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Jaco Coetzee, Bosch and Pokomela herald u20 trial group


STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 24, Dawie Theron during the SA Under 20 training session and media briefing at Markotter Stadium on January 24, 2012 in Stellenbosch, South Africa Photo by Carl Fourie / Gallo Images
STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA – JANUARY 24, Dawie Theron during the SA Under 20 training session and media briefing at Markotter Stadium on January 24, 2012 in Stellenbosch, South Africa
Photo by Carl Fourie / Gallo Images


Junior Springboks coach Dawie Theron has invited a large group to the Baby Boks trials camp in Cape Town next week:
Junior Springbok trials squad (position in brackets):

Vodacom Blue Bulls

Jan-Henning Campher (hooker)
Tinus de Beer (flyhalf)
Aston Fortuin (lock)
Stedman Gans (centre)
Denzel Hill (No
Jaco Holtzhausen (prop)
JT Jackson (centre)
Manie Libbok (flyhalf)
Andell Loubser (wing)
Franco Naude (centre)
Divan Rossouw (wing)
Hendre Stassen (lock)
Eli Snyman (lock)
Gavin van den Berg (prop)
Franco van den Berg (prop)
Luigy van Jaarsveld (No

Toyota Free State Cheetahs

De Wet Bezuidenhout (flank)
Mosolwa Mafuma (wing)
Victor Maruping (flank)

Xerox Golden Lions

Le Roux Baard (hooker)
Marco Jansen van Vuren (scrumhalf)
Rhyno Herbst (lock)

EP Kings

Lusanda Badiyana (flank)
Tango Balelike (hooker)
Michael Brink (flyhalf)
James Hall (scrumhalf)
Nicolaas Oosthuizen (prop)
Lupumlo Mguca (prop)
Junior Pokomela (No
Roche van Zyl (prop)
Keanu Vers (fullback)
Jeremy Ward (centre)
Stephanus Nieuwoudt (flanker)


Benhard Janse van Rensburg (flyhalf)

Cell C Sharks

Curwin Bosch (fullback)
Morne Joubert (fullback)
S’busiso Nkosi (wing)
Zweli Siluale (wing)

DHL Western Province

Saud Abrahams (flank)
Ruan Brits (hooker)
Paul de Wet (scrumhalf)
Eduan Keyter (fullback)
Daniel Maree (flank)
Gary Porter (lock)
Duncan Saal (wing)
Carlo Sadie (prop)
Tiaan Swanepoel (fullback)
Ernst van Rhyn (flank)
Jaco Willemse (lock)
Eduard Zandberg (lock)
Jaco Coetzee (No
Zane Davids (flank)
Ruben de Villiers (lock)
Wikus Groenewald (prop)
Edwill van der Merwe (wing)
Kuyenseka Xaba (flank)

A talented group that will be out to win a spot in the South African squad that will travel to the Junior World Cup in England. South Africa will play Japan in their opening game. Interesting to note that Curwin Bosch has been penned down as a fullback.

Pool A

New Zealand

Pool B


Pool C

South Africa

Do officials crave the limelight too?




Officials are starting to act like neglected kids who have always sought attention with atrocious calls and decisions every week. It is as if they want to be in the headlines every week and for all the wrong reasons. Some may call the criticism unfair but its warranted with the number of high profile howlers growing by the week. Soon the question of match fixing will become part of the rugby conversation.  Instead of focusing on the rugby, most press conferences, around the world have resulted in talk of the referee decisions. Blues coach Tana Umaga the latest to highlight some inconsistencies. There were many a dubious call that are yet to be put to the fore.

  1. The neck roll on Schalk Ferreira by Sam Whitelock has yet to be cited and one has to wonder what the problem is. A result of the Southern Kings front row heading back home.
  2. It was almost the howler of the year for me, Jaco Peyper was about to send the Brumbies to the bin instead of the shower for punches. Had sanity not prevailed the Brumbies could have got away with that one.
  3. The punch by Nizaam Carr was missed amidst the punching row.
  4. Dillyn Lleyds’ try was actually inconclusive. There is a grey area on this one and I await an explanation from the South African referees on how this was a try.

Law 22.1 & 22.2 state- There are two ways a player can ground the ball:

(a) Player touches the ground with the ball. A player grounds the ball by holding the ball and touching the ground with it, in in-goal. ‘Holding’ means holding in the hand or hands, or in the arm or arms. No downward pressure is required.

(b) Player presses down on the ball. A player grounds the ball when it is on the ground in the in-goal and the player presses down on it with a hand or hands, arm or arms, or the front of the player’s body from waist to neck inclusive.

The list will go on, unless teams adapt on a game to game basis they will struggle. What you will be penalised for in one week, you will be allowed in another. The Reds-Blues clash was an example of an official not sure about the breakdown /scrum laws with some contentious calls. Surely there can be ways in which the officials fix this trend before it gets worse.

The use of neutral officials in clashes could be of help. Watching the Jaguares game against the Chiefs; one has to wonder what SANZAAR are a aiming at with the officials finding themselves making some rather one sided calls on occasion. One has to feel for the Argentinians who have had to face this all season.

All attack, no defence

The Lions managed to put the Cheetahs to the sword and further exposed the Bloemfontein side’s inability to tackle, cover the support runners and read the play of the opposition. The Cheetahs have a tournament high of 116 tackles. A further 38 more than the beleaguered Kings who show some bright sparks but lack the nous to dominate an 80 minute game. The Bloemfontein side is still in rebuilding but would have done well to focus on defence first this season to heal an Achilles heel that has derailed them in the last decade. The chances are looking good that South Africa will harbour at least two of the worst sides in the competition. While most sides will battle with balance the Cheetahs just seem to forget the entire aspect that is defence.

Team of the week:

My team of the week this weekend features a few surprise players and the top performers in:

Warrick Gelant (Blue Bulls); Ruan Combrinck (Lions); Johnny-Ben Kotze (Stormers); Howard Mnisi (Lions); Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders); Elton Jantjes (Lions); Faf de Klerk (Lions); Jed Holloway (Waratahs); Sean McMahon (Rebels); Elliot Dixon (Highlanders); Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers); Blade Thomson (Hurricanes); Marcel van der Merwe (Blue Bulls); Malcolm Marx (Lions);  Sef Faagase (Reds)

Lima Sopoaga to debut for All blacks


All Blacks_1


The team is:

1. Tony Woodcock (112)
2. Dane Coles (27)
3. Owen Franks (69)
4. Brodie Retallick (38)
5. James Broadhurst
6. Liam Messam (41)
7. Richie McCaw – captain (139)
8. Kieran Read (74)
9. Aaron Smith (38)
10. Lima Sopoaga
11. Charles Piutau (16)
12. Ma’a Nonu (95)
13. Conrad Smith (85)
14. Ben Smith (38)
15. Israel Dagg (48)


16. Codie Taylor (1)
17. Wyatt Crockett (38)
18. Ben Franks (41)
19. Samuel Whitelock (63)
20. Victor Vito (26)
21. TJ Perenara (12)
22. Beauden Barrett (28)
23. Malakai Fekitoa (8)

Sopoaga comes in for Daniel Carter at first five-eighths and Broadhurst takes over from Luke Romano. In other changes in the starting XV, Dane Coles comes in at hooker with Liam Messam at blindside flanker. In the backs, Aaron Smith returns to the starting halfback position, while the world-record midfield combo of Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith is back. As well, with a desire to continue to give Israel Dagg more game time, Ben Smith is named on the right wing.
Ben Smith has shown his potency anywhere in the back three with an impressive stint at win two season ago when he was top try scorer. There is no doubt his best position is full back but such is the mix and quality the New Zealanders have.

On the bench, Ben Franks comes in as reserve prop alongside Wyatt Crockett, Codie Taylor retains the reserve hooker jersey, Sam Whitelock is reserve lock, with Victor Vito covering the loose forwards. TJ Perenara is reserve halfback, with Beauden Barrett and Malakai Fekitoa the other back reserves.

Broadhurst and Sopoaga will be surrounded by a wealth of not just quality but experience. The two impressed in the Super Rugby and will be surrounded by a total of 500 caps. (327- starting XV and 217 on the bench). It is a moment of not just opportunity for Lima Sopoaga who made the squad not just because of his quality but the injury to Aaron Cruden made it the more easier.

Don’t you… Forget about me…


As you walk on by, will you call my name?

Lions confirm squad for Challenge series


The Lions released the names of 35 players that will make up their squad to compete in the Lions Challenge Series starting this weekend against Russia.

This Lion will roar


It is not often that I get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I read something about administration in South African rugby, but the guts and determination of the Golden Lions Rugby Union who is arguably facing their biggest crisis in their 100+ year history is something that deserves more than just an honourable mention.

Lions announce the ‘Lions Challenge’


Despite not playing Super Rugby, the Lions will have no shortage of game time next season after their 2013 fixture list was revealed on Tuesday.

Mitchell back and raring to go


Lions head coach John Mitchell returned to work at the Golden Lions Rugby Union offices yesterday morning, following a four month period of absence, and is looking forward to his future at the Union.

Where will it stop?


It is one thing to look for sympathy when you have to deal with a hand you were dealt, but you will find very little if the position you find yourself in was because of your own doing.

Mitchell not guilty, wants his job back


Suspended Golden Lions Rugby Union coach John Mitchell is committed to continuing in the role, buoyed by news that he has already been found not guilty of various charges of misconduct levelled against him by the GLRU, with a further six charges having been withdrawn by the Johannesburg-based club.

Mapoe the ‘Mane’ Lion


The Golden Lions Rugby Union held their annual Players Award Ceremony on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 where the players were acknowledged for their contribution to the Union throughout 2012.

Josh Strauss joins Glasgow Warriors


The Golden Lions Rugby Union announced this afternoon that Josh Strauss, the Glasgow Warriors rugby club in Scotland and the Lions concluded an agreement whereby Josh will move to the Glasgow Warriors until May 2015.

De Klerk refutes Lions player exodus


The President of the Golden Lions Rugby Union Kevin de Klerk on Friday issued the following statement in the wake of the SARU General Council decision to exclude the MTN Lions from the Super Rugby competition in 2013.

Lions fire Spencer, Taylor


The Lions rugby union has terminated the services of backline coach, Carlos Spencer, and conditioning coach, Wayne Taylor.

Lions, GUMA battle takes an ugly turn


Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) president Kevin de Klerk says the statement issued on Tuesday from their former partners Guma TAC was “filled with many half truths” and says the union had never been unwilling to pay back any money.

De Klerk rubbishes Lions liquidation rumours


Golden Lions Rugby Union President Kevin de Klerk has beaten off the latest media onslaught on his union with the same efficiency that saw his team secure Currie Cup glory last year.

Lions hit back at bankruptcy allegations


The Golden Lions Rugby union on Thursday hit back at rumours on social media and websites that they are bankrupt.

The Lions roar again


The MTN Golden Lions recorded the most emphatic Absa Currie Cup final victory since 1980 when they beat The Sharks, champions in 2010, by 42-16 at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Edenvale Panthers hits back at ban


THE singing of President Jacob Zuma’s trademark song, Umshini wami, and ANC Youth League president Julius Malema’s infamous Dubul’ iBhunu incited the violence between Edenvale Panthers Rugby Club (EPRC) and the Soweto Rugby Club (SRC).

Lessons from the past


Lessons from the past should provide the Lions rugby union with the vision needed to get them out of their current administrative crisis.

Lions snub Jano for Bulls move


MTN Golden Lions coach John Mitchell has made three changes to the team that beat the Leopards last weekend for the Currie Cup match against the Blue Bulls at Loftus on Saturday.

Lions punish Jano


The Golden Lions had no idea of scrumhalf Jano Vermaak’s plans to move across the Jukskei River to join their rivals, the Blue Bulls.

Rugby News


We update you with rugby news from around the world.

Lions circus turning into horror show


The absence of information will always lead to speculation, and whether it is fair or not, you would think that the Lions Rugby Union would have realised this after years of accusations of financial and administrative mismanagement.

Lions still have pride / Mapoe injured


Lions skipper Doppies la Grange has sounded a rallying cry for his side to show some pride and shake off the ‘close but no cigar’ tag that they have earned this season.

Timmy Hancox writes for rugby365 that La Grange has described being named as the Lions captain as a “great honour” and is one of the senior player who has watched coach John Mitchell bring in a fresh approach to the struggling franchise.

Last season the Lions were breaking all the wrong kind of records – losing all of their 13 Super Rugby matches – but there is renewed optimism surrounding the team packed with promising young players.

“There has been a big improvement [this season] with a lot of changes, and we started the season with 11 players making their Super Rugby debuts and could have won four out of four [at the start of the campaign] against big teams like the Stormers and the Bulls,” La Grange told rugby365.com.

After narrowly losing their first four matches this season, the Lions have closed the gap on the rest of the sides, but have struggled to get across the line and win those close matches.

“We are wary of being labelled as that team [that always loses tight matches], but all we can do is train harder, improve on your mistakes and just hope for that win and the bounce of the ball to go your way,” La Grange said.

“We have to work hard on improving what we did wrong in the previous two weeks, especially at the set-phases we must keep to our structures.”

The 29-year-old believes that through hard work his side’s fortunes will change and is planning a big effort this week to reward the loyal Lions fans.

“We haven’t won a home game yet, and we want to show some pride and win at home [against the Stormers this weekend], because we’re letting our fans down at the moment,” he explained.

“We have a good team spirit and my challenge as captain is to keep the guys positive after losing a few games, but that hasn’t been an issue for me at all. What’s great is that is that the guys are taking responsibility and that adds to our team values.”

La Grange will have his hands full in the midfield on Saturday up against Springbok duo of Juan de Jongh and his former Lions teammate Jaque Fourie.

“Jaque is a good friend and I have great respect for him – he’s a great player and so is Juan de Jongh. It always motivates me when you come up against quality centres and the whole team want to prove a point against a side full of Springboks,” he said.

Aside from his great work at centre, La Grange has made a name for himself as a backline player capable of winning more turnovers than many loose forwards.

With a big smile La Grange attributes his work on the ground to his background as a schoolboy wrestling champion.

“It has always been a part of my game and luckily with my wrestling background helps and wherever I can help our loosies I’m happy to get stuck in there and take some contact,” he explained.

“I wrestled when I was a youngster and became a South African champion. Baywatch (Cobus Grobbelaar) was the same and it helps your base strength with that background.

“Luckily I never wrestled against Baywatch – he’s a bit heavier than me,” La Grange quipped.

The tough inside centre and a handful of other experienced Lions stalwarts have taken it upon themselves to groom the new crop of youngsters as the Johannesburg franchise builds towards the future.

“Sometimes you have to control their over-eagerness, but they also listen well and it is exciting times seeing these guys come through and turn into great players.

“It’s a great responsibility on the coaching staff and the senior players to help the talented youngsters,” he said.

Mapoe out of Stormers clash

Meanwhile Supersport reports that the Lions will be without winger Lionel Mapoe in their Super Rugby clash against the Stormers on Saturday.

The former Springbok Sevens star picked up a knee ligament and was withdrawn from the team on Friday as a precautionary measure.
“Due to Lionel’s injury, Michael Killian will move to wing with Jaco Taute coming in at fullback,” Lions team Manager Mustafa Boomgaard said on Friday.

With Taute in the starting line-up, centre Alwyn Hollenbach has been promoted from the Vodacom Cup side.

Mapoe’s misfortune is the fifth setback in personnel for the inexperienced Johannesburg side ahead of their match against the Cape Town outfit.

He joins flanks Derick Minnie and Josh Strauss, fullback James Kamana and flyhalf Andre Pretorius on the list of injured players.

Kamana suspended for 3 weeks


The Lions fullback James Kamana has been suspended for three weeks after a SANZAR judicial hearing held in Johannesburg on Tuesday found him guilty of dangerous play.

Kamana in trouble


Lions fullback James Kamana will appear at a SANZAR judicial hearing in Johannesburg on Tuesday 15 March after being cited for a dangerous tackle during last Saturday’s Super Rugby clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Blues underestimating the Lions?


They have dished out some massive beatings to the Lions in the past, but are the Blues perhaps underestimating the resurgent Lions team?

Re-capturing the Pride


There are many reasons why I will keep a very close eye on the Lions this year, and their on-field results won’t be one of them.

Lions target Bakkies signature


It has been a rumour that has surfaced in recent days, and although everyone will deny it, it seems to be true.

Lions unleash Kamana


The Lions will unleash their Kiwi import, James Kamana against Argentine side Tucuman on Wednesday night.

Stormers the biggest losers


It is not often that the losing coach is the happier one in the post-match press conference.

Lions call on their pride


The resurgent Lions have invited all their fans to attend the only warm-up match to be played at Coca Cola Park before the Super 15 proper starts.

Lions fail to lure Bekker


Butch James arrived in Johannesburg via jet this week, but the Golden Lions Rugby Union’s deep pockets could not convince Andries Bekker to move from Cape Town.

Results are vital


If you believe results in warm-up games don’t mean anything, I am afraid you are slightly deluded.

Sharks bring out big guns


The Sharks have whipped out their big guns in their opening match of the Neo-Africa Tri-Series at Newlands.

Lions confirm Butch signing


The Lions today confirmed the signing of Butch James.

Gumede unveils vision for Lions


Businessman and now part owner of the Lions rugby union, Robert Gumede, spoke to Jacques van der Westhuyzen about his vision for the Lions.

Beast to remain a Shark


The tug-o’-war between the Sharks and Lions, for the services of Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira, has finally come to an end.

Mitchell selects his captain today


Lions coach John Mitchell has confirmed Franco van der Merwe will captain the team in this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby.

The Lions rugby team have a pleasant headache – to pick a captain for this year’s Super rugby competition.

Let’s get past appearances


Late last year I got one of those anonymous faxes that are intended to prick up a reporter’s ears.

Succeeding to fail


The time to feel sorry for the Freestate Cheetahs has to come to an end, they have no-one but themselves to blame for their ongoing problems.

Butch returns to SA


Bath’s South African flyhalf Butch James has indicated he will return to his homeland after four seasons at the English club.

Mapoe finally back on the pitch


Lionel Mapoe’s Cheetahs and Sharks jerseys have perhaps sat a little uncomfortably on his broad shoulders in the last few months, but this fine player will feel quite at home when he puts on his Bok Sevens practice jersey.

Lions snap up two Sharks


Two of the exciting young talents to come through the Sharks system over the past few years have been released from their contracts and will be linking up with the Lions in 2011.

Maku joins Lions


Springbok hooker Bandise Maku has agreed to leave the Blue Bulls and join the Lions on a two-year deal.

Mitchell stays committed to SA, Lions


Golden Lions Rugby Union head coach John Mitchell has spoken about the break in at his Hyde Park apartment on Saturday night, 9 October 2010 where he was stabbed in the thigh and upper arm.

The Lions deal: It’s about time


The recent acquisition of just about half of the Golden Lions Rugby Union’s commercial arm is a move long overdue.

Mitchell, Basson scoop CC awards


Xerox Lions coach John Mitchell and GWK Griquas winger Bjorn Basson on Thursday received the Absa Currie Cup Coach and Player of the Month awards for September at ceremonies held in Johannesburg and Kimberley.

Cheetahs 43, Lions 37



It’s do-or-die in Bloemfontein for both the Cheetahs and the Lions, as both sides must win on Saturday to ensure that their Currie Cup semifinal fates remain in their own hands.