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Hanro Liebenberg

Hanro Liebenberg

Vodacom Blue Bulls No 8 Hanro Liebenberg will lead the Junior Springboks at the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Italy next month, SARU confirmed on Wednesday.

Liebenberg will skipper the 28-man squad during the 3-week tournament from 2 to 20 June. He led the Junior Springboks to a thrilling win over the Varsity Cup Dream Team last month and also captained them when they clinched a 2 – 0 series win over the Argentina Under 20 side in Rosario last Saturday.

The squad, which was chosen by the national selectors, consists of 16 forwards and 12 backs, and includes 6 players who featured in last year’s tournament in New Zealand. Last year England edged the young South Africans by a single point in a memorable final at Eden Park in Auckland.

Jean-Luc du Preez (flank), Thomas du Toit (prop, both Cell C Sharks), Joseph Dweba (hooker, Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Abongile Nonkontwana (lock, Vodacom Blue Bulls), Jacques Vermeulen (No 8, DHL Western Province) and Warrick Gelant (fullback, Vodacom Blue Bulls) are the players who will represent the Junior Springboks for a 2nd successive year.

The Junior Springbok squad shows 4 changes from the touring group that returned from Argentina on Monday evening.

Lock RG Snyman (Vodacom Blue Bulls) got the nod to travel to Italy after he sat out the Los Pumitas series because of an ankle injury. WP centre EW Viljoen and Blue Bulls flyhalf Tinus de Beer, who also did not tour Argentina, were both selected for the Italian job.

The Du Preez twins, Dan and Jean-Luc, who were selected for the 2014 tournament, are also members of the 28-man squad. Dan, however, withdrew days before the team left for New Zealand last year because of a shoulder injury.

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Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says Duane Vermeulen should be the Springbok captain at this year’s Rugby World Cup if Jean de Villiers fails to recover in time.

De Villiers, the current Springbok leader, is in a race against time to be fit for the 18 September to 31 October event.

De Villiers suffered an horrific knee injury in South Africa’s final Test of last year – against Wales in Cardiff – and it remains uncertain if he’ll recover sufficiently for the tournament in England and Wales.

“Duane should lead the Springboks at the World Cup if Jean de Villiers is not ready,” Mallett said.

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Francois Uys

Francois Uys

The Cheetahs, in a surprise move, named Francois Uys as their captain for the Super Rugby season.

Uys will be leading the team, joined by the vice-captain Sarel Pretorius.

The ‘well-informed’ media in Bloemfontein have been speculating for weeks that Japan-based Springbok Heinrich Brüssow would get the leadership armband.

However, coach Naka Drotské decided to go with Uys – starting from Saturday, when they take on the South African conference champions, the Cell C Sharks, in Durban.

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Melbourne RebelsThe Melbourne Rebels have selected a group of 5 players for their leadership group in 2015 but have delayed announcing their captain by a week.

Foundation Rebel Laurie Weeks and loose forwards Scott Fuglistaller and Scott Higginbotham retain their places from the 2014 leadership group, while Pat Leafa and Nic Stirzaker are added into the 5-man group for the first time.

Rebels’ Head Coach Tony McGahan believes the group will lead the Club with pride during the upcoming season.

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Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore

Nic White and David Pocock will help lead the Brumbies as vice-captains in 2015, after head coach Stephen Larkham and captain Stephen Moore made the announcement on Thursday.

Both Pocock and White have proven leadership qualities having led professional sides on the big stage in the past.

White was named the Brumbies youngest captain against the Hurricanes in 2013, while Pocock has captained both the Wallabies and the Western Force.

A former Brumbies academy captain, White said he was thrilled to have been acknowledged with the vice-captaincy of the main squad.

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Flip van der Merwe

Flip van der Merwe

Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe says there is enough leadership in the team to fill the void left by Jean de Villiers.

The Springbok captain suffered a horrific knee injury in last Saturday’s Test against Wales in Cardiff. He faces an extended period on the sidelines and could even miss next year’s Rugby World Cup in England and Wales.

While losing De Villiers would be a big blow, Van der Merwe feels there are enough leaders in the squad for coach Heyneke Meyer to call on.

“It’s one of Heyneke’s big success stories during his time as coach. He concentrated on establishing a leadership group. of which Jean merely acts as manager,” Van der Merwe says.

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Alistair Hargreaves

Alistair Hargreaves

Alistair Hargreaves has been appointed as the new Saracens captain. The Springbok lock forward, 28, succeeds Steve Borthwick, who retired at the end of last season.

The former Sharks man has been with the Saracens since 2012, born and schooled in Durban he played for the Sharks from under-19 level.

He has been capped four times for the Springboks, the last of those coming in the 2011 Tri-Nations tournament.

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Graham Kitchener

Graham Kitchener

EnglandEngland have named their team to play the Barbarians at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday with Graham Kitchener captaining the team.

Leicester Tigers second row Kitchener will captain the England selection which includes players from seven Premiership sides.

Twenty-one-year-old Exeter Chiefs fly half Henry Slade has been named a the vice captain of the team.

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Heyneke Meyer emotional and animated in the game between Wallabies vs Springboks, The Rugby Championship, Brisbane, 7 September 013

Heyneke Meyer emotional and animated in the game between Wallabies vs Springboks, The Rugby Championship, Brisbane, 7 September 2013

The June Internationals are close at hand and Heyneke Meyer has already showed his hand to a certain extent by selecting a Springbok Training Group, which currently excludes players plying their trade in the UK and Europe.

The recent injury to Springbok captain, Jean de Villiers, now determines that a  “Stand-in” Springbok captain will have to be selected and coupled to this the Springbok midfield positions are bound to be re-constituted.

Injuries to key players, specially flyhalf, as well as the 3-match suspension of Adriaan Strauss at hooker will see some juggling around of the match-day 23 and some very clear thinking will be required by Heyneke Meyer to address these issues.

We take a look at the Springbok Captaincy candidates as well as midfield combination and look at hooker options to function as back-up to Bismarck du Plessis.

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Cell C SharksBismarck du PlessisCell C Sharks Director of Rugby, Jake White, on Thursday announced that Springbok hooker, Bismarck du Plessis, will captain the Cell C Sharks in 2014.

Regarded as one of the best hookers in the world, Bismarck has been colossal figure for the Cell C Sharks over the years. With 103 Vodacom Super Rugby appearances to his name, he is a player who leads by example and is well respected by the team.

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Quade CooperQuade Cooper’s remarkable return could culminate with him becoming the next Wallaby captain after Ben Mowen’s shock decision to quit Australian rugby.

Mowen on Thursday announced that he’ll join the French exodus at the end of the year, seemingly leaving vice-captain Cooper next in line to lead Australia.

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Ben MowenAustralia’s Rugby Championship campaign is being threatened by a pay row involving one of the key players in the team.

Media reports suggest Ben Mowen is considering walking out over a payment dispute with the Australian Rugby Union – just a fortnight after captaining the team against Argentina.

The 28-year-old is understood to be frustrated because he’s not receiving a top-up contract from the ARU, despite being a regular starter for the Wallabies.

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Sharks coach John Plumtree has made it public knowledge that he will select his captain for the season next week sometime, and this got me thinking as to who the candidates could be. My 2 minute self debate ended quite simply with another year under Keegan Daniel. But then I had a few beers with a good mate of mine, and this is what we decided would be best for the Black and White.

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Reds (6) 18 / Crusaders (7) 13 (Final Score)

The Reds hosted the Crusaders in the Final of Super Rugby 2011 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 Brisbane Time). This was the match thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1, SHD & M-Net on TV in SA.

In a truly super Super Rugby Final, the Reds emerge as worthy champions.

What a tournament we’ve had!!

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