Stefan Watermeyer’s return to the Pumas team over the past 2 weeks has immediately made a positive impact to the team’s fortunes.
They put in a spirited performance against the Cell C Sharks in Durban a fortnight ago, and they managed to squeeze out a victory over the Eastern Province Kings over the weekend.
However, the inspirational captain might be out for this week’s clash against an in-form DHL Western Province at Newlands.
Watermeyer will be rested for the week with a grade 1 tear to his hamstring – he will have a final medical clearance done later this week.
Fullback Hoffmann Maritz will also wait for a medical clearance this week after he sustained a grade 1 tear of his anckle ligament.
The Brumbies have announced the signing of exciting young flanker Michael Wells to the club’s Extended Playing Squad (EPS).
A dynamic loose forward by trade, Wells was selected to the Australian Sevens Program for the 2014 / 2015 Sevens World Series. He has also represented Australian Schoolboys and Australia at the Under 20 level and played for Northern Suburbs in Sydney’s Shute Shield for the past 2 years.
The 22-year was 1st noticed by Super Rugby clubs while playing for the North Harbour Rays in the 2014 National Rugby Championship.
The St. Ignatius Riverview product can play in a number of backrow positions and will link with the Brumbies’ EPS for the 2016 Super Rugby season.
Brumbies Director of Rugby Dan McKellar says Wells will be a valuable addition to next season’s squad.
Hooker Tolu Latu has committed to the Waratahs until the end of 2018, signing a 3 year contract extension with the club this month.
Latu, who has played all of his 28 Super Rugby matches with the Waratahs, said he was pleased to be able to continue his career in his home state.
“I’m really happy to be able to stay here with the Waratahs, it’s an exciting time to be at the club,” he said.
“It will be great to play under Daryl as head coach, and I’m really looking forward to working with him and Cam Blades in the coming seasons.
The Waratahs have confirmed the signing of former All Black Zac Guildford for the 2016 Super Rugby season on a short-term contract for 10 months.
Guildford will commence his time with the Waratahs at the conclusion of the New Zealand ITM Cup tournament, where he is contracted to the Hawke’s Bay Magpies.
Head Coach Daryl Gibson said the signing of 26 year-old Guildford would provide an instant solution to the loss of a number of senior players at the conclusion of the 2015 season.
“There were a few reasons we opted to sign Zac, not having 3 of our starting outside backs in Ashley-Cooper, Naiyaravoro, and Betham was a big drain on experience in the backs,” Gibson said.
“We’ve got some excellent young emerging prospects in the squad, like Andrew Kellaway, Henry Clunies-Ross, and Harry Jones – all of whom will be quality players given time – but I felt like I needed a ready-made player who has been proven at Super Rugby level.
Gibson acknowledged that Guildford would face a challenging environment to earn the respect of his teammates at the Waratahs following a tumultuous few years in professional rugby.
The Reds have announced the signature of St.George Illawarra Dragons Fijian winger Eto Nabuli for 2 years.
The 27-year-old grew up playing the 15-man code in Sigatoka, Fiji, but has played Rugby League in Australia for the past 3 years – playing 13 games for the Dragons in 2015.
Nabuli is an imposing figure standing at 1.97m and weighing 108kg. He has experienced a rapid rise in his professional career. In 2013 he was named in the NSW Cup Team of the Year after scoring 29 tries in his 1st season.
In 2014 he made his international Rugby League debut for Fiji and starred for the Panthers in their 2014 NSW Cup Grand Final win over Newcastle. He then signed a 1-year contract with the Dragons to play in the NRL in 2015 – scoring 7 tries in 13 games.
Hooker Kevin Bryce has been drafted into the Scotland squad for the Rugby World Cup as a replacement for Stuart McInally, who has been ruled out through injury, confirmed today.
McInally marked his 1st and 2nd international appearances in Scotland’s back-to-back wins over Italy last month before being named in the 31-man squad.
However a MRI scan at Spire Murrayfield Hospital revealed the extent of a subsequent, ongoing neck complaint that necessitates a prolonged period of recovery beyond the competition.
As a result Glasgow Warriors hooker Kevin Bryce – another back-row convert who made his Scotland debut as a loose forward on last year’s summer tour – has been brought into the squad as his direct replacement.
A popular topic of debate heading into the Rugby World Cup is that of eligibility, particularly that resulting from the residency method. We take a look at the foreign-born players in each squad, where they were born and how they are eligible.
An interesting fact – only Argentina can claim that all 31 players in their squad are native to their country. The other 19 teams all have players born abroad, including significant numbers in some of rugby’s most powerful nations.
All told, Rugby World Cup 2015 will have a grand total of 33 countries involved in the tournament. Players born in various African countries – Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Zimbabwe join the participating Namibia and South Africa. Zimbabwe has players representing 4 countries, more than any other non-competitor.
Spain is another country not present at the Rugby World Cup who have players representing multiple countries while other countries include Belgium, Israel, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, and the Netherlands are also all represented.
Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa lead the way in terms of players representing others at the Rugby World Cup.
Eben Etzebeth remains the only worry for the Springboks as they head into their opening week of this year’s Rugby World Cup.
While the Springboks have been trying to downplay the extent of the big lock’s calf injury ahead of Saturday’s opening game against Japan in Brighton, Dr Craig Roberts confirmed that he is still on track to make a comeback against the Japanese squad, but that a decision would only be taken later in the week.
Etzebeth remains the only injury worry in the 31-man squad and has had injury problems before, but while the medical team has ruled this a grade 1 injury, and therefore not too serious, the question will remain as to how fit he is at the moment.
Dr Roberts believes he should be ready, but the question remains, if he cannot take part in training on Monday and Tuesday, whether he should be risked in the opening game?
A lot of that will come down to what coach Heyneke Meyer wants, especially after he indicated that there are 1 or 2 players “who need a little bit more work” and therefore might not play this coming week.
Italy captain Sergio Parisse has declared himself unfit for the opening Rugby World Cup clash against France at Twickenham next week.
The 31-year-old Argentine-born No 8, capped 112 times by Italy and their star player, has not fully recovered after undergoing surgery to drain a hematoma last Monday.
He picked up the injury, a swelling of clotted blood, in a muscle in his left leg in Italy’s World Cup warm-up defeat to Wales in Cardiff last weekend.
The Italian federation initially said Parisse would not meet up with the Italy team in Rome on Saturday, but would instead link up “at a later date” in England.
Italy coach Jacques Brunel played down Parisse’s absence, but admitted the experienced Stade Francais player, considered 1 of the world’s best in his position, would be missed.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and captain Jean de Villiers on Friday said they were emotionally overwhelmed by the wonderful farewell to the national team on Friday afternoon at Montecasino in Johannesburg.
Supporters packed the Piazza at Montecasino on a warm and sunny afternoon to bid farewell to the 31-man squad and management before they departed to England on Friday evening for the Rugby World Cup.
The Minister for Sport and Recreation South Africa, Mr Fikile A Mbalula, MP, closed the occasion by wishing the team well.
The Springboks spent an hour and a half with the public before they boarded the team bus for OR Tambo International Airport, where more fans arrived at to say good-bye. They are scheduled to land at Heathrow early on Saturday morning.
“We’ve not yet won anything, but we were treated like champions and it was really humbling to see this amazing support,” said Meyer.
Jan Serfontein will start at inside centre for the Vodacom Blue Bulls when they take on the Xerox Golden Lions in an ABSA Currie Cup match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Serfontein earns a 1st start in the competition and teams up with Dries Swanepoel in the midfield, swopping places with Burger Odendaal, who moves to the bench.
Prop Dean Greyling is also fit again following a knee strain and he slots back into the starting line-up, replacing Pierre Schoeman, who swings back into Under 21 action. It will be Greyling’s 50th appearance for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the ABSA Currie Cup competition.
Another player returning is Werner Kruger, who will play off the bench and replaces Dayan van der Westhuizen, with the young prop also moving back to the Vodacom Blue Bulls Under 21’s.
In the 3rd change to the squad that fronted up against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs last weekend, Deon Stegmann returns from a cheekbone injury in place of Jannes Kirsten.
Nic Groom will take over the captaincy for DHL Western Province from injured No 8 Nizaam Carr – against the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
DHL WP will be looking to dominate a ressurgent Sharks team in their own backyard.
There has also been a late change from the announced team, with Kurt Coleman dropping out due to a calf strain, replaced by Robert du Preez at flyhalf and with Demetri Catrakilis on the bench as flyhalf cover.
Sikhumbuzo Notshe returns from injury to start at No 8 in 1 of only 3 changes made to the starting line-up from last weekend’s confidence boosting 33 / 15 win over the ORC Griquas.
Carr has a hamstring injury and will not be fit to face the Sharks.
The other changes to the Province starting 15 sees Dillyn Leyds start on the right wing, in place of Kobus van Wyk – who drops down to the bench.
Exciting young talent Huw Jones will make his 1st start in the Currie Cup in place of Jaco Taute at inside centre.
The fit-again pairing of prop Oli Kebble and scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, come onto the bench this week – in the place of JP Smith and Godlen Masimla, respectively.
EP Kings Kings coach, Brent Janse van Rensburg, has called back a host of his stalwarts for friday’s match against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.
Experienced centre Tim Whitehead will lead the EP Kings as they chase their 1st ABSA Currie Cup win this season – at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, in Port Elizabeth.
Regular captain Luke Watson remains sidelined with a leg injury, however, lock Steven Sykes is back from a rib problem to lead the pack.
Van Rensburg has made several changes to the team which went down to the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg last weekend.
He said he believed they had the best combination to combat the Free State Cheetahs.
Whitehead is partnered by JP du Plessis in the centres and Ronnie Cooke is replaced at centre, due to a broken toe.
Sykes starts ahead of Cornell Hess, who is dropped to the bench.
All Blacks international Charles Piutau signed a 1-season contract with English Premiership club Wasps on Thursday after the being left out of his country’s squad for the Rugby World Cup.
Piutau will join Celtic League side Ulster next July, but they aren’t able to include him in their squad for this current campaign as their foreign allocation is full.
And when the 23-year-old missed out on a place in the All-Blacks’ final 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup, which gets underway next week, Piutau opted to play for Wasps in 2015 – 2016.
The Toyota Free State Cheetahs will have a new captain when they tackle the winless Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje, who failed to make the Springbok Rugby World Cup squad, will lead the Free State Cheetahs out in this Round 6 encounter at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Mohoje takes over form regular captain Francois Uys, who will play off the bench on Friday.
The Springbok loose forward (Mohoje) and Henco Venter will be switching places – with Mohoje included in the starting line-up, with Venter on the bench.
Other changes to the pack will see Reniel Hugo starting at lock ahead of Uys.
Jacques du Toit will start at hooker ahead of Elandre Hugget, who drops down to the replacement bench.
The only backline change will see Springbok Cornal Hendricks make his Currie Cup debut for the Free State Cheetahs, replacing fellow Springbok discard Raymond Rhule on left wing.
SARU President, Oregan Hoskins has hit back against attacks and critisism from factions and political party game play against the racial make-up of the Springbok rugby squad who will represent South Africa at the Rugby World Cup, which runs from 18 September to 31 October in England.
This follows a High Court Application, later abandoned, by the ANA (Agenda for… wait what are they called again… Agents for New Agenda party) as well as fierce critisism by Cosatu and former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers regarding the amount of players of colour in theSpringbok setup.
A lot of critisism can and has been levelled over the years against Oregan Hoskins and his “Bunch of merry misfits” at SARU for the way South African rugby is run and administered.
Here’s what Hoskins syas in his letter:
Springbok lock Victor Matfield will join the Northampton Saints on a 1-year deal at the end of this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Matfield, who at the age of 38 captained the Springboks earlier this year against Australia and Argentina, will join up with the British club for a swansong to end his career after the Springboks conclude their Rugby World Cup commitments.
He has been released from his coaching contract by mutual agreement by the Blue Bulls Company, after requesting a release earlier this week.
South Africa’s most capped Springbok and Rugby World Cup squad member, Matfield, is widely seen as possibly the greatest lock ever to play the game, and has been capped 123 times for the Springboks as he heads into his 4th Rugby World Cup.
Former Australian international prop Salesi Ma’afu could face jail after French prosecutors on Tuesday requested an 8-month prison sentence and a € 1 500.00 fine for an alleged assault.
The 32-year-old Toulon player, capped 14 times, is believed to have been involved in a heated argument over a parking place on 16 August and to have hit someone who attempted to intervene.
Ma’afu has not sparkled in pre-season friendlies since he joined the 3-time European champions from English side Northampton, and only came on for the last half hour of the opening day defeat to Racing-Metro.
With the entire Springbok squad expected to be fit before the start of the Rugby World Cup, team doctor Craig Roberts says the next challenge is to get the players match-fit.
Roberts gave an update on the injury situation in the Springbok camp with a bout of ‘flu keeping captain Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana sidelined.
“At this stage everyone will be available for that 1st game and it is our plan to have 31 fit players and up to the coach to select the 23 for that 1st game,” Roberts said in Johannesburg on Monday.
“It’s more illness at this stage than injury, but I am happy with our progress and we are still 2 weeks away from that 1st game and we are getting the guys into full-on training so I am happy.”
Eben Etzebeth had a light calf strain, but the towering lock is expected to be fit for selection for the Springboks’ opening Rugby World Cup match against Japan in Brighton on 19 September.
Long-term injury layoffs Duane Vermeulen, Fourie du Preez and Francois Louw all took part in sessions on Monday.
Eastern Province Kings fullback Hansie Graaff was suspended for 1 match, after being found guilty of striking an opponent in their Currie Cup Premier Division clash against the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg last Saturday.
As a result of the sanction he will miss the EP King’s next match against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Port Elizabeth on Friday evening.
Italy captain Sergio Parisse is in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup after undergoing surgery to drain a hematoma.
The charismatic No 8 returned to the National side last weekend in a warm-up match against Wales in Cardiff but sustained a knock to his left leg in the 19 / 23 defeat.
The surgery took place in Paris where the 31-year-old Argentine-born flank had a swelling of clotted blood drained.
Further details on his expected absence would be revealed following tests “in the coming days”.
Hooker Daniel du Plessis suffered a cardiac arrest on Saturday afternoon whilst playing for the DHL Western Province Under 21 team at DHL Newlands. However, on Monday Du Plessis began to show a steady improvement which is a very positive sign for a full recovery.
Daniel Mills du Plessis – who turned 20 on 24 February 2015 – collapsed on the field during Saturday’s ABSA Provincial Under 21 encounter between DHL WP and the Leopards and he stopped breathing. He was immediately attended to by the DHL Western Province Under 21 medical team and, together with paramedics from ER24, he was resuscitated on the field and further stabilised in the stadium medical room by the stadium specialists.
Once stable, Daniel was immediately transferred by ambulance to the ICU at Vincent Pallotti Hospital. He was put in an induced coma and ventilated on Saturday night. After a steady improvement and excellent specialist care, he has come off the ventilator and is now sitting up and talking.
He still has a recovery period ahead, and the cause of his heart arrest remains unknown, but his steady improvement is a very positive sign for a full recovery.
Warren Whiteley (calf) will not be available for selection for the game against the Blue Bulls on Saturday.
Julian Redelinghuys has a chest injury and will miss training on Monday and Tuesday. He will have to pass a late fitness test on Thursday to play at the weekend.
Martin Muller (ankle) may be available for selection if he passes a fitness test scheduled for Thursday.
Stokkies Hanekom (jaw) should be available for selection but no contact Monday and Tuesday.
Anthony Volmink is out with concussion.
Jaco van der Walt (chest) should be available for selection but no contact Monday and Tuesday.
Springboks Deon Stegmann and Dean Greyling are fit again and will be considered for the Vodacom Blue Bulls’ ABSA Currie Cup match against the Xerox Golden Lions on Saturday.
Stegmann (cheek) missed the last 3 and Greyling (knee) the last match of the team’s campaign.
Utility back and former Springbok Sevens player, Ryan Nell, has also been cleared following a knee operation and will be considered.
Another player returning from injury is Duncan Matthews. The winger had a knee operation earlier in the season and will do selective training this week.
4 Players involved in Saturday’s win over the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, Marvin Orie (chest), Travis Ismail (ribs) and RG Snyman (contusion) will train Tuesday, while Tian Snyman (calf) will only be back on the field Thursday, team doctor Org Strauss confirmed.
DHL Western Province have been boosted by the availability of prop Oli Kebble and flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe as they prepare to face the Cell C Sharks in a Currie Cup clash in Durban on Saturday.
Kebble (hamstring) was sidelined for WP’s last 2 matches, while Notshe (AC joint) missed last weekend’s 33 / 15 win over ORC Griquas at Newlands.
Both players were back at training on Monday will be available for selection this week.
Scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, who had been sidelined in recent weeks by a finger injury, is also back at training and may be considered.
Following their 37 / 21 Currie Cup defeat to the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg at the weekend, the EP Kings have reported new injury concerns.
- Lock Cameron Lindsay suffered a knee injury in the defeat and will see a specialist on Wednesday.
- Centre Ronnie Cooke picked up a toe injury and was sent for X-rays on Monday.
- JP du Plessis who replaced Cook, also suffered an injury. Du Plessis has a soft tissue knee injury and will be monitored during the week.
- Lock Steven Stykes – who missed last week’s clash due to a rib injury – will also be monitored during the week.
Players on the long-term injury list include flyhalf / centre Shane Gates (foot), flank Jacques Engelbrecht (hip), lock David Bulbring (shoulder), flyhalf Gary van Aswegen (knee), flank Aidon Davis (knee) and flyhalf / fullback George Whitehead (knee).
Following Saturday’s narrow win over Italy, Wales have now been hit by the news and reality that Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb are out of the Rugby Wolrd Cup, their injuries serious enough to keep them out of the tournament in total.
Leigh Halfpenny suffered torn right knee ligaments in a warm-up match against Italy at the weekend.
DHL Western Province look set to lose their 2nd captain this Currie Cup season.
Juan de Jongh is still a long term concern after the knee injury he picked up mid-August against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, and now Nizaam Carr faces a spell on the sidelines too.
The WP No 8 left the field towards the end of the 1st half in his side’s eventual 33 / 15 win over ORC Griquas at Newlands on Saturday, and coach John Dobson confirmed after the match that his skipper was doubt for next weekend’s trip to the Cell C Sharks.
“Very much so,” was his response when asked if Carr was now in doubt for the Sharks game.
South Africa’s Mahlatse ‘Chiliboy’ Ralepelle has been handed a 2-year ban for a doping offence, World Rugby, the sport’s global governing body, said on Sunday.
He will be free to play again on 10 April 2016, with his ban starting from the time of his provisional suspension last year.
Ralepelle, who won the last of his 22 Springbok caps in 2013, initially challenged his provisional suspension but gave up his right to appeal on Thursday.
When the 28-year-old hooker underwent an out-of-competition doping control on 19 March 2014, while recovering from surgery following a knee injury sustained playing for Toulouse against French rivals Biarritz in France in February of that year, the analysis of the sample returned a positive test for a metabolite of a banned anabolic steroid, drostanolone.
A DHL Western Province Under 21 player collapsed on the field of play after suffering a cardiac arrest during his team’s ABSA Provincial Under 21 match against the Leopards at DHL Newlands on Saturday.
Rapid response emergency procedures were immediately activated. This resulted in a successful resuscitation on field and the player was subsequently transferred to ICU for further investigations and medical care.
WP Rugby would like to thank the specialist medical team, as well as the ER24 on-duty crew, for their swift actions.
At this stage, the player cannot be named until his family has been informed in full about the incident. We further request that the media respect the player and his family’s privacy during these tough times.
Steval Pumas coach MJ Mentz wasted no time in drafting back his Springbok prop, Vincent Koch.
Koch, who will play at tighthead, is 1 of 3 changes to the starting 15 that will tackle the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Saturday in a Currie Cup Round 5 match.
Koch, who missed the Rugby World Cup cut will start in place of Khwezi Mona, who drops down to the replacement bench.
Jaco Bouwer and Marnus Schoeman are changing places, with Bouwer starting at flank and Schoeman on the bench.
The final change to the starting 15 sees Hoffmann Maritz getting his 1st start, at centre, after playing 2 matches off the bench. Jerome Pretorius drops down to the bench.
Italian general Sergio Parisse has returned to lead his troops into battle against Wales at Cardiff on Saturday.
Parisse, who was sidelined with flu for the past 3 matches, is back at the helm of the Azzurri and at the base of the scrum in the No 8 jersey.
Parisse is 1 of 7 changes to coach Jacques Brunel’s starting line-up with Edoardo Gori back from suspension to provide some experience at scrumhalf.
Other changes are Andrea Masi, Leonardo Sarto and Gonzalo Garcia who are all added to the backline.
Up front, Michele Rizzo starts at loosehead prop, while Quintin Geldenhuys comes in for Marco Fuser at lock.
Utility back Marcel Brache and front-rower Francois van Wyk will remain with the Western Force until at least the end of 2017 after signing extensions this week.
Brache played all but 1 match for the Western Australian club this year, having joined the Western Force from South Africa’s DHL Western Province for the 2014 season.
Having joined the Force with 41 Currie Cup caps to his name for Western Province and a Varsity Cup title with the University of Cape Town Ikey Tigers, the 28-year-old says he’s excited about continuing his rugby in Perth.
Yet another experienced Test star has pledged his commitment to Super Rugby with Juan Martin Hernandez returning home to join Argentina’s new team.
The 53-cap Pumas veteran has signed for 2 years, just a day after Juan Manuel Leguizamon also said he was returning to Buenos Aires.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, but I am convinced that I want to be part of what’s next for rugby in Argentina,” Hernandez said on Thursday.
“This is a new tournament to us and will serve us well as the team matures and grows in confidence. We find it extremely high intensity – more than The Rugby Championship – and will come in handy to see just how far you can go as an Argentine player.”
Beginning his professional career in France in 2003, Hernandez made 123 appearances for Stade Français before stints at Racing Métro and Toulon, where he signed at the beginning of 2015 before deciding to answer the call and return to Argentina.
The Eastern Province Kings will field a team against the Xerox Golden Lions at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
However, it does not resemble their 1st-choice 15 in any way.
It was confirmed late on Thursday that the Currie Cup Round 5 encounter in Johannesburg will go ahead, after several days of uncertainty – the result of EP Kings players going on strike over non-payment of salaries.
The South African Rugby Players Association (SARPA), when they arrived in Port Elizabeth on Thursday afternoon, were informed that the outstanding salaries had been paid.
However, the veil of secrecy remained over the entire saga, as nobody was prepared to comment.
EP Kings coach Brent Janse van Rensburg named a team that showed 10 changes from the side which lost to the Cell C Sharks last week, but he was “unavailable” to comment on the changes.