Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

Inspirational Emirates Lions captain Warren Whiteley has recovered from the calf strain that kept him out of the Super Rugby semifinal last week, and returns to lead the team in the final against the Hurricanes in Wellington New Zealand on Saturday.

Ruan Ackermann drops to the bench, and is joined by Lourens Erasmus and Ross Cronjé.

Herewith the Lions’ media statement.

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Omar Mouneimne

Omar Mouneimne

As speculated here on rugby-talk recently by one of our French contributors it has been confirmed that Cell C Sharks Defence Coach, Omar Mouneimne is on his way to France.

He has requested an early release from his contract, which was granted, to pursue an offer with French Top 14 side, Stade Francais.

Commenting on his departure, Director of Rugby Gary Gold said: “Omar has worked tremendously hard on our defensive structures over the past few months.  His efforts resulted in us being one of the top defensive teams in the 2016 Super Rugby competition.

“We thank him for his invaluable contribution to the team, in a short space of time, and wish him the very best for this new opportunity he has decided to pursue.”

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EnglandA new eight-year deal worth more than £225m has been agreed between the Rugby Football Union and Premiership clubs – with England getting more flexibility and greater player access in return.

Clubs will earn more for releasing players for international duty, as well as meeting the English-qualified players target and academy standards.

England will get two more training camps a season and larger elite squad.

“This is a true partnership,” said RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie.

“[It is] focused on making English rugby the best in the world for club and country.”

The agreement is worth more than double the previous one, which was signed in 2007, and will give England greater flexibility in selection, with the Elite Player Squad (EPS) expanded from 33 to 45 players, while during core periods 36 players can be selected for camps rather than 33.

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Emirates Lions(Updated with BNZ Crusaders playing squad)

The Emirates Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named an extended squad of 25 players for the quarterfinal clash against the Crusaders, with the big surprise being the possible return to action of inspirational captain Warren Whiteley.

Whiteley, who was originally diagnosed with an injury which would keep him out of Rugby for 6 weeks, and hence miss the entire Super Rugby play-offs, is to undergo a fitness test on Thursday.

Undoubtedly the Lions management, players and all of their supporters will be hoping that he is declared fit to play.

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WP RugbyFor the second year in a row, Western Province won the final match at the Craven Week. This year’s was different.

Last year Western Province beat Eastern Province a record 95-0 in the last match.

This time they won 27-20 – a much, much better contest, a lively match. The result could have changed right up to the final whistle.

The Golden Lions had the better of scrums, the Western Province of the line-outs. But there was far greater rhythm to Western Province’s play, as one would expect with their outstanding backs.

Both sides showed determination and so the match went for the full 60 minutes with growing excitement. Both sides defended heroically, Golden Lions more often.

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Hugh Blake

Hugh Blake

Glasgow Warriors player Hugh Blake is returning to New Zealand to play for Bay of Plenty Steamers in the upcoming Mitre 10 Cup.

He’s joined the Steamers on loan until the end of October.

Hugh initially joined up with Glasgow on loan from Edinburgh during the 2014 / 2015 campaign but signed up permanently at Scotstoun last season.

He played a number of games for Warriors at the start of the 2015 / 2016 campaign but spent most of the season with the Scotland Sevens squad. He was part of the squad that won Scotland’s first World Sevens title in London.

Prior to his move to Scotland, Hugh represented New Zealand at the Under 20 level while he has also played for Otago.

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JaguaresHighlandersJaguares (8) 8 / 34 (24) Highlanders (Final Score)

Los Jaguares and the Highlanders did battle in Super Rugby 2016 at

Velez Sarsfield, Beunos Aires at 23:40 SA Time (21:40 GMT, 18:40 ARG Time, Sunday 09:40 NZ Time).

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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Lood de Jager

Lood de Jager

The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed today (Tuesday) that Lodewyk (Lood) de Jager has agreed terms with them and will join the Vodacom Bulls on November 1st, 2016 on a 12-month contract.

The SA Rugby Player of the Year for 2015 is currently playing his trade in Bloemfontein, where he has played in 40 matches for the Toyota Cheetahs in the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament thus far. The 23-year old also has 20 test matches for the Springboks to his credit.

Commenting on the signing, BBC High Performance Manager, Xander Janse van Rensburg, expressed his delight with the signing.

“This is great news for us, not only because Lood is one of the best locks in the world, but also the fact that he sees the Vodacom Bulls as a team that will enhance his career and ambitions. This is a compliment to what we are trying to achieve and a massive boost to our vision to build something special again in Pretoria,” Janse van Rensburg said.

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