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Currie Cup

Sale Sharks Sign South African Powerhouse

Sale Sharks have added another big player to their squad for next season

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(Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

Sale Sharks have announced the capture of versatile prop Coenie Oosthuizen from Cell-C Sharks for the 2019/20 season.

The move sees the 130kg prop, who can play either side of the scrum, join up with former Cheetahs teammate Lood De Jager.

Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond is delighted to have a player with Oosthuizen’s abilities link up with the squad and is excited by the prospect of him playing with a couple of familiar faces.

“Coenie joining us, along with Lood is a huge statement of where we want to be, he is 130kg, can play on both sides of the scrum and has a skillset away from the set piece that is unique for a prop of his size. He also has considerable experience playing with Akker Van Der Merwe at the Sharks so I think he will fit in perfectly at Sale. We look forward to welcoming him to Manchester later in the year ahead of the 19/20 Gallagher Premiership,” he said.

The prop started his playing career with the Toyota Cheetahs, playing for the side in both the Currie Cup and Super Rugby along wit De Jager. He went on to make 129 appearances for the Cheetahs over a seven-year period before moving to the Sharks in 2016 following talks of the Cheetahs removal from Super Rugby.

He has since gone on to make 33 appearances for the Durban-based team but will leave come the end of the Super Rugby season and has agreed a three-year deal with Sale. As well as being a powerful player, Oosthuizen is well known for his deceptive speed and agility, which makes him a threat at both set-piece time and in open play which makes his signature for Sale all the more impressive for the Manchester outfit.

Currie Cup

Blommetjies Moves Back to South Africa

Scarlets reject Blommetjies has made a switch back to South Africa following his unsuccessful spell in Europe

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(Photo by Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Fullback Clayton Blommetjies has signed for the Free State Cheetahs in South Africa following his release from the Scarlets.

Netwerk24 has reported that Blommetjies has been brought in by the Cheetahs for their Currie Cup campaign following an injury to Malcolm Jaer who will miss the entire tournament.

Blommetjies was released by the Scarlets following one season with the Welsh region during which he made only six appearances before moving to Leicester Tigers for the second half of the season.

It is believed that the Scarlets were unimpressed with the 28-year-olds fitness and this was a major reason in letting him go.

His first test for the Cheetahs will be against the Blue Bulls on July 19th.

Blommetjies came through the ranks at the Bulls before becoming a vital part of the Cheetahs side before his switch to the Scarlets.

He has represented the Cheetahs in Super Rugby and in the PRO 14, scoring six tries and assisting five during his final season with them.

It remains to be seen whether or not he will regain his old form, but the Cheetahs will hope for their sake that he will blossom once more.

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Currie Cup

Cheetahs Confirm New Head Coach

They have taken their time, but the Cheetahs have finally unveiled the man to take over from Franco Smith

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The Toyota Cheetahs have confirmed that Hawies Fourie will take over the role of head coach in September.

Fourie, a former backs coach at the club will take up the role left vacant by Franco Smith, who is set to become Italy’s new head coach.

The 50-year-old will be a favourite amongst players and fans when he comes in due to his previous work with the Free State and his successful spell at the University of Stellenbosch.

It was announced in May that the Cheetahs would be seeking to employee a new head coach and the Free State received over 30 applications for the position from across the globe.

Of them the top six candidates were selected and asked to deliver a presentation, with Fourie’s one standing out and his knowledge of the game leading the panel to their decision.

He will come in to watch the Cheetahs’ Currie Cup campaign, to get a better feel for the side before taking full control before the start of the PRO 14 season.

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6 Nations

O’Shea to be Replaced as Italy Head Coach

Conor O’Shea is set to pass on the reins following the Rugby World Cup in Japan

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(Photo by Emmanuele Ciancaglini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Cheetahs Rugby appear to have confirmed that head coach Franco Smith will replace Conor O’Shea as Italy’s head coach after the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.

The Italian Rugby Federation are yet to comment on the matter. However, the South African side have made the announcement and wished their current head coach the best of luck in a deal that is set to run until 2023.

“Franco was offered the opportunity to coach the Italian national side from 1 January 2020. The Board of Directors see this as a great opportunity for Franco and is proud of the fact that so many top coaches have been developed by the Free State Cheetahs. The Board of Directors is proud of and wishes Franco the best of luck with the opportunity to coach on an international level until the next world cup in 2023,” they said in a statement.

The statement also confirmed that Smith will remain with the Cheetahs for the Currie Cup to provide a smooth take-over in management, with the new head coach to come in for the start of the Pro 14 season.

Former Ireland international O’Shea has been in charge of the Italians since 2016 but has led them on a run of 22 Six Nations defeats in a row.

However, it remains to be seen whether O’Shea who has earned praise from the likes of Italy captain and legend Sergio Parisse for his work behind the scenes, will be offered a different role with the men in blue.

In his current role he is more of a director of rugby overseeing more than just the men’s national side and there has been huge development on the club scene with Benetton reaching the Pro 14 play-offs for the first time ever this season.

Having performed in a directing role at both London Irish and Harlequins before it would allow O’Shea to focus on one task and may even benefit the country’s development. Either way he will hope to finish on a high when his side head to Japan later in the year.

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