He will soon return home to South Africa to focus on his family and his livestock farm, but life after rugby can wait a few more weeks. Bakkies Botha wants to go out in a blaze of glory with Toulon.
With a Rugby World Cup triumph in 2007, 3 Super Rugby championships with the Bulls and 2 European titles with Toulon, not to mention Tri-Nations, Currie Cup and Top 14 honours – few can match the Springbok 2nd row enforcer’s illustrious achievements.
But in the twilight of his career and savouring the prospect ahead of the “calmness of the bush”, Botha, perhaps befitting a deeply religious man, prefers to focus on the team, rather than his individual contribution.
Toulon, the Mediterranean port city he has called home since 2011, hope to be crowned kings of Europe for a 3rd successive year when they take on French rivals Clermont in the European Rugby Champions Cup final at Twickenham on Saturday.
“I’m really happy that I came to Europe to test myself in this league and I want to end my career hopefully making it into 2 finals (Champions Cup and Top 14),” said the 36-year-old lock.
DHL Stormers and Springbok flank Schalk Burger has won the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award at the ceremony in Shanghai on Wednesday.
Burger had a cyst next to his spinal cord and went into hospital for treatment, but developed life-threatening meningitis and was taken to intensive care. Miraculously, he battled for his life and returned to the sport he loves to win his place back in the Springbok rugby team.
Reflecting upon the most serious stage in his time in intensive care, Burger said: “I remember the day where my wife phoned and everyone said, listen, this is probably it, it’s time to say goodbye. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.
“It was super scary if you think back now.
“But when you’re going through the middle of this and there’s no time to think really, there’s no time to think about consequences; it was pretty much just me versus something.”
Somewhere, shaking his cauliflower ears in dismay, a grizzled old retired prop was probably secretly wishing someone would just stick the ball up his jumper and make a cautious 3 inches.
For everyone else watching this was surely the most thrilling day that 5 or 6 Nations rugby has seen: a fantasy finale, a chest-squeezer and knee-knocker, a day to fall back in love.
There are the stats: 221 points scored across the 3 matches, the most in a single weekend – 27 tries, run in from deep and wide and everywhere in between.
There was England’s record score against France, Ireland’s biggest away win, the most tries Wales have scored in 1 championship half.
Then there was the style. This was rugby we thought had died and been laid to rest, killed by detailed analysis and the professional urge to be sensible.
Sensible? This was glorious chaos, March madness to put a spring in every watcher’s step and an ulcer in the stomach of every defence coach.
Former Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen was honoured for his contribution to South African sport at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg on Thursday night.
Van der Westhuizen, who suffers from Motor Neuron Disease, received an award for his Outstanding Contribution to South African Sport at the 2015 Sport Industry Awards held at Sandton Convention Centre.
Van der Westhuizen received a standing ovation when he received his award from former Springbok captain Morne du Plessis. Several well-known sports personalities attended the event.
The World Cup countdown is officially on, as the Six Nations sides get the first opportunity in the spotlight.
xThe Northern Hemisphere teams will look to sharpen up on their game plans, test out combinations and look to see who to cut from their World Cup plans.
With England hosting the global showpiece this year, the onus is on the Northern Hemisphere sides to fully challenge and grab the opportunity of a World Cup on their turf.
The conditions, referees and schedule seems to favour them.
The Six Nations in 2014 saw a tournament only decided on the final day – with three teams still able to win it. Eventually Ireland won it, a perfect swan song for arguably the greatest No.13 in the modern era – Brian O’Driscoll.
England won the triple crown, beating all the other Home Nations, but failed to win the Six Nations. Italy was also in the record books for the most tackles in a Test match as they made 208!
What do we expect in the 2015 edition of the Six Nations?
A fourth high profile South African rugby player, former Natal wing Danny Delport, has been struck down by the devastating Motor Neuron Disease (MND).
Delport played for Natal from 1973 – 1975 while studying at Maritzburg Varsity before returning to his home in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and representing the national team for 8 years.
Delport and his family settled in Perth in 2008, but late last year he was diagnosed with MND.
The disease attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord which control voluntary muscle activity including speaking, breathing, walking and swallowing. It causes progressive weakness and increasing disability, muscle wasting and, eventually, death.
A Special General Meeting of the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) was held at DHL Newlands on Wednesday 17 December 2014 to give feedback and to discuss the investigation of the feasibility and desirability to relocate to the Cape Town Stadium.
The WPRFU are the owners of the DHL Newlands Rugby Stadium – in turn, the clubs are the stakeholders and owners of the Union – and a decision to remain at DHL Newlands was carried by the clubs on Wednesday 17 December 2014, unanimously and without abstention.
The decision to NOT further consider relocating to the Cape Town Stadium was based on a number of factors, the main considerations being the following:
Former Springbok lock Hannes Strydom says he fought back after six men tried to hijack his vehicle in Pretoria on Monday.
Strydom, 49, was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Little Company of Mary hospital in Groenkloof after surviving the attempted hijacking.
The incident occurred in Aries street in Pretoria’s Waterkloof Ridge suburb.
According to Strydom’s wife, Nikolie, the skull around his left eye socket was fractured after one of the hijackers threw a “rock”.
But the former Springbok and Golden Lions star has since recovered and was moved out of ICU on Tuesday afternoon.
The Springboks played Italy in a Test for the first time in 1995 when they were reigning as World Champions. They won the match 40-21, and since then have played Italy 10 times.
The Springboks have won all 11 but then unusually for Northern Hemisphere teams, Italy have played more Tests against South Africa in South Africa rather than at home – seven in South Africa vs four at home. But those 11 matches were not the first rugby contacts between the two countries.
Rugby in Italy started to get organised in the late 1920’s. Before that it was a haphazard affair when wandering Brits and contact with France that had led to matches here and there. In the 1920’s it enjoyed the support of Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy, a man who saw himself as the emperor of a new Roman Empire. As in imperial times, people enjoyed the blood sport of the amphitheatre, so in this new empire Il Duce would have rugby. Not that he had played the game as at 1,69 he would have been small even as a scrumhalf.
The KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union and the Sharks are saddened to hear the news of the passing of former Natal scrumhalf Gawie Visagie, who passed away this morning (Wednesday) after a brave battle with cancer.
Having joined Natal from Griqualand West, Visagie played 42 games for Natal between 1981-1985. Though essentially a scrumhalf, he shone at flyhalf for Natal in the 1984 Currie Cup final played against Western Province. Gawie was a well-liked and respected former player who still had such a passion for the game.
In August this year the team of 1984, which Gawie was a proud member of, celebrated their 30-year reunion with a dinner that was held in Mount Edgecombe. Gawie’s fight against cancer was recognised at this function with many stalwarts present to wish him well.
Former Springbok and Western Province centre Tinus Linee, who was suffering from Motor Neuron Disease (MND), passed away at the age of 45 on Monday morning. Continue reading
Former Springbok hooker and captain Gabriël Frederick Malan, otherwise known as Abie, has passed away at the age of 78 on Thursday.
Malan played for the Springboks in the infamous 1965 Test against the All Blacks at Athletic Park in Wellington, which the Springboks won 6-3.
Craig Joubert is one of 26 referees to referee a Currie Cup Final since the first one in 1939.
South Africa’s provincial teams first played in a competition in 1889. The Currie Cup was added in 1892 but played mostly as centralised tournaments. There was not a Final till 1939 and then Finals were sporadic till 1968 since when there has been a Final each year.
Refereeing the Currie Cup Final is cherished by referees as it is cherished by players who play in it. After all there is only one a year.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 was a sad day when, after a 45-year association with Newlands, Hennie Bekker said goodbye to Western Province Rugby in an official capacity.
The 62-year-old gentle giant has officially retired as an employee of Western Province, having served the union with distinction for so many years.
Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), accompanied by a Springbok delegation on Friday visited the recuperating former “Coloured Springboks” captain Salie Fredericks at his house in Gordon’s Bay.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, team manager Ian Schwartz, captain Jean de Villiers and vice-captain Victor Matfield accompanied Mr Hoskins, as they wished Mr Fredericks well with his recovery from surgery.
Fredericks, who was labelled as the “Black Frik du Preez” by some newspapers in his playing days, played more than 200 provincial matches for Western Province in competitions of the former South African Coloured Rugby Football Board, and later the non-racial and anti-apartheid South African Rugby Union.
It is 8 November.
England are about to tackle the All Blacks at Twickenham.
For captain Chris Robshaw, matchday starts with a lie-in; he has his own room due to his thunderous snoring. Then comes breakfast, a massage and some physio if required before the forwards go through a couple of plays while the backs play a passing game.
Richie McCaw will add another line to his long list of achievements on Saturday by matching Colin Meads as the most capped All Black ever.
The New Zealand captain will equal Meads’ record of 133 All Black appearances in La Plata against Argentina, in what will be his 132nd Test.
McCaw’s only non-Test appearance for the All Blacks came in 2009 when he captained the side against the Barbarians.
By contrast Meads, whose New Zealand career lasted 14 years from 1957-71, earned just 55 caps for his country, but featured a further 78 times for New Zealand.
International coaches – and selection panels before them – traditionally prize solidity at centre, and nowhere more than in England.
Which is not to say that they’ve not had great creative centres; Jeff Butterfield, Jerry Guscott and Will Greenwood had talents that would have been welcomed in any team in the world.
The results of today’s referendum in Scotland could have an impact on the British & Irish Lions.
If Scotland votes ‘Yes’, it may have to re-brand to reflect the altered political landscape and constitutional agreement. From their 1891 roots as the ‘British Isles’, today’s poll may see them eventually become simply ‘The Lions’.
With this in mind, Scrum Sevens looks back at seven great Scottish players who gave body, blood and sweat for the British & Irish Lions’ cause.
Former British and Irish Lions prop Phil Vickery has called on the combined side to resist pressure to change their name should Scotland vote for independence next week.
The Lions could be forced to drop the word ‘British’ from their title if Scotland leaves the United Kingdom.
John Spencer, England’s representative on the Lions board and the manager for the team’s 2017 tour of New Zealand, said officials would discuss a possible name change in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote.
The All Blacks have a higher winning percentage in the professional age against the Springboks than they do the Wallabies and yet it is the Boks who are viewed as the ultimate foe.
Questions have been asked in the past few years about whether Australia are still a worthy adversary. A once intense rivalry has lost its edge.
The odds were always that the first rugby international killed in action in the First World War would be a Frenchman.
The French were the first major rugby nation directly involved, facing a German invasion of their territory almost as soon as the war started.
Stade Toulousain half-back Alfred Mayssonnie – ‘Maysso’ to friends and fans alike – joined up as soon as war was declared, appointed a non-commissioned officer in the 259th Infantry Regiment. Within three weeks he had earned a mention in his regiment’s orders of the day with his bravery in an action at d’Amel-Eton, north-east of Verdun.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers cannot quite believe that he is about to play his 100th Test match, given he felt he might not even get a second after he destroyed ligaments in his knee, seven minutes into his debut.
The centre spent nine months recuperating after that Test against France in Marseille in November 2002, returned to play a game as the Springboks warmed up for the 2003 World Cup in Australia, then suffered a shoulder injury.
Bryan Gary Habana is an institution in the Springbok team and in Perth on Saturday he will become the fourth player to feature in 100 Tests for South Africa.
Speaking ahead of the Boks’ Rugby Championship encounter with Australia, he made it clear that he is not taking the No.11 jersey for granted.
In fact Habana said there are young players – both in the team and back home – pushing him hard.
Bryan Habana will on Saturday become the fourth Springbok and 33rd player overall to play in 100 Tests when South Africa take on Australia in the third round of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship at Patersons Stadium in Perth (kickoff 12h05 SA time).
The 31-year-old Habana, who made his debut for South Africa against England at Twickenham on 20 November 2004, holds the record for the most Test tries in a Springbok jersey. His 56 Test tries places him fourth on the list of all-time international try scorers.
The three-time South African Rugby Player of the Year (2004, 2007 and 2012), who was also named the IRB Rugby Player of the Year in 2007, will lead the Springboks out on Saturday as he follows Percy Montgomery, John Smit and Victor Matfield in amassing 100 Tests in the green and gold.
The awful truth about the Wallabies’ hammering last weekend is that by 2015 the All Blacks could roll out an entirely different back line and dish it out all over again.
Wallowing in pessimism? Perhaps, but look at the stockpile of talent that wasn’t even in the 23 in Auckland that, in theory, they could select next year.
The International Rugby Board will become World Rugby from 19 November 2014 as part of a major rebranding programme.
The new brand, including a new logo, will be launched at the IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition in London on November 17-18.
Global Rugby participation has boomed by more than two million to 6.6 million players over the past four years, driven by the commercial success of Rugby World Cup, the IRB’s development strategies and record investment, strong and vibrant Unions and Rugby’s re-inclusion in the Olympic Games.
Eleven legends of New Zealand rugby have been inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame at a special ceremony in Auckland on Friday 21 August, staged the night before a Bledisloe Cup match in Eden Park.
This latest induction represents the incorporation into the IRB Hall of Fame of many of the International Rugby Hall of Fame, which was recently acquired by the IRB and presentations were made by Hall of Fame panel member Don Cameron and New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew. The new inductees are: Fred Allen, Don Clarke, Grant Fox, Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Jones, Ian Kirkpatrick, John Kirwan, Terry McLean, Colin Meads, Graham Mourie and George Nepia.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The IRB Hall of Fame recognises those who have made an indelible mark on our sport through feats on the field of play, displays of great character or through their tireless and inspirational work in driving forward our great Game.”
Selectors are sitting targets, an inevitable butt for criticism of the teams that did not quite work out.
But there are times when they are entitled to congratulate themselves, never more than when a single selection meeting launches not just one, but two or more outstanding international careers.
It was probably a good thing for Mike Brewer’s rugby career that the defeats that link him to Eden Park’s two remarkable All Blacks streaks happened far enough apart to escape much notice.
Brewer, the Pukekohe-born flanker who first made his name representing Otago, played 61 games — including 32 tests — for the All Blacks between 1986 and 1995.
According to those Wallabies who have played there, nothing is particularly forbidding about the graveyard of Eden Park. It’s not the sound of a hostile crowd, or the reverberation of the grandstand above the visitors’ dressing room.
The spookiest part for those in gold jumpers is the number: how many years it has been since Australia last beat the All Blacks at the famous Auckland ground.
Twenty-eight years… Boo!
Alan Jones coached the Wallabies in 1986, and he knew in the opening 20 minutes of the third and deciding Test of the series that his Wallabies were about to carve out their own slice of Bledisloe Cup history.
“I knew they would throw the kitchen sink at us,” Jones recalls. “I picked up that vibe by my contacts around the pubs and so on.”
In his heyday, former lock Chris Jack was accustomed to being lifted in countless lineouts. These days, he’s the one doing the heavy lifting.
The 35-year-old has taken up a building apprenticeship, a move which saw him hang up the boots after 14 years of professional rugby.
“It’s rewarding but it’s a big learning curve having not done much outside of school except professional rugby,” Jack says.
Rugby Union did not shut down completely with the declaration of war in August 1914.
Australia and New Zealand were, as dominions of the British Empire, included in Britain’s declaration on 4 August, but inevitably the matter was less urgent.
The machinery of military recruitment clicked into action and the Wellington Rugby Union cancelled its programme of second, third and fourth grade matches on the following Saturday to enable players to attend volunteer parades. But war caught both countries in mid-season and with the All Blacks part way through a tour of Australia.
Yes, it’s Rugby-Talk.com’s birthday today!
On 28 July 2009 a number of us packed our goodies and left the place where we previously discussed rugby, because it was’nt pleasant to discuss rugby anymore. Our discussions there was marred by terrible fighting between bloggers, by racial slurring and racial abuse and it was a shambles, to say the least.
We had our own “THING” in mind and amongst us there were 2 IT guys, myself and a chap called Ed-The Lion. We immediately started a temporary blog where a few friends continued to discuss rugby, whilst I started constructing our new home, Rugby-Talk.com.
At that stage web design was not my strong point or my expertice, but as an avid and accomplished coder, I set to work and chose the WordPress platform after proper research.
When the All Blacks take the field against the Wallabies on Saturday, they’ll know they stand 80 minutes away from a landmark 18 successive wins.
If they come out on top, they’ll leapfrog the All Blacks of the late 1960s and the 1997-98 Springboks to further their reputation as one of the greatest teams in rugby history.
It’s an impressive feat, and would be a record for a tier one nation, but it won’t strictly be a world record.