How to win your office bet/superbru pool

These golden rules only work for the Super 15. Follow them and you simply can’t lose your office pool.
1. Always back the home team
2. Unless the Crusaders are playing away
3. Or, the Lions are playing at home
4. Never, ever, back the Stormers to win a crucial game. They can’t even spell BMT.

Follow these and you’ll be the envy of your fantasy league/Superbru pool.

Letter to the Editor: Who has the moral high ground?

We received this letter from one of our readers today and to do it justice it gets the full post today.  The author Clyde can be found on Twitter at @clydesta and gets our follow recommendation for his defence of PdV and the “B” team tactics.

Thanks for the letter Clyde!

“Let me start off by saying two things:

1. I am not Peter de Villiers’ biggest fan, not by a long shot.

2. I have nothing against All Blacks coach Graham Henry being honest about resting players for the S.A. leg of the Tri-Nations.

It’s okay to query the questionable tactics and player selections, fine. It’s also okay to ponder some of the strange utterances our dear coach makes regarding mechanics, ballerinas and ‘injured’ players.

Regardless of the media uproar, many loyal Springbok supporters believe our coach did the right thing by resting our top Boks for the away leg of the Tri-Nations, particularly after a taxing and arduously long Super Rugby season.

What I do have issue with, is the self-righteous attitude of some of the S.A. sports media fraternity, who feel it is their duty to belittle our coach at every opportunity. The clown references are funny, sure, but I believe we need a clown to navigate our media circus. A circus indeed, barring many respected, objective critics of course. How quick we are to judge, without really knowing all the goings-on that happened in the training (or ‘recuperation’) camp.

To my point: It’s simply not okay to make out that Graham Henry has some sort of ‘moral high ground’ for saying he has rested some players for the S.A. leg of the Tri-Nations, and not saying that they’re injured as Pdivvy has done.

From my point of view, it is infinitely easier to skirt the SANZAR ruling that you must field ‘your best available team’ when your counterpart (Pdivvy) has already rested his best players for the away leg. Bear in mind, that many of our Springboks were in fact injured (some still are). Bear in mind also, that it’s so much easier to field your best starting line-up from the relative comforts of your own country, and to then rotate players in the squad accordingly.

No-one is making more fuss of the Rustenburg reconditioning camp than our own fickle S.A. media.

Here’s hoping that our ‘A’ team can avoid the embarrassment of a first-ever Tri-Nations whitewash this Saturday, and that the PE NZ supporters go home suitably demoralised.”

~ @clydesta

Bladdy hell, did someone crank up the heat in here?

Post by our new contributor Ron Burgundy (technology issues aside)

I recently attended a comedy gig in town.

It should have been, in my eyes anyway, a fun date out with a lass who I was keen to impress with my ability to tap into the underground comedy scene in South Africa

It backfired – horribly. The young comedian was a poor version of Seth Rogen; no, in fact he was a pauper when it came to the material he had on him.

There I was, a deflated man, slumped in the theatre chair as we endured 70 minutes of hell (thank the Pope and his trusty band of Cardinals that the comedian didn’t see out the extra time).

Thereafter it was a case of damage control as I tried to claw my way back into contention for the rest of the evening.

I have a trump card though, and I feel obligated to share it so that if anyone has one of those moments/days when you just know, straight up from the kick off, that you’re up against it for the full 80.

The trump card is an interview from a few years back conducted by a Sky Sports Vulture commentator, with his prey being the massive ripe carcass of WC2003 winning captain Martin Johnson, after a particularly poor performance at the Fortress.

I reckon this is also an appropriate clip to ramp up excitement levels for Saturday’s “Le Crunch” .

(See also: https://bigdaddyrugby.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/french-get-the-mind-games-rolling/)

Now we’re cooking on gas, someone just turned up the heat….enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeG8hRG07mA]

Vegas 7’s wrap – A warrior poet uncovered

Paul Treu’s team at last delivered on the promise they have shown in flashes throughout the season, with a 24-14 win over Fiji to take the USA sevens title. In Vegas the Blitzbokke demonstrated an ability to play the game not only with physical power and speed, but also with mental sharpness.

In the semi-final against England, the Blitzbokke, 17-10 up,  chose to go for posts with 40 seconds on the clock, snuffing out any remaining hope that England might have had of sneaking back into the game.  It was significant, because it showed the Blitzbokke have started to learn from the painful losses of the earlier defeats this season.  Fiji and New Zealand are formidable sevens opponents and the Blitzbokke have left it too late in the season to be able to win the series, but the squad is starting to look more like the 2008-2009 champion unit.

But  more significant than Paul Treu’s team finding their feet is the emergence of a new star for the Blitzbokke. Cecil Afrika, the young Bob Marley look-alike and team’s self appointed warrior-poet is already the series’ lead try scorer, despite missing some games with injury.

If it were up to me, I’d bring Afrika right into the 15 man Bok squad. Aside from seriously upping the coolness factor of the hairstyles in the squad and having a fantastic name, he is a complete package for a wing. He has speed, strength and a great ability to read the game. Usually newcomers to test rugby struggle with defense, but Gio Aplon has proved that sevens players will put fifteens players to shame when it comes to tackling.

Besides, the Bok squad’s hairstyle factor took a serious dent when they let Francois Hougaard in.

South African Rugby Drinking Game

For followers of South African rugby looking for an excuse to combine pub drinking with the usual Saturday viewing – take a swig every time one of the following happens during a broadcast:

  • Hugh Bladen or Andy Capastagno mentions the high school of the player who just scored a try (double down if the school is NOT in the Boland)
  • There is a “family inappropriate” close up of a Stormers girl/woman in the crowd
  • Deon “walking yellow” Stegman gets sin-binned
  • Bobby Skinstad mispronounces “Bokke” or says “paddock” (double down)
  • A knock on is attributed to “taking one’s eyes off the ball”
  • Jean De Villiers cramps up in the 70th minute (double down if it’s an injury preventing him from being able to compete at the World Cup)
  • Mark Lawrence is sporting a new 3 day stubble look
  • Naas Botha hedges his bets in studio before the big game by saying that the Boks could win, but also could lose – depending on how they play
  • The entire Supersport pre-test match analysis consists of talking about “who wants it more”
  • Kobus Wiese impersonates a bobble-head action figure during the “let’s cross over to the field” pre-kickoff segment
  • In the Lions/Cheetahs post game interview after another big loss, the phrases “on the right track” or “the hard work on the training ground will pay off soon” are used
  • Man of the Match thanks Jesus (double down if the same player got a yellow during the game for dirty play)
  • Bismark throws handbags
  • Hugh Bladen refers to the Loftus crowd as “knowledgable” (double down if this is during the crowd booing a test match legend)

My dirty little secret

Is it ok to say that I’m not really too fussed about the new Super 15 format? I’ve got the basics down, like there are now 15 teams competing and that they’re grouped together in fancy “conferences”, but other than that it’s all a little vague to me. I did try heading over to the Super 15 site and had a look at their explanatory video clip but I got bored and zoned out.
Maybe I’ll be a little more focused once it actually starts.

One thing I am excited about though is listening to the Aussie commentators on Fox sports. The Phil Kearns / Greg Martin combo is a great laugh. Sure they’re biased but at least they’re “funny biased”. The chirp made a few years ago about Percy getting his gold boots from the Gay Mardi Gras still cracks me up.

Having said that the Kiwi commentators are not too bad either. They’re very measured and professional in their approach. The SuperSport team really needs to up their game. I can’t help but feel short-changed when the only commentary options DSTV offers for the SA based games are English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. I’d take Kearns / Martin every game if I could.

Roll on the 18th.

Chiliboy and Bjorn get the cover up treatment

So anyone else feel slightly dirty about the way Chiliboy Ralepelle and Bjorn Basson got off for testing positive for a banned substance without any further punishment?

Yes, I know all the arguments that have been put forth by SARFU, Bulls management and various media spokespersons. I am not really interested in listening to the whingeing that is streaming from all of these sources. It doesn’t change the fact that the players and management are supposed to be professionals, and therefore should be held to a higher standard. In this era, players can’t really play the Shane Warne “my mom gave me vitamins” excuse any more can they?

If players aren’t watching what “supplements” get taken, then surely the team management and the nutritionists need to get taken to task for allowing players free reign to take whatever supplements are being recommended to them? What if our primary goal kicker decides he needs to top up his red bulls during the World Cup and after a drug test leaves us headed into a crucial game without a key player?

Besides, this seriously inhibits my ability to feel morally superior as a Bok fan after years of watching the Wallaby team struggle with their drug testing woes. We’re just as corrupt as the others.

Mind you, I think I lost all my sporting innocence after Hansiegate. The inner child in me never quite got over that one.