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Daily Archives: March 25, 2014

Junior Bok hopefuls annouced for training camp


The process to select the SA Under-20 squad to represent South Africa at the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship in New Zealand will begin on Sunday when the expanded training group gathers in Stellenbosch for an intensive two-month training camp.

The group, consisting of almost 70 of the country’s most promising Under-20 players, will play trial matches on Monday, 31 March and Wednesday 2 April in Stellenbosch. Following the trials, the squad will be reduced to approximately 40 players to continue with preparations ahead of the JWC 2014. The Junior World Championship will be held in Auckland from June 2 to 20, 2014.

Dawie Theron, the SA U20 coach and members of the SARU Mobi-Unit will guide the players through a series of planning, field and conditioning sessions before a short break for the Easter holidays. SARU will announce the SA Under-20 JWC squad of 28 players on Tuesday, April 22, at a media conference in Cape Town. The training camp will include two trial matches, scheduled for next Monday and Wednesday, daily training, conditioning and strategic planning sessions, as well as a much-anticipated three-match international series against the Argentina Under-20 side.

Last month, the SA U20 coach and the SARU Mobi-Unit hosted one-day planning sessions in Johannesburg and Cape Town, where the coach shared his vision and mission for the upcoming camp, among other things. Next week’s trial matches will give the players the opportunity to play themselves into contention for selection for the reduced training group before the final JWC squad is selected.

“The gathering of the large group of players will be the culmination of an extensive period of work behind the scenes where we meticulously planned the two-month training camp and identified the large pool of players,” said Theron. He added he was very pleased with the game time the majority of the players have been afforded so far this season.

“Thanks to the excellent relationship and constant communication between SARU and the various provincial coaches, I am pleased with the amount of game time these players have had this season. “It is a huge improvement from previous years, and hopefully it will count in our favour as we go in search of the title,” explained Theron. The following three players were not considered for the camp due to Vodacom Super Rugby commitments: André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks), Handré Pollard and Jessie Kriel (Vodacom Bulls).

Furthermore, the SARU medical team and their provincial colleagues will continue to monitor the rehabilitation programmes of the following injured players: Kevin Kaba (EP Kings, knee), Ryno Eksteen (DHL WP, knee), Duhan van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls/SARU, knee), Grant Hermanus (Paarl Gymnasium, hamstring). The players who were selected for the original training group, but will not be travelling to Stellenbosch for the trials, will still be considered for inclusion in the official JWC squad.

The following group of players will assemble in Stellenbosch on Sunday:

Vodacom Blue Bulls:
Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Dan Kriel, Pierre Schoeman, Duncan Mathews, JP Smith, Corniel Els, Wilco Louw, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Abongile Nonkontwana, Arno van Wyk, Leighton van Wyk, Janse van Rensburg, RG Snyman, Heinrich Viljoen, Kobus Marais, Warrick Gelant, Ganfried May, Marcus Kleinbooi, Chris Massyn, Nqoba Mxoli

Golden Lions:
Malcom Marx, Michael Hazner, Ramone Samuels, Jaco Van der Walt, Jano Venter, Thabo Mabuza, Victor Sisekete, Christiaan Meyer, Pieter Scholtz, Stephan Vermeulen, Cyle Brink, Dylan Smith, Kock Marx

GWK Griquas:
Hillford Clarke

Dean Stokes, Lloyd Greef

Toyota Free State:
Ox Nche, Joseph Dweba, Mthokozisi Mkhabela, Nicolaas Lee

EP Kings:
Aidon Davis, Sergeal Petersen

Cell C Sharks:
Thomas du Toit, Gideon Koegelenberg, Chris de Beer, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Dan du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Neil Maritz, Sandile Khubeka, Cameron Wright, Ayron Schramm, Ray Williams, Sias Koen, Alrin Eksteen

DHL Western Province:
JD Schickerling, Jacques Vermeulen, Ernst Stapelberg, Daniel du Plessis, Jarryd Sage, SP Ferreira, Justin Phillips, Dewald Naude, Chad Solomon, Frans van Wyk, Jan Uys, EW Viljoen, Rikus Bothma.

The SA U20 camp will include the following activities:

Camp One
When: 31 March – 16 April 2014
Where: Stellenbosch Academy of Sport

Camp Two
When: 23 April – 17 May 2014
Where: Stellenbosch Academy of Sport and Cape Town

SA U20 international friendlies vs Argentina U20:
09 May: SA vs Argentina (City Park Stadium, Cape Town)
13 May: SA vs Argentina (Paul Roos, Stellenbosch)
17 May: SA vs Argentina (Saldanha Rugby Club, Saldanha)

JWC Holding camp
When: 23 – 26 May 2014
Where: Stellenbosch Academy of Sport

Capping Ceremony
When: 25 May 2014
Where: Stellenbosch Academy of Sport

Squad Departure
When: 26 May 2014
Where: Cape Town International Airport

SA U20 2014 JWC fixtures:
2 June: SA vs Scotland (North Harbor)
6 June: SA vs New Zealand (North Harbor)
10 June: SA vs Samoa (Pukekohe)
15 June: Playoffs (Tbc)
20 June: Finals (Auckland)

‘Skrumreël moet dadelik verander’


Scrum - Bath United v Harlequins A

Rugby se skrums is voortdurend onder die soeklig en’n vooraanstaande afrigter voel dat nóg ‘n verandering dadelik gemaak moet word.

Franco out for six months


imagesThe Lions suffered a major setback as their most experienced player, Springbok lock Franco van der Merwe, has been ruled out for up to six months with ankle ligament damage.

The Springbok lock suffered the injury in the Lions’ win over the Reds at Ellis Park on Saturday, and will not play any more Super Rugby this year after undergoing surgery on Monday. He is expected to be out of action for up to six months. With the big lock fast approaching his 100th game coach Johan Ackerman is quite aware of what a loss this is for his high flying Lions.

“Franco is going to be out for up to six months, so we have definitly lost our most experienced player with over a 100 Currie Cup games and almost 100 Super Rugby games so it’s not the best news that I received yesterday. “He has already had an operation, he has torn all his ankle ligaments, a grade three syndesmotic tear,” Ackerman said. While Van der Merve is a big loss to the Lions the coach can be grateful for the bye his team has this week, players such as Coenie van Wyk and Deon van Rensburg should be available, after limping off the field against the Reds, when the Lions host the Crusaders at Ellis park the following week.

“First of all we had a lot of knocks on our bodies so the bye comes at the right time, but next week we have to be sharp. “The rest have bumps and bruises but those that came off the field on the weekend, Deon van Rensburg and Coenie van Wyk, will recover in time. “With the bye this week we are quite confident that they will be ready next week, the prognosis so far is that they will recover in time – it was all just bone bruises,” he said.

Ackerman has also indicated that Elton Jantjies is still very much part of his Super Rugby plans by giving the Springbok pivot a week break along with the rest of the squad, this comes after Jantjies played in the Vodacom Cup at the weekend. “Because we are limited in our squad, the whole Super Rugby group is going to have an off week, we will all see each other next Monday and nobody will play this weekend – Elton [Jantjies] falls into that Super Rugby group.

“We only have Marnitz [Boshoff] at flyhalf and we don’t want Elton to pick up unnecessary injuries,” Ackerman said.

By: Darryn Pollock

SA’s backs are still try-shy


imagesHuman steam-roller Willem Alberts who, let’s face it, generally prefers just one way to the line, currently heads the South African try scorers in Super Rugby with a less than princely three.

By: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

The hefty Sharks blindside flank got to his third of the season, and his team’s lone touchdown on the day, in their first setback of the season at the hands of the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday.

And yes, it was another of his short-range, unsubtle, route-one busts over the whitewash.

It kind of sums up the collective struggle by South African teams to manufacture scoring opportunities for the best intended finishers in rugby: outside backs.

Alberts may lead the SA “charge” for tries thus far, but even he is a long way behind the overall leader at this point, the Waratahs’ blistering fullback Israel Folau, who sports eight.

Behind Folau, in joint second with four tries each, comes a pair of Brumbies, Robbie Coleman and Jesse Mogg, plus the Hurricanes’ slippery flyhalf Beauden Barrett.

Early indications are that last season’s pattern may repeat itself.

Again then, South Africans failed to feature near the top of the try-scoring chart: the Blues’ Tongan express wing Frank Halai headed the 2013 pack with 10, and the closest South Africans, in joint eighth, were Cheetahs back-three talisman Willie le Roux and Kings flanker Wimpie van der Walt (six apiece).

For team tries thus far in 2014, the SA challenge is also less than inspiring: we lie bottom of the pile with 51 achieved between the five franchises, eight shy of the second-placed New Zealanders (59) and as many as 14 short of the pace-setting Aussies (65).

No South African side cracks the top five, despite the Sharks still occupying top log position overall, with the Blues notching 17 dot-downs, the Hurricanes and Waratahs 16, and Force and Brumbies 14 each.

The Sharks and Cheetahs are best SA flag-bearers thus far with 13 each, and the Stormers really drag the whole, local conference cause down by only dotting seven times from their five games to lie 14th out of the 15 tournament teams as things stand (the Crusaders a little surprisingly bring up the rear on six tries).

Scoring tries freely is not, of course, the be-all and end-all of rugby success: look at the table positions of the Blues (eighth) and Hurricanes (12th) for proof of that; sometimes teams crossing the line with some ease are guilty of lax defending at the other end of the park and leak plenty of tries themselves.

But it is also difficult to escape a suspicion that several SA teams could do with a bit more ball-in-hand urgency and fluency as the country seeks its first Super Rugby title since the change to the conference system in 2011.