The Stormers http://thestormers.com The official website for the DHL Stormers Tue, 01 Sep 2015 16:22:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bok injury situation improves http://thestormers.com/bok-injury-situation-improves/ http://thestormers.com/bok-injury-situation-improves/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 16:22:08 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=9458 Each member of the 31-man squad took part in most of the field sessions on Monday and Tuesday in Durban, including Duane Vermeulen, Jean de Villiers, Jannie du Plessis, Fourie du Preez and Francois Louw.

The training camp in Durban concludes on Wednesday and the players and management will get together again in Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon. The squad departs for England on Friday, September 11.

“We’re confident that all of the players will be fit to be considered for selection for our opening match against Japan in Brighton on September 19,” said Meyer.

“Hours and hours of very hard work behind the scenes were put in to ensure the players’ general fitness levels improved, while at the same time bringing injured players back into action.

“When we got together for the first time at the end of June, we had a large number of injured players in the squad while I was also not satisfied with our levels of fitness.

“Although we’ve suffered a high number of injuries during the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, the medical staff have worked very hard to bring players injured earlier in the season back to match fitness.

“It was also remarkable to see the brilliant attitude of the players. They really worked incredibly hard in the last two months and I’m very pleased to say that our general fitness levels have improved considerably.”

While players such as De Villiers and Vermeulen started training with the squad, fellow DHL Stormers star Eben Etzebeth suffered a calf strain at training on Monday, but it will not put his Rugby World Cup participation at risk.

“Eben felt some discomfort in his calf at the end of our training session,” said Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts.

“He was immediately pulled from training and had scans on Tuesday, which revealed a Grade One strain. He has already started with his rehabilitation and we’re confident that he will be ready for the start of the Rugby World Cup.”

Meyer said that apart from the Springboks’ medical and fitness staff who worked with the players, Craig Roberts (team doctor), Rene Naylor and Vivian Verwant (physiotherapists), Daliah Hurwitz (massage therapist) and Basil Carzis (strength and conditioning coach), the assistance from outside the team management also played a massive role.

This included physiotherapists Tanushree Pillay (Springbok Women’s Sevens) and Hugh Everson (Springbok Sevens), SA Under-20 conditioning coach Warren Adams, and strength and conditioning specialist Niel du Plessis, from Sports Science Lab (SSL).

“Working with an enlarged squad, we were privileged to have help from Tanu, Hugh and Warren in the last few months and I can now understand why they came so highly regarded from our other national teams,” said Meyer.

“This is the kind of cross-pollination that can only benefit South African rugby and we certainly learned from them.

“Niel is very well known in the rugby world and came highly recommended. He worked hard with a lot of our players in Pretoria and Durban, when the rest of the squad travelled to Brisbane and Buenos Aires. He gave up a lot of his time and energy for which we are eternally grateful.”

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De Villiers to lead Boks at RWC http://thestormers.com/de-villiers-to-lead-boks-at-rwc/ http://thestormers.com/de-villiers-to-lead-boks-at-rwc/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:33:01 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=9451 De Villiers will captain the Springboks at the global rugby showpiece and Matfield is vice-captain, with inspirational loose forward Schalk Burger – one of seven DHL Stormers stars in the squad – providing captaincy back-up to De Villiers and Matfield.

And joining fellow DHL Stormers stars De Villiers and Burger in the selection mix, are prop Frans Malherbe, lock Eben Etzebeth, flanker Siya Kolisi, No.8 Duane Vermeulen and centre Damian de Allende – Malherbe, Etzebeth, Kolisi and De Allende having, earlier this week, also re-committed themselves to the franchise on long-term deals.

Matfield and Burger will take part in their fourth Rugby World Cup, while De Villiers, Habana, JP Pietersen, Ruan Pienaar, Fourie du Preez, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis will play in their third. Six players who featured in 2011, are back for their second tournament.

Sixteen members of the 31-man squad, 12 of whom made their Test debut under Heyneke Meyer since 2012, will have their first taste of Rugby World Cup action.

One uncapped player was included in Rudy Paige, who was first selected to tour with the Springboks last November.

The average age of the selected players is a little over 26 and the combined number of caps in the squad is 1,297.

Springbok coach Meyer said it was very tough to select the final squad from the wider training group that had been together for the last two months.

“Every single player in our wider group worked incredibly hard and to cut the squad to 31 was probably the most difficult selection I’ve faced in my coaching career,” said Meyer.

“In the end, the selectors decided the 31 players named were the best we have at the moment but that is not to say any of the others won’t have a role to play, with injuries a reality in our game.

“Because of the size of the squad, we also had to give more consideration to utility players, who can move around between positions, such as Schalk Brits and Pieter-Steph du Toit, both of whom can play in the back row, as well as Coenie Oosthuizen, who can pack down on both sides of the front row.

“A number of our backs, such as JP, Ruan, Pat Lambie, Handré Pollard, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel, Lwazi Mvovo and Zane Kirchner, are all comfortable to play in more than one position.

“I think the squad has a great balance between youth and experience while keeping together the core of the team that did the country proud in the last few years. We also have a number of players who know what it takes to win a World Cup and their knowledge will be very valuable.

“We’re going to England with the hopes of a nation on our shoulders and we would really like to make our country proud, but we’re under no illusions about how tough it will be.

“The gap between all the nations playing in the tournament has shrunk over the years and this will probably be the closest World Cup yet. But the players have really worked very hard over the last two months and by time we get to Eastbourne for our first match, we’ll hopefully be firing on all cylinders.”

Meyer said that although a number of players currently recovering from injuries were selected, every player in the squad is expected to be fit for the Springboks’ opening match of the Rugby World Cup, on 19 September against Japan.

De Villiers (fractured jaw), Duane Vermeulen (neck), Jannie du Plessis (knee), Fourie du Preez (knee), Willie le Roux (ankle), Francois Louw (shoulder) and Coenie Oosthuizen (neck) are all recovering from various injuries but are close to full match fitness.

“The best medical scenarios were taken into consideration with the selection process. Our medical team have worked incredibly hard with these players and we’re confident they will be ready to be considered to play Japan,” said Meyer.

“Although they have not been able to train fully with the rest of the squad at times, they have really worked hard on their fitness and all of them are incredibly fit, some of them in the best shape of their lives.”

The Springboks will be travelling to England on the back of a good record at Rugby World Cups, although the 2011 tournament ended in disappointment when the team got knocked out in the quarterfinals.

“The Boks have generally done very well at previous tournaments and our aim will be to build on that,” said Meyer.

“A lot of our players featured in 2007 and 2011 and will know what it takes to succeed. There is a lot of talk about the permutations for the quarterfinals, but our aim is only on the first game, against Japan.”

The Springboks will open their Rugby World Cup campaign against Japan on September 19 in Brighton. Their second pool game is on September 26 against Samoa in Birmingham, then follow the Tests against Scotland in Newcastle on October 3, before the South Africans conclude their pool fixtures against the USA in London on October 7.

As per an agreement reached with the provinces in January, all the players who did not make the final Rugby World Cup squad have returned to their provinces and will be available for Absa Currie Cup duty from next week. The same applies to players contracted to overseas clubs.

The Springbok squad is as follows (in alphabetical order):

Jean de Villiers (captain)
Willem Alberts
Schalk Brits
Schalk Burger
Damian de Allende
Lodewyk de Jager
Bismarck du Plessis
Jannie du Plessis
Fourie du Preez
Pieter-Steph du Toit
Eben Etzebeth
Bryan Habana
Zane Kirchner
Siya Kolisi
Jesse Kriel
Pat Lambie
Willie le Roux
Francois Louw
Frans Malherbe
Victor Matfield
Tendai Mtawarira
Lwazi Mvovo
Trevor Nyakane
Coenie Oosthuizen
Rudy Paige
Ruan Pienaar
JP Pietersen
Handré Pollard
Morné Steyn
Adriaan Strauss
Duane Vermeulen

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Bok quartet commit to WP Rugby http://thestormers.com/bok-quartet-commit-to-wp-rugby/ http://thestormers.com/bok-quartet-commit-to-wp-rugby/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 11:12:24 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=9448 Prop Malherbe, lock Etzebeth, flanker Kolisi and centre De Allende are in contention to represent South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, having all been part of the Springbok squad this season after stellar Vodacom Super Rugby campaigns for the DHL Stormers.

Between them, the quartet have featured in 61 Tests, Etzebeth leading the way with 37 Test appearances since his debut against England in 2012, with Malherbe (six Tests) and Kolisi (11 Tests) making their debuts in 2013 and De Allende (seven caps) playing his first international in 2014.

“Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende have all been developed here at Western Province, coming through our youth structures and going on to play Test rugby for South Africa as standout DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province players,” said WP Director of Rugby Gert Smal.

“We are very excited about our new signings Pieter-Steph du Toit, JC Janse van Rensburg, JP Smith and Cornal Hendricks, but, at the same time, we need ensure we continue to develop and retain our own top talent too – the re-signings of Frans, Eben, Siya and Damian are a clear indication that we are doing so.

“Western Province is a successful rugby union; two Absa Currie Cup triumphs in the past three years, three South African Vodacom Super Rugby Conference titles out of a possible five, a Vodacom Cup triumph and numerous national Under-19 and Under-21 titles since 2012 speaks for itself.

“However, we need to ensure we build on these achievements and the likes of Frans, Eben, Siya and Damian are central to creating a WP Rugby dynasty of having the best players wanting to play here (and wanting) to win big trophies on a regular basis.”

With the confirmation of Pieter-Steph du Toit’s signing on Monday, and having already captured wing Cornal Hendricks and prop JC Janse van Rensburg, Smal promised even more good news for DHL WP and DHL Stormers fans in the coming weeks, who have already seen the introduction of other new signings, prop JP Smith and scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, in Province’s 2015 Absa Currie Cup squad.

“We will announce some more re-signings in due course, whilst we will also be concluding our search for a new Super Rugby coach very shortly,” added the WP Director of Rugby.

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Pieter-Steph to join DHL Stormers http://thestormers.com/pieter-steph-to-join-dhl-stormers/ http://thestormers.com/pieter-steph-to-join-dhl-stormers/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 16:23:35 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=9444 Having recently announced the signings of props JC Janse van Rensburg and JP Smith, as well as capturing the signature of Springbok winger Cornal Hendricks, the confirmation of Du Toit’s signing is a huge boost for both the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province.

WP Director of Rugby Gert Smal commented: “We are excited that Pieter-Steph has decided to return (home) to the Cape, where he was born and raised, and so too is Cornal Hendricks – a tall, fast wing who is a proven performer at international level.

“JC (Janse van Rensburg) is an experienced loosehead prop with plenty top-level captaincy experience, so we believe all our signings will bolster us in key areas.”

Du Toit, who recently turned 23, was a member of the triumphant SA Under-20 team of 2012, before making his Test debut for the Springboks in Cardiff in November 2013.

To date he has played four Tests, the most recent being against Argentina in Buenos Aires earlier this month when he featured as a replacement flank – adding versatility to his many attributes, which include physicality, mobility and fantastic line-out and aerial skills.

“We want Western Province Rugby to continue to attract the biggest names in South Africa and someone like Pieter-Steph du Toit certainly fits the bill.

“We have our eye on a few more players, along with some re-signings that we will announce very soon, whilst we will also be concluding our search for a new Super Rugby coach shortly,” concluded Smal.

PIETER-STEPH DU TOIT FACTFILE:
Full name: Pieter Stephanus du Toit
Height: 2,00m
Weight 116kg
Birth date August 20, 1992
Birth place: Cape Town
Test debut: v Wales – November 9, 2013
Test caps: Four

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Boks to train with neighbours Namibia http://thestormers.com/boks-to-train-with-neighbours-namibia/ http://thestormers.com/boks-to-train-with-neighbours-namibia/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 09:20:01 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=9438 The Namibians, who have been in impressive form recently, will hold a RWC camp in Durban and the teams decided it would benefit both to hold joint training sessions from Monday to Wednesday of next week.

Apart from the on-field training, there will also be meetings between the coaches and other management of the two teams.

“It will be great preparation for us to train with a team that is also going to the World Cup,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“Namibia have done well recently, successfully defending their African Cup title and showing a massive improvement from last year.

“I’m excited to be working with them – they have a core of experienced players and management we know well and I’m sure we’ll be able to tap into each other’s expertise as we get ready for the World Cup.”

The Namibians are in a Rugby World Cup pool with New Zealand, Argentina, Georgia and Tonga, while the Springboks are pooled with Japan, Samoa, Scotland and the USA.

Phil Davies, the coach of Namibia, said the training camp was an important part of Namibia’s Rugby World Cup campaign.

They will travel to Durban with 36 players, 15 of whom played at the tournament in 2011 while four players, captain Jacques Burger, prop Johnnie Redelinghuys, loose-forward Tinus du Plessis and scrumhalf Eugene Jantjies, featured for Namibia at the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.

“The training camp in Durban is vital for our preparations as it will expose our players to Tier One opposition,” said Davies.

“The focus will be on delivering our systems efficiently under pressure and we are hoping for confirmation that our structures in attack and defence work against a world-class team. It is a great opportunity for us to replicate a World Cup week.”

The 31-man Springbok squad for the Rugby World Cup will be named in Durban on Friday, August 28 and the squad will depart for England on September 11.

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Matfield leads; Malherbe back http://thestormers.com/matfield-leads-malherbe-back/ http://thestormers.com/matfield-leads-malherbe-back/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 06:54:04 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=9434 Zane Kirchner, Lwazi Mvovo, Pat Lambie, Willem Alberts, Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss and Trevor Nyakane will all make their first starts of the season, whilst Jan Serfontein and former DHL Stormers hooker Schalk Brits have also been included in the match-23 for the first time this season.

A total of 28 players will travel to South America on Wednesday to play the Pumas at the Vélez Sarsfield on Saturday evening (SA time). The match-23 shows numerous changes from the side that lost to Argentina last weekend, many of them injury-enforced.

Kirchner takes over at fullback from the injured Willie le Roux; Jesse Kriel moves from wing to centre for Jean de Villiers, with Mvovo getting his third run of the season (in the No.14 jersey). Alberts replaces the injured Marcell Coetzee in what will be his first Test in more than a year.

“It’s great to have Victor and Willem back from their injuries and we’re all looking forward to going to Buenos Aires and improve on our performance from last weekend,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“A few more players in our enlarged squad will get opportunities this weekend and I’m excited to see what they can do in difficult circumstances, playing in front of a very noisy crowd against a strong side away from home.

“Willem is the last of the loose forwards in the group to get game-time, but as we’ve missed big ball-carriers up-front, we’d like to see what Pieter-Steph can do in that position. He played at blindside flank for the SA U20s in 2012 when they won the Junior World Championship and was one of their outstanding performers.

“With Willem and Victor both returning from injury, we needed enough cover on the bench – an experienced lock who can take over the calling of the line-outs and a very strong ball-carrier – which is why we went with Flip and Pieter-Steph.

“Our physicality was not what it should have been last week and we need to make a big step up in that department.

“I also thought the front row of Trevor, Adriaan and Marcel finished the match strongly in Durban so it made sense to retain them for this weekend, and Bismarck deserves a break after playing a lot of rugby in the last month.

“We’re under no illusions how big the task is going to be over there but it’s a challenge we have to embrace and make the best out of.”

Lood de Jager, DHL Stormers ace Vincent Koch and Fourie du Preez were ruled out for this weekend.

De Jager injured a pectoral muscle at training on Tuesday afternoon, while Koch took a knock to his knee at the same training session. They will remain in Durban with the other injured players in the squad, Jannie du Plessis, Coenie Oosthuizen, Francois Louw, Coetzee, JP Pietersen and Le Roux and the DHL Stormers pair of Duane Vermeulen and Bok skipper De Villiers.

De Villiers, who fractured his jaw against the Pumas on Saturday, consulted with a specialist earlier in the week, who confirmed that he will be out of action for four to six weeks, during which time he can take part in limited training.

With De Villiers out, Matfield resumes the captaincy role.

“Obviously it’s not ideal that we’ve had to use three captains in our five matches this year, but it’s the hand we’ve been dealt and it’s good to have experienced leaders in our squad, as they play a very valuable role,” said Meyer.

The Springbok team to face Argentina in Buenos Aires is as follows:

15. Zane Kirchner (Leinster) – 29
14. Lwazi Mvovo (Cell C Sharks) – 12
13. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls) – 3
12. Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers) – 6
11. Bryan Habana (Toulon) – 109
10. Pat Lambie (Cell C Sharks) – 43
9. Ruan Pienaar (Ulster) – 83
8. Schalk Burger (DHL Stormers) – 78
7. Willem Alberts (Cell C Sharks) – 32
6. Heinrich Brüssow (Toyota Cheetahs) – 22
5. Victor Matfield (Vodacom Bulls – captain) – 122
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers) – 36
3. Marcel van der Merwe (Vodacom Bulls) – 6
2. Adriaan Strauss (Vodacom Bulls) – 47
1. Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 15

Replacements:
16. Schalk Brits (Saracens) – 7
17. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks) – 67
18. Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 5
19. Flip van der Merwe (Vodacom Bulls) – 36
20. Pieter-Steph du Toit (Cell C Sharks) – 3
21. Cobus Reinach (Cell C Sharks) – 9
22. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls) – 12
23. Jan Sefontein (Vodacom Bulls) – 20

Additional tour squad members:
24. Bismarck du Plessis (Cell C Sharks) – 73
25. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers – Uncapped
26. Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers) – 11
27. Rudy Paige (Vodacom Bulls) – Uncapped
28. Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions – 2

BOK STATS AND FACTS:

– The Springbok starting team boasts a total of 643 Test caps (285 in the backline and 358 in the forwards), while there are a further 159 caps worth of experience on the bench.

– South Africa and Argentina have played each other 20 times since 1993, with the Springboks winning 18, losing one and drawing one. The Springboks have scored 753 points and 91 tries and conceded 398 points and 37 tries for an average score of 38-20.

– Bryan Habana will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok wing, with 108 caps in this position. If he scores a try he will extend his record of 58 Test tries for South Africa as well as most Test tries against Argentina (6). He will also play against Argentina for the 11th time, improving on his South African record.

– Victor Matfield will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok in history (122 Tests). He will also extend his record of 122 Tests as a lock and will captain the Springboks for the 22nd time, which will move in equal fifth position with Dawie de Villiers on the all-time list behind John Smit (83), Gary Teichmann (36), Jean de Villiers (35) and Francois Pienaar (29).

– It will be Heyneke Meyer’s 41st Test in charge of the Springboks since he took over in 2012. Of the previous 40 Tests South Africa have won 26, lost 12 and drawn twice. He is third on the all-time list behind Peter de Villiers (48) and Jake White (54).

– There are four sons of former Springboks in the team: Ruan Pienaar (father Gysie), Schalk Burger Jnr (father Schalk Snr), Flip van der Merwe Jnr (father Flippie Snr) and Cobus Reinach (father the late Jaco). There is one grandson of a former Springbok – Pieter-Steph du Toit is the grandson of Piet ‘Spiere’ du Toit. Patrick Lambie is the grandson of a former England International Nick Labuschagne.

– The referee is Glen Jackson of New Zealand. In his only previous Test the Springboks beat Scotland 55-6 in Port Elizabeth in June 2014.

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New injury blow for skipper De Villiers http://thestormers.com/new-injury-blow-for-skipper-de-villiers/ http://thestormers.com/new-injury-blow-for-skipper-de-villiers/#comments Sun, 09 Aug 2015 19:42:46 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=9428 DHL Stormers ace De Villiers fractured his jaw in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship defeat against the Pumas at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Saturday, which will rule him out for up to four to six weeks. The Bok captain will be able to continue with the bulk of the training sessions during this time.

Coetzee suffered a medial collateral ligament injury to his left knee which will rule him out for approximately six weeks. The injury is unrelated to the knee injury he suffered a few weeks ago in Brisbane.

Le Roux sprained his ankle early in the match against Argentina and will not be considered for the trip to Buenos Aires. He will undergo scans early in the week to determine the exact nature of the injury.

Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts said that players possibly returning from injury, such as Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez and JP Pietersen, would be assessed on Monday before a decision on their availability for next weekend could be taken.

Although DHL Stormers props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe and the likes of Willem Alberts, Warren Whiteley and Jan Serfontein were declared fit to play last week, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer decided to give them an additional week to recover and they will be considered for selection next week.

Apart from De Villiers, Coetzee and Le Roux, other injured players who will not be considered for the trip to Buenos Aires are Jannie du Plessis, Coenie Oosthuizen, Francois Louw and 2015 DHL Stormers skipper Duane Vermeulen.

Morné Steyn has been released from the squad for the week to be with his wife, who is due to give birth to their second child on Monday.

Frans Steyn, although still recovering from injury, is on compassionate leave following the passing of his brother and a decision on when he will rejoin the squad to be assessed will be taken at a later stage.

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De Villiers back and in charge http://thestormers.com/de-villiers-back-and-in-charge/ http://thestormers.com/de-villiers-back-and-in-charge/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 17:25:32 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=9423 De Villiers will continue his remarkable recovery from the terrible knee injury he suffered last November in Cardiff and will start his first Test of the season. He will lead the team against the Pumas from outside centre, with Schalk Burger taking over the vice-captaincy.

As a result of De Villiers’s inclusion for the final Test in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, Jesse Kriel will move to right wing.

“Jean’s comeback is truly remarkable and very inspirational and I can’t wait to see what he can offer playing next to exciting youngsters such as Handré Pollard, Damian and Jesse,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“Jean now has 160 minutes of rugby behind him since his comeback a month ago and I’m very satisfied that he will be able to make his mark as player and captain.

“Jesse is a very versatile player – he has played at wing before and spent almost the entire Vodacom Super Rugby season at fullback. His aerial skills and work-rate, as well as tactical kicking will be valuable and hopefully he will be given even more space to attack in.”

The forwards on the bench are again rotated due to injuries and players recovering from injuries, which sees the welcome return of Du Toit and Kolisi – both of whom made their last Test appearance as replacements in the 19-10 victory over France in Paris on November 23, 2013.

“Siya missed most of last season because of injury and lack of form but his attitude has been great and he’s been working incredibly hard. He is playing good rugby this year and his inclusion is in line with our decision to keep on mixing things up as we get ready for the Rugby World Cup,” said Meyer.

“Pieter-Steph has also been very unlucky with injuries but his rehabilitation has gone exactly to plan and he got through 40 minutes of rugby for the Cell C Sharks last weekend. It’s clear from training that he is raring to go and I have to compliment everybody involved in his rehab.”

The other changes to the team are all injury-enforced. Marcell Coetzee is back and will take over at flank from Francois Louw, while DHL Stormers prop Vincent Koch will get his first start for the Boks, in place of Jannie du Plessis.

Marcel van der Merwe (prop) has been pulled up to the bench for his first Test of 2015, where Lwazi Mvovo (wing) is also back.

“It will be a massive Test on Saturday, which is why he have decided to build momentum and give combinations more time to settle,” said Meyer.

“We will never accept that we lost our last two Tests. On both occasions we were in positions to win and we let it slip, which is simply not good enough. It will be tough as the Argentineans will be coming for us, as they have been doing in the last three seasons, but it will be a great test for the Boks and I can’t wait for the challenge on Saturday.

“There have been many encouraging signs in Brisbane and Johannesburg, but I’ve always preferred winning results. For most of these matches, we played well, but now we need to get back to winning ways and to do that we have to convert our opportunities into points.”

Meyer added that although Fourie du Preez and Willem Alberts started training with the squad this week, it was decided to give them more time to fully recover from their injuries. Warren Whiteley, Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff were also given more time to fully recover from their injuries.

“They are not 100% ready yet and with the World Cup now six weeks away, we decided against risking them in this match. Whenever the time is right for them to play again, we’ll select them,” said Meyer.

The other injured players not considered for selection were JP Pietersen, Victor Matfield, Louw and Du Plessis.

The Springbok team to face New Zealand in Johannesburg is as follows:

15. Willie le Roux (Toyota Cheetahs) – 27 caps
14. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls) – 2
13. Jean de Villiers (DHL Stormers – captain) – 106
12. Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers) – 5
11. Bryan Habana (Toulon) – 108
10. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls) – 11
9. Ruan Pienaar (Ulster) – 82
8. Schalk Burger (DHL Stormers – vice-captain) – 77
7. Marcell Coetzee (Cell C Sharks) – 27
6. Heinrich Brüssow (Toyota Cheetahs) – 21
5. Lood de Jager (Toyota Cheetahs) – 11
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers) – 35
3. Vincent Koch (DHL Stormers) – 1
2. Bismarck du Plessis (Cell C Sharks) – 72
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks) – 66

Replacements:
16. Adriaan Strauss (Vodacom Bulls) – 46
17. Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 14
18. Marcel van der Merwe (Vodacom Bulls) – 5
19. Pieter-Steph du Toit (Cell C Sharks) – 2
20. Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers) – 10
21. Cobus Reinach (Cell C Sharks) – 8
22. Pat Lambie (Cell C Sharks) – 42
23. Lwazi Mvovo (Cell C Sharks) – 11

BOK STATS AND FACTS:

– The Springbok starting team boasts a total of 651 Test caps (341 in the backline and 310 in the forwards), while there are a further 137 caps worth of experience on the bench.

– South Africa and Argentina have played each other 19 times since 1993, with the Springboks winning 18 while one match was drawn. The Springboks have scored 728 points and 88 tries and conceded 361 points and 33 tries for an average score of 38-19.

– South Africa and Argentina last met on 23 August 2014 at the Ernesto Maltearena in Salta. The Springboks beat Argentina by 33-31 thanks to a late penalty from the boot of replacement flyhalf Morné Steyn.

– Bryan Habana will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok wing, with 107 caps in this position. If he scores a try he will extend his own record of 57 Test tries for South Africa as well as most Test tries against Argentina (5) and the Castle Lager Rugby Championship record of 18 tries. He will also play against Argentina for the 10th time, breaking his own South African record.

– Jean de Villiers will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok centre, with 91 Tests in this position and will captain South Africa for the 35th time, placing him third behind John Smit (83) and Gary Teichmann (36). Jean will also be playing in his 51st Castle Lager Rugby Championship game to extend his own SA record.

– If he scores a try Bismarck du Plessis will extend his record of nine Test tries for South Africa as a hooker.

– Three players on the bench, Marcel van der Merwe, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi, will be in the match-23 for the first time in 2015.

– It will be Heyneke Meyer’s 40th Test in charge of the Springboks since he took over in 2012. Of the previous 39 Tests South Africa have won 26, lost 11 and drawn twice. Only two coaches have taken charge in more Springbok matches: Peter de Villiers (48) and Jake White (54).

– There are three sons of ex-Springbok players in the team: Ruan Pienaar (father Gysie), Schalk Burger jnr (father Schalk snr) and Cobus Reinach (father the late Jaco). Pieter-Steph du Toit is the grandson of Piet ‘Spiere’ du Toit. Patrick Lambie is the grandson of a former England international Nick Labuschagne.

– The Springboks’ captain and vice-captain for this weekend, Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger, both matriculated from Paarl Gymnasium.

– The referee is Romain Poite of France. It will be his sixth Test involving South Africa. Of the previous five South Africa have won three and lost two. His last appearance was in November 2014 against Ireland in Dublin, a game the Boks lost 15-29.

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Positive signs on Bok injury front http://thestormers.com/positive-signs-on-bok-injury-front/ http://thestormers.com/positive-signs-on-bok-injury-front/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 17:28:49 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=9420 Team doctor Craig Roberts is optimistic that DHL Stormers stalwart Jean de Villiers and Jan Serfontein, Fourie du Preez, Willem Alberts and Pieter-Steph du Toit could all be considered for selection for the first time this season.

Loose forwards Marcell Coetzee (knee) and Warren Whiteley (rib cartilage) and DHL Stormers props Vincent Koch (rib cartilage) and Frans Malherbe (hip) will be assessed over the next 48 hours before Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer names his team to face Argentina on Wednesday.

Decisions will also have to be made on the availability of Trevor Nyakane (lower back) and Handré Pollard (concussion), who have presented symptoms subsequent to the match against New Zealand.

Victor Matfield (hamstring), JP Pietersen (hamstring), Francois Louw (shoulder) and Jannie du Plessis (knee) will not be considered for selection, while Coenie Oosthuizen and 2015 DHL Stormers skipper Duane Vermeulen will continue with their rehabilitation from long-term injuries.

“We’ll see how Jean, Jan, Fourie, Willem and Pieter-Steph go in training on Tuesday but all of them took full part in our morning session on Monday and came through very well,” said Roberts.

“Jean has had two games for DHL Western Province where he played 140 minutes and Pieter-Steph played 40 minutes for the Cell C Sharks on Friday, and we’re very happy with their progress and grateful for their provinces assisting with their rehabilitation.

“Things are also looking positive for Marcell and Warren, but with Vincent and Frans we’ll have to see how they go in a scrum session. There is a good chance that at least one of them would be available this weekend.

“Trevor had a bit of pain in his lower back this morning so we pulled him from the training session.

“Handré also didn’t train – although he passed the head injury assessments during and straight after the Test against New Zealand, he reported symptoms in his follow-up test 48 hours later which confirmed a delayed concussion. He will need to follow the standard return to play protocol before being cleared for selection.”

Frans Steyn, who is also recovering from a long-term injury, was released from the squad with immediate effect following the death of his brother on Monday morning.

“Frans informed me straight after our morning session on Monday and as soon as he heard the sad and tragic news that his brother had passed away,” said Springbok Team Manager Ian Schwartz.

“We will not take any decisions on his immediate involvement with the squad – his personal situation is now the most important and we will support him and his family wherever we can in this very difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with Frans and his entire family in this time of mourning.”

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Springbok injury update – 28/07/15 http://thestormers.com/springbok-injury-update-280715/ http://thestormers.com/springbok-injury-update-280715/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:55:15 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=9415 De Villiers, Du Preez and Alberts are three of seven players whose fitness will be assessed next Monday as they complete the final phase of rehabilitation, whilst players such as Duane Vermeulen and Coenie Oosthuizen are progressing well with their rehabilitation.

Although Du Plessis (knee) and Louw (rotator cuff), along with Victor Matfield and JP Pietersen (both hamstring injuries) will miss both Tests against the Pumas, none of these injuries will put their Rugby World Cup participation at risk.

Saturday’s other injury victims, DHL Stormers prop Vincent Koch and Lions skipper Warren Whiteley (rib cartilages) should be fit and available for selection next weekend.

Jan Serfontein (hip and knee), Marcell Coetzee (knee), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee) and uncapped DHL Stormers prop Steven Kitshoff (knee) will also be assessed on Monday with a view to being available to selection against the Pumas.

Frans Steyn is recovering well from a pectoral muscle injury and could be ready to play Argentina in Buenos Aires. Frans Malherbe, of the DHL Stormers, has a bone bruise in the hip, which he picked up in the Brisbane Test. He will consult a specialist in Cape Town and will also be re-assessed next week in Durban.

“All of these players have worked hard during their rehabilitation and although we still have to put them through a final assessment on Monday after we’ve re-assembled in Durban, I’m hopeful that they should be fit to face Argentina in at least one of the two forthcoming Tests,” said Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts.

“We’re continuing to work very hard with Duane and Coenie and at this stage it’s looking very likely that we will have a full complement of players available for selection when the final squad for the Rugby World Cup is named at the end of August.”

Meyer said that the national selectors may have to consider possible cover at tighthead if Koch and Malherbe are both ruled out of the Tests against Argentina.

“We’ll have a look at Vincent and Frans in Durban and if they are not fit, we may have to bring someone in,” said Meyer.

“It’s wonderful to see a number of players returning from injury and all of them will be considered if they are passed fit by our medical team.

“I’m also very glad Pieter-Steph is back. He was in the selection frame last week but after consultation between our medical team and that of the Cell C Sharks, we decided to stick to the original plan regarding his return to play, which is that he will turn out for his province in an Absa Currie Cup warm-up match on Friday.

“While it’s never ideal to lose experienced players to injury, it provides others with opportunities. We wanted to mix things up a bit in the two Tests against Argentina and the next players in line will now have to show they can perform at the highest level before we finalise the Rugby World Cup squad.”

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