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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

There are two changes to the DHL Western Province U19 team that will be looking for their sixth consecutive win, when they face the Vodacom Blue Bulls U19 at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.

Coach Nazeem Adams has made one change to the backline and one change to the forward pack that did duty in their resounding victory against Leopards U19 in Potchefstroom a fortnight ago.

Troy Payne returns from an injury-enforced absence to take his place at inside centre, whilst in the front row tighthead prop Carlu Sadie will start at tighthead prop again with Lee-Marvin Mazibuko returning to the replacements bench.

Adams said that continuity in selection is vital as his side look to build on the five straight wins they have already earned this season, in a match which kicks off at 13h10 on Friday.

“We are starting to build some good momentum, but the players know that there are still quite a few areas in which we can improve. Continue reading

Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, said he is happy with the outcome of the rehabilitation and conditioning camp which finished on Thursday in Stellenbosch.

A group of 19 selected players attended the four-day camp, which started on Monday at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport.

The purpose of the camp was to ascertain first-hand the condition of players returning from injury, those currently undergoing rehabilitation and those players who are struggling with niggles at the moment after a demanding Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.

Coetzee will announce a 31-man Springbok squad on Saturday after the final of the Vodacom Super Rugby campaign, where the Emirates Lions will meet the Hurricanes in Wellington.

According to the Bok coach, the four-day get together in Stellenbosch gave his management a great opportunity to work through some important medical, conditioning and technical planning with the players. Continue reading

Financial services company DirectAxis was confirmed on Thursday by SA Rugby as the second official partner in the new sponsorship structure to the Currie Cup competition.

DirectAxis, which specialises in lending and insurance, has signed a four-year contract with SA Rugby, joining Nashua as official partners to South Africa’s premier domestic competition.

The partnership marks DirectAxis’s first involvement as a partner in a national South African rugby competition. Their previous involvement in the sport has been as a sponsor to the False Bay Rugby Club in Cape Town.

“We are delighted to welcome DirectAxis as partners to the Currie Cup competition and as new members to the SA Rugby sponsorship family,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.

“This partnership is a landmark deal because for the first time we will have two official partners to the competition as part of our new sponsorship structure, while this is also the first time DirectAxis is involved at a national level in the game. Continue reading

Players from John Dube High School in KwaZulu Natal and Grey College from Free State were crowned provincial champions at the first McDonald’s U/14 Schools League soccer festival held at the VeldenVlei Sports Complex in Richards Bay this past weekend.

John Dube high school went head-to-head with other 11 schools from Kwazulu Natal, while Name of Grey College from Free State competed with 5 other schools. Both schools displayed tremendous skill during games and in the end, it was their remarkable energy and teamwork that secured them a place to represent their provinces at the 2016 McDonald’s U/14 Schools League national finals which will be held in Gauteng from 29 September to 01 October.

“McDonald’s has been developing dreams of children in schools for the past 7 years and we are continuing with our commitment to the contribution of football development at grassroots level. This year, we are excited about the soccer festivals as they allow children to showcase their football talent amongst their peers, parents and communities” said McDonald’s South Africa Corporate Affairs Director, Sechaba Motsieloa.

During the festival, 50 schools coaches from both KwaZulu Natal and Free State schools also underwent a one-day coaching training facilitated in partnership with KNVB adding to the 400 coaches trained in the past two years.

The McDonald’s U/14 Schools League soccer festival in KZN was the first of four in the new league format. The festival was a fun day filled with activities ranging from face-painting, jumping castles and entertainment from Ronald McDonald and DJ Arch Junior.

Springbok preparations for the key showdown with Argentina in Match 1 of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday, 20 August, are moving into high gear. The 31-man squad for the first two Tests of the campaign, against the Pumas, will be named on Saturday with a rehabilitation and conditioning camp already in progress in Stellenbosch.

They’ve got their hands on a ticket for the match with prices set at R100, R150, R200, R300 and R400, R450 (and single tickets at R500) and available from Computicket outlets, online ( or their kiosks at Shoprite and Checkers stores nationwide.

The picture attached shows a group of players urging supporters to join them for the Mbombela clash. Sitting in front are Oupa Mohoje and Jesse Kriel, in the middle from left are Beast Mtawarira, Vincent Koch, Coenie Oosthuizen and Bongi Mbonambi, and standing at the back are Lood de Jager and Trevor Nyakane. Please credit Carl Fourie / Gallo Images.

SA Rugby has announced the appointments of Abubakar ‘Boebie’ Saban and Vanessa Doble in the positions of Chief Financial Officer and Head of Legal and Compliance respectively.

Doble joins SA Rugby having practised as an attorney in a private law firm and was founder of I-Logix (Pty) Ltd, a consultancy based in Cape Town. She has an LLM in Commercial Law (specialising in Shipping Law) and a BA LLB from the University of Cape Town.

Doble will also act as Company Secretary and lead a newly structured legal department as part of an internal restructuring.

Saban qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2001, before joining BP Southern Africa in the risk and assurance department. In 2006 he started his own consultancy company, providing business support across the private and public sectors. His experience also includes a six-year period as CFO of South African Institute for Drug Free Sport (SAIDS). Continue reading

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