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DHL Western Province and Shark action in White Rivers to close out Youth Weeks

The 2019 edition of the Under-13 SA Rugby Craven Week and Under-16 SA Rugby Grant Khomo Week will conclude in dramatic fashion on Friday with DHL Western Province and the Sharks meeting each other in the final match of both tournaments.

The DHL Western Province Under-13’s have treated their opponents in their three matches so far as mere speedbumps and will be keen to get going against the Sharks, who scored an impressive win over the Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions on Thursday. Their wins ensured that the two teams were the only undefeated sides in the tournament.

The Under-16 SA Rugby Grant Khomo Week will see the Cape side – who has scored 18 tries and conceded only three – take on the KwaZulu-Natalians, who are also still undefeated, although they played to a draw against SWD on Wednesday.

Thursday’s action at the scenic Rob Ferreira High School marked the third round of the Under-13 SA Rugby Craven Week.

Match summaries:

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Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux shuffled his team for their World Rugby U20 Championship bronze playoff at the Racecourse Stadium in Rosario on Saturday, with four players – David Kriel (centre), David Coetzer (flyhalf), Sanele Nohamba (scrumhalf) and Kudzwai Dube (prop) – earning their first starts in the competition.

Roux made six changes to the starting XV that ran out against France in the semi-final, with the other new faces in the team to face Argentina being flankers Celimpilo Gumede and Jaco Labuschagne.

They replace Marnus Potgieter (centre), James Mollentze (flyhalf), Jaden Hendrikse (scrumhalf), Sibusiso Sangweni, Dylan Richardson (both flankers) and Dian Bleuler (prop) respectively.

“We suffered a few injuries in the last match, which forced us to make a few changes, but I also think it is important to get fresh players on the field who can inject a new energy into the side after a disappointing performance against France,” said Roux.

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The SuperSport Rugby Challenge final between the Pumas, and Tafel Lager Griquas in Saldanha on Sunday might be a repeat of last year – when the two sides contested the final in Oudtshoorn with Pumas winning – but that is one of the few unchanged aspects of the SSRC in 2019.

The 2019 tournament saw a newcomer in Zimbabwe Academy – playing out of False Bay Rugby Club in Constantia – as well as a new format with eight teams each split into the North and South Sections. It also delivered new venues (and then some!) to all contestants, with games played from Paternoster on the West Coast to KwaNyamazane in the northeast corner of South Africa.

A first ever final (and Rugby Festival) in the Transnet Saldanha Stadium on Sunday will add another feather in the cap for all concerned and for the referee, Ben Crouse, another box ticked in what has proved to be a globe-trotting year.

Crouse in February and March took charge in a number of matches in the USA Major League Rugby (MLR) competition, which prepared him well for the travels he undertook in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge this year.

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The Under-16 and Under-18 teams of DHL Western Province came through the SA Rugby Under-16 and SA Rugby Under-18 Girls Week undefeated in Johannesburg when the two national tournaments concluded on Friday.

The Under-16 team won all three matches and held sway over Border in their final match of the tournament played at Jeppe Boys High with a 41-12 win. The Blue Bulls and SWD teams earlier played to an exciting draw in their Under-16 clash and were the only other teams not suffering defeats during the 24 matches played since Monday.

In the Under-18 Week, DHL Western Province shared the undefeated spoils with hosts, Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions, who also looked strong en route to their three wins, including a five-try win over Boland today.

The Cape side won 17-3 against the Blue Bulls to lower the Pretoria team’s flag for the first time this week.

The two tournaments provided an exciting platform for 736 female players to showcase their talents.

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With ‘nothing to gain and nothing to lose’ for the Springbok Sevens team at the HSBC Paris Sevens at the Stade Jean-Bouin this weekend, Blitzbok coach Neil Powell is hopeful that the high standards they have, will deliver a positive result.

The Blitzboks are defending champions in France, but with Olympic qualification achieved, some could argue that there is not much to play for this weekend in the final of 10 tournaments on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

But Powell doesn’t agree.

“It is all about our standards,” said Powell.

“We cannot improve on our fourth spot and we cannot go down to five. It reminds me a bit of two years ago, when we had the World Series won with one tournament to go. Back then, we did not perform that well results-wise so we are keen to change that this weekend.

“We did not have the best of weekends in London, and we would like to change that around here in Paris. The players are very keen to go out there and improve on that.”

The coach shared a bit of his tactical thinking for the weekend, where he is keen to try some new combinations, amongst others.

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There are a number of changes to the DHL Western Province team to face the Toyota Free State XV in their SuperSport Rugby Challenge encounter in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

DHL Western Province will be looking to make it six consecutive wins this season when they face the Free State side on neutral ground at the Wolfson Stadium, with kick-off at 12h30 on Sunday.

There are three changes to the backline, with David Brits coming into the midfield, EW Viljoen shifting to inside centre and left wing Edwill van der Merwe back this week.

There is an all-new loose trio with Chris Massyn moving to No.8 and Nama Xaba and Ben-Jason Dixon on the flanks. The lock pairing of Jordan Sesink-Clee and Brandon Valentyn is also a new combination.

In the front row tighthead prop Neethling Fouche comes in, with Michael Kumbirai on the replacements bench along with Brendon Esterhuizen and fit-again backs Paul de Wet and Tristan Leyds.

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Johannesburg, South Africa, 29 May 2019 (Wednesday): Analysis1 conducted by Travelport (NYSE:TVPT), a leading travel commerce platform, suggests South Africa, India and Bangladesh will have the most traveling fans at the Cricket World Cup 2019, which starts tomorrow in the United Kingdom (UK).

Cricket World Cup 2019

Countries Participating in the Tournament

Flight Booking Growth to the United Kingdom

(Tuesday 28 May 2019 to Tuesday 16 July 2019 vs previous year)

Rank Origin Vol. Increase % Change
1 India +17,505 +29.8%
2 South Africa +2,654 +13.5%
3 Bangladesh +1,565 +80.0%
4 Pakistan +1,449 +14.7%
5 Afghanistan +51 +30.0%
6 West Indies +40 +0.7%
5 New Zealand +36 +0.2%
8 Sri Lanka -586 -14.7%
9 Australia -2,570 -2.7%
This data is derived from Travelport’s interpretation of relevant MIDT data. It reflects bookings made through GDS only. Additional bookings will have been made directly with airlines, which may or may not also have a GDS presence.

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SA Women’s U20 coach Laurian Johannes has stepped up the team’s preparations for their two matches against Zimbabwe next month by inviting a squad of 32 players to their training camp in Pretoria.

The training camp will be held at the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre (HPC) from 9 to 15 June, which will be the second opportunity for Johannes to work with the players.

“We had a big group of very enthusiastic players at our first camp a few weeks ago and have now narrowed it down to only 32 players,” she said.

“We focused mainly on the basics at our first camp, with a little bit of structure, and will step it up to the next level in Pretoria. The girls are keen to show what they can do and there is also good competition within the squad, so we are looking to a productive week of training at the HPC.”

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Standing next to the other 15 captains at the HSBC Paris Sevens official captains’ photo earlier on Wednesday, Springbok Sevens captain Siviwe Soyizwapi looked up at the Eiffel Tower and was immediately impressed by the iconic landmark.

The sight of the famous French landmark inspired the Blitzbok speedster and he hopes for more inspiration on Saturday and Sunday, when the final tournament of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is played at Stade Jean-Bouin.

“We would like to finish the season well,” said Soyizwapi.

“It was an up and down season for us. We had a lot of new players coming in, which impacted on our consistency, but crucially we managed to achieve our goal of a top four finish.”

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Keagan Glade (prop) has been included in the Junior Springbok World Rugby U20 Championship squad as an injury replacement for Hanro Jacobs, whose tournament dreams were shattered due to a foot injury.

Jacobs suffered the injury at training late last week and subsequent scans confirmed that he will not recover in time for the international extravaganza in Argentina, which prompted Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux to call up Glade.

The powerful Xerox Golden Lions prop is no stranger to the Junior Springbok set-up as he trained with the squad last year, but missed out on selection for the World Rugby U20 Championship in the south of France. He was also a member of the SA Rugby Academy squad which trained with the Junior Springbok coaches in Stellenbosch since February.

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