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Junior Springbok No 8 Juarno Augustus has been named as one of five nominees for the World Rugby U20 Championship Player of the Tournament, the sport’s governing body announced on Friday evening.

Augustus has been a stand-out performer for the SA U20’s throughout the tournament thanks to his physicality and ability to score tries, which has earned him six tries in the team’s four matches in Tbilisi, Georgia, up to now. He is currently the joint top try scorer in the competition.

Augustus touched down twice against France in their opening match of the tournament, with his second try being the vital try to draw the match, while he scored once in each of the matches against Georgia and Argentina, and twice in the semi-final against England.

He will go up against England captain Zach Mercer and his team-mate Gabriel Ibiotye, and New Zealand’s Tiaan Falcon and Will Jordan for the prestigious award.

The Player of the Tournament will be announced on Sunday night following the Final between New Zealand and England.

Fans can cast their vote for the Player of the Tournament on World Rugby’s Facebook page between now and 17:30 (SA Time) on Sunday.

The return of Zain Davids marked one of four personnel changes to Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux’s team for the World Rugby U20 Championship bronze playoff against France at the M. Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi on Sunday.

Davids will start in the loose trio with Junior Bok captain Ernst van Rhyn and No 8 Juarno Augustus after serving his suspension, while Manie Libbok moves from fullback to flyhalf in place of Curwin Bosch, who is nursing an ankle injury. Jeanluc Cilliers, meanwhile, will start at fullback.

The other changes were in the midfield where Stedman Gans will partner up with Damian Willemse in place of Wandisile Simelane, who has been named on the bench, and in the front row, where prop Gerhard Steenekamp comes in for Kwenzo Blose.

On the replacements bench, prop Wikus Groenewald has recovered from the flu and replaces Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, while centre David Brits will fill the void left by Gans’ call-up to the starting XV.

“We chatted to our medical team and had a good look at the state the players are in from a workload perspective, so we brought in some fresh legs,” said Roux. Continue reading

Children from two local schools were treated to a TAG Rugby Clinic hosted by ASICS and members of the Springbok Squad in Durban on Wednesday 14 June.

The clinic was presented to pupils of Eqinisweni and Eskululiwe Primary Schools at College Rovers Rugby Club and it was a memorable experience for all the children in attendance having learned from their heroes and some of the best rugby players in the world.

Springbok players that participated included ASICS ambassadors Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and Eben Etzebeth as well as Courtnall Skosan, Siya Kolisi, Jesse Kriel and Rudy Paige.

ASICS has been a proud partner of the Tag Rugby Adopt a School Programme over the past three years and currently sponsor 10 schools nationwide.

The event was a celebration of ASICS’ involvement in the programme and also serves to highlight the fantastic work that TAG does on a daily basis in communities all over South Africa through their network of donors and coaches within communities.

As Official Technical Apparel Partner of SA Rugby the development of the game across the country is a priority for ASICS. ASICS extended their partnership with TAG Rugby last year to expand their push of furthering the development of rugby in local communities.

Having played rugby for a long time and at the highest level it is a privilege to give back to the community and help young players develop their skills. The commitment and hard work ASICS is putting into grassroots level rugby is crucial for the development of the game and getting children active and interested in sport“, said Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira. Continue reading

Springbok assistant coach Franco Smith called for a more clinical performance when South Africa face an improved France in the second Castle Lager Incoming Series match on Saturday in Durban.

Smith and Bok flyhalf Elton Jantjies addressed the media at the team hotel in Umhlanga Ridge on Tuesday, shortly after the team returned from training, which included a good scrum session on the outer-fields of Growthpoint Kings Park.

The Bok backline coach said he was pleased with the team’s attacking display in the first encounter in Pretoria, which the Boks won 37-14 after outscoring the French by four tries to one. However, Smith added that much more work is needed because the team has slipped a few scoring opportunities at Loftus.

“We are busy with a process, we still have a long way to go but the team environment is very good and the guys gave a great effort in the first Test,” explained Smith.

He did however caution that a much tougher challenge is expected from the French, who will be bolstered by several key players from Clermont and Toulon this week. Continue reading

South African ‘A’ coach, Johan Ackermann, on Wednesday named seven Springboks in his 23-man squad to face the French Barbarians at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Friday, 16 June 2017.

Ackermann earlier appointed Juan de Jongh (19 tests) as captain for the two match series against the French Baabaas and also included fellow Springboks Lwazi Mvovo (17 tests), Ruan Combrinck (7 tests), Jano Vermaak (3 tests) and Uzair Cassiem (1 test) in the run-on team, while Trevor Nyakane (28 tests) and Francois Venter (3 tests) are on the bench.

Eight other players – Lionel Cronje, Dewaldt Duvenage, Ruan Botha, Wilco Louw, Franco Marais, Thomas du Toit, Ox Nche and Jason Jenkins – represented the Junior Springboks earlier in their careers.

According to Ackermann, they prepared well for this clash and he is keen to see how the players play together as a unit.

“We had some good training sessions and everyone is on the same page with regards to our approach and objectives for this match,” said Ackermann.

“All the players are on form and they have been training well, so it wasn’t an easy decision to make and unfortunately I could not include all the players in our squad in the team for this match, but we will make some changes next week for the encounter at Orlando Stadium to try and give everyone game time. Continue reading

SA Rugby has called a special General Meeting for next month to confirm the four South African entrants to a revised Vodacom Super Rugby competition from 2018.

The meeting will take place in Cape Town on 7 July, 2017.

The General Meeting has the constitutional responsibility for “determining the SA teams to participate in Super Rugby.” 

Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, said the Special General Meeting would decide on a proposal from the Executive Council which, in turn, would have received a recommendation on the participants from the Franchise Committee, whose membership is representatives of the Vodacom Super Rugby teams. 

The proposal will also be debated by the non-franchise committee – comprising the CEOs of the 14 provincial rugby unions – before reaching the Special General Meeting.

Hooker Scarra Ntubeni, centre Dan du Plessis and flanks Rynhardt Elstadt and Steph de Wit will all return to full training next week.

Ntubeni makes his return from an Achilles injury sustained in the Currie Cup last year, whilst Du Plessis was able to avoid undergoing surgery on his shoulder, which he dislocated against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Elstadt has recovered from a fractured rib and De Wit is back after breaking his ankle in pre-season.

Flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis will undergo surgery on his hips this week which will rule him out for the rest of the year.

Centre Huw Jones’ hamstring is recovering well and he should be available to play in five weekstime.

Flyhalf Rob du Preez (torn pectoral muscle), lock Jan de Klerk (broken toe) and flank Cobus Wiese (shoulder) are all expected to return in three months time.

Captain Ernst van Rhyn and England captain Zach Mercer in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Captain Ernst van Rhyn and England captain Zach Mercer in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Salmaan Moerat will start at lock against England in the World Rugby U20 Championship semi-final on Tuesday in the only change to Junior Springboks coach Chean Roux’s starting team that defeated Argentina last Thursday.

Moerat replaces Hendre Stassen, who is nursing a knee injury, and he will pair up with Ruben van Heerden in the engine room.

There are two changes among the replacements with prop Lee-Marvin Mazibuko replacing Wikus Groenewald, who has the flu, while Reinhard Nothnagel will provide back-up for Moerat and Van Heerden.

“We looked at England’s strengths and we think these are the best combinations for us for the semi-final,” Roux said about his team selection.

Roux said he is expecting a physical onslaught from England, who are the defending champions, but added his team’s focus was on delivering a quality performance to advance to the final.

England defeated Ireland 45-21 in the Final of the 2016 edition of the tournament in Manchester to win the competition.

“This is a big game for us,” said Roux.

“England are a physical side and they are full of confidence. They are the defending champions as well. But that said, our plans are in place as a team and we just need to go out there and execute it.” Continue reading

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