Xerox Golden Lions:
Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 22-man side to take on Griquas in a Currie Cup match in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon.
In the forwards, prop Jacques van Rooyen and flank Warwick Tecklenburg will both start the match after moving up from the bench.
Meanwhile, in the backline, Ross Cronje will start at scrumhalf and Howard Mnisi will come in at inside centre.
Wales’ Nigel Owens will be the man with the whistle for the Springboks’ must-win Rugby Championship Test against Australia at Newlands on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 17:05 SA Time.
In a tournament blighted by sub-standard officiating, Heyneke Meyer’s men will be hoping Owens has a controversy-free match as they look to keep their title hopes alive with a bonus-point victory in Cape Town.
Staring up from the cover of the book of ‘The 25 greatest South African cricketers of all time’ are 16 faces in black and white and nine in colour.
This book, The Selected, was written by two of the country’s most respected cricket journalists in 2007.
Michael Owen-Smith and Neil Manthorp presumably burned the midnight oil many times in providing their definitive list of the finest cricketers to have played for South Africa.
Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke says they will keep backing their processes in order to get their game plan right.
The Bulls suffered another disappointing loss at the weekend when the Sharks beat them 26-15 at Loftus Versfeld.
Ludeke said they have no excuses for the loss and have to learn to handle the pressure situations better.
“It was especially our decision making which cost us. There were times when we needed to play tactically, but then carried the ball and lost it at the breakdowns instead,” Ludeke said.
Castres scrum-half and new France squad member Rory Kockott has revealed that playing for Les Bleus has always been his aim.
The South African joined Castres in 2011 and has been a roaring success in the Top 14, guiding his club to two league finals and one title.
Having now qualified on residency, Kockott has been named in France’s squad for the upcoming November Tests.
There has been much speculation over the last year as to whether Kockott would play for his adopted country or be selected by the Springboks, but now his decision is clear.
Eastern Province Kings:
The captaincy curse has struck the winless Eastern Province Kings again, with another skipper sidelined.
Steven Sykes will join Luke Watson in the sickbay and will not be on duty the against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, according to the Kings medical team.
Sykes will be missing the upcoming game due to a knee injury that he sustained during the loss to the Free State Cheetahs last Saturday.
Everything changes now for Beauden Barrett.
There’s a lot for the young All Black to get his head around as he receives an unexpected opportunity to make his move at No 10.
Aaron Cruden’s unfortunate night out in Auckland on Saturday, and his subsequent omission from the All Blacks’ trip to Argentina and South Africa, might end up hurting twice as much.
The scrumming travails that dominated the headlines and media copy after the two Castle Rugby Championship matches against Argentina are now behind the Springboks and quickly receding from memory, according to their scrum coach Pieter de Villiers.
The unedifying sight of the much vaunted Bok scrum backpedalling in the Salta match against the Pumas, as well to some extent as the game before that at Loftus, precipitated a wave of panic among South African supporters.
Springbok flanker Francois Louw underwent surgery on Monday after he injured his neck in the Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand in Wellington.
Team doctor Craig Roberts told reporters in Cape Town on Monday that Louw had suffered a pinched nerve in his neck, and would be sidelined for about six weeks.
“Francois initially took a knock to his head, and the scans showed damage to a nerve in his neck. He has had surgery today on the (affected) disc and that should relieve the pressure (on the nerve),” said Roberts.
As if beating the Springboks and Pumas on their home turf is not onerous enough, it also involves a road trip from hell.
The Wallabies will this week discover the logistics involved in getting to South Africa, Argentina and then back home can send everyone around the twist.
Countless Wallabies can vouch for the fact it is an itinerary fraught with danger. But it is always memorable – and for many past and present Wallabies it ranks among their career highlights. You certainly never forget it.
Lizo Gqoboka is one of three young, up and coming players that have been selected to attend the Springbok Training Camp ahead of their final two matches in the Rugby Championship.
Gqoboka, along with Nizaam Carr, Seabelo Senatla, will join the camp this week.
“They are three promising young players we’ve identified and we’d like to expose them to the Springbok ethos while also having a look at what they can do in training,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
Glasgow Warriors maintained their 100% winning start to the season with a 33-13 win over Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade on Saturday afternoon.
Four tries from Alex Dunbar, Josh Strauss, Tommy Seymour and Tim Swinson mean the Warriors return to Scotstoun with the bonus point.
Glasgow’s other points came from the boots of Duncan Weir and Stuart Hogg.
The Warriors had to play most of the second-half with fourteen players after Tyrone Holmes received a controversial red card for stamping.
As anticipated, DHL Western Province and the Xerox Golden Lions confirmed their positions at the top of the Absa Currie Cup log with bonus point home wins over the weekend, but they may have reason now to be looking nervously over their shoulders.
The Cell C Sharks have looked woeful for most of the season and until the second half against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 10 days again, they just weren’t converting their line breaks or stringing phases together.
Alan Solomons Edinburgh left the Liberty Stadium on Sunday with their egos battered and bruised following a second half onslaught by the Ospreys in their third round Guinness PRO12 fixture. The score was 0/0 at some point, but that was before kick off and didn’t last too long once the referee’s whistle had blown to start the game as Ospreys impressive scrumhalf, and man of the match, Rhys Webb scored a try in the first minute.
The home side had already score three tries by half time with Edinburgh dotting down once as they went into the break with the score – Ospreys 24/10 Edinburgh Rugby. Edinburgh’s last points of the match came shortly after half time from the boot of Tom Heathcote as he slotted a penalty which went over after hitting the right hand upright. It was one way traffic from here on as Ospreys piled on the points and won the match by almost 50 points, scoring nine tries in the process. The final score was Ospreys 62/13 Edinburgh Rugby and is the biggest margin of victory so far this season.
Canterbury’s Tom Taylor has been called into the All Blacks after Aaron Cruden was dropped following his boozy night out in Auckland.
Taylor made a composed starting test debut against the Wallabies in Wellington at first five-eighth last year, kicking four penalties and a conversion in the 27-16 win.
He will provide back-up to Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade in the pivotal role over the next two weeks as the All Blacks attempt to secure their third straight Rugby Championship title in La Plata and Johannesburg.
Taylor last played for the All Blacks in November in the 54-6 rout of Japan in Tokyo and has since struggled for form this season, being used in almost every position in the backline by the Crusaders.
Aaron Cruden’s pocket as well as his pride will take a hit in the wake of a boozy night in Auckland, while he can also expect to face a New Zealand Rugby Union misconduct hearing.
The All Blacks flyhalf has expressed his “embarrassment” and “shame” after missing the All Blacks flight to Argentina and subsequently losing his place in the squad for Rugby Championship tests against the Pumas and South Africa.
First-five Aaron Cruden will miss matches against Argentina and South Africa after a late night drinking incident.
Aaron Cruden was found keeping his head down at his Hamilton home today – over 10,000 kilometres away from his All Blacks team-mates – after he was kicked off the trip to Argentina for having a late night drinking session in Auckland.
If Schalk Burger plays for the Springboks against the Wallabies on Saturday after being recalled from his club in Japan, Michael Hooper can expect a bruising encounter he will long remember, warns former Australian Test flanker Phil Waugh.
Waugh, who played against the barnstorming South African 23 times during his Test career, said: “Every time I played Schalk there were plenty of fists in the face both ways; but it was always a healthy competitiveness.
Injured Queensland Reds and Wallabies fly half Quade Cooper sat down with Chris Garry last week to discuss a dramatic year for his code and club.
Cooper reveals how he helped lure the brightest talent in world rugby, Taniela “Tongan Thor” Tupou, from the clutches of the All Blacks to the Reds, why Queensland should have hit the player market hard following their Super Rugby triumph in 2011, when he will return from injury … and predicts Karmichael Hunt will make the Wallabies’ World Cup squad.
France head coach Philippe Saint-André has named five uncapped players in his squad for November’s Tests, with Rory Kockott included.
Props Uini Atonio and Xavier Chiocci, back-row Charles Ollivon and wing Teddy Thomas are the new players joining Kockott in the Les Bleus mix.
Kockott is one of just two scrum-halves in the group, joining Sébastien Tillous-Borde while Camille Lopez, Remi Tales and François Trinh-Duc are the 10 options available to Saint-André.
Saint-André has dispensed with the services of loosehead Thomas Domingo and back-row forwards Antonie Claassen and Fulgence Ouedraogo while Maxime Machenaud, Dimitri Szarzewski and Morgan Parra also miss out.
Ben Smith’s talents might be appreciated more if he rebranded his image and called himself Benji Smith.
A couple of things became clear about Ben Smith last week.
The first is that he’s probably the most natural and best-equipped footballer New Zealand has produced in the professional age.
The second is that he’s in danger of that fact never being widely acknowledged.
There’s a year to go until the World Cup – just enough time for it to be turned into an eligibility farce.
The potential for the game’s biggest event to be laughed out of town is growing. The prospect of teams turning up with legions of players who don’t really have a strong link to the jersey they wear is real.
Eben Etzebeth isn’t your average 22-year-old. South Africa’s young lock is viewed as absolutely pivotal to the team’s future.
That’s not a status which is simply handed out either. In his 27 caps so far, Etzebeth has seamlessly fitted into Test rugby.
We seem to live in an age of young locks beginning to dominate Test rugby; Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock, Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury, Sam Carter, with Pieter-Steph du Toit to come.
There’s little now at the international level that Etzebeth hasn’t experienced, including a prolonged lay-off through injury.
This is what Nick Mallett had to say after yesterday’s Currie Cup matches:
I was surprised, because the Sharks have gone through a couple of difficult weeks, where they lost two and drew one. Going into the game it looked like the Blue Bulls had a bit of momentum. It was a really good performance by the Sharks, it’s never easy to win at Loftus.
It was not just a win, but a good win.
The Blue Bulls are going to really battle to make the semis now.
Last week we reached the one year landmark before next year’s World Cup.
The All Blacks’ run since their breakthrough success on home soil has been nothing short of extraordinary. They’ve lost only one game in that time and over the last two years alone forged a 21-test unbeaten run.
Twelve months is a long time in rugby. Just look at the turnaround of the Highlanders this season. So much can happen in that time. Predicting what will happen is almost impossible, but here goes.
The All Blacks may have been grounded in Auckland overnight after their flight to Santiago was cancelled, but their ambitions remain sky-high as they look to keep alive an unbeaten run dating back to November, 2012.
Former coach Sir Graham Henry created a few ripples when he suggested the world champions could do with some adversity ahead of their defence of the global crown next year in England.
Henry spoke of the benefits that come from regathering the forces following a defeat and wondered aloud if the All Blacks, who have lost only one test under Steve Hansen, might be the better for the introspection that follows a loss.
Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje – en nie die veteraanlosvoorspeler Schalk Burger nie – in die Springbokke se beginspan Saterdag op Nuweland teen die Wallabies.
En Francois Hougaard op skrumskakel, terwyl Cobus Reinach wat van die bank af in sy debuuttoets gaan kans kry.
Dít lyk na die plan van die Springbokafrigter, Heyneke Meyer, om die Suid-Afrikaners se kwynende aanspraak in die Rugbykampioenskap te behou, Mohoje (24), wat 1.93 m lank is en die skaal op 107 kg laat kreun, sal sy eerste kans in die beginspan in die plek van Francois Louw kry.
Louw het in verlede naweek se verloortoets teen die All Blacks senuwees in sy nek vasgeknyp en sal eers weer in November vir die Bok-toer na Europa beskikbaar wees.
Hougaard sal in die plek van Ruan Pienaar opdraf, wat ook in Wellington beseer is.
Mohoje se insluiting is nóg ’n hoofstuk in sy sprokieseisoen. Dié Vrystaatse kantman het vroeër vanjaar in Port Elizabeth ’n rukkie teen Skotland gespeel.
Blue Bulls (12) 15 / 26 (13) Sharks (Final Score)
The Vodacom Blue Bulls and Cell C Sharks did battle in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division at
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.
Currently away with the Springboks, Bryan Habana hasn’t been distracted by the outlandish statements of Mourad Boudjellal at Toulon.
Habana will be in line for his 102nd cap against the Wallabies in Cape Town next weekend, but the Toulon owner earlier this week demanded that Habana along with Bakkies Botha and Argentina’s Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe return to play for their club.
Perhaps Habana wasn’t distracted because those kind of outbursts from Boudjellal aren’t new. In the same week he also raised the possibility of cancelling Leigh Halfpenny’s contract.
“It’s not up to me to decide on going back. We have the right lines of communication. SA Rugby have been working hard behind the scenes to address the rumours that have been going around this week,” Habana exclusively told Planet Rugby.
WP (24) 36 / 12 (0) Griquas (Final Score)
DHL Western Province and GWK Griquas did battle in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division at
Newlands, Cape Town at 15:00 SA Time (13:00 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.
(Take Note: There will be no LIVE GAME ARTICLE for the EP Kings / Toyota Free State Cheetahs match, as it also takes place at the same time as this game)
International coaches – and selection panels before them – traditionally prize solidity at centre, and nowhere more than in England.
Which is not to say that they’ve not had great creative centres; Jeff Butterfield, Jerry Guscott and Will Greenwood had talents that would have been welcomed in any team in the world.
The Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby have settled their dispute over World Cup compensation, the governing bodies have announced.
England’s 12 clubs are likely to share £13 million provided by the RFU and have been cleared to play matches during the knockout stage of the tournament.
“It’s a reflection of the strength of the partnership that once again we have managed to come to an arrangement that benefits both the RFU and clubs,” RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie said.
The school term has finished and the report cards have been dispatched.
This makes it as good a time as any to deliver a summary on how the Wallabies have fared since Ewen McKenzie took over the top job 14 months ago.
Record wise, the Wallabies are on an impressive run, winning 11 of their past 12 games, but the goal has to be to win against the top nations, South Africa and the All Blacks.
They have achieved one of those two desired outcomes.
Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons I have observed during the opening stages of the McKenzie era:
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen can see where his predecessor, Sir Graham Henry, is coming from.
But Hansen wants his team to continue improving without the need of a loss as a wake-up call.
Henry, with Hansen as an assistant, steered New Zealand to the World Cup title in 2011.
However, 12 months out from the start of their defence, Henry is worried they might get too used to winning and believes some adversity, namely a loss, might have benefits.