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

Not an April fools joke -Bok coach to be hopefully unveiled on 1 April

IN what is apparently not an April Fool’s joke, SA Rugby will announce the new Springbok coach on April 1 following a meeting of the general council on that date, with the issue of Springbok coach top of the agenda.

Yesterday the national governing body released a statement confirming that they have identified a successor to Heyneke Meyer and it is now a case of the council ratifying the choice.

It will almost certainly be Allister Coetzee, the assistant to Jake White between 2004 and 2007, the year the Boks won the Rugby World Cup in Paris. Coetzee was overlooked for the job in 2008, with Peter de Villiers a controversial choice. Coetzee went on to coach the Stormers until last year when he was pretty much given the elbow after failing to add an attacking edge to a Stormers side that ultimately stagnated in Super Rugby under his coaching.

Coetzee, now coaching in Japan, has said that he is available and hungry to coach the Boks.

(Pic -Coetzee with OTC team on Heart 104.9fm every Sat 9-10am}

But it is possible, but unlikely, that Coetzee might have been pipped by outsider Rassie Erasmus, the former Springbok flank, Cheetahs coach, and current Saru High Performance manager.

Nothing is ever clear when Erasmus is concerned and there have been conflicting reports in the media about his availability for the job. At one stage it seemed fait accompli that Erasmus would at least be caretaker coach of the Boks for the June series against touring Ireland, only for him to then say he was unavailable. But then last week Rapport newspaper quoted a Saru source as saying Erasmus had already started planning for Ireland …

Whether it is Coetzee or Erasmus, SA Rugby has made their choice.

“The high performance committee examined a list of potential coaches and identified their preferred candidate against a set of pre-determined criteria,” SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins commented,” probably in response to growing media criticism that SA Rugby is vacillating on vital issues.

Indeed, South African rugby has been besmirched with controversy this year, notably the alleged tussle between Hoskins and his CEO, Jurie Roux.

“In broad terms we were looking for someone with a proven track record at an elite level, someone who would embrace the objectives of our strategic transformation plan, and someone who would understand the public demands of the job and what that entails,” SA Rugby said.

And that just about precludes Erasmus, who has just two years as coach of the Cheetahs in his coaching CV.

“The executive council accepted the high performance committee’s recommendation some time ago and the preferred candidate’s name will now be set before the general council.”

by Mike Greenaway

Who will be the new Springbok rugby coach ?

It would seem there is no chance of the South African Rugby Union (Saru) making an impetuous appointment of the new Springbok coach and there are gathering reports that the governing body will go so far as to make an interim appointment until they have found the right man to take the Boks to the next World Cup.

Rassie Erasmus, the enigmatic former Cheetahs coach and current Saru High Performance General Manager, is hotly tipped to fulfill a caretaker role for the June series against touring Ireland.

Saru are tight-lipped on the conjecture and have said that while the matter of Springbok coach is on the agenda for their Council meeting in March, there will be “no comment on the Springbok coaching position until there is an appointment,” a Saru spokesman said yesterday.

The shortlist of candidates for the job is, to be facetious, rather short, and it might well have shortened even further if news out of Japan is to be believed regarding Allister Coetzee, who for so long has been the front-runner for the position vacated by Heyneke Meyer.

The former Stormers coach has been reported as saying he would “definitely be returning to the Kobe Kobelco Steelers next year”, although this could also be taken with a pinch of salt. If Coetzee is offered the Bok coach job, he could do an “Eddie Jones” and take advantage of an inevitable out clause in his contract with the Steelers regarding an offer to coach an international team.

Coetzee in white T Shirt -with OTC team on Heart 104.9fm..airs every Saturday from 9-10am

Another name bandied about is that of John Plumtree, the former Sharks coach and former Ireland assistant coach who is now second-in-charge at the Hurricanes, last year’s beaten Super Rugby finalists.

Plumtree has always said that he wanted to end his coaching days in Wellington, the New Zealand capital city that he often referred to as “home.” It would take a lot to lure him away from Wellington but Plumtree some time ago also told The Mercury that the Springbok coaching position would appeal to him.

Erasmus, meanwhile, has often stated that he does not want to return to the spotlight of a high-profile coaching job. But as a Saru employee, he might well be coerced into an interim Bok coach role for a three-Test home series.

Saru, it has to be said, are to be commended for not rushing into an appointment. Bok supporters want a winning team and it is imperative that Saru get it right. Time is on their side. Rugby World Cup Japan is just under four years away.

By Mike Greenaway

New Time on Saturday for On the couch on HEART 104.9fm 9- 10am

Take Tapfuma Makina and Heart 104.9FM on a Saturday morning. Add Martin Myers and someone known only as Flapper and you have On The Couch, # OTC a witty and crazy sports-themed show. It is 60 minutes of laughs, non-facts and facts and food for thought.

Initiated by Myers and then Saturday on-air DJ the late Az Abrahams , Heart 104.9 soon realised that there was such a thing as power in numbers, and Flapper joined the team.

Today the passionate and sports mad trio — an accountant, a music industry veteran and a music DJ — make for fun radio. The show ran from 8-9am for many years and now we have moved one hour latter .

From just after 9am through to 10am the phone lines light up as Heart listeners get to tackle the fanatical Flapper, referee Tapfuma and the ever-controversial Martin on everything from try-lines to balls.

Tapfuma is soccer mad , Myers follows suit with his unashamed love of the All Blacks, whilst Flapper can’t be challenged on his cricket and golf knowledge.

Alistair Coetzee -DHL Stormers coach with the team

Everything about On The Couch is entirely off the cuff and therein lies its spontaneity and in turn its success.

With Tapfuma keeping the lines open throughout the show and a little bit of music to dilute the talk, the subject matter is relevant to the sports issues of the day — a mixture of good clean fun and addressing controversial issues.

With international sport well covered, these three wise men are hungry to expose and celebrate the best of what the country has to offer in up-and-coming talent and teams, no matter what the sport or discipline.

Dr Danny Jordaan CEO of SAFA

The trio don?t play by the rules, only because they spend more time on the bench than on the field, making On The Couch everything but formatted — instead it’s fun, entertaining and downright silly at times.

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