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Internationals

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Heyneke Meyer

Is Heyneke Meyer putting too many “old eggs” in one basket?

Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer continues his “Dad’s Army” approach by recalling veteran flanker Juan Smith for a training camp ahead of next month’s Rugby Championship.

French club Toulon confirmed three of their South African signings – Smith, lock Bakkies Botha and wing Bryan Habana – would be involved in the Boks camp.

Smith, 32, hasn’t played for the Boks since 2010 as Achilles injuries requiring four surgeries ravaged his career, eventually forcing him to “retire” early last year.

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Henry Speight

FRESH FACE: Brumbies winger Henry Speight is the lone new name in the Wallabies squad for The Rugby Championship next month

AustraliaThe Wallabies formalised a tug of war victory over New Zealand rugby today, though from the All Blacks’ perspective ideally Henry Speight will not compromise the world champions’ Bledisloe Cup reign and defence of the Rugby Championship.

One cult figure of Australian rugby replaced another when Ewen McKenzie named a 32-man squad that predictably included the Fijian-born wing – although he cannot be picked for the tests against the All Blacks in Sydney and Auckland next month plus the Springboks in Perth on September 6.

The Hamilton Boys’ High School-educated finisher, who was approached to join the Chiefs in 2012 a year after making his Super Rugby debut for the Brumbies, is expected to make his test debut on September 13 against Argentina on the Gold Coast, two days after an IRB-imposed stand down expires.

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Bryan Habana

Bryan Habana – On standby for Blitzbokke duty

Toulon have released South Africa winger Bryan Habana to play for the Blitzbokke at the Commonwealth Games.

Habana had previously been named in the original squad to compete in Scotland before the club decided to prevent him from participating.

However, Toulon have now announced that the 97-times capped flyer has been released to compete in the tournament before he links up with the Springboks to play in The Rugby Championship.

Schalk Brits is the other big name who won’t be featuring in the competition, after his release was denied by Saracens.

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Juan Smith

Springbok flanker Juan Smith may be set to return to the Green and Gold

Juan Smith is set to complete an extraordinary return to Test rugby after being named in South Africa’s squad for a training camp in August, according to Toulon.

Toulon have announced that Smith, along with Bakkies Botha and Bryan Habana, have been selected to attend a South African training camp in August.

Smith, who won the Heineken Cup and Top 14 titles with Toulon last season, has been rejuvenated in France after taking an indefinite break from the sport back in 2012 due to a persistent battle with an Achilles injury.

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The Samsung SlideLiner

The Samsung SlideLiner

Ever wondered what it would be like to cross rugby spectating with Gold Reef City? No? Well neither has anyone else, until Samsung Australia came up with an innovative an novel new way of watching rugby.

Samsung Electronics Australia will launch the SlideLiner, an exciting Samsung innovation to give Australian Rugby fans a money-can’t-buy seat between the grandstand and the pitch during three matches of the 2014 Rugby Championship.

The Samsung SlideLiner is a comfortable, four person ‘couch’ that will sit on tracks beside the pitch, following the action along the field of play as the Qantas Wallabies take on the All Blacks and Springboks in The Castrol Edge Rugby Championship 2014.

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Kevin Skinner

All Black Kevin Skinner in 1953

Kevin Skinner, the All Black prop and heavyweight boxer, has died. He was 86.

Skinner made his name for Otago and was selected for the 1949 All Black tour of South Africa as a 21-year-old.

He was labelled one of the side’s successes, making up a hard-as-nails front row alongside Johnny Simpson and hooker Has Catley.

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Cricket BallSri-Lanka and South Africa battle each other in the 1st 5-Day Cricket Test at Galle International Stadium in Sri-Lanka from 16 to 20 July 2014. Play starts early for SA viewers, as Sri-Lanka is a few hours ahead of South Africa in the time zones, so it is daly from about 06:00 SA Time every day.

South Africa have just won the ODI Series by 2 – 1, their first ever in Sri-Lanka.

The score cards will be updated at regular intervals here on Rugby-Talk.

South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first.

South Africa started well on Day 1 and then slightly lost their way towards the end of Day 1. At Stumps on Day 1, South Africa were 268 / 5, after 91 overs. On Day 2 South Africa continued their strong form and declared with 9 wickets down on 455 / 9 after 166.2 overs, leaving Sri-Lanka to field 12 uncomfortable overs before the close of play on Day 2 and with Sri-Lanka ending on 30 / 0 (12 Overs).

On Day 3 Sri-Lanka was steadily losing wickets and after 60 Overs bowled in the Sri-Lankan 1st Innings they were 165 / 4 (60 Overs). At close of play on Day 3 they were reeling at 283 / 9 after 100 Overs.

On Day 4 the Sri-Lankans were all out for 292 after 104.5 Overs and South Africa in their 2nd Innings declared at 206 / 6 (50.2 Overs). The Sri-Lankan 2nd Innings is underway, a target of 370 set.

At Stumps, Day 4, Sri-Lanka was 110 / 1 (32 Overs), 260 runs needed to win the game. One now wonders whether the South Adrican captain, Hashim Amla, declared the South African 2nd Innings too early!

On Day 5 the South African bowling attack and specifically the pace attack, obliterated the Sri-Lankans.

South Africa won the Test comfortably, by 153 runs.

 

South Africa:

  • First Innings – 455 / 9 Declared (166.2 Overs)

  • Second Innings – 206 / 6 Declared (50.2 Overs)

Sri-Lanka:

  • First Innings – 292 (104.5 Overs)

  • Second Innings – 216 (71.3 Overs)

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Flip van der Merwe

Flip van der Merwe

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.

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Israel Folau & his agent meets with Todd Greenberg

“Welcome to SPECTRE Mr. Bond, if you’ll just sign here and here”

Speculation is rife in Australian rugby as to whether Israel Folau might be returning to the NRL. Folau and his agent was spotted meeting with the Head of the NRL, Todd Greenberg. In what can almost be described as a plot to a spy thriller, photos were snapped and keyboards frantically clicked to rush the story into print.

At the same time, uncertainty remain about the future of Kurtley Beale, and whether he too might be heading to the NRL.

Do the Waratahs need all this speculation about two of their star players only one week shy of hosting a semi final in this year’s Super Rugby Tournament?

ARU boss Bill Pulver says he is “not dissatisfied” with the departures of several high-profile players this year.

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New Zealand Women

New Zealand celebrate a fourth consecutive WRWC title following victory over England in the 2010 final

With just over two weeks to go before Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014, we take a look back at how previous tournaments unfolded and at the Springbok squad and preparations.

Women’s rugby has experienced phenomenal growth in recent times and the number of women and girls playing the game currently stands at 1.5 million, a quarter of the overall total.

Much of that growth over the past five years has been driven by Olympic inclusion, the inception of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, Rugby World Cup Sevens and ongoing work between national unions and Olympic Committees.

However, many countries have deep roots in the women’s 15-a-side game, which has already seen seven world tournaments, four sanctioned by the IRB and three ‘unofficial World Cups’.

Here we provide a brief history of the Women’s Rugby World Cup movement.

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Sonny Bill Williams

The mercurial Sonny Bill Williams is close to returning to Rugby Union

Dual international Sonny Bill Williams will be considered for the New Zealand’s end of year tour if he is fit and in top form.

That is the word from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen who said time was a factor less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup. Hansen feels Williams’ return to the All Blacks will depend on his condition when he returns from the Sydney Roosters’ NRL campaign and whether he manages to play some part for Counties Manukau in the ITM Cup.

Hansen admitted that he hoped Williams’ return to Test rugby is sooner rather than later.

“There is no doubt he’s an exceptional rugby player and if he’s available then we’d be foolish not to look at him, but we have to take into account he’s come off a big season,” Hansen told Fairfax Media.

“We have to take a whole lot of things into consideration before we make a decision. What’s right for Sonny? What’s right for the team?”

“Next year’s a bit different because we don’t have the June series and if we can’t use him going into the World Cup then if we can have that opportunity to spend time with him then that would be good.”

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Bakkies Botha

Springbok hard man, Bakkies Botha, showing his romantic side

Springbok and Toulon lock Bakkies Botha has spoken about life in France, the final 18 months of his career and what he has planned after rugby.

After his successful run with the Springboks in June against the World XV and Wales, the My Players website caught up with the 35-year-old during his off time in the South African bush.

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Gio Aplon in action for the DHL Stormers

Gio Aplon in action for the DHL Stormers

“A good big player is better than a good small player” is something we have heard before on the rugby landscape in South Africa. Unfortunately, these type of utterances has been heard coming from the National coach, Heyneke Meyer, as well.

Is rugby not supposed to be the one game that people of every shape and size can partake and excell in? Remember when we were young kids, standing around with bare feet all excited about our very first rugby practice? Dividing the players into positions seemed like such a simple task…the fat kids were props, the tall kids were locks, the fast kids were wings. There seemed to be a position suited to every size and shape.

Professional rugby as we know it now has put paid to that philosophy, 15 supreme athletes seem to be the target for coaches. Centers weigh in at the 100kg mark or more, which is bigger and heavier than some of legendary Bok forwards of previous eras. Just this week the Under 18 Academy week was played in Worcester. One of the stand out players for the victorious Western Province Academy team was prop Carlu Sadie who weighs in at 122kg. The fact is, he is not judged on his size or weight, but on his playing ability and it would seem like this youngster has a bright rugby future ahead of him. Obviously when it comes to the position of front row, size is a huge asset, but what about the other positions?

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O joy... another maul

O joy… another maul

Winning the 2007 Rugby World Cup was a momentous occasion for Springboks but it has done little for the development of the way rugby is played in South Africa.

I believe that the so-called ‘Jake White template’ has been detrimental to South African rugby on a number of levels.

Let me start by saying that I can’t fault White’s tactics in 2007. Given the weapons at his disposal, the approach he adopted was spot on. The efficacy of this approach (when correctly executed) is not in question. My aim here is rather point to the consequences of the mindset that in has become enrooted in SA rugby because of it’s (limited) success.

Ross Hastie

What concerns me is that the territory-based and defence-orientated approach employed back then has been widely adopted in the Republic and in many quarters is still held up as a blueprint for future success.

From a coaching perspective, it’s not difficult to see why this methodology is popular. Giant men imposing themselves with hard, straight running and big hits have always been the hallmarks of the South African style.

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Piri Weepu

Piri Weepu leading the Haka

London Welsh are today expected to announce the signing of Piri Weepu from the Auckland Blues, according to reliable sources.

It marks another huge signing in their already impressive recruitment drive, with the 71-cap All Black set to bring real experience of rugby at the very top level. He will join the likes of Olly Barkley and Tim Molenaar in what is starting to look like a very useful back line.

Weepu’s career is yet to take him outside of New Zealand, beginning his career in Wellington both for the ITM Cup side and the Hurricanes, before moving to Auckland and the Blues. It is understood that he has expressed a desire to play in the Aviva Premiership.

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FIFA World Cup 2014 - BrazilThe FIFA Football World Cup 2014 is nearing the end in Brazil.

The Quarter-Finals are a thing of the past, only 4 Teams remain!

In the Semi-Finals we have 2 South American Teams against 2 European Teams, who will come out on top? If a Team wins here, they progress to the Final and the loser books a place on the 3rd Place Play-Off!

It is the 3rd Place Play-Off on 12 July and the all importeant Final on 13 July 2014.

In the 1st Semi-Final on 8 July it is Brazil vs Germany and the 2nd Semi-Final on 9 July is between Netherlands vs Argentina.

All of the games are live on TV in SA on SS3 HD, SS3 & Maximo.

Jake White

Does Jake White have a valid point in blaming player fatigue on the last couple of results that went against the SA Conference leaders, the Cell C Sharks?

While it is true that the Sharks lost a few players to the national cause, it wasn’t as if it was the bulk of their side. Frans Steyn played one match, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and Willem Alberts were all either rested or rotated during the 4 Test matches in June. JP Pietersen had the biggest work load for the Bok team if measured in minutes played.

In contrast, the Waratahs players who were involved in the Test series against the French, for the Wallabies, seemed to have lifted their game to an ever higher level.

The same can be said of the All Black players who were involved in a tough 3 Test series against a strong England side.

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Fourie du Preez

Fourie du Preez

Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez’s ankle injury is worse than expected and it has now ruled him out for the rest of the year.

According to SARU, Du Preez will miss the remainder of the South African season following an ankle injury sustained by the Springbok scrumhalf in last Saturday’s 55-6 Test victory over Scotland in Port Elizabeth.

Du Preez left the field in the first half of the Test. He was sent for x-rays immediately afterwards and went for an MRI scan in Pretoria on Monday, which confirmed earlier suspicions of an anterior syndesmotic injury. He will be sidelined for approximately six months.

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Victor Matfield in the scrum cap Cosato does not like

Victor Matfield in the scrum cap Cosato does not like

Cosatu has called on ministers and sport administrators to intervene and bring more black players into South African rugby.

The trade union federation released a media statement in which it criticises the white “old boys club” which it believes still rules rugby in South Africa.

It follows the Springboks’ 55-6 win over Scotland in Port Elizabeth at the weekend – a match which was preceded by SARU president Oregan Hoskins urging Bok coach Heyneke Meyer to pick more black players.

Meyer did include a few more black players in his squad for the game in Port Elizabeth, but Cosatu was not impressed.

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IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 - EnglandKenya are in pole position to make history and qualify for a Rugby World Cup for the first time after maintaining their winning run in the Confederation Africaine de Rugby Africa Cup Division 1A Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifying tournament in Antananarivo on Wednesday.

Kenya, aiming to break Namibia’s recent stranglehold as the Africa Region’s second representative on Rugby’s greatest stage, recorded a bonus point 34-0 win over Madagascar to open up a four-point lead over Zimbabwe at the top of the table with one round remaining on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s 24-20 defeat to Namibia in the opening match of the day means that it is mathematically possible for all three teams to finish top of the table going into Super Sunday when Madagascar play Namibia and Kenya face Zimbabwe.

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Francois Hougaard

Francois Hougaard

Who Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer earmarks as his flyhalf at the outset of the Championship next month could also have a major bearing on which scrumhalf he chooses to plug the unfortunate Fourie du Preez gap.

Incumbent No 9 and still world-class customer Du Preez, 32, was confirmed on Tuesday as having an ankle injury serious enough for him to ruled out of the entire southern hemisphere tournament.

Given his vast, 70-cap experience and precious ability to read and control a game better than most other South African scrumhalves right now, the loss of Du Preez certainly dents the Boks’ chances of ousting New Zealand from their status as defending champions, even if there have been enough positives in other departments of late to suggest they’ll be seriously competitive nevertheless.

The veteran was just beginning to benefit from a decent run of international matches – important given that he plies his franchise trade in the much more modest arena of Japanese club rugby now – in the June window, looking increasingly more like the character who helped drive the World Cup 2007 success.

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FIFA World Cup 2014 - BrazilThe FIFA Football World Cup 2014 is well underway in Brazil.

The Group Stages are already done and dusted, only 16 Teams remain…. well only 12 after this weekend!

In the knock-out stages, there are no 2nd chances, you lose and you go home. You win and you live to fight another day!

The Games start out on Monday with France vs Nigeria and thereafter Germany vs Algeria, both on Monday 30 June.

On Tuesday 1 July it is Argentina vs Switserland and Belgium vs USA.

The Quarter-finals start on 4 July 2014.

All of the games are live on TV in SA on SS3 HD, SS3 & Maximo.

Fourie du Preez

Fourie du Preez

Fourie du Preez will miss the Castle Lager Rugby Championship following an ankle injury sustained by the Springbok scrumhalf in last Saturday’s 55-6 Test victory over Scotland in Port Elizabeth.

Du Preez left the field in the first half of the Test. He was sent for x-rays immediately afterwards and went for an MRI scan in Pretoria on Monday, which confirmed earlier suspicions of an anterior syndesmotic injury. He will be sidelined for at least three months.

“It’s a massive blow to lose yet another world-class player and a key player due to an injury,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. “Fourie is also a dynamic leader and one of the vice-captains in our team and his injury is a huge setback.”

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Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers’s good nature in terms of positional flexibility may be exploited once again in a few weeks’ time.

The first-choice Springbok captain, who missed the entire June window period due to a knee injury, is an estimated four weeks away from a return to full fitness, which gives him a reasonable chance of being ready – albeit rather undercooked in match sharpness – for the Castle Rugby Championship opener against  Argentina at Loftus on 16 August.

His status was confirmed as the Stormers on Monday issued an update on various sidelined players, some of whom will be available for consideration for Saturday’s Super Rugby derby against the Bulls at Newlands.

Both De Villiers and franchise colleague Damian de Allende, another midfielder who had cracked the Bok squad nod a few weeks ago only to be quickly struck down by wretchedly inconvenient injury himself, remain a few weeks out from renewed activity.

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Jake White

Jake White

Cell C SharksJake White has hinted at a bold strategy to rest his returning Springboks with the Sharks having sewn up the South African conference and guaranteed some play-off rugby already.

The Sharks have an unassailable hold on the South African Conference and cannot finish the tournament any lower than third.

However, the plan is to finish in the top two and earn a direct route to a home semifinal without having to play a qualifying knock-out match.

White has indicated that if they are to really be competitive when it matters, it may require some tactical selection policies.

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