Michael Hooper writes for us on Brexit

The Wallaby captain shares his thoughts (Picture courtesy of Wikipedia).

In light of recent geo-political events we asked recently appointed Wallaby skipper Michael Hooper to share his thoughts on the likely implications of Brexit and his predictions for the UK economy. We received the following unedited response:

Michael Hooper…. Michael Hooooooper…. Michael Hoop-ah!

Michael Hooper… Michael Hoooperrrrrr…. Michael Hooooooooopahhhhhh!

Michael Hooper. Michael Hooooooo-per. Michael Hooperggghhh!

Michael Hooper… Michael Hooper… Michael Hooper.

Michael Hooper. Michael Hooooperrrrrr!


We will continue to invite famous rugby players to share their thoughts on current events and world issues.

Next up (subject to professional clearance) – Billy Vunipola on the enduring influence of Renaissance art on pop culture.

Where are they now? – Butch James

Cast your mind back to the early noughties. The world had let out a collective sigh of relief at having survived Y2K, and people across the globe celebrated the dawn of a new century by downloading more porn and sharing cat gifs.

It was a time of new beginnings, when shows like ‘My Two Dads‘ were considered to be pushing at the boundaries. When rock bands could have names like ‘Hootie and the Blowfish‘…and still be taken seriously.

It was around this time that Butch James arrived on the rugby playing scene.

It’s gonna be a bumpy landing folks.

Granted, there was not much subtlety about a player like Butch. He did exactly what it said on the tin….butch things, man things.

But whatever agility and grace BJ lacked as player, he made up for in spades with his uncompromising and (often) illegal style of play, including his trademark ‘clothesline’ tackling style. When it came to tackling, BJ didn’t just throw caution to the wind….he threw a swinging arm too, and made that wind his bitch.

BJ was a player that the South African rugby-watching public loved to hate. You knew it was just a matter of time before he poleaxed someone…anyone, and got sent off the pitch, with the look of a sulky child. Like a car accident waiting to happen, you just couldn’t take your eyes off him.

So where is our Butch now?

Some say he accidentally clotheslined himself to death in his sleep. Whereas others maintain that he launched (with just a hint of irony) his own fashion brand and line of clothes – called ‘BJs – for real men‘.

I say, who cares. I want to remember Butch for the man he was. The man I will never be.

“Look ma…no hands!”

Allister Coetzee finally axed

South Africans are celebrating. It’s finally happened, Allister Coetzee has finally been given the axe.

A toast... to the caterers.

A toast… to the caterers.

Sure, I thought he was a pretty good choice when first picked. I mean, I thought, what could possibly be worse than Heyneke Meyer?

Oh wait, right. I forgot. If you think you’ve gone lower than you’ll ever go, South African rugby can always find a way to drag you deeper into despair. The late 90s look positively good compared to the mud that Coetzee dragged our jersey through. Jeez, I remember being livid when we lost a test match in Cardiff. Coetzee lost us a match in Italy.

So let’s toast to new Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasumus, doing the right thing and offering the coaching role to one of the Kiwi Super Rugby coaches.

Nothing can go wrong, right?

Six Nations… finally

Feeling pretty psyched this year. It really does feel like the most competitive Six Nations in memory. I mean, I honestly can’t foresee the way in which Scotland will disappoint me this year. So many good options to choose from.

Wales v Scotland is shaping up as a massive game for these two teams. Hard to see how a squad could come back from losing this game and still compete for the title.

Ireland are looking great under their Kiwi influence. They are in the top tier now and have a serious shot at the World Cup for the first time in history. They’ll want a good six nations series to build up the muscle memory of dispatching top teams.

Of course England now have a class one Bond villain as their coach. Finally… the biggest financially backed team now has egos approximating their bank balances, and a series of wins under their belts that justifies it.

The world’s least intimidating haka

Courtesy of the Sports Bible on Facebook… the most embarrassing haka ever… Crikey, if you ever want to NOT be intimidated by the All Blacks, just fired up this baby on your iPhone before kickoff, and you’ll be good to go.

Haka like the whole world is watching.

How will Pollard be screwed up?

So the Springboks have potentially finally uncovered the flyhalf they have been looking for for decades:

A big, powerful number 10, with great distribution skills, a monster boot, a line breaker and most importantly: a 10 who eats All Blacks for breakfasts.

So the question on everyone’s mind is how will the administrators stuff this one up?

– tell him to put on 20kgs so he can play inside centre
– overplay him every week until his body is fragile than Mr Glass and he suffers a career ended at age 24.
– make him play every position in the back line until he finally settles in for the “fullback who comes on in the 78th minute” role.
– turn him into the long sought after tighthead they have been looking for.

End of the road for Dr Jannie

Jannie du Plessis hasn’t retired yet, but he has left quite a legacy in SA rugby. His front row partnership with Bismarck is one of the great Springbok sibling contributions.

But it isn’t just his caps, he has pioneered the “slap chips grease” hairdo, giving valuable fashion tips to Bok newcomers, introduced Jean de Villiers to the music of Joseph Arthur and of course provided valuable emotional advice to readers on this site.

But sadly seeing the Argentinian props Ayerza and Herrera bossing the Bok front row raises the question “is it game over for Dr Jannie?”.

They didn’t just out scrum the Boks or just “win” the contest. It was like watching 1990s Mike Tyson on steroids taking out his anger on a 12 year old.

Far be it from me to judge. After all, as a schoolboy I remember being forced into playing hooker for a team down to 13 against Paarl Gym. Hell, I went backwards a mile a minute. I am not ashamed to admit it. But the difference is I wasn’t wear a Bok jersey at the time.

That was ugly. And not something deserving of wearing the green and gold.

Bok fans wondering how their team will disappoint them in 2014

It’s almost the start of the tournament formerly known as the TriNations and that old familiar Springbok feeling of “don’t get your hopes up” is sweeping the fan base.

How will they break hearts again this year?

– steam roll the weak teams, look great doing it, not break a sweat or have a styled hair out of place, and then seriously come unstuck when you first encounter a quality side (see every World Cup the Proteas have ever played)?

– have quality talent to pick from but instead make idiotic selections for your match day team and then proceed to make sure your first receiver from any second phase ball is a fat prop or a dumb lock (see every game where Zane Kirchner or Flip van der Merwe were selected)?

– just not get out of the gates at all (see entire Straueli era)?

– be reasonably competitive, in with a shout if we win the last game of the tournament, start that game well but then get a red card early on (see alternating Bok seasons)?

Big balled Berrick Barnes

We all know the career span of a professional rugby player is pretty limited, so it’s always a good idea to plan for the future.

So hats off (or should I say jock-straps off?) to Aussie player Berrick Barnes who is set to make a bold sidestep into the world of porn.

Berrick has been trialing a new look lifted straight from the world of of 1970’s repairmen who are carrying more than just a monkey wrench in their ill-fitted overalls.

Rumour has it Berrick’s ‘acting’ alias is set to be – wait for it….Berrick Barnes.

I guess he just has the name for it.

Problems with the plumbing ladies? Berrick will sort you out.

Problems with the plumbing ladies? Berrick will sort you out.

Reasons I am struggling to get into Super 15 rugby this year

  • The Stormers suck (yes, tough start to the year, tough break on injuries, but still…)
  • The Bulls just quite aren’t that menacing bully team you love to hate (have you seen their flyhalf?)
  • The Sharks are South Africa’s best hope (yes… playing that sort of flat passing thing they started in the 90s under Macintosh)
  • I cancelled my DSTV account (this feels great whenever your team loses)
  • Schalk Burger is a shadow of his former self
  • I discovered Coursera
  • Still feeling depressed about losing that third test match to Australia (why does Morne Morkel insist on bothering to walk to the pitch to bat?)
  • I’m not doing well in my office Superbru pool
  • I watched a game at a friend’s house and Hugh Bladen was still commentating
  • Those Vodacom ads
  • Walking Dead Season 4 (plus I finally got into Mad Men… about time!)
  • I have that disturbing feeling that if I go to Newlands I will see those “kiwi” supporters in the railway stand
  • My course on postmodernism (see Coursera point) has left me with a vague unsettled feeling that my beliefs don’t really have a firm foundation
  • I am getting old, and many of my mates live overseas now.  That makes it harder to drink beer in the morning for an Australasian kickoff time.
  • Those cheerleaders aren’t really doing it for me.

Yeah… not really feelin’ it.

Blue Bulls camo jersey – the ultimate in self parody?

One tries really hard to make fun of the Bulls.  But then they do such a good job it for themselves, I sometimes wonder, why bother parodying them at all?  Aren’t they just the biggest parody themselves?

It’s like a 1986 apartheid meets 21st century Super Rugby!

I’m still basking in the glory of last year’s post about their pink jersey.  I mean how are you going to top top that pink monstrosity?  Oh but wait… you ain’t see nothin’ yet.

It’s like this photo almost shows the Bulls exec management thinking out loud:

So… ummm… I think last year’s pink jersey was a bit… you know… gay. Can we fix that?

Ya, how about we go for a manly “army camo”? I mean there’s nothing gay about men all wearing army gear and hanging out together away from their wives and girlfriends, is there?

Ya, that’s it! That will shut those Stormers and Sharks supporters. We’ll go really masculine with army outfits. Like “real” men!

Oh f&$k! You honestly can’t make this sh@t up. So nobody on the approval committee thought this is just utterly ridiculous? Nobody thinks this kind reminds everyone of apartheid era bullsh@t. I mean this team plays in Pretoria! They basically look like the guys from District 9 clearing prawns from a squatter camp mixed with apartheid era “enforcers”.  It’s not like they need to shake off the stigma of a racist past now is it?

This is why Australia hates us.

Jeeez. Clearly we don’t need to make fun of the Bulls anymore. They do a good job of that themselves without our help!

Ben Foden’s hair to be placed on New Year’s honours list

If England takes nothing else from Saturday’s defeat against the All Blacks, they can rest assured that they had better hair on the day.

One player in particular stood head and shoulders above the rest with a stirringly impressive display of follicle bravado ….Ben ‘Braveheart’ Foden.

Not only was his celebration of a disallowed try executed with commendable gusto, but he somehow managed to finish the match with zero, yes that’s right, ZERO split-ends!

We applaud you sir!

And I don’t use the title ‘sir’ lightly….as there’s talk about town that Ben’s hair is to be placed on the New Year’s honours list for services to humanity at large (but mostly the ladies).

Drink it in ladies and gents.

Drink it in ladies and gents.

Bok camp rife with infighting ahead of Wales Test

Our reporter on the ground in the UK this week has uncovered that far from the gentle harmonious image portrayed on most mainstream media sites, the Springbok camp is in fact rife with infighting and competitive squabbling ahead of the upcoming Northern Hemisphere tests.   The trouble began in the days leading up to the team’s departure from South Africa when Jean de Villiers heard news that Willie Le Roux had been using his time off from match rugby to work on an impressive pair of sideburns.

With De Villiers stinging at the thought that his carefully managed stubble maybe upstaged by Le Roux’s sideburns, De Villiers apparently sent Le Roux a blatantly misleading SMS telling him that the flights were going to be taking off a day later than originally planned.  Le Roux saw straight through this attempt at Bok tour facial hair supremacy and shared his concerns with some of the younger members of the squad.  According to Coenie Oosthuizen, this sort of rivalry was going on all the time, even resulting in Coenie getting dropped when he showed de Villiers a goatee he had been working on during the off season.

Now that Bakkies Botha and Jacque Fourie are back in the squad, the situation has become even worse.  On Monday, Eben Etzebeth had to report to team management that his shaving razor had been tampered with, resulting in unsightly razor burn on his neck area.  De Villiers has been demanding excessive compliments from all the young players about his sideburns and only Duane Vermeulen has had the integrity to tell him that his sidechops “needed work”.

Jean De Villiers was so incensed, he vowed to ensure that Vermeulen never played a Bok match again, but Heyneke Meyer intervened and restored a bit of order.

The last straw in all of this came on Wednesday evening.  De Villiers had ordered from Amazon fifteen new Gillette Sensor hand razors in order to look his best before the Welsh test, but the razors were accidentally delivered to Willie Le Roux’s hotel room instead.  An all out brawl broke out when this was discovered, with things only calming down when Guthro Steenkamp swung a large fish over his head to get everyone’s attention.

With uncertainty and tension like this in the camp, we can only speculate that the Bok team might be ripe for the taking on this tour.

Is John Smit the new villain of SA Rugby?

A few years ago there was an episode of South Park that featured Mickey Mouse as a brutal dictator of the Disney empire.  While Mickey presented a smiling, cuddly personality to the public, behind the scenes he ruled with an iron fist, crushing all dissent.  During the Currie Cup final when the camera panned to a chuckling John Smit in the stands, I couldn’t help but wonder if Barney is the new evil Mickey Mouse of South African rugby?

Could the formerly innocent Sharks prop now be a ruthless Gaddaffi?  Hardened and embittered by years of clinging to power as the Springbok captain, after years of exile in the North, he returns to SA rugby and orchestrates a coup in the Sharks Rugby Union?  His return ushers in the return of Jake White, the shadowy whispering “adviser”.  High profile departures happen shortly after his arrival. His former assistant coach at the Boks Coetzee is easily felled in their first real contest of consequence.

I say, it’s about time.  South African rugby needs a new villain.  We are oh so weary of the 20th century’s Afrikaans versus English vibe, and beyond that there is only mega rich fat cats or BEE type figures that could possibly fall into the category of worthy rugby administrator villain. Perhaps a brutal Mickey Mouse, crushing dissent and rivals to the throne that gets the non-Sharks part of the country’s blood boiling is just what is needed to renew interest in the local competitions.

Sadly for the Western Province rugby, it looks like their scheming villain at the top of the organisation is merely an incompetent Dr Evil.


Sonny Bill Williams loses his status as sex symbol

The 1980s called – they want their oversized dark glasses back.

All the talk this week has been about Sonny Bill Williams.  Not just the will or her won’t he have a future representing the All Blacks again, but rather his poor fashion choices.  While other blogs have been happy to report the IRB qualification criteria for representing your nation at a World Cup, we feel more qualified to point out that his oversized tints, lack of manly facial hair and clashing color coordination (plaid with green?) have cost him his place at the top of everyone’s sports’ sex symbol list.

He has had a busy time of it recently.  In between representing New Zealand at both Rugby Union and League, launching his boxing career and working on his tattoos, we hear that Sonny Bill has also had some moderate entertainment industry crossover success.  2013 saw him play a small role in the latest Woody Allen comedy as a struggling novelist in turn of the century Paris.  He also had songwriting credits on Miley Cyrus’ latest album release Bangerz.  Perhaps all his entertainment focus has taken his eye off the real prize – keeping a level head when it comes to making responsible fashion choices.

We hear that Ben Tameifuna (prop for the Chiefs) has taken over the running for the Southern Hemisphere’s “sex on legs” title.

Shock as Jake White quits Brumbies coaching role after taking Intro to Philosophy course

News of Jake White’s resignation from coaching the Brumbies has hit Australian papers and blogs today. What could possess a man who was poised to inherit the Wallaby coaching position to burn his bridges down under?

He issued a strange pronouncement about no longer “having the desire” to coach the team that he so recently took to the Super 15 final. Some took this as a reaction to being snubbed for the Wallaby position when Deans was forced to step down. Or perhaps it was because he finally got the courage to watch George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels and this was the only suitable protest he could muster?

But the reasons have little to do with rugby really.

After taking an online “Philosophy 101” class on the Coursera website he has reached the conclusion that the Enlightenment – far from ushering in a new era of moral and ethical certainty – has in fact removed any objective grounding for a basis for determining right from wrong. Cut adrift from an appeal to a divine authority, man is left to fend for himself in this moral landscape, unable to tell arbitrary whim from platonic good.

And as such… No longer able to coach the Brumbies.


Tuilagi strikes again…

It seems no one is safe from the antics of Manu ‘Ferry jumper’ Tuilagi… including the Great British Prime Minister!

Tuilagi’s general pissing into the wind attitude towards life was further demonstrated at a recent photo op at Downing Street, at which he couldn’t resist from doing the old ‘bunny ears’ prank behind the PM’s head.

In keeping with the general tomfoolery and rakish behaviour of his Eton school days, Cameron’s response was to give Tuilagi a wet-willy and wedgie combo.

Boom! THAT’s what you get for messing with the British Government…President Assad take note!

Hee hee....I also peed on your carpet!

Hee hee….I also peed on your carpet!

If Saturday’s test match doesn’t get you excited that little rugby fan inside of you has died


Another Supersport viewer about to be disappointed by the standard of Hugh Bladen’s commentary.

Saturday is pretty much as good as it gets for a rugby fan. A rising South African side, buoyed by a vicious assault of the Wallabies, taking on the mighty All Blacks in New Zealand. If you’re not up for this, you’re not for up for rugby anymore.  That little bright eyed kid inside of you who used to set the alarm clock early to wake up and watch the Boks playing in New Zealand may just have been clubbed into submission after too many years of false hopes.

The cynic in me says that Heyneke’s new Bok team hasn’t been capable of putting together two good performances in a row. That any team that includes Zane Kirchner just can’t be that good. That there are still one or two key things wrong in selection, that Ruan “lazy peasant” Pienaar is not the answer at 9, that Flip Van De Merwe on the bench lowers the whole tone of the squad, not to mention the average hair style street cred. That while the All Blacks in New Zealand are most definitely beatable, this Bok team isn’t quite at that level yet. I’d love to be wrong about this. After all, watching the Boks taking apart the Wallabies and just dismantling them like a disturbed toddler pulling the legs of a stick insect was pretty friggin’ awesome. How great it would be to watch a Bok pack rumble over a retreating All Black scrum?

But then… that not’s going to happen is it? That’s why the All Black are the number one team in the world. Because you don’t just arrive in New Zealand, talk up a good game to the press, psych up your front row half an hour before kickoff by slapping them in the face and showing them pictures of Bobby Skinstad hanging out with their wives and then simply win in New Zealand. Just ask countless Bok teams who’ve been there before and spoken about “having a good feeling” in the days leading up to the ultimate test.

Still. Around the Republic on Saturday, the skottle braai breakfasts will be smoking, the early morning drinkers will be getting to ready to rumble in the bars across the Cape Flats. Kiwis will be talking down their own team ahead of the renewing of the struggle with the “old rival”. Ex-pat Saffers living in New Zealand will feel all kinds of inner turmoil. And you can bet there is going to be some awkward family get-togethers across the Western Cape after final whistle. This is going to be EPIC!

Top 5 villains of all time…

Who doesn’t like a good old fashioned villain to passionately hate and shout abuse at from the safety of the living-room armchair?

Just ask the inhabitants of New Zealand. According to a recent national survey, the third most popular hobby in the country today is developing a strong and active disliking of Quade Cooper. That’s a whole lot of dislike for someone who isn’t exactly on the genocidal activity or baby killing end of the evil-doer spectrum.

With any implications of genocide aside, the Kiwis will be happy to hear that Quade made Fox Sports Australia’s Top 5 Villains of All Time listKudos to the Aussies for putting one of their ‘own’ in there.

What may not come as a surprise is the fact that 3 Springboks made the grade….oh wait, sorry….I mean 2 Springboks and 1 drunk spectator wearing the green and gold jersey and taking the law into his own hands.

See for yourself…

Top 5 Villains of All Time

Ruan Pienaar vs Fourie du Preez: Ultimate scrumhalf matchup

Who is the better scrumhalf?   If anybody hasn’t been paying attention to Springbok rugby in the last few years, we thought we’d line them up, by the stats.  You decide for yourself who should the Bok starting scrumhalf be?


Currently Ruan is only ahead of Fourie on the team stat “ability to delay the onset of male pattern baldness.”

Ruan Pienaar:

  • Known for: imitating a pensioner at an ATM when attempting to clear the ball from a ruck
  • Usually spotted on the field: pointing at the ball in the loose so that opposition players can steal it more effectively
  • Album he plays for young players about to make their debut:  Nickelback’s 2001 release, Silver Side Up
  • Fact you may not know about him: Makes a mean pasta alfredo
  • Nickname: Johnny No Shoes
  • Amount of time taken to pass from a scrum: We are still waiting for a successful scrum clearance to be able to report on this

Fourie du Preez:

  • Known for:  pinpoint passes that create try scoring assists, if you’re prepared to rewind the PVR/Tivo and see what really led up to a team try
  • Usually spotted on the field: popping up at a tackle just short of the line in order to score the “soft” try
  • Album he plays for young players about to make their debut: Dylan’s 1975 classic tale of heartbreak, loneliness and anger, Blood on the Tracks
  • Fact you may not know about him: May be responsible for ending apartheid when as a young boy in 1990 he met FW at a school rugby game, looked him in the eye and said “we’re all the same on the inside, you know.”
  • Nickname: Two Sheds (Fourie once thought about building a second shed on his property)
  • Amount of time taken to pass from a scrum: Too fast to measure with our current technology.  The  recently constructed Large  Hadron Collider beneath the Franco-Swiss border is in fact an attempt to measure Fourie Du Preez’ passes

Aussie PM threatens sanctions against next country that beats them in sport

Things aren’t going well down under.

A statement most of us don’t want to hear from our doctor, but one that also applies to the state of Australian sport at the moment.

Not only have the English retained the ashes, but following the Wallabies loss to the All Blacks last weekend, the Poms have now usurped their former penal colony as No.3 in the IRB rankings.

A bitter pill to swallow….even when washed down with a XXXX beer. (Note to reader: in this case XXXX refers to the brand and does not imply that Aussie beer is shit. With the exception of Fosters. It’s shit.)

It would seem the recent spate of having their ass handed to them on a plate has been all too much to take for some Aussies.

In particular, the country’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has threatened economic and trade sanctions against any country that has the gall to beat his home nation in any future sporting encounters.

At a recent press conference Rudd commented:

“This is just not on. Australians don’t know the meaning of the word lose, and it’s certainly not in this government’s budget to amend the school curriculum to include a definition.

I wake up in a cold sweat most nights thinking how I’m going to restrain myself from decking David Cameron in his smug doughy face at the next Commonwealth meeting.

I believe the threat of sanctions will restore faith in our sporting teams, and I’ve already been sleeping a bit better since my wife came up with the idea.”

Aussie PM Kevin Rudd...sleep deprivation has led to some 'quirky' behaviour

Aussie PM Kevin Rudd…sleep deprivation has led to some ‘quirky’ behaviour