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.
New Springbok call-up Warren Whiteley could well find himself playing a bigger part in this weekend’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship game than he thought as injury concerns followed the Boks en route to Argentina.
Already gearing themselves up for a tough match in Salta this weekend, the Boks will need to take all the positives out of their performance in the monsoon rain at Loftus and turn it around to ensure a second victory over Los Pumas in a fixture they have traditionally struggled in.
Whiteley was a last minute call-up before the Loftus game when Willem Alberts went down to a hamstring injury, and has been called up as cover for loose forward and no8 – something hat Alberts was also the back-up to.
Whiteley’s prowess in the loose, his natural roving ability and his lineout options he provides the team will weigh heavily on coach Heyneke Meyer’s mind as he uses the short week to plan for the assault that is waiting for the Boks in Salta.
The Cheetahs have paid the price for a bruising win against the Griquas on Saturday with Luan de Bruin, Elgar Watts and Johannes “Boom” Prinsloo looking set to miss their clash against the Sharks.
The Free State Stadium turned into a minor battlefield on Saturday with medical teams having to stretcher players off on more than one occasion.
A dispute between the Blue Bulls Rugby Union’s top brass and its ex-players union is threatening to escalate.
According to reports, there is dissatisfaction among the ex-players about the union’s plans to “write the ex-players union out of the union’s constitution”.
Former Springbok and Bulls captain Wynand Claassen is the chairperson of the ex-players union.
The Blue Bulls Rugby Union is set to approve the new constitution which would see the ex-players union have no say whatsoever on the union’s executive committee.
Glenwood’s Jaco Coetzee has been selected to captain the SA Schools team for 2014 against France, Wales and England.
Their first match is against France at the City Park Stadium in Cape Town on 15 August, followed by Wales at Outeniqua Park in George on 19 August, and England at the Paul Roos Markötter grounds in Stellenbosch on 23 August.
DHL Western Province has been rocked by the loss of hooker Scarra Ntubeni ahead of their first home Absa Currie Cup match of the season against the Vodacom Blue Bulls on Saturday.
Ntubeni was set to replace Tiaan Liebenberg, who is out with a back injury, in the team that beat the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth last week. However, according to coach Allister Coetzee, Ntubeni injured a calf in training and has been forced to withdraw from the team at the 11th hour.
“Unfortunately Scarra picked up a calf injury at training on Tuesday and it has subsequently been confirmed that he will be out for a minimum of 14 days,” said Coetzee.
All Blacks centre Conrad Smith is out of tomorrow’s Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney after returning home for the birth of his first child.
Smith will join wife Lee-Ann in Wellington, with Canterbury midfielder Ryan Crotty called in as cover and likely to start from the bench. Malakai Fekitoa is expected to take Smith’s spot at centre outside Ma’a Nonu.
DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has made just one change to his starting line-up for Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup meeting with the Vodacom Blue Bulls at DHL Newlands (kick-off 14:05 SA Time).
The only change to the DHL WP line-up sees Stephan Coetzee named in the No.2 jersey, in his first start at this level, with the injured Tiaan Liebenberg (back) dropping out this week.
The 2014 / 2015 season of Top 14, France’s premier rugby competition, kicks off tomorrow as reported earlier today here on rugby-talk.com. In this day of professional rugby we have become accustomed to the movement of many players between clubs and in a way rugby has seemed to catch up with football regarding the whole transfer market business. For many years we have been used to the constant speculation of football players changing clubs and the rumours about the exorbitant transfer fees and players salaries abound.
Rugby still has some way to go on the financial front to get anywhere near the world’s biggest sport – for example a £75 million price tag has been thrown about in the move of disgraced striker Louis Suarez from Liverpool to Barcelona. However, in terms of sheer volume of players and coaching staff moving about things are advancing at an ever-increasing rate.
Steve Hansen has sprung a Bledisloe selection surprise of his own, picking the in-form Ben Smith at fullback and dropping a fully fit Israel Dagg for the first time since he became the first-choice All Blacks No 15 three years ago.
The All Blacks coach has decided to stick with the back three that played the last two tests against England in June, which means there’s no room for Dagg in the squad of 23 to open the Rugby Championship against the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday night.
Following a successful return to the Currie Cup Premier Division last weekend, Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse has opted for continuity in his selections for Friday’s match against defending champions the Sharks in Durban.
Stonehouse made a single change to the run-on side that beat the Free State Cheetahs 28-21 in Mbombela over the weekend.
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has announced a revamped line-up for the opening Investec Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup clash against New Zealand at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
McKenzie said the changes were based on three key components – strong individual form since Australia’s successful series clean sweep over France; a reflection of the style of Rugby the Wallabies want to play against the All Blacks; and those forced through injury.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has been given a massive boost with the news that he should be able to pick as close to his strongest side for this weekend’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship opener against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld.
Team doctor Craig Roberts cleared props Frans Malherbe, Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and lock Eben Etzebeth for action and crucially also gave captain Jean de Villiers the all-clear to play this weekend after spending the last few months on the sidelines with injury.
The Lions have been dealt a huge blow with Springbok flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff ruled out of the entire Currie Cup season with a fractured arm.
The Lions, against all injury odds, put on the performance of the opening round when they defeated the Bulls 41-13 in Johannesburg on Saturday.
However, coach Johan Ackermann will have more injury headaches other than Boshoff who is due to undergo surgery on Monday and is expected to be out for 12 weeks.
Both Anthony Volmink (shoulder) and Lloyd Greeff (knee) are also expected to be out of action for the remainder of the Currie Cup tournament.
Blue Bulls loose forward Jacques du Plessis has recovered from his broken jaw and will be available for selection for the remainder of the Currie Cup.
Du Plessis trained on Monday, as a small numbers of players sat out with minor ailments.
Sampie Mastriet (hip contusion) and JJ Engelbrecht (rib contusion) will again train on Tuesday, but prop Dean Greyling will have to pass a fitness test on Thursday is he is to play against Western Province on Saturday in Cape Town.
Tiaan Liebenberg’s back problem has flared up again but that blow to DHL Western Province’s build-up to Saturday’s north/south Absa Currie Cup showdown with the Vodacom Blue Bulls has been offset by the news that as many as six top players will be returning to action this week.
Scarra Ntubeni is among those that will be assessed on Monday, and he will be an obvious replacement for Liebenberg at hooker should he be declared fit. Liebenberg is to undergo a scan to assess the severity of his injury but he will definitely miss the Bulls game.
The other players coming back into the system are Rynhardt Elstadt, who has been out since the early stages of Super Rugby, Brok Harris, Kurt Coleman, Jaco Taute and Ruan Botha. The latter should come in at No 5 lock, with Manuel Carizza moving to the front of the lineout as Eben Etzebeth will be the with the Boks this week.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster has called together a group of 55 players for a four-day training camp in Loughborough.
The squad will report to the university this afternoon for strength and conditioning assessments as well as rugby training before departing at lunchtime on Wednesday.
This is the first time the players have met since the three Test tour to New Zealand last June, with the majority of the travelling party attending.
Australia have been dealt yet another front row injury blow with the news that Tolu Latu has become their third hooker to be sidelined.
Experienced Reds rake Saia Fainga’a has been called into the Wallabies squad as a replacement after Latu broke an arm in a Sydney club game on the weekend.
Ewen McKenzie’s squad has already been deprived of Australia’s two most senior hookers – Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau – ahead of Saturday’s opening Rugby Championship game against New Zealand in Sydney.
However, in Fainga’a they have an excellent replacement. Although the 27-year-old will be third-choice player in his position, he has far more Test caps – 29 – than the combined total of the players ahead of him.
Former All Blacks wing Hosea Gear is quitting northern hemisphere rugby and heading to the Chiefs in a bid to play in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Gear, 30, has signed a one-year contract with the Chiefs to play in next year’s Super Rugby competition as he makes a bid to return to the international stage and challenges again for a World Cup wing spot.
Prop Paddy Ryan and uncapped winger Tom English have been added to the Wallabies Rugby Championship squad, with hamstring injuries set to rule out Laurie Weeks and Joe Tomane for the first two matches against New Zealand.
Both injuries are considered relatively minor, with Weeks and Tomane each expected to be out for two to three weeks.
However, that would be long enough to rule them out of the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup games against New Zealand in Sydney next Saturday and in Auckland the following weekend.
If you thought NSW Watarahs and Australian Wallabies battering ram Will Skelton was big, meet ACT Brumbies recruit Rory Arnold, the tallest player in Super Rugby.
The 208cm, 130kg lock created huge headlines last year after being involved in an alleged biting incident in South Africa, but Arnold is determined to make a big impact at the Brumbies for the right reasons.
While man mountain Skelton weighs in at 140kg, at 203cm he can’t match Arnold, who is equal in height with former South African player Andries Bekker. They are the tallest players in Super Rugby’s 19-year history.
After much speculation in the media the Highlanders are happy to announce today that Aaron Smith has re-signed with the Highlanders for two more years through to the end of the Super Rugby season in 2016.
Smith said “I love living and playing rugby in Dunedin, it’s my home and I couldn’t think of a better place to be.”
“I love the team and can’t wait to get back out on the field in front of our home fans in 2015”.
Nemani Nadolo will remain at the Crusaders for two more years, after reports in New Zealand said the giant Fijian winger “never had any intention of going anywhere else”.
“We have loved having Nemani in the Crusaders this season, as have our fans, so it gives me great pleasure to confirm that he will be returning to the team next year and in 2016,” Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said.
The Golden Lions have announced the signing of centre Howard Mnisi from Griquas on an 18-month contract.
According to the Lions’ official website, the centre linked up with theGolden Lions squad last week, however his contract was only finalised on Wednesday.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has praised the move to bring veteran flank Juan Smith back into the Springbok squad for the Rugby Championship, calling it an ‘unbelievable’ story.
It was reported that Smith – who was told by more than one doctor that his rugby career was over – was included as cover for the injured Victor Matfield in the Bok squad this week ahead of next weekend’s opener against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld.
After getting a second chance at Toulon, Smith turned the opportunity into gold with the way he used his new lease on life to craft his way into the Toulon squad and was an integral part in their success in Europe this year.
The prognosis on Springbok captain Jean de Villiers’ fitness ahead of next weekend’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship opener against Argentina took a positive lift with the news that the player himself feels he will be fit and ready for the opening game.
Much has been made of the fitness of De Villiers and whether or not he should have been released to play in the Absa Currie Cup this weekend, especially after three months on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Given that Victor Matfield has been ruled out of action for next week as well with injury, the Boks suddenly needed to contemplate a backup plan for De Villiers if he is injured and a new captain has to be found.
Winger Juan Imhoff has injured his foot and will miss Argentina’s first two Rugby Championship matches against South Africa, the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) said on Tuesday.
The Racing Metro player fractured the second metatarsal of his right foot during the Pumas’ warm-up game against French Club Grenoble on Saturday.
Utility back Solomoni Rasolea has become the latest player to commit to the Western Force by signing a two-year contract extension.
The 23-year-old’s re-signing continues the Force’s retention run that has already seen Nathan Charles, Dane Haylett-Petty, Rory Walton and Chris Alcock re-commit to the Western Australian club in the past 10 days.
Rasolea has been a regular face in the Force’s match 23 over the past two seasons since joining the Force from the Australian Sevens side.