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Springbok Rugby

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South AfricaJuan Smith will complete a remarkable return to international rugby when he runs out for the Springboks against Argentina in Salta on Saturday, in the Springboks’ second Test of The Rugby Championship (kick-off 21:40 SA Time).

Smith’s inclusion at flank is one of three changes to the starting 15, with a further four changes on the bench.

Gurthrö Steenkamp (prop) and Eben Etzebeth (lock) will start in the tight five, with Tendai Mtawarira and Bakkies Botha moving to the bench. Marcell Coetzee will join them amongst the replacements after coming in as a late substitute for the injured Willem Alberts last weekend.

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Brendan Venter

Brendan Venter

While the atrocious weather conditions played a significant role in a low-scoring affair at Loftus Versfeld, I believe Argentina underlined their notoriety as the most negative side in world rugby in every single area of play.

Not only were they cynical in conceding a plethora of penalties, the way they scrummed, contested the line-outs and mauls, and the number of off-the-ball incidents – in my view the most cowardice of acts – was infuriating to behold.

I would suggest that the underhand tactics employed by the visitors during the match were entirely pre-planned, with talk of embracing a new era and playing “more rugby” a well-rehearsed ruse.

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South AfricaThe Springboks have landed in Argentina with no injury concerns, but Meyer will be forced to ponder the likes of fit-again Pat Lambie and Juan Smith.

Having come away from the wet and wild Loftus Versfeld with only an injury before the game to Willem Alberts, Meyer will have a full compliment to pick from when they play Argentina in Salta.

Meyer has now picked up Lions captain Warren Whiteley as cover for Alberts who is staying at home alongside Victor Matfield.

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Francois Steyn

Frans Steyn wil nie n “GELDJAGTER” genoem word nie.

​”Ek is nie ’n kind nie.”

Só het Frans Steyn glo op die laaste krisisvergadering tussen hom en die Suid-Afrikaanse Rugbyunie (SARU) gesê voordat hy opgestaan, uitgeloop en die Springbok-groep vaarwel geroep het.

Dit was nadat meer as een vergadering tussen hom en SARU oor sy terugkeer uit Frankryk skipbreuk gely het.

SARU het aanvanklik in 2012 skriftelik ingestem om Steyn se kontrak met ’n Franse bemarkingsmaatskappy uit te koop sodat hy weer heeltyds vir Suid-Afrika beskikbaar kon wees. SARU het die paaiemente daarvoor stiptelik betaal – tot in Januarie 2013 toe betalings skielik eensydig gestaak is.

 

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Jannie du Plessis & Tendai Mtawarira

Jannie du Plessis & Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira

The Springboks missed an ideal opportunity to put the pressure on New Zealand and Australia after the latter two sides drew 12-all in the first game of this year’s Rugby Championship at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney on Saturday.

To say the unseasonal Loftus monsoon made constructive rugby extremely difficult is an understatement, but one would like to believe that the Boks should have played the situation much better than Saturday’s 13-6 victory in their opener against Argentina in Pretoria.

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Agustín Creevy

Driven: Agustín Creevy

Argentina captain Agustín Creevy is targeting revenge against South Africa after his men’s narrow defeat in Pretoria.

A far cry from the 73-13 thrashing suffered by Argentina in 2013, Creevy’s team pushed the Springboks all the way in horrendous conditions at Loftus.

Enjoying the upper hand in the scrum, Creevy underlined the dissatisfaction with the result after coming so close to a first ever win over South Africa.

“We are not happy, because we couldn’t get a try [in the dying minutes] and because we lost,” said Creevy.

“We are a group that works hard and will make the sacrifices we need to the revenge in Salta.”

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is set to use a very different starting line-up when his team face off with Argentina in their Castle Lager Rugby Championship return fixture in Salta on Saturday.

While the Loftus Versfeld monsoon did little to answer questions ahead of the bigger clashes in this year’s Championship, it did at least give the Boks a solid start to the campaign and much food for thought ahead of the traditionally tough return fixture in Argentina.

Following a narrow win last year and a draw in 2012, the Boks know all too well how difficult the Argentinean experience will be for them, and are likely to bolster their squad with a number of senior players when they make their team selection on Wednesday.

The side arrived in Sao Paulo safely en route to Buenos Aires and will get there Monday evening South African time, meaning there will only be time for two training sessions before they transfer to Salta later in the week for the game.

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Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

New Springbok call-up Warren Whiteley could well find himself playing a bigger part in this weekend’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship game than he thought as injury concerns followed the Boks en route to Argentina.

Already gearing themselves up for a tough match in Salta this weekend, the Boks will need to take all the positives out of their performance in the monsoon rain at Loftus and turn it around to ensure a second victory over Los Pumas in a fixture they have traditionally struggled in.

Whiteley was a last minute call-up before the Loftus game when Willem Alberts went down to a hamstring injury, and has been called up as cover for loose forward and no8 – something hat Alberts was also the back-up to.

Whiteley’s prowess in the loose, his natural roving ability and his lineout options he provides the team will weigh heavily on coach Heyneke Meyer’s mind as he uses the short week to plan for the assault that is waiting for the Boks in Salta.

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Nick Mallett

Nick Mallett

Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett believes the Boks didn’t adapt to the adverse weather conditions well enough in their Test against Argentina in Pretoria on Saturday.

Heavy rain an hail made for very tough playing conditions and the Boks struggled to a nervy 13-6 victory.

Mallett, speaking on SuperSport after the match, admitted the conditions made things tough, but felt the Boks could have done better in adapting their strategy.

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Richie Gray

Richie Gray

Richie Gray has described working with the Springboks for the past year as an “honour” and admits he does not know if he will return to coach at Murrayfield.

The 44-year-old from Galashiels is breakdown skills coach at South African Rugby Union, having made his name developing rugby training equipment.

He said: “I cannot fault this country – the supporters, the players and the management have been outstanding.

“For me even to be down here, it’s a real honour to work with this country.”

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South AfricaContrary to the expected dry conditions on the Highveld, the Springboks had to adapt to hail and torrential rain in their narrow 13-6 Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Pretoria on Saturday.

“We really wanted to play exciting rugby. We picked an exciting backline as we thought we would have an open, running game on the Highveld,” Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said after the nail-biting match.

“I am very proud of the team. That game could have gone either way. A lot of the Argentineans play in Europe, where they are used to the conditions, and they forced us into a kicking battle.”

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New Zealand haka 1916

New Zealand side perform the haka before taking on South Africa in Richmond, Surrey, reportedly in April 1916. No further details of the match exist, with the All Blacks’ last official Test coming in August 1914.

Rugby Union did not shut down completely with the declaration of war in August 1914.

Australia and New Zealand were, as dominions of the British Empire, included in Britain’s declaration on 4 August, but inevitably the matter was less urgent.

The machinery of military recruitment clicked into action and the Wellington Rugby Union cancelled its programme of second, third and fourth grade matches on the following Saturday to enable players to attend volunteer parades. But war caught both countries in mid-season and with the All Blacks part way through a tour of Australia.

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South AfricaIf South Africa are to win this year’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship, then quick ball from the breakdown is non-negotiable.

The Boks have made it clear that they want to speed up their play during this year’s competition, not slow it down as they have in the past.

The biggest problem is that their catalyst, their general in exercising their play in this regard, talisman Fourie du Preez, is injured and unavailable, bringing a heavy burden on the three halfbacks in the squad to produce the goods.

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South AfricaDamian de Allende will make his Springbok debut next to returning national captain Jean de Villiers when South Africa open their Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

Kick-Off is at 17:00 SA Time.

De Villiers is one of three returning Springboks who played no part in the Castle Lager Incoming Series because of injury. The others are Frans Malherbe and Eben Etzebeth, who have both been selected on the bench.

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Craig Roberts

Dr Craig Roberts

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has been given a massive boost with the news that he should be able to pick as close to his strongest side for this weekend’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship opener against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld.

Team doctor Craig Roberts cleared props Frans Malherbe, Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and lock Eben Etzebeth for action and crucially also gave captain Jean de Villiers the all-clear to play this weekend after spending the last few months on the sidelines with injury.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

The question to be asked is: How does Heyneke Meyer compare with South Africa’s most successful coaches?

For this exercise, I decided to take two former coaches – the World Cup-winner, Jake White and Nick Mallett, who is currently the co-holder of the record for most consecutive Test victories – to draw a comparison with Meyer’s first two years in the hotseat.

The cold statistics will tell us only part of the story, but it is certainly important that we take them into account – or at least use it as a starting point.

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The Rugby ChampionshipOne of the great rugby tournaments starts again soon, as the third ever Rugby Championship gets underway next week. The competition has only been around officially since 2012 following the acceptance of Argentina into the Tri-Nations series, that featured three powerhouses of world rugby in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

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Juan Smith

Juan Smith

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has praised the move to bring veteran flank Juan Smith back into the Springbok squad for the Rugby Championship, calling it an ‘unbelievable’ story.

It was reported that Smith – who was told by more than one doctor that his rugby career was over – was included as cover for the injured Victor Matfield in the Bok squad this week ahead of next weekend’s opener against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld.

After getting a second chance at Toulon, Smith turned the opportunity into gold with the way he used his new lease on life to craft his way into the Toulon squad and was an integral part in their success in Europe this year.

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Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers

The prognosis on Springbok captain Jean de Villiers’ fitness ahead of next weekend’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship opener against Argentina took a positive lift with the news that the player himself feels he will be fit and ready for the opening game.

Much has been made of the fitness of De Villiers and whether or not he should have been released to play in the Absa Currie Cup this weekend, especially after three months on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Given that Victor Matfield has been ruled out of action for next week as well with injury, the Boks suddenly needed to contemplate a backup plan for De Villiers if he is injured and a new captain has to be found.

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Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen says lessons learned during the June Tests have put the team in a great position ahead of the Rugby Championship.

The Springboks enjoyed an impressive start to the 2014 season, beating the World XV (47-13), Wales (38-16 and 31-30) and Scotland (55-6). South Africa scored 23 tries during these games, which creates great attacking confidence heading into the Rugby Championship.

The squad gathered in Johannesburg on Monday to start their tournament preparations. Vermeulen explained that the team boasts a special environment.

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Juan Smith

Juan Smith

Experienced international forward Juan Smith has been drafted into the Springbok squad preparing for The Rugby Championship.

Smith was a Rugby World Cup winner in 2007 and boasts 69 Test caps. He will join the squad in Johannesburg as replacement following confirmation that Victor Matfield will miss the opening Test of The Rugby Championship against Argentina in Pretoria on Saturday 16 August.

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Heyneke Meyer emotional and animated in the game between Wallabies vs Springboks, The Rugby Championship, Brisbane, 7 September 2013

Heyneke Meyer emotional and animated in the game between Wallabies vs Springboks, The Rugby Championship, Brisbane, 7 September 2013

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is adamant in his belief the Boks won’t be the best in the world until they get their conditioning right.

While Meyer admits the relationship between the various Super Rugby franchises and the Springboks has taken massive steps forward, and right now, the Boks are probably ahead of their fitness goals for this time of the season, the whole mindset needs to be radically challenged across the board, with the modern game calling for super fit players who can play at pace.

If there ever was an advert for this, the Vodacom Super Rugby final comes to mind, and where in the past the Boks have tried to slow the game down, they now will need to confront the pace and show they can play at the same level, if not better when they need to if they are to get to the top of the world rankings.

This in itself is a mindshift that needs to happen across the board. While the overseas departures weakened Super Rugby franchises this year many of the problems encountered at Super Rugby level – especially on defence – were because sides fell off the pace and therefore let in soft tries.

Meyer presented his ideas to the board last year and already conditioning expert Basil Carzis has been working with the franchises, but the Boks need to do more.

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Victor Matfield

Victor Matfield

Victor Matfield is suffering from a small tear in a cartilage after being sent for scans on Tuesday morning after feeling some discomfort in his knee at training on Monday.

He was seen by an orthopaedic specialist in Pretoria and will be unavailable for the Test against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday 16 August.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

Frans Malherbe

Frans Malherbe

Two members of the Springboks’ Castle Lager Rugby Championship squad, Eben Etzebeth and Frans Malherbe, have been released to play in the opening round of the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division for DHL Western Province on Friday evening.

Both players are returning from long-term injuries and will be allowed some game time for WP to ease them back into the game.

Etzebeth’s last game was in November 2013, for the Springboks against France in Paris, where he picked up a foot injury. Malherbe has been out for more than three months with concussion.

“Following medical assessments and consultation between our medical team and those of the various provinces, it was decided to release Eben and Frans for this weekend,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

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Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers

South AfricaSpringbok captain Jean de Villiers has recovered from the knee injury which kept him out of the June Tests and is back in the national squad for the forthcoming Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

De Villiers is one of six players returning from injury after missing the entire or a part of the Castle Lager Incoming Series.

The others are Tendai Mtawarira (prop), Frans Malherbe (prop), Eben Etzebeth (lock), Patrick Lambie (flyhalf / fullback) and Damian de Allende (centre).

De Allende, who was forced to withdraw from the squad in June because of a knee ligament injury, and scrumhalf Cobus Reinach are the only two uncapped players in the 30-man Springbok squad.

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Jurie Roux

Jurie Roux

Certain contracted Springboks may yet see action in the 2014 Currie Cup, despite reports this week to the contrary.

But it seems the only ones who will feature in the time-honoured domestic competition will be any who don’t crack the nod for Bok coach Heyneke Meyer’s squad for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship which is to be named on Saturday (around 14:00).

SARU on Friday moved to clarify the reports, which were sparked when John Smit, chief executive of the Currie Cup-holding Sharks, revealed on the franchise’s website: “It was decided upon that all contracted Boks will play no part in the Currie Cup.”

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Joost van der Westhuizen

Joost van der Westhuizen

Five Springbok legends are set to be inducted into the International Rugby Board’s Hall of Fame.

Joost van der Westhuizen, Naas Botha, Morné du Plessis, Danie Gerber, Hennie Muller are among 37 players to be inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame in the next year.

The news comes alongside the announcement that the International Rugby Hall of Fame and IRB Hall of Fame are to merge.

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Jonny Wilkinson on Boots & All

Jonny Wilkinson on Boots & All

Jonny Wilkinson believes that both South Africa and England will make it to the semifinals of next year’s Rugby World Cup.

World Cup legend Wilkinson was at SuperSport on Thursday and Xola Ntshinga was able to sit him down for an interview.

Wilkinson has great respect for what has been achieved by the England team under coach Stuart Lancaster.

“The England team has done a great thing in going back to the foundation of the game. They’ve looked at the values; they looked at the core principles of what makes a good team. They’ve solidified it at the base and now they’re building on it. They’re adding detail on top of detail on top of detail and the players are ready to accept it,” he said.

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  • Te Rangatira 21 Aug 2014, 21:57 SAST - @ robzim: Hi Robzim... I have to agree with your assessment... the only thing was the coach John Hart rode...
  • robzim 21 Aug 2014, 21:41 SAST - @ Te Rangatira: Good morning.... Although it's hard to compare teams from different era's i agree with you .... Read...
  • robzim 21 Aug 2014, 21:21 SAST - People are always quick to point out how useless AC and the rest of the WP/Stormers management are in terms...
  • Te Rangatira 21 Aug 2014, 21:19 SAST - This is why the 96 Abs are still the best imo...
  • MacroBok 21 Aug 2014, 20:39 SAST - @ IAAS: Maybe they had the common decency to sacrifice themselves
  • IAAS 21 Aug 2014, 20:30 SAST - @ MacroBok: Or possibly getting his player rotation in early. :roll:

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