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An unchanged Springbok starting side will take on Wales in the final Test match of the 2018 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour to the United Kingdom and Europe in Cardiff on Saturday.

The Test at the Principality Stadium, the fourth of the Springboks’ tour to the northern hemisphere, kicks off at 17h20 (19h20 SA time).

It will be the first time this season the Springboks run out with an unchanged line-up. There is however one change amongst the replacements, where Eben Etzebeth is set to provide impact off the bench. The experienced lock has recovered from his calf problem and comes into the 23-man squad in place of Lood de Jager.

The rest of the Springbok match squad that defeated Scotland 26-20 last Saturday in Edinburgh is unchanged for the final tour match.

Duane Vermeulen (No 8), Pieter-Steph du Toit (No 7 flank) and Siya Kolisi (No 6 flank and captain) will yet again form the loose trio, Franco Mostert and RG Snyman the lock combination while Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx and Steven Kitshoff will pack down in the front row.

Jesse Kriel will play in his 40th Test match for the Springboks and he lines up next to Damian de Allende in the midfield. Handré Pollard and Embrose Papier are the halfbacks and the back three consists of Willie le Roux (No 15) and speedsters Sbu Nkosi (No 14) and Aphiwe Dyantyi (No 11).

Following an agonising one-point loss to England at Twickenham at the start of the tour, the Springboks have subsequently gained hard-fought victories over France in Paris and Scotland.

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The Toyota Cheetahs and Isuzu Southern Kings will be determined to make their presence felt when they host visitors from Italy and Ireland this weekend as the Guinness PRO14 resumes after a two week break.

The Free Staters suffered a heart-breaking 30-26 defeat against Munster in their last outing following victory against the Cardiff Blues the previous week, while the men from Port Elizabeth come off two seven-point defeats in a row, which they will be determined to bounce back from when they return to the field.

The Toyota Cheetahs host Benetton in Bloemfontein in the only match on Saturday, while the Isuzu Southern Kings take on Connacht in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

In the clash at the Toyota Stadium, the Free Staters will look to build on their encouraging win record against Italian opposition, showing two victories in three matches, when they host Benetton.

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Springbok Women’s assistant coach Lungisa Kama said they are determined to finish their European Tour on a high note when they meet Italy in Prato on Sunday in the last of their four matches.

The team arrived in Italy on Sunday after going down 17-5 against Spain in Villajoyosa on Saturday.

This match followed their tour opener against the UK Armed Forces in Richmond, which they won 31-12, and a Test against Wales in Cardiff in which they suffered a 19-5 defeat.

“The players are still disappointed about the defeat against Spain, but they working very hard at training for our final tour match against Italy,” said Kama.

“Everyone has settled in well in Italy, although the conditions are different. Spain was a little warmer, but it is not too much of an adjustment for us, as these conditions are similar to that which we experienced in the lead-up to our opening two matches.”

Kama expected a demanding Test against Italy at the Enrico Chersoni Stadium, saying they boast a balanced side with quality players.

“Italy have a lot of experience, especially since they play in the Six Nations competition,” said Kama.

“And they have a good pack of forwards with skilful backs. So it is going to be a good test for us. That said, this is our final match on tour and we are determined to finish up on a high note.”

Kama added: “We learnt hard lessons about the importance of converting our opportunities into points in our last two matches, so that is one of the key areas for us this week.”

The match will kick off at 15h30 SA Time (14h30 local time).

Vodacom Super Rugby’s geographical appeal and footprint has been highlighted with the release by SANZAAR of an updated tournament schedule for 2019, that will kick-off on Friday 15 February when the Chiefs host the Highlanders in Hamilton, New Zealand. The Final will take place on Saturday 6 July.

The updated schedule includes the match venues, that have now all been confirmed by the teams, and the respective kick-off times.

SANZAAR CEO, Andy Marinos, said: “As there will be no June inbound international matches in 2019, due to Rugby World Cup in Japan later in the year, Vodacom Super Rugby will run uninterrupted for 21 weeks from February to July.

“This is a huge plus for the tournament next year and there will also be a uniform start to the tournament in Round 1 with a full round of seven matches to kick-off Vodacom Super Rugby.”

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KFC joins the exciting inaugural Mzansi Super League (MSL) as proud sponsors of the tournament’s ball boys and girls taking place from the 16th of November to the 16th of December 2018.

Through this partnership, KFC reinforces its commitment to providing platforms which bring KFC Mini-Cricket kids closer to their cricketing heroes through its KFC Mini-Cricket programme and by introducing young boys and girls to the game, now on a global stage.

Thabisa Mkhwanazi, KFC Public Affairs Director says, “We are excited to be part of the Mzansi Super League as the KFC Mini-Cricket kids will get the opportunity to step up to the crease and represent the programme in South Africa and beyond. Through this, we hope the kids will continue to enjoy getting active and learn key cricketing and life skills from their local and international heroes who will be battling it out on the field.”

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Springbok captain Siya Kolisi wants to see his team deliver a top-notch performance over the full 80 minutes when they take on Scotland on Saturday afternoon at BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh.

The match – the third Test of the 2018 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour of the United Kingdom and France – kicks off at 17h20 local time (19h20 SA time).

In both of the previous two tour matches, against England and France, the South Africans finished strongly. Kolisi said he would like to see another good performance from the Boks against a formidable Scottish side that boast 10 wins from their last 11 home Tests.

“The coaching team, and especially Aled (Walters, Head of Athletic Performance) prepare us well, and Coach Rassie (Erasmus) wants to make sure that we are physically and mentally ready for the game he wants us to play,” said Kolisi on Friday.

“His knowledge of coaching up here in the northern hemisphere (with Munster) also helps a lot.”

Kolisi said the Boks have to put in a performance that will mirror their best periods in the Tests against England and France.

“We want to improve in every match, but the ultimate goal is to do what we are really capable of over 80 minutes. I know it will come and we will be pushing for it this week,” said Kolisi.

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The leadership of Western Province Rugby has moved to distance themselves from reports of a mooted 25% salary cut for all staff, management and players earning more than R 20 000 a month and related equity participation in the commercial arm of Western Province Rugby.

The proposal, which was tabled by WPRFU Deputy President Zelt Marais, is not the official position of Western Province Rugby and does not have the support of the majority of the WPRFU Executive Committee or the Board.

While there are significant financial challenges in the current landscape, Western Province Rugby’s leadership moved to allay the concerns of staff, players and management as the proposal is not an option that the majority believe will be to the benefit of the Group in the long term.

Western Province Rugby currently has a commercial turnaround strategy in place and remains committed to the process adopted.

Although cash flow remains a challenge for Western Province Rugby and other rugby unions at present, the WPRFU are in the unique position of owning a number of unencumbered, high-value properties, which are intended to be utilised for the financial benefit of the Group.

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The Springbok team for Saturday’s third Test of the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour against Scotland in Edinburgh shows six changes, including two personnel changes and two positional switches in the starting lineup, in what promises to be another very tough encounter for the South Africans.

Duane Vermeulen moves back to No 8 in place of the injured Warren Whiteley, while Pieter-Steph du Toit will pack down at blindside flank again, moving from lock, where he started against England and France.

Upfront, RG Snyman will start in the second row for the fourth time in his short international career, due to a decision not to rush Eben Etzebeth back from the injury he sustained against England, and Du Toit’s shift from lock to loose forward.

The only other change to the starting team is at scrumhalf, where Embrose Papier will earn his first starting cap for the Springboks. With Faf de Klerk released back to his club in England, Ivan van Zyl comes into the match-23 as replacement scrumhalf, while Lood de Jager will provide lock cover on the bench.

Whiteley is struggling with a calf strain and because he also won’t be ready for next week’s last tour match in Cardiff in Wales, it was decided to withdraw him from the rest of the tour.

The Scots have built a formidable home record over the past two seasons under coach Gregor Townsend. Since the start of 2017, they have lost only one of their nine Tests at BT Murrayfield, which was last year against New Zealand. During this time, they’ve also beaten Ireland, England, Wales, France and Australia at home.

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The final line-up for the 2019 Gold Cup has been confirmed following a nailbiting conclusion to the domestic club season in the Boland town of Worcester on Saturday.

An intercept try deep into injury time gave Onelogix United Bulk Worcester Villagers a 36-29 win over defending champions Roses United in the Boland Grand Challenge final, held in front of an estimated 12,000 fans at one of the country’s most iconic and historic venues, Esselen Park.

Villagers’ victory brought the curtain down on one of the longest club seasons on record, with both the Boland and Western Province leagues, at one stage threatened with cancellation, only kicking off in June due to the drought that devastated the Western Cape.

The 2018 season was also one of the most memorable in years, with large crowds commonplace across the country as club and community rugby showed a remarkable resurgence in popularity.

The newly-crowned Boland champions, established in 1883 and celebrating their 136th anniversary in 2019, will having the honour of being the oldest club in next year’s Gold Cup.

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Nolusindiso Booi believes the Springbok Women are on the right track as they prepare to take on Spain in the second Test on their European tour on Saturday.

After going down 19-5 in a spirited performance against Wales last weekend, the Springbok Women’s captain was confident that her charges would be better prepared mentally for Saturday’s Test at Campo de Rugby in Villajoyosa.

“The performance against Wales was good from a confidence perspective; it showed we are on the right track,” said Booi.

“It was our first Test in a few years and we had a new team, so hopefully we can build on that performance against Spain.

“With most of the players having had a taste of Test rugby against Wales, I think we will be better prepared for the challenge ahead because we know what to expect and what we need to do as a team.”

The Springbok Women started their preparations for the clash against Spain on Monday after a travel and recovery day on Sunday, and Booi said they had settled in well after making the journey from Cardiff.

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