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Player Movements

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James O'Connor

James O’Connor: The worst of the three Amigos.

Yes, I know that James O’Connor has been a prat.

An official at the ARU who had to deal with him all the time told me that O’Connor was the worst of the Three Amigos – O’Connor, Kurtley Beale and Quade Cooper.

He would encourage and lead his mates into trouble and then, somehow, slide away unscathed, while the other two copped the blame and the punishments.

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Conrad Smith

TOUGH TEST: Conrad Smith says the All Blacks will need to be smarter in coming to terms with Argentina’s unique style of rugby.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and it seems Conrad Smith has missed his old mate Ma’a Nonu during the midfield pair’s enforced break up.

The old firm has been closed for business since Smith broke his hand during the second June test against England, but seems likely to reopen for business against Argentina on Saturday.

Nonu and Malakai Fekitoa had a run during the third test thrashing of England in Hamilton, and again during a dour 12-12 draw against Australia in Sydney while Smith attended the birth of his first child.

Then in Auckland, Smith and Ryan Crotty teamed up for the Bledisloe Cup bash as Nonu sat out with a bruised shoulder.

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Waterboy

Move over Sandler, make way for Piri.

World Cup winning All Blacks halfback Piri Weepu has begun his overseas rugby career as a water-boy, promising a selfless attitude as he tries to help London Welsh establish themselves in the English Premiership.

Weepu said he would bring a team-first approach to a club freshly promoted and looking to do better than their last stay at the top that lasted just one season. And he’s already proved that by running the water bottles in a pre-season match.

“I’m here to push this club as hard as I can and I’ll do everything possible for the team,” Weepu told The Rugby Paper website as his arrival in Britain drew attention ahead of this weekend’s season kickoff.

“Everything is about the team, not the individual, and if someone’s not pulling their weight, including me, I hope they’ll say it.

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Jesse Kriel

Jesse Kriel

The Vodacom Blue Bulls were given another mixed dose of news when the injury report arrived following their 23-18 loss to DHL Western Province in their Absa Currie Cup clash on Saturday.

While there was good news that both injured flyhalves – Jacques-Louis Potgieter and Tony Jantjies – had recovered from their ailments that forced them to miss the Western Province game, the Bulls were given the news that they will need a new fullback this weekend when they prepare to take on the Xerox Golden Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

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Jonathan Sexton

Jonathan Sexton

Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton faces a race against time to be fit for the autumn internationals after breaking his jaw while playing for Racing Metro.

The 29-year-old British and Irish Lions star was injured in a heavy clash with Craig Burden in Sunday’s French top-flight contest against Toulon.

South African hooker Burden was sin-binned for the challenge.

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JD Schickerling

JD Schickerling

Western Province Under 21 lock JD Schickerling narrowly escaped paralysis after breaking his neck against the Blue Bulls Under 21′s.

The 19-year-old Junior Springbok broke his neck in the 4th minute of the Absa Under 21 clash at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

Schickerling was injured just after catching a ball from a kick-off when Bulls lock Irne Herbst’s shoulder collided with Schickerling’s head. Afterwards, the other Bulls lock, Marvin Orie, grabbed the WP player in a headclamp before hurling him to the ground.

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Seabelo Senatla

Seabelo Senatla

Speedster Seabelo Senatla will almost certainly miss Friday night’s home Absa Currie Cup clash with the EP Kings at Newlands, but the DHL Western Province brains-trust will be holding thumbs that his absence from the game won’t be for long.

The Springbok Sevens star will have the ankle that he twisted during his match winning performance for WP against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus this past weekend assessed on Monday.

He said after the match that the ankle didn’t feel bad, and he was apparently walking comfortably on Sunday, but WP coach Allister Coetzee has listed him as a doubtful starter for Friday night’s game.

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Keven Mealamu

MENTOR: Keven Mealamu imparts some knowledge to All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith.

Keven Mealamu says he isn’t done yet, not by a long shot.

As another round of hand wringing about the country’s lack of depth at hooker kicks off, Mealamu has reiterated his desire to be part of next year’s World Cup campaign.

Dane Coles’ looming absence from part, or all, of the All Blacks’ trip to Argentina and South Africa later this month for the birth of his partner’s child has again highlighted the dearth of options available to coach Steve Hansen.

Bay of Plenty’s Nathan Harris was the next cab off the rank, but after that it was anybody’s guess.

“We’ve been bringing people in and out of the environment,” Hansen said.

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Ma'a Nonu

Timely return: Ma’a Nonu

All Blacks centre Ma’a Nonu has been passed fit to face Argentina next weekend in the latest round of the Rugby Championship.

Nonu was absent from New Zealand’s 51-20 mauling of Australia two weeks ago at Eden Park.

The Hurricanes midfielder picked up a shoulder injury in the 12-12 draw with the Wallabies the week previously, but his return to full health is important.

Ryan Crotty, Nonu’s replacement in Auckland, has been ruled out for four weeks with a facial fracture, meaning Nonu could come straight back in.

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Jacques-Louis Potgieter

Jacques-Louis Potgieter

Flyhalf Joshua Stander will earn a first senior start for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the 2014 Absa Currie Cup when the home team face DHL Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The 20-year old former Queens College player was bracketed with Jacques-Louis Potgieter, who failed a fitness test.

Stander has played for the Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21 side in the Absa Provincial Championship this season and was an unused replacement in the victory against the EP Kings last weekend.
Stander will be one of four changes to the side that won against the Kings.

The flyhalf will come in for Tony Jantjies (concussion), while Piet van Zyl (for Rudy Paige – bench), Callie Visagie (for Bongi Mbonambi – bench)) and Werner Kruger (for Marcel van der Merwe – Springboks) will return to the run-on team.

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Jurgen Visser

Jurgen Visser

The Vodacom Blue Bulls have been dealt a massive blow with the news that fullback Jurgen Visser has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

According to reports, Visser injured his foot two weeks ago against Western Province and was allowed to take the weekend off against the Kings to recover.

While the medical assessment on Monday indicated he would be fit and ready to train on Tuesday and rejoin the team, more discomfort has seen the medical team review their diagnosis, and the fullback is set to undergo an operation that will see him out of action for at least the next four months.

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Zac Guildford

Zac Guildford

Zac Guildford is looking to put his past alcohol-fuelled misdemeanours behind him and launch a new chapter in his impressive rugby career with Clermont.

The bad-boy of New Zealand rugby has had his fair share of run-ins with both rugby authorities and the law, but now he says he has a more mature head on his 25-year-old shoulders.

“I made some mistakes in my youth. The time had come to make some changes in my life and coming to Clermont was one of the best I could make,” he said.

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Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

Willem Alberts has been ruled out of the Springboks’ Rugby Championship tour to Australia and New Zealand and will be replaced in the 30-man squad by Warren Whiteley.

Alberts missed both Test victories against Argentina because of a hamstring injury and he underwent a fitness test on Thursday afternoon.

Although his hamstring is recovering well, he experienced some nerve irritation in his lower back and was sent for scans.

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Josh Stander

Josh Stander

Flyhalf Joshua Stander could earn a first senior start for the Blue Bulls in the 2014 Currie Cup when the home team face Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The 20-year old former Queens College player has been bracketed with Jacques-Louis Potgieter at flyhalf and could make his debut for the team should the latter fail a fitness test.

Stander has played for the Blue Bulls Under-21 side in the Absa Provincial Championship this season and was an unused replacement in the victory against the EP Kings last weekend.

Should Stander or Potgieter play, they will be one of four changes to the side that won 30-25 against the Kings.

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Keegan Daniel

Keegan Daniel during his Top League debut

Keegan Daniel speaks about his debut for the Kubota Spears and his initial impressions of Japan.

Daniel, who spent nine successful years with the Sharks, made the move to Japan at the end of the Super Rugby season.

A breakaway flanker blessed with an impressive turn of speed, his game seems a perfect match for rugby in Japan, where pace wins favour over physicality.

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Kurtley Beale and his Waratahs teammates

Feeling good: Kurtley Beale and his Waratahs teammates celebrate their Super Rugby triumph

The Waratahs are hopeful of locking in off-contract playmaker Kurtley Beale within a fortnight.

Coach Michael Cheika said he wasn’t taking anything for granted, but was reasonably confident of re-signing the 43-Test back for another season.

“It looks like it’s going better, so hopefully something’s going to happen there in the next week or two,” Cheika said.

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Pat McCabe

Wallaby Pat McCabe returns from New Zealand.

The Brumbies have watered down head coach Stephen Larkham’s comments that hardman Pat McCabe has retired, saying the 26-year-old’s playing future hinges on a meeting with the Wallabies’ doctor.

McCabe fractured his neck in the Wallabies’ 51-20 loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park on Saturday, with Larkham telling ABC radio on Wednesday morning the 24-Test winger had decided to hang up his boots after consulting with a specialist.

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James O'Connor

HE’S BACK: Reports are saying James O’Connor is set to sign on with the Reds.

The Queensland Reds will confirm the worst kept secret in rugby on Friday night when Wallabies’ prodigal son James O’Connor is announced as their new signing.

News Corp is reporting that the Reds will announce that O’Connor has signed a two-year deal at its Gala Ball in Brisbane.

O’Connor had his 44-Test career put on hold last year after the Australian Rugby Union tore up his contract after the 24-year-old was escorted off a flight to Bali by Australian Federal Police at Perth Airport.

He has since enjoyed a sixth-month stint at London Irish in the English Premiership before signing a short-term deal with European champions Toulon in the French Top 14 competition.

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Willem Alberts

Willem Alberts

Willem Alberts says he’ll be ready to play for the Springboks in their Rugby Championship encounter against Australia in Perth on 6 September.

Loose forward Alberts and lock Victor Matfield were on Monday recalled to the Springbok squad for the trip Down Under. Both missed the home and away Tests against Argentina because of injury.

Matfield suffered a knee injury during a cleaning drill, while Alberts withdrew shortly before the game in Pretoria as he picked up a hamstring tear during the captain’s training run.

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Sibusiso "S'Bura" Sithole

Sibusiso “S’Bura” Sithole

The Cell C Sharks look likely to be without outside centre S’bura Sithole when they play their return ABSA Currie Cup match against the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday night.

Sithole has been battling a rib injury and is in doubt for the match. Heimar Williams will replace him if he is not cleared to play. Otherwise the rest of the Sharks players are fit, with there being a possibility that key lineout forward Stephan Lewies will be added to the mix for a starting place this week.

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Luke Watson

Luke Watson

Eastern Province Kings captain Luke Watson has been ruled out of action for at least four weeks with concussion.

Watson, who has played little rugby in the last year due to injuries, suffered a head knock in the 25th minute of the Kings’ 30-25 loss to the Blue Bulls in Pretoria last Saturday.

Having recovered from a foot injury to lead the EP Kings in their opening Currie Cup match against WP, Watson also missed their second outing against the Golden Lions with flu.

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Juan Smith

Juan Smith het gesê hy moes op sy lippe byt om te keer dat die trane nie tydens die sing van die volkslied rol nie.

“Wat my gelukkigste dag ooit in die Springbok-trui moes wees, was toe my donkerste dag van my rugbyloopbaan.”

Só het ’n teleurgestelde Juan Smith Maandag gesê wat met sy aankoms in Suid-Afrika ook onder kritiek moes deurloop, omdat hy nie die volkslied in Saterdag se toets in die Rugby-kampioenskap teen Argentinië in Salta gesing het nie.

Die 33-jarige Smith was die eerste keer sedert 2010 weer vir die Bokke in aksie, en het nie die terug­keer gemaak waarop hy gehoop het nie.

“Die opbou na die toets was baie emosioneel gewees. Ek moes tydens die sing van die volkslied op my lippe byt dat die trane nie rol nie,” het Smith gesê.

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Frans Malherbe

Frans Malherbe in action for the Boks against Argentina

Frans Malherbe will miss the rest of the Rugby Championship after sustaining a serious injury to his right ankle in Salta.

Malberbe helped to stabilise the Bok scrum when he replaced Jannie du Plessis in the 46th minute, but was forced to leave the field in the 79th.

The tighthead prop will consult with a specialist in Cape Town upon his return to South Africa, when a call on further treatment and his replacement will be made.

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Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams has been granted a special exemption to be picked for the All Blacks’ end of year tour.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew confirmed on Monday Williams would not need to play in the National Provincial Championship following his commitments with the Sydney Roosters in the NRL.

NZRU rules state that players must take part in the preceding domestic competition in order to be eligible for the All Blacks.

However, the board voted on Friday to make an exemption for Williams should he not be able to make an appearance for Counties-Manukau either due to the length of the Roosters season, or injury.

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Josh Strauss

Josh Strauss in action for Glasgow Warriors

Josh Strauss admits he must deliver another sterling season for Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO12 – and only then can he turn his attention to winning a Scotland cap.

Strauss, 27, made the move from South Africa to Glasgow in 2012 and will be eligible to play for Scotland on September 19, 2015 – four days before their opening World Cup match.

The back-row has been a formidable force for Gregor Townsend over the last two years, starting in 31 domestic games including last season’s final.

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Ryan Crotty

Jaw injury: Ryan Crotty

New Zealand centre Ryan Crotty has been ruled out for four weeks after fracturing a facial bone during the weekend’s win over the Wallabies.

The Crusaders back, who enjoyed an impressive first start on the international scene in the 51-20 triumph, suffered a heavy impact in Auckland.

Steve Hansen must now decide whether Malakai Fekitoa should don twelve against Argentina if Ma’a Nonu does not recover by September 6.

Meanwhile, Cory Jane (knee), Beauden Barrett (ankle) and Aaron Cruden (pectoral) are all expected to recover in time for the Napier fixture.

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Xerox Golden LionsXerox Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has been forced to withdraw flyhalf Jaco van der Walt from his side to face DHL Western Province on Saturday, due to injury.

Van der Walt sustained a knee injury during last weekend’s clash with the EP Kings at Ellis Park. The 20-year-old has been unable to recover in time for Saturday’s match but it is hoped that he will return to action next week.

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MacGyverIn the 1980′s people sat spellbound in front of their television screens watching a show called MacGyver. Every week the hero would somehow find himself in a predicament and escape using sparse items in the process.

It would seem as if Blue Bulls loosehead prop MacGyver Dean Greyling has lived up to his name this week after he was suspended for only one week when he was found guilty of foul play in the Currie Cup match between the Blue Bulls and the Golden Lions on Saturday 9 August in Johannesburg.

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Brad Thorn

Brad Thorn: Still going strong at 39

Leicester Tigers have confirmed the arrival of World Cup-winning former All Black second row Brad Thorn.

39-year-old New Zealander was referred to by Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill as “one of the great all-time rugby players the world has ever seen.” He is expected at the club at the end of September.

Thorn became the first player to win World Cup, Super Rugby and Heineken Cup titles and arrives from the Highlanders having previously represented the Crusaders and Leinster.

“He is a very driven individual,” Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury.

“He wants to play in the Premiership and he wants to win the Premiership.”

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Francois Steyn

Frans Steyn wil nie n “GELDJAGTER” genoem word nie.

​”Ek is nie ’n kind nie.”

Só het Frans Steyn glo op die laaste krisisvergadering tussen hom en die Suid-Afrikaanse Rugbyunie (SARU) gesê voordat hy opgestaan, uitgeloop en die Springbok-groep vaarwel geroep het.

Dit was nadat meer as een vergadering tussen hom en SARU oor sy terugkeer uit Frankryk skipbreuk gely het.

SARU het aanvanklik in 2012 skriftelik ingestem om Steyn se kontrak met ’n Franse bemarkingsmaatskappy uit te koop sodat hy weer heeltyds vir Suid-Afrika beskikbaar kon wees. SARU het die paaiemente daarvoor stiptelik betaal – tot in Januarie 2013 toe betalings skielik eensydig gestaak is.

 

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Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

New Springbok call-up Warren Whiteley could well find himself playing a bigger part in this weekend’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship game than he thought as injury concerns followed the Boks en route to Argentina.

Already gearing themselves up for a tough match in Salta this weekend, the Boks will need to take all the positives out of their performance in the monsoon rain at Loftus and turn it around to ensure a second victory over Los Pumas in a fixture they have traditionally struggled in.

Whiteley was a last minute call-up before the Loftus game when Willem Alberts went down to a hamstring injury, and has been called up as cover for loose forward and no8 – something hat Alberts was also the back-up to.

Whiteley’s prowess in the loose, his natural roving ability and his lineout options he provides the team will weigh heavily on coach Heyneke Meyer’s mind as he uses the short week to plan for the assault that is waiting for the Boks in Salta.

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Free State CheetahsThe Cheetahs have paid the price for a bruising win against the Griquas on Saturday with Luan de Bruin, Elgar Watts and Johannes “Boom” Prinsloo looking set to miss their clash against the Sharks.

The Free State Stadium turned into a minor battlefield on Saturday with medical teams having to stretcher players off on more than one occasion.

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  • Bullscot 2 Sep 2014, 23:17 SAST - Like this version of Snow Patrol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_9J5Ux49eY
  • Te Rangatira 2 Sep 2014, 23:14 SAST - Reason does have a point about taking the war of attrition out of the game...then again...the spectators don't want to...
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