The South African rugby community was in mourning on Monday following the passing of Joost van der Westhuizen, one of South Africa’s greatest-ever Springbok legends.
Van der Westhuizen passed away after a long and courageous struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neuron disease (MND), for the past 6 years. He was 45 and leaves behind 2 children, Jordan (13) and Kylie (10), as well as his father Gustav, mother Mariana, and brothers Pieter and Gustav.
“Joost will be remembered as 1 of the greatest Springboks – not only of his generation, but of all time,” said Mr Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby.
As Rory Best declared in his on-field post-match interview at a rowdy Soldier Field in Chicago, it’s been a long time coming. Just the 111 years, that’s all. But at last, that black stain in Irish rugby has been removed, with a first ever victory over the All Blacks in 29 attempts.
Fully deserved it was too. Soldier Field crackled with atmosphere, vast swathes of the 63,300 bedecked in green watched Ireland dominate vast swathes of the first-half and kept counter-punching in a riotous rollercoaster of a second half, ultimately outscoring the back-to-back world champions and runaway winners of the Rugby Championship by five tries to four, and thus end their world record 18-match sequence of test wins.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. A feast of rugby awaits fans of the Scottish pro teams as they look forward to December’s derby matches. The 1872 Cup may be a relatively recent creation but it epitomises a rivalry that stretches back over 140 years.
1872 to 1953:
The very first Glasgow vs Edinburgh meeting took place on 23 November 1872 at Burnbank, home of Glasgow Accies, and has the very precise historical claim of being the world’s first non-international representative rugby union fixture. The game was 20-a-side (a possible tactical choice for Alan Solomons to even the odds?) and saw Edinburgh emerge victorious by a drop goal to nil (someone may need to explain to the current Warriors squad what a drop goal is). There wasn’t actually a cup up for grabs – it would take more than 100 years before that came along. This may have been due to fears on the East coast that their Weegie counterparts would melt down any trophy and sell it in the 19th century equivalent of Cash for Gold.
New Zealand rugby union great Jonah Lomu has died aged 40.
Lomu, who scored 43 tries in 73 matches for New Zealand between 1994 and 2002, had been diagnosed with a rare and serious kidney condition.
It forced him to quit the game and he had a kidney transplant in 2004, but the organ stopped functioning in 2011.
“Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world,” said New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew.
“We’re lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah’s family.”
Family spokesman John Mayhew told New Zealand television that Lomu’s death was “totally unexpected” and that he had only arrived back from the UK on Tuesday, after spending time there for the Rugby World Cup.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said: “The thoughts of the entire country are with his family.”
There will be a Six Nations re-match as France and Italy do battle at Twickenham in the fifth match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup on Saturday night. The teams are in Pool D, alongside Ireland, Canada and Romania, and the match kicks off at 20:00 UK Time (21:00 SA Time).
Italy, who have made four changes since their last test, will set a new World Cup record for the most experienced front row as their starting trio boast a total of 227 test caps. The current record was set in 2011 when a front row with 215 caps between them took the field for the Springboks against Namibia.
Martin Castogiavanni will become Italy’s most capped player as he makes his 114th appearance for his country. He will reach this landmark as Sergio Parisse misses out due to injury. Leonarodo Ghiraldini will captain Italy for the 10th time in the absence of Parisse.
France’s coach Phillipe Saint-Andre has named a team that contains two South African born players – starting Fullback Scott Spedding and Loose forward Bernard le Roux who is on the bench. Rory Kockott misses out on selection for this match altogether. France will be captained by Thierry Dussatoir.
The 79-year-old All Black great who was missing in London has been found and taken to hospital.
Terry Lineen, who was a midfield back in the 1950s, went missing at Heathrow Airport shortly after arriving from Auckland, missing his connection to Edinburgh.
He had been missing since 13:00 BST on Thursday (00:00 Friday NZ Time).
However, on Friday evening (NZ Time) his daughter-in-law Lynne said Lineen had been found by police in Twickenham and was in an ambulance on his way to hospital.
Her post on Facebook said Lineen was found at 07:00 BST (18:00 NZ Time) after a member of the public reported seeing a distressed man with a bleeding arm, who they thought had been hurt in a hit and run accident.
International rugby’s ruling body, World Rugby, are expected to sanction an experiment in Wales that will see 6 points being awarded for tries and 2 points for all kicks…
The sports governing body are constantly reviewing the rules in rugby and looking at ways to improve the game and this experiment is expected to promote scoring tries instead taking kicks for points.
The experiement is expected to go ahead in Wales’ 2nd-tier Premiership which is made up of semi-professional teams and includes some of the biggest clubs in the history of the Welsh game and includes Pontypridd, Llanelli, Cardiff and Newport.
Ex Springbok centre and fullback, Ian Robertson, a skilled and determined player from what was then Rhodesia, died on Monday 24 August 2015.
He was only 65 but had been ill for a long time in a battle against leukaemia, ironic for such a fit man who helped so many others to fitness.
He played in 5 Tests for South Africa – not many but then there were not many in the 70’s and it was that much harder for a Rhodesian to be selected.
He 1st became a Springbok in 1974 as part of the rebuilding of the team after the trashing by the 1974 British Lions. He was chosen as a centre and played his 1st Test against France in Toulouse and then his 2nd at Parc des Princes in Paris. The Springboks won both, the 1st one 13 / 4, the 2nd 10 / 8.
In each case his centre partner was Johan Oosthuizen. In 1976 the All Blacks came and Robertson played fullback against them in 2 Tests and centre in 1. The Springboks won the series 3 / 1. He also played for a World XV against Cardiff that year.
Robertson was Rhodesia’s Sportsman of the Year in 1976.
We desperately try to stay clear of political content here on Rugby-Talk.com, however this week, after the loss by the Springboks to Los Pumas in Durban, it appears that another mini-storm has been brewing regarding the inclusion or non-inclusion of non-white players (such an ugly term in a new and supposedly democratic South Africa) in the Springboks.
Firstly it was reported that 5 Black Springboks (yet another unfortunate term in the new South Africa) have apporached trade union Cosatu about being sidelined in Test matches for the Springboks.
Then of course Cosatu, as we have come to know their standard methodology, responded about the supposedly racist choices of SA Rugby, condemning it and shouting from the rooftops.
Then there was the logical retort from SARU… not that it cleared matters up at all.
The Minister of Sport & Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, also jumped on board this discussion and seemed to be “the voice of reason” in this rather unfortunate circumstance, saying that South Africans must be patient with the pace of transformation in rugby in South Africa. From my side a small thank you to the Minister – good on you!
These political shannanigans always build on the discourse in South African traditional politics and fuel the devide, in stead of bringing harmony to this nation with so many possibilities.
I guess what I am asking myself, through all of this, is which other logical first choice Black Springboks merited 1st choice selection above their not so black peers?
Do we want the best team out there or do we want transformation tokens in our Springbok side?
To me it’s simple… do the transformation thing, but for goodness sakes, allow the Springbok coach to select the best Springbok squad out there, based on merit and merit alone, whether that squad only consists of White Springboks or only of Black Springboks or of a smattering of one and the other… the rest is immaterial to me!
Argentinian Pumas skipper Agustin Creevy said the presence of former Pumas in Durban helped inspire a stunning and historic 37 / 25 Rugby Championship triumph over the Springboks on Saturday.
“The presence of these rugby heroes of our nation was a major factor in the success,” the 30-year-old hooker said.
Survivors of the 1965 Pumas – the 1st Argentine rugby team to play in South Africa – celebrated the 50th anniversary of the pioneering trip by watching the Test at the Growthpoint Kings Park stadium.
And when the final whistle blew and the Pumas triumphed for the 1st time against the Springboks after 19 failed attempts and also won away in The Rugby Championship for the 1st time, they moved toward the ‘golden oldies’ and clapped.
The gesture was returned as the group of smartly attired ex-national team players, wearing dark suits, blue ties and white shirts, stood to acknowledge a great day for Argentine rugby.
Retired All Black Andrew Hore is facing a firearms charge, for the 2nd time.
The 36-year-old Hore will appear in the Alexandra District Court on Tuesday – where he will be charged with supplying a firearm to a non-licensed holder following an accident on the 1st weekend of duck shooting season.
A police spokesman said the charge was laid following an incident on 2 May at Patearoa when a 23-year-old was shot in the elbow.
A number of people had been driving in an all-terrain vehicle when as the ATV went over a rise, the victim fell off, along with 2 firearms.
“As the firearms hit the ground, 1 discharged and shot the man in the elbow.”
South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins on Wednesday congratulated and thanked the Springbok squad involved in the 1995 Rugby World Cup as they celebrated the 20th anniversary of their epic World Cup final win in Johannesburg.
The Springboks won their 1st Rugby World Cup on 24 June 1995, beating New Zealand, 15 / 12, in a memorable final played at Ellis Park. The result unleashed a tide of goodwill and nation-building across South Africa, which a year earlier had celebrated democracy after decades of racial segregation.
“We proudly celebrate this day as a rugby family, because this team helped Nelson Mandela unite a country,” said Mr Hoskins. “It was a moment that astonished a nation and provided one of the foundation stones for the country we were to become. It was arguably the greatest day in our rugby history.
“Mr Mandela together with that Springbok team pointed the way to a new future for our people and 20 years later that day still has a massive resonance.
“We continue to salute the 1995’ers for what they achieved as a rugby team and what they meant to a nation.”
Mr Hoskins said it was also a day to remember and honour the legacy of the fallen heroes from that day, President Mandela, the Springbok coach Kitch Christie and flanker Ruben Kruger.
All Black legend Jonah Lomu paid tribute to Jerry Collins’ last act of heroism as thousands mourned the ex-New Zealand flank who was killed in a car crash in France.
All Black Chris Masoe had told the funeral service in Wellington that Collins’ dying act was to protect his 3-month-old daughter Ayla in the June 5 crash which killed the player and his partner Alana Madill.
“What they say about how they found him, he was protecting his baby. That’s just typical Jerry. When you talk about putting your body on the line, he did that,” Lomu said.
Masoe said Collins, who was in the back of the car when a bus ploughed into it on a motorway near Beziers, sheltered his daughter with his arms and body when he realised the danger.
“You made it possible for her to have a chance. That is the man you are,” Masoe said.
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.
This week, we look at the last 4 years of Super Rugby to examine which sides have been the best when not in occupancy of the ball and whether strong defence has been key to overall success.
Despite being 1 of the 5 sides that completed over 1800 tackles in the season, eventual champions, the Reds, still maintained a strong tackling success rate of 89%.
The Queenslanders were middle-of-the-pack in many aspects with the ball during their title-winning season, but proved a tough nut to crack in other areas. They were among the top defensive sides when it came to winning ‘jackals’ (overall turnovers won from tackles) and were well-disciplined, going all the way to the Final with 6 other teams accumulating more defensive penalties than them in fewer matches.
Other conference winners, the Crusaders and the Stormers ranked equal-1st for total turnovers won, as well as figuring close to the summit with their tackling success rates. Good defence was definitely a match winner in 2011.
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 2015 edition of the South African Rugby Annul goes on sale nationwide today after being launched at Sunday’s South African Rugby Union Awards in Johannesburg.
In keeping with tradition, the 44th edition of the ‘bible’ of the game once again features South Africa’s player of the year on the cover, with the newly-crowned Duane Vermeulen following in the footsteps of the likes of Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana and Schalk Burger in recent years.
“Even in this digital age, it’s vitally important to retain a physical document of record for future generations,” said SARU CEO, Jurie Roux. “SARU strives to be a world leader in the game both on and off the field and when it comes to the Annual, we are immensely proud of the quality of the book we continue to produce year in and year out.
“We like to believe that we have an outstanding yearbook but that hasn’t stopped us from raising the bar even further with this new-look, Rugby World Cup-themed edition. We’ve made it a more user-friendly size, refreshed the layout and added a depth to the statistical records that surpasses anything we’ve done before,” Roux added.
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.
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.
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.
The 36-Test run began with a win over Australia in the final game of the 2009 Tri Nations, played at Westpac Stadium. The All Blacks cruised to victory 33-6.
Names in the All Blacks side that day included Isaia Toeava, Joe Rokocoko, Jimmy Cowan, Aled de Malmanche, Jason Eaton and Tom Donnelly – on debut. Ma’a Nonu, Richie McCaw and Kieran Read are the only players from Saturday’s match who also appeared in that Test.
The All Blacks will face the Springboks for the 88th time in history and the first time this year in Wellington on Saturday. Here are six of the more notable clashes between the two fierce rivals since the year 2000.
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.
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.