that the Blitzbok veteran still has an important role to play in the team.

Powell also confirmed that Snyman, who captained the Blitzboks earlier this year in four tournaments, will take over as captain of the team.

“We already had a strong leadership group in the squad and Philip is a natural leader of men, so it was an easy choice. He will do well, I have no doubt,” Powell said.

Brown, who has played in 56 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments to date, said: “The time has come where it feels right for me to step aside as captain of the team.

“It is has been an immense privilege that I have had for the better part of five years and we are in a great position to bring some new, fresh ideas into the role.

“I discussed the move with the Coach shortly after our return from the Olympics and we made the decision in the last week.”

Brown said there is a lot of thanks to give: “I cannot begin to express my gratitude for the opportunity to lead such an amazing group of people. Having said that, I must thank the leadership group that surrounded me, making the position most enjoyable. Thank you to everyone that placed their trust in me to fulfil the captaincy.”

He will not neglect any leadership duties, Brown confirmed.

“This season I look forward to moving into a supportive role with the aim of helping the young leaders find their rhythm and, most importantly, concentrating on adding as much value to the team on and off the field,” said Brown.

Powell said he accepted and respected Brown’s decision.

“Kyle always put the team before himself and this is another example of that,” said Powell.

“We are starting to bring new faces into the squad, so it will be great to still have a leader like Kyle around to show them what the team culture is, what we stand for as a group and a team.

“Kyle still has a lot to offer as a player and I am convinced we will still see some inspiring performances from him this season. He was an amazing captain and we salute his contribution.”

The Springbok Sevens team for Dubai, the opening tournament of the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, will be named on Friday.


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