The ORC Griquas maintained their slender 1 point lead in the ABSA Currie Cup qualifying race thanks to their 57 / 33 win over the Hino Valke in Kempton Park, Johannesburg on Saturday, while the Leopards stayed in the hunt by beating Boland Cavaliers 61 / 17 in Potchefstroom.
Heading into the final Round of matches next week, the Griquas and Leopards are the only teams in contention for the qualifying spot to the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division. Griquas are in front on 21 points, with the Leopards nipping at their heels on 20 points.
Down Touch Griffons put in a powerful 2nd half performance to beat the Border Bulldogs 43 / 20 despite trailing by 5 points at the break. The win lifted the Griffons from the basement to 4th on the log while SWD Eagles, who were not in action over the weekend, slipped to last place.
5 of South Africa’s major stars will join the Barbarians line-up for 2 high-profile games this November.
Flyhalf Pat Lambie, lock Victor Matfield, prop Tendai Mtawarira and centre Jean de Villiers from the current Springbok squad will be joined by veteran forward Bakkies Botha against Gloucester on 17 November and Argentina on 21 November.
The Barbarians, who celebrate their 125th anniversary this year, will name their coach later this month and add further major names to their squad for the games at Kingsholm and Twickenham in due course.
In total, the South Africa quintet will bring 416 caps of international experience to the group. Botha, Matfield and De Villiers were all World Cup winners in France in 2007.
The Steval Pumas were too strong for Western Province at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre, walking away with a 19 / 6 victory on Saturday.
The Pumas led by 19 / 3 at halftime thanks to 3 tries and 2 conversions but the hosts fought back strongly in the 2nd half to keep the visitors scoreless.
Currie Cup coach John Dobson was happy with certain aspects of the team’s performance in a match which saw Springbok captain Jean de Villiers start as he continues his comeback to top level rugby from a serious knee injury.
“Given the amount of time we had to prepare, compared to them, I am not disappointed with the performance. The only thing that’s disappointing is that it is Western Province and it’s this field with the occasion and we would have liked to have won the game.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls defeated the EP Kings 33 / 10 in their friendly rugby match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
After an early penalty by EP Kings fullback Scott van Breda, the Blue Bulls took the lead when No 8 Arno Botha barged over near the posts.
The visitors then struck twice in the final 4 minutes of the 1st half with tries by wing Travis Ismaiel and flyhalf Tian Schoeman, both converted by Schoeman, to lead 21 / 3 at halftime.
After the break, the Bulls scored further tries by centre Dries Swanepoel and flanker Roelof Smit from a lineout maul before EP crossed in the 69th minute when scrumhalf Enrico Acker scored their only try of the match.
Wallabies (7) 24 / 20 (13) Springboks (Final Score)
The Australian Wallabies and South Arfican Springboks did battle in The Rugby Championship at
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane at 12:05 SA Time (20:05 AEST, 22:05 NZ Time, 07:05 ARG Time, 10:05 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.
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It is Round 1 of the abbreviated Rugby Championship of 2015 (Only 1 Round of matches against each side in 2015 as opposed to a double Round of matches against all sides – home and away in non Rugby World Cup years).
There is 1 games on Friday 17 July and 1 game on Saturday 18 July.
The Action of the Round is kicked off in New Zealand, where the All Blacks take on Los Pumas of Argentinia in Christchurch and concludes with the match between the Australian Wallabies against the South African Springboks in Brisbane.
On Friday at AMI Stadium in Christchurch at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 04:35 ARG Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) referee Craig Joubert is in charge in the All Blacks vs Los Pumas game.
On Saturday at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, at 12:05 SA Time (20:05 AEST, 22:05 NZ Time, 07:05 ARG Time, 10:05 GMT) referee Nigel Owens of Wales is in charge of the Wallabies vs Springboks game.
The game between the All Blacks and Los Pumas should only produce 1 result and that is a comfortable win for the All Blacks. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has opted for a very experienced run-on side and replacement bench, whereas Argentinian coach Daniel Hourcade has included a number of inexperienced players in a very experimental Pumas side.
The game between the Wallabies and Springboks is extremely difficult to call but Rugby Championship and Tri-Nations history favours the Wallabies greatly at home in Australia against the Springboks. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has opted to haul back some big guns, 2 from overseas (Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell) and 2 recent Australian-based Wallabies who missed some of last year’s internationals (Will Genia & Quade Cooper) to bolster his match-day 23. Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has changed just 1 player from the run-on side which demolished the World XV side last weekend, namely Schalk Burger in place of Warren Whiteley at No 8 and has made 4 further changes on the bench.
One would have to flip a coin or be very bold to nominate a winner here, but I suppose the home side goes in with a slight advantage.
Schalk Burger is back in the Springboks’ starting line-up for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against the Australian Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Burger’s inclusion at No 8, after a great performance as replacement against the World XV last weekend in Cape Town, is 1 of 5 changes to the Springboks’ match-23 for this match.
The other 4 changes are on the bench, where props Heinke van der Merwe and Frans Malherbe, as well as Lood de Jager (lock) and Lwazi Mvovo (wing) have been included.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said the changes were all part of the plan to rotate players in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup.
“We’re expecting a massive contest for the ball on the ground on Saturday and with Schalk there next to Francois Louw and Marcell Coetzee, as well as Bismarck du Plessis, we’ve got a lot of players who are very good at the breakdowns,” he said.
“Warren Whiteley played very well last weekend, but he knows exactly where he stands and will play again for the Boks this season. For this match though, we decided to go with this specific loose trio.
“I’ve said last week that we will make changes, but it’s also important to keep some form of momentum. Saturday’s match is going to be massive in the context of our season and we have to ensure we tick the right boxes.
“It will be good to see what Heinke, Frans, Lood and Lwazi can do from the bench, while we’ve also opted to keep continuity in the starting team. There will most likely be changes for every match this season as we keep one eye on the World Cup.
Matt Giteau, Quade Cooper and Will Genia return to the Wallabies starting line-up for an epic encounter against the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
Giteau will earn his 93rd Test cap in the No 12 jersey following a 4-year absence from the Wallabies program.
Playing inside Giteau will be the Reds pairing of Will Genia and Quade Cooper, who return to the run-on team together for the 1st time since November 2013.
The returning trio make up 3 of the 4 total changes to the team which ran out against England at Twickenham in the final Test of the 2014 Spring Tour, with the other change being the return of Tevita Kuridrani at outside centre.
Head coach Michael Chieka said, “I could not have been happier with the 1st two weeks of preparation here in Queensland. These players know they represent a squad of over 50 players who will have some involvement within the Wallabies program at different stages of the year.
ORC Griquas and Leopards, the 2 front runners on the ABSA Currie Cup qualifying log, face crunch matches this coming Saturday which could potentially have a huge impact on their promotion ambitions to the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.
1st-Placed ORC Griquas (16 points) travel to the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, to face the Hino Valke. Leopards (2nd on 15 points) host 3rd-placed Boland Cavaliers in Potchefstroom. As things stand, it is currently a straight shoot-out between Griquas and Leopards for that vital promotional spot and with just 1 more Round remaining after Saturday’s Round of games, neither one can afford a slip up.
5 Of the 7 sides will play their penultimate fixtures of the qualifying campaign this weekend. Boland Cavaliers and SWD Eagles have both already played 5 matches to date while the rest of the sides have played 1 less encounter.
Boland complete their schedule on Saturday when they travel to Potch to take on the Leopards, while SWD have a bye.
Leopards moved to within a point of Griquas last weekend thanks to a hard-fought 24 / 20 win over a resilient Down Touch Griffons in Welkom.
While the Potch side are the favourites on their home ground against Boland, they know that nothing but a bonus-point win will keep them in the race. Boland will be no pushovers and last weekend they were deserved winners over the Hino Valke.
Griquas visit 2nd from bottom Hino Valke in Kempton Park and the Log leaders, who enjoyed a rest last weekend, should be favourites to add another win to their tally of 3 from 4 outings so far.
Down Touch Griffons are rooted at the bottom of the Log with 1 win from 4 and only 5 league points to show and they host the Border Bulldogs (4th) in the remaining Saturday fixture. Border showed good form during the early Rounds, however, 2 successive defeats have shattered their ambitious promotional hopes.
The 3 final fixtures take place next Saturday (25 July) and the winner of the qualifying Round will compete in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, which kicks off on 7 August.
Following their official affiliation into the SARU fold last year, the SA Deaf National Rugby team are set to play a historic 1st ever Test series against the current deaf World Champions, Wales during August.
Springbok winger Cornal Hendricks has signed a contract with Western Province Rugby and will be available for the DHL Stormers from the start of the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
The speedster, who originally made his name at international Sevens level, will return to his roots as a DHL Stormers player – having played his early provincial rugby for Boland, before becoming a full-time Sevens player in 2012 and then joining the Free State Cheetahs in 2014.
Hendricks, 27, made his Test debut in June of last year, whilst the 2013 Springbok Sevens Player of the Year was also a key member of the Commonwealth Games Gold medal-winning SA Sevens team in July 2014.
In all, he has played 11 Tests (as well as an additional match against the World XV) for the Springboks, scoring five tries – including a try on debut against Wales and a memorable solo score against the All Blacks in their hard-fought Rugby Championship tussle in Wellington in September 2014.
French-based loosehead prop JC Janse van Rensburg will join the DHL Stormers ahead of the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
The powerful former Lions captain is currently in his third season with French club, Bayonne, but he will bolster the DHL Stormers’ propping resources as of November 1 with Steven Kitshoff having decided to further his career in France.
Janse van Rensburg, 29, toured Europe with the Springboks in 2012 (without getting any game time), as well as making over 50 appearances for the Lions at Super Rugby level and winning well over 50 provincial caps for the Golden Lions
The Springbok selectors on Sunday finalised the squad of 31 players that will travel to Brisbane for the opening match of The Rugby Championship, next Saturday at the Suncorp Stadium against the Wallabies.
The touring squad consists of 22 players who did duty against the World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
The only member of the match-day squad to stay behind in South Africa is Jean de Villiers, who has been released to DHL Western Province to get game time in their ABSA Currie Cup warm-up matches in the next fortnight.
The players who did not feature against the World XV, but will travel to Brisbane, are Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Rudy Paige, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn, Schalk Brits, Lood de Jager, Frans Malherbe and Heinke van der Merwe.
The Springboks got their year off to a winning start on Saturday with 46 / 10 victory over a star-studded World XV at Newlands in Cape Town.
In ice-cold conditions, close to those expected at the World Cup later this year, the Springboks outscored their visitors by 7 tries to 1 – including 3 for fullback Willie le Roux – but Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will take the result with a pinch of salt, since most of the players in this World XV side have been on holiday for a month, and it showed.
There was some positive feedback in terms of the home team’s ability to create scoring opportunities, which bodes well for their chances in The Rugby Championship that kicks off next weekend, but they were never really given the defensive examination Meyer had hoped for, apart from a short period when they were force to defend with 13 men.
The Springboks’ inability to hold onto the ball for long periods was, however, a concern as they spent a disproportionate amount of the game in their own half.
The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Jean de Villiers, who made his long-awaited return from injury on the hour mark before providing the pass that put Le Roux over for his hat-trick.
Springboks (22) 46 / 10 (10) World XV (Final Score)
The South African Springboks and World XV did battle in an International match at
DHL Newlands, Cape Town at 17:00 SA Time (15:00 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.
The Leopards return to action this weekend against Down Touch Griffons in the ABSA Currie Cup Qualifier race with a mission to close the gap on current Log leaders, ORC Griquas, with a solid performance in Welkom.
The Leopards, who enjoyed a BYE last weekend, find themselves 6 points behind the Griquas, who smashed the Griffons 47 / 20 last Saturday in Kimberley. the Down Touch Griffons find themselves 2nd from bottom, however, they would have been encouraged by their competitive 1st half performance against Griquas.
With bonus points now paramount for them, the Leopards have very little choice but to chase a bonus try victory if they want to narrow the gap on the frontrunners. They might find this challenging, especially if the Griffons can apply the same determination they showed during a tightly contested 1st half agaist the Griquas in Kimberley.
Elsewhere on Saturday mid-table Boland Cavaliers are home to Hino Valke (5th placed) in Wellington. The home team will no doubt draw a lot of positives from their fine comeback last weekend to force a thrilling 28 / 28 draw against bottom-placed SWD Eagles. the Valke, meanwhile, scraped a surprise 1 point win over the in-form Border Bulldogs and they will fancy their chances against a Boland side who could win only 2 out of 4 so far.
The 2 teams have 8 points each but the Hino Valke have played 1 game less. This match will be televised live on SuperSport 1 and kick-off is at 15:00 SA Time (13:00 GMT).
In the only the Friday night fixture the SWD Eagles are home to 3rd-placed Border Bulldogs in George (kick-off 19:00 SA Time). The Bulldogs are still smarting from their surprise loss against the Valke in East London last weekend, a result which severely dented their slender hopes of challenging for 1st place.
The Eagles have leaked 120 points so far in the campaign, the same amount as Boland, and they will have to improve their defence if they want to stop the much-improved Border side.
Current Log leaders, the ORC Griquas, have a BYE this weekend.
Brumbies prop Jean-Pierre ‘JP’ Smith will return to Cape Town from Australia and will form part of Western Province’s Currie Cup squad.
Smith is capable of playing at both loosehead and tighthead prop and he will bolster the Western Province prop resources during their ABSA Currie Cup title defence in the absence of Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe, who are with the Springbok squad at present, and Vincent Koch, who is on loan to the DHL Stormers for Super Rugby only.
25-Year-old Smith is a former Paarl Gym scholar, who has represented Western Province at Under 19 and Under 21 level, as well as playing 5 senior matches for the Vodacom Cup team in 2010.
Western Province Director of Rugby Gert Smal commented: “JP’s ability to play on either side of the scrum is a big boost for us, as Currie Cup matchday squads are made up of just 22 (with just 1 prop on the bench).
Former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans was linked with the Stormers coaching job in 2007, and it happened again when the search for Allister Coetzee’s replacement commenced this year.
But Deans, who is in charge of Saturday’s World XV side that will take on the Springboks at Newlands, confirmed on Thursday that there had not been an official offer from the Cape Town-based franchise or any other South African franchises.
“Not South African ones, no,” said Deans.
“I had a brief conversation with Gert (Smal, Stormers Director of Rugby). I actually do a bit of work with some of the guys from down here like (current Western Province defence coach) Paul Treu. I take an interest in the game.
Flip van der Merwe is 1 South African who might have a point to prove when he takes to the field in a World XV jersey against the Springboks at Newlands on Saturday.
The towering lock is not in Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s preliminary Rugby World Cup squad, and the coach went on record in May announcing that Van der Merwe was unavailable for international rugby.
After that it was reported that a ‘contract dispute’ may be the reason behind the drama, but Van der Merwe revealed in Cape Town on Thursday that there had been communication issues surrounding his availability.
“I’m not selected, it’s as easy as that,” Van der Merwe, who has been named on the World XV bench for Saturday, said.
The Minister of Sport has appealed to corporate South Africa to throw their weight behind the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup campaign in a public message.
Mr Fikile Mbalula asked South Africa’s employers – large and small – to join their workforce in supporting the campaign to wear their Springbok jerseys on BokFridays – starting tomorrow.
“It’s that time of year again where we have to wear our green and gold to support our national pride; the Springboks,” he said.
“Corporate South Africa, black green or yellow, Rainbow Nation, unite behind the Springboks and show your support by wearing the green the gold like me; the Springboks No 1 supporter.”
The Minister’s appeal came on the eve of the Springboks’ 1st match of the season – against a World XV at DHL Newlands on Saturday – and marks the countdown in earnest to the Rugby World Cup kick off in England on 18 September.
Fans have been asked to share the gees by wearing their officially licensed Springbok jerseys on the 11 Fridays between tomorrow and the big kick off.
Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen said he is feeling positive after undergoing surgery on his neck in Durban on Wednesday.
Vermeulen, the South African Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, will take a few days off to recuperate before starting with his rehabilitation process.
“I’m feeling good and positive and can’t wait to start my rehabilitation,” said Vermeulen.
“All the staff at the hospital made things so easy for me and I would really like to thank them for their effort – I really was in great hands.”
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said the national side’s medical team will work tirelessly to get Vermeulen ready to be considered for Rugby World Cup selection.
“Duane is mentally very tough and he is a warrior who has always bled for his country and I’m expecting exactly the same attitude from him towards his rehabilitation,” said Meyer.
Bakkies Botha will captain the World XV against South Africa’s Springboks at DHL Newlands in Cape Town this Saturday.
The veteran lock leads an experienced side containing former Springboks JJ Engelbrecht (Blue Bulls) and Gurthrö Steenkamp (Toulouse) and with Flip van der Merwe (Blue Bulls) among the replacements.
Head Coach Robbie Deans described Botha, 35, as the “natural choice” to take charge as the invitation side prepare to test Heyneke Meyer’s men as they start their build-up to the Rugby World Cup.
“For a long time Bakkies has been a huge presence in the game here so it’ll be a real occasion when he leads the World XV out against his country,” said Deans.
“He’s really enjoyed this week, mixing with those he’s played against and he’s been a big contributor in helping the group come together. He was leading before he was appointed leader.”
Jean de Villiers will make an inspirational comeback to top-level rugby from the bench for the Springboks, almost 8 months after suffering a horrific knee injury, when they take on the World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
Victor Matfield will captain the Springboks, with Warren Whiteley making his 1st start in the Green and Gold at No 8, while 2 uncapped players, Jesse Kriel and Vincent Koch, have been included in the match-23.
If De Villiers makes an appearance it will be his 1st rugby since suffering a dislocated knee and ligament damage in the final match of 2014, against Wales in Cardiff.
De Villiers has gone through more than 7 months of rigorous rehabilitation and is now completing a remarkable recovery.
“Jean is a massive asset to South African rugby and it’s wonderful to know his return to play is progressing so well that we can give him some game time from the bench on Saturday,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“The mere fact that he is back in shape and ready to play is testament to his incredible work-ethic and his professional approach to the game. Jean has really put in hours and hours of extra work to get here and he is a great example for any player on how to put yourself in the best possible position to recover.
“We will still manage how he is used against the World XV and afterwards we’d like him to return to Western Province, where he will be available for their ABSA Currie Cup warm-ups.”
Meyer said the decision to hand the captaincy to Victor Matfield for the time being was not a difficult one. Ruan Pienaar has been given the Vice-captaincy.
Vodacom Bulls centre William Small-Smith will further his career at the Toyota Cheetahs from next season.
The 23-year-old will represent the Vodacom Blue Bulls in this year’s Currie Cup before heading for Bloemfontein in time for next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Small-Smith was schooled at Grey College in Bloemfontein where he represented Free State in the Craven Week.
After school, he represented teams like the Junior Springboks, Blitzbokke, UP-Tuks and the Vodacom Blue Bulls.
It is believed that Small-Smith wanted out at the Bulls and asked to join the Cheetahs.
Just a couple of days after being declared fully fit and available for the Springboks, Pat Lambie was back in hospital.
Fortunately for Lambie, the news this time around was nowhere near as serious as the neck injury that ruled him out of the remainder of Super Rugby in April.
Still, Lambie was taken straight to hospital from Cape Town Stadium after he picked up a knock to the head that left a cut.
Talented young Vodacom Bulls utility back Jessie Kriel looks set to be the 1st player to be given an opportunity to wear the problematic Springbok No 13 jersey at the start of the international season building up to the Rugby World Cup.
Kriel played most of his Super Rugby season at fullback, but he has played a lot of his rugby at outside centre.
The former SA under 20 star switched with regular captain Jean de Villiers in joining Stormers star Damian de Allende in the Bok shadow team’s midfield during the open training session at Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
De Villiers is unlikely to start the match as it will be his 1st appearance on the playing field since undergoing reconstructive knee surgery after being struck down by injury in the final Test of 2014 against Wales in Cardiff.
So Kriel, who did most of the training in that position on Monday, can be considered a near certainty to make his debut in the season pipe-opener.
Obviously Springbok assistant coach Johan van Graan was not in a position to divulge whether the team that trained was the team that will play when he was questioned by media following the training session, but he didn’t contain his excitement at what Kriel could bring to the position if he does play.
Bakkies Botha says that he is not waiting for a phone call from Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer as preparations for the Rugby World Cup in September continue.
Botha, who has just ended a 4-year stint in France with Toulon, says that he was aware of the speculation linking him with a surprise call-up to the Springbok World Cup squad but firmly denied his participation in the tournament.
On Tuesday last week, Meyer was quoted as saying on SuperSport’s Boots & All that Botha had popped into the Springboks training session and was “in good shape”. Meyer confirmed he’d asked Botha to “stay in shape” in case he was required for duty in England in September and October.
“Definitely not,” Botha, who is in Cape Town with the World XV preparing for Saturday’s clash against the Springboks, said however.
“There was speculation that I need to keep the door open for the World Cup. There were a lot of people who said that I have another World Cup in me and I truly believe I do have.
“But I think I called it a day because I know that my last game was when I came from the bench against England at Twickenham (the Springboks won 31 / 28 in November 2014) and I think that peace of mind, that inner peace in me, was the main reason I set a date to retire.
The Sharks have released 2 Media Releases today, with the 1st 1 bearing the news that Pieter-Steph du Toit is leaving the Union. The 2nd Media release focusses on Marcell Coetzee re-signing with the Sharks and also reveals the other candidates who have chosen to continue to ply their trade at the Sharks.
Pieter-Steph du Toit:
Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, today confirmed his departure from the Cell C Sharks at the end of his contract, which expires in October 2015.
Having made his debut for The Sharks in 2012, du Toit with his strong physicality and presence has become an influential player for the franchise with strong performances that earned him Springbok colours in 2013.
Commenting on his departure, The Sharks CEO John Smit said: “We are terribly disappointed to lose a player of the calibre of Pieter-Steph du Toit. Despite our best efforts to keep him in the province, he has chosen to move on.
Former SARU chief executive Edward Griffiths is being lined up as the new supremo at the Southern Kings as they prepare for their re-entry into Super Rugby next year.
Kings president, Cheeky Watson, confirmed that the union had discussions with Griffiths who earlier this year left his post as chief executive at Saracens after 7 years in charge.
“We have had discussions with Griffiths, but I cannot say more than that,” Watson said.
Last weekend Jaco Peyper was the referee for the Super Rugby Final, a brilliant match, brilliantly refereed.
This week Jaco is going from Wellington to Apia for the 1st ever match between Samoa and New Zealand in Samoa. The 1st match between the 2 countries was in Auckland in 1993.
There is great excitement for the match in Samoa.
This month international matches start to pick up as The Rugby Championship starts in SANZAR territories and countries have the Rugby World Cup in mind.
In Windhoek this week there is a match between Namibia and Russia as both countries look to September’s start to the World Cup.
Springbok No 8 and South Africa’s Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, Duane Vermeulen, is in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup after it was revealed that he has to undergo surgery on a neck injury, but national skipper Jean de Villiers has been cleared to return to the game this weekend.
De Villiers, who had a full knee reconstruction towards the end of 2014, is 1 of 6 injured players who were given the all clear from the Springbok medical team to be considered for selection against the World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday. The others are Pat Lambie, Cobus Reinach, Lionel Mapoe, Schalk Burger and Lood de Jager.
Although Jan Serfontein (hip and knee) is recovering well from his injury, he will not be considered for selection this week. Furthermore, Scarra Ntubeni and Faf de Klerk are over their ankle niggles from late last week and took full part in training on Monday, while Heinrich Brüssow (broken arm) has recovered well, but is still a week or 2 away from playing.
“Our medical team worked very hard on the injured players and it’s a great positive to see the guys return,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Monday.
New DHL Western Province Currie Cup coach John Dobson has confirmed that Juan de Jongh will captain the side in this season’s tournament.
Nizaam Carr would be the likely vice-captain.
Dobson was addressing media at the High Performance Centre in Bellville on Monday and he also confirmed the appointment of Paul Treu as the defence coach for the season.
Dobson said that he would look to implement an “attacking breakdown” philosophy this season.
“Out of the 5 worst breakdown teams in Super Rugby, 4 were South African,” said Dobson.
The ORC Griquas consolidated their position at the Top of the ABSA Currie Cup Qualifier log with a 7-try 47 / 20 win over the Down Touch Griffons at Griquas Park in Kimberley on Saturday. They now have a 6-point cushion over the Leopards (10 points), who had a BYE this weekend.
Griquas scored 6 tries in the 2ndnd half to easily overcome the visitors and increase their log points to 16 after 4 games in the race for promotion to the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.
In the 2 matches played on Friday night, the Hino Valke caused an upset when they scraped to a 13 / 12 win over the Border Bulldogs, down to 13 men at one stage, to hand the East London side their 1st defeat of the campaign.
At Outeniqua Park in George the Boland Cavaliers kicked a last minute penalty to force a 28 / 28 draw against SWD Eagles. Despite collecting 2 points, the Eagles remain anchored at the foot of the table and are winless after 4 games.
Springbok No 8 and South Africa’s Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, Duane Vermeulen, is in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup following a diagnosis that he will require surgery on a neck injury.
The 29-year-old Vermeulen, who was also the SARPA Players’ Player of the Year and the Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, consulted a specialist in Durban on the recommendation of the Springbok medical team.
The need for surgery was identified to give him the best possible chance to recover in time for the global rugby showpiece in England in September and October. The operation is scheduled for Wednesday.