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Rugby round up- North

Guinness Premiership

The Guiness Premiership got off with a shock victory as Bath got their season on to winning with a victory at Sale. Not many teams go to Edgeley Park on a Friday night and come away with the points so this is a victory that should see Bath as a potential force to be reckoned with this season.Having seen Bath secure their first win, it was up to Harlequins to get their season up and running with a home tie against in form Saracens. It’s difficult to pinpoint the differences in playing style that have resulted in Sarries’ performances, it looks like more to do with a determination and belief that South African players and managers seem to be blessed with. (I am proud to be a saffa)
There is a good balance to their team with some gnarled forwards, very experienced heads at half back and invention out wide. This combination proved too much for Harlequins as they looked bereft of the attacking ideas that had been so attractive last season and ended up being booted to death by a resurgent Derrick Hougaard. One drop-goal of his was particularly audacious but when you’re on a roll, as Saracens are, everything seems to go your way – they took this one by 22 – 9.

Other than the leauge starting off a bit slow it still remains to be a very close and nail bitting season.
Here are some of the past weekends results:
Sale vs Bath     12 - 25
Leicester vs Newcastle   15 - 6
Harlequins vs Saracens  9 - 22
Gloucester vs Northampton  14 -27 
Wasps vs Worcester   23- 3
Leeds Carnegie vs London Irish  7-56

Top 14 

After touching down in Paris on Monday morning, Steyn was spotted at Stade Yves Du Manoir that evening practicing a few of his trademark long-range goal kicks,Francois Steyn has described his first day at the French club like his "first day back at school."After starring in South Africa's Tri-Nations-clinching win over New Zealand ten days ago, the 22-year-old is set to be thrown in the French deep end on Saturday by starting for Racing at home to Montpellier.

Well its an exciting prospect to see frans in action, I think I am excited to see him play than what he is himself. Well lets just hope he can help them produce a few wins.

Albi 8-40 Clermont
Stade Français 20-6 Bourgoin
Brive 12-15 Biarrittz

Castres 9-6 Racing-Métro 
Perpignan 28-9 Montauban 
Toulon 18-13 Toulouse 
Bayonnais 26-3 Montpellier

North should learn from south

Its very very annoying when in sport someone claims to be better than the other but that person can rarely prove to be better than you or at least come close to beating you. That's it I am done with the big debate on North vs South, I am so tired of listening to theses people from Dublin and the odd Englishman telling me how lucky the Springboks were to beat the lions and that they beat us convincingly in the third test.

I mean really now, the other day some guy over heard me and my mates talking about general rugby and so forth  at a pub, so he then came over and said to me that if it was not for the incident of Burger in the first minute of that second test they would have gone on and won not only that test but the series as well, hearing this kind of bullocks had me a bit annoyed and very perturbed, for the fact that this guy was so narrow minded and did not actually mean that, so i asked if he was serious about that and he replied  hell yeah I am, my response to this I think made him open his eyes a little bit because over here in the North if the media says A the world should agree and its people over here go by what ever Greenwood (sky rugby analyst) or Stuart Barnes (sky rugby expert} says, well I am from the south and I dont sorry.

If the B@I Lions were really good enough to beat us then they would have, in sport if you win by two points its a win nevertheless, or would they have needed the springboks to play with a almost second string team as was the case in the third test in all the matches to be able to beat them. The sprinboks did not evan play well or at the potential best and they still beat them, lets say the springboks were playing with the current form that they have against the lions would it still be the same if we would beat them comfortably, or would they now actually make an estimate to how far the rugby up north has gone by judging their poor form to the springboks winning in New Zealand.

Knowing them yes they actually would make an argument on that, by saying that they alomost beat the springboks and now the springboks beat the Kiwis in Kiwiland so i guess we are almost just as good as the guys in the South Just a little more attitude for Cipriani so he can become better than Giteau or Steyn, more flare for Monye so that he can run around Habana and dont forget the handling skills we need to send him to a handling skills centre for the rugby players with handling skills problem, and maybe next time we shall walk the walk and not the talk by saying Victor Matfield will be bossed around, no one in world rugby has achieved that accolade as yet and hey lets not turn our heads away from Matfield and friends bossing the Tri Nation as recently seen.

I just wish that the North could for once stop this whole debate on how much better they are in terms of the rugby they play and the great rugby they produce and that they are the world leaders in rugby as far as development is concerned. Money is not the issue for them they have the financial systems in place to support them immensely, they just dont have the rugby brain that we have in the South.

The Guiness premiership with all its Southern Hemisphere players would not be so attractive without these players, just think about it 35% of the players in this league is overseas Based born and bread players. English rugby is the same as English football, all the money but no brains.

Cant wait for the end of year tour, we shall then really see how far the north have gone with all the talking

Rugby round up

I must admit that its been a very interesting end to the Tri nations and a much more interesting boost to the currie cup this weekend, With all the springboks lurking back to play for their local clubs is seems like the battle for semi final spots are going to get closer and more nail bitting than in the past few seasons. Besides the Boks being back playing for there local clubs its the battles that some of these matches are going to produce and have produced this past weekend.

Australia did not make life easy for coach Deans and surely have got alot to answere to the big boys, I feel for them because not only do they have a brilliant coach but they have a good affective game plan that works if they apply it and if they work hard on getting the small things right and doing the basics first, and not to mention getting rid of  their we are the best no matter what attitude.  On the other hand after New Zealand's close loss to South Africa  last weekend we could have expected them to give the awful at times wallabies a drubbing to remember, but despite the ups and downs this Tri Nations was surely one to remember not only for the boks who came away with the silverware at the end but for the way in which the Boks applied themselves to the challenges it faced. Its as if from the word go the Boks had the faith and belief that they will win the Tri Nations, i take my hat of to the management of this team on a job well done and getting the small things right.

Not only have we proved the rugby world that we are most definitely a force to be reckoned with  but that we are serious about our rugby in terms of the pride we carry for the Bok jersey and that if we do get things right over the next year or two that we will be serious contenders for a world cup in New Zealand, so to all them Irb bosses who are closely watching South African rugby all i can say is watch the space...

Lets just Hope the Irish are ready for what is  coming their way...and I hope Mr O'gara will be playing , who could forget the way they cheated themselves to victory the last time the Boks played at Landsdown Road, and best of all ill be getting my tickets as soon as they are released by the irfu in Dublin.

New zealand vs Australia

Non-events. You have to hate them. And nowhere in world sport is there a bigger non-event than the one being played in Wellington on Saturday.
The Springboks, with their title-grabbing victory in Hamilton last week, ensured that the only people who have a vested interest in the final Tri-Nations fixture are optimistic Aussies hoping to see their stuttering, yet talented side put one over the old enemy, and disgruntled Blacks fans (yes the thousands of you in Cape Town are included in this bunch) who will be hoping their side doesn’t slip even further into the abyss.
With nothing to play for, you’d expect it to be an open game with the ball seeing plenty of air. However, both sides’ desperation to finish their campaigns with a victory could result in a far more conservative pattern, although this is unlikely, particularly for the Blacks, who’ve shown a distinct lack of appreciation for playing the percentages throughout the tournament.
Given both sides’ penchant for a ball-in-hand attack, there’ll be an emphasis on setting an attacking platform through set-phase, tackle-point and breakdown dominance.
The Blacks’ scrum failed to trouble the Springboks in Hamilton in the manner the Wallabies had the previous week in Brisbane, and they’ll be second best against a unit who have made exponential improvements in this facet of play over the last two years.
There’s also no reason to believe that the Blacks will remedy their lineout woes in a week, despite drafting Tom Donnelly into their second row in favour of the Matfield-scarred Isaac Ross. Blacks hooker Andrew Hore will be relieved that he isn’t faced with the prospect of having to negotiate the Springbok lineout maestro, but in the Aussie lock duo of James Horwill and Mark Chisholm he and his jumpers still face formidable opponents, who will ensure that their lineout struggles continue.
Robbed of decent set-phase ball I can’t see the Blacks winning this one, even in their backyard. Unless, of course, the Wallabies kick poorly, feeding a dangerous back division with opportunities to attack from broken field.
As mentioned earlier, tackle-point and breakdown dominance will be crucial to the outcome. Blacks skipper Richie McCaw will always be a force in the latter aspect, but he will be up against two of the game’s finest breakdown exponents in George Smith and David Pocock. Their potency will be amplified by their team-mates’ ability to impose themselves on defence, something the Wallabies were adept at in their victory over the Springboks a fortnight ago and which the Blacks failed to do in Hamilton.
A quick recycle is crucial to the success on an expansive game plan and even the mercurial flyhalf Dan Carter cannot craft scoring opportunities when his service is being stifled. This holds true for both sides, but the Wallabies have a 10-12 axis in Matt Giteau and Berrick Barnes to revert to a territorial game if they need to, where the Blacks will rely almost entirely on Carter in this regard.
If the Wallabies can avoid being suckered into trying to replicate the expansive game the Blacks are expected to play, and mimic the Springboks’ measured but highly effective approach (bearing in mind that they will have to make certain adjustments given that they don’t have the quality of player to copy it completely) there’s no reason they won’t win against the most limited All Blacks side in a decade.
Prediction: Wallabies by 7
New Zealand - 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Isaia Toeava, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c),6 Adam Thomson, 5 Tom Donnelly,4 Brad Thorn, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 John Afoa, 18 Jason Eaton, 19 Rodney So’oialo, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Hosea Gear.
Wallabies – 15 James O’Connor, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Will Genia, 8 George Smith (c), 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 James Horwill, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Dean Mumm, 19 Wycliff Palu, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Quade Cooper, 22 Peter Hynes.

Peter DeVilliers is a Coach right?

Surely the politians involved in our rugby administration would love to see the springboks beat New Zealand with a 60% black team or should I say a 60% Quota based team, I mean seriously now why do we blame the coach for the lack of transformation and not bringing in enough black players if we in the first place dont have enough quality black players to go by?

Firstly, the main job of PDV is to coach our national rugby team and to produce the good results we as South African fans, supporters, as well as administraters and politically infleunced people have seen over the past six months. Surely we cant blame him for the lack of quality black players comming through the ranks. His job is to coach and to deliver good results, but by taking the coaching position he had to take up the issue of transforming the team to more players of colour than white players. Now I cant see how the coach can bring in good results with a team that does not have half the capabilities and skills that the current springbok team has if we were to bring in a host a talented black individuals.

At the end of the day tranformation is not going to work over night let alone in five to six years, the people who are calling for transformation is just going to have to be patient.

The best Springbok team in History

The Springboks, in my veiw probably the best springbok side in its golden history held out the All Blacks for a 32-29 victory on Saturday to add yet another piece of silverware to its already clotted up cabinet.

The Tri-Nations rugby crown for the first time in five years finds itself on its way to the no 1 ranked team in the worlds shores. Deservedly so i'd say, but is this the best springbok team in the history of the green and gold? I d surely put my money on that and say your danm right. Firstly Respect to Mr Peter Devilliers and the rest of the managment and coaching staff for a job well done, it was certainly not an easy ride to glory for the springboks but as they say give credit where credit is due and i'll take my hat off to him for getting it right after having such a mixed 2008 first season as head coach and then in a very short space of time silencing his critics in the best way to silence them by producing the goods...(walking the walk not talking the talk)

Secondly my hat goes off to Jhon Smit, the senior boys, and the rest of the boys for not only getting the trinations in the trophy cabinet but for keeping the springbok's pride alive and well in the heart and souls of each and every South African. I am so proud to be a south african let alone a springbok fan.

What i really admire about this team is the fact that they have found the right ingredients to be sucsessful where in the past we just did not have the belief nor edge to better than the rest. In South Africa we have had the talent in the past to be better than our counter parts but we just did not have the oomfffff this curennt side has....and as for Grahem Henry to Actually Congrat the boys in the way he did speaks volumes of this great sides ability.

I look forward to the year end tour and next years tri nations....more so to the world cup in 2011.....

Is this the greatest springbok team ever and would they be able to make a staement by winning a world cup in New Zealand as the best and the world leaders in Rugby Union

Well Done Boys