Pollard only change for Springboks (team sheet)

Handre Pollard replaces Morne Steyn as the only change to the South African side that went down by a single pint to Australia last week in Perth. The axe falls on Steyn because his penalty kick did not make touch which allowed the Aussies to run in a last minute try and squeak home by a single point in a match where both teams looked distinctly average.

More surprisingly is the omission of Bok hard-man Bismark Du Plessis. The much looser Adriaan Strauss retains his place, despite not producing any thing of great substance last week. No doubt Du Plessis will be utilised early in the second half against New Zealand, even though he is generally not seen as an impact player.

South Africa – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Damian de Allende.

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Axed Nyakane to start at tighthead for Cheetahs (team sheet)

Up-and-coming prop, Trevor Nyakane, who dropped from the Springbok squad for disciplinary reasons, will get some much need game time this weekend for his provincial side, the Free State Cheetahs.

His return has come at a crucial time for the men from Bloem, as they struggled in the scrum last weekend against western Province, having also lost Adriaan Strauss and Coenie Oosthuizen to the Boks.

‘From our perspective it is good to have Trevor back. We struggled in the scrums last week and we need him because we are a little bit thin on the ground after losing Coenie Oosthuizen and Adriaan Strauss to the Springboks.’

‘Trevor can play loosehead and tighthead,’ Drotské added. ‘His versatility is what makes him such a valuable player. Not many guys have the same ability to play on both sides of the scrum.’

Other changes include lock Teboho Mohoje coming into the starting line-up as a replacement for the injured Waltie Vermeulen, which means Freddie Ngoza joins the squad as lock cover on the bench.

Sarel Pretorius will start at scrumhalf again and Kevin Luiters replaces Piet van Zyl (called up for the Springbok tour to Argentina) on the woodwork.

Cheetahs:

15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Boom Prinsloo (c), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Teboho Mohoje, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Freddie Ngoza, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Willie du Plessis, 22 Joubert Engelbrecht.

Strauss believes 2013 is the year of the Cheetah

Springbok and Cheetahs hooker Adriaan Strauss firmly believes that in 2013 we will see the rise of the TeamsheetsBloemfontein franchise in Super Rugby.

The historic team is yet to establish themselves as Super Rugby contenders with a 10th place finish in 2012 being one of their best seasons. However, this year with a group of talented youngsters and a core of Springboks in the side, Strause is determined to be a force in this year’s competition.

While there are still some injury concerns for the side, especially surrounding four of their Springboks, the Cheetahs captain is positive that they will make an early impression on the league.

I’m very excited about the year, we started early and we’ve worked extremely hard so far, It’s going to be a great year for us, I know it. From the time I’ve been here, this is the best group of players that we have had together and this is the best preparation we have had before a season has begun. Strauss told OFM ahead of the Stormers clash.

“We were disappointed with the way the team performed against the Lions and it wasn’t ideal, but we also understand that it means little in the bigger picture. That’s not an excuse, we want to win every game, and hopefully we can put that right this weekend.” He added.

The Cheetahs face the conference holding Stormer’s this weekend in apreseason match up and will need to show massive improvement if they are going to win.

Coach Naka Drotske has made 14 changes to the side that lost 33 – 17 to the Golden Lions last week allowing for the closest thing to a first team we have seen so far. The big news for the Cheetahs is that Springbok Juan Smith makes his return from injury after 2 years absence from the game.

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TOYOTA CHEETAHS: Hennie Daniller, Jannie Boshoff, Johan Sadie, Ryno Benjamin, Rocco Jansen, Riaan Smith, Sarel Pretorius, Philip van der Walt, Davon Raubenheimer, Boom Prinsloo, Waltie Vermeulen, Ligtoring Landman, Louwrens Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss ©, Trevor Nyakane.

Replacements: Ryno Barnes, Caylib Oosthuizen, Lodewyk de Jager, Francois Uys, Frans Viljoen, Juan Smith, Lappies Labuschagne, Piet van Zyl, Elgar Watts, Barry Geel, Willie le Roux, Hansie

Ex-Free Stater Richardt Strauss called up to the Ireland squad

Former Cheetah and cousin of Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss, Richardt has been called up to the Ireland squad for the incoming tests this November.

The nuggety hooker has been part of a very successful Leinster side who have been the dominant force in Irish and European rugby over the past few years.

I’m not sure if there has ever been and Afrikaans player playing for the Irish before, but this could be the start of an interesting migration trend in World Rugby.

For the full article in SA Rugby magazine, go here.

Ireland Squad: Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Tom Court (Malone/Ulster), Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Keith Earls (Thomond/Munster), Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster), Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster), Iain Henderson (Queens University/Ulster), Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster), David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster), Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster), John Muldoon (Galwegians/Connacht), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster), Mike McCarthy (Buccaneers/Connacht), Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster), Brian O’Driscoll (captain – UCD/Leinster), Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), Jonathan Sexton (St.Mary’s College/Leinster), Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster), Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster).