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.
South Africans are celebrating. It’s finally happened, Allister Coetzee has finally been given the axe.
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?
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.
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.
Is this the best haka of all time? It has everything… obscure location, simultaneous performances, confrontations, bad haircuts, mullets, condoning commentary… It starts off slow, but ends with a brawl. Could want anything more?
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.
Last night I had a dream that Heyneke Meyer selected Kobus Wiese to play for the Boks in next year’s World Cup.
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.
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)?
Thank you Brian O’Driscoll. We will miss you. Probably the best way a legend can leave the game.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The IRB reveals the persuasive photo evidence that cleared Du Plessis of his red card.
Not sure who the original poster was here.
Those of you who are bloggers or are in the tech space may know that WordPress and Google give you reports telling you what people are typing in the search bar on your site.
I will say this:
Whoever typed in “pictures of Jabba the Hut wearing shorts” may just be my new personal hero.
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!
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.”
- 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
No one cares. Let’s get to the real rugby. Please Supersport and all print newspapers stop trying to make me care. It’s embarrassing – like the awkward guy at the pub trying to get the ladies attention.
In offices and pubs around the country, South African rugby fans are sharply divided into two camps. On one hand, we have the dreamers, the romantics, the hopeful misfits. They can be heard consoling the cynics with phrases like:
“Yes, but I’ve got a good feeling this year” and the oft-repeated “Shooo – but there’s a lot of depth in South African rugby these days, eh? I was just watching the Happy Valley under 11s playing against the Paarl girls’ team and man – this country has no shortage of quality fly-halves.”
This is the camp that thinks Morne Steyn is going to come right this year, that picking Fourie Du Preez is sign of Heyneke’s under appreciated genius and that when we click we’re going to “put fifty on the All Blacks”. Continue Reading
What me, worry?
What me, turn down three kickable shots at goal in a knock-out semi-final when we’re leading by one point and I have a bankable points machine like Morne Steyn in the team?
- Best “night on the town” incident:
Kurtley Beale and Cooper Vuna displayed the famous Australian trait of being able to hold their drink well and managed to get themselves sent home from the Rebels tour of South Africa for boozing it up and getting into a fight with their own team mates. Double tip of the hat to Kurtley for punching not one but two of his own team mates during his night on the tiles. Of course, luckily for Beale he was able to redeem himself when given a match deciding penalty after the hooter during the first British Lions test… oh wait a second.
The Southern Kings first match of the season 22-10 win over the Force. In 80 minutes, they did more than the Lions do in most seasons and gave a massive middle finger to the rest of the country. Even the most cold-hearted cynic had to get a little misty eyed at that one. Big respect. Continue Reading
As part of the upcoming international season in the Southern Hemisphere, we’ll be doing a bit of a lifestyle segment on some international players. We thought we’d start off by showing the softer side of one of the Bok squad front rowers. We caught up with Coenie Oosthuizen and he introduced us to some of his lesser acknowledged culinary skills.
Whenever Coenie hosts visitors at his pad he is famous for serving his legendary “wors and wine” dish. He has let us share the recipe with readers of this website.
- Get 4 kilograms of karoo boerewors (barbecue sausage).
- Microwave on “high” for 20 minutes (or until ecoli risk is removed)
- Serve on paper plates with a knife and fork (this reduces dishwashing time later).
- Get a 5 litre cardboard boxed wine from Shoprite-Checkers to serve with the wors.
Coenie has been watching both Masterchef and Top Chef in anticipation of the end of season tour. He is going to dazzle those Northerners with his kitchen skills!
Former Wallaby coach Rod Macqueen once famously described South African rugby players to Harry Viljoen as “big, powerful and fucking stupid”. To that I’d like to add “dumber than a pile a bricks”.
If you ever wanted to know the disease that ails SA rugby it was on display this weekend at the Moscow 7’s.
After smashing their way through the first round with a display of rugby that got SA journalists all hot and bothered, i.e. not only winning all their first round games but also not dropping a single point against Scotland, Japan and the Bergvliet Primary School girls under 11 team they then promptly exited in the first round of knockouts against Fiji.
Just the typical stupidity of a Bok player in a big game. The final score was 12-10. The decisive moment was an idiotic kick downfield into p
the arms of a giant Fijian winger who promptly smashed his way to the try line like the Incredible Hulk knocking over a bunch of Fisher-Price toys placed in his path.
SA had all the talent and all the speed. But unfortunately I think SA rugby players are coached to believe that kicking “wins ground”.
Clearly no one has ever done a video analysis of an SA game and shown a squad that 9 out of 10 times you end up worse off when you kick. It’s a high risk low pay off move.
It’s early days, but I’ve got Springbok deja vu all over again. That feeling in the pit of your stomach that despite all of this amazing talent available to the Bok rugby team, somehow between the coaching staff and the administrators they’ve managed to screw it up – again.
You know that one where you watch the Junior World Championships and you get all excited thinking about that talent that is available to future Bok squads? You start selecting your “dream team” Springbok squad in April and start to picture a Bok team putting 50 on New Zealand. You see Heinrich Brussouw in all the glorious splendor that is his natural wonder and you think to yourself… “Yes… this can happen”.
There’s a flash of inspiration from some newcomer to the scene. A young Francois Steyn or Pat Lambie. A new looseforward capable of scrounging possession away from Richie McCaw in a Super 15 game and also capable of smuggling an entire array of donuts and cigarettes from Pollsmoor Prison. A backline player so fast, with a step so vicious…. Maybe it is the complete flyhalf. Continue Reading
Frank the Tank” Gupta plays loosehead prop at Gupta family rugby games.
In further developments in the “Gupta-gate” scandal, our sources tell us that the Guptas’ tentacles extended into rugby administration. Even the Bok has succumbed to the charms of president Zuma’s sugar daddy family.
By virtue of their “close relationship” with president Zuma, the Guptas were provided with the following “special favours”, courtesy of South African rugby administrators:
– A few Guptas were given a guided tour of the SARFU offices in Cape Town where they were presented with an autographed poster signed by Coenie Oosthuizen himself.
– A pair of Jannie Du Plessis’ shorts that he wore against the All Blacks
– Actual replica tshirt of the Cheetahs 2012 Super 15 jersey
– An impromptu “ball skills” demonstration on how to be an effective fly-half by Brok Harris.
Is nothing sacred anymore?
Cartoon by Zapiro
Ahhh. Somewhere in the States today, there sat a fellow in a faded green and gold jersey (circa 1995 or 2007?), slowly sipping on his Sierra Nevada, with the sudden realization that the Blitzbokke were about to lose twice in the same weekend to Team USA. Clutching that beer very tightly, he eyed the exit of the local pub wondering if it would be possible to slip out before anyone noticed his Bok jersey.
First of all a 19-12 “sharp punch to the nose with the clenched fist” in the final round robin game of the London Sevens to announce to the world that nobody can take an Eagles sevens team lightly anymore (editors note: I saw many a post this weekend remarking that the Blitzbokke “need only beat the Eagles” to win their group). Then the Eagles follow it up on Sunday with a “kneel on your chest and repeatedly slap you in the face whilst delivering a wedgie” 22-5 dismissal in the plate semi-final to deliver the one of the great David and Goliath feel-good victories.
TATAFU POLOTA-NAU (Photo credit: paddynapper)
NSW front rower Polota-Nau has released his new single “Nightcall” under the stage name of “Kavinsky”. Rolling Stone magazine has hailed it as a tour de force of new wave electro-pop and our first listen gives it an enthusiastic double thumbs up. Apparently most of the album was written during the Waratah’s tour of South Africa and in particular this track, Nightcall, was penned after a grueling scrumming session followed by ten laps around the field and a set of crunchies.
The track is available for a listen here:
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