Springbok captain Jean de Villiers is the only player assured of his place in next year’s Rugby World Cup squad, coach Heyneke Meyer has revealed.
A squad of 31 players will be picked for next year’s showpiece event in England and Wales.
PUMA has launched the new Vodacom Bulls Super Rugby 2015 kit, which is rich in heritage, pays homage to the team’s loyal fans and features a striking Bull’s head.
The Bull’s head wraps around the player’s body to create a 360-degree effect and when the team gathers on the field, the design’s collective impression is of a herd of Bulls, standing strong and unified by years of history.
“The new PUMA kit for the Vodacom Bulls marks a departure from the last few seasons kit,” said PUMA South Africa Marketing Director Brett Bellinger. “PUMA together with the Vodacom Bulls decided it was time to return to something a little more traditional and pay tribute to the strong Bulls brand and branding that has made them the most decorated Vodacom Super Rugby Team in South Africa. We also take this opportunity to wish the team well as they prepare for the upcoming season.”
Wales have made three changes to their side to face South Africa on Saturday, with Gethin Jenkins, Scott Baldwin and Liam Williams all coming into the starting fifteen.
Jenkins and Baldwin will link up with Samson Lee to form the same frontrow that started the clash against Fiji a fortnight ago.
The rest of the pack remains unchanged from last weekend’s game against the world champions New Zealand, with Jake Ball partnering Alun Wyn Jones in the second row and Dan Lydiate and Taulupe Faletau lining up alongside captain Sam Warburton.
Ospreys halfbacks Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar continue their partnership as do the record breaking centre duo of Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies.
Sean McMahon returns to the Australian starting lineup in one of three changes ahead of their final year-end Test, against England at Twickenham on Saturday.
With Tevita Kuridrani unavailable due to a low-grade ankle injury, Test veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper has been selected at outside centre, which allows Rob Horne to earn a starting position on the wing.
The starting line-up is otherwise unchanged with McMahon part of a back row including captain Michael Hooper and Ben McCalman, locks Sam Carter and Rob Simmons, and a front row of James Slipper, Saia Fainga’a and Sekope Kepu.
In the backs Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley continue their play-making partnership,Matt Toomua joins Adam Ashley-Cooper in the centres, with a back three consisting of Israel Folau, Rob Horne and Henry Speight.
Billy Twelvetrees has been handed his first start of the 2014 Internationals against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday with Owen Farrell reverting to the bench.
The Gloucester Rugby centre, who started every game in last season’s Six Nations campaign, takes the No 12 jersey and shifts Saracen Owen Farrell to the replacements’ bench as George Ford is retained at flyhalf.
Up front, Northampton Saints pair Tom Wood and Dylan Hartley take over from James Haskell (Wasps) and Rob Webber (Bath Rugby) at blindside flank and hooker respectively.
Despite those changes to the run-on side, the same match-day 23 who beat Samoa 28-9 last weekend will be on duty as England look to secure a 10th victory in 13 Twickenham Tests.
Reviewing his selection, Head Coach Stuart Lancaster praised Twelvetrees for his committed self-development over the current campaign.
Centre Jaque Fourie has joined fellow World Cup winner Bakkies Botha in deciding to quit the international stage.
Fourie, on the Union Sports Group player management agency’s official website, confirmed that he will no longer be available for Springbok selection.
“After much consideration, with regards to my current career status, I have decided to not make myself available for any international matches,” Fourie said in a statement on the agency website.
“I have chosen to remain focused on continuing with my current club, Kobelco Steelers.
Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse is pondering his future after a receiving an offer to coach in Japan.
According to reports, Stonehouse has until next Friday to decide if he will accept an offer to coach the Toshiba Brave Lupus.
Should he decide to leave, he would be lost for South African rugby until the middle part of 2017.
The Pacific Islands may yet get a taste of Super Rugby, with the Crusaders considering shifting their home match against the Hurricanes to Fiji next year.
The Fiji Village website reported that planning was underway for the seven-time Super Rugby champions to play the Hurricanes in Suva after a sponsor came forward to underwrite the move.
A Crusaders spokesman could not confirm the switch Thursday, saying there were a number of options under consideration with their usual second-choice home venues of Nelson and Timaru also in the mix.
“It’s too soon to comment on what may go ahead,” she said.
Former Fiji wing Rupeni Caucaunibuca has ended his unhappy second stint with French second division side Agen by mutual consent.
Caucaunibuca, more commonly referred to simply as Caucau, had played only 87 minutes for the Pro D2 side this season, having returned for a second spell following a highly successful first stint from 2004-09.
Back then, when Agen were in the French Top 14, Caucau twice finished as top try-scorer in the league.
He moved on to giants Toulouse in 2010 and then in 2012 returned to Northland in New Zealand, where he had also played Super Rugby for the Blues.
Agen said the explosive 34-year-old had asked to have his contract terminated.
Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks and Lwazi Mvovo are back in the Springbok starting line-up for Saturday’s Test against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
The changes in the back three were required because Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen, who started in last weekend’s victory over Italy in Padova, are not available this week. The two changes to the front row are rotational.
Adriaan Strauss, who started at hooker in the victories over England and Italy, moves to the bench, where he will be joined by Trevor Nyakane and Damian de Allende in the only other changes to the match-23.
“This tour has been a good test of our depth and we’re looking forward to see what the team can do on Saturday,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
Ireland’s John Lacey will referee Saturday’s Test between Wales and the Springboks at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Lacey, 41, was also in charge of the Springboks’ Rugby Championship clash against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld in August this year. The Boks won 13-6.
Saturday’s Test will be his 11th to date.
Welsh defensive coach Shaun Edwards has bad memories of what Willie le Roux did to them in June and is wary of the Springboks’ threats.
South Africa managed two victories over the Welsh back in June, with a tight one-point win in Nelspruit proving to be a heartbreaking one for Wales.
Springbok fullback Willie le Roux was instrumental as an attacking threat in both those games and was seen to terrorize the Welsh defence.
For Edwards, a watchful eye will be kept on Le Roux, but he is not fooling himself into believing that the wylie fullback will be the only threat.
“They have got intelligent players, they’ve got a constructive kicking game as well,” the coach said.
They’ve got an outstanding fullback in Willie le Roux, who was the main torturer for us throughout the June Tests.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster has retained the 23 players that faced Samoa for this weekend’s Test match against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
The same 23-man squad that secured a first win of the autumn against Samoa will line up against the Wallabies at Twickenham Stadium for the final November Test.
Gloucester Rugby centre Billy Twelvetrees keeps his place and will compete with Saracens’ Owen Farrell for the inside centre slot, as explained by head coach Stuart Lancaster earlier today.
The Bulls will unveil their new jerseys for next year’s Super Rugby competition on Thursday.
In 2014, the three-time champions played with a khaki-style camouflage kit, scrapping the pink away jerseys from the previous season.
Ireland flank Chris Henry has had an operation to repair a defect on his heart wall after a temporary blockage was discovered in a small blood vessel in his brain.
The defect was found to be related to the blockage, which was discovered before Ireland’s victory over South Africa on 8 November.
Henry was withdrawn from the starting lineup on the morning of the South Africa match with a suspected viral illness that was initially diagnosed as a severe migraine.
New Zealand lock and World Rugby Player of the Year, Brodie Retallick, has been nominated alongside fellow All Blacks Richie McCaw and Aaron Smith for the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year award.
The award forms part of New Zealand’s rugby awards which recognises the contributions to the game as well as outstanding performances by teams and individuals.
Retallick has also picked up a nomination in the Super Rugby Player of the Year category alongside Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo and Blues flank Jerome Kaino.
To go with their World Rugby Team of the Year and Coach of the Year awards,The All Blacks and coach Steve Hansen have been nominated in the Team of the Year and Coach of the Year categories, respectively.
Cardiff Blues’ new signing Gareth Anscombe is keen to impress Wales coach Warren Gatland and force his way into the Welsh Six Nations squad.
The Welsh qualified junior All Black made his debut for the Blues last weekend and was the shining light in their 28-13 defeat to Edinburgh at Murrayfield.
The utlity back is determined to muscle his way into the Wales fold for the Six Nations by steering his new side to victories against European Cup Pool One qualification rivals London Irish in their back-to-back clashes next month.
“I’m a pretty driven guy and now that I’m over here it’s the goal to play for Wales. So, I guess the next step may be the Six Nations.
Samoan players are disputing the claims of their prime minister that a dispute with their national rugby union has been resolved.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who is also the Samoan Rugby Union Chairman, told Television New Zealand that he had spoken to the players and the dispute is under control.
But lock Daniel Leo, who is spokesman for the Samoan team, told Radio Live on Wednesday “we haven’t even had a chance to meet with them, let alone sort anything out, so it’s stalling tactics.”
The International Rugby Players Association also issued a statement saying “the situation is absolutely not under control. There’s a lack of urgency from the Samoan Rugby Union to address issues and frustrations are building within the rugby community.”
South African centre Pat Howard admits he is ready for whatever comes his way as he bids to build on his first appearance for Munster.
Howard began a three-month contract with the Irish province at the start of the month and got his first taste of the Guinness PRO12 at the weekend.
The 22-year-old featured off the bench as Munster made light work of seeing off Newport Gwent Dragons 38-12 in their return to Guinness PRO12 action.
Howard arrived at Munster to bolster the options in midfield due to injuries to Keith Earls and Cian Bohane with an Irish derby with Ulster next up.
Munster will then break for European action and Howard insists he is acclimatising well and relishing the challenges that lie ahead both domestically and on the continent.
It’s PUB NIGHT!
The week started on a heavy note, my 2nd mom in ICU… and as “deurmekaar” as your regular Sharks supporter!
The PUB also celebrates old timers tonight, Ryecatcher, Angostura… and the softy, which is my stepmom, Nora Geldenhuys, a descendant of one of the big Ground Barons of the original Pretoria – General Opperman (who was a Boer General and closest neighbour of General Jan Smuts).
Of course we also received news this week of the retirement of a Springbok Old Timer and lock legend, Bakkies Botha!
What’s better than wishing these old folgies well and capping it off in the PUB?
This coming weekend the Springboks take on the last enemy on tour for 2014, Wales, who held the All Blacks till the 69th minute, this past weekend! One more BIG push for the Springboks, after a year filled with Super Rugby and a very busy International window.
The Springboks overseas contingent is now gone… back to their Clubs, as the International Window is already officially a thing of the past.
OK, let’s focus on the PUB tonight…. the idea with PUB NIGHT is to lighten up our dull Tuesday evenings with music, comedy and fun.
Rugby takes a backseat tonight as the clan and fellow rugby nutters gather and wheel in their old timer friends…
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:
Wales will be able to call on their French-based stars for Saturday’s Test against the Springboks at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
The match falls outside of World Rugby’s Test window, which means clubs are not obliged to release their overseas-based players for internationals.
For this reason, the Springboks will not be able to call on the likes of Bryan Habana (Toulon, France) JP Pietersen (Panasonic Wild Knights, Japan), Schalk Burger (Suntory Sungoliath, Japan), Johan Goosen (Racing Metro, France), Jano Vermaak (Toulouse, France), Gurthro Steenkamp (Toulouse, France) and Morne Steyn (Stade Francais, France).
However, it appears Wales will be able to call on some key overseas players.
England coach Stuart Lancaster confirmed that George Ford will stay at flyhalf for Saturday’s clash against Australia.
Ford made a strong full debut in the 28-9 victory over Samoa at Twickenham and Lancaster wants him to continue in the No 10 jersey worn by Owen Farrell for most of the coach’s reign.
The experiment of moving Farrell to inside centre may be abandoned after just one match, with Lancaster giving serious consideration to selecting Billy Twelvetrees in the position he last called his own in the second Test of the tour to New Zealand.
Twelvetrees impressed as a second-half replacement against Samoa and is locked in a two-way duel with Farrell to face the Wallabies in the climax to England’s autumn campaign.
“George has earned the right to start again. He’s played well enough for that,” Lancaster said.
Tevita Kuridrani has been ruled out of Saturday’s match against England at Twickenham with an ankle injury.
The in-form Wallabies centre picked up the injury early in the second half of their 26-23 defeat to Ireland. Tests on Monday revealed a low grade tear, meaning Kuridrani won’t be available for the match against England, although he should be clear by the time Super Rugby rolls around.
Twelve months ago the Springbok talent cupboard looked bare – with a dearth of back-up in several key positions.
Now, less than 10 months out from the start of the World Cup, South African coach Heyneke Meyer believes he has ‘plugged all the gaps’.
Speaking after his team’s hard-earned 22-6 win over Italy in Padua at the weekend, Meyer said he is “very happy” with the state of the Boks’ player resources.
Tighthead prop and fullback were among the two positions where depth was a major concern, but the added bonus of Nizaam Carr’s outstanding debut means Meyer’s already well-stocked loose forward resources have an additional arrow in the quiver.
“I said Nizaam was running great lines in training (last week),” Meyer told a media scrum.
“The test was to take that into a Test match where there isn’t a lot of space and he came through with flying colours.”
Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis has not recovered from a hamstring injury and will miss their final tour game against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
Du Plessis sustained the injury against England at Twickenham on 15 November and missed this past weekend’s game against Italy in Padua (Padova).
He was expected to be back for the Wales Test, but needs more time on the sidelines.
Warren Whiteley picked up a calf injury during training recently and also has not recovered sufficiently to play in the final Test against Wales on Saturday.
Stuart Lancaster has recalled 34 players to Pennyhill Park to prepare for Saturday’s final International against Australia at Twickenham Stadium.
Exeter Chiefs’ in form No 8 Thomas Waldrom, who has scored seven tries in eight Premiership games this season, replaces Billy Vunipola.
The Saracens man suffered concussion in Saracens’ defeat to Northampton Saints at the weekend will undergo the Graduated Return To Play protocol at his club.
A selection of Springboks will take on the Proteas in a T20 match at the Wanderers stadium in Johannesburg on 5 December for the Nelson Mandela Legacy Cup.
National captain Jean de Villiers and vice-captain Victor Matfield have both been included in the star-studded Springbok T20 cricket team.
Matfield scored 23 runs from 23 balls and hit four fours against the Proteas in Cape Town earlier this year.
The two Springbok centurions will be joined by Willem Alberts, who took two wickets in as many balls at Newlands, as well as Willie le Roux, who scored 16 from eight balls including a big six.
John Philip “Bakkies” Botha, born 22 September 1979 in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal has had a glittering international career that drew to a close on 22 November 2014.
He will continue to play for his French Club Toulon and has even hinted at retiring in South Africa with the Currie Cup.
In his professional career Botha has won everything there is to win.
With the Blue Bulls he won the Vodacom Cup in 2001 and then went on to add three Currie Cup titles to his name in 2002, 2004 and 2009.
With the Bulls in Super Rugby, Botha was part of the first South African team to lift the trophy in 2007 (in the professional era – with Transvaal winning the Super 10 in 1993), and then again in 2009 and 2010.
Australia have slipped another place to fifth in the latest World Rugby Rankings with France, Japan, Tonga, Canada and Namibia also falling after defeats.
Australia’s 26-23 loss to Ireland on Saturday has seen the Wallabies slip another place to fifth – equalling their lowest ever position since the World Rugby Rankings were introduced in October 2003.
The Wallabies headed into the match in Dublin sitting just one hundredth of a rating point above England, but will now travel to Twickenham to face Stuart Lancaster’s men this weekend behind two northern hemisphere nations with Ireland strengthening their hold on third place with the win.
The Irish Rugby Football Union and The Barbarian Football Club have confirmed on Monday that they will play a match at Thomond Park, Limerick on Thursday 28 May 2015.
The fixture forms part of the Barbarians’ Summer Tour, which also features a game against England at Twickenham on Sunday 31 May.
The year 2015 marks the 125th anniversary of Barbarian rugby, making its Summer Tour fixtures against Ireland and England even more special.
Irish Rugby Football Union President Louis Magee said: “This promises to be a truly memorable occasion as both the IRFU and Munster welcome the Barbarians back to Ireland again. The celebrated Barbarians brand of rugby will bring an entertaining game to Thomond Park and one which I am sure Ireland and rugby fans will look forward to seeing.”
Crusaders Assistant Coach, Aaron Mauger, has accepted the Head Coach role with his old Leicester Tigers club from the 2015 / 2016 season.
Mauger, who will complete his third Super Rugby season as Assistant Coach with the Crusaders in 2015, played 53 games for the Leicester Tigers between 2007 and 2010 and captained the side for much of the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
He says it is a dream opportunity to return to a club that he is so fond of, in a head coach capacity.
“I have awesome memories of my time at Leicester as a player and it is a place I will very happily return to.
“I feel incredibly lucky to have the chance to do that as the head coach for the club and the timing is right for me to grab that opportunity.
“My aim is to help create the framework for Leicester to once again be amongst the top clubs in European and world rugby.
Australian men’s Sevens head coach Geraint John has named his 12-man squad that will travel to Asia for the Dubai Sevens in December.
The pacy duo of Greg Jeloudev (ankle) and Allan Fa’alava’au (ineligible) return after sitting out the Gold Coast Sevens World Series opener in October.
Veteran forward Jesse Parahi misses out after breaking a finger in training last Thursday and will undergo surgery on Monday. Afa Pakalani (shoulder) and Shannon Walker (foot) are also unavailable through injury.
The starting side who did duty for the Springboks on Saturday as well as one replacement, have all left the Springboks to return to their respective Clubs in France and Japan.
- Johan Goosen returns to Racing Metro in France
- Bryan Habana returns to Toulon
- JP Pietersen returns to the Panasonic Wild Knights
- On the Springbok bench, Gurthrö Steenkamp returns to Toulouse in France
Of course Bakkies Botha has now retired from International Rugby and accordingly also leaves for Toulon, whilst Morné Steyn (who was not used on Tour) returns to Stade Français.
Schalk Burger joins his Japanes Club, Suntory Sungoliath.
This leads us to the burning question as to the composition and changes in the Springbok run-on team and 23-man squad for Saturday’s encounter with Wales, who held a lead over the All Blacks till the 69th minute, this past Saturday, before conceding a blitz of 3 tries, which blew the score against them out of proportion.
Mind you, one more Springbok tourist is also leaving the squad, thus unavailable for selection, namely Seabelo Senatla, who was released to the Springbok Sevens squad (or Blitzbokke as they are affectionately referred to) for the 2 remaining HSBC Sevens World Series Tournaments in 2014… the tournament in Dubai and the one in South Africa the week thereafter.
The FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International for 2015 is set to continue its grand tradition of trying out experimental laws, further cementing the tournament’s status as a testing ground for the laws of rugby.
This season sees the exciting reintroduction of the WHITE CARD – which was used in the inaugural 2008 Varsity Cup Final. The WHITE CARD is a card that can be used by either coach or captain to review a decision by the referee.
This exciting experiment is endorsed by the South African Rugby Union (SARU). Andre Watson, SARU General Manager Referees, had the following to say on the WHITE CARD.
“This is a step in the right direction to assist referees to get that important decision correct, and to put some responsibility on the captain and coaches to help with the process.”
The WHITE CARD challenge system is to only be used during the Varsity Cup. The team challenge, or WHITE CARD, can be called by the team coach or captain.
Seabelo Senatla has been released from the Springbok touring squad at the request of the Springbok Sevens and will return to South Africa on Sunday.
Senatla will join the Blitzbokke as they prepare for the next two tournaments in the HSBC Sevens World Series, in Dubai and Port Elizabeth.
“We’ve got a very good relationship with Neil (Powell) and the Sevens, so we’re happy to help,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“At this stage we won’t be calling up a replacement as we have enough cover at the back.