Wednesday, August 22, 2018
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Jacques

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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"

Jake – If Victor and Fourie want to coach start at schoolboy level

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Jake White have coloured our websites the last couple of years with his comments and opinions on the ongoing drama in SA Rugby.

This week in his article on All out Rugby he digs into the rumours that Fourie Du Preez and Victor Matfield are on the shortlist of the Bulls to take over from Mitchell.

I do not agree much with Jake but this week he hits the nail on the head.

Jake White – Fourie du Preez and Victor Matfield are two of the greatest rugby brains we’ve produced in the last 20 years. Many older rugby supporters will have just as much respect for Naas Botha and Frik du Preez. All four were fantastic Blue Bulls and Springboks.

Fourie and Victor are reportedly candidates to coach the Bulls if John Mitchell leaves for England. Now, if someone said tomorrow that Naas and Frik were on the shortlist to coach the backs and forwards at Loftus, people would say that’s crazy.

But what’s the difference? Just because those players are legends of the game, some of the greatest ever, doesn’t mean they can coach.

There’s the science of coaching, and then there’s the art. The science of coaching comes from a book, but the art comes with time in the saddle.

In rugby there’s a position on most management teams for a skills coach – an example of his role is teaching the players how to catch and pass. A coach can do drills that are repetitions to improve the skill of catching and passing, but that doesn’t mean he’s taught the players where that skill fits into the game.

When I was starting out as a professional coach at Transvaal, I remember teaching coaches in the townships how to run the old Jim Blair, four-corners passing drill. When I went back there six weeks later, they would repeat that drill exactly like I had showed them, but the player had absolutely no idea how to apply the skill in a match.

It’s a bit like mastering a kata in karate, but when you’re in a pub and someone punches you in the mouth, you’ve got to understand how to use those self-defence skills in a real life situation. If you don’t teach them how to use that skill in a live situation then that skill is nothing. That’s an example of the art of coaching, and that’s what we’re losing in South Africa.

A guy who has been coaching a high school First XV for 15 years, is better in year 15 than he was in year one. Why? Because he’s learnt from his mistakes, and he’s learnt what works.

Vince Lombardi didn’t make his famous quotes after one season of coaching, he made those quotes based on years of experience in the NFL.

SA Schools coach Sean Erasmus has taken a post at the Lions. He’s spent his years as a schoolmaster, went up the ranks, and I think he should take the Lions U20s, and then in a few years maybe become an assistant coach to the seniors and learn under the head coach.

If Fourie and Victor coached the Blue Bulls U19 team for the next five seasons, imagine how strong the Bulls would be in 2028. That is how it worked at schools 20 years ago – those guys would have worked their way up through the system – and that tradition is why South Africa’s big boys’ schools continue to dominate foreign schoolboy teams today.

Just because you’re a great salesman, doesn’t mean you’re a great sales manager, and I’m not sure Affies or Pietersburg Hoerskool would employ Fourie and Victor as their 1st XV head coaches. It says a lot about our rugby that they’ve got more chance of getting the Bulls job than the 1st XV job at the high schools they attended.

Buurman van Zyl, Kitch Christie and Nelie smith all coached club rugby for many years before they could coach provincially. Dawie Snyman won five Currie Cup titles, Kitch Christie won the Currie Cup and Peet Kleynhans coached Free State for years – during that time, coaches would have given their left arm to get a job with a senior provincial side.

Now I read that Brent Janse van Rensburg is thinking of going to Paarl Boys instead of the Kings, and the Lions have made their Strength & Conditioning guy the head coach of the Currie Cup team. Would they make an S&C coach the head coach of an NPC side in New Zealand? Never in a million years.

Where are our coaches? Where is the succession planning? Something doesn’t gel.

John Mitchell couldn’t get the Bulls to be successful this year. He’s got a longer CV than anyone on the Bulls shortlist and he had an 85-percent win-rate with the All Blacks.

Put in the same situation, two guys with almost no coaching experience are not going to make it because they’re going to make their coaching mistakes at the highest level instead of at high school. There’s no learning curve in senior professional rugby.

How can you have a system where a guy who has never coached leapfrogs everybody? The truth may be frightening – there probably is no system.

Why are we in that situation?

Back when the Springboks were at the top of the world rankings, you could have been a teacher for 20 years and never coached your high school’s 1st XV, because the first team coach was so entrenched.

Now we’re at the point where coaching experience is not required to be on the short-list for a Super Rugby job.

How far are we from having a Bok coach who has never coached?

Cronje back from the Boks to lead the Golden Lions

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Ross Cronje will lead the Golden Lions this weekend in their first Currie Cup match of the season on Friday.

The Springbok have not travelled with the Boks to Argentina and has been released to play in the Currie Cup.

The Lions side to face Griquas this Friday are also boosted by Springboks Andries Coetzee and Courtnall Skosan.

The match will be played at Emirates Airline Park

Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Jan-Louis la Grange, 12 Manni Rass, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje (c), 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Len Massyn, 6 James Venter, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Corne Fourie, 1 Sti Sithole
Replacements: 16 HP van Schoor, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 PJ Steenkamp, 19 Vincent Tshituka, 20 Dillon Smit, 21 Tyrone Green, 22 Wandisile Simelane

Mindset in SA Rugby needs to change for us to beat All Blacks again

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How do you stop the All Blacks?

The simple answer is at this moment no other team in the world have what it takes to beat the All Blacks on a consistand basis.

I hear that people saying that Ireland and England a year ago can give the All Blacks a run for their money, I call rubbish!

To get a once off win against the World number one side will happen from time to time, but no side can step up to the plate and be on the winning side like this All Black team.

To even think there is a team that can upset the All Blacks is living in a fool paradise.

So what makes them so great?

First fact is that there is no Rugby Union in the world that is run as professionally as the New Zealand union.

From their club structure, Mitre10 provincial competition to Super Rugby is run with the sole purpose of making the All Blacks the best in the world.

Every single coach in these structures and their players buy into the way they have decided to play and coach the game.

In doing that they have about three All Black match-23 squads that will beat most teams in the world.

If you take the current All Black squad you can write down two to three if not more, players names down who will walk into any current international squad.

This is not something they build for a year or two, you can do yourself a favour and go and read up on New Zealand rugby after the disastrous 2007 World Cup with coach Henry.

The Springboks set the tone for the two following years after the World Cup ’07 and they stood back and look at what they are doing as a nation and what they need to do to become the best team in the world.

This was a process have given them total domination in the Rugby Championship.

Two back to back World Cups and being so far ahead of any other team in world rugby that it looks like we playing a different sport-code than them.

So how do you get close to this team and have the ability to beat them on a regular bases?

You need to sort out your base first. That means for Australia and South Africa their Super Rugby teams.

In Super Rugby the past few years both Australia and South African has been poor. Beside the Lions great run last year, the conference system assured our participation in the playoffs.

If we want to be honest only the Lions in the past two years deserve a spot in the playoffs the rest were all below the standard of the New Zealand teams in the competition.

So what is wrong with out Super Rugby structure?

In South Africa every tom, dick and harry becomes a Super Rugby coach. It is everyone for himself and non of our teams work to the same goal in making Springbok rugby great.

SA Rugby should be involved in who coach these sides as these sides are suppose to be the foundation Springbok rugby are build on.

Lets be honest, most off our franchises are run by administrators who has failed in their job.

Western Province are sitting with a structure where the clubs are running the vote and you are having administrators who have failed the union year after year not just within the team but in financial side of the franchise as well.

We have read more on all the financial wrongs in the franchise than rugby for the past two years but yet the same people stay in-charge of the franchise.

At the Sharks we are led to believe that they run with an old boys club who dictates the running of the franchise. For so many years now the Sharks have been blessed with some of the best players in the country but failed in their quest to even come close to winning the competition.

At the Bulls we have more of the same problem and the politics within the Bulls have seen players leaving due to this.

From the four current franchises we can only say that the Lions have been the shining light. There President and administrators are not just building a great team but invest correctly in the sustainability of the franchise.

They have lost their inspirational coach, Johan Ackermann but if you look at the Lions junior recruitment and their teams then you can see something is being done correctly.

One of the major advantages New Zealand rugby has over any other nation is their central contracting system with their top players.

New Zealand rugby controls their top players not the franchises.

In South Africa we are lucky if we have dual contracts in-place for maybe 25 players.

The other huge factor in South African rugby is our exodus of players to Europe and Japan.

What is beyond me is that SA Rugby have given Franchises the opportunity to get up to 80% shareholders involved in the franchises. This will not just mean keeping our top players in SA but also having our top players with their experience available for the new generations.

Last week WP played a friendly against Montpellier and in that french club side we had 8 South Africans starting the match for Montpellier.

The Southern Kings on Monday announce that they have a 51% Shareholder that with SA Rugby approval invest in the franchise. This is the only way to go for SA franchises if we want to stay afloat.

It looks more and more that our top franchises do not want to sign away majority shares, because if they do they will not have the final say in how rugby, finance and sponsors are being run.

Maybe they are scared that the gravy-train will stop.

If South African franchises and SA Rugby can not sort out these simple things we can forget to ever come close in challenging the likes of the All Blacks

 

Family comes first, for Vodacom Bulls fans and players

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As he stands on the lush green grass of Loftus Versfeld, Warrick Gelant considers what it means to be part of the Vodacom Bulls family.

“I was raised by my mother and while I didn’t have any father and son experiences, having my mother’s support meant so much to me. That family bond is what we’re looking for as a team.

We know that’s what we need to take this team and this union forward again,” says the Vodacom Bulls and Springbok fullback, who is currently recovering from a shoulder injury.

And family bonds will indeed be the focus for this team when the Vodacom Bulls host the Vodacom Red Family Day at Loftus on Saturday 29 September.

The Vodacom Red Family Day forms part of a range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences exclusive to Vodacom Red clients.

The lucky families who win the chance to be part of this experience will join the players as well as celebrity Vodacom Bulls supporters such as actress Connie Ferguson and Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp and their respective families in a day of family fun and games.

Young Vodacom Bulls fans will get exclusive access to their favourite players at an autograph signing session, and the families will be able to watch the Rugby Championship Test between the Springboks and Australia on the big screen at Loftus.

And even for the players, it’s a day that forms part of a bigger message that resonates with many of them as they’ve been part of several unique family experiences arranged by Vodacom Red and under the greater #BullsFamily slogan.

“The biggest thing about the Vodacom Bulls is the feeling of family here,” said hooker Edgar Marutlulle. “We need to chase after that and pursue it deeply with every single person that works here.”

Prop Pierre Schoeman remembers how he used to idolise Bakkies Botha and knows the power he holds to inspire young Vodacom Bulls fans.

“You know, it’s about a kid who believes in a dream and can come here and see that. He sees those players he looks up to. For us as players it’s about ploughing back into their lives and truly living our slogan by showing them what it means to be part of the #BullsFamily.”

As a Vodacom Red client, or as a Vodacom Bulls player, family comes first. And on Saturday 29 September 2018, the #BullsFamily will celebrate this with the winning Vodacom Red families.

To stand a chance to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime family experience, Vodacom Red clients must register at www.vodacom.co.za/redrewards .

Exclusive to Vodacom Red!

Isuzu announce as Southern Kings Sponsor for Pro14

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An exciting new era has dawned for the Southern Kings with the announcement of the proudly Eastern Cape-side’s proposed new owners today.

A consortium of local black business people is set to buy a 51% stake in the Kings franchise.

EP Rugby confirmed it is awaiting approval from SA Rugby before the proposed change in ownership comes into effect.

Isuzu Motors South Africa will be partnering with a consortium of predominantly black business people, The Southern Kings and Eastern Province Rugby, through its sponsorship of the Isuzu Southern Kings rugby team franchise for a three year period.

The Isuzu Southern Kings will achieve a historical milestone by becoming the first black-owned rugby franchise in the country.  Binding offers have been submitted by the relevant parties, with SARU EXCO approval and other transaction closing conditions set to take place over the coming weeks.

Isuzu Motors South Africa Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Michael Sacke said the company was excited to be the main sponsor of the Southern Kings rugby team franchise under new ownership.

“The Kings represent an ideal partnership opportunity as we are both new companies who are only just starting our journeys. We both have our sights set on achieving sustainability, growth and success for the long run. We urge the residents of the Eastern Cape to join us in rallying behind the Kings, so that we can help build a strong rugby base in our region,” said Sacke.

Sacke continued to say that Isuzu Motors South Africa was passionate about the local community and committed to contributing towards the success of the region. “As an innovative and solutions-orientated automotive company, we are proud of our Eastern Cape roots and as such are pleased to be partnering with our local rugby team. We hope that this will ultimately help boost the local economy through increased sports tourism and other spin-off opportunities,” Sacke said.

On behalf of the proposed Consortium – a group of like-minded business people have rallied together to pool resources to build rugby talent in the region – Loyiso Dotwana said the community deserves a rugby team which it can be proud of.

“We want to build a professional and competitive team for the long run. Our long-term ambition is to achieve incremental growth which ultimately will result in the Isuzu Southern Kings winning the GUINNESS PRO14 Championship. By creating an academy and team here, we want to retain the Eastern Cape’s talent. This is the home of black rugby – our team will promote social cohesion in South African rugby,” said Dotwana.

The consortium has entered into discussions with the Nelson Mandela University with regards to reviving the Rugby Academy and thus providing incubation and training for the team.   Further announcements in this regard will be made in due course

“This places the franchise in a position it has never been before. We now have a long-term commitment from a sponsor and we are able for the first time, to plan and build a sustainable franchise for the long run,” said Charl Crous, Chief Operations Officer of the Isuzu Southern Kings.

“We want Nelson Mandela Bay to be the country’s sporting destination of choice,” said Executive Mayor Athol Trollip. “”Rugby is a critical part of that, which is why we need strong clubs and unions that nurture, retain and promote local talent.  This is a new era for the Southern Kings, after years of travails and challenges.  With a sponsor like Isuzu committed to this initiative, the trajectory is only up.  The Metro is proud to support the next chapter for our Southern Kings, and requests that every resident get behind the team on its way to Guinness PRO14 victory.”

The Isuzu Southern Kings will be wearing their brand-new jerseys when they open their 2018/19 GUINNESS PRO14 Championship campaign in Parma, Italy, where they play the Italian side Zebre on 31 August.

Their first home game in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will be on 16 September when the Southern Kings take on Ireland’s Ulster Rugby and again on 22 September when they take on Glasgow Warriors (Scotland).

The Southern Kings initially came into existence in 2009 for the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa and were one of the first international teams to play at the newly built Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The Southern Kings stood their ground as a proudly Eastern Cape team when they played Super Rugby in 2013, 2016 and 2017, before joining the GUINNESS PRO14 Championship for the 2017/18 season of the European competition. The GUINNESS PRO14 Championship, features top clubs from Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Italy and South Africa (Toyota Cheetahs and Southern Kings).

Now backed by a committed sponsor Isuzu Motors South Africa, who is celebrating 40 years of Isuzu’s existence in South Africa, fans of the Isuzu Southern Kings can look forward to a new era of growth for the team.

The1014 have interesting way of looking at depth

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The 1014 Rugby examine what squad depth actually means and what it might look like.

First up is Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The Rugby Championship kicks off this weekend.

Have the Springboks depth at tight-head?

Have Los Pumas anything under Sanchez at 10?

What about depth at 9 for the All Blacks?

Can Cheika lock down a balanced back row?

Sack Michael Cheika and his Wallabies staff now, says Australian rugby writer

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One of Australia’s longest serving rugby writers has called for Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and his staff to be axed immediately.

Cheika and his side head to Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday, via a camp on Waiheke Island, under immense pressure after a second half capitulation and 38-13 defeat to the All Blacks in Sydney.

But veteran scribe Greg Growden is adamant Cheika’s time is up and Rugby Australia needs to act immediately, just over a year out from the World Cup in Japan.

A 51 per cent win rate is 'unacceptable' for Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, says a leading Australian rugby writer.
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A 51 per cent win rate is ‘unacceptable’ for Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, says a leading Australian rugby writer.

“If Rugby Australia is serious about a productive 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign as well as regaining the faith of thousands of disenchanted Wallabies supporters, they must get rid of Cheika, and all of his backup coaching and managerial staff now,” Growden wrote for ESPN.

Wallabies lock says team eager to knock off Eden Park hoodoo against All Blacks
The Wallabies haven’t beaten the All Blacks at Eden Park since 1986.

Formerly rugby writer for the Sydney Morning Herald who’s seen a few Wallabies coaches in his time, Growden wrote that the end of the year would be too long to wait to jettison Cheika and his staff which includes former All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne.

“They must try to lure Joe Schmidt from Ireland, maybe even entice a Wayne Bennett or Craig Bellamy-like figure across from the rugby league ranks. Anything … because this rot has to stop,” Growden continued on ESPN.

“Drastic action is required because Cheika’s Wallabies are going absolutely nowhere, sending Australian rugby into a frightening nose-dive.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, right, and former All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne at training.
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Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, right, and former All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne at training.

“Cheika must pay the price for a team whose appalling skill level makes a mockery of the professional footballer tag, and arrogant, holier-than-thou attitude does not warrant any respect from those sick and tired of a pedestrian outfit who constantly makes fools of themselves in the big games.”

Growden observed the Wallabies supporters had clearly had enough, giving Cheika and company the thumbs down sign and banging on the windows of the coaches’ box after the final whistle in Sydney.

Cheika’s coaching record since taking over in November 2014 is an “unacceptable” 25 wins and two draws from 49 tests, a 51 per cent success rate, and the Wallabies sit fifth on the world rankings.

The All Blacks race in to score and Wallabies fullback Israel Folau and his team-mates head for the posts.
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The All Blacks race in to score and Wallabies fullback Israel Folau and his team-mates head for the posts.

“Surely Cheika cannot survive. The players are no longer responding to his ‘fire and brimstone’ manner, an approach which always has a limited lifespan,” Growden wrote.

The Wallabies form a huddle after the final whistle in their heavy Bledisloe Cup defeat to the All Blacks in Sydney.
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The Wallabies form a huddle after the final whistle in their heavy Bledisloe Cup defeat to the All Blacks in Sydney.

Kings sign Basson and Beyers for PRO14 season

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The Kings have made two late signings in former Bulls trio Bjorn Basson and Ulrich Beyers for their 2018-19 PRO14 season.

According to the Herald, Kings COO Charl Crous has confirmed the acquisition of Basson and Beyers, with an official announcement said to be made in due course.

Basson played for Ayonnax as a medical joker but was released in July.

He also played for Griqaus, Bulls, Stormers and Cheetahs before and will add some experience to the Kings outfit as they see to better their poor showing in last season PRO14.

Beyers left the Bulls in 2014 for a season-long stint at Bordeaux before moving to Italian club Zebre in 2015. He returned to the Bulls in 2016.

 

Rassie gives his thoughts after the match

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Rassie Erasmus and Captain Kolisi gave their thoughts after the test on Saturday against Argentina which they won 34-21.

Rassie cut squad by 6 for Argentina tour

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Erasmus named his 28-man squad to travel to Argentina for the second test in this years Rugby Championship.

They beat Argentina in Durban over the weekend 34-21 and earn a bonus point in the test as well.

Erasmus are leaving a few players at home for this away test match in Jean-Luc Du Preez, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Marvin Orie, Ross Cronje, Jesse Kriel and Lwazi Mvovo.

Cyle Brink has left the squad before the first test and has gone for an operation on his knee.

The squad are due to fly to Argentina on Monday and the match will be at 21:10 on Saturday evening.

Traveling Squad

Forwards (16)

Thomas du Toit (prop, Sharks), Pieter-Steph du Toit (lock/loose forward, Stormers), Eben Etzebeth (lock, Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (prop, Stormers), Siya Kolisi (captain – loose forward, Stormers), Francois Louw (loose forward, Bath, England), Wilco Louw (prop, Stormers), Frans Malherbe (prop, Stormers), Malcolm Marx (hooker, Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (hooker, Stormers), Franco Mostert (lock, Gloucester, England), Tendai Mtawarira (prop, Sharks), RG Snyman (lock, Bulls/Honda Heat ), Akker van der Merwe (hooker, Sharks), Marco van Staden (loose forward, Bulls), Warren Whiteley (No 8, Lions)

Backs (12)

Lukhanyo Am (centre,  Sharks), Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf, Sale Sharks, England), Aphiwe Dyantyi (wing, Lions), André Esterhuizen (centre, Sharks/Sanix Blues, Japan), Elton Jantjies (flyhalf, Lions), Willie le Roux (fullback, Wasps, England), Makazole Mapimpi (wing, Sharks), Lionel Mapoe (centre, Lions), Embrose Papier (scrumhalf, Bulls), Handré Pollard (flyhalf, Bulls), Ivan van Zyl (scrumhalf, Bulls), Damian Willemse (flyhalf, Stormers)

Carrot Ratings – Etzebeth shows the way

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Playing in the Rugby Championship we need to put the standard a bit higher.

The Springboks and All Blacks manage bonus point wins in their first test matches.

Neither the All Blacks or South Africa had perfect performances and both had to fight back in the second half of their matches to get the wins.

For the Springboks it was again a question of missed opportunities as they had more than three wasted opportunities in that first half.

Marx had a quite game from the normal high standard we get used from him and his combination with his locks was not on par in that first half.

Pollard was poor to say the least.

On the wings Mapimpi and Aphiwe Dyantyi had good games on attack and was really impress with Dyantyi on defence.

Here is the ratings for the first test

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15. Willie Le Roux (7) 

His greatest asset is the way he read the game and his hand on attack makes him a brilliant player in this team. He had some problems on the high ball in the first half but solid from Willie

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14.Makazole Mapimpi (6)

With only his second game in a Bok jersey Mapimpi showed his worth. His speed is a great value to the team and he had some strong runs even with limited space.

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13.Lukhanyo Am (6)

He scored a great try and were good in combination with Esterhuizen on defence in the midfield. He worked hard in the game and added value to the side. His best game thus far in a Bok jumper

 

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12.Andre Esterhuizen (5)

Brought something else than De Allende and his defence got better as the game progress. Had a few strong runs but still needs to improve in his position

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11. Aphiwe Dyantyi (7)

The pure ability on attack makes him a world class winger only if he has just played a few. He has improve allot on defence and his cover was much better than against England.

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10. Handre Pollard (4)

Not what we wanted from the Pollard. He struggled in the game when the Argentinians rushed in defence. His kicking game is lacking and distribution was not great. He is a far way off being a great 10 at the moment.

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9. Faf de Klerk(6)

Faf always try something and with that will make mistakes but his kicks were good on the night and his distribution were good. He was slow at times behind the pack but did more good than bad things.

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8. Warren Whiteley (5)

Being out for a year at this level Warren showed some of his abilities in the test. He did allot of work in defence and showed some good things with ball in hand. He is also a great option in the lineouts

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7.Siya Kolis(4.5)

Did not enjoy Siya at 7 and he did not had the impact we expected. He was alright but average and we know average is just not good enough. Need to step up big time

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6.Francois Louw (5)

He did not play the world on fire but he was definitely not bad as well. He was the best of the three loosies and were very good in defence. We did not see enough from Flo over the ball.

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5. Pieter Steph du Toit (6)

Du Toit had a much quieter game than what we are used to from the big man. He was however solid in the lineouts after the early problems with his communication with Marx.

He did his part in the set pieces and defence but we did not see his normal go-forward carriers.

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4. Eben Etzebeth(8)

My man of the match. He played as if he has not been sideline for a year. Brilliant in his carriers and solid in defence. His set pieces specially lineouts is top class. With Vermeulen not there this championship Boks can be glad that he is around.

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3. Frans Malherbe (7)

Really surprise me as I was not a fan of his selection to start this test. He was great in the scrums and did his part in defence and at the breakdown even.

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2.Malcolm Marx (7)

Not his best test to start with but come good as the test went on. He struggled with his locks in the beginning but sorted that out. Had a few good steals again and some great runs. one of our better players in this team

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1.Tendia (Beast) Mtawarira (7)

One of the better games for the big man. He scrummed very well and had his beastly runs. He also put in some massive hits

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Man of the Match

Eben Etzebeth

He made 13 carriers, gain 51 meters, 3 defender beaten and 9 tackles. He was brilliant in defence and on attack.

Nabetragting – Etzebeth stands out for Boks

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The Springboks started their 2018 Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign with a bonus point win over Argentina.

It was not close to perfect but it was a good start and what was expected from them when number 6 in the world play number 10.

There is allot of expectation on Rassie Erasmus Springboks this year in the Championship and rightly so, we expect perfection, something we have been far from in the last few years.

Not saying that we are even close to being a team that can beat the top three teams in the world yet but atleast it was a start which we expected from them against Argentina.

It is disappointing that we still create so many opportunities which we do not convert into points. You may get away with it against Argentina but no way you will get away with it against the top teams.

We pride ourselves in our set pieces and on the day Marx and the locks were not in sync in that first half.

That threw away three perfectly good scoring opportunities which we should be taking.

We were rushed in the first half with ball in hand which Pollard did not handled well. His distribution was poor and filtered through to his tactical game as well.

Etzebeth played like he has been playing rugby all year, he was an absolute monster.

At the end of the game Etzebeth made 13 carriers, 51 meters with ball in hand, beaten 3 defenders and made 9 tackles.

He was a clear man of the match for me and played a vital roll in the Boks set pieces, attack and defence.

The combination with Du Toit worked with Du Toit also putting in some massive hits in the game.

Faf de Klerk and Willie Le Roux created the magic for the team and was tactically very good on the night. Le Roux ability to read the game and create opportunities are with the best in the world.

De Klerk was at stage slow behind the pack but played his part in the tries that was scored.

The heroes on the night was Makazole Mapimpi and Aphiwe Dyantyi who looked for work all night long and was rewarded with two tries each.

Dyantyi made the most of his chances and was at the end of some great play of Le Roux and De Klerk. He could have scored his third try in the second half but passed the ball to Mapimpi to get his second try of the test.

On defence both wings impressed and we can expect them to just get better as they grow at this level under Nienaber.

With the good comes to bad as well unfortunately. The new loose trio combination did not work as we would have liked. We need to be able to dominate the breakdowns and it was not the case.

Individually all three, Kolisi, Whiteley and Louw had ok matches but what we need is not ok but a trio that dominate and create in attack and defence.

The concern that a few had about Whiteley at eight was put to bed. The Lions captain made some great strong runs, was good on defence and did his part in the set pieces.

Still feel we need a Du Preez in this combination when you have to face the Aussies and All Blacks.

Collectively the attacking plan of the Boks looks good but the time is now for them to sort out the mistakes and covert all that possession and opportunities into points.

We will go on tour now first to Argentina, then back home before we go to Australia and New Zealand, so not much time anymore before we face much stronger than the Argentinians.

We also had two debutants in Willemse and Van Staaden who came on late in the test.

Great moment for the two players and here is what they had to say after the match

At the end we can be happy with the bonus point win but let’s not get carried away.

Next week Australia travels to New Zealand to face the All Blacks and the Springboks take a trip to Argentina.

Championship Log:

PosTeamPWLPFPAPDBPPts
111038132515
211034211315
31012134-1300
41011338-2500

Namibia beat Kenya to qualify for World Cup 2019

0

Namibia qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup after thrashing Kenya 53-28 in their Africa Gold Cup match in Windhoek on Saturday.

The Namibians won all five of their qualifying matches and reached the World Cup in Japan as Africa winners.

They will join African counterparts the Springboks in Pool B, which also features the All Blacks, Italy and a yet to be determined repechage winner.

Kenya, who finished second in the Africa Gold Cup, will now enter the repechage tournament where they will slug it out with Canada, Germany and Hong Kong for the final spot in Japan.

Zimbabwe, who are coached by former Springbok mentor Peter de Villiers, finished their qualifying campaign on a high note with a 38-18 win over Uganda in Kampala on Saturday.

It was however not enough for them to qualify for the World Cup as they finished fourth in the Africa Gold Cup.

2019 Rugby World Cup draw:

Pool A

Ireland, Scotland, Japan (hosts), Russia, Samoa

Pool B

New Zealand (holders), South Africa, Italy, Namibia, repechage winners

Pool C

England, France, Argentina, United States, Tonga

Pool D

Australia, Wales, Georgia, Fiji, Uruguay

Source: Sport24

Bonus point win for Springboks

6

It was just what the doctor ordered, a win to start the Rugby Championship and a bonus point to make it just that little bit sweeter.

It was a good second half from the Springboks to beat Argentina at the end 34-21.

It was a difficult first forty for the Springboks as they did enough to put the points on the board but there was just not that final spike on attack.

It was the Boks that put the first points on the board with Am that went over after a lengthy build-up. Quick ball from De Klerk from the ruck gave Am the space to get over

It was a mistake from Le Roux under the high ball that gave Argentina the opportunity to send Sánchez over under the post.

That gave them a 7-5 lead although the Springboks were controlling the game and ball.

It was again missed opportunity for the Boks with Le Roux breaking through but not enough support at the breakdown to make anything off it.

Argentina then extended the lead with a great try from Matera who got an inside pass with a clean run.

Next to score was Dyanti who got over in the corner from a kick which Le Roux put perfect for the winger.

Pollard struggled with his kicks and missed the conversion.

That was it for the first half with Argentina leading 14-10.

The second half started with the Springboks again controlling the ball with De Klerk putting another brilliant kick through with a kind bounce for Dyantyi to score his second try of the test.

Pollard found the mark this time to give the Springboks a 17-14 lead.

The momentum was with the Boks as Mapimpi got over for his first try after they had an attacking linout which ended up in the wingers hands.

Pollard again missed the conversion which made the score 22-14.

Three minutes later Mapimpi went over for his second try and a lead of 27-14.

Argentina then came back with an intercept try when Willemse tried a long pass that was not one at that stage, Moroni read the play perfectly and got over which made the score 27-21.

The try also took away the bonus point for the Boks.

With nine minutes to go the Springboks hit back with their sixth try with the forwards doing the hard work to give Faf De Klerk the space to dive over.

Argentina tried hard to get that bonus point try in the last minutes but the Springboks defence hold out.

Next week the Springboks travel to Argentina and they will need to fix some things this week.

The lineouts were not great in that first half on attack and they will need to protect the ball better.

Support play on the ball was not great today but positives was definitely the defence.

Creating space for our wings was good in the second half.

Our scrums were strong but we can do even better.

Scorers: 

South Africa

 

Tries – Francois de Klerk(70′) Makazole Mapimpi(53′) Makazole Mapimpi(49′) Aphiwe Dyantyi(42′) Aphiwe Dyantyi(32′) Lukhanyo Am(8′)

Penalties – None

Cons – Handre Pollard(71′) Handre Pollard(44′)

Argentina

 

Tries – Matias Moroni(67′) Pablo Matera(27′) Nicolas Sanchez(15′)

Penalties – None

Cons – Nicolas Sanchez(67′) Nicolas Sanchez(29′) Nicolas Sanchez(16′)

Bonus point win for All Blacks as Aussies fade in second half

0

Australia led at halftime just to fade away in the second half to give the All Blacks a bonus point win on Saturday.

The Aussies led 6-5 at half time but it was the magic of Barrett that was just too good for the Aussies in the second half to give them a 38-13 win.

The Aussies had allot to say in the lead up to the weekend test and they showed that confidence in the first half.

Their defence was absolutely brilliant to say the least and they starved the All Blacks from the ball as well.

At one stage in the first half the All Blacks were only dominating the scrums which played into the Aussies hands perfectly.

They had a few chances in the first half to get over the line but some good defence from the All Blacks hold them out.

The Aussies were first on the board with a penalty and played in the right areas of the field as well.

It was not that the All Blacks did not have ball to play with it was the Aussies that scrambled in defence to force mistakes.

The Aussies also slowed the All Blacks ball down which make it harder to attack with and let the Aussies to organize their defence better.

The Aussies stretch their lead to 6-0 with another penalty and left the All Blacks wonder what was going on.

The All Blacks had enough chances but some great defence from the Wallabies force them into mistakes.

Eventually the All Blacks kicked for points, but Barrett missed which led to a twenty-two kick out.

That gave the All Blacks a last opportunity to attack and they put their brilliant skills to show to send Aaron Smith over for their first try.

The two teams went into the break with the Aussies leading 6-5 and allot to play for in the second half.

The All Blacks had the perfect start to the second half with a turnover in their own twenty to score at the other side and give Goodhue his first test try.

Barrett was again the magic man for the All Blacks when he kicked trough a loose ball from a Aussies handling mistake. He showed off his soccer skills to pick it up just before the line and scored his try.

With another turnover the All Blacks scored again after Retallick gave a world class dummy to get over and made the lead 26-6.

The All Blacks dominated almost everything and on attack they gave the ball away in the Aussies twenty-two for them to break out and score on the other side.

It gave them just a sniff to maybe start the comeback.

Two tries from Naholo just put the cherrie on the cake with the first one come off a kick from Barrett again.

This gave the All Blacks a 38-13 lead with minutes to go.

The All Blacks did had to work hard to keep the Aussies out in the last minutes but if you loose seven of your own lineouts you cannot complain.

Asa good as the Aussies were in the first half that poor they were in the second. Barrett again the magic man for the All Blacks having his hand in three of the tries and score one himself.

Said it before anyone can keep the All Blacks close in 40 minutes you need to be able to do so in 80 minutes.

Next week it is Eden Park..

Scorers:

Australia

 

Tries – Jack Maddocks(67′)

Penalties – Bernard Foley(21′) Reece Hodge(10′)

Cons – Bernard Foley(67′)

New Zealand

 

 

Tries – Waisake Naholo(75′) Waisake Naholo(74′) Brodie Retallick(63′) Beauden Barrett(52′) Jack Goodhue(43′) Aaron Smith(39′)

Penalties- None

Cons – Beauden Barrett(77′) Beauden Barrett(65′) Beauden Barrett(53′) Beauden Barrett(44′)

Sharks edge Bordeaux in the wet

0

It was a pretty wet field and conditions but the Sharks beat Bordeaux 19-17 in a pre-season Currie Cup friendly at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Friday night.

Both sides had to deal with the wet and windy conditions on offer, but it was the hosts who came away with the victory in the end.

The Sharks scored three tries while Bordeaux scored two.

The Sharks get their Currie Cup season underway when they host the Blue Bulls at Kings Park next weekend.

Scorers:

Sharks

Tries: Jeremy Ward, Aphelele Fassi, Grant Williams

Conversions: Robert du Preez (2)

Bordeaux

Tries: Blair Conner, Ulupano Seuteni

Conversions: Cyril Cazeaux (2)

Penalty: Matthieu Jalibert

Source: Sport24

Brilliant second half gives Blue Bulls bonus point win in Bloemfontein

2

The Blue Bulls put together a brilliant second half on Friday to beat the Free State Cheetahs 34-12 to earn a bonus point as well.

It was a good old battle between the Free State Cheetahs and the Blue Bulls on Friday night in Bloemfontein.

The Cheetahs seemed to have had the momentum and they used the great ball they had to get over for their first try and a lead of 7-0.

The Blue Bulls worked hard to get back into the game as the Cheetahs was dominating the set pieces and possession.

With more ball the Blue Bulls camped in the Cheetahs half and finally got over after sustain pressure.

That made the scores 7 all.

The two teams went hard at each other but did not manage to get that final pass stick and both made a few mistakes on their option taking on attack.

At the break they were still at 7-all and all to play for in their first Currie Cup match.

The Cheetahs had a great start to the second half putting all the pressure on the Blue Bulls and were first to put points on the board after another disallowed try earlier.

This gave the Cheetahs a 12-7 lead before the Blue Bulls got 3 back with a penalty in the 52 minutes of the match.

And it was about there were it went downhill for the Free State Cheetahs. First the Blue Bulls got a great lineout drive and a try was awarded. After a few replays the TMO judges the ball was lost over the line.

The referee then judges that the Cheetahs had come in from the side to stop the drive and awarded a penalty try and a yellow card for the Free State.

That gave the Blue Bulls a 17-12 lead.

The Blue Bulls then kept the ball in hand after the kickoff and created an overlap to score another try to take their lead to 24-12 with 20 minutes to go.

The Blue Bulls kept pressure on the Free State and force a penalty which Libbok kicked over to extend their lead to 27-12.

The Blue Bulls was not done as they got their bonus point try in the final minute of the match to beat the Free State Cheetahs 34-12.

The Cheetahs will be very disappointed in the yellow cards they have given away.

Free State Cheetahs

 

Tries – Shaun Venter(45′) Nico Lee(36′) Joseph Dweba(4′)

Penalties – None

Cons – Shaun Venter(45′) Tian Schoeman(5′)

Blue Bulls

 

 

Tries – Divan Rossouw(81′) Jade Kyle Stighling(62′) Penalty TRY(56′) Manie Libbok(15′)🤣Penalties – Manie Libbok(68′) Manie Libbok(53′)

Cons – Manie Libbok(81′) Manie Libbok(63′) Manie Libbok(60′) Manie Libbok(16′)

Pumas start with bonus point win over Griquas

0

The Pumas and Griquas started the Currie Cup 2018 season in Nelspruit on Friday and it was the Pumas with the early ascendancy.

They used the ball well with multiple phases keeping the Griquas pinned down in their own half having to tackle for most of the first twenty minutes of the game.

It was the Pumas that got on the board first with a penalty.

The Griquas defence was impressive throughout this period but gave too many penalties away which kept the Pumas in their red zone.

The Pumas extend the lead with another penalty before they again put some phases together to get their first try of the match.

This gave them a handy 13-0 lead with Griquas totally out of the game.

Just as one thought that Griquas will have a long day at the office they came back with some great handling to get Koertzen over for their first try of the match.

It was if the try sparked the Griquas to come alive as they started to get more ball and space to challenge the Pumas defence.

The two teams went into the break with the Pumas leading 13-7.

The Pumas started the second half as they did the first and they quickly got the lead extended with a try early on.

The Pumas kept the pressure on and with an excellent scrum they force a penalty and extend their lead to 23-7 after 48 min.

The Pumas pressure was starting to get too much for the Griquas as they scored two quick tries to extend the lead to 35-7.

With the Pumas extending their lead to 42-7 the Griquas did come back with two tries which took their tally to 19.

The Pumas had to keep the Griquas off the line in the last few minute but got their bonus point win for the perfect start to the season.

Pumas

 

Tries – Marnus Schoeman(63′) Neil Maritz(59′) Chris Smith(57′) Stefan Ungerer(43′) Hennie Skorbinski(30′)

Penalties – Chris Smith(49′) Chris Smith(23′) Chris Smith(11′)

Cons – Marnus Schoeman(64′) Chris Smith(58′) Chris Smith(44′) Chris Smith(30′)

Griquas

 

Tries – Conway Pretorius(74′) Christiaan Meyer(72′) Adriaan Coertzen(33′)

Penalties – None

Cons – George Whitehead(74′) George Whitehead(33′)

Bring on the Bledisloe: Hooper ready for all Blacks

3

Michael Hooper is confident he can make a difference to the Wallabies after nearly two months out with injury.

Hooper injured his hamstring in the third June Test against Ireland, missing the rest of the Super Rugby season including the Waratahs’ run to a semi-final.

The Wallabies had no reservations with bringing the skipper straight back into the starting side for the Bledisloe.

Returning from injury is an unfamiliar place for Hooper and he hedged his bets when asked how confident he felt in the muscle.

“I’ll tell you after the game tomorrow,” he said.

“It’s one of those things – you tick all the boxes, you get to a point, I’m sitting here today feeling great about what I can do and I think I can make a difference in the game.”

Hooper had barely missed a minute of rugby in the past five years before this injury and said he hoped to make it through the full 80 in his return.

“I’m going to come out guns blazing,” he said.

“We’ll see how that goes tomorrow night. The best minutes to be on the field are the back end of the game so yes I’d love to be there.

“However, whatever is best for the team and if we can get a really good substitution there in myself or someone else then that’ll be made.”

Hooper’s fitness aside, the Wallabies openside was confident his team felt ready for the challenge facing them on Saturday night.

It’s not the first time that the Wallabies have said they were ready heading into a Sydney Bledisloe and the past two years things have turned sour pretty quickly with 42-8 and 54-34 losses.

Hooper said they couldn’t dwell on the past, positive or negative, ahead of the opener.

“Plenty’s made about the history, plenty’s made about the time but all we can speak for is this group here right now,” he said.

“And right now, we’re sitting here on a Friday and we’ve been happy with our prep.

“We’ve been happy with what the players have been putting in during the week and they’re different players to who were here last year.

“Different group, different stage in this group’s development from last year, so everything’s pointing towards tomorrow.”

Nothing will come easy for the Wallabies against the All Blacks but Hooper said they would be embracing that.

“It’s going to be hard and that’s why different teams, different players have struggled over the course of how ever many years,” he said.

“It is going to be hard and we like it that way, we like that we get the first Test in Sydney.

“It’s always fun to come out here and it’s going to be a great day for rugby particularly in Sydney tomorrow and for Australia as well with us playing the All Blacks, it’s always good. So, bring it on.”

Brink sustain injury in practise

0

It was a surprise to have seen that Erasmus did not have a place for Lions Cyle Brink when he named his team for the first test against Argentina on Thursday.

Unfortunately for Brink he sustain a knee injury in training and will be leaving the Bok camp.

He was seen on crutches in the team hotel on Thursday but it was not known how serious the injury is at the moment.

It is well known that Erasmus is keen to give Brink a run in the Championship but we will have now to sit and wait and see how serious this injury is and how soon he will be back in contention.

This weekend will see Whiteley, Kolisi and Louw to start with Van Staaden on the bench as cover.

The Boks later confirmed that no replacement will be called up, with the Lions medical team set to conduct further assessments.

Bismarck score for Montpellier in win over WP

0

Montpellier was too good for WP Currie Cup side when they beat them 26-7 on Thursday night in Millau.

Bismarck Du Plessis was one of the try-scorers for Montpellier which was loaded with South African players.

The French side picked a close to full strength side for the match and were just too strong for the WP team.

WP scored their only try just after halftime when Ntubeni went over for the cape side but the reply came quickly with two more tries from Montpellier.

The hosts doubled that lead when Vincent Martin collected a pass from Frans Steyn to score Montpellier’s second try, with Johan Goosen knocking over another conversion just before half-time.

WP will kick off their Currie Cup title defence with a clash against Free State on 25 August.

Montpellier – Tries: Bismarck du Plessis, Vincent Martin, Yvan Reilhac, Konstantin Mikautadze. Conversions: Johan Goosen (3).
Western Province – Try: Scarra Ntubeni. Conversion: SP Marais.

Preview – Springboks v Argentina

0

The feeling out there is that this Championship will be the real test for Erasmus and his team and it all start with Argentina this coming Saturday.

Erasmus has named a different team from the England series with Etzebeth and Malherbe starting with none or very little real game time.

It looks like Erasmus went with combinations to start the championship picking Etzebeth and Du Toit at lock, De Klerk and Pollard (his choice in England series) at nine and ten and Esterhuizen and Am in the midfield.

The team has a combine 438 test caps which sees a mix between experience and new players in this competition.

Playing Argentina has change over the years as they were a forward dominate team but that has changed to a good pack with great flair in the backs.

Easy it will not be and the Argentinians have a new coach at test level with the confidence that they have beaten the Springboks at home at the same venue a few years ago.

Argentina went with a strong front row in Figallo, Agustin Creevy and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.

It will be a huge battle with Beast, Marx and Malherbe and may be the biggest factor in winning or loosing.

There are concern on Etzebeth straight into the starting team not playing any rugby this year so far but Rassie has stick to his guns in giving him game time as soon as possible.

That said with that selection Erasmus had no place for Mostert or Snyman in his match 23. Orie will cover at lock and only van Staaden on the bench for the newly trio in Whiteley, Kolisi and Louw.

The Argentinian coach has opted to go with Tomas Lavanini, while Marcos Kremer will be at flanker to counter the Springbok trio.

Argentina will have Bautista Ezcurra and Matias Moroni in the midfield Ramiro Moyano on the wing.

The Springboks have some exciting backs, the question will just be what game will they go out and play

Defence will be crucial like in any test match and something the Boks were not able to manage well against England in June.

There is enough speed out wide for Erasmus but speed needs good quality ball and that will be like gold on Saturday.

It will all start at the set pieces and dominance in those department will go a long way in winning this test match.

With a new loose trio combination, Marx will have to add to the breakdown and in slowing the Argentinian ball down.

They have shown in Super Rugby and test that they are dangerous from broken play and turnover ball.

Erasmus have also opted to give the young Willemse a chance to cover at 10 and 15 ahead of Jantjies. Suppose it is less than a gamble to do it against Argentina than the All Blacks.

There are four players in the starting line-up who will play in their first Castle Lager Rugby Championship test, Makazole Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am, André Esterhuizen and Aphiwe Dyantyi.

South Africa’s overall record against Argentina: Played 26, Won: 23, Lost 2 and draw only which gives them a 88% win record.

Prediction: Springboks by 6 points

Teams:

Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Siya Kolisi (c), 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Damian Willemse.

Argentina: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Replacements: 16 Diego Fortuny, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Juan Cruz Mallia

 

Small unions may not be able to play away games

1

The Leopards Rugby union is in a financial downward spiral according to a report on Facebook from SupaRugby

They claim that the Leopards will not be able to play all their away games in the Currie Cup First Devision due to budget constrains.

A spoke person of the Leopards according to the facebook account have confirm that the Leopards and two other small unions will not be able to play against Namibia.

According to them the union will also not be able to send their senior, U19 and U21 teams to play in PE and Cape Town.

According to information for a source away games will cost the union R100 000 if they travel by bus and R240 00 if they travel by air.

According to the report the union is looking at selling off vehicles to generate money.

It looks like the union will be able to play in their first game against SWD in George.

According to the site the Leopards junior teams who plays in the A section of the competition gets about R2 million per year less than teams like Griquas and the Pumas.

The report also state that the Leopards and other smaller unions budget have been cut from R19 million to R10 million for the year.

SARU also do not contribute to travel expenses according to the report.

Questions have been raised why Varsity Cup have a bigger budget than the first devision?

Due to their budget restrains and not knowing what their budget will be the Leopards and other smaller unions can not contract players for next season.

Reports suggest that the Griffons already stated that they can only contract players for 8 months.

*** This is all unconfirmed as we are trying to get a response from SA Rugby and the Leopards

North Harbour survive Northland scare

0

Home first five-eighths Bryn Gatland might not have had the most memorable game with too many kicks failing to find touch, but when he needed to land a vital goal, from 45m and six minutes from the end, he produced the matchwinner.

But it could just as easily have gone the other way as Northland produced a spirited defence to embarrass the home side who enjoyed far greater territory and possession only to fail to make the most of their chances.

Having withstood a solid opening from the home team Northland struck first, after eight minutes, when right wing Jordan Hyland pounced on loose North Harbour ball and made ground. From the ruck, the play wasn’t the tidiest but first five-eighths Jack Debreczeni cleaned things up and took the ball to the line.

He managed a perfectly-timed offload for left wing, and always electric, Rene Ranger to work his magic beating defenders and then passing inside where lock Tom Robinson, who had a busy night, had rumbled down field in support to score by the posts.

Having suffered from some early campaign untidiness North Harbour found their way in the second quarter through their forward pack. A chargedown by flanker Glenn Preston of a Debreczeny clearing kick set the scene and then scrum power and lineout strength provided a try scoring chance.

Wing Matt Duffie chimed into a backline move off a lineout to set up a ruck just out from the goalline. Lock Gerard Cowley-Tuioti drove just short and when the ball came back halfback Bryn Hall assessed the options and flung a long pass wide to the right where flanker Dillon Hunt, who demonstrated his ability throughout, was waiting to receive the ball and score.

Gatland was forced off the field early in the second half after a head knock and in his absence Shaun Stevenson moved from fullback to first five-eighths. And from a midfield breakdown penalty, he kicked the ball to touch, saw the forwards put their maul to use before they released the ball.

It was moved to midfield and then Stevenson took a gap on the blindside with aplomb and provided wing Tevita Li with the perfect finishing chance. Hall took on the goal-kicking duties and landed a sideline conversion.

But when a chance was gained to build their lead after Robinson was sin-binned for a cynical play, North Harbour muffed their lineout on the Northland line and as the Taniwha cleared the ball from their line, a comedy of North Harbour errors saw the ball right back downfield into their 22m area. Northland scored 10 points in his absence to none by the home side.

Replacements made a big impact for Northland with loose forward Matt Matich very competitive and replacement halfback Jono Kitto marking his arrival by sniffing half a chance around a ruck to race through some ineffectual tackling to score to get his side back to 17-18 down.

Debreczeni missed a 45m penalty attempt that would have given his side the lead but a minute later a deliberate block by replacement prop Mike Tamoaieta on Northland fullback Matt Wright, gave Debreczeny an easier chance and he made no mistake. But Gatland was given the final chance and took it.

Northland could feel unlucky but their spirit offered plenty of hope of another competitive season in the Championship.

Scorers: North Harbour 21 (Dillon Hunt, Tevita Li tries; Bryn Gatland 3 pen; Bryn Hall con) Northland 20 (Tom Robinson, Jono Kitto tries; Jack Debreczeni 2 con, 2 pen). HT: 11-7

Erasmus first test team do not shout out Rugby Champions

26

Facts are the Springboks under Rassie Erasmus are 2 from 4 test and the talks of a Springbok rival is a bit premature at this stage.

Saturday the Caste Lager Rugby Championships kick off and the first mission for Erasmus is the Argentinians in Durban.

This Championship will give a better guideline on where Erasmus Springboks really are in their quest to revive Bok rugby ahead of next years World Cup in Japan.

Argentina is no pushover and specially not anymore in the rugby Championship.

They have won in South Africa before, in-fact at the same ground they play this weekend.

With a few players unavailable or injured for Erasmus he has picked a changed team from the one that played against England in June.

With the selection of Etzebeth and Du Toit Erasmus went with a combination that has worked before in the Bok team. It is a bit of a concern that Marvin Orie has been picked ahead of Mostert on the bench as cover.

In the front row Erasmus went with Malherbe who has not been one of the top props for some time now in either Super Rugby or at test level.

A new loose trio will run onto the field in Kolisi, Louw and Whiteley. Marco van Staaden are the only cover on the bench. One can suspect that Du Toit will also cover if need to.

The halfback pair was suspected in De Klerk and Pollard with Erasmus going with the Sharks midfield combination in Esterhuizen and Am.

With Nkosi injured Erasmus choose another Sharks wing in Mapimipi to start with Lions young star Dyantyi.

At the back Le Roux will keep his place after a brilliant June series against England.

For some reason the bench does not shout out something special to me with Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Thomas du Toit, Marvin Orie, Marco van Staden, Embrose Papier, Lionel Mapoe and Damian Willemse.

Was always under the impression the bench needs to make an inpact.

Against Argentina we can maybe get away with it but a serious rethink needs to happen against the Aussies and New Zealand.

Willemse was picked as cover for 10 and 15 ahead of Jantjies and I suppose if you want to do that, best to do it against Argentina than the All Blacks.

Would have loved to see a Cyle Brink or Du Preez in the mix to cover the loose trio.

One can understand maybe to go with Etzebeth and Du Toit but then who do you leave out a guy like Snyman who was a revelation in the June internationals.

Another guy that can feel hard done by is Ross Cronje who is coming of another great season with the Lions.

The major concerns are the midfield, front row and the cover on the bench.

What do you think of the team

The Springbok team against Argentina in Durban (in order of name and surname, franchise/club, caps and points – tries, conversions, penalties, drop-goals):

15. Willie le Roux (Wasps, England, 44, 55 – 11t)
14. Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks, 1, 5 – 1t)
13. Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks, 3, 0)
12. André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks, 2, 0)
11. Aphiwe Dyantyi (Emirates Lions, 3, 5 – 1t)
10. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls, 29,246 – 3t, 42c, 46p, 3d)
9. Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England, 14, 5 – 1t)
8. Warren Whiteley (Emirates Lions, 17, 15 – 3t)
7. Siya Kolisi (captain, DHL Stormers, 31, 20 – 4t)
6. Francois Louw (Bath, England 57, 45 – 9t)
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers, 36, 20 – 4t)
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers 67, 15 – 3t)
3. Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers, 19, 0)
2. Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions, 14, 15 – 3t)
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks, 101, 10 – 2t)
Replacements:
16. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers, 16, 5 – 1t)
17. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers, 27, 5 – 1t)
18. Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks, 4, 0)
19. Marvin Orie (Emirates Lions, 1, 0)
20. Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls, 0, 0)
21. Embrose Papier (Vodacom Bulls, 2, 0)
22. Lionel Mapoe (Emirates Lions, 12, 0)
23. Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers, 0, 0)

Erasmus leaves out Jantjies for first test

3

Malcolm Marx, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw and Warren Whiteley – have been included in the Springbok team to face Argentina on Saturday, 18 August in Durban in the opening round of the 2018 Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

All four forwards will make their first appearance this year for the Springboks after missing the June internationals with injury.

Furthermore, two uncapped players, Damian Willemse (utility back) and Marco van Staden (loose forward), were included amongst the replacements and are set to make their Springbok Test debuts off the bench at Jonsson Kings Park.

Whiteley is making his first appearance in a Springbok jersey in more than a year after he suffered a groin injury last June against France.

Hamstring trouble prevented Marx, South Africa’s Rugby Player of the Year in 2017, from playing in any of the four June internationals against Wales and England.

Etzebeth struggled with arm and back troubles but, like Marx and Whiteley, he has now recovered and is ready for Test match rugby.

The Bok forward pack has a changed look as a result of the returning quartet, with Erasmus shuffling his loose forward combination and lock pairing for the important Durban clash.

Whiteley comes back into the Springbok starting team at No 8, skipper Siya Kolisi moves over to the other side of the scrum into the No 7 jersey while Louw will start in the No 6 shirt in what will be his 58th Test for South Africa.

Etzebeth and his DHL Stormers team-mate Pieter-Steph du Toit are reunited in the Springbok second row, while the imposing Marx will pack down at hooker between Frans Malherbe and the experienced Tendai Mtawarira, who will run out in his 102nd Test for the Springboks.

In the backline, Makazole Mapimpi will start at right wing in the place of the injured Sbu Nkosi, with André Esterhuizen partnering his Cell C Sharks team mate Lukhanyo Am in the midfield.

Erasmus said he was pleased with the return to Springbok action of Whiteley, Louw, Etzebeth and Marx.

“Our forward depth is very good indeed and the competition for places in the team is healthy, which can only be a good thing for us as we continue to build the depth of our squad,” said Erasmus.

SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby added that he is expecting a very tough contest from the Pumas and reiterated the Argentineans will be energised by the appointment of Mario Ledesma as their new head coach, as well as the recent impressive performances of the Jaguares in Vodacom Super Rugby.

“Their new coach comes with a lot of technical knowledge and experience from his previous coaching roles which is sure to add more firepower to their traditional strengths,” said Erasmus.

“They will be very confident as a result of the Jaguares’ great run on tour in Australasia, where they won all four their matches on the road, as well as their winning performances against our own franchises.”

The Springbok team against Argentina in Durban (in order of name and surname, franchise/club, caps and points – tries, conversions, penalties, drop-goals):

15. Willie le Roux (Wasps, England, 44, 55 – 11t)
14. Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks, 1, 5 – 1t)
13. Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks, 3, 0)
12. André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks, 2, 0)
11. Aphiwe Dyantyi (Emirates Lions, 3, 5 – 1t)
10. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls, 29,246 – 3t, 42c, 46p, 3d)
9. Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England, 14, 5 – 1t)
8. Warren Whiteley (Emirates Lions, 17, 15 – 3t)
7. Siya Kolisi (captain, DHL Stormers, 31, 20 – 4t)
6. Francois Louw (Bath, England 57, 45 – 9t)
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers, 36, 20 – 4t)
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers 67, 15 – 3t)
3. Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers, 19, 0)
2. Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions, 14, 15 – 3t)
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks, 101, 10 – 2t)
Replacements:
16. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers, 16, 5 – 1t)
17. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers, 27, 5 – 1t)
18. Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks, 4, 0)
19. Marvin Orie (Emirates Lions, 1, 0)
20. Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls, 0, 0)
21. Embrose Papier (Vodacom Bulls, 2, 0)
22. Lionel Mapoe (Emirates Lions, 12, 0)
23. Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers, 0, 0)

The Zambia International Rugby 7s is Back

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The 2nd edition of the Two (02) day Zambia International Rugby 7s tournament will take place on Saturday 01 to 02 September 201 at the Lusaka Polo Club in the Showgrounds right in the centre of Lusaka, Zambia.

The hosts Zambia are entering 2 teams in the tournament, with the first team being Zambia A and the second team Zambia B while the international teams expected this year are LESOTHO, MALAWI, BOTSWANA, ZIMBABWE, BLUE BULLS, SHARKS, GRIQUAS, BARBARIANS and the SPARTANS from NAMIBIA.

The tournament kicks off at 09hrs with tickets pegged at k100.00 for adults and k50.00 for children valid for both days.

The tournament is bigger than last year with more international teams participating and lots of fun activities lined up including a play park for kids and an R&G after party on Day One.

The Zambia Rugby Union President Gen Clement Sinkamba said his executive along with their partners R&G SPORTS MANAGEMENT are pleased to welcome the BLUE BULLS RUGBY UNION President Willem Strauss to this prestigious tournament which is still in its infancy but is already attracting high ranking sports personalities.

Gen Sinkamba further added that the coming in of Lesotho, Malawi, Spartans, Griqua Barbarians and The Sharks Academy is an indication that Zambia was on the right track.

Former Zambia Sevens Development Coach Tom Chaloba also added his delight with the number of young ruggers who have been called into residential camp.

“It is gratifying to see boys from the developmental team bringing some competition to the seasoned and more experienced players.

This is good in the sense that each and every one of them will push in their very best so as to retain or get a place in the teams to be announced by the coaches. I’m sure the technical bench led by veteran sevens icon Andrew Kaminsa will do everything possible to bring a smile on the faces of the expectant local fans”

Zambia Sevens beat Zimbabwe Sables at the inaugural tournament played at the Lusaka Polocrosses Club in 2017 and are hoping to retain the trophy. Let the games begin!!!

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Zambia Rugby Union (ZRU)

Media contact: 
Rugby@APO-opa.org

The tournament kicks off at 09hrs with tickets pegged at k100.00 for adults and k50.00 for children valid for both days
 

The Sharks team to face Bordeaux Begles

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In a historic first, the Cell C Sharks will be playing a rugby match at Moses Mabhida Stadium, when we host French side Union Bordeaux Bègles in the inaugural Durban Challenge match on Friday evening at 19h00.

This is not just a game, but marks a festival of rugby this weekend in the province, together with Saturday afternoon’s opening match of the Rugby Championship when the Springboks host Argentina at JONSSON KINGS PARK.

Making up the trifecta is an opportunity to catch future Cell C Sharks players in action when the unbeaten Under 19 side host the Golden Lions in the earlier game (4.30pm) on Friday.

For the Cell C Sharks, the match against the visiting Union Bordeaux Bègles side represents an opportunity for game-time ahead of the upcoming Currie Cup competition. Head coach Robert du Preez will also use this match to test previously untested combinations.

Hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle will lead a youthful side that still contains a number of Vodacom Super Rugby players who will lend experience, guidance and leadership to the team.

Curwin Bosch was not considered for selection due to carrying a slight niggle.

A new face amongst the team is that of Luke Stringer, the Western Province flank, who joins us for the Currie Cup campaign.

Warm-up matches of this nature promise to be both exciting and competitive. The visitors will be keen for a good run in their pre-season, while the Cell C Sharks players on the fringes will relish the opportunity to prove themselves at this level.

The established players won’t want to give up their positions without a fight either and will give it a good go.  The coaching staff will be looking carefully at the players with an eye on the Currie Cup which kicks off for the Cell C Sharks on Saturday 25 August when we host the Vodacom Blue Bulls.

Team: Juan Schoeman, Chiliboy Ralepelle (c), John-Hubert Meyer, Gideon Koegelenberg, Hyron Andrews, Wian Vosloo, Tyler Paul, Daniel du Preez, Louis Schreuder, Robert du Preez, Aphelele Fassi, Marius Louw, Jeremy Ward, Kobus van Wyk, Courtney Winnaar

Replacements: Kerron van Vuuren, Akker van der Merwe, Mzamo Majola, Khuta Mchunu, Andrew Evans, Tera Mtembu, Luke Stringer, Cameron Wright, Grant Williams, Danrich Visagie, Leolin Zas

Preview – Australia v New Zealand

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The Rugby Championship kicks off in Australia again this year when the Aussies host the All Blacks on Saturday.

The Aussies had a better lead-up this to the Championship in the June internationals where the lost the series against Ireland but showed must improvement as a team.

Sydney is the place where it will start for the Aussies to re-load and see if they can get one over the All Blacks.

Cheika was forced to pick Hodge at outside centre due to injury to Kerevi. At nine Genia will also start ahead of Phipps.

Cheika will start with Polota-Mau and Robertson up front due to injury to Paenga-Amosa and Sio.

The All Black have picked another classy team with Naholo and GoodHue in the starting XV.

Naholo has been preferred to Jordie Barrett for the third back-three spot, and will slot in alongside Ben Smith and Rieko Ioane.

Goodhue will partner with Crotty in the midfield after a successful Super Rugby campaign.

Beauden Barrett will start at the number 10 jersey with McKenzie as cover. There was no place for Crusaders flyhalf Mo’unga.

Read will captain the side with Whitelock that will run on in his 100th test on Saturday.

The Aussies beat the All Blacks in their last test in Brisbane but have not won a back to back since 2000-2001.

With a 14.7 clean break per game in the June series against France, the All Blacks will be a hand full on Saturday if the Wallabies slip in their defence.

One thing all nations struggle to keep up with the All Blacks is scoring tries. They average 6.3 in the last 14 test matches.

With Ioane the All Blacks have also a try scoring machine having scored 16 tries in 16 test matches for the All Blacks.

Starving the All Blacks from the ball will must be the main focus for Cheika men if they want to beat them.

We expecting a close contest and that the team with the superior defence to take this one.

Saying that the skills and vision of the All Blacks makes it even harder for teams to defend against.

Prediction: All Blacks by 7

Teams:

Wallabies – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Lukhan Tui, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Jack Maddocks.

All Blacks – 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith; 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu’inukuake, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.

 

R.I.P. – Martin Pelser

5

Springbok Martin Pelser has passed away after having a stroke in May.

Pelser played 11 test and scored two tries for the Springboks

Doc Craven had this to say about Martin Pelser who had only one eye…..

It always astounded me how he could see all over the field with only one eye, yet it never seemed to bother him and he played with fury and commitment.

He, Doug Hopwood and Hugo van Zyl formed a cohesive unit and helped the tight forwards in the set play while the tight forwards responded by helping them in the loose. Martin Pelser was strong, fast, and he had the marvellous quality of anticipation.

A tough man who could use his fists if necessary, but only if sorely provoked. He was too much of a gentleman to pick fights on the field.

Martin turned professional eventually; I don’t hold it against him at all. We were caught napping when some eight or nine Boks turned professional at the time. I don’t believe his heart was in it though, and I think he only did it because he possibly needed the money at the time.

One of the great loose forwards of all time.

All Black legend Colin Meads said Pelser was one of the hardest players he ever faced.

He plays his first test match on against the French in a historical series for the Blues .

He is then selected to play in a series of four games against the All Blacks which is won by the Springboks with two wins, one draw and one loss.

In 1960-1961 he was selected three times with the Springboks , who toured Europe . He beat Wales 3-0. He then took the win against Ireland 8-3.

The , South Africans concede the draw in Paris 0-0.

Martin Pelser then took part in three victories over the Irish and Australians in 1961, completing this series with his international career.

He does his whole career in the Transvaal province.

 

Good news for Lions fans (Update)

8

****

The Lions Rugby Union has just confirm that the following players have also extended their contracts with the Lions and Golden Lions.

The players are Courtnall Skosan, Dillon Smit, Kwagga Smith, Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck and Dylan Smith to add to the players that signed already earlier this week

CC Preview – iCollege Pumas v Tafel Lager Griquas

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The opening of this years Currie Cup will be in Nelspruit with the Pumas hosting the Griquas on Friday

The Pumas will be coached by Jimmy Stonehouse and they have a secret weapon back from the Lions in Marnus Schoeman.

Schoeman was on loan during the Super Rugby for the Lions and has a brilliant season with them this year.

There will be some added spike to the game with the same two teams that battled it out earlier in the Super Sport Challenge which the Pumas won in the last minute of the match.

Stonehouse has kept almost the same team than the one that won the cup with Hennie Skorbinski that will lead the side.

Stefan Ungerer and Chris Smith, who started in the Rugby Challenge final, are again preferred as the halfback pair, while Neil Maritz, JP Lewis and Gerrit Smith start as the back three.

The Griquas have picked Godfrey Ramaboea and Khwezi Mkhafu will make their first Currie Cup starts for Griquas.

Former UJ wing Ramaboea will start in an experience backline.

In the midfield Griquas have Steyn and Bosch.

Former UJ wing Ramaboea starts in a relatively experienced Griquas backline led by outside centre Kyle Steyn, who forms a centre combination with Christopher Bosch.

Scrumhalf Izak Burger, a recent arrival from the Sharks, will make his first appearance should he come off the bench.

This will be the one of those classic Currie Cup matches with allot of feeling between the two teams.

Both will want to start with a win to get one step ahead in this shorten format.

Prediction: Predicting a winner is a lottery but with Stonehouse back, Pumas by 5

Teams:

Pumas – 15 Gerrit Smith, 14 JP Lewis, 13 Ryan Nell, 12 Hennie Skorbinski (c), 11 Neil Maritz, 10 Christopher Smith, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Marné Coetzee, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Kwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 Andrew Beerwinkel, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Jeandré Rudolph, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Justin van Staden, 22 Trompie Pretorius.

Griquas – 15 AJ Coertzen, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Kyle Steyn (c), 12 Christopher Bosch, 11 Godfrey Ramaboea, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 Conway Pretorius, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 FP Pelser, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 2 Khwezi Mkhafu, 1 Devon Martinus.
Replacements: 16 AJ Le Roux, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Ruan Kramer, 19 Pieter Van Vuren, 20 Izak Burger, 21 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Andre Swarts.

CC Preview – Toyota Free State Cheetahs v Vodacom Blue Bulls

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The second game on the opening weekend of Currie Cup action sees the Free State Cheetahs hosting the Blue Bulls in Bloemfontein.

It is an important match for the Free State not just because of the new Currie Cup format but also to give some of their PRO14 players game time.

They have included three Springboks in the side to face the Blue Bulls in Oupa Mohoje, Rudy Paige, and Ox Nche.

Oupa will lead the side in their first Currie Cup match with Paige getting a start with another new signing for the Cheetahs in Tian Schoeman.

Both players previously with the Bulls in Pretoria will want to put a good performance up for their new province against their old team mates

The Cheetahs have midfield have some spark to it in Nico Lee and Benhard Janse van Rensburg.

In Nche, Dweba and de Bruin the Free State have a great front row to take on the Bulls with Conrad van Vuuren, Edgar Marutlulle and Matthys Basson on the other side.

Hanro Liebenberg will lead the Blue Bulls in their first outing as coach Human included debutant Ruan Nortje in his side.

Both teams know that you can not afford a slow start in the competition and all is on the line when they walk onto the field.

The Blue Bulls have some of the regular names among the team that was selected. Johnny Kotze will team up with JT Jackson in the midfield with Ulengo and Libbok at the wings.

This looks like a tough one for the Blue Bulls who has a very young squad going into the game.

Prediction: Free State by 9 points

Teams:

Cheetahs – 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Rabz Maxwane, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Nico Lee, 11 William Small-Smith, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Oupa Mohoje (c), 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Erich de Jager, 18 Günther Janse van Vuuren, 19 Dennis Visser, 20 Gerhard Olivier, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Louis Fouché.

Blue Bulls – 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 JT Jackson, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (c), 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Conrad van Vuuren, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Matthys Basson.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 Hendre Stassen, 19 Jano Venter, 20 Theo Maree, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Earll Douwrie.

Currie Cup 2018 – Free State Cheetahs Preview

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I think we can all agree that the Cheetahs have it the most difficult in having to feed two teams playing in the Currie Cup and PRO14.

With their top players playing in the PRO14 the Currie Cup has become a feeding competition for the men from Bloemfontein the last two years.

The first two weeks they may be able to get some game time to their PRO14 players to get ready for their difficult mission in the PRO14.

This makes this competition a very difficult one for the Cheetahs but with the structure changed to a single round of matches it may just work out for them.

Winning will be the only option for all the teams and if the Cheetahs can start with two wins they may have enough to make the playoffs.

The added value for the Cheetahs will be that they will have backup players ready if they get any injuries in the PRO14 and after the Currie Cup.

So it can be a blessing or a curse for them as they start their Currie Cup and PRO14 season.

The Cheetahs have requited well in the off season and have added some players to their squad.

New players that was added this year…Rudy Paige (scrumhalf, Bulls), Adriaan Carelse (fullback, Boland), Tian Schoeman (flyhalf, Bordeaux), Louis Fouche (flyhalf, Kubota Spears), Ruben de Haas (scrumhalf, USA), Dries Swanepoel (centre, Bulls), Benhard Janse van Rensburg (utility back, Sharks), Walt Steenkamp (lock, Leopards), JP du Preez (lock, Lions), Aidon Davis (loose forward, Toulon), Louis Conradie (lock, Boland).

The Cheetahs last won the Currie Cup in 2016 when they beat the Blue Bulls in Bloemfontein.

They have won the title five times and would love to add to that total.

With the brand of rugby the Cheetahs play makes them a very dangerous side in this Currie Cup format.

Prediction: They are the wild card to win the whole thing for me this year.

Fixtures:

Currie Cup 2018

Leyds to lead WP against Montpellier

6

Dillyn Leyds will start at flyhalf and take over the captaincy for DHL Western Province in their pre-season encounter with Montpellier in Millau on Thursday.

Leyds will direct the team in the No.10 jersey, as stand-in captain for regular skipper Chris van Zyl who is unavailable due to injury, in the final warm-up match ahead of DHL Western Province’s Currie Cup title defence, which kicks off against Toyota Free State Cheetahs at DHL Newlands on August 25.

They will be up against a formidable Montpellier squad, which featured the likes of Springboks Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, Frans Steyn, Ruan Pienaar and Johan Goosen, as well as French international Alexandre Dumoulin in their last warm-up game.

Last season’s Top 14 runners-up should provide a serious test for DHL Western Province in the pre-season friendly at the Parc des Sports de Millau, with kicks-off at 19h00 on Thursday.

Leyds is partnered at halfback by experienced scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, with Dan Kriel and JJ Engelbrecht in midfield.

SP Marais moves to fullback, with Sergeal Petersen and Craig Barry outside him on the wings, while there are five backs on the extended bench, with Herschel Jantjies, Josh Stander, Paul de Wet, Dan du Plessis and Duncan Saal all set to make an impact in the second half.

Up front Ramone Samuels is at hooker, with props Michael Kumbirai and Ali Vermaak either side of him.

In the second row Salmaan Moerat links up with JD Schickerling, while in the loose trio Chris Massyn and Kobus van Dyk are the flanks, with Juarno Augustus at No.8.

There are six forwards on the extended replacements bench, with Caylib Oosthuizen, Scarra Ntubeni, Neethling Fouche, Ernst van Rhyn, Chad Solomon and Johan du Toit all in line to show their worth.

DHL Western Province Head Coach John Dobson said that his team is expecting a tough examination from a quality Montpellier side.

“We are facing a top side which is full of quality players and also finishing up their pre-season preparations, so we are prepared for a major test.

“It has been a great build-up here in Millau, where we have been treated exceptionally well, so we are looking forward to the challenge that we will face on Thursday,” he said.

DHL Western Province: 15 SP Marais, 14 Craig Barry, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Dillyn Leyds (captain), 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Chris Massyn, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Chad Solomon, 21 Johan du Toit, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Josh Stander, 24 Paul de Wet, 25 Dan du Plessis, 26 Duncan Saal.

Cheetahs new kit for PRO14

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The Toyota Cheetahs will wear a newly designed playing strip in the 2018 / 19 Guinness Pro14 season.

The well recognized Orange jersey are now broken up with white hoops and will be accompanied by orange sorts and orange socks.

This design will also be used for the new supporter’s replica jersey that will hit the South African market in the latter part of September 2018.

The Toyota Cheetahs alternative strip will consist of a crisp white traditional jersey accompanied by white shorts and orange socks to give the more traditional Toyota Cheetahs look and feel.

The 2018 Toyota Free State Currie Cup jersey was inspired by the 2006 and 2007 strip in which the Free State Cheetahs won the prestigious trophy.

This new retro design will paired with black shorts and the traditional red socks.

France beat SA Schools side

5

France beat the SA Schools side on Tuesday in Durbanville with 28-21.

France just seemed to have had and answer for anything that the SA Schools side throw at them and were just to good.

Defence was poor from the South Africans and the French founded the gabs with some great interplay halfway through the first half to build up a handy lead.

France beat the English in their first match and had allot of confidence coming into the game.

There dominance at the breakdown gave them the edge but it was their defence in that opening half that was brilliant.

Starving the SA team from the ball was decisive. When the Sa Schools side did get the ball they seemed rushed on attack.

The South Africans did came back in the second half but it was just too much to do in that final minutes for them.

The game turned to the French when Sangweni was given a yellow card for a spear-tackle. Something he did at Craven week as well.

With 14-men on the field the French took advantage to extend their lead and made it almost impossible for the South Africans to come back.

The final blow came when Tiberghien sliced through the poor SA defence for a brilliant try.

Although the South Africans hit back with another try it was just to late to pull it back. 

SA Schools – Tries: Evan Roos, Jaques Goosen (2). Conversions: Darren Hendricks (3).
France U18 – Tries: Kevin Viallard, Martin Dulon, Cheikh Tiberghien. Conversions: Tiberghien (2). Penalties: Tiberghien (3).

Double injury blow for Free State ahead of Currie Cup

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The Free State Cheetahs have been handed a blow before the start of the Currie Cup with prop Charles Marais and lock Walt Steenkamp being ruled out of the Cheetahs’ first two Currie Cup games of the season due to injury.

Marais with a knee injury and Steenkamp with a shoulder. It was confirmed that the two will miss the first two matches against the Blue Bulls and WP.

The hope is that Marias will be ready for the start of the PRO14. Steenkamp is recovering well and should be ready for the third Currie Cup match.

The Cheetahs are competing like last year in both the Currie Cup and PRO14 competitions.

Oom Rugby – Bok tanks rumble in close combat

2

Talking about Springboks attacking game is almost like talking about rain in the Cape.

Oom Rugby is back and look at just that and how they shape up on attack

Hi guys. The Rugby Championship is almost on us and soon we will see the further evolution of Rassie’s Springboks after their debut series victory against England in June.

Something I am looking forward to see is how our attack will develop. When I looked back at the England Tests I saw something interesting about how the Boks sometimes set up on attack, and I think it give us some strong clues about what the DNA of this Bok team will be going forward…

The Boks has a scrum on the England 22 so now they will introduce specific patterns and structures in a effort to get to the tryline.

First, Faf play the blindside wing Nkosi flat, and he make a deep excursion into England’s shaky 10 channel. This strike at the 10 is a very standard type play that all teams uses. We want to set up a nice clean ruck, and get our forwards out of the set piece so that we can start to lay down the structure of our attack.

Damian de Allende was running a passing line off Sibusiso. When contact happen he come in and bind and help secure the possession. We also see Duane as well as Siya arriving to clean. The three of them will pile in and make sure that Faf get quick ball.

In a way, this is a first glimpse into the philosophy of the 2018 Boks. Attending rucks, and getting quick, clean ball from the rucks, is a number one priority.

From that ruck, Faf have a 3-pod set up to his left, and he hit Franco with a nice crispy pass. Franco will carry strongly and Jean-Luc and R.G. will clean.

We can see the England openside jackle Curry finally arriving in cover from the scrum, but he will be forced to make the tackle. Again, the Boks commit properly to this breakdown, even though England isn’t necessarily interested in trying to slow or steal.

After another carry to the left where Bongi and Beast clean, the Boks then play back to the right again. Now what we must look at here is the number of Springbok forwards in the picture.

Remember, Beast and Bongi is lying at the bottom of that ruck, and we can see five other forwards all in a close vicinity, so in other words seven of the eight Bok forwards is all relatively close together. The eighth Bok forward is Duane and he is just out of picture to the left.

In this situation, the Boks is not following the modern fashion of spreading forwards out across the park. Our heavy artillery is being used in a more focus and devastating way.

Needless to say, with all that meat in the picture the Boks can send up some big runners. The England defence is maybe not as organised as they want to be anymore. First they had to chase the ball to one touchline, and now they must fight some big carries on the way back.

There is a total of twelve England players in this picture above (the eighth man Vunipola is out of picture at the touchline) so they have become much more bunched and narrow than they want to be.

Plus, if you look at the picture you will see they not exactly connected and on the front foot. The Boks has managed to create the conditions for running rugby.

After some interplay, Siya make a strong carry and the breakdown is cleaned by Franco, Wilco and Jean-Luc. It is such a positive clean that it is very clear when the ruck is formed and where the offside lines is, and so it is easy for the ref to see any transgressions by England.

On their own tryline teams will always try clever tricks to slow you, but when the breakdown is as quick, clean and sharp like this then they can get exposed in the spotlight.

England concede a penalty for not rolling away. Again, the Boks has some big tanks ready to rumble, but they have caused enough damage so it is time to take the ball wide.

Handre is at first receiver in a more traditional position, but the actual first receiver here is Willie. Faf throw a long ball to him that bypass the England ruck defence and which allow the Boks to take on the scrambling England backs.

We can see the close defenders panicking to try get across. Willie will play the ball wide to Sibusiso and Brown will manage to get some fingers on his jersey to stop the try. The interesting thing here is that it will be Willie and Damian who clean that ruck. There is no wide Bok forward in the tramlines.

So why did I show you this? The fashion in rugby today is to play with forwards spread out across the field (we have all heard of the 1-3-3-1 system etc.) The Boks did sometimes go into that shape, but usually what we saw from them was to keep their forwards closer together on attack. This mean they can set up more big carries, they can clean the ball more securely, and they force the opposition defence more narrow.

It is perhaps a return to the strengths of Bok rugby, but then as we see above there is then the ability to strike very wide, very fast.

Another interesting thing is that the ball is then going through the hands of backline players – we not seeing all these “screen plays” behind groups of forwards. No doubt the Boks will do that when it is required, but that kind of rugby is slow to get the ball wide, and the Boks is showing a appetite to hit that width fast.

This combination of power rucking by the forwards and quick hands by the backs gives the Boks good tempo. The total elapse time from when the ball came out of the scrum, through all the rucks to the other touchline, and all the way back into Nkosi’s hands was 28 seconds.

We also saw the Boks sometimes using two wings on one side of the field, another sign that after the Boks soften you inside, they want to get that ball outside and capitalise with their backs

Ok guys, there it is. A sign of things to come maybe. A slightly more traditional approach, but with a lightning ability to strike when the time comes.

It will be interesting to see how this philosophy develop, and if it can successfully break down the defences of the Rugby Championship.

DISCLAIMER: English is Oom’s third language, after Rugby and Afrikaans.

SARLA – Making a difference to the lives of our legends

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Founded close to two decades ago, the South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) has two primary objectives, that of the development of rugby at a grassroots level and secondly, to ensure the ongoing support of its legends.

SARLA’s ongoing work both manages and supports our former legends in numerous ways, from the organisation and their participation in various match events, development and charity work and further, assisting with the care of those who tragically can no longer play our incredible game.

Following a life-altering injury, rugby players and their extended families are faced with incredible challenges.

SARLA is committed to our rugby legends on every level, ensuring that their contribution to the sport continues to be recognised and aims to support and assist injured players wherever it may be required.

Early August saw such an opportunity arise, one in which SARLA could truly make a lasting difference to the lives of two former rugby greats, namely, Johnny Slabbert and Able Maqashalala, both of whom are based in the Eastern Cape.

Whilst playing for Patensie Rugby Club in August 2001, Johnny Slabbert was injured at the age of 38 on the field. Currently living in Ramaposa Village, near Patensie in the Eastern Cape, Johnny is a C6 quadriplegic and totally wheelchair reliant.

His son takes wonderful care of him and Johnny tends lovingly to his vegetable garden daily. His positive ‘can do’ attitude continues to inspire rugby legends nationwide.

Able Maqashalala, a first team member of renowned rugby school, Selbourne College in East London, is suspected of having suffered a cardiac event which tragically resulted in brain damage from a loss of oxygen.

This incident took place a mere few months ago, in January 2018, and he has spent the past months in special care in recovery. Due to the nature of his disability, Able will require full-time, 24-hour care and is currently being moved to his Grandmother’s home in Komga.

Due to the nature of both Able and Johnny’s injuries and their need for specialised care, the greater team managed to secure two brand new hospital beds which will provide great comfort and assistance to both the injured players and their caregivers.

A situation arose, however, when it was realised that the transportation and delivery of this equipment was proving both enormously challenging and extremely expensive.

When the SARLA office was alerted of this predicament, the team at SARLA immediately called on one of SARLA’s amazing sponsors – DSV Global Transport and Logistics.

Without hesitation DSV assisted with both the collection and safe delivery of the beds to our ecstatic recipients. Further, DSV’s drivers even assisted with the assembly of the beds, proving that they go far beyond the call of duty.

Stefan Terblanche, SARLA CEO, said “A generous act such as this proves that long after leaving the field, a team spirit is still present in the hearts and minds of all of our legends and supporters.”

He added that “On behalf of SARLA, I would like to thank the entire team who made this dream come true, altering two lives for the better, especially Desmond Roddan (Operations Manager, DSV), Gordon Wyatt (Regional Director Air and Sea Africa), the amazing DSV Drivers and Tori Gardner and Gail Baerecke from the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund. And let’s not forget the whole team at SARLA.

Chiliboy to captain Sharks and Nick Easter joins the coaching team

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Sometimes one think the jokes about the Sharks maybe true, like the Finding Nimo one, you always give them a chance but only because you feel sorry for them

That the Sharks have quality in the franchise no one can deny but the way they have sometimes put that quality on the field has not been that great, specially in Super Rugby.

In the Currie Cup over the last couple of years the Sharks have always been a contender and this year will be the same.

With a few players out of the Currie Cup due to Springbok duty the Sharks will have to look at their depth this year.

Chiliboy Ralepelle will be captaining the team for the Currie Cup and come with enough experience in that aspect.

Within the Sharks they focus on a leadership group which include Daniel du Preez, Hyron Andrews, John-Hubert Meyer, Marius Louw, Robert du Preez Jnr and Tera Mtembu.

The Sharks have kept their Super Rugby coaching team together for the Currie Cup with Robert du Preez heading up the campaign.

He will be assisted by Dick Muir (backline consultant), Jaco Pienaar (forwards coach), Braam van Straaten (defence) and AB Zondagh (skills).

The Sharks have also gotten ex-England international Nick Easter coaching the breakdown.

He will also assist in defence and lineouts

Last year they finished top of the log and hosted the final but lost against WP.

As with all the other Super Rugby franchises the Sharks are using the Currie Cup to get players to Super Rugby level.

Currie Cup 2018

Erasmus need to get it spot on with trio

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Going into the Rugby Championships for the Springboks to be successful they need a few things to be done right with a little bit of luck as well.

The All Blacks will go into the championship as favourites again with the Boks, Aussies and Argentinians to fight it out for second place in my mind.

We expect a much closer championship than what we have seen in recent years with the Aussies and the Boks that can push the All Blacks this year.

The Aussies and Springboks come close at home in the last few years and they need to covert them into wins now.

The Boks are already without Vermeulen which is a major blow for the Championship but in Whiteley we have a different number eight player.

That does not mean we are worst off, in-fact Whiteley brings something else to the team than Vermeulen and with a young captain in Kolisi Whiteley will play a vital role in the leadership of this team.

His interplay is brilliant which links players on attack and the option at lineouts is crucial.

The Springboks will have to win the forward battles if they want to have any chance to succeed this year.

That start with the tight five but even more important will be the battle on the ground and the small battles in the set pieces.

This brings a player like Marx as an very important factor in their success or failure.

Erasmus biggest headache will be his trio. Finding the right combination will be crucial not just in the way they play.

Erasmus has indicated earlier last week that Marco van Staden, Siya Kolisi and Francois Louw will start in the back row at some stage of the Rugby Championship.

Erasmus sees Louw as a contender for the number eight jumper as well although it is expected that Whiteley will wear the Springbok number eight jersey.

It will be a huge risk to play Louw at number eight. He is not a specialised number eight and the combination of Kolisi, Louw and Van Staaden may bring more problems than answers for Erasmus.

Du Preez has not done many things wrong when he was handed the number 7 jersey the last couple of years and then you have Brink who has been the star player this year in Super Rugby.

With Kolisi certain of his place as captain I would like to see Whiteley and Van Staaden starting against Argentina but we will most properly see Whiteley, Kolisi and Louw running onto the field this weekend.

The fact remains that Erasmus will have to make up his mind soon as we do not want to see a situation where we cannot settle on our starting trio against the Aussies and New Zealand so the two test against Argentina we are likely to see Erasmus find that combination.

Overseas-based trio may remain with Boks

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There has been allot of speculations around the availability of the three overseas base players, Faf De Klerk, Willie Le Roux and Francios Louw.

On Monday Springbok coach Erasmus shed some light on the matter saying that they may stay for the whole Rugby Championship if the team is hit by injuries or poor performances.

Nothing is set in stone according to Erasmus but he is not too concerned on the situation

‘We could enforce Regulation 9 [the World Rugby rule that ensures club players are available for their Test teams during the designated international windows]. We could have all of those guys available for the whole Rugby Championship.

‘We have to think about the World Cup, though, and what we will do if guys like Duane and Faf are injured. We have to look at a few of the other guys in the context of next year.

‘We want to be reasonable,’ the Bok coach added, referring to the needs of the overseas-based players and the relationship that exists between SA Rugby and the respective clubs. ‘We don’t want to be selfish, and we want to grow this team with the World Cup in mind.’

We will handle it on a case-by-case basis,’ said Erasmus. ‘There is a chance those players will go back, say after the Australasian tour. A good chance. But if we have a lot of injuries and are under pressure after a few bad results, we may keep them back.’

I’m worried that if I’m not successful with the first thing, the other two are going to fall by the wayside. You could lose a few games and then suddenly it becomes harder to talk about growing a team and trying new things.’

Source: SARugbyMag

African Gold Cup Final – Winner gets World Cup ticket

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It is simple, the winner not just win the African Gold Cup for 2018 but also qualify for the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year.

If that will not lift up the Kenyas and the Namibians then nothing will.

Both teams are undefeated in this years Gold Cup and they will play this weekend in Namibia to decide who gets that automatic ticket to Japan.

Namibia are the favourites playing at home but if they think they can underestimate Kenya then they have a huge surprise come this weekend.

Kenya enjoyed an emphatic victory over Tunisia in Nairobi to guarantee at worst a place in the global repechage for Rugby World Cup 2019 and set up a Rugby Africa Gold Cup title decider with Namibia that will also determine the Africa 1 qualifier for Japan 2019.

Although Namibia have more log points with more bonus points, there has not been much to choose between the two sides.

It going to be a classic this weekend and if you are in Namibia make your way to the stadium.

Currie Cup 2018 – Blue Bulls Preview

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Oh it never just rain in South African rugby, these days the best sepie in our live’s are The Days of our “Rugby” Lives.

With WP Ruby in financial turmoil the Blue Bulls are struggling to keep coaches.

The rumours are that Mitchell are doing a Houdini again and will be leaving the Blue Bulls for England.

On the coaching front the Blue Bulls are going old school with Pote Human that will take charge of the Currie Cup side.

So it is a new coach with a new captain for the men in blue with Hanro Liebenberg that will captain the side with Johnny Kotze as vice captain.

The Blue Bulls will have to do without two of their star players from this years Super Rugby in RG Snyman and Van Staaden who will be with the Boks.

In the backs they will also have to do without Papier, Pollard, Kriel and Van Zyl.

The Blue Bulls also have Jason Jenkins, Jannes Kirsten and Burger Odendaal playing in Japan this season so they will not be availible as well.

To add to that the Blue Bulls Gerhard Steenekamp, Tim Agaba, Lizo Gqoboka, Roelof Smit, Nqoba Mxoli, Travis Ismaiel and Warrick Gelant, will due to long term injuries.

For coach Human it will be a question of building a team with low self-believe up during this Currie Cup.

The Bulls ended bottom of the South African log and although allot was expected from the team they did not show the improvement.

The squad have experience with the likes of Marnitz Boshoff and Jamba Ulenbo, while Blitzboks Heino Bezuidenhout and Stedman Gans were also named amongst the backs and former Blitzbok, Boom Prinsloo, amongst the loose forwards.

There are a few new faces with Earll Dowrie and Mornay Smit, while youngsters like Josh Aldermann and Reagan Oranje are promoted from the junior ranks. Adding to the new faces during the warmups are Carel du Preez, Dan Kasende and Viktor Sekekete, three young men that will be included in the system on a trial.

Paul Schoeman has joined the Blue Bulls from the Cheetahs who played PRO14 last year for them.

As with all the other Super Rugby franchises the Blue Bulls wil use the Currie Cup to build for the 2019 season.

Human also wants to expose some of the juniors in the senior level but with one round of pool matches there is not plenty time to experiment.

In Human the Blue Bulls have an no nonsense old school coach and maybe just what is needed to bring the team together and build for next years Super Rugby competition.

Prediction: Blue Bulls should be in the playoffs but will have to fight against the Pumas and Griquas to make it for me.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls schedule:

17 August – Toyota Free State Cheetahs (Bloem)

25 August – Cell C Sharks (Durban)

1 September – Xerox Golden Lions (Pretoria)

8 September – Tafel Lager Griquas (Kimberley)

15 September – iCOLLEGE Pumas (Pretoria)

13 October – DHL Western Province (Pretoria)

 

Currie Cup 2018 – Western Province Preview

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Western Province have enough internal and administration problems that can last them a lifetime but they are going into 2018 in defending the trophy.

They have a bunch of players not available due to Springbok duty in Etzebeth, Du Toit, Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Damian Willemse.

The fact that only the youngster Willemse forms part of the Springbok setup speaks volume of the quality this year of the Stormers backs.

This must be something coach Dobson will want to correct in the Currie Cup and on the up side they will have an almost full strength Stormers backline to pick from.

Upfront will be the challenge for WP this year with four of their strong men not available which leaves it all up to Fouche, Oosthuizen, Sadie and Vermaak to step up in the front row.

At lock WP has enough quality in Moerat, Shickerling, Kumbiria, Van Zyl and Wiese that can step in.

WP will have a good squad with some quality players that will add great value to the team.

With so much experience they will be a definite contender to retain the cup this year again.

With coach Dobson we have seen over the past few season that the team gel better and play a different brand of rugby than the Super Rugby side.

In his favour he has experience players who has been in his system for a few years with some exciting young players coming through as well.

It is all about the how quickly the team can come together but with Dobson in charge it is definitely possible.

Prediction: Province to make a home semi final.

WP Schedule:

Saturday, August 25

Western Province v Free State Cheetahs, Cape Town – 17:15

Friday, August 31

Pumas v Western Province, Nelspruit – 19:00

Saturday, September 15

Golden Lions v Western Province, Johannesburg – 15:00

Saturday, September 22

Western Province v Griquas, Cape Town – 19:30

Saturday, September 29

Western Province v Sharks, Cape Town, 14:00

Saturday, 13 October:

Blue Bulls v Western Province, Pretoria – 17:15

Saturday, October 20

Semi-finals

Saturday, October 27

Final

Currie Cup a sprint in 2018

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The Currie Cup have come in different shapes and sizes over the last couple of years and the once premier provincial competition has lost some of it’s glamour.

With Super Rugby taking centre stage and now the PRO14 that sees two of our franchises competing in Europe we always expected the Currie Cup to become just a stepping stone for players to get in these competitions.

The days are also long gone where we saw our Springboks playing part in the competition as the Rugby Championship has also extended a few years ago to include Argentina.

The fact remain that this is still a very important competition for South African rugby and the tradition still brings provincialism to the braai’s and offices.

The Currie Cup Premier devision includes the the four Super Rugby franchises with Free State Cheetahs, Griquas and the Pumas making up the seven teams.

The First Division is contested by the Griffons, Valke, Leopards, Boland Kavaliers, SWD Eagles, Border Bulldogs, Welwitschias and Eastern Province.

This year sees the Currie Cup being contested in one single round of matches between the top sides in the country.

According to SA Rugby CEO they made the changes to improve the competition.

“We regard the Currie Cup as the cornerstones of South African rugby, and we are looking forward to a single pool round, featuring strength-versus-strength encounters, in which every match is likely to have a direct bearing on play off places – it’ll be edge of the seat stuff for the teams from tournament kick off to the end of October,” said Jurie Roux.

“The provinces, who are our main stakeholders, through the Franchise Committee, made certain suggestions about the format of the Currie Cup and we listened.

“Statistics don’t lie and research from last year has shown that the Currie Cup remains a popular and critical part of the rugby landscape. Premier Division match attendances increased by 12.5% in 2017 and viewership reversed international sporting trends by jumping 20% year-on-year in terms of total unique viewers, and the average audience was up by 55%.

“We believe the reduced number of fixtures will lead to even higher match attendances and higher average viewership, which will ensure that the competition takes centre stage. It will also ensure that every game is critical to determining the eventual winner, as each match will be a compelling occasion among seven pretty evenly matched teams.”

The competition will kick off will kick off in Bloemfontein when the Free State Cheetahs host the Blue Bulls in a replay of the 2016 final, and the pool stages will conclude on October 13.

The playoffs will be straight after that.

Get the full schedule here….

Currie Cup 2018

 

Huge win for Glenwood over Waterkloof

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On Thursday, 9th of August 2018, Waterkloof made their way up to Durban to take on the mighty Green Machine. The majority of the team would play their last game in the green jersey for Glenwood.

Both teams had high expectations and to end their respective seasons off well.  Glenwood was on the brink of creating history, by becoming the first ever 1st XV team to finish a season unbeaten.

There were a few changes to the starting line-up with Lindokuthle Luthuli moving to lock and Ethan Smit to flank. Ruan Olivier moved to tighthead and Jacque Thysse into the hooker position. Aaron Larue was on the wing with Siyanda Cele running out as fullback.

Waterkloof started the match playing from right to left. Waterkloof won the ball back immediately from the kick off and started their attack. Building up pressure with a couple of phases when Waterkloof’s left winger found some space and ran down the touch line, passing inside to find support and drives over the line to score the first try of the match. I Trollip failed to convert and the score was 0-5 in favour of Waterkloof.

Glenwood stayed calm and stuck to their game plan. With a strong drive up the field, Dylan Pretorius spotted a gap at the back and kicked the ball into space. Conan la Fleur pounced on the ball, collecting it and dotting the ball down behind the whitewash, in the right-hand corner. Dylan Pretorius converted with ease, giving Glenwood an early lead of 7-5.

Both teams made some unwanted and unforced errors early in the half, resulting in ill-discipline and some penalties.

Waterkloof’s I. Trollip and Joe Jonas traded penalties as Glenwood was penalized for an infringement to run ahead at 7-8. Waterkloof was penalized 3 minutes later for being offside at the ruck. The scoreboard ticked over with Glenwood taking the lead again 10-8.

Glenwood had possession just inside Waterkloof’s half when the ball was cleared from the ruck and passed wide. Quick hands and fancy footwork, Conan la Fleur drawing the last two defenders in and passed to left winger Aaron Larue who made his way over the try line. Joe Jonas was successful with the conversion and the score was not 17-8 for Glenwood.

It was not long for Glenwood to be back in Waterkloof’s 22m. The strong Glenwood pack set up a couple of phases. With an overlap on the right Joe Jonas spread the ball wide, Dylan Pretorius with the long pass out wide to Conan la Fleur who dived over for his second try. Dylan Pretorius converted and the score 24-8 for Glenwood.

Another unforced error from Waterkloof two minutes later gave Glenwood an easy opportunity to play the ball wide from just inside Waterkloof’s 22m. Substitute flanker Freddie Slabbert received the pass on the wing, beating defender on the outside to score another Glenwood try just before half time. Glenwood were leading comfortably 29-8 at the half time break.

The second half was pretty much a one-sided affair with Glenwood keeping the ball alive and running at all angles trying to break through Waterkloof’s defence. Their efforts diligently paid off when Conan la Fleur broke through a couple of tackles to score his hat trick, scoring his third try of the match 10 minutes into the second half. The conversion was successful and the score was now 34-8.

Waterkloof tried to claw their way back with some brilliant play. Credit must go to them for not giving up. They managed to sneak in another try after a chip kick into some space and collected by the fullback to score under the poles. The conversion was converted.  Score 34-15.

With only a couple of minutes left Glenwood went into third gear. A beautiful build-up of running rugby and short phases brought them right back into Waterkloof’s 22m. A good cleanout and quick ball led to the big no. 4 lock to receive an offload into space about 15 metres from the line. He sprinted and dived over in the corner to finish off what was an exciting period of play.

The match ended with Glenwood coming out on top with 39-15.

Glenwood had a great unbeaten season with 18 matches played, 17 won and 1 draw.

Well done Green Machine with some impressive wins, remarkable rugby and making history for Glenwood.

Report by Mr Alex van der Merwe

Photos by Ethan Hayman (Media Club)

WP score 9 tries against Narbonne

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DHL Western Province scored nine tries on their way to a resounding 59-14 victory against French side Narbonne in a pre-season friendly in Millau on Saturday.

The defending Currie Cup champions scored four tries in the first half and five in the second, conceding just two against their French opponents.

DHL Western Province scored four tries in the first half and conceded a single penalty try to take a 24-7 advantage into the half-time break.

The visitors got on the scoreboard early on with unconverted tries from No.8 Juarno Augustus and scrumhalf Paul de Wet.

Inside centre Dan Kriel then scored under the poles and the try was converted by flyhalf Josh Stander to put them 17-0 up after the opening 15 minutes.

Hooker and captain Scarra Ntubeni claimed an overthrown line-out by Narbonne to go over for the fourth try, before the Franch outfit had the final say in the first half with a penalty try.

Ntubeni went over for his second try from a driving maul early in the second half, while a few quick taps saw Salmaan Moerat cross the whitewash and De Wet get over for his second try.

Narbonne claimed an intercept try late on, but DHL Western Province responded with a superb individual effort from replacement Dillyn Leyds who converted his own try before adding another after the final hooter to seal the victory.

The scorers:

For DHL WP:
Tries: Augustus, De Wet 2, Kriel, Ntubeni 2, Moerat, Leyds 2
Cons: Stander 5, Leyds 2

For Narbonne:
Try: Penalty try

DHL Western Province: 15 Craig Barry, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 SP Marais, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Chris Massyn, 5 Salmaan Moerat, 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Scarra Ntubeni (captain), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Michael Kumbirai, 20 Ramone Samuels, 21 Kobus van Dyk, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Dillyn Leyds, 24 JJ Engelbrecht.

SA Schools snatch late win

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Jurich Claasens scored a late try to give SA Schools a dramatic 43-40 win against Wales U18 in Paarl on Friday. DYLAN JACK reports for SARugbyMAg

In a heart-racing final 10 minutes, both sides seemed to have scored what they thought was the winning try. First, SA Schools hooker JJ Kotze went over from the back of a maul – SA Schools’ go-to weapon throughout the match.

However, Wales flank Jac Morgan showed quick thinking when he won a turnover near the SA line, saw nobody ahead of him and quick-tapped to run in for his second try.

To their credit, the SA Schools side kept fighting and got themselves into the Wales 22 before Claasens spotted a gap in the defence, picked the ball up from the back of a ruck and only just managed to dot the ball down for the winning try.

Those closing minutes encapsulated the match as a whole, with the lead changing hands throughout.

Wales definitely started the stronger of the two sides, grabbing tries through centres Aneurin Owen and Joe Roberts as well as tighthead prop Luke Yendle.

SA responded through wing Stravino Jacobs, inside centre Mnombo Zwelindaba and Kotze, with No 8 Celimpilo Gumede scoring late in the half to give them a 22-21 lead at the break.

The hosts were the better side in the second half, but some silly errors on defence allowed Wales to keep bouncing back.

After captain Muzi Manyike was held up over the line, flyhalf Juan Mostert scored SA’s fifth and it started to look like they were hitting their stride.

However, Wales hit back through Morgan’s first. Flyhalf Sam Costelow, who had an excellent all-round game, charged down a poor kick from SA fullback Rynhardt Jonker and put his side ahead.

Claasens came off the bench to win a nail-biter for SA Schools, who will go on to face France in Stellenberg on Tuesday.

SA Schools – Tries: Stravino Jacobs, JJ Kotze (2), Mnombo Zwelindaba, Celimpilo Gumede, Juan Mostert, Jurich Claasens. Conversion: Thomas Bursey (2), Darren Hendricks (2).
Wales U18 – Tries: Aneurin Owen, Joe Roberts, Luke Yendle, Jac Morgan (2), Sam Costelow. Conversions: Sam Costelow (4), Evan Lloyd.