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Lood de Jager

SpringboksFour additional players, Trevor Nyakane, Lood de Jager, Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje and Lizo Gqoboka, have been invited to the Springboks’ training camp in Stellenbosch next week.

The three Toyota Free State Cheetahs forwards and the EP Kings prop are not nationally contracted but as their teams did not qualify for the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division semi-finals, their unions had been requested to release them for the training camp.

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Lood de Jager

Lood de Jager

Lood de Jager, the ‘next big thing’ in the Springbok second row, has been ‘missing in action’ of late.

De Jager, after a series of stand-out performances for the Cheetahs in this year’s Super Rugby tournament, made his debut in the Green and Gold against Wales in Durban during the Incoming Series and currently has five Test caps to his name.

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Lood de Jager

Lood de Jager

The Springboks made three changes to their starting XV, with two of them effecting the line-out structures – which already appeared weak in Pretoria last week.

The line-out has long been a strength of the Boks, and a lot of this dominance in the set pieces can be attributed to the maestro that is Victor Matfield.

The veteran lock was sorely missed last weekend when the Boks’ line-out struggled, in albeit poor conditions, against the Argentineans at Loftus Versfeld.

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CheetahsConsidering the amount of Toyota Cheetahs that are leaving for greener pastures, Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Cell C Sharks may be the last time that their fans may see them in their orange and white strip before joining new teams.

And since it is their last home Super Rugby game of the season, coach Naka Drotske has included all his stars for the clash to try and score a win against in the local derby.

No less than eight Springboks are back in action for the team after spending the last month with the Springboks and Trevor Nyakane, captain Adriaan Strauss, prop Coenie Oosthuizen, lock Lood de Jager, utility forward Teboho Mohoke, flyhalf Johan Goosen, wing Cornal Hendricks and fullback Willie le Roux all return to the side for the clash.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Lood de Jager

Lood de Jager

The joke is going around that Heyneke Meyer describes everything the Bokke does as “AWESOME“!

Well, the South African public have reason to be AWED by the AWESOME display of the Springboks and their AWESOME coach!

Not only are the Springboks playing a very well-rounded and balanced game, 2 and a half years into Heyneke Meyer’s tenure, but it appears that the Springoks can now call on 40 odd players to do National duty for them at any given time.

Not only do the Springboks have locks of absolute world class to burn, the looseforwards are equally impressive, the midfield options have been greatly bolstered… and the flyhalf stocks are suddenly no concern anymore, with well-rounded performances by Handré Pollard and Marnitz Boshoff.

The biggest problems still for the Springboks, seem to be adequate depth at both loosehead and tighthead prop.

With almost 30 frontline Springboks out with injury and / or not available due to the International Window having closed before the start of the Test on the weekend, the mix-and-match Springboks certainly excelled on the weekend.

The 5 Springbok debutants, Handré Pollard, Marnitz Boshoff, Marcel van der Merwe, Stephan Lewies and Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje also distinguished themselves on the field of play.

At the end of the June Internationals, the Springboks and Heyneke Meyer finally have reason to smile!

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Lood de Jager

Lood de Jager

Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard

As the announcement of the Springbok squad is awaited on Wednesday, speculation as to the possible composition of the side is gathering momentum.

At this stage it would appear that Johan Goosen is not over his injury worries and that Handré Pollard would leapfrog into the starting berth at flyhalf.

At lock Lood de Jager should get the nod and a 1st start at No 4 lock, in the absense of Flip van der Merwe, who is out with a longer term injury.

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Lood de Jager

Lood de Jager

The value of having veteran Bakkies Botha in the Springbok squad could be measured by how much time it takes new cap Lood de Jager to settle and become comfortable at international level.

The influence that the likes of Botha and now Victor Matfield could have on the development of the young players in the squad has often been referred to as one of the main reasons for having them in the mix.

It was when he saw the awe with which the youngsters regarded Botha when he joined the Boks in Wales last year that coach Heyneke Meyer made the decision to get the one half of the legendary “Blood Brother” combination into the mix more regularly.

But there is nothing quite like hearing it direct from the horse’s mouth, and De Jager left little doubt after his announcement in the match day 23 for Saturday’s first test against Wales here in Durban on Saturday that the presence of both Botha and Matfield has added even greater impetus to what has already been a special time for him.

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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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SpringboksSeven uncapped players, Damian de Allende, Lood de Jager, Cornal Hendricks, Teboho Mohoje, S’bura Sithole, Marcel van der Merwe and Callie Visagie, have been called up to Springbok duty as part of a 36-man squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series next month.

The squad also includes experienced World Cup winners Schalk Burger and Victor Matfield, while there is a return to the Springboks for Schalk Brits, Juan de Jongh, Francois Hougaard, Lwazi Mvovo and Frans Steyn, all of whom last played Test rugby in 2012.

The national selectors have also kept a great deal of continuity. In total, 12 players who started the final Test of 2013, where the Springboks beat France in Paris for the first time in 16 years, have been retained in the squad.

However, notable omissions include Springbok captain and SARU’s Player of the Year in 2013, Jean de Villiers, who is out with a knee injury, and the Young Player of the Year for the last two seasons and IRB Player of the Year nominee last year, Eben Etzebeth, who has been given more time to fully recover from the foot injury which has kept him sidelined this entire season.

The Springboks will also be without one of their vice-captains, Adriaan Strauss, who has been suspended for three matches as well as the experienced Jaque Fourie, who started all three Tests last November but has been ruled out with an ankle injury and Pat Lambie, a regular member of the squad for the last two years.

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Victor MatfieldSchalk BurgerCornal HendricksSibusiso SitholeLodewyk De JagerTeboho MahojeHeinrich BrussowSouth AfricaWorld champion Springboks Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger as well as two former Blitzbok stars, Cornal Hendricks and S’bura Sithole, are included in a 36-man squad to attend a national training camp in Durban from 25 to 28 May, the South African Rugby Union announced on Monday.

Cell C Sharks back Sithole and Hendricks, the SA Sevens Player of the Year in 2013, are two of eight uncapped players in the squad. The others are the Toyota Cheetahs duo of Lood de Jager (lock) and Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje (loose forward); Marcel van der Merwe (prop) and Jacques du Plessis (flank/lock) of the Vodacom Bulls; Marnitz Boshoff (flyhalf) of the Lions and the DHL Stormers’ Damian De Allende (centre/wing).

They will join Matfield, Burger and Toyota Cheetahs flanker Heinrich Brüssow – who are back in the national set up for the first time since the last Rugby World Cup in 2011 – in a training squad that is missing a number of players due to injury.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said he was happy with the form of a number of the country’s top players and the uncapped players who have grabbed their chance this season, as well as the re-appearance from retirement and long-term injury of Matfield and Burger.

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Cheetahs

This is the third in the series of Cheetas 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 LOCKS in the Toyota Cheetahs 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

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ContractIt 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.

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Looking at the tall timber, in what has been a troublesome position for the Cheetahs in seasons past. With stalwarts like Barend Pieterse, Rory Duncan, Corniel van Zyl, Flip van der Merwe, David de Villiers , Nico Breedt, and Wilhelm Steenkamp all leaving a void, so a new generation of locks  has to be nurtured. With the more recent departures of George Earle, and Izak van der Westhuizens’s departure for colder pastures, a perception could exist, that the Cheetah class of 2013 could struggle in the second row. Well, maybe not!

 

 

 

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