Category Archives: Sports Contraversial

A CRACKING START TO SUPER RUGBY 2016 AS THE STORMERS STEAL THE SHOW

The first weekend of Super Rugby 2016 has come and gone quicker than my salary. A good weekend of rugby it was though. High paced and electrifying rugby was seen. Only three really big victories and 4 games that could have gone either way. Any rugby lover would be happy with the rugby they saw.

The Blues beat the Highlanders but as predicted this one went down to the wire. The Highlanders will kick themselves for the yellow card they received. This probably made the difference in the game. Both sides struggled with kicking at goal. Blues 33-31 Highlanders.

The Hurricanes will look back at the Brumbies game and wonder what happened. Yes they missed a kick or two, but the Brumbies out played them. Even when the Brumbies were down to 14 men, and this happened twice, the Hurricanes didn’t look like they could buy a try. Brumbies 52-10 Hurricanes.

The Cheetahs once again showed us how you can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Leading 24-3 at one stage, they still managed to lose. True the Jaguars played with 13 men when the Cheetahs scored their tries. Still one would think that when you have a 21 point lead you can build on that. Hats off however to the Jaguars that stuck to their guns. They did not allow the scoreboard to put pressure on them and though before the break. A well-deserved win by the new kids on the block. Cheetahs 33-34 Jaguars.

The Lions travelled to Tokyo and although the Sunwolves had 4 world cup players in their team, the Lions were not overwhelmed at all. The Wolves played good rugby and the Lions did not have it all their own way. Both teams a gain missed crucial kicks at goal. Still it was a good show of running rugby. Sunwolves 13-26 Lions. Both sides still have some work to do going forward.

The Crusaders missed Richie McCaw and Dan Carter. Although they led the game for most of 65 minutes it was the last 15 minutes that mattered. The Chiefs came back and scored two late tries giving them a victory. Missed kicks at goal could have made the result much different but only that it would have given the Chiefs a bigger winning margin. Crusaders 21 -27 Chiefs.

The Waratahs versus Reds game was true to form. Both of these sides can be contenders in Australia and it is always a hard game. The Waratahs made sure of the win in the first half and the Reds were always going to struggle to come back. The fact that they got two yellow cards didn’t help them much. Waratahs 30-10 Reds.

The Force v Rebels game remained true to history. The away side winning although this time it was with a slightly bigger margin than what we have come to expect between these two sides. The Force will rue the mistakes made on the attack as this gave the Rebels just what they needed. In the end a good old contest between two equally strong sides. Force 19-25 Rebels.

The Kings started well but then they just fizzled out against the Sharks. The Sharks were always going to win this one, but I expected much more of a fight from the Kings. The off the field woes of the Eastern Cape side has carried over on to the field. The Sharks can also not read too much into the victory taking into account the opponents. Hopefully the Kings can sort out their problems and rather sooner than later or it will be a long season for them. Kings 8-43 Sharks.

The game of the weekend was the Stormers versus Bulls game and the first half lived up to expectations with the home side leading only 9-6. The second half however was a totally different ball game. The Stormers came out with a vengeance and it showed. The play of the weekend being the driving maul from their own 22. It looked like a freight train without brakes and the Bulls could only look on as it stormed forward. At one stage it looked like the Bulls players falling back was helping the maul move towards their own tryline. The Stormers will be happy with their performance while the Bulls can’t take a lot of positives from the game. Stormers 33-9 Bulls.

SUPER RUGBY TEAMS FOR WEEK 1 2015

Here is the team selections for the first week of Super Rugby action in 2015.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13

Crusaders v Rebels, Christchurch – 08:35

Crusaders

15 Colin Slade, 14 Robbie Fruean, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Wyatt Crockett, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Ryan Crotty, 23 Nathaniel Apa

Rebels

15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith

Substitutes: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Scott Fuglistaller, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Sefanaia Naivalu

Brumbies v Reds, Canberra – 10:40

Brumbies

15. Robbie Coleman, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Joseph Tomane, 10. Matt Toomua, 9. Nic White, 8. Jarrad Butler, 7. David Pocock (Captain), 6. Scott Fardy, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Rory Arnold, 3. Ben Alexander, 2. Josh Mann-Rea, 1. Scott Sio

Replacements: 16. Stephen Moore, 17. Jean-Pierre Smith, 18. Ruan-Henry Smith, 19. Jordan Smiler, 20. Ita Vaea, 21. Michael Dowsett, 22. James Dargaville, 23. Lausii Taliauli

Reds

15 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Karmichael Hunt, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Curtis Browning, 5 Marco Kotze, 4 James Horwill, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper (captain)

Substitutes: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Sef Faagase, 19 Ed O’Donoghue, 20 Adam Korczyk, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Campbell Magnay

Lions v Hurricanes, Johannesburg – 19:10

Lions

15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Howard Mnisi, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Derick Minnie, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Martin Muller, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Malcolm Marx, 1. Schalk van der Merwe

Substitutes: 16. Armand van der Merwe, 17. Corne Fourie, 18. Jacques van Rooyen, 19. Robert Kruger, 20. Warwick Tecklenburg, 21. Faf de Klerk, 22. Elton Jantjies, 23. Stokkies Hanekom

Hurricanes

15 Jason Woodward, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Rey Le-Lo, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dan Coles, 1 Ben Franks

Substitutes: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Reggie Goodes, 18 Chris Eves, 19 Callum Gibbins, 20 Victor Vito, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 James Marshall, 23 Matt Proctor

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14

Blues v Chiefs, Auckland – 08:35

Blues

15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Charles Piutau, 13 George Moala/Hamish Northcot, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Jerome Kaino (captain), 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.

Substitutes: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Luke Braid, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Hamish Northcott/Ben Lam

Chiefs

15 Tom Marshall, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Johan Bardoul, 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Matt Symons (captain), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu

Substitutes: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Tevita Koloamatangi, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Bryce Heem

Sharks v Cheetahs, Durban – 17:05

Sharks

15. SP Marais, 14. S’bura Sithole, 13. Waylon Murray, 12. Heimar Williams, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Tera Mtembu, 7. Renaldo Bothma, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Mouritz Botha, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Matt Stevens, 19. Marco Wentzel,20. Jean Deysel, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Fred Zeilinga, 23. Odwa Ndungane

Cheetahs

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Clayton Blommetjies, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Joe Petersen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Jean Cook, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Danie Minnie.

Substitutes: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 BG Uys, 18 Maks van Dyk, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Boom Prinsloo, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Willie du Plessis, 23 Cornal Hendricks

Bulls v Stormers, Pretoria – 19:10

Bulls

15. Jurgen Visser, 14. Bjorn Basson, 13. JJ Engelbrecht, 12. Jan Serfontein, 11. Francois Hougaard, 10. Handre Pollard, 9. Piet van Zyl, 8. Arno Botha, 7. Lappies Labuschagne, 6. Deon Stegmann, 5. Victor Matfield (captain), 4. Jacques du Plessis, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Adriaan Strauss, 1. Trevor Nyakane

Substitutes: 16. Callie Visagie, 17. Morne Mellet, 18. Dayan vd Westhuizen/Neethling Fouche, 19. Grant Hattingh, 20. Pierre Spies, 21. Rudy Paige, 22. Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 23. Jesse Kriel

Stormers

15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Johnny Kotze, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Rynhardt Elstadt, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Vincent Koch, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16. Bongi Mbonambi, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Wilco Louw, 19. Jurie van Vuuren, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Kurt Coleman, 23. Huw Jones


SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 15

Waratahs v Force, Sydney – 07:05

Waratahs

15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dave Dennis (captain), 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson

Substitutes: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Mitchell Chapman, 21 Stephan Hoiles, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Matt Carraro

Force

15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Solomoni Jnr Rasolea, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sam Wykes (captain), 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2. Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan

Substitutes: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Luke Burton

Let the games begin

THE REAL REASON THE SPRINGBOKS LOST AGAINST AUSTRALIA

Having watched the test between the Springboks and Wallabies on Saturday, and being dissappionted in the end. It is very clear why we lost the game by one point.

Naas Botha pointed out that Clancy, the ref, had a bad game. Did he really? Bar the yellow card given to Habana, he did not make many mistakes. Ok maybe Australia’s first try had an eliment of obstruction in it. But was he bad? No.

The Springbok forwards had a big game. We showed dominance in the scrum and lineouts. We created turn over ball. They tackled like men possessed. Vermeulen, Coetzee and Louw played with heart and guts.

The front row worked for once an Etzebeth came to the party. Matfield was in the lineouts but that was it. Why De Jager replaced Etzebeth and not Matfield only Meyer can answer.

Tha backs were another story. Pienaar’s kicks didn’t work except for one. Morne couldn’t get his backline away. Le Roux kicked more in this one game than the whole season.

Serfontein and De Villiers in the midfield never featured. Hendricks and Habana tried but with out much ball they can’t be blamed for poor performance.

Come the yellow card and we weather the storm. Win a penalty and get out of jail free card. All Steyn has to do is kick it into touch. Our lineout. Our ball. We control the game. Oops he goes for distance and it is into the hands of Australia.

We win the turnover but cough it up again. And the end result is Australia score the winning try.

Supporters and experts blames referee Clancy. We blame coach Meyer.  We look for excuses everywhere. But we don’t blame the players.

TIRED, OLD SPRINGBOKS IN SCRAPPY WIN

The Springboks came back from behind against Argentina for yet another scrappy win. Many said well deserved. Some said it shows the caracter of the team. Me, I believe it was nothing more than dumb luck.

Now I know I will alienate and anger some by my next statement, but this is how I feel. And I know many Bok supporters feel the same.

Heyneke Meyer has lost the plot and plan for his team.

How can I say that. For one everytime a player gets injured he goes and brings back some old player that has had a good season somewhere in Europe or Japan. He selects players on name and not performance.

True some youngters have come through, but they are gew and far between. Pollard has limited to no experence in Super Rugby yet he gets selected above proven flyhalfs. Pienaar has not been on top form for a long time. His kicking from the base is shocking and other than that he has nothing.

Juan Smith has had a good season in a mediocre competition and still gets the nod above Marcel Coetzee and Warren Whitely.

Our scrums suffer but Bismarck, Jannie and Beast remains the first choice front row. None of them are still the best in their positions.

Etzebeth and De Jager together is not working. Eben os returning fron a long injury lay off and Lood is very unexperienced. Still Bakkies remain on the benh.

Jean de Villiers, like him as I may, is no longer a firt choice centre. Here we have a John Smit situation again. Select a player because he is the captain and not because he is the best.

What I cant undertand is that Meyer is now trying to built a team for the World Cup. Now he wants to experiment. He had two years to do that an worried about winning.

Yes the bulk of the current team/squad won the games. But we all saw that they were getting old and called for young blood.

The pace of the game is getting to much for the guys. The reason is clear. They are getting to old. The problem. The youngsters that needs to take over has either left for Europe, Japan or Australasia. The ones remaining has no experence. 

So I say and ask again: What is Meyer smoking? Is it his old socks, used teabags or something stronger? It is clear that he is not watching the same games we are. Clear he is not watching Super Rugby and definitily not Currie Cup rugby.

There are more players than jut the class of 2007/2011 and the guys that somewhere in their past wore blue.

But then this is my view.

 

 

The Qantas Wallabies have announced an unchanged 23-man line-up for Saturday night’s second Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand in Auckland.

Head Coach Ewen McKenzie has remained consistent with his selections by giving those who participated in the 12-all draw in Sydney at the weekend an opportunity to topple the All Blacks at their spiritual home, Eden Park.

“We were impressed with the pressure we were able to apply in the opening Test and, despite some errors, were pleased with the intent of the group to continue attacking despite the poor weather conditions,” McKenzie said.

“I imagine both teams are excited by the prospect of a dry evening in Auckland on Saturday night, which will have an influence on the way the game is played.

“For us, we know we need to be more clinical in certain areas, but overall we feel the same group of guys deserve the opportunity to have another crack.

“Selection is never easy, although we’ve made a lot of tough decisions in this space over the past 12 months with the ultimate goal of winning games.  You’re always looking to improve and I’m confident the sum of those hard choices has put us in a better position today.

“While we didn’t quite get there on Saturday night, I do know that we’ve made good progress since our first Test against New Zealand a year ago.

“That gives us some confidence heading into what will be an extremely tough challenge in Auckland on Saturday night.”

After a draw ended New Zealand’s 17-game win streak at the weekend, the Qantas Wallabies will now turn their attention to one of Rugby’s great challenges, playing the All Blacks at Eden Park.

Australia has not won at the venue since 1986, while the All Blacks have won 32 straight games at Eden Park against all opposition dating back to 1994.

However, McKenzie said his players wouldn’t be daunted by the Eden Park history.

“Recent results would suggest Eden Park hasn’t been a happy place for Australia and already this week we’ve seen that not many people are giving us a chance in Auckland,” he said.

“Sporting records are there to be broken and we’ll look forward to the opportunity of playing the All Blacks in their own backyard on Saturday night.”

The Qantas Wallabies side to play New Zealand in the second 2014 Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship clash at Eden Park on Saturday 23 August is:

  1. James Slipper (vc – Queensland Reds)
  2. Nathan Charles (Western Force)
  3. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)
  4. Sam Carter (ACT Brumbies)
  5. Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds)
  6. Scott Fardy (ACT Brumbies)
  7. Michael Hooper (c – NSW Waratahs)
  8. Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs)
  9. Nic White (ACT Brumbies)
  10. Kurtley Beale (NSW Waratahs)
  11. Rob Horne (NSW Waratahs)
  12. Matt Toomua (ACT Brumbies)
  13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (vc – NSW Waratahs)
  14. Pat McCabe (ACT Brumbies)
  15. Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs)

Reserves 16. James Hanson (Queensland Reds) 17. Pek Cowan (Western Force) 18. Ben Alexander (ACT Brumbies) 19. Will Skelton (NSW Waratahs) 20. Scott Higginbotham (Melbourne Rebels) 21. Nick Phipps (NSW Waratahs) 22. Bernard Foley (NSW Waratahs) 23. Tevita Kuridrani (ACT Brumbies)

24th man – Ben McCalman (Western Force)

TIME FOR CHANGE AND OVERSEAS BASED PLAYERS

After Saturdays performance by the Springboks in the rain, a couple of questions has once again been raised.

1. IS IT TIME TO LOOK AT OUR OVERSEAS BASED PLAYERS?

All the players and coach Heyneke Meyer commented that they have never played in conditions like these. That is except Flo Louw. He is based in England, hosts of next year’s World Cup. Why not look at players like Schalk Brits, Robbie Diack, Joshua Strauss and Rory Cockett. They are used to these conditions and can only add value.

2. WHAT ABOUT THE YOUNGSTERS IN THE CURRIE CUP?

Here is a list of players that has not only shined in the Currie Cup but also in Super Rugby this year. Take them and add the guys above and you have a pretty damn good squad. One that can challenge the currwnt squad and play as a Springbok A side. Something we haven’t had for years.
Andries Coetzee, Lionel Mapoe, JW Jonker, Paul Jordaan, Raymond Rhule, Dimitri Catrakilis, Cobus Reinach, Nizaam Carr, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert, Willie Britz, Ruan Dreyer, Kyle Cooper and Thomas du Toit. To name but a few.

Yes many of them don’t have international experience, but there are those that do have.

3. WHY DON’T WE MOVE TO ONE SEASON INTERNATIONALLY?

This is a question that has been going around for the last couple of seasons. If all countries play during the same period with international windows for the 6 Nations, Rugby Championship an the like with tours in the beginning and end of season it will sort out many problems. One being the club versus country one.

I know we don’t like the fact that some players go overseas, but that is reality. This way players can play where they elect to play and still be availible for their countries.

The reality is that money is ruling rugby as it is so many sports. Players need to look after themselves and long gone are the days of players staying their country of birth. They know that if they are good enough and has not played for that county they can still run out for their adopted country.

But then these are my views. What is yours?

Cheetahs win a Griquas rue yellow card

In Bloemfontein, home team the Toyota Free State Cheetahs bagged their first victory of the competition this year when they defeated GWK Griquas by 34-27 on Saturday afternoon. Griquas got off to good start when they got their first points as early as the eight minute. Centre and captain, Wayne Stevens scored the first try of the afternoon and fullback Nico Scheepers. FS Cheetahs flyhalf Elgar Watts slotted over a penalty in the 18th minute to reduce the deficit to four points.

It was also Watts that scored the first try for the hosts when jotted down in the 25th minute. His converted effort put the Cheetahs ahead by three points. Scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius increased their lead with his unconverted try to make the halftime score 15-7 in favour of the FS Cheetahs.

After the break winger Rayno Benjamin scored in the 47th minute and Watts converted to stretch the lead to 12 points. Griquas got one back when flanker Marnus Schoeman scored to cut the deficit to seven points. However, the visitors were reduced to 14 payers after prop Steph Roberts was yellow carded following a driving maul.

The FS Cheetahs secured the victory in the 65th minute thanks to a good try by former Junior Springbok wing Raymond Rhule. Rhule later got his second of the afternoon before Griquas prop Maks van Dyk scored a consolation try with five minutes remaining.

Scorers:

Toyota Free State Cheetahs – 34 (15): Tries: Elgar Watts, Sarel Pretorius, Rayno Benjamin, Raymond Rhule (2). Conversions: Watts (2), Willie du Plessis. Penalty: Watts.

GWK Griquas – 24 (10): Tries: Wayne Stevens, Marnus Schoeman, Maks van Dyk, Ederies Arendse. Conversions: Nico Scheepers, Marais Schmidt. Penalty: Schmidt

 

Hail, rain & Monsoon type weather not made for Rugby

Yesterday saw one of the worst Springbok tests played in my life time. That is if you only look at the play and forget all the other factors. Yet it was a well worked win.

The morning started out with rain on the East Rand for me and i git worried it would rain at Loftus. On thr way in it looked like a nice afternoon in Pretoria. The sun was out. Butbwe were not that lucky.

By the time the anthems were sang it started to hail and tye ran cane down. My rain poncho went to one of the ladies. Big mistake. 

After 10 minu

es

I was as drenched as the players on the field. Still Ruan Pienaar scired a try and Hanre Pollard had added a penalty. Argentina had their worked cut out for them.

Even though thr rain stayed away ij the second half, the damage was done. The ball was wet and the pitch a virtual swimming pool. The stands were not much better.

Never have I prayed harder for a coffee vendor to come past but as it is that didn’t happen. Two penalties were added in the second half. One to each side.

Argentina tried their best to get over the Bok line and nearly did so twice maybe three times in the last minutes. Good defence kept them out.

After the game a bone dry spectator, who stood in front of me at the anthems, commented: “It is the worst rugby I have evrler seen.” Well sir if you stand behind the bleachers watching a brick wall you will see no rugby. Rain is the ultimate equalizer in rugby.

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SA Rugby Annual 2014 launched

The latest edition of the SA Rugby Annual, which has definitively chronicled South African rugby for the past four decades, hits the shelves on Thursday after being launched at the annual SARU Awards in Johannesburg on Wednesday night.

 The SA Rugby Annual 2014 is the official record of the South African season and this 43rd edition once again crams a host of previously unpublished facts and statistics into its 512 pages. For instance, it lists all 767 matches – including 428 Tests in 73 venues worldwide – played by South Africa since 1891, and features detailed biographies of all 854 Springboks, from the very first, Ben Duff, to the latest player to receive a Springbok number, Pieter-Steph du Toit.

 “The SA Rugby Annual is not known as the ‘bible’ of the game for nothing and we like to think of it as one of, if not the best, yearbook in world rugby,” said SARU CEO, Jurie Roux. “The saga of South African rugby has been unfolding for over a century and each passing season adds yet another fascinating chapter to the story.

 “On the one hand, the Annual is there to record what happened for future generations, but it’s also very handy for the supporter who wants to settle any rugby argument around the braai on a Saturday afternoon. If you wanted to know anything about SA rugby but didn’t know where to go looking for the answer, the Annual is for you.”

 The SA Rugby Annual 2014, amongst other things, records the more than 200 first-class matches involving South African teams in 2013, as well as the detailed biographies of each and every one of the more than 850 players who appeared in those matches. It paints an unbeatable picture of a memorable year in South African rugby but also records the sport’s rich history with its comprehensive records section, while covering every tournament from the Castle Lager Rugby Championship to the Cell C Community Cup.

 The SA Rugby Annual 2014 – The Official Yearbook of the South African Rugby Union (ISBN: 978-0-620-57859-2) is edited by Duane Heath & Eddie Grieb and is published by SARU & MWP Media. It is available through all leading retail and online outlets. Price is R195.

RBS SIXNATIONS ROUND 1 REVIEW

The RBS Six Nations kicked off the past weekend and it made for some good rugby. Italy showed that they are a team that no longer just fill numbers even though they lost to Wales. France stunned England with a spectacular try late in the game. Ireland won comfortably, but they also didn’t have it all their own way.

WALES v ITALY

Defending champions, Wales, took on Italy in the opening game of the tournament. Wales, looking for a third consecutive title, made hard work of it. A spirited Italian side playing out of their socks didn’t help much, but one would have expected Wales to win this one with ease. Wales did go into the break with a 17-3 lead. Italy however came out in the second half and gave half of Wales heart palpitations and the other half grabbed for the closest bottle of liquor. Michele Campagnaro scored twice to bring Italy within 5 points with just ten minutes to go. Leigh Halfpenny however made sure of the win by landing two penalties in response.

Scorers: Wales 23 – Tries: Alex Cuthbert, Scott Williams. Con: Leigh Halfpenny (2). Pen: Halfpenny (3)

Italy 15 – Tries: Michele Campagnaro (2). Con: Tommaso Allan. Pen: Allan

FRANCE v ENGLAND

France effectively delivered the first upset of the tournament as they took England down 26-24. The French however had to wait untill the 77th minute before breaking out the Champagne. Although France did lead till early in the second half care of two Huget tries, they never really looked in any sort of control. England had control of the game but their handling and finishing cos tthem. The fact that Farrell missed a conversion and penalty kick will also haunt them for a while. They did fight back and tries by Brown and Burrell saw them took the lead. France then just stayed within a 5 point margin as Farrell and Goode traded penalties with Doussain. In the end replacement, Fickou scored the winning try for France in style and Doussain converted with a minute and a half to go.

Scorers: France 26 – Tries: Yoan Huget (2), Gael Fickou. Con: Masaim Machinaud. Pen: Jean-Marc Doussain (2), Machinaud.

England 24 – Tries: Mike Brown, Luther Burrell. Con: Owen Farrell. Pen: Farrell (2), Alex Goode. DG: Danny Care.

IRELAND v SCOTLAND

Ireland might have won easily in the end but Scotland had them going for the first 30 minutes or so. Sexton and Laidlaw trade penalties to have the teams at 6 all before Jamie Heaslip eventually unleashed some brilliance to score the first Irish try. From then on in it was all Ireland. Trimble and Kearny added a try each as Sexton converted two of the three tries and landed another penalty.

Scorers: Ireland 28 – Tries: Andrew Trimble, Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney. Con: Johnny Sexton (2). Pen Sexton (3)

Scotland 6 – Pen: Greig Laidlaw (2).

After the first round it seems like Ireland and Wales will battle it out for the title. France never looked like they were winning and it was England’s inability to finish that handed them the game. Italy may deliver an upset or two and Scotland, well what can one say about Scotland?

LOG after round 1:

Country    Played    Won     Draw    Loss    PF    PA    PD    TF    TA    TD    Pts

Ireland        1    1    0    0    28    6    22    3    0    3    2

Wales        1    1    0    0    23    15    8    2    2    0    2

France        1    1    0    0    26    24    2    3    2    1    2

England    1    0    0    1    24    26    -2    2    3    -1    0

Italy        1    0    0    1    15    23    -8    2    2    0    0

Scotland    1    0    0    1    6    28    -22    0    3    -3    0

Next round of fixtures

Ireland v Wales

France v Italy

England v Scotland

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