Player Movements

Dillyn Leyds

Dillyn Leyds

Dillyn Leyds has been named at fullback for Western Province’s Currie Cup meeting with the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday (kick-off 14:00 SA Time).

WP coach Allister Coetzee has made five changes to his starting line-up this week – from the starting XV that defeated the Pumas in Nelspruit last Friday – with four of them enforced.

Leyds, who re-joined WP after a stint at the Western Force in Australia, replaces Cheslin Kolbe (back injury) in the No 15 jersey, Pat Howard comes in for SA Sevens wing Justin Geduld (on national Sevens duty), while Manuel Carizza and Rynhardt Elstadt form a new-look lock duo in the absence of the injured Ruan Botha (ankle) and Jean Kleyn (AC Joint).

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Kurtley Beale

Kurtley Beale has added to his troubled record of disciplinary problems with the Wallabies.

Kurtley Beale has been axed from the Wallabies line up less than a day after it emerged he was involved in a heated in-flight argument with a staff member.

Beale will miss his first test this year after being overlooked for utility Rob Horne and halfback Nic White, who were the only two backs named on the reserves bench for Australia’s clash with Argentina on Saturday.

Horne was one of the few Wallabies bench players who made an impact in the side’s bitter 28-10 loss to the Springboks in Cape Town on Saturday, while Beale struggled to wrest back the game’s momentum as it swung South Africa’s way mid-way through the second half.

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BT Sport Scottish Rugby AcademyScottish Rugby today unveiled the first of at least four BT Sport Academies that will be opened around the country to nurture the best young Scottish talent to become the stars of tomorrow.

Where Caledonia leads today, the Borders, East and West will follow with all being operational by the 2015-16 season.

“The Academies are the cornerstone of our determination to create a new era for Scottish Rugby,” declared chief executive Mark Dodson at the opening of the Caledonia Academy at the University of Aberdeen’s Hillhead campus.

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Kurtley Beale

Kurtley Beale

Wallabies playmaker Kurtley Beale is facing an ARU integrity unit investigation after an alleged incident on a team flight in South America.

The ARU on Wednesday night said in a statement the matter had been referred to team management and Beale is facing disciplinary action.

The investigation centres around an alleged incident on the Wallabies’ flight from South Africa to Brazil on Sunday.

Beale isn’t being sent home but it’s not immediately known if the 47 Test star will be available for selection for the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship clash with Argentina in Mendoza on Saturday.

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Patrick Lambie

Staying in Durban: Pat Lambie

Sharks utility back Pat Lambie has extended his stay with the Durban-based outfit for at least the next three years.

Lambie is amongst a host of young players who have extended their contracts beyond next year’s Rugby World Cup.

Youngsters like Thomas du Toit, Andre Esterhuizen, Cameron Wright, S’bura Sithole and Stephan Lewies have also signed contracts to remain in Durban for the next three years.

Du Toit and Esterhuizen were involved in the Baby Boks’ IRB Junior World Championship campaign where they ended as losing finalists – going down 21-20 to England – with du Toit already boasting Super Rugby experience, just a few months after finishing his school career.

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Ma'a Nonu

Ma’a Nonu

All Blacks star Ma’a Nonu has been linked to French club Toulon as the European champions ramp up recruitment ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.

Respected French newspaper Midi Olympique claims Toulon are close to finalising a two-year deal with the veteran New Zealand midfielder.

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Sonny Bill Williams will play NPC rugby for Counties Manukau next week, 12 days after his Roosters side was knocked out of the NRL finals series.

Sonny Bill Williams has put an end to all the speculation and will make his return to rugby for Counties Manukau next Wednesday.

The Counties Manukau Rugby Union have confirmed Williams will make his much anticipated Steelers’ debut – and return to rugby after a two-year stint for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL – against Auckland in a national provincial championship match in Pukekohe next Wednesday night.

The union will officially announce today that the 29-year-old will play in the Steelers’ final two matches of the season – against Auckland and Tasman – despite his contract with the NPC side only starting next year.

But unless injuries strike, Williams won’t make his comeback for the All Blacks until the end of year tour to the United States and Europe.

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South AfricaThe 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.

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Tyrone Holmes

Tyrone Holmes receiving his marching orders against the Dragons.

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.

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Kenya Sevens

Money troubles – the Kenya Sevens team

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.

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Seabelo Senatla

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.

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New ZealandMajor 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.

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Marnitz Boshoff

Marnitz Boshoff

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.

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Rory Kockott

Happy man: Rory Kockott

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.

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Currie CupEastern 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.

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Andrew Mehrtens

Andrew Mehrtens

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.

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Francois Louw

Six weeks out: Francois Louw

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.

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Lizo Gqoboka

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.

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Tom Taylor

CALLED UP: Tom Taylor gets another shot with the All Blacks after Aaron Cruden was left out of the team following a boozy incident.

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.

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Aaron Cruden

Aaron Cruden

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.

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Aaron Cruden

Aaron Cruden photographed with two bar staff at The Zookeeper’s Son on Saturday night.

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.

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Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper

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.

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Rory Kockott

Rory Kockott

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.

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Rugby World Cup 2015There’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.

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Bryan Habana

Bryan Habana

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.

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Premiership clubs

Premiership Clubs have been given dispensation by the IRB to start playing on 17 October next year, during the World Cup’s knockout stages.

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.

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Frans Steyn

In the wilderness – Frans Steyn.

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.

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Nick Cummins

Baabaa boy … Nick Cummins will play against the Wallabies.

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.

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Deon Stegmann

Deon Stegmann has received a 1 week ban for foul play.

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.

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Lwazi Mvovo

Lwazi Mvovo

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.

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Leigh Halfpenny

Leigh Halfpenny

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.”

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Jimmy Cowan

SOUTHERN MAN: He may be from Southland, but Jimmy Cowan will ply his trade from Auckland next year in Super Rugby.

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.

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Francois Louw

Francois Louw injury: massive loss for the Springboks

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.

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Mourad Boudjellal

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal

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.

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