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The Down Touch Griffons Currie Cup First Division and SA Rugby U20 Championship teams will look to replicate the form that earned them back-to-back titles last season in a rewarding day for the union when they host their respective finals at the HT Pelatona Projects Stadium in Welkom on Friday.

In the Currie Cup First Division final – sponsored by Nashua and DirectAxis – the Down Touch Griffons take on the Leopards in a match that marks the team’s first home final since 2014, and the second successive final between the sides, while the Griffons U20’s will meet the Limpopo Blue Bulls.

The Down Touch Griffons’ senior side come off a solid season in which they suffered only one defeat – and that was in their final pool match against the Border Bulldogs after they had sealed the top spot on the log – while the Leopards, who hosted the final for the last two seasons and secured a morale-boosting away win against the Hino Valke in the semi-final, won five of their eight league games.

The teams have been closely matched on attack and defence this season, with the Down Touch Griffons scoring 57 tries and conceding 269 points to the 51 tries scored and 267 points conceded by the Leopards throughout the competition, setting the scene for a nail-biting clash. Continue reading

An updated stats summary of the Currie Cup Premier Division, now also including infringements (penalties) per team, is attached.

With the pool stages of the Currie Cup Premier Division – sponsored by DirectAxis and Nashua – a thing of the past, key statistics from the last 14 weeks indicate two thrilling semi-finals await this weekend.

The table-topping Cell C Sharks, who have had the most offloads and second best defensive record in the Currie Cup, will face tough competition from the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Durban at 14h30 on Saturday, as the visitors not only lead the try-scoring and overall ball-carrying statistics with 64 tries and 1,508 ball carries, they also boast the top try-scorer in fullback Warrick Gelant.

DHL Western Province, meanwhile, who will host the Xerox Golden Lions at DHL Newlands in the second semi-final at 17h00 on Saturday. Judging by the stats, the men from Johannesburg will have to be at their attacking best to score some tries, as the hosts boast the highest tackle percentage at an impressive 88.8%.

Reaffirming their defensive prowess, DHL WP loose forward Nizaam Carr leads the statistics with the most successful tackles and most tackle involvements, while the Capetonians’ lock JD Schickerling is on top in the dominant tackle category.

But DHL Western Province will have to be at their best behaviour, as the Xerox Golden Lions’ Jaco van der Walt has been the most successful goal kicker among the top four sides with an 88.6% success rate and a 100% kicking record last weekend, while the Gautengers also dominated the ball-carrying and tackle statistics in the final pool round.

Currie Cup Premier Division – Final Standings
Continue reading

South Africa, 17 October 2017: Pitch Sports Entertainment and Media (PTY) Ltd in partnership with Newton Sports Agency (PTY) have announced the launch of the first edition of “We Are Football, the first of its kind football festival to be held on the 11 November 2017 at People’s Park, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban.

The “We Are Football” festival will provide football fans a chance to immerse themselves in football activities in a social setting. Activities include SIX-A-SIDE games, eFootball, Freestyle Football as well as food stalls, DJs and live music performances. The festival gives an opportunity for football fans to meet their heroes and heroines and talk and live football for the day. There will also be great prizes to be won from different competitions.

“Football is a beautiful game enjoyed by many in our country and we are excited to create the “We Are Football” festival. For us, it’s all about creating a world where former and current football players, fans and those passionate about the game of millions, can get together in a central venue to celebrate the game of football,” says Errol Madlala, Director of Pitch Sports Entertainment and Media (PTY) Ltd.

To unite people in their love and support for Bafana Bafana, Pitch Sports Entertainment and Media (PTY) Ltd and Newton Sports Agency (PTY) have roped in football legends such as Lucas Radebe, Doctor Khumalo and Mark Williams to help call on South Africans to “COME SHOW YOUR LOVE” during the festival.  Continue reading

SA Select Women’s coach Eddie Myners on Tuesday included international halfbacks, scrumhalf Fundiswa Plaatjie and flyhalf Kirsten Conrad, in his starting team to face the England Academy in Aldershot in their second match on their UK tour on Wednesday.

Myners’ starting XV team shows five personnel changes and two positional switches from the team that beat the British Army 27-5 in their opening match.

Plaatjie and Conrad replace Felicia Jacobs and Vuyolwethu Maqholo respectively, while the other change in the backline is the inclusion of Bianca Meyer on the right wing, which forces centre Apiwe Ngwevu to the replacements bench with the halfback duo.

There were only two changes among the forwards with flanker Sinzao Mcatshulwa and No 8 Aseza Hele taking over from Lusanda Dumke and Charmaine Kayser respectively. Myners named 11 players on his replacements bench.

“Winning our first game was the perfect start to the tour, but the players know that this match will be much tougher,” said Myners. Continue reading

South Africa’s leading female referee Aimee Barrett-Theron will add another big feat to her growing list of achievements on Friday when she becomes the first female referee to officiate the SA Rugby U20 Championship final in Welkom.

The Griffons will line up against the Limpopo Blue Bulls in the clash, which will be hosted at the HT Pelatona Projects Stadium, at 13h30.

Jaco van Heerden, meanwhile, will take charge of the Currie Cup First Division final between the Down Touch Griffons and the Leopards at 16h00.

Barrett-Theron’s meteoric rise through the domestic and international referee ranks has seen her become the first female referee to be included on SA Rugby’s national B Panel, take charge of an Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week match, officiate at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland, the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series circuit among other achievements in the last two seasons.

She also had the honour of being the first female referee to officiate a men’s match in the FNB Varsity Shied presented by Steinhoff International earlier this year.

“This is a big honour and a really big step forward, so I am excited about the challenge,” said Barrett-Theron. “There is an exceptional group of referees that could have been appointed to take charge of the match, so I am delighted that SA Rugby had faith in me to do the honours.

“I have officiated a handful of SA Rugby U19 and U20 Championship matches since arriving back from the Women’s Rugby World Cup, and I am very comfortable on the field.

“The pace is certainly faster than women’s rugby, and a final always presents a different challenge, but I am looking forward to it.”

(South Africa, October 2017) The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa recently hosted the second and final Youth Empowerment through Sport (YES) educational programme training camp of 2017 at the Durban Shongweni Dam Nature Reserve from 1 October to 5 October.

The YES programme is the official internal mentorship programme for the South African foundation, launched back in 2012.  Twenty youths from various Laureus-funded projects participated in the interactive training workshop and were provided with essential tools to help them ignite positive change in their lives and local communities. The final YES training camp forms part of the second phase of the 2017 YES programme, which followed on from the first training camp hosted in March 2017 in Cape Town.

The 20 recruited young leaders were divided into two groups, namely ‘Experts’ and ‘Protégés’. The Experts included a group of young leaders who have previously been part of the programme and were identified as standout and top achievers from previous years, while the Protégés are the new group who have just joined the YES programme earlier in 2017.

Key themes explored over the five days included: leadership, team building, job readiness, the importance of personal development, goal-setting and seeking solution-driven tactics to overcome challenges, some of which were led by the YES graduates. The practical component included fun activities such as raft building, dam wall jumping and abseiling, coupled with vital messages to challenge participants to think on their feet and at the same time enhance self confidence.

“What an amazing and enriching camp, not only have these young leaders taken to all of the training, we saw within the first few days how much each of them have grown since our last training camp;” says YES Programme Manager, Jill Benting Continue reading

Tickets for the Currie Cup semifinal between DHL Western Province and the Xerox Golden Lions at DHL Newlands on Saturday go on sale on Tuesday.

Tickets for the play-off match, which kicks off at 17h00 on Saturday, will be available from or any Computicket outlet from 12h00 on Tuesday.

Season tickets are valid and gates will open at 13h45, with DHL Western Province U19 hosting Toyota Free State Cheetahs U19 in a semifinal curtain-raiser, which kicks off at 14h30.

DHL Western Province U19 won 11 of their 12 matches in the league phase of the competition to claim top position heading into the semifinal, which will be their first appearance at DHL Newlands this year.

Ticket prices start at just R40 for standing room and R60 for the cheapest seats, up to R150 for Category One seats.

DHL Western Province secured home advantage in the semifinal with a 31-20 victory against the tabletopping Cell C Sharks in their final league fixture in Durban.

The team showed great character to fight back in the second half to break their hosts’ 10-game winning streak and claim second place on the standings.

It was the seventh win for Head Coach John Dobson’s team, in a campaign which saw them beat every other team in the competition at least once.

The clash with the Xerox Golden Lions will be the first Currie Cup semifinal at DHL Newlands since 2014, when DHL Western Province went on to lift the famous old cup for a record 33rd time.

DHL Newlands Currie Cup semifinal ticket prices:

Category One: R150
Category Two: R100
Category Three: R80
Category Four: R60
Category Five (standing): R40

SA Select Women’s captain Nolusindiso Booi looked forward to their two matches against the England Academy team next week with excitement after a hat-trick by winger Unathi Mali steered the side to a morale-boosting 27-5 victory against the British Army in a strong start to their England tour in Aldershot on Saturday.

“Our goal when we left South Africa was to win our first match to build momentum and confidence, and I am very proud that we managed to achieve that,” Booi said from London on Sunday. “We took positives and negatives from the match against the British Army, but the important thing is that we learned lessons during the game and we hope to carry that through into our next two matches.”

Booi said her charges would face the England Academy team on Wednesday with a better understanding of the demands of international rugby and the high standards expected after several players had their first taste of top-class rugby on Saturday.

“As a team we now have a good idea of what to expect going forward and also what we need to work on, so we will continue working hard at training in the next few days,” said Booi. “The win against the British Army was a good start to the tour, and it is up to us to build on that.” Continue reading

The Cell C Sharks will host the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Durban and DHL Western Province will take on the Xerox Golden Lions in Cape Town in the Currie Cup Premier Division semi-finals – sponsored by DirectAxis and Nashua – next weekend following a gripping final pool round loaded with permutations.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls kicked off the round on Friday with a convincing 52-32 victory against the Steval Pumas to force their way into the top four, while DHL Western Province defeated log-leaders, the Cell C Sharks, 31-20 to secure the second home semi-final.

The round concluded with the Xerox Golden Lions beating the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 44-17 to snatch the last semi-final spot up for grabs.

The Cell C Sharks entered the match in Durban knowing that as the top team on the log they were guaranteed a home semi-final regardless of the result, and despite this, they built a solid foundation in the first half against DHL Western Province to take a 13-3 lead at the break.

Four tries in 17 minutes by the visitors, however, steered the Capetonians to a bonus-point 31-20 victory and an invaluable home semi-final, with flyhalf Robert du Preez’s contribution of 21 points thanks to his two tries, four conversions and penalty goal proving to be instrumental. Continue reading

The Down Touch Griffons will face arch-rivals, the Leopards, in their second successive Currie Cup First Division final next Friday after they fought their way through to the top two in thrilling semi-finals this past weekend.

The home final for the Down Touch Griffons will mark their first since 2014, while they will participate in their third final in four seasons when they take to the field at HT Pelatona Projects Stadium on Friday.

The Leopards, meanwhile, will battle it out in their third consecutive final, but this time it will be on foreign territory after having had the luxury of hosting the last two in Potchefstroom.

The Down Touch Griffons, who suffered only one defeat this season, produced a solid display against the Boland Cavaliers in Welkom, which saw them dominate in almost every facet of the game, with the performance earning them a 32-21 victory.

The defending champions, who led 20-8 at the break, scored four tries to two by the visitors, while flyhalf Gaun Kotze kept the scoreboard ticking with his accurate goal-kicking for a personal total of 12 points.  Continue reading

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