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Player Movements

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Flip van der Merwe

Flip van der Merwe

The Bulls were dealt a cruel blow just days into their pre-season, with confirmation that Springbok Flip van der Merwe is set to miss the start of the 2015 season.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke, confirmed that Van der Merwe will undergo surgery next Tuesday after damaging his pectoral muscle.

“It was a freak accident,” Ludeke said, when asked about the burly lock that was ruled out for the latter half of 2014 after suffering a serious knee injury during the second Springbok Test against Wales in June.

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Exodus

European clubs targeting Springboks to join their cash-flush clubs after next year’s Rugby World Cup will this time have more of a fight on their hands than before, after the South African Rugby Union’s (SARU) Springbok contracts are likely to be enforced with more vigour.

In recent days we’ve seen growing reports of Boks that may be heading overseas after the Rugby World Cup. This week it was Duane Vermeulen’s link with a French club and Bath – the latter willing to offer around R7.8-million a year for the IRB Player of the year nominee’s services.

Previously both Flip van der Merwe and Eben Etzebeth have been linked with moves overseas to French clubs while sources in France tell of Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis, Francois Hougaard, Willie le Roux and even Jan Serfontein being privately courted with offers to go overseas.

However, here is the catch. Those with Springbok contracts cannot enter into any negotiations with any club before 1 July 2015, leaving them a matter of 2 months to sort out their post-World Cup careers before the showpiece event takes place.

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Johan Goosen

Johan Goosen

Trevor Nyakane

Trevor Nyakane

Teboho Mahoje

Teboho Mahoje

Coenie Oosthuizen

Coenie Oosthuizen

The Springbok starting team to face Italy in Padova on Saturday shows four changes from the side which beat England at Twickenham last week, with three new faces amongst the pack and one in the backline.

There are also five changes on the bench, with Nizaam Carr and Julian Redelinghuys included in a Test match-23 for the first time.

Trevor Nyakane will start his first Test for South Africa at loosehead prop, while Coenie Oosthuizen moves up from the bench to replace the injured Jannie du Plessis at tighthead. Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje returns to the starting line-up while Johan Goosen has been selected at fullback.

Joining Carr and Redelinghuys on the bench, are Gurthrö Steenkamp, Lood de Jager and Willie le Roux. Tendai Mtawarira has been given a break after carrying a heavy workload recently.

“I’m excited to see what these guys can do on Saturday in what will be a stern Test against a fired-up Italy,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“We planned to make a few shifts for this Test as I’d like to see if these players can make the step up. The guys coming in deserve their opportunities and seeing that we won’t have our overseas-based players available next week against Wales, it made sense to bring a few of them in this week.”

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Bath PlugBath RugbyErrr… wrong picture… I did not say Bath Plug, I said Bath Rugby! OK, here’s the right one!

Gmpfff, still looks somewhat the same!

 

Anyway… Bath head coach Mike Ford has said the club are not in the market for Springbok loose forward Duane Vermeulen.

Earlier in the week there was speculation that Bath were on the hunt for Vermeulen to be one of their marquee players alongside Wallaby Will Genia.

“It was news to us when it was mentioned to us earlier today,” Ford said on Tuesday.

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Francois Louw

Francois Louw

Francois Louw says he had been carrying “for years” an underlying neck problem that forced him to have surgery in September.

A pinched nerve caused by a slipped disk resulted in the 34-cap Springbok having an operation on 22 September.

The injury has forced the flank to miss the year-end internationals and Louw is still unable to put a firm date on his return for club side Bath, although he says a December “would be fantastic”.

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Dave Dennis

Dave Dennis

Waratahs captain Dave Dennis revealed that he went to America to speed up the rehabilitation program, following a knee injury.

Dennis was among the first batch of Waratahs that began pre-season training this week, as they look to defend their Super Rugby crown.

He was among the first group of returning players, which include senior team members Pat McCutcheon, Paddy Ryan and Jeremy Tilse.

They are joined by seven new faces, including former New Zealand Warriors Rugby League player Sam Lousi.

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Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

English club Bath are reportedly setting their sights on signing Springbok and Stormers No 8 Duane Vermeulen after next year’s Rugby World Cup.

The 28-year-old has been instrumental for the Springboks this season and was recently also shortlisted as an IRB World Rugby Player of the year nominee.

According to the Express.co.uk website, Bath are lining up Vermeulen as a second marquee player alongside Wallaby scrumhalf Will Genia.

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Luther Burrell

Luther Burrell

Billy Twelvetrees

Billy Twelvetrees

Luther Burrell and Billy Twelvetrees are both in contention to face Samoa at Twickenham on Saturday, after Burrell was named in the group preparing for the third of England’s year-end Tests.

The Northampton Saints centre, who scored three tries in the 2014 Six Nations, is among 28 players recalled by Stuart Lancaster to Pennyhill Park on Monday – after recovering from a hand injury.

Bath wing Semesa Rokoduguni, missing from the 28-31 defeat to South Africa with a thigh injury, has not recovered sufficiently to retake his place in the squad and will remain at the club.

Domestic colleague Kyle Eastmond suffered concussion towards the end of the match last Saturday and will undergo the graduated return to play protocol in hope of playing against the South Sea Islanders.

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Paul Perez

Paul Perez

Sharks CEO John Smit has confirmed the arrival of Samoan and former EP Kings wing Paul Perez to the Sharks.

Perez arrived earlier on Monday at the Sharks headquarters in Durban, after his contract with the Kings was terminated.

Perez now joins Michael Horak, who also made the move up the coast, to take up a role as defensive and kicking coach fro the union.

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Chris Henry

Chris Henry

Ireland’s Chris Henry missed the recent win over South Africa with a brain injury, rather than a migraine, the Irish Rugby Football Union announced Monday.

Team medical staff initially diagnosed a virus on the morning of the 8 November match, against the Springboks, before suspecting a severe migraine.

However, specialists have since determined that “a temporary blockage of a small blood vessel in his brain” forced 30-year-old Ulster flank Henry to miss Ireland’s surprise 29-15 victory over the Springboks.

“Chris Henry suffered some weakness on the morning of the South Africa game and a viral illness was suspected, he recovered quickly and the initial diagnosis was of severe migraine,” read the IRFU statement.

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Willie le Roux

Willie le Roux

Jannie du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

The Springboks have two main injury concerns following their bruising 31-28 victory over England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Prop Jannie Du Plessis hobbled off in the 64th minute of the game after he went down awkwardly at the breakdown, which team doctor Craig Roberts is currently investigating.

“Jannie hyper-extended his knee in a ruck and was caught quite awkwardly. His foot got stuck in the ground and couldn’t bend his knee which ended up overstretching his hamstring and hyper-extending his knee.

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Victor Vito

Victor Vito

Dominic Bird

Dominic Bird

New Zealand will be without forward Victor Vito for the final match of their Northern Hemisphere tour after he returned home through injury.

The loose forwatd suffered a calf problem before half-time against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday, and was forced to watch the second period from the sidelines as the All Blacks ran out 24-16 winners.

Vito had started the match well, crossing in the ninth minute to register his third international try.

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NamibiaProp forwards Quintin Esterhuyzen and Shaun de Preez have been called up as replacements to join the Namibian team in Carcavelos, Portugal, ahead of Namibia’s final match of their Northern Hemisphere tour.

The pair will join the team later this week as cover after loosehead Jaco Engels injured a hamstring in the match against the French Barbarians.

Engels is undergoing medical treatment and his recovery will be monitored, while the other regular Namibian props Johnnie Redelinghuys and Andrè Schlechter returned home due to personal commitments.

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Tony Jantjies

Tony Jantjies

Eastern Province Rugby has confirmed the signing of Blue Bulls flyhalf Tony Jantjies, ahead of the 2015 season.

“We are extremely excited to have signed Tony, whose family hails from the Graaff Reinet area, falling in line with our goal to bring talented players from this region back to the Eastern Cape,” said EP Rugby president, Cheeky Watson.

Watson said he was positive that Jantjies would be a great addition to the Kings family when he joined the team in January next year.

“I have spoken to Carlos Spencer, who worked closely with Tony’s brother Elton, and he is very keen to begin working with Tony,” he said.

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Dan Carter

Dan Carter

All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter was unimpressed by his scratchy return in the number 10 shirt against Scotland but grateful just to get through the 24-16 win unscathed.

Starting at flyhalf for the first time in a year after a season blighted by a broken leg, Carter was well below his best at Murrayfield, struggling with handling errors particularly in the opening exchanges before being replaced shortly after halftime.

“That first 20 (minutes) was pretty scratchy and there were a lot of mistakes from me personally which, if I get another chance, I’ll have to improve,” Carter told reporters.

“My option-taking probably wasn’t the best at times. But I was pretty pleased to be back out there playing again and I felt as the game went on I grew in confidence.”

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Kurtley Beale

Kurtley Beale

Wayward back Kurtley Beale left Australia to join up with his Wallaby teammates in Europe on Saturday, saying he wants to redeem himself after fearing his international career was over.

Beale received a call-up to join the Wallabies for the last two matches of their northern hemisphere tour after being left out of the touring party for disciplinary breaches.

Beale has not played for Australia since the Wallabies’ loss in Cape Town against South Africa on 27 September.

On the ensuing flight to Argentina to play the Pumas Beale had an argument with then Wallabies business manager Di Patston, which quickly descended into a major scandal engulfing the Australian Rugby Union and leading to the resignations of Patston and Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.

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Paul Perez

Paul Perez

Eastern Province Rugby have confirmed that they have terminated Samoan wing Paul Perez’s contract with immediate effect.

Perez, who was seen as playing an integral role in the EP Kings plans for the 2015 season, disappeared for two days this week, without justification or permission, and remained uncontactable for the duration of his absence.

EP Rugby president, Cheeky Watson, confirmed that the union had been in the process of applying for Perez’s work permit, and had been obligated to contact the Department of Home Affairs due to concerns raised by his absenteeism.

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Dan Carter

Dan Carter

New Zealand flyhalf Daniel Carter is expected to return to the match day squad for their clash with Scotland on Saturday as he continues to work his way back from a broken leg.

Carter was the highest profile water boy in world rugby last Saturday when the All Blacks beat England 24-21 at Twickenham. The 32-year-old missed out on a place in the playing squad, ostensibly because coach Steve Hansen felt he had not played enough rugby.

Carter has barely played this year after taking a six-month sabbatical and breaking his leg in the Super Rugby final in August.

He came off the bench for 30 minutes against the United States on November 1 and assistant All Blacks coach Ian Foster said he would now get more playing time in their final two matches against Scotland on Saturday and Wales on November 22.

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Marland Yarde

Marland Yarde

Semesa Rokoduguni is out of England’s international against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday, with Marland Yarde replacing the Bath wing in the squad, head coach Stuart Lancaster announced on Tuesday.

Rokoduguni, who made his debut in last week’s 24-21 defeat by New Zealand, injured his thigh and Lancaster believes there is not enough time for him to recover to face the Springboks.

That is the only change to the 23 players selected to face the All Blacks, although James Haskell is added to the squad as cover for Tom Wood, who was unable to take a full part in Tuesday’s training.

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Agustín Creevy

Agustín Creevy

Argentina will be without their captain Agustín Creevy for the clash with Italy after the hooker sustained a thigh injury.

After leaving the field after just 20 minutes in the Pumas 31-41 loss to Scotland on the weekend, it now looks set that the hooker will not recover in time.

Creevy, who took over the Argentinean captaincy this year, underwent medical tests where it was revealed that he had suffered a grade one tear of his thigh.

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Jono Ross

Jono Ross

The Blue Bulls Company has granted Vodacom Blue Bulls loose forward Jono Ross an early release from his contract to allow the player the opportunity to join the French club, Stade Francais.

Ross will join the Paris-based club on 1 December 2014.

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke admitted that it was a set-back losing a former captain and versatile loose forward, but pointed to the huge stock of talented players that will still be available to the Blue Bulls Company in 2015.

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James Hook

James Hook

Gloucester flyhalf James Hook was called into Wales’s squad for their remaining November internationals on Sunday after fellow No 10 Dan Biggar suffered a groin strain in the 33-28 defeat by Australia.

The 29-year-old Hook has won 76 caps but has rarely enjoyed the full confidence of Wales coach Warren Gatland, with the New Zealander seemingly mistrustful of the playmaker’s talent.

Meanwhile Hook’s versatility – he has also played Test rugby at fullback and centre – has proved as much a hindrance as a help in establishing himself as a first-choice plyer while Gatland has been in charge of Wales.

However, Biggar’s injury means Hook could be called upon for the Millennium Stadium clash with Fiji on Saturday.

“Hook will link up with the squad tomorrow (Monday) when they gather to prepare for Saturday’s clash against Fiji,” said a Welsh Rugby Union statement issued Sunday.

“No players have been released from the squad.”

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Luke Braid

Luke Braid

Jayden Spence

Jayden Spence

Versatile New Zealand back Jayden Spence is to join Bordeaux-Begles as cover while compatriot Luke Braid will arrive next season for two years, the French Top 14 outfit said on Sunday.

Spence, 23, who can play on the wing or in the centre, currently turns out for Otago in the domestic New Zealand league.

The 1.71m, 91kg back joins as cover for a Bordeaux side currently missing injured French international wing Sofiane Guitoune.

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Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Western Province centre Pat Howard is set to join Munster Rugby on a three-month contract.

The 22-year-old will join the Irish club later in the month, subject to passing the normal medical procedures.

Howard made his Western Province Currie Cup debut against Free State Cheetahs in August 2012 and has made 11 appearances in the competition.

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Campbell Magnay

Campbell Magnay

The Queensland Reds have signed 17-year-old centre Campbell Magnay, the youngest player in the inaugural season of the National Rugby Championship.

Magnay joins the Reds on a three-year deal, after impressing in his appearances for Bond University Queensland Country throughout the NRC.

He is the ninth Queensland NRC player to be offered some level of contract with the Reds program.

The former St. Joseph’s Nudgee College student represented both the Queensland and Australian Schoolboys sides last year and was playing Premier Colts for Brisbane club side GPS when offered an opportunity with Queensland Country.

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Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt woke up to headlines singing his praises after he masterminded a superb 29-15 victory over Southern Hemisphere heavyweights South Africa at the weekend.

The 49-year-old New Zealander – who in his maiden Six Nations campaign guided the Irish to the title earlier this year – has proved a master at preparing the team for different challenges, wrote former Ireland lock turned journalist Neil Francis in the Sunday Independent.

“He may have the air of a headmaster but with the conscience of a rattlesnake his team was a personification of their head coach’s mindset,” wrote the 50-year-old Francis, who was capped 36 times.

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Yannick Nyanga

Yannick Nyanga

Flanker Yannick Nyanga will replace his Toulouse clubmate Yacouba Camara in France’s squad for next weekend’s international against Australia, manager Philippe Saint-Andre has said on Sunday.

“Yacouba Camara is a young player with huge potential,” said Saint-Andre.

“But Yannick Nyanga has had great performances with Toulouse, he has lived and has experience at the highest level and we also know his mindset.”

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Stephan Coetzee

Stephan Coetzee

Michael van der Spuy

Michael van der Spuy

Griquas have secured the services of two promising Western Province players for next season.

Centre Michael van der Spuy and hooker Stephan Coetzee – who both showed promise for WP this season – have signed with Griquas until the end of the 2015 season.

It will also be a boost for the men from Kimberley who recently lost the services of hooker Ryno Barnes (Free State) and centres Howards Mnisi (Lions) and Doppies la Grange (retirement).

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Siyabonga "Scarra" Ntubeni

Siyabonga “Scarra” Ntubeni

Western Province hooker Siyabonga “Scarra” Ntubeni has been called up to the South African touring squad in place of the injured Robbie Coetzee.

It will be Ntubeni’s second stint withy the natiobnal team, as he was a Springbok tourist in November last year – without getting a cap.

Ntubeni, who is currently in London with Province, will join the Bok squad in the English capital after their match against Saracens on Sunday.

Coetzee will return to South Africa in the coming days.

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EP KingsThe Eastern Province Kings have announced their pre-season training squad following their return to training after a lackluster 2014 Currie Cup campaign.

They have managed to retain a number of their current senior players, as well as seeing numerous younger players making the step-up from the junior competitions.

EP Rugby CEO, Charl Crous, said he was positive about the season ahead.

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Semesa Rokoduguni

Semesa Rokoduguni

Uncapped Semesa Rokoduguni is among 23 players retained by England coach Stuart Lancaster to prepare for Saturday’s Test against New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium.

The Fijian-born tank soldier is one of four Bath backs included after sparkling Premiership form, with Anthony Watson also being included in a matchday squad for the first time – alongside Kyle Eastmond and George Ford.

In the forwards, uncapped Saracens lock George Kruis is included for the first time after Joe Launchbury was ruled out of the 2014 Internationals with a neck injury.

Front row duo Joe Marler and David Wilson have trained fully this week after minor injuries and take their slots to face the All Blacks.

Meanwhile the injury-hit England squad were faced with the prospect of having to re-jig their side once more ahead of their clash with the World Cup champions, New Zealand, after lock Dave Attwood left their training camp to attend the birth of his first child.

However, England hope to have Attwood back in time for their opening November international.

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Jano Vermaak

Jano Vermaak

Ruan Pienaar has been ruled out of the year-end tour because of a knee ligament injury and he will be replaced by Jano Vermaak.

Pienaar picked up the injury in the Springboks’ Test against New Zealand in Wellington in September and has been out of action since then.

“Ruan was re-assessed on Tuesday following the on-field fitness tests from Monday, and unfortunately he has developed some swelling and puffiness around the knee, indicating that he is not yet ready to partake in full training and playing in a match,” said Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts.

“He needs a few more weeks of rehabilitation before he’ll be ready to return to play and hence we’ve taken the decision to rule him out of the tour.”

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