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GEORGE, SOUTH AFRICA - Saturday March 16 2013,  during match 40 of the Cell C Community Cup rugby match between Evergreens and Roses United held at the Pacaltsdorp Sports Ground..Photo by Deryck Foster/ImageSA

GEORGE, SOUTH AFRICA – Saturday March 16 2013, during match 40 of the Cell C Community Cup rugby match between Evergreens and Roses United held at the Pacaltsdorp Sports Ground..Photo by Deryck Foster/ImageSA

Johannesburg-based Pirates will host the first-ever international match in the Gold Cup era after SA Rugby on Tuesday evening confirmed the fixtures for the country’s flagship tournament for non-university clubs.

In a first for club rugby, the announcement was made on television, on broadcast partner SuperSport’s popular isiXhosa rugby show, Phaka.

Pirates, founded in 1888 and making their first appearance in a national club tournament since 2009, will play host to FNB Wanderers of Windhoek after the Gold Cup (until 2015 known as the Community Cup) was expanded from this year to include the champion open clubs of Namibia and Zimbabwe. Continue reading

Springbok fans will be able to get their hands on a brand new supporters’ jersey, made by ASICS, in time for the kick-off of a new era under coach Allister Coetzee when the Boks face Ireland in the Castle Lager Incoming Series next month.

The supporters’ jerseys are proudly made in South Africa for South Africans, by South Africans, and feature enhanced durability and quality through updated textured fabrication.

The new supporters’ jersey was jointly launched by SA Rugby and ASICS, official apparel partner of the Springboks, on Thursday.

The launch of the supporters’ replica jersey coincides with ASICS’ “Want It More” worldwide marketing campaign, which was launched earlier in 2016, and the Castle Lager Incoming Series of three Tests against Ireland in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth next month. Continue reading

DHL Stormers coach Robbie Fleck has named his team for the DHL Stormers’ first-ever match in Singapore against the Sunwolves on Saturday.

There are just two changes to the backline that did duty in the clash with the Waratahs at DHL Newlands, with Johnny Kotze replacing Leolin Zas on the wing and Louis Schreuder getting a chance to start at scrumhalf with Nic Groom on the replacements bench.

In the front row hooker Scarra Ntubeni makes his first start since his return from injury, with Bongi Mbonambi set to make an impact in the second half.

Lock JD Schickerling comes back into the starting line-up as well, with Rynhardt Elstadt shifting to flank alongside Siya Kolisi and Nizaam Carr who moves to the back of the scrum.

Fleck said that after the bye his team are desperate to get back to winning ways, and will embrace the occasion in Singapore. Continue reading

DHL Western Province coach John Dobson has been forced to make six changes to his starting line-up for their clash with the EP Kings at City Park in Athlone this weekend.

A combination of injuries and call-ups to the DHL Stormers squad has seen Dobson shuffle his resources as his team aim for their fourth win of the season in a match that kicks off at 16h00 on Saturday, with tickets available at the gate at R20 for adults and R10 for scholars, while season tickets for DHL Newlands will also be valid.

There are four changes to the backline, with JP Lewis and Devon Williams starting on the wings in the absence of Khanyo Ngcukana, while Ryan Oosthuizen replaces Tim Whitehead in midfield and Justin Phillips comes in at scrumhalf for Godlen Masimla who has been ruled out with concussion.

In the forward pack Janco Venter gets an opportunity at flank, and fit-again Frans van Wyk steps in at tighthead prop with JP Smith shifting across to fill the gap left by Alistair Vermaak at loosehead. Continue reading

Pic: zimbio.com

Pic: zimbio.com

The Springbok Sevens playmaker Rosko Specman is determined to help his team to a convincing performance in this weekend’s HSBC Paris Sevens tournament and is looking forward to play with the Blitzboks again.

Specman was in fine form in previous tournaments, but was rested for the previous two tournaments of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and missed the Hong Kong and Singapore events.

Coach Neil Powell included the playmaker for Paris, the second last tournament in the 2015/16 series.

“I am very happy to be here and I would like to thank the coach and management for giving me this opportunity to travel to Paris to play in this tournament,” Specman said.

“To be back in the squad and playing is wonderful. It is not nice sitting at home and watch the boys play, but I understand the bigger scheme of things. The coach needed to give everybody an opportunity to see if they can add value with the Olympics in mind.” Continue reading

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 10:  during the Junior Springbok World Rugby U20 Championship squad announcement at SARU House on May 10, 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – MAY 10: during the Junior Springbok World Rugby U20 Championship squad announcement at SARU House on May 10, 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron on Tuesday named his 28-man squad that will do battle at World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Manchester, England, from 7 to 25 June.

Eastern Province centre Jeremy Ward will lead the team in the showpiece, while his provincial team-mate Junior Pokomela and 2015 SA Schools captain, DHL Western Province lock Ernst van Rhyn, have been named as vice-captains.

The squad features two players who were members of the Junior Springbok squad that finished third at the international showpiece in Italy last year, namely centre JT Jackson and scrumhalf Marco Jansen van Vuren. Continue reading

Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, urged his team to make the most of the opportunities presented to them in the next two tournaments of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

The Blitzboks arrived in France in Monday for the HSBC Paris Sevens to be played at the weekend and will then travel to London for the tenth and final tournament of the 2015/16 series at Twickenham.

Powell feel players producing the goods this weekend can reap other rewards as well.

“It is a difficult two weeks coming up,” said Powell.

“It is the last two tournaments of a long season and in the past we did not perform to expectation or potential in those. Then the focus will shift to the Olympic Games just after that, so you want to finish the series with good performances. Continue reading

DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck has named a 25-man touring squad for the Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Sunwolves in Singapore this weekend.

Outside back Khanyo Ngcukana and prop Alistair Vermaak are the two additions to the squad for the historic first-ever DHL Stormers game in Singapore.

Fleck said that the bye week allowed the players to recharge, and added that they are determined to make the most of their trip to Singapore both on and off the field.

“The players enjoyed the break and the week off has allowed a lot of the players to get rid of some niggles.

“We are the first DHL Stormers side to play there [Singapore], so it is a similar situation to when we travelled to Argentina. It is a long way to travel and we are going to enjoy the sights and sounds of Singapore, but we know we have a job to do and we need to come back with a win,” he said.

Following their narrow loss to the Waratahs at DHL Newlands, Fleck wants to see a convincing performance from his side in Singapore. Continue reading

STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 06: (Front row) Justin Geduld, Seabelo Senatla, Philip Snyman (c), Neil Powell (coach), Kyle Brown and Cecil Afrika. (Back row) Rosko Specman, Dylan Sage, Tim Agaba, Ryan Kankowski, Ruhan Nel, Francois Hougaard and Kwagga Smith during the Springbok Sevens team announcement and media day at Markotter Club House, Paul Roos school on May 06 2016 in Stellenbosch, South Africa (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)Spring

STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA – MAY 06: (Front row) Justin Geduld, Seabelo Senatla, Philip Snyman (c), Neil Powell (coach), Kyle Brown and Cecil Afrika. (Back row) Rosko Specman, Dylan Sage, Tim Agaba, Ryan Kankowski, Ruhan Nel, Francois Hougaard and Kwagga Smith during the Springbok Sevens team announcement and media day at Markotter Club House, Paul Roos school on May 06 2016 in Stellenbosch, South Africa (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)Spring

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell is confident that the four changes made to his side for the upcoming HSBC Paris tournament will help the team achieve the goals set for this tournament in the French capital and the remainder of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens series. Francois Hougaard, Rosko Specman, Philip Snyman and Dylan Sage are the new faces in the squad from the last tournament in Singapore, with Snyman also taking the captaincy role over from Kyle Brown.

The Blitzboks depart South Africa for Paris later today and Powell feels his team will give good account of themselves, providing they stick to the processes and structures in place.

“We are looking to possibly rotate the team after Paris for the London event, but for now we only look at next week. I am happy with the team we selected for the Paris leg,” Powell said.

“We have a strong pool in Paris playing England, Australia and Brazil and that is good for us, as this is something we will probably encounter in Rio in a couple of months. We will try to keep our focus on our structures and processes and not the results as such. If we stick to what we do well, the results will come.” Continue reading

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell named Francois Hougaard, Rosko Specman, Philip Snyman and Dylan Sage as the changes to his squad that will travel to France on Sunday to contest the HSBC Paris Sevens, to be played at the Stade Jean Bouin in the French capital from 13 to 15 May.

They replace Siviwe Soyizwapi, Branco du Preez, Chris Dry and Stephan Dippenaar respectively from the side that won bronze in Singapore last month.

Hougaard returns to the Springboks Sevens team following a stint with Worcester Warriors and Snyman, who picked up a head-knock in Hong Kong, now fully fit and again takes over from Dry, who replaced him in Singapore.

The return of Rosko Specman, who last played in Vancouver, means that Du Preez misses out on the French tournament. Sage also last played in Vancouver and missed out in Hong Kong and Singapore when Dippenaar was given a run for the first time in the current series.

Powell explained that he is looking to rotate a number of players after Paris, with some changes expected again for the HSBC London Sevens in two weeks’ time.

“It is important for us to do well and try and win the series, but we also need to look at the welfare of regulars with Rio in mind, so I am planning to replace a number of these guys travelling to Paris for the London tournament,” Powell said. Continue reading

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