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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.

The Vodacom Bulls defeated the DHL Stormers 17-13 in a typical, tense South African derby at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening to keep their unbeaten home record in this year’s campaign intact. They also halted a run of four Vodacom Super Rugby losses in a row against their Cape Town rivals.

The two teams were locked at 6-6 at halftime and after the DHL Stormers have managed to close the gap in the second half to just 14-13, an excellent a drop goal by replacement flyhalf Tian Schoeman eventually clinched the match for the Pretoria-side.

As a result of their hard-fought win, the Vodacom Bulls have moved into top place on the African Conference 1 ladder. Although they have the same amount as points as the DHL Stormers, namely 32 points, the Pretoria franchise grabbed first position because of their better points margin.

Africa Conference 2 leaders, the Emirates Lions, consolidated their top-spot by scoring another impressive 52-24 win over the Jaguares in their early Saturday afternoon fixture in Johannesburg.

Meanwhile in Durban, the Cell C Sharks continued with their improved form of late by overpowering the Southern Kings 53-0. The Kings defended much better in the second half and they only conceded two more tries following the home side’s scoring spree of 43 points in the opening stanza. Continue reading

Pic: zimbio.com

Pic: zimbio.com

The Springbok Sevens team finished the 2015/2016 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in second place after ending up as losing finalists in the HSBC London Sevens on Sunday.

Scotland stunned the Blitzboks with a 27-26 win in the final, their first ever title in the series, with a try in the dying seconds of the pulsating match. The Scots had a 10-7 lead at the break, but South Africa overhauled them to lead 26-15 with two minutes to play. Two late tries stunned the South Africans though.

“We are very disappointed in the way we finished it here tonight,” Springbok Sevens captain, Philip Snyman, said afterwards.

“Well done to Scotland who never stopped playing. We were caught napping at the end and paid the price. We also made too many errors. That said, we made the final and finished second overall, so are keen to improve on that with the Olympics the next aim for us.”

Snyman applauded Fiji for winning the series. Continue reading

Paarl Boys High cement top spot

Paarl Boys High confirmed their number one position on the SA Schools rankings after an impressive win against Grey College on Saturday.

The hosts were outstanding at the breakdown but it was their defence which halted the impressive Grey backs that formed the corner stone of their victory.

The hosts were first on the scoreboard through fullback and man of the match, Gianni Lombard, after Grey were trapped for going off their feet. He extended their lead to 6-0 midway through the first half slotting his second penalty.

Grey flyhalf, Christopher Schreuder, succeeded with a penalty of his own minutes later to get the visitors on the score board. Continue reading

The Vodacom Bulls are back from a difficult Australian trip and will be determined to lift their game at Loftus Versfeld and avoid a record fifth straight loss against their fierce southern rivals, the DHL Stormers, when the sides meet in the late Saturday Vodacom Super Rugby fixture. Kick-off is at 19h20.
The men from Pretoria returned home from their Australian trip with only one win from three matches. The Capetonians, on the other hand, travel to the North on the back of a fortuitous draw against the Sunwolves in Singapore last weekend, where a last-gasp converted try salvaged a 17-17 result in the Far East. Another bruising local derby is expected in Pretoria.

Earlier, the Emirates Lions will be looking to consolidate their position at the top of the South African group standings. However, in order to do that they will have to overcome a stiff challenge from Argentine Jaguares. It will be the first local fixture on Saturday, which kicks off at 15h00 at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg. Continue reading

There are just three changes to the DHL Western Province team to take on the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit this weekend.

Following their convincing victory against the EP Kings at City Park, coach John Dobson has been able to maintain some valuable continuity for the match which kicks off at 19h00 at Mbombela Stadium on Friday.

With Grant Hermanus sidelined due to a hip-pointer injury Devon Williams moves to fullback, and his place on the wing is taken by the returning Khanyo Ngcukana, while in midfield Tim Whitehead slots in at outside centre.

The only change in the forward pack sees JD Schickerling make his first appearance of the campaign, with Meyer Swanepoel moving to the replacements bench.

Dobson said that while it is encouraging to have some settled combinations, his team know they are in for a tough examination up in Nelspruit. Continue reading

Damian de Allende will earn his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby cap for the DHL Stormers in the clash with the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld this weekend.

The 24-year-old centre made his debut for the DHL Stormers in 2013, and has since established himself as a key player, winning the 2015 SA Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year award.

De Allende will link up with Johnny Kotze in midfield with co-captain Juan de Jongh sidelined due to a hamstring strain, while Leolin Zas returns from suspension to take Kotze’s place on the wing.

The only other change to the backline which started against the Sunwolves in Singapore sees scrumhalf Nic Groom swop places with Louis Schreuder who starts on the replacements bench.

In the loose trio Schalk Burger will start at No.8, with Nizaam Carr shifting to flank and Rynhardt Elstadt moving to the replacements bench. Continue reading

Note to editors: Please find audio files of Springbok Sevens captain at the HSBC London Sevens, Philip Snyman, available for download. The files are in Afrikaans and English.

The Springbok Sevens captain, Philip Snyman, on Wednesday said the Blitzboks are determined to end the season on a positive note at the HSBC London Sevens tournament to be played at Twickenham this weekend.

South Africa is second on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series log, 14 points behind Fiji and according to Snyman, will offer a determined effort in London on Saturday and Sunday when the 2015/16 series conclude. Continue reading

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