Friday, December 30, 2005

Looking to the North is running this view on the NH 2006 scene. Interesting read. All pictures from

Who will set the game alight in 2006?
29 Dec 2005
Andrew Baldock, PA Sport Rugby Union Correspondent looks forward to another great year of Rugby

The 2006 rugby union year has a tough act to follow after Wales' exhilarating Six Nations success and the astounding achievements of Graham Henry's All Blacks during the past 12 months. But a sport that rarely disappoints - on the field, as opposed to some interminable squabbles off it - will inevitably produce another heady mix of thrills, spills and controversy. After dusting down the crystal ball, prospective winners and losers in 2006 were readily apparent, yet as Wales proved earlier this year, anything is possible.

RBS 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP Wales lit up a disappointing championship last season with their thrilling brand of all-action rugby - expect France to do likewise in 2006. Coach Bernard Laporte must sometimes struggle to contain himself when he assesses the playing talent at his disposal, and a Grand Slam is well within reach if France don't self-destruct. When you consider France beat Australia and South Africa during the autumn without two of world rugby's finest operators - centre Damien Traille and flanker Serge Betsen -- then they present a daunting challenge, especially for England and Ireland, who must both travel to Paris.

Grand Slam champions Wales could conceivably threaten again, but so much depends on their opening game against England at Twickenham in early February, where the loss of injured quartet Ryan Jones, Tom Shanklin, Kevin Morgan and Brent Cockbain, plus a suspended Gavin Henson, suggests it will be too tough a task. England's heavyweight pack will grunt and grind its way around Europe, decimating much in its path, but on current evidence, the world champions' lack of flair, ambition and creativity behind the scrum suggests a Six Nations title would be as satisfying for the neutral as Germany being crowned soccer World Cup winners on the back of five 1-0 wins.

Ireland will have Lions Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell available following long injury absences, yet the Irish cracked under pressure last season in ``must-win'' games against France and Wales, which doesn't auger well for trips to Paris and Twickenham this time around. While Scotland are displaying small shoots of recovery under new coach Frank Hadden, victory in a wooden spoon decider against Italy in Rome on March 18 could be their solitary success, although the Italians won't be easily subdued on home soil. Finishing order: 1 - France, 2 - England, 3 - Wales, 4 - Ireland, 5 - Scotland, 6 - Italy.

HEINEKEN CUP The popular view suggests Toulouse only need to turn up in five more Heineken Cup games this season, and a record fourth European title will be theirs, but I have doubts whether the tournament will become a French procession. Toulouse and Biarritz should undoubtedly feature heavily at the business end, while Stade Francais could also mount a strong bid, yet the Heineken Cup might ultimately find itself resting in somewhat less exalted surroundings - Edgeley Park, Stockport.
Four English clubs have already lifted the trophy - Bath, Northampton, Leicester and Wasps - and Philippe Saint-Andre's Sale Sharks are good enough to join that illustrious band at the Millennium Stadium next May, as long as they keep believing in themselves. Last eight: Sale Sharks, Cardiff Blues, Stade Francais, Biarritz, Bath, Toulouse, Munster, Perpignan. Winners: Sale Sharks.

GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP English rugby's flagship competition appears to be developing into a two-horse race between Sale and Wasps, despite the ludicrous play-off system that means a team finishing fourth after 22 games can still be crowned champions. Wasps have won all three Twickenham Grand Finals since the controversial concept was introduced, beating Gloucester, Bath and Leicester, and I am backing them to sink the Sharks on May 27, with Sale's Heineken Cup campaign steering them slightly off a successful domestic course.

POWERGEN CUP Wasps should complete the first leg of a league and cup double by being crowned Powergen winners at Twickenham on April 9. Back-to-back semi-finals five weeks earlier in Cardiff see Wasps tackling Leicester, whose away form is so poor they could hardly beat an egg on their travels this season let alone the reigning English champions, with renowned Welsh cup kings Llanelli Scarlets facing Bath. CELTIC LEAGUE Given the abject failure of the Welsh regions to make a mark on this season's competition, Irish representatives Munster, Ulster and Leinster could fill the top three places, with Munster shading the race for top honours. SUMMER TOURS Fear for Ireland on their two-Test mission against New Zealand in June, while the same could be said when Scotland go to South Africa, but England and Wales are both backed to win a Test on respective assignments in Australia and Argentina. TRI-NATIONS Can anyone stop New Zealand from retaining the Tri-Nations crown? No. WHO'S HOT? Charlie Hodgson - Sale Sharks star has finally emerged from Jonny Wilkinson's shadow to become an effective tactical controller for England. The best is yet to come. Yannick Jauzion - the supremely-gifted French star should underline his status as the world's best centre in 2006, spearheading an assault on Six Nations silverware. Dan Carter - the All Blacks fly-half hardly put a foot wrong throughout 2005 as New Zealand smashed Sir Clive Woodward's Lions, won the Tri-Nations and completed a successful Grand Slam tour of Great Britain and Ireland, but he thinks there is room for improvement.

WHO'S NOT? Gavin Henson - a 10-week ban has destroyed his Six Nations hopes. Plenty of time to top up the tan and get a proper haircut, then. Eddie O'Sullivan - the pressure is well and truly on Ireland's coach after a spectacular Six Nations collapse last season and emphatic autumn Test defeats against New Zealand and Australia. International Rugby Board - does anyone know what they actually do?

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Well I just could not resist-Vorsprung skop gat

Arti & Pics by

Audi's diesel racing monster for Le Mans
29/12/2005 12:36

Audi will be the first major manufacturer to compete next year in the 24 hour Le Mans race with a diesel racing car.

However, the R10 racing monster with a 650hp engine is no ordinary diesel. The 5.5 litre 12-cylinder TDI motor with bi-turbo charger is a completely new development.

Audi motor sport chief Dr Wolfgang Ullrich described the R10 project as the "biggest challenge ever by Audi Sport", taking the TDI technology to its limits.

The chassis was designed by computers in Ingolstadt and produced at the Dallara racing car factory in Italy.

The prototype weighs 900 kg and conforms to other regulations that include two rollover bars and more ground clearance in the flanks.

The Le Mans race is one of the most gruelling in motor sport along with the 500 mile Indianapolis and the Formula One Grand Prix in the streets of Monaco.

Seven-times Le Mans champion Tom Kristensen from Denmark will be one of three drivers to steer the R10 in the race scheduled for June 16-17, 2006.

Sevens Schedule Commonwealth Games

Melbourne will be hosting the 2006 Commonwealth Games from 15-26 March and Rugby Union will be represented by Sevens teams from 16 countries

This Rugby 7s Draw is accurate at the time of publication. All times, dates and locations of events are subject to change as details are finalised closer to the Games.

Note: As the formatting got a little haywire- just look at the legend- no not Fleck and navigate a bit.

Rugby 7s Team Draw

Pool A Pool B Pool C Pool D
1 New Zealand Fiji England South Africa
2 Kenya Scotland Australia Samoa
3 Wales Canada Cook Islands Tonga
4 Namibia Zambia Sri Lanka Uganda

Day Date Session Start Time End Time Match Round Pool Nations

1 Thurs 16 Mar Afternoon 10:30 am 10:46 am 1 Preliminary B Fiji v Canada
10:52 am 11:08 am 2 Preliminary B Scotland v Zambia
11:14 am 11:30 am 3 Preliminary A New Zealand v Wales
11:36 am 11:52 am 4 Preliminary A Kenya v Namibia
11:58 am 12:14 pm 5 Preliminary D South Africa v Tonga
12:20 pm 12:36 pm 6 Preliminary D Samoa v Uganda
12:42 pm 12:52 pm Interval / Entertainment
12:52 pm 1:08 pm 7 Preliminary C England v Cook Islands
1:14 pm 1:30 pm 8 Preliminary C Australia v Sri Lanka
1:36 pm 1:52 pm 9 Preliminary B Fiji v Zambia
1:58 pm 2:14 pm 10 Preliminary B Scotland v Canada
2:20 pm 2:36 pm 11 Preliminary A New Zealand v Namibia
2:42 pm 2:58 pm 12 Preliminary A Kenya v Wales
Evening 6:00 pm 6:16 pm 13 Preliminary D South Africa v Uganda
6:22 pm 6:38 pm 14 Preliminary D Samoa v Tonga
6:44 pm 7:00 pm 15 Preliminary C England v Sri Lanka
7:06 pm 7:22 pm 16 Preliminary C Australia v Cook Islands
7:28 pm 7:44 pm 17 Preliminary B Canada v Zambia
7:50 pm 8:06 pm 18 Preliminary A Wales v Namibia
8:12 pm 8:22 pm Interval / Entertainment
8:22 pm 8:38 pm 19 Preliminary D Tonga v Uganda
8:44 pm 9:00 pm 20 Preliminary C Cook Islands v Sri Lanka
9:06 pm 9:22 pm 21 Preliminary B Fiji v Scotland
9:28 pm 9:44 pm 22 Preliminary A New Zealand v Kenya
9:50 pm 10:06 pm 23 Preliminary D South Africa v Samoa
10:12 pm 10:28 pm 24 Preliminary C England v Australia
2 Fri 17 Mar Afternoon 12:00 pm 12:16 pm 25 Quarter Final Bowl - 3rd Pool A vs 4th Pool B
12:22 pm 12:38 pm 26 Quarter Final Bowl - 3rd Pool D vs 4th Pool C
12:44 pm 1:00 pm 27 Quarter Final Bowl - 3rd Pool C vs 4th Pool D
1:06 pm 1:22 pm 28 Quarter Final Bowl - 3rd Pool B vs 4th Pool A
1:28 pm 1:38 pm Interval / Entertainment
1:38 pm 1:54 pm 29 Quarter Final 1st Pool A vs 2nd Pool B
2:00 pm 2:16 pm 30 Quarter Final 1st Pool D vs 2nd Pool C
2:22 pm 2:38 pm 31 Quarter Final 1st Pool C vs 2nd Pool D
2:44 pm 3:00 pm 32 Quarter Final 1st Pool B vs 2nd Pool A
Evening 6:00 pm 6:16 pm 33 Semi-Final Bowl - Winner Match 25 vs Winner Match 26
6:22 pm 6:38 pm 34 Semi-Final Bowl - Winner Match 27 vs Winner Match 28
6:44 pm 7:00 pm 35 Semi-Final Plate - Loser Match 29 vs Loser Match 30
7:06 pm 7:22 pm 36 Semi-Final Plate - Loser Match 31 vs Loser Match 32
7:28 pm 7:44 pm 37 Semi-Final Winner Match 29 vs Winner Match 30
7:50 pm 8:06 pm 38 Semi-Final Winner Match 31 vs Winner Match 32
8:12 pm 8:22 pm Interval / Entertainment
8:22 pm 8:45 pm 39 Final Bowl - Winner Match 33 vs Winner Match 34
8:52 pm 9:15 pm 40 Final Plate - Winner Match 35 vs Winner Match 36
9:22 pm 9:45 pm 41 Final Bronze Medal Match - Loser Match 37 vs Loser Match 38
9:52 pm 10:15 pm 42 Final Gold Medal Match - Winner Match 37 vs Winner Match 38

I do believe that it would not be too arrogant to believe that we will head pool D- but with Samoa and Tonga there, it is not the weakest group either. Mr Hougaardt must be glad that he is not considered a sevens player.

That leaves us to play either Engeland or the hosts- Australia. If we do advance to the semi- it seems that we will be playing the current commonwealth Champions AB's as they should be topping Group A and should be able to beat Scotland/Canada in the Quarters. We have beaten the Blacks in sevens before and if the Boks manage that again a final will most likely be between the men in green and 2002 Games runners-up Fidji- as they might just win a resurgent England Sevens team in the other semi-final.

According to the official Commonwealth Games Website, the results of the 2002 games in Manchester is as follows:

Gold New Zealand Cup winners
Silver Fiji Cup Semi-F
Bronze South Africa Cup Semi-F
4 Samoa Cup Semi-F
5 England Plate winners
6 Australia Plate 2nd
7 Scotland Bowl winners
8 Tonga Bowl 2nd
- Kenya Bowl Semi-F
- Cook Islands Bowl Semi-F
- Niue Bowl QF
- Sri Lanka Bowl QF
- Malaysia Bowl QF
- Trinidad & TobagoBowl QF
- Canada Plate Semi-F
- Wales Plate Semi-F

Wilko's back....again reports that Jonny Wilkinson will be making a return to the Newcastle team this weekend- from the bench. It seems that although the Falcons is hovering above the relegation zone- Mr Wilkinson is not being pressed into the Premiership at full haste. It maybe that the Falcons management staff have information that his return will not have an immediate impact or that influence from above is protecting him from being tried too soon. This may have lead to the earlier breakdowns just after returning from lenghty injury breaks.

All images- unless otherwise listed are from

Wilkinson could return on New Year's Day

Jonny Wilkinson could begin his latest comeback from injury when Newcastle tackle Guinness Premiership visitors Worcester on New Year's Day. World Cup hero Wilkinson has not played for more than six weeks, having undergone groin surgery in yet another fitness setback during a catalogue of injuries over the past two years.

Photo: Sportsbeat Images

Wilkinson's last England appearance came in the 2003 World Cup final, while he has only started four games for Newcastle this season.


The Falcons have no intention of rushing him back into action, but a run-out off the replacements' bench against Worcester would at least see him launch 2006 on a positive note.

Photo: Sportsbeat Images

``He was pretty close for the Leeds game,'' said Newcastle rugby director Rob Andrew, following a 13-10 victory over the Premiership's bottom club at Headingley. ``We will see how we go tomorrow and Friday. We will not force him, as that would be stupid, but equally, if he is right for Sunday he will take some part in the game.''

Photo: Sportsbeat Images

Mathew Tait's try made the difference as Newcastle halted a recent Leeds resurgence that left Tykes pinned to the Premiership basement, two points behind fellow strugglers Northampton. ``The players responded magnificently,'' added Andrew. ``Two days after Christmas, they have given everything for the club - you cannot ask for any more than that.''

OORB was really impressed by the official Falcons website and recommends it as a recommended read for anyone who is currently designing a website for a Rugby Union.

Ag -***

Nederlands het sekerlik die grootse bydrae tot die afrikaanse taal gemaak en eers as mens die antieke germaans belangstellend lees- navors klink so belangrik- en sien hoe dit in engels en sweeds voortleef verstaan mens die ingeweefdheid van my moedertaal. Dan het mens nog nie eers die veelkleurigheid van die kaapse konneksie aangeraak nie.

Ek het die volgende begrippe nie by my moeder geleer nie maar gelukkig darem 'n kleurvol- genoeg lewe tot nou toe gehad om lekker daaroor te glimlag.

Of dit werklik deur die Proffessor Combrink geskryf is, dat wiet ik niet, maar die volgende stukkie het in my e-in-mandjie geland en ek moes dit net deel.

Hiermee 'n pennevrug van Prof. Johan Combrink, voormalige Voorsitter

van die Taalkommissie van die S.A. Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns.


Een van die interessantste, kleurvolste woorde in Afrikaans, is die

leenwoord fok en sy familie. Dis 'n towerwoord wat, bloot deur sy

klank, vreugde of pyn, liefde of haat, ontdekking of frustrasie kan weergee.

Fok is een van die min woorde wat die funksie van so te sê alle woordsoorte

kan vervul.

Dit word as oorganklike werkwoord gebruik (Fok die hele spul), en as

onoorganklike werkwoord (Aag fok), as bevel (Fok dit!), in die

bedrywende vorm (Dit het my gefok), sowel as die lydende vorm (Nou is jy gefok),

as die hoofelement in 'n hele reeks skeibare werkwoorde (aanfok, opfok,

uitfok, toefok, voortfok, byfok, agteroorfok, agternafok), ens. of as stam van

'n werkwoord (Nou het jy die hele ding befok).

As abstrakte selfstandige naamwoord (Ek gee nie 'n fok om nie), of as

persoonsnaam (Het jy gesien wat die fokker probeer doen?), as

nabepaling by 'n vraagwoord (Hoe de fok, wie de fok, hoekom de fok, wanneer de fok,

ens.), as byvoeglike naamwoord (Waar moet ek die fokken tyd vandaan kry?), as

bywoord (Dis nou 'n fokken mooi grap), en as uitroep (O fok!).

Selfs ook as invoegsel (Onge-fokken-looflik). Dit kan ook in himself

ingevoeg word (Nou is jy be-fokken-fok).

Hierdie Afrikaanse woord kan gebruik word om wyd uiteenlopende

situasies te beskryf:

Verrassing Hoe de fok gaan dit met jou?

Bedrog Die motorhawe het my befok.

Ontsteltenis Ag fokkit!

Moeilikheid Nou is ek in my moer in gefok.

Aggressie Fok jou!

Onvermoë Hoe de fok moet ek dit regkry?

Walging Fok my!

Wanbegrip Ek fokken verstaan nie.

Inkompetensie Hy fok alles op.

Gesag Wat de fok dink jy doen jy?

Verdwaal Nou weet ek not 'n fok waar ek is nie.

Oortuig Onge-fokken-twyfeld.

Dit kan horlosietyd beskryf (Presies half-fokken-vyf), of omstandighede

(Hoe het ek in hierdie fokken job beland?), of persone (Jan Fokken


of dinge (Kyk hoe lyk jou fokken skoene!), of plekke (Tot in fokken


of dit kan die siel van 'n uitnodiging wees wat van hartlikheid drup

(Fok u!).

Fok is in Afrikaans onge-fokken-ewenaard!

(Prof. Johan Combrink, voormalige Voorsitter van die Taalkommissie van

die S.A. Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns)


A stranger was seated next to little Tommy on the plane when the stranger
turned to the boy and said, "Let's talk. I've heard that flights will go
quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger."

Little Tommy, who had just opened his book, closed it slowly, and said to
the stranger, "What would you like to discuss?"

Oh, I don't know," said the stranger. "How about nuclear power?"
"Ok" said little Tommy. "That could be an interesting topic. But let me ask
you a question first.

A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat grass.
The same stuff. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a
flat patty, and a horse produces clumps of dried grass.
Why do you suppose that is?"
"Jeez," said the stranger. "I have no idea."
"Well, then," said little Tommy, "How is it that you feel qualified to
discuss nuclear power when you don't know shit?"

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Santa was spotted

It seems that Santa was spotted in the UK this X-mas, but as most eager giftwrap -ripping youngsters usually ascertains with the accompaning heartbreak- Santa again did not go ''all the way"

Photo from

When 7 can be ele..Ten

OORB foumd this descriptive part about sevens on What is really interesting is the reference to 10's.

I wonder what the training field's application here would be- since our teams lack so-called flair- if you rather wouldplay 10's than sevens.

Rugby Primer
Sevens & Tens
Sevens is typically played only during tournaments. A sevens match consists of two seven minute halves and is a much faster game than fifteens due to the smaller number of players on a standard sized pitch providing ample running space. The players on a sevens team are as follows:
#1 Prop#2 Hooker#3 Prop
#4 Scrumhalf#5 Flyhalf#6 Centre#7 Wing
The same general game principles are used except tactics are quite different. Scrums feature only opposing front rows. Rucks and mauls are very fast and small, with defense and tackling of paramount importance to reduce the many opportunities for breaks. One major difference from fifteens is that after a penalty goal or try is scored, the ball is kicked to the non-scoring team from the 50 metre line to restart play.
Tens is played with ten players in combinations of either 5 forwards/5 backs or 3 forwards/ 7 backs. The team with the scrum feed gets to determine the number of forwards in the scrum. The opposing team is required to match them. The tens game is a little slower than sevens and has a flow much more similar to fifteens. Each of the halves is ten minutes long. Tens is also typically only played during tournaments.
This has been a very brief overview of rugby union play. There are many more aspects and facets to all three variations of the game. Training is also very necessary to ensure the safety of play. Check with your local club for practice and match times to learn more.

The rugby dictionary is available as a glossary of rugby terms. For a shortcut to any of the more detailed descriptions of various aspects of play, please use the buttons on the right hand side of the page to navigate the primer.

Kerry's gone "Packing"

Please do not read disrespect in the title of this story. Whether you like Aussies- or dislike them intensely- the fact remains that Kerry Packer was a larger than life Australian and the way he "batted & googlied", also had an influence on South African Cricket.

OORB wants to extends its condolences to the entire Packer family and his friends.

RIP- big man- it surely seems that you had lived life to the fullest.

These three articles and photograph, are from the Adelaide Advertiser.


CRADLED in the arms of his wife and with his children at his side, Australia's richest man died on Monday night after simply "running out of petrol".

Kerry Packer, a hard-living larrikin who built a media fortune worth $6.9 billion, passed away peacefully in the bedroom of his Sydney home in the company of wife Ros, daughter Gretel, 39, and son James, 37, who had flown back from the Maldives to be with him.

His cardiologist of eight years, Dr Ian Bailey, from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, said Mr Packer, 68, knew he was dying late last week and had decided to "go with dignity". Suffering kidney and heart failure and faced with the decision of whether to prolong his life and suffer more dialysis and drug intervention, he decided it was time to stop fighting.

Describing Mr Packer as "the bravest patient I have ever known", Dr Bailey said: "He knew his body better than the doctors did and made his own decisions about treatment.

"He was going into organ failure last week and he was suffering. He was ready to die. There were no more rabbits to pull out of the hat." Dr Bailey said he was overwhelmed seeing Mr Packer die because his patient had seemed "immortal".

As news of the media magnate's death was announced yesterday by Richard Wilkins on the Today show on Channel 9, the television network he owned, tributes began flowing in from politicians, sporting greats and community leaders.

Prime Minister John Howard described Mr Packer as "a generous, very philanthropic person" who was "always concerned about what was right for Australia".

News Corporation chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch said Mr Packer was "a life-long friend, fierce competitor and the most successful businessman of our generation".

Cricketer Shane Warne hailed him as "a wonderful character, a close friend".

Throughout the day, friends and family began arriving at the Packer mansion. A heavily pregnant Gretel was seen briefly on a balcony talking on a mobile phone, while James walked the property's gardens.

At the Channel 9 studios in Sydney, flags flew at half mast.

Having beaten polio as a child, Mr Packer had beaten the odds many times before.

He survived his first heart attack on a Sydney polo field in 1990 despite being clinically dead for eight minutes.

A heavy smoker for many years, he suffered from angina and underwent a quintuple heart bypass later in 1990 and flew to the U.S. for another heart operation in 1998. In 2000, he received a kidney transplant.

Many had expected that Mr Packer's heart might finally kill him, but it was the failing kidney, donated by his friend and helicopter pilot Nick Ross, that finally contributed to cutting his life short.

From 'my idiot son' to six billion dollar man

KERRY Packer, Australia's richest man for the past four decades, was not his father's first choice to take over the family-owned media empire.

From the mid-1950s, Sir Frank Packer had wanted Kerry's elder brother, Clyde, to succeed him at the helm of Consolidated Press Holdings and the family's television stations in Melbourne and Sydney.

But by the mid-1960s, Sir Frank's plan for succession began to flake after Clyde embarked on a career in the NSW Parliament as a Liberal Upper House member.

Clyde's desire for the top job evaporated in August, 1972, after Sir Frank blocked a Mike Willesee interview with then ACTU President Bob Hawke from going to air.

He left the family business.

When Sir Frank died in May, 1974, Kerry, then deputy chairman of Consolidated Press and the TV businesses, took formal control. It was an amazing rise for a man who had dyslexia and was often introduced by his father as "my idiot son".

Mr Packer's importance as a corporate leader was soon apparent. While media are still a core part of the group his son, James, 38, now controls, the overall business diversified.

Assets such as Crown casino and the Burswood casino in Perth have generated much higher returns than foundation assets such as Women's Weekly. Mr Packer used the bare-knuckled business style of Sir Frank, who established the market dominance of his TV stations and magazines by blending ruthlessness with rewarding loyal staff.

But he added a strategic genius exemplified by his transactions with Alan Bond in 1987.

The deals resulted in Bond handing over $800 million cash and $255 million in preference shares for control of the Nine Network. Less than three years later, Mr Packer reacquired the business for $200 million. The acquisition of Crown casino in the late 1990s was done in similar circumstances.

In both cases, Mr Packer negotiated to buy high-profile assets that were suffering financial stress and mismanagement.

In May, 1977, World Series Cricket extended Mr Packer's profile beyond Sydney and the legacy of his father.

Mr Packer shocked the world cricket establishment by signing up 35 of the world's best players.

International stars such as Greg Chappell, Viv Richards and Tony Greig agreed to play in cricket games to compete against official Test matches the following summer in Australia.

Mr Packer had made several unsuccessful bids to win broadcasting rights for Test matches.

On December 2, 1977, former Australian Test captain Ian Chappell led a rebel team on to VFL Park for the first World Series supertest against Clive Lloyd's star-studded West Indians. Channel 9's cameras caught all the action with support from advertisers such as McDonald's and Coca Cola.

That day, Test legend Bob Simpson returned to lead an official Test team at the Gabba for the first of a five-match series against India. ABC TV covered the official action.

Mr Packer's heavy promotion and innovations drew fans. By May, 1979, the war with the Australian Cricket Board was over. Mr Packer secured long-term broadcast rights to Tests.

His gambling was legendary. Perhaps his most stunning plunge was at Flemington in 1997 when he and former Crown boss Lloyd Williams won more than $6 million on Melbourne Cup winner Might and Power.

Gambling also brought him heartache. He was said to have lost $28.2 million on blackjack at a London den in 2000. That was eclipsed later in the year when he blew $33.3 million at Bellagio casino in Las Vegas.

Mr Packer was not outspoken on politics and matters of public interest. But several Channel 9 journalists and program planners were on the receiving end of blasts from The Boss, when stories he did not like went to air. His most theatrical foray into public debate came in November, 1991, when he reluctantly appeared before a parliamentary committee into the newspaper industry.

Each of the 11 MPs on the committee, including now Treasurer Peter Costello, was blasted off the TV stage by the mogul.

"Of course I'm minimising tax. If anybody in this country does not minimise tax they want their head read because, as a Government, I can tell you, you are not spending it that well that we should be donating extra," he told the committee.

His anger often was stirred by the role of the media. His feelings stemmed partly from what he saw as gratuitous reporting of allegations made against him in the 1984 Costigan Royal Commission. The "goanna" allegations said he was involved in illegal drug running, unlawful tax schemes and other unsavoury activities. None was proven and, in 1985, John Fairfax & Sons, proprietor of the National Times, which published the most serious claims, apologised.

Midas touch made sport the winner

KERRY Packer's grasp on the Australian sporting landscape extended far beyond the coloured clothes and bright lights of the World Series Cricket revolution.

From the nation's finest golf courses and its manicured horse-racing tracks to suburban rugby league grounds, there were very few places his influence did not reach.

At about the time he put the wheels in motion for World Series Cricket in the mid-1970s, Packer arguably saved another summer sport when he pumped bucket-loads of cash into resuscitating the flagging Australian golf tour.

Never a man to do things by halves, Packer flew in loads of U.S. Tour players to take on the Australian course in Sydney, which he had redesigned by Jack Nicklaus.

The big names, including Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, jumped on a chartered jet in Los Angeles and arrived on a course with artificial hills for spectators and kilometres of underground cables for television coverage. The Australian Open went from outhouse to penthouse.

The affectionate term for horse racing - the sport of kings - could very well have been coined for Packer. With Melbourne casino boss Lloyd Williams, he owned 1993 Victoria Derby winner Mahogany and 1996 Golden Slipper winner Merlene.

In the Flemington enclosure prior to Mahogany's win, former champion jockey Greg Hall confidently told Packer to double his bet. Packer left for the betting ring, plonked on another $1 million and Mahogany duly saluted.

Packer's biggest contribution to racing was through his television interests, which first broadcast Sydney racing. Through Sky Channel telecasts, Packer oversaw a revolution bringing live racing to clubs, pubs and homes.

For Australia's No. 1 punter - who once staked $55 million during the Sydney Autumn Carnival and dropped $19 million in a single night at the roulette tables in London - his biggest gamble was to come.

Packer had plenty to lose when he backed the Australian Rugby League against the Rupert Murdoch-funded Super League in two bitter years before a joint competition was agreed in 1998.

The rival AFL code has recently reaped millions from Packer's involvement, through Channel Nine. Just three days before his death, the AFL accepted a $780 million five-year offer from Nine to broadcast matches beyond 2006. A rival bid by the Seven and Ten networks has until January 5 to match the Nine offer.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

When the arch- spins

When you read the self-pontification pom(courtesy of DavidS) on Keo- the mumblings of St Michael, you will read of the benign nature of the British Empire.

It is really doubted if our celtic firebrand Murph will ever agree with him, but another empire that was ruthless in the subjection of its colonies have left us with a legacy of excellence.

I found this gem at the following site :

Photies - courtesy of


PS- It seems that spinning was not invented by the Poison Dwarf ;-) and alas not perfected either.

The term soap-dodgers also came to mind here.

The Influence of Roman Engineering and Architecture
Colin Szasz, McGill University, School of Architecture

The ingeniousness and beauty of Roman architecture has not been lost on us in the 2000 years since it was built. Even today, we still marvel at what incredible builders the Romans were, and at the sheer scale and integrity of many of their projects. It is hard to argue that today’s architecture will maintain the same lasting grandeur as that which the Romans built. If we can still respect and admire the grandeur of Rome as it was in it’s day, one can only imagine how much of an influence people of the time felt, due to the incredible innovations that the Romans brought to the new regions of their empire. In fact, it is because of the superior engineering skills and architectural ideas possessed by the Romans, and respected by others, that allowed them to conquer, influence and rule such a vast area of the world, for such an extended period of time. Citizens of regions conquered by Rome were the beneficiaries of Roman innovations such as a (public) fresh water supply, bridges over previously impassable rivers, roads linking all parts of the empire (especially to the capital) and incredible public buildings like the forums and baths. They were more easily persuaded into acceptance once the Romans arrived when they saw or heard of these innovations which they realized could have such a huge and beneficial impact on their lifestyles.

The first thing the Romans did upon entering a new region, after winning the war that gained them their new territory, was construct roads and bridges. This was the best way to “Romanize” the new areas, as it permitted easier communication between the colony and the mother country. The roads all led to the capital, which solidified its position as the centre of power, and also allowed the rulers easier and faster access to the colonies when necessary. It has been said that at the peak of Rome’s power, one could travel from the English Channel all the way to Rome without ever fording a stream, simply because the Romans had built so many bridges to link its colonies. As the Romans were the first to master bridge building on such a large scale, they had a huge influence on the people in even the most remote regions. Places that had been impassible could suddenly be crossed by bridge. The bridges were a commanding presence on the landscape as well, easily conveying the sense of who was in power and influencing the people of the region. The Puente Alcantara in Spain can perhaps best show the expansive influence that the Romans held through their bridges, (Images 1 and 2). Built in AD100 and still standing today, Puente Alcantara reaches 164 feet at its highest point, is 600 feet long and has spans of 92 to 98 feet wide. Such an example of architecture so far from the centre of power is a lasting monument to the influential power once held by the Romans. People were drawn into conformity when they saw the superior skills of the Romans, who also perfected pile driving for the construction of bridges and built each bridge arch as self-supporting to avoid damage to the entire structure if only one portion was damaged. The Roman use of the arch itself, which had never been used to such a great extent before, is itself the main reason they were able to build the huge and influential structures that they were.

The use of the arch was of course not limited to bridges; it was common in all Roman architecture of the time. The next major use for it in the new colonies, however, was in the construction of a water supply system—the system of Roman aqueducts. Rome already had an extensive system of aqueducts to supply the city with fresh water, and the Romans used the same system in other regions to civilize the “barbarian” tribes they had just subdued. Such a system was unheard of in other civilizations. The Romans were a very sanitary and hygienic people to whom fresh water was very important. The new colonies had never been concerned about such sanitation. The Romans, however, were able to bring fresh water to the towns from long distances away by carrying it through tunnels and over valleys with their towering aqueducts. This water was then used for the public baths and toilets, besides the expected drinking water. The fact that this water was for the public, and not reserved for private use, pleased people in the new colonies even more, and made them even more accepting of Roman control. The actual aqueducts themselves, built by the Romans to carry the water, were perhaps even more influential. Aqueducts like Pont du Gard at Nimes (Images 3 and 4), or Segovia in Spain (Image 5), the latter of which still carries water today, were monumental landmarks in the colonies where they were built and still are today. That the Romans would build such magnificent and monumental structures for the sole purpose of supplying water to its colonies was likely overwhelming to those benefiting from it.

So the Romans supplied the towns with water, and made travel between towns easier. But what about improving life within the town itself? It is in the public buildings such as the bath, the forum and the amphitheater, which people used and experienced daily, where Rome was able to exert its greatest influence. The fact that these buildings were open to all and not reserved for an elitist group of society only increased their significance. It is arguable that the grandness of the baths has yet to be surpassed in any public building since. These were huge, lavishly ornamented structures where citizens would go not only to bathe, but also for sports, club-life and exhibitions of art. The baths acted as a community centre, uniting citizens in the towns in which they were located. There was also the Roman invention of the forum, today’s equivalent of which would be city hall, the law courts, a marketplace and a church all combined in a single structure. It was a novel idea that one could go to a single building at the centre of town and find everything they needed. People were also allowed open discussion here and were able to publicly voice their opinions and socialize with fellow citizens. However, the forum’s accessibility and openness should not hide the fact that it was used by the Romans as a control centre, where legislative duties for the town were carried out, giving Rome further influence over the citizens. The amphitheaters cannot be forgotten, as they were used by the Romans to please and placate people through the presentation of spectacles. Their architectural grandeur was also influential, however, as they were usually four stories tall, could be covered by a canopy, and were the size of two theatres put together. The Romans didn’t build the public buildings just for their own good, they were used to show “who’s boss” and keep people appeased. These buildings were superior to anything else that had been or was being built, which helped Rome keep the territory it had conquered.

It is still difficult to comprehend that the Romans were able to create an empire as vast and as powerful as they did. Lasting several centuries and covering Europe, Asia Minor and Northern Africa and even overtaking their historical enemies the Greeks, their empire was of a magnitude that has been unsurpassed but often dreamed. When we look back at how they achieved such widespread influence there is no doubt that the principal factor in their achievements was due to their superior skills in architecture and engineering of the day. They brought fresh clean water to the towns and cities they conquered using the aqueducts which are still inspiring and influential monuments today. We can only imagine the significance they held 2000 years ago. As Frontius said of the aqueducts, they are “…a signal testimony to the greatness of the Roman Empire.”

The water brought by the aqueducts was then distributed to the public and used in even more magnificent structures like the baths. How could people not be influenced by such great inventions as these and the forum and the amphitheater, which were used by the Romans not only to please the people but also to help maintain power? The Romans built bridges and roads to link their new colonies and built them so they were a lasting and powerful presence. These bridges were not just a show of power in their grandeur, but were also used by the Romans as quick access to the colonies they needed to keep under control. People of the world were not nearly as advanced in terms of the engineering ability of the Romans, and were persuaded to accept Roman rule. They respected and admired the Roman’s superior abilities and innovations and were therefore easier to conquer and less likely to revolt, allowing the Romans to expand their empire and maintain their influence for such a long time. The Romans no doubt improved their quality of life upon conquering them, and it is hard not to accept a new ruling class if such improvements are occurring. The greatness of the Roman Empire as it was is a direct result of the fact that they were such superior engineers and architects.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Hasta La Vista -Mr Jones

It may be a cliche in sending a coach packing, but it seems that the Aussies is fed up with the way Rugby Union is being administrated and coached.

Much has been said about Eddie Jones, the injuries to key players etc. I have found this article on as well- and for me , it sums up the Australian situation quite accurately

The view from Australia – wrap of 2005

by Rollo Manning

19 December 2005
The year of 2005 will be one the Australian Rugby Union will want to forget as it moves ahead in the quest for the Rugby World Cup in 2007. The organisation has been shaken by the departure of the number one coach (Eddie Jones) and the Chairman of the ARU (Dilip Kumar) as the results are scrutinized and excuses sought for the blackest season in Wallaby history since 1973. In that year the Wallabies were beaten by the touring Tongan team playing in its first official International Rugby Board sanctioned tour.

The 2005 points for and against flatter the scene with 386 for to 302 against - the early year Test wins against Samoa and Italy when 143 points were scored for to only 28 against help flatter the result as does five wins and eight losses sounds better than six losses in a row.
There are three components to a successful Wallaby team – the players, the coaching staff and the central administration. On each count and based on 2005 the ARU has failed.

The players battled on with injuries a plenty but this only helped to emphasize the lack of depth in Australian rugby. The priority in the minds of the ARU Board should be to quickly get a competition in place that will emulate the National Provincial Championship in New Zealand or the Currie Cup in South Africa . When the All Blacks can change an entire 15 players (as they did v Ireland ) and still win with flying colors it brings into focus the shallow base Australian rugby is built on and the dire need for greater local competition between Super 14 and club rugby.

On the coaching front Eddie Jones could not have gone quickly enough. This former hooker with the Randwick Club in Sydney took Australian rugby from a high after the 1999 World Cup through a miraculous victory over the All Blacks at RWC 2003 to its lowest point since the late 60s early 1970s era. One of his most recent gaffs was to take on the Spring Tour of Britain three rookie players (Loane, Houston and Wallace-Harrison) and not give them a game. While Jones's career as the National coach hinged on winning, the win at all cost attitude only holds the game back in developing young players. They were on tour to play and not just for a bonding exercise. It appeared Jones went ahead picking his best team to save his own soul and failed.

The replacement for Jones is the subject of speculation and time must be taken to find the best available. The Wallabies do not play a game until June 2006 and that time will give a new coach to work with the Super 14 coaches in identifying talent.

The final component for success – sound administration – is not in a healthy state. Gary Flowers, CEO of the ARU after John O'Neill, has failed to meet the expectations. This is due to the fact that running an organisation like the ARU needs people skills better found in a former State-wide bank manger (O'Neill) than a partner in a law firm (Flowers).
The teamwork needed across the board in the ARU will be almost as important as selecting the right players. A strong CEO will motivate and guide development – Flowers has since his appointment in May 2004 shown a far too conciliatory approach with out the “grunt” being called for in the Wallaby front row.

Bring on 2006 – it has to get better than this!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Navigational Error benefits Lions

Seeing that OORB is totally in the festive mood- this x-mas card is sent to all Lions supporters- so that they can also "get" something in 2005.

OORB cannot acknowledge the copyright holder of this image as it was sent to Oranje_Orakel as an attachement to an e-mail. I honestly believe that the humour contained should be spread, none the less.

Hougaard's present

It seems that Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer will be visiting the Hougaard adobe in Blue Bull Vale after all.

OORB can confirm that Mr Naka Drotske, Team Manager of the Vodacom Cheetahs, did confirm earlier today that they are not in talks with Brian Lima to join the Vodacom Cheetahs for the Super 14 tournament.

So Derrick relax boet- you only have to think about Barry Goodes, Ryno vd Merwe, Hendro Scoltz & Co.

Hey You- Do you want to run your own Club?

The new Vodacom Cheetahs website is carrying this invitation for individuals to apply to run a Cheetah Supporters Club in their region.

Visit for more detail.

Cheetahs Supporters Club


The new Supporters Club of the Free State Vodacom Cheetahs is now in process with the aim of supporting the team financially and physically by means of attending games and other functions. The Supporters Club is created to satisfy the needs of all the Cheetahs supporters, regardless where the supporters stay or live.

Branches will be established in as many cities and towns as possible with a committee in every city or town to manage the club in conjunction with the main club.

Features & Benefits:

Free SMS during the ABSA Currie Cup season.

Discounts at several stores and businesses country wide.

Certain financial benefits for the person organizing the club.

Arranging Vodacom Cheetahs golf and dinner days.

Tours to Vodacom Cheetah games.

Branches of the Vodacom Cheetah Shop will be made available to the "franchise" club and memorabilia at cost prices.


Any person who is capable of organizing supporters and who have the infra structure can apply to run a "franchise" club.

Only one club per City or Town will be allowed.


The Clubs will initially be awarded to a person or persons for the period of 3 years.


A certain percentage of all income generated by the supporter club will go back to the Cheetahs (Pty) Ltd. Detail of the exact % will be discussed with every franchisee.

A yearly budget in conjunction with the Cheetah (Pty) Ltd will be compiled.


Vodacom Cheetahs Clubs is now available country wide.

For more info contact

Piet de Necker: work +27 (0)51-4071742
Mobile +27823398598
Louw Bezuidenhoudt: work +27(0)56-2134891
Mobile +27824552612

Supporters Club Contact Persons:

Sasolburg, Parys, Heilbron, Meyerton, and Vereniging Region.
Dawie Le Roux by: 083 6255920

Pretoria Region:
Riaan Waldick
Cell: 082 518 7865
Fax: 012 - 328 5936

Johannesburg Region:
Kobus van Rooyen
Tel = 011 - 477 3054
Fax2email = 086 680 0321
Cell = 083 2777 955.

Bothaville Region:
Rikus Venter: 084 6030558

Who laughs last...

Whilst researching the possibility of a good story build-up between Brian Lima- Derrick Hougaard, if the Lima move to the Cheetahs does materialise, I got this joke from

The relevance lies unfortunately in the accompanying photo from


Derrick Hougaard goes into the South African changing room to find all his team mates looking a bit glum. "What's up?" he asks. "Well, we're having trouble getting motivated for this game. We know it's important but we've just beaten the Georgia and Samoa in consecutive weeks and let's be honest, it's only England. They're useless and we can't be bothered".

Derrick looks at them and says "Well, the way I've been playing recently, I reckon I can beat these guys by myself, you lads go down the pub." So Derrick goes out to play England by himself and the rest of the SA team go off for a few jars. After a few pints they wonder how the game is going, so they get the landlord to put the telly on.

A big cheer goes up as the screen reads "England 0 - South Africa 7 (Hougaard - 10 minutes - Converted Try)".

He is beating the Poms all by himself! Anyway, the telly goes off and a few more pints later the game is forgotten until someone remembers "It must be full time now, let's see how Derrick got on". They put the telly back on.

"Result from the Stadium: England 7 (Wilkinson 79 minutes) - South Africa 7 (Hougaard 10 minutes)". They can't believe it, Derrick has single handedly got a draw against England and maintained SA's unbeaten run. They rush back to the Stadium to congratulate him. They find him in the dressing room, still in his gear, with his head in his hands. He refuses to look at them. "I've let you down, I've let you down." says Derrick.

"Don't be daft, you got a draw against England, all by yourself. And they only scored at the very very end!" says the rest of the team. "No, No," says Derrick, "I've let you down... I got sent off after 12 minutes".

The "Chiropractor" is a Cheetah

According to an interesting rumour of celtic origin- "The Chiropractor" Brian Lima is joining the Vodacom Cheetahs for the 2006 Super 14 season.

OORB were unable to confirm this as yet, but enjoy this background information on Brian Lima in the meantime.

If it does turn out to be the truth, it might not be the present that Derrick Hougaard wanted-in his x-mas stocking- for the 10 Feb 2006 match with the Vodacom Cheetahs. It might be that Heyneke Meyer will be turning to him for the pivot role as the Cheetah loose trio and Barry Goodes had forced Morne Steyn into elementary errors during the 2005 CC final.

Both the text and the photo is from wikipedia- url-

Brian Lima (born 25 January 1972 in Apia, Samoa) is a Samoan rugby union footballer.

Originally a wing, Lima has moved into centre for Samoa as his pace has lessened, but he remains a formidable player.

He has earned the memorable nickname of "The Chiropractor" for his shuddering hits in defence that supposedly rearrange the bones of the victim. He has been described as the best Samoan rugby union player of all time.

He made his debut for Manu Samoa back in 1990 and featured in the famous World Cup win over Wales in 1991. He was the youngest player at the 1991 Rugby World Cup.

One of Brian Lima's greatest moments came in Samoa's match against South Africa in a sudden death qualification match to be in the top 5 in the 2003 Rugby World Cup. As Springbok fly-half Derick Hougaard leapt up in the air and caught the ball, Lima "spear-tackled" Hougaard, sending him crashing to the ground and dazing him for at least 5 to 10 minutes.

He signed for Munster after an extremely impressive game for the southern hemisphere vs the northern hemisphere in a fundraising game for the Tsunami appeal. However Lima was injured shortly after landing in Ireland and never got to pull on the Munster jersey. He has also played for Auckland Blues and in Japan. He signed a two year deal with Bristol starting in the 2005-6 season.

He is the only player in rugby union history to have appeared in four Rugby World Cups and is on track to appear in a record fifth in the 2007 World Cup in France.


This one is for all you seriaas Bloggers out there, would like to see your comments

Digital era spawns public paparazzo

DECEMBER 13, 2005
A ERA of citizen journalism is dawning in Britain as media organisations turn to their readers, viewers and listeners for photographs.

The amateur photographer already has an agency, Scoopt, to distribute reports and images, while the budding writer can replace professionals in The Guardian's Saturday travel section.

As soon as there is a big unexpected event, a script runs at the bottom of the screens on the BBC or Sky News inviting the public to email digital photographs.

The July 7 terrorist bombings on three London subway trains and a bus were a watershed in the news business. Most of the on-spot bombing images carried on television and in newspapers were from amateurs.

Any eyewitness with a phonecam or a digital camera has the technical means to become a journalist for a day. "People like to contribute to the news and they get a kick out of it," says Kyle MacRae, the founder of Scoopt.

Started in Glasgow in July, the agency claims 4300 members -- some of them not very active - in 80 countries without the benefit of advertising.

Scoopt uses photos of events such as car accidents for immediate local interest, storms for regional interest and serious crimes, such as the recent shooting of a policewoman, for national viewers.

It also accepts photos of celebrities, which has created a citizen paparazzo on every street corner.

Scoopt is building an electronic archive of photographs that can only be used by media subscribers.


The Australian

X-Mas Stocking Stories

Yeah- I know OORB is a rugby blog , but rugby stories- except those that Rasputin keeps digging out at is a bit slow this time of year.

I am also quite sure that all have hailed the AB's for their performances this year and I will try not to mention (again who had won the Currie Cup in 2005- ;-).

Speaking of an early X-mas present- I found this on

Their x-mas whishes is a bit more lofty than mine- but still an interesting read. It seems that "family" is still the biggest present- but that a jet isn't too shaby either.

Hope all of you spend the X-mas with the people that you love- and for all the Saffa ex-pats- wipe away the tears and may 2006 be a good year for you- wherever you are.

Mind you, I would have like it,if Kimi had said that Santa must bring him a Mclaren that can finish the race- 90 % of the time.

Oranje Orakel


Kimi Raikkonen
"I am looking forward to spending Christmas with my family, this is a tradition for me as Christmas is a great time to catch up and spend time with parents and in-laws. This year the perfect present for me would be a jet; this would make my journeys to all the overseas races a lot easier as there would be less waiting around, however I would be happy with clothes, CD's and DVD's as well."

Juan Pablo Montoya
"This year will be my son Sebastian's first Christmas and to make it extra special we are going to take him to a ski resort in Europe with our family and friends so that he will get to see snow for the first time. Our Christmas is usually fairly traditional, which in Colombia we celebrate on Christmas Eve. We attend church and that is usually followed by a meal and all the children are given their presents then. For me all I will be hoping for is that Team McLaren Mercedes have a great 2006!"

Alex Wurz
"My Christmas was going to be different this year as my wife and I were expecting our second child on Christmas Eve however Charlie was born early so my hope for getting out of cooking the turkey has gone. That means that we will go back to our usual celebrations which are a mixture of the Austrian (where we celebrate on Christmas Eve) and the British traditions. I will have to start thinking of new presents to wish for as I had only been thinking about the birth of my son."

Pedro de la Rosa
"Christmas for me is a family occasion with us visiting my wife Maria's family for lunch on Christmas day and then going onto my parents in the evening. This is usually a fun occasion as my brother dresses up as Santa to give all the children their presents. This year we are also going to go to New York on the 27th December so that should be great fun for the family. As for presents all I hope for is good health as when you are healthy then you can achieve anything.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Brand new website for the Super 14 Vodacom Cheetahs!

The central region franchise of the Super 14, the Vodacom Cheetahs, has recently launched their brand new website. The Vodacom Cheetahs consists of players from the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs, the Wildeklawer Griquas and the Griffons.

This website will keep supporters up to date with the latest news, fixtures for 2006, logs, and other exciting information about this Super 14 team.

Visit for more information!


Putting the X into Xmas
15/12/2005 10:18 - (SA)

Sam Wilson

"Why don't we ever talk about baby Jesus?" my six-year-old, Josef, asked me earlier this week.

A tricky moment, I can tell you. Let me set the scene.

I am not Christian, although I come from a Christian upbringing. Neither is my partner, although his parents are devout Christians, who are somewhat dismayed by our unwillingness to instil even the rudiments of the faith into our children's upbringing.

So why do I still celebrate Christmas?

It's simple, really. I love many bits of Christmas. I love the coming together of family and the exchange of gifts. I love that there's a public holiday devoted to spiritual introspection and celebrating the good parts of humanity. At least, that's how I choose to see Christmas, and I believe those are things we should all, regardless of faith, have access to.

And if the engine of global consumerism can hijack Christmas for financial gain, I really don't think a pair of agnostics, hijacking it for love and family feeling can really be that bad.

So I put up a tree every year, bedecked in tinsel and popcorn with a lop-sided fairy. I wrap things in red shiny paper. I have a giant family lunch. I even play Christmas carols (although my partner believes that's going a bit far) and while I don't do Midnight Mass or actively invite discussion on the nativity, I do try to talk to my children about tolerance, about privilege and about giving to those less fortunate than ourselves.

So how did I answer my son?

I rooted out a storybook on the birth of Jesus, and we read it together. We discussed how Jesus believed in love and tolerance and trying to see the good in everyone, even people who are not like you. We discussed how some people think Jesus is the son of God, while others believe he is a prophet.

Joey digested all this and looked at me with that clean, clear look of a small child about to flummox an adult.

"Mom, I believe that Jesus is God's son," said Joey. "Do you mind?"


"Not at all, honey," I replied. "In fact, I fully support it, if that's what you believe."

We blinked happily at each other for a bit. Then I asked a tricky question of my own.

"Do you mind that Mommy isn't sure about God?" I asked. "Because it is not that I don't believe in God, just that I'm not sure."

Joey thought about this.

"I think that's okay," he replied. "But... when do you think you'll decide?"

Got to love little people.

Sam Wilson is the editor in chief of women24. She's pretty sure she's happy about that.

RUGBY365's CHAT with Rassie

This story was first published on the web by Rugby365 and is availible in print by buying RugbyNews/Nuus from your local magazine shop.


We have 6 beers with Rassie Erasmus
Tuesday December 13 2005
Cheetahs coach Rassie Erasmus managed to achieve in one season what most provincial coaches can only dream of their whole career ... to win the Currie Cup. Chris Schoeman, editor of Rugby News/Rugby Nuus magazines spoke to him about his career as player and coach. He gives his views on 2005 and what to expect in 2006.

Rugby365 publish the interview with kind permission of the magazines. You can visit their websites at Rugby News and Rugby Nuus for more info. (The magazines are also available at major new agencies [CNA, PNA, etc.] and supermarkets.)

Question: You're from the Eastern Cape; tell us about your life before you came to Bloemfontein.
Answer: Yes, those were the good days. I grew up in Despatch when the town was a force to be reckoned with in club rugby. I was only a lightie when I became ball boy at the town's rugby field. I regularly went to watch when the big guys were practicing. It is ironic that Pote Human, who is the present Blue Bulls forwards coach, lived next to us! Top players like Danie Gerber, Willie Meyer, Adri Geldenhuys and Frans Erasmus all played for the town club. In my high school days I often worked as barman at the rugby club where I could be in closer contact with my heroes. I myself didn't play too badly and in matric in 1990 I played for the EP Craven Week team. Os (du Randt) played for NEC and the SA Schools the same year. After that I came to Bloem for my military training and played for Free State U20s. I enjoyed Bloem so much that I decided to stay there and here I still am today!

Q: Tell us about your Free State days.
A: I played my first match for Free State in 1994 and in the end played more than 120 matches for them. I also played for Lions for two years, but I was very happy to come back to the Free State. My first highlight with them was the Currie Cup Final in 1997, but we lost by two points. Then of course there was last year's final which we also lost, but fortunately this year I was on the winning side, although this time as coach and not as a player.

Q: In 2000 you were the Super 12 Player of the Series and in 2001 the South African Player of the Series. What other highlights were there as player?
A: My first test against the British and Irish Lions at Ellis Park [1997]; thereafter our Tri-Nations title in 1998 and the 17 subsequent test victories with Nick Mallett as coach. Then of course the World Cup quarter-final against England in Paris in 1999 when we destroyed them.

Q: Which coaches stood out for you?
A: If it is just about how the game should be played, Nick Mallett was the man. André Markgraaff taught me a lot about discipline and passion and commitment.Then Oom Peet [Kleynhans], I've learnt a lot from him about one's approach to the game. He has made a huge contribution to the game in the Free State.

Q: Did you ever think during your playing days that you would one day be a provincial coach?
A: I always wanted to remain part of the game after hanging up my boots, but never thought it would happen so soon. It was only after meeting Oom Peet that I had the hope to become coach. It was a special experience to see how he thinks about the game and how he does things.

Q: What were your aims at the beginning of 2005?
A: We had been in the final the previous year and we felt at least we should go through to the final again. We've been there and we could do it again, maybe this time it would depend on the bounce of the ball, and that is exactly what happened. The final could have gone either way.

Q: How did you approach the semi-final against WP and the final against the Blue Bulls?
A: Before every match you analyse your opponents, look at their weak points and concentrate on your strong points. The WP is not really so weak up front as people think and we had to play hard to beat them. To be honest, we didn't play very well in the semi-final, but we did enough to win the match. The main thing we told ourselves was to keep the ball away from the WP backline. You will be stupid not to do it. As far as the final is concerned, you know, people don't give the Blue Bulls enough credit for their achievements. You often hear they are predictable and if you keep them at bay up front, they are very ordinary. But why can't anybody do it? Heyneke Meyer is a very shrewd coach and even in the final he came up with one or two things that were new to us. The final could have gone either way. But I have to say that it had been the first time in four years that we had been able to match the Blue Bulls for the whole 80 minutes. So we stayed in the game and in the end the ball bounced right for us.

Q: What was the atmosphere like in the dressing room before the final at Loftus?
A: I think the fact that we had been in the final the previous year and had to sit in the same dressing room at the same stadium as in 2004, made most guys somewhat calmer. But the fact remains that you still have to go onto the field and cope with everything. So there is still the quiet tension before the game. You have your experienced guys like Os, Naka and Ollie who can probably handle this better than the younger players. But the young guys like Meyer Bosman and Alwyn Hollenbach who were playing in their first final were very nervous.

Q: What can we expect from the Cheetahs in next year's Super 14?
A: Look, we managed to win the Currie Cup and the Free State players have a lot of confidence and that is good. But at the same time everybody realise that the Super 14 is a totally new competition, something different from the Currie Cup we had been used to. It has new demands, new challenges and requires new adjustments. One can't just say for instance we want to win seven matches. What will happen for instance if after seven matches you have won five and six remain? You can't say we've won five, now we only need to win two more. You have to look at every match as it comes and plan from match to match. We have already done bleep tests and power training, etc. with a big group of approximately 50 from the Free State, Griquas and Griffons and in January we will select the final group of 28. As I have said before, the Super 14 is a new challenge but we look forward to it.

Q: Some people say you shouldn't be 'pals' with the players. How do you see it?
A: I have learnt from coaches like Nick Mallett, Oom Peet and even André Markgraaff that you have to be able to relax with the players at the right time but in such a way that they won't lose their respect for you. You have to remember, I have just turned 33, how can I now all of a sudden pretend to be 40? Last year I was still playing with many of my players, winning, losing and crying together, how can I now put myself on a pedestal? I believe you have to remain the same person. When it comes to practice and game analysis and this type of thing, then you're the boss. Away from the field you have to enjoy yourself with the guys, but when it comes to rugby, it is all black and white.

Q: What is the biggest lesson you have learnt from rugby, on and off the field?
A: You know, one experiences that there are a lot of people out there who want to see that you are not successful. It is a trait of our people, they want to deny you winning and being the Currie Cup Champions. But then there are lots of people who will always support you. One should never allow the negativity of others to undermine your confidence. There will always be those who support you and they are they ones you should be able to trust.

Q: Who, in your opinion, has been the greatest player in your time and also before your time?
A: Some people won't agree with me, but when I played there was no player like of Jonah Lomu. It was often said that he couldn't turn around quick enough for chips and that sort of thing, but look at the tries he scored and the matches he had won almost all by himself. Many had lots of negative things to say about him, but I tell you, the guys were scared of him. Before my days there had been only one, Danie Gerber. We grew up in the same town and I often saw him playing for the town's team, for EP and the Springboks and he was just a phenomenal player. What impressed me just as much as his play, was his commitment. He had all the talent in the world and things came very naturally for him, but he never rested on his laurels. I often saw him jogging early in the morning and practicing on his own and I always realised he never thought he was too good for that. He was a great example to everybody.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Bulls Squad out in full force in George

The source of this story is yet to be confirmed by the Poster nl Aldo.

Once that is done OORB will confirm it.


Big herd of Bulls in George
Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 10:20
A large group of 42 Vodacom Bulls players are currently honing their skills in George for a massive Super 14 onslaught, but Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha and Bryan Habana are not amongst these.
The Bulls’ three super Boks are all enjoying a well-deserved break and will only join the team in January, when there will be little time left to do the final fine-tuning before the first warm-up match against the Cats kick of on 14 January.
The other Springboks in the squad are all in George.
It will also be interesting to see how last season’s under-21 heroes cope with the rigours of senior rugby. With 11 members of the victorious SA Under-21 squad in the squad, there are a host of players for whom a bright future is predicted. Also in the sqad are the under-19 stars, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Hilton Lobberts.
The Falcons, Deon Strydom and Willem Slabbert are also training with the team and on the whole it does not seem as if any members of the side will let the team down at the highest level.
The team training in George:
Fullbacks: Johan Roets, Hennie Daniller, Willem Slabbert
Wings: John Mametsa, Marius Delport, Riaan van den Bergh, Pierre Spies, Akona Ndungane, Trompie Nontshinga
Centres: JP Nel, Wynand Olivier, Dries Scholtz, Rudi Coetzee
Flyhalves: Morne Steyn, Derick Hougaard, Kennedy Tsimba
Scrumhalves: Fourie du preez, Neil Powel, Heini Adams
Loose forwards: Jacques Cronje, Danie Rossouw, Ruan Vermeulen, Johan Wasserman, Pedrie Wannenburg, Tim Dlulane, Hilton Lobberts, Derick Kuun
Locks: Adriaan Fondse, Francois van Schouwenburg, Cliff Milton
Tight heads: Richard Bands, Andries Human, Wessel Roux
Loose heads: Gurthro Steenkamp, Danie Thiart, Jaco Engels, Harry Vermaas
Hookers: Gary Botha, Kobus van der Walt, Adriaan Strauss, Chilliboy Ralepelle, Deon Strydom.

Islands won't help host 2011

The New Zealand rugby union has ruled out the possibility of South Pacific nations hosting any of the pool matches for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
In the wake of New Zealand's successful bid for the bid there was speculation Fiji or Samoa could host some pool matches but Rugby Union CEO Chris Moller says that won't be happening.
Moller says running a tournament in one country is a much easier commercial and logistical proposition.
Meanwhile, Moller says they'll wait until the New Year before embarking on the task of preparing for the event.
Part of the NZRU bid centered on government involvement which means they've now got to decide the form of the organizing committee, and who'll be involved.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Some jokes to keep you busy

Customer: "I've been ringing 0700 2300 for two days and can't get through to enquiries, can you help?".Operator: "Where did you get that number from, sir?".Customer: "It was on the door to the Travel Centre".Operator: "Sir, they are our opening hours".------------------------------------------------------ ----------------Caller (enquiring about legal requirements while travelling inFrance): "If I register my car in France, do I have to change the steering wheel to the other side of the car?"-------------------------------------------------------------- --------Directory EnquiriesCaller: "I'd like the number of the Argoed Fish Bar in Cardiff please". Operator: "I'm sorry, there's no listing. Is the spelling correct?" Caller: "Well, it used to be called the Bargoed Fish Bar but the 'B' fell off". -------------------------------------------------------------- --------Then there was the caller who asked for a knitwear company in Woven. Operator: "Woven? Are you sure?" Caller: "Yes. That's what it says on the label; Woven in Scotland". -------------------------------------------------------- --------------On another occasion, a man making heavy breathing sounds from a phone box told a worried operator: "I haven't got a pen, so I'm steaming up the window to write the number on". ----------------------------------------------------------------- -----Tech Support: "I need you to right-click on the Open Desktop".Customer: "OK".Tech Support: "Did you get a pop-up menu?".Customer: "No".Tech Support: "OK. Right-Click again. Do you see a pop-up menu?"Customer: "No".Tech Support: "OK, sir. Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?". Customer: "Sure. You told me to write 'click' and I wrote 'click'".------------------------------------------------------ ----------------Tech Support: "OK. In the bottom left hand side of the screen, can you see the 'OK' button displayed?"Customer: "Wow. How can you see my screen from there?"------------------------------------------------------ ----------------Caller: "I deleted a file from my PC last week and I have just realised that I need it. If I turn my system clock back two weeks will I have my file back again?".------------------------------------------------ ----------------------There's always one. This has got to be one of the funniest things in a long time. I think this guy should have been promoted, not fired. This is a true story from the Word Perfect Helpline, which was transcribed from a recording monitoring the customer care department. Needless to say the Help Desk employee was fired; however, he/she is currently suing the Word Perfect organization for "Termination without Cause". Actual dialogue of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee. (Now I know why they record these conversations!): Operator: "Ridge Hall, computer assistance; may I help you?" Caller: "Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect." Operator: "What sort of trouble??" Caller: "Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away." Operator: "Went away?" Caller: "They disappeared."Operator: "Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?" Caller: "Nothing." Operator: "Nothing??" Caller: "It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type." Operator: "Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out??" Caller: "How do I tell?" Operator: "Can you see the C: prompt on the screen??" Caller: "What's a sea-prompt?" Operator: "Never mind, can you move your cursor around the screen?" Caller: "There isn't any cursor: I told you, it won't accept anything I type." Operator: "Does your monitor have a power indicator??" Caller: "What's a monitor?" Operator: "It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on??" Caller: "I don't know." Operator: "Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that??" Caller: "Yes, I think so." Operator: "Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall. Caller: "Yes, it is."Operator: "When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one??"Caller: "No."Operator: "Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable." Caller: "Okay, here it is."Operator: "Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."Caller: "I can't reach."Operator: "Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is??"Caller: "No."Operator: "Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over??"Caller: "Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle - it's because it's dark."Operator: "Dark??"Caller: "Yes - the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window." Operator: "Well, turn on the office light then."Caller: "I can't."Operator: "No? Why not??"Caller: "Because there's a power failure."Operator: "A power...................................... A power failure? Aha, Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in??"Caller: "Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."Operator: "Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."Caller: "Really? Is it that bad?"Operator: "Yes, I'm afraid it is."Caller: "Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them??"Operator: "Tell them you're too f*%king stupid to own a computer!!!!!"

Monday, December 12, 2005

2006 is all Stormers!

"Marmoream relinquo, quam latericiam accepi"
Nick Mallett - March 2005

Well, actually, no, to be honest, it wasn't said by Nick Mallett in March 2005, it was said by Augustus a helluva long time ago and what he really meant to say was,

"I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble."
Nick Mallett would have said it, had his wife laid out his toga on the morning of the announcement of his appointment as Director - Rugby, Western Province/Stormers. Unfortunately the toga was still in Barabas's Wishy Washy and the quote went unsaid.
However, the essence remains.
Nick inherited an ailing operation down in the Cape. Results were sporadic, the most volatile crowd in the country were giving vent to their frustration and the off-field antics were becoming more curious by the day.
The nature of the timing of Mallett's appointment meant that he had to hit the ground running and it has to be surmised that the delineation of duties has been apportioned on the hoof. Kobus van der Merwe was brought on board along with London Irish's Gary Gold. Jerome Paarwater's services had been retained in the big clean out.
It wasn't long after Mallett's appointment that news broke that a couple had been arrested on suspicion of massive fraud against the WPRFU.
Change, especially overwhelming change, is often accompanied by a period of uncertainty and even, at times, chaos. WP would not have been immune to this syndrome and I, for one, really wasn't expecting too much from them this year.
At this stage it would be honest to admit that Western Province definitely appear to have gone through a phase of a lack of forward planning, perhaps a lack of ambition and almost certainly a degree of resting on the laurels of previous generations.
Looking in from the outside, they do not currently give off the smell, taste or vision of a province that has such a venerable reputation, a reputation backed by continual achievements over the years.
In fact, at times they've looked like a minor union.
Reading between the lines, one suspects a great deal of faction fighting is going on behind the scenes. Western Province has a power base that is almost equally split between 'white' and 'coloured' clubs and it would appear that a degree of residual resentment has created a situation where each votes along it's own community lines instead of what is best for Western Province holistically.
Never mind, let's concentrate on Nick Mallett.
Love him or loathe him, and few people seem to end up in the middle, Mallett is a man unused to failure, at the very least, uncomfortable with it. He will most certainly not want to besmirch an international reputation by having his charges relegated out of the Super 14 on their first attempt.
When Western Province brought Nick on board it was most definitely a case of caveat emptor, let the buyer beware. Nick is not a man to sit in his cave in a reflective mood, if it needs saying, he'll be saying it. If you are not mature enough to hear the message, don't let the door hit you on the butt on the way out.
It's not everyone's man-management cup of tea but Province are not everyone, the Stormers are not everyone, indeed, professional top class international sportsmen are not everyone and all the signs indicated that Province needed exactly such an attitude to jolt them out of the complacent torpor they appear to have slid into.
If Nick had been Greek, and by the looks of him he could very well have passed it off, he'd have thrown another Greek quotation at his boys, 'Audentis Fortuna iuvat', and let's face it, Province haven't been brave and forune hasn't favoured them.
The good news is, since being knocked out of the Currie Cup in the semi-final, an event that was nigh on unthinkable in my youth, Western Province have had nothing else to do except reflect, plan their campaign and, at last, draw breath. Mallet et cie will not have spent their time basking on the beach, they will have been hard at work, putting structures in place, apportioning roles and bedding the new boys in.
Gosh, 'new boys'. Don't get me started but have Province had new boys or what! Well, further great news is that everyone is only a new boy until they reach their second year. The youngsters like Skeate, Bekker and Louw will finally have got some breathing space to reflect on their year and muse on how they can improve.
Many are sceptical about the few new additions to the Stormers squad but I'm of the opinion that it's a breath of fresh air for these guys, their careers have been revived with another bite at the big time. They don't want to let anyone down and they are old enough to know what they have to put in to get something out again.
Sure, there will probably still be reverberations over Tito voting in favour of Van Rooyen when the executive wanted him to vote against but hopefully that damn tough unprofitable 2005 will be consigned to history administratively.
On the field, for the first time we'll get a real taste of what the Mallett regime is going to look like.
The Paarwater's, Gold's, Van der Merwe's and Fourie's of the world will know exactly what is expected of them and we'll be getting back a few extremely experienced and well rested Boks in Marius Joubert and Big Joe van Niekerk.
We won't win the Super 14 but we won't be the team relegated either.
To end, let me quote Nick Mallett again;
"Oderint dum metuat"
Ooops, no, that's Accius, but by now you know that if Nick could have said it, he would have, "Let them hate, as long as they fear."
What Nick did say, when quoting Augustus, was "Only that which is well done is quickly done."
Western Province and The Stormers will not be overnight sensations but all WP fans will be chanting, "Veni, vidi, vici" by the end of Super 14 in 2007.

Valke Rugby in die Moeilikheid?????

Lyk of daar weereens moeilikheid in onse rugby kringe is. Die aspirant verslaggewer het te hore gekom dat die Valke moontlik bankrotskap in die gesig staar. Hulle hoofborg (AMD) het nie ‘n beloofde bedrag ($1.3milj!) betaal nie en daar is alreeds sprake van likwidasie.

Ek het dit op goeie authority dat Valke nie die spelers se salaris vir laas maand kon bybring nie. Dit is net danksy Saru se hulp dat die spelers wel die maand betaal is. Op die oomblik kan die Valke ook geen ander finansiele verpligtinge nakom nie. Dit sal waarlik hartseer wees indien die eens trotse unie nou in die moeilikheid is oor ‘n borg wat nie betaal het nie.

Die unie het verskeie spelers met baie talent opgelewer en het oor die jare kompiterend gebly. Hopelik is die net ‘n klein terugslag en betaal hulle borg sodat die unie staande kan bly. Die verlagewer gaan nog so bietjie rondsnuffel om meer nuus vir julle te kry,maar vir nou is dit al wat ek het, maar soos die Engelse se, “Wacth this space”.

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