Blues wing and one-Test All Black Frank Halai is set to join the exodus to Britain with a deal at London Wasps.
According to The Telegraph, the giant try-scoring machine is set to join the Aviva Premiership club at the end of the Rugby World Cup in late October on a long-term deal.
Sharks flyhalf Tim Swiel says he has settled in nicely at English club Harlequins, who he joined on loan last year.
Swiel, 21, will stay with the London club until the end of February before returning to Durban.
In an interview, Swiel said he’s learnt a lot in the few months at Harlequins.
Prop Morne Mellett has been cleared of a rib contusion and will be considered for the Vodacom Bulls team to play a season-opening friendly against the Toyota Cheetahs in Polokwane on Saturday.
The match starts at 17:00.
Mellett’s return will be good news to coach Frans Ludeke, as the Bulls have a number of front rankers out of action.
Montpellier president Mohed Altrad on Monday “categorically denied” reports of a deal to sign South African forwards Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis.
The brothers, various domestic media suggested, were due to join the Top 14 side after the conclusion of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in November on a two-year deal.
But Altrad said: “I categorically deny these reports.”
Jano Vermaak, one of South Africa’s most experienced scrumhalves, is believed to be on the Stormers’ shopping list for their 2015 Super Rugby campaign.
Vermaak currently plies his trade for French Top 14 club Toulouse. He is a former SA Under 21 representative who has also played for the SA Sevens side as well as the Emerging Springboks.
The 30-year old was a member of the Springbok squad for most of the 2012 season, with Ruan Pienaar and Francois Hougaard as the two first choice scrumhalves in the squad.
The native of Graaff-Reinet made his Test debut for the Springboks on 8 June 2013 against Italy at Kings Park in Durban. He suffered a hamstring injury in the 62nd minute of that Test and had to be replaced. Since then he has played three Tests for the Boks.
Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis as well as Duane Vermeulen will further their careers in France after this year’s Rugby World Cup, respected French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique has revealed.
According to the newspaper, the official announcement regarding Vermeulen will only be made in July.
This week sees the Super Rugby teams take to the field in a number of pre-season games as the franchises look to get ready for the 2015 season.
In the South African conference there is understandably no cross-conference games, however The Bulls and the Sharks have decided to board the plane for England and France respectively as they take on Saracens and Toulon.
The Bulls will prepare for that match with a hit out against the Cheetahs in their traditional Polokwane warm-up game before flying to France.
The Cheetahs then travel to Cape Town to face off against the Stormers, while a supposed ‘B-team’ stays at home to tackle the Griffons.
The Lions’ pre-season looks to be a muted affair with two games against the Leopards and Varsity Cup team, the Pukke happening on the same day.
Unlike other New Zealand franchises the Hurricanes will not rest their All Blacks back for the opening Rounds of Super Rugby.
New Zealand Rugby Union have given them dispensation over the other 4 New Zealand sides due to their demanding opening schedule, in which they play two matches in South Africa and one in Australia.
Coach Chris Boyd said it just means they will give their All Blacks an opportunity to rest later in the competition.
Sonny Bill Williams has been given a May deadline to confirm his availability for New Zealand’s Sevens team that will compete at the Olympic Games next year.
Williams, who is currently preparing for another boxing bout, is one of several high-profile All Blacks on the wishlist of NZ Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens.
The others are brothers Julian and Ardie Savea, Liam Messam, Charles Piutau, Ben Smith, Hosea Gear and Victor Vito.
Of that group, only Williams has no previous Sevens experience.
Courtney Lawes, one of England’s key forwards, will miss the start of the SIX Nations Championship after he undergoes surgery on an injured ankle on Monday.
Northampton rugby director Jim Mallinder said the 25-year-old Saints lock was set to miss the “first few weeks” of the tournament, which could mean Lawes being sidelined not just for England’s opening game with Wales on 6 February but also the Italy match on 14 February.
It is a blow for England to lose their 36-times capped powerhouse, as they are already without Wasps lock Joe Launchbury for the whole tournament as he continues his rehabilitation from neck surgery.
South Africa and the West Indies battle each other in the 2nd ODI, at Wandrers in Johannesburg.
South Africa has already won the 1st ODI, a couple of days ago.
The West Indies won the toss and elected to bowl first.
South Africa posted a mammoth total in their 50 overs, their highest ever of 439 / 2.
Hashim Amla scored 153, his highest ever ODI total without perishing. Rilee Rossouw scored 128 runs off 115 balls and AB de Villiers came in and demolished the West Indies bowlers, scoring 149 runs off just 44 balls… yeah you read correctly before perishing, with 2 balls remaining.
In the process AB de Villiers became the batsman to score the fastest ever 50 (off 16 balls) as well as the fastest ever batsman to score 100 (31 balls – previous record was 36 balls).
The West Indies knew they would have to go full-out from ball one to get to the winning score!
Chris Gayle got out cheaply for only 19 and Leon Johnson fell for 1 run. Dwayne Smith was eventually out for 64 and Marvin Samuals perished on 40. The West Indies lost 3 more wickets and never upped the run-rate, leaving them well short.
South Africa comfortably won by 148 runs.
South Africa: 439 (50 Overs)
West Indies: 291 / 7 (50 Overs)
Super Rugby starts in a month’s time with a match in Christchurch with Nick Briant to referee it.
SANZAR has released the names of the referees for the first three Rounds.
Briant referees the first match in New Zealand, Angus Garner the first in Australia and Rohan Hoffman the first in South Africa.
Jason Jaftha was injured for 2014 and his fitness needs to be assured for this year.
Marius van der Westhuizen will be refereeing his first Super Rugby match overseas after reaching Super Rugby last year.
The DHL Stormers have finished their training camp in Hermanus and have also appointed their leadership for the season.
We also bring news on Nizaam Carr, who did not take part in the training camp but in stead was hospitalised due to a viral infection.
By now, the rumours of Duane Vermeulen’s departure overseas have also been laid to rest, we discuss it below.
Seabelo Senatla, the speedster, will only join the Stormers in a couple of months due to his dual committments with the South African Sevens side, more hereunder.
Queensland Rugby Union today announced prop James Slipper will captain the Reds for the 2015 Super Rugby season.
He will be supported in the role by two new vice-captains in Reds and Wallabies lock Rob Simmons and recent signing Karmichael Hunt.
Slipper takes over the role with the blessing of incumbent captain James Horwill, who after a number of discussions agreed the best long-term outcome for the future success of the Reds was to step down and allow the growth of the leadership within the team.
In 2014, Slipper was recognised by his Queensland teammates as the Pilecki Medal winner for Players’ Player of the Year and also claimed the Rugby Union Players’ Association Medal for Excellence – which is voted on by all Super Rugby players.
He was also vice-captain of the Wallabies throughout the 2014 Test season and said he was honoured to be given the title of Reds skipper.
“I’m incredibly humbled by this decision. I take great pride in playing for Queensland, so to be named captain is a great honour,” Slipper said.
Wallaby and three-time Super Rugby champion, Radike Samo, will join the Melbourne Rebels for the 2015 Super Rugby season.
Samo, who moves to Melbourne from Kinetsu Liners in the Japanese Top League, has made 23 appearances for the Wallabies, and was part of the squad which finished third at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Speaking prior to moving to Melbourne, Samo said he was excited to join Tony McGahan’s group and have “one final crack at Super Rugby.”
South African-born trio Rory Kockott, Scott Spedding and Bernard le Roux all maintained their places in France’s initial 31-man squad ahead of the Six Nations.
Kockott and Spedding made their debuts during the November Tests with differing levels of success.
While Spedding has been embraced by the French public following a string of good performances, Kockott has endured a tough start to his international career, with many questioning his inclusion at the expense of French-born scrumhalves.
Meanwhile, coach Philippe Saint-Andre also called up Fijian wing Noa Nakaitaci. The 24-year-old has played his senior club rugby in France since moving to Clermont from the Nadroga academy in his homeland in 2010.
The Nelspruit-based Steval Pumas have retained the bulk of their coaching squad, without appointing a new head coach.
The top spot in the coaching became vacant earlier this month when head coach Jimmy Stonehouse resigned from his position to join Japanese club Toshiba Brave Lupus.
On Thursday the board of directors of the Mpumalanga Rugby (Pty) Ltd revealed they have decided to leave the coaching team intact for the duration of the 2015 Vodacom Cup.
The Kings defence coach for their inaugural Super Rugby campaign in 2013, Omar Mouneimne, has returned to Port Elizabeth from Edinburgh in preparation for their 2016 season and beyond.
Mouneimne played a crucial role in making the Southern Kings one of the toughest teams defensively in the 2013 competition and has once again taken up the role of defence coach.
He has already begun training with the 2015 Vodacom Cup squad alongside Vodacom Cup head coach, Mzwandile Stick.
“It is wonderful to be back and to be part of the preparations for the Kings’ return to Super Rugby,” he said.
All Black legend Ali Williams vowed to spend his time fishing and hunting after announcing his retirement from the game.
The 33-year-old New Zealand international lock joined European and French champions Toulon at the beginning of last season, after a career spent with the Blues and Crusaders.
“I’ve enjoyed every day that I’ve played rugby and I’m still enjoying it to the end but my body’s said enough is enough,” said Williams.
“There’s huge motivation to go out on a winning note but like anything you can’t look to the prizes, you have to look to the processes for the next few months to try to get to the prizes.
New Zealand flanker Peter Saili has signed for French Top 14 side Bordeaux-Begles, club president Laurent Marti confirmed on Friday.
Saili, 27, who recently left Blues after 5 years and 71 Super Rugby matches with the club, has penned a 2-and-a-half year deal with the western French side.
Saili, who will join his new club later this month, is the second Blues player to sign for Bordeaux after compatriot Luke Braid, who arrives next season for 2 years.
Veteran World Cup-winning prop BJ Botha is happier than ever at Munster and hopes to sign on for another year with the Irish side.
The 35-year-old former Sharks stalwart moved to Ireland in 2008, originally joining Ulster, and made the move to their rivals Munster in 2011.
He said that while he is coming to the end of his career, he still has more to give and has his sights set on earning 100 caps for Munster.
‘Football chameleon’ and new Reds recruit Karmichael Hunt has his sights firmly set on making the Wallabies World Cup squad.
Having started his career as a Rugby League player with the Brisbane Broncos, Hunt switched to playing Australian Rules in the Australian Football League for the Gold Coast Suns in 2011.
He signed for the Reds in the off-season and is expected to make his Super Rugby debut at fullback in the Round 1 clash with the Brumbies in Canberra.
He has made no secret of his World Cup ambitions, although he knows that he will have to prove himself at Super Rugby level first.
Blues’ George Moala has been found guilty of assault with intent to cause injury and common assault following a nasty brawl in 2012.
George Moala was found guilty of assault with intent to injure. He was found not guilty on two other charges of assault.
The 12-person jury took about five hours to deliver its verdict at the Auckland district court but not before posing a question seeking clarification on the definition of intention.
On hearing the verdict for George Moala, family members and supporters of the Moala brothers in the courtroom sat in shocked, tearful silence.
The Moala family made no comment outside court, and neither did George Moala’s lawyer Paul Wicks.
Newport Gwent Dragons’ South African second-row Rynard Landman says he would “play his heart out” if selected by Wales once he becomes eligible in 2017.
Landman joined Dragons from Super Rugby side Cheetahs on a three-year contract in 2014.
The 28-year-old can play for Wales once he has lived there for three years.
“I’m here to stay and, if it comes along my path in three years, I would accept it with open arms and play my heart out,” said Landman.
Jerry Yanuyanutawa says the Warriors will face a highly motivated Montpellier team in Sunday’s European Rugby Champions Cup match at Scotstoun.
The French side have lost all four of their Cup matches so far, but those defeats were sustained while Fabien Galthie was in charge. Galthie was replaced by Jake White at the end of last month, and the South African put down his marker by guiding them to a 16-12 victory over European champions Toulon in his very first game.
Jerry’s knowledge of the coach is based on their season together with the ACT Brumbies in Australia and he is convinced that White is a formidable and inspirational character.
We take a look at some of the news filtering through from the Bulls in their preparations for this year’s Super Rugby Season.
Lanky flanker Jaques du Plessis might get the nod at No 4 lock in the injury absense of Flip van der Merwe during the first stages of Super Rugby. Competing against him for the No 4 spot are youngsters Nico Janse van Rensburg and Irné Herbst.
Meanwhile former Blue Bulls and Springbok captain, Wynand Claassen, who is also the chairman of the Bulls’ ex-players union, wants the Bulls to employ a much more enterprising style in 2015.
Trevor Nyakane, who has joined the Bulls for the 2015 season from the Cheetahs, says he has been inundated with calls from his fellow-Bulls mates to come up with a new dance routine, when the Bulls score tries in 2015. He was known for his jubilant dance moves at the Cheetahs in 2014, but the question is whether he can dance the blue tune this year.
The only real players of consequence, bar of course the longer term injury to Flip van der Merwe, who are not fully into the swing of things yet and who will miss the excursion to Polokwane, are Adriaan Strauss and Handré Pollard, but their injuries appear to be on the light side, and it is highly unlikely that they will not be fit and ready to play in the season’s opener for the Bulls.
Sharks loosehead prop Thomas du Toit hopes he can continue the impressive form he displayed during an amazing 2014 debut season.
In his first year after school, the Paarl Boys’ old boy has already made a huge impression at the Sharks.
At just 19, he made his Super Rugby debut for the Durban franchise, coming off the bench in his first game against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, before starting the team’s final three fixtures, including the wildcard play-off against the Highlanders and semi-final against the Crusaders. He also made eight appearances in the Currie Cup, helping the Sharks reach the domestic semi-finals.
Du Toit got a taste of international rugby too as he starred for the Junior Springboks at the Junior World Championship in New Zealand, while he was a surprise pick for the Barbarians squad.
The Toyota Cheetahs’ preparations for Super Rugby this week reports on fitness niggles to Willie le Roux and Oupa Mahoje and also reports that Rayno Benjamin will miss the start of Super Rugby due to Sevens committments with the Blitzbokke for the first 2 weeks in February.
In addition the battle for the flyhalf spot between Joe Pietersen, Willie du Plessis and Francois Brummer, seems to be dominating the attention of the media, with speculation that Joe Pietersen seems to be the favourite, after the warm-up games to get Round 1’s starting spot.
Maks van Dyk, who has been on short term loan with Leinster in Ireland, to get valuable game time reports that he is enjoying his short Northern sojourn.
The newly-formed Soweto Rugby Union does not see itself as a ‘rebel’ entity and there is no immediate plan for the Soweto club to break away from the Golden Lions.
First conceptualised during the Soweto Sports Indaba of 2013 and then registered as a proprietary limited company in September last year, the SRU see themselves as a “township or a rural union that will give opportunities to the disadvantaged”.
However, there is no direct link between the club (SRC) and the union (SRU), other than both being based in the sprawling township on the South-Western borders of the City of Johannesburg.
South African international flyhalf Morné Steyn is free to play for his French club, Stade Francais, in their European Challenge Cup game.
Steyn was handed a 1-match ban on Wednesday, by the National Rugby League – the body controlling the French leagues.
The 30-year-old Steyn, who had asked for his disciplinary hearing to be moved forward from next week to Wednesday, had already missed the Top 14 clash with Castres this past weekend – an encounter that Stade won 49-13 at home.
Nic White and David Pocock will help lead the Brumbies as vice-captains in 2015, after head coach Stephen Larkham and captain Stephen Moore made the announcement on Thursday.
Both Pocock and White have proven leadership qualities having led professional sides on the big stage in the past.
White was named the Brumbies youngest captain against the Hurricanes in 2013, while Pocock has captained both the Wallabies and the Western Force.
A former Brumbies academy captain, White said he was thrilled to have been acknowledged with the vice-captaincy of the main squad.
Cardiff Blues lock Jarrad Hoeata will miss the remainder of his club’s European commitments, after he was banned for six weeks for his high tackle on Rob Kearney last weekend.
The All Black lock was sent off for the tackle on Kearney, as he caught the fullback round the neck.
A disciplinary committee – chaired by Achille Reali (Italy), along with Rhian Williams (Wales) and Barry O’Driscoll (Ireland) – viewed footage of the incident and listened to representations made by and on behalf of the player.
They found that the incident was at the mid-range of the World Rugby sanctions for this type of offence, carrying a six-week sanction.
New Zealander Tom Coventry has been appointed as the new head coach of London Irish for the 2015 / 2016 season, the English Premiership strugglers announced on Wednesday.
The 48-year-old, who is currently assistant coach of New Zealand team the Chiefs, will succeed former director of rugby Brian Smith, who has been released early from his contract on compassionate grounds.
“The owners have a clear vision of where they want to take the club,” Coventry told the London Irish website.
Just like in South Africa and Australia, the New Zealand list is rapidly growing, of All Blacks players who are making preparations to depart New Zealand after Rugby World Cup 2015.
Jeremy Thrush is the lastest to already have announced he has signed up North, for Gloucester… but that is not all, with news that Ben Franks is thought to be next to go. It is believed that Ben Franks is ready to sign with English Club, London Irish.
Recent articles we have hosted seems to indicate that the extent of the exodus North is just as rampant in Australia and also in South Africa.
The list of players who are going or are suspected to be in the thows of following their departing countrymen are:
Frenchman Marc Dal Maso is spending some time with the Highlanders forwards, working on their scrums, during their preseason.
Dal Maso , who is credited by Japanese coach Eddie Jones with having turned their scrum into one of the top five in the world, has been broadening his knowledge with the Highlanders coaching group.