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Player Movements

Stephan Coetzee

Stephan Coetzee

Michael van der Spuy

Michael van der Spuy

Griquas have secured the services of two promising Western Province players for next season.

Centre Michael van der Spuy and hooker Stephan Coetzee – who both showed promise for WP this season – have signed with Griquas until the end of the 2015 season.

It will also be a boost for the men from Kimberley who recently lost the services of hooker Ryno Barnes (Free State) and centres Howards Mnisi (Lions) and Doppies la Grange (retirement).

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Siyabonga "Scarra" Ntubeni

Siyabonga “Scarra” Ntubeni

Western Province hooker Siyabonga “Scarra” Ntubeni has been called up to the South African touring squad in place of the injured Robbie Coetzee.

It will be Ntubeni’s second stint withy the natiobnal team, as he was a Springbok tourist in November last year – without getting a cap.

Ntubeni, who is currently in London with Province, will join the Bok squad in the English capital after their match against Saracens on Sunday.

Coetzee will return to South Africa in the coming days.

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EP KingsThe Eastern Province Kings have announced their pre-season training squad following their return to training after a lackluster 2014 Currie Cup campaign.

They have managed to retain a number of their current senior players, as well as seeing numerous younger players making the step-up from the junior competitions.

EP Rugby CEO, Charl Crous, said he was positive about the season ahead.

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WalesGeorge North is set to start at centre when Wales face Australia in the first of their November internationals at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

The dynamic Northampton wing was named at outside centre by Wales coach Warren Gatland on Tuesday after injuries deprived him of regular midfield backs Jonathan Davies and Scott Williams.

Now North will partner fellow British and Irish Lion Jamie Roberts in midfield, with his usual left wing berth taken by Scarlets’ Liam Williams.

However, North does have experience of playing in midfield, having started there when Wales beat France during last season’s Six Nations and he has also started there for English champions Northampton.

At scrum-half, Kiwi boss Gatland has chosen Rhys Webb ahead of 87-times capped Mike Phillips.

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Sam Cane

Sam Cane

New Zealand’s build-up to their Test encounter with England on Saturday has not gone as smoothly as they would have hoped.

Flank Sam Cane has become the latest injury concern in a camp already scrambling to cover some setbacks.

Cane took a heavy knock in a body on body collision at training on Tuesday and received assistance on what looked to be his back or shoulder.

Cane started in last Saturday’s 74-6 win over the United States, but is unlikely to feature in the match against England this weekend.

Wyatt Crockett and Jerome Kaino, who are recovering from shin and foot injuries respectively, both came through training unscathed.

The latest setback comes after both wing Cory Jane and hooker Nathan Harris were ruled out of the tour after being injured against the US Eagles.

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FranceHostility in France towards the number of foreign-born players lining up to play for Les Bleus is “deeply troubling”, French Federation President Pierre Camou said.

Bayonne’s 28-year-old South African-born fullback Scott Spedding became the latest foreigner to join up with the France squad ahead of their November international Tests, replacing the injured Brice Dulin.

Also in the 30-strong squad are already-capped flank Bernard Le Roux and scrumhalf Rory Kockott, both also born in South Africa, as well as New Zealand-born prop Uini Atonio.

Kockott’s inclusion in particular comes at the expense of veteran Morgan Parra and the promising Maxime Machenaud.

“I find it deeply troubling,” Camou said, with France due to play Fiji in Marseille on Saturday before going on to play Australia and Argentina.

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Semesa Rokoduguni

Semesa Rokoduguni

Uncapped Semesa Rokoduguni is among 23 players retained by England coach Stuart Lancaster to prepare for Saturday’s Test against New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium.

The Fijian-born tank soldier is one of four Bath backs included after sparkling Premiership form, with Anthony Watson also being included in a matchday squad for the first time – alongside Kyle Eastmond and George Ford.

In the forwards, uncapped Saracens lock George Kruis is included for the first time after Joe Launchbury was ruled out of the 2014 Internationals with a neck injury.

Front row duo Joe Marler and David Wilson have trained fully this week after minor injuries and take their slots to face the All Blacks.

Meanwhile the injury-hit England squad were faced with the prospect of having to re-jig their side once more ahead of their clash with the World Cup champions, New Zealand, after lock Dave Attwood left their training camp to attend the birth of his first child.

However, England hope to have Attwood back in time for their opening November international.

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BlitzbokkeThe Springbok Sevens’ preparation plans for the next two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series have received a boost with the news that Springbok centre JJ Engelbrecht and Junior Springbok fullback Cheslin Kolbe will join the training group from Monday in Stellenbosch.

Successful talks between SARU and several provincial unions have paved the way for a number of Absa Currie Cup players to be released for Springbok Sevens training duty.

Engelbrecht, a contracted Springbok with 12 Test caps, played for the Vodacom Blue Bulls during the recently concluded Absa Currie Cup while Kolbe starred for the DHL Western Province during their successful campaign.

Three more Vodacom Blue Bulls players, Jesse Kriel, Warrick Gelant and Duncan Matthews (all utility backs), will join the training on Monday.

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Jano Vermaak

Jano Vermaak

Ruan Pienaar has been ruled out of the year-end tour because of a knee ligament injury and he will be replaced by Jano Vermaak.

Pienaar picked up the injury in the Springboks’ Test against New Zealand in Wellington in September and has been out of action since then.

“Ruan was re-assessed on Tuesday following the on-field fitness tests from Monday, and unfortunately he has developed some swelling and puffiness around the knee, indicating that he is not yet ready to partake in full training and playing in a match,” said Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts.

“He needs a few more weeks of rehabilitation before he’ll be ready to return to play and hence we’ve taken the decision to rule him out of the tour.”

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Greig Laidlaw

Greig Laidlaw replaces injured Grant Gilchrist as Scotland captain

Experienced Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw will lead his country into this Saturday’s viagogo Autumn Test match against Argentina at BT Murrayfield (kick-off 5.30pm) it was announced today

The 31-times capped Borderer takes on the mantle from 24-year-old lock Grant Gilchrist, who was ruled out of the series after fracturing his forearm in Edinburgh Rugby’s European Challenge Cup win over Lyon, just four days after being accorded the honour.

Laidlaw, who skippered Edinburgh Rugby for the three seasons before departing for Gloucester in the summer, has led Scotland on seven occasions to date, two of which were in Vern Cotter’s first Tests as head coach in the recent summer tour – wins over USA and Canada.

Vern Cotter said: “Obviously we’re disappointed for Grant, who misses the opportunity to captain his country at home on this occasion, however congratulations must now go to Greig who takes on that responsibility for this Saturday’s game.  Greig offers us a bit of continuity, having captained the side on the summer tour. He’s been playing well for Gloucester and I think he deserves this selection.”

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Ruan Pienaar

Ruan Pienaar

Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

A bright sunshiny but chilly day greeted the Springboks when they arrived in Dublin on Sunday, where they kick off the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour against Ireland this weekend.

The South Africans left Johannesburg last night and travelled via London Heathrow to the Irish capital for their first visit to this part of the world in two years.

Eben Etzebeth stayed behind in South Africa and will join the squad on Tuesday following a family bereavement, while there will be more clarity on Ruan Pienaar’s fitness situation in the week.

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Stuart Lancaster

Stuart Lancaster

As England’s injuries continue to stack up ahead of Saturday’s game with world champions New Zealand, coach Stuart Lancaster says his side have been the victims of “bad luck” after the loss of several forwards.

With regular forwards Alex Corbisiero, Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole and Geoff Parling already out of this month’s Test matches, second row Joe Launchbury has become the latest to withdraw due to a neck problem.

Northampton backs Luther Burrell and Stephen Myler have also been ruled out of the Twickenham match against the All Blacks.

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Jonathan Sexton

Jonathan Sexton

Irish flyhalf Johnny Sexton looks set to make a full recovery in time to face the Springboks in Dublin on Saturday, after suffering a thigh injury in Racing Metro’s match against Oyonnax last weekend.

Sexton was forced from the field in the Top 14 game, with Metro’s coach Laurent Labit describing his injury as a ‘tweak’.

However, Ireland team manager Mick Kearney dismissed concerns and said the playmaker would be available on Saturday.

“It was intended that Johnny Sexton would only play a portion of the game for Racing on Saturday so he played 40 minutes and he came off,” said Kearney.

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Ryan Grant

Ryan Grant

Ryan Grant, the 18-times capped Glasgow Warriors prop, has been invited to train with Scotland for year-end Tests, as an injury replacement for Edinburgh’s Allan Dell.

Dell sustained a leg injury in last Friday’s Pro12 match against Leinster at the RDS in Dublin.

He was assessed at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin and returned the next day to Edinburgh with the rest of the team.

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Napolioni Nalaga

Napolioni Nalaga

Clermont wing Napolioni Nalaga will miss Fiji’s November Tests against France, Wales and the United States due to family reasons, Fiji coach John McKee told AFP.

The prolific 28-year-old has scored nine tries in 16 internationals for Fiji, but won’t be adding to that this month.

“He expressed that he didn’t want to be considered for this tour,” said McKee.

“That is his decision, he had some family things to attend to. I respect that.”

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Doppies la Grange

Gideon “Doppies” la Grange has brought the curtain down on his career after a short return stint in the Currie Cup for the Griquas.

The 32-year-old returned to South Africa via Kimberley after playing in Italy for Benetton Treviso in 2013 where he only made nine appearances.

La Grange states the reason for his retirement is that his body was sending him signals.

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AustraliaWallabies backrower Matt Hodgson will be given the honour of captaining Australia in Saturday’s opening match of the 2014 Spring Tour against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

New head coach Michael Cheika has given Hodgson the responsibility of leading a team which boasts 495 Test caps in the starting line-up, and which also includes four players who will wear the green and gold jersey for the first time in 2014.

The clash against the Barbarians is an uncapped international, although will see playmakers Quade Cooper and Will Genia, winger Henry Speight and backrower Sean McMahon receive their first opportunities for Australia this year.

An extended nine-man bench has also been named for the clash with one player to be omitted following Thursday afternoon’s training session in London.

Cheika said the team was looking forward to the opportunity on Saturday.

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Wilco Louw

Wilco Louw

DHL Western Province and the DHL Stormers will be losing an entire, highly rated, front row but they already have an exciting replacement trio lined up.

The three front row forwards that have brought down the curtain on their careers in the Western Cape are Pat Cilliers and Brok Harris, who are heading abroad, and Tiaan Liebenberg who has retired from the game.

However, whilst three warhorses depart Cape Town, the Stormers had already announced the signing of powerful Bulls hooker Bongi Mbonambi earlier this year, with highly-rated SA Under-20 tighthead prop Wilco Louw also making the move down to the Cape from Pretoria ahead of next year.

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BarbariansAlastair Kellock will lead the Barbarians against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

The former Scotland captain takes charge of a cosmopolitan squad, coached by Sir John Kirwan, for the Killik Cup match.

In the starting side are Australia wing Nick Cummins, who lines up against his former team-mates, with New Zealand’s Bledisloe Cup match winner Colin Slade at flyhalf.

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Super RugbyIn preparation for Super Rugby in 2015, all 5 New Zealand Super Rugby franchises have named their squads for the tournament.

In the meantime, South African franchises will ponder about their squads and in December we at Rugby-Talk.com will speculate what the South African franchises will look like, as final squads will only be known in January 2015.

The same happens every year, New Zealand and Australia get their ducks in a row before the December break, whereas the South Africans seem to focus on December holidays, going to the beach, having Christmas and generally geting fat and lazy.

When can we ever expect the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and the South African Super Rugby franchises to ever catch up to the more professional attitudes displayed primarily by New Zealand… but also closely followed by their Antipodion counterparts, Australia?

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EnglandEngland suffered another injury blow on Tuesday when head coach Stuart Lancaster confirmed centre Luther Burrell is unlikely to be fit for the upcoming test against New Zealand after sustaining a hand injury.

Northampton centre Burrell suffered an injury to his right hand during his side’s European Champions Cup victory over the Ospreys last weekend and will see a specialist ahead of New Zealand’s visit to Twickenham on November 8.

“I think it would be tight for New Zealand, if I’m being honest,” Lancaster told a news conference.

“He’s not been in camp this week at all. He’s seeing the specialist and it will probably unfold over the weekend.

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Tim Swiel

Tim Swiel

Cell C Sharks back, Tim Swiel will play for Harlequins Rugby Club in the UK on loan for four months. He joined the team on Saturday and will return to Durban at the end of February 2015.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Tim and I am certain that this experience at a top club will provide him with great memories and will bode well for him in the future”, said The Sharks CEO, John Smit.

Tim Swiel added: “I am looking forward to playing for Harlequins Rugby Club for a few months during the Cell C Sharks off-season.

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Julian Redelinghuys

Julian Redelinghuys

Robbie Coetzee

Robbie Coetzee

Jaco Kriel

Jaco Kriel

Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

Seabelo Senatla

Seabelo Senatla

Five newcomers and two returnees have been added to the bulk of the Springboks’ Castle Lager Rugby Championship squad as the national selectors opted for continuity and rewarding form in naming a 36-man squad for next month’s tour to the Northern Hemisphere.

Twenty-nine of the 36 players named for the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour were part of the Rugby Championship squad. They will be joined by the uncapped quintet of Robbie Coetzee, Julian Redelinghuys, Nizaam Carr, Jaco Kriel and Seabelo Senatla, while Coenie Oosthuizen and Johan Goosen have been recalled to the squad for the tour of four Tests.

“It’s wonderful to have this kind of continuity in selection, while the five uncapped players in the squad have all been rewarded for superb form throughout the season,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“Many of the selected players were at our training camp in Stellenbosch last week where we put in a lot of very hard work. We’ll have to hit the ground running when we assemble in Johannesburg on Wednesday before we depart on what will be a challenging tour.

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Sampie Mastriet

Sampie Mastriet

Lohan Jacobs

Lohan Jacobs

Marvin Orie

Marvin Orie

Rohan Janse van Rensburg

Rohan Janse van Rensburg

The Xerox Golden Lions have snapped up a quartet of Vodacom Blue Bulls players – including two SA under-20 stars and a Springbok Sevens player for the upcoming season as more discontent sets in in Pretoria.

Already the Bulls lost one of their rising stars, hooker Bongi Mbonambi, to Western Province earlier this year, while snapping up Boks Trevor Nyakane and Adriaan Strauss for the upcoming season as well as Toyota Cheetahs flanker Lappies Labuschagne.

But now the cross-Jukskei trek has seen the Bulls lose not only Springbok Sevens flyer Sampie Mastriet to the Lions, but also top young players Marvin Orie, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Lohan Jacobs.

The quartet have signed for the Lions after failing to find any meaningful game time at the Bulls as the bottleneck at the top continues.

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Tiaan LiebenbergWestern Province hooker Tiaan Liebenberg has been forced to retire after being plagued by back injuries for some time now.

The 32-year-old will be returning to Bloemfontein to join up with his family and to get involved with the business.

The hooker was a mere spectator during Western Province’s 19-16 Currie Cup victory over the Lions on Saturday and although the veteran has reached some lofty heights in rugby, he was still sad not to be a part of it.

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The Springboks concluded a week of intense training at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport on Friday as their preparations for the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour to Ireland, England, Italy and Wales stepped up a gear.

A total of 31 players took part in the training camp after prop Marcel van der Merwe withdrew due to injury.

Amongst the squad were four uncapped players in Lizo Gqoboka (prop), Bongi Mbonambi (hooker), Boela Abrahams (scrumhalf) and Rudy Paige (scrumhalf), who were invited to get a taste of what Springbok rugby is all about after impressive performances for their provinces in the Absa Currie Cup.

“We had a good week and the players really worked very hard on the field and in the gym,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“The emphasis was on conditioning and we also paid a lot of attention to detail on and off the field. It was great to have time to work on these things before we embark on what will be a very tough tour.

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Kurtley Beale

Kurtley Beale

Disgraced utility back Kurtley Beale has been fined, but will rejoin the Wallaby team at the weekend.

He will board a flight on Saturday to rejoin the Wallabies on their year-end European tour.

It followed his in-flight confrontation with former Wallabies business and logistics manager Di Patston and subsequent revelations that he sent lewd text messages to teammates about the former staffer.

A tribunal on Friday found Beale guilty of a serious violation of the Australian Rugby Union code of conduct, and handed down a AU$ 45 000 (about US$ 40 000) fine, for sending an offensive photograph to an ARU employee.

The charge related to an image Beale admitted to sending on 9 June.

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EnglandSaracens wing Chris Ashton has been dropped from Stuart Lancaster’s England squad for the End Of Year Tours (November Internationals).

Ashton has been replaced in the squad by Bath wing Semesa Rokoduguni, one of three uncapped players named in the 33-man squad on Wednesday.

England play against New Zealand ( 8November), South Africa (15 November), Samoa (22 November) and Australia (29 November).

Chris Robshaw will captain the side in the four-game series at Twickenham.

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Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

DHL Western Province’s injury concerns have improved ahead of their Currie Cup Final against the Xerox Golden Lions at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.

Eighthman Nizaam Carr, who cried off with a hip injury midway through the first half of the Semi-Final clash against the Vodacom Blue Bulls last Saturday was walking comfortably on Monday afternoon.

Centre / fullback Jaco Taute was running without discomfort after he was forced to miss the Semi-Final because of a rib injury and was tested in a contact session on Tuesday.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee said it was pleasing to read the team’s latest medical report because the wider training squad had been given a clean bill of health.

“Nemo (Carr) is feeling much better and is walking with ease,” Coetzee said.

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South AfricaSpringbok captain Jean de Villiers spoke about Monday afternoon’s start to the national training camp in Stellenbosch as the beginning of the build-up to next year’s World Cup, and if that was so, where it all began should end up being like chalk and cheese to where it will surely end.

Twickenham next November is what the Boks are aiming for, and it will doubtless be chilly and probably a little gloomy, as it so often is in London at that time of year.

On Monday though a burning sun beat down as the Cape spring continues to play more like a summer, with sweltering conditions adding to the discomfort levels even after 5pm as the players ended their session with a grueling crawling drill directed by conditioning coach Basil Carzis.

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Schalk Brits

Schalk Brits

Marcel van der Merwe

Marcel van der Merwe

The Springboks were dealt a double blow on Monday, when first Saracens hooker Schalk Brits and then Blue Bulls tighthead prop Marcel van der Merwe was ruled out of the End Of Year Tour (November Internationals) with a knee injury.

Van der Merwe was supposed to join up with the Bok training camp this week but hurt himself in the dying minutes of the Vodacom Blue Bulls loss in the ABSA Currie Cup semifinal against DHL Western Province on Saturday, and will miss the next four to six weeks of rugby with a medial knee ligament injury.

“He fell awkwardly in the last few minutes of the game,” Blue Bulls doctor Org Strauss said, “He has a grade 2 medial ligament tear, luckily not the same knee that has given him problems in the past, I expect him to be out for anywhere between four and six weeks.”

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Grant Hattingh

Grant Hattingh

Callie Visagie

Callie Visagie

The Vodacom Bulls are likely to lose the services of hooker Callie Visagie for the first few weeks of the 2015 season as he underwent shoulder surgery Tuesday in Pretoria.

With the 2014 season having come to an end, Visagie and lock Grant Hattingh are the two medical headaches for the Bulls. The surgery, in both cases is to rectify injuries that have plagued them the entire season.

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Barbarians RugbyThe Barbarians completed their squad with the addition of 11 more players including the South African duo of Juan de Jongh and Sarel Pretorius.

The Barbarians are set to take on the Wallabies at Twickenham on 1 November under the guidance of Blues coach John Kirwan.

Of the 11 new players added on Tuesday, the majority (5 of them) are from New Zealand with a further 3 Argentineans and a Scot to go along with the 2 South Africans.

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South AfricaFollowing the elimination of the Cell C Sharks and the Vodacom Blue Bulls from the ABSA Currie Cup and the conclusion of the First Division, 8 more players have been invited to the Springboks’ training camp in Stellenbosch.

The Springbok selectors have invited Lwazi Mvovo, Cobus Reinach, Lourens Adriaanse (all Cell C Sharks), Handré Pollard, Rudy Paige, Marcel van der Merwe, Bongi Mbonambi (all Vodacom Blue Bulls) and Boela Abrahams, who starred for the Down Touch Griffons in their ABSA Currie Cup First Division final victory on Friday, to join 20 nationally contracted players and 4 others as the team start their preparations for what will be an arduous Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.

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