Mr Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, paid tribute to former SA Coloured Football Board captain Austin Appollis van Heerden, who sadly passed away on Tuesday.
“Austin took the road less travelled to national representation and he knew what was needed to make it to the top,” said Mr Alexander.
“His achievements as a player from the Central Karoo have to be celebrated, even though he was never very well known to the broader rugby fraternity in South Africa at the time. To captain the national side is a massive honour and something he fully deserved.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends during this difficult time, but we also know Austin will live forever in the memory of South African rugby and he will be remembered for all his wonderful achievements, on and off the field.”
Van Heerden was a versatile and multi-talented midfielder who was taught the game on the dry and hard fields of the Karoo. He played for the Polytechnics, Swallows, Swans and Murraysburg rugby clubs.
From these far-flung corners of the South African countryside, Van Heerden went on to represent the Central Karoo Rugby Union in the tough Rhodes Cup and SA Cup competitions between 1953 and 1971.
In 1961, Van Heerden captained the SA Coloured Board XV in a Test against the African Springboks played at the Green Point Track in Cape Town.
A 25-man DHL Stormers touring squad will leave Cape Town on Tuesday ahead of their Vodacom Super Rugby encounter with the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
The DHL Stormers resume their Vodacom Super Rugby campaign at Estadio Jose Amalfitani in Buenos Aires this weekend, following the international break.
Despite a number of players being unavailable due to injury, DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck was able to name a squad with a good blend of experience and young talent.
Unable to make the trip were the likes of Juarno Augustus, Jaco Coetzee, Dan du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, SP Marais, Scarra Ntubeni, Sergeal Petersen, JD Schickerling, Seabelo Senatla, Chris van Zyl, Jano Vermaak and Damian Willemse.
Fleck said that despite the injuries, his squad will be travelling to Argentina with a positive mindset to take on the challenge ahead.
“We know that this will be a tough match in difficult conditions, but we are embracing the challenge that we will face over there.
“After the break we have a fresh mindset and are determined to give a good account of ourselves,” he said.
DHL Stormers touring squad: Craig Barry, Nizaam Carr, Damian de Allende, Jan de Klerk, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Dewaldt Duvenage, JJ Engelbrecht, JC Janse van Rensberg, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi (captain), Dillyn Leyds, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Salmaan Moerat, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Justin Phillips, Raymond Rhule, Carlu Sadie, Ramone Samuels, Josh Stander, Kobus van Dyk, EW Viljoen, Cobus Wiese.
South Africa may have already secured the Castle Lager Incoming Series, but Springbok captain Siya Kolisi believes victory over England on Saturday at DHL Newlands remains a very special achievement to aim for.
Kolisi addressed the media on the eve of the third and final Test match between the two countries, and he was quick to emphasise that the Springboks remain very hungry for a win over their old rivals despite victories in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein.
“We’ve spoken about it as a team – there is no room for complacency and we have plenty to play for,” said the Springbok skipper.
“We all know that we made way too many mistakes last week in Bloemfontein and we are fortunate to have another opportunity on Saturday, where the team will be aiming for a much improved performance.
“The team want to finish series properly and on a winning note. This is the last match for us for another two months (before the Castle Lager Rugby Championship), and we obviously have our team goals. There’s a couple of changes to the team, but that won’t impact on our approach or our tactics.”
Former Springbok flank Rob Louw presented the team with their match day jerseys on Friday afternoon. Kick-off on Saturday is at 17h05 and the match will be televised live on SuperSport 1.
An almost sold-out crowd is expected at DHL Newlands on Saturday, and in terms of safety regulations spectators must please note that umbrellas are not allowed into the ground. Spectators are advised please bring a raincoat and not an umbrella.
The 10 different DHL Western Province teams for the upcoming Coca-Cola national Youth Weeks have been named.
This year there will be two DHL Western Province teams in both the Coca-Cola U18 Craven Week and the Coca-Cola U18 Academy Week respectively at Paarl Boys High.
Adrian Alberts from Paarl Boys High will captain the DHL Western Province U18 team at the Coca-Cola U18 Craven Week, with Faizel Adam from Florida High the Head Coach.
The DHL Western Province U16 team to play in the Coca-Cola U16 Grant Khomo Week at Hoerskool Diamantveld in Kimberley will be captained by Armand Maritz from Paul Roos, while Juan Loots will captain DHL Western Province U13 at the Coca-Cola U13 Craven Week at the same venue.
Anelisiwe Mxabo from Iqhayiya High will captain the DHL Western Province U18 girls team at Jeppe Boys High, while DHL Western Province U16 A girls will be led by Joy Klaase from Elsies River High.
The Springbok team for the third and final Test in the Castle Lager Incoming Series against England in Cape Town on Saturday, shows five changes from the starting team that beat the English last week in Bloemfontein.
Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby, has picked Warrick Gelant at fullback, Jesse Kriel and Andre Esterhuizen in midfield, Elton Jantjies at flyhalf and Chiliboy Ralepelle at hooker for the match at DHL Newlands, which kicks off at 17h05.
The 37-year-old Schalk Brits (hooker) is on the replacements bench and is set to make his first Springbok appearance since the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The promising young scrumhalf Embrose Papier, who made his Springbok debut off the bench against Wales in Washington, was also named amongst the substitutions.
The Springboks have already clinched the three-match series between the two countries following last Saturday’s 23-12 victory in Bloemfontein, where front rower Tendai Mtawarira made his 100th Springbok Test appearance.
Mtawarira will again anchor the Bok scrum, this time with Ralepelle doing duty in the No 2 jersey, while Frans Malherbe gets a second successive start following last week’s return to the Bok tight five.
Erasmus has resisted the temptation of make wholesale changes and has instead opted for a couple of tweaks in areas where he wants to try different combinations.
“The series might be won but we still have an important Test match on Saturday, against a very determined English side who will be looking to end the series on a high,” explained Erasmus.
DHL Western Province have been boosted by the inclusion of EW Viljoen at outside centre and Cobus Wiese at lock for the SuperSport Rugby Challenge encounter with SWD Eagles at Brookside on Friday.
Both players will make their first appearance of the campaign in what is the last match of the regular season for defending champions DHL Western Province ahead of the play-offs.
DHL Western Province have already qualified for the quarterfinals next week, having topped the South Section ahead of the clash with SWD Eagles, which kicks off at 15h00 on Friday at Brookside.
As one of just two unbeaten teams in the competition, DHL Western Province will be looking to finish with as many log points as possible, to secure home advantage in the knock-out phase of the competition.
The team to face the SWD Eagles at Brookside on Friday is much-changed, as Head Coach John Dobson seeks to ensure that as many players as possible are sharp ahead of the play-offs.
Up front prop Ali Vermaak and hooker Chad Solomon come into the starting line-up, with Dean Muir, Caylib Oosthuizen and Michael Kumbirai among the replacements.
Wiese comes in at lock to partner Ernst van Rhyn, with Johan du Toit shifting to the back row where he links up with captain Luke Stringer and No.8 Juarno Augustus.
In the backline Herschel Jantjies partners Josh Stander at halfback, with Viljoen forming a midfield combination with Dan du Plessis.
At the back Duncan Saal is back on the wing, with Tristan Leyds at fullback and a fit-again Dan Kriel providing cover on the replacements bench.
Dobson said that after their bye last week, his team are looking to ensure that they take some momentum into the knock-out phase of the competition next week.
“We understand how vital it is that we win well on Friday, to give ourselves the highest possible seeding in the play-offs.
“It was a good bye week, but we are focused on delivering a convincing performance to give us some momentum,” he said.
DHL Western Province: 15 Tristan Leyds, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Luke Stringer (captain), 5 Cobus Wiese, 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Dean Muir, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Steph de Wit, 20 Marno Redelinghuys, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Dan Kriel.
Siya Kolisi and his Springbok team mates visited the iconic Robben Island in Table Bay, north of the Cape Town city centre, on Wednesday, a #LoveRugby initiative.
The Boks enjoyed lunch at the V&A Waterfront before embarking on a ferry for the half hour trip from Table Bay Harbour to the island.
Rassie Erasmus, his management and players were given and extensive tour of the famous World Heritage Site by Mr Itumeleng Makwela, a former inmate, which included a visit to the prison cell of the late Mr Nelson Mandela, where he was held as a political prisoner for 18 years.
Kolisi described he visit to Robben Island as an inspirational and emotional occasion.
“It was very inspiring and humbling to listen to the story of Mr Mandela and his fellow political prisoners. As a group, we felt very privileged to have made the journey across to Robben Island,” said Kolisi.
Ms Morongoa Ramaboa, spokesperson for the Robben Island Museum, said it was an honour to welcome the Springboks: “For us, the museum is a representation of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. The Boks are our icons of inspiration and we hope they will be triumphant on Saturday.”
The Boks were also accompanied by Ms Zelda la Grange, the former long-serving private secretary of Madiba.
There were two other activations earlier on Wednesday. Damian de Allende, Akker van der Merwe and Schalk Brits popped into SA Rugb’s award-winning rugby museum at the V&A Waterfront, the Springbok Experience, for a brief meet and greet session.
And eight Boks – Pieter-Steph du Toit, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, Bongi Mbonambi, Oupa Mohoje, Marvin Orie, Robert du Preez and Willie le Roux – attended a signing session at Canal Walk, organised by team sponsor MTN, where a couple of hundred supporters came out to the popular shopping centre to get autographs and selfies with their favourite players.
Tafel Lager Griquas and the SWD Eagles scored important victories in the Central and South Sections of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge, while the Leopards and Eastern Province recorded their maiden wins for 2018 in Round 9 of the competition.
The men from Kimberley edged the Cell C Sharks XV 38-34 in a dramatic clash at the Rugby Festival at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane on Sunday. This win pushed them past the Toyota Free State XV on the overall log in the Central Section and into a position of potential hosting a quarter-final in a couple of weeks. At the same time, the defeat will hurt the Durban team’s hopes of playing at home in the knockout stages.
The other contender in the Central Section, the Down Touch Griffons, saw their strong first half effort come to nothing as the Leopards scored a late winner via flyhalf Schalk Hugo. The 38-35 win by the Leopards was the first of the season for the Potchefstroom side, who are slowly but surely starting to play to their true potential.
In the wake of this defeat, the team from Welkom, who lead 28-14 at the break, will have their work cut out to get into the play-offs.
Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux was a pleased man on Sunday after his team delivered a strong performance to defeat New Zealand by 40-30 at Stade de la Méditerranée in Béziers to finish the World Rugby U20 Championship on a high note and claim the bronze medal.
The first half was tense as both teams tried hard to make their presence felt. New Zealand’s three tries and two penalty goals, to two converted tries by the SAU20s, handed them a 25-14 lead at the break.
But Roux’s charges dominated the second half and added four tries, with Tyrone Green earning his double, while they limited the opposition to just one in the final seconds of the match.
“I thought we played well, but just when we thought we started well, we made one or two bad decisions, which cost us two tries,” said Roux.
“But that is the type of experience the players need at this level so they can learn from it.
“It was an awesome comeback in the second half, and I am happy for the players because they worked very hard for this, so all credit to them.
“In saying that, I am still very disappointed that we were not in the final because that was our goal from the outset. It was good though to beat New Zealand to finish third.”
The Junior Springboks will face New Zealand in the World Rugby U20 Championship bronze playoff in Béziers on Sunday with a new centre pairing of Wandisile Simelane and Lyle Hendricks.
Simelane switches from the left wing to centre, while Hendricks replaces Rikus Pretorius who is nursing a contusion to his leg.
The other changes to coach Chean Roux’s starting team were at scrumhalf where Rewan Kruger partners up with David Coetzer at halfback, while Ben-Jason Dixon starts at flanker, and hooker Daniel Jooste returns after recovering from a rib injury.
On the bench, lock Ruan Vermaak will provide cover at lock and Manuel Rass at centre.
Zoning in on the match, Roux said his team had to be switched on from the outset to finish the tournament on a winning note and secure the bronze medal.
“This is a big game for us,” said Roux. “I would like to see a full 80-minute performance out there. Hopefully we can get a good start because we haven’t had a good start up to now, so that is something we need to focus on.”
Of New Zealand, the coach said: “They are a physical side and they like to throw the ball around and play high-tempo rugby, so we need to be up for it and be ready for them.