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Aug 14, 2014

Rugby-Springboks wary of unpredictable Argentina

CAPE TOWN, Aug 14 (Reuters) – South Africa will be seeking to avoid any unnecessary scares when they take on underdogs Argentina at the start of their Rugby Championship campaign on Saturday but will be wary about what looks on paper to be a routine assignment.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has spent the week stressing the difficulty of the task at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria (kickoff 1505 GMT) when many of rest of his compatriots are looking further ahead to the meetings with Australia and New Zealand in the annual four-nation competition.

Aug 14, 2014

Argentina restored to near full-strength for Boks

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Argentina retained just two players from their last starting line-up when they named a near full-strength side for their opening match of the Rugby Championship against South Africa at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

Injured winger Juan Imhoff is the only major absentee from the squad named on Thursday by coach Daniel Hourcade, who had rested most of his first-choice selections for the June tests against Ireland and Scotland.

Aug 14, 2014

Rugby-Argentina restored to near full-strength for Boks

CAPE TOWN, Aug 14 (Reuters) – Argentina retained just two players from their last starting line-up when they named a near full-strength side for their opening match of the Rugby Championship against South Africa at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

Injured winger Juan Imhoff is the only major absentee from the squad named on Thursday by coach Daniel Hourcade, who had rested most of his first-choice selections for the June tests against Ireland and Scotland.

Aug 13, 2014

Pollard gets nod ahead of Steyn at flyhalf

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Inexperienced flyhalf Handre Pollard was named ahead of long-standing incumbent Morne Steyn in South Africa’s team for their opening match of the Rugby Championship against Argentina in Pretoria on Saturday.

The 20-year-old, who just two months ago was captaining South Africa’s under-20 team at the Junior World Championship, will win a second cap as coach Heyneke Meyer put Steyn, South Africa’s most capped flyhalf with 56 appearances, on the bench for the test at Loftus Versfeld.

Aug 13, 2014

Rugby-Pollard gets nod ahead of Steyn at flyhalf

CAPE TOWN, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Inexperienced flyhalf Handre Pollard was named ahead of long-standing incumbent Morne Steyn in South Africa’s team for their opening match of the Rugby Championship against Argentina in Pretoria on Saturday.

The 20-year-old, who just two months ago was captaining South Africa’s under-20 team at the Junior World Championship, will win a second cap as coach Heyneke Meyer put Steyn, South Africa’s most capped flyhalf with 56 appearances, on the bench for the test at Loftus Versfeld.

Aug 13, 2014

Rugby-Springboks may be forced to play second fiddle again

CAPE TOWN, Aug 13 (Reuters) – South Africa’s annual quest to knock arch rivals New Zealand off their pedestal begins again in the Rugby Championship, with little to suggest any impending change in the status quo.

A key injury, disappointing returns by South African sides in the recent Super Rugby competition and unconvincing form by the Springboks in June’s warm-up internationals suggest the challenge may again prove a bridge too far.

Aug 12, 2014

Ebola countries told to move African qualifiers

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Guinea and Sierra Leone have been ordered to move their African Nations Cup qualifiers next month to neutral territory following the outbreak of the Ebola virus in west Africa, which has killed more than 1,000 people.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) said on Tuesday that Liberia, who are out of the Nations Cup, must also move international matches although there are none imminent at senior, club or junior level.

Aug 12, 2014

Soccer-Ebola countries told to move African qualifiers

CAPE TOWN, Aug 12 (Reuters) – Guinea and Sierra Leone have been ordered to move their African Nations Cup qualifiers next month to neutral territory following the outbreak of the Ebola virus in west Africa, which has killed more than 1,000 people.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) said on Tuesday that Liberia, who are out of the Nations Cup, must also move international matches although there are none imminent at senior, club or junior level.

Aug 8, 2014

Ivory Coast’s Drogba quits internationals

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba announced his international retirement on Friday after scoring 61 goals in 103 appearances for his country.

“It is with much sadness that I have decided to retire from international football,” the 36-year-old said on his website (www.didierdrogba.com).

Aug 8, 2014

Soccer-Ivory Coast’s Drogba quits internationals

CAPE TOWN, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba announced his international retirement on Friday after scoring 61 goals in 103 appearances for his country.

“It is with much sadness that I have decided to retire from international football,” the 36-year-old said on his website (www.didierdrogba.com).