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Coca Cola O/13 Craven Week Day 1

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Big wins for WP, Border at opening day of Coca-Cola Under-13 Craven Week

Western Province and Border on Monday dominated the scoreboard on the opening day of the Coca-Cola Under-13 Craven Week held at Glenwood High School in Durban.

The coastal side proved far too classy for Mpumalanga, beating the Lowvelders 56-0 in the biggest win of the day, while Border delivered a polished performance, easing past the Blue Bulls 52-10. The Leopards proved far too strong for Border Country Districts and won 37-5, whilst Boland carried too many guns for Griffons, winning 43-12.

The Griquas were another team to score at will, beating Zimbabwe 36-12, but the other matches proved to be tightly contested affairs.

In an early morning upset, SWD held on to beat Free State 10-8, hosts KZN came up short against the Golden Lions, who won 15-12 and Eastern Province kept out Limpopo Blue Bulls to win 17-12. The Valke also battled hard to overcame a plucky Namibian side by 13-0.

A summary of the matches follows. A comprehensive match summary can be sourced by clicking on the various links.

Golden Lions 15 (12), KZN 12 (7)

The Golden Lions started like a house on fire, scoring a converted try in the 3rd minute of the match, but KZN fought back well to score after 12 minutes of play. A second Golden Lions try had them in the lead at the break and although Zander van der Merwe scored for the hosts with 5 minutes to play, a late penalty by Jo Raldo Olivier gave the Golden Lions the result they wanted.

Scorers:

Golden Lions (15 (12). Tries: Theo Molaolwa, Wian Steenkamp. Conversion: Jo Raldo Olivier. Penalty: Olivier.

KZN 12 (7). Tries: Carlo Miller, Zander van der Merwe. Conversion: Dean Wolhuter.

Western Province 56 (22), Pumas 0 (0)

Western Province ran in ten tries in a one-sided match with left-wing Junaid Abrahams scoring the first hat-trick of the tournament.

The Cape side scored at will in the opening minutes with tries in the 2nd, 4th, 12th and 20th minute and continued the relentless onslaught on the Pumas tryline in the second half. Abrahams scored in the fourth minute and added the other two in the second half.

Scorers:

WP 56 (22). Tries: Dalvon Blood (2), Fabrizio Linnert, Junaid Abrahams (3), Kerwin Stewart (2), Meiring Ebersohn, Mogammad Esau. Conversions: Linnert (2), Stewart.

Pumas 0 (0).

Border 52 (17), Blue Bulls 10 (5)

Border scored seven tries on route to a stunning win over one of the traditional powerhouse teams of the week. They stunned the Blue Bulls early, scoring three tries in the opening 15 minutes and never looked back from that.

The accurate boot of Border lock, Rayden Masters, aided his side’s effort even further as he kicked five conversions to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Scorers:

Border 52 (17). Tries: Chulumanco Mfakadolo, Lawuka Bata (2), Matthew Karelse, Mntungwa Mapantsula, Sipo Javu (2), Tiaan Jonker. Conversions: Rayden Masters (5), Marcello Flemmer.

Blue Bulls 10 (5). Tries: Lohan Potgieter, Raynard Roets.

Leopards 37 (13), Border Country Districts 5 (5)

The North West teams started slowly, but once they found their rhythm and support play there was only one team on the field. Border held out for 11 minutes with Mzwamazizi Ngalo scoring, but could not contain the bigger and more physical Leopards side much longer after that.

The second half belonged to the Leopards, who also used the accurate boot of flyhalf Estiaan Schonfeldt to keep the scoreboard ticking. The flyhalf contributed 22 points to finish the day as top points’ scorer.

Scorers:

Leopard 37 (13): Tries: Estiaan Schonfeldt (2), Henco van Wyk, Rossouw Karsten (2). Conversions: Schonfeldt (3). Penalties: Schonfeldt (2).

Border CD 5 (5). Try: Mzwamazizi Ngalo

Eastern Province 17 (0), Limpopo Blue Bulls 12 (7)

Both teams scored two tries in the match, but thanks to the accurate place-kicking from EP fullback Michael Paddock, the coastal side could register yet another win over an inland one.

Paddock proved to be the main contributor towards victory in the second half, scoring a try and converting it himself before kicking a late penalty to secure the win.

Scorers:

EP 17 (0). Tries: Michael Paddock, Yolisa Dladla. Conversions: Paddock (2). Penalty: Paddock.

Limpopo BB 12 (7). Tries: Roy Stewart, Siphiwe Tjale. Conversion: Lucian Simpson.

Valke 13 (5), Namibia 0 (0)

Only two tries were scored in this tightly contested affair and the Valke will take heart from the fact that they used the limited scoring opportunities better than Namibia did.

It took the Valke 16 minutes to score the opening try of the match when Tiaan Botes crashed over. The flyhalf could not convert a second half try by Elliott Asieng, but did manage a late penalty to seal the result.

Scorers:

Valke 13 (5). Tries: Tiaan Botes, Elliott Asieng. Conversion: Botes. Penalty: Botes.

Namibia 0 (0).

Boland 43 (29), Griffons 12 (0)

The Northern Free State side never got going in this encounter, whilst Boland hit the straps running. It was all over as contest at halftime and although the Griffons manage two tries in the second half, they left it way too late to make a contest of it. Boland will be pleased though with their interplay, resulting in no less than seven different players crossing the Griffons line.

Scorers:

Boland 43 (29). Tries: Adrian Dirks, Ashwell Kampi, Brian Zake, Christiaan Burger, Eon Solomons, Juan van Zyl, Tyler Bocks. Conversions: Nathan Engelbrecht (2), Conray Maart, Adriaan Engelbrecht.

Griffons 12 (0). Tries: George Cronje, Niel Janse van Rensburg. Conversion: Dylan Smit.

Griquas 36 (10), Zimbabwe 12 (7)

It was still close at halftime in this exciting match, but in the second half Griquas showed why they were ranked as one of the pre-tournament favourites. The Kimberley-based team scored four tries in the second half and proved to be well-drilled with too much skill for Zimbabwe.

Scorers:

Griquas 36 (10). Tries: Bernardes van Staden, Deon le Roux, DM Hohls, Pierich Siebert, Stoney Steenkamp (2). Conversions: Adriaan Horn (3).

Zimbabwe 12 (7). Tries: Nataizya Chininga (2). Conversion: Tawanda Muyeye.

SWD 10 (5), Free State 8 (3)

The early match has spectators on their feet and it proved to be a very close affair. Both teams only managed one try apiece as good defence held sway, but both coaches will feel that a number of try-scoring opportunities went astray as well.

The Free State had the early lead through a penalty, but when Xander Botha scored before the break, SWD took the lead. An early second half try by the Free State side saw them in front again, but a try by Marno April gave SWD the edge. A late penalty attempt to win the match was missed by Free State and SWD could punch in the air in victory.

Scorers:

SWD 10 (5). Tries: Marno April, Xander Botha.

Free State 8 (3). Try: Heinrich Killian. Penalty: Obakeng Nketsi.The LSEN Week also kicked off at Olen Park in Potchefstroom.

Results from Day One is:

Pumas 32 (17), KZN 32 (18)

Golden Lions 15 (5), Free State 21 (18)

Falcons 35 (17), Blue Bulls 29 (10)

Blue Bulls EE 26 (7), Boland 41 (7)

Griffons 17 (5), Eastern Province 18 (13)

Western Province 13 (10), SWD 26 (18).

DHL Stormers injury report

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DHL Stormers website (www.thestormers.com) reports that lock Eben Etzebeth will not feature in the 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby tournament, but five players will be back for the DHL Stormers this weekend.

etzebeth-eben_face638

The full DHL Stormers injury report (30/06/14):

– Forward Deon Fourie (concussion), hooker Tiaan Liebenberg (neck), scrumhalf Louis Schreuder (broken thumb), centre Juan de Jongh (pneumonia), wing Kobus van Wyk (wrist) and fullback Gio Aplon (elbow) are all back at full training and will be considered for selection against the Bulls.
– Lock Eben Etzebeth (broken toe) will not play in the 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby competition after suffering his new injury – a broken toe which will keep him out of action for another two/three weeks.
– Prop Brok Harris (AC Joint) has undergone surgery and will be out of action until late August.
– Hooker Scarra Ntubeni (broken foot) will be available for the first round of the 2014 Absa Currie Cup competition.
– Prop Oli Kebble (ankle – syndesmosis) is due back in late August/early September.
– Centres Damian de Allende and Jean de Villiers (both knee injuries) are still out for another four weeks.
– Prop Frans Malherbe (concussion) is making good progress after showing concussion symptoms for some time. He won’t feature in the 2014 Super Rugby competition again but should be good to go for the Absa Currie Cup competition.
– Prop Steven Kitshoff (knee and ankle injuries) will not play rugby again in 2014.

New-look Woman’s Springbok team

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Springbok-women

Springbok Women’s coach Lawrence Sephaka’s plan to give all his players fair game time on their Rugby World Cup warm-up tour to England and France saw him name a new-look team for their second clash against the Nomads on Tuesday.

This clash in England will be their last before the Test match against France on Friday. The tour was made possible by a R2,3m grant from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.

Only five players who started the match against the Nomads last Saturday retained their positions for Tuesday’s clash, which will be hosted at Wasps Football Club at 14h00. These players are No8 Lamla Momoti, flank Vuyolwethu Vazi, wing Phumeza Gadu and centres Veroeshka Grain and Benele Makwezela. The squad will again feature 25 players, as it is not an official Test.

Momoti retains the captaincy as regular Springbok Women’s captain Mandisa Williams, who missed the first match due to a bout of flu, has again been ruled out after picking up a knee injury.

“We planned from the outset to give all the players sufficient game time to prove themselves before the Test against France and in the lead-up to the World Cup, and this involved handing everyone a start,” said Sephaka. “Most of the players who were promoted from the bench to the starting team played on Saturday, so we are confident that we will build on the momentum we gained in the first tour match.”

Sephaka expected an even tougher encounter than last weekend as the Nomads have a good idea about what to expect from his charges, while they also had more time together to prepare for this clash.

“The Nomads made it clear after the last match that they would be better on Tuesday and we expect that as a team,” said Sephaka. “Apart from the fact that both teams had an opportunity to study the last match and have worked on the areas of the game that were problematic, there could be dry weather tomorrow, which could result in a different approach from both teams. So this match will be a different challenge.”

Sephaka singled out the scrums as one of the areas that had to improve before the Test against France on Friday after finding themselves under pressure in that department at times in the weekend’s match.

“We have identified the problems in the scrum and we have worked hard to improve on that, so we are expecting a better performance in the set piece,” said Sephaka. “France are also a forward-dominated team and it will be vital to counter them in the scrums, so we have to get it right against the Nomads this time.”

The Springbok Women will depart for France on Wednesday morning and will face the IRB Women’s World Cup hosts in Marcoussis on Friday.

They will arrive back in South Africa on Sunday.

Springbok Women’s XV vs Nomads, 1 July 2014:

15 – Siviwe Basweni

14 – Nosiphiwo Goda

13 – Veroeshka Grain

12 – Benele Makwezela

11 – Phumeza Gadu (vice-captain)

10 – Zandile Nojoko

9 – Fundiswa Plaatjie

8 – Lamla Momoti

7 – Vuyolwethu Vazi

6 – Rachelle Geldenhuys

5 – Andrea Mentoor

4 – Nomathamsanqa Faleni

3 – Nwabisa Ngxatu

2 – Thantaswa Macingwana

1 – Cebisa Kula

Replacements:

16 – Denita Wentzel

17 – Asithandile Ntoyanto

18 – Portia Jonga

19 – Celeste Adonis

20 – Nolusindiso Booi

21 – Shona-Leah Weston

22 – Tayla Kinsey

23 – Cindy Cant

24 – Zenay Jordaan

25 – Lorinda Brown

EP Craven Week team to play Border

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The Eastern Province u18 Craven Week team will be playing their Border counterparts ahead of the Super Rugby friendly between the Southern Kings and Sharks XV at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday.

EP Rugby CEO, Charl Crous, confirmed that the teams would be playing against each other as final preparations for Craven Week 2014, which will be taking place in Middelburg from 14 – 19 July.

The curtain raiser will take place on the main field with kick off at 4.30pm on Friday. Those wishing to watch the game will be able to enter the grounds through the Fettes Road gate. The remaining gates will open at 5pm.

The main game between the Southern Kings and Sharks XV will kick off at 7pm.

Book Review – New Rugbyland by Jonny King

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In the June of 2014, England journeyed to New Zealand for a Three-Test Series against the World Champion, All Blacks, and the world of rugby watched on. This was much anticipated after the epic Tests of 2012 and 2013 at Twickenham. On three successive Saturdays the two sides would battle for the Hillary Shield that also had Everest implications toward Rugby World Cup 2015. 

This title, NEW RUGBYLAND, documents this Tour as never before. Jonny King will lead you on the journey of this rugby time; re-creating the experience for some to remember; re-counting for others to grasp anew, while doing so with the unique literary appeal and distinctives of this scribe. You can read more about his pedigree below. 

NEW RUGBYLAND is blazing a new trail in recording and retelling the stories of the sport we love. Yes, it is a book, but through the wonders of this mediated world, it has been produced only days after the Series has finished in Hamilton, New Zealand. It is a production of June. Yet, it pulls together other material that will help unlock some of the myth of this rugby part of the world. 

This document is a living witness of the journey through a rugby contest that captivates untold numbers strewn across this planetary system. 

If you love rugby, if you love the All Blacks, if you love New Zealand, if you love England, if you love all sports, and even if you simply love to enter into another’s story for a time; this is book for you. It is about rugby, but even more so, it is about how we do life. 

Jonny King is first and foremost a man of his words. He would be resident scribe of the-then All Blacks Official Fan Club – BackingBlack – throughout the entirety of its existence. His individual voice would attract further attention when he would collaborate with Springbok, 2007 World Cup Winner and SuperSport Media Personality – Bob Skinstad – on his RugbyJourney. Jonny has also traversed the broad new media context on places like Twitter, with his own unique online audio commentary, and with websites that have focused on the full gamut of the human experience; with a particular rugby focus. His unique and engaging style encouraged contacts in South Africa to describe him as – “the Shakespeare of Rugby” – because of his eccentric use of the English language, unique manner of expression, and eccentric voice in a rugby context. He is a reading experience, all on his own.

To get your hands on this book visit – http://www.amazon.com/NEW-RUGBYLAND-Englands-Journey-through-ebook/dp/B00LCRF12W/

Coca Cola U13 Craven Week kicks off

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pumas.co.za

The 2014 U13 Coca cola Craven week kicked off at Glenwood High School and will be running from the 30th June -4th July. There will be 18 teams taking part, including Namibia and Zimbabwe. The following fixtures will be played on Monday the 30th.

craven week3

Day 1: Monday 30 June 2014

08:30 – Free State vs SWD
08:30 – Griquas vs Zimbabwe
09:30 – Boland vs Griffons
09:30 – Valke vs Namibia
10:30 – Eastern Province vs Limpopo
10:30 – NW Leopards vs Border CD
11:30 – Blue Bulls vs Border
14:30 – KwaZulu-Natal vs Golden Lions
15:30 – Pumas vs Western Province

Experience Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

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I have stolen some pictures from an old friend of Ruggaworld we once called Morne’s on his day at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium……..

:Morne:

Stunning day in PE for test match rugby

Waking up

Best stadium in SA

Stadium 2

Some crazy Scot-Boks! Got to love this!

ScotsBoks

 

Magnificent

Game

We got some shit for free. So I saw this boy who reminded me of my own son back home which mommy has to take care of together with the twins, so I threw up a Bok beanie for the lad and luckily he agreed to a photo! Bok supporter forever!

 

Boks Supporter

Closing time.. Awesome experience. Thank you PE

Stadium

Tahs go top of the Table

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NSW Waratahs have moved to the top of the overall log with their 39-8 win over the Brumbies n Saturday 

The NSW Waratahs have scored an emphatic 39-8 bonus-point win over the ACT Brumbies at ANZ Stadium. The Tahs scored five tries to one, including a brace to winger Alofa Alofa, to overpower their conference rivals in an imposing display leading into finals time.

The win sees the Tahs move to first place overall on the Super Rugby ladder, and record five consecutive wins for the first time since 2010. However, the victory was soured by a first-half knee injury to inspirational skipper Dave Dennis.

Head Coach Michael Cheika conceded the loss of his captain was a huge blow for the team leading into the finals but he was happy to draw positives from the physicality of his forwards against an aggressive Brumbies pack.

“They’re skilful guys, and they’ve got the physique to dominate, and I think they’re just enjoying working hard,” said Cheika afterwards. “It’s a real badge of honour when you feel like you’re a hard worker. If you’re a hard worker people will respect you and they’ve certainly earned the respect of their team,” Cheika said.

Captain Dennis concurred, praising his forwards for fronting up for a full 80 minutes of physical football to run over a vaunted ACT side.

“Over the last 18 months the one thing we’ve tried to hang our hat on is working hard and be a strong physical team that never gives in.  I think every week you’re getting that consistency in how hard we’re going to work and how physical we’re going to be.”

The kicking of Brumbies trio Jesse Mogg, Christian Lealiifano and Nic White kept the Waratahs pinned in their half for the first 15 minutes of the game, but the home side showed a steely resolve to repel the early pressure.

A tighthead scrum win on halfway kicked the Waratahs’ attack into gear and it was prop Benn Robinson, playing in his 130th match for NSW, who burrowed in from close range to open the scoring. Bernard Foley’s conversion extended the lead to 7-0 after 17 minutes.

Looking to counter quickly, the Brumbies swung the ball to their left from the kickoff, but an errant pass from replacement Rodney Iona was pounced upon by Alofa, who sprinted 60 metres to score his side’s second try in as many minutes.

Foley’s conversion had the visitors reeling but the 2013 finalists weren’t giving up without a fight and, 10 minutes later, Mogg was the beneficiary of a Lealiifano cross field kick for the Brumbies’ opening try.

Five minutes after the Brumbies score the Tahs were dealt another damaging blow, as Dennis was helped from the field with a serious knee injury. As the skipper came off, Kurtley Beale lined up a penalty kick but his attempt drifted wide and the score remained 14-5 at half-time.

A Brumbies’ knock on from the restart gave the Tahs an early attacking scrum, and another huge effort from the forwards presented Foley with a chance at goal. The Wallabies flyhalf duly converted but the Brumbies countered three minutes later through Lealiifano to regain a nine-point deficit.

Israel Folau produced a dazzling run midway through the half, weaving past three defenders and carrying three or four more on his way to the try line. However the TMO ruled the grounding was inconclusive, and the Tahs had to settle for a 5 metre scrum.

The Waratahs were rewarded for their consistent pressure minutes later, with Fotu Auelua sent to the bin for repeated team infringements.

It only took a minute to land the knockout blow, as Magners Man of the Match Foley jinked around Leon Power in close to dot the ball down under the posts. His conversion extended the lead yet further.

Aeulua’s absence continued to cripple the Brumbies in defence, and it was Adam Ashley-Cooper who exploited the overlap, beating two defenders before finding the flying Rob Horne in space. Horne darted his way into the 22 but his offload drifted forward into the hands of Alofa and a chance went begging.

The Tahs made amends two minutes later, when some slick hands from Foley and Folau sent Alofa into the corner for his second and the crucial four-try bonus point. Foley nailed the sideline conversion, sending the flyhalf to within six points of Peter Hewat’s single season point-scoring record for NSW.

Foley was subbed soon after but the Waratahs weren’t done yet. Moments from full time, a deft short ball from Beale sent a charging Michael Hooper into space, before some skilful link play from Kane Douglas gave Wycliff Palu a well-deserved try in the corner. Beale missed a tricky conversion on the fulltime siren, leaving the score 39-8.

The team will be back in action next Sunday, July 6, against the Highlanders at Allianz Stadium.

NSW Waratahs 39 (tries: Robinson, Alofa 2, Foley, Palu; cons: Foley 4; pens: Foley, Beale) def Brumbies 8 (tries: Mogg; pens: Lealiifano)

Yellow cards: Fotu Auelua (60th min)

Meyer compliments players, depth in squad

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Meyer

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Saturday complimented his squad after a commanding performance against Scotland earlier in the day. The Springboks defeated the visitors 55-6 in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to conclude the Castle Lager Incoming Series with an undefeated record.

The team earlier beat Wales in Durban and Nelspruit and started the June test window with a win over a World XV, sponsored by Samsung.

“I am very proud of the guys. The message was that we had to come back and make the country and team proud after the close call last week and we did that,” Meyer said.

“One thing that stands out for me was us not conceding tries. We kept the Scots out for those last minutes when other teams would have leaked a try. Our defence was awesome, but we also played very well on attack.”

Meyer gave a lot of credit to New Zealand referee, Glen Jackson.

“He managed the breakdown well and we were able to get quick ball and played a lot of rugby on our front foot. Scotland did manage to mess up our rhythm in the second part of the half, but we came out well again in the second half and scored some nice tries. It is awesome to put 50 points behind any team at this level.”

Meyer thanked the home crowd, who turned up in huge numbers.

“We heard that almost all the tickets were sold and wanted to give the crowd something special here today. We wanted to thank them by delivering a good performance.”

Meyer expressed concern about a possible ankle injury to stalwart Fourie du Preez.

“We hope the injury will not prevent him from playing in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship. He will undergo a scan as soon as possible to determine the extent of his injury. His control of the game is important to us for the Rugby Championship.”

Meyer was full of praise for the performances from a number of younger players, including debutant Handrè Pollard and try-scoring lock, Lood de Jager, who started in his first match.

“With all the locks out injured, it was great to see Lood came through. We have close to 30 guys out so will be difficult to pick a squad once all of them are fit again. Handrè is already a matured player and he combined well with Jan Serfontein today. They are pressuring the first choice players and a lot of the new guys will be contenders for the Rugby Championship, where I can only pick a squad of 30.”

EPRU thank fans for support

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EP Kings

The Eastern Province Rugby Union have thanked the people of Nelson Mandela Bay, the greater Eastern Cape and elsewhere for coming out in their numbers to support the Test Match held at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

“It was an amazing atmosphere, Nelson Mandela Bay have once again shown that they support top flight rugby in the province and for that we are truly thankful,” said EP Rugby CEO Charl Crous.

Crous said that while it was not a complete sellout, the official attendance for Saturday’s game between South Africa and Scotland was 40,973, making it the best attended Test Match of the 4 match Incoming Tour series. The World XV brought in just over 30,000, Kings Park hosted 38,000 and Mbombela Stadium hosted around 25,500.

Crous also thanked all the stakeholders involved, from the traffic officials and volunteers to the stadium management and hospitality, that made the event the success that it was.

“We would also like to thank SA Rugby for allowing us to host the Springboks once again, and the Springboks and their team management for their superb performance on the field,” he said.

EP Rugby President, Cheeky Watson, said the fact that Nelson Mandela Bay came out and supported top flight rugby strengthened the region’s position when it came to securing future Tests and other events.

“We have seen the support with Super Rugby, with the Nelson Mandela Bay leg of the IRB International Sevens tournament and at the three Test Matches we have hosted at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. People in the Eastern Cape love rugby and want to see more of it and we are going to do what we can to make that happen,” he said.

GWK Griquas extend lead

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absa

GWK Griquas have bolstered their place in the top spot on the points table of the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division qualifiers after beating the Down Touch Griffons 43-24 in the Northwest Stadium in Welkom on Saturday afternoon.

The Kimberley-based side ran in seven tries to accumulate the full five points and now find themselves six points above the second-placed Leopards, who had a bye this weekend.

Elsewhere on Saturday, a two try burst by the SWD Eagles saw them secure a hard-fought 21-17 (halftime 7-10) victory over hosts Regent Boland Cavalier in Wellington.

The Cavaliers were looking to record a second victory in the qualifiers after thumping Border 37-12 the previous Saturday. SWD had been on the receiving end of a 52-34 hammering from the Valke at Outeniqua Park in George and needed to bounce back strongly.

In the remaining match, the Valke turned in a superb second-half performance on their way to a 54-40 (half-time 12-26) victory over the Border Bulldogs at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park.

Border made a strong start and the home team was staring down the barrel trailing by 21 points soon after halftime. But led by 21 points from fullback Juan Kotze, the Valke scored 28 unanswered points in an impressive finish to secure their second win of the campaign.

After Saturday’s round of matches, Griquas lead the log standings with 18 points after four matches, followed by Leopards on 12, the Valke and SWD Eagles (both 10), Regent Boland Cavaliers and Down Touch Griffons (both 7) and Border Bulldogs (1).

GWK Griquas 43 (25) Down Touch Griffons 24 (3)

On the day it was the rolling maul that proved to be effective, with flanker Carel Greeff scoring three times after the visitors gained some valuable momentum in Kimberley.

It was the Griffons that started the better of the two sides, with winger Norman Nelson running in for the hosts’ first try as early as the second minute. Flyhalf Colin Herbert, son of the legendary Griffons flyhalf Eric, was successful with the conversion to give the Griffons a seven-point lead.

That sparked Griquas to life and what followed was four unanswered tries, of which two were scored by Greeff. Lock Jonathan Adendorf jotted down first for the visitors, followed by winger Ederies Arendse a couple of minutes later.

Winger Nico Scheepers converted one try before Greeff scored the first of two tries in the first 40 minutes. Scheepers could however only convert one of those, which resulted in a halftime score of 24-7 in favour of the visitors.

The Griffons started a fightback in the first half, with fullback Tertius Maarman scoring one minute after the kickoff. Greeff stepped to the plate again for Griquas, scoring an unconverted try before flyhalf Francois Brummer scored and converted one of his own for the Peacock Blues.

During the last 20 minutes some entertaining rugby was showcased, with centre Japie Nel scoring for the Griffons before Griquas centre Howard Mnisi answered back with a five pointer of his own. Griffons prop Danie van der Merwe had the last say in the game, scoring a try two minutes from time, but it was too little too late for the Welkom based side.

Scorers:

GWK Griquas 43 (24): Tries: Carel Greeff (3), Jonathan Adendorf, Ederies Arendse, Francois Brummer, Howard Mnisi. Conversions: Nico Scheepers (2), Francois Brummer (2).

Down Touch Griffons 24 (7): Tries: Norman Nelson, Japie Nel, Tertius Maarman, Danie van der Merwe. Conversions: Colin Herbert, Pieter-Steyn de Wet.

SWD Eagles 21 (7) Regent Boland Cavaliers 17 (10)

At Wellington, SWD Eagles were first to score when centre Daniel Roberts pounced on a loose pass and scored a try with just ten minutes gone in the encounter. Flyhalf Karlo Aspeling added the extras before Eric Zana opened the hosts’ account with a long range penalty attempt thereafter.

Burly prop Khwezi Mkhafu showed deftness and skills not normally associated with a front ranker and gave Boland the lead when he ran in for his try. Zana edged the Cavaliers slightly further ahead with his penalty and the score remained 10-7 going into the break.

After halftime replacement scrumhalf Dwayne Kelly took the ball from a lineout near halfway and ran a superb line to the tryline. Fullback Elric van Vuuren had taken over the kicking duties and made no mistake with his conversion. The visitors were ahead 14-10 and looked dangerous with ball in hand.

Winger Brian Skosana rounded off a superb team try minutes later after some excellent interplay saw him break free. Hooker Kurt Haupt and centre Martin du Toit both featured in this passage of play as the Eagles surged ahead. Van Vuuren again slotted over the conversion and SWD were looking good at 21-10 going into the final part of the match.

The combination of a rash of substitutions by Boland and the yellow carding of Haupt saw the hosts stage a late fight back. Zana went over after Albert Trytsman had manipulated the advantage of an extra man and converted his own try. Boland were unable to keep the ball and SWD edged the match with some resolute defence right at the death.

Scorers:

Regent Boland Cavaliers: Tries: Khwezi Mkhafu, Eric Zana; Conversions: Zana (2); Penalties: Zana.

SWD Eagles: Tries: Daniel Roberts, Dwayne Kelly, Brian Skosana; Conversions: Karlo Aspeling, Elric van Vuuren (2).

Valke 54 (12) Border Bulldogs 40 (26)

The Valke turned in a superb second-half performance on their way to a 54-40 (half-time 12-26) victory over the Border Bulldogs at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park.

Border had made a flying start at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park with veteran lock Gareth Krause scoring an unconverted try in the seventh minute. The Valke struck back six minutes later when hooker Chris Richardson crashed his way over before Border flyhalf Thembani Mkokeli  restored the visitor’s lead with his first of two tries in the half.

Left wing Lindani Ndelela and Mkokeli, in first-half injury time, both score converted tries as Border eased to a 26-12 lead at half-time.

Lock Wayne Lemley added to the lead with a try within less than a minute of restart before the Valke clawed their way back. Left wing Grant Jancke streaked over for a try three minutes in to the half before tries from Kotze, scrumhalf Anrich Richter, flank Tobie Verwey, right wing Coert Cronje and replacement wing Etienne Taljaard secured an exciting victory.

The Bulldogs only added one more try to their total with replacement pivot Oliver Zono grabbing a consolation try with six minutes left in the game.

Scorers:

Valke: Tries: Chris Richardson, Cecil Dumond, Grant Jancke, Juan Kotze, Anrich Richter, Tobie Verwey, Coert Cronje, Etienne Taljaard; Conversions: Kotze (7).

Border Bulldogs: Tries: Gareth Krause, Thembani Mkokeli (2), Lindani Ndelela, Wayne Lemley, Oliver Zono; Conversions: Masixole Banda

Springboks 55, Scotland 6

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The Springboks have six changes to their starting XV  and a whole new bench – as migratory birds have flown north.

What has been changed is the team that beat Wales last week by a single point with a penalty try near the end.

The Scots are intrinsically weak, coming second last in the 2014 Six Nations and they managed that by beating Italy by a single point – thanks to a dropped goal by Duncan Weir in the last minute.

Recent results:
2013: South Africa won 28-0, Edinburgh
2013: South Africa won 30-17, Nelspruit
2012: South Africa won 21-10, Edinburgh
2010: Scotland won 21-17, Edinburgh
2008: South Africa won 14-10, Edinburgh
2007: South Africa won 27-3, Edinburgh
2006: South Africa won 29-15, Port Elizabeth
2006: South Africa won 36-16, Durban
2004: South Africa won 45-10, Edinburgh
2003: South Africa won 28-19, Johannesburg
2003: South Africa won 29-25, Durban

Teams

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Zane Kirchner.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Robert Harley, 5 Grant Gilchrist (captain), 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Kevin Bryce, 17 Moray Low, 18 Euan Murray, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Tyrone Holmes, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Dougie Fife, 23 Peter Murchie.

Date: Saturday, June 28
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT; 16.00 BST)
Expected weather: Clear with a high of 19°C, dropping to 10°C  
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

SR: Force 7(0), Blues 33(26)

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The Western Force, the surprise package of 2014, are still very much in the hunt for a play-off spot. They can give their chances a significant boost if they knock over a Blues team that has not won away from home since February last year – 13 consecutive defeats on the road.

Victory by the Force over the Blues will set up a crunch final-round clash for the Perth-based franchise with the Brumbies in Canberra – where they may just require one, or possibly even two, bonus points to qualify for the play-offs.

Recent results:
2012: Blues won 32-9, Auckland
2011: Force and Blues drew 22-all, Perth
2010: Blues won 38-17, Auckland
2009: Blues won 25-19, Perth
2008: Force won 27-17, Albany
2007: Blues won 33-6, Perth

Teams:

Western Force:  15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Chris Tuatara-Morrison, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Hugh McMeniman, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacments: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Solomoni Rasolea

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

Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)

Hurricanes hold of Crusaders

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The Hurricanes have beaten the Crusaders with 16 points to 9 this morning.

The Hurricanes played brilliant for their win as they were dominated by the Crusaders in the scrums and lineouts for most of the match.

The Hurricanes had an 11-3 lead at halftime but is was quickly fading away as the Crusaders took better control of the phases of their game. Colin Slade kept the Crusaders in the hunt for most of the game but it was eventually Blade Thompson that claimed a second try with a few minutes to go to seal the win for the Hurricanes.

Thompson scored two tries but his second try was something most people will remember from the big lock.

Barrett had yet another impressive game at fly half and he showed his flair and ability to read the game from the back. Barrett must be the number one fly half for me in the world at this stage.

more to follow:

Scorers:

For Hurricanes

Tries: Thompson 2

Pens: Barrett 2

For Crusaders

Pen: Slade 3

Yellow Card: Matt Todd (Crusaders, 7 minutes – cynical play)

SR: Waratahs 39(14), Brumbies 8(5)

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There is now doubting the importance of this match – with not only Australian conference honours at stake, but the likelihood of topping the global table heading into the home stretch before the play-offs.


Recent results:
2014: Brumbies won 28-23, Canberra
2013: Waratahs won 28-22, Sydney
2013: Brumbies won 35-6, Canberra
2012: Brumbies won 19-15, Sydney
2012: Brumbies won 23-6, Canberra
2011: Waratahs won 41-7, Sydney
2011: Waratahs won 29-22, Canberra

Teams:

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

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Andrew Smith, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Jordan Smiler, 5 Leon Power, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Ruaidhri Murphy, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Jean-Pierre Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Fotu Auelua, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Clyde Rathbone.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Ian Smith (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

SR: Hurricanes 16(11), Crusaders 9(3)

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The Hurricanes know they have to in both their remaining games – the Crusaders on Saturday and the Chiefs in Hamilton a week later – to keep alive their play-off hopes.

Recent results:
2014: Hurricanes won 29-26, Christchurch
2013: Crusaders won 25-17, Christchurch
2013: Hurricanes won 29-28, Wellington
2012: Hurricanes won 23-22, Christchurch
2012: Crusaders won 42-14, Wellington
2011: Crusaders won 16-9, Wellington

Teams:

Hurricanes:  15 Matt Proctor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Blade Thomson, 4 Jeremy Thrush (captain), 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u/Reggie Goodes, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Reggie Goodes/Brendon Edmonds, 19 James Broadhurst, 20 Jack Lam, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Hadleigh Parkes, 23 James Marshall.

Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty (captain), 11 Nafi Tuitavake, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Kieran Read, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Dan Carter, 23 Rob Thompson.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

Six rookies for woman Springboks

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Springbok Women’s coach Lawrence Sephaka on Friday named six new players in his squad to face the Nomads at the Lensbury Club in Teddington on Saturday at 14h00 in the opening game of their Rugby World Cup warm-up tour to England and France.

Both teams have selected 25 players to participate in the match, as it is not a Test match.

In the starting lineup fullback Cindy Cant, centre Benele Makwezela and No8 Shona-Leah Weston will represent the national 15-a-side team for the first time, as well as replacement flank Rachelle Geldenhuys, fullback Siviwe Basweni and wing Nosiphiwo Goda.

Geldenhuys, Goda and Makwezela, however, have represented the Springbok Women’s Sevens team, meaning they have international experience.

Experienced flank Lamla Momoti, who was a member of the Springbok Women’s squad in the 2006 and 2010 Rugby World Cups, will lead the team in the absence of regular captain Mandisa Williams, who is recovering from a bout of flu.

Experienced centre Lorinda Brown has been named the vice-captain.

“We have selected a talented team that features youth and experience and which also contains several play-makers,” said Sephaka. “Since the two matches against the Nomads will play an important role in our preparation for the Test against France on July 4 and for the Rugby World Cup in August, so we plan to give all the players fair game time in the next two matches.

“This match, in particular, will set the tone for the rest of the tour, so it is fantastic to have a bunch of experienced players to guide the youngsters. This will be important against the Nomads as they are a quality team featuring several experienced players from London, Sweden, Ireland, Wales and New Zealand as well as a group of fringe players who want to prove that they deserve to represent their countries, so we expect a big effort from this team.”

Although Sephaka admitted that Williams’ absence would be a blow to the team, he had faith in Momoti and Brown to lead the side.

“It is always sad to lose your captain, but similarly to Mandisa, Lamla has been to two World Cups and her team-mates respect her,” said the coach. “Her decision-making is also one of her key strengths, so we believe that she will fill Mandisa’s big boots with distinction. She will also have an experienced player in Brown to assist with the decisions during the match, which is a bonus.”

Looking ahead at the clash, Sephaka hoped that his strong pack combined with an exciting backline would be able to stamp their authority against the Nomads.

“We would like to see progressive improvement from the team in all facets of the game,” said Sephaka. “I have been impressed with the cohesion of the pack and I am looking forward to seeing the combinations in the backline in action. So we hope to get onto the front foot early on.”

The Springbok Women’s XV will face the Nomads again on Tuesday at the Wasps Football Club.

Springbok Women’s XV to face the Nomads on Saturday, June 28:

15 – Cindy Cant

14 – Veroeshka Grain

13 – Benele Makwezela

12 – Lorinda Brown

11 – Phumeza Gadu

10 – Zenay Jordaan

9 – Tayla Kinsey

8 – Shona-Leah Weston

7 – Vuyolwethu Vazi

6 – Lamla Momoti (capt)

5 – Nolusindiso Booi

4 – Celeste Adonis

3 – Portia Jonga

2 – Denita Wentzel

1 – Asithandile Ntoyanto

Replacements:

16 – Thantaswa Macingwana

17 – Cebisa Kula

18 – Nwabisa Ngxatu

19 – Nomathamsanqa Faleni

20 – Rachelle Geldenhuys

21 – Fundiswa Plaatjie

22 – Siviwe Basweni

23 – Nosiphiwo Goda

24 – Andrea Mentoor

25 – Zandile Nojoko

NSW mourns death of Charlie Onus

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Former NSW Waratah Charlie Onus (62) has passed away in a crash on his farm in Coolac, between Canberra and Gundagai, earlier this week.

Charlie was originally from Mungindi and represented Moree RFC, Central North, NSW Country and NSW in the early 1970s. Born in 1952, he was capped twice for NSW at breakaway in 1976 at the age of 24.

He had the unfortunate honour of making his debut against Queensland in Brisbane on 29 May 1976 on one of the worst days in NSW rugby history, with Queensland blitzing NSW by 42-4. Onus scored the only NSW points when he dived over in the corner for a try during the first half.

The NSW side contained eight members of the then all-conquering NSW Country team, including Onus. His other cap was a big 37-6 win over Fiji the following week at the old Sydney Sports Ground (now Allianz Stadium) on 5 June. Onus represented NSW Country against Sydney in 1974 and 1976. He was a very skillful and mobile backrower, before injury forced his early retirement.

Our thoughts and wishes are with his wife Mandy, his children and brothers Rob and Clive.

SANZAR Adopts IRB Head Assessment

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Following talks with the Medical Officers of its three National Unions, SANZAR has implemented the enhanced Head Injury Assessment (HIA) that was introduced by the International Rugby Board (IRB) on 1 June to supersede the Pitch Side Concussion Assessment (PSCA) tool.

It will be applied to Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship with immediate effect having been introduced during the recent June Tests.

SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said, “From the moment the IRB announced the introduction of the Head Injury Assessment, we made it a priority to take steps that would lead to the enhanced protocol being introduced to SANZAR competitions as soon as possible.

“Player welfare is a primary concern for our sport and we are therefore supportive of the IRB’s introduction of the HIA which will be in effect at Super Rugby from the resumption of the competition this weekend following the June Test window.”

Medical Officers from the National Unions have communicated with doctors at all Super Rugby franchises to ensure they are familiar with the updated protocol and will work closely with them to ensure a smooth transition. This is in addition to the IRB’s Union education.

For more information on Head Injury Assessment, go to http://www.irb.com/newsmedia/mediazone/pressrelease/newsid=2071498.html

Accepted for publication in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the study highlights that prior to the global trial of the Pitch-side Suspected Concussion Assessment (PSCA) tool 56 per cent of players assessed and left on the field of play were later determined to have sustained a concussion.

Since the PSCA trial began in 2012 the percentage has reduced to 13 per cent with this reduction attributed to the combined strategy of education and implementation of the research-driven assessment. Despite these positive results the IRB is committed to driving cultural change within the sport and further reducing the percentage.

Data from the trial has also enabled the IRB’s independent concussion working group to identify enhancements to the PSCA tool, which is used to assess a player when the diagnosis of a head injury is unclear. If symptoms are evident the message remains recognise and permanently remove the player – the PSCA tool should not be used.

Two components of the PSCA tool have been expanded, with the memory test strengthened and the balance test altered, enhancing the information team and independent doctors have available to them when making a return to play decision.

In order to accommodate the expanded PSCA components and following a successful pilot trial, the IRB Executive Committee has approved an increase in the time permitted to undertake the assessment from five to 10 minutes. The new trial will operate from June 1.

Ellis to recommit to Crusaders

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Crusaders and Canterbury halfback Andy Ellis has committed to the Crusaders for 2015, but will first play a season for the Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers rugby club in Japan.

Ellis said  he was excited about the opportunity to play in a new environment and a new competition for a season but remained committed to his teams here in New Zealand.

“I love playing for Canterbury and the Crusaders and I would love the chance to represent New Zealand again if the opportunity ever came up.  This is certainly not a sign of my playing days in New Zealand coming to an end, I am just fortunate to have the ability to play rugby in Japan, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, and then return home to continue with the Crusaders,” Ellis said.

Ellis said he was particularly keen to play for the Kobelco Steelers having spent time in Kobe in the past when his parents lived and worked there for three years.

“My family and I just love the city and the Japanese culture so we are really excited about the adventure we have in front of us.”

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder said Ellis went to Japan with their blessing but the Crusaders are thrilled to be retaining the talent and experience that Ellis offers. “Andy has been such a loyal servant to New Zealand rugby and he fully deserves this opportunity to go and gain some international experience.  We are fully supportive of Andy’s decision to play in Japan, but especially pleased that he’s committed to returning to the Crusaders at the end of his season in Kobe,” Blackadder said.

“Andy has so much more to offer New Zealand rugby so it is fantastic that he continues to see his future here.  He is a core member of the Crusaders team and we are grateful that we will continue to reap the benefits of his experience, energy and personality both on and off the field.”

Head Coach for the Canterbury ITM Cup team, Scott Robertson, said the Canterbury team would miss Andy’s input this year but hoped he would be back in red and black again in the future.

“Andy is a really influential member of this team and just such a pleasure to have around, so obviously we are sorry not to have him this season.  However we can fully understand and appreciate Andy’s decision to take this opportunity for a stint overseas and the door will always be open for a return to the Canterbury team,” Robertson said.

Ellis’s contract with the Kobelco Steelers begins at the conclusion of Super Rugby and he is likely return to Christchurch in February 2015, which may see him miss the early stages of the Super Rugby competition.

Reds ran Rebels off the park

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Beau_Robinson50 For the Reds it was a perfect afternoon in Melbourne with a dominating win over the Melbourne Rebels.

The Reds score no less than six tries to seal a 36-20 win after they were in a commanding lead at halftime with 22-3. The end result flatters the Rebels somewhat as the Reds dominate the whole game from the start.

With the win the Reds were able to bring to an end their losing streak of a five matches away from home this season. The win means the Reds have also turned around their earlier defeat of 27-30 against the Rebels. With no Genia and Cooper the Reds put one of their better performances together this year.

With the Force and the Waratahs waiting in the next two weeks the Reds could do some other teams a huge favour if they build on this win. Both the Waratahs and Force are still in contention for play-off spots so the Reds could potentially cause a headache for them.

With a bonus point try in the bag at halftime the Reds were never going to lose this match.

Final Score Rebels 20 (3) Reds 36 (22)

Scorers

Rebels
Tries – L.Burgess, B.Hegarty, M.Inman
Pen – J.Woodward
Con – J.Woodward
Cards – M.Inman (29th min yellow)

Reds
Tries – L.Turner 2, M.Harris, N.Frisby 2, R.Davies
Con – M.Harris 3
Cards – L.Turner (13th min yellow)

Highlanders beat defending Champions

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Highlander have beaten the Chiefs 29-25 in the first game of Round 17 this weekend. With this lost the changes of the Chiefs defending their title have slipped away.

With almost all the possession in the first half the Chiefs made to many errors on attack to get a demanding lead which should have seen them shutout the Highlanders.

The Chiefs opened the scoring with an early penalty, but the Highlander soon hit back and score the opening try of the match. New All Black centre Malakai Fekitoa powered through a Robbie Fruean tackle which set up Patrick Osborne for the opening try.

Chiefs hit straight back with Cruden chipping a beautiful ball through for Sweeney to collect and score the Chiefs first try. Cruden’s conversion put the Chiefs back into the lead and he extended that lead with a penalty to 13-7.

Highlanders Lima Sopoaga cut the gap a little and at half time the Chiefs lead 13-10.

With a halftime lead 13-10 the Highlanders would have be very confidant for the second half and drew level straight after the break with a penalty to make the score level at 13 all.

From that moment on the Highlanders took their changes and with a breakaway try from Ben Smith took the lead to 20-13.

It was not long after that the Chiefs were penalised with the Highlanders taking full advantage of the referee’s decisions and turned it into points. Highlanders extend their lead quickly to 26-13 as the Chiefs got penalised in kickable positions.

The Chiefs gave their fans a glimmer of hope when they score two tries in the last ten minutes to come within four points of the Highlanders score. The Highlanders kept the Chiefs out for the last few minutes and secure a great win at home over the defending champions, final score 29-25.

Final Score Highlanders 29 (10) Chiefs 25 (13)

Scorers

Highlanders
Tries – P.Osborne, B.Smith
Pen – L.Sopoaga 4, H.Parker
Con – L.Sopoaga 2

Chiefs
Tries – D.Sweeney, T.Nanai-Williams, J.Hohneck
Pen – A.Cruden, G.Anscombe
Con – A.Cruden 2

SR: Rebels 20(3), Reds 36(22)

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Round 17 will be celebrated as ‘indigenous round’ in Melbourne, with both the Rebels and the Reds wearing their limited edition jerseys. However, in rugby terms there is little more than pride at stake. Neither team is still in the running to make the play-offs.

It is the final chance for the Rebels to show their home fans just how far they have come this season, despite limited victories.

Recent results:
2014: Rebels won 30-27, Brisbane
2013: Reds won 33-20, Brisbane
2013: Reds won 23-13, Melbourne
2012: Reds won 32-17, Melbourne
2012: Reds won 11-6, Brisbane
2011: Reds won 33-18, Melbourne
2011: Reds won 53-3, Brisbane

Teams:

Rebels: 15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Jason Woodward,13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman , 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Hugh Pyle, 20 Scott Fuglistaller, 21 Nic Stirzaker, 22 Telusa Veainu, 23 Tom Kingston.

Reds: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Anthony Fainga’a, 11 Dom Shipperley, 10 Ben Lucas, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Curtis Browning, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Ben Daley, 19 Dave McDuling, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Samuela Kerevi, 22 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi .

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Matt O’Brien (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

SR: Highlanders 29 (10), Chiefs 25(13)

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Chiefs coach Dave Rennie described the game as “massive” and with good reason. Defeat will mean it is the end of their reign as Super Rugby champions.



Recent results:
2014: Chiefs won 21-19, Hamilton
2013: Chiefs won 19-7, Hamilton
2013: Chiefs won 41-27, Dunedin
2012: Chiefs won 27-21, Dunedin
2012: Highlanders won 23-19, Hamilton
2011: Chiefs won 20-7, Hamilton
2011: Highlanders won 23-13, Dunedin

Teams:

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 Tom Franklin, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Matias Diaz, 18 Chris King, 19 Josh Bekhuis, 20 Lee Allan, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Phil Burleigh.

Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Dwayne Sweeney, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Tom Marshall, 10 Aaron Cruden (captain), 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Liam Squire, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 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 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Tim Nanai-Williams, 23 James Lowe.

Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Kane McBride (New Zealand), Mike Lash (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Wratt (New Zealand)

Capacity crowd expected in PE

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A capacity crowd is expected at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday when the Springboks take on Scotland.

EP Rugby CEO, Charl Crous, said there were roughly 3,500 tickets left and tickets are still selling fast.

“We have seen an upsurge in ticket sales this week and we are encouraging those who have not yet got tickets to please get them as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”

Crous said it would be great to be able to put up “sold out” signs ahead of the test match and called on Nelson Mandela Bay residents to come out and support the Springboks.

He also advised people to come early to ensure that everyone would be able to get into the stadium before kickoff at 5pm. “We want to ensure that every person who visits the stadium has the best possible experience.”

“When it comes to international games there is always a huge demand for parking. We urge the general public to arrive at the stadium as early as possible, with gates opening from 2pm to accommodate everyone.”

Public parking will be available at schools in the North End area for a small fee. These include Sydenham Primary and Hoërskool Cillié.

“We are working closely with the relevant authorities to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible but would really like to encourage everyone to come early as traffic will be congested due to road closures and limited routes,” he said.

Crous said road closures around the Stadium precinct would be in effect from 7am on Saturday until match day completion. He added that Milner Avenue would become one way traffic from Sydenham Road to Smart Street.

Roads closed include Stebonheath Road/Somers Road, Lakeview Road /Smart Street. Leyland Street / Rhodes Street,  Leyland Street/ Innes Street, Leyland Street / Shephard Street, Leyland Street / Bagshaw Street and Prince Alfred Road / Quick Street.

Crous also advised that there would be additional parking in the streets outside of the road closure zone.

Fans need not despair and worry about being stuck at the stadium with little to do because food stalls, beer tents, and vending facilities will be located all around the stadium and adjacent fields and parks.

GWK Griquas eye bigger log lead

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The GWK Griquas will be aiming to stretch their lead on top of the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division qualifying log table when they travel to Welkom on Saturday to play against Down Touch Griffons on Saturday at the North West Stadium.

The Kimberley-based team is the only unbeaten team left in the qualifying rounds after they defeated their closest rivals, the Leopards, by a single point last weekend during the third round.

The Griquas currently lead the current standings by two points over the Leopards, who will not be in action this coming Saturday.

Down Touch Griffons enjoyed a bye last weekend and the Welkom outfit should proof to be a handful on their home ground, especially after the Griquas just managed to edge Leopards in a bruising encounter last weekend.

Griquas will be without lock Hilton Lobberts, while the team has also undergone several other changes. Boela Serfontein, older brother of Springbok centre Jan, will fill the gap at lock. The log leaders have a well-drilled pack with number eight Danie Schoeman and lock Jonathan Adendorf always prominent, while halfbacks Francois Brummer (flyhalf) and Dustin Jinka will be looking to feed their backs with quality possession.

Neighbours Regent Boland Cavaliers and SWD Eagles will lock horns in a derby encounter at 15h00 at the Boland Stadium in Wellington. The visitors from George will be looking to rebound with a positive display after losing their previous encounter 52-34 at home against the Valke.

The Cavaliers, on the other hand, will be out to build on their momentum following their convincing 37-12 win over Border. The victory was Boland’s first in three attempts and the Wellington-based team will be aiming to have a similar good start as they did last weekend in East London.

Boland have a lively backline with fullback Eric Zana and wings Earl Lewis and Arno Fortuin dangerous on the attack. SWD also have speedsters out wide and a feature of the match will no doubt be the battle of Alshaun Bock and Anver Venter (SWD wings) against the home team’s speedy backline. A tight battle is however expected between the two sets of forwards.

In the remaining match Valke play host to bottom of the log Border Bulldogs in Kempton Park, Johannesburg. Valke have scored ten tries in their previous two matches while Border could manage only three. The East London side will have to show much improvement on defence to keep the Valke from a free-scoring afternoon.

Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Qualifiers – round four

Regent Boland Cavaliers vs SWD

Venue: Boland Stadium, Wellington

Time: 15h00

Date: 28 June 2014

Down Touch Griffons vs GWK Griquas

Venue:  North West Stadium, Welkom

Time:     15h00

Date:     28 June 2014

Valke vs Border Bulldogs

Venue: Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park

Time: 15h00

Date: 28 June 2014

 

Boks, Bulls lose Flip

24

zimbio.com
zimbio.com

Flip van der Merwe’s season ended with a whimper rather than a bang as the big lock was ruled out for the rest of the year with a knee injury.

By:Brenden Nel – SuperSport

According to the supersport.com website, Van der Merwe, who hurt himself in the closing minutes of the one-point victory over Wales in Nelspruit this past weekend, underwent a scan and was sent for a specialist opinion by the Springbok management on Monday.

And the news was not good.

The specialist ruled that Van der Merwe had to undergo surgery on his posterior cruciate ligament, and will therefore be out for six months.

He joins a growing list of injured players who will miss the Castle Lager Rugby Championship and only return to action in next year’s Vodacom Super Rugby series.

The Boks will be hoping on better news for Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira though, as the prop will be monitored for the “bulging disc” in his neck, also sustained in the same game, before a decision will be made about his availability for the Rugby Championship.

But with Willem Alberts also on the sideline this week with concussion, it is hard not to sympathise with coach Heyneke Meyer’s injury list, which just keeps on growing.

In addition to this, Johan Goosen’s reoccurring knee injury has meant he has played virtually just two minutes of the entire June test series.

At the moment there are no less than 18 players out with injury, and if you consider that another seven have been released back to their European clubs, then the Boks sit without 25 players that they can choose from.

The injury list is as follows: Jean de Villiers (knee), Damian de Allende (knee) Eben Etzebeth (foot), Jaque Fourie (ankle), Pat Lambie (bicep), Frans Malherbe (concussion), Scarra Ntubeni (foot), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee), Franco van der Merwe (ankle), Arno Botha (knee), Pierre Spies (bicep), Louis Schreuder (hand), Gio Aplon (elbow), Juan de Jongh (pneumonia), Mtawarira, Van der Merwe, Alberts and Goosen (knee)

The players released to their clubs are Gurthro Steenkamp, Schalk Brits, Bakkies Botha, Francois Louw, Morné Steyn, Wynand Olivier and Bryan Habana.

Crusaders to play the Hurricanes

0

Canterbury_crusaders Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named his team to play the Hurricanes this weekend. The team will head to Wellington tomorrow to prepare for the game at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night.

Eight players have returned from the All Blacks to make the team, including prop Wyatt Crockett who will pack down with Corey Flynn and Nepo Laulala in the front row. Owen Franks will provide front row cover alongside Joe Moody and Ben Funnell on the bench.

Locks Dom Bird and Sam Whitelock will pair up in the second row, and Matt Todd will wear the number 7 jersey with Richie McCaw ruled out with an injured rib. Jordan Taufua and Luke Whitelock join him in the loose forwards with Kieran Read and Jimmy Tupou named in the reserves. Colin Slade returns at first five and Dan Carter will have the opportunity to make an impact off the bench in his first game for the Crusaders this season.

With Nemani Nadolo still representing Fiji this week, Nafi Tuitavake and Johnny McNicholl take the two wings. They are joined by Ryan Crotty and Kieron Fonotia in the midfield, and Tom Taylor takes the fullback spot while Israel Dagg recovers from injury. This is the final away game for the Crusaders in the 2014 regular season. The next two home games against the Blues and the Highlanders will help decide whether they will continue to the play-off rounds.

Crusaders team to play the Hurricanes:

  1. Wyatt Crockett
RESERVES:
  1. Corey Flynn
16. Ben Funnell
  1. Nepo Laulala
17. Joe Moody
  1. Dominic Bird
18. Owen Franks
  1. Samuel Whitelock
19. Jimmy Tupou
  1. Jordan Taufua
20. Kieran Read
  1. Matt Todd
21. Willi Heinz
  1. Luke Whitelock
22. Dan Carter
  1. Andy Ellis
23. Rob Thompson
  1. Colin Slade
  1. Nafi Tuitavake
  1. Ryan Crotty (C)
  1. Kieron Fonotia
  1. Johnny McNicholl
  1. Tom Taylor

Joe Tomane Re-Signs with Aussies

0

as

Qantas Wallabies and ACT Brumbies winger Joe Tomane has signed a new two-year deal with Australia Rugby that will take him through until at least the end of 2016.

His signature further bolsters the rich talent available to the Qantas Wallabies in the outside backs with Tomane determined to add to the nine caps he has earned since making his debut in 2012.

Tomane missed Australia’s recent clean-sweep of the French with a facial fracture although is expected to return to full health during the later stages of the Brumbies campaign, ensuring he will be available for selection during the 2014 Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship. Qantas Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie congratulated Tomane on his new deal.

“You can never have enough quality players at a certain position and I know Joe will work hard and be determined to regain his place in the team once he recovers from his injury,” McKenzie said.

“Joe ticks all the boxes in terms of what you are searching for as a coach and I’m pleased he has chosen to continue his future with Australian Rugby. “He is only at the beginning of his Test career but he does boast a unique combination of size, speed and power, which is invaluable at this level.

“He’s also a guy who contributes a lot to the team environment off the field and is someone who respects the key behaviours we feel are important to this group.”

After making his debut for Australia against Scotland in 2012, Tomane would prove a revelation in his second year of Test Rugby, scoring three tries as part of eight total matches played during 2013. While a toe injury ruled Tomane out of the opening Test of the 2013 The British & Irish Lions series, he was quickly reinstated to play an important role in the remaining two matches against the northern-hemisphere heavyweights.

Injury again limited his involvement during the opening stages of the 2013 Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship before he returned for the Qantas Wallabies’ third match of the series against South Africa at Suncorp Stadium. While the result didn’t go the way of Australia, Tomane would go on to repay the faith of Ewen McKenzie, playing an important role in five wins from the six matches he was chosen for under the new Qantas Wallabies coach.

That included one of the best individual performances of 2013, with Tomane winning Australia’s Man of Gold award for his stellar performance in the Qantas Wallabies’ record 54-17 victory over Argentina in Rosario, where he also scored a runaway long-distance try.

Joe Tomane – Wallaby No.858

Height: 1.90m

Weight: 102kg

Born: 02/02/1990

Province: ACT Brumbies

Test Caps: 9

Test Points: 15 (3t)

Test Debut: 2012 v Scotland, Newcastle

Reinforcements return to face the Blues

0

western force

The Western Force will welcome back six players from injury for Saturday night’s (28 June) encounter against the Blues at the ‘Force Field’ (nib Stadium).

Hugh McMeniman (collarbone), Ben McCalman (groin), Alby Mathewson (ankle), Marcel Brache (ankle), Tetera Faulkner (back) and Solomoni Rasolea (wrist) will all return to the Western Force line-up in the club’s first match back following the three-week Test break.

McMeniman will return at blindside flanker in place of Angus Cottrell, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the Western Australian club’s last match against the Crusaders in Christchurch. McMeniman will make his first appearance since breaking his collarbone against the Chiefs (Week Six) and will form a new back-row combination with Wallaby representatives Matt Hodgson and Ben McCalman, who returns to the Force starting XV after missing the match in Christchurch.

Mathewson has been selected at scrumhalf in his first match against the Blues since leaving the Auckland club to join the Force for the 2013 Asteron Life Super Rugby season. The 28-year-old, who re-signed with the Force for another two seasons last month, has recovered from an ankle injury sustained against the NSW Waratahs in Week Nine and will again team up with ‘super boot’ flyhalf Sias Ebersohn in the halves.

Outside centre Brache will also make his return from an ankle injury suffered against the Stormers in Cape Town. The fleet-footed midfielder missed the last two matches but will make his comeback alongside Chris Tuatara-Morrison in the centres. On the bench, Rasolea will re-join squad after a broken wrist sidelined the powerful back since the club’s Week Eight win over the Queensland Reds in Brisbane. He will be joined on the reserves list by Faulkner, who missed the past two matches with a back complaint.

Head Coach Michael Foley says Saturday’s match represents an significant test for the Western Force. “A large part of our success this season has been the way the boys have maintained focus on the challenge in front of us,” he said. “This match is important as we want to play as well as we can in our next two home games in front of our fantastic supporters.

“One of the features of our season has been how individuals have responded as and when opportunities to play have been presented. On that basis, it’s good to have a number of players returning from injury as it intensifies competition within the squad as we move into the next three games.

“The Blues are a dangerous attacking side and the way we’ve defended, which has given us good go-forward this season, will again be an important part of a good performance on Saturday night.”

Players from the Western Force will wear the socks of their local Western Australian clubs as part of the ‘Club & Country’ match, that pays tribute to the clubs and nationalities that make up and support Western Australian rugby. Representatives from local clubs and nationalities will also take part in a parade around the ground prior to the match.

The Western Force will be looking to extend its record run of 2014 home wins to six, following victories over the Rebels, Chiefs, Waratahs, Bulls and Lions this season.

Tickets for Saturday night’s match are still available through www.ticketmaster.com.au.

2014 Asteron Life Super Rugby – Week 17

Western Force v Blues

The ‘Force Field’ (nib Stadium), Perth

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Kick-off: 7.45pm (AWST)

 

1. Pek Cowan

2. Nathan Charles

3. Kieran Longbottom

4. Sam Wykes

5. Adam Coleman

6. Hugh McMeniman

7. Matt Hodgson (c)

8.  Ben McCalman

9. Alby Mathewson

10. Sias Ebersohn

11. Nick Cummins

12. Chris Tuatara-Morrison

13. Marcel Brache

14. Dane Haylett-Petty

15. Jayden Hayward

Reserves

16. Heath Tessmann

17. Tetera Faulkner

18. Oliver Hoskins

19. Wilhelm Steenkamp

20. Brynard Stander

21. Ian Prior

22. Zack Holmes

23. Solomoni Rasolea

Pollard on World Cup ‘trial’

7

HM

South African Under-20 captain Handré Pollard has been thrown in at the deep end, but Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer believes he will pass the Test with flying colours.

By: Rugby365

Meyer, who waxed lyrical about the prodigiously talented flyhalf, made it clear it is in Pollard’s hands to prove the faith shown in him is justified.

“I have been following him since he was 16, [and played] at the Grant Khomo week,” Meyer told a media briefing – after announcing a team that features Pollard, the starting flyhalf, as one of five uncapped players for Saturday’s one-off Test Scotland in Port Elizabeth.

In total, the Springbok starting team shows six changes from the side which beat Wales by 31-30 in Nelspruit last weekend.

“He would have been part of this [senior Bok] squad if it wasn’t for his commitments at the South African Under-20 side,” the Bok coach said of the 20-year-old’s selection, adding: “We felt it would be a great opportunity for him to lead his country as an U20 player.

“He was always in the mix and we want to see what he can bring to the table.”

Meyer pointed out that three flyhalves – first-choice Morné Steyn, Johan Goosen and Patrick Lambie – are either injured or not available.

“I feel he [Pollard] is a special player and he has brilliant touches on the ball,” the Bok mentor said, adding that he is also big, strong and a great kicker of the ball.

“I just felt this is the type of Test match where we can look to see what he can do.

“If you look at the best flyhalves, they all started [their Test careers] at 19- or 20-years of age. And he is very mature for his age.

“We have a lot of confidence in him and I can’t wait to see him play.”

Meyer said Pollard will bring different dynamics to the team.

“He is a great defender, he is a great attacking No.10 and he can kick as well.

“This is a great opportunity to show that he is good enough to go to the World Cup [next year] and to stay in the team.”

Meyer admitted it is a “big ask”, given that Pollard has played a lot of games recently and has only been back in the country a few days – following his stand-out performance in New Zealand, where he was named the IRB’s Junior World Championship Player of the Year.

Meyer said that after chatting to the young flyhalf and thinking long and hard about it, he still felt now is the right time to introduce Pollard to the Test-match arena.

“I always believe my No.10 is a guy who must show a lot of character,” the Bok coach said, adding: “He is the general that must control play.

“I don’t think there is a better Test than this [against Scotland] to throw him in at the deep end. I would not have selected him if I did not believe he was up to it.”

Meyer explained that two years ago, when Pollard was still at school, he convinced Baby Bok coach Dawie Theron to select the youngster for the SA U20 team that won the IRB JWC in Cape Town.

The Bok coach said Pollard has “always excelled” and that all great flyhalves will stand out when under pressure.

“I believe Handré is a player like that,” he said, adding: “I know his attributes as a leader, having captained the Under-20 team, but [it is] more about his character.”

With Jan Serfontein (also just 21) on his outside, it will fall on veteran World Cup-winning scrumhalf Fourie du Preez to guide the youngster through the pitfalls of a Test debut.

“What you see with these young players, even though they are inexperienced, they bring a lot of excitement.”

Meyer took a swipe at some of his critics, who keeps suggesting he has a team of geriatrics.

“People may not believe it, but I have introduced youth [into the Boks squad] and there are a lot of young players around.”

He also said the one thing they are getting right in South Africa at the moment is that they have adapted similar playing styles with the Under-20  and senior teams.

“A lot of the [Springbok] calls are the same as the U20s and that help,” he said of Pollard having to make the step up to senior level.

“A lot of the calls and plays are the same, so that played a huge role in my selection.”

Five-week ban for Lee

12

bbc.co.uk
bbc.co.uk

Wales prop Samson Lee was slapped with a five-week ban for his ugly headbutt on South African lock Flip van der Merwe in the second Test in Nelspruit last week.

The 21-year-old prop, who made his first start in an international, will miss the first three weeks of Scarlets’ Pro12 season and friendlies against Bath and Gloucester.

He was cited by James Absaloms (Kenya) for the incident, which saw his opponent receive treatment for a blood injury, but was not punished on the field – despite Springbok captain Victor Matfield pleading with referee Steve Walsh to refer the matter to the TMO.

IRB disciplinary officer Christopher Quinlan imposed a 10-week suspension, but the ban was halved because of Lee’s admission of “reckless conduct”, his youth and his remorse at the hearing.

Wales lost the two-Test series 0-2, losing 16-38 in the first Test in Durban before an agonising 30-31 defeat last Saturday.

Quinlan said that he had received a statement from the victim.

“The player and his team accepted that the player’s foul play caused an injury, in respect of which he [Van der Merwe] left the field of play and received treatment.

“During a maul where both players were on the ground, No.3 [Lee] held the SA No.4 [Van der Merwe] and headbutted him on the side of the face. The victim player was later forced to leave the field of play for medical attention. The incident is caught on video.”

The incident took place in the 44th minute of the match.

“The Player said he did not intend to hurt or injure Van der Merwe,” Quinlan said, adding: “He just wanted to get free of him.

“I enquired about his disciplinary record. Disarmingly, he said he could not remember how many times he had been sent off.”

“The Player’s season is now over. Given my findings, the suspension will begin to have a meaningful effect on August 16, the date of the Bath fixture.

“The next match which has a meaningful playing consequence for the player [Lee] is against Gloucester. Thereafter the Pro12 League starts on weekend of [Friday] September 5. Although (to my knowledge) the fixture list has not been published I accept league matches will follow on consecutive weekends thereafter.”

Retallick stands out from the pack

0

tvnz.co.nz
tvnz.co.nz
Let’s face it, when the All Blacks thunder to a rollicking test victory our focus is on the dazzling back play.
By: – Wynne Gray of the NZ Herald

We see Julian Savea slam down his hat trick and Aaron Smith scamper to his double and marvel at their ability. Quite right too, these blokes are exceptional rugby players in a side which is creating outstanding records.

Our talk also focuses on the dazzling 45 minutes from Aaron Cruden to begin the test before the other forthright talents of Beauden Barrett got a whirl at five eighths. If they are backup to Daniel Carter when the Rugby Championship begins, he will have to bring some serious game.

Most do in the All Blacks. That was self-evident in Hamilton when a first half of glorious forward domination and backline venom cut the gizzards out of England.

As the visitors blanched to match their jerseys, the All Blacks rolled over the top of them. That imbalance changed after the break but the damage to the England was terminal.

They pride themselves on muscular cohesion and clinical set-piece work from their forwards but none has matched the consistent series production, topped by another essay in continual motion from Brodie Retallick.

He has been relentless throughout the series and, like Cruden, added the icing on his home track. It was a special performance.

What a rugby ride Retallick has been on since he was promoted to the Chiefs ranks at the start of 2012 then made his test debut a few months later against Ireland. His progress has been as extraordinary as his engine.

It involved a dollop of fortune when Luke Romano’s run of injuries meant more chances and Retallick showed his qualities and the benefits of his combination with Sam Whitelock.

There is no second gear or neutral in Retallick, he is full bore, bang smash clatter throughout his time on the track. Not that he is in any way out of control. The man is simply all-action.

His spring-heeled work at the front of the lineout is very reliable and Retallick’s grinding slog is all part of the momentum the All Blacks need in their mauls and scrums.

Much is made of Victor Matfield’s prowess as he continues to churn through the records in the second instalment of his Springbok career. He is unequalled as a lineout leader and technician, perhaps the best we have seen.

No one and no side has been able to combat or shut down Matfield in his domain. His total understanding of that department and his control of driving mauls is remarkable.

Away from that zone, Matfield is not as dominant. That vigour comes from someone like Eden Etzebeth whose comeback from ankle surgery is almost complete.

He is the real Beast in the Bok side. He has a snarl to match his top quality work at lock and a career which looks like it will run parallel with Retallick for some years. Etzebeth is younger then Retallick and a kilo heavier with their games built on workrate, courage and skill.

Remarkably, the pair made their test debut on the same day in 2012 with Etzebeth hauling on his first Springbok jersey on the other side of the globe in Durban.

September 13, Wellington. Jot that date down in your Rugby Championship diary for what should be a raucous repeat showdown between the rising sensations.

APNZ

Chiefs team to play Highlanders

0

Chiefs

The Chiefs have announced their team to play the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday at 7.35pm.

Investec Super Rugby starts up again with the first of three New Zealand Derby matches in a row for the Chiefs and they know what is at stake.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said “This is a massive game and we have prepared really well. We realize the importance of this fixture and from here on in every match is like a play-off.”

Halfback Augustine Pulu makes his Super Rugby come-back after a recent knee procedure and is joined by Robbie Fruean who will make his long awaited return in a Chiefs jersey. Both players have already experienced some club rugby before making their return this Friday.

Gareth Anscombe starts at fullback with Tevita Koloamatangi, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Tim Nanai-Williams and James Lowe new additions to the bench.

Chiefs fans are encouraged to check out the Chiefs facebook page to vote for their Player of the Year.

Next week the Chiefs will return home to play the Hurricanes in another New Zealand Derby fixture at Waikato Stadium on Friday 4 July.

  1. Pauliasi Manu
  2. Mahonri Schwalger
  3. Ben Tameifuna
  4. Michael Fitzgerald
  5. Brodie Retallick
  6. Liam Messam
  7. Tanerau Latimer
  8. Liam Squire
  9. Augustine Pulu
  10. Aaron Cruden ©
  11. Tom Marshall
  12. Bundee Aki
  13. Robbie Fruean
  14. Dwayne Sweeney
  15. Gareth Anscombe
  16. Nathan Harris
  17. Jamie Mackintosh
  18. Josh Hohneck
  19. Matt Symons
  20. Tevita Koloamatangi
  21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow
  22. Tim Nanai-Williams
  23. James Lowe

Reds team to play Melbourne Rebels

0

reds

St.George Queensland Reds head coach Richard Graham has announced his team to face the Rebels in Melbourne this Friday.

Graham has made just one change to the starting team which defeated the Highlanders in the Reds’ last match before the June Test window.

The forward pack remains unchanged from that match, with the Reds’ Wallabies contingent of James Horwill, Rob Simmons and James Slipper in good health and named in the starting XV for Friday’s clash.

Just one change has been made to the backline that started the Highlanders match, with Nick Frisby named at scrumhalf in place of the injured Will Genia, who is out for the remainder of the Super Rugby season after undergoing ankle surgery last week.

Frisby will partner Reds’ utility Ben Lucas in the halves, who started at flyhalf against the Highlanders last month, after a shoulder injury ruled Quade Cooper out for the remainder of the season.

While the team will be without a familiar partnership in Genia/Cooper, Graham was confident the new pairing would deliver.

“Someone mentioned to me yesterday that it is the first time since 2008 that neither Will (Genia) or Quade (Cooper) have been in the Reds starting line-up,” Graham said.

“Whilst that is unfortunate, I see that as a great opportunity for Pickle (Nick Frisby) and Benny (Lucas) to control the shape of our game. I have absolute confidence in the pair of them delivering what is required.

“I expect the rest of the match squad will be very keen to support the two boys (Frisby and Lucas). They understand what their contribution needs to be and how they can influence the game.”

In the absence of Genia, Graham has named centre Anthony Fainga’a as Reds vice-captain.

“Ant (Fainga’a) deserves the opportunity to be named vice-captain. He demands high standards of himself and has demonstrated on countless occasions his willingness to lead by his actions,” Graham said.

The match sees the welcome return of several players from injury, with Saia Fainga’a, Ben Daley and Lachie Turner named in the reserves.

Both Fainga’a and Daley missed the Highlanders match due to calf and thumb injuries, respectively, while Turner has been out of action since March due to an ankle injury.

“Dales (Ben Daley), Lachie (Turner) and Saia (Fainga’a) all deserved a recall to the bench having worked hard to overcome injury. It has been a long slog for them, but the reward is being named in a squad that is determined to finish the season strongly,” Graham said.

Reds outside back Aidan Toua is expected to be available for selection next week, after recovering from a pectoral injury sustained in March, while outside back Chris Feauai-Sautia (shoulder) and flanker Eddie Quirk (knee) will not be available again this season.

Graham said the team was looking forward to a fierce contest against the Rebels, as both sides look to improve their overall standings in the competition.

“We were very disappointed with the outcome of our previous encounter with the Rebels,” Graham said.

“We felt we needed to deliver a better performance in that match and the team are highly motivated to ensure we deliver something considerably different this time around.

“We have had a strong focus on improving our game throughout the past few weeks. The win against the Highlanders prior to the Test series was important as it demonstrated to the squad that if we continue to work hard the results will come our way.

“Whilst a number of the boys have been involved in the Tests, the remainder of the squad have had a good mix of active rest, training and club Rugby throughout June in preparation for this next block of games. Our focus this week is solely on a strong performance and getting the right outcome down in Melbourne.”

The Reds clash with the Rebels this Friday 27 June at AAMI Park at 7:40pm (EST). Both the Reds and the Rebels will wear specially-designed Indigenous jerseys to commemorate the home side’s Indigenous round.

St.George Queensland Reds team to play Melbourne Rebels
1.
James Slipper
2.
James Hanson
3.
Greg Holmes
4.
Rob Simmons
5.
James Horwill (C)
6.
Curtis Browning
7.
Beau Robinson
8.
Jake Schatz
9.
Nick Frisby
10.
Ben Lucas
11.
Dom Shipperley
12.
Anthony Fainga’a (VC)
13.
Ben Tapuai
14.
Rod Davies
15.
Mike Harris

16. Saia Fainga’a
17.
Albert Anae
18.
Ben Daley
19.
Dave McDuling
20.
Liam Gill
21.
Samuela Kerevi
22.
Jamie-Jerry Taulagi
23.
Lachie Turner

Springbok Women WRWC warm-up tour

0

Springbok-women

Springbok Women’s captain Mandisa Williams on Tuesday said they were ready to measure the quality of their game against international opposition on their Women’s Rugby World Cup warm-up tour to England and France. The team will depart for London on Wednesday where they will play two matches against the Nomads on June 28 and July 1 respectively, which will be followed a Test against France in Marcoussis, outside of Paris, on July 4.

The team gathered in Pretoria last week Wednesday for a training camp, and after a week of high-tempo field and gym sessions, Williams said they were keen to implement what they had learned at training against quality opposition and they are excited to face top class opponents.

“We have worked very hard at the training camp in the last few days,” said Williams. “We have been tested mentally and physically, as we had a few training sessions a day, so the players have a good idea of what is expected of them on tour, and they are ready to measure themselves against quality opposition.”

Williams said apart from exposing the players to a high level of competition, which is vital in the lead-up to the World Cup, this tour would also provide clarity on the areas of their game that require extra attention before the international spectacle.

The Women’s Rugby World Cup will be hosted in France from August 1 to 17. The Springbok Women have been drawn in a challenging pool with Australia, hosts France, and Wales.

Williams, who will feature in her third successive Women’s World Cup in August, expected a tough onslaught on tour and said it was important for her charges to approach these matches with the same attitude as that expected at the World Cup.

“The Nomads always field a quality team, and this year we are expecting a few World Cup fringe players to be included in the squad, which means they will be determined to prove their worth,” Williams added. “The clash against France will be even tougher because that is an official Test match, and it will serve as a dress rehearsal for our World Cup pool game, so it will be important for us to perform well. As a team we hope to take several lessons from this tour to ensure that we are as well prepared as possible when we depart for the World Cup.”

Pollard set for Bok bench

2

2014 Junior World Championship - Match Day 5

Young star Handré Pollard is set to make his Springbok debut off the bench against Scotland on Saturday, and Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron believes he is “100 percent” ready to play Test rugby.

Pollard was the talisman for the Junior Boks in their run to the IRB Junior World Championship final, which they lost 21-20 to England at Eden Park in Auckland this past Friday.

The former Paarl Gym schoolboy was also voted the IRB Junior Player of the Year, and while he would’ve been disappointed that his team failed to win the title, his long journey home was made sweeter when he was called up to the senior Bok squad on Saturday.

Pollard comes in for Morné Steyn, who is one of seven overseas-based players who have been released to their clubs by Saru due to IRB regulations regarding the June Test window.

But it is believed that Bok coach Heyneke Meyer won’t hand Pollard the senior No 10 jersey just yet. Meyer said in the aftermath of the dramatic 31-30 victory over Wales in Nelspruit at the weekend that Johan Goosen had recovered well from his knee injury and may play against Scotland, and it is known that Meyer is keen to see the Cheetahs pivot start a match to gauge where he is with his game.

In fact, the Bok coach stated a few weeks ago that he was planning to start Goosen in the World XV match at Newlands on June 7, but that injuries sustained by first-choice centres Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie meant that there was a lack of experience in the backline, which saw Meyer go back to the dependable Morné Steyn at flyhalf.

So Goosen is likely to wear the No 10 jersey against Scotland, with Pollard on the bench. And even if Goosen’s injury flares up again, Meyer may rather opt for the experience of Ruan Pienaar as an emergency measure at flyhalf than throw Pollard into the deep end. Lions pivot Marnitz Boshoff is also in the squad, but has hardly trained recently due to an ankle injury.

Pollard was outstanding for the Junior Boks, especially in their two victories over New Zealand on home soil, and his Under-20 coach is convinced that he can make the step up to senior international level.

“Well, Heyneke has already shown confidence in him, and I believe 100 percent that he would be able to do it. Handré is physical enough, he is big enough, and he has all the aspects to be a very big player. He’s got the opportunity now, and he still has to prove himself, but we all have a lot of confidence in him that he can do it,” Theron said upon arrival from New Zealand at Cape Town International Airport on Sunday.

“The whole team was unbelievably proud of him. To think back to three years ago where we found him and had to negotiate to get him out of matric.

“We said some players might go on the end-of-year tour, and now Handré Pollard is already in the Springbok group. He was a wonderful captain with wonderful leadership qualities.”

Apart from Steyn, the six other Boks who are not available for the Scotland Test are Francois Louw, Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Gurthro Steenkamp and Wynand Olivier. So with Louw and Habana being first-choice players, Meyer will have to find replacements at left wing and flank and one would think that Lwazi Mvovo and Schalk Burger are first in the queue.

Both Mvovo and Burger have impressed off the bench against the World XV and in the two-Test series against Wales, with Burger performing strongly for the 55 minutes that he was on the field at Mbombela Stadium after Willem Alberts went off injured.

Greater clarity on Alberts’s condition should be available on Monday when Bok team doctor Craig Roberts addresses a press conference in Port Elizabeth, but even if Alberts is fit, a good move would be to pick Marcell Coetzee, who was in top form in Super Rugby, or Siya Kolisi, so that he can look at his options.

Hooker Adriaan Strauss has also completed his three-week ban for a dangerous tackle, so he should replace Brits. With Steenkamp unavailable, one of Marcel van der Merwe and Trevor Nyakane will come in as a reserve prop, while S’bura Sithole, JJ Engelbrecht and Paul Jordaan are the other fit centres in the squad.

Cape Times

Boks eye northern sweep

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Heyneke Meyer has not tasted defeat at the hands of a northern hemisphere rival in over three years and defensive coach John McFarland is not prepared to let that record slip.

The Springboks head to Port Elizabeth for their final Test in the June series hoping to improve on their performance from last week where they just defeated Wales by a point. An under strength Scottish side arrives in South Africa on the back of three victories from their first tour under new coach Vern Cotter. A 24-6 victory over the USA and two tight victories over Canada (19-17) and Argentina (21-19) will see Cotter’s men riding high and looking to upset the Springboks, as they have done before.

McFarland has been keeping an eye out on the resurgent Scottish and knows that even with a depleted squad they can still cause a hiccup for the South Africans. “We watched that game against Argentina, they are on a good roll, they have won three on the bounce and this is their last game of the season with their new coach,” McFarland told the media in Port Elizabeth.

The assistant coach, while being aware of his opposition, is also aware of what this game means for the Springboks under coach Meyer. “We have a very proud record against northern hemisphere teams over the last three years. “If we do well on the weekend we will have been unbeaten record against northern hemisphere teams – so this is obviously what we want to do,” he added.

Looking deeper into the Scottish make-up, McFarland is not being lured into complacency due to the fact that most of their foreign based players are not available. “There are similar players here as there were in November and certainly their back three is very strong,” the coach said of his team’s opposition. “Hogg, Maitland and Seymour are all playing good rugby – their back three are a pretty potent threat.

“They are predominately made up of players from Glasgow and Edinburgh and the fact is that the two teams are coached in a similar way, the Scotland defensive coach is also Glasgow’s defensive coach so he works with those guys daily.”

With the Scots known to throw up a few speed-bumps to southern hemisphere teams (beating Australia 9-6 in 2012 and South Africa 21-17 in 2010) there will be no room to underestimate the Thistles. This comes after the Springboks were almost pipped by Wales on the weekend after thumping them 38-16 in the previous week.

“We are still looking for performance and execution of our game plan,” continued McFarland “It is a measure of a team that they can come back under that sort of pressure and strain and not panic and play proper rugby and end up winning the game in the 78th minute. “The way we bounced back in those last 50 minutes really showed great character, our work-rate was high, if you look at that last passage of play I think we made 30 tackles in the space of two minutes and really got great kick pressure on the drop goal.

“New Zealand have also been in that position, against Ireland at the end of last year, and they came back. “That is why were are excited,  we are able to win a match in so many different ways at the moment.” The big talking point around the country is the spaces that are left by the returning foreign based players to their overseas clubs, and who will fill them. McFarland was tight-lipped on personnel, but mentioned that the extended squad should allow new players to fill in seamlessly.

“It is obviously sad to see them [overseas based players] go because they have contributed a lot, but other guys get chances to play and to make their mark as well,” McFarland said in closing. “It is actually great to have them for the period that we have had, to have a big squad of 36 and to be able to work with them for three weeks.

“If I think back to 2012, we also had an extended squad with about nine or 10 young guns in that squad and if you look, all of those guys have been capped.

“They get to learn the structures, the coaches, how we work and they feel more comfortable with it so it has been great to have a bigger squad.”

Source: Rugby365

 

Transformation not Bok coach’s job

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Jan de Koning gives a better reflection on the issue of transformation than certain other media sites…..

The pressure may be on Heyneke Meyer to select more ‘black African’ players, but transformation is not the Springbok coach’s responsibility.

The dreaded ‘T-word’ – which has been voiced unstintingly by politicians in recent months – received more airtime on Monday when South African Rugby Union President Regan Hoskins made it clear he wants to see more non-white faces in the national team.

Hoskins said he personally spoke to the Bok coach, Meyer, and said players like Teboho Mohoje, Sibusiso Sithole, Lwazi Mvovo, Siya Kolisi and Trevor Nyakane must get opportunities sooner rather than later.

The SARU boss said he was referring specifically to ‘black Africans’, when he suggested some changes could be made ahead of SA’s one-off Test against Scotland in Port Elizabeth this coming Saturday.

SARU Chief Executive Jurie Roux confirmed that Hoskins had spoken to the Bok coach about the vexed issue of more black players in the national team, but added that it is not up to the Bok coach to bring these players through the ranks.

He suggested transformation is a much bigger issue than just how many non-white (or black Africans) play for the Boks.

“It [transformation] is wider rugby’s job – from age group level, Cup, Currie Cup and Super Rugby level upwards to provide the volume of talented players – black African, coloured and white – from which our national coaches can pick what we hope will be world-beating teams,” Roux told rugby365.

Roux added that all SARU’s national coaches are aware of the need to be sensitive to transformation, as they sit most in the public eye.

“There has not been a SARU president who has not discussed the issue of transformation with the national coach,” the CEO said.

“The topic is at the top of our agenda and we do not shy away from that.

“But what became evident from the work of the Eminent Persons’ Group is that although significant progress has been made in terms of transformation, the development of black African sports stars in sports such as ours – as well as others – had lagged.”

Hoskins’ discussion with Meyer came in the wake of the revelation that the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee came out and praised SARU for its effort in transformation, contrary to the popular perception that the union has no transformation plans.

SASCOC CEO Tubby Reddy last week said he was pleased with the steps taken by SARU thus far.

Hoskins admitted that there is “pressure from above” to give black players more opportunities at national level.

Adriaanse, Lewies called up to Boks

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Lourens Adriaanse (prop) and Stephan Lewies (lock) of the Cell C Sharks have been called up to the Springbok squad in Port Elizabeth, where they face Scotland in the final Test of the Castle Lager Incoming Series on Saturday.

Adriaanse replaces his provincial team-mate Tendai Mtawarira, who sustained an injury to his neck in last Saturday’s 31-30 victory over Wales in Nelspruit.

Lewies comes into the squad for Flip van der Merwe, who injured knee ligaments late in the Welsh Test. Both Mtawarira and Van der Merwe underwent scans in Port Elizabeth on Monday. “Tendai has a bulging disc in his neck and he will consult with a specialist in Durban as soon as possible,” said Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts.

“Flip hyper-extended his knee in a tackle and scans confirmed our clinical suspicions of a posterior cruciate injury. He will consult a knee specialist in Pretoria later on Tuesday.”

Furthermore Willem Alberts, who can provide lock cover, left the field against Wales last Saturday after suffering a concussion and Bakkies Botha was released from the squad this week.

“We take concussion very seriously and have a set return-to-play protocol that Willem needs to progress through. A final call on his availability will be made later in the week,” explained Roberts.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said that Adriaanse and Lewies were the next players on the standby list.

“Lourens has been with us before and I’m sure he will slot back in easily,” said Meyer of Adriaanse, who made his Test debut last November against France in Paris.

“Stephan was part of our training squad in Durban at the end of last month. He arrived in Port Elizabeth earlier today and looked good at our afternoon training session. He has been very good in Vodacom Super Rugby this year and deserves this opportunity.”

Adriaanse will join the Springbok squad in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

Vlok Cilliers to join WP Rugby Union

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Springboks open training session

The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd has confirmed that Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls kicking consultant Vlok Cilliers will take up an offer from the Western Province Rugby Union.  He will start at Newlands in July 2014.

Cilliers was utilised as kicking consultant to the Vodacom Bulls as well as the Vodacom Blue Bulls since 2013. The BBC has however, decided to agree to his request and grant him the opportunity to take up the offer from WP.

“We understand Vlok’s decision that it is a good time for him to move on in his career and wish him well. This will also afford us the opportunity to stimulate our current environment with some new ideas” Xander Janse van Rensburg, High Performance Manager at the BBC said.

“We will be utilising the services of Louis Koen at the SARU Mobi-Unit and also have former Springbok and Vodacom Bulls Super Rugby winner Derick Hougaard at Loftus as a kicking consultant.”

Theron proud of his Junior Springboks

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The Junior Springboks returned to South Africa on Sunday from the IRB Junior World Championship in Auckland, where they were just edged by defending champions England in a thrilling final at Eden Park on Friday.

The team arrived in the early morning hours at OR Tambo International in Johannesburg and when the Western Cape-based players and management landed just before midday in Cape Town, they were warmly greeted by a large group of family and friends.

Speaking at a media briefing shortly after their arrival at the Cape Town International Airport, Theron said the squad showed the future of South African rugby looks bright. He added all the talented youngsters will learn from their good experience in New Zealand.

The 21-20 loss to England apart, the Junior Boks can look back on an outstanding 2014. They achieved a first ever whitewash, 3-0 series win over the difficult Argentina Under-20 side. At the JWC, Handré Pollard and his team finished first in Pool C and stacked up wins over Scotland, New Zealand (twice) and Samoa en route to the final.

Coach Theron felt of one of the things that definitely worked out well for the Junior Boks was the fact that they shared the same hotel with the Kiwis during the three-week long tournament.

“The players could deal with them face-to-face every day, and the manner in which the guys handled it, with maturity, it is praiseworthy. We are all friends off the field anyway in rugby, and it was probably two of the most titanic battles ever fought at junior level – against New Zealand in New Zealand and with all that backing that they had. I was just so proud of the guys,” said Theron.

The Junior Bok coach further explained the two matches against NZ plus the bruising encounter against Samoa eventually took its toll on his team in the exhausting final clash.

He said: “The matches against NZ were must-win situations and then the final against a good England side. Perhaps it was the mental fatigue, and we didn’t show the same patience that we did against NZ. We lost a vital ball that we knocked-on from an attacking scrum and if we had to score there, then it was 17-3 for us and it would’ve been a different ball-game. Handré Pollard also tried his best and just missed with two drops goal. However, a final is a final, and it brings other things to the table.”

According to Theron, everyone in the Junior Boks set-up are immensely proud of the achievements of their captain, Pollard. The flyhalf was awarded the IRB Junior Player of the Year 2014 prize after he led his team superbly at the JWC. He also became the highest points scorer in the history of the JWC. Pollard was called up to the Springbok squad on Saturday and will join the senior national rugby squad on Sunday evening in Port Elizabeth for next Saturday’s Test against Scotland.

“Handré is just getting better and the whole team is unbelievably proud of him,” explains Theron. “To think back to three years ago where we found him and had to negotiate to get him out of the matric (school) desks. I went to look at him at the Coca-Cola Craven Week trials and it is just an unbelievably proud moment as a team management, the Under-20 fraternity, and then the team who played with him.

“He was a wonderful skipper with wonderful leadership qualities. Although we did not in the tournament, it was just a great experience for him with his teammates. The guys had an unbelievable spirit and I think they won’t ever forget each other,” said Theron.

According to Theron nine players of his current squad are eligible again for the next JWC in 2015 in Italy. They include the Du Preez twins, Dan and Jean-Luc, Joseph Dweba and the highly rated DHL Western Province duo of Jacques Vermeulen and JD Schickerling.

Towering lock Schickerling was one of the outstanding forwards on display during the three-week tournament in Auckland.

“You could play him (Schickerling) at six, seven or eight and he would play just as well! He is a born rugby player, he is a footballer,” beamed Theron.

“We played Nico (Janse van Rensburg) at five as he is more experienced, but JD can play there and learned from Nico, so he can make the calls next year. We are also busy with a development plan, so we are growing JD, and I don’t think there was a better four lock around either.

“Overall, we lost one of nine matches this year. Unfortunately, that was during the JWC final and it was by a single point against the defending world champions. Although we just fell short of our goal, South Africans can be very proud of the effort, conduct and commitment of these youngsters,” said the Junior Boks coach.

Boks face open-side scrutiny

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Is history going to awkwardly repeat itself when the Springboks tackle Scotland in the final Test of the June internationals in Port Elizabeth on Saturday?

ByRob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

It is a question well worth asking because South Africa – minus Francois Louw, as they will be again – were outwitted at the breakdown when the unsung Scots last visited our soil in 2013 and were much better value in their 30-17 defeat at Mbombela Stadium than the scoreboard suggested.

The visitors had led by 11 points at one stage and the Boks only really put the game to bed with the last move of the match, substitute Jan Serfontein’s converted try giving the eventual margin of triumph a gloss it didn’t deserve.

It was broadly acknowledged by senior Bok personnel afterwards that they had been run so close largely because of the Scots’ superior tenacity and cunning in the battle on the deck.

Bath-based Louw, the Boks’ regular No 6 flank, had been released from that particular fixture to get married, and it was certainly one reason the overwhelming favourites laboured in that department.

A year later, and Louw will ominously be an absentee against these opponents again, this time because the game falls outside the agreed window – in New Zealand and Australia, Super Rugby matches resume next weekend — and the Boks have had to release seven squad members who are attached to either French or English clubs.

It will inevitably bring back under the critical microscope coach Heyneke Meyer’s selection disaffection with Cheetahs open-side dynamo Heinrich Brussow, who earned a spot in an enlarged training squad ahead of the June internationals but then didn’t crack the slightly more condensed party for the games themselves.

Brussow still has a firm fan club, especially given lingering memories of his epic performances against the All Blacks in the 2009 Tri-Nations-winning season.

Instead it looks as though one of Marcell Coetzee or the versatile Schalk Burger will be asked to start at No 6 in the Friendly City, even if neither is a true specialist as a scavenger.

Siya Kolisi of the Stormers is also a consideration for the berth, although he has mostly been nursing lingering niggles this season and not produced nearly the calibre of rugby he did in 2013.

Coetzee was in the starting loose trio that experienced a “difficult” day against Scotland last June, along with rookie Arno Botha (he was forced off early with damaged knee ligaments) and Pierre Spies.

Kolisi hastily took the place of Botha and played impressively, although more in a ball-carrying and tackling role than for stealing possession at the breakdown, where the Scots ruled the roost.

Sharks stalwart Coetzee has looked a more rounded player in the No 6 jersey in their big push for Super Rugby honours this year, and clearly worked hard to become a better poacher; the 23-year-old’s range of other attributes is hardly in doubt.

He ought to be hungry for game-time after a few idle weeks, although he did return from a shoulder injury to play the late-May derby against the Stormers at Kings Park, where the Sharks suffered a damaging last-gasp defeat.

A potential complication for the Boks is that first-choice hooker Bismarck du Plessis is among several key players well overdue for a week off; he had to put in another exhausting shift in the dramatic 31-30 victory over Wales at Nelspruit.

He came off 14 minutes before the end, to be replaced by Schalk Brits, although the mobile Saracens star is now among the ineligible players for the Scotland game.

At least the experienced Adriaan Strauss is available again after rare suspension and been a welcome infusion to the now more lightweight squad – the Cheetahs captain may even be fast-tracked to a start as he knows Bok systems so well after 33 caps for the cause and reputation as a world-class player in his own right.

But if Du Plessis is either rested altogether or curtailed to the bench in PE, an inconvenience is that it robs the Boks of another muscular, highly alert factor in ball-pinching …

Unwanted Bulls lock heads to France

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Bulls lock Paul Willemse is heading to France, after being overlooked for Springbok selection.

The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed on Monday that Willemse will head abroad at the end of the year.

The 22-year-old player will join French club Grenoble after the Currie Cup competition on a two-year deal.

According to the BBC High Performance Manager, Xander Janse van Rensburg, it is becoming increasingly difficult to hold on to players and to compete with overseas clubs.

He added that with Willemse being overlooked for Bok selection the big cash offer was too good to ignore.

“Paul feels that he is not currently in the mix for Springbok selection and has a number of locks ahead of him in the line-up, so wants to add a different element to his game by playing in the French Top 14,” Janse van Rensburg said.

“Game time in France will see him improve as a player and we can reap the benefits of that upon his return.

“We tried our utmost best to retain the services of Paul,” Janse van Rensburg added.

“It is however very concerning that we are losing players at a younger and younger age to the overseas market.

“In Paul’s case, we are talking about a massive offer to the player and one that is very hard to say no to.

“We certainly cannot blame Paul for accepting such a lucrative offer, but even if we wanted to, we could not match it as this is one of the biggest offers I have seen for a player of his age.”

Willemse plans to return to South Africa in two years’ time to make a bid for the Springboks jersey and could well be back in Bulls colours then.

Source: Rugby365

Ruggaworld Support World Thumbs Up MND Day

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Pollard,Strauss to join Springboks

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2014 Junior World Championship - Match Day 5

Junior Springbok captain Handré Pollard, who was named IRB Junior Player of the Year on Friday, and experienced Test hooker Adriaan Strauss will join the Springboks in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

Pollard superbly led the South African Under-20s at the Junior World Championships in New Zealand. The Junior Boks twice beat the NZ U20s en route to the final, where they were edged 21-20 by England in Auckland on Friday. Strauss has been a fixture in the Springbok squad since 2012 and missed out on the last three matches because of suspension. He is free to play again next weekend.

Seven players based in France and England have been released to their clubs and will not be considered for selection for next weekend’s final Test in the Castle Lager Incoming Series, against Scotland at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. They are Gurthrö Steenkamp (prop), Schalk Brits (hooker), Bakkies Botha (lock), Francois Louw (flank), Morné Steyn (flyhalf), Wynand Olivier (centre) and Bryan Habana (wing).

“I’ve always rated Handré very highly and with Morné returning to France and Johan Goosen struggling with a knee injury, we decided to bring him in,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. “Adriaan has been with us since June 2012 and has played in every Test in the last two seasons. He knows our structures well and will slot back in with no hassle.

“We will still travel to Port Elizabeth with a strong squad and will only consider calling up more replacements if necessitated by injury. The players in the squad who have not yet featured in one of our three matches this month have worked very hard. “I’m a believer in earning opportunities and I feel that some of them deserve a chance to play for the Springboks against Scotland as they’ve now become accustomed to how we play and won’t let their country down.”

Jurie Roux, CEO of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), explained that the Test against Scotland falls outside of the international window prescribed by the IRB.

“We have reached agreement with the South African provinces and certain clubs that their players may be made available for the match,” said Roux. “The French and English clubs have exercised their right to withdraw their players from the Test and we respect and understand that. “All the matches during the Castle Lager Rugby Championship fall within the IRB window and players based in Europe and South Africa will be available for selection.

“Because of the special nature of the Japanese season and the way in which it is structured, we have worked with these clubs to have players available for Springbok duty on an individual basis. That means Schalk Burger, Fourie du Preez and JP Pietersen will be available for certain matches, as agreed with their clubs.

“All Rugby World Cup matches next year fall within an international window and therefore all South African qualified players based anywhere will be available for selection.”

Springboks 31, Wales 30

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It is an interesting game in an interesting town, this second Test between South Africa and Wales, one in which a losers could get more kudos than the winners if the Welsh are the losers and do better than they did in Durban.


Recent results:
2014: South Africa won 38-16, Durban
2013: South Africa won 24-15, Cardiff
2011: South Africa won 17-16, Wellington
2010: South Africa won 29-25, Cardiff
2010: South Africa won 34-31, Cardiff
2008: South Africa won 20-15, Cardiff
2008: South Africa won 37-21, Pretoria
2008: South Africa won 43-17, Bloemfontein
2007: South Africa won 34-12, Cardiff
2005: South Africa won 33-16, Cardiff

Teams

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Lodewyk de Jager, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Wynand Olivier, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Turnbull, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins.  
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Paul James, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Dan Baker, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 James Hook, 23 Matthew Morgan.

Date: Saturday, 21 June 2014
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT; 14.00 BST)
Expected weather: Sunny with a high of 23°C, dropping to 2°C.
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Francesco Pastrana (Argentina)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

NZ masterclass silences England

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New Zealand found the missing gears to produce an unstoppable first half in Hamilton, hammering England 36-13 to win the series 3-0.

We’ve been waiting for the All Blacks to truly play like the All Blacks all month. They levelled the 17-game winning streak by the 1996/1997 Springboks and matched by themselves two years ago in brutal fashion. It was awesome to behold. They had only needed 20 minutes in Dunedin – this one was all over after 40. You can argue this was a game too far for England, but even at peak fitness and with all their starters, hell if any side in the world faced New Zealand in this mood, the outcome would be the same.

Malakai Fekitoa did well on his first start, but it was the more familiar names – Ben Smith, Aaron Smith, Julian Savea, Jerome Kaino, Tony Woodcock and the rest – that were a cut above. Aaron Cruden too, under pressure from Beauden Barrett, responded. Savea, unplayable at times, bagged a hat-trick. That said, England were broken in the first half. Their set-piece crumbled. Missed tackles were incessant – 13 in all. It’s not what we’ve come to expect from Stuart Lancaster’s team over the last two years.

Despite their fighting spirit after the break, the result was already decided. This could have been a hiding, yet England bizarrely kept New Zealand out until well after the hooter sounded. Performing the Kapa o Pongo in consecutive weeks was as clear sign of respect towards an English outfit that have made New Zealand sweat.

Good pressure at the base of the scrum from Ben Youngs forced the All Blacks into a scramble, Robshaw winning his side an early penalty for Burns to convert. He hooked it to the left. Fast starts have helped England be competitive in this series but now it was New Zealand’s turn to score first, the ever present Savea given too much room following Chris Ashton’s missed tackle on Aaron Smith with Mike Brown unable to stop the giant wing at full flight.

Burns was on the money with his second penalty attempt, but New Zealand were in a ruthless mood. Cruden responded to his critics with a scything run, England’s narrow defence ripped open again so that even though the pass bobbled across the turf Savea still had enough time to gather and go over for his second. This week, unlike the previous two, even the bad passes were coming off.

Savea could have had a hat-trick inside 14 minutes, if only Ben Smith’s final pass hadn’t gone forward. Three times Ashton rushed infield to defend and three times Savea was left with nothing but grass in front of him. Thriving off England’s exhausted set-piece and their backward steps, New Zealand’s power was all-consuming as Cruden added another three to the board. Burns responded to add some colour at 15-6.

When your luck is against you the running is never easy, so Billy Vunipola’s extremely harsh yellow card for a high tackle of Cruden stuck England further under the cosh. There was no time to wallow, the All Blacks short lineout giving Dane Coles a touchline sprint with only Ashton’s intervention stopping another try.

England were being burned on the outside time and again as this time Cory Jane had too much speed for the drift, cutting back against it and giving Aaron Smith enough room to finish. Having relied so much on their organisation in the close quarters in the first two tests, England now had none to speak of even in defence or at the set-piece.

Ben Smith was also matching his mood from Dunedin, the mesmerising full-back at it again with steps, tackles, kicks and assists punishing England over and over in an outstanding first half as Aaron Smith scored again. They could have lead by more than 29-6 at half-time. England’s character has never been questioned though, despite the deficiencies. Yarde barged his way over for a second try in two games after a good break from Ben Youngs – who stood out – and could very nearly have had a second when he was held up over the line.

Removing both Kieran Read and Cruden from the line of fire, initially lose a little bit of momentum but they left England sucking in the big ones with a sustained period of pressure the oddly ended with no points scored. Yarde was turning into a nuisance for the All Blacks with his powerful carries, the intensity from New Zealand naturally slipping away after such a perfect opening 40 minutes.

Giving Yarde space wasn’t wide but Savea had the presence to bundle him after touch after the England winger had skipped around Ben Smith – a rare sight at that. From their spoiling tactics at New Zealand lineouts to their stubbornness, England were frustrating their hosts once again. Not that it truly mattered. Wyatt Crockett was the fall guy for the All Blacks persistent discrepancies as the hosts finished the contest with 14 men. Old All Black errors at the lineout from the previous Tests also crept back in, the perfection of the first half feeling very long ago.

God help any side that faces New Zealand when they consistently get it right for 80 minutes. It’s yet to happen in 2014.

The scorers:

For New Zealand:

Tries: Savea 3, A.Smith 2
Cons: Cruden 3, Barrett
Pen: Cruden
Yellow Card: Crockett

For England:

Try: Yarde
Con: Burns
Pens: Burns 2
Yellow Card: Vunipola

Source: Planet Rugby

Tackle on streaker under review

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A tackle by a security worker on a streaker will be reviewed by Dunedin Forsyth Barr Stadium authorities.

The tackle, in the 62nd minute of the All Blacks v England test on Saturday, will form part of a postmatch review of the test, Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) marketing and communications manager Kim Barnes said yesterday.

”A postmatch review meeting will be taking place tomorrow morning with all relevant parties and this incident will be part of that review. Comment will be made after this meeting,” she said.

Videos of security worker and New Zealand under-20 rugby team triallist and 2013 Crusader development team member Brad Hemopo’s tackle of a 28-year-old streaker had attracted more than 200,000 views on You Tube late yesterday and comments were divided on the incident.

One person described the tackle as ”cowardly” and another said it was a ”cheap shot”. Others defended the security guard and said the streaker would not have been tackled had he not invaded the pitch.

Mr Hemopo brought down the streaker from behind and three security guards escorted the naked man from the field.

When contacted, Mr Hemopo (19) said he could not comment. Sergeant Reece Munro, of Dunedin, said the arrested man from Christchurch had a ”cold night in the cells wrapped in blankets”.

He was released about 4.30am yesterday with his ”watch and covered in paper overalls”.

The man was ”moderately intoxicated” when he arrived at Dunedin Central Police Station about 9pm and was charged with offensive behaviour.

He had been summonsed to appear in the Dunedin District Court on Wednesday. The charge was a fine-only offence with a maximum penalty of $1000.

Southern District Command Centre deployment co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Dave Scott said he did not believe police had received a complaint about Mr Hemopo’s tackle and streakers were ”treated reasonably seriously” by police.

”It’s seen as a bit of a giggle and a laugh, but there is a serious side to it,” he said.

”There’s potential for them [pitch invasions] to be untidy.”

Questions to DVML concerning both the qualifications and the conduct of Mr Hemopo went unanswered yesterday.

Senior England teams media manager Dave Barton said the team had no concerns for the safety of its players because they were ”confident” security ”would do their job”.

”It’s one of those things that happen in matches,” he said.

A spokesman for the All Blacks said they would not comment on the incident.

-timothy.brown@odt.co.nz

Boks in search of perfect game

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The Springboks are aiming for a perfect performance against Wales in their second match in Mbombela on Saturday.

South Africa ran in five tries against the Celtic nation in Durban last weekend, but lost some steam in the final 20 minutes of the match.

Springbok stalwart and captain Victor Matfield on Friday said the team was not completely satisfied with their performance and they would be looking to turn in an 80-minute performance of the same quality as last week’s first half.

“In the first half we were spot on, we only conceded one penalty in that whole first half and were in their half the whole time and we could play,” said Matfield, who will become the most-capped Test player when he runs out in his 112th Test match breaking the record held by John Smit.

“The second half we made mistakes and we gave them ball and we had to defend.”

If South Africa eliminates the mistakes Matfield referred to, the Welsh could be in for a world of pain in Mpumalanga’s lowveld.

The Welsh have never tasted victory on South African soil and will be looking to make a step-up from their lacklustre performance in Durban.

Wales coach Warren Gatland had made only two changes to his run-on side with the hope they could plug the whole that sunk their ship so unceremoniously last weekend.

Gatland spoke at length of the high intensity of rugby in the southern hemisphere which his team was unable to cope with.

The Springboks’ fleet-footed Willie le Roux was the mastermind in South Africa’s convincing victory and Gatland would have made some plans to minimise or even stifle the threat the fullback posed to the Welsh.

While the South African pack established quick ball for the backline to run amok, Matfield reserved praise for the players behind the scrum.

“Few of the plans we had last week worked well, maybe they’ll have a look at it and have a different defence, but we’ve got a good structure and within that good decisions,” Matfield said.

“Some of our players, especially in the backs, made great decisions that led to tries, so hopefully those guys can breach the defence again and make good decisions this weekend.

“It is important that we are even better than last week, it was a great start for us, but there were a lot of mistakes there as well, and we want to get that right this week.”

Springbok mentor Heyneke Meyer this week warned of a Welsh backlash, while he also called for an improved showing by his charges.

“They (Wales) will lift themselves and you can’t be complacent, you have to take it to a new level,” Meyer said.

“It is not about the score, it is just to get every single thing right and be consistent for 80 minutes. The main goal is to play the perfect game. I thought we were close to [that in] the first half, but you need to do that for 80 minutes.”

Speaking about breaking Smit’s record, Matfield said while it was a great achievement, his attention was directed on the team’s performance rather than on himself.

“It is a great milestone for me but it is all about the team.

“We had a great game last week and there is a lot of pressure on us to go out and do the same and try to give an even better performance.”

Sapa