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There are a number of changes in the DHL Western Province U19 team which will face EP Elephants U19 at Boland Landbou near Paarl on Friday.

The match will kick off at 12h30 on Friday as an opener for the Aon Under-18 International Series match between England U18 and France U18, before SA Schools take on Wales U18.

There are four changes to the backline and five in the forward pack, with a number of players given the opportunity to show their worth by Head Coach Nazeem Adams.

In the backline Aydon Topley comes in at outside centre and Aaron Zeederberg is on the wing, while there is also a new halfback pairing of Gerardo Jaars and David Coetzer.

Up front there is an all-new front row, with props Joshua du Preez and Alexander Mbete making their first starts along with hooker Chris Rossouw. Lock Jaen-Louis de Lange and flank Henro Meyer also get a chance in the starting line-up.

Adams said that the new players are hungry to make an impact at Boland Landbou.

“There are a few new faces who will be giving everything, so the challenge for us will be to get some fluency going in our game.

“We know that we will have to keep our focus and execute our plans properly to beat this EP U19 side,” he said.

DHL Western Province U19: 15 Quan Eyman, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 Aydon Topley, 12 Waqar Solaan, 11 Aaron Zeederberg, 10 David Coetzer, 9 Gerado Jaars, 8 Francke Horn (captain), 7 Tonderai Chiwumbutsa, 6 Henro Meyer, 5 Jaen-Louis de Lange, 4 Ian Kitwanga, 3 Joshua du Preez, 2 Chris Rossouw, 1 Alexander Mbete.
Replacements: 16 Andile Nondwangu, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Tristan Leitch, 19 Marcel Theunissen, 20 Henco Martins, 21 Mitch Connellan, 22 Nevaldo Fleurs, 23 David Kriel.

Lood de Jager and Chané Stadler with learners from Emdeni High School

Lood de Jager and Chané Stadler with learners from Emdeni High School

The first digital Boks for Books library, a Solar Powered Learning Lab, was launched by the Dell Development Fund, in conjunction with SA Rugby, at Emdeni High School in Soweto on Wednesday.

The Dell Solar Powered Learning Labs are shipping containers converted into self-sustaining computer facilities, complete with curriculums for schools and access to local communities.

SA Rugby President, Mr Mark Alexander, and national team players Lood de Jager and Chané Stadler, attended the launch event in Soweto on Wednesday.

“We all know that education is a key cornerstone for success in life, and a vital part of a sound education is literacy,” said Mr Alexander at the unveiling of the Dell Solar Powered Learning Lab at Emdeni High School.

“All of us in rugby, along with our partners Dell, wholeheartedly agree that literacy and education, and the discipline associated with that, play a crucial role in securing a strong future for our nation.

“The Dell Development Fund remains committed to improving social conditions, made evident through the highly successful Solar Learning Labs project. They believe that technology is a powerful tool for breaking down barriers and opening up new possibilities for children around the world.

“It can give a child living in the streets access to the same information as the most affluent child. It can bring more educational opportunities to remote villages and underprivileged areas.”

South Africa’s Ashleigh Murray, one of the country’s leading women’s referees, has been named amongst the 25 match officials from 15 unions for the 2019 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

World Rugby named the appointments for the forthcoming season on Tuesday. Rasta Rasivhenge, one of the most experiences referees on the men’s circuit, will continue in this regard.

The 22-year-old Murray, who started out as a referee in 2011 with the Golden Lions Rugby Union, has been making great strides in his career and her inclusion in a new-look 13-person match official panel for the women’s series comes as the countdown to the 2020 Olympic Games gathers pace.

The promotion to the international stage for the Alberton resident was applauded by SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux.

“It is always heartening to see our own referees being rewarded and recognised, as is the case now with Ashleigh,” said Roux.

“She has proved her abilities domestically and will do well on the international stage.”

Murray has been on the SA Rugby women’s panel since 2014 and takes over the flag from Ben Crouse and Aimee Barrett-Theron, who officiated in the women’s series in recent years. Both have opted to focus on fifteens in the future.

Amongst Murray’s more prominent career achievements, were appointments to officiate at the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifier in Hong Kong, the Africa Women’s Sevens in Botswana and the World University 7s Championships in Namibia, all in 2018. Last season she also took charge of the SA Rugby Women’s Interprovincial final between Border and Western Province.

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Sixteen Under-16 and Under-18 girls’ teams, from SA Rugby’s various Youth Training Centres (YTC) across the country, will celebrate Women’s Month this weekend when they take part in a YTC Festival at Florida Park in Ravensmead, Cape Town.

The teams will play each other in seeding matches on Friday, 10 August, while the playoffs will take place on Saturday, 11 August.

Like last year, the U16 and U18 teams will take on one other in a combined tournament rather than being split into the North and South Sections as they have been since the inception of these events in 2015.

The U16 and U18 players at the various YTC’s train on a weekly basis, while they also have access to conditioning and nutritional programmes, as well as gymnasiums within the SA Rugby network to improve their strength and fitness levels.

They work from a coaching blueprint designed by SA Rugby’s Rugby Department to ensure a uniform approach in the structures and systems at the various centres, and the girls also participate in scheduled matches to expose them to regular competition.

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Sharks Under-18 players Thabiso Mdletshe (prop) and Mzwandile Menze (centre), have been added to the SA Schools squad following the injury-enforced withdrawal of two players.

Banele Mthenjane (prop, Nelspruit High School), one of three players who also featured for the SA Schools side in 2017, and Lionel April (flyhalf, Hermanus High School) were forced the withdraw from the squad for the Aon Under-18 International Series, which kicks off on Friday.

Their places were taken by Mdletshe, who is from Glenwood High School, and Menze, from Durban High School (DHS). This brings Glenwood’s representation in Sean Erasmus’ squad to three, while there are now two players from DHS.

“It’s always tough to lose players before a ball has even been kicked, but unfortunately these things happen and we feel for Banele and Lionel,” said Erasmus, whose team started with their preparations on Sunday in Stellenbosch.

“At the same time, this provides a wonderful opportunity for Thabiso and Mzwandle and I’ve been impressed with their zeal and positive attitude.”

The opening round of matches in the Aon Under-18 International Series is on Friday at Boland Landbou, near Paarl, where the SA Schools team will face Wales at 16h00. The first match is between the U18 teams of England and France and kicks off at 14h15.

The second round of matches is scheduled for Tuesday, 14 August at Stellenberg High School in Durbanville, and the final round will take place at SACS in Newlands on Saturday, 18 August.

Siya Kolisi’s astonishing journey, from the dusty streets of Zwide to being the first black player to captain the Springbok rugby team, has been voted Laureus Sporting Moment of the Month for July.

Kolisi’s story of overcoming adversity and succeeding against the odds gripped the imagination of a global audience of sports lovers, who vote each month for sporting moments that symbolise the true values of sport and bring to life the message that sport has the power to change the world.

The monthly winners compete against each other in the Laureus Sporting Moment of the Year public vote, with the eventual winner announced at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco.

Kolisi’s nomination, entitled “Uniting the Rainbow Nation”, tracked his rise from the poverty-stricken township of Zwide, near Port Elizabeth, where he often went to bed hungry as his young mother and grandmother struggled to put food on the table.

On Saturday 9 June, he made history when he led the Springboks out at Ellis Park in a Test match against England. It was a remarkable moment for the Springboks and the entire nation – and it was made all the more special by the fact that he was wearing the Number 6 jersey famously worn by former President Nelson Mandela at the same venue during the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

As it happened, the Springboks won the match 42-39 after an incredible comeback. But the lingering memories will be of Kolisi’s history-making moment, and what it means to a nation crying out for unity and healing.

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Insights- driven seminar held to empower local coaches

The 2018 Powerade Performance Academy celebrates everyday coaches and will focus on giving credit to everyday ‘ordinary’ coaches who have done extraordinary things by refining the young talent that eventually goes on to perform on the world stage.

Recently, Powerade Performance Academy at NMMU saw former Protea’s coach, Gary Kirsten, appealing to school coaches about coaching for the right reasons. The reasons he mentioned were to include seeking to develop players as people that believe in the team’s culture, purpose, focusing on the players and not on solely winning games.

Kirsten appealed to coaches who were present on the day to coach their players in a similar way they would like to be coached. “If you learn something new from another coach or from the players, blend it in your way of coaching to see if it would work”. Kirsten alludes that “Coaches should not solemnly focus on results, such as winning games, however should focus on doing justice to the team by identifying the player’s individual strengths, weaknesses and arrears of improvement. If coaches do not adopt a proactive approach it can lead into their team losing games, they could have potentially won.”

Kirsten recognises “There is a huge pressure in schools for the teams to perform and win. Nevertheless, coaches must first grow the individual and only when the individual has shown tremendous growth, the coaches can eventually begin to look at winning which would in turn boost the team’s morale. Winning is the result of all the hard work, determination and patience coaches have for their players and that is a recipe for a successful team,” he said.

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The Group CEO and Director of Rugby of Western Province Rugby on Monday met with the player base to dispel weekend media reports alluding to the imminent ‘sale/clear-out’ of a number of athletes.
“It is regrettable that the public has been presented with a factually incorrect and grossly misleading view of our confidential internal dealings with our senior player group,” said WP Rugby Group CEO, Paul Zacks.

“We back our contracted players wholeheartedly and all of those players who have contracts with WP Rugby for 2018 and beyond will all be honoured. However, we want to at all times ensure that we are looking after our players’ best interests, which for some of them, especially those coming off long term injuries, means that they may benefit from a loan spell with another franchise in order to get much needed game-time and or exposure to different international competitions. Our goal is to ensure a win-win for all parties, facilitating more game-time for more players whilst simultaneously benefitting SA Rugby as a whole.

“Any decisions we make about player movements will always consider both the interests of the individual player as well as the Union with players remaining contracted to WP Rugby,” he said.

DHL Western Province as the current trophy holder, will attempt to defend their 2017 title and claim a record 35th Currie Cup win in 2018.

“Our players and management team under Chris van Zyl and John Dobson respectively showed what they were capable of in winning a Currie Cup Final away from home last year and as a Union we have every confidence in their abilities. We believe that we have an exceptional player base that is capable of delivering more success during this year’s Currie Cup campaign,” he said.

SA Under-20 flyhalf Damian Willemse is one of three uncapped players included in the Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, with the Emirates Lions quartet of Malcolm Marx (hooker), Warren Whiteley (No 8), Ross Cronje (scrumhalf) and Lionel Mapoe (centre) also back in the Bok fold for the first time this season.

Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, announced a squad of 35 players on Monday, with two loose forwards, the Vodacom Bulls’ Marco van Staden and Cyle Brink of the Emirates Lions, joining Willemse, the 20-year-old DHL Stormers and Junior Springbok flyhalf, as the uncapped players in the group.

Whiteley and the experienced Eben Etzebeth (lock) both return having recovered from long-term injuries, while Marx has shrugged off his hamstring troubles, which forced him to miss the June internationals.

Also returning to the Springbok squad are Francois Louw, the experienced flanker who plays for English club side Bath, Lwazi Mvovo (outside back), as well Mapoe (centre) and Cronje (scrumhalf), both of whom missed the midyear Tests because of injury.

Louw has represented the Boks in 57 Tests and Erasmus said he will add a lot of experience to the group.

“Eben and Warren have been out of the Bok mix for a while because of injury so it’s very pleasing to have them back in the squad, while Malcolm has regained his good form with the Emirates Lions since recovering from his injury,” said Erasmus, who added that the participation of Brink and Jean-Luc Preez (loose forward) is dependent on medical examinations.

“We saw the benefit and impact of Willie le Roux and Faf de Klerk in the squad during the June internationals and I want ‘Flo’ to perform a similar role for us.

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A 27-man DHL Western Province squad will leave Cape Town on Tuesday for a two-match pre-season trip to France.

As part of the preparations for their upcoming Currie Cup title defence, DHL Western Province will face Pro D2 side Narbonne on Saturday, August 11 and Top 14 team Montpellier on Thursday, August 16.

The squad has a good mix of youth and experience for the tour which will provide some vital gametime against quality opposition ahead of their Currie Cup campaign, which kicks off on Saturday, August 25 against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at DHL Newlands.

Head Coach John Dobson said that the trip to France will provide important experience both on and off the field for his squad.

“We are looking forward to experiencing the rugby culture in France, which will give us a great opportunity to come together as a team.

“We have two tough matches to prepare for, which should give us a good idea of where we are at ahead of the Currie Cup campaign,” he said.

DHL Western Province squad: Juarno Augustus, Craig Barry, Paul de Wet, Dan du Plessis, Johan du Toit, JJ Engelbrecht, Neethling Fouche, Herschel Jantjies, Dan Kriel, Michael Kumbirai, Dillyn Leyds, SP Marais, Chris Massyn, Scarra Ntubeni, Caylib Oosthuizen, Sergeal Petersen, Duncan Saal, Carlu Sadie, Ramone Samuels, JD Schickerling, Josh Stander, Chad Solomon, Kobus van Dyk, Ernst van Rhyn, Ali Vermaak, Jano Vermaak, Cobus Wiese.

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