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Tag: Rugby

Siya Kolisi Covid- May be cut for Saturday’s match

The Rugby World Cup winners South Africa are nervous about the availability of captain Siya Kolisi just 48 hours before naming their team for Saturday’s first Test against the British and Irish Lions. The Springbok’s assistant coach Mzwandile Stick told an online news conference on Monday that Kolisi and other members of the squad who tested positive for COVID-19 would need to be assessed by a medical specialist before being cleared to play.

“By tonight (Monday) we will know who can play,” Stick said.

Kolisi, who plays flank, hooker Bongi Mbonambi, prop Frans Malherbe, fly-half Handre Pollard, winger Makazole Mapimpi and utility back Francois Steyn were all placed in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.

Stick stated that there was a strong leadership group in the Springbok camp from which to select a captain if Kolisi, who lifted the Webb Ellis trophy in 2019, could not play. Pollard, who kicked 22 points in the World Cup final triumph over England in Japan, is currently the vice-captain.

As one of the candidates to take over the captaincy if Kolisi cannot play, Pollard said that he is ready to return to action after a period in isolation as a close contact of COVID-infected players.

“Emotionally, physically, we are all ready,” said the 27-year-old Montpellier playmaker.

South Africa and the Lions will be playing a three-Test series, which starts in Cape Town on July 24 and continues in Johannesburg on July 31 and August 7.

The Springboks have won eight of the previous 13 series, the Lions four, and one was drawn.

Vermeulen wins Player of the Year at SA Rugby Awards

The Blue Bulls dominated at the SA Rugby Awards with Duane Vermeulen winning the coveted Player of the Year award, and Jake White walking away with the Coach of the Year award.  Vermeulen has now won player of the year for the second time, and was instrumental in leading the Bulls to their first Currie Cup win in many years.  Conral Hendricks won the Currie Cup Player of the Year.

“It was a tough season but Duane was superb – not only on the field, where his performances were on par with the very high standard we’ve become accustomed to from him, but he also led the Bulls with aplomb as our teams had to navigate numerous new curve balls and challenges,” said Mark Alexander, SA Rugby President.

“I would like to congratulate Jake and the Bulls on their season, as well as Wandisile, Cornal, Stedman, and Jaco, but I also have to acknowledge all our teams and players who worked tirelessly undr difficult circumstances to ensure that we saw some rugby on local soil in 2020.  A lot of hard work went into making the season a reality and I would like to thank everyone who played a part in making it happen, especially our broadcast partner and sponsors, who stuck with us through tumultous times,” Alexander continued.

“The pandemic has been disruptive to people from all walks of life and apart from the hard work done in training, first at home and later back at their team bases, it was heartening to see our players rolling up their sleeves and also helping fellow South Africans who are not as fortunate.  We saw yet again that we are stronger, together.”

The Winners for the 2020 SA Rugby Awards

  • SA Rugby Player of the Year                 –       Duane Vermeulen
  • SA Young Rugby Player of the Year     –      Wandisile Simelane
  • Springbok Sevens Player of the Year   –     Stedman Gans
  • Team of the Year                                      –   Bulls
  • Coach of the Year                                     –   Jake White
  • Currie Cup Player of the Year                –   Cornal Hendricks
  • Referee of the Year                                   –  Jaco Peyper

 

SANZAAR introduces new laws to help make rugby watchable again

SANZAAR (South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby) has confirmed the addition of new law variations for the Super Rugby AU and Super Rugby Aotearoa tournaments that kick off in the next few weeks.

This includes law variations designed to speed up play and increase ball-in-play time and improve the spectacle for the fans.

SANZAAR tournaments have a history of innovation to ensure they engage spectators and provide the necessary high-performance pathway to success at international level.

Several exciting law variations were implemented in Super Rugby 2020 in Australia and New Zealand and will be implemented again in 2021, but several additional variations will also be introduced this season depending on the tournament and the decision of the National Union to implement them.

AUSTRALIA

Super Rugby AU 2021 will see two further innovative law changes introduced, including the kick-off and restart variations seen in sevens.

For this season, a free kick will be awarded following any infringement off the kick-off and restart.

This includes an enforced 30 second time limit for restarts to happen following a conversion, penalty or drop goal as well as restarts that are kicked out on the full or if team-mates of the kicker are not behind the ball.

The team that was set to receive the ball will get a free kick on halfway. This law has been introduced to quicken up general play and reduce unnecessary scrums.

In addition, the Golden Point law variation introduced last year has been tweaked for season 2021.

A drawn match now to be decided by ‘Golden Try’ in extra time.

The first try scored in the 10-minute extra time (2 x 5-minute halves) will win the match for that team.

If a penalty or drop goal is successful within this extra time the points count towards the match score, but the game will continue until either a try is scored, or the 10-minute period expires.

This update is to encourage attacking play in the extra time period.

NEW ZEALAND

The Super Rugby Aotearoa tournament will see the introduction of a goal-line drop-out for balls enforced in goal.

When an attacking player carrying the ball is held up in the in-goal or knocks the ball on, play restarts with a goal-line drop-out.

When a kick enters the in-goal area and is forced by the defending team play also restarts with a goal-line drop-out.

The tournament will again include extra-time if the scores are level [there were no drawn matches in 2020] – but unlike Australia, if a match is drawn at full-time a single 10-minute period will be played with the first points scored ensuring the win.

The major innovation in Super Rugby Aotearoa is the global debut of a captain’s referral in rugby.

This law variant has been introduced in several sports and New Zealand Rugby will trial it in rugby with each team given one referral which can be activated in one of three scenarios: any decision in the last five minutes of the game, an infringement in the build-up to a try or foul play.

Super Rugby AU will kick off on 19 February, with Super Rugby Aotearoa due to start on 26 February.

At this stage there’s still no indication what the South African ‘Super Rugby’ sides (and others) will be doing next.

A Franchise Cup tournament had been mooted, but SA Rugby has given no indication as to when that may start – if at all.

The Rainbow Cup to be played in April to June is also unconfirmed at this stage.

NO to DSTV – YES to FREE SPORTS

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) published its Draft Sports Broadcasting Services Amendment Regulations for public comment, with the aim to make sports more accessible to the public.

The draft bill will propose to regulate the broadcasting of national sporting events, as identified in the ‘public interest’, within South Africa.

Icasa said the following national sporting events may be broadcast live, delayed-live or delayed by free-to-air broadcasting service licensees:

Icasa stated that sports could be added to or removed from this list at a later date. It also proposes strict fines for broadcasters who do not abide with the new regulations once they are in force. In explaining the regulations, Icasa shifted attention to Section 60(1) of the  Electronic Communications Act which provides that subscription broadcasting services may not acquire exclusive rights that prevent or hinder the free-to-air broadcasting of national sporting events, as identified in the public interest from time to time. “South Africa is a country which is characterized by inequalities which play a role in, inter alia, how television is accessed by people and the nature of the services available to individuals.”

“Accordingly, programmes aired on free-to-air broadcasts – on both radio and television – are available to a much wider audience than programmes broadcast on other platforms including subscription services,” it said.

 

Rugby World Cup 

Icasa said that it has observed a trend whereby national sporting events are mostly broadcast live on Subscription only television, resulting in the majority of South Africans being unable to access sporting events on a live basis due to affordability of said service.

It specifically highlighted the 2019 Rugby World Cup whereby the rights were bought by a subscription broadcasting licensee leaving the majority of South Africans excluded from accessing the National team’s participation in the World Cup, apart from the final match which was broadcast after public outcry.

“Nevertheless, the authority is keenly aware that the sports industry relies on the sale of broadcasting rights as the biggest source of their revenue. Sporting bodies that submitted representations contended that the best commercial offers for their rights were often made by subscription broadcasters. This situation contributes to the majority of South Africans being denied access to sports of national interest,” it said.

In light of the these considerations, Icasa stated it has in the amended draft regulations sought to give effect to the provisions of section 60 of the ECA whilst considering the competing concerns of the financial sustainability of broadcasters and ensuring increased access to national sporting events is provided to most of the South African population.

Sports News – Weekend Sports Recap

Sport results for the past weekend.

The Bulls beat the sharks 49-28

Rugby

The four South African Super Rugby teams played behind closed doors this past weekend in their warm-up matches.  The Bulls defeated the sharks with a final score of 49-28 and the Stormers beat the Lions 34-21.  In support of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Sharks team wore ‘We say no to racism’ t-shirts while several players from other teas took a knee.

Soccer

In the Premier League, Manchester City lost to Leicester, dealing an early blow to Manchester City’s dreams of wrestling back the Premier league title.  Meanwhile, Manchester United beat Brighton 3-2 on Saturday, thanks to Fernandes’s 100th-minute penalty.  Everton secured a third straight win, beating Crystal Palace 2-1.   In the Bundesliga Bayern Munich lost to Hoffenheim ending with a shocking score of 4-1.

Sport results for the past weekend.

Formula 1

Valtteri Bottas raced to victory on Sunday with Hamilton coming in 3rd.

Valtteri Bottas took 1st place with a time of 1h34’00.364 with Max Verstappen coming in second.  Lewis Hamilton, surprisingly, took 3rd place after a “horrible” qualifying session.

Tennis

It was cold, wet and windy start to the French Open this weekend.  Players complained about the quality of the balls “not fit for a dog to chew” and the “ridiculous conditions”.  After a 45-minute break in the match due to conditions, Azarenka won her match against Kovinic 6-1 6-2.   In the Men’s singles, Alexander Zverev beat Dennis Novak.

Alberton groet vir Gert van der Merwe.

Alberton groet vir Gert van der Merwe: legende in rugbykringe.

Die eindfluitjie van die lewenspel het vir die legendariese Gert van der Merwe (66) finaal geblaas op Sondag 2 Augustus. Hy was ‘n bekende in rugbykringe  en het diep spore getrap in rugbykringe , maar ook in die harte van almal met wie hy paaie gekruis het.

Gert en sy vrou, Marian was 45 jaar getroud en sport was die gesin se lewe.

Drie seuns is uit die huwelik gebore: Riaan, Eugene en Gert (junior). Laasgenoemde was ‘n Suid–Afrikaanse paralimpiese atleet en het Suid–Afrika twee keer verteenwoordig en goue medaljes ingepalm. Gert (junior) is op 26 jarige ouderdom in 2002 onverwags tydens ‘n mediese prosedure oorlede.

Elize Myburgh , onderwyseres van Frances Vorwergskool skryf:

“As ouers was Gert en Marian baie betrokke by Frances Vorwergskool waar hy gelyktydig op die SBL en OOV gedien het.  Geen werk of moeite was ooit ontsien om die wêreld ‘n beter plek te maak vir  gestremde leerders nie.  Te danke aan sy bemoediging en afrigting het ons leerders uitgestyg in sport. Na die tragiese afsterwe van Gert junior, het hulle jaarliks nog steeds die skool se Prestige aande bygewoon.  Hierdie legende sal altyd voortleef in ons gedagtes en ons harte.”

Gert (snr) was ‘n toegewyde eggenoot, gesinsman, rugbyspeler en –afrigter en trotse inwoner van Alberton: ‘n man van statuur.

Sy laerskoolloopbaan het hy aan Generaal Alberts voltooi en sy hoërskooljare by Marais Viljoen.

Na skool het hy rugby gespeel( hy was ‘n kranige slot) vir die Albertonse klub en het selfs in  ‘n paar provinsiale  wedstryde uitgedraf vir die Goue Leeus in die tagtigerjare. In sy loopbaan het hy het verkeie leiersposisies in die rugbywêreld beklee: Gert was voorsitter van die Albertonse Rugbyklub en hy was ook deel van Goue Leeus Rugby Unie se Chairman’s Council.

Nadat hy sy stewels opgehang het was Gert vir etlike jare afrigter by die Albertonse rugbyklub asook by die eertydse Wits Technikon. Oral waar hy betrokke was, was hy ‘n mentor vir seuns en jong mans – ‘n vaderfiguur.

Sy onverwagse dood, as gevolg van COVID 19, was ‘n reuse skok vir die gemeenskap. Die plettervat van hierdie vernietigende virus kon hy nie voorsien of stuit nie.

Verskeie mense het bemoedigende boodskappe aan die familie gestuur waarin hy o.a. beskryf word as ‘n “gentle giant”, ‘n vader vir baie mans, rolmodel; uitsonderlike gerespekteerde mens.  Van die mans het bevestig dat hulle talle rugby- en lewenslesse by Gert geleer het; hy was baie spesiaal en vir sommige ” ‘n tweede pa”.

Hy is ook bestempel as ‘n “legend”, “yster”  en dat die “rugbyvelde nooit weer dieselfde sal wees sonder  oom Gert langs die baan nie”.

Gert word oorleef deur sy vrou, Marian, hulle twee seuns en skoondogters, Karen en Candice en vier kleinkinders : sy groot vreugde . Wat sou hy nie gegee het om vir hulle die kunsies van die sport te kon leer nie.

TameTimes betuig hiermee namens die gemeenskap van Alberton hulle innige meegvoel met die familie tydens die afsterwe van hierdie kleurvolle sportman. Sy afskeidsdiens was volgens die COVID – regulasies op 17 Augustus in die Albertonse Lewensentrum gehou.

Mooi loop, Gert! Rustyd het nou vir jou aangebreek…

Sport News: Sevens Series cancelled due to Covid-19.

The Cape Town leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series, provisionally scheduled for December 4-6 this year, has been cancelled due to the ongoing and dynamic global nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, World Rugby announced on Wednesday.

The Dubai leg of the Series – with which the Cape Town event is paired – has also been cancelled, IOL Sport reported.

The events were due to be the first two legs on the 10-tournament 2020/2021 World Rugby Sevens Series.

World Rugby, its partners, SA Rugby and the Dubai organisers undertook a comprehensive consultation process and constructive dialogue to reach the conclusion.

The decisions were taken in line with relevant government and International public health authority advice and with the health and well-being of the rugby community and the wider public taking precedence. Cape Town – and Dubai – are due to return to a full Series schedule in 2021.

“This is a very disappointing development but far from unexpected,” said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby chief executive.

“Over and above all of that, the health of players and fans was of paramount importance and with the current uncertainties in that regard all parties agreed on the need to cancel this year’s event.”

The decision follows the recently announced conclusion of the World Rugby Sevens Series (due to the Covid-19 pandemic), with New Zealand confirmed as both men’s and women’s champions.

The Singapore, Hong Kong, London and Paris legs of the Series had to be cancelled, with World Rugby and its partners now continuing to focus on planning for the remainder of the 2020/2021 Series and the build-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Photo Credit: SApeople

Rugby News: American consortium could buy Stormers for R100m

The cash-strapped Western Province Rugby Union could be set for a significant injection of funds from American investors.

IOL reports that New York-based company MVM Holdings, headed by leading South African lawyer Marco Masotti, submitted an exclusivity agreement to the WPRFU earlier this month to buy a 51 percent stake in the Stormers for US$6 million (about R100 million)

As majority owners of the Cape Town franchise, the consortium – made up of a group of South African businessmen based in the United States – would obtain controlling interest of the club should the WPRFU accept the offer.

Speaking to Independent Media on Monday, Masotti said that the union had expressed concern about giving up the controlling share of the Super Rugby side to private equity firm.

He believes, however, the experience his group possesses would help grow the Stormers’ brand to a broad international market in Europe and the USA.

“The Western Province RFU has come back to us with the concern that they should keep the controlling share, but that they would give us an equitable share of the board of the Stormers”, Masotti told IOL.

“They want to keep control of rugby affairs and we could control the commercial affairs, but that wouldn’t work for us.

“There needs to be one controller and the guys that are involved in this bid have extensive experience in enterprises of this kind — we are talking about owners of NBA and ice hockey teams.”

Masotti – who said US$2m of the US$6m price tag would be invested into the WPRFU, while the remaining US$4m would go into the balance sheet of the Stormers’ board – suggested a takeover of the Stormers could lead to business opportunities with prominent sporting entities.

The sport of rugby is stressed and needs change to survive and then flourish, and we see so much potential in Cape Town and the Stormers as a brand — they have iconic figures in an exciting team based in one of the world’s great cities,” he said.

“We see great opportunities to link the Stormers with [the] Milwaukee Bucks and grow the brand in Europe and States.”

The chance to team inspirational Springboks and Stormers captain Siya Kolisi up with Bucks star and NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo may well be a marketing ploy too rich to pass up for the WPRFU, especially given the financial landscape in a post-coronavirus era.

It seems the union has taken that into consideration, as Masotti revealed that the WPRFU board member Andre van der Veen had undertaken a search to find an equity investor, which led to the multi-million dollar offer from MVM.

Van der Veen told IOL that MVM’s offer is still very much on the table, with Masotti adding that negotiations are “ongoing”.

“Our discussions with Western Province are ongoing and they are going to come back to us regarding our concerns.”

Sports: Lions snap up Bulls Captain

The Lions have confirmed the signing of Vodacom Bulls captain and centre Burger Odendaal.

Odendaal was named as the Bulls’ captain for the 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby season after spending the majority of his professional career to date in Pretoria.

However, the 27-year-old, who has also played for the Kubota Spears in Japan, will be moving back to Johannesburg, where he was schooled at Monument High and played his youth rugby.

Odendaal made his first-class debut for the Bulls at just 19 years old in the Vodacom Cup in 2013, before making his first Currie Cup appearance in 2014.

He will add plenty of experience to the Lions’ midfield after the club was last month boosted by the news that rising star Wandisile Simelane had decided to sign a contract extension. The Lions also have Dan Kriel, Duncan Matthews and another bright young player in Mannie Rass in their centre stocks.

Photo Credit: SArugbymag

Sports: Don’t hold your breath to see Springboks this year

South African rugby bosses and rugby starved fans should forget about the Springboks playing any Test rugby this year, IOL reported.

That is, unless the leadership of rugby in this country are able to get some kind of domestic competition up and running and soon. But that doesn’t seem likely according to IOL.

The reality is that with no rugby having been played in South Africa since mid-March and not likely to be played for some time still, the world champion Springboks will be in no shape later this year to compete equally with New Zealand or Australia – or any other Test team, for that matter – in any form of series or championship.

As sad as it is, this country’s rugby leadership almost have no choice now – four months after the suspension of all rugby due to the spread and threat of the coronavirus – but to write off the Test year.

With Covid-19 cases on the increase in this country, including at some of the rugby unions (just yesterday Rapport said four employees of the Lions, including one player and one management member had tested positive recently) a return-to-play, or even to train in groups, seems some way off. SA

Rugby bosses are awaiting news from the government about when the franchises can return to action but in the current climate getting the much-needed green-light any time soon appears unlikely.

It was hoped that the six local franchises – the Bulls, Lions, Sharks, Stormers, Kings and Cheetahs – would be able to compete in a new-look Currie Cup competition from the end of August to, in part, help prepare the national players for possibly playing in the Rugby Championship later this year.

But if that competition doesn’t get up and running and there is no rugby played locally, then the Boks might as well not play in any Tests because they will simply not be ready.

New Zealand’s five Super Rugby teams have been in action in their own domestic competition since June 13 (and what quality rugby they have produced, with several players in superb form), while Australia’s local competition kicked off recently too.

Come October, November or December – the time of a proposed Rugby Championship taking place in a safe “bio-bubble” – and those countries’ players would be in top shape and form, with match-intensity fitness ingrained in their bodies.

The Boks would have played no rugby, they’d be rusty, they’d be unconditioned, they’d be in a foreign environment and their reputation as World Cup winners would be on the line.

It’s not worth it. Either the World Cup winners must be match-ready, hardened and in shape, or they mustn’t play at all.

And there are other issues at stake as well, like whether the Boks’ new coach Jacques Nienaber will be allowed to pick players who’re contracted to overseas clubs and play domestically in France England and Japan.

 Right now, it looks like the closest fans are going to get to seeing some of their World Cup heroes in action this year will be in a home-based competition, but that is likely to happen only much later in the year, if at all.

Source: IOL

Photo Credit: Ultimate Rugby

 

 

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