Friday's rugby wrap

2014-10-03 15:00
Last Updated at
03 Oct 14:30
03 Oct 14:30
03 Oct 14:29

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03 Oct 14:27


This year the cocooning of top Springboks from the Currie Cup knockout phase does seem for real, writes our chief writer Rob Houwing.

03 Oct 14:18

Remember to follow Sport24's LIVE UPDATES and interactive commentary on the Springboks v All Blacks Test at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 17:05.

03 Oct 13:49
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers in relaxed mood at today's captain's press conference at at Palazzo Hotel in Johannesburg (Gallo Images)
03 Oct 13:04


The Springboks could leave the decision on whether to start No 8 Duane Vermeulen to the very last moment before their Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Vermeulen is recovering from a rib cartilage injury and if he doesn’t recover in time to face New Zealand at 17:05 on Saturday, Schalk Burger will start in the No 8 jersey with Warren Whiteley coming onto the bench.

It was initially stated that a decision on Vermeulen's fitness would be made at Friday's captain's run, but according to SA Rugbymag, a final call on Vermeulen’s fitness won’t be made at Friday's training session at Ellis Park.

The WP hard-man will be assessed again on Saturday morning, and the Boks may wait until the last possible moment to decide whether he plays.

03 Oct 12:45


Springbok captain Jean de Villiers says a win over the All Blacks on Saturday will ensure they take some much-needed belief into next year's Rugby World Cup in England.

"It’s about what we want to achieve and how we want to improve,’ he said. ‘Victory will mean a lot to us. We’re busy with our processes, building towards the World Cup. Winning on Saturday will represent progress, and will be an important step towards that tournament," De Villiers told SA Rugbymag.

03 Oct 12:18


At the age of 30, Free State Cheetahs scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius says it's still his aim to play for the Springboks one day.

"My ultimate dream has always been to play for the Springboks. If that doesn't work out, I'd like to finish my career overseas. My immediate focus right now is helping out here at the Cheetahs where I can," says Pretorius.

03 Oct 11:48


After a 45-year association with Newlands, former Springbok Hennie Bekker has said goodbye to Western Province Rugby in an official capacity.

The 62-year-old gentle giant has officially retired as an employee of Western Province, having served the union with distinction for so many years.

An imposing lock in his playing days, Bekker played his first match at Newlands as an Under-19 player in 1969, before becoming a Western Province player in the 1970s and, after his retirement as a player (in 1985), he served as a coach, a manager and, up until last month, the head of the School of Excellence.

His son, Andries, also played for WP and the Springboks.

03 Oct 11:33


Western Province lock Rynhardt Elstadt says he will be more careful in future after serving a three-week ban.

Elstadt will start at lock for WP when they tackle the Free State Cheetahs in a Currie Cup clash in Bloemfontein on Saturday (14:00 kick-off).

He sat out the past three weeks because of suspension after barging dangerously into a ruck in a game against the EP Kings.

"It's nice to be back. I take the suspension on the chin. It's one of those things. (But) I'll have to look at those things because I will be a marked man. I'm trying to be more mature when it comes to my rugby. I also want to be part of other scenarios, rather than just cleaning out rucks and tackling."

03 Oct 11:10


Golden Lions flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff says his team needs to show up physically if they are to beat the Sharks in Durban tonight.

"The Sharks are a very physical team. We'll need to match them at the gain line," Boshoff told MyPlayers.

"I'm confident we can do so as our forwards are playing very well at the moment, and our backs are taking their opportunities.

"One thing the team has done well this season is the interplay between players, especially backs and forwards. If we can front up against the Sharks and get our game plan right this weekend, we'll do well in Durban."

03 Oct 10:32

However, if you read coach Hansen's quotes then you can't help agree why he says Savea is better than Lomu.

"He can do more things than Jonah," said Hansen. "Jonah was a great player, but I think Julian has got more to his game to be honest and that's saying something. I genuinely believe that.

"He's very good going back, under the high ball, with the ball on the ground, as well as being a greater carrier so I think he's right up there."

In my opinion, Lomu was sometimes a bit of a liability on defence. He didn't like it when he had to turn quickly and was also not too sound under the high ball at the best of times.

03 Oct 10:24


All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has inadvertently created a storm of debate in rugby-mad New Zealand after declaring that wing Julian Savea is "probably better" than former great Jonah Lomu.

I still don't think any rugby player ever made such an impact on the game than what Lomu did at the 1995 Rugby World Cup here in South Africa.

03 Oct 09:55
When they tackle the Golden Lions at Kings Park on Friday night, the Sharks will celebrate Jacques Botes' 270th first-class appearance (including 116 caps for the Sharks in Super Rugby and 153 at Currie Cup level for Pumas and Sharks). ?#‎JB270?
03 Oct 09:52


A former wrestler has his sights set on Jannie du Plessis when the All Blacks tackle the Springboks in a Rugby Championship Test in Johannesburg on Saturday.

New Zealand prop, Joe Moody, will come up against Du Plessis in the eagerly anticipated clash at Ellis Park.

The 26-year-old Moody was a prominent wrestler in his younger days and also boasts a medal from the Junior Commonwealth Games. He quit wrestling at the age of 21 to focus solely on rugby.

03 Oct 09:50


Pumas utility back Coenie van Wyk will play his rugby in Bloemfontein at the Cheetahs next year, Beeld reports.

Van Wyk, who can play flyhalf or fullback, is on the Pumas bench for their Currie Cup clash against the Blue Bulls at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday (19:00 kick-off).

The 26-year-old also represented the Lions in this year's Super Rugby competition.

"I am very proud of Coenie and I'm very proud of how we developed him here at the union. It means we're doing something right," said Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse.

03 Oct 09:44


 8 stats and facts ahead of the Springboks' Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday (17:05 kick-off):

1. The Springbok starting team boasts a total of 657 Test caps (282 in the backline and 375 in the forwards), while there are a further 296 caps worth of experience on the bench.

2. Jean de Villiers will become the first Springbok to play in 50 matches in the Tri-Nations/Rugby Championship. Only Richie McCaw (54) and Keven Mealamu (52) have played more Rugby Championship games.

3. De Villiers will also extend his record as the most-capped Springbok centre, with 86 Tests in this position and will captain South Africa for the 30th time, placing him third behind John Smit (83) and Gary Teichmann (38).

4. Victor Matfield will extend his record as the most capped Springbok in history (116 Tests). He will also extend his record of 116 Tests as a lock and will also be playing against New Zealand for the 26th time to extend his record.

5. Bryan Habana will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok wing, with 101 Tests in this position. If he scores a try, he will extend his record of 56 Test tries for South Africa as well as his Rugby Championship record of 18 tries, and will extend his own SA record of seven career tries against New Zealand.

6. If he scores a try, Bismarck du Plessis will extend his record of nine Test tries for South Africa as a hooker. Bismarck and his older brother Jannie will extend their record of playing together in 39 Tests for the Springboks. Bismarck, Jannie and Tendai Mtawarira will also extend their record of 17 Tests as a front-row trio for South Africa.

7. It will be the second time in history (first last week) that a Springbok team will have three centurions in the starting line-up.

8. The referee is Wayne Barnes of England. This will be his 10th Test involving South Africa. The Springboks have won six and lost three of the previous Tests. The last time he refereed South Africa, was against France on November 23, 2013 at the Stade de France in Paris. The Boks won 19-10.

03 Oct 08:25


Daniel Carter's 'annus horribilis' continued on Friday when a calf injury ruled the All Black flyhalf out of Canterbury's provincial clash with Tasman on Saturday.

The 32-year-old Carter was using provincial rugby to work back into match fitness ahead of the All Blacks' third Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia on October 18 after breaking his leg in the Super Rugby final.

He played 40 minutes against Southland last week but was bothered with a calf injury and failed to convince Canterbury coach Scott Robertson he would be able to get through the game in Christchurch.

"He bruised his calf in last Sunday's match against Southland and although he has been recovering well, was ruled out of contention at today's captain's run," the team said in a statement.

I know Carter has a burning ambition to play in another Rugby World Cup, especially after missing New Zealand's victorious 2011 campaign due to injury.

The two World Cups before that (2007 and 2003) were also painful for Carter as the All Blacks were bundled out in the quarter-finals (v France, 2007) and semi-finals (v Australia, 2003).

03 Oct 07:54


New Zealand rugby chiefs said on Friday that All Black pivot Aaron Cruden had paid his dues after going out drinking and missing the team's flight to Argentina last month.

Cruden was dropped for two Rugby Championship Tests over the incident, when he was left stranded in Auckland after a night out drinking as his team-mates jetted off to face Los Pumas in La Plata.

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) said a disciplinary process had found the 25-year-old was genuinely contrite, ruling that missing last week's Argentina fixture and this Saturday's clash against the Springboks was sufficient, and "no further sanction will apply".

Lucky for the Boks that Cruden is not facing them, but then Beauden Barrett is just as dangerous, if not more...

03 Oct 07:50


The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has suspended its Manager of Legal Affairs, Christo Ferreira, Die Burger reports.

The reason for Ferreira's suspension is still a big secret at this stage.

SARU's manager of corporate affairs, Andy Colquhoun, on Thursday said there will be "absolutely no comment" on the matter.

Ferreira, 54, is a former Springbok scrumhalf who played two Tests against the New Zealand Cavaliers in 1986.

03 Oct 07:31


The Golden Lions Rugby Union has announced the extension of the contract of head coach, Johan Ackermann until October 31, 2016.

Ackermann will be acting as the head coach of both the Super Rugby team and the Currie Cup side at the GLRU.

03 Oct 07:30
We'll aim to give you all the latest rugby news, from team announcements, injuries to any major new signings, mixed with a little bit of opinion...
03 Oct 07:30

Welcome to Sport24's breaking news and opinion of all the latest happenings on the local and international rugby front!

Commentary by Sport24's Herman Mostert


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