Dunedin awaits the Sharks on Friday -May Day

It is a curious place, Dunedin. The approach to the town from an airport half an hour outside the city shows the magnificent beauty of what quite literally was the backdrop for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Plus a lot of sheep.

How did they chase all those sheep away for the filming? A thought for another day.

And the townsfolk are eccentric and charming. They actually quite like ‘out-of-towners’, and they don’t play the fiddle quite as much as the locals do in ‘Deliverance”, that cult movie about invaders from civilisation getting their “come-uppance” from protective yokels.

Okay, the laugh is over. The fine folk of Dunedin are in fact quite charming, and the university students are a hoot. Part of initiation week is to take your furniture outside and burn it, and dance a jig, then attend a Highlanders home match the next day and down copious amounts of Speights Lager, the local brew. It tastse like the old Lion Ale, for those with god memories. it is kak.

This was part of the pre-match entertainment at a quaint old fortress called Carisbrook, known as the House of Pain, not only because visitors never won there but because it was the most inhospitable venue many had ever visited. Hot showers?

Thank heavens they pulled it down and build a new venue for the 2011 World Cup, the Forysth Barr Stadium which has a permanent roof, and never was this more needed than at a rugby venue that is only superceded by Invercargill (further down the frosty road of the South island) as being the closest to Antarctica.

But what has this got to do with the Sharks, who will be playing the Highlanders this morning at a cosy Stadium, where the Speights no longer freezes in mid tilt to your mouth?

Well it has a lot to do with the good old “laager” atmosphere that for so long was the last refuge of the struggling South African rugby team, and I am not talking about the sponsor’s product brought into the change room to assuage the pain of another defeat down south.

I am getting to the point that the Sharks team are fed up. We used to call it “gatvol”. Before the Sharks left Durban, their coach, Gary Gold, spoke about a ‘tsunami of negativity” that was drowning his team, and we really don’t want to again dredge up the suspensions, the injuries, the conspiracy theories about the Victorian-style punishments of ‘those’ colluding SANZAR officials …

But then came a Sunday newspaper story in New Zealand that mentioned the Sharks and Hansie Cronje in the same breath, and trust me I feel nothing but sadness and compassion when our former cricket captain is mentioned.

The writer intimated that the Sharks “tanked”, as he puts it, and the 50-points the Crusaders accumulated in Durban were in the best interests of nefarious businessmen in cahoots with corrupted Sharks.

The Sharks were indeed laughable that day, but so are suggestions that they cheated, as was the question posed by the reporter as to whether a squad of “thugs” be allowed across the New Zealand Border.

Jamie Joseph a citizen of Dunedin and a one-time All Black flank that happens to coach the Highlanders, must be a worried man. He knows South Africans. He knows the Afrikaner. He knows they will be polite only to a point and then, when their backs are against the wall and they no apologies left, they are going to “moer” you.

The Sharks have lost three matches in a row. They have been bullied, pilloried, teased, chastised by their Board, ridiculed and written off. A TV program in New Zealand this week called them “The Shocks”.

Well I know the Shocks, and I know when to put a ront or two on them. But if they lose this one, if they cannot combine their deep-seated fury, “their gatvolness” with the plethora of talent in their side and squeeze past a Highlanders team that is good but far from unbeatable, then I assure you they will not win another game on tour.

Back the Sharks for this one. This is their shot at redemption. They are “gatvol”.

Kick-off: 9.30am

Highlanders – 15 Ben Smith (capt), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (capt), 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames.

Substitutes: Ash Dixon, Brendon Edmonds, Pingi Tala’apitaga, Joe Latta, Elliot Dixon, Fumiaki Tanaka, Marty Banks, Jason Emery.

Sharks – 15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 S’bura Sithole, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marco Wentzel (capt), 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Subs: Franco Marais, Dale Chadwick, Matt Stevens, Mouritz Botha, Etienne Oosthuizen, Conrad Hoffmann, Lionel Cronjé, Waylon Murray.

by Mike Greenaway

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BATTLESHIP BISMARCK CAPSIZED AS CAPTAIN FOR SHARKS RUGBY TEAM

A penitent Bismarck du Plessis will return to the Sharks front row for Friday’s match against the Highlanders in Dunedin but he will not resume the captaincy.

The hooker has completed his four-match ban for a kick to the head of a Chiefs player, a suspension that started the week after he had issued a public apology for “irresponsible behaviour” in a match against the Bulls in Pretoria, and after a frank discussion with coach Gary Gold, Du Plessis has agreed that it was best for the team that experienced lock Marco Wentzel continues leading the side and Du Plessis concentrates solely on recapturing the form that made him the best hooker in the world in 2012 and 2013 and, some would argue, in 2011, as well.

The reality is that Du Plessis was always going to be demoted after repeated acts of ill discipline that go back to 2014 when he was made captain by then coach Jake White. Du Plessis’s infamous lashing out of his boot at a Chiefs player was almost a replica of his offence against a Cheetahs player last year.

Du Plessis can be a fantastic player, but his tendency to embrace the red mist makes him a debatable leader – in a rugby game, anyway. You would follow him in the Charge of the Light Brigade, but we know how that ended before the Russian guns in the Crimea.

Before the Sharks left on tour, Gold admitted that he and Du Plessis had to discuss the captaincy and a “decision that benefits the team will be made, without sentimentality.”

Gold, speaking from the Sharks’ temporary base in the Sydney suburb of Coogee Beach, attempted to disguise the blindingly obvious when he said that a demure Du Plessis had re-evaluated his capacity to lead the side at a time when his form is an issue – he has lost his place as Springbok starting hooker to Adriaan Strauss.

“Bismarck has shown incredible humility about his personal situation over the past month and he feels that he just wants to get back into the Sharks team and make as big an impact as he can,” Gold diplomatically said before spinning the following: “It’s unbelievably noble of Bismarck to have this attitude and this is a much bigger deal as far as the media goes than it is for us. Marco has done a good job (since taking over a fortnight ago from injured stand-in captain Patrick Lambie). and he will retain the captaincy.”

Gold said that he had been impressed with Du Plessis’s attitude during his suspension.

“He wants to prove his worth and concentrate on playing well for the Sharks again,” Gold said. “He has been extremely hard on himself over the last four weeks. This (the captaincy issue) has been driven by him. He wants to give back to the team and its supporters and we will select him to give him that opportunity.

“As far as I’m concerned, what’s happened has happened,” Gold said. “Bismarck has paid the price and we must move on now.”

The Sharks have broken their journey to the remote New Zealand city of Dunedin by stopping over in Sydney, which is certainly a few degrees warmer than the frosty South Island destination known as “The Edinburgh of the South”, both for its colonisation by Scottish settlers and its frigid temperatures. Hence the name “The Highlanders” for a team better known to Kiwis as Otago.

BY Mike Greenaway

With or without Richie McCaw, the Hurricanes still consider the Crusaders to be Super Rugby’s benchmark.

With or without Richie McCaw, the Hurricanes still consider the Crusaders to be Super Rugby’s benchmark.

McCaw has been ruled out of Saturday’s match against the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium with concussion, the latest hiccup for a team that’s lurched its way through its opening ten matches with five wins and five losses.

Though McCaw reported fit and well on Tuesday, Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder had already made the call to spell his openside after he’d fronted at training on Monday still reporting headaches.

“He was a little bit blurry and felt a little bit off, so it’s best not to risk him. When he came in and didn’t feel quite a hundred [per cent] on Monday, we just ruled him out,” Blackadder said.

McCaw will continue concussion protocols and see how he feels next week. While most would consider the injury a blow, senior Hurricanes lock James Broadhurst said that thinking would be a mistake ahead of what’s traditionally been the biggest Super Rugby match-up of the year in Wellington.

“They will talk about the loss of Richie’s leadership obviously, but Matt Todd is a big leader for them as well. He’s captained the ITM Cup team and he’s been bloody unlucky that Richie has been there because he’s been so close behind,” Broadhurst said.

“I don’t think it [McCaw’s absence] will make a major difference. With Todd in there they’ve still got one of the benchmark loose forward trios in the country at the moment the way Reado [Kieran Read] and [Jordan] Taufua have been playing anyway.”

The Hurricanes’ ability to lift for the Crusaders has seen them win four of the last five matches between the teams, including home and away last year.

The Crusaders have not tasted success at Westpac Stadium since 2012 and Broadhurst put the results down to how highly the Hurricanes regard the Red and Blacks.

“There is still no doubt they are the benchmark. Their record speaks for itself. They haven’t missed the playoffs for how many number of years and we’ve struggled to get there.

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“If you look at history nothing changes, they are still the Crusaders and we still see them as a serious threat regardless of where anyone sits on the table.

“They are stacked with All Blacks and the non-All Blacks are sharp as well. We’re under no illusions what we are up against this week.”

The Hurricanes’ self belief continues to grow in the wake of their 35-19 win over the Reds in Brisbane, their eighth win in nine matches.

Broadhurst, who has been with the franchise since 2010, and recently resigned through to 2017, puts the team’s improved consistency down to a collective ability to implement the coaching staff’s game plans.

“If you look back probably to 2012 in particular there were probably a few games where we would have won the game if we had the team we do now,” he said. “I think that’s just due to match experience and I think that’s what’s shining through this year.

“We have a pretty wide range of attack plans we can fall into and we worked really hard on that in the preseason.

“All it takes is a subtle tweak each week depending who you are coming up against and, again, that comes down to the work we did during the preseason and experience.”

Meanwhile, it seems McCaw is unlikely to be sidelined for long with Blackadder and team doctor Deb Robinson confident he would make a quick recovery.

“He just got his head on the wrong side and just got kneed in the temple. Even after the game he was really chipper and was fine, and even today, he was 100 per cent, but it’s just not worth risking him,” Blackadder said. “[But] All signs are pretty positive. Hopefully, he’s back for next week.”

Robinson said McCaw had not had a head injury for four years, and this was just “a discreet moment”.

“He put his head in a bad place and paid the price.”

If McCaw was feeling okay on Wednesday, he would “get on the bike” and “start his graduated return to play,” Robinson said.

– Stuff

Heart 104.9fm TOP 40 – 25 April 2015

HEART TOP 40 – 25 APRIL 2015
POS ARTIST SONG TITLE MOVE L/W PEAK WEEKS NOTES
1 Selena Gomez The Heart Want What It Wants NC 1 1 (3) 8 Last Week’s #1
2 Four7 feat. Tiffany J’Adore Up 2 4 2 4 SA Top 10 #1
3 Ellie Goulding Love Me Like You Do Down 1 2 1 (3) 8
4 One Direction Steal My Girl Down 1 3 2 7
5 Iggy Azalea feat. Jennifer Hudson Trouble Up 2 7 5 4
6 Meghan Trainor Dear Future Husband Down 1 5 4 8
7 Maroon 5 Sugar Down 1 6 1 (2) 11
8 Taylor Swift Blank Space NC 8 3 12
9 Gracetown Kristan Wood Up 2 11 8 12
10 Dionne Warwick feat. Cee-Lo Green Feels So Good Down 1 9 4 9
11 Beatenberg Beauty Like A Tightened Bow (Chris Sen Remix) Up 4 15 11 8
12 Jimmy Nevis 7764 Down 2 10 2 13
13 Can Skylark Timebomb Down 1 12 7 14
14 Ariana Grande & The Weeknd Love Me Harder Down 1 13 10 8
15 Mary J Blige Right Now Down 1 14 5 14
16 Ariana Grande One Last time NC 16 16 4
17 Sia You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile NC 17 17 7
18 Clean Bandit feat. Alex Newell, Sean Bass & Olly Alexander Stronger Up 8 26 18 2
19 David Guetta feat. Sam Martin Dangerous Down 1 18 6 11
20 Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars Uptown Funk Down 1 19 1 (6) 21
21 Sam Smith Like I Can Down 1 20 15 8
22 Jess Glynne Hold My Hand Up 11 33 22 2 Highest Climber
23 Nick Jonas Jealous Down 2 21 21 8
24 Mi Casa Bora Viver Up 4 28 24 3
25 Natalie La Rose feat. Jerimih Somebody Down 3 22 22 5
26 Jeremih feat. YG Don’t Tell ‘Em New 26 1
27 Magic! No Way No Up 5 32 24 5
28 Jason Derulo Want To Want Me Up 2 30 28 2
29 Ciara I Bet Up 6 35 29 2
30 Muzart Oh Yeah Down 7 23 7 15
31 Omarion feat. Chris Brown Post To Be New 31 1
32 Boyz II Men Losing Sleep Up 4 36 26 8
33 Chris Brown Time For Love Down 9 24 2 23 Longest Running Song
34 The Weeknd Earned It Down 9 25 25 6
35 Jessie J, Nicki Minaj & Ariana Grande Bang Bang Down 8 27 13 15
36 Eryn Laguma You Are So Beautiful Down 5 31 31 3
37 Ed Sheeran Runaway NC 37 21 7
38 Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne Real Love Up 1 39 6 19
39 Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud Down 10 29 1 (3) 14 Biggest Faller
40 Giorgio Moroder feat. Kylie Minogue Right Here, Right Now NC 40 26 8

Time to sink Bismarck du Plessis as captain for the Sharks ?

It was a throwaway remark from Directors of Sharks Rugby Gary Gold regarding the captaincy of the team going forward, but there could well be underlying substance in his response to a question late last week regarding Bismarck du Plessis’ leadership.

The Springbok hooker next week completes a four-week ban for kicking a Chiefs players in the head and is available for the Sharks’ first tour game, against the Highlanders in Dunedin on May 1.

“I still need to have that conversation with Bismarck,” Gold said on the eve of the match against the Bulls, which the visitors deservedly won 17-10 at the weekend “We are not under pressure to make that decision because we have a bye this week, and need to have a close look at the makeup of the squad.

“There are a couple of guys coming back, it’s not only Bismarck. (Centre) Paul Jordaan is back (from a hip injury sustained last year) and a key lock in Stephan Lewies is back in action. Frans Steyn and JP Pietersen will be back as well so we have to look at the permutations as we comprise our tour squad.”

But will there be an outcry of belligerent Bismarck resumes the leadership? The combative hooker is proving to be a time bomb, and after the first-round match against the Bulls, he felt compelled to issue a public apology for the petulant manner in which he reacted to niggling from wily veteran Victor Matfield.

Bismarck has a target on his back and the niggling most certainly is not going to stop over the Sharks’ last six games.

Surely the 30-year-old would be better off concentrating solely on his game without the additional responsibility of captaincy? He is one of the world’s best players and can best rediscover that form without the encumbrance of the captaincy.

“I haven’t necessarily thought about whether there would be an outcry or not,” Gold said of Du Plessis retaining the captaincy,after last year being given that role by then coach Jake White.

Gold inherited the leadership structure.

“I just have to think about what is the best decision for the Sharks, and that is the decision we have to make,” Gold said revealingly.

The current captain is Marco Wentzel, and the experienced 34-year-old has been in charge of two spirited performances by the Sharks, albeit in losses to the Lions and the Bulls.

The Sharks have already lost Du Plessis’ replacement captain, Patrick Lambie, to injury, and then another captain this year, Jean Deysel, was banned for seven weeks. It would make sense to keep Wentzel at the helm and let Bismarck do what he does best – smash the opposition to smithereens, in the framework of the law book.

The Sharks have lost four matches from 10.

They are ninth on the log and seven points behind SA Conference leaders, the Bulls, but have played one more game than the other SA teams.

The Sharks are entering the last chance saloon in terms of the play-offs, with their tour to come. This is not the time for sentimental decisions.

by Mike Greenaway

HEART TOP 40 – 18 APRIL 2015

HEART TOP 40 – 18 APRIL 2015
POS ARTIST SONG TITLE MOVE L/W PEAK WEEKS NOTES
1 Selena Gomez The Heart Want What It Wants NC 1 1 (2) 7 Last Week’s #1
2 Ellie Goulding Love Me Like You Do NC 2 1 (3) 7
3 One Direction Steal My Girl NC 3 2 6
4 Four7 feat. Tiffany J’Adore Up 9 13 4 3 SA Top 10 #1
5 Meghan Trainor Dear Future Husband Up 4 9 4 7
6 Maroon 5 Sugar Down 2 4 1 (2) 10
7 Iggy Azalea feat. Jennifer Hudson Trouble Up 9 16 7 3
8 Taylor Swift Blank Space Down 3 5 3 11
9 Dionne Warwick feat. Cee-Lo Green Feels So Good Down 3 6 4 8
10 Jimmy Nevis 7764 Down 3 7 2 12
11 Gracetown Band Kristan Wood Down 3 8 8 11
12 Can Skylark Timebomb Down 2 10 7 13
13 Ariana Grande & The Weeknd Love Me Harder Down 2 11 10 7
14 Mary J Blige Right Now Down 2 12 5 13
15 Beatenberg Beauty Like A Tightened Bow (Chris Sen Remix) Up 5 20 15 7
16 Ariana Grande One Last time Up 10 26 16 3 Highest Climber
17 Sia You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile Up 5 22 17 6
18 David Guetta feat. Sam Martin Dangerous Down 4 14 6 10
19 Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars Uptown Funk Down 4 15 1 (6) 20
20 Sam Smith Like I Can Down 3 17 15 7
21 Nick Jonas Jealous Up 4 25 21 7
22 Natalie La Rose feat. Jerimih Somebody Up 5 27 22 4
23 Muzart Oh Yeah Down 5 18 7 14
24 Chris Brown Time For Love Down 5 19 2 22 Longest Running Song
25 The Weeknd Earned It Up 9 34 25 5
26 Clean Bandit feat. Alex Newell, Sean Bass & Olly Alexander Stronger New 26 1
27 Jessie J, Nicki Minaj & Ariana Grande Bang Bang Down 6 21 13 14
28 Mi Casa Bora Viver NC 28 28 2
29 Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud Down 6 23 1 (3) 13
30 Jason Derulo Want To Want Me New 30 1
31 Eryn Laguma You Are So Beautiful Up 2 33 31 2
32 Magic! No Way No Down 8 24 24 4 Biggest Faller
33 Jess Glynne Hold My Hand New 33 1
34 Ed Sheeran Don’t Down 5 29 8 14
35 Ciara I Bet New 35 1
36 Boyz II Men Losing Sleep Down 6 30 26 7
37 Ed Sheeran Runaway Down 6 31 21 6
38 Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo Time Of Our Lives Down 6 32 5 18
39 Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne Real Love Down 4 35 6 18
40 Giorgio Moroder feat. Kylie Minogue Right Here, Right Now Down 4 36 26 7

David Kau is coming to Cape Town for Blacks only on 9 May 2015 at Grandwest

Funny Man David Kau is coming to Cape Town for Blacks only on 9 May 2015 at Grandwest

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