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Tshidiso Mokhoanatse

Tshidiso Mokhoanatse

The man trying to stop the Springboks from leaving South Africa needs to find a lawyer, a judge cautioned him on Wednesday, as he is jumping into waters where there are “fish that bite”.

“You may find that you are traversing an area which is like a pond on the surface. It looks calm, but underneath the waters flow with tremendous force, if you are not familiar with that terrain,” Judge Ntendeya Mavundla cautioned Tshidiso Mokhoanatse.

He was referring to the debate about transformation in sport, and society in general.

The leader of the Agency for New Agenda party was about to jump into the deep end and tackle the case on his own, when Mavundla advised him it would be best to get a “scuba diver” to help him.

Mavundla stood the matter down until 14:00 SA Time for a lawyer from the Bar Council or Law Society to help him.

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Jan Serfontein

Jan Serfontein

Marcel van der Merwe

Marcel van der Merwe

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais named Springbok prop Marcel van der Merwe in his starting front-row and added Springbok midfielder Jan Serfontein to his bench for Friday’s ABSA Currie Cup match against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld.

Marais also has Francois Hougaard back in the starting team after the scrumhalf missed last week’s win over the ORC Griquas due to personal reasons. He replaces Ivan van Zyl who moves back to the bench.

Hougaard’s return is the only change in the backline, but Marais made 3 changes in the pack. Van der Merwe comes in for Werner Kruger, who is rested and a fit-again Roelof Smit comes in for Jannes Kirsten at flank, with the latter moving to the bench. In the other change, Dean Greyling will be replaced by Pierre Schoeman. Greyling has a knee strain and with Schoeman fit and ready to go following a long injury lay-off, Marais decided to give Greyling a break.

Under 21 regular Schoeman will make his debut in the competition, but has played for the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup.

Serfontein comes in for Dan Kriel, who will return to the Under 21 team.

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As is usual, Rugby-Talk.com’s SuperBru Pools are open for ALL REGISTERED SUBSCRIBERS of Rugby-Talk.com, so if you are not yet registered here on Rugby-Talk.com, do so without delay! It is so easy to register and such fun to discuss rugby here.

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Flip van der Merwe

Flip van der Merwe

Blue Bulls & Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe has been released from his contract at the Vodacom Blue Bulls with immediate effect.

While the Blue Bulls initially decided that Van der Merwe was necessary for their ABSA Currie Cup campaign, his call-up to the Springboks a few weeks ago negated this and they had to find a way to do without him.

The Blue Bulls initially were worried about a lack of experience in the team but their good start to the Currie Cup season, where they are still unbeaten after 4 Rounds has led them to back their youngsters.

When Van der Merwe didn’t make the cut for the Springbok squad to the Rugby World Cup, it was decided to release him from his contract so that he could further his career in France.

Van der Merwe signed with French Top 14 club Clermont Auvergne during this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby season, at the same time as another Bulls lock, Jacques du Plessis, signed with Montpellier.

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From Left to Right: UAR President Carlos Araujo, Juan Martin Leguizamon & UAR Secretary Fernando Rizzi

From Left to Right: UAR President Carlos Araujo, Juan Martin Leguizamon & UAR Secretary Fernando Rizzi

Juan Manuel Leguizamon is set to return to his homeland to represent Argentina’s new Super Rugby franchise after a decade in Europe.

The veteran, who has represented London Irish, Stade Francais and Lyon, signed his contract on Tuesday in the presence of UAR President, Carlos Araujo and Secretary of the Union, Fernando Rizzi.

“This is another important day for Argentine rugby,” Araujo said.

“Juan Manuel has been a strength of the Pumas and 1 of the pillars of a process that has been underway for years and that will peak in 2016 with the inclusion of Argentina in the Super Rugby competition.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Tuesday applauded the work done by the national team’s medical, strength and conditioning staff to get the squad fit and ready for the Rugby World Cup.

Each member of the 31-man squad took part in most of the field sessions on Monday and Tuesday in Durban, including Duane Vermeulen, Jean de Villiers, Jannie du Plessis, Fourie du Preez and Francois Louw.

The training camp in Durban concludes on Wednesday and the players and management will get together again in Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon. The squad departs for England on Friday 11 September.

“We’re confident that all of the players will be fit to be considered for selection for our opening match against Japan in Brighton on 19 September,” said Meyer.

 

Duane Vermeulen at training

Duane Vermeulen at training

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Cheeky Watson

Cheeky Watson

EP Kings players and the union’s management are again at loggerheads over apparent delays in player payments.

The cash-strapped union was unable to pay players for several months earlier in the season, but the issue was thought to be resolved last month when EP president Cheeky Watson announced that the players were compensated up until the end of July.

However, similar issues appear to have risen again with regards to August’s salaries, and according to CEO Charl Crous they are working at “resolving the matter”.

There is believed to be a threat of a player strike, although Crous said he received no communication in that regard.

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World RugbyInternational rugby’s ruling body, World Rugby, are expected to sanction an experiment in Wales that will see 6 points being awarded for tries and 2 points for all kicks…

The sports governing body are constantly reviewing the rules in rugby and looking at ways to improve the game and this experiment is expected to promote scoring tries instead taking kicks for points.

The experiement is expected to go ahead in Wales’ 2nd-tier Premiership which is made up of semi-professional teams and includes some of the biggest clubs in the history of the Welsh game and includes Pontypridd, Llanelli, Cardiff and Newport.

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Taqele Naiyaravoro

Taqele Naiyaravoro

Sam Carter

Sam Carter

James Hanson

James Hanson

The Wallabies have called Taqele Naiyaravoro, Sam Carter and James Hanson into a 34-man squad in the USA for their upcoming Test against USA Eagles at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Hanson and Carter will link with the squad in Indiana following solid performances during the opening rounds of the National Rugby Championship, while Naiyaravoro arrived at the team’s camp at Notre Dame University from London this afternoon after playing in the Barbarians’ 27 / 24 win over Samoa.

All 3 players were involved in last week’s camp in Sydney as part of the wider Wallabies training squad and will continue to play a role in the team’s preparation for the USA match.

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William Small-Smith

William Small-Smith

Jan Serfontein

Jan Serfontein

Most coaches wouldn’t see it as a problem, but Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais has a welcome headache this week when he makes his selection for Friday night’s ABSA Currie Cup game against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld.

As 1 of the unluckiest players not to be selected for the Springboks, midfielder Jan Serfontein has returned to Loftus this week to continue in the Currie Cup, and his return coincides with his SA Under 20 midfield partner William Small-Smith also being declared fit from injury.

But it isn’t as if the Blue Bulls are seriously short of midfielders as they continue their unbeaten start to the Currie Cup season either. The current duo of Burger Odendaal and Dries Swanepoel have been exceptional in their play of late and Swanepoel scored twice in the big win over Griquas on the weekend.

So Marais now sits with the headache of how to make 4 go into 3 – with 1 unlucky player likely to lose out on 1 of the 2 starting berths and a place on the bench this weekend when they host the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.

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USA RugbyThere were no surprises when the 31-man United States of America (USA Eagles) squad for the Rugby World Cup in England was announced on Tuesday.

Captain Chris Wyles will lead the USA in Pool B where they face Japan, Samoa, Scotland, and South Africa.

The USA team will feature 20 Rugby World Cup debutants.

The squad selected for the Rugby World Cup is the same as the 1 chosen for the 3 World Cup warm-up matches, which included a 3rd-consecutive victory over Canada.

Additionally, 13 players have professional contracts overseas.

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World RugbyAs the Rugby World Cup looms, the Springboks this week remain 4th on World Rugby’s official rankings.

Heyneke Meyer’s charges currently boast 85.15 ratings points, trailing Ireland Australia and New Zealand.

Ireland’s 16 / 10 home loss to Wales at the weekend saw them slip to 3rd, with Australia moving into 2nd spot.

Ireland’s defeat cost them 1.7 ratings points, leaving them on 85.19 points, 1.48 adrift of the Wallabies.

The All Blacks (92.89) remain comfortably atop the rankings – a position they have occupied since November 2009.

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Colin Slade

Colin Slade

The All Blacks played down injury concerns over Colin Slade on Tuesday after the flyhalf went down with a knee problem at training.

Slade received medical attention after slipping over in Wellington, an incident which revived memories of New Zealand’s injury woes at the last tournament in 2011.

“He slipped over during training and landed awkwardly on his knee and gave it a bit of a tweak,” assistant coach Ian Foster said.

“He was walking around the shed afterwards. He’s fine.”

Slade was 1 of 3 flyhalves sidelined with injury during the 2011 World Cup, almost derailing New Zealand’s bid to win the tournament on home soil.

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IrelandIreland’s 2014 Player of the Year Andrew Trimble has been omitted from coach Joe Schmidt’s 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup, announced on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old had missed this years’ Six Nations through injury but had returned to action this year and was available for the global showpiece.

Trimble has played just once for Ireland in the past 12 months, in a 35 / 12 victory over Wales in a World Cup warm-up match on 8 August, but a flare-up of his toe injury meant he played only 33 minutes of that game.

Wings Keith Earls and Luke Fitzgerald, who were injured during Saturday’s Dublin defeat by Wales, are included the squad.

Trimble, Gordan D’Arcy, Kieran Marmion were notably the most high profile players to miss out on the plane.

D’Arcy’s omission could signal the end of his illustrious international career.

The squad is made up of 17 Forwards and 14 Backs and will be captained by Paul O’Connell who is the most capped player in the Ireland group with 103 caps.

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Sikhumbuzo Notshe

Sikhumbuzo Notshe

Steven Kitshoff

Steven Kitshoff

DHL Western Province flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe will miss this Saturday’s Currie Cup clash against ORC Griquas with an AC Joint injury.

The impressive Notshe is not expected to be out for longer than a week, but coach John Dobson does have some loose forward options to replace him.

“Jurie van Vuuren is back to full fitness and someone like Chris Cloete deserves an opportunity, after coming off the bench so far,” coach John Dobson said.

“Chris starting would mean Rynhardt Elstadt moving back to No 7, but we’re comfortable either way in our players.”

In other news, Springbok squad member Steven Kitshoff (loosehead prop) and Barbarians representative Nic Groom (scrumhalf) are both available for selection this week.

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Nathan Grey

Nathan Grey

The Waratahs have confirmed the re-signing of Assistant Coach Nathan Grey, finalising the coaching structure ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby season.

Grey, who began his coaching role at the Waratahs ahead of their title-winning season in 2014, said he was excited at the prospect of continuing his work with the team, and shaping the next generation of incoming players.

“We’ve got a really exciting group of young players on board for next season who have an opportunity here to contribute to the team right from the start,” Grey said.

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Lausii Taliauli

Lausii Taliauli

Raun Smith

Raun Smith

2 Players with a big future in Super Rugby have re-signed with the Brumbies.

Former Australian Sevens representative Lausii Taliauli has signed a new 1-year deal with the club while tighthead prop Ruan Smith has signed a new 2-year deal.

Taliauli has been earmarked as 1 of Australia’s top wing prospects following his debut for the Brumbies in Round 1 of the 2015 Super Rugby Season. He made 7 appearances for the side this year and crossed for 1 try.

Brumbies Head Coach Stephen Larkham showed faith in the former Gold Coast Titans NRL winger, by selecting Taliauli to start on the wing in the Brumbies Super Rugby Semi-Final loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington.

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ScotlandScotland’s 31-man Rugby World Cup squad has been named, the players have been told, and it was publicly announced this afternoon at Edinburgh University.

After almost 3 months of hard training and 2 wins out of 3 in the warm-up games, Vern Cotter has made his decision and the paperwork has been delivered to the tournament organisers. Supporters were treated at the Old College Quad to see today’s announcement, which was made at 14:30 BST (15:30 SA Time), and supporters had a chance to mingle with the players afterwards.

Following Saturday’s 48 / 7 win over Italy at BT Murrayfield, Cotter and his coaching staff met for final discussions and assessments of the medical reports before confirming the squad and informing the players of the decision.

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Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

Players who failed to make the final 31-man Springbok Rugby World Cup squad have rejoined their respective provinces for ABSA Currie Cup duty.

Out of the original 49 players named prior to this year’s Rugby Championship, 18 will either be available for their South African provinces or jet off to rejoin their overseas clubs.

This means Warren Whiteley (Xerox Golden Lions), Vincent Koch (Steval Pumas), Lionel Mapoe (Xerox Golden Lions), Cornal Hendricks (Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Marcell Coetzee (Cell C Sharks), Cobus Reinach (Cell C Sharks), Scarra Ntubeni (DHL Western Province), Oupa Mohoje (Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Franco Mostert (Xerox Golden Lions), Marcel van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Western Province) and Frans Steyn (Cell C Sharks) can be considered for Currie Cup duty from this weekend.

Players like Heinrich Brussow (Docomo Red Hurricanes, Japan), Elton Jantjies (NTT Shining Arcs, Japan), Jaque Fourie (Kobelco Steelers) and Heinke van der Merwe (Stade Francais, France) will head for their overseas clubs.

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Springbok Rugby World Cup 2015 squad

Springbok Rugby World Cup 2015 squad

With the Springbok Rugby World Cup Squad having been announced on Friday at 18:00 SA Time, this weekend has slowly seen the emergence of the reaction to it.

The general reaction, mine included, is that some players should not be there and some should… but I think it’s fair to say that almost everybody agrees on 85% PLUS of the selected players… call them the “Non-Contestables”, if you will.

It is those final 7 or 8 players which the bickering has featured about as well as the undoubted support for or against the national coach, Heyneke Meyer.

From Government circles, the Minister of Sport & Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, has praised the team and announced that the South African Rugby Union (SARU) is on track with their transformation goals.

To counter this, some obscure little piddly widdly Political Party, the Agency for New Agenda Party…. yeah right, who the hell are they, you are also asking, like me.. have brought a High Court Application in the North Gauteng High Court, seeking an urgent order to compel SARU and the Sports Department officials to surrender their passports so they cannot travel.

Heyneke Meyer has had to fend off those who have questioned some of his selections too, mainly the selection of Rudy Paige at scrumhalf, the only uncapped Springbok in the squad and he has had to give reasons for the specific selection.

In recent weeks, the previous Springbok coach, Peter de Villiers, has also come out with some scathing critisism against Heyneke Meyer, and De Villiers has gone so far as to join forces with Labour Movement, Cosatu, to get his agenda and points accross as well as to form the backbone of a pressure group for the inclusion of more players of colour. Heyneke Meyer has retorted with a very simple yet eloquent reply, by praising Peter de Villiers.

Lastly, with fears regarding the fitness of a number of previously injured and rehabilitating players included in the squad, most notably Fourie du Preez, Jean de Villiers, Duane Vermeulen, Jannie du Plessis and Coenie Oosthuizen, coach Meyer now assures us that all 31 players will be ready to play when the tournament starts on 18 September.

So here goes, let’s look at all these aspects in more depth:

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Vodacom Blue BullsThe Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd on Monday confirmed that a number of high profile Springboks have extended their contracts with the Blue Bulls Company for the next couple of seasons.

The likes of Handré Pollard (Oct 2019), Adriaan Strauss (Oct 2019), Jesse Kriel (Oct 2019), Trevor Nyakane (Oct 2018) and Jan Serfontein (Oct 2017) all confirmed their futures with the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls, by signing extensions that will keep them in Pretoria for a considerable time.

“This is a clear indication that frontline players see the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls as the ideal place to continue and build their already impressive careers,” says High Performance Manager at the Blue Bulls Comapany, Xander Janse van Rensburg.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Xerox Golden Lions swopped places with the Vodacom Blue Bulls at the Top of the ABSA Currie Cup standings after their comprehensive 41 / 11 win over the Steval Pumas on Friday in Nelspruit, with flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff contributing 21 points with the boot.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls proved too strong for ORC Griquas in their Premier Division clash on Saturday in Kimberley and although they won their match comfortably by 46 / 32, they slipped to 2nd spot on the Log after the completion of Round 4, on points difference.

Elsewhere on Saturday, the Cell C Sharks scored a close-fought 24 / 20 win over the Eastern Province Kings after they overturned a 7 / 13 halftime deficit in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

DHL Western Province, the defending champions, suffered their 2nd successive away loss when the Toyota Free State Cheetahs pipped them by 28 / 21 in Bloemfontein on Friday evening despite a spirited rally in the 2nd half.

After 4 Rounds it is the Golden Lions now leading the Log thanks to their 30-point win in Nelspruit, closely followed by the Blue Bulls. The neighbours both have the maximum 20 points from 4 matches. Western Province and Free State Cheetahs (both 10 points) are 3rd and 4th, with the Sharks 5th and now just 1 point behind them. The Pumas (8 points), EP Kings (3 points) and Griquas (1 point) complete the standings.

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Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland

Wales coach Warren Gatland named prop Samson Lee in his 31-man squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Lee has not played since rupturing his Achilles tendon in March.

Flyhalf Gareth Anscombe was left out in favour of Matthew Morgan.

Wales are in Pool A with hosts England, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.

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Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones

Japan’s national coach, Eddie Jones, on Monday named former Australian rugby league star Craig Wing among a 31-strong Japan Rugby World Cup squad.

The squad is packed with imported talent for the tournament beginning next month.

Jones handed a place to former Kangaroo and New South Wales State of Origin Craig Wing, named Chiefs flank Michael Leitch – who is of Fijian origin – as captain and also included former Reds loose forward Hendrik Tui.

Australian Jones also turned to 2nd row forward Michael Broadhurst, who is the brother of 1-cap All Black lock James Broadhurst, and picked veteran New Zealand-born big man Luke Thompson, 34, who can play either in the 2nd row or at loose forward.

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Japan Rugby

Japan Rugby

SANZAR has written to the Japan Rugby Football Union seeking clarity about the players signed to the new Super Rugby franchise amid concerns about the team’s participation in the southern hemisphere provincial competition.

Japan beat off a bid from Singapore to enter a team into the expanded 18-side tournament next year but local media have cast doubts on the side’s ability to compete.

JRFU general secretary Noriyuki Sakamoto shot down reports over the weekend that only a handful of players had been signed, saying the team had already met the quota given to them by SANZAR.

But Brendan Morris, acting chief executive of SANZAR, the tournament’s governing body, said he had asked for more details.

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Paul Feeney

Paul Feeney

Auckland ITM Cup head coach Paul Feeney has been named an assistant for the Blues, commencing at the end of this year’s provincial championship.

Feeney completes the new coaching group for the Blues under head coach Tana Umaga, taking specific responsibility for the backs attack and skills. He joins new defence coach Alastair Rogers and current forwards coach Glenn Moore.

Feeney, a former North Harbour representative, has been a professional coach for 14 seasons including 2 as assistant coach for Fiji and including winning the Rugby World Cup Sevens title and also coached for 2 years in Japan.

He has been involved in the ITM Cup with North Harbour, Bay of Plenty and Auckland, taking over as head coach last year.

Feeney won 3 Heartland Championship titles in succession with East Coast from 2006 – 2008, and was assistant coach with the Blues Development side for the last 3 years.

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ScotlandThe Scotland team and the 2 Scottish PRO12 teams, Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors, were in action this weekend playing warm-up matches.

Scotland faced Italy for the 2nd weekend in a row in the 3rd of their 4 Rugby World Cup warm-up matches. The game was played at Murrayfield in front of what was said to be a record crowd for a summer Test match. The team that ran out must have been close to Vern Cotter’s 1st choice 15 and they did not disappoint running in 6 tries and only conceding 1 in a very impressive performance.

WP Nel put in a solid performance which saw Italy’s scrum in trouble from the word go. The pressure Nel put on Italy’s loosehead prop earned Scotland a few penalties with the loosehead resorting to scrumming in on various occasions.

The next game of the day also took place in Edinburgh where the hosts took on Ulster in a preseason warm-up match, 1 week ahead of the start of the PRO12 for 2015 / 2016. The game was played at Heriot FC’s ground Goldenacre due to the Test match which was played earlier in the day at Murrayfield.

Head coach Alan Solomons would have been pleased to see his team get their 2nd win in their 2nd preseason friendly match against what was a fairly strong starting Ulster line-up.

The final game of the day, which was billed as the ‘Battle of New Scotland’, saw Canada host Glasgow Warriors in Halifax Nova Scotia.

Josh Strauss played the whole game for the Warriors ahead of possible inclusion in the Scotland World Cup squad. Former Glasgow Warriors winger DTH vd Merwe scored a try for Canada late in the game to ensure victory for them. The game was played in quite high temperatures and there were a few water breaks during the game.

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Springboks

The South African Springboks squad, to take on the world’s best in England, at the 2015 Rugby World Cup was officially announced at 18:00 SA Time (16:00 GMT), live on SuperSport 1 on TV in South Africa.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is on a hiding to nothing, no matter which squad he would have selected, whether it be from lobbyists saying that there are not enough players of colour in the side OR whether he is accused of player bias OR choosing old favourites… OR not choosing players on merit.

I urge everybody to accept his selection prerogatives, even though you or me would have done it differently, and to get behind this Springbok side for the Rugby World Cup, where they will be representing their country to the best of their abilities.

The “Ghost Squad” has already been discussed ad-nauseam, the announced squad is exactly the same and feature the inclusion of fringe players like Zane Kirchner, Rudy Paige, Siya Kolisi and Morné Steyn.

Injured or previously injured players like Fourie du Preez, Jean de Villiers, Duane Vermeulen, Coenie Oosthuizen, Jannie du Plessis is also be included in the squad.

A number of players are hugely unlucky not to be selected, they include Heinrich Brüssow, Steven Kitshoff, Marcel van der Merwe, Vincent Koch, Marcell Coetzee, Jan Serfontein, Frans Steyn, Cornal Hendricks, Cobus Reinach and Francois Hougaard.

Here is the Springbok Rugby World Cup squad for 2015, which is now official:

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Nehe Milner-Skudder

Nehe Milner-Skudder

Waisake Naholo

Waisake Naholo

Nehe Milner-Skudder and Waisake Naholo were rewarded for their fine form after they were included in New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup squad.

The inclusion of the 2 pacemean means that there is no place for veterans Israel Dagg and Cory Jane in the squad. Charles Piutau, who has featured regularly for the All Blacks in the last 2 seasons, also misses out on selection.

The squad, captained by Richie McCaw, features 17 forwards and 14 backs. It will be a particularly exciting time for 17 of the All Blacks squad, who will be going to their 1st Rugby World Cup tournament.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said said the squad was a reflection of the depth the country has at the moment.

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David Pocock

David Pocock

The Brumbies are celebrating the re-signing of 1 of world rugby’s most respected players, after David Pocock committed to a new 1-year deal with the club.

Pocock was a standout for the Brumbies in 2015 and was rewarded with 3 of the club’s highest on-field honours, the Brett Robinson Player’s Player, the fan-voted Stallion of the Year and the Best Forward awards.

Capping off a remarkable season, he was also named the Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year at the annual John Eales Medal ceremony in Sydney.

His achievements this season were made even more remarkable by the fact he had played just 5 games in 2013 and 2014 due to 2 serious knee injuries.

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Kurtley Beale

Kurtley Beale

The Waratahs and Australian Rugby Union (ARU) have announced the re-signing of Kurtley Beale on a contract that will see him in Australia for at least a further 2 years, until the end of 2017.

Waratahs Head Coach Daryl Gibson said Beale’s commitment to the side for 2 more seasons would continue his significant contribution to the legacy of the club.

“Kurtley has played some of his best football for the Waratahs, and I am confident we will see his game continue to progress in the seasons to come,” Gibson said.

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ABSA Currie CupABSA Currie Cup Log leaders, the Vodacom Blue Bulls, travel to Kimberley this weekend where they face a potentially difficult away fixture against the ORC Griquas side, while 2nd placed Xerox Golden Lions make the trip to Nelspruit in Mpumalanga to face the Steval Pumas.

The ORC Griquas are still searching for their 1st win in this year’s tournament, but the Blue Bulls travel to the Diamond City with the full knowledge that a visit to Kimberley is always a testing, bruising affair for any visiting team.

After suffering their 1st loss in 3 matches against the Blue Bulls last Saturday in Pretoria, DHL Western Province on Friday face a stern challenge in Bloemfontein against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.

In the remaining fixture the Eastern Province Kings will be hoping to continue with their recent improvement when they host the Cell C Sharks at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. The EP Kings lost by 2 points against the Steval Pumas in Round 3, after giving a good account of themselves specially during a spirited 2nd half display.

Xerox Golden Lions head coach, Johan Ackermann, has made several changes to his team for the Steval Pumas clash. There is however major concern regarding the fitness of their captain, Jaco Kriel, who sustained a quadriceps injury in the captain’s run on Thursday morning.

Wing Kobus van Wyk is back in the DHL Western Province starting line-up for Friday’s ABSA Currie Cup clash against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein. Kick-off is at 19:10 SA Time. The defending champions will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to the Blue Bulls and Van Wyk’s inclusion is 1 of 3 changes to the starting line-up.

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs, who lost to WP by 6 points in the rain 2 weeks ago, bounced back to form last weekend with a bonus point victory over the ORC Griquas, sending a clear warning to WP that a tough challenge awaits them in Bloemfontein.

The return of lock Giant Mtyanda to the Steval Pumas run-on side is the only change for their clash against the Xerox Golden Lions in Nelspruit on Friday. The Mpumalanga side face a difficult examination against the in-form visitors in this battle which also starts at 19:10 SA Time.

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  • Lion4ever 2 Sep 2015, 16:29 SAST - @ MacroPolo: Why is it in SA just before the RWC, we get plagued by these sideshows that distract us...
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