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The SA Rugby Youth Weeks kicked off on an exciting note on Monday with the Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) Week at Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Affies) in Pretoria and the National Girls Under-16 Week at the HT Pelatona Projects Stadium in Welkom respectively.

It was a good day for the hosts at both tournaments, with the Blue Bulls defeating the LSEN Week’s leading 2015 side, Boland, 43-8 at Affies, while the Griffons cruised to a 39-0 victory against the Pumas in the National Girls U16 Week.

The opening day at the LSEN Week featured a few close encounters, with Western Province defeating SWD 25-20, while KwaZulu-Natal pipped the Blue Bulls Extraordinary Education (EE) team 37-36 and the Golden Lions EE side edged the Eastern Cape 19-17. Continue reading

DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck has named a 27-man squad for the upcoming two-match tour of Australia.

In the absence of co-captains Juan de Jongh (Springbok Sevens) and Frans Malherbe (neck injury), the DHL Stormers will be led by veteran loose forward Schalk Burger for their matches against the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force.

Malherbe’s injury, which will see him sidelined for two to three weeks, means that there is a call-up for young tighthead prop Wilco Louw who has been impressive for DHL Western Province in recent weeks.

Another player who will not be part of the squad is fullback Cheslin Kolbe who is also on national Sevens duty.

The other additions to the squad see fit-again lock Jean Kleyn, prop JP Smith and utility backs Jaco Taute and Scott van Breda all join the touring group for the first time this season. Continue reading

SA Rugby President Oregan Hoskins on Sunday thanked Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron for his immense contribution to rugby in South Africa as a coach and player and wished him luck for the next chapter in his career in Japan.

Theron completed his six-year reign as the Junior Springbok coach on Saturday in the bronze playoff at the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Manchester England, against Argentina, in which the team suffered a 49-19 defeat.

Under Theron’s guidance, the Junior Springboks won the Junior World title in 2012 and collected one silver and two bronze medals in the past six years.

As a player Theron earned 13 Test caps, while he played for the Griquas Rugby Union from 1996 to 2009, before working his way up to become a celebrated provincial coach at the Kimberley-based union.

He will join the Docomo Red Hurricanes in Japan on 19 July at their summer camp in Hokkaido, with his contract running until 31 March 2018.

“On behalf of SA Rugby I would like to thank Dawie for his immense contribution to South African rugby,” said Mr Hoskins. “Dawie has been a fine ambassador for South African rugby having established himself as a top class provincial player and later a Springbok, and then a fine coach.  Continue reading

Springbok fullback Willie le Roux was suspended for one week after pleading guilty to a charge of breaching Law 10.4 (i), during the test match between South Africa and Ireland in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Le Roux was cited by commissioner James Absaloms of Kenya for making contact with Ireland fullback Tiernan O’Halloran in the 11th minute of the match as they both leapt in the air for a high ball, causing the Irish player to somersault and land heavily on his upper body and head. Le Roux accepted the citing complaint.

Judicial Officer Terry Willis of Australia heard the case in Port Elizabeth on Sunday and found that the relevant entry point for the offence was at the lower end and accepted the submission made by Advocate Attie Heyns on behalf of Le Roux that a one-week suspension was appropriate.

Le Roux is suspended for the match between his province, The Sharks, and the Lions on Saturday, 2 July, after which he will be free to play.

Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron on Saturday described his team’s 49-19 defeat against Argentina in the bronze playoff at the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Manchester, England, as one of the most disappointing moments in his career.

The Junior Boks were outscored six tries to three by a physical and well-balanced Argentina side at the AJ Bell stadium despite an enterprising opening quarter, which saw them build up an encouraging 19-7 lead.

“This is one of the most disappointing moments of my career and certainly the biggest disappointment in my six years with the Junior Springboks,” Theron said after the match. “This young team has a lot of talent, but they need to complement that with the right decisions at the right time on the field.

“We started off well against Argentina, but one try against the run of play resulted in us losing belief. We didn’t stick to our structures and we made bad decisions, while Argentina stuck to what worked for them.

“Argentina dominated physically and England did the same in the semi-final, and we could not counter that. We certainly missed the international competition in our warm-up games coming into this tournament. Continue reading

JP Petersen. Screen grab Supersport

JP Petersen. Screen grab Supersport

Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, on Saturday hailed the resilience of his team and lauded the impact of senior players after South Africa clinched the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Ireland with a 19-13 win at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

The win secured a 2-1 victory in the series, after Ireland won the opening test in Cape Town and the Springboks edged them in Johannesburg.

“We started the series with a loss and we were 19-3 down in Johannesburg. And here today we were really put to the test, so I am very pleased in the result and series win,” Coetzee said.

“The resilience and character of the team really came through. We fought in the trenches and played test rugby out there today. It was not attractive, but we needed to win,” Coetzee said.

The coach hailed the attitude of the team.

“The attitude cannot be faulted,” he said. “The performance of senior players was great. What was also pleasing was the way the new players adapted to test match rugby. There are many instinctive players in the team, but they learned valuable lessons from the step-up to test rugby.

“This is all part of the building process for this team and the foundation looks solid,” the coach said. Continue reading

Springbok fullback Willie le Roux was cited for allegedly breaching Law 10.4 (i), tackling a player in the air, during the test match between South Africa and Ireland in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Le Roux was cited by commissioner James Absaloms of Kenya for making contact with Ireland fullback Tiernan O’Halloran in the 11th minute of the match as they both leapt in the air for a high ball, causing the Irish player to somersault and land heavily on his upper body and head. Le Roux was given a temporary suspension (yellow card) for the offence by referee Glen Jackson. South Africa won the Test 19-13.

The hearing will take place at the Southern Sun Garden Court hotel in Port Elizabeth and be heard by Judicial Officer, Terry Willis, of Australia.

The DHL Western Province Under-19 team will get their season underway with a testing trip to Bloemfontein to face the Toyota Free State Cheetahs U19 side.

The team will be led by flank Nama Xaba in the absence of captain Ernst van Rhyn who is currently with the Junior Springboks in Manchester along with fellow DHL Western Province U19 teammates Zain Davids, Ruben de Villiers, Cobus Wiese and Carlu Sadie as well as coach Nazeem Adams.

Although five of his forwards are currently on national duty at the World Rugby U20 Championship, coach Chris October, who is standing in for Adams, is confident that his team will give a good account of themselves at Old Greys in Bloemfontein in a match that kicks off at 13h00 on Saturday.

“We are raring to go and very excited about the challenge that lies ahead. We have a well balanced team with plenty of talent and we cannot wait to get our campaign underway,” he said. Continue reading

Club rugby stars Christo van Wyk and Dennis Cox are both in line to make their DHL Western Province debut off the replacements bench in the clash with the Hino Valke in Kempton Park on Friday.

Tygerberg prop Van Wyk and Belhar flyhalf Cox have both made a big impression for their respective clubs, and DHL Western Province coach John Dobson is excited to see what they can do at Barnard Stadium in a match that kicks off at 15h00.

“Both of these players are fully deserving of their call-ups after putting in some exceptional performances for their clubs, so we are excited to see what they can offer us,” said Dobson.

They will be joined on the replacements bench by scrumhalf Jano Vermaak and lock David Ribbans, who are both making their return from injury.

Another player returning from injury is Tim Whitehead, who lines up in midfield alongside Johnny Kotze, whilst the only other change to the backline sees JP Lewis start on the left wing.

In the forward pack Janco Venter returns from national duty with Namibia to take his place at flank alongside Luke Stringer, with Jurie van Vuuren shifting to lock, and Kyle Whyte gets an opportunity to start at loosehead prop.

Dobson said that despite a few disruptions the team is in good spirits as they look to add to their eight victories from nine matches this season. Continue reading

Warren Whiteley (No 8) and Ruan Combrinck (wing) will make their first starts for the Springboks in the deciding third Test against Ireland in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

The inclusion of these two players are the only changes to the starting team announced by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee for the third Castle Lager Incoming Series Test against the Irish in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Coetzee also made three changes to the bench.

Whiteley replaces the experienced Duane Vermeulen, who is out with an elbow injury, while Combrinck, man of the match in last week’s win over the Irish in Johannesburg, gets the starting nod over Lwazi Mvovo, who is now on the bench.

An ankle injury has ruled out prop Trevor Nyakane, and his place amongst the reserves is filled by the uncapped Steven Kitshoff. He is joined on the bench by another uncapped player, Jaco Kriel, who comes into the match day squad for the first time during the series. Continue reading

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