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Saturday, December 10, 2005


Rugby Shorts

Skinstad cleans up

Rob Wildman (Filed: 09/12/2005)

Bob Skinstad has made an impressive start at Richmond since he arrived last summer and loaned one of the club cleaners his umbrella.

Richmond will be hoping for a further contribution tomorrow when the former Springboks captain, now working in London, is expected to start at No 8 against London Scottish, the co-tenants of the busy Athletic Ground.

The arrival of Skinstad, whose international career was cut short by injury, has helped unbeaten Richmond to the top of London One, three points ahead of Scottish at the halfway stage.

Last season the two league games, which attract crowds of 2,000 plus, were shared before both clubs missed out on promotion which would have returned them to the National Leagues for the first time since they struck financial trouble in the formative professional seasons.

"Bob has made the right impression from the start," Andy Maren, the head of coaching, said.
"We've had a number of 'big name' players over the years who've played just for a run around, but Bob is determined to do well and give 100 per cent."

Skinstad started the season at centre and has now moved back to his more usual position of No 8.

The Scots hope another former international, Kenny Logan, will be in opposition. "He's juggling his commitments but will be lurking," Rowly Williams, their coach, reported.

Running battle

The tactics of the England Under-19 team will be questioned by traditionalists who uphold the theory that the best way to beat opponents is to play the game in their half.

England lost 24-12 to the touring Australia Schools last week at Kingsholm, where tactics featured running penalties and trying to keep the ball in hand at all times that were possible.
Nigel Redman, the coach, explained: "We played a lot of rugby in poor conditions and said beforehand that we would run our penalties rather than kicking them because it was all about team and player development."

The Australians, who meet Wales Under-19s at Pontypridd tomorrow, led 17-0 at the interval before a revival from England included two tries from Oliver Dodge, an elusive centre like his father, Paul, the 1980 Grand Slam winner.

Shirt off his back

Shirts are precious souvenirs and Colin Charvis was delighted when his Wales jersey was returned after it went missing on the night of his country's victory over Australia.
Now the Newcastle player is appealing for the return of the Wallabies jersey Martyn Williams gained from Phil Waugh.

"Martyn has lost his only real memento of the victory," Charvis said.
"Apart from the bruises, the aches and pains and maybe a couple of scars, the shirts are the only thing a player can keep to remind him of great days like this."

The return of Charvis' jersey came in a package postmarked Shropshire, prompting thoughts of an English conspiracy among the Welsh squad.

Changing roles

All change at the Rugby Football Union. A wide-ranging review of departments at Twickenham will lead to a new head of community (or grass roots) rugby being appointed. This follows the decision to give Terry Burwell, one of HQ's main officials, a new portfolio of tournaments and competitions.

Francis Baron, the chief executive, will head up community rugby until the appointment is made. Another new post at ever-expanding Twickenham will be for business operations. The moves follows approval of a new eight-year strategic plan.

A decision on the future of Castlecroft, the HQ for youth and schools rugby in Wolverhampton, will be taken next Wednesday at a management board meeting.

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Unwanted O'Neill sees a touch of karma

By Roy Masters Saturday, December 10, 2005

"What goes around, comes around," former Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill said yesterday from Leipzig, Germany, following the decision by ARU chairman Dilip Kumar to stand down.

O'Neill, now the chief executive of Football Federation Australia, was in Germany for the draw of the 2006 World Cup. The energetic, driven sports administrator has never forgiven Kumar and Bob Tuckey, ARU chairman at the time, for not supporting him as ARU chief executive following the successful staging of the Rugby World Cup in Australia in 2003.

"What a co-incidence it is that, almost two years to the day they decided they no longer wanted me, they now had a chairman resign," he said from Germany. "The boards of sporting bodies really need to be more transparent and need to be more accountable why these things happen."

O'Neill's antipathy towards Tuckey has not abated. Tuckey now holds a sinecure overseas as deputy chair of the IRB and deputy of Rugby World Cup Ltd, the body that oversees the lucrative tournament that basically pays the code's bills every four years.

RWC has a traditional duty to recommend its preferred candidate country for a World Cup but at the recent meeting to award the host of the 2011 tournament, it opted out.

This lack of leadership by Tuckey's body helped fuel the antagonism that New Zealand, the eventual winner of the bid, had for Australia, which supported Japan. All three bidding countries - South Africa, Japan and New Zealand - believed they had Kumar's vote.

O'Neill did have some ego-rattling exchanges with then ARU president Peter Crittle during the 2003 World Cup, including one over who should deliver speeches.

However, Crittle's post did not allow him to vote and, in any case, federal Sports Minister Rod Kemp counts a speech by Crittle as one of rugby's best. A passionate rugby man, Crittle has been honoured with the Vernon Pugh award as the president who oversaw the most recent World Cup.

With Eddie Jones sacked as Wallabies coach and Kumar now merely an ARU director, it may be assumed Australian captain George Gregan is feeling a little nervous.

But there was a touch of arrogance about Gregan's answer earlier this year when asked how long he expected to remain as captain. He inferred the post was his by right of passage, a position secure as long as he is in the team - an assumption a rugby league player would never make.

The ARU board - probably the weakest in the code's history - can move on Gregan but won't. After all, it has already delegated the decision on the new coach to a three-man committee. Inevitably, it will allow the incoming coach to decide on Gregan.

However, there is precedent for the board to appoint the captain, a story untold until now.

"The board has overruled the coach before," said World Cup-winning former captain John Eales. "It's my understanding [Wallabies coach] Rod Macqueen wanted to replace me but John O'Neill intervened. As time moved on, Rod and I worked really well together and achieved our goal."

While Eales and Macqueen have never discussed the matter, both know O'Neill, as the board's representative, over-ruled the move to replace Eales. Macqueen came in as a white knight after the reign of the previous Wallabies coach, Greg Smith, ended in illness and failure in 1997.

Australia won only one of their two Tests on the tour of Argentina, losing the other badly. The Wallabies then drew with England at Twickenham but managed to beat Scotland.

Macqueen approached O'Neill and told him he wanted to replace Eales. His preferred skipper? Gregan. O'Neill pointed out the decision was not his but the board's.

This dated back from the Kerry Packer-financed, Ross Turnbull-run World Rugby Corporation's attempt to sign up the world's best rugby union players to counter Rupert Murdoch's Super League. The ARU had believed previous Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer and captain Phil Kearns had sold out to WRC.

Lest future coaches have too much influence over the captain, the ARU board took the responsibility away from the coach, voting itself the power to appoint the skipper. So when O'Neill, as the board's full-time manager, was told by Macqueen that Eales wasn't up to it, he acted like most rugby men in a crisis. He invited Eales for a game of golf. After all, if Sir Francis Drake could manage a few ends of bowls before the Spanish Armada arrived, O'Neill could sort it out over a round. On the last few holes, O'Neill raised the matter.

"How much do you want the job?" he asked. It became very clear that Eales was desperate to hold onto the captaincy.

O'Neill then instructed Macqueen to have a heart-to-heart with Eales, who subsequently remained as skipper and led Australia to World Cup success in Wales in 1999.

Strength was needed to retain Eales then, just as it is required to replace Gregan now. In fact, if O'Neill had not acted, the Wallabies may have had Gregan as captain four years earlier.

Photo: Tim Clayton
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Virtual rugby guru reveals his cunning plan


By Chris Rattue

As Tana Umaga wrestles with the decision over his test career, another rugby champion will also use the summer months to determine his future.

Gair McSkimming, 33, an Alexandra-raised, Auckland-based director of a meat export/import company, is the latest winner of the staggeringly popular Virtual NPC tipping competition and he, too, is weighing up a return to competition.

More than 100,000 opponents knew him as WFI NZ (his company's name) during the NPC, when virtual turned into title reality for McSkimming, a Northcote flanker who captains the North Harbour under-85kg team. He beat all-comers to be crowned the champion tipster for the competition, covering the three NPC divisions.

Not that you have anything to be crowned with. No silverware that is - just a phone call from the New Zealand Rugby Union confirming about $20,000 worth of travel to the US is in the post.

But, as McSkimming tells us, it wasn't all fun and games. A man who plunges the deep blue in his spare time reckons dallying with sharks is a doddle compared to the terror of leading a cyber-comp. When the word is out that you've got the tipping tour yellow jersey, the pressure piles up. He (very briefly) even contemplated pulling out during the final weeks.

Here, McSkimming reveals the highs and lows, the tactics, the lonely moments of a champion, and how he deals with the adulation. He even gives an expert's tip on Tana.

How was your early season form? I really didn't pay much attention to the competition until I started leading it. I wouldn't say I was right into it. In the first few weeks I put my picks in on the Monday morning, although later I watched things much more closely. What was your score? I don't know. I won by 10 points. I leapt from 25th to first with three rounds to go. Your previous best? Haven't got a clue.

What about those final moments, when victory was in your grasp? The fun was gone in the last three weeks. It was more nerve racking. Everyone in the meat industry was following me. There was plenty of banter coming my way. Up to 90 strangers tracked my form on the website. All of a sudden you've got something to lose. The guy who came second, who used the name Graham Henry, was also tracking me. I emailed him in the final weeks and said, "This isn't fun any more". He agreed.

Where were you as victory beckoned? I started watching the second division final between Nelson Bays and Hawkes Bay at a friend's place in Taipa [Northland] but I couldn't stand it, so I drove back to where we were staying in Paihia. On the way I ran into the pub at Waipapa - they turned the TV on and there were a few minutes left in the game. I needed Rico Gear to score a try but he knocked the ball on. I stood up and yelled "Nooooooooo", dumped my ginger beer down, and walked out. There were about 10 people there and they just stared at me like "Who the heck was that guy?"

Sometimes it felt like I was actually playing. Your wife must have loved this? Ahleen has no interest whatsoever in rugby. But I'm told she sat and watched the whole Hawkes Bay/Nelson Bays game. Although when I got back to Paihia she claimed "I watched a little bit of it". Your workmates must have loved it as well? They reckon I've been pretty painful.

So what's the tip on tipping? I don't know if I should tell you this. Okay. I really love the second and third division stuff and a lot of people don't pay enough attention to it. When you think about it, you can score more points there than in the first division. So I knew that Buller had a load of Canterbury players and Wairarapa Bush had players from Wellington. I did really well in the second and third divisions.

Another key is to pick 13 and over margins. People pick too many close results whereas a lot of scores blow out in rugby these days. What was your best pick? Canterbury to beat Auckland by 13 and over in the Ranfurly Shield challenge.

What's your rugby pedigree? Tarnished - although I used to have a few good Saturday nights. A highlight was captaining the Kerikeri senior reserves to a final win. Honestly, some of the boys had tears in their eyes. I made my senior debut for Kerikeri against an Ohaeawai team which had the three Woodman brothers in it. A glorious night when all your preparation came together? Kind of. The power went out at Muriwai where we live. I had to sit in the car alone, listening to the radio. I kept saying, "Come on, come on".

Worst pick? My brother is in King Country and persuaded me to pick them to beat Horowhenua-Kapiti in the semifinals. I changed my pick. That's the end of taking his advice. How have you dealt with the fame? Winning is surreal. People's reactions have really surprised me. We were at a function in Christchurch recently and my business partner said one guy just stared at me like I was some kind of rugby God. Another bloke told me his kid would love to meet me. Will you be back? Still mulling it over - 70/30 yes. What would stop me? Ego. But I want to see if my systems work again. And what about Tana? I reckon he's 70/30, to continue. Maybe I'll ring him. Of course he's got $500,000 a year to think about.

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Young Sheridan well schooled in art of winning

By Mark Souster

Dulwich College was in awe of the giant England prop

IN THE north cloister of Dulwich College lies the James Caird, the lifeboat in which Sir Ernest Shackleton, the polar explorer and an old boy of the school, undertook his astonishing feat of seamanship to save 22 men trapped on Elephant Island during the Endurance expedition in 1916.

There is not yet a monument to Andrew Sheridan but it surely will not be long before the tyro England prop, whose nascent talent was nurtured on the playing fields of one of the great rugby-playing public schools, is recognised.

After the hiatus of the autumn internationals, when Sheridan’s profile and stock rose immeasurably, the front row behemoth returns to competitive action tonight with Sale Sharks as the club attempt to consolidate their impressive start in the Heineken Cup away to Castres. A win in France and in the return leg next week should ensure qualification for the knockout stages for the first time.

Sheridan, 26, epitomises what the school stands for and the type of boy it produces, according to Paul Miles, the director of sport at the College. “People have their feet on their ground here,” he said. “There is an attitude of, ‘Just go and do it.’ The boys don’t tend to do too much talking about things.”

Certainly, Sheridan fits that mould of the understated achiever. He thrived as a young player at the College as part of an age-group team that went unbeaten for seven years. Always big for his age, his feats of strength are part of school legend. In the sixth form he could bench-press a full stack of weights, but made it more demanding by having a boy perched on top. He could also complete arm curls with a youngster hanging from each limb.

He was held in awe. Unsurprisingly, as a 6ft 5in prefect he never had any problems with discipline.

Sheridan was one of the mainstays of that supremely talented year that ran amok from the ages of 11 to 18. Their collective exploits sent reverberations around the tight-knit public school circuit. It was not just about Sheridan, who switched between lock and the back row. The pack was something to behold. The first XV of 1997-98, which won all 15 matches, scoring 826 points and conceding only 47 against, included in the front row David Flatman, of Bath and England, and Jon Dawson, now at London Wasps.

Graham Able, the Master (headmaster), witnessed the last two years of Sheridan’s schooldays. “Andrew was very intelligent, quiet and unassuming outside the rugby field,” Able said. “He was very reliable, very helpful and considerate. He was perceptive and had a good sense of humour. He is an old boy of whom we are very proud. We are particularly delighted for him because, having had to move from the second row because no one was going to be able to lift him, he has learnt the dark arts of propping so very quickly. Destroying Australia was predictable but to hold his own against (Carl) Hayman (against New Zealand) was the biggest tribute to him so far.

A cursory flick through the pages of the Alleynian, the school annual, reveals glowing testimonies to Sheridan and many of the other boys from the team, eight of whom won representative honours, four with England. Various rugby masters paid tribute. In the under-12s, “Sheridan’s mauling was the best I have seen at this age level.” The under-13s won all 11 games, scoring 663 points, conceding none. The coach wrote:

"Equally at home in the front or back row, his (Sheridan’s) whole-hearted approach, aggressive attitude and commitment somehow epitomised an extraordinary team.”

On it goes. As Sheridan and his merry men, season after season, laid waste to allcomers, the tributes increased. The under-15s won the Daily Mail Schools Cup at Twickenham. Sheridan and Dawson scored tries. The report stated: “Sheridan was a colossus.” Another said: “Where does one begin with Andrew Sheridan? At one and the same time he is highly skilled and possesses quite awesome strength.”

By the age of 16 he was in the first XV, a rare achievement for a colt. By the time he left in the summer of 1998 his reputation was firmly established. Peter Allen, the master in charge of rugby at the time, wrote: “Never before have I seen one player inject so much fear into the opposition and dominate so many games with a combination of size, speed and strength.” He scored 22 tries in his last season, narrowly missing out on the school record.

Ian Martin, Allen’s successor, has been at the school for 11 years and followed Sheridan’s progress. “Even at the age of 13, Andy always had this driving ambition that he wanted to be an England international. He was the most focused boy I have known,” Martin said. “At that time the concern among the staff was that he was lifting too heavy weights, risking injury to his lower back. He would listen, but the next week he was back in the gym. He wanted to be the best he could. Sides were genuinely frightened coming here.”

His exploits have generated an immense pride and excitement within the school, where rugby was first played in 1859 and which fields 33 rugby teams, involving more than 450 boys, more than a third of the roster.

Sheridan is a role model. There is one glaring omission, however. One of Flatman’s England shirts adorns a wall of the sports hall, as do other mementoes of pupils who have achieved various honours. But there is a space, rather a large one in fact, waiting to be filled.

Image: vxbabsscdulwichcollege.htm
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Happy Birthday

Tank van Rooyen
Full names: Gert Wilhelm
Date of birth: 9 Dec 1892
Place of birth:
Steynsburg, South Africa

Initial province: Transvaal
Physical: 1.87m, 99.8kg
Date of death: 21 Sep 1942 (Age 49)
Test summary: Tests: 2 Tries: 0

First Test: 27 Aug 1921 Age:28 Lock against New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland
Last Test: 17 Sep 1921 Age:28 Lock against New Zealand at Athletic Park, Wellington

Elandré van der Bergh
Full names: Elandré
Date of birth: 9 Dec 1966
Place of birth:
Pretoria, South Africa
Framesby, PE
Initial province:
Physical: 1.98m, 110.2kg
Current age: 39
Test summary: Tests: 1 Tries: 0

First Test: 15 Oct 1994 Age:27 Reserve against Argentina at Ellispark, Johannesburg
Last Test: 15 Oct 1994 Age:27 Reserve against Argentina at Ellispark, Johannesburg
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Pumas and Junior Springboks

Image: Paul Roos, Manager


First major contact

The first major rugby contact between Argentina and South Africa happened in 1932 when the Junior Springboks went across the Atlantic to Argentina.

By that time two foreign teams had visited Argentina where the rugby union was now 33 years old. In 1910 a British combination had toured and in 1927 a second British combination came. The first touring team played one match against Argentina, the second four matches.

Though the Junior Springboks won all of their matches, the standard of rugby in Argentina was clearly on the up as was the enthusiasm for the game in the country's great clubs.

In the Thirties South African rugby ruled the world - the Golden Age of Springbok rugby. In the Thirties they enjoyed a Grand Slam on their tour to Britain and Ireland, beat Australia in two series, won a series in New Zealand and won a series against the Lions.

The Springboks had toured the UK and Ireland in 1931-32. Now the SA Rugby Board sent another team, the Junior Springboks, the first team to be called the Junior Springboks to Argentina. It was, from the start, intended as a developmental tour - for Argentina.

The manager of the team was that great man Paul Roos, captain of the 1906-07 Springboks and the headmaster of a great school. They also sent Jock Finlay to help with refereeing.

At the end of the tour the president of the River Plate Rugby Union (the forerunner of the Argentinian Rugby Union) wrote to the SA Rugby Board as follows:

"On behalf of the River Plate Rugby Union I have to thank you for the excellent team which you sent on tour. It was excellent from all points of view. The lectures of Messrs. Paul Roos and J.G. Finlay have been very carefully studied here, and every member of the side was ideal for the tour. They were all most welcome visitors to us. Certainly you could not have been better represented. Messrs. Nykamp and McCarthy helped to fulfil the objects of the tour. Our players will certainly benefit as a result of the visit."

Pleased, Paul Roos could say in his report on the tour: "My boys fully upheld the high traditions of Springbok sportsmanship both on and off the field."

That the tour was an "educational" was obvious from what he, too, said: "That our opponents had begun to assimilate the lessons we endeavoured to teach was clear in the last match of the tour, when, in spite of our best endeavours, we beat Gimnasia y Esgrima only by 11 points to 5."

The River Plate Rugby Union decided to translate all Paul Ross's lectures into Spanish and publish them.

The team left Cape Town by the good ship Montevideo Maru on 21 June 1932. It put in at Rio de Janeiro, Santos and Montevideo, and arrived in Buenos Aires on 8 July.

All was not plain sailing. Paul Roos's report contains this amusing aside: "I regret to say that ere long happy countenances aboard the 'Montevideo Maru' began to assume a greenish hue which is the prerogative of the landsman who takes time to find his sea legs, and I admit ruefully that I just reached my cabin in time! Like Billy Millar on board the good ship 'Gascon' in 1906, so was Hattingh affected, and he bitterly lamented having left the undulating plains of his native Free State. Undulating 'tis true, but he could keep his feet firmly on them, which was more than he could do on the undulating deck of the 'Montevideo Maru'."

The team was housed at the Belgrano Club which Roos describes as palatial. They enjoyed the hospitality of the land of the tango and the best steaks in the world.

Paul Roos described the team as able to give most of the provinces in South Africa a good game.
Paul Roos said in his report: "What can I say of the boundless hospitality of our hosts? It was overpowering, and, what is more, it was obviously genuine. I trust that some day, some how, South Africa may have a chance of reciprocating."

"Some day" was 33 years later - and what a delight to rugby Argentina!


Junior Springboks vs Clubs Argentinos, 18-5
Junior Springboks vs Extranjeros, 35-8
Junior Springboks vs Argentina, 42-0
Junior Springboks vs CUBA, 30-0
Junior Springboks vs Argentina, 34-3
Junior Springboks vs UR del Litoral, 53-3
Junior Springboks vs CASI, 44-0
Junior Springboks vs Gimnasia y Esgrima, 11-5

The Junior Springboks team: J Nykamp, J Apsey, D Jordaan, RS Elliott, G Cunningham, H Wardrop, J Seymour, K Moodie, R Cornell, G D'Alton, J Gillett, J Robertson, A Gericke, A Smit, P McCarthy, B Nolte, W Wollheim, M Rest, JH Gage, J Townsend, FW Cheshire, L Hattingh, J Vlok

Of the team, Joe Nijkamp, John Apsey, George D'Alton, Jack Gage, who had played for Itrelanmd, and Louis Hattingh became Springboks.

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Friday, December 09, 2005


Cricket report

Proteas back on the winning trail
December 09 2005 at 12:09PM

By Trevor RobbPerth - South Africa scored their first win on tour with an eight-wicket hammering of a Western Australia Chairperson's XI on Friday but celebrations were tempered by an injury to their lone spinner.Left-arm spinner Nicky Boje cut his right hand early in the one-day game and did not return to the field as the tourists reached the victory total of 193 in 35 overs.Team officials, already grappling with injuries to captain Graeme Smith and all-rounder Jacques Kallis, said Boje would miss the three-day tour match starting on Sunday but would be fit for the first Test.

Kallis did not play
South Africa's problems were highlighted when fitness trainer Adrian Le Roux was brought on to field for the tourists as they restricted the local side for 192 for nine in the allotted 46 overs.Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Rudolph then notched up an unbeaten 91 and 58 respectively to carry the Proteas to victory. Openers Graeme Smith with 24 and AB de Villiers who made 18 were the only South African wickets to fall.Kallis did not play after damaging tendons in his left elbow and has not practised since arriving in Australia.Meanwhile bowler Charl Langeveldt, who missed South Africa's second innings during this week's drubbing by Western Australia with a chest infection, managed just eight overs before leaving the field.But the tourists, who have brought just 14 players to Australia for their three-Test tour, showed much better bowling than in their opening-match innings loss to Western Australia.

'I feel we're getting there'
Garnett Kruger took an impressive 4-33 off eight overs on Friday while Shaun Pollock took 2-22 off seven.Coach Mickey Arthur said he was much happier after the win."I feel we're getting there. We are still not where we want to be but we want to peak for the 16th," he said. "Everything was positive that we took from today."Arthur said Smith was almost back to full fitness and would play in the three-day match against a Western Australia XI starting on Sunday.He said Boje would miss that match but doctors said he would play in the Test despite the stitches in his hand."Jacques (Kallis) has had some cortisone treatment on it (elbow) and will have some more tomorrow," he said. "He won't play the three-day game."Arthur said Kallis may be able to bat on the last day of the warm-up game but it was more likely he would have intensive nets training in the days leading up to the Test.He said Kallis was at the crossroads with his injury but he was optimistic he would also be able to bowl during the Test match.

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Economic forum

Some non sports related though interesting news

SA trade balance worst yet
09/12/2005 11:43 AM

Pretoria - South Africa's trade balance with the rest of the world registered its sixth consecutive deficit in the third quarter of the year, the largest recorded yet, the SA Reserve Bank said on Friday.

The R19.7bn deficit could largely be ascribed to sustained brisk domestic spending, in turn causing a sharp rise in the value of merchandise imports.

"The higher level of merchandise imports in the third quarter was only partly offset by the improved performance of merchandise exports," says the central bank's quarterly bulletin, released in Pretoria on Friday.

The rising value of imports, it states, "reflects the needs of a growing economy as well as the record high level of the international price of crude oil".

The trade deficit, together with a growing shortfall on the services and income account, caused the ratio of the current account deficit to gross domestic product (GDP) to rise from 3.7% to 4.7% from the second to third quarters.

This was the highest deficit ratio since the final quarter of 1983, the bulletin said.
But a sizeable net inflow of capital outweighed the larger current account deficit, leaving South Africa's overall balance of payments with a surplus of R4.6bn.

"Foreign direct investment into South Africa was bolstered by the acquisition of a majority interest in a South African bank by an international banking group, as well as by increased shareholding by a non-resident investor in a domestic telecommunications company," the bulletin says.

"The overall balance of payments remained in surplus in the third quarter, but by a lesser amount than in the second quarter of 2005."

The rand prices of merchandise exports receded by 1.5% in the third quarter of the year, mainly due to a drop in international commodity prices, the bulletin says.

This coincided with a 5% increase in the physical quantity of merchandise exports.
The export of motor vehicles rose especially quickly, recording growth of 13.5% in the first nine months of the year.

While the physical quantity of gold exports dropped by 2%, earnings rose by 0.5%, the bulletin states.

But on the other side of the coin, the rand prices of merchandise imports, driven largely by higher international crude oil prices, rose by 2% and the physical quantity by 5.5%.
"The importation of more vehicles, parts and equipment by automobile manufacturers, necessitated by rising domestic and export sales, boosted the overall value of imported manufactured goods while the value of mining products imported also rose markedly from the second to the third quarter as crude oil prices escalated," the bulletin says.

It states that a positive sentiment towards investment in South Africa "continued unabatedly".

The net inflow of capital amounted to R78.5bn in the first three quarters of the year, compared with R84.6bn for 2004 as a whole.

Net international reserves rose by R27.7bn for the first three quarters of 2005.

Source: Finance24
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So in the keo tradition, I have decided that I will refer to myself in the third person. Your intrepid investigative reporter, DavidS managed to convince the Singaporean cops that they would be better off with two keys of Coke, rather than waiting three years and seeing him getting hanged to the outrage of the world. This is a good thing seeing as your intrepid reporter would take exception to getting hanged in Changi Prison in a few years if it came to that. Anyway, arriving in London DavidS, had to answer a few uncomfortable questions from the pleasant British customs officials, before they too saw the worth of two keys of Coke as opposed to a good performance appraisal. The Brazilians aren’t happy, but when DavidS reminded them his friend Mr. Akindele from Lagos may be unhappy if anything happened to him, they accepted the situation and waltzed off to catch some Chelsea football match. This seemed strange seeing as Mr. Akindele is actually a lecturer at Lagos University…

Anyway, DavidS (I’m good at this third person thing) then caught a ride to the country house of our second least liked Muppit, St Michel, where the butler let DavidS in and sat him down before the Master of the house arrived, in a tweed jacket, deer stalker cap and knee high leather boots, and opened the conversation with:

St Michel: By Jove old man, I was wondering when one of you Japies would come and pick my most prominent rugby genius

DavidS: Howzit [I did this deliberately] St Michel. Thank you for the time. Can we start?

St Michel: By all means my good chap. Fire away.

DavidS: I wish I could but for now I’ll settle for questions. Tell me why you feel the need to hang out on a South African website and insult our rugby playing ability?

St Michel: Gadzooks! You are forward aren’t you? Very well, I am from English stock and the best I might tell you. As you can see I have worked very hard, an English tradition you know, to amass quite a wealth and I heave become very wise to the ways of the world.

DavidS: So you inherited it from your father then?

St Michel: Hohohoh, indeed my good man, indeed. I have taken my dear Papa’s wealth and held it together. I have always taken a keen interest in the ways our colonies are doing since they selfishly decided to rule themselves in 1933. South Africa holds a particularly dear place in my heart as Grandpapa fought there with the 51st Highlanders during that little spat with the boers at the turn of the previous century.

DavidS: Oh, so your grandfather was one of those rednecks who ran like rabbits at Magersfontein?

St Michel: I high speed retreat my dear fellow. An Englishman does not run. Gradpapa had to show those Scots how to do it properly too, as they wanted to fight despite the precarious tactical situation. He wanted to regroup his men and assert the English dominance over the boers…

DavidS: Why us?

St Michel: Egad! Is it not obvious? The New Zealanders come from dour Celtic roots and one can expect very little from them. The Australians were half convicts and half wealthy landowners like my family, so they have enough guidance. The boers have never had the benefit of sound English leadership. Fair but firm English administration. I fear our short-lived dominion of South Africa did nothing to uplift the boers and they have reverted to their primitive barbarism so evident in the war. You could see my timely intervention as a way to make amends for that. I believe that your sports codes could do with a bit of firming up and some sound English advice, particularly that English game the boers have claimed as their own, rugby, of which I am a highly knowledgeable connoisseur. Would you care for some tiffin?

DavidS: Yes thank you. You want to boss us around then?

St Michel: Hohohohoh! My dearest chap. But of course you need some guidance. After all, just one look at buffoons like that Brian Van Rooyen wog, and you immediately realise that here is a place where you can do some good work. Instilling traditional English values in second rate colonised servants from a Dutch heritage. You know your Dutch and French forebears were no more than refugees from the 30 Years War. This is in contrast to the English who actively went looking for danger and adventure you know, not fleeing to some far-off corner of the world to escape from adventure. Yvette, please arrange some tiffin won’t you dear. For this nice gentleman and I. Be quick about it.

[I interject here because his French maid was the hottest chick I’ve ever seen and that little outfit did a lot to shorten this interview because I was ogling the lithe body prancing about in front of me]

DavidS: Um….er…. so ……. Wha….. how do you think we’d benefit from you.

St Michel: Are you quite all right old man? Now where were we. Oh yes, your boer rugby players have never had the benefit of good firm English leadership. And I sincerely believe this has lead to where you are today. Your rather unintelligent artisans, policemen, soldiers and farmers of the old days were rather effective in the amateur days. But things have changed old chap. Things have indeed changed. England is now the world’s leading rugby power. The professional set-up of their clubs lure the best young players of the world, and this has further strengthened our already powerful position in world rugby. We are now the leaders of the pack. The pinnacle of world rugby. Against this kind of dominance what chance do your peasantry have? None I am afraid to say….why thank you Yvette…..

DavidS: And yet South Africa still have a better win/loss ratio over England. And New Zealand and Australia have beaten you in recent times.

St Michel: Zounds!!!!! How dare you sir. How dare you question our dominance. Surely even one as backward as you can see the Robinson doctrine is already building England back to the powerhouse we were in the past. These are not set-backs at all, they are reconnaissance matches where Andy Robinson is learning the weaknesses of the New Zealanders and the Australians. I say… beaten indeed.

DavidS: Do you have a message for muppits?

St Michel: Until you accept the dominance of English culture over your own and accept our well meant help, your rugby will never reach the lofty heights of the fifties…

DavidS: St Michel. I have a message from the Muppits too. Now I have already shown the New Zealander The Tackler, the famous Chuck Norris Roundhouse, but judging from that old cane you have up on the wall and your English public school ponciness, I believe a different approach is in order.

St Michel: I say….

DavidS: No you don’t say anything you f---ing poncy, pretentious, overbearing, lying son of a Jersey cow, genetic malfunction.

[DavidS grabs St Michel, and getting to the recent swing of things, pulls his pants down and gives him six of the best to a chorus of school boy style yelps of agony]

DavidS: Enough! I’m leaving…and I’m taking Yvette with me. She deserves a spot on Clifton for the summer for working for a poncy idiot like you!

St Michel: I shall have your guts for garters sir. Queensbury Rules I say. I daresay you are a typical boer thug you cad!

[The idiot put up his fists in that back to front English way….so I roundhoused him Chuck style. Then I grabbed Yvette and stalked out. The last words I heard were]

St Michel: Aaarrrggghhh…..hhhaaarrrumphhh….nnnnngghhhnnn….. this is that Kandas fellow’s fault I say….

Editor’s note: We have lost contact with DavidS since this dispatch. We have no idea where he is, except for an off-the-record remark about feeding Yvette boerewors instead of black pudding, which we did not understand, probably something to do with that Eastern Cape issue we’ve been having lately….
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Darth Mauling continued...

My second theory or option to mauling is a much simpler approach. I mentioned in the first post that I see it as two or three line tactics that should be applied, and having explained the three line maul as I see it, lets look at the two line maul.

In principle a lot of the basics stay the same, the only real difference is the two line approach is a direct, brute force, donner them over approach. The type of maul you choose should solely depend on your field position, this type of maul, the two line, should only be entertained as an option when you are 10 or so meters away from the oppositions goal line. The desired end result, is a try by the forwards, not a penalty, a try.

The secret to getting this approach right is the speed in execution. Although moving your line out catcher to the back of the line out might provide you with an added advantage over the opposition as to the point of attack, it might be risky in the sense that your support players wont get to the ball carrier quick enough to prevent the opposition from spoiling the ball or taking the ball carrier to ground.

For that reason alone I would still have my line out catcher jumping at four. But now, the props roles changes slightly. Much rather than providing stability to the maul, they should bind onto the lock as they would into a scrum with the lock, even though his back is turned, being the imaginary hooker and hit the opposition players as they would hit into a scrum. The desired result will be to hit the opposition back a few feet and immediately putting your back up players part of the maul on the front foot.

Your most nuggety, and preferably, your smallest player should drive into the ball catcher as soon as possible, the Ryno van der Merwe’s of this world would be perfect in this role, with your enforcer, and strongest loosie binding either side of him immediately and the last forward binding behind him, covering him in the preverbial blanket. The ball thus stays in the middle of the maul with the ball carrier very well protected. This ‘hit’ should be done with force and speed to get forward momentum as quickly as possible.

The reason I would prefer this maul to the three line maul when close to the opposition try line is simple. With the three line maul the ball is basically exposed at the back of your maul, and we have seen hundreds of times that opposition teams will hit mauls from the side deliberately to give away penalties rather than giving away tries. Although referees do play advantage, the chances are the opposition will attack not only the ball carrier from the side, but try and attack the ball which is pretty much unprotected.

Remember I said the purpose of this maul is to score a try, not force a penalty. The execution of this specific type of maul is extremely difficult given the speed at which everything needs to happen to give you immediate forward momentum, but deadly if executed clinically.

The question now remains. Why are the Boks ineffective in this department?

Well I believe these two posts gives us the answer in my opinion. Having tried to explain how I perceive this area of the game, I might have confused more people than shed light on the subject.

If it is that difficult to explain in words, imagine how difficult this is to coach! I do believe where the Boks fall short though, is because it is not coached into them with the same intensity, as say, scrumming would be. And this to me is stupid.

Also, in my opinion and how I interpret this area of the game, it becomes very clear that each player has a very specific role. I get the feeling the only two players with specific roles in this area of the Bok game at the moment, is the hooker and the jumper! Almost a case of: “Duh okes, lets just like catch the ball and then all you guys like pack around me and lets try and move these Aus guys like backwards okay.”

Execution in this area is vital if you want to be successful, and I believe not enough time is spend in this area of the game and our players have no idea and are not coached properly to use this as a very effective weapon, and I say weapon in the sense of mass destruction, because hell, seeing it is legal obstruction in the biggest degree, and looking at the size of our forwards we should be mauling everything from our own 22!

But I guess that is South African rugby for you. Here is one area of the game we can exploit to our own benefit up and till a point other teams will bitch and moan so much the IRB will have to change the laws, but we are to thick to realize it. I blame that other guy personally!

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The Secret of the Darth Maul

Okay, maybe it is not that bad, but when it comes to mauls and the laws regarding this area of the game, you will be forgiven to think the explanation to follow is as far fetched as the Star Wars movies.

I must make one thing clear. I was and always have been a backline player, so my views on forward play comes purely from the effectiveness I have witnessed displayed by certain teams and what they do, and having a clear understanding for the rules of the game.

The rules regarding mauls are almost as confusing and grey as the laws regarding rucks and the tackled ball situation. The main problem we have in these two areas is that for most of the game, it is up to the referee’s interpretation most of the time.

The maul, in my opinion, is an illegal tactic in any event. It is nothing more than organized obstruction, performed in an extremely disorganized way. Maybe that is why it is so hard for referees and supporters to understand and control.

But now the question remains, why are some teams successful in this phase of play and some teams not? To me, it is simply a question of organization and manipulation.

I will use the Bok pack as an example of how, in my opinion, this area should be controlled, and where, we fall short.

When you attempt to use this tactic your premium line out specialist should be used as the receiver of the throw, and ideally he should be positioned in the middle of the line. The players directly in front and behind him should be a prop (preferably tighthead) and your eighth man or pack enforcer depending on the strength of your opposition and what your field position is, the other prop should not be too far away either. My reasons on the specific players are explained a bit later.

There are two ways I believe you can setup a maul, firstly, a three line maul scenario and secondly, a two row maul scenario. In a three line maul scenario the ball will be controlled by the hindmost player of the mall, i.e. your blindside or openside flankers. In the two line maul the ball should be controlled in the middle of the mall by your hooker who must be surrounded, or blanketed by his team mates. When thinking of the 2 and 3 line mauls try to imagine it as if you were watching players in lines with you standing on the side of the maul.

I will look at the three line maul first. As mentioned earlier, your premium jumper should be the receiver of the ball. As with scrums it is vital that the ‘engagement’ of the maul is perfect, and this where we loose a lot of momentum in my opinion. Hence, the guys directly in front and behind the jumper play vital roles.

Once your lock receives the ball in the air and touches the turf the guys must execute their roles immediately and do it with enough force as not to get driven back as we usually see happens. The eighth man must immediately drive into the lock carrying the ball, securing possession and avoiding the opposition players getting close to the ball. At the same time your tighthead prop must immediately bind on the lock almost wrapping his body around the lock so that a portion of his body is actually in front of the lock on the opposition side. To picture it better, try and imagine the prop driving his left shoulder into the hip bone of the lock with his right shoulder and head behind the locks back. This does not mean he will be driving the lock sideways, he must position himself so that his left arm is around the waist of the lock and his right shoulder is facing the opposition, almost pulling the lock forward rather than driving.

The second prop must do the same on the other side. These guys will perform a stabilizing role in the maul initially as well as controlling the direction of the mall once it is formed properly.

Next up your enforcer should bind next to the eighth man also driving in on the lock and the prop. This guy along with either your blind or openside flanker will provide most of the leg drive in the maul, so they will be responsible for the momentum. The flanker that is left with the hooker must form the last line of the maul and either one of these two must control the ball at the back. In my opinion this should be the hooker, I will explain later. The last line of players must also bind directly onto the eighth man and enforcer, almost creating a bajada scenario in the maul where the majority of your players concentrate the majority of their power on a single point. The player in the last line not controlling the ball can also add to the leg drive.

In the meantime your lock, the initial catcher, plays an extremely important role. Most of the initial pressure from the opposition will be concentrated on him. He will get a feel of where the majority of the opposition’s momentum is moving too and thus will be in the perfect position to control the maul, moving it to the weaker side of the oppositions counter.

What makes the maul so difficult is everything I mentioned needs to happen in a matter of seconds, 5 at most in my opinion.

If the mall is stable and everyone executed their roles perfectly, the ball should stay with the eighth man in the middle for a bit longer to confuse the opposition as to exactly which way the maul and momentum of your team will be moving. If there is some infringement by the opposition the eighth man should move the ball to the back as quickly as possible to avoid loosing possession and change to a support or enforcer type role quickly as to negate major disruption to the maul structure by the opposition.

Now I will explain why I wanted certain players in certain areas of the maul. The line out jumper is obvious, securing possession is obviously of the utmost importance. I think the roles of the props are also self explanatory, but my reason for the tight head prop being the guy to immediately bind on the lock is for stability. This is the main function of the player in all set pieces and obviously he will be the most accustomed to such a role.

The reason for the eighth man might be a bit of a surprise to some. There are basically two reasons for this to me. The first reason is that with play in the area of the game, has become very competitive, opposition looks to disrupt the line out as quickly as they can, and their main target will always be the lock catching the ball. For this reason I believe it is imperative that the lock gets rid of the ball as quickly as possible, and no, I don’t mean them sticking their hand out with the ball waiting for someone to take it off him, because the opposition simply attacks his arms which will result in him spilling the ball.

I would want a player who is strong on his feet and in the upper body, used to the rucking, cleaning out and has good handling skills to drive into the lock’s midriff taking possession of the ball without exposing it to the opposition, and also has the necessary skills level to absorb the pressure and not loose possession and stay on his feet long enough for his team mates to join the maul where the ball is then moved to the back. He will also provide a lot of leg drive with the enforcer and blindside flanker to get the maul moving forward.

With the blindside flanker, your second line now consists of three relatively strong players, who basically forms the engine room, or business part of the mall. Through the communication of the catcher and the scrummy, their effectiveness will determine how quickly and effectively you get the maul moving in the right direction.

It is extremely important that you first line (catcher and two props) should not break or disintegrate, even when shifting momentum to a side to find a weakness in the opposition pack, yet again, the lock (catcher) has a hugely important role to communicate effectively with the whole pack in order to shift as a unit, whether it be to the side first or straight forward.

The last line basically protects the ball. I mentioned earlier I would prefer the hooker to be the ball carrier. There are two reasons for this. This type of mauling tactic usually leads to one thing, the ball carrier to break away from the maul and attacking channel 1.

Having the hooker as the ball carrier and the opensider in support gives you two options though.

The hooker either takes the ball up or goes to ground after crashing into an opposition player, and there is no better person in my opinion to help secure possession other than the opensider and one of your centers perhaps. Also keeping in mind that once the mall breaks up, your players will more or less ‘peel’ away from the maul in a back to front order. Which means your blindsider, enforcer and eighth man will be the first guys to arrive at the ruck more or less in that order, giving you the option to use them as runners of quick ball from the ruck, crashing into an already weakened opposition defense, remembering their channel 1 forward defenders will pretty much still be involved in the mall and also on the back foot giving your runners a huge advantage.

Your second option here is that the hooker, with the two flankers peels away very close next to the mall, with the hooker turning his back into the opposition channel 1 defender, who in all probability will be a opposition flanker or backline player, as their enforcers and strongmen will be stuck in the original maul. The two flankers obviously drives into the hooker again with the enforcer and eighth man joining as they peel away from the original maul, setting up a new maul. For this to work you need a ball carrier that is a strong bloke and can stay on his feet long enough for the cavalry to arrive in driving the obviously weakened opposition (the majority of the opposition players in the new maul will be either loosies or backs) defenders. In a case like this the maul will no doubt collapse more often than not, and if you don’t get awarded a penalty, with quick ball, your backs will be faced with a defensive line mainly consisting on slow big forwards now having to form a defensive line because their loosies and a couple of backs has been sucked into the second maul.

Yet again, the execution and communication needs to be clinical.

Seeing this section explaining the first type of maul is already as long as it is, I will explain my second theory and why i believe the Boks are not effective in this area as a new post. And yes, we know whose fault this is….
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Man!!!! what a attitude

I will never be able to understand some journalists and peoples' attitude towards our sports. Why should we avoid England. They should be avoiding us. Why wait till the finals for instance to play against them? Why not just beat them in the semis and show them just how good we really are?

To be the best, you need to beat the rest!!!!!!!!!!!

SA need full house to avoid England

Posted on Friday, December 09, 2005 - 07:18

The sevens Boks will have to win all three of their matches at Outeniqua Park on Friday if they don't want to make things difficult for themselves in the SA leg of the International Rugby Board's Sevens tournament in George.

Jaco Pretorius's team will play Tunisia, Zimbabwe and France on Friday.

If they win their group, they will play the team ending second in Group C on Saturday. It will probably be Samoa, with England expected to top this group.

Samoa are a difficult team to beat, but England have shown that they are one of the best sevens teams in the world. If the Boks end second in their group, they will in all likelihood face England.

"We've studied videos of the Tunisians and we've got a plan in place to beat them" says SA coach Paul Treu.
"They lie quite shallow and play a physical game. We will try to limit rucks and play the ball wide."
The Zimbabweans are an unknown factor, because they did not play in Dubai.

They are known to fight to the bitter end, but Pretorius and company should beat them without too much of a struggle.

France, however, are a different kettle of fish.

"The French are excellent at kick-off and they test a team's defence all the time," Treu said.
He will start the first match with his more experienced players and give the less experienced guys a chance later on.

"I'm considering including the only newcomer, Izak Saayman, in the second match against Zimbabwe," the coach explained.

He was pleased that he could include Sevens star Fabian Juries again.
Juries withdrew from the Dubai tournament to be at his wife's side for the birth of their child.
Treu said Juries was one of the most experienced Sevens players and he was the pivot of South Africa's game plan.

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Rugga World Humour: A Handbrake's Guide to Rugby

Still Under Construction - It's a complicated topic


Okay. Rugby is a bloody complex game, and one of the cornerstones of our society. It's something that a bloke has to enjoy. Why, you may ask? Don't ask! Does a bloke ask you why you need so many sets of bloody clothes? Does a bloke ever ask why he can't have steak and chips for dinner every night of his life? Does a bloke ever ask why the hell you watch Oprah and buy all those weird Womens mags which are full of lies? Of course he doesn't!. Unless you use his money to buy them of course! But apart from that, a Bloke knows that certain things just ARE.

Which is why he likes Rugby, and lots of it.

The Object of the Game

The object of the game is simple, for our team to "score" as many "tries" as possible, and if they're not able to score tries, to score "field goals". And to stop the opposition doing the above.

The Object of Spectating

The object of spectating is a manyfold one - To equal the world record for consecutive drinking, shouting "Shit Ref, Ya Blind Bastard!" and "YOU LITTLE BEAUTY!" whilst simultaneously wishing you were fit enough to get on the field in the first place. From your armchair.


My bloke wants to take me to the Rugby. Should I go?

Of Course Not! He REALLY wants to take his best mate but he's probably just remembered that it was your birthday six weeks ago and he's trying to be thoughtful. What a good bastard. You should make him a Steak and Cheese Pie for when he gets home from the match boozed to bits.

No, he really wants me to go!

So your birthday was 1 YEAR and six weeks ago. He must be feeling really bad. Two Steak and Cheese Pies would be nice. From the Service Station, because they've got the really good recipe.

What's a scrum?

A Scrum is where a collection of players form an interlocked triangle shape, which then interlocks with the opposition's triangle shape along the front edge. Once interlocked, this is called a scrum. A ball is placed into the scrum and both sides attempt to hook the ball out or force the opposition back so fast that they can't hook the ball out. The scrum is typically won by the side the puts the ball in.

Oh, I understand

We were only joking. A scrum is one of the places where differences between players on opposing teams are worked out without the tedious intervention of the referee. The scrum goes down, the ref's attention gets diverted for a second, a fist or knee comes up, and resolution is achieved, without the completely unnecessary calling of a Penalty.

I get it now. So it's just part of normal play

Of course. Unless it was one of our side who was hit, especially if it was in view of the cameras but not the ref or touch judge etc, in which case it is one of the most shameless fouls ever to curse the game, and the offender concerned should be taken to the sideline and pelted with rotten vegetables.

So what's a line-out then?

That's when the ball goes off the side of the field and has to be chucked back in. Each of the teams sends some players to form a line next to the opposition's team at the side of the field. Then a player from the team that did NOT knock the ball out throws the ball down the middle of the two lines without hint of prejudice.

So the throw in is always done fairly

You really are green, aren't you? Of course it's not bloody fair! If it was FAIR it wouldn't be very bloody sporting would it?! If it was FAIR, we wouldn't be playing to WIN - we'd be playing to DRAW. (Just in case you're wondering, we play to win - that's why it's called SPORT) That's why one of our team goes "Look Ref - Elvis" just as the ball is thrown straight to him. (Or, if the other team is throwing in, just as he punches his opposing player in the nuts.)

What this offside rule again? The offside rule is one which is changed every few months or so, so that bad Refs can interpret it to the advantage of the opposition and the disadvantage of our team. Good Refs however, are up to date and use it fairly, like when the opposition is offside.

What happened to Buck?

You had to bring that up didn't you? How the hell do we know? There he was - a legend in his own half-time; then he was deselected. We heard all the rumours - a bit of biffo off field, some nasty words, space aliens abducting the selection team for their own evil purposes and replacing them with replicas that wouldn't know a line-out call if it appeared on their dinner menu. We know. A real bloody tragedy for all concerned. Let's just try to live on and not think about it.

Who's our greatest opposition?

Well, opinion varies depending on who you talk to and the year concerned. At one time it was said to be the Springboks, At one time the Aussies, At one time Laurie Mains and/or Grizz Wiley. It's hard for us to give you a definitive answer, especially when you've been given all of the above opinions at the public bar prior to the match. A basic rule of thumb is it's whoever the TV presenter says it is - and he should know as he's paid to sit in the public bar...

So why do you get so pissed off at your players?

The term You useless bastard! is a form of encouragement from a spectator to a player. Doubly so, should that player happen to notice the said spectator and meet him in a dark alley at a moment subsequent to the game. It is not meant to denote anger or disappointment, and is replaced with "YOU LITTLE BEAUTY!" at the very next opportunity.

Should I play women's rugby?

It depends. Do you think you'd like to be called "You useless bastard!" occasionally? Of course, dropping a crate of your handbrake's beer every once in a while might reduce the chances of these words ever being spoken, but you should still give it a moment's thought..

Bastards The other team when they're winning. Also known as Bloody Bastards, Bloody Cheating Bastards, Bloody Cheating Bastards who couldn't find GROUND if the Ref wasn't on their side, etc

Field Goal A less glorious way of scoring, where the ball is kicked thru the space above the goal-post crossbar.

Lions The name given to the British Rugby Team. See Also "Bastards"

Maul See Scrum


Scrum A dangerous place to be if the opposition doesn't like you. See Also "Maul"

Springbok The name given to the South African Rugby Team. See Also "Bastards"

Try What we score when we carry the ball over the opposition's Try-Line (The line where there goal posts are) and Press the ball to the ground
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GAP SPORTS 'Community' in Port Elizabeth

I was intrigued to come across this website

Basically they offer Gap Year placements for 3 months to anyone interested in coaching rugby in the townships around Port Elizabeth.

"Join the GAP SPORTS 'Community' in Port Elizabeth, South Africa 's "Friendly City", and give young township players the chance to learn and develop new rugby skills. No experience is needed and you will enjoy the close GAP SPORTS 'family' by living, exploring and socialising with other volunteers and locals. Spot Africa 's big game on safari, sample the surf at Jeffrey's Bay and experience countless extreme sports, friendly local bars and lively African rugby matches, all under the warm and welcoming skies of South Africa. (No prior coaching experience or qualifications are required, just an ability to get alongside children and organise activities)."

They go on to explain a bit about South African rugby,

"Rugby in South Africa: As you are probably aware, the South Africans are extremely passionate about their Rugby. They are a tough and very technical force to be reckoned with - despite England 's punishment in the 2003 World Cup! Although rugby is a passion for many, very few get to play and develop in a well-structured environment. And the irony is that many of the most promising players, often living in and around Port Elizabeth 's townships, are left undiscovered and their talents undeveloped. Although it is hard for these children to get a game going with some friends, many are seen kicking and throwing a ball around with each other, dreaming of being the next Francois Pienaar and leading the Springboks to World Cup victory once again. But without the proper chance to play and further their game, this will only ever remain a township fantasy."

and then a bit about who they will be working with,

"You will be under the guidance of the GAP SPORTS team who has implemented the rugby and sports activities programme, largely centred in the townships and schools that skirt the city. The first stage as a coach is to help organise and run training clinics and matches for the children, as well as providing them with decent rugby equipment to use. This will be a great experience for forming relationships with the players and also for developing your own confidence. The second stage will be working together, as a volunteer 'unit', to plan and run rugby tournaments that incorporate both matches and team-building activities. Although the focus is on personal skills and sports development, there will be ample opportunity to scout for talented individuals who, with the right support and training, could go onto play professional level rugby. The sports academies with which we work are keen to identify the individuals who will form South Africa 's next generation of Springboks. And, although this is not the focus of our rugby coaching projects, it is likely you will groom players who are destined for a future in the top end of the game"

It's quite fascinating, had anyone heard of them? I think this should be strongly encouraged. Okay, it's obviously not a 'not-for-profit' charity venture but anything that encourages young black kids into rugby must be a good thing.

I think the three regional bodies, especially the EP and SEC, should make contact with this organization, if they haven't already, and see if there are any synergies.

It's well worth a read and you can just follow the link at the top.
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Thursday, December 08, 2005



The first official Brannasnacht of Rugga World wil be held on Thursday 8 December 2005 at 21H00 CET. Please feel free to join and be sure to leave all baggage at home. Partners are welcome to join. See you there and remember, due to the youth of the site we are not as yet able to supply the drinks, but feel free to bring your own.
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Walkinshaw seeks to run European tournament

Mark Souster

TOM WALKINSHAW is to propose that English and French clubs take over the running of the Heineken Cup and make it more profitable by maximising revenues and commercial opportunities.

Walkinshaw, who has never been afraid of taking on the establishment, has written to Jean-Pierre Lux, the chairman of European Rugby Cup (ERC), asking for a meeting to discuss “several points”, including the “management of the tournament”. Writing in his capacity as chairman of Premier Rugby, Walkinshaw, the owner of Gloucester, does not detail his intentions in his letter, but it is being widely interpreted as the first step in attempting to wrest control of the tournament.

It is no secret that he and Serge Blanco, his counterpart at Ligue Nationale de Rugby, the French clubs’ association, who has also contacted Lux, believe that, as a club tournament, the Heineken Cup should be run directly by and for the benefit of the participants and not through their respective unions.

Derek McGrath, the chief executive of ERC, confirmed receipt of correspondence from both individuals. “Their letters were presented to the board of ERC last week,” he said.

The overtures have been made at a time when ERC has begun to conduct an overview of its role, its plans for the future and the direction of the tournament. The review started in September and should be completed within a year.

“The current shareholders’ agreement comes to the end of its eight-year term at the end of 2007,” McGrath said. “It is the first time since 1999 that shareholders have had a chance to get together and say, ‘OK, let’s open this up, let’s start with a blank piece of paper and start discussing what is and what is not appropriate to take this tournament to the next level.’ What changes do people want to make? Let’s all get together and take this further. We want to get all parties together by the end of January.”

The tournament is now in its tenth season and after a hesitant start it has established itself as the most popular competition in Europe after the Six Nations Championship. Since 1999, when it separated from the Lions and Six Nations, it has been a stand-alone entity.

That Walkinshaw can possibly scent an opportunity is an indication of its success. “Perhaps they are saying we value this so much we would love to own it,” McGrath said. “We know the tournament is a success, whether it is accessible for anyone to take ownership of is totally different.”

The notion that somehow the clubs could do a better job on their own is being scoffed at. Walkinshaw, though, has figures to support his argument that financially English clubs could do better. Income from all sources for a Guinness Premiership game is estimated to be in the region of £1 million, from the Anglo-Welsh Powergen Cup about £625,000 but, from Europe, it is between £300-£325,000.

That, however, supposes that the tournament is about self- interest rather than fostering the development of the tournament on a pan-European basis whereby some clubs and countries have to be carried for the greater good. Indeed, the ERC mission statement says: “To realise the potential of European club rugby by pushing back boundaries, connecting stakeholders and creating matches of unique drama.”

On the face of it, Walkinshaw and Blanco’s proposals are a non-starter, but they may be using it as a tactic merely to ensure that ERC reinvigorates itself, which ultimately will be to everyone’s mutual benefit.

“We do not have a problem that everybody buys into this tournament,” McGrath continued. “Can we make the commercial programme better? Well, everyone wants to make more money. It is in our interests to have clubs involved who believe in it and what we are doing as an organisation.”

This year’s tournament, the final of which is in Cardiff, resumes tomorrow night with the first leg of home and away games against the same opponents. Sale Sharks travel to Castres today knowing that victory against the club they beat in a pre-season friendly would consolidate their position in pool one. Philippe Saint-Andre, the Sale director of rugby, has named a 25-man squad. Kingsley Jones, the assistant coach, said: “All the players know we face a tougher test tomorrow.” The second match is at Ravenhill, where Ulster entertain Saracens.
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SA's members of the IRB Board

Since when was Johan Prinsloo appointed to the IRB Board? Was this released to the media, I cannot recall reading about it anywhere? Is there still such a body as the South African Sports Commission?

Brian van Rooyen (2004) is the Executive Chairman of Labat Africa Ltd. The Group is listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange and employs over 500 people. He has more than 20 years of business experience, coupled with Developmental experience and was recently appointed a member of the South African Sports Commission by the Minister of Sports and Recreation. He also serves as an Executive Committee Member of the Sports Commission in charge of finance.

Johan Prinsloo (2005) is a veteran in the entertainment business. For 17 years he was in the movie industry, with Ster Kinekor - while also involved in rugby refereeing and coaching at Wits University. His particular involvement was with the Under-20 sides, working closely with Jake White.

Prinsloo was also Chairman of Technikon Witwatersrand Rugby Club, while working within the structures of the then-Transvaal U20. As a fulltime employee, he joined rugby in 1991, working for Dr Louis Luyt. During that period, he was involved in all aspects of rugby, the highlights being the beginning of the Super 10 and the 1995 Rugby World Cup Committee. He was appointed CEO of SA Rugby in 2004.
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Reds revolt topples ARU chairman

By Roy Masters Friday, December 9, 2005

A QUEENSLAND-LED coup unseated ARU chairman Dilip Kumar yesterday after criticism of him following the recent IRB meeting that awarded the 2011 Rugby World Cup to New Zealand.

Kumar supported Japan's bid to host the tournament but the Kiwis believed he had promised it to them in the eventual 12-9 ballot. Their wrath is such that the ARU feared New Zealand would not back Australia's push for a fifth team when the Super 14 competition next expands.

Australia wants a fifth Super 14 franchise in Melbourne to provide a nationwide spread of the code. But any Australian expansion would be conditional on the support of New Zealand, which, along with South Africa and Australia, comprises the competition's governing body, SANZAR.
Kumar was also the target of criticism following last week's dismissal of Wallabies coach Eddie Jones, with claims he had leaked information. As a NSW representative on the ARU board and a former chairman of the NSWRU, Kumar's decision to quit as chairman may dent Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie's ambitions of taking over from Jones.

"There was unwarranted personal criticism of Dilip when the ARU board chose to support Japan's bid for the Rugby World Cup 2011," ARU president Paul McLean said in a statement. "The ARU board remains committed to its decision to support Japan's bid."

With the ARU to take over the secretariat of SANZAR next year, Kumar had decided to quit his role as chairman to try to ensure a smooth transition, the ARU said.
Kumar said his decision was in the best interests of Australian rugby but declined to comment further. When yesterday's meeting began at 1pm, Queensland's three delegates - Ben Kehoe, David Usasz, Robin Thompson - planned to move against Kumar and had the support of the ACT's Peter McGrath.

However, this counted for only four votes on the nine-man board and the rebels were intent on wooing chief executive Gary Flowers or Travis Hall, the players' association representative, or even convincing one of Kumar's two NSW colleagues - Mike Brown and Ron Graham - to desert his chairman.

As the bitter meeting progressed, Flowers made it clear he did not want to politicise the process and left the room, concerned he would be caught in the crossfire. He, along with Kumar, left and rejoined the meeting at intervals.

Eventually, the board made it clear Kumar's position was untenable and he stood down at 5pm before a vote was necessary. He will remain a member of the board but is expected to retire early next year.

Publicity over Jones's role after Australia lost eight of their past nine Tests created friction between Kumar and Flowers, who is now seen as secure in his position. Flowers took it upon himself to sack Jones before Kumar could come over the top and emerge as the ARU strong man.

However, influential figures in the corporate and marketing world are looking to attract former chief executive John O'Neill back to the code. Kumar and former ARU chairman Bob Tuckey were the two officials responsible for O'Neill's departure by mutual consent following the successful staging of the 2003 Rugby World Cup by Australia.

O'Neill is still bitter both had told him he did not have the support of the board, yet he subsequently discovered the matter had not gone to the directors. It is understood O'Neill could be wooed back only if he was offered an executive chairman's role of the type his close friend John Coates enjoys as AOC president.

O'Neill, now the chief executive of Football Federation Australia, oversaw the Socceroos' recent qualification for next year's World Cup in Germany.

He receives a $1 million salary, enjoys the support of billionaire businessman Frank Lowy, travels extensively and is now a player in the world game. Currently in Germany for the World Cup draw, it would take a huge incentive for him to return to rugby. While the present members of the board were not responsible for his departure, O'Neill would seek a position in which he was not required to report to a table of directors.

Kumar's critics claim he has spent two years on the IRB board and is yet to make a contribution. All three bidding cities for the 2011 World Cup believed they had his vote. One opponent likened him to a good sheep dog, saying: "He works wide and he works quietly."

However, he invoked the rage of sheep-loving New Zealanders by backing Japan, believing it to be in the code's interests. Awarding Japan the tournament would have been a move away from the code's Anglo-Celtic power base and pleased the IOC, which is yet to invite rugby to the Olympics. The 2011 vote was closer than assumed and it angered the Kiwis, who believed they deserved the tournament after being dumped by Australia for 2003. Ireland had promised to support South Africa but the night before the vote South African officials found IRB chairman Syd Millar, a former Irish and British Lions prop, with his arm around All Blacks legend Colin Meads, sharing a pint.

Had Ireland's votes gone to South Africa, they would have moved into the second round ahead of New Zealand. In rugby politics, vengeance is more lethal than the bottom of a ruck.

A new ARU chairman will be elected today.
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Rugby Administration: Corporate governance vs Operational/Financial Management

I got the impression over the past year that this new buzz word “Corporate Governance” is sometimes misunderstood as to what it really entails. I decided to write a few pieces on it, based on what is stated in the King II report and my opinion there on.

I will also relate this back to the structures and doings of the the South African Rugby Union to just see why this all of a sudden has become the buzz word in rugby.


The impression I get is that quite a few people believes that corporate governance is the same as operating/financial management. This is not true in a certain sense. Why, because of the level at which the responsibility for these functions lie. In short, you can have bad corporate governance, but with good operating/financial management the institution will still be able to survive and even turn out good results.

Corporate Governance casts its web much further than just operational/financial management. It includes a big variety of functions which I will discuss seperately in articles. Please remember to always keep the complete picture in mind and see the concept of Corporate governance.

One can go and read the whole King II report, but in essence it is summarised on page 22 of the report :” …successful governance in the world of the 21st century requires companies to adopt an inclusive approach that takes the community, its customers, its employees and its suppliers into consideration when developing the company strategy. This inclusive approach requires that the purpose of the company is defined and that the values by which it will operate are identified and communicated to all stakeholders. The relationship between company and its stakeholders must be mutually beneficial. The company must be open to institutional activism and there must be greater emphasis on the non-financial aspects of its performance. Boards must apply the test of fairness, accountability, responsibility and transparency in all acts or ommissions and be accountable to the company but responsive and responsible to the company’s identified stakeholders. The correct balancebetween conformance and performance must be struck.

What does this entails? Corporate governance is the responsibility of the board of the company /institution. In my opinion it can be summed up in one word: integrity.

Responsibilities of the board of directors

1. Effective control over the company/institution. This means that the ultimate responsibility stays with the board. They cannot delegate the reponsibility, only the accountability.
2. The board determines the strategic plans for the entity and appoints the CEO who will brings these plans to execution.
3. They should setup a code of conduct, the value system to be implemented and procedures whereby they can seek independent advice.
4. They should monitor the implementation of all the abovementioned.
5. They should strive to be innovative and entrepreneurial while still functioning within their law and governance requirements.
6. They are responsible for evaluating business units, demographics of the company, and the risks within the company aswell as the external risks.
7. They have to monitor the performance indicators and assess the non-financial aspects that is influenced by the company or that can have an influence on the company.
8. They should ensure that all communication, internal and external, are effective with regards to the value system and the strategic plans.

I have read literature where the writers includes the monitoring of the internal controls and information systems. I believe that this is the responsibility of the CEO. He is the one who is running the show and reports to the board. It is not the responsibility of the chairperson to run the company, but to lead the board, formulate their work plan and be responsible for the public relations with the shareholders/interested parties.

I trust that you now understand my argument surrounding the bad governance vs good operational controls.

SA Rugby

You can apply these responsibilities to SA Rugby yourself, but here is my thoughts on it. Applying the above to the situations, one can actually say that it is very unfair just to blame Brian van Rooyen for the bad corporate governance. The whole board is responsible for this, unless it can be proven that he acted maliciously and without their consent. Not one of the members can walk away and point a finger at him, except the ones who brought it into the open, being Markgraaff and Stofile. My impression however is that they only used the buzz word and did not really understand the meaning or their ultimate responsibilty towards the whole concept of corporate governance.

There has been no reports of bad financial management form the SARU side, but this does not mean Prinsloo was doing his job. In accordance with what information is offered to the public in comparison what is expected by corporate governance, he has failed along with the board or presidents’ council (call it what you want). Being in that position, he should be aware of these requirements and if the board did not request him to comply, he should have advised them on the issue.

Where we must give Prinsloo credit is that nowhere did we hear about financial problems at SARU. We did hear how money was wasted by the board on ridiculously expensive lunches, but other than that things seems to be running smoothly on the financial side. This was a waste of money, but not necessarily bad financial management.

On the operational side however, there was major issues that come to mind and that is the contract negotiations with the Springboks, the late determining of the CC venues and the now infamous debacle over the fifth S14 franchise. Here I do have a big problem to decide who I will blame for the fiascos. Some of these were obviously not in Prinsloo’s hands, but again he needed to take control (in absence of Van Rooyen – he was by his own admission focussing on Labat) and advised the board. From the little information we do get, I have come to the conclusion that Prinsloo is not a leader. My problem is that he doesn’t seem to be a do-er either.

The reason for the problems over the past year within SA Rugby can, in my opinion, be summed up as:

1. The chairman/president (whatever) was not focussed on the job he was elected to do. This resulted in people being able to critisize him and focus on his mistakes and thus play their own political game.
2. The board has not realised their own responsibility towards corporate governance and was keeping themselves busy with infighting and politics. The result was that the sport so many people love, was neglected for personal gain.
3. A CEO who did not understand his responsibilities and seems to be more focused on this own problems than the job at hand.

The only solution I can offer is that we return to a corporate setup in a similar mould to that which Rian Oberholser used when he was in charge, but without window dressing positions. The people need to work towards the furthering of rugby and not focus on their personal interests. Dedicated people who can pull their weight and add value to the organisation. Being a corporate will force corporate governance to be complied with and take the loophole under which SARU is operating out of the system.

The sponsors of SA Rugby will need to strengthen their representation of the board and the appointment of Ali Bacher has already been a step in the right direction. I only hope and trust that the rihgt people will be appointed in SA Rugby and that the only news we hear in SA Rugby in future is not only how strong our Springboks is, but also how strong the integrity of our administration leadership is.

Till next time
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