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Paul Anthony

Cell C Shark’s assistant coach, Paul Anthony.

Assistant coach Paul Anthony has defended the way the Sharks have continued to play the same kicking game they used during Super Rugby in the Currie Cup, insisting they are trying to change.

The defending champions are unbeaten so far and sit second on the log after three games, although have yet to show the attacking intent that had been promised by the Kings Park outfit in recent weeks.

“As we’ve discussed this week, we’ve got a different philosophy to the approach from Super Rugby, and hopefully that will not disappear, because there is place to kick, but there’s also a time to kick and a time to move it,” Anthony said on Tuesday.

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DHL WPWestern Province will never disrespect or underestimate any Blue Bulls team, no matter how much their rivals from the north are struggling.

The table-topping WP outfit travel to Pretoria on Saturday for the biggest domestic derby, when they face a Bulls team fresh off their first win of the season.

After having suffer heavy defeats in back-to-back outings in the opening rounds, the Bulls showed some improvement in their 30-25 win over the Eastern Province Kings last week.

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South AfricaVictor Matfield is over his injury problems and will rejoin the Springbok squad when they get together for the Australasian leg of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, while Marcel van der Merwe has been called up for the injured Frans Malherbe.

Furthermore, Willem Alberts has also been drafted back into the squad, pending a fitness test on Thursday when the squad gets together in Johannesburg. Both Alberts and Matfield were part of the initial 30-man squad, but missed out on the victories over Argentina in Pretoria and Salta because of injury.

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IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 - EnglandCommunities across the length and breadth of England and Wales will share in the excitement of hosting Rugby World Cup 2015 after tournament organisers England Rugby 2015 and owners Rugby World Cup Limited announced the selection of team base camps.

With Rugby at heart, a selection of 41 venues from the University of Exeter in the south to Newcastle Royal Grammar School in the north, extend the reach of the showcase tournament, while delivering the stage for the world’s best teams to perform to their potential.

The search for team bases was launched via an open tender process in April 2013 and just under 100 bids were received from across the country and in Wales. All prospective team bases were subject to a rigorous selection process which included an expansive and detailed programme of site visits as well as liaison with the competing Rugby World Cup 2015 teams.

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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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South AfricaAustraliaNow for some better news after the desperately close shave in Salta, Springbok fans: even Australians seem to believe South Africa will beat the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday 6 September.

The Sydney Morning Herald website has a poll up asking the simple question of the Castle Rugby Championship clash: “Who will win between the Wallabies and Springboks in Perth?”

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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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Jannie du Plessis

Springbok prop, Jannie du Plessis

After the mauling the Springbok scrum received at the hands of the Pumas in two consecutive tests there have been calls from armchair critics for coach Heyneke Meyer to make changes, but in the naming of his 30-man squad for the Australasian leg of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship came confirmation that his hands are tied.

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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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DHL WPCentre Michael van der Spuy is the only injury worry for Western Province coach Allister Coetzee, ahead of Saturday’s away meeting against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria.

Van der Spuy has a tight hamstring, following the weekend’s 27-14 win over the Golden Lions, and did not train on Monday.

Should Van der Spuy be ruled out of action, Jaco Taute (on the bench last week) and Pat Howard (who came off the bench in Round One) would come into the selection equation an centre.

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Lood de Jager

Lood de Jager

Lood de Jager, the ‘next big thing’ in the Springbok second row, has been ‘missing in action’ of late.

De Jager, after a series of stand-out performances for the Cheetahs in this year’s Super Rugby tournament, made his debut in the Green and Gold against Wales in Durban during the Incoming Series and currently has five Test caps to his name.

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Jean De Villiers

Jean De Villiers

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers is clear that his team need to take a massive step up before they face the Wallabies in Perth in their next Castle Lager Rugby Championship game on 6 September.

The Bok captain arrived home from the great Salta escape – where the Boks needed a penalty four minutes from time to beat a plucky, aggressive Argentinean team – knowing that the weight of public outrage at the result would be waiting for his team.

But De Villiers is a pragmatist, and, as he points out: it wasn’t the greatest of performances, but a win is a win.

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Michael Hooper

DEJECTED: Wallabies captain Michael Hooper trudges off Eden Park after his team was hammered by the All Blacks on Saturday night.

The Wallabies will have plenty of down-time over the next week to ”mentally relax” after their humiliation by the All Blacks at Eden Park, captain Michael Hooper has said.

The 22-year-old flanker was one of the few Australian players to stand up during the 51-20 onslaught, which kept the Bledisloe Cup, the annual trophy contested between the two nations, in New Zealand hands for a 12th consecutive year.

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Character Building

The perfect Christmas gift for the Bokke and Sharks

In a weekend of close calls for Springbok and Sharks fans, the demand for explanations has been met with the cliches of ‘character building’. Surely it is time for coaches to own up?

On Saturday the Sharks took on their bogey team, the Cheetahs – who are accustomed to struggling, but who have been exceeding in delivering poor performances this year.

The Sharks on the other hand are defending champions of the Currie Cup with some of the best structures and facilities money can buy – and they remain unbeaten through three rounds – just.

Three minutes from time the Sharks flyhalf, Fred Zeilinga, kicked a 45-metre penalty to deny the Cheetahs a deserved victory (this after the TMO also stepped in to snatch the win away from the Free Staters).

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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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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Taking their heads out of the sand and admitting that there is a massive problem with the scrum would be a good start, but the Springbok self-analysis will have to go far further than that if the problems that were exposed by Argentina are not to lead to crisis later in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

On a Saturday when New Zealand comprehensively swept away any doubt that they remain the team to beat and confirmed the pre-tournament predictions that they should retain their hegemony in southern hemisphere rugby, Salta provided evidence that the creaks that started to show themselves in the South African game in the second test against Wales may not have just been an aberration.

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Kobus van Wyk

WP flyer, Kobus van Wyk

Surprise, surprise… there are the Sharks and Western Province, back dominating Currie Cup rugby.

Many changes could still happen, of course, given that the 2014 competition is not quite a third of the way through the pre-knockout phase, but it is interesting nevertheless that the two coastal powers have already seized just a hint of a grip.

It will only increase speculation that the pair may be set for a third successive meeting in the final this year, something that has not happened since the Blue Bulls and Cheetahs met in each of the 2004, 2005 and 2006 showpieces.

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Nick Mallett

Nick Mallett

Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says Boks’ the scrum performance against Argentina at the weekend was a bit embarrassing.

The Boks sneaked a 33-31 win but was completely overpowered in the scrums, with Jannie du Plessis and Gurthro Steenkamp having a nightmare Test.

Mallett was speaking in the SuperSport studio after the game and had the following to say:

“There were lots and lots of issues that we need to talk about. The Boks have got real problems with their front row’s scrummaging, particularly against the Argentines.

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Johan Ackermann

Johan Ackermann

Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann knows exactly where things went wrong for his team at the weekend.

And the wily mentor will not reach for the panic button, after his side dropped from first place to third on the Currie Cup standings in the wake of a 14-27 loss to Western Province at Newlands.

Even the return of stalwarts Alwyn Hollenbach and Deon van Rensburg will not result in panic selections this week.

Ackermann, addressing a media gathering after his team’s Round Three loss, said the big problem was that they “lost patience” in their game plan and also lacked in their execution.

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Brad Macleod-Henderson

Brad Macleod-Henderson

Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson defended their snatch-and-run victory after they came from behind to oust the Free State Cheetahs on Saturday.

Macleod-Henderson insisted the win in Durban highlighted the character of the defending champions.

A long-range Fred Zeilinga penalty four minutes from time enabled the coastal side to steal a 19-16 triumph at Kings Park.

“All victories come down to what the scoreboard says… We managed to win that battle,” Macleod-Henderson said.

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Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee

It was not performance that sounded a Currie Cup championship warning but the victorious Western Province showed their attacking prowess in their 27-14 victory over the Golden Lions at Newlands on Saturday.

Speaking after the match, Province coach Allister Coetzee said the importance of starting well was once again underlined.

“Later in the match the Lions put us under tremendous pressure and there were not many opportunities again,” Coetzee said.

“It cost really hard work for us to survive in what was a tough game.”

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Ewen McKenzie

Ewen McKenzie

Ewen McKenzie is sharpening his axe, forecasting changes to the Wallabies side massacred by the All Blacks at Eden Park.

Injuries to hooker Nathan Charles and winger Pat McCabe will bring at least two new selections but more are in the offing following Saturday night’s 50-21 drubbing.

McKenzie confirmed he would look closely at promoting several squad members “itching to get a go” for Australia’s next Rugby Championship clash, against South Africa in Perth on Saturday week.

He earmarked powerful Brumbies centre Tevita Kuridrani for a return that would likely see Adam Ashley-Cooper move back to the wing spot left vacant by McCabe (neck).

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Matthew Burke

Matthew Burke

Two games are gone against New Zealand and it’s now time to move the attention to South Africa. That is a whole different kettle of fish. When you take on South Africa, the playing field changes slightly.

The first change is in terms of physicality, the second in aggression and finally in terms of tactics. Games against South Africa just seem to be just that little bit harder and definitely more scatty.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer, the coach of the team with the most “character” in the world.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer hailed the character of his team Sunday in the wake of a lucky 33-31 Rugby Championship victory over Argentina in Salta.

Serial match-winner Morne Steyn ignored whistling and booing to slot a penalty three minutes from time and give the Springboks a second win over the Pumas within eight days.

It was the climax of a stirring last-quarter comeback by the visitors as tries from right-wing Cornal Hendricks and flank Marcell Coetzee wiped out a 12-point deficit.

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Agustin Creevy

Agustin Creevy

Argentina captain Agustin Creevy bemoaned the fact that his team did not have the nous and fortitude to close out the game when they had a big lead.

Flyhalf Morne Steyn kicked a penalty three minutes from time to earn South Africa a very fortuitous 33-31 win over the Pumas at the 20,000-seater Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena in Salta at the weekend.

Trailing by 12 points with the final quarter approaching, a Springboks side – given a torrid time in the forward exchanges for much of the match – clawed back to snatch victory.

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Rapport KaartNogmaals broekskeur, nogmaals Morné Steyn en die reserwes wat Suid-Afrika se kastaiings uit die vuur moes kom krap.

Dít nadat die Bokke gister vir sowat ’n uur vodde gespeel is deur Argentinië in die tweede kragmeting van hul Rugbykampioenskap.

Suid-Afrika was met 33-31 baas, maar Harry Houdini sou trots gewees het op só ’n ontsnapping. Laat drieë deur die immer gewillige Cornal Hendricks en die reserwe-flank Marcell Coetzee het die oënskynlik onvermydelike gety omgedraai, maar die ooms tuis sou strykdeur gryp na die hartmedisyne.

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South AfricaMorné Steyn kicked a pressure penalty four minutes from time to secure a nailbiting 33-31 win for the Springboks over the Argentina Pumas in their Castle Lager Rugby Championship match in Salta on Saturday night.

Coach Heyneke Meyer likes character tests and his team most certainly passed this one as for the second time in four matches they came from more than a double figure score behind to win at the death.

However, Meyer will have added to the grey hairs on his head for it was a desperately tense affair and there were enough weak points in the Bok game to keep him awake at night mulling over his options ahead of the next match against Australia in Perth.

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Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson

Beware the Boks. The more things change with our old mates across the Tasman, the more they stay the same with our greatest rivals in the republic.

We’ve been a bit preoccupied with the Wallabies of late but when you think about the challenge last year and the challenge that never goes away, it remains the South Africans. Nothing changes there.

Their tests against the All Blacks this year are important for them, not just for the Rugby Championship but working out how to beat the world champions.

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Cell C SharksA long-range penalty by Fred Zeilinga four minutes from time helped the Sharks snatch a last-ditch 19-16 victory over the Free State Cheetahs in their Currie Cup clash at Kings Park on Saturday night.

The home flyhalf kicked 14 points in total, with the other five coming through a late try by Tonderai Chavhanga.

However, the visitors will rue what might have been after leading the game for most of the evening thanks to a brilliant Clayton Blommetjies’ try and the boot of Willie du Plessis.

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Curwin Bosch

Curwin Bosch

The England Under 18 team on Saturday handed the SA Schools Under 18 side their first defeat in four years in the International Under 18 Series as they secured a 30-22 victory in a nail-biting encounter.

The big difference between the teams was England’s ability to convert their point-scoring chances into points, while mistakes at crucial times came at a high price for the hosts.

South Africa’s defeat followed a 40-15 victory against Wales at Outeniqua Park in George and a 28-13 victory against France respectively.

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