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A packed Cape Town Stadium and a sell-out crowd do give them extra legs and the Blitzboks are determined to reward the South African faithful with a commanding performance at the forthcoming HSBC Cape Town Sevens this weekend.

According to the Springbok Sevens captain, Philip Snyman, the team loves playing at home, but as they saw last year, it does not guarantee tournament win.

The 48-tournament veteran joined the other 15 team captains on the roof of the Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday for a rather unique captains’ photograph and admitted afterwards that the nerves were starting to tingle.

“When we entered the stadium I felt some nervous energy and remembered our performances from last year,” said Snyman.

“We won five matches in a row thanks to some fantastic crowd support and then lost the final, the one that mattered, to England.

“That was much to the disappointment not only of ourselves, but the huge crowd as well. Although we are not looking back, those memories will make us more determined to go all the way.”

The Blitzboks love playing in front of their supporters, but Snyman believes the pressure will be a positive one.

“We start every tournament at zero, as we do with this one. We are not putting any pressure on ourselves, in fact, we will be going out there to enjoy this one,” said Snyman.

“We have faith in our structures and we know they work if implemented correctly. If we can do that this weekend and have a smile on our faces, it will be a good tournament.”

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East will celebrate a monumental milestone at the Dubai Autodrome as part of the UAE National Day series this weekend as it hosts the 100th race in the championship’s distinguished history.

An international grid featuring 18 elite drivers from 10 countries, including special guest former baseball legend and racer CJ Wilson from the United States, will compete on Friday 8th December in the 99th race, followed by the landmark centennial race on Saturday 9th December.

The highly successful one-make series is credited with supporting professional motor-racing to the Middle East and over the eight consecutive seasons since has dominated the regional motorsport scene. Under the watchful eye of founder and manager, Walter Lechner, new standards have been set and local talent guided onto the world stage to produce an enviable list of past champions.

Its impact has been huge, accelerating the sport regionally and globally by offering a pathway to the top level of the sport for regional drivers, such as Abdulaziz AlFaisal (KSA), Zaid Ashkanani (KUW) and Al Faisal Al Zubair (OMN). Now in its ninth season, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East remains the only regional championship backed by a manufacturer and its future looks brighter than ever.

Looking ahead to the special occasion, Walter Lechner said: “It’s remarkable to think that a decade ago Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East was just an ambitious vision shared by Porsche and Lechner Racing. Being the first comes with challenges and remaining at the forefront is even tougher but thanks to the support of Porsche, our partners, motorsport federations and race tracks in the region we’re about to celebrate our 100th race. The Middle East desperately needed a professional championship of its own and it has one to be proud of! Continue reading

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Springbok and Emirates Lions hooker Malcolm Marx leads the nominations for the SA Rugby Player of the Year 2017 awards with three, closely followed by four players who bagged two nominations each.

The 23-year-old Marx is nominated in the top category, SA Rugby Player of the Year, as well as for Young Player and Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year.

Marx’s fellow-nominees for SA Rugby Player of the Year are Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel and Jan Serfontein, all of whom were in impressive form not only for the Boks, but also for their Vodacom Super Rugby franchises earlier in the season.

The four players nominated in two categories are Jaco Kriel (SA Rugby and Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year), Warrick Gelant (Young Player and Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year), as well as Curwin Bosch and Damian Willemse, both of whom are nominated in the categories for Young Player and Junior Springbok Player of the Year.

“Four of these five players are aged 23 and younger, which bodes very well for the future of the game here in South Africa,” said SA Rugby President, Mr Mark Alexander.

“I would like to congratulate Malcolm, Jaco, Warrick, Curwin and Damian on their multiple nominations, as well as all the other players, coaches and teams who were recognised for their performances in 2017.”

The awards for Coach and Team of the Year are a straight shoot-out between three sides and their coaches – the Springbok Sevens team and Neil Powell, the Emirates Lions and Johan Ackermann, and DHL Western Province and John Dobson. Continue reading

Pic: sarugbymag.co.za

Pic: sarugbymag.co.za

Springbok and Emirates Lions hooker Malcolm Marx leads the nominations for the SA Rugby Player of the Year 2017 awards with three, closely followed by four players who bagged two nominations each.

The 23-year-old Marx is nominated in the top category, SA Rugby Player of the Year, as well as for Young Player and Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year.

Marx’s fellow-nominees for SA Rugby Player of the Year are Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel and Jan Serfontein, all of whom were in impressive form not only for the Boks, but also for their Vodacom Super Rugby franchises earlier in the season.

The four players nominated in two categories are Jaco Kriel (SA Rugby and Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year), Warrick Gelant (Young Player and Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year), as well as Curwin Bosch and Damian Willemse, both of whom are nominated in the categories for Young Player and Junior Springbok Player of the Year.

“Four of these five players are aged 23 and younger, which bodes very well for the future of the game here in South Africa,” said SA Rugby President, Mr Mark Alexander.

“I would like to congratulate Malcolm, Jaco, Warrick, Curwin and Damian on their multiple nominations, as well as all the other players, coaches and teams who were recognised for their performances in 2017.”

The awards for Coach and Team of the Year are a straight shoot-out between three sides and their coaches – the Springbok Sevens team and Neil Powell, the Emirates Lions and Johan Ackermann, and DHL Western Province and John Dobson. Continue reading

The SA Rugby Sevens Academy made a fifth consecutive final appearance at the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens International Invitational tournament on Saturday, but were beaten 17-5 by Esparanza 22 – an invitational side made up of players from New Zealand, England and Wales.

The South Africans scored three impressive wins on day one of the tournament on Friday and continued their winning ways on day two, with a 24-10 victory in their quarter-final against Ireland (who have already qualified for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in July next year) and a 45-0 win their semi-final against Froggies.

“That semi-final result probably cost us the final,” SA Rugby Sevens Academy manager Marius Schoeman said afterwards. “We played very well in that game and the margin of victory was well deserved, but we did not pitch up against Esparanza. Overall though, it a pleasing performance over the two days.”

Schoeman felt that a number of positives outcomes had been reached, saying. “The main aim of us competing here was to grow and develop the players in the Academy set-up. They will make mistakes and learn from that, so winning is not everything. The players are developing into the Sevens culture and some take longer than others to adapt.

“But I am pretty pleased that we laid a good foundation with this group,” Schoeman said.

“Some of these guys will be on the circuit soon, and we are also bringing in some new faces who just finished school. Continue reading

Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth will see a specialist in Cape Town to further examine his shoulder and back injuries.

The towering lock was forced off the field just before halftime against Wales in Cardiff after he sustained a nerve injury, which caused severe pain in his left shoulder.

“The scans we took on Saturday evening after the match came out normal,” explained Dr Konrad von Hagen, the Springbok team doctor. “Eben will however visit a specialist in Cape Town to further investigate the injured shoulder and his troublesome back.”

Meanwhile, Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said a poor start cost his team at the Principality Stadium. Wales won the match 24-22 after thwarting a determined comeback from the South Africans.

“Wales got off to a flyer, scoring 14 points in the first ten minutes by using a very accurate kick for their first try and they exploited the space behind us for their second,” said Coetzee. “I am proud of the team for the way they fought back to claw their way into the lead and for showing character in the second half. Continue reading

They will continue to pursue their fifteens ambitions and push for national selection in that code as well, but for now Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith just love being Blitzboks again and what better way to celebrate their return to the team than winning the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens this weekend.

Before the weekend, both last played for the Springbok Sevens team in February, as the Blitzboks won both the HSBC Wellington Sevens and HSBC Sydney Sevens on route to the overall 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series title, so the win in Dubai yesterday made it three titles in three outings for the duo.

Senatla had a slow start at the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens, even dropping a ball with the try-line beckoning in their opening match against Uganda on Friday, but soon was back to his best. He scored a hat-trick in his next outing against Kenya and kept the tries coming, including vital five-pointers in the semifinal against Fiji and the final against New Zealand, to end the tournament as South Africa’s leading try-scorer.

Smith was brutal all weekend and also scored a try in the final. In fact, he was named HSBC Player of the Final and with Senatla and Cecil Afrika also made the Tournament Dream Team.

Senatla, who extended his national try-scoring record to 196 tries, admitted that he was rusty at the start. Continue reading

Cape Town, 2 December 2017: Ultra-trail Cape Town (UTCT) presented by Salomon, which this year forms part of the Ultra-trail World Tour, saw Zimbabwean Prodigal Khumalo smash the men’s race record by just under an hour, in a time of 9:51.00. Other race favourite Ryan Sandes was only minutes behind him in a time of 9:56:03, with Scotty Hawker from New Zealand in third place in a time of 10:04:27.

UTCT presents three trail races of 100km, 65km and 35km that traverse the mountains of the Cape Peninsula. The races cover sections of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill, Orangekloof, Llandudno, Hout Bay, the Constantia Winelands, the upper slopes of Kirstenbosch Nature Reserve and Devil’s Peak.

The first woman across the line in the 100km race was Salomon team athlete Lucy Bartholomew, the 21 year-old trail-running sensation from Australia, in a time of 11:21:49, well ahead of second placed South African, Robyn Owen, who crossed the line at 12:06:40. Naomi brand, also South African, was in third place in a time of 12:20:23.

“There are not big mountains here compared to what I run in France, but this was tough, you have to have the full package – run fast and climb hills – I learnt a lot from this race, “ Bartholomew said.

Prodigal Khumalo said of his win: “The guys really wanted it, we raced from the gun. I used the same strategy as last year but was better prepared, and with the competition around me, I had to push.” Continue reading

The Springboks play their last match of the season on Saturday against Wales in Cardiff, but captain Eben Etzebeth said his side will not need any extra motivation for the clash in the Principality Stadium.

The South Africans have gone on to register victories over France and Italy after their defeat against Ireland in the opening match of the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.

On Saturday, the Springboks will play their 13th Test of the international season and Etzebeth said he and his team are very motivated for their contest against the Welsh, which will be played in front of a crowd of more than 65 000, with the stadium roof closed for the occasion.

“Every Test is a special occasion for us as players, so we don’t need any special motivation,” said Etzebeth.

“There’s some stiff bodies out there, but training has gone very well and we looking forward to the match against a very good Welsh side.

Saturday is another opportunity to play in the Green and Gold, and the next time the team will be playing is only in seven months’ time when England comes to South Africa, so we are going out to enjoy it and give it a great effort.” 

Looking back at the season, the Springbok skipper said: “When Warren Whiteley was injured in June, I thought I’d get the opportunity to lead the side for one game.

“However, that opportunity has now extended to 11 matches and I am just enjoying the experience of leading the side and playing with a great bunch of players.”

The 26-year-old towering lock will lead the Springboks for the 11th consecutive time on Saturday in what will be his 67th Test for South Africa. The match kicks off at 16h30 (SA time) and will be televised live on SuperSport.

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