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Cell C Sharks to face Lions


Super Rugby

Jake White has announce his team to take on the Lions on Saturday after their bye last weekend.

“The Lions epitomise everything about South African rugby: everyone was talking about how surprised they were about how competitive the Kings were this time last year, and now they’re saying it about the Lions.

“Their competitiveness also shows the depth in South African rugby. People thought with all the new guys, the Lions would be no-hopers, but they went and defeated the Stormers by a massive amount of points, and winning a real do-or-die fight against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein which is also quite tough. They have certainly showed that they can compete.” Jake white said.

15. SP Marais
14. Odwa Ndungane
13. Paul Jordaan
12. Frans Steyn
11. Lwazi Mvovo
10. Patrick Lambie
9. Cobus Reinach
8. Ryan Kankowski
7. Willem Alberts
6. Marcell Coetzee
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit
4. Anton Bresler
3. Jannie du Plessis
2. Bismarck du Plessis (C)
1. Tendai Mtawarira

16. Kyle Cooper
17. Dale Chadwick
18. Lourens Adriaanse
19. Stephan Lewies
20. Jean Deysel
21. Charl McLeod
22. Heimar Williams
23. S’bura Sithole

Quotes from Director of Rugby, Jake White.


Crusanders team to face DHL Stormers



When the Crusaders take on the Stormers this Saturday night, one player will be primed to make his Crusaders debut and two of the team’s most senior players receive international awards.

 Fans at AMI Stadium will be able to share in the occasion of Kieran Read and Richie McCaw receiving their trophies from the IRB for the International Player of the Year and 2013 Team of the Year (All Blacks) respectively.  A presentation will take place at the conclusion of the match.

 Meanwhile, Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder has made seven changes to his starting line-up for the Stormers game. Wyatt Crockett will start at number one this week and Tim Perry moves to the bench. Luke Romano takes one of the starting lock positions alongside Sam Whitelock.  Luke Whitelock takes the number 6 jersey from his eldest brother George, who is recovering from an adductor strain. And with Richie McCaw having just had surgery on a broken thumb, Matt Todd steps into the number 7 starting spot and Jordan Taufua will take a place on the bench.

 In the backs, Willi Heinz will start at halfback this week and Andy Ellis will be ready to provide cover from the bench.  Israel Dagg starts on one wing this week and Johnny McNicholl on the other.  Nafi Tuitavake is recovering from a hamstring strain, which gives Tasman centre Kieron Fonotia the chance to make his Crusaders debut if he comes off the bench.

 Crusaders team to play the Stormers:


  1. Wyatt Crockett
  2. Corey Flynn
  3. Owen Franks
  4. Luke Romano
  5. Samuel Whitelock
  6. Luke Whitelock
  7. Matt Todd
  8. Kieran Read (c)
  9. Willi Heinz
  10. Tom Taylor
  11. Israel Dagg
  12. Ryan Crotty (vc)
  13. Reynold Lee-Lo
  14. Johnny McNicholl
  15. Colin Slade


  1. Ben Funnell
  2. Tim Perry
  3. Nepo Laulala
  4. Dominic Bird
  5. Jordan Taufua
  6. Andy Ellis
  7. Tyler Bleyendaal
  8. Kieron Fonotia


Blues team to face Vodacom Bulls


Blues-announce-new-partnership-700x268 The Blues have received a timely boost of front row firepower ahead of their match against the burly Bulls on Sunday morning, with veterans Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock set to make their first starts for the team this season.

After playing 30 minutes off the bench last week, the Blues and All Blacks centurions have been promoted to the starting XV and will form an all-All Black front row alongside Charlie Faumuina. “Our young guns are coming through and getting better and better but to have the experience of an all-All Blacks front row is really important in Africa,” Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan said. “

The Africans love scrumming, they’re big men so Kevvie and Woody are already looking forward to the challenge, and of course Charlie has been with us from the beginning and just continues to grow week by week.   “The scrum will be an important part of our game and we need to be at least competitive if not dominant there so it’s a big game for us.” The only other change to the starting XV comes at lock where Liaki Moli has been selected ahead of Patrick Tuipulotu.  “

Patrick had a really good first start last week but we just want to temper his growth and make sure we protect him a wee bit,” Kirwan said.   “Also Liaki is chomping at the bit and I think he is made for this type of game. It’ll be a tough encounter and Patrick will come on in the second half.” The Blues backline remains unchanged, with Kirwan rewarding young guns Simon Hickey and Tevita Li for their impressive performances against the Crusaders. 

“Simon played with great confidence last week so we’ll leave him in there and we think he’ll be fine,” Kirwan said.   “He shows a maturity beyond his age and like I said last week he’s come through the grades, he’s been that size growing up in an Auckland competition so he’s tough enough. Nothing really flusters him, he stands up in front of the team and presents so he’s got that maturity which I think is important for that position.”

Kirwan said it would be a challenging game for Li who will no doubt be peppered with high bombs, but he said the 18-year-old would be up for the challenge. “He ignited us last week. He’s got a feeling for the game that’s quite special. He just seems to be one of those guys who pops up at the right place.   “He’s really alert, really keen and just loves being out there and it’s fantastic. He just plays, he’s a pleasure to have around and he’s enjoying it so we need him to take that confidence into the game. It’ll be a big game for him from a high ball perspective. The Bulls will maul and they will kick high balls, that’s how they play so it’ll be another type of game for him.”

Benji Marshall has been omitted from the match day 23, with Chris Noakes given the nod as replacement first five due to his tactical kicking smarts which may well be crucial on the Highveld. “Benji is obviously disappointed,” Kirwan said.   “We’ve got a programme for Benji and I’ve said I’m not going to rush it and it’s really important that we slowly bring him into the game. I think what you’ve probably seen with Israel Foloau this year is he’s so much better from last year’s experience so I think we need to bring Benji into the game slowly but at some stage we need to give him a start and just get him out there.

“It’s important he’s not known as the guy who comes on there and solves the problems when we’re down, he needs to be a part of this football team and we need to give him a start at some stage, I just need to make sure he’s ready for that.”   After playing two games against New Zealand opposition this season, Kirwan said the Bulls would pose a completely different challenge and that his team needed to brace themselves for a bruising encounter.

“The difference when you play Africa is the brutality of the contact, they’re big men, they drive sometimes in twos, when they’ve got the ball they love the physicality of the rucks so they’ll fly into them and you just need to be ready for that. “They play a very simple game that they know very well – lots of mauling, lots of high kicks and lots of pressure underneath that so we just need to be ready and make sure we can combat that.

“I think the game plan and the way we play will challenge them, we just need to be up for the physical battle.”

The Blues team to face the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria on Sunday morning (4.05am NZT) is:

Team:   15. Charles Piutau   14. Frank Halai   13. George Moala   12. Jackson Willison   11. Tevita Li   10. Simon Hickey   9. Piri Weepu   8. Peter Saili   7. Luke Braid (C)   6. Steven Luatua   5. Tom Donnelly   4. Liaki Moli   3. Charlie Faumuina   2. Keven Mealamu   1. Tony Woodcock   Reserves:   16. James Parsons   17. Sam Prattley   18. Angus Ta’avao   19. Patrick Tuipulotu   20. Brendon O’Connor   21. Bryn Hall   22. Chris Noakes   23. Pita Ahki    

Argentina bloods young rugby stars ahead of Super Rugby debut


They take their name from the vast grasslands that produced Argentina’s famous cattlemen, the Gauchos, and they are about to shake up Super Rugby.
March 5, 2014

Rugby Reporter

Young guns: The Pampas round up the ACT's Clyde Rathbone last week.Young guns: The Pampas round up the ACT’s Clyde Rathbone last week. Photo: Melissa Adams MLA


The Pampas, who play a Waratahs A side featuring Cam Crawford, Rob Horne, Jono Lance and Tala Grey in Sydney on Friday, will form the core of the Argentinian team slated to join Super Rugby in 2016.

They are playing in Australia this month in the IRB’s Pacific Rugby Cup and beat a Brumbies A side boasting Clyde Rathbone, Josh Mann-Rea and rising star Allan Alaalatoa last week.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika rates the Pampas the best team in the competition, which is functioning as Australia’s “Super B” tournament. NSW are using their Super Rugby bye week to help their second team prepare for Friday’s clash.

“It’s quite a big game against the Pampas, they’re the best team in the PRC competition. We’re lucky we’re going to have everyone available who’s not been in our first team.”

The Pampas have been around for a number of years, playing in South Africa’s Vodacom Cup for four seasons from 2010. But the nation’s likely inclusion in Super Rugby from 2016 has put the team front and centre in Argentina’s development plans and prompted their move to the PRC.

New Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade, who coached the Pampas from 2010 until he took over the Test job from Santiago Phelan late last year, is in Australia overseeing the side’s progress.

“The idea is to have this Pampas 15 and some of the players that now are playing in Europe [in the Super Rugby team],” Hourcade said. “We need them to play as many games as possible like this. We have come here to improve our level against the Australian way of playing, which is strong and dynamic. We need to be much faster and more dynamic.”

Pumas halfback Martin Landajo is captaining the side, which also includes Pumas rookies Tomas Lavanini (second row) and Patricio Fernandez (five-eighth). Fernandez was named man of the match in their 32-23 win over the ACT XV, scoring two tries and adding a further 12 points off the boot. He and Lavanini are among a number of Pampas players considered the new generation of Argentina Test regulars.

A bid to lure home big-name players from Europe is also at the heart of Argentina’s planning. Hourcade hopes the country’s inclusion in Super Rugby will give some of the Pumas’ best players – such as Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Juan Imhoff, Pablo Matera and Facundo Isa – a reason to stay at home year-round.

“With Super Rugby we will have at least 30 matches in a year, with 15 Super games, six Tests, six Rugby Championship Tests and some trials in June and November,” he said. “With this ambitious schedule players should not have to move to Europe to find a higher [standard of] competition.”

It will not bring everyone home, with the Argentinian Rugby Union (UAR) unable to compete with the salaries of some of the big French and English sides. But Hourcade hopes the development of the Pampas during the next two seasons will convince some to invest in their homeland’s future.

“They will have to make a decision, go for a better salary in Europe – which is a reality – or trust in the project and be proud to play for Argentina,” he said.

The Pampas play the Waratahs Gen Blue at David Phillips Field in Daceyville on Friday at 3pm. Entry is free.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/argentina-bloods-young-rugby-stars-ahead-of-super-rugby-debut-20140305-346uf.html#ixzz2v9qaV2Ae

Pocock’s injured … again


David Pocock will miss the rest of the 2014 Super Rugby season, after undergoing a full reconstruction on his left knee on Wednesday.

An arthroscopy earlier on Wednesday confirmed he had re-ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament during last Saturday’s match against the Western Force.

Disappointingly for Pocock and the Brumbies, it was the second ACL reconstruction the world class flank has undergone in as many seasons after a rupture forced him from the field in round four last year.

Director of Rugby Laurie Fisher said it was a massive blow for both the franchise and for Pocock.

“Having worked so hard to get himself back to peak physical condition over the last 12 months it’s impossible not to feel for David,” Fisher said.

“Only yesterday [Tuesday] he was speaking about how much enjoyment he’d been getting out of the game this year, so to have him sitting out the rest of our campaign is bitterly disappointing for him and the rest of the team.

“What we must remember is that David is still young and will have more opportunities to play professional rugby in the future.

“Guys like Ben Mowen and Christian Lealiifano are living proof that you can make a successful comeback from a recurring injury and I’d expect to see David bounce back in the same way.

“Professionally, David has had a big impact on the way the Brumbies have prepared and approached the 2014 Super Rugby season and I’d like to see him continue to contribute to the way the team carries itself both on and off the field.”

After notching up 69 games for the Western Force and 45 for the Wallabies, luck has eluded Pocock during his 18 months with the Brumbies.

Since arriving post-2012, injury has limited Pocock to just five Super Rugby matches at the start of both seasons.

The Brumbies head to Wellington on Thursday and will face the Hurricanes on Friday.


Source: Rugby365