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Boks lead SA Rugby Awards nominations for 2022

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Three experienced Springboks – Lukhanyo Am, Eben Etzebeth and Siya Kolisi – were nominated for the coveted SA Rugby Player of the Year Award for 2022 for a second year running and will be up against Kurt-Lee Arendse and Frans Malherbe after the quintet of Boks earned the most votes in the nomination process.

SA Rugby announced the nominees in nine categories on Wednesday and the winners will be named in 2023, along with the annual OUTsurance Referee of the Year and the Provincial Women’s Player of the Year.

Springbok captain Kolisi won the award for a stellar 2021 season and along with Etzebeth, who became the seventh player to earn his 100th Springbok Test cap this year, and Am, whose influence was crucial before he picked up a season-ending injury in August, the trio were central to the Boks’ efforts in 2022.

Former Blitzbok star Arendse was sublime in his debut season for the Boks and scored seven tries in as many Tests, while the ever-reliant Malherbe, who played in his 50th Test this year, was a rock in the pack and he quietly went about his job of putting the Boks on the front-foot from first phase.

For the first time, media and SA Rugby stakeholders also voted for the Springbok Women’s Player of the Year, and the five nominees all played in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in October – last year’s winner Lusanda Dumke, 2019 winner Aseza Hele, as well as Zintle Mpupha, Aphiwe Ngwevu and Nadine Roos.

The next generation of national players were nominated in the category for Young Player of the Year, which only takes into consideration Under-23s. They are Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Jaden Hendrikse, Canan Moodie, Evan Roos and Henco van Wyk.

Aphiwe Ngwevu, Nadine Roos, Lusanda Dumke, Zintle Mpupha and Aseza Hele.

Aphiwe Ngwevu, Nadine Roos, Lusanda Dumke, Zintle Mpupha and Aseza Hele.

Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu was also nominated in the category for Junior Springbok Player of the Year after he led the SA Under-20s to an unbeaten run in the Six Nations U20 Summer Series in Italy, while Suleiman Hartzenberg and Ruan Venter were also nominated for this award.

And the three Blitzboks who were nominated for the Springbok Sevens Player of the Year Award are Selvyn Davids, Zain Davids and JC Pretorius.

After a good season in which they won eight Test out of 13 and had close defeats to the top two teams in the world, the Springboks were nominated as one of the three Teams of the Year, with the DHL Stormers, winners of the inaugural Vodacom United Rugby Championship, and the Carling Currie Cup champions, the Airlink Pumas, the two other nominated sides.

These three teams’ coaches, John Dobson (DHL Stormers), Jacques Nienaber (Springboks) and Jimmy Stonehouse (Airlink Pumas) also got the most votes in the category for Coach of the Year.

The Airlink Pumas’ domestic triumph was reflected in the nominations for Carling Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year, with three men from Mpumalanga up against each other for the award – Sebastiaan de Klerk, Willie Engelbrecht and Devon Williams.

Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Jaden Hendrikse, Canan Moodie, Evan Roos and Henco van Wyk.

Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Jaden Hendrikse, Canan Moodie, Evan Roos and Henco van Wyk.

And in the final category, Jaywinn Juries and Duan Pretorius of eventual champions, the Down Touch Griffons, are up against Jaiden Baron of the Boland Kavaliers for the Carling Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year award.

Mr Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, congratulated all the nominees on their performances and achievements in 2022.

“As we returned to normal after a few tough years due to the pandemic, it was really heart-warming to see rugby played on weekends all over the country and abroad, by schools, clubs, provincial unions, our franchises and national teams,” said Mr Alexander.

“This list of nominees honour those players who performed brilliantly week in and week out and I would like to congratulate all of them on their achievements in 2022.

“All of our national teams enjoyed some form of success and again underlined our status as one of the top rugby nations in the world. With that comes big responsibility though and our men and women in green and gold did us proud this year.

“On the local front, we saw excellent rugby played across the board. The DHL Stormers were deserved champions of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship after winning an all-South African final against the Vodacom Bulls, and the two Carling Currie Cup competitions delivered some of the best action seen in recent years, with especially the Airlink Pumas and Windhoek Draught Griquas underlining the fact that there is no such thing anymore as ‘minnow teams’ in South Africa.

Selvyn Davids, JC Pretorius and Zain Davids.

Selvyn Davids, JC Pretorius and Zain Davids.

“Our most sincere gratitude also goes out to every player, coach, administrator, referee, sponsor and all other significant role players for playing their part in making the 2022 season one for the ages.

“Next year the Boks will be defending the Webb Ellis Cup at the Rugby World Cup in France, our other national teams will again have full schedules and our franchises will be continuing their participation in the Northern Hemisphere in the Vodacom URC, Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup, while the local season will also be jam-packed yet again.”

Like last season, when Evan Roos of the DHL Stormers walked away with the honours, the award for the Player of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship will be made at the conclusion of the competition next year.

The nominees are (in alphabetical order):

SA Rugby Player of the Year
Lukhanyo Am
Kurt-Lee Arendse
Eben Etzebeth
Siya Kolisi
Frans Malherbe

Springbok Women’s Player of the Year
Lusanda Dumke
Aseza Hele
Zintle Mpupha
Aphiwe Ngwevu
Nadine Roos

SA Rugby Young Player of the Year
Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (Junior Springboks / South Africa ‘A’ / DHL Stormers)
Jaden Hendrikse (Springboks / Cell C Sharks)
Canan Moodie (Springboks / Vodacom Bulls)
Evan Roos (Springboks / DHL Stormers)
Henco van Wyk (South Africa ‘A’ / Emirates Lions)

Springbok Sevens Player of the Year
Selvyn Davids
Zain Davids
JC Pretorius

Junior Springbok Player of the Year
Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu
Suleiman Hartzenberg
Ruan Venter

Team of the Year
Airlink Pumas
DHL Stormers
Springboks

Coach of the Year
John Dobson (DHL Stormers)
Jacques Nienaber (Springboks)
Jimmy Stonehouse (Airlink Pumas)

Carling Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year
Sebastiaan de Klerk (Airlink Pumas)
Willie Engelbrecht (Airlink Pumas)
Devon Williams (Airlink Pumas)

Carling Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year
Jaiden Baron (Boland Kavaliers)
Jaywinn Juries (Down Touch Griffons)
Duan Pretorius (Down Touch Griffons)

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby


International

NZR announces All Blacks home Tests in Auckland and Dunedin

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The All Blacks will play two Tests on home turf this year against South Africa in Auckland and Australia in Dunedin.

The Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship 2023 schedule will see the All Blacks play South Africa at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland on Saturday 15 July. The Bledisloe Cup returns to Dunedin for the first time since 2017, in a rare afternoon home Test match (2.35PM kick off) for the All Blacks at Forsyth Barr Stadium on 5 August. 

All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster said:

“The Rugby Championship is an exciting but tough draw.”

“Playing the Argentinians in Argentina is an exciting challenge after not being there since 2019. With the challenges of stadium availability in Australasia, we are delighted to play this huge South African Test at Mt Smart. We believe it’s key for the connection with our fans to have this massive game in our backyard and can’t wait. 

“The Dunedin Test is also equally important for us because it’s our last chance to play in front of our fans before we head off for an exciting Rugby World Cup.”

The two home Tests will be part of a 2023 schedule which will see the All Blacks play five Tests in the build up to the Rugby World Cup in France in September.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) Head of Professional Rugby and Performance Chris Lendrum said it was important to the All Blacks to be able to play in Aotearoa in a Rugby World Cup year.

“Although there is a shortened Rugby Championship schedule, there will no doubt be an edge to the Test matches played this year. The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup remain vitally important to New Zealand Rugby, I know Foz [Foster] and the team are looking forward to the season kicking off as they continue to build ahead of the Rugby World Cup in September.”

The All Blacks Test matches will be broadcast exclusive to Sky, live and on demand. Pre-sale and public sale tickets to the All Blacks Test Matches will go on sale in early May, with exact dates to be confirmed. The Black Ferns schedule will also be announced in due course.

All Blacks 2023 Test Schedule

The Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship
vs Argentina, Saturday 8 July, Estadio Malvinas Argentina, MENDOZA
vs South Africa, Saturday 15 July, 7.05PM, Mt Smart Stadium, AUCKLAND
vs Australia, 29 July, location and time TBC (Bledisloe Cup match one)

Bledisloe Cup (match two)
vs Australia, Saturday 5 August, 2.35PM, Forsyth Barr Stadium, DUNEDIN

Test Match
vs South Africa, Friday 25 August, 7.30PM, Twickenham Stadium, LONDON

About the Bledisloe Cup

Lord Bledisloe, Governor General of New Zealand from 1930 to 1935, bequeathed a trophy to the New Zealand Rugby Union with his name on it for perpetual competition between the All Blacks and Wallabies. The two countries have been playing for the Bledisloe Cup since 1931 and it is the symbol of trans-Tasman supremacy in rugby union.

The All Blacks are current holders of the Bledisloe Cup.

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


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6 Nations

Blade And Milne Join Ireland Squad For France Week

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Connacht scrum-half Caolin Blade and Leinster loosehead prop Michael Milne have joined the Ireland squad today as the group assembled this afternoon at the IRFU High Performance Centre in Dublin.

Blade was capped against the USA in July 2021 while the uncapped Milne was part of the Emerging Ireland squad that competed in Bloemfontein in the Autumn.

Jamison Gibson-Park and Cian Healy, who were both late withdrawals from the Wales game due to hamstring injuries, have been ruled out of contention for the France game. Tadhg Furlong, who is rehabbing a calf issue, is also not being considered for selection this week.

Gibson Park, Healy and Furlong will continue their rehab programmes with the Ireland medical team.

Johnny Sexton will complete the HIA process later today and Ronan Kelleher is due to return to training this week.

Roman Salanoa and Tom Stewart who joined the squad last week have been retained for preparations ahead of Round 2 of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations Championships

Ireland Squad 2023 Guinness Six Nations – Round 2: 

Backs (18)

Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 42 caps
Caolin Blade (Connacht/Galwegians) 1 cap
Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 15 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 8 caps
Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution) 2 caps
Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 98 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 23 caps
Mack Hansen (Connacht/Corinthians) 9 caps
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 26 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Marys College) 30 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 16 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 10 caps
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 101 caps
Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) 3 caps
Jamie Osborne (Leinster/Naas) *
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 48 caps
Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 110 caps (c)
Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) 35 caps

Forwards (23)

Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 8 caps
Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 28 caps
Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 37 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 34 caps
Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 24 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 63 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 121 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 69 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 32 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 18 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 49 caps
Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin University) 1 cap
Michael Milne (Leinster/UCD) *
Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 90 caps
Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 5 caps
Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 49 caps
Cian Prendergast (Connacht/Corinthians) 1 cap
James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 49 caps
Roman Salanoa (Munster/Shannon) *
Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 14 caps
Tom Stewart (Ulster/Ballynahinch) *
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 46 cap

*denotes uncapped player

2023 Guinness Six Nations Fixtures:

IRELAND v France
Saturday 11th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Italy v IRELAND
Saturday 25th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Scotland v IRELAND
Sunday 12th March 2023, KO 15:00 (IST)
RTE TV / BBC / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

IRELAND v England
Saturday 18th March 2023, KO 17:00 (IST)
VIRGIN / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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Eddie upbeat for ‘intriguing’ World Cup

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Eddie Jones admits the Wallabies are in the chasing pack but still close enough to catch the favourites and win September’s Rugby World Cup.

Jones, after a 15-minute technical glitch, gave his first wide-ranging interview from England on Thursday after his shock appointment on Monday.

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He said the battle to wear the No.10 jersey in France was wide open, touched on the side’s ill-discipline and current eligibility laws, assessed the health of the code in Australia and had a neat return-of-serve to rugby league powerbroker Peter V’landys in the latest code-war chapter.

But when asked if he genuinely thought the inconsistent world No.6 side could win the World Cup this year, he was serious.

“There’s no long term; the whole thing is to win the World Cup in 2023,” said Jones, who is on a five-year contract.

“We have to concentrate on areas that will make the biggest difference to the performance of the team and we have to get selection right.
“And we’ve got to create an environment where players are going to give that little bit more, because nobody knows how much they can give.”

Jones will have just five Tests to prepare his men before the Cup and he turned to racing parlance to assess the current power rankings.

He says feels there’s still time for the field to settle with the team who improves the most between now and October set for victory.

“At the moment France and Ireland, in a horse race they’re at the front on the top of the rise,” he said.

“But there’s still plenty of work to do.

“Australia and England are nestled behind them and the team that improves the most over the next nine months will win the World Cup.

“This is the most intriguing World Cup we’ve ever seen.

“Throw in the volatility of the refereeing at the moment with red and yellow cards.

“You’ve got all these things happening that give us this massive opportunity.”

He said every player would have a chance to “select themselves” in club rugby and that replacing Rennie before his contract was to expire at the end of this year wasn’t in his control.

“I wasn’t thinking, ‘I can do this better than Dave, or, I’m a better person’, it’s not that at all,” he said.

“It’s the fact that there was an opportunity there that as an Australian when you get a chance to coach your country you want to do it, mate.”

In a boost for James O’Connor’s hopes after he was cut from Rennie’s extended squad, Jones said he’d base selection on Super Rugby Pacific form and keep an eye on his foreign-based playmakers.

But Jones admits time isn’t on his side when it comes to settling on a preferred partnership, with rival five-eighth Quade Cooper’s recovery from an Achilles tear counting against him.

“We are going to have to decide quite quickly who we think are the best nines and tens and 12s, particularly, to try and build up that cohesion,” he said.

Content & Images from – Australia Rugby


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