Players who failed to make the final 31-man Springbok Rugby World Cup squad have rejoined their respective provinces for ABSA Currie Cup duty.
Out of the original 49 players named prior to this year’s Rugby Championship, 18 will either be available for their South African provinces or jet off to rejoin their overseas clubs.
This means Warren Whiteley (Xerox Golden Lions), Vincent Koch (Steval Pumas), Lionel Mapoe (Xerox Golden Lions), Cornal Hendricks (Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Marcell Coetzee (Cell C Sharks), Cobus Reinach (Cell C Sharks), Scarra Ntubeni (DHL Western Province), Oupa Mohoje (Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Franco Mostert (Xerox Golden Lions), Marcel van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Western Province) and Frans Steyn (Cell C Sharks) can be considered for Currie Cup duty from this weekend.
Players like Heinrich Brussow (Docomo Red Hurricanes, Japan), Elton Jantjies (NTT Shining Arcs, Japan), Jaque Fourie (Kobelco Steelers) and Heinke van der Merwe (Stade Francais, France) will head for their overseas clubs.
The Springbok team to face New Zealand’s All Blacks for the 90th time shows 9 changes to the match-23 which did duty against Australia’s Wallabies, for the 2nd match in the condensed Castle Lager Rugby Championship, at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Heinrich Brüssow will make his 1st start for the Springboks since the 2011 Rugby World Cup, while Vincent Koch has been included on the bench for what could be his Test debut for South Africa.
JP Pietersen, who was initially picked on the right wing, has since starined his hamstring in training and is replaced on right wing by Cornal Hendricks, with Lionel Mapoe replacing Cornal Hendricks’ place on the bench.
Of the 9 changes, 3 are to the pack, 1 to the backline and 5 are on the bench. The backline is unchanged. Schalk Burger will captain the team from No 8.
Francois Louw will start in the No 7 jersey for the injured Marcell Coetzee in a positional change, with Heinrich Brüssow assuming the openside role (No 6). The only other changes to the starting line-up is at lock, where Lood de Jager takes over from Victor Matfield and on right wing where Cornal Hendricks will do duty.
On the bench, Vincent Koch will be joined by Lionel Mapoe, Trevor Nyakane, Flip van der Merwe and Warren Whiteley, who could make his 1st Test appearance in South Africa, in front of his home crowd in Johannesburg.
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.
Springbok No 8 and South Africa’s Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, Duane Vermeulen, is in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup after it was revealed that he has to undergo surgery on a neck injury, but national skipper Jean de Villiers has been cleared to return to the game this weekend.
De Villiers, who had a full knee reconstruction towards the end of 2014, is 1 of 6 injured players who were given the all clear from the Springbok medical team to be considered for selection against the World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday. The others are Pat Lambie, Cobus Reinach, Lionel Mapoe, Schalk Burger and Lood de Jager.
Although Jan Serfontein (hip and knee) is recovering well from his injury, he will not be considered for selection this week. Furthermore, Scarra Ntubeni and Faf de Klerk are over their ankle niggles from late last week and took full part in training on Monday, while Heinrich Brüssow (broken arm) has recovered well, but is still a week or 2 away from playing.
“Our medical team worked very hard on the injured players and it’s a great positive to see the guys return,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Monday.
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.”
Lionel Mapoe, Renaldo Bothma, Bjorn Basson and Warwick Tecklenburg have added their names to growing list of Super Rugby players heading to The Land of the Rising Sun.
Emirates Lions centre, Mapoe will join Vodacom Bulls lock Grant Hattingh at the Spears while his Lions team mate, flank Warwick Tecklenburg heads to the Kamaishi Seawaves.
Cell C Sharks and Namibia International loose forward, Renaldo Bothma will join Verblitz after the World Cup while Vodacom Bulls and Ex-Springbok wing Bjorn Basson will join Lomano Lemeki and Digby Ioane at the Heat.
Another high profile player who will be heading East is Wallaby fullback Israel Folau who will link up with Springboks Handré Pollard and Eben Etzebeth at the Docomo Red Hurricanes. Folau just put pen to paper on a new flexible contract with the Australian Rugby Union.
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.
Emirates Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his side to face the DHL Stormers at Newlands Stadium on Saturday.
Ackermann has opted for consistency for the clash, making just 2 forced changes to the Emirates Lions match day 23.
In the midfield, Alwyn Hollenbach will start at inside centre after Lionel Mapoe was unable to pass a late fitness test following a knock to his knee during last weekend’s win over the Waratahs. As a result, Harold Vorster will shift to outside centre for the match.
On the bench, Howard Mnisi will come in for Stokkies Hanekom, who also sustained a minor knee injury in last weekend’s game.
Emirates Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his team to face the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday evening.
Ackermann has opted to rotate several players for this local derby.
In the forwards, Ackermann has chosen to start Jacques van Rooyen and Ruan Dreyer in the front row. Andries Ferreira will partner with Martin Muller in the lock pairing, while Warwick Tecklenburg returns to the starting side at flank.
In the backline, Courtnall Skosan returns to start at left wing which results in Ruan Combrinck shifting back to right wing. Howard Mnisi comes into the starting side and links up with Lionel Mapoe in the midfield, as Mapoe shifts back to outside centre.
Emirates Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has announced his team to face the Aquis Brumbies at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday afternoon.
Ackermann has made 2 changes to the forwards for the encounter, as Martin Muller will start at lock and Robert Kruger moves into the starting lineup at flank.
The backline sees 3 personnel changes with Faf de Klerk starting at scrumhalf, Elton Jantjies returning to the starting flyhalf berth and Lionel Mapoe, having fully recovered from injury, starting at right wing. As a result, Ruan Combrinck will shift to left wing for the match.
The high-flying Emirates Lions are running the risk of being without one of their star players, Springbok training squad member Lionel Mapoe.
Mapoe is struggling with a knee injury and is in a race against time to be fit for his team’s trans-Jukskei Super Rugby derby with the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann said that for the most part his team suffered only “bumps and bruises” in their 34 / 29 win over the Cheetahs last week.
However, the centre, Mapoe, remains a concern.
Ackermann said they will give him till Thursday’s team announcement before making a call on his availability.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann says centre Lionel Mapoe would be a valuable asset to the Springboks at the Rugby World Cup later this year.
The midfielder has been on song for the Lions in Super Rugby this year and his form has been recognised by Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, who included him in both Bok training squads named over the weekend.
“If you’re looking for an outside centre with X-factor, then Lionel is definitely your man,” said Ackermann.
“In terms of enterprise, you don’t need to look any further than him and Juan de Jongh (Stormers centre) as your candidates for the No 13 jersey. Lionel’s performances in this (2015) Super Rugby competition have been outstanding and it’s notable how hard he’s worked on his conditioning.
Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 22-man side to front Western Province in a Currie Cup clash at Ellis Park on Saturday.
In the backline, Lionel Mapoe shifts to outside centre with Stokkies Hanekom moving into the inside centre berth, while Courtnall Skosan has been recalled to the starting side at left wing.
Ricky Schroeder will start at scrumhalf in the place of Ross Cronje, who is ruled out for up to three weeks with a knee injury.
Up front, Willie Britz will start at No 8 in place of Derick Minnie.
The Lions medical staff have released an injury update, following the Vodacom Super Rugby outfit’s 41-13 loss to the Waratahs in Sydney on Sunday.
Unfortunately utility backs Lionel Mapoe (MCL), Courtnall Skosan (Hamstring) and forward Derick Minnie (concussion) have returned to South Africa this morning. They will undergo further scans and tests upon their arrival.
Coenie van Wyk and Alwyn Hollenbach departs for Perth on Monday evening in order to provide cover.
The team is still extremely positive and will be hungry to get their first win while on tour, against the Force on Saturday.
The Lions have issued a media release concerning injuries sustained during the weekend’s Super Rugby encounter against the Blues as well as the Vodacom Cup match against the Valke.
The Lions medical staff have released an injury update, following the Lions’ 20 / 21 victory over the Cheetahs on Saturday.
This is the 7th in the series of the Lions Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.
We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for MIDFIELD in the Lions 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
MTN Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has announced his side to front DHL Western Province in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon.
Ackermann has made several changes to his starting line-up, with the majority of the changes taking place in the backline.
The Lions took a giant leap in the right direction with the bulk resigning of a core group that includes their Springboks, as they start looking towards their re-entry into Super Rugby.
Springboks Elton Jantjies, Franco van der Merwe and Lionel Mapoe headline the group that will remain with the Lions through till 2015.
It is the time of the year I always dread the most. This is the time where every Player Agent licks his lips and rubs his grubby little hands at the prospect of selling his wares to the highest bidder, with no regard to the welfare of the rugby of any Player, Country, Club, Union or Franchise.
It is the time of the year that the greedy pigs grin!
It is reported that the Stormers are chasing the signature of the mercenary called Lionel Mapoe, who’s been about everywhere now, Cheetahs, Sharks, Lions, Bulls… and possibly now heading for his 5th SA Super Rugby Franchise.
The Western Force announced today that they have signed 2 more South Africans, WP’s Marcel Brache and Chris Heiberg.
The Bulls seem to be investing, or rather re-investing in another ton of Young Guns, to replace the loss of 8 Springboks in one heap but seemingly giving no heed to the warning sirens that seriously flawed players like Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger now seem to be their most experienced players! The Blue Bulls have re-signed players like Paul Willemse (lock) and Under 20 SA star, Jacques du Plessis (looseforward) as well as a host of others… and the name Lood de Jager jumped at me, with me initially thinking that it might be the Cheetahs Super Rugby lock but alas it is the junior Blue Bulls centre who has suffered quite an injury run. See the details below on the rest of the Blue Bulls signings. In the last 3 years the Bulls have lost the services of 18 Senior Springbok players, whilst purchasing only 4 senior players from elsewhere.
The Vodacom Bulls could unleash a new dream midfield pairing ahead of their Gauteng Challenge game against the MTN Lions in Soweto on Saturday as they begin their preparations for a tough Vodacom Super Rugby season ahead.
The 7th Article in the set discussing the Vodacom Bulls.
In this Article we look at the contenders for CENTRES in the Vodacom Bulls 2013 Super Rugby group, and what their worth will be in Super Rugby terms.
The worst kept secret in South African rugby has finally been confirmed. Elton Jantjies will be a Stormer in 2013.
It’s crunch-time in the Currie Cup, with only semi-finals and finals remaining but only one of the four semi-final sides, the Blue Bulls have a clean bill of health on their 22 squad players.
The convincing win of the Springboks on Saturday was followed by news on the injury front.
Most notably Francois Steyn, who rolled his left ankle last Monday morning, will have to undergo an operation to clean the ankle up and will be sidelined for 3 months recovering from the surgery.
In the next, and final episode, we’ll cover the back three.