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Fifteen Cell C Sharks players, including the uncapped Sbu Nkosi, André Esterhuizen, Robert du Preez, Cameron Wright, Thomas du Toit and Akker van der Merwe, have been invited to the third and final Springbok alignment camp, in Durban from 22 to 25 April.

The Springbok management are using the three alignment camps to accelerate preparations for the forthcoming international rugby season.

A total of 22 players from the DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions were present at the second camp which took place two weeks ago at the Riverside Resort in Vanderbijlpark situated in the south of Johannesburg, while 12 Vodacom Bulls players attended the first camp at the same venue.

According to Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, the Springbok management is looking forward to linking up with the Durban-based players at final alignment camp.

“We managed to work through a lot of technical detail during our first two camps and the various sessions with the Cell C Sharks players will be equally intensive,” explained Erasmus.

“We saw during the other two camps that the players appreciate the technical discussions and the clarification of our approach for the forthcoming international season, starting with Wales in Washington and the home series against England. Similar to the Vanderbijlpark camps, we will also have a couple of the Cell C Sharks coaches in attendance over the four days in Umhlanga.”

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Junior Springbok coach, Chean Roux, was pleased with his team’s 55-14 victory against Georgia at Paul Roos Gymnasium on Friday, but said there was still a lot of work ahead as they prepare for the World Rugby U20 Championship in the south of France at the end of next month.

The Junior Springboks started the clash with a bang as they ran in three tries in the first 18 minutes and added another two before the break, while they limited Georgia to one for an encouraging 36-7 halftime lead.

The hosts added three more tries in the second half, which saw winger Sihle Njezula and centre Rikus Pretorius touch down twice in the match.

“The scoreboard was pleasing, but there is still a lot of work to do,” said Roux.

“In saying that, it was our first outing as a team playing a full game, and I am pleased that there were no serious injuries.

“I think we did well in the lineouts and we started with the tempo we wanted, but we will continue to work hard in the next couple of days.”

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The Cell C Sharks have named an announced an unchanged starting line-up for a third match in a row for Saturday’s important home clash against the Vodacom Bulls, when the three Du Preez brothers – flyhalf Robert and loose forward twins Jean-Luc and Dan – will make history.

It is the first time in local Vodacom Super Rugby history that three brothers are picked in the same match-23. Dan, who missed out in recent weeks, will start on the bench after recovering from a long-term injury lay-off.

Another set of brothers will also be in action in Durban on Saturday – Vodacom Bulls prop Pierre Schoeman will start for the visitors, while his older brother Juan has been included on the Cell C Sharks’ bench.

Saturday’s encounter in Durban starts at 17h15 and will be televised live on SuperSport 1.

The Durbanites will be buoyed by their recent away win over the Blues in Auckland and their very credible, one-point loss to the Hurricanes in their last tour match in Napier. A lot more is at stake in Saturday’s feature match besides local pride and the league points on offer.

Meanwhile, the Vodacom Bulls have recalled fit-again locks Lood de Jager and RG Snyman to their starting team, with Jason Jenkins moving to the bench. Andre Warner was also declared fit and replaces Embrose Papier as reserve scrumhalf.

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SA Rugby has made available digital and print versions of the World Rugby’s Laws of the Game Rugby Union 2018 as the school and club season gathers momentum.

The electronic version can be downloaded at http://www.sareferees.com/laws/law-book/, while hard copies can be purchased from SA Rugby at R65 (excluding VAT and postage), and at The Springbok Experience Rugby Museum at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

The 174-page guide contains the laws related to senior rugby, global law trials for 2018, law variations for Under-19, Sevens, 10-a-side and primary school rugby, as well as important information on scrum law variations in age-group rugby.

It is unique to South Africa in that it also contains the BokSmart Concussion Management Protocols, Technical Zone Protocols, the School Rugby Code of Conduct, and contact details for the provincial referee societies.

Readers will also find images of the hand signals used by referees and diagrams to illustrate the Laws in certain aspects of the game.

“We are excited to launch the latest Law Book,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.

“This guide is referee, coach and player-friendly, and it a must-have for everyone involved in the game.

“We would like to express our gratitude to OUTsurance, our SA Rugby referees partner, for their fantastic support in assisting to produce and publish the guide, and we have no doubt that it will be an asset for referees at all levels of the game.”

Orders for hard copies of the Laws of the Game Rugby Union 2018 can be placed on referees@sarugby.co.za

Emirates Lions head coach Swys de Bruin will join the Springbok coaching staff on a consultancy basis for the June Tests, SA Rugby confirmed on Friday.

The addition of De Bruin is part of the process to involve coaches from all local franchises with the preparation of the Springboks, an initiative by Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby.

De Bruin will link up with the Springboks in the build-up to their first Test of the year, against Wales in Washington DC on 2 June, as well as for the much-anticipated Castle Lager Incoming Series against England, which kicks off on 9 June in Johannesburg.

“I’ve always said that we must improve our communication and cooperation with the local franchise coaches,” said Erasmus.

“They spend much more time with the players, so better cooperation with them can only be a benefit and should be an obvious thing.

“Swys and some of his colleagues from the Emirates Lions joined us at the second alignment camp, as did members of the DHL Stormers coaching team, while a couple of Vodacom Bulls coaches were there for the first camp.

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The Springbok Women’s Sevens team on Friday went down to top-ranked Canada and New Zealand on the opening day of the Rugby Sevens event at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

The South Africans opened their campaign against Canada, who won bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games, and struggled to cope with the intensity. The Canadians raced away to a 24-0 lead at the break. The Women Boks played much better in the second half of the match, conceding only once to lose 29-0.

Against current HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series champions, New Zealand, it was more of the same. South Africa battled to get their hands on the ball and deliver sustained attacks, while New Zealand managed to break the defensive line much easier. The Kiwis won 41-0 after leading 22-0 at the break.

South Africa face Kenya in their final pool match on Saturday. They met their fellow Africans twice in Hong Kong last weekend during the World Series qualifiers, with both sides winning one game each, which means that Saturday’s encounter should again be a tight affair. Kick-off is at 04h27 (SA time).

SA Rugby confirmed on Thursday that Matt Proudfoot will resume his role as Springbok assistant coach and will be responsible for scrums and lineouts in the current team setup.

Proudfoot, who was part of the Springbok coaching team the past two years as scrum coach, will take over from Pieter de Villiers.

De Villiers was included in a revamped Springbok coaching team earlier this year under Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, but the former French international has informed SA Rugby that he can unfortunately no longer continue in that role because of pressing family commitments.

“After my discussions with Pieter, we jointly came to the conclusion that he would unfortunately not be able to give all his attention to the Springboks, which is fully understandable given his current family commitments,” explained Erasmus.

Proudfoot joined the Springbok management team at the national squad’s second four-day alignment camp, which finished in Vanderbijlpark on Wednesday.

“Matt has a good understanding and relationship with the group of players who represented the Springboks the past two seasons and slotted in easily,” said Erasmus.

In terms of his future role at SA Rugby, De Villiers will from now on focus on the various Elite Player Development programmes, assist with the preparations of the Junior Springboks and also the SA Schools team.

The Springbok Sevens team reached their seventh consecutive quarterfinal in the 2017/18 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Hong Kong on Saturday after beating Scotland (31-17) and England (33-15).

The two wins followed a 45-0 pool C victory over South Korea on Friday, the first day of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and resulted in South Africa being one of only two teams to win all three their matches, Fiji being the other.

Spain, who on Day One knocked over Australia and then beat Canada for a second-placed finish in pool B, will meet the Blitzboks in the second Cup quarterfinal of the day.

The young South Africans, with no less than five players making their World Series debut, delivered a strong performance against Scotland, with three second half tries proving the difference. They were leading 14-10 at the break, but then scored three unanswered tries to pull away from Scotland.

Against England, the Blitzboks were on the back foot from the start, with England scoring in the opening play of the match. They scored another as well in the half, but converted tries by Stedman Gans and Selvyn Davids gave their team a 14-10 lead.

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Former SA Schools captain Salmaan Moerat will lead the Junior Springboks in their first warm-up match, against Georgia at the Markötter Fields at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch on Friday, in the build-up to the World Rugby U20 Championship.

Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux’s starting line-up includes five players who were members of the SA U20 team that finished third in the international spectacle in Tbilisi, Georgia, last year. They are Moerat, fullback Gianni Lombard, centre Wandisile Simelane, scrumhalf Rewan Kruger and No 8 Muller Uys.

The match-23 features a total of 12 former SA Schools players, with those outside of the capped Junior Springboks being props Sazi Sandi and Nkosikhona Masuku, looseforwards PJ Steenkamp, JC Pretorius and Phendulani Buthelezi, winger Sihle Njezula, and centre Rikus Pretorius.

With the clash being a fully-fledged international, the players that take to the field will earn Junior Springbok caps.

“We have a group of determined and competitive players in camp, which is exciting because everyone is keen to prove themselves for places in the final squad of 28 that will participate in the World Rugby U20 Championship,” said Roux.

“Georgia are tough opponents, so it is great to have a few players who were in last year’s squad to offer experience and guidance on the field. The SA schools experience will also be of great value to the players who are playing at this level for the first time, so we are excited to see what this squad can do.

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The second Springbok alignment camp concluded on Wednesday in Vanderbijlpark with Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, expressing his satisfaction with the progress of the team’s preparations for the forthcoming international season.

Erasmus and the Springbok management team held two alignment camps to date, with a final one planned for Durban in two weeks’ time – from 22 to 25 April.

A combined group of 22 players from the DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions attended the second camp over the past four days at the Riverside Resort in Vanderbijlpark, south of Johannesburg. The Springbok management are using the three alignment camps to accelerate preparations for the forthcoming international season.

Speaking after the conclusion of the second camp, Erasmus said the Springbok management are very pleased with the amount of work they were able to get through with the large group at the recent camp.

“We were able to work with a combined total of 34 players from three different franchises during the first two camps,” said Erasmus.

“I am sure that after the final camp, we would have covered a lot of groundwork with most of the players we have in mind for the June internationals. Continue reading

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