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The Emirates Lions will face the Crusaders next week in Johannesburg, the DHL Stormers host the Chiefs in Cape Town and the Cell C Sharks have to travel to Wellington, New Zealand, for clash against the Hurricanes after the Vodacom Super Rugby quarter-final draw was confirmed on Sunday morning.

The draw for the playoffs was finalised following completion of Round 17, the final round of regular fixtures, over the weekend.

In the last match of the round, which kicked off just before midnight SA time on Saturday, the Emirates Lions lost 34-22 to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, which placed them second overall on the combined standings.

Earlier on Saturday the DHL Stormers finished as Africa Conference 1 winners after beating the Southern Kings 52-24 and they enter the playoffs as third seeds. The Cell C Sharks won their Friday evening match 40-29 against the Sunwolves in Durban to clinch their wildcard qualification spot. Continue reading

DHL Western Province on Saturday took top honours in the Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week and the Coca-Cola Academy Week at Kearsney College in Durban in a satisfying day for the provincial union, which wrapped up the SA Rugby Youth Weeks.

Western Province defeated the Bidvest Golden Lions 27-20 in an entertaining final match of the Coca-Cola Craven Week, while their Coca-Cola Academy Week counterparts fought until the end against the Blue Bulls for a 23-12 victory.

The victory for the Coca-Cola Craven Week team ensured that they retained their status as the top team after a 95-0 victory in the final match last season against Eastern Province, while the Western Province Academy Week team built on the success of the side in the final match since the 2014 season.

In a thrilling closing day to the Youth Weeks, a total of 22 matches featuring all 44 teams were played at Kearsney College and Glenwood High School respectively.

Over the five days in the Coca-Cola Craven Week 269 tries and 1888 points were scored, while 268 tries and 1902 points were scored in the Coca-Cola Academy Week.

The main game of the Coca-Cola Craven Week between Western Province and the Lions was scintillating as both teams gave everything to get onto the front foot. The difference between the sides, however, was that Western Province made better use of their point-scoring chances, and they backed this up with a determined defensive effort. The opening exchanges of the clash were tight as the teams exchanged penalty goals. Western Province scored the first try of the match in the 15th minute compliments of Manuel Rass as they spread the ball wide, but this was cancelled out by Lions flyhalf Tyrone Green, who won a turnover and later touched down under the posts. The Cape side, however, had the final say with a try by Muller Uys to take a 20-10 halftime lead. Continue reading

The clash between the Pumas and the Sharks has been moved from 12h00 to 13h35, while the Enrista Blue Bulls and Bizhub Free State will meet at 12h00.

The amended fixtures are as follows:

U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week day five fixtures (Saturday, 16 July):

08h00 – Zimbabwe vs Namibia (Osler Field, Kearsney College)

08h50 – Boland vs Border (Stott Field, Kearsney College)

09h35 – Griquas CD vs Border CD (Osler Field, Kearsney College)

10h25 – EP vs SWD (Stott Field, Kearsney College)

10h50 – Komati Fruit Limpopo Blue Bulls vs EP CD (Osler Field, Kearsney College)

12h00 – Enrista Blue Bulls vs Bizhub Free State (Stott Field, Kearsney College)

12h15 – Thepa Trading Griffons vs Leopards (Osler Field, Kearsney College)

13h35 – Pumas vs Sharks (Stott Field, Kearsney College)

13h40 – Valke vs GWK Griquas (Osler Field, Kearsney College)

15h10 – DHL Western Province vs Bidvest Golden Lions (Stott Field, Kearsney College) Continue reading

*The fixtures for the final day of the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week and Coca-Cola Academy Week on Saturday, 16 July, have been included below the day four results.

The Golden Lions and Western Province will face one another in the final match of the Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, while Western Province will go head-to-head with the Blue Bulls in the closing game of the Coca-Cola Academy Week on Saturday at Kearsney College in Durban.

The Bidvest Golden Lions and Bizhub Free State on Thursday threw their names into the hat for a place in the final match of the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week with commanding wins, while Boland, the Blue Bulls and Sharks CD rose to the top in the Coca-Cola Academy Week as all the sides remained unbeaten following their second round of matches on Thursday. Continue reading

DHL Western Province coach John Dobson has had to make a number of changes to his forward pack for their Currie Cup Qualifier against Border Bulldogs at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

In the front row the return of tighthead prop Wilco Louw from DHL Stormers duty sees Kyle Whyte shift across to the loosehead side, with Denzil Riddles on the replacements bench for the match which kicks off at 14h15.

With Chris van Zyl called up to the DHL Stormers, Eduard Zandberg gets an opportunity alongside David Ribbans in the second row, whilst in the loose trio Eital Bredenkamp gets a chance to start at openside flank with Rikus Bothma returning from long-term injury to provide cover from the replacements bench.

There is just one change to the backline that started against Boland last week with EW Viljoen moving from wing to outside centre, with Khanyo Ngcukana starting out wide. Continue reading

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee and Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell on Wednesday evening took time out to inspire the U18 SA Rugby Youth Week players at Kearsney College in Durban and advised them to work hard to achieve their goal of becoming professional players regardless of the challenges on their path.

All 44 teams participating in the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week and Coca-Academy Week attended the special function, where a player from each provincial union received the opportunity to ask either of the coaches a question. Continue reading

The Emirates Lions face a tricky assignment in Buenos Aires on Saturday against the rugged Jaguares in their quest to finish in the overall top spot of the Vodacom Super Rugby standings. The match is the last of the weekend’s fixtures and kicks off at 23h40 SA time.

As things currently stand, the Highvelders are one point in front of the Chiefs, who are leading a pack of New Zealand sides still in contention for places in the playoffs.

A bonus point win will guarantee the Emirates Lions (52 points) first spot on the overall log and with that the privilege of home ground advantage throughout the playoffs. The Chiefs (51) could make a move for the overall top position with a bonus-point over the Highlanders, however, the Johannesburg side have a far stronger point difference in the event of both teams finish on the same amount of league points.

From a South African perspective, the DHL Stormers (46) have already made sure of their place in the playoffs thanks to a haul of 10 log points collected from their two recent away games in Australia. The Emirates Lions and the DHL Stormers are the two African conference winners, while the Cell C Sharks (39) are currently two points ahead of the Vodacom Bulls in the race for the local wildcard spot. Continue reading

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) on Thursday included an experienced and powerful squad of 12 players to compete at the Rugby Sevens as part of Team South Africa at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Kyle Brown will captain the squad that will compete as part of Team SA as rugby returns to the Olympics 92 years since the 15-man format was last played at the Olympics, in 1924 in Paris.

Current World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year, Werner Kok, was included in the team after he missed out in all of the 2015/16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series following a knee injury. He has been joined by Springbok midfielder, Juan de Jongh, who has played in 14 Test matches for South Africa. Continue reading

Providing blankets and soup with bread to the needy in and around the Southern Suburbs is part of the Cape Cobras and Western Province Cricket Association’s (WPCA) celebration of Mandela Day, Monday 18th July 2016.

The players and staff will team up and make soup at their home ground, PPC Newlands. Thereafter, they will be visiting various organizations in need such as Beit-ul-Aman (Home for the Aged), The OWL Haven Shelter and needy individuals living on the streets of Cape Town.
“We are currently experiencing such freezing cold temperatures and the Cape Cobras and WPCA players and staff wish to share the warmth with those who need support,” said Jasmiena Davids, Marketing Manager of WPCA.

“Mandela Day celebrates the potential that each individual has to transform the world. Each of us is asked to take responsibility for ourselves and act on the responsibilities we have towards others.” Continue reading

Wayde van Niekerk joins Team Visa Olympic and Paralympic Athletes

Johannesburg, July 14, 2016 In the days shortly after he was born, Wayde van Niekerk’s mother Odessa woke up every morning at the Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town not knowing whether her son would be alive or dead.

The 400m world champion had been born almost two months prematurely, weighing just 900 grams. But, like his mother, the future 400-metre world champion was a fighter. He fought from the day he was born, overcoming obstacles and set-backs. Today, 24 years and 71kg later, her son is a world champion, a record breaker and he stands on the brink of becoming an Olympic gold medallist.

Van Niekerk has had help along his hard path to become the best 400-metre runner on the planet. His family and coach always believed in him, and he is also part of the Team Visa Olympic programme, “a group of world-class Olympic and Paralympic athletes who embody Visa’s values of acceptance, partnership and innovation”. Team Visa gives athletes financial and marketing support for the Olympics, as part of their 30-year association with the Games. Continue reading

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