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Super RugbyIt 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.

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Schools RugbyThere 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.

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Victor MatfieldJurgen VisserAkona NdunganeFrancois HougaardPaul WillemseBullsBongi MbonambiVodacom 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.

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Flip van der MerweBullsFlip 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
Team: Bulls
Position: Lock
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

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Cell C SharksPaul JordaanSibusiso SitholeJP PietersenDirector 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.

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Oregan HoskinsThe 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.

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New ZealandAndre TaylorJarrad HoeataJack LamTom McCartneyBundee AkiTanerau LatimerA 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.

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Heinrich BrussowHeinrich 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.

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Benji MarshallNew 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.

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WaratahsAfter 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.

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frankhaddenIn 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.

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BluesMa'a NonuBlues 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.

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BrumbiesThe 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.

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Nick MallettFormer 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.

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ScotlandFrank 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.

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glasgowrugbyWe 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.

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Dawie TheronSouth AfricaA 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.

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Super RugbyThe 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.

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Super RugbyWhistleSANZAR 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.

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Kurtley BealeWaratahsThe Waratahs are unconcerned that injured playmaker Kurtley Beale might not train at all before tackling the Blues at Eden Park on Friday.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has placed Beale in cotton wool this week, giving the midfield provider every chance and all the time he needs to overcome an ankle injury in time to take the field in Super Rugby’s Anzac Day blockbuster on Friday.

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Jeff WilsonAndrew MehrtensThis talk of moving away from South Africa in Super Rugby is madness, says Jeff Wilson, ex All Black fullback.

This is the best international competition outside of test rugby and it would be foolhardy to mess with its essential formula.

My old All Black team-mate Andrew Mehrtens certainly ruffled a few feathers last week when he suggested it would be in New Zealand’s interests to move away from South Africa and align closer with Australia.

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Recent Comments

  • grootblousmile 23 Apr 2014, 22:15 SAST - 3 @ MacroBull: Grant Hattingh covers lock and would move from No 8 to the covering lock position if needs...
  • MacroBull 23 Apr 2014, 21:55 SAST - @ nortierd: Yes people were worried he would have to sit on the bench, but he is lucky to even...
  • smallies 23 Apr 2014, 20:21 SAST - affies is flou die jaar my ou pel frik bosman se my hulle is 0-4 die jaar sover,na 3 puik...
  • grootblousmile 23 Apr 2014, 19:41 SAST - Heyyyyyyyyy, check where my old alma mater, Menlopark, ranks... No 3!
  • dwarslat 23 Apr 2014, 19:20 SAST - Here is the latest development: http://www.sport24.co.za/OtherSport/South-Africa/Quotas-not-to-be-imposed-20140423 Must be a bitter pil for Hoskins to swallow. About time John Robbie interview...
  • Sharks_forever 23 Apr 2014, 19:15 SAST - @ nortierd: For sure boet, We will talk about it for sure closer to the time.

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