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Lambie’s Test wilderness – By Benedict Chanakira

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Pat-Lambie

Burst onto the scene as a promising prospect. Playing for SA Schools in his grade 11 and Matric year. Lambie went up the ranks quickly as his abilities were visible to all. Showing his ability to lead and control he was Rugby and Cricket captain at Michaelhouse. However after several years of displays that have grabbed local fans at Super Rugby and Currie Cup has Lambie lived upto his Test abilities?  Will he ever make the cut?

A scintillating display in the 2010 Super Rugby saw his debut coincide with the Sharks first win in six games. There was a new star in the Sharks ranks. At home at flyhalf, fullback and at centre Patrick went on to have a promising start to his Super Rugby. Transition to the Currie Cup was seamless as he put up a performance that ranks up there with one of the best in the Currie Cup final. He was monumental as he scored two tries, flawless kicking display and that handoff on Schalk Burger. He was selected on a Tour to the North and his Springbok career was on the road. Patrick Lambie was the future. Ticking all the boxes of composure, calm, defensively sound, accurate boot and eye for a pass.

Fast track 2011 Lambie had a superb Super Rugby year, despite the start of a few injury niggles that would later build. He was afforded a start against the All Blacks in 2011, was put to the ultimate defensive test as pod after pod was running in his flyhalf channel. He passed with flying colors, made the World Cup squad and made the 15 jersey his own. He was solid in the World Cup, had a disallowed try in that controversy-laden quarter-final. He had a drop goal just drift wide as the Springboks crashed out. Lambie voted SARU Young Player Of the Year.

Nominations for SARU Player of the Year folled in 2012, and he was starred for the Sharks as they reached the 2013 Super Rugby Final. Despite eye catching and commanding demands Lambie has seen his Bok career dwindle and fade. He has bounced between the tackle bags and the reserve bench. A place he seems to have more minutes for the Springboks than on the field. No doubt a talented and quality player. Heyneke Meyer has decided he does not quite match up to the requirements of Test Rugby. He has fallen down the pecking order in the number 10and 15 jersey.  Miles behind the incumbents, injuries have contributed aswell with also the belief his kicking boot is not quite up to it.

Where to now for Lambie? Could he follow Johan Goosen abroad? He is a fighter no doubt and will need to bide his time we hope. Still one of the most talented players in the country at 23 he still has years of Test rugby ahead of him.Handre Pollard, is younger and much more backed is ahead now. So only time will tell of Lambie’s debacle. Time scale is unknown but maybe just maybe a slice of good fortune may fall on his lap and he will restart his Test career. A scenario you would not want will be the murmurs around whether true or not of Scotland looking to use the Olympic international window and allow Patrick Lambie to switch to the Brave Scots.

 

JD Schickerling speaks out

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Junior Springbok and Western Province U21 lock JD Schickerling speaks out for the first time since suffering a broken neck on the field. By: www.myplayers.co.za

JD

Two weeks ago, the 19-year-old suffered a broken neck during Western Province U21s’ clash against the Blue Bulls U21s in Pretoria. The injury occurred after dangerous tackles from opposing locks Irne Herbst and Marvin Orie.

He was immediately rushed to the hospital, where he underwent two operations. Good news is that doctors have said there is a chance of Schickerling making a comeback over the next year.

“I went through a number of emotions over the past two weeks, which haven’t been easy,” Schickerling told MyPlayers.co.za. “Frustration, disappointment, sadness, fear, anger, but most of all, I’m thankful that everything seems to be fine. The injury was very serious, but the doctors have managed to help me. They asked if I wanted to play rugby again, and I said yes, so I went through a second operation to insert another plate in the back of my neck.  

“I was very close to not being able to play again! I’m very glad that I will have a second opportunity in life to be a rugby player. However, the doctors have warned me that it will take a lot of patience and hard work over the next year to make a successful comeback. I will just have to work hard when the time.

“I have started walking slowly recently and I experience improvements every day, which is very encouraging.”

Schickerling has received a massive amount of support over the past two weeks, including from the likes of Springbok trio Bakkies Botha, Pierre Spies and Flip van der Merwe. The player expressed his gratitude for all the motivation and well wishes from everyone.

“I was overwhelmed after receiving so much support,” he said. “I appreciated it very much and it definitely has helped me to remain strong and positive.

“I’ve received visits from all my friends and family, the Western Province U21 captain and coaches, and the Western Province president. The WP family has been amazing during this difficult time.

“When I was in Pretoria, all the Junior Springboks at the Bulls came to visit, and a few other Bulls players and their management. It was also great to have Pierre Spies and Flip van der Merwe coming in to see me. Everybody said they are praying for me and wishing me a speedy recovery. They said they are there if I need anything, which was really nice to hear.”

The players who caused the injury also had time to speak to Schickerling, who has already accepted what’s happened.

‘Irne and Marvin both visited me. They said sorry for what happened. I told them it’s okay and that this is all part of the game. At the end of the day, it could have happened to anyone! I’m just happy that I’m okay. My health is all that matters to me now.”

Looking ahead, Schickerling still has hopes of becoming a Springbok.

“Right now, I’m focused on making a full recovery. I want to build my fitness and confidence again. In the long-term, I still want to play for the Springboks one day. I will never give up on that dream.”

Pressure builds in Absa Currie Cup

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Xerox Golden Lions
Xerox Golden Lions

 

 

The pressure on the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division teams will rise significantly this weekend as the scramble for semifinal places intensifies and the reality sets in for the lower-placed teams that they need to register victories to keep alive their semifinal hopes.

While DHL Western Province and the Steval Pumas will be looking to maintain their winning momentum to remain in pole position for home semifinals, the Xerox Golden Lions, Cell C Sharks, Toyota Free State Cheetahs and Vodacom Blue Bulls will look to develop consistency in their performances as they are all still in the hunt for semifinal places.

The EP Kings and GWK Griquas, meanwhile, have their backs against the wall after disappointing starts to the season and have only mathematical chances of sneaking into the top four.

The EP Kings host the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Port Elizabeth on Friday in the opening match of the weekend, and on Saturday the Toyota Free State Cheetahs meet the Cell C Sharks in Bloemfontein, GWK Griquas take on the Steval Pumas in Kimberley and the Xerox Golden Lions battle it out with log-leaders DHL Western Province in Johannesburg.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls will enter their clash against the EP Kings as favourites after registering two victories in their last three matches despite a slow start to the season. With the EP Kings failing to win a match so far and the team conceding on average more than five tries per game, the Pretoria team may also see this clash as a possible opportunity to secure a bonus point. They will, however, be careful to write off the Kings as they put up a good fight when the sides met in Pretoria – the Kings went down by a narrow 30-25 margin in that encounter.

The clash between the Toyota Free State Cheetahs and Cell C Sharks is expected to be thrilling as both teams come off defeats and are desperate to build winning momentum ahead of the playoff stages. The Sharks, in particular, have hit a bad patch after going down to the Steval Pumas and GWK Griquas in the last two weeks and will place immense pressure on themselves to bounce back. Interestingly the last match between the teams was dominated by tactical kicking and penalties, and with both teams feeling the pressure this clash could follow a similar pattern.

In Kimberley GWK Griquas will have to work hard to stop the Steval Pumas, who will be hunting their fourth successive victory. However, they will use their last-gasp victory against the Cell C Sharks last week as inspiration to claim their next big scalp and keep alive their faint semifinal hopes. Interestingly, history favours the hosts as they have won five of their last six matches between the sides in Kimberley. In terms of form, the Steval Pumas have scored only four more tries than the GWK Griquas this season, but the hosts’ defence has let them down, which is an area they will focus on going into this clash.

The Xerox Golden Lions face an equally tough task in Johannesburg against log-leaders DHL Western Province, who have yet to be beaten this season. While the Cape side will be looking to maintain or possibly extend their lead on the log table with the hope of remaining in pole position for a possible home semifinal and final, the Xerox Golden Lions will be determined to bounce back from their defeat against the Vodacom Blue Bulls as they also have their eyes set on a possible home semifinal. Should the Johannesburg side succeed in this quest, it could open the door the other teams to have a shot at taking over the top spot on the log in the next few weeks. While the teams may place little significance on history, the hosts, in particular, will be mindful of the fact that the Cape side has won only one of their last 10 Absa Currie Cup matches at Ellis Park.

Team news

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has named Springbok wings Akona Ndungane and Bjorn Basson, centre JJ Engelbrecht and scrumhalf Piet van Zyl in his starting team to face the EP Kings as he looks to boost the firepower in the team. His Port Elizabeth counterpart Carlos Spencer, meanwhile, made five changes to his starting team which includes naming former Springbok prop CJ van der Linde, flank Devon Oosthuizen and flyhalf Gary van Aswegen in the run-on team in an attempt to sway their fortunes in the competition.

Toyota Free State Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan reshuffled his backline with only scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and centre Francois Venter remaining in the same positions. Among the changes were Rayno Benjamin moving to fullback with rookie Maphutha Dolo starting on the wing, while Joubert Engelbrecht and Willie du Plessis were welcomed back at centre and flyhalf respectively. In Durban Cell C Sharks coach Brad McLeod-Henderson made several changes to his team with lock Marco Wentzel and prop Dale Chadwick starting, and among the backs Tim Swiel will start at fullback while S’bura Sithole moves to centre alongside SA Under-21 centre Andre Esterhuizen.

GWK Griquas coach Hawies Fourie pinned his faith in the match-22 that defeated the Sharks, while there were only two personnel changes to the Steval Pumas starting team with fullback Coenie van Wyk reclaiming his place while scrumhalf Reynier van Rooyen takes over from Dylon Frylinck who is nursing a knee injury.

In Johannesburg Xerox Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann made a few changes to his backline with Lionel Mapoe and Stokkies Hanekom joining forces in the midfield, while scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder replaces the injured Ross Cronje. There were also a few changes to the pack with the most significant being Springbok Sevens star Kwagga Smith earning a start at flank. His DHL Western Province counterpart Allister Coetzee, meanwhile, made two changes to his team with Springbok prop Pat Cilliers starting at tighthead and flyhalf Kurt Coleman being handed a start. Scrumhalf Godlen Masimla has been named on the bench and could make his Absa Currie Cup debut if he takes to the field. Hooker Scarra Ntubeni has also been included on the bench.

Absa Currie Cup Premier Division fixtures:

EP Kings vs Vodacom Blue Bulls

Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth  Date: Friday, 12 September  Kickoff: 19h10 Referee: Quinton Immelman Assistant Referees: Christie du Preez and Vusi Msibi TMO: Jason Jaftha TV: SS1

Toyota Free State Cheetahs vs Cell C Sharks

Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein Date: Saturday, 13 September Kickoff: 15h00 Referee: Stuart Berry Assistant Referees: Rasta Rasivhenge and Cwengile Jadezweni TMO: JJ Wagner TV: SS1

GWK Griquas vs Steval Pumas

Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley Date: Saturday, 13 September Kickoff: 15h00 Referee: Craig Joubert  Assistant Referees: Rodney Boneparte and Francois de Bruin

Xerox Golden Lions vs DHL Western Province

Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg

Date: Saturday, 13 September

Kickoff: 17h05

Referee: Jaco Peyper

Assistant Referees: Frederico Anselmi (Arg) and Tahla Ntshakaza

TMO: Willie Vos

TV: SS1

#1891 Man – The 1982 Currie Cup season saw the resurgence of Western Province under the guidance of Dawie Snyman. During the season they played 17 matches, of which they won 16 and only lost one. In the run-up to the final they scored 75 tries and conceded only 15. The final played at Newlands against Northern Transvaal, saw the Western Province side feature three brothers namely Willie, Carel and Michael Du Plessis. Western Province won the match 24-7 and this kick-started five years of Currie Cup dominance for the team, which last won the title outright in 1966.

Bok Women Sevens on core team mission

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Springbok Woman Rugby
Springbok Woman Rugby

Springbok Women Sevens coach Renfred Dazel on Thursday expected a tough onslaught in the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series Qualifier in Hong Kong starting on Friday and said his team had to be at their best to secure a spot as one of the core teams in the 2014/2015 World Series.

The top four teams in the competition will book their places automatically among the core teams in the World Series, meaning South Africa has to advance to the semifinals to achieve this objective. New Zealand, Australia, Russia, England, Spain, USA and Canada have already secured their places on the circuit.

The extra incentive for the participating teams is that the top four sides on World Series log table at the end of the 2014/2015 season will automatically book their places in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The Springbok Women Sevens will face France in their opening pool match in the early hours of Friday morning, followed by clashes against China and Mexico.

“This tournament is a case of all or nothing for the team,” said Dazel. “We have been working toward this goal since late last year, so the players realise the importance of qualifying for the World Series. If we achieve this, it will not only ensure that we are exposed to top-class competition consistently, it will also afford us an opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games. This, however, will require a massive effort from the squad because we will line up against quality teams, who will have their sights set on the same prize.”

The coach was pleased with the team’s preparation, despite having limited time to prepare due to the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in August. Nine of the 12 players in the squad featured in the World Cup, while Dazel served as the backline coach. These commitments left the Springbok Sevens team with only two weeks to prepare for the tournament before their departure to Hong Kong last Sunday.

“We would have certainly liked to have more time to prepare for the Qualifier,” said Dazel. “But I am very pleased with the quality of the training sessions we had at our two-week training camp in Stellenbosch and in Hong Kong this week. The intensity and attitude displayed by the players is exactly what will be required for us to be successful at the Qualifier, so hopefully the players can transfer that onto the field. Every player is aware of the high stakes for the team in the next two days, so they do not need extra motivation. They are also aware that they will have to play their best rugby of the season to secure a semifinal berth and to work themselves into a good position to win the tournament.”

Springbok Women Sevens IRB World Series Qualifier fixtures:

Friday, 12 September 2014:

 

05h26 (Hong Kong time 11h26) – SA vs France

08h32 (Hong Kong time 14h32) – SA vs China

11h16 (Hong Kong time 17h16) – SA vs Mexico

Xerox Golden Lions to play DHL WP

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Xerox Golden Lions
Xerox Golden Lions

Xerox Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 22-man side to front DHL Western Province at Ellis Park on Saturday.

In the Xerox Golden Lions backline, Lionel Mapoe shifts to outside centre with Stokkies Hanekom moving into the inside centre berth. Courtnall Skosan has been recalled to the starting side at left wing.

Ricky Schroeder will start at scrumhalf in the place of injured Ross Cronje.

In the forwards, Willie Britz will start at eighthman, while Kwagga Smith has also been called up to the starting XV at flank. Armand van der Merwe will start the match at hooker.

Jaco Kriel will need to pass a late medical test in order to start this weekend, after he sustained a minor calf injury at Tuesday’s training session.

On the bench, Malcolm Marx will cover hooker and will look to make his Absa Currie Cup debut should he get a run out. Michael Bondesio has been called up to provide scrumhalf cover.

The match will get under way at 17h05.

Golden Lions Team:

15. Andries Coetzee

14. Ruan Combrinck

13. Lionel Mapoe (c)

12. Stokkies Hanekom

11. Courtnall Skosan

10. Jaco van der Walt

9. Ricky Schroeder

8. Willie Britz

7. Kwagga Smith

6. Jaco Kriel/Warwick Tecklenburg

5. Franco Mostert

4. MB Lusaseni

3. Ruan Dreyer

2. Armand van der Merwe

1. Schalk van der Merwe

Reserves:

16. Malcolm Marx

17. Jacques van Rooyen

18. Martin Muller

19. Warwick Tecklenburg/Steph de Wit

20. Michael Bondesio

21. Mark Richards

22. Howard Mnisi

 

Schreuder get’s his 50th for DHL WP

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Western Province
Western Province

Scrumhalf Louis Schreuder will play his 50th provincial match on Saturday and he will have a new halfback partner for the occasion, when DHL Western Province go up against the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg (kick-off 17h05).

The DHL WP starting XV shows just two changes from last week’s 49-14 demolition of the EP Kings, with Kurt Coleman partnering half-centurion Schreuder in what will be his first start of the 2014 Absa Currie Cup and vice-captain Pat Cilliers returning at tighthead prop.

With Coleman starting at No.10, Demetri Catrakilis moves down to the bench where he will be joined by Brok Harris, who swaps around with Cilliers in the front row, loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who is in for the suspended Rynhardt Elstadt, and debutant scrumhalf Godlen Masimla who replaces the injured Nic Groom.

SA Sevens star Justin Geduld remains on the bench with Cheslin Kolbe having been passed fit for Saturday’s Ellis Park excursion, whilst the other noteworthy selection on the DHL Western Province bench is Springbok tourist Scarra Ntubeni who joins the matchday 22 at the expense of Neil Rautenbach.

Ntubeni is back to full fitness after battling with a calf muscle strain and he will add to DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee’s options from the bench.

Coetzee told www.wprugby.com: “Cheslin ran well today and will take his place in the No.15 jersey and Scarra’s selection on the bench is also great news for us against a Lions team that has plenty to play for.

“With Seabelo Senatla sidelined with an ankle injury it would’ve been a blow to (also) lose Cheslin, given the similar skill-set and attacking threat that he also brings to our backline.”

The DHL WP boss also wished Louis Schreuder well on the occasion of his 50th game in the Blue & White hoops, adding: “It’s a great moment for Louis Schreuder, in his 50th match for DHL Western Province.

“Nic Groom also played his 50th match earlier this season and losing him is a blow for us. But the inclusion of Godlen Masimla is also an exciting time for a player who has come through the Varsity Shield with UWC, the DHL WP Under-21 team and our Vodacom Cup team.”

The DHL WP team for Saturday (v Golden Lions, away) is as follows:

15. Cheslin Kolbe 14. Kobus van Wyk 13. Juan de Jongh (captain) 12. Jaco Taute 11. Pat Howard 10. Kurt Coleman 9. Louis Schreuder 8. Nizaam Carr 7. Michael Rhodes 6. Siya Kolisi 5. Ruan Botha 4. Jean Kleyn 3. Pat Cilliers (vice-captain) 2. Stephan Coetzee 1. Alistair Vermaak

Replacements: 16. Scarra Ntubeni 17. Brok Harris 18. Manuel Carizza 19. Sikhumbuzo Notshe 20. Godlen Masimla (On Absa Currie Cup debut for DHL Western Province) 21. Demetri Catrakilis 22. Justin Geduld

Referee: Jaco Peyper