New Zealand vs Tonga

Stormers doing Boks a favour

Fri, 01 Mar 2013 06:00
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The cynics may be ready to discard them to the scrap heap, but Bryan Habana tells Jan de Koning the Stormers are doing South African rugby a huge favour.

The cynics may be ready to discard them to the scrap heap, but the Stormers would be doing South African rugby a huge favour by giving their Lions imports an extended Super Rugby run.

Springboks Jaco Taute, Elton Jantjies (both on loan) and Patric Cilliers (signed) all featured in last week's 17-25 loss to the Bulls in Pretoria - with mixed results.

Taute, who failed to launch any of his trademark counter attacks, suffered a rather painful injury in the groin region and will not travel to Durban for the Stormers' Round Two encounter with the Sharks.

Jantjies was retained at flyhalf, despite failing with all his kicks at goal, while Cilliers will play off the bench this week after starting at tighthead prop in Pretoria.

South Africa's Player of the Year, veteran Bok wing Bryan Habana, suggested the Stormers are "very lucky" with their collection of Lions.

Apart from Taute, Jantjies and Cilliers, the Stormers' wider squad also includes other Lions imports like hooker Martin Bezuidenhout (on loan), lock Ruan Botha (signed) and utility forward Michael Rhodes (signed).

Having worked alongside Taute, Jantjies and Cilliers in the Bok squad last year, Habana is confident these players will make a "big contribution" to the Stormers' cause this year.

"It is a bit disappointing that the Lions are not in Super Rugby," Habana told this website in an exclusive interview.

"Guys like Elton [Jantjies], Jaco [Taute], Lionel Mapoe [who is on loan to the Bulls] and other Lions, had to leave to keep alive their dream of Test rugby.

"They all chose different franchises and we feel we are very lucky to have guys like Jaco and Elton.

"There are also other great additions to our team [from the Lions], like Pat Cilliers, Michael Rhodes and Martin Bezuidenhout."

Habana said the imports brought a new energy to the squad.

"It is always good to have new faces," he told this website, adding: "Some of the older guys have moved on - like Jaque Fourie, Francois Louw and Anton van Zyl.

"These new guys make it exciting for all of us."

Another big spin-off of these loan deals is that Boks like Jantjies and Taute are being accommodated in a team playing in a world class competition.

If they are called up to the Bok team again this year, they would not have played in inferior competitions.

"There are guys in the current Lions squad who will still have a shot at playing for the Boks," Habana said.

"It is just much tougher if you don't play Super Rugby.

"The Lions are doing their best to accommodate those other players in some form of a competition.

"However, it is not the same when you play Russia, America and teams like that, than when you play against the best of the Southern Hemisphere week-after-week."

The 29-year-old Bok wing, who will be joining up with Toulon in the south of France after the Super Rugby season, said it is important for South African rugby to keep these players in a top-flight competition.

"There are also players at the Kings who will have to leave their mark on the competition if they want to be in the Bok [selection] frame," he said.

"It is important for SA rugby, not only that the five Super Rugby franchises, but all 14 provincial unions are strong.

"There must be a feeder system, be that Varsity Cup or Vodacom Cup, that supplies quality players to Super Rugby and from there to the Springboks.

"It is important that those [feeder] systems are in place to strengthen SA rugby."

By Jan de Koning

New Zealand vs Tonga
sast: 21h00 | local: 23h00

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Sat, 10 October 2015
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 12h00 Bloemfontein
Samoa v Scotland 13h30 Newcastle
Golden Lions v Griquas 14h00 Ellis Park
Australia v Wales 15h45 London
England v Uruguay 19h00 Manchester
Sun, 11 October 2015
Argentina v Namibia 11h00 Leicester
Italy v Romania 13h30 Exeter
France v Ireland 15h45 Cardiff
United States v Japan 19h00 Gloucester
Fri, 16 October 2015
Blue Bulls v Western Province 17h00 Pretoria
Fri, 09 October 2015
Western Province v EP Kings 45 | 14
Pumas v Blue Bulls 24 | 25
Wed, 07 October 2015
Namibia v Georgia 16 | 17
South Africa v United States 64 | 0
Tue, 06 October 2015
Fiji v Uruguay 47 | 15
Canada v Romania 15 | 17
Sun, 04 October 2015
Ireland v Italy 16 | 9
Argentina v Tonga 45 | 16
Zebre v Scarlets 8 | 20
Sat, 03 October 2015
England v Australia 13 | 33
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 36 | 31
South Africa v Scotland 34 | 16
Samoa v Japan 5 | 26
Leinster v Dragons 37 | 13
Griquas v Sharks 20 | 45
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26