They may not all be “coining it” immediately to the extent that certain foreign-based colleagues are, but Springbok Rugby World Cup 2015 players contracted only to domestic franchises are about to reap the benefits of an unusually lengthy off-season.
In a development that ought to see them importantly start a heavy 2016 roster pretty firmly refreshed, both physically and mentally, those players are largely off competitive duty for the next 4 months.
Outside of a Rugby World Cup year, the month of November would normally see them packing bags – no doubt just a little reluctantly – for the obligatory end-of-year European tour in conditions likely to be wetter and colder than those agreeably experienced during the recent, more autumnal Rugby World Cup in those climes.
Instead the beach beckons back home now as relevant Springboks with extended international futures like Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Lood de Jager, Trevor Nyakane, Rudy Paige, Pat Lambie and Jesse Kriel wipe rugby from their minds for several weeks, until Super Rugby 2016 pre-season activities with their respective sides.
Even then, blue-chip Springbok players are often shielded to a significant extent from warm-up matches staged in inevitably murderous summer heat and are largely asked to instead hit the ground running when the competition-proper gets underway.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer decided to keep continuity for South Africa’s final Rugby World Cup Pool B match.
The Springboks face the United States at London’s Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.
The starting line-up shows only 2 changes from the team that recorded a 34 / 16 victory over Scotland in Newcastle last Saturday.
As a result Frans Malherbe will start his 1st match of the season for South Africa, while Rudy Paige could make his Test debut off the bench against the United States.
Malherbe comes in at tighthead prop for Jannie du Plessis, in the only change to the pack.
The backline shows only 1 personnel change as well – at wing, where Lwazi Mvovo takes over from JP Pietersen, with Bryan Habana moving over to the right wing.
Pietersen was not considered this week due to injury, while a decision was taken to give Du Plessis and Victor Matfield time to get over some niggles due to the short turn-around after the Scotland match.
Joining Paige on the bench is Morné Steyn, who both could get their 1st taste of Rugby World Cup action this year.
Schalk Brits and Coenie Oosthuizen are also back amongst the replacements this week.
Springbok stars Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende have all committed their long-term rugby futures to DHL Western Province and the DHL Stormers.
Prop Malherbe, lock Etzebeth, flanker Kolisi and centre De Allende are in contention to represent South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, having all been part of the Springbok squad this season after stellar Vodacom Super Rugby campaigns for the DHL Stormers.
Between them, the quartet have featured in 61 Tests, Etzebeth leading the way with 37 Test appearances since his debut against England in 2012, with Malherbe (6 Tests) and Kolisi (11 Tests) making their debuts in 2013 and De Allende (7 Tests) playing his 1st international in 2014.
“Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende have all been developed here at Western Province, coming through our youth structures and going on to play Test rugby for South Africa as standout DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province players,” said WP Director of Rugby Gert Smal.
Schalk Burger is back in the Springboks’ starting line-up for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against the Australian Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Burger’s inclusion at No 8, after a great performance as replacement against the World XV last weekend in Cape Town, is 1 of 5 changes to the Springboks’ match-23 for this match.
The other 4 changes are on the bench, where props Heinke van der Merwe and Frans Malherbe, as well as Lood de Jager (lock) and Lwazi Mvovo (wing) have been included.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said the changes were all part of the plan to rotate players in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup.
“We’re expecting a massive contest for the ball on the ground on Saturday and with Schalk there next to Francois Louw and Marcell Coetzee, as well as Bismarck du Plessis, we’ve got a lot of players who are very good at the breakdowns,” he said.
“Warren Whiteley played very well last weekend, but he knows exactly where he stands and will play again for the Boks this season. For this match though, we decided to go with this specific loose trio.
“I’ve said last week that we will make changes, but it’s also important to keep some form of momentum. Saturday’s match is going to be massive in the context of our season and we have to ensure we tick the right boxes.
“It will be good to see what Heinke, Frans, Lood and Lwazi can do from the bench, while we’ve also opted to keep continuity in the starting team. There will most likely be changes for every match this season as we keep one eye on the World Cup.
The Springbok selectors on Sunday finalised the squad of 31 players that will travel to Brisbane for the opening match of The Rugby Championship, next Saturday at the Suncorp Stadium against the Wallabies.
The touring squad consists of 22 players who did duty against the World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
The only member of the match-day squad to stay behind in South Africa is Jean de Villiers, who has been released to DHL Western Province to get game time in their ABSA Currie Cup warm-up matches in the next fortnight.
The players who did not feature against the World XV, but will travel to Brisbane, are Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Rudy Paige, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn, Schalk Brits, Lood de Jager, Frans Malherbe and Heinke van der Merwe.
Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says the DHL Stormers made wrong substitutions in their loss to the Chiefs at Newlands last Saturday.
The Stormers annihilated the Chiefs at scrum time, with Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Koch wrecking havoc.
The home side led 13 / 3 at one stage, but let things slip, eventually going down 28 / 19.
Alistair Vermaak and Frans Malherbe replaced Kitshoff and Koch in the 61st minute of the match, while Neil Rautenbach also replaced Scarra Ntubeni at hooker in the 63rd minute. These substitutions gave the Chiefs breathing room up front and enabled them to take control of proceedings.
The Stormers have no major injury concerns in their camp this week, as they get set to host the Blues at Newlands on Saturday (17:05 SA Time).
The men from the Cape opened their 2015 Super Rugby campaign with a memorable 29 / 17 win over the Bulls in Pretoria and they could be boosted this week by the return of forwards Frans Malherbe and Siya Kolisi and wing Kobus van Wyk.
The trio missed the trip to Pretoria, but more will be known about their participation in Round 2 when the team is announced on Thursday, just before lunch-time.
French Top 14 club Toulouse are reportedly eager to attain the services of Springboks Frans Malherbe and Siya Kolisi.
French rugby newspaper, Midi Olympique, reports that the Stormers duo are on the shopping-list of the French giants who want to bolster their ranks after this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Prop Malherbe has played 4 Tests for the Boks, while flank Kolisi boasts 10 caps.
The DHL Stormers are slowly working towards full muster as the Vodacom Super Rugby season approaches, with another clutch of Springboks set to return to the team for Friday night’s warm-up fixture against the Toyota Cheetahs at Newlands.
The Stormers dispensed with the SWD Eagles 34 / 3 in their opening game in George at the weekend, but the Cheetahs, as fellow Super Rugby participants, are considered the toughest opponent of the pre-season phase. They are thus the ones the Cape side will consider to be the dress rehearsal for the real thing, which comes in the form of the opening clash with the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria on 14 February.
The Stormers will play the Boland Cavaliers in another warm-up game before the Super Rugby season starts. However, with the game taking place just one week before the trip to Loftus, the normal policy is to include fringe players for that fixture, plus maybe a top player or two who would only then be fully ready to play after coming back from injury.
A 28-man DHL Stormers squad will head to George this weekend, as the Men from the Cape start their 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby preparations against the SWD Eagles at Outeniqua Park on Saturday (Kick-Off 16:30 SA Time).
Stormers squad for George:
New captain Duane Vermeulen will lead a starting XV with four Test players – three Springboks and an Argentine international – whilst props Steven Kitshoff (back from a long-term injury) and Vincent Koch (a new signing) are the other noteworthy inclusions.
Dillyn Leyds, after making his return from Australia during last year’s Absa Currie Cup competition, will start on the left-wing – part of an exciting back three with EW Viljoen on the right-wing and speedster Cheslin Kolbe lining up at fullback.
In the first lot of discussions of Super Rugby squad contenders for 2015, we discuss 2 positions in seperate Articles (Props & Hookers) and also seperate the Articles of the 5 SA Super Rugby participating franchises.
That means 10 Super Rugby Articles to start with, followed by the rest of the Articles, as and how time allows, from now on.
The basic idea is to discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for PROPS in the DHL Stormers 2015 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
Similar to the situation at the Toyota Cheetahs, the Stormers have had some departures, with Brok Harris and pat Cillies having left the Franchise.
Frans Malherbe will miss the rest of the Rugby Championship after sustaining a serious injury to his right ankle in Salta.
Malberbe helped to stabilise the Bok scrum when he replaced Jannie du Plessis in the 46th minute, but was forced to leave the field in the 79th.
The tighthead prop will consult with a specialist in Cape Town upon his return to South Africa, when a call on further treatment and his replacement will be made.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has been given a massive boost with the news that he should be able to pick as close to his strongest side for this weekend’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship opener against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld.
Team doctor Craig Roberts cleared props Frans Malherbe, Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and lock Eben Etzebeth for action and crucially also gave captain Jean de Villiers the all-clear to play this weekend after spending the last few months on the sidelines with injury.
Two members of the Springboks’ Castle Lager Rugby Championship squad, Eben Etzebeth and Frans Malherbe, have been released to play in the opening round of the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division for DHL Western Province on Friday evening.
Both players are returning from long-term injuries and will be allowed some game time for WP to ease them back into the game.
Etzebeth’s last game was in November 2013, for the Springboks against France in Paris, where he picked up a foot injury. Malherbe has been out for more than three months with concussion.
“Following medical assessments and consultation between our medical team and those of the various provinces, it was decided to release Eben and Frans for this weekend,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
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.
Springbok tighthead prop Frans Malherbe is unlikely to make his return to the DHL Stormers team for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the Toyota Cheetahs at Newlands.
While Jean de Villiers will definitely be back to lead the team and Schalk Burger and Sailosi Tagicakibau were both training on Monday, coach Allister Coetzee has confirmed that Malherbe was still showing symptoms of concussion the last time he was tested and will sit out the recommended full three weeks for concussion.
The DHL Stormers side has suffered some injuries whilst on tour, with Scarra Ntubeni and Patrick Cilliers sent back to South Africa.
As a result, the Stormers are looking for suitable replacements to join them on tour.
In addition they have tried to obtain the services of Griquas hooker on loan, Martin Bezuidenhot, which have apparently been unuccessful.
In the first week of discussion of Super Rugby squad contenders for 2014 (23 to 29 December), we will discuss 2 positions in seperate Articles (Props & Hookers) and also seperate the Articles of the 5 SA Super Rugby participating franchises.
That means 10 Super Rugby Articles every week from now on.
The basic idea is to discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for PROPS in the DHL Stormers 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
Following the game between Scotland and the South African Springboks, there has been some movements amongst the Springbok player corps.
Fourie du Preez is on his way back to Japan and won’t be available for the France game, in his place Jano Vermaak has been recalled to the Springbok side, from France itself, where he has been in great form.
Injured Frans Malherbe will be replaced by Frik Kirsten who has been called up by Heyneke Meyer.
Francois Louw, who left the field on a stretcher in the Scotland clash with an apparent neck injury looks to be OK for the coming weekend.
Experienced backline stars JP Pietersen and Jaque Fourie are back in the Springbok team for Saturday’s Castle Lager Outgoing Tour opener against Wales in Cardiff, while Frans Malherbe will make his Test debut at the Millennium Stadium.
In naming his side for Saturday’s Test against the current Six Nations champions, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has decided to hand Fourie his first Test for South Africa since the Rugby World Cup in 2011, while a combination of injury and non-availability means Pietersen is back for his first taste of international rugby yet this season.
With Jannie du Plessis out for the End Of Year Tours for the Springboks it seems likely that Frans Malherbe will make his debut for the Springboks.
With Du Plessis out, only two options remain at tighthead prop and these are Frans Malherbe and Lourens Adriaanse, who are both uncapped.
Siyabonga “Scarra” Ntubeni is one of four uncapped players who will join three stalwarts of the Rugby World Cup winning squad of 2007, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie and Bakkies Botha, in 32-man Springbok squad for the forthcoming Castle Lager Outgoing Tour to Wales, Scotland and France.
It will be Botha and Fourie’s first involvement with the Springboks since the previous Rugby World Cup, in 2011 in New Zealand, while Pietersen is back in the squad for the first time this year.
DHL Western Province will be boosted with 3 key players returning to the training squad this week after injury lay-offs.
Schalk Burger has been set to resume training today after a long term injury.
He recently underwent minor tendon surgery which delayed his return.
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.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has made few changes to the squad that lost their opening match against the Bulls last weekend.
Springbok Rugby coaches have released five players back to their Currie Cup squads from the squad that returned from New Zealand.