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Super RugbyThe Toyota Cheetahs, Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers were victorious in 3 terrific Vodacom Super Rugby matches, as the competition really took off in the 3rd Round.

On Friday evening, the Toyota Cheetahs sneaked home against the Blues in Bloemfontein, winning their 2nd match of the season by 25 / 24 to remain 1 of only 4 unbeaten teams in 2015.

Saturday saw 2 local derbies of the highest calibre, with Test-like intensity. Mirrroing the encounter in Bloemfontein, the results of both these matches were in the balance right until the end.

The Vodacom Bulls prodcued their maiden win of the season when they beat the Cell C Sharks by 43 / 35 in a superb match in Pretoria. Then the DHL Stormers clocked their 3rd win from 3 matches when they beat the Emirates Lions by 22 / 19 in Johannesburg.

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Brent Janse van Rensburg

Brent Janse van Rensburg

The EP Kings have lured Brent Janse van Rensburg from the Golden Lions to replace Omar Mouneimne, as defense coach in Port Elizabeth.

Janse van Rensburg, a former NMMU Madibaz head coach, was released from his current contract by the GLRU following personal reasons.

“Brent approached us and asked us if he could be released from his contract for personal reasons, and he wished to return to Nelson Mandela Bay,” said CEO of the Golden Lions, Rudolf Straeuli.

Straeuli said he wished Janse van Rensburg all the best for his future.

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Andries Ferreira

Andries Ferreira

The Golden Lions Rugby Union announced that they signed more players at the Union as well as the re-signing of 2 Vodacom Super Rugby players.

The GLRU has secured the services of lock Andries Ferreira who has signed a 2-year contract. Ferreira recently returned from a stint in Italy at Pro12 side Zebre but also has previous Vodacom Super Rugby and ABSA Currie Cup experience with the Cheetahs.

Ferreira will join the GLRU with immediate effect and will look to bolster the lock stock at the Union and provide added physicality in the tight 5.

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Marcell Coetzee

Marcell Coetzee

Springbok forward Marcell Coetzee scored 2 tries as the Cell C Sharks defeated the Emirates Lions 29 / 12 at a drenched Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban.

Kick-off was very nearly delayed thanks to the torrential rain that hit Durban throughout Saturday, with only the most dedicated of fans remaining in the Kings Park stands.

The natural expectation therefore was an error-strewn contest with knock-ons galore, but to credit both sides the standard of their handling and execution was better than predicted.

The Lions grew in confidence and stature as the match progressed, doing their damage off the tee through Marnitz Boshoff, but ultimately came up significantly short.

A test of tactical nous in the wet, Springbok halfbacks Cobus Reinach and Pat Lambie both showed real intelligence in their decision-making, a fine example being the build-up to Odwa Ndungane’s try.

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Emirates LionsEmirates Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his team to face the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

The forwards see several changes as Jacques van Rooyen comes in at loosehead prop. Hence, Schalk van der Merwe shifts to the bench to provide cover. Additionally, Jaco Kriel has been withdrawn due to the recurrence of a groin injury. As a result, Derick Minnie will start at openside flanker and Warwick Tecklenburg is called up to the starting line-up to fill the blindside flank berth.

There are absolutely no changes to the starting Emirates Lions backline for this match.

Meanwhile, on the wood, both Robbie Coetzee and Julian Redelinghuys have recovered from their respective injuries and have been called up to cover the hooker and prop berths respectively.

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Johan Ackermann

Johan Ackermann

The Cell C Sharks may have had a less than auspicious start to their Super Rugby campaign, but they remain one of the fancied teams in the competition.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann, speaking to ahead of his team’s trip to Durban for their Round 2 match on Saturday, said the Cheetahs did not do his team any favours with their surprise 35 / 29 win over the Sharks last week.

On top of that, the Lions were also well below par in their 8 / 22 loss to the Hurricanes.

They are aware the welcome mat won’t be rolled out at Growthpoint Kings Park this week.

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Johan Ackermann

Johan Ackermann

Emirates Lions coach Johan Ackermann has refused to try and reign his players in, continuing to back them despite their frustrating Vodacom Super Rugby loss to the Hurricanes at Emirates Airline Park on Friday night.

Ackermann has defended his team’s inability to score despite dominating every facet of play except the scoreboard, saying the execution and decision-making needs to improve, not the game plan.

The coach staunchly defended his team’s expansive approach and feels they simply need to hone their play better to get the right results.

“Our attack worked for us, the execution let us down,” Ackermann said.

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HurricanesAll fit and available All Blacks in the Hurricanes’ squad are set to suit up against the Lions in Round 1 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

A calf injury has ended Jeremy Thrush’s hopes of getting his season underway this week however, with the lock returning to New Zealand on Wednesday. He is expected to be available for selection in 4 to 6 weeks, depending on his recovery.

Thrush’s injury has made way for Mark Abbott to grab a starting spot, while his Hawke’s Bay teammate, Geoff Cridge, has flown over to join the team in Johannesburg.

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Emirates LionsThe Golden Lions Rugby Union have announced their 33-man squad which will compete as the Emirates Lions in the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.

The Emirates Lions will get their Vodacom Super Rugby campaign under way on Friday 13 February as they take on the Hurricanes at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg. Tickets start at just R 40.00 and can be purchased online via Lionsrugby.computicket.com.

Season tickets are also still available for purchase from just R 800.00 and includes tickets to all Vodacom Super Rugby and ABSA Currie Cup home games, as well as the Springboks versus All Blacks Test.

The Emirates Lions boast a strong squad in 2015, with a number of Springboks and Springbok tourists in the squad.

The Springboks are: Marnitz Boshoff, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Mapoe, Julian Redelinghuys & Warren Whiteley.

The Springbok tourists (uncapped) are: Ruan Dreyer & Jaco Kriel.

The Lions improved tremendously during 2014, doing well in Super Rugby and reaching the Final of the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division and they will want to continue this good form under the leadership of coach Johan Ackermann.

 

Emirates Lions Super Rugby squad:

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Emirates LionsThe Lions took to a wet Potchefstroom pitch to test out their Super Rugby squad in a warm-up match against the NWU-Pukke and the Leopards.

The 2 matches were split between the teams as the Lions took on Pukke for the first 40 minutes in their first game and where they were able to rack up a 26-0 lead.

The second 40 minutes saw the Lions then take on the Leopards with the Super Rugby team only managing to score an additional 7 points.

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Emirates LionsEmirates Lions Head Coach Johan Ackermann, and Lions (Vodacom Cup) Coach Russel Winter have named their respective extended squads for this weekend’s warm up matches against a NWU-Pukke XV and a Leopards XV respectively.

It appears that a “mix and match” approach has been taken as both squads include a mixture of both experienced Super Rugby, Currie Cup and junior players.

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Marnitz Boshoff

Marnitz Boshoff

Julian Redelinhuys

Julian Redelinhuys

Capped Springboks Marnitz Boshoff and Julian Redelinghuys as well current captain Warren Whiteley, have all extended their contracts until 2016 with the Lions.

Additionally, Jaco Kriel and Ruan Dreyer – both who joined the Springbok squad for their 2014 year-end tour of the Northern Hemisphere – have also opted to renew their contracts.

This positive news comes just 3 weeks before the commencement of the 2015 season, providing the team with an added boost and additional consistency.

Jaco Kriel

Jaco Kriel

Ruan Dreyer

Ruan Dreyer

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Rohan Janse van Rensburg

Rohan Janse van Rensburg

Lions centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg is enjoying life at his new team after making the move to Johannesburg from the Bulls.

Janse van Rensburg is considered to be one of the top talents coming through the South African rugby ranks. He was recognised as one of the top young centres after showing great pedigree as a schoolboy at Waterkloof, while he also enjoyed a successful run as a junior at the Bulls between 2010 and 2014.

He impressed for the Junior Springboks during last year’s Junior World Championship before injury prematurely ended his tournament.

The 20-year-old now enters a new and exciting chapter in his career has he completed a move from the Bulls to the Lions after the Currie Cup. He hopes to achieve more senior accolades at his new team.

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Super RugbyWith Super Rugby fast approaching it is important to have a look at what each of the teams are doing in their preparations and who they have at their disposal.

As the teams prepare for this brusing competition there is the oppourtunity to test out combanations as well as see how the new boys go.

The Sharks will travel to French champions Toloun to test out their game plan against the Galacticos of rugby while the Bulls will take on the Cheetahs in a traditional pre-season match in Polokwane.

The Australasian sides will also warm up against each other with the Highlanders setting up a comprehensive pre-season schedule due to the first round bye.

The ‘transfer market’ has made the upcoming Super Rugby season an exciting prospect with some big names in James O’Connor and Nick Cummins returning to Australia.

Menawhile, the Bulls have bolstered their squad with some excellent former Cheetahs players.

Finally, and unsurprizingly, Ma’a Nonu has made another move – this time back to the Hurricanes.

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Emirates LionsThis is the second article in the series of Lions Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2015.

The Lions have real depth in the hookers, with Robbie Coetzee, Akker van der Merwe, Malcolm Marx, Willie Wepener and even Mark Pretorius available to them in 2015.

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 HOOKERS in the Lions 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

The Emirates Lions front row will be a force in 2015.

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Emirates LionsIn the first discussions of the Super Rugby squad contenders for 2015 (in December), 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 off with, to be done as time allows me to do, considering one has to have some holidays and some off time too, before the new year becomes a burden on the batteries again.

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 Lions 2015 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

The Emirates Lions are much in the same position as the Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks, with excellent props serving their cause for 2015, with recent Springbok tourists at tighthead, Julian Redelinghuys and Ruan Dreyer both standout tighthead props and Schalk van der Merwe easily seeing off all comers in 2014, no matter who they were and what their pedigrees were.

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Rugby-Talk.com

It is officially the dreaded OFF-SEASON for Southern Hemisphere rugby, so it means under normal circumstances that we would be going into withdrawal system mode very, very soon… but NEVER here on Rugby-Talk.com.

As from this week (sometime), we will be starting IN DEPTH DISCUSSIONS on the INDIVIDUAL POSITIONS and the PLAYERS who will be filling these positions for the 5 South African Super Rugby Franchises.

That alone means 40 Articles to feast on (8 per Franchise), at a rate of 2 per midweek day, therefor roughly 10 per week, and subsequently it will take us roughly 4 weeks to complete… which basically covers most of the off-season.

But, that is not all folks, we will also be covering INTERNATIONAL CRICKET and some of the NORTHERN HEMISPHERE RUGBY.

In addition we will have a Christmas and New Year’s message, which has also proven popular over the years.

So, lots to look forward to, hold on to your boots!

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Emirates LionsEmirates, a global connector of people and their passions, and the Lions, one of South Africa’s top rugby teams, today announced a five-year sponsorship agreement.

The agreement will see Emirates become the title sponsor of the Lions Super Rugby team and have naming rights to the Lions home ground Ellis Park in Johannesburg. The announcement was made at a media conference today by Orhan Abbas, Emirates Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations for Latin America, Southern and Central Africa, and Rudolf Straeuli, the CEO of the Golden Lions Rugby Union.

Starting from 1 January 2015, the Lions will become known as the Emirates Lions, and the familiar “Fly Emirates” logo will adorn the match and training jerseys of the team for the next five years. Ellis Park, will be named Emirates Airline Park. The agreement also includes in-stadia hospitality as well as a number of other marketing rights and activities.

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Johan Ackermann

Johan Ackermann

The Golden Lions Rugby Union is not worried about reports stating that head coach Johan Ackermann is being targeted by a top Japanese club.

It was reported earlier this week that the Lions will struggle to keep Ackermann in South Africa after next year’s Rugby World Cup, with the former Springbok lock reportedly receiving a big-money offer from a Japanese club.

However, the Lions insisted they will not have a fight on their hands to hold on to the services of Ackermann.

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Xerox Golden LionsComing off a highly successful 2014 rugby season in all areas, the Lions have announced the final signings of players for the 2015 season

The GLRU has worked hard in maintaining growth potential in junior players and increasing depth where needed.

The Lions have managed to attact six SA Schools players for the Under 19 squad in Nazo Nkala, Barend Smit, Sarel Smith, Kenny van Niekerk and Marco van Vuuren.

In the Under 21 squad there are seven players who took part in the recent Under 20 World Cup in New Zealand. Cyle Brink, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Thabo Mabuza, Malcolm Marx, Ramone Samuels, Victor Sekeketi and Currie Cup player Jaco van der Walt.

In the senior squad the Lions boast seven players who are either capped by the Springboks or were involved this year, as well as BlitzBokke in Albertus “Kwagga” Smith and their captain Warren Whiteley who is both a Springbok and a Sevens Bok.

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Golden LionsEmiratesIt has been widely reported in various sections of the media today that the Lions are set to announce a 5 YEAR sponsorship deal with Emirates Airlines which would also include naming rights to the iconic Ellis Park Stadium.

The announcement, which will also include details of 2 other sponsorship deals is set to be made by Lions CEO Kevin de Klerk and CEO Rudolph Strauli tomorrow (11 December 2014).

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Deon van Rensburg

Deon van Rensburg

Michael Bondesio

Michael Bondesio

Golden Lions players Michael Bondesio and Deon van Rensburg have announced their retirement from professional rugby.

The duo had been struggling with injuries of late and decided to call it a day, the union announced via their official Facebook page.

Scrumhalf Bondesio had not played much this year due to a knee injury, while wing / centre Van Rensburg was laid low by a rib injury.

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Mitch: The Real Story

Mitch: The Real Story

The coaching merry-go-round at the Sharks may have contributed significantly to the drain on the franchise’s financial resources.

This, at least, is the view of John Mitchell, in his recently released autobiography – Mitch: The Real Story.

The former All Black, England assistant, Western Force and Lions coach – in an exclusive interview with rugby365 – explained why he said in his book that he “strongly suspect” the Sharks are running out of money.

High-profile figures like Brendan Venter (now back in an advisory capacity again) and World Cup-winner Jake White have come and gone in quick succession in recent years. They also had to pay John Plumtree, when the New Zealander was shown the exit door before his contract had run its full term.

The most recent acquisition is another former member of a Springbok coach panel, Gary Gold – who will take over as a Director of Rugby in January.

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Xerox Golden LionsEllis Park played host to the annual glittering Golden Lions Rugby Union Player Awards event on Wednesday evening, where several individuals were acknowledged for their achievements during the 2014 season.

The GLRU celebrated the Springbok capping of three players in 2014, namely Warren Whiteley, Julian Redelinghuys and Marnitz Boshoff.

Whiteley, Kwagga Smith, Ruhan Nel and Mark Richards all represented South Africa in Sevens rugby in 2014, with Whiteley and Smith both having been a part of the gold medal-winning Commonwealth Games side.

The GLRU’s SA U20 representatives for 2014 included Cyle Brink, Thabo Mabuza, Ramone Samuels, Malcolm Marx, Jaco van der Walt and Victor Sekekete.

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Redefine PropertiesCurrie Cup runners up, the Golden Lions, have lost one of their sponsors ahead of the 2015 season.

Redefine Properties recently announced it would not be renewing its three-year sponsorship of the team.

Redefine stepped forward to rescue the Golden Lions Rugby Union in 2012 after a previous sponsor said the union was insolvent.

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Sampie Mastriet

Sampie Mastriet

Lohan Jacobs

Lohan Jacobs

Marvin Orie

Marvin Orie

Rohan Janse van Rensburg

Rohan Janse van Rensburg

The Xerox Golden Lions have snapped up a quartet of Vodacom Blue Bulls players – including two SA under-20 stars and a Springbok Sevens player for the upcoming season as more discontent sets in in Pretoria.

Already the Bulls lost one of their rising stars, hooker Bongi Mbonambi, to Western Province earlier this year, while snapping up Boks Trevor Nyakane and Adriaan Strauss for the upcoming season as well as Toyota Cheetahs flanker Lappies Labuschagne.

But now the cross-Jukskei trek has seen the Bulls lose not only Springbok Sevens flyer Sampie Mastriet to the Lions, but also top young players Marvin Orie, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Lohan Jacobs.

The quartet have signed for the Lions after failing to find any meaningful game time at the Bulls as the bottleneck at the top continues.

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Xerox Golden LionsXerox Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann left his starting line-up unchanged and added Jacques van Rooyen on the substitutes bench for Saturday’s ABSA Currie Cup final against Western Province at Newlands in Cape Town.

The last time Western Province and the Lions met in a Currie Cup final was way back in 1986, when the hosts beat the then Transvaal 22-9 at Newlands.

Kick-off for Saturday’s clash is scheduled for 17:00 SA Time (15:00 GMT).

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ABSA Currie CupABSA Currie Cup Final ticket sales was moving along swiftly ahead of Saturday’s 2014 final at Newlands, with just 1300 seating and 2000 standing room tickets available by close of business on Monday after public sales went live – online, at the box office and at selected PostNet outlets.

Season tickets are not valid for the Final Saturday, but season ticket holders had until 12:00 SA Time on Wednesday 22 October to purchase their seats for the Final which are being held by Western Province Rugby. Scholars’ season tickets are, however, valid for the Final.

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ABSA Currie CupDHL Western Province will host the Xerox Golden Lions in Cape Town in the ABSA Currie Cup final after the teams won their respective semifinals on Saturday to remain the last teams standing in the competition.

DHL Western Province defeated the Vodacom Blue Bulls 31-23 in a physical encounter in Cape Town, while the Xerox Golden Lions delivered a fine performance against the Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg to register a convincing 50-20 victory.

DHL Western Province were quick on their feet throughout the clash and supported this with good decision-making on attack and a solid defensive effort. In stark contrast, the Vodacom Blue Bulls made mistakes at crucial times and missed three penalties, which cost them.

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