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.
According to those Wallabies who have played there, nothing is particularly forbidding about the graveyard of Eden Park. It’s not the sound of a hostile crowd, or the reverberation of the grandstand above the visitors’ dressing room.
The spookiest part for those in gold jumpers is the number: how many years it has been since Australia last beat the All Blacks at the famous Auckland ground.
Twenty-eight years… Boo!
Alan Jones coached the Wallabies in 1986, and he knew in the opening 20 minutes of the third and deciding Test of the series that his Wallabies were about to carve out their own slice of Bledisloe Cup history.
“I knew they would throw the kitchen sink at us,” Jones recalls. “I picked up that vibe by my contacts around the pubs and so on.”
In his heyday, former lock Chris Jack was accustomed to being lifted in countless lineouts. These days, he’s the one doing the heavy lifting.
The 35-year-old has taken up a building apprenticeship, a move which saw him hang up the boots after 14 years of professional rugby.
“It’s rewarding but it’s a big learning curve having not done much outside of school except professional rugby,” Jack says.
Rugby Union did not shut down completely with the declaration of war in August 1914.
Australia and New Zealand were, as dominions of the British Empire, included in Britain’s declaration on 4 August, but inevitably the matter was less urgent.
The machinery of military recruitment clicked into action and the Wellington Rugby Union cancelled its programme of second, third and fourth grade matches on the following Saturday to enable players to attend volunteer parades. But war caught both countries in mid-season and with the All Blacks part way through a tour of Australia.
Yes, it’s Rugby-Talk.com’s birthday today!
On 28 July 2009 a number of us packed our goodies and left the place where we previously discussed rugby, because it was’nt pleasant to discuss rugby anymore. Our discussions there was marred by terrible fighting between bloggers, by racial slurring and racial abuse and it was a shambles, to say the least.
We had our own “THING” in mind and amongst us there were 2 IT guys, myself and a chap called Ed-The Lion. We immediately started a temporary blog where a few friends continued to discuss rugby, whilst I started constructing our new home, Rugby-Talk.com.
At that stage web design was not my strong point or my expertice, but as an avid and accomplished coder, I set to work and chose the WordPress platform after proper research.
If there were any doubts or misgivings in the world of rugby 100 years ago this month as the First World War broke out, they were very well concealed.
The Rugby Football Union and other national governing bodies rapidly decreed a closedown after Britain’s declaration of war on August 4, with the Scots offering Inverleith – Murrayfield’s predecessor – for military use.
Rugby World Cup champion Stephen “Beaver” Donald has opened up about being the target of vile hate mail and the anguish his family endured when he was subjected to a torrent of public abuse.
The All Blacks cult first-five became a hero around New Zealand when he booted the team to victory in their nail-biting 2011 Rugby World Cup 8-7 final victory over France.
But in the lead-up to the screening of telemovie The Kick, which relives his magic moment, Donald has told how he was treated after being blamed for costing the All Blacks victory against the Wallabies in Hong Kong a year before the tournament.
From horror Tahs to Super stars – it’s been a rocky, 19-year ride for Waratahs rugby fans.
It certainly hasn’t always been pretty – think Matt Dunning’s brain explosion field goal, the 96-19 debacle in Christchurch and getting belted by the Brumbies in the semi-finals.
Yes, the Waratahs have had plenty of lows to match their rugby highs.
Perennial underachievers in the world’s toughest provincial competition, the Waratahs had always boasted one of the most talented playing rosters but were unable to turn that into on-field success.
Sir Colin Meads will finally be inducted into the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame.
The IRB Hall of Fame and the International Rugby Hall of Fame will merge this year to create one definitive rugby hall of fame.
It will see 37 greats of the game not already included in the IRB Hall of Fame inducted, creating a unique record of those who have excited and inspired rugby fans.
For years Sir Colin Meads had missed out on the IRB Hall of Fame, but now he will be recognised alongside several other greats.
They include Sean Fitzpatrick, Grant Fox, George Nepia, John Kirwan and Graham Mourie.
Five Springbok legends are set to be inducted into the International Rugby Board’s Hall of Fame.
Joost van der Westhuizen, Naas Botha, Morné du Plessis, Danie Gerber, Hennie Muller are among 37 players to be inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame in the next year.
The news comes alongside the announcement that the International Rugby Hall of Fame and IRB Hall of Fame are to merge.
Former All Black front-rower Eric Anderson has died.
Prop Anderson, who was 83, played 10 matches for the All Blacks on the tour of Australia and South Africa, scoring two tries against Western Australia.
He’s one of the most decorated coaches at the Commonwealth Games, but where did it all begin for New Zealand’s long-time Sevens coach?
“From where he was, from a fancy-free, practical joking, happy go lucky player to where he is now. It’s bloody legendary.”
It’s a place that has been central to the All Blacks’ domination of world rugby, a place where tactics have been spawned, standards set and discipline dished out.
It’s the back seat of the team bus, where seats are filled according to seniority, and positions are treasured.
It’s a ritual that has survived the test of time, though there have been tinkerings along the way, especially to accommodate the demands of the professional era.
Respected Hawke’s Bay rugby administrator Dr Tom Johnson, a former All Blacks trialist, has co-authored Legends In Black, interviewing some of the greats of the Kiwi game to try to unravel some of the secrets of the team’s culture and remarkable success.
They didn’t hold back when he confronted them regarding the seating arrangements on the team bus down the years.
It’S the biggest Down Under derby in 12 years — but is the Waratahs vs Brumbies rivalry the biggest in Australian rugby full stop?
NSW vs Queensland has long been the marquee match-up for Aussie outfits, and with 140 years of tradition to back it up it’s little wonder.
But the battle between the Tahs and their “little brother” from down the road in the ACT might have trumped it in recent times.
Wallaby hooker Stephen Moore has the unique experience of playing the Waratahs both as a Reds player (from 2003-08) and now with the Brumbies.
Way back in 2009, when he had just arrived in Canberra, Moore observed of the Tahs-Brumbies enmity that: “it’s equally as big as the Queensland-NSW rivalry.”
And Wallabies great Stephen Larkham, a Brumbies legend as a player and well on his way to becoming one as a coach, reckons it’s gone even beyond equal status.
Kevin Skinner, the All Black prop and heavyweight boxer, has died. He was 86.
Skinner made his name for Otago and was selected for the 1949 All Black tour of South Africa as a 21-year-old.
He was labelled one of the side’s successes, making up a hard-as-nails front row alongside Johnny Simpson and hooker Has Catley.
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.
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.
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.
Springbok and Toulon lock Bakkies Botha has spoken about life in France, the final 18 months of his career and what he has planned after rugby.
After his successful run with the Springboks in June against the World XV and Wales, the My Players website caught up with the 35-year-old during his off time in the South African bush.
Two men were arrested on Tuesday for the robbery and attack on three fishermen, including former Springbok Gerrie Sonnekus, in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape police said.
“After following leads, Port Alfred detectives in collaboration with crime intelligence officers, arrested two men aged 34 in Nemato Township in the early hours of Tuesday morning,” police spokesperson Luvuyo Mjekula said.
“Police are looking to make more arrests as two more suspects are still at large.”
Former Springbok Tinus Linee’s motor neuron condition has stabilised thanks to his recent use of a ventilator, said his wife Diana on Monday.
Speaking at a Youth Day benefit in her husband’s honour at the Daljosaphat Stadium between Wellington and Paarl, Diana Linee said Tinus’s mind was “still positive” about the illness. But for the use of his hands, however, Linee, the 44-year-old former Stormers and Springbok centre, remained completely paralysed.
“He can only scratch his cheek,” she said.
Scottish Rugby is immensely saddened to learn of the death on Monday night of the former Hawick, Scotland and Lions internationalist Hughie McLeod. He was 81.
Hugh Ferns McLeod was a pioneer, ahead of his time. His achievements as a player were the stuff of legend but, arguably, it was the manner in which he moulded future success in Hawick that marked him as a truly special character.
Hugh drove himself very hard as a player. He set high standards and expected the same of others. Into retirement he still followed a fitness regime which might have proved – no, would have proved too onerous for younger folk. Whether it was cycling, swimming up in Edinburgh or walking, Hughie loved to be active.
Benn Robinson could finally relax.
The Waratahs and Wallabies prop had been on edge for weeks, carrying around a precious piece of Australian and South African rugby history believed lost for decades.
It had brought him to a hotel lobby in Cape Town, where David Malan was waiting to receive the missing Springboks jersey his father, Abie Malan, had worn to captain South Africa against the Wallabies 51 years earlier.
The Springbok Experience rugby museum here at the V&A Waterfront has been shortlisted for an international museums award.
The South African Rugby Union’s world-class installation has been bracketed with museums from Lausanne, Antwerp, The Hague and Amsterdam in the annual Museum + Heritage Awards in the UK.
Former All Blacks captain Frank Oliver has died at the age of 65, his old provincial club Manawatu said on Tuesday, describing him as “a truly great rugby man”.
Oliver played for the All Blacks 43 times from 1976-81, including 17 Tests, captaining the New Zealanders to a series win over Australia in 1978. His son Anton Oliver was also an All Blacks captain.
Former Springbok rugby player Christian Stewart has been charged with allegedly assaulting the boyfriend of his ex-wife.
Stewart, 47, briefly appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Melrose Rugby Club has confirmed four invitational teams that will appear at this year’s Melrose 7s on Saturday 12 April at The Greenyards.
Scottish professional side, Glasgow Warriors will be joined by French Top 14 outfit Clermont Auvergne, Trinidad and Tobago and USA Tigers.
With the Super Rugby season less than 6 days away, here is a bit of history on the Competition.
Super Rugby is run by SANZAR and consists of franchise teams from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, 5 teams each, devided into 3 Conferences.
Super Rugby is the Southern Hemisphere’s prime Franchise tournament and part of the reason why the Southern Hemisphere currently dominate world rugby, with the New Zealand All Blacks 1st on the IRB World Rankings, the Springboks from South Africa comfortably in 2nd spot and the Wallabies from Australia in 3rd spot.
Super Rugby gets underway in South Africa first in 2014, on 15 February 2014 and a week later the Antipodion sides join in.