A possibility of an 8th title for the Crusaders. But wait, with 4 rounds to go after a month off things could change dramatically.

OPINION: One step forward, two steps back. As hard as the English rugby team tried, the longer they spent in New Zealand the worse they got.

Forwards who were awkward in their new roles and didn’t manage to dominate the set pieces, and backs who made simple errors and couldn’t work together, suggests that if coach Stuart Lancaster has a handle on the concepts of playing a grander version of the game, he either hasn’t got the personnel among the throng of nearly two million players or he is selecting the wrong ones.

There will be much to ponder in the coming months back in the halls at Twickenham, while the All Black management pore over the Australian victories against an average French outfit to formulate the plan for the world-record 18th victory on the trot.

In South Africa, Wales demonstrated that if you match the locals in the physical stakes they are still lacking in ideas of how to out-think and out-manoeuvre the opposition, so nothing has changed really amongst the “big nations”.

A team not hitting the headlines here but making big waves in the next tier down is Japan, who have now run up 10 consecutive victories against the likes of Canada, the Pacific countries and, most recently, the Six Nations side Italy. They are certainly on the climb and well worth a watch if you get the chance.

Meanwhile, the higgledy-piggledy world of Super Rugby will leap back on to the television screens tomorrow night as the contestants return to do battle, so take a deep breath and study exactly what is happening and what the permutations could be. Good luck.

By the way, the South African franchises are not on until next week!

To cut to the chase so that you have a handle on things, in three weeks the Waratahs will be the top side, the Crusaders will be second and the current leaders the Sharks will be third, with the Waratahs losing another final to the Crusaders. And this game is only five weeks away!

The Waratahs will beat the Brumbies and Highlanders at home and the Reds away.

The Crusaders will beat the Hurricanes away and the Blues and Highlanders at home, while the Sharks will win their remaining two matches against fellow countrymen the Cheetahs and the Stormers.

Led by the former “bully boy” in his playing days, coach Michael Cheika, and possessing an abundance of quality players in the likes of Israel Falou, Kurtley Beale, Will Skelton and Michael Hooper, the Waratahs are reeking of talent and experience and could finally get a notch in their belt after being beaten finalists in 2005 and 2008. They will be worth a watch.

New CEO John Smit, the former Springbok captain, and his World Cup-winning coach Jake White, are heading a return to success for the Sharks after an eighth placing last year. Possessing some really tough competitors in the form of the Du Plessis brothers, captain Bismarck and Doctor Jannie, who combine with the massive Tendai Mtawarira in the front row and with the likes of huge flanker Willem Alberts, they have plenty of beef.

However, it will remain to be seen whether White’s suffocating game plan will do the trick.

Of course, it should be no surprise to anyone that the Crusaders have quietly worked their way to the top of the New Zealand franchises with three weeks remaining.

What will be interesting is how Todd Blackadder makes use of Kieran Read and Dan Carter, two pretty hot competitors when they are in good shape, with both returning after long absences.

So there it is. A possibility of an eighth title for the Crusaders. But wait, with three rounds to go after a month off things could change dramatically.

You’d better keep watching.

Ian Snook has coached professionally for the past 25 years in New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, England, Ireland, Japan and Italy.

– Taranaki Daily News

2014 Wawela Awards evening takes place on Friday 27 June and recognises the best in South African music composition and song writing


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The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) has announced the final list of nominees for the 2014 Wawela Music Awards – the only awards in the country that recognise the people behind the creation of the song, namely music composers, lyricists, song writers and publishers.

The awards cover the full spectrum of music composition and songwriting, including music created for television and film as well as commercials. With an overwhelming response from the music creators and an exciting line up of nominees in 2014, SAMRO believes that this year’s event will surpass the success of the 2013 awards.

The 2013 edition of the awards featured music great Johnny Clegg – who received the Prolific Catalogue of Works Award. The legendary Dorothy Masuku, who was also celebrating 60 years in the industry, took home the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Singer/songwriter Lira won the Songwriter of the Year Award and new comer Blck Porcelain walked away with two awards in the categories Best Female Artist and composer/co composer and Best Creative Album of the Year. Renowned music composers including Mbongeni Ngema, Sizwe Zako, Alan Lazar and Lebo M were also honoured..

The previous awards also saw film score composer and Music Exchange board member Dr Trevor Jones, best known for his work on a number of international films including Last of the Mohicans, Mississippi Burning and Notting Hill receiving the Breaking Through Borders accolade .

SAMRO Marketing General Manager, Tiyani Maluleke said there is certainly no shortage of music and song-writing talent in South Africa. “We are excited to announce this year’s nominees and are even more excited about announcing the winners on awards night,” she said

This year’s glittering ceremony is set to take place in Johannesburg on Friday 27 June.

Full of list of Wawela Awards 2014 nominees

Best Soundtrack in a Feature film or Theatrical Doc

•Phillip Miller

•Bruce Retief

•Orangotang Music

•Geo Hohn

Best song or composition in a television production

•Joe Niemand

•JB Arthur

•Colin Shapiro

Best song or composition in a television commercial

•Adam Howard

•Orangotang Music

•Louis Enslin

Best song or composition in a radio commercial

•Adam Howard

•Nicos Vouris & Keeno Lee Hector

•Mi Casa

Best creative album of the year

•HHP

•Lindiwe Maxolo

•Lloyd Cele

Publisher of the year Award

•Sheer Publishing

•Black Coffee

•Fundile Mdingi

Songwriter of the Year

•Mi Casa

•Lindiwe Suttle

•Goldfish

Best South African Duo/Group

•Crazy White Boy

•The Muffinz

•Trenton and the Free Radicals

Best Female Artist & composer/co-composer

•Zahara

•Lindiwe Suttle

•Black Byrd

Best Male Artist & composer/co-composer

•Ihashi Eli mhlophe

•Jimmy Nevis

•Black Coffee

For more information on the awards visit: www.wawelamusicawards.co.za

Follow us on:

Twitter: @WawelaMusic

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WawelaMusicAwards

Dan Carter and Kieran Read on the bench for Crusaders vs Hurricanes on Saturday

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named his team to play the Hurricanes this weekend. The team will head to Wellington tomorrow to prepare for the game at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night.

Eight players have returned from the All Blacks to make the team, including prop Wyatt Crockett who will pack down with Corey Flynn and Nepo Laulala in the front row. Owen Franks will provide front row cover alongside Joe Moody and Ben Funnell on the bench.

Locks Dom Bird and Sam Whitelock will pair up in the second row, and Matt Todd will wear the number 7 jersey with Richie McCaw ruled out with an injured rib. Jordan Taufua and Luke Whitelock join him in the loose forwards with Kieran Read and Jimmy Tupou named in the reserves.

Colin Slade returns at first five and Dan Carter will have the opportunity to make an impact off the bench in his first game for the Crusaders this season.

With Nemani Nadolo still representing Fiji this week, Nafi Tuitavake and Johnny McNicholl take the two wings. They are joined by Ryan Crotty and Kieron Fonotia in the midfield, and Tom Taylor takes the fullback spot while Israel Dagg recovers from injury.

This is the final away game for the Crusaders in the 2014 regular season. The next two home games against the Blues and the Highlanders will help decide whether they will continue to the play-off rounds.

1. Wyatt Crockett
2. Corey Flynn
3. Nepo Laulala
4. Dominic Bird
5. Samuel Whitelock
6. Jordan Taufua
7. Matt Todd
8. Luke Whitelock
9. Andy Ellis
10. Colin Slade
11. Nafi Tuitavake
12. Ryan Crotty (C)
13. Kieron Fonotia
14. Johnny McNicholl
15. Tom Taylor
RESERVES:
16. Ben Funnell
17. Joe Moody
18. Owen Franks
19. Jimmy Tupou
20. Kieran Read
21. Willi Heinz
22. Dan Carter
23. Rob Thompson

Five uncapped players in Springboks’ match-23

Junior Springbok captain Handré Pollard is one of five uncapped players who have been named in the Springboks’ match-23 for Saturday’s final encounter of the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Scotland in Port Elizabeth.

In total, the Springbok starting team shows six changes from the side which beat Wales by 31-30 in Nelspruit last weekend.

The four uncapped players on a new-look bench are Marcel van der Merwe (prop), Stephan Lewies (lock), Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje (loose forward) and Marnitz Boshoff (flyhalf). Also on the bench are Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Francois Hougaard and Zane Kirchner, none of whom have played any Test rugby yet this season.

Two players, Pollard and Marcell Coetzee, have not yet featured for the Springboks this year, while four of these are replacements who have been promoted to the starting team, namely Lwazi Mvovo, Schalk Burger, Lood de Jager and Coenie Oosthuizen.

Tendai Mtawarira (neck), Flip van der Merwe (knee) Willem Alberts (concussion) and Johan Goosen (knee) were not considered for selection this week. Goosen has been released from the squad and has returned to Bloemfontein to continue his final phase rehabilitation at the Toyota Cheetahs.

“We had to make a number of changes to the team and while team selection is never easy, especially this week when we had to make a few hard decisions, it’s been great to see the excitement under the players for this final Test of the series,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“Our plans had always been to try a few new combinations this week against Scotland and I’m looking forward to see the guys grab their opportunities.”

Meyer said Pollard had always been part of his plans for the Castle Lager Incoming Series, but that his selection as SA Under-20 captain meant he could only join the squad this week.

“Handré is a very talented player and has a big opportunity this week, but he’ll have Fourie du Preez’s experience next to him, while he’s played a lot with Jan Serfontein before. It’s great to have the current and a former World Junior Player of the Year in the same backline.

“The other new faces in the starting line-up have been part of our squad for some time and they all deserve a run.”

On the composition of the bench, Meyer commented: “Adriaan, Trevor, Francois and Zane know what it’s about while the other guys will bring energy and enthusiasm with them.

“All of them deserve this chance. ‘Oupa’ still played Varsity and Vodacom Cup rugby earlier this season before he got an opportunity to play Vodacom Super Rugby for the Cheetahs because of injuries. He took his chance and now he’s on the cusp of making his Test debut,” said Meyer.

“Marnitz and Marcel have shone for their franchises this year and patiently waited in the last couple of weeks, always working hard and putting in everything at our training sessions. Stephan only joined us on Monday, but he made an impression already at our training camp in Durban last month and slotted in without any problems this week.

“Marcel, Stephan, ‘Oupa’ and Marnitz all made their Vodacom Super Rugby debuts earlier this year following injuries to other players and it’s great to see so many younger players come through the ranks.”

The Springboks will face a confident Scotland side on Saturday after they’ve beaten the USA, Canada and Argentina on tour in the last three weeks.

“They are always a tough opponent, like we saw last year in Nelspruit, but our aim is to build on the two victories over Wales in the last fortnight,” said Meyer.

Meanwhile, Van der Merwe has joined a long list of injured players who will not play again this season after he was ruled out for six months following examination by specialists in Pretoria. He injured his posterior cruciate ligaments.

Mtawarira, who has a bulging disc in his neck and consulted with a specialist in Durban earlier this week, will be monitored for the next two weeks before a decision on his return to the field will be made.

The following players missed out on the entire or part of the Castle Lager Incoming Series because of injury: Jean de Villiers (knee), Damian de Allende (knee) Eben Etzebeth (foot), Jaque Fourie (ankle), Pat Lambie (bicep), Frans Malherbe (concussion), Scarra Ntubeni (foot), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee), Franco van der Merwe (ankle), Arno Botha (knee), Pierre Spies (bicep), Louis Schreuder (hand), Gio Aplon (elbow), Juan de Jongh (pneumonia), Mtawarira, Van der Merwe, Alberts and Goosen.

Seven players based in France and England have been released to their clubs and were not available for selection this week. they are They are Gurthrö Steenkamp, Schalk Brits, Bakkies Botha, Francois Louw, Morné Steyn, Wynand Olivier and Bryan Habana.

The Springbok team to face Scotland in Port Elizabeth is:

Position Name Test Caps Test points
15 Willie le Roux 14 30
14 Cornal Hendricks 2 10
13 JP Pietersen 53 80
12 Jan Serfontein 11 5
11 Lwazi Mvovo 8 5
10 Handré Pollard 0 0
9 Fourie du Preez (vice-captain) 69 75
8 Duane Vermeulen 18 10
7 Schalk Burger 70 65
6 Marcell Coetzee 15 5
5 Victor Matfield (captain) 112 35
4 Lood de Jager 2 0
3 Jannie du Plessis 53 5
2 Bismarck du Plessis (vice-captain) 59 45
1 Coenie Oosthuizen 16 10
Replacements:
16 Adriaan Strauss 33 25
17 Trevor Nyakane 3 5
18 Marcel van der Merwe 0 0
19 Stephan Lewies 0 0
20 Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje 0 0
21 Francois Hougaard 27 20
22 Marnitz Boshoff 0 0
23 Zane Kirchner 28 25


Stats and facts:

· The Springbok starting team boasts a total of 502 Test caps (157 in the backline and 345 in the forwards), while there are a further 91 caps worth of experience on the bench.

· South Africa and Scotland have played each other 24 times since 1906, with the Springboks winning 19 Tests and losing five. The Springboks have scored 597 points and 75 tries and conceded 264 points and 27 tries for an average score of 25-11.

· South Africa and Scotland last met on 17 November 2013 at Murrayfield in Edinburgh. The Springboks won 28-0, scoring four tries in the process.

· Victor Matfield will extend his record of 112 Tests for the Springboks as well as his record of 112 Tests as a lock for the Springboks.

· If he scores a try, Bismarck du Plessis will extend his record of nine Test tries for South Africa as a hooker. Bismarck and his brother Jannie will also be playing together in their 34th Test, which is a Springbok record for brothers.

· Schalk Burger will extend his record as the most capped Springbok flank, with 68 Tests in this position. He also shares the record with Juan Smith for the most Test tries as a flank (11).

· Handré Pollard will become Springbok No. 857.

· Coenie Oosthuizen will be starting at loose-head prop for the first time in a Test. Last year he played tight-head against France in his only other start.

· The whole front-row of Coenie Oosthuizen, Bismarck du Plessis and Jannie du Plessis comes from one school – Grey College in Bloemfontein. Adriaan Strauss (reserve hooker) as well as Marcel van der Merwe (reserve prop) are also old Grey pupils.

· The referee is Glen Jackson of New Zealand. This will be his first Test involving South Africa. The former Chiefs and Saracens flyhalf started refereeing in 2010.

· Springbok Test match records at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium:

o Most points – 18 (5p, 1dg) by Morné Steyn on 20 August, 2011 against New Zealand.

o Most tries – one by JP Pietersen on 23 June, 2012 against England.

o Most conversions – none.

o Most penalty goals – five by Morne Steyn on 20 August, 2011 against New Zealand.

o Most drop goals – one by Morne Steyn on 20 August, 2011 against New Zealand.

Issued by SARU Corporate Affairs

Springboks donate to Missionvale Care Centre in PE

Four members of the Springbok squad who hail from the Eastern Cape on Tuesday donated R15,000 on behalf of the team to the Missionvale Care Centre in Port Elizabeth.

Siya Kolisi, Jan Serfontein, JJ Engelbrecht and Paul Jordaan visited the centre on Tuesday morning. The money comes from the team’s internal fund and the players themselves decided which local charity to support.

Their choice fell on the Missionvale Care Centre, where 250 children get their primary schooling, while there is also a medical centre and feeding scheme for residents of the Missionvale township.

Kolisi, who grew up in Zwide township around the corner from Missionvale, addressed some of the children present at the cheque handover, where Russell Viljoen, principal of the school, accepted the donation.

“If you can dream it, you can do it, but you should always work hard to achieve your dreams,” Kolisi told the children.

“Our parents and teachers play an integral role in ensuring our children believe anything is possible, it doesn’t matter where you come from.

“It’s a huge honour and very humbling for us to visit the Missionvale Care Centre and make a small contribution.”

Apart from the children and their teachers, a number of volunteers from Ireland and the USA were also very excited to meet the Boks.

The Missionvale Care Centre Academy was started informally in 1999 by Sister Ethel Normoyle, who held her first classes under a now iconic tree in the Missionvale township way back in 1988. The school was formally registered with the South African Department of Education in 2007.

For more information, please contact (041) 811 7525 or visit www.missionvale.co.za.

pic credit SARU

All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw out of the Crusaders for Super Rugby.

All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw played through the England test series with a broken rib – but won’t repeat the feat for the Crusaders in Super Rugby.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen confirmed today McCaw would miss the last three rounds of Super Rugby’s regular season because of a broken rib sustained either in the second or third test against England.

The great openside flanker, who has played a record-breaking 127 tests for the All Blacks, may return for the Crusaders’ finals campaign if the Kiwi conference leaders make it that far.

The Red and Blacks top the New Zealand conference on 41 points and are third on the overall standings. They visit the Hurricanes on Saturday night and finish their season with home clashes against the Blues and Highlanders.

Hansen told Radio Sport today that X-rays on Monday confirmed McCaw had broken his rib, and that it was likely the injury occurred before Saturday’s final test in Hamilton.

“Unfortunately he’s got a broken rib which he did possibly in the second test, or early in the third one. It was just a courageous effort for him to be out there and doing what he does,” Hansen said.

The All Blacks coach said they had not known the rib was broken before last Saturday’s final test in the England series, which the All Blacks nailed to complete a 3-0 sweep and run their winning streak to a record-equalling 17.

“He said he had a sore rib. The doctor had look at it and didn’t think it was broken, he just thought it was badly bruised. So he played the last one and was really sore after that. He’s obviously done some more damage to it in the third test.”

McCaw’s defection is a blow to a Crusaders lineup that is already without the unavailable Nemani Nadolo (with Fiji) and probably fullback Israel Dagg (patella tendon injury). There is also some doubt whether No 8 and skipper Kieran Read will be able to play a full part this weekend after his recent ongoing head issues.

Coach Todd Blackadder does at least have quality cover at No 7 in the form of fringe All Black Matt Todd and was, predictably, putting on a brave face over the loss of his most experienced player.

“We have three huge derby games left to go in this competition and we never use player availability as an excuse to give less than 100 percent,” Blackadder said.

“We take pride in the depth that we have in this squad and we have confidence in our available players to do the task.”

Hansen told Radio Sport that how much rugby Read played with the Crusaders now was over to them. The No 8 played only the first 40 minutes of the final test against England after being kept out of the mix for the first two internationals.

“They’ll manage him through these next two or three weeks,” Hansen said.

“I’d say he won’t play full games, and they’ll try to get his rugby levels back up to a point where he can play 80 minutes without risking soft tissue or fatigue injuries.

“That’s one step at a time… we’ll sit back and allow them to get on with it. Reado will grow in confidence I’m sure.”

The Crusaders are in the box seat in the New Zealand conference, but are well aware of the importance of these final three weeks as the jockeying goes on for final positions.

The seven-time champions have not won the title since 2008 and have paid the price in recent years for having to play big finals matches on the road.

– Stuff

FRANS UP AND RUNNING FOR THE SHARKS ….NOTHING WRONG WITH STEYN AT SHARKS TRAINING

He might be in the training colours of the Sharks, but Francois Steyn yesterday was deemed “ready to go” by Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White after the Log leaders regrouped at Kings Park ahead of the next week’s Super Rugby match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

A fortnight ago, Steyn took a hugely controversial and unilateral decision to remove himself from the Springbok Squad on the Tuesday before the Boks were due to play Wales in Durban.

And while weeks of newspaper headlines have speculated over contractual issues and a chronic knee problem, it was always intimated that his knee injury would benefit from the break of the Wales series, plus this week’s Bok game against Scotland, and the refreshed 27-year-old is now focused on guiding the Sharks home to Super Rugby glory, while his Bok teammate have their eyes on the Scots.

Steyn’s eye is on the Sharks, not on the Boks and this surely is the first documentd case of a South African rugby player turning his back on the green and gold and nailing his colours to a provincial mast.

In August, Steyn in any case takes up a career in Japan, lest we lose any more tears over his chronic fatiuge.

The Sharks have two pool matches to go, and if they win them, they will not only win the SA Conference (which they are certain to do anyway given that the second-placed Bulls cannot catch them), but then by finishing top of the log they can book a home final, should they win their home semi-final.

“Frans has had two weeks off to chill out a bit,” White said. “Looking at the stats, he’s played the second-most amount of rugby for us this year – behind Lwazi Mvovo – and I needed him to have some time off, which he has had and he joined us along with the squad when they all assembled here this morning. He’s all ready to go.”

Bok coach Heyneke Meyer will be moved to tears when he hears this …! Make that of it as you will

White said that another Springbok flyhalf, Patrick Lambie, is on course to make his comeback when Super Rugby resumes for the South African teams in the week after the Scotland Test in Port Elizabeth.

“Pat is also training with us and has a few things to get right medically,” White said. “There will be a few tests undertaken regarding what he can and can’t do with that bicep, and once he can tick all those boxes then he’ll be ready to go. It all looks positive though, it looks like he’s on track for 10 days’ time.

The Sharks have just got back from a two-week vacation and White said that from a Super Rugby franchise point of view, this was the whole point of the June International break.

But the reality is that the Sharks’ contingent of Bok players had to play through this window, and Steyn obviously did not want to be among that number.

“One of the decisions we made as a coaching staff is that we weren’t going to push the players too hard during the June break,” White said. “They had an eight-match block of matches with a tour towards the end of that block. Now the Boks are away, so to keep bashing the same guys over and over doesn’t make sense,” White said.

And Steyn, demonstratively, did not want any of that “bashing” for that precous knee .

“It’s been a good refresher for us and although we’re not in an ideal position with our Boks away, it at least it gives us time now to start getting our game plans and game strategies right for the next couple of weeks,” White said.

“There are some decisions to make,” he said. “One is whether we go hammer and tongs and play the guys who have carried a heavy work load (like the Bok front row) but that comes with a risk, because if you don’t qualify for a home semi-final, then you end up having over-played some players going into the final stages of the competition.

“If you don’t play your strongest team you create a perception, and I want to stress that it is a perception, that your weaker team is not good enough to win, which is not fair on the players,” White said. “So the challenge for us is to get the balance right between giving ourselves a fair crack at getting a home semi, but at the same time, making sure that if don’t get a home semi, our players are all fit and available for the play-offs.”

As things stand, the Sharks are the only team sure of a home semi final because they cannot lose the SA Conference.

“Our next game is very important, that’s logical, but also because what could happen this weekend when we’re not playing,” White said of this week’s round of Super Rugby matches between the Kiwi and Aussie teams that take place while the Boks are still tied to hosting Scotland, a game that falls just out the international window.

“There are so many permutations – the Crusaders are playing the Hurricanes who are there and thereabouts, the Brumbies are playing the Waratahs, so there is enough there for us to see who is hitting their straps, who is doing what, who gets points, how many can they get… ,” White said. “And that allows us an opportunity to see what we’re going to have do.

“People speak about the break and the momentum that is lost , but we see the positives. The nice thing about where we are is that we’ve won the conference, we are going to play play-off rugby,’ White said “The worst case scenario is that we’re going to have to win three games – one at home and two away – to win the competition. But from a positive point of view, we’ve been the best South African touring side, so we’re not worried about having to win away from home. We have to make sure we’re on song for the play-offs, whether it’s a quarter-final first or straight to the semi-finals.

By Mike Greenaway

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