David Malan & Ben Robinson - Abie Malan Jersey - smallBenn Robinson could finally relax.

The Waratahs and Wallabies prop had been on edge for weeks, carrying around a precious piece of Australian and South African rugby history believed lost for decades.

It had brought him to a hotel lobby in Cape Town, where David Malan was waiting to receive the missing Springboks jersey his father, Abie Malan, had worn to captain South Africa against the Wallabies 51 years earlier.

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Frank OliverFormer All Blacks captain Frank Oliver has died at the age of 65, his old provincial club Manawatu said on Tuesday, describing him as “a truly great rugby man”.

Oliver played for the All Blacks 43 times from 1976-81, including 17 Tests, captaining the New Zealanders to a series win over Australia in 1978. His son Anton Oliver was also an All Blacks captain.

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Tinus LineeFormer Springbok Tinus Linee, who suffers from Motor Neuron Disease, is in a better condition in hospital after suffering a setback last week.

The 44-year-old former Western Province centre is communicating via hand signals and a chalkboard to nurses at his assistance.

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Super RugbyWith the Super Rugby season less than 6 days away, here is a bit of history on the Competition.

Super Rugby is run by SANZAR and consists of franchise teams from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, 5 teams each, devided into 3 Conferences.

Super Rugby is the Southern Hemisphere’s prime Franchise tournament and part of the reason why the Southern Hemisphere currently dominate world rugby, with the New Zealand All Blacks 1st on the IRB World Rankings, the Springboks from South Africa comfortably in 2nd spot and the Wallabies from Australia in 3rd spot.

Super Rugby gets underway in South Africa first in 2014, on 15 February 2014 and a week later the Antipodion sides join in.

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FranceMention of the fact France have won the Five or Six Nations every year after a British and Irish Lions tour in the professional era can elicit deep consideration, confusion or shrugs, depending on who you mention it to.

That’s the thing about history, it can be interpreted in different ways. Or ignored. Or forgotten. Or remembered and its significance disregarded.

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New ZealandSouth AfricaThe 1994 Springbok team is regarded as the worst Springbok side visiting New Zealand. They were unable to win a single test –losing the first two and drawing the 3rd test- and losing one provincial match out of 11 against Otago (12-19).

In total they lost 3 matches and drew one out of 14 matches. Compared to the 1965 Springboks probably a better overall result; excluding the fact that they couldn’t win a test match. It was nonetheless a disappointing result considering the fact that this team also completed tours -with the same coach, Ian McIntosh- through Australia and Argentina in 1993. They won one test in Australia and both test matches in Argentina with reasonable good margins. In addition they played two test matches against England at the start of the 1994 season losing the first one 15-32 at Loftus Versfeld and winning the second one 27-9 at Newlands in Cape Town. From that backdrop there was understandingly an expectation that SA rugby and particular the Springboks will shed the impact of the isolation years and begin to adjust to the requirements of the international rugby if not win test matches.

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New ZealandSouth AfricaAll Blacks 11 / 5 Springboks (Eden Park, Auckland 1 September 1956)

Ron Hemi:
“The fourth test was the hardest game I ever played in, and this was at a time when I considered myself to be at peak physical fitness. South Africa made a big mistake in the selection of their first five-eighth and fullback. Bill Clark and Ross Brown were able to box in Howe and kill play close in, preventing the South African outside backs from operating. And a more determined fullback than Viviers would have prevented Jones’s try. The New Zealand tactics of bursting around the rucks, the ball being kept at close range in front of the forwards, was the winning formula.”

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2013The year was full of spectacular moments and performances as well as disappointing lows and infamous incidents; we name and shame the best and worst in our 2013 Awards.

New Zealand and Wales ruled their respective hemispheres for the second successive year, the All Blacks enjoying a flawless 2013 campaign.

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Cricket BallAustralia comprehensively beat England in the first Ashes test that was played at Brisbane, with a day to spare. Victory, by a whopping 381 runs, was secured late on day four as Mitchell Johnson claimed the final wicket of James Anderson.  England failed to get beyond 200 runs in either of their innings as Man of the Match Johnson bowled with venom and ended up with 9 England scalps.

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Ian McIntoshFormer Springbok coach and current selector Ian McIntosh has been presented with the IRB’s Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service, recognising his achievement in changing the face of rugby in South Africa.

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RBS Six Nations ChampionshipEnglandIrelandWalesScotlandFranceItalyFrom time to time Rugby-Talk is approached by rugby enthusiasts, who read our content, who enquire whether they can write guest articles for publication.

My response is the same every time… send it along, if it is good, we will publish it. More aptly, I also invite these people to register and become part of our wonderful website, to join in the comments with us and should we see value in their style and knowledge, there will be no hesitation to make them fullyfledged authors here on Rugby-Talk.

I hope this is an inspiration to more people to contribute…

Here is a wonderful piece on the history of the Six Nations:

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End Of Year Tours - 2013Round 1 of the End Of Year Tours of 2013 is upon us and it is that time of the year where we see the teams from the South migrate to the North to go do battle with those from Europe and beyond.

The Test rugby games of the End Of Year Tours or November Internationals are always a nice spectacle to see. Some teams use this as an experimental base, whilst other teams use this competition to prepare for other competitions like the 6 Nations. The big thing here is that the 3 Southern Hemisphere giant teams are ranked No 1 to 3 in the world. So, every team wants to beat these sides for bragging rights and to also get an indication of where they stand in preparation of the next Rugby World Cup.

So let the battles begin!

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ABSA Currie CupAlthough the Currie Cup dates back more than a hundred years, the first Currie Cup Final was played in 1939, at Newlands when Transvaal beat Western Province. The Sharks, a.k.a. Natal, are back in the Final for the third year in a row and will be playing the Western Province for the fifth time in a Currie Cup Final.

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Ellis Park Rugby MuseumI am virtually speechless, gobb-smacked… I actually touched rugby history today!

Rugby-Talk was invited to the grand opening of the Ellis Park Rugby Museum, which happened this morning.

The museum boasts probably the biggest single collection of rugby memorabilia in South Africa and probably the entire world, with memorabilia from the earliest days of rugby, rugby in South Africa both Provincially and on a Franchise level and of course probably the biggest element being the fantastic Springbok collection.

There are International jerseys, blasers, signed balls, penadants, artworks as well as other visual elements from all over, it is mind-boggling and to do justice to the exhibition one actually needs several hours to see everything properly, let alone study every ehibit.

The collection is owned by Swys Joubert, who played Provincial rugby in SA, and also played rugby in the UK and France.

Firstly, well done Swys, what an awesome experience!

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Springbok Experience MuseumSpringboks and former national team captains were united in predicting that the new Springbok Experience rugby museum would be a major success after it opened its doors to the public at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town for the first time on Tuesday.

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers was the first official visitor to the new attraction closely followed by the rest of the Springbok squad and former national team captains, all of whom were ‘wowed’ by the world-class new installation – before the doors were thrown open to the public at the sounding of the noon gun.

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Koos BassonMr Oregan Hoskins, President of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), on Sunday paid tribute to former SARU vice-president and long-serving rugby administrator, Koos Basson, who passed away on Saturday. He was 74.

Mr Basson had recently become ill with a heart condition and had been discharged from hospital on Monday.

He passed away at home during the Springboks’ match against New Zealand, doing the thing that he most enjoyed in life, watching rugby, said his widow, Stella.

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