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Free State favourite for rugby bio-bubble

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Staff Reporter

The Free State could be considered for hosting the rugby bio-bubble for domestic games set to start at the end of August.

A bio-bubble is a strictly controlled bio-secure environment where players, management and staff are regularly monitored for COVID-19 infections.

The initial choice for the rugby bio-bubble was Johannesburg but the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in Gauteng may scupper the plans.

SA Rugby chief executive officer Jurie Roux confirmed to SA Rugby Magazine that they are considering another option outside the COVID-19 epicentre.

“We are busy negotiating with government on two scenarios,” Roux was quoted as saying.

“One outside a bio-bubble and one in a bio-bubble. It is now where that bio-bubble will be,” he added.

“Initially, the destination of choice was Johannesburg for various reasons. However, Johannesburg is becoming a real hotspot now in terms of COVID-19 . . .”

Roux said they will be presenting their plans to the government by the end of the week and hopefully get an answer next week.

“Our return-to-play date is still the last weekend of August or first weekend of September or at the latest the second weekend of September,” he said.

OFM reports that Toyota Cheetahs have put in a “very good” bid to host the bio-bubble.

It said the Free State franchise has proposed that all of the matches can be hosted at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein, and if push comes to shove, Tafel Lager Park in Kimberley is also an option to host matches. 0718415254

Essentially, the bubble is a sanitised rugby biosphere with strict entry standards and limited movement outside of its cordon.

The purpose of this facility is to restrict any possible spreading of the coronavirus.

Everyone is tested before entry and every person’s movement is controlled in order to monitor and manage a safe environment.

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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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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