Lions coach Johan Ackermann knows he has a massive task getting his charges ready for this weekend’s massive Vodacom Super Rugby showdown with the Sharks, but the weather that has beset Gauteng over the past week certainly isn’t helping.
Ackermann lamented the fact his team couldn’t train because of waterlogged pitches as the rain continued to bucket down for a fifth consecutive day in Johannesburg.
Coach Allister Coetzee has made four changes to his starting line-up for the DHL Stormers’ first match of their 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby tour.
The DHL Stormers will take on the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday (kick-off 08:35 SA Time, 19:35 NZ Time) without injured forwards, lock Rynhardt Elstadt and flanker Siya Kolisi, with the fit-again De Kock Steenkamp and Schalk Burger replacing them up front.
Read this and see if you understand it. This was copied by me, nothing changed, no spelling corections made, from the Official SA Rugby Referee website.
The incident we have today must be the most bizarre in the whole of the time the TMO has been implemented to help referees get to the right decision.
SANZAR has released the names of the match officials for Round 4 of Super Rugby 2014. Craig Joubert starts the action this weekend in Wellington with the Hurricanes vs Brumbies match.
This weekend has 6 matches, with 2 on Friday and 4 on Saturday.
The Chiefs, Highlanders and Waratahs have bye weekends.
Siviwe “Shakes” Soyizwapi and Scott van Breda will start against the Tusker Simba XV in Cape Town on Saturday in the Eastern Province Kings first Vodacom Cup match of the season.
Vodacom Cup head coach, Mzwandile Stick, said both Soyizwapi and Van Breda, who had been on loan to the Stormers, had returned to the Kings this week, as they had not been selected as part of the Stormers touring squad.
FNB NWU-Pukke handed defending champions FNB UP-Tuks their first defeat of the 2014 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International tournament on Monday to claim top spot on the standings.
Coach Robert du Preez’s team were ruthless in wet conditions Pretoria as they shut out the home side to claim a convincing 18-0 victory and leapfrog them on the log in the process.
FNB UCT recorded their third away win of the season in Johannesburg, scoring five tries on their way to a 37-29 victory over FNB UJ to move up to third position.
The Ikeys have lost both of their home games this season, to table-topping teams UP-Tuks and NWU-Pukke, but have won all of their games on the road, whilst the defeat leaves UJ down in seventh place and facing a tough road to make the semifinals.
The top four after five weeks of action is rounded off by FNB UFS-Shimlas who ended deadlocked at 13-13 with three-time champions FNB Maties in their clash in Stellenbosch.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann and his fellow selectors will have a few tough decisions to make this week.
Top of their list will be what to do with Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies, now that the pivot has been “medically cleared” to resume playing.
Will the Vodacom Bulls spring a surprise and bring former captain Dewald Potgieter straight back into the starting lineup?
That’s the question that needs to be answered ahead of their team announcement to face the Blues in their Vodacom Super Rugby match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is to name his team for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Crusaders in the early hours of the morning South African time on Wednesday, and it will be interesting to see what choices he comes up with in some key areas.
Francois Steyn is happy to see the Lions back in Vodacom Super Rugby – but he has warned that the competition returnees can expect no mercy from his Sharks team when the team’s clash in a derby at Growthpoint Kings Park on Saturday evening.
UJ (16) 29 / 37 (29) UCT (Final Score)
FNB UJ (University of Johannesburg) and FNB UCT (University of Cape Town)
did battle in the Varsity Cup at UJ Stadium, Johannesburg at 19:00 SA Time (17:00 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.
The Vodacom Bulls released two Media Releases today, the first dealing with their weekly fitness update and the second announcing some interesting loose forward signings to counter the two long term injuries of Pierre Spies (6 months) and Arno Botha (5 months to go).
Deon Stegmann is fit again and training with the team this week.
Wimpie van der Walt, who played for the Southern Kings in Super Rugby in 2013 and who now plies his trade in Japan, will join the Bulls for 2 months with options for him to stay on longer and negotiations with Dewald Potgieter who also plies his trade in Japan is in advanced stages.
Wits (4) 12 / 18 (5) NMMU (Final Score)
FNB Wits (University of the Witwatersrand) and FNB NMMU (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University)
did battle in the Varsity Cup at Wits Rugby Stadium, Johannesburg at 16:45 SA Time (14:45 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & SHD on TV in SA.
The Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers both scored their first wins of the season, but this past weekend of Super Rugby action should have confirmed the growing concern among neutrals that the story of the South African conference this year will be that there is the Sharks and then there’s rubbish.
The Sharks, who would hardly have been quaking in their boots as they watched the games featuring South African teams on television during their bye weekend, admittedly weren’t all that flush in their last performance, when they beat the Hurricanes.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has read the riot act to his players, and demanded a better performance than the one they put up in their Vodacom Super Rugby loss to the Melbourne Rebels.
Drotske was not a happy man after his side went down 35-14 to the Melbourne Rebels in their opening tour match – continuing their trend of not being able to win in their first match on tour.
It has been described as the “tour from hell” and also as “Mission Impossible”, but the toughness of the four-match trip that the DHL Stormers embarked upon with their departure from Cape Town on Sunday could just work for them.
The 19-18 win over the Hurricanes at Newlands this past Friday wasn’t enough to turn around the negativity that swamped Cape rugby after the shock defeat to the Lions in the opening game the week before, and which has arguably been around since the Currie Cup final last October.
The Reds have earmarked their encounter with a misfiring Cheetahs team as the game in which to bounce back.
The Reds suffered a disappointing 5 / 32 loss to the Waratahs in Sydney at the weekend, and are one from two after a 10-point win over the Brumbies the previous week.
The Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers returned to winning ways on a weekend of Vodacom Super Rugby where 6 from 7 home teams were victorious.
Ironically both the teams from Pretoria and Cape Town were outscored by 2 tries to 1 in their respective matches against the Lions and the Hurricanes, but won mainly because of pin-point goal-kicking accuracy.
On Friday evening the DHL Stormers snuck through by 19 / 18 against the Hurricanes at DHL Newlands, while the Vodacom Bulls beat the Lions by 25 / 17 in the first Gauteng-derby at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday afternoon.
It wasn’t a happy weekend for the Toyota Cheetahs though, as they lost their first tour match of the season by 35 / 14 to the Rebels in Melbourne.
The Cell C Sharks had a bye.
Predicting how many games each of the South African Conference franchises will lose, is the object of this game. After 3 Rounds of Super Rugby in 2014 we still have no casualties.
Each franchise plays 16 games in the regular season, 8 against fellow South African Conference sides (home and away) and 8 against the sides in the other 2 Conferences.
Players in this competition had to predict how many games each team will lose and draw during the regular season.
All participants showed little faith in the Lions and the players who gave the Lions their best chance of not losing too many were Gumboots and Grootblousmile, with only 11 loses predicted. The Lions might just be the Achilles heel for most in the competition. The Lions were only given a chance to win between 2 and 5 games.
There is little to choose between any of the teams in a mouth-watering set of fixtures in Round Five of the 2014 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International.
With two log positions the biggest gap between any of the teams in each match on Monday, the standings could get another serious shake-up with the play-offs getting ever-closer.
Top spot will be on the line when defending champions FNB UP-Tuks host FNB NWU-Pukke who trail them by just a single point, whilst it will be a very similar scenario in Stellenbosch where FNB Maties will look to move past opponents FNB UFS-Shimlas into third place.