Leopards coach Robert du Preez has been linked with a coaching role at the Cell C Sharks.
A newspaper report on Wednesday indicated that the former Springbok scrumhalf will coach the Cell C Sharks during next year’s Currie Cup competition, while also assisting Gary Gold during Super Rugby in 2016.
The report indicated that Du Preez, 52, will start his job in Durban on 1 November.
The Cell C Sharks did not respond when contacted about official confirmation on the matter.
Du Preez has now taken the Leopards to the ABSA Currie Cup First Division title, when they beat the SWD Eagles on Thursday evening (today).
Japan’s Super Rugby side for the 2016 tournament will be known as the Sunwolves!
- Japan’s new Super Rugby team formally revealed as the Sunwolves;
- Designed to represent bravery, strength and an ethos of teamwork;
- The Sunwolves to play historic 1st game against the Emirates Lions on Saturday afternoon 27 February in Tokyo;
- Singapore National Stadium to host matches between the Sunwolves and the Toyota Cheetahs (Round 3), Vodacom Bulls (Round 5) and DHL Stormers (Round 12);
- the Sunwolves Will feature in a conference alongside the Vodacom Bulls, Toyota Cheetahs and DHL Stormers
A new era of rugby has risen in Japan with confirmation that its new Super Rugby team will be known as the Sunwolves.
Today’s announcement by Yoshitaka Tashiro, Representative Director of the Japan Super Rugby Association (JRSA), is the product of an initiative that saw the JRSA engage fans from all over the world to help devise an identity for its new team.
The name is a hybrid comprising the blazing icon of the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ and a wolf which represents a pack hunting mentality and a dedicated team ethos of protecting one another.
The striking logo depicts the breaking of a new dawn for Japanese rugby and a fearsome representation of the team’s desired playing style as they seek to utilise speed, unity and a fearless spirit to face their challenges.
Vodacom Blue Bulls coach, Nollis Marais, will take over the role as head coach of the Vodacom Bulls at the start of the 2016 Super Rugby season.
The current ABSA Currie Cup, and former Vodacom Cup and Under 21 head coach will assume the Vodacom Bulls coaching reins.
“Nollis is a stern testament of a true Blue Bulls man, he has coached at every level within the union, from schoolboy level right up to his current position as Currie Cup head coach. I am more than satisfied that we have appointed the best coach to take over the reins of the Vodacom Bulls,” said Blue Bulls Rugby Union President, Gert Wessels.
“Nollis is more than familiar with our systems, and has built a respectable record and reputation over the past couple of seasons since he has been with the Blue Bulls Company. His knowledge, paired with his vision and innovation, will stand us in good stead for the future.”
Having guided the Vodacom Blue Bulls Under 21 side to 3 titles over the past 4 seasons, 2 Varsity Cup gold medals with UP-Tuks, and since taking over the reins as Vodacom Cup head coach in 2013, Marais has lead the team to the play off-stages in all 3 seasons.
The 43-year-old Marais made a brave and bold decision back in 2007 to quit his full time job as a senior logistics planner and pursue his passion to become a full time professional coach. This left him without an income and he had to take out a mortgage on his house to ensure he was able to fulfill his commitments.
The draw for the 2016 Super Rugby tournament, which will be an enlarged 18-team format, as well as the new trophy which goes with the format, has been released!
Here are some facts about it:
- Super Rugby to kick off on Friday 26 February with 3 of last season’s 4 semi-finalists meeting in an opening night extravaganza;
- The new Japanese team will play its historic 1st game against the Emirates Lions on Saturday afternoon 27 February in Tokyo;
- Fans won’t have to wait long for a re-match of last year’s epic Super Rugby Final with the Highlanders to host the Hurricanes in Round 2;
- Singapore National Stadium to host matches between the Japanese-based team and the Toyota Cheetahs (Round 3), Bulls (Round 5) and Stormers (Round 12);
- The South African Conference structure formally confirmed;
- Newly-designed chrome and gold plated Super Rugby trophy that captures the prestige, grandeur and resilience of 1 of the world’s toughest sporting titles and;
- Identity of the Argentinean and Japanese-based sides will be formally unveiled in the coming months.
Super Rugby is set for its most significant evolution yet with 4 new conferences, 3 new teams, 2 new countries and 1 new trophy.
The Brumbies have agreed to 2-year deals with 1 of Australia’s best young talents in flyhalf Nick Jooste and experienced campaigner Andrew Smith, who will return to the nation’s capital in 2016.
At the tender age of 18, Australian Schoolboy and Perth Spirit player, Jooste has already amassed quite the rugby CV, even though he is still a high school student. The Western Australian native has represented his state at Under 16, Under 18 and Under 20 levels and also represented the Western Force A side against Singapore.
He was recently selected in the Australian Schools Barbarians side that took on Samoa and New Zealand.
The young flyhalf has been a member of the Hale School’s last 3 Brother Redmond Cup winning seasons, as well as captaining the side in their most recent title. Over his 3 years in the Hale 1st 15 Jooste has tallied in excess of 450 points, scoring more than 25 tries.
In 2015 Jooste has joined the Perth Spirit in the National Rugby Championship and has turned heads with his kicking game, and vision around the field.
Xerox Golden Lions centre Alwyn Hollenbach has been forced to retire from rugby with immediate effect, due to an recurring shoulder injury.
The 30-year-old Hollenbach joined the Lions rugby family in 2009 and has since represented the union 37 times in the Currie Cup, 24 times in Super Rugby and 19 times in the Vodacom Cup.
The centre has been struggling with the same shoulder injury for quite some time and in 2014 it worsened during Super Rugby against the Brumbies. It is the same shoulder that he injured this year in the Currie Cup against the Pumas.
Decorated international rugby coach, Eddie Jones, will take over the role as head coach of the DHL Stormers at the start of the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
The former Wallabies head coach and 2007 World Cup-winning Springbok technical advisor will assume the DHL Stormers coaching reins from Allister Coetzee, who moved to Japan after the DHL Stormers’ SA Conference-winning 2015 Super Rugby campaign.
“Our Director of Rugby, Mr Gert Smal, always promised that he would deliver the best and in Eddie Jones I am more than satisfied that we have appointed the best coach to take over the reins of the DHL Stormers,” said WPRFU President, Mr Thelo Wakefield.
“Eddie is no stranger to South African Rugby and we look forward to making him feel welcome and ensuring that he brings more silverware to DHL Newlands.”
Having guided the Brumbies to Super Rugby success back in 2001, Jones coached the Wallabies between 2001 and 2005 – delivering Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup success, as well as taking them to the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final on home soil.
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.
Japan’s hopes of playing in the 2016 Super Rugby tournament still appear to be doomed but their exit could also force the Southern Kings out of the expanded tournament.
The Japanese Rugby Union formed the Japan Super Rugby Association (JSRA) to run the new Super Rugby team but the JSRA has struggled to sign players for the new team.
Their expectation was that the Japanese Top League teams would release players to the Super Rugby team but they don’t want to do that and instead they want the Top League to be considered at a higher level than Super Rugby.
SANZAR are believed to be so concerned about the situation in Japan that they have started discussing alternate tournament models for the 2016 season and possibly beyond.
Tournament organizers SANZAR gave Japan a deadline on 31 August last month to show a list of 20 contracted players but reports suggest that the standard of players is not at a level that will make the new Asian team competitive.
Reports in Australia say that SANZAR are now considering taking the Super Rugby licence away from Japan indefinitely.
The writing appeared to be on the wall early last month when Japan coach Eddie Jones announced that he would not be re-signing with the national side and he would not be available as the new Japanese team’s Director of Rugby.
While the Japan team’s inclusion seems unlikely it is understood that the 6th South African side, the Southern Kings are also struggling to sign a full squad and in recent months there have been financial problems and player strikes due to wages not being paid.
The Vodacom Bulls’ search for a replacement for Super Rugby coach Frans Ludeke will start in earnest when the union advertise for the vacant position over the weekend.
Bulls chief executive Barend van Graan announced the latest development after Ludeke stepped down following the team’s final match of the competition in June.
“We will advertise for the Vodacom Bulls coach position for next year and it will be in the media over the weekend,” Van Graan said in Pretoria on Thursday.
“We will then have a process which takes time depending on the amount of applications we receive.”
Van Graan would not reveal whether the Bulls had done any headhunting prior to advertising the position.
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 Reds have announced the appointment of experienced senior coach Matt O’Connor as the team’s attack coach on a 3-year deal.
O’Connor will join Head Coach Richard Graham (defence) and Senior Assistant Coach Nick Stiles (forwards) ahead of the Reds’ pre-season later this year. The appointment completes the team’s coaching staff structure for 2016.
O’Connor brings almost 20 years of experience to the role. Most recently, he worked as head coach of Leicester in the English Premiership (2009 – 2013) and Leinster in the European Pro 12 (2014 – 2015), achieving success with both teams.
Herbert said O’Connor was a strong addition to the Reds’ coaching team.
Juan Manuel Leguizamon is set to return to his homeland to represent Argentina’s new Super Rugby franchise after a decade in Europe.
The veteran, who has represented London Irish, Stade Francais and Lyon, signed his contract on Tuesday in the presence of UAR President, Carlos Araujo and Secretary of the Union, Fernando Rizzi.
“This is another important day for Argentine rugby,” Araujo said.
“Juan Manuel has been a strength of the Pumas and 1 of the pillars of a process that has been underway for years and that will peak in 2016 with the inclusion of Argentina in the Super Rugby competition.
The Waratahs have confirmed the re-signing of Assistant Coach Nathan Grey, finalising the coaching structure ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby season.
Grey, who began his coaching role at the Waratahs ahead of their title-winning season in 2014, said he was excited at the prospect of continuing his work with the team, and shaping the next generation of incoming players.
“We’ve got a really exciting group of young players on board for next season who have an opportunity here to contribute to the team right from the start,” Grey said.
2 Players with a big future in Super Rugby have re-signed with the Brumbies.
Former Australian Sevens representative Lausii Taliauli has signed a new 1-year deal with the club while tighthead prop Ruan Smith has signed a new 2-year deal.
Taliauli has been earmarked as 1 of Australia’s top wing prospects following his debut for the Brumbies in Round 1 of the 2015 Super Rugby Season. He made 7 appearances for the side this year and crossed for 1 try.
Brumbies Head Coach Stephen Larkham showed faith in the former Gold Coast Titans NRL winger, by selecting Taliauli to start on the wing in the Brumbies Super Rugby Semi-Final loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington.
The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd on Monday confirmed that a number of high profile Springboks have extended their contracts with the Blue Bulls Company for the next couple of seasons.
The likes of Handré Pollard (Oct 2019), Adriaan Strauss (Oct 2019), Jesse Kriel (Oct 2019), Trevor Nyakane (Oct 2018) and Jan Serfontein (Oct 2017) all confirmed their futures with the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls, by signing extensions that will keep them in Pretoria for a considerable time.
“This is a clear indication that frontline players see the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls as the ideal place to continue and build their already impressive careers,” says High Performance Manager at the Blue Bulls Comapany, Xander Janse van Rensburg.
SANZAR has written to the Japan Rugby Football Union seeking clarity about the players signed to the new Super Rugby franchise amid concerns about the team’s participation in the southern hemisphere provincial competition.
Japan beat off a bid from Singapore to enter a team into the expanded 18-side tournament next year but local media have cast doubts on the side’s ability to compete.
JRFU general secretary Noriyuki Sakamoto shot down reports over the weekend that only a handful of players had been signed, saying the team had already met the quota given to them by SANZAR.
But Brendan Morris, acting chief executive of SANZAR, the tournament’s governing body, said he had asked for more details.
Auckland ITM Cup head coach Paul Feeney has been named an assistant for the Blues, commencing at the end of this year’s provincial championship.
Feeney completes the new coaching group for the Blues under head coach Tana Umaga, taking specific responsibility for the backs attack and skills. He joins new defence coach Alastair Rogers and current forwards coach Glenn Moore.
Feeney, a former North Harbour representative, has been a professional coach for 14 seasons including 2 as assistant coach for Fiji and including winning the Rugby World Cup Sevens title and also coached for 2 years in Japan.
He has been involved in the ITM Cup with North Harbour, Bay of Plenty and Auckland, taking over as head coach last year.
Feeney won 3 Heartland Championship titles in succession with East Coast from 2006 – 2008, and was assistant coach with the Blues Development side for the last 3 years.
The Brumbies are celebrating the re-signing of 1 of world rugby’s most respected players, after David Pocock committed to a new 1-year deal with the club.
Pocock was a standout for the Brumbies in 2015 and was rewarded with 3 of the club’s highest on-field honours, the Brett Robinson Player’s Player, the fan-voted Stallion of the Year and the Best Forward awards.
Capping off a remarkable season, he was also named the Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year at the annual John Eales Medal ceremony in Sydney.
His achievements this season were made even more remarkable by the fact he had played just 5 games in 2013 and 2014 due to 2 serious knee injuries.
The Waratahs and Australian Rugby Union (ARU) have announced the re-signing of Kurtley Beale on a contract that will see him in Australia for at least a further 2 years, until the end of 2017.
Waratahs Head Coach Daryl Gibson said Beale’s commitment to the side for 2 more seasons would continue his significant contribution to the legacy of the club.
“Kurtley has played some of his best football for the Waratahs, and I am confident we will see his game continue to progress in the seasons to come,” Gibson said.
Israel Folau becomes the 1st Australian player to win consecutive John Eales Medals.
The Wallabies and Waratahs fullback Israel Folau has claimed the 2015 John Eales Medal, winning the award for a 2nd consecutive year.
In just his 3rd year in Rugby Union’s top flight, Folau’s meteoric rise has continued as he becomes just the 3rd player in the 14-year history of the John Eales Medal to collect the major award for a 2nd time, joining George Smith (2002, 2008) and Nathan Sharpe (2007, 2012).
At a packed gala dinner at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) celebrated and acknowledged the players, coaches, fans, match officials and administrators for their dedication, committment and outstanding performance.
Folau picked up 138 votes in total to edge out resurgent flanker David Pocock (113), Wallabies Vice-Captains Michael Hooper (108), Adam Ashley-Cooper (98), and Ben McCalman (95) to become the 1st ever back-to-back winner.
Springbok stars Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende have all committed their long-term rugby futures to DHL Western Province and the DHL Stormers.
Prop Malherbe, lock Etzebeth, flanker Kolisi and centre De Allende are in contention to represent South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, having all been part of the Springbok squad this season after stellar Vodacom Super Rugby campaigns for the DHL Stormers.
Between them, the quartet have featured in 61 Tests, Etzebeth leading the way with 37 Test appearances since his debut against England in 2012, with Malherbe (6 Tests) and Kolisi (11 Tests) making their debuts in 2013 and De Allende (7 Tests) playing his 1st international in 2014.
“Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende have all been developed here at Western Province, coming through our youth structures and going on to play Test rugby for South Africa as standout DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province players,” said WP Director of Rugby Gert Smal.
Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers was a guest speaker at an event where a group of supporters burned a Springbok jersey out of protest last week.
A new organisation, Supporters Against Racist Rugby Associations (Sarra), was officially launched in Mossel Bay last Friday, where the group burned a Springbok rugby jersey.
The group wants to see more players of colour in the Springbok team and feels not enough is being done to speed up the transformation process in South African rugby.
De Villiers, 58, attended the event as guest speaker.
New Zealand Rugby, the Highlanders and Manawatu Rugby have announced that Aaron Smith has re-committed through until at least the end of the 2019 season.
26-Year-old Smith, who has played 41 Tests for the All Blacks, 78 games (including 60 consecutive matches) for the Highlanders and more than 40 matches for the Manawatu Turbos, has become an integral part of the All Blacks and Highlanders success over the last few years. He was a standout player for the Highlanders this season, helping the team to their inaugural Super Rugby title and carried his form into the All Blacks season.
The Test scrumhalf said, “I’m really excited and thankful for the commitment shown from New Zealand Rugby, including the Highlanders and Manawatu Turbos.
New Zealand Under 20 Junior World Cup winning captain, Atunaisa Moli, has signed with the Chiefs for the next 2 years.
The versatile Waikato prop who can play both sides of the scrum has impressed head coach Dave Rennie since being a part of the Chiefs’ development program in 2014.
Moli toured Hong Kong with the side earlier this season in addition to spending time training with the Chiefs’ core Super Rugby squad.
Waratahs boss Greg Harris will leave the Sydney Super Rugby franchise just 10 months after he joined the rugby club.
According to reports in Sydney CEO Harris chose not to re-apply for an extension for his contract which ends on 31 December.
The Waratahs franchise won their first Super Rugby title in 2014 but have lost several of their stars and the coach who masterminded the title has moved up to take on the Wallabies job.
The reports suggest that the restructure of the governance of both the Waratahs and NSW Rugby, who operate as separate entities, has upset several parties and and created conflicts.
With Japan’s national coach, Eddie Jones, linked to the DHL Stormers job for 2016, Japan’s new Super Rugby franchise appears to be beset by problems.
Super Rugby will be expanded to 18 teams from next year, with teams from Japan and Argentina as well as South Africa’s Southern Kings set to join the competition.
Japan coach Jones was initially chosen to coach the Japanese Super Rugby team as well, but he has confirmed he is in talks with the Stormers, with the Cape franchise reportedly eager to sign the former Wallabies coach.
Jones denied that he had signed a deal with the DHL Stormers but admitted that he has had discussions with the franchise.
Japan coach Eddie Jones has dismissed speculation that he has penned a deal with the DHL Stormers but said he was in talks with the Cape side.
Jones, like any professional in the sporting world, is weighing up his options before his contract comes to an end in Japan.
The Australian has a contract with the ‘Brave Blossoms’ until the end of 2015 but he was thought keen to remain in Japan, which will host the 2019 World Cup, to coach the national side as well as the new Super Rugby expansion team.
However, reports from Cape Town on Monday said that the 55-year-old had already put pen-to-paper on a 2-year deal worth R 5 000 000.00 ($ 385 563.00) per year with the Stormers.
As the Kings franchise looks forward to a significant period in its history, EP Rugby chief executive Charl Crous has announced a 3-year clothing sponsorship deal with BLK South Africa, beginning in 2016.
The sponsorship will coincide with the Southern Kings’ return to Super Rugby in 2016 and both parties are excited about the journey which lies ahead for rugby in the Eastern Cape region.
The Reds have announced the extension of Richard Graham as head coach for the 2016 Super Rugby season.
Graham will work under a new high performance structure that will see him report into an Executive General Manager.
This newly created structure, outlined as the main recommendation from the recent Reds High Performance Review, sees the appointment of former World Cup-winning Wallabies centre Daniel Herbert, a 124-capped Queensland Red, to this Executive General Manager’s role.
All Blacks Performance Analyst Alistair Rogers will become the new assistant coach for the Blues.
Rogers, who has been with the All Blacks for the last 7 years, was named to join new head coach Tana Umaga for the next 2 years at the Blues.
He has had a special focus on opposition analysis and defence with the All Blacks and will take the responsibility for defence at the Blues, joining incumbent forwards coach Glenn Moore.
The former professional player is keen to return to a full-time coaching role, after guiding the Ballina Rugby Club in Ireland for 12 months, a stint as defence coach at Honda in Japan and a spell as Hurricanes assistant defence coach last year.