The 2018 Rugby Championship

Agent_Smith

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#1
Fixtures - All kickoffs are SA time

Saturday, 18 August 2018
ANZ Stadium 12:05
Australia v New Zealand

Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 17:05
South Africa v Argentina

Saturday, 25 August 2018
Eden Park 9:35
New Zealand v Australia

Estadio Malvinas 21:10
Argentina v South Africa

Saturday, 8 September 2018
Trafalgar Park 9:35
New Zealand v Argentina

Suncorp Stadium 12:05
Australia v South Africa

Saturday, 15 September 2018
Westpac Stadium 9:35
New Zealand v South Africa

Cbus Super Stadium 12:05
Australia v Argentina

Saturday, 29 September 2018
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 17:05
South Africa v Australia

Sunday, 30 September 2018
Estadio Jose Amalfitani 00:40
Argentina v New Zealand

Saturday, 6 October 2018
Loftus Versfeld 17:05
South Africa v New Zealand

Sunday, 7 October 2018
Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena 00:40
Argentina v Australia
 

Agent_Smith

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#2
And already the bad news is coming in

Nkosi to miss start of Championship

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has sustained a blow to his planning for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship with the confirmation that wing S’bu Nkosi won’t be available for the first few matches and may even miss most of it.

Nkosi limped off the field with an ankle sprain in the Sharks’ penultimate Vodacom Super Rugby league match against the Stormers in Cape Town last week. He has been ruled out of the final match against the Jaguares at Kings Park at the weekend, but it was the finer detail of the medical update released by the Sharks with the team announcement on Thursday that should concern Erasmus.

According to the Sharks, the scans have shown that Nkosi has suffered a “syndesmosis sprain on his left ankle” and it will rule him out of rugby for approximately eight to 12 weeks.

Should the initial approximate date of return, meaning eight weeks, be met, then Nkosi might just be ready to join the Boks on the Australasian leg of their Rugby Championship campaign. Should he, however, be out for 12 weeks, then the likelihood is that he won’t play in the tournament this year.

It is a blow to the Boks as Nkosi answers the call for a big, physical wing with pace and good positional and game awareness, and he made a promising start to his international career in the series against England. Nkosi and Aphiwe Dyantyi completed a promising back three combination with Willie le Roux/Warrick Gelant, and Erasmus would have wanted them to build their understanding further during the Championship.

The Boks start their 2018 Championship campaign against Argentina at Kings Park, Nkosi's home ground, on 18 August.
That being said, Ruan Combrinck is fit and firing again I think and it seems to be a like for like replacement (with the added benefit of Combrinck's boot thrown in) so maybe not the end of the world.
 

Agent_Smith

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#4
From Supersport.com

Rassie calls up Mvovo

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has responded to the injury enforced unavailability of Sbu Nkosi by replacing one Sharks wing with another as he continues his build-up to the Castle Lager Rugby Championship with an extended national training camp in Stellenbosch.

Nkosi, who made his Bok debut in the first test against England in Johannesburg early last month, has been ruled out for most of the Championship with an ankle injury sustained in the penultimate Super Rugby league match against the Stormers and which will put him out for eight to 12 weeks. In his place Erasmus has called up the experienced 32-year-old Lwazi Mvovo for the first time.

Makazole Mapimpi, the former Southern Kings and Cheetahs wing who made his international debut against Wales in Washington in the first week of June, is also among the eight Sharks players who have been added to the group of Stormers and Bulls players who have been hard at work over the past week.

Lions players will be added to the squad once the Johannesburg franchise’s Super Rugby commitments are over, which could be after this week’s semifinal though it is more likely it will be after a decider in Christchurch on 4 August.

The recall of Mvovo, who hasn’t played under Erasmus but was part of Allister Coetzee’s initial squad in 2016 and has 17 caps to his credit after making his debut in 2010, is an illustration of Erasmus’s commitment to reward form, as well perhaps as the importance he attaches to experience.

Mvovo was in the background at the Sharks until relatively recently, when he appeared to become coach Robert du Preez’s preferred choice ahead of Mapimpi and responded to the selection with some strong performances.

The other Sharks players added to the group are Beast Mtawarira, Thomas du Toit, Akker van der Merwe and Jean-Luc du Preez among the forward contingent, while Lukhanyo Am and Andre Esterhuizen are the backs who join Mapimpi and Mvovo in making the cut.

Of interest is the omission from the group, which currently numbers 28, of Sharks fullback Curwin Bosch and flyhalf Robert du Preez, both of whom were in Erasmus’s squad at the start of June and featured against the Welsh in the USA.

Dan du Preez, the Sharks No 8 and brother to Jean-Luc and Robert junior is also not part of the group called up.

Erasmus has meanwhile released the promising young Stormers duo of Cobus Wiese and JD Schickerling to the Western Province Currie Cup squad.

The Springbok coaching and medical staff are closely monitoring the players and managing their workload after an arduous Super Rugby season.

Players who are progressing well as they are reintroduced to training after long layoffs are Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth and Sharks prop Coenie Oosthuizen. Neither of those two experienced forwards have played any rugby this year.

There are three uncapped players remaining in the group of 28, with the two Stormers Junior Boks Damian Willemse and Salmaan Moerat working alongside promising Bulls loose-forward Marco van Staden.

The Boks open their 2018 Rugby Championship campaign by playing Argentina in Durban on 18 August.

CURRENT SPRINGBOK SQUAD

Backs: Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers), André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks), Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Bulls), Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), Lwazi Mvovo (Cell C Sharks), Embrose Papier (Vodacom Bulls), Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls), Ivan van Zyl (Vodacom Bulls), Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers).

Forwards: Jean-Luc du Plessis (Cell C Sharks), Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers), Wilco Louw (DHL Stormers), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (DHL Stormers), Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls), Coenie Oosthuizen (Cell C Sharks), RG Snyman (Vodacom Bulls), Akker van der Merwe (Cell C Sharks), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls).
 

Agent_Smith

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#8
Good for the Pumas methinks. If Ledesma can get out of the Pumas what he got out of the Jaguares in Super Rugby, they could make the race for second place in the RC very interesting!

PUMAS UNVEIL THEIR NEW BOSS

NEWS: The worst-kept secret in Argentina has been confirmed, when they unveiled the new coach of the national team.

Former Los Pumas hooker Mario Ledesma was named to succeed Daniel Hourcade, who resigned last month after a string of losses – including a June series in which it appeared the players were trying very hard.

Ledesma, who took charge of the Jaguares this season, said he was “proud” to take over the reigns.

“This is a huge challenge, but one I will embrace,”he said.

Hourcade announced his resignation on June 16, after Los Pumas lost 12-30 to Wales in Sante Fe – losing the series nil-two.

Argentina have been in freefall since they reached the semifinals of the 2015 World Cup, with Hourcade leading his side to just three victories in their last 23 matches, which were against Georgia, Italy and Japan.

When Hourcade made the decision to walk away he admitted: “The message is no longer getting through and we feel that clearly this is a completed cycle. We talked previously with the UAR and agreed that the [June] window was decisive.

“We did everything possible and there are not responses from the team. The responsibility is entirely mine.”

The grapevine suggested the players were deliberately underperforming to get the unpopular Hourcade out of the way.
From Rugby365.com
 

netstrider

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470
#9
We need another 8 to make his mark for the Boks. Real pity Gelant is out injured too. Would have been the perfect time to give him an extended run at 15.

We're still at sea with #9 .
 

Agent_Smith

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#10
Updated squad for the RC (announced today)

The Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship (in alphabetical order – name and surname, franchise/club, Test caps and points)

Forwards (20):
Cyle Brink (Loose forward, Emirates Lions, uncapped)
Jean-Luc du Preez (Loose forward, Cell C Sharks, 13, 10 - 2t)
Thomas du Toit (Prop, Cell C Sharks, 4, 0)
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Lock / Loose forward, DHL Stormers, 36, 20 - 4t)
Eben Etzebeth (Lock, DHL Stormers, 67, 15 - 3t)
Steven Kitshoff (Prop, DHL Stormers, 27, 5 - 1t)
Siya Kolisi (captain – Loose forward, DHL Stormers, 31, 20 - 4t)
Francois Louw (Loose forward, Bath, England, 57, 45 - 9t)
Wilco Louw (Prop, DHL Stormers, 7, 0)
Frans Malherbe (Prop, DHL Stormers, 19, 0)
Malcolm Marx (Hooker, Emirates Lions, 14, 15 - 3t)
Bongi Mbonambi (Hooker, DHL Stormers, 16, 5 - 1t)
Franco Mostert (Lock, Emirates Lions, 21, 5 - 1t)
Tendai Mtawarira (Prop, Cell C Sharks, 101, 10 - 2t)
Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Loose forward, DHL Stormers, 4, 0)
Marvin Orie (Lock, Emirates Lions, 1, 0)
RG Snyman (Lock, Vodacom Bulls, 3, 0)
Akker van der Merwe (Hooker, Cell C Sharks, 3, 0)
Marco van Staden (Loose forward, Vodacom Bulls, uncapped)
Warren Whiteley (No 8, Emirates Lions, 17, 15 - 3t)

Backs (15):
Lukhanyo Am (Centre, Cell C Sharks, 3, 0)
Ross Cronjé (Scrumhalf, Emirates Lions, 10, 10 - 2t)
Faf de Klerk (Scrumhalf, Sale Sharks, England, 14, 5 - 1t)
Aphiwe Dyantyi (Wing, Emirates Lions, 3, 5 - 1t)
André Esterhuizen (Centre, Cell C Sharks, 2, 0)
Elton Janjies (Flyhalf, Emirates Lions, 26, 215 - 2t, 41c, 41p)
Jesse Kriel (Centre, Vodacom Bulls, 32, 45 - 9t)
Willie le Roux (Fullback, Wasps, England, 44, 55 - 11t)
Makazole Mapimpi (Wing, Cell C Sharks, 1, 5 - 1t)
Lionel Mapoe (Centre, Emirates Lions, 12, 0)
Lwazi Mvovo (Wing, Cell C Sharks, 17, 30 - 6t)
Embrose Papier (Scrumhalf, Vodacom Bulls, 2, 0)
Handré Pollard (Flyhalf, Vodacom Bulls, 29, 246 - 3t, 42c, 46p, 3d)
Ivan van Zyl (Scrumhalf, Vodacom Bulls, 3, 0)
Damian Willemse (Flyhalf, DHL Stormers, uncapped)
 

Solitude

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#11
No Chiliboy and no Oupa. That makes me very happy indeed.

Also, I would have let Eben play Currie Cup first.
 

Solitude

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#18
Anyone know what time the team is being announced? I thought it was at 13:00
15. Willie le Roux (Wasps, England, 44, 55 – 11t)
14. Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks, 1, 5 – 1t)
13. Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks, 3, 0)
12. André Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks, 2, 0)
11. Aphiwe Dyantyi (Emirates Lions, 3, 5 – 1t)
10. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls, 29,246 – 3t, 42c, 46p, 3d)
9. Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England, 14, 5 – 1t)
8. Warren Whiteley (Emirates Lions, 17, 15 – 3t)
7. Siya Kolisi (captain, DHL Stormers, 31, 20 – 4t)
6. Francois Louw (Bath, England 57, 45 – 9t)
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers, 36, 20 – 4t)
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers 67, 15 – 3t)
3. Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers, 19, 0)
2. Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions, 14, 15 – 3t)
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks, 101, 10 – 2t)
Replacements:
16. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers, 16, 5 – 1t)
17. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers, 27, 5 – 1t)
18. Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks, 4, 0)
19. Marvin Orie (Emirates Lions, 1, 0)
20. Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls, 0, 0)
21. Embrose Papier (Vodacom Bulls, 2, 0)
22. Lionel Mapoe (Emirates Lions, 12, 0)
23. Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers, 0, 0)
 

Agent_Smith

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#19
Lol, that wasn't up on the SS site when I checked. Ok cool, thanks.

Interested to see how Willemse goes when he finally gets his chance.
 

Solitude

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#20
It will be very interesting to see how we do in this Rugby Championship. When I look at the New Zealand players picked and then at our players then I see us getting destroyed on the field when we finally play them. Hopefully I'm wrong.
 
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