It is Round 11 of Super Rugby 2014 this weekend! We have 6 games in Round 11, with 3 games on Friday and 3 games on Saturday.
The Crusaders, Lions & Melbourne Rebels have bye weekends.
In June / July 2014 the Antipodian teams will catch up in played games with the South African counterparts, when the South African sides sit out for 1 Round.
The Combined Log will therefore be skewed for the majority of the competition and one has to question why individual countries are allowed to start such a long competition ahead of it’s rivals. In 2013 the Australian sides started a week early, but at least they had the excuse that they needed an extra week in the middle of the year to prepare for the British & Irish Lions series, which they lost.
The Hurricanes and the Reds will have the Anzac legacy at the forefront of their minds when they take the field this weekend.
Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith will lead his team out wearing a limited edition, poppy-embroidered jersey, which will be auctioned off to raise funds for the Returned Services Association.
Smith said playing the match on Anzac weekend was a huge honour and he was proud to represent the Hurricanes club on such an important day.
Kurtley Beale needs surgery to remove a bone spur from his foot but the Australia utility back plans to delay the operation and keep on playing until he gets some off from rugby or the pain becomes unbearable.
The 25-year-old limped off during last week’s Waratahs’ 19-12 victory over South Africa’s Bulls with what many suspected was an ankle injury that forced him to miss training on Tuesday.
There was a sudden burst of school activity over the Easter Weekend when seven school festivals were held around the country – Benoni, Grahamstown, Botha’s Hill, Port Elizabeth and three in Johannesburg.
These Easter results produced some surprises and have had a seismic effect on our Top 20, as one would expect.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made five changes to his starting line-up to face the Force in Perth on Saturday, with suspension, rotation and injury forcing his hand.
Three changes are at the back.
Jurgen Visser has recovered from the foot injury that ruled him out of the Waratahs clash shortly before kick-off and slots in at fullback, where he replaces Ulrich Beyers. Francois Hougaard moves back to the base of the scrum following the knee-injury sustained by Piet van Zyl and a fit-again Akona Ndungane returns to his regular spot on the wing.
Flip van der Merwe has been suspended for 3 weeks, following a Judicial Hearing, following a punch on the weekend, against the Waratahs!
Hearing Details: Wednesday 23 April 2014 at 08:00 SA Time, 16:00 AEST, 18:00 NZ Time
Judicial Hearing Chairman: Adam Casselden
Player: Flip van der Merwe
Date of Incident: 19 April 2014
Nature of Offence: Law 10.4 (a) Punching or Striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow,shoulder, head or knee(s).
Elapsed time in match when incident occurred: 75th minute
Director of Rugby Jake White has been forced to make changes to the Cell C Sharks backline, but welcomes back two players from injury for Friday night’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Highlanders.
This is their final home game ahead of their four match tour to Australia and New Zealand and along with the desire to maintain their 100% success record at home is hopping on the plane on Saturday in a positive frame of mind, something victory on Friday night would ensure.
The South African Rugby Union will discuss the reintroduction of the quota system into the local game as soon as next month in order to align itself with the demands made by the Minister of Sport surrounding transformation in the game.
SARU president Oregan Hoskins said that the sport will need to make “radical, drastic, immediate changes” to comply with the pressure being brought upon it by the Sports Ministry after Saru and other federations met with the government regarding the proposed changes, including a possible reintroduction of quotas into the Absa Currie Cup and Vodacom Super Rugby competitions.
But Hoskins has committed rugby to embracing the changes, and will see them as ‘a positive’ – even though they may not be ideal in the short term.
Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen will not play against the Stormers in Bloemfontein this weekend after failing a concussion test.
The Bok playmaker took a knock against the Crusaders in Round Nine and has still not recovered fully after sitting out the defeat to the Sharks in Durban last week.
Stormers eighthman Nizaam Carr has tweeted a picture of himself at the dentist – missing a front tooth!
Blues flyhalf Simon Hickey will captain New Zealand at the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship to be held in New Zealand in June.
Hickey, who has played six Super Rugby games for the Blues, scoring 78 points, returns having played in last year’s JWC in France.
A number of promising, young Super Rugby players have opted to leave New Zealand for bigger money deals abroad.
According to the Radio New Zealand website, Hurricanes fullback Andre Taylor has signed a two-year deal with Japanese club, Kintetsu Liners.
He joins team-mates Jarrad Hoeata (lock) and flank Jack Lam, Blues prop Tom McCartney and Chiefs centre Bundee Aki in recently accepting big overseas offers, while former All Black flank Tanerau Latimer is reportedly also heading to Japan next year.
Heinrich Brüssow is not just hype, he is the ultimate openside flank.
The 27-year-old Cheetahs star, who played the last of his 20 Tests in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal, returned to Super Rugby for the Cheetahs against the Sharks last week after missing the first half of the season with a fractured toe – suffered while playing for his Japanese club.
And while the Cheetahs lost 8-19, the influence and value of Brüssow was there for all to see.
Cheetahs lock Lood de Jager says he’ll be ready should Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer call on his services for the June Test matches.
De Jager, 21, broke his finger in the Cheetahs’ 19-8 loss to the Sharks in Durban at the weekend.
New Zealand Rugby and the Blues have agreed and confirmed the terms of Benji Marshall’s release from his Super Rugby contract.
Following Friday night’s match against the Hurricanes, Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan and Benji Marshall had some frank and honest discussions and mutually agreed the best path forward was for Marshall to return to rugby league.
After notching up an important away against the Stormers in South Africa three weeks ago, Waratahs coach Michael Cheika is now looking to add a second, naming an unchanged starting 15 for the Anzac Day clash against the Blues in Auckland.
Although the ‘Tahs won the last encounter between the sides, it’s four years since their last win, a narrow 27-22 Phil Waugh-led victory at Eden Park back in March 2009. The only other two contests to be played in Auckland since then both came in 2011, when the Blues recorded back-to-back wins, with the latter (a 26-13 Super Rugby qualifying final result) ending the Tahs’ finals hopes.
In the second part of his analysis of what needs to be done to save Scottish international rugby former national coach Frank Hadden explains the need to make the most of its raw material, drawn from a tiny talent pool.
Having coached in Australian and English schools rugby in the ’80s, then had the longest involvement of any coach in the Scottish professional game before, more recently, travelling the globe as a coaching consultant, Hadden has campaigned for many years for changes to the Scottish youth system.
The Chiefs have announced their team to play the Brumbies in what looms as a tantalising re-match of the 2013 Super Rugby Final at GIO Stadium Canberra on Friday afternoon.
“It is special to be playing a match against an Australian team on Anzac Day,” said Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie.
Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan has made four changes to the starting XV for Friday’s Anzac day clash with the Waratahs at Eden Park.
In the only change to the forward pack, Peter Saili makes his first start since Round 6 at No 8 in place of Steven Luatua as Kirwan looks to inject more physicality into the Blues’ game.
“We wanted to pick a pack that was really physical,” Kirwan said.
The Brumbies will play in a one-off, Anzac Commemorative jersey next Friday when the ACT-based side takes on the Chiefs in an Anzac Day, Super Rugby Final replay at GIO Stadium.
Celebrating the contributions of both Soldier On (Match Day Charity) and the Australian War Memorial, the Brumbies strip will feature iconic images on both the front and back of the jersey with the gold trim replaced by sky-blue for one night only.
Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett has said that South Africa’s Super Rugby conference is significantly weaker than their Australasian rivals.
In his role of guest speaker on SuperSport, Mallett said he had been disappointed by South Africa’s poor performance in the tournament thus far, particularly their lack of ability to create opportunities on attack and score tries.
“Our conference is definitely the weakest and our teams aren’t performing,” Mallett said.
As we head into Round 11 of Super Rugby 2014, an alarming stat for South African fans is the lack of tries on display from teams from these shores.
Four South African teams currently comprise the bottom six in the tries scored category.
Frank Hadden has highlighted the urgent need for unique solutions to be found to Scotland’s problems if the national rugby team is to have any chance of regaining its status among the global elite
The former Scotland coach, who has worked at all levels across the world, has outlined how a “laughable” approach to strategic planning ultimately led to claims that the World Cup can be won next year.
Rather than apportioning blame, Hadden’s aim is to highlight constructively the fundamental changes that need to be made to the professional teams, the junior structure and in the provision of the right facilities to help Scottish teams to be competitive.
Scotland international Ruaridh Jackson is set to join Wasps next season after being told he is free to leave Glasgow Warriors.
The 23-times capped No 10 has been offered a lucrative deal to sign for the Aviva Premiership outfit, who are chasing a place in the European Cup next season.
We brought the news last week of two of Glasgow Warriors loose forwards, Tyrone Holmes and Rob Harley, extending their contracts with the Scottish club. Both players signed two year extension to their contracts which will see them featuring for the Scotstoun based team until at least May 2016.
It has since been confirmed that two more back rowers who were approaching the end of their contracts have signed on for further terms for Glasgow. These players are Ryan Wilson and James Eddie.
A Junior Springbok squad bolstered by several players with Vodacom Super Rugby experience was named by SARU in Cape Town on Tuesday for the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship to be hosted by New Zealand from June 2 to 22.
Handré Pollard (flyhalf, Vodacom Bulls), André Esterhuizen (centre, Cell C Sharks), Sergeal Petersen and Aidon Davis (both Southern Kings) as well as Malcolm Marx (hooker, Lions) have all either played Vodacom Super Rugby or have been part of their respective franchise’s Super Rugby training groups.
The squad also sees the return of several players who did duty for the South Africa Under-20’s in France last year, where they claimed the bronze medal.
The Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers were victorious on a weekend where all five South African Vodacom Super Rugby franchises were involved in low-scoring matches.
In all three matches involving teams from the Republic, the most points the different teams on the winning side in any of the encounters could score were 19. Only five tries were scored in these matches.
The Vodacom Bulls lost to the Waratahs for the first time since the 2005 semi-final when they were beaten by 19-12, with a try in the opening minute by Israel Folau the difference between the two sides in Sydney.
Vodacom Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe was cited after the match. He is alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking when he made contact with the Waratahs’ Paddy Ryan in the 75th minute of the match.
In Durban, the Cell C Sharks ground out a victory in a tough derby for the second successive week when they beat the Toyota Cheetahs by 19-8, with each side scoring only one try each.
The final match of the weekend saw the DHL Stormers end a five-match losing streak when they beat the Lions by 18-3 after leading 18-0 at the break in Cape Town.
When the next 4 Springboks who are due to head overseas to earn their keep in Euro and Yen depart, it will be the first time since the inception of professional rugby that more Springboks will be playing rugby overseas than in South Africa, it was reported on the weekend.
SANZAR has released the names of the Match Officials for Round 11 of Super Rugby 2014.
Chris Pollock starts the weekend action in the game between the Blues and Waratahs, in Auckland.
This weekend sees 3 games on Friday and 3 games on Saturday.
The Crusaders, Lions and Melbourne Rebels have BYE weekends.
DHL Western Province Vodacom Cup star Devon Williams will make his first start for the DHL Stormers when the team travels to Bloemfontein to take on the Cheetahs in Super Rugby action on Saturday (kick-off 17:05 SA Time).