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Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Springbok No 8 and South Africa’s Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, Duane Vermeulen, is in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup following a diagnosis that he will require surgery on a neck injury.

The 29-year-old Vermeulen, who was also the SARPA Players’ Player of the Year and the Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, consulted a specialist in Durban on the recommendation of the Springbok medical team.

The need for surgery was identified to give him the best possible chance to recover in time for the global rugby showpiece in England in September and October. The operation is scheduled for Wednesday.

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New ZealandGeorge Moala is set to make his All Black debut when New Zealand meet Samoa in a historic 1-off Test in Apia on Wednesday.

Moala is the only uncapped player in the starting 15.

3 More uncapped players have been named on the replacement bench – with prop Nepo Laulala, scrumhalf Brad Weber and midfielder Charlie Ngatai all in line for their 1st test appearances.

The starting 15 features a wealth of experience in the forward pack, with 648 Test caps up front – courtesy of a front row of Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu and Owen Franks, locks Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano and the familiar loose forward trio of Jerome Kaino, captain Richie McCaw and Kieran Read.

There are a further 224 Test caps in the starting backline, with scrumhalf Andy Ellis returning to the All Blacks for the 1st time since 2011, Daniel Carter is at flyhalf, with Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty in the midfield.

Moala is on the right wing, Charles Piutau is on the left and Israel Dagg is at fullback.

On the bench, hooker Hika Elliot continues his remarkable comeback after last playing for the All Blacks in 2012 and undergoing neck surgery in 2013.

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Census Johnston

Census Johnston

Samoa have called veteran prop Census Johnston out of retirement to bolster their pack in Wednesday’s historic 1-off Test against the All Blacks in Apia.

“We simply couldn’t leave him out,” coach Stephan Betham said when naming his team on Monday.

The 34-year-old Toulouse prop, who has played 47 Tests for Samoa since 2005, had announced his retirement in April – but has been training with the Samoa squad in recent weeks.

Chiefs fullback Tim Nanai Williams is the only uncapped player in the starting 15.

Outside back Faialaga Afamasaga, the only Samoa-based member of the squad, is set to make his debut off the bench.

New Zealand-born Nanai Williams, a cousin of All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams, has previously represented New Zealand as a Sevens player, but switched allegiance to his parents’ home country last year to boost his World Cup and Olympic prospects.

All but 5 members of the 23-man Samoa squad are based in Europe – including captain and back row forward Ofisa Treviranus, who plays for London Irish.

The match will be the 1st appearance in Samoa by the All Blacks, who have won all 5 previous Tests between the 2 countries played in New Zealand.

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Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has appointed veteran hooker Stephen Moore as captain of Australia for this year’s international campaigns.

A veteran of 92 Tests and Australia’s all-time most capped hooker, Moore has been reinstated as Wallaby captain, following a season-ending injury in his 1st outing as skipper.

Moore will be well supported in the role with 2014 Wallaby captain Michael Hooper and Test centurion Adam Ashley-Cooper named as the team’s vice-captains.

“Having spoken to the 2 vice-captains prior to Stephen, both of them couldn’t have made a higher endorsement of Stephen to the lead them personally, this playing group and our country,” Cheika said.

“Leadership is going to be a massive part of this journey, and both Adam and Michael will have a big part to play in supporting Stephen.

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Andrew Horrell

Andrew Horrell

Chiefs utility back Andrew Horrell has been called up to the World XV squad for their match against the Springboks in Cape Town next Saturday.

Horrell, a 2-time Vodacom Super Rugby champion with the Waikato-based team, replaces Crusaders flyhalf Tom Taylor, who has been called into the New Zealand training squad for their Test against Samoa.

He is the 6th New Zealander to be included in the World XV squad, which also includes Springbok legend Bakkies Botha, All Blacks tight forwards Carl Hayman and Ali Williams, and 10 players from 3-time European champions Toulon.

The squad, coached by Robbie Deans and Bernard Laporte, assembles in Cape Town on Monday and they take on South Africa at DHL Newlands on Saturday 11 July at 17:00 SA Time (15:00 GMT).

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Jan Serfontein

Jan Serfontein

A niggling hip flexor injury may have kept Springbok centre Jan Serfontein sidelined for parts of the Super Rugby season, but he is hopeful to soon stake a claim for a place in this year’s Rugby World Cup squad.

“Injuries have been a bit of a setback for me this year, but I’m on my way back. Maybe the fitness is a bit down, but it’s something you can work on, on your own,” Serfontein said at the Springbok camp in Johannesburg this week.

“I’m just hoping to get some game time for the World XV and in The Rugby Championship coming up.

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Jurie Roux

Jurie Roux, SARU CEO

On the same day that SARU fired their General Manager of Referees, Andre Watson, it was confirmed that the University of Stellenbosch has instituted civil action against SARU’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jurie Roux.

Maties, as the university is popularly known, confirmed that it is suing Roux, although a spokesman for the institution declined to confirm or deny the details of the law suit.

“The university confirms that a summons was issued and served on 2 former employees of the university, namely messrs Jurie Roux and Chris de Beer,” Maties spokesman Martin Viljoen said.

“The summons follows a forensic audit undertaken a while back that showed certain irregularities, namely the unauthorised use of university funds, that are now being claimed.

“Since the case is pending, the university cannot at this time provide further information or comment,” he added.

According to media reports the amount Roux and De Beer are being sued for is R 32 Million.

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André Watson

André Watson

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) today confirmed the arbitration award that was issued by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to the effect that the employment of André Watson, the General Manager Referees, with SARU has been terminated.

At the beginning of this year, a number of people within the Referees’ Department lodged a grievance against Watson and SARU commissioned an independent investigation into the grievance.

As a result of the findings, the CCMA was requested to consider certain allegations relating to Watson.  Contrary to some earlier reports, the allegations that were dealt with by the CCMA did not relate to racism, financial irregularities, misappropriation or match fixing but to the relationship between Watson and a number of people within the Referees’ Department and in turn the impact of such relationship on SARU.

The CCMA found that the allegations that had been levelled against Watson had been proved and as a consequence the CCMA found that the employment of Watson with SARU should be terminated.  The CCMA’s finding is final and binding on SARU and Watson.

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Rugby World Cup 2023France, Ireland, Italy and South Africa have been confirmed as the 4 nations who will bid for the right to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The quartet all submitted formal expressions of interest before last month’s deadline.

A decision on which country will stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup will be made in May 2017 after a tender deadline in June next year.

South Africa staged the World Cup in 1995, when the Springboks won the tournament on home soil, while France played host to the 2007 edition.

However, neither Ireland nor Italy, 2 of Europe’s elite Six Nations along with France, have been the main hosts of a World Cup.

“The candidate hosts now have a year to benefit from detailed knowledge-sharing and preparation, including digesting the detailed tender requirements and observing World Cup 2015 hosting, before the confirmation to tender deadline of June 2016,” said World Cup tournament director Alan Gilpin in a statement.

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Corné Fourie

Corné Fourie

Faf de Klerk

Faf de Klerk

The Golden Lions Rugby Union have announced the signing for the 2016 season of 2 of their Emirates Lions franchise partners, the Steval Pumas’ players, Faf de Klerk and Corné Fourie.

The Media Release reads as follows:

Lions Rugby (Pty) Ltd is pleased to announce the contracting of Pumas duo Faf de Klerk and Corné Fourie for the 2016 season.

Both De Klerk and Fourie, who have played Vodacom Super Rugby for the Emirates Lions through loan agreements over the past 2 seasons, will return to Johannesburg under permanent contracts in November 2015.

The pair has signed 1-year contracts with Lions Rugby and will thus be involved in both the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby and ABSA Currie Cup campaigns.

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David McDuling

David McDuling

The Cell C Sharks have announced the signing of Reds lock, David McDuling, ahead of the ABSA Currie Cup season.

The Sharks press release reads as follows:

We are pleased to announce the signing of Reds lock, David McDuling, who will join the Cell C Sharks until the end of 2016.

Known for his never-give-up attitude and athleticism around the park, McDuling made his Super Rugby debut in 2014 against the Crusaders and has since amassed a total of 12 Super Rugby caps for the Reds. He also won the inaugural season of the National Rugby Championship with Brisbane City and had the most carries and run metres of any 2nd rower in the competition.

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Mils Muliaina

Mils Muliaina

British police have charged All Blacks star Mils Muliaina with sexual assault over an incident that took place in Cardiff 4 months ago, it was reported Friday.

The 34-year-old fullback, who won 100 caps for the All Blacks over a 9-year period, was charged after being interviewed by South Wales Police on Wednesday.

“Mils Muliaina has been charged with sexual assault on a female aged 16 or over. He is scheduled to appear at Cardiff Magistrates Court on 7 August 2015,” a police statement read.

Muliaina was arrested in early April after playing for Irish province Connacht in a loss to Gloucester, with television pictures showing police leading him from Kingsholm Stadium.

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Jaco Peyper, referee for the opening game of the Rugby World Cup

Jaco Peyper, referee for the opening game of the Rugby World Cup

 

South Africa’s Jaco Peyper will have the honour of refereeing the opening match at Rugby World Cup 2015 in England as the hosts take on Fiji at Twickenham to kick off 44 days of unmissable rugby action.

Peyper, who is 35 and has refereed 20 internationals to date, has been appointed to the game on 18 September and he will be joined by assistant referees John Lacey of Ireland and Stuart Berry of South Africa while another South African, Shaun Veldsman, will be television match official.

With a further 7 matches taking place over the subsequent 2 days, there is no time for the match officials to ease their way into the tournament gently with no fewer than 22 of the 23 officials involved in some capacity that 1st weekend.

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Super RugbyIt is the Final of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

The long awaited game to determine the champions of 2015 is finally upon us!

Of course, the South African and Australian Franchises are already done and dusted and only 2 New Zealand sides remain in the race, the all season Log leading Hurricanes and the New Zealand Cinderella side, the Highlanders.

The Final takes place in Wellington, New Zealand at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT), at Westpac Stadium.

The Hurricanes are firm favourites for the game, having had by far the best overall performance of all 15 Super Rugby franchises in Super Rugby 2015, and running away with the Combined Log. They certainly played entertaining rugby and a lot of it has to be attributed to their forwards finally stepping up to the plate to match their tremendous backline.

Their defensive structures were much improved and their dangerous backline fired.. if one did not know any better one would swear that every last player was on some serious performance enhancing drugs.

I’ve always said that the Hurricanes were always underperforming in relation to the team they have on paper, but in 2015 all the elements finally came together to make them a fabulous side.

Whatever happens in the final, they deserve plaudits for the season of 2015!

The Highlanders on the other side, turned a lot of seemingly no-name forwards into a monster pack and their backline players turned into a dangerous unit with All Blacks written all over every member.

The Highlanders have lost twice to the Hurricanes already in 2015 but last weekend in the semi-final against the Waratahs they showed that they have progressed upwards a number of rungs in the 2015 season and specifically in the last few weekends.

The Highlanders, having almost always been considered New zealand’s step-child Super Rugby side, have had a real Cinderella season and deserve to be in the final and one is almost unwillingly tempted to urge them on for all the honours in the Final.

As a totally neutral observer, all I can say is that I enjoyed the rugby these two teams dished up for us all in 2015… and may the best team win!

Let the Final roll on… no guts, no glory!

Enjoy it with me, folks.

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Francois Steyn

Francois Steyn

Pieter-Steph du Toit

Pieter-Steph du Toit

Two injured players in the Springbok training squad, Frans Steyn and Pieter-Steph du Toit, have been temporarily released from the squad to continue their rehabilitation in Durban for the next few weeks.

Neither of them are expected to be fit for the Springboks’ 1st 2 matches of the season, next Saturday against the World XV in Cape Town and a week later against Australia in Brisbane. Steyn has a pectoral muscle tear, while Du Toit is recovering from a knee injury.

According to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer the decision to send Steyn and Du Toit home was taken with the best interests of the players in mind.

“We’ve discussed the way forward with the players, and all of us agreed that the best way forward at this stage is for them to get full-time rehabilitation at their home province, while our own medical team will keep very close tabs on their progress,” said Meyer.

“Both of them are still firmly in our plans going forward for the season and I really hope they can get back onto the field sooner rather than later. I’m confident the individual attention they will receive in Durban will be a massive benefit to them in the long run.

“We won’t be taking Frans or Pieter-Steph with us to Australia and will reassess their situation when we return from Brisbane.”

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Super Rugby finalists' NAME PLATES, which one will be engraved?

Super Rugby finalists’ NAME PLATES, which one will be engraved?

 

After 124 games spread across 18 Rounds and a fortnight of finals, we stand at the cusp of crowning a 1st-time Super Rugby champion.

We run the rule over both teams – examine their strengths, potntial weaknesses and try to decipher where the game will be won.

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HurricanesChris Boyd has announced his side to battle the Highlanders for the Super Rugby title but is still sweating on Ardie Savea who is yet to prove his fitness.

Meanwhile, Saturday night’s finale will quietly take on an extra meaning for a few of the men in black and yellow.

For long-serving Hurricanes Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu and Jeremy Thrush, and fellow teammates Chris Smylie, Rey Lee-Lo and Ben Franks, it will be the last time they run onto Westpac Stadium as Hurricanes.

With 468 caps between them, the 6 players will leave a sizeable hole at the Hurricanes when they depart at the end of the season, but not before they do their best to help lift a Super Rugby trophy for their club.

Boyd has named a similar line-up to help those 6 guys do the job, with the only change coming at reserve hooker where Motu Matu’u returns from a knee injury.

Savea’s knee will continue to be monitored throughout the remainder of the week, with Callum Gibbins bracketed as cover should Savea not be deemed fit.

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HighlandersThe Highlanders will line up with an unchanged side for the Super Rugby Final against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Head coach Jamie Joseph has chosen to stick with the same 15 that knocked off the defending champion Waratahs in Sydney a week ago.

On Saturday Elliot Dixon will make his 50th Super Rugby appearance for the Highlanders, while co-captains Ben Smith and Nasi Manu will once more lead the side.

The only change to the squad comes on the bench, where Marty Banks replaces Trent Renata, while Joseph has stuck with 6 forwards on the bench.

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AustraliaJames O’Connor and Karmichael Hunt were among the big losers when Australian coach Michael Cheika named an extended 40-man squad.

The Wallaby squad will be reduced closer to the Rugby Championship opener against South Africa on 18 July.

Apart from the absence of O’Connor and Hunt, Nick Cummins, along with veteran props Benn Robinson and Ben Alexander also paid the price for poor form.

The big winners were the Toulon-based duo of Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell.

Mitchell and Giteau have been included in the squad under the new foreign policy rule, while Waratahs and Exeter lock Dean Mumm returns to the Wallabies for the first time since 2012.

Four uncapped players made the squad – Samu Kerevi, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Rory Arnold and Toby Smith.

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New ZealandNew Zealand All Blacks coach Steve Hansen brought in some reinforcements as his team gears up for a brutal Test against Samoa in Apia next week Wednesday.

With a number of key All Blacks involved in the Super Rugby Final between the Hurricanes and Highlanders, Hansen wanted to add some depth to the squad training in Auckland this week.

17 Members of Hansen’s 41-player squad were ruled out because of their involvement in Saturday’s Super Rugby decider.

3 More players – uncapped Chiefs midfield backs Charlie Ngatai and Seta Tamanivalu, as well as Crusaders utility Tom Taylor – have been brought into the New Zealand camp in Auckland.

With injury issues surrounding some others, Hansen initially announced 2 stand-by players – scrumhalf Andy Ellis and uncapped prop Nepo Laulala.

He had already boosted numbers last week when 3 uncapped players joined a training camp in Auckland – midfield back George Moala, scrumhalf Brad Weber and prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi.

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New Zealand Rugby have paid homage to the most iconic of All Blacks teams, The Originals, in the design of their World Cup jersey which includes the latest in sporting apparel technology.

Developed with the input of All Blacks management and senior players, the jersey features a special design across the shoulders and chest – inspired by the famous leather yoke which adorned The Originals jersey.

The subtle design change pays respect to the legendary Originals team which toured the United Kingdom, France and the USA in 1905 – 1906 – losing just 1 match on their famous 35-match tour.

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SamoaSamoa have named a 27-man squad heavy with overseas-based players for next week’s historic 1-off Test against the All Blacks from New Zealand.

The 8 July fixture will be the 1st time the All Blacks will play a Test match in the Pacific Islands, after previous trips to play Fiji were not given that status.

Prime minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegao, who is also chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union, announced the squad on Tuesday in the Samoan capital Apia, where the match will be played,.

Space in the All Blacks’ pre-World Cup schedule was found for the match after he and the Prime Minister of New Zealand joined calls for the game to be set up. It is expected to be the biggest sporting event in Samoa’s history.

The starting line-up has yet to be confirmed but London Irish flanker Ofisa Treviranus was named earlier this week as captain.

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ABSA Currie CupThe ORC Griquas will be looking to capitalise on the inactivity of the Leopards this weekend and will be hopefull to extend their slender lead at the Top of the ABSA Currie Cup Qualifier log when they clash with the Down Touch Griffons on Saturday in Kimberley.

The encounter at GWK Park will kick-off at 15:15 SA Time and will be televised live on SuperSport 1.

Griquas, sitting on 11 points from 3 matches, have just 1 point more than 2nd-placed Leopards on Top of the standings in the race for that crucial qualifying spot to the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division. Griquas defeated the high-flying Leopards last week in a high-scoring affair to topple them from Top spot on the Log and they should run out as favourites against the Down Touch Griffons.

Round 4 action gets underway on Friday evening in George and East London respectively.

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Nollis Marais

Nollis Marais

New Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais is yet to decide who will captain the team in this year’s ABSA Currie Cup.

Marais earlier this week named his squad for the tournament, but he’s still considering who will lead the team.

“He (the captain) needs to impress me. If I name a captain now, then it’s over and out. There are a few candidates I have in mind, but I want to be certain of my decision,” Marais said.

Experienced players like flank Deon Stegmann and lock Flip van der Merwe are possible candidates.

Stegmann led the Bulls in last season’s ABSA Currie Cup, while Flip van der Merwe captained the Vodacom Bulls in a few Super Rugby games in 2014.

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Matthew Proudfoot

Matthew Proudfoot

DHL Stormers forwards coach Matt Proudfoot has opted not to renew his contract with Western Province Rugby, but he might not be lost to the union on a permanent basis.

Proudfoot will be linking up with outgoing DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee at Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers in Japan, but Director of Rugby Gert Smal remains hopeful of retaining his services on a consultancy basis, which would see him contribute to the ‘Tight Five Factory'; an innovative project which is aimed at identifying and developing tight 5 players from youth level and up within WP Rugby.

Proudfoot, 42, has served as forwards coach of both the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province for the past 7 seasons, which has seen the Cape team’s pack become 1 of the most feared units at Super Rugby and Currie Cup level.

In that time, the likes of unheralded juniors Steven Kitshoff, Scarra Ntubeni, Frans Malherbe, Vincent Koch, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Nizaam Carr have progressed into the Springbok ranks (either as Test players or squad members), with the DHL Stormers’ scrummaging power a huge boon in their recently-completed 2015 Super Rugby campaign.

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Peter GrantEx-Springbok flyhalf Peter Grant is set to join the Western Force ahead of next year’s Super Rugby season.

Grant, who was released with a season to run on his contract at French club La Rochelle, looks a likely replacement for South African compatriot Sias Ebersohn, who has already been released.

According to The West Australian, Grant’s potential return to Super Rugby was opened due Wilhelm Steenkamp’s imminent signing for French club Brive for next season.

Steenkamp had limited game time last season and failed to impress the Force’s coaching staff at his time with the team.

The Force are allowed 3 overseas Test players and Grant would join former All Black scrumhalf Alby Mathewson and Tongan forward Steve Mafi.

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Willem Alberts

Willem Alberts

Stade Français have confirmed the signing of Springbok back row Willem Alberts who will join the club after the Rugby World Cup.

The Top 14 champions have not brought in many players this off-season, generally prioritising quality over quantity, as Alberts joins Will Genia in the French capital.

Alberts arrives from the Cell C Sharks on a 3-year deal and will join a back row which already features Sergio Parisse, Raphaël Lakafia and Antoine Burban, while promising youngster Sekou Macalou also arrived over the off-season from Massy.

The 31-year-old made his Springbok debut back in 2010 and has scored 7 tries in 32 tests.

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Armand "Akker" van der Merwe

Armand “Akker” van der Merwe

The Emirates Lions have lost another key player ahead of their Currie Cup campaign.

Hooker Armand “Akker”van der Merwe or “The Angry Warthog” as he is sometimes referred to, has signed a deal with Racing Metro, which will see him play in France for the remainder of the 2015 season.

Lions Rugby (Pty) Ltd revealed that they agreed to release 4 players to clubs abroad for the duration of the Currie Cup tournament.

As was previously reported Elton Jantjies (Shining Arcs), Lionel Mapoe (Spears) and Warwick Tecklenburg (Kamaishi) have all signed agreements in Japan until February 2016.

Along with Van der Merwe, all the players will return ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby tournament and will represent the Lions in next year’s competition. The players have all committed to Lions Rugby until the end of 2016.

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Warwick Tecklenburg

Warwick Tecklenburg

Bjorn Basson

Bjorn Basson

Renaldo Bothma

Renaldo Bothma

Lionel Mapoe

Lionel Mapoe

Lionel Mapoe, Renaldo Bothma, Bjorn Basson and Warwick Tecklenburg have added their names to growing list of Super Rugby players heading to The Land of the Rising Sun.

Emirates Lions centre, Mapoe will join Vodacom Bulls lock Grant Hattingh at the Spears while his Lions team mate, flank Warwick Tecklenburg heads to the Kamaishi Seawaves.

Cell C Sharks and Namibia International loose forward, Renaldo Bothma will join Verblitz after the World Cup while Vodacom Bulls and Ex-Springbok wing Bjorn Basson will join Lomano Lemeki and Digby Ioane at the Heat.

Another high profile player who will be heading East is Wallaby fullback Israel Folau who will link up with Springboks Handré Pollard and Eben Etzebeth at the Docomo Red Hurricanes. Folau just put pen to paper on a new flexible contract with the Australian Rugby Union.

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Vincent Koch

Vincent Koch

Tighthead prop Vincent Koch has confirmed that he will return to the DHL Stormers for next year’s Super Rugby competition.

Koch, 25, was loaned from the Pumas for this year’s Super Rugby competition and was one of the Cape franchise’s standout performers.

His performances also earned him a call-up to Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok squad named at the weekend.

There was confusion regarding Koch’s availability for the Stormers because his province – the Steval Pumas – form part of the Emirates Lions franchise and the men from Johannesburg could have requested the player to feature for them.

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Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee

Outgoing DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has given the franchise advice on where they can look to strengthen their squad for next season.

The 52-year-old is set to leave for Japan as he embarks on a new phase in his coaching career with Japanese club, Kobe Kobelco Steelers.

The Stormers won this year’s South African conference in Super Rugby, but were knocked out in the qualifiers against the Brumbies at Newlands.

Coetzee said they need add a few new recruits in order to be successful in 2016.

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Bernard Lapasset

Bernard Lapasset

No Shit Sherlock, finally we have a replacement for Brainy Smurf!!

Apologies, I could not help that, it just blurted out and it was as if my fingers were typing in automatic mode….

Well, the opinion by World Rugby’s president, Bernard Lappasset when commenting on Rugby Sevens’ growing popularity and competitaveness ahead of its return to the Olympic programme next year, which has led to a rethinking of 15’s role in the game leads him to the conclusion that Rugby 15’s need some reform!

The 67-year-old Frenchman, speaking on Tuesday ahead of a lucrative sponsorship announcement of both the men’s and for the 1st time the women’s sevens series, said there was a need for a new system for the 15’s version of the sport.

“We need to open up a new system for the 15 discipline,” he said.

“To bring the northern and southern hemisphere programmes closer together.

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Israel Folau

Israel Folau

Waratahs Rugby and the Australian Rugby Union have confirmed the re-signing of fullback Israel Folau on a 3-year flexible contract which will keep him in Australian rugby until at least 2018.

The 26 year-old joined the Waratahs for the 2013 season, making an immediate impact to the side with his impressive speed and agility.

In just his 2nd year in the code, he was named 2014 Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year after an outstanding season in which he scored 12 tries in 14 matches and was an integral member of the title-winning team.

A key member of the team’s leadership group, Folau was named as vice-captain for the 1st time in 2015, and held the role for 5 matches.

2016 Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson said he was pleased that Folau had committed to stay in Australian rugby.

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Nollis Marais

Nollis Marais

Positive news for a change from the Vodacom Blue Bulls, as Nollis Marais, the new Head Coach for the Currie Cup season gets into gear.

He promises change and that the Blue Bulls will play in a system which suits their player strenghts and it looks like one of the 1st key things he has achieved is to convince all the key youngsters left at the Union since the recent exodus (before his appointment), have decided to stay and sign on to help ressurrect the proud Union.

The 2nd immediate positive is that former Bulls and Springbok hooker, Gary Botha has been signed as Technical Forwards Consultant with the Blue Bulls.

The 3rd aspect of positive and upbuilding news is that the vibe in the newly released Currie Cup squad is positive and excited… and eager.

The 4th aspect, something I have wanted to hear for a very, very long time… and that is that Nollis Marais will give special attention to skills training. It has been something severely lacking in both the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup and the Bulls in Super Rugby and it’s been permitted to rot in the background for far too long during Frans Ludeke’s tenure, and lately shaky reign. It is music to my ears and should be music to the ears of most South Africans, as skills is one critical aspect where we feel South Africa is lacking behind Australia and New Zealand… well specially New Zealand!

Then there is the pleasant news that it appears that Francois Hougaard, who would have left for Japan prior to the advent of the Currie Cup, will now stay at the Blue Bulls, in an attempt to shine in the Currie Cup, and thus maybe elevate his chances of re-entering the Springbok Squad.

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Recent Comments

  • Victoriabok 6 Jul 2015, 17:36 SAST - MacroPolo wrote: @ Victoriabok: Leaving Duane out of the RWC would be one of the biggest shock exclusions of all...
  • MacroPolo 6 Jul 2015, 17:28 SAST - @ Victoriabok: Leaving Duane out of the RWC would be one of the biggest shock exclusions of all time if...
  • BrumbiesBoy 6 Jul 2015, 17:28 SAST - Stephen Moore Married to a Sheila from Debben(-and-all) Brumbies captain And now reappointed as Wallabies captain after a cruel injury...
  • Stormersboy 6 Jul 2015, 17:26 SAST - I have said it many times before, all this speculation about who will be in the starting team is just...
  • BrumbiesBoy 6 Jul 2015, 17:24 SAST - Stephen, you go, mate! http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/rugby-world-cup/wallabies-captain-stephen-moore-says-he-will-lead-by-example-20150706-gi65ls.html
  • Victoriabok 6 Jul 2015, 17:17 SAST - He wouldn't have played for 15 weeks by the time we play Japan

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