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.
Scrumhalf Rory Kockott was called into the France squad to face Fiji, Australia and Argentina next month after the South African qualified to play for his adopted nation through residency rules, the French federation said on Sunday.
Castres Olympique player Kockott has been on Philippe Saint-Andre’s radar for some time as the France coach regularly tinkers with his halfback line.
Griquas hooker Ryno Barnes on Friday was cleared of wrongdoing after receiving a red card in their Absa Currie Cup clash against the Blue Bulls last weekend for allegedly verbally abusing the referee.
Barnes appeared before a SARU disciplinary committee in Kimberley on Thursday after being cited for breaching Law 10.4 (m) and (s).
The All Blacks were given a big scare ahead of their Test against the Wallabies on Saturday.
First-choice flyhalf Beauden Barrett is under a slight injury cloud, following a training ground mishap.
The No 10 limped out of training with his left thigh iced and Colin Slade running the final few minutes of the session.
There is no indication when a call will be made on Barritt’s fitness.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has named a larger training group ahead of next year’s Super Rugby competition.
According to reports, there are nine new recruits and two Under 21 players in the squad.
Wing Sergeal Petersen, utility back Joe Pietersen, No 8 Willie Britz, centre JW Jonker, prop BG Uys, flank Devin Oosthuizen, utility back Coenie van Wyk, prop Danie Mienie and flyhalf Clinton Swart are the newcomers in the 55-man squad.
Youngsters Nico Lee (centre) and Tienie Burger (flank) were also added as newcomers.
Fuelled by the enjoyment factor having returned to his game, Springbok flank Siya Kolisi has listed regaining his Stormers starting berth as first target for 2015.
This was among the 23-year-old’s revelations.
The current year has been an awkward one for Kolisi, marked first by a loss of form in the Super Rugby season and then a new injury midway through the Currie Cup just as he was regaining his zest and best form.
Auckland-born Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna is set to end his bid to play for the All Blacks after he was selected to represent Tonga, New Zealand media reported on Wednesday.
The 140-kg tighthead, who is of Tongan heritage, had been on the fringes of All Blacks selection for some time and even earned a call up to New Zealand’s training squad last year.
Hamilton based Super Rugby franchise the Chiefs have strengthened their squad for the 2015 season with the signings of two new forwards.
Prop Siate Tokolahi from Canterbury has signed with the Chiefs for the next two seasons and Hawke’s Bay lock Michael Allardice has signed for the 2015 season.
Tongan born, 22-year-old Tokolahi is an immensely strong player and can play both sides of the scrum.
Springbok flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff is set to join the Barbarians when they take on the Wallabies at Twickenham on 1 November.
Boshoff joins a list of New Zelanders who were added to the squad on Monday along side a large South African contingent that were added earlier in the month.
All Blacks Adam Thomson, Francis Saili and Frank Halai have all been added to the squad to facing Australia and Leicester Tigers in November.
Mercurial flyhalf Quade Cooper was among the reserves named on Tuesday for the embattled Wallabies with Adam Ashley-Cooper chosen for his 100th Test against the All Blacks in this weekend’s Bledisloe Cup clash.
Under-fire coach Ewen McKenzie made two changes to his starting line-up with Christian Leali’ifano at inside centre and Rob Simmons returning at lock for a team that lost 21-17 to Argentina on 3 October.
Leali’ifano replaces the injured Matt Toomua while Simmons displaces James Horwill from the beaten side in Mendoza.
Cooper has not played for Australia this year after suffering a shoulder injury in May, when he lost his place to Bernard Foley.
Flyhalf Elton Jantjies is enjoying life on and off the field at Japanese club NTT Shining Arcs.
The Lions flyhalf headed to the Far East after Super Rugby and has settled in nicely at his new team.
At the Shining Arcs, he features alongside former All Blacks lock Isaac Ross and former Lions team-mate and USA captain Todd Clever, while he has developed a great relationship with the local players.
Jantjies has also emerged as a pivotal player for the club. He has featured in all their games this season, helping them to four wins from six as they aim to qualify for the league playoffs and All-Japan Championship knockouts.
Flyhalf Morne Steyn will not tour with the Springboks on their upcoming trip to Europe, a report on Sunday suggested.
According to the report, only two flyhalves – Handré Pollard and Pat Lambie – will be picked for the tour which includes Tests against Ireland (Dublin, 8 November), England (London, 15 November), Italy (Padova, 22 November) and Wales (Cardiff, 29 November).
The Bulls suffered a serious injury blow in the first half of their 46-12 victory over the Griquas with inside centre Burger Odendaal – possibly the find of the season for the Bulls – leaving the field clutching his arm.
Ludeke said Odendaal possibly suffered a fracture which would rule him out for the playoffs and leave a dent in the midfield.
The Blue Bulls may have made a stuttering start to their season, but they finished the Currie Cup round-robin stage with a flourish against the Griquas in their at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
Their performance may suggest the Light Blues were peaking at the right time, though they still had two more hurdles to overcome to claim the coveted title for the first time in four years starting with their semifinal clash against Western Province in Cape Town next Saturday.
“We feel things are starting to come together, and we would like to make sure that we put everything together next week with a good performance there,” Ludke said.
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has said on Sunday Kurtley Beale should not be sacked and has called for a squad honesty session to dispel talk of team disunity under coach Ewen McKenzie.
Hooper insisted the “team is tight” and backed the besieged McKenzie, who has become embroiled in the fallout of Beale’s messy spat with former team business manager Di Patston.
Beale was suspended from last week’s Argentina game in Mendoza over a mid-flight argument with Patston, and was later barred from selection indefinitely after the emergence of “deeply offensive text messages” about Patston.
The Australian Rugby Union said Patston had resigned from her position late on Friday, citing stress relating to the recent events.
Versatile Wallabies back Adam Ashley-Cooper will quit Australia after next year’s World Cup to play club rugby in Europe, the 99 times capped international has said on Sunday.
The 30-year-old, who is set to become only the sixth Australian to win 100 caps, said he would like to link up with former Wallabies team mate Matt Giteau at big-spending European champions Toulon in France.
“I’m certainly scoping out the areas of Toulon but there are a few other clubs that are interested,” Ashley-Cooper said on Sunday.
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has confirmed that Tawera Kerr-Barlow faces a six to nine month recovery period.
Kerr-Barlow suffered a nasty injury in the second half after coming against the Springboks at Ellis Park.
The Chiefs scrum-half may possibly need two surgeries to correct the injuries to his leg.
“He’s done his ACL,” Hansen said.
Experienced prop Brok Harris will captain DHL Western Province in their final league match of the 2014 Absa Currie Cup season – against the Sharks at DHL Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 17:05 SA Time).
DHL Western Province have already qualified for a home semifinal, by virtue of their top of the log finish with a game in hand, and head coach Allister Coetzee has handed starts to captain Harris, fit-again Springbok hooker Tiaan Liebenberg and flyhalf Kurt Coleman, who will make his 50th appearance for Province.
Harris, who will be leaving Western Province at the end of the season – after eight years in the Cape, has played 117 matches for DHL Western Province and 93 for the DHL Stormers.
Former DHL Western Province captain Anton van Zyl is set for a shock return to the team after an absence of four years as the Absa Currie Cup log leaders seek a way to protect their stocks ahead of the play-off phase of the competition.
Van Zyl, known as Worms by his friends, finished off a stint with Stade de Francais a few months ago and is back living in Cape Town. He last played for WP in the 2010 Currie Cup final, and last played for the Stormers in the 2011 season.
He attended a Province training session on Tuesday as the Cape side prepares for the clash with the Cell C Sharks this weekend, and according to WP sources, is in the reckoning to play in the game.
Five Glasgow Warriors players will be plying their trade for their draft clubs this weekend, including Sean Maitland who will don the pink and black of Ayr.
The British & Irish Lion scored a try in the Warriors 30-5 victory over Edinburgh in the ‘A’ game last month and is looking for added game-time, having not featured for the Scotstoun club so far this season through injury.
He will play alongside Dougie Hall against Boroughmuir at Meggetland.
Dillyn Leyds has been named at fullback for Western Province’s Currie Cup meeting with the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday (kick-off 14:00 SA Time).
WP coach Allister Coetzee has made five changes to his starting line-up this week – from the starting XV that defeated the Pumas in Nelspruit last Friday – with four of them enforced.
Leyds, who re-joined WP after a stint at the Western Force in Australia, replaces Cheslin Kolbe (back injury) in the No 15 jersey, Pat Howard comes in for SA Sevens wing Justin Geduld (on national Sevens duty), while Manuel Carizza and Rynhardt Elstadt form a new-look lock duo in the absence of the injured Ruan Botha (ankle) and Jean Kleyn (AC Joint).
Wallabies playmaker Kurtley Beale is facing an ARU integrity unit investigation after an alleged incident on a team flight in South America.
The ARU on Wednesday night said in a statement the matter had been referred to team management and Beale is facing disciplinary action.
The investigation centres around an alleged incident on the Wallabies’ flight from South Africa to Brazil on Sunday.
Beale isn’t being sent home but it’s not immediately known if the 47 Test star will be available for selection for the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship clash with Argentina in Mendoza on Saturday.
Sharks utility back Pat Lambie has extended his stay with the Durban-based outfit for at least the next three years.
Lambie is amongst a host of young players who have extended their contracts beyond next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Youngsters like Thomas du Toit, Andre Esterhuizen, Cameron Wright, S’bura Sithole and Stephan Lewies have also signed contracts to remain in Durban for the next three years.
Du Toit and Esterhuizen were involved in the Baby Boks’ IRB Junior World Championship campaign where they ended as losing finalists – going down 21-20 to England – with du Toit already boasting Super Rugby experience, just a few months after finishing his school career.
All Blacks star Ma’a Nonu has been linked to French club Toulon as the European champions ramp up recruitment ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Respected French newspaper Midi Olympique claims Toulon are close to finalising a two-year deal with the veteran New Zealand midfielder.
Sonny Bill Williams has put an end to all the speculation and will make his return to rugby for Counties Manukau next Wednesday.
The Counties Manukau Rugby Union have confirmed Williams will make his much anticipated Steelers’ debut – and return to rugby after a two-year stint for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL – against Auckland in a national provincial championship match in Pukekohe next Wednesday night.
The union will officially announce today that the 29-year-old will play in the Steelers’ final two matches of the season – against Auckland and Tasman – despite his contract with the NPC side only starting next year.
But unless injuries strike, Williams won’t make his comeback for the All Blacks until the end of year tour to the United States and Europe.
The formidable presence of No 8 Duane Vermeulen could be missing from the Springbok arsenal when they play their final Rugby Championship match of the year against the All Blacks at Ellis Park next Saturday.
Vermeulen left the field late in the second half with a rib injury, and with Schalk Burger having already come onto the field for Teboho Mohoje, that meant that a lock, Victor Matfield, had to take up position on the side of the scrum.
Glasgow’s Tyrone Holmes has received a one-week ban after being sent off for stamping on an opponent during the PRO12 game against Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade last Saturday.
League organisers confirmed the Glasgow flanker appeared before an independent disciplinary committee in Dublin on Wednesday.
The good news for DHL Western Province fans is that explosive winger Seabelo Senatla, who has been missed by the Cape side during his injury enforced absence, will be back for the play-off rounds of the Absa Currie Cup.
Senatla has linked up with the Springboks during their build-up to Saturday’s test match against Australia at Newlands for the purpose of picking up experience that could come in useful later in his career.
He has been unable to train, but according to Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts he is being monitored by the Bok Sevens medical team. He is in the final stages of rehabilitation from his ankle injury and will soon be back on the field.
Castres scrum-half and new France squad member Rory Kockott has revealed that playing for Les Bleus has always been his aim.
The South African joined Castres in 2011 and has been a roaring success in the Top 14, guiding his club to two league finals and one title.
Having now qualified on residency, Kockott has been named in France’s squad for the upcoming November Tests.
There has been much speculation over the last year as to whether Kockott would play for his adopted country or be selected by the Springboks, but now his decision is clear.
Eastern Province Kings:
The captaincy curse has struck the winless Eastern Province Kings again, with another skipper sidelined.
Steven Sykes will join Luke Watson in the sickbay and will not be on duty the against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, according to the Kings medical team.
Sykes will be missing the upcoming game due to a knee injury that he sustained during the loss to the Free State Cheetahs last Saturday.
Everything changes now for Beauden Barrett.
There’s a lot for the young All Black to get his head around as he receives an unexpected opportunity to make his move at No 10.
Aaron Cruden’s unfortunate night out in Auckland on Saturday, and his subsequent omission from the All Blacks’ trip to Argentina and South Africa, might end up hurting twice as much.
Springbok flanker Francois Louw underwent surgery on Monday after he injured his neck in the Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand in Wellington.
Team doctor Craig Roberts told reporters in Cape Town on Monday that Louw had suffered a pinched nerve in his neck, and would be sidelined for about six weeks.
“Francois initially took a knock to his head, and the scans showed damage to a nerve in his neck. He has had surgery today on the (affected) disc and that should relieve the pressure (on the nerve),” said Roberts.
Canterbury’s Tom Taylor has been called into the All Blacks after Aaron Cruden was dropped following his boozy night out in Auckland.
Taylor made a composed starting test debut against the Wallabies in Wellington at first five-eighth last year, kicking four penalties and a conversion in the 27-16 win.
He will provide back-up to Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade in the pivotal role over the next two weeks as the All Blacks attempt to secure their third straight Rugby Championship title in La Plata and Johannesburg.
Taylor last played for the All Blacks in November in the 54-6 rout of Japan in Tokyo and has since struggled for form this season, being used in almost every position in the backline by the Crusaders.
Injured Queensland Reds and Wallabies fly half Quade Cooper sat down with Chris Garry last week to discuss a dramatic year for his code and club.
Cooper reveals how he helped lure the brightest talent in world rugby, Taniela “Tongan Thor” Tupou, from the clutches of the All Blacks to the Reds, why Queensland should have hit the player market hard following their Super Rugby triumph in 2011, when he will return from injury … and predicts Karmichael Hunt will make the Wallabies’ World Cup squad.
France head coach Philippe Saint-André has named five uncapped players in his squad for November’s Tests, with Rory Kockott included.
Props Uini Atonio and Xavier Chiocci, back-row Charles Ollivon and wing Teddy Thomas are the new players joining Kockott in the Les Bleus mix.
Kockott is one of just two scrum-halves in the group, joining Sébastien Tillous-Borde while Camille Lopez, Remi Tales and François Trinh-Duc are the 10 options available to Saint-André.
Saint-André has dispensed with the services of loosehead Thomas Domingo and back-row forwards Antonie Claassen and Fulgence Ouedraogo while Maxime Machenaud, Dimitri Szarzewski and Morgan Parra also miss out.
There’s a year to go until the World Cup – just enough time for it to be turned into an eligibility farce.
The potential for the game’s biggest event to be laughed out of town is growing. The prospect of teams turning up with legions of players who don’t really have a strong link to the jersey they wear is real.