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Bok coaches satisfied as training camp wraps up

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The Springbok coaching team expressed their satisfaction as a group of players wrapped up their three-day training camp in Stellenbosch on Wednesday, where they kicked off their preparations for the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour and SA ‘A’ tour to Europe next month.

The players who attended the camp were put through their paces in a handful of training and gym sessions and had the opportunity to refamiliarise themselves with the national systems after completing the Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign last month.

SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, and the Springbok and SA ‘A’ head coaches, Jacques Nienaber and Mzwandile Stick, will announce the travelling squads on Friday, and there was a buzz in the camp about the respective tours.

The Boks will play four consecutive Tests against Ireland in Dublin on 5 November, France in Marseille on 12 November, Italy in Genoa on 19 November, and England in London on 26 November on the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.

The SA ‘A’ team, meanwhile, will face Munster on Thursday, 10 November, and the Bristol Bears a week later on 17 November.

“It was a fantastic camp, and it offered the coaches an ideal opportunity to get the players to switch their focus to the Ireland Test next week and the forthcoming SA ‘A’ matches,” said Erasmus.

“It was also valuable in the sense that it exposed new players such as Manie (Libbok) and Sacha (Mngomezulu) to our structures and to see them in action as we finalise the selections for the Springbok and SA ‘A’ teams. It was pleasing to see their, and the rest of the training squad’s enthusiasm.

“The Springboks are facing the two best teams in the world on successive weekends in Ireland and France, and Italy and England are always forces to be reckoned with, especially at home, while Munster and Bristol are top clubs and will test the SA ‘A’ team thoroughly, and we are now all on the same page in terms of the expectations on the players and coaches.”

Makazole Mapimpi at training in Stellenbosch on Wednesday morning.

Makazole Mapimpi at training in Stellenbosch on Wednesday morning.

Erasmus added: “The next step is to decide which players will depart for Ireland on Saturday as members of the Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour, and those who will travel straight to Cork on Saturday, 5 November, as part of the SA ‘A’ touring group.”

The players who will depart for Ireland on Saturday will be withdrawn from their respective Vodacom United Rugby Championship franchises this weekend, while the other players will be eligible for selection for the two local derbies.

Nienaber said the coaches achieved what they set out to do at the camp: “The training camp was beneficial in many ways as the players are back in Test mode, we had an opportunity to look at and discuss the opposition we’ll be facing on tour, and we had a golden opportunity to work with the SA ‘A’ coaching team and expose them to the way we do things at the Springboks.

“There’s a huge sense of excitement within in the squad among the management and players, but we are under no illusions about the magnitude of the challenge that lies ahead.”

Stick, the SA ‘A’ team head coach, was equally encouraged by the groundwork they put in place in the last few days: “We want to put together a strong team for what we know will be testing matches, and after seeing the training squad on the field and other players in action in their franchise and clubs competitions, I’m confident that we will be able to select a talented team featuring a good mix of youth and experience.

“The SA ‘A’ games will not only serve the purpose of exposing the players – both those who are young and their more experienced counterparts to top class international club rugby less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup – it will also allow the national coaches to give a wider group of players valuable game time at this level with the international spectacle in mind.”

The Springbok touring squad will assemble in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon and will depart for Ireland later in the evening.

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby


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Spencer looking to bring innovation to Sky Super Rugby Aupiki

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Former All Blacks and Blues first five-eighths Carlos Spencer hopes to pass on the sort of rugby that marked his career as a backs coach for the Blues women’s side in Sky Super Rugby Aupiki in 2023.

The 99-time Blues’ pivot played 44 Tests for the All Blacks and 89 games for Auckland during his career spanning the turn of the century. He also played for Northampton and Gloucester in the English Premiership.

Since building his coaching record after completing his rugby-playing career in South Africa in Gauteng, he has coached in the Republic, the United States and the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Now he has taken the chance to join head coach Willie Walker and fellow assistant coach Linda Itunu with the Blues.

Spencer, 47, said: “When I was playing, I always liked to bring a bit of innovation and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking to the table. Now, as a coach, I want to encourage and help grow those same traits in our Blues wahine.”

Like most of New Zealand, he was caught up in the Black Ferns’ World Cup success, and he anticipates there will be a follow-on effect in Sky Super Rugby Aupiki.

“You’ve seen the rise of women’s rugby and the way the public got right in behind the Black Ferns.

“We’re at an exciting juncture for the sport, and I’m looking forward to getting involved and doing what I can to help grow and support women’s rugby.”

“I’ve known Willie [Walker] for a while. We’ve thrown the touch ball around and have a good relationship. He’s done some fantastic work with the Auckland Storm in the Farah Palmer Cup, and I’m looking forward to exchanging ideas and getting the backline humming.

“I don’t know Linda, but have seen her exploits on the field for many years with the Black Ferns – she was an enforcer on the field,”

Blues chief executive Andrew Hore said having Spencer on board with the Blues organisation was special, and was an example of harnessing the resources available within the franchise’s region.

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


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Constructive talks between World Rugby, Erasmus

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South Africa Rugby - Image Credit Asics

World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin and World Rugby Director of Rugby Phil Davies met with South Africa Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus on Thursday and held positive discussions regarding recent events and match official communications in general.

Views were exchanged resulting in a better understanding of the respective positions.

There was agreement that further dialogue was needed in terms of enhancing the process that operates between teams and match officials to ensure all can play their part in creating great spectacles and avoid frustration but in a way that underpins the respect for match officials, coaches and players.

Further dialogue will continue after today’s final Springbok test of the year.

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Nienaber, Kolisi praise Boks for special win

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Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and captain Siya Kolisi praised the team for their brave effort to earn their first win over England at Twickenham since 2014, and their first personal victories in London as they registered a rewarding 27-13 victory on Saturday.

The Boks built up an encouraging 14-3 halftime lead and managed to stretch it to 27-6 in the 57th minute before being reduced to 14 men for the last 20 minutes after replacement prop Thomas du Toit received a red card for a dangerous tackle. Despite this, the team hung on as if their lives depended on it to snatch the memorable victory.

The result saw the Boks win two of their four matches on the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour – with the two narrow defeats being against the first and second ranked teams in the world in Ireland and France.

“We’ve had a couple of special results as a team, but this was the first win for Siya and I at Twickenham, so it’s very special to us,” said Nienaber.

“The forwards were outstanding and created a good platform for our backs to attack, so all-in-all, it was a fantastic team effort.”

Kolisi echoed lauded the entire team for their efforts to make the victory possible.

“Sometimes we take it for granted what a special environment one is in and the great coaching team we have,” said Kolisi.

“When we got together with most of this coaching team in 2018, we all bought into the plans and the synergy and the way we work together is really special in this group.”

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi thanks the crowd after the Boks won at Twickenham.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi thanks the crowd after the Boks won at Twickenham.

Nienaber was delighted with the way some of the young players rose to the occasion and said: “With this match being outside of the international Test window there were a whole lot of players who were not available for selection, but we have a lot of players knocking on the door and it was great to give those guys an opportunity tonight.

“It’s always good to give those players a chance under such pressure in front of a packed Twickenham, which can be pretty hostile, and they stood up today.”

Asked what he had told his players when they were reduced to 14 men, Kolisi said: “We actually said last week there is nothing we haven’t faced together as a group year. We’ve even been in situation when we had a red card, so the players knew what to do.

“Everyone knew they had to work harder to make up for the extra man, and the way the forwards played was great, and everyone did their bit to get the result.”

Wrapping up the tour, Nienaber said: “This was one of the most enjoyable four weeks we’ve had had even though we only got a 50% win record. The way the team, coaches, management and the game drivers made plans and worked tightly together with it was great, and we can take a lot from this going forward.”

The team will make their journey back to South Africa on Sunday and arrive on their home soil on Monday.

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby


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