Centre Jaque Fourie has joined fellow World Cup winner Bakkies Botha in deciding to quit the international stage.
Fourie, on the Union Sports Group player management agency’s official website, confirmed that he will no longer be available for Springbok selection.
“After much consideration, with regards to my current career status, I have decided to not make myself available for any international matches,” Fourie said in a statement on the agency website.
“I have chosen to remain focused on continuing with my current club, Kobelco Steelers.
Former Fiji wing Rupeni Caucaunibuca has ended his unhappy second stint with French second division side Agen by mutual consent.
Caucaunibuca, more commonly referred to simply as Caucau, had played only 87 minutes for the Pro D2 side this season, having returned for a second spell following a highly successful first stint from 2004-09.
Back then, when Agen were in the French Top 14, Caucau twice finished as top try-scorer in the league.
He moved on to giants Toulouse in 2010 and then in 2012 returned to Northland in New Zealand, where he had also played Super Rugby for the Blues.
Agen said the explosive 34-year-old had asked to have his contract terminated.
Ireland flank Chris Henry has had an operation to repair a defect on his heart wall after a temporary blockage was discovered in a small blood vessel in his brain.
The defect was found to be related to the blockage, which was discovered before Ireland’s victory over South Africa on 8 November.
Henry was withdrawn from the starting lineup on the morning of the South Africa match with a suspected viral illness that was initially diagnosed as a severe migraine.
Cardiff Blues’ new signing Gareth Anscombe is keen to impress Wales coach Warren Gatland and force his way into the Welsh Six Nations squad.
The Welsh qualified junior All Black made his debut for the Blues last weekend and was the shining light in their 28-13 defeat to Edinburgh at Murrayfield.
The utlity back is determined to muscle his way into the Wales fold for the Six Nations by steering his new side to victories against European Cup Pool One qualification rivals London Irish in their back-to-back clashes next month.
“I’m a pretty driven guy and now that I’m over here it’s the goal to play for Wales. So, I guess the next step may be the Six Nations.
Wales will be able to call on their French-based stars for Saturday’s Test against the Springboks at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
The match falls outside of World Rugby’s Test window, which means clubs are not obliged to release their overseas-based players for internationals.
For this reason, the Springboks will not be able to call on the likes of Bryan Habana (Toulon, France) JP Pietersen (Panasonic Wild Knights, Japan), Schalk Burger (Suntory Sungoliath, Japan), Johan Goosen (Racing Metro, France), Jano Vermaak (Toulouse, France), Gurthro Steenkamp (Toulouse, France) and Morne Steyn (Stade Francais, France).
However, it appears Wales will be able to call on some key overseas players.
Tevita Kuridrani has been ruled out of Saturday’s match against England at Twickenham with an ankle injury.
The in-form Wallabies centre picked up the injury early in the second half of their 26-23 defeat to Ireland. Tests on Monday revealed a low grade tear, meaning Kuridrani won’t be available for the match against England, although he should be clear by the time Super Rugby rolls around.
Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis has not recovered from a hamstring injury and will miss their final tour game against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
Du Plessis sustained the injury against England at Twickenham on 15 November and missed this past weekend’s game against Italy in Padua (Padova).
He was expected to be back for the Wales Test, but needs more time on the sidelines.
Warren Whiteley picked up a calf injury during training recently and also has not recovered sufficiently to play in the final Test against Wales on Saturday.
Stuart Lancaster has recalled 34 players to Pennyhill Park to prepare for Saturday’s final International against Australia at Twickenham Stadium.
Exeter Chiefs’ in form No 8 Thomas Waldrom, who has scored seven tries in eight Premiership games this season, replaces Billy Vunipola.
The Saracens man suffered concussion in Saracens’ defeat to Northampton Saints at the weekend will undergo the Graduated Return To Play protocol at his club.
Seabelo Senatla has been released from the Springbok touring squad at the request of the Springbok Sevens and will return to South Africa on Sunday.
Senatla will join the Blitzbokke as they prepare for the next two tournaments in the HSBC Sevens World Series, in Dubai and Port Elizabeth.
“We’ve got a very good relationship with Neil (Powell) and the Sevens, so we’re happy to help,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“At this stage we won’t be calling up a replacement as we have enough cover at the back.
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.
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.
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.”
Errr… 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.
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”.
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.
Fiji prop Campese Ma’afu was suspended for a week for being sent off for two yellow-card offenses in the 17-13 loss to Wales at Cardiff last weekend.
Ma’afu appeared before an independent Six Nations disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Prop 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.
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.
Golden Lions prop Ruan Dreyer has been called up to the Springbok squad as injury cover for Jannie du Plessis.
Dreyer will join the squad in Italy as soon as his travel arrangements have been made.
Du Plessis left the field during the Springboks’ 31-28 victory over England at Twickenham on Saturday.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Sharks have announced that they are pleased to sign talented loose-forward, Renaldo Bothma, who will join the Cell C Sharks on a two-year Super Rugby contract.
Bothma will return to the Steval Pumas after he has completed his Super Rugby commitments for the Cell C Sharks.
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.”
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.