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Former Springbok Bryan Habana and Mike Sharman, co-founder of Retroviral Digital Communications, have launched Retroactive, a new creative digital sports marketing agency.

The new agency will manage fully integrated digital marketing campaigns for customised sport sponsorships and events, combined with its strategic, creative, digital and analytical capabilities that will drive measurable business growth for clients.

“Sport truly transcends all boundaries, in South Africa, and around the world, yet we feel it is the most underutilised brand engagement opportunity available,” says Sharman. “Historically, brands have tended to sponsor a particular sport because the CEO or CMO happens to enjoy or participate in it. Doing so has meant that they’ve missed the opportunity to use sports sponsorship to address or achieve a strategic business or communications objective.”

“Sponsorship for sponsorship’s sake seldom achieves the full potential that a strong sports marketing campaign can deliver, and we have seen that a strong campaign that connects the right athlete and sport with the right audience can achieve exceptional results. We’re inspired to achieve great results for clients, and we’re excited about the potential in this industry – which is why we’ve launched Retroactive.”

According to research from Momentum Worldwide, sports fans feel increasingly ambivalent toward brands in sports events. Over a third of respondents said that sport is the most important thing in their life. However approximately half of fans agree that sponsors don’t have sports’ best interest at heart, and over 80% believe that sponsors never consider the fans. This is where the opportunity lies for Retroactive.

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Eastern Province took top honours in the Iqhawe Week at the Bill Jardine Stadium in Johannesburg on Thursday as they defeated the Golden Lions 18-10 in a competitive final match, which brought down the curtain on an exciting 2018 tournament.

The boys from the Eastern Cape started the clash strongly with a try by Serue Serue and penalty goal by Wessie Odendaal earning them an 11-0 lead.

Hosts, the Golden Lions, bounced back with intent after the break, as they retained possession and ran hard on attack, and it paid off as they managed to reduce the deficit to 11-10 late in the match thanks to converted try by Mzwandile Dube and a penalty goal.

The home side had an opportunity to force their way into the lead with another penalty goal, but the attempt was unsuccessful.

Eastern Province, in turn, held their nerve late in the match with Serue crossing the tryline for the second time on the stroke of fulltime, which sealed the victory for them.

The Griffons delivered a strong second-half showing to outplay Griquas 40-17 after the teams entered the break level at 12-12. Such was the high quality of their attack they scored six tries, with Marcus Stols contributing a brace, while Daniel Crouwkamp kept the scoreboard ticking with five conversions.

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The Toyota Cheetahs and Isuzu Southern Kings will look to finish their second trip to Europe on a winning note this weekend as they line up against Edinburgh and Benetton respectively in their round six Guinness PRO14 clashes.

The Toyota Cheetahs will be highly-motivated to register their first victory of the season when they face Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Friday after a frustrating spell in their last three games, in which they squandered their lead, which left them winless.

They will, however, face a tough challenge from the hosts, who have won both of their home matches this season, albeit by small margins, and who will want to build momentum after winning only two of their five matches.

The teams have met only once before in the competition, and the Toyota Cheetahs were 33-13 victors in that encounter in Bloemfontein, which will fuel their determination to win. The fact that the Toyota Cheetahs are the only team in the competition that have yet to register a victory will add to their motivation.

The presence of a handful of South Africans in the Edinburgh squad, including Pierre Schoeman (currently suspended), Duhan van der Merwe and Jaco van der Walt, is expected to spice up the clash.

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Note editors: Media can now download a rights-free audio clips featuring Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard. To download the rights free clip, please click here.

Handré Pollard is looking forward to playing for the Springboks against the All Blacks in front of a capacity crowd at Loftus Versfeld, the No 10 said on Tuesday.

Pollard and his provincial and national team mate Jesse Kriel spoke to the media at their Pretoria hotel on Tuesday afternoon, and both marvelled at the prospect of playing in front of a capacity crowd on Saturday, in the final round of this year’s Castle Lager Ruby Championship.

Both players were part of the victorious Springbok side that scored a famous away win over the All Blacks in Wellington three weeks ago. Siya Kolisi and his team mates managed to also beat the Wallabies last weekend in Port Elizabeth, giving the Springboks some good momentum going into the much-anticipated Loftus clash.

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Cheslin Kolbe (wing) and Sikhumbuzo Notshe (No 8) will make their run-on debuts for the Springboks against the Wallabies in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, when the two teams meet in the penultimate round of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

The inclusion of Kolbe on the right wing and Notshe in the pack are two of four personnel changes to the Springbok starting team that beat the All Blacks in an epic clash two weeks ago in Wellington, New Zealand.

Kolbe made his Springbok debut in Brisbane three weeks ago and was sent on as an early replacement against the All Blacks in Wellington the following week, scoring a vital try early in the second half.

Warren Whiteley sustained a groin injury earlier in the week, which has ruled him out of action for this Saturday, paving the way for Notshe to earn his first start for the Springboks.

Jesse Kriel, who started at right wing in Wellington, moves back to outside centre. Kriel is set to partner the strong running Andre Esterhuizen in a revamped Springbok midfield as a result of the injuries to Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am.

Up front there is a rotation at loosehead prop between Tendai Mtawarira and Steven Kitshoff, who on this occasion will provide impact off the bench. The rest of the starting line-up is unchanged, with Mtawarira set to make his 106th Test match appearance for the Springboks on Saturday.

There are however some tweaks to the replacement bench. Marco van Staden comes into the match-day squad as replacement for Francois Louw, and Embrose Papier is now the back-up scrumhalf in place of Ross Cronje. Furthermore, the versatile Damian Willemse returns to the bench.

“Cheslin has been very impressive since he joined the squad a few weeks ago and now he gets a deserved opportunity to start in a big Test,” said SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus.

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There are eight changes to the DHL Western Province starting line-up against Cell C Sharks at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

Five changes are in the forward pack and three are in the backline as DHL Western Province look to make it five consecutive Currie Cup victories in a match that kicks off at 14h00 on Saturday.

Captain Chris van Zyl, flank Kobus van Dyk and No.8 Juarno Augustus are the only forwards remaining who started in the 38-12 victory against Tafel Lager Griquas last week.

Ali Vermaak, Scarra Ntubeni and Michael Kumbirai form a new front row, with Caylib Oosthuizen, Chad Solomon and Carlu Sadie on the replacements bench.

JD Schickerling starts alongside Van Zyl at lock, while Augustus and Van Dyk are joined by Ernst van Rhyn in the loose trio, with Chris Massyn among the replacements.

Scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, wing SP Marais and fullback Dillyn Leyds are all back in the starting line-up, with Herschel Jantjies and JJ Engelbrecht set to provide impact in the second half.

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The Isuzu Southern Kings and Toyota Cheetahs will have their sights set on building momentum when they travel to Wales for the fifth round of the Guinness PRO14 this weekend, after an impressive step-up last week.

The Cardiff Blues host the Toyota Cheetahs in the Welsh capital on Friday, and on Saturday, 2017 runners up, the Scarlets, take on the Isuzu Southern Kings in Llanelli.

The Free Staters – whose 39-39 draw against Ulster in round four marked the highest level score in the competition’s history – will target their first win of season against the Cardiff Blues. Both sides succumbed to defeats in their first three matches, but will be inspired by vastly improved showings last week.

The hosts come off a comprehensive 37-13 victory against Ulster at home, which marked their first win of the season, while the Toyota Cheetahs were in the lead until the final minute against Ulster before a late try saw the match end in a draw.

The last two encounters between the sides were thrilling, with the Cardiff Blues winning 25-20 at home and the Toyota Cheetahs winning 29-27 in the return match, and with both sides determined to gain momentum in the competition, this clash could prove to be another cracker.

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The three-year cycle for the Coca-Cola Schools of Excellence class of 2015 came to an exciting end at Arcadia Secondary School in Port Elizabeth this past weekend in what marked the last of rugby three rugby festivals since June.

The Central festival, which featured six schools – Leseding, Kutlwanong, Tsotsoletso, Sehunelo, Concordia, and Homevale High Schools – was hosted at the Bronville Community Stadium in Welkom in June.

This was followed a week later by the Gauteng festival at Queens High School in Johannesburg, where 10 schools from the Limpopo Blue Bulls, Blue Bulls, Pumas, Golden Lions, Valke and Leopards rugby unions took to the field.

The Eastern Cape festival, which took place this past weekend, included eight schools – Ndzondelelo, Chatty, Arcadia, Beaufort West, Gerrit du Plessis, Haarlem, Humansdorp and Solomon Mahlangu – with the event bringing down the curtain on the three-year cycle for the current crop of players.

The Coca-Cola Schools of Excellence programme, which is facilitated by SA Rugby’s Rugby Department, was launched in 2012 with the objective to provide a functional and measurable rugby assistance and skills development programme, which could also serve as a pathway for the players to the Coca-Cola Youth Week tournaments.

A total of 40 schools participated in the last cycle of the project in partnership with the respective rugby unions’ development departments and officers.

In the first year of the programme, capacity building, sending coaches on courses and the supply of equipment were the focus areas, while the players were the focus in the second year, with the main elements being conditioning education and working with the players to improve their fitness levels.

The final year of the programme, in turn, zoomed in on the on-field aspects and getting the children to play as much rugby as possible.

Port Elizabeth is a special place for the Springboks and the team is excited about facing the Wallabies on Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the Friendly City, according to Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick.

Stick, who hails from Port Elizabeth, and Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk spoke to the media on Monday afternoon at the team hotel.

Saturday’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test is the penultimate match of this year’s competition and the Springboks will complete their fixtures next week when they face the All Blacks at a sold-out Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

The Boks are unbeaten in Test matches at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and Stick said the Boks are looking forward to once more playing in front of the passionate Eastern Cape crowd. The Springbok have won four of their five Tests at the stadium, while the remaining game ended in a draw for a 80 % win record at the 46 000-seater venue.

“The people of the Eastern Cape really love their rugby and they’ve given us unbelievable support whenever the team has played here. There’s a real buzz in the place already,” said Stick, who is a former coaching staff member of the PE-based Southern Kings.

Meanwhile the Springbok squad was bolstered on Sunday by the arrival of a number of players who played in the weekend’s Currie Cup and other provincial matches.

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DHL Western Province and the Cell C Sharks continued to stake a strong claim for Currie Cup home semi-finals as they delivered another round of fine performances this weekend to seal their fourth round of bonus-point victories.

The iCOLLEGE Pumas also kept alive their faint semi-final hopes, as they succeeded in earning a bonus-point victory in the competition sponsored by Nashua and DirectAxis Financial Services.

DHL Western Province were dominant in their display against Tafel Lager Griquas in Cape Town on Saturday, with the side cruising to a 33-7 halftime lead en route to their 38-12 victory. The win pushed them to the top of the log above the Cell C Sharks on points’ difference.

The Capetonians fired from the outset and sealed their bonus-point try by the 24th minute, while Sergeal Petersen contributed a brace to the team’s total of six tries. They supported this with a solid defensive effort to limit the visitors to two tries.

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