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Week 2 of Super Rugby and what we can expect

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

Crusaders

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

Blues

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.

Brumbies

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

Waratahs

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

Chiefs

  1. 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

 Lions

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.

Highlanders

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

Hurricanes

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

Reds

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

 

Force

  1. 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.

Bulls

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

Rebels

TBA

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.

Cheetahs

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

Stormers

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.

 

Sharks

  1. 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

Jaguares TBA

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.

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A CRACKING START TO SUPER RUGBY 2016 AS THE STORMERS STEAL THE SHOW

The first weekend of Super Rugby 2016 has come and gone quicker than my salary. A good weekend of rugby it was though. High paced and electrifying rugby was seen. Only three really big victories and 4 games that could have gone either way. Any rugby lover would be happy with the rugby they saw.

The Blues beat the Highlanders but as predicted this one went down to the wire. The Highlanders will kick themselves for the yellow card they received. This probably made the difference in the game. Both sides struggled with kicking at goal. Blues 33-31 Highlanders.

The Hurricanes will look back at the Brumbies game and wonder what happened. Yes they missed a kick or two, but the Brumbies out played them. Even when the Brumbies were down to 14 men, and this happened twice, the Hurricanes didn’t look like they could buy a try. Brumbies 52-10 Hurricanes.

The Cheetahs once again showed us how you can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Leading 24-3 at one stage, they still managed to lose. True the Jaguars played with 13 men when the Cheetahs scored their tries. Still one would think that when you have a 21 point lead you can build on that. Hats off however to the Jaguars that stuck to their guns. They did not allow the scoreboard to put pressure on them and though before the break. A well-deserved win by the new kids on the block. Cheetahs 33-34 Jaguars.

The Lions travelled to Tokyo and although the Sunwolves had 4 world cup players in their team, the Lions were not overwhelmed at all. The Wolves played good rugby and the Lions did not have it all their own way. Both teams a gain missed crucial kicks at goal. Still it was a good show of running rugby. Sunwolves 13-26 Lions. Both sides still have some work to do going forward.

The Crusaders missed Richie McCaw and Dan Carter. Although they led the game for most of 65 minutes it was the last 15 minutes that mattered. The Chiefs came back and scored two late tries giving them a victory. Missed kicks at goal could have made the result much different but only that it would have given the Chiefs a bigger winning margin. Crusaders 21 -27 Chiefs.

The Waratahs versus Reds game was true to form. Both of these sides can be contenders in Australia and it is always a hard game. The Waratahs made sure of the win in the first half and the Reds were always going to struggle to come back. The fact that they got two yellow cards didn’t help them much. Waratahs 30-10 Reds.

The Force v Rebels game remained true to history. The away side winning although this time it was with a slightly bigger margin than what we have come to expect between these two sides. The Force will rue the mistakes made on the attack as this gave the Rebels just what they needed. In the end a good old contest between two equally strong sides. Force 19-25 Rebels.

The Kings started well but then they just fizzled out against the Sharks. The Sharks were always going to win this one, but I expected much more of a fight from the Kings. The off the field woes of the Eastern Cape side has carried over on to the field. The Sharks can also not read too much into the victory taking into account the opponents. Hopefully the Kings can sort out their problems and rather sooner than later or it will be a long season for them. Kings 8-43 Sharks.

The game of the weekend was the Stormers versus Bulls game and the first half lived up to expectations with the home side leading only 9-6. The second half however was a totally different ball game. The Stormers came out with a vengeance and it showed. The play of the weekend being the driving maul from their own 22. It looked like a freight train without brakes and the Bulls could only look on as it stormed forward. At one stage it looked like the Bulls players falling back was helping the maul move towards their own tryline. The Stormers will be happy with their performance while the Bulls can’t take a lot of positives from the game. Stormers 33-9 Bulls.

SUPER RUGBY 2016 ABOUT TO KICK-OFF

The coming weekend sees the kick-off of Super Rugby 2016. A lot has been said and written about the new format and two debutant teams. Pre-season games have been played and many have read into this and what we can expect for the season to come. However until the first weekend is over we will not truly know where the teams stand. Here is a look at what the weekend holds in store for us.

The Blues will take on the highlanders in the opening game of the season. This is always a good game to watch as both teams can rate themselves as contenders for the number 1 spot in the New Zealand conference. The last couple of seasons however both of these sides struggled in the first couple of weeks. Expect some good running rugby. The Blues to take this one purely because they have the home ground advantage. Kick-off at 8h35 SA time at Eden Park.

The Brumbies will then take on the Hurricanes at the GIO Stadium at 10h45 SA time. This is another good match up with two of Australia’s top 3 teams playing against each other. The Hurricanes have never really lived up to their potential in the past, but they have been known to make the front runners stumble. The Brumbies is always a side to watch. Again I will give this to the Brumbies due to the home ground advantage, but they will have to counter the Hurricanes up front. If not they will struggle to win.

One of the games that will have most neutrals pinned to their seats will be the Cheetahs vs Jaguars game. Purely because everyone will want to see what the Jaguars are going to bring to the table. This game should be filled with fast paced action and a lot of running. However the scrum and rolling maul will play a big part as well. That is if the Jaguars will stick to the tried and tested Argentinian style of rugby. Most will give this game to the Cheetahs. But to be honest I see the Jaguars winning this one. This is the perfect game to finish off Friday’s action. Kick-off at 19h00 in Bloemfontein.

Saturday will see an early start for Lions fans. The Sunwolves host the Lions in Tokyo with kick-off at 6h15. This will have many neutrals up early as well. The Lions did not have the best of warmup games but I will not read too much into that. The Sunwolves are an unknown factor. Still if the Lions stick to what they do best, running the ball and using the forwards to get quick ball, they should win this one. Then again we all know what Japan did against the Springboks in the World Cup. I am hoping to see fast running rugby in this game.

The Crusaders and Chiefs game is one of the two games of the weekend for me. The Crusaders has lost some key players and this might impact on them in a negative way. The Chiefs, as we all know, are one of those teams that can have a brilliant game one week and the next look like they have not played together in months. This game will see some good running rugby with hard tackles and lots of turnover ball. This is another game where I am going against the main stream and pick the Chiefs to win.

In Australia the Waratahs and Reds will take each other one. Easy pick is the Waratahs to win. I just can’t see the Reds winning this one. Then we also have the Force and Rebels taking each other on. If history serves t be right the Rebels will win as they are playing away from home.

The Kings vs Sharks game should be an easy pick, but both sides have been going through some of the field issues. The Sharks struggled of last season and unless there has been a monumental mind shift in the squad i don’t believe that it has changed. Management and players are essentially the same. The Kings are in financial crisis and players are begging to get paid. This can’t be good for them either. Still the Sharks should win this one.

The Game of the weekend will end of the action on Saturday. The Stormers take on the Bulls. This is never a high scoring game and kicking should play a big part in the outcome. Still running rugby is always on the cards. The Stormers are under a caretaker coach of sorts and the Bulls have their tails up after some good warmup results. The game however is played at Newlands and it has become extremely difficult to beat the Cape side at home in recent seasons. The Stormers should win this by a slim margin.

SUPER RUGBY NOW MORE CONFUSING THAN GRADE 12 ALGEBRA

Super Rugby is just short of 6 weeks from kicking off and if anyone can make heads or tails of the new format then they will do good in grade 12 maths as well. 18 teams will compete in this year’s competition with 5 teams each from Australia and New Zealand, 6 from South Africa and 1 each from Argentina and Japan. What is making this new 18 team format so confusing is how they have created the conferences that will compete against each other and then how they will compete.

There will 2 Australasian conferences consisting of 5 teams each and 2 African conferences consisting of 4 teams. The Australasian conferences will effectively be a Australian conference and a New Zealand conference. The two Africa conferences will consist of three South African teams each and then one will have the Japanese team and the other the Argentinian team.  Now from here it starts getting very interesting as well as very confusing.

The Australasian conferences will see each team playing two of the other teams in there group home and away. They will then play one away game and one home game against one of the other teams in the conference. The African conferences will play each team in their group home and away. The Australasian conferences will then proceed to play a game against each of the teams in the other conference. The dame for the two African Conferences. We will then see Africa 1 playing against Australian conference and Africa 2 playing against the New Zealand conference.

The top team in each conference will proceed to the quarter finals joined by 4 wildcard teams. The wild cards will be selected 2 from each of the Australasian conferences and 1 each from the African Conferences. Effectively the runners up in Africa and second and third place in the Australasian conferences.

From there it is highest placed against lowest and so on. The winners will play against each other in the semi-finals. Again the highest placed against the lowest placed. An then we will have the final. All in all it will tae 135 matches to decide the winner of the competition. 59 more than in the European equivalent that has 24 teams. SANZAR could not make this any more difficult if they wanted to.

Why they didn’t just add 4 teams and made it 20 teams is beyond me. That way we could have had 4 groups or if you want conferences with 5 teams each. Had they added say Namibia and a team from Fiji this could have worked. Groups being drawn from a hat to make up the groups. Each team playing the others in the group Home and away and from there the top 2 teams in each group proceeds to the quarter finals and so on.

If SANZAR didn’t want to go this route they could well have gone back to each team playing each of the other teams once. This way the competition would still have been the same number of games but at least you would face all the competition not just some.

Now we have a competition that can potentially see a winner that has not played once against a New Zealand team or on the other hand an Australian team. How can you claim to be the best in the Southern Hemisphere if you did not once face a team from one of these countries? The same can be said if a team wins but they did not play against the Stormers or Bulls or for that matter the Lions or Sharks.

This might be the premier rugby competition for clubs/provinces/franchises in the world but currently it is nothing more than a farce.

Here is the conferences and inter conference setup with games to be played:

 

Australasian Group
Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA TB LB Pts
1 Blues 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Force 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6 Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
7 Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
8 Rebels 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
9 Reds 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
South African Group
Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA TB LB Pts
1 Bulls 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Cheetahs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Jaguares 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Kings 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Lions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6 Sharks 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
7 Stormers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
8 Sunwolves 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Australian Conference
Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA TB LB Pts
1 Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Force 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Rebels 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Reds 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand Conference
Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA TB LB Pts
1 Blues 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Africa 1 Conference
Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA TB LB Pts
1 Bulls 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Cheetahs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Stormers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Sunwolves 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Africa 2 Conference
Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA TB LB Pts
1 Jaguares 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Kings 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Lions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Sharks 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

 

Round 1

26 February 2016 Blues v Highlanders Eden Park, Auckland  
19:35

 

26 February 2016 Brumbies v Hurricanes GIO Stadium, Canberra
19:40

 

26 February 2016 Cheetahs v Jaguares Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein  
19:00

 

27 February 2016 Sunwolves v Lions Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo  
13:15

 

27 February 2016 Crusaders v Chiefs AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
19:35

 

27 February 2016 Waratahs v Reds Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
19:40

 

27 February 2016 Force v Rebels nib Stadium, Perth [show] 
18:50

 

27 February 2016 Kings v Sharks Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
15:00

 

27 February 2016 Stormers v Bulls DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
17:05

Round 2[edit]

4 March 2016 Crusaders v Blues AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
19:35

 

4 March 2016 Brumbies v Waratahs GIO Stadium, Canberra [show] 
19:40

 

5 March 2016 Chiefs v Lions Waikato Stadium, Hamilton [show] 
17:15

 

5 March 2016 Highlanders v Hurricanes Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin [show] 
19:35

 

5 March 2016 Reds v Force Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
18:40

 

5 March 2016 Bulls v Rebels Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria [show] 
15:00

 

5 March 2016 Cheetahs v Stormers Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein [show] 
17:05

 

5 March 2016 Sharks v Jaguares Kings Park Stadium, Durban [show] 
19:10

 

Bye/s: Sunwolves, Kings

Round 3[edit]

11 March 2016 Blues v Hurricanes Eden Park, Auckland [show] 
19:35

 

11 March 2016 Force v Brumbies nib Stadium, Perth [show] 
19:05

 

12 March 2016 Highlanders v Lions Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin [show] 
19:35

 

12 March 2016 Rebels v Reds AAMI Park, Melbourne [show] 
19:40

 

12 March 2016 Sunwolves v Cheetahs National Stadium, Singapore [show] 
18:50

 

12 March 2016 Kings v Chiefs Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
15:00

 

12 March 2016 Stormers v Sharks DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
17:05

 

Bye/s: Bulls, Crusaders, Jaguares, Waratahs

Round 4[edit]

18 March 2016 Hurricanes v Force Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North [show] 
19:35

 

18 March 2016 Waratahs v Highlanders Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
19:40

 

18 March 2016 Bulls v Sharks Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria [show] 
19:00

 

19 March 2016 Sunwolves v Rebels Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo [show] 
13:15

 

19 March 2016 Crusaders v Kings AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
19:35

 

19 March 2016 Reds v Blues Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
18:40

 

19 March 2016 Lions v Cheetahs Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
17:05

 

19 March 2016 Stormers v Brumbies DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
19:10

 

19 March 2016 Jaguares v Chiefs José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires [show] 

Round 5[edit]

25 March 2016 Hurricanes v Kings Westpac Stadium, Wellington [show] 
19:35

 

26 March 2016 Chiefs v Force Waikato Stadium, Hamilton [show] 
19:35

 

26 March 2016 Rebels v Highlanders AAMI Park, Melbourne [show] 
19:40

 

26 March 2016 Sunwolves v Bulls National Stadium, Singapore [show] 
18:50

 

26 March 2016 Cheetahs v Brumbies Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein [show] 
15:00

 

26 March 2016 Sharks v Crusaders Kings Park Stadium, Durban [show] 
17:05

 

26 March 2016 Jaguares v Stormers José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires [show] 

 

27 March 2016 Reds v Waratahs Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
15:05

 

Bye/s: Blues, Lions

Round 6[edit]

1 April 2016 Highlanders v Force Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin [show] 
19:35

 

1 April 2016 Lions v Crusaders Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
19:00

 

2 April 2016 Blues v Jaguares QBE Stadium, Albany [show] 
19:35

 

2 April 2016 Brumbies v Chiefs GIO Stadium, Canberra [show] 
19:40

 

2 April 2016 Kings v Sunwolves Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
17:05

 

2 April 2016 Bulls v Cheetahs Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria [show] 
19:10

 

3 April 2016 Waratahs v Rebels Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
16:05

 

Bye/s: Hurricanes, Reds, Sharks, Stormers

Round 7[edit]

8 April 2016 Chiefs v Blues Waikato Stadium, Hamilton [show] 
19:35

 

8 April 2016 Force v Crusaders nib Stadium, Perth [show] 
19:00

 

8 April 2016 Stormers v Sunwolves DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
19:00

 

9 April 2016 Hurricanes v Jaguares Westpac Stadium, Wellington [show] 
19:35

 

9 April 2016 Reds v Highlanders Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
19:40

 

9 April 2016 Sharks v Lions Kings Park Stadium, Durban [show] 
17:05

 

9 April 2016 Kings v Bulls Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
19:10

 

Bye/s: Brumbies, Cheetahs, Rebels, Waratahs

Round 8[edit]

15 April 2016 Crusaders v Jaguares AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
19:35

 

15 April 2016 Rebels v Hurricanes AAMI Park, Melbourne [show] 
19:40

 

15 April 2016 Cheetahs v Sunwolves Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein [show] 
19:00

 

16 April 2016 Blues v Sharks Eden Park, Auckland [show] 
19:35

 

16 April 2016 Waratahs v Brumbies Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
19:40

 

16 April 2016 Bulls v Reds Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria [show] 
17:05

 

16 April 2016 Lions v Stormers Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
19:10

 

Bye/s: Chiefs, Force, Highlanders, Kings

Round 9[edit]

22 April 2016 Highlanders v Sharks Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin [show] 
19:35

 

22 April 2016 Rebels v Cheetahs AAMI Park, Melbourne [show] 
19:40

 

23 April 2016 Sunwolves v Jaguares Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo [show] 
14:15

 

23 April 2016 Hurricanes v Chiefs Westpac Stadium, Wellington [show] 
19:35

 

23 April 2016 Force v Waratahs nib Stadium, Perth [show] 
17:40

 

23 April 2016 Stormers v Reds DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
15:00

 

23 April 2016 Kings v Lions Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
17:05

 

24 April 2016 Brumbies v Crusaders GIO Stadium, Canberra [show] 
16:05

 

Bye/s: Blues, Bulls

Round 10[edit]

29 April 2016 Chiefs v Sharks Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth [show] 
19:35

 

29 April 2016 Force v Bulls nib Stadium, Perth [show] 
19:05

 

30 April 2016 Highlanders v Brumbies Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill [show] 
17:15

 

30 April 2016 Blues v Rebels Eden Park, Auckland [show] 
19:35

 

30 April 2016 Reds v Cheetahs Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
19:40

 

30 April 2016 Lions v Hurricanes Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
17:05

 

30 April 2016 Stormers v Waratahs DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
19:10

 

30 April 2016 Jaguares v Kings José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires [show] 

 

Bye/s: Crusaders, Sunwolves

Round 11[edit]

6 May 2016 Crusaders v Reds AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
19:35

 

6 May 2016 Brumbies v Bulls GIO Stadium, Canberra [show] 
19:40

 

7 May 2016 Sunwolves v Force Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo [show] 
14:15

 

7 May 2016 Chiefs v Highlanders Waikato Stadium, Hamilton [show] 
19:35

 

7 May 2016 Waratahs v Cheetahs Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
19:40

 

7 May 2016 Sharks v Hurricanes Kings Park Stadium, Durban [show] 
15:00

 

7 May 2016 Kings v Blues Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
17:05

 

Bye/s: Jaguares, Lions, Rebels, Stormers

Round 12[edit]

13 May 2016 Highlanders v Crusaders Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin [show] 
19:35

 

13 May 2016 Rebels v Brumbies AAMI Park, Melbourne [show] 
19:40

 

14 May 2016 Hurricanes v Reds Westpac Stadium, Wellington [show] 
19:35

 

14 May 2016 Waratahs v Bulls Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
19:40

 

14 May 2016 Sunwolves v Stormers National Stadium, Singapore [show] 
19:45

 

14 May 2016 Cheetahs v Kings Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein [show] 
17:05

 

14 May 2016 Lions v Blues Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
19:10

 

14 May 2016 Jaguares v Sharks José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires [show] 

 

Bye/s: Chiefs, Force

Round 13[edit]

20 May 2016 Crusaders v Waratahs AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
19:35

 

21 May 2016 Reds v Sunwolves Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
15:05

 

21 May 2016 Chiefs v Rebels Waikato Stadium, Hamilton [show] 
19:35

 

21 May 2016 Force v Blues nib Stadium, Perth [show] 
17:40

 

21 May 2016 Lions v Jaguares Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
15:00

 

21 May 2016 Sharks v Kings Kings Park Stadium, Durban [show] 
17:05

 

21 May 2016 Bulls v Stormers Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria [show] 
19:10

 

Bye/s: Brumbies, Cheetahs, Highlanders, Hurricanes

Round 14[edit]

27 May 2016 Hurricanes v Highlanders Westpac Stadium, Wellington [show] 
19:35

 

27 May 2016 Waratahs v Chiefs Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
19:40

 

27 May 2016 Kings v Jaguares Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
19:00

 

28 May 2016 Blues v Crusaders Eden Park, Auckland [show] 
19:35

 

28 May 2016 Brumbies v Sunwolves GIO Stadium, Canberra [show] 
19:40

 

28 May 2016 Stormers v Cheetahs DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
15:00

 

28 May 2016 Bulls v Lions Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria [show] 
17:05

 

29 May 2016 Rebels v Force AAMI Park, Melbourne [show] 
16:05

 

Bye/s: Reds, Sharks

Round 15[edit]

1 July 2016 Chiefs v Crusaders ANZ National Stadium, Suva, Fiji [show] 
19:35

 

1 July 2016 Brumbies v Reds GIO Stadium, Canberra [show] 
19:40

 

2 July 2016 Sunwolves v Waratahs Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo [show] 
14:15

 

2 July 2016 Hurricanes v Blues Westpac Stadium, Wellington [show] 
19:35

 

2 July 2016 Rebels v Stormers AAMI Park, Melbourne [show] 
19:40

 

2 July 2016 Cheetahs v Force Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein [show] 
15:00

 

2 July 2016 Kings v Highlanders Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
17:05

 

2 July 2016 Lions v Sharks Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
19:10

 

2 July 2016 Jaguares v Bulls José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires [show] 

Round 16[edit]

8 July 2016 Blues v Brumbies Eden Park, Auckland [show] 
19:35

 

8 July 2016 Reds v Chiefs Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
19:40

 

8 July 2016 Lions v Kings Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
19:00

 

9 July 2016 Crusaders v Rebels AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
19:35

 

9 July 2016 Waratahs v Hurricanes Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
19:40

 

9 July 2016 Force v Stormers nib Stadium, Perth [show] 
19:45

 

9 July 2016 Bulls v Sunwolves Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria [show] 
17:05

 

9 July 2016 Sharks v Cheetahs Kings Park Stadium, Durban [show] 
19:10

 

9 July 2016 Jaguares v Highlanders José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires [show] 

Round 17[edit]

15 July 2016 Blues v Waratahs Eden Park, Auckland [show] 
19:35

 

15 July 2016 Reds v Rebels Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
19:40

 

15 July 2016 Sharks v Sunwolves Kings Park Stadium, Durban [show] 
19:00

 

16 July 2016 Crusaders v Hurricanes AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
17:15

 

16 July 2016 Highlanders v Chiefs Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin [show] 
19:35

 

16 July 2016 Brumbies v Force GIO Stadium, Canberra [show] 
19:40

 

16 July 2016 Stormers v Kings DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
17:05

 

16 July 2016 Cheetahs v Bulls Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein [show] 
19:10

 

16 July 2016 Jaguares v Lions José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires [show] 

Finals[edit]

Quarter Finals[edit]

22/23 July 2016 Team 1 v Team 8 [show] 

 

22/23 July 2016 Team 2 v Team 7 [show] 

 

22/23 July 2016 Team 3 v Team 6 [show] 

 

22/23 July 2016 Team 4 v Team 5 [show] 

Semi-Finals[edit]

29/30 July 2016 First-seeded Quarter Final winner v Fourth-seeded Quarter Final winner [show] 

 

29/30 July 2016 Second-seeded Quarter Final winner v Third-seeded Quarter Final winner [show] 

Final[edit]

6 August 2016 Higher ranked Semi-Final winner v Lower ranked Semi-Final winner [show]

The schedule and conference groups care of Wikipedia.com

 

Currie Cup suprisesas home teams win

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.    

Scorers:

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.

Scorers:

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.

Scorers:

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.

Scorers:

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
Steval Pumas 3 2 1 0 78 70 8 9 8 0 1 9
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
GWK Griquas 3 0 3 0 66 98 -32 9 12 2 1 3
EP Kings 3 0 3 0 60 125 -65 8 17 1 0 1

 

 

 

 

Bulls injury update as Vodacom Super Rugby resumes

With the Castle Lager Inbound Series concluded, we will resume Vodacom Super Rugby again this weekend. Most coaches are assessing the fitness of their players after some hard hitting international action over the last three weeks. The Bulls have the following injury concerns:

Pierre Spies, Francois Hougaard and Jano Vermaak is in danger of missing this weekend’s clash against the Southern Kings at Loftus Versfeld.
 
Vermaak picked up a hamstring injury sustained against Italy three weeks ago while Spies  picked up a grade three tear to his bicep against Samoa the past weekend. Hougaard is still struggling with a knee issue. Both Spies and Hougaard will see specialists during the week to confirm treatment as well as when they will be ready for action again.
 
Arno Botha has been added to the long term injury list following his knee injury picked up against Scotland.
 
Louis Fouchè (quad, Wednesday), Dewald Potgieter (contusion, Wednesday), Dean Greyling (bronchitis, Wednesday) will not train on Monday, but team doctor Org Strauss gave Travis Ismaiel (shoulder), Akona Ndungane (bone bruising), Jacques Potgieter (foot) and Lohan Jacobs (toe) the green light to train today.
 
The long term injury list is:
Paul Willemse (Gr 3 MCL knee), 3 weeks
Cornell Hess (ACL/MCL tear), 5 months
Lionel Mapoe (Shoulder dislocation) 3 1/2 months
Arno Botha (ACL tear) 6 months
 

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Vermaak to France, Potgieter to Japan

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.

(c) BBC

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Young guns sign on at the Blue Bulls

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.

(c) BBC

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Stegmann and Olivier to bolster Bulls

The Bulls have called on Deon Stegmann and Wynand Olivier to bolster their ranks for the Hurricanes clash on Saturday at Loftus. They are two of three changes made by Frans Ludeke to his side that beat the Waratahs 30-19 last weekend.

Stegmann returns after his bruced ribs have healed. He will wear the no 6 Jersey with Dewald Potgieter moving to 7 and Arno Botha dropping to the bench. Olivier comes into the side in place of Jan Serfontein who will be rested as he is suffering from a small niggle. The other change is at fullback where Jurgen Visser will return in place of Ulrich Beyers.

The bench sees a couple of changes as Frik Kirsten (elbow) returns in place of Hercus van Wyk. Kirsten only missed one game. He will be joined by Grant Hattingh who’s broken thumb has healed. This will see Willhelm Steenkamp drop out of the side.

Ludeke said he is looking for a strong performance before his side’s bye next week.

“We are in control of our own destiny at this stage and that is exactly where we want to be. This means that we are doing some things right, but we all realise that we are also not accurate enough in other phases.”
Ludeke was happy with the work done this week in the set-pieces and acknowledge this as an area where they traditionally attacked the Hurricanes.
“They are a very dangerous side when there is broken field and open play, so we need to make sure we dominate territory and possession and win the gain line battle.”
Vodacom Bulls captain Pierre Spies said that their defence will hold the key.
“We will have to be strong in defence. We leaked some unnecessary tries last weekend and we are not happy about that. The Hurricanes are known for their fantastic attack, so we need a very disciplined and determined approach on defence.”
 
Bulls team (with number of Super Rugby caps): 15. Jürgen Visser (5), 14. Akona Ndungane (89), 13. JJ Engelbrecht (25), 12. Wynand Olivier (107), 11. Bjorn Basson (47), 10. Mornè Steyn (115), 9. Jano Vermaak (97), 8. Pierre Spies (98, c), 7. Dewald Potgieter (59), 6. Deon Stegmann (67), 5. Juandrè Kruger (26), 4. Flip van der Merwe (56), 3. Werner Kruger (84), 2. Chiliboy Ralepelle (61), 1. Dean Greyling (32). REPLACEMENTS: 16. Willie Wepener (60), 17. Frik Kirsten (23), 18. Grant Hattingh (14), 19. Arno Botha (18), 20. Francois Hougaard (49), 21. Louis Fouchè (18), 22. Lionel Mapoe (36).
 
Milestones:
•Mornè Steyn will equal the career record of most appearances for the Vodacom Bulls in Super Rugby. The record of 116 matches is held by Victor Matfield and Danie Rossouw. Steyn is already the most experienced Vodacom Bulls backline player of all times.
•Steyn could also extend a number of his 1333 Vodacom Super Rugby career points. Already the second highest points’ scorer of all time in the competition and the second player past 1300 career points, the flyhalf could improve on his South African records of 249 penalties, 223 conversions and the tournament record of 25 drop goals. He has also scored 13 tries.
•Francois Hougaard will play in his 50th match for the Vodacom Bulls if he takes the field
•Flip van der Merwe will play in his 50th match for the Vodacom Bulls. He also played six times for the Toyota Cheetahs

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Bulls injury update

Vodacom Bulls lock Paul Willemse will be out of action for three months following a knee injury sustained in Saturday’s win over the Southern Kings, but there is a green light to the fitness of Wynand Olivier and Dewald Potgieter.

A MRI scan on Monday revealed an MCL injury to the big lock, ruling him out of action for the next nine weeks. He will undergo an operation on Wednesday.
Olivier and Potgieter will be available for selection though after recovering from their respective knee injuries. Olivier got injured on tour and Potgieter was a late withdrawal from the side that travelled down to Port Elizabeth, but according to team doctor Org Strauss, will be considered for Saturday’s match against the Waratahs in Pretoria.

Francois Hougaard will also train on Wednesday and pending his fitness afterwards, could be considered for the weekend. He has an ankle injury.
Frik Kirsten (elbow), Deon Stegmann (ribs), Callie Visagie (ankle), Flip van der Merwe (chest muscle), Lionel Mapoe (foot) and Chiliboy Ralepelle (calves) all sat out of training on Monday, but will be considered for selection, Strauss confirmed.

Jean Cook (ankle) will also be back to fitness on Wednesday. Hencus van Wyk (Shoulder, 1 week), Grant Hattingh (thumb fracture, 3 weeks), Zane Kirchner (finger operation, 3 weeks) and Francois Venter (groin, 7 weeks) are all out of action for now, but Marcel van der Merwe (knee rehab) will be back in training for the first time this year.

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