EP Kings head coach Carlos Spencer has announced a much changed team to take on the Free State Cheetahs in their final warm up game in Cradock on Friday.
Spencer said Luke Watson will once again captain the side, having returned after sitting out the game against the SWD Eagles in George due to a rib injury.
In comparison to the SWD Eagles game, Spencer has named eight new players in the starting line up and four more have received a starting position after being called up from the bench.
Lizo Gqoboka is the only player to retain his spot in the team at loosehead prop. He is accompanied up front by Michael van Vuuren, who returns to hooker in place of Edgar Marutlulle and Tom Botha at tighthead in place of Charl du Plessis. Both Marutlulle and Du Plessis move to the bench.
The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd is pleased to announce the signings of Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Pieter Labuschagne and Jamba Ulengo. All three forwards will join the Vodacom Bulls on November 1st, 2014, while Ulengo has already started training with the Vodacom Blue Bulls.
Springbok hooker Strauss, who captained the Toyota Cheetahs in recent seasons, was South Africa’s Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year in 2013 and returns to Loftus Versfeld, where he made his Vodacom Super Rugby career in 2006 after a seven year absence. He has signed a two year deal.
The Sharks are delighted to announce the appointment of talented loose-forward Tera Mtembu as captain of the Cell C Sharks for Absa Currie Cup 2014.
Having come through The Sharks Academy ranks, this dedicated, free-spirited and hard-working youngster has always displayed leadership qualities and is a well-liked and respected member of the squad.
These commendable attributes contributed to him being entrusted with the captaincy armband, whenever he was not on senior duty, during this year’s Vodacom Cup campaign.
In a somewhat confusing week for Adriaan Strauss fans, the big question is, did he or didn’t he? Conflicting reports indicate that he signed for the Bulls, and others that he will be remaining at the Cheetahs.
Earlier this week, at the unveiling of the new Blue Bulls and Free State Cheetahs jerseys for the 2014 Currie Cup, Strauss was the poster boy for the Cheetahs.
What I find strange though, is a specific question asked to him during a Q & A session. Have a look at question No. 8 posed to him and decide whether that was already a dead giveaway.
Flank Deon Stegmann has been made captain of the Blue Bulls for this year’s Currie Cup competition.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke confirmed the news on Wednesday.
Stegmann, 28, will take over from Jono Ross who captained the team in last year’s Currie Cup when they failed to make the semi-finals.
PUMA, the official technical and apparel sponsor of the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, has unveiled a new heritage-inspired Currie Cup rugby kit in the customary white and russet orange.
“As always the Toyota Free State Cheetahs are looking forward to the Currie Cup competition and this year even more so with our new Currie Cup jersey design from our partner PUMA,” said Kobus le Roux, the Marketing & Sales Executive at the Free State Cheetahs. “PUMA has yet again been able to design a new fresh look for the Toyota Free State Cheetahs without changing our unique traditions. Proudly white and orange! Proudly Cheetahs! Proudly PUMA.”
PUMA, the official technical and apparel sponsor of the Blue Bulls, has unveiled a new Currie Cup rugby kit inspired by heritage and tradition – with no pink colourways or camo designs in sight.
The jersey in the Blue Bulls’ customary blue is also embroidered with both the PUMA logo and the Blue Bulls’ Daisy on the shirt. Part of PUMA’s evoPOWER Rugby apparel design, the jersey uses a polyester tight fit material which is lightweight, comfortable and robust.
“The ABSA Currie Cup symbolises the long and proud heritage of South African Rugby, so it was important for us not to break away from the traditional look of our ABSA Currie Cup jersey for that very reason. We firmly believe that the simplicity, yet elegance of the design makes a bold statement,” said Barend van Graan, CEO of the Blue Bulls Company.
The new Absa Currie Cup Premier Division format featuring eight teams will come into play on 8 August in a fresh start to SA’s top domestic competition, with newcomers the EP Kings taking on DHL Western Province in the opening match.
The official launch of the 2014 Absa Currie Cup competition was hosted by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and sponsor Absa on Wednesday at Jeppe High School for Boys in Johannesburg where the new format was explained and the 2014 marketing campaign revealed.
The launch featured a Tag rugby match between the media, and the players and coaching staff of the Premier and First Division teams.
The Toyota Free State Cheetahs have picked up promising former Western Province Under 21 and UCT loose forward, Vincent Jobo, for their Absa Currie Cup campaign and a good showing may even lead to a Vodacom Super Rugby stint for the player nicknamed “The Animal.”
Jobo had an impressive Varsity Cup last year and is one of the rising stars of Cape Rugby. The decision to move to Bloemfontein for the Currie Cup is an excellent one for him as the former King Edward VII schoolboy has fought his way through the ranks and is now being rewarded for his form.
It appears Cheetahs hooker Adriaan Strauss will make a U-turn and decide not to move from the Cheetahs to the Bulls.
It was reported earlier that Strauss’s move to Pretoria was a done deal, but business interests in Bloemfontein now look likely to keep Strauss at the Cheetahs.
According to reports, the Cheetahs also significantly upped their offer for Strauss and he said that he’ll make a final decision on his future this week.
The Eastern Province Kings have signed Henning van der Merwe as their new kicking coach.
EP Rugby CEO, Charl Crous, confirmed that Van der Merwe, 28, had been signed until the end of the 2017 season.
Torsten van Jaarsveld has been named Free State Cheetahs captain for the upcoming Currie Cup season, the union announced via a press statement on Monday.
The 27-year-old, who can play flank and hooker, will replace Boom Prinsloo who captained the team during last year’s Currie Cup.
With Super Rugby captain Adriaan Strauss expected to be on duty for the Springboks, the Cheetahs have decided to appoint a different captain for the Currie Cup.
The Leopards scored 15 tries in beating the Border Bulldogs 103-15 (halftime 54-3) in a lost cause at Profert Olen Park on Saturday.
The Leopards knew they had to win with a bonus point to have any hope of catching the Griquas in the race to the Currie Cup Premier Division, and they did what they had to do with clinical efficiency in a free-flowing rout.
They kicked off with hope in their heart and a determination to push all the way. But it was all in vain as, at about the time they put boot to ball, the Griquas scored their fourth try against SWD Eagles and all but sealed their promotion after just half an hour’s play in George.
Springbok and Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe is only expected back on the field next year, but he’s already determined to make a positive return going into the next Rugby World Cup.
Van der Merwe suffered a serious knee injury during the second Springbok Test against Wales in June. He’s set to be sidelined for six months, which means he’ll only make his comeback during next year’s Super Rugby tournament.
The 29-year-old will miss the Springboks’ Rugby Championship campaign and end-of-year European tour, as well as the Blue Bulls’ Currie Cup campiagn.
The pressure will be firmly on Griquas to win by a bonus point margin against the SWD Eagles in George on Saturday if they want to clinch promotion.
Although unbeaten after five matches, the Griquas (23 points) currently lead the Leopards (22) by a single point going into the final round of qualification matches.
The Leopards tackle the Border Bulldogs on their home turf in Potchefstroom on Saturday and they are most likely to collect the maximum five points against their last placed opposition.
Although coming close on two occasions, the Bulldogs have lost all five of their previous matches.
Western Province Rugby Union president Thelo Wakefield says winning the 2014 Currie Cup is “non-negotiable” for the Capetonians.
Wakefield was left upset after the Stormers finished the Super Rugby season in a lowly 11th position – their worst effort since finishing 10th in 2009.
The Lions will field a revamped backline when they start their Currie Cup campaign early next month.
The high-flying Lions, fresh from their best Super Rugby season ever, face the Blue Bulls at Ellis Park on August 9 in the first round of South Africa’s premier domestic competition.
However, they will lose a host of their backline stars from the Super Rugby squad.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann, speaking to rugby365 in the wake of a three-match winning streak at the end of the Super Rugby season, said his forward pack will stay virtually intact.
The Golden Lions Rugby Union has named their CONTRACTED SQUAD for 2015. They also boast 4 Ex-Springboks amongst the Management and Coaching staff.
Kevin de Klerk, Rudolf Staeuli, Ashwin Willemse and Johan Ackerman, all Ex-Springboks are all in important positions at the Golden Lions Rugby Union, from President down to Head Coach.
The Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) has announced its new contracted player list for the 2015 season.
While financial constraints remain a challenge for the Lions, retaining talent remains their main priority. This is not unheard of as all South African unions have suffered financial constraints and must content with increasing pressure from the lucrative European and Japanese markets.
With the GLRU not yet covered by a title sponsor, the union has secured the input of several valuable partners to assist in the procurement process. Through building stronger relationships with stakeholders, the Lions put on a record-breaking Super Rugby showing, after the franchise’s return to top flight competition in 2014.
They finished the Super Rugby season in 12th spot, but surprised many pundits with their seven victories, capped by a 60-25 thrashing of the Cheetahs last weekend.
An established buy-in value system from coaching staff, players and management has seen the Lions secure the services of both top-class experienced and up-and-coming players.
Griquas took another giant leap towards regaining their place in the top echelon of the domestic game in South Africa.
The Kimberley-based outfit raced clear at the top of the standings in the Currie Cup qualifying competition, after beating the Griffons 43-24 in the Northwest Stadium in Welkom at the weekend.
Griquas ran in seven tries to accumulate the full five points and now find themselves six points above the second-placed Leopards, who had a bye this weekend.
In other Round Four matches at the weekend the Falcons beat the Border Bulldogs 54-40, while the SWD Eagles edged the Boland Cavaliers 21-17.
The Cheetahs were hit by another massive blow when they lost their ninth player of the season, with midfielder Johann Sadie heading to Japan to join the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes at the end of the current Super Rugby season.
Sadie will make the move to the Japanese club, which also has South Africans Heinrich Brüssow and Riaan Viljoen on their books, after again missing on the Springbok training squad.
The Cheetahs midfielder has had a good season despite his team’s poor form in this year’s competition and will definitely be able to use his attacking skills in the pacy Japanese league.
Vodacom Bulls flyhalf Louis Fouche has become the latest player to leave Loftus Versfeld after signing a one-year deal with the Ricoh Black Rams in Japan.
Fouche, who had a tough season with the Bulls, being dropped after the second game of this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby, has struggled to get back into the team with the likes of Jacques-Louis Potgieter and Handre Pollard ahead of him in the pecking order.
Since then, Fouche has played just a handful of games in the Vodacom Cup and decided to take up an offer in Japan to further his career there.
The Eastern Province Kings are reportedly interested in luring Western Province lock Tazz Fuzani to Port Elizabeth.
Fuzani, 23, made a promising debut for WP in last year’s Currie Cup, but appears to have fallen out of favour with WP / Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.
News from the Bulls camp, prior to joining Super Rugby action again after the June Test break has not been so good!
Jacques du Plessis, Blindside flank of the Bulls broke his jaw in the warm-up match over the weekend against namibia and is set to miss the rest of the Bulls Super Rugby campaign.
In addition, the Bulls have confirmed that lock Paul Willemse, has signed a 2-year deal with French Club, Grenoble and they have also confirmed that the Bulls kicking consultant, Vlok Cilliers will join the WP as from July 2014.
The Sharks face allegations of maladministration from a report set to be presented to a senior employee on Monday.
The report was conducted by the Durban franchise’s auditing company, KPMG, and has been labelled as “potentially explosive”.
The allegations are believed to revolve around unauthorised benefits being handed to at least one senior staff member, but could spill over into other areas of the company.
GWK Griquas remain the only unbeaten team in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division qualifying rounds, while the Valke registered their first victory this weekend in an exciting third round.
In the weekend’s matches, Griquas survived a strong second-half fightback from the Leopards at GWK Park in Kimberley to secure a narrow 33-32 win, the Valke created an upset in George by thumping the SWD Eagles 52-34 and the Boland Cavaliers registered a convincing 37-12 victory against the Border Bulldogs at the BCM Stadium in East London.
Griquas’ failure to secure a bonus point, while the Leopards earned two bonus points for scoring four tries and losing within seven points, means that the Kimberley side boast only a two-point lead over the Potchefstroom team on the log table with three matches remaining in the race for the last available spot in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division.
French Top 14 club Grenoble are reportedly hunting the services of promising Bulls lock Paul Willemse.
According to reports, there are rumours that he could leave the Bulls after the completion of this year’s Super Rugby competition.
The Bulls though insisted that the 21-year-old Willemse would play for them in the Currie Cup later this year.
Die Cheetahs agsteman, Johannes ‘Boom’ Prinsloo, het sy betrokkenheid met die Bloemfontein-gebasseerde eenheid verleng tot aan die einde van 2015.
Die 25-jarige wat ‘n uitnemende en vooraanstaande verhouding en geskiedenis met die SA Sewes Blitzbokke gehad het, het gesê hy is gelukkig by die Cheetahs en sien geen rede om daaraan te verander nie.
The Cheetahs have announced that eighthman Philip van der Walt will leave the Bloemfontein Super Rugby franchise in order to play in France.
The Free-state franchise have released Van der Walt from his contract so that he can join French club Biarritz.
Western Province and the Stormers look likely to lose the services of props Pat Cilliers and Brok Harris.
According to reports, Cilliers is heading to French club Montpellier, while Welsh club Newport are believed to be hunting the signature of Harris.
Western Province and the Stormers are reportedly hunting the services of Bulls kicking consultant Vlok Cilliers.
Cilliers, a former flyhalf who played one Test for the Boks in 1996, started working as the Bulls’ kicking coach in 2004.