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Currie Cup

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Dewey Swartbooi

Dewey Swartbooi

Dewey Swartbooi has been appointed head coach of the Boland Cavaliers for the Currie Cup season.

Swartbooi, a former Boland, Bulls, Lions and Cats centre, will replace Abe Davids, who accepted a severance package following a long court battle with the union.

It was reported last week that former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers would get the job as Boland coach, but the Boland top brass has obviously had a change of heart and appointed Swartbooi instead.

According to tabloid press, De Villiers was a shoo-in for the job, but uncertainty at the embattled union led to a change in plans.

Swartbooi, who has been involved in coaching at Boland since 2012, will be assisted by Randall Modiba (backline coach) and Andries Human (forwards consultant).

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Os du Randt congratulated with the Verblitz deal

Os du Randt congratulated with the Verblitz deal

2-Time World Cup-winning Springbok Os du Randt will join Japanese club Verblitz in a new deal with the Cheetahs.

It was announced on Saturday that the 2 teams – the Toyota Cheetahs from Bloemfontein and the Verblitz side from Aichi in Japan – will exchange personnel.

The deal, established through the Toyota motor vehicle company that sponsors both teams, will see Du Randt become the forwards and scrum coach of Verblitz – as a 1st step of the partnership.

Following the exodus of South African players to Japan in recent years, this has been identified as an opportunity for both teams to foster talent.

It will see selected players and coaches being utilised – with players given the opportunity to play in Japan for the Verblitz club during their regular season (South Africa’s Currie Cup season) and return to play Super Rugby for the Toyota Cheetahs.

1 Of the main benefits of the programme include the joint contracting of players from outside the Cheetahs squad.

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Peter de VilliersFormer Springbok coach Peter de Villiers is being linked with the head coaching position of the Boland Cavaliers.

De Villiers has been Director of Rugby at the University of the Western Cape for the last few seasons, but his contract expired at the end of this year’s Varsity Shield competition.

He recently indicated that he was in the market for a new job.

According to Thursday’s Die Son newspaper, De Villiers is set to be named as the new Boland coach, replacing Abe Davids who left his post earlier in the week.

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Jano Vermaak

Jano Vermaak

Springbok scrumhalf Jano Vermaak has signed a 2-and-a-half-year deal with Western Province Rugby and will be available for selection from 1 July, once he has completed his current club commitments in France.

The 30-year-old will make the move back to South Africa from French giants, Toulouse; joining Nic Groom, Louis Schreuder and Godlen Masimla as the senior scrumhalf options for the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province.

The quicksilver Vermaak has won 3 Test caps for the Springboks, making his debut against Italy on 8 June 2013, before also featuring against the Wallabies and the All Blacks later that season.

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Vincent Koch

Vincent Koch

Star DHL Stormers prop Vincent Koch will not be available for Western Province in this year’s Currie Cup.

According to reports, Koch’s contract with the Pumas lasts until the end of 2016 and his home union has no intention of letting him go.

“He will play (Currie Cup rugby) for me in 2015 and 2016,” said Pumas president Hein Mentz.

“Our viewpoint is that we give players opportunities to improve. Therefore, we made Vincent available to the Stormers and Renaldo Bothma and Giant Mtyanda to the Sharks.

“Vincent was loaned to the Stormers because the Lions, our franchise partner, didn’t regard him as good enough.”

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Naka Drotske

Naka Drotske

The Toyota Cheetahs todat announced that Naka Drotske has will step down as Toyota Cheetahs Super Rugby coach at the end of this Super Rugby Season in order to persue business interests.

In addition, scrum coach Os du Randt has indicated that he will also be leaving the Cheetahs to go overseas and to persue coaching career opportunities abroad after completing his stint in Super Rugby this year. The whereabouts of his overseas tenure has not been made known yet.

But that’s not all, folks, Hawies Fourie, the Toyota Cheetahs backline coach wil also return to GWK Griquas to take up the Head Coaching position at the end of Super Rugby.

Franco Smith, who was named the Toyota Free State Cheetahs Currie Cup coach for 2015 earlier this week, will take up the position as Super Rugby head coach at the Toyota Cheetahs in the place of Naka Drotske.

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Jacques Potgieter

Jacques Potgieter

Joe Pietersen

Joe Pietersen

The Cell C Sharks, often in the news in recent times for the wrong reasons as well as for their dismal Super Rugby form in 2015, have confirmed the signing of Jacques Potgieter, from the Waratahs for the 2016 season onwards.

In addition local media report that the Toyota Cheetahs pivot, Joe Pietersen will also move to the Cell C Sharks and will start playing there in the 2015 ABSA Currie Cup campaign already.

 

Jacques Potgieter:

The Cell C Sharks Media release reads as follows:

We are pleased to announce the signing of Waratahs loose-forward Jacques Potgieter on a two-year contract with the Cell C Sharks.

Potgieter is no stranger to the Cell C Sharks, having played his junior rugby in Durban. Over the last few years he has made steady progress up the ranks with his sheer physical presence and explosiveness, which resulted in a Springbok call-up in 2012. In 2014, he was instrumental in the Waratahs victorious Super Rugby campaign.

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Franco Smith

Franco Smith

Varsity Cup-winning coach Franco Smith has been appointed the head coach of the Toyota Free State Cheetahs for this year’s ABSA Currie Cup campaign.

While it was expected that Smith may also be given the reigns of the Toyota Cheetahs Super Rugby franchise, this wasn’t announced with current coach Naka Drotske still continuing in his contract until the end of October 2016.

In addition Rory Duncan, who coached the side alongside Smith in the Currie Cup last year, will from now on be the Director of Coaching and will handle all rugby matters for the franchise from now on.

“We want to make it clear that Naka Drotske, his coaching team and the current structures continue unabated in this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby competition. Any media reports concerning Drotske’s position is pure speculation and is not accurate. Drotske has a contract with the Toyota Free State Cheetahs that expires on 30 October 2016,” a statement from the union said.

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Franco Smith

Franco Smith

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs have offered Shimlas coach Franco Smith the job as head coach of their Currie Cup side.

Ryno Opperman, chairperson of the Free State Cheetahs Company’s board, confirmed the news.

The 42-year-old Smith was earlier contracted as backline coach of the Free State Cheetahs’ Currie Cup team, but after leading Shimlas to their maiden Varsity Cup title, the Cheetahs want to promote him to head coach.

“A written offer is being drawn up for Franco to serve as Currie Cup head coach from the 2015 competition,” said Opperman.

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Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Western Province back Pat Howard has reportedly signed a deal with English Premiership club Northampton Saints.

While the news is yet to be officially announced, it is reported that Howard will leave the Cape union later this year.

The 23-year-old Howard, who can play wing and centre, is contracted with WP until 31 October.

This means he will in all likelihood be asked to stay until the end of this year’s Currie Cup.

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Dayan van der Westhuizen

Dayan van der Westhuizen

Tian Schoeman

Tian Schoeman

Dean Greyling

Dean Greyling

The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd on Thursday confirmed the extensions of contracts with Springbok prop Dean Greyling, Vodacom Bulls flyhalf Tian Schoeman and Junior Springbok prop Dayan van der Westhuizen.

All 3 have signed contracts that will keep them Loftus-based till 2017, Xander Janse van Rensburg, High Performance Manager of the BBC confirmed.

The trio are all products of the Blue Bulls youth structures and hails from local Pretoria schools.

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Michael Rhodes

Michael Rhodes

Saracens are delighted to announce the signing of Michael Rhodes from the Stormers.

Michael Rhodes, the Stormers and Western Province forward, will join Saracens at the start of next season, adding South African power to the wolf pack.

Mark McCall, Director of Rugby, said: “We have some time ago identified Michael as a player who could  make significant contribution to the squad, playing in the second row or the back row, carrying the ball and we are confident we can provide an environment where he will realise his full potential. We’re delighted he will be joining us next season.”

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Os du Randt

Os du Randt

Japanese club Toyota Verblitz is believed to be after the services Cheetahs forwards coach Os du Randt.

According to reports, there’s already been informal talks between the club and Du Randt but no contract has been discussed.

New Zealander Filo Tiatia coached Toyota Verblitz this past season, while Springbok and Sharks flank Jean Deysel also plays for them.

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Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen was the star of the annual South African Rugby Union Player of the Year Awards when he walked off with 3 awards, including the main award of the season.

Vermeulen was named SARU Rugby Player of the Year after an extensive voting process, which included the country’s rugby media and the public through SARU’s online and social media platforms.

The 28-year-old Vermeulen, who will captain the DHL Stormers this year, also won the coveted SARPA Players’ Player of the Year and Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year Awards for 2014.

“Duane has been outstanding in 2014 and these awards are just reward for the excellent form he showed last year, as one of the Springboks’ key performers and for the DHL Stormers,” said SARU President, Mr Oregan Hoskins.

Hot on Vermeulen’s heels, with two awards, was young Springbok flyhalf and Junior Springbok captain Handré Pollard.

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South African Rugby Annual 2015The 2015 edition of the South African Rugby Annul goes on sale nationwide today after being launched at Sunday’s South African Rugby Union Awards in Johannesburg.

In keeping with tradition, the 44th edition of the ‘bible’ of the game once again features South Africa’s player of the year on the cover, with the newly-crowned Duane Vermeulen following in the footsteps of the likes of Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana and Schalk Burger in recent years.

“Even in this digital age, it’s vitally important to retain a physical document of record for future generations,” said SARU CEO, Jurie Roux. “SARU strives to be a world leader in the game both on and off the field and when it comes to the Annual, we are immensely proud of the quality of the book we continue to produce year in and year out.

“We like to believe that we have an outstanding yearbook but that hasn’t stopped us from raising the bar even further with this new-look, Rugby World Cup-themed edition. We’ve made it a more user-friendly size, refreshed the layout and added a depth to the statistical records that surpasses anything we’ve done before,” Roux added.

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Jacques du Plessis

Jacques du Plessis

Flip van der Merwe

Flip van der Merwe

The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd on Friday confirmed that efforts to keep Vodacom Bulls locks Jacques du Plessis and Flip van der Merwe in Pretoria have been unsuccessful, with both players taking up contracts in France at the end of the domestic 2015 season.

Du Plessis has signed a two year deal with Montpellier and Van der Merwe will join Clermont, also after the completion of the ABSA Currie Cup competition.

The BBC’s High Performance Manager, Xander Janse van Rensburg said talks with both players have been ongoing for some time.

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MJ Mentz - Pumas head coach

MJ Mentz – Pumas head coach

MJ Mentz has been handed the reigns for the Pumas in their upcoming Vodacom Cup campaign and the coach is looking to keep a similar system going.

The Pumas enjoyed a successful year in 2014 as they toppled some of the bigger teams in the Currie Cup through their gritty determination.

“The secret to our success this year will certainly lie in our communication skills and a shared goal,” Mentz said.

The new coach also said the last two years coaching under the mentorship of coach Jimmy Stonehouse was a great stepping-stone in his coaching career.

The way Stonehouse maintained discipline in the squad was a huge encouragement and now Mentz would like to add his way to the existing system.

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Jimmy Stonehouse

Jimmy Stonehouse

After seven years at the helm of the Pumas, Jimmy Stonehouse will be leaving Nelspruit to ply his trade in Japan with the Toshiba Brave Lupus.

Stonehouse had been instrumental in the team being promoted to the Currie Cup Premier Division in 2010 and again in 2014 while their promotion, and unbeaten run in the 2013 First Division competition, earned Stonehouse the SA Rugby Union’s Coach of the Year award.

He had been approached on three previous occasions by Japanese clubs, which he turned down, the latest being in February 2014 but he feels that it is the right time to move on and take on a new challenge.

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dhl Newlands, Cape Town

dhl Newlands, Cape Town

A Special General Meeting of the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) was held at DHL Newlands on Wednesday 17 December 2014 to give feedback and to discuss the investigation of the feasibility and desirability to relocate to the Cape Town Stadium.

The WPRFU are the owners of the DHL Newlands Rugby Stadium – in turn, the clubs are the stakeholders and owners of the Union – and a decision to remain at DHL Newlands was carried by the clubs on Wednesday 17 December 2014, unanimously and without abstention.

The decision to NOT further consider relocating to the Cape Town Stadium was based on a number of factors, the main considerations being the following:

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Paul Treu

Paul Treu

Former BlitzBokke and Kenya Sevens coach Paul Treu’s role at the Stormers and Western Province may be surprising given his Sevens background, but the departure of Jacques Nienaber has left a hole to be filled.

Treu, who had been coaching the Kenyan Sevens until the recent Port Elizabeth tournament, completed a rapid return to the world of 15-man-rugby when he joined Western Province on Monday.

The long-serving BlitzBokke coach signed up with the Cape side along with Rito Hlungwani and Hanyani Shimange as three big appointments by Director of Rugby Gert Smal ahead of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

Western Province also announced the loss of defensive coach Nienaber who joined the High Performance Department at SARU. This is where Treu stepped in.

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Johan Ackermann

Johan Ackermann

The Golden Lions Rugby Union is not worried about reports stating that head coach Johan Ackermann is being targeted by a top Japanese club.

It was reported earlier this week that the Lions will struggle to keep Ackermann in South Africa after next year’s Rugby World Cup, with the former Springbok lock reportedly receiving a big-money offer from a Japanese club.

However, the Lions insisted they will not have a fight on their hands to hold on to the services of Ackermann.

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Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard

Nizaam Carr and Handré Pollard lead the full list of nominees released by SARU on Wednesday for their annual Player of the Year Awards, which will take place on 8 February in Midrand.

Carr and Pollard, both of whom made their Test debuts for the Springboks this season, have both been nominated in three categories.

The 23-year-old Carr has been nominated in for the SARU Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Currie Cup Player of the Year.

Pollard, who is only 20, has been nominated in the categories for SARU Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and SA Under 20 Player of the Year.

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Xerox Golden LionsComing off a highly successful 2014 rugby season in all areas, the Lions have announced the final signings of players for the 2015 season

The GLRU has worked hard in maintaining growth potential in junior players and increasing depth where needed.

The Lions have managed to attact six SA Schools players for the Under 19 squad in Nazo Nkala, Barend Smit, Sarel Smith, Kenny van Niekerk and Marco van Vuuren.

In the Under 21 squad there are seven players who took part in the recent Under 20 World Cup in New Zealand. Cyle Brink, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Thabo Mabuza, Malcolm Marx, Ramone Samuels, Victor Sekeketi and Currie Cup player Jaco van der Walt.

In the senior squad the Lions boast seven players who are either capped by the Springboks or were involved this year, as well as BlitzBokke in Albertus “Kwagga” Smith and their captain Warren Whiteley who is both a Springbok and a Sevens Bok.

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Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

Marcell Coetzee

Marcell Coetzee

Willie le Roux

Willie le Roux

Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard

Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Five Springboks have been nominated for the prestigious SA Rugby Player of the Year Award for 2014 with one of Nizaam Carr, Marcell Coetzee, Willie le Roux, Handré Pollard or Duane Vermeulen in line to claim the coveted annual award for the first time in their careers.

The five players, who all played for the Boks this year, have been nominated by the South African rugby media following a stellar year on the field. Springbok rugby fans across the globe will now be given a voice in the selection of the winner, SARU announced on Friday.

The public will also be asked to cast their votes in two other categories, Young Player and the Absa Team of the Year. To cast your vote, CLICK HERE.

Carr and Pollard have also being named in the Young Player category, along with Cheslin Kolbe, Seabelo Senatla and Jan Serfontein. The Junior Springboks, Springboks, Springbok Sevens, DHL Western Province and Xerox Golden Lions have been nominated as Absa Team of the Year.

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Deon van Rensburg

Deon van Rensburg

Michael Bondesio

Michael Bondesio

Golden Lions players Michael Bondesio and Deon van Rensburg have announced their retirement from professional rugby.

The duo had been struggling with injuries of late and decided to call it a day, the union announced via their official Facebook page.

Scrumhalf Bondesio had not played much this year due to a knee injury, while wing / centre Van Rensburg was laid low by a rib injury.

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Xerox Golden LionsEllis Park played host to the annual glittering Golden Lions Rugby Union Player Awards event on Wednesday evening, where several individuals were acknowledged for their achievements during the 2014 season.

The GLRU celebrated the Springbok capping of three players in 2014, namely Warren Whiteley, Julian Redelinghuys and Marnitz Boshoff.

Whiteley, Kwagga Smith, Ruhan Nel and Mark Richards all represented South Africa in Sevens rugby in 2014, with Whiteley and Smith both having been a part of the gold medal-winning Commonwealth Games side.

The GLRU’s SA U20 representatives for 2014 included Cyle Brink, Thabo Mabuza, Ramone Samuels, Malcolm Marx, Jaco van der Walt and Victor Sekekete.

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Vodacom Blue BullsAs 2014 draws to an end, and the festive spirit starts to take over, it also brings with it a time to reflect on the year gone by. The Blue Bulls Company today hosted their annual Player Awards at very casual and relaxed event hosted on the Loftus B-Field.

All the contracted players, including the Under 19’s, Under 21’s and senior teams, attended the event. They were also joined by a host of team management, administration staff, sponsors and partners.

 

Full list of awards:

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Jimmy Stonehouse

Jimmy Stonehouse

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.

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Redefine PropertiesCurrie Cup runners up, the Golden Lions, have lost one of their sponsors ahead of the 2015 season.

Redefine Properties recently announced it would not be renewing its three-year sponsorship of the team.

Redefine stepped forward to rescue the Golden Lions Rugby Union in 2012 after a previous sponsor said the union was insolvent.

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Tony Jantjies

Tony Jantjies

Eastern Province Rugby has confirmed the signing of Blue Bulls flyhalf Tony Jantjies, ahead of the 2015 season.

“We are extremely excited to have signed Tony, whose family hails from the Graaff Reinet area, falling in line with our goal to bring talented players from this region back to the Eastern Cape,” said EP Rugby president, Cheeky Watson.

Watson said he was positive that Jantjies would be a great addition to the Kings family when he joined the team in January next year.

“I have spoken to Carlos Spencer, who worked closely with Tony’s brother Elton, and he is very keen to begin working with Tony,” he said.

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Stephan Coetzee

Stephan Coetzee

Michael van der Spuy

Michael van der Spuy

Griquas have secured the services of two promising Western Province players for next season.

Centre Michael van der Spuy and hooker Stephan Coetzee – who both showed promise for WP this season – have signed with Griquas until the end of the 2015 season.

It will also be a boost for the men from Kimberley who recently lost the services of hooker Ryno Barnes (Free State) and centres Howards Mnisi (Lions) and Doppies la Grange (retirement).

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Lindsay Mould

Lindsay Mould

The nominations for the presidency of the Free State Rugby Union as well as for the directors of the Free State Cheetahs (Pty) Ltd. concluded on Tuesday.

No new nominations were received.

Lindsay Mould was therefore re-appointed as president for a term of another three years.

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Doppies la Grange

Gideon “Doppies” la Grange has brought the curtain down on his career after a short return stint in the Currie Cup for the Griquas.

The 32-year-old returned to South Africa via Kimberley after playing in Italy for Benetton Treviso in 2013 where he only made nine appearances.

La Grange states the reason for his retirement is that his body was sending him signals.

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Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr has realised his dream of becoming a Springbok after the No 8 was included in the year-end squad that will travel to the Northern Hemisphere.

His selection is warranted after being the stand-out player in the Stormers’ Super Rugby campaign as well as being pivotal to the success of Western Province winning the Currie Cup.

An emotional Carr said he rushed to the television at 11.30 on Monday morning for the announcement of the squad and, when he saw he had cracked the nod in Heyneke Meyer’s year-end squad, he nearly jumped a hole in floor.

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Tiaan LiebenbergWestern Province hooker Tiaan Liebenberg has been forced to retire after being plagued by back injuries for some time now.

The 32-year-old will be returning to Bloemfontein to join up with his family and to get involved with the business.

The hooker was a mere spectator during Western Province’s 19-16 Currie Cup victory over the Lions on Saturday and although the veteran has reached some lofty heights in rugby, he was still sad not to be a part of it.

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