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Junior Springbok assistant coach Nazeem Adams said the mood in the SA U20 camp was positive ahead of Monday’s World Rugby Under-20 Championship semi-final against England, and that the team believed they could advance to the final.

Adams admitted that the team’s lineouts and defence, in particular, had to improve immensely to achieve this, but he said they have been hard at work trying to improve those areas since returning to training on Saturday.

Ireland will meet Argentina in the first semi-final at the Academy Stadium in Manchester on Monday at 17h30, with South Africa lining up against hosts, England, in the final match of the day at 19h45 (20h45 SA time).

“We are positive,” said Adams.

“We are working hard and realise we need a big improvement in our lineouts and defence, in particular. But the mood in the camp is good.” Continue reading

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Springbok coach Allister Coetzee applauded the fighting spirit of his team, following the remarkable comeback that saw the team snatch a 32-26 win over Ireland in the second of three Castle Lager Incoming Series Tests, played at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Ireland led 26-10 with less than 20 minutes to play, but three tries in the final stretch, by Warren Whiteley, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Damian de Allende, adding to a sublime effort earlier in the second half by debutant Ruan Combrinck, saw the Springboks earn a first win in the series.

Elton Jantjies added 12 points with the boot, through three conversions and two penalty goals.

“We are very satisfied with the win and the way we came back and won it,” said Coetzee.

“Rugby ebbs and flows, but that first half was not good, although we were tactically better than last week. We also looked after the ball, especially in the wide channels. That second half just showed massive character and that was very pleasing.” Continue reading

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Islamic Television (ITV) Networks will host a four hour live pledge on Sunday 26 June to raise the final funds needed to build a bigger and better paediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

Starting at 09h30 and ending at 14h00, the live pledge on DSTV’s channel 347 will encourage viewers to help the Children’s Hospital Trust raise the final R10 million needed for the R100 million-plus upgrade and expansion of the unit. It will be presented by Moulana Zakariya Philander and will feature guests from the Children’s Hospital Trust and prominent leaders from the community.

With a dire shortage of paediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in Africa, a R100 million-plus expansion and upgrade of the Paediatric ICU (PICU) at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital will significantly improve intensive care services delivered to critically ill and injured children. Capacity will also be greatly increased, addressing the desperate need for more beds to treat some of the country’s sickest little patients. Continue reading

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Springbok squad members Siya Kolisi, Jesse Kriel, Sikhumbuzo Notshe and assistant coach Mzwandile Stick surprised learners from the Minerva Secondary School in Alexandra with an unannounced visit during lunchtime on Wednesday.

The small school has about 300 learners, and all the children were gathered in assembly without a clue of what’s going to happen. The only hint was the SA Rugby banners and sound system that were already in place when they arrived at their meeting place.

The kids roared with delight when they caught sight of the Springbok squad members in their now familiar bright yellow #LoveRugby t-shirts.

SA Rugby arranged for a magic show, which left the learners speechless and each squad member had a chance to introduce himself and share a few words of encouragement with the learners, who never left the players out of sight with their mobile phone cameras. Continue reading

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Call-takers at the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre have to contend with an average of 280 prank calls a day. The City is therefore gearing up to take action and prevent abuse of this important resource. Read more below:

The City of Cape Town is preparing to track down and prosecute callers who abuse its 107 Public Emergency Communication Centre number.

Of the 532 682 calls answered by emergency operators in 2015, 102 217 or 20% were prank calls. A look at the monthly statistics reveals an average of just over 8 500 prank calls a month, with spikes experienced in January, April and August.

‘The calls range from emergency hoaxes to the vilest verbal abuse, but also, more disturbingly, calls of a very perverse nature. It is unacceptable that our operators who are there to do a very serious job have to endure this type of abuse with no recourse except to cut the call. It is also very unfair and potentially life-threatening to people with real emergencies who cannot get through or who are kept waiting because pranksters are clogging the lines,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith. Continue reading

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Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has made five changes to his match-23 – four of them necessitated by injury – as the South Africans look to bounce back from when they face Ireland in the second Test in the Castle Lager Incoming Series in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The two changes in the starting line-up are because of injury, with Pieter-Steph du Toit and Elton Jantjies replacing Lood de Jager and Pat Lambie respectively, while the Emirates Lions duo of Franco Mostert and Ruan Combrinck are on the bench and could make their Test debut at their home ground. In the final change, Morne Steyn is added to the bench as flyhalf cover.

The second Test of the three-match series kicks off at 17h00 at the Emirates Airline Park Stadium in Johannesburg. Ireland won by 26-20 in Cape Town last weekend.

De Jager sustained a calf injury last week in Cape Town and although he finished the match against the Irish and was able to participate in training on Monday, subsequent follow-up scans revealed he has suffered a calf strain. He was not considered for action this week, which means a start for Du Toit alongside his DHL Stormers lock partner Eben Etzebeth.

Jantjies takes over the flyhalf duties after Lambie was ruled out with concussion and will make his first start for the Boks at his home ground. The vastly experienced Steyn, who has 60 Tests to his name, is included on the bench after joining the squad on Monday. Continue reading

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The Boland Rugby Union was on Thursday fined R42,000, suspended for a year, having been found guilty of fielding an ineligible player during the Currie Cup Qualifying competition. The sanction was applied by a SA Rugby disciplinary committee following the laying of a complaint by the Valke Rugby Union.

A second charge brought by the Eastern Province Rugby Football Union of also fielding ineligible players during the Currie Cup Qualifiers was dismissed. Both charges were heard by Adv. Rob Stelzner SC.

In the case brought by the Valke, Adv Stelzner found that Boland were in breach of Regulations 4.2 – 4.4 of the Player Status, Player Contracts and Player Movement regulations, for fielding Christopher Bosch in six matches between 8 April and 13 May 2016, without the necessary clearance certificate.

Bosch was registered to play for Brakpan and although the Valke offered him a renewal of his contract in 2015, the player had refused this, opting to join Boland instead. The Valke only became aware of this when Boland applied, belatedly for his clearance, on 18 May 2016, and felt compelled to bring the transgression to the attention of SA Rugby even though the clearance was granted on the same day. Continue reading

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Junior Springbok vice-captain Junior Pokomela and a few of his team mates on Thursday celebrated Youth Day playing touch rugby with pupils at the Congleton High School on the outskirts of Manchester after booking their place in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship semi-final on Wednesday night.

Pokomela, winger Mosolwa Mafuma, prop Kwenzo Blose, lock Eduard Zandberg and scrumhalf Marco Janse van Vuren spent the morning at the school with close to 80 young boys and girls where they taught them rugby skills and participated in a series of touch rugby matches.

“Youth Day is an important day in South Africa’s history, so it was special for us to mark the occasion by spending the morning with the Congleton High School pupils,” said Pokomela. “We may be far away from home, but it was important for us to celebrate the day, especially since we also represent the South African youth.”

The Junior Springboks will enjoy the day off with the rest of South Africa, with the team receiving time off to rest and recover from the clash against France, which they won 40-31. This result earned the Junior Boks the last semi-final spot in the tournament. Continue reading

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