Looking good for the World Cup
South Africa rugby is peaking at just the right time just months out from the 2007 World Cup in France.
The South African super 14 teams are actualliny winning games on a week by week basis.
The Coastal Sharks won 10 of their 13 Super 14 games to finish on top of the points table for the first time which is great,
while the Northern Bulls jumped from sixth position to second after beating the Queensland Reds 92-3 last Saturday to also host a play-off game.
What is good news is our teams are winning away from home this could be that New Zealand are resting their players in the super 14 to focus on the world cup.
White said this week the performances away from home by the South African sides was crucial to the Sharks and Bulls ending one-two in the points table.
Former Australia coach and Eddie Jones admitted South Africa are on the march. Jones said: “I think they are the only Test side that can consistently beat the All Blacks, particularly with their rushing style of defence.
“They have a good scrum, an outstanding lineout, blinding pace in (Bryan) Habana, strength and power, even invention in the backs. That’s a force for any opponent to be worried about."
Origins of the Game1. The origins of the game
Ball games have been played around the world for centuries but the ‘football’ codes with which we re familiar today were first formalised in England and spread across the globe by the colonisers and entrepreneurs of the British Empire during the 19th century.
The drive to write down a set of rules for the various kicking and handling games that were played across the country came from the private schools.
The pupils of Winchester, Harrow and Rugby all had their own distinct set of local rules and confusion reigned when the schools came to play each other.
They were loosely divided between those favouring the handling style and those preferring the kicking game.
Leading the way among the handling enthusiasts was Rugby School in central England.
Legend has it that it that in 1823 a pupil named William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran with it "showing a fine disregard for the rules of football" a later historian wrote.
This is widely regarded as the moment that rugby union was born although the accuracy of the story is disputed.
What is certain is the old boys of Rugby were enthusiastic in their spreading of Rugby’s version of the handling code rules - although they bare only passing resemblance to the Laws of today’s game.
To the end confusion over what style of game schools would play when they met, a meeting was called in 1863 to thrash out a unified code.
But there the two factions could not see eye-to-eye and rugby union and association football (soccer) were born.
Although the first style of rugby played in South Africa at Bishops School in Cape Town conformed to the rules of Winchester School (the headmaster was a former pupil of the English School) by the time the first governing body of the sport - England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) - was founded in 1871, Rugby’s rules held sway.
That same year the first international match was played between England and Scotland. Wales and Ireland followed onto the international calendar shortly afterwards and by the end of the century South Africa, New Zealand and two Australian states were also part of the international community.
Since that time the game has evolved slowly.
The game’s international governing body, the International Rugby Football Union (today the International Rugby Board) was founded in 1886 although England declined to take part in a dispute over the number of representatives they would be permitted to supply.
It was agreed that games would be played according to the rules of the Rugby Football Union but it was not until 1930 that the way the game was played was standardised across the world.
The first match in South Africa took place between the "Officers of the Army" and the "Gentlemen of the Civil Service" at Green Point in Cape Town in 1862 and ended as a 0-0 draw.
The game spread with British colonisers through the Eastern Cape, Natal and along the gold and diamond routes to Kimberley and Johannesburg.
The first union to be formed in South Africa was Western Province, which came into being in 1883; Griqualand West followed in 1886 and Eastern Province in 1888.
South Africa played its first international in 1891 against a touring side from Britain although it was not until the side toured Britain in 1906 that they became known as the Springboks.
The sport quickly gripped the imagination of many South Africans and the country’s success fuelled the enthusiasm.
South Africa won their third series in 1903 and it was not until the 1955 tour of New Zealand that they were to be defeated in a series as they established themselves as arguably the world’s leading rugby nation.
Their most dangerous rival was invariably New Zealand whom they met for the first time in 1921 to establish what is regarded as rugby’s most bitter rivalry.
The game remained strictly amateur until 1995 when the inevitable decision to allow players to be paid was made. Up until then anyone caught taking money for playing the game was banned for life.
In the six years since that decision the game has changed more rapidly than in the previous century and a half.
New competitions such as the Vodacom Super 12, Vodacom Tri-Nations and the Heineken Championship in Europe have hugely increased the game’s revenues and spectator interest.
2. The players and their positions
Rugby players are divided into two basic categories with different basic responsibilities although there are no hard and fast rules about who may score or who may do what.
There are the eight 'forwards' (who wear numbers one to eight) whose primary job is to wrestle the ball off the opposition or make sure their side keeps hold of it until they score some points.
They are the biggest and strongest players in the team and are often referred to as "the pack" because they hunt together for their prey - the ball.
The second group is the seven backs (who wear numbers nine to 15) who are normally the quicker and more elusive players who main role is to try and score the points from the ball that has been secured by the forwards. There are exceptions however - Jonah Lomu is a back but he is bigger and stronger than many forwards which, allied to his speed, make him a devastating prospect.
Note: In today's professional rugby the difference between backs and forwards is diminishing and all are now expected to be able to run, pass and tackle although the basic division remains.
All 15 players in a team have specific and specialised roles.
Full-back (No. 15): He is the last line of defence and very roughly equates to the goalkeeper in soccer although he has to defend the try-line that is usually 70 metres wide! He is expected to tackle any players who break through the defenders in front of him and particularly to deal with the high kicks that the opposition are likely to aim at him.
An equally important role is as an attacker. Fullbacks such as Percy Montgomery and Thinus Delport have the freedom to roam into the attack at any point in an attack and are frequently dangerous try-scorers.
The wings (No. 14 and No. 11): They are primarily the main attacking weapons of any side and are usually the top try-scorers in any team although most of the hard work is done for them in the attack by others. They are the fastest and most elusive players in any team (such as Breyton Paulse and Stefan Terblanche) and are also expected to support their fullback in his defensive duties.
The Centres (No. 13 and No. 12): They are usually fast and strong players who make the try-scoring chances for the wings with fast running and clever handling. They are also expected to be excellent tacklers and defenders as the opposition will aim their attacks to try and pierce a gap in the opposition centres. Top South African centers include Deon Kayser and Robbie Fleck.
The flyhalf (No. 10 - also known as a stand-off or first five-eighth). He is the general of the backline and frequently of the whole team. He is like a point guard in basketball, the midfield general in soccer or the quarterback in American football. He has a pivotal role with the responsibility of deciding whether the backs should run with the ball or whether he should kick to gain the best advantage for his side. He is usually the best kicker in the side with the responsibility for kicking penalties, conversions and drop goals - the three other scoring methods to the try. Nowadays he also has to be a solid tackler as his area of the field is the one most sides choose to attack first. Naas Botha was one of South Africa’s best known flyhalves.
The scrum-half (No. 9): He is the link between backs and forwards. He is usually one of the smallest men on the field and he follows the forwards around collecting the ball from them before passing to the flyhalf or deciding to run or kick himself. He is expected to have a very fast and accurate pass and has to be a very good ball handler. They are often known for their terrier-like qualities as they usually 'sweep' in defence to make important tackles and collect balls that have been kicked through. Joost van der Westhuizen is a scrum-half.
Number eight or eighthman (No. 8) One of three loose forwards who are the faster and marginally lighter of the forwards and is expected to be always close to the ball, winning it for the rest of their side. The eighthman stands back a little from the action to assess where danger may lurk and is expected to be in position to snuff it out. He also has an important role on attack as he often drives the ball forward to set up play for the rest of his side. Springbok captain Andre Vos is a number eight.
Flankers or wing forwards (No. 6 & 7). They are part of a mini-unit with the eighthman although have more direct responsibility for securing the ball for their side. These two players are likely to make more tackles in a game than anyone else and stay closer to the ball than any other players in the match bar the scrumhalf. On attack, their speed and strength is often used as auxiliary centers, a quality that is well demonstrated by a player like Springbok Rassie Erasmus.
The Locks or second rows (No. 5 & No. 4): They are the biggest and tallest men in the team whose major jobs come in winning possession at line-outs and kick-offs. Each game of rugby has in excess of 20 lineouts and restarts and this is where these tall men are expected to leap high and catch the ball above their heads - almost four metres off the ground. Their secondary role is to fiercely contest for possession with the opposition by ripping it from their grasp or shoving them away from it when the ball is lying on the ground. Mark Andrews is a lock.
Props (No. 3 & No. 1): They are usually the heaviest and sturdiest players and their first job is at the scrum where they combine with the hooker in a 'front row' of three. With the support of the five other forwards pushing from behind they attempt to push the other team backwards at the scrum to secure their own possession when the scrumhalf puts it in or to disrupt the opposition so much that they find it difficult to attack from the scrummage. Like the locks they also battle with the opposition for the ball when it is in general play. Ollie le Roux is one of the top props in South Africa.
Hooker (No. 2): His is a very specialised position with two primary roles. The first is at the scrum where he has to 'hook' back the ball after it has been put in by the scrumhalf. The second is at the lineout where his job is to throw the ball in so that his tall locks can win it and keep possession for his side. Away from these primary tasks the hooker is also frequently involved in attacking the opposition with ball in hand. The Springboks hooker is John Smit.
3. Why rugby is unique
Rugby union is a popular sport played by men - and increasingly by women - of every race and creed, from age five to 90, in more than 100 countries worldwide. In a few of those countries - New Zealand, Western Samoa, Tonga, Wales for instance - it is the national sport. Some say a religion.
It is a major sport in South Africa but in the other main rugby playing countries such as Australia, England, France, Ireland and Scotland it may only be the third, fourth or even fifth most popular sport.
Rugby union is a different sport to rugby league. 'League' has been a professional sport for which the players were paid for playing since 1895. It is only seriously played in Australia and the north of England.
Rugby union was a strictly amateur sport until 1995 when the game's rulers decided that it was time that players should be paid for the sacrifices they had to make and in light of the enormous sums of money their efforts were generating for rugby.
The principle of amateur rugby had been jealously guarded and up until 1995 contact between the two branches of rugby were banned. Since that date several players have played for their countries at both Rugby Union and Rugby League.
Why rugby is different
Rugby is a unique sport for many reasons not least because it is a game that can be played by all shapes and sizes of people.
The light and fast man (such as 79kg Breyton Paulse) or the big and slow man (such as the 120kg Willie Meyer) both play in the same Springbok team, doing their very different but equally important jobs.
In the same way there is a special place in the game for the very tall (the tallest South African international of all time was 2,05m) while the very small (the shortest was only 1,60m) can also thrive because of rugby's unique demands.
Rugby is also unique because of its very large number of rules - called Laws in rugby - that at first sight make it look a very complicated and confusing game.
It is also different because there are four different ways of scoring points - all with differing values - that require teams to think carefully about their tactics at different stages of the game.
Rugby is different because it has more players on the field at any one time than any other major sport with 30 players engaged in trying to secure possession of the ball for the full 80 minutes of each game.
It has phases of the game such as the scrummage and the lineout that make it unlike any other sport and require a variety of physiques unlike any other sport.
And rugby has specific Laws on how the ball may be moved and how players may be stopped that make it quite different from any of the other 'football' and handling sports with the exception of rugby league.
How it works
The object of the game is to score as many points as possible by carrying, passing, kicking and grounding the ball in the scoring zone at the opposition end of the field (called the in-goal area) or by kicking the ball between the posts and over the cross bar.
Any player on either side may handle the ball (unlike in soccer) or kick the ball (unlike in basketball).
But there are several rules that make rugby very different to both soccer and basketball.
Firstly, the ball may not be passed forward using the hands (although it may be kicked forward) - this is called a forward pass.
Secondly, players may not have the ball kicked to them if they are in front of the kicker at the time of kicking - this is just like offside in soccer.
Thirdly, only the player with the ball may be tackled unlike in American Football for instance
Fourthly, players may be tackled around the legs (unlike in Aussie Rules football for example) and they may also be raked with the studs if they are lying on the ground and stopping the ball from becoming available to the attacking side.
And finally, the slightest errors are punished severely in rugby. If a player accidentally knocks the ball forward with his hands or makes a forward pass and goes offside then the ball is given to the opposition. Imagine if every dropped ball or mis-control by a soccer player resulted in possession going to the opposition.
Where does it hurt?http://www.health24.com/images/_cont...es_it_hurt.jpg NECK AND BACKThe injuries contained in this section are probably the most scary to contemplate. If a rugby player suffers a serious injury in this category, death or permanent disability may be the result.
Between 5 to 10% of rugby injuries are related to the spine and hips, and nearly 5% are neck injuries.
Hookers and forwards are vulnerable to serious neck injuries when a scrum collapses; locks may hurt their necks and backs when their feet are pulled from under them during a jump in a lineout. High tackles can lead to serious neck and spine injuries.
The worst kind of back and neck injuries are those that involve the spinal cord. Depending on where along the spine an injury occurs, the result could be paraplegia (paralysis of the legs), quadruplegia (paralysis of all four limbs), or even death. Injuries to the neck area include cervical fractures, cervical dislocations, acute strains of the neck and upper back, cervical sprain (whiplash) and cervical disk injuries. If someone suffers a serious neck injury, death or permanent disability could result. This is evident from the number of rugby players who died or are paralysed after a neck injury.
http://images.supersport.co.za/Burge...070526GLbg.JPGThe Springboks didn’t exactly fire on all cylinders, but then they didn’t have to as they hammered England 58-10 in the first test at Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The South Africans were playing their first game of the year after just a week together. Seven days earlier the players in the Springbok starting team were tearing into each other for the Bulls and the Sharks in the Super 14 final.
Given all of this, it was understandable that the Boks were not all that fluid at the start, and to be honest, they were slightly disjointed for most of the way. But the England team they were playing against was decidedly second rate after being denuded of most of their first choice players because of last week’s Heineken Cup final.
That should not bother the victorious Boks though, for the South African team that lost 53-3 at Twickenham four and a half years ago was seriously under-strength too. And this emphatic triumph will go some way towards erasing that unhappy memory, with the possibility of even more to come when these two teams go to Fortress Loftus next week.
The game was not great shakes at the start, and for a while it seemed the emotional and physical toil put in by many of the players in the Super 14 had left the home team looking just a little bit jaded. The telling difference between the teams though was at the contact points, with England giving the impression at times that they were going backwards both on attack and on defence such was the force with which they were knocked back in the tackle.
Two early Percy Montgomery penalties gave the Boks a 6-0 lead after 17 minutes. Then came the moment Ashwin Willemse fans would have been waiting for as the wing, playing his first test match since the narrow defeat to Ireland in Dublin in November 2004, scored the first try of the match in the right hand corner.
It came off a buildup which included a sequence of drives upfield in the close channels before the ball was spread wide. Jean de Villiers was particularly impressive in ensuring that the ball was kept alive as he sent a perfect delayed pass to fullback Percy Montgomery who had the hand speed to put Willemse in.
Willemse had another good run later in the match before being replaced by Francois Steyn a quarter of an hour into the second half. When he left the field he had shown his paces and done enough to vindicate White’s decision to select him so soon after ending his long lay-off.
Before England had put any points on the board, the Boks had scored again, Bryan Habana grabbing onto a poor pass just inside his own 22 and sprinting 70 metres for the try and a 20-0 lead. When England did finally call the scoreboard operators into action it was from a long-range penalty, from just inside his own half, from Jonny Wilkinson.
The flyhalf was on the day generally as poor as most of his teammates, and although he was on target with the penalty, some of his tactical kicking and decision making was poor.
Decision making has always been a Jean de Villiers strength, but in this match so was his pace and finishing ability. The Boks had dispossessed England deep inside their own half, with De Villiers, Victor Matfield and skipper John Smit figuring in the basket-ball style passing that eventually found De Villiers in possession again with a small gap in front of him.
Once through it he was in the clear, but was twice challenged, once by two England defenders and he made them all look quite foolish as he wrong-footed them before going over for a great individual try.
With the Boks leading 30-3 at half-time, it looked as though the hosts might easily eclipse the 50 point deficit they lost by at Twickenham in 2002, but, and perhaps understandably considering how fatigued they might be after so much non-stop big rugby, they appeared to lose a bit of interest after the break.
They also made a couple of substitutions, and Bakkies Botha, so impressive in the initial stages, was missed in the last 40.
England had most of the ball in the second half and did most of the playing, but they were just so abjectly poor that it didn’t matter. They did score a try through James Simpson-Daniel during a period when the Boks were decidedly sloppy, but in the last 12 minutes of the match the Boks ran in four tries to complete the annihilation.
A feature of the last minutes was the play of Ruan Pienaar, who came on as a replacement not at his rightful position of scrumhalf, where Ricky Januarie was poor, but on the wing. His strong weaving runs played a prominent part in the tries rounded off by Francois Steyn and CJ van der Linde.
Talking of Steyn, he came on initially for Willemse, but ended up moving to inside centre when De Villiers left the field with an injury. It was the fourth position Steyn has played for the Boks in five matches (four tests and the match against a World XV) and he looked as accomplished there as he has looked at fullback, wing and flyhalf. It was a good start for the Boks, and White would have been pleased with the comeback form of Willemse as well as Schalk Burger, who took the man-of-match for a performance that was so typically Schalk, and which was capped with one of the tries scored in that late flurry.
the only problem with rugby is everyone only wins in their home countries, especially in tri nations ...
my pick for the world cup is france, all blacks are perennial chokers, south african don't usually do too well, as for us? haha, don't make me laugh, england are just utter shit without wilkinson and they only won the world cup in 03 because that guy kicked 85% of their points, england are so boring, hopefully france can take the cup because wallabies sure won't ... how the FUCK does the waratahs leading point scorer get snubbed for a 59 man squad, tuqiri scored ONE try in super 14, in the last game of the year, yet he's in there? they name 5 halves and don't name matt henjak? since we have 4 super teams, that means 3 teams have their starting halves in the squad, and 2 back ups?? doesn't make sense, fuck john connolly, eddie jones is the best tactical coach in rugby we should never of sacked him
i don't really know the sport but with a world cup approaching & all this free time i got on my hands i might as well support my country. i don't understand tone, why don't you have confidence in your country?
Ireland for the World Cup if we don't bottle it against the French. If not, then it'll be the Aussies, they're too good. Though New Zealand are monsters.
out of interest ramesh, did u watch the super 14 final? fantastic finish, the last couple of finals have been average in my opinion, new zealand teams play the break down game, lots of stoppages, penalties, not much open play - which is quit the opposite to the all blacks - i'm lookin forward to tri nations, if we can beat AB's and south africa at home, and put in a respectable perfomance against both away, win or lose i'll be happy but i fear we will be embarrased at the world cup, hypotheticaly you would assume we make it out of our group, which means we play england or south africa, if we play south africa then it's world cup over
the last time i watched rugby was the 1995 worldcup & a few games after that. i never really understood the game but now that i'm not working anymore i got alot of free time on my hands so i'm trying to get back into it. i will be watching from now until the worldcup ends if the sport rubs off on me by the end of the worldcup i will continue watching
it's not really an exciting sport, i basically just watch internationals, i dont fuck with the super 14s and shit, i'm more of a rugby league fan, union has too many stopages for me
Stade Toulousain, my heart is there.
with the worldcup coming up i can help you earn yourself some bucks
haha shit i didnt realise my private messaging was off
damn, i watched south africa the other morning, they fucking ripped apart england ... now south africa ( like everyone but the all blacks haha) are notorious for winning at home but not away, they're lucky the tri nations starts at home for them, they should easily beat us, if they beat the all blacks, all they need to do is basically beat us here and they should win tri nations and if they go into the world cup with some form shit i think they could go all the way, south africa v france would be one hell of a game
our rugby team has been absolutely slammed in the media lol i wouldnt like to be a rugby player right now lol
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/image...8281_jr203.jpghttp://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/o.gifAll Blacks thrash sorry France
New Zealand stroll to an emphatic 61-10 win over France in the second Test in Wellington.
Saturday, 09 June 2007
Argentina 24-6 Italy
Australia 49-0 Fiji
New Zealand 61-10 France
S Africa 35-8 Samoa
http://images.supersport.co.za/Houga...09KicksGbg.jpgThe great disparity between South Africa’s top side and the second string was shown as the Springboks made heavy weather of beating Samoa 35-8 in their rugby test match played at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The Springboks, fielding a side full of alternates and with no tried-and-tested combinations, scored five tries to one but struggled throughout to impose their will on the strongly-built islanders.
The only area in which the Springboks were completely dominant was in the scrums but for the rest there were some serious deficiencies -- once again highlighting the need to create match opportunities for the next level of players.
The Boks’ synchronization was poor throughout, their handling wretched, they tended to put boot to ball too readily, suffered from “white line fever” and gave their coaching staff plenty to think of with badly handled kick-offs and with the way they struggled (especially in the second half) to get and control possession.
However, it would be churlish to deny Samoa some credit for the role they played in disrupting their much-vaunted opponents in foreign conditions; especially as they played two periods of ten minutes a man down after scrumhalf Steven So’oialo and prop Justin Va’a had been yellow-carded for repeated offences.
Semi Sititi’s side were also not at full strength and always tried hard to move the ball wide -- probably deserving a better result given they way they often had the Boks at sixes and sevens (resulting in Bob Skinstad being yellow-carded for killing the ball illegally near the end) with hard running and slick passing.
NO STANDOUT PERFORMANCES
There were no standout individual performances from the Boks and the blazing controversy over Luke Watson’s selection fizzled out in the 50th minute when the Stormers captain had to leave the field (replaced by Pedrie Wannenburg) because of an injured shoulder.
Watson tried hard to stay as close to the ball as possible but blotted his report card with a bad knock-on and by losing the ball right under the Samoan posts, finally failing to provoke the superlatives his backers would have been hoping for.
Samoa were up against it in the scrums but it took the Boks 19 minutes to get their first try; John Smit riding a wave of forward pressure after two penalties had been kicked to the corner.
Next Samoa scrumhalf Steven So’oialo made a horrid error when his little back-flip went straight to Ricky Januarie and the nuggety little No 9 ran strongly, received support on the inside from Watson and Danie Rossouw, before the ball was swung wide to the other side of the field -- Wayne Julies putting a try on a plate for JP Pietersen with a well-weighted pass over the top.
And when Bob Skinstad won the ball on the ground, after a long Samoa lineout throw had gone awry, to set up Francois Steyn for the Boks’ third try (again after precision passing by Julies) it seemed the visitors were headed for a thrashing.
The Springboks led 23-3 in the 32nd minute but then lost focus completely and did not score again until the 58th minute -- and then through a somewhat fortuitous try by Wannenburg.
Scottish referee Malcolm Changleng, who verged on the punctilious throughout, clearly called “release seven!” to Rossouw in a ruck but then allowed the big flank to steal the ball and set in motion the counter attack, sparked by a strong run by JP Pietersen, that saw Wannenburg trundling up the middle in support and sending Lome Fa’atau tumbling head-over-heels as he crashed over.
Derick Hougaard’s kicking was off-key, missing three successive conversions after having goaled his first three kicks, but with a lead of 28-3 the Boks had at least set the scoreboard moving again after having been outplayed for much of the third quarter.
Percy Montgomery had come onto the field to replace Julies and was soon into the action -- scoring a try wide out that brought up his 700th point in international rugby.
The fullback turned his touch-down into a goal with a pinpoint conversion to make it 35-3 with 15 minutes to play but instead of the Boks finding some rhythm and accuracy it was Samoa who deservedly had the last word as their slick passing and angled running constructed a fine try for a man who had troubled the South Africans for the duration of the match -- outside centre Anitelela Tuilagi.
In the end it was a shabby performance by the Boks but, ironically, one that should stand them in good stead ahead of the Tri-Nations (which starts next Saturday with SA up against Australia at Newlands) in that it gave coach White the opportunity to give most of his fringe players a much-needed hit-out.
South Africa (23) 35: Tries by John Smit (19 min), JP Pietersen (23 min), Francois Steyn (32 min), Pedrie Wannenburg (58 min) and Percy Montgomery (63 min). Derick Hougaard kicked a conversion and two penalties and Montgomery a conversion. Samoa (3) 8: Try by Anitelela Tuilaga (76 min). Gavin Williams kicked a penalty.
ABSA Boktown - Soweto
Blacks' victory was so predictable.
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