A chapter in Sharks rugby closed on Thursday evening as the team bid farewell to two players who have served with distinction. John Smit and Butch James are taking up contracts to play in France and England respectively, and on Thursday evening were honoured for their contributions to rugby in KwaZulu-Natal.
Lock Victor Matfield has withdrawn from South Africa's squad for the one-off Test with Wales on November 24, becoming the 12th member of the World Cup-winning squad to miss the tour. The South African Rugby Union (Saru) announced he had been released due to personal commitments.
The World Cup last week then the EDF Energy Cup this? Not quite, but Butch James will barely have time for the Springboks' victory tour of South Africa before he is back on a plane heading for Europe. After signing a two-year contract with Bath this summer, the flyhalf is expected to be in the squad when the Heineken and European Challenge cups start on November 9.
"Awesome", "unbelievable" and "like a fairy tale" is how the Springboks described their homecoming at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Tuesday. Showing cool nerves during interviews that at times resembled a scrum, flanker Schalk Burger said he was still getting used to the idea of being a world champion.
A ruthless South Africa punished England's ill-discipline with a 15-6 win over the defending champions in the Rugby World Cup final at the Stade de France north of Paris on Saturday. Fullback Percy Montgomery took his points total for the tournament past the century mark by converting each of his four penalty attempts.
South Africa defeated defending champions England 15-6 in a tense World Cup final at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday. South Africa, the 1995 champions, struck first after seven minutes when England centre Mathew Tait was penalised for holding on to the ball and Percy Montgomery slotted over a comfortable penalty in front of the posts.
In this most weird and wonderful Rugby World Cup, England is making it seem like anything is possible. That includes winning the final against South Africa on Saturday at Stade de France, a prospect that was utterly absurd little more than a month ago.
Unbeaten South Africa face defending champions England in a mouth-watering Rugby World Cup final at the Stade de France on Saturday, a re-match of the pool match the Springboks won with consummate ease. But both sides have been quick to play down the significance of that record 36-0 rout, achieved when England were without talismanic flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson.
Francois Steyn will become the second-youngest player in a World Cup final on Saturday, hoping he doesn't suffer the same fate as All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu who was a loser against the South Africans in 1995. Steyn, who is 20 years and five months old, has been one of Springbok coach Jake White's young lions.
South Africa flanker Schalk Burger is relishing the thought of a forward battle against England when the two teams meet in the World Cup final on Saturday. Both the Springboks and the English have progressed through their respective pool games and knock-out phase on the back of dominant performances by their packs and Burger cannot wait for the challenge.
South Africa are ready for a penalty shoot-out should the World Cup final against England be called a stalemate. Jonny Wilkinson won the 2003 final against Australia with an injury-time drop-goal, but Springboks coach Jake White said he was unconcerned that the number 10 had rediscovered his form with the boot.
How much do Argentina have left in the tank? The answer should be clear in the second half of a ferocious forwards clash between the Pumas and South Africa on Sunday. Cracks appeared among the Pumas last Sunday when they let slip a 19-6 lead around the hour mark to give Scotland a sniff at victory. The Springboks are too dangerous for anybody to afford easing off at any time.
South Africa prop CJ van der Linde will start against Argentina in the World Cup semifinal at the Stade France in Paris on Sunday after recovering from a knee injury. The 27-year-old tighthead prop is the only change to the starting XV that beat Fiji in last Sunday's quarterfinal -- Jannie du Plessis drops to the bench as the Springboks attempt to reach their second final.
South Africa might boast some of the most electrifying backs in rugby but they might not play much of a part in Sunday's World Cup semifinal against Argentina. As much as the Springboks might want to play a razzle-dazzle brand of game, they believe the best approach to beating the Pumas is to employ a more simple, conservative game plan.
South Africa have always prided themselves on their giant forwards, but scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, one of the smallest members of the team, has arguably played the biggest part in getting them to the World Cup semifinal. Du Preez may be little in stature compared with his teammates but what he lacks in size he makes up for skill and sheer courage.
South Africa progressed to the Rugby World Cup semifinals on Sunday by eking out a hard-fought 37-20 victory over Fiji in a brutal but enthralling game in which no quarter was given. Some monumental hits were exchanged between two immensely physical sides.
There's no disguising this one. South Africa against Fiji should be a mismatch of a Rugby World Cup quarterfinal. Fiji would have to produce the perfect game to upset South Africa and advance to the semifinals. So that's what coach Ilie Tabua is asking his squad to do. Fiji qualified for their first World Cup quarterfinal since the inaugural edition in 1987 with a 38-34 upset over Wales.
South Africa play Fiji in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals in Marseilles on Sunday with a game plan based around a return to basics in a bid to nullify the Pacific Islanders' flair and raw talent. The Springboks are sure to dominate the set-piece, Fiji having suffered in the scrum throughout their pool games against Japan (35-31), Canada (29-16), Australia (lost 55-12) and Wales (38-34).
Tournament heavyweights South Africa lost flying winger Bryan Habana with a gashed cheek as they went on a try-scoring spree against the United States on Sunday. Habana's injury and prop BJ Botha's retirement with a knee injury were injury concerns ahead of the quarterfinal with the Fijians in Marseille.
Eddie Jones will not compromise what he knows of the Wallabies' inner workings to the advantage of fierce Rugby World Cup rivals South Africa, Springboks coach Jake White said on Sunday. White, who is using Jones as a consultant at the tournament, says the former Wallaby coach is a huge positive for him and the Springbok team.