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DHL Western Province have been bolstered by a number of players returning from injury for their clash with the Leopards in Potchefstroom on Saturday.

Prop Wilco Louw, lock Jean Kleyn, utility back Jaco Taute and flyhalf Robert du Preez will all make their first appearances of the season for DHL Western Province, while prop Alistair Vermaak is also back in the mix after doing duty for the DHL Stormers.

In a completely new front row Louw starts at tighthead prop with Frans van Wyk on the replacements bench, while Vermaak slots in at loosehead in place of JP Smith and Cullen Collopy gets an opportunity at hooker with both Chad Solomon and Mike Willemse ruled out through injury.

Kleyn returns to partner captain Chris van Zyl at lock, with Jurie van Vuuren on the replacements bench, and there is a shuffle in the loose trio with Beyers de Villiers coming in at openside flank alongside Luke Stringer and Kobus van Dyk. Continue reading

SA Rugby has welcomed the appointment of Ilhaam Groenewald, its first female Executive Council member, along with the returning Monde Tabata as independent members of the Exco.

Mrs Groenewald and Mr Tabata were elected last week and will attend their first meeting of the newly constituted Exco in Cape Town next week.

Mrs Groenewald succeeds Mr Mputumi Damani as one of two independent members of the 12-person Executive Council. Mr Damani was warmly thanked for his contribution since being elected in 2011.

“My passion is sport management and development so when I was asked if I was happy to have my name put forward, I had no hesitation,” said Mrs Groenewald. “You cannot work in sports administration in the Western Cape and not know about rugby so I have very good insight into the work that SA Rugby does. I have also received very positive support from Stellenbosch University management.” Continue reading

Springbok Sevens enforcer Rachelle Geldenhuys will add grunt and experience to the SA Select Women’s Sevens squad for the Roma Sevens on 10 and 11 June at the Acqua Acetosa Stadium in Italy, along with exciting young players Megan Comley and Christelene Steinhobel.

SA Select Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel on Wednesday confirmed a squad of 11 players for the tournament, rather than the traditional 12, which features the Kenya, Italy, Venezuela, Paris 7s and Le Spinose teams.

Veroeshka Grain, Zenay Jordaan (both nursing knee injuries), Libbie Janse van Rensburg (back injury), and Unathi Mali (writing exams), all of whom played in the invitational tournament in France last month, were not available for selection.

“We are facing a challenge with injuries at the moment and Unathi is writing exams, so we have been forced to name a squad of only 11 players,” said Dazel. Continue reading

Current World Rugby’s Sevens Player of the Year, Werner Kok, will make a first return to the playing field this year at the Roma Sevens as part of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy side that will travel to Italy next week.

Kok, who sustained a knee injury at the Emirates Dubai Sevens in December last year, missed the remainder of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, but now gets a final chance to push for inclusion in the team to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio later this year.

Also amongst the selections by coach Marius Schoeman for the tournament in Rome from 10-11 June are Frankie Horne and Warrick Gelant.

Gelant is returning to the sevens fray after good performances for the Vodacom Bulls in the Vodacom Super Rugby competition earlier this year, while Horne, a veteran of 68 World Series tournaments, will make a last ditch effort to crack the Rio squad following ankle surgery earlier this year.

Also included in the side are regular Blitzboks Stephan Dippenaar, Branco du Preez, Sandile Ncgobo and Siviwe Soyizwapi, while Schoeman also named newcomers Luke van der Smit, Donovan du Randt and Ryan Oosthuizen in the side. Ncgobo will lead the side. Continue reading

Pic: sacricketmag.com

Pic: sacricketmag.com

Wayne Parnell claimed four major prizes including the ultimate accolade as Cape Cobras’ player of the year at the awards-ceremony of the Western Province Cricket Association on Monday at the WPCC in Claremont.

Parnell was also named the Cape Cobras Momentum One-day Player of the Year, the Ram Slam T20 Challenge player of the year and the Cape Cobras players’ player of the year.

“I have not seen Wayne play this well for many summers. It is a just reward for good, consistent performances,” said Paul Adams, the Cape Cobras coach.

Parnell ended with 16 wickets at an economy-rate of 4.83 in the Momentum One Day Cup series, slammed 437 runs at an average of 47.40 as Ram Slam T20 Challenge opener and also took eight wickets in the T20-format.

Although he did not claim the SuperSport series player of the year award, he did average 48.14 with the bat and captured 23 wickets in five matches, including three consecutive five-wicket hauls. He claimed 12 wickets in the penultimate match of the season against the Sunfoil Dolphins, and ripped through the visitors with 7-51 in the first innings. Continue reading

Pieter-Steph du Toit has been withdrawn from the Springbok squad after a scan revealed on Monday that he has suffered a grade two hamstring tear over the weekend, with Franco Mostert being called up as replacement.

Du Toit was sent for a scan on Monday, which confirmed the extent of the injury. He has been ruled out of action for between two and six weeks.

Mostert, of the Emirates Lions, is set to join the squad on Tuesday in Stellenbosch. He was initially was named in the SA ‘A’ squad for the two-match series against the England Saxons.

Cell C Sharks lock Stephan Lewies, who has one Test cap to his name, will replace Mostert in the SA A squad.

Other players who did not participate in Monday afternoon’s first field session in Stellenbosch were centre Jesse Kriel and prop Trevor Nyakane. Kriel has a bruised sternum and will be managed accordingly during the week, while Nyakane will undergo a scan to his shoulder.

The Springboks have a full training programme on Tuesday, which includes a gym session in the morning as well as two field sessions.

Adriaan Strauss will become the 57th Springbok captain after the Vodacom Bulls hooker was named to lead South Africa in the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Ireland, which starts on 11 June in Cape Town.

Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, made the announcement on Monday afternoon in Stellenbosch, where the Boks are preparing for the first Test.

The popular Strauss hooker follows in the footsteps of long-serving Springbok captain, Jean de Villiers as well as Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger and Fourie du Preez.

Coetzee said he decided to appoint the captain before the first training session.

“Adriaan’s leadership qualities are impressive and well-established and he has the respect of his team mates on and off the field,” said Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.

“He enjoys the respect of all the players and he has always fulfilled a leadership role wherever he played, since coming through the junior national structures. Continue reading

Johan Ackermann has been appointed as head coach of a strong SA ‘A’ team, featuring six players with Springbok Test experience, for their two-match series against the England Saxons next month. He will be assisted by Chumani Booi and Abe Davids.

Five of the six players with Test experience are in the pack. They are Oupa Mohoje, Nizaam Carr, Coenie Oosthuizen, Vincent Koch and Marcel van der Merwe. At the back, Piet van Zyl will provide knowledge of international rugby.

The national selectors also picked seven players who had their first taste of Vodacom Super Rugby this year. They are Lukhanyo Am, Jean-Luc du Preez, Lizo Gqoboka, Ntando Kebe, JD Schickerling, RG Snyman and Leolin Zas.

“Many of the players in the SA ‘A’ squad were considered for the Springboks and will obviously come into consideration in the event of injuries, but we could only select a certain number of players and it will be good to see them get international exposure against a strong England Saxons team,” said Springbok coach Allister Coetzee. Continue reading

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

Continue reading

· 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

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