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Francois Louw

South AfricaOne more Test match remains for the South African Springboks of Heyneke Meyer on the End Of Year Tour, probably the biggest of the 3 Tests, against the unpredictable team of France. Nick Mallett was still Springboks coach when last the Springboks won IN France, against France.

On the injury front, Francois Louw looks likely to be good to go on the weekend, with the injury he suffered not so bad and recovery going well.

France is always difficult to curb when their backline gets going, so Jaque Fourie at outside centre is under pressure to play well, both on defence and attack, where he has not really impressed on tour so far since he has re-joined from his stint in Japan.

Heyneke Meyer’s biggest quandry is probably who to pick as his starting tighthead prop for the weekend. Will it be Coenie Oosthuizen who has been the bench tighthead option in the last 2 Test or will Lourens Adriaanse supercede Coenie because Lourens is a recognised tighthead?

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Bismarck du PlessisEben EtzebethFrancois LouwJean de VilliersWillie le RouxRugby fans can start voting for their own International Player of the Year and World XV of the Year following the release of a 45-strong shortlist of contenders.

Part of the inaugural Ultimate Rugby IRPA Awards, the Fans’ Player of the Year, and World XV of the Year will be decided by votes cast on Ultimate Rugby’s mobile app, and announced in conjunction with other category winners on November 26.

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Francois LouwLouis SchreuderNews from the Springbok camp in Hazyview is that Francois Louw has been released early this week, to concentrate on his wedding, which takes place on Sunday. He will rejoin the Springbok camp again on Monday.

Meanwhile Francois Hougaard, who was sent to Pretoria to see a specialist following a knee cartlidge injury flare-up, and told to sit out for 2 weeks till re-evaluation, will be replaced by Louis Screuder, the Stormers scrumhalf.

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avivalogo2As pointed out by Scrumdown, one of our knowledgeable contributors,  yesterday Saracens played their first Premiership game at their new home ground, the Allianz Park, in Barnet Copthall.  The match was played on an artificial surface and although it is the second game that has been played there it was the first one that they played in front of ten thousand people which is a capacity crowd for the stadium.

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When the Springbok squad of 31 (one more player to be added) was announced on Sunday, my first impression was that there was a squad of fully fit players, bar maybe some niggles after the Currie Cup Final of the day before.

It now appears that there were indeed real injuries to be considered, specifically the injuries of Adriaan Strauss (knee) and Francois Louw (neck) as well as Springbok Captain Jean de Villiers (hamstring).

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The tournament organizers couldn’t have wished for a better start to the season with an action packed game between London Wasps and Harlequins at Twickenham. Harlequins secured a narrow victory after being more than twenty points behind with twenty minutes left to play. Ten tries were scored in total in this match.

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DHL Western Province No 8 Duane Vermeulen and Toyota Free State Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen are the two uncapped players that have been added to the Springbok squad for the Australasian leg of The Castle Rugby Championship.

The squad of 28 for Tests against Australia in Perth (September 8) and New Zealand in Dunedin (September 15), was finalised on Wednesday.

Apart from the inclusion of Vermeulen and Goosen, there were recalls for DHL Western Province midfielder Juan de Jongh as well as loose forward Francois Louw, who has captained Bath in England.

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