Blue Bulls prop Hencus van Wyk is reportedly off to Japan later this year.
According japonrugby.net, Van Wyk has been signed by the Munakata Sanix Blues, who he will join ahead of the 2015 / 2016 season.
It is unsure whether Van Wyk will be allowed to return to play Super Rugby for the Bulls – as is the case with many South African players plying their trade in Japan.
Tighthead prop Maks van Dyk has completed his move to the EP Kings, where he hopes to make an impact in the Currie Cup and Super Rugby.
Van Dyk has been based at Griquas since last year, which saw him play Super Rugby for the Cheetahs in 2014 and 2015.
It’s been a notable rise for the former Junior Springbok front-rower, who was part of the South African squad that lifted the Under 20 World Championship trophy at Newlands in 2012.
From Durban (where he was based at the Sharks between 2011 and 2013) to Kimberley to Bloemfontein, the 23-year-old has a new home in Port Elizabeth, where he has signed a 2-year contract with the Kings.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has no plans to retire after this year’s Rugby World Cup.
De Villiers suffered a horrific knee injury in the Springboks’ final Test against Wales in Cardiff late last year and underwent intensive rehabilitation to recover in time for this year’s World Cup.
He appears to have made a remarkable recovery and on Wednesday confirmed that he would be able to return to the playing field in a month’s time.
The Bok skipper also said he had no intentions of calling it quits after the World Cup.
“I didn’t go through 10 months of rehabilitation just to play 10 more games,” De Villiers was quoted as saying.
Springbok Pierre Spies has revealed that he was regarded as surplus to requirements at the Bulls, which is why he is heading to France.
The South African revolution sweeping Montpellier continued with confirmation that experienced Bok No 8, Spies, will join the Top 14 club in February.
The 30-year-old Spies, capped 53 times by his country, becomes the 9th player from South Africa to have joined the southern French team, coached by Jake White, who led the rainbow nation to World Cup success in 2007.
Released by the Bulls, Spies will 1st travel to play in Japan before joining Montpellier.
DHL Stormers captain Duane Vermeulen met with Director of Rugby Gert Smal on Monday morning, to sort out the events that transpired in France last week.
Vermeulen visited French Top 14 club Toulon late last week and was unveiled to the local media as their new signing – a move which certainly caught Western Province Rugby by surprise.
DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee has revealed the DHL Stormers line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby Qualifier against the Brumbies at DHL Newlands (kick-off 17:05 SA Time), with Juan de Jongh assuming the leadership reins once again.
The Brumbies have named an unchanged line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby Qualifier against the DHL Stormers at DHL Newlands.
David Pocock has been named at flanker despite leaving the field with concussion concerns in the 37 / 24 loss to the Crusaders at GIO Stadium.
“He’s on track to play,” head coach Stephen Larkham said.
“But every day he’s got to tick a box, so he could fall back a day and miss the game.”
The match against the Stormers would be Pocock’s 1st ever Super Rugby Finals appearance. In 2013 in his 1st season with the Brumbies, Pocock missed the side’s run to the final following a season-ending knee injury.
Also under an injury cloud for the Brumbies is Matt Toomua who has been named as a replacement. Last week the 24-year-old played 28 minutes from the bench in just his 2nd game in 8 matches following 2 separate ankle injuries.
Highlanders head coach Jamie Joseph welcomes back Malakai Fekitoa and 2 key forwards and Saturday’s Qualifier against the Chiefs in Dunedin.
Co-captain Nasi Manu and the experienced Mark Reddish make a timely return from injury to bolster the Highlanders pack.
The versatile Dan Pryor, who has played in all 3 back-row positions this season, moves to openside flank to replace the injured John Hardie. In the front row, Daniel Lienert-Brown makes way for Brendon Edmonds.
Fekitoa, who has been under an injury cloud over the last few weeks, has been named to start at centre, re-uniting with the explosive back 3 of Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo and Patrick Osborne.
The game will be played in front of a capacity crowd under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium in what will be Dunedin’s first Super Rugby Finals Series match since 1999.
The Chiefs have announced their team to play the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday as the Super Rugby Finals Series gets underway at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Newly re-signed hooker Hika Elliot and flanker Sam Cane will return to the side, having been rested last week. The match will represent Elliot’s 100th Super Rugby cap after signing a 2-year extension to remain with the club earlier this week while Cane also committed to at least another 2 seasons.
Michael Fitzgerald moves to the blindside while captain Liam Messam takes over No 8 duties. Brad Weber starts at scrumhalf and Andrew Horrell gets the nod at flyhalf.
Cousins Tim Nanai-Williams and Sonny Bill Williams will pair up in the midfield with Charlie Ngatai out due to concussion. Damian McKenzie starts at fullback with Tom Marshall ruled out with a knee injury.
Kayne Hammington gets the opportunity to make his Super Rugby debut for the Chiefs off the bench with the 24-year-old scrumhalf being granted approval to play in the wake of a season-ending injury to starting scrumhalf, Augustine Pulu.
He is joined by new reserves Michael Leitch, Marty McKenzie and Seta Tamanivalu.
DHL Stormers flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis will be ready for their Super Rugby qualifier against the Brumbies at Newlands on Saturday.
Catrakilis suffered concussion in his side’s 19 / 19 home draw against the Emirates Lions on 6 June when he attempted to tackle loose forward Jaco Kriel.
The Stormers pivot was rested for last weekend’s 34 / 12 loss to the Cell C Sharks in Durban, with Kurt Coleman taking his place.
But Catrakilis is raring to go for this Saturday’s clash, coach Allister Coetzee confirmed.
“Dim is fine – he passed his test with flying colours, he’s cleared,” Coetzee told the Stormers’ official website.
The departure shortly from the Stormers of superstar No 8 Duane Vermeulen on a three-year deal to Toulon arguably confirms for the first time a grim reality: an overseas-based group of players would now make up the bulk of a full-strength Springbok team.
Vermeulen is the cherry on top, in many ways, of a fresh wave of once staunchly SA-based players quitting the domestic landscape either following this season’s Super Rugby competition – only the Stormers retain an interest in it – or later in the year after the Currie Cup and RWC 2015 have run their courses.
He is one of the most precious elements of the current Bok mix, and if you consider him foreign-based henceforth – along with several other seasoned internationals on their bikes imminently – then it is quite feasible to argue that the cream of coach Heyneke Meyer’s intended first-choice Test XV will suddenly be drawn from foreign climes.
Before, it was just a sprinkling, with men like France-based Bryan Habana, English-stationed Francois Louw and JP Pietersen from Japan bolstering a Bok side still made up very strongly of “home” elements.
But that trend is set for a pretty violent change.
World Cup winning coach Jake White has formally welcomed the Du Plessis brothers, Jannie and Bismarck, to his French club Montpellier.
The Top 14 outfit on Wednesday confirmed the signing of the Du Plessis brothers, Bismarck and Jannie, from the Cell C Sharks.
In a brief statement on the club website Montpellier said the 2 Du Plessis brother had signed for 3 years.
The 2, who won the World Cup with White as coach in 2007, will head to France after this year’s edition of the World Cup – in England in September and October.
White welcomed the signing of the Springbok duo.
Western Force flyhalf Zack Holmes has signed a 2-year deal with La Rochelle, the Top 14 club announced on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old Perth-born Holmes, an Australian Sevens international who previously played with Force’s Super Rugby rivals Brumbies, will replace South African playmaker Peter Grant who was released with a season to run on his contract for family reasons.
The Chiefs have re-signed Sam Cane, keeping the All Blacks flanker in Hamilton for at least the next 2 years.
The 23-year-old has been 1 of the stand-out players for the Chiefs this season and this was recognised when he won 3 trophies at the recent 2015 Chiefs Awards.
Cane, who has become a pivotal part of the Chiefs team, collected the Player of the Year voted for by the fans, the Chiefs Player of the Year voted for by the coaches and the Players Player of the Year.
Head coach Dave Rennie is rapt that Cane has committed for another couple of years.
“He’s an outstanding player but more importantly a quality young man, held in high regard by all. His work ethic, leadership and community mindedness continues to have a positive influence on our club.”
Reporoa-born Cane is a highly motivated loose forward who has 1 of the highest and most efficient tackle rates in this year’s Super Rugby competition.
But he says he has plenty of room for improvement.
DHL Stormers captain Duane Vermeulen has not improved significantly enough to feature in the 1st Round of Super Rugby playoffs.
The Stormers host the Brumbies at DHL Newlands on Saturday and the burly Springbok will not be considered.
Should the Stormers beat the Brumbies at Newlands, they would travel to Sydney to face the Waratahs in the semifinals.
Vermeulen, who has missed the Stormers’ last 2 games with a bulging neck disc that at one stage threatened his World Cup prospects, is making “good progress” on the road to recovery.
However, coach Allister Coetzee said that the improvement is “not enough” for this week.
“Hopefully, going forward, there is still an opportunity for him,” Coetzee told a media scrum at the team’s training base.
The Brumbies are following protocol regarding the concussion of flank David Pocock in the hopes that he will be available for their must-win game against the DHL Stormers on Saturday.
Pocock was taken out of the Crusaders game just before halftime on Saturday, after he copped a knock to the head from a Richie McCaw cleanout at the breakdown.
The Brumbies No 7 stayed down for several seconds, but played on for about 5 minutes before coming off.
DHL Stormers’ fullback Robert du Preez and Sharks centre André Esterhuizen have both been handed lengthy suspensions after performing dangerous tackles in their game on Saturday.
The Sharks won the match 34 / 12 in Durban.
Du Preez has been suspended for 6 weeks – after being shown a Yellow Card for his dangerous tackle on Sharks’ wing Lwazi Mvovo in the 76th minute, while Esterhuizen got 4 weeks after his tackle on Stormers flank Michael Rhodes in the 10th minute.
Both players were found guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (j): Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and / or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.
Judicial officer Nigel Hampton deemed that with Du Preez the offence was more serious and thus handing the player a longer suspension.
All Black centre Malakai Fekitoa heads the list of key players set to return for the Highlanders’ Super Rugby preliminary play-off match against the Chiefs in Dunedin on Saturday.
Fekitoa missed last Friday’s victory over the Blues because of an injured groin, but coach Jamie Joseph is positive that 1 of his star backs will be fit for the encounter with the 2-time champion Chiefs.
The team received further boosts as they started training for their 1st home play-off match in 16 years.
3 Key forwards – No 8 Nasi Manu (shoulder), as well as locks Mark Reddish (broken hand) and Joe Wheeler (knee) – could be back for this week’s encounter.
Flank John Hardie looks to be the biggest injury concern for the Highlanders as they get into play-off mode.
Hardie, who damaged rib cartilage in the early stages of the match against the Blues at the weekend, could be in doubt.
Chiefs scrumhalf Augustine Pulu has been ruled out of the Super Rugby’s Finals Series due to a broken arm.
Pulu, who represented the All Blacks in 2 Tests on their 2014 end-of-year tour, sustained the injury after coming on as a replacement in the Chiefs’ 21 / 13 defeat to the Hurricanes in New Plymouth on Saturday.
“Pulu underwent surgery earlier today to insert a plate,” the Chiefs revealed via a press release on Sunday.
“The expected return to play time is 8 to 10 weeks.”
French club Clermont Auvergne have signed All Black wing Hosea Gear on a 2-year deal from the Chiefs.
The 31-year-old Gear, who played 14 Tests and scored 6 tries for the All Blacks from 2008 – 2012, completes Clermont’s recruitment campaign for next season – following the arrivals of Springbok Flip van der Merwe, French international Scott Spedding, Waisake Naholo (Highlanders), David Strettle (England), Adrien Plante and Camille Gerondeau.
Gear is returning to France, where he already played 1 season for Toulouse in 2013 and 2014.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said that overseas-based players will not be part of his Rugby Championship training squad.
Cheika has named a group of 22 players not involved in next week’s Super Rugby finals, but will give foreign-based hopefuls some extra time off.
The Wallabies coach said he spoke to Europe-based stars Matt Giteau, George Smith and Drew Mitchell and they all indicated they were available for The Rugby Championship, starting on 18 July against South Africa in Brisbane.
“They’ll be considered for selection for the 1st game,” Cheika told reporters.
“They’ve just finished seasons over there – they don’t need to come back now.
Newly-promoted French Top 14 team, Agen, have signed South African centre Johann Sadie as they continue to build ahead of next season.
The 26-year-old arrives from Super Rugby side the Toyota Cheetahs and has signed a 2-year deal, the club confirmed.
Sadie started his career with Western Province before spells with the DHL Stormers, Vodacom Bulls and then the Toyota Cheetahs. In 2014, he started playing for the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in Japan but was allowed to return to Bloemfontein during the Super Rugby season.
The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd on Friday expressed their sincere gratitude and thanks to a number of stalwarts who will part ways with the Vodacom Bulls at the completion of the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.
Barend van Graan, CEO of the BBC, confirmed the departures of Pierre Spies, Jacques du Plessis, Flip van der Merwe, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Victor Matfield, Akona Ndungane and Francois Hougaard to French and Japanese clubs and retirement.
Spies (via Japan) and Du Plessis will join French club Montpellier, Van der Merwe moves to Clermont-Avergne and Potgieter to Lyon. Matfield will retire after the Rugby World Cup and Ndungane hangs up his boots this weekend as his contract was only extended for this year’s Super Rugby competition.
Hougaard leaves for Japan later this year and depending on a number of factors, will make a call on whether to return to Loftus Versfeld, at a later stage.
Nizaam Carr will lead the DHL Stormers into action for the 1st time, as the 2015 SA Conference winners face up to the Cell C Sharks in both teams’ final Vodacom Super Rugby league match of the season in Durban on Saturday.
Carr will line up at No 8 in a much-changed DHL Stormers team from last weekend, the new skipper the only surviving starting player from his team’s 19 / 19 draw against the Lions at DHL Newlands.
There are 3 DHL Stormers debutants in the matchday 23, with Robert du Preez starting at No 15 in his 1st taste of Super Rugby action and flanker Sikhumbuzo Notshe and hooker Michael Willemse making their 1st starts at this level.
Lock Jan de Klerk and scrumhalf Godlen Masimla will be looking to earn their 1st caps from the bench, whilst vice-captain Jaco Taute (inside centre – in his 50th overall Super Rugby appearance), Michael Rhodes (No 7) and Kobus van Wyk (on the bench) are back in the mix following their injury lay-offs.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made 4 changes to his starting team that will face the Toyota Cheetahs in a Vodacom Super Rugby clash at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The coach’s hand was forced through injury and the SARU rest agreement, which ruled all of Jan Serfontein, Handré Pollard, Deon Stegmann, Dean Greyling, Victor Matfield and Lappies Labuschagne out of contention for the final match of the tournament.
Matfield will be replaced by Grant Hattingh and Labuschagne by Arno Botha at flank, while Greyling’s place will be taken by Morné Mellett. Adriaan Strauss, who was rested last weekend against the Rebels, is back at hooker, with Callie Visagie moving to the bench.
Ludeke also called Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and Roelof Smit into the squad again to cover for Deon Stegmann and Hattingh.
The backline remain unchanged from last week.
Although it may not be the last time we see the likes of Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis at Growthpoint KINGS PARK, Saturday’s match against the Stormers may well be their last in the colours of the Cell C Sharks.
Whilst hinting that ‘you never know what might happen in the future’, Bismarck du Plessis has paid a tribute to the team where he has played all his professional rugby, and will, on Saturday, run out together with brother Jannie and their Sharks’ brother Beast Mtawarira in their final hurrah as one of world rugby’s most formidable front rows.
It will also be the last time to see ‘The Bone Collector’ – Willem Alberts – who will also feature in his last match for the Durban side.
Loathe to make this match about himself, Bismarck this week spoke of avoiding the limelight, explaining, “I don’t play for any accolades, I just play for my teammates and the respect I have for the guys who play with me.
“This is going to be a very sad day to be leaving The Sharks, I guess I never thought this day would arrive. I’m a Sharks boy through and through, I love the Sharks with all my heart.”
Springbok lock Victor Matfield may have 1 eye on the Rugby World Cup, but he has made it clear he wants to coach the Vodacom Bulls at some stage.
With coach Frans Ludeke’s job coming under the spotlight at a Board of Directors’ meeting on Friday, Matfield’s role in the Bulls setup will also be under the microscope after another disappointing season where the Bulls missed out on the playoffs of the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.
There was a proposal put to the Board before the Bulls went on tour that Ludeke become Director of Rugby and that Matfield and 1 other take over the coaching role for 2016, but results on the tour have put a lot of pressure, with calls for change coming from fans and ex-Bulls legends like Naas Botha.
Matfield already runs the attack for the Bulls, and has a dual player-coaching role for the team at the moment, and has been signed to take over as coach after the Rugby World Cup later this year.
But Friday’s meeting could change all that, especially with the unhappiness that on the tour the Bulls dropped from 2nd overall and topping the South African conference to 9th and 3rd in the SA conference. Their losing streak overseas stretches to 11 games now and it is the 2nd consecutive season they missed out on the playoffs. On top of this the last time they won any trophy was in 2010.
The Hurricanes will enter their derby against the Chiefs without the services of All Black flyhalf Beauden Barrett after the playmaker was ruled out with a calf strain.
Barrett’s absence sees James Marshall return to flyhalf after playing fullback in his team’s 56 / 20 victory over the Highlanders last week. Nehe Milner-Skudder moves from the wing to take Marshall’s place at the back.
Head coach Chris Boyd has also shuffled his forwards slightly, bringing Mark Abbott and Callum Gibbins into the starting line-up, along with Brad Shields who came off the bench last week.
Boyd has decided to let hardworking forwards James Broadhurst and Ardie Savea keep their jackets on a little while longer this week, with the pair having started 13 and 12 matches respectively, out of a possible 15.
Meanwhile, the clash will see another milestone for centre and captain Conrad Smith, who will join Ma’a Nonu as the most capped Hurricane when he leads his team onto Yarrow Stadium this weekend.
The Crusaders have re-signed a number of their current players who come off contract at the end of this season, including All Black Ryan Crotty and centre Robbie Fruean.
After prop Wyatt Crockett’s re-signing until the end of 2018 was announced earlier this week, Crotty signed up until the end of 2017. Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder said both players would play an important role in next year’s squad both on and off the field, as 2 of the senior members of the squad.
Dynamic centre Fruean will return in 2016, determined to show more of the flair that we saw in the few games he was able to play this season. Fruean had his season cut short by a fractured arm sustained in the 3rd Round, but made an impressive return from injury to assist his team to wins against the Hurricanes and Blues recently. Blackadder said he had made an immediate impact when he returned to play and he looks forward to seeing him inject more of that power and punch into the Crusaders backline next season.
Joining Crockett and already contracted Owen Franks at prop again next season will be Tim Perry. Perry has had a frustrating season on the sidelines after an injury sustained in the 2014 National Provincial Championship semifinal, however Blackadder said he is a quality player who is getting back to his best and he is sure that he will be ready to make an impact in 2016.
Codie Taylor, who has impressed at hooker this year, will also return in 2016. Blackadder said he had made strides in his setpiece skills this season and his attacking abilities give him an exciting edge.
The Chiefs have signed 23 year-old tighthead prop Nepo Laulala for the next 2 years.
At 1.84m and 116kg, the young prop’s ITM Cup and Super Rugby form caught the attention of the Chiefs, who swooped to nab him from the Crusaders.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said, “Nepo is a powerful and explosive tighthead who has made a big impression over the past couple of seasons. He’s a good man with high aspirations who we believe will make a positive contribution in our environment.”
Laulala attended Wesley College in South Auckland and was part of the school’s First XV side. He joined the Canterbury Academy and made his 1st appearance for their ITM Cup side in 2011.
Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper has signed a new contract with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and the Waratahs which will keep him at home until the end of the 2018 season.
The hard-running 23-year-old, who captained the Wallabies last season and has played 42 tests for his country, is a certainty to be in the Australia squad for this year’s World Cup.
“The opportunity to play for my country is something I am very passionate about, and is a huge reason why I wanted to commit beyond my current term,” he said in a news release.
“I am just stoked to be in this position. To be able to stay here in Australia allows me represent my country, state, club, and all of the people who have supported me since I began playing rugby.
Stormers and Western Province loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe has opted to extend his stay in Cape Town for a further 2 seasons.
The promising 22-year-old has signed a deal to stay at WP until the end of the 2017 season.
Notshe was a star for WP in the Vodacom Cup this year, while also impressing when he got opportunities for the Stormers in Super Rugby.
Flyhalf Dean Grant is the latest South African to secure a move to play club rugby in France, having been released from his contract at Griquas.
Dean’s main focus this year was on balancing his professional rugby career in Kimberley and completing his Honours in B.Com Investments at the University of Cape Town.
6 Months later, and Grant can celebrate his impressive qualification, and a new chapter in his rugby career.
After spending the past 2 seasons in Kimberley, the 26-year-old has secured a deal with French club Chambery, based in the south-eastern region of France.
Chambery play in Federale 1 (3rd Division), having nearly qualified for the Pro D2 during the 2014 / 2015 season.
“I want to thank Griquas for accommodating my career over the past 2 years by allowing me to balance my studies and my rugby commitments,” said Grant.
Nizaam Carr will captain the DHL Stormers in their Super Rugby clash in Durban on Saturday against the Cell C Sharks.
Kick-off is at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT).
It has been reliably learnt that the Springbok loose forward will lead a Stormers ‘B’ team in their final Super Rugby league fixture against the men from Durban before they tackle the playoffs the following weekend.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said he has looked at the situation and described his sides chances of ending up in 2nd position on the overall Super Rugby standings as “highly unlikely.”
A 2nd place finish would have secured a home semi-final spot for the Cape franchise – a week’s rest during the “quarter-finals”.
Coetzee will however use the game against the Sharks to bring back a few players who have been sidelined with injuries for a while. Players like Jaco Taute, Kobus van Wyk and Michael Rhodes will be in the starting line-up. It will also be a golden opportunity to test the depth of his squad.
“I am not even worried about the outcome of the games between the Waratahs and Reds as well as the Brumbies and Crusaders,” said Coetzee.
Lappies Labuschagne will be out of action for at least a month and will undergo surgery on his larynx on Thursday to repair damage to his vocal chords.
Labuschagne has been struggling since the Vodacom Bulls’ defeat against the Chiefs on tour, 3 weeks ago, but chose to continue playing to try and help the Bulls make the Super Rugby playoffs.
After that hope disappeared after their loss to the Melbourne Rebels last weekend, the Bulls flanker decided to follow medical advice and go under the knife.
According to team doctor Org Strauss, he will be out for at least a month as he recovers but should be ready to play in the ABSA Currie Cup series at the end of July.
The Bulls were further hit by bad news with the withdrawal of flanker Deon Stegmann with bruised ribs, ruling himself out of contention for the game this weekend against the Toyota Cheetahs and joining a number of stalwarts on the sidelines.
The Bulls will name their side on Thursday, but chances are it will be a relatively young and inexperienced team to face the Cheetahs, with coach Frans Ludeke resting several players.