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The Emirates Lions consolidated their position at the top of the South African Vodacom Super Rugby group with a thrilling 56-20 victory over their neighbours, the Vodacom Bulls, in Pretoria on Saturday evening.

In doing so, the Johannesburg side went seven points clear of the Cell C Sharks in their Africa 2 conference and six points clear of the DHL Stormers in the collated South African group. It was also the first home loss for the Pretoria side this year.

And in Cape Town, the DHL Stormers edged the Toyota Cheetahs 31-24 in a close-fought encounter to register their first win in four matches, following two losses and a draw. The home side led the visitors 14-9 and scored three tries to two in the early Saturday fixture at DHL Newlands.

The Southern Kings beat a 13-man Jaguares side 29-22 in their clash in Port Elizabeth on Friday night at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

In Friday’s other matches, the Hurricanes won 27-20 over the Highlanders in Wellington and the Waratahs outscored the Chiefs 45-25 in Sydney. On Saturday, the Blues lost 21-26 to the Crusaders in Wellington while the Brumbies overpowered the Sunwolves 66-5 in Canberra. In the final Round 15 fixture played on Sunday morning in Melbourne, the Rebels edged the Force 27-22.

The competition will resume after the June internationals.

 

Vodacom Bulls 20, Emirates Lions 56

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· DHL Stormers host Toyota Cheetahs; Southern Kings meet Jaguares in PE

· Career milestone for South African referee Craig Joubert

Gauteng rivals the Vodacom Bulls and the Emirates Lions go head to head on Saturday afternoon in a mouth-watering Vodacom Super Rugby encounter at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. This Round 14 fixture will be the last local match before the break for the June internationals.

In the other fixture featuring local teams on Saturday, the DHL Stormers host the Toyota Cheetahs in the early 15h00 kick-off at DHL Newlands in Cape Town, while the injury-hit Southern Kings entertain the visiting Jaguares on Friday evening at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Craig Joubert will on Saturday become only the third referee in history to officiate his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby match when he takes charge of the clash in Pretoria.

The Loftus match will add another highlight to Joubert’s illustrious career, which includes officiating the 2011 Rugby World Cup final in New Zealand, as well as three Vodacom Super Rugby finals, in 2010, 2013 and 2014. Continue reading

DHL Western Province coach John Dobson has been forced to make two changes to his starting line-up for their clash with ORC Griquas at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

Dobson has lost the services of centre Daniel du Plessis and lock JD Schickerling who have been called up to the DHL Stormers team for their Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Toyota Cheetahs.

As a result EW Viljoen makes his first start of the season at outside centre with Tim Whitehead moving to inside centre, while Jurie van Vuuren fills the vacancy in the second row for the clash against the unbeaten ORC Griquas which kicks off at 12h00 on Saturday and not 12h15 as originally scheduled.

There are a few new faces on the replacements bench as well with Tygerberg star Dale Wilson set to make his senior DHL Western Province debut, while Eital Bredenkamp, Ryan Oosthuizen and Grant Hermanus, returning from injury, are all back in the mix. Continue reading

Daniel du Plessis will make his DHL Stormers debut in the Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Toyota Cheetahs at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

The talented young midfielder, who has been in excellent form for DHL Western Province, comes into the team at outside centre with Juan de Jongh still sidelined with a back strain, while Johnny Kotze moves to the replacements bench in place of the injured Huw Jones.

In the forward pack Sikhumbuzo Notshe will start at No.8 in place of Schalk Burger who has not recovered from a foot injury, with JD Schickerling providing lock cover from the bench.

DHL Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said that his team is fully focused on returning to winning ways back on home turf at DHL Newlands.

“The last few weeks have been quite frustrating for us, so we are focused on delivering a convincing performance for our faithful supporters at DHL Newlands. Continue reading

The Ireland national coaching group have selected a squad of 32 players – including South African born Richardt Strauss, CJ Stander and the uncapped Quinn Roux – to travel to South Africa in June for a three Test series against the Springboks.

The squad will depart for South Africa on Sunday 5th June and will be based in Cape Town ahead of the first Test at the DHL Newlands Stadium before moving to Johannesburg for the second Test at Emirates Airline Park. The third and final Test will take place in Port Elizabeth at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt commented: “Touring South Africa will be arduous to say the least so we’ve attempted to prioritise players who are currently as close to full fitness as possible. In what is always a difficult balancing act, we’ve taken a long term view with a number of players who need a rest or will benefit from a full pre-season.” Continue reading

Coca-Cola, official race partner to the Comrades Marathon, is calling on all South Africans to show their support of the world’s greatest ultra-marathon by sharing their Comrades #GoldMoment. Race enthusiasts who share their Comrades #GoldMoment on social media, either in the run up to the race or on race day, stand the chance to win one of twenty Coca-Cola hampers.

The Comrades Marathon isn’t just about the top ten race finishers who receive a gold medal. It’s about the excitement and anticipation experienced by a first time Comrades runner standing on the starting line, the feeling of satisfaction when reaching your goal time, the rush of relief as you spot your loved ones on route or the comradery when helping a fellow runner over the finish line. These are the gold moments that celebrate the human spirit on which the Comrades Marathon is built. Continue reading

The highly-anticipated HSBC Cape Town Sevens tournament will take place on the weekend of 10-11 December 2016. World Rugby on Wednesday announced the dates for the 10 global destinations that will comprise the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

The inaugural event was hugely popular with fans last December, with all tickets at the iconic Cape Town Stadium sold out and a capacity crowd cheering on the Blitzboks in their final victory over Argentina.

SA Rugby plans to announce details of ticket sales for the second HSBC Cape Town Sevens in June, shortly after the Castle Lager Incoming Series between the Springboks and Ireland.

Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, welcomed the announcement and confirmed that the smooth running of the second ever HSBC Cape Town Sevens is well underway. Continue reading

South Africa’s Craig Joubert will on Saturday become only the third referee in history to officiate his 100thVodacom Super Rugby match when he takes charge of the clash between the Vodacom Bulls and Emirates Lions at Loftus Versfeld.

Only Steve Walsh (111 matches) and South Africa’s Jonathan Kaplan (107) have achieved this remarkable feat.

This milestone will contribute to a memorable year for Joubert, who is one five South African referees named on the 12-member panel to officiate at the Olympic Games in Rio in August.

It will also add another highlight to Joubert’s illustrious career, which includes officiating the 2011 Rugby World Cup final in New Zealand, as well as three Vodacom Super Rugby finals, in 2010, 2013 and 2014.

“I would like to congratulate Craig on this outstanding achievement,” said SA Rugby President Mr. Oregan Hoskins. Continue reading

On Saturday 28th May local neighbours Paul Roos and Paarl Boys’ High lock horns at the Markotter fields for the 6th edition of Premier Interschools for 2016. Paul Roos will look to even up the score after having lost against Paarl Boys in 2015. The Paarl outfit is however on a winning streak of 30 odd games having last lost a game at the end of 2014 season. They are currently the No 1 ranked school in South Africa and it will take some doing to put one over on them. However, if a side has the tools and ability to achieve this, it most certainly is the Paul Roos team. They have a solid pack of forwards and a mercurial backline with plenty of playmakers. Pivot and SA Schools player Damian Willemse is the key man in the Paul Roos backline together with flight of foot fullback Joshua Vermeulen. Who can all cause havoc in any defence. Continue reading

This from lionsworld.co.za forum:

Emirates Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies will undergo an operation on his fractured finger on Tuesday and should be ready to play 3-4 weeks.

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