New Time on Saturday for On the couch on HEART 104.9fm 9- 10am

Take Tapfuma Makina and Heart 104.9FM on a Saturday morning. Add Martin Myers and someone known only as Flapper and you have On The Couch, # OTC a witty and crazy sports-themed show. It is 60 minutes of laughs, non-facts and facts and food for thought.

Initiated by Myers and then Saturday on-air DJ the late Az Abrahams , Heart 104.9 soon realised that there was such a thing as power in numbers, and Flapper joined the team.

Today the passionate and sports mad trio — an accountant, a music industry veteran and a music DJ — make for fun radio. The show ran from 8-9am for many years and now we have moved one hour latter .

From just after 9am through to 10am the phone lines light up as Heart listeners get to tackle the fanatical Flapper, referee Tapfuma and the ever-controversial Martin on everything from try-lines to balls.

Tapfuma is soccer mad , Myers follows suit with his unashamed love of the All Blacks, whilst Flapper can’t be challenged on his cricket and golf knowledge.

Alistair Coetzee -DHL Stormers coach with the team

Everything about On The Couch is entirely off the cuff and therein lies its spontaneity and in turn its success.

With Tapfuma keeping the lines open throughout the show and a little bit of music to dilute the talk, the subject matter is relevant to the sports issues of the day — a mixture of good clean fun and addressing controversial issues.

With international sport well covered, these three wise men are hungry to expose and celebrate the best of what the country has to offer in up-and-coming talent and teams, no matter what the sport or discipline.

Dr Danny Jordaan CEO of SAFA

The trio don?t play by the rules, only because they spend more time on the bench than on the field, making On The Couch everything but formatted — instead it’s fun, entertaining and downright silly at times.

119 not out. That is the Currie Cup

119 not out. That is the Currie Cup, the world’s longest innings in provincial rugby if you will forgive the terribly mixed metaphors.

In this Rugby World Cup year, it has been suggested that the Grand Old Dame will become a forgotten aunt. This scepticism in 2011 is nothing new. She has shrugged off similar insults over the decades, not to mention the rather more serious challenges of the Boer War (1899-1902) and two World Wars (1914-1918; 1939-1945), and has merely wiped a sweaty brow with a white handkerchief plucked from her bosom and continued regardless.

The golden trophy that now has so much illustrious history engraved into it came to Africa abroad a British Isles rugby ship to Cape Town in 1891 and was in the luggage of ridiculously wealthy shipping magnate Sir Donald Currie, owner of Union-Castle Lines (in those shipping days there was not the airline competition of today …

Currie’s instruction was that the trophy should be given to the local team that gave the British tourists the best game (rugby was new to South Africa), which happed to be Griqualand West, which should be no surprise considering that in those days Kimberley was the Las Vegas of Africa given that the diamond mining industry was at its zenith, so anybody that was anybody was making the Big Hole what it is today.

Cut to 2011 and the Sharks’ New Zealand-born coach John Plumtree provided a refreshing perspective on the Currie Cup at his usual midweek briefing at the Shark Tank.

“This is my third time as a coach of a provincial competition in a RWC year (including a year with Wellington in New Zealand). This isn’t new to me. The big difference in South Africa with the Currie Cup compared to the equivalent competition in New Zealand is that there is still a lot of excitement about this trophy. It remains a major tournament, no matter what, and very important in all the supporters’ eyes and the different franchises around South Africa.”

Plumtree said that while a RWC year obviously generates its own interest, the Currie Cup remains important to players and supporters alike.

“It is just how the Currie Cup is, probably because of the wonderful history behind it that goes back so far.”

It is known that the South African Rugby Union in 2012 are looking at returning the Currie Cup back to the old strength v strength format of just six top teams, which is how it was in the isolation years when South African rugby was remarkably strong and survived against the odds.

Interestingly, Plumtree is not sure that this is the way forward.

“I understand that the rugby calendar is getting full with the extension of Super Rugby and with the Tri-Nations mixed in plus internal tours. Personally, I love going to remote places to play the likes of the Pumas, Valke and Leopards because it provides a different challenge. And the locals love it when the fancier teams come to those grounds, they get to see Springboks and kids are inspired.

“That’s all good, but unfortunately, those days are going because of the calendar that’s presented to us, the workload is getting bigger and the rest periods are getting shorter, and having the local competition reduced is a forced thing I guess.

“Whether it’s a good thing or not, I’m not sure …”

Never a truer word said, and that by a Kiwi who knows New Zealand and South African rugby better than most.

The Grand Old Dame will have her thoughts, which would be along the lines of “tinker with my outer robes if you will but don’t touch my bodice!”

by Mike Greenaway

www.iol.co.za

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