The opening Rugby Festival of the 2019 SuperSport Rugby Challenge, originally scheduled for the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane on Sunday 28 April, will now move to the Buffalo City Stadium in East London.
The recent heavy rains in the area have rendered the Sisa Dukashe Stadium unsafe to host Sunday’s double-header and in the interest of player safety, a decision was taken to move the festival to the Buffalo City Stadium.
The fixtures remain unchanged with the SWD Eagles taking on DHL Western Province at 12h30, followed by the Border Bulldogs and Zimbabwe Academy at 14h30. Entry into the stadium is free.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
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The Springboks will be wearing an “unstoppable” jersey, designed and manufactured by SA Rugby’s official apparel and footwear sponsor ASICS, which features technological advancements to give the men in green and gold an extra edge at the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.
The new Springbok jersey, which will go on sale in South Africa on Friday (tomorrow), was designed with unique characteristics and features to compliment the playing style and technical requirements of the Boks.
At the same time, ASICS launched an all-new brand film, “What is the difference?”, which offers an inside-look into the dedication, sacrifice and focus it requires for a professional rugby player to be selected to represent his country on the biggest stage that rugby has to offer.
“It’s a momentous year as the Springboks aim to win our third World Cup in Japan,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“Every little detail counts and that includes all the focus and effort put in by ASICS into making this the most advanced jersey for the Boks to wear in Japan and support them in their quest to reach their goal.”
ASICS and the Springboks tested more than 10 versions of the jersey with 30 different fabrics at their laboratories in Japan.
Players were also interviewed about their requirements to give them the necessary advantages on the field, and the message was clear – they don’t want to be restricted by anything and want to feel “unstoppable”.
“I don’t want to be restricted by anything when playing,” said Springbok Test centurion Tendai Mtawarira.
“The jersey is the perfect balance between fast and strong – and it’s challenging to reach that. ASICS have produced a jersey that not only meets but surpasses expectations of what we wear on the pitch.”
Based on this feedback and in-game analysis, ASICS was motivated to create an “UNSTOPPABLE” jersey, devoid of any loose fitting areas or unnecessary tightness.
Alistair Cameron, President and CEO of ASICS Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “The launch of the new Springbok jersey is a chance for us to further expand brand awareness and exposure within the South African market, whilst continuing to support the Springboks in their quest to become the number one rugby side in the world on the biggest stage world rugby has to offer.”
Key features of the new Springbok jersey:
Furthermore, as with the RWC tournaments in 2011 and 2015 and in line with World Rugby’s commercial requirements for playing apparel, the Springbok emblem will again move to the left sleeve of the jersey, with the South African national emblem, the King Protea, the jersey manufacturer’s mark (ASICS) and the RWC emblem on the front.
Closer to the of the Rugby World Cup, ASICS will also be launching a series of tongue-in-cheek videos aimed at helping visitors to Japan as well as supporters watching from home to get insights into local customs and traditions featuring some of your favorite Springbok players.
The Springboks start their 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign against New Zealand on 21 September 2019.
The all-new Springbok jersey will be available in sport stores in South Africa from Friday, 26 April 2019 and worldwide in June 2019. The RRP of the new jersey is R750 (ex VAT) and it can be ordered from the SA Rugby Shop by clicking here.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications and ASICS
SuperSport Rugby Challenge 2019: Boland Cavaliers vs EP Elephants | Saturday 27 April 2019 | Boland Stadium, Wellington
The Boland Cavaliers have announced their team for their SuperSport Rugby Challenge opener against the Eastern Province Elephants on Saturday 27 April 2019 at the Boland Stadium in Wellington. The match will kick-off at 15h30.
This provincial match will coincide with Boland Rugby’s premier division club rugby clash between Hillcrest United vs Delicious RFC.
15. Joshua Vermeulen; 14. Shilton van Wyk; 13. Andries Viljoen; 12. Jordan Holgate; 11. Valentino Wellman; 10. Garrick Mattheus; 9. Ricardo Duarttee; 8. Patrick O’Brien; 7. Hannes Janse van Rensburg; 6. Tapiwa Tsomondo; 5. Adriaan Ludick; 4. Marlyn Williams ©; 3. Clinton Theron; 2. Francois Esterhuizen; 1. Arnout Malherbe.
16. Neil Rautenbach; 17. Wickus Groenewald; 18. Clarence van Wyk; 19. Kenan Cronje; 20. Shirwin Cupido; 21. Gavern Skippers; 22. Michain Fick.
Adults: R30 pp
Children (under 12 years): R10 pp
Tickets available at the gate
A section of Fontein Street in Wellington (between Willem Basson Street and Burg Street) will be closed off by Law Enforcement officials on the day of the event, in order to control access and traffic flow in front of the Boland Stadium
No less than eight Rugby Festivals – from Mdantsane and Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape, Rustenburg in North West to Ravensmead in the Western Cape – will highlight the 2019 SuperSport Rugby Challenge, while the Border Bulldogs will take part in the competition, even though the union was put into administration because of financial problems in October.
The decision to include the Bulldogs in the competition was taken after funding was made available by the Eastern Cape Department of Sport and the first of the Rugby Festivals – where communities across the country will be able to enjoy top class provincial action – takes place this weekend in Mdantsane.
In a double header of provincial action, DHL Western Province and SWD will open the first of eight Rugby Festivals, with Border and newcomers, the Zimbabwe Academy, rounding off the weekend’s start to the competition.
The community-centred element of the tournament – which kicks off in Nelspruit on Friday and concludes with the final on Sunday, 30 June – will again feature a number of televised match-ups at the Sunday Rugby Festivals.
In a change of competition format from previous years, the SuperSport Rugby Challenge will this year be split into two sections – North and South – with the top two teams from each section progressing to the semi-finals.
To add more flavour to the already diverse venues that will see action, matches will be played at Namibia's home base in Windhoek, while the Zimbabweans, playing in the competition for the first time and featuring in the South Section, will use False Bay Rugby Club in Cape Town as their base for the duration of the tournament.
Defending champions, the ISG Pumas, will spearhead the North Section alongside the Down Touch Griffons, Leopards, Vodacom Blue Bulls, Namibia, Xerox Golden Lions XV, Tafel Lager Griquas and Valke.
The South Section will consist of the Toyota Free State XV, Cell C Sharks XV, SWD Eagles, DHL Western Province, Boland, EP Elephants, Border and Zimbabwe.
The opening match in the South Section, between Toyota Free State XV and Cell C Sharks XV, will be played as a curtain raiser to the Guinness PRO 14 clash between the Toyota Cheetahs and the Isuzu Southern Kings in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Boland and the EP Elephants will face each other in Wellington, before the weekend closes out with the televised action in Mdantsane, where entry will be free.
The action in the Northern Section gets underway Friday night with the ISG Pumas starting the defence of their crown against the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Nelspruit.
The Leopards will travel to Welkom to play the Down Touch Griffons on Saturday, Tafel Lager Griquas host the Valke, while Namibia will welcome the Xerox Golden Lions XV in Windhoek.
The SuperSport Rugby Challenge fixtures are available here: https://springboks.rugby/tournaments/league?lid=9
The first round fixtures are:
Friday 26 April:
ISG Pumas v Vodacom Blue Bulls
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Referee: Divan Uys
Saturday 27 April:
Boland v EP Elephants
Venue: Boland Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Archie Selako
Tafel Lager Griquas v Valke
Venue: Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley
Referee: Stephan Geldenhuys
Toyota Free State Cheetahs XV v Cell C Sharks XV
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Paul Mente
Down Touch Griffons v Leopards
Venue: HT Pelatona Stadium, Welkom
Referee: Christopher Allison
Namibia v Xerox Golden Lions XV
Venue: Hage Geingob Stadium, Windhoek
Referee: Vusi Msibi
Sunday 28 April (all matches Sisa Dukashe Stadium, Mdantsane):
SWD v DHL Western Province
Referee: Griffin Colby
Border v Zimbabwe Academy
Referee: Ruhan Meiring
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
SA Rugby was one of only eight of 19 South African sporting federations that achieved their transformation targets in 2017/18, it was announced at the presentation of the sixth report of the Eminent Persons’ Group on Transformation in Sport (EPG) in Pretoria on Tuesday.
SA Rugby achieved 60 percent of the targets agreed with the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). The EPG sets a minimum target of 50 percent achievement as the measure of successful compliance.
The other federations achieving the target were: table tennis, football, gymnastics, tennis, cricket, netball and basketball.
“Rugby is continuing to succeed in the transformation process and we’re pleased with the outcomes of the EPG report,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“We maintained a 60 percent achievement from the previous year against the background of rising targets.
“We are now in the final year of our original Strategic Transformation Plan (STP), and we have made considerable strides in the past four years. We expect that progress to continue in 2019.”
SA Rugby was praised in the report back for dedicating resources to the monitoring and evaluation of transformation data, which was noted as being of a “very high standard”.
Roux added that SA Rugby was in the process of putting the finishing touches to a successor transformation development plan to take the organisation to the end of 2030.
“We have felt the benefits as a sport and a business of prioritising transformation,” said Roux. “A few years ago we were barred from bidding for mega-events because of our transformation performance but those days are long behind us. The sentiment around the Springboks and rugby has undergone its own transformation in recent years.”
South Africa’s national rugby teams have most recently been captained by Shakes Soyizwapi (Springbok Sevens), Phendulani Buthelezi (U20s co-captain), Zintle Mpupha (Springbok Women’s Sevens), Siya Kolisi (Springboks) and Sindi Booi (Springbok Women).
Sports minister, Tokozile Xasa, noted that the report indicated that sports had made “positive and meaningful progress” since the introduction of the EPG.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
Junior Springbok assistant coach Bafana Nhleko said the Argentina U20s would pose different challenges to Georgia and the Namibia XV as they began their preparations for their final U20 International Series match at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch on Wednesday.
The Junior Springboks returned to the training field after a recovery day following their 50-8 victory against the Namibia XV, and the intensity and tempo was up with an eye on what will be a physical battle against Los Pumitas.
“We are quite happy with the results in the tournament so far, but for us the important thing is to be clinical,” said Nhleko.
“We created opportunities against Namibia and we feel that we didn’t take all of them, while we would also like to improve on our breakdowns and attack, and to build on our defence.
“Our other focus is on the small detail that ultimately makes a difference.”
With both sides entering Wednesday’s match unbeaten - Argentina defeated the Namibia XV 62-8 and Georgia 32-26 – Nhleko expected the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship hosts to pose a strong challenge.
“Argentina are a good side,” said Nhleko. “They are a different proposition to the sides we faced before because they keep the ball moving and they look for passes in contact and before contact, so we need to be ready for that.
“They also have a good pack of forwards and a different style from a defensive point of view, so it will be about how we can attack and use our strengths against them.”
With exactly 50 days to go before the World Rugby U20 Championship kicks off in Argentina, the coach said this warm-up game as well as their UK tour, which features matches against England and Wales, would have great significance for the Junior Springboks looking ahead to the international extravaganza.
“This game is important,” said Nhleko. “Argentina are well prepared, and they are hosting the World Rugby U20 Championship, so they are going to come out ready to play.
“For us however, the main factors in the warm-up games to ensure that we keep working on our style of play to build an innings in a game and to grow as a team.
“With regards to the UK games, they will prepare us for our opening World Rugby U20 Championship match against Scotland and any sides we might face in the later stages of the competition.”
The Junior Springboks will kick off their World Rugby U20 Championship campaign in Rosario against Scotland on Tuesday, 4 June, before taking on Georgia (Saturday, 8 June) and New Zealand (Wednesday, 12 June). The semi-finals will be contested on Monday, 17 June, and the final on Saturday, 22 June.
Issued by SA Rugby Communication
Newrak Rustenburg Impala confirmed their reputation as South Africa’s best non-university club when they claimed a third SSG Gold Cup title in five years with a 37-31 victory over Durbanville-Bellville in the Final in Rustenburg on Sunday.
In doing so, the platinum miners – playing in front of a 5,000-capacity crowd – exorcised the ghosts of the 2015 final, when they lost 31-30 to Durbell at the same venue.
The match was also a personal triumph for a number of Impala players and personnel, including head coach Nico le Roux, who added this year’s crown to the title they won in 2016.
Impala wing Itu Mpete underlined his class with two tries in the final, earning him the SSG Man of the Match award, while No 8 Leon du Plessis, having been coaxed out of retirement to play one last Gold Cup, made history when he claimed the South African Club Player of the Year award for an unprecedented third time in four seasons.
“Club rugby is on the brink of a major revival and we have been privileged to have had a front-row seat to the action,” said World Cup-winning Springbok captain John Smit, CEO of title sponsors SSG Holdings.
“Over the past six weeks we’ve seen people from all walks of life streaming back in their thousands to club venues to support their fathers, brothers, uncles, friends and work colleagues on the field.
“In years to come I think this year’s Final might be seen as a watershed moment in the history of community rugby, the day when the grassroots game finally came of age.
“This is a brand of rugby with incredible appeal across the country and SSG, Blu Approved and M4Jam are very proud to have played our part in making this happen.”
Newrak Rustenburg Impala — Tries: Itu Mpete (2), André Grobler, Tiaan Nel, Dirk Botha. Conversions: Siya Masuku (3). Penalty goals: Masuku (2).
Durbanville-Bellville — Tries: Gerdwill le Fleur (2), Tiaan Radyn, Brendon Esterhuizen. Conversions: Raymond Olivier (4). Penalty goals: Olivier.
Issued by SA Rugby Communication
The Springbok Sevens staged an amazing comeback in the final of the HSBC Singapore Sevens to beat Fiji 20-19 on Sunday. South Africa were down 19-0 at the break, following three first half tries by Fiji, but stunned their opponents in the second half at the Singapore National Stadium.
The Blitzboks scored three tries, by Kurt-Lee Arendse, Angelo Davids and Ryan Oosthuizen, with one converted, which brought them within two points with a minute to play. A penalty awarded near the Fijian posts gave Selvyn Davids the opportunity to kick a penalty goal, which gave South Africa a 20-19 lead.
One more play followed, but the defence held out and gave the Blitzboks their second tournament win in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in the 2018/19 season. They also won in Vancouver last month.
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell was full of praise for his squad, who started the final without their injured captain, Siviwe Soyizwapi.
“It was a gutsy performance,” said Powell.
“They really never gave up. We spoke at halftime about the importance of scoring first after the break and that happened and the guys kept on playing.
“It was important that we held onto the ball in that second half. The young players are really coachable and listened to all the advice and instructions and it worked out for us in the end. They did score first, although only after two minutes, but that gave the belief the needed momentum. I am almost speechless on how they pulled this one back.”
Powell said his team struggled in the first halves of their matches at the tournament, but played very well after the break: “We were often our own worst enemies, but once we got things going, we really played well.”
The disappointment of finishing seventh in Hong Kong is now behind them.
“It was tough this week, the guys were down after the disappointing show there. Their comeback makes me very proud,” said Powell, who also praised his management.
“We needed to make sure the guys had energy this weekend and changed our approach to achieve that. It worked well and I need to compliment the management for their roles in getting the guys ready to go again.”
Soyizwapi, who missed the final due to a knee injury, said it was hard to describe the emotions after their amazing comeback.
“They guys kept on believing in our structure and by doing so, their natural abilities came to the fore. They expressed themselves. I kept believing, this is what we were working for. It was incredible,” said Soyizwapi, who also praised the younger players in the squad.
“The newer guys learned so much, but they also gave so much effort. We will all be better because of this experience.”
Not only did the Blitzboks claim a second tournament title in the 2018/19 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, they also improved their standing on the overall log.
The win extended their lead over England to 14 points. South Africa remain fourth on the log, with England in fifth sport. The top four sides automatically qualify for the Rugby Sevens event at the Olympic Games in Japan in 2020.
Earlier on Sunday, the Springbok Sevens team outplayed USA 24-12 in the semi-finals and edged Samoa 21-12 in the Cup quarterfinals.
Against the USA, the Blitzboks were off the mark quickly with Soyizwapi – the all-time leading try-scorer in Singapore – dotting down in the first minute. Branco du Preez converted from a tight angle to put South Africa 7-0 up.
Play then moved from one side of the field to the other, as both sides attacked strongly without success. A long, patient build-up by the Blitzboks got Stedman Gans over the line, just before the break for a 12-0 lead.
The USA were first on the board in the second half when Steve Tomasin scored, but from the restart, Impi Visser, ran 50 meters to score and extend the lead to 17-5.
Tomasin then turned villain as he slapped down a potential scoring pass of South Africa and a penalty try was awarded. The 24-5 lead was too big to overhaul, although Joe Schroeder pulled one back.
In their first match on the second day, the Blitzboks edged Samoa 21-12 in the quarter-finals.
The Blitzboks had to recover from being 12-0 down to secure the win, with a strong second half showing getting them the win.
Samoa scored early following a yellow card to Werner Kok and got a second, after sloppy breakdown play by South Africa handed Samoa the ball.
Impi Visser pulled one back just before the break and the conversion cut the lead by seven points, 7-12. The second half saw two more converted tries by South Africa. Justin Geduld scored first, before Selvyn Davids chipped ahead and beat the Samoan defence to the ball.
The overall standings after the Singapore Sevens:
1. USA 145
2. Fiji 142
3. New Zealand 130
4. South Africa 121
5. England 107
6. Samoa 87
Issued by SA Rugby Communications