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Original Contributions

Steve Tew

NZRU boss Steve Tew

A decision on Super Rugby’s Asian expansion could require mediation, with Australia and South Africa expected to butt heads over whether Singapore or Japan gains inclusion.

Earlier this month, Fairfax Media revealed expressions of interest from both, and SANZAR confirmed yesterday that Singapore and Japan submitted the only bids for the 18th team to join an Argentinian side and South Africa’s Southern Kings from 2016.

Now those bids have been lodged with SANZAR chief executive Greg Peters, both will have their respective business cases, broadcast revenue potential and competitiveness assessed before a final decision is reached. Additional teams will need around $10 million per year to cover travel, wages and other expenses.

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Rod Macqueen

For the Brumbies to win, they need to play “Macqueenball”

They say in sports you have to lose a grand final before you win one. That is the prospect, anyway, facing the ACT Brumbies as they go into a successive Super Rugby finals campaign on Saturday night.

The team they play, the Chiefs, defeated them in the 2013 grand final at Hamilton. It took the All Blacks 24 years to understand that finals rugby is an entirely different ball game from pool-round rugby. After the All Blacks lost in the quarter-finals to France in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the coaching staff did some deep thinking into how to play finals rugby.

What they discovered is that they needed to have total clarity on how to play each specific final. And they had to have contingency plans for coping with unforeseeable events. The best contingency plan is to score enough points before trouble arrives, as it did for the Brumbies in the last 20 minutes of their final against the Chiefs.

Where the Brumbies need clarity in their qualifying final is knowing whether to play “Jakeball” or “Macqueenball”.

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imageimageThe Cell C Sharks will play in their 14th Vodacom Super Rugby knock-out match when they host the Highlanders in the second Qualifier for 2014 at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Saturday afternoon.

The newly-crowned South African Conference champions are one of the most successful teams in the history of the competition when it comes to reaching the playoff rounds, although they are yet to take the trophy back to Durban.

The Sharks are without doubt the most successful team in the history of the competition never to have won the title.

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Special EditionSuper RugbyThe 2014 Super Rugby season is slowly drawing to a close and tomorrow sees the two Play-Off matches in the form of a Qualifying Round. Tomorrow’s victorious teams will qualify for the right to play in the Semi-Finals.

The only certainty is that the Crusaders and the Waratahs will be hosting those Semi-Finals, but against whom, and what happens after that?

There are multiple scenarios and permutations that could come into play.

3 Weekends of Super Rugby remain in 2014, this weekend’s Play-Off Round, the Semi-Final Weekend and the Final the week thereafter.

The Final takes place on 2 August 2014.

 

If you are a Sharks fan:

image

Your team qualified 3rd on the Combined Log.

They’re up against the Highlanders in Durban, on Saturday night.

  • If the Sharks win, then they travel to Christchurch to take on the Crusaders in the one Semi-Final.
  • If the Sharks beat the Crusaders and the Waratahs beat the Brumbies, the Sharks travel to Sydney to take on the Waratahs.
  • The Sharks can host the Final if they beat the Crusaders and the Brumbies beat the Waratahs.

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SuperBruBefore making those all important SuperBru picks for the Super Rugby qualifying matches, let’s have a look at some predictions, thoughts and statistics from the sides taking the field this Saturday.

Blue Bird aka Carol is still leading the Rugby-Talk Super Rugby 2014 SuperBru log on a stellar 106.50 points.

Sharks_Lover has gained ground on her after his yellow cap winning Round 19 and is sitting in second spot on 106.20. Winston Champ dropped one place to 3rd on 104.50 points.

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New Zealand Conference
For those who might have watched the episode of Boots & All on Thursday 17 July, you might have heard John Mitchell refer to an article he read surrounding the New Zealand teams and conference.

Rugby-Talk exclusively brings you the article in question, and we must agree with John, it does make for some interesting reading.

Just how level are the current playing fields in Super Rugby, if all sides don’t face the same opposition, and what are the possible consequences thereof on the final standings?

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Super RugbyIt is the Play-Off Round of Super Rugby 2014 this weekend! We have only the 2 Play-Off games in this Round, as all teams below Log position 6 has now been dispatched and the Top 2 teams have a nice rest weekend, with both games on Saturday.

This is the final crunch to sort the men from the boys, to sort the teams going forward into the Semi-Finals.

The Waratahs and Crusaders sit comfortably at the Top of the table and the Brumbies, Chiefs, Cell C Sharks and Highlanders compete in this Round.

It is winners take all in these Play-Off games, the losers joing the other 9 Teams who have already been dispatched to also-ran’s.

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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Cell C SharksIn the second of the Qualifying Round matches, the Cell C Sharks hosts the Highlanders from Otago. The Sharks won the SA Conference and thereby ensured they booked a home qualifier by ending 3rd on the Combined Log. The Highlanders took the last of the wild card positions by ending their season 6th.

The long-awaited return of Springbok Patrick Lambie highlights the Sharks team for their Super Rugby play-off encounter with the Highlanders in Durban on Saturday.

Scrumhalf Cobus Reinach also makes a welcome return ahead of this preliminary qualifier.

However, it is the return of Lambie’s – albeit on the replacement bench – that will hog the headlines.

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BrumbiesThe Super Rugby Qualifying Rounds kick off in Canberra on Saturday morning SA time when the ACT Brumbies hosts the current champions, the Chiefs.  The Brumbies ended 4th on the combined Super Rugby log and the Chiefs 5th.

Robbie Coleman returns to the Brumbies starting side on Saturday when his team takes on the Chiefs in their Super Rugby Qualifier at GIO Stadium. Coleman’s elevation to the starting side shifts Clyde Rathbone out of the matchday 23, with rookie prop Allan Alaalatoa’s inclusion on the bench the only other change to last week’s squad.

With seven tries to his name in 2014, Coleman leads the Brumbies try-scoring tally alongside his fellow-back-three member, Jesse Mogg. It’s been a big season for the Brumbies outside backs, with Henry Speight, Joe Tomane, Pat McCabe, Mogg and Coleman combining for a total of 22 five-pointers.

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Jessie Mogg

Jessie Mogg has regained his starting role for the Brumbies after being dropped earlier this season

Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg is using his Super Rugby axing to reignite his passion, admitting he took his position in the team for granted after being the first-choice No.15 for more than two years.

Mogg was benched for the Brumbies’ clash against the Melbourne Rebels in June, with coach Stephen Larkham opting to promote Wallabies warrior Pat McCabe to the starting XV.

But Mogg has regained his fullback jersey after McCabe was injured while on Wallabies duty, and the Wests speedster says being dropped was the wake-up call he needed to help the Brumbies’ charge to the championship.

“It was about me turning things around and working a little bit harder,” he said. “I’ve come back and played solid over the last two weeks, I’ll look to build on that into the finals series.”

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Israel Folau & his agent meets with Todd Greenberg

“Welcome to SPECTRE Mr. Bond, if you’ll just sign here and here”

Speculation is rife in Australian rugby as to whether Israel Folau might be returning to the NRL. Folau and his agent was spotted meeting with the Head of the NRL, Todd Greenberg. In what can almost be described as a plot to a spy thriller, photos were snapped and keyboards frantically clicked to rush the story into print.

At the same time, uncertainty remain about the future of Kurtley Beale, and whether he too might be heading to the NRL.

Do the Waratahs need all this speculation about two of their star players only one week shy of hosting a semi final in this year’s Super Rugby Tournament?

ARU boss Bill Pulver says he is “not dissatisfied” with the departures of several high-profile players this year.

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NRC Logo Have you heard about the NRC in Australia?

No, it is not an Aussie Rules competition and no it is also not a Rugby League competition!

It is all Rugby Union, a new National Domestic Rugby Union competition in Australia.

Story Source: http://www.rugby.com.au  and http://RugbyRedefined.com

 

What is the NRC?

The Buildcorp NRC is a new domestic Rugby competition in Australia, which will kick off in August this year.

It will involve nine teams – two from Queensland, four from New South Wales, and one each from the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Western Australia.

The 2014 NRC teams will be:

  • Brisbane City
  • Queensland Country
  • Macquarie University North Harbour Rays
  • Sydney Stars
  • Greater Sydney Rams
  • NSW Country Eagles
  • University of Canberra Vikings
  • Melbourne Rising
  • Perth Spirit

It presents a great opportunity to grow the game in Australia and is designed to give players, coaches and match officials another link in their development pathway.

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imageFollowing concerns raised by the Eastern Province Rugby Referees Society relating to the conduct towards them at club matches, the Eastern Province Rugby Union has decided to cancel all club matches this weekend.

“We initially received a notification from the Referees Society today that they were downing tools due to the ongoing harassment that their members were exposed to at club games.

While we do not condone the method in which the referees dealt with the issue – as we have protocols in place to deal with such matters – following discussions held with representatives from the referees we have decided to cancel all games this coming weekend in sympathy with their concerns,” said EPRU President, Cheeky Watson.

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New Zealand Women

New Zealand celebrate a fourth consecutive WRWC title following victory over England in the 2010 final

With just over two weeks to go before Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014, we take a look back at how previous tournaments unfolded and at the Springbok squad and preparations.

Women’s rugby has experienced phenomenal growth in recent times and the number of women and girls playing the game currently stands at 1.5 million, a quarter of the overall total.

Much of that growth over the past five years has been driven by Olympic inclusion, the inception of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, Rugby World Cup Sevens and ongoing work between national unions and Olympic Committees.

However, many countries have deep roots in the women’s 15-a-side game, which has already seen seven world tournaments, four sanctioned by the IRB and three ‘unofficial World Cups’.

Here we provide a brief history of the Women’s Rugby World Cup movement.

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Super Rugby trophy

Super Rugby trophy

Tenders from Japan and Singapore will vie for a licence to enter the Super Rugby competition in 2016, governing body SANZAR has confirmed.

A decision is slated to be reached in September / October.

“We are now able to confirm that two parties from Asia will compete for the opportunity to join an expanded Super Rugby competition in 2016,” SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said.

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Gareth Anscombe

Chiefs playmaker Gareth Anscombe is rumoured to join Cardiff Blues

Chiefs playmaker Gareth Anscombe is poised to leave New Zealand to take up a contract in Wales with the Cardiff Blues.

Rumours that the 23-year-old would move to Wales, for whom he qualifies through his Cardiff-born mother, have been circulating since April.

The move now looks certain following reports that he had thanked colleagues and supporters at a Chiefs dinner in Hamilton ahead of his departure. Anscombe, who can play both fly-half and full-back, is expected to join the Pro12 side – where he will link up with former Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett – as soon as he has completed his commitments with the Chiefs, who play the Brumbies in Saturday’s Super Rugby play-off in Canberra.

The son of ex-Ulster boss Mark Anscombe, the player has already met with Wales’ Kiwi coach Warren Gatland and reports in the Welsh press suggest he could be fast-tracked into the national setup in time for the November Tests. Although he has signed with Auckland for the NPC, Anscombe is understood to have an out-clause allowing him to go to Wales.

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Steve Walsh

Rugby referee and reformed “bad boy” Steve Walsh

Very seldom, before, during or after a rugby match does the spotlight not fall on the referee. Supporters of the losing team will in all probability at some stage lay the blame on the man with the whistle, it’s human nature, and not even the winning side’s supporters agree with all the decisions made during most matches. It’s the nature of the beast and referees know full well that this is one of the pitfalls of their chosen profession.

Seldom however has controversy followed a referee as it has for Steve Walsh.

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The 2014 Shark side

The 2014 Shark side

Would Mercedes Benz survive if they just produced S-Class models? Aren’t their well being and fortunes necessitated by producing and selling C and E class models? If South African rugby were Mercedes Benz, the Cell C Sharks would be the S-Class model, but after that there is not much to talk or get excited about if you are a South African rugby supporter.

Out of the 15 teams South Africa has the dubious honor of the Toyota Cheetahs in 14th spot, the Lions in 12th, DHL Stormers at 11th and Vodacom Bulls at 9th position on the Combined Log.

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imagePicture the scene, Bismarck Du Plessis climbing a sheer cliff, and on reaching the summit watches a helicopter hover overhead. A man leans out and fires a rocket to his right. Inside in a pair of sunglasses, and upon putting them on, a message displays. ” Good morning Mr. Du Plessis, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go to Newlands and beat the Stormers by 35 points and score a minimum of four tries”

Yes I know it’s cheesy, but that’s pretty much the gist of the challenge facing the Sharks this evening. After leading the Combined Log for the majority of the Super Rugby season, they have let their lead slip by having a couple of below average results, first losing at home to the Stormers, and then going down to the Cheetahs last weekend.

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Gio Aplon in action for the DHL Stormers

Gio Aplon in action for the DHL Stormers

“A good big player is better than a good small player” is something we have heard before on the rugby landscape in South Africa. Unfortunately, these type of utterances has been heard coming from the National coach, Heyneke Meyer, as well.

Is rugby not supposed to be the one game that people of every shape and size can partake and excell in? Remember when we were young kids, standing around with bare feet all excited about our very first rugby practice? Dividing the players into positions seemed like such a simple task…the fat kids were props, the tall kids were locks, the fast kids were wings. There seemed to be a position suited to every size and shape.

Professional rugby as we know it now has put paid to that philosophy, 15 supreme athletes seem to be the target for coaches. Centers weigh in at the 100kg mark or more, which is bigger and heavier than some of legendary Bok forwards of previous eras. Just this week the Under 18 Academy week was played in Worcester. One of the stand out players for the victorious Western Province Academy team was prop Carlu Sadie who weighs in at 122kg. The fact is, he is not judged on his size or weight, but on his playing ability and it would seem like this youngster has a bright rugby future ahead of him. Obviously when it comes to the position of front row, size is a huge asset, but what about the other positions?

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Recent Comments

  • Bullscot 24 Jul 2014, 00:27 SAST - @ Blue Bird: Good night as well, looking forward to some great sporting moments at these Games
  • Blue Bird 24 Jul 2014, 00:13 SAST - I'm off Lekker Slaap Let the Games Begin !!
  • Blue Bird 24 Jul 2014, 00:13 SAST - Snap !! lol
  • Blue Bird 24 Jul 2014, 00:12 SAST - Nice story about Nelson Mandela and the Glasgow street named after him told by Bully Conolly !! :Delighted:
  • Bullscot 24 Jul 2014, 00:11 SAST - Billy Connolly proudly speaking about Glasgow being the first city in the world to give Madiba the freedom of a...
  • Bullscot 24 Jul 2014, 00:09 SAST - A fantastic rendition of Loch Lomond, beautiful violin playing by Ms Bernadetti :Approve:

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