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Experienced flanker Francois Louw joined up with the Springbok squad on Monday in Bloemfontein, where the group are preparing for the coming weekend’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship match against Australia.

The match against the Wallabies is the Springboks’ penultimate fixture of the 2017 competition, and the Springboks still have a change to finish second in the competition.

Louw, who plays for English club Bath and has earned 52 Springbok Test caps already, is the only overseas based player in the squad who assembled in Bloemfontein on Sunday.

He joins the uncapped Cell C Sharks duo of S’busiso Nkosi (wing) and Louis Schreuder (scrumhalf) as one of three changes to the Springbok squad for the remaining matches of the competition against the Wallabies and the All Backs.

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said he was delighted to have a fit-again Louw back in the squad.

“Francois has come back fully fit, he had a magnificent pre-season, is stronger than before and has played three good games for Bath. He is ready to play Test match rugby and I have no doubt that, in the absence of Jaco Kriel, Francois is the kind of player that would add value to our turnaround strategy for the last two games.”

According to Coetzee, the Springboks will benefit from Louw’s Test match experience and his craft at the breakdown. Continue reading

Juarno Augustus returns for DHL Western Province U21 in their clash with Cell C Sharks U21 in Durban on Saturday.

World Rugby Under-20 Championship Player of the Tournament Augustus returns from injury to take his place at No.8 for the encounter, which kicks off at 12h45 at Growthpoint Kings Park on Saturday.

He will be joined in the loose trio by flank Daniel Maree and captain Ernst van Rhyn, while lock David Meihuizen starts alongside Ruben de Villiers in the second row, with Eddie Zandberg out injured.

In the backline Tiaan Swanepoel moves to flyhalf in place of the injured Tristan Leyds and Joshua Vermeulen steps in at fullback.

Cornel Smit makes his first start of the season at inside centre, with David Brits shifting to outside centre to form a new midfield pairing.

DHL Western Province U21 Head Coach Jerome Paarwater said that his team is determined to put together a convincing performance away from home.

“We know that it will be tough to go to Durban, but the players are excited about the challenge.

“We have worked very hard this week in preparation, so now it is about raising our game and showing what we can do when the pressure is on,” he said.

DHL Western Province U21: 15 Joshua Vermeulen, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 David Brits, 12 Cornel Smit, 11 Edwill van Der Merwe, 10 Tiaan Swanepoel, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 6 Daniel Maree, 5 Ruben de Villiers, 4 David Meihuizen, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Percy Mngadi, 1 Wikus Groenewald.
Replacements: 16 Matt Wiseman, 17 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 18 Nyasha Tarusenga, 19 Thomas Meyer, 20 Paul de Wet, 21 Nico Leonard, 22 Andre Manuel.

There are four changes for DHL Western Province U19 for their encounter with Cell C Sharks U19 in Durban on Saturday.

There are two changes in the backline and two changes to the forwards for the clash, which kicks off at 11h25 at Growthpoint Kings Park on Saturday.

Powerful wing Christian Ambadiang comes back into the starting line-up in place of the injured Mike Mavovana while at scrumhalf Deon Carstens gets a chance to start, with Labib Kannemeyer providing cover amongst the replacements.

Up front Adam Neethling is at tighthead prop with Sazi Sandi out injured and the versatile Jesse Johnson will be at No.8 in place of the injured Muller Uys.

DHL Western Province U19 Head Coach Nazeem Adams said that his team will have to be as sharp as ever if they are to make it nine wins from 10 games this season.

“It is always tough playing away from home, so we will certainly not be taking anything for granted in Durban.

“The team has built up some good momentum, so we are determined not to waste that as we head towards the knock-out phase of the competition,” he said.

DHL Western Province U19: 15 Marco Labuschagne, 14 Sako Makata, 13 Lyle Hendricks, 12 Henlo Marais, 11 Christian Ambadiang, 10 Wian van Zyl, 9 Deon Carstens, 8 Jesse Johnson, 7 Shaine Orderson, 6 Charl Serdyn, 5 BJ Dixon, 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain), 3 Adam Neethling, 2 Schalk Erasmus, 1 Leon Lyons.
Replacements: 16 Liam Larkan, 17 Morgan Naude, 18 Andre Booysen, 19 Bernard Jansen, 20 Austin Brummer, 21 Labib Kannemeyer, 22 Francke Botha, 23 Lubelo Scott.

ohan Grobler, centre of Blue Bulls Carlton Cup champions QBR scoring one of his team’s eight tries during their Gold Cup second-round match in Pretoria last Saturday against Speedy Car Sales Vaal Reefs

ohan Grobler, centre of Blue Bulls Carlton Cup champions QBR scoring one of his team’s eight tries during their Gold Cup second-round match in Pretoria last Saturday against Speedy Car Sales Vaal Reefs

The Gold Cup reaches an early boiling point on Saturday, with a number of unfancied sides on the brink of qualifying for the knockout stages following a series of surprising results in the second round of SA Rugby’s flagship three-nation champions’ league for non-university clubs.

In Pool A, Sasol Hydra-Arc Secunda’s 32-29 home win last Saturday against defending champions Newrak Rustenburg Impala has set the cat amongst the pigeons, with the Mpumalanga champions virtually guaranteed of a quarter-final spot should they pick up a hat-trick of wins with victory over Wesizwe Vereeniging away on Saturday.

The Falcons debutants however have play-off ambitions of their own, following their spectacular 48-32 come-from-behind away win over Recall Security Bloemfontein Police in which they scored 38 unanswered points after trailing 32-10.

In Pool B, Limpopo champions Northam Platinum Rhinos, with two wins from two, will also almost certainly book a place in the last eight should they beat Lions representatives Raiders at the Bill Jardine Stadium.

The group’s other match features one of the weekend’s two club ‘Test matches’, with Blue Bulls Carlton Cup champions QBR, fresh off their 54-10 win over Speedy Car Sales Vaal Reefs, flying to Zimbabwe to take on Old Georgians in Harare on Saturday. Continue reading

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead a high-level delegation to London on Sunday 24 September 2017 for the presentation to the World Rugby Council of South Africa’s bid to host the prestigious Rugby World Cup 2023 tournament.

Deputy President Ramaphosa will be supported by Sport and Recreation Minister Thulas Nxesi and Deputy Minister Gert Oosthuizen. The South African presentation will take place at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London, on Monday 25 September 2017.

President Jacob Zuma requested Deputy President Ramaphosa to lead Team South Africa, in view of the fact that the President is leading the South African delegation to the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. UNGA has been scheduled from September 19 to 25, 2017.

The high-powered delegation will include SA Rugby president, Mr Mark Alexander, and CEO, Jurie Roux, in laying out South Africa’s technically and commercially compelling case to host the tournament 28 years after late President Nelson Mandela handed the Webb Elis Cup to Francois Pienaar at a packed Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Continue reading

The pressure is set to rise significantly in the Currie Cup Premier Division this weekend as all seven participating teams still have a chance of securing semi-final berths in the competition – sponsored by DirectAxis and Nashua – with only four pool rounds remaining including this this weekend.

In celebration of Heritage Day, Crown National Foods will give away free boerewors rolls to the first 250 children at their stands at all three matches, while 2500 fans will receive spice sachets, with boerewors tasting also available while stocks last.

The boerewors stands will be housed at the parking area on the south side of Toyota stadium in Bloemfontein, on the outfield alongside the bandstand at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban, and on the Castle Lawns near DHL Newlands in Cape Town.

In Bloemfontein, the Steval Pumas will look to register their first Currie Cup victory against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs since 2014 when the sides meet at in Bloemfontein on Friday. The hosts come off back-to-back defeats, while the Steval Pumas will enter the match with confidence after toppling DHL Western Province.

While a victory for either side will boost their chances of a semi-final berth, a defeat for Toyota Free State Cheetahs could see them drop out of the top four, the while the Steval Pumas will be under pressure to fight for a semi-final berth in the next few weeks if they suffer a defeat. Continue reading

DHL Western Province captain Chris van Zyl will earn his 50th cap in the Currie Cup encounter with the Tafel Lager Griquas at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

Van Zyl leads a side that has been bolstered by the return of a number of players from Springbok duty for the clash which kicks off at 17h15 at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

Fullback Dillyn Leyds, inside centre Damian de Allende and tighthead prop Wilco Louw all come into the starting line-up.

Leyds will link up at the back with wings Seabelo Senatla and Werner Kok, with Ruhan Nel providing cover on the replacements bench.

De Allende forms a midfield partnership with Huw Jones, who shifts to outside centre with EW Viljoen ruled out through injury.

In the absence of Jano Vermaak who is being rested, Dewaldt Duvenage links up with Damian Willemse at halfback with Justin Phillips and Rob du Preez set to make an impact in the second half.

The only two changes to the forward pack come in the front row as Louw returns and Chad Solomon makes his first start of the Currie Cup campaign.

There are two further additions to the replacements bench, with hooker Dean Muir and loose forward Johan du Toit both getting an opportunity to make their Currie Cup debut for DHL Western Province.

DHL Western Province Head Coach John Dobson said that his team is looking forward to playing at DHL Newlands again.

“We know that we have to raise our standards significantly and the players are excited to play at DHL Newlands again. Continue reading

Siphamandla Dama shows off the form he displayed in South Africa this season, in his first match for Selkirk on Saturday

Siphamandla Dama shows off the form he displayed in South Africa this season, in his first match for Selkirk on Saturday

Two of South Africa’s best club players are “living the dream” as the newest beneficiaries of the Gold Cup’s highly successful international player exchange programme.

Wing Clinton Wagman of Progress Rugby Club in George – who last week kicked off their maiden Gold Cup campaign with a win – and loose forward Siphamandla Dama of Belhar RFC in Cape Town will spend the next few months playing for Scottish first-division club Selkirk.

The pair were identified following their eye-catching performances in a series of televised Gold Cup qualifying matches held earlier this year as part of the new SuperSport Rugby Challenge.

The player exchange is part of an ongoing collaboration between SA Rugby, the British High Commission and Selkirk, aimed at giving the country’s best club players an once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience living and playing rugby in another country.

“The Gold Cup is all about providing club players with amazing opportunities and this exchange programme, now into its fourth year, is a great example of that,” said SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux. “Clinton and Siphamandla are getting the chance to experience rugby life in Scotland and we are confident that they will return as better players who are able to move up to higher levels of the game. Continue reading

With matches against teams from New Zealand and Australia awaiting all four South African franchises in 2018 and a new playoff format, the restructured 23rd edition of Vodacom Super Rugby promises to yet again be one of the most intense provincial competitions in the world.

Add to that a structural reform for the Sunwolves from Japan, which should make them much more competitive, and it’s clear that the standards will be improved next year. As announced in April this year, Vodacom Super Rugby will be changed from an 18-team, four conference format to a 15-team, three conference format in 2018.

The 2018 season will kick off in Cape Town at 15h05 on Saturday, 17 February when the DHL Stormers host the Jaguares from Argentina, with the second match, a replay of one of this year’s Qualifiers between the Emirates Lions and Cell C Sharks, set for the same day at 17h15 at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg.

The South African Conference kicks off a week earlier than in Australia and New Zealand, which allows an bye week for all four local teams between the final pool match before the June Test break, and the Springboks’ opening Test against England.

This will be the last time that Vodacom Super Rugby will break for the June Tests, as 2019 is a Rugby World Cup year and in 2020, the midyear Tests will move to July.

Each team will play 16 Conference matches – eight matches within their own Conference (home and away) and four matches against teams from each of the other Conferences (home or away). The elimination finals series will comprise eight teams, facing off in seven matches from 20/21 July until the Final on 4 August. Continue reading

Seven renowned run crews will be vying for bragging rights as Joburg’s fastest run crew in a one-mile, seven lap relay, at this year’s Thesis Heri Run event on Friday, September 22.

Initiated by one of Soweto’s foremost running crews, Thesis Run Cru, the Thesis Heri Run has become an annual occasion in Soweto on Heritage Day weekend. This year will see the first Speed Edition, inspired by Nike’s Breaking2 project, as local athletes aspire to break barriers and compete for the title of “Jozi’s Fastest”.

In an unprecedented display of speed, the invited crews will put forward their seven fastest members to run the streets of Soweto, starting from the Nike Football Training Centre at 20:00pmon Friday evening. Each runner will complete a one-mile (1.6km) lap before handing over to the next member of their team.

The Speed Edition will also feature an all-star Nike crew of professional athletes and influencers.

In addition to the winning crew claiming the title of Joburg’s fastest crew and a trophy, there will also be medals awarded to: the fastest all-male crew, fastest all-female crew, fastest mixed crew, and fastest male and female individual.

Runners who are not participating in the event can still support their respective crews from the venue or at the cheer points on –route.

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