Ben Afeaki has decided to retire from all rugby due to medical reasons.
Afeaki suffered concussion in February 2014 during a Super Rugby match against the Crusaders. He was cleared to resume training as part of a graduated return to play plan.
He suffered a further knock during training the next month and has not played since.
The 27-year-old prop played 36 matches for the Chiefs, was an All Black in 2013 and played 8 matches for the Maori All Blacks.
Afeaki said retirement was the best decision for his long term health and he continued to make good progress in his recovery.
The Brumbies have launched a special edition jersey to commemorate 100 years since the Anzac landing.
The Brumbies will proudly wear the jersey against the Highlanders at GIO Stadium, Canberra on 24 April, as part of the Anzac weekend celebrations.
The jersey, which features poppies on the body panels, camo and the ‘Soldier On’ logo on its back, is now on sale via the club website or at Brumbies HQ at the University of Canberra.
Blues (13) 16 / 14 (0) Brumbies (Final Score)
The Blues and Brumbies did battle in Super Rugby at
Eden Park, Auckland at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.
With only 2 points separating 4 of the South African franchises on the Vodacom Super Rugby log after 8 weeks of play, Round 9 of the competition will again be crucial for local teams, with the derby in Johannesburg between the Emirates Lions and Cell C Sharks set to attract huge interest from spectators.
The remaining 3 South African sides play Australian opponents on Saturday, with the DHL Stormers taking on the Waratahs in Sydney, the Toyota Cheetahs playing the Western Force in Perth and the Vodacom Bulls closing out a big weekend of rugby in their Pretoria clash against the Reds.
The DHL Stormers will be looking for a 1st tour win against the defending champion Waratahs, knowing that the home side has won 12 of their last 13 matches in Sydney, with a victory margin of 18 points per match.
The Toyota Cheetahs will still be chasing a 1st overseas win in 2015, when they close out their tour against the Western Force at the NIB Stadium in Perth. The Cheetahs have won at this venue in the past, but will have to defend like never before.
They average the most missed tackles in the competition, while the home side maintains the best tackling success rate (90%).
The Emirates Lions host the Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park in the only South African derby of the weekend, which is expected to be a fiercely contested clash. The home team is well aware that a win could push them into 1st place in the South African conference, albeit that the Vodacom Bulls could again overhaul them later in the evening.
The Cell C Sharks will be desperate to put their recent misfortunes behind them and win away from home.
The Vodacom Bulls take on the Reds, who despite not having the greatest of seasons, have a good record against the Loftus Versfeld team, winning 10 of their 16 encounters. Continue reading
The intensity of the Vodacom Cup is expected to rise significantly this weekend as the pool stages reach the halfway stage and the reality sets in for the teams that only 4 Rounds remain for them to secure their places in the final stages.
The main match-up in the North Section will be in Nelspruit on Saturday where log-leaders the Xerox Golden Lions go up against the Steval Pumas in a table-topping clash, while in the South Section GWK Griquas will look to close in on DHL Western Province on the log table.
The unbeaten DHL Western Province will travel to Port Elizabeth to take on the EP Kings on Saturday, which could prove to be a tight encounter, but GWK Griquas, who have also won both of their matches, will be hoping to make the most of their clash against the Border Bulldogs, who have yet to secure a log point this season, in Kimberley.
In the other South Section clashes, the Boland Cavaliers host the SWD Eagles in Wellington on Friday and the Cell C Sharks XV go up against the Toyota Free State XV in Kokstad on Saturday in what could be a hard-fought battle.
In the North Section, the Down Touch Griffons host the Hino Valke in Welkom, and the FNB Welwitschias meet the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Windhoek on Friday, where the hosts will look to register their 1st victory.
Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold has made a number of changes to his team to take on the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg this Saturday, welcoming back 2 players from injury to bolster his side.
Etienne Oosthuizen and Willem Alberts have both returned from injury lay-offs and the pair will start their return to rugby making an impact off the bench.
Odwa Ndungane has been named at fullback, replacing SP Marias who gets a rest after starting all 8 matches to date. This sees the return of S’bura Sithole on the wing, with Fred Zeilinga replacing the injured Pat Lambie at flyhalf in the final change to the backline.
Upfront, there is an overhaul with Lourens Adriaanse, Franco Marais and Dale Chadwick packing down in the front row, after Jannie du Plessis and Beast Mtawarira were rested, while Renaldo Bothma replaces Jean Deysel at blindside flank in the final change.
Marco Wentzel has been named Captain.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made 2 changes to his starting team that will take on the Reds in a Vodacom Super Rugby clash at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss is given a rest in compliance the Springbok rest agreement with the 5e franchises and Callie Visagie will start in the No 2 jersey. This will be Visagie’s 1st start of the season. His place on the bench will be taken by Jaco Visagie, who on 2 previous occasions this season did bench duty.
The other change from the side that came up short in Johannesburg against the Emirates Lions is at flank, where a fit-again Arno Botha will replace Hanro Liebenberg. Botha recovered from a hamstring strain, with Liebenberg replacing Roelof Smit on the bench.
Another new face on the bench is that of Flip van der Merwe, who replaces Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg. Van der Merwe missed the 1st half of the season due to a pectoral muscle tear, but is keen to add to his 72 caps in the competition.
“It is great to have Flip back,” Ludeke said.
“He does not only provide a physical presence and some real grunt up front, he is also an important leader in the squad and with Victor Matfield out for a couple of weeks, Flip’s return could not come at a better time. “
The coach also opted to give Handré Pollard and Jan Serfontein another week off, with the latter also rested due to theSARU arrangement.
The Brumbies have named an unchanged starting side Friday’s Super Rugby clash against the Blues having come through last week’s win over the Toyota Cheetahs unscathed.
On the bench JP Smith reclaims his spot as back-up prop with Allan Alaalatoa dropping out of the match-day 23.
Given the Blues strength up front and unpredictability in the backs, the game promises to be a massive battle which will test the Brumbies across the park.
Brumbies and Wallabies prop Scott Sio said his side would need to be on top its game to make and impact on Friday night.
Dan Carter has returned to the Crusaders team via the bench, after coach Todd Blackadder named an unchanged backline for their match against the Highlanders in Christchurch on Saturday.
There are 3 changes in the forwards, with Joe Moody and Owen Franks the starting props this week, and Alex Hodgman and Nepo Laulala providing cover from the bench.
Jimmy Tupou starts at lock alongside Sam Whitelock, and Scott Barrett is in the reserves.
This will be Franks’ 100th game for the Crusaders, which coach Todd Blackadder says is a remarkable achievement that will be celebrated by the whole team.
Highlanders Head Coach Jamie Joseph has kept faith with the team that beat the Stormers by naming an unchanged line up for Saturday’s Super Rugby derby against the Crusaders.
The Crusaders are fresh off a demolition job on the Sharks in Durban while the Highlanders return from a week off for the bye.
Traditionally a close encounter both sides will be keen to maintain their recent success heading into the halfway point of the competition.
Cocaine-tainted code-hopper Karmichael Hunt will make his 1st start for the Reds since his 6-week ban, when he dons the No 15 jersey against the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday.
Hunt is one of 6 changes for the beleaguered Reds, with injuries and suspensions playing their part.
Lock Rob Simmons will play his 1st game of the 2015 season this weekend, returning from a shoulder injury to take his place in the starting side.
Simmons replaces James Horwill, who is serving a 1-week suspension for striking.
Saia Fainga’a returns to the starting side, with James Hanson moved to the bench.
Injury to Jake Schatz has forced a shuffle in the back row, with Curtis Browning starting at blindside flank and Adam Thomson shifting to No 8.
In the backs, injury to Quade Cooper means Nick Frisby resumes the role of starting flyhalf.
A recurrence of a calf injury has ruled out James O’Connor, meaning Lachie Turner shifts to the wing and Hunt returns to the starting lineup at fullback.
Fullback Dane Haylett-Petty will return to the Western Force starting line-up for the franchise’s 10th season anniversary match against the Toyota Cheetahs in Perth on Saturday.
The Force entered the Super Rugby competition with the Cheetahs in 2006, with the Western Australian franchise recording its 1st tournament victory against the Bloemfontein-based side in Kimberly that same year.
Haylett-Petty, who returned from a 6-week foot injury off the bench against the Sharks a fortnight ago, will start in the No 15 jersey, with Luke Morahan to start on the wing.
On the bench, Chris Alcock returns to the Force’s match day 23 while Marcel Brache will provide coverage for the outside backs.
SANZAR confirmed that it received a formal complaint in regard to the alleged conduct of Waratahs head coach, Michael Cheika, following the Waratahs vs Blues match played at Allianz Stadium on Saturday 28 March.
After undertaking a thorough investigation, including receiving statements from all parties involved, it was determined that Mr Cheika had approached the match referee, Jaco Peyper, in front of the other match officials to seek clarification on a scrum interpretation during the halftime break of the Waratahs vs Blues match.
In a short and polite exchange that took place in the referee’s change room, Mr Peyper responded to Mr Cheika’s request for clarification. No other issues were discussed. Both Mr Cheika and Mr Peyper have subsequently acknowledged this exchange should not have taken place and apologised.
The Springbok Sevens have returned to South Africa following their participation in the latest rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong and Tokyo.
The squad underwent their usual medical assessment at their training camp on Wednesday, and apart from Philip Snyman and Stephan Dippenaar who both returned home with injuries last week from the Far East, no further injuries were reported.
Snyman sustained a knee ligament injury on the 2nd day in Hong Kong and he was replaced by Carel du Preez, who made his Springbok Sevens debut in Tokyo. The estimated recovery period for Snyman is 4 to 6 weeks.
His team-mate Stephan Dippenaar, meanwhile, picked up a mild hamstring injury on the last day of the Hong Kong event and was replaced by Ruhan Nel. He is expected to be back in action in 2 to 4 weeks.
Former New Zealand lock Brad Thorn is retiring at the end of the season following a glittering 21-year career in which won the biggest prizes in rugby league and union.
The 40-year-old started out in league with the Brisbane Broncos, represented Queensland in the state of origin and won 3 caps for Australia.
Thorn moved back to New Zealand in 2001 and joined the Canterbury Crusaders, playing 12 tests for the All Blacks.
He went back to rugby league with the Broncos from 2005 – 2007 but returned to union and the last of his 59 All Blacks appearances was the 2011 World Cup final in which they beat France 8 / 7.
Thorn helped Ireland’s Leinster lift the 2012 Heineken Cup, becoming the 1st man to play in victorious World Cup, Super Rugby and European Cup teams.
He joined English Premiership club Leicester last year and has helped the Tigers climb to 4th in the standings.
Centre Juan de Jongh has recovered from an ankle injury and will lead the DHL Stormers in their 3rd Vodacom Super Rugby tour match of 2015 – against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.
De Jongh was an 11th hour withdrawal from the team last weekend, but he is fit to take his place in the No 13 shirt this week and assume the leadership responsibilities in the absence of Duane Vermeulen, who is back in South Africa as part of the rest agreement with SA Rugby.
Emirates Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has announced his team to face the Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park this Saturday.
In the forwards, Julian Redelinghuys will start at tighthead for this match. Jaco Kriel also returns to the starting line-up at flank.
Additionally, Ackermann has made 2 changes to his starting backline with Faf de Klerk starting at scrumhalf. Mark Richards is also set to make his Vodacom Super Rugby debut at left wing.
Lohan Jacobs will also celebrate his Vodacom Super Rugby debut should he come off the bench.
The main game will kick-off at 17:05 SA Time. Pirates Rugby Club and Union Rugby Club will play against each other in a curtain-raiser fixture at 13:30 SA Time.
Tickets are still available via Lionsrugby.computicket.com from just R 40.00
Worcester Warriors have announced the signing of New Zealand wing Bryce Heem, who will join the Club in July from Super Rugby side, the Chiefs.
The 26-year-old has impressed during this season’s Super Rugby campaign and scored a try on his debut during his side’s victory over the Blues in the 1st game of the season.
Heem had previously been a stand-out performer for Tasman Makos during their impressive 2013 and 2014 NPC campaigns and helped the side to the final of the competition last October.
The wing, who stands at 1.93m, was an influential member of the New Zealand Sevens team between 2011 and 2014, touring the world on the Sevens World Series circuit and picking up a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games last year.
Former Stormers and Sharks flyhalf, Tim Swiel has signed a full-time contract with Premiership club Harlequins after a highly successful 4 month loan deal in October 2014.
The 21-year-old English-qualified pivot returned to the Sharks academy in February 2015 but will rejoin the English club for the 2015 / 2016 season.
During his short, but memorable time at The Stoop, Somerset-born Swiel made 10 senior appearances across the Cup, Premiership and European Rugby Champions Cup – which included impressive performances in the back-to-back fixtures against Leinster and Big Game 7 at Twickenham Stadium in December.
The Cell C Sharks have been boosted by the news that Springbok loose forward Willem Alberts has returned to training and will be available for selection this weekend.
Alberts missed the 1st few matches of the Super Rugby season with injury and returned to action in the game against the DHL Stormers on 7 March. He then suffered another injury setback in the game at Newlands which saw him spend more time on the sidelines.
However, according to the Sharks’ official website, Alberts has now recovered sufficiently and will be available to face the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg this weekend.
Waratahs Head Coach Michael Cheika has named an unchanged starting side for the match against the DHL Stormers, with Adam Ashley-Cooper and Tatafu Polota-Nau named to return from injury via the bench.
Ashley-Cooper has been sidelined for almost 2 months with a rare knee injury but has finally been deemed fit and will return to the substitutes bench.
Polota-Nau will be returning to the field after suffering a head knock at training weeks ago.
As we have become used to in 2015, coach Michael Cheika has named 2 Extra Players on the bench, for the bench to be finalized and reduced closer to game time.
Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan has named a Super Rugby team with 4 changes to the side that lost to the Chiefs for this week’s clash against the Brumbies at Eden Park.
3 Of the Blues 4 changes are in the forwards, as James Parsons comes in to replace Keven Mealamu at hooker and Patrick Tuipulotu replaces Hayden Triggs.
There will be blazer games (20 matches) for Patrick Tuipulotu and Ofa Tu’ungafasi with Sam Prattley playing off the bench.
On the flank the recently re-signed Steven Luatua is rotated to the bench and Luke Braid takes over at No 6. When Steven Luatua comes off the bench it will be his 44th game for the Blues.
Kirwan has opted for 2 openside loose forwards to start against the speedy Brumbies loosies.
Outstanding loose forward Steven Luatua has pledged his allegiance to the Blues and New Zealand Rugby for a further 2 years.
The burly flank has re-signed through to the end of the 2017 season.
Luatua defies his 23 years, having already played 14 Tests for the All Blacks and 43 Super Rugby caps for the Blues.
He has a rich pedigree as a former New Zealand school representative and played in successive Junior World Championship-winning New Zealand Under 20 teams – in 2010 and 2011.
He made his provincial debut as a teenager in 2010, his debut for the Blues in 2012 and his All Blacks debut the following year in the 24 / 9 victory over France in New Zealand.
New Zealand Rugby is in the black for the 3rd year in a row, after announcing a profit of NZ$ 373 000.00 for the 2014 financial year.
NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew said the result was pleasing.
“It’s very satisfying to have matched another great year on the field with a solid performance off it, which means we face the future with continued confidence.”
NZRU’s revenue in 2014 rose NZ$ 4 million to NZ$ 120.8 million.
The Toyota Cheetahs have named live-wire scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius in the starting 15 for their match against the Western Force in Perth on Saturday.
There are only 2 changes to the Cheetahs team, namely up front where BG Uys starts and Danie Mienie moving to the bench and at the back with Sarel Pretorius back in the starting line-up and Tian Meyer on the bench.
This will mark the 9th Super Rugby encounter between the 2 teams.
The Western Force is leading with 5 wins to the 3 wins of the Cheetahs.
He has been keeping a low public profile during the 1st half of Super Rugby’s ordinary season … and it is probably just as well.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer must be scratching his head worriedly already over how to construct his national side for the 1st assignment of the 2015 Test season, against Australia in Brisbane on 18 July as part of a condensed Rugby Championship.
Presently several Boks are either injured, suspended or undergoing rest periods (the sudden pulling of Duane Vermeulen from the Stormers’ overseas tour after only 1 match has tongues wagging despite official statements that it was “always planned”), whilst other staple characters have suffered form dips in line with the general struggles of their sides in the local conference and overall.
It is difficult to envisage any SA team actually winning Super Rugby at this point – not the ideal state of affairs in a World Cup year, even if it is not always proved to be relevant — just as it is hazardous to predict which franchise will eventually top the ho-hum domestic pile.
It is true that a few additional players like overseas-based Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez and Francois Louw and a rehabilitating Pieter-Steph du Toit should brighten the Bok equation, fitness permitting, nearer the Test roster itself, and 1 or 2 outsiders like Stormers tighthead strongman Vincent Koch and some surprise-package Lions personnel have stuck up their hands.
Yet a look at the last Springbok line-up for a Test – the unpalatable 12 / 6 loss to Wales in Cardiff on 29 November9 last year – gives you an idea of Meyer’s quandary; things look considerably more unsettled than he would like.
World Rugby has announced the 12-member panel that will referee at Rugby World Cup 2015 as well as the 7 Assistant Referees and 4 Television Match Officials who will also officiate in matches at the game’s showcase tournament, which starts on 18 September 2015.
France will provide 3 referees in the form of Jérôme Garcès, Romain Poite and Pascal Gauzere. New Zealand, South Africa, England and Ireland will provide 2 each with 1 from the Welsh Rugby Union.
The Rugby World Cup runs from 18 September to 31 October 2015.
There will be 48 matches in the tournament.
The selection was made after a comprehensive review of refereeing performances by the World Rugby Match Official Selection Committee.
Chairman of the selection panel John Jeffrey said: “I want to congratulate all 12 Referees, the 7 AR’s and 4 TMO’s, who through very hard work and determination, have made it onto the panel for this year’s Rugby World Cup.
The individual match appointments will be announced in due course.
The full list of Referees with their union and number of tests in brackets is:
- Wayne Barnes (RFU, 57)
- George Clancy (IRFU, 38)
- JP Doyle (RFU, 12)
- Jérôme Garcès (FFR, 22)
- Pascal Gauzere (FFR, 17)
- Glen Jackson (NZR, 10)
- Craig Joubert (SARU, 55)
- John Lacey (IRFU, 13)
- Nigel Owens (WRU, 60)
- Jaco Peyper (SARU, 20)
- Romain Poite (FFR, 39)
- Chris Pollock (NZR, 18)
It’s PUB NIGHT again…
The heading suggests we talk about the Sharks… err I mean about Red Cards & Suspensions in Super Rugby, after a weekend where only 1 South African side recorded a win in Super Rugby and I think that does not qualify as a good weekend of rugby!
Unfortunately the DHL Stormers and Toyota Cheetahs let South Africans down overseas… and the Bulls went down to the Lions, but worst of all was the Sharks who got hammered at home by the Crusaders, sis on you muppits!
This next weekend, Super Rugby will continue, 1 game on Friday and 5 games on Saturday.
I guess this makes for a few good discussions!
It is time to straddle a bar stool and order a drink or 2.
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:
The Vodacom Bulls medical staff on Tuesday confirmed that lock Victor Matfield will undergo surgery on his injured knee (right) and will be out of action for 3 to 4 weeks.
According to Vodacom Bulls doctor Org Strauss, Matfield is going into surgery tomorrow (Wednesday) for an arthroscopy on the knee to fix up damaged cartilage.
Matfield could have played the season without undergoing the procedure, but the decision was made as a precautionary measure building towards the World Cup.
SANZAR has announced the names of the Match Officials for Round 9 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.
The Chiefs, Hurricanes & Melbourne Rebels each have a BYE weekend this weekend.
There will only be 6 Super Rugby games on the weekend, 1 game on Friday and 5 games on Saturday.
Andrew Lees kicks of the weekend’s action when he blows the game between the Blues and Brumbies in Auckland on Friday. Due to Daylight Savings time changes, the game is at 09:35 SA Time (not 08:35 as in the first number of Rounds).
On Saturday morning at 09:35 SA Time it is the Crusaders vs Highlanders in Christchurch, where Glen Jackson will be in charge. Then it is the turn of the Waratahs vs DHL Stormers at 11:40 SA Time, where Mike Fraser will blow the whistle.
At 13:45 SA Time it will be the Western Force vs Toyota Cheetahs in Perth, where Rohan Hoffmann will be in charge of proceedings.
The South African based games for the weekend are the games between the Emirates Lions vs Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg at 17:05 SA Time, controlled by Stuart Berry, as well as the Vodacom Bulls vs Reds game in Pretoria at 19:10 SA Time, where Jaco Peyper will be in charge.
Cell C Sharks and Springbok flyhalf Patrick Lambie has been ruled out for 6 weeks, following a neck injury sustained against the Crusaders in their humiliating defeat by the Crusaders in Durban during Round 8 of Super Rugby.
Lambie has suffered a neck vertebrae injury, which saw him leave the field and replaced by Fred Zeilinga during the game on the weekend.
The Sharks have now lost no less than 4 leaders, with regular skipper Bismark Du Plessis still suspended, as is Frans Steyn.
Jean Deysel has received a hefty 7 week suspension for his deliberate knee to the head of Crusaders flank Matt Todd, and now the crucial blow of Lambie.
The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nicholas Davidson QC has accepted a guilty plea from Jean Deysel of the Sharks for contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking, after he was sent off following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
Deysel has been suspended from all forms of the game for 7 weeks up to and including Saturday 23 May 2015.
The incident occurred in the 42nd minute of the match between the Sharks and Crusaders played at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on 4 April 2015.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nicholas Davidson QC assessed the case.
The Vodacom Bulls will get a number of Springboks back this week, but there is growing concern over the knee injury of veteran lock Victor Matfield.
Matfield will only know on Tuesday when he will play again.
He was originally listed as being ‘rested’ for the encounter with the Lions last week, but it has since emerged that the knee injury was the real problem.
Pumas captain, Agustín Creevy, has become the 1st player based outside of Argentina to commit to the country’s Super Rugby franchise which will join the competition next year.
Creevy, 30, currently plays for Worcester in the United Kingdom but has signalled his intention to return home and play for the new franchise, bringing the number of contracted players to 22.
Making the announcement via videoconference on Monday evening, Creevy said, “It makes me very happy to confirm this agreement with the UAR. It’s a big step. I have played for Argentina from a young age and was always proud to defend the Argentina shirt. I never hesitated to go back home.
“This is a very important year. The World Cup is the main aim for this 2015, but then comes the moment to join Super Rugby which is a historic dream for everyone.”
Singapore look set to take over from Tokyo as a new Asian destination for the HSBC Sevens World Series at its National Stadium next year, as they continue to add to their growing portfolio of sporting events.
The wealthy Southeast Asian city-state joins Canada’s Vancouver as the new stops for the burgeoning 10-leg series that, this year, acts as a qualifier for rugby’s Olympic return at the Rio de Janeiro Games next year.
The awarding by governing body World Rugby is a boost for Singapore, after they missed out to Japan last year in the race to become the 18th franchise in the Southern Hemisphere’s Super Rugby tournament.
“We truly believe that our event at the iconic National Stadium has the potential to match the excitement surrounding current tournaments in the series,” Singapore Rugby Union President Low Teo Ping said after 23 other locations were edged out for the 4-year contract.