Vodacom Blue Bulls prop Werner Kruger will on Saturday become the 1st player at the union to play 100 matches for both the Vodacom Bulls (Vodacom Super Rugby) and Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup). Kruger played his 100th match for theVodacom Bulls in April 2014 and will become an ABSA Currie Cup centurion for the Vodacom Blue Bulls when the side take on DHL Western Province this weekend.
Kruger made his Vodacom Blue Bulls debut in 2007 as a replacement against the Golden Lions and has since been one of the most consistent performers the Loftus Versfeld faithful have seen.
Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais named Kruger in the side which shows 3 changes to the one that beat the ORC Griquas a week ago. William Small-Smith and Deon Stegmann have been ruled out due to injury and will be replaced by Dries Swanepoel and Roelof Smit respectively.
Marais also decided to start with Bandise Maku at hooker, with Jaco Visagie swopping roles with the former Springbok and reverting to the bench.
Dan Kriel will move onto the bench in place of Swanepoel.
Luke Watson and Stefan Willemse have been withdrawn from the line-up due to leg injuries, for Friday night’s clash against the Steval Pumas at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Unfortunately the pair have not responded to treatment as quickly as the team management had hoped. They have been replaced so as to not risk losing them for the remainder of the Currie Cup campaign.
Cameron Lindsay replaces Stefan Willemse on the bench, while Thembelani Bholi has been moved to the starting line-up in place of Luke Watson, with Paul Schoeman taking his place on the bench.
Steven Sykes will captain the team.
Head coach Gary Gold has made changes to the Cell C Sharks side to take on the Xerox Golden Lions this Saturday at Growthpoint Kings Park, as he looks to overcome one of the form sides this year.
Unbeaten, with maximum Log points and riding a wave of confidence and continuity, the Golden Lions make a strong argument as possible title contenders, something not lost on Gold who warns that his charges will have it tough this weekend.
Paul Jordaan and André Esterhuizen form a youthful but exciting new centre partnership for this week’s match, while S’bura Sithole is welcomed back into the fray, slotting in on the wing.
The hugely experienced Michael Claassens gets his 1st start of the campaign, as does Francois Kleinhans, who comes in for the injured Jean Deysel.
Up front, Dale Chadwick returns from injury, replacing Juan Schoeman in the final change with Lourens Adriaanse, Khaya Majola and Kyle Cooper not considered due to injury.
Springbok utility back Frans Steyn is set to join Montpellier in the French Top 14 and reunite with his World Cup winning coach Jake White.
Steyn is one of many recruits from South Africa and Australia in a completely revamped Montpellier outfit under the guidance of coach White.
White, who had coaching roles at the Sharks and Brumbies as well as the South African national side, has confirmed 20 new signings for Montpellier – with a number of them from places where he used to ply his trade.
The 28-year-old Steyn is no foreigner to France having had a spell at Racing Metro from 2009 – 2012.
His versatility at flyhalf, centre and fullback should be particularly useful to Montpellier, given the many departures announced this off-season for the French club.
The French scene is notorious for big-money signings a look is taken into the major comings and goings in the Top 14 for the season ahead.
Coach Vern Cotter has rung the changes to the Scotland team to start against Italy on Saturday.
The Scots will head to Turin’s Stadio Olimpico for the 2nd of their 4 Rugby World Cup warm-up matches.
The match is the 1st of a double-header against the Italians, with the return leg at Murrayfield the following Saturday (29 August).
In all there are 11 new faces taking the field, with the 7 inbound forwards making up an almost entirely new pack, 4 new backs, and 3 starting debuts for John Hardie (back row), Rory Hughes (wing) and Stuart McInally (hooker).
The International Rugby Players Association announced the appointments of Jonathan Sexton and Richie McCaw their Presidents.
Sexton and McCaw are the inaugural Presidents for the North and South respectively.
As 2 of the most recognised and respected players from around the world, both are seen as ideally placed to oversee and represent the collective voice of their fellow players from around the globe.
Both players are passionate about making a difference on issues of international importance to the players and the game.
Sexton and McCaw will take an active part on various IRPA Player Advisory Groups and will use their expert opinion and stature to build on the collaborative relationship with World Rugby, the international Governing Body.
Rugby World Cup winning All Black flyhalf Stephen Donald is returning to New Zealand having signed a contract with Waikato for the NPC season.
Donald had been linked with a move to Toulon in France but is expected to be available for Waikato when they take on Bay of Plenty on 30 August in Tauranga.
It will be the 31-year-old’s 1st outing in New Zealand since he came off the bench to kick what turned out to be winning penalty in the All Blacks’ 8 / 7 win over France at the 2011 Rugby World Cup final at Eden Park.
Donald was famously called into the squad while fishing, after the All Blacks were hit by an injury crisis at flyhalf during the tournament.
Springbok loose forward Ryan Kankowski has been hit hard in the pocket, after he was ordered to pay R 322 500.00 to his former agent.
Kankowski was ordered to pay the amount to his previous management team, In Touch Sports, in an arbitration hearing that concluded on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old, capped 20 times for the Springboks, was also ordered to pay back interest on the amount from May 2010 until final settlement, plus legal fees.
The case was 1st heard in the High Court in Durban, but was later referred to arbitration by agreement between the parties.
The Steval Pumas have made 3 changes to the side that will face the EP Kings in their ABSA Currie Cup clash in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
Prop Corné Fourie will start his 1st match of the season for the Pumas, scrumming down at loosehead prop, with Khwezi Mona shifting to tighthead prop in place of De-Jay Terblanche.
Jason-Colin Fraser earns a starting berth at No 8 in place of Lambert Groenewald, while lock Rudi Matthee will feature in the run-on side for Giant Mtyanda, who shifts to the bench.
The Pumas will be looking to bounce back from their 44 / 27 defeat to the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg last weekend.
In the corresponding fixture in 2013 the Pumas suffered a narrow defeat to the Eastern Cape side.
Wing Sergeal Petersen is set to make his Toyota Free State Cheetahs Currie Cup debut for the showdown against ORC Griquas on Friday.
Petersen, who has now signed a full-time deal in Bloemfontein, has not featured yet for the Free State outfit in this years’ Currie Cup but will occupy the right wing position on Friday.
The 21-year-old has already made 5 Super Rugby appearnces for the Toyota Cheetahs and holds 3 Vodacom Cup caps for Free State, while he was on loan from the EP Kings.
Petersen’s inclusion sees Clayton Blommetjies move to fullback in place of the injured Adriaan Coertzen. Coertzen has been ruled out with an ankle injury.
The only other forced change to the starting line-up is Gerhard Olivier coming in at openside flank for the injured Boom Prinsloo (broken jaw).
Glasgow Warriors have signed winger Junior Bulumakau from the British Army on a 1 year contract.
The 24-year-old, who has been training with the Warriors for the last couple of months, played in the 28 / 10 defeat to Clermont in the pre-season fixture in France last Friday and scored a spectacular try from the halfway line.
Junior was born in Fiji and moved to Scotland at the age of 10 with his parents. He has served as an infantryman with The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland since February 2010, deploying on overseas training exercises to Kenya and Cyprus.
He has played for Heriot’s in the BT Premiership, while in May he scored a try for the British Army and was named man of the match in their 36 / 18 win over the Royal Navy in front of 80 000 supporters at Twickenham.
He becomes the 2nd winger to join the club ahead of the new campaign, along with Taqele Naiyaravoro from the Waratahs, while Scotland 7s wingers Mark Robertson and Nyle Godsmark are training with the squad.
Regular England captain Chris Robshaw was restored to the side for the World Cup hosts’ 2nd warm-up match.
England play France in Paris on Saturday.
The Harlequins flank was 1 of 14 changes made by coach Stuart Lancaster to his starting side – with only try-scoring wing Jonny May retained from the 15 that ran out to defeat France 19 / 14 at Twickenham last weekend.
Robshaw will form a back row alongside veteran James Haskell and Billy Vunipola.
It is the same loose forward trio which started the final match of last season’s Six Nations against France, with 12 of that 15 – which won 55 / 35 at Twickenham 5 months ago, a result that still wasn’t good enough for England to clinch the title – lining up in Paris.
There was no place in the matchday 23 for either former Rugby League star Sam Burgess or fellow centre Henry Slade, who both impressed on their Test debuts against France last weekend.
Instead Lancaster has reverted back to his tried and trusted centre partnership of Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph, leaving open the question of who will provide midfield cover in a Rugby World Cup squad that must be named by 31 August.
All Black prop Charlie Faumuina’s Rugby World Cup hopes suffered another setback after he was knocked out cold in training on Tuesday.
Faumuina was released to play for his NPC side Auckland after he was given the all clear to resume training returning from neck surgery.
Faumuina damaged his neck in the later stages of the Super Rugby series and had surgery in June in a late bid to be fit for the Rugby World Cup.
There were several options – 1 which gave him a shot at the World Cup or another which would take him out of rugby for 6 months and park his tournament ambitions alongside the injured Aaron Cruden and Patrick Tuipulotu.
Tonga President Epi Taione has named the Rugby World Cup squad which is filled with a mix of youth and experience.
Tonga line-up in Pool C alongside Georgia, Namibia, Argentina and current William Webb Ellis trophy holders New Zealand.
In a side which sees Pacific Nations Cup debutantes Telusa Veainu, Viliami Tahitu’a and Sosefo Ma’ake joining the campaign, there is also the addition of familiar names, including Gloucester duo David Halaifonua and Sione Kalamafoni, along with Samisoni Fisilau, Aleki Lutui, Paula Ngauomo, Will Helu, and Siale Piutau.
Tonga have named only 30 players in the squad with the 31st expected to be named at a later stage. The word on the street is that Rugby League star Andrew Fifita could cross-codes to fill that last spot.
The Xerox Golden Lions medical group have released a report ahead of the team’s match against the Cell C Sharks in Durban this Saturday.
There is just 1 new injury to report, following last weekend’s win over the Steval Pumas.
Centre Harold Vorster has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the match.
Head coach Johan Ackermann sees the injury as a big blow but believes Vorster will be able to make an impact upon his return to play during the 2016 season.
Vodacom Blue Bulls flanker Deon Stegmann will miss the next 4 weeks of the ABSA Currie Cup after he fractured his cheekbone against ORC Griquas on Friday. The flanker left the field in the 52nd minute of the match.
William Small-Smith, who left the field after a blow to the head, will have a fitness test on Thursday to determine if he will be available for the clash against DHL Western Province on Saturday.
Francois Hougaard, who injured a thumb ligament, will also be given time till Thursday to prove his fitness, team doctor Org Strauss confirmed.
Lock Jacques du Plessis, who has a back spasm, will be back on the training field on Tuesday.
Glen Fisiiahi is set to make a return to rugby and will be joining the Chiefs for the next 2 years, from Rugby League team, the Warriors.
The 24 year-old former Wesley College Sports Dux and Counties Manukau Under 18 rugby player, who had offers to stay in rugby league said, “I wanted a change and to switch back to union with the Chiefs.”
“I have really enjoyed the league environment but I have rekindled my interest in rugby and want to try a different environment. I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my sporting career and a fresh challenge.
DHL Western Province were dealt a cruel blow with the news that captain Juan de Jongh has been ruled out of action for 8 to 10 weeks.
De Jongh suffered a knee injury in the 49th minute of last Saturday’s 9 / 3 win over the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.
The Springbok centre – who captained WP to Currie Cup glory last season – suffered a Grade 2 Medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear, which could potentially see him only return in time for the Currie Cup play-offs in October.
A former Glasgow Warriors rugby player gave a 14-year-old schoolgirl his phone number after a row with his pregnant wife.
Peter Rossouw de Klerk approached the girl at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow, on 14 April, after a minor row with his pregnant wife. She has subsequently given birth.
At Glasgow Sheriff Court on Friday, South African de Klerk admitted committing a breach of the peace in relation to the incident.
He was originally charged with stalking the girl and denied this. The Crown accepted his guilty plea to the reduced charge. He left the club after the incident, citing “personal reasons” for his departure.
Fringe hooker Scarra Ntubeni has been released by the Springbok coaching staff.
Ntubeni, who did not travel with the team to Argentina on Wednesday this week, will be returning to DHL Western Province.
He was 1 of the members of the broader Springbok squad that stayed behind in Durban, while the matchday squad headed to Buenos Aires for the final match ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
The Pumas have made 7 changes to the team that humiliated the Springboks last weekend for a Test rematch in Buenos Aires Saturday.
Apart from the personnel alterations, coach Daniel Hourcade has made 2 positional switches as the Pumas seek to build on a stunning 37 / 25 win over the Springboks in Durban.
It was the 1st triumph for Argentina over South Africa after 19 failed attempts since the countries 1st met in 1993 in Buenos Aires.
And it was the 1st Rugby Championship away victory for the South Americans after 10 losses in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa over 4 seasons.
Out of the Durban starting backline go right wing Horacio Agulla, centres Marcelo Bosch, injured Jerónimo De la Fuente and scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli.
They are replaced by Santiago Cordero, Matias Moroni, Nicolas Sanchez and Martin Landajo for the match at the 50 000 capacity Estadio Jose Amalfitani in a western suburb of the Argentine capital.
Veteran Hernández, who was outstanding at flyhalf last weekend, retreats to inside centre to accommodate Sanchez in the pivotal role.
The Wallabies have recalled Quade Cooper and rested David Pocock – ditching their successful twin openside flank weapon.
This is amongst 6 changes made to the side to face the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday.
After beating New Zealand last week in Sydney, to claim the Rugby Championship, the Wallabies are now aiming to win the Bledisloe Cup for the 1st time in 13 years and end a 39-year losing streak at Eden Park.
But with 1 eye on the bigger prize of the Rugby World Cup, starting in England next month, coach Michael Cheika has put last week’s 27 / 19 victory behind him and made wholesale changes to test the depth of his squad.
Experienced trio James Hook, Mike Phillips and Richard Hibbard were among 8 players released from Wales’s World Cup training squad.
The announcement was made by Welsh coach Warren Gatland on Thursday.
Flyhalf Hook, capped 78 times, scrumhalf Phillips, who has made 94 international appearances, and 38-cap hooker Richard Hibbard failed to make the cut after Gatland trimmed his squad from 46 players to 38.
Jack Dixon, Rhys Patchell, Nicky Smith, Rory Thornton and Dan Baker are the other players who will return to their respective clubs and regions.
Victor Matfield will captain the Springboks against Los Pumas on Saturday, with Zane Kirchner, Lwazi Mvovo, Pat Lambie, Willem Alberts, Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss and Trevor Nyakane all getting their 1st starts of the season.
Jan Serfontein and Schalk Brits have also been included in the match-23 for the 1st time this season.
A total of 28 players will travel to South America on Wednesday to play the Pumas at the Vélez Sarsfield on Saturday evening (SA Time). The match-23 shows numerous changes from the side that lost to Argentina last weekend, many of them injury-enforced.
Kirchner takes over at fullback from the injured Willie le Roux, Jesse Kriel moves from wing to centre for Jean de Villiers, with Lwazi Mvovo getting his 3rd run of the season, in the No 14-jersey. Willem Alberts replaces the injured Marcell Coetzee in what will be his 1st Test in more than a year.
The World XV have named 5 Rugby World Cup winners in their starting line-up, alongside several more pushing hard for inclusion in this year’s tournament.
Andy Ellis, Andrew Hore, Ali Williams and Adam Thomson lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy for New Zealand in 2011, while captain Bakkies Botha was victorious with South Africa in 2007.
No 8 Pierre Spies is the other former Springbok to feature in the side to tackle Japan at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground in Tokyo on Saturday.
The above-mentioned players are joined by an Australian contingent who will be out to impress coach Michael Cheika as he finalises his squad ahead of next month’s global contest in England.
The likes of James O’Connor, Christian Lealiifano, Nick Cummins, Sean McMahon and uncapped wing Taqele Naiyaravoro are all involved against a Japan team ranked No 15 in the world under the guidance of Eddie Jones.
The Cell C Sharks will welcome the return of centre Paul Jordaan to their matchday-22 for Saturday’s clash with the Eastern Province Kings.
Jordaan, who is on the bench for the Currie Cup Round 2 encounter, has been plagued by injuries since his arrival at the Sharks but has shown glimpses of brilliance when he has strung some games together.
Jean Deysel is also back in the starting line-up after being sidelined with injury – replacing Jean-Luc Du Preez who copped a blow against the Pumas last week.
Elsewhere in the forwards, Juan Schoeman, having impressed off the bench last week, is handed a starting berth for the injured Lourens Adriaanse.
Brother of Jean-Luc, Daniel du Preez, replaces Khaya Majola at flank who is also out injured.
In the backline, Sibusiso Sithole is suffering from injury and is replaced on the wing by the experienced Odwa Ndungane who is himself back from a training ground knock.
Andre Esterhuizen shifts from right wing to left wing while the midfield partnership of Wandile Mjekevu and Heimar Williams remains the same.
All Blacks wing sensation Waisake Naholo declared himself back in the running for a Rugby World Cup berth after a rapid recovery from a broken leg using traditional Fijian medicine.
The miracle cure was attributed to “a gift from God”, the Fiji Times reported.
Naholo cracked a fibia during his All Blacks debut against Argentina last month, and after initial treatment in New Zealand, the Fiji-born flyer was told he would be sidelined for 3 months, putting him out of World Cup contention.
The 24-year-old then turned his back on Western medicine and contacted an uncle in Fiji who specialises in traditional medicine and was told to return to the Pacific island, the Times said.
“If you want to play in the World Cup, get on the plane and come here,” the uncle, Isei Naiova, said he told Naholo from his home in Nadroumai village, which is renowned among indigenous communities for the healing powers of certain families.
Los Pumas have retained the squad that stunned the Springboks at the weekend, except for injured centre Jerónimo De la Fuente.
They have also added 6 players for the Test rematch in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
A rib injury rules De la Fuente out of a game which offers the Pumas a chance to prove that a historic 37 / 25 Rugby Championship triumph in Durban 3 days ago was not a fluke.
It was the 1st Pumas victory in 20 Tests against the Springboks from South Africa and their 1st away win in the Southern Hemisphere championship after 10 losses since debuting 3 seasons ago.
Argentina took 26 players to South Africa last week and coach Daniel Hourcade has expanded the squad to 31 for the rematch with the Springboks at the 50 000-capacity Estadio Jose Amalfitani.
The 6 additions are fullback Santiago Cordero, centre Matias Moroni, flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez and loose forwards Javier Ortega Desio, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Facundo Isa.
All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams could miss Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup decider in Auckland after sustaining an injury against the Wallabies in Sydney.
New Zealand’s coach, Steve Hansen, said Williams injured his tailbone after a heavy fall midway into the 1st half of The Rugby Championship clash, which the Wallabies won by 27 / 19.
He is unlikely to train on Tuesday but has not been ruled out of the upcoming Test at Eden Park.
“He landed on his rear end… got a knock on the buttock and that’s tightened up so we’ll have to see how he goes,” explained Hansen.
Williams looked out of sorts for most of the match and his injury could explain his hesitation to take the ball in to contact against the Wallabies and he was eventually replaced by Malakai Fekitoa in the 55th minute.
Manu Samoa’s 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup features all 3 Pisi brothers – Tusiata, Ken and George as well as some other notable inclusions.
Leicester Tigers prop Logovii Mulipola is 1 of 11 English-based players to be selected, and there is a return for Hurricanes midfielder Rey Lee-Lo who, like the Pisis, were not part of the recent squad that finished 2nd to Fiji at the Pacific Nations Cup.
Mulipola has not appeared for his country for over a year while the last of Lee-Lo’s 2 caps came against England on the 2014 November tour.
The Pacific Nations Cup did present an opportunity for other players to put their hands up for selection, though. Locally based trio, prop Jake Grey, scrumhalf Vavao Afemai and goal-kicking flyhalf Patrick Faapale, all did enough in North America to warrant inclusion despite stiff competition from professional players.
Samoan coach Stephen Betham said that the tournament had been invaluable from a Rugby World Cup point of view, even if the title eluded them.
Former All Black winger Zac Guildford is likely to cancel his plans to play Super Rugby for the Waratahs next year.
Guildford, 26, signed a 1-year contract with the Waratahs outfit last week but last night said there was a chance he would exercise an out clause.
“I’ve had a rethink and I’ve decided it might be better to stay closer to home and family and friends.”
The Cell C Sharks are sweating over the availability of 3 players who were injured in their Currie Cup loss to the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit last Friday.
Props Lourens Adriaanse and Thomas du Toit and loose forward Jean-Luc du Preez sustained blows during the Sharks’ 33 / 24 defeat and could be sidelined for some time.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls coach, Nollis Marais, received good news on his playing squad preparing to face ORC Griquas in Pretoria on Friday. The team returned from Bloemfontein with no serious injury issues, with only a handful of players nursing slight niggles.
All of Dries Swanepoel (quad), Burger Odendaal (shoulder), Deon Stegmann (hip flexor) and Francois Hougaard (foot) will be back on the training field on Tuesday and will be considered for selection for the match against the Northern Cape team.
A number of players are also approaching their comeback date from injury. Justin Forwood trained on Monday and Neethling Fouche (ankle) will be back next week.
The EP Kings have suffered 2 new injuries after their hapless display against the Xerox Golden Lions in their Currie Cup opener on the weekend.
A burst of 4 converted tries in the 1st 16 minutes of the match set the Lions up for a decisive 51 / 14 win over the EP Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the opening weekend of the tournament.
2 Of the Kings’ cavalry have come away with fresh injuries after the defeat, the team doctor confirmed on Tuesday.
Prop Lizo Gqoboka has a pectoral muscle strain and his time on the sideline is still to be confirmed, while flank Paul Schoeman is setback with a knee injury which is under investigation this week.
Sam Burgess will make his England debut at centre when Stuart Lancaster’s side host France on Saturday.
The former Great Britain rugby league player is one of three debutants, with centre Henry Slade and flanker Calum Clark the other new faces in the 15.
Head coach Lancaster says Saturday’s match is the final chance for some of his players to impress before he selects his 31-man World Cup squad.
“The following week we’ll probably change a lot,” he said
Burgess, 26, started his union career in midfield for Bath before switching to the back row.
Former England scrumhalf Matt Dawson has questioned Burgess’s “game-management” at inside centre, but Lancaster described the former South Sydney player, who switched codes last October, as a ball carrier who could threaten the gain line.
“It’s an option for us to look at and it’ll be an interesting insight to see whether it goes well at the weekend or not,” he said.
“It’s about what’s right for the team. We’ll see if he can translate what he does in training and see how it goes.”