The Springbok starting line-up to face Australia shows three changes, with Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje and Francois Hougaard included for Saturday’s fifth round Test in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship at DHL Newlands in Cape Town.
Francois Louw’s injury means a positional switch for Marcell Coetzee in the starting team. There is a further four changes on the bench, with Cobus Reinach in line to make his Springbok debut alongside the experienced trio of Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger and JP Pietersen.
Glasgow’s Tyrone Holmes has received a one-week ban after being sent off for stamping on an opponent during the PRO12 game against Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade last Saturday.
League organisers confirmed the Glasgow flanker appeared before an independent disciplinary committee in Dublin on Wednesday.
Kenya has dropped ten players from their squad for the IRB world series opening tournament in Australia in a dispute with the national board over pay and contracts.
The players, including wingers Collins Injera and Horace Otieno and back-rower Biko Adema, were reportedly unhappy that the board had agreed to draw up performance-driven contracts without consulting them.
The good news for DHL Western Province fans is that explosive winger Seabelo Senatla, who has been missed by the Cape side during his injury enforced absence, will be back for the play-off rounds of the Absa Currie Cup.
Senatla has linked up with the Springboks during their build-up to Saturday’s test match against Australia at Newlands for the purpose of picking up experience that could come in useful later in his career.
He has been unable to train, but according to Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts he is being monitored by the Bok Sevens medical team. He is in the final stages of rehabilitation from his ankle injury and will soon be back on the field.
Major adjustments are not a familiar theme with the All Blacks but that’s exactly what the backline confronts in Argentina this week.
Under Steve Hansen, a consistent selection policy has prevailed. Players must earn their respective chances, or wait for injury to open the door.
This week Aaron Cruden’s ill-advised bender and a lack of depth at second five-eighth will force two serious changes to the inside backs.
Xerox Golden Lions:
Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 22-man side to take on Griquas in a Currie Cup match in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon.
In the forwards, prop Jacques van Rooyen and flank Warwick Tecklenburg will both start the match after moving up from the bench.
Meanwhile, in the backline, Ross Cronje will start at scrumhalf and Howard Mnisi will come in at inside centre.
Castres scrum-half and new France squad member Rory Kockott has revealed that playing for Les Bleus has always been his aim.
The South African joined Castres in 2011 and has been a roaring success in the Top 14, guiding his club to two league finals and one title.
Having now qualified on residency, Kockott has been named in France’s squad for the upcoming November Tests.
There has been much speculation over the last year as to whether Kockott would play for his adopted country or be selected by the Springboks, but now his decision is clear.
Eastern Province Kings:
The captaincy curse has struck the winless Eastern Province Kings again, with another skipper sidelined.
Steven Sykes will join Luke Watson in the sickbay and will not be on duty the against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, according to the Kings medical team.
Sykes will be missing the upcoming game due to a knee injury that he sustained during the loss to the Free State Cheetahs last Saturday.
Everything changes now for Beauden Barrett.
There’s a lot for the young All Black to get his head around as he receives an unexpected opportunity to make his move at No 10.
Aaron Cruden’s unfortunate night out in Auckland on Saturday, and his subsequent omission from the All Blacks’ trip to Argentina and South Africa, might end up hurting twice as much.
Springbok flanker Francois Louw underwent surgery on Monday after he injured his neck in the Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand in Wellington.
Team doctor Craig Roberts told reporters in Cape Town on Monday that Louw had suffered a pinched nerve in his neck, and would be sidelined for about six weeks.
“Francois initially took a knock to his head, and the scans showed damage to a nerve in his neck. He has had surgery today on the (affected) disc and that should relieve the pressure (on the nerve),” said Roberts.
Lizo Gqoboka is one of three young, up and coming players that have been selected to attend the Springbok Training Camp ahead of their final two matches in the Rugby Championship.
Gqoboka, along with Nizaam Carr, Seabelo Senatla, will join the camp this week.
“They are three promising young players we’ve identified and we’d like to expose them to the Springbok ethos while also having a look at what they can do in training,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
Canterbury’s Tom Taylor has been called into the All Blacks after Aaron Cruden was dropped following his boozy night out in Auckland.
Taylor made a composed starting test debut against the Wallabies in Wellington at first five-eighth last year, kicking four penalties and a conversion in the 27-16 win.
He will provide back-up to Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade in the pivotal role over the next two weeks as the All Blacks attempt to secure their third straight Rugby Championship title in La Plata and Johannesburg.
Taylor last played for the All Blacks in November in the 54-6 rout of Japan in Tokyo and has since struggled for form this season, being used in almost every position in the backline by the Crusaders.
Aaron Cruden’s pocket as well as his pride will take a hit in the wake of a boozy night in Auckland, while he can also expect to face a New Zealand Rugby Union misconduct hearing.
The All Blacks flyhalf has expressed his “embarrassment” and “shame” after missing the All Blacks flight to Argentina and subsequently losing his place in the squad for Rugby Championship tests against the Pumas and South Africa.
First-five Aaron Cruden will miss matches against Argentina and South Africa after a late night drinking incident.
Aaron Cruden was found keeping his head down at his Hamilton home today – over 10,000 kilometres away from his All Blacks team-mates – after he was kicked off the trip to Argentina for having a late night drinking session in Auckland.
Injured Queensland Reds and Wallabies fly half Quade Cooper sat down with Chris Garry last week to discuss a dramatic year for his code and club.
Cooper reveals how he helped lure the brightest talent in world rugby, Taniela “Tongan Thor” Tupou, from the clutches of the All Blacks to the Reds, why Queensland should have hit the player market hard following their Super Rugby triumph in 2011, when he will return from injury … and predicts Karmichael Hunt will make the Wallabies’ World Cup squad.
France head coach Philippe Saint-André has named five uncapped players in his squad for November’s Tests, with Rory Kockott included.
Props Uini Atonio and Xavier Chiocci, back-row Charles Ollivon and wing Teddy Thomas are the new players joining Kockott in the Les Bleus mix.
Kockott is one of just two scrum-halves in the group, joining Sébastien Tillous-Borde while Camille Lopez, Remi Tales and François Trinh-Duc are the 10 options available to Saint-André.
Saint-André has dispensed with the services of loosehead Thomas Domingo and back-row forwards Antonie Claassen and Fulgence Ouedraogo while Maxime Machenaud, Dimitri Szarzewski and Morgan Parra also miss out.
There’s a year to go until the World Cup – just enough time for it to be turned into an eligibility farce.
The potential for the game’s biggest event to be laughed out of town is growing. The prospect of teams turning up with legions of players who don’t really have a strong link to the jersey they wear is real.
Currently away with the Springboks, Bryan Habana hasn’t been distracted by the outlandish statements of Mourad Boudjellal at Toulon.
Habana will be in line for his 102nd cap against the Wallabies in Cape Town next weekend, but the Toulon owner earlier this week demanded that Habana along with Bakkies Botha and Argentina’s Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe return to play for their club.
Perhaps Habana wasn’t distracted because those kind of outbursts from Boudjellal aren’t new. In the same week he also raised the possibility of cancelling Leigh Halfpenny’s contract.
“It’s not up to me to decide on going back. We have the right lines of communication. SA Rugby have been working hard behind the scenes to address the rumours that have been going around this week,” Habana exclusively told Planet Rugby.
The Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby have settled their dispute over World Cup compensation, the governing bodies have announced.
England’s 12 clubs are likely to share £13 million provided by the RFU and have been cleared to play matches during the knockout stage of the tournament.
“It’s a reflection of the strength of the partnership that once again we have managed to come to an arrangement that benefits both the RFU and clubs,” RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie said.
He hasn’t ruled it out completely, but Springbok centre Frans Steyn says it’s unlikely he’ll play international rugby again.
Steyn, 27, shocked the rugby fraternity in June this year when he made himself unavailable for Springbok selection shortly before a Test against Wales in Durban, after playing against a World XV in Cape Town the previous week.
It emerged that his decision to pull out of the Springbok squad was due to a monetary dispute with the South African Rugby Union (SARU) regarding his image rights, which were handled by a third party.
The Wallabies are set to face one of their own at Twickenham after Nick Cummins agreed to wear the black and white of the Barbarians against Australia in November.
Little more than two months after he left Australia for Japan’s Top League, Cummins has agreed to play for the invitational side in the November 1 fixture that kicks off the Wallabies five-week spring tour of Europe, his manager said.
Blue Bulls captain and flank Deon Stegmann was suspended for 1 week on Wednesday for striking a player with his elbow in their Currie Cup Premier Division clash against the EP Kings last Friday.
His Blue Bulls team mate, hooker Bongi Mbonambi, meanwhile, was cleared of further sanction after receiving a Yellow Card in the match for charging into a ruck without using his arms.
Stegmann and Mbonambi both appeared before a SARU judicial committee in Pretoria on Tuesday after being sent to the sin-bin in their clash in Port Elizabeth.
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.
Following an agreement between the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and the provincial unions, wing Lwazi Mvovo has been released to play in the Currie Cup for the Cell C Sharks this weekend.
Mvovo will train with the Sharks this week and join the Springbok squad in Cape Town on Sunday evening.
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.