Lions coach Johan Ackermann may be forced to change a third of his team as mounting injuries and a looming four week Vodacom Super Rugby tour compound his headaches ahead of Saturday’s clash against the DHL Stormers at Newlands.
Ackermann has already lost fullback Andries Coetzee (knee) and midfielder Alwyn Hollenbach (lip) and could lose another three players before he names his team on Thursday.
While some of the players are on the borderline whether or not they can play, Ackermann will need to weigh up whether or not to risk them this week or give them a rest to ensure they are ready for the team’s tour in a fortnight.
Veteran hooker Keven Mealamu will make his long-awaited return to Super Rugby against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday after battling back from another calf injury that sidelined him for more than a month.
The veteran Blues forward has battled calf injuries for the last three seasons and has played just once in 2014, as a second half replacement against the Crusaders on 28 February.
Australia’s 2015 World Cup preparations will be well tested on their end-of-season European tour in November with coach Ewen McKenzie trying to replicate their potential campaign for the Webb Ellis trophy as much as possible.
McKenzie’s side will play five matches on five successive weekends, which includes clashes against World Cup Pool A opponents England and Wales.
The Western Province Rugby Union (WPRU) is open to again discuss a possible move away from Newlands to Cape Town Stadium.
This comes after the union suspended talks in February this year after it was upset when then-Mayoral Committee Member Grant Pascoe said talks ‘were taking place behind closed doors’ to secure WP as the anchor tenant for the stadium.
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika’s judicial hearing over an alleged sideline confrontation with a television cameraman has been postponed upon request of Cheika’s legal representative.
The incident occurred during the Waratahs’ Super Rugby clash with the Sharks at Kings Park in Durban on 29 March.
Former Springbok flyhalf Braam van Straaten has given struggling Stormers goal-kicker Peter Grant a few kicking tips.
Grant’s goal-kicking has been way off line this season, with the pivot missing six out of 14 attempts at goal in 2014.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers is back in the DHL Stormers line-up in one five changes to the team for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Lions at DHL Newlands (kick-off 17h05).
SANZAR has released the names of the match officials for Round 10 of Super Rugby 2014.
Nick Bryant starts off proceedings this weekend in the game between the Hurricanes and Blues on Friday at 09:35 SA Time.
This weekend sees 6 games, with 2 games on Friday and 4 games on Saturday.
The Brumbies, Highlanders and Reds have BYE weekends.
The Eastern Province Kings are chasing the signature of Springbok prop Brian Mujati ahead of the start of the Currie Cup.
The Kings have already been bolstered by the recent signings of lock Izak van der Westhuizen (Edinburgh), hooker Michael van Vuuren (Stade Français), centre Tim Whitehead (Sharks), scrumhalf Kevin Luiters (Cheetahs) and wing Paul Perez (Samoa).
The Toyota Cheetah Head Coach, Naka Drotske, has named his starting 15 to take on the Sharks on Saturday 19 April at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban.
There are a number of changes to the team from last week.
Allister Coetzee believes the Stormer’s gameplan does not need adjusting and in fact, a return to the basics will give them some winning momentum.
The Cape Town-based team have lost five games in a row, including all four tour games as well as their opening match against upcoming opponents, the Lions.
The Stormers have never been miles away from a win in any of these games, making Coetzee believe that small tweaks in the basics of the game is what is needed to turn around their fortunes.
A visit to the HPC in Bellville on a cool and blustery April afternoon would have brought some much needed warmth to the hearts of DHL Stormers supporters on Monday.
If confirmation was needed that new Western Province director of rugby Gert Smal will add his coaching expertise to the Stormers management group it was provided as he helped out the forwards and added his considerable presence to the lineout drills.
Super Rugby strugglers, the Stormers, have confirmed the appointment of psychologist Henning Gericke.
Heinrich Brüssow will be back in the Cheetahs starting team for their Super Rugby clash against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
Lappies Labuschagné has groin injury which paves the way for Brüssow’s return.
Johan Ackermann is looking for his team to eliminate the ‘soft moments’ from their game that have cost them two games in a row, as he prepares for the match against the Stormers.
In the Lions’ past two games, coach Ackermann has been quick to point out ‘soft moments’ and poor decision making as the major contributors to his team’s demise.
A turnover try from the Sharks’ Lwazi Mvovo last weekend, and mistakes at the back against the Crusaders cost the Lions critical points and potentially halted their chances of winning those matches.
The Lions will be without the services of fullback Andries Coetzee and utility back Alwyn Hollenbach for their Super Rugby clash against the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.
Coetzee, who recently returned to the playing field after injuring his left knee in pre-season, injured it again against the Sharks last weekend.
Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White is yet to decide whether Frans Steyn or Tim Swiel will start at flyhalf against the Cheetahs this weekend.
Fred Zeilinga injured his hamstring in the victory over the Lions at Ellis Park last Saturday and was replaced by Steyn who shifted from inside centre and performed well at pivot.
Zeilinga joins first-choice flyhalf Pat Lambie on the sidelines, with his injury expected to rule him out for a couple of weeks, which leaves White with an interesting decision.
Highlanders flank TJ Ioane has been ruled out of his team’s two-match tour of South Africa due to a calf strain.
The explosive loose forward has been sidelined for the two home wins against the Rebels and Bulls, and has since been ruled out of their South African trip which features clashes against the Stormers and Sharks.
The Chiefs have been given a boost for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against a resurgent Crusaders team in Hamilton on Saturday as Brodie Retallick has been passed fit.
Retallick was forced to leave the field in Saturday’s ninth round match against the Melbourne Rebels after suffering a head knock but looks OK to play this weekend.
Waratahs back-rower Wycliff Palu is in doubt for this weekend’s Super Rugby clash against the Bulls in Sydney this week following the death of his father last week.
Prop Sekope Kepu and his teammates say that as much as they need in form Palu in the team they will understand if he is unable to play.
Former All Black Piri Weepu could potentially make a miraculous return to playing Super Rugby this weekend when the Blues face the Hurricanes in Wellington.
Thirty-year-old halfback Weepu has made a full recovery from a minor stroke and heart surgery and has returned to training.
Weepu says that he went through an emotional time a couple of weeks ago when he revealed that he had had a stroke before his two Super Rugby matches in South Africa and also a hole in his heart.
As Super Rugby nears its 20th year, I wonder if it’s time to shake things up and maybe take a step back from South Africa.
I got up in the early hours of the morning at the weekend and watched my old Crusaders team battle the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein – but I’m sure I was in the minority.
I can’t help thinking we might have lost a little interest in playing South African teams, and that ultimately the future of this competition might be more localised round time zones.
Premiership battlers Worcester Warriors have signed 22-year-old tighthead prop Nick Schonert from the Cheetahs.
Schonert, who was part of South Africa’s IRB Junior World Championships side in 2011, is known for his physical presence and technique at the set-piece.
Springbok and Toulon lock Bakkies Botha has tweeted an X-ray showing nine steel pins inserted into a plate in his broken arm.
The Springbok and Toulon lock successfully underwent an operation to have a plate inserted in his arm after he broke it in Toulon’s 23-10 Top 14 defeat against Brive.
Botha is expected be out for two-and-a-half months, and he has indicated that his rehabilitation is on track.
After brokering the deal for a new European Cup, starting next season, bosses of Aviva Premiership clubs are understood to be working on plans for a World Club competition.
It has been reported that the English clubs will test the resolve of the IRB by proposing plans to create a new worldwide club tournament for the summer of June 2018 which, as it stands, is currently a designated international rugby window.