It is one of those curious anomalies of the Absa Currie Cup that in finals between the Sharks and the Lions (or Natal and Transvaal), the home side has never won. What are the chances of that trend continuing in one of the most evenly matched fiinals in years when the teams do battle tomorrrow in Johannesburg (5.30pm)?

Very good, one thinks, considering the perfectly timed wake-up call the Sharks received in the semi-final against the Cheetahs. The Sharks – seven RWC Boks and all – were reminded last week that pedigree means nothing in finals rugby if it is not backed up by hunger.

Their coach reminded them of this home truth in a half-time “chat” that peeled the paint off the walls of the change room and the KZN men came out and blasted the Cheetahs of the Park.

And the word from the Sharks players ever since is that they know they have to immediately gel back into that irressistible unit that blew the Bulls out of Super Rugby in the quarter-final in Pretoria earlier this year in one of the best ever Super Rugby games.

The Bulls were saying goodbye to icons including Matfield, Du Preez, Botha and Rossouw but on the day the written-off but super-charged Sharks swept all before them.

Indeed, if the Sharks get the “hunger” part right, they will more than likely win because if desire meets desire, then the Sharks’ advantage in experience and class will take care of the rest.

Interestingly, but ultimately of no real relevance on the day, Transvaal beat Natal in 1999 in Durban after having lost at Ellis Park in 1996. Natal, on the other hand, lost in Durban in 1993 but the year before had beaten Transvaal at Ellis Park.

By the same token, however, a home team has not lost a Currie Cup final since 2005, when the Bulls were shocked by the Cheetahs.

However you look at it, it is a case of an experienced, Springbok-laden Sharks side playing away from home to an in-form Lions side that has been pulling itself up by their boostraps from the the cellar of the Super 15 to the top of the Currie Cup ladder.

After so many years of humiliation, the Lions and their fans (65 000 have sold out the stadium, although a good number of those attending will be retreaded Sharks fans that gave up on the Lions years ago) have one great shot at redemption.

They will be on fire, their spirit will be burning bright, their hunger will be past ravenous … And what mood will the Sharks be in?

Again this is what the final will come down to … The Lions want this one so much it aches. The Sharks are telling themselves that they want it just as much but words count much less than the genuine ache in the belly.

At least if the Sharks lose, it will be a result that will be good for the health of South African rugby for it will be a win outside of the usual suspects, and the Lions would hopefully kick on and once again become a genuine force in South Afican rugby, which can only be good for the game in this country.

Of course, all of this is utter claptrap to Sharks and their fans on the eve of the final!

The Sharks want this one big time because it will eleveate them from being a team that occasionally wins the Currie Cup to a “championship” team that consistently wins the big games. A Sharks win would mean three wins in four years for the Durban side, and serious street cred on the national block.

And it will happen if a pack containing these Springboks names collectively fires: Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, The Beast, Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel, Ryan Kankowski; plus the in-form Keegan Daniel and Ross Skeate.

Come to think of it, the Sharks will win comfortably.

Kick-off: 5.30pm

Referee: Mark Lawrence

Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 CJ van der Linde.

Substitutes: Martin Bezuidenhout, Jacobie Adriaanse/JC Janse van Rensburg, Warren Whiteley, Cobus Grobbelaar, Butch James, Dylan Des Fountain, James Kamana.

Sharks: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Stefan Terblanche, 12 Marius Joubert, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Conrad Hoffmann, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Jean Deysel, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Substitutes: Craig Burden, Eugene van Staden, Alistair Hargreaves, Marcell Coetzee, Ross Cronje, Adrian Jacobs, Lwazi Mvovo.

by Mike Greenaway


Cape Town has won the World Design Capital for the year 2014, ahead of fellow short-listed cities, Dublin and Bilbao. The sought-after accolade was awarded to the Mother City this morning at the International Design Alliance (IDA) Congress in Tai­pei.

Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, accepted the award on behalf of Cape Town, South Africa and the African con­tinent. Cape Town is the first African city to be named a World Design Capital. “The World Design Capital bid process and title have helped to bring different initiatives together and have made us realise that design in all its forms, when added together, creates human and city development.

“The World Design Capital designation gives cities like Cape Town additional motivation to actively think of transformative de­sign in development plans. The Cape Town Partnership started the World Design Capital bidding process over a year ago, on behalf of the City of Cape Town. A Bid Committee was tasked to frame the theme of the bid and to source content and case studies for the bid book. It included design case studies in the Stellenbosch area. On 31 March 2011 the 465-page bid book was formally submitted to the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) in Canada, with the theme, “Live Design. Transform Life”.

2014 will be the celebration of 20 years of democracy in South Africa, the celebration will allow for a time of reflection, to think about how far we have come as a country and a city. We will also be positioning ourselves to plan for the future. The next 20 years, and the 20 years after that, demand nothing less if we are to prosper as a city and a society and truly mature into our full potential.

“By winning the bid, this will provide the opportunity to embed design thinking into urban development planning for social and economic growth. The accolade will also enhance Cape Town’s reputation globally as being a place that is known for more than just its natural beauty.

Being named World Design Capital for 2014 is a unique opportunity for us to reposition Cape Town on the world stage as a city of innovation, creativity and caring – and to continue to foster and promote our design industries at home and abroad.”

The World Design Capital 2014 title results in a year-long programme of design-focused events that will see creative communi­ties across the globe turning to Cape Town for social, economic and cultural solutions. These connections are vital in the long-term links the city will secure with global role-players within creative industries. This win also highlights how design innovation has led to growth in the Stellenbosch area, taking the bid beyond the city’s borders to acknowledge the design assets of the region.

Extracts from the Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 Bid Book can be found on

View Cape Town’s winning video, premiered in Taipei at the IDA Congress, at and the video that helped Cape Town to clinch the World Design Capital 2014 title at

THE IRB and the haka

Stop Press “ IRB to fine France $5000.00 for encroaching past the half way line during the advancement of the Hakka” quote un quote “ it wasn’t in the spirit of the game” .

What a bunch of cry baby sniffling ..ucking pussy’s.

Some one mention FIFA as an embrassment along with the IRB well throw the ICC in there it is a split hair between the ICC and the IRB as the most useless governing body in sport!

FIFA is just corrupt!

Can you …ucking believe it………. Encroaching past the half way line during the Hakka…. ..uck me!

what a great 6 weeks!!!!!! I’m licking my lips already for 2015.

Well I’ve been waiting to input this since the full time hooter.

Yep your right how did they win that?

Well they did it on the back of southern Hemisphere based defense and an illustrious leader in McCaw.

Now having said that… did the best team win the world cup? Yes without doubt! It would have to be the first time in a long while we can say that, now there are claims that South Africa and Australia have won world cups with strong sides, but NZ were clearly the favorites going into those world cups as well.

I thought the French were gallant and with a little more imagination and a hint of balls they could have sneaked a penalty …kicked it….and won the world cup.

Now where does that leave world rugby?

· All Blacks

o Clearly the bench mark in World Rugby without question

o Beatable……. Yes, on a consistent basis? Not by any team at the present.

o Where will they be in four years? Same place!

· Australia

o Under achieved in the tournament

o Questions need to still be answered

§ Need to settle on centre combination

o Can they beat the All Blacks consistently………. Possibly and the only team that could genuinely say that in world rugby. Can they do it on what they showed at the world cup? NO

o Where will they be in four years? Well that is the million dollar question? Cooper will be better in four years even a fool could see that. There a young side and will be more than likely guided by McKenzie at some point. In my view the most likely to lift Bill other than the All Blacks

· France

o They will always be the big mystery of the super powers of rugby

o Are the worth number three ranked in the World? Well I don’t think so

o On their day they will always be a chance of beating anyone

o Can they deliver consistency? No

· Wales

o If there was a most improved award ( always given to someone who shows nothing and then improves to show a little) they would get it

o The next 2 years they must continue to cement the fruits from this year’s tournament

o Where will they be in four years? Who knows but could be the best team from the Northern Hemisphere

· South Africa

o Could have easily been where Australia was in the end, but no further

o Losing experience

o Will be replaced by size and more mongrel

o Will always be hard to beat at home

o Where will they be in four years….. same there or there about

· Ireland

o They get the have a crack award

o Playing above their weight award

o Best supporters award

o Dink the most piss award

o No different in four years

· England

o Pass mark this year

o If they were a race horse “one paced” would be best to describe them

o They will continue to bore teams to death

o Where will they be? Same there or there about

· Scotland

o Who cares????

· Itally

o Strong forwards

o Need to find consistency

o Four years…. The same

o I was going to say “who cares”

· Asia Pacific Rim

o Tonga and Samoa both need to go on from this tournament

§ There needs to be more games held in the region including the AB and Wallabies

o They both have the size and their skills are getting better

o I suspect the next four years will be much the same

o I hope they can keep improving

· America’s

o Argentina will be better for coming into the four nations tournament

o They will be terribly hard to beat at home

o They will improve no question

o Four years time big improvers ( not bad considering they made the qtrs two cups in a row I believe)

o Canada and the USA will continue to develop

o No change in results though

· Central Europe and Russia

o I though Georgia showed some spunk this year

o They took it up to England

o If they can capitalize on their hard headed forwards they will continue to worry team better than them.

· Japan

o Will continue to need Expats to bulk up there team to compensate for the jockey like countrymen.

o Who knows if Brad Thorn likes it up there you might see him don a Cheery Blossom jersey!

o No change

If I’ve left any one out they won’t count any way. As a whole for being there for 1st game and Bok Game and seeing it on the tube, what a great 6 weeks!!!!!! I’m licking my lips already for 2015…

McCaw – like it or not – will largely be remembered by what happens tomorrow night.

Richie McCaw hopes the horrors of the past will help the All Blacks reap the ultimate prize after tomorrow night’s World Cup final.

As the final hours seep away before the ultimate showdown against France at Eden Park, a relaxed McCaw today acknowledged the failed 2003 and 2007 campaigns had hardened his team’s resolve to collect the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time since 1987.

Tomorrow night’s match will be the first time any of the current All Blacks have played in a final after getting bumped out of the 2007 quarterfinal by France and losing to Australia in the semi four years earlier.

McCaw tasted defeat in Sydney in 2003 and was captain when they were hustled out in Cardiff four years later and those bitter experiences, he hopes, will ensure the All Blacks don’t capitulate once again under his leadership.

“At lot of guys have been through one, if not two, experiences that have not been too flash,”’ McCaw said.

“You would like to think that just hardens the resolve and the desire. I just think from my point of view, back in 2003, I didn’t understand what it took to win a World Cup.

“Perhaps I didn’t understand again in ’07.”

Despite never losing the Bledisloe Cup since taking over the captaincy from Tana Umaga in 2006, collecting a couple of grand slam titles and also dominating the Tri-Nations during his period in charge, McCaw – like it or not – will largely be remembered by what happens tomorrow night.

Given the New Zealanders are favoured to bowl over France, who lost 37-17 to them in their pool match, McCaw should be confident but he, understandably, remains wary.

While France’s form has been below-par all tournament and there have been a string of reports about their coach Marc Lievremont clashing with players, the All Blacks and their fans have good reason to be wary.

That 20-18 defeat to Les Bleus in 2007 remains fresh in their memories and there is also the 1999 semi loss to the French to mull over too.

“To win it you have got to be the best team in that tournament regardless of what has happened beforehand and you have to produce the goods when it counts,” McCaw added.

”A lot of the guys that have been around a while will understand that. There are absolutely no guarantees. You look around some fellas that have been around a while, they are pretty determined. This is their last sort of chance and they want to make the most of it.”

Although the magnitude of this match will mean many fans retreat to bed tonight wondering if they will be celebrating the end of the All Blacks’ 24-year drought at the tournament, McCaw was confident he would have a decent sleep.

The key, he said, was to call on the experiences of the past and not allow the emotions of the occasion to interrupt his preparations.

”I think you can’t let it get on top of you. If you get too anxious and wound-up, then you will waste a lot of energy. The game doesn’t start until tomorrow night.”

While France have been written off by many media outlets and fans around the world, McCaw should not have to remind his players they cannot take anything for granted.

Past history is proved the All Blacks have been burnt far too often. Even when they last made the final in 1995, they failed to topple the Springboks in Johannesburg.

The New Zealanders were favoured that day but struggled to match the Boks’ passion as a number of their players struggled to overcome the effects of a stomach bug that swept through the team.

”We have got men that have been in situations, that have been around a long time and there is a lot of desire there. And we have got guys that are good enough – but that guarantees nothing,” McCaw emphasised.

“People say, who deserves what? At the end of the day, at a final, it is not about who deserves what. It is who plays the best rugby on that stage in this game. We have got guys that have that ability but it guarantees nothing.”

Listen to on the couch on Sat on heart 104.9fm from 8-9am when guest will be Irfaan Abrahams, aka Fanie Breyani

Join on the couch on Sat at 8am on Heart 104.9fm to find out why Irfaan Abrahams, aka Fanie Breyani, has been selected to run the New York Marathon on 6th November 2011.

Irfaan Abrahams is teacher at Rocklands High in Mitchell’s Plain and has a passion for education and empowering the youth. He was featured and honoured on ETV as a South African Teacher Hero and recently won an award from the Department of Education for his sterling contribution

The On the couch team is pictured below

Graham Henry says no words will be needed from him before he sends his All Blacks out to play the World Cup final on Sunday night at Eden Park.

Graham Henry says no words will be needed from him before he sends his All Blacks out to play the World Cup final on Sunday night at Eden Park.

The squawking and the talking will have been done… all that remains is the action.

Henry confirmed today after naming an unchanged starting XV to face the French in the biggest game of these players’ lives that he will not be calling on any inspirational words to fire his troops before they run out on Eden Park.

“I don’t talk… seriously,” the All Blacks coach told a packed press conference that included 27 television cameras and representatives from all corners of the globe.

“Sunday night before they run out on the field is their time. It has to be their time. They’ve got to get their own minds right and settled and on the job.

“People talking to them at that time is an absolute waste of time. In fact it is a distraction. There will be words that will be said today and words said tomorrow. Personally I don’t believe the right time to talk to teams is just before they play.”

Of course this group of All Blacks have been together for so long that they have their buildup down pat. Their strategies, motivations and mindsets are all long ago in place. Their buttons have already been pushed.

But Henry felt preparation, and in particular the degree of it, was all-important this week.

“We haven’t experienced this before – it’s finals football. But the guys have prepared well. This is our 12th test in 14 weeks. I don’t think that’s ever happened before, so the constant rugby is pretty demanding. It takes a toll on the body and mind so we’ve just got to make sure we dovetail what we do to that situation.

“We can’t be over-physical at training — and we haven’t been — and we’ve just got to prepare accordingly.

“I think the biggest challenge is being astute in what you do. Hopefully we can get as full a tank as possible on Sunday and if we overdo it physically we won’t have that situation.”

Henry also said there was no way the French were being under-estimated among the All Blacks, despite the unimpressive nature of their path to this final.

“This French team, we’re not sure who’s going to turn up quite frankly. We’ve got to prepare as though they’re going to be the best in the world. They’ve certainly got the individuals to do that. It’s just whether they produce that as a side.

“The word is they’ve prepared well, that they’re very focused and enjoying the underdog tag and using as much of the ammunition they can through the media to get themselves up there.

“They feel they’re not being considered in this final by a lot of people, but we don’t think that. We think they’re a very good rugby team, they’ve got some outstanding players and it’s going to be a huge final.”

He saw Sunday’s opponents as a bit of a mixture between the pragmatism of quarterfinal victim Argentina — “They make no mistakes because they don’t play any rugby” — and the backline threats that can “cut you to pieces” in the Wallabies whom the All Blacks despatched in the semifinal.

“Their forward pack is as good as any we’ll play in this competition, their scrum is very good, they’ve got a world-class loose trio and backs who can bite you. There’s a combination of both there.”

Henry said his only change to the match night squad – bringing fit-again Otago loose forward Adam Thomson in to the reserves for Wellington youngster Victor Vito – had not been a difficult choice.

“Adam has played big test match football, so he’s had that experience, he played against the French in the first round. He’s played well. He’s got more of a track record playing international rugby at this level.

“Victor has come a long way and this is not a reflection of his ability. It’s just one has been here before and played big test matches before, and the other one hasn’t.”

Henry confirmed that injured stars Dan Carter and Mils Muliaina had continued to play key roles in the preparation of the squad for this game.

“Mils and Dan have been close to the side right through. They’re in the leadership group, they have been for a long time, they’re very influential players and in their own way, using their own personalities they have helped immensely.

“Dan is spending time with Aaron Cruden, just chatting quietly and that’s an immense help. Mils with Israel has been the same. Both run individual operating units, so the back three unit have meetings and Mils runs that, and Dan runs the inside backs, and still does.

“We have leadership meetings and they’re at those. Don’t tell the IRB — it’s a secret. They are at those meetings and contribute which is very important. They’ve had an immense influence over this side for the last eight or nine years. They’re hugely frustrated they can’t be involved in the game but they can be involved in the preparation which is a hell of an important.”

– Stuff

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