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Super Rugby’s expansion revealed



Australian Rugby Union Boss Bill Pulver has revealed details about the proposed expanded format for Super Rugby from 2016.

Super Rugby’s organizers SANZAR want to expand the 15 team tournament as they believe it will bring in more money for the South African, Australian and New Zealand Rugby Unions.

Pulver says that he has backed a format with 18 teams in a four conference format from 2016.

There are currently 15 teams divided into three equal geographic conferences made up of five teams.

Pulver says that from 2016 the New Zealand and Australian conference will remain at five teams but South Africa will have two conference of four teams.

South Africa currently have five teams and the Southern Kings, and a new Argentine team and another side – possibly from Asia – will be added to make eight teams.

These eight teams will be divided in two two groups of four and are expected to be based in South Africa.

Those two four-team conferences will only face one of the two Australasian conferences each year, which reduces the amount of travel.

Currently Australian teams only play four of the five New Zealand teams a year but that will be increased to five matches.

Australian teams will also play two less “local derby” matches a season – dropping from eight to six, and meaning one less home game every second year – and this has upset the Reds, Waratahs and Brumbies who believe it will see them go bust.

Pulver however said that less was more for the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force.

“In Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra they work very well,” he said. “In Melbourne and Perth those two franchises aren’t too excited in home derbies.”

“It’s likely to be a four-conference model and this will be finalized in the next couple of weeks to be announced,” Pulver told AAP.

Pulver has backed the proposed changes as the best model to improve the competition and importantly boost broadcasting revenue.

“I’m more than happy to go along with it,” said Pulver.

“I think it will be a terrific structure for the game.”

Currently the top team from each Conference qualifies for the Super Rugby finals so if the rules are retained then South Africa will almost certainly have two teams in the Super Rugby finals each year.

One of those qualifying teams will have a considerably easier route to the finals as they would have missed out on playing one of the Australasian Conferences.

Figures released last week suggest Super Rugby’s viewer numbers are down almost 10% in South Africa where most of the broadcast money comes from and overall interest in Super Rugby appears to be waning.

The two bottom teams currently in Super Rugby are from South Africa. When the Southern Kings played in Super Rugby last year they finished last.


Teams: 18 – current 15 plus Southern Kings (RSA), Argentine team, plus one more

Conferences: 4 – Australia (5 teams), New Zealand (5), two based in South African (4 each, including one expansion team)

Matches: 15 per team

Steyn starts at 10


Sharks vs Lions

Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White has named his team to play the Rebels in Melbourne with Frans Steyn starting in the number 10 jersey.

Steyn’s move from centre to flyhalf sees Tim Swiel being dropped from the teams and Fred Zeilinga will provide cover at flyhalf from the replacements bench.

Steyn’s move to flyhalf opens the way for a a new centre pairing of Heimar Williams and Paul Jordaan.

Odwa Ndungane returns to the side on the wing while in the forwards Keegan Daniel and Ryan Kankowski rotate at eighthman with the latter starting this week while Jean Deysel and Bismarck du Plessis are both back after being pulled out of the team week through injury.

White has urged his players to bounce back from their loss at home to the Highlanders in a big way.

“This Rebels’ game becomes the most important game for us,”said White .

“We want to bounce back. It doesn’t matter who it is, it’s not the Rebels we’re targeting. When we lost to the Bulls, we won the next game against the Waratahs.

“This week we need to make sure that regardless of who we’re playing, we need to be better than we were last week to get a result.

“We must remember that although we beat them comfortably last year in Durban, we’re playing them in Melbourne, they are a good team playing at home

“They’ve picked up some good wins this year, they beat the Brumbies in Melbourne,” said White.

“We want to get our tour off to a good start and take momentum through the tour and in order to do that we need to get a win in the first game.”


15. Lwazi Mvovo , 14. Odwa Ndungane , 13. Paul Jordaan , 12. Heimar Williams , 11. JP Pietersen , 10. Francois Steyn , 9. Charl McLeod , 8. Ryan Kankowski , 7. Jean Deysel , 6. Marcell Coetzee , 5. Stephan Lewies , 4. Willem Alberts , 3. Jannie du Plessis , 2. Bismarck du Plessis (C) , 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements , 16. Kyle Cooper , 17. Dale Chadwick , 18. Lourens Adriaanse , 19. Etienne Oosthuizen , 20. Keegan Daniel , 21. Cobus Reinach , 22. Fred Zeilinga , 23. SP Marais

Jantjies start for Lions




Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named Elton Jantjies to start at flyhalf against Super Rugby Champions the Chiefs in Hamilton with Marnitz Boshoff on the replacements bench.

Ackermann has made one change to the forward pack that lost to the Stormers before their bye a fortnight ago.

Warren Whiteley has made a full recovery from injury and will start at eighthman and will captain the side.

Meanwhile, in the backline, Faf de Klerk has reclaimed his spot in the starting XV. Elton Jantjies will start at flyhalf and Deon van Rensburg will return in the wing position, having recovered from his minor injury.

On the bench, Armand van der Merwe looks set to make his Vodacom Super Rugby debut should he get a run on Saturday.

Jacques van Rooyen will also provide cover off the wood, having been called up from the Vodacom Cup squad.

Due to De Klerk and Jantjies earning starting positions, Ross Cronje and Marnitz Boshoff are the other changes to the substitutions list.


15. Chrysander Botha ,14. Deon van Rensburg ,13. Lionel Mapoe,12. Stefan Watermeyer,11. Courtnall Skosan ,10. Elton Jantjies,9. Faf de Klerk ,8. Warren Whiteley (c),7. Derick Minnie ,6. Jaco Kriel,5. Franco Mostert ,4. Martin Muller,3. Julian Redelinghuys,2. Robbie Coetzee,1. Schalk van der Merwe

Replacements : 16. Armand van der Merwe,17. Jacques van Rooyen ,18. Ruan Dreyer,19. MB Lusaseni ,20. Willie Britz,21. Ross Cronje,22. Marnitz Boshoff,23. JW Jonker

Pollard starts for Bulls



The Bulls have named their team to play the Cheetahs this weekend at Lotfus Versfeld in Pretoria with Handre Pollard starting ahead of Jacques-Louis Potgieter.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke tweaked his backline with a new midfield combination and has included Junior World Cup winning players William Small-Smith and Handre Pollard in the starting team for the first time this season and also gave prop Marcel van der Merwe a first start for the match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Small-Smith replaces JJ Engelbrecht, who moves to the bench in place of Ulrich Beyers, Pollard swop places with Jacques-Louis Potgieter (bench) and Van der Merwe takes to the field with Werner Kruger being used as impact player this time around.

Callie Visagie returns to hooker, with Bongi Mbonambi on the bench and Bandise Maku dropping out.

Ludeke said it was time for rotating players again and expressed his confidence in the two 21 year olds earning their first start.

“Both Handre and William have slotted in well at this level and are eager to show what they have to offer. This is a good opportunity for them.”

He admitted that his team is under pressure against a high-flying Cheetahs team, who earlier this year broke their Super Rugby duck against the Bulls.

“We are back at Loftus Versfeld where expectations are even higher and to be honest, not in a situation we wanted to be at this stage of the tournament. ”

“We need to get out of our losing streak and back to winning ways, not only to stay in the competition but to justify the hard work we have put in. I am confident that we can turn things around, as it is small things that are costing us at the moment.”


15. Jurgen Visser, 14. Akona Ndungane , 13. William Small-Smith , 12. Jan Serfontein , 11. Bjorn Basson , 10. Handre Pollard , 9. Francois Hougaard , 8. Grant Hattingh , 7. Jacques du Plessis, 6. Jono Ross , 5. Victor Matfield (c), 4. Paul Willemse , 3. Marcel van der Merwe, 2. Callie Visagie, 1. Dean Greyling

Replacements: 16. Bongi Mbonambi , 17. Morne Mellett ,18. Werner Kruger , 19. Jacques Engelbrecht , 20. Wimpie van der Walt , 21. Rudy Paige , 22. Jacques-Louis Potgieter , 23. JJ Engelbrecht

Burger in Grant out for Stormers



Stormers Press

Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee has made four changes to the side that lost to the Cheetahs for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against the Highlanders.

The most notable change is the return of Schalk Burger who replaces Siya Kolisi at No.7 while Kurt Coleman will make his first start of 2014 in the flyhalf position.

Ffit-again hooker Scarra Ntubeni returns to the starting side as does winger Sailosi Tagicakibau.

“Having Scarra back to full fitness is a good thing for us. We have spoken about our set-piece, so it’s all about trying to get consistency there,” coach Coetzee said on the Stormers site.

“Players like Deon Fourie and Siya Kolisi can make a big impact for us off the bench – they’re game sharp and aware of the roles they need to fill.

“At the same time, I thought Schalk Burger and Kurt Coleman – who are starting this week – made big impacts off the bench against the Cheetahs,” added the Stormers boss.

“Kurt, in particular, has been very patient. He started the season late because of injury after a strong Currie Cup campaign in 2013 and he went on our Super Rugby tour without playing a minute.”

“He deserves this starting opportunity after showing some good touches against the Cheetahs.”


15. Jaco Taute , 14. Damian de Allende , 13. Juan de Jongh , 12. Jean de Villiers (captain) , 11. Sailosi Tagicakibau , 10. Kurt Coleman , 9. Nic Groom , 8. Duane Vermeulen , 7. Schalk Burger (vice-captain) , 6. Nizaam Carr , 5. Michael Rhodes , 4. Ruan Botha , 3. Frans Malherbe , 2. Scarra Ntubeni , 1. Steven Kitshoff

Replacements: 16. Deon Fourie , 17. Oliver Kebble , 18. Brok Harris , 19. Jurie van Vuuren , 20. Siya Kolisi , 21. Louis Schreuder , 22. Peter Grant , 23. Kobus van Wyk

Waratahs ring the changes



The Waratahs have named a team with several changes to the one that lost to the Blues in Auckland for this week’s Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes.

The Waratahs host the Hurricanes who are Super Rugby’s form team currently as they have won their last four matches and now top the New Zealand Conference. Inspirational No. 8 Wycliff Palu returns for the match at Allianz Stadium this Saturday in which the Waratahs say that they are determined to keep their 100% Allianz Stadium 2014 record alive and record their first win over the Canes since 2010.

“We are aiming for consistency every week and will be looking to fix up our handling errors and our commitment to detail in finishing off the chances we make,” said assistant coach Nathan Grey. Palu is one of three new faces and five positional changes in the starting XV for the clash with the New Zealand conference leaders, who sit two points and three places above the Tahs on the competition ladder. He’s joined in the run-on side by wing Matt Carraro, favoured over Cam Crawford, and Paddy Ryan, who takes over from Sekope Kepu.

The team will run out in their new 2014 charity jersey for this match, will every players’ match-worn jersey signed and auctioned online after the final whistle. All proceeds will go to supporting the Trytons rugby team and Rugby Connect, a sporting program for children with intellectual difficulties. It’s three weeks since Palu has started a game (the veteran No. 8 missed out on the Stormers, Force and Bulls games before making his return off the bench last week against the Blues at Eden Park) and flanker and vice-captain Michael Hooper says his inclusion can’t be over-estimated.

“First of all, it’s great motivation having Cliff back, it will be nice to have the big man back,” said Hooper. “His physicality and the opposition knowing he’s in the team is a good to have.” Looking to end a two-game losing streak to the Canes, Palu’s inclusion forces skipper Dave Dennis to blindside flanker, with Hooper remaining at openside. Jacques Potgieter will move to lock to partner Kane Douglas, with Will Skelton coming off the bench.

Up front, Sekope Kepu has made way for Paddy Ryan at tighthead, Benn Robinson is on the openside, with Tatafu Polota Nau playing hooker. There’s just one change to the backline with Matt Carraro, who spent five seasons in Europe before returning to the Waratahs in 2014, replaces Cam Crawford on the wing for his first starting role of the season. After a slow start to the season, a string of wins has seen the Hurricanes surge to the top of the New Zealand conference.

“They’re certainly playing some really good football. They’ve changed their style of attack and how they go about things and it seems to be working for them,” said Waratahs centre Adam Ashley-Cooper. “So they’re certainly competing up there with the Chiefs and they’re obviously leading the New Zealand conference ladder for a reason. They’re a good team. “For us, it’s a really big game. We’re at home, we need to win. Obviously it wasn’t the result we wanted last week and I feel this game could define our season.”


1. Benn Robinson , 2. Tatafu Polota Nau , 3. Paddy Ryan , 4. Kane Douglas 5. Jacques Potgieter , 6. Dave Dennis (c), 7. Michael Hooper , 8. Wycliff Palu , 9. Nick Phipps , 10. Bernard Foley , 11. Rob Horne , 12. Kurtley Beale , 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper , 14. Matt Carraro , 15. Israel Folau .

Replacements (two to be omitted): 16. Tolu Latu , 17. Jeremy Tilse , 18. Sekope Kepu , 19. Will Skelton 20. Pat McCutcheon , 21. Stephen Hoiles, 22. Brendan McKibbin , 23. Jono Lance , 24. Cam Crawford , 25. Alofa Alofa

Stormers get double injury boost



The Stormers have been given a boost for their match against the Highlanders as hooker Scarra Ntubeni and wing Sailosi Tagicakibau will be available for selection.

The Stormers lost to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last week but have returned home to Cape Town to face the HIghlanders who will be coming off a victory over the Sharks. Ntubeni has not featured for the Stormers since their tour-opener against the Crusaders back in early March due to a calf muscle injury while Tagicakibau has recovered from a sternum injury.

Flyhalf Catrakilis will most likely have to wait for another week with a broken nose before he can take full contact. Wing Cheslin Kolbe (knee) needs one more week to prove his fitness and will have his workload increased this week to make sure he is 100% ready. “The loss (to the Cheetahs) was very disappointing, ” said coach Allister Coetzee on the Stormers site.

“The big concern for us was how flat-footed we were in the last thirty minutes of the first half after our excellent start. “It’s very important for us to bounce back with a win this week – from a mental point of view – and we will be giving it our all once again come the weekend.” “The big thing is that the game cannot function if your set-piece doesn’t function consistently well,” added Coetzee.

“Last week (against the Lions) our set-piece did much better than this week (against the Cheetahs) and that is a bit of a frustration. I know we are missing players and we don’t want to talk about it week in and week out but it is a reality.”

Hooker Tiaan Liebenberg (neck), prop Pat Cilliers (knee), locks Eben Etzebeth (foot), Rynhardt Elstadt (shoulder), De Kock Steenkamp (groin), Manuel Carizza (wrist), Jean Kleyn (ankle) and Gerbrandt Grobler (leg/shoulder) and wing/fullback Gio Aplon (elbow) are still unavailable for selection

Are we lacking Skill or Fitness?


New Zealand All Blacks Training SessionThe All Blacks remain the world’s best rugby team not just because they are better than everyone else but because they are fitter.

So many times we ask why we always lose those close and important games against the men from  New Zeeland.

The more things change, the more they stay the same: that much becomes abundantly clear when you go digging for the reasons the All Blacks are not just the finest but the fittest rugby team(s) on the planet.

This can be single out as the one single advantage they have over not just South Africa but also the rest of the world. Combine that with their skill of throwing the ball round for half their life’s and you have the winning formula that makes them the number one team in the world.

New Zeeland superior fitness consistently give them the edge in big-time test matches and Super Rugby clashes with Australia and South Africa. They will go onto the field with the attitude of if I cannot run you off your feet with our high tempo game, then we will simply get into you and outlast you.

Technology and science advance at a rapid rate and professional rugby player has GPS units to track his every movement, machines to strain sinew, monitors to measure reaction and nutritional products to fuel him.

Yet in New Zeeland it can be something quite simple.

Take September 2012, as reported by MARC HINTON, on Rugby Heaven website: “Days out from battling the Springboks in the Dunedin dome. Andrew Hore and Tony Woodcock, a couple of hardy front-row customers, drove to the Maniototo to spend their day off dehorning 180 head of cattle.

Not too far away Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano had had been up since 5am traipsing around the bush tracking pigs and deer. Both these activities were authorised by the team strength and conditioning guru Nic Gill who incorporates them into the players’ weekly fitness programme. This is the All Blacks staying ahead of the chasing pack. Doing whatever it takes. And it turns out, the back-to-the-future approach works a treat. For some. “It’s still basic,” says Gill of the tenets of the All Blacks fitness programme.

The fact of the matter is a player need to be strong, he needs to be powerful, he needs to be quick and he needs to be able to run all day. How many South African players can we put down with these qualities? Most of our current Springbok players in the Super Rugby do not even play more than 55 min a game.

Skills on the other hand is something that we failed to learn in junior phase of our development in South Africa.

Gill says that New Zeeland rugby players embrace their nature and from a young age all they do is through the ball around all day. This skill needs players to be fit otherwise you will fall behind.

South African teams is all about size, kicking, territory and forcing other teams into mistakes.

New Zealanders will do a lot of fitness in the week; and they don’t spend most of their time in gyms pumping iron, but if they are, you will find some of the New Zealanders at Sweat Equity Fitness. They will work hard in the week on increasing fitness levels, they do high intensity workouts.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen is convinced superior fitness is winning tests for the All Blacks – even while they’re still scratching to find their best game.

At the end it is quite simple, our players is not fit enough to play full 80 min and we depend on the impact of impact players too much to make the difference in the last bit of the match.

Before we can start trying to improve our skill level we need to get our players conditioned and fit to go for 80 min plus per week.

Sources: Rugby Heaven, NZ Post, NZ Herhald

Coetzee:Stormers injuries the excuse


Alister Coetzee

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says that a lack on continuity in selections due to their unusually high injury rate is the main problem that they have struggled in Super Rugby this year.

The 2011 and 2012 South African Super Rugby conference winners have dropped to the bottom of the Super Rugby standings and would be in line for a promotion/relegation match at the end of the season if the system had been retained for this year.

Coetzee says that the Stormers have been unable to recover from the regular loss of locks which started early in the season.

To date, first-choice second-row forwards like Eben Etzebeth, De Kock Steenkamp, Rynardt Elstadt, Manuel Carizza and Michael Rhodes have been on the injury list for most of the season.

Reserve talents such as Tazz Fuzani, Ruan Botha and Jean Kleyn were called up to step into the breach, but they too were sidelined with regular monotony.

The loss of first-choice hookers such as Scarra Ntubeni and Tiaan Liebenberg did not help the cause of the untried locks that were called up and the Stormers were unable to arrest the slide from grace.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said that the regular loss of tight-five players meant the side’s set-piece was unable to function satisfactorily.

“One cannot function if your set-piece is not in order and that has been at the heart of our problems,” said Coetzee.

“Locks and hookers are vital positions for functional set-pieces and many of the in-coming players were not good enough to play at this level.”

Coetzee said as a result of the “extraordinary” situation of being without five quality locks at one time, the Stormers were now looking at recruiting as soon as possible.

“It has been frustrating that we were not able to get our game together at a time when we are faced with the extraordinary position of being without five quality locks,” Coetzee said.

“We are discussing the possibility of recruiting an experienced lock because we’ve seen that you can’t blood rookie talents when the team is struggling.

“We need to dominate (in games) before we can bring in new talent.”

The Stormers have also been in the process of transforming their game so that they move away from the ultra-defensive to more attacking patterns.

“The transition has not been easy and we don’t want to go back to an out-an-out defensive game for the sake of winning,” he said.

“The way we played won games and we won the SA Conference but it was not the Western Province brand of rugby.

“We now find ourselves having to defend our own set-piece when it should really be our platform to attack. When we lose our lineout ball we end up defending instead of attacking.”

The Stormers decided to free up the players instead of training on Monday in an effort to help them prepare mentally for Saturday’s match against the Highlanders at Newlands.

“We have started planning with them (the players) and they now at least have a mental view of how we want to play,” Coetzee said.

“We want to attack more but there are guidelines where that should happen.

“After a good start (against the Cheetahs) we were flat-footed because of a lack of urgency, aggression and workrate.”

McCaw set for selection battle




Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has confirmed that All Black captain Richie McCaw should be available for selection in this week’s Super Rugby match against the Brumbies but has not guaranteed his return.

McCaw broke his thumb playing against the Blues in February and has had surgery on the thumb by having a screw inserted to speed up the healing.

The All Black captain could join fellow All Blacks Kieran Read (concussion) and Luke Romano (calf) in making their return this week in Christchurch.

While McCaw might be ready to start playing again his return is not guaranteed as he faces a selection battle with Matt Todd for the Crusaders No 7 jersey.

Todd has stood in for McCaw since he was injured and his form could force the All Black captain to blind side flanker or he could be used as an impact player off the bench.

“It’s something we will certainly consider,” Blackadder told Fairfax when asked about McCaw possibly playing at blind side flanker.

“With Matt Todd playing so well, that’s a possibility. It’s going to be about making sure we have got the right balance.”

McCaw said early in the season that he wants to start at No.7 but he only lasted for one and a half matches before being injured.

In the last eight weeks Todd has done all he can to nail down the Crusaders No.7 jersey and force Blackadder’s hand.

The Crusaders made a slow start to the Super Rugby season – as they always do – but twenty-six-year-old Todd’s ability to put pressure on opposition ruck ball, without giving away penalties, has been crucial to their revival.

“I think Matt Todd is probably more of a genuine No 7,” Blackadder acknowledged.

“Richie is more of an option (at blind side flanker) and is a guy who can probably play that other type of role – a bit like Michael Jones when he converted to No 6.

“It just depends on who you have got fit and available.”

If Blackadder decides to use McCaw as a replacement he could cover all three of the Crusaders loose forward positions.

Centre Kieron Fonotia missed the match against the Chiefs in Hamilton with a hamstring strain but he should be fit and considered for selection this week.

Captain Kieran Read is a guaranteed starter at No.8 if the medics feel that he has fully recovered from his head knock.

HC: Toulon 24, Munster 16


Toulon, the reining champions take on Munster – who have tasted European Cup glory themselves twice – in the first semifinal match at the Stade Vélodrome.
The french side are so far unbeaten in the competition and received good news earlier in the week when star flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson, as well as South African-born hooker Craig Burden, were declared fit. Toulon will be taking form as well as historical impotence into the clash, at the same stage last year the french side dispatched fellow semifinalists Saracens, which saw them march on to take the Cup. Munster are not strangers to the business end of the European cup either, having played in 11 semifinals in their hostory – a record they took from Toulon.
In a knock-out game such as this it is very hard to call a out-and-out favorite, however Toulon coach Bernard Leporte believes his team’s home ground advantage will be the thing that edges it for them. “The match is 51-49 percent in our favour, we have a slight advantage in that we are playing at home, at the Velodrome, even if one recalls that last year we went away to Saracens in the semi-finals and won,” Laporte said.
Munster’s Paul O’Connell realises the challenge that they are up against in facing the giants of French rugby, comparing them to the All Blacks. The caliber of players on the Toulon side is something that could make Munster’s day very difficult. They will have to get the better of the likes of Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Giteau, Bryan Habana, Drew Mitchell, Carl Hayman, Juan Smith and Juan Fernandez Lobbe if they are to keep their European dream alive.
“It’s kind of like the feeling you get the week before you play New Zealand,” O’Connell said. “If you’re not [at your best], if guys aren’t prepared to go beyond where they’ve been all season, you know you could almost end up getting embarrassed. “Mentally they’re probably a team that will challenge you more than any other.
“They can push you around the place with sheer power but they’ve incredible talent then, incredible steppers, incredible footballers and they’ve obviously got massive gas all over the pitch as well. 
“Not just in the backline but in the pack as well. You know you’re going to be challenged every single way possible.”
Toulon: : 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Jonny Wilkinson (captain), 9 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Steffon Armitage, 7 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Juan Smith, 5 Jocelino Suta, 4 Danie Rossouw, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Xavier Chiocci.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Alexandre Menini, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Virgile Bruni, 20 David Smith, 21 Maxime Mermoz, 22 Michael Claassens, 23 Konstantine Mikautadze.
Munster:  15 Felix Jones, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Sean Dougall, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Paul O’Connell, 4 Dave Foley, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Damien Varley (captain), 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Duncan Casey, 17 James Cronin, 18 John Ryan, 19 Donncha O’Callaghan, 20 Tommy O’Donnell, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Denis Hurley.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle, Luke Pearce 
TMO: Graham Hughes 

White : Highlanders outplayed the Sharks


JakeSharks Director of Rugby Jake White has admitted that they outplayed and outsmarted in their shock 18-34 loss to the Highlanders at home in Durban.

The loss was the Sharks second of the season but their first at home in Durban where they have played most of their matches.vThe Sharks wanted to leave South Africa for their tour of Australia and New Zealand on a positive note but the Highlanders pulled off an upset.

“We weren’t at our best and they played really well against us — take nothing away from this performance by the Highlanders,” White said. “Sometimes when we needed to kick we ran, and sometimes when we needed to run we kicked.” The competition leaders missed a golden chance to consolidate their number one position on the overall standings against one of the lesser New Zealand teams, with the visitors dominating against their below-par hosts.

“It was tough. They bossed at the breakdown, they didn’t allow us rhythm, they didn’t kick out, they didn’t give us any set-piece ball, the handling wasn’t good.” Richard Buckman, Aaron Smith and Shane Christie all scored tries in the opening 40 minutes, before Malakai Fekitoa’s superb solo second-half score wrapped up a bonus-point win. Even though the Highlanders dominated, the Sharks were kept in the game by the boot of rookie flyhalf Tim Swiel, who kicked six penalties in total.

“At 24-18 we still had opportunities,” White said. “We dropped an overlap on the left when it was three on one and we dropped one on the right hand side. We weren’t as good as we should have been.” In their defence, the coastal side were dealt a blow before kick-off when both captain Bismarck du Plessis and Jean Deysel were ruled out through injury. Replacements Kyle Cooper and Ettienne Oosthuizen as well as S’bura Sithole and Jannie du Plessis all appeared to pick up knocks during the game.

“It’s massive when you lose your captain and you lose the guy who sets up your whole scrum,” White said. “But what comes out of that is you start to realise how important certain players are and players who do get an opportunity need to be ready when they get called upon. “I’m not saying anyone wasn’t, but it gives us an opportunity in the next couple of rounds to make sure that we’ve got the right combinations going forward.”

The result came at a critical time for the Sharks — in their final home match before they travel to Australia and New Zealand to face the Rebels, Brumbies, Crusaders and Blues. “It’s not an ideal way to set off on tour, but it’s highly unlikely teams are going to be unbeaten throughout the competition,” said White, whose side are now just a point clear at the summit. “You’ve seen how tough this competition is and people have realised that no matter who you’re play against, it’s tough to win.

“When you win you take all the pleasantries and accolades that go with it but when you lose, you’ve got to dust yourself and get up.”

Source: Superxv.com

Cheetahs gets bonus point win



The Cheetahs won their second Super Rugby match of the 2014 season when they beat the Stormers 35-22 with a bonus point in Bloemfontein.

The Cheetahs outscored the Stormers by five tries to three in the contest and they take five points in the standings while the Stormers take nothing. The result moves the Cheetahs above the Stormers who drop down to the bottom of the South African Conference and the overall standings.

The 2011 and 2012 South African Conference winning Stormers now only have two home wins to show from their nine matches after nine matches so far this season. The Stormers have played six matches away from home and lost all six and have also lost one of their three home matches.

The Cheetahs have played ten matches and have also yet to win away from home but in their five home matches so far they have won two and drawn one.

For the Cheetahs was Willie Le Roux his magnificent self as he was the catalyst in the Cheetahs first half performance. With Daniller covering the back Willie had more freedom in playing his natural game and put the Stormers defence under a lot of pressure.  Heinrich Brüssow played a deserving ” Man of the Match” game and his turnover made a 14 point turnaround in the second half which took the game away from the Stormers totally. His presence at the break down point gave the Stormers a lot of problems and his linking between attack and defence was world class.

For the Stormers it was again more a step in the right direction as they played more attacking and gave the ball air so that the backs could get into play. The Stormers is showing signs of were most supporters would like them to be and Jean de Villiers had a great second half. His hand in all the Stormers attack came more into play in the second half and scored his own try as well towards the end. 

Cole made a huge difference in the side when he came on in the second half and one had the feeling the Stormers attack was more direct and with purpose suppose to Grants play before that in the game. Grant had a shocker of the game with his kicking and general play and just could not get the Stormers backline away when they struggled to keep up with a ramped Cheetahs side.  

It was a great spectacle and great to watch from both sides and Cheetahs just showed that they are more evolved in this kind of open rugby than the Stormers at this stage. Bottom of the log teams this weekend played one of the best rugby as did the Brumbies earlier in the day.

For the Stormers, they can take some heart from their play and build on this for the rest of the season as they are now in a rebuilding phase after a poor start. For the Cheetahs, they should make a run for it now as they showed to themselves that they can play their attacking game and still keep their defence in tact.

Final Score Cheetahs 35 (20) Stormers 22 (10)


Tries – H.Daniller, R.Benjamin, W. Le Roux, C.Hendricks, T. Nyakane
Pen – E.Watts 2
Con – E.Watts 2

Tries – N.Carr. D.Williams, J.De Villiers
Pen – P.Grant
Con – P.Grant,. K.Coleman

Sarries blow Clermont away to Final



Saracens will play in their first European Cup final after they blew Clermont Auvergne away in a 46-6 semifinal victory at Twickenham on Saturday.

It ws a day of records for the English club as they eclipsed Leicester Tigers and London Wasps’ previous highest score in a semifinal of 37 points and also took the biggest winning margin up to 40 points from Toulouse’ previous best of 27.

England wing Chris Ashton sped clear in the eighth minute to give the Premiership leaders the perfect start against French giants Clermont Auvergne with a try that drew him level with former Brive flyer Sebastien Carrat on 10 tries in one season. Then he pounced again in the second half to make the recod his own.

Carrat had held the record on his own for 17 years, but there was no stopping Ashton at Twickenham and he stil has the European Cup final to go in Cardiff on Saturday, 24 May. Where he led in the first half, so Owen Farrell followed in a first half that also included a penalty try.

Clermont were hoping to make it two successive finals, but that early try, and the penalty try in the unlucky 13th minute, knocked them completley out of their stride. They had a 24th minute try by centre Benson Stanley ruled out for crossing earlier in the move and in the absence of skipper Aurelien Rougerie they struggled to find ways to break down the Sarries defence.

As for Saracens, it was third time lucky for them at the semifinal stage and made up for their bitter disappointment of losing at the same venue at the same stage last year.

Alex Goode added a near touchline conversion to Ashton’s opening score and then easily converted a penalty try awarded by Welsh referee Nigel Owens after he spotted Brock James deliberately knocking a high ball out of play in his own dead ball area. James received a yellow card to leave his side trailing 14-3 with 14 men.

The Saracens loose forwards made life increasingly uncomfortable for the Frenchmen at the breakdown and Jacques Burger led the tackle count as every alleyway was blocked for Clermont. Morgan Parra added a second penalty before half time, but Saracens added a third try before the break when an inside pass from Ashton in the Clrmont 22 went forward off Farrell’s knee and he picked up to cross for another try.

Goode added another conversion and then kicked a penalty to make it 24-6 to Saracens at the break and put them on the road to notching a first win over Clermont in four attenpts in the tournament.

The second half was a stalemate until Argentine centre Marcelo Bosh laned a penalty off the halfway line in the 54th minute and then Ashton capitalised on an aggressive tackle by Farrell that forced Ti’i Paulo to lose the ball as he hacked on twice to score his record breaking try.

Goode was unable to convert that try, but the England fullback ended with a flourish as he added the extras to two more tries from replacements Chris Wyles and Tim Steather a Saracens romped into the European Cup final.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Ashton 2, Penalty Try, Farrell, Wyles, Streather
Cons: Goode 5
Pens: Goode, Bosch

For Clermont:
Pens: Parra 2

Source: Rugby365

Force win Bulls at their own game



The Force got back to winning ways when they won a try-less battle of the boot contest 15-9 against the Bulls at a wet and rainy nib stadium in Perth on Saturday.

The result means that they Bulls failed to secure a victory on their tour of Australia and New Zealand. No South African team has won in Australia and New Zealand yet this season. The Bulls have not won in Perth Western Australia since March 2010 and this is the first time in Super Rugby history that the Bulls have had back to back try-less results.

Former champions the Bulls have now played 10 matches this season and won just three. They have drawn one match and lost six. The Bulls are however still in second place in the South African Conference. The Force on the other hand have played 9 matches and won 6. The result moved them up to second place in the Australian conference above the Waratahs. The Force have a bye next week they travel to South Africa for matches against the Cheetahs and the Stormers before returning home to face the Lions.

The Bulls return home to Pretoria where they will host the Cheetahs and Stormers and then a bye. The victory keeps the Western Force on track for the play offs as they moved up to fourth overall making them the top wildcard team. The Force have never reached the finals, but moved one step closer when they notched their sixth win from nine matches this season on the back of the boot of South African flyhalf Sias Ebersohn and another strong defensive effort.

Ebersohn converted all five of his penalty kicks in a dour struggle where genuine try scoring opportunities were rarely created. In slippery conditions, both teams spent much of the match kicking for field position and handling errors were common. Neither side really threatened to score a try, but the Bulls made a late bid to steal the win when they attacked strongly in the last couple of minutes, only to concede a penalty for not releasing the ball.

The Bulls started brightly enough, dominating early possession and posting the first six points of the match through the boot of Jacques Louis-Potgieter. However, the home side started to claw their way back when Ebersohn converted his first penalty in the 26th minute, and by half-time the Force led 9-6. Two more second-half penalties to the Force saw them put a nine-point gap on the Bulls, but Handre Pollard converted in the 63rd minute to close the gap to less than a converted try.

In the 65th minute, the Bulls won a penalty close to the try line, but it was reversed for a shoulder charge from Jacques du Plessis on Force captain Matt Hodgson. Hodgson said it was a pleasing way for his team to head to the bye. “It was a big win for us,” he said. “They came out firing, I think they wanted to get one before they went home and we had to nullify that. “We had a lot of discipline in that second half and played a good kicking territory game.”

Final Score W.Force 15 (9) Bulls 9 (6)


Tries –
Pen – S.Ebersohn 5

Tries –
Pen – J. Potgieter 2, H.Pollard

SR: Toyota Cheetahs 35, DHL Stormers 22


This is truly a basement battle – the team in the last position on the standings host the team just above them.

However, the potential for it being one of the most entertaining games of the weekend is there. We saw how good the Stormers can be when they play with freedom, as they did in the first half of their win over the Lions last week. And the Cheetahs have, in small patches, showed some of the sublime touches that last year took them to the play-offs. If the two teams can ignore the desperate desire for a win that could help them avoid finishing last, they could end the weekend on a thrilling note.

However, Stormer coach Allister Coetzee suggested the ‘fear of failure’ may still play a role. “Local derbies are completely different,” Coetzee told a media briefing in Cape Town. he added that the two teams’ positions on the standings are no indication of their potential. “The Cheetahs are at home, they have got a fantastic set-piece and they have got a great driving maul,” the Stormers coach said. “They have got a stable team, the continuity is there and on the day they can beat any team.

“We know what is coming our way. As much as teams have scored against them, I think those tries only come from turnover possession and I am sure they have been looking at themselves also and backing them to keep the ball in hand.” Coetzee felt that the Cheetahs will not repeat their conservative tactics that kept them in the game for long periods against the table-topping Sharks last week.

“If we come with a wall of defence, they are going to try and go over us or around us, that is what we are expecting,” the Stormers mentor added.

Recent results:
2013: Stormers won 28-3, Cape Town
2013: Cheetahs won 26-24, Bloemfontein
2012: Stormers won 13-6, Bloemfontein
2012: Stormers won 16-14, Cape Town
2011: Stormers won 44-34, Bloemfontein
2011: Stormers won 21-15, Cape Town


Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Ryno Benjamin, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Johannes Prinsloo, 7 Jean Cook, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Walter Vermeulen, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Riaan Smith, 23 Cornal Hendricks.

Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Devon Williams, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Michael Rhodes, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Kobus van Wyk.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Francois de Bruin (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

HC: Saracens 39, Clermont 6



The European Cup draws towards the Final with two French giants battling against the cream of the Irish and English leagues in the semi-finals.

Reigning European Cup champions, Toulon, are aiming for a fourth European final in five seasons.
And although they are on the opposite side of the semifinal draw from French compatriots Clermont, successes for both of these teams could see a repeat of last years Final.
Last year’s Final saw Toulon just pip Clermont by a solitary point.
There have been six European Cup semifinals between English and French clubs since the tournament started in 1995 with the countries currently level at three wins apiece.
We take a look at all of the matches:
Saturday, April 27
Saracens v Clermont
(Twickenham Stadium – Kick-off: 15.40; 14.30 GMT; 16.40 French time)
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Billy Vunipola , 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 James Johnston, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Richard Wiggleworth, 22 Tim Streather, 23 Chris Wyles.
Clermont: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Naipolioni Nalaga, 10 Brock James, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Damien Chouly, 6 Julien Bonnaire (captain), 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Thomas Domingo
Replacements: 16 Ti’i Paulo, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Clément Ric, 19 Julien Piere, 20 Gerhard Vosloo, 21 Thierry Lacrampe, 22 Mike Delany, 23 Noa Nakaitaci.
Referee: Nigel Owens 
Assistant Referees: Alain Rolland, Leighton Hodges 
TMO: Gareth Simmonds 

SR: Force 15, Vodacom Bulls 9


It is a game of contrasts – the Western Force aiming for a franchise record-equalling fourth straight home win and the Bulls chasing their first Australasian win of the season.

The Force – who have already beaten the Rebels, Chiefs and Waratahs in Perth this season – last have four in a row at home was in 2007. No South African side has won overseas yet, so this will be an ideal time for the men from Pretoria to make a statement as they aim to keep their play-off hopes alive. The Bulls will know about home ground advantage, given that they achieved three wins and a drawn in their four appearance at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria this season.

Force coach Michael Foley said his side is looking forward returning home. “In the last three weeks the boys have tackled one of the toughest sections of the season – three consecutive derbies, with travel across the country for each match . It was a significant challenge,” he said. “While we were disappointed in aspects of our game [in the loss] against the Rebels [last week], the win against the Reds away and our first ever win against the Waratahs at home were great signs of the progress the boys have made.

“This weekend marks the first of four consecutive games against South African opponents who present a different type of challenge to Australian and New Zealand teams. “South African sides use their set piece and kicking games as weapons and we will need to perform well in both these areas to achieve success in the next month.” World Cup-winning Springbok lock Victor Matfield, who will captain the Bulls in the absence of suspended skipper Flip van der Merwe, said the men from Pretoria are definitely still in contention for the play-offs – despite being winless on their Australasian trip so far.

He felt that they only need to change “small things” to get their campaign back on track. “If you look at the games on tour, we could have won the all three,” he said of the defeats to the Hurricanes (20-25), Highlanders (20-27) and Waratahs (12-19). “We got a bonus point in each of those games, which could be vital at the end of the season.”

He felt that if they make better decisions and are more accurate they can get that elusive win before returning home next week. “There is no magic potion,” the 36-year-old Matfield said in a teleconference call from Perth. “We must stay positive and stay focussed, then we could get the win at the weekend.

“Yes, there is a lot of pressure on the team, but if you want to be one of the top teams you have to be able to handle the pressure.”

Recent results:
2013: Bulls won 36-26, Pretoria
2011: Force won 26-21, Perth
2010: Bulls won 28-15, Perth
2009: Bulls won 32-29, Pretoria
2008: Force won 15-14, Perth
2007: Force won 30-27, Pretoria


Western Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Ian Prior, 8  Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Adam Coleman, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Justin Turner, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Chris Tuatara-Morrison.
Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johannes Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Jacques Engelbrecht, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Handré Pollard, 22 Ulrich Beyers, 23 Morné Mellet.
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia) , Matt O’Brien (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

SR: Hurricanes 35, Reds 21


The Hurricanes are determined continue their impressive mid-season form and record their fourth successive win against an erratic Reds team.

Coming off a 39-20 victory over the Blues last Friday, the Hurricanes are confident of taking the points off a Reds team currently struggling in a lowly fourth on the Australian conference table and 12th overall. The Hurricanes have shown adaptability and commitment to win under pressure. They beat the Crusaders 29-26, the Bulls 25-20 and then pulled clear of the Blues in the second half to win by the margin of five tries to two.
In contrast, the Reds enter this contest having lost three of their past four matches. After losing to the Lions in Johannesburg (20-33), they returned home to defeat the lowly Stormers in Brisbane (22-17), but then lost to the Force in Perth (29-32) and to the Brumbies at home (20-33). Another loss against the Hurricanes would make the Reds’ quest of reaching the play-offs for a fourth successive year a really tall order.

Reds head coach Richard Graham, well aware of his own team’s limitations, admitted the Australian outfit is with its collective backs to the wall. “The squad has a clear picture of where we sit and we understand that it will take a collective effort to get the results we need in New Zealand,” Graham said. “The Hurricanes are in good form.

“The game will be high paced and we’ll need to manage it well to get the right outcome. “All of the squad will have a responsibility to that end.” The Hurricanes may be on a hot streak, but All Black prop Ben Franks warned them to stay grounded or run the risk of their season imploding. Franks,, back in the starting side after having recovered from a groin injury, warned that the recent three-match winning streak could turn out to be just another “false dawn” if the Canes don’t remain focussed.

“When you are winning everyone is getting the pats on the back and as you can see it feels good turning up to training,” Franks told  Fairfax NZ News. “When you lose then you have to have a good hard look at yourself and see what’s not quite going right and that’s sport. It’s an easy job when you win. “We have to work as hard as when we weren’t quite winning. It’s easy if you are mentally weak to switch off and think, ‘things are great now’, and it takes a kick up the arse for things to go back to normal.”

The points table remains tight and there are still eight regular season matches to play and a maximum of 40 competition points still up for grabs for both the Hurricanes and the Reds. Heading into this weekend, just nine points separate the second placed Brumbies (25 points) and 13th placed Rebels (16).
Two key areas that could decide the outcome of this encounter is the battle of the breakdown and the clash of the halfback combinations  – TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett for the Hurricanes, and Will Genia and Quade Cooper for the Reds.
Recent results:
2013: Reds won 18-12, Brisbane
2011: Hurricanes won 28-26, Wellington
2010: Hurricanes won 44-21, Wellington
2009: Hurricanes won 37-28, Brisbane
2008: Hurricanes won 23-18, Wellington
2007: Reds won 25-16, Brisbane


Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Reggie Goodes, 19 Blade Thomson, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Tim Bateman, 23 Matt Proctor.
Reds: 15 Ben Lucas, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Greg Holmes, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O’Donoghue, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Anthony Fainga’a, 23 Rod Davies.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

Highlanders pull off shock victory



At least the Sharks babes is something too look at for this game was one all will want to forget……

The Highlanders pulled off one of the shock of the Super Rugby season when they comfortably beat the Sharks 18-34 with a bonus point in Durban.

The Highlanders outscored Super Rugby leaders the Sharks by four tries to none as all of the Sharks points came from penalty kicks.

The loss for the Sharks is their second in nine matches and their first at home this season and is a significant blow as Director of Rugby Jake White has spoken all week in the run up to the match about how important a win would be for them ahead of their tour which starts next week in Melbourne.

The result moves the Highlanders from ninth place overall to fifth place and from last place in the New Zealand Super Rugby Conference to second place.

The result is also a boost for New Zealand rugby as Highlanders follow the Crusaders and have become the second team to cross the Indian Ocean and win in South Africa while the South African teams remain winless in New Zealand and Australia.

Final Score Sharks 18 (12) Highlanders 34(24)


Pen – T.Swiel 6

Tries – R.Buckman, A.Smith, S.Christie, M. Fekitoa
Pen – L.Sopoaga 2
Con – L.Sopoaga 4
Cards – J.Wheeler (49th min yellow)

SR: Sharks 18, Highlanders 34


imagesThe Sharks have made no secret of the fact that they want their home ground to be a fortress.

In fact that has been a trademark of all Jake White-coached teams. They may not produce the most aesthetically pleasing rugby, but they win and get into play-offs. And with their Australasian tour just over a week away – this being their last home game for over a month – victory on Saturday is more important that at any stage this season if the Sharks are to retain that No.1 ranking through to the play-offs in July.

Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White said the challenge for his team is to focus on getting a result against the Highlanders and not look past Friday’s outing. “We go away [on tour] the next day, it’s our last home game for a long while and we have to keep the momentum going, whether it’s the Highlanders here or the Rebels [in Melbourne] the following week,” White said.

The 2007 World Cup-winning former Springbok coach, White, said he was expecting a typical South Africa-versus-New Zealand encounter – a brutal battle. “New Zealand teams are always strong,” he said, adding: “They [the Highlanders] are a good team, they have some good players, Ben Smith and Aaron Smith are probably the two form players in New Zealand, and have been for the last couple of seasons, not just this year.”
The Highlanders arrived in Durban this fresh off a bye and on the back of back-to-back victories. “There are two ways of looking at it: One, you’re rusty because you didn’t play the week before, or two, you’ve had two weeks to prepare yourself and freshen up mentally,” White said. “I don’t think you can ever work out in theory if you have a rest you’re better, or you lose your momentum.

“The challenge for us is to focus on getting a result.” The Highlanders finished last year second from bottom on the standings with just three wins. This year they already have one more win and they still have nine games to play.

“There is no doubt that this year they are way better than they were last year,” White admitted.

Recent results:
2013: Highlanders won 25-22, Dunedin
2012: Sharks won 28-16, Durban
2010: Sharks won 30-16, Dunedin
2009: Sharks won 23-15, Durban
2008: Sharks won 19-17, Dunedin
2007: Sharks won 23-16, Durban


Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Ryan Kankowski, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 SP Marais.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 Shane Christie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Josh Bekhuis, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Trent Renata, 23 John Hardie..

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry, Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Brumbies smash wobbling Chiefs



The Brumbies gave Super Rugby champions the Chiefs their second defeat in as many weeks when they beat the Hamilton side 41-23 with a bonus point in Canberra.

The Chiefs now have have one win to show from their last five matches after winning their first three in a row.

The Brumbies outscored the Chiefs by five tries to two with doubles from Matt Toomua and Tevita Kuridrani.

The ANZAC Day match was a rematch of the 2013 Super Rugby Grand final in which the Chiefs beat the Brumbies 27-22 in Hamilton to secure their second Super Rugby title.

The Chiefs return home to Hamilton where they will host the Lions next week while the Brumbies travel to Christchurch to play a resurgent Crusaders team.

Final Score  Brumbies 41 (13) Chiefs 23 (6)


Tries – M.Toomua 2, J.Tomane, T.Kuridrani 2
Pen – C.Lealiifano 2, N.White 2
Con – C.Lealiifano, N.White

Tries – B.Weber, J.Hohneck
Pen – G.Anscombe 3
Con – A.Horrell 2
Cards – J.Lowe (yellow 52nd min)

Springboks gearing up for Incoming Series



A Springbok training squad for a Durban camp from 25 to 28 May will be named after Round 14 of Vodacom Super Rugby as the national team kicks off their preparations for the Castle Lager Incoming Series.

The Springboks will be in action for the first time in …2014 when they take on the Samsung-sponsored World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday, 7 June.

This match, against a star-studded invitational side coached by former Springbok coach Nick Mallett, will provide Heyneke Meyer with a perfect opportunity to get his team ready for the rest of the Test season.

The Springboks are in action four times in June – after their match against the World XV follows Tests against Wales (on 14 June at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban and on 21 June at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit) and Scotland (on 28 June at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth).

The Springbok Management have been working very hard since the start of the season to ensure everything is in place when they get together for the first time this season with a training camp in Durban from 25 to 28 May.

Apart from a comprehensive planning camp held in February, the Springbok coaching team recently had a coaches camp, where they worked hard on all detail relating to training for the season.

Furthermore, breakdown consultant Richie Gray, who was very influential in the step-up the Springboks made in this area of play last year, had been re-appointed in the same position for this season and 2015.

“Everyone on the management have been very hard at work in ensuring things go as smoothly as possible, especially behind the scenes – both in South Africa and abroad,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“The assistant coaches and coaching consultants have also been around the country continuously where they worked with the franchises and provincial unions, who have been very accommodating to us – I think the synergy we have with the provinces is a massive positive in South African rugby at the moment.

“All of this puts us in a good position leading up to the season, but ultimately we all realise we have to accelerate and step up a gear when we get together as a group in June. We have set certain goals for 2014 after enjoying a relatively successful 2013.

“It’s our third year together as a team and those have generally been the most challenging seasons for any team looking back at the last decade or so. We all know need to make a further step-up from the get go.”

The Springbok training squad for the Durban camp will be named in the week of 19 May, while the squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series will be announced on Saturday evening, 31 May.

The final squad of 36 players will get together in Cape Town on 1 June to start the serious preparations for the series.

Blues secure vital victory



The Blues secured their fourth straight win at home in Auckland when they beat the Waratahs 21-13 at Eden Park on Friday.

The result moves the Blues up from 11th place in the standings to 8th while the Waratahs remained in fourth place.

The victory is the Blues fourth from nine matches this season and moved them above the Highlanders in the New Zealand conference. The Highlanders are on tour in South Africa so the Blues are likely to remain above the Dunedin based franchise this week.

Final Score Blues 21 (8) Waratahs 13 (3)


Tries – L. Visinia, F. Saili
Pen – S.Hickey 3
Con – S.Hickey

Tries – J.Potgieter
Pen – B.Foley 2
Con – B.Foley

SR: Brumbies 41, Chiefs 23


imagesThe Brumbies and Chiefs are preparing for a blockbuster grand final rematch in Canberra on Friday.

Given their positions on the table – Brumbies second and Chiefs third, both with 25 points – this is shaping up to be match of the weekend.

According to replacement Jarrad Butler, although not having been part of the Brumbies side that lost the Super Rugby Final to the Chiefs in Hamilton last season, said the rematch was a chance to prove their championship credentials.

“There’s a lot of incentives to beat the Chiefs,” Butler told the Canberra Times.

“As far as wanting to win the grand final later this year, you have to be able to knock off teams like the Chiefs.

“I think Friday is going to be pretty telling.

“[We] understand how important it is as far as the whole season’s concerned.”

And Chiefs coach Dave Rennie was also playing up the importance of the game as a decisive encounter in the build-up to the play-offs in July.

 “We’re taking away a pretty good side and we know if we play well we’re a good show,” Rennie told the Waikato Times.

“We’re playing against a team with some really good form over there and tough to beat at home so she’s a big challenge,” Rennie said.

The return of Samoan international Mahonri Schwalger, who comes in for 21-year-old hooker Rhys Marshall, was important for the Chiefs in terms of his experience –  not to mention his set-piece skills.

“We’re going to need that this week,” the Chiefs mentor told the Hamilton-based newspaper.

“The Brumbies scrum a lot for penalties, they drive [from line-outs] a lot for penalties – so are very efficient [in those set-piece areas] and pretty destructive on opposition ball.

“Having Mo [Schwalger] back is a real bonus.”

Recent results:
2013: Chiefs won 27-22, Hamilton (Final)
2012: Chiefs won 29-22, Hamilton
2011: Brumbies won 28-20, Canberra
2010: Brumbies won 30-23, Canberra
2009: Chiefs won 10-7, Hamilton
2008: Chiefs won 42-28, Canberra


Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (captain), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Jordan Smiler, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 JP Smith, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Tom McVerry, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Pat McCabe.

Chiefs: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Andrew Horrell, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Liam Messam (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Ross Filipo, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Matt Symons, 20 Tevita Koloamatangi, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Dwayne Sweeney, 23 James Lowe.
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia) , Andrew Lees (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

SR: Blues 21, Waratahs 13


imagesBlues coach John Kirwan spent most of the week dealing with media enquiries surrounding Benji Marshall dramatic and sudden departure from Auckland.

He had to fit in a normal week’s preparations in a very abnormal week.

No doubt the off-field distractions will be a factor.

However, Kirwan is well aware that is on the field where his team’s biggest problem awaits – a must-win game against a very impressive and powerful Waratahs team.

“I don’t need to hide the fact of how important this match is for the franchise, for the team and for our fans,” Kirwan said. “We said last week that, against the Hurricanes, if we lost away from home then we were going to be under pressure and we’re under pressure.

“We’ve just got to get out there and go hard. “It’s going to be a really physical game, I don’t know how many Wallabies they’ve got, I stopped counting so it’s going to be a great match up,” Kirwan added. After notching up an important away against the Stormers in South Africa three weeks ago, Waratahs coach Michael Cheika is now looking to add a second.

And it is in the set pieces where they believe they can lay the foundation for that victory. Big lock Will Skelton said the side had spent a considerable amount of time making a weapon of their set piece work. “Like most teams we play, we try to put pressure on at set piece,” Skelton told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“This week they have an All Black front row and that’s going to be a test for us. “However, our focus this week has been pressure at set piece so if we work on that the result should come our way.”

Recent results:
2013: Waratahs won 30-27, Sydney
2011: Blues won 26-13, Auckland (preliminary play-off match)
2011: Blues won 31-17, Auckland
2010: Waratahs won 39-32, Sydney
2009: Waratahs 27-22, Auckland
2008: Waratahs 37-16, Sydney


Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Lolagi Visinia, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Pita Ahki.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements – from: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Pat McCutcheon, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Matt Carraro, 24 Stephen Hoiles.
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Mike Lash (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Sharks squad for tour Australia and NZ


Sharks-Desktop 2

The Sharks have named a 27 man squad for their four match Super Rugby tour of Australia and New Zealand which starts in Melbourne in Round 12.

Director of Rugby Jake White’s Sharks start their tour next Friday in Melbourne before they move on to their second Australian game against the Brumbies in Canberra the week after on Saturday the 10th of May.

The second half of their tour sees them up against New Zealand opposition, the Crusaders and the Blues.

When the Sharks return to South Africa they will host the Stormers and they also face the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

On their return to South Africa, they will be hosting the Stormers in their final home game of the pool stages.

White has largely stuck with the same group of players in the first half of the season when it has been possible but he says that on tour he will try to give some players rest.

“It’s a difficult time for me now because I need to start rotating players,” White said on the Sharks site.

“Not because it’s a tour but after this weekend’s match, we’re nine games into 16 matches of the pool stages. A lot of thought goes into how we are going to use on this tour in terms of selecting our squad.

“I’ve gone for 15 forwards and 12 backs, and my selection was based on who is fit and healthy. The nice thing is that there are a lot of guys who can play in different positions, we have a lot of players who can cover one or two positions which is good when you’re selecting a touring squad.”

White has included Odwa Ndungane, Cobus Reinach and Fred Zeilinga in the touring squad which suggests that the trio are close to recovering from their injuries.

Sharks touring squad


1. Lourens Adriaanse , 2. Willem Alberts , 3. Dale Chadwick , 4. Maroetzee , 5. Kyle Cooper , 6. Keegan Daniel , 7. Jean Deysel , 8. Bismarck du Plessis , 9. Jannie du Plessis , 10. Wiehahn Herbst , 11. Ryan Kankowski , 12. Stephan Lewies , 13. Tendai Mtawarira , 14. Tera Mtembu , 15. Etienne Oosthuizen


1. Paul Jordaan , 2. SP Marais , 3. Charl McLeod , 4. Lwazi Mvovo , 5. Odwa Ndungane , 6. JP Pietersen , 7. Cobus Reinach , 8. S’bura Sithole , 9. Francois Steyn , 10. Tim Swiel , 11. Heimar Williams , 12. Fred Zeilinga

Brumbies make two changes


961089-bulldogs-cheer-squadThe Brumbies have named their team with two changes to face the Chiefs in a Super Rugby Final rematch to take place in their Anzac Day showdown at GIO Stadium.

Christian Lealiifano returns to the starting line up at inside centre while Pat McCabe moves back to the bench, while Tom Staniforth drops out of the match day 23.

On the bench, new recruit Tom McVerry will get his first opportunity in a Brumbies jersey having joined the club as flanker cover after a season ending injury to David Pocock.

Returning from a bye and a win over the Reds 14 days ago, the rest of the Brumbies team remains untouched.

Director of Rugby Laurie Fisher said the Chiefs presented a significant challenge.

“The line-out is an area we try to target every week, with a team like the Chiefs that’s also important, they tend to go short so we need to be aware of that,” Fisher said.

“That’s the line-out which has won the competition for the last two years and they always seem to find a way around the park.

“We haven’t played the Chiefs over for the last two years, we’ve played them twice away and been desperately close both times. I think being at home will present us with new opportunities.

“I think Anzac Day is a wonderful occasion in Australia these days, the new generation coming through have shown a great deal respect for the Anzac tradition and I believe it’s one of the finest days on the Australian calendar.”

Friday is the first time the Brumbies have faced a New Zealand side on Anzac Day in Australia and the third Kiwi team the Brumbies had played against in 2014.


1. Scott Sio , 2. Stephen Moore , 3. Ben Alexander , 4. Scott Fardy , 5. Sam Carter , 6. Jordan Smiler , 7. Jarrad Butler , 8. Ben Mowen (c) , 9. Nic White , 10. Matt Toomua , 11. Robbie Coleman , 12. Christian Lealiifano , 13. Tevita Kuridrani , 14. Joe Tomane , 15. Jesse Mogg

Replacements: 16. Siliva Siliva , 17. Ruan Smith , 18. JP Smith , 19. Jack Whetton , 20. Tom McVerry , 21. Michael Dowsett , 22. Andrew Smith , 23. Pat McCabe

Sam Wykes back for the Force



The Western Force have named Sam Wykes and Jayden Hayward in their starting line up to take on the Bulls at the ‘Force Field’ (nib Stadium) on Saturday.

Wykes has recovered from a rib injury and returns to the starting pack, alongside second-rower Adam Coleman, who was impressive in his starting debut for the Force against the Melbourne Rebels last weekend. Lock Wilhelm Steenkamp will provide coverage from the bench in his first appearance against his former club since joining the Western Force ahead of the 2014 Super Rugby season.

Hayward returns to his customary fullback position with Dane Haylett-Petty, who started in the ’15’ jersey against the Rebels, moving to the wing. Prop Kieran Longbottom will become the first Western Australian born-and-raised player to play 50 Super Rugby matches for the Western Force when he takes to the field on Saturday. Longbottom was a member of the inaugural RugbyWA Academy program in 2006 and went on to make his Super Rugby debut against the Chiefs in Perth in 2008. The 28-year-old has started at tighthead in all eight matches for the Western Force in 2014.

Western Force Head Coach Michael Foley says his side is looking forward returning home to the ‘Force Field’ to take on the three-time Super Rugby champions. “In the last three weeks the boys have tackled one of the toughest sections of the season; three consecutive derbies with travel across the country for each match is a significant challenge,” he said. “While we were disappointed in aspects of our game against the Rebels, the win against the Reds away and our first ever win against the Waratahs at home were great signs of the progress the boys have made.

“This weekend marks the first of four consecutive games against South African opponents who present a different type of challenge to Australian and New Zealand teams. South African sides use their set piece and kicking games as weapons and we will need to perform well in both these areas to achieve success in the next month. “As the first Perth player to achieve 50 games for the club, Kieran’s milestone is a great reward for his perseverance and determination to constantly chase improvement. I’m certain all the boys are keen to see him rewarded for his commitment to the team.”

The match will see the Western Force chase a club record-equalling fourth straight home win after victories over the Rebels, Chiefs and Waratahs this season. The last time the club achieved the feat was in 2007 with wins over the Hurricanes, Reds, Sharks and Cheetahs.

Western Force

1. Pek Cowan,2. Nathan Charles,3. Kieran Longbottom,4. Adam Coleman,5. Sam Wykes,6. Angus Cottrell,7. Matt Hodgson (c),8. Ben McCalman,9. Ian Prior,10. Sias Ebersohn,11. Nick Cummins ,12. Kyle Godwin,13. Marcel Brache,14. Dane Haylett-Petty,15. Jayden Hayward

Replacements : 16. Heath Tessmann,17. Tetera Faulkner ,18. Ollie Hoskins,19. Wilhelm Steenkamp,20. Brynard Stander,21. Justin Turner,22. Zack Holmes ,23. Chris Tuatara-Morrison

Horwill to earning his 100th cap



The Reds have named their team to play the Hurricanes in an ANZAC Round clash in Wellington with James Horwill reaching his 100 cap milestone.

Captain James Horwill made his debut for the Reds back in 2006 against the Waratahs and first captained the side in 2008. Now in his ninth season with the Reds, Horwill led Queensland through its revival period, including the 2011 title run. He is the 27th player to earn 100 caps for Queensland and only the second of the current playing squad, along with Greg Holmes.

Reds coach Richard Graham commended his skipper for his durability and commitment to the team’s cause over the years. “It is impossible to escape James’ passion for the Reds. He very proudly represents Queensland Rugby, the organisation and its supporters on all levels,” Graham said. “There have been some dark days for James, with significant injuries, but his perseverance and persistence have paid off. This incredible milestone makes James the 27th Queenslander to play 100 or more capped games and it is something he is extremely proud to have achieved.”

Horwill admitted he was looking forward to leading the team for such a milestone game, but that a win would make it all the more memorable. “Earning my 100th cap for Queensland is a huge honour and something I’m very proud to be able to achieve,” Horwill said. “Some of the greatest moments of my time in Rugby have been in Queensland colours and there is still so much I want to achieve with this group.

“It would mean a lot to me to get a win in my 100th, but it would also mean a lot to this group because we know what we need to do to get back to playing finals Rugby.” Reds head coach Richard Graham has made four changes to the starting side that narrowly lost to the Brumbies in Round 9. “The squad has a clear picture of where we sit and we understand that it will take a collective effort to get the results we need in New Zealand,” Graham said.

“The Hurricanes are in good form. The game will be high paced and we’ll need to manage it well to get the right outcome. All of the squad will have a responsibility to that end.” In the forwards, Ben Daley returns from a knee injury suffered in South Africa to replace Greg Holmes at loosehead and Saia Fainga’a takes over from James Hanson as starting hooker. “Ben’s rehabilitation has been very good. He and the medical and strength and conditioning staff need to be commended for his quick return from injury. He plays the game with a high level of physicality and that will be important in the early exchanges this weekend,” Graham said.

“Saia and James (Hanson) have proven a very good combination throughout the season regardless of who starts. Saia scrummed well in our last match against the Brumbies and deserves the opportunity to start. He understands how important it is to set the game up and James will finish.” In the backs, Mike Harris returns from an Achilles injury that ruled him out of the last match, replacing Anthony Fainga’a at inside centre and Jamie-Jerry Taulagi comes onto the wing at the expense of Rod Davies.

“Mike has recovered well from an Achilles injury which kept him out of the Brumbies match. Whilst I thought Ant (Fainga’a) did some very good things in the game, we’ll use Mike a little differently in this game tactically,” Graham said. “JJ has had a start and time off the bench. On both occasions I have been impressed by his play at this level. He is deserving of another start and will prove a handful if we can create space and opportunities for him.”

The match will also see Ben Tapuai earn a milestone 50th cap for Queensland. “Nothing at this level happens by chance. Ben has learnt this season that consistent preparation leads to consistent performance,” Graham said. “50 caps is good reward and we look forward to Ben being part of the Reds for a long time yet.” The Reds’ clash with the Hurricanes on Saturday 26 April will follow ANZAC Day commemorations in the New Zealand capital, with the Queenslanders wearing a special jersey featuring the Rising Sun symbol on the chest.

The jerseys, which will be presented to the team at their Captain’s Run by Corporal Seamus Donaghue of Brisbane-based 7th Brigade, will be auctioned with profits going to the charity ‘Soldier On’. Both teams will mark the significance of ANZAC Day by joining, shoulder to shoulder, in a moment’s silence prior to the match.


1. Ben Daley , 2. Saia Fainga’a , 3. James Slipper , 4. Rob Simmons , 5. James Horwill (C) (100th Queensland cap) , 6. Eddie Quirk , 7. Beau Robinson , 8. Jake Schatz , 9. Will Genia (VC) , 10. Quade Cooper , 11. Jamie-Jerry Taulagi , 12. Mike Harris , 13. Ben Tapuai (50th Queensland cap) , 14. Chris Feauai-Sautia , 15. Ben Lucas

Replacements : 16. James Hanson , 17. Greg Holmes , 18. Jono Owen , 19. Ed O’Donoghue , 20. Curtis Browning , 21. Nick Frisby , 22. Anthony Fainga’a , 23. Rod Davies

Quotas will not be imposed



A 60-40 quota favouring black players would not be imposed on anybody, Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula said in Pretoria on Wednesday after meeting three minority groups.

“Talking is not endless, but we need to find each other.

“I am not imposing any 60-40 onto anybody.

“I’ve talked to the federations,” Mbalula said after a meeting with lobby group AfriForum, trade union Solidarity and the Freedom Front Plus.

The meeting followed an announcement that quotas would be imposed before the May 7 national elections.

“I am not going to sit as a minister in government and ignore South Africans that have concerns about the positions we’ve taken.”

Mbulula said he had an obligation to everyone.

“That is why I am happy about this meeting. At least I know what to do next.”

On April 5, the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) and Mbalula announced far-reaching measures to address the lack of transformation and development, as indicated by a pilot study on the status of transformation in sport.

A report by the Eminent Persons Group on Transformation (EPG) indicated that South Africa had fallen behind in terms of transformation in the country.

The report indicated that at national representative level both cricket and rugby under-performed in that on average for all teams only 35 percent and 34 percent of the set targets for black African representation were accomplished.

While Mbalula steered clear of using the term quotas, he did say it was important to set targets for transformation in sport.

“There can never be redress or transformation without targets because you will have an open-ended process,” Mbalula said.

“We are agreed about development and what we need to do. What we need to do is to close the gap and level the playing field.”

The respective organisations welcomed the meeting with the minister and said more talks would be held to find a solution to the glaring differences in opinion on the quota system.

AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said while he appreciated the robust discussions, the three bodies made it clear that they were against a race-based quota system.

“We believe it is negative to the dreams of young people. They feel discriminated against, black and white,” Kriel said.

“Where a child is not chosen because a team has to adhere to a quota system, we believe that is a form of racial discrimination that infringes on the dignity of young people of our country.”

Kriel said AfriForum would report South African sports bodies to international sports authorities should they yield to racial quota pressures.

He said international sporting bodies prohibited any form of racial discrimination and government interference in sport.

Solidarity’s executive officer Dirk Hermann said a quota system in any shape and form was unlawful. The Constitution did not allow for quotas, and the Employment Equity Act prohibited it, he said.

“We get the feeling that unions (sport federations) are forced to act unlawfully if you force them to apply quotas,” he said.

“This undermines the Constitutional state and we ask thus for the minister not to continue with unlawful quota practices.”

All three parties agreed there was a need to fast-track development in previously disadvantaged areas and vowed to give their assistance in achieving this.

Source: News24

Stats back Le Roux’s flair


This one is specially for Americano but frankly the only stats I care about is how long Super Rugby Cheerleaders can dance



Springbok and Cheetahs fullback Willie le Roux features in the Top 5 in almost every Vodacom Super Rugby statistical category.

But Le Roux must look to patch up his defensive deficiencies if he wants to be a certainty for Springbok selection this year.

Le Roux had a stratospheric 2013 which culminated in his selection for the Springboks and winning the SARU Player’s Player of the Year Award.

Most critics agreed that Le Roux added an ‘X-factor’ to the Springbok backline and gave them an attacking dimension that they otherwise lacked.

The 24-year-old has been given free rein in the Boks and Cheetahs set-up to go with his attacking instincts and demonstrate his attacking flair, which he has done with aplomb.

As of Week 10 of Super Rugby, Le Roux leads the Super Rugby stats* with most carries, most metres gained and the third highest offload count in the competition, he is also in the Top 10 list in the clear breaks category, clearly demonstrating his willingness to attack and his ability to create opportunities for those around him.

However, Le Roux also has one unenviable stat to his name: he has missed the fourth most tackles of any player thus far in the competition.

Last year, Le Roux was a rock on defence, both for the Springboks and the Cheetahs, finishing well outside the unwanted accolade of the list of the 20 worst tacklers in Super Rugby.

Admittedly, Le Roux hasn’t been helped by the Cheetahs’ tendency to kick possession away, let their opposition control possession and rely on their defence to get them out of trouble, with most Cheetahs players having to make more tackles than the average Super Rugby team, but on the other hand his positive statistics are also boosted by the fact that the Cheetahs rely heavily on him to create attacking opportunities.

However, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer asks a lot of his Springbok team defensively and he will expect Le Roux to improve his defensive effort for the rest of the season if he hopes to retain his place as the first-choice Springbok fullback in this year’s Rugby Championship.

Willie le Roux’s relevant stats:

Kicks from hand:

105: Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes)
87: Willie le Roux (Cheetahs)
79: Jesse Mogg (Brumbies)
72: Will Genia (Reds)
69: Marnitz Boshoff (Lions)

Metres run:

789: Willie le Roux (Cheetahs)
597: Jesse Mogg (Brumbies)
584: Julian Savea (Hurricanes)
562: Charles Piutau (Blues)
519: Jason Woodward (Rebels)

Clean breaks:

11: Alapati Leiua (Hurricanes)
11: Israel Folau (Waratahs)
11: Julian Savea (Hurricanes)
9: Ryan Crotty (Crusaders)
8: Willie le Roux


105: Willie le Roux (Cheetahs)
97: Charles Piutau (Blues)
91: Ben Smith (Highlanders)
89: Jesse Mogg (Brumbies)
86: Israel Dagg (Crusaders)


18: Israel Folau (Waratahs)
16: Quade Cooper (Reds)
15: Willie le Roux (Cheetahs)
15: Faf de Klerk (Lions)
15: Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs)

Missed tackles:

17: Aaron Smith (Highlanders)
16: Stefan Watermeyer (Lions)
15: Nic White (Brumbies)
14: Willie le Roux (Cheetahs)
14: Johan Goosen (Cheetahs)

* Stats obtained from the Vodacom Rugby Stats App.

Saru to fold in face of quota demands?


It seems that the gutless SA Rugby Union is on its way to give in to Fikile Mbalula’s ridiculous demand of a 60-40 black/white composition in SA teams.

Bulls change five



Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made five changes to his starting line-up to face the Force in Perth on Saturday, with suspension, rotation and injury forcing his hand.

Three changes are at the back.

Jurgen Visser has recovered from the foot injury that ruled him out of the Waratahs clash shortly before kick-off and slots in at fullback, where he replaces Ulrich Beyers. Francois Hougaard moves back to the base of the scrum following the knee-injury sustained by Piet van Zyl and a fit-again Akona Ndungane returns to his regular spot on the wing.

Ludeke made two changes to his pack as well.

Flip van der Merwe has been suspended for three weeks following a citing for striking an opponent in last weekend’s match against the Waratahs and will be replaced by Paul Willemse. Victor Matfield will take over the captaincy.

In the other change, Ludeke gave Bongi Mbonambi a first start at hooker, will regular Callie Visagie rested. Bandise Maku will make a first appearance on the bench.

Ludeke also re-jigged his bench, where Wimpie van der Walt will get a first run in Vodacom Bulls colours if he takes to the field. Beyers replaces William Small-Smith as utility back.

“We have to get back to winning ways and this is a final opportunity to turn our tour into a positive. If we can bag a win here and add the losing bonus points we collected earlier on tour, the reward would justify the hard work we have put in,” Ludeke said.

The team (with Super caps) to play the Force is: Jurgen Visser (19), Akona Ndungane (102), JJ Engelbrecht (42), Jan Serfontein (21), Bjorn Basson (64), Jacques-Louis Potgieter (49), Francois Hougaard (65), Grant Hattingh (28), Jacques du Plessis (10), Jono Ross (12), Victor Matfield (132, c), Paul Willemse (13), Werner Kruger (101), Bongi Mbonambi (9), Dean Greyling (47). Replacements: Bandise Maku (49), Mornè Mellett (17), Marcel van der Merwe (12), Wimpie van der Walt (15), Jacques Engelbrecht (21), Rudy Paige (5), Handrè Pollard (7), Ulrich Beyers (8).

Daniel to win 100th Sharks cap



Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White has made three changes to the backline that beat the Cheetahs for this weekend’s match in Durban against the Highlanders.

Injuries have forced White into making changes – some positional – for the Sharks final match at home before they go on tour to Australia and New Zealand.

The match will be a special occasion for Keegan Daniel who will be making his 100th Super Rugby appearance for the Sharks.

Tonderai Chavhanga has been ruled out with a hamstring injury and Odwa Ndungane’s shoulder injury keeps him out for another week.

S’bura Sithole moves to wing and Paul Jordaan makes a return to his position at outside centre.

The good news is that JP Pietersen has recovered after missing out last week after pulling up in training and he will play on the other wing.

The rest of the side remains unchanged, with Tim Swiel getting another chance after making his first start last week in the victory over the Cheetahs.

The Highlanders arrive in Durban fresh off a bye and time will tell whether they benefit from the break or find that it disrupts them.

“There are two ways of looking at it: one, you’re rusty because you didn’t play the week before, or two, you’ve had two weeks to prepare yourself and freshen up mentally,” said White on the Sharks site.

“I don’t think you can ever work out in theory if you have a rest you’re better, or you lose your momentum. The challenge for us is to focus on getting a result. We go away the next day, it’s our last home game for a long while and we have to keep the momentum going.”

The Highlanders finished last year second from bottom on the log with just three wins to their name. In 2014, they have one extra win and they still have nine games to play. They’re currently in eighth spot on the log and well-placed to contest for a top six finish.

“There is no doubt that this year they are way better than they were last year,” White said.

“You can’t read anything into what happened last year. They’re a good side, they have some good players, Ben Smith and Aaron Smith are probably the two form players in New Zealand, and have been for the last couple of seasons, not just this year. Everything starts and revolves around those two guys.”


15. Lwazi Mvovo , 14. JP Pietersen , 13. Paul Jordaan , 12. Frans Steyn , 11. S’bura Sithole , 10. Tim Swiel , 9. Charl McLeod , 8. Keegan Daniel , 7. Jean Deysel , 6. Marcell Coetzee , 5. Stephan Lewies , 4. Willem Alberts , 3. Jannie du Plessis , 2. Bismarck du Plessis (C) , 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements : 16. Kyle Cooper , 17. Dale Chadwick , 18. Lourens Adriaanse , 19. Etienne Oosthuizen , 20. Ryan Kankowski , 21. Stefan Ungerer , 22. Heimar Williams , 23. SP Marais

Van der Merwe suspended for three weeks


Picture1Bulls lock and captain Flip van der Merwe has been suspended for three weeks for punching Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan in his team’s 19-12 loss to the Waratahs in Sydney.

A SANZAR Judicial Hearing found Van der Merwe of the Bulls guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking after he was cited following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Van der Merwe has been suspended for three weeks up to and including Sunday 11 May 2014.

The incident occurred in the 75th minute of the match between the Waratahs and Bulls at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday 19 April 2014.

The SANZAR Judicial Hearing held via video conference on Wednesday 23 April 2014 at 8am SAST, 4pm AEST, 6pm NZST was heard by Adam Casselden who was assisted by former professional player, Eroni Clarke.

In his finding, Mr Casselden ruled the following, “Having heard the submissions from the player’s counsel, Stephan Weyers, receiving evidence from the players, Flip van der Merwe and Paddy Ryan and also reviewing the video footage a number of times along with other evidence, I found on the balance of probabilities that Mr Van der Merwe did strike Mr Ryan’s nose with his hand, arm or fist but that no injury was sustained by Mr Ryan by reason of Mr Van der Merwe’s action.

“Having considered all the matters that are in Regulation 17.9.2, I was satisfied that a mid level entry point was appropriate, particularly considering the intent of Mr Van der Merwe to strike Mr Ryan and the vulnerable position Mr Ryan was placed in at the base of a collapsed scrum in circumstances where he could not protect himself from Mr Van der Merwe’s action.

“A mid level entry point dictates a suspension of five weeks, but due to the player’s good character, lengthy professional playing career and his relatively clean disciplinary record, I was satisfied that the five week entry point should be reduced to three weeks.

“Accordingly, the player is suspended from all forms of rugby from Saturday 26 April 2014 up to and including Sunday 11 May 2014.”

Hearing Details: Wednesday 23 April 2014 at 8am SAST, 4pm AEST, 6pm NZST
Judicial Hearing Chairman: Adam Casselden
Player: Flip van der Merwe
Team: Bulls
Position: Lock
Date of Incident: 19 April 2014
Nature of Offence: Law 10.4 (a) Punching or Striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow,shoulder, head or knee(s).
Elapsed time in match when incident occurred: 75th minute

Waratahs team for Blues



After notching up an important away against the Stormers in South Africa three weeks ago, NSW Waratahs coach Michael Cheika is now looking to add a second, today naming an unchanged starting XV for the ANZAC Day clash with the Blues in Auckland.

Although the Tahs won the last competitive encounter between the sides (as well as February’s pre-season trial), it’s five years since their last away win, a narrow 27-22 Phil Waugh-led victory at Eden Park back in March 2009.  The only other two contests to be played in Auckland since then both came in 2011, when the Blues recorded back to back wins, with the latter (a 26-13 Super Rugby qualifying final result) ending the Tahs’ finals hopes.  

This Friday’s crucial ANZAC Day encounter will see the Waratahs field an all-Wallaby front row, with Benn Robinson at loosehead, Sekope Kepu at tighthead and Tatafu Polota Nau at hooker.

Playing his best football of the season, Will Skelton retains his position at lock alongside the resilient Kane Douglas, who’ll earn his 66th NSW cap on Friday afternoon (kick off 3.35pm EST).

Crowd favourite Jacques Potgieter will start at as blindside flanker.  On the openside is last week’s NSW Man of the Match, Michael Hooper, and captain Dave Dennis is at the back of the pack at No. 8.

Starting in every game so far of the season are halves Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley, with the latter needing just 17 points to become the Tahs’ eighth most prolific Super Rugby points-scorer. Recovering from an injured ankle, Kurtley Beale will start at inside centre with Adam Ashley Cooper, who is chasing seven points to rack up for 100 Super Rugby points, at 13. The back three will see wingers Rob Horne and Cam Crawford combined with fullback Israel Folau, who needs just one more try to equal the Waratahs’ record for most individual Super Rugby tries in a season. 

Veteran Wycliff Palu returns via the bench after missing the last two games. Cheika has named a nine-man bench to travel to Auckland, with one player still to be omitted to form the matchday 23.  

NSW Waratahs team for Blues, April 25 (ANZAC Day) at Eden Park, Auckland

1. Benn Robinson (Eastwood), 2. Tatafu Polota Nau (Parramatta), 3. Sekope Kepu (Randwick), 4.Will Skelton (Sydney University), 5. Kane Douglas (Southern Districts), 6. Jacques Potgieter (Eastern Suburbs), 7. Michael Hooper (Manly), 8. Dave Dennis (Sydney University, captain),  9. Nick Phipps (Sydney University), 10. Bernard Foley (Sydney University), 11. Rob Horne (Southern Districts), 12. Kurtley Beale (Randwick), 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Northern Suburbs), 14. Cam Crawford (Northern Suburbs), 15 Israel Folau (Sydney University).

 Replacements (one to be omitted): 16. Tolu Latu (Sydney University), 17. Jeremy Tilse (Sydney University), 18. Paddy Ryan (Sydney University), 19. Pat McCutcheon (Sydney University), 20. Wycliff Palu (Manly), 21. Brendan McKibbin (Eastern Suburbs), 22 Jono Lance (Eastern Suburbs), 23. Matt Carraro (Randwick) 24. Stephen Hoiles (Randwick).

Blues make four changes


Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan has named his team to play the Waratahs at Eden Park in Auckland with four changes to the starting line up from last weekend.

In the only change to the forward pack, Peter Saili makes his first start since round six at number eight in place of Steven Luatua as Kirwan looks to inject more physicality into the Blues’ game.

“We wanted to pick a pack that was really physical,” Kirwan said. “The Waratahs are a big, strong pack so we’ve gone with Pete and he’s really physical so Steven will come off the bench later in the game and bring his spark.”

After Chris Noakes was ruled out of Friday’s clash earlier in the week following a concussion he sustained against the Hurricanes, Simon Hickey will start at first five-eighths.

Ma’a Nonu has bounced back from a tight calf to start at second five-eighths ahead of Jackson Willison and Kirwan said it was great to welcome back his backline enforcer.

“He’s been fantastic for us so far, he’s had a little bit of a bad run with his first injury and getting straight back into it he just tightened up a bit last week,” he said.

“He’s brought a lot of edge to us and I thought he played really well against the Highlanders and I’m really looking forward to him getting us over the advantage line and doing what Ma’a does best on Friday night.”

Frank Halai has also been reinstated to the starting XV ahead of George Moala after he produced strong cameo off the bench last week.

“George has been playing a heck of a lot and he’s been playing very well,” Kirwan said.

“We’ve asked him to play centre, left and right wing and I think he needs a break so after playing well off the bench last week we want to give Frank an opportunity to step up.”

Piri Weepu has been cleared to play and has been named on the bench alongside Ihaia West who is poised to make his Super Rugby debut after joining the franchise as a replacement player for the injured Baden Kerr just two weeks ago.

“Bryn has been playing really well so it will be great to have Piri’s experience on the bench and with Simon outside him and Ihaia who are both very young men, Piri’s experience will be really important so it’s great he’s been cleared to play,” Kirwan said.

On the importance of Friday’s match against the Waratahs, Kirwan said, “I don’t need to hide the fact how important this match is for the franchise, for the team and for our fans. ”

“We said last week that against the Hurricanes if we lost away from home then we were going to be under pressure and we’re under pressure – we’ve just got to get out there and go hard. ”

“It’s going to be a really physical game, I don’t know how many Wallabies they’ve got, I stopped counting so it’s going to be a great match up.”


15. Charles Piutau,14. Frank Halai,13. Francis Saili,12. Ma’a Nonu,11. Lolagi Visinia,10. Simon Hickey,9. Bryn Hall,8. Peter Saili,7. Luke Braid,6. Jerome Kaino,5. Tom Donnelly,4. Patrick Tuipulotu,3. Charlie Faumuina,2. Keven Mealamu,1. Tony Woodcock

Replacements :16. James Parsons,17. Sam Prattley,18. Angus Ta’avao,19. Hayden Triggs,20. Piri Weepu,21. Steven Luatua,22. Ihaia West,23. Pita Ahki

Chiefs makes six changes


Chiefs 3 

The Chiefs have named their team to play the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium in Canberra this Friday with six changes to the side that lost to the Crusaders.

The Anzac day fixture will see the Chiefs field a side with six changes to the starting line up and four changes to the bench.

Mahonri Schwalger will start at hooker and will be joined in the forwards by Ross Filipo who gets his first start for the year.

Nick Crosswell and Sam Cane will be starting flankers with Liam Messam moving to No 8 and Augustine Pulu at halfback.

Tevita Koloamatangi comes onto the bench and is joined by halfback Brad Weber and Dwayne Sweeney who has re-joined the Chiefs after two years playing in Japan.

James Lowe returns from a knee injury to take his place on the bench.

Looking ahead to the match Chiefs’ coach Dave Rennie said, “It is special to be playing a match against an Australian team on ANZAC Day. It is a hugely important day for our two countries.”


1. Pauliasi Manu ,2. Mahonri Schwalger ,3. Ben Tameifuna ,4. Ross Filipo ,5. Brodie Retallick ,6. Nick Crosswell ,7. Sam Cane ,8. Liam Messam (c) ,9. Augustine Pulu ,10. Gareth Anscombe,11. Asaeli Tikoirotuma ,12. Bundee Aki,13. Andrew Horrell,14. Tim Nanai-Williams ,15. Tom Marshall

Replacements :16. Nathan Harris ,17. Jamie Mackintosh ,18. Josh Hohneck,19. Matt Symons ,20. Tevita Koloamatangi ,21. Brad Weber ,22. Dwayne Sweeney ,23. James Lowe

Williams get start for Stormers




DHL Western Province Vodacom Cup star Devon Williams will make his first start for the DHL Stormers when the team travels to Bloemfontein to take on the Cheetahs in Super Rugby action on Saturday (kick-off 17h05).

Williams made his debut off the bench in last weekend’s 18-3 win over the Lions, but he will start in the No.11 jersey this week in the absence of Sailosi Tagicakibau who has not shaken off a sternum injury.

The 22-year-old Williams, a product of Paarl Boys’ High, was part of the cup-winning DHL Western Province Under-21 team last year, whilst he is also the top try-scorer in the 2014 Vodacom Cup with nine tries in just six games.

Williams and fullback Jaco Taute are the new faces in the starting line-up, with Peter Grant moving back into the No.10 shirt in the absence of Demetri Catrakilis (broken nose), but prop Oliver Kebble, flank Schalk Burger, flyhalf Kurt Coleman and wing Kobus van Wyk have all been named on the bench this week.

Kebble (knee), Burger (quad) and Van Wyk (abductor muscle) are all back to full fitness this week, but hooker Scarra Ntubeni (calf muscle) and winger Cheslin Kolbe (knee) are still another week away at this stage.

Looking ahead to Saturday, DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com: “We’re expecting a physical battle against a Cheetahs team that is always tough to play against in Bloemfontein.

“The Cheetahs are just behind us on the log, with one win and a draw, so both teams will be desperate to come away with a victory in our second all-South African derby in the space of just a week.”

The DHL Stormers team for Saturday (v the Cheetahs) is as follows:

15. Jaco Taute
14. Damian de Allende
13. Juan de Jongh
12. Jean de Villiers (captain)
11. Devon Williams (On starting debut for the DHL Stormers)
10. Peter Grant
9. Nic Groom
8. Duane Vermeulen (vice-captain)
7. Siya Kolisi
6. Nizaam Carr
5. Michael Rhodes
4. Ruan Botha
3. Frans Malherbe
2. Deon Fourie
1. Steven Kitshoff

16. Stephan Coetzee
17. Oliver Kebble
18. Brok Harris
19. Jurie van Vuuren
20. Schalk Burger
21. Louis Schreuder
22. Kurt Coleman
23. Kobus van Wyk

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

Strong Junior Springbok squad for JWC 2014



A Junior Springbok squad bolstered by several players with Vodacom Super Rugby experience was named by SARU in Cape Town on Tuesday for the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship to be hosted by New Zealand from June 2 to 22.

Handré Pollard (flyhalf, Vodacom Bulls), André Esterhuizen (centre, Cell C Sharks), Sergeal Petersen and Aidon Davis (both Southern Kings) as well as Malcolm Marx (hooker, Lions) have all either played Vodacom Super Rugby or have been part of their respective franchise’s Super Rugby training groups.

The squad also sees the return of several players who did duty for the South Africa Under-20’s in France last year, where they claimed the bronze medal.

Pollard, who also starred in the 2012 tournament, Davis and Jesse Kriel (fullback, Vodacom Blue Bulls) all played for the Junior Boks in 2013. Winger Petersen, who made an impressive Super Rugby debut for the Kings last year by scoring several stunning tries, was also included in the squad but missed the trip to France because of a hamstring injury.

South Africa Under-20 coach Dawie Theron and the national selectors, Peter Jooste and Ian McIntosh, selected the 28-man squad following an intensive identification and trials process. More than 50 players attended the training camp which ran for almost three weeks in Stellenbosch and included two trial matches as well as several training games.

The JWC squad returned to their training base in Stellenbosch on Tuesday to continue their preparations for the tournament. This will include a three-match international series against traditional rivals Argentina from May 2 to 10 in the Western Cape.

Theron said the weather and playing conditions in New Zealand, as well as a tough pool draw, will contribute to a challenging competition. “Our players are used to dry and fast fields and we will encounter the opposite of these conditions in New Zealand. These were obvious factors we had to take into account when selecting the squad,” explained Theron, who led the Junior Springboks to victory at the 2012 JWC on home soil.

He looked forward to working with the finalised squad and said: “We will now intensify our preparations. The series against Argentina will give us an ideal opportunity to test our game plan, readiness and decision-making against a very competitive team and in real match situations.”


Surname Name Province Position
Brink Cyle Golden Lions Flank
Davis Aidon EP Kings No.8
Du Plessis Jean-Luc Cell C Sharks Flyhalf
Du Preez Jean-Luc Cell C Sharks Flank
Du Preez Daniel (Dan) Cell C Sharks Lock
Du Toit Thomas Cell C Sharks Prop
Dweba Joseph Toyota Free State Hooker
Els Corniel Vodacom Blue Bulls Hooker
Esterhuizen Andrè Cell C Sharks Centre
Gelant Warrick Vodacom Blue Bulls Fullback
Greef Lloyd Leopards Wing
Kriel Daniel (Dan) Vodacom Blue Bulls Centre
Kriel Jesse Vodacom Blue Bulls Fullback
Louw Wilco Vodacom Blue Bulls Prop
Mabuza Thabo Golden Lions Flank
Marx Malcolm Golden Lions Hooker
Mathews Duncan Vodacom Blue Bulls Wing
Mkhabela Mthokozisi (Zee) Toyota Free State Scrumhalf
Mxoli Ngobisizwe Vodacom Blue Bulls Prop
Nonkontwana Abongile Vodacom Blue Bulls Lock
Petersen Sergeal EP Kings Wing
Pollard Handrè Vodacom Blue Bulls Flyhalf
Schickerling JD DHL Western Province Lock
Schoeman Pierre Vodacom Blue Bulls Prop
Sekekete Victor Golden Lions Flank
Smith Justin Vodacom Blue Bulls Scrumhalf
Van der Westhuizen Dayan Vodacom Blue Bulls Prop
Van Rensburg Nicolaas Janse Vodacom Blue Bulls Lock


 The Junior Springboks’ 2014 JWC fixtures:

2 June: SA vs Scotland (North Harbour)

6 June: SA vs New Zealand (North Harbour)

10 June: SA vs Samoa (Pukekohe)

15 June: Playoffs (Tbc)

20 June: Finals (Auckland)

Wilson: Ditching SA is madness


Jeff Wilson

Former All Black wing Jeff Wilson says it would be a foolish decision to opt for a Super Rugby competition without teams from South Africa.

This comes after Wilson’s former team-mate, Andrew Mehrtens, last week called for a competition without South Africa.

Mehrtens said the travel and time difference between New Zealand and South Africa are problematic. He feels it would be better for all concerned if the Kiwis and Aussies were to play within their time zone and include teams from the Pacific Islands and Japan.

Mehrtens wants South Africa to join teams from the UK and Europe and form their own competition.

However, Wilson begs to differ from Mehrtens, and expressed his opinion via a column on the Stuff.co.nz website.

“This talk of moving away from South Africa in Super Rugby is madness. This is the best international competition outside of Test rugby and it would be foolhardy to mess with its essential formula,” wrote Wilson.

“The three countries each provide a different type of football, and I’d be reluctant to change anything that precluded those clashes of styles.

“This franchise competition prepares our players and coaches very, very well for the next level of the game – and that should not be under-estimated.

“It’s not only the clashes of style – the mental and physical challenge you face on any given week is huge.

“I don’t buy that the distance factor should force South Africa to play elsewhere. Travel is part and parcel of international sport and not a contributing factor for poor performance.”

Wilson also said the competition prepares their players well for when they face the Springboks later in the year.

He said the challenge that South Africa presents is constant and if there’s “one team New Zealanders get nervous about playing, particularly in the republic, it’s the Springboks”.

Wilson, 40, played 60 Tests for the All Blacks between 1993 and 2002. He also represented New Zealand in cricket.

All Black dream fading


“The Pacific Islands – The All Blacks have sucked them dry for years, giving virtually nothing back.”

Rustenburg Impala Champions


community cup

Rustenburg Impala on Monday held their nerve in a tense Cell C Community Cup final in soaking rain at Outeniqua Park in George to win the second edition of the Easter Playoffs and the historic Gold Cup.

The victory marked their third back-to-back win in the 2014 Cell C Community Cup Easter Playoffs, and followed an impressive showing in the pool stages of the competition in which they registered victories in three of their four matches.

In the other matches, tournament debutantes Hamiltons registered a 27-18 victory against 2013 runners up College Rovers in light rain to finish in third place, and in the dry matches GAP Management Despatch thumped Roses United 57-21 for their fifth-place finish and Refreshhh! Centurion defeated Kempston Old Selbornians 42-14.

In the SWD Easter Tournament hosted on the Outeniqua Park B field, the All Blacks defeated Calitzdorp 27-15 to finish the series in third place, Eagles Stars beat Glen Roses 43-12 and Knysna United outplayed the Jaguars for a 21-16 victory.

Kempston Old Selbornians 14 (11) Refreshhh! Centurion 42 (11)

Refreshhh! Centurion produced their best performance of the tournament against Kempston Old Selbornians in their final match to finish the Cell C Community Cup in seventh place. Kempston Old Selbornians started the clash well with Craig Shone kicking a penalty and No8 Craig Green crossing the tryline within the first 12 minutes to build up an 8-0 lead.

But Refreshhh! Centurion hit back in the second quarter with two penalties by flyhalf Steven Moir, while the team found their rhythm on attack and placed pressure on the Border club, which paid off with a try by centre Stanley Twiname. Shone kicked another penalty for his team before the break to leave the sides locked at 11-11.

But the flood gates opened for the Pretoria team as they continued to find the gaps in Kempston Old Selbornians’ defence in the second half with Twiname scoring back-to-back tries. This was followed by another three five-pointers to take their tally for the match to six. In return the opposition managed to kick only a penalty in the second half, forcing them to settle for a disappointing 42-14 defeat.

Roses United 21 (7) GAP Management Despatch 57 (36)

Defending Cell C Community Cup champions GAP Management Despatch also finished their Easter Playoff campaign on a high note with an emphatic 57-21 victory against Roses United. The victory marked their second of the tournament.

So dominant were GAP Management Despatch they scored eight tries to only three by Roses United, with wing Elcardo Mintoor earning a hat-trick. Five of the Port Elizabeth club’s tries were scored in the first half, two of which were in the opening 13 minutes, which allowed them to build up an encouraging 36-7 half-time lead.

They continued to exploit the weaknesses in the Roses United defence in the second half despite the Boland team’s determined efforts to step up their game, and crossed the tryline three more times. Unfortunately for Roses United, their costly handling errors aside, scrumhalf Percival Williams received a red card in the 64th minute which dealt a further blow to their hopes of a clawing their back into the match. However, they fought until the end and managed to score their third try of the match seven minutes from time to finish the match with 17 points. 

Jonsson College Rovers 18 (8) Hamiltons 27 (7)

The Cell C Community Cup third and fourth-place playoff between Jonsson College Rovers and Hamiltons was a hard-fought encounter, but Hamiltons’ ability to capitalise on their point-scoring chances in the second half handed them a 27-18 victory.

The first half was a tight affair as the teams threw everything at each other and this showed on the scoreboard with Jonsson College Rovers taking a narrow 8-7 lead. Hamiltons wing Iewan Bartels opened up the scoring with a try in the 15th minute which Shane Vallender converted to hand the team a 7-0 lead. But Jonsson College Rovers captain Christopher Micklewood slotted over a penalty minutes later, which was supported by a try by Warrick Venter. The rest of the second quarter proved to be tight as the teams did well to hold one another out.

Two tries within five minutes by Hamiltons early in the second half, however, put them on the front foot. Despite this, the KwaZulu-Natal club refused to give up and earned an invaluable try by Quinton Crocker on the stroke of the fourth quarter, which Micklewood converted and followed up with a penalty soon after to reduce the deficit to 21-18. Their hopes of a late comeback, however, were dashed by indiscipline, which allowed Hamiltons replacement back Johannes Jacobus van Zyl to kick two penalties in the last 10 minutes for the 27-18 victory.

Rustenburg Impala 13 (13) Roodepoort 11 (8)

The final between Rustenburg Impala and Roodepoort was thrilling as the teams put their bodies on the line in a physical battle for the title of Cell C Community Cup champions. Such was the closeness of the clash, the teams fought until the final whistle, but a successful conversion by Rustenburg Impala proved to be the difference between the sides on the scoreboard.

With the rain pouring down the teams were forced to play tight rugby, rather than an enterprising game, and they both defended well, resulting in the clash coming down to the wire. Both sides scored their only tries in the first half, but two penalties and a conversion by former Griquas and Western Province flyhalf Naas Olivier to add to their try, to only one penalty by Roodepoort, handed Rustenburg Impala a 13-8 lead at the break.

The 13 points, however, proved to be the only points scored by the team, as they battled to breach Roodepoort’s defence in the second half. Roodepoort flyhalf Hendrik Gerhardus Oosthuizen, meanwhile, added a penalty to their tally in the 56th minute to force their way into contention for the title with the score at 13-11 with over 20 minutes to play.

But Rustenburg Impala matched Roodepoort’s the fine defensive effort, and in the end denied the Johannesburg-based club a last-gasp victory despite their desperate attempts to cross the tryline after stringing together several phases on attack. 

Cell C Community Cup day three scorers:

Kempston Old Selbornians 14 (11) Refreshhh! Centurion 42 (11)

Kempston Old Selbornians – Try: Craig Green. Penalties: Craig Shone (2), Warren Rielly.

Refreshhh! Centurion – Tries: Gerhard van der Merwe, Jacques Olivier, Stanley Twiname (3), Yves Bashiya. Conversions: Steven Moir (3). Penalties: Steven Moir (2).

Roses United 21 (7) GAP Management Despatch 57 (36)

Roses United – Tries: Brendon April, Gareth Cilliers, Reinart Hubert Ellmann. Conversions: Brendon April, Lohan Lubbe, Ryan Julies.

GAP Management Despatch – Tries: Elcardo Mintoor (3), Elroy Ligman, Lesley Luiters, Monty Dumond, Stephan Deyzel, Trichardt van Tonder.  Conversions: Monty Dumond (7). Penalties: Monty Dumond.

Jonsson College Rovers 18 (8) Hamiltons 27 (7)

Jonsson College Rovers – Tries: Quinton Crocker, Warrick Venter. Conversions: Christopher Micklewood. Penalties: Christopher Micklewood (2).

Hamiltons – Tries: Iewan Bartels, Kudu Botha, Terry Jacobs. Conversions: Johannes Jacobus van Zyl (2), Shane Vallender. Penalties: Johannes Jacobus van Zyl (2).

Rustenburg Impala 13 (13) Roodepoort 11 (8)

Rustenburg Impala – Try: Leon Andries du Plessis. Conversion: Naas Olivier. Penalties: Naas Olivier (2).

Roodepoort  – Try: Jaun Shaw. Penalty: Hendrik Gerhardus Oosthuizen (2).

SWD Easter Tournament day two results:

Eagles Stars 43 – 12 Glen Roses

Knysna United 21 – 16 Jaguars

All Blacks 27 – 15 Calitzdorp (3rd/4th place-playoff)

Moari’s v Bridgton (final)

RFU to move All Black’s Test


EnglandThe Rugby Football Union have failed in their bid to have England’s opening Test match against New Zealand pushed back a week.

England have a three match tour of New Zealand this June but they will be without many of their best players in the opening Test due to their domestic fixtures.

The Aviva Premiership final is at Twickenham on May the 31st and the first England test against New Zealand is in Auckland on June the 7th.

England head coach has said that players involved in the Premiership final will not play in the opening June Test match as they will not have enough time to prepare.

RFU Chairman Bill Beaumont approached the International Rugby Board about moving the Test back a week as there was a difference of opinion over when the June Test window starts but was unsuccessful.

“We made a request to the IRB because they interpreted the week of May 31-June 1 as a June weekend, and we maintain it is a May weekend,” Beaumont told the Rugby Paper.

“We’ve tried for some time now to get it changed, but to no avail.”

The IRB responded saying, “When the Test schedule was agreed in 2010 the RFU was going through administrative changes. ”

“At that time they were asked to respond to the schedule, and that did not happen, so the schedule was drawn up as is.”

Bulls lose Van Zyl


Bulls Media release

The Bulls have revealed that scrumhalf Piet van Zyl sustained a knee injury in their 19-12 loss to the Waratahs and he will not play against the Western Force.

Pretoria-based Super Rugby franchise the Bulls have one match left on thier 2014 Super Rugby tour which is against the Western Force in Perth on Saturday.

Van Zyl left the field against the Waratahs in Sydney last weekend and will be out of action for two weeks, Bulls team doctor, Org Strauss, said on Monday.

The Bulls did however get some good news as both Akona Ndungane (knee) and Jurgen Visser (foot) have been declared fit to face the home side in the nib Stadium.

Ndungane’s availability will result in Francois Hougaard moving back to the base of the scrum.

The Bulls are also awaiting the result of Flip van der Merwe’s citing, as this will determine his availability for the match.

Ackermann : No quick fix for Lions



Coach Johan Ackermann says that there is no “quick fix”for the Lions after they suffered their third straight loss in Super Rugby with a daunting tour starting next week.

Ackermann felt his team were stung by two pre-match withdrawals and made costly mistakes in their 18-3 loss to the Stormers in Cape Town.

On Saturday morning, captain Warren Whiteley failed a fitness test and lock Martin Muller was laid low by a stomach bug.

Substitutes Willie Britz and Luvuyiso Lusaseni were moved into the run-on XV. Their places on the bench were taken by Warwick Tecklenburg and Rudi Matthee who flew in from Johannesburg about an hour or so before kick-off.

“This week we were forced into many changes because of injuries and then we had two more before the start of the match,” said Ackerman.

“Our character was really tested and when you saw how we played in the second half — you could see we did not roll over and die.

“It was a funny game. We played well in stages and we left many (scoring) opportunities out there.”

Ackermann said the injury crisis is something that the Lions will have to cope with, especially when they head off on the Australasia tour in a week’s time.

“There is no quick-fix for the Lions,” said Ackermann.

“We’ll just have to front up on tour even though it will be a ‘first’ (tour) for many of our players.”

Source: SuperRugby

Captain’s call for benefit of Stormers


Jean De Villiers

Jean de Villiers has revealed that he kept his team playing with ball-in-hand all the way to the end of game against the Lions, despite the coaches advice.

The Stormers captain was thinking what was best for the team going forward when he decided not to play defensively or resort to a tactical kicking game in the last 15 minutes of the Stormers 18-3 victory over the Lions.
The coaches box sent calls down to the field that the end of the game should be carefully managed and played down in opposition territory in order to hold out for the much needed win.
The Stormers have been suffering from a lack of confidence and it was De Villiers desire to get his team comfortable with the ball again – even though they rounded out the second half with zero points.
De Villiers has said, even though he made the call to continue attacking the Lions with a 15 point lead, it was not something that would have been wise in all situations.
The 15 point gap was the primary reason for De Villiers decision to defy his coaches orders, but he has admitted that, in terms of game management, it was detrimental – but in terms of turning the corner for the Stormers, it was vital.
“I think our approach was definitely to keep on playing, to our own detriment, in the second half,” De Villiers said.
“We probably played too much rugby in our own half in that second half and didn’t manage to play enough rugby in their half.
“The calls came from the coaching box that we should try and play more of a kicking game in their half for the last 15 minutes or so.
“I sort of over ruled that in a way – I thought that we should go with this approach so we sort of continued with it.
“In a tighter game I wouldn’t have done it but just with the attitude towards this game I though we should continue with ball in hand.
“[We should] try and get the confidence back and I don’t think we will get the confidence back by just sitting down and playing a conservative game.
“From a game management point of view, probably not the right call but I thought from where we are as a team it was the right call.”
De Villiers, although happy with his teams performance and intensity was quick to echo coach Allister Coetzees words on discipline
The coach was straight forward in stating his teams discipline was not good enough and they were lucky to get away with not conceding more from their indiscretions.
“I am not happy with the discipline in general to be honest,” Coetzee said.
“At times, for some of it, we were 100 per cent spot on but obviously the 50-50 stuff I would want to have a look at that.
“Jean [De Villiers] can elaborate on that but there are things that are inexcusable – like off the ball stuff, and we cant afford to have that.
“We were just lucky that tonight, because we had such good intensity and such good clarity in terms of what we want to do, we scored two tries with 14 men – it shows that the team was really on the same page tonight.”
The captain backed up what his coach had to say: “I have to agree with Allister [Coetzee], I don’t think our discipline is good enough.
“It is some thing we need to improve on – when you have got an 18 and 15 point buffer then you can still get away with it but that has been the cause of a lot of our losses this season.
“It is not improving so it is definitely an area we need to look at,” concluded De Villiers 
By Darryn Pollock

Stormers secure second win



The Stormers won their second Super Rugby match of the season when they beat the Lions 18-3 at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.

The result stretches the Lions winless streak in Cape Town to seven matches as they last won in the city in February 2001. The loss is the third straight loss for the Lions after two home losses and now an away loss. The result ended a five-match sequence of defeats for the Stormers who by half time had run up an 18-0 lead and despite several gilt-edged opportunities they were unable to advance their score in the second period of play.

With that advantage under their belts, the Cape side managed to avenge their 34-10 defeat earlier in the season at Ellis Park. The Stormers served notice they were ready to turn their fortunes around when they poached an early Lions lineout. A third minute penalty by flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis gave the Stormers a 3-0 lead. Moments later, Catrakilis took a hard blow to the face and he was forced to retire from the match.

Fullback Peter Grant replaced him and substitute Jaco Taute slotted into the number 15 berth. The Lions managed to secure a fair amount of first-phase possession but errors crept into their play and they seldom managed to take play up to the Stormers’ half. Grant, who had taken over the place-kicking duties, banged over a 15th minute penalty to put the Stormers 6-0 ahead.

Stormers hooker Deon Fourie was yellow-carded in the 21st minute but the Lions failed to exploit the advantage. Their usually reliable goal-kicker Marnitz Boshoff missed a goalable penalty and Grant replied with a miss of his own. The Stormers managed the first try of the match when their forwards and backs combined well in movement sprung from their own 10 metre line.

After securing possession through several phases, right wing Damian de Allende rounded off to score the try. Grant’s 29th minute conversion failed. Six minutes later Stormers flanker Nizaam Carr was on hand to score his side’s try. This time Grant was on target with the conversion. Four minutes into the second half, flyhalf Boshoff goaled a 40m penalty to open the Lions’ scoring account .

Surprisingly, the Lions pulled off their match-winner Boshoff and replaced him with Elton Janjties on the hour mark. The Lions seemed to pick up a greater measure of cohesion in ensuing play and twice they came within a whisker of scoring, but could not crack the Stormers defence. The Lions have a bye next week before they start their tour of Australia and New Zealand against the Chiefs in Hamilton.

The Stormers head to Bloemfontein to play the Cheetahs next week.

Final Score Stormers 18 (18) Lions 3 (0)


Tries – D. de Allende . N.Carr
Pen – D.Catrakilis, P.Grant
Con – P.Grant
Cards – D.Fourie (21st min yellow)

Pen – M.Boshoff

Steyn kicks scrappy Sharks to victory



The Sharks strengthened their position on top of the Super Rugby standings when they beat the Cheetahs 19-8 in Durban.

Both teams scored one try each and the difference came down to penalty kicks with Frans Steyn kicking three of the Sharks four penalties. Tim Swiel kicked the other Sharks penalty. Jean Deysel scored a late try to help the Sharks consolidate their position in the Super Rugby standings. The flanker crossed with nine minutes to play after Ryno Benjamin’s 65th minute score had briefly given the visitors hope in a game that lacked any energy or zeal.

Eleven of the home side’s other points came via the boot of Frans Steyn during the second half, but coach Jake White will be pleased after his side moved six points clear at the summit despite their unimpressive display on the east coast. Tim Swiel, making his full debut, was in the thick of the action early on squandering a chance to settle any nerves by missing a penalty and then making a darting run through a hole, only to deliver a wayward pass.

At the other end, Elgar Watts was much more accurate with his first kick at goal, following an off-side call against the hosts, as the Cheetahs led after five minutes. Both sides then appeared to drift into slow motion with no further points coming for over 25 minutes. There were a few moments of excitement for the hosts in that period, though, with another debutant Tonderai Chavhanga showing promising signs down the left.

The Sharks finally had their first points in the 34th minute when the visitors were punished for not releasing and Swiel found his range. Another kickable penalty followed for side entry against Jean Cook, but the Sharks opted to set up a line-out that came to nothing. Then on the half-time hooter Swiel missed another straightforward kick. He missed to the left after Heinrich Brussow was punished for not releasing, leaving the sides all square at the break.

The Sharks took the lead for the first time six minutes into the second half when kicking duty shifted to Steyn, who knocked over his first chance after Maks Van Dyk was penalised for illegal scrumming by referee Jaco Peyper. They went even further ahead another six minutes on when Boom Prinsloo was called for collapsing a maul and Steyn banged over a monstrous 45-metre penalty.

The visitors were reduced to 14-men just after the hour as Brussow was yellow carded for hands constantly in the ruck after Cook had initially inexplicably knocked on right in front of goal with Steyn making it 12-3 from right in front. However, there was a response to come from the Cheetahs, and after Watts missed a penalty from distance, Benjamin crossed for a try on the left when Steyn’s attempted clearance was charged down by Hennie Daniller.

Watts missed the subsequent conversion, although it was a four-point ball game with 14 minutes to play. But Deysel ended any hopes of an upset when he went over on the left after Swiel initially carved open the defence by running through a hole in the visiting backline.

Final Score Sharks 19 (3) Cheetahs 8 (3)


Tries – J.Deysel
Pen – T.Swiel, F.Steyn 3
Con – F.Steyn
Tries – R. Benjamin
Pen – E.Watts
Cards – H. Brussow (61st min yellow)

Match Officials
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 1: Craig Joubert
Assistant Ref 2: Marius Jonker
TMO: Deon van Blommenstein