Springbok coach, Heyneke Meyer, has announced 2 sets of 44 players to participate in training camps in May and June in Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively.
The squads include a total of 19 uncapped players, including rising stars Jesse Kriel, Vincent Koch, Cheslin Kolbe and Bongi Mbonami.
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has locked away 2 key members of the Wallabies’ forward pack – re-signing the experienced Reds duo James Slipper and Rob Simmons.
The signatures of the 2 talented tight forwards are significant for the future of Australia.
Slipper agreed to a new 3-year deal, through until the end of 2018, while Simmons has also inked a multi-year extension – through until the end of 2017.
Despite his young age of just 25, Slipper and Simmons, 27, have already accumulated a combined 113 Tests between them for Australia.
Both also hold leadership positions at either the Wallabies or Reds.
Slipper and Simmons, who were announced earlier this year as the captain and vice-captain of the Reds, grew up playing together on the Gold Coast at the Southport School.
The New Zealand Rugby Union said Thursday they had no plans to emulate Australia and relax eligibility rules so overseas-based players can represent the All Blacks.
The Australian Rugby Union announced the move on Wednesday in response to a host of top players taking up lucrative club contracts after this year’s September and October World Cup in England.
Defending World Cup champions New Zealand face a similar post-tournament exodus, with at least 10 All Blacks heading offshore – including Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Colin Slade.
But NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew said his organisation still believed that the only players allowed to pull on the hallowed All Black jersey should be based in New Zealand.
The BlitzBokke have been hard at work preparing for the upcoming Glasgow leg of the HSBS Sevens World Series as they face their toughest challenge yet in pursuit of being crowned World Sevens Series champions.
Neil Powell’s men hold a slender 4 point lead over Fiji on the overall log standings ahead of the Glasgow showpiece and he knows that the focus needs to remain on the task at hand and not the permutations regarding the overall Series.
It will not be an easy task though as they will have to get through a tough pool that sees them being drawn alongside 3rd-placed New Zealand, Samoa and Kenya.
“It is definitely going to be a tough pool – and tournament – but if you want to be the best in the world, you need to beat everybody. The key to our success will be to remain focused on our processes and to make sure we do the right things on the field. If we can do that, the result will take care of itself.
The Australian Rugby Union relaxed eligibility rules to allow senior players at overseas franchises and clubs to represent the Wallabies.
The move, which is effective immediately, follows in the wake of recent revelations that Australia faces a mass exodus of stars after this year’s World Cup.
A host of players – such as Adam Ashley-Cooper, former skipper James Horwill, Will Genia and Sekope Kepu – are among those lured abroad by lucrative contracts in Europe and due to leave Australia after the World Cup in England in September and October.
The Chiefs and All Blacks were delivered devastating news in the context of their 2015 campaigns on Monday when it was confirmed Aaron Cruden had ruptured his left anterior cruciate ligament.
The star playmaker will visit a surgeon on Wednesday to arrange a knee re-construction which is expected to keep him sidelined for 6 months.
In a brief statement issued on Monday afternoon, the Chiefs confirmed that Cruden would undergo traditional surgery “given Aaron’s young age and long-term career prospects.”
Cruden’s Super Rugby season is definitely over and his Rugby World Cup has been thrown into doubt as even a best-case recovery within that 6 month window would only see him fit in the final fortnight of the tournament.
Waratahs Super Rugby-winning flyhalf Bernard Foley has signed a 3-year contract extension with the Australian Rugby Union.
The new agreement locks away the 25-year-old incumbent Wallaby flyhalf until at least the end of 2018 and ensures he will be eligible for Wallabies and Waratahs selection in each year of the deal. As part of the flexible contract, Foley will also be entitled to spend 2 seasons playing rugby in the Japanese domestic competition.
Foley said he was thrilled to have finalised a long-term agreement with Australian Rugby.
“I have an incredibly strong desire to continue representing Australia and the Waratahs, and this deal allows me to do that for at least another 3 years,” Foley said.
DHL Stormers and Springbok flank Schalk Burger has won the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award at the ceremony in Shanghai on Wednesday.
Burger had a cyst next to his spinal cord and went into hospital for treatment, but developed life-threatening meningitis and was taken to intensive care. Miraculously, he battled for his life and returned to the sport he loves to win his place back in the Springbok rugby team.
Reflecting upon the most serious stage in his time in intensive care, Burger said: “I remember the day where my wife phoned and everyone said, listen, this is probably it, it’s time to say goodbye. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.
“It was super scary if you think back now.
“But when you’re going through the middle of this and there’s no time to think really, there’s no time to think about consequences; it was pretty much just me versus something.”
Kieran Read has changed his mind and declined the opportunity to play at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
All Black superstar Read initially had his mind set on joining the New Zealand Sevens team to play in the Brazil Olympic Games, but after lengthy talks with All Black coach Steve Hanson, he has opted to concentrate on the 15-man game.
Read’s decision not to chase an Olympic medal, would have also been a relief for Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder.
Super Rugby players who elect to play the shorter version of the game are expected to miss approximately 6 Rounds of the competition, meaning Blackadder would have been without his skillful skipper for a 3rd of the Super Rugby season if he had chosen to play Sevens.
“I was keen to go Rio but I won’t be,” Read said at the Crusaders training session on Wednesday.
“It would be a hell of an opportunity but I will probably focus on making the All Blacks team.”
The decision of All Blacks flyhalf Colin Slade to head to Europe after the World Cup has made coach Steven Hansen very aware that the exodus of New Zealand players is not yet over.
Slade is the 10th All Black so far to announce he is heading offshore at the end of the year, to join French club Pau.
Still to confirm their post-World Cup futures are Julian Savea, Sam Cane and Ryan Crotty and, coupled with expected retirements and the impact of the Olympics, coach Steve Hansen is bracing for a difficult 12 months following the World Cup in England.
Cashed-up European clubs, who once targeted players in the twilight of their careers, assisting the All Blacks into an easy rollover of talent, are now creating a talent drain by luring up-and-coming stars.
Cell C Sharks boss Gary Gold said if he had the choice he would not be resting veteran Springboks Jannie du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira against a formidable Lions scrum this weekend.
Gold has made a number of changes to the team that will travel up to Johannesburg to take on South Africa’s form team this weekend.
Some of these changes are enforced due to injury, some because of suspension and others the result of a selection rethink.
However, Gold seems least pleased about the fact that he needs to rest his key front row Springboks in accordance with SARU’s player management initiative.
“If I had an opportunity to play Jannie and Beast this weekend, I would,” Gold said ahead of the trip up to Ellis Park.
“These are decisions that were made at a higher level, and as bizarre as they are, they were made, and as much as I can stick to them, I am going to try and stick to them.”
The Springbok Sevens have returned to South Africa following their participation in the latest rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong and Tokyo.
The squad underwent their usual medical assessment at their training camp on Wednesday, and apart from Philip Snyman and Stephan Dippenaar who both returned home with injuries last week from the Far East, no further injuries were reported.
Snyman sustained a knee ligament injury on the 2nd day in Hong Kong and he was replaced by Carel du Preez, who made his Springbok Sevens debut in Tokyo. The estimated recovery period for Snyman is 4 to 6 weeks.
His team-mate Stephan Dippenaar, meanwhile, picked up a mild hamstring injury on the last day of the Hong Kong event and was replaced by Ruhan Nel. He is expected to be back in action in 2 to 4 weeks.
Outstanding loose forward Steven Luatua has pledged his allegiance to the Blues and New Zealand Rugby for a further 2 years.
The burly flank has re-signed through to the end of the 2017 season.
Luatua defies his 23 years, having already played 14 Tests for the All Blacks and 43 Super Rugby caps for the Blues.
He has a rich pedigree as a former New Zealand school representative and played in successive Junior World Championship-winning New Zealand Under 20 teams – in 2010 and 2011.
He made his provincial debut as a teenager in 2010, his debut for the Blues in 2012 and his All Blacks debut the following year in the 24 / 9 victory over France in New Zealand.
He has been keeping a low public profile during the 1st half of Super Rugby’s ordinary season … and it is probably just as well.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer must be scratching his head worriedly already over how to construct his national side for the 1st assignment of the 2015 Test season, against Australia in Brisbane on 18 July as part of a condensed Rugby Championship.
Presently several Boks are either injured, suspended or undergoing rest periods (the sudden pulling of Duane Vermeulen from the Stormers’ overseas tour after only 1 match has tongues wagging despite official statements that it was “always planned”), whilst other staple characters have suffered form dips in line with the general struggles of their sides in the local conference and overall.
It is difficult to envisage any SA team actually winning Super Rugby at this point – not the ideal state of affairs in a World Cup year, even if it is not always proved to be relevant — just as it is hazardous to predict which franchise will eventually top the ho-hum domestic pile.
It is true that a few additional players like overseas-based Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez and Francois Louw and a rehabilitating Pieter-Steph du Toit should brighten the Bok equation, fitness permitting, nearer the Test roster itself, and 1 or 2 outsiders like Stormers tighthead strongman Vincent Koch and some surprise-package Lions personnel have stuck up their hands.
Yet a look at the last Springbok line-up for a Test – the unpalatable 12 / 6 loss to Wales in Cardiff on 29 November9 last year – gives you an idea of Meyer’s quandary; things look considerably more unsettled than he would like.
World Rugby has announced the 12-member panel that will referee at Rugby World Cup 2015 as well as the 7 Assistant Referees and 4 Television Match Officials who will also officiate in matches at the game’s showcase tournament, which starts on 18 September 2015.
France will provide 3 referees in the form of Jérôme Garcès, Romain Poite and Pascal Gauzere. New Zealand, South Africa, England and Ireland will provide 2 each with 1 from the Welsh Rugby Union.
The Rugby World Cup runs from 18 September to 31 October 2015.
There will be 48 matches in the tournament.
The selection was made after a comprehensive review of refereeing performances by the World Rugby Match Official Selection Committee.
Chairman of the selection panel John Jeffrey said: “I want to congratulate all 12 Referees, the 7 AR’s and 4 TMO’s, who through very hard work and determination, have made it onto the panel for this year’s Rugby World Cup.
The individual match appointments will be announced in due course.
The full list of Referees with their union and number of tests in brackets is:
- Wayne Barnes (RFU, 57)
- George Clancy (IRFU, 38)
- JP Doyle (RFU, 12)
- Jérôme Garcès (FFR, 22)
- Pascal Gauzere (FFR, 17)
- Glen Jackson (NZR, 10)
- Craig Joubert (SARU, 55)
- John Lacey (IRFU, 13)
- Nigel Owens (WRU, 60)
- Jaco Peyper (SARU, 20)
- Romain Poite (FFR, 39)
- Chris Pollock (NZR, 18)
Singapore look set to take over from Tokyo as a new Asian destination for the HSBC Sevens World Series at its National Stadium next year, as they continue to add to their growing portfolio of sporting events.
The wealthy Southeast Asian city-state joins Canada’s Vancouver as the new stops for the burgeoning 10-leg series that, this year, acts as a qualifier for rugby’s Olympic return at the Rio de Janeiro Games next year.
The awarding by governing body World Rugby is a boost for Singapore, after they missed out to Japan last year in the race to become the 18th franchise in the Southern Hemisphere’s Super Rugby tournament.
“We truly believe that our event at the iconic National Stadium has the potential to match the excitement surrounding current tournaments in the series,” Singapore Rugby Union President Low Teo Ping said after 23 other locations were edged out for the 4-year contract.
The Tokyo leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series took place this weekend in Tokyo, Japan.
It was Round 7 of 9 Rounds in the season.
After finishing 3rd at the previous 3 HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments, South Africa was determined to add another Cup title to their collection so far this season at the Japanese tournament this weekend. It was not to be, as they lost in the Final against England by 14 / 21.
Fiji finished in 3rd place and the surprise of the tournament, Canada finished 4th.
The Springbok Sevens (129 points) are currently enjoying a slightly increased but slender lead of 4 points over Fiji at the top of World Series standings after 6 Rounds. After winning the Cup in Dubai and Port Elizabeth, they have could not progress beyond the semi-final stages in Wellington, Las Vegas and Hong Kong but progressed to the Final in Tokyo.
New Zealand have fallen back to 9 Log Points behind South Africa on the HSBC Sevens World Series standings.
The 19 points the team collected this weekend in Tokyo allowed them to stay in 1st place above Fiji and New Zealand. With 2 tournaments to go in the season the slender South African lead simply means they still have to go fullout in the remaining tournaments, to be the winners overall for the season.
The Top 4 teams at the end of the HSBC Sevens World Series season in May will qualify automatically for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
The HSBC Sevens World Series standings table is detailed below.
Influential DHL Stormers captain Duane Vermeulen will return to Cape Town for a further 2-week rest period.
The hard-working No 8 has been in outstanding form for the DHL Stormers in 2015, but he will head home from Sydney on Sunday as part of the agreed SA Rugby rest period, which affects the top Springboks in this, a Rugby World Cup season.
“It’s a big one for us… it was a big decision to make,” explained DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.
“However, it is something we discussed and have been planning since the start of the season,” he added, “the intention was always for Duane to spend the 1st 2 weeks on tour and then to head home and be ready for the final part of our season.
“We will of course miss him against the Waratahs and the Force but when we get home his rest period will be over and we will have him back in tow for a crucial part of the season.”
The SARU national selectors have named a squad of 37 players for the Junior Springbok training camp in preparation for the 2015 World Rugby Under 20 Championship to be played during June in Italy. The group will assemble in Stellenbosch on Easter Monday.
The revised training squad was confirmed after a 4-day trials camp last week in Stellenbosch.
The group includes several players who are currently busy with Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Cup and Varsity Cup commitments.
These players, such as Thomas du Toit, Dan du Preez (both Cell C Sharks) and Hanro Liebenberg (Vodacom Blue Bulls) will join the training camp at a later stage.
Dawie Theron, the Junior Springbok coach, described last week’s trials camp as a very good exercise.
3-Times capped Springbok Jano Vermaak is returning home to South Africa with a World Cup dream.
The 30-year-old, who has been a shining star for the revitalised French giants Toulouse in the Top 14, spoke from the city in the southwest of France.
He was quite open about his goals, although there remains some uncertainty about which team he will use as – hopefully – as a springboard to a World Cup spot.
“I am coming back to South Africa with the goal of giving myself a chance of possibly getting into the World Cup squad,” the 30-year-old scrumhalf said.
“At this stage I do not yet know which team I will be playing for in South Africa,” Vermaak said, adding: “I have a few options, but we’ll make that call in the next month or so.”
He said he simply can’t wait to be back in SA and will arrive after the completion of the French Top 14 season in May, or June if Toulouse make the play-offs.
That will give him 3 or 4 weeks of Super Rugby to have a crack at a World Cup spot.
Australia and Reds scrumhalf Will Genia has signed a 3-year contract to join Top 14 club Stade Francais after this year’s Rugby World Cup.
“We can confirm that Will Genia will be part of our squad after the World Cup (which ends 31 October). It’s a great signing and one which will strengthen our squad in a vital position,” Stade Francais president Thomas Savare said on radio France Bleu 107.1.
The Papua New Guinea-born Wallaby had been linked with a move to Europe for months but Bath were firm favourites to sign the 27-year-old, who even signed a pre-contract with the English Premiership side.
After finishing 3rd at the previous 3 HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments, South Africa will be out to add another Cup title to their collection so far this season at the Japanese tournament this weekend.
The Springbok Sevens (110 points) are currently enjoying a slender lead of 2 points over Fiji at the top of World Series standings after 6 rounds. After winning the Cup in Dubai and Port Elizabeth, they have could not progress beyond the semi-final stages in Wellington, Las Vegas and Hong Kong.
The 17 points the team collected last weekend in Hong Kong allowed them to stay in 1st place above Fiji and New Zealand. Success in Tokyo on Sunday will thus allow the South Africans to consolidate their lead in the race for the coveted World Series title.
The Top 4 teams at the end of the HSBC Sevens World Series season in May will qualify automatically for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
For now, the focus is very much on the next World Series assignment in Tokyo, where the Springbok Sevens will be hoping to challenge strongly for the Cup. They kick off on Saturday morning against Canada (04:58 SA Time) and their remaining games will be played at 07:46 SA Time against Kenya and 11:58 SA Time versus the USA.
Vodacom Bulls Springboks Victor Matfield and Jan Serfontein will both be rested against the Emirates Lions this week, in accordance with the franchises’ agreement with SARU.
Matfield has started every match for the Bulls this season, bar 1 game where he came off the bench against the Western Force a fortnight ago. Matfield is however nursing a knee injury and might be out for longer than 1 week, maybe even up to a month. Team doctor, Org Strauss confirmed that Victor Matfield is stuggling with the knee, but also said no decision has been made about Matfield’s fitness.
“He has a stiff knee, nothing too serious but we will make a decision later on in the week,” Dr Strauss replied to queries about Matfield’s fitness.
Meanwhile, Serfontein, who was named to play against the Crusaders last week even though he did not train due to a stiff hip flexor, will also earn a ‘rest’.
The Springbok centre failed to pass a late fitness test before the match and was replaced by Burger Odendaal at the 11th hour.
Odendaal was initially set to start his 1st game only for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup after a lengthy injury lay-off for a knee ligament injury, but was thrust straight into Super Rugby in stead.
Odendaal had an impressive return to competitive rugby and it should be expected that he will again take up the No 12 spot, with Serfontein rested.
Meanwhile, another 11th-hour replacement that stepped up to make an indelible impression, Hanro Liebenberg, could again find himself in the starting 15.
Inspirational loose forward Jerome Kaino has committed himself for the next 3 years to New Zealand Rugby, the Blues and Auckland Rugby.
Kaino today announced he has re-signed to play his rugby in New Zealand until 2018.
It’s a major announcement for New Zealand Rugby, with Kaino the 1st current All Black to commit through to 2018. The news is also a significant fillip for the Blues following the announcement earlier this year that fellow All Black Charlie Faumuina has re-signed through to the end of 2017.
Kaino, 31, has been a powerhouse loose forward on the international and Super Rugby stage for many years. He was New Zealand Rugby’s Player of the Year and nominee for World Rugby Player in 2011 and played in every game of the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup victory that year. Kaino played 2 seasons in Japan before returning to play for the Blues last year and regained his place in the All Blacks.
Creating time and space in attack, and clarity at the breakdown are at the top of the New Zealand Rugby Union’s(NZRU) early wish-list as it ponders how to improve the game for fans and players.
Current NZRU CEO Steve Tew said that “there is clearly a growing frustration on the over-emphasis on defence. We are looking at ways to create more time and space for the ball.”
World Rugby, rugby’s global governing body, is conducting a law review process which could see trials of new or revised rules in place as early as next year.
The NZRU has been gathering information from stakeholders about what is perceived to be right and wrong about the game and, more importantly, what could make it better.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie will sit on the World Rugby’s Laws Representation Group that will consider recommendations from around the globe in the middle of the year.
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said the NZRU was in the early stages of consultation, but that a recent workshop had indicated a desire to see the pendulum swing back toward the attacking side.
The Springbok Sevens have called up uncapped Carel du Preez to replace injured forward Philip Snyman for the Tokyo Sevens tournament which take place this coming weekend.
The versatile Snyman sustained a knee ligament injury while playing for the Springbok Sevens on Saturday in Hong Kong.
Du Preez is currently contracted to the SA Sevens Academy and he has already played a couple of times for the Academy at tournaments in George, Dubai and Harare.
The tall loose forward represented DHL Western Province in the Under 21 ABSA Currie Cup competition last year and he has impressed the SA Sevens coaching staff since his fulltime switch to the shorter code at the end of last year.
Argentina flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez has left European champions Toulon to get ready for his wedding in May and to prepare for the World Cup.
Sanchez joined the French and European champions in October as an injury replacement for Frederic Michalak.
But after the latter returned to action on Saturday in the 34 / 24 defeat at home to Toulouse, Sanchez was no longer available for Top 14 action.
He could have continued to turn out for Toulon in the European Cup – the champions hosts Wasps in the quarterfinals next weekend – but he said he preferred to return home.
South Africa collected 17 valuable World Series log points on Sunday after they defeated Samoa 26 / 5 to finish 3rd at the popular Hong Kong Sevens tournament.
The Blitzboks now have a 2 point lead (110 points) at the top of the standings after Fiji outplayed New Zealand by 33 / 19 to lift the Cup.
The tournament win moved Fiji into 2nd spot, just 1 point ahead of 3rd-placed NZ. The top 4 teams on the league table at the end of the season qualifies for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The teams will be in action in Japan next weekend where they will play in the Tokyo Sevens on 4 and 5 April.
The Springbok Sevens staged a magnificent comeback in their Cup semi-final against Fiji. Unfortunately for them, that was not good enough and they suffered a heart-breaking 21 / 15 loss against the Pacific islanders.
England Rugby 2015 Chief Executive Debbie Jevans CBE has announced that she has decided to resign her position with the England Rugby World Cup organising body due to personal reasons.
Debbie has been at the helm of the Rugby World Cup Organising Committee since October 2012, and leaves with a highly experienced event delivery Executive team in place, with plans for the tournament in excellent shape. All aspects of tournament preparations are on or ahead of schedule, with over 1.9 million tickets sold to date.
The England Rugby 2015 Executive team will now report to Stephen Brown as the new Managing Director, working alongside ER2015 Chairman Andy Cosslett and the England Rugby 2015 Board to oversee the final stage of successful delivery of the tournament.
England centre Manu Tuilagi is set to miss the rest of the Aviva Premiership season because of a groin injury but should be fit for the World Cup, his Leicester Tigers coach Richard Cockerill said.
The 23-year-old, who has won 25 caps and scored 11 tries for England, is still recovering from the injury he sustained in October.
England’s World Cup campaign begins against Fiji on 18 September, but they play France at home and away in August before hosting Ireland at Twickenham on 5 September.
There will be additional prestige on offer when 16 of the world’s leading nations gather in Hong Kong to contest Round 6 of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
This weekend will be the 40th Hong Kong Sevens, as New Zealand look to overhaul arch rivals and World Series leaders South Africa at the top of the standings.
Scott Hastings, one of the many legends in attendance in Hong Kong this weekend, spoke to the significance of winning at the iconic stadium.
“Hong Kong is a fantastic tournament, the Mecca of Sevens, and so many world renowned players came to prominence playing for their teams here in Hong Kong,” Hastings said.
For teams like South Africa, New Zealand and Fiji there as the additional significance of World Series points.
The Blitzbokke lead the World Series with 93 points, including 2 tournaments wins, from the 1st 5 Rounds. New Zealand (1 win, 88 points) and Fiji (2 wins, 86 points) are hot on their heels.
Of course there is also the race for a Top-4 finish – and automatic qualification for the 2016 Olympics – where teams like Australia (71), England (68), Argentina (54) and the United States (51) are in the running.
Rugby Sevens will make its Olympic Games debut on 6 August 2016 after the Rio 2016 Organising Committee released the daily competition schedule on Wednesday to mark 500 days to go.
The Rugby Sevens competitions at the Deodoro Sports Complex will be played over 6 days between 6 – 11 August 2016 with 2 sessions per day. The session times will be announced in due course.
The world’s top women will be the 1st rugby players to compete for an Olympic Games medal for 92 years, with 12 teams competing over 3 days with the 12-team men’s competition following over the next 3 days.
The 4 top teams on the World Rugby Sevens Series log at the end of the current season will qualify automatically for Rio. With just 4 more Rounds remaining, South Africa (93 points) have a slender lead at the top of the series standings over rivals New Zealand (88). They are closely followed by Fiji (86) and Australia (71).
The South African Rugby Union on Wednesday announced a large group of players to participate in the Junior Springbok trials camp early next month in Stellenbosch. The trials will kick-start the process to select the Junior Springbok squad of 28 players for the upcoming World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Italy in June.
The best local Under 20 players will assemble on Sunday 30 March at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS) and will remain in camp until 2 April. This will be followed by a break for the Easter holidays. The camp will feature 2 trial matches on Tuesday 31 March and Thursday 2 April respectively at the Paul Roos Markottër Stadium.
Players such as Thomas du Toit, Dan du Preez (both, Cell C Sharks), RG Snyman and Warrick Gelant (both, Vodacom Blue Bulls) who are currently busy with Vodacom Super Rugby commitments, were excluded from the trials squad. Duhan van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls) and Rikus Bothma (DHL Western Province) are currently injured and were not considered.
Following the trials, a smaller group of 34 players will return to SAS on 6 April for the Junior Springbok training camp. This training camp will include the following activities:
- Training exercises against the DHL Western Province Rugby Institute
- A match against a Varsity Cup select XV
- And a short tour of Argentina featuring two matches against the Los Pumitas
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and his SA Under 20 counterpart Dawie Theron recently renewed their BokSmart certification for a further 2 years.
Meyer renewed his certification in Pretoria last week, while Theron was joined by 3 members of the South African Rugby Union’s High Performance Mobi-Unit and Springbok coaching consultants, Pieter de Villiers, Louis Koen and Chean Roux, as well as Jacques Nienaber, High Performance Manager in the Rugby Department, in Cape Town earlier this month.
The biennial BokSmart certification is compulsory for anybody who wants to coach or referee rugby in South Africa at any level. The 3 Springbok assistant coaches, Johann van Graan, Ricardo Loubscher and John McFarland, are certified until 2016 while Springbok consultant Richie Gray will renew his certification later this year.
BokSmart provides coaches and referees with the knowledge and skills to apply safe rugby techniques and basic medical and injury prevention practices.
The Springbok trio of Cobus Reinach, Marcell Coetzee and Patrick Lambie are all expected to be rested for the Cell C Sharks’ showdown with the Western Force, in line with the agreement with SA Rugby over player management.
The 3 have earned the break after influential performances during the competition, and the good news that Frans Steyn was cleared to play means he may well take over the flyhalf position from Lambie, although the coaches may not want to break up his midfield partnership with JP Pietersen.
If the pair remain at No 12 and No 13 respectively, either Fred Zeilinga or Lionel Cronje will step into the number No 10 jersey, after solid performances for the Sharks XV in their Vodacom Cup clash on Saturday.
“It’s a huge boost that we will have Frans available, it provides massive stability to the team, especially due to the changes we will have with the resting of the Springboks,” said assistant coach Paul Anthony.