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Coetzee hails ‘important’ Bok victory


Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said his team’s 18-10 win over the Wallabies in Pretoria on Saturday was an important boost to the team’s confidence for the remainder of the season, by Planet Rugby 


“It was an important win, not only for our confidence, but also self-belief,” he said.

“I am a very happy man and will never underestimate any test win. For a team that had their backs to the wall, a win like this means a lot and is a definite confidence booster.”

The coach said the team’s defence and set-piece were the most pleasing aspects of a win that pushed the South Africans back into second place on the Rugby Championship table.

“Our defence was outstanding and our set-piece delivered the needed pressure on them when we needed it, which resulted in points for us at crucial times,” added Coetzee.

“I have to give credit to defence coach Chean Roux as he worked very hard this week to get everyone on the same page.”

Coetzee felt the Springboks’ attack was also improving.

“We have been good with ball in hand, although our continuity is not what it should be,” he said.

“We moved the ball well. He also applauded the impact of his bench, especially at the set-piece.”

Coetzee admitted that they did not play the territory game as well as they could.

“We wanted to play territory and get more set-piece in their half, but our chase line was not the best,” he explained.

He had kind words for the contributions in particular of captain Adriaan Strauss and fly-half Morné Steyn, who scored all 18 points via four penalties and two drop goals.

“Adriaan’s value in leadership and at scrum time showed the great character he has,” said Coetzee.

“Morné justified his inclusion. He showed he is still a test match player. He remains proud to play for the Springbok and that showed.”

Strauss, who was named man of the match, said it was a proud day to be a Springbok player.

“The support was great from the fans and we want to thank them,” said the skipper.

“The game could still have gone either way in the last five minutes, but the crowd pulled us through. That was amazing for us.”

The team will travel to Durban to play New Zealand next Saturday in their final Rugby Championship clash.

Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jesse Kriel, Bryan Habana and Rudy Paige picked up niggles, with Coetzee advising that more would be known after proper assessments.


Steyn kicks Springboks to victory against Aussies at Loftus


At the end of the day Morne Steyn boot secure a second win for the Springboks in this year’s Rugby Championship when they beat Australia 18-10 at Loftus on Saturday.


It was far from a perfect performance with Springboks not closer in really able to challenge the likes of England or New Zealand.

I am sure we will all rather take a win than another lost but one needs to be honest and see that this team is still far from a complete product.

The Australians came out running at the Springboks and tested the Springbok defense, which was much better than what we have seen this year.

The Springboks tried to play an attacking game at times and they looked good with ball in hand but handling let them down again at crucial stages of the test.

Injuries was a major concern throughout the match starting with Jesse Kriel going off with a hamstring problem and Mapoe coming on for him.

This was not the end of the injury worries for Coetzee as Habana also went off in the second half with a leg injury which saw Willie Le Roux coming on.

With both the back players om the bench o the field, Rudy Paige got a hit to the head and had to go off which saw Hougaard coming on at nine and Jaco Kriel moving to the wing.

Willem Alberts took Kriel position at the side of the scrum which had the backline in all sorts of problems.

This prevented the Springboks from playing any attacking game in the last part of the second half and left them defusing against a desperate Aussie team.

It was Morne Steyn that opened the scoring for the Springboks with a penalty to take and early 3-0 lead in the test.

This was short lived with the Aussies quickly counter with a penalty of their own.

Australia got enough going forward ball which they used to put the Springboks under pressure and scored the only try of the match in the first half.

This gave them a 10-3 lead with the Springboks having to play catch up rugby yet again.

It was Morne Steyn boot that kept the Springboks in the match and they went 12-10 in the lead at halftime.

Francois Louw put one of his best performance on the night and were brilliant on the ground for the Springboks.

Captain Strauss also played his best game since taking the captain’s armband and led the team from the front.

As normal the Aussies never gave up and were running at the Springboks throughout leaving the Boks only to defend and playing the whole game in their own half.

One of the positives for the Springboks was their scrums and they dominated most of them during the test getting a few penalties from the scrums as well.

The Springboks good defense kept the Aussies out and forced a lot of handling errors from the Aussies and turnover ball for the Springboks.

With the defense holding the Aussies out and the boot of Morne Steyn they were able to hold on to a much needed 18-10 win at the end.

Going into the All Blacks test next week there will still be more questions than answers. The interesting thing will be what team Coetzee will pick for the world champions next week in Durban.

The biggest concern for Coetzee still remains his backline with the current players not looking like game breakers and depends on the forwards too much to win test matches.

At the end everyone wants to see the Springboks win test matches and they did just that but it was against a very young and poor Aussie team.


For South Africa:
Steyn 4
Drop Goals: Steyn 2

For Australia:
Con: Foley
Pen: Foley
Yellow Card: Folau

Preview – Springboks v Australia


Allister Coetzee Springboks can ill afford another lost in this years Castle Rugby Championship as they face the Aussies in Pretoria on Saturday.


With three losses out of four so far and a total of three wins from seven test, pressure is mounting on the Springbok coach and his team. The Aussies have been steadily getting better after the two huge losses against the All Blacks and will challenge the Springboks come Saturday.

They have been clinical against the Argentinians in their last outing scoring some great tries on there way to their second test win in this years Rugby Championship. It is looking that they have started to find there feet as they have been hampered by injuries this year.

When we look at Coetzee starting fifteen then we can assume that he will go into the match with a more conservative approach in his selection of Paige and Steyn with Lambie at fullback.

In  sense we expected this from Coetzee as he cannot afford another loss and worse one in South Africa. With the experience of Steyn and Juan de Jongh he would hope that he has enough to organised the defense at the back.

Paige deserve a start after some poor performances from Faf De Klerk and Elton Jantjies. Both are new to test rugby and they are learning which will make them better players in the long run at test level.

One would have liked to see Lionel Mapoe get a run with the experience De Jongh as most of us felt that De Allende did not help Mapoe as a partner in the test they played together this year.

Although Coetzee have a secure plan to win this test with the players he picked we need to understand that the Aussies will know exactly what to expect from the Springbok comes Saturday and we can be assured that they would have made their counter plans for it as well.

Wallaby coach Michael Cheika is wary of their opponents and dismissed suggestions that the Boks were not a force in the world game after their recent run of defeats.

“It’s easy to say that when you haven’t played against them… they’re one of the traditional powerhouses of world rugby and that doesn’t go away,” he said.

“All that other stuff is rubbish – I don’t think that the last two games that we have played count for much and I don’t think what they’ve done in the last couple of games counts for much either.

“I’m sure we’re going to see the best Springbok team and we’ve got to bring our game as well. We’ll see where we end up.”

Previous results:

2016: Australia won 23-17 in Brisbane
2015: Australia won 24-20 in Brisbane
2014: South Africa won 28-10 in Cape Town
2014: Australia won 24-23 in Perth
2013: South Africa won 28-8 in Cape Town
2013: South Africa won 38-12 in Brisbane
2012: South Africa won 31-8 in Pretoria
2012: Australia won 26-19 in Perth
2011: Australia won 11-9 in Wellington
2011: Australia won 14-9 in Durban
2011: Australia won 39-20 in Sydney
2010: Australia won 41-39 in Bloemfontein
2010: South Africa won 44-31 in Pretoria
2010: Australia won 30-13 in Brisbane
2009: Australia won 21-6 in Brisbane

Prediction: Many will disagree with me but this is the best team Coetzee have picked this year. Test rugby is all about winning and can see a Springbok win by 7 points.

The teams:

South Africa: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jessie Kriel, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Stephen Kitshoff, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Jaco Kriel, 22 Willie le Roux, 23 Lionel Mapoe

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Bernard Foley, 11 Reece Hodge,10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements (one to be omitted): 16 James Hanson, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Scott Fardy, 21 Lopeti Timani, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Tevita Kuridrani, 24 Sefa Naivalu


Willie Le Roux and Lambie back in Springbok Sqaud


Maybe we will see some more of Americano here as experienced backs Willie le Roux and Pat Lambie were included in a 31-man Springbok squad for the two remaining home Tests in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, in October against Australia and New Zealand.

The Flying Dutchmen

Along with the experienced backline duo, Lood de Jager and Julian Redelinghuys will return in the pack after recovering from injuries which kept them out of action for between one and four weeks respectively.

The rest of the 28-man tour squad that did duty in the recent away matches against the Wallabies and the All Blacks shows only one change – with Redelinghuys back in the squad, Lourens Adriaanse drops out.

The Springboks will assemble in Johannesburg on Sunday to resume with preparations for the return encounter against the Wallabies on 1 October in Pretoria. They conclude their 2016 campaign against the All Blacks a week later, on Saturday 8 October in Durban.

Lambie has returned to full fitness after he was concussed in the first match of the three Test series against Ireland at DHL Newlands in June. Le Roux also last saw Springbok action against Ireland in June and joins the Springboks from Japanese club Canon Eagles.

Redelinghuys has recovered from the hamstring injury he picked up in the Springboks’ 30-23 win over the Pumas in August in Nelspruit, which caused him to miss the away fixtures against Argentina, the Wallabies and the All Blacks.

De Jager, in turn, received a bump on the knee while playing against the Wallabies in Brisbane two weeks ago after which he returned home. Willem Alberts, who was called up as replacement for the Christchurch encounter, remains with the squad.

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said the selectors have opted for continuity when they selected the squad.

“Although the results have not gone our way so far in the campaign, I think it will be good to keep the current squad together so that we can build continuity,” said Coetzee.

“It’s great to have players with the experience of Pat and Willie back in the squad. The same goes for Julian and Lood, both of whom have played very well for us this year and will add something to the pack.

“Pat has been included in the squad so that our medical and conditioning team can get first-hand feedback.

“We want to ascertain his readiness and confidence for international rugby or whether he rather needs to play another match in the Currie Cup for the Cell C Sharks,” said Coetzee.

Although disappointed with the outcome of the three away matches, Coetzee said the coming two home matches against the Wallabies and All Blacks will provide his team with the chance to deliver improved performances.

“We have much work to do as a team and the best way to build confidence is to keep continuity and improve on the individual errors and our game management that have so far hampered us.

“The two remaining matches will be huge for us and the squad will work hard during the next two weeks to make sure we are well prepared to face the Wallabies and the All Blacks.”

The Springbok squad for the last two matches in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship:

No Name and Surname Franchise / Province / Club Test caps Test points
1 Willem Alberts Stade Francais (France)  39  35
2 Damian de Allende DHL Stormers  19 10
3 Lood de Jager Toyota Cheetahs  23  20
4 Juan de Jongh DHL Stormers  17 15
5 Faf de Klerk Emirates Lions  7  0
6 Pieter-Steph du Toit DHL Stormers  15 15
7 Eben Etzebeth DHL Stormers  51 10
8 Johan Goosen Racing 92 (France)  10 20
9 Bryan Habana (vice-captain) Toulon (France)  121 330
10 Francois Hougaard Worcester Warriors (UK)  37 25
11 Elton Jantjies Emirates Lions  9  69
12 Steven Kitshoff Bordeaux Bègles (France)  5  0
13 Vincent Koch DHL Stormers/Steval Pumas  5  0
14 Jaco Kriel Emirates Lions  5  0
15 Jesse Kriel Vodacom Bulls  16  15
16 Patrick Lambie Cell C Sharks  51  137
17 Willie le Roux Canon Eagles (Japan) 37  45
18 Francois Louw Bath (England)  50  40
19 Lionel Mapoe Emirates Lions  7  0
20 Malcolm Marx Emirates Lions  1  0
21 Bongi Mbonambi DHL Stormers  2  0
22 Oupa Mohoje Toyota Cheetahs  12  0
23 Franco Mostert Emirates Lions  4  0
24 Tendai Mtawarira Cell C Sharks  82  10
25 Lwazi Mvovo Cell C Sharks  17  30
26 Trevor Nyakane Vodacom Bulls  26  5
27 Rudy Paige Vodacom Bulls  4  0
28 Julian Redelinghuys Emirates Lions  6  0
29 Morné Steyn Stade Francais (France)  64  703
30 Adriaan Strauss (captain) Vodacom Bulls  61  30
31 Warren Whiteley Emirates Lions  10  15

Boks vs NZ – A Labrador’s view


I have read previews, reviews and in depth analysis this week on the up coming clash between our beloved Boks and the All Blacks.


It seems everyone and his dog has an opinion and for the most part, everyone feels the Boks are in for a hiding. I have a gut feel that it will be close, but as pointed out by Bekke, it might just be the curry I ate. Which is annoying, as I love curry almost as much as the excitement a clash between these two Titans bring.

A long time ago, a member of this site, used to inquire from the Oracle about what the match would bring. This must’ve been Neo’s oracle in the Matrix, as she was almost always on song. So in honor of this and because I don’t have the Oracle’s mobile number (yes, my phone was repossessed by a man in a hoodie, so I’ve lost all my numbers), I thought I’d ask my dog.

So a little bit about my dog. Oreo is a 2 year old black Labrador, with a white spot on his chin. Being a black dog it came to no surprise to me, that while supporting the Boks with a SAB Miller branded fuzzy drink, he confessed to me of an up and coming Victory for the All Blacks.

“Master he said (yes I am a master), I have a feeling the Boks are going to lose. Why Oreo?”, was my response. “Master, I dug up my rose tree of knowledge this afternoon”, which led to a couple of pg rated words and abuse being flung at him. As I calmed down, he continued, “The rose tree has a long history of giving us dogs supernatural knowledge, which is why I always dig it up.

The tree revealed to me, that the Boks are suffering from post colonialist depression. This confuses them master”. Now I’m no liberal, but began to ponder on this as he continued.

“In colonial days, the Boerboele were big, and us black dogs were both loved and feared, as they would rub our ears and talk about the “swart gevaar”. This is what confuses the Boks.  You know master, you guys were always bigger than everyone, using that to your advantage, but with the age of gyms and conditioning, the other team quickly grew stronger and caught up.

What could a Bok do to counter this, well they embraced the challenge and laid down the law, that the “swart gevaar” now comes from NZ and no longer in our own borders. You realised that to counter the “swart gevaar” you need to embrace your own “swart gevaar”.

The problem is, that it leads to the Boerboele in the team, to not know how to play under a general called Jantjies the Bulldog. He leads you to the left, but your natural instinct is to go straight. He shows you a step and you counter it with a huff and puff. This is your problem.”

As I sat mesmerized at the world as my dog sees it, he surprised me once more. “Fear not oh great and noble master, I have asked the tree how the match will play out. The wise tree tells me that the Boerboele in the Bok team will muster all they have and attack the land of the “swart gevaar” with great excitement.

A couple of weeks of getting used to General Jantjies the Bulldog has taught them a lot. They will look like a transformed team. They will run the All Blacks close. So close that you will be shouting at the top of your lungs, in the 75th min, as the Boks build up 20 phases to reach the goal line of the All Blacks.

At that point, the All Blacks will looked tired and ready to give up, but hang on to a small 3 point lead. As you sense the weakening of them, you will go wide, where a 5-3 overlap awaits, what you won’t foresee is the shadow of the great captain of yesteryear, Richie McPaw the Terrier, in the form of Ardie Savea the Sheppard of rucks, intercepting the ball and running in for a ninety meter try. This will close of a close game, but you will still lose by 10.”

So there you have it guys. My Labrador is an All Black fan, and I have a rose tree to replant this weekend. Hope you all enjoy the match and let’s all get kitted out in Green, to show support for the Boks!

Test Preview – All Blacks v Springboks


South Africa against the All Blacks is normally the match both countries supporters look forward to in the year but this time around it seems that it will only be the New Zealanders.


The Springboks have been unconvincing this year so far under Allister Coetzee and the knives have been out since the first Rugby Championship match against the Argentinians in Nelspruit. Lats week match against a very poor Aussie team also did not help the Springboks as they lost a game they should have won easily.

The Aussies have been founded wanted throughout the year going down to a whitewash against Eddie Jones England side and they also took a hammering against the All Blacks in both test this far.

The Springboks do have a few regulars on the sideline which did not help Coetzee in building his team since he took over in April. His sections have confused the public and his game plan that the players have showed this far on the park unconvincing to say the least.

We all know that Coetzee had a few problems to overcome which was out of his hands starting with the fact that SARU only appointed him in April after Meyer resigned already in December last year.

But excuses aside one expect the Springboks to at least improve game to game and that have not been the case. Not good defense at critical times and changing critical positions within the team did not help Coetzee in building confidence with his players in the team.

The All Blacks have been the best team in the world for several years now and one can even say this All Black team has gone a step further this year.

With world class players in all positions, and that includes the bench, rugby coaches all over the world is figuring out how to get one over them.

The only way South Africa stand any chance of an upset is to go back and do the basics right and play a conservative game on Saturday. One need to crawl before you can walk, before you can run and this Springbok team struggle to crawl at this stage.

Set pieces will be important and one just hope that their will be no senseless kicking from the Boks and if they kick that pressure will be put on the All Blacks.

The All Blacks simply don’t lose at home and while the Boks have historically been one of a few teams who could push them all the way, that seems highly unlikely this time round.

Argentina was able to rattle the All Blacks last week with hard hitting at ruck time and playing straight from rucks and set pieces which found the All Blacks defense wanting. This will force the All Blacks to commit more players to contact situations and open up the space in the backline.

Whatever you think this will be a bruising battle and although most gives this one to the All Blacks, the Springboks has been the one team that have always been the All Blacks most difficult opponents.

New Zealand have made two changes to their matchday squad with Ardie Savea that comes in for the injured Sam Cane and Matt Todd coming into the squad as loose forward cover. Lima Sopoaga also replace the injured Aaron Cruden on the bench.

For the Springboks Pieter-Steph du Toit gets his first start of this year’s Rugby Championship with Vincent Koch that starts at tighthead prop and Willem Alberts and Malcolm Marx come onto the bench.

Previous results:

2015: New Zealand won 20-18 in London (RWC semi-final)
2015: New Zealand won 27-20 in Johannesburg
2014: South Africa won 27-25 in Johannesburg
2014: New Zealand won 14-10 in Wellington
2013: New Zealand won 38-27 in Johannesburg
2013: New Zealand won 29-15 in Auckland
2012: New Zealand won 32-16 in Johannesburg
2012: New Zealand won 21-11 in Dunedin
2011: South Africa won 18-5 in Port Elizabeth
2011: New Zealand won 40-7 in Wellington

Prediction: Many will disagree with me but I think it will be much closer than it is too be believed by the public. All Blacks by 10 points.

The teams:

New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

South Africa: 15 Johan Goosen, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Jaco Kriel, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Damian de Allende


Bok Ratings – Another poor Springbok performance


Benedict and myself will be doing the rating today together, yes we decided to split the forwards and backs with Benedict doing the BC Spectrum on the backs and I will do the carrat rating with the forwards.


The BC Spectrum is a look at the wavelength of the Springbok performance and how it is in comparison to the standard required.

Four Overall Rating for the Springboks




The Boks started well on Saturday and pulled away from the Aussies and with solid defense kept them out. The attack looked if their was some plan and at first the pack did well in the contact areas but that was short lived. They quickly gave away a 14-3 lead with the Aussies doing most of the attack.

It is clear we need more bulk in our forwards and the news that the “Bone Collector” has been called up to replace De Jager is a step in the right direction atleast.

Overall we can not give them more than four Yoda Lightsabers again…..

Here is our Spectrum and Carrot Ratings for Saturdays test against the Aussies…. 

Johan Goosen (3)




Not the answer for the Springboks at fullback. He has looked good when coming on as a second distributor but today his tactical kicking was way off the mark, despite an excellent tackle on Samu Kerevi he had a quiet game and it looks like the last line of defence faces a confusion on how to approach the game in certain situations from his hesitant actions on several occasions

Brain Habana (3)


Almost cost a try. Vital turnover towards the end of the game but remains a defensively worrying player considering he has a tendency to come in and on more occasions
very dangerous for his side. Another cap earned by the veteran

Jesse Kriel (6)


Found himself in defensive overload and did well on occasion. Despite being sucked in on several occasions he will need to improve on his defensive organization as the road only gets tougher. Attack wise, he had a few flashes but will hope to be more involved in the future.

 Juan de Jongh (2)


Defensively better. Made enough tackles to warrant the non-return of Damian de Allende for now. The ploy of coming from deep while drifting of no benefit to the team. Despite more passes to the outside he had a basic game.

Francois Hougaard (4)




The Sevens star was quiet and despite proving to be a better option when tasked with high balls down his channelection and the frequent chases. He was quiet and needs to revert back to scrum half

Elton Jantjes (3)




Defensively weak. A gaping hole at Test level. Even the system meant to aid the talent fly half in defence has not been efficient. The try scored
through him, missed kicks at goal and poor execution leaves the pivot in a rough spot. Jantjes will be hoping this tenure under Allister will improve but it seems he may find himself dropped soon. Out of depth

Faf de Klerk (2)




Missed tackles, tactically he is a poor kicker and has failed to ease the pressure on half back partner Elton. The form scrum half in South Africa is having a difficult time at Test level when all games are looked at analytically. The Test vs Australia was no different. A big fixture is up next against the All Blacks.

Warren Whiteley (5)




Warren had scored a great try running lines but he did nit make much impact with any carries. He was good at the breakdown but we need more from Warren.

Teboho Mohoje (2)




Not a great game from Oupa, had a few descend runs and was not as good as we had him last two weeks on defense, made almost zero impact.

Francois Louw (2)



Flo is just not good enough anymore at this level. He is getting beating at the rucks and we do not see him on any bulking runs anymore and with his work rate is not good at all.

Lood de Jager (3)




We have not seen the Lood we know this season, not in Super Rugby and not in Test Rugby. Zero impact and non existed in carriers.

Eben Etzebeth (5)




Showed some of the fire that we know he can bring to the team and we need more of that from Eben. He was very lucky not to get another card. Aggression need to be put towards to right place in test.

Lourens Adriaanse(2)



Failed as an option in scrum against the Aussies and did not have a good game neither any impact in the match. Very disappointing with his work rate

Adriaan Strauss (5)




Still question his leadership but he had the best test of the year for the Boks. He was good on defense found his locks this time around and even hit the rucks which we expect from a hooker.

Tendai Mtawarira (4)




The Beats was no no beast on the field and although descend in scrums make no impact in the game.

The Bench 


The bench did not make the impact we expected and where better in the previous two test matches against Argentina.


Match Report – Aussies win against another poor Bok perfromance


Another poor performance gave them their second lost in this years Rugby Championship against Australia when they went down 23-17


With both teams under the fire, desperation was at the order of the day and a must win from the outset.

The Springboks started much better than the previous two test and with better handling and skills they scored the first try of the match after Etzebeth could get pass the defense down the line.

The Springboks under pressure forced an intercept by Strauss and with Jantjies kick ahead, Goosen was at the end of a brilliant try to make the score 14-3 after a few minutes.

The Aussies did not sit back and they put the pressure back on the Boks and turned two  penalties down to go for lineouts and eventually score with Coleman in the corner after the second attempt.

This made the score 14-10 for the Springboks after 31 min.

Penalties started to mount up against the Springboks giving the Aussies the territory to play from and attack the Springboks line.

With the Springboks losing their shape the Aussies were getting into the game and had all the ball in forcing the Boks into mistakes.

They closed the score with another penalty to make it only 14-13 after 36 min.

The Springboks did have a change to stretch the lead but Jantjies again missed the kick which is something we have gotten used to.

The Springboks seemed to start fading as the game progress giving the Aussies the opportunities to play a more direct game.

At half time the Springboks had a narrow lead of 14-13.


The second half did not start well for the Springboks and the Aussies took full advantage of the yellow card for Etzebeth kicking the penalty to take the lead 16-14.

The Springboks had great escape when the TMO decided a try in the corner was in goal by Aussies.

With the Aussies on full attack all the Springboks were doing was defend, defend and even on attack the Springboks could not support players on attack with Faf  too slow from the rucks.

The Aussies controlled the game on attack and defense making the Springboks looking ordinary at times.

With pressure on the Boks the Australian finally got that second try they wanted and stretch the lead to 23-14 after 60 min.

On attack the Springboks just kept losing the ball on contact or gave easy turnovers away which kept then from scoring any tries.

The handling mistakes kept coming as the Springboks tried to safe yet another game but with the Aussies defense as good as it was they kept them out and took the win 23-18.

This was yet another poor performance from the Springboks not making any improvement from previous test, just more questions than answers.


For Australia:
Tries: Coleman, Foley
Cons: Foley 2
Pens: Foley 3

For South Africa:
Tries: Whiteley, Goosen
Cons: Jantjies 2
Pen: Steyn
Yellow Card: Etzebeth

Match Preview – All Blacks v Argentina


Contenders to earn their highest finish in the Rugby Championship, the Pumas will face their ultimate test this weekend, when they take on the All Blacks, writes Benedict Chanakira


They will need to be competitive to show any signs of progress and will also offer some indication of where the Springboks and Wallabies rank this season.

The Argentinians will be out to play in their new found style of play and will be interesting to see how they fare. New Zealand is the bench mark and their defence will test the Pumas attack. The Pumas have been able to interlink their forwards and backs and in both games managed to dominate the Springboks.

The battle at the set piece will determine the result as expected. The All Black line out has been dominant and their scrum reliable. This has offered the backs to excel especially form flyhalf Beauden Barrett.

One aspect that the Pumas could fall prey to is the brilliant tactical kicking of the All Blacks, who will entice the away side to run back at them. This will allow them to feed off any mistakes and offer the Argentinians the opportunity to run the ball back to them.

How the Pumas handle this, will determine whether they are ready to challenge or they are still evolving as a tier 1 side. New Zealand are favourites and will play in one of the most exciting games in the Championship tomorrow.

The discipline standard will also be under the microscope in the light of the Owen Franks incident. The Argies have a habit of letting the heat of the game, get the better of them- expect a card or two tomorrow.


Facundo Isa vs Kieran Read will be one of the most exciting battles you see this season. Two players who have shown they are able to link with the backs and also keep it tight and play in the trenches.

The two have been the best number eights in the competition with the All Black skipper more defensive in the Rugby Championship and has been excellent. Isa on the other hand has been a wrecking ball. Attacking with some excellence and impetus.

Beating defenders in their wake while creating opportunities for his support. Up against the best number 8 in the world, the time to make a statement is now. Decisive match up.

Prediction: New Zealand by 14

Previous results:

2015: New Zealand won 26-16 in London
2015: New Zealand won 39-18 in Christchurch
2014: New Zealand won 34-13 in La Plata
2014: New Zealand won 28-9 in Napier
2013: New Zealand won 33-15 in La Plata
2013: New Zealand won 28-13 in Hamilton
2012: New Zealand won 54-15 in La Plata
2012: New Zealand won 21-16 in Hamilton
2011: New Zealand won 33-10 in Auckland
2006: New Zealand won 25-19 in Buenos Aires

Prediction: Expect the Pumas to keep it tight for at least 30 minutes before the hosts pull away. New Zealand to win by 18 points.

The teams:

New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

Argentina: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Moroni, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Ramiro Moyano

Match Preview – Australia v Springboks


It is a question of desperate times for both the Australians and the Springboks when they meet in Brisbane on Saturday.


None of the two teams had a great international season so far in 2016, matter of fact none of the two countries had a great Super Rugby season as well and maybe we should have seen this coming.

In a way the Aussies is a uncertain entity this year for the Boks as they had lost their two game in this years Castle Rugby Championship against the best rugby team in the world and one kind of expected that to happen whereas the Springboks scrape through the test in Nelspruit and lost in Argentina which does not not give a pretty picture as well.

This does not give Australia a free pass for loosing to New Zealand because although the All Blacks are that much better than any other team, they have managed to put two poor performances together with poor defense and set pieces that have been the worst we have seen from a Aussie side.

As with the Springboks the Aussies does not seem to be in control on attack and most of the times does not really know what to do with ball.

This is exactly where Coetzee and his players needed to have been concentrated on this week. If they can quickly unsettle the Aussies in the set pieces they may get them rattled again and that would be the opportunity to get on top of this test.

The Springboks, although poor on attack for most parts of the two test have produced better forward performances but it is still not close to what we need from a Springbok team.

Test rugby is not pajama rugby, you need to do the basics right and do is faster.

A must for the Springboks will be to unsettle their two fetcher, Pocock and Hooper, and hit the rucks hard and as a pack. If the Springboks loose the contact areas they will loose the test, it is that simple. De Jager and Etzebeth need to step up and Coetzee will need them to be brutal.

The jury will be out on the changes that Coetzee made in his backline. Most supporters in the week did not have much of a problem with Hougaard at wing and even Juan de Jongh that was included in the midfield carried the support with De Allende form being questioned the whole season.

The talk of the week was Jesse Kriel inclusion in the midfield as many believed that he should have given Mapoe  a change with a another partner like De Jongh.

Let’s face it De Jongh has been a organizer on defense for the Stormers and Western Province since Jacques Fourie left the union and he has the experience to have guided Mapoe at international level but the coach seemed to have gone for combinations.

The Aussie have lost a few players to injuries and they are not a settle team with different combinations taking the field the last couple of weeks. They have a number 10 running out this week in the midfield which can not be ideal for test rugby.

Putting aside Hooper, Pocock and Folau you have a pretty ordinary team going on the field against the struggling Springboks.

The Aussies do seemed to have gone a few steps at least better that the Boks in development and even with Coetzee making changes to the team for the test after the Argentina lost it is not changes most can jump up and down for.

The biggest question for both teams coaches will be the one of defense, with both teams fielding a new midfield, question marks still for both coaches will be if they made the correct choices.

At flyhalf both teams have players that have not shown at international level that they are their yet. Jantjies have struggled to get into the game plan of Coetzee and he seemed rushed at this level which put the team under huge pressure.

His kicking out of hand and for points have been poor and we have left allot of points between him and Morne Steyn on the park.

Genia and Cooper will be an important pairing for their coach and he will need them to produce the performance of yesteryear.

One can talk allot of the players that should have been their and the one’s that should not have been but these players have been chosen and we will have to wait for Saturday to see who comes out as the winner.

Players to watch out for:

For the Springboks De Jongh have a huge responsibility on his shoulders in defense and on attack with the hope that his sevens experience can benefit the Boks on Saturday and will be a key player in the backline.

One need the forwards to be playing as a pack and not as individuals, so a solid scrum will be expected from the front row and the two locks to fire with all they got. Etzebeth in his 50th test need to have a big one for the Boks.

The Aussies will depend a hell of allot on Hooper and Pocock to slow the ball down for the Boks and for them to take this one they need a stellar performance from Cooper and Genia.

Previous results:

2015: Australia won 24-20 in Brisbane
2014: South Africa won 28-10 in Cape Town
2014: Australia won 24-23 in Perth
2013: South Africa won 28-8 in Cape Town
2013: South Africa won 38-12 in Brisbane
2012: South Africa won 31-8 in Pretoria
2012: Australia won 26-19 in Perth
2011: Australia won 11-9 in Wellington
2011: Australia won 14-9 in Durban
2011: Australia won 39-20 in Sydney
2010: Australia won 41-39 in Bloemfontein
2010: South Africa won 44-31 in Pretoria
2010: Australia won 30-13 in Brisbane
2009: Australia won 21-6 in Brisbane

Prediction: This is difficult for all the wrong reasons as both teams are struggling with a game plan and have been poor this year on defense and attack.There set pieces have huge question marks around but at the end playing in Australia give the Aussies the little bit of advantage and one would go with Aussies by very little at the end.


Australia: Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Samu Kerevi, Bernard Foley, Reece Hodge, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Dean Mumm, Adam Coleman, Kane Douglas, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (captain), Scott Sio. Replacements: Tatafu Potla-Nau, James Slipper, Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Lopeti Timani, Sean McMahon, Nick Phipps, Tevita Kuridrani, Drew Mitchell.

South Africa: Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana, Jesse Kriel, Juan de Jongh, Francois Hougaard, Elton Janties, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley, Oupa Mohoje, Francois Louw, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Lourens Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Trevor Nyakane, Franco Mostert, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jaco Kriel, Morne Steyn, Lionel Mapoe.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)


Coetzee happy with Jantjies back in training


It was a very happy Springbok coach at the first Springbok training session in Australia with Elton Jantjies back in training.


Both Elton Jantjies and Francois Hougaard who have suffered injuries have come through training with no problem ahead of the Springboks Rugby Championships match against Australia.

Jantjies left the field against Argentina in the second half and was a in doubt for the two test in Australasia. Hougaard did not take part in the first two test against the Argentinians due to a knee injury.

Elton Jantjies came through his training exercises very well and so did Francois, so all of the players are ready to go when we resume preparations on Monday,” confirmed Coetzee.

Regarding the battle against the Wallabies, Coetzee said: “We know the Wallabies will be looking to turn the tables on us this weekend, but we are focusing on ourselves and we want to make sure we eliminate the unforced errors and deliver a much-improved performance.”

Coetzee added his players have already benefitted from their earlier arrival in Australia. “I am very happy that we’ve come to Brisbane a couple of days earlier than usual. Arriving here on the Friday allowed us to have a good training session today (Saturday). We’ve crossed several time-zones the past few days, first flying to Argentina and back home, and then down to AustraliaI am very satisfied with the way the players have performed during training, and it shows the team has adapted well to the local conditions,” explained Coetzee.

Prop Tendai Mtawarira also cautioned that Australia will be a difficult opponent next weekend. “The Wallabies are always tough to play against on their home turf.  They are a very good technical side and we will have to make sure we prepare well for them,” said Mtawarira.

Individual mistakes cost us in Salta and we have to rectify those mistakes during training in the coming week, so that don’t repeat them against Australia,” added the experienced prop.

The Springboks is lying second behind the All Blacks on the log with one win and one defeat.


Players Ratings – Mohoje the best of the lot


This week Benedict Chanakira will do his spectrum ratings on this weeks performances of your Springboks in the lost against the Argentinians on Saturday.



The BC Spectrum is a look at the wavelength of the Springbok performance and how it is in comparison to the standard required. Most if not all the Boks scored below average and despite a better bench, the Springboks failed.

Four Overall Rating for the Springboks






Although the Springboks did attack better at times and even showed some glimpses of skills from certain players it was yet again a poor overall performances. Still looks like a leaderless team and players not inform selected in this team.

Defense was poor yet again beside the first quarter of the game which showed some great glimpses on defense from the Springbok, overall we can not give them more than four Yoda Lightsabers…..

Here is our spectrum Rating for Saturdays test against the Pumas…. 

Johan Goosen (4)





Got the opportunity to kick for points and managed to deliver. He looked to offer some attacking impetus but that was to little avail and will be hoping there is a wholesome improvement.

It was not a perfect test by all mean but he showed what he can do for the Boks and were also on the end of a great piece of play from De Klerk to score a try

Ruan Combrinck (4)





No real chances to run the ball but came good against his bigger counterpart on defence.

Lionel Mapoe (3)





Nothing more to do. Rarely received the ball. Managed to make just one tackle. Made a try saving hit early on while also winning a turnover. The Lions flyer will be hoping his Bok fortunes change.

Damian de Allende (2)





Defensively woeful. A few strong carries that highlighted his lack of vision as he passed on making two tackles and losing the ball on the try line when he looked to offload. Having missed 4 tackles and made only one, serious questions have to be asked on the selection of de Allende.

Bryan Habana (4)





He offered a lot of work and options. The Springbok legend. Despite a try, Habana went over early in the second half for a try and gave the Springboks some hope.

Elton Jantjes (2)





Missed kicks. Lack of strong forward pack and platform have left the Lions man lacking that spark. His confidence must have hit another road bump as he lost the kicking duties and has been under more pressure from the public. Inability to control the game and steer the ship saw him exit the field early.

Faf de Klerk (3)





Over exuberance. Energetic. Erratic. Ability to spot a gap and keep fringe defence guessing but also lacs the composure to make the right decisions, shepherd his pack and ease pressure on his pivot. The Lions man is a quality half back but has not settled well at Test level. His box kicking, accuracy and temperament are at question.

Warren Whiteley (4)





Decent in his link up play and his ability to create space for his team mates but the real work in the trenches have continued to elude the Lions Captain.

It is tough to get the go forward ball the Springboks need from there number eight and there was a struggle in how they will fill the void left by Duane Vermeulen. Test rugby is a lot tougher and has far less space to operate in. With no space, Warren struggles.

Teboho Mohoje (6)





A few big hits, mostly poorly executed smother tackles allowed the citing commissioner to cite and warn him of his tackling technique.

The blind sider was out of his depth or has not been allowed to understand his role. Once again the top Springbok tackler in the Rugby Championship, he has not allowed them to go forward with ball in hand. Can we compare him to the abrasive and destructive Jerome Kaino?

Francois Louw (3)





His offload to set up Habana’s try was a thing of beauty. The Bath man was showing flashes of what he can do but struggled to slow down the Argentina side’s play as they looked to play with ferocity, intensity and accuracy. Far from his best.

Lood de Jager (5)





Time to get him back to his 2015 form. He has missed lots of rugby and it remains evident.

Despite a strong defensive effort, Lood was at hand to make life difficult for the Argentinians at the gain line and while he was also ineffective with his carries and this put pressure on the Boks ability to move forward and create space for the backs.

Eben Etzebeth (5)





A gigantic push on Matias Orlando, seven tackles and a vital turnover was the role Etzebeth managed to play on the game.

Despite ineffective carries and line out dominance which saw the Argies avoid any aerial battle the Bok lock was one of the best of a weak and tired pack.

Vincent Koch (4)





The Stormers man was solid in his scrummaging and while he never got a chance a chance to Carry he was also asked to make a tackle occasionally. A quiet game.

Adriaan Strauss (2)





The captain was also quiet and will be under even more pressure as they approach even more tough games.

Strauss is not the best South African hooker and the case he is the best captain option available to the Boks is becoming questionable. The value of his leadership was nullified with the loss as the Boks failed to escae jail yesterday.

Tendai Mtawarira (4)





The Beast is now known for his scrummaging. Despite conceding an early penalty the 80-cap Springbok had a quiet game.

He managed to make a few tackles but was rather ominous. He needs to re-invent his game.

The Bench 

Despite Bongi Mbonambi’s lack of appearance, the Springbok bench was effective.

Pieter Steph du Toit showing once again why he should start at blind side. He showed strong defence and effective carrying as he scored yet another try for the Springboks.

The front row change was inspired and offered a balanced peck down. The Argentinians made good use of this platform which the Boks didn’t.

The Springbok rescue act was a fail this time around and their non-introduction could have been disaster. Morne Steyn was kicking at 66,7% and despite the misses was a welcome improvement to Elton Jantjes- despite not being good enough.

Man of the Match:

man of match spring

Match Report – Argentina beat awful Springboks


A rush defence combined with low tackles and a predictable attack saw the Springboks succumbed to a 13-3 half time deficit, writes Benedict Chanakira

full time SA

With the Boks getting an early penalty which Elton Jantjes missed. The Argentinians looked prepared and ready to spread the ball while exposing space on the side.

The scrums have been edged by the Springboks despite the home side earning one penalty early on. The game began to come to life with several penalties flying in both directions. The visitors then managed to survive a try scare as Lionel Mapoe stopped Manuel Montero from going over.

The resultant scrum saw the Herrera concede a penalty at scrum time and a few minutes later a yellow card from a late tackle with no arms. An opportunity for the Springboks against 14 men. A penalty from Elton Jantjes saw the Springboks take a 3-0 lead.

As the Argentinians took the kick off it was Damian de Allende who received the ball and was tackled by Nicolas Sanchez who managed to win a turnover. The pivot slotted the kick to bring his side back in the game.

The Argies began to dominate play as they exposed the Springboks on the outside as a giant push from Eben Etzebeth saw the home side denied a try. A few minutes, yet another try of brilliance was created by the pumas as they ran from their own 22 to score on the opposite end through Joaquin Tuculet as the confidence of the home side was evident.

The second stanza was no different with the Argies getting off to an excited and quick start as both sides exchanged two great tries. The Springbok try was off the back of an audacious offload from Francois Louw. This saw Habana cross over the line.

The brilliance of the home side was evident as they went on to respond instantly with the most elegant cross kick as Juan Manuel Leguizamon regathered and scored in the corner.

The game was riddled with missed tackles, collapsed scrums and iffy officiating. The Pumas and Boks exchanged penalties and this saw the Pumas claim a famous win despite a Pieter-Steph du Toit try which seemed to offer South Africa some momentum.

If the alarm bells are not ringing now, I am not sure what is. The Springboks will face a tough Australian side in two week and will need to step up and make several personnel changes.


Argentina 26

Tries: Joaquin Tuculet, Juan Manuel Leguizamón

Conversion: Nicolas Sanchez, Juan Martin Hernandez

Penalties: Sanzchez (2), Hernandez, Santiago Gonzalez

Springboks 24

Tries: Bryan Habana, Pieter-Steph du Toit

Conversion: Johan Goosen

Penalties: Elton Jantjies (2), Morne Steyn (2)


stast 5

stats 1

stats 2

stats 3


Stats  by:


What is your take on the test?

Match Report – Bonus point win for All Blacks over Australia


Coming back from that huge first test defeat at home against the world number one team would never have been easy and it was a huge task for the Aussies to come back and win against the All Blacks in New Zealand.


The Aussies came out with allot of aggression but sometimes at the wrong places and tried to unsettle the All Blacks with some niggle in the game.

It took the All Blacks eight minutes to get over the whitewash as Dagg dotted down for their first try. The Aussies struggled again in the lineout and All Blacks just was given too many penalties again in the first 20 minutes of the test match.

The Aussies did trade some penalties with the All Blacks before Barrett was again given to much time on the ball to send Dagg away for his second try.

This gave the All Blacks a lead of 15-6 and giving the All Blacks to play their game again.

With the Aussies defense again starting go backwards the All Blacks had again enough time on the ball and going forward for most of the half.

There was allot of niggle in the game and both teams got a warning from the referee early on.

It was not the perfect performance from the All Blacks as they made also too many mistakes on attack but that could have been the Aussies more in their face than last week.

As it is not difficult enough to play against this All Blacks side the Aussies gave away a yellow card just before half time for a late shoulder tackle.

The rest of the half no one could get proper phases together and the All Blacks went into the break with a lead of 15-9.

The second half start much like the first half ended with the All Blacks running the show with ball in hand. The Aussies struggled with defense letting the All Blacks run too far with the ball in contact situations.

The Aussies got a great break to get into the All Blacks half but then again gave a penalty away for off the ball stuff and that lead to some brilliant play that ended in Savea going over in the corner.

This gave the All Blacks a lead of 22-9 after 50 min and totally in control of the match.

Aussies coach rang the changes with 30 min to go to try and change their game but this did not help as their defense was still their biggest problem.

The All Blacks scored their bonus point try with 15 minutes to go as the Aussies gave Ben Smith too much time to run and gave away yet another try.

The Aussies were left with just trying to stop the All Blacks attack and they gave just too many penalties away leaving them not knowing what to do anymore at one stage.

The Aussies did try at the end but just not have any answer to the All Blacks defense and could not cross the whitewash.

At the end the All Blacks not even on full throttle made it look easy against a troublesome Aussie team who will have to get quickly back and avoid the Springboks and Pumas.

Four words about the referee….Worst in the World…

The scorers:

For New Zealand:
Tries: Dagg 2, Savea, Cane
Cons: Barrett 3
Pen: Barrett

For Australia: 
Pen: Foley 2, Hodge
Yellow card: Fardy

man of teh match




Hansen has Cheika chasing fool’s gold


Hansen v Cheika




Brendan Venter writes for Vodacom Rugby….




Much like Eddie Jones did during the June Test series against Australia, All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen is playing his Wallaby counterpart Michael Cheika like a fiddle. Hansen keeps telling Cheika how good he is as a coach, and how his style of play is going to turn the rugby world around, but the reality is that Australia are in the midst of a five-match losing streak.

Everywhere Cheika has gone during his professional coaching career, he has been successful. However, somewhere along the line, the 49-year-old mentor is going to have to change his plan because the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney underlined the fact that the Wallabies won’t be able to run at the All Blacks for 80 minutes and come away with the spoils. Cheika has decided on an all-out, ball-in-hand approach, but one of things that the All Blacks do very well is change their plans according to the opposition they face on match day.

Cheika is a very effective man-motivator and the Wallabies work really hard under his tutelage, but the bottom line is that he is stubborn. Cheika’s ego is a problem because he has decided, come hell or high water, this is the style he will play and even if his team loses by a 34-point margin, he is going to persist with the plan. The All Blacks knew that the Wallabies would carry the ball in Sydney, which is why the visitors didn’t put numbers in the breakdown.

The All Blacks literally made the Wallabies run, and run, and run. They waited for unforced errors, capitalized on the mistakes and won comfortably. A number of New Zealand’s tries were scored from Australian error, but the former are a classy outfit. As long as Chieka persists with a ball-in-hand approach, it will be one-way traffic against the Kiwis.

Unlike the Wallabies, the All Blacks are not one-trick ponies.

The reason the All Blacks are the best team in the world is because they boss every area of play. They scrum well, their lineout is effective, they win the territorial battle, they are brilliant with ball in hand and they boast a high tackle completion rate.

The All Blacks scored six tries to one against Australia, but the fascinating statistic is that they made more kicks from hand than the Wallabies (27 versus 22). I’m not suggesting that the Wallabies should kick everything, but it must be noted that much of their kicking is done once they have exhausted all other options. And, as it’s done off the back foot, it allows the All Blacks opportunity to play again.

The All Blacks continue to set the standard in world rugby and, at the moment, Cheika is employing a style with which I don’t see them beating the World Cup champions. For all intents and purposes, he has been figured out. The fact is that the teams that are finding the right blend are winning rugby games, whereas Australia are not even competitive anymore.

However, at least Cheika has recalled Quade Cooper to the starting line-up for Saturday’s Test in Wellington. The mercurial flyhalf will play his first Test for the Wallabies since the Rugby World Cup pool match against Uruguay.

Cooper simply had to be recalled because there is no question that Australia is in desperate need of a game breaker. Bernard Foley is a solid enough player, but he is not the answer at No 10 because he doesn’t offer enough on offence to execute the out-and-out attacking style Australia are intent on playing at present.

The 1995 Rugby World Cup-winner has enjoyed an illustrious playing and coaching career. He proved hugely successful during his time as Saracens’ director of rugby and guided the Sharks to Currie Cup triumph in 2013. Venter now practises as a medical doctor and has been appointed as London Irish’s technical director. Follow him on Twitter: @BrendanVenter

Match Preview – All Blacks v Australia


Not many will give the Aussie any chance to upset the All Blacks come Saturday when they meet in Wellington but then again, the Aussies can not be any poorer than what they were last weekend.

NZ v Aussies


After a successful year in 2015 the Australian rugby have been dumped into crises mode with poor performances in Super Rugby, a series lost against England at home and a humiliation at the hands of the All Blacks last weekend. One can not think that it can get any worse but it can and especially if you have to play the All Blacks win Wellington.

Under pressure Aussie coach Michael Cheika has thrown the wild card in as he picked Quade Cooper as his starting fly-half for Saturday test in Wellington. This will give Cooper and Genia again the chance to form their partnership which could be just what the Aussies need against the All Blacks.

The Aussies will be with their backs against the wall as they have not won in New Zealand against the All Blacks for the last 18 test going back to August 2001. With that the All Blacks have won their last 41 home test matches at home the longest by any team in history. The last time the All Blacks lost a test match at home was in 2009.

For the Aussies to have any chances in the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship they will have to win their first ever back-to–back test matches away from home against the All Blacks.

The All Blacks were supposed to have been in a rebuilding phase this year after the likes of Carter, McCaw and Smith retired but unfortunately to the rest of the world the All Blacks looks actually even better than the team that won the World Cup last year.

With Cooper inclusion, Cheika also drop Simmons out of the side who will be replaced by Coleman paring up with Douglas in the second row. Fardy has regained his spot and will team up with Pocock and Hooper which will give the Aussies enough power at the breakdowns.

Cheikak further shook up the team as he included Kerevi as outside centre, with Kuridani on the bench.

As well as Simmons, none of Drew Mitchell, Luke Morahan or Ben McCalman travelled with the team to Wellington on Wednesday night, while Nick Frisby was a surprise addition to the touring squad.

All Black coach Steve Hansen had the luxury firstly of no panicking from his side after the great win in Australia and even have some players coming back from injury.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Firstly, we’d like to congratulate Anton on his Test selection. He had a very good Super season with strong performances throughout and we expect him to take the step up. We’re really looking forward to seeing him play in the international arena. It’ll be a special night for Anton on Saturday and he and his family can be proud of what he has achieved.”

We’d also like to congratulate ‘Crocky’ on what will be his 50th Test. That’s also a special milestone for an All Black. ‘Crocky’ is the ultimate team man who has worked hard throughout his career. His attitude and performances since bouncing back from non-selection for the Rugby World Cup squad in 2011 epitomises everything you want in a team member and he can be very proud of what he has achieved.”

Reflecting on the challenge this week, Hansen said: “This Test match will tell us a lot about ourselves and Australia. There’s no doubt that one of the hardest things to do in sport is to back up a big performance with another big performance. It’s totally a mental thing, so that is something we’ve been working really hard on this week: getting our feet back on the ground and our attitudes right for what is going to be a really physical and demanding Test. As always, the expectation we have placed on ourselves is to improve in everything we do.”

Australia is a proud side and will not have been happy with their performance last week. As a result, we’re expecting them to throw everything they’ve got at us. This should lead to a very exciting, physical and high-intensity Test match with the Bledisloe Cup being in the balance.”

Wellington have been good for All Black rugby not just this year but in years gone by, it has not been easy for any team to come to Wellington and win against either the Hurricanes or the All Blacks. This weekend will be more or less the same and expect another win for the All Blacks.

10 NZ

Prediction: All Blacks by 15 plus although the Aussies will be better than last week.


New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Seta Tamanivalu

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Bernard Foley, 11 Dane Haylett-Petty, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Allan Ala’alatoa, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Will Skelton, 21 Tevita Kuridrani, 22 Reece Hodge, 23 Nick Phipps

Date: Saturday, August 27
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Match Preview – Argentina v Springboks


The vital experience cog is an area of much debate with the selection of Bryan Habana continues to draw positive and negative attention, writes Benedict Chanakira

pumas v springbok

The World Cup winner has achieved great things for South African rugby and has not replicated this form in recent years and with the growing number of quality wingers in South Africa increasing by the season, is the selection of Habana still the right call?

Several veterans have been discarded from Willem Alberts, Ruan Pienaar to the du Plessis brothers, so the question is, has Allister picked the right players to bolster experience over form?

The selection of Morne Steyn is a masterstroke in my opinion as the former Bulls pivot is the most reliable Springbok pivot at the moment despite the availability of versatile Johan Goosen who should remain at fullback.

A look at the Springboks in the last four games, one can judge and observe their willingness to adapt and play a more entertaining and attack orientated game, however this remains a challenge when you consider their evident flaws. You can fault execution, but there must be a limited number of errors when it comes to the basics.

The lack of leaders, questionable selections and the lack of urgency draws a couple of worries for the Springboks. The men in green and gold have won their games in the dying minutes twice in a row now and some would call it composure and ability to execute when needed to and others would call it lady luck.

To win when facing defeat is a feat worth complimenting, however at some point a convincing performance is required to assert dominance and presence. The Test in Salta will be a big opportunity for South Africa to continue their growth.

You can never allow the opposition to get a head of steam and hope they fizzle-out. Not all games are set to be staged at altitude, especially with the All Blacks around the corner as the men from New Zealand are on a ruthless streak and if they get a sniff they will bury any side. The Wallabies and Wales can attest.

The lethargy in the side has to be extinguished and thus the role of the leaders is on the fore. The bench has injected fire into Springbok performances and they have been the hail-mary-option.

A lack of trust is evident with Strauss expected to finish out several of the matches and the lack of back up player getting a sniff with the selection of Rudy Paige into question as well. The pressure Elton Jantjes has been getting but the lack of support from Faf de Klerk on key moments also telling.

The Morne Steyn selection add more pressure to Elton Jantjes and it is at the point where he needs to show up this weekend or he may be dropped.

Consider Australia and Argentina have captains at hookers but they have limited roles in the match due to several leaders in the squad, developing trust in the squad requires a coach to use his bench to good effect. Yes, not all players have to come on, however the limited game time of Rudy Paige and a Bongi Mbonambi brings into question – why they are selected if they won’t affect games.

There is need to breed new leaders and develop contingency plans as the new era develops. Just like a change in approach will take time, so will creating mindset and growing the squads depth and options.

South Africa will need to front up or they will find themselves in some trouble. It will be a forward battle which will require even more mental fortitude.

SA v Pumas


Springboks – 15 Johan Goosen, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Morné Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel.

Argentina – 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.

Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Felipe Arregui, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Lucas González Amorosino


Time for Jantjies to come good…


Allister Coetzee have stuck with the same players at pivot positions again for this weekend test match against Argentina which do show that he want to give these players the opportunity to develop at test level.


It is a fine line a coach needs to walk when he brings in Super Rugby stars into the Springboks as some players have proven in the past that  they do not all always succeed at this level.  There is no question that the South African public is demanding perfection from day one and that is where the coach needs to stay calm when things do not go his way on the field with his game plan or players he selected.

If you take that the combination of De Klerk and Jantjies who have only been together for three starts at international level, one can understand when the coach asked for us to give Jantjies enough opportunity and support this week.  Jantjies had an erratic game last week and allot was spoken in the media after the test in Nelspruit about Jantjies, who has not step up from Super Rugby to test level yet.

If actually take the backline then you can see that from nine to fifteen we have five players who has played together for only three test matches thus far. Two of them, Habana and Goosen, only started last week and at international level it does take time for players to firstly get used to each other and secondly  get use to the new coach and his ways.

Signs have been there since Coetzee took over and their has been some improvements in certain aspects of this team but the time has now come for these players to do this for the full eighty minutes and not just for ten minutes here or ten minutes there to safe test matches. We need to win test matches not safe them every time we come on to the field.

For any team to be successful you need your nine and ten dominating and Jantjies and de Klerk are the two players that will have to be on par for the rest of the team to have success. Coetzee and his troops will not be able to afford another erratic game from either of these two players and playing away for the next three weeks is not going to be easy.

With both Jantjies and De Klerk mindset towards the attacking game one do feel that they are sometimes caught between two worlds, with the brain wanting to play the attacking game they played at the Lions and the coach and the team that need them to have to play towards the Boks game.

One need to understand that the same as Ackermann and his Lions players had to start somewhere to build towards the team they have become at the Lions this year, Coetzee and his team had to start somewhere as well, it is a marathon not a 100 meter dash with Bolt.

With the forwards last week dominating the Pumas, we need  the backline to fire as well which will make this a very exciting team as they have the ability to play towards space on the field and with the impact Coetzee have available from the bench it is actually great as the bench have now come on in two test matches to safe the day, which is exactly what you want from your bench.

It is a very nice option to have the Lions combination of De Klerk and Jantjies for the Springboks, but with Jantjies in his forth test since Coetzee took over, one do expect that the coach will start demanding better from the Lions fly-half.



Leinert-Brown get start for All Blacks


Chiefs centre Anton Lienert-Brown will win his first Test cap after he was named in New Zealand’s starting XV to face Australia in Wellington on Saturday.


The 21-year-old midfielder will make his Test debut in the number 12 jersey, coming in for the injured Ryan Crotty in one of four changes to the matchday 23 which beat Australia 42-8 in Sydney in the opening match of the Rugby Championship last weekend.

Prop Joe Moody returns from injury to start at loosehead prop, with Wyatt Crockett set to play his 50th Test from the bench. In the other changes, James Parsons’ experience sees him named at replacement hooker, while Seta Tamanivalu is in the 23 jersey as backline cover.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Firstly, we’d like to congratulate Anton on his Test selection. He had a very good Super season with strong performances throughout and we expect him to take the step up.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing him play in the international arena. It’ll be a special night for Anton on Saturday and he and his family can be proud of what he has achieved.

“We’d also like to congratulate ‘Crocky’ on what will be his 50th Test. That’s also a special milestone for an All Black. ‘Crocky’ is the ultimate team man who has worked hard throughout his career.

“His attitude and performances since bouncing back from non-selection for the Rugby World Cup squad in 2011 epitomises everything you want in a team member and he can be very proud of what he has achieved.”

Reflecting on the challenge this week, Hansen said: “This Test match will tell us a lot about ourselves and Australia. There’s no doubt that one of the hardest things to do in sport is to back up a big performance with another big performance.

“It’s totally a mental thing, so that is something we’ve been working really hard on this week: getting our feet back on the ground and our attitudes right for what is going to be a really physical and demanding Test. As always, the expectation we have placed on ourselves is to improve in everything we do.

“Australia is a proud side and will not have been happy with their performance last week. As a result, we’re expecting them to throw everything they’ve got at us. This should lead to a very exciting, physical and high-intensity Test match with the Bledisloe Cup being in the balance.”

New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Seta Tamanivalu

Date: Saturday, August 27
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Cooper to start for Aussies


Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika has named Quade Cooper to start at fly-half for Saturday’s Test with the All Blacks in Wellington.


Speculation was rife that Cooper would fill the number 12 jersey after the Wallabies lost all three of Matt Giteau, Matt Toomua and Rob Horne to injury last week. but Cheika has opted to put the former Reds fly-half straight into the main playmaking role.

Cooper will combine with usual Wallabies pivot Bernard Foley in a dual playmaker structure, with Foley starting at inside centre for the first time in his Test career.

The move does mean that Cooper and Will Genia will reignite their longstanding partnership in the halves, after playing most of their careers together in Queensland.

The former Red’s inclusion is far from the only change in a Wallabies team shake-up, with Cheika ringing the changes after last weekend’s 42-8 loss in Sydney.

Rob Simmons has been dropped from the side entirely after New Zealand’s domination of the Australian lineout last week, and didn’t travel with the team to New Zealand.

Simmons has been replaced by Adam Coleman in the second row, with the Force lock pairing up with Kane Douglas adding more fire to that area of the game.

Blindside flanker Scott Fardy has regained his starting spot, playing alongside Michael Hooper and David Pocock in the Wallabies back row.

Samu Kerevi has also impressed Wallabies coach MIchael Cheika enough to start at outside centre for the second match up, a direct swap for Tevita Kuridrani, who has struggled for form in recent Tests.

That decision is a major tick of approval for Kerevi, with Kuridrani one of the mainstays of Cheika’s Wallabies tenure.

Kuridrani has been named on the bench, alongside rookie utility back Reece Hodge and scrum-half Nick Phipps as backs replacements, while Dean Mumm and Will Skelton will be injected off the bench for the forwards.

As well as Simmons, none of Drew Mitchell, Luke Morahan or Ben McCalman travelled with the team to Wellington on Wednesday night, while Nick Frisby was a surprise addition to the touring squad.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Bernard Foley, 11 Dane Haylett-Petty, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Allan Ala’alatoa, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Will Skelton, 21 Tevita Kuridrani, 22 Reece Hodge, 23 Nick Phipps

Date: Saturday, August 27
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Koch gets start for Springboks


Vincent Koch will replace the injured Julian Redelinghuys in the only change to the Springboks’ starting fifteen to face Argentina on Saturday in Salta, as Tendai Mtawarira will equal Os du Randt’s record as most-capped prop for South Africa.


Koch, who has three Test caps to his name, comes in for Redelinghuys who has been ruled out of action with a hamstring injury he sustained in the first Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test in Nelspruit on Saturday, won by the Boks by 30-23.

With Koch drafted into the starting line-up, Lourens Adriaanse moves onto the bench to as one of the two replacement props for what could be his second Springbok cap.

Also amongst the replacements, the Springboks have opted for the experienced Morné Steyn, who will give the team an extra kicking-option, in place of Juan de Jongh.

The rest of the Springbok line-up remains unchanged from the one that defeated the Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium. In keeping changes to a minimum, Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has opted for continuity against a Pumas side that will be lifted by their passionate home support.

“Vincent did very well when he came on as a replacement for Julian in Nelspruit, and he is rewarded with a starting berth, while we believe it would be good to give Lourens an opportunity on the bench at this stage,” said Coetzee.

“We expect them to try and put us under pressure with their tactical kicking. Morné is an experienced player with good kicking attributes, and he will provide an additional kicking cover for us.

“We will continue to build on our cohesion as a team. This is the first away Test for this side and we expect another huge battle against the Pumas.”

The Springboks will continue with their preparations in Buenos Aires before flying out to Salta on Friday morning.

The Springbok team 

[huge_it_gallery id=”4″]

Position Name Franchise / Province / Club Test Caps Test points
15 Johan Goosen Racing 92 (France) 7 13
14 Ruan Combrinck Emirates Lions 3 13
13 Lionel Mapoe Emirates Lions 5 0
12 Damian De Allende DHL Stormers 17 10
11 Bryan Habana Toulon (France) 118 320
10 Elton Jantjies Emirates Lions 6 51
9 Faf de Klerk Emirates Lions 4 0
8 Warren Whiteley Emirates Lions 7 10
7 Oupa Mohoje Toyota Cheetahs 9 0
6 Francois Louw Bath (England) 47 40
5 Lood de Jager Toyota Cheetahs 21 20
4 Eben Etzebeth DHL Stormers 48 10
3 Vincent Koch Steval Pumas / DHL Stormers 3 0
2 Adriaan Strauss (captain) Vodacom Bulls 58 30
1 Tendai Mtawarira Cell C Sharks 79 10
16 Bongi Mbonambi DHL Stormers 1 0
17 Steven Kitshoff Bordeaux (France) 2 0
18 Lourens Adriaanse Cell C Sharks 1 0
19 Pieter-Steph du Toit DHL Stormers 12 10
20 Jaco Kriel Emirates Lions 2 0
21 Rudy Paige Vodacom Bulls 3 0
22 Morné Steyn Stade Francais (France) 61 694
23 Jesse Kriel Vodacom Bulls 13 15

Springbok Coach on his selection….

Allister Coetzee





Springboks resume Test preparations in Buenos Aires


The Springboks arrived in Argentina late on Monday and immediately started with their preparations on Tuesday in Buenos Aires, where they will be based until Friday in the build-up to the second Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test against the Pumas. Saturday’s Test match takes place in Salta.

According to Springbok assistant coach Johann van Graan, the conditions in Salta will be very different from Nelspruit, where the two teams met over the weekend. “I know that the conditions there are a lot more dry, almost desert like. The crowd there is also very vocal in support of their team, and the field is a bit smaller. But, the playing conditions will be the same for both teams and we will adapt to it,” according to Van Graan.

Springbok team doctor, Dr Jerome Mampane, said he was happy with the overall wellness state of the squad. “The players rested well from the travelling schedule and they will undertake a couple of recovery activities on Tuesday. Everyone is fine at the moment, ready to resume field training on Wednesday” explained Dr Mampane.

Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, will name his match-23 at 08h00 on Wednesday morning (13h00 SA time). The team will have field training sessions on Wednesday and Thursday in Buenos Aires, before they fly out to Salta on Friday morning.


Johann van Graan (Springbok assistant coach), speaking about the week’s preparations in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.




Wobbling Wallabies


The Mighty All Blacks dismantled a hapless, directionless Australian side at the ANZ Stadium in Australia, writes Benedict Chanakira


The All Blacks looked to not even get out of second gear as they looked to continue their rugby dominance. Wales looked like they gave the All Blacks a far better challenge than the World Cup finalists.

With the series whitewash against the English still fresh in their minds, the sad news of Christian Lealifano and the poor Super Rugby season from the Australian sides the Wallabies crumbled down as they got a TRANSTASMAN LESSON in rugby once again.

Their last five test outings exposing their forward pack and lack of balance in approach as they continue to rely on a play maker at inside centre and a weak forward pack. Glimmers of a revival under Ledesma have long since been forgotten as they continue to suffocate at scrum time.

The only area Australia dominated was the missed tackle, turnovers, line outs lost, tackles made and missed to mention a few of the unwanted dominations.

The Wobbling Wallabies will be hurting after that thumping. They weren’t good enough. The loss of both inside centre options, a vital cog in their style of play, a leader, and several more injuries and you can realise this was a horror show.

A non-functional set piece which included a line out which saw the home side lose three of their own throws despite pinching one of the All Blacks’ throws. On one occasion the All Black skipper found himself terrorising whatever jumper went up from Rob Simmons to Michael Hooper.

The All Blacks fared even better as their scrum proved solid as they outmuscled the Wallabies.

The All Blacks played their usual high tempo game, despite a few errors, mis-timed kick offs; their willingness to keep shifting contact points and getting the continuity going left the Wallabies in abyss.

There were several scrappy moments in the match but it was evident Michael Cheika will need to go back to the drawing board as he prepares his side for the return fixture in Wellington. Based on today’s result, he will be hoping they lose by far less points. Their chances of winning in the cake-tin are very slim.

The set piece will be the first area of concern. If fixed they will be able to limit the amount of damage the All Blacks can do. With their own ball, they are ruthless- however off turnover ball they are even more ruthless. It has proved the value of the set piece in Test rugby and they will have sent a few shockwaves to their opponents.

The All Black defense was also solid and this was an area the Australians failed miserably as they looked to employ a rushed defence which failed miserably. The rush defence requires great line speed with effective first time tackles. Both not executed by the home side.

It was their ability to turnover ball that was a highlight with David Pocock (7) the chief tormentor. Unfortunately they failed to retain this possession or use it adequately. A lack of their usual prowess with basic skills and their nature of running with ball in hand from everywhere futile.

The world champions are up and running and confirmed their status as favourites to reclaim the Rugby Championship from Australia. Are they unbeatable? No. A side that will have their defensive systems in order, a strong and reliable set piece and clinical attack will succeed.

That was not evident in the first round of the Rugby Championship.  The mind games, bugs and growing tensions between the teams was settled with a resounding All Black win.

The injuries and defence will worry the ARU and the fact they have to share a coach with the Brumbies does not bode well. A decision has to be made as to what course of action must be taken for the benefit of the national side.

The Australians have a long road ahead, a talented pool at their disposal and soon, rather than later Cheika will have to rebuild the Australians and return them to their former glory.

Match Report – Springboks win with last minute try against Argentina


The Springboks had to work for 80 minutes to get a close win over Argentina on Saturday when they beat them with a last minute try by Warren Whiteley 30-23.


The Springboks versus Argentina was always a one way affair but since they have beat the Boks in Durban last year and made the semi finals in the World Cup no one deemed them minnows anymore.

The anthems was emotional by both teams and setup the atmosphere for a great test match between these two nations.

The Springboks had they better start to the game showing their hand in running the ball and force an early penalty which Jantjies missed but a great break from Jantjies giving Goosen some space and Combrick over for the first try of the match.

The scrums was a highly contested aspect of the game early on with both teams holding their ground. The Springboks defense looked very good first up knocking the Argentinians back in the tackles.

Both teams forced penalties which earned them 3 points each and making the lead for the Springboks 10-3 after 16 min.

With both teams going at each other the Argentinians gave away another yellow card for lifting a player. That did nit stop them from taking the lead with first a penalty kick and then a brilliant try.

That gave them a three point lead with one man down after 27 min and the Springboks having to play catch-up rugby.

The Springboks did started to play better to the ball and into space but little mistakes prevent them from scoring. Support play was not there yet and 50/50 passes gave ball back to Argentina.

The Springboks were playing good pressure rugby and send Mapoe but he lost the ball while going down for the try. That was a huge blow for the Springboks just before halftime.

The Springboks did earn a penalty but could not kick it over and went into the change rooms 13-10 down.

It was not a great half from the Springboks, losing the contact and it seems that they were attacking without support. The defense from the Springboks also went downhill as the time went one in the first half opening gaps for the Argentinians.

The second half started not great for South Africa with Jantjies not able to catch a straight froward attacking ball from a scrum giving the Argentinians attacking opportunity in the Springboks half.

The Springboks seemed to be panicking too easily and with a man down with Habana in the bin for taking a man out in the air seemed to help them going down faster. It almost seemed that they were happy living of scraps and defend the whole time.

The Springboks seemed plan-less on attack and kept missing tackles too easily which just gave the Argentinians more ball to attack and field possession. Senseless kicking from the Springboks gave Argentina there second try of the match and stretch their lead to 23-13  after they also had a penalty earlier.

The Springboks ht back with a brilliant try from Goosen after De Klerk broke away from an attacking scrum and then got a penalty to make the scores level again at 23 all with minutes to go.

It was Argentina that made the mistakes at the end of the game giving away too much penalties and giving the Springboks the chance to attack which they did to send Whiteley over in the corner in the last minute of the match.

That gave the Springboks the lead and winning score at the end of 30-10.


Springboks – Tries: Ruan Combrinck, Johan Goosen, Warren Whiteley. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3). Penalties: Jantjies (3).
Argentina – Tries: Matias Orlando, Santiago Cordero. Conversions: Nicolás Sánchez (2). Penalties: Sánchez (3).

Man of the match and again the most outstanding player for the Springboks

man of match spring

bok stats

Stats supplied by:


Match Report – All Blacks humiliate awful Aussies


There was allot of talk of the Aussies taking away the Bledisloe Cup away from the All Blacks this year but they were humiliated by the All Blacks on Saturday with 42-8.

ab win

The All Blacks were first with the mistake after kick-off when they got a free kick against them in the first scrum which resulted in a penalty for the Aussies to take an early 3 point lead in the test.

The New Zealanders looked very good on attack and they showed of yet again their skills when they send Crotty over for the first try down the touchline. This made the score 7-3 after 7 min and the All Blacks in the lead.

The Aussies did not stand back and were trying their best on attack but New Zealand defense seemed to hold up for everything they thrown at them. Territory the All Blacks dominate playing most of the early part of the test in the Aussies half of the field.

The All Blacks were just that much better in all aspects of the game in the first 16 min but the Aussies did keep the ball in hand but great defense from All Blacks kept knocking them back and force them to kick the ball back at All Blacks.

The All Blacks kept the pressure on Aussies and with poor kicking from Aussies giving the All Blacks all the opportunity to run at them and show off their skill.

The Aussies kept on making mistakes on attack and had no set pieces to talk off losing lineouts and scrums at will given the All Blacks just more to attack from. The inform Barrett showed of his skill in the next 10 minutes of the first half scoring a brilliant try and creating the forth try for the All Blacks before half time.

The Aussies had no answer to the All Blacks attack in the first forty of the match giving the All Blacks a 32-3 lead.

The second half started as the first ended with the All Blacks in control and doing all the attack with the Aussies that scrabble in defense. No structure in Aussies attack did not help their cause against a brilliant New Zealand team.

The Wallabies tried all they can but every attack was just turned over by All Blacks or mistakes giving the ball back to the All Blacks. At one stage the All Blacks was happy kicking the ball down field as they expected the mistakes to come from Aussies to counter attack.

With the All Blacks in total control they scored two quick tries first from Coles after yet another mistake and then Savea going over in the corner to make the score 42-3 after 60 min.

The Aussies just kept on making mistakes on attack and had no defense, at one stage I could not remember when last I saw a first time tackle sticking from the Aussies.

The Aussies did get over for a try after Read was yellow carded to create an extra man but it was not even close enough to show that they are good enough in this match against the World Champions.

At the end the All Blacks showed why they are the World Champions and send out a strong message that they want the Rugby Championship trophy back this year.



Try: Nick Phipps

Penalty: Bernard Foley

All Blacks

Tries: Ryan Crotty, Beauden Barrett, Jerome Kaino, Waisake Naholo, Dane Coles, Julian Savea

Conversions: Barrett (4)

Penalties: Barrett (2)

man of the matc AB

NZ v Aus game 1

Stats provided by



Preview: Springboks v Argentina


The Rugby Championship is back and the expectation on South African fans is very little and they have been hoping the Argentina men don’t shock the home side, writes Benedict Chanakira


The Springboks have a squad which boasts exciting backs and rather dull forwards in key positions. The hooker position will be under further scrutiny considering Adriaan Strauss’ horrific form in the June series.

The emergence and further development of Malcolm Marx is applying pressure on the Springbok skipper and his coach. The set piece will be the most important area in this match, as the scrum in particular will be a battle to behold. Julian Redelinghuys and the introduction of Vincent Koch later on will definitely prove vital as these two are key cornerstones of any scrum.

The Argentinians will have a very inexperienced loosehead who has been converted from tighthead.

The line out will be an area the Springboks dominate with the excellence of Etzebeth on the fore. What will be an area we should all anticipate is the driving maul with both sides using this as a weapon on several occasions.

The arm-wrestle would be balanced, go the Springbok way but most occasions the home side would be dismantled at scrum-time. With Lood de Jager and Eben Etzebeth in the engine room, one has to wonder whether Allister was thinking of the lack of blind side options in the squad, he will bring in the enforcer in the second stanza.

The need to give Lood game time in the Championship sound trifle and we should rather focus at the fact Teboho Mohoje will need to step up massively and have a big game. To stop the Pumas at the gain line and to then take the Boks forward with ball in hand. This will be a challenge for the SA A captain and he has much to prove.

The most fascinating battle in this match will be with the packs. This is a rather weak Springbok pack for me but it’s the replacement bench which offers more than enough excitement. The injection of speed, tempo and skill could swing this match in Nelspruit.

The Koch factor, the ability of both Kriel’s and more importantly Pieter Steph du Toit will be pivotal. Ill-discipline is an area which teams need to be able to handle. Considering both are very ill disciplined and the Argentinians in particular have a habit of going over the line in terms of punches, gouging, et al.

The Springboks should win this match, however it will not be easy. The notion it will be the best preparation for the Boks could be a touch far-fetched. The intensity, quality and skill level will be under observation. The abrasive, brute collisions will also allow both backs to express themselves.

The Pumas showing every year they have the intent to play expansive but may require a bit more discipline with ball-to-boot and they could prove a threat.

They have shown a strong reliance on the brilliant boot of Nicolas Sanchez and how they attack the 10-12 channel will be fascinating considering the focus on Jantjes and De Allende’s defensive efforts. The Springboks and Coetzee’s fourth match at Test level as head coach approaches. It is not getting any easier and the pressure is increasing.


Springboks – 15 Johan Goosen, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Juan de Jongh, 23 Jesse Kriel.

Argentina – 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Replacements: 16 Julían Montoya, 17 Felipe Arregui, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Guido Petty, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Ramiro Moyano.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Preview – Australia v All Blacks


Every year we hear that this will be the year that Australia take back the Bledisloe Cup but every year they come up short against the World’s best rugby team and we can expect most of the same again this year


The All Blacks, although they will be away from home, should have more than enough to take another Aussie win in Sydney on Saturday. One of the key players for the All Blacks will be Beauden Barrett who will start at the number ten jersey after Cruden started the first two test in June before injuring his neck.

Barrett has been by a country mile the best ten in the world this year and his form from Super Rugby does not spell anything good for any of the other teams in this years competition.

There’s no doubt Barrett will head into this Saturday’s clash with the Wallabies riding a wave of confidence, and it’s his game management that will be key to the All Blacks’ cause as they look to start their Rugby Championship campaign on a winning note.

Tasman and Chiefs prop Kane Hames came into the All Blacks squad as an injury replacement for Joe Moody and will become the sixth new All Black of 2016 and All Black number 1152 if he takes the field.

The rest of the starting line-up has a familiar look to it with Kieran Read leading the team from number eight and he is joined in the back-row by Sam Cane and Jerome Kaino while Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick are the starting locks. Amongst the backs, Ryan Crotty and Malakai Fekitoa line up in midfield while Israel Dagg wears the number 15 jersey with Ben Smith and Waisake Naholo starting out wide and Aaron Smith at scrum-half. In the front-row, Wyatt Crockett and Owen Franks are the starting props alongside hooker Codie Taylor, who comes in as a late replacement for the injured Nathan Harris.

Australia coach Michael Cheika has dropped flanker Scott Fardy from his starting XV and replaced him with Ben McCalman. Breakdown specialists Michael Hooper and David Pocock start at seven and eight, reuniting the pair for the first time since the opening June Test against England.

Returned Europe-based players Will Genia, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Matt Giteau will all reprise their roles from last year’s World Cup. Ashley-Cooper will team up with Dane Haylett-Petty on the wings alongside Israel Folau in an exciting back three. Scrum-half Genia’s start will be his first game of rugby since January, after recovering from a knee injury, and forms a half-back partnership with fly-half Bernard Foley.

The lock combination of Rob Simmons and Kane Douglas will have its first real test on home soil, while Stephen Moore continues as captain and hooker. Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa is in line to become the sixth Wallabies debutant of the season, named on the bench for the first time.

Predictions: All Blacks to take the win by 10 plus


Wallabies – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Dane Haylett-Petty, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben McCalman, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Scott Fardy, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Rob Horne.

All Blacks – 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Kane Hames, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Julian Savea.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Australia team to take on All Blacks


Qantas Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has welcomed back 315 Tests of experience for the Bledisloe Cup and 2016 Rugby Championship opener against New Zealand at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night (8:05pm AEST kick off).

AR LOGO STACKED_gold_whte Aus

Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Giteau, Will Genia and Kane Douglas have returned to the Wallabies fold after sitting out the June series against England.

Ben McCalman joins Michael Hooper and David Pocock in a new-look backrow, while old combinations will be reunited in the backline with Will Genia and Bernard Foley forming the halves alongside Giteau and Tevita Kuridrani in the centres.

Brumbies prop Allan Ala’alatoa is in line to make his debut and become the 896th player to represent the Wallabies, after being named on the bench alongside veterans Tatafu Polota-Nau and James Slipper.

The 2016 Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship opener between the Qantas Wallabies and New Zealand will be screened LIVE in High Definition and ad-break free on FOX SPORTS 502 from 7.00pm AEST and LIVE on Ten from 7.30pm AEST for QLD, NSW and ACT viewers (on ONE in other Australian States and Territories). Fans can also LIVE stream the match on Foxtel GO (for Foxtel subscribers) and on TenPlay.

Qantas Wallabies squad to play New Zealand in The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup opener at ANZ Stadium

1. Scott Sio (18 Tests)
2. Stephen Moore – C (105 Tests)
3. Sekope Kepu (66 Tests)
4. Kane Douglas (23 Tests)
5. Rob Simmons (62 Tests)
6. Ben McCalman (48 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (54 Tests)
8. David Pocock (56 Tests)
9. Will Genia (66 Tests)
10. Bernard Foley (30 Tests)
11. Dane Haylett-Petty (3 Tests)
12. Matt Giteau (102 Tests)
13. Tevita Kuridrani (34 Tests)
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper (114 Tests)
15. Israel Folau (41 Tests)

16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (64 Tests)
17. James Slipper (77 Tests)
18. Allan Ala’alatoa* (0 Tests)
19. Dean Mumm (46 Tests)
20. Scott Fardy (33 Tests)
21. Nick Phipps (42 Tests)
22. Matt Toomua (32 Tests)
23. Rob Horne (32 Tests)


Goosen at 15 for Springboks


Julian Redelinghuys will earn his first start for the Springboks against Argentina in Nelspruit on Saturday, while Bryan Habana, Johan Goosen, Oupa Mohoje and Lood de Jager all return to the side for the first Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test at the Mbombela Stadium.

during Rugby Championship match between the Australian Wallabies and the South African Springboks at Patersons Stadium on September 8, 2012 in Perth, Australia.

Redelinghuys, capped four times, comes in at tighthead as replacement for the injured Frans Malherbe, who is struggling with a neck injury. Lock De Jager has recovered from the calf injury he sustained against Ireland in June and takes over the No 5 jersey from Pieter-Steph du Toit, who will provide cover from the bench.

The third change in the pack sees the return to the starting line-up of Mohoje as replacement for Siya Kolisi, who recently underwent ankle surgery.

In the back division, Springbok record try scorer Bryan Habana will run out in his 118th Test after he was named as left wing, while he was also confirmed as the Springbok vice-captain.

The versatile Goosen, who is equally at home at flyhalf and centre, has been entrusted with the fullback duties, the same position where he played in his previous outing for the Boks, in 2014 against Italy.

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said the experienced Habana still has a lot to offer and brings a wealth of experience to an otherwise young backline.

“Bryan still has a huge desire to play for the Springboks and he brings added leadership amongst our young backs,” said Coetzee.

“Goosen has played consistently well for his French club and apart from his versatility, he gives us an extra option with his right-footed kicking abilities.”

Regarding the changes in the forwards, Coetzee said: “Julian has played very well for the Emirates Lions this season and now gets a deserved starting chance after making an impact from the bench in the previous Tests.

“Oupa has shrugged off his niggling injuries, delivered a string of consistently good performances for the Toyota Cheetahs and he is a good option at the back of the line-out and always plays well for the Springboks. We also have the option of Jaco Kriel who can make an impact from the bench.

“Lood is paired with Eben now that he is fully fit again while we are fortunate that Pieter-Steph can also play flank when the need arises, apart from his lock duties.”

The Bok coach said he expects a big impact from the bench and added that it was important for the South Africans to make a good start at Mbombela Stadium, but he cautioned that the Pumas will be a very difficult opponent.

“Argentina are one of the leading rugby nations if you consider that they have reached the semi-finals of two Rugby World Cups,” said Coetzee.

“They are renowned for their strong scrummaging and mauling, very good defensively and have developed an attacking style of play which will test our defence.”

The Springbok team to face Argentina in Nelspruit:

Position Name Franchise / Province/Club Test Caps Test points
15 Johan Goosen Racing 92 (France) 6 8
14 Ruan Combrinck Emirates Lions 2 8
13 Lionel Mapoe Emirates Lions 4 0
12 Damian De Allende DHL Stormers 16 10
11 Bryan Habana Toulon (France) 117 320
10 Elton Jantjies Emirates Lions 5 36
9 Faf de Klerk Emirates Lions 3 0
8 Warren Whiteley Emirates Lions 6 5
7 Oupa Mohoje Toyota Cheetahs 8 0
6 Francois Louw Bath (England) 46 40
5 Lood de Jager Toyota Cheetahs 20 20
4 Eben Etzebeth DHL Stormers 47 10
3 Julian Redelinghuys Emirates Lions 5 0
2 Adriaan Strauss (captain) Vodacom Bulls 57 30
1 Tendai Mtawarira Cell C Sharks 78 10
16 Bongi Mbonambi DHL Stormers 1 0
17 Steven Kitshoff Bordeaux (France) 1 0
18 Vincent Koch Steval Pumas / DHL Stormers 2 0
19 Pieter-Steph du Toit DHL Stormers 11 10
20 Jaco Kriel Emirates Lions 1 0
21 Rudy Paige Vodacom Bulls 3 0
22 Juan de Jongh DHL Stormers 14 15
23 Jesse Kriel Vodacom Bulls 12 15


Stats and facts:


The team:


  • The total Test caps in the starting line-up is 420, which consist of 153 caps in the backline and 267 among the forwards. The combined Test caps of those on the bench are 45. The average caps per player in the match-23 is 20.
  • Adriaan Strauss will be captaining the side for the fourth time in his 58th
  • The youngest player in the 23 man squad is Jesse Kriel (22y, 5m) while the oldest member of the team is Bryan Habana (33y, 2m).
  • The following players will play in their fourth consecutive match in the starting XV under Alister Coetzee: Lionel Mapoe, Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, Francois Louw, Eben Etzebeth, Adriaan Strauss and Tendai Mtawarira.




  • Bryan Habana needs one try to extend his own tournament career record to 20, which will equal 100 tournament career points. One try will also extend his own world record for most Test tries as a wing to 65. He needs three appearances in this tournament to reach 50 tournament appearances.
  • Eben Etzebeth will play in his 25th consecutive Test match.
  • Francois Louw will play in his 20th Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test.
  • Castle Lager Rugby Championship debuts: Ruan Combrinck, Faf de Klerk and Julian Redelinghuys. Also Steven Kitshoff, Jaco Kriel, Bongi Mbonambi and Rudy Paige, should they be used off the bench.
  • Adriaan Straus will be the 13th Springbok captain in the competition.


Head to head:


  • South Africa and Argentina played their first Test in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship four years ago, almost to the day, on 18 August, 2012. Saturday’s Test will be the eighth Rugby Championship match between the two countries. Of the previous seven, South Africa won five with one match drawn and a loss in Durban last year, the first ever loss against Argentina since their first Test in 1993.
  • The Springboks’ record is as follows: Played 7, Won 5, Lost 1, Drawn 1, Points for 209, Points against 126, Tries for 21, Tries against 11, Average score 30-18.


Match officials:


  • The match officials for this match are: Referee – Glen Jackson (New Zealand); Assistant referees – Jérôme Garcès (France) and Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) with the TMO George Ayoub (Australia).
  • It will be Jackson’s fourth appearance as referee in Test matches involving South Africa. The Springboks were victorious in all three previous Tests where the New Zealander refereed.


The stadium:


  • Mbombela Stadium’s seating capacity is 40 929.
  • The Springbok record at the stadium is: Played 2, Won 2, Points for 61, Points against 47, Tries for 7, Tries against 5, Average score 31-24.
  • The Springbok record holders for a match at the stadium are:
    • Most conversions: 4 by Morné Steyn against Wales in 2014
    • Most penalty goals: 2 by Morné Steyn against Scotland in 2013.
    • Most tries: In the previous two Tests, three penalty tries were awarded to South Africa (one against Scotland and two against Wales). The remaining four tries were scored by JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Cornal Hendricks and Willie le Roux.

Preview: Springboks vs Argentina


Gallo Images
Gallo Images

Meyer has two matches left to shape his group that he will take to the World Cup and this Saturday nothing else but a good win will be good enough.

Meyer has gambled with bringing back Jean De Villiers in the backline and break up the one combination that was brilliant so far this season in De Allende and Kriel. That Kriel is a type of player that you can play from 11 to 15, but you do not want the youngster to be moved around every game to accommodate other players.

With two narrow loses against the Wallabies and the All Blacks the team will want to beat the Pumas and beat them well to stay in the mould of getting to top shape when the World Cup starts.

Meyer has made no secret that next week’s game in Argentina will not be is strongest team so this will really be the last time his top players will get a change in a test before the World Cup.

All eyes will be on De Villiers as he start at the outside of Pollard and De Allende with Kriel on the wing. Meyer said in the week that this was his hardest decision to make the final 15 this week as he also opted to keep Pollard at ten and Lambie playing of the bench.

One can understand that Meyer did not want to make a whole backline change with putting Lambie in at ten and also changing his midfield. I do feel that Lambie could have started at least at fullback but then I suppose Kriel will be his backup in that position for the Wolrd Cup.

The Pumas have not been great this year and the have made some pretty desperate changes again for this test.

Seeing that they did not dominate the All Blacks in the scrums, the Springboks should have the edge again in that department.

With a new front row in Koch, Du Plessis and Beast one can only look forward to that battle to see how good Koch really are.

Another huge positive for the Boks will be the return of Coetzee to the side of the scrum combining with Burger at number eight and Brussow.

The Springboks should take this test much but some margin but one can never underestimate the Pumas.

Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.

Argentina – 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Jerónimo De la Fuente, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Subs: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Matías Díaz, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Tomás Lezana, 21 Martín Landajo, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Lucas González Amorosino.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)


Preview: Australia vs All Blacks


Getty Images
Getty Images


That the Aussies have been much better this year than the past three years is a fact but they will have to beat a team that have only lost two times in the last four years to get their hands on the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship trophies.

The Wallabies coach Michael Chieka saw what the Springboks did two weeks ago with denying the All Blacks quick ball and picked Hooper and Pocock in his starting fifteen. This is a clear move by the Aussies that they are going to hit the rucks and prevent the All Blacks any quick ball.

The Aussies are dangerous with the counter attack and have some brilliant runners in their backline, but it is one thing to get the ball and a total other story to get pass the world number one team.

The Aussies have not beaten the All Blacks in four years and this will be a test that will test both teams ahead of the World Cup.

For the All Blacks Carter, Savea and Williams are back while Ben Smith will return at fullback. Nene Milner Skudder will make his All Black debut at wing in his first test.

Skills wise, these two teams are up there with the best but there is now better team when it comes to off-loads ability and putting the danger men into space.

As we saw from the try of McCaw against the Springboks, the All Blacks are always evolving and wants to get better every game, this is the danger of any team facing the All Blacks.

The one thing that is in the Aussies favoure, they are playing at home and that is one lace were you do have a small change in beating the All Blacks.

All Blacks – 15 Ben Smith, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Luke Romano, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Sam Whitelock, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa.

Wallabies – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nic White, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Kurtley Beale.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Live Match centre

Conrad Smith impressed by defeated Springboks


Castle Lager RC - SA v NZ

Veteran All Black centre Conrad Smith has described the Wallabies’ last-gasp victory over the Springboks as a “strange result”.

“I thought a lot of what South Africa did was pretty impressive,” Smith said, shortly after the All Blacks arrived in Johannesburg where they will play South Africa on Sunday morning.

“I was pretty impressed with not just the (Springboks’) midfield, but the way the whole team played.”


Smith told TV3 he thought winning in South Africa would make a World Cup statement.
“There is an element of that,” he said.

South Africa dominated much of the test at Suncorp Stadium before losing and must lift themselves again on slightly less rest than the All Blacks.

Hooker Keven Mealamu described the Brisbane test as “a tough game, very physical” and believed the second half defensive effort may have drained South Africa as the Wallabies surged to a comeback victory.


“The Aussies looked a bit more urgent as they got close,” he said.

Reported by – NZ Herald

New Zealand edge Samoa!




By: Benedict Chanakira (BC)



Both sides scored one try with George Moala touching down for the All Blacks on debut, while Dan Carter kicked the conversion and six penalties. This was proper Test rugby and the depleted Al Black side, still managed to get the business done.

All Blacks_1

It is the lowest score by New Zealand in a test against Samoa, while the nine points is their smallest margin. It was a typical first-up performance by the All Blacks, who struggled in the conditions and against a determined home side. On wondes if they will improve on adapting to conditions.

The New Zealanders were inaccurate in a number of areas, especially with ball handling.
Carter’s successful goal kicking allowed the All Blacks to build scoreboard pressure in a tight first half before he produced a pinpoint cross kick for winger George Moala to score a try on debut to open a 19-3 lead after half-time.

Contrary to belief the first-five was exceptional at 10 for the Crusaders in the last few Super Rugby games and he managed to dictate the game against Samoa. If he could replicate the accurate goal kicking up North, New Zealand could very well defend their World Cup.

Samoa flyhalf Tusi Pisi slotted nine points for the home side, who put the All Blacks under pressure in the second half to get back to 22-16 after Alafoti Fa’osiliva’s try following two storming runs up the middle of the park. The All Blacks appear to have got through the game without any injury concerns.

All four debutants got time for the All Blacks, wing George Moala started, while prop Nepo Laulala, halfback Brad Weber and centre Charlie Ngatai came off the bench.

It is the first time the All Blacks have played a test in Samoa. This was the sides’ sixth meeting. Springbok fans will need to shiver just a little as this highlights how tough the Samoans are. There will be no time to use a weaker 23 against them as they could very well beat them.

The performance of Israel Dagg means he could very well be a tackle bag holder or replacement. It seems the fullback has his best days behind him.

8104 fans where in the stadium to watch history take place.

New Zealand won 25-16.


Australia & South African statistic sides revealed.




By: Benedict Chanakira (BC)




South African Stats XV 

15. Cheslin Kolbe (Stormers), 14. Ruan Combrinck (Lions), 13. Juan de Jongh (Stormers), 12. Damian de Allende (Stormers), 11. Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), 10. Demetri Catrakilis (Stormers), 9. Rudy Paige (Bulls), 8. Warren Whiteley (Lions), 7. Warwick Tecklenburg (Lions), 6. Jaco Kriel (Lions), 5. Francois Uys (Cheetahs), 4. Carl Wegner (Cheetahs), 3. Marcel van der Merwe (Bulls), 2. Torsten van Jaarsveld (Cheetahs), 1. Steven Kitshoff (Stormers)

Australia Stats XV:

15. Israel Folau (War), 14. Taqele  Naiyaravaro (War), 13. Samu Kerevi (Reds), 12. Mitch Inman (Reb), 11. S. Naivalu (Reb), 10. Bernard Foley (War), 9. Nick Phibbs (War), 8. Scott Higginbotham (Reb), 7. David Pocock (Bru), 6. Sean McMahon (Reb), 5. Adam Coleman (Force), 4. Will Skeleton (War), 3. Greg Holmes (Reds), 2. Stephen Moore (Bru), 1. James Slipper (Reds)


Unfortunately  the New Zealand  side is not out yet. These are the two Statistic XV ‘s. They do not mean these are the best players in the respective countries but they do highlight overall contribution these players made the most positive of all players in their countries.
Torsten is a Namibian International and just edged Bismarck du plessis whom was dropped due to the early transgression of the red card.

Interestingly Vodacom’s Statistic app selected the Saffa side and of those selected only ten made it into the first Springbok squad of the year. Good to see reward of the Lions loose trio. It seems the front row features a Bulls prop as he scored a couple of tries and could easily have been Malherbe or Koch.

In was impressed with Nick Stirzaker and the Brumbies’ White and felt they where the form Australian number 9s. David was king of the entire tournament as a fetcher, while I would add  Paul Alo-Emile at tight head.  Rory Arnorld of the Brumbies was another player that managed to stamp his authority in Super Rugby.  The Australia side has 12 of those players feature in their Wallabies side.  Reward for the season.
It is also to be noted that it would have meant 8 debutants in the South African sides which was unrealistic, compared to the three from Australia.

I would love to see an Emerging Springbok side return with consistent games, a coach and a purpose. Imagine a small Rugby Championship with the Pampas, Maori All Blacks, Australia A and Emerging Springboks. They would feature in the same slot as the “real” sides and for the money hungry would mean an additional two games. Would it even work?
Stats can help in some areas and fail in most, my opinion is that SA side could easily feature another Stormer in the front row, Marco Wentzel at lock  to spice it up. So what are your thoughts on the two sides?
Do you agree?


Jo’burg and Durban to host Rugby Championship



The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Friday confirmed the home venues for the 2015 Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

The Springboks will play New Zealand at Emirates Airline Park (formerly Ellis Park), Johannesburg, on Saturday, 25 July and Argentina at Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban, on Saturday, 8 August.

The schedule was amended as a result of the condensing of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship competition to three rounds because of the Rugby World Cup, which begins in mid-September.

Durban was due to host the Springboks’ home match against Australia – which was one of the matches to be removed from the schedule.

It will now receive the visiting Pumas while Western Province, which was due to host that Test, will be the venue for a match against a World XV on either 22 or 29 August.

The match against New Zealand was always scheduled to be held in Johannesburg.

SARU CEO Jurie Roux said that the recent practice of hosting New Zealand only at Johannesburg venues had been reviewed during the allocation process.

“Member unions have made a case for hosting the draw-card of a Springbok v All Blacks match at their venue and we have heard them,” he said.

“In the next round of allocations from 2016 onwards that fixture will be moving around the country including to coastal unions such as DHL Western Province and the Cell C Sharks.”

Springbok Fixtures 2015:

  • Saturday 18 July: Australia v South Africa – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane (Castle Lager Rugby Championship)
  • Saturday 25 July: South Africa v New Zealand – Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg (Castle Lager Rugby Championship)
  • Saturday 8 August: South Africa v Argentina – Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban (Castle Lager Rugby Championship)
  • Saturday 15 August: Argentina v South Africa – Venue TBC (Test)
  • Saturday 22 or 29 August: South Africa v World XV – DHL Newlands, Cape Town (Friendly)
  • Saturday 19 September: South Africa v Japan – Brighton (Rugby World Cup)
  • Saturday 26 September: South Africa v Samoa – Birmingham (Rugby World Cup)
  • Saturday 3 October: South Africa v Scotland – Newcastle (Rugby World Cup)
  • Saturday 7 October: South Africa v USA – London (Rugby World Cup)


Rugby Championship draw for 2015


The Southern Hemisphere’s pre-eminent international competition gets underway on Friday 17 July when the three-time winners of The Rugby Championship, the All Blacks, host Argentina in Christchurch while the Wallabies and Springboks lock horns in Brisbane the following night.

Rugby Championship
Rugby Championship

The condensed three-round championship sees teams face each other once, with a champion to be crowned on August 8, before a stand-alone round serves as final preparation for September’s much-anticipated Rugby World Cup.

SANZAR Chief Executive Greg Peters said, “The Rugby Championship continues to be one of the game’s greatest tests, pitting the world’s elite rugby nations against one another.

“The intense rivalry between New Zealand and South Africa has risen to lofty new heights in recent years and subsequently evolved into one of sport’s ‘must watch’ events, captivating crowds in stadiums, bars and living rooms around the world.

“Argentina recently returned to the IRB’s Top 10 and will seek to build on their inaugural victory in the championship while the Wallabies and All Blacks renew another rivalry steeped in history and tradition with clashes in Sydney and Auckland.”

The first match – a Friday night battle between New Zealand and Argentina – will serve as AMI Stadium’s debut match in The Rugby Championship, although the temporary Addington, Christchurch venue has previously hosted the All Blacks on two prior occasions (a 22-19 victory over Ireland in 2012 and a 30-0 whitewash of France in 2013).

Brisbane meanwhile has proven a happy hunting ground for Australia with the Wallabies beating the Springboks on seven of eight occasions at Suncorp Stadium with their only blemish being a 38-12 defeat to the South Africans in September 2013.

The Rugby Championship commences a fortnight after the Super Rugby Final on 4 July with the last round of matches concluding on 15 August, giving teams just over a month before launching their Rugby World Cup campaigns.

The Rugby Championship 2015 schedule is as follows, with venues in Argentina and South Africa to be confirmed at a later date.

Friday 17 July: New Zealand v Argentina – AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Saturday 18 July: Australia v South Africa – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Saturday 25 July: South Africa v New Zealand – Venue TBC
Saturday 25 July: Argentina v Australia – Venue TBC

Saturday 8 August: Australia v New Zealand – ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Saturday 8 August: South Africa v Argentina – Venue TBC

Pumas fight back to secure win over Aussies


Argentina came back from a 14-0 deficit to record their first-ever Rugby Championship victory, 21-17 over Australia in Mendoza.



Tevita Kuridrani and Scott Higginbotham went over early for Australia as they threatened a rout, but Argentina fought back with two tries of their own. Leonardo Senatore and Juan Imhoff crossed either side of half-time, as the Wallabies paid the price for their indiscipline, losing Nick Phipps and Michael Hooper to yellow cards.

There was some controversy however as Bernard Foley missed an easy shot at goal late on that would have put Australia back in front as a result of a laser being shone in his eyes.

A year ago in Rosario it was the Israel Folau show with the full-back helping himself to a hat-trick as the Wallabies stamped all over Argentina.

Australia had made two changes for this game, with Higginbotham and James Horwill coming into the team, but the bigger news was the absence of Kurtley Beale, who is currently under investigation for an incident with a team manager on the plane trip to Argentina.

And with Juan Martin Fernandez-Lobbe absent for the birth of a child, and the odd decision to drop Marcelo Bosch and Ramiro Herrera to the bench, there were fears that it could be the same again when they conceded two tries in the first quarter of an hour.

But from there the Pumas dominated possession and territory, and were able to take advantage of Australian infringements to work their way back into the game, and they eventually came away with a famous win.

Under Daniel Hourcade, Argentina have shown a lot of ambition and a desire to play with ball in hand and they were rewarded for that enterprise in this game as they weathered an early Wallaby storm.

Argentina showed their intent from the off, running the ball out of their 22 but it was Australia who got the first try with their first possession of the game.

Hooper snaffled the ball in midfield from a forward pass and after making ground up to the 22 he fed Higginbotham who was in support. When Australia recycled, the Pumas defence was stretched and with a huge overlap, Kuridrani was on hand to finish after being fed by Folau. Foley, who had made his debut in this fixture a year ago, converted to make it 0-7 after just three minutes.

The game was being played a frenetic pace and while Argentina looked dangerous with ball in hand, they seemed to be at sixes and sevens in defence. Every time Folau got the ball he made ground, and Phipps at scrum-half was getting such quick ball that Australia were constantly finding gaps.

The second try came after 12 minutes, with Phipps picking out Saia Fainga’a in the Pumas 22, and he popped it to Higginbotham outside him. The returning number eight had far too much power and broke through some desperate tackles to dive over. Foley was again on target from in front.

Argentina’s already stretched back-row stocks were then dealt another blow with Benjamin Macome forced off and replaced by Javier Ortega Desio.

Australia were looking ominous, but on their first incursion into the visiting 22, Argentina earned a five-metre scrum. The first set-piece saw an infringement from the Wallabies, but they got a let-off at the second when Higginbotham forced Martin Landajo into a knock-on.

Nicolas Sanchez had the chance to get Argentina on the board when Higginbotham was penalised at a ruck, but his effort from 45 metres out fell short.

And there was more frustration when Hooper produced a vital turnover on the Australian line after Sanchez had got the Pumas on the front foot in Australian territory

Still, Argentina had clearly weathered the storm and they were able to set up in the Australian 22 once more when Rob Horne, who had come on for a groggy Matt Toomua, failed to roll away at a ruck.

The Pumas then produced 13 phases of ferocious charges, with bodies flying all over the place. In the end the try came with Australia’s players sucked in tight and Argentina spread it wide to Senatore for a simple finish in the corner. Sanchez’s conversion from the touchline was well wide.

Australia were struggling to cope with the intensity of their hosts, and after another penalty conceded by James Horwill, Sanchez slotted three points to make it 8-14 at the break, with the Wallabies facing the threat of a yellow card for persistent infringements.

It took just two minutes of the second half for that threat to come to fruition, with Phipps sin-binned for kicking the ball out of a ruck in an offside position. Sanchez converted the simple penalty to bring the Pumas back to within three points.

But that didn’t stop Australia getting back into Argentinian territory, with Sanchez dropping the ball under no pressure, and Kuridrani thought he’d scored his second try after an acrobatic pass from Folau.

The full-back flipped the ball back inside as he was being pushed into touch on the right, but with no clear evidence of Kuridrani touching down after he’d scooped up the ball, they came back for a penalty which Foley slotted to stretch the lead back to six.

The Pumas clearly had the upper hand in the scrum though and after a Horne drop in his 22, they used a powerful scrum to set up their second try.

With an extra man in the backline they played the overlap perfectly, with Horacio Agulla delivering the final pass for Imhoff on the right wing. Sanchez converted from the touchline to give Argentina the lead for the first time.

The try came just before Phipps’ return, but they were nearly back to 14 men immediately when Folau was shown a yellow card for taking out Joaquin Tuculet in the air. Nigel Owens called him back, however, after it became clear that the contact came following a push from Agulla.

Still, the Australians were getting on the wrong side of Owens, and another penalty, conceded by Scott Fardy, gave Sanchez a shot at goal, but this time his effort drifted wide.

Three minutes later it was Foley who had the chance to put Australia back in front after a Pumas scrum infringement, but his effort from nearly halfway was well off. With 12 minutes remaining Argentina were penalised for failing to roll away when Horne carried in midfield, but again Foley was off-target with a much easier shot with clear footage of a green laser on his eyes as he stepped up for the kick.

The ball came back off the posts but Argentina were alive to it and secured possession and got out of trouble. And when Will Skelton was penalised for a high tackle, Bosch had the chance to extend the lead, but he was also off-target from halfway.

However it got worse for Australia with seven minutes left when Hooper was sin-binned for taking out Sanchez after an up-and-under, the Australian skipper perhaps a touch unfortunate having gone for the charge-down. To add insult to injury, Sanchez added the three points from where the penalty landed to make it 21-17.

Australia tried to come back, but came up against a wall of Argentinian defence. A scrum on halfway proved to be their last chance, but in a rather unsatisfactory finish a succession of reset scrums ended with a Pumas penalty and they were able to kick the ball into touch to seal the win.

It wasn’t enough to lift Argentina off the bottom of the table but the result marks the Pumas’ first success in the Rugby Championship at their eighteenth attempt, and comes after a number of promising displays this year.

And while Australia were not at their best in Mendoza, the Pumas did enough to deserve the win with a committed display.

The scorers:

For Argentina:
Tries: Senatore, Imhoff
Conversion: Sanchez
Penalties: Sanchez 3

For Australia:
Tries: Kuridrani, Higginbotham
Conversions: Foley 2
Penalties: Foley 2
Yellow Cards: Phipps, Hooper

Source: Planet Rugby

Joost to lead out Springboks at Ellis Park


Former South Africa scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen will lead out South Africa at Ellis Park for Saturday’s Test against New Zealand. 


The All Blacks met with the hugely admired former Springbok earlier this week and Sport24 have revealed that he will be play a key role in Johannesburg. Van der Westhuizen suffers from Motor Neurone Disease and was diagnosed in 2011, when he was given between two and five years to live.

The presence of Van der Westhuizen, who won 89 caps for South Africa between 1993-2003, will no doubt increase the emotion of a huge Test match between the top two sides in the world.

Van der Westhuizen was a World Cup winner in 1995 with the Springboks against the same opposition and at the same venue. He is regarded as one of the greatest scrum-halves of all time.

“I realise every day could be my last,” Joost told BBC Sport in 2013. “It’s been a rollercoaster from day one and I know I’m on a deathbed from now on. “I’ve had my highs and I have had my lows, but no more. I’m a firm believer that there’s a bigger purpose in my life and I am very positive, very happy.”


Ruggaworld’s “Live” Match Centre


The final weekend of the Castle Rugby Championship and the second last round of the ABSA Currie Cup is just some of the rugby fans can look forward too.

Rugby Championship
Rugby Championship

Springboks 27, All Blacks 25 (Live – 17:00 on SS1)

If Saturday’s clash at Ellis Park is even half as good as the spectacle this fixture produced last year, it’ll still rank as one of the best Test matches of the year.

The 2013 Rugby Championship decider was one for the ages as the Springboks and All Blacks went at it hammer and tongs, producing a nine-try humdinger that will be remember as one of the greatest Tests of all time.

Those 80 minutes in the heart of Jo’burg underlined their status as the two best teams in the world, but also left little doubt as to who was top the pile as New Zealand’s superior skills, fitness and self belief came to the fore in the final quarter.

This time around the championship title may already have been settled but interest levels are hardly diminished, for a number of reasons.

Previous Results:

2014: New Zealand won 14-10 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
2014: New Zealand won 37-28 at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
2013: New Zealand won 32-16 at Eden Park, Auckand
2012: New Zealand won 32-16 at Soccer City, Johannesburg
2012: New Zealand won 21-11 at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
2011: South Africa won 18-5 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
2011: New Zealand won 40-7 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
2010: New Zealand won 29-22 at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg
2010: New Zealand won 31-17 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
2010: New Zealand won 32-12 at Eden Park, Auckland
2009: South Africa won 32-29 at Rugby Park, Hamilton
2009: South Africa won 31-19 at Absa Stadium, Durban
2009: South Africa won 28-19 at Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein
2008: New Zealand won 19-0 at Newlands
2008: South Africa won 30-28 at Carisbrook, Dunedin
2008: New Zealand won 19-8 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington

The teams:

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handrè Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Duane Vermeulen/Schalk Burger, 7 Tebo Mohoje, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Schalk Burger/Warren Whiteley, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 JP Pietersen.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Ryan Crotty

Date: Saturday, 4 October
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg, South Africa
Kick-off: 17:05 local (15:05 GMT, 04:05 NZDT)
Weather:22°C. Partly Cloudy
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Pascal Gauzere; JP Doyle
TMO: Graham Hughes




ABSA Currie Cup
ABSA Currie Cup

From only showing two Currie Cup games last weekend, SuperSport will give rugby fans two game to pick from tonight at 19:00, Steval Pumas hosting the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Nelspruit and the Cell C Sharks entertaining the Xerox Golden Lions in Durban.

ABSA Currie Cup log after 8 rounds of rugga’s

Currie Cup Log
Currie Cup Log



Saturday 4th October

Toyota Free State Cheetahs 29, DHL Western Province 34 (Live – 14:00 on SS1)

Table topping Western Province will have to take on a desperate Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday to stay on track for a home semi final spot.

If they claim a bonus-point win against the Cheetahs and the Lions – who are in second place in the standings – lose their match without securing a bonus-point against the Sharks in Durban then the Cape Town-based outfit will achieve that goal.

They can expect a real battle, however, as the home side are desperate for a win as they are trying to secure a spot in the semi-finals.

After eight matches,WP currently top the standings with 34 points and are four points ahead of the Lions while the Sharks are third five points adrift of the men from Johannesburg.

wp vs cheetah

The teams:

FS Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 JP du Plessis, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Lappies Labuschagne, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Werner Lourens, 3 George Marich, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (c), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Henco Venter, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 AJ Coertzen.

Western Province: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (capt), 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Pat Howard, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Michael van der Spuy.

Date: Saturday, October 4
Kick-off: 14:00 local
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Rodney Bonaparte
Television match official: Johan Greeff

EP Kings 25, GWK Griquas 45 ( 14:30 )

Griquas and the EP Kings will be playing for lost pride when they face off in Kimberley on Saturday.

As the two bottom-placed teams in the competition both sides have have a point to prove.

Griquas don’t have any real chance of booking a spot in the semi-finals, but more importantly need a bonus point victory over the visitors as they still strive to finish the pool stages among the top six teams and in doing so ensure they remain in the Premier Division of next year’s competition.

The Kings on the other hand have not won a single game thus far in a Currie Cup campaign that can be described as disappointing at best.

Handed their inclusion in the Premier Division by SARU earlier this year, they are yet to prove that they are worthy and will be out to claim their first victory.

The home side come off a tough round of qualifying games which saw them progress to the top tier and coach Hawies Fourie has repeatedly highlighted the fact that noting less that five points will be good enough against the Kings.

ep vs GWK

The teams:

Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Wayne Stevens (capt), 11 PJ Vermeulen, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Carel Greeff, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Hugo Kloppers, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Janro van Niekerk.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Simon Westraadt, 18 Jonathan Adendorf, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Dustin Jinka, 21 Ederies Arendse, 23 Jacquin Jansen.

EP Kings: 15 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Ntabeni Dukisa, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Tobie Botes, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Devin Oosthuizen, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Steven Cummins, 4 Cameron Lindsay, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Albé de Swardt, 17 Charl du Plessis, 18 Darron Nell/Steven Sykes, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Scott van Breda.

Date: Saturday, October 4
Kick-off: 14:30 local (12:30 GMT)
Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley
Referee: Stuart Berry

Friday 3de October

Steval Pumas 6, Vodacom Blue Bulls 37 (Live – 19:05 on SS2)

(Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit – Kick-off: 19.10)

The match-up between the Pumas and Blue Bulls will be thrilling as the home team boasts a narrow one-point lead over their counterparts on the log, meaning both sides will desperate to distance themselves on the log table.
The Nelspruit team’s attack has been superior this season with the side scoring 22 tries to only 17 by the Pretoria side, but they have been closely matched on defence with the Blue Bulls conceding 21 tries and the Pumas 20.
These factors combined with the intense pressure on the teams to secure semifinal berths could result in an epic encounter.
Bulls vs pumas
Pumas: 15 JW Bell, 14 Ruwellyn Isbell, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Jaco Bouwer, 6 Corne Steenkamp (captain), 5 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 4 Marius Coetzer, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Frankie Herne, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 DeJay Terblanche, 18 Uzair Cassiem, 19 RW Kember, 20 Dylon Frylinck, 21 Coenie van Wyk, 22 Jerome Pretorius.
Blue Bulls: 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Jacques Louis Potgieter, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (captain), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Wiaan Liebenberg, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Jesse Kriel.
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Sieg van Staden
TMO: Shaun Veldsman
Cell C Sharks 26, Xerox Golden Lions 23 (Live – 19:05 on SS1)
(Kings Park, Durban – Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT))

In Durban the match between the Sharks and Golden Lions is expected to be equally entertaining with both teams having their sights set on possible home semifinals.
A victory for the Golden Lions will allow them to remain in a comfortable position for a home semifinal, while a win for the Sharks would allow them to close in on the Johannesburg team on the log and keep alive their home semifinal hopes.
The home team will have to deliver a solid defensive effort, in particular, to shut out the Golden Lions who have been the best attacking team this season.
That said the Sharks will take comfort from the fact that they boast the best defence in the competition.
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Sibusiso Sithole, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu (captain), 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Kyle Cooper/Monde Hadebe, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe/Franco Marais, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 JC Astle, 20 Khaya Majola, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Fred Zeilinga.
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe (captain), 12 Nicolaas Hanekom, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacments: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Derick Minnie, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Mark Richards, 22 Howard Mnisi.
Referee: Lesego Legoete
Assistant referees: Oregopotse Rametsi, Stefan Breytenbach
TMO: Jason Jaftha



Springboks vs All Blacks, just can not get any better


Most rugby supporters in South Africa and all over the world is looking forward to witness once again one of the epic battles between the Springboks and All Blacks on Saturday afternoon.


With the Rugby Championship done and dusted and the All Blacks again being crown as champions, this much is much more about the almost 100 years of history between these two countries than anything else.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer believe that the All Blacks have the best kicking game in world rugby and if the Springboks wants to beat the All Blacks on Saturday they will have to be able to deal with the men in blacks kicking game.

“If you want to beat the All Blacks you have to be able to deal with their kicking game and they have by far the best kicking game in the world,” Bok coach Heyneke Meyer said. “They will pose a different challenge, Australia keeps the ball in hand, we know exactly what they are going to do and they know what we are going to do. “It is all about execution, discipline and the main thing would be to have no soft moments and use every single opportunity. 

Springbok assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher, believes it is all about getting the correct balance with your kicking game against the All Blacks who will punish you on any poor kicking with their ability to counter attack from it.

“Saturday’s focus will be to get the right balance because you don’t want to kick aimlessly and give them opportunities to counter attack,” Loubscher said ahead of the mammoth Test.

The All Blacks see these games against the Springboks as more than just another test match and knowing how hostile it can be for any team to come to Ellis Park and play the Springboks. All Blacks Dagg has turned in some memorable individual performances on the Highveld and will expect nothing else from the crowd and Springboks.

It’s always a great battle, always down to the last minute and this is where you want to test yourself,” said Dagg. “The unique and ‘hostile’ challenge presented by playing at Ellis Park” – where the All Blacks have won just four times since 1928 – is also one that he is eager to embrace. “When you’re driving there, it’s a lot more hostile, people lining the streets having Barbecues [braais] and chanting away. “It is an eye-opener it’s like driving into the enemy base, it’s pretty hostile. “Like I said, it is where you want to test yourself.”

For the Springboks it must be a case of winning the battles within the battle on Saturday and nobody better knows about just how to win these battles than Springbok great Victor Matfield.

“It is just about the focus in those critical moments,” Matfield told a media briefing at the team’s base in Johannesburg. “It is always going to be a close game against these guys. One or two critical moments will decide these games,” he said. “It is something we are working on – just that belief in the team. Even if you are five points down with five minutes to go to – keep to the structure.”

Matfield do think “Believe” makes a huge difference, “If you look throughout the year, there were two or three Tests they could have lost but they came through and that probably shows the character they’ve got in the team.” Belief is a funny thing. The more you win it becomes a habit, and it is a habit with them. They’ve only lost one game in 42 matches which is unbelievable. “It is just a habit for them to win and they know how to pull through tough games as well.”

Whatever people say this was and always will be one of the epic battles in world rugby, last year we saw a special game, let’s hope the two teams can get close to what they dished up last year….


All Blacks change two for Springbok test


New Zealand’ have made just two injury-enforced changes from the team that won the Rugby Championship against Argentina last week.

Rugby Championship
Rugby Championship

Both are in the forwards: prop Joe Moody will make his first Test start, coming in for Wyatt Crockett, while lock Jeremy Thrush gets his second start against South Africa this year, replacing Brodie Retallick.

On the reserves bench, Dane Coles returns after re-joining the team in South Africa following the birth of his son, with Charlie Faumuina, Steven Luatua and Liam Messam also coming onto the bench.

In the back reserves, Tawera Kerr-Barlow gets his first opportunity in the Rugby Championship while Ryan Crotty comes in for Cory Jane who has a hamstring strain.

“This weekend is shaping up to be another classic All Blacks-Springboks Test match with the two top teams in the world going head to head again on the Boks’ home patch,” said All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen.

“Even though we have won the Rugby Championship, this is the game we always look forward to playing each year. It’s a massive challenge which will be spurred on by a huge amount of personal and team pride.

“This group has always believed that enhancing the legacy of the All Blacks is one of its overriding responsibilities, so we will be looking to put in another quality performance on the park.

“However, we know we will be up against a desperate and determined South African team who will be under a lot of pressure to win, which will make them a very dangerous and formidable opponent.”

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ben Franks , 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Ryan Crotty

Source: Planet Rugby


Wallabies change two for Argentina


Rugby Championship
Rugby Championship

The Wallabies have announced two changes to their starting line-up for Saturdaynight’s final Rugby Championship clash against Argentina in Mendoza.

Queensland Reds lock Rob Simmons (concussion) has been ruled out of the encounter and will be replaced by provincial teammate James Horwill in the starting XV.

The other change sees Melbourne Rebels backrower Scott Higginbotham earn his place in the number eight jersey with Ben McCalman unavailable after injuring his shoulder in Australia’s Test against South Africa at the weekend.

ACT Brumbies centre Matt Toomua also completed concussion protocols and will take his place in an unchanged backline.

“Rob plays a significant role in the team as our chief lineout caller, so it’s disappointing to lose him, but we’re confident in the abilities of James and are looking forward to seeing him step up in this area,” coach Ewen McKenzie said.

“Scott has been working hard and looking for an opportunity in the starting side for some time.  With the injury to Ben, he now gets his chance.

“He’s got unique athletic ability for a big guy, and that will be important against an Argentinian side which has made major strides forward with their defence during this year’s tournament.”

A number of changes have also been made on the bench with McKenzie opting for a forward-heavy 6-2 split.

It boasts four new faces in the forwards, including two potential debutants in backrower Jake Schatz and hooker Josh Mann-Rea.  It also sees lock Will Skelton and backrower Matt Hodgson return to the side.

Kurtley Beale drops out of the match day squad.

“We recognise the need to have enough strike-power in the forwards to get us through the back-end of the game, especially after such a physical encounter against South Africa followed by a difficult period of travel,” McKenzie said.

“That only leaves two spots for the backs, and we believe in this instance the combination of Nic White and Rob Horne will provide us with the best balance given the physicality we expect in this match.

“In the end, we feel the combination of the entire bench will offer us the vigour and intensity we need in attack and defence in the later stages of the game.”

The Qantas Wallabies side to play Argentina in their final Rugby Championship clash in Mendoza on Saturday 4 October is:

1. James Slipper (vc – Queensland Reds)
2. Saia Fainga’a (Queensland Reds)
3. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)
4. Sam Carter (ACT Brumbies)
5. James Horwill (Queensland Reds)
6. Scott Fardy (ACT Brumbies)
7. Michael Hooper (c – NSW Waratahs)
8. Scott Higginbotham (Melbourne Rebels)
9. Nick Phipps (NSW Waratahs)
10. Bernard Foley (NSW Waratahs)
11. Joe Tomane (ACT Brumbies)
12. Matt Toomua (ACT Brumbies)
13. Tevita Kuridrani (ACT Brumbies)
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper (vc – NSW Waratahs)
15. Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs)

16. Josh Mann-Rea (ACT Brumbies)
17. Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)
18. Ben Alexander (ACT Brumbies)
19. Will Skelton (NSW Waratahs)
20. Jake Schatz (Queensland Reds)
21. Matt Hodgson (Western Force)
22. Nic White (ACT Brumbies)
23. Rob Horne (NSW Waratahs)

Bismarck gets start for Springboks


Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen will be given as much time as possible to recover from injury while Bismarck du Plessis will start Saturday’s final round Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.


This match will be Springbok captain Jean de Villiers’ 50th appearance in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, the most by any South African.

Vermeulen is recovering from a rib cartilage injury and if he doesn’t recover in time to face New Zealand, Schalk Burger will start in the No 8 jersey with Warren Whiteley coming onto the bench.

If Vermeulen is cleared to play, the inclusion of Du Plessis at hooker will be the only change to the team that beat Australia by 28-10 in Cape Town last weekend.

“It’s been good to build some form of continuity and we’ll give Duane as much time as possible before making a final call,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“He’s been one of our best players in the last couple of weeks and is responding well to medical treatment, but if he can’t make it, we can fall back on the experience of Schalk to start at No 8 with Warren coming onto the bench.

“Schalk’s impact last weekend was massive, but so was the rest of the bench and we’ll be looking for more of the same on Saturday.

“At hooker, we’ve decided to rotate Bismarck with Adriaan Strauss, both of whom must rate amongst the best hookers in the world at the moment.”

Meyer said that the Springboks will need to be at their best, defend strongly and execute their attacking plays as well as possible on Saturday if they are going to be victorious against New Zealand.

Over the last three years since the last Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks have established themselves as one of the best Test teams of all time, losing only once and drawing once during this time.

“We’re well aware of the massive task that awaits us,” said Meyer.

“There are areas of the game we know we have to improve on against New Zealand. We’d like to go out there and enjoy the occasion and carry on where we left off against Australia. Hopefully we can get quick ball, like we did towards the end of the Test in Cape Town.”

Lwazi Mvovo has been released to play in the Absa Currie Cup for the Cell C Sharks this weekend.

The Springbok team to face New Zealand in Johannesburg is:

15 Willie le Roux 20 caps 35 points
14 Cornal Hendricks 8 caps 25 points
13 Jan Serfontein 15 caps 5 points
12 Jean de Villiers (captain) 101 caps 135 points
11 Bryan Habana 102 caps 280 points
10 Handré Pollard 5 caps 37 points
9 Francois Hougaard 31 caps 20 points
8 Duane Vermeulen / Schalk Burger 24 caps/72 caps / 10 points/65 points
7 Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje 2 caps 0 points
6 Marcell Coetzee 21 caps 25 points
5 Victor Matfield (vice-captain) 116 caps 35 points
4 Eben Etzebeth 28 caps 0 points
3 Jannie du Plessis 59 caps 5 points
2 Bismarck du Plessis 65 caps 45 points
1 Tendai Mtawarira 60 caps10 points
16 Adriaan Strauss 39 caps 25 points
17 Trevor Nyakane 8 caps 5 points
18 Marcel van der Merwe 4 caps 0 points
19 Bakkies Botha 82 caps 35 points
20 Schalk Burger / Warren Whiteley 72 caps/2 caps 65 points/0 points
21 Cobus Reinach 1 cap 0 points
22 Pat Lambie 35 caps 78 points
23 JP Pietersen 55 caps 85 points

Stats and facts:

•The Springbok starting team boasts a total of 657 Test caps (282 in the backline and 375 in the forwards), while there are a further 296 caps worth of experience on the bench.

•Jean de Villiers will become the first Springbok to play in 50 matches in the Tri-Nations / Castle Lager Rugby Championship. Only Richie McCaw (54) and Keven Mealamu (52) have played more Rugby Championship games.

•De Villiers will also extend his record as the most-capped Springbok centre, with 86 Tests in this position and will captain South Africa for the 30th time, placing him third behind John Smit (83) and Gary Teichmann (38).

•Victor Matfield will extend his record as the most capped Springbok in history (116 Tests). He will also extend his record of 116 Tests as a lock and will also be playing against New Zealand for the 26th time to extend his record.

•Bryan Habana will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok wing, with 101 Tests in this position. If he scores a try, he will extend his record of 56 Test tries for South Africa as well as his Castle Lager Rugby Championship record of 18 tries, and will extend his own SA record of seven career tries against New Zealand.

•If he scores a try, Bismarck du Plessis will extend his record of nine Test tries for South Africa as a hooker. Bismarck and his older brother Jannie will extend their record of playing together in 39 Tests for the Springboks. Bismarck, Jannie and Tendai Mtawarira will also extend their record of 17 Tests as a front-row trio for South Africa.

•It will be the second time in history (first last week) that a Springbok team will have three centurions in the starting line-up.

•The referee is Wayne Barnes of England. This will be his 10th Test involving South Africa. The Springboks have won six and lost three of the previous Tests. The last time he refereed South Africa, was against France on 23 November 2013 at the Stade de France in Paris. The Boks won 19-10.

Springbok Test match records at Ellis Park, Johannesburg:

oMost points – 31 (3t, 5c, 1p) by GK (Gavin) Johnson on 13 April 1995 against Samoa.

oMost tries – four by CM (Chester) Williams on 10 June 1995 and by JL (Jongi) Nokwe on 30 August 2008 against Australia.

oMost conversions – nine by AD (Butch) James on 9 August 2008 against Argentina.

oMost penalty goals – six by PC (Percy) Montgomery on 16 June 2001 against France and by LJ (Louis) Koen on 14 June 2003 against Scotland.

oMost drop goals – two by JT (Joel) Stransky on 24 June 1995 against New Zealand and by JH (Jannie) de Beer on 19 July 1997 against New Zealand.


Springbok injury update



Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen will be managed this week as he recovers from injury in the build-up to the final Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Vermeulen had to leave the field just after the hour mark in the Springboks’ 28-10 victory over Australia at DHL Newlands in Cape Town last Saturday.

“Duane fell awkwardly and injured a rib cartilage,” explained Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts.

“Due to discomfort he was unable to continue playing and was substituted. He’s responded well to treatment but we will still manage him through training this week before making a final call on his availability to face New Zealand on Saturday.”

The only other injury concern at this stage is Bryan Habana, who took a blow to the head while making a tackle in the 27th minute.

“Bryan left the field and the standard head injury assessment was conducted by the match doctor, which cleared Bryan to return to play,” said Roberts.

“Although Bryan returned to the field late in the first half, he developed some symptoms of concussion at the break and we decided to replace him permanently with JP Pietersen. He will need to follow the standard stepwise post-concussion return to play protocol before being considered for the Test at Ellis Park.”

The Springbok team to face New Zealand will be named on Wednesday.

The weekend that was


The ABSA Currie Cup is taking shape and it is becoming more clear who will charge for the semi final spots in the next few weeks. The Rugby Championship is all but over but their is still the little matter next week at Ellis Park, Benedict Chanakira look back at the weekends rugby.

Rugby News
Rugby News


Currie Cup

We like to blow the situation quite a lot but Lions and Western Province look like they will meet in the final. The Sharks put the resilient Eastern Province side to the sword. The Bulls managed a win but missed the bonus point. The Currie Cup is drawing to an end and the quality of rugby has been high. The Lions will face a real test when they face the Sharks. Should they pass that test we  have our finalists decided! The Sharks remain the only real threat at hand in a quest for a Lions-Province finale. The coming weeks will be pivotal. 

Schalk Burger


We have made so many age jokes recently.  Yes, Meyer must invest in youth like he did with Mahoje. However the 2004 IRB Player of The Year was the game changer I feel. He was playing out of his skin and it coincided with probably the best 20 minutes of rugby the Springboks have played at Newlands.



What a last twenty minutes.  The Australians put one over the South Africans in the dying minutes in Perth. They say revenge is a dish best served cold. Jean de villiers noted it was part of the plan to kill them at the death. How true that is, we will never know but the Wallabies got blown away with South Africa scoring 20 points in 10 minutes.  Next up, The Rugby Championship and World Champions New Zealand. 

But, what is the Springbok plan? Is Meyer looking to have the perfect blend of youth and experience? A look at displays this season they are edging closer to New Zealand. The gap has closed. Whether that elusive confidence boosting win will be achieved over the weekend we await. Just that missing ingredient missing.  That killer instict. What we know Meyer’s men are within reach!

Willie le Roux

Willie Le Roux
Willie Le Roux

Cut the man some slack. He took the burden of South Africa’s creativity and brilliance. He has brought a new dish to the dinner table. Chips. Some hot and some crispy. A dip in form will only re-energize the man. He will produce the gems soon. Give him time and await the reclaiming of the glory days!

All Blacks


Champions. Still lost one game under the Hansen era an look like improving every game. Three Championships in a row. Can they avoid defeat in the toughest game of the year this weekend? Its not a dead rubber. A lot more will be on show and the Springboks will have a lot more to gain. Graham Henry believes a loss would aid the World Champions. It allows for reflection. They have made winning a habit.  Its become a culture and they seem well on their way to another undefeated season.

Jean: ‘We were unstoppable’


Jean de Villiers believes his charges produced one of the great Springbok attacking performances at Newlands this past Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports for


The Boks scored 20 points in the final 10 minutes of Saturday’s game. It was during this period where they not only secured the result, but the bonus point for the fourth try.

It was an amazing turnaround considering the Boks’ impotent showing in the first half. In the aftermath, the Wallabies coaches and players were left scratching their heads, wondering how they had let such a terrific chance of victory slip.

Conversely, the Bok coach and captain were all smiles, with the latter hailing the performance as one of the most memorable of his 101-Test career.

‘It’s definitely in my top 10,’ said De Villiers, who scored two of the Boks’ last three tries. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a better 10-minute period of rugby. Once we got momentum, we were unstoppable. It was a special performance.’

While the Bok skipper conceded that the team wasn’t at its best in the first 40 minutes, he said there was always a plan to up the ante in the second stanza.

‘We didn’t intend to leave it so late, but we knew that if we stuck to our structures for 60 or 70 minutes, we could break them down and then score some points at the end.’

Heyneke Meyer had selected veterans such as Bismarck du Plessis, Schalk Burger, and Bakkies Botha on the bench, hoping that the substitutes would make the necessary impact in the dying stages. The Bok coach should feel vindicated about these selections, as the subs not only lifted the Boks’ intensity, but lent the team some composure.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper admitted afterwards that the South Africans had completely outplayed them at the tackle point in the final quarter. He praised the Bok bench, but couldn’t quite explain why the Wallabies struggled to match the Boks during this period.

Meyer was evidently pleased that his plan had worked, and that so many of the veterans had swung the result in the Springboks’ favour.

‘There were some great moments in that game,’ Meyer said. ‘Perhaps we could have played more tactically at one stage, but that period at the end was brilliant. We were down, but showed great composure to fight back.

‘I’m proud of the way the guys played. I get a lot of criticism for playing the older guys [like Victor Matfield, Botha, and Burger], but they made the difference tonight. The captain also led from the front, and I can’t say enough about his performance.’

Meyer added that the win at Newlands was the perfect response after losing two matches in Australasia. The Boks will now take some momentum into next week’s clash against the All Blacks, a team they haven’t beaten since before Meyer took charge in 2012.

The Bok coach was encouraged by the level of intensity displayed in the final minutes, and believes this bodes well for another taxing clash against the New Zealanders on the highveld.

De Villiers said that the Boks need to produce a similar showing if they are going to claim that elusive Kiwi scalp.

‘We came close to beating New Zealand in Wellington. After this game [against the Wallabies at Newlands], we are quietly confident that we can do the business in Johannesburg. If we play the way we played tonight, we will have a good chance of beating the All Blacks.’

All Blacks secure third Rugby Championship


The All Blacks won 34-13 over Argentina in La Plata to claim another Rugby Championship title as they did it with a bonus point for four tries.


From the start the All Blacks looked just too good for the Pumas and secure two tries in the first half and two in the second half.

With the Pumas trying hard to stay in the game and at sometimes had the All Blacks on the back foot, could not round off the opportunities that came their way. The speed the All Blacks played the game also seemed to be just that little too much for the Pumas.

When the Pumas tried to speed up the game themselves, they made just too many mistakes or run out of support. Although they kept on trying and their defense at times knocked the All Blacks back, they could not keep the All Blacks speedsters out for long periods of time.

The All Blacks also had the better of the Pumas at scrum time which took away the Pumas strongest part of their game. The result means that the All Blacks cannot be caught at the top of the standings regardless of the outcome of their clash with the Springboks at Ellis Park next week.

At times it was a joy to watch from the All Blacks point of view as they scored the four tries required to become champions after the Boks won well at Newlands.

The scorers:

For Argentina: Try: Agulla Con: Sanchez Pens: Sanchez 2

For New Zealand: Tries: Smith, Dagg, Savea, Perenara Cons: Barrett 4 Pens: Barrett 2

TRY TIME: All Black wing Ben Smith dives over to score during his sides Rugby Championship victory over Argentina in La Plata today.
TRY TIME: All Black wing Ben Smith dives over to score during his sides Rugby Championship victory over Argentina in La Plata today.

Magic 15 minutes secure Springbok win over Australia


Most properly the best last 10 minutes in the last two decades gave South Africa a brilliant bonus point win of 28-10 over Australia in Cape Town on Saturday.

Jean De Villiers score the bonus point try
Jean De Villiers score the bonus point try

With fifteen minutes to play in the test match the Springboks were still trailing the Australians by 8 point to 10. Patrick Lambie who replaced Handre Pollard had a change to put South Africa in the lead with an easy penalty in front of the poles but missed to the right and many believed it was just not the Springboks night.

But everything changed with Lambie putting over a drop gaol after some sustain pressure from the Springboks which took them to the lead. The normal way for a Springboks side would have been to protect their lead and kick the ball down field and keep Australia in their own half with defence, but this Springbok side had a different plan.

The Springboks got through the Aussies defence with a brilliant break by Jan Serfontein who offloaded to Hendricks. Hendricks fluffed the ball which Bismarck send De Villiers over in the corner for the Springboks second try of the match. Lambie missed the conversion from the corner and the Springboks had only a six point lead at 16-10.

The Springboks kept the pressure on the Wallabies as their defence fell apart which gave Lambie his try after stepping through several defenders to score the Springboks third try. This sealed the match for the Springboks with only two minutes to go.

From the kick-off the Springboks got the ball from a ruck and Cobus Reinach break on the sort side with Hendricks on his side. Reinach was pulled down ten meters sort of the line and from the ruck Burger got a kick passed out which was spread through the backline. Willie Le Roux put a brilliant pass to Victor Matfield on the wing who send De Villiers over in the corner for his second try and the bonus point win for the Springboks.

Impact Players
Impact Players

To rub salt into the wounds of the Aussies Patrick Lambie who had a terrible time with his place kicking put the final conversion over from the side-line to give the Springbok a 28-10 win.

The performance of the Springboks was nowhere close to perfect, but that last 15 minutes made up for all the mistakes and wrong decision making in the first sixty five minutes.

Francois Hougaard was named man of the match through the SuperSport Studio experts although players like Vermeulen and Burger must have been close to get the title. It was clear that the introduction of Burger made a huge difference to the team as he ensured momentum and go forward ball. His link up in broken play and string runs had the Aussies on the back foot for the remainder of the game.

Francois Hougaard Man of the Match
Francois Hougaard Man of the Match

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was clearly happy with the fitness and character the team showed, “We played great rugby at times in the first half, but their defence was great. We became a bit frustrated because of that, but in the second half the fitness levels and impact from the bench was massive for us; I told our conditioning coach Basil Carzis as much afterwards,” Meyer said.

Heyneke Meyer
Heyneke Meyer

“We wanted to make our country proud and hopefully managed that. We battled at times, but I have to say that our captain led from the front and came through for us tonight.”

Meyer was very pleased with the added effort the bench brought to the Springboks effort.

“They were all huge in their contributions and I have to thank them. It was good to see that my decision to have some experience on the bench worked out for us.

“The team also refused to give up. They sprinted back to our line after the third try, wanting to get that fourth one and we managed that. We scored some great tries when we finally managed to break them down.”

Meyer was worried about a possible rib injury to Duane Vermeulen.

“We had a lot of injuries this year and could not really build momentum because of that. That is why I am so pleased with the next group of guys who stepped in as we now have a nice depth to our squad.”

Captain Jean de Villiers, who scored a brace, admitted this to be a personal highlight.


“I always dreamt of having my kids on the field with me and that was made possible today. To finish the test match with a very late try that secured the bonus point which concluded a massive team effort, was equally pleasing. This was possibly a top ten test for me,” he said.

De Villiers is looking forward to next week’s final match against New Zealand.

“We will take all the good from this match into next week. We came so close to beating New Zealand in Wellington and I think we can be very competitive next weekend at Ellis Park.

“We did not play badly in Perth and Wellington. We did many good things there. Tonight was an improvement on that and next week we have to step up again. If we continue this, we can beat NZ next week.”

The Springboks can take this game as a start, to build on and believe that they can play an attacking game. Supporters and old players were criticising the Bok team in the senseless kicking which have cost them two losses in Australia and New Zeeland this year.

Next week waits the All Blacks at Ellis Park and they will have to be ready for the World Number 1 if they want to succeed in beaten them but for now the boys can enjoy a great win over the Aussies.



Contepomi confident Pumas can make it


Argentina legend Felipe Contepomi believes four years of tough Rugby Championship competition will stand the Pumas in good stead going into England 2015.

Rugby Championship
Rugby Championship

Contepomi, capped 87 times by the Pumas, was a key part of the ground-breaking team that reached the RWC 2007 semi-finals.

The Pumas have gone backwards in the IRB World Rankings since then, slipping to 12th place – their lowest-ever position, and are still seeking their first win since the Tri-Nations was expanded.

However, their former fly half cum trained doctor, who has been an IRB anti-doping campaign ambassador for the past five years, is confident the Pumas can make a positive impression at next year’s Rugby World Cup.

Argentina find themselves in Pool C alongside reigning world champions New Zealand, Tonga, Georgia and Namibia.

“Without any disrespect to any of the other teams, for me the pool draw is not that bad,” Contepomi said.

“These guys will arrive at the Rugby World Cup with four years of competition against the best teams in the world behind them. So they will have far more experience than we had in 2007.

“If they can maintain the progression they are showing and keep developing their game plan I am very confident that they can go quite far in the tournament.”

Felipe Contepomi
Felipe Contepomi

While hopeful his country can end their winless run in the Rugby Championship, Contepomi feels the level of performance in their remaining two fixtures is more significant than the outcome.

Argentina host the All Blacks this weekend in La Plata hoping to win their first Rugby Championship match in 16 attempts, and conclude their campaign at home to Australia.

A first win over New Zealand in the 25th meeting between the sides would return the Pumas to the top 10 in the IRB World Rankings.

New Zealand go into the weekend as the world’s number one ranked team – a position they cannot relinquish even if they lose in Argentina and South Africa, who are 5.31 points adrift in second, manage to overturn the one-point loss they suffered in Perth earlier this month when they take on the Wallabies in Cape Town on Saturday.

South Africa have 88.24 ranking points and Australia 88.10, meaning a second straight win for the Wallabies would see them become New Zealand’s nearest rivals.


RuggaWorld’s “Live” Match Centre


We are in week 8 of this years ABSA Currie Cup and the Castle Rugby Championship continuous after a weeks break.

ABSA Currie Cup
ABSA Currie Cup


Saturday 27th September

Argentina 13, All Blacks 34 (Live – 00:00 on SS1)

New Zealand can seal a third straight Rugby Championship title on Saturday if they claim victory over Argentina at Estadio Único Ciudad de La Plata.

It is now 21 games unbeaten for the All Blacks, while they boast a record of 32 wins in the 35 Tests since Steve Hansen took over as coach.

That position, of course, used to be Graham Henry’s, who recently stressed that losing an international before next year’s Rugby World Cup in England could turn out to be beneficial to New Zealand. Strange as that might sound from Henry but we actually agree as it could improve them.

Hansen, one imagines, will not feel that way.

The teams:

Argentina: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Juan Imhoff, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 6 Benjamin Macome, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Matías Cortese, 17 Lucas Noguera Paz, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Rodrigo Báez, 21 Martín Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Lucas González Amorosino.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Cory Jane.

Date: Saturday, September 27
Venue: Estadio Único Ciudad de La Plata
Kick-off: 19:10 local (00:00 on SS1)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Leighton Hodges (Wales)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

Springboks 28, Australia 10 (Live – 17:00 on SS1)

Once you’ve seen through all the smoke and mirrors, and looked past all the scandal mongering, Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash at Newlands is lining up to be cracker.

Second place in the world rankings and second place in the Rugby Championship standings are on the line as the Springboks look to make amends for missing two golden opportunities on the road.

With rain having marred most of the games in this year’s tournament, the forecast for dry weather this weekend has been welcomed by everyone involved. And with Heyneke Meyer’s team promising to play with positive intent against a Wallabies side who are always keen to have a crack with ball in hand, the ingredients are there for a classic.

aus vs bokke


South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 JP Pietersen.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 James Horwill, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nic White, 22 Kurtley Beale, 23 Rob Horne.

Date: Saturday, 27 September 2014
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT; 01.00, Sunday, September 28 AEST)
Expected weather: Sunny with a southeasterly breeze, a high of 14°C and a low of 9°C.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Mathieu Raynal (France)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

Sharks 53, EP Kings 24 (Live – 14:00 on SS1)

The Sharks will be determined to build on their victory against the Blue Bulls when they meet the EP Kings in Durban, but they will be careful to write off the Port Elizabeth team who have delivered competitive performances in their last two matches.
Interestingly the EP Kings, who have yet to win a match in the competition, have scored one more try than their Durban counterparts this season, although their defence has let them down.
This attacking performance will certainly give the visitors some confidence going into the clash.
 sharks kings
The Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Sibusiso Sithole, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Tera Mtembu (Captain), 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Khaya Majola, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 JC Astle, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Stephan Lewies, 19 Johan Meyer, 20 Conrad Hoffmann, 21 Tim Swiel, 22 Tonderai Chavhanga.
 Eastern Province Kings: 15 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Ntabeni Dukisa, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Tobie Botes, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Devin Oosthuizen, 6 Stefan Willemse, 5 Darron Nell (captain), 4 Steven Cummins, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Albe de Swardt, 17 Charl du Plessis, 18 Cameron Lindsay, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Scott van Breda.
Referee: Ben Crouse
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry, Eduan Nel
TMO: Johan Greeff

GWK Griquas 8, Xerox Golden Lions 46 – (15:00)

Griquas will face a tough task in Kimberley trying to contain the Golden Lions who come off back-to-back bonus-point victories.
The hosts, however, have claimed big scalps this season and will look to repeat this feat in the hope of keeping alive their faint semifinal hopes.
The home team’s defence, in particular, will have to be solid to achieve this as the Golden Lions have scored an impressive 30 tries in their seven matches up to now, while their pack will also have their work cut out as the Johannesburg team’s forwards have laid a good foundation up front.
Form aside, the visitors will take comfort from the fact that they have won five of the last seven matches between the teams, with two of these wins being in Kimberley.
griquas lions
Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Johnathan Francke, 12 Wayne Stevens (captain), 11 PJ Vermeulen, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Jaco Nepgen, 6 Ruaan Lerm, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3  Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Janro van Niekerk.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Simon Westraadt, 18 RJ Liebenberg, 19 Marnus Schoeman, 20 Abrie Griesel, 21 Jacquin Jansen, 22 Danie Dames.
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe,12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacments: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Schalk van der Merwe/Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Derick Minnie, 19 Albertus Smith, 20 Mark Richards, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Nicolaas Hanekom.
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Oregopotse Rametsi, Jan Venter
TMO: Jason Jaftha


Friday 26th September

Toyota Free State Cheetahs 22, Vodacom Blue Bulls 31 (Live – 19:00 on SS1)

With both teams underperforming in this year’s Currie Cup, we should expect them to step it up with only three rounds left before the play-offs.

While the Cheetahs are coming off a win last weekend against the EP Kings, the Blue Bulls have suffered yet another defeat, this time at the hands of the Sharks at Loftus.It is almost a semi final from now on for the Blue Bulls if they want to make the play offs and they will have to start against the Cheetahs.

Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is aware of this match’s significance to his team’s fortunes and believes it is the most crucial one of their Currie Cup campaign. “We cannot afford to lose and even a good win might not be good enough. We managed to get back on track earlier in the season, but again allowed ourselves to be side-tracked,” he said.

The home side have been boosted by the return of Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen as well as number eight Jean Cook and full-back Clayton Blommetjies which gives Duncan reason to be optimistic.

bulls vs cheetahs

Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Henco Venter, 3 George Marich, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (c), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Werner Lourens, 19 Neil Claassen, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 JP du Plessis.

Blue Bulls: 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (c), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling.

Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Morne Mellet, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Wiaan Liebenberg, 20 Rudy Paige, 21Tian Schoeman, 22 Jesse Kriel.

Date: Friday, September 26
Kick-off: 19:10 local (18:10 BST, 17:10 GMT)
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Francois Pretorius
TMO: Willie Vos

Steval Pumas 23, DHL Western Province 37 (19:00)

Tournament table-toppers Western Province face to do something n team this year could do yet in beating the Pumas in Nelspruit.

WP have a four-point lead at the top of the standings but know that challenging the Pumas in their own backyard is one of the toughest assignments in this year’s competition. Under the guidance of coach Jimmy Stonehouse the newly-promoted Pumas have made life difficult for more-fancied teams visiting Nelspruit and they are yet to lose a match at their home ground.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee is under no illusions about the enormity of the task awaiting his charges against the Pumas in Nelspruit.

Despite their unblemished record in Nelspruit, the Pumas are on a two-match losing streak after away defeats to Griquas and the Golden Lions. Their coach Jimmy Stonehouse is quietly confident of handing the Cape Town-based outfit only their second defeat of the season.

pumas vs wp

Pumas: 15 JW Bell, 14 Ruwellyn Isbell, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 JC Roos, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Renaldo Bothma/RW Kember, 7 Jaco Bouwer, 6 Corne Steenkamp (c), 5 Giant Mtyanda, 4 Marius Coetzer, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Frankie Herne, 1 Corne Fourie.

Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 DeJay Terblanche, 18 Uzair Cassiem, 19 RW Kember/Doppies le Roux, 20 Dylon Frylinck, 21 Justin van Staden, 22 Jerome Pretorius.

Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (c), 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Justin Geduld, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.

Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Manuel Carizza, 19 Rohan Kitshoff, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Michael van der Spuy.

Date: Friday, September 26
Kick-off: 19:00 local (18:00 BST, 17:00 GMT)
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Referees: Christie du Preez, Stefan Breytenbach