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imageNothing beats a grudge game and the whiff of verbal cordite is swirling ahead of the Super rugby semifinal between the Waratahs and Brumbies.

The hostility is connected to the Wallabies test in Dublin last year when 15 players were disciplined for drinking and breaking curfew amid suspicions they were dobbed in by several of the Brumbies.

A number of the Tahs were intent on reprisal but bypassed any physical mischief when they easily won their round-robin contest last month 39-8. The Tahs are keen to imprint a physical message behind their determination to reach next week’s final.

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BACK: All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw has been named to return from injury in the Crusaders starting lineup for their Super Rugby semifinal against the Sharks.

BACK: All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw has been named to return from injury in the Crusaders starting lineup for their Super Rugby semifinal against the Sharks.

Richie McCaw has been named at blindside flanker and Corey Flynn will start his 150th Super Rugby match when the Crusaders meet the Sharks in Saturday night’s semifinal in Christchurch.

All Blacks captain McCaw, who hasn’t played since carrying a fractured rib into the third test against England on June 21, has predictably been named at blindside flanker to allow the in-form Matt Todd to start in his specialist openside flanker role.

Flynn has been elevated ahead of Ben Funnell, who started the previous two matches against the Highlanders and Blues, in the only other change to the run-on side that thumped the Highlanders 34-8 at AMI Stadium on July 12.

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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 this afternoon sometime.

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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Jurie Roux

SARU CEO Jurie Roux at the launch of the 2014 Currie Cup campaign

The new Absa Currie Cup Premier Division format featuring eight teams will come into play on 8 August in a fresh start to SA’s top domestic competition, with newcomers the EP Kings taking on DHL Western Province in the opening match.

The official launch of the 2014 Absa Currie Cup competition was hosted by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and sponsor Absa on Wednesday at Jeppe High School for Boys in Johannesburg where the new format was explained and the 2014 marketing campaign revealed.

The launch featured a Tag rugby match between the media, and the players and coaching staff of the Premier and First Division teams.

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Heyneke Meyer

Is Heyneke Meyer putting too many “old eggs” in one basket?

Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer continues his “Dad’s Army” approach by recalling veteran flanker Juan Smith for a training camp ahead of next month’s Rugby Championship.

French club Toulon confirmed three of their South African signings – Smith, lock Bakkies Botha and wing Bryan Habana – would be involved in the Boks camp.

Smith, 32, hasn’t played for the Boks since 2010 as Achilles injuries requiring four surgeries ravaged his career, eventually forcing him to “retire” early last year.

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Glasgow 2014There is a palpable level of excitement in the country ahead of the Commonwealth Games which will be held in Glasgow this year. Driving up the road over the weekend one was reminded by overhead sign boards long before reaching Glasgow of the need to plan ahead  and potential difficulties in travelling as a result of the Games.

The online search engine Google has the theme of the games on its page, there is a lot of coverage in the media both online, in print and of course in audio and visual. Radio schedules have already been changed on some stations providing coverage already ahead of the Games which are due to get kick started with the opening ceremony tonight. In advertising it’s radio coverage the national broadcaster has even made a pledge to bring all the action of Scotland’s medal winning events live to the public. Colleagues have members of their family involved on a voluntary basis as ambassadors for Glasgow 2014 with some having already been helping out in the Athletes Village for the last two weeks.

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis has grown into the role of leader

The Cell C Sharks face a daunting task this weekend, there is no doubt about that, and not many will deny that the Crusaders at home are clear cut favorites.

Having to travel to New Zealand to face a Crusader side laden with 18 All Black players in their squad should spell defeat to the side from Durban.

During the build up to this weekend’s match, cliches aplenty will be bandied about and should include phrases like “backs to the wall”, “underdog”, “nothing to lose”. All true and apt, but therein lies the rub.

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Ugly Jerseys

“And then people want to know why we take drugs, to forget the fact that we are dressed as turds, that’s why”

In rugby, like most sports, teams and athletes have had a bad playing strip or two. Individual sports that comes to mind is cycling and golf. There have been some truly terrible creations that those athletes have worn, all in the name of sponsorship and moolah.

In rugby, its generally the alternate, or so called away strip, where designers indulge in a bit too much whacky weed before sitting down in front of the drawing boards. For the most part, kits are practical and speak of tradition and history, however, there are times that the Sporting and Designing Gods sincerely fall out and abominations like the ones that appear below.

These choices of ours are by no means exhaustive and is fairly recent in it’s selection, however, if you disagree, let us know and tell us which ones you think should have made the cut.

There’s ccertainly been some strange kit in recent years!

It appears the Kit sponsors want to stamp some sort of mark on their creations, so prepare yourself for some more strange jerseys in future!

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Clark Laidlaw

STAYING ON: Clark Laidlaw will join the Hurricanes coaching staff in a fulltime role in 2015

Clark Laidlaw helped shore up the Hurricanes’ defence this season and he’ll get a chance to further improve the side under new coach Chris Boyd.

Laidlaw will join Boyd and his assistant John Plumtree in the third official appointment to the 2015 coaching staff.

The former Scottish Commonwealth Games sevens representative came to the Hurricanes via Taranaki in 2013 as an in-season skills coach before taking up the task of fixing the leaky defensive line this season.

Laidlaw had immediate success with the Hurricanes keeping their try line intact on two occasions, something they hadn’t managed over the opening three years of head coach Mark Hammett’s tenure, and also conceding fewer points per match than in the previous season.

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Henry Speight

FRESH FACE: Brumbies winger Henry Speight is the lone new name in the Wallabies squad for The Rugby Championship next month

AustraliaThe Wallabies formalised a tug of war victory over New Zealand rugby today, though from the All Blacks’ perspective ideally Henry Speight will not compromise the world champions’ Bledisloe Cup reign and defence of the Rugby Championship.

One cult figure of Australian rugby replaced another when Ewen McKenzie named a 32-man squad that predictably included the Fijian-born wing – although he cannot be picked for the tests against the All Blacks in Sydney and Auckland next month plus the Springboks in Perth on September 6.

The Hamilton Boys’ High School-educated finisher, who was approached to join the Chiefs in 2012 a year after making his Super Rugby debut for the Brumbies, is expected to make his test debut on September 13 against Argentina on the Gold Coast, two days after an IRB-imposed stand down expires.

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Jake White

Less is more – Jake White

It would seem like Jake White has been listening to and reading the opinion of bloggers on rugby sites. He certainly has a point when during an interview with a New Zealand radio station he mentioned that he also preferred the older versions of the Super Rugby competition.

The majority of the rugby viewing public feel the same way as White and would by no means complain if the tournament is reduced back to the Super 12 or even the Super 14 format.

Jake White is concerned Super Rugby is going down the wrong road as they expand the competition to eighteen teams from 2016′s season.

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SA Schools

This year’s SA Schools side will face France, Wales and England

SARU has announced a squad of 55 school boy rugby players to attend the SA Schools trials on Saturday, 26 July at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park, Johannesburg.

The SA Schools trial squad was selected by the national selectors following the conclusion of the Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week in Middelburg.

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Tah Man

Tah Man will have the Allianz Stadium sidelines to himself

The Waratahs – Brumbies Super Rugby Semi-Final showdown has been robbed of one of its marquee match-ups, with reports that Brumby Jack has been “banned” from Saturday night’s encounter.

The iconic Brumbies mascot has, according to the Canberra Times, been denied a request to strut his stuff on the field and will instead have to be content with a seat alongside Brumbies supporters in the Allianz Stadium stands.

 

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Cell C SharksThe Sharks left for New Zealand early Monday morning. They boarded the plane carrying the hopes of their countless supporters, and the hopes of the nation on their shoulders. According to most naysayers, they might have well forfeited the match and stayed at home.

We have heard the same comments and mumblings before, remember when the Sharks left for the overseas leg of their tour? “No chance, they will never beat the Crusaders in Christchurch”

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Jaco Peyper

Jaco Peyper

SANZAR has appointed the referees for Saturday’s Semi-Finals. Jaco Peyper will referee in Sydney, Glen Jackson in Christchurch.

The Crusaders are the only team that played in the 2013 Semi-Finals.

In 2013 the referees for the Semi-Finals were Steve Walsh for the Chiefs vs Crusaders and Craig Joubert for the Vodacom Bulls vs the Brumbies at Loftus Versfeld.

In 2013 Peyper and Jackson were both involved in the Play-Off’s – Peyper for Crusaders vs Reds and Jackson for the Brumbies vs Toyota Cheetahs.

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Australian National Rugby ChampionshipThe Australian Rugby Union has unveiled the Wallabies player allocations for the inaugural year of Australian’s National Rugby Championship.

In general, Wallabies will be aligned to the NRC team that is affiliated with their Premier Club, with each NRC team entitled to four Test players outside of their 33-man contracted squad.

If an NRC team elects to have more than four Wallabies aligned to their team, extra Test players will be counted as part of their contracted playing squad.

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Anton Bresler

The Sharks travelled to New Zealand without Anton Bresler, who suffered broken ribs against the Highlanders

Jake White believes the Sharks can win in Christchurch for the second time this season.

The Sharks beat the Highlanders 31-27 at Kings Park on Saturday to set up a semi-final showdown with the Crusaders. While the long plane trip will count against White’s side, he believes they can win in Christchurch on Saturday, having done so earlier in the season when they played most of the match with 14 men.

“It’s an 80-minute run and if we play well we can win, and I have to believe that,” said White.

“The Highlanders flew in from the other side of the world and came within four points of beating us. They came sixth on the log and we came third.”

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Heineken Cup

Heineken wish to remain part of the new European Rugby Champions Cup

The new European Rugby Champions Cup is set to be sponsored by the same company which backed the competition it replaced.

According to a report in The Rugby Paper Heineken, who were the long-term title sponsors of the previous European rugby competition, will splash out around £4m-a-year to be associated with the European Rugby Champions Cup.

Heineken is the first major company to give their backing to the new competition, which is being organised by club-driven promoters European Professional Club Rugby.

EPCR are hopeful of securing sponsorship from four other major companies, with insurance-giant Allianz and Turkish Airlines believed to be among the interested parties.

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Eben Etzebeth

His parents might call him Eben, but I’d like to call him Ysterbeth!

Want to know more about the Etzebeth legend?

Apologies to our foreign readers as the first story was printed in Afrikaans. If you scroll down you would find another in English.

These articles were written quite a while ago and is left just as it was published, so excuse the time frames. The author of the Terminator from Parow is Jaco Kirsten, who writes for the website meneer.tv

For those readers not familiar with the legend of the Etzebeths, enjoy these stories, those of us who grew up in Cape Town, roll back the years and take a trip down memory lane.

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Charl McLeod and Pat Lambie

Charl McLeod and Pat Lambie celebrating the Currie Cup victory in 2013. Will they be celebrating with the Super Rugby trophy in two weeks time?

The return of Pat Lambie and the arrival of Charl McLeod onto the field in the final 20 minutes of Highlanders game coincided with ‘some of the best rugby’ for the Sharks.

The Sharks late fightback after they twice came from behind in the second half to see off the stubborn Highlanders 31-27 has secured them a semifinal date with the Crusaders.

White was clearly happy with the entire team, but in particular with his reserve halfback pairing.

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Cell C Sharks celebations

Celebrations at Kings Park as Bismarck du Plessis scores for the Cell C Sharks

Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks are still in contention for their first Super Rugby trophy after beating the Highlanders 31 to 27 at Kings Park tonight.

The Sharks must thank their forwards, and in particular their front row for this victory. Their scrum absolutely decimated the Highlander’s scrum and lead to 6 points in penalties and an all important try to man of the match, Bismarck Du Plessis.

The tactics of not kicking to touch almost cost the Sharks the match as the Highlander’s counter attack was devastating and almost won the game for them. It is a dangerous ploy from the Sharks to gift the ball back to the opposition, considering that their next opponents are also a New Zealand side, and that’s not even taking into account that they might also still have to face the Waratahs or Brumbies, who in Israel Folau and Jessie Mogg have devastating counter runners at their disposal as well.

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Ben Mowen

Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen in action

BrumbiesACT Brumbies captain Ben Mowen has lauded the club’s courageous Super Rugby finals win against the Waikato Chiefs as the best performance of the past three years.

But Mowen, the most-capped skipper in Brumbies history, insists the ACT side can improve on its epic eight-try win which ended the Chiefs’ two-year reign as Super Rugby champions.

The Brumbies held on for a cliffhanger 32-30 triumph at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night, setting up a likely week-two finals clash against arch rivals the NSW Waratahs next weekend.

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Cell C SharksHighlandersSharks (13) 31 / 27 (17) Highlanders (Final Score)

The Cell C Sharks and Highlanders did battle in the Play-Off Round of Super Rugby at

Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, 03:05 Sunday NZ Time, 01:05 Sunday AEST).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & M-Net on TV in SA.

*******************

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Mt Everest

The Sharks have their own Mt. Everest to climb

If one were to ask people who the first person was to climb Mt. Everest, their answers would invariably be Sir Edmund Hillary.

While technically correct, and the reason I say technically is because Hillary was the first to successfully climb to the summit, there were 8 other expeditions before him. The 1922 British Mount Everest expedition was the first mountaineering expedition with the express aim of making the first ascent of Mount Everest.

Between 1922 and 1953 there were 8 expeditions that tried and failed. The term failed is used lightly I might add, climbers succumbed from illnesses ranging from malaria to altitude sickness, and those were the lucky ones. Death was the common reason for the majority of the failures.

Why am I writing about the ascent of Mt. Everest on a rugby site you might ask, well simply put, Jake White and his Sharks are currently standing at the foot of their own Mt. Everest and tomorrow evening when Steve Walsh blows his whistle to signal the kick off between them and the Highlanders, they will take their first steps on a journey that will hopefully end with them planting the South African flag on the summit in three weeks time.

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