- 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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
- 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
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
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.
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…
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” /]
Springbok and Cheetah’s hooker Adriaan Strauss continues to defy the laws of physics by consistently running faster than should be possible for a man of his weight and girth.
His bursts of pace show particular disregard for Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion, namely:
The acceleration of a body…is inversely proportional to the mass m of the body.
Or in layman’s terms:
A fat blonde guy should not be able to move much faster than the rate of continental drift.
Despite this, week in and week out, opponents of the Cheetah’s are left scratching their heads as Strauss whizzes past them in a blonde streak of lightning.
After talking a good game in the office last week, Stormers fans will be pretending they’re “not that into” Super Rugby this week as they return to face their coworkers. It’s a time honored tradition in the Cape. All of a sudden there are lot more important things in life than rugby.
When faced with one of those irritating “kiwi” supporters here are a few lines to help you get through the week at office.
- Oh, did the Stormers lose? Oh… That must be nice for you, seeing as you follow rugby and all that. Yeah… I don’t really get to make time for rugby. Are the Crusaders a good team? Where are they from?
- Is your family from the North Island or the South Island?
- I don’t get to watch games as I spend every weekend volunteering at a soup kitchen for orphans. It’s important to get my priorities in life right.
- What part of Christchurch are you from, son? [then mutter in a soft whisper…. “C@ck!” as your coworker walks away.]. Note: if this coworker is in any way connected to paying your salary you should definitely say “Nothing” if they suddenly spin around and ask you to repeat what you just said.
If you are in a position of authority you don’t need any witty one liners at work this week. Just remember to put an incriminating note in the offending employee’s permanent HR file.
Seen in the Brumbies changing room after full time at Newlands on Saturday night…. Allister Coetzee confronting his former mentor Jake White:
Other comments heard from behind the scenes:
- What part of Canberra are you from?
- There are no rules! It’s the Thunderdome baby!
- “We’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got, cause it doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not, we’ve got each other and that’s a lot for love” (quoting the Bon Jovi albums they used to listen to during Rugby World Cup 2007)
- “But quite frankly Jake your attitude appalls me. It’s not what you’re saying. It’s all this stuff you’re not saying. Insinnuendos” (having just watched Sexy Beast yet again).
Huh? Two consecutive wins in Australasia on tour. The Cheetahs? When did they become a team that wins comfortably on tour?
I knew they were onto a good thing when they hired Tony Soprano to be their coach. But even the most optimistic Cheetahs fan wouldn’t have predicted that they’d be destroying office betting pools everywhere by winning in New Zealand and Australia. They even stand a decent chance of coming back from Australasia with a 75% win record.
They’ve got some electric backs in Raymond Rhule and Sarel Pretorius, the child of promise at flyhalf in Johan Goosen. Adriaan Strauss is in the form of his life at the moment, and any squad that has Heinrich Brussouw in it… say no more.
Things are looking up for the men from Bloemfontein.
Now the last thing they need to fix is those cheerleaders… and after this weekend’s performance there is a rumour doing the rounds on the interwebs that Heidi Klum has put in an application for the Cheetahs cheerleaders. They’re almost a complete team now.
If you thought the big-screen version of Victor Hugo’s famous novel was the must-see tear jerker event of the year…think again!
A tragedy of a much grander scale is likely to unfold this weekend if Les Bleus fail to beat Ireland in their 6 Nations encounter, leaving them just one step closer to the infamous wooden spoon and the prospect of facing all-out revolution when they return to home soil.
With the singing at this weekend’s match expected to be of only a slightly poorer quality than in the film (with the exception of Russell Crowe…in which case it will be exponentially better), the dramatic tension is likely to be far greater with the French team knowing their necks are literally on the line. Guillotines are being sharpened around Paris at this very moment.
It will take something pretty exceptional for Les ‘Miserables’ Bleus to save themselves from certain death at the hands of an angry French mob – like winning for instance, and if not that, then at the very least trans-mutating into fire-breathing parrots and flying-off into the sunset squawking a version of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.
They do like a good show-tune those Frenchies!
On a cheerier note, in their match against Wales this weekend, the Scots will be looking to get their first hat-trick of victories since the dawn of time – or the inception of the 6 Nations tournament to be a bit more precise.
Just goes to show you can’t predict anything when it comes to sport.
I just wish the same could be said for Hollywood.
With Round 2 of the 2013 Super 15 recently behind us, last weekend was when most of us got round to actually watching a game with a pint in hand. During the off-season, I forgot a few things that just one weekend of rugby brought back freshly to my mind. Here is my list:
- just how little Pierre Spies does in a rugby game, besides doing his impersonation of the movie poster “This is Sparta!”
- just how much I hate Hugh Bladen’s commentary
- that watching the Stormers play is like getting into an Ingmar Bergman existentialist 4 hour movie
- that Joel Stansky’s voice sounds like a camel being put through a woodchipper
- In office pools, always bet on the home team unless the Crusaders or the Lions (ooo too soon?) are involved
- Bryan Habana tends to go entire seasons without being able to catch a rugby ball
- Wynand Olivier’s hair never ceases to amaze me
- One can never overstate just how depressing and uninspiring the Cheetahs cheerleaders are
- Who the hell is doing the Vodacom advertising and what are they smoking?!
- My Nick Mallet man-crush (who else speaks truth to power?).
In what critics are calling “a crime against nature” the Bulls have released a version of themselves singing “Stand by Me”. See the video below:
After viewing this, I can only say…
What the fuck?
In an attempt to restore some musical dignity to South African rugby franchises, the Southern Kings have released their own music video in response. Most fans prefer the Kings’ track by a large margin.
There was once a time (let’s call this period BC for reasons that will become clear later) when rugby players thought long hair was for girls. And possibly ponies, especially girl ponies.
Then this happened…
Yes…Cabous van der Westhuizen.
Remember him? Big Daddy Rugby does and publicised his current whereabouts here.
Looking like he’d just stepped out of a shower that was in fact a galactic wormhole that led straight to a Led Zeppelin roadie piss-up, Cabous burst onto the SA rugby scene in the early 90’s, making the ‘wet-look’ his trademark.
Before Cabous (otherwise known as BC), rugby players all looked pretty much the same…a bit like cauliflowers really.
Cabous made it okay for players to step out of the John Frieda closet and express themselves in ways other than grunting and eye-gouging. In a similar vein, some players took even greater strides, going on to experiment with two-tone colour highlights and new-wave perm techniques.
Remember Percy Montgomery? That’s him on the left…(or is it the right!?)
In more recent years there’s been an attempt by some players to reclaim the uber-masculine image that rugby once had This can be seen by the number of beards on display in the modern game. Big Daddy highlighted 5 of the best in this post.
However, as with most things in life…the balance must be restored. For this very reason, the RBS 6 Nations is taking a break this weekend. Big sponsors realise that in the age of HD TV players need to look their best.
No one wants to see this kind of shit in HD…
So the players are getting a much needed rest weekend. Time for that trip to the spa to treat those split-ends, thread-veins and whatever else is required in order to look this bloody good…
And finally, for our more high-brow readers out there, here’s one of the many, many portraits that has attempted to capture the pure, innocent beauty of French player Dimitri Szarzewski in all his glory…. Enjoy.
Everybody knows the Irish like nothing more than beating the English, which is exactly what they’ll be hoping to do this Sunday.
It doesn’t matter how, when, at what, or with what….as long as a pasty English backside is at the receiving end of a good old whipping – Irish eyes will be smiling.
The only thing is…their a bit rubbish at it.
Ireland have only won 46 of the 126 rugby matches played against the poms. Fact.
Though that really isn’t all that bad when you consider the following:
- England has roughly 2.5 million registered rugby players. Ireland has 150,000 (2011 figures)
- The least a top-flight English professional player can expect to make in a year is 152,000 Euros. In Ireland its 85,000.
- Ireland is ranked 4th in the world rankings for most beer consumed per person (104 litres pp per year – 2010)
Okay…I know that last one is not all that relevant, but you’ve got to wonder where they get the time to do anything other than imbibing the black stuff.
But all of this is besides the point.
If the Irish were to beat the English all the time, then the odd victory here and there wouldn’t have quite the same drama, the same David vs Goliath tension.
AND…there just wouldn’t be that same great feeling you get when Daniel-san ‘crane kicks’ the shit out of Johnny at the end of Karate Kid!
The Southern Kings unfortunately decided to switch their logo at their last minute before the 2013 season kicked off. The more fitting image of a baby seal being clubbed to death was replaced with something resembling 4 Bic pens randomly sprouting towards the sky.
2013 is not going to pretty for this franchise. You’ve got to feel for them. Consider how the South African rugby administration has set them up to fail.
- SARU dicking around for most 2011 and 2012 and not making it clear which teams would be participating (how do you recruit when you don’t know which teams will be in or out?)
- The Lions refusing to loan any players to the Kings, despite the fact that they were offered to all the other South African franchises.
- Only giving the Kings one season to stay afloat in the S15 (who wants to sign for a team that will finish last and be relegated?)
- SARU refusing to relax the foreign quota limit for the Kings in light of the above (it was waived for the Melbourne Rebels by the ARU). Would have been great to see a few more Kenyans in this squad.
Yip, it’s pretty much a certainty they are going to be on the receiving end of some massive hidings. Away from home, you’d be brave to bet against them conceding 100 points somewhere along the way. The really irritating thing here, is that would have been great to see a good side playing out of P.E.
Players to watch this season: Luke Watson and … um… I am pretty sure there are one or two other decent players, aren’t there?
If they had a theme song by Leonard Cohen it would be: “Never Any Good”.
Prospects for 2013: Nuclear holocaust.
Not many people know this about the former French captain Thierry Dusautoir, but he was raised by bears.
This hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the greatest flankers the game has ever seen, but it has meant a challenging journey of self-discovery in which he has had to forego his previous life to adopt the confined existence of human society.
In the early stages of his rugby career, Dusautoir refused to wear clothes and instead of releasing after the tackle, he would rip all his opponents limbs off and then proceed to eat their liver. At times washed down with a nice Chianti. His interpretation of a maul was also at times…suspect.
As you can imagine, he spent more time in the sin-bin than on the playing field, but with support from his bear family (in particular his Uncle Joe – see pic below) and the encouragement of his trainer – he overcame his primal urges to produce some truly great rugby and become IRB Player of the Year in 2011.
Now back from injury, he returns to the team in today’s 6 Nations clash against Italy, in which France will be hoping to avoid a repeat of their shock defeat two years ago – and you can bet Dusautoir will be pawing the ground in anticipation.
The 6 Nations tournament kicks-off today with a mouth-watering encounter between two Celtic nations who have really upped their game in recent years.
Since winning the grand slam last year, it’s fair to say Wales have not had a great run….in fact, it’s been more like a chain-smoker struggling to climb a flight of stairs weighed down by having an entire nation’s hopes and dreams on their back.
Ireland have also underwhelmed of late, but they have O’Driscoll back (could it be his last?!) to bolster their hopes of their first title since 2009.
Ireland are a good team so could give the Welsh a run for their money…but they’ll have the hulk that is George North to contend with first.
After finding themselves on the wrong end of SARFU backroom dealings, the Lions will not be participating in this year’s Super 15. This weekend saw them taking on the less fancied Russian national team at Ellis Park as part of a completely rejigged schedule for 2013. Johan Ackermann and management have had to scramble to organise “decent” opponents to keep the squad sharp for the promotion-relegation layoffs later this year.
They have cobbled together a tournament of sorts now being referred to as “the Game of Thrones”.
Here are the fixtures and opponents as far as we can tell:
- February 2, 2013: Lions v Sweet Valley Primary School under 13B rugby team (“C” team not available that weekend)
- February 15, 2013: Lions v Meadowridge Baptist Youth Group (game moved to Friday to accommodate “lift” arrangements with parents)
- March 8, 2013: Lions v USA invitational (away game).
- March 15, 2013: Lions v North America invitational (away game)
- April 13, 2013: Lions v car guards at Shoprite-Checkers (match to be played under “Southern Suburbs rules”)
- April 20, 2013: Lions v Peoples Republic of Korea followed by Lions v Peoples Republic of Hout Bay (a despot double header!)
- April 27, 2013: Lions v Wales.
Shooo… if you’re a season ticket holder best sell them now, before your potential buyers get a look at this fixture list.
Having survived the potential threat of a Mayan apocalypse, most people (well me anyway) are now merrily plotting their 2013 rugby-viewing calendar.
As always, there’s much to look forward to and in the spirit of Oscar season, here’s a brief BDR awards preview:
6 Nations – 02 Feb
Best Actor Nominees:
Owen Farrell – the new(ish) golden-boy of England rugby, his performances and delivery have been deadly this season.
Best Director nominees:
Rob Howley – the Welsh head coach is putting together an all-star cast, in an epic bid to retain the 6-Nations title.
If it was a Spielberg film:
The Colour Purple – the Scottish thistle will be in full bloom if they manage to win, well….anything really.
Super rugby – 15 Feb
Best Actor Nominees:
Schalk ‘the Hulk’ Burger – back from ‘injury’ (or what industry insiders call a cosmetic surgery getaway) to take a lead role in the The Stormers’ campaign.
Best Director nominees:
John Plumtree – he came painfully close to the ultimate prize last year with a stellar performance (remember this?), he has also brought in critically acclaimed assistant director Carlos ‘Twinkle Toes’ Spencer to help with this year’s production.
If it was a Spielberg film:
Jaws – the Sharks will be hoping the sequel is better than the last one.
British & Irish Lions Tour Australia – 1 June
Best Actor Nominees:
Brain O’Driscoll – the man, the legend, will be hoping his rousing performances can help make amends for missing out in the 2001 awards…and who knows, maybe bag him a lifetime achievement award!?
Best Director nominees:
Robbie Deans – despite a rocky few months at the helm, the Wallaby coach is still Top-Gun…and some might say a bit of a rebel with a cause.
If it was a Spielberg film:
War of the Worlds – well okay, hemispheres…if you want to be picky about it!
4 Nations Rugby championship – 17 Aug
Best Actor Nominees:
Richie McCaw – he may be taking a sabbatical (trying out a new hair-style?), but really…is there any competition here?
Best Director nominees:
Santiago Phelan – the Argentine head-honcho will be hoping to make another impression with his portrayal of gritty realism, having taken the best foreign language accolade in last year’s competition.
If it was a Spielberg film:
The Terminal – there’ll be lots of time spent in these during the course of this competition.