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Bulls to self-quarantine for 14 days

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Members of the Bulls team, coaching and support staff that travelled to Australia for their now postponed tour will self-quarantine for 14 days after they arrive back in South Africa this evening, it has been confirmed.

Southern hemisphere rugby governing body Sanzaar issued a statement over the weekend that Super Rugby had been suspended – at the conclusion of round seven matches – following the New Zealand government’s 14-day self-isolation directive to all returning travellers into the country.

New Zealand’s actions were in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has swept across the globe and brought most major sporting events to a halt.

As a result, the Highlanders opted out of playing their match with the Jaguares at the Estadio Jose Amalfitani in Buenos Aires and flew back home instead.

The Bulls, who lost 41-17 to the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday, will self-isolate for 14 days in their own homes while the South African government is monitoring the situation regarding the coronavirus.

The Super Rugby side are not the only team affected, as Bulls management also requested that their junior players as well as their Rugby Challenge team, the Bulls XV, stay clear of Loftus for the foreseeable future. This includes first-team players who did not travel with the touring team, but have been considered for Super Rugby selection this season.

“Everyone is in a bit of doubt but now it’s just a case of getting the boys back here and figuring it out from there,” said Bulls media manager Shanil Mangaroo.

While the rugby schedule is in a tailspin, the recess will give teams like the Bulls time for a slight rethink before Super Rugby, hopefully, resumes in the next few weeks.

If Super Rugby’s suspension isn’t terminal for the 2020 season, the Bulls should use this time to devise ways to get an 80-minute performance and a 23-man effort from the team.

Between the second half against the Highlanders at Loftus last week and the first 30 minutes of Saturday’s clash with the Reds, the Bulls produced their most scintillating rugby of the season.

While against the Highlanders it proved to be a match-winning effort, against the Reds in Brisbane it proved to be nothing more than a short sharp burst that was quickly forgotten as the Reds scored 41 unanswered points to win comfortably.

Pote Human’s team ran in three tries without reply on Saturday, 12 points within the first 12 minutes and came within five metres from Rosko Specman adding a fourth team try and a second for himself.

That Specman stop, affected by Reds captain Liam Wright close to their tryline, proved to be the turning point. It galvanised the home team to hit back twice in the first half to go into the break just 17-14 down, when it could have easily been 24-0.

The Reds came out refuelled and re-energised and the Bulls were the opposite. They dropped their guard completely and conceded territory and possession – things that the Reds had neither of in that first half an hour – to their opponents, who made them pay.

And the replacements – especially the halfback pair of Ivan van Zyl and Morne Steyn and loosehead Gerhard Steenekamp – battled to swing momentum back to the Bulls, in true “bomb squad” fashion. – The Star

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Rugby

Cheetahs stay perfect with Pumas victory

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The Cheetahs continued with their unbeaten run as they scored three tries en route to a convincing victory over the Pumas in Nelspruit on Saturday.

A dominant second-half performance gave them a 28-17 win.

The Cheetahs made the trip from Bloemfontein looking to make it three wins from three in their Currie Cup campaign.

It was, however, the hosts who put the first points on the board from the boot of flyhalf Eddie Fouche in the second minute.

The visitors drew level two minutes later after veteran Ruan Pienaar kicked a penalty to open his side’s account.

Two tries followed, by Gideon van der Merwe and Clayton Blommetjies, to stretch the Cheetahs’ lead – good reward for ambitious and slick attacking play.

After appearing to be shell-shocked in the opening 20 minutes, the Pumas started to find their feet.

They counter-punched and managed to win three penalties, all duly converted by Fouche, to inch their way back into the contest.

At half time the score read 15-12 to the visitors.

The second half continued the trend of Cheetahs dominance.

Louis van der Westhuizen scored five minutes after the break, with Pienaar adding the extras to stretch the Cheetahs’ lead to 10 points.

The Pumas hit back with a try of their own through Eduan Swart to keep them in the contest.

However, ultimately it would prove insufficient as the Cheetahs continued to turn the screws.

Two more penalties by Ruan Pienaar and a long-distance effort from Frans Steyn put the result beyond doubt. – SA Rugby Mag

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CUT names new rugby head coach

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Staff Reporter

The Central University of Technology (CUT) has named Braam van Straaten as head coach of the Free State institution’s rugby team.

A statement from the university says Van Straaten, who turns 50 next week, boasts a wealth of experience which includes stints at international level with the Wallabies (Australia), Bermuda and Namibia as well as in Super Rugby with the Western Force (Australia), the Sharks and the Southern Kings.

According to the club vice-chairperson, André Pawson, the CUT Ixias will again be in excellent hands with the experienced coach in charge.

“We are super excited having Braam van Straaten at the steer of our rugby on campus,” Pawson is quoted as saying in the statement.

“He is an excellent coach, with a superb track record as general, defence and kicking coach, from provincial to international level.

“We are confident that Van Straaten will continue taking the CUT to even higher heights than we enjoyed over the last five years.”

CUT is expected to announce the rest of the rugby team’s coaching support staff soon.

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Cheetahs, Lions share spoils in Currie Cup try fest

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The Cheetahs and Lions played to a 44-44 draw in a high-scoring Currie Cup encounter in Bloemfontein on Wednesday night.

Both teams scored six tries as the lead changed hands several times.

The Lions, trailing by 44-41 shortly before full-time, were camped on the Cheetahs tryline but couldn’t force their way over for a try.

After winning several penalties, they opted to go for goal to level matters.

There was enough time for a restart but neither team could hang on to the ball and had to settle for a draw.

The Cheetahs led 23-17 at half-time.

Both teams played enterprising rugby although their defensive frailties were laid bare.

The Lions moved past Western Province into fifth position on the log standings, while the Cheetahs remained rooted to the bottom. – Sport24

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