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Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has included uncapped Malcolm Marx and recalled Oupa Mohoje, Vincent Koch, Juan de Jongh, Francois Hougaard, Bryan Habana and Johan Goosen, in a squad of 31 players for the opening two matches of the 2016 Castle Lager Rugby Championship against Argentina.

Overall, seven changes have been made to the squad that did duty against Ireland in the Castle Lager Incoming Test Series in June. Injured players not considered for selection are Frans Malherbe, Coenie Oosthuizen, Jan Serfontein, Pat Lambie, Handré Pollard, Cobus Reinach and Siya Kolisi.

The Springbok squad will assemble in stages from tomorrow (Sunday, 7 August) in Johannesburg. The nine Emirates Lions players who featured in the Vodacom Super Rugby Final earlier on Saturday will join on Wednesday with the six overseas-based players and two Olympians due to join on Sunday, 14 August.

The remaining squad members assemble tomorrow for a week’s preparations before the full squad of 31 players move camp to Nelspruit (14 August) to continue their preparations for the first Test against Argentina, on 20 August in the Mbombela Stadium. Continue reading

The Vodacom Blue Bulls, Cell C Sharks and Toyota Free State Cheetahs kicked off the Currie Cup Premier Division on a high note this weekend as all three teams secured bonus-point victories in an exciting start to the competition.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls defeated DHL Western Province 45-26 at Loftus Versfeld, while the Cell C Sharks outplayed the Steval Pumas 33-10 at the Mbombela Stadium, and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs beat Boland 44-16 in Wellington.

The Xerox Golden Lions, EP Kings and Griquas, meanwhile, had byes.

In Pretoria, the Vodacom Blue Bulls raced to a convincing 24-0 first-half lead against DHL Western Province as they capitalised on their point-scoring chances effectively and delivered a solid defensive effort. The hosts slotted over an early penalty before running in three tries in 16 minutes by Piet van Zyl, Jason Jenkins and Marvin Orie respectively in a stylish display of attacking rugby. They added two more tries after the break to stretch their lead. But DHL Western Province fought back with intent in the last 20 minutes and improved their finishing, which allowed them to force their way back into the match with four tries in 16 minutes for a valuable bonus point and respectable score. The Pretoria side, however, had the last say as they added their sixth try on the stroke of fulltime, which saw the Capetonians go down 45-26. Continue reading

SA Rugby is looking to host five Springbok fans to an unforgettable rugby experience when the Springboks battle Argentina at Mbombela Stadium on August 20. On one condition – that they have never attended a test before!

The #LoveRugby movement spreads to the Lowveld with the call going out to Springbok fans to share their story here

The five winners will be hosted by SA Rugby at the match, will go onto the pitch at halftime and stand the chance to win a VIP experience to watch the Springboks take on the All Blacks in Durban as well as an expenses-paid trip to the HSBC Cape Town Sevens in December.

The only conditions are that the entrant cannot have attended a Springbok Test before and that they must be able to make their own way to Nelspruit as the prize does not include transport.

Tickets for the match – which sees the Pumas return to South Africa for the first time since their historic victory in Durban 12 months ago – are still available from R100 at Computicket and at their Shoprite and Checkers outlets.

The ‘re-match’ also marks the start of the first Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign under new coach Allister Coetzee.

Pic: Ashley Vlotman Gallo.

Pic: Ashley Vlotman Gallo Images

Brakpan and Vereeniging will be playing for one of the three remaining places in the 2016 Gold Cup when they clash in the Valke premier final at Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park on Saturday (kick-off 15h00).

The match is just one of a host of Semi-final and Cup Final clashes around the country as leagues reach a climax ahead of the Gold Cup play-offs on 20 and 27 August, which will decide the final two spots on offer in SA Rugby’s three-nation championship for non-university clubs.

The likes of Vaal Reefs (Leopards), College Rovers (KZN), Centurion (Blue Bulls), Raiders (Golden Lions), Wesbank (Boland) and East London Police (Border) are already confirmed for the play-offs, which will feature a maximum of eight teams who will be seeded according to the final rankings of the 2015 Community Cup – as the Gold Cup was known then. The format is straight knockout, with the two surviving teams taking their places in Pools A and D of the Gold Cup proper. Continue reading

Pic by Dominic Chimhavi ‏@DChimhavi on Twitter

Pic by Dominic Chimhavi ‏@DChimhavi on Twitter

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The South African U23 side began their Olympic campaign with a 0-0 draw against Brazil on Thursday evening.

South Africa were presented with a chance after just three minutes, when Keagan Dolly played Lebo Mothiba through on goal, however Weverton rushed off his line to thwart the striker.

After an impressive opening spell by Owen Da Gama’s side, Brazil started to enjoy most of the possession after the 10-minute mark but struggled to carve out chances.

Itumeleng Khune was called into action after 28 minutes, as the South African shot-stopper produced a fine save to keep out Neymar’s strike from 20-yards out.

Full story here:

SA Rugby on Thursday confirmed that the Eastern Province Kings will play in the Premier Division of the Currie Cup.

The confirmation follows the announcement of a R20m support package by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. An amount of R6m has already been budgeted for support towards the Union. The NMB Council is expected to ratify the increased allocation shortly.

The Municipality City Manager, Johann Mettler, has been tasked to ensure that a suitable vehicle is established to drive the support package in consultation with EP (through its SA Rugby administrator, Monde Tabata) and the EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd Liquidator. Continue reading

Flank Luke Stringer will captain DHL Western Province U21 in their first match of the season against Vodacom Blue Bulls U21 at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.

Stringer is one of 11 players in the starting line-up that did duty for DHL Western Province in the Currie Cup Qualifiers this season, whilst there are also six players that featured for the defending champions in last year’s final victory against Free State U21.

Although there are six players eligible for DHL Western Province U21 who will feature for DL Western Province in the Currie Cup Premier Division match, coach Jerome Paarwater has selected a strong side to start their national title defence.

In the backline, Grant Hermanus is at fullback with Duncan Saal and Sibahle Maxwane on the wings. The versatile EW Viljoen starts at outside centre in a midfield combination with Ryan Oosthuizen, and Dennis Cox and Justin Phillips form an exciting halfback pairing. Continue reading

There are six Under-21 players in the DHL Western Province match-day squad to face the Vodacom Blue Bulls in their opening Currie Cup Premier Division clash at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.

Wings Leolin Zas and Khanyo Ngcukana, centre Daniel du Plessis, loose forward Jacques Vermeulen, lock JD Schickerling and utility replacement back Brandon Thomson, are all still eligible for DHL Western Province U21, but will do duty for the senior team in a match that kicks off at 17h10 on Friday.

In the backline, Zas and Ngcukana will link up with fullback Scott van Breda, whilst Du Plessis partners Huw Jones in midfield, with flyhalf Robert du Preez and experienced vice-captain Jano Vermaak forming the halfback pairing.

Vermeulen starts at No.8 to form an imposing loose trio with flanks Jurie van Vuuren and Rynhardt Elstadt. Schickerling is in the second row alongside captain Chris Van Zyl, and tighthead prop Wilco Louw links up with Scarra Ntubeni and Alistair Vermaak in the front row.

Thomson is amongst the backline replacements, along with scrumhalf Godlen Masimla and utility back Johnny Kotze. Continue reading

CAPE TOWN – A determined and spirited effort – that is how the chief executive officer of the Cape Cobras, Nabeal Dien, described the remarkable recovery by the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) in erasing debt of R5.1 million in the absence of a team sponsor, while also reducing the historic debt level by R1.3 million.

Dien also announced at the annual general meeting of the WPCA that the Cape Cobras had secured a team naming right sponsor for one year from 1st May 2016.

The chief executive officer also outlined a ten-point strategic plan focused on streamlining the approach to amateur development and a more active marketing drive for the team, stadium and amateur programs.

Dien announced WPCA’s intent to formulate a commercial plan for the stadium and a planned overhaul of financial contracts. Continue reading

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