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  • Siya Kolisi named the 2017 Players Player of the Year at first-ever awards by rugby players for rugby players

Sandton, 12 December 2017 – Professional South African rugby players honoured and acknowledged their peers at the star-studded inaugural BrightRock Players Choice Awards held at the Sandton Convention Centre tonight. Siya Kolisi was named the 2017 Players’ Player of the Year, following in the footsteps of past rugby legends who have received this much-prized accolade.

The other winners named on the night were: Malcom Marx as Defender of the Year; Rosko Specman as Backline Player of the Year; Siya Kolisi as Forward of the Year, Steven Kitshoff as Best off the Bench; and Makazole Mapimpi, who received the LoveChange Award for the player that has made great strides in his rugby career over the past year. These players were voted the winners by rugby players from the fourteen professional rugby unions in South Africa. Each winning player received R10 000 to pledge to the charity of his choice.

Francois Venter walked away with the Fans’ Choice Award, the only award voted for by the public, and R50 000 for his chosen charity. He teamed up with celebrity partner, Bouwer Bosch, to campaign for the award on the BrightRock Players Choice Awards Facebook page. The R50 000 prize money won by Venter will be donated to Liefde Wen in aid of rugby development in rural Transkei.

The players were not only involved with the nomination and voting process for the seven award categories, but also in shaping the vibrant and somewhat unconventional awards evening format. The event, the first-ever awards for professional rugby players by professional rugby players, was designed by the players themselves to precisely match their needs and wants when it comes to recognising excellence on the rugby field. Provider of needs-matched life insurance, BrightRock, and MyPlayers, the South African rugby players’ organisation, hosted the evening. Continue reading

The Springbok Sevens team will be without their most experienced player for the remainder of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series after Chris Dry was ruled out due to a knee injury.

Dry, who played in his 63rd tournament last weekend, suffered major ligament damage in South Africa’s quarter-final victory over Fiji at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens tournament on Sunday.

Springbok Sevens team doctor, Leigh Gordon, said Dry will be out for at least six months. He will undergo surgery on Friday.

“Chris will be operated on in Cape Town and will not be able to play for between six to nine months, which means he will miss the remainder of the series,” Gordon said.

She also confirmed that Siviwe Soyizwapi, who replaced Dry for the last two matches of the tournament, suffered a knee injury.

“He should be able to return to play in about six weeks’ time,” Gordon said.

A number of Blitzboks picked up knocks in Cape Town, but according to Gordon, none of the injuries were too serious.

“Cecil Africa tweaked his knee and Seabelo Senatla has a soft tissue injury to his shoulder, but both will, along with the rest of the squad, be fit to train once the squad re-assembles in Stellenbosch early in January,” said Gordon.

Dylan Sage, who missed the first two tournaments of the 2017/18 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series because of a back injury, will join the squad in full training in January.

The next tournament in the series is the HSBC Sydney Sevens, to be played from 26-28 January.

Hack second rookie as Oliphant wins historic 100th race of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East

South Africa’s Saul Hack finished second rookie and tenth overall in the 100th race of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at the Dubai Autodrome as part of the UAE National Day series. The race was won by Great Britain’s Tom Oliphant, with Oman’s Al Faisal Al Zubair second and Germany’s Wolfgang Triller third.

The landmark centennial race is the combined result of a special partnership between Porsche and Lechner Racing who committed to deliver the first and only professional motorsport series in region nearly a decade ago. The championship is credited with introducing the highest standards of racing to the Middle East as proven again today.

For Hack, the strength of the weekend’s results including a sixth place in his first ever race at the Dubai Autodrome signal positive sign of progress in this his debut season. The Johannesburg driver will be encouraged and optimistic for the remainder of the championship when it returns in 2018.

Speaking in Dubai after the race Saul Hack said: ““I hoped today would have gone a little better based on my performance yesterday and was determined to finish higher in the overall standings. I have to remember that these things do not come overnight and although I am getting used to the car more and more and I feel that I am improving with every race. I also must not forget that in racing anything can happen. There are so many quick drivers out there, and there are also drivers like Magnus Oehman who are almost impossible to pass as their defending is so strong. Continue reading

The Springboks’ Castle Lager Rugby Championship home fixtures for 2018 were confirmed on Monday with matches scheduled for Pretoria, Durban and Port Elizabeth in the 22nd edition of the Southern Hemisphere championship.

The Wallabies will appear in Port Elizabeth for the first time in more than half a century when they take on the Springboks in the Eastern Cape on 29 September, while the All Blacks return to Pretoria for the first time in more than a decade when then they play at Loftus Versfeld on 6 October.

Meanwhile the Pumas will have happy memories for their return trip to Kings Park in Durban. On their last visit in 2015 they recorded their first victory over South Africa (37-25).

The Wallabies made the last of their four appearances in Port Elizabeth in 1963 (losing 22-6) while New Zealand’s last match at Loftus was in 2006 when they won 45-26.

Tickets for the matches at Loftus Versfeld and Kings Park will be available through the Blue Bulls and Sharks respectively. Details of ticket sales for the match at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium will be announced in the New Year.

Springbok Castle Lager Rugby Championship Fixtures 2018 (kick off times to be confirmed):

  • 18 August            Springboks v Argentina                 Kings Park, Durban
  • 25 August            Argentina v Springboks                 TBA
  • 8 September      Australia v Springboks                    Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
  • 15 September   New Zealand v Springboks           Westpac Stadium, Wellington
  • 29 September   Springboks v Australia                    Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • 6 October            Springboks v New Zealand           Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

One of the world’s biggest social sport and entertainment festivals, the Zando Cape Town 10s hosted its 10 year celebration media launch recently at the Salesian Football Club in Green Point.

The star studded event saw a host of celebs and sporting legends in attendance including Cape Town 10s co-founder Rob Fleck, comedian’s Siv Ngesi, Schalk Bezuidenhout, Yaaseen Barnes, DevDonDidIt and Angel Campey, as well as radio personalities Irma G, Kia Johnson, Twala, Moyin and Sibongile Mafu – who celebrated her birthday on the night. Other notable guests included Instagram sensation Nadia Jafhta and Jade Hubner who did an acoustic set and was later joined on stage for a surprise performance with Voice SA season 1 winner, Richard Stirton.

The 10th annual event will return to Hamilton Rugby Club from 2 to 3 February 2018, featuring a winning blend of the tried and tested sporting disciplines plus four exciting new sporting codes.The internationally acclaimed event and winner of the Discovery Sports Industry Award for Best Live Experience in 2016 will feature a staggering 8 different sporting codes including rugby, netball, dodgeball, beach volleyball as well as the newly introduced sports of 5 aside soccer and hockey, the ‘Run the 10s’ fun run and a unique fitness event.

Celebrating 10 years of 10s!

For media requests: contact Lisa Fortuin

The DHL Stormers are working hard in training, in preparation for the 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby season.

An extended DHL Stormers squad has been training at the High Performance Centre in Bellville, in preparation for what will be another demanding campaign.

Head Coach Robbie Fleck and his management team are intent on building on what was achieved last season, which came off the back of a lot of hard work in the pre-season.

Fleck says that following a short break after the Currie Cup, the players are refreshed and ready to give their all in an effort to further raise standards in all departments.

“Last season we changed our approach in the pre-season, which stood us in good stead throughout the campaign.

“The focus is on making sure that we put the hard work in now, both physically and mentally, in order to prepare the team for what lies ahead next year,” he said.

A host of senior players have signed contract extensions with Western Province Rugby beyond the 2018 season.

With the senior Springbok and DHL Stormers trio of Siya Kolisi, Damian de Allende and Steven Kitshoff having recently signed extensions until the end of 2019, they have since been joined by 13 further players in committing to the union for the next two years.

Experienced forwards JC Janse van Rensburg, Scarra Ntubeni, Nizaam Carr, Caylib Oosthuizen, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Ali Vermaak, as well as exciting younger talents Wilco Louw and Kobus van Dyk have all committed their immediate future to the engine room at DHL Newlands. Continue reading

New Zealand claimed their maiden HSBC Cape Town Sevens title as South Africa had to settle for bronze after a pulsating day of action in the Mother City.

The Springbok Sevens team had to work very hard to beat Fiji in their quarter-final early on the second day of the tournament, and despite trailing by 21-12 at the break, Neil Powell’s team fought back to win 31-26.

The Kiwis waited for the South Africans in the semi-final, but two second half tries by the men from New Zealand put a dampener on proceedings at a packed Cape Town Stadium as the fans’ favourites crashed out of the Cup competition, going down by 19-12 in a replay of last weekend’s Dubai final.

The Blitzboks then had to dig deep in their bronze medal match against Canada, but they managed to hang on for a 19-17 win to finish the tournament in third position.

In the Cup Final, the New Zealanders had too much fire-power for Argentina and won by 38-14 to move into the top spot on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series log with 41 points, followed by South Africa on 39. Fiji, who finished fifth in Cape Town, are third in the standings on 28.

Commenting on his side’s performance, Powell said their performances on Day Two did not meet their expectations.

“We had a good first day, but on Sunday we came up short in our execution,” said Powell. Continue reading

The Blitzboks enjoy bringing smiles to the faces of their supporters, but they also enjoy getting the job done with a smile – and that is exactly what Justin Geduld will be aiming to do when the HSBC Cape Town Sevens tournament kicks off on Saturday.

The Springbok Sevens playmaker made a successful return to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series last weekend in Dubai after a long recovery from a foot injury he sustained in Las Vegas early in March. As a result, he missed the last five tournaments of the 2016/17 series, which the Springbok Sevens won.

Geduld, who was raised in Ravensmead in Cape Town and attended Tygerberg High School, is very happy to be back on the field, and can’t wait to run out in front of the home fans and family.

“It was great to be back on the field in Dubai and this weekend will even be better,” said Geduld after the Blitzboks concluded their preparations for the HSBC Cape Town Sevens, the second of ten tournaments in the World Series.

“I played in a warm-up tournament in October, but the World Series is what really matters, as it is where you are tested against the best players in the world.”

Geduld is equally at home as a starter or making an impact off the bench: “We have strong competition within the squad and that is nice, but the bottom line is that we all need to contribute, whether you play two or 12 minutes. So you always have the motivation to do your best for the team.” Continue reading

100th race celebration adds extra incentive for drivers

Johannesburg’s Saul Hack has qualified in sixth place on the grid for the first of two races over the weekend at Dubai Autodrome in Round 2 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, as part of the UAE National Day series.

Under perfect conditions on a sun soaked track the emerging South African star set a time of 2:01.181 around the demanded grand prix configuration in the all new 911 GT3 Cup.

Seventeen elite drivers will line-up for two 14-lap races on consecutive days in the new 911 GT3 Cup with more high drama expected around the extremely technical and demanding grand prix configuration of the Dubai Autodrome circuit.

After qualifying in a career best sixth Hack said: “After qualifying went so well I cannot wait to race. It’s a circuit all the drivers love and with the 100th race coming up on Saturday it’s going to be an even more memorable experience.

“There is definitely more of an incentive to make the podium but every driver will be thinking the same. I’m still getting used to the car, the track and the set-up so my tactics will not change.
“After proving to myself and others that I have real speed I’ll look to repeat my performance from the qualifying and take that form into the race. I feel the momentum is with me and confidence is high so I’m aiming for to get on the podium in my category but the series heads into a winter break. Continue reading

The blitzboks with Faf.

The blitzboks with Faf.

Experience and then some – that is the statistical reality of the Springbok Sevens team, who will start the HSBC Cape Town Sevens this weekend as the most experienced Blitzbok team ever. 

Four players – Chris Dry (63), Kyle Brown (59), Branco du Preez (56) and Cecil Afrika (54) – have played in more than 50 tournaments, while Blitzbok captain Philip Snyman will be playing in his 49th. 

A host of others have played 30 tournaments or more. The least experienced squad member is Tim Agaba, who will be in action in his 12th tournament. 

The Blitzboks boast a combined tournament total of 458, or on average, 38 tournaments per player. 

Dry, South Africa’s second most capped player ever, has played in 304 matches and admits that the experience in the squad is a big bonus.

“That experience is very important and helps in tight situations,” said Dry. 

“For me personally, to play 300 matches was a massive honour and something I am really proud of. 

The experienced forward said they are aiming to be at their best in Cape Town: “We are fixing the small things that held us back in Dubai and training went well.”

Du Preez commended his team mates on their contributions this week. 

“Players such as Cecil Afrika, Rosko Specman and Justin Geduld are really special and to compete against them is not easy,” said Du Preez.  

Continue reading

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