Gurthro Steenkamp

Gurthrö Steenkamp

Gurthrö Steenkamp

Springbok prop Gurthrö Steenkamp has announced his retirement from international rugby, stating his wish to focus his career at Toulouse.

Steenkamp, many would feel, was still heavily in contention to make the Springbok World Cup squad after featuring through 2014. His retirement may well cause Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer some headaches.

The 33-year-old loosehead prop began his career at the Cheetahs in 2002 and then the Cats in 2004 before moving to the Bulls where he played the bulk of his rugby from 2005 – 2011.

Steenkamp was also selected for the Springboks from 2004 and made 53 appearances, scoring 6 tries.

The burley prop has been a part of the Toulouse setup since 2011 and has made 76 appearances for the French Giants.

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Gurthro Steenkamp

Gurthro Steenkamp, getting massacred on and off the field.

Several retired Springbok front-rankers took to Twitter over the weekend to offer their varied takes on the national team’s scrummaging humiliation at the hands of Argentina in Salta.

The Boks summoned last-ditch reserves of energy and grit to squeeze past the Pumas 33-31 in a Castle Rugby Championship nail-biter, although the violent way they back-pedalled in the scrums at times will be a lasting, unpleasant memory for the players and their fans alike.

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South AfricaIt is understood that French-based players in the Springbok squad are unlikely to be available to play Scotland in next week’s Test in Port Elizabeth.

This means the likes of Morne Steyn, Gurthro Steenkamp, Bakkies Botha and Bryan Habana will all have to report back to their clubs.

It’s understood the clubs will invoke International Rugby Board (IRB) Regulation Nine, which governs the release of players for the June test window.

The regulation stipulates that releases are required for the second, third and fourth weekends of June, or for three matches.

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Gurthrö Steenkamp

Gurthrö Steenkamp

South AfricaSouth Africa’s Player of the Year in 2010, Gurthrö Steenkamp, will make his 50th Test appearance for the Springboks when they take on Wales at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Saturday (kick-off 17:00 SA Time, 15:00 GMT).

Steenkamp has been included in the starting line-up for the first Welsh Test in one of six changes to the match-day squad from the team which comprehensively beat the World XV last weekend in Cape Town, four of which are positional shifts.

Cornal Hendricks, who shone for the Springboks last weekend at DHL Newlands, will make his Test debut on Saturday, while his provincial team mate from the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, the uncapped Lood de Jager, has been selected on the bench.

The two changes in the backline are at inside centre, where Jan Serfontein will earn his first Test start for South Africa, and scrumhalf, where Fourie du Preez will start with Ruan Pienaar on the bench alongside Tendai Mtawarira, who has swapped places with Steenkamp.

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South AfricaIt was a balmy Brisbane which greeted the Springboks on Sunday evening (Australian time) after a trip of more than 20 hours that started in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon, included a stopover in Sydney and ended at their hotel in the Queensland capital.

The Springboks face Australia in the third round of The Castle Lager Rugby Championship at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday. Although the South Africans have not beaten the hosts at this venue in a Test, they will approach the game with a quiet confidence after two good wins over Argentina last month.

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South AfricaThere was much annoyance among Springbok fans when it was announced not long before South Africa’s test match against Argentina in the Rugby Championship that the release of Bryan Habana was required by his new club Toulon.  This increased even more when it came to light that five of the players in the current Springbok Squad for the Rugby Championship were being ‘released’ to go back to their clubs in France while the rest of the players would return for a break to South Africa.

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South AfricaFourie du PreezGurthro SteenkampDuane VermeulenThe Springbok selectors have opted for continuity when they named a 30-man squad for the opening two rounds of The Castle Lager Rugby Championship later this month against Argentina.

Only three players who were not part of the Springbok squad which won the Castle Lager Incoming Series in June have been added to the squad.

They are experienced scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, who has been selected for the Springboks for the first time since the Rugby World Cup in 2011, Gurthrö Steenkamp (prop) and Duane Vermeulen (No 8), who last played for the Springboks in November 2012.

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From a South African perspective the rugby calendar makes little sense. The way the international fixtures are currently set out does not really allow for any competition to run its course to completion, it has therefor been proposed that there will be a break in the Super Rugby competition next year to allow the June tour window, and then the Super Rugby competition will resume. In between all this, there is a Currie Cup that will now take a further step back to accommodate the Super Rugby and International fixtures.

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Springboks (15) 18 / All Blacks (5) 5 (Final Score)

The South African Springboks hosted the New Zealand All Blacks at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth at 17:05 SA 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.

Although the Springboks did not score a try, Morné Steyn’s boot was the difference… and all the Springboks worked hard enough, to really deserve the win!

The passion was back in the faces, the focus narrowed, the set phases were good and the breakdown battle was won by the Springboks.

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All Blacks (17) 30 / Wallabies (0) 14 (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks hosted the Australian Wallabies at Eden Park, Auckland at 09:35 SA 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.

The All Blacks sailed to a commanding lead early on against a Wallaby side which was unusually error-prone. In the second half the Wallabies tried hard but it was always going to be nigh on impossible to come back from so far behind.

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Whilst the Super Rugby log might tell us quite a number of things of individual teams and how they performed, it is quite interesting to measure each country as a collective following the league rounds of the Super Rugby competition. Continue reading

Although I have said many times that I do not like the new format of Super Rugby, be it due to the unevenness of not playing all the teams in the Competition and playing local derbies twice, it still does make for interesting reading going into the final two rounds of Competition.

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SANZAR have released the match officials for the fifteenth Round of the 2011 Super Rugby tournament and Steve Walsh has the big one on Sunday between the Reds and Crusaders.

This weekend has six matches, one on Friday and four on Saturday and one on Sunday.

The Blues, Chiefs and the Rebels have the bye this weekend.

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SANZAR have admitted that they have ‘a little bit of a way to go yet’ before there is enough consistency in their Super Rugby judicial process.

This is a old article and many more contentious rulings followed this weekend. Is there more leniency or a softer approach before the World Cup. In tonights Superugby program Kobus Wiese said that the citing officer asked for video evidence in the Stormers vs Sharks game , but nothing came from it.

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A perfect Autumn evening in Johannesburg. Not too hot, no wind, and no threat of rain.

Perfect that is until the Blues from Aukland spoilt it all for the vast majority of the 26 532 people at Coca Cola Park in downtown Johannesburg.

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