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Guinness PRO12Glasgow Warriors left it late but eventually overcame a huge challenge from Ulster to clinch a PRO12 Grand Final place.

The Irish province had much the better of the opening exchanges and took control midway through the opening period with Chris Henry’s try.

But Glasgow came out fired up for the 2nd half and kept themselves in touch before DTH van der Merwe levelled the scores on his final Scotstoun appearance 5 minutes from time.

The score sent the 10 000 sell-out crowd into ecstasy but there was still work to be done as Finn Russell lined up the decisive conversion.

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Super RugbyIt is Round 15 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 2 games on Friday 22 May and 5 games on Saturday 23 May.

The Brumbies have a BYE weekend.

There are 2 South African teams in action on Friday, one in each game of the day – the Chiefs against the Vodacom Bulls in Rotorua at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) and thereafter the Reds vs Cell C Sharks in Brisbane at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT). The battling Sharks play their last game on tour, whereas it will be the Bulls 2nd tour match.

On Saturday morning the Blues host the Hurricanes in Auckland at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT), whereafter the Waratahs host the Crusaders in Sydney at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

In Perth, Western Australia at 13:45 SA Time (19:45 AWST, 21:45 AEST, 23:45 NZ Time, 11:45 GMT) the Western Force host the Highlanders.

There is only 1 South African derby on the weekend, that between the Toyota Cheetahs vs Emirates Lions in Bloemfontein at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time). Thereafter the DHL Stormers host the Melbourne Rebels in Cape Town at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Sunday 05:10 NZ time, 03:10 AEST).

The Chiefs vs Bulls match should go the way of the home team but the game between the 2 bottom-dwelling sides, the Reds and Cell C Sharks, it is difficult to predict a winner… my money, strangely enough is on a Sharks win.

The game between the Blues vs Hurricanes should only ever go one way, and that is heavily in favour of the Hurricanes, even although it is away from home for them.

The Waratahs vs Crusaders game should be a cracker, with both teams rather desperate to get or hold a position in the Top 6, but it could go either way… so I would lean towards the home team for this one.

The Highlanders should properly dispatch the Western Force in perth.

The Lions are strong favourites to beat the Cheetahs, specially in light of the fact that it was announced that both Naka Drotske and Os du rand will leave the franchise at the end of May as well as considering the Cheetahs dismal form in 2015.

The DHL Stormers should outlast and out-defend a gutsy Melbourne Rebels side in Cape Town in the last match of the weekend.

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Super RugbyCan the Vodacom Bulls hang on to their Top spot in the South African Vodacom Super Rugby Conference or will the DHL Stormers regain the lead?

That question will be answered this weekend when all 5 South African teams take to the field with the competition inching closer to the last stretch before the playoffs start.

The Vodacom Bulls can cement their position at the Top with a victory over the Chiefs in Rotorua on Friday morning, but it won’t be easy as the team from Waikato sits on a 10-match winning streak at home against opposition from South Africa.

The Cell C Sharks’ final tour match, against the Reds in Brisbane, is the 2nd match on Friday morning where the KwaZulu-Natalians will aim to break a 6-match losing streak – something that’s only happened once in their history.

On Saturday afternoon, the Toyota Cheetahs host the Emirates Lions in the only local derby of the Round. The team from Johannesburg can still make the playoffs, but then they have to win in Bloemfontein this weekend.

The final match in Round 15 is in Cape Town at DHL Newlands, where the DHL Stormers have a good opportunity to regain the lead in the South African Conference against the Melbourne Rebels. It won’t be easy as the Rebels have done well this season, but they’ve never won in South Africa and the Capetonians will want to keep it that way.

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Hanro Liebenberg

Hanro Liebenberg

Vodacom Blue Bulls No 8 Hanro Liebenberg will lead the Junior Springboks at the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Italy next month, SARU confirmed on Wednesday.

Liebenberg will skipper the 28-man squad during the 3-week tournament from 2 to 20 June. He led the Junior Springboks to a thrilling win over the Varsity Cup Dream Team last month and also captained them when they clinched a 2 – 0 series win over the Argentina Under 20 side in Rosario last Saturday.

The squad, which was chosen by the national selectors, consists of 16 forwards and 12 backs, and includes 6 players who featured in last year’s tournament in New Zealand. Last year England edged the young South Africans by a single point in a memorable final at Eden Park in Auckland.

Jean-Luc du Preez (flank), Thomas du Toit (prop, both Cell C Sharks), Joseph Dweba (hooker, Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Abongile Nonkontwana (lock, Vodacom Blue Bulls), Jacques Vermeulen (No 8, DHL Western Province) and Warrick Gelant (fullback, Vodacom Blue Bulls) are the players who will represent the Junior Springboks for a 2nd successive year.

The Junior Springbok squad shows 4 changes from the touring group that returned from Argentina on Monday evening.

Lock RG Snyman (Vodacom Blue Bulls) got the nod to travel to Italy after he sat out the Los Pumitas series because of an ankle injury. WP centre EW Viljoen and Blue Bulls flyhalf Tinus de Beer, who also did not tour Argentina, were both selected for the Italian job.

The Du Preez twins, Dan and Jean-Luc, who were selected for the 2014 tournament, are also members of the 28-man squad. Dan, however, withdrew days before the team left for New Zealand last year because of a shoulder injury.

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Emirates LionsEmirates Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his team to face the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday evening.

Ackermann has opted to rotate several players for this local derby.

In the forwards, Ackermann has chosen to start Jacques van Rooyen and Ruan Dreyer in the front row. Andries Ferreira will partner with Martin Muller in the lock pairing, while Warwick Tecklenburg returns to the starting side at flank.

In the backline, Courtnall Skosan returns to start at left wing which results in Ruan Combrinck shifting back to right wing. Howard Mnisi comes into the starting side and links up with Lionel Mapoe in the midfield, as Mapoe shifts back to outside centre.

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DHL StormersDHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has announced his team for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Melbourne Rebels at DHL Newlands (kick-off 19:10 SA Time), with SA Sevens star Seabelo Senatla named to start.

Senatla will start in the No 14 jersey – with Johnny Kotze missing out – in 1 of just 3 changes from the starting 15 that beat the Brumbies at DHL Newlands a fortnight ago.

DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee told the www.iamastormer.com website: “It’s great to welcome Seabelo back from SA Sevens duty, as he did for us last season (before also going on to play in the ABSA Currie Cup).

“He’s keen and excited to get stuck back in, as he said when he arrived back in the country, and Seabelo knows what we expect from him and why we have selected him – after all, he is quality player and he trained well today.

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James Hanson

James Hanson

Reds hooker James Hanson will leave the club at the conclusion of the 2015 Super Rugby season, after signing with the Melbourne Rebels.

Hanson made his Reds debut in 2010 and has played 80 games for the Brisbane based side. He has also played 9 Tests for the Wallabies since making his debut for Australia in 2012.

A product of Brisbane’s St. Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace and Premier Grade club University of Queensland, Hanson progressed through the Queensland pathway after 1st representing the state at Schoolboys level in 2005. He joined the Reds in 2008 as a member of their academy squad and made his Super Rugby debut 2 years later.

Reds head coach Richard Graham said: “James and Saia Fainga’a have jostled for the starting role over the last couple of seasons. ”

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Peter de VilliersFormer Springbok coach Peter de Villiers is being linked with the head coaching position of the Boland Cavaliers.

De Villiers has been Director of Rugby at the University of the Western Cape for the last few seasons, but his contract expired at the end of this year’s Varsity Shield competition.

He recently indicated that he was in the market for a new job.

According to Thursday’s Die Son newspaper, De Villiers is set to be named as the new Boland coach, replacing Abe Davids who left his post earlier in the week.

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Os du Randt

Os du Randt

Naka Drotske

Naka Drotske

The Toyota Cheetahs will bid an early farewell to long-standing coaches Naka Drotské and Os du Randt.

It was confirmed last week that Franco Smith would take over as head coach of the struggling Cheetahs franchise next season.

However, he will take over from Drotské in a couple of weeks.

Drotské and Du Randt were to have seen out the remainder of the season, but on Tuesday it was revealed they will depart early.

Du Randt, a 2-times World Cup winner as a player, accepted a “very exciting” opportunity to coach abroad.

He will also act as an ambassador for the Cheetahs.

In a statement on Tuesday the Cheetahs confirmed that Du Randt will depart the franchise during the 1st week of June.

The details of his new position will be revealed at a media briefing at the Free State Stadium, in Bloemfontein, on Saturday.

The Cheetahs host the Lions in what will be Du Randt’s final home game before his departure.

As a result of Du Rand’s early departure, Drotské has also requested an early release.

Both Du Rand and Drotské will be in charge for the last time when the Toyota Cheetahs face the DHL Stormers in Cape Town on 30 May.

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CrusadersSaracens RugbyNew Zealand’s Crusaders announced on Wednesday they will play English Premiership club Saracens in New Orleans on 1 August, in a fixture designed to capitalise on growing US interest in rugby.

The Crusaders, 7-time Super Rugby champions, said they will field their development side for the 1-off fixture at the 70 000 capacity SuperDome.

Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said the match, to be called The Hemispheres Cup, was a rare north-south club clash.

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Charles Piutau

Charles Piutau

Charles Piutau has been told by the New Zealand Rugby Union that he cannot play for the Blues next year.

The 23-year-old, has accepted a deal with Pro12 club Ulster midway through the 2016 year, and he wanted to play for the Blues before he left.

If Piutau was allowed to continue playing in Auckland next year he would be available for more than 10 of the Blues Super Rugby games in the 2016 season before his obligations at Ulster began.

However NZRU has denied the opportunity for the 23-year-old to continue playing for the Blues next year, applying its regulation that Super Rugby players must available for All Blacks Test duty.

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Jake White

Jake White

Former Springbok coach Jake White was being linked as a possible successor to France coach Philippe Saint-Andre.

Saint-Andre, who has won only 15 of 37 Tests in charge of France, will step down after this year’s Rugby World Cup in England and Wales.

According to Britain’s Telegraph, there is no shortage of top coaches eager to replace him, with White and former England coach Clive Woodward believed to be in the running.

Woodward, England’s 2003 World Cup winning mentor, has reportedly been involved in discussions with French bosses and it is alleged as many as 66 names were presented and they have been whittled down to a shortlist of 8.

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Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess

Stuart Lancaster has announced England’s extended training squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The 50-man group will meet up at Pennyhill Park on Monday 22 June to begin preparing for the tournament, which starts against Fiji, at Twickenham, on Friday 18 September.

England will also face France home and away and Ireland at Twickenham as part of the QBE Internationals as they build towards the World Cup.

Five eye-catching inclusions are Luke Cowan-Dickie, Maro Itoje, Sam Burgess, Elliot Daly and Henry Slade, all of whom featured in an 18 / 9 victory for England Saxons over Ireland Wolfhounds back in January.

Calum Clark and Ed Slater bring the tally of uncapped players to 7. Each of them will be vying for a Test debut.

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Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira

Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira

The Cell C Sharks will end their 4 match tour of New Zealand and Australia on Friday when they take on the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane with singular purpose in mind.

Both sides have not enjoyed the kinds of seasons their players, coaches and supporters expected at the start of the season, but for some bad luck and a host of injuries in key positions, perhaps their respective campaigns might have been different.

“You look at the players in their team – Slipper, Horwell, Genia, Turner, O’Connor – these are really good rugby players, highly experienced internationals and this is a team going through a similar season to us,” explains Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold.

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Seabelo Senatla

Seabelo Senatla

Sevens superstar Seabelo Senatla is ready to pull on a Stormers jersey and says that, physically, there is nothing stopping him from turning out against the Melbourne Rebels at Newlands on Saturday.

The Blitzbokke arrived at Cape Town International airport on Tuesday after a disappointing end to their World Series season in London, but the attention was firmly on Senatla and his Super Rugby availability.

“Ja, physically I can play, there is nothing actually stopping me,” this year’s leading try scorer on the World Series circuit said.

On Monday the Stormers were investigating whether or not they would be shown any leniency from SANZAR with regards to the rule that uninjured players have to have been fielded at least 4 times by their franchise if they are to be allowed to play in the tournament playoffs. If that rule does indeed stand, then Senatla will have to play some part in Saturday’s match and the other 3 remaining fixtures to be able to feature in the playoffs, should the Stormers qualify.

But it is not that simple, and as keen as Senatla is to play, questions over his fitness will be answered by the Stormers medical experts.

Senatla is due to undergo a medical on Wednesday, and he is recovering from a hematoma on his thigh muscle.

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ChiefsThe Chiefs have made some changes to their pack, as they head to Rotorua to take on the Bulls in a Super Rugby Round 15 match on Friday.

The changes up front are all to the tight forwards.

In the front row Mitchell Graham starts at loosehead prop.

In the 2nd row Michael Fitzgerald has been bracketed with former Chief and All Black Ross Filipo, who was called into the side earlier this week as cover.

The confirmed starting lock will be joined in the 2nd row by the newly re-signed Johan Bardoul.

The only other change to the run on side sees Augustine Pulu assume the starting role at scrumhalf.

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Vodacom CupThe Steval Pumas and Vodacom Blue Bulls will be facing the 2 unbeaten sides in the Vodacom Cup this year, the Xerox Golden Lions and DHL Western Province, when the 4 remaining teams face off in the semi-finals this weekend.

Of these 4, it’s only the Steval Pumas, runners up in 2013, that haven’t won the Vodacom Cup. The Lowvelders caused an upset last weekend when they eliminated the defending champions, GWK Griquas, in their quarter-final in Kimberley.

The Xerox Golden Lions last won the last of their 5 Vodacom Cup titles in 2013, the 3-time champion Vodacom Blue Bulls’ last success was in 2010 and DHL Western Province lifted the trophy for the 1st and only time in 2012.

There will be extra incentive for DHL Western Province when they host the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the 2nd semi-final on Saturday afternoon as they will host the final the next weekend should they progress.

However, should the Capetonians lose their 1st match of the season, the highest-placed team from the North Section will host the final.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls hold the upper hand in knock-out contests between these traditional rivals – they won both (in 2010 by 17 / 6 in Pretoria and in 2009 by 36 / 16, also at home).

In fact, the last time DHL Western Province hosted the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup in Cape Town, was way back in 2001, with the visitors winning easily by 41 / 10.

In total, they’ve met 9 times with the Vodacom Blue Bulls winning 6 and DHL Western Province 3. The Capetonians won the last encounter between these sides, by 16 / 8 in Pretoria in 2011.

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Willem Alberts

Willem Alberts

The Cell C Sharks appear resigned to the fact that loose forward Willem Alberts will be leaving them after the 2015 Rugby World Cup to play in France, judging by comments coach Gary Gold made when quizzed about their latest signing, Waratahs loose forward Jacques Potgieter.

Potgieter, a similarly abrasive forward to Alberts, will join the Sharks in early 2016 ahead of next year’s expanded Super Rugby tournament.

“We think 1 or 2 of our players are going to move after the World Cup and Jacques is a big character, a strong ball carrier and hard-hitting defender. We hope he has the same impact for us as he has had for the Waratahs. His aspiration is to play more for the Springboks and he’s not going to achieve that if he’s not based in South Africa,” Gold said.

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Frederic Michalak

Frederic Michalak

Francois Trinh-Duc

Francois Trinh-Duc

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has favoured experience as he named Montpellier flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc and Toulon veteran Frederic Michalak in his 36-man squad for the World Cup.

Trinh-Duc, 28, and Michalak, 32, were given the nod ahead of Clermont flyhalf Camille Lopez, 26, for the 18 September to 31 October tournament in England.

“We really chose experience,” said Saint-Andre, whose side bid to overturn a record of just 15 wins for 2 draws and 20 defeats in the past 3 years.

“Both in terms of Francois Trinh-Duc, who has returned to form for his club and knows a World Cup (2011) as has Remi Tales, who knows our systems well and the France team,” the France coach continued.

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Gary Gold

Gary Gold

Cell C Sharks boss Gary Gold admitted the pressure is mounting for his team, currently on a record 6-match losing streak.

The Durban-based franchise, who take on the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday, have only once before lost 6 straight matches – in 2000.

Director of Rugby, Gold, is adamant his charges can avoid the ignominy of a 7th straight defeat.

He said it is “critically important” that they finish off their Australasian tour with a win.

“We had a shocking 1st week against the Highlanders, then 2 good performances against the Hurricanes and Waratahs, where we weren’t on the right side of the scoreboard,” Gold said from the team’s base in Brisbane.

The Reds, who are 4 places (14th) and 5 points (16 to 21) below the Sharks, bounced back from their own horror run with a 46 / 29 win over the Melbourne Rebels last week.

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John Connolly

John Connolly

The Reds have played down the role of John Connolly in their miracle recovery and win over the Melbourne Rebels last week

In fact they put their much-needed victory over the Melbourne-based franchise down to the humbling they received in Christchurch just over a fortnight ago.

The Reds have been struggling to get out of the basement in Super Rugby, and after their 17 / 58 crushing at the hands of the 7-time champions, the Crusaders, the Queensland Rugby Union sent an SOS to former coach and Wallaby legend John Connolly.

Since Connolly’s arrival, last week, the Reds miraculously bounced back from their dreadful performances with a style of play that showed a lack of direction.

However, forwards coach Nick Stiles, almost suspiciously, played down Connolly’s influence in the Reds’ revival.

He put it down to the players not wanting a repeat episode of the Christchurch humiliation.

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Callie Visagie

Callie Visagie

Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke for the 1st time this season named Callie Visagie as starting hooker for his team to face the Chiefs in Rotorua on Friday. Visagie moves from the bench and replaces Adriaan Strauss for this Vodacom Super Rugby clash, with Jaco Visagie replacing his namesake on the bench. Jaco Visagie earned his 1st cap against the Reds earlier in the campaign.

Strauss, who has started in all the team’s matches this year, is rested according to the SARU agreement.

Ludeke also made 2 changes in his loose trio, with Jacques du Plessis and Deon Stegmann starting after playing off the bench against the Blues, and Arno Botha and Lappies Labuschagne this time tasked to provide spark as impact players.

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Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee

DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has confirmed that he will be selecting both Duane Vermeulen and Schalk Burger for Saturday’s important Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Melbourne Rebels at Newlands.

Both players are due for varying amounts of rest as per the rest agreement struck between the South African Rugby Union and franchise chief executives at the start of the year, and it was assumed that this might be a game where Coetzee would do it. Vermeulen has already rested 3 games and is due to sit out 1 more, while Burger has 2 stipulated rest games and he hasn’t been rested yet.

“Obviously it means that Schalk will have to sit out 2 of the 3 games that will come after this, and Duane will have to sit out 1, but we have decided that against the Rebels we want the strongest possible team,” said Coetzee.

“There is sometimes a bit of rust and hang-over after a bye, and we need to counter that, and to do that I have decided that we should have all hands on deck for this game so that we can avoid any potential pitfalls. There were quite a few problem areas that we identified before the break and which we have spoken about and are working on, and we need to build on the win against the Brumbies by beating the Rebels.”

The Stormers now have the edge in the race for South African conference honours as the Vodacom Bulls’ loss to the Blues in their 1st tour game leaves them only 1 Log point ahead of the Cape side after the same number of matches, but with the Stormers looking forward to a run of 3 successive home games.

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Pieter-Steph du Toit

Pieter-Steph du Toit

The Cell C Sharks appear to be winning the battle to retain the services of Cape bred Pieter-Steph du Toit, who has told Durban media that he is committed to the union that he says gave him his big break in rugby.

It has been an open secret for a while now that the Springbok lock, currently out injured, was in negotiations with the DHL Stormers. Until quite recently the Western Province union appeared to be winning the battle, with informed sources confirming that Du Toit, who is from Swartland farming stock, was nearly certain to make the move down the coast next season.

However, it is understood that the Sharks then fought quite hard with counter-offers and promises that a concerted effort will be made to get the structures in Durban rugby right, and in an interview with the Natal Mercury on Monday the lock said that while he couldn’t say what would happen in the longer term, he was committed to the Sharks for now.

Du Toit has been out injured for most of the past 2 seasons and appears to feel beholden to the patience and resources that the Sharks have committed to his medical rehabilitation.

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Patrick Tuipulotu

Patrick Tuipulotu

Steven Luatua

Steven Luatua

It is an unlucky 13 for the Blues, with 13 players on the injury list, including 4 players who are unlikely to play again in the final 4 weeks of the Super Rugby regular season.

Joining captain Jerome Kaino and Luke Braid on the long term injured list are All Blacks Steven Luatua and Patrick Tuipulotu.

Luatua, the stand-in captain for Kaino, dislocated his shoulder in the win over the Bulls on Friday and with the associated nerve damage, will not return for the Blues final 3 games. Tuipulotu has a long-term hip injury that has worsened and he, too, is unlikely to make it back in the next 4 weeks.

Both players require further tests prior to any decisions about their prognosis and management.

Joining them on the unavailable list this week is Tony Woodcock with a shoulder injury sustained in a collapsed scrum in the match against the Bulls and Charlie Faumuina who is on All Blacks leave.

Others not considered for this week’s match include Pita Ahki (hamstring), Dan Bowden (groin) and Bryn Hall (foot).

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Brad Weber

Brad Weber

Johan Bardoul

Johan Bardoul

Michael Allardice

Michael Allardice

The Chiefs have announced the re-signing of scrumhalf Brad Weber, loose forward Johan Bardoul and lock Michael Allardice all committing for at least the next 2 Super Rugby seasons.

Head coach Dave Rennie said, “They’re all good men with an excellent work ethic who have made big shifts in their game. We’re rapt these men have committed long term.”

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Tatafu Polota-Nau

Tatafu Polota-Nau

Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, who said earlier this month he might retire if he was badly concussed again, will be rested from Super Rugby for another 3 weeks to ensure he has fully recovered from a head knock.

The hard-running No 2 suffered the latest in a long string of concussions in the Waratahs’ win over the Brumbies in Canberra on 1 May and has not played since.

Michael Cheika, both Waratahs and Australia coach this year, said the 29-year-old would not play against the Crusaders this weekend or on the 2-match tour of South Africa that follows the 2014 Super Rugby final re-match.

“There is no point in taking him to South Africa and having doubts over him,” Cheika told reporters on Tuesday.

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Sefanaia Naivalu

Sefanaia Naivalu

Electrifying wing Sefanaia Naivalu is the only injury concern for the Melbourne Rebels as they prepare to face the DHL Stormers on Saturday.

Naivalu, who scored a double last week during the Rebels loss to the Reds in Brisbane, is facing a test before being declared fit to play against the Stormers in Cape Town at Newlands.

The speedster suffered a head knock against the Reds on Friday in Brisbane, and will follow concussion protocols this week.

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Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess

Springbok loose forward Francois Louw is backing his Bath teammate Sam Burgess to make his debut for England on the flank.

Rugby League convert Burgess has impressed since moving to the back row from the centres, and is widely tipped to be included in England’s pre-World Cup training squad – which will be named on Wednesday.

“I don’t think Sam will struggle at international level,” said Louw. “He will hold his own.”

“Stuart Lancaster has his hands full with loose forwards, but it’s not going to be too long before Sam makes his international debut on the flank.”

“Maybe it will be at this year’s World Cup and I’ll see him there.”

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Nick Mallett

Nick Mallett

Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett has highlighted the difference between local coaches compared to their New Zealand counterparts.

Mallett was speaking in the SuperSport studio on Saturday night following a dismal weekend for South African teams in Super Rugby.

All 4 teams competing lost, with the Vodacom Bulls going down to the Blues in Auckland (23 / 18), the Cell C Sharks losing to the Waratahs in Sydney (33 / 18), the Emirates Lions undone by the Brumbies in Johannesburg (30 / 20) and the Toyota Cheetahs thumped by the Highlanders in Bloemfontein (45 / 24).

Mallett said: “At halftime we heard Naka (Drotske, Cheetahs coach) say it’s back to basics. So for the 1st 10 minutes of the 2nd half we saw driving mauls and up-and-unders. And it was strange that they were kicking up-and-unders on Patrick Osborne because he’s a very big guy.

“The coaching that you get in New Zealand is very different from what you get here. At practice they will put players into situations that they’ll face in game. They will play attack against defence. The attack is faced with varying types of defence – a press defence, a shift defence, a slow defence, a staggered defence, a tight defence or a wide defence. And they get the attack to choose the right option in relation to the defence they’re confronted with.

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Seabelo Senatla

Seabelo Senatla

The Stormers have returned from their week off with no major injury concerns ahead of their Super Rugby clash against the Melbourne Rebels at DHL Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 19:10 SA Time).

Johnny Kotze sat out Monday’s afternoon session with a minor niggle, whie fellow wing Kobus van Wyk remains on track for the Lions match on 6 June.

Speaking ahead of the Rebels match, Coetzee told the Stormers’ official website:

“The Rebels have beaten the Crusaders and the Brumbies away this year, so it shows their capacity as a team. We’ve had a good bye, with 3 big games coming up at Newlands, but it’s all about this weekend and getting the victory.

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Sir Clive Woodward

Sir Clive Woodward

England’s Rugby World Cup winning coach Clive Woodward is in the hunt to succeed Philippe Saint-Andre as France manager, L’Equipe reported on Monday.

The sports daily says the 59-year-old’s name is 1 of the 8 candidates on the French rugby federation’s shortlist to take over Les Bleus after this year’s World Cup.

The federation, which has not identified any of the finalists, will name Saint-Andre’s successor by the end of May after the 8 remaining candidates are interviewed by the federation’s selection panel.

The names most bandied about as Saint-Andre’s successor are those of Bordeaux-Begles coach Raphael Ibanez, former Montpellier manager Fabien Galthie and veteran Toulouse coach Guy Noves, who turned down the job in 2011.

L’Equipe suggests that while Woodward may be the best qualified for the job “it seems improbable that he’ll become the 1st foreign coach of Les Bleus”.

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