It is Round 11 of Super Rugby 2014 this weekend! We have 6 games in Round 11, with 3 games on Friday and 3 games on Saturday.
The Crusaders, Lions & Melbourne Rebels have bye weekends.
In June / July 2014 the Antipodian teams will catch up in played games with the South African counterparts, when the South African sides sit out for 1 Round.
The Combined Log will therefore be skewed for the majority of the competition and one has to question why individual countries are allowed to start such a long competition ahead of it’s rivals. In 2013 the Australian sides started a week early, but at least they had the excuse that they needed an extra week in the middle of the year to prepare for the British & Irish Lions series, which they lost.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made five changes to his starting line-up to face the Force in Perth on Saturday, with suspension, rotation and injury forcing his hand.
Three changes are at the back.
Jurgen Visser has recovered from the foot injury that ruled him out of the Waratahs clash shortly before kick-off and slots in at fullback, where he replaces Ulrich Beyers. Francois Hougaard moves back to the base of the scrum following the knee-injury sustained by Piet van Zyl and a fit-again Akona Ndungane returns to his regular spot on the wing.
Flip van der Merwe has been suspended for 3 weeks, following a Judicial Hearing, following a punch on the weekend, against the Waratahs!
Hearing Details: Wednesday 23 April 2014 at 08:00 SA Time, 16:00 AEST, 18:00 NZ Time
Judicial Hearing Chairman: Adam Casselden
Player: Flip van der Merwe
Date of Incident: 19 April 2014
Nature of Offence: Law 10.4 (a) Punching or Striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow,shoulder, head or knee(s).
Elapsed time in match when incident occurred: 75th minute
Director of Rugby Jake White has been forced to make changes to the Cell C Sharks backline, but welcomes back two players from injury for Friday night’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Highlanders.
This is their final home game ahead of their four match tour to Australia and New Zealand and along with the desire to maintain their 100% success record at home is hopping on the plane on Saturday in a positive frame of mind, something victory on Friday night would ensure.
The South African Rugby Union will discuss the reintroduction of the quota system into the local game as soon as next month in order to align itself with the demands made by the Minister of Sport surrounding transformation in the game.
SARU president Oregan Hoskins said that the sport will need to make “radical, drastic, immediate changes” to comply with the pressure being brought upon it by the Sports Ministry after Saru and other federations met with the government regarding the proposed changes, including a possible reintroduction of quotas into the Absa Currie Cup and Vodacom Super Rugby competitions.
But Hoskins has committed rugby to embracing the changes, and will see them as ‘a positive’ – even though they may not be ideal in the short term.
Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen will not play against the Stormers in Bloemfontein this weekend after failing a concussion test.
The Bok playmaker took a knock against the Crusaders in Round Nine and has still not recovered fully after sitting out the defeat to the Sharks in Durban last week.
Stormers eighthman Nizaam Carr has tweeted a picture of himself at the dentist – missing a front tooth!
Heinrich Brüssow is not just hype, he is the ultimate openside flank.
The 27-year-old Cheetahs star, who played the last of his 20 Tests in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal, returned to Super Rugby for the Cheetahs against the Sharks last week after missing the first half of the season with a fractured toe – suffered while playing for his Japanese club.
And while the Cheetahs lost 8-19, the influence and value of Brüssow was there for all to see.
Cheetahs lock Lood de Jager says he’ll be ready should Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer call on his services for the June Test matches.
De Jager, 21, broke his finger in the Cheetahs’ 19-8 loss to the Sharks in Durban at the weekend.
New Zealand Rugby and the Blues have agreed and confirmed the terms of Benji Marshall’s release from his Super Rugby contract.
Following Friday night’s match against the Hurricanes, Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan and Benji Marshall had some frank and honest discussions and mutually agreed the best path forward was for Marshall to return to rugby league.
After notching up an important away against the Stormers in South Africa three weeks ago, Waratahs coach Michael Cheika is now looking to add a second, naming an unchanged starting 15 for the Anzac Day clash against the Blues in Auckland.
Although the ‘Tahs won the last encounter between the sides, it’s four years since their last win, a narrow 27-22 Phil Waugh-led victory at Eden Park back in March 2009. The only other two contests to be played in Auckland since then both came in 2011, when the Blues recorded back-to-back wins, with the latter (a 26-13 Super Rugby qualifying final result) ending the Tahs’ finals hopes.
The Chiefs have announced their team to play the Brumbies in what looms as a tantalising re-match of the 2013 Super Rugby Final at GIO Stadium Canberra on Friday afternoon.
“It is special to be playing a match against an Australian team on Anzac Day,” said Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie.
Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan has made four changes to the starting XV for Friday’s Anzac day clash with the Waratahs at Eden Park.
In the only change to the forward pack, Peter Saili makes his first start since Round 6 at No 8 in place of Steven Luatua as Kirwan looks to inject more physicality into the Blues’ game.
“We wanted to pick a pack that was really physical,” Kirwan said.
The Brumbies will play in a one-off, Anzac Commemorative jersey next Friday when the ACT-based side takes on the Chiefs in an Anzac Day, Super Rugby Final replay at GIO Stadium.
Celebrating the contributions of both Soldier On (Match Day Charity) and the Australian War Memorial, the Brumbies strip will feature iconic images on both the front and back of the jersey with the gold trim replaced by sky-blue for one night only.
Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett has said that South Africa’s Super Rugby conference is significantly weaker than their Australasian rivals.
In his role of guest speaker on SuperSport, Mallett said he had been disappointed by South Africa’s poor performance in the tournament thus far, particularly their lack of ability to create opportunities on attack and score tries.
“Our conference is definitely the weakest and our teams aren’t performing,” Mallett said.
As we head into Round 11 of Super Rugby 2014, an alarming stat for South African fans is the lack of tries on display from teams from these shores.
Four South African teams currently comprise the bottom six in the tries scored category.
The Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers were victorious on a weekend where all five South African Vodacom Super Rugby franchises were involved in low-scoring matches.
In all three matches involving teams from the Republic, the most points the different teams on the winning side in any of the encounters could score were 19. Only five tries were scored in these matches.
The Vodacom Bulls lost to the Waratahs for the first time since the 2005 semi-final when they were beaten by 19-12, with a try in the opening minute by Israel Folau the difference between the two sides in Sydney.
Vodacom Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe was cited after the match. He is alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking when he made contact with the Waratahs’ Paddy Ryan in the 75th minute of the match.
In Durban, the Cell C Sharks ground out a victory in a tough derby for the second successive week when they beat the Toyota Cheetahs by 19-8, with each side scoring only one try each.
The final match of the weekend saw the DHL Stormers end a five-match losing streak when they beat the Lions by 18-3 after leading 18-0 at the break in Cape Town.
SANZAR has released the names of the Match Officials for Round 11 of Super Rugby 2014.
Chris Pollock starts the weekend action in the game between the Blues and Waratahs, in Auckland.
This weekend sees 3 games on Friday and 3 games on Saturday.
The Crusaders, Lions and Melbourne Rebels have BYE weekends.
DHL Western Province Vodacom Cup star Devon Williams will make his first start for the DHL Stormers when the team travels to Bloemfontein to take on the Cheetahs in Super Rugby action on Saturday (kick-off 17:05 SA Time).
The Waratahs are unconcerned that injured playmaker Kurtley Beale might not train at all before tackling the Blues at Eden Park on Friday.
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has placed Beale in cotton wool this week, giving the midfield provider every chance and all the time he needs to overcome an ankle injury in time to take the field in Super Rugby’s Anzac Day blockbuster on Friday.
This talk of moving away from South Africa in Super Rugby is madness, says Jeff Wilson, ex All Black fullback.
This is the best international competition outside of test rugby and it would be foolhardy to mess with its essential formula.
My old All Black team-mate Andrew Mehrtens certainly ruffled a few feathers last week when he suggested it would be in New Zealand’s interests to move away from South Africa and align closer with Australia.
The Cheetahs are hoping to have two key players available for their Super Rugby clash against the Stormers in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
According to reports, flyhalf Johan Goosen (concussion) and flank Lappies Labuschagné (groin) could be ready to face the Capetonians.
Vodacom Bulls titness Report after Round 10:
Vodacom Bulls scrumhalf Piet van Zyl picked up a knee injury and will not play against the Western Force in Perth on Saturday, the last tour match of their 2014 overseas tour for the Pretoria team.
Van Zyl left the field against the Waratahs in Sydney last weekend and will be out of action for two weeks, Vodacom Bulls team doctor, Org Strauss, said on Monday.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says he will meet with Stuart Berry to discuss his side’s discipline after the referee heavily punished them in their Super Rugby win over the Lions at Newlands last Saturday.
Despite winning the game 18-3, the Stormers were penalised 20 times by Berry, while Deon Fourie was also yellow-carded.
Following initial consideration by the SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Jannie Lubbe SC, Flip van der Merwe of the Bulls will appear at a SANZAR Judicial Hearing after being cited for alleged foul play during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
There are suggestions that Pat Lambie could still make a comeback before the play-offs in July.
Sharks director of rugby Jake White conceded his team’s lacklustre victory over the struggling Cheetahs in Durban on Saturday was evidence enough that there are no “free games” in Super Rugby.
The coastal side stretched their lead at the top of the tournament standings to six points with an unimpressive 19-8 victory at Kings Park.
“It wasn’t pretty,” White said after the game.
On the weekend, the battling Stormers had reason to smile again after they returned to winning ways against the Lions.
Allister Coetzee, head coach declared he was happy with the win.
Jean de Villiers revealed he defied instructions from the coach to play defensive when they had a 15-point lead.
Schalk Burger and Oli Kebble will be back this weekend, returning from injury, while Pat Cilliers and Demetri Catrakilis is sidelined with injuries.
Michael Rhodes of the Stormers has been issued with an off-field yellow card for contravening Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle during their Super Rugby match on Saturday.
High-profile code hopper Benji Marshall is ready to tuck his tail between his legs and run back to Rugby League.
The Australian media reported on Monday that Marshall has asked for an immediate release from the Blues Super Rugby outfit, in order to return to the National Rugby League in Australia.
According to the reports Marshall has asked his manager Martin Tauber to open discussions with NRL clubs.