A poor performance by the Springbok XV, and some fantastic defence by the Barbarians made sure that the Baabaas spoiled Jake White’s last game in charge of the World Champions. To be fair the Bok XV were missing crucial members of the RWC winning squad with the likes of Matfield, Smit, Montgomery and Du Randt not on the end of year tour. Bakkies Botha and Schalk Burger were both declared unfit to face the Baabaas in the buildup to the game, but that makes no differance.
The Barbarians played better rugby and looked more hungry for the victory that the Springbok XV. The Barbarian club has a proud tradition playing against national touring sides and even though the European clubs forbade their players from playing in this game the Baabaas fielded a strong side and they simply outplayed the Bok XV. With Australian playmaker Matt Giteau at the fore the Barbarians defended like Trojans and created better scoring opportunities than the Bokke. They ran in 3 tries to 1 and walked off the field convincing victors by 22-5. None of the Bok XV players can feel overly satisfied with their performance, but Ryan Kankowski looks like a bright prospect for the future.
SARB would like this opportunity to thank Jake White for what he has done for SA Rugby, winning the RWC 2007 was a fantastic conclusion to his career as the Springbok coach and we would like to wish him all the best for the future.
Another setback has hit the Bokke just a few days before they play Wales. Fourie du Preez, the South African Super14 player of the year and probably the best scrumhalf in the world, has officially been withdrawn from the squad due to injury. Du Preez injured his shoulder during the latter part of the Bulls victorious Super14 campaign and took another knock to the shoulder during the RWC group game against England. The injury is to the AC joint and Du Preez should avoid any contact to the joint for 6-8 weeks according to Bulls team doctor, Tommy Smook. Du Preez is hoping to be fit for the start of the 2008 Super14 to help his franchise defend their title. No replacement will be named for Du Preez and either Ricky Januarie or Ruan Pienaar will start the game against Wales. Du Preez’s withdrawal now brings to 12 the number of World Cup winning Springboks not making the end of year tour.
The Sprinbok squad suffered another setback. Victor Matfield, star line out jumper and man-of-the-match in the World Cup final, has withdrawn from the squad for personal reasons. Matfield wanted to stay in SA and reconsider his future and SA Rugby has agreed to give the superstar some time off. Matfield’s replacement in the squad is uncapped Free State lock, Barend Pieterse. Pieterse has been a fantastic player for the Cheetahs the last few seasons and many pundits considered him to be unlucky not to have been picked for the Springboks earlier in his career.
SA rugby also announced that John Smit will not captain the Springbok side that plays against the Barbarians due to his new club, Clermont Ferrand not releasing him for the game. Smit will be replaced in the squad to face the Baabaas by WP hooker, Tiaan Liebenberg. The game versus the Barbarians does not have test status so even if Liebenberg plays against the Baabaas he will not be capped as a Springbok.
A 26-man squad were announced for the end of year tour to Wales. Several or the RWC winning team were not considered for the tour because of injuries and club commitments. Os du Randt and Bob Skinstad have both retired, Percy Montgomery, BJ Botha, Jean de Villiers and Pierre Spies are all still on the injury list and Butch James, Gary Botha and Ashwin Willemse were not considered due to club commitments.
Two players have been drafted into the squad. Conrad Jantjies gets a recall after some impressive performances in the Currie Cup and Heinke van der Merwe gets his chance due to the retirement of Os du Randt.
The SA squad to play Wales and the Barbarians: Backs: Conrad Jantjies, JP Pietersen, Akona Ndungane, Bryan Habana, Frans Steyn, Jaque Fourie, Wynand Olivier, Wayne Julies, Andre Pretorius, Fourie du Preez, Ricky Januarie and Ruan Pienaar. Forwards: Danie Rossouw, Wikus van Heerden, Juan Smith, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Johann Muller, Albert van den Berg, CJ van der Linde, Jannie du Plessis, Heinke van der Merwe, Gurthro Steenkamp, Bismarck du Plessis and John Smit(captain)
Paul Treu, the Sprinbok sevens coach, named a squad of 20 players that will train in Stellenbosch as they prepare for the start of the IRB World Sevens Series. The IRB Series starts on the 30th of November in Dubai and then moves to George on the 7th of December. The 20-man squad will be reduced to 12 just before the team leaves for Dubai on the 21st of November.
Bok sevens squad: Danwell Demas, Trompie Nontshinga, Neil Powell, Renfred Dazel, Frankie Horn, Andries van Schalkwyk, Baldwin McBean, Norman Nelson, Mzwandile Stick, Fabian Juries, Jonathan Mokuena, Giscard Pieters, Tobela Mdaka, MJ Mentz, Terry Jacobs, Mpho Mbiyozo, Joe Pietersen, Mpho Matsaung, Schalk van der Merwe, Vuyo Zangqa
Jake White called a press conference for Wednesday(today) at lunch-time where he will probably announce that he will step down as Bok coach. It is unclear if this will be with immediate effect or if White will still travel to Wales with the Springboks.
This development follows confirmation by the Australian Rugby Union that White has expressed interest in the vacant position to coach Australia. Jake’s agent, Craig Livingstone, contacted Pat Howard, the ARU high performance manager to express interest. White has till Friday to apply for the Australian post.
It now seems likely that White will be persuing other international coaching opportunities when his tenure runs out out the 31st December.
The Cheetahs retained the ABSA Currie Cup when they overcame a valiant Lions side in Bloemfontein. After all the euphoria of the RWC these two teams had to come up with something special and this they did. Both sides were keen to play rugby and there were plenty of action in the game.
The Cheetahs started like a house on fire, dominating the early exchanges, and they dually took the lead through a Willem de Waal penalty. The Lions drew level almost immediately when Louis Strydom slotted a penalty. Fantastic defence by both teams saw no tries in the first half, with the Cheetahs going into the break 6-3 in the lead after another de Waal penalty.
The second half provided loads of action. Darron Nell, Cheetah 8thman, received a yellow card, and the 10 minutes he spent in the sin bin saw the Lions take control of the game. Two tries, a conversion and a penalty saw the Lions take a 18-6 lead with only 20 minutes left on the clock. The Cheetahs refused to stop trying and the last 15 minutes saw them display the talents that have won them the previous two Currie Cup competitions. They stayed calm and managed to score two converted tries, the last conversion slotted by Willem de Waal right from the touchline to give his team a 2 point lead with only 3 minutes to play. The Cheetahs held on to this slender lead with determination and they celebrated in style when the final whistle went. Final score: Cheetahs 20 Lions 18
In the under 19 and under 21 finals WP were victorius over the Bulls in both games. The under 19 result was 29-27 to WP and in the under 21 clash WP beat the Bulls by 31-17.