Adriaan Strauss named 57th Springbok captain

Adriaan Strauss will become the 57th Springbok captain after the Vodacom Bulls hooker was named to lead South Africa in the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Ireland, which starts on 11 June in Cape Town.

Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, made the announcement on Monday afternoon in Stellenbosch, where the Boks are preparing for the first Test.

The popular Strauss hooker follows in the footsteps of long-serving Springbok captain, Jean de Villiers as well as Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger and Fourie du Preez.

Coetzee said he decided to appoint the captain before the first training session.

“Adriaan’s leadership qualities are impressive and well-established and he has the respect of his team mates on and off the field,” said Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.

“He enjoys the respect of all the players and he has always fulfilled a leadership role wherever he played, since coming through the junior national structures.

“Adriaan has shared the vice-captaincy role with Bismarck du Plessis for the Springboks and is also a former Toyota Cheetahs skipper and current Vodacom Bulls captain.

“I have no doubt he will be successful in his role as Springbok captain, which is a huge responsibility,” added Coetzee.

Coetzee further explained that Strauss will have a strong leadership group around him to support him in his role to lead the Springboks in the coming Castle Lager Incoming Series against Ireland.

“Adriaan is blessed with a strong leadership core around him consisting of Patrick Lambie, Warren Whiteley, Frans Malherbe, Beast Mtawarira, Duane Vermeulen and Francois Louw,” said Coetzee.

“I have been impressed with him in my interactions with him and I have the utmost faith in him.”

Strauss said he was humbled by the trust and confidence shown in him by Coetzee.

“I am very grateful to the coach for entrusting me with this enormous responsibility,” said Strauss.

“I am incredibly humbled by this huge honour and also excited about the role. It is not everyone that get the opportunity to lead the Springboks, so I consider myself very blessed indeed. I shall do my very best to justify the trust shown in me.

“I am also very fortunate that I will be able to lean on the assistance of a great leadership group within the squad. There’s a fantastic energy in the squad, but the hard work starts now.”

The 30-year old hooker, who was born in Bloemfontein, has played 54 Tests matches for South Africa since making his debut in 2008, scoring six tries to date. He also presented the Springboks at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, where he earned his 50th Test cap against Samoa.

He became the 800th Springbok when he was called up to do duty in the 2008 Castle Lager Rugby Championship, making his debut on 19 July 2008 against Australia in Perth aged just 22-years old. He has played in a total of 57 Springbok matches, including three non-Tests.

In 2012 and 2013, Strauss shared the vice-captaincy with Du Plessis. He is a very strong and experienced hooker and respected leader in the South Africa game.

Strauss has amassed 130 Vodacom Super Rugby caps for the Toyota Cheetahs and the Vodacom Bulls. The former Grey College hooker represented the SA Schools in 2003, SA Under-19 (2004) and SA U21 (in 2005, when they won the IRB U21 competition in Argentina, as well as 2006). He made his senior debut for the Vodacom Bulls in 2006, before joining the Toyota Cheetahs the following year. He re-joined the ranks of the Pretoria side in 2015.

Adriaan Strauss – Brief biography:

Height: 1.84m

Weight: 114kg

Date of birth: 18 November 1985 in Bloemfontein

Provincial Union: Vodacom Blue Bulls (previously the Toyota Free State Cheetahs)

Test debut: 19 July 2008 vs Australia in Perth aged 22

Test caps: 54

Tour matches: 3

Test points: 30 (6 tries)

Issued by SA Rugby Corporate Affairs

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Squad of 31 ushers in new era of Springbok rugby

Allister Coetzee has named a new-look Springbok squad, including nine uncapped players, for the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Ireland, featuring three Tests in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.

The uncapped players who have forced their way into the Springbok squad are Garth April (flyhalf), Ruan Combrinck (wing), Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf), Nic Groom (scrumhalf), Steven Kitshoff (prop), Jaco Kriel (flank), Bongi Mbonambi (hooker), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (flank) and Scarra Ntubeni (hooker).

Coetzee picked 17 forwards and 14 backs to report for duty on Sunday afternoon for the start of a two week-long preparation camp in Stellenbosch and Cape Town. The squad will gather in Stellenbosch for the first week, before they break for two days and then reassemble on Sunday 5 June in Cape Town.

Coetzee said he was excited and looking forward to start working with his squad.

“The announcement of the squad, while hugely challenging, is a highlight of my career and a result of a lot of hard work and a huge amount of planning since my appointment,” said Coetzee.

“The selection of this squad was based on rewarding form and exposing young and upcoming local players to the Springboks, which is why priority was given to locally based players. We have many experienced players still available for selection, but we just felt that the time was right to look at the next generation.

“Our depth was obviously tested in certain positions, but this also created opportunities for new players, who have found their feet at Vodacom Super Rugby level, and to make the step up to the Springboks.

“I was appointed to win Test matches and I believe we have picked the best possible, available squad to do that. During my recent visits to the various franchises, I witnessed an unbelievable desire and passion from our players to play for South Africa, which was really heartening.

“We will now start with our preparations in earnest in Stellenbosch so that we can be ready for Ireland in Cape Town in two weeks’ time.”

Coetzee did not name a team captain and said he wanted to work with the squad before making a decision in the week of the first Test.

“We have a number of captaincy candidates to consider and I will announce the name of the captain when we name the team to face Ireland in Cape Town in a few days’ time,” said the Bok coach.

Several players were not available for selection for the Springbok or SA ‘A’ squads because of injuries or Springbok Sevens commitments. They are JC Janse van Rensburg, Sti Sithole, Marcell Coetzee, CJ Velleman, Chris Cloete, Schalk Burger, Thembelani Bholi, Cobus Reinach, Jano Vermaak, Elgar Watts, Robert du Preez, Kurt Coleman, Handré Pollard, Harold Vorster, Cornal Hendricks, Andries Coetzee, Dillyn Leyds, Jaco van der Walt (all injuries or illness), as well as Francois Hougaard, Bryan Habana, Juan de Jongh, Seabelo Senatla, Cheslin Kolbe, Warrick Gelant and Siviwe Soyizwapi (all Springbok Sevens).

Furthermore, experienced scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar informed Coetzee that he is not available for selection for the June Tests.

“We were considering all the players on this list carefully but they are unfortunately not available. We’ve also had good discussions with Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell and I support them fully in their preparations for the Olympic Games in August even though some of those players were real contenders for inclusion in the Springbok squad,” said Coetzee.

Coetzee added that that four players not included in the Springboks’ match-23 for the first two Tests, will be released to the SA ‘A’ squad for their matches against the England Saxons.

The three Tests between the Springboks and Ireland will take place on 11 June at DHL Newlands in Cape Town, on 18 June at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg and on 25 June at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

The Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series (alphabetical order):

Name Position Franchise/Club Test Caps
1 Garth April Flyhalf Cell C Sharks 0
2 Ruan Combrinck Wing Emirates Lions 0
3 Damian de Allende Centre DHL Stormers 13
4 Lood de Jager Lock Toyota Cheetahs 19
5 Faf de Klerk Scrumhalf Emirates Lions 0
6 Pieter-Steph du Toit Lock DHL Stormers 8
7 Eben Etzebeth Lock DHL Stormers 44
8 Nic Groom Scrumhalf DHL Stormers 0
9 Elton Jantjies Flyhalf Emirates Lions 2
10 Steven Kitshoff Prop Bordeaux (France) 0
11 Siya Kolisi Flank DHL Stormers 13
12 Jaco Kriel Flank Emirates Lions 0
13 Jesse Kriel Centre Vodacom Bulls 11
14 Patrick Lambie Flyhalf Cell C Sharks 50
15 Willie le Roux Fullback Cell C Sharks 34
16 Francois Louw Flank Bath (England) 43
17 Frans Malherbe Prop DHL Stormers 12
18 Lionel Mapoe Centre Emirates Lions 1
19 Bongi Mbonambi Hooker DHL Stormers 0
20 Tendai Mtawarira Prop Cell C Sharks 75
21 Lwazi Mvovo Wing Cell C Sharks 15
22 Sikhumbuzo Notshe Flank DHL Stormers 0
23 Scarra Ntubeni Hooker DHL Stormers 0
24 Trevor Nyakane Prop Vodacom Bulls 23
25 Rudy Paige Scrumhalf Vodacom Bulls 2
26 JP Pietersen Wing Cell C Sharks 66
27 Julian Redelinghuys Prop Emirates Lions 2
28 Jan Serfontein Centre Vodacom Bulls 26
29 Adriaan Strauss Hooker Vodacom Bulls 54
30 Duane Vermeulen No 8 Toulon (France) 35
31 Warren Whiteley No 8 Emirates Lions 3

Issued by SA Rugby Corporate Affairs

All Blacks selectors have named a mixture of experience / new talent for the 3 Steinlager Series Tests against Wales in 2016

The All Blacks selectors Steve Hansen, Ian Foster and Grant Fox have named a mixture of experience and new talent for the three Steinlager Series Tests against Wales.
The squad is as follows: (with province and Test caps)

Kieran Read (captain )

Forwards

Hookers
Dane Coles (Wellington, 36 Tests)
Codie Taylor (Canterbury, four Tests)
Nathan Harris (Bay of Plenty, two Tests)

Props
Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury, 45 Tests)
Charlie Faumuina (Auckland, 33 Tests)
Owen Franks (Canterbury, 78 Tests)
Joe Moody (Canterbury, 11 Tests)
Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Auckland, new cap)

Locks
Brodie Retallick (Hawke’s Bay, 47 Tests)
Luke Romano (Canterbury, 22 Tests)
Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland, seven Tests)
Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury, 73 Tests)

Loose Forwards
Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty, 31 Tests)
Elliot Dixon (Southland, new cap)
Jerome Kaino (Auckland, 67 Tests)
Kieran Read, captain (Canterbury, 84 Tests)
Ardie Savea (Wellington, new cap)
Liam Squire (Tasman, new cap)

Backs

Halfbacks
Tawera Kerr–Barlow (Waikato, 20 Tests)
Aaron Smith (Manawatu, 47 Tests)

First five–eighths
Beauden Barrett (Taranaki, 36 Tests)
Aaron Cruden (Manawatu, 37 Tests)
Lima Sopoaga (Southland, one Test)

Midfielders
Ryan Crotty (Canterbury, 15 Tests)
Malakai Fekitoa (Auckland, 13 Tests)
Charlie Ngatai (Taranaki, one Test)
Seta Tamanivalu (Taranaki, new cap)

Outside backs
Israel Dagg (Hawke’s Bay, 49 Tests)
Damian McKenzie (Waikato, new cap)
Waisake Naholo (Taranaki, three Tests)
Julian Savea (Wellington, 41 Tests)
Ben Smith (Otago, 48 Tests)

All Blacks selectors have named a mixture of experience / new talent for the 3 Steinlager Series Tests against Wales in 2016

The All Blacks selectors Steve Hansen, Ian Foster and Grant Fox have named a mixture of experience and new talent for the three Steinlager Series Tests against Wales.
The squad is as follows: (with province and Test caps)

Kieran Read (captain )

Forwards

Hookers
Dane Coles (Wellington, 36 Tests)
Codie Taylor (Canterbury, four Tests)
Nathan Harris (Bay of Plenty, two Tests)

Props
Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury, 45 Tests)
Charlie Faumuina (Auckland, 33 Tests)
Owen Franks (Canterbury, 78 Tests)
Joe Moody (Canterbury, 11 Tests)
Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Auckland, new cap)

Locks
Brodie Retallick (Hawke’s Bay, 47 Tests)
Luke Romano (Canterbury, 22 Tests)
Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland, seven Tests)
Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury, 73 Tests)

Loose Forwards
Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty, 31 Tests)
Elliot Dixon (Southland, new cap)
Jerome Kaino (Auckland, 67 Tests)
Kieran Read, captain (Canterbury, 84 Tests)
Ardie Savea (Wellington, new cap)
Liam Squire (Tasman, new cap)

Backs

Halfbacks
Tawera Kerr–Barlow (Waikato, 20 Tests)
Aaron Smith (Manawatu, 47 Tests)

First five–eighths
Beauden Barrett (Taranaki, 36 Tests)
Aaron Cruden (Manawatu, 37 Tests)
Lima Sopoaga (Southland, one Test)

Midfielders
Ryan Crotty (Canterbury, 15 Tests)
Malakai Fekitoa (Auckland, 13 Tests)
Charlie Ngatai (Taranaki, one Test)
Seta Tamanivalu (Taranaki, new cap)

Outside backs
Israel Dagg (Hawke’s Bay, 49 Tests)
Damian McKenzie (Waikato, new cap)
Waisake Naholo (Taranaki, three Tests)
Julian Savea (Wellington, 41 Tests)
Ben Smith (Otago, 48 Tests)

What will be Bok squad look like later today for start of 2016 season

On the 12 June of 2004, new Springbok coach Jake White told the change-room at the Free State Stadium that in three years time they would win the World Cup.

Later, a number of players admitted they had had battled to stifle a smile. Many of them had the year before been humiliated in Australia in a Springbok World Cup campaign that is best described as pathetic.

That day in 2004, when White gave his prophetic speech, the Boks were about to run out to play Ireland. They had a total of 179 caps in the run-on team, most of them belonging to Os du Randt (39), Breyton Paulse (40), John Smit (26) and Victor Matfield (24).

The rest were puppies, even if they would become mongrels in the likes of Schalk Burger, Juan Smith, Bakkies Botha and Fourie du Preez, who was making his debut.

There was of course was evolution in the team on the way to France 2007 but by and large White stuck to the same nucleus of players. Those players had been disbelievers in the dream in 2004 only to wear gold medals around their necks at the Stade de France.

Let’s fast track to 2016, to 11 June. Once again a post World Cup Bok team will be playing Ireland, funnily enough.

What will the change-room look like this time? Fresh-faced youngsters being told of a World Cup dream in Japan or a practical, workman-like team designed to win, first and foremost.

It will probably be a case of the latter. Coetzee has a semblance of a skeleton of a 2019 World Cup team already in place. He is spoilt for choice with young flyhalf stars that will be in their prime in Japan – Handre Pollard, Patrick Lambie and Elton Jantjies.

pic Pat Lambie

Scrumhalf is not that clear, but time is on the side of Rudy Paige, Cobus Reinach and Faf de Klerk. One of them will win the scrap.

The centres could well continue from the last World Cup game in England – Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel, but watch out for Jan Serfontein, Paul Jordaan and Lionel Mapoe. I would like to throw another name into the mix – Burger Odendaaal. Watch how the Burly bulls centre grows over the next few years.

At wing, South Africa has talent to burn. What will be interesting is whether Coetzee immediately dispenses with veterans in Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen and starts building the Test careers of players that will be peaking in 2019. There is a whole host of them, from Courtnall Skosaan and Sergeal Pietersen to Jamba Ulengo, and what about a wild card in Sevens star Seabelo Senatla. Lwazi Mvovo will not be over the hill either, by the next World Cup.

Coetee does not have a whole lot of depth at fullback but surely Willie le roux will be the first-choice, at least in June against Ireland. Cheslin Kolbe is an exciting option and we should not forget that Jesse Kriel’s natural position is fullback.

In the tight forwards, Coetzee must surely start afresh. At tighthead where jannie du Plessis is considerably on the wrong side of 30, is playing overseas, and there is a natural successors in Frans Malherbe and Julian Redelinghuys. There s also Lourens Adriaanse, who has performed miracles for the Sharks when he has come on at tighthead.

Hooker is a tough one. Bismarck du Plessis will be 35 at the next World Cup and possibly could make it. If not, there is talent coming through in Malcolm Marx and Scarra Ntubeni. The Sharks’ Franco Marais is on the rise and so too is Edgar Marutlulli of the Kings.

The second row is a done deal for Coetzee. Lood de Jager, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth …

Loose forwards as always is a tough one. If Coetzee went with the existing combo of Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw and Schalk Burger, nobody would argue.

But while Burger may be a legend, he is not the future, and there is a long list of loose forwards that would star for the Boks: Marcell Coetzee, Warren Whiteley, Jaco Kriel, Siya Kolisi, Nisaaam Carr . And so on.

So what will the changeroom look like this time when the Boks play Ireland in their first post-World Cup test…?

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