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Bryan Habana to become Springbok Centurion No 4

Bryan Habana to become Springbok Centurion No 4

Bryan Habana will on Saturday become the fourth Springbok and 33rd player overall to play in 100 Tests when South Africa take on Australia in the third round of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship at Patersons Stadium in Perth (kickoff 12h05 SA time).

The 31-year-old Habana, who made his debut for South Africa against England at Twickenham on 20 November 2004, holds the record for the most Test tries in a Springbok jersey. His 56 Test tries places him fourth on the list of all-time international try scorers.

The three-time South African Rugby Player of the Year (2004, 2007 and 2012), who was also named the IRB Rugby Player of the Year in 2007, will lead the Springboks out on Saturday as he follows Percy Montgomery, John Smit and Victor Matfield in amassing 100 Tests in the green and gold.

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Jacques Potgieter was rarely complimentary about South Africans’ views on Aussies.

Jacques Potgieter was rarely complimentary about South Africans’ views on Aussies.

SOUTH Africans enter a game believing they can bash and bully Australians into submission.

The theory has long been surmised but after gaining valuable insight into the South African rugby psyche playing alongside Jacques Potgieter at the Waratahs, Bernard Foley now knows it’s not theory, it’s fact.

“He said he always enjoyed playing against Australians because he thought there was an opportunity to get one over them,” Foley said.

While polite in his public statements, Potgieter’s on-field brutality was more than matched by the candour with which he spoke to NSW teammates about how Aussies were viewed in the hard world of South African rugby.

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James Simpson-Daniel

James Simpson-Daniel

Gloucester and England back James Simpson-Daniel has confirmed his retirement after failing to recover from an ankle injury.

The 32-year-old winger has been sidelined since last November when he suffered an horrific ankle injury in an LV= Cup fixture against Newcastle Falcons at Kingsholm.

Sinbad, as he is affectionately known by all connected with Gloucester, has battled bravely in an attempt to regain full fitness but has reluctantly been forced to admit defeat.

Despite the desperately disappointing news, Simpson-Daniel preferred to dwell on the positives when he spoke to the club website.

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Pumas spark: Martin Landajo

Pumas spark: Martin Landajo

Martin Landajo admits the rain forecast for Saturday in Napier will not help Argentina’s new attacking philosophy.

The Pumas have been the surprise package of the competition so far, pushing South Africa all the way in both matches between the two.

However with heavy rain forecast for the clash with the All Blacks, the Pumas scrum-half believes Argentina’s attacking game will have to be tweaked.

“We are not accustomed to rain, and we prefer the dry weather,” said Landajo, who started both Tests against the Springboks.

“We know it rains a lot in New Zealand so we must adapt.

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S'bura Sithole

S’bura Sithole

Centre S’bura Sithole believes the Sharks must start improving on their basics if they want to bounce back from their first Currie Cup loss of the season over the weekend.

The defending champions suffered a shock 32-22 loss against the Pumas in Nelspruit to drop behind the Mpumalanga side from second to fourth on the Premier Division table after four rounds of the competition.

“I think it’s just our basics and fundamentals that are letting us down,” Sithole said on Tuesday.

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Rugby-TalkOur previous PUB NIGHT, last Tuesday, we had great FUN!

This week we add another TWIST to PUB NIGHT, we are throwing the whole website open so that ANYBODY can comment, Registered AND Unregistered Readers.

So, whether Registered or not, take part tonight!

Registered Subscribers Login as per usual and comment as per normal, Unregistered Readers who want to take part, simply supply a Blogging Nickname and your E-Mail Address (must be a valid E-Mail Address) and join in the fun.

The idea is to lighten up our dull Tuesday evening with an evening of music, comedy and fun.

Rugby takes a backseat tonight as the clan and fellow rugby nutters gather…

Read the rules below carefully, or you WILL get burnt!

Just for clarity sake, when someone does not adhere to the Rules of the PUB, EVERYBODY jumps on them and pummels them, right… understood?

 

Here’s how it works:

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Argentina scrum

ACID TEST: The All Blacks’ pack will have to be at its best to deal with a powerful Argentina eight at scrum time on Saturday.

You can blame the goal kicker, you can blame the concession of daft technical penalties or a single colossal blunder at the wrong time.

It’s hard to argue. But the single main reason why Argentina’s strong men could dominate South Africa the other weekend and still end up losing was the train of Springbok replacements.

Coach Heyneke Meyer hooked beaten players from the pitch and sent on an eager second wave of men like Adriaan Strauss and Tendai ‘the Beast’ Mtawarira.

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Rugby-Talk.comSpring has sprung:

It is 1 September 2014… and yes, 2 thirds of the year has flown by already… in the blink of an eye!

1 September is Spring Day in the Southern Hemisphere, a time for regeneration, rejuvination, renewal and a general litf in the mood after yet another winter has come and gone.

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George Smith

George Smith: the picture that sparked a thousand and more discussions.

We all remember it: the vision of a glazed and vacant George Smith staggering from the turf at ANZ Stadium, led by a medic at each elbow, after a sickening clash of heads with British & Irish Lions hooker Richard Hibbard handed him a one-way ticket to cuckoo-land.

We remember it was upsetting to see the great warrior reduced to a helpless lump.

We remember how sad it seemed that his comeback in the third Test- billed as a fairy-tale finale – had apparently been curtailed so quickly.

And we remember, of course, the hapless call to return him to the action that sparked the concussion debate that – more than one year on – continues to envelop the Australian sporting fraternity.

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Carlos Spencer

Carlos Spencer

EP Kings head coach, Carlos Spencer, has made five changes to the starting lineup that will take on Western Province at Newlands on Friday.

Spencer announced that Steven Sykes will once again captain the side as regular skipper, Luke Watson, was still recovering from a concussion.

Changes to the forward pack include Lizo Gqoboka, who will return to the side at loosehead prop in place of BG Uys, with Shaun McDonald coming off the bench on at Flank, rotating with Thembelani Boli who moves to the bench.

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James O'Connor

Runaway success: James O’Connor scores a try for Toulon on the weekend.

The short-term future of James O’Connor and his return to Australia is assured, but doubts remain about his long-term plans after the World Cup in Britain next year.

Queensland are expecting O’Connor, who has 44 Test caps with the Wallabies, to remain in Brisbane after announcing last Friday that the back had signed a two-year deal with them – starting next season.

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Bryan Habana

Springboks flyer Bryan Habana

The Wallabies have been the source of great pain and great satisfaction in Bryan Habana’s glittering Test career.

After the anguish of the 2011 World Cup quarter-final – a game still capable of sending a collective shudder through a Springboks team room – and the elation of last year’s watershed Test victory at Suncorp Stadium, it is fitting that the South African winger will play his 100th Test against the Wallabies in Perth.

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Kingston Park

Kingston Park

A new domestic season is almost upon us and among the fresh faces set to make their Premiership Rugby bow is a key arrival who may just turn out to be one of the most significant signings of the off-season.

Newcastle Falcons’ decision to install a hi-tech artificial pitch at Kingston Park makes them the second club in England’s top flight to ditch a traditional grass playing surface after Saracens’ ground-breaking and headline-grabbing switch in 2013 – with both understood to have cost in the region of £500,000.

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Mike Coman

Mike Coman – Edinburgh’s captain

Experienced back row, Mike Coman, will captain Edinburgh this season, with Scotland international lock, Grant Gilchrist as vice captain.

Coman, who turns 27 later this month, said: “It’s a massive honour, we’ve got an exciting team and I’m really looking forward to the season ahead.”

Signing for Edinburgh Rugby during 2013/14 on a two-year deal, Coman is no stranger to the captain’s armband.

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Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

He has been one of the stellar performers nationwide as the Currie Cup approaches its halfway stage in pre-knockout play this weekend.

But will Nizaam Carr, the tearaway No 8 for log-leaders Western Province, fall prey soon to that all too common shortcoming by South African coaches at either Super Rugby or provincial level: flogging players to the point of exhaustion or often not unrelated injury?

A week and a half ago, WP coach Allister Coetzee admitted to some journalists that Carr, whose game-to-game work-rate has often been little short of extraordinary, was in need of some “off” time – remember that the domestic competition has no bye-weekend luxuries.

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Frans Ludeke

Frans Ludeke

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has laid it on the line. Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup showdown with neighbours the Xerox Golden Lions is almost a season-decider for his team.

Having won just one out of four games thus far, the Blue Bulls desperately need to reverse their fortunes and while their performance against Western Province was a lot better than their opening three games, they still couldn’t get a win in the game, despite dominating possession.

Ludeke has made it clear that the Bulls need to up their finishing, something that has been a difficult thing for them this season, and they need to take the points on offer when they are in control.

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It's not a good idea to get in Ben's way, even if you are the referee.

It’s not a good idea to get in Ben’s way, even if you are the referee.

Waikato prop Ben Tameifuna has been cited for acting against the spirit of good sportsmanship, after referee Glen Jackson was allegedly shoved.

The incident occurred during Waikato’s Week 3 NPC Cup match against North Habour at QBE Stadium on Saturday. The alleged incident occurred in the 72nd minute of the match when Jackson was knocked off his feet.

The incident was noted by Citing Commissioner John Wootton. Tameifuna has been cited under law 10.4 (m) which deems that a player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship in the playing enclosure. His case will be heard on Wednesday September 3, by Judicial Officer Chris Morris by video conference.

Watch the video below.

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TJ Perenara

SLIPPERY WHEN WET: All Black TJ Perenara catches the ball during a rain-affected training session in Napier.

Rarely do the All Blacks relish the chance to train in relentless rain and on a sodden pitch.

But when it comes to playing Argentina in New Zealand, those conditions have been a given in recent times, so today’s training at the Napier Old Boys Marist club may prove the perfect dress rehearsal for Saturday’s Rugby Championship test.

“We have a plan A and a plan B, but we have an eye on Saturday’s [forecast] and it looks like it’s going to be reasonably wet later in the week,” backs coach Ian Foster said.

“We’re going in with a plan that we want to play if the conditions are great, but our awareness of plan B is pretty high this week.”

The All Blacks are aware that they played poorly in the wet three weeks ago during a dour 12-12 draw with Australia in Sydney where they kicked too much and struggled with their handling.

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AustraliaThe Kurtley Beale No 10 experiment has been aborted, with Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie naming Super Rugby title-winning halves Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps to take on South Africa in Perth this Saturday.

Beale and Brumbies halfback Nic White have both been benched following the Wallabies’ 51-20 flogging from the All Blacks, but centre Matt Toomua, winger Rob Horne and star fullback Israel Folau have all held their spots in the backline.

Adam Ashley Cooper has shifted to the wing to cover for the retired Pat McCabe (neck), with Tevita Kuridrani getting the call-up at outside centre for the Patersons Stadium clash.

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ITM CupThis turned out to be a pretty good week for visiting teams and those in the Championship section, but a couple in the Premiership won’t be feeling quite so chipper about life.

At the end of hostilities the top five in the lower division are separated by only three points and, in most cases, have not yet started playing amongst each other.

Manawatu opened the weekend with a big win at Wellington; it was only their second ever over Wellington a in the capital and deserved on the run of play, since the Turbos didn’t squander their chances and Wellington did.

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James O'Connor

James O’Connor: The worst of the three Amigos.

Yes, I know that James O’Connor has been a prat.

An official at the ARU who had to deal with him all the time told me that O’Connor was the worst of the Three Amigos – O’Connor, Kurtley Beale and Quade Cooper.

He would encourage and lead his mates into trouble and then, somehow, slide away unscathed, while the other two copped the blame and the punishments.

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Conrad Smith

TOUGH TEST: Conrad Smith says the All Blacks will need to be smarter in coming to terms with Argentina’s unique style of rugby.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and it seems Conrad Smith has missed his old mate Ma’a Nonu during the midfield pair’s enforced break up.

The old firm has been closed for business since Smith broke his hand during the second June test against England, but seems likely to reopen for business against Argentina on Saturday.

Nonu and Malakai Fekitoa had a run during the third test thrashing of England in Hamilton, and again during a dour 12-12 draw against Australia in Sydney while Smith attended the birth of his first child.

Then in Auckland, Smith and Ryan Crotty teamed up for the Bledisloe Cup bash as Nonu sat out with a bruised shoulder.

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 Argentina

Argentina gave a good account of themselves in Hamilton last year and pride themselves on their work at the set piece.

Steve Hansen has challenged his forwards to repeat their devastating display against Australia when they meet Argentina in Napier on Saturday.

The All Blacks arrived in Hawkes Bay yesterday ahead of their Rugby Championship test against the Pumas, with coach Hansen wasting little time in putting the acid back on his big men as they prepare for what he called one of the best scrums in the game.

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 Namibia Under 19

Namibia celebrate beating Kenya to win the CAR Africa Under 19 championship.

Namibia have booked their place in the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2015 after beating Kenya 52-17 in the final of the Confédération Africaine de Rugby (CAR) Under 19 Championship in Windhoek.

The victory caps a golden six-week period for Namibian Rugby after the senior team, the Welwitchias, also qualified for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in July.

Captain and fly half Christopher Arries scored the first of eight Namibian tries after just two minutes and with wing Milaan van Wyk crossing twice in the space of seven minutes the tournament hosts built a commanding 35-10 lead at the break.

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Bernard Foley

Ewen McKenzie is set to give Bernard Foley a shot in the Wallabies No 10 jumper.

Australian vice captain James Slipper says the Wallabies’ pack must shoulder some of the responsibility for Kurtley Beale’s underwhelming performance at five-eighth in Auckland 10 days ago.

After a two-Test experiment with Beale and Brumbies halfback Nic White at the helm of the Wallabies’ back line, Ewen McKenzie is set to debut the Super Rugby title-winning combination of Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps on Tuesday when he names the side to take on South Africa at Paterson’s Stadium.

But in a week in which the entire Australian line-up will be out to repair the Wallabies’ badly bruised reputation, Slipper leapt to Beale’s defence and said the pack had to give their back line generals something to work with.

“He’s a class player. We all know what he can do,” the Wallabies prop and Stan Pilecki medallist said.

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Brodie Retallick

NO COMPROMISE: All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick is not one to take a backward step on the rugby field.

Brodie Retallick’s eyes light up at the prospect of locking horns with a similarly built opponent with a shared interest in physical destruction.

The All Blacks lock will likely get a chance to reacquaint himself with young Argentine lock Tomas Lavanini during Saturday’s Rugby Championship test at McLean Park.

Lavanini, a 21-year-old colossus at 2.04m and 129kg, caught Retallick’s eye last year during a stint with the Chiefs Super Rugby academy in Hamilton.

“He was definitely a physical player,” Retallick recalled on Monday. “I remember seeing a video clip where he knocked someone out just cleaning them out [of a ruck].

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Waterboy

Move over Sandler, make way for Piri.

World Cup winning All Blacks halfback Piri Weepu has begun his overseas rugby career as a water-boy, promising a selfless attitude as he tries to help London Welsh establish themselves in the English Premiership.

Weepu said he would bring a team-first approach to a club freshly promoted and looking to do better than their last stay at the top that lasted just one season. And he’s already proved that by running the water bottles in a pre-season match.

“I’m here to push this club as hard as I can and I’ll do everything possible for the team,” Weepu told The Rugby Paper website as his arrival in Britain drew attention ahead of this weekend’s season kickoff.

“Everything is about the team, not the individual, and if someone’s not pulling their weight, including me, I hope they’ll say it.

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Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

The rugby spectator who was stabbed at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday evening, shortly before the end of the Currie Cup match between the EP Kings and the Golden Lions, is recovering well, according to Stadium management.

Stadium management’s chief executive Chantal du Pisani and Charl Crous, EP Rugby chief executive along with representatives from the Mount Road SAPS visited the victim on Monday.

“He is recovering well and is in relatively good spirits,” said Du Pisani.

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Thomas du Toit

Thomas du Toit

The Cell C Sharks limped back into Durban after their defeat to the Steval Pumas wounded not only psychologically by their Nelspruit ordeal, but also physically.

Star young flank Francois Kleinhans went off early at Mbombela Stadium with a broken wrist, and has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

That is a big blow for the Sharks as they have lost Jean Deysel and Keegan Daniel to Japanese clubs, while Ryan Kankowski is of course also back in Japan.

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Jesse Kriel

Jesse Kriel

The Vodacom Blue Bulls were given another mixed dose of news when the injury report arrived following their 23-18 loss to DHL Western Province in their Absa Currie Cup clash on Saturday.

While there was good news that both injured flyhalves – Jacques-Louis Potgieter and Tony Jantjies – had recovered from their ailments that forced them to miss the Western Province game, the Bulls were given the news that they will need a new fullback this weekend when they prepare to take on the Xerox Golden Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

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Jonathan Sexton

Jonathan Sexton

Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton faces a race against time to be fit for the autumn internationals after breaking his jaw while playing for Racing Metro.

The 29-year-old British and Irish Lions star was injured in a heavy clash with Craig Burden in Sunday’s French top-flight contest against Toulon.

South African hooker Burden was sin-binned for the challenge.

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Jacques Botes

Jacques Botes

Fortunately for the Cell C Sharks they have a good chance of redeeming themselves when they host struggling GWK Griquas in Durban this coming weekend, but the warning lights are flickering for the Absa Currie Cup champions.

There were excuses aplenty for the Sharks coaches after their 32-22 defeat to the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit in round four, and some of them were legitimate. Injuries did during the course of the game decimate their pack.

And let’s also not take anything away from the Pumas, who have been strong at home this season and also pushed the Sharks in the first round game much more than the final scoreline would suggest.

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Jannie du Plessis & Morné Steyn

Jannie du Plessis & Morné Steyn

There was nothing surprising about Springbok flyhalf Morné Steyn focusing on the scrum as he prepared to depart with the squad at the weekend for what will be a testing Australasian leg of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

The scrumming was not the only area of concern for the Boks during the June internationals and in the two Championship matches against Argentina.

But it was an aspect that fell short both against Wales and the Pumas, and those who know the South African rugby psyche, will understand the ripple effect that the scrumming humiliation at the hands of Argentina in Salta would have sent through the team.

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