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Brodie retallick receives New Zealand Player Of The Year 2014

Brodie retallick receives New Zealand Player Of The Year 2014

All Black Brodie Retallick has backed up his World Rugby International Player of the Year award by being named the Kelvin R Tremain Player of the Year at the 2014 Steinlager Rugby Awards.

The 23-year-old’s outstanding form saw the 35-Test powerhouse lock join team mates Richie McCaw, Kieran Read and Jerome Kaino who have won the top honour in recent years.

The All Blacks who retained their number one world ranking for the fifth consecutive year, took out the Team of the Year for the fourth successive year while Steve Hansen earned his third successive Coach of the Year award.

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Dan Carter

Dan Carter

French club Racing Metro are reportedly winning the race to sign All Blacks star Dan Carter in a deal that is tipped to make him the highest paid player in the game with a £1 million contract.

European media is awash with speculation around Carter as the veteran No 10’s future beyond next year’s World Cup continues to grab headlines.

All the various sources were tipping glamour Paris outfit Racing Metro to lure Carter back to the French competition after his painful previous experience of an injury-plagued sabbatical in 2009 with Perpignan.

The Times suggested Carter ‘is close to becoming rugby’s first £1 million man’ with Racing Metro owner Jacky Lorenzetti prepared to ‘break the bank’ for a move that would finally end Carter’s All Blacks career.

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Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper

Wallabies and Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper has committed to Australian Rugby for another year in a deal that will take him through until the end of 2015.

The 26-year-old flyhalf returned to national duty in the recent Spring Tour after overcoming an injury that curtailed his Super Rugby season and will be keen to add to his 53 Test caps next year.

“I really enjoyed the Spring Tour, even though some of the results weren’t what we wanted,” he said.

“We’re working hard to improve and I’m confident we’ve got a great group of players going into 2015.

“I love being at the Reds and playing rugby for Australia, and am looking forward to the opportunities next year.”

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HSBC Sevens World SeriesThe last Tournament in the 2014 calendar year for the HSBC Sevens World Series of 2014 / 2015 took place in Port Elizabeth at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens tournament was played over 2 Days, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 December 2014.

When play started on Day 1, France scored within 14 seconds against Fiji, but Fiji rallied to demolish France by 45 / 5.

Canada surprised by beating Scotland 14 / 12 in the 2nd game.

A number of more surprises followed on Day one, but what remained firm was the South African Blitzbokke resolve as they monstered their way to 3 excellent wins, and only conceeding a solitary try in the process.

Apart from South Africa, the other big Sevens nations – New Zealand, England, Fiji and Australia were joined by USA, Scotland and Argentina in the Cup Quarters on Day 2.

South Africa advanced to the Final, beating England and Australia along the way, whilst New Zealand beat USA to advance to a semi against Argentina, then comfortably beat Argentina, to book their place against the South African Blitzbokke in the Final.

Australia took the 3rd Place Play-off game against Argentina, 34 / 19.

The South African Blitzbokke took Final honours against New Zealand by 26 / 17 and made it back to back tournament wins as well as a successful defence of the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens title!

To Southern Hemisphere rugby interests, this tournament represents the last action in the 2014 rugby season, with their off-season officially starting after this tournament.

In the Northern Hemisphere though, it is all action in December.

The 2014 / 2015 season carries added significance because the top-ranked sides after the ninth and final round in London in May 2015 will qualify directly for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

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Greig Tonks

Greig Tonks

As Edinburgh strive for four wins from four in Europe this Sunday, Greig Tonks will be running out for his 50th cap for the club.

There are seven changes to the starting 15 that beat London Welsh in the opening double-header, at BT Murrayfield last Sunday. Jack Cuthbert comes in at fullback with Dougie Fife, a late injury withdrawal last weekend, returning on the right wing.

A changed halfback pairing sees Greig Tonks at flyhalf and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne in the scrumhalf berth.

Meanwhile in the pack, with Ross Ford still out, Neil Cochrane gets a start at hooker, while John Andress and Anton Bresler move up from the bench to start at tighthead and lock respectively.

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Glasgow WarriorsRichie Vernon will start at outside centre for Glasgow Warriors, when they host French Top 14 side Toulouse at Scotstoun Stadium tomorrow lunchtime (kick-off 13:00 BST, 15:00 SA Time).

Vernon impressed from the bench in the narrow 19-11 defeat at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday and replaces Peter Horne for the European Rugby Champions Cup encounter, with Alex Dunbar moving to inside centre.

There are two other personnel changes with Tim Swinson coming in for Leone Nakarawa in the second-row and Ryan Wilson replacing the injured Chris Fusaro in the backrow. Wilson starts on the blindside, with Rob Harley moving to openside.

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Emirates LionsEmirates, a global connector of people and their passions, and the Lions, one of South Africa’s top rugby teams, today announced a five-year sponsorship agreement.

The agreement will see Emirates become the title sponsor of the Lions Super Rugby team and have naming rights to the Lions home ground Ellis Park in Johannesburg. The announcement was made at a media conference today by Orhan Abbas, Emirates Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations for Latin America, Southern and Central Africa, and Rudolf Straeuli, the CEO of the Golden Lions Rugby Union.

Starting from 1 January 2015, the Lions will become known as the Emirates Lions, and the familiar “Fly Emirates” logo will adorn the match and training jerseys of the team for the next five years. Ellis Park, will be named Emirates Airline Park. The agreement also includes in-stadia hospitality as well as a number of other marketing rights and activities.

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Francois Louw

Francois Louw

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will be pleased to see two of his stalwarts returning to the rugby field in the European Cup this weekend.

Bath’s Francois Louw is set to make his comeback after a ten-week stint on the sideline following surgery on his neck for nerve damage.

The flank last played for the Springboks in their Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks in Wellington on 13 September.

Bath assistant coach Toby Booth has indicated that Louw may be thrown straight into the action and could start for the English team when they face Montpellier at home on Friday.

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Dan Carter

Dan Carter

Dan Carter is still aiming to be a factor in the 2015 World Cup after an injury plagued couple of months that have seen him stuttering with form.

Cater now faces a nine-month race to regain the fine form he is capable of for the World Cup after an uncharacteristically below-par year-end tour.

The All Black flyhalf has decided sitting back on his laurels is no longer an option and that regular and consistent game-time will bring him back to his best.

“Throughout the tour my injury had healed. The body felt good but the game-time was lacking,” Carter admitted.

“That tour wasn’t the best situation to get regular game-time but it got me back in the environment, back into the team and a better understanding of the game we’re trying to play.

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Captains for the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens tournament

Captains for the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens tournament: Ed Jenkins, Osea Kolinisau, DJ Forbes & Kyle Brown

After climbing into the top four after two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series, Australia and New Zealand know it’s far too early to rest on their laurels with Olympic qualification also up for grabs this season.

As the 16 captains assemble for the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth, Australian skipper Ed Jenkins and his New Zealand counterpart DJ Forbes reflect on their respective team’s elevation to the all-important top four after the first two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

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Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

This weekend’s HSBC Sevens World Series tournament in Port Elizabeth will not be affected by load shedding, stadium organisers have assured.

Lourens Oberholzer from Access Management said that the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium has high power generators designed to ensure constant supply of electricity to the stadium in the event of any power outage.

Oberholzer also said the local municipality has assured them that the stadium will not be affected by load shedding this weekend.

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James Slipper receiving the Medal for Excellence

James Slipper receiving the Medal for Excellence

Reds and Wallabies prop, James Slipper was announced as this year’s recipient of the coveted Medal for Excellence Award at the 2014 RUPA (Rugby Union Players Association) Awards Lunch held in Sydney.

Slipper was a run-away leader of votes from his peers, following an impressive year for his state and country. Known for his good nature off the field, and powerful performances during game time, Slipper has shown some of his career best form in 2014.

It was a year that saw the 25-year-old earn his 50th Test cap and afforded the opportunity to vice captain the Wallabies, together with teammate Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Slipper joins last year’s winner, Nick Cummins, and other outstanding Australian rugby players, including Berrick Barnes, George Gregan, George Smith and four-time-winner Nathan Sharpe, as a recipient of the Medal for Excellence.

The Medal is more than just a Player’s Player Award, with all Super Rugby players asked to vote for both on and off field efforts. Votes are cast using a 3-2-1 points system based on a set of four key criteria, leadership, performance, consistency and discipline.

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Johan Ackermann

Johan Ackermann

The Golden Lions Rugby Union is not worried about reports stating that head coach Johan Ackermann is being targeted by a top Japanese club.

It was reported earlier this week that the Lions will struggle to keep Ackermann in South Africa after next year’s Rugby World Cup, with the former Springbok lock reportedly receiving a big-money offer from a Japanese club.

However, the Lions insisted they will not have a fight on their hands to hold on to the services of Ackermann.

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Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard

Nizaam Carr and Handré Pollard lead the full list of nominees released by SARU on Wednesday for their annual Player of the Year Awards, which will take place on 8 February in Midrand.

Carr and Pollard, both of whom made their Test debuts for the Springboks this season, have both been nominated in three categories.

The 23-year-old Carr has been nominated in for the SARU Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Currie Cup Player of the Year.

Pollard, who is only 20, has been nominated in the categories for SARU Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and SA Under 20 Player of the Year.

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Xerox Golden LionsComing off a highly successful 2014 rugby season in all areas, the Lions have announced the final signings of players for the 2015 season

The GLRU has worked hard in maintaining growth potential in junior players and increasing depth where needed.

The Lions have managed to attact six SA Schools players for the Under 19 squad in Nazo Nkala, Barend Smit, Sarel Smith, Kenny van Niekerk and Marco van Vuuren.

In the Under 21 squad there are seven players who took part in the recent Under 20 World Cup in New Zealand. Cyle Brink, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Thabo Mabuza, Malcolm Marx, Ramone Samuels, Victor Sekeketi and Currie Cup player Jaco van der Walt.

In the senior squad the Lions boast seven players who are either capped by the Springboks or were involved this year, as well as BlitzBokke in Albertus “Kwagga” Smith and their captain Warren Whiteley who is both a Springbok and a Sevens Bok.

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WhistleSouth African referees Jaco Peyper, Craig Joubert, Stuart Berry and television match official (TMO) Shaun Veldsman will all officiate in the 2015 Six Nations competition, World Rugby has announced.

Peyper will take charge of the match between France and Wales on 28 February at Stade de France in Paris, while Joubert will officiate the clash between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on 1 March, with Veldsman in the role of TMO.

Berry, meanwhile, was named as an assistant referee for the matches between Italy and Ireland at Stadio Olimpico in Rome on 7 February and Ireland and France in Dublin on 14 February respectively.

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Border BulldogsThe South African Rugby Union (SARU) announced on Wednesday that it had assumed control of the financial and administrative affairs of the Border Rugby Football Union, following a resolution by the Union’s executive.

The union handed over control to SARU to allow Border’s operations to be normalised. No time limit has been put on SARU’s control. The decision was taken in November at SARU’s request.

The impact of the decision is that only SARU personnel will have signing powers on Border’s accounts. Monde Tabata, an East London-based member of the SARU Executive Council (Exco), has been confirmed as the Union’s administrator.

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Cape Town Stadium

Cape Town Stadium

The odds are believed to have unexpectedly lengthened on Cape Town getting a stint soon in the HSBC Sevens World Series sun.

It is understood that, from a situation at roughly this time last year when it seemed a switch for the South African leg of the series from Port Elizabeth to the Mother City (and probably the under-used Cape Town Stadium, built for the 2010 soccer World Cup) was almost a fait accompli from the 2015/16 tournament onward, the Eastern Cape metropolis may instead get an extension of unknown duration.

The “Friendly City” stages its fourth successive Sevens jamboree this weekend, as the Blitzbokke try to match their feat in Dubai a few days ago of winning that leg; in doing so they advanced to second place behind Fiji on the global standings after two events of the 2014 / 2015 campaign.

It has been known for some time that tenders for a new hosting stint were going to be invited by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) after the latest PE staging of the Sevens.

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ictorius Blitzbokke in Dubai

ictorius Blitzbokke in Dubai

The pools for the third round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in South Africa were drawn in Dubai with hosts South Africa heading Pool A.

World Rugby has confirmed the pool draw for the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens, round three of the HSBC Sevens World Series 2014 / 2015 on 13-14 December 2014.

After their Cup win at the second round of the Series in Dubai, hosts South Africa are top seeds and head Pool A, while runners-up Australia, third-placed Fiji and the fourth semi-finalist New Zealand head the remaining pools.

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Jimmy Gopperth

Jimmy Gopperth

Leinster skills coach Richie Murphy has confirmed reports that Jimmy Gopperth is talking to other clubs and will leave the province at the end of the current season.

Ireland’s first-choice flyhalf Jonathan Sexton will return to Leinster next season after a stint with Racing Metro and utility back Ian Madigan – Sexton’s understudy with the national team – is contracted until 2016.

It is understood that Wasps are favourites to sign New Zealander Gopperth, who would move at the end of the current season, but that he is talking to a number of clubs across Europe.

“Jimmy was given a heads-up early on about Johnny [Sexton] coming back and he feels he still wants to be a first-team player,” Murphy said.

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Natalie Thain

Natalie Thain

Natalie Thain, a New Zealand business woman and former Zimbabwean swimmer, has taken over as the new board director at the Crusaders.

Crusaders Chairman Murray Ellis has stepped down from the Crusaders Board and is retiring after fifteen years on the board and seven as Chairman.

He said he continued to be passionate about the Crusaders and it was not easy stepping aside from something that had been such a big part of his life for many years.

“It has been an honour to serve on this board and as the Crusaders Chair. We have faced significant change in the time that I have been involved, and I am proud of the contribution I have been able to make in helping to steer the Crusaders through those challenges.

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Golden LionsEmiratesIt has been widely reported in various sections of the media today that the Lions are set to announce a 5 YEAR sponsorship deal with Emirates Airlines which would also include naming rights to the iconic Ellis Park Stadium.

The announcement, which will also include details of 2 other sponsorship deals is set to be made by Lions CEO Kevin de Klerk and CEO Rudolph Strauli tomorrow (11 December 2014).

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Rugby-TalkIt’s PUB NIGHT!

I attended another funeral today, yeah, had one last Tuesday too!

It showed me today how fleeting life is and how quickly things could change… the lady had an embolism and died in the Supermarket, at only 66…. not that it will make me drink less condensed milk!

Well it teaches us not to take things for granted, live life to the full every moment and to appreciate those close to us even more, like one of our friends here tell us “Tell those you love that you do, today!”

Now to our pet pieve of the last few weeks here in South Africa… Eskom’s (Electricity Supply Commission) ineptness and rolling blackouts…

Are’nt you lot also starting to despise them intensely, like I do?

And things are bound to continue in December, through January and even into February!

The Blitzbokke was a bright spark in Eskom’s dark world this past weekend, were they not… well done Blitzies, for winning the Dubai Tournament AND for MOERRING (if the newspaper billboards can say it, so can I) the New Zealands Sevens side, 28 / ZIPPPP in the Quarter Finals.

Now don’t be complacent in Port Elizabeth this weekend, Blitzbokke!!

OK, 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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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

Western Province have brushed off reports linking lock Eben Etzebeth with a move to French giants Toulon.

French newspaper Var Matin reported over the weekend that the Springbok lock could join Toulon after next year’s Rugby World Cup.

The 23-year-old Capetonian is seen as an ideal replacement for compatriot Bakkies Botha, who recently retired from international rugby and will leave Toulon at the end of the current European season.

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Christian Loamanu

Christian Loamanu

Christian Loamanu, who tested positive for cannabis five years ago, has had his indefinite ban for playing rugby in Japan lifted.

In 2009 Loamanu was sanctioned for an indefinite period by the Japanese Rugby Football Union after he tested positive for cannabis following a domestic Top League game.

Earlier in 2014 the Iinternational Rugby Players Association (IRPA) engaged the JRFU to conduct a review of the sanction and allow IRPA to present a case for Loamanu’s sanction to be lifted.

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Zane Kirchner

Zane Kirchner

Morné Steyn

Morné Steyn

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is likely to surprise with a few unpopular decisions in his 2015 Rugby World Cup squad.

According to weekend newspaper reports, the inclusion of flyhalf Morné Steyn and fullback Zane Kirchner could be the biggest shocks in Meyer’s 31-man squad for next year’s showpiece event in England and Wales.

Kirchner has fallen out of favour in recent times after the emergence of Willie le Roux, while Steyn has fallen behind Pat Lambie and Handré Pollard in the flyhalf pecking order.

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Doug Edwards

Doug Edwards

The Brumbies will say farewell to Doug Edwards as Chief Executive of the club after the long-serving board member announced his departure on Monday.

Edwards has external business interests to the Brumbies which will see him return to Queensland.

Edwards will remain with the Brumbies until his replacement has been appointed and is working in the role. The search for a replacement is already underway and has turned up several positive leads.

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Super RugbyTwenty-three newly contracted Australian rugby players have gathered in Sydney for the 12 annual RUPA Induction Camp at St Andrew’s College.

In attendance are players across all five Australian Super Rugby teams and the National Sevens who have been offered their first full time or Extended Playing Squad (EPS) contract for 2015.

Last year the Camp involved players including Will Skelton, Alofa Alofa, Jack Debreczeni, Curtis Browning, Samu Kerevi and Adam Coleman.

In 2014, the camp includes five players from the Brumbies, four from the Waratahs, Rebels and Force, three from the Reds and, for the first time, three members of the women’s National Sevens squad.

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Western ForceThe Force will host two pre-season fixtures in Perth against the Brumbies (Friday 23 January) and the Asia Pacific Dragons (Saturday 31 January) in the lead-in to the club’s 10th Super Rugby season.

Both matches will be played at McGillivray Oval in Mount Claremont.

The two matches will give the passionate ‘Sea of Blue’ their opportunity to see the Force in action prior to their season-opener against the Waratahs in Sydney on Sunday 15 February.

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AustraliaAustralian Sevens head Coach Geraint John has named an unchanged 12-man squad for this week’s tournament in South Africa.

Australia head to Port Elizabeth for the third round of the 2014/15 Sevens World Series with renewed optimism after reaching the Cup Final in last weekend’s Dubai Sevens and jumping four places to third in the overall standings.

Second seeds for the South African Sevens tournament after their impressive showing in the United Arab Emirates, Australia has been drawn in Pool B alongside Argentina, Portugal and Zimbabwe.

Head coach Geraint John said: “The players who performed so well for the country in Dubai deserve to be picked again for this tournament.

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Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

Marcell Coetzee

Marcell Coetzee

Willie le Roux

Willie le Roux

Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard

Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Five Springboks have been nominated for the prestigious SA Rugby Player of the Year Award for 2014 with one of Nizaam Carr, Marcell Coetzee, Willie le Roux, Handré Pollard or Duane Vermeulen in line to claim the coveted annual award for the first time in their careers.

The five players, who all played for the Boks this year, have been nominated by the South African rugby media following a stellar year on the field. Springbok rugby fans across the globe will now be given a voice in the selection of the winner, SARU announced on Friday.

The public will also be asked to cast their votes in two other categories, Young Player and the Absa Team of the Year. To cast your vote, CLICK HERE.

Carr and Pollard have also being named in the Young Player category, along with Cheslin Kolbe, Seabelo Senatla and Jan Serfontein. The Junior Springboks, Springboks, Springbok Sevens, DHL Western Province and Xerox Golden Lions have been nominated as Absa Team of the Year.

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Toyota Cheetahs 2015 Home & Away Jerseys

Toyota Cheetahs 2015 Home & Away Jerseys

PUMA has revealed the new Cheetahs kit for Super Rugby 2015, which focuses on the team’s two distinct colours – orange and ‘pou blou’ turquoise, rounded off with purple numbers and trimmings – but with a shift to orange for the home kit.

“The latest PUMA kit for the Toyota Cheetahs is something of a landmark,” says PUMA South Africa’s Marketing Director Brett Bellinger.

“Traditionally the home kit has been marked by a largely white-based treatment with the away kit being orange.

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Craig Joubert

Craig Joubert

South African referee Craig Joubert has scooped the prestigious Referees’ Referee of the Year award.

Joubert received the award at the annual course for top referees in South Africa, the SA Rugby Referees website reports.

Chairperson of the SA Rugby Referees’ Society, Steve Meintjes, made presentations to members who had achieved exceptionally.

The following awards were presented:

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Deon van Rensburg

Deon van Rensburg

Michael Bondesio

Michael Bondesio

Golden Lions players Michael Bondesio and Deon van Rensburg have announced their retirement from professional rugby.

The duo had been struggling with injuries of late and decided to call it a day, the union announced via their official Facebook page.

Scrumhalf Bondesio had not played much this year due to a knee injury, while wing / centre Van Rensburg was laid low by a rib injury.

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