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Several South Africans to perform match official duties in November

Australian referee Angus Gardner will be in charge of the Springboks’ opening Test of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, against England at Twickenham on Saturday, 3 November, World Rugby confirmed on Wednesday when it released the list of match officials for the November internationals.

World Rugby has confirmed the match official appointments for a bumper programme of 45 men’s international matches during the November period.

With the start of the Rugby World Cup 2019 less than a year away, the matches provide important preparation for teams and match officials alike, and match official performances over the period will be taken into account when the World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee meets to select the team for rugby’s showcase event.

The Springboks start their Castle Lager Outgoing Tour with a visit to Twickenham in London on 3 November where they face England in what will be the two teams’ fourth meeting this year. The South Africans won a close-fought Castle Lager Incoming Series 2-1 at home in June.

Welshman Nigel Owens will be the man in charge of the Springboks’ second tour match a week later, on 10 November, against France in the Stade de France in Paris.

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The South African Under-18 Sevens squad arrived in Buenos Aires on Monday and are raring to go as they prepare to make their Youth Olympic Games debut this weekend.

Marius Schoeman, who will coach the side, made only two changes to the team that successfully defended their African Youth Games title in Algeria in July, which allowed them to qualify for the tournament in Argentina, with Diego Appollis and Mnombo Zwelendaba featuring in the 12-member squad.

Schoeman’s charges will face Japan and France on the opening day at Club Atletico San Isidro sede la Boya on Saturday, which will be followed by clashes against the USA and Argentina on Sunday, and Samoa on Monday in the pool stages. The round-robin games will be followed immediately by the final stages.

“This is the first time that we participate in the Youth Olympic Games and we are very excited about the challenge,” said Schoeman.

“Our biggest challenge is the fact that we have not had much time together as a squad as a result of examinations and the school programme, but we all agree that this is a fantastic opportunity to prove ourselves.

“This tournament will serve as a big boost in the players’ development and for our Sevens structures, as it will offer the players the best possible chance to test themselves against the top sides in the world in a prestigious international event.

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The disappointed Springboks rued ‘soft moments’ that cost them a famous double over world No 1 New Zealand, but came away with burgeoning self-belief, despite a heart-breaking two-point defeat (32-30) in a Castle Lager Rugby Championship clash at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

The Springboks held a 12-point advantage going into the final five minutes but the never-say-die All Blacks scored two converted tries in the dying moments of the game to claim a famous victory.

“For 70 minutes we did a lot of things right, but we had some soft moments and against the No 1 team in the world you can’t afford to do that,” said Siya Kolisi, Springbok captain.

“That’s probably where we lost it. I don’t think we deserved to lose but they really stuck to their game and perhaps we switched off for a split second.”

The teams both kicked two first half penalty goals to be tied at 6-6 at the break, but the Springboks scored three second half tries through Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende and Cheslin Kolbe to take what appeared a commanding 30-13 lead with only a quarter of the match remaining.

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The Springboks know how much Saturday’s match against the All Blacks mean for South African supporters, and that’s why they will give it their all at Loftus Versfeld, according to Springbok captain Siya Kolisi.

Kolisi spoke to the media at the team hotel in Pretoria on the eve of the big Castle Lager Rugby Championship clash, which is the last fixture of the competition for both countries.

The match at Loftus, which will take place before a capacity crowd of close to 50,000 people, is also the last home game of the year for Kolisi and his Springbok team mates.

“This is a huge game in every sense,” said Kolisi.

“We feel it from the supporters and there’s a huge hype around it. For us, this is a massive game because we’re playing against the best team in the world and they would want to come here and rectify matters (from the previous result in Wellington).”

The Springbok skipper said his side has enjoyed the build-up to the Test in the South African capital and that they realise they would have to match the intensity of their Kiwi-rivals.

“We made sure that we don’t do things differently,” explained Kolisi.

“We have prepared in the same way as we did for the match against the Wallabies last week and for the match against the All Blacks three weeks ago in Wellington.

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Pic: Gallo Images via

Pic: Gallo Images via

Damian de Allende, Francois Louw and Steven Kitshoff are back in the Springbok starting line-up for Saturday’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship match against the All Blacks at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, where Willie le Roux will play in his 50th Test for South Africa.

De Allende has shrugged off his shoulder injury that forced him to miss last weekend’s win over the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth and takes over the No 12 jersey from Andre Esterhuizen. Louw is back in the frame having returned from English club commitments and he will start at No 8, while Sikhumbuzo Notshe will play off the bench.

Kitshoff is part of the starting front row in a straight rotational swop with the experienced Tendai Mtawarira, who will provide impact off the bench. Vincent Koch is also set to play an impact role after he was named amongst the replacement forwards, in place of Wilco Louw.

The rest of the team that defeated Australia last weekend in Port Elizabeth was kept unchanged.

“Damian has trained very well and took full contact this week, so he is ready,” said Rassie Erasmus, Director of Rugby.

“Notshe played well against the Wallabies last weekend and will offer us something different when he goes on, but Flo (Louw) has a lot of experience and is good on the ground.”

Erasmus said he is looking forward to seeing Koch get another run in the Springbok jersey.

“Vincent has learnt a lot from playing in Northern Hemisphere conditions and I am sure he is very keen to pull on that Green and Gold jersey again. He has a burning desire to play for the Springboks and I am delighted for him as we continue to build our squad depth.”

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Former Springbok Bryan Habana and Mike Sharman, co-founder of Retroviral Digital Communications, have launched Retroactive, a new creative digital sports marketing agency.

The new agency will manage fully integrated digital marketing campaigns for customised sport sponsorships and events, combined with its strategic, creative, digital and analytical capabilities that will drive measurable business growth for clients.

“Sport truly transcends all boundaries, in South Africa, and around the world, yet we feel it is the most underutilised brand engagement opportunity available,” says Sharman. “Historically, brands have tended to sponsor a particular sport because the CEO or CMO happens to enjoy or participate in it. Doing so has meant that they’ve missed the opportunity to use sports sponsorship to address or achieve a strategic business or communications objective.”

“Sponsorship for sponsorship’s sake seldom achieves the full potential that a strong sports marketing campaign can deliver, and we have seen that a strong campaign that connects the right athlete and sport with the right audience can achieve exceptional results. We’re inspired to achieve great results for clients, and we’re excited about the potential in this industry – which is why we’ve launched Retroactive.”

According to research from Momentum Worldwide, sports fans feel increasingly ambivalent toward brands in sports events. Over a third of respondents said that sport is the most important thing in their life. However approximately half of fans agree that sponsors don’t have sports’ best interest at heart, and over 80% believe that sponsors never consider the fans. This is where the opportunity lies for Retroactive.

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Eastern Province took top honours in the Iqhawe Week at the Bill Jardine Stadium in Johannesburg on Thursday as they defeated the Golden Lions 18-10 in a competitive final match, which brought down the curtain on an exciting 2018 tournament.

The boys from the Eastern Cape started the clash strongly with a try by Serue Serue and penalty goal by Wessie Odendaal earning them an 11-0 lead.

Hosts, the Golden Lions, bounced back with intent after the break, as they retained possession and ran hard on attack, and it paid off as they managed to reduce the deficit to 11-10 late in the match thanks to converted try by Mzwandile Dube and a penalty goal.

The home side had an opportunity to force their way into the lead with another penalty goal, but the attempt was unsuccessful.

Eastern Province, in turn, held their nerve late in the match with Serue crossing the tryline for the second time on the stroke of fulltime, which sealed the victory for them.

The Griffons delivered a strong second-half showing to outplay Griquas 40-17 after the teams entered the break level at 12-12. Such was the high quality of their attack they scored six tries, with Marcus Stols contributing a brace, while Daniel Crouwkamp kept the scoreboard ticking with five conversions.

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The Toyota Cheetahs and Isuzu Southern Kings will look to finish their second trip to Europe on a winning note this weekend as they line up against Edinburgh and Benetton respectively in their round six Guinness PRO14 clashes.

The Toyota Cheetahs will be highly-motivated to register their first victory of the season when they face Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Friday after a frustrating spell in their last three games, in which they squandered their lead, which left them winless.

They will, however, face a tough challenge from the hosts, who have won both of their home matches this season, albeit by small margins, and who will want to build momentum after winning only two of their five matches.

The teams have met only once before in the competition, and the Toyota Cheetahs were 33-13 victors in that encounter in Bloemfontein, which will fuel their determination to win. The fact that the Toyota Cheetahs are the only team in the competition that have yet to register a victory will add to their motivation.

The presence of a handful of South Africans in the Edinburgh squad, including Pierre Schoeman (currently suspended), Duhan van der Merwe and Jaco van der Walt, is expected to spice up the clash.

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Note editors: Media can now download a rights-free audio clips featuring Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard. To download the rights free clip, please click here.

Handré Pollard is looking forward to playing for the Springboks against the All Blacks in front of a capacity crowd at Loftus Versfeld, the No 10 said on Tuesday.

Pollard and his provincial and national team mate Jesse Kriel spoke to the media at their Pretoria hotel on Tuesday afternoon, and both marvelled at the prospect of playing in front of a capacity crowd on Saturday, in the final round of this year’s Castle Lager Ruby Championship.

Both players were part of the victorious Springbok side that scored a famous away win over the All Blacks in Wellington three weeks ago. Siya Kolisi and his team mates managed to also beat the Wallabies last weekend in Port Elizabeth, giving the Springboks some good momentum going into the much-anticipated Loftus clash.

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Cheslin Kolbe (wing) and Sikhumbuzo Notshe (No 8) will make their run-on debuts for the Springboks against the Wallabies in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, when the two teams meet in the penultimate round of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

The inclusion of Kolbe on the right wing and Notshe in the pack are two of four personnel changes to the Springbok starting team that beat the All Blacks in an epic clash two weeks ago in Wellington, New Zealand.

Kolbe made his Springbok debut in Brisbane three weeks ago and was sent on as an early replacement against the All Blacks in Wellington the following week, scoring a vital try early in the second half.

Warren Whiteley sustained a groin injury earlier in the week, which has ruled him out of action for this Saturday, paving the way for Notshe to earn his first start for the Springboks.

Jesse Kriel, who started at right wing in Wellington, moves back to outside centre. Kriel is set to partner the strong running Andre Esterhuizen in a revamped Springbok midfield as a result of the injuries to Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am.

Up front there is a rotation at loosehead prop between Tendai Mtawarira and Steven Kitshoff, who on this occasion will provide impact off the bench. The rest of the starting line-up is unchanged, with Mtawarira set to make his 106th Test match appearance for the Springboks on Saturday.

There are however some tweaks to the replacement bench. Marco van Staden comes into the match-day squad as replacement for Francois Louw, and Embrose Papier is now the back-up scrumhalf in place of Ross Cronje. Furthermore, the versatile Damian Willemse returns to the bench.

“Cheslin has been very impressive since he joined the squad a few weeks ago and now he gets a deserved opportunity to start in a big Test,” said SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus.

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