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Pic: zimbio.com

Pic: zimbio.com

The Springbok Sevens playmaker Rosko Specman is determined to help his team to a convincing performance in this weekend’s HSBC Paris Sevens tournament and is looking forward to play with the Blitzboks again.

Specman was in fine form in previous tournaments, but was rested for the previous two tournaments of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and missed the Hong Kong and Singapore events.

Coach Neil Powell included the playmaker for Paris, the second last tournament in the 2015/16 series.

“I am very happy to be here and I would like to thank the coach and management for giving me this opportunity to travel to Paris to play in this tournament,” Specman said.

“To be back in the squad and playing is wonderful. It is not nice sitting at home and watch the boys play, but I understand the bigger scheme of things. The coach needed to give everybody an opportunity to see if they can add value with the Olympics in mind.” Continue reading

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 10:  during the Junior Springbok World Rugby U20 Championship squad announcement at SARU House on May 10, 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – MAY 10: during the Junior Springbok World Rugby U20 Championship squad announcement at SARU House on May 10, 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron on Tuesday named his 28-man squad that will do battle at World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Manchester, England, from 7 to 25 June.

Eastern Province centre Jeremy Ward will lead the team in the showpiece, while his provincial team-mate Junior Pokomela and 2015 SA Schools captain, DHL Western Province lock Ernst van Rhyn, have been named as vice-captains.

The squad features two players who were members of the Junior Springbok squad that finished third at the international showpiece in Italy last year, namely centre JT Jackson and scrumhalf Marco Jansen van Vuren. Continue reading

Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, urged his team to make the most of the opportunities presented to them in the next two tournaments of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

The Blitzboks arrived in France in Monday for the HSBC Paris Sevens to be played at the weekend and will then travel to London for the tenth and final tournament of the 2015/16 series at Twickenham.

Powell feel players producing the goods this weekend can reap other rewards as well.

“It is a difficult two weeks coming up,” said Powell.

“It is the last two tournaments of a long season and in the past we did not perform to expectation or potential in those. Then the focus will shift to the Olympic Games just after that, so you want to finish the series with good performances. Continue reading

DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck has named a 25-man touring squad for the Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Sunwolves in Singapore this weekend.

Outside back Khanyo Ngcukana and prop Alistair Vermaak are the two additions to the squad for the historic first-ever DHL Stormers game in Singapore.

Fleck said that the bye week allowed the players to recharge, and added that they are determined to make the most of their trip to Singapore both on and off the field.

“The players enjoyed the break and the week off has allowed a lot of the players to get rid of some niggles.

“We are the first DHL Stormers side to play there [Singapore], so it is a similar situation to when we travelled to Argentina. It is a long way to travel and we are going to enjoy the sights and sounds of Singapore, but we know we have a job to do and we need to come back with a win,” he said.

Following their narrow loss to the Waratahs at DHL Newlands, Fleck wants to see a convincing performance from his side in Singapore. Continue reading

STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 06: (Front row) Justin Geduld, Seabelo Senatla, Philip Snyman (c), Neil Powell (coach), Kyle Brown and Cecil Afrika. (Back row) Rosko Specman, Dylan Sage, Tim Agaba, Ryan Kankowski, Ruhan Nel, Francois Hougaard and Kwagga Smith during the Springbok Sevens team announcement and media day at Markotter Club House, Paul Roos school on May 06 2016 in Stellenbosch, South Africa (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)Spring

STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA – MAY 06: (Front row) Justin Geduld, Seabelo Senatla, Philip Snyman (c), Neil Powell (coach), Kyle Brown and Cecil Afrika. (Back row) Rosko Specman, Dylan Sage, Tim Agaba, Ryan Kankowski, Ruhan Nel, Francois Hougaard and Kwagga Smith during the Springbok Sevens team announcement and media day at Markotter Club House, Paul Roos school on May 06 2016 in Stellenbosch, South Africa (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)Spring

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell is confident that the four changes made to his side for the upcoming HSBC Paris tournament will help the team achieve the goals set for this tournament in the French capital and the remainder of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens series. Francois Hougaard, Rosko Specman, Philip Snyman and Dylan Sage are the new faces in the squad from the last tournament in Singapore, with Snyman also taking the captaincy role over from Kyle Brown.

The Blitzboks depart South Africa for Paris later today and Powell feels his team will give good account of themselves, providing they stick to the processes and structures in place.

“We are looking to possibly rotate the team after Paris for the London event, but for now we only look at next week. I am happy with the team we selected for the Paris leg,” Powell said.

“We have a strong pool in Paris playing England, Australia and Brazil and that is good for us, as this is something we will probably encounter in Rio in a couple of months. We will try to keep our focus on our structures and processes and not the results as such. If we stick to what we do well, the results will come.” Continue reading

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell named Francois Hougaard, Rosko Specman, Philip Snyman and Dylan Sage as the changes to his squad that will travel to France on Sunday to contest the HSBC Paris Sevens, to be played at the Stade Jean Bouin in the French capital from 13 to 15 May.

They replace Siviwe Soyizwapi, Branco du Preez, Chris Dry and Stephan Dippenaar respectively from the side that won bronze in Singapore last month.

Hougaard returns to the Springboks Sevens team following a stint with Worcester Warriors and Snyman, who picked up a head-knock in Hong Kong, now fully fit and again takes over from Dry, who replaced him in Singapore.

The return of Rosko Specman, who last played in Vancouver, means that Du Preez misses out on the French tournament. Sage also last played in Vancouver and missed out in Hong Kong and Singapore when Dippenaar was given a run for the first time in the current series.

Powell explained that he is looking to rotate a number of players after Paris, with some changes expected again for the HSBC London Sevens in two weeks’ time.

“It is important for us to do well and try and win the series, but we also need to look at the welfare of regulars with Rio in mind, so I am planning to replace a number of these guys travelling to Paris for the London tournament,” Powell said. Continue reading

The Junior Springbok training squad on Friday concluded the first phase of their preparations for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship with a tough hit-out against the DHL Western Province Institute.

The two teams went hammer and tongs in windy conditions with the WP youngsters providing SA U20 coach Dawie Theron’s side with a proper test four days before the final 28-man squad is named to travel to England in a few weeks’ time.

“Perhaps the first two of our chukka-sessions went too well and some of the guys may have been complacent today, while our handling and lineouts were not good enough,” said Theron after his team’s training session in Stellenbosch. Continue reading

The Vodacom Bulls will be chasing a fourth away win when they face the Brumbies on Friday morning at 11h45 (SA time) in the GIO Stadium in Canberra. This will be their second fixture of their three-match Australian trip.

Success for the Pretoria side will allow them to leapfrog the DHL Stormers as leaders on the South African conference standings. They have named an unchanged side for the Brumbies clash.
As things stand, the DHL Stormers have amassed 29 points from nine matches, while the Vodacom Bulls have 28 from eight games.

The DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions are two of four teams who are enjoying byes this coming weekend. The Jaguares from Argentina and Australian side the Rebels, are the other two teams who are not in action.

The remaining three South African sides are all involved in Saturday fixtures. The Waratahs welcome the Toyota Cheetahs to the Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday morning, where the two sides will kick off at 11h45 SA time. This will be the Bloemfontein side’s third away match in a row. Continue reading

Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images.

Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images.

Boland champions and Gold Cup qualifiers Onelogix United Bulk Worcester Villagers had to dig deep to beat neighbours and arch-rivals Young Hamiltons 26-20 last weekend in a match played in front of one of the largest recorded crowds to ever watch a club league match in South Africa.

The 11,347 fans who packed Esselen Park in Worcester for the much-anticipated showdown were treated to a thrilling encounter between two clubs with a combined age of 201 years – Villagers having been founded in 1883 and Hammies in 1948.

The match comes just a fortnight after Alberton Rugby Club in Gauteng drew a crowd of 16,784 for a provincial-club double header, with the Xerox Golden Lions playing the Vodacom Blue Bulls in a curtain-raiser to a Pirates Grand Challenge league match between Alberton and Union.

“It’s very clear looking at these massive crowd figures that club rugby is thriving around the country,” said SARU CEO Jurie Roux. Continue reading

Kobus van Dyk will make his DHL Western Province debut against the Cell C Sharks XV at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban this weekend.

The 22-year-old utility forward comes into the team to replace the injured Tertius Daniller in one of three changes to the starting line-up as DHL Western Province aim for their fourth consecutive victory in a match that kicks off at 17h30 on Saturday.

The other changes see Godlen Masimla reclaim his place at scrumhalf after recovering from concussion, while Meyer Swanepoel gets an opportunity to start at flank with Jurie van Vuuren moving back to lock.

DHL Western Province coach John Dobson knows that his team will have to produce an 80-minute performance if they are to continue their winning ways.

“We have had three very hard games to start and we have another one this week against the Cell C Sharks XV. Continue reading

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