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The schedule for the men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018/19 was confirmed on Friday, with the ever-popular HSBC Cape Town Sevens set for the weekend of 8 and 9 December 2018.

SA Rugby will by middle August make an announcement on ticket sales for this popular event at the Cape Town Stadium, which was sold out in the last couple of years.

The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, with South Africa again defending the overall title, will be contested across 10 rounds from November 2018 to June 2019.

The series opens in Dubai (30 November to 1 December, 2018), before teams move on to Cape Town the following weekend.

In the New Year, teams will travel to Hamilton, New Zealand (26-27 January 2019), before both men’s and women’s teams are welcomed to Sydney, Australia (1-3 February).

The fifth and sixth rounds will be hosted in Las Vegas, USA (1-3 March) and Vancouver, Canada (9-10 March), before teams travel to Hong Kong (5-7 April) and Singapore on (13-14 April) for rounds seven and eight respectively.

The penultimate round of the series will take place again in London (25-26 May), with Paris hosting the finale (1-2 June).

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Loose forward Francke Horn will lead DHL Western Province U19 in their encounter with the Vodacom Blue Bulls U19 at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

The match, which kicks off at 14h40 on Saturday, will be played as a curtain-raiser before the Vodacom Super Rugby encounter between the DHL Stormers and the Cell C Sharks.

It will be the opening match of the season for DHL Western Province U19, with Horn leading the team from the back of the scrum at No.8.

Horn leads a talented outfit, which features last year’s DHL Western Province U18 captain Lucky Dlepu as vice-captain at scrumhalf.

DHL Western Province U19 Head Coach Nazeem Adams said that his team are determined to start their campaign on a positive note at DHL Newlands.

“It is obviously an honour to have the opportunity play at DHL Newlands, so our players will be giving everything to start our season with a win.

“We know that the Vodacom Blue Bulls U19 will provide a stern test of our capabilities, so the challenge for our team is to rise to the occasion,” he said.

DHL Western Province U19: 15 Quan Eyman, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 David Kriel, 12 Waqar Solaan, 11 Aaron Zeederberg, 10 Christopher Schreuder, 9 Lucky Dlepu, 8 Francke Horn (captain), 7 Tonderai Chiwambutsa, 6 Bevan Prinsloo, 5 Herman le Roux, 4 Ian Katwanga, 3 Joshua du Preez, 2 Chris Rossouw, 1 Dian Bleuler.
Replacements: 16 Ru-Hann Greyling, 17 Alexander Mbete, 18 Hugo Pienaar, 19 Marcel Theunissen, 20 Henro Meyer, 21 Gerado Jaars, 22 David Coetzer, 23 Aydon Topley.

Free State powered their way to top honours in the U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week at Hoërskool Diamantveld in Kimberley on Friday as they delivered a solid all-round performance to outplay the Blue Bulls by 31-24.

The Bloemfonteiners made their presence felt early on with their big pack and earned the rewards as they built up a 19-0 lead thanks to three first-half tries, before the Blue Bulls crossed the chalk for the first time. A drop goal by Free State soon after stretched their lead to 22-5, but the Blue Bulls struck back with a converted try shortly before halftime to close the gap to 22-12.

Free Struck first in the second half with their fourth try, but the Blue Bulls fought back with back-to-back tries, the second of which was on the stroke of fulltime. It was too little too late though as they went down 31-24.

The Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions were in sublime form against the King Price Pumas and showed class on attack to run in an impressive eight tries en route to their 50-26 victory. Thomas Goliath and Ocean Tshimbalanga scored two tries apiece, while Seb Watney kept the scoreboard ticking with five conversions, which proved too much Mpumalanga outfit, who scored four tries.

Boland also delivered a fine attacking performance in their clash against the Valke, which paved the way for a convincing 40-12 victory, with the team running in a notable six tries. Louis de Jager scored twice, while Hugo Mostert scored a try and kicked five conversions for a personal tally of 15 points.

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SA Rugby President, Mr Mark Alexander, praised the quality of rugby dished up during the exciting first week of the SA Rugby Youth Weeks festival, in which 1058 players played their part at two venues in Gauteng.

While the LSEN Week ended on Thursday, the SA Rugby Girls U16 and U18 Weeks came to a thrilling conclusion at Jeppe High School in Johannesburg on Friday as the Sharks and DHL Western Province both defeated Eastern Province to take top honours.

“I am very impressed with the quality of rugby in the first week of the SA Rugby Youth Weeks, and this will certainly bode well for the future of South African Rugby,” said Mr Alexander.

“It was particularly impressive to see how the skill levels and quality of games in the SA Rugby Girls Weeks have improved, and how the support for the women’s game has grown.

“Another encouraging aspect is the fact that a number of players who were involved in the Springbok Women’s and Springbok Women’s Sevens teams, such as Fundiswa Plaatjie, Lorinda Brown and Laurian Johannes are now involved in the coaching structures, and it is great to see them transfer that which they have learned in the game to the young and upcoming players.”

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Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Paul Delport said he was pleased with the progress and improvement showed by his squad as they enter the final stage of preparation for the Rugby World Cup Sevens, to be played at AT&T Stadium in San Francisco from 20-22 July.

South Africa qualified as African champions last year and will face Russia in their opening match on Friday 20 July.

Delport named 15 players for the last push towards peak condition, including Zenay Jordaan, who represented South Africa at both the 2009 and 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens events, in Dubai and Moscow respectively. Mathrin Simmers and Veroeshka Grain, who also travelled to Russia five years ago, are also in line to make the final cut of 12.

Delport invited 20 players to be part of a wider training group earlier this month, with intense focus on fitness and conditioning, followed by match play conditions. This included a number of contact sessions with the Uganda Men’s team, who were also preparing for the USA event at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport.

“That was a good, intense couple of days,” Delport said.

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Cape Town 29 June 2018 – The fourth Sasol League provincial roadshow will take place at the Santos Football Academy this weekend. The roadshow will encompass a full round of Western Cape Sasol League fixtures pitting the province’s best women’s football teams against each other in a festival of football. The roadshow will also see Banyana Banyana head-coach, Desiree Ellis in attendance, working with local coaches on scouting techniques with the aim of spotting local talent in order to broaden the selection pool for the national team.

Desiree Ellis commented, “We have visited three provinces so far where I was impressed with the standard of play on display. I hope that the Western Cape Sasol League roadshow will offer a similar level of talent. The Sasol League roadshows are immensely valuable in giving myself the opportunity to not only view talent around the country, but to also work with local coaches to ensure local talent is constantly given the opportunity to shine. I cannot wait to see the talent that will be showcased this weekend.”

On the day, all sixteen Western Cape Sasol League sides will be in action with eight games taking place. The teams to watch out for are Cape Town Roses FC who have won a couple of Sasol League national championships, and UWC Ladies FC whose players went to Botswana for the USSA and CUCSA.

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Hooker Bongi Mbonambi will make his first start of the 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby season for the DHL Stormers against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

Mbonambi made his return for the DHL Stormers off the replacements bench against the Emirates Lions before the international break, having been sidelined through injury for the first 13 matches of the season, but takes his place in the starting line-up for the clash at Estadio Jose Amalfitani in Buenos Aires, which kicks off at 19h40 SA time on Saturday.

He is joined in the front row by props Steven Kitshoff and Wilco Louw, with Ramone Samuels, JC Janse van Rensburg and Frans Malherbe on the replacements bench.

In the second row Cobus Wiese forms a lock partnership with Jan de Klerk, with 20-year-old Salmaan Moerat set to provide an impact in the second half.

The loose trio features captain Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Sikhumbuzo Notshe, while Nizaam Carr and Kobus van Dyk are among the replacements.

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Vodacom Super Rugby action resumes this weekend following the international break and all four local sides, the Vodacom Bulls, Emirates Lions, DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks, will be out to gather important league points as the competition inches closer to the playoffs.

A spicy local derby between the Cell C Sharks and Emirates Lions in Durban is the main fare on the menu this weekend, while the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers have away games in Singapore and Buenos Aires respectively.

The men from Pretoria kick off the action from a local point of view when they face the resurgent Sunwolves from 13h55 on Saturday afternoon (SA time) at the Singapore National Stadium. They will be looking to avenge their defeat last year to the Japanese side in Tokyo, when the Vodacom Bulls became the first South African team to lose against the Sunwolves.

That match in the Far East is followed by the only local derby of the weekend, in Durban. The Cell C Sharks have a good home record this year while the Emirates Lions will be out to consolidate their position at the top of the South African Conference table. The match in at Jonsson Kings Park starts at 17h15.

In Buenos Aires, the DHL Stormers face a very confident Jaguares team who will be buoyed by their impressive unbeaten run before the international break. This match gets underway at 19h40 (SA time).

Team news:

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DHL Western Province and the Cell C Sharks XV will both host their SuperSport Rugby Challenge quarter-finals after the fixtures were slightly amended for this weekend, when the iCOLLEGE Pumas and Tafel Lager Griquas will also enjoy home ground advantage as the competition moves into the knock-out stages.

The three top teams in the North, Central and South Sections were awarded hosting rights for their quarter-finals, while the Cell C Sharks claimed fourth position as the best second-placed team which also secured them home ground advantage this weekend.

With straight elimination on the cards for the losing sides, the crowds in Nelspruit, Kimberley, Durban and Cape Town can look forward to brilliant rugby action.

The SuperSport Rugby Challenge yet again delivered all pre-season hype on bringing action to the doorstep of rugby communities, but even more so as attack dominated defence in the first 10 weeks of action.

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DHL Western Province will have home advantage in their SuperSport Rugby Challenge quarterfinal against the Toyota Free State XV at Green Point Track on Sunday.

The match which was originally scheduled to be played in Mdantsane, will now kick off at 14h30 on Sunday at the historic home of SK Walmers.

SK Walmers will be in action in a curtain-raiser against False Bay RFC, which kicks off at 12h30 on Sunday.

Having ended the regular season unbeaten as winners of the South Section, DHL Western Province now move into the knock-out phase of their title defence.

Head Coach John Dobson’s team managed 37 log points with seven wins and a draw to finish unbeaten.

Dobson said that his team is looking forward to playing in Green Point as they did in the quarterfinal last year against the same oppposition.

“Last year there was a fantastic atmosphere for our quarterfinal against Toyota Free State XV at Green Point Track, so the team are looking forward to some more good support from the locals.

“We are very motivated to put together a polished performance to keep our title defence on track,” he said.

Their quarterfinal opponents from the Free State, who started the month undefeated at the top of the log in the Central Section, suffered defeats to their Kimberley neighbours and Cell C Sharks XV (this weekend) and dropped to third in their section, but managed to stay in the competition as one of the two best placed third finishers.

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