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Jaco Coetzee, Bosch and Pokomela herald u20 trial group

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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)

Leopards

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
Wales
Ireland
Georgia

Pool B

England
Australia
Scotland
Italy

Pool C

South Africa
France
Argentina
Japan

Who was that Cyle Brink?

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Position Flanker

Date of Birth 16/01/1994 (22 years)

Place of Birth Johannesburg, RSA

Height: 190cm

Weight: 118kg

 

_WHL8781
Credit: Willem Loock Photography

A lot of fans were wondering who he was. Some Lions fans looked so disappointed in the injury to Jaco Kriel they felt the side would drop off in standards just a bit. How wrong they were. The flanker came on and was like a possessed man. He was mammoth in all facets from carrying the ball to smashing the Cheetahs behind the gain line.

Some fans in the stadium who read the reports in the media this week could not believe his impact. Some even suggesting amongst themselves he was out to prove a point after the Ruan Ackermann stories.

I just saw a future star who got a chance and was eager to prove he can cut it at the highest level. He excelled in all areas. He was by miles the best loose forward in South Africa this weekend. Setting such a standard only means he will be expected to live up to it.

Brink played like it was his last game, yet it was his chance in Super rugby and in so many ways the missing Jaco Kriel was not missed. He poses more problems for Johan Ackermann who will have more loose forward selection issues when his array of stars return.

A wealth of choice in Ruan Ackermann, Derrick Minnie, Warwick Tecklenburg, Cyle Brink, Stephan de Wit, Fabian Booysen and the list goes on. Cyle Brink was one of the stand-out performers at the 2014 Junior World Championships in New Zealand, representing the Junior Springboks who returned home with a silver medal.

He represented the Lions at the 2012 Craven week and has continued to develop. What we have here, is yet another ex-King Edwards School boy; is on the verge of a glittering career.

Janse van Rensburg pick of Lions team

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large_Lions-celebrate-800

 

 

The Lions have managed to make five changes to the squad that beat the Chiefs in Hamilton. Rohan Janse van Rensburg will get to line up opposite All Black Malakai Fekitoa, Robbie Coetzee returns in place of Malcolm Marx while young Jaco van der Walt will start at fullback in place of Andries Coetzee who drops to the bench.

Ackermann was forced to make a host of changes after his side got injuries. Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Howard Mnisi start in tandem in the absence of Lionel Mapoe and Harold Vorster, who both returned to South Africa. A new centre pairing that will need to adapt fast and be ready for a busy 80 minutes.

 Ruan Dreyer and Jacques van Rooyen start in place of Julian Redelinghuys and Dylan Smith respectively, a sign of the Lions depth. Jacques Nel, who joined the squad earlier this week, and Dillon Smit are on the bench.

The Lions are set to play the Highlanders at 08:35 (SA time) on Saturday morning, but are still in Christchurch after their aircraft was forced to turn around due to bad weather en route to Dunedin.

Lions – 15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Warwick Tecklenberg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Subs: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Ruan Ackermann, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Andries Coetzee.

No major injuries from Madibaz game

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Southern_Kings_Kit_2016

 

Following the contact session against the NMMU Madibaz on Friday last week, a few players have picked up minor injuries and will be monitored through the week.

Southern Kings Head Coach, Deon Davids, said Lukanyo Am had sustained a bruised knee, while Malcolm Jaer and Jurgen Visser both had tight hamstrings, which would be monitored ahead of the Southern Kings clash against the SWD Eagles in their first official warm up match in George on Friday.

Other players who are on the injury list and undergoing rehab are Phillip du Preez, with an ankle injury, Aidon Davis and Louis Fouche, with knee injuries, Jaco van Tonder, who is recovering from an ACL injury sustained last year and  Kevin Luiters, with a strained calf.

Cornell Hess had also been sent home today due to illness, said Davids.

“It is obviously a concern when you have a long injury list before the start of the season, but we are doing the best that we can under the current circumstances,” said Davids.

Davids said he was thankful for the opportunity to have a hit out against the NMMU Madibaz last week.

“It was the best practice that we could ask for. The NMMU guys really gave us a go. I think we were really tested on defense and on attack, but I’m happy with the way we responded,” he said.

Davids said from an attacking point of view, there was room for improvement in continuity and keeping the ball through phases, and that he was not happy with the tackle count on defense.

He said the first official warm up game against the SWD Eagles at Outeniqua Park in George would play a crucial role in looking at various player combinations.

“Going into our first official friendly our focus will shift, and we will begin to focus more in terms of testing combinations, as well as at improving on our performance from the NMMU game,” he said.

Three new signings for the Kings

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Southern_Kings_Kit_2016

 

The Southern Kings have confirmed three more player signings ahead of their return to the Vodacom Super Rugby 2016 competition.

Chief Operating Officer, Charl Crous, confirmed the signing of the young up and coming lock, Phillip du Preez (22) the versatile back line player, Jurgen Visser (26) and hooker, Martin Bezuidenhout (26).

Crous also confirmed that Sharks player, Jaco van Tonder (24), had joined the team on trial this week.

Du Preez has been described as one of the best up and coming line out jumpers. He recently returned from France, where he played for Bayonne.

Du Preez started his professional rugby career playing for the Lions in the U18 Coca Cola Craven Week competition, before making the SA Schools team. He then joined the Blue Bulls in the ABSA U19 competition before moving to the Cheetahs the following year to represent them in the U21 competition. He made his Vodacom Cup debut for the Cheetahs in 2014.

Visser played 8 games for Western Province before relocating to Pretoria, where he played 40 matches for the Blue Bulls in Currie Cup and 31 matches for the Bulls in Super Rugby.

Visser is known for his versatility, and although playing mostly at fullback, he has also played at wing and scrumhalf.

Bezuidenhout, who played with Griquas in the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup competitions last year, also played for the Stormers and the Lions in Super Rugby.

Van Tonder is also a versatile back line player. He moved from the George based SWD Eagles, where he played U16 Grant Khomo and U18 Craven week competitions, to Kwazulu Natal, where he joined the Sharks. He made his debut for them in the 2012 Vodacom Cup.

Current squad to date

  • Aidon Davis, 21, No 8
  • Chris Cloete, 24, Flank
  • Cornell Hess, 26, Lock
  • Cyril-John Velleman, 20, Flank
  • Edgar Marutlulle, 27, Hooker
  • Elgar Watts, 30, Flyhalf
  • Jacobie Adriaanse, 30, Tighthead Prop
  • Jacques (Vleis) Engelbrecht,30, No 8
  • James Hall, 19, Scrumhalf
  • John-Charles (JC) Astle, 25, Lock
  • JP du Plessis, 24, Centre
  • Jurgen Visser (26), Fullback
  • Kevin Luiters, 23, Scrumhalf
  • Leighton Eksteen,21, Scrumhalf, Flyhalf, Fullback
  • Louis Fouche, 25, Flyhalf
  • Lukhanyo Am, 22, Centre
  • Luzuko Vulindlu, 28, Centre/Wing
  • Malcolm Jaer, 20, Fullback
  • Martin Ferreira, 26, Hooker
  • Phillip du Plessis, 22, Lock
  • Schalk Ferreira, 31, Prop
  • Schalk Oelofse, 27, Lock
  • Shane Gates, 23, Flyhalf
  • Sipato Junior Pokomela, 19, No 8
  • Siyanda Grey ,26, Wing/Centre
  • Stefan Watermeyer, 27, Centre
  • Stefan Willemse, 23, Flank
  • Steven Sykes, 31, Lock
  • Tazz Fuzani, 25, Lock
  • Thembelani Bholi, 25, Flank
  • Tom Botha, 25, Prop
  • Tyler Paul, 20, Lock/Flank

Pieter Steph du Toit signs for Stormers

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Pieter-Steph-du-Toit-130413G300

Western Province Rugby can confirm that Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit will be furthering his career with the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province from November 1, 2015.

Having recently announced the signings of props JC Janse van Rensburg and JP Smith, as well as capturing the signature of Springbok winger Cornal Hendricks, the confirmation of Du Toit’s signing is a huge boost for both the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province.

WP Director of Rugby Gert Smal commented: “We are excited that Pieter-Steph has decided to return (home) to the Cape, where he was born and raised, and so too is Cornal Hendricks – a tall, fast wing who is a proven performer at international level.

“JC (Janse van Rensburg) is an experienced loosehead prop with plenty top-level captaincy experience, so we believe all our signings will bolster us in key areas.”

Du Toit, who recently turned 23, was a member of the triumphant SA Under-20 team of 2012, before making his Test debut for the Springboks in Cardiff in November 2013.

To date he has played four Tests, the most recent being against Argentina in Buenos Aires earlier this month when he featured as a replacement flank – adding versatility to his many attributes, which include physicality, mobility and fantastic line-out and aerial skills.

“We want Western Province Rugby to continue to attract the biggest names in South Africa and someone like Pieter-Steph du Toit certainly fits the bill.

“We have our eye on a few more players, along with some re-signings that we will announce very soon, whilst we will also be concluding our search for a new Super Rugby coach shortly,” concluded Smal.

PIETER-STEPH DU TOIT FACTFILE:
Full name: Pieter Stephanus du Toit
Height: 2,00m
Weight: 116kg
Birth date: August 20, 1992
Birth place: Cape Town
Test debut: v Wales – November 9, 2013
Test caps: Four

 

Meyer could be in until 2019!

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Heyneke-Meyer-630

 

So reports suggest Meyer could be in the Springbok hot seat until Rugby World Cup 2019. The news has been prominent since last season and has surfaced once again this year at a time which is the toughest in Heyneke Meyer’s tenure.

This is not new, Springbok coaches always feel the heat before the World Cup and this is nothing new. The call if true could be the right one. South Africa are definitely not ready for a foreign coach and the uproar from the politicians could further complicate the life of that man.

A look around the local fraternity and you are likely to not find any candidates as well that are ripe enough. Meyer has only been bettered as a coach by only three other stalwarts as Springbok coach.

Meyer has selected 17 players of color in his tenure and managed to bring in several exciting young players over the years. He was pivotal in the transforming of the Blue Bulls a few years ago and a further four years could be a step in the right direction for the Springboks despite his recent results.

This is something that has benefited New Zealand in a continuation of a coaching set up. Meyer is one of the best coaches in the country, if not the best.

Wallabies in World XV squad to face Japan

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Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images
Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

 

Australia will have a number of their players playing a key role in their match fitness by being part of a fixture against the Japanese onnSaturday August 15 at Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground in Tokyo. One will be wondering if it wasn’t possible to rope in some of the Springbok players who are not having any shot at game time. This is an opportunity to remind the coaches what they are capable of but to also allow themselves to be sharp should they get a call at the World Cup. The Japanese will get a good workout from the World XV. The will probably come short considering the quality they face.

Backs include :

Dom Shipperley (Rebels)
Ben Tapuai (Western Force)

James O’Connor (Reds)
Luke Burgess (Rebels)
Nick Cummins (Western Force)
Mike Harris (Rebels)
Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies)
Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs)

Forwards

Ben Alexander (Brumbies)
Liam Gill (Reds)
Luke Jones (Rebels)
Tolu Latu (Waratahs)
Sean McMahon (Rebels)
Benn Robinson (Waratahs)

Think about this, the Wallabies will effectively have 37 of their players playing this weekend. While there is a contrast to the oppositions there is a valuable aspect here- game time. Hope to have two great games of footy involving the aussies.

Lima Sopoaga to debut for All blacks

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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)

Reserves:

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.

Wallabies down to 31!

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BC Q&A

Michael Cheika has cut down his squad to 31 players. The Wallabies had assembled as a 40 man squad but with a clash against the Springboks coming up the squad has been trimmed. While the players will remain in the group it sees some surprise omissions including Christian Leali’ifano and Wycliff Palu. Dave Dennis, Samu Kerevi, James Hanson, Tetera Faulkner, Toby Smith, Henry Speight and Nic White have been omitted.

Cheika did mention that it was tough making the calls and stressed that he was looking to manage the squad’s workload. Drew Mitchell and Matt Giteau have made the squad and you will likely see Rory Arnold and Taqele Naiyaravoro make their debuts against the Springboks.

The squad: Rory Arnold (Brumbies)*
Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs)
Kurtley Beale (Waratahs)
Quade Cooper (Reds)
Scott Fardy (Brumbies)
Israel Folau (Waratahs)
Bernard Foley (Waratahs)
Will Genia (Reds)
Matt Giteau (Toulon)
Scott Higginbotham (Rebels)
Greg Holmes (Reds)
Michael Hooper (Waratahs)
Rob Horne (Waratahs)
James Horwill (Reds)
Sekope Kepu (Waratahs)
Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies)
Stephen Moore – Captain (Brumbies)
Drew Mitchell (Toulon)
Ben McCalman (Force)
Sean McMahon (Rebels)
Dean Mumm (Waratahs)
Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs)*
Nick Phipps (Waratahs)
David Pocock (Brumbies)
Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs)
Scott Sio (Brumbies)
Rob Simmons (Reds)
Will Skelton (Waratahs)
James Slipper (Reds)
Matt Toomua (Brumbies)
Joe Tomane (Brumbies)

*denotes new cap

Crusaders, Brumbies win!

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BC

 

By: Benedict Chanakira

 

 

 


 

Crusaders 35 Hurricanes 18

Hurricanes vs Crusaders

To be fair this was a sloppy game which had moments of brilliance in patches. The game started quite quickly though, Havili having had y opportunity to create quite an overlap had he passed instead deciding to hold onto the ball. The first chance quashed. The Hurricane line out was atrocious and this cost them badly in the game. A win would have sealed the top spot with three games to go. The champions elect fell to only their second loss of the season.

The Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo was in terrifying form and managed to get a try and create a few. Nadolo was breaking tackles and played an important part which saw Drummond, Tuitavake and Todd add to the five pointers. Daniel Carter managed to get his kicking and distribution game at its best and the Crusaders held a 16-8 lead at the break. Robbie Fruean was sin binned for a powerful hit on Nehe Milner-Skudder. DanColes managed to capitalise on the yellow. Though the referee managed to get this one wrong it had no difference in the long run.

After the break the Hurricanes came out to score a breath taking try as they simply dazzled the Crusaders. Nehe Miner Skudder managed to finish off the move by releasing Ardie Save a who brought the score to 16-15 in favor of the Crusaders. Unfortunately this did not help turn the clash around as the Crusaders managed to seal of the game with three more tries.

One moment that left the Hurricanes fans puzzled could have been Ma’am Nonu trying to shield the ball over the try line instead of playing it.  The Crusaders hopes of a play off still alive as they hope for several results To go their way.

Crusaders 35-18 Hurricanes
SCORERS-

Crusaders : Tries – Drummond, Tuitavake, Todd, Nadolo. Conversions – 3/4 Carter. Penalties – 3/3

Hurricanes : Tries – Coles, A. Savea. Conversions – 1/2 Black. Penalties 2/2

Brumbies 22 Bulls 16

Brumbies vs Bulls

The Blue Bulls will need a miracle to make the play offs and will have their breakdown woes, failure to front up in the forwarcs and a long list of grievances to blame for the loss. The Bulls started well and held a 6-0 lead and Christian Lealifano had issues with his radar. When Lealifano found his range he managed it make it 6-3. Some patient build up saw Jordan Smiler go over in the corner to take the lead to 8-6 for the Brumbies.

After the break a Pollard penalty saw the Blue Bulls regain the lead but that was the last of it. Henry Speight broke the line and raced away unscathed after the Bulls midfield failed to cope with him. He managed to grab a second a few minutes later to take the score to 22-9 to the Brumbies with about 20 minutes to go.

While a late Labuschagne try gave the bulls some hope to win the game their efforts failed. The Brumbies defence managed to hold on as they quanched the late Bulls surge including some well executed maul stops. The Bulls will now look to salvage some pride in the games to follow.

Brumbies 22-16 Blue Bulls
Scorers: Brumbies – Tries: Smiler, Speight (2) Conversions- 2/3. Penalties 1/3.

Bulls- Try: Labuschagne. Conversion: Pollard- 1/1. Penalties: 3/3.

Sharks 31, Bulls 16

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Jake is back, and he has a star-studded line-up to take on a Bulls team that everyone has written off before kick-off.

Cheetahs 20, Lions 21

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It is Super Rugby time, and the Cheetahs welcome the Lions back to the toughest competition in the world!

Lions are in good hands this season

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As far as coaching goes, the Lions are in great hands for their return to Super Rugby in 2014 with the latest consultant they brought in.

 

Eyeing domestic player movement under new Bok selection policy (updated)

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Having recently selected a Springbok side containing no less than 10 players contracted to oversea’s clubs, Heyneke Meyer has certainly set a new precedent for domestic players both young and older, who harbour Springbok aspirations.

Some like former Springbok coach Jake White have recently said the Springbok’s policy of picking overseas players is a ticking time bomb. A multi-faceted argument based on fears of player ‘drain’, weakened domestic competitions, decreased revenue  from sponsorship to broadcasting revenues and with it the very means with which to keep top-level players in the country. These concerns come directly from the sponsors themselves, scribes from NZAR Super rugby unions and not just the sage-like Jake White.

A perpetual ticking time bomb indeed.

On the  flip-side Ruggaworld’s own guru Morne has questioned just what type of effect this would have on all of the above, if any at all? He went on further to state that he thought such was the depth and structures in South African rugby, any perceived exodus due to these new policies would be sustainable. He sited the flow from Grant Khomo Week through to Craven Week, Club rugby, Varsity Cup, Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup and to Super Rugby as being the means to consistently produce and sustain quality Springbok players capable of being world-beaters despite concerns.

Considering the antithesis of Heyneke’s new policy having being in effect for over a decade and only really starting in June this year, there really is no data to further any debate without being subjective.

In the next few years will there be a marked exodus of quality players. By quality I mean players of Super Rugby standard, capable of both keeping RSA Super teams winning and of course at the same time contributing to a world beating Springbok side? Will the quality of domestic competitions wane? Will sponsors pull their funds? Could this lead to NZAR finally splitting from SARU in Super rugby?

Right now the answers would be about as accurate as Mark Keohane’s ‘bones’.

It is for this reason I thought it would be handy keeping a running tab on this thread. Documenting every professional South African player leaving  to play in competitions and leagues overseas, rather than ply their trade domestically.Over the next few years, with particular emphasis on the Rugby World Cup 2015 and the new Super Rugby broadcasting rights renewal we should be able to draw some better data with which to see just what effect this selection policy has had on South African rugby domestically and internationally.

With that in mind I’ll start by listing the current South African players announcing their departure in June after Heyneke’s announcement of first test squads. As the list develops so to the means and method of data can evolve with it… a kind of living organism.

June 2013

Andries Bekker (Japan)
Meyer Bosman (Stade Francais)
Heinrich Brussow (Japan)
Kevin Buys (Brive)
Wesley Dunlop (Montauban)
Dewald Duvenhage (Perpignan)
JP du Plessis (Montpellier)
Burton Francis (Agen)
Bryan Habana (Toulon)
JC Janse van Rensburg (Bayonne)
Zane Kirchner (Leinster)
Juandre Kruger (Racing Metro)
Wandile Mjekevu (Perpignan)
Wynand Olivier (Montpellier)
Joe Pietersen (Biaritz)
JP Pietersen (Japan)
Jacques Potgieter (Japan for 6 months and then Saracens)
Chiliboy Ralapele (Toulouse)
Hendrik Roodt (Grenoble)
Wilhelm Steenkamp (Force)
Morne Steyn (Stade Francais)
Jano Vermaak (Toulouse)

July 2013

Robert Ebersohn (Montpellier)
Marcel Brache (Force)
Chris Heiberg (Force)
Wimpie VD Walt (Japan)
Riaan Viljoen (Japan)
Gerhaad VD Heever (Munster)
HP Momsen (Canberra)
Altus Momsen (Canberra)
Marco Kotze (Canberra)
JP Smith (Canberra)
Ruan Smit (Racing Metro)
Don Armand (Exeter)

August 2013
Conrad Hoffman (Brumbies)
Juan Smith (Toulon)

September 2013

Craig Burden (Toulon)
Cornell Du Preez (Edinburgh)
Lionel Cronje (Brumbies)

 

 

SA’s move North gathers steam

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A possible breakaway by South Africa from the current Super Rugby competition under SANZAR to join a new European based trans-border tournament is gathering steam.

Arthur ready to pack down with Force

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The former coach of the Australian cricket team, Mickey Arthur, is in talks to join Perth-based Super Rugby franchise the Western Force.

Date
August 28, 2013

Georgina Robinson

Rugby Reporter

Talks: Mickey Arthur.Talks: Mickey Arthur. Photo: Getty Images

Arthur is understood to have spent the past couple of months in discussions with Force chief executive Mark Sinderberry about stepping into a role centred around talent development and recruitment at the club. Fairfax Media has been told a deal could be reached as early as next week, when Sinderberry returns from annual leave.

Arthur, 45, has extensive rugby connections to his native South Africa and helped the Force lure five-eighth Sias Ebersohn from the Cheetahs last year. He could also play a key role in any academy squad the Force starts as part of the proposed Australian Super Rugby development competition, which was put to the board of the Australian Rugby Union on Tuesday.

Arthur returned to Perth after his sensational sacking as the coach of the Australian cricket team two weeks before the start of the Ashes series in England in June. He is director of cricket at Anglican boys school Christ Church Grammar but, having lived in Perth for three years, developed a good relationship with Force head coach Michael Foley since the latter’s move there a year ago. ”I’m very passionate about rugby union,” Arthur said in January. ”I’ve jumped on the Western Force and talk a lot to Michael Foley, and I’m trying to help the Force with a little bit of recruitment from South Africa.”

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The Force are increasingly looking to South Africa as a source of affordable talent that reduces their exposure to the high-priced bidding wars in the Australian market.

At the start of this month they announced former Stormers centre Marcel Brache and prop Chris Heiberg would play for them next year, joining Ebersohn and Bulls second-rower Wilhelm Steenkamp.

The ARU has given the Force and the Melbourne Rebels considerable room to move with recruitment. While the Reds, Waratahs and Brumbies are limited to two foreign signings on their rosters, the Force, for example, are now allowed six foreign development players and two marquees.

”With four provinces fighting over the same players on the east coast, we’ll continue to think outside the square with regard to our recruitment,” Sinderberry said.

Arthur’s addition to the payroll could give the club significant access to the South African market, not to mention the benefit of his coaching experience.

Arthur took the South African cricket team to the top of the international rankings during his five-year stint as head coach, before moving to Australia.

He coached the West Australian team for a year before taking on the top national job as the first foreigner to coach the Australian cricket team.

Following his sacking in June, with two years left to run on his contract, Arthur lodged a case for unfair dismissal with Fair Work Australia. He reached a settlement with Cricket Australia reported to be worth an estimated $600,000, or equivalent to one year’s salary plus bonuses.

Code-breakers: Coaches who have crossed divides

Mickey Arthur

Having enjoyed huge success with the South African cricket team, reviving the fortunes of the Australian side proved beyond Arthur, below, who is now in talks with the Force over a switch to rugby.

Clive Woodward

Rugby World Cup winning-coach of England who moved into football, spending a tumultuous 12 months as performance director, then director of football, at Southampton.

Brian Smith

The former rugby league coach for St George, Parramatta, the Roosters and Newcastle enjoyed a successful collaboration as defence consultant with the Brumbies, helping the team make the Super Rugby final this year.

Ric Charlesworth

Sheffield Shield-winning cricketer for Western Australia in the 1970s who also won Olympic silver with the Kookaburras during a 227-game hockey career. Went on to coach the Hockeyroos for seven years.

Shaun Edwards

England and Wigan rugby league legend who moved to rugby as a coach and is now defence coach for Wales under Warren Gatland.

John Muggleton

Former Eels and Origin player for NSW who coached Georgia at the 2011 Rugby World Cup then spent two seasons as defence coach at the Melbourne Rebels.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/arthur-ready-to-pack-down-with-force-20130827-2sodk.html#ixzz2dEcbFETS

ARU leaning towards two Super conferences

47

The Australian Rugby Union is open to an overhaul of Super Rugby that would see more trans-Tasman derbies and up to two Argentinian teams included in the competition.

Date
August 8, 2013 – 6:16PM

Georgina Robinson

Rugby Reporter

New challenge: up to two Argentinian teams could  included in a revamped competition.

New challenge: up to two Argentinian teams could included in a revamped competition. Photo: AFP

Super Rugby’s governing body, SANZAR, is under pressure to include a sixth South African team in the competition from 2016 and believes the best way of doing so is to cut the current three-conference system down to two conferences that would not play each other until a finals series.

One conference would include the current Australian and New Zealand teams and the other would include six South African teams and up to two sides from Argentina.

ARU chief executive Bill Pulver would not commit to a preferred model on Thursday but said he supported the inclusion of Argentina, which is playing its second season in the Rugby Championship this year.

It is also understood that while Australia might have preferred to stay with the current three conference model during previous discussions, the prospect of less travel and more marketable derby-style matches between New Zealand and Australian sides has the ARU looking closely at the proposal.

Australian teams would play each other twice and all New Zealand teams once before meeting the top three or four teams from the eight-team South Africa-Argentina conference.

It is becoming less and less likely that Super Rugby in its current format will exist beyond the next Rugby World Cup.

Its new shape is expected to be decided on by the SANZAR nations and Argentina by the end of this year.

A further expansion including an Asian team, possibly Japan, is also on the cards. But Pulver said there was no plan to include a Pacific Islands-based franchise.

Also in the works for 2016 is a new international calendar that would see the June internationals window moved to July and Super Rugby finishing before that break.

The International Rugby Players’ Association has been behind the push, with the SANZAR nations and England’s Premiership Rugby clubs on board.

“I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of having that change,” Pulver said. “Having a Test series take place in June is really quite inconvenient from a Super Rugby perspective. Having to break the competition for a month, particularly for those teams not in the finals series, is very disruptive.”

Wallabies and Waratahs No.7 Michael Hooper also backed the move, saying it made sense to “clean up” the calendar.

“As Waratahs we had to break up for a couple of weeks, come back, play one game against the Reds,” Hooper said. “It’s difficult, while the main squad is training throughout that window you lose guys, guys come back, and it would just clean up the year. I think most players would be for that.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/aru-leaning-towards-two-super-conferences-20130808-2rkhf.html#ixzz2bNFm2by0

Kings bench Luke

6

The Southern Kings have named Andries Strauss as captain, with Luke Watson coming on from the bench for the match against the Cheetahs on Saturday in Bloemfontein.

Director of Rugby, Alan Solomons, said the decision to bench Watson had been made following a number of factors.

“Just to put perspective on it, Luke sustained a bad ankle injury at the end of last season and missed the last couple of games. He worked very hard, he is extremely professional and diligent, to get his fitness up to speed, which he did by the last pre-season game against the Griquas,” he said.

“Unfortunately in the first game, against the Western Force, Luke sustained a nasty throat injury where he fractured a bone in his throat that made things extremely difficult in that it partially blocked his airway and made training impossible.”

Solomons said Watson had restarted training while the team was on tour and had played a full 80 minutes against the SWD Eagles in the Vodacom Cup the week before the team returned.

He said he had discussed Watson’s fitness with him as well as the medical and conditioning team ahead of the Bulls game and had decided that they would start him and play him for 40 to 45 minutes, which they did.

“Obviously Luke is our captain. He is an experienced player with international experience and super rugby experience,” he said

“For this particular game, however, we are playing up country in Bloemfontein, there is an altitude factor and after discussing it with the conditioning and medical staff, as part of the plan for Luke’s full re-entry into Super Rugby, I have decided that the most appropriate thing would be for him to come in off the bench.”

“With Luke coming off the bench, Andries assumes captaincy and Steven Sykes takes control of the Forwards as vice captain,” he said.

Solomons said Sergeal Petersen was also not up for selection after continuing concerns over the groin strain he had sustained last week during training, despite initial indications that he was eligible for selection.

“Sergeal’s groin is still not 100% and on discussing it with the medical staff, we feel that it would not be worth risking.”

“He is a young guy, an athlete and wing. If he tears the groin muscle, it could not only affect his playing this season, but his career going forward. He is a young 18-year-old who has a marvellous career ahead of him and we feel that to be cautious at this point in time is the right thing for him.”

Solomons said Petersen’s unavailability presented an opportunity for Siyanda Grey to make his Super Rugby debut, while Marcello Sampson was also being rested, making way for Michael Killian, who missed out the first half of the season after breaking his arm before the start of the season.

“Siyanda sustained a torn ACL last season, and it has been a long hard road to recovery, but he has now played regularly for the Vodacom Cup side and it is great to have him back playing for the senior side and being able to play Super Rugby.”

“Marcello has been involved in most of the games to date, Michael comes back from injury and we have done a rotation there, as it is important that we have strength in depth. One must also remember that we have now played seven games back to back, including four on tour, and the effects of that are being felt,” he said.

Solomons said Ronnie Cooke moved back to centre for Waylon Murray, who moved to the bench.

Discussing the front pack, Solomons said Rynier Bernardo would start while David Bulbring moved to the bench, while Jacques “Vleis” Engelbrecht  would start at number eight in Watson’s place.

Virgile Lacombe has also been named on the bench, having recovered from his rib injury and having come off a strong showing in the second half of the Vodacom Cup game against the Sharks XV this past weekend.

Kings team:

15.          George Whitehead

11.          Michael Killian

13.          Ronnie Cooke

12.          Andries Strauss (Captain)

14.          Siyanda Grey

10.          Demetri Catrakilis

9.             Shaun Venter

1.             Schalk Ferreira

2.             Bandise Maku

3.             Kevin Buys

6.             Cornell du Preez

4.             Steve Sykes (Vice Captain)

5.             Rynier Bernado

7.             Wimpie van der Walt

8.             Jacques Engelbrecht

Replacements

16.          Virgile Lacombe

17.          Grant Kemp

18.          David Bulbring

19.          Luke Watson

20.          Nicolas Vergallo

21.          Waylon Murray

22.          Siviwe Soyizwapi

Don’t you… Forget about me…

15

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

SA Rugby moving in the right direction

20

I read with some confusion on certain media platforms how  Super Rugby results so far is a bad thing for SA Rugby and continue to show our inferiority against (specifically) NZ teams.

Proudly <i>Rugby</i>

48

Round about this time of the week you will read my review of Super Rugby matches over the weekend…

Chiefs team for Blues

0

The Chiefs have announced their team to play the Blues in their Investec Super Rugby encounter at ASB Baypark Stadium, Mount Maunganui on Easter Saturday at 7.35pm.

Ahead of one of the most anticipated Investec Super Rugby matches this year, Chiefs Coach Dave Rennie said “The Blues are a very good side.  They obviously had impressive victories against other New Zealand franchises in their opening weeks and had a few arm wrestles that they could have won.   We have a lot of respect for them and this will be a big occasion for both sides.”

In the match sponsored by Ekan, Dave Rennie has made several changes to his side. Prop Toby Smith, flanker Tanerau Latimer, No 8 Fritz Lee and second five-eighth Bundee Aki all earn a starting spot.  On the back of his solid return off the bench after a ten month injury break, centre Richard Kahui will make his first start in the no 13 jersey.

Halfback Augustine Pulu will start after Tawera Kerr-Barlow broke his jaw and Brendon Leonard will make his timely return on the bench after recovering from a cheek injury.  Nick Crosswell, Sam Cane and Andrew Horrell all join the reserves.

Chiefs

  1. Toby Smith
  2. Hika Elliot
  3. Ben Afeaki
  4. Michael Fitzgerald
  5. Brodie Retallick
  6. Liam Messam ©
  7. Tanerau Latimer
  8. Fritz Lee
  9. Augustine Pulu
  10. Aaron Cruden
  11. Asaeli Tikoirotuma
  12. Bundee Aki
  13. Richard Kahui
  14. Lelia Masaga
  15. Gareth Anscombe

  16. Rhys Marshall
  17. Ben Tameifuna
  18. Nick Crosswell
  19. Sam Cane
  20. Brendon Leonard
  21. Andrew Horrell
  22. Patrick Osborne

Saders team for Stormers

1

The Crusaders are in South Africa this week to face Cape Town’s Stormers. Despite having won 72% of their games against the Stormers the Crusaders are taking nothing for granted. The Stormers are a formidable side that play a very physical game and on home turf they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named his team making four changes to the team that played the Kings last weekend.

Luke Whitelock takes the number eight jersey replacing injured skipper Kieran Read while Tyler Bleyendaal moves into first five-eighth to replace Dan Carter who has remained in New Zealand to be at the birth of his first child.

Israel Dagg returns to fullback, moving Tom Marshall back to the Wing and Zac Guildford to the bench. George Whitelock will captain the side.

The game will also mark a special occasion for inside centre and vice captain Ryan Crotty who will be playing his 50th Super Rugby game for the Crusaders. On the bench, Jordan Taufua will have the opportunity to make his first appearance for the Crusaders if called upon.

Crusaders team:

1. Wyatt Crockett
2. Corey Flynn
3. Owen Franks
4. Luke Romano
5. Samuel Whitelock
6. George Whitelock (c)
7. Matt Todd
8. Luke Whitelock
9. Willi Heinz
10. Tyler Bleyendaal
11. Johnny McNicholl
12. Ryan Crotty
13. Robbie Fruean
14. Tom Marshall
15. Israel Dagg

Reserves
16. Ben Funnell
17. Joe Moody
18. Dominic Bird
19. Jordan Taufua
20. Andy Ellis
21. Adam Whitelock
22. Zac Guildford

Canes team for Kings

0

Following the team’s first bye of the season, the Hurricanes will return to Westpac Stadium this Easter Saturday.

The team will have an afternoon match with the newest team to the competition, the Southern Kings. This will be the Hurricanes’ first South African opponent of the 2013 season.

Dane Coles will return to the starting line-up after a two week lay-off with a lower ankle strain and Andre Taylor returns to fullback jersey. There are a few brackets to the starting line-up, as the coaches wait to see how the team come through training on Thursday. TJ Perenara has a calf strain and Conrad Smith a bruised heel. Both will need to complete training before they will be cleared to play for Saturday’s match. If not, that would see Chris Smylie start at halfback with Samisoni Fisilau making his debut on the bench. Alapati Leiua would move into centre and Matt Proctor debuting on the wing.

Ash Dixon will wear the back-up hooker jersey again allowing Motu Matu’u to recover from his shoulder injury. Changes on the bench include Mark Reddish, who is back in the mix after a hamstring injury early on in the competition, and Reynold Lee-Lo takes jersey number 22 to round off the bench.

Jeffery Toomaga-Allen will remain on the side-line this week with an injured sternum. Blade Thomson is still unavailable due to his high ankle sprain for another 3-4 weeks.

The Hurricanes team is as follows:

  1. Ben Franks
  2. Dane Coles
  3. Ben May
  4. Jeremy Thrush
  5. Jason Eaton
  6. Brad Shields
  7. Karl Lowe
  8. Victor Vito
  9. TJ Perenara / Chris Smylie
  10. Beauden Barrett
  11. Julian Savea
  12. Tim Bateman
  13. Conrad Smith (c) / Alapati Leiua
  14. Alapati Leiua / Matt Proctor
  15. Andre Taylor

RESERVES

  1. Ash Dixon
  2. Reggie Goodes
  3. Mark Reddish
  4. Faifili Levave
  5. Chris Smylie / Samisoni Fisilau
  6. Tusi Pisi
  7. Reynold Lee-Lo

Super Rugby players stats round 6

31

All the season 2013 player stats that matter after round 6…

Gill returns for Reds

0

St.George Queensland Reds flanker Liam Gill will make his return from injury in one of four changes made to the Reds starting line-up for Friday’s round seven Super Rugby clash against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Gill returns from a one-week injury layoff after recovering from a minor MCL complaint and will join lock Rob Simmons and a new wing pairing of Luke Morahan and Dom Shipperley in the starting XV, following the injury withdrawal of both Digby Ioane (knee) and Chris Feauai-Sautia (thigh strain).

Ioane, who hasn’t suffered any structural damage to his knee, will be given a fortnight to recover from bruising to his bone while Feauai-Sautia is also expected to be fit from his thigh strain following next week’s bye.

The Reds will also be without hooker Saia Faingaa, who is continuing to recover from joint inflammation in his neck; scrumhalf Nick Frisby, who rolled his ankle at the end of last night’s training session; and centre Mike Harris, who has a bone chip and ligament damage to his hand.

However, four new faces are set to return on the bench with Ben Daley, scrumhalf Ben Lucas and backs Aidan Toua and Rod Davies coming into the matchday squad.

For Daley and Davies it will be their first opportunity in the Reds jersey for 2013 while Lucas and Toua have been part of the team’s early season success, which has seen them win four of their opening six Super Rugby games.

The other change to the Reds starting line-up sees Simmons reunited with captain James Horwill in the second row, the first time the duo will start a match together since the Reds clash against the Brumbies on May 26 last year.

Despite the changes, Reds Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie said it was business as usual as they continue preparations for Friday night.

“We’ve always had the mentality of backing the next guy in line and there is no reason not to be positive or excited about our prospects against the Highlanders,” McKenzie said.

“We aren’t in a situation we’ve never dealt with before and there have been plenty of games where we’ve faced challenging circumstances but still come out on top.

“Two games that really stick in my mind are wins against the Chiefs in my first two seasons here, where we battled injuries but still travelled to New Zealand and got a result.

“The attitudinal pieces from the group were of a high standard in the lead-up to those games and we’ll be expecting exactly the same this week.

“We also have guys like Rod Davies and Ben Daley who have been itching for an opportunity, and now that their injuries are behind them, they get one.

“Of the injured guys, we have the benefit of the bye next week so we don’t want to take any risks.  We’ll be aggressive with their treatment in the next fortnight and hope to see as many back as possible for the Chiefs.”

McKenzie will this week become the most capped coach in Super Rugby history as he breaks the record he currently owns alongside Robbie Deans with 120 games (66 with the Waratahs from 2003-08, 54 with the Reds from 2010-current).

However, it will be another record McKenzie has his sights set upon on Friday with the Reds chasing their first-ever victory in Dunedin in the professional Rugby era.

While the Reds have a strong record against the Highlanders in Queensland, winning seven of their nine games played, they are yet to topple the Highlanders on New Zealand soil.

The Reds will field an unchanged front-row in props Greg Holmes and James Slipper and hooker James Hanson, while Gill re-joins a backrow featuring Eddie Quirk at blindside flanker and Jake Schatz at No.8.

Vice-captain and scrumhalf Will Genia continues his successful comeback from injury and will join flyhalf Quade Cooper in the playmaking roles, alongside the centre pairing of Ben Tapuai and Anthony Faingaa.

Jono Lance earns his fourth consecutive start at fullback as part of the new-look outside back combination with Morahan and Shipperley on the wings.

St.George Queensland Reds team to play the Highlanders
1. Greg Holmes
2. James Hanson
3. James Slipper
4. Rob Simmons
5. James Horwill (c)
6. Eddie Quirk
7. Liam Gill
8. Jake Schatz
9. Will Genia (vc)
10. Quade Cooper
11. Luke Morahan
12. Ben Tapuai
13. Anthony Faingaa
14. Dom Shipperley
15. Jono Lance

16. Albert Anae
17. Ben Daley
18. Ed O’Donoghue
19. Jarrad Butler
20. Ben Lucas
21. Aidan Toua
22. Rod Davies

Voltbet Super Rugby Review

17

I have a solution for SANZAR (and SA Rugby)!

Shields spreading the love again (oh and the shit)

16

The Spred and Spri awards

Crusaders name team for Kings match

13

The Crusaders take on new comers the Southern Kings this Saturday. While the Kings are new to the Investec Super Rugby tournament, their coach Matt Sexton is no stranger to the Crusaders and he will be out to show his old team mates what his South African team are made of.

Kings call back foreign players to SA from tour

2

Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) President, Cheeky Watson, left Port Elizabeth this afternoon for New Zealand, to go and address the Southern Kings touring squad following the announcement from the SA Rugby Union (SARU) relating to the foreign player issue.

Steyn, Kanko dropped from Sharks starting XV

3

Last weekend’s match against the Brumbies saw some big performances from a number of younger players in the team, and for that, Sharks coach John Plumtree has rewarded them for the Rebels game this Saturday.

Ludeke makes 9 changes to Bulls

15

Injuries and rotation played a major role in Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke’s call to name an almost new side for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Reds in Brisbane.

An unsatisfactory loss to the Crusaders last weekend also resulted in at least four players being ruled out of the remainder of the tour and only six players who started in Christchurch will do so again this weekend.

Fullback Zane Kirchner, outside centre JJ Engelbrecht, halfback Jano Vermaak, no 8 and captain Pierre Spies, flanker Deon Stegmann and loose head prop Mornè Mellett are all in the run-on side again.

The return to fitness of Lionel Mapoe and Bjorn Basson will see both try-scoring aces on the wing, whilst Francois Venter will replace injured Wynand Olivier at inside centre.

Flyhalf Louis Fouchè will also earn a first start in Super Rugby, but the strappy pivot will be playing in his 15th match at this level.

Record-breaking flyhalf and the most experienced player in the side, Mornè Steyn will play off the bench for the first time in a couple of seasons.

Up front, the fit-again Dewald Potgieter takes over from Arno Botha at seven, whilst a new lock combination in Grant Hattingh and Paul Willemse will start for the first time in their Vodacom Bulls careers. Both have started for the MTN Lions last year.

Regular starter Juandrè Kruger will play off the bench and Flip van der Merwe is injured.

Springbok front row players Chiliboy Ralepelle and Werner Kruger also returns to the starting team ahead of Willie Wepener and Frik Kirsten.

On the bench, Ruan Snyman replaces the injured Francois Hougaard. Snyman’s only start for the Bulls was in 2010.

The team (with Super Rugby caps) is: Zane Kirchner (75), Lionel Mapoe (31), JJ Engelbrecht (20), Francois Venter (9), Bjorn Basson (44), Louis Fouchè (14) , Jano Vermaak (92), Pierre Spies (93, c), Dewald Potgieter (55), Deon Stegmann (63), Grant Hattingh (13), Paul Willemse (1), Werner Kruger (79), Chiliboy Ralepelle (56), Mornè Mellett (4). REPLACEMENTS: Willie Wepener (57), Frik Kirsten (19), Juandrè Kruger (21), Jacques Potgieter (16), Ruan Snyman (1), Mornè Steyn (110), Jan Serfontein (2).

Milestones:

•Louis Fouchè, Grant Hattingh and Paul Willemse will all make their run-on debut for the Vodacom Bulls.

•Mornè Steyn could extend his point scoring record of 1269 points (12 tries, 216 conversions, 235 penalties, 24 drop goals) if he takes to the field.

Rebels team for Sharks announced

0

The RaboDirect Rebels welcome the return of their Captain, Gareth Delve, from injury for their first tour match against the Sharks in Durban.

The Rebels also welcome back Wallaby winger, Cooper Vuna, who has missed the Club’s opening matches with a scapular injury he sustained in the first trial last month.

RaboDirect Rebels Head Coach, Damien Hill, has also rewarded promising New Zealand born winger, Jason Woodward, selecting the talented rookie in the run on side for his debut.

“The Club is in a great position having players such as Jason and Cooper available for selection.

“Cooper is renowned for his try scoring ability, while Jason has shown in last season’s ITM Cup he is a player of the future,” said Hill.

“Gareth has made an immediate impact since returning. His on and off field leadership will be a great acquisition for this young Rebels side taking the field.”

While it will be an historical match for Woodward, the night will also celebrate Laurie Weeks’ 50th Super Rugby Cap.

Rebels Hooker Ged Robinson paid tribute to his front row teammate.

“Many people would appreciate the work Laurie does on the field, but the people who know him personally and at this Club understand how important he is to the team dynamic and how resilient he has been over the past two seasons to get to this point.

“He is a very popular member of the Melbourne Rebels Club.”

The RaboDirect Rebels Team to play the the Sharks at Kings Park March 23. Kick off 5.05pm (LIVE FOXSPORTS 3 March 24. Kick off 2.05am AEST)

1. Nic Henderson

2. Ged Robinson

3. Laurie Weeks*

4. Hugh Pyle

5. Luke Jones

6. Scott Higginbotham

7. Scott Fuglistaller

8. Gareth Delve (c)

9. Nick Phipps

10. James O’Connor

11. Cooper Vuna

12. Lachlan Mitchell

13. Mitch Inman

14. Jason Woodward^

15. Angus Roberts

16. Shota Horie

17. Paul Alo-Emile

18. Cadeyrn Neville

19. Jordy Reid

20.  Nic Stirzaker

21. Rory Sidey

22. Richard Kingi

*50th Super Rugby Cap

^Super Rugby Debut

Not considered due to injury: Kurtley Beale, Kimami Sitauti.

Goosen crocked, again

18

Reports from Australia suggests Johan Goosen tore ligaments in his knee and will require surgery.

Kings touring squad

26

The Kings have released their squad for their tour down-under, and as reported, no Luke Watson.

Sharks 10, Brumbies 29

14

The Sharks have been anything but convincing in recent weeks and will look to change that as they take on Australia’s top side, the Brumbies.

Teams:

Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Keegan Daniel (captain), 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Lwazi Mvovo.

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Fotu Auelua, 7 George Smith, 6 Ben Mowen (captain), 5 Sam Carter, 4 Peter Kimlin, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruaidhri Murphy, 18 Scott Fardy, 19 Colby Faingaa, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Robbie Coleman, 22 Clyde Rathbone.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Reuben Rossouw (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

Reds 12, Force 19

0

The Force have beaten the Reds in a forgettable Australian Super Rugby Conference clash in Brisbane on Saturday.

Crusaders 41, Bulls 19

34

The Crusaders showed their pedigree with a resounding victory over the Bulls in their Super Rugby clash in Christchurch.

Kings 24, Chiefs 35

6

Many believe this is the real test for the Kings. Defending Super Rugby Champions against the debutants. A win would be nothing short of a miracle, a close game, more likely.

Waratahs 26, Cheetahs 27

14

Cheetahs have come off an unbelievable win over the Highlanders last week, can they put two good performances together to beat the Waratahs who are in disarray?

Highlanders 19, Hurricanes 23

0

Should be an awesome NZ derby this, Landers would be desperate for a win after losing to the Cheetahs, Canes will be on a high following their win over Crusaders…

Brumbies make 5 changes for Sharks

2

Scott Sio makes his first career start at loose-head prop in Durban on Saturday night when the University of Canberra Brumbies take on the Sharks.

Keegan back for Sharks

0

The Sharks welcome back their captain, Keegan Daniel for their match against the Brumbies this weekend.

Highlanders: Joseph wields the axe

0

Highlanders’ Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, has named his team to play the Hurricanes at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin tomorrow night (7.35pm NZT).

Reds change 3

0

St.George Queensland Reds scrumhalf Will Genia will make his return from injury as  part of three changes made to the starting line-up for Saturday’s round five Super Rugby clash against the Western Force at Suncorp Stadium (kickoff 6:30pm).

SPRED the Love

18

Resident contributor, Shields, cautions against the hype around our teams following this weekend’s results.

Chiefs: Messam gets his ton

0

Chiefs co-captain Liam Messam is to become the first Chief to play 100 Investec Super Rugby matches when the Chiefs play the Southern Kings this weekend.

Crusaders change one for Bulls

0

The Crusaders play their first home game of the season this Saturday night against a strong Bulls team who haven’t lost a game yet this season.

The Crusaders last met the Bulls in the 2012 qualifying rounds where the Crusaders came out the victors and secured a place in the semi-final with a 28-13win.

Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named his team with only one change to the team that played the Hurricanes last weekend.

Tom Taylor’s medial ligament injury has ruled him out of this week’s game allowing Tyler Bleyendaal to take his place on the bench.

It is 209 days since the Crusaders last played at home and the team is excited to be running out onto AMI Stadium (Addington) once again to play in front of a home crowd. Kick-off is at 7:35pm.

Crusaders team

15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tyler Bleyendaal, 22 Adam Whitelock.

Waratahs: Barnes back for Cheetahs match

0

Berrick Barnes will make his first appearance of the Super Rugby season on Friday when the HSBC Waratahs host the Cheetahs at Allianz Stadium.