Looks a great read -Watched all the games regarding the Lions 2017 tour to NZ

In the Line of Fire: The Inside Story from the Lions Head Coach

Looks a top read -just bought it from Amazon

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World Rugby awards Rugby World Cup 2023 to France

The World Rugby Council today awarded Rugby World Cup 2023 to France, which was selected following two rounds of voting during its interim meeting in London.

France received 24 votes to South Africa’s 15 in the final round of voting. In the first round, France received 18 votes to South Africa’s 13 and Ireland’s eight.

Following today’s vote, France will be hosting rugby’s showcase men’s event for the second time and hosting the 10th edition of the event 200 years after William Webb Ellis gave birth to the sport.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Congratulations to France on being elected Rugby World Cup 2023 host. They presented a very strong and comprehensive bid, which clearly resonated with the Council today.

“We had three outstanding host candidates, who raised the bar and overwhelmingly demonstrated that they were all capable of hosting an exceptional Rugby World Cup. There was very little to choose between the candidates and this was reflected in the independently-audited evaluation report.

“I would like to pay tribute to Ireland and South Africa for their dedication throughout a rigorous, and transparent process and hope that they will bid again. We now look forward to working in partnership with France to deliver what I am sure will be a very successful Rugby World Cup in 2023.”

About the Rugby World Cup 2023 host selection process

The Rugby World Cup 2023 host selection follows a complete redesign of the bidding process to promote good governance and transparency, while providing prospective host unions and governments with an opportunity to gather all the information necessary to ensure hosting capability prior to moving through the process. This re-modelling has been assisted by The Sports Consultancy, which helped develop the documentation and tools and supported World Rugby throughout the process, including the evaluation and assessment phase.

During the applicant phase, the first phase of the process, interested unions were provided with the criteria for evaluation. Initially, there were four applicant unions, but Federazione Italiana Rugby withdrew its application, leaving Federation Française de Rugby, Irish Rugby Football Union and South African Rugby Union to proceed to the candidate stage, which in itself is a mark of their ability to host. On 1 June, 2017, the three candidate unions submitted their full bid documents, which were evaluated by the World Rugby Technical Review Group. The group submitted its report to the Rugby World Cup Limited Board, which in turn made its recommendation to Council today (31 October) prior to the vote on 15 November.

Voting process for selecting Rugby World Cup 2023 host union

On Wednesday 15 November in London, World Rugby Council decided which candidate union would host Rugby World Cup 2023. The three candidate unions were not be able to vote during the process.

That means, in total there were 39 votes left to be won, split up as follows:
• The four remaining Six Nations unions and three remaining SANZAAR unions had three votes each

• The six regional associations (Oceania Rugby, Sudamerica Rugby, Rugby Americas North, Rugby Europe, Rugby Africa and Asia Rugby) and the Japan Rugby Football Union had two votes each

• The remaining four votes belonged to Georgian Rugby Union, Rugby Canada, USA Rugby and Federatia Romȃnă de Rugby

• The unions/regional associations cast their votes as they saw fit, including splitting their votes or abstaining

• The entire process has been overseen by independent auditors

• As no candidate won a clear majority (20 votes or more) after the first ballot, the candidate bid with the lowest number of votes dropped out and then a second ballot was called between the remaining two.

The Rugby World Cup Limited Board is: Bill Beaumont (Chairman), Agustín Pichot (Vice-Chairman), Gareth Davies (Wales), Mike Hawker (independent), Brett Gosper (World Rugby CEO).

Currie Cup Final 2017 Preview WINNING WAY IS THE ONLY WAY FOR THE SHARKS.

As a player Robert du Preez was ultra-competitve, as a coach he is possibly more so, and on the eve of the Currie Cup final between the Sharks and Western Province, the 54-year-old refreshingly cut through the hype and hot air that will always accompany a major sporting event.

How are the Sharks are going to play? Have they anything special up their sleeves for a Province team that caught them off guard three weeks ago in Durban? Do the Sharks kick too much (they kicked more than any other team in three months of pool play)?

The taciturn coach mustered a wry grin before explaining how it will be for the Sharks: “Look too much is made of ball-in-hand rugby (or any particular brand). We want to play winning rugby. If that means we have to kick the ball a lot, we will do that.

“This year we have played to our strengths, which is our pack of forwards. Having said that, our backs have on many occasions done well for us with ball in hand. So we can do both, and it comes down to what the situation requires,” Du Preez said forthrightly.

In short, Du Preez does not want to have a pigeon-holed style of play.

“We want to build a way of playing that suits the Sharks and it does not happen overnight.

“We are not a New Zealand rugby team, we are a South African team, and we want to play a South African brand of rugby.”

Du Preez’s Sharks have led the Currie Cup from the front this season, evolving their way of playing, and it has come down to the same key elements. Uncompromising forward play and winning the gain line battle to provide the backs with opportunities to play what is in front of them — be that flyhalf Curwin Bosch spreading the ball or probing for territory with the boot.

And when without the ball, the Sharks have been brutal on defence.

How the Sharks play is not rocket science and if Province are to stop them at Kings Park, they know their forwards are going to have to trade blows in the frontline trenches. There will be no short cuts.

The Capetonians understand this full well from what transpired in the 80s minutes of their recent win in Durban. That match summed up the Sharks. For 30 minutes, when the Sharks were at full throttle, they steamrolled the opposition.

After the match, Province coach John Dobson admitted that he thought his side were goners given how the Sharks dominated that half an hour. But then the Sharks took their foot off the pedal. Suddenly the opposition could play, and they certainly did, spearheaded by flyhalf Robert du Preez jnr, who brilliantly made the most of the unexpected front-foot ball coming his way.

But the Sharks will not be as charitable in a final. Once bitten twice shy. They have come a long way this season to throw it away now.

That WP win was possibly the best thing that could have happened to the Sharks because it laid bare their strengths and weaknesses, and empathised the ruthlessness and efficiency that is required to be a champion team.

“Three months of hard work comes down to one game. There is nothing more we can do now,” Du Preez said philosophically. “We could not have worked harder than we have. I am incredibly proud of the players. Now it is about being calm and composed, and expressing ourselves as we have done all season.”

*** Du Preez has made one change to his squad for the final. Injured wing Sbu Nkosi is replaced by Odwa Ndungane and the latter’s place on the bench is taken by Rhyno Smith.

Sharks – 15 Garth April, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (c), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.


Subs: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Tristan Blewett, 23 Rhyno Smith.

Curwin Bosch flyhalf for the Sharks -Pic Steve Haag

Western Province – 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (c), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

Subs: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Kobus van Dyk, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Werner Kok, 23 Dan Kriel.

Kick-off: 4pm

Referee: Jaco Peyper

Assistant Referees: Egon Seconds & AJ Jacobs

TMO: Marius Jonker

BY Mike Greenaway

All Blacks team named for final Test against Australia

The All Blacks team has been named to play the third Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia at Suncorp Stadium, Australia, this Saturday 21 October.
The matchday 23 (with Test caps in brackets) is:

1. Kane Hames (5)
2. Dane Coles (54)
3. Nepo Laulala (9)
4. Samuel Whitelock (92)
5. Scott Barrett (13)
6. Liam Squire (12)
7. Sam Cane (49)
8. Kieran Read (106) – Captain

9. Aaron Smith (67) -pictured below with Razia Myers and me

10. Lima Sopoaga (12)
11. Rieko Ioane (9)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (42)
13. Ryan Crotty (31)
14. Waisake Naholo (14)
15. Damian McKenzie (8)

16. Codie Taylor (25)
17. Wyatt Crockett (67)
18. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (10)
19. Patrick Tuipulotu (14)
20. Matt Todd (10)
21. TJ Perenara (38)
22. Anton Lienert-Brown (18)
23. David Havili (2)

The team features four changes from the matchday 23 which played the last Test against South Africa and they are all in the backs: Lima Sopoaga comes in for Beauden Barrett in the 10 jersey, while Waisake Naholo comes in on the wing for the injured Nehe Milner-Skudder. TJ Perenara is reserve halfback, with Anton Lienert-Brown coming into the 23 to provide additional back cover.

Meanwhile, Sam Cane will play his 50th Test in an All Blacks career which started five years ago in June 2012 when he made his Test debut against Ireland.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said this weekend had all the makings of another great Test match.

“Both teams have their own goals and expectations. From Australia’s point of view, they’ll be desperate to win as they haven’t done so for some time. For us, our goal is to never be satisfied at where we’re at, and that means it’s greater than just the outcome. It’s about how we play, individually and collectively as a unit. We’re always striving to get better every game and this week is no different.

“As always, to do that, our preparation has to be spot on and bone deep. It’s an individual focus for each player. The job of the team management is to facilitate a training week which provides them with clarity and the right amount of intensity so that they can arrive on Saturday ready to hum.

“It’ll be another great opportunity for this young team to show what they’ve learnt throughout the year and playing at Suncorp Stadium will be another fantastic learning experience for them all. It’s a great ground with a lot of tradition and there’ll be huge support for the All Blacks, which we’re looking forward to.”

Pictures from Captains walk about at Newlands which featured the All Blacks today ahead of Saturday’s 7 October date with the Springboks

Bok need to be accurate says the rugby writer Mike Greenaway

When Sean Fitzpatrick was still playing for the All Blacks he was once asked if he could give the Old Foe a tip on how to get back to winning ways (the Boks were having a bad run).

“Just do what has always come naturally to you, it worked for a hundred years.” Fitzy smiled.

Well the hooker has been long retired and while he was referring to what worked for the Boks in the amateur era when they were naturally bigger and stronger than most opponents, we have seen that the game is ever-evolving away from was successful for the Boks for so long.

South African teams can no longer bully anybody. It was fun in the old days to play skinny accountants, doctors and lawyers from England, Ireland Scotland etc because the farmers from South Africa were brutes. New Zealand were not too scrawny themselves comprising so many sheep farmers and the coal miners of Wales were also a brawny lot.

In the professional era, everybody is much of a muchness, physically. It is no longer a case of training in the evenings twice a week after work and playing a match on Saturday. Now everybody is the gym five days a week and taking the same body building supplements. South Africans no longer have a size advantage and running through opponents no longer works.

The cornerstone of successful Springbok teams in the past was immaculate set pieces, fierce driving mauls, kicking for territory and kicking goals.

It sounds a bit like how the Springboks won the World Cup in 2007. Jake White rugby had its merits in that it was hard to lose if you had the right personnel in place to run the conservative strategy, but it was not a style that would win you a prize for good fellowship.

And 10 years on, the game has moved on. You have to be able to score tries as well as kick goals, but if you are going to be cavalier in your approach, you need the necessary skills.

I thought the Springboks against Australia were a little to helter skelter about their approach. Running everything becomes as predictable as kicking everything.

The All Blacks have hoodwinked so many people into thinking that they are the most adventurous team on the planet but the statistics will tell you that they kick more than any other team in world rugby. They take no chances and if nothing is on in their half, they kick intelligently — with a contestable kick that will give them a chance to get the ball back or they probe for territory.

But, and it is big but, if they are in their own 22, and they spot a gap or an overlap, they will run at you and inevitably score. They score so many tries not because they have a devil-may-care attitude but because they are highly skilled, incredibly fit and utterly ruthless in exposing a crack in your defence.

And they are patient. So many teams have thought they were in the game against the All Blacks because there was not much of a points difference as the game hit the three-quarter approach, and suddenly the Kiwis have run in four or five tries. No other team can live with the All Blacks in the last 20 because they run out of steam.

The Boks should be praised for their positive approach but they need to understand that they can’t run the ball for the sake of it when their pack is being out scrummed or they are battling in the lineouts. A backline that is running onto the ball at pace asks questions of the defence. A backline that is getting slow ball is at the mercy of the approaching defence and tends to move sideways.

It really is about decision-making in the heat of battle. If it is “on” then have the confidence to have a go, wherever you are on the field, but if it is not on be patient.

The Boks need to calm down a touch on attack, they need to get their set pieces sorted out, vary their tactics, and then attack with venom and skill when the opportunities arise.

By Mike Greenaway

Squad of 31 ushers in new era of Springbok rugby

Allister Coetzee has named a new-look Springbok squad, including nine uncapped players, for the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Ireland, featuring three Tests in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.

The uncapped players who have forced their way into the Springbok squad are Garth April (flyhalf), Ruan Combrinck (wing), Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf), Nic Groom (scrumhalf), Steven Kitshoff (prop), Jaco Kriel (flank), Bongi Mbonambi (hooker), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (flank) and Scarra Ntubeni (hooker).

Coetzee picked 17 forwards and 14 backs to report for duty on Sunday afternoon for the start of a two week-long preparation camp in Stellenbosch and Cape Town. The squad will gather in Stellenbosch for the first week, before they break for two days and then reassemble on Sunday 5 June in Cape Town.

Coetzee said he was excited and looking forward to start working with his squad.

“The announcement of the squad, while hugely challenging, is a highlight of my career and a result of a lot of hard work and a huge amount of planning since my appointment,” said Coetzee.

“The selection of this squad was based on rewarding form and exposing young and upcoming local players to the Springboks, which is why priority was given to locally based players. We have many experienced players still available for selection, but we just felt that the time was right to look at the next generation.

“Our depth was obviously tested in certain positions, but this also created opportunities for new players, who have found their feet at Vodacom Super Rugby level, and to make the step up to the Springboks.

“I was appointed to win Test matches and I believe we have picked the best possible, available squad to do that. During my recent visits to the various franchises, I witnessed an unbelievable desire and passion from our players to play for South Africa, which was really heartening.

“We will now start with our preparations in earnest in Stellenbosch so that we can be ready for Ireland in Cape Town in two weeks’ time.”

Coetzee did not name a team captain and said he wanted to work with the squad before making a decision in the week of the first Test.

“We have a number of captaincy candidates to consider and I will announce the name of the captain when we name the team to face Ireland in Cape Town in a few days’ time,” said the Bok coach.

Several players were not available for selection for the Springbok or SA ‘A’ squads because of injuries or Springbok Sevens commitments. They are JC Janse van Rensburg, Sti Sithole, Marcell Coetzee, CJ Velleman, Chris Cloete, Schalk Burger, Thembelani Bholi, Cobus Reinach, Jano Vermaak, Elgar Watts, Robert du Preez, Kurt Coleman, Handré Pollard, Harold Vorster, Cornal Hendricks, Andries Coetzee, Dillyn Leyds, Jaco van der Walt (all injuries or illness), as well as Francois Hougaard, Bryan Habana, Juan de Jongh, Seabelo Senatla, Cheslin Kolbe, Warrick Gelant and Siviwe Soyizwapi (all Springbok Sevens).

Furthermore, experienced scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar informed Coetzee that he is not available for selection for the June Tests.

“We were considering all the players on this list carefully but they are unfortunately not available. We’ve also had good discussions with Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell and I support them fully in their preparations for the Olympic Games in August even though some of those players were real contenders for inclusion in the Springbok squad,” said Coetzee.

Coetzee added that that four players not included in the Springboks’ match-23 for the first two Tests, will be released to the SA ‘A’ squad for their matches against the England Saxons.

The three Tests between the Springboks and Ireland will take place on 11 June at DHL Newlands in Cape Town, on 18 June at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg and on 25 June at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

The Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series (alphabetical order):

Name Position Franchise/Club Test Caps
1 Garth April Flyhalf Cell C Sharks 0
2 Ruan Combrinck Wing Emirates Lions 0
3 Damian de Allende Centre DHL Stormers 13
4 Lood de Jager Lock Toyota Cheetahs 19
5 Faf de Klerk Scrumhalf Emirates Lions 0
6 Pieter-Steph du Toit Lock DHL Stormers 8
7 Eben Etzebeth Lock DHL Stormers 44
8 Nic Groom Scrumhalf DHL Stormers 0
9 Elton Jantjies Flyhalf Emirates Lions 2
10 Steven Kitshoff Prop Bordeaux (France) 0
11 Siya Kolisi Flank DHL Stormers 13
12 Jaco Kriel Flank Emirates Lions 0
13 Jesse Kriel Centre Vodacom Bulls 11
14 Patrick Lambie Flyhalf Cell C Sharks 50
15 Willie le Roux Fullback Cell C Sharks 34
16 Francois Louw Flank Bath (England) 43
17 Frans Malherbe Prop DHL Stormers 12
18 Lionel Mapoe Centre Emirates Lions 1
19 Bongi Mbonambi Hooker DHL Stormers 0
20 Tendai Mtawarira Prop Cell C Sharks 75
21 Lwazi Mvovo Wing Cell C Sharks 15
22 Sikhumbuzo Notshe Flank DHL Stormers 0
23 Scarra Ntubeni Hooker DHL Stormers 0
24 Trevor Nyakane Prop Vodacom Bulls 23
25 Rudy Paige Scrumhalf Vodacom Bulls 2
26 JP Pietersen Wing Cell C Sharks 66
27 Julian Redelinghuys Prop Emirates Lions 2
28 Jan Serfontein Centre Vodacom Bulls 26
29 Adriaan Strauss Hooker Vodacom Bulls 54
30 Duane Vermeulen No 8 Toulon (France) 35
31 Warren Whiteley No 8 Emirates Lions 3

Issued by SA Rugby Corporate Affairs

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