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Super RugbyIt is Round 3 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 3 games on Friday 20 February and 4 games on Saturday 21 February.

The Waratahs and defending champions of Australia have a BYE weekend.

Unlike in 2013 and 2014, all countries started Super Rugby on the same weekend a week ago, so we will not have skewed Logs to deal with. A team also does not pick up ANY POINTS during a BYE weekend, which is very refreshing for a change!

Super Rugby has no June break either in an attempt to make it finish early enough to fit in an abridged Rugby Championship before Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off on 18 September 2015.

Round 1 and 2 had some real upsets and some of the teams who were touted as Tournament winners lost badly.

Round 3 promises to deliver more surprizes!

The Friday games are: Highlanders vs Reds in Dunedin, Western Force vs Hurricanes in Perth and the Toyota Cheetahs vs Blues in Bloemfontein. On Saturday it’s the Chiefs vs Crusaders, Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies in Melbourne, Vodacom Bulls vs Cell C Sharks in Pretoria and the Emirates Lions vs DHL Stormers in Johannesburg to finish off Round 3.

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WhistleRound 3 of Super Rugby 2015 sees 3 matches on Friday and 4 matches on Saturday.

The Round starts off with the Highlanders up against the Reds in Dunedin and the Round finishes with the local derby between the high-flying DHL Stormers against the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg.

SANZAR has announced the Match Officials for Round 3 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

  • Chris Pollock was not considered for selection after sustaining a minor injury during his pre-game preparation last Saturday. He will be given another week to return to full fitness.
  • Jaco van Heerden is set to make his Super Rugby debut refereeing the Vodacom Bulls vs Cell C Sharks match. A law graduate and Advocate to the High Court of South Africa, Van Heerden played rugby for his university before later turning his attention to refereeing. The 32-year old handled himself with aplomb in his first Currie Cup match during the 2014 season and it was no surprise that he was awarded a Semi-Final later in the year.
  • Our thoughts and best wishes are extended to Shaun Veldsman and his family after the TMO was assaulted and stabbed in his vehicle following last week’s match between the Stormers and the Blues in Cape Town. We wish him all the very best for a speedy recovery.

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Kane Hames

Kane Hames

The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC has accepted a guilty plea from Kane Hames of the Highlanders for contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking, after he was cited following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Hames has been suspended from all forms of the game for 5 weeks up to and including 28 March 2015.

The incident occurred in the 74th minute of the match between the Highlanders and Crusaders played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on 21 February 2015.

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Hayden Triggs Red Carded for punching Duane Vermeulen

Hayden Triggs Red Carded for punching Duane Vermeulen

The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC has accepted a guilty plea from Hayden Triggs of the Blues for contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking, after he was sent off during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Triggs has been suspended from all forms of the game for 1 week up to and including 28 February 2015.

The incident occurred in the 24th minute of the match between the Stormers and Blues played at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on 21 February 2015.

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Super RugbyIt is Round 2 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 3 games on Friday 20 February and 4 games on Saturday 21 February.

The Toyota Cheetahs of South Africa have a BYE weekend.

Unlike in 2013 and 2014, all countries started Super Rugby on the same weekend a week ago, so we will not have skewed Logs to deal with. A team also does not pick up ANY POINTS during a BYE weekend, which is very refreshing for a change!

Super Rugby has no June break either in an attempt to make it finish early enough to fit in an abridged Rugby Championship before Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off on 18 September 2015.

Round 1 had some real upsets and some of the teams who were touted as Tournament winners lost badly, as there were no less than 6 away wins from the 7 weekend matches.

Will everything revert back to normal in Round 2 or will there be similar surprizes to offer?

The Friday games are: Chiefs vs Brumbies in New Plymouth, Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs in Melbourne and the Vodacom Bulls vs Hurricanes in Pretoria. On Saturday it’s the Highlanders vs Crusaders in Hamilton, Reds vs Western Force in Brisbane, DHL stormers vs Blues in Cape Town and the Cell C Sharks vs Emirates Lions in Durban to finish off Round 2.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced Match Official appointments for Round 2 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

On Friday we have 3 matches, with the Chiefs hosting the Brumbies, the Melbourne Rebels hosting the Waratahs and the Vodacom Bulls hosting the Hurricanes.

On Saturday we have 4 matches, with the Highlanders kicking off their season after an early BYE weekend against the Crusaders, the Reds against the Western Force and followed by 2 games in South Africa, the one between the DHL Stormers against the Blues and the Cell C Sharks against the Emirates Lions.

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Super RugbyIt is Round 1 of Super Rugby 2014 this weekend, at last the season gets underway for us poor, suffering rugby degenerates in the Southern Hemisphere.

There are 3 games on Friday 13 February, 3 games on Saturday 14 February and 1 game on Sunday 15 February.

The Highlanders from New Zealand have an immediate BYE weekend.

Unlike in 2013 and 2014, all countries start Super Rugby in the same weekend, so we will not have skewed Logs to deal with. A team also does not pick up ANY POINTS during a BYE weekend, which is very refreshing for a change!

Super Rugby has no June break either in an attempt to make it finish early enough to fit in an abridged Rugby Championship before Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off on 18 September 2015.

The season starts with a weekend of some great derbies and some great cross conference battles. The first up season game will be between the Crusaders and Melbourne Rebels, followed by the big Aussie derby between the Brumbies and Reds and a humdinger of running rugby between the Emirates Lions and the star-studded Hurricans side. On Saturday it’s the Blues vs Chiefs followed by 2 South African derbies, the first in Durban between the Cell C Sharks and the Toyota Cheetahs, followed by my choice of match of the weekend, the derby clash between the Vodacom Bulls and the DHL Stormers at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. Sunday sees a lone match between the Waratahs and Western Force to finish off Round 1.

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Super RugbySuper Rugby is just more than a week away and most if not all Super Rugby Franchises have instructed their Kit Sponsors to come up with new designs for the 2015 Season.

All the Franchises are sponsored by BIG Kit sponsors.

Of the Australian Franchises the Brumbies are sponsored by CLASSIC, whereas the Western Force, Melbourne Rebels and Reds are sponsored by BLK, and the Waratahs are sponsored by CANTERBURY.

In New Zealand all 5 Super Rugby Franchises are sponsored by ADIDAS.

In South Africa, there is a mix of sponsors, with both the Vodacom Bulls and Toyota Cheetahs are sponsored by PUMA, whereas the rest all have their own sponsors. The Emirates Lions are sponsored by CANTERBURY, The Cell C Sharks by BLK and the DHL Stormers are sponsored by ADIDAS.

For a change the Vodacom Bulls have moved away from a radical Pink or Cammo approach to a more traditional approach and it seems only the Chiefs and to a lesser extent the Blues have somewhat pictorial designs on their Home Kit.

But… the Kit is not what makes a team, so although you might like or dislike a particular Franchise’s Kit, the proof of the pudding still lies in how the teams perform on the field of play.

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WhistleNick Briant will officially get the 2015 Super Rugby season underway in Christchurch when he takes the whistle for the Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels clash on 13 February.

Angus Gardner will oversee the Brumbies vs Reds which follows immediately afterwards in Canberra, with the Australian duo of Rohan Hoffmann and Andrew Lees sharing duties in South Africa for the Emirates Lions vs Hurricanes and Cell C Sharks vs Toyota Cheetahs matches.

The highly-experienced Chris Pollock and Jaco Peyper get the whistle for much-anticipated Round 1 derbies in Auckland and Pretoria respectively with new additions to the 2015 squad, Ben O’Keeffe and Jaco van Heerden assisting on the line in those matches.

Finally, Steve Walsh will be in the middle as the Waratahs get their title defence underway at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium against the Western Force on Sunday 15 February.

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Super RugbyA second week of pre-season games sees a much fuller schedule with the match of the weekend being the Bulls traveling to London to take on the Saracens.

During the week there is time for the Blues and the Chiefs to get their preparations underway in Whangarei on Thursday.

The weekend kicks off with the Cheetahs taking on another South African Conference rival in the Stormers at Newlands on Friday after they succumbed 13 / 30 to the Bulls in Polokwane last week.

The Cheetahs will also have a B-team at home in Bloemfontein getting ready to face the Griffons the following day.

On Saturday, the New Zealanders have a go at each other as the Hurricanes host the Crusaders in Manawatu before the champion Waratahs play a mixed club and University side.

The Western Force will be looking to back up their good showing against the Brumbies when they take on an Asia Pacific Dragons team.

Meanwhile, the Reds will look to unleash the likes of James O’Connor and Karmichael Hunt against the Melbourne Rebels.

The Brumbies then cross their conference to face the Highlanders as one of the New Zealanders 4 warm-up matches, this before the Lions test their squad in 2 games against the Leopards and the Pukke.

Finally, the big match sees the Vodacom Bulls at Allianz Park to take on Saracens, with the men from South Africa hoping to succeed where the Sharks and Western Province could not.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced its referee squad for the forthcoming Super Rugby season with Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) and Jaco van Heerden (South Africa) promoted and in line for debut during 2015.

O’Keeffe started refereeing whilst at medical school in Dunedin and quickly progressed through the ranks. He has featured in the Heartland Championship, ITM Cup, as a Super Rugby assistant and at the 2014 Junior World Championship where he earned appointment to the final between England and South Africa.

His father Peter also refereed at provincial level and when he’s not in the middle, O’Keeffe practices as an eye doctor in Wellington, New Zealand.

Pretoria-born Van Heerden meanwhile is an Advocate to the High Court of South Africa and joins Super Rugby ranks having made rapid progress applying law on rugby fields throughout his home country.

The 32-year old handled himself with aplomb in his first Currie Cup match during the 2014 season and it was no surprise that he was awarded a semi final later in the year.

A University of Pretoria Law Graduate, Van Heerden played rugby for his university before later turning his attention to refereeing.

 

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Braam van Straaten

Braam van Straaten

The obsession of some South African teams with size over skills could come back to haunt them when the Super Rugby season gets underway next month.

Springbok Braam van Straaten says space and not power is the key to winning the SANZAR showpiece.

Abraham Johannes Jacobus van Straaten, who played flyhalf and centre for the Springboks in 21 Tests from 1999 to 2001, said the intent of more teams is to keep the ball in hand and shift into space.

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WhistleSuper Rugby starts in a month’s time with a match in Christchurch with Nick Briant to referee it.

SANZAR has released the names of the referees for the first three Rounds.

Briant referees the first match in New Zealand, Angus Garner the first in Australia and Rohan Hoffman the first in South Africa.

Jason Jaftha was injured for 2014 and his fitness needs to be assured for this year.

Marius van der Westhuizen will be refereeing his first Super Rugby match overseas after reaching Super Rugby last year.

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Super RugbyWith Super Rugby fast approaching it is important to have a look at what each of the teams are doing in their preparations and who they have at their disposal.

As the teams prepare for this brusing competition there is the oppourtunity to test out combanations as well as see how the new boys go.

The Sharks will travel to French champions Toloun to test out their game plan against the Galacticos of rugby while the Bulls will take on the Cheetahs in a traditional pre-season match in Polokwane.

The Australasian sides will also warm up against each other with the Highlanders setting up a comprehensive pre-season schedule due to the first round bye.

The ‘transfer market’ has made the upcoming Super Rugby season an exciting prospect with some big names in James O’Connor and Nick Cummins returning to Australia.

Menawhile, the Bulls have bolstered their squad with some excellent former Cheetahs players.

Finally, and unsurprizingly, Ma’a Nonu has made another move – this time back to the Hurricanes.

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Super Rugby

  • SANZAR Executive Committee formally approves Japan Rugby Football Union and Union Argentina de Rugby’s admission into Super Rugby from 2016
  • The Japanese team will be based at Tokyo’s Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Stadium with three home games per season to be played at the Singapore Sports Hub
  • The Argentine and Japanese national teams are currently ranked 9th and 10th in the world respectively
  • There are nearly a quarter of a million rugby players in Japan and Argentina combined
  • Japan will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympic Games

Super Rugby’s expansion to 18 teams from 2016 is officially complete with SANZAR formally confirming the participation of the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) and Union Argentina de Rugby (UAR) at an Executive Committee meeting in London today.

The confirmation is the final stage of formalities and paves the way for the Tokyo and Buenos Aires-based franchises to start contracting players and staff ahead of their historic entry to Super Rugby in a little over 12 months from now.

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