The Cell C Sharks are set to announce their pre-season Super Rugby squad on Thursday – and the name Ruan Botha will appear on that list.
The 23-year-old Stormers lock is set for a move to Durban, while Springbok Pieter-Steph du Toit has moved from the Sharks to Newlands.
A Sharks spokesperson on Wednesday said that the deal between the union and Botha could not yet be officially confirmed due to a contract that still had to be signed.
However, the indication was that all of the paperwork would be wrapped up by Thursday.
UK bookmakers have stopped taking bets on newly appointed DHL Stormers coach Eddie Jones replacing fired Stuart Lancaster as supremo of the England rugby team. They are so convinced Jones will leave Newlands for Twickenham that betting on him doing so has been suspended.
But the Australian who guided Japan to rugby’s great giant killing act over the Springboks won’t come cheap. In the Times of London this morning, SA billionaire Johann Rupert says extracting Jones from his contract with the DHL Stormers will cost the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) R 15 Million (£ 700 000.00).
Richemont chairman Rupert, co-owner of the DHL Stormers through the 25% owned by 1 of his businesses, told the newspaper: “We have no influence” and confirmed the Cape-based franchise would not engage in a bidding war over the recently hired head coach.
In September, Eddie Jones signed a R 5 Million a year deal with the DHL Stormers which runs until the end of 2018. That made him the highest paid coach in South African rugby, ahead of Heyneke Meyer who guided the Springboks to 3rd in the recent Rugby World Cup.
The South African Rugby Union extended its condolences to the family of legendary Springbok centre John Gainsford, who passed away on Wednesday morning following a long battle with cancer. He was 77.
Gainsford established himself as one of the greatest centres of his generation due to his powerful bursts and rock-solid defence.
He earned 33 Test caps and scored 8 tries during his Springbok career between 1960 and 1967, playing in 71 Springbok matches in total (including tour matches). He remained the most capped Springbok centre until as recently as 2001 when his record was finally overtaken by Japie Mulder.
Gainsford was a world-renowned player, who emerged from the Villagers Rugby Club in Cape Town. He made his Springbok debut on 30 April 1960 against Scotland at the young age of 21 and played his last Test at the age of 28.
New Zealand rugby union great Jonah Lomu has died aged 40.
Lomu, who scored 43 tries in 73 matches for New Zealand between 1994 and 2002, had been diagnosed with a rare and serious kidney condition.
It forced him to quit the game and he had a kidney transplant in 2004, but the organ stopped functioning in 2011.
“Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world,” said New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew.
“We’re lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah’s family.”
Family spokesman John Mayhew told New Zealand television that Lomu’s death was “totally unexpected” and that he had only arrived back from the UK on Tuesday, after spending time there for the Rugby World Cup.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said: “The thoughts of the entire country are with his family.”
Victor Matfield says his all-Southern Hemisphere Barbarians side is braced for Saturday’s clash with Argentina after his team swept aside English Premiership side Gloucester 62 / 14.
The BaaBaas’ backline was well directed by Springbok flyhalf Pat Lambie, who collected a 13-point haul in the 10-try win.
“Getting this game under our belts will definitely help us going into Saturday,” said Matfield, whose side played attacking rugby despite strong winds – reaching up to 88km/h.
“Conditions weren’t too easy but the boys played well and the Gloucester boys gave it their best shot too.”
Australian James Hilterbrand, a hooker currently playing for Edinburgh in European competitions, headlines a list of 9 new signings by the Southern Kings.
This was announced on Monday, a day that another 2 players – wing Luther Obi and utility back Sylvian Mahuza – have given notice of their intent to leave the Kings, the Port Elizabeth-based franchised announced the list of new recruits.
Apart from Hilterbrand, who played 2 games for the Western Force in 2013 and 14 games for Edinburgh since joining them for the 2013 / 2014 season, they have signed a number of high-profile players.
These include duo Jurgen Visser and Louis Fouché (Vodacom Bulls), Caylib Oosthuizen (Toyota Cheetahs), SP Marais (Cell C Sharks), Stefan Watermeyer and JC Roos (Steval Pumas), Mark Richards (Emirates Lions) and Carel Greeff (ORC Griquas).
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Tuesday agreed to assist the Eastern Province Rugby Union by taking control of the Southern Kings franchise in Vodacom Super Rugby.
The action followed through a decision taken by the Executive Council of SARU some weeks ago to step into the Kings’ affairs if certain expectations were not realised.
The decision was actioned as a result of the on-going cash flow problems at the Union after the president of EP, Mr Cheeky Watson, contacted Mr Oregan Hoskins, the president of SARU, to ask him to assist.
“We gave the Kings as long as possible to resolve their issues through their own efforts but the point had been reached where they could wait no longer,” said Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of SARU.
“It is a decision we have had to take reluctantly but it is now 102 days until Vodacom Super Rugby moves into a new era with new teams and new nations taking part and we collectively agreed we could not allow South Africa’s new entrant to be under-prepared.”
Cell C Sharks Director Of Rugby, Gary Gold, has announced the 4 coaches that will be assisting him in next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Former UKZN Impi coach Ryan Strudwick will be in charge of the forwards. Strudwick’s Impi side were crowned Varsity Shield champions earlier this year when they beat Wits in the Final. He also previously coached Maritzburg College.
Strudwick also assisted Gold during this year’s Currie Cup campaign. He has been involved with the Sharks at Under 19 and Under 20 level as well.
Former Springbok and Sharks scrumhalf Robert du Preez will be the team’s skills and attack coach – a role he shares with Sean Everitt. Du Preez also won the ABSA Currie Cup First Division trophy with the Leopards this year. The North West team went through the entire tournament unbeaten.
He also guided NWU-Pukke to two Varsity Cup finals – one of which was this year’s 33 / 63 loss to UFS Shimlas. Pukke lost to UCT in the final in 2014.
Du Preez will also be coaching his sons Dan and Jean-Luc who are part of the Cell C Sharks squad.
Omar Mouneimne joins from the Steval Pumas and will be the team’s defence coach. He was also part of the Eastern Province Kings coaching setup and also had coaching stints in Edinburgh and Italy.
All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster has extended his contract with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) through to 2017, NZRU chief executive Steve Tew announced on Tuesday.
Foster has been assistant coach alongside All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen since 2012.
“It’s been an honour and a privilege to have worked for the All Blacks over the last few years and to help the team achieve its goals, including winning the Rugby World Cup, and I look forward to getting stuck into next season after the summer break,” Foster said.
Steve Tew paid tribute to Foster’s work with the national team, which has fashioned a stunning record of 49 wins, 2 draws and just 3 losses, in their 54 Tests since 2012.
“Ian has provided outstanding coaching of the All Blacks over the last 4 years. He has a calm yet forthright style which works well in the team and his strategic thinking and development of the All Blacks’ back play, which is his specialist area, has been exceptional. We look forward to his ongoing contribution over the next 2 years.”
Tew confirmed that All Blacks forwards coach Mike Cron had also re-signed with NZRU through until 2017.
Amongst the Super Rugby news this week is the announcement that Tanerau Latimer will return to Super Rugby and join up with the Blues.
Lima Sopoaga has also extended his stay at the Highlanders.
Meanwhile the Brumbies will lose Matt Toomua to Leicester Tigers when the European season of 2016 / 2017 starts after Super Rugby of 2016, but therefore he will still be available for the Brumbies in 2016. The Brumbies have also signed hooker Robbie Abel with the Brumbies’ Extended Playing Squad for 2016.
Australian Wallabies coach Michael Cheika insisted Monday he had no interest in taking over the vacant England position, as he joined a growing list of high-profile figures in ruling himself out as a successor to Stuart Lancaster.
Last week saw Lancaster quit as England coach, as he paid the price for a poor Rugby World Cup, which saw England become the 1st host nation to fail to get out of the group phase.
“No one from there (England’s governing Rugby Football Union) has contacted me and they know they can’t contact me because I am committed to Australia,” Cheika, who led the Wallabies to last month’s Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham Stadium, said.
“That’s where I want to be coaching.”
The Australian mens Sevens team as well as the Kenyan mens Sevens teams both qualified on the weekend for the Olympics Sevens event in Rio in 2016.
On the womens side, Fiji Womens Sevens also qualified for the womens event at Rio 2016.
The Springbok Sevens (Blitzbokke) were drawn with Scotland, Samoa and newly-promoted core team Russia for the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens on 4 & 5 December.
According to the draw announced by World Rugby last Friday, South Africa are the Top-seeds in Pool B for the opening Round of the bigger HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. The Blitzbokke are the defending Dubai champions.
With global excitement building ahead of Sevens’ biggest season, the world’s top players – representing 28 national teams – will compete in Dubai from 3 to 5 December. The 12-team women’s tournament will be played on 3 & 4 December and the 16-team men’s event on 4 & 5 December.
In the men’s competition, reigning series champions Fiji head Pool A and kick off proceedings against Canada with further ties against Japan and Argentina.
12-Time series champions New Zealand face matches against USA, as well as France and Portugal in Pool C, while in Pool D England will compete against Australia, Wales and Kenya.
The South Africans start their Dubai campaign against powerful Samoa. They then face Russia in the mid-afternoon, before tackling Scotland later in the evening on the opening day.
Double Rugby World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw is expected to confirm his decision to retire from rugby this week, New Zealand media reported on Sunday.
McCaw, who turns 35 on 31 December, led the All Blacks to their 3rd Rugby World Cup triumph 2 weeks ago when his side beat trans-Tasman rivals Australia 34 / 17 in the final at a packed Twickenham stadium in London.
The All Blacks were the 1st team to retain the trophy, after the openside flanker led the team to victory in 2011 while playing with a broken foot.
McCaw had done little to dampen expectations that he would retire after this year’s Rugby World Cup, though never explicitly said he would, preferring to state he would not make up his mind until the global showpiece ended.
He was not named last month in the Canterbury Super Rugby squad for 2016 though New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the Crusaders said there was space for him if he chose to play on.
The Hong Kong Cup of Nations is a 15-a-side rugby tournament which features 4 national sides – Hong Kong, Portugal, Russia and Zimbabwe. There are 6 Test matches in total with fixtures on 13, 17 and 21 November 2015. The round-robin competition replaces the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union’s (HKRFU) November international Test series. All Cup of Nations matches were scheduled to be played at Hong Kong Football Club (HKFC) and admission is free.
This year’s competition has been dominated by the hosts, Hong Kong, and Russia who have both won their 1st 2 games of the tournament. Portugal look to be the 3rd best team losing by 11 points in their opening match to Russia while only losing by 7 against Hong Kong, gaining their losing bonus point which sees them in 3rd place on the table. Zimbabwe have struggled and suffered the biggest loss (by 45 points) today against Russia.
For the first time in the 2015 / 2016 season, teams from Europe’s top leagues were given a breather from domestic competition this weekend and turned their attentions to the Champions and Challenge Cup tournaments. After the horrific events that unfolded in Paris on Friday night, the matches scheduled to be played on French soil were postponed and so here is an abridged round-up of the results.
Saracens (27) 32 / 7 (0) Toulouse (Final Score)
Saracens and Toulouse did battle in the European Rugby Champions Cup at
Allianz Park at 19:30 SA Time (17:30 UK Time & GMT, 19:30 France Time).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.
The Ireland Women are back in action for the 1st time since regaining the Six Nations title in March, as Tom Tierney’s new-look side take on England at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday (kick-off 15:00 UK Time & GMT, 17:00 SA Time).
The Ireland Women’s team to play England in an historic 1st November international has been named. There are 6 uncapped players included in Tom Tierney’s starting line-up.
New caps Jeamie Deacon of Blackrock and Mairead Coyne from Galwegians have been named on the wings with team captain Niamh Briggs at fullback.
Cill Dara’s Aine Donnelly will win her 1st cap in the centre alongside the experienced Jackie Shiels, with Coyne’s club-mate Sene Naoupu donning the No 10 jersey for the 1st time alongside regular scrumhalf Larissa Muldoon.
Leicester Tigers (12) 33 / 20 (8) Stade Francais (Final Score)
Leicester Tigers and Stade Francais did battle in the European Rugby Champions Cup at
Welford Road at 21:45 SA Time (19:45 UK Time & GMT, 21:45 French Time).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.
World Rugby Council has approved the application by the Rwanda Rugby Federation (RRF) as a full member union, bringing the total number to 103 full members and 17 associates.
The RRF became an associate member of World Rugby in April 2004 and is a full member of Rugby Africa, the regional association. The union actively partakes in regional activities and participates in a range of Rugby Africa tournaments. It is recognised by its National Olympic Committee and fulfils World Rugby’s full membership criteria.
The RRF runs a national 15-a-side team and, in total, has 10 teams participating in a domestic 15-a-side league with more than 300 registered adult male players, 60 adult female players and nearly 7 000 youth players. The union is a structured organisation, administered by a full-time CEO and a number of volunteers.
The application was supported by the World Rugby Executive Committee, Rugby Africa and World Rugby’s Rugby Services Manager (Africa).
Twelve teams will battle it out for a place at the 2016 Olympic Games when they take part in this weekend’s Africa Regional Olympic qualifier in Johannesburg.
On 14 & 15 November, Johannesburg will host the 12 best African teams of Sevens rugby at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park.
Kenya, Namibia, Uganda, Morocco, Tunisia, Zambia, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Botswana, Nigeria and Mauritius will fight over 2 days of tournament to try to win the 1 and only golden ticket for Rio 2016!
The 3 other teams on the podium will have the opportunity to participate in the repechage, an international competition which will enable 1 single team to join the others.
The Vodacom Bulls have capitalised on the growing uncertainty surrounding the EP Kings as they signed impressive prop Lizo Gqoboka for the next few years to bolster their Super Rugby squad.
Gqoboka gave notice at the Kings after repeated non-payment of salaries at the franchise, and the Bulls swooped in to offer him a new home for the foreseeable future.
And there may well be more news in the next 48 hours as the Bulls are still after the signatures of 3 other EP Kings players – loose forwards Tim Agaba and Thembelani Bholi and winger Luther Obi. Some big decisions will be made as to their futures soon.
Gqoboka has been rated as 1 of the strongest props by the Springbok management team, who tried in vain to get him to play Super Rugby this year, after he was ignored by the franchises for the 2015 season.
But with SARU’s transformation action plan likely to be implemented much more stringently in the future, the Bulls have been pro-active in searching for good black talent to bolster their Super Rugby ranks for the coming year.
The Eastern Province Rugby Union is working tirelessly behind the scenes to address the issue of non-payment of players.
The union on Thursday confirmed that neither of the Kings’ staff nor players have yet been paid their October salaries.
“The Eastern Province Rugby Union has noted that there have been a number of issues raised in the media over the past few days, and acknowledge and apologise for our lack of proper communication on these issues,” the union said via a press statement released late on Thursday.
The non-payment of players is due to cash flow problems, the union admitted.
“These cash flow problems can be attributed to significant delays in the release of funds from a sponsorship deal that was originally announced by EP Rugby President, Cheeky Watson.
Australia will embark on their 10th ‘Grand Slam’ tour in 2016, aiming to beat the Home Nations in 1 trip for the 1st time in 30 years.
After falling to New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham Stadium in London earlier this month, the Wallabies will return to the northern hemisphere next year for a 7-match, 5-Test tour, including France.
“The ‘Grand Slam’ is 1 of the rarest achievements in the game and has been a notoriously difficult one for the Wallabies over time, with only 1 successful attempt out of 9,” Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver said.
The last time the Wallabies pulled off the feat was in 1984. In their most recent attempt, in 2013, Australia opened with a loss to England before defeating Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as Italy.
Jake White insists he won’t take part in another drawn out application process for the vacant England head coach role.
White, who coached South Africa’s 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning squad, is 1 of the leading candidates to replace Stuart Lancaster after he parted ways with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in the aftermath of England’s dismal Rugby World Cup campaign.
But the 52-year-old South African has twice been snubbed at the final hurdle by the RFU, when Martin Johnson took control in 2008 and when Lancaster was handed the reins in 2012.
Determined not to be messed around for a 3rd time, White has called on RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie to install him as the organisation’s Top choice before he will consider succeeding Lancaster, who was widely criticised for his lack of Top-level experience during England’s Rugby World Cup pool stage exit.
The Brumbies have announced Argentine scrumhalf Tomás Cubelli will be joining the Canberra-based Super Rugby team on a 2-year deal.
Cubelli is a member of the Argentine national team and has been a standout player for Los Pumas this year including a number of strong performances in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Cubelli has 45 Test caps, the most recent being the 3rd-place playoff at the Rugby World Cup against South Africa, in which he started at scrumhalf for Los Pumas.
Brumbies CEO Michael Jones said Cubelli was presented a number of options after a very successful international season, including the new Argentinian Super Rugby side which will boast 21 of their Rugby World Cup semifinal squad, and was very happy to have secured the international star.
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew says Rugby World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw will make an announcement on his playing future “shortly”.
McCaw, who led New Zealand to victory at the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups, indicated he would likely retire after this year’s tournament in England but is yet to make a definitive announcement.
His comments immediately after the All Blacks’ Cup final win over Australia suggested the 148-Test veteran might be considering continuing his international career.
New Zealand Rugby chief Steve Tew said it was premature to speculate about Japan joining The Rugby Championship.
The sport is currently on a high in the Asian nation after the Brave Blossoms’ exploits at the Rugby World Cup, which included a stunning 34 / 32 win over South Africa, but there are already concerns about its preparations for the expanded Super Rugby competition next year.
With Japan set to host the next edition of the Rugby World Cup in 2019, World Rugby is keen to consolidate its popularity in a large and potentially lucrative market.
The governing body’s chairman Bernard Lapasset said on a trip to Tokyo this week that Japan should join The Rugby Championship, which currently comprises New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.
But New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said a more immediate concern for Japanese rugby was fielding a competitive side in the Super Rugby competition in 2016.
When he took to the field as Scotland cap number 1 073, Josh Strauss became the 50th player to make his debut for the national side since the last Rugby World Cup in 2011. This is by far the highest number of new players for Scotland in any Rugby World Cup cycle – more, in fact, than the previous 2 combined (48 new caps). It requires going back to the 1950s to find a greater number of 1st caps in a 4 year period.
Despite having the smallest player base of any of the Six Nations, Scotland has had more debutants than any of their rivals:
- England – 41
- France – 40
- Ireland – 37
- Italy – 31
- Wales – 37
In fact only 1 side who competed at this year’s Rugby World Cup awarded more new caps in the last 4 years. By a quirk of the global calendar Argentina didn’t have access to many of their 1st (or even 2nd) choice players when the South American Championship takes place and 54 of their 67 new caps (including 24 in the space of 5 days in 2013, the last year they appeared in it!) debuted in the annual iterations of this tournament.
Former Springbok coach Jake White has again signalled interest in the England head coaching position.
Stuart Lancaster on Wednesday stepped down as England coach after a torrid Rugby World Cup which saw the hosts knocked out of the tournament at the pool stages after defeats to Wales and Australia.
Bookmakers have made White favourite to replace Lancaster and when asked whether he would be interested, the South African said:
“If they genuinely think a foreign coach is the right way forward and it is genuine they think it is me, it would be naive of me to say I was not interested.”
As Edinburgh take to the home turf tomorrow (Friday 13 November) to meet FC Grenoble in the opening Round of this season’s European Challenge Cup (kick-off 19:30 UK Time, 21:30 SA Time), they will be led out by the player endearingly referred to by his team-mates as the ‘squadfather’, prop Alasdair Dickinson, who reaches his 100th cap for the club.
Meanwhile in the pack, at openside, John Hardie will be making his debut in the black and red jersey, after signing for the club last month following his Scotland debut at No 7 in the Rugby World Cup.
Loosehead Dickinson joins hooker Ross Ford and tighthead WP Nel in an unchanged front row, with Anton Bresler and Alex Toolis maintaining their partnership from last week at lock.
Mike Coman captains the team again at blindside with Hardie making his debut at openside and Cornell Du Preez retaining the No 8 jersey.
Meanwhile there is 1 change in the backs with Dougie Fife moving up from the bench to start at fullback. Damien Hoyland and Tom Brown stay on the right and left wings respectively while last week’s try scorer Will Helu and Matt Scott remain at outside and inside centre. The halfback pairing of Greig Tonks at flyhalf and scrumhalf Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is also retained.
New DHL Stormers coach Eddie Jones says he wants them to play a brand of rugby that attracts people to come watch them.
After arriving in Cape Town last week, Jones held his 1st press-conference as DHL Stormers coach at Newlands on Thursday.
Speaking about the challenge ahead, Jones said: “It’s a fantastic city. Western Province is one of the most prestigious unions in the world – there is so much history here.
“When the opportunity came up to coach the Stormers – such a well-supported team, the best in the competition – it was simply too good to ignore. Of course, the ultimate aim is to produce a good team that attracts people to the stadium and, ultimately, challenges to win trophies.
Centre Tim Whitehead has become the 1st player to walk out on the EP Kings after the union’s failure to compensate players.
The 10-day deadline for paying the players’ October salaries expired at midnight on Tuesday without any action from the Kings’ management.
This means that from a legal perspective, the players can cancel existing contracts with the Eastern Province Rugby Union and take up matters elsewhere.
Whitehead on Thursday confirmed that he has decided to leave the Kings.
England Rugby Football Union Chief Executive Ian Ritchie said that England were determined to appoint a coach of “proven international experience”.
The search for this new coach – to replace Stuart Lancaster – will continue, however long it takes.
England’s dismal Rugby World Cup campaign set the seal on Lancaster’s 3-and-a-half years in charge, with the RFU announcing earlier on Wednesday he had left his post by “mutual consent”.
Under Lancaster – who had little prior elite rugby experience – England became the 1st host nation to fail to get out of the group phase at the recent Rugby World Cup.
RFU Chief Executive Ritchie said the decision to replace Lancaster had been “unanimously accepted” by the governing body’s board.
England’s next match is their Six Nations opener away to Scotland on 6 February, with the squad due to be announced in January.
Perth based Super Rugby franchise the Western Force have signed Queensland Country lock Richie Arnold adding size to their forward pack for 2016.
Arnold’s identical twin, lock Rory Arnold is at the Brumbies.
Richie stands at a towering 2,08m and weighs 127Kg – 7Kg heavier than his brother.
The 25-year-old would rank as the equal 2nd tallest player in Super Rugby history, alongside his brother and former Stormers lock, Andries Bekker, and only behind Lions lock JP du Preez (2,09m) – will join the Force as part of the club’s Wider Training Squad, as he looks to push for his Super Rugby debut in 2016.