They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and it seems Conrad Smith has missed his old mate Ma’a Nonu during the midfield pair’s enforced break up.
The old firm has been closed for business since Smith broke his hand during the second June test against England, but seems likely to reopen for business against Argentina on Saturday.
Nonu and Malakai Fekitoa had a run during the third test thrashing of England in Hamilton, and again during a dour 12-12 draw against Australia in Sydney while Smith attended the birth of his first child.
Then in Auckland, Smith and Ryan Crotty teamed up for the Bledisloe Cup bash as Nonu sat out with a bruised shoulder.
World Cup winning All Blacks halfback Piri Weepu has begun his overseas rugby career as a water-boy, promising a selfless attitude as he tries to help London Welsh establish themselves in the English Premiership.
Weepu said he would bring a team-first approach to a club freshly promoted and looking to do better than their last stay at the top that lasted just one season. And he’s already proved that by running the water bottles in a pre-season match.
“I’m here to push this club as hard as I can and I’ll do everything possible for the team,” Weepu told The Rugby Paper website as his arrival in Britain drew attention ahead of this weekend’s season kickoff.
“Everything is about the team, not the individual, and if someone’s not pulling their weight, including me, I hope they’ll say it.
Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton faces a race against time to be fit for the autumn internationals after breaking his jaw while playing for Racing Metro.
The 29-year-old British and Irish Lions star was injured in a heavy clash with Craig Burden in Sunday’s French top-flight contest against Toulon.
South African hooker Burden was sin-binned for the challenge.
Keven Mealamu says he isn’t done yet, not by a long shot.
As another round of hand wringing about the country’s lack of depth at hooker kicks off, Mealamu has reiterated his desire to be part of next year’s World Cup campaign.
Dane Coles’ looming absence from part, or all, of the All Blacks’ trip to Argentina and South Africa later this month for the birth of his partner’s child has again highlighted the dearth of options available to coach Steve Hansen.
Bay of Plenty’s Nathan Harris was the next cab off the rank, but after that it was anybody’s guess.
“We’ve been bringing people in and out of the environment,” Hansen said.
Will Skelton is eager to do battle with the “big boppers” of South Africa after turning in 80-minute audition for the Sydney Stars in their loss to Melbourne Rising at Leichhardt Oval.
Whether the rugby equivalent of a fight scene from Jurassic Park — 140kg Skelton duelling with South Africa’s lumbering monsters — occurs at the start or the end of the Test in Perth remains to be seen, but the big lock did what was asked of him by seeing out the entire match.
It wasn’t a pleasant Sunday for the Stars — pumped 45-13 by Melbourne — but Ewen McKenzie said if Skelton was to be considered to start against South Africa, the impact player needed to display a capacity to play 80 minutes.
The Waratahs’ super-sub hadn’t done that in more than three months but came through comfortably.
All Blacks centre Ma’a Nonu has been passed fit to face Argentina next weekend in the latest round of the Rugby Championship.
Nonu was absent from New Zealand’s 51-20 mauling of Australia two weeks ago at Eden Park.
The Hurricanes midfielder picked up a shoulder injury in the 12-12 draw with the Wallabies the week previously, but his return to full health is important.
Ryan Crotty, Nonu’s replacement in Auckland, has been ruled out for four weeks with a facial fracture, meaning Nonu could come straight back in.
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie still believes that his side’s thrashing by the All Blacks at Eden Park last Saturday was an “aberration” rather than a confronting measure of the gulf between the two sides.
McKenzie is playing down the need to make sweeping changes to his line-up despite the Wallabies 51-20 loss to the world No.1 New Zealanders in the Rugby Championship.
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.
Flyhalf Joshua Stander will earn a first senior start for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the 2014 Absa Currie Cup when the home team face DHL Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The 20-year old former Queens College player was bracketed with Jacques-Louis Potgieter, who failed a fitness test.
Stander has played for the Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21 side in the Absa Provincial Championship this season and was an unused replacement in the victory against the EP Kings last weekend.
Stander will be one of four changes to the side that won against the Kings.
The flyhalf will come in for Tony Jantjies (concussion), while Piet van Zyl (for Rudy Paige – bench), Callie Visagie (for Bongi Mbonambi – bench)) and Werner Kruger (for Marcel van der Merwe – Springboks) will return to the run-on team.
James O’Connor’s willingness to shelve any special contract demands is the first sign that a new maturity at the Queensland Reds will replace his old spoiled kid persona.
There were reservations initially at Queensland Rugby Union board level that a player with O’Connor’s rap sheet of poor discipline was a bad fit for the Reds.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls have been dealt a massive blow with the news that fullback Jurgen Visser has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
According to reports, Visser injured his foot two weeks ago against Western Province and was allowed to take the weekend off against the Kings to recover.
While the medical assessment on Monday indicated he would be fit and ready to train on Tuesday and rejoin the team, more discomfort has seen the medical team review their diagnosis, and the fullback is set to undergo an operation that will see him out of action for at least the next four months.
Zac Guildford is looking to put his past alcohol-fuelled misdemeanours behind him and launch a new chapter in his impressive rugby career with Clermont.
The bad-boy of New Zealand rugby has had his fair share of run-ins with both rugby authorities and the law, but now he says he has a more mature head on his 25-year-old shoulders.
“I made some mistakes in my youth. The time had come to make some changes in my life and coming to Clermont was one of the best I could make,” he said.
Willem Alberts has been ruled out of the Springboks’ Rugby Championship tour to Australia and New Zealand and will be replaced in the 30-man squad by Warren Whiteley.
Alberts missed both Test victories against Argentina because of a hamstring injury and he underwent a fitness test on Thursday afternoon.
Although his hamstring is recovering well, he experienced some nerve irritation in his lower back and was sent for scans.
Flyhalf Joshua Stander could earn a first senior start for the Blue Bulls in the 2014 Currie Cup when the home team face Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The 20-year old former Queens College player has been bracketed with Jacques-Louis Potgieter at flyhalf and could make his debut for the team should the latter fail a fitness test.
Stander has played for the Blue Bulls Under-21 side in the Absa Provincial Championship this season and was an unused replacement in the victory against the EP Kings last weekend.
Should Stander or Potgieter play, they will be one of four changes to the side that won 30-25 against the Kings.
Keegan Daniel speaks about his debut for the Kubota Spears and his initial impressions of Japan.
Daniel, who spent nine successful years with the Sharks, made the move to Japan at the end of the Super Rugby season.
A breakaway flanker blessed with an impressive turn of speed, his game seems a perfect match for rugby in Japan, where pace wins favour over physicality.
The Queensland Reds will on Friday night unveil James O’Connor and Karmichael Hunt as their blue-chip recruits for 2015.
Rugby’s worst-kept secrets will be revealed together at the Reds’ Gala Ball at the Brisbane Convention Centre, but diehard fans will be hoping for more.
Although O’Connor and Hunt, neither of whom will be in attendance, represent the franchise’s biggest recruitment announcement since Super Rugby kicked off in 1996, Queensland can’t fix the problems that plagued them this season with two outside backs.
Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau made national headlines when they defected from the NRL to AFL in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
Folau finished a difficult, though lucrative, stint in the AFL in 2012 and is now one of rugby union’s top draw cards. Hunt, meanwhile, is poised to join him in the 15-man code with reports linking him to the Queensland Reds in 2015.
Jaco Taute will make his first Absa Currie Cup start in DHL Western Province colours, after being named at inside centre for Saturday’s meeting with the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Pretoria (kick-off 17:05 SA Time).
The risk of losing star Wallabies like Israel Folau after the 2015 World Cup has prompted the Australian Rugby Union to change its rules to allow overseas sabbaticals.
The Australian Rugby Union will dangle a sizeable carrot to lure the country’s top players to sevens in the lead up to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.
The open letter written by Pat McCabe.
It has truly been an honour to represent the Brumbies and the Wallabies over the past five years.
While my playing career has not ended the way I would have liked, I consider myself extremely fortunate.
Fortunate to have met and shared experiences with special players and coaches.
The Cell C Sharks have stuck largely with the same side that defeated Free State last week for Friday night’s Absa Currie Cup clash with the Pumas at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
Among the backs, there is just one change where scrumhalf Conrad Hoffmann gets his first start after playing off the bench last week, with Cameron Wright coming off the bench later in the game, reports Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.
Among the forwards, JC Astle is back from injury and partners with Etienne Oosthuizen in the second row in the absence of Marco Wentzel, while the front row trio of Matt Stevens, Kyle Cooper and Dale Chadwick remains the same from last week as do the loosies, captain Tera Mtembu, Francois Kleinhans and Jacques Botes .
The Waratahs are hopeful of locking in off-contract playmaker Kurtley Beale within a fortnight.
Coach Michael Cheika said he wasn’t taking anything for granted, but was reasonably confident of re-signing the 43-Test back for another season.
“It looks like it’s going better, so hopefully something’s going to happen there in the next week or two,” Cheika said.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made it clear that Sonny Bill Williams will be on the end of year tour, though there are no guarantees he will play any games.
Hansen has voiced his views on the controversial decision to get Williams instantly into the All Blacks selection mix on his return from rugby league, even though he may not have played for his Counties Manukau union. His selection would be against ordinary New Zealand Rugby regulations.
The Queensland Reds will confirm the worst kept secret in rugby on Friday night when Wallabies’ prodigal son James O’Connor is announced as their new signing.
News Corp is reporting that the Reds will announce that O’Connor has signed a two-year deal at its Gala Ball in Brisbane.
O’Connor had his 44-Test career put on hold last year after the Australian Rugby Union tore up his contract after the 24-year-old was escorted off a flight to Bali by Australian Federal Police at Perth Airport.
He has since enjoyed a sixth-month stint at London Irish in the English Premiership before signing a short-term deal with European champions Toulon in the French Top 14 competition.
Willem Alberts says he’ll be ready to play for the Springboks in their Rugby Championship encounter against Australia in Perth on 6 September.
Loose forward Alberts and lock Victor Matfield were on Monday recalled to the Springbok squad for the trip Down Under. Both missed the home and away Tests against Argentina because of injury.
Matfield suffered a knee injury during a cleaning drill, while Alberts withdrew shortly before the game in Pretoria as he picked up a hamstring tear during the captain’s training run.
The Cell C Sharks look likely to be without outside centre S’bura Sithole when they play their return ABSA Currie Cup match against the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday night.
Sithole has been battling a rib injury and is in doubt for the match. Heimar Williams will replace him if he is not cleared to play. Otherwise the rest of the Sharks players are fit, with there being a possibility that key lineout forward Stephan Lewies will be added to the mix for a starting place this week.
Jaco Taute is likely to start at inside centre for Western Province when they tackle the Blue Bulls in a Currie Cup game in Pretoria on Saturday.
According to reports, WP’s inside centre of the past three games, Michael van der Spuy, has a hamstring injury and is likely to miss the trip to Pretoria.
Sonny Bill Williams has been granted a special exemption to be picked for the All Blacks’ end of year tour.
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew confirmed on Monday Williams would not need to play in the National Provincial Championship following his commitments with the Sydney Roosters in the NRL.
NZRU rules state that players must take part in the preceding domestic competition in order to be eligible for the All Blacks.
However, the board voted on Friday to make an exemption for Williams should he not be able to make an appearance for Counties-Manukau either due to the length of the Roosters season, or injury.
New Zealand centre Ryan Crotty has been ruled out for four weeks after fracturing a facial bone during the weekend’s win over the Wallabies.
The Crusaders back, who enjoyed an impressive first start on the international scene in the 51-20 triumph, suffered a heavy impact in Auckland.
Steve Hansen must now decide whether Malakai Fekitoa should don twelve against Argentina if Ma’a Nonu does not recover by September 6.
Meanwhile, Cory Jane (knee), Beauden Barrett (ankle) and Aaron Cruden (pectoral) are all expected to recover in time for the Napier fixture.
Head coach Alan Solomons will start five of his new Edinburgh Rugby recruits in the club’s first pre-season match against Leicester Tigers at The Greenyards tomorrow (23 August, kick-off 14:00 BST, 15:00 SA Time).
With the exclusion of lock Fraser McKenzie – who returns from Newcastle Falcons to start the game alongside Ollie Atkins – four of the five signings will make their debut for the capital club.
Xerox Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has been forced to withdraw flyhalf Jaco van der Walt from his side to face DHL Western Province on Saturday, due to injury.
Van der Walt sustained a knee injury during last weekend’s clash with the EP Kings at Ellis Park. The 20-year-old has been unable to recover in time for Saturday’s match but it is hoped that he will return to action next week.
The eyes of Australian rugby fans will be trained on Eden Park this weekend as the Wallabies look to make history against the All Blacks.
But half a world away, the most popular player in the code will be performing away from the public glare in a relatively low-key affair at the Umakana Yokana Stadium.
Nick Cummins and his Coca Cola West Red Sparks play their season opener against Schalk Burger’s Suntory Sungoliath on Saturday.
Juan Smith will complete a remarkable return to international rugby when he runs out for the Springboks against Argentina in Salta on Saturday, in the Springboks’ second Test of The Rugby Championship (kick-off 21:40 SA Time).
Smith’s inclusion at flank is one of three changes to the starting 15, with a further four changes on the bench.
Gurthrö Steenkamp (prop) and Eben Etzebeth (lock) will start in the tight five, with Tendai Mtawarira and Bakkies Botha moving to the bench. Marcell Coetzee will join them amongst the replacements after coming in as a late substitute for the injured Willem Alberts last weekend.
Derrick Minnie will reclaim the Golden Lions’ captaincy armband when they head to Cape Town for a top-of-the-table Currie Cup clash with Western Province.
The Lions, who top the table on points difference ahead of WP, will head to Newlands without regular skipper Warren Whitely – who was called up to the Springbok squad in place of the injured loose forward Willem Albert, for the Test against Argentina in Salta on Saturday.
Leicester Tigers have confirmed the arrival of World Cup-winning former All Black second row Brad Thorn.
39-year-old New Zealander was referred to by Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill as “one of the great all-time rugby players the world has ever seen.” He is expected at the club at the end of September.
Thorn became the first player to win World Cup, Super Rugby and Heineken Cup titles and arrives from the Highlanders having previously represented the Crusaders and Leinster.
“He is a very driven individual,” Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury.
“He wants to play in the Premiership and he wants to win the Premiership.”
”Ek is nie ’n kind nie.”
Só het Frans Steyn glo op die laaste krisisvergadering tussen hom en die Suid-Afrikaanse Rugbyunie (SARU) gesê voordat hy opgestaan, uitgeloop en die Springbok-groep vaarwel geroep het.
Dit was nadat meer as een vergadering tussen hom en SARU oor sy terugkeer uit Frankryk skipbreuk gely het.
SARU het aanvanklik in 2012 skriftelik ingestem om Steyn se kontrak met ’n Franse bemarkingsmaatskappy uit te koop sodat hy weer heeltyds vir Suid-Afrika beskikbaar kon wees. SARU het die paaiemente daarvoor stiptelik betaal – tot in Januarie 2013 toe betalings skielik eensydig gestaak is.