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Character Building

The perfect Christmas gift for the Bokke and Sharks

In a weekend of close calls for Springbok and Sharks fans, the demand for explanations has been met with the cliches of ‘character building’. Surely it is time for coaches to own up?

On Saturday the Sharks took on their bogey team, the Cheetahs – who are accustomed to struggling, but who have been exceeding in delivering poor performances this year.

The Sharks on the other hand are defending champions of the Currie Cup with some of the best structures and facilities money can buy – and they remain unbeaten through three rounds – just.

Three minutes from time the Sharks flyhalf, Fred Zeilinga, kicked a 45-metre penalty to deny the Cheetahs a deserved victory (this after the TMO also stepped in to snatch the win away from the Free Staters).

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Frans Malherbe

Frans Malherbe in action for the Boks against Argentina

Frans Malherbe will miss the rest of the Rugby Championship after sustaining a serious injury to his right ankle in Salta.

Malberbe helped to stabilise the Bok scrum when he replaced Jannie du Plessis in the 46th minute, but was forced to leave the field in the 79th.

The tighthead prop will consult with a specialist in Cape Town upon his return to South Africa, when a call on further treatment and his replacement will be made.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Taking their heads out of the sand and admitting that there is a massive problem with the scrum would be a good start, but the Springbok self-analysis will have to go far further than that if the problems that were exposed by Argentina are not to lead to crisis later in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

On a Saturday when New Zealand comprehensively swept away any doubt that they remain the team to beat and confirmed the pre-tournament predictions that they should retain their hegemony in southern hemisphere rugby, Salta provided evidence that the creaks that started to show themselves in the South African game in the second test against Wales may not have just been an aberration.

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Kobus van Wyk

WP flyer, Kobus van Wyk

Surprise, surprise… there are the Sharks and Western Province, back dominating Currie Cup rugby.

Many changes could still happen, of course, given that the 2014 competition is not quite a third of the way through the pre-knockout phase, but it is interesting nevertheless that the two coastal powers have already seized just a hint of a grip.

It will only increase speculation that the pair may be set for a third successive meeting in the final this year, something that has not happened since the Blue Bulls and Cheetahs met in each of the 2004, 2005 and 2006 showpieces.

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Nick Mallett

Nick Mallett

Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says Boks’ the scrum performance against Argentina at the weekend was a bit embarrassing.

The Boks sneaked a 33-31 win but was completely overpowered in the scrums, with Jannie du Plessis and Gurthro Steenkamp having a nightmare Test.

Mallett was speaking in the SuperSport studio after the game and had the following to say:

“There were lots and lots of issues that we need to talk about. The Boks have got real problems with their front row’s scrummaging, particularly against the Argentines.

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Gurthro Steenkamp

Gurthro Steenkamp, getting massacred on and off the field.

Several retired Springbok front-rankers took to Twitter over the weekend to offer their varied takes on the national team’s scrummaging humiliation at the hands of Argentina in Salta.

The Boks summoned last-ditch reserves of energy and grit to squeeze past the Pumas 33-31 in a Castle Rugby Championship nail-biter, although the violent way they back-pedalled in the scrums at times will be a lasting, unpleasant memory for the players and their fans alike.

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Fireworks & Haka

Fireworks signal the end of the haka

The New Zealand Rugby Union has apologised to three fans who were hurt by fireworks during the build-up to Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup game at Eden Park.

One woman had to go to hospital after she was hit by debris from the fireworks which marked the end of the haka while another man suffered a gash to the head and was treated pitchside by paramedics.

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Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams has been granted a special exemption to be picked for the All Blacks’ end of year tour.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew confirmed on Monday Williams would not need to play in the National Provincial Championship following his commitments with the Sydney Roosters in the NRL.

NZRU rules state that players must take part in the preceding domestic competition in order to be eligible for the All Blacks.

However, the board voted on Friday to make an exemption for Williams should he not be able to make an appearance for Counties-Manukau either due to the length of the Roosters season, or injury.

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Josh Strauss

Josh Strauss in action for Glasgow Warriors

Josh Strauss admits he must deliver another sterling season for Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO12 – and only then can he turn his attention to winning a Scotland cap.

Strauss, 27, made the move from South Africa to Glasgow in 2012 and will be eligible to play for Scotland on September 19, 2015 – four days before their opening World Cup match.

The back-row has been a formidable force for Gregor Townsend over the last two years, starting in 31 domestic games including last season’s final.

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WalesThe Welsh Rugby Union and the nation’s four regions could announce a deal this week to end almost two years of in-fighting over funding and control.

Wales captain Sam Warburton is expected to be joined by nine more players on dual contracts under the new agreement.

If the deal goes ahead, funding for the 10 will be in addition to an annual £6.7m shared between Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Scarlets and Dragons.

The WRU and regions have been asked to comment.

Their last deal ended in June 2014, and if a fresh settlement is not forthcoming the regions face a combined £6.7m shortfall going into the 2014-15 season.

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Heriots Winners

Heriots celebrate winning the BT Scottish Rugby Charity Shield

The inaugural BT Scottish Rugby Charity Shield, hosted by last season’s Premiership winners, Melrose, against Cup winners Heriot’s got the new rugby year off to a flying start in a nine-try thriller.

The visitors edged the victory, leading by just one point going into the final minute with the win nailed by a converted try in the closing seconds.

After picking up the shield Heriot’s head coach, Phil Smith, said, “Last season our games were fairly similar, hotly contested, and in my opinion, this fixture showcased Scottish club rugby. There were some really good tries and it showed that the players are really trying to win games by scoring tries, rather than kicking penalties, which is what people want to see.”

An enthusiastic crowd cheered on both sides at the Greenyards, entry to the game free with donations invited for Melrose RFC’s designated charity this season, Breast Cancer Care.

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Johan Ackermann

Johan Ackermann

Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann knows exactly where things went wrong for his team at the weekend.

And the wily mentor will not reach for the panic button, after his side dropped from first place to third on the Currie Cup standings in the wake of a 14-27 loss to Western Province at Newlands.

Even the return of stalwarts Alwyn Hollenbach and Deon van Rensburg will not result in panic selections this week.

Ackermann, addressing a media gathering after his team’s Round Three loss, said the big problem was that they “lost patience” in their game plan and also lacked in their execution.

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Brodie Retallick

Brodie retallick

What a difference a week makes.

The All Blacks forwards confirmed they had the acid put on them during that week, both by their coaches and by themselves, to put things right.

The conditions were perfect at Eden Park on Saturday night and when the black pack turned up with much improved intensity, physicality and enthusiasm the platform was laid on for a rout.

At the centre of it was Chiefs lock Brodie Retallick – at the tender age of 23 already a tight five international veteran and continuing to build his reputation as a test rugby super star within a 2.04 metre, 119 kilogram body.

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Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw being congratulated by Aaron Cruden

Another Test, another couple of world records for All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

The veteran flanker scored two tries, the third double of his 129-Test career, as New Zealand pummelled the Wallabies 51-20 in Auckland to retain the Bledisloe Cup.

In doing so, he took his tally to 23 tries, the most in Tests by any forward from a tier-one nation.

The previous record was 22, scored by former Wales No 8 Colin Charvis.

McCaw, 33, also holds the record for the most tries by any player against a tier-one opponent, surpassing a number of prolific outside backs.

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Richie McCaw & Kieran Read

Richie McCaw and Kieran Read showing off the Bledisloe Cup.

The All Blacks have become like those bad guys in western movies who you hate so much you end up loving them.

Yet again Australia had their pants pulled down and we have this deflating scenario where the Test year is nine days old yet nothing seems to matter any more.

The Bledisloe Cup is gone, the four nations title is on its way out the door yet for some reason I feel minimal pain because there is a sense that justice has been done.

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Brad Macleod-Henderson

Brad Macleod-Henderson

Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson defended their snatch-and-run victory after they came from behind to oust the Free State Cheetahs on Saturday.

Macleod-Henderson insisted the win in Durban highlighted the character of the defending champions.

A long-range Fred Zeilinga penalty four minutes from time enabled the coastal side to steal a 19-16 triumph at Kings Park.

“All victories come down to what the scoreboard says… We managed to win that battle,” Macleod-Henderson said.

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Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee

It was not performance that sounded a Currie Cup championship warning but the victorious Western Province showed their attacking prowess in their 27-14 victory over the Golden Lions at Newlands on Saturday.

Speaking after the match, Province coach Allister Coetzee said the importance of starting well was once again underlined.

“Later in the match the Lions put us under tremendous pressure and there were not many opportunities again,” Coetzee said.

“It cost really hard work for us to survive in what was a tough game.”

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Ewen McKenzie

Ewen McKenzie

Ewen McKenzie is sharpening his axe, forecasting changes to the Wallabies side massacred by the All Blacks at Eden Park.

Injuries to hooker Nathan Charles and winger Pat McCabe will bring at least two new selections but more are in the offing following Saturday night’s 50-21 drubbing.

McKenzie confirmed he would look closely at promoting several squad members “itching to get a go” for Australia’s next Rugby Championship clash, against South Africa in Perth on Saturday week.

He earmarked powerful Brumbies centre Tevita Kuridrani for a return that would likely see Adam Ashley-Cooper move back to the wing spot left vacant by McCabe (neck).

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Matthew Burke

Matthew Burke

Two games are gone against New Zealand and it’s now time to move the attention to South Africa. That is a whole different kettle of fish. When you take on South Africa, the playing field changes slightly.

The first change is in terms of physicality, the second in aggression and finally in terms of tactics. Games against South Africa just seem to be just that little bit harder and definitely more scatty.

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Frans Ludeke

Frans Ludeke

It may have been a close shave but Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke believes their nervous 30-25 victory over the Eastern Province Kings in Pretoria on Saturday was the perfect remedy to their woes.

The Light Blues turned in an unconvincing performance as they came up against a tenacious Kings side that nearly tasted a rare victory at Loftus Versfeld.

Ludeke admitted that the result could easily have favoured the visitors but it was a victory they would take nevertheless.

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Bob Dwyer

Bob Dwyer

I reckon we’ve heard a lot of talk over the last 24 hours about how well New Zealand played – which the did.

Did they play unbelievably well? There’s no way of making that assessment. There’s no way to completely evaluate their performance.

Sure, their passing was accurate and running straight. Sure, 95% of their passes weren’t too long.

Sure, their support play and their realignment in both attack and defence were good and urgent.

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Emily Scarratt

Feminine side: Emily Scarratt receives the England Women’s Player of the Year award in 2013.

The hostility Emily Scarratt suffered for wanting to play rugby as a teenager was made to look even more absurd when she sealed England’s World Cup triumph last Sunday with a superb individual try.

Like the rest of her team-mates, Scarratt is only too aware of the cliches surrounding women’s rugby.

‘Leave it to the men,’ the dinosaurs say. ‘The rugby field is no place for girls’.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer, the coach of the team with the most “character” in the world.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer hailed the character of his team Sunday in the wake of a lucky 33-31 Rugby Championship victory over Argentina in Salta.

Serial match-winner Morne Steyn ignored whistling and booing to slot a penalty three minutes from time and give the Springboks a second win over the Pumas within eight days.

It was the climax of a stirring last-quarter comeback by the visitors as tries from right-wing Cornal Hendricks and flank Marcell Coetzee wiped out a 12-point deficit.

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Ryan Crotty

Jaw injury: Ryan Crotty

New Zealand centre Ryan Crotty has been ruled out for four weeks after fracturing a facial bone during the weekend’s win over the Wallabies.

The Crusaders back, who enjoyed an impressive first start on the international scene in the 51-20 triumph, suffered a heavy impact in Auckland.

Steve Hansen must now decide whether Malakai Fekitoa should don twelve against Argentina if Ma’a Nonu does not recover by September 6.

Meanwhile, Cory Jane (knee), Beauden Barrett (ankle) and Aaron Cruden (pectoral) are all expected to recover in time for the Napier fixture.

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Agustin Creevy

Agustin Creevy

Argentina captain Agustin Creevy bemoaned the fact that his team did not have the nous and fortitude to close out the game when they had a big lead.

Flyhalf Morne Steyn kicked a penalty three minutes from time to earn South Africa a very fortuitous 33-31 win over the Pumas at the 20,000-seater Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena in Salta at the weekend.

Trailing by 12 points with the final quarter approaching, a Springboks side – given a torrid time in the forward exchanges for much of the match – clawed back to snatch victory.

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Rapport KaartNogmaals broekskeur, nogmaals Morné Steyn en die reserwes wat Suid-Afrika se kastaiings uit die vuur moes kom krap.

Dít nadat die Bokke gister vir sowat ’n uur vodde gespeel is deur Argentinië in die tweede kragmeting van hul Rugbykampioenskap.

Suid-Afrika was met 33-31 baas, maar Harry Houdini sou trots gewees het op só ’n ontsnapping. Laat drieë deur die immer gewillige Cornal Hendricks en die reserwe-flank Marcell Coetzee het die oënskynlik onvermydelike gety omgedraai, maar die ooms tuis sou strykdeur gryp na die hartmedisyne.

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South AfricaMorné Steyn kicked a pressure penalty four minutes from time to secure a nailbiting 33-31 win for the Springboks over the Argentina Pumas in their Castle Lager Rugby Championship match in Salta on Saturday night.

Coach Heyneke Meyer likes character tests and his team most certainly passed this one as for the second time in four matches they came from more than a double figure score behind to win at the death.

However, Meyer will have added to the grey hairs on his head for it was a desperately tense affair and there were enough weak points in the Bok game to keep him awake at night mulling over his options ahead of the next match against Australia in Perth.

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Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson

Beware the Boks. The more things change with our old mates across the Tasman, the more they stay the same with our greatest rivals in the republic.

We’ve been a bit preoccupied with the Wallabies of late but when you think about the challenge last year and the challenge that never goes away, it remains the South Africans. Nothing changes there.

Their tests against the All Blacks this year are important for them, not just for the Rugby Championship but working out how to beat the world champions.

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Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw once again holds aloft the Bedisloe Cup

There is no hiding at Eden Park.

The rain, wind and mud confused the picture in Sydney a week ago, allowing the Wallabies to draw with the All Blacks and their fans to hope.

Not so in Auckland.

In the clear, cold air of Mt Eden, back on their turf, the All Blacks made a mockery of Australian confidence with a six-tries-to-two massacre of Australia, keeping the Bledisloe Cup in New Zealand hands for a 12th straight year with their biggest ever score against their neighbours.

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Cell C SharksA long-range penalty by Fred Zeilinga four minutes from time helped the Sharks snatch a last-ditch 19-16 victory over the Free State Cheetahs in their Currie Cup clash at Kings Park on Saturday night.

The home flyhalf kicked 14 points in total, with the other five coming through a late try by Tonderai Chavhanga.

However, the visitors will rue what might have been after leading the game for most of the evening thanks to a brilliant Clayton Blommetjies’ try and the boot of Willie du Plessis.

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Curwin Bosch

Curwin Bosch

The England Under 18 team on Saturday handed the SA Schools Under 18 side their first defeat in four years in the International Under 18 Series as they secured a 30-22 victory in a nail-biting encounter.

The big difference between the teams was England’s ability to convert their point-scoring chances into points, while mistakes at crucial times came at a high price for the hosts.

South Africa’s defeat followed a 40-15 victory against Wales at Outeniqua Park in George and a 28-13 victory against France respectively.

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South AfricaArgentinaLos Pumas (13) 31 / 33 (16) Springboks (Final Score)

The South African Springboks and Argentinian Pumas did battle in The Rugby Championship at

Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena, Salta at 21:40 SA Time (16:40 ARG Time, 19:40 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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

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Craig Joubert

Craig Joubert

New Zealand rugby is claiming its second referee apology in a week, with Craig Joubert said to have admitted he was wrong with a ruling that probably cost the Crusaders the Super Rugby crown.

The Waratahs won a tense final three weeks ago in Sydney 33-32, with the winning points coming from a penalty when flank Richie McCaw was penalised for entering a ruck from the side with a minute remaining in the match.

Had the kick missed, the Crusaders would have had possession and would have been unlikely to yield their 32-29 lead with time almost up.

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  • cane 27 Aug 2014, 12:50 SAST - @ NZINCHINA: Very strong lineout now too China. Once our Achilles heal. 2 good Locks, Jerome, Kieren and Ritchie. 5...
  • nortierd 27 Aug 2014, 12:49 SAST - @ robzim: "Alfie" Rourke What's the point of getting Kim Basinger, and not knowing what to do with her? :lol:
  • nortierd 27 Aug 2014, 12:47 SAST - Nice description of how the Bajada scrum works
  • robzim 27 Aug 2014, 12:44 SAST - Rourke is perhaps a bit old to portray Gareth Thomas but as an award winning actor he most certainly has...
  • NZINCHINA 27 Aug 2014, 12:41 SAST - @ Charo: Why was it naive, we'd beaten every team that year including the Bokke twice and were clearly the...
  • cane 27 Aug 2014, 12:39 SAST - @ Charo: I spent a fortune on Counselling after that c#@t Barnsie robbed us. It did help though, I must...

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