Springboks hooker Scarra Ntubeni apologises after slapping ball from ball boy's hands

A week after making his test debut against Argentina, the Western Province rake was roundly castigated for his petulance in Western Province's match against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday (Sunday NZ time).

The 28-year-old slapped the ball away as the ball boy presented it to him before Ntubeni threw to a lineout with Western Province leading 33-19.

His mood was hardly improved as his side crashed to a 38-33 defeat and missed a Currie Cup semifinals berth.

Kolisi to make Springboks return

The flanker played no part as the Springboks won the Rugby Championship for the first time in a decade due to a knee injury.

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus on Monday revealed Kolisi will feature against the Pumas at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria this weekend.

"He is a guy we desperately want to be involved on Saturday and we will involve him, but it will be limited minutes," said Erasmus.

"We won't rush him – we need to carefully manage his return."

Prepare for fiery All Blacks-Springbok clash

The tactical cat and mouse that comes with most lead-in Tests to the showpiece tournament in Japan won't apply on Saturday at Westpac Stadium as the two heavyweights get set to field teams at close to full strength.

Hanging over the contest is last year's result at the same venue which the Springboks won 36-34.

Retallick says there's no way he could forget that result, one of just four losses he has experienced in his 76 tests in an All Blacks jersey.

Springbok test no guide to World Cup

The Rugby Championship Test in Wellington on Saturday is the only meeting of the old rivals ahead of their clash in Yokohama on September 21st, a match that should set the World Cup alight on day two of the tournament.

Hansen says both teams are in a building process and plenty can happen in two months, stripping this week's match of a bragging rights element.

"I guess it will give whoever wins it a little confidence going in to the World Cup, but it won't mean whoever wins this one will automatically win the one in the World Cup," he said.

Blitzboks to wear Mandela-inspired jersey in Cape Town

South Africa are holding centenary celebrations for the life of the inspirational former prisoner and president, who would have turned 100 years in 2018. Mandela passed away on December 5, 2013.

The Blitzboks sevens side will wear Madiba-style jerseys at their home tournament in Cape Town, in the second leg of the men’s World Sevens Series.

The jersey’s green-and-gold design is reportedly inspired by the “intricately patterned shirts Madiba was famous for wearing”, along with Proteas and Springboks.

Erasmus confirmed as Springboks coach

Erasmus has signed a six-year contract to the end of the 2023 World Cup in France and has been tasked with improving results after South Africa had slipped to sixth in the world rankings.

The decision to appoint Erasmus, who had been acting as director of rugby in South Africa, was widely expected. He will stay in both roles as he finally fulfils his ambition of coaching the side, having missed out two years ago to Coetzee.

Springboks edge out France in Paris

Having gained the recommendation of the Rugby World Cup board following an independent evaluation report, South Africa were left disgusted when the World Rugby Council awarded France hosting rights for the 2023 tournament on Wednesday.

If that provided additional motivation for Saturday's match in Paris, the Springboks were also fuelled by a desire to bounce back from last weekend's stunning 38-3 defeat to Ireland.

And a much-changed side managed to do just that as tries from Dillyn Leyds and Jesse Kriel proved enough to edge out a France team that struggled for fluency.

Vermeulen replaces Oosthuizen

Vermeulen has not played for the Springboks since June last year, but the number eight is back in the reckoning for the clash at Stade de France.

Oosthuizen has flown home after sustaining a serious knee injury in a heavy defeat to Ireland at the Aviva Stadium last weekend.

Loose forward Pieter-Steph du Toit has also been ruled out the encounter with Les Bleus in Paris due to a concussion suffered against Joe Schmidt's men.

All Blacks to start World Cup defence against Springboks

The All Blacks beat the Springboks at the semi-final stage of the 2015 World Cup in England before going on to defeat Australia in the final.

Steve Hansen's men begin the defence of their title against their fellow-Pool B heavyweights at the International Stadium on September 21 in the 2019 tournament. 

Hosts Japan get the World Cup started a day earlier at Tokyo Stadium versus a European qualifier in Pool A.

England face Tonga at Sapporo Dome on September 22, a day after 2015 runners-up the Wallabies take on Fiji at the same venue.

Etzebeth to remain captaincy

Etzebeth took over as skipper when Whiteley sustained a groin injury during the Test series victory over France in June.

Whiteley was expected to be fit to travel to Europe, but the number eight will not be ready in time for the Tests against Ireland, France, Italy and Wales in November and December.

Etzebeth has been an inspiration since being installed as stand-in captain and the towering lock will continue to lead his country out.