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Super Rugby

Jano Vermaak

Jano Vermaak

Springbok scrumhalf Jano Vermaak has signed a 2-and-a-half-year deal with Western Province Rugby and will be available for selection from 1 July, once he has completed his current club commitments in France.

The 30-year-old will make the move back to South Africa from French giants, Toulouse; joining Nic Groom, Louis Schreuder and Godlen Masimla as the senior scrumhalf options for the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province.

The quicksilver Vermaak has won 3 Test caps for the Springboks, making his debut against Italy on 8 June 2013, before also featuring against the Wallabies and the All Blacks later that season.

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Vincent Koch

Vincent Koch

Star DHL Stormers prop Vincent Koch will not be available for Western Province in this year’s Currie Cup.

According to reports, Koch’s contract with the Pumas lasts until the end of 2016 and his home union has no intention of letting him go.

“He will play (Currie Cup rugby) for me in 2015 and 2016,” said Pumas president Hein Mentz.

“Our viewpoint is that we give players opportunities to improve. Therefore, we made Vincent available to the Stormers and Renaldo Bothma and Giant Mtyanda to the Sharks.

“Vincent was loaned to the Stormers because the Lions, our franchise partner, didn’t regard him as good enough.”

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Melbourne RebelsImperium GroupThe Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and Victoria Rugby Union confirmed they have entered into an exclusive Heads of Agreement with Imperium Group, a Melbourne-based investment company, to acquire all shares in the Melbourne Rebels Rugby Union Limited, the company that controls the Melbourne Rebels.

“We’ve been discussing the sale of the Melbourne Rebels to ICG in recent months and we’re pleased to have reached agreement on the key terms of the deal,” ARU CEO Bill Pulver said.

“We are now progressing legal documentation and detailed due diligence is underway to finalise the transaction.

“We expect a formal transfer of the company will be completed by 30 June 2015.

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Super RugbyIt is Round 14 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 2 games on Friday 15 May and 4 games on Saturday 16 May.

The DHL Stormers, Crusaders and Western Force have BYE weekends.

There are 2 lip-licking South African games against overseas teams on the weekend, between the Emirates Lions vs Brumbies in Johannesburg as well as between the Toyota Cheetahs vs Highlanders in Bloemfontein. The battling Cell C Sharks will play their 3rd match on tour against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday morning.

On Friday, the Blues hoost the Vodacom Bulls in Auckland at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) before the Reds host the Melbourne Rebels in Brisbane, at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

On Saturday morning the Hurricanes host the Chiefs in Wellington at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT), whereafter the Waratahs host the Cell C Sharks in Sydney at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

Over to South Africa and next up, at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, 03:05 NZ Time), the Emirates Lions host the Brumbies in Johannesburg, before the Toyota Cheetahs host the Highlanders in Bloemfontein at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Sunday 05:10 NZ time, 03:10 AEST).

The Blues vs Bulls match is a difficult one to call but considering the Blues form this season the Bulls should be favourites to take it on Friday, and the Reds vs Melbourne Rebels is also difficult to call but considering the Reds are hitting rock-bottom and digging, the Rebels should take this one away from home.

The game between the Hurricanes and Chiefs should be a cracker and one tends to lean towards the Hurricanes to take it at home. The Waratahs should take the game against the Cell C Sharks in Sydney.

Regarding the 2 games in South Africa, the Emirates Lions would have to play hell-for-leather to beat a very strong Brumbies side but they are supremely fit and motivated and this is a game to look forward to, it could go either way. In Bloemfontein the Highlanders should be too strong for the Toyota Cheetahs.

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Super RugbyThe Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks will be going all-out to change their recent fortunes in Australasia in this weekend’s Vodacom Super Rugby action.

Back home, the Emirates Lions and Toyota Cheetahs will be facing opposition from Down Under in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein respectively.

The Vodacom Bulls kick off their tour of New Zealand and Australia against the Blues in Auckland on Friday morning. The men from Pretoria have lost their last 7 matches Down Under, their last victory incidentally coming against the 3-time champions, the Blues, at Eden Park.

The Cell C Sharks will be looking to snap a 5-match losing streak when they take on the defending champion Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday, a daunting prospect when one considers the Durbanites have not won in New South Wales in 15 years.

On Saturday afternoon, the Emirates Lions host the Australian Conference leaders, the Brumbies, at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg. The last 2 encounters between these sides – in 2011 and 2012 – were won by the visiting team.

The final match of the weekend is Saturday evening at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein between the Toyota Cheetahs and the dangerous Highlanders. The men from Central South Africa will be looking for their 1st home win ever over the Otago-based side.

The DHL Stormers have a BYE this weekend.

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Elton Jantjies

Elton Jantjies

Back in the Emirates Lions starting line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby clash against the Brumbies at Emirates Airline Park, Elton Jantjies is enjoying one of his better seasons on South African soil.

The Johannesburg side are very much in playoff contention and Jantjies has become coach Johan Ackermann’s 1st choice pivot along the way.

A few rugby minds have now started wondering whether or not Jantjies has done enough to work his way into Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s World Cup plans. The smart money remains on the flyhalf slot going to either Handré Pollard or Patrick Lambie and while Jantjies has not ruled out any possibilities he chooses instead to let his performances do the talking.

“I can talk a big game but if my performances on the field don’t match up, there is no point in me saying that I want to go to the World Cup and be the 1st-choice flyhalf,” Jantjies said.

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Taqele Naiyaravoro

Taqele Naiyaravoro

The Waratahs’ Fijian-born wing Taqele Naiyaravoro’s is finally cleared to travel outside Australia.

It was confirmed on Thursday that the Australian Department of Immigration finally approved a temporary work (long stay activity) visa (subclass 401).

It ended a diabolical state of affairs that effectively forced the defending champions to use separate home and away wings in pursuit of their title defence this year.

The Waratahs confirmed in a statement that Naiyaravoro will be available to travel with the team to South Africa later this month – where they will play the Emirates Lions and Toyota Cheetahs – pending approval of an entry visa by South African government.

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HighlandersThe Highlanders are preparing for a forward onslaught against the Toyota Cheetahs as they name a 6 – 2 split on the bench for the clash in Bloemfontein.

The Highlanders ran out of steam against the Lions last weekend, resulting in a late surge from Johan Ackerman’s team to steal the win. This has resulted in Highlanders head coach Jamie Joseph naming 6 forwards on his bench, ensuring he has plenty of firepower to see through the full 80 minutes.

There are 2 players making their Super Rugby debut in the team named to face the Cheetahs. The debutants are Tasman lock Alex Ainley who comes into the side for Tom Franklin, and Hawkes Bay wing Ryan Tongia who replaces the injured Waisake Naholo.

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Jacques Potgieter

Jacques Potgieter

Springbok Jacques Potgieter won’t be facing his new team, the Cell C Sharks, when they face the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.

Potgieter, who has been nicknamed ‘Jackpot’ by his Waratahs teammates, has been ruled out of the Super Rugby Round 14 encounter with an ankle injury.

The Waratahs head into the match up coming off a disappointing loss to bottom of the conference Western Force on the road.

The Sharks are coming off a game that ended in similar fashion.

The Sharks played terrific rugby in their game against the Hurricanes last week but ultimately lost.

As usual, the talk around the paddock at training was all about the forwards.

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Sean McMahon

Sean McMahon

3 Internationals return to the Melbourne Rebels’ matchday 23 this week, as head coach Tony McGahan named his side to face the Reds at Ballymore on Friday in Round 14 of Super Rugby.

Wallaby loose forward Sean McMahon and All Black centre Tamati Ellison are injected straight into the starting lineup after each missing last week’s 42 / 22 win against the Blues with minor injuries, while Wallaby tighthead prop Laurie Weeks is named on the bench after recovering from a knee injury sustained in Round 7 against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

McGahan said it was pleasing to welcome back the trio.

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BrumbiesAllan Alaalatoa makes his 1st career start while Matt Toomua returns to the fray at No 12 when the Brumbies take on the Emirates Lions this Saturday in Johannesburg.

Needing a win to stay in finals contention, the match proves as vital in the context of both side’s seasons as the play-offs edge closer each week.

Alaalatoa has featured heavily off the bench this season and played the bulk of last week’s game at loosehead prop, but Saturday’s start provides the young prop with an opportunity to stable the scrum which was heavily penalised against the Stormers.

The pair’s inclusion pushes JP Smith and Robbie Coleman from the starting side to the replacements bench.

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Faf de Klerk

Faf de Klerk

Elton Jantjies

Elton Jantjies

Emirates Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has announced his team to face the Aquis Brumbies at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday afternoon.

Ackermann has made 2 changes to the forwards for the encounter, as Martin Muller will start at lock and Robert Kruger moves into the starting lineup at flank.

The backline sees 3 personnel changes with Faf de Klerk starting at scrumhalf, Elton Jantjies returning to the starting flyhalf berth and Lionel Mapoe, having fully recovered from injury, starting at right wing. As a result, Ruan Combrinck will shift to left wing for the match.

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Cell C SharksCell C Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold has retained the same team to play the Waratahs on Saturday morning, having made no changes to the side that took on the Hurricanes last weekend.

It was a rousing display of commitment and passion and everyone involved will be hoping they repeat that, sort out the areas of their own they have identified, and contain a very big and physical Waratahs team.

“There is a lot of pride at stake,” said Gold of this match. “We’ve been bitterly disappointed this year, for various reasons, and it’s important for us to show that we’re still in this fight to the end.”

Assessing the Waratahs strengths and threats, he immediately points to their physicality.

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Hurricanes vs ChiefsThe Hurricanes and Chiefs have both named their matchday sides for the exciting top of the Log derby between the 2 sides on Saturday.

On the Hurricanes side, the centre combination of Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith will run out for their joint 50 game together as centre pairing and in addition prop Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen will run out for his 50th cap for the Hurricanes. On the Chiefs side, Sonny Bill Williams will have aspirations to counter and defeat the strong Canes midfield, in a bid to stake his All Blacks starting place for the World Cup and Hosea Gear is back on the right wing for the important clash. The Chiefs will also start with young Damian McKenzie at flyhalf.

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Tank Lanning

Tank Lanning

When flying to Joburg or Cape Town, do you buy a ticket or build a plane?

Simple answer if you fly once a month. Slightly more complex if you fly every day. And vastly more complex if you actually own an airline.

When needing to win a Super Rugby title, do you buy in Vincent Koch or develop Steven Kitshoff? The former developed by someone else and coming in at a cost. The latter developed by you, and now buggering off to make money off those skills in France?

WP come in for a lot of stick re losing players. Think Francois Hougaard, Handré Pollard, Willie le Roux, Thomas du Toit, Tim Swiel and Johann Sadie. Yet in their Academy and Institute, they have one of the best player development systems in the world!

One only has space for 23 players each week. Loyalty seems to be something you get only from a dog in today’s professional era. So is it really worth spending all that money on player development and retention? Why not just buy what you need at the time?

I’ll tell you why. Buying in players gives you the Sharks. Developing players gives you the Lions.

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Waisake Naholo

Waisake Naholo

Despite signing a contract to join Clermont next season, New Zealand Rugby is reportedly hopeful of retaining Super Rugby’s top try-scorer, Waisake Naholo.

Quotes attributed to the club’s Sporting Director, Jean-Marc Lhermet, suggest the move is not a foregone conclusion given the form of the Highlanders’ winger, who has a competition-leading 8 tries in his 11 appearances.

“As it stands we have a contract of 2 years with an option that has been signed by the player,” Lhermet told La Montagne – a newspaper based in Clermont.

“It’s true that his agent reassured us initially when there were noises about the NZRU wanting to keep him. Now, his performances in Super Rugby are remarkable and we are under an increasing amount of pressure from the NZRU. And when the All Black machine gets going, it becomes complicated.

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Chris Kuridrani

Chris Kuridrani

Queensland Super Rugby side the Reds have signed powerful winger Chris Kuridrani and emerging scrumhalf James Tuttle for the 2016 season and beyond.

Kuridrani has signed for a further 2 seasons, while Tuttle has committed for 3 years.

Kuridrani, the younger brother of Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo and son of former Reds winger Isei Siganiyavi, was one of the star backs for Brisbane City in the inaugural season of the National Rugby Championship.

He has started for the Reds in 6 of his 8 appearances this season, after making his Super Rugby debut in 2014 in the Reds’ final game of the season against the Waratahs.

He also starred for Brisbane City in the 2014 NRC, scoring 6 tries and starting in all of the side’s matches during its championship-winning season. Kuridrani said he was looking forward to continuing to develop over the next 2 years.

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Jonathan Kaplan

Jonathan Kaplan

Retired former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan has taken aim at officialdom he feels are sweeping under the carpet mistakes by under-performing match officials.

Writing in his weekly column on his website, RatetheRef, Kaplan was particularly scathing of Australian referee Angus Gardner, New Zealander Chris Pollock, along with TMO’s Ian Smith (Australia) and Aaron Paterson (New Zealand).

Despite describing Gardner as “one of the best so far this season, Kaplan did not hold back over his performance in the Rebels’ 42 / 22 win over the Blues in Melbourne last Friday.

He felt there was a “critical error” by Gardner at an “important juncture” in the game when he allowed a quick throw-in after the ball was handed to the thrower by the ball boy.

“The TMO (Smith) didn’t seem to be that interested in this misdemeanour either, and incredibly allowed the try even after a number of slomo replays,” Kaplan said.

“This cannot be good enough at this level! At any level.

“The public is being robbed of the contest.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced the names of the Match Officials for for Round 14 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

3 Teams have BYE weekends, namely the Crusaders, Western Force and DHL Stormers.

There are 6 matches on the weekend, 2 on Friday 15 May and 4 on Saturday 16 May.

The action is kicked off in Auckland where the Blues host the Vodacom Bulls at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT), officiated by Mike Fraser. Also on Friday at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 09:40 GMT) the Reds host the Melbourne Rebels in Brisbane where the game will be controlled by Andrew Lees.

On Saturday first up it will be the Hurricanes vs Chiefs in Wellington, blown by Glen Jackson and the game starts at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT). The match is followed by the clash between the Waratahs and Cell C Sharks in Sydney at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 09:40 GMT), refereed by Rohan Hoffmann.

Later on Saturday in South Africa the Emirates Lions host the Brumbies in Johannesburg at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST) and the game will be handled by Jaco Peyper. The last game of the Round is in Bloemfontein at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Sunday 05:10 NZ Time) where the Toyota Cheetahs host the Highlanders and the game will be blown by Stuart Berry.

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Sarel Pretorius

Sarel Pretorius

Joe Pietersen

Joe Pietersen

The Toyota Cheetahs will be without 2 key players when they take on the Highlanders in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Star scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and utility back Joe Pietersen have both been ruled out through injury.

The teams shows several changes from that beat the South African conference leaders, the DHL Stormers, a fortnight ago.

Tian Meyer will be starting at scrumhalf in the place of Pretorius, who hasn’t recovered from his shoulder injury. Shaun Venter comes onto the bench as scrumhalf cover.

Francois Brummer moves up from the bench, replacing Pietersen – who is also sidelined with a shoulder injury. Coenie van Wyk comes onto the bench to fill the void left by Brummer’s promotion.

The only other change to the starting fifteen will see Danie Mienie replacing Caylib Oosthuizen at loosehead prop. Oosthuizen drops out of the matchday 23.

Springbok wing Raymond Rhule also returns from injury and gets a spot on the bench.

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Lappies Labuschagne

Lappies Labuschagne

Pierre Spies

Pierre Spies

Regular Vodacom Bulls captain Pierre Spies is back at the helm and at No 8 for the Vodacom Bulls team to face the Blues in Auckland on Friday.

Spies played as a replacement in the team’s last Vodacom Super Rugby clash, against the Emirates Lions at Loftus Versfeld, and will replace Arno Botha at the back of the scrum. Botha will move to the side of the scrum, with Jacques du Plessis moving to the bench.

In the only change in the backline, Rudy Paige comes back at scrumhalf in place of injured Piet van Zyl.

There are 4 changes on the bench. Dean Greyling comes in for Morné Mellett and a fit-again Werner Kruger will replace Andrew Beerwinkel. It will be Kruger’s 1st appearance since the opening Round of the tournament when he injured his ankle against the DHL Stormers in February. Amongst the backs, Jacques-Louis Potgieter is fit again following a hamstring strain and replaces Tian Schoeman and Travis Ismaiel comes in for Jurgen Visser.

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Charlie Faumuina

Charlie Faumuina

Charlie Faumuina returns to form an all-All Black front for the Blues, and provide some experience, against a powerful Bulls selection on Friday.

There’s a very youthful look about the Blues team for this Round 14 Super Rugby encounter in Auckland.

The Blues have been hit by injuries, with 8 senior players ruled out – including Jerome Kaino, Luke Braid, Bryn Hall, Charles Piutau, Hayden Triggs, Hamish Northcott, Patrick Tuipulotu and Dan Bowden.

While veteran All Black hooker Keven Mealamu adds some additional experience and firepower on the bench, there are a number of young guns looking to make their Super Rugby debuts – lock Will Lloyd, scrumhalf Jamie Booth and midfield back Matt Vaega.

In-form loose forward Akira Ioane will start again, after this week being named in the New Zealand Under 20 team for the Junior World Cup – along with Blues teammates Blake Gibson, Tevita Li and apprentice Isa Tu’ungafasi.

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Jake McIntyre

Jake McIntyre

Jake McIntyre becomes the latest inductee to the Reds’ flyhalf club, when he makes his Super Rugby debut against the Melbourne Rebels in Brisbane on Friday.

A member of the Reds elite development squad and the starting flyhalf for the majority of Brisbane City’s title run in the inaugural National Rugby Championship, McIntyre’s inclusion is 1 of 2 changes and a number of positional shakeups – following last week’s Super Rugby loss to the Crusaders.

McIntyre, who has been unavailable for the majority of the 2015 season due to off-season knee surgery, will follow other Reds flyhalf selections like Quade Cooper (still injured), Karmichael Hunt (back from injury) and Nick Frisby (struggling with concussion).

Hunt returns to the starting line-up, after overcoming an adductor strain, to feature in the centres for the 1st time this season.

He will start at outside centre, with Samu Kerevi shifting to inside centre.

Coach Richard Graham has also shuffled the outside backs, with James O’Connor shifting to fullback and Lachie Turner moving to the wing.

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Seabelo SenatlaThere appears to be an outside chance that Springbok Sevens flyer Seabelo Senatla may feature for the DHL Stormers in the closing stages of Vodacom Super Rugby.

The Blitzbokke finish off their 2014 / 2015 campaign in London later this week and Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says that he will investigate the option of having the speedy winger available for the last games of the round robin phase.

Senatla will have to play a couple of games to be eligible for the Finals Series that starts late in June, with the Stormers in a 3-way fight at the moment with the Vodacom Bulls and Emirates Lions to get that far.

The product of Welkom was a revelation on the wing for Western Province in last year’s ABSA Currie Cup and with the Stormers struggling to score tries this season – they have just one 4-try bonus point from their 12 matches so far – it would make sense for Coetzee to look at Senatla.

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Willie Britz

Willie Britz

Toyota Cheetahs loose forward Willie Britz has confirmed that he will join the Shining Arcs in Japan after this year’s Super Rugby competition.

The good news for Cheetahs fans though is that Britz will only be unavailable during the Currie Cup, before returning to play Super Rugby next season.

He is contracted to the Cheetahs until the end of the 2016 season.

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Matt Toomua

Matt Toomua

Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua joined the Canberra-based outfit ahead of their Super Rugby clash against the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg this Saturday.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Toomua arrived in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Toomua has missed the past 4 weeks with an ankle injury but is set to be injected straight into the starting side to play the Lions.

Despite an agonising 25 / 24 loss to the DHL Stormers at Newlands last weekend, the Brumbies (33 points) still hold a 1-point lead in the Australian conference ahead of the Waratahs (32 points) and the Melbourne Rebels (29 points).

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Emirates LionsThe Golden Lions Rugby Union has secure the services of 4 key players beyond the current season.

The GLRU announced contract extension with star back Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck and Howard Mnisi, as well as forward Luvuyiso ‘MB’ Lusaseni.

The union also secured the services of a number of up and coming players – Malcolm Marx (hooker), Sevens Springbok Albertus ‘Kwagga’ Smith (flank), Jaco van der Walt (flyhalf), Lourens Erasmus (lock) and Bobby de Wee (lock / flank).

The GLRU, in a statement, said they are aiming to retain and develop top junior players by creating opportunities and an environment that promises growth both on and off the field.

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Pieter Rossouw

Pieter Rossouw

The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd on Monday confirmed reports that Vodacom Bulls assistant coach Pieter Rossouw’s contract terminates at the end of the current season.

Rossouw, who has served as assistant coach since 2008, will be pursuing business interests elsewhere.

Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said that Rossouw was of great value to the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls over many years, with a big number of players graduation to international stars under his tutelage.

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Rugby-TalkIt’s PUB NIGHT again…

The heading suggests we talk about the Final Conference Rounds of Super Rugby. The DHL Stormers and Vodacom Bulls are running neck in neck on the SA Conference, followed closely by the Emirates Lions… followed far up the rear by the Cell C Sharks and Toyota Cheetahs.

If you are a Stormers or Lions supporter, you should be happy with the past weekend’s results, if you are a Bulls supporter you will be on your knees every night praying for a Super, Super Rugby tour, starting with the Blues on Friday!

If you are a Sharks or Cheetahs supporter, the past weekend’s Mother’s Day celebreationswill have far more importance than the performance of their rugby sides… if one could call them that… hehehe.

The Stormers are back in the lead in the SA Conference, the Bulls on the same Log points but behind in games won… although they have a game in hand against the Stormers.

The Lions came back from way behind, to shut the Highlanders out on the weekend whereas the Stormers won by a measly 1 point against a niggly Brumbies side.. after Christian Lealiifano managed to duff a final conversion attempt from smack bang in front. The Bulls and Cheetahs rested some weary bodies, whereas the Sharks went done again on the weekend against the Hurricanes.

This next weekend, Super Rugby will continue, 2 games on Friday and 4 games on Saturday.

I guess this makes for a few good discussions!

It is time to straddle a bar stool and order a drink or 2.

Let’s focus on the PUB tonight…. the idea with PUB NIGHT is to lighten up our dull Tuesday evenings with music, comedy and fun.

Rugby takes a backseat tonight as the clan and fellow rugby nutters gather and wheel in their old friends…

Read the rules below carefully, or you WILL get burnt!

Just for clarity sake, when someone does not adhere to the Rules of the PUB, EVERYBODY jumps on them and pummels them, right… understood?

 

Here’s how it works:

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Japan signs for Super Rugby

Japan may be the newest kid on the block in Vodacom Super Rugby when the tournament gets a revamp at the end of this season, but they could also be South African rugby’s best friend in the fight to keep players at home.

South African Super Rugby franchises are actively seeking partnerships with Japanese clubs at the moment to “twin” and allow players to head abroad in the Absa Currie Cup season to play in Japan, then return home for Super Rugby.

This masterstroke is seen as one of the bigger ways of countering the threat from European clubs poaching players from South Africa and could also mean closing the gap between the salaries offered in Europe and those earned at home.

The 1st franchise to implement such an agreement have been the Toyota Cheetahs, who have twinning agreements now with 2 clubs in Japan, both through their sponsors Toyota to try and keep their players in South Africa for Super Rugby.

The Cheetahs already have 2 players – flanker Heinrich Brüssow and midfielder Johann Sadie – who play for Japanese club Docomo Red Hurricanes and will continue to motivate for their players to pursue a dual season in both Japanese rugby and South Africa.

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John Connolly

John Connolly

Former Reds and Wallabies coach John Connolly will joined the Reds’ coaching staff as a consultant this Monday, in advance of their home game against the Melbourne Rebels.

Connolly will be contracted to the Reds for the remainder of the 2015 Super Rugby season and for the 2016 Super Rugby season.

Connolly has almost 20 years of experience coaching at the elite level and was head coach of the Reds during a golden era from 1989 to 2000, during which time they won Super Six (1992) and Super 10 (1994, 1995) titles.

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Dan Carter

Dan Carter

All Black legend Dan Carter insists he’s not assured of a spot in New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup squad.

Carter, 33, is regaining his form in this year’s Super Rugby competition, despite his Crusaders team not being the most consistent.

However, in their most recent match the Crusaders smashed the Reds 58 / 17 in Christchurch and Carter showed signs that he is returning to his past form.

“It feels like my form has been getting better as the season has gone on and really enjoying getting a bit of game time,” Carter said.

“I’ve almost played twice as many games as I played last year so that’s encouraging as long as my form is heading in the right direction then I’m happy with that.”

Carter said there are no guarantees that he’ll make the World Cup touring party.

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Taqele Naiyaravoro

Taqele Naiyaravoro

The Scottish Rugby Union is set to spend a 6-figure fee to sign powerhouse Fijian-born wing Taqele Naiyaravoro, with the aim of making him eligible to play for Scotland after a 3-year residency period.

Naiyaravoro, who has been compared to All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu, declined to comment on reports he had signed with Edinburgh, but Waratahs CEO Greg Harris said the Fijian-born powerhouse had a contractual obligation to the Scottish team.

This clause in the contract states that if the Australians call him up for international duty, he will remain in the Southern Hemisphere.

According to reports in Australia, New South Wales Waratahs wing Naiyaravoro has been allocated to Edinburgh as part of a 3-year deal worth AUS $ 1 million to the 23-year-old.

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