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Currie Cup week 4 roundup

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DHL Western Province this weekend remained the only unbeaten team in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division following an exciting fourth round, which saw the Steval Pumas claim their second big scalp.

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The Nelspruit team kicked off the weekend’s matches on Friday with a shock 32-22 bonus-point victory against the Cell C Sharks, which ended the Durban team’s three match winning run.

In Saturday’s matches, GWK Griquas put up a brave fight against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Kimberley despite being forced to play with 14 men for 47 minutes, with the hosts suffering a respectable 36-25 defeat, while log-leaders DHL Western Province registered a narrow 23-18 victory against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.

The Xerox Golden Lions, meanwhile, registered their third bonus-point victory of the season as they thumped the EP Kings 41-22 in Port Elizabeth.

Steval Pumas 32 (18) Cell C Sharks 22 (9)

The Steval Pumas claimed their biggest scalp in the competition on Friday by defeating the Cell C Sharks 32-22 for their third victory in four matches. The victory catapulted them into third place on the log standings above their Durban counterparts and served as a warning to the other teams that they can compete against the best in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division. Such was the home side’s dominance they out-scored the Cell C Sharks four tries to one, while the opposition relied heavily on penalty kicks to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Cell C Sharks flyhalf Fred Zeilinga opened the scoring with the first of his five penalties in the seventh minute, but tries by Steval Pumas No8 Renaldo Bothma and flyhalf Justin van Staden to add to two penalties and a conversion by Van Staden handed the hosts an encouraging 18-9 half-time lead.

The visitors bounced back strongly in the second half with Zeilinga slotting over two penalties to add to the team’s only try of the match by SP Marais. But two tries in three minutes for the home team in the last 10 minutes forced the match out of range for the Cell C Sharks and earned the hosts a valuable bonus point.

Scorers:

Steval Pumas – Tries: Justin van Staden, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Renaldo Bothma, Stefan Watermeyer. Conversions: JC Roos (2), Justin van Staden. Penalties: Justin van Staden (2).

Cell C Sharks – Try: SP Marais. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga. Penalties: Fred Zeilinga (5).

GWK Griquas 25 (3) Toyota Free State Cheetahs 36 (15)

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs secured their second victory against the GWK Griquas in three weeks as they scored five tries to three to remain within range of the top sides in the series. The Bloemfontein side started the match strongly with a try by lock Francois Uys and a penalty in the first 13 minutes. They were later handed a massive edge as GWK Griquas No8 Carel Greeff received his second yellow card of the match in the 34th minute, which resulted in him being sent off for the remainder of the match. Free State wing Rayno Benjamin took advantage of this to run in their second try of the half shortly before the break for a handy 15-3 lead.

The hosts, however, forced their way back into the match with two tries in the third quarter, but three back-to-back tries by the visitors forced them into a convincing lead on the scoreboard and secured their bonus-point victory. The home team, however, fought until the end, which allowed wing Ederies Arendse to score their third try on the stroke of full time.

Scorers:

GWK Griquas – Tries: Ederies Arendse, Martin Bezuidenhout, Tian Meyer. Conversions: Dean Grant (2). Penalties: Dean Grant (2).

Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Clayton Blommetjies, Francois Uys, Jean Cook, Rayno Benjamin, Tienie Burger. Conversions: Pieter-Steyn de Wet (3), Willie du Plessis. Penalty: Willie du Plessis.

Vodacom Blue Bulls 18 (0) DHL Western Province 23 (3)

The battle at Loftus Versfeld was exciting as the Vodacom Blue Bulls delivered a solid performance on attack and defence in a desperate attempt to avoid another heavy defeat against the Cape side. Such was the closeness of the first half Western Province entered the break with a 3-0 lead.

The game, however, opened up in the second half as both teams raised the tempo of their play and went in search of space, which saw each side score two tries. Vodacom Blue Bulls flank Jacques du Plessis had the first say as he received the ball in space and sprinted to the tryline in the 48th minute, but two fantastic tries within four minutes by DHL Western Province wing Kobus van Wyk and Springbok Sevens star Seabelo Senatla pushed the team into a fair lead. The hosts bounced back four minutes from the final whistle with an impressive try by wing Sampie Mastriet, and worked their way into the visitors half minutes later to keep alive hopes of a late victory. But a knock-on metres from the tryline meant they had to settle for the five-point defeat.

Scorers:

Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Jacques Du Plessis, Sampie Mastriet. Conversion: Joshua Stander. Penalties: Tian Schoeman (2).

DHL Western Province – Tries: Kobus van Wyk, Seabelo Senatla. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (2). Penalties: Demetri Catrakilis, Kurt Coleman (2).

EP Kings 22 (19) Xerox Golden Lions 41 (21)

The first half of the clash between the EP Kings and Xerox Golden Lions in Port Elizabeth was thrilling as both sides kept the opposition guessing and used their point-scoring chances. This resulted in the team’s earning three tries a piece.

The third quarter, meanwhile, was tight as the teams battled to penetrate the defence, but two penalties by Xerox Golden Lions fullback Ruan Combrinck to a drop goal by EP Kings flyhalf George Whitehead allowed the Johannesburg side to inflate their lead slightly. A late surge by the visitors, however, sealed the victory thanks to two tries in the last 10 minutes, which also secured their bonus point.

The result allowed the Johannesburg outfit to leap into second position on the log standings – three points behind DHL Western Province – while the Port Elizabeth team remains at the bottom on the log with only one point to show for their efforts in the first four rounds.

Scorers:

EP Kings – Tries: Penalty Try, Shane Gates, Siviwe Soyizwapi. Conversions: Scott van Breda (2). Drop Goal: George Whitehead.

Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Derick Minnie, Franco Mostert, Jaco Kriel, Ruan Dreyer, Schalk van der Merwe. Conversions: Ruan Combrinck (5). Penalties: Ruan Combrinck (2).

WP stay undefeated with win over Blue Bulls

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In a match dedicated to Motor Neuron Disease sufferers, Tinus Linee (of WP) and Joost van der Westhuizen (of the Bulls), both teams threw everything at each other in a bid to come out tops.

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In the end, it was Province who emerged victorious despite the try tally ending equal at two apiece, DHL WP having scored two breathtaking tries through wingers Kobus van Wyk and Seabelo Senatla.

The visitors led 3-0 at half-time but found themselves trailing the Bulls by 6-10 with just under half an hour remaining at Loftus Versfeld – before the stunning scores from Van Wyk and Senatla.

Van Wyk finished strongly in the right-hand corner after taking a great off-load from the official Absa Currie Cup Man of the Match Senatla, the latter having come over from the left-wing after a clever move between Demetri Catrakilis and Jaco Taute.

Catrakilis kicked the tough touchline conversion and he made no mistake just two minutes later with another conversion after Senatla’s near length of the field effort from a brilliant DHL WP counter-attack.

The match ended with the Bulls on attack deep in the Province 22 – the Bulls having also scored a late try through left-wing Sampie Mastriet – but a knock-on in the visitors’ 22 saw them come away with the victory, their fourth in succession.

With the Sharks having lost away to the Pumas on Friday evening, DHL Western Province are now the only unbeaten team remaining in the 2014 Currie Cup with a four-point lead on the log over the second-placed Pumas.

DHL Western Province will host the EP Kings at DHL Newlands next Friday night (September 5), with kick-off at 19h10.

The scorers:

For the Vodacom Blue Bulls:
Tries: Du Plessis, Mastriet
Con: Schoeman
Pens: Schoeman 2

For DHL Western Province:
Tries: Van Wyk, Senatla
Cons: Catrakilis 2
Pens: Coleman 2, Catrakilis 2

CC: EP Kings 22, Xerox Golden Lions 41 (Full time)

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Kings vs Lions

Things just don’t seem to be getting easier for the Kings. Having been ravaged by the Lions (60-19) and Province (35-16) Carlos Spencer and his men could not even overcome a struggling Bulls – albeit at Loftus.
They now face off against an opposition that managed to push past 60 points on them in Round Two again and with Spencer admitting that his teams attitude is not right, it could be another long night.
Lions coach Johann Ackermann has been forthright about his experiment with Nicolaas Hanekom at flyhalf – and with the selection of Andries Coetzee in the No.10 jumper this week it would seem that it was a failed experiment.
Spencer believes that his team made strides against the Bulls (coming within five points), but against the Lions it will be a different ball game  – even if it is at home.
Teams:
Eastern Province Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Ronnie Cooke / Siyanda Grey, 13 Tim Whitehead / Ronnie Cooke, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Paul Schoeman, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Steven Sykes, 4 David Bulbring, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Bennie Geldenhuys Uys.
Replacements: 16 Mike van Vuuren, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Shaun McDonald, 19 Stefan Willemse, 20 Tobie Botes, 21 Siyanda Grey / Dwayne Jenner, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa.
Golden Lions: 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Lionel Mapoe (captain), 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Andries Coetzee, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacments: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Martin Muller, 19 Derick Minnie, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Ricky Schroeder, 22 Howard Mnisi.

CC:Vodacom Blue Bulls 18, DHL WP 23 (FT)

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Bulls vs WP

The Blue Bulls are enduring their worst Currie Cup campaign in recent history and while they did well to record a bonus point victory over the EP Kings last week the end result was only a 5 point difference to a team with much less star quality than they have.

Frans Ludeke seems to be in a bit of a rut at the moment, he is trying to use the Bulls tried and tested system with personnel that don’t fit. What he will hope for this weekend is for some sort of emotional response from his players, to ignite something bordering on hatred to the blue and white hoops of the visitors.

He has gone for the experienced pack of forwards to win the physical battle but has somehow opted to select Callie Visagie over the vastly superior Bongani Mbonambi, a move that many view as borderline insanity. Jesse Kriel starts at 15 for the Bulls and with news that Jurgen Visser is out for the season will feel more confident in expressing himself should he get the chance.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has made only one change to his starting line up and that is Jaco Taute coming into the midfield for the injured Michael van der Spuy. Province will be out to collect the prized “ double” over their traditional rivals but Coetzee was quick to downplay any premature talk of victory let alone bonus points stating that “it doesn’t get bigger than playing the Bulls at Loftus”.

Western Province have a fairly young pack but they are brimming with confidence after laying the platform for their teams unbeaten run so far, they also have a well balanced bench that provides the ability to both shut out a game as well as change tack should the need arise.
Should the visitors gain the upper hand expect exciting number 8 Nizaam Carr to make an early exit, Coetzee was at pains to point out that “Nemo needs a break” , Siya Kolisi in some fine form himself will most likely take over that role.

Blue Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Joshua Stander, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (captain), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Hencus van Wyk, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Ryan Nell.

Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (captain), 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Stephan Coetzee, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Ruan Botha, 19 Rynhardt Elstadt, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Pat Howard.

CC:GWK Griquas 25, Free State Cheetahs 36

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Griquas vs Cheetahs

For the Griquas this is an absolute must win on a patch where they know how to give big teams are torrid time, having Hawies Fourie involved will only add that much more self-belief to the men from Kimberley .

Having failed to register a single win the home side will be going all out to put on over their bigger budget neighbours especially with the narrow 7 point loss in Bloemfontein fresh in their minds.

Griquas also know they were their own worst enemies last week having squandered some try scoring opportunities in the first half against the Pumas before capitulating in the second, a more disciplined performance may well see them in the points.

Rory Duncans men must have been furious at themselves after allowing the Sharks to come back and take a win last week but Duncan has put it down to it being the immaturity of a young team.

Duncan will probably ask his charges to move the ball around a bit and avoid lineouts as his lock pairing is not the tallest in the competition. The weather forecast for Kimberley is a chilly 16 but the sun will be out which will allow for the ball to get some air and the Cheetahs will be hoping their dangerous broken play runners will be clinical.

Griquas: 15 Francois Brummer, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Wayne Stevens (captain), 11 PJ Vermeulen, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Ruaan Lerm, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Jonathan Adendorf, 3 Ewald Van Der Westhuizen, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Janro Van Niekerk, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Abraham Griesel, 21 Gideon la Grange, 22 Rocco Jansen.

Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Henco Venter, 3 Dolph Botha, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Kevin Stevens.
Replacements: 16 AJ Le Roux, 17 George Marich, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 JP du Plessis

Woeful Sharks get run over by Pumas

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The Steval Pumas didn’t just win against the Sharks on Friday night but they got a bonus point win and prevent the Sharks from getting any points from the game as they secure a 32-22 win in Nelspruit.

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Jimmy Stonehouse men showed their attention from the start of the match with some brilliant handling and attack.

Stefan Watermeyer played some of his best rugby and got the nod at the end for the man of the match award as he was in many aspects the Pumas plan maker in the game. With a 18-9 lead into halftime one thought that their maybe an upset on the cards as the Sharks were struggling to get moment in the match with some ordinary play from some of their backline players.

There will be some serious questions ask on Monday from their backline who just never could get real momentum and could not straighten their lien on attack enough to break through the defence of the Pumas.

Zeilinga had a bad day at the office and were on the back foot most of the time and took some poor decisions at time. One know the talent of Zeilinga, but with a few poor performances the last couple of weeks will put questions in the player as well as the couches minds.

Both wings of the Sharks, Odwa Ndungane and Tonderai Chavhanga will want to forget this game as soon as possible. Chavhanga had a few changes but handling errors from the speedster let him down on the night.

Ndungane also had a terrible game and to make his night even worse was the questionable yellow card that was given against him for a so-called slap down. The referee referred the incident to the TMO and they both decided that the Ndungane deliberately slap down a ball which replays showed that as he went for the tackle his hand hit the ball in the process.

The Sharks forwards played some brilliant rugby at times and were the reason the Sharks shared some go forward ball in the match. Captain Lubabalo Mtembu was once again the standout player for the Sharks with Hoffman also pitching in for his first start in the Sharks number nine jumper.

The Pumas played an attractive brand of rugby and was rewarded with two first half tries for their effort. Once again Bothma was the go forward guy for the Pumas with his strong runs and defence. Van Staden kept on impressing for the Pumas and as last week scored a brilliant try for his team.

Jimmy Stonehouse was awarded the coach of the year in 2013 and must be close to be awarded the same accolade again this year.

With the four try bonus point win the Pumas have moved up to second place on the Currie Cup log but there are still some games to be played over the weekend which could see them slip down the log.

One thing is for sure, the Pumas is here to play some attractive rugby and will be hard to beat in Nelspruit this year in the Currie Cup.

The scorers:

For the Pumas: Tries: Bothma, Van Staden, Watermeyer, Mtyanda

Cons: Van Staden, Roos 2

Pens: Van Staden 2

For the Sharks: Try: Marais

Con: Zeilinga

Cons: Zeilinga 5

 

CC: Steval Pumas 32, Cell C Sharks 22

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Jimmy Stonehouse would not have had to go out of his way to motivate his charges for this game, The Pumas are fiercely proud of their home record and reputation will want some revenge for the previous fixture where the Sharks gave them their only loss for the season, a 17 – 34 scoreline in Durban.

Shraks vs Pumas

The Sharks, though shaky have still managed to go without a defeat so far this year and win this evening will go a long way to improve squad confidence while still building momentum. Brad Mcleod Henderson knows full well that his charges will have to nullify the potent Pumas pack if they are to take this fixture and that is no easy feat.

He would have preached discipline and accuracy during the week in order to make the game loose enough to unleash his lethal backline.

Pumas: 15 John-Wessel Bell, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 Jacobus Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosco Spekman, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Dylon Frylinck, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Corne Steenkamp (captain), 5 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 4 Frikkie Spies, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Swys du Toit, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Frank Herne, 17 Dee-Jay Terblanche, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Juan-Claude Roos, 22 Coenraad van Wyk.

Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Sibusiso Sithole, 12 Paul Jordaan, 11 Tonderai Chavhanga, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Conrad Hoffmann, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu (captain), 7 Francois Kleinhans, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 JC Astle, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Lourens Adriaanse, 18 Stephan Lewies, 19 Johan Meyer, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Heimar Williams, 22 Lionel Cronje

 

Club Rugby News from Danny’s Desk

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Welcome to another edition of Danny’s Desk where you can find all relevant club rugby information

Rugby News
Rugby News

We’re now at the business-end of the season and clubs are starting to feel the pressure to end the season on a high. There are promotion places up for grabs, as well as the start of the President’s Cup in a few weeks’ time.

Let’s have a look at some results from around the divisions.

In Super League A, Hamilton’s cemented their place in the 2015 Community Cup with a convincing 45-19 victory over Tygerberg. Maties were too strong for Primrose as they ran out 50-10 winners and Durb-Bell thrashed SK Walmers 68-5, whilst Helderberg were narrow 8-6 winners over UWC.

In Super League B, Villager beat Pniel 7-5 to keep alive their title chances. Collegians beat Rangers 24-12 in their derby match played at Surrey Estate, Sir Lowrians beat Goodwood 24-22, whilst St Georges got a crucial victory when they beat Scottsdene 64-15.

In Super League C, Violets beat Raithby Universals 23-19, Silvertree and Noordelikes played out to an 18-18 draw, Franschoek United beat Strand 46-15 and Stel/Cor beat Mannenberg Rangers 11-7.

In the Top 9 Champions League, Masiphumelele beat Caledonian Roses 40-19, Young Stars beat Cloetesville 32-10, Lagunya beat Young Ideas 21-16 and Blue Jets beat Young Wesleys 33-16.

The 2014 DHL Western Province Emerging side has again reached the final of the Southern Amateur Provincial Championship in Humansdorp. The team, coached by Kuilsriver’s Lionel Langenhoven, is made up of Super League A players.

Below is a breakdown of the results from Humansdorp as well as a full team list:

APC South Day One results – Monday, August 25:
DHL Western Province Emerging 36 EP Invitational 24

APC South Day Two results – Wednesday, August 27:
DHL Western Province 30 Boland 12

APC South Round Three fixtures – Friday, August 29:
09h00: EP Invitational v Border Rural (7th/8th-place play-off)
10h45: Boland v Border (3rd/4th-place play-off)
10h00: EP Urban v EP Rural (Plate Final)
12h00: SWD v DHL Western Province (Cup Final)

The 2014 DHL Western Province Emerging side:

1. Gerard Lotter (False Bay)
2. Charlton van Jaarsveld (Tygerberg)
3. Gabri Lourens (Helderberg)
4. Wade Schoor (Primrose)
5. JP Kellerman (Tygerberg)
6. Sphetholo Buthelezi (Hamiltons)
7. Jose Julies (UWC)
8. Patrick O’Brien (UWC)
9. Louis Nel (Maties)
10. Shane Vallender (Hamiltons)
11. Cheslin Roberts (Belhar)
12. Tiaan Loots (Durb-Bell)
13. Danwill Erasmus (SK Walmers)
14. Craig Pheiffer (Hamilton’s)
15. Adrian Roberts (Belhar)
16. Thobela Ngonyoza (Kuilsrivier)
17. Steve Robbeson (Hamiltons)
18. Earl Johnson (False Bay)
19. Christy van Niekerk (Kuilsrivier)
20. Jason van Rooyen (Kuilsrivier)
21. Errol Jagger (Helderberg)
22. Eathon Coenraad (Bellville)
23. Madeeg Davids (SK Walmers)
24. Schalk Jooste (Durb-Bell)
25. Taliep Johnson (False Bay)

Club-wise, here are some selected fixtures for you ahead of the weekend:
(As always you can find a full breakdown of results, logs, and fixtures in the tab above.)

Maties v Hamilton’s (SLA)
Villager’s v Sir Lowrians (SLB)
Franschoek v Violets (SLC)
Young Stars v Young Wesleys (Top 9 Champions League)
Watsonia v Perseverance (Top 8 City League)
Strand Pioneers v Khayelitsha (Top 8 Northern League)
Thistles v Titans (Top 8 Southern League)
Lower Paarl v Vineyards (Paarl League Top 6)
Phizantekraal v Pumas (Simonsberg Region)

This weekend is the final round of matches in Super Leagues A, B, and C before the President’s Cup begins. There are some fantastic games on show this weekend and I would urge anyone who is in the area to go and watch.

Have a great rugby weekend and best of luck to all our clubs and teams in action.

Of course, last but not least, a special note of good luck to our three DHL Western Province teams (Under-19s, Under-21s and the senior side) in action in Pretoria. Continue to fly the Province flag, chaps!

The senior side will be wearing arm-bands in honour of Tinus Linee, whilst the Bulls have dedicated the game to Joost van der Westhuizen and will also be wearing arm-bands to create awareness for MND sufferers. It’s a wonderful gesture from both teams, but I must also congratulate our DHL WP captain Juan de Jongh who came up with the initial idea. Juan, Jou Lekker Ding!

Updated:Absa Currie Cup Preview : Blue Bulls vs Western Province

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Didn’t we just have a North South derby a few days ago? In any event these two traditional rivals square off at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday at 5pm.

Xerox Golden Lions
Xerox Golden Lions

Absa Currie Cup Preview : Griquas vs Cheetahs

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This is probably not going to win the award for game of the weekend but both teams involved will be desperate for the positive result.

Xerox Golden Lions
Xerox Golden Lions

Currie Cup Preview : Pumas vs Sharks

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This weekend’s action kicks off at the Mbombela Stadium where the Pumas will be looking to be horrible hosts to a Sharks side looking ripe for the picking.

Xerox Golden Lions
Xerox Golden Lions

Alberts out, Whiteley in for Springboks’ tour

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Rugby Championship
Rugby Championship

Willem Alberts has been ruled out of the Springboks’ Castle Lager Rugby Championship tour to Australia and New Zealand and will be replaced in the 30-man squad by Warren Whiteley.

Alberts missed both Test victories against Argentina because of a hamstring injury and he underwent a fitness test on Thursday afternoon. Although his hamstring is recovering well, he experienced some nerve irritation in his lower back and was sent for scans.

“Willem requires further investigation of the symptoms and will see a number of specialists to determine the optimal management plan to get him back performing on the field as soon as possible,” said Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts

Whiteley, who toured with the Springboks to Argentina last week, will join the team in Johannesburg on Friday morning.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said that although Juan Smith was on standby, the player requested more time to work on his match fitness.

“Juan has very high standards and he wasn’t happy with his performance in Salta,” said Meyer.

“Warren really impressed me last week, he’s been playing very well and it made sense to get him back in. Like Willem, he is very effective with ball in hand and also a great option at the back of the lineout.

“More importantly, Warren is a natural No 8, which is a position where we need cover, but he can play flank as well.”

The Springboks play Australia in Perth next Saturday (6 September, kick-off 12h05 SA time) and take on New Zealand in Wellington the weekend thereafter (13 September, kick-off 09h35 SA time).

The squad will prepare in Johannesburg before their departure to Western Australia on Saturday.

Boucher and the Blue Bulls partner to fight Rhino poaching

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Football - Castle Lager Boucher Legacy and The Blue Bulls - Press Conference - Loftus Stadium

Pretoria (28 August 2014): The Castle Lager Boucher Legacy NPC (non-profit company) “Our Rhino in safe hands” programme has joined forces with the Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd in an effort to combat the scourge of rhino poaching.

The iconic rugby team from the north of South Africa, an area where poaching is most prevalent, is also a key partner with South African National Parks (SANParks), will be involved in a joint effort to profile the Legacy programme as well as assisting in raising funds to ensure the DNA of as many of the Kruger National Park’s Rhino as possible, are added to the RhODIS (Rhino DNA Index System) database.

The partnership will be initiating a large fundraiser with the Blue Bulls supporters, SANParks and J9, the program under the leadership of Joost Van der Westhuizen early in 2015.

The RhoDIS database is based on the CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) used by the likes of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to match a suspect’s DNA to a crime scene and is based at the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL) of the University of Pretoria in Onderstepoort under the leadership of Dr Cindy Harper.

As a high profile sportsman, Castle Lager Boucher Legacy was inspired by former record- breaking wicket keeper and Proteas legend, Mark Boucher who recognizes the good work that prominent sportsmen and teams in the league of the Vodacom Blue Bulls can play in the fight against Rhino poaching.

Boucher is delighted at the support and camaraderie that has led to the anti-Rhino poaching partnership. . “It’s fantastic to be involved with Castle Lager and now the Vodacom Blue Bulls, in such a great programme. There’s nothing more rewarding than putting hard work into something that is your passion and knowing that the people you work with and for, feel the same way,” said Boucher.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls have always been at the forefront of innovation with initiatives that touch the very heart of the community. Barend van Graan, CEO of the Blue Bulls Company (BBCo), explained during the rugby team’s partnership announcement with SANParks, “It was a ‘natural’ decision to align ourselves with conservation as many of our supporters love nature and the outdoors.

Another factor that influenced our decision was the recent spate of poaching activities, and the continued destruction of habitat around us.” Whilst the fight against Rhino poaching plays a critical role in conservation and protecting the country’s wildlife heritage, it is also an important anti-crime campaign as the syndicates involved, also engage in other criminal activities. .  “Because of the value of rhino horn, syndicates will extend their power and influences to corrupt officials, obtain illegal firearms, create fraudulent documentation, launder money, transgress international agreements and exploit people to succeed in their criminal activities.

Wildlife crime in general is the 3rd largest smuggling commodity in the world, which rhino poaching forms part of,” Colonel Johan Jooste, National Commander and Coordinator for Endangered Species at the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) also known as the Hawks.

Colonel Jooste says the DNA profiling of Rhino’s is critical in aiding prosecution as it provides invaluable assistance to wildlife crime investigators for tracing evidence that is collected on crime scenes: “DNA is also an important tool that is utilised during court procedures, for mutual legal assistance between countries that are affected by rhino crimes and the translocation of rhino to other countries”.

The DNA data bank is a key management tool. “It is legally required that all rhino DNA are collected. This includes live rhino that are moved and serve as a preventative measure to protect the rhino as the rhino are now traceable,” said Colonel Jooste.

Mark Boucher received a signed jersey from the Vodacom Blue Bulls and will address the team later this week before they take on Western Province over the weekend to explain the synergies of working with the Team and SANParks to combat the rhino atrocities recently witnessed.

Blue Bulls side to face WP

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Flyhalf Joshua Stander could earn a first senior start for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the 2014 Absa Currie Cup when the home team face DHL Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

ABSA Currie Cup
ABSA Currie Cup

The 20-year old former Queens College player has been bracketed with Jacques-Louis Potgieter at flyhalf and could make his debut for the team should the latter fail a fitness test.

Stander has played for the Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21 side in the Absa Provincial Championship this season and was an unused replacement in the victory against the EP Kings last weekend.

Should Stander or Potgieter play, they will be one of four changes to the side that won against the Kings.

The flyhalf will come in for Tony Jantjies (concussion), while Piet van Zyl (for Rudy Paige – bench), Callie Visagie (for Bongi Mbonambi – bench)) and Werner Kruger (for Marcel van der Merwe – Springboks) will return to the run-on team.

On the bench, Tian Schoeman (for Stander) and Ryan Nell (for Ulrich Beyers) could make their Currie Cup debuts.

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke admitted that they face an uphill battle this weekend against the undefeated Western Province.

“It is not ideal when you have to bracket players two days before a match, especially at flyhalf, but we can only make the final call once it is clear that Jacques-Louis cannot play. He has made great progress following his rib injury and we will leave the decision on his inclusion as late as possible.”

Ludeke was confident that the Blue Bulls could continue their winning form at Loftus Versfeld.

“No doubt that WP is playing very well and outplayed us in Cape Town a couple of weeks back, but we have turned the corner since then, I believe. We will be up against it, but there is no reason why we cannot be very competitive,” Ludeke said.

“We have an experienced pack that will hold their own and the new faces in the backs are all full of attacking potential.”

The match starts at 17h05.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls team to face DHL WP is: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Jacques Louis Potgieter/Joshua Stander, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (k), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling. Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Hencus van Wyk, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20  Rudy Paige, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Ryan Nell.

Bok Women 7s fixtures announced for World Series Qualifier

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Springbok Woman Rugby
Springbok Woman Rugby

The Springbok Women Sevens will face France, China and Mexico in their pool matches at the IRB Women’s Sevens World Sevens Qualifier in Hong Kong next month, the International Rugby Board has announced.

South Africa are among 12 teams going head-to-head at the Shek Kip Mei Stadium on September 12 and 13 for the four places up for grabs in the core group of the 2014/2015 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.

New Zealand, Australia, Russia, England, Spain, USA and Canada have already secured their places in the tournament, while Japan, China, Kenya, Brazil, Fiji, Mexico, Hong Kong, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Argentina and South Africa will battle it out for the last four places.

The top four teams at the conclusion of the 2014/2015 World Series will qualify automatically for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel was optimistic on Tuesday that his team could qualify for the World Series, but he expected them to be tested physically and mentally in Hong Kong.

“Every team will enter the competition with the same goal and that is to qualify for the World Series with an eye on having a shot at Olympic qualification, so we have to approach each match with the same determined attitude,” said Dazel. “We faced France in the Amsterdam World Sevens Series leg in May and suffered a 26-0 defeat and they beat us 19-5 in the Hong Kong Invitational in March, so we know we are in for a tough start to the series. We have also seen China and Mexico in action and they have players with good skills and speed, so we will certainly not write them off.”

Dazel, however, said if his team was able to maintain the high tempo of their training sessions throughout the two-week training camp in Stellenbosch and replicate that form on the field in the tournament, they could achieve their goal.

“I have been impressed with the players’ focus and the intensity of our training sessions on the first two days of the camp,” said Dazel. “This is exactly what I expect from the players in Hong Kong. We all realise the importance of progressing to the semifinals of the tournament and one can sense that in the players’ attitude and work ethic. They know they will have to be at their best to achieve it.”

Springbok Women Sevens IRB World Series Qualifier fixtures:

September 12:

11h26 – SA vs France

14h32 – SA vs China

17h16 – SA vs Mexico

Springbok Sevens kick-start Olympic qualifying preparations

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Springboks
Springboks

With the prospect of Olympic qualification as a major incentive to aim for, the Springbok Sevens have started with preparations for the new season after a three-week break following their gold medal success at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Apart from their gold medal performance in Scotland, the team also managed to finish second on the HSBC Sevens World Series log. The top four teams on the final log table of the 2014/15 World Series will qualify automatically for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The team underwent their customary medical examinations on Monday and also had to go through a series of fitness and conditioning tests. This was followed by a tough gym session.

A few regulars will join the team at a much later stage due to Absa Currie Cup commitments, while some will be eased back gradually into full training following surgery and rehabilitation to recover from injuries.

Top-try scorer Seabelo Senatla is presently playing for DHL Western Province in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division while Kwagga Smith represents the Xerox Golden Lions in the same competition. Justin Geduld, who established himself as a first team regular last season with a number of eye-catching performances, is part of the DHL WP Under-21 Absa Currie Cup squad.

Stephan Dippenaar, who suffered a knee injury in Scotland, and Philip Snyman (shoulder surgery), meanwhile, have completed their respective rehabilitation programmes and will be eased back into training. The aim is to get them fully fit and available for selection for the start of the World Series campaign in October at the Gold Coast in Australia.

Team captain Kyle Brown underwent an operation to repair damage to a dislocated shoulder which he suffered against NZ in the Commonwealth Games final. He is currently undergoing rehabilitation and is expected to return to full fitness around the third week of November, in time for the Dubai Sevens (6 – 7 December).

Neil Powell, the Springbok Sevens coach, can look back at a successful first season in charge during which he steered the team to two World Series tournament wins, five Cup final appearances, a second place overall finish on the World Series log and gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

Powell said the prospect of Olympic qualification was exciting but he admitted that it would make the World Series a more challenging competition.

“Everything points to a very tough and demanding season,” explained the Springbok Sevens coach.

Whilst his team managed to play an attacking style of rugby last season, which resulted in many spectacular tries, Powell said they had to show an improvement on defence.

“We made good strides last season, but we have identified some areas where we would really like to see a bigger improvement. One of those areas is our defence, while another key focus is to maintain a good level of consistency. Last season we managed to string together a good run (resulting in five Cup Finals). However, we lost a bit of our steam during the last three tournaments, which was disappointing.

“With Olympic qualification now as a major incentive, we know we must sustain a high level of concentration at each tournament,” explained Powell.

For the next two weeks the players will focus mainly on their conditioning, after which they will enjoy a week off. On their return to training, they will spend the following three weeks fine-tuning their preparations for the season opener at the Gold Coast

Hooper voted NSW Waratahs Players’ Player of the Year

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Champions 2014
Champions 2014

Michael Hooper has been named as the NSW Waratahs Players’ Player of the Year, for the second year running.

Hooper’s season tally of 277 votes eclipsed second-placed Wycliff Palu, whose 257 nominations saw him receive the Forward of the Year award ahead of third-placed Tatafu Polota-Nau (219).

With 162 votes, two-try Super Rugby Final hero Adam Ashley-Cooper earned the award for Best Back of 2014.

Voting was conducted after every Super Rugby match, including finals, with each player in the matchday 23 submitting their votes on a 3-2-1 basis to determine the overall result. The winners were unveiled tonight at the team’s annual Matthew Burke Cup Gala Awards Dinner held at Sydney’s Dolton House in Pyrmont and attended by key sponsors, stakeholders, members and Waratahs Rugby players and staff.

The result means 22-year-old Hooper becomes just the second player to win the prestigious Matthew Burke Cup in consecutive seasons, after Wycliff Palu achieved back-to-back honours in 2008 and 2009.

Despite trailing Palu’s phenomenal early tally of 149 by 62 votes after Round 8, Hooper and third-placed Polota-Nau polled strongly in the mid-part of the season. By Round 15, Hooper’s dominance of the polling was such that he had built up a 56-point margin over second-placed Polota-Nau, with Palu just four votes behind.

By earning the most votes of any player in a single round in the team’s Round 17 victory over the Brumbies (49 of a possible 66), Palu staged a late comeback to close the gap on Hooper to 20 points, finishing with a combined Super Rugby semi and final total of 25, compared to Hooper’s 31 (bettered only by Adam Ashley-Cooper’s finals tally of 45 and Nick Phipps’ 44).

After an outstanding season that culminated in the last-gasp, trophy-winning kick, Bernard Foley was voted Members’ Choice Player of the Year. Despite coming fifth in the players’ voting, Foley proved to be the fan favourite, receiving 149 (25%) of the 606 votes cast in the members’ poll and eclipsing his captain Hooper by three votes, with Ashley-Cooper coming in third (98 votes), Jacques Potgieter (51) fourth and Beale (45) fifth.

Foley was presented with his award by Maddie Borys, one of the members who voted for him. As well as the honour of presenting the award, Maddie also received a handcrafted gold-plated sterling silver Waratah pendant, designed exclusively by Waratahs Rugby partner Pendants Australia. Pendants also provided hand-finished sterling silver, gold-plated Waratahs cufflinks for all 2014 Waratahs medal winners.

Completing the Matt Burke Cup top 10 were Kurtley Beale, who finished sixth with 133 votes just one place and one vote ahead of Jacques Potgieter, with Kane Douglas, Nick Phipps and Dave Dennis completing the leaderboard.

There was further recognition for Dennis, who collected the coveted Waratah Medal which recognises on and off field performance and is awarded by the Head Coach, CEO and Chairman to the player who best represents the values of the NSW Waratahs.

Completing the awards, newcomer Alofa Alofa was awarded the Chris Whitaker Aspiring Waratah Award, won last year by Will Skelton.

Seven of the nine 2014 debutants were presented with their NSW caps after making their first state appearances for the NSW Waratahs this season, while centurian Wycliff Palu was honoured after becoming the eighth player to earn 100 state caps for NSW and Brendan McKibbin was recognised for reaching his half-century of NSW appearances earlier in the season.

2014 NSW Waratahs Award Winners

Matthew Burke Cup for Players’ Player of the Year – Michael Hooper

Best Forward, presented by Magners – Wycliff Palu Best Back, presented by Magners – Adam Ashley-Cooper

Members’ Choice Player of the Year Award, presented by Ray White – Bernard Foley

Waratah Medal, presented by CMC Markets – Dave Dennis

Chris Whitaker Aspiring Waratah Medal – Alofa Alofa

 

2014 NSW debutants (round, venue and date, NSW player number)

Alofa Alofa (Round 2 Force, Allianz Stadium 23/02/2014, #1611)

Nick Phipps (Round 2 Force, Allianz Stadium 23/02/2014, #1612)

Jacques Potgieter (Round 2 Force, Allianz Stadium 23/02/2014, #1613)

Tolu Latu (Round 2 Force, Allianz Stadium 23/02/2014, #1614)

Jono Lance (Round 7 Sharks, Kings Park 29/03/2014, #1615)

Tala Gray (Round 9 Force, NIB Stadium 12/04/2014, #1616)

Hugh Roach (Round 14 v Lions, Allianz Stadium 18/05/2014, #1617)

Taqele Naiyaravoro (Round 14 v Lions, Allianz Stadium 18/05/2014, #1618)

Mike Ala’alatoa (Round 19 v Reds, Suncorp Stadium 12/07/2014, #1619

Updated: Kings side to take on Lions

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Kings-Rugby

UPDATED : Ronnie Cooke will play at  13, Siyanda Grey at 14 and Dwayne Jenner comes onto the bench

The Eastern Province Kings team that will take on the Xerox Golden Lions at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium this weekend has been announced, .

Head Coach Carlos Spencer said they had not yet finalised who the captain would be, what with Luke Watson being out with a concussion, but said Aidon Davis would take up Watson’s spot at 8th man on Saturday.

Spencer said BG Uys came in for Lizo Gqoboka, who was being rested following a long three games.

“[Lizo’s] gone through quite a high workload in terms of pre season and the last few weeks and BG has been working hard and deserves this opportunity,” he said.

Spencer also announced that Gary van Aswegen would sit the game out as he had been battling with a groin injury for the last two or three weeks and it was important to manage him and allow him to recover.

Tim Whitehead, who had sustained a knock to the knee on Saturday, had made a huge improvement over the past few days and Spencer said they would make a call on his availability tomorrow morning [SUBS: Wednesday 27 August 2014]

“If he doesn’t come through Ronnie Cooke will move to Centre, with Siyanda Grey moving to wing, from the bench,” he said.

Spencer said he felt the players had come a long way since their game against the Lions at Ellis Park.

I definitely believe [we can turn it around] I thought we made huge strides on the weekend [against the Bulls] and thought we made a huge step up,” he said.

“We do realise it is going to be a challenge but the guys are looking forward to it. It’s just a matter of carrying what we did last week into this week and improving another 5 or 10%,” he said.

The Team:

  1. BG Uys
  2. Edgar Marutlulle
  3. Tom Botha
  4. David Bulbring
  5. Steven Sykes
  6. Thembelani Bholi
  7. Paul Schoeman
  8. Aidon Davis
  9. Kevin Luiters
  10. George Whitehead
  11. Siviwe Soyizwapi
  12. Shane Gates
  13.  Ronnie Cooke
  14.  Siyanda Grey
  15. Scott van Breda

Replacements

  1. Mike van Vuuren
  2. Charles Marais
  3. Shaun McDonald
  4. Stefan Willemse
  5. Tobie Botes
  6. Dwayne Jenner
  7. Ntabeni Dukisa

Xerox Lions reshuffle backline for Kings

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Xerox Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 22-man outfit, which will face the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Ackermann has made a few changes to the Xerox Golden Lions backline, following last weekend’s match against DHL Western Province. Ruan Combrinck will start at his preferred position of fullback, Lionel Mapoe will run out at right wing and Stokkies Hanekom reverts to the outside centre berth for this match.

Alwyn Hollenbach returns to action and will start at inside centre, while Andries Coetzee will fill the flyhalf slot.

In the forwards, the Xerox Golden Lions welcome back captain Warren Whiteley at eighthman. Jaco Kriel will also start this match alongside Whiteley in the loose trio. In the front row, Armand van der Merwe will make a start at hooker.

The match will kick off at 19h10.

15. Ruan Combrinck

14. Lionel Mapoe

13. Stokkies Hanekom

12. Alwyn Hollenbach

11. Courtnall Skosan

10. Andries Coetzee

9. Ross Cronje

8. Warren Whiteley (c)

7. Warwick Tecklenburg

6. Jaco Kriel

5. Franco Mostert

4. MB Lusaseni

3. Ruan Dreyer

2. Armand van der Merwe

1. Schalk van der Merwe

16. Robbie Coetzee

17. Jacques van Rooyen

18. Willie Britz

19. Derick Minnie

20. Kwagga Smith

21. Ricky Schroeder

22. Howard Mnisi

Taute gets chance at centre for DHL WP

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Jaco Taute will make his first Absa Currie Cup start in DHL Western Province colours, after being named at inside centre for Saturday’s meeting with the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Pretoria (kick-off 17h05).

WP Icon

Springbok Taute replaces the injured Michael van der Spuy (hamstring) in the No.12 shirt in the only change to the DHL WP starting XV from last weekend’s 27-14 win over the Golden Lions.

Former SA Under-20 star Pat Howard, a Round One try-scorer against the EP Kings, replaces Taute on the bench – meaning just two changes overall to the Province 22 from last week.

Taute scored a valuable try off the bench last week after replacing Van der Spuy in the 59th minute and his experience will be a major boon for the unbeaten and table-topping DHL Western Province outfit ahead of Saturday’s clash at Loftus Versfeld.

DHL WP coach Allister Coetzee told www.wprugby.com: “This is a great opportunity for Jaco. I’ve said before that his size and skill-set could make him into the ideal centre and he now has an opportunity to show us just that.

“Jaco is still very young (at 23 years of age) but he’s already very experienced having played Test and Super Rugby at centre before.

“But his skill and strength aside, his communication is his biggest attribute and I look forward to seeing him operate in the No.12 jersey.

“Your depth is tested quite severely during the Absa Currie Cup,” added Coetzee, “so having versatile players like Jaco (in our squad) is a good thing – especially ahead of a big game like Saturday.”

The Bulls picked up a welcome 30-25 win over the EP Kings last weekend and will be determined to make it back-to-back victories in front of their home support as they also look to avenge their Round Two defeat to DHL WP in Cape Town two weeks ago.

“We will respect any team we play against and it doesn’t get much bigger than playing against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld – no matter what happened last time between us,” said Coetzee.

“The Bulls did well to beat the EP Kings. Don’t look at the scoreline, they’ve come off a difficult few weeks and it was a big and valuable win for them.”

The DHL WP team for Saturday (v the Blue Bulls, away) is as follows:

15. Cheslin Kolbe 14. Kobus van Wyk 13. Juan de Jongh (captain) 12. Jaco Taute (First Absa Currie Cup start for DHL Western Province) 11. Seabelo Senatla 10. Demetri Catrakilis 9. Nic Groom 8. Nizaam Carr 7. Michael Rhodes 6. Siya Kolisi 5. Manuel Carizza 4. Jean Kleyn 3. Pat Cilliers (vice-captain) 2. Stephan Coetzee 1. Alistair Vermaak

Replacements: 16. Neil Rautenbach 17. Brok Harris 18. Ruan Botha 19. Rynhardt Elstadt 20. Louis Schreuder 21. Kurt Coleman 22. Pat Howard

Referee: Craig Joubert Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Cobus Wessels Television Match Official: Willie Vos

IRB to becomes World Rugby

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The International Rugby Board will become World Rugby from November 19, 2014 as part of a major rebranding programme.

International-Rugby-Board-IRB-logo1

The new brand, including a new logo, will be launched at the IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition in London on November 17-18.

Global Rugby participation has boomed by more than two million to 6.6 million players over the past four years, driven by the commercial success of Rugby World Cup, the IRB’s development strategies and record investment, strong and vibrant Unions and Rugby’s re-inclusion in the Olympic Games.

With Rugby aspiring to inspire and engage new audiences and players around the world, the rebrand reflects the organisation’s mission to build a stronger connection with fans, players and new audiences worldwide.

The rebrand will have no impact on Rugby World Cup 2015 branding or positioning, which will remain as it is with its iconic logo throughout the current event cycle.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Rugby continues to thrive, reach out and engage new audiences and participants in record numbers and the IRB has been at the heart of that growth.”

“We are committed to furthering that growth beyond our traditional family and fan base with a public that expects to be entertained, informed and interacted with. This move is more than just a name change, it is a mission statement.”

IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper added: “In a crowded global entertainment and sporting marketplace, the role of the IRB has evolved from Game regulator to Game inspirer.”

“With this we must continue to appeal to those who know and love the sport and its heritage, while attracting, engaging and inspiring those who have no connection with the sport across multiple cultures and languages around the world.”

“World Rugby collectively has the ingredients and tools to do just that. Rugby’s global appeal is founded and positioned on its unique character-building values and inclusive ethos and we want everyone to feel connected with the sport and Rugby’s ongoing success story.”

“World Rugby clearly aligns our name with our mission and allows us to organise new and existing consumer facing properties in a way that they will be more impactful and more appealing to the sport’s growing global fan base.”

Absa Currie Cup First Division resumes

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The Absa Currie Cup First Division will resume on Friday following seven rounds of matches in June and July, which served as the Qualifier for the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division.

absa-currie-cup-png-link

It means the Leopards kick off part two with a healthy eight-point lead at the top of the log, on 25 points, with the Down Touch Griffons leading the chasing pack.

The log table has been adjusted with the removal of match and competition points that have been taken or conceded against the Kimberley side following their promotion to the Premier Division.

The six First Division teams will play five more pool rounds, with the semifinals and final to be contested on October 4 and 17 respectively.

In Friday’s matches the Border Bulldogs host the Valke at the BCM Stadium in East London and the SWD Eagles meet the Leopards at Outeniqua Park in George.

In the only match on Saturday Boland Cavaliers take on Down Touch Griffons at the Boland Stadium in Wellington.

The First Division teams will be keeping one eye on events in the Premier Division. Should either or both of the GWK Griquas or Steval Pumas feature among the bottom two teams in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division this year, their place will be up for grabs next year.

The six ‘franchise’ teams have been entrenched in the Premier Division and will reappear in 2015 – but the GWK Griquas and Pumas have to finish in the top six if they are to avoid appearing in an Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Qualifying tournament next year.

Meanwhile, in East London the Border Bulldogs will be determined to register a victory against the Valke to keep alive their semifinal hopes despite occupying fifth position on the log table. The fact that the Valke suffered defeats in all of their qualifying matches will certainly give Border hope to begin the last few rounds of the competition on a positive note. They will, however, be wary of the Valke’s main playmaker, fullback Jaun Kotze, who topped the point scorer’s list in the Qualifier with 93 points.

In the Leopards camp coach Robert de Preez has retained the core of the team that steered them to five victories in six matches in the Qualifier for their clash against SWD. With wings Luther Obi and Sylvian Mahuza and veteran Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius, who were among the top five point-scorers in the Qualifier looming large, the Eagles will have to produce a solid defensive effort and remain disciplined to prevent a similar fate to the 51-23 defeat they suffered against the Potchefstroom side in June.

The Down Touch Griffons, meanwhile, will look to celebrate captain and No8 Nicky Steyn’s 100th Absa Currie Cup match with a victory against the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington. A victory would also allow them to remain within range of log-leaders the Leopards. But they may face a tough test as the Wellington side put up a brave fight in their last clash and suffered a narrow 27-25 defeat, which should boost their confidence, especially with home ground advantage counting in their favour.

Absa Currie Cup First Division fixtures:

Border Bulldogs vs Valke

Venue: BCM Stadium, East London

Date: Friday, 29 August

Kickoff: 18h00

Referee: Stuart Berry

Assistant Referees: Rodney Boneparte and Fernando Uithaler

 

SWD Eagles vs Leopards

Venue: Outeniqua Park, George

Date: Friday, 29 August

Kickoff: 19h00

Referee:  Pro Legoete

Assistant Referees: Christie du Preez and Ruhan Meiring

 

Boland Cavaliers vs Down Touch Griffons

Venue: Boland Stadium, Wellington

Date: Saturday, 30 August

Kickoff: 16h00

Referee: Lourens van der Merwe

Assistant Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni and Linston Manuels

SWD, WP book final berths in APC South series

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SWD and Western Province on Wednesday continued to stamp their authority in the Southern Amateur Provincial Championship in Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape, as they secured back-to-back victories to book their places in the final on Friday.

SARU-logoGold

The teams also battled it out in the 2013 final in Saldanha, which the Cape side won 28-19.

SWD delivered a strong display all around on Wednesday to thump Border Urban 43-12, while defending champions Western Province, who also won the 2012 tournament, defeated their Cape rivals Boland 30-12 to remain the only unbeaten teams in the competition.

Wednesday’s round also proved to be successful for Eastern Province Urban and Rural following disappointing first-round defeats, with EP Urban edging EP Invitational 26-22 and EP Rural defeating Border Rural 20-8.

EP Urban will meet EP Rural in the Plate Final on Friday, while Boland will go up against Border in the third and fourth place playoff, and EP Invitational and Border Rural will contest the seventh and eighth place playoff.

APC South day-two results – Wednesday 27 August:

EP Rural 20 – 8 Border Rural

EP Invitational 22 – 26 EP Urban

SWD 43 – 12 Border Urban

Western Province 30-12 Boland

APC South third-round fixtures – Friday 29 August:

09h00 – EP Invitational vs Border Rural (7th/8th place playoff)

10h45 – Boland vs Border (3rd/4th place playoff)

10h00 – EP Urban vs EP Rural (Plate Final)

Griquas, Cheetahs announce their teams

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Henco Venter  at lock is the only change to the Free State Cheetahs’ team to face Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.

Xerox Golden Lions
Xerox Golden Lions

Waltie Vermeulen will take up the space on the bench, in the only other change to the match day squad, with Clayton Blommetjies continuing at fullback after an impressive showing against the Sharks.

The Cheetahs will want to get a win against their neighbours as the are lying fifth  on the  Currie Cup log, while Griquas are winless this season after three rounds.

Free State Cheetahs
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Willie Du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Henco Venter, 3 Dolph Botha, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Kevin Stevens

Substitutes: 16 AJ Le Roux, 17 George Marich, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn De Wet, 22 JP Du Plessis

GWK Griquas team to play the Toyota Free State on Saturday 30 August at GWK PARK, 15h00 in Kimberley. The team is unchanged from the one that lost against the Pumas last week in Nelspruit.

Griquas: 15.Francois Brummer,14. Ederies Arendse, 13. Johnathan Francke, 12. Wayne Stevens (captain), 11. PJ Vermeulen,10. Dean Grant ,9. Tian Meyer, 8. Carel Greeff,7. Ruaan Lerm, 6. Marnus Schoeman, 5. Jaco Nepgen, 4. Jonathan Adendorf, 3. Ewald Van Der Westhuizen, 2. Martin Bezuidenhout, 1. Steph Roberts

Substitutes: 16. Ryno Barnes, 17. Janro Van Niekerk, 18. Hugo Kloppers
19. Burger Schoeman, 20. Abrie Griesel, 21. Doppies La Grange, 22. Rocco Jansen

SBW will join All Blacks on end-of-year tour

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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has confirmed that Sonny Bill Williams will join the rest of the squad on the end-of-year tour even though he might not even play in any of the test.

Rugby : Magazine Sonny Bill Williams pour Sky Televison - All Blacks

Williams has been given special permission to play for the All Blacks on his return from rugby league although he would have not played in the ITM Cup.

“I didn’t come out and ask for an exemption,” Hansen told New Zealand’s Radio Sport.

“What I asked for was I’d like to take him on the end of year tour.”

Williams will only be able to return to the 15-man code once his club Sydney Roosters are no longer in the title race.

“So they (the board) have decided in their wisdom to get rid of that (grey area) like they did with Luke McAllister when he came back,” added Hansen.

“The reasons we want to take him on the end of year tour is because there are very limited Test matches between now and the World Cup.

”If he was to be in a successful Chiefs side next year and they were playing in the final, for example, then he wouldn’t be available for some of those test matches.”

Hansen wants Williams to get familiar with the All Blacks system and that was the main reason for rushing him back into Test rugby.

”Not so much back in the ways of rugby, because I think he will pick that up very quickly… he has all of Super Rugby to do that, but it’s getting back into the way we do things which is subtly different – we have seen that with all the players.” “We don’t know what physical shape he will be in,” said the coach.

“He may come on the tour and not play any games, he may play, we’ll have to see.He is coming back, he’s not leaving. You have a quality, world class player at your disposal.

”Our job is to pick the best team … he is going to be one of the best players so you pick him.”

“Baksteen8” takes Yellow Cap in SuperBru Round 3

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This year we have are running an exciting SuperBru with the Currie Cup, the winner will take a partner or friend to the lovely Sekoma Island Lodge on the Zambezi in Zambia.

Sekoma River Lodge

Sekoma River Lodge is a “Robinson Crusoe” island, it teems with indigenous fauna and abundant flora and boasts more than 70 different fish species.

The waters surrounding Sekoma Island are only navigable by mokoro (dugout boat) except the northern point area which has been coverted into the Lodge’s harbour and clients, therefore, have total exclusivity.

After Round three our leader is now Rasper who took over the top spot from KingPaul this week… but the Yellow Cap this week goes to Baksteen8

Round 3 leader

 

 

 

 

Here is our Top 10 after Round 3

Leaderboard Round 3

 

Moore appointed Blues assistant coach

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Glenn Moore has been appointed assistant coach of the Blues for the 2015 and 2016 Investec Super Rugby seasons.

Blues Rugby
Blues Rugby

 

The former Highlanders head coach will be responsible for the forwards and the contact area, and will join the Blues fulltime at the conclusion of the Heartland Championship where he is the current Mid Canterbury head coach.

 

The Auckland-born Moore partners head coach Sir John Kirwan and assistant coach Grant Doorey in the coaching team, with a back skills coach to be appointed in the coming weeks.

 

Kirwan said he was delighted to welcome Moore to the Blues.

 

“He was a standout candidate and he’s exactly what we need at the Blues,” Kirwan said.

 

“He’s widely respected throughout rugby circles and brings a wealth of experience which is really important because we’re losing a little bit of that. He’s also incredibly passionate about the game and I think he’ll bring a really hard edge to the forward pack.”

 

Moore said: “I’m really excited about the opportunity to join the coaching staff at the Blues and get back to coaching at an elite level. I was really impressed with JK’s vision and passion for the franchise. That helped make it an easy decision to join the coaching team. I’m really looking forward to relocating up north and getting stuck in.”

 

Moore boasts an impressive coaching résumé spanning more than 14 years.

 

The former Mid Canterbury loose forward coached North Otago from 2000-2005 and the New Zealand Divisional XV from 2003-2005.

 

He then became the Highlanders defence coach and Otago assistant coach in December 2005 before being promoted to Highlanders assistant coach in 2006 and becoming head coach from 2007-2010.

 

From 2010-2012 Moore was technical advisor for North Otago and he joined Mid Canterbury in 2013, leading them to a Championship title in his first year.

McKenzie announce his squad

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Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has included Western Force centre Kyle Godwin in his 30-man squad for the next two Rugby Championship matches.

Rugby Championship
Rugby Championship

McKenzie also included Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota Nau in the squad but he will not be considered for the clash against the Springboks as he continues to rehabilitate an injured knee. The Wallabies has sustain two further injuries from their test against the All Blacks with hooker Nathan Charles and winger Pat McCabe. announce

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie congratulated Godwin on his inclusion.

“Kyle is someone who has been on the national radar for some time, but unfortunately hasn’t had much of an opportunity to join the Wallabies environment due to injury,” said McKenzie.

“He now gets his chance to join the squad, and we’ll look forward to learning more about him.”

McKenzie said it would be important for the squad to respond to the disappointment of their loss against New Zealand when they come into camp in Perth on Sunday.

“We don’t hide from the fact that our performance against New Zealand was well below our own expectations, which was especially disappointing considering the momentum we had created since last year’s Spring Tour,” he said.

“We’ll address that and then get on with preparing for what will be a very tough battle against South Africa next Saturday night.”

While the team is in Perth, Western Force hooker Heath Tessman and prop Tetera Faulkner will be invited to train with the Qantas Wallabies squad.

Australia squad: Forwards: Ben Alexander, Pek Cowan, Sekope Kepu, James Slipper, Saia Fainga’a, James Hanson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sam Carter, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, Scott Fardy, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Michael Hooper (c), Ben McCalman, Wycliff Palu. Backs: Luke Burgess, Nick Phipps, Nic White, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Kyle Godwin, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali’ifano, Matt Toomua, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Betham, Israel Folau, Rob Horne.

‘Ek sal nie gaan lê’- Juan Smith

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juan2

Wat my gelukkigste dag ooit in die Springbok-trui moes wees, was toe my donkerste dag van my rugbyloopbaan.” – vertel Juan Smith Die Volksblad

Só het ’n teleurgestelde Juan Smith Maandag gesê wat met sy aankoms in Suid-Afrika ook onder kritiek moes deurloop, omdat hy nie die volkslied in Saterdag se toets in die Rugby-kampioenskap teen Argentinië in Salta gesing het nie.

Die 33-jarige Smith was die eerste keer sedert 2010 weer vir die Bokke in aksie, en het nie die terug­keer gemaak waarop hy gehoop het nie.

“Die opbou na die toets was baie emosioneel gewees. Ek moes tydens die sing van die volkslied op my lippe byt dat die trane nie rol nie,” het Smith gesê.

“Dis teleurstellend dat mense dink dat ek ná 70 toetse vir die Bokke nie respek vir ons volkslied het nie. Ek het dit bloot nie gesing nie, omdat ek dan sou huil wat nie die gewenste sou wees nie.”

Smith wou Maandag geen verskonings aanbied vir sy spel nie, al het hy geen voet verkeerd gesit in die toets nie.

Hy voel hy kon veel meer gedoen het en het homself ná skitterspel vir die Franse klubspan Toulon die meeste teleurgestel van enigiemand.

“Die kritiek wat van ons ou manne kry, is geregverdig en ek vat dit op die kennebak. Ek was Saterdag nie goed nie.

“Dis nou my keuse hoe ek die kritiek gaan hanteer. Of ek kan gaan lê of harder werk en dit as aanmoediging gebruik.

“Ek is ’n mededingende mens en sal nie gaan lê nie. Ek onthou destyds toe ek jonk was en André Venter- en Rassie Erasmus-hulle my op my tone gehou het. Ek beskou dit nou as my plig om die soort spel te lewer dat ek mededingend om ’n plek in die Bok-span is en die jonger manne op hul tone hou.”

Smith het gesê die plaasvervanger-flank Marcell Coetzee het die voorbeeld aan hom en die res van sy spanmaats in Salta gestel.

Coetzee was saam met ander plaasvervangers soos die haker Adriaan Strauss en die losskakel Morné Steyn skitterend in die Bokke se sukkelsege van 33-31.

“Marcell was die eerste persoon na wie ek na die toets gestap het om hom geluk te wens met sy goeie spel. Hy was baie goed.”

* Smith sal intussen eers Donderdag hoor of hy saam met die Bokke na Australasië toer.

Willem Alberts (dyspier), die Bokke se eerstekeuse op seweflank, moet dan ’n fiksheidstoets slaag wanneer die groep in Johannesburg saamtrek.

Die slot Victor Matfield is reeds fiks verklaar en is ten koste van Warren Whiteley in die groep ingesluit. Die Blou Bul-stut Marcel van der Merwe vervang intussen die beseerde Frans Malherbe.

Bok-toergroep:

Voorspelers: Willem Alberts, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Marcell Coetzee, Lood de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw, Victor Matfield, Teboho Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Marcel van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen.

Agterspelers: Damian de Allende, Jean de Villiers (k), Bryan Habana, Cornal Hendricks, Francois Hougaard, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Handré Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn.

Cheslin needs to trust his boot

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DWL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee is quite happy with the performance of his back three of Seabelo Senatla, Kobus van Wyk and Cheslin Kolbe so far this season but believes the young fullback needs to back himself to perform more of the kicking duties – By: Clayton Saville

 

Kolbe is fast becoming a crowd favourite at Newlands with his electric pace and sidestepping leaving players grasping at shadows but the coach wishes he would sometimes apply boot to ball when it’s on. “ I’d like him to take more responsibility and trust his boot. He sometimes looks for someone else to kick when he is the best option to execute the kick” .  Western Province have for the past few seasons had a number of players in the backline who could boot the play into opposition territory but have largely relied on Demitri Catrakilis so far on this campaign, a situation which is not ideal even with Province’s ball in hand approach.

 

Coetzee, while pointing out where he would like to see the player improve was also full of praise for the youngster stating that “ his heart is the size of his body and I don’t expect him to do anything other than execute those tackles” in reference to Kolbe putting down Lions lock MB Lusaseni. “We all know that Cheslin is a footballer and an outstanding player, but it’s important that he improves week in and week out in terms of his decision making”

 

Western Province tackle the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld this weekend and will likely play with an adjusted midfield with news that centre Michael van der Spuy suffered a hamstring injury during the Lions clash . Jaco Taute has been tipped to take over the number 12 jersey.

 

SWD, WP, Boland set tone in APC South tournament

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saru

SWD, Western Province and Boland on Monday set the tone on the opening day of the Southern Amateur Provincial Championship in Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape as they registered impressive victories to make their presence felt early on.

SWD thumped EP Rural 29-7 in the opening match, while defending champions Western Province defeated EP Invitational 36-24 and Boland beat Eastern Province 34-21.

The big match-up on day one, however, was between Border and their provincial counterparts Border Rural, who were involved in a nail-biting clash, which ended in a last gasp 24-21 victory for Border.

Border Rural came out firing in the first half and scored 15 unanswered points thanks to two tries – one of which was converted – and a penalty to enter the break 15-0 up.

But Border fought back with intent in the second half and earned two converted tries to reduce the deficit to only one point. Border Rural, however, stretched their lead to four points with a penalty, but the opposition hit back with a hard-earned try on the stroke of full time to secure the three-point victory.

The second round of matches will be played on Wednesday, with the final round on Friday.

APC South day one results, Monday 25 August:

SWD 29 – 7 EP Rural

Border 24 – 21 Border Rural

Western Province 36 – 24 EP Invitational

Boland 34 – 21 Eastern Province

Springbok squad named for Australasian tour

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Springboks
Springboks

Victor Matfield is over his injury problems and will rejoin the Springbok squad when they get together for the Australasian leg of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, while Marcel van der Merwe has been called up for the injured Frans Malherbe.

Furthermore, Willem Alberts has also been drafted back into the squad, pending a fitness test on Thursday when the squad gets together in Johannesburg. Both Alberts and Matfield were part of the initial 30-man squad, but missed out on the victories over Argentina in Pretoria and Salta because of injury.

Van der Merwe will join the rest of the touring party in Johannesburg on Thursday. Malherbe will have to undergo surgery on his fractured ankle and is likely to miss the rest of the season because of this injury.

With Matfield and Alberts, if passed fit, returning for the two-week tour to Australia and New Zealand, Warren Whiteley and Juan Smith will drop out. Smith, however, will remain on standby if Alberts is deemed unable to tour.

“Victor is over his injury and has been declared fit to travel with us for the next two Tests, while we’re awaiting a final verdict on Willem,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“It will be good to have them back. Willem has been part of the squad for the last number of seasons and Victor showed he can still add a lot of value when he returned to the Bok fold earlier this year.

“Losing Frans is a huge setback and my heart bleeds for him, because he’s done well since returning from a long injury lay-off recently which saw him miss the June Tests.

“It’s also a big disappointment for Frans, whose involvement with the squad was cut short because of injury last November as well, but Marcel has been with us before and will slot in seamlessly. He provides specialist tighthead cover as Tendai Mtawarira, Gurthrö Steenkamp and Trevor Nyakane are specialist looseheads.”

Meyer added that Whiteley had impressed him immensely during his week with the Springboks and that Smith had made a massive contribution during his time with the squad in the last fortnight.

“Warren and Juan know exactly where they stand and it was great to work with them, even if it was only for a limited period of time,” said Meyer.

The Springboks returned from Argentina on Monday and will enjoy a short break before reconvening in Johannesburg on Thursday. They are scheduled to depart for Perth on Saturday.

Springbok squad to travel to Australasia:

Forwards: Willem Alberts, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Marcell Coetzee, Lodewyk de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw, Victor Matfield, Teboho Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Marcel van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen.

Backs: Damian de Allende, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Cornal Hendricks, Francois Hougaard, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Handré Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn.

 

Vodacom Blue Bulls Medihelp fitness update

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Basson back in the fray for the Blue Bulls

Bulls CC
Absa Currie Cup record try scorer in a season, Bjorn Basson, has been declared fit and available for the Vodacom Blue Bulls and will be considered for selection for the match against DHL Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Basson has missed the start of the competition due to an ankle injury.

Vodacom Blue Bulls team doctor Org Strauss confirmed the continued unavailability of Jacques-Louis Potgieter (ribs) for this weekend, but indicated good progress and the player might return in the next two weeks.

A number of players will miss training on Monday, but will be back on the field Tuesday.

They include Jurgen Visser (toe), Ulrich Beyers (concussion), Burger Odendaal (quad), Akona Ndungane (knee), Deon Stegmann (groin) and Paul Willemse (hamstring), who will all be available to face WP.

Boks under no illusion

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Springboks
Springboks

With the whole rugby public clearly upset with the performance of the Springboks these past two weeks, Jean de Villiers and his team is under no illusion that they have a massive step up to make to challenge the Australians and All Blacks.

On the Springboks arrival back from their narrow win in Salta, the supersport.com website reports that the Springbok captain knows that the rugby public is not pleased with the results in the last two test against the Pumas.

De Villiers is first to admit that none of the two opening test matches in this year’s Rugby Championship was anything close to their abilities but that a win is a win which they will take at this stage of the competition.

The team knows that there is allot of work to done before they take on the Aussies and All Blacks in two consecutive weekends.

Top of Form

We’re not happy with our performance but definitely happy with the two wins,” De Villiers said on arriving back in Johannesburg.

“I think we all know that this is a very tough competition and if you keep on winning – if you are not firing on all cylinders, that is a positive result. We’ll take the two wins but still a lot of hard work that needs to be done before the next game.”

De Villiers again pointed out that the Argentineans are a much better team than what their world rankings would portray.

The fact that the Springboks is under allot of pressure to perform on their Australasian tour is a fact that all in the Springbok group acknowledge.

De Villiers made it clear that they are not satisfied with their performances and except the public pressure on them to perform on the standard they know they can.

While De Villiers is still adamant that the Argentineans are a lot better side than their 12th place on the IRB Rankings portrays, he accepts that the pressure is on the team to show they can do better when they head to Perth. Argentina’s lowly log position comes mainly from the fact they play a B-team in the June internationals and only have their European based stars for the Rugby Championship, meaning their ranking has been in freefall for the last two years.

“I think that’s a good thing (that the public expect more from us),” De Villiers admitted. “If the supporters and public can put as much pressure on us as possible to achieve better and perform better, then I see that as a positive sign. I think once we are happy with mediocrity and just putting up an average performance then I think we are in trouble. We see it as a good thing and we know we didn’t play well. We need to up our game and we need to improve.”

One thing the Springbok captain pointed out is that they took note of the impressive performance from the All Blacks over Australia but their first objective is the Aussies in Perth.

They were impressive but we are only seeing them in three weeks’ time,” De Villiers said on the All Blacks.

“The focus for us right now is Australia and putting up a good performance against them, after that we’ll take on the next one.” At the end of the day we’re happy that we won two out of two and we’re top of the log at the moment in the Rugby Championship. “But we are very realistic in the way we played and what lies ahead for us.

“There needs to be improvement and if we walk away with the trophy at the end of the tournament we need to improve and we need to put up better performances.”

With the Springboks under par performances all focus will be to perform to their ability in the next two away games. One thing is for sure the Springboks is still a point above the All Blacks on the log and need to win their next two game to be in the running for the championships.

Varsity News – Northernz lead way in PE

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After nine weeks of hard-fought rugby, the final four NMMU Madibaz teams that will take each other on in the internal Steinhoff Koshuisrugby semifinals have been confirmed.

Steinhoff Northernz, Stallions, Pointers and Harlequins are the four sides that will compete for their spot in the final.

Earlier this week the Steinhoff Northernz took down the Steinhoff Harlequins in a hard-hitting match to walk away with a 10-0 win and continue their impressive record in the tournament.

The Northernz won by two tries, one from fullback and team manager Bean van Eeden and one from wing Johannes Jacobs. The team pulled off the win despite being penalised with two yellow cards.

Steinhoff Northernz have been the team to watch and have won all nine of their games since the start of the tournament in March. They are hungry for the Steinhoff Koshuis Rugby champions’ title after losing by just one point to Steinhoff Oppidani in the final last year.

The internal log leaders will play off against the Steinhoff Harlequins, who are fourth on the standings, to secure their spot in the prestigious intervarsity competition.

In another Koshuis rugby match, the Steinhoff Pointers took on Steinhoff Bay XV and emerged victorious by a 16-13 margin. The Pointers ended third overall on the log and will challenge the second-ranked team, the Steinhoff Stallions, in the other semifinal.

The Steinhoff Koshuis Rugby final will follow on Thursday, August 28, at the Madibaz Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Results: 13 August

Steinhoff Northernz 10 Steinhoff Harlequins
Steinhoff Oppidani 0 Steinhoff Laboria 32
Steinhoff Bay xv 13 Steinhoff Pointers 16
Steinhoff Xanadu 10 Steinhoff Stallions 10
Steinhoff Rangers 32 Steinhoff Oceans 0

Rugby Championship wrap

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Rugby Championship
Rugby Championship

 

Champions respond, they grab a result from the jaws of defeat. Look at that historic Test match in 2013 when New Zealand came from behind to break Irish hearts. Cruden had a second bite of the cherry to slot the kick over!

By: Benedict Chanakira

Meyer has been sounding like a broken record in the last few tests. Below par Bok performances have so many positives in his eyes. The fans have been critical of Heyneke but have every right. This is their team. Character, know how to win and courage.  Some of the terms to be associated with Springbok displays. I am sure behind closed doors that passion displayed in the coaching box is unleashed towards some parties. The centre combination of De Allende and De Villiers has not kicked on. The Springbok ls can not afford to leave x-factor gifted Frans Steyn out for much longer.

Another area of concern is the scrum which was obliterated by the Pumas who credit to them put in a valiant effort that ended in similar fashion as Wales; Defeat! There needs to be a solution, Guthro is past it, for the loyalty afforded him by Meyer. Could the Lions frontrow which has terrorised most teams get a look in? An area requiring attention considering how Australia’s scrum was massacred!

Handre Pollard has now secured his position as one for the future and he is the next in line behind Morne Steyn. Handre Pollard, who has not really impressed but has been backed by Meyer. Performances that were shown in his Junior Springboks days were not replicated at senior level. Glimpses maybe but he has not impressed. Goosen’s move abroad seems to have cast him away too.

Makes me wonder of Pat Lambie. Clearly will not be an option at 15 with Le Roux the incumbent. His future in the green and gold after being touted for greatness seems to leave him in the wilderness. Injury and a lack of backing from Meyer contributing factors as he is down the pecking order as a fullback and flyhalf!

Hate him or love him; Morne Steyn is an important cog in the Springbok machine. He changed the game in Salta and should start in Australia and New Zealand. This is the best chance to beat the two sides and assess how far South Africa’s character is.

Australia had a dream start, but failure to take their chances and to beat a side reduced to 14 men twice showed they still short of their ability. Roll a week later and reality and common sense prevailed. The All Black side dismantled their Tasmanian neighbours and what stuck out was their immense defence. The stage is set as the only barrier stopping South Africa to a maiden Rugby Championship title is New Zealand. The World Champions are looking the benchmark once again and despite the Peyper Horror show last week look further and further away from a defeat. They have lost only once since that 2011 World Cup win.

Expect a return for a few stalwarts to the line up and based on his performance a start for Marcel Coetzee. Time is ticking for the Springbok coach as a win over New Zealand is required soon. With little building towards the future, no scalps over New Zealand or a title South Africa need to change one of those.  Win percentage will mean nothing if none of that is achieved year end. It will leave Meyer with one goal in 2015. Win the Rugby World Cup as he continues to favor the experience of stalwarts instead of the hunger and exuberance of youth.

DHL WP and Cell C Sharks stays unbeaten

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ABSA Currie Cup
ABSA Currie Cup

The Cell C Sharks, DHL Western Province, Vodacom Blue Bulls and Steval Pumas this weekend all registered invaluable home wins in their round-three Absa Currie Cup clashes to build momentum in their campaigns.

The victories for the Cell C Sharks and DHL Western Province ensured that they remain the only unbeaten teams in the competition.

The Cell C Sharks overcame a tough tussle against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban to secure a late 19-16 victory, while DHL Western Province capitalised on their point-scoring chances to topple the Xerox Golden Lions 27-14 at DHL Newlands.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls, meanwhile, registered a 30-25 win against the EP Kings at Loftus Versfeld, which marked their first victory in the competition, while the Steval Pumas staged a strong second-half fightback against GWK Griquas for their 33-15 win in Nelspruit.

Cell C Sharks 19 Toyota Free State Cheetahs 16

The clash between the Cell C Sharks and Toyota Free State Cheetahs proved to be a kicking festival as the teams both opted to kick in behind the defence throughout the match. The battle up front was tough, and with both teams defending well, they were forced to settle mainly for penalties by flyhalves Fred Zeilinga and Willie du Plessis to keep the scoreboard ticking. Such was the closeness of the match only two stunning individual tries were scored in the 80 minutes.

The Bloemfontein side built up an encouraging 13-3 lead by the end of the first half thanks to the try by fullback Clayton Blommetjies, but the Sharks levelled the scores at 16-16 in the 69th minute. A late penalty by Zeilinga, however, sealed the 19-16 victory for the Durban side.

Scorers:

Cell C Sharks – Try: Tonderai Chavhanga. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga. Penalties: Fred Zeilinga (4).

Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Try: Clayton Blommetjies. Conversion: Willie du Plessis. Penalties: Willie du Plessis (3).

DHL Western Province 27 Xerox Golden Lions 14

The clash in Cape Town was closer than the scoreboard suggested as the Xerox Golden Lions dominated possession throughout the match, but battled to breach the solid DHL Western Province defence.

In stark contrast the hosts did well to convert their try-scoring chances into points, which earned them three tries to only one by the visitors, while goal kickers Demetri Catrakillis and Kurt Coleman kept the score up with three conversions and two penalties. Two of Province’s tries were scored in the first 16 minutes thanks to back-to-back tries by wing Kobus van Wyk, while the Lions hit back later in the half with a try by fullback Andries Coetzee and a penalty by Ruan Combrinck to trail 14-8 at the break.

DHL Western Province’s ability to convert their chances into points, meanwhile, allowed them to stay ahead on the scoreboard throughout the second half for their third victory, which in turn allowed them to remain at the top of the log table.

Scorers:

DHL Western Province – Tries: Jaco Taute, Kobus van Wyk (2). Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (2), Kurt Coleman. Penalties: Demetri Catrakilis (2).

Xerox Golden Lions – Try: Andries Coetzee. Penalties: Ruan Combrinck (3).

Vodacom Blue Bulls 30 EP Kings 25

At Loftus Versfeld the clash between the Vodacom Blue Bulls and EP Kings was hard-fought from the outset as both teams tried hard to end their winless runs in the competition. The clash, however, delivered a total of seven tries, with the Vodacom Blue Bulls managing a bonus-point victory, with veteran wing Akona Ndungane contributing two tries.

The hosts held a narrow 11-8 lead at half time, but both teams found their rhythm in the second half and managed to breach the defence. Three back-to-back tries by the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the second half to only two by the EP Kings, however, guaranteed the hosts their first victory of the season and catapulted them into sixth place on the log table.

Scorers:

Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Akona Ndungane (2), Deon Stegmann, Jesse Kriel. Conversions: Tony Jantjies (2). Penalties: Tony Jantjies (2).

EP Kings – Tries: Lizo Gqoboka, Michael van Vuuren, Shane Gates. Conversions: Scott van Breda. Penalties: Scott van Breda (2).

Steval Pumas 33 GWK Griquas 15

The Steval Pumas produced a strong second-half performance to build a progressive lead against the GWK Griquas in a tense clash at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The visitors showed fantastic innovation on attack in the first half with flashy passing and impressive running rugby, and were able to score two tries to one against the hosts before the break for a narrow 12-11 lead.

But the home team shut out the Kimberley side in the second half thanks to their solid defence, while they supported this with a quality display on attack, which earned them three more tries for an invaluable bonus point.

Scorers:

Steval Pumas – Tries: Corne Steenkamp, Jerome Pretorius (2), Renaldo Bothma. Conversions: JC Roos, Justin van Staden. Penalties: JC Roos, Justin van Staden (2).

GWK Griquas – Tries: Dean Grant, Marnus Schoeman. Conversion: Dean Grant. Penalty: Dean Grant.

Absa Currie Cup Premier Division log following Round 3:

TEAM P W L D PF PA PD TF TA LOSS BONUS TRIES BONUS POINTS
DHL Western Province 3 3 0 0 103 47 56 13 4 0 2 14
Cell C Sharks 3 3 0 0 84 57 27 8 6 0 1 13
Xerox Golden Lions 3 2 1 0 115 59 56 14 7 0 2 10
Steval Pumas 3 2 1 0 78 70 8 9 8 0 1 9
Toyota FS Cheetahs 3 1 2 0 71 74 -3 8 8 2 1 7
Vodacom Blue Bulls 3 1 2 0 60 107 -47 6 13 0 1 5
GWK Griquas 3 0 3 0 66 98 -32 9 12 2 1 3
EP Kings 3 0 3 0 60 125 -65 8 17 1 0 1

 

 

Springbok bench makes the difference in Salta

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Springboks
Springboks

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers praised the impact made by the South African replacements as they recorded a hard-fought 33-31 Castle Lager Rugby Championship victory over a gallant Argentina in Salta on Saturday afternoon.

With 20 minutes to go, the home team led by 28-16, but tries in the final quarter by right wing Cornal Hendricks and replacement flank Marcell Coetzee swung the tide in the Springboks’ favour. A late penalty goal by replacement flyhalf Morné Steyn was the difference in the end.

The Springboks went into the break 16-13 in the lead, mainly thanks to a try by Bryan Habana and some pin-point goal-kicking by Handré Pollard, but Argentina scored two tries in quick succession early in the second half to take a 12-point cushion into the final 20 minutes.

However, that was when the Springboks got momentum after they struggled to get good possession in the first hour of the match. Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and captain Jean de Villiers praised the home team for their performance after the match.

“I’ve said it before, but I really think Argentina is a much better team than what their world-ranking shows, and they showed it again today,” said De Villiers after the match.

“We’re happy that we could pull it through, but it could’ve gone either way.”

De Villiers said the energy brought by the Springbok replacements was probably where his team won the match.

“That is not saying that the players who started did badly, but our bench, whom we see as impact players rather than replacements, certainly made an impact today and that is probably where the difference was.”

Meyer said his team had shown great character to pull this one through.

“All credit to Argentina though – they’ve been together for a month and you could see that today as they played some great rugby,” said Meyer.

“We don’t want to say every week that we’ve shown great character, but we’ve now won nine out of our last 10 away games and I think the guys have shown that they know how to win.

“At one stage, we were down and out and the team came back. We know there are a lot of areas we have to work on, but we’re still in this competition.”

The Springboks will return to South Africa on Monday before regrouping on Thursday to start preparations for the Australasian leg of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, against Australia in Perth (6 September) and New Zealand in Wellington (13 September).

The only major injury concern at this stage is Frans Malherbe, who sustained a serious injury to his right ankle and was forced the leave the field late in the match. He will not be available for the rest of the competition.

Malherbe will consult with a specialist in Cape Town upon his return to South Africa, when a call on further treatment and his replacement will be make.

 

Springboks 33, Argentinia 31

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Springboks vs Pumas

The Springboks will want to make a better game of it from what they showed last week in a wet Loftus test.

This will be a good opportunity for the Boks to get some points on the log and need to go for a bonus point win to put some space between them and the All Blacks and Australians. It will not be easy as it proved for the last two visits to Argentina. The Pumas still believe their best change to get a win in Rugby Championship is to get one over the Springboks at home.
Recent results:
2014: South Africa won 13-6, Pretoria
2013: South Africa won 22-17, Mendoza
2013: South Africa won 73-13, Johannesburg
2012: Argentina and South Africa drew 16-all, Mendoza
2012: South Africa won 27-6, Cape Town
2008: South Africa won 63-9 , Johannesburg
2007: South Africa won 37-13, Paris (World Cup semifinal)
2005: South Africa won 34-23, Buenos Aires
2004: South Africa won 39-7, Buenos Aires
2003: South Africa won 26-25 , Port Elizabeth

Teams

Argentina: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Lucas González Amorosino, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 7 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (captain), 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Matías Cortese, 17 Bruno Postiglioni, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Jerónimo De la Fuente, 23 Horacio Agulla.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Damian de Allende, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Morné Steyn, 23 Lwazi Mvovo

Date: Saturday, August 23
Venue: Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena, Salta
Kick-off: 16.40 (21.40 SA time; 19.40 GMT)
Expected weather: Sunny with a high of 32°C and a low of 13°C
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: John Lacey (Ireland), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

England U18 hand SA Schools their first defeat in 4 years

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Youth Weeks

The England Under-18 team on Saturday handed the SA Schools side their first defeat in four years in the International Under-18 Series in Stellenbosch as they secured a 30-22 victory in a nail-biting encounter.

The big difference between the teams was England’s ability to convert their point-scoring chances into points, while mistakes at crucial times came at a high price for the hosts.

The defeat followed a 40-15 victory against Wales at Outeniqua Park in George and a 28-13 victory against France respectively.

England dominated territory and possession in the first 25 minutes and they used most of their try-scoring chances, which forced them onto the front foot early on.

England wing Roti Segan scored the first try in the first ten minutes after scrumhalf Will Homer spread the ball out wide, which allowed Segan to use his pace to outsprint two defenders for a 7-0 lead.

England lock Joe Batley scored their second try two minutes later after another fantastic pass out wide, which allowed them to take advantage of an overlap.

SA Schools fullback, Curwin Bosch, however, managed to reduce the gap to 14-3 with a penalty.

But England’s impressive attacking play saw them secure their third try of the half a few minutes later after outside centre Max Clarke gathered an effective pass and forced his way through two defenders to stretch their lead to 19-3.

Centre Harry Mallinder had a chance to extend their lead further in the 25th minute, but his penalty attempt went wide.

SA Schools wing Keanu Vers, however, scored a vital try for the hosts four minutes before half time after an encouraging attacking display in which they retained possession and applied pressure on England. With momentum on their side they spread the ball to the left wing and Vers dived underneath an England defender to score their first try of the match and reduce the deficit to 19-8.

England continued their fine form two minutes into the second half by winning a lineout steal in SA’s red zone, which flank Sam Underhill capitalised on to sprint to the tryline for their fourth try of the match and a 24-8 lead.

Vers, however, hit back in the 43rd minute with his second try after the SA Schools team gathered a loose ball and passed the ball to Vers, who used his pace to touch down. This reduced the score to 24-15.

The try bolstered the home team’s confidence on attack and they again put together phases and worked their way into England’s 22. The visitors’ lock Kieran Treadwell received a yellow card for playing the ball on the ground, but the hosts were unable to take advantage of the extra player as unforced errors cost them on a few occasions.

England flyhalf Rory Jennings, meanwhile, added three points to his team’s score with a penalty in front of the posts in the 55th minute to build up a 27-15 lead.

The SA Schools team, however, fought their way back into the match in the last 10 minutes with centre JT Jackson scoring their third try following a fantastic run up the wing by Vers, who handed off after drawing two defenders.  Bosch converted to reduce the gap to 27-22 with six minutes to go.

This, however, was short-lived as the visitors slotted over a penalty in the next run of play to take a 30-22 lead.

The hosts had an opportunity to reduce the gap to one point with a late try, but Ver’s pass failed to find the support player two minutes from time, which secured England the eight-point victory.

In the earlier matches the SARU Regional Academy XV registered a 48-29 victory against Italy and Wales pipped France 10-9 in a hard-fought encounter.

Scorers:

SA Schools 22 (8) – Tries: Keanu Vers (2), JT Jackson. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2). Penalties: Curwin Bosch.

England 30 (19) – Tries: Roti Segan, Joe Batley, Max Clarke, Sam Underhill. Conversions: Rory Jennings (2). Penalties: Harry Mallinder (2).

Western Province whip Lions

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Western Province won the top of the table fixture against the Golden Lions by 27 points to 14

WP Icon

Cell C Sharks 19, Toyota Free State 16

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sharks v cheetahs

The final game of the day has the old enemies facing off, while the Sharks should take the result out of this one the Cheetahs love nothing more than to spoil the party for the Durbanites.

The Cheetahs were dealt a cruel double blow this week with flyhalf Elgar Watts and robust 8th man Boom Prinsloo laid low by injury, Willie du Plessis and Neil Claasen will try and fill obvious void left by the former but will have to be at their utmost best.

Brad Macleod-Henderson has named Matt Stevens in his first starting role and will be hoping the experienced TH will provide plenty of grunt at scrum time. The Sharks have managed to win their last two fixtures with bonus points but their performances have not set the competition alight , the Cheetahs were more cohesive against the Griquas last weekend but will have to make a marked step to trouble the hosts.

Sharks – 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 S’bura Sithole, 12 Paul Jordaan, 11 Tonderai Chavhanga, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Tera Mtembu (c), 7 Francois Kleinhans, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Subs: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies / Johan Meyer, 20 Conrad Hoffmann, 21 Heimar Williams, 22 Lionel Cronje
Free State Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Dolph Botha, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (c), 1 Kevin Stevens.
Subs: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 George Marich, 18 Heno Venter, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 JP du Plessis.

DHL WP 27, Xerox Golden Lions 14

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WP vs Lions

Billed as the game of the weekend and rightly so, both the WP and Lions have thrilled so far this season bagging the full complement of points that were on offer.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has named an unchanged squad from the one that made light work of the Bulls last weekend and he would have been pleased at not having an injury list long as Eben Etzebeth’s arm for a change, Nizaam Carr and and Siya Kolisi were in some scintillating form last week but will be up against an entirely different beast this weekend.

Johan Ackerman has lost his captain Warren Whiteley to Springbok duty but one gets the feel that this Lions team is about the collective rather than the individual, the loose trio of Britz, Tecklenburg and Minnie will set out to make it a long afternoon for the home side using their blend of speed and ferocious contesting at the breakdown. The Lions seem more comfortable and settled with their game plan than their hosts and hold the edge in that regard.

Expect the game to be played at a blinding pace even though the last few days the Cape has experienced some heavy rainfall.

Western Province – 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (c), 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Stephan Coetzee, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Ruan Botha, 19 Rynhardt Elstadt, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Jaco Taute.

Golden Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Derick Minnie (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Martin Muller, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Guy Cronje, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Howard Mnisi.

CC: Vodacom Blue Bulls 30, EP Kings 25

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Bulls vs Kings

It’s hard previewing this game as both teams have been pants in their fixtures thus far, the Kings have the slightest of edges due to their first half showing in the season opener against Western Province but both teams have almost 100 points racked up in the “against” column.

Frans Ludeke has made wholesale changes to his squad making no less than 7 changes to the team that went down 41-17 in Cape Town, notably livewire hooker Bongi Mbonambi gets a long overdue start.

Carlos Spencer has resisted the urge to follow his counterpart and has only tweaked his team , he has beefed up his pack by naming Steven Sykes and Darron Nel as his lock pairing and has only made one injury enforced change to his backline.

Blue Bulls – 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Rudi Paige, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (c), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling.
Subs: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Wiaan Liebenburg, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Ulrich Beyers.

EP Kings – 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Luke Watson (c), 7 Paul Schoeman, 6 Stefan Willemse, 5 Steven Sykes, 4 Darron Nell, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Mike van Vuuren, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Steven Cummins, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Jaco Grobler, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Siyanda Grey.

All Blacks smash Aussies with 50 points

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The whole world believed that the Aussies could upset and be the team that will finally get one over the Mighty All Blacks, but the All Blacks proved everyone wrong by a smashing the Aussies 51-20 in Eden Park.

This was one of the best performance from this New Zeeland team for a long time. With an unstoppable speed the All Blacks played the Aussies off the field. Their handling was outstanding and the ability to put their fast strong backs in space was the main difference today as the find space at will.

Australia were first to get on the board with a penalty from the kick-off but that was quickly turned around with Cruden slotting over 2 quick penalties. For here the Aussies were never in the game and could not keep up with the All Balcks.

Defence from both teams kept them from scoring any tries.

Hell definitely freeze over as Poite showed Richie McCaw a yellow card and the Aussies would have believed that this is their change to capitalize.

Going down to 14 men gave the All Blacks even more to play for and they stood up big time and Cruden extended their lead to 9-6. The All Blacks maul was unstoppable and Simmons got a yellow card from Poite as well for lifting a players legs in the maul.

With the Aussies down to 14 men the All Blacks showed them how to use that to your advantage. The All Blacks quickly stretch their lead to 23-6. This came after Folau got a great break and was hit high but the referee did not see it with the All Blacks that score through Julian Savea.

Barrett made a huge difference when he came on the field and even had a special moment in the game when he run down Folau after and intercept and tackled him out to touch.

The Aussies did get two tries in the second half to bring their score to 20 points but it was the day of the “Men in Black” as they got over the 50 point mark after the full time hooter sounded.

The All Blacks showed that they are still the best in the world and other teams need to take notice.

If you thought New Zealand were a fading force, think again.

The scorers:

For New Zealand: Tries: Penalty Try, Savea, Read, McCaw 2, Luatua Cons: Cruden 5, Foley Pens: Cruden 3 Yellow Cards: Simmons, Franks

Australia: Tries: Folau, Hooper Cons: Foley 2 Pens: Beale 2 Yellow Card: Simmons

New Zeeland 51, Australia 20

60

Last week saw a draw in Sydney and an improved Aussie side that showed the All Blacks can be beaten.

Australia vs New Zeeland

Australia will have a second bit at the Bledisloe Cup cookie when they try to get their hands back on the Bledisloe Cup in the second round of the Rugby Championship. What every happened last week we should see a result this week and can it be the Aussies that get one over the World number one team.
Recent results:
2014: Australia and New Zealand drew 12-all, Sydney
2013: New Zealand won 41-33, Dunedin
2013: New Zealand won 27-16, Wellington
2013: New Zealand won 47-29, Sydney
2012: Australia and New Zealand drew 18-all, Brisbane
2012: New Zealand won 22-0, Auckland
2012: New Zealand won 27-19, Sydney
2011: New Zealand won 20-6, Auckland (World Cup semifinal)
2011: Australia won 25-20, Brisbane
2011: New Zealand won 30-14, Auckland

Teams:

New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Pat McCabe, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nic White, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Bernard Foley, 23 Tevita Kuridrani.

Date: Saturday, August 23
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.35 (17.35 Australia time; 07.35 GMT)
Expected weather: Fine. Southerlies, fresh in exposed places. High of 15°C, low of 2°C
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Pumas get bonus point win over Griquas

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The Pumas kept their winning way in Nelspruit on Friday night as they beat the GWK Griquas with 33-15 in round three of the ABSA Currie Cup.

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The Griquas team started the game in control although they were behind after 2 min die to two penalties that gave the Pumas the first kick at poles.

The Pumas got their first penalty over when Van Staden kick one over from the halfway line. From here it was all Griquas as they launch attack on attack.

Grquas had a change for the first try after 15 min but Schoeman knocked the ball on as he tried to go over the try line.

Pumas had the best of the early exchanges when it came to scrum time but it was the Griquas who dominated play and attack for the first half an hour and was rewarded with the first try of the match.

From an attacking lineout Griquas was able to hold on to the ball and Schoeman was the man that came up with the ball to score the first try of the game and for Griquas.

The Pumas hit back immediately with another penalty from Van Staden to take the score again to 6-5 for the Pumas.

Pumas was the again on the board after a turn over which went through some brilliant passes to send Pretorius over in the corner to extend their lead to 11-5. Griquas kept the pressure on the host and went through a few phases to get Dean Grant over for his first try for Griquas in his first Currie Cup game.

This took Griquas back into the lead which they kept until half time.

The Pumas came out firing in the second half and was rewarded early with a try with a strong run from Pretorius down the touchline to score his second try of the match and took the Pumas back into the lead 16-12.

The Griquas came back almost immediately with a penalty to get within one point again. With the score at 16-15 for the Pumas it became a huge fight between the big men.

Like the Griquas dominated the first half the Pumas turned the tables and made most of the ball and put the Griquas team under a lot of pressure and most importantly score the points when they got into the right places.

The Pumas was rewarded with yet another try after a strong run from Bothma as he scored for the Pumas and with Van Staden getting the conversion over the Pumas lead was extended to 23-15 after 61 min.

Roos extended the Pumas lead to 26-15 after the Griquas once again could not convert their good position into points.

With time running out the Griquas tried everything to get back into the Pumas half and a change to score a try and give them still a change in the game but it was a team effort from the Pumas that gave them the last say.

From a lineout twenty meters out the Pumas forwards started a drive which saw the whole backline joining them at the end to seal the game with a bonus point try from their captain Corne Steenkamp.

This took the final score to 33-15 for the Pumas,

The Griquas will kick themselves for not converting all the possession and field position they had in the first half into points. To the credit of the Pumas they scored almost every time they got in range of the Griquas twenty two.

Scorers:

Pumas: 
Tries: Pretorius 2, Bothma, Steenkamp
Cons: Van Staden, Roos
Pens: Van Staden 2
Griquas:
Tries: Schoeman, Grant
Con: Grant
Pen: Grant

Club Rugby News from Danny’s Desk

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Welcome to another edition of Danny’s Desk where you can find all relevant club rugby information

Rugby News
Rugby News

We’re now at the business-end of the season and clubs are starting to feel the pressure to end the season on a high. There are promotion places up for grabs, as well as a place in the lucrative Community Cup.

Let’s have a look at some results from around the divisions.

In Super League A, Durb-Bell caused a major upset when they beat Hamilton’s 23-22, UCT beat Helderberg 45-10 to maintain their title challenge and Maties thumped Tygerberg 76-17. Maties continue to lead the standings, closely followed by UCT and Hamilton’s.

In Super League B, Villager’s lost for the second week running as they went down 26-30 to Hamlets. St Georges beat Macassar 39-23 in their derby clash, Kraaifontein beat Hands & Heart 22-13 and Milnerton beat Brackenfell 23-19. Sir Lowrians lead the standings but have St Georges and Villager’s hot on their heels.

On that note, I would like to apologize to Scottsdene Rugby Club for publishing the incorrect result last week. Scottsdene were in fact victorious over Rangers 48-31. Apologies for the oversight.

In Super League C, Raithby Universals lost for the first time this season when they went down 29-37 to Paarl. Langa beat Van der Stel 41-19, Violets beat Coronations 20-6 and Franschoek beat Silvertree 25-3. Raithby Universals are still leading the pack but have had their lead cut by a determined Franschoek side.

In the Top 9 Champions League, Young Stars narrowly beat Blue Jets 26-25 to maintain their lead at the top of the table, Blue Stars beat Caledonian Roses 25-10, Lagunya beat Young Wesleys 13-6 and Masiphumelele beat Cloetesville 44-22

Well done to the DHL Western Province Sevens team who finished fourth at the London leg of the World Club Sevens Championships, having, the week before, also finished fourth in Limerick. The team played with plenty of pride and passion, well done to coach Ricky Petersen and his team for their vast improvement this year.

Here are the results from Twickenham:
Day One (Saturday, August 16):
Pool A:
Harlequins 19 DHL Western Province 38
DHL Western Province 26 New York 26
RC Enisei 24 DHL Western Province 35

Day Two (Sunday, August 17):

Quarterfinals:
DHL Western Province 22 Blue Bulls 12

Semifinals:
Auckland 19 DHL Western Province 14

Third/fourth-place play-off:
Kuban Krasnodar 20 DHL Western Province 19

DHL Western Province continued their great start to the 2014 Absa Currie Cup with a resounding 41-17 victory over the Blue Bulls at DHL Newlands last Saturday. There were also good wins for our similarly unbeaten Under-19 (16-11) and Under-21 (28-21) teams, capping off a great day against our rivals from up North.

This weekend DHL Western Province takes on the Golden Lions at Newlands. Unsurprisingly, coach Allister Coetzee has named an unchanged starting line-up for that clash. Kick-off for that game is at 17h05 at Newlands, with the Under-19s and Under-21s once again playing curtain-raisers from 12h45 onwards on Saturday.

Club-wise, here are some selected fixtures for you ahead of the weekend:
(As always you can find a full breakdown of results, logs, and fixtures in the tab above.)

Vics v UCT (SLA)
Rangers v Collegians (SLB)
Violets v Raithby Universals (SLC)
Caledonian Roses v Masiphumelele (Top 9 Champions League)
Temperance v Progress (Top 8 City League)
Khaylitsha v Kylemore (Top 8 Northern League)
Lower Paarl v Young Standards (Paarl League Top 6)
Llwandle v Pumas (Simonsberg Region)

Lions running out of flyhalves

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Golden Lions had been forced to withdraw flyhalf Jaco van der Walt from his side to face Western Province  on Saturday.

Van der Walt  injured his knee during last weekend’s clash with the Eastern Province Kings at Ellis Park. He was unable to recover in time for Saturday’s match but it is hoped he will return to action next week. Jaco is the Lions second fly half after Boshoff injured his knee in the match against the Blue Bulls a few weeks ago.

Stokkies Hanekom will shift to flyhalf.  Lionel Mapoe moves to outside centre and Courtnall Skosan will start at wing.

“It is unfortunate Jaco cannot play, as it would have been a great learning experience for him to come up against a solid Western Province outfit,” Ackermann said in a statement.

“We are, however, confident in our new selections and are looking forward to our run out in Cape Town.”

The Lions’ depth at flyhalf is wearing thin after first-choice pivot Marnitz Boshoff fractured his right arm in their first-round match against the Blue Bulls.

Teams:

Western Province
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Juan de Jongh (captain), 12. Michael van der Spuy, 11. Seabelo Senatla, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Manuel Carizza, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Stephan Coetzee, 1. Alistair Vermaak

Substitutes: 16. Neil Rautenbach, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Ruan Botha, 19. Rynhardt Elstadt, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Kurt Coleman, 22. Jaco Taute

Golden Lions
15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Courtnall Skosan, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Harold Vorster, 11. Ruan Combrinck, 10. Stokkies Hanekom, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Willie Britz, 7. Warwick Tecklenburg, 6. Derick Minnie, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. MB Lusaseni, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Schalk van der Merwe

Substitutes: 16. Armand van der Merwe, 17. Jacques van Rooyen, 18. Martin Muller, 19. Jaco Kriel, 20. Guy Cronje, 21. Kwagga Smith, 22. Howard Mnisi

CC: Steval Pumas 33, GWK Griquas 15

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Pumas vs Griquas

On the face of it this sounds like a game that could be skipped to in order to gain some brownie points for Saturday but on further inspection this one my contain a fair amount of entertainment value.

The Pumas always tend to perform at the Mbombela stadium and have already claimed the scalp of a visiting Cheetahs side in the opening round of this years Currie Cup, the Griquas have not yet been able to register a win yet but will feel that they are due a positive result having come fairly close in both their fixtures so far. Expect both teams to play with positivity and theirs a fair chance of a try fest

Pumas – 15 Heinrich Steyl, 14 Ruwellyn Isbell, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Trompie Pretorius, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Corné Steenkamp (c), 5 Giant Mtyanda, 4 Frikkie Spies, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Swys du Toit, 1 Corné Fourie.
Subs: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 Dee-Day Terblanche, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Dylan Frylink, 21 JC Roos, 22 Rosko Speckman.

Griquas – 15 Francois Brummer, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Wayne Stevens (c), 11 PJ Vermeulen, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Ruan Lerm, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Jonathan Adendorf, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Steph Roberts.
Subs: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Maks van Dyk, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Abrie Griesel, 21 Doppies la Grange, 22 Niel Marais