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Blitzboks Ready for Olympic Action

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) on Thursday included an experienced and powerful squad of 12 players to compete at the Rugby Sevens as part of Team South Africa at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.


Kyle Brown will captain the squad that will compete as part of Team SA as rugby returns to the Olympics 92 years since the 15-man format was last played at the Olympics, in 1924 in Paris.


Current World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year, Werner Kok, was included in the team after he missed out in all of the 2015/16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series following a knee injury. He has been joined by Springbok midfielder, Juan de Jongh, who has played in 14 Test matches for South Africa.


De Jongh’s regular DHL Stormers team-mate in Vodacom Super Rugby, Cheslin Kolbe, was also included, but generally Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell stuck to most of the regulars that helped the Blitzboks to second place in the overall World Series.


This includes forwards Tim Agaba, Philip Snyman and Kwagga Smith, who was named in World Rugby’s Dream Team at the completion of the World Series along with speedster Seabelo Senatla. The winger will be joined by former World Sevens Player of the Year Cecil Afrika, Justin Geduld and Rosko Specman at the back. All-rounder Dylan Sage also secured a trip to Rio with strong performances in the last couple of tournaments.


“It was really tough finalising the 12-man squad presented to SASCOC,” Powell admitted.


“I could have picked three different teams and all would have been very competitive, but unfortunately, only 12 can go. We have named Francois Hougaard and Chris Dry as back-up players that will travel to Rio as well, but they will be staying outside the official village.


“I want to thank all 23 players that contributed this year and the final 19 who really worked hard towards a common goal. That said, we are not done yet and will have to work hard in the remaining 20 days or so to fine-tune our play.


“We are all excited about this as it does not come bigger than the Olympics, but also realise that there will be expectations for us to perform. We can only give our best and hope we can justify the great support we are getting from the public.


“We are not thinking medals, but rather on how to execute on our first match on day one of the tournament. We will focus on what we do well and that will hopefully bring the desired results.”


The Springbok Sevens team that will compete as part of Team SA is: Kyle Brown (captain), Tim Agaba, Philip Snyman, Werner Kok, Dylan Sage, Kwagga Smith, Rosko Specman, Cheslin Kolbe, Cecil Afrika, Justin Geduld, Juan de Jongh, Seabelo Senatla. Travelling reserves: Chris Dry, Francois Hougaard.


Brief player profiles:


Kyle Brown

Physical: 1.82m & 96 kg, DOB: 06/02/1987, Cape Town

Tournaments: 55 – debut Dubai 2008; 385 points (77 tries)


Philip Snyman

Physical: 1.88m & 96kg, DOB: 26/04/1987, Bloemfontein

Tournaments: 37 – debut Dubai 2009; 211 points (36 tries, 15 conversions)


Tim Agaba

Physical: 1.93m & 106kg, DOB: 23/07/1989, Kampala (Uganda)

Tournaments: 7 – debut Sydney 2016; 25 points (five tries)


Kwagga Smith

Physical: 1.82m & 93 kg, DOB: 11/06/1993, Lydenburg

Tournaments: 24 – debut Port Elizabeth 2013; 250 points (50 tries)


Werner Kok

Physical: 1, 77m & 80kg, DOB: 17/01/1993, Nelspruit

Tournaments: 19 – debut London 2013; 210 points (42 tries)


Dylan Sage

Physical: 1.88m & 97kg, DOB: 24/01/1992, Cape Town

Tournaments: 7 – debut Cape Town 2015; 40 points (eight tries)


Rosko Specman

Physical: 1.72m & 79kg, DOB: 28/04/1989, Grahamstown

Tournaments: 13 – debut Las Vegas 2014; 169 points (29 tries, 12 conversions)


Cheslin Kolbe

Physical: 1.71m & 80kg, DOB: 28/10/1993, Kraaifontein

Tournaments: 12 – debut London 2011; 192 points (15 tries, 35 conversions)


Cecil Afrika

Physical: 1.75m & 73kg, DOB: 03/03/1988, Port Elizabeth

Tournaments: 45 – debut Dubai 2009/10; 1123 points (136 tries, 218 conversions, 1 drop goal)


Seabelo Senatla

Physical: 1.78m & 80kg, DOB: 10/03/1993, Welkom

Tournaments: 29 – debut Wellington 2013; 785 points (157 tries)


Juan de Jongh

Physical: 1.75m & 90kg, DOB: 15/04/1988, Paarl

Tournaments: 6 – debut Wellington 2008; 40 points (eight tries)


Justin Geduld

Physical: 1.75m & 72kg, DOB: 01/10/1993, Cape Town

Tournaments: 25 – debut Wellington 2013; 558 points (62 tries, 124 conversions)

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So You Want To Catch A Fish?

Fishing has been around for thousands of years and people use a variety of techniques and equipment to pull their catch out of the water. With so many tricks and tools to choose from, the best way to learn how to fish is to fish! That said, it can be daunting so here’s a helpful guide to get you started.


The Right Kit for the Catch

Firstly, you’re going to need gear! The size of the rod you need will depend on the fish you would like to catch but a good place to start is an 8ft rod. Next up is a full tackle kit complete with bobbers, hooks, sinkers and swivels. When choosing a hook you should go for the smallest one possible as this makes the bait look more natural and it will hook the fish quicker. Ensure that the hook is very sharp. Once you have all your gear you will need to rig it up. You’ll also want a fishing cap because it will make you look like a pro.


Romancing the Fish

Different fish have different diets and even though there are no underwater bakeries, people have reeled in fish with nothing more than a hunk of bread. Live bait is best for beginners but you can use dead bait, in which case you may need a bait kit or you can use lures.


Laws, Locations and Landing A Fish

It’s important to note that there are regulations in place to protect certain species. In order to comply with regulations, get familiar with the saltwater and freshwater species in South Africa and acquaint yourself with size and bag limits. When it comes to freshwater fishing, regulations vary from place to place and permits are usually issued by the landowner or governing authority. These days private waters tend to be catch and release.


Now that you know how to stay out of trouble, it’s time to learn how to cast. Casting takes a bit of practice and this video provides a great casting tutorial. Once you’ve cast and you feel the little nibbles on the line, you need to give a little tug to hook the fish. You want to tire the fish out by alternating between reeling in and loosening the line and finally you will be able to reel in your first catch.


Catch and Release

If you don’t plan on keeping your fish you’ll want to learn this skill. It requires speed, and skilled catch and releasers are able to keep the fish in the water the whole time. Here are some tips:

  • Keep equipment on hand (pliers, camera)
  • Handle the fish with wet hands to preserve their protective slime coat
  • Keep the fish horizontal and don’t drop it
  • Keep your fingers away from the eyes and gills
  • Try not to keep it out of the water for longer than 30 seconds
  • Use pliers to remove the hook, be gentle. If the hook is deep inside the fish, cut the line as close to the hook as possible.
  • Put the fish in the water so it faces the current. Water needs to run over the mouth and gills.
  • If it’s exhausted, support its belly and place your other hand under the lip or tail until it has its strength back.


Whether you plan to catch and release or put a fish on the braai, hopefully you’ll be reeling in your first catch in no time!

All you have to do is grab your fishing essentials online here or in-store at MRP Sport!


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The ABCs of Packing for a Hike

Packing! Argh! Dreaded packing! How can a precursor to so much joy (i.e. tropical beaches, a cabin in the woods, your folks’ house in Caperustenvillestadberg) bring about so much suffering? While we don’t know what you should pack for a parental visit (maybe these?), we’ve got you covered for a hiking trip!

The Hiking ABCs

A – Accessibility! Pack in the order of necessity. Stuff you won’t need while hiking such as camping equipment goes on the bottom and items of importance are up top.

B – Balance! Evenly distribute the weight inside your pack because you don’t want to be wobbly while clinging to the side of a mountain.

C – Compression! When packing, be sure to fill gaps with smaller items and tighten your backpack’s compression straps when you’re done.

Packing the Pack

Now that we have the ABCs covered, let’s get down to packing with these handy steps:

  1. Choose your backpack. A 65L is good for 3-5 nights while a 40L is better for 1-3 nights. If you’re doing a little day hike, this 25L will do the trick. While we’re on the topic of bags, you can’t go wrong with a waterproof bag for keeping clothing dry or storing muddy shoes.
  2. First item to go in is the sleeping bag! This fills out the bottom of your pack. Remember to choose the right sleeping bag for the temperature you will be in and only put it in its stuff bag when you need to pack it. This keeps the inner fibres in good shape.
  3. Next in is the tent. You want to put this right in the middle to maintain pack balance.
  4. Your sleeping mat goes in next to your tent and you can use your creativity to get your stove, pots, cutlery, lighting, clothing etc etc in. These items form your bottom layer. Move items around so there are no spaces (compression remember?) and make sure nothing that needs to be accessed quickly is lurking down here.
  5. Now you can start putting the ease of access items in. These include a first aid kit, a multi tool, a headlamp, a water bottle, food (unless you know your berries) and a fire kit. If your pack has pockets, it’s a good idea to put these smaller items in them.
  6. If there is anything else you need to take with just remember the packing ABCs and fit them in accordingly.

Congratulations! You now know how to pack a backpack like a pro.

Click here to download the "Outdoor Checklist" (73 downloads)


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Setting Up Camp: Great Places to Pitch a Tent in SA

South Africa has the third-highest biodiversity in the world so it’s no surprise that our beautiful country has many places to enjoy nature. The following is just a tiny peek at the amazing camping options out there and the best part is that they are all under R300 a night.


Beaverlac, Western Cape

Nestled in the Cederberg mountains amongst the rock pools and fynbos is Beaverlac. Music is not permitted in the camp which makes this the perfect place for peace and quiet. You can take your trusty hound along because the site is pet-friendly, and there is a small shop that stocks wood, bread, snacks, wine and beer. If you plan to indulge in the adult snacks you may want one of these. The Cederberg gets really cold in the winter months so pack a 0 degree sleeping bag and be sure to take along a hiking pole for the trails.


Mabibi Beach Camp, KwaZulu-Natal

On the Elephant Coast, between Sodwana and Kosi Bay lies Mabibi Beach Camp. This is a campsite for people who can handle the very real aspects of the great outdoors. The kind of people who don’t even flinch when a UFI (unidentified flying insect) hurtles towards their face at 50km/h. Mabibi is only accessible by 4×4 and with no cellphone reception or electricity, it’s a technophobe’s dream. Be sure to pack a headlamp for when the sun sets and mosquito repellent for the winged beasts.


Sterland Caravan Park, Northern Cape

Don’t let the name fool you, tents are welcome here too! This campsite is kitted out with warm showers, a scullery and wash line. The surface is gravel so if you value your spinal column we suggest you take along an inflatable mattress and a pump. During the day you can venture to the Southern African Large Telescope and in the evenings you can marvel at the Southern Hemisphere sky whilst reclining in the aptly named moon chair.


Manyane Resort, North West

Situated in the Pilanesberg National Park, this campsite is a perfect place to take the family. The park has many animals, including the big five, so if you have some little monkeys of your own, you might want to get them a headlamp so they can be safe at night. When camping with the family it is also a good idea to have a first aid kit on standby. Manyane also has comforts such as a restaurant, shop, power points and a pool.


Wild Spirit Backpackers, Western Cape

With views of the Tsitsikamma mountains and valleys, Wild Spirit Backpackers is a real gem. The people are friendly, the surroundings are inspiring and the campsite is situated in a forest garden. Being a backpackers means it has all the luxuries such as Wi-Fi, a communal kitchen and tea and coffee on standby. Pack a picnic, make sure you take a picnic blanket and get out there and explore what Wild Spirit has to offer..


We hope this inspires you for your next camping trip. For a comprehensive collection of campsites in South Africa click here.