All Blacks side named to play Japan( Four new All Blacks named in matchday 23)

The All Blacks team to play Japan in the historic Test at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday 2 November has been named, with two new players to make their Test debuts in the starting XV and another two new All Blacks named on the bench.

The starting XV sees bustling Counties-Manukau and Blues wing Frank Halaiselected in an All Blacks side for the first time, with massive Crusaders and Canterbury lock Dominic Bird also making his debut. At 2.06m, Bird will become the tallest All Black on record when he takes the field, just shading former All Blacks lock Mark Cooksley. Two other new All Blacks have also been named on the bench – Wellington and Hurricanes prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen and Canterbury and Crusaders loose forward Luke Whitelock.

In the starting XV, Wyatt Crockett, Dane Coles and Ben Franks are in the front row; Bird pairs up with lock Jeremy Thrush in the second row, while in the loose forwards, All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw moves to number eight for this Test, which allows Sam Cane another start at seven and Stephen Luatua is at number six. In the backs, Tawera Kerr-Barlow gets his first Test start in his 12th Test while Daniel Carter returns from his shoulder injury to take his regular spot in the ten jersey. In the midfield, Francis Saili starts his second Test start at second five- eighth, inside Ben Smith, who gets another opportunity at centre, while joining Halai in the back three are Charles Piutau on the right wing and Beauden Barrett at fullback.

In the reserves, joining Toomaga-Allen and Whitelock as forward reserves are hooker Andrew Hore, prop Charlie Faumuina and lock Brodie Retallick. The back reserves are halfback Aaron Smith, Tom Taylor and Ryan Crotty.

The team is (Test caps in brackets. New caps in bold):

Starting XV:

1. Wyatt Crockett (20)
2. Dane Coles (11)
3. Ben Franks (29)
4. Jeremy Thrush (4)
5. Dominic Bird *
6. Steven Luatua (8)
7. Sam Cane (13)
8. Richie McCaw – captain (121)
9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (10)
10. Daniel Carter (97)
11. Frank Halai *
12. Francis Saili (1)
13. Ben Smith (22)
14. Charles Piutau (7)
15. Beauden Barrett (14)

Reserves:

16. Andrew Hore (81)
17. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen *
18. Charlie Faumuina (14)
19. Brodie Retallick (21)
20. Luke Whitelock *
21. Aaron Smith (22)
22. Tom Taylor (2)
23. Ryan Crotty (1)

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Firstly, we would like congratulate the new caps in the team. It will be a special day for them and their families. As for the game, we are looking forward to this encounter. It is a great opportunity for our ‘less capped’ players to drive the All Blacks week and preparation, which will then culminate in Saturday’s performance.

“The three selectors have been very mindful of using this game to gather some more information on our younger players but also using it to provide (Richie) McCaw and (Daniel ) Carter with some game time.

“We are expecting the Japanese to be very competitive and it will be important that we respect them and engage them in the physical aspects of the game before attempting to play too much ‘razzle dazzle’-type rugby. It’s about earning the right to play. If we don’t do this, we can get caught up in the type of game that suits them.”

Commenting on the All Blacks’ build-up in Tokyo, Hansen added: “We have been really well looked after here in Japan, it has been a lovely destination to tour to and the Japanese have been fantastic hosts, which bodes well for Rugby World Cup 2019.

“Finally, the All Blacks would like to again send our best wishes to Japanese coach Eddie Jones for a speedy recovery.”

Interesting facts

• The All Blacks are playing an historic first official Test match in Japan. The All Blacks have played Japan twice in official Test matches, both at Rugby World Cups. The All Blacks played Japan at the 2011 RWC in New Zealand winning 83 – 7 and also at the 1995 RWC in South Africa. The All Blacks played Japan in Japan twice in 1987 but these were not official Tests.

• Daniel Carter has kicked 248 conversions and 250 penalty goals and is poised to become the first player to kick 500 goals (this excludes dropped goals).

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2014 SUPER RUGBY CRUSADERS SQUAD ANNOUNCED

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named his squad to contest the 2014 Investec Super Rugby competition. It includes five new members and twenty seven players returning from the 2013 Crusaders squad.

One of the five new faces in the squad is actually a returning face and very familiar to most New Zealand rugby fans. Colin Slade played for the Crusaders in 2009 and 2010 mainly on the wing and at fullback, but shifted to the Highlanders in 2011 in order to gain more playing time at first five eighth. He already has 26 Crusaders caps under his belt and has played for Canterbury since 2008. Slade has also had an impressive international career, playing for the New Zealand Under 19 and Under 21 sides, the Junior All Blacks, and then for the All Blacks in 2010, 2011 and as injury cover in 2013.

Blackadder says it is fantastic to welcome Slade back into the fold: “The experience and talent that Colin Slade adds to this group is immense. He’ll be a crucial member of the team, especially at first five while Dan Carter is on extended leave, but he has the advantage of being able to play virtually anywhere in the back line.”

Also returning to his roots in joining the Crusaders squad is prop Tim Perry. Born in Ashburton, schooled at St Andrews College and playing for Tasman in the ITM Cup, Perry hails from Crusaders-country, however it was at the Blues that he made his Super Rugby debut last season. Perry has represented New Zealand at Secondary School, Under-19 and Heartland levels.

“Tim Perry has been particularly impressive for Tasman over the past couple of seasons. He is a tough, brawny player and it is great to have him back at home with the Crusaders,” Blackadder said.

The youngest member of the 2014 squad will be Mitchell Drummond, who will turn twenty just as the competition begins. A former Nelson College First XV captain, Drummond was a member of the New Zealand Barbarians secondary schools rugby team last year, was selected in the New Zealand under-19 touch team, and was one of six school students chosen to train with the All Black Sevens team at a training camp early this year. Drummond moved south at the beginning of this year to further his rugby career at the Canterbury Rugby Union Academy. He earned a spot in this year’s Canterbury ITM Cup squad and Blackadder has also seen enough promise in the young halfback to call him into the Crusaders squad.

“Mitch is young, but he has natural talent, fine pedigree and the right attitude to take him far. He will continue to benefit from working alongside our experienced halfbacks, Andy Ellis and Willi Heinz, as he has done in this year’s ITM Cup. We are excited about his future,” Blackadder said.

Adding some firepower to the midfield is Rey Lee-Lo. Lee-Lo played his debut Super Rugby season with the Hurricanes last year after being part of the Chiefs development squad in 2011. He is a physical and powerful back who caught the Crusaders’ attention with some impressive statistics playing for both Counties and the Hurricanes.

“Rey will really help to bolster our midfield stock. He is a strong player, has a good rugby brain, and puts in the hard yards. I think he will fit in really well in the Crusaders environment,” Blackadder said.

Huge Fijian winger, Nemani Nadolo, will make an impact on the Crusaders’ back line in 2014. Currently playing for NEC Green Rockets in the Japan Top League, Nadolo has also captained the Fijian Warriors team and spent one Super Rugby season with the Waratahs in 2009. Todd Blackadder said he is set to be one of the most exciting players in the 2014 Investec Super Rugby competition.

“At 1.95m and nearly 130kg, he is an absolute hulk of a man, yet he can fly down the field like you wouldn’t believe for a man that size. Comparisons have been drawn with Jonah Lomu, and we can’t wait to work with him and unleash him in this competition,” Blackadder said.

The All Blacks have just passed the second anniversary of their World Cup final triumph at Eden Park

The All Blacks have just passed the second anniversary of their World Cup final triumph at Eden Park, the halfway point in their reign as defending champions. The William Webb Ellis Trophy is on its way back to the International Rugby Board’s headquarters in Dublin and will reappear centre stage at the 2015 final at Twickenham. What a two years it has been.

As the All Blacks depart this week for their next challenge – an end-of-season tour that includes tests against Japan, France, England and Ireland – it is worth emphasising just how successful and how exhilarating these two years have been. Very rarely have the All Blacks been better and, thanks to them, the game has probably never been in better health.

The evidence comes from their most dangerous opponents. By the end of the Rugby Championship, both South Africa and Australia had concluded their only chance was to play the All Blacks at their own expansive, fast-paced game. The result was two wonderful spectacles. At Ellis Park, Johannesburg, several factors suggested the All Blacks would struggle to win. But there, as a fortnight later against Australia in Dunedin, they triumphed with something to spare.

Their opponents recognised as much. “These boys have set the bar and it is our duty to catch up to them,” said the Springbok captain, Jean de Villiers, a gracious tribute from a proud rugby nation.

The one blemish on the All Blacks’ record in these two years was the end-of-season defeat at Twickenham last year. But even that was a victory for the All Black style embraced by England’s coach Stuart Lancaster. After the triumph at Ellis Park, he offered the ultimate accolade. “In world sport, I would ask if there is a better team,” he said. “I am not sure there is.”

Lancaster has made it clear that his ambition is to make England as consistently successful. To that end, he visited New Zealand in August, speaking to the likes of Sir Brian Lochore about just what makes All Black players tick.

Since Lancaster orchestrated the defeat of last December with an All Black game, the upcoming tour provides a new challenge to ensure that does not happen again. A single defeat is not a calamity with an otherwise spotless record. But a second defeat at the scene of the 2015 World Cup final would be psychologically damaging and, if it is built entirely on scrum penalties, it would be a setback to the game.

Customarily, the winners of the William Webb Ellis Trophy endure a subsequent slump in their fortunes. The All Blacks have avoided that most emphatically. In the process, there has been a welcome infusion of new blood. Fully a third of the players who took the field at Ellis Park were not prominent members of the World Cup-winning squad. The likes of Julian Savea, Ben Smith and Aaron Smith have fitted into the team virtually seamlessly. Others like Beauden Barrett, Steven Luatua, Sam Cane and Charles Piutau have provided glimpses of their talent and enormous potential.

No country has successfully defended the World Cup. Not many teams have lived up to the title “champions” for even a year after winning it. These champions are still getting better.

Much rugby remains to be played before the cup is next contested. If they can sustain recent progress, South Africa, England and Australia will close the gap between themselves and New Zealand. The All Blacks’ challenge, therefore, is to stay one step ahead, taking their game to greater levels of pace and imagination. Under Steve Hansen and his assistants, they are well on the way to an unprecedented goal.
www.nzherald.co.nz

DHL to be Official Logistics Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015

DHL, the world’s leading express and logistics provider, and the International Rugby Board (IRB) today announced that DHL will be Official Logistics Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015.

The partnership will see DHL assume responsibility for the logistics of one of the biggest international sporting events, which will take place in host country England over six weeks in September and October, 2015.

The Webb Ellis Cup touched down in Cape Town earlier this morning for a whistle stop tour starting with a press briefing at The Springbok Experience Rugby Museum with some of SA’s most celebrated rugby legends including Joel Stransky and Balie Swart.

As Official Logistics Partner, DHL will be responsible for the transportation of Tournament and team equipment from around the world to the 13 match venues in England.

The equipment to be transported will include, for example, an estimated 1,400 rugby balls, 200 kicking tees and 200 tackle bags. From October 26 to October 30, 2013, DHL will also carry the 4.5kg Webb Ellis Cup on its global network between the four former holders of the Trophy: New Zealand (the current holder), Australia, South Africa and England.

The journey will see the Trophy handed over by DHL and Cup Chaperone – legendary former New Zealand player Grant Fox – to former Rugby World Cup winning players from each country for a brief local celebration with fans, before it is then delivered to Dublin, Ireland for the inaugural IRB World Rugby Conference.

The partnership between DHL and Rugby World Cup 2015 continues a longstanding relationship between DHL and the game of Rugby.

DHL was Official Logistics Partner of Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand, and was a naming rights sponsor of the recent 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour of Australia.

The company also currently partners with Harlequins in England, the DHL Stormers in South Africa, the Irish Rugby Football Union and a number of tournaments within the IRB Sevens World Series.

Other initiatives by DHL to support Rugby development around the world have included partnerships with Rugby Federations, tournaments, clubs and school programs as far afield as Fiji, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Romania, and Canada.

Rugby is the fastest growing sport in the world, played in over 100 countries. A total of 102 million global viewers watched the Final of Rugby World Cup 2011.

Simple Minds -N America show review -Stunning ! They arrive in SA this week for 3 shows -2 JHB one CT

Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr was pretty direct when they announced their short North American tour earlier this year: If you want to see a bigger tour, come see this one. Some people took that as an ultimatum but let’s be realistic – the economics have to be there to interest promoters.
Last night at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles the band did more than enough to make their case.
There is no opening act for this tour and so when the lobby lights flashed the crowd streamed into the hall to the opening strains of Broken Glass Park, one of two new tracks on the recent Greatest Hits + release.
The stage filled with fog and suddenly there was Jim Kerr, weaving and gliding around the stage like he had been transported in from 1985 – a little older, maybe a little wiser, but no less potent a singer or showman.
With a 50-track greatest hits package to promote, the set list was impressive.
After opening with one of the two new tracks on the collection, they moved into more familiar territory with a block of tunes including Waterfront, Up On The Catwalk, and All the Things She Said before stepping it down a notch for Mandela Day.

During this track large swaths of the audience stepped out to refresh their drinks or themselves, leading Kerr to thank the rest of the audience for sticking with them before pointing out that we should save some energy because there was, in his words, “a lot of music left.” Another highlight of their first set was a cover of Let The Day Begin, originally performed by The Call. Perhaps it’s strange to find a cover in the midst of a set like this, but I enjoy a glimpse into what tracks a band likes or feels connected to, and Simple Minds gave the song great flavor.
The second set opened with I Travel and moved through another litany of mainstay songs, playing Someone Somewhere in Summertime, She’s A River, and Love Song before arriving at what I thought was the most powerful performance of the evening, See The Lights.
The ringing, open chords and the lyrics bemoaning a lost love seemed to soak into the audience, Jim Kerr and ’80s Nation acknowledging together that summer is perhaps gone. On the heels of this soaring anthem to heartbreak, it was fitting that the bridge led into Don’t You (Forget About Me). You could feel the crowd exhale as we all surged to our feet to sing along with Jim Kerr, who cheerfully led us all through a singalong of what may be the definitive anthem of the ’80s. They closed the set with Promised You A Miracle before quickly vanishing from stage in preparation for the obligatory encore.
The encore opened with the instrumental Theme for Great Cities (which of course I personally interpreted as a nod to Los Angeles), presumably to give Kerr a moment for a costume change and a sip or two of water, before closing out the night with Sanctify Yourself and Alive And Kicking.
Bottom line, this was a great concert by a band that is absolutely hitting their spots and having a great time doing it. The band was tight and seemed to be enjoying themselves; Jim Kerr not only sounds great but was an absolute presence onstage, working the crowd like a seasoned pro, tossing his microphone cable over his shoulder to strike a pose or lead the clapping. He waved, shook hands, and shouted out “Thank you for making us feel so welcome!”
No Jim, thank you. Thank you for caring enough to do justice to your music.

by Brad Williams
http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/80s/concert-review-simple-minds-at-las-orpheum-theater-oct-15-2003/2147583

Cape Lures Movie Music Maestro Home – Article on Trevor Jones page 3 Sunday Times 27 Oct 2013

The most predictable thing about sport is that it is mostly unpredictable

The most predictable thing about sport is that it is mostly unpredictable. It is why we love rags to riches stories such as that of the Sharks in 2013. Who could ever have predicted that the miserable lot that lost at home to Griquas in round one of the Currie Cup would three months later defy the odds to win the title at a highly inhospitable Newlands?

Griquas went on to finish last in the Currie Cup and have been relegated. The Sharks dug deep, backed their new coaching staff and its strategies, and doggedly fought on to win their seventh and most unexpected title since 1990.

It was an extraordinary result to what has been a season of seismic upheaval in the Shark Tank. The players have seen a revamp in the boardroom, welcomed a new boss in July in CEO John Smit, said farewell to the Super Rugby coaching team and had to reinvent themselves under a new coaching regime under Brendan Venter who in turn, has been replaced by Jake White. All in the space of the last three months and after the worst possible start to the Currie Cup.

The only ones that never stopped believing in fairy tales was the players themselves.

“For a player, the most important thing is that there has always been a plan and a structure,” said captain Keegan Daniel. “Of course, there has been huge change on and off the field but going forward was actually easy because we knew where we stood under Brendan Venter, and it all goes back to a pre-Currie Cup camp that allowed everybody to have their say.”

When Venter took over from John Plumtree, one of John Smit’s first initiatives was to hold a week-long camp for all squad stake-holders at the Sibaya Casino complex, north of Durban.

“The players sat down with the CEO, the new assistant coaches in Brad Macleod-Henderson and Sean Everitt, and Brendan explained very clearly how things would operate, and we respected what he had to say given how much success he has had with Saracens,” Daniel said.

“Everything was laid out. There was clarity as to what the coaches wanted, and what we wanted as players,” the captain said. “There was honesty and there was transparency between coaches and players, and players thrive on that. We agreed to a squad policy with the idea that teams win matches and squads win competitions. Some critics might not like rotation but with the amount of rugby being played, it works. A lot of guys that did not play in the final contributed significantly during the season.”

And on the big night, it was the big name players that came in for the business end of the Currie Cup that completed the hard work that the journeymen had done during the campaign.

“I have a saying that big players have big games when it really matters, and that showed in the final,” Daniel said. “Our recently returned Boks were outstanding. They put their hands up. In the past it has been a let-down (when unfocussed Boks have not excelled in finals), but tonight they showed what they are capable of.”

It was a sentiment shared by defeated Western Province coach Allister Coetzee.

“The Boks they got back in their pack during the week made all the difference,” Coetzee said. “The Sharks forwards were outstanding. We have never been hit so hard by a Sharks pack. We have played them twice this year and they were tough at the collisions in those games, but this time they were on another level. After each tackle, two or three of them climbed into the breakdown and made sure we did not get quick ball. They won the collisions, for sure. That is why they picked their big boys (such as Willem Alberts, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, Marcell Coetzee and Beast Mtawarira, and they really pitched up, unlike some previous occasions.”

Coetzee said his team had been caught out by the Sharks’ tactic of avoiding the defensive line and opting for niggling chip kicks into space.

“Their tactics took us out of our comfort zone,” he said. “They really worked out our defensive system. Credit must be given to how the Sharks applied the pressure by not attacking and kicking into space. They then came off the line really hard and disrupted the breakdown. It was a very effective plan.”

by Mike Greenaway

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