The June International is done and dusted with four wins for the Boks which included one close encounter with Wales in the second test a week ago.
A few combinations and players were tried and tested from the Springbok management team. Some of these selections we saw was due to injuries, players unavailable due to club commitments and some player decided he did not want to play for the Boks anymore.
Everything considerd, I believe Meyer has learnt a lot on which players he has to build his team on for the World Cup in England next year.
What we want in SA Rugby is too have quality players in every position and able and experienced back-up when we struggle with injuries in a position.
Meyer did this in the golden years with the Bulls and back then we had a Bulls squad that played for each other and won tournaments more than any other South African province or franchise.
With the Bulls you had Springbok first choice players that played from the bench for the union in a time that South African rugby was strong enough to win Tri-Nations and a World Cup.
If we look at our options that we have from the June Internationals you would be surprise to see how much of that same environment Meyer has brought to the Bok setup since he took over. We suddenly have a situation of who to pick in every position, rather than who will be able to fit in when a certain player gets injured or is unavailable.
Let’s look at the positions and I am only taking the guys who was part of the squad or training group:
Fullback we have Willie, Zain, Mvovo, Lambie and Bosshoff, who can all play there.
Wing we have Mvovo, Habana, JJ, De Allende, JP, Hendricks, Le Roux and Jean
Centre we have Jean, JJ, De Jongh, Serfontein, Jacue, De Allende and JP
Flyhalf we have Morne, Pollard, Bosshoff, Goosen, Pienaar and Lambie
Scrmhalf we have Fourie, Pienaar, Hougie
Loose forwards we have Vermeulen, Alberts, Schalk, Francois, Coetzee, Oupa, Kolisi and Brussouw
Locks we have Bakkies, Victor, Eben, Flip, Pieter Steph, Lood and Stephan Lewies
Hookers we have Bismarck, Struass and Brits with a few others waiting in the wings
Props we have Jannie, Beast, Gurthro, Connie, Malherbe, Marchel
All in all I believe we have a player’s corps are much better than many people believe in this country which should enable us to have a second player in each position who is world class. I am sure there are many more players that can be through into the mix as well.
More impressive performances by the coastal teams continued to be a feature of play at the Under-13 Coca-Cola Craven Week, being played at Glenwood High School in Durban. The second round of fixtures took place on Tuesday and Boland, Border, Eastern Province and Western Province continued their prominent attacking displays from Day One.
The Leopards also showed good form with a second win in as many days.
The teams have a free day on Wednesday and matches will resume on Thursday and Friday.
A comprehensive match summary can be sourced by clicking on the various match links.
The Valke started well against Western Province, who battled to find the rhythm they displayed against Pumas on Monday. Solid defence from both sides resulted in a try-less first half, with only a penalty by Tiaan Botes forcing the scorers into action and giving Valke the lead at the break.
The second half was as tight, but after Kirwan Stewart kicked a penalty for WP, a converted try by WP seemed to be enough to secure the win. The Valke continued to press and a late try by Ulrich Wiese gave them the opportunity to share the honours. The relatively easy conversion attempt was unsuccessful though, much to the delight of the WP team.
WP 10 (0). Try: Benjamin van Schalkwyk. Conversion: Fabrizio Linnert. Penalty: Kirwan Stewart.
The Eastern Cape side continued to impress with their style of play and stayed undefeated, but had a major scare against the Far North team on Tuesday. Two tries in the opening minutes seemed to have the Limpopo team against the ropes, but to their credit, they regrouped and, at the final whistle, it was Border hanging on to get the result. In the end, only a missed conversion stood between Limpopo and a well-deserved draw.
Boland stayed undefeated on day two in Durban, but never had it easy against the hosts, who were determined to win their first match in front of their home crowd. The Boland team had the edge on attack though and that was always going to be to their advantage. Two well-worked tries in each half proved the difference, but KZN should be encouraged by their strong showing.
It was a tight affair in the first half between these two undefeated sides, but a strong second half saw Eastern Province romp home over the Golden Lions.
A Michael Paddock penalty was the only score in the first 25 minutes of this tight tussle, but two well-worked tries by EP early in the second half gave them the buffer and confidence to push the Golden Lions defence. The Golden Lions responded well through a converted try, but conceded possession from the restart, resulting in a try to EP which sealed the match.
Eastern Province 22 (3). Tries: Enrico Bantom, Michael Paddock, Siyathanda Hallom. Conversions: Paddock. Penalty: Paddock.
Golden Lions 7 (0). Try: Franku Muller. Conversion: Ian Small-Smith.
The Leopards secured another win, this time against highly-rated Griquas, with a strong first half paving the way to victory. Griquas could not continue their winning form from Monday and after conceding two tries in the first 20 minutes, lost their composure. It was another productive day for Leopards flyhalf Estiaan Schonfeldt, who added another 12 points to the 22 he scored on Monday.
SWD continued where they left off on Monday, again toppling a big name team. This time the Blue Bulls played second fiddle to the coastal side, whom on Monday had beaten Free State. It was a hard-fought clash, with the Blue Bulls playing much better than in their defeat against Border on Monday.
In the end team play against talented individuals proved to be the difference. The Blue Bulls had a late chance to draw the match after Raynard Roets scored a try a minute from time, but the conversion went wide.
SWD 19 (14). Tries: Auburn Bezuidenhout, Marno April (2). Conversions: Hendrik Victor (2).
Blue Bulls 17 (7). Tries: Lohan Potgieter (2), Raynard Roets. Conversion: Marcus de Kock.
The Pumas bounced back from their big defeat on day one by beating Free State, resulting in a second consecutive loss to the heartland team. The Pumas managed to get some first phase possession and attacked well throughout the match. Unfortunately for the Free State, they could not improve on their performance on day one as their defence imploded.
It was another close defeat for Namibia, but a well-deserved win for Griffons on day two. The winning team played with more discipline and when Jaco Weideman scored his second try in the second half, it proved to be the difference. Namibia played well, especially in the first half, but could not contain the forward power of the Northern Free State team.
The value of a reliable kicker proved to be the difference in this clash as it determined the outcome in a lively match where both sides scored five tries each. The difference proved to be the three successful conversions by Rukudzo Munyeza for Zimbabwe, who also played with much more purpose in the second half.
Border CD 27 (27). Tries: Aviwe Mlabeni, Lisa Wam, Mzwamazizi Ngalo (2), Viwe Mahlamvuna. Conversion: Lutho QinisileAt the LSEN Week in Potchefstroom, the Valke on Tuesday kept their winning record intact by beating Blue Bulls EE 35-24.
As Adriaan Strauss vir die Bulls gaan speel, sal hy hom by ‘n hele spul spelers voeg wat die Vrystaatse span gaan verlaat.
Trevor Nyakane en Lappies Labuschagne soek ook ander weivelde. Nyakane sou na die Bulls gegaan het, maar die Stormers bie ook vir sy dienste, terwyl Labuschagne vir die Sharks of die Bulls kan gaan speel.
Verlede week het die Cheetahs Johan Sadie (Japan), Phillip van der Walt (Biarritz) en Johan Goosen (Racing Metro) afgestaan.
Ander spelers wat hul vertrek bevestig het, is Hennie Daniller (Italië), Riaan Smit (Frankryk), Ligtoring Landman (Newport en Gwent Dragons), Nick Schonert (Engeland), Kevin Luiters (OP Kings) en Andries Ferreira (wat saam met Daniller vir Zebre gaan speel).
Aan die positiewe kant het die Cheetahs die dienste van die Lionskrumskakel Willie du Plessis bekom. Die middelveldspeler Piet Lindeque het sy kontrak opgesê om te gaan boer en dit lyk of Coenie Oosthuizen sy kontrak sal hernu.
Springbok Women’s captain Mandisa Williams has been withdrawn from the team’s tour to England and France due to injury and will undergo rehabilitation in South Africa before the Rugby World Cup, which starts in August.
Williams is suffering from a knee injury and the Springbok Women’s medical team decided it best for the player to recover fully at home to ensure her availability for the World Cup from August 1 to 17 in France.
“It was a tough call to make, but we believe Mandisa’s rehabilitation is more important than supporting her team on tour as she has been ruled out for the Test against France on Friday as well,” said Springbok Women’s coach Lawrence Sephaka.
“Our main goal this season is to perform well at the World Cup, and this decision was taken with that in mind. We wish Mandisa well during her recovery in the next few weeks and we look forward to welcoming her back fully fit at the World Cup holding camp in Cape Town on July 14.”
No replacement has been called up for Williams.
The Springbok Women’s XV will take on the Nomads at the Wasps Football Club in London in their second tour match at 15h00 South African time on Tuesday and the final tour match will be on Friday in Marcoussis, France where they will face the home team.
Fourie du Preez will miss the Castle Lager Rugby Championship following an ankle injury sustained by the Springbok scrumhalf in last Saturday’s 55-6 Test victory over Scotland in Port Elizabeth.
Du Preez left the field in the first half of the Test. He was sent for x-rays immediately afterwards and went for an MRI scan in Pretoria on Monday, which confirmed earlier suspicions of an anterior syndesmotic injury. He will be sidelined for at least three months.
“It’s a massive blow to lose yet another world-class player and a key player due to an injury,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“Fourie is also a dynamic leader and one of the vice-captains in our team and his injury is a huge setback.
“Fourie has been brilliant since he returned to the Springboks last year and he will be missed. However, this provides an opportunity for other scrumhalves to prove themselves and make the step up when the opportunity arises.”
According to Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts, Du Preez will undergo a procedure in the coming days to determine the stability of the syndesmosis. “If it is unstable, he will require screw fixation but if it remains stable he can be treated conservatively without surgery,” said Roberts. “If it is stable and it is treated conservatively, Fourie will be out for approximately three months, but it could be more if he requires surgical fixation.”
At the moment, six Springboks who featured for South Africa in the last year are not available for the Castle Lager Rugby Championships. They are Du Preez, Jaque Fourie (ankle), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee), Arno Botha (knee), Pierre Spies (bicep) and Flip van der Merwe (knee).
Following the final week’s round of matches in May, ahead of the June break, there was some fear that the Cell C Sharks had suffered more than just a loss at the hands of the Stormers, but that their hopes of a top two finish had been removed from their hands.
But the Crusaders’ loss to the Hurricanes this past weekend has left the door wide open for the Cell C Sharks to once more hold their destiny in their own hands and build that top two finish that they seek and a direct route to a home semi-final without having to play a qualifying match.
The Highlanders’ defeat of the Chiefs also means they are a team poised to spoil at this late stage – with their remaining games against the Crusaders and Waratahs.
“At the start of the season, who would have picked the Highlanders and Crusaders to both be on 42 log points at this stage of the competition,” asked Director of Rugby Jake White. “It showed again, everyone thought that the Crusaders would win their game , and not for any other reason than the Crusaders are usually – at this time of the season – playing really well. And the Crusaders still have to play the Highlanders and the Waratahs also have to play the Highlanders, so there are still so many more permutations that can take place in the final two weekends of the pool stages of this competition.
“A lot can still happen.”
Sadly, there was no such good news coming out of Sydney when the Waratahs were able to go top of the log when they defeated the Brumbies, leap-frogging the Cell C Sharks for the first time this season.
“Unfortunately the Brumbies didn’t do us any favours when they lost to the Waratahs, but in all fairness to them, they’re a depleted team, playing a prop at hooker, it also doesn’t help them to be missing Matt Toomua and Sam Carter,” said White. “They were always going to struggle in this match against a team pushing for top spot, and achieving it with their win. We as the Cell C Sharks were never going to rely on the Brumbies to win the game and inadvertently do us a big favour.”
It’s never good to rely on other teams to do you any favours, but Lady Luck always somehow conspires to help teams at an opportune time, perhaps frowning on others when they least need it. The Highlanders winning means they are going to push the Waratahs and Crusaders hard in their final two matches, while the Crusaders loss has opened the window of opportunity for the Cell C Sharks to finish first or second – they must just grasp that opportunity with both hands.
“The most important lesson that we’ve been speaking about is that we have to keep doing what we have to do and that’s win.”
“I’ve spoken a lot about us holding our destiny in our own hands and that’s exactly true now still. We have two more games and if we win them both, we’ll finish in the top two. And if the Highlanders get a win over the Waratahs, or the Reds do the same, we can still finish top. And yes, there is always a lot of talk about finishing top of the log, but you still want to win the competition, so there is enough there for us to know we need to work hard to win the comp.”
The annual Craven Week capping ceremony at Loftus Versfeld is a dream moment for many young players, as it’s often seen as taking the first steps towards a career playing the sport that he loves.
A group of 22 players gathered at Loftus Versfeld on the evening of Thursday 26 June, to part take in their official capping ceremony. These young men were treated to an inspiring evening that will live in their memories for a long time to come.
Werner de Beer, Coordinator High Performance, Schools and Amateur Rugby, kicked off the evening with a few words welcoming the team and their families. The 2013 Absa Currie Cup Captain, Jono Ross, then addressed the youngster, and as always, spoke from the heart and shared a little about himself, the team and the structures.
The players were also addressed by a host of high profile dignitaries, which included: Louis Nel (President of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union), Andre van der Westhuizen (CEO of Enrista, the teams main sponsor), Xander Janse van Rensburg (High Performance Manager of the Blue Bulls Company), and Ferdi Niemand (Chairman of the Blue Bulls High Schools Association).
NSW Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has brought in the experienced Stephen Hoiles to cover for Dave Dennis at blindside flanker for this Sunday’s final home match of the season at Allianz Stadium, after the skipper was ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
After the Waratahs dominated the set piece against the Brumbies, there are no other changes up front.
Benn Robinson will become the most capped prop in Waratahs history (131 caps) when he starts at loosehead. On the other side, Sekope Kepu is at tighthead, with Tatafu Polota Nau at hooker. Kane Douglas has maintained his mortgage on one of the lock spots, the other will be taken by South African international Jacques Potgieter.
For the second time this season, Stephen Hoiles (33) will start at blindside flanker. Speedster Michael Hooper, who takes over as captain, is at openside and Wycliff Palu the No. 8.
The halves combination remains the same, with Nick Phipps wearing number nine and last week’s Magners Man of the Match Bernard Foley in 10: the pair has starting together in all 15 games so far this season.
Playmaker Kurtley Beale is at inside centre with his partner in running rugby, vice-captain Adam Ashley-Cooper, at outside centre.
On the wings are Rob Horne and two-try hero Alofa Alofa, with the mercurial Israel Folau at fullback.
Coach Cheika is still to trim his bench to the required eight and has named 10 players on the interchange. The final matchday will be confirmed later in the week.
The RaboDirect Rebels have departed for South Africa, home for the final two weeks of their 2014 Asteron Life Super Rugby campaign.
Clashes against the Lions in Johannesburg, and the Bulls in Pretoria, will bring the curtain down on the Rebels season.
The Rebels have never won in South Africa, coming agonisingly close in bonus point defeats to the Lions and Stormers in 2012, and are determined to finish the season on a high following three consecutive disappointing defeats.
Head Coach Tony McGahan has taken 25 players to Johannesburg with him today. The remaining Rebels will continue to train at VISY Park and will play in the #DewarShield this weekend, with the possibility that some may be called upon to head to Pretoria next week.
Full RaboDirect Rebels touring squad to Johannesburg to face the Lions: