Two injured players released from Springbok squad

Two injured players in the Springbok training squad, Frans Steyn and Pieter-Steph du Toit, have been temporarily released from the squad to continue their rehabilitation in Durban for the next few weeks.

pic Frans Steyn

Neither of them are expected to be fit for the Springboks’ first two matches of the season, next Saturday against the World XV in Cape Town and a week later against Australia in Brisbane. Steyn has a pectoral muscle tear, while Du Toit is recovering from a knee injury.

According to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer the decision to send Steyn and Du Toit home was taken with the best interests of the players in mind.

“We’ve discussed the way forward with the players, and all of us agreed that the best way forward at this stage is for them to get full-time rehabilitation at their home province, while our own medical team will keep very close tabs on their progress,” said Meyer.

“Both of them are still firmly in our plans going forward for the season and I really hope they can get back onto the field sooner rather than later. I’m confident the individual attention they will receive in Durban will be a massive benefit to them in the long run.

“We won’t be taking Frans or Pieter-Steph with us to Australia and will reassess their situation when we return from Brisbane.”

Two other injured players, Fourie du Preez (knee) and Duane Vermeulen (neck), will continue to do the bulk of their rehabilitation work with the Springbok squad.

Vermeulen was sent to Durban on Thursday to obtain another specialist opinion on his injury, but the final results will only be available at a later stage.

The other injured players who will remain with the squad, are Heinrich Brüssow (arm), Schalk Burger (groin), Lood de Jager (elbow), Willem Alberts (ankle), Cobus Reinach (hand), Jean de Villiers (knee), Patrick Lambie (neck), Lionel Mapoe (knee) and Jan Serfontein (hip and knee).

Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts said: “Most of these players are able to partake in field sessions, even though some of them can only do certain segments of the training, and we’re hoping to have them ready for selection sooner rather than later.

“A final decision on their availability for the match against the World XV will be taken on Monday, but it’s looking positive that a number of them will be declared fit for our season opener.”

DHL Stormers forwards coach Matt Proudfoot to move abroad -BIG in Japan

DHL Stormers forwards coach Matt Proudfoot has opted not to renew his contract with Western Province Rugby, but he might not be lost to the union on a permanent basis.

Proudfoot will be linking up with outgoing DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee at Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers in Japan, but Director of Rugby Gert Smal remains hopeful of retaining his services on a consultancy basis, which would see him contribute to the ‘Tight Five Factory'; an innovative project which is aimed at identifying and developing tight five players from youth level and up within WP Rugby.

Proudfoot, 42, has served as forwards coach of both the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province for the past seven seasons, which has seen the Cape team’s pack become one of the most feared units at Super Rugby and Currie Cup level.

In that time, the likes of unheralded juniors Steven Kitshoff, Scarra Ntubeni, Frans Malherbe, Vincent Koch, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Nizaam Carr have progressed into the Springbok ranks (either as Test players or squad members), with the DHL Stormers’ scrummaging power a huge boon in their recently-completed 2015 Super Rugby campaign.

Smal commented: “First and foremost, Matt deserves a lot of credit for what he has achieved here during his time as forwards coach of both the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province.

“Like with Allister (Coetzee), it was always our intention to retain Matt’s services at WP Rugby, but, that said, you cannot stand in somebody’s way should they feel like a change after years of loyal service.

“I would like to thank Matt for his contribution here at WP Rugby and I am hopeful of him continuing as a consultant to our ‘Tight Five Factory’. I have already spoken to Allister Coetzee about that and we will make an announcement about that as soon as we have 100% clarity.”

Proudfoot moved to the Cape at the start of 2009, having been a successful coach of NWU-Pukke at national and Varsity Cup level, and he will be leaving the union with fond memories; which includes three South African Vodacom Super Rugby Conference titles and two Absa Currie Cup triumphs.

“It was a dream come true to coach at Western Province – the union and the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province teams will always remain very close to my heart,” said Proudfoot.

“There comes a time for change, however, and although I am leaving I will be leaving with fond memories and many friendships and plenty of experience.

“I would love to stay involved in the ‘Tight Five Factory’ (project), as I believe it’s a project that has a lot of merit and could only benefit an already strong union like Western Province, so hopefully this won’t mean the end of my involvement here.”

Richie McCaw is still the fittest All Black

No one pushes harder than the skipper: Richie McCaw is still the fittest All Black

Is he the Terminator? Skipper is still the fittest All Black despite age and a history of injuries that would have stopped lesser men.

After a first day mostly spent being photographed and fitted out with new kit, day two of the All Blacks’ training camp had a decidedly more physical theme with the players put through brutal fitness testing.

Basic conditioning has been the one undisputed area where the All Blacks have continued to set global standards in the past few years.

The chasing pack has closed the gap on many fronts – perhaps some countries have even gone ahead in specific areas such as scrummaging – but when it comes to aerobic capacity, the All Blacks still believe they have an edge over the rest of the world.

It has been a hallmark of their game in the past two years to dominate the final 10 minutes of a test. It’s in those oxygen-starved final exchanges where they have come into their own – hauling back Ireland in 2013 and Australia last year.

The All Blacks are lean and they are fit.

But they want to be leaner and fitter.

World Cup games will go to the death. The final 10 minutes will be rich with opportunity if the All Blacks have the lungs and legs to take advantage and that was really what was being driven home yesterday – that all players have to keep pushing themselves harder and harder over the next few months.

And no one pushes harder than the skipper. Once again, as he always does, Richie McCaw led the way in the various running tests.

He was joined up front by veteran Andy Ellis and the two of them set the standards through a range of sprint repeats and endurance work.

McCaw and Andy Ellis, lead the way during the All Blacks squad team training session.
“You know you can’t stay with them so you try to keep as close to them as you can,” said fellow Crusader Ryan Crotty. “It is impressive – they are aerobic beasts those guys. They are fit. It is a strong part of their game and attributes they have to have to be able to play their game.”

Ellis, of course, has every reason to try to make an impression while he’s with the All Blacks as he remains an outside bet to force his way into the World Cup squad. At the moment, he’s ranked fourth in the pecking order – behind Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara and Tawera Kerr-Barlow.

Kerr-Barlow hasn’t played first-class football since he damaged his knee in South Africa last year but he is expected to play club games and for the Maori before being available to play for the All Blacks.

His resilience, mental strength and desire to work his way back to full fitness have impressed the selectors, but Kerr-Barlow still needs to jump the final hurdle of showing he’s back somewhere near his best.
source NZ Herald

Egon Seconds take up the whistle at the Coca-Cola Academy Week

Former rugby players, Monty Dumond, Egon Seconds, Jacques Nieuwenhuis and Mpho Matsaung will take to the field as referees in the Coca-Cola Academy Week at the Isak Steyl Stadium in Vanderbiljpark from 6 to 9 July 2015
Egon Seconds represented Western Province and Griquas; Matsaung and Nieuwenhuis played for the Valke.

Egon Seconds was a great wing in his day – fast, elusive, skilful. Now, 34 years of age he was Born in Cape Town and schooled at Hoërskool Voortrekker in Kenilworth, Egon Ryan Seconds made his debut for Western Province in 2001 when he was 20. He played for Western Province 88 times till 2008 when he went to Griquas for whom he played 23 times. In a five-year Super Rugby career, in days when there were fewer matches, he played 11 times. He played in 2001, 2002 and 2005 for the Springbok Sevens, including at the Commonwealth Games in 2002 when they won the bronze medal. In 2004 went on the SA A tour to Argentina, playing against Argentina A and the Argentinian Provinces. In 2009 he played for a Royal XV against the B&I Lions.

Nieuwenhuis also played international rugby for Namibia, which included appearances at the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups in France and New Zealand.

Nieuwenhuis will take charge of the clash between the Lions and Western Province on the opening day’s play on July 6

Egon Seconds will officiate the match between the Blouvalke and Nambia, Matsaung the match between Border CD and the Leopards, and Dumond the encounter between Griquas and Pumas CD.

Issued by SARU Corporate Affairs

Take a look at World Cup tickets 2015

With global excitement building ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015, Tournament Organisers, England Rugby 2015, today unveiled the official design that will feature on the tickets for the 48 matches.

The five variations were revealed by Rugby World Cup 2003 winning captain, Martin Johnson, at Twickenham Stadium. The unique design celebrates Rugby and the rich history of the Tournament, featuring the Webb Ellis Cup at its centre, alongside four Rugby World Cup winning captains: John Eales (Australia), Francois Pienaar (South Africa), Martin Johnson (England) and Richie McCaw (New Zealand) representing the nations who have been victorious at previous Rugby World Cups.

The ticket blends the striking Tournament look and feel with two Rugby images representing the heritage of the Game in England. Across the lower half of the ticket is a representation of the fans, who are at the heart of the Tournament. The four designs, developed in three colours, will be issued for all matches throughout the pool phase, Quarter and Semi-Finals as well as the Bronze Final. The tickets for the eight matches that will be played at the Millennium Stadium will also feature information in Welsh. A special gold design has also been developed for the Final and features one of the host nation’s most celebrated sporting moments, Jonny Wilkinson’s dramatic drop goal at the Final of Rugby World Cup 2003.

Boks and playing overseas ?

It was not that long ago that former Springbok coach Jake White made a sage remark about the South African Rugby Union’s decision to pick overseas players for the Springboks.

“You are making a rod for your own backs,” White warned the governing body. “This is going to come back and bite you.”

Saru, who for so long had been accused of being conservative, had actually been quite chuffed with themselves by breaking ranks with SANZAR colleagues Australia and New Zealand and giving coach Heyneke Meyer the option of picking our best players, wherever they reside. After all, professional soccer has been doing this for over a hundred years.

Australia have subsequently “half” followed the Saru lead by making elligble for the Wallabies players that have 60 or more caps. New Zealand, the best rugby country on the planet, stand firm.

White’s warning was that the best players would not hang around in South Africa for the traditional old golden handshake before finishing off with a swansong at a European club. Heck, rugby is a business and money has to be made while the body permits it.

And the players going to the likes of Japan are getting younger and younger. Last year Handre Pollard was the IRB Under 20 Player of the Championship. Now is he off to Japan.

Handre Pollard is tackled by Richie McCaw

You can’t blame the players. Once they have made enough of an impression on the national coach, off they go, knowing that the Springbok door is open.

The problem is that the flood of players to Japan – a choice option because their season allows the South Africans to (almost) get back in time for Super Rugby- means less classy players in the Currie Cup, our most important nursery of Springbok talent.

And if you go to Japan in your off-season, then, well, when do you have your off season!?

There is a tongue-in-cheek argument that rugby in Japan is sub-standard, and foreigners are restricted in their game time to give locals opportunities, and that gives the players a break from the intensity of Super Rugby. But it is a flimsy argument.

I recall John Plumtree complaining about how unfit his Japanese contingent were when they reported for Super Rugby duty, requiring a month of intense extra fitness training to get up to speed with the rest of the squad.

Three months of pre-season training with a South African Super Rugby franchise cannot begin to compete with relative loafing in Japan.

And then there is the problem of when the players actually arrive. The Japanese club knock-out competition takes place in February and that can sometimes mean a South Africa player misses up to four rounds of Super Rugby. He is not as fit as the other players, has missed the pre-season strategy sessions, and some crucial matches.

And there are going to be more and more of them arriving home late for Super Rugby. In fact a whole Cheetahs team following their agreement with Toyota.

There was recent talk that Andries Bekker might make a return to the Springboks after a three year stay in Japan and after having played no Super Rugby to keep up to scratch. Would he still be the same player after having not played against the best players in the world for so long? Jaque Fourie is to return to the Boks after four years in Japan, also having taken the long-term option of not returning for Super Rugby action. Can he possibly be a better player after four years of playing in a mediocre competition?

New Zealand, meanwhile, are resolute. Their best players remain in New Zealand to compete for the black jersey. Their Super Rugby teams remain the best, their National Provincial Championship is as strong as ever. They are the world champions.

Need we say any more on the subject?

by Mike Greenaway

#1995 RWC squad honored for “greatest day” in SA rugby history #1995reunited

South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins on Wednesday congratulated and thanked the Springbok squad involved in the 1995 Rugby World Cup as they celebrated the 20th anniversary of their epic World Cup final win in Johannesburg.

The Springboks won their first Rugby World Cup on 24 June 1995, beating New Zealand, 15-12, in a memorable final played at Ellis Park. The result unleashed a tide of goodwill and nation-building across South Africa, which a year earlier had celebrated democracy after decades of racial segregation.

“We proudly celebrate this day as a rugby family, because this team helped Nelson Mandela unite a country,” said Mr Hoskins. “It was a moment that astonished a nation and provided one of the foundation stones for the country we were to become. It was arguably the greatest day in our rugby history.

“Mr Mandela together with that Springbok team pointed the way to a new future for our people and 20 years later that day still has a massive resonance.

“We continue to salute the 1995ers for what they achieved as a rugby team and what they meant to a nation.”

Mr Hoskins said it was also a day to remember and honour the legacy of the fallen heroes from that day, President Mandela, the Springbok coach Kitch Christie and flanker Ruben Kruger.

“They will never be forgotten for their role they played in shaping the country and the game we love so much,” said Mr Hoskins.

The Springboks’ achievement and Mr Mandela’s support meant that the team enjoyed the full support of all South Africans for the first time. The newly elected South African president famously wore the jersey of Springbok captain, Francois Pienaar, at the final, provoking chants of “Nelson, Nelson” from the predominantly white crowd.

Pienaar, in his winning speech, declared that the team had not the support of the 60 000 people in the stadium; it had had the support of 43 million South Africans across the country.

On Wednesday, Pienaar said: “I will never forget the emotions in the change room before the match, when Mr Mandela entered and how every one of us got ready for this huge match – some of them quiet, some of them jumping around in the change room, others bringing massive energy to the squad.

“We had a sense this was big, but never in our wildest dreams did we think that this game would have such an impact on every single person in South Africa.”

The 1995 squad reunited at the same venue on Wednesday, now called Emirates Airline Park, to re-live the event that shaped the history of the country and that of rugby forever.

All available members of the team joined up for a team photograph in front of a banner reading, “Still One Team, Still One Country” recalling the famous 1995 team slogan, “One Team, One Country”, on the spot where flyhalf Joel Stransky kicked his famous match-winning drop goal.

In a social media first for South African rugby, supporters were able to relive the final on Twitter with live commentary by members of the team while the match was re-broadcast on SuperSport.

“They were a special team that achieved special things,” said Mr Hoskins. “This is their day and we honour them and thank them for a legacy from which we still benefit.”

Front row (from left to right): Chester Williams, Balie Swart, Kitch Christie (coach), Francois Pienaar (captain), Morne du Plessis (manager), James Small, Gysie Pienaar (assistant coach), Hennie le Roux, Andre Joubert.

Middle row: Garry Pagel, Ruben Kruger, Rudolf Straeuli, Mark Andrews, Kobus Wiese, Krynauw Otto, Hannes Strydom, Robbie Brink, Adriaan Richter, Os du Randt.

Back row: James Dalton, Marius Hurter, Christiaan Scholtz, Japie Mulder, Gavin Johnson, Joost van der Westhuizen, Brendan Venter, Chris Rossouw, Joel Stransky, Johan Roux.

Credit: SARU

Twenty years on photo 24 June 2015
Front row (from left to right): Chester Williams, Balie Swart, Joost van der Westhuizen, Francois Pienaar (captain), Morne du Plessis (manager), Christiaan Scholtz, Gysie Pienaar (assistant coach), Hennie le Roux, Pieter Hendriks.

Middle row: Garry Pagel, Rudolf Straeuli, Mark Andrews, Kobus Wiese, Krynauw Otto, Hannes Strydom, Robbie Brink, Adriaan Richter.

Back row: Naka Drotské, Marius Hurter, Japie Mulder, Gavin Johnson, Brendan Venter, Chris Rossouw.

Credit: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images

Issued by SARU Corporate Affairs


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