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Pumas

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Kick-off for 2014′s Currie Cup is almost upon us with a full set of fixtures scheduled for 9 August.

Sportingbet have come to the party by pricing up a market for the overall winner of this tournament.

With that in mind, here’s our take on who has a major shot at the trophy and which sides may struggle to keep up with the pace.

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Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke on Wednesday confirmed Deon Stegmann’s captaincy for his team’s upcoming Currie Cup campaign and named a strong 26 man squad for Friday’s warm-up match against the Pumas in Nelspruit.

“It was an easy decision to call on ‘Steggies’ to lead the team this year,” Ludeke said.

“He is not only one of the most experienced players in the squad, but also one that leads by example on and off the field.”

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The Rugby ChampionshipWhistleThe International Rugby Board has named the Match Officials for SANZAR’s The Rugby Championship in August and September. A new face amongst them is John Lacey of Ireland.

Lacey has become increasingly prominent this year and last Friday refereed the Test in Cordoba between Argentina and Scotland.

He is an e at -player – a wing or fullback for Munster and Ireland A. His debut for Munster was in 1995 against Transvaal. He played till 2007 when he retired and then became a referee. In 2008 he was refereeing club rugby in the Amlin Cup and the Magners League. In 2009 the IRB chose him as an international assistant referee. In 2010 he replaced injured Greg Gardner at the Junior World Championship where he refereed a semifinal. The next year he was on the international panel as a referee. Now he is going to Loftus Versfeld to referee a Test between the Springboks and the Pumas.

The last Championship matches are on 4 October 2014, the Bledisloe Cup match a fortnight later.

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Brett Gosper

Brett Gosper

IRBIRB chief executive Brett Gosper has revealed that while an IRB committee is working on it a global season is unlikely to happen before 2019.

Super Rugby and Rugby Championship organisers SANZAR have requested that the IRB move the current June Test window to July in order to allow their Super Rugby tournament to run without a break for internationals.

July does not currenly fit in with the European season as the climax of the Northern Hemisphere tournaments take place in May and the June Internationals follow on.

Moving the mid-year internationals to July would therefore not work for Northern Hemisphere teams as the players would not get sufficient rest and the season would have a “dead” month in June.

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Vodacom CupWith 12 titles out of 16 between them, three of the four teams contesting the Vodacom Cup semi-finals this weekend – all of them from the North Section – know a thing or two about winning this competition.

It’s only the Steval Pumas, runners up in 2013 and the only unbeaten team this season, that hasn’t won the Vodacom Cup.

But the Golden Lions, whose title last year was their fifth, GWK Griquas (four-times champions) and the Vodacom Blue Bulls (three-time champions) have dominated the competition between them since its inception in 1998.

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Vodacom CupGWK Griquas scored the biggest playoff victory in the history of the Vodacom Cup as all four teams from the North Section proved too strong for their counterparts from the South and progressed to the semi-finals.

With three of the winning margins over the weekend between one and seven points, GWK Griquas’ 84-15 victory over the SWD Eagles perhaps best illustrated the dominance the North had over the South.

The previous biggest victory in a playoff match also involved the team from the Northern Cape, when they lost 73-7 to the Golden Lions in the 1999 Final.

The Golden Lions and Vodacom Blue Bulls, with eight Vodacom Cup titles between them, had to travel for their quarter-finals, while the Steval Pumas and GWK Griquas won their playoffs at home.

This means that for a second successive year the winner of the Vodacom Cup will come from the North Section – last year the Golden Lions proved too strong for the Steval Pumas in the Final in Nelspruit.

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Vodacom CupThe Steval Pumas, Cell C Sharks XV, GWK Griquas and Toyota Free State XV will host the four Vodacom Cup quarter-finals after the pool phase of the competition came to an exciting conclusion this weekend.

It was an exciting end to the competition in 2014, with a total of 75 tries scored in the eight pool matches at an average of just over nine per match, or one try every eight or so minutes.

While the North Section went pretty much as expected and the Steval Pumas managed the become the only team to go through their pool matches unbeaten, the last round in the South Section saw the log getting a proper overhaul following upsets in Durban and George on Friday evening.

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PumasCorné Steenkamp has put his retirement on hold and will lead the Pumas in a pre-season friendly against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Steenkamp  initially announced last year that he would call it a day after almost 150 first class game for the Pumas.

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EdinburghCarl BezuidenhoutEdinburgh Rugby have recruited 2013 Currie Cup (First Division) and Vodacom Cup winning stand-off Carl Bezuidenhout on an extended trial until the end of the season.

The 27 year-old began training with the squad at Murrayfield Stadium this morning (Monday 30 December) two months after the Pumas’ unbeaten Currie Cup First Division triumph, in which he ended the season as tournament top points’ scorer.

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The Rugby ChampionshipSANZAR have announced the draw for the 2014 Rugby Championship which will start on the 16th of August when Australia host New Zealand in Sydney.

The 2014 Super Rugby season ends on August the 2nd and then the Southern Hemisphere’s best players will get the weekend of August the 9th off and then the Rugby Championship starts a week later on the 16th.

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ItalyArgentinaItalian coach Jacques Brunel has made three changes to his starting team for their third and final year-end Test, against Argentina in Rome on Saturday.  There is also a positional switch in the backline.

In the Argentina camp, player release has forced Argentina into 5 changes for their closing tour match against Italy on Saturday from the team beaten 40-6 by Wales last weekend.

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TVFor the Springboks this is the last weekend of competative rugby in 2013, bar of course the 9 Springboks who have been chosen to represent the Barbarians next weekend.

So, apart from some HSBC Sevens action and a weekend without the Springboks next weekend, the Southern Hemisphere season is fast approaching it’s end.

Just imagine all the Northern Hemisphere rugby and all the cricket we’ll have to get by on in December and Juanuary!

So, this weekend I’m stuck in front of the TVand watching every game I possibly can.

5 Tests will be broadcast live on TV in South Africa this weekend, 1 on Friday, 3 on Saturday and the last 1 on Sunday.

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MTN LionsThe Lions have finalised their warm-up matches ahead of next year’s Super Rugby tournament, however there are rumours of demands and coaching demands by the Pumas, who form part of the Lions Super Rugby franchise.

These rumours want us to believe that the Pumas are insisting that their coach, Jimmy Stonehouse, has to be involved in coaching at the MTN Lions. With Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann’s coaching contract already extended and with him the designated figure to take the head coach role for the MTN Lions, this spat could easily turn ugly if the parties do not reach some compromise and consensus.

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End Of Year ToursEngland’s Wayne Barnes will referee the Boks’ final end of year Test against France in Paris on Saturday.

Barnes will be the Boks’ third northern hemisphere referee in as many matches on their tour after Ireland’s Alain Rolland took control of their 24-15 win over Wales in Cardiff, while France’s Jérôme Garcès was the man in the middle in their 28-0 victory over Scotland in Edinburgh last Sunday.

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WalesCardiff Blues centre Cory Allen is in line to make his Test debut this weekend after being named on Thursday in the starting side to play Argentina.

At the other end of the spectrum, prop Gethin Jenkins will become only the fourth player to win 100 Wales caps after Stephen Jones, Gareth Thomas and Martyn Williams when he takes the field at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

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EnglandArgentinaEngland (24) 31 / 12 (6) Pumas (Final Score)

England and the Argentinian Pumas did battle in the End Of Year Tours at

Twickenham, London at 16:30 SA Time (14:30 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.

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Meanwhile, other Internationals in progress at the same time, here are the scores:

Italy (10) 20 / 50 (19) Wallabies (Final Score)

Scotland (11) 42 / 17 (3) Japan (Final Score)

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  • Pietman 31 Jul 2014, 21:31 SAST - robzim wrote: @ Pietman: @ 25 Ja nee, dis wynwereld daardie…. ek dink dit het al in groot Schalk se...
  • robzim 31 Jul 2014, 21:30 SAST - @ Pietman: I also doubt... Cornel is a Bolander originally from Worcester.
  • Pietman 31 Jul 2014, 21:25 SAST - robzim wrote: Gold for Fredericks ( SA) in 400 m hurdles too. Frankie's relative? But he was from Namibia, so...
  • robzim 31 Jul 2014, 21:24 SAST - @ Pietman: @ 25 Ja nee, dis wynwereld daardie.... ek dink dit het al in groot Schalk se dae rof...
  • IAAS 31 Jul 2014, 21:21 SAST - An Englishman, a Scot and a Bulls supporter are arrested for smuggling drugs into Saudi Arabia. At their execution, the...
  • robzim 31 Jul 2014, 21:21 SAST - Gold for Fredericks ( SA) in 400 m hurdles too.

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