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Boland and Griquas will battle it for top honours in the Iqhawe Week at Paarl Gymnasium on Thursday after finishing the second round of matches on Tuesday among four unbeaten teams.

The other two undefeated sides in the development tournament for Under-15 boys – which is a joint initiative between the SA Rugby Legends Association and SA Rugby – were Eastern Province and the Sharks.

Boland dominated their match against the Leopards on Tuesday and touched down five times for a rewarding 33-7 win, while Griquas also continued to show their class, with their effective attack earning them six tries against Western Province for a 38-12 victory.

Eastern Province stamped their authority from the outset against the Pumas and used their try-scoring chances well to cruise to a 37-7 victory, while the Sharks overcame a tightly-fought first half against SWD to continue their winning ways, scoring four tries to two for a 24-12 victory.

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Pic: sarugbymag

Pic: sarugbymag

The Springboks have rotated their squad for Saturday’s must-win cross-border battle with northern neighbours Namibia, making 13 changes to the starting line-up that appeared in the opening Rugby World Cup clash with New Zealand.

Rassie Erasmus, director of rugby, gives first appearances in the competition to nine players while Makazole Mapimpi (left wing) and Lukhanyo Am (centre) are the only players from the 23-13 reverse against New Zealand, to make back-to-back starts.

In addition, six of the opening day starting XV re-appear on the bench – including captain Siya Kolisi – while all of last Saturday’s replacements (with the exception of injured Jesse Kriel) are in the starting lineup.

The starting XV features nine of those who started the opening match of the international season; a 35-17 victory over Australia in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship in July.

One of the newcomers to the starting line-up is Schalk Brits, who moves to a new role in the back row at No 8. Brits captains the team for the second time having led the Springboks in the 24-18 victory over Argentina in Pretoria.

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Thomas du Toit was en route from France to Nagoya, Japan, on Monday after being called up as an injury replacement to the Springbok Rugby World Cup squad.

The 24-yearold Cell C Sharks prop replaces the unfortunate Trevor Nyakane who tore his right calf in the 23-13 defeat by New Zealand in Yokohama on Saturday night.

Du Toit, who was on a short-term loan to Toulouse, was on standby and had been involved in preparations right up until the team’s departure for Japan.

He is expected to join the squad in Nagoya on Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s very tough on Trevor,” said Rassie Erasmus, director of rugby. “He has had a great season and added value whenever he took the field. It’s a blow to him and the team, but it’s also an opportunity for Thomas and for Vincent [Koch] who now have the chance to step up.”

The Springboks continue their Rugby World Cup campaign against neighbours Namibia in Nagoya on Saturday (kick off 11h45 SA time).

The Springboks will field an unchanged 23 for the first time since the last Rugby World Cup for their opening match of the 2019 version in Yokohama on Saturday (kick-off at 11h45 SA time).

Rassie Erasmus, director of rugby, on Wednesday named the same starting XV and eight replacements that defeated Japan, 41-7, in Kumagaya two weeks ago for the eagerly awaited clash against New Zealand.

No 8 Duane Vermeulen will be appearing in his 50th Test as one of 22 players who will, in fact, be appearing in their fourth match together this season.

The combination also fought to a 16-16 draw with the same opposition in Wellington before beating Argentina, 46-13, in Salta on their way to the Castle Lager Rugby Championship. The one exception is fit-again captain Siya Kolisi, who replaced Kwagga Smith to lead the side out against Japan.

The last time South Africa named an unchanged 23 was 51 matches ago – against New Zealand in the 2015 Rugby World Cup semi-final. The combination had beaten Wales 23-19 in the quarter-final, only to lose at Twickenham by two points a week later.

“We’ve found some consistency and some momentum in a number of ways this season,” said Erasmus, “and one of them is in selection.

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Babalwa Latsha said the Springbok Women were ready to measure the progress they have made as a team since the 2021 Rugby World Cup Qualifiers in Gauteng in August as the clock winds down to Saturday’s Test against Spain at the WJ de Wet Stadium in Despatch.

The team have been in Port Elizabeth since Sunday, 8 September, where they have been preparing for the Test and a friendly match between the SA Select Women and Spain Invitational XV – which the visitors won 17-5 last Saturday – but the intensity rose dramatically this week as the team switched in full Test mode.

“We are very excited about the game,” Latsha, Springbok Women’s captain, said at a coaching clinic at Mzontsundu High School in Kwazakele on Wednesday.

“We have been building to this test against Spain and the next two against Scotland for some time now. Our preparation started before the World Cup Qualifiers last month, so we are keen to see how far we have come as a team since then.

“Our training sessions here in Port Elizabeth have been going well and we are all on the same page in terms of what we need to do on the field and what is required of us at training. So it is now a matter of transferring that onto the field.”

Latsha relished the opportunity to showcase their skills in a region that is widely regarded as the heartland of women’s rugby in South Africa, and said: “It is fantastic to play in the Eastern Cape, especially since this is the powerhouse of women’s rugby.

“We are looking forward to the locals coming to see what we have to offer. I think the match is going to be a good spectacle for all of the Eastern Cape to enjoy.”

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Trevor Nyakane is expected to be fit and available for selection for the Springboks’ opening Rugby World Cup match against New Zealand on 21 September, Springbok management confirmed on Sunday.

The tighthead prop sprained a knee during the 41-7 victory over Japan in Kumagaya on Friday and was limited to a 14-minute appearance.

Nyakane made a scheduled return to South Africa on Saturday to be with his wife for the birth of their child this week. He will arrive back in Japan on Friday.

Mr Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, reacted with shock and disbelief when the news of the death of former Springbok wing and Blitzboks captain and coach Chester Williams surfaced on Friday afternoon.

Williams was a star of the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup-winning squad in 1995 and one of the best wings in South African rugby history. He passed away from a heart attack in Cape Town on Friday afternoon, aged 49.

“The news of Chester’s passing is devastating and hard to believe, as he was still young and seemingly in good health,” said Mr Alexander.

“Chester was a true pioneer in South African rugby and his performances at the World Cup in 1995, as a snapshot of his Springbok career, will forever be etched in the hearts and minds of our rugby public.

“As a member of the Springbok class of 1995, Chester was not only well-known in the rugby fraternity, but he was a much-loved South African whose influence stretched wider than just the rugby world.

“He was passionate about rugby and South Africa and as coach, at various levels, selflessly gave back to the game after he hung up his boots. He played with courage and was a beacon of light in his community and in the broader South African context.

“Chester Williams had so much more to give. Our thoughts and condolences are with his wife, Maria, his children, family and friends during this very sad time.”

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Western Province will target their third successive SA Rugby Women’s Interprovincial title, and with it a dream season, when they meet arch-rivals, Border, in the A Section final of the competition at City Park in Cape Town on Saturday.

The Xerox Golden Lions, meanwhile, will take on SWD in the B Section final, which will be played at 13h00 as a curtain-raiser to the main final, which kicks off at 15h00.

The Capetonians have been in fine form this season, winning all of their matches up to now, and they will look to finish the competition on a high note in front of their home crowd.

They will, however, face tough competition against Border – who edged their way into the final in the closing pool round – in what marks the fourth successive final between the sides, although this is the first one in Cape Town.

With a clean-sweep of wins in their five matches leading up to the final to only three wins by Border, Western Province may have a mental edge going into the clash, but the narrow margins between the sides on attack and defence in the pool stages indicate that it could be a tightly-fought affair.

The home side scored 26 tries to Border’s 22 and conceded 10 to their Eastern Cape rivals’ 11, and to spice things up even more, Western Province edged through for a narrow 22-21 victory in their pool match in Cape Town earlier this season.

In the last two finals, Western Province won by six and two points respectively, while no more than nine points separated the teams on the scoreboard in their round-robin matches in the last two seasons, meaning it could be an epic clash.

The B Section final between the Golden Lions and SWD is also expected to be gripping with the sides having been among the top contenders for the title in the last few seasons.

In fact, the two sides also met in the 2017 final, which SWD won 23-8, while the women from Johannesburg advanced to the 2018 final as well, but went down against Boland.

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SA Rugby can confirm being informed by the South African Institute of Drug Free Sport (SAIDS) that an adverse analytical finding had been detected in a sample collected from Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi in a doping test on 2 July 2019.

Dyantyi’s B-sample also tested positive and he has now been formally charged with a doping offence for multiple anabolic steroids and metabolites.

SA Rugby, the Lions Rugby Company and Dyantyi are working with SAIDS, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and all other relevant authorities on the matter and no further comment can be made at this stage

BRAKPAN, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 17:  Babalwa Latsha of South Africa lifts the trophy with the team as they qualify during the Women's World Cup qualifier match between South Africa and Kenya at Bosman Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Brakpan, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

BRAKPAN, SOUTH AFRICA – AUGUST 17: Babalwa Latsha of South Africa lifts the trophy with the team as they qualify during the Women’s World Cup qualifier match between South Africa and Kenya at Bosman Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Brakpan, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

Springbok Women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer was delighted on Saturday as his charges booked their place in the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand with a 39-0 victory against Kenya in the deciding match of the qualifiers at the Bosman Stadium in Brakpan.

The win marked a clean sweep for the Springbok Women in the competition and wrapped up a full-house of points from their three matches following 89-5 and 73-0 victories against Uganda and Madagascar earlier in the tournament.

The Springbok Women ran Kenya ragged early on, which saw them earn their fourth try early in the second quarter and take a 24-0 lead at the break, and they built on this is in a competitive second stanza in which they added three more tries to their tally for the 39-0 win.

In the other match, Madagascar and Uganda played to 15-15 draw in a gripping encounter, in which both teams ran hard on attack and defended with intent.

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