If you thought NSW Watarahs and Australian Wallabies battering ram Will Skelton was big, meet ACT Brumbies recruit Rory Arnold, the tallest player in Super Rugby.
The 208cm, 130kg lock created huge headlines last year after being involved in an alleged biting incident in South Africa, but Arnold is determined to make a big impact at the Brumbies for the right reasons.
While man mountain Skelton weighs in at 140kg, at 203cm he can’t match Arnold, who is equal in height with former South African player Andries Bekker. They are the tallest players in Super Rugby’s 19-year history.
Andries Bekker’s career at the Stormers may well have come to a premature end as he joined the Cape franchise’s ever-increasing injury list.
Bekker and fellow Springbok Juan de Jongh were the latest additions to the Stormers’ injury list, ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Reds at Newlands.
Being officially out of the Vodacom Super Rugby race has not exempted the DHL Stormers from further injuries, with several players on the doubtful list for a clash against the Reds at Newlands on Saturday that is of academic interest only to South African fans.
Of course former Springbok coach Jake White and his Brumbies, and the Waratahs that beat them this past weekend, may have different ideas about the irrelevance of the game.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) today announced that 15 players, including exciting youngsters such as Eben Etzebeth, Marcell Coetzee, Juan de Jongh and Pat Lambie and world stars such as Jean de Villiers, Tendai Mtawarira and Bismarck du Plessis, have been awarded Springbok contracts for 2013.
DHL WP and Springbok lock Andries Bekker will become the first DHL Stormers player to reach the 100-game milestone for the Cape franchise when he takes to the field in this weekend’s Vodacom Super Rugby derby match against the Cheetahs.
Cape Town: Coach Allister Coetzee has made five changes to the DHL Stormers team to take on the Cheetahs at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday (kick-off 17h05).
Springbok Pat Cilliers will make his second start of the 2013 season, after being named at loosehead prop for the DHL Stormers’ Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders at DHL Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 19:10).
Andries Bekker, the most-capped DHL Stormers player in the history of Super Rugby, will move to Japanese club Kobelco Steelers at the conclusion of the 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
It’s crunch-time in the Currie Cup, with only semi-finals and finals remaining but only one of the four semi-final sides, the Blue Bulls have a clean bill of health on their 22 squad players.
The Springbok side to face the Wallabies on Saturday at Loftus, has been announced.
Two late changes have been made to the Springbok 22, with Francois Steyn failing a late fitness test and Coenie Oosthuizen also not fit enough to man the bench. Jean de Villiers moves to inside centre and Jaco Taute will make his Springbok debut at outside centre. PatCilliers replaces Coenie Oosthuizen on the bench.
It took guts and determination from Heyneke Meyer and clearly he has the best interests of Springbok Rugby as well as the individual interests of the players at heart, when making some hard and big decisions.
Johan Goosen starts at flyhalf and Andries Bekker starts at No 5 lock in place of Juandré Kruger. Elton Jantjies is on the bench and Morné Steyn drops out of the match 22 alltogether.
Flip van der Merwe moves down to the bench after a strong game against the New Zealand All Blacks, but one has to mention that Flip is carrying a niggling injury and did not practice with the squad on Monday and Tuesday.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has revealed that line out specialist Andries Bekker is in line to return to Super Rugby against the Lions at the end of the month.
The Stormers have received a massive blow with the news that centre and captain Jean de Villiers has injured ligaments in his hand.
The lower back injury that prevented Andries Bekker from playing beyond the first few minutes of the crunch Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Crusaders in Christchurch at the weekend will rule him out of the important match against the Reds in Brisbane on Friday.
Some good news, tempered with some bad news…
Juan de Jongh returns to the fold this week in preparation for the Stormers game against the Sharks, but the initial assessment of Schalk Burger’s injury was further compounded by news now that Schalk Burger, their mercurial captain and one-man wrecking machine, will be out for at least 6 weeks if not more, with damaged medial knee ligaments.
Andries Bekker and Jean de Villiers have some injury niggles, Rynhardt Elstadt is on his way back… and Peter Grant joins the Stormers this week from Japan.
This section deals with the locks for the Stormers. As with the Hookers, I think this is one of the stronger areas of the Stormers team, and when Bekker is back, it will make for one of the better lock combinations in the competition.
The Stormers duo of Andries Bekker and Duane Vermeulen are in a race against time to be fit for the upcoming Super Rugby season which starts next month.
Springbok giant Victor Matfield says that Andries Bekker has the ability to be an even better lock than him, and that the Stormers are very close to winning an elusive Super Rugby crown (clearly at this point he had just inhaled a bit of that ‘mountain baccy’).
The Sharks have named their team to face the Waratahs in what will be their final home game of the Super Rugby pool stages with John Smit as captain.
Since reading most opinions on news websites and the mainstream media I cannot get that irritating tune of Kenny Rogers called The Gambler out of my head. Continue reading