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Springbok Rugby

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BlitzbokkeThe Springbok Sevens team will soon start the next phase in their pursuit of Olympic silverware after they stunned the New Zealand team in the final at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games at the weekend.

The South African team made history by beating the All Blacks for the first time since Rugby Sevens were introduced as one of the sporting codes in 1998.

“It is an important tournament win for us as a Springbok Sevens team. This will mean a lot for us going into the next season and going into the Olympics in 2016,” Blitzbokke coach Neil Powell said at the team’s arrival in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

“It is always great to beat the All Blacks in a final and it was a tough one, the guys really worked hard to win that one. Credit to my boys.”

“It is an honour and a privilege to represent your country and to win in the Commonwealth games is special and means a lot to us.”

The South African team captured the imagination as they played with unbridled vigour throughout the campaign.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

Springbok and WP lock Eben Etzebeth has returned to full training ahead of the Currie Cup and Rugby Championship.

Etzebeth has not seen a single minute of competitive action in 2014 after first a foot, and later a toe injury, kept him out of the Stormers’ entire Super Rugby campaign.

After a long and arduous process he is finally nearing a return to fitness, but it remains to be seen if Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer opts to draft him into the Bok set-up immediately or allows him to get some game time under his belt with Western Province.

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Tendai Mtawarira

Beast Mtawarira: Feels privileged to play with the Du Plessis brothers

Sharks prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira has revealed that he will leave the Durban-based franchise at the end of 2015.

Mtawarira confirmed that he will further his career outside of South Africa after next year’s World Cup in England.

The veteran of 55 Tests with the Springboks, who has played for the Sharks since 2007, said he hopes to get a fresh challenge in Europe.

“My goals for 2015 is to help the Sharks do well in Super Rugby and to help the Springboks win the World Cup,” he told the MyPlayers website.

That would be a dream come true.

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South AfricaThe Sharks’ advancement to the Super Rugby semi-finals has meant the Springbok squad announcement for the upcoming Rugby Championship will be slightly delayed.

The SA Rugby Union on Wednesday announced that there are lingering injury concerns over certain players which will see the 30-man Springbok squad only be announced on Saturday 2  August.

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Juan Smith

Juan Smith

Juan Smith has moved closer to a possible recall for the Springboks after his French club Toulon released him along side Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha for the Rugby Championship.

This comes as SARU announced that a 30-man Springbok squad for the forthcoming Rugby Championship will only be announced on Saturday 2 August.

This is due to the Sharks still being involved in Super Rugby and lingering injury concerns over certain players.

In April 2012, Smith announced that he would be taking an indefinite break from rugby due to the ongoing battle with his Achilles injury.

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Heyneke Meyer

Is Heyneke Meyer putting too many “old eggs” in one basket?

Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer continues his “Dad’s Army” approach by recalling veteran flanker Juan Smith for a training camp ahead of next month’s Rugby Championship.

French club Toulon confirmed three of their South African signings – Smith, lock Bakkies Botha and wing Bryan Habana – would be involved in the Boks camp.

Smith, 32, hasn’t played for the Boks since 2010 as Achilles injuries requiring four surgeries ravaged his career, eventually forcing him to “retire” early last year.

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Juan Smith

Springbok flanker Juan Smith may be set to return to the Green and Gold

Juan Smith is set to complete an extraordinary return to Test rugby after being named in South Africa’s squad for a training camp in August, according to Toulon.

Toulon have announced that Smith, along with Bakkies Botha and Bryan Habana, have been selected to attend a South African training camp in August.

Smith, who won the Heineken Cup and Top 14 titles with Toulon last season, has been rejuvenated in France after taking an indefinite break from the sport back in 2012 due to a persistent battle with an Achilles injury.

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Jake White

Does Jake White have a valid point in blaming player fatigue on the last couple of results that went against the SA Conference leaders, the Cell C Sharks?

While it is true that the Sharks lost a few players to the national cause, it wasn’t as if it was the bulk of their side. Frans Steyn played one match, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and Willem Alberts were all either rested or rotated during the 4 Test matches in June. JP Pietersen had the biggest work load for the Bok team if measured in minutes played.

In contrast, the Waratahs players who were involved in the Test series against the French, for the Wallabies, seemed to have lifted their game to an ever higher level.

The same can be said of the All Black players who were involved in a tough 3 Test series against a strong England side.

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Fourie du Preez

Fourie du Preez

Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez’s ankle injury is worse than expected and it has now ruled him out for the rest of the year.

According to SARU, Du Preez will miss the remainder of the South African season following an ankle injury sustained by the Springbok scrumhalf in last Saturday’s 55-6 Test victory over Scotland in Port Elizabeth.

Du Preez left the field in the first half of the Test. He was sent for x-rays immediately afterwards and went for an MRI scan in Pretoria on Monday, which confirmed earlier suspicions of an anterior syndesmotic injury. He will be sidelined for approximately six months.

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Victor Matfield in the scrum cap Cosato does not like

Victor Matfield in the scrum cap Cosato does not like

Cosatu has called on ministers and sport administrators to intervene and bring more black players into South African rugby.

The trade union federation released a media statement in which it criticises the white “old boys club” which it believes still rules rugby in South Africa.

It follows the Springboks’ 55-6 win over Scotland in Port Elizabeth at the weekend – a match which was preceded by SARU president Oregan Hoskins urging Bok coach Heyneke Meyer to pick more black players.

Meyer did include a few more black players in his squad for the game in Port Elizabeth, but Cosatu was not impressed.

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Francois Hougaard

Francois Hougaard

Who Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer earmarks as his flyhalf at the outset of the Championship next month could also have a major bearing on which scrumhalf he chooses to plug the unfortunate Fourie du Preez gap.

Incumbent No 9 and still world-class customer Du Preez, 32, was confirmed on Tuesday as having an ankle injury serious enough for him to ruled out of the entire southern hemisphere tournament.

Given his vast, 70-cap experience and precious ability to read and control a game better than most other South African scrumhalves right now, the loss of Du Preez certainly dents the Boks’ chances of ousting New Zealand from their status as defending champions, even if there have been enough positives in other departments of late to suggest they’ll be seriously competitive nevertheless.

The veteran was just beginning to benefit from a decent run of international matches – important given that he plies his franchise trade in the much more modest arena of Japanese club rugby now – in the June window, looking increasingly more like the character who helped drive the World Cup 2007 success.

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Fourie du Preez

Fourie du Preez

Fourie du Preez will miss the Castle Lager Rugby Championship following an ankle injury sustained by the Springbok scrumhalf in last Saturday’s 55-6 Test victory over Scotland in Port Elizabeth.

Du Preez left the field in the first half of the Test. He was sent for x-rays immediately afterwards and went for an MRI scan in Pretoria on Monday, which confirmed earlier suspicions of an anterior syndesmotic injury. He will be sidelined for at least three months.

“It’s a massive blow to lose yet another world-class player and a key player due to an injury,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. “Fourie is also a dynamic leader and one of the vice-captains in our team and his injury is a huge setback.”

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Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers’s good nature in terms of positional flexibility may be exploited once again in a few weeks’ time.

The first-choice Springbok captain, who missed the entire June window period due to a knee injury, is an estimated four weeks away from a return to full fitness, which gives him a reasonable chance of being ready – albeit rather undercooked in match sharpness – for the Castle Rugby Championship opener against  Argentina at Loftus on 16 August.

His status was confirmed as the Stormers on Monday issued an update on various sidelined players, some of whom will be available for consideration for Saturday’s Super Rugby derby against the Bulls at Newlands.

Both De Villiers and franchise colleague Damian de Allende, another midfielder who had cracked the Bok squad nod a few weeks ago only to be quickly struck down by wretchedly inconvenient injury himself, remain a few weeks out from renewed activity.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Lood de Jager

Lood de Jager

The joke is going around that Heyneke Meyer describes everything the Bokke does as “AWESOME“!

Well, the South African public have reason to be AWED by the AWESOME display of the Springboks and their AWESOME coach!

Not only are the Springboks playing a very well-rounded and balanced game, 2 and a half years into Heyneke Meyer’s tenure, but it appears that the Springoks can now call on 40 odd players to do National duty for them at any given time.

Not only do the Springboks have locks of absolute world class to burn, the looseforwards are equally impressive, the midfield options have been greatly bolstered… and the flyhalf stocks are suddenly no concern anymore, with well-rounded performances by Handré Pollard and Marnitz Boshoff.

The biggest problems still for the Springboks, seem to be adequate depth at both loosehead and tighthead prop.

With almost 30 frontline Springboks out with injury and / or not available due to the International Window having closed before the start of the Test on the weekend, the mix-and-match Springboks certainly excelled on the weekend.

The 5 Springbok debutants, Handré Pollard, Marnitz Boshoff, Marcel van der Merwe, Stephan Lewies and Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje also distinguished themselves on the field of play.

At the end of the June Internationals, the Springboks and Heyneke Meyer finally have reason to smile!

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Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

A capacity crowd is expected at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday when the Springboks take on Scotland.

EP Rugby CEO, Charl Crous, said there were roughly 3 500 tickets left by Thursday afternoon and tickets were selling fast.

“We have seen an upsurge in ticket sales this week and we are encouraging those who have not yet got tickets to please get them as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”

Crous said it would be great to be able to put up “sold out” signs ahead of the Test match and called on Nelson Mandela Bay residents to come out and support the Springboks.

He also advised people to come early to ensure that everyone would be able to get into the stadium before kickoff at 17:00 SA Time.

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Flip van der Merwe

Flip van der Merwe

Flip van der Merwe’s season ended with a whimper rather than a bang as the big lock was ruled out for the rest of the year with a knee injury.

Van der Merwe, who hurt himself in the closing minutes of the one-point victory over Wales in Nelspruit this past weekend, underwent a scan and was sent for a specialist opinion by the Springbok management on Monday.

And the news was not good.

The specialist ruled that Van der Merwe had to undergo surgery on his posterior cruciate ligament, and will therefore be out for six months.

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Springboks vs Wales June 2014: Alun Wyn Jones & Steve Walsh discuss the Penalty Try incident

Springboks vs Wales June 2014: Alun Wyn Jones & Steve Walsh discuss the Penalty Try incident

There is always something to discuss after a rugby Test match, especially one as thrilling as this.

There are the action and the special moments to discuss, the performance of players and all to frequently the Laws of the Game, the ever-changing, confusing and after controversial Laws of the Game and the demands of applying them accurately.

There were two tries especially discussed after the Nelspruit Test – one a try by the Welsh hooker and the other the definitive penalty try near the end – and penalty tries are rare and always debated.

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Teboho Mahoje

Teboho Mahoje

The running joke may be that Heyneke Meyer is selecting his best side for the 2007 Rugby World Cup with the number of Springbok veterans in his side, but the inclusion of Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje for Saturday’s Test against Scotland may suggest otherwise.

The versatile loose forward had experienced a meteoric rise in his career and could make his Springbok debut playing off the bench against Scotland in Port Elizabeth only a few months after playing Varsity Cup rugby for Shimlas.

While a patch of grey hair in his primary school years secured him the Afrikaans nickname “oupa”, meaning grandfather, the versatile forward is anything but a geriatric.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Oregan Hoskins

Oregan Hoskins

Tank Lanning

Tank Lanning

Tank Lanning, former WP tighthead prop and head of Tankman Media has an interesting look at the Springbok team chosen to play against Scotland as well as the words of the uber-opportunist, Oregan Hoskins earlier this week regarding supposed instructions to Bok coach Heyneke Meyer.

This is pretty much they way I feel about it too and for once I am able to agree with something Lanning said, without hesitation!

Good piece, Tank!!

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Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard

South AfricaJunior Springbok captain Handré Pollard is one of five uncapped players who have been named in the Springboks’ match-23 for Saturday’s final encounter of the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Scotland in Port Elizabeth.

In total, the Springbok starting team shows six changes from the side which beat Wales by 31-30 in Nelspruit last weekend.

The four uncapped players on a new-look bench are Marcel van der Merwe (prop), Stephan Lewies (lock), Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje (loose forward) and Marnitz Boshoff (flyhalf). Also on the bench are Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Francois Hougaard and Zane Kirchner, none of whom have played any Test rugby yet this season.

Two players, Pollard and Marcell Coetzee, have not yet featured for the Springboks this year, while four of these are replacements who have been promoted to the starting team, namely Lwazi Mvovo, Schalk Burger, Lood de Jager and Coenie Oosthuizen.

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Lood de Jager

Lood de Jager

Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard

As the announcement of the Springbok squad is awaited on Wednesday, speculation as to the possible composition of the side is gathering momentum.

At this stage it would appear that Johan Goosen is not over his injury worries and that Handré Pollard would leapfrog into the starting berth at flyhalf.

At lock Lood de Jager should get the nod and a 1st start at No 4 lock, in the absense of Flip van der Merwe, who is out with a longer term injury.

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South AfricaWalesA late penalty try saw the Springboks claim a dramatic 31-30 victory over Wales in a match dominated by the whistle of referee Steve Walsh in Nelspruit.

Wales came within minutes of recording their first-ever victory over the Springboks in South Africa, but it was not to be as the home side came back from the dead to sneak a victory.

After being blown off the park in the opening exchanges in Durban last week, Wales served the Springboks some of their own medicine in the first half-hour by scoring 17 unanswered points.

Both sides made a fairly sloppy start to the game, with crucial handling errors killing any meaningful momentum but Wales drew first blood when Dan Biggar sent his second kick at goal through the poles and Morne Steyn had a chance to respond but sent his kick wide.

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Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard

Adriaan Strauss

Adriaan Strauss

Junior Springbok captain Handré Pollard, who was named IRB Junior Player of the Year on Friday, and experienced Test hooker Adriaan Strauss will join the Springboks in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

Pollard superbly led the South African Under 20′s at the Junior World Championships in New Zealand. The Junior Boks twice beat the NZ U20s en route to the final, where they were edged 21-20 by England in Auckland on Friday.

Strauss has been a fixture in the Springbok squad since 2012 and missed out on the last three matches because of suspension. He is free to play again next weekend.

Seven players based in France and England have been released to their clubs and will not be considered for selection for next weekend’s final Test in the Castle Lager Incoming Series, against Scotland at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

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Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard

South Africa Under 20 captain Handré Pollard won a consolation prize for his team when he was named the IRB Junior Player of the Year.

This followed after England were crowned IRB Junior World Champions for 2014, beating South Africa 21-20 in a pulsating Final at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday.

Finalists South Africa and England each had a player nominated – in Baby Bok captain Pollard and wing Nathan Earle respectively, with Ireland centre Garry Ringrose and New Zealand wing Tevita Li completing the shortlist of players.

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South AfricaIt is understood that French-based players in the Springbok squad are unlikely to be available to play Scotland in next week’s Test in Port Elizabeth.

This means the likes of Morne Steyn, Gurthro Steenkamp, Bakkies Botha and Bryan Habana will all have to report back to their clubs.

It’s understood the clubs will invoke International Rugby Board (IRB) Regulation Nine, which governs the release of players for the June test window.

The regulation stipulates that releases are required for the second, third and fourth weekends of June, or for three matches.

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Victor Matfield

Victor Matfield

South AfricaVictor Matfield will on Saturday become the most-capped Test player in the history of South African rugby when he leads the Springboks against Wales in his 112th Test match at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

Matfield made his Test debut on 30 June 2001 against Italy in Port Elizabeth. He retired after the Rugby World Cup in 2011 on 110 caps, but made a highly successful return to the game earlier this year.

“This is a fantastic accolade for Victor,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Wednesday.

“He has been a terrific servant of the game in South Africa and has led his country with distinction since returning to the Green and Gold.”

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Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen will be hoping for a special performance against Wales when he makes his homecoming appearance in Mbombela on Saturday.

Playing in his 18th Test in the green and gold, Vermeulen missed out on the first ever Springbok match played in the Mpumalanga capital, against Scotland last year, because of injury.

The 28-year-old would return to the place where he took his first steps on the rugby field as a barefoot young boy.

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Abongile Nonkontwana

Abongile Nonkontwana

The Baby Boks will be up against the tournament’s other big boys as they prepare for a forward dominated Final in the Junior World Championship.

England cruised to the Final by destroying Ireland in the semifinal with their sizable forwards and impressive set pieces.

The monstrous English Under 20′s play a game that is not to far from the South African’s one, relying on a good platform to be set by the forwards as they physically dominate their opposition.

The question come Friday will be: which pack can destroy the other enough to swing the game in their favour?

The South Africans forwards have impressed throughout the tournament, most evidentially in their two victories against the hosts, New Zealand.

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  • gunther 31 Jul 2014, 09:05 SAST - Good article though. :lol:
  • MacroBull 31 Jul 2014, 09:04 SAST - @ nortierd: I agree and the crusaders will be really confident after they dismantled the sharks. it got really embarrassing...
  • gunther 31 Jul 2014, 09:03 SAST - @ nortierd: Hahaha Noodles has become a freedom fighter.
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