Rugby World Cup Springboks Bryan Habana, Damian de Allende and Lwazi Mvovo are among a host of 15-a-side stars who will be in contention for places in South Africa’s Olympic Sevens squad, the South African Rugby Union announced on Wednesday.
They will be joined by Springbok team mates Juan de Jongh, Warren Whiteley, Cornal Hendricks and Oupa Mohoje at a 3-week training camp from Sunday in Stellenbosch as part of the South African Rugby Union’s (SARU) new Sevens strategy in Olympic year, announced Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU.
Habana has returned to his French club side Toulon and will join the training camp towards the end of the month. SARU also confirmed that Springboks Francois Hougaard and Ryan Kankowski had already signed contracts to play for the Springbok Sevens team this season.
In addition, provincial 15-a-side stars Cheslin Kolbe, Rayno Benjamin, Warrick Gelant and Jaco Kriel have also been invited to join the camp alongside SARU’s powerful, existing Sevens squad.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer decided to keep continuity for South Africa’s final Rugby World Cup Pool B match.
The Springboks face the United States at London’s Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.
The starting line-up shows only 2 changes from the team that recorded a 34 / 16 victory over Scotland in Newcastle last Saturday.
As a result Frans Malherbe will start his 1st match of the season for South Africa, while Rudy Paige could make his Test debut off the bench against the United States.
Malherbe comes in at tighthead prop for Jannie du Plessis, in the only change to the pack.
The backline shows only 1 personnel change as well – at wing, where Lwazi Mvovo takes over from JP Pietersen, with Bryan Habana moving over to the right wing.
Pietersen was not considered this week due to injury, while a decision was taken to give Du Plessis and Victor Matfield time to get over some niggles due to the short turn-around after the Scotland match.
Joining Paige on the bench is Morné Steyn, who both could get their 1st taste of Rugby World Cup action this year.
Schalk Brits and Coenie Oosthuizen are also back amongst the replacements this week.
Victor Matfield will captain the Springboks against Los Pumas on Saturday, with Zane Kirchner, Lwazi Mvovo, Pat Lambie, Willem Alberts, Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss and Trevor Nyakane all getting their 1st starts of the season.
Jan Serfontein and Schalk Brits have also been included in the match-23 for the 1st time this season.
A total of 28 players will travel to South America on Wednesday to play the Pumas at the Vélez Sarsfield on Saturday evening (SA Time). The match-23 shows numerous changes from the side that lost to Argentina last weekend, many of them injury-enforced.
Kirchner takes over at fullback from the injured Willie le Roux, Jesse Kriel moves from wing to centre for Jean de Villiers, with Lwazi Mvovo getting his 3rd run of the season, in the No 14-jersey. Willem Alberts replaces the injured Marcell Coetzee in what will be his 1st Test in more than a year.
Jean de Villiers will captain a Springbok side also featuring the return of Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi in the match-23 for the 1st time since 2013, when the Springboks host Los Pumas at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
De Villiers will continue his remarkable recovery from the terrible knee injury he suffered last November in Cardiff and will start his 1st Test of the season. He will lead the team against the Pumas from outside centre, with Schalk Burger taking over the vice-captaincy.
As a result of De Villiers’ inclusion for the final Test in The Rugby Championship, Jesse Kriel will move to right wing.
“Jean’s comeback is truly remarkable and very inspirational and I can’t wait to see what he can offer playing next to exciting youngsters such as Handré Pollard, Damian and Jesse,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“Jean now has 160 minutes of rugby behind him since his comeback a month ago and I’m very satisfied that he will be able to make his mark as player and captain.
“Jesse is a very versatile player – he has played at wing before and spent almost the entire Vodacom Super Rugby season at fullback. His aerial skills and work-rate, as well as tactical kicking will be valuable and hopefully he will be given even more space to attack in.”
The forwards on the bench are again rotated due to injuries and players recovering from injuries, which sees the return of Siya Kolisi and and Pieter-Steph du Toit, both of whom made their last Test appearance as replacements in the 19 / 10 victory over France in Paris on 23 November, 2013.
Schalk Burger is back in the Springboks’ starting line-up for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against the Australian Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Burger’s inclusion at No 8, after a great performance as replacement against the World XV last weekend in Cape Town, is 1 of 5 changes to the Springboks’ match-23 for this match.
The other 4 changes are on the bench, where props Heinke van der Merwe and Frans Malherbe, as well as Lood de Jager (lock) and Lwazi Mvovo (wing) have been included.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said the changes were all part of the plan to rotate players in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup.
“We’re expecting a massive contest for the ball on the ground on Saturday and with Schalk there next to Francois Louw and Marcell Coetzee, as well as Bismarck du Plessis, we’ve got a lot of players who are very good at the breakdowns,” he said.
“Warren Whiteley played very well last weekend, but he knows exactly where he stands and will play again for the Boks this season. For this match though, we decided to go with this specific loose trio.
“I’ve said last week that we will make changes, but it’s also important to keep some form of momentum. Saturday’s match is going to be massive in the context of our season and we have to ensure we tick the right boxes.
“It will be good to see what Heinke, Frans, Lood and Lwazi can do from the bench, while we’ve also opted to keep continuity in the starting team. There will most likely be changes for every match this season as we keep one eye on the World Cup.
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.
Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold, has welcomed back a number of players to the team named to play the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium in Wellington in Saturday’s 2nd Super Rugby tour match for the Sharks.
Gold has been able to select his Springbok front row for the 1st time in 6 weeks to bolster the pack upfront, while also returning Francois Steyn and Renaldo Bothma back to the starting line-up. The big, physical players are expected to play a big role on the weekend against the log-leaders.
“The Hurricanes are a team on an absolute high at the moment, their performance against the Crusaders was outstanding and this is probably going to be a big challenge for our players at this moment in time, with our backs against the wall,” explains Gold.
“We’re playing the best team in the competition, it’s going to be an unbelievable challenge, but one that’s going to make us grow as a group.”
Lwazi Mvovo has been moved to fullback, a straight swap with Odwa Ndungane while Lionel Cronje wears the No 10 jersey, partnering Stefan Ungerer who gets his 1st start at scrumhalf.
Following the elimination of the Cell C Sharks and the Vodacom Blue Bulls from the ABSA Currie Cup and the conclusion of the First Division, 8 more players have been invited to the Springboks’ training camp in Stellenbosch.
The Springbok selectors have invited Lwazi Mvovo, Cobus Reinach, Lourens Adriaanse (all Cell C Sharks), Handré Pollard, Rudy Paige, Marcel van der Merwe, Bongi Mbonambi (all Vodacom Blue Bulls) and Boela Abrahams, who starred for the Down Touch Griffons in their ABSA Currie Cup First Division final victory on Friday, to join 20 nationally contracted players and 4 others as the team start their preparations for what will be an arduous Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.
The loss of Odwa Ndungane last week is off-set by returning Springbok Lwazi Mvovo who has been released from the Springbok squad for the Cell C Sharks’ Currie Cup clash against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday (17:05 kick-off).
According to Sharks website editor, Michael Marnewick, he is one of a handful of changes in the backline, where a re-jigged back three and midfield change see plenty of pace introduced.
Paul Jordaan returns after a week’s rest and will partner last week’s debutant Andre Esterhuizen (and a try-scorer on debut) in a potentially very dangerous centre partnership that marries brute strength with pace and acceleration to burn.
Following an agreement between the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and the provincial unions, wing Lwazi Mvovo has been released to play in the Currie Cup for the Cell C Sharks this weekend.
Mvovo will train with the Sharks this week and join the Springbok squad in Cape Town on Sunday evening.
Jake 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.
Tank Lanning, former WP tighthead prop and head of Tankman Media has an interesting look at the Springbok team chosen to play against Scotland as well as the words of the uber-opportunist, Oregan Hoskins earlier this week regarding supposed instructions to Bok coach Heyneke Meyer.
This is pretty much they way I feel about it too and for once I am able to agree with something Lanning said, without hesitation!
Good piece, Tank!!
Sharks director of rugby Jake White felt his decision to select Lwazi Mvovo at fullback was justified after his performance in their comfortable 32-10 Super Rugby victory over the Waratahs on Saturday.
The coastal side consolidated their position at the top of the table at Kings Park after 19 points from stand-in flyhalf Fred Zeilinga, who turned in a faultless kicking display, while Ryan Kankowski and Keegan Daniel added second-half tries.
It will raise some eyebrows, but Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White feels his team selection could be a pointer for Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
While some will debate the decision to name young Fred Zeilinga at flyhalf, in the starting XV to face the Waratahs in Durban on Saturday, it is the selection of Lwazi Mvovo at fullback that sparked the most interest.
The Bok wing, Mvovo, who has seven Test caps for South Africa, was shifted to No 15 and SP Marais dropped to the bench.
Sharks wing Lwazi Mvovo says the injury he sustained against Saracens is not as serious as initially feared.
This is the 8th and last article in the series of Cell C Sharks 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 BACK THREE in the Cell C Sharks 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
There were contrasting emotions going through the coaches’ minds following The Sharks’ 64-7 defeat of the Rebels at KINGS PARK in their Vodacom Super Rugby clash on Saturday evening.
In this Article we look at the contenders for WINGS AND FULLBACKS at the Sharks 2013 Super Rugby group.
The Sharks will have a very solid backline in 2013 with all positions having sufficient depth and with the Back Three the same can be said. In JP Pietersen, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndugane and Sibusiso Sithole they have four good wings with the likes of Paul Jordaan, Louis Ludik and Gouws Prinsloo who can all also cover the position if need be.
Springbok Rugby coaches have released five players back to their Currie Cup squads from the squad that returned from New Zealand.
Herewith some nice short audio clips from the Bok camp, as they prepare for this weekend’s clash at Newlands, Cape Town in the Springboks opener in The Rugby Championship.
The 8th and last Article in the set discussing the Sharks Super Rugby players for 2012.
In this Article we look at the contenders for the BACK THREE (WINGS & FULLBACKS) in the Sharks 2012 Super Rugby group, and what their worth will be in Super Rugby terms.
The Sharks have confirmed the extension of several prominent players’ contracts ahead of the upcoming Super Rugby season.
A simulated rugby field at Loftus Versfeld was filled to capacity with bags of clothing and bedding collected by Clothing4Children from Pretoria Schools. Vodacom Blue Bulls, DHL Western Province and Sharks players in the under 19, under 21 and senior teams, fans, sponsors and suite owners in the Pretoria region also collected for the Clothing4Children Campaign. Prior to Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup clash between the Vodacom Blue Bulls and DHL Western Province, all the players walked on to the field with their bags to show their support for the inspiring campaign, started by Burger brothers Schalk and Wim.