Experienced and versatile loose forward Schalk Burger has been called up to the Springbok squad for the final two Tests in the Rugby Championship for the injured Francois Louw.
Burger, capped 71 times for the Springboks, will play for his Japanese club, Suntory, on Friday and join the squad in Cape Town as soon as possible thereafter.
Cardiff Blues and Ospreys are interested in signing Leigh Halfpenny if his Toulon contract is terminated.
Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal says Halfpenny’s ongoing injuries could lead to his departure without playing a game since arriving for 2014-15.
Blues director and Wales legend Gareth Edwards said: “We’d welcome him with open arms.”
Ospreys coach Steve Tandy said: “We’d always be interested in the quality of Halfpenny, but it’s paper talk.”
The Blues have confirmed the signing of former All Blacks halfback Jimmy Cowan for next season.
Cowan played 51 tests for the All Blacks and 108 games for the Highlanders before a two-year stint with English club Gloucester.
The 32-year-old, who was playing for Tasman in the NPC, would fill the void left by Piri Weepu’s departure and compete with incumbent Bryn Hall.
“Jimmy brings competitiveness, plenty of experience and great game awareness which is something we were really looking for,” Blues coach Sir John Kirwan said.
“We’ve got some good young guys coming through in Bryn Hall, Ihaia West and Simon Hickey coupled with Dan Bowden coming back but we still felt we were lacking a bit of experience through that combination.
Springbok flank Francois Louw has been ruled out of the remainder of the Rugby Championship with a pinched nerve in his neck.
He picked up the injury during last Saturday’s Test against New Zealand in Wellington and the extent of the injury was confirmed after Louw went for scans and saw a specialist in Durban on Tuesday.
According to Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts, Louw will be out of action for approximately eight weeks and may be fit for South Africa’s November tour to Europe.
A decision on a replacement for Louw in the 30-man Springbok squad will be made in the coming day or two.
Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has demanded that Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha quit the Springboks’ current Rugby Championship campaign and report for club duty.
Toulon recently lost 28-24 to Stade Francais, and currently sit at third on the Top 14 log.
Boudjellal is clearly not pleased with his side’s form at present, and has publicly lamented the club’s lengthy list of injuries as well as the absence of international stars like Habana, Botha, and Pumas flanker Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.
Brumbies cult hero Henry Speight has vowed to “give everything I’ve got” to help the Wallabies become an international powerhouse after the Australian government ended years of heartache by granting his family visitor visas.
Fijian-born Speight’s five siblings were reunited for the first time in seven years on the weekend, with Davila and Jerry allowed into the country just days after Speight became eligible to play for Australia.
Any 120kg prop hoping to disguise himself as a rugby sevens speedster in a bid to secure a switch of nationalities for the 15-man game should think again after the sport’s governing body said on Monday it will be alert to such underhand dealings.
The International Rugby Board (IRB) says it is confident it will sniff out any dubious attempts to use Olympic sevens qualification matches to secure a shift in nationalities for the 15-man game – and that their system has the full backing of the IOC.
Malakai Fekitoa seems set to start for the All Blacks at second five-eighth in Argentina next week with Ryan Crotty still working his way back to fitness after a facial fracture.
Crotty was expected to recover for the test against the Pumas in La Plata next week, but would instead make his return in the NPC with Canterbury and join the All Blacks for the Rugby Championship finale against the Springboks at Ellis Park on October 4.
Springbok flank Siya Kolisi will be out for at least four weeks after hurting both of his knees in Western Province’s 35-33 Currie Cup loss to the Golden Lions in Johannesburg at the weekend.
The defeat, which included a losing bonus point, was WP’s first loss of the 2014 Currie Cup season, but it has come at a cost for the 2012 champions.
According to WP’s official website, Kolisi suffered a torn Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) in both of his knees and is now in a race against the clock to be back for the Currie Cup playoffs.
Vodacom Blue Bulls captain and flank, Deon Stegmann, and hooker Bongi Mbonambi will face SARU disciplinary hearings on Tuesday after being cited following the team’s Currie Cup Premier Division clash against the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
Stegmann, received a Red Card for striking a player with his elbow at a ruck in the 69th minute, which was in breach of Law 10.4 (a), while Mbonambi received a Yellow Card in the 12th minute for charging into a ruck dangerously, which contravened Law 10.4 (h).
Ma’a Nonu didn’t win the respect and admiration of his South African opposite Jean de Villiers with a big tackle or a crunching run.
The All Blacks second five-eighth saved his classiest moment for the quiet of the changing room where doctors surveyed his broken forearm at halftime during Saturday’s Rugby Championship match at Westpac Stadium.
Nonu’s test, and season, were over, a steel plate inserted in his arm yesterday morning, but as the ambulance doors swung open to take the 32-year-old across town to Wellington Hospital, Nonu thought not of his misfortune and considerable pain.
Instead, he pulled off his No 12 jersey and instructed his handlers to take it to the opposition changing room where it could be collected by de Villiers after he completed his 100th test for the Springboks.
RWC winning back JP Pietersen will replace injured scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar for home Rugby Championship Tests against Australia and New Zealand, it was announced on Sunday.
Pietersen, who can operate on the right wing or at outside centre, has been playing in Japan and was unavailable for the first four southern hemisphere championship matches.
“JP has always been part of our plans and did very well in June playing at outside centre,” Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said in a statement.
France head coach Phillipe Saint-André has announced that he and other members of the French rugby heirachy have identified ten foreigners they would like to play for the French team in the near future.
The list of ten players, all of whom ply their trade in the Top 14, includes current European Player of the Year Steffon Armitage, who has been capped by England on five occasions, and South African Rory Kockott.
New Ospreys lock De Kock Steenkamp is keen to nail his colours to the mast and break into the Welsh national team.
The deal for the South African-born star was approved by Wales Rugby Union and covers the three years it would take for him to achieve qualification through residency.
And Steenkamp admits he would relish the chance to represent the Red Dragons once he has established himself in the Guinness PRO12.
“I’d be delighted,” he said. “As far as I know, the only foreigners that can come to Wales must be eligible to play for Wales in three years’ time, so that’s why the contract is for three years.”
DHL Western Province Under 21 lock JD Schickerling has spoken out for the first time since suffering a broken neck on the field.
Two weeks ago, the talented 19-year-old suffered a broken neck during the DHL Western Province Under 21 team’s clash against the Blue Bulls Under 21’s in Pretoria.
The Reds is set to sign barnstorming teenage sensation Taniela ‘Tongan Thor’ Tupou.
The Reds are understood to be close to finalising a deal for the New Zealand-based 18-year-old who has been chased by four countries and two rival Australian franchises.
If the signing comes off, it will be a massive boost for Australian rugby and cap an impressive fortnight for the Reds, who announced two weeks ago that they have recruited James O’Connor and Karmichael Hunt for next year.
Tupou revealed earlier this week that he would reject offers from the NZRU to defect to Australia, where his older brother lives and plans to guide his career.
The NZRU held last-minute meetings with Tupou in a bid to change his mind but he has not wavered.
Matt Giteau has long been lost to the Wallabies for next year’s World Cup, but the bidding in French rugby for his services speaks volumes about his value as a player.
Giteau, an established star in the Top 14 champion Toulon club in the south of France, has reportedly become the target of the Paris-based Racing Metro club with a €1 million ($1.4 million) a year offer reportedly on the table.
Rory Kockott’s wait for a taste of international rugby appears to be over as he meets with Philippe Saint-André this week.
The South African-born scrum-half looks certain to be part of the French squad for the November Tests according to the Midi Olympique, with Saint-André preparing to announce an initial squad on September 21 for a training camp.
Kockott became eligible for Les Bleus in July, and having been overlooked by Heyneke Meyer for the Rugby Championship, despite a scrum-half crisis, the Castres star seems to have settled on playing for France.
He will meet Saint-André this week, with the French coach eager to increase the competition on current scrum-halves Maxime Machenaud and Morgan Parra.
Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke recalled Springbok wings Akona Ndungane and Bjorn Basson to his team to face the EP Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday (19:10 kick-off).
They replace Sampie Mastriet and Jamba Ulengo, who started against the Golden Lions last week. They are two of three changes to the backline for the clash in Port Elizabeth.
In another rotational move, Piet van Zyl will start at scrumhalf, with Rudy Paige moving to the bench.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is comfortable fielding a potential second-string side in their historic rugby test in Samoa next July.
New Zealand Rugby today confirmed the All Blacks would play in Apia for the first time, in a Wednesday afternoon test on July 8.
That falls four days after the Super Rugby final in World Cup year and Hansen said it would be ”ridiculous” to expect any All Blacks who played the decider to back up in Apia.
‘Tongan Thor’ Taniela Tupou has urged his “haters” to calm down after he confirmed his sensational defection from New Zealand to Australia.
The 18-year-old will join an Australian Super Rugby team next year after rejecting a landmark offer from the New Zealand Rugby Union, which for the first time in history bid top-up money to a sign a schoolboy.
Tupou, the hottest teenage prospect in world rugby, officially ended New Zealand’s hopes of retaining his services on Monday, telling the Daily Telegraph: “I will be coming to Australia, it is the best thing for my family”.
Watch the video of Tupou in action below
Welsh club Ospreys have confirmed that they have signed Stormers lock De Kock Steenkamp on a three-year contract, despite the player having one more year on his contract in the Cape.
Steenkamp, 27, secured an early release from his Stormers contract and will join the PRO12 club after representing the Stormers on 49 occasions in Super Rugby and playing 59 games for the Western Province in the Currie Cup.
“Joining the Ospreys is a great opportunity for me and a challenge that I can’t wait to get stuck into,” said Steenkamp in a statement on Ospreys’ official website.
Injury-plagued hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau is set for a shock Wallabies starting return to quell an improved Argentinian outfit closing in on a maiden Rugby Championship victory.
Polota-Nau, without a game for six weeks, will Tuesday be named as one of three changes to Australia’s line-up for Saturday night’s clash on the Gold Coast.
While coach Ewen McKenzie is poised to promote winger Peter Betham and back-rower Ben McCalman, to replace injured stalwarts Adam Ashley-Cooper and Wycliff Palu, he could have easily eased Polota-Nau back on the bench.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has confirmed its plans to ensure that half the Springbok team is made up of players of colour by 2019.
Rapport on Sunday revealed SARU’s Transformation Strategic Plan, which aims to bring all of South Africa’s representative rugby teams, along with domestic teams in line with national targets in five years.
Of the Springbok team currently competing in the Rugby Championship, 19% of the players are non-white, while only 12% are black African. Zimbabwean-born prop Tendai Mtawarira was the only black African player to start in the defeat to Australia in Perth, with Trevor Nyakane warming the bench.
But SARU wants to make sure that by 2019 at least half the Springbok side consists of players of colour, with 60% of those required to be black African.
SARU also set a mandate for Bok coach Heyneke Meyer to select at least five black players in his squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England as well as include seven players of colour in his match-day squad in the lead-up to the tournament.
According to Beeld, all 14 of South Africa’s provincial unions approved the new strategic plan on August 13 this year.
SARU has already shared the plan with SASCOC and the sports ministry. The next step is for SARU’s general council to approve the plan.
Drew Mitchell doesn’t mind admitting he didn’t jump for joy when told James O’Connor would be joining him in the south of France.
When O’Connor signed on for Toulon in February, the former Wallaby wing thought only of the brash youngster he’d known in Australian rugby, and the poor form and controversy behind his exit.
Hooker Dane Coles nervously told All Blacks Management he needed leave at a crucial time in play.
This was one ruckus Dane Coles wanted to avoid.
Although chuffed partner Sarah was pregnant with their first child, Coles couldn’t help worrying about how All Blacks coach Steve Hansen would react to his hooker swapping scrums for a birthing unit at such a crucial point of the Rugby Championship.
From a rugby perspective Coles concedes the timing is hardly ideal; the baby is due in the first week of October, coinciding with the blockbuster test against the Springboks in Johannesburg and at a time when the All Blacks are short of experienced hookers.
Yet there is only one place he wants to be on October 5 and it isn’t on a rugby field surrounded by 62,000 screaming South African rugby fans at Ellis Park.
Springbok Sevens player Jamba Ulengo will make his Currie Cup debut for the Blue Bulls when they tackle the Golden Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Ulengo’s inclusion on the left wing is one of five changes to the backline that did duty in the home loss to Western Province last week.
The Bulls will also field a new halfback combination, as Rudy Paige is promoted from the bench, while Jacques-Louis Potgieter has recovered from a rib injury to take his place at flyhalf.
The loss of some stalwarts to overseas clubs since the end of the Super Rugby season is making life tough for the young coaches who are going it alone for the first time at the helm of the Cell C Sharks in this Absa Currie Cup season.
Director of rugby Jake White has opted to take a back seat and not have any involvement with the Sharks senior team in the domestic season so that he can focus on the development of the players in the age-group teams as well as give head coach Brad MacLeod-Henderson and his assistants Sean Everitt and Paul Anthony the chance to experience the pressure that comes with being in charge
Sidelined halfback Will Genia and Brumbies flyers Henry Speight and Joe Tomane have been cleared to use the National Rugby Championship as a launching pad for Wallabies selection.
The backline trio will make injury comebacks on Saturday in bids to make Australia’s squad for the upcoming tour of South Africa and Argentina for Rugby Championship Tests at the end of the month.
Blue Bulls Under 21 lock Marvin Orie has received a one-week suspension on Wednesday for a dangerous tackle in the team’s Absa Under 21 Competition match against Western Province.
Orie was cited on Sunday for tackling Western Province lock JD Schickerling around the neck in the third minute of the clash and pulling him backwards until both players fell to the ground.
Schickerling suffered a fractured cervical spine at the C5/C6 level during the match.
Based on the video evidence below, Tank Lanning believes it impossible to argue against at least further investigation into Irne Herbst’s tackle on JD Schickerling in Saturday’s Under-21 game at Loftus Versfeld.
Schickerling was injured after catching a ball from a kick-off when Bulls lock Herbst’s shoulder collided with Schickerling’s head. Afterwards, the Bulls’ other lock, Marvin Orie, grabbed Schickerling in a headclamp, before hurling him to the ground.
Orie has been asked to attend an official SARU disciplinary committee, while Herbst was issued an off-field yellow card after the WPRU asked for the incident to be reviewed.
Watch the video below:
Flyhalf Johan Goosen said he has come to France to adapt his game and hopes it will help him earn a Rugby World Cup spot with the Springboks next year.
Former Cheetah, Goosen, 22, has played five times for South Africa, but made the radical decision to up sticks and move to Racing-Metro to help improve his kicking game.
He went with the blessings of Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer after an injury-ravaged start to his career that has seen him spend more time on the treatment table – he has undergone three knee operations and one each on his shoulder and arm – than the pitch.
With the new Guinness PRO12 season kicking off this weekend on Friday, we take a look at the prospects of each of the 12 clubs. The competition is between clubs from Ireland, Italy, Wales and Scotland. Ireland and Wales have four clubs / regions/provinces in the Guinness PRO12, while Italy and Scotland both provide two teams each to complete the twelve team line-up.
Beauden Barrett will start at first five eighth against Argentina in Napier on Saturday with Aaron Cruden ruled out of the Rugby Championship test with a chest injury.
The All Blacks team will be named tomorrow morning, but TVNZ reported tonight that Barrett would start for the third time in a test career that’s seen him come off the reserves bench in 19 of his 21 tests since his debut in 2012.
The 23-year-old’s only other test starts have been at fullback, against Italy in 2012, and Japan last year.
Cruden has been in exceptional form this season, but suffered a chest muscle injury during the All Blacks Bledisloe Cup win over the Wallabies at Eden Park two weeks ago.
Stuff – NZ
OK, a special for the Ex-Voldy bloggers… we will keep this Hore Thread ALIVE for a while.. so go ahead, get your records!!
Former All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore has answered an S.O.S. to come out of retirement and provide injury cover for Southland.
The loss of veteran hooker Jason Rutledge has left the Stags with problems in the middle of their front row.
That saw skipper Jamie Mackintosh put a call in to his mate Hore to twist his arm to help out in Invercargill.