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This from sport24.co.za:

Bafana Bafana have claimed a crucial 2-0 away victory in an AFCON 2019 qualifying match against Nigeria in Uyo.

As it happened: Nigeria v Bafana Bafana

The first real chance in the match came in the 11th minute with Nigeria’s Wilfred Ndidi firing wide.

Oghenekaro Etebo followed up with an effort in the 21st minute that had the stadium on their feet. Unfortunately, for Nigeria, his effort was inches wide of goal.

In the 38th minute, Itumeleng Khune was called into action when he had to tip a cross from Moses Simon over the bar.

Bafana Bafana had their best chance a few minutes later when Themba Zwane only managed to hit the upright after the Nigerian goalkeeper dropped the ball in his own box as the first half finished 0-0.

The second half started with Nigeria on the attack only for Dean Furman to clear the danger.

Full story here:

http://www.sport24.co.za/Soccer/BafanaBafana/baxters-bafana-reign-off-to-an-emphatic-start-20170610

Springboks coach Allister Coetzee was pleased with the 37-14 win over France at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, the first of three Tests in the Castle Lager Incoming Series, but warned that the team cannot rest on their laurels with encounters in Durban and Johannesburg remaining.

The Boks scored four tries to two and led 16-7 at the break. Jesse Kriel, Ross Cronje and Jan Serfontein crossed the try-line for South Africa, while they were also awarded a penalty try. Elton Jantjies delivered a flawless kicking performance by slotting three penalty goals and three conversions.

“We certainly did take a step in the right direction today,” said Coetzee.

“This was the first of 13 Test matches for the season and at least we started with a positive performance and for that I am pretty pleased.

“We have closed the chapter on 2016 and this year we need to keep improving as a team. I have selected the best available team out there for this series, so it is pleasing that we won. We have the belief and ability in the team, but [the victory] was a baby step.” Continue reading

Springbok captain Warren Whiteley said the Boks had a good week of preparation and are looking forward to opening their season against France at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday afternoon. 

The two countries meet at 17h05 in the first of three Castle Lager Incoming Series Tests, with matches to follow in Durban and Johannesburg. Whiteley will skipper the Boks for the first time on Saturday, succeeding hooker Adriaan Strauss who retired at the end of last season. 

“This has been a very special week for me personally, with the birth of my son Samuel on Monday, which is really a special gift,” explained the lanky No 8.

“Our team preparations over the last few days have been great and we’ve had three good camps, which made the transition into Plettenberg (last week) and this week in Pretoria really smooth.”

Regarding the new-look Springbok line-up, Whiteley said: “There’s obviously a lot of excitement in the squad, it’s our first Test of the year and we have four uncapped players in the starting line-up plus another one on the bench.” Continue reading

Junior Springbok backline coach Mzwandile Stick said England would pose a different challenge to Argentina in the World Rugby U20 Championship semi-final in Tbilisi on Tuesday, and he reiterated that the team had not achieved anything yet.

Speaking after the coaches’ review of the team’s final pool match in the tournament against Argentina, which the SA U20’s won 72-14, Stick said while they could take many positives from the match, there was still hard work ahead to achieve their goal of lifting the trophy.

“We faced different challenges in our other pool matches, with the clash against France being in wet conditions, so we couldn’t play the type of rugby we wanted to play, while Georgia proved to be a tough side at home,” said Stick.

“We knew Argentina would test us and we had to make sure that we gave our best, and the players did very well. We put them (Argentina) under pressure in the scrums and lineouts, and the forwards laid a good foundation for the backs to get front-foot ball. Continue reading

Multinational mobile telecommunications company, MTN, was on Friday spectacularly revealed as the new headline sponsor of the Springboks, ushering in a bright new future for South African rugby, said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO.

The South African-based African giant has agreed a three-year deal to back the national team.

The famous name will be carried on the Springboks’ playing jersey – starting tomorrow in Pretoria in the first match of the three-Test series against France – and was dramatically revealed at the team’s regular pre-Test photo-call in Pretoria.

Roux said that the agreement represented a pivotal moment for SA Rugby and that welcoming a company of MTN’s size and reach was a significant moment for the sport. Continue reading

Vodacom has reached a unique agreement with the South African Rugby Union (SARU), in the true spirt of sportsmanship, that will see the company step away from its sponsorship rights of the Springbok team to allow SA Rugby to negotiate with other telecommunications companies.

Vodacom has been a proud and loyal sponsor of the Springboks since 1994 and held the exclusive rights in the telecommunication sector. During this period, South Africa’s national rugby team twice won the Rugby World Cup, the sport’s most prestigious tournament. This includes a dramatic 15-12 victory over New Zealand in 1995, considered to be the most momentous sporting occasion in South African history.

“Vodacom would have been within their legal rights to insist on exclusivity,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. “On behalf of the SA Rugby Executive Council, I would like to express our gratitude to Vodacom, who have demonstrated what a tremendous partner they have been over the years by hearing our case and putting the needs of the national team first. We sincerely applaud them for their generosity and sportsmanship.”

“It is a gesture that gives us an opportunity to explore options in seeking a main Springbok sponsor in the mobile communications field and will significantly assist the sport in allowing us to begin to meet a current sponsorship shortfall,” adds Jurie.

Vodacom will continue to partner with SA Rugby as the naming rights sponsor of the Vodacom Super Rugby which they have held since 1998 and runs until at least the end of 2020.

Roux also thanked Vodacom for their longstanding support of the national team, saying that he looked forward to continue the relationship in Vodacom Super Rugby this year and beyond.

“Winning the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and 2007 will probably go down in history as two of the proudest moments during Vodacom’s sponsorship of the Springboks over the two decades,” said Nyimpini Mabunda, Vodacom’s Chief Officer: Consumer Business Unit.

“Through our commitment to Vodacom Super Rugby, we will continue to play an integral role in the success of the sport in South Africa. We wish the Springboks all the success in their future endeavours,”

SA Rugby will announce a new main Springbok sponsor in due course.

Experienced Springbok midfielder Juan de Jongh was on Friday named captain of the South African ‘A’ team by coach Johan Ackermann as the squad settled in their training routine in Durban in preparation for the two-match series against a strong French Barbarians team.

De Jongh is one of seven players with Test experience in the 26-man squad, the others being Uzair Cassiem (loose forward), Trevor Nyakane (prop), Ruan Combrinck (wing), Lwazi Mvovo (wing / fullback), Francois Venter (centre) and Jano Vermaak (scrumhalf).

“Juan has natural leadership ability, having captained the DHL Stormers in Vodacom Super Rugby, and he is one of the few players in the squad who knows what it means to play international rugby,” said Ackermann.

“I’m looking forward to working with him and the other players in the squad. His fellow Boks will provide leadership and I know Juan will be able to count on their support.

“We’ve been together now for a couple of days and we’ve had a good start. There is still a lot of hard work that needs to be done before our opening match, but we still have a week to prepare. I’m really enjoying working with this group of players.

“As a squad, we are very excited to be the first team ever to play a big rugby match at Moses Mabhida Stadium, which is something all of us will cherish. We believe we’ll be very well supported at this magnificent venue and we hope to put on a performance which the spectators will enjoy.”

The seven Springboks in the SA ‘A’ squad have a combined total of 78 Test caps between them, while Ackermann will also be able to count on the international experience garnered by Blitzbok star Seabelo Senatla, as well as a number of players who have played for the Junior Springboks.

SA ‘A’ take on the French Barbarians on Friday, 16 June at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban (kick off 16h45) and a week later, on Friday 23 June, at Orlando Stadium in Soweto (kick off 20h00).

Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux remained humble on Thursday as his team romped to an 11-try 72-14 bonus-point victory against Argentina in their final pool match at the World Rugby U20 Championship at the Avchala Stadium in Tbilisi to book a semi-final berth.

The SA U20’s produced a solid all-round performance to outplay Argentina, with hooker Johan Grobbelaar and winger Gianni Lombard each crossing the tryline twice.

“We treated this match as a quarter-final and the players responded very well,” said Roux.

“All credit must go to them. I think they delivered a fantastic performance. But we have achieved nothing yet. We have already started with the planning for the next game, with the opposition depending on what happens between Australia and England.”

Asked if the victory gave the team confidence with the semi-final in mind, Roux said: “I think so. The players have worked hard. But this means nothing if we do not win the next match.” Continue reading

Blitzbok star Ruhan Nel will start at inside centre for DHL Western Province in their SuperSport Rugby Challenge Cape derby against Boland Cavaliers, at Helderberg RFC, on Saturday.

Nel formed part of the SA Sevens team that recently claimed the 2017 HSBC Sevens World Series title and starts in midfield for a DHL Western Province team looking for their seventh consecutive victory in the match, which kicks off at 15h00 at the Charles Morkel Stadium in Strand on Saturday.

He takes the place of the injured Brandon Thomson in one of three changes to the backline, with Godlen Masimla coming in at scrumhalf and Grant Hermanus back in the starting line-up out on the right wing.

The only other changes to the starting XV come in the tight five, with Ruben de Villiers alongside Jurie van Vuuren in the second row whilst up front tighthead prop Frans van Wyk and hooker Chad Solomon get an opportunity in the run-on team.

There are three new options on the replacements bench as prop Ash Wells, scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies and flyhalf Errol Jaggers all join the matchday squad. Continue reading

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has included the uncapped quartet of Andries Coetzee, Raymond Rhule, Courtnall Skosan and Ross Cronje in his starting team for Saturday’s first Test in the Castle Lager Incoming Series against France at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, while a fifth uncapped player, Dillyn Leyds, is on the bench.

No 8 Warren Whiteley will become the 58th Springbok captain when he leads the Boks onto the field on Saturday and Cronje will become South Africa’s 50th Test scrumhalf on Saturday.

Also in the match-day squad is the experienced and versatile Frans Steyn, the 2007 Rugby World Cup winning centre, who is back in the Springbok squad for what will be his first Test for South Africa since September 2012, when he played against the All Blacks in Dunedin. He last played a match for the Boks in 2014, against the World XV in Cape Town.

The new-look Springbok match-23 has only seven survivors from the team that played against Wales at the end of last November – four of those players are starting on Saturday, namely Whiteley, Elton Jantjies, Franco Mostert and Tendai Mtawarira, while Pieter-Steph du Toit, Bongi Mbonambi and Steven Kitshoff also played in Cardiff.

Coetzee has opted for combinations in key positions, with Jantjies playing alongside his Emirates Lions team-mate Cronje, the Vodacom Bulls’ Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel in the midfield and the Johannesburg-duo of Andries Coetzee and Skosan in the back trio, where they will be joined by Rhule, who will earn his first start although he was previously a member of the Springbok touring squad. Continue reading

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