Crusaders can rest on their laurels… this one is in the bag.

In an absolute cracker of a knock out match between the Bulls and the Sharks, the Sharks qualified for the post-season of 2011 Super Rugby with a 26-23 away win at Loftus. I reckon the celebrations must have lasted all of ten minutes after they got into the changing room, which is the amount of time it took for them to check their Blackberries, log onto a more reputable rugby site than ours and discover that their post-season opponents were the Crusaders in Kiwiland.

Oh #$^t. Game over boys. Now I’m pretty sure that all the “serious” rugby sites will talk a good game this week about how the Sharks have a lot of confidence this week, they’re looking good and that Plumtree is some kind of a Kiwi shaman.

But anyone with a memory that extends further back than one season will remember that we’ve been here before and it ends in tears, boys and girls. Saffer teams don’t win post-season matches in Kiwiland.

Perhaps it is the drinks they serve on Air New Zealand, perhaps it is the taunts of the Newlands unfaithful carrying over the Indian Ocean, but either way by the time the Sharks run onto the pitch in New Zealand they will be reduced to tackling bags for the Crusaders.

Yip, I suspect the Sharks sympathisers at work will now be spiking my coffee this week and perhaps unfriending me from Facebook, but so be it. The Crusaders can safely rest on their laurels… this one is in the bag. All the Crusaders need to do is show up on Saturday. Now I’d love it if Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder had the balls to admit that in the pre-match interview.

It's been nice knowing you... see you next year...

It ain’t happening folks. Stop getting your hopes up.

Financial bail outs come to the world of rugby

The Kiwi press this week has been reporting that the New Zealand Rugby Union will be providing financial assistance to the Cantebury Rugby Union, home of the Crusaders.

While some of us may have thoughts that rush to visions of some lowly accountant in the back office of the Cantebury Rugby Union engaging in credit default swaps, naked short selling and collateralized debt obligations while simultaneously shorting the coffee futures market thus necessitating a financial bail out, the reality is far more sobering:  Christchurch is still reeling from the after effect of the massive earthquake earlier in the year.

Crusaders rugby in happier times.

The cobbled together recovery plans for Christchurch rugby, including hosting a game at Twickenham, have not had the financial impact rugby fans may have hoped for. It’s just not financially viable from a ticket sales perspective to host the mighty Crusaders in small 10,000 seater stadiums while the team waits for a stadium to be rebuilt.

It’s a pretty poor showing that SANZAR as a whole aren’t providing assistance to Crusaders rugby in their time of need. For years both Australia and South Africa have benefited from having the tv ratings boost of having the unbeatable men from Christchurch in town.

The original story is up on Fox Sports here.

So here’s to our brothers and sisters in Christchurch and on behalf of rugby fans everywhere – we are sending good vibes to the kiwis as they try to put their rugby union back together.

The “Not so faithful” Newlands fans

There’s two types of South African rugby fan which makes me throw up just a little bit in my mouth, and unfortunately with the arrival of the Crusaders this week, Newlands on Saturday will not be as “Pro-Stormers” as one would like to think it would be.

I’m not about to get into the politics of our country, or our rugby teams for that matter, we’re very much a post-isolation blog here at Big Daddy Rugby, but it has to be said that the folk who come to watch rugby at Newlands purely to support the opposition are some seriously “stuck in the past” people.

I was at the Crusaders game at Newlands last season (or was it two seasons ago?) and I’m not exaggerating when I say that in certain parts of the ground the “Kiwi fans” out numbered the Stormers fans fairly comfortably. (And it didn’t take a genius to figure out that not many of them were from the Canterbury region).

There surely can’t be much joy found from hanging on to so much bitterness?

On the flip side I remember watching the Boks play the Fatties at Twickenham a few years back and being completely dumbstruck by a number of Bok “fans” who were waving the old flag about, in an attempt I assume to make some kind of statement about their dissatisfaction with the state of SA rugby.
They failed miserably and just came off looking like a bunch of ignorant goons.

I genuinely don’t understand the thought process here, or maybe I should say the lack of a thought process?

Blah, blah, blah….

Anyways, time to get off of my soap box now I suppose, but first I must mention that I’m very much looking forward to seeing my current “man crush” Israel Dagg in full flight this weekend. The kid has some crazy skills.
It really is quite amazing when you consider the amount of depth the Kiwis have at the moment, especially in the backline.

Add to that McCaw, Read, Sonny Bill, Fruen and hopefully Carter at some stage and we’re all set for a cracking game.

I’ll be shouting for the Stormers 100%.

A picture of Gio Aplon...because he's a genius.