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SA Rugby

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Jan Serfontein

Jan Serfontein

A niggling hip flexor injury may have kept Springbok centre Jan Serfontein sidelined for parts of the Super Rugby season, but he is hopeful to soon stake a claim for a place in this year’s Rugby World Cup squad.

“Injuries have been a bit of a setback for me this year, but I’m on my way back. Maybe the fitness is a bit down, but it’s something you can work on, on your own,” Serfontein said at the Springbok camp in Johannesburg this week.

“I’m just hoping to get some game time for the World XV and in The Rugby Championship coming up.

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Jurie Roux

Jurie Roux, SARU CEO

On the same day that SARU fired their General Manager of Referees, Andre Watson, it was confirmed that the University of Stellenbosch has instituted civil action against SARU’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jurie Roux.

Maties, as the university is popularly known, confirmed that it is suing Roux, although a spokesman for the institution declined to confirm or deny the details of the law suit.

“The university confirms that a summons was issued and served on 2 former employees of the university, namely messrs Jurie Roux and Chris de Beer,” Maties spokesman Martin Viljoen said.

“The summons follows a forensic audit undertaken a while back that showed certain irregularities, namely the unauthorised use of university funds, that are now being claimed.

“Since the case is pending, the university cannot at this time provide further information or comment,” he added.

According to media reports the amount Roux and De Beer are being sued for is R 32 Million.

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André Watson

André Watson

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) today confirmed the arbitration award that was issued by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to the effect that the employment of André Watson, the General Manager Referees, with SARU has been terminated.

At the beginning of this year, a number of people within the Referees’ Department lodged a grievance against Watson and SARU commissioned an independent investigation into the grievance.

As a result of the findings, the CCMA was requested to consider certain allegations relating to Watson.  Contrary to some earlier reports, the allegations that were dealt with by the CCMA did not relate to racism, financial irregularities, misappropriation or match fixing but to the relationship between Watson and a number of people within the Referees’ Department and in turn the impact of such relationship on SARU.

The CCMA found that the allegations that had been levelled against Watson had been proved and as a consequence the CCMA found that the employment of Watson with SARU should be terminated.  The CCMA’s finding is final and binding on SARU and Watson.

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Rugby World Cup 2023France, Ireland, Italy and South Africa have been confirmed as the 4 nations who will bid for the right to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The quartet all submitted formal expressions of interest before last month’s deadline.

A decision on which country will stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup will be made in May 2017 after a tender deadline in June next year.

South Africa staged the World Cup in 1995, when the Springboks won the tournament on home soil, while France played host to the 2007 edition.

However, neither Ireland nor Italy, 2 of Europe’s elite Six Nations along with France, have been the main hosts of a World Cup.

“The candidate hosts now have a year to benefit from detailed knowledge-sharing and preparation, including digesting the detailed tender requirements and observing World Cup 2015 hosting, before the confirmation to tender deadline of June 2016,” said World Cup tournament director Alan Gilpin in a statement.

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Corné Fourie

Corné Fourie

Faf de Klerk

Faf de Klerk

The Golden Lions Rugby Union have announced the signing for the 2016 season of 2 of their Emirates Lions franchise partners, the Steval Pumas’ players, Faf de Klerk and Corné Fourie.

The Media Release reads as follows:

Lions Rugby (Pty) Ltd is pleased to announce the contracting of Pumas duo Faf de Klerk and Corné Fourie for the 2016 season.

Both De Klerk and Fourie, who have played Vodacom Super Rugby for the Emirates Lions through loan agreements over the past 2 seasons, will return to Johannesburg under permanent contracts in November 2015.

The pair has signed 1-year contracts with Lions Rugby and will thus be involved in both the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby and ABSA Currie Cup campaigns.

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David McDuling

David McDuling

The Cell C Sharks have announced the signing of Reds lock, David McDuling, ahead of the ABSA Currie Cup season.

The Sharks press release reads as follows:

We are pleased to announce the signing of Reds lock, David McDuling, who will join the Cell C Sharks until the end of 2016.

Known for his never-give-up attitude and athleticism around the park, McDuling made his Super Rugby debut in 2014 against the Crusaders and has since amassed a total of 12 Super Rugby caps for the Reds. He also won the inaugural season of the National Rugby Championship with Brisbane City and had the most carries and run metres of any 2nd rower in the competition.

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Jaco Peyper, referee for the opening game of the Rugby World Cup

Jaco Peyper, referee for the opening game of the Rugby World Cup

 

South Africa’s Jaco Peyper will have the honour of refereeing the opening match at Rugby World Cup 2015 in England as the hosts take on Fiji at Twickenham to kick off 44 days of unmissable rugby action.

Peyper, who is 35 and has refereed 20 internationals to date, has been appointed to the game on 18 September and he will be joined by assistant referees John Lacey of Ireland and Stuart Berry of South Africa while another South African, Shaun Veldsman, will be television match official.

With a further 7 matches taking place over the subsequent 2 days, there is no time for the match officials to ease their way into the tournament gently with no fewer than 22 of the 23 officials involved in some capacity that 1st weekend.

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Francois Steyn

Francois Steyn

Pieter-Steph du Toit

Pieter-Steph du Toit

Two injured players in the Springbok training squad, Frans Steyn and Pieter-Steph du Toit, have been temporarily released from the squad to continue their rehabilitation in Durban for the next few weeks.

Neither of them are expected to be fit for the Springboks’ 1st 2 matches of the season, next Saturday against the World XV in Cape Town and a week later against Australia in Brisbane. Steyn has a pectoral muscle tear, while Du Toit is recovering from a knee injury.

According to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer the decision to send Steyn and Du Toit home was taken with the best interests of the players in mind.

“We’ve discussed the way forward with the players, and all of us agreed that the best way forward at this stage is for them to get full-time rehabilitation at their home province, while our own medical team will keep very close tabs on their progress,” said Meyer.

“Both of them are still firmly in our plans going forward for the season and I really hope they can get back onto the field sooner rather than later. I’m confident the individual attention they will receive in Durban will be a massive benefit to them in the long run.

“We won’t be taking Frans or Pieter-Steph with us to Australia and will reassess their situation when we return from Brisbane.”

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Super Rugby finalists' NAME PLATES, which one will be engraved?

Super Rugby finalists’ NAME PLATES, which one will be engraved?

 

After 124 games spread across 18 Rounds and a fortnight of finals, we stand at the cusp of crowning a 1st-time Super Rugby champion.

We run the rule over both teams – examine their strengths, potntial weaknesses and try to decipher where the game will be won.

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HurricanesChris Boyd has announced his side to battle the Highlanders for the Super Rugby title but is still sweating on Ardie Savea who is yet to prove his fitness.

Meanwhile, Saturday night’s finale will quietly take on an extra meaning for a few of the men in black and yellow.

For long-serving Hurricanes Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu and Jeremy Thrush, and fellow teammates Chris Smylie, Rey Lee-Lo and Ben Franks, it will be the last time they run onto Westpac Stadium as Hurricanes.

With 468 caps between them, the 6 players will leave a sizeable hole at the Hurricanes when they depart at the end of the season, but not before they do their best to help lift a Super Rugby trophy for their club.

Boyd has named a similar line-up to help those 6 guys do the job, with the only change coming at reserve hooker where Motu Matu’u returns from a knee injury.

Savea’s knee will continue to be monitored throughout the remainder of the week, with Callum Gibbins bracketed as cover should Savea not be deemed fit.

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ABSA Currie CupThe ORC Griquas will be looking to capitalise on the inactivity of the Leopards this weekend and will be hopefull to extend their slender lead at the Top of the ABSA Currie Cup Qualifier log when they clash with the Down Touch Griffons on Saturday in Kimberley.

The encounter at GWK Park will kick-off at 15:15 SA Time and will be televised live on SuperSport 1.

Griquas, sitting on 11 points from 3 matches, have just 1 point more than 2nd-placed Leopards on Top of the standings in the race for that crucial qualifying spot to the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division. Griquas defeated the high-flying Leopards last week in a high-scoring affair to topple them from Top spot on the Log and they should run out as favourites against the Down Touch Griffons.

Round 4 action gets underway on Friday evening in George and East London respectively.

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Nollis Marais

Nollis Marais

New Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais is yet to decide who will captain the team in this year’s ABSA Currie Cup.

Marais earlier this week named his squad for the tournament, but he’s still considering who will lead the team.

“He (the captain) needs to impress me. If I name a captain now, then it’s over and out. There are a few candidates I have in mind, but I want to be certain of my decision,” Marais said.

Experienced players like flank Deon Stegmann and lock Flip van der Merwe are possible candidates.

Stegmann led the Bulls in last season’s ABSA Currie Cup, while Flip van der Merwe captained the Vodacom Bulls in a few Super Rugby games in 2014.

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Matthew Proudfoot

Matthew Proudfoot

DHL Stormers forwards coach Matt Proudfoot has opted not to renew his contract with Western Province Rugby, but he might not be lost to the union on a permanent basis.

Proudfoot will be linking up with outgoing DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee at Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers in Japan, but Director of Rugby Gert Smal remains hopeful of retaining his services on a consultancy basis, which would see him contribute to the ‘Tight Five Factory'; an innovative project which is aimed at identifying and developing tight 5 players from youth level and up within WP Rugby.

Proudfoot, 42, has served as forwards coach of both the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province for the past 7 seasons, which has seen the Cape team’s pack become 1 of the most feared units at Super Rugby and Currie Cup level.

In that time, the likes of unheralded juniors Steven Kitshoff, Scarra Ntubeni, Frans Malherbe, Vincent Koch, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Nizaam Carr have progressed into the Springbok ranks (either as Test players or squad members), with the DHL Stormers’ scrummaging power a huge boon in their recently-completed 2015 Super Rugby campaign.

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Willem Alberts

Willem Alberts

Stade Français have confirmed the signing of Springbok back row Willem Alberts who will join the club after the Rugby World Cup.

The Top 14 champions have not brought in many players this off-season, generally prioritising quality over quantity, as Alberts joins Will Genia in the French capital.

Alberts arrives from the Cell C Sharks on a 3-year deal and will join a back row which already features Sergio Parisse, Raphaël Lakafia and Antoine Burban, while promising youngster Sekou Macalou also arrived over the off-season from Massy.

The 31-year-old made his Springbok debut back in 2010 and has scored 7 tries in 32 tests.

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Armand "Akker" van der Merwe

Armand “Akker” van der Merwe

The Emirates Lions have lost another key player ahead of their Currie Cup campaign.

Hooker Armand “Akker”van der Merwe or “The Angry Warthog” as he is sometimes referred to, has signed a deal with Racing Metro, which will see him play in France for the remainder of the 2015 season.

Lions Rugby (Pty) Ltd revealed that they agreed to release 4 players to clubs abroad for the duration of the Currie Cup tournament.

As was previously reported Elton Jantjies (Shining Arcs), Lionel Mapoe (Spears) and Warwick Tecklenburg (Kamaishi) have all signed agreements in Japan until February 2016.

Along with Van der Merwe, all the players will return ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby tournament and will represent the Lions in next year’s competition. The players have all committed to Lions Rugby until the end of 2016.

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Warwick Tecklenburg

Warwick Tecklenburg

Bjorn Basson

Bjorn Basson

Renaldo Bothma

Renaldo Bothma

Lionel Mapoe

Lionel Mapoe

Lionel Mapoe, Renaldo Bothma, Bjorn Basson and Warwick Tecklenburg have added their names to growing list of Super Rugby players heading to The Land of the Rising Sun.

Emirates Lions centre, Mapoe will join Vodacom Bulls lock Grant Hattingh at the Spears while his Lions team mate, flank Warwick Tecklenburg heads to the Kamaishi Seawaves.

Cell C Sharks and Namibia International loose forward, Renaldo Bothma will join Verblitz after the World Cup while Vodacom Bulls and Ex-Springbok wing Bjorn Basson will join Lomano Lemeki and Digby Ioane at the Heat.

Another high profile player who will be heading East is Wallaby fullback Israel Folau who will link up with Springboks Handré Pollard and Eben Etzebeth at the Docomo Red Hurricanes. Folau just put pen to paper on a new flexible contract with the Australian Rugby Union.

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Vincent Koch

Vincent Koch

Tighthead prop Vincent Koch has confirmed that he will return to the DHL Stormers for next year’s Super Rugby competition.

Koch, 25, was loaned from the Pumas for this year’s Super Rugby competition and was one of the Cape franchise’s standout performers.

His performances also earned him a call-up to Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok squad named at the weekend.

There was confusion regarding Koch’s availability for the Stormers because his province – the Steval Pumas – form part of the Emirates Lions franchise and the men from Johannesburg could have requested the player to feature for them.

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Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee

Outgoing DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has given the franchise advice on where they can look to strengthen their squad for next season.

The 52-year-old is set to leave for Japan as he embarks on a new phase in his coaching career with Japanese club, Kobe Kobelco Steelers.

The Stormers won this year’s South African conference in Super Rugby, but were knocked out in the qualifiers against the Brumbies at Newlands.

Coetzee said they need add a few new recruits in order to be successful in 2016.

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Nollis Marais

Nollis Marais

Positive news for a change from the Vodacom Blue Bulls, as Nollis Marais, the new Head Coach for the Currie Cup season gets into gear.

He promises change and that the Blue Bulls will play in a system which suits their player strenghts and it looks like one of the 1st key things he has achieved is to convince all the key youngsters left at the Union since the recent exodus (before his appointment), have decided to stay and sign on to help ressurrect the proud Union.

The 2nd immediate positive is that former Bulls and Springbok hooker, Gary Botha has been signed as Technical Forwards Consultant with the Blue Bulls.

The 3rd aspect of positive and upbuilding news is that the vibe in the newly released Currie Cup squad is positive and excited… and eager.

The 4th aspect, something I have wanted to hear for a very, very long time… and that is that Nollis Marais will give special attention to skills training. It has been something severely lacking in both the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup and the Bulls in Super Rugby and it’s been permitted to rot in the background for far too long during Frans Ludeke’s tenure, and lately shaky reign. It is music to my ears and should be music to the ears of most South Africans, as skills is one critical aspect where we feel South Africa is lacking behind Australia and New Zealand… well specially New Zealand!

Then there is the pleasant news that it appears that Francois Hougaard, who would have left for Japan prior to the advent of the Currie Cup, will now stay at the Blue Bulls, in an attempt to shine in the Currie Cup, and thus maybe elevate his chances of re-entering the Springbok Squad.

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Springboks

With the International Test window just around the corner (11 July), the Rugby news in South Africa is being dominated by Springbok preparations for what lies ahead in 2015… The World XV game, the abbreviated Rugby Championship and 1 further match against Los Pumas and of course the Rugby World Cup from 18 September to 31 October 2015.

Of course, it could also be argued that we do not have anything else to talk about, because South African sides have all been done and dusted with Super Rugby for a couple of weeks already, whilst 2 New Zealand sides are still contesting it… on their ownsome lonesome!

Maybe it is a blessing in disguise though, for overall Springbok preparations, as they now have much more time to get their ducks in a row for the international scene, and to re-introduce the injured and rehabilitating players…

BUT, and it’s a big BUT… the injury list seems almost as long as the list of fighting fit candidates and that is a big concern.

In this article, we focus on what Heyneke Meyer says and feels about his chosen Springbok squad, and we have a good look at the fitness and injury update from the Springbok camp.

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Late Brett Williams

Late Brett Williams

The lone remaining accused, Blayne Shepard, was found guilty of culpable homicide for the incident which took place after a Super Rugby match between the Sharks and the Melbourne Rebels, where Mr Brett Williams died after assault.

 

The Sharks Media Release Reads as follows:

The Sharks welcome the judgment delivered yesterday in the Brett Williams murder case, which tragically occurred on the outer-fields at Growthpoint Kings Park in 2013.

We thrive on creating a family environment at the stadium where all ages can enjoy a wonderful matchday experience in a safe and secure environment. We have a zero tolerance policy with regard to untoward behaviour at the stadium and we don’t condone this in the strictest terms.

In the last year, we have focussed extensively from moving away from a club culture within the stadium to a more family orientated focus with the implementation of an outer-field market, a supervised kids dugout area, the Mangwanani Spa offering on matchday as well as many other exciting initiatives, which is aimed at providing world-class entertainment for our patrons.

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WhistleFormer rugby players, Monty Dumond, Egon Seconds, Jacques Nieuwenhuis and Mpho Matsaung will take to the field as referees in the Coca-Cola Academy Week at the Isak Steyl Stadium in Vanderbiljpark from 6 to 9 July.

Dumond played provincial rugby for the Sharks, Eastern Province, Griquas and Boland, while Seconds represented Western Province and Griquas; Matsaung and Nieuwenhuis played for the Valke. Nieuwenhuis also played international rugby for Namibia, which included appearances at the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups in France and New Zealand.

Dumond and Nieuwenhuis also made their mark in the Cell C Community Cup, where Dumond represented GAP Management Despatch up until this year’s Easter Playoffs in Rustenburg, while Nieuwenhuis played for GS Metals Brakpan last season.

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Fourie du Preez

Fourie du Preez

Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez will be sidelined for an extended period with a medial knee ligament injury.

When Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer unveiled a 49-strong squad on Saturday, a paragraph in the official media release revealed that “He suffered a knee injury while training with his Japanese club earlier this week”.

More clarity regarding Du Preez’s injury was given in Johannesburg on Monday, where it was determined that the 33-year-old former Loftus-based favourite, now contracted to Suntory Goliath in Japan, will be sidelined for between 4 to 8 weeks.

The other scrumhalves picked in the Springbok squad are Ruan Pienaar, Cobus Reinach, Faf de Klerk and Rudy Paige.

Another serious injury concern is prop Coenie Oosthuizen who had a neck operation today and will miss the Castle Rugby Championship.

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Sias Ebersohn

Sias Ebersohn

The Western Force has released flyhalf Sias Ebersohn from his contract, allowing him to return to his native South Africa.

The 26-year-old, who joined the Force from the Bloemfontein-based Toyota Cheetahs ahead of the 2013 Super Rugby season, has played 43 matches – scoring 212 points – across his 3 seasons for the Western Australian club.

Ebersohn has made a strong contribution to the club over the past 3 seasons, including playing a key role during the club’s most successful season in 2014.

However, leading into the 2016 season, the club identified the need to inject additional experience into its young backline, which coincided with an opportunity for Ebersohn to return to South Africa.

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ABSA Currie CupThe ORC Griquas ran in 8 tries to beat Leopards 48 / 21 on Saturday in their ABSA Currie Cup qualifier at Profert Olën Park in Potchefstroom. The result moved the Kimberley side to the Top team on the Log standings with 11 point from 3 matches.

The Leopards, who have occupied the Top spot the previous 2 weeks thanks to 2 bonus point wins, slipped down to 2nd while the Border Bulldogs jumped to 3rd following their 2nd win of the campaign.

Border made it 2 from 2 with a 22 / 15 victory over the Boland Cavaliers at the Boland Stadium in Wellington, following their 20 / 13 win over ORC Griquas in East London 3 weeks ago. In the remaining clash the Hino Valke scored 3 tries to register their 1st win in 2 attempts. They beat the SWD Eagles 22 / 15 at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park. The SWD Eagles, meanwhile, are winless after 3 outings.

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SpringboksThe selection of 8 uncapped players and the return of a further 6 are the features of the Springbok squad named on Saturday for the 5 matches leading up to the Rugby World Cup later this season.

In addition to the 36 squad members, the national selectors have identified 13 players who are currently injured or will be in rehabilitation, but will form part of an extended squad for the matches against the World XV, Castle Lager Rugby Championship and the Test against Argentina in Buenos Aires.

The uncapped players in the squad are Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Rudy Paige, Faf de Klerk, Jesse Kriel, Franco Mostert and Lionel Mapoe.

Back in the Springbok fold after not featuring in any Springbok Tests last year, are Elton Jantjies, Frans Steyn, Jaque Fourie, Heinrich Brüssow, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Heinke van der Merwe.

The currently injured players included in the squad are Springbok captain Jean de Villiers, Lionel Mapoe, Heinrich Brüssow, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Frans Steyn, Coenie Oosthuizen, Lood de Jager, Duane Vermeulen, Cobus Reinach, Pat Lambie, Jaque Fourie, Jan Serfontein and Fourie du Preez. The latter suffered a knee injury while training with his Japanese club earlier this week.

“It’s a long list of injured players but all of them are in the selection frame and we’d like to work with them to assist with their rehabilitation,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

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Coaching 101South African rugby is heading towards a coaching crisis and needs to be addressed as soon as possible, various experts have warned this week.

Former Bulls coach Chris Buitendach added his voice to the growing wave of concern over the state and depth of quality coaching in the country.

“It is a huge concern. 20 Years back we had a coaching conference and I said if we are not proactive in the training of coaches we won’t have quality coaches left,” Buitendach said at the launch of an international coaching conference in Pretoria on Friday.

“The biggest problem we have in South Africa is we don’t have a pathway where we identify coaches like we do with players.”

Buitendach said the country had a wealth of players but there were few coaches that could boast with a ‘CV of success’ while there was no formal plan to bring coaches through the ranks.

“At the moment we are in trouble, we have Franco Smith and Johan Ackermann, who else?” he asked.

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Schalk Ferreira

Schalk Ferreira

The Southern Kings continued their recruitment drive ahead of their re-entry into Super Rugby next year.

Veteran prop Schalk Ferreira, who played Super Rugby for the Kings in 2013, is the latest recruit for the Port Elizabeth-based franchise.

He will be returning to PE on a 2-year contract and will join them ahead of the Eastern Province Kings’ Currie Cup campaign that gets underway in August.

The 31-year-old Ferreira – who also played for the DHL Stormers before moving to PE – has been playing for Toulouse in France since 2013.

The have recently also confirmed the signing of centre JP du Plessis and prop Basil Short.

This also follows the announcement of a loan agreement with the Blue Bulls for the services of Jacques “Vleis” Engelbrecht to join the squad for the Currie Cup season, as well as the signing until 2016 of young prop Nicolaas van Dyk.

Du Plessis and Short are already taking part in a training.

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Cell C SharksThe Sharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold, will be heading-up the Cell C Sharks coaching team for this year’s ABSA Currie Cup campaign. He will be ably supported by the experienced backline coach Sean Everitt and Ryan Strudwick who will look after the forwards.

The Sharks report that Sean has worked with many of the players in their current squad through the various age-group ranks and has enjoyed great success and has a fantastic rapport with them. Ryan recently won the Varsity Shield trophy with the UKZN Impi’s and has also been involved in their coaching set-up for a few years.

Gold said: “For the first time since I arrived, I am satisfied that there is continuity and clarity amongst the various age-groups and this has been achieved through the redeployment of the coaching structures. The historic structure lacked the necessary focus throughout the age-groups. We had approached and considered a replacement for Brad. However, we have after consultation with all stakeholders including the team, decided within this new framework, that it will be in the best interest of the team and for continuity for me to oversee the campaign with the assistance of Sean and Ryan.”

To this end, Michael Horak, who enjoyed great success with Varsity Cup side UFS Shimlas will head up the Cell C Sharks Under 21 campaign and will be assisted by AB Zondagh.

The Under 19 team will be headed-up by Paul Anthony who brings with him a wealth of experience as well as success having won the competition twice with the Blue Bulls. His deputy will be Andre Barnard.

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Coenie Oosthuizen

Coenie Oosthuizen

The Sharks took delight in announcing the signing of Springbok loosehead prop, Coenie Oosthuizen, on a 4-year deal.

Oosthuizen made his Springbok debut in 2012 and has since amassed 21 caps in the green and gold jersey. He is a versatile prop that is able to play on both sides of the scrum and is a welcome addition to the Cell C Sharks family.

Commenting on his signing, The Sharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold said: “I am pleased that Coenie has taken up our offer to play his rugby in Durban. He is an exceptional player who boasts surprising pace and is known for his strong runs and work rate around the park.

“His experience will prove invaluable to our team ambitions going forward.”

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Barend van Graan

CEO Barend van Graan

The Vodacom Bulls are totally mum as to who could possibly succeed Frans Ludeke as their new Super Rugby head coach.

Media speculation has been rife about possible candidates for the new post in Pretoria.

Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron is being mentioned as a possible successor to Ludeke, who was stood down despite having another year left on his contract.

Despite the Theron rumours, the Bulls insist no decision has been made yet.

“The Blue Bulls Company (BBC) will not comment about rumours about possible coaches mentioned in the media,” CEO Barend van Graan said.

Springbok lock Victor Matfield has also been touted as a possible head coach, as well as current Springbok assistant coach Johann van Graan.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

Damian de Allende

Damian de Allende

The Japanese Yen’s pulling power continues to lure Springboks to Japan for brief off-season stints.

Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth is reported to have signed for the Red Hurricanes and is set to join Springbok teammate Handré Pollard for a stint in Japan.

As is the case with Pollard, Etzebeth’s contract with the Japanese club will only be for 3 months and commence after the World Cup.

That would see him return to play for the DHL Stormers in next year’s Super Rugby competition.

Etzebeth’s contract with Western Province expires at the end of the 2016 season.

The 2nd Springbok that will travel to Asia, is Super Rugby sensation Damien de Allende who has, according to japanrugby.net, signed with the Liners.

De Allende will depart for Japan after the World Cup and return in time for the Super Rugby season in 2016.

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Pat Lambie

Pat Lambie

The Springboks will welcome the news that flyhalf Pat Lambie has been declared fit for action.

The Cell C Sharks pivot visited a specialist on Thursday to determine the extent of the neck injury which sidelined him for the past 3 months.

The Sharks on Thursday announced that the 24-year-old was fit to play.

He is expected to be included in Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok squad on Saturday.

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Johan Goosen

Johan Goosen

Johan Goosen’s kicking coach has confirmed Western Province’s interest in the Springbok pivot and says the player is ‘considering’ all possible options.

Media reports earlier this month indicated that the Capetonians were interested in signing Goosen as a replacement for Demetri Catrakilis, who will join Montpellier in France after this year’s Currie Cup.

Bertus Pretorius, who is Goosen’s kicking coach in Bloemfontein, confirmed the interest in his player.

Goosen though still has 2 seasons left on his contract with Racing Metro in France and WP would have to fork out a lot of money to sign him.

“Any player will always consider possibilities (to move) and it’s not necessarily only WP. But Goose has a 3-year contract with Racing (should WP fail in their quest to lure him) and he’ll honour it, like he did with the Cheetahs,” Pretorius said.

Goosen though appears not to be a happy camper in France, with Racing coach Laurent Labit recently accusing the Springbok pivot of not attending French classes as well as not taking things serious enough at practice.

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ABSA Currie CupThe 2 early pacesetters in the race for the vital Currie Cup Qualifier top spot, the Leopards and ORC Griquas, will meet on Saturday at Profert Olën Park in Potchefstroom in 1 of the main matches this weekend.

The Leopards are at top of the standings after collecting 10 points from 2 bonus-point wins. Last weekend they were in fine form in their clash against the Hino Valke and dominated proceedings to secure a 53 / 7 victory at home.

The men from Kimberley, on the other hand, scored a bonus-point win over the Boland Cavaliers to shoot up to 2nd place on the standings.

The Leopards have shown a healthy appetite so far this season to run with the ball and the rewards have followed. However, the Potchefstroom team will again be looking to their pack to provide a good platform so that they can bring their speedy backline into play. In-form wing Adri Jacobs is their danger man out wide with 2 hat-tricks already under his belt in the campaign.

After suffering a defeat in Round 1, Griquas bounced back to form to beat Boland 48 / 17 in Kimberley last week. Much will depend on the form of their No 8 Carel Greeff, who scored 4 tries against the Bolanders last week.

In the other 14:30 SA Time encounter on Saturday at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park, hosts the Hino Valke entertain the SWD Eagles.

Both teams will be eager to find their rhythm after losing last weekend and since they have both yet to win a match, which could result in a hard-fought encounter.

In the other match-up, the Boland Cavaliers play host to the Border Bulldogs in Wellington. The East London team secured a surprise 1st-round win over Griquas 2 weeks ago and after their BYE of last weekend, they will be keen to maintain their good start to the qualifying campaign.

The Down Touch Griffons have a BYE this weekend.

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  • Te Rangatira 4 Jul 2015, 23:38 SAST - @ cane: Awww Cane.... feel for you....but we know... big games come down to on the day.... whenever I think...
  • Tassies 4 Jul 2015, 21:34 SAST - @ cane: which is not a bad thing Caner. I backed the Landers for one reason only. They were the...
  • Tassies 4 Jul 2015, 21:28 SAST - @ cane: you are a scholar and a gentleman Caner. What else can I say? Humble as always.
  • MacroPolo 4 Jul 2015, 18:16 SAST - Hard luck cane. Still a great season.
  • MacroPolo 4 Jul 2015, 18:12 SAST - Geez these guys show us what they can do when you have all the skills, speed AND size.
  • nortie 4 Jul 2015, 16:38 SAST - @ cane: Not at the dam, he sold the place.....he came round to my place, and as a bonus he...

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