Samoa’s Viliamu Afatia is tackled by South Africa’s Lodewyk De Jager and Frans Malherbe during the Rugby World Cup  Pool B match at  Villa Park in Birmingham. Photograph:  David Jonjes/EPA

Laager – definition: an encampment formed by a circle of wagons; an entrenched position or viewpoint that is defended against opponents. “I see you ar(...)

South Africa’s JP Pietersen scores the second of his three tries in the Pool B win over Samoa at Villa Park. Photograph:  Peter Cziborra/Action Images via Reuters/Livepic

South Africa 46 Samoa 6 JP Pietersen scored a hat-trick of tries as South Africa bounced back from their shock loss to Japan with a 46-6 six-try, bonu(...)

 South Africa’s Duane Vermeulen: “If we don’t win we are out. We have to give our all. I’m ready to do that.” Photo:  Steve Haag/Gallo Images

A history of violence. Recent cuddlings of these gargantuan men is drenched in bloody yet wincingly enjoyable rugby. There have been 50-pointer(...)

Japan celebrate Ayumu Goromaru’s try against South Africa. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Japan 34 South Africa 32 Japan pulled off the biggest shock in Rugby World Cup history with a stunning 34-32 win over South Africa in Brighton. Karne (...)

Richard Strauss takes part in the Ireland open training session at the RDS. Photograph:   Billy Stickland/Inpho

The odd inflection or pronunciation mingled with a choice of expression articulates the impact that six years living in Ireland has had upon Richardt (...)

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer says he has the full backing of his players after the country’s largest trade union accused him of making ‘racist choices’ when picking his squad. Photograph: Getty

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer says he has the full backing of his players and is committed to a transformation in Springbok rugby after coming unde(...)

Schalk Burger returns to  South Africa’s starting line-up for Saturday’s Test against England at Twickenham. Photograph: Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images.

It is the question faced by every coach of every team ahead of this series of phoney war clashes a year out from next year’s Rugby World Cup. Are you(...)

Ireland’s Rhys Ruddock makes a break for the tryline with the support of Paul O’Connell during Ireland’s victory over South Africa on Saturday. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Ireland 29 South Africa 15 After the biffing and boshing Ireland took in the second quarter, the 6-3 lead looked a little flimsy and there we(...)

Rhys Ruddock  breaks off a maul to score Ireland’s first try in the game against South Africa at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho 5:47

Ireland 29 South Africa 15 There was an elemental beauty to Ireland’s victory, not in the conventional sense of aesthetically pleasing running (...)

South Africa forced New Zealand to produce a staggering 252 tackles in their recent Rugby Championship match in Johannesburg. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Image

A nation’s rugby teams is at its most potent when it performs with the style of play and mindset that personify the character of its people. Like Afri(...)