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Daily Archives: March 13, 2014

Bulls hunt Goosen

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johan goosenThe Bulls are reportedly eager to attain the services of Springbok and Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen.

The 21-year-old’s contract with the Cheetahs expires on October 31 this year and it appears the Cheetahs will have their hands full to convince him to stay in Bloemfontein.

Outside unions are only allowed to officially negotiate with players four months (July 1) prior to the ending of their contract, but according the Volksblad website, the Bulls have already shown interest.

“We’re investigating all options for Johan. The Bulls have always expressed interest in Johan, but they’ll have to wait until the transfer period for local teams,” said Goosen’s agent, Anthony Johnson.

“The Cheetahs have indicated they want to keep Goosen. We’re busy making decisions but for now it’s important that Johan gets game time. We’ll monitor his progress over the next two months and then make a decision.”

Big-spending French club, Toulon, are reportedly also after Goosen’s services, as well as a few clubs in Japan.

Lions name their team for Blues

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imagesLions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 23-man team to front the Auckland-based Blues at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Ackermann has made several changes after the Lions went down to The Sharks in Durban last weekend.

In the forwards, Robbie Coetzee returns to the starting line-up and Willie Britz will start at flank. As a result, both Willie Wepener and Warwick Tecklenburg will provide cover off the wood.

Meanwhile, in the backline, Marnitz Boshoff shifts back to flyhalf. Courtnall Skosan, JW Jonker and Coenie van Wyk all earn spaces in the starting XV as Elton Jantjies and Ruan Combrinck are moved to the bench to provide backline cover.

The match will kick off at 15h00 and will be preceded by a Vodacom Cup clash between the Golden Lions and Valke.

15. Coenie van Wyk
14. JW Jonker
13. Deon van Rensburg
12. Stefan Watermeyer
11. Courtnall Skosan
10. Marnitz Boshoff
9. Faf de Klerk
8. Warren Whiteley (c)
7. Willie Britz
6. Jaco Kriel
5. Franco van der Merwe
4. Franco Mostert
3. Julian Redelinghuys
2. Robbie Coetzee
1. Schalk van der Merwe

16. Willie Wepener
17. Corne Fourie
18. Ruan Dreyer
19. MB Lusaseni
20. Warwick Tecklenburg
21. Ross Cronje
22. Elton Jantjies
23. Ruan Combrinck

No calculators for England

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England will simply be targeting victory when they play Italy in Rome in their final Six Nations match on Saturday, according to forwards coach Graham Rowntree.

Stuart Lancaster’s men go into the game with a chance of winning the title, but Ireland’s superior points difference means that they will be almost assured of glory if they overcome France.

Should Ireland win in Paris, England would need to beat Italy by at least 50 points to stand any chance of pipping them to the title, but Rowntree says his side will not employ gung ho tactics at the Stadio Olimpico. “The Italian outfit are a bit like France. They’re not small, they’re big guys, and a lot of them are playing in France,” said the England forwards coach.

“Not many teams go over there and push them around and they’ve had moments in this Six Nations. They’re big men. We’ll have to play well on Saturday to beat them and that’s all we’re focusing on – beating them. “A lot has been said about the scoreline, but we’re going over there to beat them. There aren’t many teams who have gone over there and smashed Italy. They just don’t let you do that. “We’re going out there to win the game. We’ve not spoken about points difference. Let’s do what we need to do to win the game. Everything else will take care of itself. I mean that.”

* Meanwhile centre Manu Tuilagi was recalled to the England squad.

Tuilagi, 22 and who comes in for Alex Goode, had been out for six months with a chest muscle injury and has played just once for his club Leicester since his return.

However, he could be just the ideal ‘wrecking ball’ to send on against a tiring Italian defence, who caved in in the second-half of their match last Saturday against Ireland, losing 47-7 having only trailed 17-7 at the break.

“Manu trained well with us last week and today, and is up to speed with the way we want to play,” England coach Stuart Lancaster said.

“Alex Goode has done well for us off the bench and is naturally disappointed but we believe Manu, with the power and physicality he can bring, is the right choice to be included in the 23 for this game.”

England squad:

Forwards: David Attwood, Dylan Hartley, Tom Johnson, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw, Henry Thomas, Mako Vunipola, David Wilson, Tom Wood, Tom Youngs.

Backs: Mike Brown, Luther Burrell, Danny Care, Lee Dickson, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Manu Tuilagi, Billy Twelvetrees

Cell C Sharks starts Pietersen

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jpJP Pietersen will start at right wing for the Sharks when they take on the Reds in a Super Rugby Round Five match in Durban on Saturday.

The 51-cap Springbok will slot straight into the side, just a few days after arriving back from his stint playing club rugby for the Wild Knights in Japan. Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White had said that it was ‘highly unlikely’ that Pietersen would start in his first week back in Durban, but it seems White’s hand has been forced somewhat with the loss of outside backs Odwa Ndungane (compassinate leave) and Paul Jordaan (knee injury) this week.

Patrick Lambie returns to the starting line-up at flyhalf after being a late withdrawal for last week’s match after he contracted tick bite fever. Frans Steyn moves back to inside centre, despite his impressive performance in the number 10 jersey against the Lions last week. Sibusiso Sithole replaces Jordaan, and joins Steyn in the centres to earn his first start of the Super Rugby season.

Utility back Jaco van Tonder joins the replacements bench, taking Sithole’s place. Continuing the trend the Sharks have set all season, the forward pack remains unchanged. White is aware of the dangers the Reds can cause and recognises the potential that this year’s side has shown in their opening games. “There is no doubt that the Reds have a lot of experience, they’ve won the competition and a lot of their current players were in that winning team, so they understand what it takes to win.

“They travel quite well as a group and the Wallaby captain is leading them. “Obviously they have the makings of a good team and cannot be taken lightly. “They have shown that when they beat the Brumbies and Cheetahs,” White added.

Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Sibusiso Sithole, 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 (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Lubabalo Mtembu, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 Jaco van Tonder.