The Reds have confirmed a 37-man senior squad for the 2016 Super Rugby season, with 8 fresh faces in total joining the ranks at Ballymore.
In addition to the high-profile signings of Kane Douglas, Ayumu Goromaru, Cadeyrn Neville and NRL winger Eto Nabuli – the Reds also spent the off-season promoting from within the ranks of Queensland Rugby’s pathways with flyhalf Sam Greene and outside backs Junior Laloifi and Izaia Perese earning contracts following their performances in Queensland Premier Rugby and the National Rugby Championship (NRC). They are joined by Australian Under 20 lock Lukhan Tui, who grew up in Sydney.
In all, 20 players were retained from the 2015 Super Rugby squad, 11 of which were off contract and re-signed with the Reds, including Liam Gill, Greg Holmes, James Slipper and Rob Simmons.
In addition to that, the Reds have further progressed the careers of 8 members of its Elite Development Squad, promoting them to the Reds Senior Squad for the 2016 season.
The Crusaders have announced that Todd Blackadder will step aside as head coach at the conclusion of the 2016 Super Rugby season.
“This will be my 8th season coaching the Crusaders, and every minute in the role has been a privilege, but moving on at the end of the 2016 season is the right thing for me and the right thing for the team,” Blackadder said.
“I have been so fortunate to be able to do my dream job for all of these years, but 8 years is a relatively long time in coaching and I feel that the time is right for someone else to take the reins and lead the team in their own direction in the future.
“One of the important things to come out of our 2015 season review is that distractions were a problem for us last season, so that is why I was keen to make my intentions clear before the season begins to avoid my future becoming a distraction for the team during the 2016 season,” Blackadder said.
Blackadder took over from Robbie Deans as head coach of the Crusaders in 2009. He has coached the team to 4 Super Rugby Semifinals and 2 Finals so far, and the final against the Waratahs in 2014 marked his 100th game in the Crusaders’ top job.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has established an operational implementation task group to oversee the running of the Southern Kings franchise in Vodacom Super Rugby, SARU announced on Monday.
The group will meet in Cape Town on Wednesday to put in place the structures and processes required to take control of the running of the Southern Kings.
“We will be leaning heavily on EPRU personnel in this implementation process in due course and they are providing us with certain documentation to determine the current landscape at the franchise,” said Jurie Roux, SARU CEO.
Eddie Jones will most likely not be coming back to Cape Town to assist the DHL Stormers in their pre-season preparation work, but he will be in Los Angelos this week.
Newly appointed England coach Jones will be addressing a World Rugby workshop on the success of the Japan team at the Rugby World Cup, who won 3 games despite failing to make the play-offs under his guidance.
Jones was unveiled as the new DHL Stormers coach earlier this month, before being made an offer he could not refuse by the English RFU which saw him leave Cape Town after just 2 weeks.
Stormers director of rugby, Gert Smal, claimed that Jones would return to Cape Town in December to assist with the planning for next season, explaining that the experienced coach felt bad for the way things had transpired with the Stormers.
The Vodacom Bulls are hard at work in preparation for the Vodacom Super Rugby season next year, with some new faces amongst the regular squad members.
New Vodacom Bulls player Lizo Gqoboka has settled in well amongst his team mates and is working hard with the rest of the Vodacom Super Rugby squad assembled in Pretoria. Winger Luther Obi will join the squad on Wednesday as the Bulls step up preparations at Loftus Versfeld for next year’s extended Vodacom Super Rugby competition, where the Vodacom Bulls are working hard to achieve success in 2016.
A number of injured players will join the fray as they complete rehabilitation, while those playing club rugby in Japan will return during the course of January 2016. The 5 returning from Japan are Grant Hattingh, Handré Pollard, JJ Engelbrecht, Bjorn Basson and Jesse Kriel.
The injured players (with date of return in brackets) are Deon Stegmann, Jannes Kirsten, Nick de Jager and Travis Ismaiel (all December), Irne Herbst, Morné Mellett, Jaco Visagie, Roelof Smit, Ruan Steenkamp, Hanro Liebenberg, Piet van Zyl, Dries Swanepoel and Warrick Gelant (January) and Callie Visagie (February).
Die Pumas van Suid-Afrika het so byna by die Superrugby-agterdeur ingeglip, maar dié unie se plan om die OP-Kings se plek in volgende jaar se kompetisie te “kaap”, is ter elfder ure deur Cheeky Watson gefnuik.
Rapport het na bewering betroubaar verneem dat Hein Mentz, die Pumas se president, ’n volledige sakeplan aan die Suid-Afrikaanse Rugbyunie (SARU) voorgelê het, waarin hulle aanbied om die Oos-Kapenaars, wat reeds maande lank verlam is deur ’n geldkrisis, in 2016 se toernooi te vervang.
Dié plan sou die Kings “tyd gee om hul geldsake uit te sorteer” en dié franchise terug op die been te kry.
Dít het onder meer ’n groot borgskap en beloftes van geleenthede vir spesifiek swart spelers bevat en het glo die steun van die Mpumalanga-regering gehad.
After the DHL Stormers confirmed the hasty exit of Eddie Jones on Friday, we now look at potential candidates to take over the head coaching role at the Cape franchise.
The candidates are:
- John Mitchell
- Gert Smal
- John Dobson
- John Plumtree
- Nick Mallett
With Eddie Jones now in London and appointed as the new England coach, the DHL Stormers director of rugby Gert Smal needs to do what he failed to do earlier in the year by making John Mitchell a serious offer.
The former All Black coach was targeted by the Stormers earlier in the year, and the approach to him preceded that made to former Sharks coach and fellow Kiwi John Plumtree. However, Mitchell was only offered a 2 year deal and Mitchell said at the time that the figures didn’t turn his head either.
Mitchell, who has become a successful chief executive in the business world over the past 2 years, said he would have needed a longer contract, more like 4 years, in order to be interested. The negotiations broke down after he communicated that view to Smal.
Jones though was offered a 3 year contract with the option of a year extension, which effectively meant 4 years, so it is difficult to see any reason now why Smal can’t do the same for Mitchell, particularly as the pay-out from the RFU to Western Province should be a substantial one.
With Jones out of the picture, Mitchell says he would definitely be interested in working as Stormers head coach under Smal were the union to make him a realistic offer.
The Cell C Sharks on Thursday unveiled their provisional Super Rugby training squad ahead of the 2016 season.
As expected, lock Ruan Botha joins from the Stormers on a 2-year deal to soften the blow of Pieter-Steph du Toit moving the other way.
“Ruan is a young player with a bright future ahead of him. He was part of the SA Under 20 squad that won the IRB Junior Championship in 2012 and we look forward to his progress in the black and white jersey,” Sharks director of rugby Gary Gold told the franchise’s website.
“This squad will be re-looked at in the New Year, when our other squad members return.”
There are another 9 players currently undergoing rehab for various injuries, while 6 have been released including flyhalf Lionel Cronje, lock Marco Wentzel and centre Waylon Murray.
EP Rugby President, Cheeky Watson, held a media conference at the EP Rugby offices on Wednesday afternoon as financial issues continue to plague the union.
“This has never been about Cheeky Watson, it is about the Kings, it has always been about the Kings,” said Watson.
Watson said it was important to take note of the press release from SA Rugby issued on Tuesday 17 November 2015.
“There has always been a Plan B; I put the call in to SARU to come and bring stability, so that we can stop hemorrhaging players and focus on our preparations for Super Rugby,” he said.
Watson said he was constantly engaging with SA Rugby, including Rugby boss, Oregan Hoskins, and that the details around the implementation of the assistance still needed to be fleshed out.
“The cash flow crisis we have experienced is like a Greek tragedy. We want to thank SARU for stepping in to assist and we welcome whatever contributions they bring,” he said.
Watson said part of the intervention envisioned was to have members of the SARU mobi-unit come down to assist in support roles and bolster the Southern Kings coaching staff.
The Cell C Sharks are set to announce their pre-season Super Rugby squad on Thursday – and the name Ruan Botha will appear on that list.
The 23-year-old Stormers lock is set for a move to Durban, while Springbok Pieter-Steph du Toit has moved from the Sharks to Newlands.
A Sharks spokesperson on Wednesday said that the deal between the union and Botha could not yet be officially confirmed due to a contract that still had to be signed.
However, the indication was that all of the paperwork would be wrapped up by Thursday.
UK bookmakers have stopped taking bets on newly appointed DHL Stormers coach Eddie Jones replacing fired Stuart Lancaster as supremo of the England rugby team. They are so convinced Jones will leave Newlands for Twickenham that betting on him doing so has been suspended.
But the Australian who guided Japan to rugby’s great giant killing act over the Springboks won’t come cheap. In the Times of London this morning, SA billionaire Johann Rupert says extracting Jones from his contract with the DHL Stormers will cost the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) R 15 Million (£ 700 000.00).
Richemont chairman Rupert, co-owner of the DHL Stormers through the 25% owned by 1 of his businesses, told the newspaper: “We have no influence” and confirmed the Cape-based franchise would not engage in a bidding war over the recently hired head coach.
In September, Eddie Jones signed a R 5 Million a year deal with the DHL Stormers which runs until the end of 2018. That made him the highest paid coach in South African rugby, ahead of Heyneke Meyer who guided the Springboks to 3rd in the recent Rugby World Cup.
Australian James Hilterbrand, a hooker currently playing for Edinburgh in European competitions, headlines a list of 9 new signings by the Southern Kings.
This was announced on Monday, a day that another 2 players – wing Luther Obi and utility back Sylvian Mahuza – have given notice of their intent to leave the Kings, the Port Elizabeth-based franchised announced the list of new recruits.
Apart from Hilterbrand, who played 2 games for the Western Force in 2013 and 14 games for Edinburgh since joining them for the 2013 / 2014 season, they have signed a number of high-profile players.
These include duo Jurgen Visser and Louis Fouché (Vodacom Bulls), Caylib Oosthuizen (Toyota Cheetahs), SP Marais (Cell C Sharks), Stefan Watermeyer and JC Roos (Steval Pumas), Mark Richards (Emirates Lions) and Carel Greeff (ORC Griquas).
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Tuesday agreed to assist the Eastern Province Rugby Union by taking control of the Southern Kings franchise in Vodacom Super Rugby.
The action followed through a decision taken by the Executive Council of SARU some weeks ago to step into the Kings’ affairs if certain expectations were not realised.
The decision was actioned as a result of the on-going cash flow problems at the Union after the president of EP, Mr Cheeky Watson, contacted Mr Oregan Hoskins, the president of SARU, to ask him to assist.
“We gave the Kings as long as possible to resolve their issues through their own efforts but the point had been reached where they could wait no longer,” said Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of SARU.
“It is a decision we have had to take reluctantly but it is now 102 days until Vodacom Super Rugby moves into a new era with new teams and new nations taking part and we collectively agreed we could not allow South Africa’s new entrant to be under-prepared.”
Cell C Sharks Director Of Rugby, Gary Gold, has announced the 4 coaches that will be assisting him in next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Former UKZN Impi coach Ryan Strudwick will be in charge of the forwards. Strudwick’s Impi side were crowned Varsity Shield champions earlier this year when they beat Wits in the Final. He also previously coached Maritzburg College.
Strudwick also assisted Gold during this year’s Currie Cup campaign. He has been involved with the Sharks at Under 19 and Under 20 level as well.
Former Springbok and Sharks scrumhalf Robert du Preez will be the team’s skills and attack coach – a role he shares with Sean Everitt. Du Preez also won the ABSA Currie Cup First Division trophy with the Leopards this year. The North West team went through the entire tournament unbeaten.
He also guided NWU-Pukke to two Varsity Cup finals – one of which was this year’s 33 / 63 loss to UFS Shimlas. Pukke lost to UCT in the final in 2014.
Du Preez will also be coaching his sons Dan and Jean-Luc who are part of the Cell C Sharks squad.
Omar Mouneimne joins from the Steval Pumas and will be the team’s defence coach. He was also part of the Eastern Province Kings coaching setup and also had coaching stints in Edinburgh and Italy.
Amongst the Super Rugby news this week is the announcement that Tanerau Latimer will return to Super Rugby and join up with the Blues.
Lima Sopoaga has also extended his stay at the Highlanders.
Meanwhile the Brumbies will lose Matt Toomua to Leicester Tigers when the European season of 2016 / 2017 starts after Super Rugby of 2016, but therefore he will still be available for the Brumbies in 2016. The Brumbies have also signed hooker Robbie Abel with the Brumbies’ Extended Playing Squad for 2016.
Double Rugby World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw is expected to confirm his decision to retire from rugby this week, New Zealand media reported on Sunday.
McCaw, who turns 35 on 31 December, led the All Blacks to their 3rd Rugby World Cup triumph 2 weeks ago when his side beat trans-Tasman rivals Australia 34 / 17 in the final at a packed Twickenham stadium in London.
The All Blacks were the 1st team to retain the trophy, after the openside flanker led the team to victory in 2011 while playing with a broken foot.
McCaw had done little to dampen expectations that he would retire after this year’s Rugby World Cup, though never explicitly said he would, preferring to state he would not make up his mind until the global showpiece ended.
He was not named last month in the Canterbury Super Rugby squad for 2016 though New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the Crusaders said there was space for him if he chose to play on.
The Vodacom Bulls have capitalised on the growing uncertainty surrounding the EP Kings as they signed impressive prop Lizo Gqoboka for the next few years to bolster their Super Rugby squad.
Gqoboka gave notice at the Kings after repeated non-payment of salaries at the franchise, and the Bulls swooped in to offer him a new home for the foreseeable future.
And there may well be more news in the next 48 hours as the Bulls are still after the signatures of 3 other EP Kings players – loose forwards Tim Agaba and Thembelani Bholi and winger Luther Obi. Some big decisions will be made as to their futures soon.
Gqoboka has been rated as 1 of the strongest props by the Springbok management team, who tried in vain to get him to play Super Rugby this year, after he was ignored by the franchises for the 2015 season.
But with SARU’s transformation action plan likely to be implemented much more stringently in the future, the Bulls have been pro-active in searching for good black talent to bolster their Super Rugby ranks for the coming year.
The Eastern Province Rugby Union is working tirelessly behind the scenes to address the issue of non-payment of players.
The union on Thursday confirmed that neither of the Kings’ staff nor players have yet been paid their October salaries.
“The Eastern Province Rugby Union has noted that there have been a number of issues raised in the media over the past few days, and acknowledge and apologise for our lack of proper communication on these issues,” the union said via a press statement released late on Thursday.
The non-payment of players is due to cash flow problems, the union admitted.
“These cash flow problems can be attributed to significant delays in the release of funds from a sponsorship deal that was originally announced by EP Rugby President, Cheeky Watson.
The Brumbies have announced Argentine scrumhalf Tomás Cubelli will be joining the Canberra-based Super Rugby team on a 2-year deal.
Cubelli is a member of the Argentine national team and has been a standout player for Los Pumas this year including a number of strong performances in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Cubelli has 45 Test caps, the most recent being the 3rd-place playoff at the Rugby World Cup against South Africa, in which he started at scrumhalf for Los Pumas.
Brumbies CEO Michael Jones said Cubelli was presented a number of options after a very successful international season, including the new Argentinian Super Rugby side which will boast 21 of their Rugby World Cup semifinal squad, and was very happy to have secured the international star.
New Zealand Rugby chief Steve Tew said it was premature to speculate about Japan joining The Rugby Championship.
The sport is currently on a high in the Asian nation after the Brave Blossoms’ exploits at the Rugby World Cup, which included a stunning 34 / 32 win over South Africa, but there are already concerns about its preparations for the expanded Super Rugby competition next year.
With Japan set to host the next edition of the Rugby World Cup in 2019, World Rugby is keen to consolidate its popularity in a large and potentially lucrative market.
The governing body’s chairman Bernard Lapasset said on a trip to Tokyo this week that Japan should join The Rugby Championship, which currently comprises New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.
But New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said a more immediate concern for Japanese rugby was fielding a competitive side in the Super Rugby competition in 2016.
New DHL Stormers coach Eddie Jones says he wants them to play a brand of rugby that attracts people to come watch them.
After arriving in Cape Town last week, Jones held his 1st press-conference as DHL Stormers coach at Newlands on Thursday.
Speaking about the challenge ahead, Jones said: “It’s a fantastic city. Western Province is one of the most prestigious unions in the world – there is so much history here.
“When the opportunity came up to coach the Stormers – such a well-supported team, the best in the competition – it was simply too good to ignore. Of course, the ultimate aim is to produce a good team that attracts people to the stadium and, ultimately, challenges to win trophies.
Centre Tim Whitehead has become the 1st player to walk out on the EP Kings after the union’s failure to compensate players.
The 10-day deadline for paying the players’ October salaries expired at midnight on Tuesday without any action from the Kings’ management.
This means that from a legal perspective, the players can cancel existing contracts with the Eastern Province Rugby Union and take up matters elsewhere.
Whitehead on Thursday confirmed that he has decided to leave the Kings.
Perth based Super Rugby franchise the Western Force have signed Queensland Country lock Richie Arnold adding size to their forward pack for 2016.
Arnold’s identical twin, lock Rory Arnold is at the Brumbies.
Richie stands at a towering 2,08m and weighs 127Kg – 7Kg heavier than his brother.
The 25-year-old would rank as the equal 2nd tallest player in Super Rugby history, alongside his brother and former Stormers lock, Andries Bekker, and only behind Lions lock JP du Preez (2,09m) – will join the Force as part of the club’s Wider Training Squad, as he looks to push for his Super Rugby debut in 2016.
The Kings financial saga just seems to get bigger and bigger, the boil getting larger and larger… the bubble waiting to burst.
This week alone we have already featured more articles about the latest financial crisis, now we hear that the EP Kings have most probably been funded by money originating from the pockets of Rate-payers in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.
In addition, the SARPA deadline demand for the EP Kings players and staff salaries to be paid by midnight on 10 November has come and gone and the salaries have not been paid, effectively making each and every EP Kings player a free agent to source alternative placement to continue their rugby careers.
Wallaby fullback Israel Folau is set to undergo surgery and will be out of rugby for a minimum of four months.
Folau will go under the knife next Tuesday on a troublesome ankle, having carried the injury through much of Australia’s Rugby World Cup campaign.
Unpaid player wages continue to mar the cash-strapped Eastern Province Rugby Union.
The union is facing a deadline from the South African Rugby Players Association (SARPA) to make player payments by Tuesday.
After problems over payments arose again at the end of October, SARPA issued a written 10-day notice for the Kings to pay outstanding salaries or face action against them.
The cash-strapped union was unable to pay players for several months earlier in the season after a lucrative sponsorship deal failed to materialise.
The union’s president Cheeky Watson reportedly travelled abroad, where he was believed to be looking into delays over a long-touted new sponsorship.
The men from Port Elizabeth had a torrid Currie Cup season, winning only 2 matches to finish 2nd from bottom on the overall Log.
They will also compete as the 6th South African franchise in an expanded Super Rugby season from next season.
Vodacom Bulls coach Nollis Marais on Monday announced his management team for the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby season, with the Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd also confirming the management teams for the rest of the Blue Bulls teams for next year.
Marais will take charge of his 1st season of Super Rugby with former Springboks loose forward Anton Leonard as his forwards coach and former Vodacom Blue Bulls backline coach David Manual as the backline coach.
Former Springbok Tim Dlulane continue in his role as team manager, as is baggage master, Elias Bennet. The technical team to assist the coaches are John-William Meyer and Divan Strydom, who will also act as kicking coaches. SARU Mobi-Unit member Louis Koen will assist them in this regard when needed.
Gary Botha (scrums and break down) and Pine Pienaar (defence) will be involved with both the Super Rugby and Currie Cup sides, as well as the junior sides in this capacity.
Dr. Herman Rossouw is the new team doctor for senior teams. Wernich Smith, Pieter du Plessis, Sanell Morgan, Khuliso Netshivhagani and Karabo Morokane will be utilised as physiotherapists for all the teams and Elzanne van Coller as masseuse.
New Cell C Sharks Assistant Coach, Robert du Preez snr, wants the team to play a brand of rugby that will make their fans proud.
Du Preez, himself a former Sharks scrumhalf, joined the Durban side’s coaching staff this month after a successful stint with the Leopards, who he led to the Currie Cup First Division title this year.
He will be an Assistant Coach during Super Rugby and will head up next year’s Currie Cup tournament.
Under the tutelage of Director of Rugby Gary Gold, the Cell C Sharks had a torrid 2015 season.
After a disappointing Super Rugby campaign in which they finished 11th on the Combined Log, things took a turn for the worse for the Cell C Sharks. They failed to reach the ABSA Currie Cup semifinals, and their 4 victories came against the competition’s also-rans, the EP Kings (2), Steval Pumas and ORC Griquas.
SANZAR is delighted to reveal that Super Rugby is coming to the Pacific Islands for the 1st time as Fiji is announced to host the Round 15 clash between the Chiefs and the Crusaders.
The match, to be played at Suva’s ANZ Stadium, will see Fiji become the 8th nation to host a Super Rugby fixture, joining Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
SANZAR Interim CEO, Brendan Morris, welcomed the exciting news.
“In 2016, Super Rugby is being delivered to more countries and more fans than ever before. Not only will we see games played in Argentina, Japan and Singapore for the 1st time in history, but we are delighted to partner with the Fijian Government, the Chiefs and event promoter Fortress to deliver the 1st ever match to the Pacific Islands.
The Reds will need a new captain for the start of the 2016 Super Rugby season as Wallabies Rugby World Cup prop James Slipper will have surgery in the off season.
Slipper has returned to Australia from England and will see surgeon Phil Duke to sort out a shoulder issue that has been troubling him for several seasons.
The new Super Rugby season begins in 14 weeks and the Reds start the new season with a match against the Waratahs in Sydney on 27 February.
Minor shoulder surgery will rule him out of the opening Rounds of the season while a full shoulder reconstruction could keep him out until April or May.
In his absence the Reds captaincy could go to vice-captain and Wallabies lock Rob Simmons or flanker Liam Gill.
A letter published on the Club Atlético de San Isidro website says that the Club has reached an agreement with Unión Argentina de Rugby (UAR) to be the HOME VENUE for Argentina’s new Super Rugby team for 5 years from 2016.
The new franchise, which will be formally unveiled in the coming weeks, appears likely to play its home games at the Club, which is situated approximately 20 minutes north of Buenos Aires.
“We finally reached an agreement that will allow the UAR to use 1 field at our headquarters to play 8 games between March and June. All parties showed a great willingness to reach a mutually beneficial agreement,” the statement said.
The Cell C Sharks will travel to France in February 2016, on a pre-season tour ahead of the start of their Super Rugby 2016 campaign.
There are 2 games lined-up for the tour, with a visit to Stade Mayol 1st up to take on 2-time European champs Toulon on Friday 5 February before they face Toulouse on Thursday 11 February.
The Sharks believe that these matches against 2 of the best European clubs in recent times, marks an ideal opportunity to fine tune their preparation for Super Rugby.
Japan’s Rugby World Cup hero Ayumu Goromaru will join the Reds after signing with the club for the 2016 Super Rugby season.
The 29-year-old fullback became a household name in Japan and turned the rugby world on its head last month when he led his nation’s shock 34 / 32 win over South Africa – with the match being described as the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history.
Goromaru scored 24 points in that match and twice received Man-Of-The-Match honours at the tournament. He has since been labeled a ‘national hero’ in Japan after spearheading his nation’s Rugby World Cup campaign in which they secured a record 3 wins.
The 2016 season will be Goromaru’s 1st in Super Rugby. He has spent his entire professional career playing in Japan’s Top League, while also forging an impressive Test Rugby résumé, with 56 Test caps and 708 points – making him Japan’s all-time leading points scorer.
The Toyota Cheetahs have started their preparations for the 2016 Super Rugby tournament by naming a 51-man pre-season squad.
The squad features a number of players who featured in the ABSA Currie Cup this year, in coach Franco Smith’s debut season in charge.
Springbok Lood de Jager is included in the squad after returning from South Africa’s Rugby World Cup campaign in England.
They will be facing the team from Argentina in their 1st Super Rugby encounter for 2016 on 26 February.