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Adriaan Strauss

Adriaan Strauss

Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss has broken his silence, saying he is excited at the prospect of moving to the Bulls at the end of the season.

The Bulls officially announced the move on Monday, but Strauss revealed exclusively to the supersport.com website that his decision was taken to further his career.

Strauss signed a two-year contract to move to the Bulls, following fellow Cheetahs players Trevor Nyakane and Lappies Labuschagné who will also line up for the Pretoria franchise in next year’s Super Rugby competition.

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Lubabalo Mtembu

Lubabalo Mtembu

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has commended the Sharks rugby team for their appointment on Tuesday of Lubabalo Mtembu as the team’s first black captain.

“The decision to appoint Mtembu is a clear sign that the Sharks rugby team is serious about the transformation of the sport which has been one of the thorny issues since the advent our democratic dispensation in 1994,” African National Congress provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said in a statement.

 

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IN TANDEM: Andy Ellis, left, has played in rotation with Willi Heinz in the Crusaders' No 9 jersey.

IN TANDEM: Andy Ellis, left, has played in rotation with Willi Heinz in the Crusaders’ No 9 jersey.

Andy Ellis is not the world’s best number nine. He is not even rated in the top three half backs in his own country by the All Blacks coach.

But the 30-year-old scrapper may well be the most influential player on the pitch in the Super 15 final.

Ellis is a very good gauge of how the Crusaders are travelling. When Ellis is going well, the Cantabs are going well.

When Ellis is searching for his game and his energy, the Crusaders often become stilted, predictable and unsure of themselves.

The little big man – do all half backs have a Napoleon complex? – was superb in the semifinal against the Sharks.

The Crusaders deliberately shortened their kicking game to put the Sharks backfield under constant pressure and Ellis was at the forefront of the tactic.

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SYDNEY HERE WE COME: Colin Slade, right, makes a point while chatting to his Crusaders team-mates at training yesterday.

SYDNEY HERE WE COME: Colin Slade, right, makes a point while chatting to his Crusaders team-mates at training yesterday.

 

Getting ditched from the All Blacks wasn’t how Colin Slade wanted to prepare for his first Super Rugby grand final.

He can’t do anything about his omission from Steve Hansen’s Rugby Championship squad but the first five-eighth could think of better ways to begin what should be one of the most memorable weeks of his career as the Crusaders focus on meeting the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday night.

The timing might have been terrible but one thing is certain: Slade isn’t going to have a whinge about it.

”I had probably prepared myself, a little bit, for it,” Slade shrugged.

”It’s a bit of a numbers game isn’t it? You can’t take everyone.

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C’est parti!

The 12 team captains launch #WRWC2014 in Paris on Tuesday

The 12 team captains launch #WRWC2014 in Paris on Tuesday

The 12 teams participating in Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 have arrived in France and are all set for kick-off in Paris this Friday, August 1.

Under the opulence of the City Hall in Paris, and with an earlier photo call in the shadow of the iconic Eiffel Tower, #WRWC2014 was officially launched in the French capital on Tuesday.

New Zealand are in France to defend their title, which they claimed after a thrilling final against England in 2010.

 

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imageA look back at a handful of classic contests between the Waratahs and the Crusaders this century.image

2001: Waratahs 25-22 Crusaders

The last time the Waratahs defeated the Crusaders was way back in 2001 when the Waratahs ended the Crusaders hopes of defending their Super 12 title and kept their own semi-final hopes alive.

In the tight match-up it took over 35-minutes for the first points to be scored before the Waratahs lead 10-3 into half-time.

The Crusaders hit the Waratahs hard during the second half to take the lead 17-15 for the first time during the match, but a converted try and penalty to Matt Burke put the Waratahs out of reach with a 25-17 lead, while a missed conversion to Ben Blair saw the side fall three-points short 25-22.

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Greg Growden is the Sydney Morning Herald's senior rugby writer. He has been reporting on the game for over thirty years. He is also the author of nine books including A Wayward Genius, which was described by The Guardian's Frank Keating as being among the 100 best sporting books of the twentieth century. His most recent book is Jack Fingleton; The man who stood up to Bradman.

Greg Growden is the Sydney Morning Herald’s senior rugby writer. He has been reporting on the game for over thirty years. He is also the author of nine books including A Wayward Genius, which was described by The Guardian’s Frank Keating as being among the 100 best sporting books of the twentieth century. His most recent book is Jack Fingleton; The man who stood up to Bradman.

Right from the start, covering New South Wales Waratahs has been a rollicking, unpredictable, wisecracking experience.

It was May 1981, the Sydney Morning Herald’s rugby writer, Jim Webster, was on the other side of the country covering a golf tournament, and someone – anyone – was required to cover the NSW-Manawatu match.

The only person who had not hidden himself away from the gaze of the Herald sports editor was the misfit in the drip-dry shirt completing the greyhound form guide; and so five minutes later I was off to T.G. Millner Field.

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BlackadderIn the mould of Blackadder, no not that one, you are thinking of Todd, I’m talking about the other one, Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has a cunning plan… to emulate Jake White and get his possible reasons for potential failure on record 4 days before kick off.

White complained about how skewered and unfair the competition is for the sides ending outside of the top 2 spots. White though, as a cunning strategist, is small fry compared to the brilliance that is Cheika.

Cheika, realizing that because his side ended top of the combined log and therefor he couldn’t use the “we didn’t get an extra week’s rest” excuse, had to dig really deep, and boy, he didn’t disappoint.

In a move that would put Kasperov to shame, he has hatched a plan so cunning that not even Blofeldt could have thought it out.

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EP KingsEP Kings head coach Carlos Spencer has announced a much changed team to take on the Free State Cheetahs in their final warm up game in Cradock on Friday.

Spencer said Luke Watson will once again captain the side, having returned after sitting out the game against the SWD Eagles in George due to a rib injury.

In comparison to the SWD Eagles game, Spencer has named eight new players in the starting line up and four more have received a starting position after being called up from the bench.

Lizo Gqoboka is the only player to retain his spot in the team at loosehead prop. He is accompanied up front by Michael van Vuuren, who returns to hooker in place of Edgar Marutlulle and Tom Botha at tighthead in place of Charl du Plessis. Both Marutlulle and Du Plessis move to the bench.

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WaratahsThe Waratahs have predictably named an unchanged starting line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby final against the Crusaders at ANZ Stadium as they seek to convert an eight-match winning streak into a maiden title.

With no injury concerns following last Saturday’s 26-8 semifinal win over the Brumbies, head coach Michael Cheika has retained the 23-man squad that provided the success-starved franchise with a historic home final.

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Get CarterOPERATION “Get Carter” is being hatched at the Waratahs’ Moore headquarters this week, with NSW defence coach and hardman Nathan Grey devising a special strategy to smash Crusaders superstar Dan Carter out of the grand final.

The world’s greatest pointscorer stands in the way of the Waratahs first premiership, and the Tahs plan to ensure that Carter has no room to breathe when the teams collide in the decider at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

Waratahs enforcer Wycliff Palu successfully targeted Brumbies playmaker Matt Toomua in last weekend’s semi-final, and Tahs five-eighth Bernard Foley said they will have similar plans for Carter.

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Olympics 2016New ZealandAustraliaSeveral ex-New Zealand and Australia internationals have confirmed that they will lodge an application to switch allegiances to a Pacific Island nation with whom they hold a passport, with a view to participating at the Rugby World Cup in England next year.

With the inclusion of rugby 7s at the Olympics in 2016, there has been a change in eligibility laws that will see players who have represented one nation now eligible to play for another, if they hold a passport from that country.

If they have not played international rugby in the past 18 months, they will be eligible for their new country in the Sevens World Series or designated Regional Olympic Qualification Tournaments and would thus be able to play for that country in all forms of rugby.

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Commonwealth Games 2014South AfricaThe Commonwealth Games was underway and the first Rugby games of these games were on Saturday 26 July 2014.

All games were played at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow.

South Africa won the Gold Medal, New Zealand the Silver, Australia the Bronze!

Before the Final of these Games, New Zealand had not lost a single Commonwealth Games Sevens game… well, that record no longer stands.

The new Commonwealth Games Gold Medal Champions are South Africa’s Blitzbokke… for 4 more years!

It was a tough and physical Final, and New Zealand still deserve their plaudits for being the premier Sevens side in World Rugby.

Herewith the Fixtures & Results:

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German Football

What lessons can be learnt from the successful German Football campaign?

As the dust settles on Germany’s recent FIFA World Cup triumph is there anything that those side’s hoping to lift the Rugby World Cup crown in England next year could learn from Joachim Löw and his all-conquering team?

Are there lessons that could prove pivotal for those sides aiming to win the Women’s Rugby World Cup in France next month?

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Craig Joubert

Craig Joubert

South African Craig Joubert, the referee of the 2011 World Cup final between the All Blacks and France, has been appointed to control the final.

He will be assisted by Australians Steve Walsh and James Leckie.

The final will be contested between the Waratahs and the Crusaders in Sydney, Australia on Saturday the 2nd of August.

Bernard Foley

ZIPPY: Bernard Foley takes the ball up for the Waratahs during their Super Rugby semifinal win over the Brumbies.

He accepted the adulation after scoring one of the most memorable tries of the Super Rugby season to secure the NSW Waratahs’ first home final, but Bernard Foley prefers to dwell on the defensive effort that set up a third title showdown with the Crusaders.

Foley’s completion of a sweeping counterattack in the 76th minute at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night was a belated reminder of the Waratahs’ offensive capabilities – though a bruising semifinal with the Brumbies also highlighted another champion-winning prerequisite: unyielding defence.

As the Waratahs headed for their first debrief today ahead of Saturday’s final at ANZ Stadium, the incumbent Wallabies first five-eighth was still marvelling at his side’s ability to withstand immense pressure and prevent the Brumbies scoring after halftime before they closed out a 26-8 victory.

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WaratahsAn enemy turned ally holds the key to the Waratahs’ hopes of securing their maiden Super Rugby championship with a hoodoo-busting victory over the colossal Crusaders.

The Waratahs will tap into the vast knowledge of assistant coach Daryl Gibson, a vital cog in five of the Crusaders record seven Super Rugby titles, in a bid to conquer the champion New Zealanders for the first time in a decade.

The Tahs have lost their past 11 encounters with the Crusaders, including the 2005 and 2008 title deciders, but have identified Gibson’s expert insight into the competition’s perennial superpowers as priceless.

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Ewen McKenzie

Ewen McKenzie

Forget the All Blacks’ attempt to break the world record for most wins in succession, Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie plans a record of his own.

McKenzie is eyeing Australia’s all-time record of 10 wins in a row this year, with his side currently sitting on seven successive victories.

Most focus leading up to the next month’s opening Bledisloe Cup test between the transtasman rivals will be on New Zealand’s pursuit of 18-straight victories, never achieved by a major test nation.

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Super RugbyIt is the Semi-Finals of Super Rugby 2014 this weekend! We have only the 2 Semi-Final games in this Round, as all the other 11 teams have now been dispatched. Both games take place on Saturday 27 July 2014.

It is crunch time, as only the winners advance to the Final on 2 August 2014.

The Crusaders and Waratahs host the Semi-Finals, as top contenders on the Combined Super Rugby Log. The challengers are the Cell C Sharks and the Brumbies, who have had to travel in order to see if they can advance against strong home ground advantage, for the Final.

Only 3 Super Rugby games for 2014 remain!

Bonus points for tries and losses within 7 now does not matter anymore, all that is needed is a win.

Let the games continue….

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Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika – One of the more “colorful” characters in Super Rugby

From the Coogee stairs to the Super Rugby semis, with a smashed door, poker face and sideline stoush in between, it’s been one hell of a ride for the Waratahs under Michael Cheika.

The fiery coach has helped transform NSW from Super Rugby cellar dwellers to contenders, setting the wheels in motion by lighting a fuse under the underperforming Tahs when he took over the reins last year.

But it’s his second season at the helm that has been the real highlight, and not just because he’s helped steer the Waratahs to the Super Rugby minor premiership and within one win of the grand final.

Along the way the fiery former Randwick forward, renowned during his playing days for his aggressive play on field, has grabbed his share of headlines for some interesting off-field antics.

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Adriaan Strauss

Adriaan Strauss who earlier this week was seen wearing a Cheetah jersey at the unveiling of the new look kit.

In a somewhat confusing week for Adriaan Strauss fans, the big question is, did he or didn’t he? Conflicting reports indicate that he signed for the Bulls, and others that he will be remaining at the Cheetahs.

Earlier this week, at the unveiling of the new Blue Bulls and Free State Cheetahs jerseys for the 2014 Currie Cup, Strauss was the poster boy for the Cheetahs.

What I find strange though, is a specific question asked to him during a Q & A session. Have a look at question No. 8 posed to him and decide whether that was already a dead giveaway.

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SuperBruSuper RugbyRugby-Talk’s SuperBru competition for the 2014 Super Rugby tournament is drawing to a close with only three matches remaining.

In last week’s Qualifying rounds JohnR earned the yellow cap with a solid 5 pointer moving him up 12 places to 31st. Carol still leads the pack of hungry wolves chasing at her heels, but refuses to relinquish her coveted 1st spot. Sharks_Lover is still a close second, with less than a point separating the two.

Both Winston Champ and Charo at 3 and 4 respectively have fallen slightly off the pace, with 3,5 and 5,2 points separating them from Carol.

Before making those SuperBru predictions, let’s have a look at some picks, tips and predictions first.

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Smilie - HugeJokeA couple of days ago, on the “Junior Rugby: SA School’s Training Squad Announced thread”, there was some banter and laughter regarding some funny names.

That got me thinking, what is the top 10 funniest names, courtesy of Home Affairs.

No rugby players involved, but there is a king of pop, some currency, a weekly newspaper and a popular brand of booze.

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Rugby-Talk
Special EditionHi Rugby-Talkers,

Another milestone reached… 11 Million Page Impressions!

We silently slipped past the 11 Million mark on 23 July 2014 in the afternoon some time.

Recently things have been happening quickly on Rugby-Talk.com… it was just the other day when we loudly celebrated the 10 Million Page Impressions mark. These milestones are still very important as we keep growing past these milestones and set the benchmarks for other sites to follow or to admire.

Rugby-Talk.com already proudly boast 9 960 News Articles and a further 219 Web Pages, as well as 350 275 Comments.

Our audience is still growing daily and it remains a pleasure to be involved in Rugby-Talk.com and to serve and enjoy the sport we love.

Once again an ideal opportunity for us to thank all those who subscribe to as well as read Rugby-Talk.com… it is really appreciated. A special word of thanks also goes to our regular Authors here, who supply the content we all enjoy.

Keep reading and keep keep contributing!

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Free State CheetahsFree State Cheetahs new KitPUMA, the official technical and apparel sponsor of the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, has unveiled a new heritage-inspired Currie Cup rugby kit in the customary white and russet orange.

“As always the Toyota Free State Cheetahs are looking forward to the Currie Cup competition and this year even more so with our new Currie Cup jersey design from our partner PUMA,” said Kobus le Roux, the Marketing & Sales Executive at the Free State Cheetahs. “PUMA has yet again been able to design a new fresh look for the Toyota Free State Cheetahs without changing our unique traditions. Proudly white and orange! Proudly Cheetahs! Proudly PUMA.”

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Vodacom Blue Bulls KitVodacom Blue BullsPUMA, the official technical and apparel sponsor of the Blue Bulls, has unveiled a new Currie Cup rugby kit inspired by heritage and tradition – with no pink colourways or camo designs in sight.

The jersey in the Blue Bulls’ customary blue is also embroidered with both the PUMA logo and the Blue Bulls’ Daisy on the shirt. Part of PUMA’s evoPOWER Rugby apparel design, the jersey uses a polyester tight fit material which is lightweight, comfortable and robust.

“The ABSA Currie Cup symbolises the long and proud heritage of South African Rugby, so it was important for us not to break away from the traditional look of our ABSA Currie Cup jersey for that very reason. We firmly believe that the simplicity, yet elegance of the design makes a bold statement,” said Barend van Graan, CEO of the Blue Bulls Company.

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Recent Comments

  • nortierd 29 Jul 2014, 19:57 SAST - @ robzim: I understand Boland might be after Divvie?
  • nortierd 29 Jul 2014, 19:56 SAST - gunther wrote: @ robzim: Thelo is waiting to install Jerome Paarwater and Chester. Jerome is doodgelukkig in Kenia. Did you...
  • gunther 29 Jul 2014, 19:54 SAST - @ robzim: Nope that's not what I've heard :lol:
  • robzim 29 Jul 2014, 19:43 SAST - @ gunther: @17 And Peter de Villiers to replace Gert as Director of rugby ? :)
  • gunther 29 Jul 2014, 19:38 SAST - @ robzim: Thelo is waiting to install Jerome Paarwater and Chester. :lol:
  • robzim 29 Jul 2014, 19:37 SAST - Province will be too scared to lose because if they do, Thelo, who has said winning the cc is non...

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