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!

Michael HOOOOOPERRRRRRR!!!!!!

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)?

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!

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.

mickeyjohn

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.

20130925-230536.jpg

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?

Scrumhalf

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

Super 15 2013 regular season review: BDR’s list of hits, misses and #fails

  • 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.

  • Most epic win:

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

Cooking with Coenie

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.

Mmmm!

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!

What do we do with Israel?!

Don’t worry…we haven’t gone all political on your ass at Big Daddy Rugby.

This is not some diatribe about the Jewish-majority state but rather the question the Lions will be asking themselves about the Aussie back who weaved his way through their defence in last week’s first test.

As we know the Lions won that match…but only literally by the thin plastic membrane of their gumguards. If only Kurtley Beale had had a few drinks at half-time to steady his legs, it may have been a completely different story.

638665-israel-folau

 

Lions take first bite in Oz….literally

The British and Irish Lions tour in Australia has started on high with a mauling of the Western Force in Perth on Wednesday.

Acting captain Brian O’Driscoll led from the front by scoring two of the tries, having linked-up well with fellow centre Manu ‘Ferry-jumper’ Tuilagi.

The Lions looked hungry throughout the course of the match, and in particular Irish prop Cian Healy who in the 17th minute couldn’t hold-out for half-time snacks any longer by taking a bite of scrum-half Brett Sheeran’s arm.

Having only served to whet his appetite, he eventually had to fake an injury in order to get something more substantial and less hairy off the field of play.

Apparently head Lion’s coach Warren Gatland is now rethinking his strategy of starving his players for 2 days pior to each match.

Would sir care for brown or red sauce with his arm?

Would sir care for brown or red sauce with his arm?

Gupta scandal rocks SA rugby

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

Kurtley Beale: Make mine a double

Raise your arms in the air like you just don't care y'all!

Raise your arms in the air like you just don’t care y’all!

Troubled Wallabies and Rebels player Kurtley ‘Crumb-catcher’ Beale has decided to take some much needed time out from rugby for personal reasons.

It is likely he will miss the upcoming Lions’ Tour to Australia in order to spend more quality time with close friends and family, namely Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and Tia Maria.

Kurtley's half-time rider request started to raise a few eyebrows among the Rebels' back room staff

Kurtley’s half-time rider request started to raise a few eyebrows among the Rebels’ back room staff

Hell hath no fury like a rolling maul

If you’ve watched any amount of Super Rugby this year, you’ll know that the rolling maul is the hot-topic of the moment. And more specifically, just how the hell is a team meant to defend against it?

In particular it has been the South African conference teams that have used it to such deadly effect and who seem to be forming them more frequently than they can churn out new Fast & Furious films.

For this very reason Big Daddy Rugby has consulted some of the worlds most highly respected and completely fictitious military experts to come up with 5 ways to stop the dreaded rolling maul.

We can do nothing about Vin Diesel films though. Sorry.

1. Scorched Earth Policy

When it comes to wreaking havoc and general destruction, a crazy cat by the name of Stalin had a few tricks (and most likely a poison-tipped dagger) up his sleeve. As a tactic used by the Russians on the German army during WW2 and the US in Vietnam, the idea is to destroy the turf to such an extent that the rolling maul won’t function effectively.

Downside: Not suitable for home matches, i.e. don’t shit where you eat.

"Charlie don't form rolling mauls!"

“Charlie don’t form rolling mauls!”

2. Propaganda campaign

Not to be outdone by a crazy Russian, the Germans used this slightly more subtle form of military strategy to instil fear and doubt among their enemies. The defending team could make use of an online social media campaign to belittle the image of the rolling maul, utilising slogans such as ‘Rolling mauls cause cancer’ or ‘Rugby is for Girls‘ – or even a video viral showing rolling mauls being formed by fans at a Justin Bieber concert.

Downside: Getting Bieber’s agent to agree to this could take some time.

It's not subtle or politically correct...but it will work.

It’s not subtle or politically correct…but it will work.

3. Horns of the bull

Cunning military strategy invented by Shaka Zulu. He’s that guy who made his troops run on thorns just because he could. The rolling maul is initially hit head-on, with supporting players flanking both sides (the horns) and then employing short stabbing movements with sharp instruments to inflict injuries on the unsuspecting attacking forwards.

Downside: Not only are Saffa players familiar with it, but it can lead to at least half the team being sin-binned.

Even the most dim-witted of tight-heads will understand this one.

Even the most dim-witted of tight-heads will understand this one.

4. Divide and conquer

If it worked for the Romans, it can work for you. Simple yet effective technique in which you turn your opponents against each other, leaving them weak and vulnerable. All the defending team needs to do is make the tight-heads believe their doing all the hard work while the loose-head trio are getting all the girls and glory and BAM…the rolling maul collapses like a deck of cards.

Downside: Hard to convince tight-heads of anything unless it’s done with simplified drawings and pictures.

We come in peace.....hee hee!

We come in peace…..hee hee!

5. Trench warfare technique

This one involves a bit of planning, but with some bulldozers, a bit of barbed wire and a full-back with a Gatling Gun – that rolling maul isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Downside: In addition to logistical issues, can lead to stalemate and a sudden urge for players to breakout into a jovial football match while singing Paul McCartney’s ‘Pipes of Peace’

Gatling Gun....all good full-backs should have one.

Gatling Gun….all good full-backs should have one.

The Heinrich Manoeuvre

Cheetahs and Springbok forward Heinrich Brussow is to have his name added to a lexicon of terms and as means of describing the act of dispossessing the opposing team of the ball contrary to the run of play.

Otherwise to be known as the Heinrich Manoeuvre.

The decision has been made due to the freakishly large amount of times Brussow is responsible for turnover ball at the ruck and his God-like ability to appear in many places at once.

Heinrich Brussow

All hail Heinrich…for he is a plentiful and generous giver of turnover ball.

Habana charge-down

When was the last time you saw a conversion charged-down?!

Most likely the 20th, possibly even 19th century…when a rugby ball was basically an animal’s lower intestine filled with porridge, which then conveniently doubled-up as a post-match haggis.

That’s unless you happened to catch the Hurricanes vs Stormers match yesterday in which Habana chased-down a 40th minute conversion, like a hungry beast released from a cage and eager for his half-time slice of orange.

Habana has come in for a lot of stick here on Big Daddy Rugby…but there’ll be a lot more carrot dangling (and NO, that’s not a euphemism!) if he continues show moments of genius like this…

[youtube=http://youtu.be/e8GplTzIPao]

 

 

Waratahs’ hooker Polota-Nau releases his electro-pop EP on Soundcloud

TATAFU POLOTA-NAU

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:

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/1137057″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]