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Rugby

South African Sides Facing Injury Headache

Two South African teams have been left with a host of injuries following this weekend’s round of fixtures

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(Photo by Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The Stormers and Bulls have been left with injury worries following their match last weekend.

The Stormers came out on top 24-23 in a pulsating clash at Newlands however, they could pay the price when they head to Argentina to face the Jaguares this Saturday.

Versatile forward, Pieter-Steph du Toit went off in the second half of the game with a shoulder injury. It had been feared that he could be missing for an extended period of time but according to Afrikaans publication Netwerk24, he should be back for their next home game against the Crusaders on May 18th.

In other bad news loose forward Ernst van Rhyn’s elbow injury looks set to leave him side-lined for up to six weeks.

The good news for the Cape Town based side is that they welcome back loose forwards Jaco Coetzee and Sikhumbuzo Notshe from injuries. While they have also given flanker Siya Kolisi and prop Frans Malherbe a rest from the Argentinian trip.

Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck is positive that the players available for this weekend’s clash will be able to get a result and give their all.

“We want to keep building on our recent performances and this is a great opportunity to do so away from home. We have a bye after this game before we are back at home, so we will be going flat-out this weekend in Buenos Aires,” he said in a press statement.

On the other side of things Bulls and South African centre, Jesse Kriel, requires surgery on an ankle ligament injury he sustained during his team’s loss. This could leave him out for about two months.

“He has torn a ligament in his ankle and will undergo surgery later this week. He will be on the sideline for a period of six to eight weeks,” Bulls team doctor Herman Rossouw said when discussing the injury.

To make matters worse wingers Divan Rossouw and Jade Stighling have been ruled out of this weekend’s clash against the Waratahs. Although, there is a sliver-lining as centre Burger Odendaal will be available for selection after recovering from an eye injury as the Bulls look to knock the Sharks off top-spot in the South African conference.

Check out the highlights of the Stormers dramatic 24-23 win over the Bulls below

Rugby

Jones Adds Five More to England Training Squad

Eddie Jones has brought in five more players for this week’s World Cup training preparations, while three others have been sent away

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England head coach Eddie Jones has named a 40-man squad for this week’s training camp in Bristol.

That means that Jones has added a further five players to the squad that trained last week, with Mike Brown, Alex Dombrandt, Marcus Smith, Tom Dunn and Ollie Thornley all coming in for a chance to impress.

However, Danny Cipriani, Sam Underhill and Anthony Watson have been sent off site to do specialised strength and conditioning training.

Jones has explained that the rotation of player’s duties is to keep the squad fresh and allow others to impress.

“Our preparation is about making sure the players peak for the World Cup. It’s not about being ready now for it. Some players we feel will benefit now from being away from the camp for a little bit and will do specialised strength and conditioning work. We want to keep the squad fresh and alive which is important and we want to make sure there is a little bit of cooperative competition for selection and edge around,” he said.

The head coach also spoke of how the workload will continue to increase for the squad this coming week while they train in Bristol.

“We are in Bristol this week as a bit of a change of scenery and pace. We have got good facilities and will continue to work very hard on particularly our physical conditioning but also our ability to implement our game plan under those physical conditions. The ante goes up again in this week. The players who have come in from the Premiership final will increase their contribution and the other guys are in their fourth week and are starting to get near good physical condition,” he added.

All of this work is in preparation for the World Cup however, England will play four warm-up games before the tournament itself. They face Wales on August 11th and 17th, before playing Ireland on August 24th and then Italy on September 6th.

The five players added to the squad will be hoping to impress over the next week and by bringing them in it shows Jones is still not certain of his final 31-man squad for Japan meaning places are up for grabs.

Check out the full 40-man training squad below.

Forwards

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 85 caps)

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 11 caps)

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 10 caps)

Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, uncapped)

Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby, uncapped)

Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)

Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 9 caps)

Jamie George (Saracens, 37 caps)

Maro Itoje (Saracens, 27 caps)

George Kruis (Saracens, 32 caps)

Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 58 caps)

Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 71 caps)

Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, uncapped)

Joe Marler (Harlequins, 59 caps)

Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 8 caps)

Brad Shields (Wasps, 8 caps)

Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 22 caps)

Jack Singleton (Saracens, uncapped)

Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 41 caps)

Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 53 caps)

Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 17 caps)

Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons / Sale Sharks, 13 caps)

Backs

Mike Brown (Harlequins, 72 caps)

Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 4 caps)

Elliot Daly (Saracens, 30 caps)

Owen Farrell (Saracens, 70 caps)

George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 55 caps)

Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 4 caps)

Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)

Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 40 caps)

Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps)

Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped)

Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps)

Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps)

Marcus Smith (Harlequins, upcapped)

Ben Spencer (Saracens, 3 caps)

Ben Te’o (unattached, 18 caps)

Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)

Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 32 caps)

Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 85 caps)

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Rugby

World Cup Winning Springbok James Small Passes Away

Legendary Springbok wing James Small has passed away at the age of 50

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(Photo by Professional Sport/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Former South African World Cup winning winger James Small has sadly passed away at the age of 50 following a suspected heart attack. 

The 1995 World Cup winner was rushed to hospital on Tuesday night having suffered a suspected heart attack and has since passed on.

South African Rugby president Mark Alexander paid his respect to the former Springbok and talked about the impact he had.

“As a member of the triumphant World Cup squad from 1995, James will always have a special place in the hearts and minds of the South African public and we were devastated to hear of his passing. He always played with the type of passion and courage that encapsulate what Springbok rugby stands for, and he lived his life in the same way. At 50 years old, James Small died too young. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends during this very sad time,” he said.

Small scored 20 tries in 47 appearances for the Springboks between 1992 and 1997 and was a vital member of the World Cup winning squad.

He is also the fourth member of that South African winning squad to have passed away since their success. Coach Kitch Christie passed on in 1998 following a battle against leukaemia, flanker Ruben Kruger died of brain cancer in 2010 and scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen passed away from motor neuron disease in 2017.

Small also won the Currie Cup with the Sharks and Western Province, while also representing the Golden Lions in his provincial career.

He recently started a coaching career as Robert du Preez at NWU-Pukke and the Leopards before joining the Pirates as an assistant once more.

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Rugby

Toyota Verblitz Facing Expulsion from Japanese Top League

The Toyota Verblitz are facing a potential expulsion from the Japanese Top League following a player scandal

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(Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Toyota Verblitz face a potential expulsion from the Japanese Top League following the arrests of players on suspicion of possessing cocaine.

Fly-half Ryota Kabashima and winger Steven Yates have both been arrested within a week of one another on suspicion of possessing cocaine.

Yates, who admitted he was guilty after police found a small amount of cocaine in a plastic bag at his house in Nagoya.

Meanwhile, Kabashima was arrested following the discovery of a gram of cocaine in his wallet. The discovery was made by a taxi-driver in a cab that Kabishima had left it in, and the driver subsequently called the police, who identified him from his driving license.

Unlike Yates, the 28-year-old has denied the charges, claiming he doesn’t remember anything.

The Toyota Corporation that own the club have issued a statement on the matter.

“We sincerely apologise for the continued arrests of our team members. We deeply regret that we have caused trouble at a time when Japan will soon host the Rugby World Cup,” the statement said.

As well as apologising, according to Kyodo News, the owners have suspended the team’s operations for the time being.

The current situation isn’t promising as the violation of narcotics control law in Japan means that the Top League is fully within its rights to expel the club from the division, and the club have already withdrawn from all competitions.

The other worry is that international pair Kieran Read and Willie le Roux are set to join the club following the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup, but there will be concerns that this could cause complications to those deals.

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