Will the Crusaders’ Blues Continue?
This weekend’s Super Rugby kicks off with the Crusaders hosting the Blues in Christchurch. This is always a big game and one to look forward to. The Crusaders have dominated Super Rugby since inception and the Blues have not done to badly themselves.
The Blues won their opening game and even though it was a close game it was against the defending champions. As with most of the New Zealand sides they have had a lot of personnel changes and this makes it difficult to read too much into the first week’s result. The same can be said for the Crusaders who lost stalwarts like Richie McCaw and Dan Carter. The lost they suffered to the Chiefs was significant as they were playing at home.
Does this mean the Crusaders will fall against the Blues? Well you never know although the Blues win was at home. Both sides still have game makers and breakers although not as many as in the past. The players still need to find each other as many new combinations have been created and it is only the second week of the season.
The teams have met 26 times in the past with the Blues winning only 11. This game should be much easier for them as explained. I can however not see them beating the Crusaders by too big a margin and will give it to them within 5 points
15 David Havili, 14 Jone Macilai, 13 Sean Wainui, 12 Kieron Fonotia, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Tim Boys, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody. Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Ben Volavola, 23 Johnny McNicholl
15 Matt Duffie, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 George Moala, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Matt McGahan, 9 Billy Guyton, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino (captain), 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi. Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Male Sa’u
Will the Brumbies stampede on or will the Waratahs stop them?
The Brumbies started the 2016 season with an impressive 52-10 win against the Hurricanes. Not that it was against the run of play, but most fans didn’t expect the margin. The Waratahs also had a good start to their campaign and it should be fair to say that the game Canberra on Friday is between the two Australian title contenders.
This is going to be a very closely contested game with both sides able to run the ball from just about anywhere on the field. Yet they both have strong packs and can dominate upfront. They have faced each other 27 times with the Waratahs winning 16. In all the average points difference is 1 but looking at the recent history the team that wins does so in style.
The flyhalves will play pivitol roles for both sides. Kurtly Beale can be an elusive runner while Christian Lealiifano has a dangerous kicking boot on him. The Tahs will have to stop Kuridrani and if they can do that the game should be theirs to win.
In this game discipline will play a big role as neither side will want a player sent off. My gut feel is telling me the Waratahs will win this game. The margin 10+ points.
15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano (c), 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Blake Enever, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio. Substitutes: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Nigel Ah Wong
15 Israel Folau, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Rob Horne, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 David Dennis, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Angus Taavao, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Paddy Ryan. Substitutes: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Matt Sandell, 18 Jeremy Tilse, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Jack Dempsey, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Bryce Hegarty
Can the Chiefs scalp the Lions?
The first game on Saturday will be the Chiefs hosting the Lions in Waikato. Both sides have their tails up after scoring wins away from home on the opening weekend of 2016. The Lions probably feels better than the Chiefs seeing as they had to make the big trek from South Africa to Japan. Still they played the new boys on the block, The Sunwolves, while the Chiefs beat the mighty Crusaders in their own back yard. If you want to see full on running rugby, both these sides can bring that to the party and will probably do so again this weekend.
The chiefs should be the favourites this weekend. Not only because the Lions had to make two day long flights across numerous time zones in the last 14 days, but also because they have won 13 of the 18 encounters between the two sides. It will be a high scoring game should history be anything to go by. Don’t be surprised by a 20+ victory margin either. I believe it will be closer than that but purely because of the traveling by the Lions the Chiefs will win by around 7 points
- Damian McKenzie, 14. Latu Vaeno, 13. Seta Tamanivalu, 12. Charlie Ngatai, 11. James Lowe, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8. Maama Vaipulu, 7. Sam Cane (captain), 6. Tom Sanders, 5. Brodie Retallick, 4. Michael Allardice, 3. Hiroshi Yamashita, 2. Rhys Marshall, 1. Pauliasi Manu. Substitutes: 16. Nathan Harris, 17. Mitchell Graham, 18. Siate Tokolahi, 19. Taleni Seu, 20. Michael Leitch, 21. Brad Weber, 22. Anton Lienert-Brown, 23. Glen Fisiiahi
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnal Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith. Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Fabian Booysen, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg
Can the Hurricanes bounce back or will the Highlanders do it?
This is a game that both sides will want to win after losing their opening encounters last weekend. The Highlanders did so by a narrow margin and will look back at the game and wonder why? Probably because of ill-discipline and poor goal kicking. The Hurricanes, well they will know it was just because the Brumbies were too good for them.
This is a tough call to make as the Highlanders are defending champions yet the Hurricanes have won more games against them than what they have lost. Both sides have the players to make this a close fought affair and that it will probably be. The Hurricanes will try and dominate up front before setting their backline loose. The Highlanders will play the percentage game but can run it from anywhere on the field. The Highlanders to win by less than 5.
15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Matt Faddes, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Shane Christie (co-captain), 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Brendon Edmonds. Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Jason Emery
15 Nehe Milner-Skudder/James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (c), 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Blade Thomson, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Leni Apisai, 1 Reggie Goodes. Substitutes: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 James Marshall/Jason Woodward, 23 Willis Halaholo
Reds or Force who will it be?
This might look like an obvious pick to make. The Reds are at home and therefore they should win against the much weaker Force side. Well if that is what you think, think again. These two sides have met 12 times with the Reds winning 6 and there has been a draw as well. The Force had 4 wins and the draw in the last 6 games between the two sides. The last game did go to the Reds however.
This is one of those encounters where you know that the scores will be high or the victory margin will be huge. To be honest the Force has always been a much better team away from home as long as they played in Australia. The Reds on the other hand has underperformed for a couple of seasons now. I am going with the Reds b y between 10 and 15 points
15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Curtis Browning, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons (captain), 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 Ben Daley. Substitutes: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Sam Balakai, 19 Ben Matwijow, 20 Michael Gunn, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Sam Greene, 23 Junior Laloifi
- Dane Haylett-Petty, 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Ben Tapuai, 12. Junior Rasolea, 11. Semisi Masirewa, 10. Jono Lance, 9. Alby Mathewson, 8. Angus Cottrell, 7. Matt Hodgson (captain), 6. Brynard Stander, 5. Adam Coleman, 4. Steve Mafi, 3. Guy Millar, 2. Nathan Charles, 1. Pekahou Cowan. Substitutes: 16. Heath Tessmann, 17. Chris Heiberg, 18. Jermaine Ainsley, 19. Ross Haylett-Petty, 20. Ben McCalman, 21. Ian Prior, 22. Peter Grant, 23. Marcel Brache
Bulls to trample Rebels?
The Bulls might have lost against the Stormers last week while the Rebels won away from home against the Force, but that will mean nothing come Saturday. The Bulls have a young side while the Rebels side is more set. Again it will not mean much.
The Bulls have not lost to the Rebels and they will not be looking to do so at their holiest place, Loftus Versfeld. The Closest the Rebels has come to a win was in 2012 when they lost 41-30. Other than that they have not scored more than 10 points in a game against the Bulls, this while the Bulls have never scored less than 40. It might not be such a big score by the Bulls this weekend but they should win this one by no less than 10 points.
15 Warrick Gelant , 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), Trevor Nyakane. Substitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Dries Swanepoel
Will the Storm be too much for the Cheetahs?
For South Africa this will be the game of the weekend. Both teams are known for the running rugby they can produce through their backs. Both sides have strong forwards and can get the rolling maul to the work as well (ask the Bulls how well the Stormers make theirs work). The Cheetahs has never won this encounter by a huge margin and even though the Stormers has done so on more than one occasion it is never a one sided affair.
The teams have met 14 times with the Stormers winning 9. With an average of 50 points in a game and a winning margin of around 5 on average it does say a lot about these two sides. They like to play against each other and do so running the ball. The Stormers should win this one with ease and it will be with at least 10 points.
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais. Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Boom Prinsloo, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Niel Marais
15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble. Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones
Can the Jaguars pounce again?
The Sharks did record a win in their opening game and yes it was away from and it was by 33 points, but it was against the Kings. Not South Africa’s strongest rugby province at the current moment or even for the last 20 years. The Jaguars also recorded a win and yes it was also away from home and yes it was a close call winning by 1 point. Still they did it against the Cheetahs, a team known for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
That it will be a good game I have no doubt. The Sharks will hope to build on the momentum they have. The Jaguars will want to show that they can continue winning and they should as the bulk of the team has played for Argentina at the international level. This game will be won up front and if that is the case it should go to the Jaguars, but discipline will be important as well and here they lack a bit. All I have to go on here is my head, my heart and my gut. My head says Jaguars, My heart says Sharks, and my gut says it will be a brilliant game won by a kick in the last minutes by the Jaguars.
- Willie le Roux, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Joe Pietersen, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Daniel du Preez , 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Franco Marais, 1. Tendai Mtawarira (captain). Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Hyron Andrews, 20. Philip van der Walt, 21. Michael Claassens, 22. Garth April, 23. S’bura Sithole
Last weekend I got 8/8. Let’s see how I do this week. Follow me on twitter @djvanman or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vanman1979 and let me know your predictions.
Veteran Cell C Sharks flank Jacques Botes will break new ground in the Absa Currie Cup competition on Friday as he extends his Absa Currie Cup record to 150 matches, which will make him the first player ever to reach this significant milestone.
Interestingly the player will mark this achievement against the Steval Pumas, the team he first represented in SA’s premier domestic competition. Botes made his provincial debut for the Pumas in 2002 and remained at the union until 2004 before joining the Sharks in 2005.
The Cell C Sharks face the Steval Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday in the opening match of the weekend and with both teams having had good starts to the competition it could prove to be a thrilling clash.
In Saturday’s matches GWK Griquas host the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Kimberley, the Vodacom Blue Bulls take on DHL Western Province in Pretoria and the EP Kings go up against the Xerox Golden Lions in Port Elizabeth.
In Nelspruit, history and form favours the Cell C Sharks as they have won 17 out of the 19 matches between the sides since the 1996 season and they remain one of only two unbeaten teams in the competition. The home team, however, proved against GWK Griquas and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs that their pack could stand their ground and that they can score tries, and they will bank on these skills to challenge the visitors.
The match-up between GWK Griquas and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs is expected to be hard-fought as the teams both attempt to bounce back from defeats last weekend. This will mark the second clash between the teams in the series. They met in Bloemfontein two weekends ago and the home team secured a narrow 34-27 victory. With former Free State backline coach Hawies Fourie at the helm at GWK Griquas, he is expected to use his knowledge of the visitors’ structures and some players to register their first victory in the series. Interestingly the Free State have won the last five matches between the teams.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls will face another tough test against log-leaders DHL Western Province, this time in Pretoria, following their heavy 41-17 defeat against the Cape side at DHL Newlands earlier in the month. The visitors will enter the clash as overwhelming favourites following three victories in as many matches, but the hosts will be desperate to build on their first victory in the series at home last week. With DHL Western Province’s attack proving to be one of their main strengths, the Vodacom Blue Bulls will have to tighten up their defence significantly to prevent the Capetonians from registering their second successive Absa Currie Cup victory at Loftus Versfeld.
The Xerox Golden Lions, meanwhile, will look to bounce back strongly from their first defeat in the series against DHL Western Province when they line up against the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth. The Premier Division newcomers have their backs against the wall after three defeats and only one log point to show for their efforts so far in the series. They are also still carrying the scars of the 60-19 hiding by the Johannesburg team two weekends back. Given this the EP Kings will have to deliver their best performance yet to topple the Johannesburg side.
Cell C Sharks coach Brad Mcleod-Henderson has handed scrumhalf Conrad Hoffmann his first start while Springbok lock Stephan Lewies continues his return from injury off the bench. In the Steval Pumas camp coach Jimmy Stonehouse has handed former Western Province scrumhalf Dylon Frylinck a start, while Springbok Sevens star Rosko Speckman will start on the wing and JW Bell at fullback. The match will be particularly special for centre JW Jonker, who will play his 50th Absa Currie Cup match.
GWK Griquas coach Hawies Fourie, meanwhile, named an unchanged side for their Heartland derby against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, while the Bloemfontein coach has made only one change to his team, with lock Henco Venter being promoted to the starting team, while Waltie Vermeulen is drafted onto the bench.
In the Vodacom Blue Bulls camp, flyhalf Joshua Stander could make his debut after being bracketed alongside Jacques-Louis Potgieter for their clash against DHL Western Province. Potgieter is nursing a rib injury and will be given until Saturday to recover. The other changes to the run-on team were the inclusion of scrumhalf Piet van Zyl, hooker Callie Visagie and prop Werner Kruger. Meanwhile, DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee made only one change to his starting team, which sees Springbok Jaco Taute earn his first Absa Currie Cup start for the union as a replacement for the injured Michael van der Spuy. Pat Howard has been drafted onto the bench as cover.
In Port Elizabeth EP Kings coach Carlos Spencer has named Junior Springbok Aidon Davis as the replacement for their captain Luke Watson, who has been ruled out due to concussion, while prop BG Uys comes in Lizo Gqoboka who is being rested. At flyhalf George Whitehead replaces Gary van Aswegen, who is nursing a groin injury. His Xerox Golden Lions counterpart Johan Ackermann, meanwhile, made several changes to his team with the most notable being the inclusion of Andries Coetzee at flyhalf, which made way for Ruan Combrinck at fullback, while captain Warren Whiteley reclaims his position in the loose trio after returning from the Springbok tour to Argentina.
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division round four fixtures:
Steval Pumas vs Cell C Sharks
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Date: Friday, 29 August
Referee: Ben Crouse
Assistant Referees: Marius Jonker and Stefan Breytenbach
TMO: Johan Greeff
GWK Griquas vs Toyota Free State Cheetahs
Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley
Date: Saturday, 30 August
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper and Francois de Bruin
TMO: JJ Wagner
Vodacom Blue Bulls vs DHL Western Province
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Date: Saturday, 30 August
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant Referees: Rasta Rasivhenge and Cobus Wessels
TMO: Willie Vos
EP Kings vs Xerox Golden Lions
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Date: Saturday, 30 August
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Francois Pretorius and Lusanda Jam
TMO: Jason Jaftha
Jaco Taute will make his first Absa Currie Cup start in DHL Western Province colours, after being named at inside centre for Saturday’s meeting with the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Pretoria (kick-off 17h05).
Springbok Taute replaces the injured Michael van der Spuy (hamstring) in the No.12 shirt in the only change to the DHL WP starting XV from last weekend’s 27-14 win over the Golden Lions.
Former SA Under-20 star Pat Howard, a Round One try-scorer against the EP Kings, replaces Taute on the bench – meaning just two changes overall to the Province 22 from last week.
Taute scored a valuable try off the bench last week after replacing Van der Spuy in the 59th minute and his experience will be a major boon for the unbeaten and table-topping DHL Western Province outfit ahead of Saturday’s clash at Loftus Versfeld.
DHL WP coach Allister Coetzee told www.wprugby.com: “This is a great opportunity for Jaco. I’ve said before that his size and skill-set could make him into the ideal centre and he now has an opportunity to show us just that.
“Jaco is still very young (at 23 years of age) but he’s already very experienced having played Test and Super Rugby at centre before.
“But his skill and strength aside, his communication is his biggest attribute and I look forward to seeing him operate in the No.12 jersey.
“Your depth is tested quite severely during the Absa Currie Cup,” added Coetzee, “so having versatile players like Jaco (in our squad) is a good thing – especially ahead of a big game like Saturday.”
The Bulls picked up a welcome 30-25 win over the EP Kings last weekend and will be determined to make it back-to-back victories in front of their home support as they also look to avenge their Round Two defeat to DHL WP in Cape Town two weeks ago.
“We will respect any team we play against and it doesn’t get much bigger than playing against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld – no matter what happened last time between us,” said Coetzee.
“The Bulls did well to beat the EP Kings. Don’t look at the scoreline, they’ve come off a difficult few weeks and it was a big and valuable win for them.”
The DHL WP team for Saturday (v the Blue Bulls, away) is as follows: 15. Cheslin Kolbe 14. Kobus van Wyk 13. Juan de Jongh (captain) 12. Jaco Taute (First Absa Currie Cup start for DHL Western Province) 11. Seabelo Senatla 10. Demetri Catrakilis 9. Nic Groom 8. Nizaam Carr 7. Michael Rhodes 6. Siya Kolisi 5. Manuel Carizza 4. Jean Kleyn 3. Pat Cilliers (vice-captain) 2. Stephan Coetzee 1. Alistair Vermaak
Replacements: 16. Neil Rautenbach 17. Brok Harris 18. Ruan Botha 19. Rynhardt Elstadt 20. Louis Schreuder 21. Kurt Coleman 22. Pat Howard
Referee: Craig Joubert Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Cobus Wessels Television Match Official: Willie Vos
The Cell C Sharks, DHL Western Province, Vodacom Blue Bulls and Steval Pumas this weekend all registered invaluable home wins in their round-three Absa Currie Cup clashes to build momentum in their campaigns.
Steval Pumas 33 GWK Griquas 15
The Steval Pumas produced a strong second-half performance to build a progressive lead against the GWK Griquas in a tense clash at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The visitors showed fantastic innovation on attack in the first half with flashy passing and impressive running rugby, and were able to score two tries to one against the hosts before the break for a narrow 12-11 lead.
But the home team shut out the Kimberley side in the second half thanks to their solid defence, while they supported this with a quality display on attack, which earned them three more tries for an invaluable bonus point.
Steval Pumas – Tries: Corne Steenkamp, Jerome Pretorius (2), Renaldo Bothma. Conversions: JC Roos, Justin van Staden. Penalties: JC Roos, Justin van Staden (2).
GWK Griquas – Tries: Dean Grant, Marnus Schoeman. Conversion: Dean Grant. Penalty: Dean Grant.
Vodacom Blue Bulls 30 EP Kings 25
At Loftus Versfeld the clash between the Vodacom Blue Bulls and EP Kings was hard-fought from the outset as both teams tried hard to end their winless runs in the competition. The clash, however, delivered a total of seven tries, with the Vodacom Blue Bulls managing a bonus-point victory, with veteran wing Akona Ndungane contributing two tries.
The hosts held a narrow 11-8 lead at half time, but both teams found their rhythm in the second half and managed to breach the defence. Three back-to-back tries by the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the second half to only two by the EP Kings, however, guaranteed the hosts their first victory of the season and catapulted them into sixth place on the log table.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Akona Ndungane (2), Deon Stegmann, Jesse Kriel. Conversions: Tony Jantjies (2). Penalties: Tony Jantjies (2).
EP Kings – Tries: Lizo Gqoboka, Michael van Vuuren, Shane Gates. Conversions: Scott van Breda. Penalties: Scott van Breda (2).
DHL Western Province 27 Xerox Golden Lions 14
The clash in Cape Town was closer than the scoreboard suggested as the Xerox Golden Lions dominated possession throughout the match, but battled to breach the solid DHL Western Province defence.
In stark contrast the hosts did well to convert their try-scoring chances into points, which earned them three tries to only one by the visitors, while goal kickers Demetri Catrakillis and Kurt Coleman kept the score up with three conversions and two penalties. Two of Province’s tries were scored in the first 16 minutes thanks to back-to-back tries by wing Kobus van Wyk, while the Lions hit back later in the half with a try by fullback Andries Coetzee and a penalty by Ruan Combrinck to trail 14-8 at the break.
DHL Western Province’s ability to convert their chances into points, meanwhile, allowed them to stay ahead on the scoreboard throughout the second half for their third victory, which in turn allowed them to remain at the top of the log table.
DHL Western Province – Tries: Jaco Taute, Kobus van Wyk (2). Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (2), Kurt Coleman. Penalties: Demetri Catrakilis (2).
Xerox Golden Lions – Try: Andries Coetzee. Penalties: Ruan Combrinck (3).
Cell C Sharks 19 Toyota Free State Cheetahs 16
The clash between the Cell C Sharks and Toyota Free State Cheetahs proved to be a kicking festival as the teams both opted to kick in behind the defence throughout the match. The battle up front was tough, and with both teams defending well, they were forced to settle mainly for penalties by flyhalves Fred Zeilinga and Willie du Plessis to keep the scoreboard ticking. Such was the closeness of the match only two stunning individual tries were scored in the 80 minutes.
The Bloemfontein side built up an encouraging 13-3 lead by the end of the first half thanks to the try by fullback Clayton Blommetjies, but the Sharks levelled the scores at 16-16 in the 69th minute. A late penalty by Zeilinga, however, sealed the 19-16 victory for the Durban side.
Cell C Sharks – Try: Tonderai Chavhanga. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga. Penalties: Fred Zeilinga (4).
Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Try: Clayton Blommetjies. Conversion: Willie du Plessis. Penalties: Willie du Plessis (3).
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division log following Round 3:
|TEAM||P||W||L||D||PF||PA||PD||TF||TA||LOSS BONUS||TRIES BONUS||POINTS|
|DHL Western Province||3||3||0||0||103||47||56||13||4||0||2||14|
|Cell C Sharks||3||3||0||0||84||57||27||8||6||0||1||13|
|Xerox Golden Lions||3||2||1||0||115||59||56||14||7||0||2||10|
|Toyota FS Cheetahs||3||1||2||0||71||74||-3||8||8||2||1||7|
|Vodacom Blue Bulls||3||1||2||0||60||107||-47||6||13||0||1||5|
The Blue Bulls Company on Thursday confirmed the departure of scrumhalf Jano Vermaak and flanker Dewald Potgieter.
Potgieter decided not to renew his contract which expires at the end of the current Vodacom Super Rugby competition and instead will join the Yamaha Rugby Club in Japan, whilst Vermaak has asked to be released from his contract to join Toulouse in France.
Vermaak’s request to leave after the completion of the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament will be discussed by the Blue Bulls Company, as his contract only expires at the end of October 2013.
According to Xander Janse van Rensburg, the BBC High Performance Manager, Potgieter, who played in 58 Absa Currie Cup, 63 Vodacom Super Rugby matches and represented South Africa in six tests and two tour matches, decided to rather go overseas to experience a different lifestyle and culture.
“We had numerous talks with Jano and at one stage it looked successful, but he finally decided to accept the Toulouse offer. We are very sad to lose these two players, as they have massive experience and are part of our leadership core, but one cannot compete with the exchange rate at the moment” Janse van Rensburg said.
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A number of the most promising rugby players in South Africa, as well as four senior Vodacom Bulls players renewed their contracts with the Blue Bulls Company, it was announced on Thursday.
Current Springbok squad members Arno Botha and JJ Engelbrecht signed on till 2016, Louis Fouchè, Hencus van Wyk, Jono Ross, Basil Short and Deon Stegmann till 2015 and Handrè Pollard till 2017.
A number of players currently playing for the Junior Springboks in France has also penned extensions.
Flanker Roelof Smit, prop Andrew Beerwinkel and lock Jannes Kirsten signed on till 2015, while current Junior Boks captain, Ruan Steenkamp, signed on till 2014.
According to the High Performance Manager at the BBC, talks are on-going to sign flanker Jacques du Plessis, who is currently contracted till 2014, for another couple of years.
“It is great to see the vote of confidence in the company and our structures and teams by so many leading players,” Janse van Rensburg said.
Engelbrecht indicated that enjoyment as well as the drive to win tournaments made his decision an easy one.
“I am very happy in Pretoria, where a great work ethic and professional outlook is paramount. I feel I have developed so much as a player since joining the Bulls and want to keep on improving, something I know will happen here. The coaches here are brilliant and one can really develop as a player and as a person,” Engelbrecht said.
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Excitement is building up ahead of the Castle Lager Incoming Series double header at Loftus Versfeld this Saturday starting from 2:15pm when Scotland face off with Italy. Pride and bragging rights will be at stake for the highlight of the day’s action for South African fans when the Springboks do battle with Samoa at 5:15pm. The Blue Bulls Company (BBC) wants to treat all ticketholders to an unforgettable experience at Loftus Versfeld and as such has a bumper lineup entertainment and activities for the entire family.
Barend van Graan, BBC CEO, says their intention to make the entire afternoon a memorable one for all in attendance.
“This is the first round of international fixtures to be hosted at Loftus Versfeld this year and we wanted to mark their return to Pretoria with a feast of treats for all match day attendees from start to finish.”
Fans can expect the usual service offerings of a large variety of food and drink stalls which can be enjoyed while watching the Wallabies take on the British and Irish Lions on the big screen in the Beer Garden. This match kicks off at 12pm. The highlight of the pre-match entertainment will see top Afrikaans crooners Kurt Darren and Pieter Smith belting out their chart-topping hits.
Fans are cautioned against trying to gain access to the Stadium without a valid ticket. Match day ticketholders are urged to keep tickets safely in their possession as these can be used as pass outs on the day. The BBC is also appealing to fans not to drive in and out of the stadium due to anticipated traffic congestion on Saturday. There will be no parking ticket pass outs.
If you would like to avoid traffic queues and heavy congestion, please make use of Gautrain services as well as Park and Ride facilities available throughout the day.
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The South Africa Under-20 team to face the United States in their first match of the IRB Junior World Championship 2013 will be captained by Vodacom Blue Bulls loose forward Ruan Steenkamp, who continues the trend of Vodacom Blue Bulls junior players to lead the Junior Springboks in the JWC.
Steenkamp follows in the footsteps of Wiaan Liebenberg (2012), who in turn succeeded Arno Botha. CJ Stander was another to lead his country at Under-20 level, whilst Gerrit-Jan van Velze and Dewald Potgieter also took the reins at junior national level.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls junior structures are bearing heaps of fruit at the moment. No less than 11 of their Under-20 group find themselves in France as part of the Junior Boks, but the likes of Arno Botha and Jan Serfontein are amongst the 12 Vodacom Bulls players in the Springbok squad to play in the Castle Lager Incoming Series.
Two recent JWC graduates, Sampie Mastriet and Shaun Adendorff is also part of the Springboks Sevens training squad preparing for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow later this month.
Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd CEO Barend van Graan congratulated all the national representatives and also complimented the structures at the union.
“One of our missions as a rugby entity is to develop the human capital and player potential and the fact that more than two dozen of our players are being recognized by the various national coaches indicate that we are doing something right. We are very proud of the fact that we can consistently produce international players and we would like to congratulate all of them on their selections and wish them well in their teams. We know it will go well,” Van Graan said.
High Performance Manager at the BBC, Xander Janse van Rensburg, feels that the positive outcomes from their junior programmes will benefit the union long term and especially short term, where the departure of a number of senior players is imminent.
“We are losing some experienced players, but our vision of contracting the best young talent out there will hopefully offset that loss. We are already seeing the product of our youth policy, with 20 and 21 year old Bulls players being selected to play for the Springboks.
Last year, our under-20 players were instrumental in the Junior Boks winning the Junior World Championship, our Under-21’s won the Absa Provincial Championship and our Under-19 team lost in the final. If this is not proof of a system working well, I don’t know what is.”
•Steenkamp will captain the Junior Boks and Handrè Pollard was selected at inside centre for their opening JWC clash.
The team is:
The SA Under-20 team to face the United States at 20:45 at La Roche-sur-Yon:
15. Cheslin Kolbe (DHL Western Province)
14. Luther Obi (Leopards)
13. Justin Geduld (SARU contracted)
12. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
11. Seabelo Senatla (SARU contracted)
10. Robert du Preez (The Sharks)
9. Stefan Ungerer (The Sharks)
8. Ruan Steenkamp (Vodacom Blue Bulls, captain)
7. Jacques du Plessis (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
6. Roelof Smit (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
5. Dennis Visser (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
4. Irné Herbst (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
3. Luan de Bruin (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)
2. Jacques du Toit (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)
1. Andrew Beerwinkel (Vodacom Blue Bulls
16. Michael Willemse (DHL Western Province)
17. Sti Sithole (DHL Western Province)
18. Aidon Davis (EP Kings)
19. Kwagga Smith (MTN Golden Lions)
20. Hanco Venter (The Sharks)
21. Dries Swanepoel (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
22. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
23. Marné Coetzee (The Sharks)
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Marnitz Boshoff, Rosco Spekman, Cheslin Kolbe and Lizo Gqoboka were their teams’ heroes this weekend as the MTN Golden Lions, Steval Pumas, DHL Western Province and EP Kings progressed to the Vodacom Cup semi-finals for 2013.
The Steval Pumas will host the EP Kings at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit next weekend, while the defending Vodacom Cup champions, DHL Western Province, have to travel to Ellis Park in Johannesburg to face the MTN Golden Lions.
At this stage, both semi-finals are scheduled for next Saturday. The final kick-off times will be confirmed early in the week.
MTN Golden Lions flyhalf Boshoff kicked 27 points as his team beat the Sharks XV, winners of the South Section, by 42-25 at Kings Park in Durban on Friday afternoon.
The KwaZulu-Natalians were strengthened by two Springbok loose forwards in Willem Alberts and Ryan Kankowski, but in the end it didn’t matter as the team from Johannesburg did the damage by scoring three tries to one.
The match started with Boshoff and and his Sharks XV counterpart Fred Zeilinga trading penalty goals. The visitors led 18-9 shortly before the break, but their lead was cut to 18-16 when Sizo Maseko scored the first try of the match for the Durbanites.
But the MTN Golden Lions found their groove in the second half as Anthony Volmink, Chrysander Botha and Deon van Rensburg all crossed for tries, while Boshoff kept on slotting his kicks at goal.
In Nelspruit, Specman scored a hat-trick of tries as the Steval Pumas beat the ICBC Pampas XV, Vodacom Cup champions in 2011, by 44-37 in a try-fest at the Mbombela Stadium on Friday evening.
Specman’s third try, five minutes from the end of the match, gave the team from Mpumalanga some breathing space at 44-30, and the Argentineans duly crossed for their fifth try right at the death.
The match was pretty evenly matched as both sides scored five tries each, but the big difference was Carl Bezuidenhout, who kicked 19 points for a total tally of 24 as the Pampas’ kicker, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, missed 13 points through fluffed kicks at goal.
In Cape Town on Saturday, Kolbe – who has played for the Springbok Sevens team and was recently picked at fullback for the SA Under-20s – scored both DHL Western Province’s tries as they had to dig deep to beat GWK Griquas by 21-10 at DHL Newlands.
Kolbe’s first try came shortly before the break to help the home team draw level 10-10 at half-time.
However, it was Kolbe’s second try, a few minutes into the second half, gave the home team a shot in the arm as it started a scoring sequence of 11 points in 10 minutes, which proved to be the difference in the end.
And finally, in Pretoria it was EP Kings loosehead prop Gqoboka who broke the hearts of the Vodacom Blue Bulls with the winning try in injury time of their quarter-final at Loftus Versfeld. The visitors won 34-31.
Gqoboka’s try was the Kings’ third in the last eight minutes of the match, which set up an unlikely victory. With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, the home team were leading by 31-13 and seemingly cruising towards their umpteenth Vodacom Cup semi-final.
But the EP Kings’ Mpho Mbiyozo, Dalton Davis and Gqoboka had other plans as they all crossed for late tries – all of them converted by Wesley Dunlop – to cause probably the biggest shock of the weekend.
All the scorers (click on the link for the match breakdown):
Sharks XV 25 (16) MTN Golden Lions 42 (18)
Sharks XV – Try: Sizo Maseko. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga. Penalties: Fred Zeilinga (6).
MTN Golden Lions – Tries: Anthony Volmink, Chrysander Botha, Deon van Rensburg. Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (3). Penalties: Boshoff (6). Drop goal: Boshoff.
Steval Pumas 44 (27) ICBC Pampas XV 37 (15)
Steval Pumas – Tries: Rosko Specman (3), Vincent Koch, Carl Bezuidenhout. Conversions: Bezuidenhout (5). Penalties: Bezuidenhout (3).
ICBC Pampas XV – Tries: Manuel Montero, Martin Garcia Veiga, Ramiro Moyano, Rodrigo Baez, Tomas Cubelli. Conversions: Santiago Gonzales Iglesias (3). Penalties: Iglesias (2).
DHL Western Province 21 (10) GWK Griquas 13 (10)
DHL Western Province – Tries: Cheslin Kolbe (2). Conversion: Kurt Coleman. Penalties: Coleman (3).
GWK Griquas – Try: Marnus Schoeman. Conversion: Pieter-Steyn de Wet. Penalties: De Wet (2).
Vodacom Blue Bulls 31 (17) EP Kings 34 (6)
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Sampie Mastriet, Dries Swanepoel, Wiaan Liebenberg, Basil Short. Conversions: Handré Pollard (4). Penalty: Pollard.
EP Kings – Tries: Stefan Willemse, Mpho Mbiyozo, Dalton Davis, Lizo Gqoboka. Conversions: Scott van Breda, Wesley Dunlop (3). Penalties: Van Breda (2).
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The FNB-Steinhoff Varsity Cup 2013 comes to an end tonight with the top two teams playing in the final. Maties will host UP-Tuks at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch and it can be expected to be a cracker of a match between these two sides. It will be a repeat of last year’s final that saw UP-Tuks win 29-21.
Maties has gone unbeaten during 2013 to reach the final and will look forward to ending the season on a high by claiming their 4th title since inception in 2008. Tuks on the other hand had to work to get to the final. They were also involved in yet another player eligibility debacle during the season that nearly saw some of the other teams refusing to play in the semi-finals.
These two teams have met 9 times since 2008 with Maties winning 5 and one draw being recorded. Maties has also won 4 out of 6 games played at the Danie Craven Stadium with the only draw between the teams at this stadium. The average winning margin between the teams is 11 points. Maties recorded the highest winning margin with 47 points. The history:
2008 Maties 31-31 Tuks – Danie Craven Stadium
2008 Tuks 44-47 Maties – Danie Craven Stadium – Semi-Final
2009 Maties 23-25 Tuks – Danie Craven Stadium
2009 Maties 38-14 Tuks – Danie Craven Stadium – Semi-Final
2010 Maties 64-17 Tuks – Danie Craven Stadium
2011 Tuks 27-13 Maties – Tuks Rugby Stadium
2012 Maties 23-22 Tuks – Danie Craven Stadium
2012 Tuks 29-21 Maties – LC de Villiers Stadium – Final
2013 Tuks 16-18 Maties – LC de Villers Stadium
Looking at the history between the two sides one will be hard pressed not to back Maties, especially since they are playing on their home ground. This is however as much a North v South derby as a game between WP and the Blue Bulls. Expect yet another tight game with the teams testing each other in every facet of the game. A thrilling final that could not have been scripted any better.
Prediction: Maties to take it by 2-6.