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Toulon RFCCell C SharksToulon (0) 21 / 29 (17) Sharks (Final Score)

Toulon and the Cell C Sharks did battle in a Super Rugby 2016 warm-up match at

Stade Mayol, Toulon, France at 21:45 SA Time (20:45 French Time, 19:45 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.

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Hi,

We have 3 NEW SuperBru Pools for all to join!

  • The RBS 6 Nations 2016 starts on 6 February 2016, so hurry up and do not delay to register for it!
  • The Varsity Cup 2016 starts on 8 February 2016, register for it too, whilst the iron is hot!
  • The Super Rugby 2016 starts on 26 February, we are well within time, but do not delay and register for it!

This year we will do it a bit differently and open our Pools up to all readers of Rugby-Talk.com, but we encourage you to register as a subsciber on Rugby-Talk.com anyway, as our banter and commenting about our Pools will mostly take place here on the website and not on the SuperBru banter boards! It is so easy to register and such fun to discuss rugby here.

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Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks received a timely boost with confirmation that seasoned Springbok loose forward Keegan Daniel is returning to Durban.

Daniel, who has spent 2 seasons with Kubota in Japan, will be playing for the Sharks in the 2016 Super Rugby season.

With 199 caps for the Sharks, 59 of those as captain, he also led the team to Currie Cup glory in 2013.

Daniel, 30, played the last of his 5 Tests for the Springboks against Argentina at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza, in August 2012.

Always a fierce competitor, he will bring strong leadership and experience to the team environment – which will greatly benefit the youngsters in the Sharks squad.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Frans Ludeke

Frans Ludeke

Die Afrikaanse Naweekpers het verskeie rugbyartikels geplaas en ons bespreek so klompie daarvan onder EEN Artikel.

(To our Non-Afrikaans readership, our apologies that you won’t be able to understand this article, however a very large contingent of our readers are Afrikaans, so we unashamedly accommodate them in this article. The News basically relates to Heyneke Meyer and Frans Ludeke possibly heading to Japan for coaching positions, Francois Hougaard being made available for Super Rugby duties at the Bulls during March to May and suggestions of Referee favouratism and blunders against the Blitzbokke in the Final at the Wellington Sevens Tournament this weekend).

Die nuutste aanduidings is dat beide Heyneke Meyer en die voormalige Vodacom Bulls afrigter, Frans Ludeke, nou in lyn is vir afrigtersposte in Japan.

Verder blyk dit ‘n feitlik uitgemaakte saak dat Francois Hougaard gedurende Maart tot Mei nie deel van die Blitzbokke groep sal uitmaak nie maar ‘n bedeling met die Vodacom Bulls gesluit het wat hom vir ongeveer 8 Super Rugby wedstryde gedurende Maart tot Mei beskikbaar sal stel.

Die laaste aspek wat bespreek word is aantuigings dat die Skeidsregter in die Finaal van die Wellington Sewestoernooi in Nieu-Seeland, seker blatante en ooglopende foute begaan het, om sodoende die Blitzbokke te laat verloor ten gunste van Nieu Seeland, wie op tuisbodem die kroon gevat het in die naweek se toernooi.

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Super RugbyJust how the revised Super Rugby format will go down with the South African rugby public is unclear, but we won’t have to wait long to find out.

The new-look tournament gets underway in less than a month, with the Blues and the Highlanders kicking things off in Auckland on Friday 26 February 2016.

From a South African perspective, the road ahead looks a tough one and if local bookmakers are to be believed there is no standout side from within these borders that looks set to challenge for the title.

Outside of the tournament changes, the majority of the South African franchises have also undergone major alterations with only 2wo sides – the Cell C Sharks and Emirates Lions – heading into 2016 with the same coaches that did the business in 2015.

The Southern Kings, obviously, were not a part of the 2015 competition but they also have a new man at the helm.

Here, we look at the 6 men tasked with bringing success to their respective franchises:

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Cheeky Watson

Cheeky Watson

Embattled Eastern Province Rugby Union President Cheeky Watson has had the first set of legal documents served on him.

The players organisation, MyPlayers, confirmed that an Application for Liquidation was brought – through their trade union SARPA – against the EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd.

This move comes after lengthy consultations with the various stakeholders concerned as well as the exploration of all legal options available.

It follows in the wake of confirmation that EP Rugby last week reached an agreement with 18 players (who did not receive Super Rugby contracts) over outstanding salaries.

EP Rugby needs to come up with 5 Million Rand by Sunday 31 January, or they will also face a Liquidation Application from the lawyer of the aforementioned players – Craig Jessop, a labour lawyer working for the firm Brown Braude and Vlok.

This move forced MyPlayers and SARPA’s hand.

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Franco Smith

Franco Smith

The Toyota Cheetahs know they have an uphill battle in this year’s Vodacom Super Rucompetition, but they have approached their mammoth task with a renewed amount of energy and are hoping they will reap the rewards for their efforts.

Since Franco Smith took over the team in the last 2 games of last season the side has shown some exceptional touches on attack, but their defence at times and their set piece play has often let them down, ensuring that a lot of the good work they do on the field is reduced because of poor defence.

Smith has worked hard on this with the team through the off-season and believes it is one of the biggest priorities for the team to address before the season gets under way.

While he admits the team is still a work-in-progress, the former Springbok playmaker is hopeful that strides made in physical conditioning and the work the management have put in with the side in the off-season will begin to bear fruit when the serious games begin next month.

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DHL StormersDHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck has named a 30-man squad for their pre-season friendly against the South Western Districts Eagles in George on Saturday.

Following their successful pre-season match against the Eagles at Outeniqua Park in 2015, Fleck said that the team are keen to return to George where they always enjoy good support.

“We are really looking forward to the game, there was a huge crowd there last year and the people were fantastic. We have always enjoyed playing in George, especially as there are a lot of Stormers fans there.

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Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley will be captaining the Emirates Lions for the 3rd consecutive Super Rugby season when he again takes the reigns for 2016.

The experienced Whiteley welcomed the responsibility of the captaincy bestowed upon him. “It is a big honour to again lead the Lions in the Super Rugby competition. I take the task very seriously while I also enjoy making decisions on and off the field.

“While I think nothing has changed it becomes easier. Also because we’ve got such a great core of leaders around me,” Whitely said.

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Vodacom Blue BullsAs the Vodacom Bulls preparations for Super Rugby 2016 gains momentum we focus on some team news.

Rudy Paige has been named as Vice-Captain for the season.

Handré Pollard’s shoulder injury has been confirmed and he will miss the opening weeks of Super Rugby.

Deon Stegmann needs to undergo an operation due to an ankle injury and projections are that he will be out for 9 weeks.

In addition it is believed that Derick Hougaard, also affectionately known as “Liefling”, is going to attempt to make the Bulls team, after years in the wilderness, but he is not in the current Bulls Super Rugby plans… yet.

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Philip du Preez

Philip du Preez

Former South African Schools lock Philip du Preez is 1 of 3 new signings by the Southern Kings.

The Southern Kings, who will return to Super Rugby next month after a 3-year absence, confirmed the singing of the young up and coming lock, Philip du Preez (22), versatile backline player Jurgen Visser (26) and seasoned hooker Martin Bezuidenhout (26).

Kings Chief Operating Officer Charl Crous also confirmed that Sharks player Jaco van Tonder (24) has joined the team on trial this week.

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Super RugbySANZAR is about to introduce a radical new bonus point system to this year’s Super Rugby competition, with teams no longer getting the bonus point for scoring 4 tries.

The radical proposal, which mirrors a system being used in the French top 14, will now see teams needing to score at least 3 more tries than the opposition to score a bonus point.

The change, which is set to be announced on Thursday in Australia, is a tweak to still encourage teams to play attractive rugby in lopsided contests, and give both sides something to play for, while not taking their foot off the pedal if they have established a good lead in their respective games.

Thus if a team scores 4 tries, they will need to limit the opposition to 1 try if they want the bonus point. If the opposition scores twice, then the team will need to score 5 tries in order to claim the bonus point in the competition.

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Todd Blackadder

Todd Blackadder

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has taken a swipe at the SANZAR brains trust over their proposed Super Rugby innovations.

He called the proposed changes to the Super Rugby bonus point system “bizarre” and suggested there was a lack of consultation with franchises on the matter.

The SANZAR initiative, that is expected to formally unveiled early next week, also include a number of minor law variations for the 2016 Super Rugby season.

While some of the expected law innovations still require World Rugby approval, the biggest innovation – a change to the try-scoring bonus points – is what has caused the biggest stir.

The SANZAR change will see the bonus point awarded to teams who score 4 tries or more in a game scrapped and replaced by 1 for teams that score 3 tries more than their opponents.

Blackadder called the proposed change “bizarre” and queried the lack of consultation with franchises on the matter.

The mooted change, widely reported by media in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand on Thursday, is a copy of the system used in the French Top 14 league and aimed at keeping lopsided games alive for longer periods.

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Southern KingsThe Southern Kings have confirmed a number of new signings following a week of intensive training with the SA Rugby Mobi Unit.

Chief Operating Officer, Charl Crous, confirmed that Pumas flanker, Chris Cloete, (24) and Sharks Lock John-Charles (JC) Astle (25) had been secured on loan for the season.

Following initial trials, Crous also confirmed the Southern Kings have also retained the talent of SWD utility back Leighton Eksteen (21) who has played at Scrumhalf, Flyhalf and Fullback, as well as SWD’s Luzuko Vulindlu (28) who has played at Centre and Wing. Both have been secured on loan from SWD for the season.

Sharks Centre Lukhanyo Am (22) has also secured a position in the squad on loan.

Crous said Sharks hooker, Monde Hadebe (25) would be returning to the Sharks for rehab following a slight back sprain that will see him out of action for between 4 to 5 weeks.

Crous also confirmed hooker Martin Ferreira (26) and lock, Tazz Fuzani (25) had been secured on contract for the Southern Kings season for 2016.

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Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks’ 5 missing international players — away in Japan completing their club duties — are expected back in Durban before the end of the month.

New vice-captain Marcell Coetzee, JP Pietersen, Namibian backrower Renaldo Bothma and new signings Willie le Roux and Jacques Potgieter will join the Sharks squad a week before they leave on their pre-season tour of France early in February.

A member of the Sharks management yesterday said that the squad to travel to France would be announced next week and a decision on whether the Japan-based players would be included for the 2 friendlies has still to be made.

The Sharks will play 2-time European champs Toulon on Friday 5 February, before taking on Toulouse 6 days later.

New Cell C Sharks captain Pat Lambie said that it was likely that all the tour members would be given an airing during the 2 games but added that taking on the 2 Top 14 French clubs would be a major challenge.

Head coach Gary Gold said he wanted tough opposition for his young charges ahead of a fresh season.

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StormersThe DHL Stormers had a very productive defensive session against the Steinhoff UCT Ikey Tigers in Stellenbosch on Tuesday.

In sweltering heat on the Markötter field at Paul Roos, the teams played 2 chukkas of 20 minutes each at a high intensity.

In a specialised session designed to test the evolution of their defensive system in the off-season, the DHL Stormers were made to work hard by an Ikeys side renowned for their attacking prowess

A total of 30 DHL Stormers players took to the field as Head Coach Robbie Fleck made wholesale changes at the changeover.

This proved a valuable outing, giving the coaches further opportunity to look at which areas of their defensive game need further attention.

Fleck was very happy with the outcome of what was a demanding session.

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Robbie Fleck

Robbie Fleck

Robbie Fleck has been appointed interim head coach of the DHL Stormers for the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby season.

Fleck, who has been an assistant coach for the franchise since 2010, has been acting as the DHL Stormers’ coaching co-ordinator since the departure of coach Eddie Jones to England.

Fleck had a highly successful 2015 season as head coach to the DHL WP Under 21 team, losing only 1 game on the way to securing the ABSA Provincial Under 21 trophy this year.

Commenting on the appointment, WPRFU President Thelo Wakefield said: “WP Director of Rugby, Gert Smal, has done a thorough investigation into all available and interested coaches for the position. Robbie Fleck is a Western Province man through-and-through.

“He understands the environment having had extensive experience as an assistant coach at Super Rugby level and as a former WP, Stormers and Springbok player. In addition, he showed his mettle as a head coach this year, dominating the ABSA Under 21 competition. He deserves his opportunity and we are proud to be able to grow one of our own.”

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ARCThe fixtures for next year’s Americas Rugby Championship have been announced in the last while. The tournament will be contested by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, United States and Uruguay.

The tournament which will be played around the same time as arguably the best supported international tournament outside the World Cup, the Six Nations, on a similar basis with each team playing 5 games.

The 1st Round of the Americas Rugby Championship will take place on the 1st weekend in February while the 5th and final Round of action is scheduled for the 1st weekend in March.

There will be some interesting questions that will need to be answered by Argentina in particular and it remains to be seen, considering the stature of the majority of their opponents, how seriously they will take the competition.

The last 2 Rounds of the Championship take place at the same time as the 1st 2 Rounds of the revamped Super Rugby tournament. One assumes that Argentina will be going all out to make a good impression during their debut Super Rugby season and they stand a good chance, at the very least, of making the knockout stages.

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Morné Mellett

Morné Mellett

Vodacom Bulls prop Morné Mellett has retired from rugby with immediate effect due to medical advice.

The prop suffered vertebral artery dissection in July and was ruled out of rugby for the remainder of the year. Recent medical advice suggested that the 26-year old player calls it a day.

“It is sad to end my career like this, but I have no regrets,” Mellett said on Thursday. “I had a good career with an unbelievable group of guys and was part of the best union in the world since I left school. We have achieved so much together and although I would have wanted to go on and play test rugby in the future, my health and family remains most important.  I would like to take this opportunity to specifically thank my wife, Claudine, for her unconditional love and support throughout my career and especially now, as well as my brother Leon.” he said.

Mellett represented the Valke at Craven Week in 2006 and 2007 and started playing for the Vodacom Blue Bulls Under 19’s in 2007 already.

He represented the Vodacom Bulls in 37 matches in the Vodacom Super Rugby competition and 10 times in the ABSA Currie Cup. He also played for UP-Tuks in the Varsity Cup and represented the Junior Springboks at the 2009 Junior World Championship.

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Pat Lambie & Marcell Coetzee

Pat Lambie (left) and Marcell Coetzee (Right)

The Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold on Wednesday announced the appointment of Springbok flyhalf, Patrick Lambie, as the Cell C Sharks captain for the 2016 Super Rugby tournament.

Born and bred in KwaZulu-Natal, Pat is regarded as one of the most talented and level-headed players around. He will no doubt prove to be a great mentor, calming influence and role-model to a relatively young Cell C Sharks squad.

Commenting on his decision, Gold stated:  “Pat’s records and performances over the years speak volumes about the calibre of player he is.  He is a natural born leader, who has shown on numerous occasions that he possesses all of the qualities needed to be a great captain, especially captaining a team he has supported all his life.

“Both Pat and I are aligned with our vision to take the Cell C Sharks forward and I respect and admire his commitment to Sharks rugby, he has my full support and backing.”

“Pat has earned the respect of his fellow players and management alike and he’s a tough competitor that leads by example.  I have no doubt that his presence and commitment shown on the field will inspire and motivate the players around him”, added Gary Gold.

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EP KingsOn the day that the South African Rugby Players Association (SARPA) started sending letters to players informing them that they will NOT be offered contracts by the South African Rugby Union (SARU)-controlled Kings, the 1st player confirmed that he will be taking legal action against the Eastern Province Rugby Union.

Michael van Vuuren issued a statement in which he confirmed he will go the legal route.

SARPA have started sending letters to the players who will not be offered contracts by SARU – believed to be the bulk of the current Kings squad.

SARU has instead opted make use of Sevens and Under 20 players to fill the bulk of the Super Rugby squad, after taking control over from the near bankrupt EPRU last month.

Only a very small number of the current Kings will receive contract offers from SARU.

However, the players on Monday opted for a show of solidarity when they presented a petition to Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) President Cheeky Watson.

The SARPA letters is just the latest shocker in the escalating crisis in the Eastern Cape franchise.

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JaguarsArgentina’s new Super Rugby franchise will be called Los Jaguares (Jaguars).

The team will play be in the 2nd African conference, alongside the Cell C Sharks, Emirates Lions and Southern Kings.

To play Test rugby for Argentina, players have to be contracted by the UAR and be available to play Super Rugby.

The Jaguars’ 1st match will be against the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday 26 February 2016.

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Adriaan Strauss

Adriaan Strauss

Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss has been named as captain of the Vodacom Bulls for the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby season, the team annnounced on Monday. Another international star, Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard, will be vice-captain for the season.

Strauss, a Super Rugby centurion (118 appearances) is no stranger to a leadership role at this level, having captained the Toyota Cheetahs for a number of seasons and according to the Vodacom Bulls Super Rugby coach, Nollis Marais, is a perfect fit for his team.

“Adriaan ticks all the boxes. He has vast experience at Super Rugby level, has played 54 Tests for the Springboks, where he is part of the leadership group and represents what we stand for as Bulls. His leadership style is great, as is his ability to rally players around him. He is also one of the top hookers in world rugby and even opponents will look up to his presence on the field,” Marais explained.

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Robert du Preez (snr)

Robert du Preez (snr)

Cell C Sharks director of rugby, Gary Gold, believes Robert du Preez (snr) will give his team an extra edge on attack in next year’s Super Rugby competition.

Former Springbok scrumhalf Du Preez is no stranger to Sharks rugby, having been a key member during the successes of the famous ‘Team of the 90s’ and he not only brings new ideas and experience, but the passion for the team, having represented the Sharks in 63 matches between 1992 and 1998 – during which 3 Currie Cup titles were won.

He will share the skills and attack coaching duties with Sean Everitt.

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Nemani Nadolo

Nemani Nadolo

New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchise the Crusaders have confirmed that Fijian Rugby World Cup winger Nemani Nadolo will not be extending his contract with the Christchurch team next season.

Nadolo has agreed to play his rugby in France for French club Montpellier after the 2016 Super Rugby season.

Fijian winger Nadolo was raised in Brisbane Australia and has had playing stints in the UK, France, Australia and Japan but his career only really took off when he joined the Crusaders.

Nadolo is now 1 of the hottest wingers in World Rugby but it was not long ago that he was with the Waratahs and was unable to make the match day team.

The winger left Sydney and played for Bourgoin between 2010 and 2011 before joining Japan’s NEC Green Rocket where he was brought to the attention of Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder.

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Ayumu Goromaru

Ayumu Goromaru

Japan is looking to cash in on the rugby fever that swept the nation in recent weeks by unveiling a life-size bronze statue of Rugby World Cup star Ayumu Goromaru.

However, fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the golden-coloured figure – crouching with its fingers clasped together in the player’s trademark kick routine – will have to be quick.

After being unveiled by Goromaru himself on Monday it will be part of the decorations for Tokyo’s Christmas illuminations for a month only and be removed again afterwards.

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Cheeky Watson

Cheeky Watson

Eastern Province rugby clubs plan to call a special general meeting to pass a motion of no-confidence in EPRU president Cheeky Watson.

According to reports, Watson was set to be served a motion of no confidence at the union’s annual general meeting last Friday, but the meeting was controversially postponed.

One club’s president said that in order to pass the motion of no confidence in Watson, 36 of the union’s clubs (20%) need to sign up.

He said that target would be easy to achieve and they would push to have the meeting as soon as possible.

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bullskit

PUMA the official technical and apparel partner of the Vodacom Bulls has unveiled 3 new Super Rugby kits, inspired by the stars.

Nicknamed the Stellar Kit, this season sees the introduction of a signature Black kit – brought to life with an orange and red ombrè effect across the front of the jersey, a traditional Blue kit and a re-appearance of the popular Pink kit. The Vodacom Bulls will take to the field in the specially designed pink kit for one of their home games to show their support of CANSA (Cancer Association of South Africa) and those persevering in the fight against cancer.

PUMA South Africa’s Marketing Director, Brett Bellinger says there is something for everyone in the new kits which feature a Bull imprinted across the front with reflective material embellishments.

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John Mitchell

John Mitchell

John Mitchell appears the firm favourite to become the DHL Stormers head coach, after meeting with Western Province rugby bosses on Tuesday.

According to reports, Mitchell was in the Mother City to discuss details of what is believed to be a 4-year deal with the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) and the Stormers.

The former All Blacks, Western Force and Golden Lions coach earlier this year turned down a job offer from the DHL Stormers.

In June, Mitchell said: “An approach was made to me and there were negotiations, but unfortunately Gert Smal is only contracted as Western Province Director of Rugby for another 2 years, so there were no guarantees for me beyond that period.

“Had I been offered a 4-year deal, it would have been different. But I have travelled around the world a lot to pursue my career as a coach and didn’t want to uproot my family again for the promise of just 2 years. I didn’t want to commute either, as I believe you have to be fully immersed in a culture to be effective as a coach.”

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Andy Marinos

Andy Marinos

New SANZAR CEO Andy Marinos has backed South Africa’s Southern Kings and Japan’s Sunwolves to cause upsets in Super Rugby 2016.

The Southern Kings have at least played a season of Super Rugby before, while the Sunwolves are making their debut as the competition expands to accommodate a side each from Japan and Argentina as well as an extra South African side.

The EP Kings’ serious financial troubles over the past few months have raised questions over their fanchise participation in the competition, but the Sunwolves have not yet named a head coach for the season while they also do not have a full player roster.

But Marinos was a voice of calm on Wednesday morning, backing the Japanese franchise to get their ducks in a row before the tournament begins at the end of February.

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Emirates LionsAll the Lions’ Currie Cup heroes except for Kwagga Smith, who is contracted for National Sevens duty, have been retained for Super Rugby while 9 other stalwarts have strengthened the squad.

Flanker Derick Minnie returns after a long injury lay-off and winger Ruan Combrink and centre Harold Vorster have also been added to the Super Rugby group after missing some Currie Cup action due to injury.

Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies, centre Lionel Mapoe and hooker Akker van der Merwe, as well as Warrick Tecklenburg will return from overseas duty.

The new squad members are former Steval Pumas scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, Leopards No 9 Dillon Smit, Leopards lock Robert Kruger and Pumas prop Corné Fourie, who are all full-blooded Lions now.

Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk has signed a contract with the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) which will see him based permanently in Johannesburg. De Klerk, 24, was a shining light for the Emirates Lions during this year’s Super Rugby competition but because he was still contracted to the Steval Pumas, he had to return to Nelspruit for the Currie Cup season. However, the GLRU on Wednesday confirmed that the scrumhalf has signed a deal which means he will also be available for Currie Cup duty.

Steval Pumas fullback JW Bell is the only new face who hasn’t donned the Lions jersey yet.

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John Mitchell

John Mitchell

It looks like the DHL Stormers should soon be in position to unveil their new coach to replace England bound Eddie Jones, with John Mitchell reportedly having met with Western Province officials in Cape Town late on Tuesday.

The former All Black coach is the only person who fits the requirements laid out last week by WP director of rugby Gert Smal last week – namely that the new coach preferably have an overseas slant to his coaching, have coached international rugby, have coached Super Rugby for at least seven seasons and have experience and knowledge of the South African rugby culture.

When asked about the meeting on Wednesday morning, all Mitchell could say was that he’d had fruitful discussions and that WP had been very professional in the way they had formulated their approach. However Mitchell was not at liberty to divulge further details and he has not signed on the dotted line, so negotiations appear to be ongoing.

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RedsThe 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.

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Todd Blackadder

Todd Blackadder

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.

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Southern KingsThe 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.

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