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SA Rugby

Vodacom CupThe 4 South Section teams in the Vodacom Cup quarter-finals will be out for revenge after none of them progressed past the last 8 in 2014.

Teams from the north have dominated proceedings in the Vodacom Cup, which kicked off in 1998.

Only 3 times out of 17 campaigns have non-Northern teams won the competition – that was in 2000 (Toyota Free State XV), 2011 (Pampas XV) and 2012 (DHL Western Province). GWK Griquas, runners-up in the South Section this year, played in the North Section previously.

The Vodacom Cup remained in the north for the other 14 years. The Xerox Golden Lions (1999, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2013) and GWK Griquas (1998, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2014) have won it 5 times each, the Vodacom Blue Bulls 3 times (2001, 2008, 2010) and the Hino Valke once (2006).

The defending champions will be the 1st team in action in the quarter-finals this year when the Steval Pumas travel to GWK Park in Kimberley on Friday evening to play GWK Griquas (kick-off at 19:00 SA Time).

Peter Engledow’s team from the Northern Cape lost only 1 of their pool matches this year, which gives them an impressive winning record of 15 out of their last 17 Vodacom Cup matches.

The Steval Pumas, coached by former Blitzbok speedster MJ Mentz, have been a strong contender in recent years – they were runners up in 2013, lost in the semi-final last year and won 5 of their 7 pool matches this year.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls host the Toyota Free State XV in the 2nd quarter-final at Loftus Versfeld on Friday evening (kick-off at 19:10 SA Time – live on Supersport 1). It’s a replay of last year’s quarter-final, won by the men from Pretoria by a single point.

The Nollis Marais-coached Vodacom Blue Bulls scored 40 tries in their 7 pool matches this season, which is the most by any team. Their opponents from Bloemfontein, coached by Rory Duncan, were the top try-scoring side in the South Section with 28.

Saturday’s 2 quarter-finals take place in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The SWD Eagles will have a massive mountain to climb when they travel to Emirates Airline Park to take on the top side from the North Section, the Xerox Golden Lions (kick-off at 14:10, live on Supersport 1).

The men from George, coached by former Springbok fullback Bevin Fortuin, have notched up a few impressive wins this season, but facing a mean-looking Xerox Golden Lions side at altitude is another proposition.

Russell Winter, coach of the Johannesburg-based side, would have faced Fortuin many times in his provincial career and will know it would be a massive mistake to underestimate the Eagles, but the Xerox Golden Lions would still be favourites to qualify for their 3rd successive semi-final.

The last quarter-final is at City Park in Athlone, where John Dobson’s South Section champions, DHL Western Province, will host the Leopards XV.

The men from Potchefstroom, coached by Chaka Willemse, needed a bonus-point victory in their final pool match to make it into the top 8, which they duly did in Windhoek last weekend, but a visit to the Cape is a different proposition.

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SpringboksJunior Springbok coach Dawie Theron has shuffled his match-23 for the 2nd international rugby friendly against Argentina Under 20 (Los Pumitas) this coming Saturday in Rosario. The match will kick-off at 14:00 ARG Time (19:00 SA Time).

The young South Africans won the 1st meeting between the 2 sides 25 / 22 on Tuesday in Santa Fe. Both teams are using the 2-match series as their final warm-up for the World Rugby Under 20 Championship which will be hosted by Italy in June.

Theron elected to retain only a number of players from the starting 15 which managed to edge Los Pumitas, while he opted also for 2 positional changes.

Tighthead prop Thomas du Toit, Jason Jenkins (lock), Leolin Zas (left wing), Daniel du Plessis (inside centre) and JT Jackson (outside centre) will all start in their 2nd tour match. N0 8 Dan du Preez and right wing Grant Hermanus will however run out in different positions.

Du Preez moves to flank while Hermanus will wear the No 15 jersey. Fullback Warrick Gelant and prop Frans van Wyk were not considered for selection because of shoulder injuries.

Hanro Liebenberg of the Vodacom Blue Bulls returns to the starting line-up at the back of the scrum and will also take over the captaincy from Rikus Bothma (DHL Western Province) who led the side in Santa Fe. Liebenberg sat out the 1st tour match as precaution for his troubled hand.

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Jano Vermaak

Jano Vermaak

Springbok scrumhalf Jano Vermaak has signed a 2-and-a-half-year deal with Western Province Rugby and will be available for selection from 1 July, once he has completed his current club commitments in France.

The 30-year-old will make the move back to South Africa from French giants, Toulouse; joining Nic Groom, Louis Schreuder and Godlen Masimla as the senior scrumhalf options for the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province.

The quicksilver Vermaak has won 3 Test caps for the Springboks, making his debut against Italy on 8 June 2013, before also featuring against the Wallabies and the All Blacks later that season.

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Vincent Koch

Vincent Koch

Star DHL Stormers prop Vincent Koch will not be available for Western Province in this year’s Currie Cup.

According to reports, Koch’s contract with the Pumas lasts until the end of 2016 and his home union has no intention of letting him go.

“He will play (Currie Cup rugby) for me in 2015 and 2016,” said Pumas president Hein Mentz.

“Our viewpoint is that we give players opportunities to improve. Therefore, we made Vincent available to the Stormers and Renaldo Bothma and Giant Mtyanda to the Sharks.

“Vincent was loaned to the Stormers because the Lions, our franchise partner, didn’t regard him as good enough.”

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Super RugbyIt is Round 14 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 2 games on Friday 15 May and 4 games on Saturday 16 May.

The DHL Stormers, Crusaders and Western Force have BYE weekends.

There are 2 lip-licking South African games against overseas teams on the weekend, between the Emirates Lions vs Brumbies in Johannesburg as well as between the Toyota Cheetahs vs Highlanders in Bloemfontein. The battling Cell C Sharks will play their 3rd match on tour against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday morning.

On Friday, the Blues hoost the Vodacom Bulls in Auckland at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) before the Reds host the Melbourne Rebels in Brisbane, at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

On Saturday morning the Hurricanes host the Chiefs in Wellington at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT), whereafter the Waratahs host the Cell C Sharks in Sydney at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

Over to South Africa and next up, at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, 03:05 NZ Time), the Emirates Lions host the Brumbies in Johannesburg, before the Toyota Cheetahs host the Highlanders in Bloemfontein at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Sunday 05:10 NZ time, 03:10 AEST).

The Blues vs Bulls match is a difficult one to call but considering the Blues form this season the Bulls should be favourites to take it on Friday, and the Reds vs Melbourne Rebels is also difficult to call but considering the Reds are hitting rock-bottom and digging, the Rebels should take this one away from home.

The game between the Hurricanes and Chiefs should be a cracker and one tends to lean towards the Hurricanes to take it at home. The Waratahs should take the game against the Cell C Sharks in Sydney.

Regarding the 2 games in South Africa, the Emirates Lions would have to play hell-for-leather to beat a very strong Brumbies side but they are supremely fit and motivated and this is a game to look forward to, it could go either way. In Bloemfontein the Highlanders should be too strong for the Toyota Cheetahs.

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Super RugbyThe Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks will be going all-out to change their recent fortunes in Australasia in this weekend’s Vodacom Super Rugby action.

Back home, the Emirates Lions and Toyota Cheetahs will be facing opposition from Down Under in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein respectively.

The Vodacom Bulls kick off their tour of New Zealand and Australia against the Blues in Auckland on Friday morning. The men from Pretoria have lost their last 7 matches Down Under, their last victory incidentally coming against the 3-time champions, the Blues, at Eden Park.

The Cell C Sharks will be looking to snap a 5-match losing streak when they take on the defending champion Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday, a daunting prospect when one considers the Durbanites have not won in New South Wales in 15 years.

On Saturday afternoon, the Emirates Lions host the Australian Conference leaders, the Brumbies, at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg. The last 2 encounters between these sides – in 2011 and 2012 – were won by the visiting team.

The final match of the weekend is Saturday evening at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein between the Toyota Cheetahs and the dangerous Highlanders. The men from Central South Africa will be looking for their 1st home win ever over the Otago-based side.

The DHL Stormers have a BYE this weekend.

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Elton Jantjies

Elton Jantjies

Back in the Emirates Lions starting line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby clash against the Brumbies at Emirates Airline Park, Elton Jantjies is enjoying one of his better seasons on South African soil.

The Johannesburg side are very much in playoff contention and Jantjies has become coach Johan Ackermann’s 1st choice pivot along the way.

A few rugby minds have now started wondering whether or not Jantjies has done enough to work his way into Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s World Cup plans. The smart money remains on the flyhalf slot going to either Handré Pollard or Patrick Lambie and while Jantjies has not ruled out any possibilities he chooses instead to let his performances do the talking.

“I can talk a big game but if my performances on the field don’t match up, there is no point in me saying that I want to go to the World Cup and be the 1st-choice flyhalf,” Jantjies said.

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Faf de Klerk

Faf de Klerk

Elton Jantjies

Elton Jantjies

Emirates Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has announced his team to face the Aquis Brumbies at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday afternoon.

Ackermann has made 2 changes to the forwards for the encounter, as Martin Muller will start at lock and Robert Kruger moves into the starting lineup at flank.

The backline sees 3 personnel changes with Faf de Klerk starting at scrumhalf, Elton Jantjies returning to the starting flyhalf berth and Lionel Mapoe, having fully recovered from injury, starting at right wing. As a result, Ruan Combrinck will shift to left wing for the match.

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Cell C SharksCell C Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold has retained the same team to play the Waratahs on Saturday morning, having made no changes to the side that took on the Hurricanes last weekend.

It was a rousing display of commitment and passion and everyone involved will be hoping they repeat that, sort out the areas of their own they have identified, and contain a very big and physical Waratahs team.

“There is a lot of pride at stake,” said Gold of this match. “We’ve been bitterly disappointed this year, for various reasons, and it’s important for us to show that we’re still in this fight to the end.”

Assessing the Waratahs strengths and threats, he immediately points to their physicality.

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André Watson

André Watson

Under-fire South African referees boss Andre Watson is set to hear his fate at a disciplinary hearing chaired by an independent arbitrator.

According to reports, the process is likely to be concluded on Wednesday.

Meetings were already held with Watson last month after complaints were laid against the former referee by members of the South African Rugby Referees Association (SARRA).

At the heart of the matter was the unhappiness of some SARRA members with Watson’s management over the 11 years that he has been in office.

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Tank Lanning

Tank Lanning

When flying to Joburg or Cape Town, do you buy a ticket or build a plane?

Simple answer if you fly once a month. Slightly more complex if you fly every day. And vastly more complex if you actually own an airline.

When needing to win a Super Rugby title, do you buy in Vincent Koch or develop Steven Kitshoff? The former developed by someone else and coming in at a cost. The latter developed by you, and now buggering off to make money off those skills in France?

WP come in for a lot of stick re losing players. Think Francois Hougaard, Handré Pollard, Willie le Roux, Thomas du Toit, Tim Swiel and Johann Sadie. Yet in their Academy and Institute, they have one of the best player development systems in the world!

One only has space for 23 players each week. Loyalty seems to be something you get only from a dog in today’s professional era. So is it really worth spending all that money on player development and retention? Why not just buy what you need at the time?

I’ll tell you why. Buying in players gives you the Sharks. Developing players gives you the Lions.

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Jonathan Kaplan

Jonathan Kaplan

Retired former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan has taken aim at officialdom he feels are sweeping under the carpet mistakes by under-performing match officials.

Writing in his weekly column on his website, RatetheRef, Kaplan was particularly scathing of Australian referee Angus Gardner, New Zealander Chris Pollock, along with TMO’s Ian Smith (Australia) and Aaron Paterson (New Zealand).

Despite describing Gardner as “one of the best so far this season, Kaplan did not hold back over his performance in the Rebels’ 42 / 22 win over the Blues in Melbourne last Friday.

He felt there was a “critical error” by Gardner at an “important juncture” in the game when he allowed a quick throw-in after the ball was handed to the thrower by the ball boy.

“The TMO (Smith) didn’t seem to be that interested in this misdemeanour either, and incredibly allowed the try even after a number of slomo replays,” Kaplan said.

“This cannot be good enough at this level! At any level.

“The public is being robbed of the contest.

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Gio Aplon

Gio Aplon

South Africa’s Gio Aplon and Australia’s George Smith are among the new additions to the Barbarians squad for this month’s matches against Ireland and England.

Smith, the Lyon flank, is one of 5 players from 5 different countries named as the famous invitation club continues its 125th anniversary celebrations.

Head coach Robbie Deans has also added Springbok Aplon (Grenoble), Tonga prop Soane Tonga’uiha (Oyonnax), Uruguay lock Rodrigo Capo Ortega (Castres) and Japan No 8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani (Panasonic Wild Knights) to his squad.

They join up with the likes of Joe Rokocoko, Adam Jones, Alex Cuthbert and Berrick Barnes for the matches against Ireland at Thomond Park on 28 May and an England XV at Twickenham on 31 May.

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Oregan Hoskins

Oregan Hoskins

Oregan Hoskins, President of the South African Rugby Union, has applauded the life bans handed down to 3 players of the Fort Beaufort Barbarians Club for physically assaulting a referee.

The trio – Edmund Gunn, Clayton Bantom and Hyron Burgess – were found guilty of assaulting referee Llewellyn Loots at a pre-season tournament in the Eastern Cape town of Bedford on 28 February.

They were sentenced by an Eastern Province Rugby Union disciplinary committee.

The Fort Beaufort Barbarians Club was also suspended from all rugby activities for the rest of the year by the committee.

They were found guilty of bringing the Eastern Province Rugby Union into disrepute by failing to ensure the safety of the match official and by not assisting the union in identifying other players believed to have been a party to the assault.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced the names of the Match Officials for for Round 14 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

3 Teams have BYE weekends, namely the Crusaders, Western Force and DHL Stormers.

There are 6 matches on the weekend, 2 on Friday 15 May and 4 on Saturday 16 May.

The action is kicked off in Auckland where the Blues host the Vodacom Bulls at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT), officiated by Mike Fraser. Also on Friday at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 09:40 GMT) the Reds host the Melbourne Rebels in Brisbane where the game will be controlled by Andrew Lees.

On Saturday first up it will be the Hurricanes vs Chiefs in Wellington, blown by Glen Jackson and the game starts at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT). The match is followed by the clash between the Waratahs and Cell C Sharks in Sydney at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 09:40 GMT), refereed by Rohan Hoffmann.

Later on Saturday in South Africa the Emirates Lions host the Brumbies in Johannesburg at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST) and the game will be handled by Jaco Peyper. The last game of the Round is in Bloemfontein at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Sunday 05:10 NZ Time) where the Toyota Cheetahs host the Highlanders and the game will be blown by Stuart Berry.

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SpringboksThe Junior Springboks were made to fight hard to overcome a courageous Argentina Under 20 rugby team by 25 / 22 in the 1st of 2 matches between the sides late on Tuesday in Santa Fe, Argentina.

Los Pumitas led 15 / 10 at halftime after they dominated possession and territory while playing with a strong wind in their favour in the 1st half. They scored 2 tries and a penalty to take a deserved lead, while the Junior Springboks answered with a converted try and a penalty to stay within distance despite their many unforced errors.

The young South Africans used their dominance in the scrums and set pieces to much better effect in the 2nd half, adding a penalty and an excellent try to edge out the hosts in front of a passionate crowd.

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Sarel Pretorius

Sarel Pretorius

Joe Pietersen

Joe Pietersen

The Toyota Cheetahs will be without 2 key players when they take on the Highlanders in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Star scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and utility back Joe Pietersen have both been ruled out through injury.

The teams shows several changes from that beat the South African conference leaders, the DHL Stormers, a fortnight ago.

Tian Meyer will be starting at scrumhalf in the place of Pretorius, who hasn’t recovered from his shoulder injury. Shaun Venter comes onto the bench as scrumhalf cover.

Francois Brummer moves up from the bench, replacing Pietersen – who is also sidelined with a shoulder injury. Coenie van Wyk comes onto the bench to fill the void left by Brummer’s promotion.

The only other change to the starting fifteen will see Danie Mienie replacing Caylib Oosthuizen at loosehead prop. Oosthuizen drops out of the matchday 23.

Springbok wing Raymond Rhule also returns from injury and gets a spot on the bench.

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Lappies Labuschagne

Lappies Labuschagne

Pierre Spies

Pierre Spies

Regular Vodacom Bulls captain Pierre Spies is back at the helm and at No 8 for the Vodacom Bulls team to face the Blues in Auckland on Friday.

Spies played as a replacement in the team’s last Vodacom Super Rugby clash, against the Emirates Lions at Loftus Versfeld, and will replace Arno Botha at the back of the scrum. Botha will move to the side of the scrum, with Jacques du Plessis moving to the bench.

In the only change in the backline, Rudy Paige comes back at scrumhalf in place of injured Piet van Zyl.

There are 4 changes on the bench. Dean Greyling comes in for Morné Mellett and a fit-again Werner Kruger will replace Andrew Beerwinkel. It will be Kruger’s 1st appearance since the opening Round of the tournament when he injured his ankle against the DHL Stormers in February. Amongst the backs, Jacques-Louis Potgieter is fit again following a hamstring strain and replaces Tian Schoeman and Travis Ismaiel comes in for Jurgen Visser.

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Seabelo SenatlaThere appears to be an outside chance that Springbok Sevens flyer Seabelo Senatla may feature for the DHL Stormers in the closing stages of Vodacom Super Rugby.

The Blitzbokke finish off their 2014 / 2015 campaign in London later this week and Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says that he will investigate the option of having the speedy winger available for the last games of the round robin phase.

Senatla will have to play a couple of games to be eligible for the Finals Series that starts late in June, with the Stormers in a 3-way fight at the moment with the Vodacom Bulls and Emirates Lions to get that far.

The product of Welkom was a revelation on the wing for Western Province in last year’s ABSA Currie Cup and with the Stormers struggling to score tries this season – they have just one 4-try bonus point from their 12 matches so far – it would make sense for Coetzee to look at Senatla.

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Willie Britz

Willie Britz

Toyota Cheetahs loose forward Willie Britz has confirmed that he will join the Shining Arcs in Japan after this year’s Super Rugby competition.

The good news for Cheetahs fans though is that Britz will only be unavailable during the Currie Cup, before returning to play Super Rugby next season.

He is contracted to the Cheetahs until the end of the 2016 season.

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Jacobie Adriaanse

Jacobie Adriaanse

Tighthead prop Jacobie Adriaanse is the latest South African set to join Jake White at French club Montpellier.

Adriaanse, 29, will be available for Montpellier from June after ending his stint with Welsh club, Llanelli Scarlets.

Adriaanse has represented the Scarlets 51 times since joining them in November 2012.

His contract with Montpellier is only until after the Rugby World Cup (October 31).

Adriaanse said that he could consider staying longer should things fall in place.

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Emirates LionsThe Golden Lions Rugby Union has secure the services of 4 key players beyond the current season.

The GLRU announced contract extension with star back Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck and Howard Mnisi, as well as forward Luvuyiso ‘MB’ Lusaseni.

The union also secured the services of a number of up and coming players – Malcolm Marx (hooker), Sevens Springbok Albertus ‘Kwagga’ Smith (flank), Jaco van der Walt (flyhalf), Lourens Erasmus (lock) and Bobby de Wee (lock / flank).

The GLRU, in a statement, said they are aiming to retain and develop top junior players by creating opportunities and an environment that promises growth both on and off the field.

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Pieter Rossouw

Pieter Rossouw

The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd on Monday confirmed reports that Vodacom Bulls assistant coach Pieter Rossouw’s contract terminates at the end of the current season.

Rossouw, who has served as assistant coach since 2008, will be pursuing business interests elsewhere.

Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said that Rossouw was of great value to the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls over many years, with a big number of players graduation to international stars under his tutelage.

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Super RugbySupporters in Johannesburg and Cape Town were made to worry 1st before smiling as the Emirates Lions and DHL Stormers put away their Australasian opponents in an exciting round of Vodacom Super Rugby action.

The Cell C Sharks, in their 2nd match of their tour Down Under, also showed a lot of character and played with vigour, but in the end it wasn’t enough against a fired-up Hurricanes side in Wellington.

The table-toppers from New Zealand beat the Durbanites by 32 / 24 on Saturday morning but with less than 10 minutes to go, the result was still in the balance.

On Saturday afternoon, both the Emirates Lions and DHL Stormers had to fight their way back into contention after listless 1st-half performances.

The Gautengers trialled by 20 / 3 at the break, but played sublime rugby in the 2nd half and in the end beat the Highlanders by 28 / 23 in a very exciting match.

The excitement levels were not as high in Cape Town, where the DHL Stormers overturned a 16 / 9 halftime deficit into a 25 / 24 victory over the Australian Conference leaders, the Brumbies.

The 1st penalty goal of the match by Demetri Catrakilis, who kicked 20 points for the DHL Stormers, saw him move to 28 consecutive successful kicks at goal this season.

However, Catrakilis missed the next one, which would’ve seen him improve the record to 29. As it stands, the DHL Stormers flyhalf now shares the record with former Capetonian pivot Peter Grant (this is since 2002).

The Vodacom Bulls and Toyota Cheetahs had byes this weekend.

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Rugby-TalkIt’s PUB NIGHT again…

The heading suggests we talk about the Final Conference Rounds of Super Rugby. The DHL Stormers and Vodacom Bulls are running neck in neck on the SA Conference, followed closely by the Emirates Lions… followed far up the rear by the Cell C Sharks and Toyota Cheetahs.

If you are a Stormers or Lions supporter, you should be happy with the past weekend’s results, if you are a Bulls supporter you will be on your knees every night praying for a Super, Super Rugby tour, starting with the Blues on Friday!

If you are a Sharks or Cheetahs supporter, the past weekend’s Mother’s Day celebreationswill have far more importance than the performance of their rugby sides… if one could call them that… hehehe.

The Stormers are back in the lead in the SA Conference, the Bulls on the same Log points but behind in games won… although they have a game in hand against the Stormers.

The Lions came back from way behind, to shut the Highlanders out on the weekend whereas the Stormers won by a measly 1 point against a niggly Brumbies side.. after Christian Lealiifano managed to duff a final conversion attempt from smack bang in front. The Bulls and Cheetahs rested some weary bodies, whereas the Sharks went done again on the weekend against the Hurricanes.

This next weekend, Super Rugby will continue, 2 games on Friday and 4 games on Saturday.

I guess this makes for a few good discussions!

It is time to straddle a bar stool and order a drink or 2.

Let’s focus on the PUB tonight…. the idea with PUB NIGHT is to lighten up our dull Tuesday evenings with music, comedy and fun.

Rugby takes a backseat tonight as the clan and fellow rugby nutters gather and wheel in their old friends…

Read the rules below carefully, or you WILL get burnt!

Just for clarity sake, when someone does not adhere to the Rules of the PUB, EVERYBODY jumps on them and pummels them, right… understood?

 

Here’s how it works:

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HSBC Sevens World SeriesIt is a tight race to see who takes the Series in Twickenham with Fiji leading the way, and the pools for the London leg have been confirmed.

After their Cup win at the 8th Round of the Series in Glasgow, Fiji are top seeds and head Pool A, while runners-up New Zealand, 3rd-placed England and the 4th semifinalist USA head the remaining pools.

The 2014 / 2015 season carries added significance because the top-ranked sides in the series qualify directly for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. Following their performances in Glasgow, South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand have all confirmed their place in Rio, with just the 4th and final spot still be decided.

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HSBC Sevens World SeriesThe Glasgow Sevens, the 2nd last leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series takes place this weekend in Glasgow, Scotland at Scotstoun.

The Tournament is held over 2 days, with Saturday 9 May the 1st Day and the tournament concluding on Sunday 10 May.

The 3 leading sides in the World Series are South Africa (129 Log Points), Fiji (125 Log Points) and New Zealand (120 Log Points). England follows some distance behind in 3rd spot on 100 Log Points, with Australia 9 points behind them on 91 Log Points and the rest of the field far up the rear.

The Top 4 Teams in the standings at the end of the 2015 HSBC Sevens World Series, which concludes next weekend in London, England, automatically qualify for spots at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, so for England and Australia there is all to play for in this tournament and next weekend.

For the Top 3 sides in the series, who have already made sure of Olympic qualification (bar the almost impossible preventing it in these 2 last tournaments) this weekend and the next is all about winning the HSBC World Series. South Africa are only 4 Points ahead of the Fijians, who have raised the bar and upped the ante substantially in the last few tournaments. New Zealand, who are last year’s champions are also within reach and will be desperate to beat Fiji and South Africa convincingly, in order to retain the crown.

The weekend’s action kicked off at 11:30 SA Time (10:30 BST, 09:30 GMT) and all the action was broadcast live on SuperSport 6, on TV in South Africa.

South Africa played Samoa at 12:58 SA Time (11:58 BST, 10:58 GMT), then they played Kenya at 16:04 SA Time (15:04 BST, 14:04 GMT) and their 3rd and last game of Day 1 was against New Zealand at 19:37 SA Time (18:37 BST, 17:37 GMT).

On Day 1 the traditionally big Sevens Nations of South Africa, New Zealand and Fiji all advanced to the quarters, joined by England, Canada, Scotland, Australia and the United States in the quarters.

Day 2’s action started at 12:30 SA Time (11:30 BST, 10:30 GMT) on Sunday and the action was broadcast on SuperSport 1 on TV in South Africa. The tournament concluded with the Cup Final which took place at 20:50 SA Time (19:50 BST, 18:50 GMT).

South Africa’s Blitzbokke lost their quarter-final game against Fiji by 0 / 15 and Fiji and New Zealand went on to contest the Cup Final.

Fiji managed to beat New Zealand in the Cup Final by 24 / 17, to take the Glasgow title.

Fiji has now moved to the Top of the 2015 HSBC Sevens World Series points table, 5 points above South Africa, who have moved down into 2nd spot. New Zealand have also crept closer to South Africa on the Log and only 8 points now seperate the Top 3 teams, going into the Final Round of the 2015 HSBC Sevens World Series next weekend in London, England.

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Naka Drotske

Naka Drotske

The Toyota Cheetahs todat announced that Naka Drotske has will step down as Toyota Cheetahs Super Rugby coach at the end of this Super Rugby Season in order to persue business interests.

In addition, scrum coach Os du Randt has indicated that he will also be leaving the Cheetahs to go overseas and to persue coaching career opportunities abroad after completing his stint in Super Rugby this year. The whereabouts of his overseas tenure has not been made known yet.

But that’s not all, folks, Hawies Fourie, the Toyota Cheetahs backline coach wil also return to GWK Griquas to take up the Head Coaching position at the end of Super Rugby.

Franco Smith, who was named the Toyota Free State Cheetahs Currie Cup coach for 2015 earlier this week, will take up the position as Super Rugby head coach at the Toyota Cheetahs in the place of Naka Drotske.

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