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The Springboks will head to Bloemfontein for the first time since 2010 and New Zealand will be in action in Cape Town as SA Rugby confirmed the home venues for the 2017 Castle Lager Rugby Championships on Monday.

The first match of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship will take place on Saturday 19 August at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, when Argentina clash with the Boks.

The following week, the Springboks will be in action in Argentina against Los Pumas (Saturday 26 August, in Salta), where after it’s the first bye weekend.

The Boks’ traditional tour to Australasia is in early September for matches against the Wallabies (Saturday, 9 September, NIB Stadium in Perth) and All Blacks (Saturday 16 September, QBE Stadium in Albany).

Although the Springboks have played in Perth before, they have never been in action at NIB Stadium, home ground of the Western Force.

The match in Albany will be the South Africans’ third visit to QBE Stadium after they played two matches in the 2011 Rugby World Cup – against Samoa and Namibia – at this stadium, which is used as secondary home base by the Blues. Continue reading

The Junior Springboks returned to the training field in Stellenbosch highly motivated as they began to fine-tune their preparations for the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia, which begins next week.

The squad assembled at their training base on Sunday for their holding camp and will spend the next few days improving their structures before departing for Tbilisi on Thursday.

The SA U20s will kick off their campaign in Tbilisi on Wednesday, 31 May, against France before facing hosts, Georgia, and Argentina in their remaining pool matches on 4 and 8 June respectively.

“The players returned to Stellenbosch mentally and physically fresh, and very motivated for the World Rugby U20 Championship, which is exactly what we had banked on after a few days off,” said Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux.

“The atmosphere on and off the field is fantastic, and the players realise that everything they do needs to be geared towards a delivering a solid performance in Georgia.

“We have spent a lot of time putting our structures and systems in place in the last three weeks, so it is now a matter of ensuring that we put that to practice effectively on the field, and that is what we will be working towards in the next few days.” Continue reading

Springbok wing Ruan Combrinck scored two tries on his return to Vodacom Super Rugby action to help steer the Emirates Lions to a comprehensive 51-14 derby win over the Vodacom Bulls in their Saturday evening derby in Johannesburg.

Fit-again Combrinck was a late inclusion on the wing for the injured Sylvian Mahuza, and he celebrated his return to action within the opening minutes by scoring the first of the home team’s seven tries. The Highveld team led by 39-14 at halftime and they maintained their dominance in the second half to comfortably clinch their eleventh win of the season so far.

The Cell C Sharks and the DHL Stormers both returned to winning ways. Springbok wing Lwazi Mvovo, playing in the No 15 jersey, scored a hat-trick of tries to steer Robert du Preez’s team to a 38-17 bonus point win over the gritty Sunwolves. The visitors clinched the game thanks to a strong surge deep into the second half, when Mvovo scored twice to secure the tie for his side.

The DHL Stormers staged a gusty comeback to beat the visiting Blues 30-22 in their Friday evening tussle at DHL Newlands, with the positive result also ending a run of four losses for the Cape side. The Blues had a slender 12-10 advantage at halftime, however, Robbie Fleck’s team staged a strong comeback after the break for their second win of the campaign over a New Zealand opponent.

Unfortunately for the Southern Kings, their recent run of wins came to an end in Port Elizabeth where the visiting Brumbies upstaged them by 19-10 to deny them a fourth straight win. The Brumbies dominated possession in the second half to starve the home side. Continue reading

Pic: SA Rugby

Pic: SA Rugby

The Springbok Sevens team was crowned HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions in London on Sunday night, as the 2016/17 series concluded with the final and tenth tournament of the World Series, the HSBC London Sevens played at Twickenham Stadium. Scotland beat England 12-7 in the final, but it remained a special day for South African rugby.

The Springbok Sevens team earlier won the 5th place final against Australia to end the season with a win, but it was their solid performances throughout the year that brought them glory. The squad reached all ten Cup quarterfinals, losing only two and won all eight semifinals they were involved in, as well as five of the eight finals contested, winning the tournaments in Dubai, Wellington, Sydney, Las Vegas and Paris.

This was only the second time that the Blitzboks were crowned overall champions, after they also won the 2008/09 Series.

Springbok Sevens captain, Philip Snyman, dedicated the win to South Africa and all Blitzboks fans, saying the support throughout the season gave them much needed inspiration. Continue reading

The HSBC London Sevens tournament will provide the Springbok Sevens with a final opportunity during the current season to showcase their skills and to play together as a team, so they want to deliver a good result.

This is according to regular playmaker Rosko Specman. South Africa face Kenya, Wales, and the USA in Pool A of the tournament, the final one of the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Specman, who proved to be a real talisman for the World Series champions in 2017, appreciates the fact that this will be the last opportunity for this current squad to play together. 

“We have been training since September last year and have been in each other’s company since then, so we have established a wonderful bond,” said Specman.

 “We really are a band of brothers. This tournament will be the last for this group to play together and we want to make it special.”

South Africa clinched the series when they won their fifth tournament in Paris last weekend and will officially be crowned champions on Sunday, another motivation for the team to give it one more push, Specman feels.  Continue reading

This from supersport.com:

Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk signed a three-year contract with English Premiership side Sale Sharks because his South African Super Rugby Lions team could not match the financial package, the team’s chief executive said on Thursday.

A weak rand currency has spurred a stream of South African players to leave the country for teams in Europe.

“The player made a personal request to be released to further his career abroad and we felt we couldn’t stand in his way while. We also couldn’t match the offer he received,” said Rudolf Straeuli, chief executive officer of the Lions Rugby Company.

Straeuli said de Klerk would move to Sale once the Super Rugby season had concluded.

Full story here:

https://www.supersport.com/rugby/super-rugby/news/170518/Lions_lose_Faf_to_lure_of_the_pound

The HSBC Cape Town Sevens was named as Best Live Sports Experience in South Africa at the prestigious Discovery Sport Industry Awards in Johannesburg on Thursday evening.

SA Rugby’s delivery of the HSBC Cape Town Sevens won from among six nominees in the category.

The event, which is held at the Cape Town Stadium in December each year, was praised by judges for its “innovative and creative activations”. They said that the “high-impact and engaging” entertainment meant that the Springbok Sevens team’s defeat in the final “did not detract from the fans’ enjoyment of the experience – a testament to the success of the tournament.”

The event was a 109 000 sell out over the two days and featured numerous music, dance and big-screen entertainments. It was embraced by the audience, many of whom joined in the Sevens tradition of attending in fancy dress.

A multitude of food and beverage options as well as an extensive children’s play area completed the experience.

“An enormous amount of thought and effort went into producing the event and we’re delighted to have been recognised by the judges of the Discovery Sport Industry Awards with this accolade,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. Continue reading

Northern neighbours, the Emirates Lions and Vodacom Bulls, go head to head on Saturday in a big Vodacom Super Rugby derby in Johannesburg which kicks off at 17h15.

Although these sides, on opposite sides of the Jukskei River, are experiencing contrasting fortunes so far this season, their fans can still expect a typical, hard-fought derby.

The Emirates Lions returned home on the back of three straight wins on the road in Australia and they are taking on a Pretoria side who have struggled so far this year.

Johan Ackermann has named a strong line-up and fresh new front row which sees Jacques van Rooyen, Malcolm Marx and Ruan Dreyer coming back into the starting line-up. Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk has been named on the bench.

Meanwhile in Pretoria, Vodacom Bulls coach Nollis Marais has named Tuks wing Sibahle Maxwane in what will be the 21-year-old’s tournament debut. Marais also made three other changes to his backline – Maxwane replaces the injured Jamba Ulengo, while Jan Serfontein (centre) and Francois Brummer (flyhalf) were handed starting roles. Jesse Kriel shifts back to fullback. Up front, Springbok lock Lood de Jager moves back into the starting line-up in place of the suspended RG Snyman. Continue reading

Note to editors: Please find attached a rights-free image of Steval Pumas winger, Ruwellyn Isbell. Please credit Gallo Images.

After taking the game coast to coast and providing some smaller rugby venues the opportunity to experience provincial action first hand, the SuperSport Rugby Challenge returns to some of the big stadiums this weekend.

No less than three of the six matches in Round Five of this exciting competition will be played as curtain-raisers to Vodacom Super Rugby matches, with the benefit of more TV exposure for the provinces this weekend.

The first to benefit from that will be DHL Western Province, who host SWD Eagles in the early game at DHL Newlands on Friday. The home side, still undefeated and dominating the South Section, received a massive boost this week with the inclusion of Juan de Jongh and Rynhardt Elstadt, while the men from George, still winless, will have more than Table Mountain to climb if they want to get a result.

The other South Section match, between the EP Kings and Boland Cavaliers, will also be broadcasted on SuperSport. This encounter, on Saturday in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, could be highly entertaining as both sides boast serious fire power and play rugby with the specific purpose to score tries and then more tries. Continue reading

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