Montpellier head coach Jake White cannot wait to return home triumphant for their European Rugby Challenge Cup semifinal, after beating Sale Sharks in their own backyard.
The side sat 2nd in the Top 14 turned on the power in the 2nd half after a tight 1st half. Benoit Pallaugue hit 6 penalties to steer his side to a 25 / 19 triumph, despite a late solo score from Sale centre Sam James.
The victory for Montpellier has set up a last-4 clash against either Challenge Cup champions, Gloucester, or the Newport Gwent Dragons. White is targeting a pair of victories on home soil in their pursuit for European glory.
He said: “I’m obviously very happy, it wasn’t that pretty, we didn’t play that well and we made a few mistakes which allowed them field position, and they put us under the pump. But it’s a new squad and Montpellier have never got themselves in positions like these, so I’m very happy that we can take another step forward.
Springbok utility back Frans Steyn is set to join Montpellier in the French Top 14 and reunite with his World Cup winning coach Jake White.
Steyn is one of many recruits from South Africa and Australia in a completely revamped Montpellier outfit under the guidance of coach White.
White, who had coaching roles at the Sharks and Brumbies as well as the South African national side, has confirmed 20 new signings for Montpellier – with a number of them from places where he used to ply his trade.
The 28-year-old Steyn is no foreigner to France having had a spell at Racing Metro from 2009 – 2012.
His versatility at flyhalf, centre and fullback should be particularly useful to Montpellier, given the many departures announced this off-season for the French club.
The French scene is notorious for big-money signings a look is taken into the major comings and goings in the Top 14 for the season ahead.
Francois Steyn, who is also recovering from a long-term injury, was released from the squad with immediate effect following the death of his brother on Monday morning.
“Frans informed me straight after our morning session on Monday and as soon as he heard the sad and tragic news that his brother had passed away,” said Ian Schwartz, Springbok Team Manager.
“We will not take any decisions on his immediate involvement with the squad – his personal situation is now the most important and we will support him and his family wherever we can in this very difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with Frans and his entire family in this time of mourning.”
The Springboks will be without tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis and flanker Francois Louw when they face Argentina’s Los Pumas in Durban next Saturday, but the Springboks could have Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez and Willem Alberts back while at this stage their medical team is optimistic of delivering a fully fit squad to the selectors for the Rugby World Cup, it was announced on Tuesday.
De Villiers, Du Preez and Alberts are 3 of 7 players whose fitness will be assessed on Monday as they complete the final phase of rehabilitation while players such as Duane Vermeulen and Coenie Oosthuizen are progressing well with their rehabilitation.
Although Du Plessis (knee) and Louw (rotator cuff), along with Victor Matfield and JP Pietersen (both hamstring injuries) will miss the Tests against the Pumas, none of these injuries will put their Rugby World Cup participation at risk. Saturday’s other injury victims, Vincent Koch and Warren Whiteley (rib cartilages) should be fit and available for selection next weekend.
Jan Serfontein (hip and knee), Marcell Coetzee (knee), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee) and Steven Kitshoff (knee) will also be assessed on Monday with a view to being available to selection against the Pumas.
Two injured players in the Springbok training squad, Frans Steyn and Pieter-Steph du Toit, have been temporarily released from the squad to continue their rehabilitation in Durban for the next few weeks.
Neither of them are expected to be fit for the Springboks’ 1st 2 matches of the season, next Saturday against the World XV in Cape Town and a week later against Australia in Brisbane. Steyn has a pectoral muscle tear, while Du Toit is recovering from a knee injury.
According to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer the decision to send Steyn and Du Toit home was taken with the best interests of the players in mind.
“We’ve discussed the way forward with the players, and all of us agreed that the best way forward at this stage is for them to get full-time rehabilitation at their home province, while our own medical team will keep very close tabs on their progress,” said Meyer.
“Both of them are still firmly in our plans going forward for the season and I really hope they can get back onto the field sooner rather than later. I’m confident the individual attention they will receive in Durban will be a massive benefit to them in the long run.
“We won’t be taking Frans or Pieter-Steph with us to Australia and will reassess their situation when we return from Brisbane.”
With the International Test window just around the corner (11 July), the Rugby news in South Africa is being dominated by Springbok preparations for what lies ahead in 2015… The World XV game, the abbreviated Rugby Championship and 1 further match against Los Pumas and of course the Rugby World Cup from 18 September to 31 October 2015.
Of course, it could also be argued that we do not have anything else to talk about, because South African sides have all been done and dusted with Super Rugby for a couple of weeks already, whilst 2 New Zealand sides are still contesting it… on their ownsome lonesome!
Maybe it is a blessing in disguise though, for overall Springbok preparations, as they now have much more time to get their ducks in a row for the international scene, and to re-introduce the injured and rehabilitating players…
BUT, and it’s a big BUT… the injury list seems almost as long as the list of fighting fit candidates and that is a big concern.
In this article, we focus on what Heyneke Meyer says and feels about his chosen Springbok squad, and we have a good look at the fitness and injury update from the Springbok camp.
The Cell C Sharks have paid a dear price for snapping a 6-match losing streak with a hard-fought a 21 / 14 over the Reds last Friday.
Stephan Lewies, Willem Alberts, Francois Steyn, Stefan Ungerer and Dale Chadwick were the latest additions to an injury list that already includes names like Cobus Reinach (fractured hand), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee) and Pat Lambie (neck vertebrae).
The Sharks started training in Durban on Monday – after a tour that saw them lose to the Highlanders, Hurricanes and Waratahs, before beating the Reds.
With games against the Melbourne Rebels (this coming Friday 29 May) and the Stormers on 13 June to come, with a BYE sandwiched in between, the last thing they needed was more injuries.
Lewies, who missed the 1st half of the season through injury, looks set to miss the remaining matches after he dislocated his knee cap in Brisbane at the weekend.
Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold, has welcomed back a number of players to the team named to play the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium in Wellington in Saturday’s 2nd Super Rugby tour match for the Sharks.
Gold has been able to select his Springbok front row for the 1st time in 6 weeks to bolster the pack upfront, while also returning Francois Steyn and Renaldo Bothma back to the starting line-up. The big, physical players are expected to play a big role on the weekend against the log-leaders.
“The Hurricanes are a team on an absolute high at the moment, their performance against the Crusaders was outstanding and this is probably going to be a big challenge for our players at this moment in time, with our backs against the wall,” explains Gold.
“We’re playing the best team in the competition, it’s going to be an unbelievable challenge, but one that’s going to make us grow as a group.”
Lwazi Mvovo has been moved to fullback, a straight swap with Odwa Ndungane while Lionel Cronje wears the No 10 jersey, partnering Stefan Ungerer who gets his 1st start at scrumhalf.
Coach Gary Gold, Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby, has said his suspended players owe the team a lot when they return from their respective bans on the Sharks’ overseas tour.
Captain Bismarck du Plessis has officially served out his 4-week ban as of 18 April. His final suspension weekend was against the Bulls last Saturday.
Du Plessis will be available for the 1st game against the Highlanders in a fortnight, after the Sharks BYE this week.
Centre Frans Steyn’s ban comes to an end on 3 May, which would mean that the Springbok would be unavailable for the 1st tour match.
Coach Gold, looking ahead to their tour after a loss to the Bulls on the weekend, was hopeful that the return of his 2 super stars would allow them a chance to right the wrongs they have caused the team.
“I certainly hope that it will be a shot at redemption for those guys coming back,” Gold said of both Du Plessis and Steyn.
Cell C Sharks coach Gary Gold has said there is no ill-discipline rot in Durban and that the multiple Red Cards this season have been isolated incidents.
The Sharks were punished by a determined Crusaders side 52 / 10 on Saturday, and if 2 tries against them in the 1st 5 minutes did not spell out the end for the home team, Jean Deysel’s Red Card most certainly did.
The Sharks have now seen 3 Red Cards in 3 games, starting with captain Bismarck du Plessis being sent off for lashing out against the Chiefs, and Frans Steyn joining him on the sidelines for a tip tackle in the same game.
This week, another one of the Sharks’ senior players in Jean Deysel, was handed a Red Card for a deliberate knee to a Crusaders player’s head.
Du Plessis was banned for 4 weeks, with Steyn out for 5 on appeal, after initially getting off scot free.
It remains to be seen what sanction Deysel will receive, but Gold maintains there is no trend developing.
SANZAR, the controlling body for Southern Hemisphere rugby, moved swiftly to defuse the storm that erupted in the wake of Springbok Francois Steyn’s 5-week ban.
A SANZAR appeals committee – chaired by Terry Willis (Australia), who was assisted by Nigel Hampton (New Zealand) and Robert Stelzner (South Africa) – slapped the ban on the Sharks utility back after a hearing earlier this week.
Steyn, who was Red-Carded for his lifting tackle on Aaron Cruden in the Sharks’ 12 / 11 win over the Chiefs on 21 March, was cleared by South African judicial officer Jannie Lubbe at the original hearing on 23 Match. He also expunged Steyn’s Red Card.
However, SANZAR felt strongly about the message sent out by the result of the original hearing and appealed.
That hearing, which took place on Tuesday this week, found Steyn guilty and suspended him up to, and including 3 May.
In reaction to the fall-out to their appeal and subsequent ban of Steyn, SANZAR said they felt Lubbe made a ‘clear error of fact and law’.
The SANZAR Appeal against the Ruling of the Judicial Officer in the Francois Steyn case, was heard on Tuesday and the Appeals Committee, chaired by Terry Willis (Australia) and comprising Nigel Hampton QC (New Zealand) and Robert Stelzner SC (South Africa), has ruled in favour of SANZAR, setting aside the verdict of the judicial hearing which cleared Francois Steyn of a lifting tackle and which expunged the Red Card.
The Appeals Committee unanimously upheld the appeal brought by SANZAR and found that Steyn breached Law 10.4 (j) and that the referee was correct to Red Card the player during the match between the Cell C Sharks and the Chiefs played at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Saturday 21 March 2015.
The Committee determined that the relevant sanction was 4 matches. After taking into consideration the Sharks’ bye in Round 11, Steyn was suspended from all forms of the game up to and including 3 May 2015.
The hearing date for SANZAR’s appeal against the decision to rescind Frans Steyn’s Red Card has been postponed until next week.
The Sharks centre was sent off after performing a tip-tackle on Chiefs flyhalf Aaron Cruden in their Super Rugby clash in Durban last Saturday.
Steyn was cited following the game, but was then found not guilty at a subsequent hearing, with the Red Card expunged from his record.
However, SANZAR felt justice was not served and appealed the decision on Wednesday.
The initial date for the appeal was set for Friday, but has now been extended until next Tuesday.
Frans Steyn has been found not guilty by a SANZAR judicial hearing on Monday.
This follows after the Springbok midfielder was Red-Carded for an alleged spear tackle in the Sharks’ 12 / 11 Super Rugby win over the Chiefs at the weekend.
Frans Steyn has been found not guilty of disobeying Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackling, during a SANZAR Judicial hearing, after he was carded with a Red in a Super Rugby match against the Chiefs at the weekend.
The tip tackle, which was double teamed with Cobus Reinach, took place after 28 minutes had passed between the Sharks and the Chiefs at Kings Park, Durban, on 21 March.
It was a controversial moment, after TMO Marius Jonker recommended a Yellow Card to referee Angus Gardner after reviewing the incident. The on-field officials also had the benefit of watching the dangerous tackle on the big screen. Nevertheless, it was a Red Card.
Sharks coach Gary Gold has not condoned Bismark du Plessis’s Red Card offence but he has come to the support of his physical captain’s firey nature.
The Sharks captain was shown a Red Card in his team’s 1 point victory against the Chiefs in Durban on Saturday for kicking Michael Leitch’s head.
This came only a few minutes after the opposition hooker, Hika Elliot, was sent for an early shower for an illegal clean-out on Tendai Mtawarira in the 1st half.
Du Plessis is already well known as an incredibly abrasive and physical character on the field, but more and more it seems that teams are figuring out he has a short fuse.
Gold made it clear that what Du Plessis did to earn his Red Card was silly and he did not justify the foul play.
“I am not going to justify foul play, it is silly to do that,” Gold said after the match.
“I feel it was a silly thing for Bismarck to do, he lashed out from trying to free his foot – but you cannot make contact with someone’s head.
“For what it is worth, he has apologized to the group, and in his words he said he is ashamed by his behaviour.”
The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden has accepted a guilty plea from Bismarck du Plessis of the Sharks for contravening Law 10.4 (c) A player must not kick an opponent, after he was sent off following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
Du Plessis has been suspended from all forms of the game for 4 weeks up to and including 18 April 2015.
The incident occurred in the 18th minute of the match between the Sharks and Chiefs played at Kings Park in Durban.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden assessed the case.
The Cell C Sharks can count on 3 Springboks who return to the side to take on the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday evening in what is shaping up to be a massive South African Conference derby.
JP Pietersen and Frans Steyn have returned from Japan and no time has been wasted introducing them to the starting line-up, while Willem Alberts has been given the all-clear to play after spending time rehabbing an injury.
JP Pietersen and Frans Steyn have also proven themselves at training and they form a new centre partnership.
Ryan Kankowski will join the elite group of Vodacom Super Rugby centurions when he plays in his 100th game for the Cell C Sharks, in a loose-forward bolstered by the return of Albert, especially in light of the kind of talent that lurks at the back of the Stormers scrum in the shape of SA Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, Duane Vermeulen.
The Cell C Sharks have been boosted by the return of Springboks Frans Steyn and JP Pietersen from Japan, as well as flank Willem Alberts from a hamstring injury.
Both Japanese-based backs were spotted training with the Sharks on Monday after their respective teams were eliminated from the league in Japan.
Meanwhile, barn-storming loose forward Alberts has been training with the squad for sometime now and is finally in contention for selection as the Sharks prepare to travel to Cape Town to take on the undefeated Stormers.
Good news appears to suddenly be coming in clusters for the Cell C Sharks, who have followed on from their opening Vodacom Super Rugby win against the Emirates Lions with what for director of rugby Gary Gold will be a pleasing wave of important players returning to the mix.
On Sunday morning, the day after his team scored what he called a “relieving” win over the Lions, Gold received the news that the 2 Japanese clubs that backline kingpins JP Pietersen and Frans Steyn play for were both knocked out of their competition this past weekend. That means they will be back sooner rather than later, and will probably be available for the crucial game against the Stormers in Cape Town the week after next.
“I suppose it’s not nice for those players to lose but it is good news for us,” grinned Gold.
Then on Monday a man that Gold would really like to see in action as soon as possible as he is such an important cog in the forward machine, Willem Alberts, took part in full training for the first time. He could also be ready for the Stormers game.
Also at the 2-hour middle of the day training session on a Kings Park outerfield was Ryan Kankowski. The former Springbok No 8 is now into his 2nd week back from Japan and will be available for Saturday’s clash with the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus.
On Thursday 5 February, 2015 the Cell C Sharks will play Toulon in a pre-season friendly at the Stade Mayol in a North vs South Challenge match.
This match gives fans the opportunity of seeing the likes of Mouritz Botha and Renaldo Bothma (forwards) and Paul Perez and Waylon Murray (backs) in action for the Cell C Sharks, along with team regulars in a competitive pre-season hit-out against the four time French National competition winners and back-to-back Heineken Cup champions in 2013 and 2014.
The following players make up the touring squad to France:
New Sharks boss Gary Gold and Springbok Frans Steyn will both be back in Durban soon.
This follows after the semi-finals of the Japanese Top League – which will see the Wild Knights play Júbilo in the Final, after they defeated the Brave Lupus and Kobe Steelers respectively.
It means the Sharks Director of Rugby, Gold, and the Bok utility back, Steyn, among others, are heading home for Super Rugby.
In the first semi-final the Wild Knights ran in 4 first-half tries and added 1 more in the second stanza as they avenged 2 earlier defeats this season to the Toshiba Brave Lupus, winning 50 / 15.
Steyn’s Brave Lupus team suffering a heavy defeat means that the Sharks versatile back can return to his Durban franchise earlier than expected.
Steyn will be following his newly appointed coach Gary Gold home after the Kobe Steelers lost 12 / 41 in another hammering to Júbilo who reached their first ever Top League Final.
Katsuyuki Kiyomiya’s side ran in 2 tries in the first half and 4 in the second to upset the Steelers, who had finished the regular season on top of the Group A standings.
He hasn’t ruled it out completely, but Springbok centre Frans Steyn says it’s unlikely he’ll play international rugby again.
Steyn, 27, shocked the rugby fraternity in June this year when he made himself unavailable for Springbok selection shortly before a Test against Wales in Durban, after playing against a World XV in Cape Town the previous week.
It emerged that his decision to pull out of the Springbok squad was due to a monetary dispute with the South African Rugby Union (SARU) regarding his image rights, which were handled by a third party.
”Ek is nie ’n kind nie.”
Só het Frans Steyn glo op die laaste krisisvergadering tussen hom en die Suid-Afrikaanse Rugbyunie (SARU) gesê voordat hy opgestaan, uitgeloop en die Springbok-groep vaarwel geroep het.
Dit was nadat meer as een vergadering tussen hom en SARU oor sy terugkeer uit Frankryk skipbreuk gely het.
SARU het aanvanklik in 2012 skriftelik ingestem om Steyn se kontrak met ’n Franse bemarkingsmaatskappy uit te koop sodat hy weer heeltyds vir Suid-Afrika beskikbaar kon wees. SARU het die paaiemente daarvoor stiptelik betaal – tot in Januarie 2013 toe betalings skielik eensydig gestaak is.
Frans Steyn has moved into the flyhalf position with Paul Jordaan recovering from injury to take his No 12 jersey in a strong Sharks team.
Director of Rugby Jake White has named a strong side for this derby game, opting to start with a formidable side that has been the hallmark of this team throughout the competition.
Of the injured trio of Paul Jordaan, Pat Lambie and Beast Mtawarira all receiving scans this week to confirm or deny a return to rugby, it was only Jordaan who was passed fit.
He has been included alongside JP Pietersen in the midfield. Steyn takes over from Tim Swiel at flyhalf and Fred Zeilinga has been named as back-up off the bench.
Ryan Kankowski is back at No 8 after withdrawing from last week’s game with a groin strain, and White has bolstered the starting line-up with three Boks who played off the bench last week, Willem Alberts, Jannie du Plessis and brother and captain Bismarck du Plessis.
The Cell C Sharks will return to Vodacom Super Rugby action this coming weekend one position lower on the log than they were when they went into the June break, but there is plenty of reason for them to be optimistic about their chances of going all the way to the title.
While the Sharks were out on their feet when the June international window arrived, as evidenced by their lame performance in the narrow home loss to the DHL Stormers, the break may have come at just the right time for them. During the off period they have welcomed Patrick Lambie and Anton Bresler back to training, while Jean Deysel is now over his suspension that was incurred for the stomping incident that saw him being sent off against the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Willem Alberts, one of the players who was looking tired before the break, had the week off from international duty last weekend because of the concussion that forced him off the field in the second test against Wales. He should be relatively refreshed when he does return, be it this week against the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein or next week against the Stormers in Cape Town.
The Cell C Sharks players not in the Springbok camp all returned to Kings Park this week as they start preparing for the final stages of the Super Rugby tournament, Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick reports.
In two weeks’ time, they will resume duty against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, followed by their final pool match, against the Stormers in Cape Town. The knockout stages follow with the Sharks already guaranteed a place in the top three, having already secured the South African Conference.
The players have had a mixed programme over the June break, alternating rest with gym work and field training to balance the needs to break from the game, without losing strength and fitness.
The SA Rugby Union (Saru) has denied reports that it had reneged on a contractual promise made to Springbok fullback Frans Steyn which led to his sudden withdrawal from the national squad on Tuesday evening.
“I can confirm that there was a dispute over mechanisms by which one element of Frans’s Springbok remuneration was to be paid,” Saru chief executive Jurie Roux said in a statement on Thursday.
“That issue was addressed. Some minor details remain to be sorted out, but they are not of such a scale as to be a cause for a major upheaval.”
Frans Steyn was released from the Springbok squad at his own request on Tuesday and will not appear in Saturday’s match against Wales at Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban.
The player advised SARU officials that that he did not wish to be considered for the Castle Lager Incoming series. “The environment in the Springbok squad is fantastic and I would like to state categorically that my relationship with Heyneke Meyer, the rest of the management and my team-mates is very good,” said Steyn.
Steyn – who is expected to take up a contract in Japan at the end of Vodacom Super Rugby Series – said that he wished for time to reflect on his Springbok future.
Japanese Rugby club Toshiba Brave Lupus have announced that Springbok Frans Steyn and All Black flanker Tanerau Latimer have signed with the club.
The club have won the Japanese Top league four times and already have the likes of Richard Kahui and Cooper Vuna on their books.
The good news is that the chronic knee injury that Frans Steyn is currently playing with won’t get worse and stop him from playing, but the bad news is that it is going to have to be managed for the rest of his playing career.
Steyn was the subject of quite a lot of consternation when Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said he was concerned about his condition during last week’s national training camp in Durban. However, the Bok management denied suggestions in some media forums that they were unhappy with the Sharks for playing Steyn through the injury, and it now appears the Boks might manage Steyn in the same way the Sharks have – by limiting the load placed on his affected knee in training.
Cell C Sharks backline star Frans Steyn is unlikely to feature for the Springboks in the June Internationals.
Steyn was one of 10 players who took no or little part in the field sessions at the Springbok training camp in Durban, which concluded on Wednesday.
Steyn has been suffering from a chronic knee dysfunction which has been managed by Sharks and upon a request from his franchise, the load on his knee was limited by keeping him out of training.
While the severity of the injury will only be confirmed later in the week, Steyn is expected to miss the June internationals. It is also possible that Steyn could miss the latter stages of Super Rugby, which would be a body blow to the Sharks.
Former Western Province coach Alan Zondagh says Frans Steyn should play ahead of Morné Steyn at flyhalf for the Springboks.
Morné was not included in the 36-man Bok training squad named earlier this week due to commitments with his French club, Stade Francais.
He is however expected to be included in the final squad to be named on 31 May and many pundits feel he will remain Meyer’s choice for the No 10 jersey.
Reports that Sharks and Springbok utility back Frans Steyn is set to play in Japan after this year’s Super Rugby competition should be seen as a win-win situation.
Local media and even a pay-TV station speculated about the reported move on Friday, but the facts appear to be fuzzy and even squishy.
Jake White has announced his team to take on the Melbourne Rebels on their 1st game of their Antipodian tour.
Frans Steyn is selected at flyhalf, with Fred Zeilinga on the bench and Tim Swiel falling out of the match-day 23.
Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White is yet to decide whether Frans Steyn or Tim Swiel will start at flyhalf against the Cheetahs this weekend.
Fred Zeilinga injured his hamstring in the victory over the Lions at Ellis Park last Saturday and was replaced by Steyn who shifted from inside centre and performed well at pivot.
Zeilinga joins first-choice flyhalf Pat Lambie on the sidelines, with his injury expected to rule him out for a couple of weeks, which leaves White with an interesting decision.